Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep:
Nor more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished.
Some days it is impossible to get out of bed. His body has grown so very tired that the simplest of things have become gut wrenching. He is cold all the time. There is snow outside, everywhere his eyes can see. The fireplace does nothing to displace the chill. It is marrow deep and draining. He worries sometimes that it is radiating from the inside out, and not the other way around. He worries that he is on the last leg of his journey, and has failed to reach his goals. He worries that he ruined everything, and will never get anything better than a bitter good bye.
When he is capable of sleep, it is restless and fitful. He loses clumps of his scraggly hair that has grown out, and has coughing fits that knock him unconscious for bouts at a time. The only reprieve he gets.
He wears his wedding ring around his neck so that he never forgets. So that he never forgets that, he cannot go until they are taken care of. That he has to achieve his first and very, very last goal.
However, today is a good day. It doesn't mean what it used to, but he can make it to the bathroom and back on his own. There is a book by his bedside and a pile of blankets looking forward to him. If he tries, he can probably make ten pages before he gets too tired.
He is laying back in bed, duvets drawn tight and a small spark of strength within him. He reaches for the stand next to the bed, eyes not quite focused when he sees it out of the corner of his eye. Man shaped, and real looking. Walter turns his head. He blinks. He blinks again. This might not be a good day. They usually never are.
This is not possible. Walter knows this, intrinsically and without question. The medication, the chemo, and the isolation… he must be hallucinating. He has to be.
Because Jesse Pinkman is not standing there, looking so very out of place amongst Walt's meager surroundings. He is not standing there looking younger than Walter has seen him in a very long while. Not since Jane, really.
His smile is what catches Walter first. He's wearing that old shit-eating grin that he has not seen on Jesse's face since the very beginning of their partnership. The clearness of his eyes, macaw feather blue and twinkling with a mirth that is no longer present in the Jesse he knows.
Knew. The Jesse he knew, because Jesse is dead now. Buried or burned, or left in the desert somewhere, just another body amongst all those that lay behind them.
He keeps all of the newspaper clippings. No word of Jesse, not ever. However, there is always talk of him. The Great Heisenberg. There is pride there, so much it overwhelms him sometimes. However, the guilt remains. Trapped in these four walls with all that time to alone to think. He stills feels the guilt, but also the necessity behind it all. Then he thinks, for what? A family he cannot see. Money he cannot spend, not really. A name, perhaps, but really he was just the king of the wasteland.
And then there is Jesse.
Jesse, standing not ten feet in front of him. Not real, but as solid looking as anything else in the cabin. Walter feels more lucid then he has in days. Jesse just tilts his head to the side, grin quirking ever so slightly. Waiting, he is, waiting for something.
But, Walt does not know what. He has never been able to gauge Jesse's desires. Family, money, worth. Jesse's whims were always changing, and his ability to be swayed diminished. A Jesse his mind created could be wanting for anything. From the look on his face in To'hajiilee, the very last time he saw him, death could have been all that he desired.
"Hey," says Dream Jesse, casual as can be. Walt sits up in his bed. His body does not feel as heavy, and he gets up easy. How does one communicate with their own subconscious?
"Hi," Walt says, feeling awkward and stiff. His bones ache. Jesse fingers the hem of his ridiculous multicolored jacket, looks down at the ground.
Walter doesn't know how to consider him. Shy stance, and sneaker sole scuffing against the hardwood; to Walt he looks like he did in high school, a repentant young punk trying to weasel his way out of detention. Until he looks up. Those blue eyes through those long lashes, no less mirthful but so very old. Jesse licks his lips, and tilts his chin up.
He looks like nothing Walter has ever seen.
"You killed me, ya know." Jesse tells him, so very much not a question. Walt says nothing, regards the boy with only weariness. And then he's gone.
Except he isn't, because the weight on the tiny twin mattress shifts. His outfit has changed, silly oversized sweatshirt replaced with that large, ill-fitting black skull shirt. His arm is draped over his head, messy hair sticking up everywhere. The joint of his elbow is prominent and sharp.
