Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Harsh Realm
Pairing: Waters/Pinocchio, Waters/Santiago
Series/sequel: the story is a mirror one to the story Running written by Grey
Disclaimer: Harsh Realm and its characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013
Productions and Fox Entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.
Spoilers: Inga Fossa
Summary: A mirror story to Running by Grey. Waters deals with his feelings to
Hobbes and Santiago - and Pinocchio has to pay for these feelings being not so
I dreamed about you, Hobbes; long before you've come here. In these
dreams I was in Sarajevo again - but everything else was different there. It
was you I looked down at through the hole in the bristled up, splintered floor
- pain and resentment in your eyes - *fuckin' kids, just wanted to help them* -
as blood oozed in a pool around you. Your face was small and pale and turned up
to me as your lips repeated my words:
"Save yourself, buddy, go on."
And I knew what I had to do - to jump down and try to get you out - or to
shield you - and a part of me knew that it was possible - the part of me that
didn't dream and remembered that you had done it for me.
But at the same time I knew with such certainty that if I did go down, we
both would die. There would be no way out.
I wanted to live. And you asked me to go.
So, I turned away and ran, ran for my life, knowing that I'd just
betrayed you but happy to be alive; and the building crumbled in fire behind
And when I woke up in my bed, looking at the flashes and shades of the
searchlights flitting over Sophie's peaceful face, I still felt the dust on my
teeth. And I feared.
* * *
He is coughing blood on the wall of his cell, the wet sound in his lungs
making me wince. I watch, through the small half-shuttered window on the door,
how he wipes his mouth with shaking hand, pressing the other against the wall -
trying to let go and clutching at it again hastily. Too unsteady on his feet;
too dizzy with the impossibility to make a full breath. Ribs must feel like
shards of glass in his side. But even as he curls protectively around his
belly, his face keeps the same expression as always: cold, haughty - the pursed
lower lip of a petulant child - and yet basically defenseless - oh, deceptively
so. The face that makes girls reel on their feet and make goo-goo eyes to him;
I've seen it - I know.
They never looked with the eyes like that at me.
Mike Pinocchio. Always the better one. Better adjusted when he was in my
place. Smarter in taking orders. More ruthless. Better killer. Having his
epiphany while I stayed blind. Courageous enough to leave. Better runner than I
am a chaser.
Not any more.
My fist crushing into his jaw, the hardness of his teeth splitting my
knuckles... I'm too triumphant to feel it... or too numb. The toe of my boot
sinks into his belly - this hurts only him, not me. Makes it difficult to stop
- while it is not too late. While there is still a chance for him to get away
with just a few broken ribs.
Rewind again. Months ago.
Santiago's face going blank momentarily when he hears about Pinocchio's
escape - about his betrayal - about his death. Inga's soft voice: "Forget
him. We have other things to do," as her manicured hand touches the
sleeve of Santiago's fatigues. And he lets her touch him. And I look at them
and I don't know what I feel at this moment - loss or relief.
The day before he leaves; Pinocchio's calm eyes looking at me over the brink
of the glass, the eyes that seem so old on the young face. Studying me. For a
moment it looks like he's about to say something - but he never does. Having me
weighed and found too light?
He hobbles along the wall of the cell, no dignity in his movements - no
reason for it since he thinks he is alone. Stopping as he nearly trips over,
his eyes looking at the cot with longing and despair. Too far away? Doesn't
have strength enough to get there? I would like to believe that I enjoy this
thought - but I don't. The truth is I would prefer him to never resurface in my
life. Stay dead; one can't revenge oneself upon dead. Can't chase them.
Mike Pinocchio. Fuckin' mercenary trying to be a hero. Matching so neatly
with Hobbes - the fuckin' savior that'd swept across my life rather like a
Horseman of Apocalypse, for all the damage he made. Hobbes who didn't let me
bleed to death or be buried alive once. And decided that it gave him the right
to come and wreck everything later.
Sophie's soft warm cheek under my hand as I hit her, the wave of her hair
falling across her face as my blow makes her head dangle. She doesn't look at
me - but there is something in her face - something that scares and infuriates
me more than anything else. Something like recognition. Like she always knew I
would do it one day.
Maybe, the thought of it is what makes me pull the trigger as I see her
leaving me - not that she is leaving me for Hobbes, that it took just a day for
her to believe in him more than she ever believed in me.
"My wife... I killed her..."
