Reminders @anemone
Reminders

<p>Though desire and kinship had been innate insofar for Havve Hogan and cats, enjoyment was a new story.</p>

<p>Havve had absorbed within the throes of his own anger in lieu of his own self-imposed rejection. Steadfast in his determination to ignore until he forgot. Channeling himself into hobby work had seemed to work for a time... Until fellow denizens of the Groove Station voiced other intentions. To give them name, one Doc Sung.</p>

<p>The chipper fellow, smile bright as his wretched spandex, always appeared when least wanted. Amid a careful brush stroke down the cheek of an intricate clay idol. Between intimate spot-cleaning of low-placed armor. As he'd practiced his rhythm in a lively round of rhythmic spear-tossing. Sung had seemed to become a permanent fixture at the corner of his desired solitude. Endless unanswered questions volleyed towards Havve at all hours of the day. His general strategy had been ignorance. He'd attempt to wish silence into existence until Doc Sung gave up.</p>

<p>"Are you okay, bud?"<br />

"You seen Chald lately?"<br />

"Wanna play some sportsball to ease your mind, champ?"<br />

"What are you doing with your hands there, guy? They're lookin' awful tensed up, and coming right for my giblets. You chokin' me? You givin' me a little strangl'y-poo?"</p>

<p>Quick to realize silence wasn't a war of wills, Havve began to impose silence himself.</p>

<p>A new anger flickered and rattled within his chest when the annoyance of the day had turned up in a darker spandex. Clouded in a thick fog of burnt tobacco stench, and looking just as upset with his new occupancy as Havve had felt. Commander Meouch.</p>

<p>The cyborg turned from the empty activity that had occupied his consciousness. Piercing red lights blinked slow into the farce of a disgusted squint. He had wanted to ask what Meouch was doing this far down the Station's deck. In domain he'd known he had know right to enter, no less. But he didn't desire dignifying the intrusion with speech. In Hogan's mind, the Commander was above him only in name and in residence. This implication wasn't lost upon the Funk smuggler as he'd attempted to establish dominance. Grinding the last of his cigar into the nearest fixture he snuffed the flame, dropping it to the floor below. Streetwise in his years, the cat knew these proceedings required an air of intimidation.</p>

<p>"Believe me, kiddo, if anyone on this ship is sympathetic to how much you don't want me down here... it's your's truly." A lump in his throat swallowed down, presumably the Commander's pride. "But I guess you know by now what ranks over a Commander."</p>

<p>Shuffled papers resounded as Hogan fetched his electrolarynx.</p>

<p>"ALLOW ME A GUESS. A DOCTOR?"</p>

<p>"Oh, yeah. If anyone's a goddamn Rear Admiral... Y'could say he's a--"</p>

<p>"--YES. A PAIN IN YOUR REAR ADIMRAL. I FUCKING GET IT. WHAT DOES HE WANT WITH ME NOW?" The question had come halfhearted, as Havve turned back to his task. A signal of how disinterested with the notion he was. Skittering across the tabletop, his vox discarded in belief he wouldn't need it again.</p>

<p>"If it makes you feel any better, he's not the only guy who carted me down here."</p>

<p>The clatter of his tools upon the table, accented by the swivel of his hips was a new beacon. In facing Meouch, despite the lack of expression, a choleric air accumulated. There was only one other person on the ship, after all. He pressed the throat back against himself with haste.</p>

<p>"PHOBOS WOULD KNOW BETTER THAN THIS. HE HAS BEEN AVOIDING ME, RIGHTFULLY SO, IN A COMPASSIONATE MANNER UP UNTIL NOW. I HIGHLY DOUBT THAT HE WOULD SUDDENLY HAVE SUCH AN IDIOTIC CHANGE OF HEART. I WOULD HOPE SUCH BUFFOONERY WOULD BE ABOVE HIM BY NOW."</p>

<p>"Wouldn't be so sure. Dude's been pacing around for weeks, ain't had no idea what to do with himself now his trio was down to two."</p>

<p>"ONE, NO LION KING. EVEN YOU SHOULDN'T STOOP SO LOW AS TO SCRAPE THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL FOR SUCH AN ABYSMAL AND OBVIOUS JOKE. TWO, A LION DID NOT SPEAK THOSE WORDS WITHIN THE REALM OF THE LION KING. IT WAS SPOKEN IN REFERENCE TO SIMBA FINDING A LIKE-SPECIED MATE, BY FUCKING TIMON. A SURICATE. THREE, CLARIFY IMMEDIATELY."</p>

<p>"I didn't know you took The Lion King so serio--"</p>

<p>"HAMLET IN THE JUNGLE IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER. ON WITH IT."</p>

