Chapter Two - Gonna Be Free
Scaramouche reached her apartment and sprinted through the it with surprising agility in such chunky and stiff boots. This speed kept up until she reached her bedroom; she tossed her bag onto the bed and unzipped it, pulling out another bag of a different style. It appeared to have once been some sort of GaGa fashion brand, but it had been torn severely, especially around where the logo would have been, and patched up with all sorts of funky looking materials that she had never even seen before. Scara grinned as she stashed it under her bed, just as Dolly came marching in through the front door, which still remained open.
"Sally!" she called impatiently. "Why is the door open? Also, gimme your credit card. I'm ordering takeaway."
Grinning mischievously to herself, Scara nudged the bag deep under the bed with her foot, thinking over the situation with concealed excitement.
"Oh- Scara, I-I g-got something to give to you!" Galileo fumbled about in his bag.
With a frown, Scaramouche looked up from her laptop. The two of them were skipping class- again. Gaz was fine; they just weren't bothered about going to Home Techonomics or Technical Studies today. Or any day, for that matter. Honestly, no one cared that they weren't attending class, neither students nor teachers. Skipping class was easy when you weren't welcome in society.
"So, y-y-you're still c-coming to the party tonight, r-right? Because my friend made you an outfit to wear."
"Your... friend?" Scara questioned skeptically. First it was family, now it was friends. Couldn't he make up his mind about who they were?
Seeming to miss the point of the rude remark, the boy nodded fervently. "Yeah! Well, I guess she's more like a-a roomie or something. B-but she went scavenging and found you something to wear!" He pulled out a battered, patched-up tote bag and held it out for her, grinning enthusiastically.
Confused, Scara took the bag. Scavenging implied that this 'friend' had searched through, what, wheelie bins or something? Was she going to be wearing clothes infected with germs and insects? Another important question; "Uh... Gaz? Are you sure these are going to fit me?" She opened the bag to peek in.
The girl looked up in surprise. The boy was holding his hands out to stop her, and she thought this all seemed very suspicious. Narrowing her eyes at him, she lowered the bag. "Why?"
"Meat told me to tell you to keep it a surprise until you get ready tonight."
More questions arose at the statement. "Meat...? Gaz, these friends of yours better not be imaginary."
"No, Scara. They're real. You'll see." He smiled in her direction and she sighed. This had better be worth it.
Hours passed. Dolly had eaten, and was currently blaring out some irritating GaGa tune from the radio; her parents had returned, too, and were hopelessly attempting to persuade their daughter to turn down the music before the neighbours complained. None of them were concerned about their rebel of a foster daughter-slash-sister, who was locked away in her bedroom, and reading through a short email from her only friend.
Here's the plan. Get dressed and leave your apartment ASAP. Meet me outside school, and I'll take you the rest of the way. Be careful- the cops are out there at night, and you never know what they'll do. Just keep an eye out, and take different routes if you have to. See you later.
The young woman scoffed. As if the police were any threat to a badass babe in killer heels. If not those, then it would be boots- all the better for crushing a man where the sun didn't shine. As for women, they didn't necessarily have that weak spot, but on the upside, she could still cause damage anywhere else. Believe it or not, although she was sure that anyone who knew her well enough would buy the former, she was quite a good fighter.
Well, this was it. The party was in about an hour. Now would be a good time to start getting ready. After safely placing her tablet to one side, Scara stood up and fished out the bag from under the bed. It was heavy in her hands, and she was glad to dispose of the weight by turning the bag upside down and tipping all of the clothes out onto the bed.
Scara was speechless at first. Clothes that she would never have dreamed of wearing spilled out onto the bed, and she took a moment to gape at them. Wow... It was so unique. Nothing on Planet Mall, nothing she nor any GaGa girls might wear, compared to all of this. It was so weird, and yet so brilliant. Maybe it would look less odd as an outfit rather than a bundle of clothes.
The first thing that Scaramouche picked out was a pair of black boots, and she was pleased to see that they were boots with heels. Even better than the flat ones she would usually stamp around in. Quite stylish, too, might she add. Next came the ripped-up, dark red skinny jeans, and she cringed. She didn't like her legs, so this was certainly going to be a challenge. Sure, they looked cool in themselves, but she'd never really suited any other colour than black, and with her wispy little legs, she didn't think that she'd be able to pull them off.
The shirt was a strange one. It was blue, with red lines that started in the centre and stretched out horizontally, vertically and diagonally, all of which had a thin white border. It was a strange pattern, the teenager noted, and she wondered whether it was just a peculiar design, or if it meant something else. The shirt was thin and sleeveless, not ideal for a girl with body issues, so she was glad to find the leather jacket accompanying it, even though it was cropped up to where her waist would be, and much more feminine than the one Galileo, for example, wore.
