Description: After being rescued by his sidekick Lieutenant Lita, Ace Detective Daniel 'Jack' Little is quickly thrust into his next most dangerous mission. Lita, after taking Daniel to safety, soon falls into hysterics, her feminine mind afflicted by strange feelings and emotions. It is up to Daniel Jack to slap some sense to her, and find out the cause of her madness. Little does Daniel know that the answer to this riddle lies... At The Cemetary Gates? (The cover shows Lieutenant Lita Luwanda in a strapless red dress, unconscious in a gigantic palm of some grey-skinned human. In another giant palm next to the other, Daniel Jack is dressed in his Interpol greys, reaching out across the vast abyss of darkness between the two hands to Lita. Above both of them, a pair of eyes peer out, looking to just be pupils. The vague shape of the figure's face can be seen, with sharp angles that give it the impression of looking like a human face, with a texture of black leather) (45 cents)
After the match itself, Lita cited not feeling well as her reason for not wanting to stick around after the match, she didn't particularly feel celebratory and she figured that she right now was the most useful acting as the communication center for the team because with her being at full strength and the hotel being close by to the Pao Pao, she would probably be the best to mobilize if something went down near the KoF parties or otherwise.
She had just gotten off the phone with Colonel Wolfman after reporting the events of their particular matchup and then she moves towards the remote to turn on the TV to bring up the news. She just happened to catch it in time for the sports coverage and after the various sports scores come in, it then goes to the King of Fighters coverage. She sees who had moved on and the list of people on each team. To Lita's horror, she sees who team Interpol is going up against. Her mind flashes back to the fight with MURDERHOUSE at the point where she looks into his eyes. Every failure returned to memory, every doubt brought back up to the surface. She sees herself falling to Daniel and then after him getting shot seeing the kunai falling from her finger tips as the fight was too taxing to take aim at the sniper in the tree. She sees herself getting tossed around and slammed by Sergei the memory of her getting strangled by her tie as she got her face slammed into crate over and over again, she sees herself disguised as Stacy Jones fighting alongside Mint and getting completely disassembled by one of the members of her upcoming match. Guile.
In stunned silence, the remote control drops from her fingers and onto the carpeted floor.
In spite of a Team Interpol victory?
Tonight was horrible.
Not far from Pao Pao either, Daniel Jack was in a state of shock. Of looming dread. He felt like he was falling. Not that he wanted to fall. Right now he was stuck somewhere between 2 to 3 stories up a stairwell, no way to go up, no way to go down without... falling. All thanks to his partner, Sergei. He was desperate. The Russian would be coming back. And he would be coming back with friends. And Daniel... Daniel needed someone he could trust. He could rely on. And he calls upon his phone.
In Lita's hotel room, the silence is broken by the phone ringing.
The sound of the phone ringing snaps the Lieutenant back into the world of reality. She moves to the sound, part wanting something to distract her from her inner demons and part dreading the phone call. By the second ring, the phone is picked up.
"'Ello, Daniel. All right?"
"Lita, I'm in trouble."
Daniel Jack looks down, and considers carefully. "Okay, let me rephrase this. I'm not in danger, but I'm in trouble. But I need help fast. Long story short? Sergei just trapped me in a building right by Pao Pao Cafe, and left me three stories up broken stairs. I am pretty sure I'm gonna break my leg if I jump." He nods at the distance.
"Definately gonna break my leg if I jump."
"I can give you the long details, but lets just say I really need to get out of here before he gets back. Like, really, really badly. Pretty sure he's gonna extract me, and I don't want to get extracted, I'll tell you why once you get me out of her safe. You're the only person I can trust right now, Lieutenant." Daniel Jack pauses. "Can you come rescue me? The directions are... are..." He considers.
"How about I just text you the address?"
The facepalm she's currently performing on the other end of the line could practically be heard in the tone of her voice. There's a long pause while she tries to figure out what to say next.
"You were saying he follows orders very well, right? Rhetorical question. Don't answer that. Text me the address, I'll be over there in a bit."
10 Minutes Later:
Lita shows up looks at the broken stairs only one word comes to mind for her. "Blimey."
