“AH! God fuckin’ dammit!”
The echos of the two men reverberate around the room. Robin smiles. At times like this, it’s almost easy to forget.
The laughs slowly die down and the silence between them resumes. He glances over at the screen recorder, taking a mental note of when this… Uncomfortable silence was. He’d need to edit it out anyway.
“Oh, uh… That’s about an hour and a half.”
“Oh, really dude? That should be enough then. Might even have 2 episode’s worth there.”
Clicking and quick flicks of the keys being punched on the other end punctuate the increasingly uncomfortable silence.
“I was getting tired anyway, I think… ” His heart is pulsing in his throat.
“Yeah. That should be enough for those stupid cunts to chew on for a day.”
And there it was, a blatant reminder of who he worked for now.
Robin nods, though he’s not sure why he does.
It’s not like he’s here.
The silence continues, and the keys and clicks continue.
“Oh, so we’re FINISHED then, are we?”
Robin swallows and takes a deep breath.
“I thought we were, sir.”
He’s pretty sure he hears a snort from the other end of the line, but there’s the usual distortion that comes with his… “Master” relaxing out of his charade.
“What the fuck do you want?” The voice scraping and crawling its way through Robin’s speakers fluctuates up and down.
“Is….” Robin lifts his hands from the keyboard and mouse. They glisten with sweat, illuminated and tinged blue by the shine of his monitor. He reassures himself and presses them tightly together. “Is Jack okay?” His hands feel stickier pressed together.
A sharp giggle.
“You’ve been read what those puppets write too much.” The voice shakes more as it continues to distort and fluctuate. It sniggers again. “They always think they’re so clever.”
“But… It’s been a year. Can I just know he’s okay?”
“Robin, Robin,” the static chides him. “I feel like you’re forgetting your place in all this.”
There’s a noticeable pause. There’s a rustle, a creak from the other end.
He’s leaning back in his chair.
“You’re not here to fucking edit and be my bitch so I can collab with someone.” The voice registers dangerously low. A hot, sweaty flush spreads up Robin’s neck and face. “You’re here because I can’t have you be dead, and I need those puppets to fucking cooperate with me sometimes.”
Again, a nod.
“And if I could have it any other way, I would have you gutted and hung live on stream.” The static around his words jitters excitedly as he entertains that fantasy. His breath hitches and catches for a second, and Robin grimaces and cringes to himself.
He tries to not listen to the hot breaths in his ear.
This is so fucking gross.
“But I can’t have that tarnish my ‘reputation’; after all, cooperation is the key to ANY working relationship. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Robin says nothing.
“Our… Arrangement stands. For every snooping question you ask, I’ll be sure to pass it on to Jack by carving your question into whatever blank piece of flesh I can find for it. And I don’t think he will appreciate you asking.”
Swallowing was becoming harder, thicker.
He felt sick.
“Oh, would you look at that!!” The energetic, thick accent blasts back out again, almost making Robin jump.
He wasn’t even surprised that people couldn’t tell Jack and Anti apart.
For a moment… it was like he was back.
“Looks like I forgot to switch off the recording. Ah well, good thing I always have you here to clean up my mess, right Robin? Can’t let those puppets get too sweaty over everything…”
“And remember Robin- don’t start getting any ideas. Your head may not be on the line, but I promise you, you will LIVE with the guilt knowing what you made me do to your friends and ANYONE you love because you refused to… Cooperate.
I want my video on time. Goodnight.”
There’s the token noise of the Skype call ending.
And he’s just sat there, head in hands, body shaking and glistening in the limelight of that ever constant monitor.
I didn’t sign up for this.