Perhaps the strangest part of the goodie bag was the hair tie that came with it. It was nothing special, just plain black, and she wondered why anyone would even bother packing something like that in with the outfit. Maybe it was an accident? That was when she noticed there was a tag tied to it, on which was writing.
Enjoy yourself tonight, hen! - Meat x
"... Huh." Scaramouche observed the outfit once more, and then reluctantly changed into it. Amongst the pile of clothes that steadily grew smaller, she found an old, battered biscuit tin, inside which she found an assortment of makeup. Another note was stuck onto the inside lid.
Please bring this and the bag back with you! Keep the clothes, though.
Within about half an hour, she had washed her previous train wreck of a face clean off, and begun the makeup process again. Finding herself with some bright red lipstick, smokey black eyeshadow and a thick layer of eyeliner, Scara marvelled at the miraculous difference this stuff had made to her face. Evidently, she was no makeup expert, as shown by the number she had done on her face earlier today, making her look like she had been punched in the face repeatedly. Even so, what she had right now looked... good. Just not so much on her own face, but what could she do?
As she had been asked to, she picked up the bag, and the tin of makeup was dropped inside it. Just so she wasn't carrying around a whole bag for nothing, she also packed her tablet, as well as a spare pair of shoes, just in case the worst came to the worst. Who knew what could happen out there? After all, it was pretty dark out there now, and the streets weren't the safest place to be when there was a corrupt police force on their case.
It took a few minutes for Scaramouche to gather up the courage to even leave her bedroom. Aside from looking like a clown, she didn't want to face her family, and was starting to have second thoughts about going to a party at a mysterious location with a boy she had known for only a week. These 'friends' of his could be less trustworthy than they were made out to be, and how did she know that Galileo himself was even to be trusted? Of course, she had spent some time with him, but that was Cyber High. Anything dodgy that happened there would be reported- what anyone with bad intentions would need to do was lure their victim away to somewhere isolated. Somewhere like a so-called party.
Scara shook it off. Galileo was too much of a lunatic to be any sort of threat. Besides, she wasn't completely defenceless. Once again, she reassured herself that she was tough. Hell, she knew she was tough. She had survived everything Planet Mall had to throw at her for seventeen long, hopeless years; nothing else could faze her now. She was made of steel- no, titanium. Diamond would be the next step, but she wasn't sparkly or precious enough to be worthy of that title.
Alright. She was okay. All she had to remember was that she didn't look as bad as she thought she did- years of bullying gave someone a low opinion of themselves, and she had to bear that in mind. Aside from that, her family could say what the bloody hell they wanted, but their opinion didn't matter. It wasn't asked for, it wasn't relevant, and they were just a trio of gobby good-for-nothings who couldn't keep their traps shut or their opinions to themselves. Finally, Gaz was fine. He was a respectable young man, the only friend she had ever had, and she had to trust him.
Scaramouche took a deep breath, and reached out for the door handle. With a sudden spur of courage, she swung the bag over her shoulder, and strode straight out of her room. Striding straight towards the door, she kept her eyes on it, blocking out her family completely- at least, she tried to. That was, of course, until one of them opened their mouth.
"And where do you think you're going dressed like that, young lady?" her foster mother, Veronica, demanded in a scolding manner, jerking out her hip and folding her arms.
Deep breaths, Scara, she told herself as she turned to the lady and did her best to speak calmly. "Mum," she said, the title sour on her tongue, "I'm going out. Don't try to stop me."
Dolly popped her gum. "Wow. What a little rebel. I'm still waiting for that credit card, by the way."
"You're not getting it," she snapped. Then she reminded herself of it- calm. Calm. Stay calm. Be the better person here. Dolly was purposely trying to pick a fight.
Charles, her foster father, frowned. "No, you're not, missy. You're staying here."
That almost sent her catapulting into the danger zone. Just in time, she saved herself. "No. I'm going out. Just you try and stop me." Before any other protests could come her way, she was out of the door; immediately, she took off down the stairs, as waiting for the elevator would give her alleged family a chance to catch up. It didn't sound like anyone was pursuing her, but she didn't dare stop and take that chance as she dived down to the bottom floor and sprinted out of the front doors. She purposely ignored the receptionist's double take.
Once she was outside, she didn't stop. She continued tearing through the vacant city streets with no intent of stopping until she was out of the way of that horrid apartment block, and although she was no athlete, her somewhat long legs managed to carry her a fair way until she reached Cyber High. She had had to cut through several alleyways to avoid Globalsoft police- they would at least caution her if they saw her dressing the way she had, but she was a serial offender in the fashion business. Tonight wasn't the night she felt like getting arrested on, and so she kept her distance, even though heeled boots weren't the easiest things to run in. In the end, despite having become pretty lost, she found her way to a familiar street and followed it up to the school building, where she came to a halt.
