I'm not sticking The End on this yet, because I'm still working on an epilogue. It won't take long...
Chapter 33 - Showdown
Connor sat on the very edge of the bed, as far from Liam as possible. The baby was sleeping still, and Connor hoped he wouldn't disturb him.
He stared blankly at the TV. It was some stupid show Marcus had clicked on earlier.
Connor was alone in the room. Marcus and Nathan had offered to pick up some baby supplies at the drug store down the road and Connor couldn't find a good reason to disagree
He wished he was with them though. He wished he was doing anything besides sitting in this sad motel room, bouncing his leg over and over in a nervous fashion.
He wished he was with M…
He finally got up and paced the room. Back and forth, over and over. He didn't know what to do with his pent up frustration and energy. He felt like he was ready for a fight.
Suddenly, there were three short knocks at the door. Marcus. Connor strode across the room and threw open the door.
"That was fast," he said as Marcus and Nathan squeezed inside, both of them carrying a shopping a couple shopping bags. Nathan also had the duffle bag from the house thrown over his shoulder.
"I feel like we're stocking up before an emergency or something," Marcus laughed. He tossed his bags on the bed and Connor could see they'd bought other things besides formula and diapers. It looked like one of the bags was filled with nothing but snacks; candy bars, bottles of pop, bags of chips...
"I doubt we'll be here for very long," Connor said uneasily.
"Who knows," Marcus said. "We drove around the lot when we got back. M's gone."
Connor felt his heart clench in his chest with worry. He could vaguely sense to presence of the agent. It felt distant though, not pressing. Connor suddenly had the feeling M had drawn the agent far away and that Connor would never find them.
He sat down hard on the edge of the bed. He groaned.
Connor buried his face in his hands and slowly shook his head. "I have a bad feeling about this," he said to Marcus. "I wish I could go to him. I wish he'd let me help."
Marcus clasped his shoulder and squeezed it comforting. "Don't worry. M has a lot of reasons to come back. I heard you guys talking earlier. You're getting married."
Connor snorted. "Yeah."
"That's awesome," Marcus encouraged. "You guys got a lot going for you. How's the job hunt going?"
Connor laughed bitterly. "It's going," he said. Honestly, his trip to the job agency felt like a lifetime ago.
"Great. You'll need a job. You two just had a baby," Marcus grinned.
Connor rolled his eyes.
"Relax. Take a nap maybe," he suggested.
There was no chance of that happening. Still, Connor knew he needed to distract himself somehow…
He grabbed the shopping bags with baby stuff and took them over to the other bed. He sat at the end and read the instructions on the baby bottle. Then he read the fine print on the can of formula and the corny company story on the side of the Pampers wrapper.
Maybe an hour passed.
Marcus watched TV from the other bed, leisurely munching on a bag of chips while Nathan sat in a chair by the door, alternatively texting and looking up every now and then to watch Marcus' show.
Liam woke up at some point, cranky and red-faced. Connor had already made him a bottle though and had diapers and wipes at the ready.
He gathered the supplies and then hovered over the crying infant, feeling more overwhelmed by the second. He had everything he needed, but he didn't know where to start…
Suddenly, a stack of linens and a bottle of water fell to the bed.
Connor looked over his shoulder. Nathan stood behind him.
"Lay a towel down. He's probably shit in that shirt by now," he said dryly. "Get ready to clean his ass. Oh, let me get a washcloth from the bathroom." Nathan breezed into the other room.
Connor quirked an eyebrow, but he did as Nathan suggested. He laid the towel down and gently transferred Liam to the middle of it.
Cautiously, he unwrapped the t-shirt.
"Fuck," he muttered. Nathan was right. Liam sat in a streak of black shit. There wasn't enough poop for there to be a huge mess on the baby, but Connor's shirt was definitely out of commission.
Nathan returned with the wash rag. He chuckled darkly. "Told ya," he said, eyeing the baby poo.
"I didn't bring another shirt," Connor complained. "What am I supposed to do now?"
"You've been walking around shirtless for a while now," Nathan pointed out. "Did you have fancy plans tonight or something?"