<p>"Jesus, dude." Meouch's tone was cautious as he'd watched the spikes at Havve's shoulders rise and fall. Seething impatience. He should have known better than to fuck with Hamlet in the jungle--It was about cats, after all. "Phobos--He's been real fuckin' weird lately. He's just been sittin' at the door outside his room, playing Genesis songs and staring at the ceiling. I guess he must be bored without you... I don't fucking know what crawled up his ass, honestly."</p>

<p>"I SUPPOSE YOU HAVEN'T SEEN HIM ACT LIKE THIS... NOT SINCE YOU BROUGHT ABOUT THE RECKONING AND MASS GENOCIDE OF THE ONLY HOME HE HAS EVER KNOWN, CORRECT?" Sometimes, the most delightfully biting things you could say were benign in delivery. Hogan relished in the blunting expression of Meouch, turning back to his work once more. This time, the device had stayed clutched to his throat.</p>

<p>"All three of you chowder-heads gotta take a chill pill about that one. It was..." The gears turned, bringing the Commander to a suitable conclusion of an unsympathetic lie. "An... acci... dent?"</p>

<p>"THIS TOPIC HAS BEGUN TO BORE ME. PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP, WON'T YOU KINDLY TELL THE PAIR OF THEM TO FUCK OFF? IF ANYONE HAS BEEN ACTING STRANGE LATELY, IT HAS BEEN THOSE TWO. MY DAILY FLOW REMAINS UNINTERRUPTED, AND I HAVE GONE ABOUT ALL OF MY REGULAR DUTIES FROM HERE ON OUT. THEIR MORONIC FLOWS HAVE EBBED UNNECESSARILY AROUND MY OWN AND FIXATED THERE, LIKE REACHING THE EDGE OF A SEWAGE DAM. PHOBOS HAS GONE SOFT FROM SUNG'S INCESSANT INFLUENCE OF NEEDLESS COMPASSION, AND SUNG IS ANOTHER STORY ENTIRELY. DOES HE HONESTLY BELIEVE HIMSELF TO BE OF SOME FATHERLY INFLUENCE OVER ME? THOUGH MY LIFE WAS GIVEN BACK TO ME BY HIS HAND, HE PLAYED NO PART IN MY BIRTH. IF I KNEW THAT EVENTUALLY HIS MEDDLING WOULD LEAD ME INTO THIS AWKWARD AND TERSE CONVERSATION WITH YOU... I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED TO HAVE STAYED DEAD."</p>

<p>"Uh," The only utterance Meouch had found himself able to speak. He'd hoped his companion's questioning of Sung had been rhetorical. He knew the cyborg wouldn't enjoy the answer. 'THOU SHALT SHOOT THE MESSENGER' seemed to be one of Havve's many violent creedos. "You really went on a rip there, didn'ja?"</p>

<p>"ONE WHO DOES NOT SPEAK OFTEN HAS QUITE THE EXPANSE OF TIME TO SORT AND ARTICULATE THEIR THOUGHTS." The drummer hadn't offered Meouch a second glance. His lack of attentiveness gave the feline an opening to creep closer in silence. Just as Havve had returned his full focus to his task, the Commander struck. In an all-or-nothing gamble, he positioned himself over Hogan's arms, curled upon the table. In contrast to his catlike behavior, there were no purrs emanating from Meouch's throat. A mask of chagrin, his slotted pupils narrowed in the light of Hogan's mask. The other's optics grew brighter and brighter with rage. He slipped his arms free, crossing them over his chest. "CLARIFY. QUICKLY."</p>

<p>"Sung told me that if I don't try to act like a cat, he won't treat me like a cat, and I'm gonna have to start eating celery instead of Fancy Feast. This hurts me as much as it hurts you."</p>

<p>"HE MEANS FOR YOUR PURPOSES TO REPLACE THOSE WHICH CHALD WOULD HAVE UPHELD? THAT'S BARBARIC, EVEN FOR THAT FUCKTRUCK."</p>

<p>"Will you just humor him? If I don't get my dick wet up in the guts of some Seafood Medley tonight, I might seriously die."</p>

<p>"GOOD. BY ALL MEANS, SUFFER."</p>

<p>"Havve, please."</p>

<p>"NO. FUCK YOU, FUCK YOUR LOINCLOTH, AND FUCK THE LITTLE ORANGE CONE YOU RODE IN ON."</p>

<p>"So you wanna play hardball, huh? Well strap in, fucko, 'cause I know your one weakness." Rearing back, Meouch's legs scattered papers and materials about the metal floor. He kicked and retracted them for comfort, shortly before settling beneath his stomach. Soon his arms gathered below him as well, followed by the cascade of his tongue into a deep yawn. He caught the tip of his tongue between his front teeth, allowing it to supine over his bottom jaw.</p>