Now Scara wanted- no, needed to sit down and rest. Her lungs ached horrifically in their desperate plea for oxygen, her ankles screamed in pain, and she felt like she could collapse at any moment. Stamina was usually not a problem with her, but she had been running for a ridiculous amount of time now. A break was necessary. For this reason, she staggered up a few steps and let herself plop onto one of them. Relief flooded through her, and she gave herself a few minutes to reflect on things while she waited for Gaz.
Music, annoying, pretentious GaGa music was coming from inside the school building. At first, Scara was puzzled, but then she remembered- tonight was the night of the Cyber High Spring Dance. Wonderful. Wait- could this all be some elaborate plan to trick her into attending the school dance? Was that the significance of waiting out here- he was going to take them both inside and subject them to the torture of boy bands, and girl bands, and girl bands with a couple of boys that looked like girls? Oh, he'd better not, or she'd beat the everloving shit out of him. Still, something told her that he probably wasn't. Maybe they were just meeting here so that they didn't look suspicious to the police, or maybe there was no significant reason for it other than the fact that it was, presumably, close to both of their houses, and a place that both of them had become familiar with. She didn't know, and she didn't really care, because it was pointless speculation.
It was now she realised that she had no idea what parties were like. Yes, she knew GaGa parties, but that certainly wasn't the event she was going to now. No, a real party, something wild and exciting and illegal that just broke the rules and let loose. The idea was thrilling, yet she wouldn't know what a party would need to be like in order for that to be a possibility. It was, scarily, beyond her capability of imagination that a gathering like that could be something better than an uncomfortable, forced event talking to robots. Oh, that triggered a bad memory...
Sally was out of her depth, to say the least.
Cropped, hot pink hair framed the six-year-old's pouting, slightly flushed face. Clearly, she wasn't happy about being dressed in what she was; a bright green and pink polyester dress with a satin-like finish hung off her skinny frame, shaped by wire inside it that made it look angular and futuristic. On her legs were tights the colour of lime, and her silver boots finished off the gaudy assemblage of clothes.
Another GaGa party was being held by another girl she didn't care about. Naturally, Bridget, her foster mother of the time, had deemed it a wonderful idea to pressure the girl's parents into inviting Sally along, and she was livid. How could they do this to her?! No way would she ever go to a GaGa party of her own free will! All the colour made her feel sick, and nobody liked her anyway, so why would they want her to sing and dance and chat along with them?
That's right. Even at the young age of six, going on seven in a few months' time, Sally knew she was different. She knew full well that she wasn't liked, nor was she welcome in GaGa society. Still, she had no choice, she felt at that time, but to go along with their rules, because she could get into serious trouble if she even dared go against Globalsoft's grand vision of GaGa Land. Regardless of age, anyone could be punished, and she hadn't yet been pushed out so far that she just embraced it and fought back in her fashion, as she would in later life. No, right now, she (or at least, her so-called mother) was still trying her hardest to find the tiniest gap in this tightly-packed society to squeeze her into, because there wasn't anywhere else to turn.
Around her, the other girls were dancing with the same moves to the same tunes that they had been for months straight, seeming to do it with such perfection that it was almost pitiful. For all of this time, these same dances and same words had been hammered into their sorry little brains. Now they could do it blindfolded, in their sleep, with every obstacle or distraction possible thrown at them. It was honestly horrifying, and Sally still wasn't used to living in a society like this.
Suddenly, the third song in a row came to a stop, and there was silence for a few split seconds. Everybody cheered and high fived each other, and crowded around the birthday girl, Bayleigh, to chatter away in their strange durr-brain language. In the meantime, Sally decided that she really didn't want to be here, and no 'mother' of hers could stop her from walking right out of this joke show. Besides, she was sick of these clothes. She hated them, and wanted them off. Home was the best place to find something better.
Just as she moved from her position against the wall, all eyes turned on her, as if they had just noticed her presence. Then, there was a rippling burst of laughter, and on the inside, Sally felt just as pained as Bayleigh looked when she realised the resident weirdo was here to ruin her big day.
Odd choruses began to speak at her at once. Little groups were jeering in her face, chilling her to the bone at their synchronization.
"Ewww, who invited the ugly one?!" screeched a group of girls.
"Freak!" sneered about five of the few boys who had been invited to the party.
"That outfit is, like, so 2297," three girls rudely commented, and Sally flushed. That was the year of her birth...
More and more yelling took place. Young Sally was losing control of her temper, despite how hard she tried to bite her tongue and not give them the satisfaction of knowing how much they were winding her up. She was a coiled spring, a ticking time bomb waiting to combust, and in time, she was seeing red, as well as her vision blurring due to tears. The vexation and chagrin she had felt before were morphing into sheer, utter fury, and she was about to blow her lid-
"Scara? I-is that you?"