Connor huffed, and busied himself with cleaning the baby. He wadded up the t-shirt and tossed it towards the trash can just outside the bathroom door. No point in trying to salvage that.
He wiped the baby's behind with wipes, then he did a half-assed sponge bath everywhere else with the damp wash rag. After that, he fumbled through his first diapering.
Liam wasn't being very cooperative. He cried, fussed, and kicked through the whole thing. Nathan offered a bit of advice here and there, but he did nothing to physically help. He watched Connor struggle with a smile on his face.
"How do you know anything about babies?" Connor grumbled as he struggled to swaddle the infant in one of the blankets Nathan had brought over.
"Me and Jamie already went through the baby classes at the hospital. Didn't she mention?"
Connor shook his head.
"All the other couples were in their third trimester. Jamie signed us up way too early," Nathan said with a faint smile. "We learned baby CPR, diapering, how to feed the baby, how to swaddle him," Nathan gestured to Connor's attempt with the blanket. "Not bad."
"I learned from YouTube," Connor said gruffly. Then, he grabbed the baby bottle filled with formula and lifted Liam into his arms. "OK, let's see if you'll eat this," he muttered, tipping the bottle and touching the nipple to the corner of Liam's open mouth.
Liam latched onto the nipple immediately and started to suck.
Blessed silence filled the room and Connor sighed in relief. He sat on the bed and leaned back against the headboard while the baby in his arms sucked down his bottle.
"If that was your first time, you made it look easy. You did good," Nathan commented from the end of the bed.
"No better compliments than a quiet baby," Marcus chuckled.
Connor glared at them both. "That was my first time. And he shat all over my shirt! This is bullshit." He switched his glare down to the baby, but he couldn't hold it for long. His gaze softened and he tickled Liam's soft cheek with his thumb as he continued to feed.
"If it's that big a deal to ya, you can borrow my new shirt," Nathan said. "The one I got at Kohl's. It's in the car."
Connor grimaced, thinking about the collage of dollar bills and guns. He was about to refuse when he spotted something happening on the TV.
"Turn it up," Connor called to Marcus. "The TV! Turn it up!"
"Jeez, ok." Marcus grabbed the remote and turned up the volume.
"... sending in a bomb squad and evacuating the immediate area, just in case. The whole block is being sectioned off and secured until the scene can be cleared."
The image at the bottom of the screen blew up. It was footage from a helicopter as it flew over a block of stores. In the middle of the intersection, there was a large semi truck with a trailer attached. It was barely visible though the cloud of smoke billowing from under the flaming engine, but as Connor watched, a tiny drone zipped through the air.
"I recognize that street. That's less than five minutes from here," Connor said quickly.
Marcus nodded. "I think we came that way when we went shopping. That truck definitely wasn't there when we were."
"It's M," Connor said firmly. "I know it."
He looked down at the baby. Liam was just about done with his bottle, but he was struggling to finish. Connor pulled the bottle away and almost instantly, Liam's little eyes fluttered shut.
"I'm going," Connor said, gently setting Liam between the pillows. "Watch the baby for me."
"Where are the keys?" Connor asked, ignoring the question.
Marcus stared at Connor. "You should stay here where it's safe."
"M isn't safe," Connor said. "I'd be a coward if I stayed here. "
"No, you'd be rational, " Marcus said." You have no idea what's going on out there."
"Yes, I do," Connor snapped. "M is risking his life out there while we sit in here, watching TV and eating chips." Connor pointed a finger at the offending bag of chips on the bed. "This is a sign. I need to go help him."
Marcus thinned his lips. "You'll be back in one piece?"
"Good," Marcus said as he fished the car keys out of his pocket. "Because I'm fine with being Liam's godfather, but I don't have time to raise him. I've got my own kid on the way." He tossed the keys across the room and Connor caught them with a grin.
"You want to be godfather?"
"Might as well. I was here when he was born," Marcus said.
"What about me?" Nathan whined and Connor and Marcus looked his way. "I'm the one who delivered him!"
"You're Liam's uncle," Connor said with a snort. That's better than a godfather anyway. You're family. "
Nathan thought about it for a second." Alright, " he said slowly.