"You have made a terrible mistake." Santiago's voice. His
warm hand on my forearm, pressing slightly in brief support. Making me almost
reel into this gesture. Oh, he can touch in a different way, too, I haven't
forgotten it. But at that moment I don't care.
And Hobbes' eyes, bluer than blue, the eyes you can drown in and not notice
it, drown and thank for this kind of death, looking at me with pure,
undisguised hatred. He will never look at me in any other way.
He chose the wrong time to reappear, I think looking as Pinocchio gets to
the cot at last and curls there, behind the fragile protection of his arms and
knees. It isn't going to help him. He should've never let me catch him. There
is just too much between us. Too many questions I want to ask. Too many stories
I want to tell.
Maybe, he won't want to listen. But I sure as hell have means to make him -
if I want to.
"You think you can replace him, Lieutenant? You want to take his
place?" Santiago's eyes are thunderstorm dark - and yet deep down in them
there is the little shade of pain - and oh boy, this man is not easy to hurt. I
don't know if I hate Pinocchio more for his betrayal - or for how it affects Santiago
- while my desertion or my death wouldn't cause Santiago a frown, I know it for
sure. "You think you can handle it?"
"I'll do my best," I answer. I still think it is what he wants to
hear. And when suddenly there is no more hurt in his eyes, just animal-like
fierceness - and joy - it is too late to be wary.
"Take it now, then."
This joy hurts like the tip of his knife, cutting through my chest. But
deeper. Not shallow traces that Santiago's dancing blade leaves on my skin,
swift and scalding hot. And he doesn't even look there - he looks in my eyes
all the way.
Even if sometimes I see only whiteness in front of me.
He knows how to hurt with no more than a flick of his wrist. He knows how to
hurt with words, too.
"Take off your shirt, Lieutenant. Why are your hands shaking? Are you
afraid I can do something that will be beyond your endurance?"
Do I answer that I am not afraid? My lips feel so numb that I don't know for
"Put your hands on the table."
The position is too definite, not leaving me a chance to doubt his
intentions. Like the bulge of his pants didn't either. The things like this -
anger, vengeance - always need release, don't they?
Yet the sound of the zipper makes sickness rise in my throat. Pain is
dispensable... and it is not fear, too. But what is he doing... it is
disgusting... Why does he want to do it? And another thought catches on this
one: maybe, if he wants to do it, it is the right thing to do?
Then pain comes and I don't find it dispensable any more. I look at my white
knuckles, fingers digging into the table like I think they are going to meld
into the wood if I press hard enough. But Santiago's hand reaches around me and
slides over my chest, smearing the trickles of blood over my ribcage in the
dizzying and yet fascinating ornaments. Flickering on my nipples that are still
too sore after the touch of his knife and yet budding out under the harsh tips
of his fingers.
I feel soft crawling sensation on my leg, understanding that it must be my
blood but not caring any more. Santiago chuckles as his palm lies around my
cock - and in a few touches - and a few thrusts of his - I am achingly hard -
before I can notice it, not to mention control. Shame makes me flush so bad
that I feel tears in my eyes - and hear him whisper in my ear, teasingly soft
I don't want to feel it, I want it to stop, to be myself again - but there
is nothing I can do as it builds in me, until reaching the heights I didn't
know to exist before. Until I feel him freeze and lean on me heavily and I know
he's coming - and it triggers my own release that is more showy and noisy that
I've ever remembered.
Later I desperately try to stand straight and can't help but shiver again
and again. And how I envy Santiago for his mask snapping back on his face so
fast - smooth and calm and determined - and at that moment I feel more
desperate than ever because I know I will never be able to be like him, no
matter how I'll try.
"Why?" I ask him.
"Why what?" There is a thin lace of contempt in his voice, and I
try to believe that I've just fantasized it, it is not here. "Why did I do
"No," I say. "Why me?"
"Do you think it has any difference, Major?"
He starts up as I come in. I meet his dizzy eyes looking from the sickly
pale face as he clasps his arms around his belly.
"Having a little trouble there, Pinocchio? Didn't think I hit you that
His voice is hoarse when he answers:
"You didn't, but your fucking boot did," but there is acid in it -
the irony that reminds me about the times when we still were side by side, when
he didn't spare me from it either but I didn't care much then, I found it fun.
I couldn't match him in it - just as I can't match him now, replying with some
rudeness, a threat even more pointless since it is obvious that I can make it
There is no cowering in his eyes. He knows I can hurt him - can hurt him at
any moment I want. That's why I am here. But he is not afraid.