30 Minutes Later:
Lita comes along with an extendable ladder that reaches Daniel's location allowing him to come back down.
Oh Yeah, he was following orders well.
After 10 minutes, Daniel Jack looks down. "Yeah."
After 30? He was working down the ladder.
"Thank you for the save Lita." The detective states graciously as he finally reaches the bottom of the stairwell. "We need to get out of here though. We need to talk. We need to prepare for the next match, we need to..." Daniel Jack just... just shakes his head. He was shivering a bit. "This is a disaster. He's gonna come back to you, their gonna tell The Chief, and... oh my god." He just buries his face into his hand. "Lets... lets head somewhere private. I need to tell you someone, before you hear it from him."
"Your place, or mine?"
Lita thought she had freaked out. It looks like Daniel is in the midst of a breakdown of his own. It was like she was bearing witness to the implosion of Team Interpol. She remained quiet while the team leader was rambling. It was not a pretty sight.
Having received a crash course in media relations thanks to her brief stint as a champion. The last thing she would need is for TMZ or someone to snap a picture of them heading to the same hotel room even if they are team mates. She needed a place that was private, neutral and couldn't be construed as them going together in an image destroying location.
"Our team hotel, in one of the conference rooms. Private, plausible and doesn't make me look like a slut."
No, she was not going to let him live that comment down.
"Oh come on Lieutenant!"
Daniel Jack is almost pleading her at this point. "I didn't mean- are you ever gonna let me live that down? I mean would you wear something like that? I mean, I guess if you did, it wouldn't make you- oh god I don't want to deal with this tonight."
"To the team hotel."
Daniel Jack was storming back towards the team hotel, clearly nervous. "We're gonna keep Sergei on. There is just gonna need to be a... a lot of damage control. But you trust me, right Lita? You trust me more than the Russian, right?" Insecurity. This was a new one on Daniel Jack too. The hotel wasn't too far away, they would be in the lobby soon.
And Daniel was trying to figure out how to talk to Lita about this.
As the two head to the hotel, Daniel's mouth seems to getting him in more trouble since the more he talks the more suspicious he seems. The insecurity makes him look as though the next words that are going to come out of his mouth are going to be one big lie.
They eventually make it into the hotel lobby. And from there, Lita makes a few turns in the connecting hallway opening the door and once Daniel is inside, closes it and locks it.
Daniel waits. And waits. And waits.
And finally, they are alone.
"So uh." Daniel Jack says, trying to find a tactful way to put this. "Those guys that fled the scene when the explosion went off? I'm pretty sure they're associated with the same organization that shunted Metro City off into that hell dimension. No idea how they are associated, or why, but that implies a Darkstalker interest, and what is worse, a Darkstalker interest that gets HitBit-backed bodyguards at HitBit-backed fighting events. That's suspicious as hell. But the problem is..." Daniel Jack shuts his eyes tight. He takes in a deep breath. Lita would accept this. Lita could handle this. He keeps his eyes shut, as he continues. "The problem is Sergei heard me being friendly with them, and them friendly with me. This is because... this is because..."
"This is because because I know one of the organization's lieutenants, Doctor Fio Tessitore, on very good terms."
Lita can't believe she has to deal with this sober. She can't believe she has to deal with this, period. Her hand slowly rises to pinch the bridge of her nose as a long suffering sigh leaves her lips.
"Oh bloody hell... I need to sit down."
She's quiet for a long time, trying to figure out what she wants to say. There's a huge frown on her face.
"How do you know her on good terms?"
She delays the question she wants to ask.
It was a painful wait.
Daniel Jack didn't know what was gonna happen. This was mostly his secret. Hiding his associations with the other side. He wanted to be transparent now, because of what Sergei knew? He was gonna get the hammer down, and then, Lita would have to make a choice. He could feel that pulsing waves of... something digging underneath her. And all this? Was it enough to push her over the edge? Was she gonna quit? Team Interpol really did feel like it was falling apart. And then, she asks that question. Daniel Jack pauses himself, without answering. It was a telling silence.
"She saved my life."
