Author: SoulxCyanide PM
Wherein Snippy Has His Long Awaited Breakdown! A collaborationRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - C. Snippy/Sniper & Captain - Words: 2,665 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 5 - Published: 05-04-12 - id: 8085205
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Story by SoulxCyanide and eight 0f hearts, enjoy~
It was a sort of unspoken rule that whenever they moved into a base with furniture, Captain got the armchair.
Even if there were mattresses or couches available, the commanding officer would always seat himself imperiously on the small sofa, place his hands on the armrests, and remain in that position for the rest of the night, either sleeping or watching over his minions – it was impossible to tell which.
The house they were currently in was more intact than many other buildings in the vicinity. Snippy had a bad feeling as soon as they walked in the door – the fact that there was a door at all was surprising, as most had been blasted off their hinges or kicked in by looters and vandals.
"This place is in surprisingly good condition."
The voice came from one Alexander Gromov, walking beside him. Snippy shot him a glare. He hadn't been impressed to find out the identity of Captain's newest recruit, and so far they'd mostly ignored or sniped at each other.
Captain glanced up at a hole in the ceiling. "Ah! A skylight," he commented. "How thoughtful. It lets in zee natural light beautifully!"
"What natural light?" Snippy grumbled. "It's nearly nightfall. Not that there's much sun during the day anyway."
Captain shot him an odd sort of look. "Mr. Snippy, your mood is intolerable. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed? Remember, left is always right!"
Wrong side of the bed? I wish, Snippy thought miserably. It had been seven days since what had come to be known as the 'Cancer incident'. Seven nights of bad dreams, dragging his feet through Captain's orders and lying awake in the darkness, trying to will himself to stay awake. To ward off the nightmares.
"Earth to Mr. Snippy!"
"Huh? What?" Snippy blinked, jerking out of his reverie to find Captain waving a hand in his face. He took a step backwards, startled.
"We will rest here for zee night!" Captain declared, leading them through the empty, cobweb-ridden house into the main room.
Snippy's bad feeling intensified. There were picture frames on most of the walls, glass panes broken and the photos behind singed and faded. The furniture was askew, rubbish littering the floor, and on the far side of the room, three skeletons lay, arms flung around one another as though trying to protect each other. Worst of all, one of them was small – a child's skeleton.
It was an uncomfortable reminder of what had happened to the world. Sometimes it was easy just to get lost in the endless cycle of lonely days – easy to dismiss the fact that the skeletons lining the roads had once been people with lives.
The four of them had all gone quiet, gazing in the same direction.
"We should bury them." Gromov – or 'Engie', as Captain had taken to calling him – broke the silence, gesturing towards the skeletons.
Snippy shook his head. "We haven't buried any of the others. It's better to just leave them here. In their home."
Captain strolled across the room and seated himself on the large, black leather armchair. The cushions were soft enough that he sank into them comically; looking for all the world like the sofa was trying to swallow him alive.
"Mrs. Peachtree has been kind enough to lend us her home," he informed them. "No jumping on zee furniture."
Pilot deflated noticeably.
Snippy stared at the captain, wondering how he could be so nonchalant about this. Presently, though, he realised that nothing had changed. They passed skeletons all the time. Some of them were bound to be children. They'd never had qualms about it before.
Shaking himself, he sat down on the nearby couch and closed his eyes. He was dimly aware of Captain ordering Pilot to go somewhere and the aviator obeying enthusiastically.
So. Damn. Tired.
He wasn't sure how long he'd slept last night, only that the nightmare had lasted too long and he hadn't been able to wake up soon enough. Suppressing a yawn, he felt himself starting to doze off, and quickly jerked himself awake again, snapping his eyes open.
Don't want to sleep.
It was a vicious cycle. On the one hand, he was tired. On the other... nightmares.
The couch creaked and shifted under him as someone sat down next to him.
"It seems wrong," Engie muttered. "To just leave them lying there."
Snippy wasn't sure if the engineer was talking to himself, or to him. He decided to reply anyway.
"If we buried all of them, the whole world would be a graveyard."
Engie turned to look at him. "You walk over them all the time. Other peoples' bones. You've become desensitised."
Snippy snorted. "Me? Desensitised? If anyone's desensitised it's you! Hiding away in your bunker; safe and sound while the rest of us struggle to survive! You've been out here, what, a week? You have no idea what it's like. And now you lecture me about disrespecting the dead? Try to remember that you are the one who's responsible for all this. You're the one who killed them."
