Fading hope (Pt. 10) – Ending

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With the key in my filthy hands, I slammed it down on the Lord Commander’s desk. Looking him dead in the eye I declared, “Never. Again.”

The look on the man’s face was a mixture of surprise, concern, and relief. He was utterly pleased to see us even though not everyone made it back. He looked down at the device still under my hand on top of the documents I had placed. “I take it this is our proof?”

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“It is, Lord Commander,” Duane confirmed looking utterly exhausted.

“Our comrades died for it.” Drake pointed out clearly unhappy with that fact.

The expression that came to the Lord Commander’s face was sympathetic. “They will be honored, Cleric Drake. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. The six of you will be given high honors and recognition between the communities.” He reached for the device and turned it over in his hands. “So much hope in something so little. We’ll have to debrief you three and begin planning a coordinated assault on the complex.”

“You’ll have to do it without us.” I said with a tone that perked the man’s interest as to why.

The lord commander tried to sound empathetic as he started saying, “Mr. Harling, you are still needed for –”

“Not to disrespect you, sir,” I interupted with a hand on the documents, “but this is not what Scavengers do. Half of us died getting this proof and what we saw down there…” I shuddered thinking of the spiderlike creatures that we discovered.”

“What did you find down there?” The lord commander looked at me curiously. “Did the nest of chrysalises hatch?”

“They did not,” Drake answered with a tone of disbelief, “We discovered that new mutation instead.”

“No,” the man said now understanding why I spoke in the way I did. “What kind of mutation.”

“The crawling kind.” Duane pointed out making a spider motion with his hand.

“These…Crawlers are like spiders.” Just thinking about them sent shivers down my spine. The three of us proceeded to inform the lord commander of what happened within the mall. We left no detail out. Since our arrival, none of us were debriefed before speaking with the leader. Lord Commander Shaan got the full brunt of the details of our mission.

He listened to the three of us recount our journey to and from the mall. His expression changed as we recalled how each of our teammates died. The sad look in his eyes hardened when we explained how the Crawlers acted. From their long extremities to the green liquid oozing from its misshapen mouth. From the way the lord commander responded, he had never been informed of this new mutation.

“Well, that is concerning.” The lord commander laced his hands together in front of his face with elbows firmly placed on the edge of his desk. “I see why none of you would like to return there.” Looking up at me he seemed hesitant to speak, but did so anyway, “Even so, the three of you are now our greatest asset in striking this den.”

“With all do respect, sir,” Duane stepped forward looking down at his commander, “I don’t think any of us will be able to set foot in that mall again. We were lucky to get out of there with our lives let alone proof.”

The man nodded his head, but didn’t look convinced until Drake said, “I’m sure we can all agree that the presence of a new mutant must be dealt with.” He looked between Duane and I before he offered, “I am quite sure we are willing to instruct or at least inform our respective communities of these creatures.”

I didn’t disagree with the Cleric. He was right that we did have a duty at sharing what little information we had about this new threat. Turning back to the lord commander, I said, “I can get behind that, but again, I’m not setting foot in that building. I don’t even want to go back to Downtown after knowing what’s lurking in the shadows out there.”

The man behind the desk seemed to have relented as he confessed, “Well I can’t say I’m not disappointed in your resolves, but I can understand removing yourself from a situation that would otherwise hinder your capabilities.” I couldn’t determine if he was being genuine or belittling us. “Given the success of this mission and what it can do for Nova, I shall not press the issue.” He stood from his desk and walked around it to personally shake out hands. “I will speak for everyone and say that your efforts are greatly appreciated.”

The three of us left the man’s office feeling slightly better than when we entered. We were escorted to be debriefed before let loose for the day. I won’t lie and say that I did not have my guard up as we were separated. Locked in a room with armed guards with sensitive information may lead you to think once you’re done talking, you’ll get a knife in the back. To the lord commander’s honor, we walked out of their Command Center with our lives intact.

