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Wake up, Alone

Chapter Text

[One, Quarters sits tied to a chair and is heavily injured.]

"Be safe out there."

 

That was easy for... whoever it was that told him that to say for themselves. 

 

For all Quarters can tell, he imagined it, and for all its worth the empty platitudes aren't helping him now. But it was the first thing that came to mind when he came to, now alone, and he could imagine worse was only going to come to him in a place like this. Waking up, the words escape him once more as consciousness only makes his body hurt more from the aches, reminding him he was alive.

 

He has been tied to a kitchen chair. The ropes binding his arms tightly would at most times buckle under his strength, but as he attempts to move, all he can do is wince quietly in pain. One of his eyes is swollen shut and dark, and with the wet red staining his shirt, Quarters can tell that whoever has put him in this situation gave him more than a few new scars to race across his skin. The brisk air of the room stung his open wounds, but it also meant he couldn’t have been out cold too long.

 

He looks at his surroundings, shifting in his permanent seat. An empty cement room, one sputtering lightbulb sways gently overhead as flies pick at the glass, shadows creeping in at every edge. Dust licks the corners, but brown-red smudges barely cleaned off the floor suggests its use. Quarters knows a torture room when he sees one. He's helped break mens spirits and limbs in the Felts very own, more furnished then this one, but he can smell stale blood in the air. The metallic tang is familiar in a nearly comforting way, but he’s clearly already been on the receiving end this time.

 

A vibrant green jacket and his poor hat sit abandoned on the floor near him, tossed aside with little care for their state. Someone had clearly rifled through all of his belongings and even been so reckless as to rip them up. Or, more likely it was intentional. He didn’t even want to think about what they were doing with the Coins or his guns- oh god, he hoped they weren’t breaking his guns. He’d rather they break his arm.

 

Thoughts were slowly trying to flash through his mind, names of street gangs who could've done this to him. The East Street Rooks were strong enough to gang up on him if they all worked together, perhaps the Shell Peelers were finally making a move, and there was supposedly some new set of goons who fenced car parts on the sly. Countless small timers would have plenty to gain by nabbing Quarters and forcing the Felt to pay for him back. But there was always an obvious answer when Green Fuzz suddenly decided to disappear after a rare visit to Midnight City alone on a task. Those four without a doubt were even more dangerous than the hostile desert waiting runners from the city, enough to scare plenty into running off back into exile.

 

With a sudden thud, the heavy door begins to open, bottom scraping the ground. The noise is enough to induce pain in Quarters aching head, like claws across a chalkboard.

 

Spades Slick walks in, knife already in his hand. He doesn't look happy, but Quarters wasn't expecting him to. Something must've gone wrong with the exchange with the Felt, and Quarters is about to be torn up once more in order to slice down on the time that the Felt has to get themselves together for either an ill-fated rescue (they all were) or pay up. For a load of temporally-powered gangsters, they loved to take their sweet time getting to work on saving him from the Crew.

 

As Slick approaches, he stalks Quarters like a vulture assessing a meager helping of carrion. A major mistake would be to not take the miniature mob boss seriously, as Quarters has obviously made the mistake of. He scoffs as he kicks at Quarters foot, unimpressed with the Felts muscle. Unable to turn his head to follow Slicks movement behind him, the fuzz on his neck prickles as he hears the sharp unleashing of Slicks knife from its sheath, his breath hitching at the telltale sound. How many times has he been on the business end of it at this point?

 

He growls something under his breath that Quarters can't make out, but the tone sounds bitter. Trying his best to not pay attention as Slick is making up his mind about what to do with his prey, he turns his attention to the doorway, the only way of escape. Before he can try and bring himself to his feet for a useless dash out, smoke drifts in. Through the darkness while squinting, he can see a figure holding back in the shadows, sharp white eyes watching Slick work his magic more than he was watching Quarters. Diamonds Droog. Of course the two came to deal with him together. At least they didn’t bring Boxcars. He doesn’t think he could take Boxcars in the state he’s in now, it’s not like he needed another blow to his pride like Boxcars would dish out to him.

