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    Thorn Wilde
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Cyberpunk 2077 in the property of CD Projekt Red. The characters and locations in this story are for the most part not mine.

Metanoia - 6. Take Me Home

The following morning, I wake up to Kerry’s lips trailing soft kisses down the back of my neck, and I smile. ‘Mornin’.’

‘Mm, you’re awake,’ he murmurs. ‘’Bout time.’

The length of his body is pressed up against my back and I can’t help noticing how his hard cock is pressing against the cleft of my ass. ‘So are you. And . . . specific parts of you.’

He laughs softly. ‘Yeah, I think that woke up first.’ His hand slides down my side to squeeze my ass. ‘Need to fuck you.’

‘Yeah?’ I gasp as he presses his thumb against my asshole. ‘Ah! I’d . . . I’d like that.’

I can feel his smile against my skin, hear it in his voice. ‘Good.’ He pulls away for long enough to grab the lube off the nightstand, then returns to kissing my neck while he squeezes some out onto his finger and rubs it against my hole. I’m still wearing my packer from last night, and it starts getting hard pretty fast when he slides his finger inside. Then he pulls it out, replacing it with his cock, and presses inside me. We both groan.

‘Fuck, yeah . . .’ I murmur, closing my eyes.

‘Love your ass,’ Kerry says, then bites into my neck as he bottoms out. ‘Love making it mine. I enjoy everything we do together, but this . . . fuck, you’re tight!’ He reaches around and takes hold of my dick.

‘Oh, god!’ I groan.

‘I love this just as much as you fucking me,’ he whispers, then takes my earlobe into his mouth. He pulls his hips back, nearly all the way out, and then thrusts all the way back in while he gives my dick a long, slow stroke. ‘You’re perfect, V.’

I laugh quietly and reach behind me to grab Kerry by the back of the neck. ‘I think you’re still half asleep, old man, sayin’ shit like that,’ I tease.

‘Maybe. Still true.’ He lets me pull him forward, and I crane my neck to capture his lips.

The whole thing only lasts about five minutes. I come, gasping his name, and he follows almost instantly, moaning into my mouth. Then we lie there for a while, his softening cock still inside me, before he finally says, ‘Let’s go take a shower.’

The last time I was here, I sat on the floor of this bathroom, thinking I was about to die. Kerry comforted me. So did Johnny. Something clenches in my chest, clutching at my heart, and again I try to shake Johnny out of my mind. No matter how hard I try, though, I can’t. I still miss him.

‘You okay, Vincent?’ Kerry asks, kissing the back of my shoulder and reaching for the shampoo.

I nod. ‘Yeah. Just . . . a lot on my mind.’

‘Still thinking about him, aren’t you?’

I turn to look at him, giving him a half smile. ‘That obvious?’

‘Kinda.’ Kerry returns my smile. ‘I mean, I get it.’

‘I know you do,’ I say, closing my eyes as I place myself under the spray of the shower, letting it wash down over my head and face. I step a little to the side again and rub water out of my eyes before opening them. ‘But you also don’t. You have no idea what it’s like to . . . share a mind. He always knew what I was thinkin’. If he were still here, he’d show up right about now, make some sarcastic comment, an observation on how pathetic I’m bein’ right now for . . . I dunno. Missin’ him.’

‘Did you know what he was thinking too?’ Kerry asks curiously, head cocked to the side.

‘No. Not unless he told me. Sometimes I saw flashes, memories. Usually when I was dreamin’.’

‘Ever see me in those?’ Kerry’s tone is casual, but I can tell from the look in his eye he’s anxious to hear the answer.

I nod. ‘Couple of times. Saw you fight after the gig on the night Alt was taken.’

‘Night he shot a gun at the audience.’

I laugh. ‘Yeah. That was when I was lookin’ for Alt in the net, though. When I first got the chip, when it rebooted me, I dreamed about the night he bombed Arasaka. Saw him say goodbye to you. Tell you to go your own way. And there were other little flashes of you in there, in the vaguer memories.’

‘Huh. Guess that means he thought about me sometimes.’

‘Yeah. Talked about you too, a little.’ I grab the shower gel and soap myself up, wondering whether to ask about what I’m thinking. ‘Hey . . . did you two ever . . . ?’

