Let's Get Things Straight

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Octavia's hand stings. She hopes Shard's face stings at least twice as much. The way he rubs his face indicates that it must sting worth something.

"What's wrong with you??" Octavia shouts. "My friend is shot, could be dead, and now you try taking advantage of me in my grief!"

"I warned you multiple times." He holds his face.

"I don't care!"

Relax, Octavia. Don't lose your temper. Warnings from her psychologist pass through her mind. Be mindful of your implant...Be mindful of your image...Be mindful of who's watching...

The implant has been dead. Her image doesn't matter now. No one watching could give reliable credit to her behavior. She's already lost her temper multiple times. What harm is there to continue? Why worry about this now?

Emotions Octavia never has the luxury of savoring surge. They balloon in her chest. Rage explodes as she can finally take a match to this hydrogen-filled balloon. Fire burns through her body. She has lost her cool in the past but has rarely been able to feel her anger before it is extinguished or contained. No one and nothing can extinguish her anger now. No fears or worries can contain it. Something about feeling this strong emotions is freeing. How much more freeing it will be to act on it.

She chucks the clothes next to her at Shard. The cloth unsatisfyingly floats to the ground. Their peaceful descent grinds her. It mocks her feelings. The fire intensifies. She charges the table and swipes her arm across it. All the items on it go flying. They clatter to the ground. Some scrape along the ground as they go past the bars. The sounds of impact echo. Much more satisfying. But still not enough.

"This is all your fault!" she shouts at Shard. Fire backs her words as she throws her balled fists to her sides. Bits of spit spray from her mouth.

"You throwing the things on the floor was all you, Sweethart," Shard says.

"That's not what I'm talking about." Octavia throws a hand across the air. "I'm talking about everything bad in my life." She stomps over to Shard. "It's all your fault!" She jabs a finger into his chest.

Shard raises an eyebrow. He doesn't move or swat her hand away. "Everything?"

"Yes, everything! Aurora's disappearance, her death. Mindy getting shot and if..." She swallows a hard lump. "...if Mindy dies it's your fault, too!"

"I wasn't the one who went gun crazy. Ajax was the one who shot her. And he could've shot more if it wasn't for me as well as Tex holding him back. And we've already covered my involvement with your sister."

Octavia's jaw shifts. Shard did keep Ajax from harming others. Shard did not touch her sister, if he's telling the truth. But... "I know Mindy getting shot is Ajax's fault, but we never would've been here at all if it wasn't for you. Ajax would've never had a motive, a gun, or the opportunity. And are you not the face of the Chromies? What they do, what you do is all Chromy! And you taking Yoo Dae-jun's place means you assumed his responsibilities, too, no?"

"Touche. But I do run things differently than he did. For better or worse." Shard's eyes glance away. "But I'm still not personally responsible for everything bad that's happened to you. The only thing I can take credit for that directly affects you is abducting you and your little friends. And jump scares. Those are always fun. But are jump scares really that bad compared to other things that've happened to you? Things that happened that I'm not responsible for. Not even my Chromies. Like I said before, I didn't kill or even hurt your sister. Nor did I have any affiliation with the attacks on the arena where you and your sister were almost killed. I also was not the one who gave you that mighty sensitive ocular implant. Strange how sensitive that implant is, isn't it? No strong emotions allowed? The slightest bump, slightest step out of line can 'destroy' it. Considering the high tech your country has, isn't that a little strange?"

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