The words came out before he could stop them, and Snippy instantly realised he'd gone a bit too far. Engie stiffened visibly, his hands clenching into fists by his sides.
"You have no idea," the engineer spat. "You have no idea what happened, so don't presume to blame me for everything."
They proceeded to engage in what may have been a glaring match.
"Children, play nicely," Captain cut in. "I wouldn't want to have to send one of you to the naughty corner, yes?"
Snippy sighed, turning away and pressing his face into his arm, too tired to argue right now. Engie's weight shifted off the couch next to him as he went to sit somewhere else.
Snippy's eyes drifted shut. The strange aura that seemed to hang around the house was still there, a disconcerting background feeling, but he was too tired to resist the pull of sleep that came with a comfortable couch and quiet surroundings.
The nightmares...? Part of his mind protested, begging him to stay awake, to avoid the terrors.
The physical exhaustion, however, was too strong. His body simply couldn't stay awake any longer. Within seconds he was drifting off to sleep.
Needless to say, it was not a peaceful slumber.
He was standing outside their refuge, digging a large hole with a too-small shovel, trying to dig up as much dirt as possible.
But the hole just kept refilling.
And there was Gromov, watching with wide eyes, as he repeated harsh, biting strings of "You have no idea, no idea."
And then he would look at him with a blank, sad look, saying, "Charles, we have to bury them, it's the least we can do, they deserve to be buried..."
"Then help me dig!" Snippy pleaded. But the Engineer just sneered at him, spitting various insults Snippy'd heard himself been called before the fallout. He continued to dig the shallow, ever-filling grave, until the moon sank below the horizon and the sun rose again.
And still, the hole never deepened.
And as he continued to dig with the shovel that kept getting smaller, the skeleton of the little boy sat outside the window, staring at Snippy through empty sockets.
"Gromov, goddammit, help me dig!" he called, staring at the boy.
Suddenly Gromov was beside him, with the grave seemingly dug.
He pushed Snippy into the grave, with a vicious snarl of "You have no idea!"
The fall seemed to last forever, like it would never end. And he wished it would end, he just wanted it to stop. Abruptly, he felt himself slowing, to ultimately hang upside down, his ankles tangled in little red veins. He was turned upright around his arms, his legs, his face. It was all just so suffocating. He realized that it wouldn't stop. The veins would wrap themselves around him, choking, constricting, until he was a skeleton himself. He looked around frantically, choking on his pleas for help, for when he opened his mouth, the veins slid their way down his throat, entwining themselves with his innards.
But then he finally saw something.
Before he was impaled by the Biomass.
He awoke from his horrific reverie, jumping slightly and breathing heavily.
It was dark and quiet... which probably meant everyone was sleeping.
He steadied himself on the couch, placing one hand on the arm of the couch and one on the cushion beside him. He closed his eyes and took long, slow breaths, trying to regulate the gasping that was his breathing.
But it was really difficult to do with a respirator.
He leaned forwards, placing his head between his knees and his hands behind his neck. He could hear his terrified heartbeat; feel the blood rushing through his body.
He fucking hated nightmares. He fucking hated sleeping.
He fucking hated all of this.
It took a bit of time, but eventually, his heart rate and breathing patterns slowed somewhat.
But he couldn't shake the images from his mind. And with every thought of them, his heart rate spiked once more.
That boy... had a family, probably had friends... probably had so much potential... and... he was so young.
He'd seen skeletons before, sure. Hundreds. Hell, maybe thousands. But none of them were as unmarred and… protected as the boy and his family's.
It was really sad to think about.
So when he felt a burning sensation in the back of his throat, one that made it painful to swallow, painful to breathe, he quickly got up and headed outside, away from the haunting atmosphere of the house.
But outside wasn't much of a refuge, either.
He could see the area where he'd been digging in his dream; the feel of the outside was the same dark, haunting atmosphere as well.
It really didn't help him calm down.
He walked around to the back of the house, concentrating on his breathing.
But the stuffy silence that was night did everything but help him forget his nightmare.
He sat on a large boulder (or maybe it was just debris), head between his hands, back curled into himself. It was all just so overwhelming. Thoughts flitted through his mind, some good, some bad.
