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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - The Hot Seat

z-Wakiki Izumi

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A couple of days before SG-21 has its second mission

“Aight, Livy, fess up,” Wakiki said suddenly, quickly switching his phone from one ear to the other. He’d been listening to her blather on and on with that note of stress in her voice. He usually tried to give her the time to come around to the point, but he was going on twenty minutes of listening to her complain about some of the lamest and fakest workplace problems. He knew she was venting about her work though allegory and metaphor. He was her brother; he knew when she was spinning bullshit. But he also knew she had to spin bullshit for her job, so he let her do it. But this wasn’t work; this was personal. He could tell and he could only listen to that tremor in her tone for a while before it drove him crazy.

“Huh?” He loved how his smart sister could sound so damned dumb sometimes.

“Don’t play me, kid,” he said softly. “What’s wrong? That asshole co-worker who tried to kill you being funny?”

“No. I think he’s gotten transferred,” Livy said.

“Then what? C’mon, sis… something’s bothering you.” Wakiki hated this. Ever since Bill had betrayed her, she’d been unwilling to talk about her problems. Even when that fucker from Saudi Arabia or wherever had messed her up, she’d healed, moved on. Had Wakiki known that she wouldn’t recover from what Bill had done, he would have killed that fuck when he had the chance.

There was a long moment of silence; then Livy spoke as if the words were being dragged out of her. “Kuwait Guy is here,” she said softly. As Wakiki sat in shocked silence, she added, “I didn’t recognize him at first, and he doesn’t seem to remember me at all.”

“Right,” Wakiki said. “I’ll be in Colorado in a few hours.” He was already on his feet and headed for his laptop.

“No!” Livy shouted and Wakiki silently cursed her damned martyr syndrome. That didn’t stop him from booting his machine. Check savings first, he told himself, half-listening as she said, “He’s in the Air Force, and in my base, you’ll just get arrested trying to get to him. And I don’t want you to do that. He’s not worth it.”

“You’re right,” Wakiki agreed. “He’s not worth your time.” Thankfully, I charge less for my time. “Is he bothering you?”

“Not really… he doesn’t know why I’m mad,” she said softly, and his world went a little red as he heard the pain in her voice. “He just said something that reminded me, and I went and checked my old pictures.”

“Didn’t you and Sherman burn those?” Wakiki asked, writing down the amount of money he had saved. There went his new soundboard.

“I may have had some copies that didn’t get torched,” she confessed quietly.

“Right.” If she hadn’t been his sister, he might have throttled her. For all that she’d been shit on by the world, she didn’t help herself often enough for his tastes.

“You aren’t going to do something dumb, are you?” Livy asked.

“Nah,” he said, as he started to lay out each step of his plan. This was more foresight than he put into most things, but if he was facing off with one of Uncle Sam’s trained pit bulls, he needed to be careful. “You don’t have to work with him, do you?”

“Not directly,” she said. He stared to relax; maybe he was overreacting. If she didn’t have to work with this guy, if she could avoid him, it might be alright. She’d just had so much pain, and she didn’t protect herself! “But… we’d been attracted to each other and had been sorta flirting around… maybe even starting to date.” Her laugh wasn’t happy, and it tore him up as she added, “I kinda wondered what I was seeing in him. Guess it was just my mind making the connection to the previous attraction before I did. So now... it's more than just all that getting dragged up. It's losing what was just starting to come together.”

Fuck not going. It was time to thaw out his VISA. His sister needed him, whether she knew that or not – and regardless of whether she accepted it. As he said the soft words of commiseration that his sister needed to hear, he began to plot in earnest.

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Wakiki pulled the chuck of ice encasing his credit card out of the freezer and dumped it in the sink, turning the hot water on it. This was his way of keeping himself out of trouble fiscally, but right now, Livy was important enough to accrue a bit of debt. He probably could ask Mom and Dad for money for this, but he knew they'd worry, and moreover, they might want to come. Wakiki had traveling companions in mind, and they weren't his parents. If anyone was coming, it was going to be someone who could help him move a body if necessary. Wakiki didn't intend to make the same mistake he'd made with Bill.

He left the ice thawing as he left his house. Normally, he'd have to come up with an elaborate reason why he was getting into Dad's files, but today was the day that Dad volunteered at the Asian Center at Berkeley. Mom would be at work. So his parents' house was empty when he left himself in. He didn't tarry, but hurried to Dad's office and got what he needed.

The file was still there; Harry had considered it to be insurance for later. Wakiki had known he'd still have it; Dad was a packrat, a trait both Izumi kids had inherited to one degree or another. Wakiki was just pleased it was somewhere easy to find. He flipped through the folder, feeling his guy churn as he saw the handful of stills from security cameras, as well as several pages of notes from witnesses who placed Kuwait Guy there. Wakiki flipped to the last page, which was a simple breakdown of information about the guy: name, social and a brief history. Father was dead, shot by his mother, who was still serving time for it, or had been in 1997. A brother who had disappeared into the streets of Los Angeles. Wright had been working for Northrup-Grumman for years at the point that he'd met Livy in Kuwait. There was mention of some trouble involving an injured volunteer, and Wakiki made note of that. He wanted a grip on this guy, if he was going to be fucking with Livy.

Better yet, Scott Moreno's card was still in the folder. He had found Wright once, he could find him again. Tucking the folder under his arm, he left the house.

On the way back, Wakiki made a phone call. "Ozzie," he said in greeting when his old friend picked up the phone. "What are you doing in the next couple of days?"

"Hanging with the family, mowing the lawn. Why? Got something better?"

Wakiki could see his Samoan friend leaning back in his chair, his big feet on his desk. "Yeah, I need to get some more information, but once I have an address, I'm headed out to Colorado. Livy's crappy foreign ex has resurfaced, and I wanna make sure he doesn't hurt her again."

"Oh, the one that dumped her after a week?" Ozzie asked. "What you wanting to do?"

"Just talk," Wakiki said. "Get a measure of this guy. Then... nothing you don't feel ok with, right?"

"Yeah, I got the family to worry about now," Ozzie said.

"I wouldn't endanger that," Wakiki said, sincerely. He may not have a family himself, but he wasn't going to mess with someone else's. They talked a bit more about others things, catching up, and then Wakiki added, "I'll call with flight details."

Sebastian was the next call; unlike Ozzie, he was divorced and it was a lot easier for him to get away for a bit. Wakiki suspected that Seb still held a bit of a torch for his sister; she'd never been really interested, and he couldn't' see that changing, but so long as Seb didn't push things, it should be alright. And Wakiki didn't mind the idea of his friend with his sister; she could - and had done - worse. Sebastian, of course, was totally up for the trip.

