What We Are Striving ForMature

Keith is a hit-man and illegally trafficks stolen organs. Having previously lost his life to gambling, a man, Malcolm, took him in and trained him. Trevor, his best friend, changed his mind about what he was doing and left..

His hands were cold, even from where they hid in his pockets. Steam from his mouth misted every few seconds and briefly obstructed his view of the pavement below. The cold stone was as colorless and quiet as the rest of the winter-veiled city; a stoic symbol, perhaps, of how far he had fallen.

With every step he took, Keith could feel the weight of his gun bear down on his thigh, a constant reminder of his lacking humanity. Anxiously, Keith glanced ahead and spotted the landmark-- the failing Leopard Cafe. He slowed to a halt and looked around fervently, tapping his foot impatiently. Well, he had kept his end of the compromise, he thought grouchily, rolling his shoulders. And now he couldn't stop shaking. Damn the cold, and damn him.

Keith sighed and ran a hand through his thick black hair. He hadn't been ditched this many times since high school. And here he'd thought people gained maturity as they aged. "Coward," he told the empty streets, wiping his nose on his sleeve disdainfully. "Can't even talk to me face-to-face." He turned to head back the way he came but was stopped by Trevor's looming figure a few yards away.

"Oh, hey!" Keith greeted cheerfully, attempting to redeem himself with a smile. "I thought you'd decided not to show. Again."

“I've been busy," Trevor replied easily, his face a mask of calm. Keith fought back a frown.

"Obviously," he nodded, hugging himself for warmth. "We all get busy this time of year..."

Trevor grinned toothily, though it made him more intimidating than not. His brown eyes almost seemed red at this distance and his unruly hair stuck out in all directions. Keith absently compared him to an angry cat. "That so? Business is good then?" Trevor stalked closer, and Keith hid his discomfort.

"Uh, yeah... it is. I guess. Anyway. Trevor. You know why I'm here." Keith stepped back and struggled to keep his teeth from chattering.

"I do," Trevor said.

"Well... we'd kind of really appreciate it if you'd stop killing our clients."

"Can't do that."

"Ugh, okay then, listen. We need those people. Without them, there is no us. Tthink about it! This will never be a dying trade. People will always have organs." Keith paused and shivered helplessly. "You shouldn't have left. I mean... I wish you hadn't."

Trevor's eyes glinted violently and Keith's shoulders sagged. "Malcolm doesn't know what he's doing," Trevor snarled, tossing his head with disgust. "He puts us all in danger and will suck the cock of whoever pays the most. The highest bidder gets to take the life of someone who pissed them off, whether they've got the right or not. But acting on our own, we can get rid of the real scum! Make the world a better place! We can be good."

Keith rocked back on his heels and exhaled slowly. Trevor had a point, he had to admit, even though it went against everything Keith had come to base his decisions on. People were, intrinsically, destructive. So why not wield that trait and use it to prosper? Yes, it made sense that Trevor was tired of being paid to murder and steal the organs of those who held petty grudges. Perfectly understandable. And yet... His desire, his need to gamble with his life overpowered all else.


Despite that, Keith felt a sliver of doubt snake up his spine and he tried to distract himself by digging into his jacket in search of a cigarette. It took him the span of an awkward silence to remember he had promised to quit, and buried his face in his hands with exasperation. "What do you want from me??"

Trevor was quiet. Keith knew what he wanted.

"I can't. No. No no no. I refuse. They're my family. I'm stronger than ever. I'm healthy now! Malcolm saved our lives. He put us at the top."

"Don't make excuses," Trevor said.

"I'm not making excuses! He saved you too!"

"He took a bunch of nobodies and turned them into killers!"

Keith was sure his eyebrows were betraying him. He could feel them rise into his hairline, shocked by the confidence in Trevor's voice. He begged them to fall accordingly, to stop embarrassing him, but to no avail. "Trevor--"

"Now or never, Keith." More quietly, Trevor added, "Wine or water."

There was a long moment of hesitation. Someone leaving the cafe stopped once to stare, then shuffled on their way, leaving the small establishment empty. Keith felt a small twinge of relief. Trevor's eyes clearly displayed a deep sorrow. Then Keith winced outright.

"I'm so sorry, Trevor."

The gun was in Keith's hand before Trevor could bend to duck. He had always been slow, Keith though ruefully, always a tad too slow. To Keith's chagrin, the first two bullets ricocheted off the pavement. He blamed it on the cold. He had definitely not been trying to give Trevor a chance, because the third and fourth bullets buried themselves soundly in Trevor's chest.

He collapsed, and Keith was by his side in seconds. "Shit, shit, shit."

He was more worried about where the first bullets had gone than he was about losing his best friend. Undoubtedly.

Trevor gurgled unintelligibly. Blood trickled from his mouth and nose, pooling around his head and staining Keith's unfortunate pants. He coughed up a spray of red and gripped his shirt with bone-white knuckles. "Shut up, Trevor," Keith hissed.

He bit his lip and hung his head, rubbing the back of his hand across his mouth. He was distantly aware of the need to get the hell away, but the streets were still empty. He.. he had time.

Keith tucked his gun into the front of his pants and slowly bent over Trevor's body. He pressed the palm of one hand to his soaking chest and waited. His blood was slick and warm, flowing through the holes in his flesh. A cold hand searched for Keith's because even then, Trevor didn't want to die alone.

Keith held his hand willingly and felt for the dying beat of Trevor's heart. Not once did he consider harvesting the organ; he considered it too pure. Keith didn't know how long he sat for, but his hand stayed until the weak pulse faded to a desperate murmur, then pulled Trevor over his shoulders and told him to go to sleep.

The End

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