Things within the Mafia ranks are not well. After a deadly accident during the flashbacks, Don Bonita, crueller since her time possesed by Don Cornell, orders Boss Frankie Valentine to do something quite unsavory to repent. Before carrying out his orders, he visits Simon Sullivan, who is dealing with his own demons.

Initial Setting: Simon's apartment & the Mothership

Timeline: A few weeks after the Flashbacks end, and a few months before the Dove coup removes Don Bonita from power.

Preceded by Comfort (Simon & Frankie)

Ghost Don Cornell threads 1 & 2

Followed by Whatever Happens Next


  • The water in the bathtub has gone cold. He curses himself for taking so long; this shouldn’t be this hard. He’s been thinking about it for weeks. He turns the razor between his fingers, staring at it. Come on, Simon. Don’t be a pussy. He hasn’t taken anything all day and his vibe is slowly stuttering back into life. He’d planned to at least die sober, but even that’s proving too difficult. He doesn’t feel anything but the itch, and he knows it’ll go away, everything will just go away, if he just gets a hold of himself and the razor and finally offed himself.
It wasn’t even about Steven anymore. Of course, it was still a little bit about Steven- but it had grown into so much more, and now he was just… empty. Hopeless that anything would ever be better, since he couldn’t even go five minutes without needing something to dull the pain spiking through his mind every time he was sober. If he needed the drugs to survive, but the drugs made him useless, a burden, miserable and poor, then why even try to survive? He’d nothing to live for.
Except… Fuck. The itch becomes unbearable. Okay, then. One more hit before he did it. And then he would, he really would. He’d summon the courage somehow. He gets out of the freezing bath and dries himself off. Gets dressed methodically. His clothes are dirty, like his room, and he has to steer clear of what used to be a full-length mirror, or else he’d step in the broken shards of glass. He catches a glimpse of himself, though, and god he needs to shoot up now or else he’d think about how horrifying he looks. Skin stretched loosely around a skeleton, pale and discolored. :He can’t believe he isn’t dead yet. He should be.
He walks into the living room, lights a cigarette, and gets his kit ready. He feels his neighbors going about their day, suddenly feeling a little bit less human. He needs to stop. Stop feeling, stop leeching. Slowly, he wraps the belt around his arm.
  • It was fair. He could tell them it had been a flashback, but that wouldn’t fix the crater where the Grooveline had been. He could try to explain that it had been that moment, the one that broke him, drove him crazy, the day that he had truly died, and got up and walked away from a corpse- He could say that he'd tried to get them all out, as soon as he felt it coming on... but the explinations and confessions would all be lost on the black and twisted forms scattered among the ash.
But it’s clean here, in the Mothership, his head pressed to the gleaming, polished floor, inches away from her heel. It was fair.
“Yes, boss.”
“I am no longer your boss. You are no longer my subordinate.”
Frankie’s chest tightens.
“Bo please- I don’t have anything without you.”
She smashes into him, her vibe and heel crushing his broken body.
“You have your life, you ungrateful wretch” Her voice remains cold and emotionless. Whatever love she had held for her one-time friend and confidant have burned away like so many terrified, doomed steppers.
“Yes, Don Bonita.”
“Yes, Don Bonita,” she sneers mockingly with that new, unsettling affect she’d picked up since the flares. Since the encounter with Cornell... “You’d like it if I killed you, wouldn’t you, you pathetic piece of shit. How about that? Send you after her?”
Frankie closes his eyes, gasping for air as crushing gravity rings out his lungs. He tries to answer, tries to nod with obedient truth, but her soft laughter tells him she doesn’t care the answer.
The pressure stops.
He looks up after the blackness clears from his vision, maybe minutes, maybe hours. She is staring back at him with her ominous blue glow.
“Mr. Francis Valentine. I hear you are the best in town. I have a proposition for you.” He stares up, transfixed by her calm smirk, and the ancient, familiar words.
“For old time’s sake.”