He had his two thugs lined up; now all he needed was the information.

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"Mr. Moreno? My name is Wakiki Izumi, and you did some work for my father a few years ago," Wakiki said when the phone picked up. "I was wondering if you had time for another rush job for us."

"Izumi... you had the daughter who was looking for that fellow," the deep voice came back over the line.

"Wow, that's impressive that you remember that," Wakiki said, feeling even better about this.

"Heh, honestly, that's all I remember," Moreno said, humor in his voice. "Mostly because your name stood out. What do you need done now, Mr. Izumi?"

"Same thing, same guy," Wakiki said, anger rising in his voice. "He's back in her life, and this time, I'm being proactive. And it's Wakiki; Mr. Izumi is my father."

"Oddly, that's what your dad said," Moreno chuckled. "Ok, give me two minutes to find the file. If I've already done the groundwork, I should be able to get your information pretty quick." Wakiki agreed, and waited patiently as Moreno put down the phone. After a short break, Moreno came back. "Yeah, still got everything on this Wright guy. Should be easy to see what's out there on him."

"Great," Wakiki said, feeling his gut unwind. "How long before you have something?"

"Couple of days, but I need half my base fee up front, with the rest on completion plus expenses. I'll have an invoice for you, naturally."

Jeez, that sounds expensive, Wakiki thought with a wince. "Hmm, you take checks?"

"Paypal. It's the Twenty-First Century, man."


The dent in his credit card was worth it three days later when Wakiki received the file via overnight mail. Moreno was as fast as he'd claimed; Wakiki hoped he was thorough. Kicking back on his couch, Wakiki caught up on ole Vinny's life. His mother was still in prison, father still dead, of course, and his brother was deeply buried somewhere. Wakiki wondered what kind of hate it took to make a sibling run away for over a decade. But which brother hated which and why?

Wright had landed on his feet. He'd gotten into the Air Force Academy right after leaving Vegas - and Livy. He'd graduated and been stationed at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base. He'd been there ever since. And that was it. There was an address for an apartment or condo in Colorado Springs, but nothing else. Moreno had found no evidence of any long-term relationships - No fuckin' surprise there. - or marriage; no evidence of kids or even contact with his mom. What a sad, lonely bastard. The man was a fucking blank slate, which was frustrating to Wakiki. He'd hoped to get a measure for the man, a feel for this potential detriment to his sister's wellbeing. Instead, he was getting pure facts with no allusions to who he was, not what he was.

Disgruntled, Wakiki picked up the phone and called the boys. They were both ready to go, and he bought the tickets, ignoring yet another bill levied on his card. The flight left in four hours, so he let the guys know, packed a bag and told his boss he'd be working from home for a few days.

Damn, but he hoped Livy appreciated all the shit he did for her. Unlikely - like most chicks, Livy had funny ideas about not 'rocking the boat'. Well, fuck the boat. This was his sister.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wakiki had lucked out. While Wright wasn't home, one of his neighbors had been happy to talk all about him. Moreover, the young woman seemed enamored of Sebastian, and the young man was more than willing to use that. It made Wakiki uncomfortable, but Seb assured him he wouldn't lead her on. He had to be content with that. And he had to admit, it was handy to have a spy right there, someone who swore she'd call Seb the second Wright showed up. Best of all, she was sympathetic to their mission, after they'd told her why they were looking for Wright.

When Seb got the call, they could roll out immediately. They had found a place to stay only a few blocks away, so they would there within minutes of him showing up. Now, it was just a waiting game. Too bad Wakiki hated playing that game.

He lasted about three hours; that was enough time to catch up on work, check his personal email and surf the few sites that he kept up on regularly. Then he had nothing to distract him from the wait. "I'm going out," he told Seb and Ozzie.

"Where?" Ozzie asked, looking up from his own laptop. Catching sight of his scene, Wakiki realized the big Samoan had been chatting with his family. He felt a pang of guilt for dragging his buddy away from his family. But it was done, and Wakiki resolved to get this resolved or get far enough along to let Ozzie feel like he could leave. Too bad he needed Wright's cooperation for that. If the man was half as contrary as Wakiki believed him to be, then that wasn't likely to happen.

"I think I'm going to ask around at the stores and things in the area," Wakiki said. "Man owns a vehicle, he has to be getting gas for it, groceries for himself. He'll leave tracks. Maybe someone knows more about him, or about his schedule."

"Want company?" Seb asked.

"Only if you want to come," he said, scooping up the keys to the rental and the plastic card that granted access to the room. "It's likely to be the most fuckin' boring thing ever, interesting only because it's more interesting than being here."

"Yeah, I think I'll pass," Seb said, picking up a remote and starting to channel surf.

Wakiki nodded and stepped out. The fall weather made him shiver; Colorado Springs was a little higher in the mountains than Berkeley and just a bit colder. The chill in the air reminded him that Livy's birthday was next week; he should stick around for a few more days regardless of how things shook out with Wright. She'd like it if he were around for that. Maybe he should get her a gift, too. She'd be shocked if he got her something before rather than taking her out on the day of and telling her to pick what she wanted.

He started to drive as he continued to muse. He wondered why he was so worried about his sister; it wasn't like she'd had something bad happen to her recently. That you know of, he added, frowning. If it were that bad, she would have told him. Granted, she hadn't told him about the rape, but she had gone to him for help.

Still, something had happened to her, something that had shaken her up. He didn't know what it was, but he'd sensed that his sister was close to the edge of her ability to cope. That was something that he didn't have any proof of, just a gut feeling that wasn't going away. Another thing he couldn't prove was that her employers were somehow responsible. Livy had been melancholy but emotionally stable before taking the job in Nevada, but her state of mind had deteriorated steadily since then. In fact, the more he considered it, the more convinced he became that the US Government was driving his sister crazy, at least indirectly.

He was also sure that he couldn't do anything to stop it. Maybe he could ring up Declan. The fucker had been scary but Livy had trusted him. Wakiki bet he could ring up the Air Force base and get a message to him. Maybe he could something, as he was on Livy's team and surely saw her daily.

Now there was a thought - dealing with Wright directly. It was a thought, if the bastard took too long getting back to his apartment. But first, Wakiki wanted some intel.

He started by consulting the map. Most people created habits, and those were usually guided by convenience. He found the most direct route from the base to Wright's, then started to backtrack. The first gas station he saw, he pulled in and walked inside. Grabbing a soda so that he was a paying customer, he approached the middle-aged, tired-looking woman managing the counter. As he passed the soda to her to ring up, he laid a picture on the counter. It was the best on he had of Wright, a grainy, ten-year-old image of him pulled from a security camera at a strip club in Vegas. It wasn't the one with the naked woman gyrating on his lap.