The soft, more mature, and significantly less nasty voice cut through her little bubble, popping it quickly as she tuned back into the present. Galileo stood a few feet away, and a disheartened yet energised Scaramouche hauled herself to her feet upon recognising him.
"Evening, Gaz," she spoke scathingly, marching noisily down the stairs to meet him. However, no stupid response came from the young man, and she was genuinely surprised to reach the pavement and find that his reaction was one of complete awe. His jaw was on the floor at the sight of her, both eyes like saucers as he watched her every move. In a way, it was quite flattering, but that was mostly cancelled out by how freaky it was.
"Oi. Space cadet." Scara waved in front of the dizzy dreamer's face.
Though Gaz seemed to snap out of something at that moment, he still seemed quieter than usual, and pretty dumbstruck when he spoke again. "W-wow... y-you look beautiful. Really different. I-in a good way."
That was something that she didn't quite know how to react to. At first, she was taken aback, and then was tempted to make a snide comment, but bit her tongue, as what he had said was so kind. For a moment, she wrung her hands, and let out a soft, "No I don't..." before changing the subject.
"Anyway. Are you ready to go?" He had better go along with this. Such sweet words had genuinely moved her, and she didn't like it. It made her feel off balance, like someone actually appreciated her for once. Though she had to admit that was what she wanted, it messed with her entire setup of 'self consciousness masked by vocal confidence', and she didn't like being thrown off that comfortable route so suddenly.
"Oh- yes, yes! Of course! Th-the place is right this way." Motioning for her to follow, he walked with her towards another nearby alley.
Scaramouche looked at Galileo's back, and realised that he had kept on the same clothes. Part of her wondered if that was intentional, but it wasn't like she really gave a toss. It wasn't like it was any of her business to critique anyone else's fashion choices. What she did judge, though, was the disgusting atmosphere in these back streets, where there were there was lots of litter and gutters and all sorts of disgusting things. If this party was a drugs bust, she told herself, she honestly wouldn't be surprised. It would explain her companion's insanity all the time.
All of a sudden, the boy came to a stop. "Here we are!"
Scara frowned. "Gaz... we're in the middle of an alleyway. And there's no one here."
"Well, we're not inside yet." Galileo grinned, then leaned down and grabbed the drain cover between their feet. "Here is where the party begins."
Silence fell. The girl was simply dumbfounded that this boy wanted to take her down into a sewer for a party, and he didn't seem to be showing any signs that this was just some weird joke. In fact, he simply pulled the cover to one side, and waited expectantly.
"G-go on, get in! You go first."
"Oh my god, you're fucking crazy! I'm not getting in that drain!" she yelled, frustrated. After all of this, he wanted her to climb into Planet Mall's sewage system! Unbelievable. "Whatever. This isn't worth my time."
"No no no, wait! I'm being serious. It's not what you think."
Scaramouche debated it for a moment. Storming off in anger would only repel him. Him, the only friend she had ever truly had in seventeen years. This was probably worth it.
Internally groaning, she approached the drain. She was reluctant to touch anything at first, but once she found that the metal ladder was dry and clean, she was a bit more intrigued to descend into the darkness and discover what lay in wait. "What's even down there?" she questioned, carefully placing one foot on the top step of the ladder, then her second foot on the next.
"You'll see." Gaz waited until she had reached the ground before following her, and the way he casually hauled the drain cover back into place and clambered down the ladder in a few seconds flat made it clear that he had been here before, and did this frequently.
Soon, once she started paying attention, she noticed that there was music playing, somewhere deeper in... wherever they were. Right now, she couldn't see- it was almost pitch black. But she could hear the melody, the roaring riff of an unknown instrument tearing through the air, and she knew that she wasn't in GaGa Land anymore.
There was a chuckle from somewhere behind her. "You can hear it, right?"
Scara had almost been expecting a different person to be standing there when she turned around. Galileo, in the space of a few feet moving downwards, had turned from a dorky, stuttering lunatic into... someone else. His posture was no longer slouched in underconfidence, but he stood tall and firm, his lanky teenage frame suddenly looking that fraction more broad and muscular. Now he didn't look shifty and tense, but self-assured and collected. It was like this was where he belonged, and now he was visibly relaxed because of it. Hell, even his voice had changed. It was deeper, and there was no sign of a stutter or a hesitation anywhere. The girl was thoroughly puzzled by the sudden change, as shown by the furrow of her eyebrows when she looked him over, and the slight drop of her jaw.
"Sweet, sweet music... " he enthused, barely even noticing the way his friend was watching him in baffled astonishment. "Isn't it beautiful?"
Quite simply, Scaramouche was enthralled by the noise; that gorgeous, powerful growling noise that she had never heard before accompanying vocals that simply blew her away. It was on a whole other level to the trashy and identical 'music' that Globalsoft produced. By an unseen force, a little something she called curiosity, she moved in the direction of that noise. It lured her forward, and although she was careful and made sure that she didn't make the wrong step and hurt herself, she wanted to find the source of that magnificent sound.