"It really sucked." Jesse tells him, and Walter nods.
Jesse shakes his head at him. "No," he says, leaning back onto the bed. "I mean, Mr. White, it like really, really sucked. Like, sucked ass."
"I imagine," Walt, tells him. He has still fixated on the right angle his arm makes above his head. Bird bones and blenders. Walt does not want to think about this.
"Do you wanna know what they did to me?" Jesse asks. With his face turned just so, and the looseness of his body; the image can be described as nothing other than sultry.
Walt knows this face.
Moreover, he imagines it bloodied, not unlike he's seen before. He imagines the fleshy white skin of his triceps slit open, and the smooth parchment of his torso blown through. That perfect crease of his bow hollowed out.
"No", Walt tells him. He shakes his head and turns away.
However, Jesse is there behind him, arms snaked around his shoulder and lips to his ear. He feels solid. Jesse is cold, but a very real pressure against his back.
"I think you need to know."
He knows what he is seeing isn't true. It might be close, but he can never know.
Jesse is kneeling down, messy, bleeding, and crying openly. Jack's crew is there. Walt cannot decipher anything. There is no linear format. It is as if he has fallen into a spool of film that clipped up and tapped back together in the completely wrong order.
Jesse is on his back, knee to his gut and fist to his face; mouth open in a silent O. Walt sees them drag him and beat him. He sees switchblades and cracked bones. Split lips and empty eyes. Bullet wounds.
He sees him naked.
"Yeah," Jesse says, arms gone from around him voice somewhere far away. "That's probably enough."
Walt is lying on his back. His hands are linked at his waist, blankets thrown askew. The chill is back, and his eyes are closed.
He opens his them.
Jesse is standing at the foot of the bed in another black shirt, better fitting than before, and a beige cardigan. His eyes are older. His grin is sharper. His hair is still ridiculous.
"Told ya so," he taunts him. "Suuuucked."
Jesse draws the last word out. His hands grip the edge of the footboard. Bony knuckles and silly tattoo. Of course, his own subconscious would pick him. Who else?
"Apologizing to myself for something I did to Jesse won't absolve me of any guilt. Any guilt I felt against a man that threatened my family, and turned me into the police. A man that got my brother in law killed."
Walt almost thinks the statement will end everything; he will wake up, or pass out or simply snap out of whatever stupor he has found himself wandering through.
Jesse just smiles. It hasn't wavered, really; the smirk this Not Jesse has taken on. Jesse seems utterly unfazed, emotionally impenetrable. So unlike before. Unlike in life.
He climbs over the footboard, slim limbs and cat like slink. He sits astride Walt's thighs, and leans backwards on his hands. His posture is as relaxed as if he's leaning back in Walter's classroom, chair legs off the floor and feet on the desk. His toothy smile is relaxed. This is not Jesse. It isn't
"Shhh," the imposter murmurs suddenly, his finger shooting to lips a hue they never were in life. He leans down, his prickly hair brushing Walter's chin, then his cheek and his nose until the boy's lips are pressed tight against his ear.
"You hate me so much, Mr. White?" He whispers. His hands are on the pillow beside Walt's head. This is not real.
"Yes," Walter tells him, willing everything to be over. Jesse pulls back at the word. Not much, but some. They are face to face. Jesse's eyes are very blue. Something azure and indescribable. They are as memorable as any meth he has ever cooked. As memorable as his own wife's, his children's.
"Would you do it again?" Jesse asks him. This time, Walt does not hesitate.
"Liar." Jesse says. He isn't smiling anymore.
"No," Walt says slowly, grasping the boy's wrists and pushing him back. "If I had to do it again, I would."
"I would have to."
Jesse's eyes roll. He sits up proper, and detangles himself from Walt's grip. He climbs off the bed.
