Title: Push
Author: WhirlingGirl (whirlinggirl@mindspring.com)
URL: http://www.ficorama.net/fic.htm
Rating: R
Summary and Comments: Short fic about Zan's death, Zan pov. Thanks to Mala for being the toughest beta reader ever. And thanks to the rest of my muses, including Elizabeth, Mare, Shana and Whiteotter. This is the first part in a two part series with Shana's "Trash."
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Distribution: Please ask.
December 2000

He sits, alone and cold, in the noisy silence of abandoned tunnels. He sits and stares into the darkness.

His eyes slowly follow the contours of a random collection of broken furniture that litters the space in front of him, dimly seen. His gaze slides to the floor, concrete powder mixed with dirt and debris, partially covered with ragged pieces of cardboard and a discarded rug. He glances up at their pods, hanging tattered and dry on the wall, where they have been since the four of them were born into this cold place.

Sometimes he wishes he could just crawl back inside, and be warm again.

He feels the still air move. The pile of rags and blankets next to him shifts, and becomes a girl, sleeping, seeking what little warmth she can from being near him. She is dreaming, her sudden whimpers full of fear, her small movements jerky as she curls toward him. He lifts a hand and gently rests it on her shoulder until she quiets. But never once does he look down.

He can hear them coming from a distance, their stumbling and harsh laughter echoing in the darkness. He watches them, Rath and Lonnie, his pod mates, and sees the dark circles like bruises under their eyes. They are as high as kites, too exhausted to slow down, too strung out to sleep.

He continues to watch them from the shadows as they move restlessly, looking for things to touch, barely paying attention to what they are doing. He watches them as the thin bluish light filters down from far above and the distant street noises begin to grow. He watches them as they finally wind down like toys and fall asleep on the couch, leaning into each other, too tired to eat or change out of their clothes, too tired even to have sex.

It has been like this for so long. It has always been like this.

He remembers how he grew into his young, awkward strength, testing it against Rath, wrestling him to the floor time and again. He remembers how he grew into his young, awkward power, testing it against Lonnie, until she finally acknowledged his authority. But he still saw the calculated secrets in her eyes. Now he sees the madness there too, and in Rath, and in himself, more and more.

It's in all of them. Except Ava. Ava, the girl lying next to him.

He remembers how he grew into his young, awkward body and followed its urges, and she followed hers. Unlike the others, she never fought him.

They found out at a very young age what their bodies were good for.

He closes his eyes, and remembers their first time. He remembers how it hurt her at first as he pushed into her, how he could see the pain in her eyes, how she moved under him like a skittish colt, how he stilled his body for her.

It's just a little push. It will only hurt a little. And then everything will be fine.

He thought he whispered it, but maybe it was just a thought that he meant for her to hear, that never quite made it from his mind to his throat, and came out instead as a low moan. And then it felt so good, like the world had disappeared and they could pretend that this was all there was, all heat and muscle and breath and need.

He remembers the first time he came inside her, how her eyes started to close and he asked her in a choked whisper to open them, to look at him, because he didn't want to be alone. He remembers how she cried afterwards and he didn't understand why.

In that fragile moment, she did not want to see his soul, raw and seeking and hopeful, gazing out at her.

After that, she would watch him walk toward her as she lay on their makeshift bed, shivering with anticipation. She would watch him as he reached out, his hand almost touching her skin, hovering, tracing invisible patterns in the space above her naked flesh, tingling warmth and energy flowing between them. But in the end, she would always close her eyes.

Her powers never developed the way his and Lonnie's and Rath's did. She couldn't enter minds, or bodies, she couldn't force objects to move or stay still. But she never caused trouble, and she always obeyed him. Without him, the other two would have killed her long ago.

Somehow, he knows that she has never really woken up.

He envies her for that.

She shivers and he looks down, and gently strokes her hair, and sees the corner of her mouth lift slightly at his touch. Feelings stir in him that have no name.

The world is slowly spinning as he pulls the cloth-wrapped object from his coat, opens it, and gazes down at its contents, cold and perfect and gleaming.

He is ready for it.

It's just a little push.

It will only hurt a little.

 

And then everything will be fine.

Pain, slight and sharp, and a rush of warmth, and then the spinning world slowly fades.

***

He dreams.

He dreams that all four of them had never been born, that they had died in their pods and hung there like relics, cold and blue and frozen in time.

He wakes as the day begins to fade and the others are already up and restless. He rubs his eyes and rises to his feet, and wordlessly leads them out, and up, into the streets.

There are forces moving toward them, forces he has never seen. The messengers have come. Apparently it is time for the four of them to step into their roles, the roles they were created to fill. The invitation has been extended.

And he knows that death lurks behind it.

Lonnie and Rath are watching him as Rath delivers the message again. He knows there is something is strange about the fact that the messenger only speaks to them. He knows what it means.

It's a setup.

And there is no other way. He has to refuse, and he knows what Lonnie and Rath will do.

It's time to end this.

He is glad that Ava will see it, see them do this to him, because maybe she will wake up, maybe it will be enough pain to bring her to the surface. Maybe she will learn to survive without him.

Energy coalesces within his body as he moves, graceful as a cat, down the city streets. He looks around, feels the hard pavement, breathes the tired air. He owns these streets. It's fitting that he will die here.

He says no and then calmly waits. An angry Rath flexes on him, and he pushes back hard, a mad fierce gleam in his eyes, chaos howling beneath his soft snarl.

He pushes back hard and waits for it to come.

He makes Rath back down, and for a moment he feels affection for him, sees a glimmer of what they've lost. He reaches out and grabs the back of Rath's neck, playfully, and then he walks ahead. He knows Rath and Lonnie have exchanged looks behind him, he feels their rage and madness take hold and surge up against his back. His face betrays a small, secret, lazy smile because he knows it's coming.

He's ready for it.

It's just a little push.

 

It will only hurt a little.

 

And then everything will be fine.