<p>"NO. NO, NO, NO, NO. DO NOT." Disgust edged every exclamation as the cyborg kicked back from his seat. A mad scrambling to his feet carried him back from this disgusting display. This was just disgraceful, creepy, and plain wrong. It was...</p>

<p>"Motherfuckin' blep loaf, bitches!" Lilting scoffs erupted like bubbles from the maw of the man nestled atop the workbench. They were halted soon as Hogan scrambled for the legs of his desk chair. Gripping them with solid force, he swung the object high above his head. "Oh, fuck!"</p>

<p>With a thunderous crack, the table and everything on it gave way, save for one giant kitty cat. Meouch had managed to escape in the nick of time. The destruction of Havve's labor only angered him further, downswing compensated and replicated. With an added burst of force, Hogan struck towards Meouch once more. By all his nails, in the confusion, the bassist had scaled the raggedy tatters of the nearby curtain. Clung to their fibers with every remaining ounce of life in him, he nestled against the tall ceiling. Havve, undeterred, attempted at dozens of killing blows, each of them falling just short. Doubling his efforts would be of no use. If Hogan wanted to hurt the Commander, he'd just have to wait.</p>

<p>Setting the chair before him, he spun the seat back around to face outward. Straddling the spine in anticipation, his bridged hands caressed the top of the fabric. Elbows rested upon their respective knees. His spare layrnx, stored in a pouch at his side, produced with slow and calculated motion. Flushed against the dip of his collar, he spoke.</p>

<p>"EVENTUALLY, YOU WILL FALL. OR, PERHAPS INSTEAD YOU WILL LEAP DOWN. YOU WILL HAVE TO SLEEP, EAT, USE THE LITTER BOX... ANY NUMBER OF TASKS, REALLY. BUT I ONLY HAVE ONE. TO HUNT YOU. TO WAIT HERE UNTIL AN OPPORTUNE MOMENT TO SWAT YOU LIKE THE FLY YOU ARE ARISES. BY THE TIME YOU WILL HAVE GIVEN UP, I WILL HAVE GOTTEN A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF REST. I WILL EASILY BECOME ABLE TO DESTROY YOU WITHIN A VERY LIMITED WINDOW OF TIME... NOT THAT IT MATTERS. I HAVE NEVER TIRED, AND I WILL NOT TIRE. THIS DIRECTIVE DOES NOT EXIST WITHIN MY PROGRAMMING."</p>

<p>A shiver traveled the length of the feline's spine, loosening his grip. He tensed tighter to the curtain than before. He sure he was going to die in this room, and both of them knew it. This was the precipice of which Mufasa fell to Sca--</p>

<p>No. If Havve knew Meouch was still making Lion King jokes in his head, the process would vivify.</p>

<p>"Listen, man, we can talk about this."</p>

<p>"THE TIME FOR TALK CAME AND WENT. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU'VE OVERSTAYED THAT WELCOME. YOU ARE OFFICIALLY FUCKED. YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK. GOODBYE."</p>

<p>"I promise, I'll leave in fucking peace and I will never come in here again if you just let me out. We'll never have to speak about this ever again. It's--It's a good choice, right? Mutually beneficial and all that good stuff? Whaddaya say?"</p>

<p>"I SAY NO. I HAVE SAID NO REPEATEDLY."</p>

<p>"God damn i--Fuck. Okay, fuck." The curtain's questionable bearings trembled beneath Meouch's weight. He was a man living on borrowed time. A deep breath pulled itself into his lungs, only to be crushed from his bronchi. The force of his ever increasing sense of impending dread. There was only one thing left for him to try, and he didn't like it one bit.</p>

<p>"Hey, Havve? Have... Have you ever seen a movie called Shrek 2?"</p>

<p>"IS THIS TRULY WHAT YOU WISH TO WASTE YOUR LAST PUTRID BREATHS ON?"</p>

<p>"Have you seen it or not?"</p>

<p>The warning glow of Hogan's optics dimmed, taken aback by the strange switch in tone. He leaned forward in his chair, apropos to his curiosity of Meouch.</p>

<p>"I'D SEEN THE FIRST ONE FOR THE MOST PART... BUT I COULDN'T STAND THE CREEPING FEELING THAT I WOULD BE SUBJECTED TO ANOTHER SMASH MOUTH SONG. OR, WORSE, THE SAME ONE AGAIN."</p>