Connor pocketed the keys and looked around the room for anything else he might need. "That shirt…" he started. "You said it was in the car?"
"I think it got wedged under the passenger seat," Nathan said.
Connor nodded. "Cool. Ok. Wish me luck."
Nobody said anything though. Connor strode to the door, opened the lock and then stopped and looked back at the sleeping infant on the bed.
"See you later, kid."
He slipped out the door and hurried to the car. It was parked on their side of the building now, so he got there in just a few short seconds.
He checked under the passenger seat, first thing. He found Nathan's shirt and with a grimace, he ripped the sales tag off and pulled the top over his head.
It fit. It was a size too large though and with the stupid print on the front, it looked like Connor was trying to be a gangster. Whatever. No time to be picky…
He started the car and tore out of the lot.
As soon as he got on the road, he could see the smoke. He drove down a couple blocks, then made a quick left. Straight ahead, two police cars were parked in the road, blocking the intersection ahead off from the public. He couldn't see much from here, just a screen of black smoke.
He quickly pulled into a parking lot a few buildings away from the blocked-off intersection. The sign on the back entrance announced it was a funeral home. He parked as far from the building as he could and then jumped out of the car. He ran up to the sidewalk and stepped surreptitiously behind the nearest lamp post. From there, he peered down the street, wondering how he could get past the police.
There were two men in uniform at the end of the block. They stood guard in front of their cruisers. It looked like they were talking to each other.
This obviously wasn't Connor's entrance. He jogged back to the car, took a quick look around to make sure no one was watching, then he quickly stepped over the brick barrier separating the funeral home from the building behind it.
Over the wall, there was another parking lot with a couple cars. It bordered a huge brick building with little balconies out the back. It looked like a bunch of apartments.
Connor skirted the building down a little alleyway and came out on the street over. He put his hands in his pockets and slowed down some. There were people on this street. People walking into shops along the sidewalk. People strolling casually in pairs. People in cars, driving past with smiling faces inside.
Connor power walked through the crowd. He saw very little of the places and people he passed. He had one mission… To reach the column of smoke down the road.
The crowd thinned the closer Connor got to the blocked off area. There were more apartments down this way though, so Connor figured he'd use them as his excuse if he was questioned. He was just looking for a friend's place.
He slowed to a stop as he got to the corner. He peeked around the bend.
There was a single police car at the end of the road. The officer sat in his car, on the radio, totally not paying attention.
Connor squatted down and ran for it. He snuck behind the cop car and ducked under the yellow tape.
He covered his mouth with a hand as he came upon the cloud of black smoke. The truck in the middle of road was still burning ominously. And there was no one around. Everything was quiet.
There were a handful of businesses on either side of the street, a few with busted display windows, one with its door jammed open with someone's abandoned shopping bags. A couple townhouses were grouped together on the corner. They were dark and empty. There were still some cars parked in the street too. They were covered in dust and debris.
It was a mini war zone.
Suddenly, he heard an eerie scream from the left. He turned. The sound came from an old theater. The glass on the front entrance had shattered and it laid glittering on the pavement below. There was a hole blasted through the marquee over the door. The little black letters were awry; some had fallen to the ground like leaves in the wind.
Connor cautiously approached the theater and crept through the open door.
He pulled up short immediately. Pain blossomed in his head, deep in his brain, and faint of static buzzed in his ears.
The theater's lobby was long and narrow and mostly dark. A few light bulbs remained, but most of the scones along the wall had been torn out. The rugs were a deep burgundy red, littered with glass and spilled popcorn. Signs for old movies lined the hallway, some of them askew, a few of them crashed to the floor.
But most shocking was the thin body sprawled in the hallway to the right.
Connor clutched his head and shuffled closer to the body. Feeling an intense need to know, he flipped it over with his foot.
The body rolled easily. Like it weighed nothing.
Connor gasped. It was the creepy old man from the car wash. Skeletal and zombie-like, the old man was surely dead. His glassy black eyes stared blankly at the burned ceiling.
