"Hey Remy," Loki asked his partner as they headed westward down a South Dakota state road.
"What?" Remy replied, sounding grumpy.
"Not that I'm doubting your abilities, but why aren't those guys leaving?" He glanced back to see the trio diligently following behind them.
"They're keeping their distance. I have no other authority to make them leave, so it would appear we're stuck with them until our paths split," she explained.
He grumbled in annoyance, "and what if they decide to stick with us no matter what?"
"I suppose I'll shoot them."
She looked at him from the corners of her eyes, the expression still not giving him a clear answer to the question.
He heaved a sigh and kicked up a bit of dirt with his shoes as they walked on. "Normally I wouldn't mind, but that kid keeps staring daggers into my back… It's very unsettling."
"And here I thought you'd be the sort of guy who likes kids," Remy smirked.
"Normal kids, yeah, but this guy has his eyes set on 'kill' you know? It's even weirder cuz I didn't do anything to him! You freaking shot at him and he's not giving you any trouble, so what gives?"
"I believe I asserted my dominance and commanded his respect by threatening him," Remy said very matter-of-fact like.
"He's not a dog," Loki cautiously looked back at Ethan in particularly.
The boy caught the stare and furrowed his brow deeper.
"Jeez, he's almost as scary as you," Loki turned his head back forward. "No offense."
"Just stop worrying about it. If he knows he's under your skin, of course he's going to try and mess with you. Ignore him and you'll be fine."
"Easy for you to say," he grumbled and turned around quick to yell at Ethan. "Hey! You got something to say?! Say it! You're creeping me out!"
"Yeah, you got some nerve for a reanimated corpse," Ethan sneered. "She's clearly not into you so stop hitting on her! It's pathetic!"
"Ethan!" Lexi scolded.
"Why you…" Loki growled angrily before he realized exactly where the preteen's sharp words were coming from. "Ohhh! You like Remy too, huh?"
"N-No!" He denied it, but his body betrayed him by blushing profusely.
"Ah, so spring has come for Ethan," J.C. had a proud sparkle in his eye and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "New love is a beautiful thing."
"I'm not in love with her! I just think she's hot!" He yelled defensively. "And this retarded zombie hitting on her makes me sick!"
"Well get used to it because I'm gonna be all over that!" Loki said with a cocky tilt of his head.
"Ahem," Remy cleared her throat and instantly shut the two bickering boys up. "Kid, you have good taste in women, but keep in mind I don't give a damn what you think or how you feel. And Loki."
"Um, y-yes?" He said nervously.
"The only way you're going to be 'all over me' is when I pull the trigger and your innards splash onto me. You got that?"
"Yes ma'am!" He straightened his posture and fell back behind her.
J.C. chuckled in amusement. "While your talent is remarkable Remy, it's better to rule through love then fear."
"Save the preaching for your congregation Father," Remy snapped. "If loving someone was an affective way of protecting yourself, Jesus wouldn't have been nailed to a damn cross."
"And if you counter with that 'dying for our sins' crap, I'll put a few holes in your hands and you can sacrifice yourself for the bullshit I'm putting up with!"
"Remy, please," Lexi spoke up still using a calm and gentle voice. "That viper tongue of yours is going a bit far, don't you think?"
"Oh god, don't challenge her!" Loki warned her.
Too late. Remy's eyes had already narrowed and she was fixing to fight a linguistic battle. "My words may be sharp, but I'm never insincere. If you don't like hearing what I think, then why don't you all leave me alone and let me live my life as I fuckin' please? We're in an anarchist America and you think you have the right to tell me what I can and cannot say because someone's feelings might get hurt? Piss off you thin skinned hippie!"
"I'm not asking for you to be insincere, I'm asking that you use discretion and show some respect!" In a surprising turn, Lexi fought back.
"Respect is earned, not given, and you're a fool if you do!"
"I can understand that, but you have to allow yourself to be a little weak so you can establish trust! I bet even you haven't been able to survive your entire life on your own!"
"Of course I haven't! There's always some dumb sap I can manipulate into assisting me! Even when I was a kid, it was too easy to use others! The strong take advantage of the weak! That's basic survival!"
Lexi gasped. "You're a horrible person!"
"That's your opinion, and lucky for me I don't give a fuck about what you or anyone else thinks of me so that's your problem to deal with!"
