David was getting lost in a rack of BDs, many of which he'd already viewed. He was skimming through the modest library in the netrunner dive trying to pick something out that Lucy might enjoy with him. He encountered Swimming with dolphins, "professionally produced ocean fun for the whole family". It had come out in 2074 so there was no way it had actually been filmed in the ocean given the level of pollution present in the modern era. He kept thumbing through little packs while he waited for Kiwi to get done shopping for some fresh quickhacks. The dive had a wide selection of preem stuff for netrunners but the same could not be said for the BD collection. It didn't take long before a familiar and calculating voice snapped his attention from the rack of BDs "Find what you were looking for?" It was Kiwi now waiting on him. David shot back "Nope, ready to delta?". She nodded and they departed. They'd driven all the way over to Watson's kabuki market, thinking on it now, with traffic as heavy as it was, they probably would have been better off taking the metro. Maine had tasked him with shadowing Kiwi and to "intervene" if there was any trouble from street gonks. Not that Watson was a particularly dangerous part of Night city, but there wasn't any place that was explicitly safe either. Kiwi was good at handling herself so David figured it was more Maine's way of saying "keep busy". The whole crew was still reeling from Pilar getting flatlined less than a week ago so everyone was trying to wash the bad taste out of their mouths with busy work. Rebecca had told everyone she'd need some time to "sort things out" so everyone decided to give her some space. Night City never lets up so she was no doubt having to deal with all sorts of bills they were sharing and taking care of legal bullshit tied to a loved one getting zero'd. It was an experience he was all too familiar with. David glanced over to Kiwi as they made their way down the oriental catwalk. "Have you checked in with Rebecca?" Smoke trailed from her mask "Messaged her I'd help if I could. She said she'd let me know if she needed anything". Everyone had told her the same when Pilar was zero'd but he hadn't sent her a message directly. She took a drag from her cigarette before continuing "If you're concerned, you should contact her yourself." "yeah, I guess so." he sighed as a distant ad in japanese wafted through the night air. The subtle scent of incense and greasy noodles was supplanted with the gunky flavor of car exhaust and pollution as they made their way along the crosswalk under the soft glow of neon kanji signage. Maine had loaned out his car again for them to roll around town, it was parked across the way from the shopping venue. Leaning against the passenger side door and sitting on the hood were two tiger claws, David gritted his teeth, oh boy, here we go. The one gang member by the passenger door started speaking Japanese, if it wasn't for real-time translation courtesy of his smart eyes he'd be clueless. Apart from a few slurs, his ears didn't catch much else than "baka" and "gaijin" that he recognized phonetically. The subtitled samurai wannabe laid it out "You know this is our parking space? You have to pay to park here. You got eddies?" he stopped for a moment before glancing over to Kiwi "Or maybe we take your woman? Maybe we take everything and you walk home alone" he cackled and his cohort on the hood joined in before flashing a tanto from beneath their jacket. Typical gonkhead gang bullshit. Having already dealt with the likes of maelstrom and a cyber psycho, the two gang members did little to evoke fright from Kiwi or David. "Maybe...you should delta before a meatwagon scrapes what's left of you off the sidewalk". He spit. Both parties eyed each other up, hoping to coerce the desired outcome without having to actually dole out violence. David had dropped the line in the most Maine-ish manner he could muster as Maine was working to imprint some of himself onto David as of late. Maine was a mountain of chrome compared to himself so the effectiveness of the threat was questionable, at least he felt that way, but he didn't let it show on his face. Did he possess enough street cred for the threat to carry water? A few tense moments later the tiger claws relented, skulking away from the car and not even bothering to look him in the eyes, a spiteful "Watch your back, bitch" escaped from the tanto wielding goon as they slipped into a back alley under some scaffolding. Kiwi turned to him before opening the passenger door. "Nice play, surprised that worked." "yeah, me too." "Let's not hang around then." Not wanting to test the prior threat from the tiger claws, David delivered Kiwi back to her place. The drive was uneventful. Kiwi's eyes glowed a soft blue hue, occasionally darting around, indicating she was off in her digital world. He took this time to message Rebecca "Hey, holding up? Just checking on ya". message sent. It was late enough, he didn't want to wake her if she was done for the night. Before he could let Kiwi know they'd arrived at her place she'd already started to open the door. "Thanks, David". He simply nodded and gestured with a smile and she was on her way. He was halfway to Lucy's when he got a call from Rebecca "Heya choom! I missed your text. I'm good, keeping busy." "yeah? Nova, I hadn't heard from you so..." "Missing me already? Poor little David~ worried about me, huh?" It was funny, her calling him little. Despite everything, her bubbly RAM was enduring. "I didn't really have anyone to check up on