 

The two murmur together over his head. A flurry of rough inbetweens and  chittering blurs going in one ear and out the other. It's like he can't make out their words, his mind still pulsing with pain after waking up so suddenly. Opening his mouth to hesitantly speak up between the duo, a cold stare from Droog makes him snap it closed right away. Quarters wasn’t looking for them to punish him more than he could help it, as much as he’d like to interject with some well deserved snark in their faces. There's a nod from Diamonds Droog, and he feels the edge of Slicks knife on the side of his neck, his voice finally coming in clear as day.

 

"Now that you're looking all bright eyed and bushy tailed fourteen, you can answer some questions of ours. It's not every day the Felt drops off the face of the planet, as much as I'd like that. Not a goddamn peep for days, right when we’re expecting at least one gaggle of green idiots to show up. And then, you. Alone in our territory in broad goddamn daylight."

 

The face of the planet? Quarters eyes go wide as he tries to process this new information. What the hell happened while he was out? Or was this before? If it was before, how in the hell did he not know about it? 

 

The knife slides along the breadth of his neck, held tense next to his artery as a warning that he should consider his next words carefully, deliberately.

 

"I just wanna know one thing. One, little thing. Even you can do that, can’t you?- Hey .” The knife enters his skin, and Quarters yelps at the sudden pain, eyes flying open. Slicks rough carapaced hand grabs at his chin, pulling his snout to face Slick to his side. “Pay attention to me when I’m fuckin’ talking to you. Answer my question now.”

 

Inside, the haze begins to clear from his mind and he snaps to attention the closer Slick gets to committing some serious damage, now awake to properly realize the unstoppable threat, Quarters begins to realize...

 

"Why were you here, Fourteen?"

 

He can't remember why.

 

Shit.

Chapter Text

[Diamonds Droog is smoking. His hands have blood on them]

They’re waiting for an answer from him, and Slick hasn’t let up an inch on the threat of death. Quarters mouth has gone dry, eyes shifting side to side as he tries to recall exactly what led him to the Crews stomping grounds. Both the Dersites are expectant, and there’s no way for Quarters to escape center stage this time.

 

“I was... I was just...”

 

A sharp punch to his stomach politely tells Quarters he can’t stall anymore. Desperate, he pulls the first thing from his mind that he can think of, one sliver of memory that he can only hope is the right one.

 

“Lookin’ for someone. I was looking for someone!”

 

It was barely an answer, but it was an answer he can remember. The hazey streets of the City, cutting winds blowing through the streets as he was trying to find someone in a goddamn sandstorm of all things. He remembers a piece of debris flying at his head and ducking out of the way as he attempted to move discreetly. Quarters must’ve failed on that too. Droog casually strolled into the room, leaning against the wall as he took a long drag from the cigarette in his hand, rolling the idea over in his hands.

 

“Don’t hold back now, Quarters. Who were you looking for?” He says, staying on the edges of the feeding pond. Perhaps Droog could tell it was dangerous to get too close to Slick when he was in the middle of doing what he did best. Like cornering a wild animal in the middle of hunting, letting Slick do as he wished without too much intervention was best.

 

“It was, we needed me to find...a contact. A contact for a project.”

 

“And what was a goddamn Felt contact doing that deep in? I know there isn’t a single thing going on in that big green head of yours Fourteen, but you couldn’t be that stupid to meet here in the middle of all that, right?” Slick berates him, pushing for more and more information out of the leprechaun. 

 

Honest to English Quarters would give it to him if he knew. Or maybe not. Quarters just wishes he knew anything in the first place, and he wasn’t positive he was going to get any glimmering pieces of hope wrapped up in memories returning to him. He couldn’t tell him that, obviously. Saying  “I forgot” was a lie Quarters had broken interrogation subjects fingers for. Why would Slick ever believe him?

 

The project... why in the hell would they send him for that matter? Quarters was a hulking beast of a man, far from the smooth talker other members of the Felt were, and nowhere near stealthy enough to warrant sending him into Crew territory.