"Now, sit up."
I need him sitting; I don't want to drag him up while he is lying like this
- had had enough of it battering his curled body on the ground, scared how good
it felt, how addictive. If I were him, I wouldn't sit up. It is just as much as
stands between him and what I am going to do.
But he is the proud one, always had been - and as he works himself upright
agonizingly, I yank him up - and shove forward, into the wall, whispering into
"Do you have any idea what kind of shit happened after you took
off?" Yeah, that's what I always wanted to ask him. I wanted to look in
his eyes at this moment - to read the truth in them. But I don't look in his
eyes now - and somehow I can care less.
If doesn't matter; it is just the beginning.
It all turns out to be easier that I thought it would be. My hand in
Pinocchio's hair, yanking his head back, my arm around his throat, pressing -
so easily to stop him from breathing all in all... this fragility of the human
body, even of such an obnoxious and cunning bastard as Mike Pinocchio is. A
little more pressure - a snap - and his body would vanish from my grip
irrevocably - and I would lose him. Just like I lost Sophie.
No, I won't. I am not going to pay for the moment of vengeance by letting
them go away from me forever.
Leaving me alone.
"Do you?" I repeat my question.
But what I think is if he feels it. The hardness of my groin pressed to his
backside. Does he realize what it means? Before coming in, I was not sure I
would be able to get hard - but I am now. There must be something in this
position, in the total control I have over him at the moment that injects
excitement right into my blood.
"Santiago's crazy, Mel. You have to know that."
It is not the sound of his voice - so mild, almost like he's talking to a
deliberately whimsical child. It's 'Mel'; he still calls me that. Like he means
it; like he still thinks we are friends.
Like he didn't leave me behind then.
Yet this word does something to me and suddenly I think that I won't be able
to do what I am going to do.
Wrong... I will. I must. My hand in his hair tightens, ready to slam him
face forward in the wall - break his nose, add fresh runs of black blood there.
No, I won't hit him. I need him conscious.
I say something - feel my lips and tongue move and know there must be some
words coming - in reply to what he said - but I don't know what it is until I
"All I know is what the son of a bitch did to me after he found out you'd
What exactly? Made me come all over his hand and his table?
It is not... true... My head is swooning as I try to cut off the memories -
now, immediately, think about nothing but the intoxicating closeness of Mike's
body, his smell - blood and leather - his warmth and heaviness and struggle.
It must work. Rubbing my hips against Pinocchio's ass. Does he understand
"You owe me, you bastard. He fucked me and pretended it was you,
pretended that you were the one he was hurting."
Does he mean Santiago or me?
"Now, I've got your woman." Yeah, I am good at it - having someone
else's women. Sophie with her shy hands and frail waist and soft lips and a
little frown between her eyebrows - my Sophie with whom I always felt like an
impostor; even looking in her eyes as she gasped under me, coming, I still was
afraid to hear another name from her lips - the name she didn't even know then.
And Inga... were her eyes the same open and transparent icy when it was
Pinocchio who fucked her - who made love to her?
"And your job." God, like it is worth anything. Does he realize
it? He probably does. Or, maybe, he is too hurt to think about it, too occupied
with struggling against my knee forcing itself between his legs. "And
there's only one thing to take."
At least he understands what I mean now.
He puts a decent fight - against every movement I make - and yet he doesn't
have a chance here. He is fighting just for not getting raped; I am fighting
for keeping myself whole.
When I feel him lean into my grip - not willingly, of course, it is just the
only way he can stand, with his legs spread so wide - I understand I've won.
And for a moment, until the hitching breath he takes catches on me, I almost
believe that we are so close, so intimate - with his soft hair against my lips
- like brothers. Like lovers. I feel like kissing this place where his hair,
dark with dirt, is falling on the whiteness of his neck. But I can't stand the
thought of him flinching away from me if I do it.
Just like I can't stand his whisper - oh the softness of it, the begging
that making me see black.
"Shit, Mel. Don't do this."
I don't do it because I want; I do it because...
And a violent jerk of his body at the next moment, almost wrenching my arms
out, almost setting him free. Pinocchio pleading? I must've been insane to
believe in it.
One blow would probably be enough - but I hit him twice - and he goes slack
in my grip, a thin trail of blood sliding over the side of his face that became
so peaceful now, just a little bit peevish. But, maybe, he looks peevish even
when he dreams.
