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the mice endure

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PostSubject: Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1]   Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] I_icon_minitimeThu Jun 30, 2011 2:14 pm

Title: Shadows Creed
Author: the mice endure
Genre: Action, Drama [FanFiction]
Rating: R [Mostly]
Characters: A7X
Summary: Bands are outlawed. The law is upheld by The Creed. The Creed is a force responsible for eliminating renegade musicians. One man decides it’s time for a change. Time to crush the oppression. There is one problem. This one man is The Creed’s most trusted.
Setting: New Huntington, 2009
Author's notes: Incomplete/Chaptered. Also, though this is a general fic which doesn't focus on relationships of the characters, the main pairing mentioned is M Shadows/Valary.
Disclaimer: I do not own A7X. Or anyone associated with them in real life.

Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] ShadsCreed3


1. Welcome to the Family
2. Just Jimmy
3. The Creed

Last edited by the mice endure on Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1]   Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] I_icon_minitimeThu Jun 30, 2011 2:14 pm

Part One -Welcome to the family

“How many times has it been, Seward?”

“Too fucking many.”

“Yeah. Y’know, by rights you shoulda been shot years ago.”

“So what? You gonna shoot me now?”

“No. Take this.”

The guard was bored. Nothing ever changed and the little shit standing in front of him hadn’t changed any since he’d arrived at the joint six years ago. Seward was the same sullen, rat-faced lout he’d been when the Creed had cornered him and his buddies in some dank garage at the wrong end of New Huntington.

The guard held out a red card to the young man. The same red card he’d given him every time Seward broke a rule.

“Here,” he repeated in a monotone. “Put that on record, and get outta my sight.”

Seward took the proffered card with a smirk, a mere twist of the lips, before darting off with a triumphant chuckle.

* * * * *

The smell of oil filled his nostrils making him want to retch. Zacky lay flat on his back beneath a laid out piece of crap, aka the mayor’s Bentley, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it. His brother was leaning against the body of the vehicle, tunelessly humming and not helping him at all.

“Matty, get that rag, could ya?” Zacky called out as he squinted up at the underside of the vehicle.

“Get your own, lazy ass...” the younger male mumbled.

Zacky frowned, biting down hard on his lip before retorting, “I don’t see you under this heap of shit.”

“That’s because I’m the smart one,” came his brother’s response. There wasn’t much that could be said to that statement, so the elder Baker remained silent and returned his concentration to his task.

* * * * *

Chaos and hate fill the world
Take me away to
Some place better than this
I know a place where we can go...

Brian stabbed his pen against the page he was scribbling on. The words seemed okay, but he wasn’t game to read over them again. Scraps of paper were scattered across the surface of his desk, littering his bed and floor as well. He’d been at it for days, but he could never get anything solid or that he felt was worthy of continuing.

His father had been the same way, when he’d been living at home. A perfectionist at heart, it ran in the genes.

“Fu-uck! I hate this!” Brian slammed his palms against the surface of the desk, jarring the bones in his forearms.

“What, hun?”

His fiancée peered around the doorjamb, her warm brown eyes catching his attention and drawing his scowl away from his work.

“Chelle...this...poem. It’s crap.” He scrunched the page into a tight ball, lobbing it across to the basket next to his bed.

Michelle sighed, coming in to lean next to him. “You should take a break. Don’t forget, Shads and Val are coming around for drinks tonight...”

Brian smiled, thinking of his friend. It had been a long time between shouts. But, considering they were each hitched to a Dibenedetto girl, it was time they reforged their friendship. Nodding to his woman, he swung around on his chair, placing his hands against his knees and standing up.

“Well, we’d better go to the shops then.”

* * * * *

He had five trash can lids. It was a record. He wasn’t certain what he was going to do with them yet, and he was sure his landlord would probably collar him and force him to put them back where he’d found them. But, he didn’t really give a shit. His parents were coming around with his sisters and he wanted to show them his masterpiece. Requiem for a Garbologist was going to be his finest work. A lot of mangled sounds of metal clashing against metal were definitely music to his ears.