The sound of panting drew Connor's attention. He spun around, just in time to see M dodge out of one room further down the hall and duck into another.
"Hey!" he shouted, jumping over the old man and running after the blond. He flew down the hall and turned into the entrance the blond had entered and ended up running head-on, straight into the blond with a dull thud.
"Connor?" M gaped. He stumbled into the wall, but managed to right himself before he fell. He had the drone clutched to his chest. He wasn't steady.
"What's going on?"
M blinked up at him. "Where's the baby?"
"With Marcus and Nathan. We already got him formula and diapers. He's fine, M," Connor huffed with impatience. "What the fuck is going on here though? You guys tore up the street out there."
M frowned. "I didn't do that. That was the agent, making a scene, trying to distract me," he said darkly. "But I got his friend back there. And I'm about to close in on the other one now."
"He's in there?" Connor gestured to the room behind them.
"I think so. He's bouncing around though. He's got some way of teleporting himself. They all do."
Connor rubbed his head. "The agent's here too. I can feel him."
"He's last. Don't worry about him until we take this guy out first," M shook his head. "How did you even find me? I was fine on my own."
Connor scoffed. "Doesn't look like it. It looks like your in over your head."
M rolled his eyes. "Cmon."
They pushed the door open and snuck into the dark room. It was a movie theater. There were stadium seats to the left and a huge screen at the front of the room.
M released the drone as they looked around the large, empty room. It floated high overhead and threw out a thin green beam of light that roved slowly around the corners of the creepy room.
Before anyone could react, a spotlight erupted from the back of the room.
Connor shielded his eyes. "It's the projector," he said.
A high-pitched squeal came from the other end of the room and Connor jumped in surprise. Behind the movie screen stood a large, round figure. Connor squinted at it, just as M grabbed his arm and yanked him behind a row of seats.
The piggy state trooper blasted through the screen like it was notebook paper. He flew at the front row of seats where Connor had just stood. The whole row flew up into the air in pieces.
M shoved Connor into the aisle as bits of plastic and metal rained down on their hiding spot.
Connor yelled and ducked down as the piggy leapt over them. He landed hard in the back row, leaving a small crater where his feet had connected with the floor. He casually started to rip up chairs in the back and one after the other, he tossed them at M, Connor, and the drone with an amazing strength.
They all scrambled to dodge out of the way. Connor yelled as he narrowly missed a flying chair. It launched into another row of seats instead and flattened them totally.
"Connor! Watch yourself!" M cried out. Connor turned to look up at his boyfriend and gasped when the blond spun around and charged up the stairs, up the row of seats and then jumped and leapt into the air as the piggy chucked another chair at him. M kicked it powerfully and sent it hurtling straight back at the trooper.
The piggy was caught off guard. His eyes widened, but he had next to no time to react. The chair hit him hard in the side and he was thrown back into the wall with a harsh snort of pain.
The drone glowed bright red. It was a beautiful aura of light that floated around the little machine like something out of a dream. Then, a rumbling sound took over the room. Connor covered his ears, but it seemed to be affecting the piggy cop much differently. He grabbed his head and snorted and squealed like an animal. He tore off his hat and ripped at his thinning hair. He started to drag himself across the destroyed floor, in utter agony and with no way to escape.
M grabbed up one of the discarded chairs and with another powerful kick, he split it into smaller parts. A nice, 2-foot bit of lumber fell off the back and he picked it up.
While the piggy continued to thrash under the terrible rumbling sound, M approached him, wood in hand.
He stopped over the withering police man. "I'm sorry for this," he said and his face contoured with guilt, but he brought the wood over his head and swung it down so it struck the man violently in the temple. He showed no mercy. He beat the man in the head until he stopped moving.
The rumbling stopped too, and the drone, no longer glowing, drifted back down to the floor.
"M," the drone called encouragingly. "He's dead."
The blond dropped the bloody bit of broken chair and climbed back down the stairs to join them.
"Are you OK?" Connor asked.
"Yeah," M said softly. "I feel bad for destroying my family though. I don't know what kind of experiments the agent's been trying on our brothers in the hibernation chambers, but it's obviously not good."
