Hey all, I just want to let you know that this is unedited Naughty has a lot going on right now so I'm not rushing her to get any editing done, but I wanted to make up for my MIA status so I figured anyone who wanted to wade through my terrible spelling and grammar is free to do so. Otherwise you can wait and I'll let you know when it's edited.
Also there's new poll on the left I want to know what you all think. I don't know about you all but when I look at it it shows the clicky bubbles to pick an answer but doesn't show the text. Like it's black text on a black background. If you highlight that area it shows up, don't know how to fix it lol. Thanks!
Pike stumbled and fell to the ground. He supported himself with his arms and knees as his head spun. He felt Gavins arms wrap around him and pull him back to his feet, his knees buckling again and he was supported completely by Gavin, as he swung him up and into his arms. Pikes head rolled against his chest as he was carried, feeling Gavins heavy footsteps take them a couple of steps farther. He knew Gavin was tired too, it was hot, they had run out of water the day before, and everyone in the group other than Gavin had agreed that giving Pike any of their resources was a waste, so he had gone two days with no water, and no food.
“We can stop here, it’s too hot to continue walking with no water.” David said. Pike felt Gavin tremble, as his knees buckled and he dropped Pike to the ground. Pike groaned as he rolled a couple of times and stopped.
“Pike, I’m sorry, are you okay?” Gavin put a hand on his shoulder, Pike couldn’t open his eyes. The sun was too bright and everything would spin and he would only pass out, talking was out of the question too, so he just nodded his head slowly. Gavin pulled him up, resting him against what felt like a brick wall. Pike finally forced his eyes open and regretted it instantly, the room spun and he felt like he had chugged a bottle of tequila. If there was anything in his stomach to throw up, he would have. “I’m going to go look for something for you to drink.” Gavin put his hand on Pikes arm. Pike used what was left of his strength to reach for Gavins hand.
“Too...dangerous...” he whispered, throat raw and dry. His lips were cracked and bleeding, and his tongue felt like sandpaper. Even Mongo barely kept up with the group, as if the two were tied together. He now lay in Pikes lap, panting.
“He’s right, we’re just outside of Reno. We need supplies but you can’t go alone...” David looked around the group. Only Pike, Dana, himself, Gavin, his daughter, and two or three other stray people they had gathered back in L.A. remained. Their group had shrunk down to almost nothing. “I’ll go, Dana will handle things here, and you two.” He pointed to two people who stood in the back of the small run down hotel room, he doubted the hotel was anything to ooh and aah at before the apocalypse. "You two come too." THe two seemed shocked, but nodded quietly.
“I’ll be back soon, alright. Just relax.” Gavin kissed Pike on his forehead, and left.
Gavin threw the two waterbottles they had found in his bag, and they continued scavenging. The city was picked clean, even more so than the usual wasteland of a town they saw while traveling. They had been scavenging for nearly three hours and had come up with the two water bottles, one only half full, and nothing else.
“This place is dead, even more dead than usual.” David grumbled.
“Well, we’re only on the outskirts of town...maybe if we go in deeper.” Gavin said carefully.
“No, we can’t risk it.” David snapped. Gavin nodded. It was weird not being ‘in charge’ anymore. But he didn’t exactly feel like it was a giant loss. He knew what David felt now, the concern for the group was the only thing on his mind.
“Do you hear that?” David stopped walking. Gavin pulled himself away from his thoughts and perked up his ears.
“Hear what?” He asked, being ‘shushed’ by David immediatly. Then he heard it.
“That...” David whispered.
“Is that...” Gavins eyes lit up.
“Music?” One of the two they brought along with them spoke outloud. Gavins heart fluttered, it was very faint, but even he could practically feel Iron Maidens ‘Hallowed be thy name’ pumping through his veins. He looked over at David and saw his eyes watering, he was crying.
“I never thought I would hear music again...” He whispered. For a solid minute they simply stood there, listening. Then Gavin frowned.
“Why are we hearing music? There must be other survivors here.” He grabbed the gun at his side and readied himself.
“Why would they be playing music? A drained would hear them from a mile away!” The man who had announced what they were hearing earlier said.
“Maybe...” David trailed off. “Maybe they have supplies.” He said quietly. They were all thinking it, he just had to be the one to say it. Since leaving L.A. they hadn’t been forced to be ‘that group’ yet. The group of marauding savages that killed for what they needed. Yet.