In fact, making music was something he loved doing, however he never really got any chances and there was no way anyone ever appreciated anything he created. Because he was basically a screw-up who was shunned by society and loved only by his family and friends.

He did have one redeeming quality, though. Jimmy Sullivan was a genius. He knew just about everything one needed to know about society, and also a lot of useless stuff as well. Including how The Flushers got their name. They used to be responsible for making sure all the toilets in the shopping malls were flushed. They’re now responsible for flushing out the waste of the streets.

Jimmy was also an expert at screwing things up. And he always found it amusing to watch the Flushers trying to clean up after him. They of course weren’t as much entertainment as the Creed, though.

The Creed. Jimmy’s number one obsession and the one thing he knew more about other than his own family. The Creed who controlled New Huntington with a fist of iron. The Creed who his best buddy, for the past five years, commanded...

* * * * *

Wake up. Meditate. Clean his gear. Eat. Pump iron. Shower. Wake the rest of the corp. Every morning it was the same and Matthew never tired of it. It was regular as clockwork. And he preferred it that way. Routine and order lead to responsible action. And responsible action lead to the law being upheld.

Of course, he wasn’t so inflexible that he couldn’t allow for some deviation from the norm. For example, the other morning, his wife of mere weeks, had surprised him at the barracks with a box of his favourite chocolates and a passionate kiss. He normally wouldn’t encourage public displays of affection; it was a sign of weakness he couldn’t really afford. However, he had only just recently married, so he knew his superiors and subordinates alike would turn a blind eye, at least once or twice.

Today, though, things were going to be a little different. Matthew had decided to take a break, an honest to goodness day off. He had been on call non-stop for five years; he hadn’t become TaskerOne by sitting on his ass, stagnating. Therefore he felt he deserved this one day of respite. Still, he couldn’t abandon routine entirely. And so that’s why he was walking toward the showers a heavy black towel over one shoulder, bandana dangling from his left fist, a tight smile twisting his lips.

“Shadows? What’re you doing?”

Matthew paused midstride as he was about to head into the showers, glancing to the person who had just questioned him. His 2IC, Jason Berry, was holding the wall up, a smirk gracing his lean features.

He chuckled low, lifting the bandana. “Rookie salute.”

The younger man laughed. “Been bashing up the kiddies in the gym again? That’s not very nice.”

Matthew shrugged, pushing the door open and heading into the steaming shower block. Jason followed behind, stripping.

“I mean, fuck...I know they all gotta toughen up. But don’t you think you’re just a tad hard on them?”

Matthew gave a non-committal grunt, tossing his towel and bandana over a pole, stripping his sweat-soaked clothes from his body. He stepped into the shower bay; it was large enough to take a whole football team and then some. Communal bathing was good for morale as far as the Creed was concerned.

As the sensors picked up his presence steaming jets of water sprayed down. He stood under it with his eyes closed, stretching his arms above his head.

“No harder than Eski was on us when we first joined,” he finally commented as Jason joined him.

“That’s true,” Jason murmured, as he cast a quick glance over the bigger man’s body. “Did you no harm, though.”

Matthew snorted. “Right back atcha, buddy.”

“Hah. I’m not the one who packed it on.”

“You’ll keep,” he muttered, while grabbing a bar of soap and proceeding to lather up all over.

“True. All that ink must’ve been killer though.”

Matthew glanced at the other male. “Hmmm?”

Jason nodded to the artwork that covered his body. “All that.”

“Yeah. A bit.” Matthew smirked. “But pain is good for the soul.”

“Trust you to say that,” Jason muttered.


“Nothing, Shads.”

Matthew frowned. “I’m serious.”

The 2IC rolled his eyes, splashing water at him. “Be careful, you might turn into Jimmy.”

“If I do, I give you full permission to recommend my closure.”

“Haha, very funny.”