The woman glanced down at the image, then back up as she took his twenty. "Know this guy?" Wakiki asked.

"Yeah, he comes around," she said.

Wakiki restrained his excitement. "What do you know about him?"

"He drives a truck. He gets beer and cigars, sometimes. I only remember him because he's so big, ya know?" she said. "Hard to forget when a beefcake like that calls you 'darling'." She glanced at him. "What do you want him for?"

"He's messing with my sister," Wakiki said, his voice hard. "Know anything about him personally?"

"I ain't paid to spy on the customers, sir," the woman said, her expression going cold. "Here's your change."

"Thanks," Wakiki sighed, taking his money, soda and picture. I suck at this.

He had better luck at Kiki Nass.

"Yeah, I remember that shit," a large man in a cowboy hat named Cliff told him. "Fucker broke a bottle over my face over a woman."

"Really?" Wakiki asked, opening another beer and setting in front of the man before serving himself. "Tell me more."

"Why'd you wanna know?" Cliff asked.

"Bastard broke my sister's heart and is trying to do it again," Wakiki said, giving the guy a look of shared irritation regarding the topic of conversation. "I'm taking it a little personally."

"Yeah, he's a touchy fuck," Cliff grumbled. "I just pointed out a fine piece of brown sugar to him, and the asshole broke a bottle over my head."

Wakiki felt himself stiffen a bit. "Brown sugar?" he said, his voice tense.

"Yeah," Cliff drawled, "some hot little thing in a tight number. Made me wanna saddle up and ride her all night long. She is that kind of black that makes you get all hot with Jungle Fever. Not the kind that makes you think of a monkey in a zoo, if you know what I mean." He leered grossly.

Wakiki felt himself lose his cool. Pulling out his wallet, he slapped it down on the table, open to Livy's picture. "That her? You talking about my sister?"

Cliff looked and blanched. "Aww... fuck me," he groaned, just as Wakiki stood, leaned over their table, and punched him in the nose.

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Wakiki was still enraged when he left the bar. The single punch that the bartender had allowed hadn't done much to stem his anger. The bartender had made the fucker Cliff stay behind, and Wakiki considered waiting around for him to come out, but even in his rage, he acknowledged that he needed to show some prudence. Getting tossed in jail on an assault charge wouldn't help Livy.

Still, it rankled him to walk away from a fight, especially against an asshole who saw his smart, gentle sister as a sperm dumpster. The mere thought made him punch the dashboard of his car and curse for several minutes. The burst of violence helped, somewhat, and it was a calmer Wakiki who put his car into gear and headed away from the bar.

Now what?

Now what indeed. He didn't know and didn't want to wait. Maybe it was time for a frontal attack. Pulling over, he called directory assistance; after some bouncing around, he got the number for the Cheyenne Mountain switchboard. "Can you put me through to Lt. Vinny Wright?"

"I'm afraid I'm not able to find a Lieutenant by that name," the operator told him. "If you want to leave a message, I can hunt around and deliver it anyone else with that name."

"Right. So, keep it general, right?" Wakiki asked dryly. "Since it might go to the wrong person an' all."

"I'll do my best to get it to the right person," the operator said, "but no guarantees."

"Sure. My name is Wakiki Izumi, and I'd like to chat with him," Wakiki said, watching a couple of kids play across the street. "Just give him my cell number."

"May I ask about what?" the operator asked. "For the completeness of the message."

Wakiki realized that he was being pumped for information, and probably having a background check being run on him. "We're old friends, practically family," Wakiki said, feeling the irony of that situation like a rock in his gut. Wright had dated his sister, and had things progressed, might have become family. "Just wanna buy him a beer and catch up."

"Alright, I'll pass it on, if I can find him," the operator replied.

"Thanks, I appreciate that," the Japanese man said before hanging up. He wondered if Wright would even get the message. And now, he was back to waiting. Shit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Vinny opened his laptop the next morning after snoozing for a few after Olivia left, digesting the day had taken its toll.

"Fuckin' hate email, bane of man." Vinny grumbled as he quickly deleted any and all that did not pertain to him remotely. Just as he was about to delete one from the switch, assuming it to be a missend, his eye caught 'Izumi' when it auto-populated on his screen.

"She's fuckin' got siblings?! That know me? Fuck...me." he said, leaning back in his chair. "Well, let's see what the ass-tard wants..."

Prolly my ass in a sling. Can't blame the guy. Found out I was here, wonder if he broke into my place...fuckin' roast his ass...wait, he might know about the ass-tard that broke Olivia.

Vinny quickly dialed out the cell number listed and waited.

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Wakiki had put his cell phone in his pocket so that it would vibrate his leg when - if it rang. He had no chance of hearing it; the two-hundred dollar earphones he was wearing would block out the sound of a nuke going off. He was listening to his own music, the newest stuff, taking notes about what he'd need to change to make it better.

What does it matter? The dark thought startled him; he wasn't given to that kind of negativity. He sighed loudly, then glanced at his roommates to make sure he hadn't woken them. He hadn't, but his cell phone going off nearly did.

Ripping his earphones off, Wakiki grabbed a keycard to the room and hurried out, cursing under his breath that he'd forgotten to turn off the ringer. Seb lifted his head, even as he pressed his hand to his pocket, trying to muffle the phone. "Sorry," he muttered as he went outside. Finally, on the balcony that gave access to the room, he pulled out the phone.

He saw it was a local number, and his heart started to pound. Who the hell calls at this hour? It's not Livy's cell. He drew a deep breath and answered, "Yeah?"

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Ass-tard doesn't even know who it is? What the fuck man?

"My place, two hours."


Nothing fuckin' pressin'. Need to check on the place anyway, burn some fuckin' rubber on the truck.

He went through his morning 5s routine. Then walked through the mess to grab some finger food on his way out, ignoring any lingering congratulations from the previous day or glaring at any that persisted beyond the obvious look of 'get the fuck outta my way.'

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Someone that rude could only be one person. Wakiki sighed, feeling his jaw clench as air rushed out his nose. Hanging up the phone, he glanced at the time. He'd wait an hour, then wake the guys. That'd give them more than enough time to get together and make it to Wright's place. Swallowing, he stared out into the dark night and waited for time to pass.


When they arrived this time, there was a big truck out front. Someone's compensating, Wakiki noted dryly. "Everyone ready?"

"Yep," Ozzie said, opening his door and negotiating his bulk out of it; calling the man fat would be an understating the situation. Like many Samoans, he carried a lot of weight, but it didn't slow him down.

