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Wash It All Away
Topic Started: Feb 2 2017, 07:25 PM (219 Views)
dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((It had been like flipping a switch.))

Like slashing a thick, ugly line across a beautiful canvas that had been forever transformed from its pure, unscarred state. Cass and Trav's yesterdays of aimless conversations while they slowly meandered towards the only destination they could still care about (for what reason was there to hurry, when reaching the ocean would mean that their journey was over, and from there they would either have to die where they stood or grasp at even more straws to find a reason to keep moving) had at once been banished to the fondly remembered but unreproducible past.

There hadn't even been a full minute for Cass to process that Bernadette was dead before Trav, too; learned that he had lost his best friend.

Still, he hadn't stopped moving. Cass had no choice but to follow him, even if their companionable silence had suddenly shifted to a stoic death march; each absorbed in their own separate worlds of grief. They didn't cry, same as when they had heard about Sandy. Just shut down, the numbness that never went too far away consuming their entire being. Thinking of cozy Sunday afternoons spent together, with Clarice, too; laughing at the embarrassing, mass-produced prose that some hack had thought could represent even a fragment of true love. Thinking of how humiliating a death falling and hitting your head on a rock was, how random and pointless; something that could have happened even back home. Would it be better for her to have been murdered, to know that her death was due to some definable, blamable malice instead of just bad luck and the whims of the universe? Would it have some sort of meaning, that way?

It wasn't too long before they found Toby's body, on the beach. As Trav crouched down next to her, Cass couldn't help but think that, in a just world, Toby would have been standing at Trav's side and Cass would be the one lying there on the bloodstained sand. The corpse of a practical stranger he had never had any reason to care about, unfortunate but unmourned. Trav would go on to spend his drawn out death throes alongside a person he had spent his life with, and Cass would be safely unable to drive people like Irene away into a killer's sight.

Even without going that far, if they had never met on the rooftop, if Trav had been alone or accompanied by someone with actual drive and opinions who wouldn't compel him to waste so much of his precious time sitting still and talking about useless things that would never be relevant to either of them again, would he have been able to find his friend in time?

Cass didn't know. All they could in the oh-so-imperfect reality they had to live with was stand by Trav, tentatively put a hand on his shoulder, try to remind him that he still wasn't alone.

The only sound was the roaring ocean.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
For a moment, Cass and Trav held hands; a fragile reminder of their shared humanity as they stared at the inhumane, surrounded by rotting dinghies that they would soon resemble. All too soon, that comfort ended; ripped to shreds by Trav coming up with a clear, practical plan for the first time since they had met.

Find Jerry.

Head in the game, feet squarely on the earth he intended to bury his friend's killer in. In the abstract, Cass knew that they should disapprove; the shouted points they had made in their fight with Irene echoing around inside their head. It was pointless; it was only "just" in a short-term, vindictive sense; the terrorists would use it as yet another example of how easily moral codes could be broken and reforged by a single tragedy; simple ideas of right and wrong smashed and taped together jagged and wrong, lofty visions of empathy and healing dwarfed by the sudden all-consuming need to repay all the pain you have been dealt, to make someone suffer, to make them understand how vile and evil they truly were.

Yes, in the abstract, Cass knew it was wrong. But standing next to Toby's dead body, thinking of Bernadette, thinking of years of history and love that were now forever beyond their reach because of a simple impulsive, malicious act; every moralistic platitude tasted hollow in their mouth.

"I'm glad I met you too, Trav," Cass said, wishing that those few words could truly capture all of the overwhelming gratitude they felt towards him. "But it, uh, sounds a lot like you're trying to say goodbye. You're not-" leaving without me, leaving me here with Wade and a corpse, god knows they're almost equivalent in charm, going to go off and die so I can hear your name on the announcements tomorrow and have even more to regret, oh how selfish a concern that was, a self-centered need for attention dressed up in altruism's concerned clothes, he could handle himself, he was better off alone, all they would do was drag him down like they had been the entire time they had known each other, a pitiful burden, but even knowing the truth of all that just the thought of being without him hurt, now; four days of friendship weighed against four years of distance and coming out on top, and what did any of them have left, without each other-

"Um. We just... didn't come this far together to split up now, y'know?" Cass mumbled.
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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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Trav smiled. Didn't try to push Cass away, didn't try to discourage them "for their own good." A resounding reaffirmation of their trust and companionship, in the moment appearing even more beautiful and timeless than the ocean.

Even if it was more than they deserved, was it wrong to still find solace in that?

((Neither of them looked towards Wade. He was free to follow as he pleased, or to shake his head one final time at the pair who had finally shed all reason.))
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