There were times in life when people made bad choices, and certainly plenty when people had bad ideas. Click could well remember spending more than a weekend drunk out of his face, just high enough to call himself flying, and trying to hook up a girl by annoying her into it. Looking back, this was a bad choice, and something which had haunted him later in life when this particular female turned out to be Julia Barratt herself. Thankfully, she didn't seem to remember him due to the amount of people that she had likely punched because they were annoying her that much.
As admirable as he had always found her confidence, brazen attitude and will to succeed, even several years previous, he hadn't experienced a time when it had gotten her into trouble until now. There was no drop in the rage on her face when the door in front of her opened and a bear of a man came into view, bleeding from the jaw and blood on his huge and hairy left hand. He was snarling like a wolf, interrupted in its feeding and, in the background, they could both hear the sniffling of some unnamed and unseen victim.
What's it got to do with you, bitch? the man drooled through a half-mouthful of jagged teeth, ground down by years of impatience and aggression. I'll do what I want with my property.
Nobody's the property of somebody else, jackass, Julia threw back at him, spitting her venom like an enraged python. You need to learn respect for people. I bet nobody's ever even dares to stand up to you before. Well I'm not afraid of the tough guy act. You can hit me all you want and I'll still get up and rip your eyes out.
Bitin' off more than you can chew, girl, came the reply. Show some smarts and piss off, or I'll make you real quainted with the wall.
You want me to get out of the way so you can keep beating up people you're supposed to be looking after? I know your kind. You can Incredible Hulk your muscles until you're purple in the face, but all it's doing is weighing down that empty expanse in your-
Silenced by a wad of spit the beast of a man sent towards her face, Julia ducked down faster than Click managed to catch and threw one of her tiny fists at his jaw. It struck, but made little difference to the intended target. His response came slower, but was considerably more dangerous an attack. He wrapped his massive hand around her throat and lifted her with the strength of one arm off of her feet in front of him.
Panicking, but ill-equipped to handle what was happening; Click did something that would later confuse him to no end and punched low, just around Julia's choking body, into the hulk's groin. This caused a cry of sudden pain to come from the man, who dropped his prey in the same action as dropping to his knees. She was unsteady enough to fall backwards, but this might also have been an effort to make some distance between the two of them.
Get up, we have to go, Click said in her ear, during the lonely and brief interim moments during which he tried to get her back on her feet and down the stairs. The lift would take too long; it was not a risk worth taking. Unfortunately, even after getting back to her feet, Julia seemed to be against leaving. It was as though she had forgotten how badly they had been losing. Seeing the beast on his knees, she aimed a kick from the heel of one of her boots at his head.
It didn't connect - he wasn't that badly hurt. He took hold of her ankle as it came towards him and twisting it, bringing Julia back down to the floor and smashing his other fist across Click's face with enough force to send his limp body back into the battered wall behind him. The damage in the wall made more sense now.
Derek! somebody was calling from across the corridor. Derek, let the girl go. She hasn't done nothing to you apart from spout her mouth off some. You need to stop starting shit around her and they're gonna kick you out. You wanna be back with your mam when theres a baby coming? Eh? That seem clever to you?
Butt out! the hulk shouted. Weary and wary, Click tried to crawl back to his feet, despite his aching head and bleeding cheek. Julia had wriggled free of his grasp, but the response given was for the brute to stamp heavily onto her already twisted ankle, roaring his frustration and masking her anguish with it.
Quick as a bullet, the expected Danny Fisch bounded, all his weight behind him, into the behemoth that was making of mockery of them both. They both fell in a tangle back into the doorway of the flat, Danny on top with his fists flying back and forth furiously.
Making the decision for her this time, Click crawled on his hands and knees across to Julia, who was grasping her ankle in both hands with tears threatening to fall from her eyes. Pushing himself up from the floor, he managed to scramble to his feet, then wrapped his hands around Julia's shoulders and did all that he could to drag her up. He didn't think, and certainly didn't spend as much as a moment considering getting back into the fight. They had both lost: miserably, and there was no point remaining for more punishment when Danny had it perfectly in hand.
This concept was disturbed when somebody fall backwards into Click and, though whoever it was kept their footing, Click was pushed back down onto the floor on top of Julia. This was yet more pain that Click wasn't accustomed to and did not want. All the fight had gone out of Julia, and he was quite alright with this. For fear of being trodden on or tripped over, he chose a new tactic this time. Moving himself past Julia, he took hold of her arms and dragged her across the floor away from the battling pair and towards the stairs. Not looking back, he pulled her onto her feet there and, her weight mostly on his shoulder, they moved as quickly as they could down the stairs to Bob's floor.
The sounds of the struggle didn't cease the further down they went. People were coming out of their flats to try and better understand what was going on outside. Several looks of pity were given to the two of them, but at least Julia didn't try to defend her honour this time. The entire thing seemed completely unnecessary.
They were met just outside of Bob's flat by Bob himself. He had a knowing look on his face that Click didn't like at all, but he was holding his door open to welcome the two of them back inside. He came back in, closing the door and, after pointing them towards one of his moth-eaten sofas, he went back into the kitchen to make drinks. He seemed to be a big fan of making drinks.
Click settled Julia into the seat and knelt down to drag off her boot. The sock beneath turned out to be a stocking, and thus very difficult to remove without also removing Julia's trousers, but she removed this dilemma herself by ripping a hole from the heel of her foot so that they could both see how much damage had been done. The bruising was fairly bad, and Click could tell that her entire foot and ankle would become purple and swell horribly, but at least there was no blood erupting wound threatening her safety and sanity.
I hate people like that, were the first words that she said to him, even while they could still hear shouts of both anger and pain upstairs. Several more voices had joined in now. It sounded as though more people had managed to get themselves involved. They think they own the world and everybody in it, but they don't. They don't deserve the people they hurt, but people still try and give them second chances and hope for the future. They should be put down.
Click took a moment to consider his thoughts before he explained them to her. I think you're being a bit harsh, he said. It's not really up to you what should happen to him. I know he hurts people and everything, and if there really is a baby then we live in a really f---ed up world, but that doesn't make me wish death on him. Nothing could. He's a product, you know? Diseased society and all? Broken Britain and all that bollocks. Nobody's quite the best they could be right now, but we can't exactly go about putting people down over it.
Julia took her eyes away from her foot to lock with his for a moment in which he felt that taking his own away might well cost him his life. They should be put down, she repeated, going beyond anger into reckless hatred. They should all be punished, and never allowed near anyone of anything ever again.
Bob returned moments later, drinks in his hand that everybody accepted this time without question. The sounds upstairs had vanished now. Either the fight was over, or they had taken it somewhere else. The quiet itself wasn't particularly welcome.
I think I should go and check on Danny, Click offered to the others, hoping beyond hope that somebody else would jump in and take the job.
Thankfully, he was spared the effort. I'll go find him, you're not the man for this job, Bob told him. If he's still up for a fight, I'll give him something to think about. Besides, he probably just needs some ice and a good cup of tea anyway. That's usually what he's after when he comes down this way. You guys just chill out and I'll go and make sure he's alright. It's not the first time.
Are you sure you don't want me to come with you? He might be hurt and he might be a bit too heavy to carry.
Lot of might' and what if' there if you ask me, Bob replied. You don't know; I don't know. I do know you're a coward and you don't want to be up there in case Derek won, do you?
Click considered lying, but it wasn't worth the risk of any more fighting. His head was pounding, and he was completely sick of how god awful the day had been so far. No, he answered. I'm sorry I'm such a coward.
Get over it, and get the tea ready, said Bob as he left his seat on the sofa to head to the door.