Matthew flicked water back at Jason, then scowled. “Dead serious, Jason. Jimmy’s my best friend. But, he’s not the sort of person who stays in the Creed’s good books. Ever. In fact...he’s just...not.”

“Yeah, I get it. I get it. By the way, day off, right?”

“Yeah,” Matthew smiled. “Going to Brian’s for drinks. Been a long time.”

“Enjoy that.”

“Sure will.” He sighed. “But first I gotta rouse the rabble...”

Jason cocked an eyebrow. “You do know what a day off is, don’t you? It’s where you leave the shit work to me.” He clapped a hand against Matt’s shoulder, squeezing the hard muscle. “Finish up here and get your ass home...let me deal with the corps.”

Matthew grimaced as he said, “I don’t think-”

“Don’t argue,” Jason interrupted, firmly. “As your second-in-command I insist that you forget about all your responsibilities, and go. Just go. Let your hair down...”

“If I had any, I would.” Matthew ran a palm over his skull then patted the same hand against his friend’s left bicep. “Thanks. I guess you’re right. I’ll just go once I’m done here?”

“Don’t ask me.” Jason began laughing, but sobered quickly as his commander glared at him. “Yeah...yeah, just go, Shads...I can deal.”

Matthew, unable to maintain his stern expression, gave a grateful smile whilst ducking beneath the spray, washing away the sweat and soap.

After a moment he said, “Good. Because you still owe me for the whole of last quarter.”

Jason chuckled again, shaking his head. “True.”

Nothing more was said between them as they finished up, preparing to part ways.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1]   Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] I_icon_minitimeThu Jun 30, 2011 11:39 pm

Oooh, this is interesting. I like the concept.
Oh Jimmy :')
I'm looking forward to more Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1]   Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 03, 2011 10:07 pm

Thank you, Megan Smile.

I miss Jimmy Sad

Part Two -Just Jimmy

Brian looked out the front window as a familiar growl echoed up the driveway. He was at the kitchen sink, filling up several empties with his homemade brew. His concentration was every which way since he and Michelle had returned from the shops. First, he had gone back to his room and attempted to write a little more. When that had come to nothing, he had switched on the television just to flick through about a hundred channels of commercials. Finally, Brian had settled with checking the alcohol he had begun to brew.

He had gotten the bug the previous Christmas because some family friends had brought over a bottle of whiskey that they had made themselves. It, besides his writing, was his pet project: to create the perfect whiskey.

However, the low moan of his friend’s bike approaching the front of the house was enough to draw his attention away from that, for at least a moment.

“It’s Matt!” Michelle called from the living room.

Brian yelled back, “I know. I’d recognise his bike a mile away.”

“Val’s not with him.” His fiancée appeared behind him in the doorway of the kitchen. Brian glanced over his shoulder at her.


He returned his focus to the large bottles in front of him, trying to make sure he didn’t spill any of the liquid he was pouring from the heavy barrel.

“Val. She isn’t with him.” Michelle came over to lean against the sink next to him, observing his work. He smiled vaguely her way before continuing his task.

“She’s coming straight from work,” Brian murmured after a moment, sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth and squinting down into the sink.

“No. She said Matt was going to pick her up.”

“No. She told me that she was coming straight from work.” Brian put the now empty barrel down, grinning. “Anyway, it’s early yet...look at these beauties!” He waved a hand toward the full bottles in the sink.

Michelle rolled her eyes at him then turned to leave. “I’m gonna let him in.”

Brian nodded absently while scrounging in a drawer for some bottle caps. His fiancée sighed and walked out of the room. He heard her footsteps fading away then the sound of the front door opening and her welcoming the other man.

“Matt! Long time.”

“Yeah, how’re you doing?”

Their voices quietened for a moment so Brian couldn’t hear them, and then Matthew’s voice entered the kitchen in that familiar rasping drawl that he always spoke with.

“Brian, what the fuck’re you doing?”

