not_that_spike: (never had any good luck)
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Earth has this look and feel and smell all its own: he remembers it well from the time he did with Doohan, the vacation he took with Beth. He sneaks through the shed door and just out of the way, cloak intact, as Hero takes a step forward then turns back to shut that door behind her. She stops for a moment and looks back and for a minute he thinks she sees him, but she doesn't. She's just lost in thought and he feels a little bit bad that he didn't tell her he was going to do this, but shit. That dream? It scared the crap out of him, and it was just dumb luck Hero picked today to come back for a visit.

Or maybe it was fate; he's always claimed to be a hell of a fatalistic guy and a hell of an opportunist and he wasn't going to let this opportunity pass. If Hero could walk across the damn country with a heavy backpack, he can follow her from this corn field to wherever it is they go wearing one and he can do it silently. Fortunately the corn husks rustle in the wind and he doesn't have to worry too much about making noise and that's good: he's trying to get his bearings and the stars look different here than they do on Mars. He has no fucking idea what direction's what, but it almost doesn't matter.

Click. Click. Click. Sometimes that fake eye is a hell of a good thing to have, and he's also got a damn good memory. Anyone who's been thrown out of as many casinos for counting cards as he's been ought to be able to memorize a damn path from a shed in a field to wherever Hero's going; he follows along breathing softly but only because he reminds himself to breathe. Good thing he can kind of sort of see through this cloak of Tom's.

His pack is full of things they might need: smokes and jerky and dried fruit and water, diapers and a few changes of clothes for the baby, a few sets of clothes for him. He figures shit like men's underwear won't be easy to come by out here, so if he's erred on the side of caution by packing a few extra of those, so be it; there are still some things he and Beth don't actually share. The heaviest thing in the pack is all that ammo. Beth keeps telling him it's too dangerous for him out here but a little danger never kept him from doing a single thing his whole damn life and it's not about to start now.

He trails Hero for what feels like a long time, but as soon as she stops and goes inside wherever it is they go in the middle of Kansas, he'll stop and take a breather. He won't risk smoking; he can go without. What he really needs to know is that Beth and the baby are okay. Eventually Hero moves quickly and quietly toward a silo and opens the door to the barn next to it. It looks just like any damn barn in any western: there's a loft up top and bales of hay everywhere. No livestock but he guesses they've long since died out, what with all the male mammals dropping dead and people needing food and all that shit. This barn though: it's mostly for show, because Hero moves through the front door to a hidden door in the corner; it closes behind her with a solid metallic thunk. He'll never be able to get in there, he bets, but after Hero's been gone about ten minutes, he has to give it a try. The door's solid as hell and he can't make it budge; he's great at sleight of hand but he's a lousy lock-picker and this lock... well, it doesn't much look like it wants to be picked.

There's not a hell of a lot to do except find a cozy corner of the barn, kick back in the hay, and wait. Even though he doesn't like waiting, he's pretty damn good at it.

And how 'bout that: he's still alive. Earth hasn't killed him yet.


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June 2009

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