 

“He was-” Was it a he? “He was important. We had to get to him now or something was gonna happen.” Quarters couldn’t get more vague, but it was what he was working with. Looking down at the cement floor, he feels blood trickle from the freshest wound on his neck. “Crowbar was urgent, made me go without telling me much of anything.” That was a straight lie, but maybe it could buy him some time.

 

Slick hesitates on pressing him more, mulling over what Quarters has told him. He shares a look with Droog who rolls his eyes, unconvinced. Taking his chance, he desperately says “I couldn’t say no , Crowbar and Scratch didn’t tell me a fuckin’ thing. For all I know they were setting me up.” Setting him up? He hoped to god he made that up and it wasn’t a realization coming at him in slow motion. Nothing was adding up, but Crowbar had never sent him into something like this without properly warning him of the threats, or at least with backup assured.

 

Placing a heavy hand on his shoulder, Slick leans in not entirely convinced with his expression grim. “What was his name then? C’mon. Even if they sent you in blind, that fucker had to have a name. You know you get off easier if you just fess up.” Quarters could tell Slick a random informant's name and at least get him to leave him alone for now. But then, that sucker was almost as good as dead, or they were about to join him in the hot seat. He swallows quietly, face up towards him not defiantly, but at attention instead.

 

“They live at South Sandstreak and Prospit Avenue. Apartment 412. I don’t know the name, but that’s where you’ll find ‘em. Knock seven times.” 

 

Backing away, Slick looks pleased for once. This was something he could work with, and moreover someone he could investigate and take his clear frustrations out on. As long as it was happening to someone else, Quarters had to throw someone else under the bus for the time being, even if it might give away something else the Felt was up to. He looked over the ropes containing him quickly, and walked just outside of the room.

 

Given a moment's rest he let out a quiet sigh of relief while the two talked, head hanging down. Quarters had time to think now, but at the cost of Slick getting even angrier once he and Droog got back and knew Quarters was talking out of his ass about the contact. That informant was going to know just as much as he did about what happened, and it’d only interest Slick long enough to see a body writhing in its own blood as it ever did. The sound of a light pair of footsteps lead away and that’s when Quarters knows that now is time to plan his-

 

“What was that ?”

 

Did. Did Diamonds Droog not fucking go with him.

 

“I know he’s been angry, but he bit down on that lead like there was no tomorrow.” Droog waltzed into the room, blowing a thick cloud of smoke into his face, making him cough and sneeze. “Normally he’s much more thorough. Awful rude of the Felt to not show up on time, or at all you know? That, and that thing growing around the Manor has really set him off.”

 

“That thing around the...?” Quarters says quietly, not recognizing whatever it was Droog was talking about. The mob man latched onto this, squinting down at him and drawing his attention back into the situation at hand.

 

“You didn’t know then. Of course, how could you, about the field that started emanating from your home base a full day before we found you wandering like a lost puppy. Quarters, just how many lies were you feeding Slick back there? Be honest this time won’t you.” Mouth agape, he could barely understand what Droog meant. Something was coming out of Felt Manor that was unusual, sure, okay, but what could it be? Droog wasn’t saying anything, instead looking down at him expectantly. 

 

Sure, parts of it were lies, but he couldn’t remember anything happening to the Felt before he left- when did he leave? Quarters can’t remember taking a car out of the garage, or even passing through the front door. “Not the location- the location was real, we do have a contact there I swear t’ English.” All Droog did in response was raise a brow.

 

“And, I did come here trying to do something but I-”

“But you what?”

“I don’t- I don’t remember-”

 

A heavy thwack to Quarters face causes him to rear his head back in pain, yelping and growling at Droog who now held a wicked pool cue in his hand. It wasn’t deep enough to bleed, but he could feel the hit like it was rattling his brain inside of his skull. “You don’t remember? Are you goddamn serious? I’m starting to think the only real part was them setting you up to get rid of you, if that’s the best lie you think you can feed to me.”

 

Still stunned from the hit, the best Quarters can say back is a slurred 

 

“Aughgrhhgh.”

