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by Silva Noir
Chapter 28: Volcano

He paced the hotel room's carpet. The redundant path was well worn into its fibers.

He'd begun to lose sight of realistic goals and was now expecting a dream. He wanted his resplendent princess Rabbit by his side, to vanquish the villain (his father), and live happily ever after. He wanted ntohing else in his life. Friends, a job, education, money, entertainment ... none of that held any meaning if he didn't have his three cores ideals. At the moment he was exceedingly impatient.

He stopped pacing when a card key was passed through the electronic lock. The door opened a crack with the key holder peeking in before entering fully.

"Hello?" Rabbit's voice was as weary as her walk. Confidence had been sucked from her. A wide shoulder egg-cream suit jacket was draped over a dark button blouse, below which was matching iron creased pants. The only feminine touches were her favorite reddest-red heels, reddest-red nails and reddest-red lipstick. She put her bag down on the inside of the door, eyes traveling gradually to his frustrated face.

"Why are you dressed like a greaser?" She cocked her head to the side at the surprising appearance of his slicked back hair, large sunglasses, leather jacket and tight jeans.

"Why are you dressed as some corporate bitch?" he unwarrantedly snapped back.

She blinked, unsure if this was the David Xilvrin she knew. "I was in negotiations with your father. I wanted to dress appropriately, and given that..." she didn't have a chance tog et the rest out. He'd roughly embraced her. Holding her too tight put a strain on her healing ribs. Forcefully, he kissed her, open mouthed. Next thing she knew she'd been flung down on the bed, wrists above her head, held in place by him. If it was one thing Rabbit hated, it was not being in control. Losing authority to a man in this sort of situation was what she most despised. "What are you..." she demanded.

Again, she was cut off, "I'm sick of you screwing around with me. Anything you've asked, I've done without question for you. You disappear, you keep your secrets... Do I even know you?"

"You're just like him. You're just like your father. You look like him, and now you act like him. Posses women, then torture them..."

He eased off, letting her go. He wanted to scare her into having respect for him but he'd taken it too far. He didn't like her comparison. The last person he wished to emulate was his father. It dawned on him what she thought he was about to do her, and what the implications of mentioning his father were. "I wouldn't ... I'm not like that ... I wouldn't do that to you. I couldn't even if I wanted to. I'm not like him. He hasn't ... has he?"

"All men are alike. And do you think I would let him?"

"That couldn't be further from the truth for me ... that is ... I can guarantee you, inside and out, that I'm not like any man on earth." As she was still staring at him as if he were a carrier of the Black Plague, he added ... "I'm sorry?"

She rolled over to her side, disgusted with him.

"I just wanted you to know that I have feelings that matter ... that this relationship is two ways. I'm not going to worship you forever." He cleared his throat. "I wouldn't violate ... I've never ... I wouldn't touch your bad places."

She rolled back over to look at him, "My bad places?"

"Bad places. No-no areas. Naughty bits," he clarified.

She had a hearty laugh over him. "You put on a tough man's clothes but underneath you are nothing but a blushing boy." She adjusted his collar, an odd habit of hers. "I'll forgive you if you understand you can't take what you want from me, you ask. You KNOW what I don't like. I've told you. As for what I haven't told you ... truth is I can't remember my past ... as for my present it is all negotiation. Some of which could harm you if I were to involve you. I'm not where I want to be in life, but I can see how I could get there, given patience."

"Please ... involve me. I don't care about the danger. I care about you. I love you," David pledged.

She was tried from arguing and medical appointments, and so slept where she lay in full formal clothes with her capricious boyfriend. He had the sense not to try anything on her while she was unconscious. That wasn't all of what he wanted from her anyway as evident from his previous embarrassment of unmentionables.

She woke up warm with a specific scent being inhaled. It was a mixture of soap and cologne. Silk strings tickled the underside of her nose. "Hotel shampoo..." It was David's hair she smelled. He'd nuzzled into her neck. His hands were clasped and held to him, not at all touching her.

She'd reached a point where she knew she couldn't jerk him around any longer. Depending on her next move, would ally with her or turn against her. She was done testing the extent of his wild mood swings. She had to give something back if she was to again have his trust. She touched his face and combed his hair with her fingers until the tickling sensation got his attention.

"Uh? 'M I too close?" he yawned, knowing she'd never let him snuggle like this before.

"I feel rather stuffy and uncomfortable ... cool water might be nice but not too cold... I was thinking of a dip in the pool. Care to join me?"

"Me ... in swimtrunks? People will stare. I'm not saying that in vanity. There are pasts of me that just aren't ... normal."

This made her briefly consider the fact she hadn't even seen him without some form of shirt before. "Not the main pools ... they have small private pools hidden by palms. This is one of the reasons why I chose this hotel over the others. I was hoping we could utilize them ... just ... us ..."