"Born ready to punk this shit," Seb growled, cracking his knuckles, his dark face angry.

"This is a warning, Seb, unless he decides to make it a beat down," Wakiki noted, his voice firm. "And the fucker's not dumb, so I don't think he'll go for a three-to-one fight. So let's play it cool, right?"

Seb grumbled but nodded. That settled, the three men stopped in front of apartment number four and knocked.

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A quick survey through the place had assured him that he hadn't broken in. Intelligence must run in the fuckin' family.

Shortly after his sweep and pulling his sidearm from the hidden wall safe, the knock at the door alerted him to the Izumi brother's arrival. A quick look in the peep hole gave up his numbers and quality of company.

The man a fuckin' leg breaker? Who rolls with ass-tards like that?

He backed away from the door and leaned against the back of the couch, the .357 resting comfortable in his right hand.

"It's fuckin' open." he called, waiting for the fun to begin.

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His first surprise on opening the door was the sheer size of the guy. Cold, dark eyes were set in a hard face and he was easily six inches taller than Wakiki. He outweighed him, probably by a hundred pounds. Wakiki had no doubt that this was a man who could abandon his brother for years without losing sleep over it. The second surprise was, naturally, the big gun that fit in his hand way too well.

In retrospect, Wakiki should have this particular move; the man was military and lived and died by his gun. Why wouldn't he bring it to bear now? But it did change things; not the least that it scared the shit out of him, and his companions, too, no doubt.

Livy. The thought hardened his resolve, and as his two big buddies shrank back a little, the young Japanese man met Vinny's gaze with hate in his eyes. But he wasn't dumb; he stayed outside the apartment. "This won't take long, Wright," he said, his voice hard. "I have a message: don't hurt my sister again. If you do, I don't care who or what you are - I'll find you, and I'll made sure you never hurt her again."

And that was all he meant to say, but years of anger and frustration let his tongue get away from him. "If you do leave her this time, at least be man enough to tell her to her face. I don't want to hold her hand as she worries and cries for someone who was whoring it up in Vegas."

His coup de grâce came from a particularly dark place in his heart; he fished the condom out of his back pocket and tossed it at Wright. "And fuckin' learn to use those. That's another mess of yours I never want my sister to have to clean up after."

His message given, he left the door open rather than lean in to get it, and started to back away. Ozzie and Seb were only too happy to get the fuck away from the gun. Wakiki didn't want to be around the gun either, but he was filled with a deep sense of dissatisfaction with what little he had done. His head told him he'd done what he came to do; his heart demanded that Wright hurt as much as Livy had. He couldn't defend her if Wright shot him, so he gave into his head - this time.

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It was all Vinny could do to keep a straight, somber look at the ridiculous little man while he puffed out his chest and threatened him. Even with numbers on their side, all three of them were one 'Boo!' shy of shitting their pants.

As the trio was slinking away, Vinny couldn't hold it in any longer, the condom had done him in and he busted out laughing, letting loose his roaring guffaw, the gun nearly dropping from his hands. Not that he cared, he clearly didn't need it against those three buffoons.

"Wait...wait ya fuckin' ass-tards, hold up." Vinny called after them, still laughing. "Ya at least deserve a beer after that shit."

He had to respect the man's effort to defend his sister, if nothing else.

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"Yeah, not happening," Wakiki said, his face flushed with more anger than before. Clearly, this fucker thought he was a joke. Let him think that - it'd give Wakiki the advantage of surprise if he had to move against him. "I don't drink with fuckers who ruin my sister's life."

That wasn't a fair assessment, but Wakiki didn't care. "Yeah, that's right. Livy made some bad calls in her life, but she was given some shitty choices. So I blame you for what happened to her, for knocking her up and abandoning her to predations of someone like fuckin' Bill Warrens." Wakiki shook his head. "Don't worry, he gets his share of blame too. But if you hadn't fucked with Livy's heart, she might not have let that scum crawl back into her life, and then she-" He stopped, his fists clenching as he remembered that terrible night, the one he almost became a murder - and the one that he wished he had split blood. "Then the world might still have the bold, sassy woman I grew up with instead of the scared, meek person she is now."

He turned away from Wright, as angry as he had been with Bill. The only difference now was that he knew that what Wright had done wasn't as bad as what Bill had done. He didn't deserve what Bill had gotten - yet.

Jesus, Livy had terrible taste in men.

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Vinny hadn't heard anything after 'knocking her up'. His brain had more or less shut down to process everything all over again.

"Wait a fuckin' shitty-ass moment...get your ass back in here. What do you fuckin' mean, 'knocked her up'?" he asked, clearly having lost his usual confidence and bravado. "Don't fuckin' remember much, but I fuckin' know I didn't knock her up!"

Vinny jumped for the door, clearly ready to take this conversation wherever they were going, if not back into his apartment.

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"Don't remember much?" Wakiki repeated, his fists clenching as he considered this final insult: Livy had mattered so little to this asshole that he barely remembered her. He spun around to face Wright, his expression cold and furious. "Maybe you should try to remember harder, because that's exactly what you did. She was pretty fucking clear about that, and I trust my sister to be able to count days up right. If it'd been Bill's she wouldn't have had to get rid of it."

"Wak, if you're going to talk about this stuff, maybe we should go indoors," Ozzie said, putting a massive hand on Wakiki's shoulder with astounding gentleness. The big man looked uncomfortable as he glanced at Vinny's neighbors.

"Yeah, I'm not going into his apartment so that he can shot me as a trespasser." At the look on Vinny's face, Wakiki said, "Hey, I have no fuckin' reason to trust you."

"Our room is nearby - would you leave the gun here and talk with us there?" Ozzie asked, looking to Vinny. "It's clear that more is going on than we originally thought."

"Fuck that," Wakiki said angrily. "He doesn't deserve to know."

Ozzie shook his head. "But he should still know what happened to Livy, if he's trying to date her again."

"Hey, that's her secret," Wakiki said, turning on his friend, his hands clenched.

"You're angry and you're not thinking," Ozzie said softly. "And I doubt she's said anything about what Carl or Bill did." He grabbed his friend's shoulders. "You can keep your sister's faith, but I was there, too. I know what happened.

"This shit should have been worked out years ago - Livy should have gone to the police and gotten therapy," he said. "And I am ashamed that I didn't do what I knew was right at that time. Come with us, Wright, and let's see what we can work out, for the good of everyone."

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Vinny stood there, listening to the heated debate, some directed at him. Anger was a good way to get people to speak, less rational thought.

