This has been finished for a little bit (but not by much I guess) but I decided to hold off on posting it to give you readers time to breathe, collect your thoughts, and calm down after the last for reasons. Anyway, here we go.

Onward~


Although it was a little after three in the morning Mary Ryan sat on her best friend's sofa, wide awake and just as animated as she would have been at three in the afternoon as she closed both hands into fists, fuming over what she had just heard.

"That unbelievable asshole!" she exclaimed in disbelief. "Matilda and I should run over there right now and —!"
"That's exactly what I said — minus the threat of gun violence," the woman called King remarked as she somewhat clumsily adjusted herself so she could use Mary's legs as a pillow and stretch out across the couch. "But no more shooting people on my behalf. You promised."

Mary frowned. She placed one hand on King's shoulder and the other on her head, thoughtful, as she began to play with her hair.

"Fine," she said carefully. "I won't shoot him."
"...Thanks."
"...I'll just break a finger or two."

King sighed, which was Mary's cue to calm herself down a little before she opened her mouth again. After all, despite the anger that both women were feeling, the fact of the matter was that King's stemmed from being more hurt than anything else.

"It doesn't matter what he thinks, you know," she stated gently.
"I know," King replied. "But it's just… this big slap in the face. Not only that, but this whole time everyone has been telling me that I'm 'worrying too much' or 'overthinking' or being 'paranoid' and, yet… here we are. I hate to say I told you so, but… I told you so."

Mary frowned again, suddenly a little guilty that she had been among the "everyone" King was referring to. Of course, as time passed, it was incredibly easy to assume that she was being paranoid and jumping to conclusions; to think that one of her good friends (who may or may not have liked her at some point — Mary wasn't entirely sure) would change his opinion of her after a sexual assault was surely the result of the anxiety that went along with having such a terrible experience.

Until it wasn't.

"Did you text Yuri?" Mary asked as she continued playing with King's hair.
"Yeah — right after I hung up with you, but she's probably asleep."
"Oh, boy. Half-drunk and frazzled. What's she gonna wake up to?"

King shut her eyes and, oddly enough, started laughing.

"A text that says her brother should get fucked. Perhaps by too many men."
"Savage!" Mary chuckled, and then added seriously, "I still can't believe he said that. He really said that?!"
"I can," King grumbled, "and, yes, he did."

Mary stopped messing with King's short locks and made a face while looking up toward the plain white ceiling, a little mystified.

"What constitutes 'too many,' anyway?"
"Any, apparently."
"Too many men," Mary lilted. "Let's count the ways."
"Let's not."
"Oh, come on — it'll be fun."

King groaned and placed a hand over her eyes.

"You still haven't even given me that xanny yet..."
"And I can't, in good conscious, let you have it in your current state. Now, no changing the subject! First there was…?"
"Serge," King said with a frown. "Mister 'Je t'aimerai toujours, Cécile!' 'J'ai te verrai en America!'"
"Ahh, young love," Mary grinned. Her expression instantly changed when she asked, "Didn't he break up with you over text?"
"Yep," King answered. "Right after I moved in with Maddy and Gary."
"You're not still pressed over it, are you?"
"Of course not! I just wish I hadn't been stupid enough to have sex with him. 'Love' or not, I should have waited."
"Yeah but teenagers are usually pretty stupid."

King made a face of her own and nodded.

"Okay," Mary went on. "So then, there was —"
"Don't say her name!"
"Oof! Okay, but for real. That lasted for a couple of years and you two were totally monogamous…"
"Well, I was."

Mary grimaced before continuing.

"So then there was your dry spell. By the way, I still don't know how you didn't die, going from getting laid on the regular to just… not."
"I was too busy to think about it," King said with a shrug. "And, you know… fingers."

At that, Mary let out a loud snicker.

"You naughty, naughty girl," she said with a mock British accent. She cleared her throat, and went on.

"So, then…"
"Then… there was..." King trailed off and Mary felt her tense up as she glanced toward something to her left. There was a lull in the conversation; King kept her gaze elsewhere while Mary tried to think of the "right" thing to say.

"... He doesn't have to count," she finally stated quietly.
"You know that's not how this works…"
"Awww, bb…"

King pressed her lips together, took a deep breath, and turned so she could look up into Mary's face once again, her expression hard though there was an unmistakable sadness in her eyes.

"...There you go," she remarked bitterly. "Too many men."
"What? That's literally two."
"Yup."
"So, wait —" Mary pushed a lock of hair behind her ear — "he knew about... her, right?"
"Mm-hm. He got a little weird about it, but he knew."
"And was otherwise okay with that?"
"More or less. To be honest I think he used to be a little homophobic."
"Ew. Does he know about Van?"
"No, but he'd probably be relatively fine with it because I bet — no, I know — to him, a woman can never truly be inside another woman because she's not a man."
"Oh my goddduuuuhhhhhh," Mary groaned. "Why did you ever crush on this guy?!"

King's face flushed. She furrowed her brow and thought for just a second before she spoke.

"It wasn't really a crush-crush! And… he's not… a bad guy. Not entirely. And on a purely superficial level, he's kind of cute."
"Kinda sexy? Hysterically funny but not funny looking? And, like, you could totally bang him?"
"...Fuck you, Jungle Julia," King retorted, though she let out a soft chuckle.