It's not like you had any friends anyways, so I guess it's better- no mourning, and at least now you have a reason to say you have no friends.
It was a dead-end job; without a headset, I'd still be a tour guide, letting people prance around the Dead Zone like it was a theme park- there were always the regulars, who felt like they owned the place.
An image of an occasional tourist flashed through his mind.
A boy, no older than twelve. Who told me he snuck money to play in the Dead Zone. Green eyes with blonde curls, no more than a child, who hadn't yet shed the last few pounds of baby fat, giving his face a round appearance.
Is he somewhere here, in the wasteland? Or was he blown to dust in the city?
It really didn't surprise him when sobs began to rack his body.
But it did when he felt a hand on his shoulder blade.
"Mr. Snippy, are you all right...?"
His breath hitched. He didn't need this, not now. He just wanted to be alone.
He took a deep breath, trying to stop his gasps for air.
"M'fine. Go 'way."
"Mr. Snippy... You do not sound fine. Would you like me to get Mr. Engie to look at you?"
His breathing stopped altogether. "What? No!" He kept his head between his legs. He needed composure, just for now.
There was a slight disturbance in sound and movement, a soft shfff of fabric over stone. The hand on his back turned to an arm around his shoulder, pulling him up from his makeshift fetal position.
"Captain knows when you are lying, Mr. Snippy," the voice said, commanding and faintly German. "What is wrong...?"
Snippy shook his head. He didn't want to do this. Not now, when everything was still so fresh in his mind.
"N-nothing." He took a ragged breath. The inside of his mask was uncomfortably wet. "Just... just a dream, is all." He
avoided looking at the man beside him.
"Nein... it was worse than just a dream, was it not?" The Captain looked at him.
Snippy avoided his eyes but nodded his head. "Y-yeah... it was pretty bad..." His breath caught again, but he couldn't seem to regain it. He coughed a few times, lungs burning to work in the tight air that was in his mask.
"Mr. Snippy, do you not know that breathing is rather hard in a respirator?" He said it in a playfully accusing tone, albeit gentler than normal.
The commanding officer proceeded to carefully pry off the sniper's mask, earning himself a few protesting sounds from the latter.
"Do not argue with your Captain," he said, finally managing to hook his fingers under Snippy's mask. "Zee radiation is low here; I had Mr. Engie check earlier, with zee Geiger counter... while you were sleeping." Snippy's goggles continued to look worried. Captain sighed. "Fine. If it will make you more at ease, I shall take off mein mask as well." And with that, he pulled off their masks.
Radioactive air had never tasted so good.
He inhaled until his lungs were tight with air, realising now how much he'd felt like he had been drowning above
Once he'd regained his breath (and his composure), he'd realized Captain was still there, beside him, gently rubbing his shoulder. He reached to take his mask from the CO.
"Are you okay now, Mr. Snippy?" Captain asked, not giving him his mask.
He nodded. He wanted his mask back. God knows how pitiful his face looked, most likely pale and tear stained.
And of course, it had to be him that had woken up. If he even slept at all.
"I'm..." He cleared his throat. "I'm fine, okay? Just... just go back to sleep, or something, I didn't mean to wake you up." He looked around the Wasteland; the sky was already starting to brighten. It would be pointless to go back to sleep now.
Captain leaned closer to Snippy, pulling his arm around him again. But this time, he wrapped it around his hip.
Which was considerably odd.
Captain leaned into Snippy. "But... I can't, not with mein Snippy so distressed..."
Snippy looked at him. They were eye to eye, glimmering violet to icy blue. "Captain... I'm- I'm fine... It was just a-a bad dream... R-really."
It was the most pathetic excuse of a lie he'd ever told.
The Captain tilted his head towards his, somewhat invading what little personal space Snippy owned. "Would you like to talk about it...?"
His breath hitched. But in a good way, this time. He shook his head, looking away.
A thumb and forefinger grabbed his chin, tilting it back towards the commanding officer. "Would you like me to help you... take your mind off it...?"
Their faces were inches apart. Snippy shivered gently.
He nodded before he could think of saying no.
Captain smiled, letting go of Snippy's face.
"Good then!" he exclaimed, jumping up off the boulder. "I have zee perfect mission to send you on! It will certainly take your mind off your dreaded nightmares!"
Reviews and feedback would be greatly appreciated!