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 Obsolete - Chapter 2

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Dark S3cret
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Number of posts : 458
Age : 25
Registration date : 2009-01-17

PostSubject: Obsolete - Chapter 2   Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:04 pm

Familiarity


Eating wasn’t necessity anymore, and hadn’t been for a little more than a decade. People only ate when they felt like it, when they missed it.

And that’s precisely what Deux was doing. She had felt like it for ages, and it was just lucky that Lady Fate proposed that they all go out to dinner that night.

The polished bamboo chopsticks glinted in the flickering light of the candle as it punctured the soft skin and into the meat of the dumpling. She stared at it, her mouth pursed momentarily, before she brought it to her tongue, which started to burn as the spicy sauce dripped down her throat. She chewed slowly, savoring the taste and wondering who in the world made it possible for eating to cease being a necessity.

They all had so much time now, since time-consuming activities like going to the washroom, eating, sleeping were no longer needed. They could still do it, when they were really feeling nostalgic, and missed the obsolete workings of the past.

She was only slightly startled as someone pulled out the chair beside her. Her wandering mind interrupted, she zoned back into her surroundings, and was greeted by the soft of hum conversations all around her. She was not alone at the large, circular table. There were only fourteen of them, fifteen if you wanted to count Lady Fate and seventeen if you wanted to count the two absences. And by the looks of it, they were actually speaking to one another, conversing about the trivial details of their own separate lives.

Amazing.

Most of them kept to themselves during work hours. That’s what everyone did. All they really ever said to each other was hello and goodbye. Maybe sometimes they had messages they had to pass on to one another in person. But even that was extremely rare.

“Hey.”

Deux swallowed, and not taking her eyes off the newcomer, she sipped at her ruby red juice, wondering how she was going to respond. Things that used to be instinctual now took her ages to figure out the best course of action. There had never really been any need to make small talk.

“I um…”

Her attention shifted to the painted nails and strong, but strangely delicate hands set on the table as they both tried to figure out how to begin. Her mind continued to draw a blank as her eyes scanned over the face, only to end up pausing momentarily at the other’s lips, as they moved soundlessly, forming words that were never spoken.

There was a soft crash, and the tinkle of glass shards shattered her calm reverie. She tore her eyes away, hoping the other didn’t realize she had begun to stare.

“I know this is kind of out of the blue, and that you probably have no idea who I am, but I really, really admire you – I’ve heard everything about you, well, you know, who hasn’t –”

“I’m sorry,” said Deux, interrupting the other girl’s nervous chatter. “Do I know you?” she caught the furtive glance, which was surprisingly steady, at odds with her rambling speech.

The girl seemed startled, and then bit her lip, looking wounded; her grayish blue eyes appearing slightly misty. “No, I mean, yes, but no – no, I don’t think you do. We – we have met before, but that was a few years back – I don’t think you’d really –”

Deux frowned in concentration as she sifted through her gigabytes of memory. There were a lot of random faces to sort through. “At the initiation?”

“Yes!” said the girl breathlessly.

Deux’s face suddenly softened as the moment surfaced, playing through her mind’s eye as clear as it was when it first happened. “Ah.”

“I… I wanted to apologize for that day. I wasn’t… I wasn’t in the best of moods.”

Deux raised an eyebrow. “Okay.”

“And I never got a chance to ask you what your name was.”

Deux was silent for a long moment, before she said, “You’re new.”

“Yes,” she laughed softly, blushing slightly. “No one excelled as fast as you did.” She waited for the name, staring at the emotionless face beside her and then realized it would never come. “Well,” she said, trying to hide the disappointment from her voice, even though she had expected it. “I understand. I sort of know you anyway… Deux.”

Deux lowered her gaze, feeling her stomach clench involuntarily for some odd reason she couldn’t pinpoint. “So what are you called now?” she said, slowly piecing her detached front back together.

“Duo.”

“Oh,” said Deux mildly. “Congratulations.”

Duo smiled uncertainly for a second. But it slid off her face so quickly, Deux could’ve sworn it was never there.

“I wanted to know…”

“Yes?”

“Why did you catch me that day?”

Deux shrugged. “I… I don’t know. Just… something I felt like doing. That’s all,” she said defensively.

“I see,” said Duo, suddenly cryptic all of a sudden. And in a strangely formal voice, she said as she rose, “Well, I’ll stop bothering you now. I’m glad to have met you again.”