Brian turned around, bracing his ass against the counter, grinning. Matthew stood several feet from him, his eyebrows rising in bemusement. Hooking the pair of Aviators he always wore out onto his shirt, he nodded toward the bottles in the sink.

Brian smirked as he said, “Oh that’s just some brew I concocted.”

Matthew’s expression darkened. “Nothing illegal?”

“No. It’s just whiskey, Shads. Lighten up.”

“I will, if you let me be the first to taste it,” Matthew said with a chuckle.

Brian rolled his eyes walking forward to meet him in a quick, hard embrace. “Oh, you. Come ‘ere.”

They pounded at each other’s backs then stepped away, Matthew moving to lean against the bench while Brian went back to the sink. He grabbed the caps, screwing them onto the bottles before lifting them out of the sink and plonking them down on the bench. He left one open, which he set down in front of his friend.

Matthew grabbed it and asked, while sniffing at the contents, “When’re the others getting here?” He tilted it watching as the dark liquid swirled inside.

“Well, your wife won’t be here ‘til later. Apparently she’s doing some advertising campaign for the mayor,” Brian said, watching his friend’s silent interrogation of the brew.

Matthew snorted, “Elliott Johnston needs all the help he can get. Did you hear about his ride?”


“Zack told me, last time I spoke to him, that he ran over a couple of concrete pylons – no idea how he did that – so it’s at the shop right now, getting fixed.”

Brian laughed, shaking his head. “Man. Zacky will kill it.”

Matthew took a pull of the bottle, brow furrowing. “Whew! What is this? Forty percent proof?”

“Yeah,” his friend laughed again. “Strong, hey.”

“Fuck yeah...” He wiped the back of his hand against his mouth. “Anyway, yeah. Zacky’ll probably wreck the car more than it already is. He’s a shit mechanic. I wouldn’t trust him with Harley.”

Brian rolled his eyes. “That’s real original, Matt.”


“Calling your bike, ‘Harley’.”

“That’s what it is.”

“So? That’s something Jimmy would do.”

Matthew frowned. “He’s coming, isn’t he?”

Brian was now cleaning up the sink area where he’d been working. He paused at his friend’s question though, looking over at him. He recognised the semi-anxious expression on the bigger male’s face and knew instinctively what it was that was bothering him.

“Matt, you know it. He never misses a chance to hang out. It’s been a long time.”

“I know. Just...” Matthew sighed.

Brian studied the serious cast to his Matt’s features. Then thought of their mutual friend. Jimmy was different to anyone he had ever known. He always seemed to be off in his own little world; never wanted to conform either. He was a law unto himself, and in a world where people frowned on those who didn’t follow the norms of society, he didn’t quite fit in.

Matthew on the other hand was very strong on fitting in, on keeping the status quo, particularly if it had anything to do with his position. Or so it appeared on the outside. Brian had a feeling that Matt wasn’t as strict on that as he let on, after all he couldn’t see how he would ever have maintained his friendship with Jimmy otherwise.

“You’re not on duty, Shads. Jimmy’s just know that.”

Matthew’s lips quirked, faintly. “I do.”

“Oh, and if he starts going on about the Creed...let him. It’s not hurting anyone.”

“I still want to know how he found out about that bust six years ago. That shit was classified.” Matt made a face.

Brian poked his head into the pantry to try and find some food to have with the drinks. He and Michelle had bought a stack, but she always seemed to hide it all on him. His voice was muffled as he responded to his friend’s question.

“You do know that the kid’s elder brother was Jimmy’s friend from high school.”

“I guess that would do it.”

Matthew shifted his weight, rubbing at the back of his neck. Brian reappeared holding several bags of chips. They rustled in his grip as he put them on the bench. Then he leaned his hands against the surface, absently flexing his arms.

Matt eyed his arms, nodding slightly. “New ink?”

Brian looked down at his forearms, turning them over and studying the tattoos that covered the lengths of both. “Nah. I’ve had these for a long time...”