"Whatever your answer, Mr. White, it doesn't matter," he says, hands in his pocket and new smirk nearing on cruel. His eyes are unreadable from the distance between them. They are two tectonic plates that never can quite meet. They will always be on the other side of the room from one another. For forever. It is almost poetic, but…
"Why's that?" Walter asks him. This apparition, this hallucination, this dream. This image of the kid he got killed.
"Always a blindness here, huh?" Jesse asks. "But, Mr. White."
He pauses, his face now grim.
"You've only ever been talking to yourself."
Walt expects to wake up, to see Jesse disappear in a puff of smoke. He finds himself just rolling his eyes, exasperated and tired with a strange tugging in his chest that has nothing to do with his cancer.
"Your point being?" He asks weary and incensed and insides wound tight.
"If I'm you," Jesse says, moving across the room like the floor is made of air. He kneels by Walter's bed. "If I'm you then why were you arguing with me? Why would you even have anything to argue about?"
Walt sucks in a breath. Something moves in him like a rush. It's not like what he feels when he thinks of his broken family, his business ground to dust, or of the sight of Hank's brains blown out. It is different, a creeping crawling feeling that moves up from his gut to his throat, and wraps up inside his intestines and lungs. It's worse than the cancer in a way. He cannot breath. His heart hurts.
"Go away," Walt, pleads finally. "Just, go away."
Jesse touches his hand and Walt's eyes open. He doesn't remember closing them. Jesse's smile is different from any of the others Walt has seen this night. A light of innocence. Real happiness. His hair is sheared off, and his v-neck shirt is well fitting. Healthy. Still so young.
"I'm sorry, Mr. White." Jesse tells him. "I'm sorry, but we aren't done yet."
Walter heard Hank's laughter. He let out a raucous boom that radiated everywhere, and couldn't ever be dismissed. He was sitting comfortably in one of Walter's favorite chair. Junior, just two, was balanced on his uncle's knee. Skyler stood nearby, worried about the handling of her son; chiding Hank every time he bounced the boy too high, or twisted him from side to side.
Junior loved the attention, however. He giggled with joy, chubby hands gripped tight in Hank's as he was shook and slung around. It was a look Walt could not remember seeing on his son.
"This was, like, fifteen years ago, or something?" Marie asks one hand tucked under her armpit as she sticks out her other hand to inspect her nails.
"Yeah," Marie continues, "I remember that horrible perm Skyler has. God, you know, I begged her not to get that thing. Mom got one when I was a teenager, and I swear to Christ that I am still mentally traumatized."
Marie pauses. Her arms drop to her sides and she scrunches her nose as she gazes at her sister. "From both events."
Walter can do nothing but stare. Skyler's hair isn't wonderful, but she is radiant. Curls, and round cheeks. Her eyes shine.
Marie nudges him. She's been staring, too.
"So what do you think, huh?" She asks him, brow arched and eyes a darker shade of brown.
"About the perm? It looked better when she was pregnant." Walt tells her. He curls his lip.
Junior started to cry and Skyler immediately reached out to take him. Hank pulled the boy back. He chuckled, as his thumb rubbed across the Junior's scalp.
Suddenly, Hank lifted the boy high in the air and started to jiggle him.
"What?" Hank asked, more to Junior than to his mother, a huge grin spread across his face. "What? You think I can't take care of my nephew?"
Junior's eyes went big when he was hefted up but, of course, his enjoyment began to grow quickly. He positively squealed.
"Yeah," Hank said to him, warmth filling his whole face. "Yeah, I gottcha, don't I buddy?"
"How do you feel about taking him away from your son?"
Walt snaps towards her.
"Excuse me?" He asks, immediately defensive.
"You pulled the trigger, you didn't. Whatever. He's gone because of you." Marie said. She turned to stare at the happy scene. A younger version of her was tinkering in the kitchen, trying to make an asparagus salad. Purple apron, and long hair; that Marie had soft eyes and a small smile.
Walt saw his family. His wife and son. His brother and sister in law. He could even see his daughter, white bassinet in the corner that hadn't really been there on that particular day.