"They were brainwashed," Connor said. "You did them a favor."
Connor glanced down at the drone. "So, was that our secret weapon? The glowing-red, rumbling-sound trick?"
M smirked. "It's a specialized frequency. The red light gives Mother the ability to focus it on an individual target. That rumbling we heard was nothing next to the sound that police guy was hearing," he said. "It was turning his brain into mush."
Suddenly, the projector at the back of the room turned off. Connor narrowed his eyes. He thought he saw movement through the little window that looked into the room.
"Someone is up there," the drone said and Connor reached down for M's hand, assuring himself they were both safe and together.
"C'mon. Let's get this over with," he said.
M's face paled a little, but he nodded with determination. Hands clasped, they hurried out of the room.
As they slipped into the hallway, a fat man in grubby clothing was falling all over himself, trying to get to the exit. Connor recognized him in an instant.
The fat man looked wildly over his shoulder. Then he turned back to run.
Connor was faster than the fat slug. He let go of M's hand and caught up with Greg in few long strides. He shoved him violently from behind and when he stumbled and fell to his knees, Connor grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and brought his face up forcefully.
"What are you doing here?" Connor growled. "Do you think this is funny? Messing with us?"
"N-n-no," Greg sputtered. His eyes were bloodshot and surrounded by dark circles.
"Then what the fuck are you doing here?!"
Greg looked so much older and weary than when Connor had last seen him. And that was saying something. The rough prison life he'd been living had kind of been a joke, but it wasn't funny anymore. What kind of fucked up shit had Greg gone through in the past month or so?
"A-a man in a black suit came to see me in jail," Greg said. "He told me he could help me get everything back I lost in the divorce if I did what he said… "
"Man in a suit?" Connor narrowed his eyes at Greg, wanting to get a straight answer.
"He-he doesn't have a name. He wears dark glasses all the time," Greg's bottom lip trembled. "He did something to my head too… I'm… Not always sure I'm doing."
The hair stood up on the back of Connor's neck. But still, he tried to play cool. "Do you know what you're doing now?" He sneered half heartedly.
"I-I-I saw you kill t-that guy. The police officer," Greg sputtered and finally, he started to cry. "I d-don't even know how I got here today. I was sleeping in my motel room across town and suddenly, I'm up in that projector room upstairs, watching you beat a man to death." He pointed at M and Connor realized the blond had been standing over his shoulder the whole time, watching the interrogation with interest.
"He wasn't a real police officer," M said gently.
Greg stared at him in complete horror. He didn't acknowledge he'd even spoken.
Connor let go of his stepdad… ex-stepdad, whatever. He was disgusted by him, but he also felt pity for him. It seemed he too had gotten some brain surgery courtesy of the man in black.
"You should probably get out of here," he said briskly. "And don't do what the man in the suit wants anymore. He's not your friend."
"A-alright," Greg said.
Connor stepped back and watched the fat man make his escape. He hoped he'd never see the man again, but in a weird way, he also wished him well. Whatever happened to him, he hoped Greg got a chance to live for himself… Not under the influence of alcohol or aliens from outer space.
As they stood there, watching Greg make his exit, a dull, humorless laugh started up behind them.
Connor and M turned as one. The agent stood at the end of the hall, his arms crossed.
"Well done, you two. You've completely dismantled my team," he said with a grin. "And you scavenged up your beloved AI. How sweet."
Connor glanced at the drone. It floated silently at M's shoulder.
"I know you had your baby," the agent said suddenly. "Congratulations."
"Thanks," M said guardedly.
"I could really use him as an addition to my team. Now that have zero members," the agent smiled brilliantly. "I'll thank you for the contribution. Let's call it even."
"I don't think so," M said firmly. "Over my dead body."
"I was hoping you'd say that," the agent said cheerfully. "I was willing to form a partnership with you, but after all this bad blood between us," shook his head sadly. "I think it's best if I end you."
"Fuck you," Connor snapped. "We just killed two of your buddies. And nice try with my stepdad, but he's a wimp. I could have told you that. You're not as great as you think, and I'll bet you're not as strong as you think either."