His friend tugged at an earlobe, the diamond studded gauge glinting. “Fuck, I haven’t been here for ages.”

“True. You need to find more time.”

Matthew groaned as he said, “I can’t afford to.”

Michelle walked in then and raised her eyebrows at his statement. Before she could comment though, a loud, extremely familiar voice could be heard from out the front of the house, shouting. The three of them rushed out of the kitchen, to the front hall and out the door to see Jimmy standing on the front lawn in just a pair of blue basketball shorts. He had his arms up in the air and was yelling up into the trees.

“It lives! The masterpiece is alive! It fucking lives!”

“What the hell?” Brian stared dumbfounded.

Jimmy looked ridiculous. His face was flushed, at least the little bit of it they could see considering the bushy beard he was sporting. He waved his long arms in the air and did a funny little dance, his long legs going every which way as he continued to repeatedly chant ‘it lives, it lives’. Michelle, who was trying not to laugh, looked up and down the street obviously hoping that none of the neighbours were out.

Matthew was the only one able to think clearly on what to do. His many years of training kicked in and he reacted almost on autopilot. He moved fast across the lawn, a tank set on hitting its target head-on. Tackling his friend they ended in a tangle of long limbs and hard muscle on the ground. Jimmy had stopped shouting and was now laughing so hard it sounded like he’d explode at any moment.

Matt wrestled the taller man onto his back, which in truth wasn’t so difficult because for all Jimmy’s height on him, Matthew was still stronger. Sitting on him, he glared down into his laughing eyes.

“Fucking quit it, Sullivan,” Matt ordered, trying to keep a severe expression on his face. Jimmy pouted up at him, his eyes wide and innocent, the bright blue almost overwhelming.

“My name’s not Sullivan, it’s The know that.”

Matthew rolled his eyes, but kept up the stern tone. “Fucking quit it then, Rev.”

Jimmy’s lips turned down even more, and he screwed up his eyes. “But, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, Mattie...” The nickname came out in a whine. And then he pouted some more.

Matt wasn’t going to budge though. So, Jimmy resorted to something he knew would get his friend either to get off him, or to start laughing with him. He managed to twist one arm from Matt’s grip and poked him in the stomach.

“Fuck,’re solid.”

“Hey,” Matthew protested. “Don’t!”

Jimmy poked him again; he growled.

“Ooooo I’m so scared...”

Matthew couldn’t do it anymore. He burst out laughing, and rolled off his friend flopping back onto the grass.

“Fucking hell, Rev...”

“You know you love me, Maffew.” Jimmy giggled.

Matt slapped the taller man on the shoulder and said, “We’re still not dating, buddy.”

“You wish we were, Shads,” Jimmy retorted.

“Yeah, right. Val might like you, but she wouldn’t tolerate me cheating on her with you.” Matthew sat up, brushing grass off the front of his top and jeans.

“True,” Jimmy said. “Maybe you should just...spend more time with her.”

Matthew blinked noting an edge to his friend’s voice. “What?”

But, Jimmy, who could never be serious for long, was already up again and running toward the front door.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1]   Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] I_icon_minitimeMon Jul 04, 2011 3:20 am

Matt really needs to loosen up a bit :')
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PostSubject: Re: Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1]   Shadows Creed [het, gen, ch 3, p1] I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 05, 2011 1:22 pm

Yeah, he does doesn't he....

Part Three -The Creed

“He fucked up the undercarriage. I can’t do shit with it, and Matt doesn’t help, just standing there.”

Zachary had finally arrived and was sitting in front of the television, with Matthew and Brian, recounting his days work. Michelle was seated in between Brian’s legs, leaning back against the couch and deeply engrossed in a novel; Brian was absently running his fingers through her hair. Jimmy, who had finally found some other clothes and was seated on the floor, watched the three of them while drinking from one of Brian’s homemade whiskeys.

“Y’know, I think we know too many ‘Matts’,” Brian said.

Jimmy snorted, some of the whiskey he had been drinking trickling down his beard. “Well, makes it easier for me.”