“We’ll just go see, maybe they’ll want to join us.”
“Or we join them...” Someone offered, Gavin wasn’t sure anymore who was talking, he was too wrapped up in the music.
“Just keep your heads low and we’ll see what the situation is.” David said, he tucked his gun back into the front of his jeans, and headed towards the sound the music was coming from. At first it was hard to pinpoint where the sound was coming from, but when they turned the next corner, heading deeper into the city, it was pretty obvious.
In the middle of the city, was a park. The park must have been popular before the apocalypse, green grass and a small pond. Gavin guessed it must have been occupied by ducks, or fish, before hand. But now the grass was dead, and only a few brown patches remained at the edges, and the pond was filled with a sickening brownish liquid Gavin feared was now used as a bathroom, since he could smell the foul mixture from where he stood more than a block away. The next horrid smell to reach his nose was that of the dead, piles and piles of corpses covered the street, some drained and some human. But the most impressive thing was the 18 wheelers turned on their side to form a large wall around the park. There was a small gap between two of the Semis, apparently an entrance to the park behind the overturned trucks. It was covered with barbed wire, and traffic spikes, several limbs from drained stuck to the metal coils and were rotting away. The trucks themselves had wire covering the top, with several men on each side of the truck with guns pointed down, scanning for any enemies.
"Wow...." Gavin whispered.
"Talk about firepower...” David muttered.
“It’s pretty impressive, ‘innit?” Gavin froze as he felt the barrel of a gun pressed into the back of his head. He assumed David and the others felt the same thing since not a single breath escaped, it was as if they were frozen in time.
“Move.” he felt the gun jab him in the back of the head, giving him a headache. They stepped out from the side of the building and Gavin was allowed to see their capturers. Three men and one woman stood behind them.
“We don’t want any trouble, we just heard the music...” Gavin said.
“Well, considering you obviously haven’t been here long, I’m guessin’ y’all are nomads...” The woman spoke again. “But where’s your supplies, and the rest of your group I assume. There’s no way you would travel with a group this small...too dangerous. I assume since you’ve survived this long you’re not complete morons.” She chewed on a toothpick. Gavin glanced at David who looked at him silently. “Well? I’m waitin’.” She said, shoving Gavin with the gun again.
“We were just scavenging for supplies, we didn’t know this place was taken...We’ll leave.” Gavin said.
“That wasn’t my question. Where’s your group and supplies?” She asked again.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Gavin said.
“Alright then.” He heard the gun cock behind him and shut his eyes.
“They’re in the old run down hotel outside town, by the highway.” He opened his eyes to see David pointing in the direction of their group.
“David!” Gavin snapped. He heard the woman laugh behind him.
“Wow, strong group ya’ got here, bud.” The gun was pulled away from his head.
“Maybe you’re willing to die for a bunch of strangers, but I’m not.” David said quietly.
“You’re forgetting that group of strangers has your wife and kid in it.” Gavin snapped, David looked guilty but his face didn’t give any other emotion away.
“Move.” The woman jabbed them in their heads again, forcing them to move towards the large barricade of trucks. A loud howl pierced the air and Gavin glanced to see three Drained sprinting towards them, shouting and snarling. Gavins eyes went wide and he began to back up, David doing the same. “I said move!” The woman nudged them again, not even looking at the Drained.
“Are you insane?” Gavin couldn’t decide if he should run and risk getting shot, or stay and definitely get mauled to death.
“Shut your mouth and keep walking.” She rested her finger on the trigger. Gavin, dripping beads of sweat, did as she said and walked, eyes shut as he waited for the clawing biting users to reach them. Three shots rang out, within milliseconds of each other and he looked up to see that none of their capturers had moved their guns, but the many men on the semis were focused on the now bleeding out drained.
Before he realized what was happening he was shoved into the enclosed used-to-be-park. He couldn’t believe how many people were in the park. It was more people than he had seen in a long time.
“Holy shit.” David whispered. They didn’t have power, but there were several torches lining the ‘streets’ which were just cleared out rows that people were walking on. Kids chased each other in circles, running after mostly flat basketballs. Men and women walked the streets with guns on their backs and holsters on their hips. Even though everyone in their small group carried at least two guns and one close range weapon, they looked undergeared compared to the people wandering the streets.
