mr_gaeta: (rack time)
Felix Gaeta ([personal profile] mr_gaeta) wrote2014-06-10 10:22 pm

[Washington, DC, USA, Earth]

The rest of the day passes uneventfully. Gaeta sticks to the guest room for most of it, quietly paging through the comics Steve lent him, sipping the coffee Orpheus provided. When he ventures out for dinner, he surreptitiously sizes up the kitchen: maybe if he wakes early enough, he could make them breakfast tomorrow morning.

Maybe he would have been all right in Milliways after all. If he's not even going to leave the godsdamn apartment --

(But he could leave the apartment if he wanted. That's the difference. He's not trapped by the celebration downstairs; when he looks out the window, he can see a landscape he's never seen before.)

Night falls. He stays up late, perched at the guest room's windowsill, watching lights flicker on along the streets below. There's a circular sign with a green-and-white mermaid not too far away; several doors down from that, bright red neon inscribing something called Kramerbooks & Afterwords illuminates the way.

By the time he returns to bed, most of the cars have disappeared.

And when he stretches his arm across the empty mattress, in the near-silence of an unfamiliar place, he feels his throat catch.




For over a year, something's anchored him while he slept. Gogo took up the mantle for a while; Louis shared it once time settled into alignment. Even as Milliways broke his last connections to the Colonies -- to home -- he had that small tether, a weight on the other side of the bed, an arm around his waist.

He's on a planet that didn't burn, and no one understands what's so funny about Starbucks or a city named Thrace, and if he walked down the street yelling about godsdamn frakking anything all he'd get were bewildered looks, and nothing counterbalances the weight of his body on the mattress, and gods, gods, he's completely alone and severed from everything and he can't sleep.




One minute gets him a donned prosthesis. One more gets him the pack of cigarettes from his hastily assembled overnight bag.

Fifteen more puts him on the roof of Steve and Orpheus' building, looking out over Dupont Circle as he lights a cigarette; then another, after the first one's done.

The air presses warm and damp against his skin, like the heaviness of a departing rainstorm. All of the buildings look like they've had their tops shorn off: Gaeta's in the middle of a city, yet a tree's more likely to block his sight line than an apartment complex. It's not that he's particularly high up. It's just that everything's so short for some reason.

The Kramerbooks & Afterwords sign clicks off. A few late-night patrons straggle out onto the sidewalk.

Gaeta watches, silent, and keeps smoking.

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