He agrees, in the end. He’s not really left with an option, after all. She was his boss, whatever she may say otherwise.
  • Sweet’s shaking. There’s dozens of small, red dots on the inside of his arm, it would be the work of a moment to add another. But now, the thought makes him sick to his stomach. He still wants it, he wants it so bad, but he’s scared. If he can just put it off, just for a while, if he can go for a while without anything… His coffee table is littered with various pills, weeds, powders and other mysterious substances. They all help, they’re all staring at him… Just resist. Just don’t do it. If you can go for a day without anything, you don’t have to kill yourself, you can be better, there’s still hope… Even as he makes that deal with himself, he’s reaching for a bottle of pills. He drops them like they’re on fire and grabs a pillow from the sofa instead, biting into it hard and letting a muffled scream go. All of his nerve endings are aching, yearning for release. Just a day, you can do a day… He finishes his cigarette, and lights another one immediately. It’s the smallest comfort he’ll allow himself.
  • Frankie stands outside the club, feeling a numb detachment that only jive brought about. Pain from his grave injuries don't register, he considers vaguely as he finds himself walking. Passing stores that seem like cardboard fronts, and people who look and smell like charcoal cadavers. They are, aren’t they. Walking corpses, burnt black, no pulse. They would be soon. Bonita wanted a war.
The Grooveline crater had stopped giving off heat weeks ago. Reconstruction is already underway, but Frankie still feels as if he’s been burned. He hadn’t intended to return, and feels a vague annoyance that something has brought him back to the soot streaked hole. Ash streaked. That was once a person. A blackened dead-
Frankie shakes his head. He’s across the street from UGHQ. That’s why he’s here.

Except he’s not. He’s in that apartment complex, something was moving him through the city, and it was not Frankie. Was he walking, or was it vibe..? Not vibe. He’s empty. That's why everything’s dead, the electricity’s dead. Destroying orange really wouldn’t be a huge loss. It’s already gone. He watches a hand knock on the door.

“Simon? You in there, pal? It’s that time’a the week again. Get yer pants on, if yer sober’anough ta care!” The cheerful call makes him jump. He feels a smile crawl onto his face of it’s own volition. Half expecting the scene to change abruptly again, instead the world waits to see if the door will open.
  • Simon’s face blanches even further. Goddammit He didn’t know why Frankie still bothered. It’s been months since he fell off the wagon. He’s sweating, shaking, and he knows what would fix it, knows what helps it immediately, but god, he can’t. He feels the man at the other end of the door, and he’s just as empty as he himself is. “Go away,” he mutters, pressing his palms into his eyes until he sees stars, but his Vibe is calling out to Frankie, bidding him to please come in please help me please- he screams again, forgetting to muffle it this time, anything to shake the pressure.
  • Everything is very still, but noise rushes past in a contrast the makes his heart race. Go away. Alright. Alright, there was nothing left to do then. He could visit others, but no one else needs him like Simon did, and so it’s time to go. With utter lack of anticipation, he waits again for the world to change. Something affixes the scene to his eyes.
Frankie blinks in surprise. He finds himself desperate to get in, every second he is not inside by Simon’s side to ward off the horror is complete agony. Screaming- “Please, kid, it’s ok, I know it’s bad but I’m here, yea-” The voice is artificial, and between it’s consoling gentleness, his frantic need to get to Simon, and the underlying disinterested stillness, he feels as if it’s three people entering the reeking, desolate room rather than one battered, bloody man.
“Did ya run out’a stuff? Can ya handle’a vendy?” asks the kind tone as relief soothes the vibe-created desperation. Simon undoubtedly needs a vendy. Screaming, while not unprecedented, was never a good sign. But apathy drags down the three fractured personalities, and Frankie uncharacteristically does not take charge. After all, Simon is dead already.