 

Cursing under his breath about damaging the goods a little too much, Droog sighs and tips Quarters head up. “Don’t make us regret keeping you alive Quarters. You’re really beginning to be a thorn in my side. You’d think with the Felt gone, our troubles would be over, but turns out bad luck enjoys following your posse like a disease. And here you are in our midst, spreading it while the Felts issues keep dragging on after the rest are gone.”

 

Breathing heavily, he tries to growl something about Droog shutting up, just shut up, stop talking about them. A dark laugh echoes through the room, the barest hint of a smirk curling at the edges of his mouth. “You know, I didn’t share my first suspicion with you yet. Wouldn’t it be funny if they threw you out to the wolves while they were safe in their bubble there? You’re afraid of it too, aren’t you? The way you look away when thinking about Seven.”

 

Droog began to press his still lit cigarette to Quarters chest, as he started gasping and wriggling in his seat, trying to get away from the burn. “Whatever they’re planning up there, safe inside that bubble... it looks like you’re not a part of it anymore. Maybe when I come back, you’ll be able to think it over. Give it time. You’re not going anywhere, after all.” Chuckling, he takes another drag and stalks out of the room, leaving Quarters to pant. His bodys gone limp, finally untensed as the heavy door closes behind Droog. How long would he be out? He had no idea. 

 

Unable to keep his eyes open, unable to bring himself to think about the Felt actually  betraying him, selling him out to the Crew like Droog mentioned could be possible, Quarters lids drooped shut and he felt himself drifting away into unconsciousness.

 

It must be at least an hour later when something rumbling overhead wakes him from his impromptu nap. Almost sounded like a car, but that would mean he was being held.. Underground? That, or in a building under construction. He tries to wake himself up, arms tensing in his restraints. If it wasn’t for Droog fucking with him, he feels as if he could break out of these. Just a little more time was all he needed.

 

And if the sound of those suspiciously heavy footsteps was any sign, maybe he didn’t need more time. Someone was coming towards him, their stride loud enough to breach through the door. The first person jumping to mind was Cans, coming to his rescue and easily crushing down the vault-like door keeping him captive. He’d grin at Quarters and rip apart the ropes, helping his fellow Felt member limp out of the Crews holding cell, and he could finally figure out what was happening. Despite everything, he was hopeful that he’d see the telltale maroon striped hat and green fuzz.

 

There was no ramming open of the walls, cracks showing in the cement. The looming, imposingly tall figure in the doorway as it opened with ease wasn’t a friend at all. Not with that wide sharp grin, and a deep, cruel, laugh as he entered the room like he owned it. 

 

“Boxcars.” Quarters says it like a swear, a grip of terror wracking through him as the man strode up, closing the door behind him.

 

“What, you’re not happy to see me sunshine? Aye, you look like Droog an’ the Boss really put you through the wringer. So sad, too bad.” The way Hearts Boxcars wraps an arm around his shoulders could be mistaken as friendly. Quarters knew all too well it was more like a lion playing with its prey, and he couldn’t even fight back. He’s nothing but teeth and tense muscles, and all he can do is wait for the pounce to hit him like a freight train.

 

A mockingly affectionate thumb wipes dried crusty blood off of his face, Boxcars hand drifting lower and gripping at his neck. His body leaps to life, his head leaning back in as much of an effort as he can to get away from him. Snarling at him, he snaps at his hand in defiance, teeth bared. All Boxcars does is laugh at him, flicking him harmlessly in the snout. “Still kickin’ huh? Honestly, wouldn’t have it any other way, you know? Bet ya don’t get so riled ‘round the other two.”

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He spits out, fuzz standing on edge. He just shakes his head like he’s laughing at Quarters, grabbing his bound hand in a grip tight enough to break it. It wouldn’t be the first time Boxcars had done so to his hands at this point. “Nothing worth telling if you can’t already tell. Droog was about as angry as Slick was when the two of them came down earlier. You’ve been a real pest to my boys, so I figure I’m allowed my fair slice of the action.”