The agent's lip twitched. "I guess we'll just see about that now, won't we."
The agent flew at M. They collided into one another and crashed back into the wall, knocking a whole row of movie posters to the floor. They tore at each other, their arms moving faster than Connor's eyes could keep up.
"Do something!" he cried, turning to the drone. "Do the red light trick!"
"I can't," she said. "They're too close. I'll hit M too."
M and the agent threw each other around at high speed. They smashed up the hallway before moving back into the lobby area.
The agent hurled M onto the concession stand and then leapt up on the counter beside him. He slammed his foot into M's stomach a few times before the blond grabbed him and yanked his leg out from under him. The agent crashed into the fountain drink machine and bits of plastic went everywhere.
"Now!" Connor screamed at the drone.
"I don't have a clear line of sight," the drone snapped, zooming up high into the air.
M yelped and jumped up on the counter, looking frantically around the narrow room.
"He's gone. He's not behind the counter," the drone said for Connor's benefit, rotating her cameras to see different angles of the room. "He must have transported—"
A flat square of metal spun through the air and slammed directly into the drone. She fell heavily to the burgundy carpet and her lights dimmed.
"No!" M cried out. He hopped off the concession stand and ran to the lifeless drone. Sobbing, he picked up the little machine and hugged it close.
As Connor watched the sad scene before him, he suddenly felt a body come up behind him. An arm slipped around his throat like a snake through the dirt.
"That AI is so last century," the agent said in Connor's ear. "She's not very smart, M."
M looked up from his broken drone. At Connor, pinned against the agent's chest like a fucking damsel in distress.
Connor struggled in the agent's arms, but the alien tightened his arm over Connor's throat and he instantly stopped fighting. He couldn't breath. He was afraid he'd be strangled to death.
Luckily, the agent released his strangling hold after a moment or two. Connor sagged helplessly in his arms, gasping for lungfuls of needed air.
"Let him go," M said slowly, standing up, abandoning his fallen robotic friend.
"Or what?" the agent laughed. "Start begging before I get bored and snap his neck."
Connor felt a cold hand on his throat. The fingers caressed him gently even as they vibrated with power. He suddenly imagined his throat being crushed, like an aluminum can in a fist.
Then, M caught Connor's eye. He was trying to say something with his gaze, Connor could see the words swimming in the depths of his beautiful green orbs.
Connor didn't know what he was trying to say, but he felt his body relax. Somehow, M was going to get them out of this. He knew it deep inside. He had total faith in M.
Suddenly, M hurled himself at them.
Connor screamed as he and the agent were thrown through the air. They slammed into another movie marquee against the far wall and glass rained down on their heads.
M had them pinned and was pressed firmly to Connor's chest, holding him there with an incredible force. Connor gasped. He couldn't breathe again. There was pain radiating from his abdomen too. It felt like broken ribs, maybe.
"I'm going to let you go. When I do, you need to get out of the way," M said through his teeth. He seemed to be struggling. Suddenly, he released Connor and grabbed at the agent behind him. Connor slid out from between them, clutching his broken ribs in pain. He crawled through the glass and flipped over to watch.
M had a good grip on the agent's throat. He was struggling to hold him though. M yelled out some kind of war cry and as Connor watched, the agent was slowly forced through the wall merely from the pressure of M's hand.
"Find something heavy!" M called to Connor. "Bash his brains out!"
Connor turned over and frantically searched the area for a weapon.
He spotted one of the poles that held the velvet cords in line. It was a thick brass pole with a ball on top.
Connor crawled across the carpet and picked it up.
Back across the room, M trembled with the strain of holding the agent. The agent had his hands latched onto M's forearms now and was trying to force him off. M held steady though, sweat on his brow, angry spit on his lip.
"I'm not letting you terrorize my family anymore. I'm not letting you have my baby either," he spat. "This is my life and I'm not letting you control it any more," he said intently. "No one is going to control me ever again or tell me where or how to live. I decide all that. Not anybody else."
Connor dragged the pole closer and stood up straight, ignoring the pain in his middle. He swung the pole over his shoulder and his ribs instantly began to ache.