Kerry raises an eyebrow at me. ‘He never told you?’

‘He said he wasn’t interested ’cause you’ve got a cock. But he also said he occasionally swung both ways . . . I never asked directly.’

‘We never fucked,’ Kerry says, rinsing shampoo out of his hair. ‘Not for lack of tryin’ on my part. Did other stuff, though. Mostly in our teens. I mean, we were fifteen when we formed Samurai, full of hormones and sleepin’ in the same room most nights. I was into him and he wasn’t totally straight, so something was bound to happen. Mostly just handjobs and makin’ out.’

In spite of myself, I can’t help imagining the two of them together, and my cheeks feel warm.

‘You’re picturing it, aren’t you?’ Kerry asks bluntly.

‘C’mon, Ker.’ I laugh. ‘I’m a man who likes men, and you’re both hot. How could I not?’

‘Fair point.’ He grins. ‘Long as you think of me the most.’

I slip my arms around his waist and pull him to me, kissing his lips. ‘I definitely think of you the most.’

Kerry cups my cheek and looks into my eyes. ‘Good. All I ask.’

‘And you?’ I lean in, kiss his neck. ‘You think of me the most?’

Kerry laughs softly. He pulls away from me and almost looks embarrassed as he flashes me a half-sardonic smile and turns his face away. ‘Pretty much think of you only these days.’ The admission fills me with warmth. Kerry sighs. ‘Think he’d approve?’

‘Pretty sure he did approve.’ I start rinsing the soap suds off my body. ‘When I called you . . . you know, when we talked a few days ago, that was right before I made up my mind about what to do. Johnny told me if there was anyone I wanted to say goodbye to, I should call ’em. When I said I wanted to call you, he gave me this . . . look. He acted aloof, but there was this little half smile as if he was secretly pleased. And sure, he mocked me when we started fucking, but . . . he also said we deserve to be happy.’ I chuckle, remembering. ‘And, you remember that night you sang Never Fade Away to me?’

‘After our date.’

‘Yeah. He sang the lower harmonies.’

‘No shit?’

‘It was pretty awesome. My own private a capella Samurai gig.’ I turn to face Kerry again, taking his hand. ‘I think part of him was kinda jealous, in a way. Not of me cause he wanted you or you cause he wanted me—I don’t think he wanted either of us that way—but just ’cause he had to watch us be happy and knew it was something he could never have. And that it was his own fault.’

‘Think you were a positive influence on him, V.’ Kerry smiles. ‘Kinda wish you’d been around back then. Maybe you could’ve been a friend to him, reached him in a way none of us could.’

I shake my head. ‘Nah, he was a stubborn bastard. If I changed him, it’s cause we literally shared a brain for a few weeks. Doubt I coulda changed anything when he was alive.’

‘Don’t sell yourself short, V.’ Kerry puts his arms around me again and looks into my eyes. ‘I don’t think you realise what a profound impact you have on the people around you. Just like he did.’

I blink, trying to process what he just said. ‘I don’t . . . I’m not that special.’

‘You really believe that, don’t you?’ He shakes his head, then kisses my lips. It’s chaste and gentle. ‘Guess I’ll just have to find a way to prove it to you.’

#

I head back to Watson in the afternoon. I need to see Misty and Vik. After Mikoshi, I let them both know I was alive by text but I haven’t seen them yet. I head down to Vik’s clinic first. I’m a little nervous, truth be told—the last time we spoke, we argued, after all—but seeing him sitting there as always, some boxing match playing in the background, fills me with sudden calm and a great deal of affection.

I clear my throat. ‘Hey, Vik.’

He looks up at me abruptly. ‘V.’ I watch him work his jaw for a moment, swallowing, before he stands up, crosses the floor, and hugs me. I wasn’t expecting that. I can’t remember him ever hugging me before. Still, I hug him back. ‘Good to see you, kid,’ he says softly.

‘Yeah, you too.’ I step out of his embrace and smile. I note that his eyes are a little more wet than usual. ‘How’s things?’