No, don't go there. Stop wasting time. Keep moving - one arm holding him,
the other unzipping his pants, pulling them down. Now my own zipper. I am a bit
surprised to find myself still hard - I kind of forgot about it.
Well, I know what to do. I remind myself about it setting into the position.
A part of me still doesn't believe that I am doing it - the sensations don't
feel right - and I shush these thoughts quickly. I can do it; I'll prove it - I
am not worse than Santiago.
And I am going to enjoy every bit of it! Shit, it hurts...
It hurts enough to make me reconsider the idea of enjoyment, to set my mind
on seeing it rather as an ordeal; but it must hurt him much worse. Enough to
bring him back from unconsciousness with a groan that he doesn't have time to
stifle. He bites it down after a few seconds - makes no more conscious sound -
and so do I - except of my harsh breath and his - shallow, too out of order.
His passage is like a liquid flame around my cock, so tight that I am not
sure if I flay a layer of his skin or mine with every inch I am moving forward.
And then I stop thinking about it. It might hurt; but for nothing in my life I
would want it to stop.
I need some rest when I am fully in - leaning against his body that is
pressed to the wall - his hands are too weak to support both of us, he must be
too dizzy with pain. So, he just gets sandwiched between me and the cold stone.
But I know he is conscious; his eyes and mouth are half-opened - and his eyes
He stares as I pull out - and his teeth clamp on his lower lips swiftly,
tearing it - and I think I want to taste blood from this lip, I want to run my
tongue over it.
I want to kiss his mouth and be kissed back.
And I thrust into him, fast and hard, putting a dark screen in my mind,
forbidding to think about what I cannot have. What I can have is his limp body
in my grip, slammed into the wall on every inward stroke, my cock tearing
inside him. There is frenzy in it, its own mad joy - and retribution is only a
part of it.
Santiago was right...
There is blood slithering down my leg - hot and tickling - but this time it
is not my blood. And the tormenting yielding of flesh at every thrust is not
mine. And I drink them, coming from the body of the other's - reveling in
Pinocchio's shivers of pain and in the fact that he can't cope with them -
every shift of his broken ribs reverberating through my body. His head is
tossed back on my shoulder almost like in passion but only because he is too
gone to realize it.
And even though I won't want to remember it, I know I will never forget.
But I haven't done everything to him - everything what was done to me. I can
do worse - I can make him enjoy it. Then it would be an appropriate revenge.
Only at the same time I know that I probably can't make him enjoy it. And not
only because I've hurt him too bad by now. Mike Pinocchio wouldn't let it
happen to him. Wouldn't let anyone to turn him into a bitch writhing in heat
under his rapist.
He is not me. And I am not Santiago.
There is pain inside my head, worse than the one in my cock has been. And I
crush his throat with my arm, pushing harder and harder, listening to the
choking sounds he makes - and trying to believe that feeling this will make the
pain let me go.
I allow him to breathe again just a moment before it is too late. I don't
want to kill him, do I? I need him... for something... for what? Oh yeah,
I push him away from me at the very next moment after coming - or push
myself away from him, since he doesn't have much space before him - and he
slides down along the wall - and a part of me is terrified to see him so weak
but a part is pissed off. He doesn't have the right to break so easily! He is
Mike Pinocchio, surely he's tougher than this.
But I have to pull his pants up for him and zip them and pull him to his cot
- and he is not looking at me as I stand over him, tucking away my cock that is
uncomfortably sticky and frighteningly stained red.
"Now, we're almost even," I say just to say something, just to
make him look at me.
But his closed eyes in the purplish circles don't open.
"What the fuck else is there?"
And this reaches him - this makes him talk, way too much for his ribs and
his split lips - and the thought cuts through me, blade sharp. He cares for
Hobbes; he cares for my friend, for the man who'd saved my life. When did he
have time to get to know Hobbes so well? What right does he have for it?
It is not fair! They are together - and I am left outside... as always...
The rage that sweeps me is so violent that I am about to hit Pinocchio's
battered face - but he doesn't know it, never sees it.
I turn away and leave, putting the end to the conversation abruptly - and
there is no sense in it, anyway. Who cares if Hobbes is the savior or not, who
believes in this savior bullshit. It is not the reason why I am going to chase
and find Hobbes. I want to break him just like I have Pinocchio broken.
And that'll make three of us.