A/N: Thanks to all that have read and suffered through my ridiculous OOC's and ADD plotting. This is the end. Enjoy. :)
Chapter 8, Wanderlust
David wakes early the next morning, as is usual, feeling well rested for the first time in a week and considerably less sore. A glance at the hands of the nightstand clock let him know its only 6 a.m. and the odd thing about that is that Christopher is already up. He sits at the flimsy hotel table reading a newspaper by the blue morning light that filters through the curtains.
"What are you doing?" David asks, turning away from the blonde as he sits up and eases his knee over the edge of the bed. Christopher jumps at the sound of his voice and sets the paper down.
"Planning how to spend my last day of freedom," he tells David, with only a trace of a smile.
"Sorry," David replies with honest sincerity. If there had been another way to fix things properly, he would have taken it.
"It's okay," Christopher assures him, because he's aware that David only knows how to do one thing and that's the right thing. Anything else isn't worth the time. Christopher's almost jealous. He wishes some things came that easily to him, but common sense and honor aren't ground into his nature and its always a struggle to come around to the facts. Sitting up for most of the night though, had given Christopher the time to realize that if going back home and returning the money was going to be his last free action for awhile, then let it at least be the right thing to do. And let it at least be an action David would respect. He couldn't quite settle with when, and why, earning David's respect had become important.
"Christopher," David begins with a yawn. "Is that what this whole trip was about? You stole some money and had to get away?"
Christopher stares at the brunette's slouched back for a moment before responding.
"Nah," he finally says with a grin. "It was about satisfying my wanderlust."
David twists around in the dark room to see Christopher's shadowed features where the boy sits still and straight in the chair, as if offering his testimony to the jury.
"Seriously?" David asks him.
Christopher smiles grimly and shakes his head, studying the floral patterned carpeting. The road has been too long and he's too far without sleep to give David happy lies anymore. When he speaks, it's in a morbid whisper that echoes off the plaster walls.
"It's not often that you get the chance to live your life and lose it at the same time, General."
David chokes on the next breath he takes and grasps the edge of the mattress for support. Damn it all if Christopher didn't end up being the profoundly wise one. Even though they avoided talking about it, the war had been increasingly intense recently, more and more men were dying, and they were losing their strength. David could feel the walls closing in around them. They were running out of options. And Christopher was the one always by his side. Not April back in the infirmary and not Jalil working with the blacksmiths and cartographers to develop new weapons and detailed maps. They weren't acquainted with the battlefield, didn't forever hear agonized cries in their sleep, weren't so familiar with the rustic scent of newly spilt blood that its fragrance had become a comforting constant. Christopher was the only one that knew the battlefield, like he knew it, had been close enough to death to spit in its face and come back to the fight willingly.
"They wouldn't get it," he says aloud, echoing Christopher's earlier words. Christopher nods at this with a faraway look in his eyes.
"I never did get to see the ocean before," he mumbles. David slumps back onto the bed, adds another reason to the list of why he keeps fighting.
"We're going to win this goddamn war Christopher," he says without the usual conviction or strength he puts into the words.
"Sure we will," Christopher agrees weakly.
The clock ticks loudly in the stillness of the room and David allows his eyes to slide shut. Exhales slowly as the people in the next room over laugh loudly at a joke he can't hear. It isn't fair, he thinks lamely. It isn't fair and it isn't easy. It seems he's been fighting his whole life and now he's just too damn tired and somehow, somehow, the fact that he can't guarantee Christopher a happy ending is the worst part. They're going to win the war, he thinks with renewed certainty, even if he doesn't get to see it, Christopher will.
"But for now," he says, not immediately realizing that he is speaking aloud. "For now Christopher, Mexico sounds really nice."