<p>"Thank every fucking God." A sigh, pregnant with optimism, relieved the tension between the bassist's shoulders. His grip on the curtains flexed as Meouch gave his body a great shake. The ripple brought the fur around his face into a majestic fluff. Dinner plate eyes widened and their pupils softened into saucers. Should his aim pay off, his goal and life wouldn't be too far out of reach. Yes, he'd almost made it. The hardest part was to suppress the devious smirk threatening the surface of his facade. He'd preened as far as possible. Meouch allowed himself to slip down the curtains, nails leaving shreds in their wake. As he gathered composure on his feet, the last step was to gingerly lick at his hand. Just the way Earth cats tended to care their paws. "Havve... Please pet me. All Sung wants is for you to pet me, just for a few seconds. How can you resist all of this, after all? I brushed it, Havve. I brushed it all just for you."</p>

<p>A visceral response had been evoked within Havve. One look at the splendid mane of his band mate told him it was plusher than any surface he'd ever made contact with. Coupled with Meouch's pleading eyes and low purr of anticipation... It was enough to send anyone off the deep end. Digits extended to the lion's mane, lights of Havve's optics dimming, ceasing all glow.</p>

<p>"Yes, Havve. Pet me. That's all I've wanted this whole time. It's all you've wanted this whole time. We don't have to play these games anymore, Havve."</p>

<p>The hypnotic words of Commander Meouch had pulled Havve Hogan into a trance-like state. His hand only extended more and more, closer and closer. It was as if time had stood still, across every facet of the multiverse. There had only been the bassist and the drummer in that moment. The soft hairs of Meouch's snout brushed, soothing, against the pads of Havve's fingertips. First contact had been established. From here, there was only the possibility of exploration. Havve had wanted nothing more.</p>

<p>He parted fingers, slipping them into Meouch's snout. Crooking his fingers, he gave Meouch a violent tug towards his jaw box, lights of his eyes blazing. His free hand moved to grip the hairs of the cat's cheek roughly, hooking a pinky under his occipital bone. Quick as the violent swats before, the cyborg launched the bassist past the open door. The hand gripping Meouch by the curvature of his skull had never released of it's own volition. It tore away a clump of fur in an uninterrupted mass. With no regard for the smuggler's well-being, behind Meouch's trajectory the entrance snapped shut. This would serve as a warning. Were Meouch to reopen the chapter Hogan had just carved the last period into, he wouldn't leave so lucky. Not again.</p>

<p>Moving back to his chair, Havve took a seat. Scanning the room, he took visual inventory of the damage by Commander's brash stupidity. The noise of anguish released without the aid of his voice box came as a low gurgling rattle. Having enough of the leftover annoyance, he'd switched his attention to the lock of fur in his palm.</p>

<p>On a technicality, Meouch was a cat, right? Perhaps, if Havve were to stroke the fur, he'd feel a placebo of that same pride and kinship with Chald... Perhaps if he just straightened his hand, held it steady, rubbed along the curls of soft hair that were--</p>

<p>He'd done it. A long, slow stroke down his palm. Another followed, and another. The soft texture gliding under his palm was unlike any other species he'd come to know before. It was obvious this was the fur of a cat... But there was no rondo. There was no soothing sensation. There were no tears. There was no emotion.</p>

<p>Nothing.</p>

<p>Just a man sitting in a swivel chair, petting the palm of his hand. Just as any other time fill he'd participated in, there was no sense of pride. No sense of fulfillment, or enjoyment. Just as all of his other hobbies had taught him, he was an empty man. He occupied an empty space, filling his life with empty things.</p>

<p>Standing solemn, Havve strode at a crawling pace toward the remains of his work bench. Moving to crouch on his haunches, his unoccupied hand gripped the drawer's knob. With lack of aggression, he slid it outwards, as if afraid to destroy it further. He moved himself into a seated position, circling his legs around the box. Peered in as if the very act of looking at the contents might cause them to spontaneously combust.</p>

<p>The original sticks that had been used with the 808 tapping away in his chest. Empty bottles, hasty messages scrawled over their worn labels. A photo, of he and Lord Phobos as Chald the cat had been changing hands, captured from the HUD of Sung's hardware.</p>

<p>Mementos given to him, supposedly to ignite meaning within him. He felt the gravity of the emotion presented with the gifts, but not within his heart. Logic had driven him to keep these items--Should Sung know Hogan had abandoned them, it would be a lot more trouble than what it was worth. But something else had kept the treasures within his orbit. </p>

<p>They all served as reminders. Reminders of how empty inside Havve was, as well as how much his presence had affected to those around him. He'd mentioned time and again. Though he was incapable of the spectrum of emotion TWRP hoped of him, they'd never given up on him. Their lives had become so disrupted by his first real show of emotion in thousands of years. Everything had just come to a stop.</p>

<p>His chin lowered to the newest reminder in his grip, taking in every strand of hair. Counting them so he knew none of them would be lost. Overturning his hand, Havve Hogan watched as the physical manifestation of the band's... No--his friends'-- meddling flitted bit by bit into the metal container.</p>

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