  • The tears start falling almost immediately as Frankie comes near- the man looks a mess, but Simon barely registers it. He reaches out to him, too weakened by the intense emotions suddenly overcoming him, and grabs his shirt desperately. “Make it stop,” he starts babbling breathlessly, “I don’t want it anymore, any of it- I- I need it but, oh God,” he takes a few deep, rattling breaths, and his crying intensifies. Weeks of artificial numbness, and now everything comes crashing in. He feels Frankie’s judgment The other man looks upon him like he’s already a corpse, rotting away in a lonely apartment In a way, that’s exactly right. “End it,” he sobs. “M-make it stop, Frankie, please…”
  • “I don’t know how,” He replies dully. The softness on his surface steps back, and settles for closing the small distance between them.
Of course he knew how. The yaping pathetic things in the club, and all their worries were easily transformed into charcoal, and there went all their problems. Simon was no different. But out of habit his arms wrap around the bonepile that he’d once found handsome, charismatic, and wonderful. “You were so lovely..”
His breath hitches. Bonita is crushing him again, his heart under her heel and it was fair. He pushes Simon away. Holding him brought emotion and empathy, and that let the horror leak in.
With distance between them, his tone returns to a soft evenness.“I don’t know. I can clean ya up if ya like.” He offers uselessly. All that would be left of the apartment would be a crater.
  • Simon stares blankly ahead of him after putting all his strength, everything he had into the embrace. He hadn’t had that sort of physical contact in what felt like forever and he revels in it, even if Frankie’s comment elicits another small sob from him. But of course the other man becomes uncomfortable and pulls away, taking Simon’s hysteria with him. “Thank you,” he murmurs. He looks Frankie dead in the face. He’d been hurt. Destroyed, all over again. He didn’t even need his Vibe to do that. He’s sick and tired of it, everyone he loved being hurt over and over again. As he looks at Valentine, an idea strikes him. “You could blow up this entire island if you wanted to,” he says, not even a suggestion yet, just a statement. “Couldn’t you?” He takes a deep breath, and nods slightly to himself. “I’d help you do it.”
  • He wants to look away from Simon’s bloodshot gaze, but can’t find the energy. He nods at the thanks, and keeps nodding slowly as Simon continues. Yes, yes-
Frankie jumps back like he’s been shocked- he has been shocked, his vibe waking up with a jolt. “Y-you too..? But I thought... I thought...” Simon was the peaceful one. Maybe it sounded like an idle bit of praise, but sometime Frankie still mused of a faction run by the emotion manipulator who saw the best in everyone, if perhaps he hadn’t met Bo-
Another crackle sheds light on the dingy filth of Simon’s home.
How was it that after all the murders, a lifetime of war, he was the optimist? It could get better, there was still hope!
And a crater filled with a dozen members of his family that he’d promised to protect.
The flicker of emotion that Simon had bestowed on him is gone. It was time to be a professional. “I could.”

Simon was the good one.

“Say! Let’s go fer’a walk. I need ta walk. You need ta breath somethin’ that ain’t seen the inside’a a pipe.”
  • Simon nods, and gets up. He pockets a few things blindly; tiny bags, pill containers, the likes. He knows what he promised himself, but… He needed them with him, as a form of security. He needed to know that he could. He also pockets one small vial, subtly. What he’d just said is spinning in his mind. Frankie could wipe this entire wretched island off the face of the earth. All he needed was some… motivation. The possibility thrums under his skin. No more Vibe. No more factions. No more war, no more suffering. He’d be doing the population a favor. He gets up on shaky legs, and follows Frankie outside. The sunlight hurts his eyes, but the outside air feels good against his skin. God, but there’s people in the street, though, and all of their inner turmoil gets sent his way and it hurts. He lets out a small, broken sound, but keeps going.
  • Frankie doesn’t even consider stopping Simon from taking his drugs. That’s not why he’s here. Why is he here? And why did Simon agree to go outside. That was a bit of a surprise. But not enough to compete with Simon’s proposal. Or Bonita’s.
Why is he here? It’s not to protect anyone. That delusion has at long last been annihilated.
