The Last Shot

The little crew of the Rabbit had stumbled upon a great haul this time. The dome they had found used to be a rich city, even more so than Romdeau. Because of this, Re-L had to do even more organizing than usual when they got back because they just had so much stuff. The net under the Rabbit was already full of supplies, the extra net they'd managed to shimmy underneath the hull was also full now, most of the regular cupboards were already filled to capacity, and so now she was just stuffing food into places where food normally isn't found. And that's saying something, considering the size of the ship and how much they managed to pack in it each time they found supplies. The raven had already filled up the kitchen, the extra storage bins, the ground compartments and any extra cabinet storage they could spare. She had even made a mini mountain of noodle boxes under the cot where she and Vincent slept! Now…now she was trying to fit the last of the boxes into their personal compartments – squeezing cans of meat into the compartment with their hygiene things, wrestling ginger ale bottles into her sock drawer and for good measure, Re-L was stuffing the hated beans into Vincent's personal stuff.

As she was in the process of removing his annoying, brand-new socks (he seriously was still wearing his several pairs of holey socks when there were perfectly good socks right here!) and reorganizing them around the cans, she found something that she'd never seen before. The woman's fingers brushed a smooth object buried in the socks and pulled it out. It was a small container that held some kind of liquid in it. It was rounded like a test tube, sealed at the top and transparent on the bottom, and was about as long as her hand.

"What is this?" She mused to herself, turning the container around, looking for a label. When she didn't find any, she made up her mind to ask Vincent about it. Clearly, it was precious enough to keep – he'd hidden it in his sock drawer, cushioned by fabric and safe from most bumps and tremors. Re-L was curious, and as everyone around her knew, once she was curious about something, she wouldn't stop searching for answers for any reason whatsoever. Look at what had happened with trying to find out what proxies were and trying to unravel the mystery that was (and still is) Vincent Law!

The woman pocketed the container and jammed the bean cans in the sock drawer before sliding the drawer shut with a bang. She then walked through the interior of the Rabbit, grabbed her coat and went out the door. Kristeva was making sure everything was ready for their departure, and Vincent was also outside, fiddling with a rail. He was leaning against it, testing it's strength, the wind whipping his hair into a mess. As she was about to approach him, Pino suddenly popped up and grabbed the woman's hand.

"Re-L! Re-L! Come look at what I found!" She yanked and tugged, pulling the raven away from her goal.

"Pino! I'm doing something! Show me later!"

"Come see! Come see!" The small AutoReiv yanked her with strength her small body concealed. If Re-L had been the person she used to be, she probably would've kicked the kid off of her, however, she was more lenient these days and allowed herself to be dragged off. Vincent would be there later, she could ask him in a bit.

What Pino had found was a tiny piano that a child could play and she was in love with it, having hauled the thing from whatever house or store she'd found it in. Unfortunately, there was simply no room on the Rabbit to take it with them, so Re-L was gracious enough to listen to her play while the other two finished getting ready to leave. Vincent smiled as he finished tightening up the loose rail and gazed down at the pair. Pino looked so happy to show Re-L her new plaything and it was good to see the raven getting along with the AutoReiv. Their relationship was that of sisters now – the kind with the hyperactive little sister and the irritable older sister that could be sweet sometimes. They both enjoyed the music, even if the instrument didn't have the range that Pino was used to, she made do. Re-L had a slight smile on her face as she listened and Vincent blushed a little to see it. Re-L was just so cute! Even after all this time, he still found himself enamored with her. While he was admiring her, the woman happened to glance up and made eye contact with him. His gaze flicked away, embarrassed, his face turning a shade redder. Re-L let out a dry chuckle, amused by his behavior, but then her mind was drawn back to the mysterious vial in her pocket. She turned back to Pino and her piano, now only half listening. Vincent went back to watching her, this time being more discrete as he packed up his tool kit and returned it to its spot.

It wasn't long before everything was ready to go (and Vincent had managed to sneak the tiny piano onto the ship by the charging ports in the cabin), and they shoved off. The Rabbit left the dome behind, once again continuing its journey into the unknown. Kristeva was at the helm and Pino was inside the cabin entertaining herself, and that's when Re-L found the moment to talk to Vincent. She found him at the same rail he'd been fixing, watching the world pass by them. She'd only taken a few steps in his direction when he turned towards the raven before she'd even said a word.

"Re-L!" He smiled the smile that said that she was the most precious thing in the world to him (and she was). That fact made Re-L very proud, as of course she should be considered important, but she was sure as hell not going to let him know that…well, not right now, anyway. "Did everything get put away?" He asked.

"Yeah, but I had to get creative," she replied. "Don't be surprised if you find beans and noodles in odd places." She took the last few steps over to where the man was and leaned on the rail. Vincent chuckled, probably imagining food springing up from the toilet or something silly like that. His smile made the raven's heart thump loudly in her chest. Ever since they mutually accepted each other's feelings, Vincent had had this way of making Re-L feel like a shy school girl every once in a while, as this time was one of those moments. It was like all her emotional conditioning from Romdeau had just flown out the window; but of course, she wasn't going to let him know that. With her ice-queen face on, she launched immediately into the reason she was out there in the first place.

