The Invincible M.A.E. (harleymae) wrote,
The Invincible M.A.E.

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FIC - The Payload

Once upon a time, I knew how to write. I'm trying to learn how to do it again. :P This is umm, original fiction, I guess? It's short and it's gen. *double gasp*

The Payload

He slips his hand into his coat pocket and wraps his hand around it, fingers feeling its contours, knowing that inside it is the payload--the most important thing he will ever have to deliver in his life.

He glances around him as he walks down the street, packed with people bundled in long coats, their breath steaming the air in a strange kind of harmony. He moves easily through the flow, and he marvels at how everyone around him is so absorbed in their own life that they take no notice of him; none of them know what he carries in his pocket: the tiny payload that will change everything.

His heart beats faster but he keeps his steps even. He attracts no attention; from the outside he looks like just another one of the millions of city dwellers who walk the streets every day, and that's the way he likes it. He's been training for this mission for months, and it's been anything but easy, but he's always kept the goal in mind, and that's how you get things done--you focus on the goal and you never waver.

Three blocks away from his destination and his hands start to sweat. Stupid, it's stupid, he thinks to himself, just stay on course and it'll all be over soon. You're ready for this--this is what all the work and sacrifice have been for, just get to the finish line, deliver the payload and your job is done.

Snow starts to swirl through the air, settling on his eyelashes, melting on his cheeks; he doesn't really feel it, though, all he feels is the payload, weighing his pocket down. He knows rationally that he can let go, unclench the fist he has made protectively around it and that it will stay in his pocket, kept snugly in place by gravity. But his mind also crawls with the paranoia that the moment he releases it, it will find a way to dance out of his pocket, jostled by a drunk or stolen by a pickpocket. His payload must be delivered and failing this mission is unacceptable, so he keeps his sweaty fingers curled around it, and he is just barely soothed.

He comes to a stop outside his destination and he takes a deep breath as he reaches for the door. The restaurant glows softly from within, warm lamps and flickering candlelight bathing its patrons in a dreamy contentment. His contact should be waiting for him, and he steps inside, quickly closing the door behind him. He glances around, locating her at a table in a dark corner near the back of the room.

He moves forward easily, unnoticed by the people sitting at their tables, laughing and talking and completely unaware of the payload in his pocket. Nothing will be the same after he delivers it, yet they dine in ignorance, barely giving him a second glance. He can't believe that this is how it will all end; his mind starts racing wildly, picturing mysterious islands, exotic yachts, casinos in Las Vegas and he laughs inwardly at himself for having watched too many movies. In that moment, he is secure in the knowledge that real life has a depth that film will never match.

His contact pours a glass of cabernet for him when he sits down and he picks the glass up, swirling it slowly. The wine rises and falls along the inner surface of the glass but he only sees it peripherally, his full focus on the payload as he takes it gingerly out of his pocket. He sets it on the table, his contact regarding it with curiosity, and he takes a deep breath to prepare, his message on the tip of his tongue even while his words come out as a whisper.

"Will you marry me?"

His contact glances back up to meet his eyes, and she smiles.
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