"Yeah, some alone time with my baby," He snapped his fingers. She was not amused. "Ah... Ah'll go get changed."

For once they appeared as typical tourists, in t-shirts, shorts, sandals, and a tote bag dangling on her arm. She criticized him fro wearing winter socks with sandals, but he had a good reason. He didn't want anyone to see or hear his metallic hooves. She hadn't seen them. He was dying to find out whether she would think if he was a monster for having them. Only Palmer, so far, hadn't put him down for them.

This is as close as I will ever get to paradise, he thought, strolling leisurely. She held his hand, leading him to a pre-selected spot. The nearly full moon glowed brightly. Barely a cloud was in the primary blue sky. City lights bled into the edges. It was not true night; it was a trendier day. Mirage was an apt name. The amount of beautiful people and tropical plants wallowing in the abundant wasteful amount of water made you forget you were situated in the middle of a desert.

They retreated into a thick cluster of jungle. The aroma of exotic blooms was intoxicating. The foliage hid them from anything beyond their party of two. Rabbit put down her bad on the beach chair after flicking off a small olive scaled lizard.

She pulled off the loose clothes to reveal a high-necked one piece red bathing suit... to his disappointment. He preferred to see bikinis. He let her make this exception. Her ribs were still healing, bandages hidden under the suit.

He started the process of undressing with only his socks, pushing the sandals under the same chair with his now revealed cloven hooves.

She snorted in surprise, unbecoming of her usually socially graceful self. "Why did you put those THINGS on?" She assumed they were on purpose, like when he formed hand blades or claws.

"Because they don't come off. Why do you think I don't show off my feet? The reason for the socks? Go on, call me a devil or a goat or whatever you'd like," he said low.

"Oh, shush and join me in the pool." She stepped daintily into the warmed water. Her pretty feet made no noise.

His clop-clopped on the steps. He bit his lip from saying something he'd regret when she covered her mouth to hide her mocking smile. The distraction made him slip on the last step, dunking him in over his head, seated on the bottom of the pool. Rabbit put up her arms to block the splash. She was full-out laughing. He rose up, blowing the water out of his nose, seething mad. Blonde locks, curly when wet, stuck down to his head.

She found his awkwardness cute. "Silly, silly boy. Boy and not a man," she teased, adoring how easily she could get to him. She waded towards him, then wrapped her legs around his waist. She kissed him in apology but pulled back with a sour face.

"Something wrong with my lips too?" he even BREATHED angrily.

"No... I can taste the chlorine. No matter," she rubbed the serial number tattoo on his right shoulder. "You never are boring, X-109. And for that, I love you."

"I love you too," he mumbled.

She traced little circles with her fingertips on his abdomen. "Glad I could milk that from you. Now, why don't you take off that shirt?"

"Oh no, you've had enough fun with me." He crossed his arms in refusal.

Her being injured was an advantage. He couldn't fight back when she tackled him. She pulled it off for him. "Oh..." she remarked, "No ni..." she was about to say something else but thought it best to speak to his infantile mood "No naughty bits ... you're missing two of them. And oddly, a belly button. Did they forget pieces of you when you were assembled in the factory?" she grinned.

He crossed his arms tightly. "Yeah well, what does a man need them for anyway?" He turned his head to the side, eyes closed and nose upturned in pretend superiority.

"Nothing. But they are there regardless ... on humans. But you're not human are you? Well, as long as the rest of you is intact. Is this from side effects of Xilvrin fusion with flesh?"

"You mean defects," He corrected, his eyes gone all silver, whites and pupils concealed, a frightening look. There were more parts of his anatomy that were NOT intact; he certainly didn't want her to know about them.

Don't tell me what I mean, David," she calmed, which calmed him. "I had something to ask you." She reached down the front of her bathing suit, pulling out a chain from which two small gold objects hung. She undid the chain, hiding them in her palm. "X-109, David Xilvrin, self-appointed 'Morphist' ..." she slipped one gold ring on his finger now that he'd relaxed his arms to allow her to do so. She put on the other, the one with the diamond resting on her finger. "Will you marry me?"

"Now you have gone too far."

"I'm serious!" she shouted in a high pitch that let him know she was.

His expression changed at once. "...You want to ... with me? You mean that? It's a big commitment... I mean that much to you ... after seeing what a monster I am?"

You haven't seen what a monster I can be. We're both monsters," she made the statement seem like another joke. Her type of monster was the ugliness beneath the surface, not on it. "So will you?"

"Yes! Of course!" His eyes were now more human and wide than they had ever been.

"Tomorrow morning then," she clapped her hands together, excited as he was.

He became drunk with joy. So drunk that he didn't notice the barrel of a weapon poking out between the broad waxy leaves. It aimed for her. As he spun around her it missed. The bullet it his tattooed shoulder. The sting brought him back to reality.