“How do you figure that?”

“I can remember you guys’ names better.”

Matthew rolled his eyes.

Zachary scowled. “You wouldn’t fucking dare forget us, Jimmy. Anyway, can I finish my story?”

“Yeah, go on.” Jimmy waved a hand at him before downing half the contents of the bottle in one go.

“The Mayor is going to be really fucking pissed when he comes in tomorrow to check on progress,” Zacky said, sighing. “But, I don’t fucking know what to do. I can’t just say some magic words and fix it.” He raked his fingers through his hair, making the short spiky bits stick up at the front.

Matthew spoke up then. “I don’t think you need to worry, Zack. Elliott’s got more important things to worry about.”

“Like what?” Zacky tilted his head toward his friend. There was a moment’s silence after his question, though. Uncomfortable almost, where they just stared at each other. Then he said, “Oh...guess you can’t tell me that, right?”

Matthew leaned his head against the back of the sofa. He took a deep breath before answering. “Nah, it’s okay. Just...the election, y’know?”

“Fuck. That’s this year?” Zacky blinked, surprise flickering across his face.

“Yeah.” Matt said. “That’s why Val isn’t here yet.” Valary, his wife, was an actress who worked locally in and around New Huntington. She did mainly advertisements, particularly in the political and social circles. She had done some small independent telefilms, but she didn’t really want to break out into anything bigger. At least, as far as Matthew knew, she didn’t.

“She doing the big one?” Brian asked, while reaching for the bag of chips that was on the table in front of them. He took a couple, holding it out to Matt.

“Thanks,” Matthew said, grabbing a handful. “And, yeah. I don’t know what it’s going to be, though. Guess we’ll see when it airs.” He popped a chip in his mouth, crunching it while frowning in thought.

Brian passed the bag to Zacky, who dug out a handful and shoved it all into his mouth. Matthew paused in his thinking to raise his eyebrows at his friend.

“What?” Zachary asked, defensively.

Matt screwed up his face, before laughing. “You’re such a pig.”

Zacky retorted, “I am not.”

“Yeah you are...look at that.” Matt leaned over and slapped his stomach lightly, causing it to jiggle. “You’ve let go of yourself, Zack.”

After he made that statement, Michelle lifted her eyes from her book; Brian tilted his head; Jimmy sat forward. Zacky grimaced. They all knew, including Matt, how sensitive Zachary was about his weight. They usually didn’t comment on it, because he was honestly trying to do something about it, but if work got too stressful for him, he always put it on more.

There was another tense silence.

Then Zacky said, scornfully, “We can’t all be like you, Mr Hard Man Sanders. TaskerOne, mean motherfucker who upholds the law and intimidates little boys who can’t fucking stand up for them-”

“Don’t you dare say that to me, Baker,” Matthew growled, cutting him off. “It’s my fucking job. I don’t have a fucking choice.”

“Yeah? Well then quit ragging on me about my weight, ‘kay? It fucking pisses me off.”

There was a tense moment of quiet, the two men meeting each other’s gaze. Zacky’s eyes were narrowed. Matt’s were dark, hard. Brian, Jimmy and Michelle looked nervously between them. It wasn’t unusual for Matthew to get worked up over things; that was just the way he was. But normally Zachary didn’t let things get to him. And it was kind of surprising that he was reacting to Matt of all people, in this way.

After several moments, Matthew exhaled roughly before murmuring, “Sorry. That was uncalled for. I was being a dick.”

“That’s okay, I was too...” Zacky’s lips twitched in an apologetic smile. Matt reached over to clap a hand to his shoulder, squeezing it. The two men smiled at each other warmly then settled back against the sofa letting out twin sighs.

Michelle, who had put her book down on the floor, having taken note of Zacky’s unfinished accusation, asked, “Matt? What was he going on about ‘little boys who can’t stand up for themselves’?”

