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A Delicate Machine
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"Thanks," Cass said, awkwardly rubbing the back of their neck. They didn't have the energy or the inclination to try to correct Trav's misplaced sympathy. They still reluctantly appreciated the sentiment, even if it tasted sour. It was hard to understand why he cared, but it had gotten through even Cass's self-defeating skull that he genuinely still did.

They couldn't help but smile at his plan, though. It wasn't a strategy. It wasn't a solution. It was more beautiful than all that - something to live for, even for just a while longer. "We signed up for a trip to a museum, and what did we see? We saw the sea."

As they walked, Cass saw Wade following them out of the corner of their eye and did their best to ignore him. They didn't dislike his presence and could understand his silence, but something about him was still discomforting. They pictured him with a labcoat and clipboard, furtively peeking behind corners. Subject has run away from another conflict instead of resolving anything. Subject is now making a pathetic attempt to socialize. Subject is beginning to become self-aware. Will observe until its status changes.

When they all returned to their room, it was a guilty relief to find that Irene was gone. Another person forced out of another safe haven just because Cass couldn't handle a little bit of stress. Worse yet, this time they had actively strung them along with their initial invitation of being good company. Still, their dynamic couldn't have gone on existing as it had been. For her sake, Cass hoped that Irene could find good, like-minded people; do something constructive with her ideals and injustice-fueled drive.

((Cass knew they wouldn't.))
a tribute for the dead and dying

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