Cleric Drake departed from us eager to get back to his people. He was courteous in his leaving but regarded Duane for a moment too long. The look in his eyes made me wonder what his relationship with Sentinel Josh really was. He never did explain why Josh did what he did. Every time I tried to bring it up he would just say the same thing in the saddest tone, “It was his duty”. I’ll admit I looked forward to crossing paths with him again if not to hopefully repay is partner’s kindness towards mine.

 I didn’t give two shits about returning home just yet. Duane and I headed back to his apartment to shut ourselves away until mentally capable of reentering the world outside. I didn’t realize how tight my chest was until the door closed behind us. My knees gave out only a few steps in. Duane didn’t blame me as he was shaking himself. It took a while for us to finally calm down. At least we had each other to take comfort in.

After all was said and done, I couldn’t believe how lucky we had been. We survived the ordeal only to find ourselves sitting at the tiny table in Duane’s apartment eating a slapped together meal from the kitchen. We made enough to fill our stomachs to the brim.

Dining on a meal that may have never come reminded us how fortunate we were. I couldn’t help but stare at Duane shoveling the food into his mouth. He might not have survived just like me. Knowing he was still alive and sitting across from me made me realize just how Lady Luck doted on me.

Reaching across the table I laid a hand on Duane’s. He swallowed the mouthful he spooned in. “Everything all right?”

I smiled at him sweetly, “It is. I am. I’m just…” I searched for the right words only to say, “I’m just glad you didn’t die down there.”

Duane understood where I was is my head and softened as he said, “Me too. I was considering abandoning my post just to make sure you made it back up.”

“I’m glad you didn’t.” I quickly explained myself with as much feeling as I could, “I mean, I feel bad about what happened to Howard and even more so to what Josh did but I’m glad it wasn’t you.”

“I understand.” Duane’s expression softened, “If Josh didn’t sacrifice himself, I wouldn’t have been able to drink this delicious broth.” His joke was supposed to be light hearted, but it brought tears to my eyes.

“I can’t even thank him for doing so,” I sniffled as Duane tried comforting me. “I don’t know what I would have done if you died down there.” The walls I kept fortified within me were so easily dropped when it came to him. Only he got to see the vulnerable Kit and not the legend making one.

Duane’s expression was understanding with his own eyes becoming glossy, “I know what I would have done.” Our wet eyes met as he confessed, “I would have jumped head first into that hole.” His hand tightened over mine. “Without a second thought.”

“Of course, you would,” I sucked in a shaky breath as I half sobbed half laughed, “You fucking moron.”

The two of us were wrapped in each other’s arms in seconds. Our second or third helpings of dinner was abandoned on the table. We shared a mixture of tears and kisses as we clung to one another. Our food and clothing were abandoned by the table as we fell onto his bed.

Our need for one another eclipsed everything else. We clawed, sucked, and tugged at each other. It was wonderful to lose myself in his presence. I almost forgot that we almost died not even twenty-four hours ago. The thought made me cling to him more just to have Duane reciprocate.

With both hands on my hips and the head of his cock pressed against my puckered hole, he continued to plunged down into me pulling my hips back so I couldn't pull away from him. When his cock penetrated me, I couldn't help but gasp loudly and buck my hips against him. I felt like a stuffed turkey as he held himself inside me, stretching my hole. He kept a firm grip on my hips as he pulled himself back just to push back in quick succession. He repeated this process relishing the way my ass engulfed his cock with each thrust.

At one point, he had me on my back arms wrapped around me while slamming into my ass. I wasn't even aware how loud I was being until he covered my mouth with his lips. I felt so perfect in that moment. What only made it better was sharing in each other’s climax. We did stop there though. Coming so close to death gave us stamina to cherish what we loved.

At the end of our night, laying there in Duane’s bed utterly ravaged, I couldn’t help but wonder what came next. In a world such as ours where new threats can come from anywhere, what could we do? How can we prepare for the coming storm. When will the end of the world finally come? What will the people of Nova do with the last shreds of their fading hope?

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