Frankie retreats back to the quietness in his mind. He always tried to engage Simon as much as the other man was willing to bear him, but in the cold afternoon, they walk in silence. Simon’s sound of discomfort also passes without a fuss, despite the former Boss Valentine’s infamy for fussing over Simon till he was practically harassed with the mafioso’s worry.
Frankie leads the way, walking with the illusion of purpose, but in reality making an aimless beeline through the heart of orange district.
  • Sweet observes what’s become of his district. He hadn’t been outside for a while. People are slowly starting to rebuild- why? It was only a matter of time before the next disaster came. Before the next thing comes along to fuck up their Vibe. He feels all of the people; nearly everyone has lost someone, if not during the sun flares, then during the war, or V-day. No wonder the entire city had gone mad. Nothing about this situation was normal, or manageable. The next war would come soon enough, now that Steven was- he doesn’t think about that. Everything would go even more to hell than it already was. He speaks, for the first time since they left the apartment: “I hate this fucking island so much…”
  • Frankie nods in absent agreement. Of course. Who didn’t hate this place. Bo’s plan was a mercy. Simon's too. That made sense. Frankie’s hesitation only outed him as a torturer. Again, no surprise.
“Ya know, I don’t talk ta ya much about it, but, y’know how I been teachin' steppers over at the... at the Grooveline- sure ya do-” words spill into the air suddenly, as if Simon had opened up a hive of insects.
“Sure. Sure, and ya know, it ain’t all jus' adults that thought they were jamdeaf, right? Right, of course. Kids are commin' around all the time, even little things born, what, after the war, would ya believe it?? Perfect little things. In orange district too.…. But.. it don’t matter... Do it? Everythin' here’s dead already so I don’t have any business worryin' over it. Do I?” The end of his monotonous rant becomes manic, hysterical. Rather than his usual bored, lilting speech, Frankie seems to be begging Simon for answers.
  • Simon stares at the people around them. Parents with children rush past the two, telling their kids not to stare. His hand inches towards his pocket.
“It doesn’t make a difference,” he croaks out. “In Step city, you either die early or become miserable. Humans weren’t meant for this sort of shit.” He lights another cigarette and takes a deep, grateful drag. “No matter how well they’re taught. V-day killed us all, all this is just our final twitches.” He laughs, suddenly, loudly. “Sorry, that was really dark. Jesus, fuck,” he runs his hands through his hair, and turns to look at Frankie. “Let’s go to the beach.”
  • That's it then. What he had to do was justified. He should feel vindicated. Absolved. But Frankie stares out at the wavering city, the ghostly forms moving about, Simon's skeletal hand reaching for his pills, and feels nothing.
"Dark?" Frankie repeats uncertainly. Simon laid out the truth. That was simply the druggie being honest. "Hah! Don't worry 'bout it kiddo." The city noise fades back to dull echoes. Frankie doesn't bother asking Simon to clarify.
The ghetto around them melts instantly into the vast, ugly sea that is their prison. They seem to have been walking along docks- orange side, some neutral memory provides after a dazed moment. He had been talking, but can't remember the topic, or even the sentence to finish it. Simon-
"Good. Good yer still here." No relief accompanies the realization, though he remembers belatedly that he should be helping the wretched man.
"You're lookin' good today, ya know? I don't think I seen ya this sober since that flashback bullshit started," the cheerful voice announces somewhere above his left ear.
"Special occasion?"
  • Simon barks out a laugh, and flicks his cigarette into the sea. The ocean breeze seems to blow right through him, chilling him to the bone. “Something like that,” he says. The sun is going down, orange and purple joining each other in the sunset over the water. It’s a beautiful sight. He climbs down to the sand, and smiles up at Frankie. He doesn’t know why, but the walk helped. Talking to a friend who didn’t judge him, making their way through the city… He felt peaceful. The cold doesn’t bother him anymore. There’s nobody on the beach besides them, so his mind is blissfully quiet, for once, without any help from chemicals. For the first time in months, he feels in control- this was the feeling he was looking for in the bath earlier. He takes off his shoes and socks, turns back to the ocean, and starts to walk. Into the water, deeper and deeper. He doesn’t plan on stopping.
