AN: For 64 Damn Prompts on LJ. Prompt #1: 2 a.m.
"Doesn't anyone sleep in this place?"
Markus looks up, Jeremiah's silhouette sharp in the doorway. Darkness against light. Was that literal or a paradox?
Ignoring his attempt at levity, he replies quietly: "Apparently not," and turns back to the glass. Glass that he could always see through, but never go through. Allowing him to see what he could never, ever have.
Maybe, he used to think. Maybe someday. Maybe a miracle.
All the miracles in the world had died years ago.
He can hear Jeremiah walking forward, his steps measured and cautious. Wary. (Everyone was always wary, always watching for things to fall apart. Because they all knew they could.
And when they did, they knew they would have to pick themselves up again, a little more hope lost, spilled on the dust.)
"Staring at an empty room won't make her come back."
He tries to soften the hard words, but Markus feels them like a physical blow anyway. It wouldn't hurt so much if it weren't for the fact that he knows. He knows and he hates.
The miracles died years ago.
He pours himself another drink.
Jeremiah sits at the table too, taking the glass from under his hand and taking a swig. (Why couldn't he just leave things the hell alone?) "It's 2 a.m., Markus," he said, still trying to soften the hard words.
He knew they were hard. But he was saying them anyway.
It's what he needs, Jeremiah tried to tell himself. But the blank, agonized blackness in Markus' eyes was making it so painful.
"You need to sleep."
"I don't want to dream," was the reply, and once more those eyes were on the glass, and what was beyond.
What was no longer beyond.
"It's the only way you'll be able to see her again," Jeremiah said thoughtfully, the sudden tension in his expression betraying experience.
Something snapped. And it was almost audible in the small, metal room.
Markus struck the glass out of Jeremiah's hand—it flew through the air, shattered, and rendered the space utterly silent.
Everything was frozen for a moment.
"That's what the dreams keep reminding me," Markus said quietly, the fury gone. Vanished.
Fallen off a cliff.
Jumped, he silently corrected himself. Jumped.
Like an angel.
But he hadn't watched. He could only imagine.
"How could she leave me?" he whispered hoarsely in agony. "I promised her I'd never leave her. I'd never leave her alone, to die. And then…"
He felt something hot on his cheeks, but only faintly. "She wanted to save you," Jeremiah murmured. "She wanted to return the favor."
"I never wanted it returned!" Markus cried, turning to him suddenly, and Jeremiah could see the void, the gaping hole. The anguish of knowing that something was missing, and could never be replaced. "I didn't want her to save me! She was my…my…the only thing in this world that I knew I could never give up, that I knew would never leave me. She would always be there. I could always come here, stay here and escape the world for hours with her."
The pain was spreading like a poison, until it seemed his very existence was torment itself. He buried his face in his hands, trying to rub away the ache as if it were burning his skin. He couldn't live this way, he couldn't keep breathing, it all needed to end, nothing was left, he was left with nothing nothing nothing nothing—
"Markus," Jeremiah said harshly, making him look up. The man sitting across from him looked very different from the smart-ass, renegade wanderer he had found walking into Thunder Mountain months ago. He looked…empathetic. Completely understanding. It was a sense so foreign to Jeremiah, Markus just stared in disbelief.
"Come with me," the stranger said, standing and offering his hand. "You need Erin."
Erin. The name rang somewhere in the depths of his grief-torn mind. Blond hair, smile that made his heart glow, an eagerness that inspired him to keep going in much the way Megan's soft voice and soft eyes had…
"She may not like being woken up at 2 a.m., but I'll tell her you've found stray puppies or something. I'm sure she'll jump right out of bed."