‘Oh, you know.’ He sits back down, clearing his throat. ‘Same old, same old. Just work, really.’ He studies me for a moment. ‘Glad you took matters into your own hands. I . . . was worried about you, but you seem to have come out of it okay.’

‘Yeah . . . construct’s gone and all. But . . .’ I hesitate. I hate having to tell everyone about this. It feels like coming out all over again, only this time my life actually hangs in the balance. But Vik’s my ripperdoc. He needs to know.

‘But?’ he prompts, folding his arms.

I sigh. ‘I’m still dyin’. Relic’s rewritten too much of my biology. Alt . . . the AI that separated me and Johnny, she said I’ve got about six months.’

‘And you’re only telling me this now?’ Vik sounds almost angry. ‘Fuck me, V . . . Okay, get in the chair so I can have a look at you.’

I do as I’m told. Don’t feel like I have much choice. And a small part of me thinks, Maybe Vik can do it. Maybe he can figure out a way for me to live. He’s brilliant, after all. Best ripper in NC. He examines the chip, performs a bunch of tests, and I lie there, quiet and waiting, because I can’t think of anything to say.

Finally, Vik sits back, arms folded and staring at the screen. He looks grim.

‘So?’ I say. ‘How’s it lookin’?’

‘Well . . . this AI’s right. Shit . . .’ He takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose. ‘Removing the chip would still kill ya, and it’s still doing it’s thing, only a lot slower now.’

I breathe out slowly. ‘Yeah. That’s what the Aldecaldos ripper said too.’

‘I can slow it down some more, with more omega blockers. Should give you another couple months.’

I nod. ‘Good. Gives me more time to find a different solution.’

Vik frowns. ‘A different solution?’

‘I’m not givin’ up yet,’ I say firmly. ‘If there’s a way to fix me, I’m gonna find it. I wanna live, Vik. And . . . I owe it to Johnny.’

Vik sighs, shaking his head. ‘“Johnny” was a bunch of ones and zeros, kid. He was malware. You don’t owe him a thing.’

‘I’m a bunch of ones and zeros too now,’ I tell him. ‘I mean, you noticed, right? It’s my engram on the chip now.’

‘That’s different,’ he says.

‘Is it?’ I shake my head. ‘Fuck, Vik, I don’t wanna fight with you. I wanna live, what’s it matter why? Plus, I got other reasons too. I’m not even twenty-eight. I got a life ahead of me. I . . . I didn’t tell you this, but I met someone. And I wanna live for him too.’

‘Well, you’re a stubborn sonofabitch, I’ll give you that,’ says Vik. ‘And I’m glad you’ve got something to live for. I just . . . Short of rewriting the chip so it stops attacking your system and starts restoring your cells to what they were before, I can’t think of anything that might help. And I don’t know of anyone who could actually pull that off. Doubt even the Arasaka eggheads know how. Plus, it’d be risky; they might end up overwriting your engram in the process.’

‘But that means there’s still a chance.’ I grin at him. ‘Don’t look so glum, Vik. There’s hope. Oh, hey. While you’re in there, could you check my testo pump? Wanna make sure I haven’t damaged it in the middle of all this.’

‘Yeah, hold on.’ Vik pushes some buttons, looks at his screen. ‘All looks good. You won’t need a topup for another month or so.’

‘Thanks.’ I stand up. ‘I’ll be goin’ on the road. Not right away, but in a couple weeks. I’ll be joining the Aldecaldos. Goin’ to Arizona first, then we’ll see. They got contacts, they know people. Maybe they can help me find someone who can fix the chip.’

‘Oh, so you’re a Nomad now?’

I shrug. ‘Technically, yeah. They kinda adopted me.’

‘’Course they did . . .’ Vik shakes his head and laughs. ‘Well, if anyone can do it, it’s you, I guess.’ He gets up, going over to a cupboard. ‘Don’t leave without your meds,’ he says, grabbing a pill bottle and tossing it to me. I catch it. My reflexes are still sharp. ‘One every morning. At night if needed. No need if you feel okay.’

‘Yes, sir,’ I tell him and smile. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take ’em.’

‘Good. I hope you do figure it out, V. Drop by again before you leave the city, okay? I’ll set you up with a refill for that pump.’