The fact that he, by some miracle, had impregnated Olivia would have to wait as the discussion had turned to darker subjects. The identity of the ass-tard that had broken Olivia had been given a name...or names. Bill and Carl's days were numbered. If it was the same Bill, and it seemed obviously so, then he would be easy enough to find, the man was an idiot. Carl, however...more information was needed.

"Let's fuckin' roll." Vinny said nodding and grabbing his jacket as he rushed to turn out the lights.

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Wakiki was silent and sulky on the walk over; they hadn't kidded about it being close. It was only a couple of blocks away, too close to be happenstance. The room itself was a simple hotel room. Two double beds took up most of the room, and a hastily assembled sleeping space on the floor indicated where the third one slept.

The men all found seats, save the hereto quiet man, who said, "Don't really want to hear this again" before exiting the room to smoke on the balcony.

Ozzie was the cordial one, securing chairs and pulling beers from where they'd been chilling in a cooler. The three men in the room each accepted a beer and settled into beds or in a chair. Ozzie looked at Wakiki for a moment; when the Japanese man didn't say anything, Ozzie started. "Livy was dating someone named Bill Warrens-"

"I fucking know Bill," Vinny grunted.

Ozzie looked at Wakiki, who said, "Bill was in Kuwait, too."

"Oh, right... Well, he was living with Livy-"

"I should probably tell it," Wakiki said, and there was distaste in his voice. Vinny got the feeling that Wakiki was more reluctant over the telling of it than just telling it to him. "No offense, I know the story better." Ozzie made a go-ahead gesture and Olivia's brother started.

"After you didn't show up, and we hired the PI to find out you weren't dead in a ditch somewhere, Livy was stuck with her apartment," Wakiki said. "She couldn't keep up the rent, and while Mom and Dad would have helped, she found another source of income, fuckin' Bill. He moves in, eventually, they're dating again.

"In March of next year, Livy calls me early in the morning." Her brother was staring straight ahead, his eyes blazing with anger. "She's bad, something's wrong. She said she and Bill had a fight and broke up. I go and pick her up, take her home. She's... like she is now. Quiet. Scared. She won't tell me what's wrong, but asks me to get her stuff from Bill's. So I grab a few friends and head over.

"Bill's fuckin' drunk and all 'Where's Liv? She slipped out while I was getting breakfast.' We start asking him questions, then start smacking him around. Eventually, he tells us-"

Wakiki stopped and Ozzie picked up immediately, loyal to his friend. "Bill told us he owed some guy named Carl money, and was going to kill him if he didn't pay him back. Carl agreed to forgive the debt if Bill would invite him over and then give him some time alone with Livy. Bill said he agreed, on the condition that he not hurt her. Carl agreed and then showed up with three friends. Bill wanted to object, but he was afraid for his own life. So he went and hung out on the balcony while... they..." Ozzie sighed.

"While they raped my little sister," Wakiki said, drawing each word out as if it hurt.

"Bill said he was going to make it up to her," Ozzie said, his expression twisted with disgust. "I'm not sure what he thought he could do to 'make it up to her' but then, as near as I can tell, he was a fuckin' retard."

"Bill knows his full name, I know he does," Wakiki snarled, his fists clenching. His half-emptied beer bottle shook. "He's just more afraid of that fuck than me."

"Bill claimed that we shouldn't move against Carl, that he was military and had a lot of friends," Ozzie added. He looked to Vinny. "Can you find him with that information, but no last name?"

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Vinny managed somehow to keep an outward calm as the story was retold of Bill's utter betrayal and cowardice. However, when it came time for him to speak, his face was beet-red with suppressed fury. "No." he forced out.

There won't be anything left of the fuck-shit when I'm done.

"If Bill knows, then I know. Know where the mother-fuckin' shitty-ass pussy-face is?"

Click to reveal.. (Vinny's thought bubble (profane))
Fuck you, you fuckin' cum-swapping ass-fucking shit lickin' cockknocker, suck a fucking dick out of yer fucking faggotcream filled fucking fuckhole, I'll fuck yer goddamn ass back to the fuckin past and fuck yer scissorfightin loose-as-a-goose aidsbag of a retard bitch mother up her fucking rotbox of a shitshoot with a fucking lepars severd fuckin' stump, that way yer goddamn fuckin abortion that lived ass will never fuckin be.. fuck you, you fuckin fucker..
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Wakiki looked surprised for a second, but that faded quickly. "No, I don't," he said. "I have a good private-eye who can find him pretty easily, though. A couple of days, we should know." The man's eyes turned speculative as he looked at Vinny. "Ozzie and Seb need to get home, but you and me - we're going to see this all the way through, right?" At Vinny's look, Wakiki shrugged. "C'mon, I haven't seen much evidence of your commitment to anything."

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"Oh, there is no lack of commitment. Hire the ass-tard, Bill needs squeezed. Don't give a fuck if you stick around...the tweedle tards either." Vinny replied, gesturing to Seb and Ozzie. This is between me and my fuck-ups.

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Yeah, yeah, whatever, ya ain't got the balls to see a man dead, you can hardly stand the sight of a gun, ya fuckin' pussy.

"Sure, whatever. Tell the fuck-face Dick to get his ass in gear pronto. They find all that shit online, shouldn't be any reason we don't get it back in...fuck...24 hours at most." Vinny said, pulling out a cigar.

With practiced motion, the cigar was quickly lit, wisps of hazy dancers seductively climbing towards the popcorn ceiling of the aged room as the cherry glowed, urging them on.

"The fuckin' minute you got a location, you call me, got it?" he added, giving Wak a look that could imply nothing but obedience and swift punishment if he disobeyed.

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"Yeah, yeah, I got it already," Wakiki snapped. "I'll do what the big man says or he'll snap me in half. Don't forget, I want him, too. And more importantly, none of this would be happening if you hadn't fucked up in the first place. Think about that."

He probably shouldn't goad the foul-tempered, foul-smelling man in front of him. But Wakiki couldn't help it. He'd be damned if he'd take shit from this asshole - when he wasn't hiding behind a gun. Could Wright take him in a fist fight? Sure. Wakiki was pretty damn sure he could. He'd still get a few good ones in before he was down for the count.

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Vinny had thought about it, but this little shit, Olivia's brother or not, was about one step from a visit to Emergency. Doing the only thing he could do until more information was put in their lap, Vinny got up and left without a word. Last thing he needed to do was destroy the one man with contact information for Bill and end this quest for revenge early.

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October 7, 2004

Wakiki was starting to wonder if Moreno had just pocketed his advance and disappeared when he heard back from the man. "Wakiki, I'm sorry to tell you this, but it's going to take me longer than I thought," Moreno said immediately.