Daniel Jack wasn't giving the whole truth. Just the parts he wanted. He wanted to be transparent. But that transparent. "I ended up getting lost in that hellscape twice. The second time, she saved my life, and my soul. She liked me. So we got a working relationship in place. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have the leads I would have. I need to tell you because... because..."
"She's attacked Sergei before, in the past."
In a way, him answering that question answered her other question or at least her perception of what that answer to that remaining question. Why hasn't she been arrested? The life saving yes, but also she has perception of his other reason being that she's actin as sort of a snitch for him.
"So why did she attack Sergei?"
At least with the mindset of Tessitore being a stoolie she's not as ready to condemn Daniel... yet.
"I don't know!"
Daniel Jack was beginning to circle the room. "Probably because she was doing extra-legal things to the Russians. I don't know. General Zima implied he was attacked, Fio implied that she was attacked, and the truth is a choice between a monster terrorist group and Russians." Daniel Jack paces the room, growing more and more defensive. "It could have been an arranged thing, for all I know. I mean, why did you end up fighting him?"
And Daniel immediately finds his foot in his mouth again.
"Whoa, uh, I didn't mean...." He trails off, unsure of how to keep going. Somehow, he found a worse topic than his Darkstalker insiders. The detective groans, and takes a seat.
"God dammit, what the hell is wrong with me today."
When Daniel mentions her fighting Sergei, Lita goes completely pale. As the images of her being strangled by Sergei once more as she gets slammed face first into a crate over and over again.
While it wasn't a happy moment for her, the look on her face seems to say that it was hitting her harder than it should've if everything was well.
Lita's voice is soft, barely audible. "My fight was a Neo League fight."
There was more important things than Interpol and the world. Daniel Jack had a responsibility as a team leader. And he blew it. Sergei was about to go rogue. Daniel was now reviled, and a punchline even in his own team. And Lita... he's been neglecting Lita. And now he was burdening her more and more... for his own issues? "Lita, with everything going on tonight, I think we missed the most important thing:"
Daniel Jack stays in his seat for now, but his attention is on Lita. "Something has been hitting you hard, hitting you heavy. You have been yourself. You've been... I don't even know what the words are. But I remember the woman I worked with to bring down those gangs in Japan. I know that woman. And I don't see that woman here right now."
"What's happened to her, Lita?"
Her voice is barely a whisper as she responded, "Murderhouse..."
There's a long pause as she tries and fails to collect herself. In spite of her inability to gather herself together, she continues, "Murderhouse happened to me."
"I watched the fight footage and it didn't take as long as felt in that moment. He screamed look at me and our eyes locked. I looked in his eyes and in that moment I saw every doubt I've ever had, every time I've failed. I saw my fight with you replaying in my head. I felt the kunai falling from my finger tips too injured to throw it at your would be assassin. I had my fight with Sergei replay in my head how he strangled me with my own tie as he smashed my face into a crate, each time, tightening the tie with every smash of my face into the crate. I also fought one of our next opponents. I was in disguise at the time for a tournament and this particular scenario had me teamed up with someone to take on Guile. I was replaying over and over how he completely took me apart, even while I had help."
Lita takes a deep breath she rises back to her feet and turns her back on her team mate. Because dammit, she is not about to let him see her eyes beginning to water let alone crying. Even in her currently damaged state, she still has some pride.
"I was at my worst in that fight but I tried to get myself together. I threw everything I had at him hoping I could get enough breathing room, to think, to mentally recover. He just took it and kept coming in like he was something out of a horror movie. Unconsciousness came soon after.
It was all coming out.
The entire wave of insecurity, the fear, the terror, the utter... how could you describe it, really? It was Lita. It was what was haunting her behind her eyes. Daniel's expression is soft, neutral, but listening. Taking in her heart, and analyzing it. She had lost... no. Lost isn't right. It was a humilation. Something that Daniel was very, very familiar with. "Lita..." Daniel Jack states softly.
"Did I ever tell you when I was in the same rut?"
Daniel Jack's voice was almost dreaming, dipping into distant times. "When I was young, I mean, younger than I am now? I was working in an outfit with a kid named Brandon Malone in Metro City. That is, until I was beaten within an inch of my life by gangsters. Nobody fancy, just some jaded gangsters who thought I was snoopy a little closer than I should have. That scared me. That scared me real fierce. I ended up leaving Brandon in Metro City, and took up Southtown. I thought it would be safer there." The detective actually scoffs out loud.