"I found this while I was organizing," she took out the vial from her pocket and showed it to him. His eyes widened a bit when he saw what she was carrying.

"You dug through my stuff," Vincent said, not quite accusing. He normally wouldn't have cared…but that vial was precious and terrifying to him.

"I had to find a place for those damned beans!" She snapped back. "Besides, I've already gone through your things multiple times," she admitted, feeling a little guilty, but mostly not. She shouldn't have to justify herself, especially to this pushover! "What is it, anyways?" She dangled the liquid just out of arm's reach as Vincent went to grab it. He was leaning over her while she leaned back, their bodies perfectly aligned for a moment before Vincent's larger reach nearly grabbed the vial. Re-L twisted out from underneath him and skipped away, careful not to slip of several patches of ice.

"Come on, Re-L," Vincent whined. "Give it back." He was looking very uncomfortable and wouldn't look her in the eye. This is so odd for him, the raven mused, curious as to why Vincent was being so secretive about it. He wasn't usually like this, mostly keeping to his easygoing, cheerful disposition – unless there was proxy business afoot or Re-L was in some kind of pinch. He was getting upset and that just made Re-L more curious.

She sighed, placing a hand on her hip. "I'll give it back if you tell me what it is." He stayed silent for a few moments, testing the woman's very short patience, but gave in eventually when he realized that she was not going to drop the subject.

"Its liquor," came the simple response. The man held out his hand politely, asking for the vial back. Re-L was surprised; in all the time she'd known him, Vincent was not the drinking type (and like, alcohol was a privilege for the affluent in the domes, not for lowly immigrants). She looked at the vial again, a new curiosity gripping her.

"Where did you get liquor? Why do you still have it?" She began spouting off questions, but Vincent just stared at her, his hand still outstretched. "Tell me where you got it, at least." She huffed at him.

"A woman in the Commune outside of Romdeau gave it to me before she died." Vincent could still see her dying right in front of him, her blood dripping onto the Rabbit's floor. Poor Quinn…he thought, remembering how stubborn and brave she'd been, how determined to be free she'd been. His reminiscing was interrupted by another of Re-L's questions.

"Why do you still have it? I would've drunk it a long time ago. You can hardly find alcohol anywhere now."

"I'm saving it." This answer was even more reluctant than the last.

"Saving it? For what?" The question was innocent enough, but it wasn't one that Vincent wanted to answer at all, let alone in front of Re-L.

"Please, just give it back," Vincent pleaded, not wanting to upset his girl.

The woman eyed him up, finding his cageyness irritating. However, he looked that he didn't want to give her any more answers, and it was at that time that Pino called for Re-L to come see what she'd drawn. "Fine. Whatever." She tossed the vial towards him, knowing that his inhuman reflexes would catch it. It was time to go. She could always pry answers out him later, and he was irritating her. She flipped her hair and turned on her heel, walking into the cabin and slamming the door shut behind her.

Vincent was very grateful that Re-L had been distracted, and let out a sigh of relief. He clutched the vial to his chest, feeling calmer now that it was back in his possession. His heart was still beating wildly in his chest; he hadn't expected Re-L to find the vial…he had been very unprepared for that surprise. Her finding it wasn't the part that worried him…he just didn't want her to know why he was saving it. It would probably make her very upset and Vincent didn't like to think about it either. He stared down at the alcohol in his hand and frowned, his eyebrows knit with worry. I don't want her to know…I don't want her to know…

He took a deep breath, feeling the wind on his face, tasting the musky scent of earth on his tongue, and allowed a few tears to slip off his face. They were instantly lost, disappearing into the murky darkness of the evening. It was an undeniable fact that Proxies were nearly immortal – only the sun's light or their own kind could kill them. It was an undeniable fact that AutoReivs were built to last, even without humans, possibly for even hundreds of years – the AutoReivs at the Asura dome proved that. And it was an undeniable fact that all humans lived a comparatively short life to Proxies and AutoReivs, and their lives were so precious and fragile. Vincent didn't know if his vast concern and empathy for humans stemmed from his Proxy nature, or if he just felt this way because it was in his own nature, but he lamented the mortality of humanity…he lamented that Re-L probably wouldn't live the hundreds of years that he probably would.

The feeling of hopelessness tore at his heart, rent him to his core as he tried to imagine a life without her…it was a very bleak picture. Now, having regained his memories, he could understand Monad's blind devotion to him and her determination to catch him in Romdeau…she'd been purely driven by instinct, by her great love to Ergo Proxy. Before he met Re-L, the few memories he had held only a world where his home was destroyed and it seemed like he was always going to be stomped on by those more privileged than him. Seeing her at the Recruitment Office, watching her stride past him, confident, beautiful and strangely familiar…it was like a spark had gone off in his soul. And he was sure that the spark he held so dear now would sputter out once she left this world behind. When she was gone…he'd drown a bit of his sorrows in the liquor he held in his hand now. Of course, it would hardly make a dent in whatever grief and sorrow was coming his way, but at least it was something.

He squeezed the vile, half wanting to chuck it off the Rabbit, to forget about its purpose, to forget about all his worries, but he placed it in his pocket instead. "Re-L, I'm saving this for the day you die."