"Ok, can I ask why?" Wakiki asked, trying to be patient. He'd been on-edge ever since Wright had left the hotel room. Seb and Ozzie had gone back home yesterday, and being alone hadn't helped.

"I found where he'd been a week and a half ago," Moreno said and Wakiki heard frustration under the professional tone to his voice. "But he's moved."

"Didn't leave a forwarding address?" Wakiki inquired.

"If it were just that, I'd have found him by now," Moreno replied, managing to not sound irritated that his client was treating him like a moron. "He's gone. I'm talking Witness Protection gone. His social isn't being used right now, credit cards were all paid off and cancelled - there's nothing in his name."

"Shit! God damnit!" Wakiki pulled the phone away from his ear so that he could focus on calming down; when his breathing was normal again, he put the phone back and asked, "What's the next step?"

Moreno hesitated and said, "Clearly, it'll take me longer. And I can't guarantee success."

Wakiki closed his eyes, seeing himself moving into a nice cardboard box when he got home. "Do it." You're stupid-proud and obsessed. Fucker.

Then Moreno offered a ray of light. "I have one lead - while he was married, he was seeing some girl on the side. I've talked to her... I'm not going to say more on the phone, but something weird was up. Something spooky."

Spooky? What a weird wor- Shit. Government spook? Is that the spooky that he means? "Can you give me her contact information? I would like to talk to her directly," he said.

Moreno agreed and gave it to him. "Ok that's all I have but, I'll be in touch," Moreno said and hung up. Wakiki was quiet for a moment, then sat down and called Wright. Fortunately, he got his voice mail, and he quickly reported that their man had hit a snag and it would take longer. He wasn't saying more over an unsecured line into a government mountain-fortress. That done, he made arrangements to fly out to Spokane, Washington, and talk to Ellie Carver.

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October 8, 2004

The door opened as he knocked, and Wakiki nearly brained the pretty, petite black girl who answered the door. She didn't look exactly like Livy, but the resemblance was there, and his hatred for Bill grew another size as he inquired, "Ellie Carver?"

"Yeah," she said, smiling openly. She didn't appear to be afraid of him, and she seemed friendly - not unlike how Livy used to be. "I'm afraid that if you're selling something-"

"No, no..." Wakiki said quickly. "I'm looking for information actually, about someone you know."

"Are you another guy looking for Bill?" she asked, her smile fading as irritation masked her features.

Wakiki put on his most charming smile. "Yes, I'm afraid I am. Sorry to keep bringing him up for you."

"It's ok," she huffed. "I mean, it's clear by now that he's an asshole and I'm better off without him. Never get involved with a married man."

"I promise I won't," Wakiki said solemnly, drawing a smile out of her. A smile that he belatedly realized was a bit flirty. Sorry, lady, you look way too much like my sister for anything like that. Also, I don't want Bill's sloppy seconds. "I understand he's moved - you don't know where?"

"No," she sighed, her smile fading as Wakiki distracted her. "He said he was going to leave his wife, and then once he had custody of his son, he was going to move in with me. But that's shot all to hell."

She looked like she might cry and Wakiki hurried on before he had to see her weeping over fuckin' Bill. "Did he mention anywhere he wanted to live or move?"

"He missed Berkeley, but he said he couldn't go back because some dude had threatened to kill him for dating his sister," Ellie mused, thinking. "The only thing odd about the moving away was that he came over a couple of days before and said he'd had some guys in black suits asking him questions about one of his exs. He figured she'd gotten in trouble with the government or something. Then the next day, he canceled our date, and then he didn't even bother to cancel the next - he just stood me up. I drove by his place and it was for sale, just like that. It was so weird. I bet he has to testify against that ex, and he's in Witness Protection."

"Sounds like it," Wakiki answered easily. He pulled out a bit of paper and wrote down his name and number. "Do me a favor. If you think of anything else or he contacts you, please let me know. I'm trying to find him - I need some contact information for a mutual friend." How he choked that out, he didn't know.

After leaving her place, he swung over to Bill's old place. He broke into the empty house and went through it, checking for loose floor boards and things hidden in the vents. Trash had been left behind; Wakiki wondered how they planned to sell this place if they didn't clean up. Of course, the 'for sale' sign could be a ploy.

Regardless, he din't find anything useful. Frustrated, he left both the house and Spokane.

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October 26, 2004

Neither he nor Moreno had made progress on finding Bill, but Wakiki had found success in other ways. He'd lined up an apartment for himself and arranged for two extra keys to be made. Livy would get one right away; Aradia would get one at a more appropriate time. Find a job had been easy; he was good at what he did, which was convincing corporations to buy materials from his company rather than another. His natural charm stood him in good stead, and his employers loved him - and his sales numbers. It wouldn't pay quite as much as the job in Berkeley, but things were a bit cheaper here so it all worked out.

Now he was stuck waiting - for his job to start, for Livy and Ari to get home or for Moreno to contact him. He wished Seb or Ozzie had stuck around. At least then he'd have someone to place a bet about what would happen first. Betting yourself lacked a certain sanity.

His phone rang and stopped his odd contemplations. Kicking into a seated position, he grabbed the phone and answered, hoping it was Aradia.

"Wakiki, I found him." Moreno's voice was heated with exultation. "I'm emailing you the basics now and will overnight a package with the rest."

Wakiki was stunned for a moment before he bounced off the bed and threw his free hand up into the air. "Yes! Moreno, you're a god among men. Just send me the bill."

"You got it. Let me know if you need me again."

"Will do," Wakiki said, all too aware that once he had Carl's full name, he'd likely have to hire him once again. And this time, he might need to borrow some money from Mom and Dad to do it. Elated, he hung up and waited for the email. When he opened it and saw the Salt Lake City address, he did a little dance and crowed, "I've got you, mutha-fucka! Whoo!"

He quickly called Aradia, feeling perturbed when it went straight to voice mail. "Hey, sweetie," he said, clearly hyper, "I've found him. Call me when you get home, k?"

Next he called Wright, also getting a voice mail. "Moreno came through. I know where he is. Call me when you can."

There was no way he was letting Bill slip out of his fingers again. He secured airfare to Salt Lake City, packed his bags and checked out of his hotel. After he was done with this, he'd just fly on to Berkeley, clean out his place and move it out here.

But before he moved on with his life, he had to finish the hunt from his past.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wakiki was bored. He hadn't known that missions took this long; regardless, he was tired of sitting here, watching Bill come in and out of his house every day. Worse was watching him interact with his wife. She was pretty and sweet; you could see it in her eyes. He didn't like the thought that they'd be bringing her pain, but there were two reasons to not feel totally bad about it.