 

A swift crack and Quarters is biting on his tongue to prevent himself from yelling in pain as Boxcars breaks his wrist with one crunching motion. It was one thing to get Slick and Droog off of his back- it was another to show weakness to Boxcars. He couldn’t. They could wrap him up and knock him out but he could never give him the satisfaction of winning in a way that mattered.

 

He looked pleased, and released Quarters hand to lay on the chair rest. This only made him feel pissed, rather than purely afraid. Fine. Slightly afraid. The two heavyweights had exchanged blows plenty of times, as they naturally would. They were the Felt and the Crews muscle, it only made sense they’d clash. This felt like a different world entirely, but he wasn’t going to back down while he was breathing. Boxcars wasn’t trying to get information out of him, he was trying to

 

“If you touch me again I’ll bite your fingers off.” 

 

“Never took you for liking the taste of Carapace, fourteen. I’m nothin’ but gristle unfortunately.” A sudden fist to his midsection catches him off guard, air leaving his body in one gust. He’s left gagging on blood as Boxcars sneers at him from above. There’s no respite as he continues to wail on him, cackling as his body is wracked with pain. 

 

It continues as Quarters counts down the time, keeping his breath as steady as he can. It's not easy to focus when he's being battered, but being angry fills his head with exhilaration. The feelings bring his mind to life with fervent emotion, and he's more awake then he's been all day. 

 

It's a saving grace when a quiet voice echoes down the hall from the still open door, calling out. "Hearts? Are you there? I saw your car up top so I hope you grabbed the gro-" 

 

The voice trails off as it gets closer, before Clubs Deuce walks in the doorway and gives Boxcars a look in the same way a parent might view their disobedient child being naughty." I think I remember the boss saying that you weren't supposed to interrogate him. You couldn't hold back until he was done?" 

 

Boxcars shrugs sheepishly, backing away from Quarters. "Wasn' interrogating him none, so it doesn't count. It's a perfectly valid loophole. 'sides, Slick'll understand." He smiles innocently, batting his eyes at Clubs who snorts a laugh before waving him off. The shorter dersite walks close to him, looking Quarters up and down with a prying eye. 

 

"Oh jeez, you really decided to go all out Hearts. You sure made my job harder!" Oh, god. Another round of this. Quarters continuous torture was draining him, even as alert as he felt in the moment. Clubs shuffles closer, cracking his knuckles and humming as he reached out to touch Quarters. "Now this is going to tickle, or itch, like, really badly. Just the worst. But you'll like it!" 

 

Having no idea what that could possibly mean, he leans away from Deuce's hands as they hover over his hide, grunting. "I dunno what you think you're doin', but I got nothing else to say to the Crew about-" 

 

A deep purple glow emanates from Deuce's palms, leaking like tendrils of smoke. Alarm shoots through his heart as it seeps into his skin, almost like he's absorbing it. All Deuce does is hum some jaunty tune as he struggles against his restraints, fearful. Quickly Boxcars’ hand settles on his shoulder, squeezing tight. "Calm down, or you'll mess him up. Was harder for him to figure out how t'make it work right on leprechauns anyhow, no need to punish yourself anymore, am I right?" All Quarters can do is scowl at him.

 

The smoke feels warm, like it has a heartbeat. He’s gone stock still as Deuce continues to work, and he begins to realize his cuts, his broken hand, his bruises... they’re beginning to fade away. Bones sliding back into place, cracks sealing back together, the pain was still there but this was considerably better. Flexing his hand, it practically felt like new. He could compare it to what Stitch did, but Stitch couldn’t fix a broken hand so easily. No wonder the Midnight Crew always seemed to bounce back so quickly with an ability like this at the literal end of Deuce’s fingertips.

 

Eventually the smoke subsides, and Deuce claps his hands together. “You guys sure put him through a lot, though, I guess I did too huh?” He smiles, and checks over Quarters again to make sure everything worked properly. Turning to Boxcars, he wags a finger at him while pouting. “Don’t get carried away next time, you know it’s annoying every time I have to do it. Now that you’re feeling better, mind answering a few of my questions this time?” He looked so innocent, but Quarters could tell what was going on. Rough him up to the extreme and pull in their least physically intimidating member to play good cop. Him and Clover had done this same song and hypothetical-dance plenty of times before. 

