AGNPH Stories

Til Death Do Us Part by Arcane_Reno


Story Notes:

This story is a bit of an experiment for me, based in a small part upon 'The Hyperion Cantos', by Dan Simmons. Fair warning for those more squeamish readers --it contains content which traverses some rather dark spaces. I hope this will not discourage you from reading, however, as I believe journeying into these dark places can help us both understand them better, and attain a greater appreciation for the light. As always, thanks to my proof readers, Guri, Cetacea, and Six.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


Til Death Do Us Part


10 Hours Before Execution


“Funny thing,” Jax said, his muzzle twisted into a sneer, “first thing popo did when they picked me up was take me to a center.” He snorted, a slight tremble entering his tone. “Those nurses feed me some shit about how lucky I am to be alive. Hairline fractures in my neck -nearly broke it. So they spend a bunch of time patchin’ me up just to send me back to the boys in blue and get shipped downtown.” His glare found focus briefly on the silent audino, before shifting back to the featureless wall.

“Then, couple days later, I get leashed and muzzled and walked in front of some bald, melty-faced old fucker who tells me I’m a ‘bad dog’, and that I need to die now. Not a chance of there bein’ more to it. A human was dead, and they had a dog nearby, so might as well put the dog down’n make everyone feel safe.” Jax barked a mirthless chuckle. “Lucky. They didn’t get it. What a way to kick a guy when he’s down, eh?”

“I-I’m sorry,” Haley said, both Jax and Pam needing to strain to hear. The typhlosion fidgeted with her claws, staring at the floor. “T-that sounds so painful. I suppose they had no way to tell how you got hurt and... and...” She looked up, her gaze meeting Jax’s for a split second, before darting away. “I don’t think... t-they weren’t trying to be cruel. All the nurses I ever met were really nice...”

“Nice? Nice?” Jax bristled, his voice rising as he himself stood, glaring daggers at the typhlosion. “Think I give a fuck about nice?

“Hey!” Pam said, throwing a protective arm around Haley. “Knock it off!”

Jax ignored her, though he didn’t move, save for the quiver in his ears. “You don’t get it either, do you, sister?!” He bit off the last few words as though chewing on something foul. “You’re just like ‘em. Lemme make it a little more clear. I ain’t lucky to be dropped in this shit hole waitin’ to die like a pussy. I shoulda died back there, by Jay’s side. I shoulda gone down fightin’ beside my boys, no matter the odds. I shoulda made good on my blood in, blood out.” His lips skinned back in a snarl. “And instead, I get this shit!”

Whirling away from the two females, he launched himself at the door, his body striking with a resonant thud. The solid barrier remained, smooth and undamaged, the black and gray form bouncing to the unforgiving floor. Haley stared, wide-eyed, as Jax picked himself up, and once more threw all his weight against the unyielding metal. Pam winced at the sound of the impact. Again, the frenzied canine found his feet, hurling himself at the door. Again.

Smack. Thump. A soft whimper, claws scrabbling at the concrete. The audino’s lips quirked upwards at the corners, his eyes blue slits in the dark, though no one paid him any mind. The zoroark didn’t appear to even notice Jax’s attempts, continuing his own toil.

Scrape. Smack. Scrape. Thump.

“Stop it!” Haley wailed abruptly, pulling free of Pam’s grasp and rushing to the side of the determined mightyena, who was staggering to his feet for another attempt. She threw her forelimbs around him, halting him in his tracks.

“Lemme go,” he panted, eyes focused on the tiny grate set in the door. Much as he tried to put heat into his tone, the effect was sorely diminished by his labored breath. “I’m gonna... gonna...” the words trailed to a growl.

“N-no more!” Haley cut in, tears brimming in her eyes. “You’re going to hurt yourself! I won’t let you do that. Stop... You can’t, you can’t, you can’t...” She clung to the rumbling canine like a drowning sailor, her forelimbs trembling with effort. Pam took a step closer, biting her lip, unsure whether to intervene or not as the two struggled in silence.

After a moment, Jax’s growl died, his posture relaxing into a slump. He wrenched himself free of Haley’s loosening grip, retreating into the corner away from the door and dropping to his belly with a grunt. The last vestiges of his quicksilver flash of temper fizzled out of his eyes, leaving the mightyena to stare, brooding, at the opposite corner of the cell.  