Click to reveal.. (Flashback)
"Wha? It's before ten, Livy," he muttered sleepily. The ringing had woken him up; he wasn't sure how he'd gotten the phone open and to his ear right.

"I'm sorry," she said, and the wrongness in her voice jerked him awake.

"What's wrong?" he asked, sitting up and kicking his legs over the edge of the bed.

"Nothing much," she said. Her words couldn't have been more false if she'd added, 'and that's a lie, by the way' to the end of her sentence. "But Bill and I broke up, and I need a ride."

"I'll be right there." Wakiki said, pressing his phone to his ear as he dragged on his pants and shirt from yesterday. "Are you at your place?"

"No, it's just Bill's now. I'm on Fifth, near the campus."

That was a long way from her place - well, the place she had been living. "I'll be there, just... stay there." He shut off the connection and struggled into his clothing. He was fighting panic; Livy had sounded broken, and Wakiki was fighting a terrible dread.

First, she was better off without him. Even if she didn't know, she would be safer without his cowardly, selfish ass around. Wakiki had no doubt that the only reason she was still unharmed was because fuckin' Bill had never had to choose between his life and her safety. He'd already proven where he'd land on that scale.

Click to reveal.. (Flashback)
Her dark eyes were huge, the whites showing in her eyes; he could see that even before he'd selected his parking spot. He pulled up and got out of the car, moving to her. She didn't see him until he touched her; then she jumped away from him before seeing it was him and grabbing him. He hugged her back, holding her tight. A hard shudder passed through her body and she broke down, sobbing into his shirt. Ignoring the stares they were getting, Wakiki hugged her closer and murmured softly, trying to offer comfort.

It took effort, but she calmed enough to be taken to the car. "I'm taking you home," he said, pulling out and rejoining traffic at dangerous speeds. He wanted to be calm. He couldn't. There was nothing in him that would be calm right now.

"I want Mom," she whispered and his fingers tightened on the wheel when he heard just how broken she sounded. He didn't argue, he just changed direction and started for the other place he called home.

"Livy, what happened?" he asked, putting his hand on her shoulder.

She shook her head. "Bill and I broke up," she whispered; her voice sounded raw, as if she'd been screaming. She was quiet for a moment. "I don't want to see him again. Would you get my things?"

"Absolutely." There was no hesitation, no doubt. Plus, it sounded like he and Bill needed to have a chat.

Second, Bill deserved what he had coming. He'd deserved it for years, and Wakiki was determined that he'd see it through. He had no doubt that Vinny could carry through, and that knowledge strengthened Wakiki's own determination. There was nothing like the knowledge that someone else would do your job if you couldn't to inspire you.

Click to reveal.. (Flashback)
Wakiki didn't consider himself a violent man. He sometimes joked that he was a double-pacifist; his family in Japan abhorred weapons and other violence, while his American family was full-bore anti-violence. But nothing in his life had ever felt better than driving his fist in Bill's face. Part of him was frightened by how deeply satisfying it felt. Another part of him was hungry; this venting wasn't enough, couldn't be enough after what that fucking coward had admitted.

There was murder in the air tonight, almost a palatable being that stood with the people in the room. Derrick and Ozzie each held an arm for Wakiki, letting him focus on hitting. Each strike was a vindication for his sister; each blow delivered some of the pain that this maggot had given to her. His own knuckles had passed beyond scraped, beyond numb and were just raw now. Wakiki didn't care. That wasn't important. Bill still moaned, half-audible words that begged for mercy. There was little of that here tonight.

"Wakiki, you need to stop," Derrick said softly, letting go of Bill. The man slumped to the side, pulled over by Ozzie. "You're going to kill him."

"He fucking deserves at least that much," Wakiki growled. "I could kill him a hundred times over, and it still wouldn't be enough."

"It's murder. You're not a murderer," Derrick said, putting a blood-splattered hand on his shoulder. "I'm not either, and neither is Livy. If you're going to kill him, I'm leaving."

"I'll kill him," Sebastian said eagerly. He'd had a crush on Livy once, a long time ago.

But Derrick's words were true, and Wakiki felt himself pull back from that red-rimmed edge in his mind. Reaching down, he grabbed Bill's neck with both of his hands, squeezing until Bill choked. "Listen up, you fuck," he hissed, his eyes burning with hate. "You're going to leave town. If I see you anywhere near my sister again, I'll fucking kill you with fire, slowly and as painfully as I can. Gag if you understand me."

Bill nodded and made a rasping noise. Disgusted with Bill and himself, Wakiki dropped him. "C'mon," he said, "let finish getting her stuff and get the fuck out of here."

Wakiki's hands tightened until the skin squeaked against the plastic. He'd already have gone in and taken care of Bill, but he'd given his word, and he'd wait for Vinny and Aradia to finish his mission and join him. He could wait, just a bit longer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The last mission had been stressful, one that had required real command and Vinny was feeling it as he plopped into his chair and checked his messages, hoping to hear from Pissin' Pants Izumi.

Press one to listen to your new me--

Originally Posted By: Wakiki Izumi
October 26, 2004 Moreno came through. I know where he is. Call me when you can.
To listen to your message ag--

Vinny quickly dialed Wak Izumi, snorting as he realized what the man's initials were.

Wee, wee, wee, all the way home...fuckin' ass-tard.

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"Be there tomorrow..." Vin said,trailing off, as he opened his email. There was a moment of silence before he continued, "Fuckin' ass-tard pilots! Shit the fuckin' shit, tomorrow!"

"Fuckin' looks like it is gonna have to wait. Gotta fuckin' Rebounder."

Then there was the audible click that let Wakiki know that Vin had hung up.

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Eddie scowled as the asshole hung up. "Livy, you need to have your head examined," he muttered, putting the phone down on the car seat. Well, fuck Wright. If Aradia could come out and meet him-

Wait, isn't she on his team? Cursing, Eddie started the car. He couldn't wait here any longer, not if he didn't know when they'd be coming. "I'll be back, you fucker," he muttered at the house holding the unseen Bill.

He left Aradia a message, asking if she'd be around in the next day or two, or if she was still on duty.

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It was two days later that Aradia was finally able to call Wakiki. She had gotten back from the off-land assignment, and the conspiracy plans - doubled with the discussions between herself and the other female specialists - had left her emotionally drained. Neither was she looking forward to this phone call, for she didn't really know how much she was going to tell Wakiki, or how angry he was going to be. But he had called several times, and had apparently found Bill. So, he needed to know. He was probably chomping at the bit to see what the man knew.. and now she knew that he wouldn't know anything. She also wasn't sure how much they were able to hear her cell phone conversations on the base, so she knew she would need to meet him. He picked up the phone, sounding eager to speak with her, but a bit winded.

