mr_gaeta: (thinking too much)
Felix Gaeta ([personal profile] mr_gaeta) wrote2013-06-06 03:54 pm


He tracks his days in small increments, straining to assemble something larger out of the tasks that used to come so easily. He left his bed: good. He consumed something besides coffee: better. Taking Gogo downstairs for a walk is the equivalent of a new set of rank pins -- though it doesn't happen too often. Dodos, it turns out, can be litter trained.

Gaeta typically doesn't get out of bed the next day if he totals up those tasks and finds them wanting.

(He finds them wanting too often to be healthy.)

Gogo bears it with the same patience as always, occasionally taking matters into his own beak if Gaeta goes too long without moving more than necessary. A couple days into the new week, he even goes so far as to grab his leash, trot over to the bed, and deposit it on Gaeta's chest as he gives his nestmate a hopeful look. It's so ridiculous, so much easier to bear when he needs to do something for someone else, that Gaeta has to laugh -- weak, yes, but still a laugh -- and acquiesce to taking him downstairs.

Any trace of a good mood vanishes when he stops by the bar for a sandwich.

The three options presented to him: a blocky-looking robot. A stout dog with pointed ears held high.

Himself, with two intact legs.

The unnecessary frakking cruelty of the whole display makes him want to rip the monitor from Bar and hurl it across the room. A robot holiday; a frakking robot holiday that so cheerily acts as if it could give him back everything it took, no harm done. And it happens every year, Bar tells him. There's no way to escape it; there never will be.

Shortly, he asks Bar for three large bottles of ambrosia. No sandwich: he's lost his appetite.

Hobbling around the construction toys and transformed patrons, he goes back upstairs to get as blind stinking drunk as possible.

Being a lightweight means it only takes about half a bottle before he has to stay in bed for a whole other reason. Like frak is he going to try to walk on his crutches when everything's wobbling this much.

It doesn't take a lot after that to stay at the same level for close to two straight days, sleeping and waking and watching the room spin, drinking until he feels nauseous, backing off for a couple hours before he actually gets sick.

Gaeta doesn't remember a lot beyond that. That's pretty much the point.

(Somewhere along the line, though, he does remember thinking: well, this was a whole lot godsdamn easier than trying to get more morpha.)

By the time all three bottles are empty, he's lost most of the urge to chuck them against the wall. He supposes that's a good thing. If need be, maybe he can use the glass to dig out his skull and stop the hangover from hurting so godsdamn much.

Gogo rests next to him during the whole recovery, doing the weird throaty coo that halfway sounds like a cat's purr, quietly grooming the damp hair away from his forehead as Gaeta squeezes his eyes shut against the light. Feel better now? the concern seems to say.

Like a leash hopefully offered, Gaeta doesn't have the heart to be anything but thankful. Once he can actually move, he rests a hand on the dodo's back, smoothing down his feathers as if grooming him in turn.

With nothing left to blur the thoughts away, he thinks.

There's a furnace several floors below. There's a uniform Gaeta hasn't yet been able to throw away, its front ripped by bullets and stained with blood.

Bar, he knows, mentioned other things that happen on Cubefall besides those godsdamn offers of a new configuration.

He holds the destroyed duty blues in his hands for what feels like hours, studying every piece of torn thread. I am not going to celebrate, he tells himself. But the Twelve Colonies chose to represent themselves with a phoenix thousands of years ago, and fire as a clean start, a new beginning -- it hooks onto the part of Gaeta that died in defense of his home.

It's not a celebration. It's a marking; a signpost.

He unfastens the wings and rank pins to set on his nightstand, folding the uniform with the same precision he gave to it when it was brand new. Carefully -- still wincing a little through the headache -- he hauls himself up onto his crutches, tucks the fabric under his arm, and starts downstairs to the main bar.

The furnace radiates so much heat that, for a moment, he can't bring himself to get any closer than a couple yards. Around him, everybody's still celebrating the arrival of the frakking Allspark. Nobody seems to notice the dead guy with one leg, two crutches, and about three days worth of stubble.

One halting step at a time, he approaches. Opens the grate.

Looks down at the uniform, then, blinking hard, pushes it inside the furnace.

The fire leaps up to meet the cloth. It blackens the fabric as if pulling it away into shadow, consuming the thing that consumed Gaeta for seven years. He doesn't feel a hell of a lot lighter as he watches it burn. He just feels...hollow.

He stays anyway, squinting against the glare until the ashes are whisked away into smoke.

And when it's done, he returns to his room, and his bed, and another day counted off in the endless days of his afterlife.