Somewhere to her right, she heard the sound of clanging metal, the buzz of electricity, and then she was momentarily blinded by light as it flickered on above her. Squinting, she looked around at their new location; in her limited vision, she figured they were in an underground tunnel of some sort. Then her eyes gradually began to adjust, and Scaramouche realised that she was, in fact, standing in an abandoned train station. The walls and ceiling around her were rounded, made up of off white, almost browning tiles; looking down, she saw that she was standing on the edge of a platform, below which were train tracks. Turning around, she looked to Gaz. He stood in front of a power box on the wall, which he had presumably used to start the power in this place. Her eyes drifted past him, scanning over the signs and... other things plastered on the tiled surfaces all around them.
"What is this place?" Scara breathed in wonderment. Slowly, she moved towards the wall, and ran her fingers lightly over one of them. It was nearly completely coated in these weird, unmoving commercials made of paper, for strange things that she had never seen before. What was this Phantom of the Opera? Who was Bon Jovi? The Cure for what? Why was the Stone rolling? Journey to where? What Men At Work? What did any of these things mean?
"This? This is my home," Galileo responded, turning to her with a grin. "Those are the ancient clues to the past that my friends and I collect. Aren't they amazing?" His voice had become breathy, quiet, awestruck himself at the bizarre surroundings, from the huge piles of old furniture and other clutter in various places, to the tiniest cracks in the tiles. Scara couldn't help being quite enthralled by that, watching the young man scan the room as if he was in love with it. In a way, it seemed like he probably was. There would be no surprise there; she herself was starting to wonder if she loved it, too. Yes, she decided, she did. This was a world away from Globalsoft and the lack of identity of 2304. This was the past, where life was free and individual and expressive and wonderful, a whole world where she didn't want to just disappear and never exist ever again. Somewhere she wanted to be.
Footsteps made their way in her direction while she looked over the decaying ceiling, and two hands took her own. By the time she had looked back down to earth, she was being guided by her friend up one of the strange corridors, to where she assumed this party was happening.
"What was this place?" she pushed. "Did Globalsoft build this?"
"No, no! Globalsoft know nothing about this," Gaz explained. "We're hiding from the cops, see. Down here, we live free. We don't play by the rules of their stupid, cloned sheep society. This is where rock and roll lives, man!"
"... Right... What's rock and roll?" Scara moved carefully as Gaz took her down some further stairs. "Plus, you didn't really tell me where we are."
"What's rock and roll?! Oh, Scara, you're missing out! Rock and roll... is freedom!" He laughed in delight. "And, um... well, we don't know what this place would have been used for. All we can figure out is that there must have been trains."
"No kidding," she uttered under her breath, although she couldn't help warming up a little at the way he seemed so happy down here. It was strange, really, because this was just some abandoned train station; however, she had to admit, it was quite a cool place to be, and an even cooler one to live in, even if it wasn't exactly a penthouse or an apartment complex like the ones back up on the surface of Planet Mall.
"Ah... Here we are."
Now the sounds were louder than ever. Music was blaring out at such a volume that the two of them were having to raise their voices to hear each other, and it had darkened rather quickly since they abandoned their post in the lit area of the tunnels. In fact, it was pitch black now, save for the flashing lights from a strange contraption above them; from what she could make out in the darkness, it was a sphere in shape with coloured lights dotted all over it. It rotated quickly and cast lights all over the walls, which allowed Scara to notice just one sign; it was a large, red and white circle, in the middle of which was a blue rectangle reading, 'PICCADILLY CIRCUS' in white text. It was intriguingly mysterious, and the young woman frowned thoughtfully.
And there were people. Lots of people, all crowded around in this huge place; some stayed on the platforms, others had spilled into the train tracks. All of them were... moving. Moving in ways that she couldn't quite describe as anything else but individually. Each of them seemed to be doing what their bodies wanted, some looking a bit more ridiculous doing so than others, but no one seemed to care too much about it. They just let themselves go. All of them made these movements in time with the music blaring out from some ancient old jukebox leaning against the wall in the middle of this particular tunnel, and it was very odd, indeed. Yet, it was somehow enthralling.
"Um, Gaz?" she called, tugging on the taller boy's sleeve in order to get his attention as she observed the mass of people. "What are they all doing?"
"That, Scara, is dancing," Gaz responded, and she looked up at him with a bewildered expression. "Amazing, isn't it? This is how it used to be, Scaramouche. It was never about being in synch and following everyone else- it was about you, and expressing yourself. Isn't that just wonderful?"
Scara turned back to the sea of people again, watching them dance and sing along with the music and laugh and simply enjoy themselves. "... Yeah... it is."