She turned swiftly on her heel, determined not to look back, but didn’t make it very far when a hand unexpectedly closed around her wrist.

“Don’t go.”

She let herself be pulled back into her seat. She attempted to drag her feet, but it was no use, not when she actually wanted to go back. Deux gave her the perfect excuse, how could she turn it down? As she sat, she felt conscious of Deux’s piercing gaze boring into her, and she refused to look up into those dark depths into which she would surely loose her rather secure footing.

“I uh… I’m glad you made it,” said Deux awkwardly, but the note of sincerity in her tone was unmistakable.

“What? The Elite?” Duo asked, looking confused.

“… Sure.” Deux swallowed. So awkward. What she really wanted to say, was to thank her for making the first move because she would have never spoken to her otherwise, not like this anyway. But of course, what the end result of her depressingly inept conversation starter wasn’t exactly a lie either.

Duo said nothing, her gaze fell back down to the table, and was fixed there, with an inhuman intensity. A lock of her dark hair fell in front of her face, which she blew away with an impatient huff.

Deux did not like failing so miserably. So swallowing all reservations, she tried again. “So what do you think so far?”

“I guess…” Duo murmured hesitantly, “I guess I’ll get used to it.”

Deux laughed unexpectedly; pleasant though the sound was, it somehow seemed almost unnatural. The echoes of the soft, joyous peals of mirth faded into the background like it never existed, and both were very conscious of its departure. She then shuddered suddenly, violently. “Yeah, it doesn’t bother me anymore, but it took a while…”

“You do get over it though?” said Duo quietly, leaning closer, setting her elbows on the table, as she stared curiously at Deux, waiting for an answer like it was the only thing that mattered.

Deux gazed back calmly into Duo’s eyes, amused by how innocently curious and childish the pose was. “Eventually.”

Duo shook her head sadly. “Well, it certainly lived up to everything I expected – ”

“—Everything and more,” finished Deux with a tentative smile, a slight glint in her dark eyes as she leaned closer to the candlelight, her fingers trailing through the air absentmindedly above the candle; the repetition and the burning caress of the flickering flame a strange comfort.

“Well, Duo, it is amazing what you can do.”

Deux withdrew quickly, gracefully, her hand vanishing beneath the table. No expression of alarm crossed her face, which had morphed back into its customary passiveness. She nodded, the tiniest of motions, to acknowledge Lady Fate.

“Pardon?” inquired Duo cautiously, politely, her voice suddenly a shade lighter.

“Well it’s been ages since anyone’s seen Deux smile,” said Lady Fate, smiling widely and endearingly as she drew closer with sure steps, the shimmering satin of her black gown foiling her pale skin, smooth and perfect as porcelain. Fragile and pretty as she appeared, with her fluid movements shadowing the effortless grace of dancer, there was still an unmistakable air of authority hovering about her like a strange otherworldly aura – intangible, but there nonetheless.

Deux turned away slightly, hoping to mask the slight blush that rose to color her face. Nobody would be able to tell, she convinced herself. Even if they could, they wouldn’t believe it. So she stared defiantly back at Lady Fate, saying nothing, showing nothing.

Duo watched the silent exchange between the two women. Deux was still – her gaze even as she held that of Lady Fate’s, her perfectly aloof poker-face was masterful. Duo prided herself in having that uncanny ability to detect things that passed under the radar a bit better than the average person and got nothing from it. Though she thought that if she focused enough she could feel an almost unnoticeable tension, an underlying wave of hostility. But if that was true, neither appeared perturbed. Maybe she was just succumbing to her imagination.

“Well,” said Lady Fate suddenly, breaking the silence. “I hope you’re enjoying yourselves.” And in that wraithlike way of hers, she glided away so swiftly there seemed to be a shadow of her left behind.

Deux locked gazes with Duo, and the rueful smirk that managed to slip past her control was mirrored on Duo’s face. It was an unspoken agreement as they both rose to leave in synchrony.

Duo watched as Deux waved in that curious way of hers, to Lady Fate, indicating their departure, and they fell into step, weaving expertly through the tables.

There was a sharp intake of breath as they stepped outside into the chilly autumn air, which slipped through their clothing effortlessly, its cold embrace tight around their bodies as they moved, quickly, and soundlessly, as only they, the Elite of the Obsolete could.

They flitted in and out of the shadows with ease, finding solace when they were hidden, because that’s where they belonged.
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