Leaving Night City
For Snippet Sunday, a bit of No One’s Gonna Love You, Chapter 4. Fuck, am I proud of this chapter. There’s angst, comfort, some of my tightest prose, a really cool literary trick I’ve been wanting to use, and also what’s probably my best smut ever. (Smut not detailed below though maybe I should do a smutty Sunday post too... 🤔😏)
V takes advantage of the shitty motel’s indoor plumbing and showers in private one last time. She dawdles in the cool spray. Rolling out means Mitch is better, and her stomach trembles with nerves at seeing him in person for the first time since that day. Finally she steps out of the water and dresses, donning her favorite jeans and tank as well as her favorite sneakers she couldn’t part with. Last is the Aldecaldos jacket. She pulls it snug, checks herself in the mirror and, once satisfied, hauls the duffel that contains her life to the Javelina.
Panam’s waiting for her when she arrives, and they share a moment gazing at the city. There’s nothing left for her here, but there might be something in Arizona, or someone. She lingers for a moment before following Panam to her truck. She might be dying, but it sure as hell won’t be in Night City.
The nerves in her stomach have grown into knots and she’s glad for Panam’s conversation for distraction. As they drive through the solar station and enter Jackson Plains, a Coyote speeds by them on the left, its horn blaring.
“Panam!” Mitch’s voice on the radio makes V’s heart sing. “Girl, are you running from Night City or goin’ to your granny’s for cookies and milk? Gun it or that storm’ll catch ya!”
“Screw you!” Panam says as she laughs.
“Hey, V,” he answers softly; she can hear his smile.
“Good to hear you,” she says, her voice wavering. “How’s things?”
“Give me a month and I’ll be good as new. I told y’all I’d be fine, didn’t I?”
“Come on, Mitch, you weren’t nearly that confident after Mikoshi, none of us were. He was in bed for weeks, a vegetable,” she says as V didn’t know, as if she hadn’t been watching her agent for any sign of activity.
“Did save every one of our asses, though,” V says.
“Pity Saul’s not with us,” Panam says with a sigh, and it’s like a punch to the gut. “Or Teddy. Or Bobby. Or Scorpion....”
With each name another punch, until her chest is squeezed tight and she’s biting her lip to keep from crying. Turning to the window, she blinks away the tears that started to form and cranes her neck for one last glimpse at Night City. The late afternoon sun has receded behind the city and the shadows of the skyline stretch after them like brittle branches of a barren tree.
“They would’ve kicked your ass out of whack after that move with the panzer. Then hugged you until you puked.”
“I know, Panam, I know,” Mitch answers, forlorn.
“Gave us all a chance at a new start. Let’s not fuck it up,” V says, and she tries to keep her voice steady, as if she’s not the cause of their deaths, the reason Mitch had to do what he did.
“I’m glad you’re with us, V.” His voice is once again gentle. “See you soon.”
If Panam can forgive her, if Mitch can, then maybe one day she can forgive herself. The tears that were hovering just beneath the surface break through and she swipes at her eyes with her hand, and she’s thankful Panam hasn’t noticed and, for once, lets her ride in peace.
They follow his car to a clearing of solar panels with an antenna tower. As Panam stops the truck, the door to the Coyote opens and Mitch climbs out, one long leg then another then finally the rest of him and her stomach flips when his eyes find hers. His pace is slow yet deliberate and she follows his movements until his handsome face and beautiful eyes are in the window and he’s smiling at her—smiling, not smirking—and there’s something in the smile, the crinkle of his eyes that makes her heart flutter.
Mitch leans in and it’s déjà vu like that time right before Mikoshi when she couldn’t breathe and he’d held her hand and she closes her eyes as his lips meet hers and she’s the best thing he’s ever tasted and it doesn’t matter how long this headache lasts as long as it means V smiles at him that way.
After a long moment Mitch opens his eyes and pulls back, and V licks her kiss-swollen lips, her look disappointed as it dips to his mouth. Nice to see she missed him too. Her messages said she did, but nothing like a kiss for confirmation.
“Shall we get the fuck out of here?” he asks, beaming at her.
17 notes · View notes