"Hey, sweetie!"

"Hey. I got your message, we need to talk. Can I meet you somewhere?"

Her tone of voice held an edge of anxiousness, but if Aradia said they needed to meet, it was a safe assumption she was afraid to talk about whatever it was over the phone. They settled on a meeting place, and within forty-five minutes he managed to make it to the spot they had agreed on. It was the place he had first driven her to talk, and remote enough that he knew she must be serious about their privacy. She was perched on the hood of the vehicle she had borrowed to get there, waiting anxiously and fidgeting with her nails as she waited. As he pulled up, she turned and smiled at him, but it wasn't the carefree smile he had seen on her face the last time he'd seen her. She looked tired, and bit her lip a little as he approached.


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"... we need to talk... meet you...?"

Wakiki had been around the dating wheel before. He knew what that was code for: "I'm dumping your ass for a reason that may or may not be valid, so let's meet somewhere you can't scream at me without making a scene, ok?" He sighed as he sat down on his couch, which was still in the back of the rental. He wasn't sure how he was going to get it out of there, but he didn't care right now. One of the main reasons he was moving here was about to make herself a reason to not move here. "God damnit." At least he'd still be around for Livy. That thought wasn't enough to pierce the shell of depression that was rising, but he fooled himself into thinking it was enough.

Seeing her nervous bearing only concreted his belief. "Let the cutting and ego-shredding begin," he sighed as he put his car into park and hopped out. Unlike before, this was his older sporty knock-off; he'd towed it to Colorado behind the U-Haul. "Hey, beautiful," he said as he got into earshot - no way was he making this easy for her. The bundle of mixed wildflowers in his hand was for the same reason; because he would have gotten them for her anyway, and because it would make things harder on her. "Missed me?" he asked with a knowing, sardonic smirk as he presented the boutique to her.

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Surprisingly, her face brightened up a little when she actually saw him, which didn't seem to quite mesh with his getting dumped theory. She stood up and walked over to him, tilting her face up to meet his lips in a fairly firm kiss before taking the flowers with a little smile.

"Thanks. I've had a really bad couple of days."

She bit her lip slightly, chewing on it nervously.

"What about you? How have you been? I got your message, I know you found him. Have you done anything about it yet?"

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So maybe he wasn't getting dumped. His smile softened a touch at the thought, but he didn't relax just yet. There was still plenty of time for her to rip the rug out from under him. He was about to hug her when she asked her question, and her remark was lost in a sea of annoyance. "Yeah, I found him, but Wright played the cock-tease and called only and then said he couldn't. And I had to get to Cali and-"

He cut off. "I'm gonna stop whining. I thought about doing something, but I promised you that you could be in on this, so I'm waiting." He looked grim, but his fingers were gentle as he reached out and brushed some hair back from her eyes. "That's amazing girl-magic," he said suddenly, smiling. "Your dye job is always perfect - no roots or anything. If a guy tried that, he'd end up looking like Pepe le Pew."

He was getting distracted by her, but didn't quite care. She had her finger firmly on his "girl-pretty-dur" button, which was just a fact of life he was going to have to live with - and possibly enjoy.

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Her lips twitched a little ironically at the compliment, and she reached up and rested her hand lightly on his chest.

"Thanks. That means a lot to me, Waki. And it might be better that way, too."

She saw his eyes flicker questioningly at her, and she drew in a slow, nervous breath before she continued.

"It depends on exactly what we want out of Bill. I mean.. if you want revenge on him, I understand, and I'm there with you. If you're just going after him for information on Carl, though.. there's no more need. I know who he is now."

Suddenly, her brows drew together angrily and he could see her temper and frustration flash in her eyes. Her voice grew bitter and angry as she practically spat out her next sentence.

"Up until a couple days ago, I even knew where he was, god damnit!"

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Aradia licked her lips slightly, trying to figure out what she could tell him without telling him. He saw the confusion in her face for a moment as she warred with herself quietly, and then finally her exasperation broke through.

"Fuck it. I could probably get in trouble for telling you this, but I'm pretty sure I'd get in a lot more trouble for planning what we are anyway, so why sweat the small stuff. So I'm gonna make this simple."

He saw her think for a minute, as if she were putting it together in her head.

"Look.. the group we work for, they're good guys. They're trying to do good stuff, and they've never done anything bad to.. any of us. Anything that's happened to us, it wasn't them that did it. But we have this group that oversees what we're doing. They're like watchdogs or something. Well, this group.. Livy pissed them off. And so.. they brought him in. As a way of trying to intimidate her. I think that must've been why you lost Bill. They probably tried to hide him or something. She didn't tell me or anything, but.. I was able to figure it out. I had to follow him and spy on him, but I figured it out. I made sure. And by the time I knew for sure, it was..."

She paused then, all her words having tumbled out in a hurry, like a person trying to rush through an unpleasant story. But she trailed off at the end, guilt and frustration welling up on her face and in her voice.

"We had to leave the next morning. And I guess.. I guess I thought we'd need time. Time to do what we needed to do, I dunno. Time to hide the body. I had no reason to think he'd be gone! But by the time I got back, that's just what happened. Poof! He was fuckin' gone, and now the fuckin' IOA is hiding him somewhere, and we'll probably never fuckin' find him! And I am so fucking sorry, Waki!"

She hit her palm against his chest then, taking out her aggression on the only source available to her. She waited, half-angry and half-afraid, for his reaction, her face twisted in anger and sadness, the faint sheen of tears welling up in her eyes.

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Wakiki blinked for a moment, struggling with baseline speed to comprehend everything she'd said. Finally, two things settled out in the morass that was swirling in his brain: Hatchins had been close enough to spit on, and some government agency had risked his sister's health and sanity because she wouldn't play their game.

With effort, he didn't pull away, didn't rant or rave. It took several moments for him to say through gritted teeth the most important thing: "I'm not mad at you. You have nothing to be sorry about."

He pulled her into a hug, holding her because otherwise, he'd have to destroy something. He had a feeling that he was going to get to fulfill that destructive desire soon, whenever they found Bill. "You've done nothing wrong," he said again.

After he'd calmed, he said, "OK, I only have this to say. Bill deserves vengeance still, for what he did. And this IOA people deserve no less, too. And Carl What's-his-fuck. So, I'm willing to do whatever I've got to do to help you guys make this all happen." He paused, then said, "Not whatever, I got limits. Like no dressing up like a woman - I'd look awful in hose."

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