  • Frankie looks away immediately when Simon smiles. It was easy to take orders while he feels nothing, but even as repulsive as the stepper looks now, the small sign of.. pleasure? Happiness? rakes through Frankie’s body, and he holds down a scream. Even if Simon got through this, what was there for him after?
After a heavy silence, Frankie looks again at Simon, staring at the retreating back, the familiar jut of bones too familiar to cause concern. However, despite the deep fatalism overtaking him, he assumes Simon simply wants to swim. It’s too cold for that, but temperature seems hopelessly unimportant.
He watches as the wave crash up against the UG’s waist, distantly surprised that the feeble man can hold his own in the sucking current, but it's nothing that stirs him into action.
It’s not until the water reaches Simon’s face that Frankie even thinks to guess his motivations. “Stop...” his mutter hardly audible over the sea, even to himself. Simon would drown. Waterlogged and pale and he wouldn’t feel any hope, he’d die miserable and empty.
The salt water cuts like knives as it fills his untreated injuries, his breath achingly short in his broken chest. Now that the sun has set, it’s very hard to see anything, and the sea is freezing after the cold winter, but Frankie manages to latch onto a body- a person, and pull it, him, toward the shallows.
“HEY! SIMON- WAIT-” His voice strangle on brine-
“Wait- I’m gonna do it! Jus- don’ go like this! I’m gonna do it, jus’ like ya asked, Bonita wants it- Don’t go out like this!”
  • Peace. Cold. Simon’s muscles seize up, without any isolating fat to help them move, and he goes under without resisting. Finally. It doesn’t hurt when the water fills his lungs, strangely- it feels like everything is happening to someone else, even when strong hands wrap around his waist and pull him to safety- wait. He’s dragged kicking and screaming back into his body, punching weakly against Frankie’s chest, struggling against the man saving his life. “LET ME GO!” he shrieks. “LET ME-let me GO, just let me die-” but the moment’s passed. He takes deep, heaving breaths, coughing up water, salt tears mixing with the salty seawater. Frankie’s words don’t sink in until after he’s regained his breath, and he pulls back a little. “W...what? Bonita?” That name. It’s all her fault, everything.
  • Each gasp burns through him as Frankie collapses onto the sand, but Simon- Simon-
“God- are you alive-” A high pitched hum fills the air, and Simon is shrieking but alive- “No - Look calm down,” Frankie’s voice rasps, but sounds relaxed as he holds Sweet calmly.
“Yea. Yea it’s gonna be ok. I was kinda.. I was kinda freaked out about it, ya know, but I got my mind right now. You an’ my lady had the same idea. I jus’... I don’ think you should go out without knowin'..” He laughs uncomfortably, a sickly smile braving his pale, emotionless face. Frankie really can’t figure what was right and wrong anymore, or how to appropriately react, but for Simon, he tries.
“Uh. Sorry. I shouldn’a stopped you, should I. Uh. But I just needed ya to know... God, that was selfish, wasn’ it.” Wasn’t it?
  • Simon takes a couple of deep breaths, staring at Frankie incredulously. God, he’s freezing.
“She… She wants you to blow up the island?” he asks, as he starts to pat down his pockets- the cold water obliterated any form of intoxication still left in his body, and now he’s more sober than he’s been in months. He needs- he needs something- “fuck,” everything’s drenched, and what isn’t useless through the water has fallen out of his pockets in the struggle. Only one small vial remains- but he can’t take that, he’s never taken that, he can wait until he’s home, he needs to get home, why is he outside he’s never outside- back to the point, “The whole island?” As much as he hates that woman, he’s pretty on board with the plan. But when he’d said it before, he hadn’t really planned it, it was just a suggestion… but they could do it. Frankie could do it. He smiles broadly. “Holy shit.”