“Excuse the excess of weapons. There’s a hole in our walls somewhere and drained keep getting in. People are nervous.” The woman holding a gun to Gavins head muttered. Gavin walked along as they were led to a bus in the center of the ‘town’. Unlike the busses that made up the walls of the town, this bus sat on its wheels as any bus should. The windows were cleaned but were covered in barbed wire and fortified with crudely welded bars. Each rim was decorated with foot long metal spikes, covered in blood and a few fleshy bits. Other than that it looked like an average school bus. It even had the words ‘Mcmanus Elementary’ printed on the side in black writing.
“Inside.” The woman pushed Gavin in first, followed by the others. “Sit.” She said, and they all took a seat in the rows of uncomfortable blood-stained seats. Her and her small possy of men stared at them carefully for a few minutes. “Who are you?” She finally asked. David opened his mouth to speak and she shushed him before he could even get out a word. “I was talking to your leader.” She pointed at Gavin.
“I am the leader.” David frowned. The woman leaned on the drivers seat of the bus and laughed.
“You might think you’re a leader, but you’re not. Who are you?” She asked, directly at Gavin this time.
“My names Gavin, we’re just a small group making our way through the city. We are just passing through.” He said. She stared at him coldly.
“Where are you headed?” She asked.
“Canada.” She scoffed at his answer.
“Why not just stick it out and wait for rescue?” She asked.
“We were, at first. We came from L.A.” He said. “We ran out of food in the store we were holed out in, and then our place got over run by an original user.” He explained.
“An original user? We haven’t seen any of those yet...” She mumbled. “Are they a pain?”
“A pain? Yeah, I guess you could put it like that.” He said, remembering the large lumbering man who had easily thrown a car half a block just by bumping it with his hip.
“We have food, and water. You’re free to stay here as long as you want.” She said, before heading for the exit.
“Wait, what? You bring us in here at gunpoint and then tell us we’re free to go?” Gavin said, confused.
“If any of you decide to stay that just adds more to our numbers, which is good. If you decide to leave then thats your choice. We try to keep some sense of civilization here, and although helping others is a thing of the past in most places, it’s not here.” She said.
“What’s your name?” Gavin asked.
“Ariel.” She smiled, and stepped off the bus.
“This bitch is crazy.” David muttered.
“But she has water...what more could we ask for than that?” One of the two men they had brought along with them stood up and ran off the bus, his feet hitting the dirt and he headed for the nearest building. Gavin watched as seconds later he came back with a full bottle of water. Even though his brain screamed at him to be cautious, watch the mans Adams apple bob as he swallowed the water made him almost cry he was so jealous. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and he followed David and the third man off the bus and into the building.
Gavin had begun to worry about Pike and the rest of the group when he had reached his third bottle of water. Which just so happened to be the time when his small group was led into the city by three armed guards. One of which was carrying Pike in his arms like a small child.
“Pike.” Gavin ran over to the guard and took Pike into his own hands.
“He ain’t lookin’ so good.” Ariel walked up behind Gavin.
“Here, baby. Have some water.” Gavin flipped the top of his own bottle open and carefully poured some of the clear liquid into Pikes mouth. He coughed and sputtered before greedily drinking all of the water in the bottle.
“You said you had food?” Gavin looked up at Ariel. “He hasn’t eaten in days.”
“Yeah, right in there.” Ariel pointed to a small shack across the ‘street’. Gavin carried pike into the shack and saw it resembled an old diner. He set him down in a booth and Ariel set down a plate with, and Gavin had a hard time believing what he was seeing, a steak. Not only was the steak still steaming it was so fresh, a pile of fries and a small dollop of ketchup decorated the plate.
“Oh my god.” David muttered.
“Holy shit.” Pike muttered. “Even in my delirious steak...er...state...I can’t believe that shits real.”
“I can smell it, it’s most definitely real.” Someone in the back of the group whimpered. Gavin cut off a piece of the medium rare steak and fed the first bite to Pike, who melted even further into his arms.
“Oh good god I never thought I would taste steak again.” He groaned. As Gavin fed himself a bite he melted just as Pike had.
“How?” He asked Ariel.