Matthew turned his head to look at her. Brian shifted his weight, looking just as interested in an answer, as his fiancée. Any word on what their friend did as TaskerOne, commander, of The Creed always intrigued them; even though some would suggest that the fascination was a little morbid.

Matt shook his head, expression grim. “There were some kids near Zacky’s shop. My boys found out they were concealing contraband. Y’know? Electric guitars and shit.” He paused, taking in the looks on his friends’ faces. They all held a mix of respect and disgust, which was the norm for them.

He went on, “I had to take a team down there...I think one of the kids shit his pants when he realised who I was.” He nodded to Zacky. “He just happened to be outside his shop and saw it all go down.”

“Yeah, it wasn’t pretty,” the mechanic muttered. “A lot of yelling and... Someone let a gun off...”

Matt added, gruffly, “No one got hurt, though.”

“Sheer fucking luck, I say,” Zacky pointed out.

“No. Sheer force of will.”

“Whose? Yours?”

Matthew just shook his head in answer; he didn’t like talking about it. His work. He just wanted to not have to worry about it, especially considering today was meant to be his day off.

Zacky rolled his eyes at him. “Like you said, I fucking saw what went down. And it was just...”

“What had to be done,” Matt finished, wearily. “I don’t like it any more than you do, Zack. But it’s my job.”

“It sucks what The Creed does.”

Jimmy’s voice interrupted the solemn quiet that had started to fall after Matt finished talking. They all looked at him. Surprisingly, there was none of the usual ‘I’m fucking with ya’ expression in his eyes. Even with the ridiculous beard, the older male was all seriousness.

“What, Jimmy?” Matt asked, leaning forward and bracing his elbows on his knees.

“Well, no offence to you, Shads. But, they’s like the fucking Nazis. And the fucking... Gestapo, right?”

“Maybe that’s not the right comparison to make,” Brian commented, as he cast a glance at Matthew whose brow was furrowed in deep lines.

Jimmy snorted, not seeming fazed by the darkening expression on his friend’s face. “I could give a shit, Brian. It’s just bullshit. I don’t see what’s wrong with wanting to form a band. What’s wrong with them anyway? When our grandparents were kids it was no big deal.”

There was quiet for a long while after his statement. The five of them got to thinking on the past. Bands had been outlawed in the Americas in the mid-Sixties. Several factors had played a part in this, but none as significant as a circle of bands that had been famous in the early Sixties. The band that had gained the most notoriety though, was best known for a single incident that had occurred in 1965.

The five men in the band had all been their age, in their mid to late twenties and they called themselves Rebel Assassin. Which considering the situation had seemed extremely appropriate. The band had been a precursor to the heavy metal scene and had spawned a cult following overseas, especially in Europe.

But the reason they had caused the government to come down hard on them and on bands in general was because they had questioned the status quo, had gone against the moral codes and practice of law and basically alienated and pissed off a lot of people in the process. The culmination of this was that the whole band had conspired to assassinate a very important political figure. Definitely grounds for the government to overreact and decide that all bands should be outlawed. There were other reasons leading up to it, but that had been the final straw.

Of course, other countries had noticed the outcry in the Americas and increasingly upped the ante as well, citing their own issues with musicians in rock bands. By the early noughties all the nations in the world, except a select few in Europe, had either completely outlawed bands, or at least severely restricted them. Following on from that flow, each country had had to find a way to deal with the rapidly increasing rate of underground movements. The Creed was the Americas response to a call from extreme left politicians to crush the uprise.

“You know the history,” Matt said, after the silence had stretched on for quite awhile. He had the bag of chips in hand now and was in the process of tipping the scraps into his mouth.

“So?” Jimmy pulled a face.

Matt glared at him. “So? You know the history.”

“I also know that The Creed is the only force of its kind in the whole wide world.”

Matt continued to glare at him.

“Oh, for flying fuck’s sake, lighten up, Matt. It’s not like I’m suggesting we start a band or something.” Jimmy grinned at his friend.

