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And all the victory songs seem to be playing out of tune...
the world's moving (I'm standing still), alone in the universe
thatsortofaman wrote in beyondtherift
There are two small blonde girls slinking into the Main Gauche after dark. Annie has been gone since last night, and she's not entirely sure she really wants to go back to her room and have Becky ask where she's been, if she even noticed. So she ends up in the hallway, frowning at the door to her and Becky's apartment like something might bite her if she opens the door.

Well, maybe Ferdinand, but he'd do it out of love.

The second blond girl is Buffy, who is limping just a little. She's got some blood on her clothes too - just what she needed - but most of it's not hers. Still, she'd like very badly to just get to her room without anyone noticing she's injured. Especially Tay, who spazzes anyway when she goes patrolling alone. Who would have expected that monster... thing to be that freakishly fast, really?

The Doctor is wandering downtown Chicago - let's ignore the fact that it's damn dark, there are still potholes in the street he could probably break his ankle in if he happened to step in one of them, and he's very likely to get attacked by something or someone nasty in this part of town. Really, it's better if you just don't think about that. He's running on over two weeks without sleep now, and really doesn't care. He's got more important things to do.

One of those important things, he just got finished doing, which was poking around the warehouse. It doesn't need any clarification beyond that. Just... the warehouse. It's not a place he really wanted to return to... ever, but he thought he really should take a look around and...

And now he feels a little sick, and restless, and angry. Some of it's to do with being in the warehouse again, part of it has to do with hearing Kara's dead and Des was there and sure, Des is probably going to be fine, but that's not the issue, and the rest of it... he's not sure. So he'll just be wandering around the dark streets until he gets over it or someone stops him. But he's fine. Really.

Nate is wandering the Kashtta restlessly, wings pressed tight against his back. Mat's asleep, or he thinks he is, and Nate just wants badly to hit something. It's like life just wasn't bad enough for them yet, it had to get worse, and if Nate had his way, he'd just grab Mat and get the hell out of Chicago, go anywhere but here, but they've both got wards and... yeah, the universe hasn't really been nice to anyone lately, but Nate can't help but feel like it's picking on him and Mat specifically.

And then there's Hart prowling around the basement of the Conrad. At the moment, actually, he's in the Rift room, keeping a careful safe distance from the Rift itself as he scans the machine beside it. Time Agents are nothing if not resourceful, and if there's anything he can scavenge here... Someone's tampered with his wriststrap, and he's got a good guess who.

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Gene follows that glance, and looks over at Mat with... A slightly less rage-filled expression. "We'll have words later, you and I." He pauses, looks at Mat again, and repeats himself. "Words. I'm not about to sodding eat you."

He turns and looks back at Nate with a purely hate-filled glare. "I've wasted enough time trying to talk to you for any one lifetime. Guardian angel or not, don't so much as open your mouth around me."

He turns around, and starts walking, because if he doesn't walk away right now, he's going to damn well hurt someone and Mat doesn't deserve to see his brother ripped to shreds in front of him to top everything else off.

Mat takes a couple of deep breaths, but... that could've gone so much worse. And he's inclined to believe the promise of not eating. Once Gene's out of the room (and hopefully earshot), Mat whirls on Nate.

"What the fuck is your problem, man?"

Nate hadn't been expecting that. He stares at Mat for a second before snapping back, "My problem? He's the one with the chronic anger management issues, so unless we're blaming people because they had the bad luck to get stuck with a jackass..."

Someone had that bad luck, Nate. It's not you.

"You're being more of a jackass than he is! What the hell started this whole argument in the first place, where to order pizza from?"

Mat. Is not. Pleased.

"Nothing!" he growls, and yeah, that's believable, but he doesn't really want to tell Mat the thing that started the argument was... talking about him. "I don't know. Does it matter? Can we just accept that we don't get along, the powers that be suck, and leave it alone?"

"No!" Mat says, his voice getting louder, but because he's so upset, not because he's angry. Well, he is angry, but mostly because he's scared and upset. "No, I can't leave it alone, because if I hadn't been here, he would've put you through a fucking wall! And I can't take anyone else I care about being hurt right now!"

"Yeah, well, he's gone now! Problem solved!" Yeah, Nate has a special view of problem solving. But hey, if he never has to talk to his fucking ward again, he's all for that.

"Until the next time you two get in a fight!" Mat protests. "I'm not your guardian, Nate, I can't--"

He stops and rubs his face, the back of his neck. This is too much stress for him to handle right now, it really is. He's so close to snapping anyway...

"I can't do this now," he mumbles, and makes to leave. Heading for the door.

For the love of god, Nate, keep an eye on your on-the-edge-of-suicidal brother.

Nate growls, more in frustration than anything else, and lunges after him, grabbing him by the shoulder. "Hey, hey, just chill, okay? He's not going to kill me, and no one's asking you to look after me. It's gonna be fine."

"No, it's not," Mat says quietly, not turning around, but not moving anymore. "Nothing's fine and I don't..."

He hasn't really talked about how he's feeling about life and things since Natasha. "I don't know if I can keep doing this."

By 'this', he means 'everything'. By 'this', he means living, and family, and friends, and anything that requires him to actually feel, or be sane and stable.

Nate freezes for a second, and then moves around to face Mat, both hands on his shoulders. "Don't," he says roughly, in a way that doesn't quite hide that he's scared. "Don't even say that. Mom-" He stops, and swallows. "Mom said something like that, the day before she left." Not to him, of course. You don't say that to your kids. It was on the phone to their dad's sister, but he heard, and hearing it from Mat now sends a jolt of fear straight to Nate's heart.

He can't leave too. He can't.

Mat's eyes go wide and his heart jumps into his throat a little, for two reasons, the first being that Nate mentioned their mother without flipping out or shutting down, especially with something that Mat didn't know before.

The second reason is because he can tell Nate thinks that it's even remotely possible that he could do what mom did. He can't. Even if he's on the verge of giving up, he could never just leave, not after what mom did, not after everything they've been through.

"No," he whispers, his voice thick with emotion. "Nate, I couldn't... I won't leave. I'd never leave."

He might snap, lose it, go completely unhinged, but he'd still, ultimately, be here. He might end up Falling, or killing himself, but he wouldn't do either of those things without talking to Nate, telling him. Because he couldn't do to Nate what their mom did to both of them. He still loves his mom, so much, but after everything that she did all those years ago, and everything he's learned the past few months... Nate means more to him than everyone else he's ever cared about or loved, combined.

He won't leave. He'd go through every bad and painful thing he's been through in his entire life all over again before he'd leave his brother.

Nate lets his hand drop, eying Mat warily. Not like he doesn't trust Mat, but the way things have been going lately... Nate wouldn't be surprised if everyone in his life just up and turned on him or gave up on him or forgot about him. Why not? It's the way things go when his life goes to hell.

"You sure?"

"Dude... you're my brother." Said as if that explains everything. And for Mat, it does. Nate's his brother. He could never leave him, not like that.

...So there.

Nate nods a little. That's good enough for him. "Okay." He pauses, and then says slowly, "You wanna get out of the hallway? I'm just kind of paranoid about getting... eaten by a lion right now."

Which wouldn't be the case if you weren't an ass, Nate, but sometimes these things can't be helped.

"And whose fault is that, Nathaniel?" Mat asks mildly, and almost smiles a little.

Given his current state of mind, the almost-smiling is quite the achievement.

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