me after my mom died. It can be hard to deal when you lose someone and there's no one else around." "David..." there was an uncharacteristic numbness in her voice, like someone just knocked the wind out of her. They both started to talk at the same time, he gave her the right of way. "Choom, get your ass over here! I need help with- well actually, can you pick up some mezcal first? I'm outta my good stuff. It's the one with a scorpion on the label!" David paused for a moment, noting the time. He was already late as it was and Lucy might start worrying if he didn't show up at some point, so he sent her a message "be back late, running an errand for becca, don't wait up for me. cya on the moon." In the time he'd taken to send the text message, Rebecca spoke up again, talking quickly as if she forgot to mention it earlier "I'll tip you obviously!" "No need choom. I got ya. Is there anything else ya want me to pick up?" David wasn't hurting for eddies like he used to be. Between all the small gigs Maine had him running, how generous the crew was with "tips" along with sharing rent with Lucy, he was relatively flush with cash. Rebecca started chiding him loudly "Ooooh~ too good for my money now? Well if my cred line is open, I did have my eye on this new gun-" He smiled, she was always busting his balls "I'm talking groceries, choom." She laughed "I'm just fucking with you David~ Hurry up and get your ass over here!" call ended. David pulled up to Rebecca's apartment. A hobo outside asked for some eddies but his voice was so soft David didn't fully get the message until he was through the doorway. He figured he'd drop him some on the way out if he was still there. There was a couple on the stairwell that giggled at him as he jogged up the steps. They both shouted at him “in the house!” and started laughing hysterically. Some kind of inside joke? They sounded drunk, so he kept going. He didn't come here often but it seemed this place was littered with colorful characters in every corner. He made it up to her door and rang her. The mezcal was still cold and it caused his hands to fidget, he went to bend over to set them down for a moment. When he did her door slid open and his eyes met hers on her level, a rather uncommon occurrence given her short stature. “What the hell David!? Were you just going to leave the booze and ditch me?!” His eyes went wide with surprise, “S-sorry, I was-” she cut him off. “Just get in here you gonkhead!” She was sporting a stylized white t-shirt with the wordage NOVA BITCH stenciled on, with nothing but skimpies underneath, as was her style. She twirled a handgun around her index finger as she gave him an about-face before going back inside her apartment. David followed her in with the booze. He'd only glimpsed inside a few times, he'd never actually set foot in the place. In Pilar's spot, there were a bunch of boxes stacked on top of one another. She must have been clearing out his junk. She fell onto the couch and started berating him “What are you waiting for David, lets crack those bad boys open and get fucked up!” “I gotta drive home later so I can't get too fucked up.” “You're such a little bitch David!” She cackled “If you're not going to drink then make yourself useful and pour me one!” “yes M'am” he said with a sarcastic grin, Rebecca picked up on it “What are you smirking for?” “You calling me little. You're the fun sized one.” “F-fun sized!? Who taught you to talk like that fucker!?” He handed her a shot glass brimming with the mezcal “Pretty sure you did.” She downed the shot in a flash, before coughing up her words “-Show you fun sized!” she pulled a spider monkey maneuver and latched on to him, before he could even get a word out she'd tripped him up and they were a mess on the floor. All those shards loaded with martial arts he'd been slotting were useless in this situation, he didn't want to hurt her by accident and found himself getting his ribs softly batted by her fists. He tried to keep her at bay but he didn't want to touch her inappropriately, that, and her punches didn't really hurt but they did evoke a squirm from him. “Teasing! I was teasing! Chill choom! Chill!” Rebecca looked satisfied with the punishment she'd doled out and ignored the shot glass to drink straight from the bottle. “See sweety!” she coughed “Don't underestimate me because I'm small! I'll fuck you up for real!” She said this with a smug scrunched face. All the while, her bubble butt was pressed against his junk. To an outside observer, they might be mistaken for an input and output. Good thing Lucy wasn't here. He sat up before beginning “I'll make sure to watch my mouth.” Rebecca bounced on his lap as she gulped down the mezcal, coughing before she began “You better David...” Rebecca looked down at him longingly. If he was any other guy, she'd be all over him but it wasn't like that. In his own words, he's “built different”, such a gonk way of saying it she thought. He was built different but not in the way he thinks. This strength of his was stronger than any implant, more potent than any stim or dorf- he was a different animal entirely and he didn't even know it. She could see it in those innocent puppy dog eyes of his. Despite all of the things he'd seen and done so far, somewhere inside David there was a real human being. Someone who took everything Night City threw at them and somehow hadn't turned into mindless complacent gonk. There was hope in his eyes, not the helpess apathetic gaze most denizens of the city held, but a genuine vision for the future. She had to