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

Pam followed Jax’s gaze, over to the zoroark. She studied him for a moment, her lips thinning, before she turned back to Haley, who was watching Jax with a wary eye, standing protectively between him and the door. Despite the occasional sniffle and the slight wobble in her posture, the typhlosion was pure resolve.

Huh, thought Pam. Didn’t see that one coming. She walked over to the fire-type, hesitantly putting a paw on the larger ‘mon’s shoulder. “Hey, you alright?”

“What?” Haley shook herself, apparently finding her way back to the present. “Oh.” She looked from Pam to Jax, reassured herself that he wasn’t about to start running himself into the wall next, then back to Pam. “Y-yes, I’m okay. Sorry. I... I don’t know what come over me.”

All the courage I wish I had, Pam thought. Aloud, she said, “It’s fine, you don’t need to apologize. You did the right thing.” Smiling, she gave the typhlosion’s shoulder a squeeze, lowering her voice to a whisper. “Someone had to talk sense into him. Glad it was you.”

“I heard that,” Jax muttered.

A flicker of a smile crossed Haley’s face, but already her fortitude was beginning to crumble, the timid outer shell wrapping about her once more. “T-thanks. Umm, do you think we should...” she nodded towards Jax, who appeared to be doing his best to avoid looking at the two females.

“I think it might be best to leave him be for now. Although...” Addressing the mightyena, Pam asked, “Hey, do you mind answering one more question?”    

Jax’s ears flattened, but he raised his head from his paws, giving her a flat stare. “Will you stop nagging me if I do?”

“Cross my heart, hope to die,” Pam said without thinking. As soon as the words left her mouth, she winced at the choice of phrase, and felt Haley shudder beside her, but to their mutual surprise, Jax chuckled.

“Cute. Sure, fire away, sister, but on one condition. You’re up next.”

Pam let out a huff, crossing her arms over her chest. She’d been planning to tell her story anyhow -to Haley, at least, if no one else- but having him all but order her to do it gave rise to a stubborn refusal. She swallowed it, along with her pride, and nodded. “Fine. Do you recall the name of the judge on your trial?”

The mightyena’s tail twitched. “The bald dickwad? His name?” His ear flicked, a canine shrug. “Hell if I remember. Why the fuck does that matter?”    


“I guess it doesn’t, really. I’m just finding it all a bit weird.” Sighing, Pam seated herself against the wall, followed immediately by Haley, as though the typhlosion were on strings inadvertently tugged by the lucario. Pam summoned a smile, allowing the fire-type to lean on her shoulder, her natural warmth chasing away the seeping chill of the air. Jax’s tail flicked, his muscles tensing momentarily as the radiating heat tickled his muzzle.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. A small puff of cement dust wafted across the cell at a shift from the zoroark. Jax sneezed, and shot a silent glare at the other dark-type. He remained where he lay.  

“What’s weird?” Haley asked, when Pam didn’t continue right away.

Pam gestured around, encompassing the cell and the other inhabitants. “This. Us. What we’ve been talking about. That guy Jax described... he sounded a lot like the judge I had. Maybe it’s not, but, it’s kinda weird how similar our stories are. Not in every way, but-” she shook her head. “I don’t know. It’s probably just me and my lack of sleep.” She lapsed into silence, chewing her bottom lip absently.

After a moment, Haley gave her a gentle nudge. “S-sorry, I-” she looked away, fidgeting, her voice dropping to a whisper. “It’s nothing. D-don’t mind me.”

“Hey, don’t be like that,” Pam said, pulling herself out of her thoughts and finding the typhlosion’s paw. She gave it a squeeze, reassuring. “I’m the one who should apologize. I’m being all vague, and I haven’t made good on my promise yet.” She looked at Jax, toying with the thought of sticking her tongue out at him, but discarded the notion. He didn’t even seem to notice her, his eyes half-lidded. She looked back to Haley, meeting the typhlosion’s soulful gaze. “You still want to hear my story? It probably won’t make anyone feel any better, but at least my rambling might seem less like nonsense.” She gave a mirthless chuckle. “Or not.”

Haley nodded, seating herself more comfortably against the wall and the lucario’s side, hesitantly draping an arm around the smaller female. “Yes. I-if you don’t mind telling, that is.”

Pam closed her eyes, summoning her courage. A lump was beginning to form in her throat, making it a bit difficult to speak. She raised her voice slightly, talking over the sound of the incessant scraping coming from across the cell.    

“Alright. I guess the best day to start would be Thursday. Two weeks ago.”

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