“We got a butcher here in town. Lucky enough to have caught us a few steers from a ranch outside of town. Slaughtered two of ‘em fresh this mornin’.” She drawled. “We cook it all over a fire pit on the north side of the park.” She explained. “Got a small garden growing, barely enough to keep us all alive, but we got potatoes, carrots, some other veggies here and there.” She pointed to the fries. “Feel free to have some.” She nodded towards the rest of the group who quickly dug into their own plates brought to them by the armed men who patroled the ‘town’.
“This is incredible.” He muttered.
“Yeah, it’s a little hard for most people to believe when they first get here. Most don’t want to leave.” She said, sitting down across from Gavin and Pike.
“I can see that.” Gavin smiled, and Ariel smiled back. Pike looked at them back and forth before sitting up on his own in the booth, and taking another bite of steak.
“Yeah, I could see that. But, we have a plan. Sorry to disapoint.” He growled, over his bite of steak.
“Of course, Gavin told me all about it. But just stay here a couple of days and rest up before moving on your way. Wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to y’all.” She winked at Gavin before walking out. Now that the two men sat alone in the booth together, Pike scoffed and rolled his eyes.
“Did you see that?” He asked.
“See what?” Gavin asked, watching Ariel walk around outside and chat with people.
“The way she was looking at you. She looked at you like you looked at that steak.” Pike said, as he ate the last bite.
“What? You’re crazy. Not more than an hour ago she had a gun to my head.” Gavin said, eating a few fries.
“Yeah, right. Don’t you remember when you were in Junior high and when you liked someone you were a total ass to them?” Pike asked.
“Pike, you’re dehydrated and starving, shut up and eat your fries.” Gavin pushed a fry into Pikes mouth, and went back to watching Ariel through the window.
“This is rediculous, what does she have that I don’t?” Pike asked outloud, as he watched Gavin and Ariel down below. He had taken a liking to sitting on the tall branches of the trees that covered the town. Right now Gavin was helping Ariel plant some new vegetables, he had done nothing but help her in the four days they had been in what the locals had named ‘parktown’.
“Boobs?” David asked, as he leaned up against the tree, looking up at Pike.
“Shut up.” Pike snapped.
“Pussy?” David laughed. Pike took off his shoe and hurled it at the man below, as he ran off laughing. He sighed and jumped down out of the tree, followed by Mongo. He pulled his boot back on and leaned against the tree the same way David had. Mongo meowed at him and Pike bent down to pick him up, petting him as he held him close to his chest.
“She’s crazy. If all I had to do was put a gun to Gavins head to get him to like me I should have had him from day one in that diner.” Pike grumbled, as Mongo purred, hugging Pikes chest. “I knew it was a stupid idea. This world doesn’t have any space for love anymore. Just hate and a lot of bullets.” He sighed and dropped the cat back down to the dirt as Gavin and Ariel walked up.
“Hey, Pike.” Gavin pulled Pike to his side and kissed his forehead.
“Hey.” He grumbled.
“Ariel is going to do another patrol of the wall, drained are still slipping through somewhere, and I was going to help her. Want to come?” He asked.
“I’d rather shoot myself in the foot.” He whispered. Gavin rolled his eyes.
“Okay, I’ll be back in an hour or so. Wait for me in the bus?” Gavin asked. Pike nodded and watched the two walk off.
“So, how long have you and Pike been together?” Ariel asked as they walked along the wall of buses.
“Since L.A. He’s the one who helped us escape the original user, and the one who let us tag along with him to Canada.” Gavin explained.
“That’s cool, but I meant, together together.” She smiled.
“Oh, uh.” Gavin blushed. “Not very long. Back in Vegas some shit went down in our group and it brought us together, in a weird way.” Gavin siad.
“Hm, interesting. You don’t look gay to me.” She laughed.
“I don’t know, I’ve never really been the labels kind of guy.” He shrugged.
“Right. So you do like women?” She asked.
“I’ve dated a few, yeah,” Gavin shoved his hands in his pockets.
“Interesting.” She nodded, and they continued to walk in silence.
“So, tell me about the original user you guys encountered back in L.A. what are they like?” She asked.
“Big, and with a bad attitude. He definitely wasn’t a happy camper.” Gavin shook his head.
“Are they as mean as regular drained?” Ariel asked.
“Meaner. They’re basically like drained on steroids.” Gavin laughed.