"Oh, I'll deal with you alright! Put your guns down and let's see how tough you really are, bitch!"
"Whoa, go Lexi," Ethan smiled.
"You want to go? Fine," Remy shrugged off her luggage and threw it into Loki's hands. "Keep in mind you asked for it, Blondie."
"Ladies, please," J.C. tried to intercede.
"Be quiet J.C., this is a battle between women," Lexi pulled a ponytail off her wrist and quickly tied her hair back.
"Since when do girls settle fights with their fists?" J.C. asked Loki as the boys moved to the side of the road to give the two necessary space to fight.
"Nothing about Remy surprises me anymore…" Loki sighed. "But will Lexi be okay?"
"She was able to survive on her own for two months until we met her," Ethan grinned. "She's plenty tough."
"Oh, does she know martial arts or something?" Loki asked.
"Uh… well… if hair pulling, biting, and scratching are part of a fighting style, then she's probably a black belt."
Despite Ethan's boasting confidence, it took Remy only two seconds to pin the blonde to the pavement.
"Well that was anti-climatic," Loki commented. He wasn't surprised that Remy won, but he was at least hoping for more of a fight on Lexi's part just to prove to Remy that being kind wasn't necessarily a sign of weakness.
"You gonna continue embarrassing yourself or are you gonna get smart and mind your own damn business?" Remy asked, twisting Lexi's slender arm behind her back.
"I won't…!" Lexi winced. "You can pin me every single time, but I'll still stand up to you! I won't let you insult J.C. and Ethan like that!"
"My, how noble," Remy released her arm and got off of her. "But it'd be stupid of you to challenge me again, so why don't you go back to just being a pretty face and keep your mouth shut?"
"ARGH!" Lexi let out an infuriated moan with tears forming in her eyes.
J.C. and Ethan rushed over to her side to help her up while Remy started back down the highway triumphantly.
Loki looked back and forth between the two before trotting after Remy. "H-Hey, don't you think you were a little too rough?"
"Not at all. I think I have a new found respect for her even if she is a bit stupid. At least she's not a coward," Remy smirked.
"Huh?" Loki tilted his head curiously. "Were you testing her or something?"
"Heh, maybe," Remy replied, avoiding a straight answer.
Loki's nostrils flared at the wafting sent of blood in the air and his eyes quickly looked to Remy's right leg. Sure enough, the pant leg had specs of blood soaking into the material. "Remy! Your leg!"
"What?" Remy glanced down and only then noticed the blood. "Fuck…"
"See? This is what you get for picking a fight!" Loki rushed to her aide without her needing to ask and rolled up her pant leg to inspect the wound.
"It's fine. It's just aggravated a bit. It's not like I reopened it," Remy said calmly.
"You shouldn't be so reckless!" Loki said as he rummaged through her backpack for more gauze and medical tape. "I knew I should have made you rest a bit longer…"
"Loki, I'm fine," Remy said as he forced her to sit down so he could change her dressings.
"I hardly think this amount of blood means you're 'fine'," he said firmly, looking her directly in the eyes.
Remy held her tongue.
"Jeez, sometimes I think you're just a bit crazy Remy…" he commented as he held her leg up and bandaged her injury with extra gauze. When he finished, he simply held her calf and waited to see if the blood would continue to soak through. Fortunately, it didn't.
"Oh dear, did your wound reopen?" Lexi asked with genuine concern as she and the others caught up to them.
"It's just aggravated, much like my nerves," Remy replied.
"What do you expect? She probably shouldn't even be walking on that leg," Ethan commented, his arms crossed in frustration.
"My thoughts exactly," Loki said and scooped Remy up into his arms.
"No arguing. You're staying off that leg a bit longer," Loki scolded her.
"I'll not have you emasculating me!"
"I think it's sweet," Lexi commented.
"Indeed. How chivalrous of you Loki," J.C. smiled.
"Hmpf," was Ethan's response. He was likely upset he couldn't carry her himself.
"See?" Loki smiled at her. "Nothing to worry about."
"It's still fuckin' embarrassing! I'm not an invalid!" She became flustered and buried her head into his chest to hide the blush. "Jeez!"
Loki chuckled and got a comfortable hold on her before all five of them continued on their journey west to the wilds of Montana and the sanctuary it had to offer them.