Galileo wrapped an arm around her and guided her further down the platform, and Scaramouche ignored the way people stared at her as she went by. It must have been because she was a newcomer, someone they had never seen before, and that was what she put it down to as she was led towards a certain couple who were stood right next to the jukebox, and vigorously rocking out to one of the songs that was playing. By now, she was wincing at how loud it was, but the others didn't seem so be fazed by it at all, miraculously. Maybe it would just take some getting used to.
As soon as the pair noticed them, they stopped dancing and hurried over. Because the lights only flashed on them occasionally, Scara couldn't see them very well yet, but that didn't become much of a problem as they all hopped down onto the train tracks and continued up the tunnel system. For a fair way, they continued, but nothing was said until the music was simply a distant echo, and they could speak without screaming themselves hoarse.
"So you're Scaramouche, huh?" asked the female. It was even darker now than before, so there was only voice to judge her by, and she sounded quite pleasant. "From what I could see back there, you're rocking that outfit, hen!"
"Thanks, but- I'm really not," she mumbled, and quickly changed the subject before anyone could protest. "Are you Meat?"
There was almost an energy radiating off her that implied that she was smiling. "You got it, honey! The one and only Meat Loaf, Queen of Bohemian Makeovers."
"... I'm going to pretend I know what that means," the teenager said, and then turned her attention to the man. "So... who are you, then?"
"I," came the low, gruff rumble of a voice, "Am the biggest, baddest, meanest, nastiest, ugliest, most raging, rock-and-rolling, heavy metal psycho that ever lived. I am... Britney Spears."
A soft swoon came from Meat, and Scaramouche made the conclusion that the two of them must have been a couple when the other female darted over to the taller, burlier silhouette and gave him a keen smooch on the cheek. It was sort of awkward to watch, even if there was very little light here right now, and so she focused on keeping an eye on Gaz, who was leading the way far in front.
"Here will do," came the latter's voice. Britney, being the huge man that he was, clambered off the tracks with ease and helped everybody else up after him; he practically swallowed up Scara's hand with his own and had yanked her a little bit too hard, but she hadn't dared spit anything rude at him in case he reacted negatively. What could she say? She was feisty, but she wasn't stupid.
Gaz moved over and switched on the lights here, too. Now she could see their new companions; Meat was only a little bit taller than herself, made more so by the high heels she was wearing, and was adorned with makeup, but not the GaGa kind. It actually made her face look that little bit more gorgeous, and something akin to jealousy bubbled up inside the smaller girl. Her outfit was complete with a corset, short shorts, fishnet stockings- again, Scara was envious, as she wished that she herself had that level of body confidence. That said, it probably wasn't hard for Meat. She had been blessed with nice boobs and a body that curved in all the right places, not to mention the face of an angel.
Before she grew too bitter about it, Scara turned to observe Britney instead. He was a huge man; dark-skinned, not extraordinarily tall, but bigger than everyone else present, and about twice as wide as herself. And she had thought that Gaz wearing eyeliner at all was strange, but this man's makeup took the cake. With an outfit adorned with bling, funky logos and torn edges, he looked to be a tough guy, someone you wouldn't want to cross. Judging by his attitude thus far, though, they were on agreeable terms, and he was a nice guy, especially in the presence of Meat, who he seemed to cuddle and kiss and treasure like a prince would his princess. It sort of made her wonder if she would ever end up with someone who would treat her like that. A large portion of her conscience doubted it.
"Sit down, babe!" encouraged Meat, wrapping an arm around her waist as she guided her to the rusting metal seats that sat beneath another sign, identical to the one from before except for the fact that this one read, 'HOLBORN'. "We have things to discuss."
"Like what?" Scara asked, taking a seat. On either side of her were Meat and Gaz, with Britney on the other side of the latter.
Gaz smiled. "Scara, where you are now? This is our home," he explained. "This is where the Bohemians live."
That made her frown. "What the bloody hell is a Bohemian?"
Beside her, Meat laughed heartily. "Hen, we're the Bohemians!" she spoke cheerfully. "We're misfits. Rebels. We don't live by the rules of Globalsoft society."
"You see, Scaramouche," Britney cut in, "We have a belief. A belief that, even though Globalsoft has eradicated everything and anything to do with freedom and independence, it will all come back. We'll overthrow Killer Queen and her henchmen, and real music will be reborn!"
"Alright," Scaramouche drawled, trying to wrap her head around that. "So what does this have to do with me?"
Gaz placed a hand on our shoulder. "You're part of the prophecy, Scara. If what we believe is correct, you and I are going to liberate Planet Mall together."
That wasn't something she had been expecting to hear. "What?! But- but- we're just a bunch of kids! Well- they're not," she corrected herself, motioning to the slightly older couple, "But we are! How are we going to save the entire world?"