Mary flashed a silly grin and smoothed King's hair back and out of her face.

"You need a haircut bro."
"I need…"

King took a deep breath and pressed her lips together once more. She folded her hands over her midsection and crossed her legs at the ankles.

"I need to ask you something."
"Okay… shoot."
"Do you think I'm —"
"Of course not, bb," Mary exclaimed, "I don't care how many people you've done the deed with! You're you, regardless of — why would you even ask me?!"
"Because."
"I'm not a crotchety half-Japanese boy. And before you say anything, none of the others think weirdly of you either."
"You don't know that," King mumbled.
"Actually… I do."
"Has my — did you guys talk about my body count?! Behind my back?!"

Mary glanced at King, who was peering up at her, obviously a little incensed.

"You're legitimately crazy if you think we didn't."
"But, why...?"
"Because, after everything happened…? We all knew you'd worry about it," Mary told her.
"...it's hard not to," King sighed.
"Riddle me this, though. Why does it even matter in the first place?"
"Programming. No sex before marriage —"
"HAH!"
" — because young ladies don't do such things, and if they do, they're… sullied, or, impure, or... you get the picture."
"Your family really kind of messed you up, huh?" Mary inquired, a little sad for her friend.
"My mom died before these kinds of things could ever really come up between us," King replied. "And my dad was a bit old-fashioned himself, but he never explicitly said anything. But Maddy and Gary were awful. I was slut-shamed the second they found out about Serge."
"Even though you were a dumb kid?"
"Especially because I was a dumb kid."

King shut her eyes then. She looked bone tired, but Mary knew she'd probably stay up until daybreak, over-analyzing every single word spoken between herself and Ryo Sakazaki earlier that night.

"You need sleep, bb..."
"I know," King answered miserably.
"How drunk are you right now? Like, really."
"Barely. I think I puked most of the liquor out before you got here." King quirked a brow. "Why?"

Mary pursed her lips. She reached into the pocket of her hoodie and pulled out a tiny baggie with two white pills in it.

"I guess if you can survive an entire bottle of wine with a Percocet, you should be okay to take these now."
"I have you here to make sure I don't die," King said as she took the baggy. "...right?"
"Yeah, I'll stay for a little longer," Mary assured her.
"Thank you."
"Yeah, no problem. It's the least I can do… I mean… since I promised I'd stop shooting people or whatever."
"He's a dick —" King opened the bag and poured the anti-anxiety medication into her hand — "but he doesn't deserve to be shot over a… difference of opinion."
"Maybe so… but anyone who makes my bestie feel inadequate over something so trivial is dumb and deserves to have rocks thrown at them."

Both women laughed, though Mary was actually pretty serious. There was a part of her that almost didn't want to see Ryo for fear of what she might do to him. However, the meaner, more unforgiving part of her was, without a doubt, absolutely looking forward to it.


Right. Let's dissect a few things for the newbies (or those of you who don't speak French or don't know pop-culture like I do, or are just interested in how much thought actually went into King's backstory here):

* Mary named her gun Matilda. This is a reference to Resident Evil 2, as Leon Kennedy's starting weapon is a handgun called Matilda.
* The person Mary shot on King's behalf was the driver from Much Like Suffocating, and, to be honest, it wasn't really on her behalf. She just did it.
* Je t'aimerai toujours, Cécile! = I'll always love you, Cécile!
* J'ai te verrai en America! = I'll see you in America
* Let's talk about King's journey to the 'States for a second. In the book All About SNK 1991 - 2000 the character bio for King from AOF says that she "appeared in Southtown five years ago." Seeing as how she was 21 in AOF, that would mean she was 16.
* Head-canon time! If you're new here or don't remember, Aunt Maddy and Uncle Gary are King's totally-made-up-by-me-family, whom she (and Jean, of course) went to live with after her father died. Her mother passed a few years before her father because of complications with Jean, which meant their next of king was Maddy - King and Jean's biological Aunt who was living in... you guessed it, Southtown. Maddy and Gary are still Jean's legal guardians.
* King's breakup with her ex-girlfriend was really bad and happened just before AOF.
* Van. Vanessa. Go read Red if you haven't already.
* When King calls Mary "Jungle Julia," she's referring to a character in the Quentin Tarantino movie, Death Proof. In it, Julia and her friend, Arlene, have a conversation about meeting guys at the bar, in which she refers to someone Arlene could potentially meet as, "Kinda cute, kinda hot, kinda sexy, hysterically funny but not funny looking guy who you could fuck." (Also, go see Death Proof, it's fantastic.)
* King survived accidentally ingesting Percocet and wine in How Do You Sleep? but not without some side-effects.
* "The meaner, more unforgiving part of her." What's up, EX Mary? ;)

Okay, that was a lot. Yikes. Sorry about that, but I hope you found it all insightful! Don't be afraid to tell me your thoughts and feels, be it here, or anywhere else where I can be found! How is King going to deal with this? Why does Mary have anti-anxiety drugs? What's Yuri going to say about that text message?!

Stay tuned... Cheers~!