This and the rustling enabled Rabbit to spot the hit man crouched behind the palm tree's trunk. "David, he means to kill me!"

Her fiancé went into action. He pulled her underwater, wrapped them both in ribbons of Xilvrin, a circle wider than the pool. The transformation was rapid. The need was urgent. There was a sound of it, cutting the air... 'fwap', 'fwish', and then 'slurch' as it the water again. Needles went down from the circles' wide coating and out from the pores of his skin, connecting in the middle. The wires he'd need for puppetting the armor creature were created.

Rabbit barely had time to blink before her world went black, floating in a pocket of water inside the stomach of a 20-foot heavy metal plated American buffalo. "I'm ... inside ... him ..." She was in wonder. "No, not him, he's still in here... I'm in his second skin... I only wish I could see," she thought aloud between being sloshed about in the beast-on-the-move.

The buffalo bellowed. He was quickly gaining on his prey. Palm trees and other creaked, fell and were crushed under thunderous hooves. Shooting at him was bad enough. Shooting at the first one he loved, a lady ... the first to love him (as far as he knew) ... that sent him over the edge.

"No, no, arrghhhh!" the nondescript man in the suit, who’s fallen, put up his arms his arms to beg for mercy. The mad bull was on top of him, opening its mouth and slamming down its head. Soon, the assassin’s world was equally black.

The man escaped being mashed on the grindstone teeth. He slid down the throat to the stomach, landing with a splash in the pooled water. It was like some bizarre amusement park attraction ... but there was no getting off this ride.

Rabbit had time to get over herself. She may not have been able to see but there was a reason she was dubbed 'Rabbit'. Her ears picked out the slightest fluctuation in the water, echoed in the otherwise hollow chamber. She kicked whatever she came in contact with. An 'oof" as a response altered her that she'd found him. She tried to drown the man but he thrashed too much, throwing her off. When knocked back into the wires, a new plan sprang to mind. She tussled with him again only to led him into them. She dodged blows, and took a few, all in the aims of tying appendage after appendage in the puppet cords.

"Dance, David. DANCE!" She commanded to the person at the controls above.

He didn't know why she wanted this from him of all things, but he did as she had asked. True tourists snapped photos of him. They hadn't seen that he'd 'eaten' a man. In this city of glitz and glamour, he blended in as just another over-the-top sight.

He skipped merrily from fake rock to fake rock in the moat surrounding the Mirage's famous fake-volcano. The embers of the fake eruption and the night sky were reflected off his resplendent hide. He sang in rhythm to the steps, "Buffalo boys won't you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight, buffalo boys won't you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon." He couldn't imagine what was going on inside him, but could hear Rabbit's loud and gleeful laughter.

The man he'd swallowed, the one who'd been sent by the Ace of Spades from her laughter gamble, had lost consciousness. This was just as well. As the buffalo danced, the cords controlling it contracted, stretched, and tugged. His limbs had been twisted from their sockets. Most of the bones in his body had been broken with lovely snap-snap sounds. He hadn't had the chance to moan in agony, as a cord simultaneously strangled him.

Rabbit untangled him before the flesh could be split open. If blood were to be spilled, David would know. He'd told her of the energy pulse absorbed from animals and plants he got from ingesting while in Xilvrin form. Her attacker was as dead as dead could be. There was no need to risk David knowing her killer instincts went further than his just yet.

"An opening, dear," she said too sweetly to her sweetheart. "I need to take out the garbage. We've scared him enough. He won't be bothering us again."

David knelt in the moat, creating a hole in the lining of his belly. Rabbit shoved the limp man out. He'd be discovered sooner or later, floating face down, by the staff who maintained the volcano. The water inside the chamber from the first pool drained out as well. She held onto a cord to keep from falling out the shrinking gap.

David, with the poor distorted vision of a Xilvrin beast and without the luxury of seeing in his own inner workings, believed the man to be in shock, not dead. He calmly stepped over the wall of the moat, over heads of tourists, and down the street. With each step he lightened the load be leaving behind hoof print puddles of Xilvrin. He took refuge in a magic theater. He took a trap door that dropped down to the basement. He liquefied the rest of the armor at once. He and Rabbit both slid and slipped on it before being able to stand up and clean themselves off.

They couldn't walk back up the street to the hotel in their swimwear and so donned some of the less outlandish costumes left over from whatever production was put on their nightly.

"You wouldn't have happened to steal anything from that guy, would you?" He had to ask.

"Him? No. It's an old grudge," she half-lied, inspecting her new black eye in a cosmetic mirror. She smeared some of the makeup sitting on the table over it.

"They won't let us get married. They'll think I'm an abusive boyfriend," he sighed.

"You? Oh no, David. You are fantastic." She meant it in both senses of the word, lazily casting her arms around his neck and kissing him.

"Really? Heh..." he smirked.

What a sucker.

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