He does not see himself.
"You know, they were really, really good for each other. I mean, me and Hank, we never had kids. And he loved Junior so much."
There is a knot in his gut. The words, when they come, are like gasping up glass.
"Junior has a father." Walt tells her. It is a hollow knot.
"He did. A father, an uncle, and a family. We were all so happy. Why would you want to fuck everything up?"
Walt looks at her. Hard and deep. In the background, Walter's family is enjoying a relaxing day in. If he can remember correctly, it was Fourth of July.
Marie has lines on her face that Walt doesn't remember. She is wearing black.
However, her shoes are purple.
"Not everything is fucked up," he tells her. Something unwinds inside him, just slightly.
"I can't bring Hank back. I can't do that, Marie." He sucks in a deep breath, "I can take care of you. All of you. I can get you the money. Get rid of the Men that killed Hank. Get justice."
Marie sighs. She looks down at her purple shoes. Not 'look at me' heels, or frumpy nurse sneakers. She isn't real either, of course. No more than anything else.
She is going to cry. He hates it when Marie cries. He wants to do something. Touch her shoulder. Take her hand. Walt did not have siblings. He never really had very many friends.
There is only one thing that he could give her. His sister in law. His sister.
"I could die." He tells her. "I'm going to, that's for sure. I could get justice for our family, and then I could die."
Marie shakes her head, and looks up at him. She gives him a snide smile from behind her tears.
"I'm sure you'll make the right decision when the time comes."
Skyler finally took Junior out of Hank's dangerous grasp. The little boy looked out over his mother's shoulders, his hands reaching back for his uncle. Somewhere, the sound of a car drew near. Walt sees himself at the door. Dorky hair and idiotic mustache.
However, Junior didn't notice his father. He was still reaching for Hank.
This time, when Walter opens his eyes, he knows what to expect. Jesse is sitting on the floor, skinny legs crossed. His head is bare. He's wearing a red hooded sweater. Jesse has always been made of sharp angles. Clean cut jaw line, razor sharp hipbones and a rocky spine. His eyes are two blue hollows, the dip of his collarbone a smoky little crevice despite the nearby tattoo.
Walt really would rather see anyone other than him. Marie is a knife. Hank would be a bullet. Junior a gaping open wound.
Skyler would be a scar.
Jesse is his cancer. He is an airborne virus. He is Ebola and syphilis, and radioactivity. One look can kill Walt. Does kill him. The anger and the vitriol will fade away. There is pity and some long burdened sense of responsibility when it comes to Jesse. Jesse is his greatest failure. His albatross.
"So, you're family was like totally gay." Jesse tells him, rocking back and forth, "I mean my parents tried to do that kind of stuff sometimes, ya know family fun night and shit, but it was like completely sterile and weird. We never made it through a whole round of monopoly."
"My family loved each other," Walter tells him, face drawn in a scowl. Jesse shrugs.
"Your sister in law. The crazy purple one or whatever, she kinda hates you. I thought you'd figured that out already, but I guess you're kinda like, deeply delusional or something."
Jesse leans forward conspiratorially, and Walt cannot help but lean a little bit closer to hear him.
"They all kind of hate you now, Mr. White." Jesse says, voice whisper soft and razor sharp. He stands up. Walt stays on the bed, waits for the boy.
Jesse sits beside him and bumps their shoulders together. "Everyone kind of hates you."
The television springs to life in the corner of the room. It's playing the local news from Albuquerque. Walt cannot quite make it out from his vantage point, but the volume is loud enough to perforate his eardrums. Jesse's hand reaches down and wraps itself around his own. His touch is cold.
"C'mon." Jesse tells him, tugging him up off the bed, and leading him closer to the television set. Walt can see his own picture on the screen. The word, "Heisenberg," being dropped from the new anchors lips.
"You did get your empire." Jess says. He taps the screen, where the headline reads "Multi-Million Dollar Meth Ringleader".
