Warning: Content ahead may be too graphic for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Mark Brook's Apartment Building's Roof, Immediately After Last IssueReal smooth, Alex. Real smooth. It doesn't sound suspicious or dirty at all when you tell some guy you were with his wife when she died and he wasn't. He is pissed. And I mean really pissed. So pissed he slams me into the door that leads into his apartment building and holds me there by my neck. How would this guy be able to slam me into a door? Well, I wasn't surprised he was angry, but it totally took my by surprise he would dare come at me, someone twice his size, the way he did. I was too in shock to even try to stop it.
"What did you just say!?" He rumbles. I could shred him to pieces if I really wanted to, but in honor of his wife's memory I simply can't hurt him. Especially after what she has done for my people and, even more specifically, my own family.
"Your wife." I spit out, holding back my anger. "I was there when she died." Realizing he'll still be angry with me even if I try to explain this to him, I decide to do something I've had very minimal experience doing... Share memories. I extend my arm out and place my hand on his forehead, a physical connection being necessary for the task. And then... I release all the memories of his wife I have, hoping it doesn't kill him. He seems to be overwhelmed with the memories, he even stumbles to the ground upon receiving them, releasing me in the process.
"Your wife died..." I reflect as I reach down and lift him back up. "....so that our species could be free." I pause for a moment, allowing him to take in everything. "She was the bravest person I've ever known...." I continue, "...and you are the exact opposite of that." I say to him, trying to lighten the mood a little bit. I can see the fury rise in his eyes. "Are you going to be alright?" I ask him, not wanting to have to get into another tussle tonight.
"Come on." He says as he shakes himself a little, I'm guessing to try to shake off the anger. "You're coming with me." He continues.
Wait, what? "Why?" I ask, genuinely taken back by his comment.
"Because you're going to tell my daughter what happened to her mother." Oh boy. Not a good idea.
"Okay now, Alex." Mark whispers to me as we're standing right outside his apartment. "...try to be gentle with her." He continues.
"I told you not to call me that." I retort. Remembering the most recent incident when Rive called me that in front of the troops, "Alex to my friends. And I don't know what to make of you." He should be a friend given my past, but he cost me my target so it's pretty hard to be friendly with him.
"Yeah... well..." He responds as he goes to unlock the door. I guess he didn't notice the door was already being opened from the inside because he face plants into the ground after he decided to lean on the door as he opens it. A little girl whom I'm going to assume is his daughter is staring at him when he looks up. "....I don't care." He concludes. I can't help, but let out a little laugh at the little scene he just made, it's like a skit straight out of a comedy. I proceed to step in the doorway completely to survey the apartment. Some dirtbag bum is snoozing away in there, but when I think about it he's dressed just the same as I am most of the time. Definitely need that wardrobe update.
"Dad..." The little girl mutters as she steps back, presumably in fear of me. "Who's this?" She continues. Mark and I exchange a look, agreeing that I'll introduce myself and that it's alright with him for me to do so. As smoothly and slowly as I can I crouch down next to her, trying not to frighten her. I scan her mind quickly, just as a precautionary thing and to get to know her a little bit more. It looks like Mark has been attacked by assassins recently and she's worried about her dad, that must be what the assailants were that I saw when I was going through Mark's mind. She's afraid I'm one of them.
"Hello." I say to her. Trying to sound as reassuring and confident as possible. She's still suspicious of me. But that's a good thing, kids shouldn't trust any random stranger that just waltzes into their life. It's been a long time since I've had to talk to a kid about something like this, yet alone a kid I've never met before. "Your name's Daisy right?" I ask her, trying to gain her trust. I hear Mark sigh in the background, but I don't care. Children are delicate and need to be handled delicately, so I'll take my time.
"Yes..." Daisy responds, starting to open up. I smile at her innocence and because I'm proud of myself for handling this pretty well thus far. Remember how I said it's been a long time since I've talked to a child about something like this? It's been an even longer time since I've had a genuine smile solely because of a child's innocence. "That's my name... What's yours?" She continues. Heh, curious, smart, and direct. Just like Rebbie was.
"Alex." I respond. "You can call me Alex." I continue, saying it with meaning. An awkwardly silent period ensues, most likely because Daisy doesn't know the significance of being allowed to call me Alex.