  • Frankie hadn’t really wanted anything in weeks. Not for himself at least. Paralyzing guilt, depression, and nearly tangible regret had been his only companions. Drinking had simply come from habit, not a conscious desperation, but lying on the ground next to the awakening Simon, Frankie whimpers with need. “I’m gonna- I need ta find'a store- or’a vendy,” he mutters hurriedly as he weakly pulls to his feet, doubled over as he gasps and towers over Simon.
The whole island? “No- jus’ the orange, but what does it matter? One half’r the whole thing, they’re all dead anyhow, right?” He straightens with an audible grisly crack and scans the docks for the nearest source of relief for the sudden consuming itch.
  • The world stops. Simon’s heart skips a beat, and his vision blacks out, until the only thing he sees is Frankie. His Vibe pulsates around him, weak but there, announcing his disbelief, the short circuit in his brain at the news. “jus’...” he breathes, “jus’ the orange…” He looks around him, at the island. It’s miserable and he hates it, but Orange District is where he grew up. Where he was born. Everything he knew, everywhere he’d ever been, everyone who loved him was there. He wants it gone, he wants it all gone, but not if that meant that that woman, those people, would win, and everyone Steven had worked for would be lost. “Everyone or no one,” he decides, slowly, clearly. His anger bubbles up to the surface and rises over it, bleeding into the ground around him with his Vibe. With shaking, frozen hands, he takes the small glass vial out of his pocket and opens it. “I won’t let you do it,” Frankie’s so much stronger than him but he doesn’t care, “Not my district,” he downs the bottle of Fonk. For a moment, nothing happens. Then, suddenly, there is an entire city inside him. “EVERYONE,” he shrieks, running towards Frankie, the glass breaking in his hand, “OR NO ONE!” He slashes the broken shards across the other man’s face before he tackles him, trying to get him to the ground. He can’t see. Or he can, but there’s so much to concentrate on, so many people, so many perspectives- he’s everywhere and everyone in the city. His eyes have turned white and he seems larger, somehow, to accommodate for all the souls inside of him- he screams in frustration, lashing out at the man next to him- who is also him, or he is also him, or who is he? It hurts, it hurts, his nose is bleeding like a faucet he’s going to die there’s too much unless he-
He forces out a wave, a wave of desperation and grief and anger and hopelessness, and all the other people stop because he is no longer them, they are him, they are forced to see it his way, and from the streets rise cries and wails and everyone hurts in unison. He laughs, because it feels so damn good. He’s a God.
  • The wracking pain fades to tolerable discomfort when Simon’s craving releases Frankie, leaving him closer to the unfeeling, detached thing from before his charge had lept into the ocean. His head sinks to his chest, and he just tries to breath past the broken ribs, and tries to stop thinking.
It’s going very well until a burst of vibe, of disorienting intense passion hits him in the chest.
He’s angry. At himself, obviously, but he’s angry at everything else now too- at Bonita, for not understanding. For deserting him, sending him to his nightmare place. For making him do even worse. Intentionally. And Steven, for abandoning them all, and the city, and SIMON! He’s so fucking angry at Simon for giving up on everything, when he needed counsel, needed a moral compass, Simon just wallowed, he’d given so much to the stupid asshole and when he needed him?? Every other fucking person had left him to rot, and Simon! Simon just-
His vibe is live, but even as the floodgates open, he never could have anticipated- Why did Simon even own fonk? The poor idiot-
“You won’t make me kill you too.”
He’d expected to be socked in the face. Simon was always so gentle, even during the flares when he’d pulled the gun, he’d turned it on himself almost immediately. Frankie’s electric light dies just as the glass connects.
The noise stops and the world goes dark. Maybe they had switched places during the flares. They both thought that each of them returned to their proper places after the hellish vibe swap, but how could they have been sure? He’d sent the poor bastard to go live as himself, how could Frankie have possibly hoped to cope as Simon Sullivan, and the gentle dancer as the desperate killer? Impossible.