 

Clover... 

 

“I remember when we found you... all four of us at once was probably not what you were expecting. You seemed very worried, like a giant nervous rabbit hopping out of its den. Droog told me a few things about what you said, and, really I wanna agree with him! Forgetting what happened is a pretty weak excuse Quarters. But unlike him, I’m giving you a choice. We’re going to put the facts together. Like a puzzle.” He says it like it’s such a simple matter, like everythings going to come flooding back at once. But, it’s the only real option Quarters has right now, other then getting beat into a pulp or left in this room before Slick came back and did even worse to him.

 

“Let’s start with a few things. You say you don’t remember why you came. I’ll admit, I didn’t find a vehicle anywhere when we were clearing the area to make sure no one else was with you after we tied you up, quite a long way to hike the dunes from Felt Manor. It’s not entirely unmanageable, but to make that trek without one? It means that you have no other choice then to go without it. So what was so important that you’d walk that entire distance?” He tapped a pen on his barcode, looking at a pad of paper. Quarters hadn’t even noticed Deuce taking it out, but there were indecipherable scribbles all over the page.

 

“Then again, you also told Slick you were going to contact someone. He called me right before he entered the apartment a few minutes ago, the one you fed to him. I’d say you have about ten minutes before he gets back, and I want you to give me a reason to defend you from digging your own grave deeper than you already have.” Shuffling in his restraints, Quarters sits up straighter and looks down at Deuce dismissively. 

 

“I told Slick an’ Droog everything I know, alright? You don’t believe me, but I know nothing, and I got nothing to say about it.” Boxcars growls at him, raising a fist before Deuce takes his hand and lowers it. 

 

“Then let’s take a step back! You can’t recall anything from over a day ago, so we’ll start there. Do you remember the fight we had with you? Boxcars, I remember you were the first one to move once the boss gave the go ahead. With all of us at once, you didn’t even have a chance to take a gun out... After running all that way here it makes sense that you wouldn’t have enough energy to take us on.”

 

Quarters could sort of remember that. Something purple wrapped around his wrist when he had reached for a pistol in his holster, restraining him as he was tackled to the-

 

“-to the ground. That’s right, I almost forgot this part myself. When you got knocked out it was because Droog was able to push you down, and your head cracked all over the pavement.” Standing it up on the point, Deuces' pen wobbles and falls over on its side on his pad, and he grins. “You’ve got a lot of blood up in there, hot head. It was spreading everywhere, Slick had to call in a cleaner to take care of the mess once we picked you up.” 

 

A thought wanders into Deuces head, his eyes widening and darting up to Quarters and back to his notes. “Boxcars, please stay here for a sec. I gotta call Droog before the boss gets back.” Boxcars nods, and leers down at him as Deuce leaves the room. “And no rough housing this time! I’ll be able to tell you know, and I’m not afraid of telling this time!” There’s an uncomfortable silence that settles once he’s gone, Quarters turning his attention to the ground and Boxcars leaning against the wall and looking bored. He couldn’t figure out whatever it was that Deuce seemed caught up on, or what it was he was going to talk to Droog about. It couldn’t be anything that would get him out of the hot seat, that’s for sure. If the Felt didn’t show up, he was a goner. Slick would have him out in the middle of the desert burning in the sand buried up to his neck, or his gills glued shut and writhing at the bottom of a tub of water. He wasn’t getting out of this one alive unless luck decided it was suddenly on his side today.

 

Boxcars head perks up, listening to something far off and looking above their heads. Quarters follows his line of vision, unable to notice anything. “Bosses home.” A hatch slams open, followed by furious footsteps. “And he doesn’t sound none too happy.”