"I remember scouting out a warehouse, it's all playing back to me now, I remember." Daniel Jack actually gets a smirk on his lips. "I had studied under Todoh-Ryuu enough to know how to use the Kasane Ate. I thought I could handle a punk or a thug. I ended up running into a gang in there, but I took on the leader. And he beat me. He... he cut me up really bad, and set me on fire." The smirk fades. " And then he left me in a dumpster to die. Not for dead, but to die. I remember being the in darkness, remember being... remember getting ready to die again. And I didn't. I dragged myself out, and... and just wore the scars on the inside."
"And that's not even the worst now. I've been betrayed by lovers, I've been . You know I've fought Heihachi himself? I was supposed to fight his pet bear, but I felt... bad for the creature. And he came down himself, and just pummelled me. I have been sent to hell twice, Lita. I can't even... I can't even remember everything in the first trip. You get old like me, and you just pile on these things. But here's the important thing Lita. All those things?
"That's a normal feeling, Lita."
Daniel Jack shakes his head, pounding a fist on a table. "That's absolutely normal. Even single fighter, every single one, whether a professional or some street-ass punk, is gonna learn the bottom of the boot. The stories are different, but the effect is the same. They are gonna learn to be utterly dominated by somebody, or worse, a nobody. They are gonna find themselves worthless, useless, and helpless. Because that's the nature of it." Daniel leans forward
"And you gotta learn how to pull yourself out of it."
"You know the whole Lady Killer thing? That scared me. Because I realized I was on the other end of the boot. I was no longer the loser PI, struggling to fight. You're still struggling, Lita. You're still fighting, and I can see it. But I needed you on this team, Lita. Because I knew down the road, I needed someone who is reliable, who can be trusted, and frankly, has the right mind on your shoulders. I mean, I have an honest question."
"When was the first time you really, really failed."
"I mean -real- failure."
"It was on the books as a success, but to this day I still feel it was a failure."
While her back is still turned she quickly dries her eyes with thumb and forefinger so that when she turns around the moisture is gone and she's disguising the action with a pinch on the bridge of her nose.
"It was one of my first missions as a Delta Red. I was supposed to escort a key official to a predetermined location. I was deprived of my weapon and beaten within an inch of my life. Thankfully they were complete idiots and easy to track. They tortured him and did unspeakable things to him. He was left scarred and paralyzed for the rest of his life. I realized that I failed him because I was too reliant on my sword. I tortured myself with what-ifs that night and the entire year I sought out teachers for various armed and unarmed martial arts swearing that I wouldn't be caught without a weapon ever again, even if that weapon is me."
She's beginning to piece herself together by talking about it. But there's parts of his story she doesn't connect with because she's never experienced it and she's certain there's a specific detail about her own that Daniel had overlooked because he probably doesn't have the context for it.
"I've never gone to hell so I have no context for what you've gone through. Have you ever been psychologically force fed every failure, every doubt, every little bit of anxiety, and forced to live through each one in the time to blink? That's why it hit me so hard. In that moment where I looked into his eyes right before I got slammed through the floor, I lived through all of that. No time between heartaches, no time to self reflect between failures, no time to collect myself, to time to rebuild my confidence in between failures. And then after all of that while I'm still mentally vulnerable, I fail because he took all the punishment I could deliver. He didn't block it, he didn't dodge it. He just waded through it like I was hitting him with a bloody nerf bat."
She takes a deep breath focusing on how she presents her emotions. In her mind she repeats as a mantra to herself, 'I will not cry in front of him.' She's quiet for awhile while there's a look in her eyes that says she has more to say. And when she trusts herself to speak once more.
"And now I'm on a team with two of the people who showed up in my head in that blink of an eye and I have to face one of the most brutal images in my personal fail montage in our upcoming match up."
"Lita, why are you doing this to yourself?"
"MURDERHOUSe, Guile, and I sure as hell know Sergei isn't the one force feeding these failures. The key official, the idiots? They aren't force feeding you these failures either. You are the one who is force feeding your every failure, your every doubt, your every anxiety. I mean..."