I almost stop myself from going on, fearing the child might not be able to handle it all, but I know I would want to know what happened to my mother, and I decide to do it anyway because second guessing myself will only result in larger disaster. "And I have something very important to tell you." I conclude, deciding I'll show her a less damaging version of the memory. She dashes a look at Mark to see if it's alright to talk to me. He approves. I extend my arm out and place my hand on her forehead, and then I let her see the last months of her mother's life, to see how brave she was, to see how much she missed her daughter, and then I give a blur of her death, fearing the actual version too gruesome for such a young mind. Now she'll be able to see how much of a true hero her mother was, much more so then her hero father even. How her mother was Mary, the lady that sacrificed herself to save our entire race.
When we come back to the land of the living a short time later the poor girl is whimpering. I knew I shouldn't have done this. But much to my surprise she launches into me, wraps her arms around me, and starts squeezing me. It takes me a second to remember what exactly that is.... She's giving me a hug. The poor, heartbroken, little thing. I do the only thing I can do, I accept the hug and pat her on the back, trying to comfort her. The hug actually helps me more then I would've thought it would. Being around Daisy and these memory sharings are making me remember the memories of Mary, Elizabeth, and Rebbie's deaths all over again, strong as they were when they first happened. A lone tear streams down my face, but I wipe it off quickly enough so Mark doesn't see it.
"Your mother..." I say soothingly. "...was the bravest person I've ever met." This time I take a glance at Mark to make sure it's alright to go on. He approves. I'm not very great with the whole emotion thing anymore so if it sounds like I'm repeating something I said earlier, that's why. "And she died.... So that our people could be free." Now she looks confused and sad. Then I remember Mary's last words to me. "The last thing she ever said to me w-"
"She's not a Carrier." Mark interjects. "Just a normal girl. No powers t-"
"Yes, she is." I return the favor. When I went in her mind I know what I saw and what I felt.
"What?" Mark asks, dumbfounded by this revelation.
"I can sense it in her. The power in her body i-" I start to explain, but stopping when I notice Daisy is walking towards him in complete sadness.
"I..." Daisy says. "Dad?"
"Yes baby girl?" Mark asks. She starts to cry.
"Can I have a hug?" The heartbroken girl asks her father.
"Of course you can Daisy bais..." She leaps towards him and they crush into each other. They both start crying. "...Of course you can." Mark continues emotionally. I give them their personal space for a few minutes and turn around, only to start crying to myself, reflecting on my old family, having no one to share my tears with, no one to embrace with anymore.
After a minute or two I wipe away the tears and pretend nothing happened, and after another few minutes Mark walks back into the room after putting Daisy to bed. I turn toward him to see he's in more normal clothes now.
"So..." Mark comments. "What happens now?"
"I'm going to find Garrison." I tell him determinedly. "And I'm going to kill him, like I planned to." I remark condescendingly.
"If I may interrupt." A voice blurts out of the phone. It's that blasted warped voice from the phone call last night. "I may be able to assist with that."
I give Mark a mad glare. "You're working with him?" I snarl viciously.
"Of course he is." The voice continues before Mark can respond. "I mentioned that there would be others going after your target... anyway it was my mistake failing to inform you that you would both be chasing the same target... a complete and utter mistake. HOWEVER now that you two have finally met you c-"
"Get to the point." Mark interrupts. "I'm not in the mood tonight."
"...Richard Garrison is currently living in the 6th Room of the 7th Floor of the Indigo Prime Hotel. He's staying there at this very moment." The voice wraps up.
"And what do you want us to do about it?" Mark asks, obviously tired and not in the mood for riddles and games.
"It's pretty simple really. Kill him." The voice says.
"That's what I was planning to do in the first place." I mutter snidely.
"Brilliant then!" The voice says cheerfully. "Wolffe can be the one to go kill the monster and get revenge for all the people that this sick ba$tard has murdered."
"That sounds pretty fine." Mark spits out. "But there's just one thing...." Oh, boy. Please don't say what I think you're going to say.
"And what's that?" I ask exasperated, knowing exactly what he's going to say.
"I'm going to be the one to kill Garrison." Mark remarks. "Alone."
I bloody well knew he was going to say it.