"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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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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Jae couldn't help but snort in amusement at Dorothy's remark. The idea of burning down the chapel in the morning had a certain appeal to it. It definitely sounded cathartic. He didn't have his lighter, but he was pretty sure there were some in the first-aid kits. The building was probably too solid to burn without some kind of fuel, unfortunately. "Probably won't work, but it's fun to think about. Might as well cross arson off the bucket list while we're here."

Asha's sense of humor always did rub off on him when they spent time together.

"But nah, I've been here for like twenty-four hours and I want to get a move on in the morning. Places to go, people to see, you know." He paused, absently scraping the heel of his boot over the floor. "...I'll stick around though, if you guys want me." He didn't want to leave Asha, and Dorothy was alright. There was a little more bite to her than Jae would have first assumed.

"You should get some sleep though," he said to Asha. "You guys can penguin huddle or whatever, I'll stay up now." A watchman probably wasn't really necessary with the barricade they'd erected, but it wasn't like he had much else to do.

He settled back against the side of the pew and set the crossbow in his lap, and waited.




Jae had dozed off again in the early hours of the morning, but he awoke as the sky outside lightened through the stained glass windows, sending a weaker image of the rising sun across the floor again. The rain had petered off, though the light was still soft and gray instead of sunny. He stood and stretched, noted Asha and Dorothy still soundly asleep nearby, and made his way over to their barricade at the front of the chapel. The announcement would come soon, and they couldn't afford to waste any time if they needed to jump ship.

With a grunt, Jae began pushing the chairs and pews out of the entryway. It was hard not to wonder whose name he would hear - Brendan? Michael? He wouldn't be overly surprised if either of them had gotten themselves killed. He wasn't sure he would mourn, either.

That was the thing, still. Most of these names, under normal circumstances, he wouldn't have mourned. Michael could have driven his stupid motorcycle into a brick wall a week ago, and maybe it would have been a rude shock, to know that someone he saw almost everyday was gone and never coming back, but Jae couldn't honestly say that Michael's loss would have hurt him personally. Same for a lot of other people. He had thought about that before and hadn't been sure what, if anything, it said about him. He still wasn't sure.

Jae stopped to lean against the wall and catch his breath once he had cleared a decent pathway. The girls were starting to stir, probably roused from the noises of moving furniture.

Danya didn't keep them waiting long.

And almost immediately, instead of the vague loss and disquiet, there was horror.

Cameron? Vanessa's Cameron? Dead - and how she had died, that was the kicker. Alessio Rigano. Pickaxe. Jae wouldn't have had a face to put to that name, had he not seen it less than a day ago.

"Son of a bitch, are you kidding me?" They'd seen him. They had seen Alessio and the blood on the pickaxe, and Jae had never really paused to consider whose it might be. Had Vanessa found her, before-?

Jae was still sputtering his disbelief as Danya went on, barely hearing the next few names. Cameron Herrig. Alessio Rigano.















Henry Spencer.

















"What-"

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't see, there was static in front of his eyes, and that wasn't right, he couldn't have heard right.

Henry Spencer. Alessio Rigano. That wasn't right. Henry couldn't just be fucking dead without them so much as seeing each other in passing. Alessio was nobody, what gave him the fucking right to be alive when Henry wasn't?

"Wha- I-"

Henry wasn't alive anymore.

"I should have shot that little fucker right in his fucking face!"

Jae couldn't see. He couldn't breathe. He pressed his hands over his face and screamed like a wounded animal through his clenched teeth.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Happy Hour with the Deicide Squad · Crematorium Chapel