"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Cicada Days
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👀 (credit to Kotorikun)
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Maxim drew up a bit. Ben startled, but not easily. Proper lights out on his paranoid spawnlings of concern, before they became anything that could chip at the old nerve. Jerry at least had been a knife. Maxim was just a stumble. Ben wouldn't let himself be the prick that burned half his brain to scar tissue over something meaningless. The kids that did allow that... someone would be along for 'em. Kids in Cochise that could be trusted. There'd been an anti-bullying committee. There'd been Jerry...

...

Man fuck that fucking plan of his.

The 'plan' hadn't even had the decency to survive contact with itself. Focus on the here and now. Ugly lip-chewing ungrateful here and now as it happened to be. Ben steeled shoulder, braced back. Maxim was up in a display of efficiency his German ass probably respected. Promptly took himself back a step, preempting Ben's intent to do the same. Great minds, or whatever. Now that each of them had plenty of personal space Ben could force his chin into a brief incline of nod. "Yeah. No weapon. Doubt you have shit yourself." Ben was eying Maxim's bag, twisted around his shoulder. Just brief glances every now and again, enough to comfortably confirm if a hand would be a finger too close to putting Ben's life in jeopardy. And whatever lives would follow such a disaster. But no, Ben was letting paranoia fry the old brains again.

"Also, thanks." Truncated to the breath. Good to see that the dude still had the same exact conversational prowess years after the fact. 'Mein gott'.

"You got it dude. Look." Ben figured he'd go for the throat here and now, while either of them still gave a shit. "I dunno what you intend to do but... We gotta keep people up before the terrorists make their calls. No deaths, and if there are any, well. We'll know who to avoid then." Man, Ben really was on a roll with these plans of his. Three seconds of noise, zero of content. About as much of a toss up of actual substance as that bag of chilies he'd tossed Jerry's way several eternities ago.
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Good Omens · The Library