"Scara, baby. Your friend here is the Dreamer." Proudly, as if Gaz were his own son, Britney clapped his hands onto the boy's shoulders, gripped firmly and grinned. Galileo seemed just as happy about this title.
Scaramouche stared cluelessly. "And that means...?" Then it clicked. "Oh! You mean the words in his head?"
"Exactly! You might think he's delusional, Scara, but he's in tune with the past," Meat breathed, awe having taken over her tone. "He can hear the voices of the Age of Rock speaking to him. He's the chosen one."
"He's the most important man alive right now," Brit added, and Scara watched Gaz's smile slowly deteriorate into an expression of pressure-induced worry. "Along with you, he will save us all."
There was a pause before Galileo took her hands in his own. "Scara... I don't wanna scare you into anything, and it's not like we have to start rebelling right now. When the time comes, we'll know. But I don't think I can do this without you." His tone was serious, and he looked her dead in the eye, causing his words to pierce right into her soul, unlike anything else that had ever been spoken to her in her life. It made her blood drop temperature into the freezing territory, and her heart rate increased. "Please, Scara. I don't know what's in store for us. All I know is that we both need to do this. Together."
Her heart plummeted in dread at the thought of what she could be getting herself into right now. At the same time, something told her there was no getting out of this- the way they described this uprising made it sound like some sort of destiny, like she and Gaz had been born to do this. That was something that exhilirated her, in the strangest of ways.
"Well... If this is what's going to give us freedom, then I'm in," she told them firmly. Behind her, she heard Meat cheer, while Brit grinned with a newfound fire in his eyes, and Galileo's lips turned upward slightly as he sighed with relief.
"Now that's over with, let's get back to the party! We have something to celebrate," Meat cheered. Taking Brit's hand and pulling him up, she and her boyfriend leapt down off the platform and darted into the tunnel from which they had just entered.
"Thanks, Scara... I mean it." The Dreamer stood up and moved over to the power box for a second time, switching off the lights. With a buzz, everything went dark again, and he walked with her to jump off the platform and follow the train tracks again.
"Ah, don't mention it, Gaz. You need me there. Not even just 'cos of the whole prophecy thing- you're just a liability." She playfully punched him in the arm, and he laughed nervously.
"So... You never told me you were the Great One or whatever." Scaramouche tried to make casual conversation as they moved into the pitch black tunnel. "How come?"
"Oh, right. About that. Actually, I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone else that I'm the Dreamer... The police are trying to track him down so that they can wipe his memories and make sure he can never bring back music. If Globalsoft find out I'm the one they're looking for, I'll end up brain dead in the Seven Seas of Rhye."
"Of course I won't tell anyone. I'm not stupid. Besides, it'll suck balls if my only friend becomes a lifeless vegetable for the rest of his life."
"Scara? When we get back, will you come and dance with me?"
Scara hesitated. "Uh... I dunno, Gaz. I'm not a very good dancer."
"So? Neither am I. Trust me, Scara, nobody cares about how well you dance. It's hard enough to see as it is. All we're doing is having fun. Besides... in a way, this is kind of like our own Spring Dance. With less GaGas, of course."
Gradually, the music faded back in from the muffled echo it had been a little while ago. It seemed like the song had changed, but it didn't faze her either way- she didn't know any of this music, despite how much she was growing to like it.
When they reached Piccadilly Circus again, Gaz climbed up onto the platform once more, and helped Scara with him. From a table that had been haphazardly placed at an angle with one corner against the wall, he picked up a bottle of Heineken, some strange drink that she had never seen before. "Will you dance with me if I share this with you?" he asked teasingly as he waved the bottle in her face, then chuckled. "C'mon. Just have a laugh." He began leading her back to the pit of moving bodies below them.
"It's you that will be having the laugh," she bit back under her breath, but reluctantly placed her bag down by the table leg and followed him back down onto the tracks.
Both of them wedged right in amongst the crowds, and Scara found herself standing rather awkwardly amongst a horde of dancing people. Gaz was tapping his foot and listening intently to the song, seeming to be trying to pick up the rhythm and pacing of the song. When he noticed his friend's discomfort, he sighed.
"Look. Scara. Just let your body do whatever it wants. Look around you- everyone else is too preoccupied in what they're doing to give a damn about how you're dancing. Let yourself go."
He twisted the lid off his beer bottle and tossed it away somewhere, then lifted it as a toast. "To rock and roll," he proclaimed, taking a long gulp straight out of it before offering it to her. Just to revel in the thought that her parents' reaction to her drinking some alien, possibly alcoholic concoction, she accepted it and took a sip. Yep- this was beer. It was more bitter than the stuff sold in bars on the surface, and she liked it that way.