‘’Course I will. Wouldn’t leave without sayin’ goodbye anyways.’ I place a hand on his shoulder and squeeze. ‘Thank, Vik. For everythin’ you’ve done for me.’

‘Well. Just don’t die too soon, kid.’

‘Not plannin’ on dyin’ at all, if I can help it. See you later.’

I leave the clinic and cross the alley to Misty’s Esoterica. She’s behind the counter and turns her head when I enter. ‘V!’ She hugs me too. It’s less unexpected from her. ‘I had a feeling you’d be coming by soon. What happened? Tell me everything!’

And because Misty is Misty, and she’ll sort of get even the things she doesn’t truly understand, I do. I tell her about Saul and Panam, about Smasher, about Alt and Mikoshi. I tell her about going into the well and letting Johnny go behind the Blackwall, and I don’t leave any details out.

‘Wow,’ she says when I’m done. ‘That’s a lot to take in. So, you’re still dying.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Okay, well, let me read your tarot.’

I smile as she gets out her tarot deck. As she lays out the spread and gives me her reading, I realise I have no right to make fun of Kerry about his guru. Misty’s my guru.

‘The Chariot . . . drawn this for you a lot, feels like. You’re going on a journey, to find something. Something of importance. It’ll be a long and winding road, but part of that road’s already been travelled, I think.’ She lays a second card. ‘The Star tells me there’s hope. Hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for, and hope that it’ll bring you home.’ She lays down a third card. ‘Strength. You must remain steadfast on your path and not allow your resolve to waver if your journey is to bear fruit. But . . .’ The final card is laid on the counter top. ‘The Hanged Man. Sacrifices will have to be made if you’re to reach your goal.’ She looks at me and smiles. ‘Sounds scary, I know. Just remember, the Star is still there. Trust in your own strength and the strength of those who guide you.’

I return her smile. ‘Thanks, Misty.’

‘You don’t really believe in any of this, do you?’ She doesn’t sound angry or disappointed or like she’s judging me, just stating a fact.

I consider her words for a moment. ‘No,’ I say at last. ‘But . . . after everything that’s happened, I don’t not believe. If that makes sense. All the readings you’ve given me, there’s been some truth to them. Could be coincidence. Prolly is. But could also not be. Y’know?’

‘You keep an open mind.’ She nods. ‘Always liked that about you, V.’

I laugh. ‘I’m almost glad Johnny isn’t here right now. He’d never let me live it down if I even considered believing in tarot cards.’

‘You miss him, huh?’

I sigh. ‘All the time. He was a part of me and now he’s not. That was what I wanted, and if we hadn’t separated I’d’ve died, but . . . no matter how I look at it, I lost a friend who was always there, and that hurts.’

‘You’ve lost a lot of people. Haven’t you?’

‘I guess. I mean, haven’t we all? No one in Night City can say they haven’t lost someone important to ’em.’

‘Maybe not.’ She pats my shoulder. ‘You’ll be all right, V. You have a whole new life to begin. A second chance. Or third, depending on your outlook. Make that life your own.’

I place my hand over hers. ‘How is it you’re this wise, Misty?’

She laughs. ‘Oh, I’m as lost as anybody.’

‘But you’ve been my . . . my guide. I’ll never forget that.’

‘Well, you’re important to me. And you were important to Jackie. What better way to honour his memory than helping his best friend? This isn’t a one-way street, V. I find purpose in helping you, in whatever little way I can.’

‘Well, that’s good.’ I step back from the counter and her hand drops from my shoulder. ‘I should go. Got some stuff to take care of today. A lot needs doin’ before we set off. But I’ll see you again before I go, I promise.’

‘Good. I’ll hold you to it. Take care, V.’

‘You too.’ Then I leave the store.

One of my friends has an insulin pump. We joke that she's a cyborg now. That's how I thought of V's testo pump. Seems like a nice and easy way to do HRT. Pump would be programmed to release a set amount of hormones at regular intervals.

I know nothing about tarot, and I'm way too impatient to learn just for a fanfic, so I based Misty's reading on things she says in the game and the descriptions of the tarot cards in the codex.

Copyright © 2021 Thorn Wilde; All Rights Reserved.

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