And it begins to dawn on Daniel what he was accusing her of.
"Oh my god. PTSD." He murmurs. "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jesus christ." He whispers breathlessly. "You've been. Oh my god." Gone was the tough guy act, the gritty detective. Daniel never fell into the PTSD. Even getting beaten half to death and dumped in a dumpster, it never really took him down into the deep black hole. He's... he's never dealt with PTSD directly. Only indirectly. Daniel Jack rises to a stand, and approaches Lita, falling down to a knee. He reaches out for her hand. "I'm sorry. I didn't understand. And I won't ever fully understand. I can't fully understand an experience like that, without experiencing it. Team Interpol's taking a back seat right now, Delta Red is taking a back seat."
"You're the top priority now."
"Lita, what can I, and Ser- what can I do for you? What do you need right now? Don't think about what other people need from you. And don't you start with the whole 'oh I don't need anything goal orientated' BS either. Whatever you need, we're gonna get for you. Don't think about what can be done, Lita."
"Just tell me what you need."
"What I need?"
She lets those words hang there for a moment. The calm before the impending emotional storm. She's tense. Her breathing becomes heavier with barely kept in check rage. And then she releases it in a door rattling shout at the Interpol agent.
"WHAT I NEED IS TO KNOW WHY!!!!"
She moves toward the table, and slams her fist down leaving a dent in the wooden conference table. She steps away from the table and gets out right in Daniel's face.
"I want to know why it was this fight that I reacted this way. Not the fight with you. Not the fight with Guile who outclasses MURDERHOUSE by a bloody country fucking mile. Not even the fight with Sergei where I thought he was trying to /kill/ me and he got me to the point where I was willing to use deadly force on live fucking television."
While she was often foul mouthed, this would probably be the first time Daniel would hear Lita swear in rage. And then her body goes limp from the exhaustion stemming from the expression of her rage. Her arms dangle at her sides.
"Use your fucking head, Little. Did I behave as though my 'headspace' was compromised when we discussed me being on a team with Sergei. So what made that fight with MURDERHOUSE different? What made that fight different?"
It's a backfire.
All that baggage and anger and the full storm pours out, and Daniel is nearly blown over. And she just... unloaded. Daniel Jack is left speechless. Every point is laid out before the detective. Use your fucking head. Use it. Daniel Jack returns back up, looking away, hands in his pockets. "What makes him different. Maybe he's a trigger, or maybe, he's psychic or magical or something. I don't know, I've never fought the guy! I mean..."
He trails off on that thought. "He did something to you. Not beat you or shake you up. He -did- something to you. God -DAMMIT-" The detective growls. This was past emotional damage. This was a whole new dimension. Could MURDERHOUSE... was this MURDERHOUSE could even be possible for this. "That would explain why this is such a weight. But like, what could... what can fix things..."
"There is somebody who can help you, I think."
Daniel Jack snaps his finger. "He helepd me out, when that Butcher guy ate a chunk out of my soul. Zach Glenn. I don't know what he's up to, but I know that I can get him here. He doesn't live very far away. He has this... psychic healing touch thing. I can get you two together; if he can't heal whatever this asshole left on you, he can at least get us in the right direction." Daniel Jack approaches Lita, reaching out to put a hand on her shoulder. "Would you be willing to go along with that?"
"Would you be willing to at least let him check you out?"
Her body is still limp and arms still slack as she looks down towards the ground. She's emotionally spent to the point of almost being numb. She's almost too exhausted to feel.
"I'm willing to hear them out."
She's quiet for a few moments. Her voice takes on a meek quality, almost a whimper, "I don't want to feel this way anymore."
Daniel keeps his grip tight.
He didn't want her to fall. If need be, he would get he back to her room. "We'll fix you up, okay? We'll make some calls, and we'll get to the bottom of this. I'm an asshole, Sergei's a dick. But we'll get you fixed up, okay? You'll be back to your old self."
"And back to being embarrassed by me in public places, right?"
Log created on 18:00:11 06/28/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 22:47:18 06/30/2016.