protect it. She dismounted him, almost knocking over the mezcal bottle she'd set down a moment earlier. He helped her pack up the rest of her brother's things. Most of it was junk, broken BDs, miscellaneous frayed cables and cords, tiny little mechanical parts to drones and other gadgets, half-finished projects, and various other things that would never be worked on again. All junk now. David could maybe fetch 200 eddies for the whole collection. Pilar's old techie hands were bagged up, she said he could sell them on her behalf and keep the eddies himself. David double-checked since he figured they might have some sentimental value. “It's okay David...” she smiled and looked away “...that gonkhead...” He nodded and loaded them into a “bag of goodies” they intended to sell which might actually fetch a decent amount of eddies compared to the boxes of junk they'd filled. As he was going through the junk he stumbled across a photo glass. It was cracked up but he could still see the image clear enough. A younger Rebecca and Pilar posed together with an older gentleman he didn't recognize. Rebecca didn't yet sport her geisha doll complexion or devilish eyes and had a more generous compliment of clothing on her tiny frame. Little Pilar wore a visor back then as well which made David wonder if it wasn't a fashion statement and instead some kind of eye disease. The older gentleman looked like a real edgerunner for sure, before he could get a closer look the glass was swiped away "Cocksucker! Who gave you per-" A look of defeat wormed onto her face mid-sentence "-Fuck it, you've already looked anyway." she went to hand it back but David put his hands up "If you don't want me to look, I didn't meant to snoop." “Yeah, Yeah, too fucking late for that.” David took the glass back. “That big guy your dad?” “Technically, I guess.” She scratched the back of her neck with some embarrassment. “What about your mom?” Rebecca's face contorted with a mixture of anger and sadness and a more serious tone he wasn't familiar with took root. “She was a dorphhead. Dad thought he could fix her but she got back on the stuff while she was pregnant with my brother. Dad got so angry he wanted to kill her. If he didn't love her so much he probably would have.” she paused for a moment to complete the thought “That and she was pregnant with my bro. I don't think he had it in him to flatline my mom with my bro inside her.” David didn't know what he could even say to such a fucked up situation, sad truth was, this was par for the course when it came to Night City. Rebecca continued “...After Pilar was born, he sent her packing. His rule was no hard drugs around the kids and she couldn't deal with it. He probably wouldn't have been as mad with her but Pilar's eyes were all fucked up when he came out, he had other issues too, it was pretty obvious the drugs are what did it. After that, dad left us at his crew's hangout when he was off running gigs. We didn't really see him that often but we always had a line of eddies coming our way. One day the eddies stopped flowing so me and bro had to handle ourselves after that.” “What happened to your dad?” Rebecca took the glass back and pondered the question for a moment. “I don't know David, probably flatlined in some alley I'll never know. Me and my bro worked with his crew until we could make it on our own, I ended up raising Pilar myself for the most part. I guess that's why he turned into...” tears started to roll down her cheeks and her voice broke, like some mental dam finally gave way “...into such a gonkhead”. Tears continued to flow and slapped onto image glass. Without thinking, David pulled her into a hug and held her close. Slowly, her little arms clasped around him. Her head barely reached the bottom of his chest. She wept in his embrace for a time, eventually coming back from the emotional break. “Fucking asshole! Making me cry like this!” She stomped on his foot and buried her face in his torso. David continued to hold her and ran his fingers through her hair, patting her head gingerly. “Sorry, Rebecca.” He was sorry for a lot of things. Sorry for making her cry, sorry her brother was dead, sorry he couldn't do more for her. She pouted for a while longer before pulling away from him and pointing a gun at him “Don't ever tell anyone about this, got that David!?” “Roger.” she sulked at his calm demeanor while she was aiming a piece right at him. She lowered her gun. He knew her too well now. She started “I wish...” she wanted to say so many selfish things right now. Stay the night with me at my house, give me a little dick, just give me a chance... She knew it was pointless though. Lucy was his mainline, the output to his input. She never had a chance. She banished that line of thought before speaking again “Thanks for stopping by David. Don't forget the goodie bag.” As David went to hoist it up he smiled at her. She wanted to ask about his mom but she noticed a glint of blue in his iris mid-sentence. “Shoot, Lucy's lightin' me up, I gotta go Rebecca, I-I'll see ya around.” and like that, he started for the door. “David!” He turned to her, half out the door. “If she ever kicks you out, you know my place is always open, right?” She teased him, pursing her lips and wiggling her pinky finger. David gave her a subdued smile and shook his head before leaving her with a “Night, Rebecca.” Her door slid closed. She was alone again. She heard Maine's car rev up and fade into the distance. “David you gonkhead...” She took the remaining mezcal bottle in hand and proceeded to get fucked up.