The world is red and bright and dark and so cold. They must be in the water again- He stares up in surprise at the entire city- God. They had prayed for years, and he’d finally come to bless them all. About to pray, instead he screams as his soul is attacked, his voice joining the island’s agonized chorus.
  • God rises, ignoring the man underneath him. He wants to be in the middle of his city, be amongst his people his. people. his. He leaves a trail of blood behind on the sand, from his nose and his hand, as he walks towards the lights, towards the screams. He doesn’t get very far, though.
The plea is directed at him. He’s causing this and suddenly he feels it, and his mind opens just a crack, just a little, and then everyone starts rushing in again. He isn’t the city anymore, the city is in him and they’re tearing, scratching, amplifying his own desperation a thousand times over-
It all stops.
Simon keels over onto the sand, still blind, muscles seizing and mouth foaming and nose dripping.
  • The loss of his God is like 99 all over again. The broken body threatens to spill all it’s vibe out, leave the beach a glassy decimated hole. Frankie cries with a deep, terrible swallowing noise, each followed by a peal of thunder as a strong wind starts to blow in from the sea. You have a job. Bonita needs you to....
Frankie can’t remember, but he’s standing again, sparks raining from his bloody silhouette. He’s not certain who he is until he’s standing directly over Simon’s twitching body. A scuffed toe of his once magnificent dance shoe prods the thin ribs. He’s Frankie. This is Simon, but despite what he’d always believed, Frankie doesn’t know who that actually is.
“It’s like... that thing. Where you think an animal’s got emotions, cause, cause you feed it, and it does tricks, and you think it loves you, but that’s not true. ‘Ts jus’a stupid animal.”
For a brief, psychotic moment, he holds the absolute certainty that he is the only decent one here. Everyone else is either a corpse, or an animal he’d tricked himself into believing human.
He kneels down to Simon, laughing lightly, his brightly gleaming hand reaching for the animal’s heart. To put it down.
  • Simon’s body stops seizing, goes still. A beat. Then, a large, gasping breath, his eyes fly open- “Aaa-” panic, where is he, who is he- “Aaa-urg-” He turns to the side, and vomits into the sand. He turns back, and only then does he see Frankie- blurry, but there. All of him feels blurry. He’s freezing, but he’s too hot as well, shaking like a leaf and sweating like a pig. Frankie’s bleeding. Oh- he remembers. Oh no. “Oh, shit,” he moans. Frankie’s got his hand near his heart, he’s going to kill him, it’s going to happen. He looks Frankie in the eye, afraid, but expecting. There’s blood on his face. Did he do that? “F-frankie, ffffuck, your f-f-face,” he says weakly. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” He’s going to die, but he deserves it, Frankie’s face, he’d never done that, he wouldn’t, he’s never violent- “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he chants. They seem rather fitting last words for him.
  • Frankie can’t get enough air, but if he breathes too deeply it will all spill out, and he’d kill the those little creatures that made his life so horrible. That wouldn’t be the worst thing. Someone had told him once that it was alright. Their deaths were a mercy. Frankie laughs again, humorlessly and with more electrical popping then was appropriately human.
The noise beneath grabs his attention back from the growing storm, and the vacant steady glow of his good eye and sparking of his ruined one meets Simon’s expectant stare.
“I mean, it’s not like you can hold it against them,” he explains to no one, as if he hadn’t stopped for long moments to look lost and crushed.
“They don’t do it to be cruel. I know, ok?! They are animals, they just-” his voice cracks into a sob when Simon apologizes. “I can’t look at it anymore.”
His hand reached down, touching a raw knuckle to Sweet. Not enough to kill. He doesn’t have to, just because they told him he had to DIDN’T MEAN HE DID, GOD DAMN IT.
But enough so he can get away without the thing’s eyes watching him, reminding him that even though he loves it, it can’t possibly reciprocate. It’s not it’s fault.
He leaves Simon in the sand, reaching the first vendy just as the storm really gets going. Maybe he would freeze. Maybe he would drown. That was nature, and it wasn’t his place to interfere anymore.


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