Warm-Up Wednesdays | Emos at the End of the World or You Know Whatever’s Happening | 9/14/2022

Was going for a very specific action movie interim scene sort of vibe with sassy teenagers bantering. I was incredibly sick and exhausted with my first and hopefully last case of covid, so I’ll blame the lack of polish on that. Categorizing this one as a warm-up rather than a WIP because I’m not sure if I have any true plans to work further on it at the moment with all of the projects I have going, but, spoiler alert, it leaves off on enough of a cliffhanger note it feels wrong not to admit I have some idea of where the story would go.

Warning for allusions to gun violence and implied death.

When Reese saves Grace from a demon, he bangs out some garbage line about being her knight in shining armor. It just feels right, in like a D-list 90s movie sort of way. Just a big ol’ punctuation mark on blowing an ugly monster’s head off. Pow! He’d forgotten it as soon as he said it, really. But Grace hadn’t.

“You’re not really knightly,” Grace says, apropos of nothing.

“Huh?” Reese is preoccupied with trying to get demon guts off of his boot, scraping the toe back and forth against the floor. “Says who?”

She smirks, then looks ahead of them, on alert for whatever this hellhole throws at them next. It’s deceptively calm and quiet, for the moment. Grace steps over a prostrate demon corpse, somehow managing to make the motion look elegant. Grace…ful, even, despite having an assault rifle slung over her shoulder.

“No one needs to say it.” She gestures at—all of him.

Reese Walker, five foot don’t ask, skin and bones but still baby-faced someway somehow. They’re both dressed like Hot Topic and Spencer’s took turns throwing up on them, so she can’t make fun of that, at least.

“You wound me.” He gives up on trying to clean his boot and follows after her. “What brought this on?”

“Dunno. I was just thinking about it. I was never really the princess type, either. When I was a kid, I mean.”

She says that like they’re not seventeen. He lets it slide; he’d rather not think of himself as a child, either.

“More of a horse girl?”

She glances over her shoulder at him. “I liked wolves, actually.”

“Ahhh. Should’ve guessed.”

She turns to face him and gives him a playful smack on the back of the head. There isn’t enough force for it to really hurt. Her hand slides on top of his head and the gesture turns into more of a hair ruffle. It makes him feel like a little kid, which causes him to bat her away, even if he likes how it feels.

“Hey, listen.” He tries to get serious, which only makes her smile at him more. “If there are monsters around, I’m gonna protect you.”

She lifts her eyebrows. “Who says I need protecting?”

“Uh, lived experience did.” He holds up three fingers. “Three times, so far.”

He counts off the instances—there was that one time when the literally-hellish stuff started pouring out of a sinkhole in the street, that time they kind of technically saved each other at the abandoned water park, and then most recently—

She pushes his hand down. “We’ll just say I owe you one.”

“Three!” He lifts his hand back up and shakes it back and forth.

She mimics the gesture. “Fine, three, hero. I’ll call you if the monsters get to be too much.”

She’s just humoring him, but that word is more than enough to make him puff out his chest and strut a little. He never considers the possibility of turning into a monster she needs saving from.

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