“God, I can’t imagine dealing with one of them. It’s still hard to believe how all of this went down, you know? Like everyone just thought it was another drug craze sweeping the nation and then....” She looked around before making a ‘boom’ sound and miming and explosion with her hands.
“Yeah, it’s crazy.” Gavin nodded. “Sometimes I think about how things used to be and think about how much they’ve changed. But then I look at a situation and realize nothings changed. It’s the same ol’ drama with dirty clothes and no cheeseburgers.” Gavin laughed.
“Depends where you’re at, we have a hand crank meat grinder here, you know.” Ariel nudged him. “Cows to make cheese, too.”
“Damn that sounds nice.” He laughed.
“It is, you should stay. You’re no nomad. You were forced out of your permanent home, but this could be your home now.” She said.
“No, I couldn’t leave Pike. I think I love him.” Gavin smiled down at the ‘town’. A few specks of people walked by and he knew somewhere down there was Pike, waiting for him.
“Theres no room for love in the world now, Gavin." Ariel said.
"I disagree, I think that's exactly what the world needs right now." Gavin said, as they strolled around the large wall that surrounded Parktown. It was made up of scraps of metal and barbed wire. Where they had gotten so many supplies Gavin would never know.
"Hm, if you says so." She shrugged. "What's with that cat he always has trailing behind him?" She asked, looking down at the small groups of people. Gavin followed her gaze and finally spotted Pike sitting on the roof of one of the small buildings, Mongo sitting by his side.
"I don't know. His names Mongo. He and Pike are just two of a kind I guess." Gavin shrugged.
"Weird... I never did really like ca-" Ariel was interrupted in mid sentence by a loud roar. They both looked up to see the sickening sight of one of the walls bending like it was made of rubber, before it collapsed. A cloud of dust rose up, and everything was oddly still for a moment. Everyone in the town was froze, looking at the brown cloud that swarmed around the fenceline. Ariel and Gavin were silent, the only sound that could be heard were their pounding hearts and ragged breath. Before the dust could settle a very large bare foot stepped over the fallen fence and the figure attached to it moved into sight. It roared and it didn't take Gavin long to realize that it wasn't a regular Drained.
"You were wondering what an original user was like?" He asked. He heard Ariel swallow loudly. Suddenly hell broke loose, and the original user took a running start, heading towards the first group of people it saw. Before they could even react, it pulled back a large muscled arm and slammed it into the crowd, sending four people flying. Gavin and Ariel broke into a run, heading for the town below. As they reached the first rows of buildings, the danger increased as a hoard of thirty or more Drained stormed through the same destroyed fence. Gunfire lit up the dust that now covered the town and screams could be heard everywhere. Ariel called out orders, demanding everyone retreat to an emergency exit behind the town somewhere.
"Pike?! Pike where are you?" Gavin shouted of the crowd.
"Gavin?" Pikes voice came to his ears, though it was impossible to tell from what direction it came. Gavin turned, unable to see in the dust and finally he took off in a random direction and prayed it was the right one. He stepped on something and heard a yowl and a hiss, he looked down to see a long tail under his boot.
"Mongo! Where's Pike?" He asked the cat, scooping him up into his arms.
"Gavin!" This time Pikes call wasn't questioning, it was begging. He wasn't looking for Gavin, he was crying out for help. Gavin found one of the small buildings that littered the town and dropped Mongo onto the ground. The cat ran off into the dust and Gavin began scaling the uneven wall of the building. Soon he stood above the dust and was able to see most of what was happening. Drained covered the town. Groups of people hid behind men with assault rifles and shotguns. Some ran blindly away from the town only to be chased down by the much faster drained. Gavin saw all of this and more, but the one thing he didn't see was Pike. He scanned the crowd and finally his eyes landed on Pike, unconscious on the ground underneath a large oak tree. Even from the distance Gavin could see blood pooling around him. He cursed silently and jumped from the roof of the building. His ankles protested the rough landing but he ignored the pain as he forced his way through the crowd, shoving past men and women and punching Drained if they even looked his way. Finally he arrived at the small grassy clearing that Pike sat under. He shook him quickly and swore.
"Pike. Pike! Wake up damn you!" He shook the thin shoulders under his hands. Pike moaned and his eyes fluttered open.
"Where did that asshat with the crowbar go? He's going to taste lead." Pike grumbled and reached for his twin pistols on his hips.