Walt sits down in the small wicker chair by the TV and he stares at the screen. He cannot help the surge of pride he still feels. It is something not even the greatest of guilt's can suppress.
"Walt," a voice says softly, causing his head to snap up. Jesse is still standing there, set off to the corner, thumb drew to his lips, and mouth closed tight.
Skyler has center stage now. She looks beautiful, he thinks. The dark v-neck shirt she is wearing, and her wavy blonde hair tumbling down her shoulder, she looks like a light in the tunnel he has been stumbling through blindly.
She reached a hand out towards him.
"Would you like to see your empire?"
Walt Jr. is sitting by himself in a tiny bedroom. Walter can recognize his son's furniture but not the space it's occupying. The look on the boy's face is enough to make his stomach drop. He checks his cell phone, and puts it back in his pocket. He looks despondent, hollow. He taps at the keys of his laptop. It's a game that Walt cannot distinguish, but the bloodshed and the violence is something that sparks his attention.
Skyler wraps her arm around his shoulder, and it should surprise him, but it doesn't.
"Look at our boy, Walt." she tells him. And he is; he's looking hard at the young face, and the broken eyes. His son and he's like this because of him. His pride. Skyler leans against him, her weight isn't warm at all.
"He doesn't even talk to Louis anymore. Not anyone." Skyler sighs and pulls away from him "Except Marie. He talks to Marie a lot."
Walter says nothing.
"I think it might be good for them, but then- there isn't really anyone to talk to me." She says, and bites her lip. She looks at the wedding ring she still wears.
"I've had the DEA hounding me. All the time, Walt. Lucky thing is, I don't really know a thing."
"We lost the house, obviously." She tells him, "I had to get a shitty job to be able to afford this place, and some of your friends came and threatened me."
She turns to him; hand on his bearded cheek forcing him to turn his head. "How have you been, honey?"
Walt looks down at their fingers. He wants so badly to hold her hand.
"You realize I never meant for any of this to happen. Things transpired that I couldn't keep control of, I never intended-"
Skyler cut him off with a finger to his lips.
"It doesn't really matter how we got here." She tells him. "Junior is depressed, and Marie is a wreck, and Holly won't ever have anything good to remember you by. This is what ended up happening. This is what we all have to live with."
She smiles at him, tears in her eyes.
"Well, most of us anyway."
Walt stares hard at the woman he loves. "I did this," he says, and she nods.
"You did this." She replies. Her eyes are the clearest blue, and her lips are soft against his, just a ghost of a kiss.
It is with that gesture that Walter wakes up.
By the time his eyes open, the whole thing is old hat. He is back in his bed with blankets askew, and that familiar chill eating at his bones. He sits up and it isn't nearly as easy an experience as it was during his delusions. He looks around the small room but doesn't see Jesse anywhere. The feeling in the pit of his gut is indescribable. Something insides him twists and turns while another part uncoils.
It isn't as if he wanted to see Jesse again, not really. The boy had turned on him; had inadvertently gotten Hank killed, and had constantly put their operation at risk.
Walt remembers what he said in his conversation to Skyler, delusion or dream, he had said, "I did this," and he had known it to be true.
Walter closes his eyes, thumb and forefinger pressing into them as though he could reach through and swipe these thoughts straight from his brain. This is not hell. Walt doesn't believe in hell, but he can get behind the metaphor.
This is purgatory. His own subconscious is haunting him and taunting him. He does feel guilt. He does. Jesse, Jane, Skyler, and Marie. His very own children. Hank and Gomez, and even Saul fucking Goodman. He's destroyed so very many lives.
He has destroyed his own.
Walt opens his eyes. The cabin is dark, but the moon shines bright outside and he's near enough to the window to see the snow that is coating all things.
He thinks of what Skyler would think of this place. Of what Junior would have to say about the lack of television of internet, and how they would have no escape from one of Holly's temper tantrums. The thoughts make him smile, and they fill some hollow space inside of him.