Brian groaned at that and shook his head. “God, Jimmy. That’d be going too far, even for you.”

Zacky added, “Yeah, ‘cause of course, Rev’s not that stupid.”

“Good to know,” Matthew said, tossing the now empty bag at their tall companion. Jimmy stared at him then pretended to burst into tears.

“Why are you so mean to me?”

Matt sighed, letting his head hang for a moment. “Fuck, Jimmy...”

“No. That’d piss Val off.”

Matthew had to laugh at that. “True.” But then he frowned. “What’s this sudden obsession with the way my wife feels about shit?”

“What?” Jimmy cocked his head to one side. “I’m not obsessing over your wife. That’s all in your head.”

“Yeah, but what you said before...outside...”

Stroking his beard, Jimmy said, “Oh, you mean about spending more time with her?”

“Yeah, that.”

Michelle interrupted, “He’s right, you know. You need to find more time for Val.”

“For all of us,” Zacky butted in.

“Yeah, we hardly ever see you. You’re always over there.” Brian waved a hand in the air.

Matt lifted his eyebrows, rubbing his hands against his thighs. He didn’t really have an answer for them. At least not a reasonable one. He could throw them the usual line about how The Creed took up all his time, but that was more by choice than because he had to.

Sure, he was TaskerOne, the top most position, except for the General. But, it was by choice that he lived on site at the barracks. It was by choice that he worked longer hours than everyone else. He didn’t have to be there all the time, but he chose to do so. And the crux of it was that he had no plausible excuse for it, he just did it.

“Val understands,” Matt murmured in a low tone.

“Doesn’t matter,” Michelle countered. “You still need to do something with her.”

“She’s busy too, y’know.”

“Not as busy as you seem to be.”

Matthew rubbed at the nape of his neck, scratching absently beneath the short hairs. Then he lowered his hand back to his leg and kept rubbing at it.

“All we’re saying,” Brian interjected, “all we’re saying is you need to find more time. We’re not telling you to quit.”

Matt knew his friends were right. That was what really burned him about their comments. Time was the biggest issue, and he really needed to fix that. And Hell, it wasn’t as if he was against it. He had honestly needed this day off. Perhaps he needed to look into some holiday leave.

Sighing, he nodded to Brian, “I know.” Matthew slapped his palms against his thighs. “You’re right. We need to do this more often.”

“Once a month, at least,” Zacky suggested.

“That’s doable,” Matt agreed.

“I know something else that’s doable,” Jimmy stated.

The others groaned, shooting mock glares his way. Michelle threw her book at him; he ducked out of the way the novel landing harmlessly behind him on the floor.

“What? I was just saying!” Jimmy whined.

“You don’t say...” Matthew drawled, laughing. He leaned back against the sofa, crossing his left leg over his right knee. Jimmy pouted at him.

“Oh for fuck’s sake, Rev. Alright! I’ll take Val out on a date, if you’re so desperate.”

Jimmy grinned before chugging down the rest of his whiskey; then wiping the back of his hand over his mouth and his beard, he let out an almighty belch.

“Very good, Shads. I approve,” he nodded his head hard.

Matthew just sighed, closing his eyes as he leaned his head back against the sofa again.

“And that was the best I’ve ever had,” Jimmy added, referring to his belching.

Brian snorted, standing up. “Ready for a second, then?”

“A second burp?” Zacky asked, lifting his eyebrows.

“Yeeeeeaaaaah!” Jimmy answered, a little too loudly.

“No. Drinks,” Brian chuckled.

“Oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeah!” Jimmy responded even louder.

Matt, without opening his eyes, said, “Get him a drink so he’ll shut up...he’s killing my head.”

While Jimmy protested against his friend’s comment, Brian made his way to the door. Michelle got up to join him. And Zacky flopped back on the sofa, closing his eyes as well. Before too long, aside from Jimmy’s continued mumbling, the twin sounds of soft snoring filled the room, a stillness coming to the two men sprawled on the couch.
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