 

Spades Slick bursts back in, even more furious than he was earlier. Deuce is right behind him, trying to get his attention and talking all the while. “I know you just found out about the shipments but you have to- for Skaias sake Slick, slow down!” He shows no signs of acknowledging Deuce, grabbing a fistfull of Quarters shirt and dragging him close to his face. His teeth were bared and a deep growl was burning through Slick, and Quarters could feel and smell the fresh blood on his hands, bright red and metallic.

 

“You think leading me around like some kinda idiot is funny, Fourteen? Wasting my time a joke to you?” Slicks claws dig into Quarters chest, reopening the closed wounds. “The Felt ain’t responding to shit, you’re sending me off to some sap who barely could decipher whatever you’ve been talking about, and I know its you peoples fucking fault that thing is coming.”

 

“What thing! What fucking thing?!” Quarters can’t stand it anymore, barking out his confusion. A field was growing around Felt Manor, and that was all he could glean from it. This only earned him a blow to the chin. Deuce grabbed Slicks arm, yanking it away from its target while yelling up at his face. 

 

“Would you LISTEN TO ME? We gave him a concussion, and we’ve had him in this position for hours! It’s no wonder he can’t remember when Droog smashed his head like a gourd on the sidewalk! You know what I’m talking about, you watched me patch it up on the street! I have proof that he has no idea what you’re talking about.” For a second, it looks like Slicks about to lash out at Deuce with the same rage, before taking a deep breath, and releasing his grip on his shirt. Deuce looks far from afraid, standing his ground. 

 

Giving one last dirty look to him, Slick motions for Boxcars and Deuce to join him in the hall. He looks after them, his confusion reaching a peak while they speak. Bits of whispered conversation reached his judgement seat, an argument in full swing under the streets of Midnight City. Deuce spoke in his favor, at least in as much as they couldn’t kill him yet. Slick was impatient, ready to spill blood, but seemed to be listening. Boxcars didn’t care either way, figuring they could either try and patch him up or be done with it and get rid of him.

 

It’s only a short time later when Deuce and Slick shuffle back in, Slick glowering, Deuce with a little more hope in his eyes. “We’re going to give you a little more time.” he pipes up, patting at Quarters hand. “Make sure you have a real problem, and then get to the bottom of this. We don’t have to hurt you,” Slick snorts in laughter behind a closed fist. “So you should work with us. We’ll get to the bottom of this mystery, heck, we’ll get you out of that chair. Sound good?”

 

Quarters grunts in response, unsure at how to respond. “I don’t know what you’re expecting from me. Sure, we can try whatever you want. That doesn’t mean you’re gonna get anything useful.” Slick groans in annoyance, pinching his temples.

 

“I told you this was a bad idea. He isn’t even one of the Felt who's got any sense in him. Goddamn, if they sent Crowbar, or Clover-”

 

Clover... again, again with Clover, what was so important about Clover?

 

“Then things would be different. We can negotiate with them, they know how to work with us when it counts.”

 

The two keep talking, arguing right in front of him this time. Complaining about how long the process would take when they were already busy moving in on Felt territory, how they didn’t have the manpower to keep him in check. How things could go faster without Quarters in the way as a so called necessary roadblock or not, their voices turning into background noise.

 

Was Clover important? Obviously, they worked together. Clover was lucky. He could tell it was odd that whatever happened to the Felt happened, and he was the only one to get out. Not a sign of the Doctor, or Snowman, or Clover-

 

He left him behind. Something, something deep inside his gut began skittering in his stomach, churning his insides as thoughts bubbled into his head. It crawled through his throat, clawing at his tongue as Quarters blurry memories assembled, a picture ripped apart, tears pulling him out of the frame. But scraps still hold power, a part of the bigger piece. It leaps out of his mouth, as Quarters practically screams at them.

 

“WE NEEDED YOUR HELP!” His voice rips out of him, wild and afraid like a dying howl. The words are pulled out as his body goes limp, and the two of them stare at Quarters as his eyes shift side to side rapidly while dialating. 

 

“They’re dying- or, or, fuck I don’t know what’s happening but we need your help. I remember. We need your help, Slick.”