"Forget about that, we need to go." Gavin pulled him up and as he turned to find a fast escape route, he was met with the cold eyes of an original user.
"Oh fuck." They both whispered. The user roared and turned its large body to face the two men. As it began to charge, Pike pulled out his pistols, standing shakily on his own two feet. Gavin reached for the shotgun he had slung across his back and cocked the large gun. He took aim and waited for the creature to get closer. Pike began firing, his own weapons capable of longer range than the shotgun. The bullets sunk into gray flesh but did little to slow the behemoth. Pikes pistols made a hollow clicking sound and he swore, fumbling to reload the guns. Gavin fired, only getting two shots off before his own gun was empty. The behemoth was now only ten feet away and closing. Pike looked up into the cold eyes, seeing his death nearing rapidly. Suddenly a flash of orange and white streaked across the dusty air and the original user spiraled to the side, roaring. Gavin took the chance and dropped his shotgun, pulling Pike by the hand towards the exit that Ariel had been yelling about. As he tripped over his own feet Pike looked back to see Mongo hissing and clawing at the users face. The monster swung blindly, falling into buildings and trees as the cat clawed at its eyes and scurred over its shoulder, jumping onto a tree to try to escape now that Pike had gotten a chance to escape.
"Mongo..." Pike pulled against Gavins hand.
"Pike, I know you love him but he's just a cat we have to go!" Gavin shouted and pulled harder. They approached the fence where one piece of sheet metal was being held open by Ariel who ushered them through. Gavin stepped through first and began pulling Pike through the hole.
"No!" Pike finally snapped out of his trance and yanked his wrist from Gavins. "I wont't leave him!" He shouted and ran back towards the user.
"Pike you fucker get back here!" Gavin shouted and dashed through the fence, but was shocked when David, Ariel, and several others held him back.
"Gavin we can't wait, they'll see us soon, we need to go, there's no way he's going to make it back." Ariel said.
"You don't know Pike." Gavin said. They watched as Pike ran back towards the original user, throwing his pistols to Gavin as he ran. The lumbering mass of gray flesh stood, wiping the blood out of its eyes, searching for the cat that hid in the tall branches of the tree. Finally it spotted him and reached for the cat, who hissed and swiped at the gray hand that was easily three times the size of its own furred body. Without a second of hesitation, Pike grabbed a knife out of the hand of one of the fallen citizens of Parktown and ran towards a parked car only five feet or so behind the behemoth. Several Drained had spotted him and were hot on his heels. He jumped onto the hood of the car, scrambling up the windshield onto the roof and kicked off the edge of it, landing on the back of the original user. He dug the knife into the gray flesh, forcing a roar from the beast below him. Mongo yowled as the branch he was standing on was released by the user and it shook and swayed from the backlash. The monster tried to reach onto its own back to pull Pike off but was unable to grab him, missing by only centimeters. Pike lifted himself onto the large shoulders and held out his arms.
"Come here, Mongo." The cat ran daintily across the branch and leaped into Pikes arms. Pike took a step back, his foot planted between the monsters shoulder blades. He got a two step start, using the gray bald head as a springboard, he launched himself onto the roof of a nearby building. Just as he kicked off the original users head, the rest of the Drained had finally caught up to him, and launched themselves off the same car, landing on top of the user. Five or more drained hit him on the back, bouncing off like blunt darts. They landed on their asses on the ground and crawled back up to their feet in time to see the original user turn and growl loudly at them. They roared in return and the user lashed out at them. The car was sent flying into the wall of a building and several more Drained came to back up their own kind. Soon it was a group of fifteen or so Drained growling and hissing at the single user, who would take out two or three with a single fling of his arm. As badly as Pike wanted to stay and watch the outcome of the fight, he knew the winner wouldn't be satisfied with the one win. He took off, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. His ankles and knees screamed and his arms burned from holding Mongo so tight. He dropped the cat onto the roof beneath his feet. Mongo meowed happily and ran along side him, soon taking the lead. He led Pike through the dust and debris towards the fence, sliding through the gap Gavin held open and Pike followed less than a second behind. Both Pike and Mongo panted, Mongos small pink tongue hanging out from his mouth, and Pike resting his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath.
"He's not just a cat." Pike swiped back his pistols from Gavin, and walked slowly as he returned the holsters to his hips.