Then he thinks of how Jesse would love this place. Jesse who was always reaching for the stars. Jesse, another person he had destroyed. Possibly, the very worst one.
Walt sits in silence for a very long time. His head is full, real and not real battling each other and these conflicting feelings keep him from being able to actually think.
Until someone clears their throat. Walt's head snaps up, and he thinks, 'Oh lord, I'm still not out the other end.'
Mike sits silently by the door, swathed in shadows save the streams of moonlight that slice across his face. The last time Walter had seen him he'd been sitting by a stream, bleeding to death…
No, the last time he had seen him had been in a barrel.
Mike says nothing, and neither does Walt. Mike barely acknowledges his presence. There is a gun in his lap, but Walt feels no fear. There is not anything a hallucination can do to hurt him. At least not physically.
It seems like a trick of his eyes at first, but the lights slowly turn on- as though this back woods cabin had dimmer switches installed. With the dawning of light, artificial or not, Mike becomes more solid and less of a silhouette. It is only once the room is fully alit that Mike turns to him.
He fixes Walter with one of his grisliest glares. It is a look he is not unused to seeing on the man's face. He is dressed in all black, from his jacket to his dress shoes.
"You must have something to say, "Walt tells him eventually. Mike merely cocks an eyebrow.
"I don't really have anything to say to you, Walter." Mike says. He stands up, smooth and easy compared to Walt's hunching pain.
Despite the effort, it takes, and the shame he feels at the other man's eyes on him as he struggles to stand properly, he too gets up.
"Why are you here then?" Walt asks him, his voice louder than it needs to be. "Jesse had something to tell me, Marie, Skyler, they all had something to say, so why don't you just tell me what it is you've got to say."
"Tell me, Mr. Science, haven't you figured it out yet?" Mike questions, finger pointed at him and gun absent. "Your sister-in-law showed you the past right? And that pretty wife of yours, she showed you all the shit left in your wake that's going on right now."
Walt fixes him with a strange look. He understands, of course, and this is possibly one of the worst hallucinations ever. After Walt does not say anything, Mike continues.
"I'm here to show you what's going to happen. And I don't have to tell you anything, Walter."
And, with that, Mike strides the few feet between them and grabs Walt by the forearm. His strength is surprising, and it just makes Walt's blood boil. 'How dare him,' Walt thinks. And then the room spins around him, and he doesn't think of anything at all.
Walt does not expect to see his own grave. He knows how the book went, but it isn't Christmas and death isn't exactly something surprising with the cancer looming over his head.
He also does not expect to see his wife in the state she's in. Her beautiful blonde hair is cut short and she's wearing a worn, hole filled t-shirt and sweatpants. It is the same apartment he saw before, a macabre cut out of the house they'd had.
On the counter, there are two boxes of wine, and Walter can only guess that they are empty. Skyler watches the television with sightless eyes, cigarette rising to her lips every few moments for another drag. Without asking, Walter knows that she cannot see him. This is not the Skyler that stood before him and showed him the world he had created. This is a woman broken over time, lines around her eyes and mouth, and hollowness radiating from her.
Walter is just about to move towards her when Mike comes into view. Walt had forgotten he was there entirely. Mike blocks the hallway, but doesn't say a word. He stares a head at the woman Walter has loved and ruined. Walt wonders if he has any stories about that kind of spousal abuse.
From behind Mike, Holly runs into the room. By her height Walt has to guess that she's anywhere between eight and ten. Her hair is blonde, like her mother's, and tied into to ratty pigtails.
"Mommy," Holly says, tugging on Skyler's arm. Skyler scarcely moves.
"Not now, sweetheart," Skyler tells her, but Holly keeps tugging at her sleeve. Walt watches as the scene unfolds. Holly continues to plea for her mother's attention and Skyler continues to puff away at her cigarette and watch Days of our Lives.
Again, he forgets that Mike is there until the man moves to stand next to him.