"I should have made sure you were dead the first time I bashed your head in," M continued, clenching the agent's throat hard enough to make him moan. The guy's pale face was bright red and his glasses were slipping off his nose. He didn't look too good. "I'll make sure you're dead this time. I guarantee it."
Connor took that as an invitation to start the beating. He used every ounce of his remaining strength to bring the pole directly into the agent's skull.
The man in black's glasses flew off his face when he was struck. A thick stream of blood, like ketchup, rolled from under his hairline and traveled down his cheek. Connor yelled and swung the pole again. The agent's head lolled to the side and his hands fell away from M's forearms.
"Let me," M said, holding out a hand for the pole.
Connor happily obligated. He handed it over.
M twirled the pole through his fingers with ease. It wasn't the slightest bit heavy to him.
M yanked the agent away from the wall and when his head was laid out in position, M began to beat him to a pulp. When he stopped with the pole, be tossed it aside and reached into the pocket in his sweats. He pulled Marcus' pocket knife out and grinned in Connor's direction. "I thought maybe this would come in handy. I hope he doesn't mind I borrowed it."
Connor swallowed. "Probably not."
M crouched down beside the agent. He already looked dead, but M had promised… without warning, M plunged the blade into the agent's neck. He sawed through his jugular.
Blood spurted everywhere. Connor turned away in disgust, feeling his stomach roil.
He walked back to the concession stand and searched through the candy and spilled pop for something to drink. He found a cooler that had been knocked off the counter at some point. It was filled with cold waters.
M found Connor near the front doors, drinking a water. The blond was covered in blood, but he was grinning ear to ear.
"It's over," he said. "He won't ever bother us again."
Connor nodded. "Maybe we can get on with our lives now."
M laughed and threw his arms around Connor.
"Uh, actually," Connor said, gently pulling away from the hug. "Let's head to the bathroom before we go. We need to get some of this blood off you."
M pouted, but he looked down at himself and seemed to realize how soiled his clothes had become.
"I think I saw the bathrooms down here," he said, leading the way down the hall and to the washroom. "And where did you get that shirt? I've never seen it before."
Connor huffed. "Nathan," he said simply.
Before they left, they went back for the drone.
"Maybe I can fix her," M said as he cradled it to his chest.
"It wouldn't hurt to try," Connor said. He put his arm around M and helped him out the door.
Somehow, they snuck out of the war zone just as easily as Connor had snuck in. They walked past a hundred different people on their way back to Marcus' car. Connor was amazed when they reached it unbothered. They got in and pulled out of the funeral home. No one paid them the least bit of attention.
They drove back to the motel, holding hands, enjoying the quiet peace of the car.
"I can't wait to see my baby," M said cheerfully as they got closer.
"He's going to sleep a lot at first. He won't do much besides sleep, eat, and cry."
"That's alright," M said. "He's so tiny and helpless! He's got a lot of growing to do."
As soon as they got back to the motel and parked, Nathan popped out of their room and ran at them. Connor rolled down the window.
"Thank God you're back," Nathan said, gasping, as he came up to Connor's side.
"Wow, you were really that worried about me?" Connor snorted with amusement.
"What? No!" Nathan scowled. "Jamie came out of her coma just now. And she's going into labor."
Connor's eyes widened. "What?"
"Cmon asshole!" Nathan cried. He jumped in the back seat and leaned over the armrest. "We've got to get to the hospital! Now!"
Connor glanced at M. "Want to stay here with the baby and Marcus? I've got to get him to the hospital, apparently."
M nodded slowly. "But hurry back," he said. He leaned over the seat and kissed Connor softly. "I love you."
Connor kissed him back while Nathan huffed from the back seat. M finally pulled away and got out, heading to the room. Nathan immediately slipped over the armrest and got in his vacated seat.
"Go. Now. Drive," he commanded. "I've got the hospital on Google maps."
"Make the next left," the Google girl said.
Connor sighed. Maybe he could get his ribs looked at while he waited for his niece to be born. Kill two birds with one stone or whatever. He settled in for a long wait at the hospital and a nice 40 minute drive to get there.