Without warning, Gaz broke out into dance. If he had done so on his own and out of the blue, it would have looked ridiculous, but given the situation they were in, she didn't care that much. Seeing him looking so silly gave her the confidence to start swaying a bit herself.
Before either of them knew it, they were on their third shared pint of beer, and forcing their aching bodies to soldier on through yet another song. Sweat was beaded on Scara's forehead, and she found herself closer to Gaz than she had been before. Over time, they had been reunited with Brit and Meat, as well as a few more Bohemians that she didn't yet know; the whole lot of them were dancing in a circle within the congregation of Bohemians, and the teenage girl didn't think she had ever felt more alive than when she jumped around and sang with everybody, particularly with her oldest friend of a whole week.
Vibrations from the music pumped through her body with the blood, and amongst the exaltation of being part of something like this, her heart thundered in her chest. This was illegal, this was against the law, all of them would be arrested and possibly killed if they were found doing this, but that just made it all the more thrilling. It was possible that her ever so slightly drunken state was making it more so, but that didn't matter, either. Just being here, with all of these people who were just like her- for once, she felt like she belonged somewhere. And to think, after all these years of praying and wishing and hoping, they had been under her feet all along.
Scaramouche didn't come down from her high at all until the early hours of the morning, when the jukebox stopped, and Meat announced that tonight's party was over. Once again, Gaz offered to take her home, and she didn't pass up on the offer; she needed someone to share that buzz with. Hell, she was still in such high spirits that the thought of how much trouble she was going to be in when she got home didn't bother her in any way, shape or form whatsoever. After bidding goodbye to all her new friends, she followed Gaz back through the tunnels, over to where they had entered (which she discovered was named 'KINGS CROSS ST. PANCRAS'), back up the ladder, out of the drain and into the alleyway.
"I'm a cowboy..." Gaz was singing under his breath, repeating one of the songs they and the other Bohemians had been dancing to before as he pushed the drain cover back into place. "On a steel horse I ride... Hey, Scara. Did you have a good time tonight?"
"Are you kidding me? It was fantastic, Gaz! Why didn't you tell me you were a-"
"Shhh!" Gaz mouthed the word 'police' as he pointed to the street beyond, and Scara nodded. She had almost forgotten that they weren't in Bohemian territory anymore.
The pair of them walked out into the main street and avoided eye contact with the cops, playing it cool in the hopes that they wouldn't be regarded. Neither of them uttered a word until they reached an area where there was definitely no one around to hear them, at which point Gaz turned to her.
"We," he spoke, putting emphasis on the word to communicate that he was referring to the Bohemians, "Throw parties like that a lot. You should come to more of them- I think they like you, Sca- Sally." The correction came when he noticed some Globalsoft officers emerge from around a corner.
Soon, the apartment building came into sight, and Scara didn't want to part with Gaz just yet. Still, she knew she would have to face her parents eventually; she might as well do it now, during the night, when the amount of noise and commotion they could cause was limited.
"Thanks for inviting me tonight, Gaz." She smiled sincerely at him to communicate her appreciation, and she noticed the way his eyes lit up a little at the sight. "Really. I don't think I can thank you enough for..." She trailed off, not wanting to be sappy. "Nevermind."
"No, no, go on. What were you going to say?"
"Nothing. Night, Gaz." She waved as she headed back into the apartment buildings, leaving her friend outside.
The elevator ride up to her floor was an uncomfortable one. The tension in the air was so thick, it could be cut with a knife, and the dead silence didn't help. Scaramouche wasn't afraid of her parents, but she really didn't want to face them again. As of yet, she had never faced them when they were truly furious, so didn't know how well they were going to take her blatant disobedience, and after the incident that had not only gotten her kicked out of her sixth foster home, but damn near killed her, she didn't know if she wanted to find out.
When the ascension stopped and the doors opened before her, she took a deep breath, adjusted her bag on her shoulder, and walked back down the corridor. The clattering of her heels on tile boosted her confidence some, just as it did with her usual boots, and she did her best to grip onto that self-assurance when she reached the door to her apartment. Like earlier, she scanned her keycard to unlock it, and stepped inside, creeping just in case she could make it back to her room without being noticed and save the scolding until morning.
The first thing that surprised her was that the lights were still on. The second was the severe impact to the side of her face.
Author's Note: Whew. Another long chapter... I really need to cut these things down.
I had a few weeks' hiatus because I lost interest for a while and got really busy, but now I'll be back! When I'm not busy studying for exams and things, I'll do my best to write chapters and get this done. Don't worry, I'm still writing further than I'm uploading, so I'm on top of things.
That's all I have to say, really. Thanks for reading!
EDIT: Response to guest review from Meg!
Thank you so much! I'm glad this is worthy of being a favourite, hehe. I have plenty more ideas in mind, so I hope you like those as much as you like the fanfic so far. Thanks again for the review, it's always appreciated!