"Your sister in law killed herself. Few years back now." Mike tells him. "And, your boy- well he went off to college and dropped out, and hasn't seen his family since."
Something inside of Walt snaps, and his chin drops to his chest. He watches his wife and daughter through veiled eyes.
"That girl, she's gonna grow up without any attention because her mother is so mentally scarred she can't function, and her brother wants nothing to do with either of them."
"I thought you didn't have anything to say to me, Mike," Walt tells the man, head still bowed in supplication as he looks upon the tatters of his family. Maybe this is real, maybe this isn't. He'll never know what will happen to his daughter; he'll never know what kind of woman she grows up to be, and what kind of role model her mother will become.
Walt has faith in Skyler, but he knows the truth of how they're living now. He doesn't know how it'll wind up, but he can't let it be like this.
Mike nods at him as though he heard every train of thought that ran through Walter's head. He probably did, as he was just a creation of those same thoughts.
Mike grabs his arm, just as harsh as earlier, but Walt can feel no anger over it. He can feel nothing, at all.
This time when Walter opens his eyes, he is not laying in his bed. He is instead, hunched over the small table near the television. The TV is off. There's a lamp on in the corner, but the room is neither dark nor bright, nothing seems out of place. He feels lucid, real.
However, he felt lucid before too. The cabin feels empty, as though no one was ever there at all.
'They weren't," Walter's brain snaps at him. Which, yes, of course, but he almost expects some sort of imprint. A sign of a ghost or a dream, but everything feels the same as it did before.
His hat is hung on the coat rack. A blanket tastefully conceals the barrel of money. He counted it once. Just the once. He assured himself of the amount he had, and watched as the number dwindled by the day. As the money disappeared with each of Ed's visits.
There is a twinge in his chest. Not quite pain, nothing like the way his lungs feel during a coughing fit, and far away from the emotions that arise when he thinks of his family. It's a strange sensation, warmth spreading across his torso, but the sensation isn't entirely unfamiliar.
It might be something akin to hope.
'Louis,' he thinks, as his body starts moving without him. He could get his family money. There had to be a way. If not Louis, then someone else. There had to be a way.
He's stacking wads of money in a box when something moves out of the corner of his eye. Walt's almost afraid to look, afraid he's still dreaming- afraid he's half-lucid and dying and his mind is making this entire thing up.
Jesse looks completely innocuous sitting on Walter's bed. This is a Jesse he has never seen before. What he sees now is a scarred young man with filthy hair, and a scraggly beard. Walt wonders if this Jesse is supposed to reflect himself.
Jesse tucks his hands into the sleeves of his tattered jumper. His eyes are gray and empty now. He rocks back and forth like a child, feet swinging at the bottom of the bed.
"Are you gonna do the right thing this time, Mr. White?" Jesse asks him. The look on his face certainly mirrors what Walt is feeling inside.
The words feel heavy inside him. After a moment, Walter continues to stack money in the box. He doesn't know what the right thing is anymore. He knows his goals, and he knows the things that have gone wrong. He knows he set out to provide for his family, and goddamnit he will. Even if it is the very last thing that he does.
Jesse watches him silently, the question still hanging in the air between them. There is no right Walt can do by Jesse. The boy is lost to him now, and of his own volition.
After the box is full, Walt looks up and catches Jesse's cold gray eyes.
"I hope I'm doing the right thing," Walt tells him, "I hope so, son."
He can't hold Jesse's gaze for long, and he looks back down at the box, begins to devise a way to wrap it in his head. When he looks up, Jesse is gone.
And, Walter's journey has a few more miles in it yet.
A/N: This was written for the Blue Christmeth challenge over at AO3. This is to Venturous, and it is an unbetaed work. The quote at the beginning is, of course, stolen from the good Bard himself. Specifically borrowed from the famous 'To Be, or Not To Be' sonnet from Hamlet. I hope someone enjoys this, because I really had fun writing it. Criticism is welcome and much appreciated.