I am too easily distracted.

Disclaimer: *shakes head*


When he first wakes up, his thoughts are swimming, muffled like whispers spoken through thick cotton lining and he wonders vaguely whether he's going to be sick right then and there. Something inside of him resents the idea and he's inclined to agree. It has something to do with the way the concrete moves, rising beneath him and pushing, flat and solid, heavy against his cheek like it's supposed to be comforting, cradling, gentle.

If the pavement knows it's failing, it does nothing to show it. Nothing to change, nothing to soften, nothing to improve. Present, thoughtless, mindless stone around him, against him, inside of him and he waits, waits for the vertigo to fade and the moment to end because it has to end eventually.

A part of himself thinks he was never supposed to wake up but he opens his eyes anyway and finds grey: everything grey and faded and slippery surrounding him and his fingers are in front of his face like stiff rubber, useless and drained so he doesn't try to move them.

They don't feel like they belong to him anyway.

Somewhere nearby, a hungry rat skitters across the ground, laughing an animal's laugh as he watches it slide past his field of vision and he's too tired to follow it with his eyes. He thinks he's supposed to be able to do that, though- move, watch, speak, hide, but he doesn't know, doesn't remember how, doesn't want to do it. Because he can already sense the pain, flowing beneath his skin like a poison, waiting for the chance to catch him and take his ragged breaths from his lungs.

His eyes fall closed, everything disappears but he thinks he can feel the ground humming beneath him until he remembers that the ground can't move.

Eventually, the humming stops.


When he wakes up again he thinks that it must have gotten darker, but something tells him not to believe that because it hasn't been that long. And it takes him a moment to realize that he still hasn't opened his eyes.

Even as the thought crosses his mind, he doesn't try.

The ground is still and cold beneath him and wet, wet even though it hadn't been, it shouldn't be, and he's confused but it still isn't enough to clear his head or to encourage his vision. It would be grey, he tells himself: it would be grey like before and his fingers wouldn't move.

More skittering, more laughter and the sounds of thousands of tiny teeth grinding together, taking things apart piece by piece and expelling tiny fragments of bone, but he isn't sure he knows what's being taken apart. He isn't sure he wants to know.

Something drags across his leg, his thigh- scratching, pulling, lingering and wet and there's pain, and he can feel it as tiny chittering creatures feast upon the dead. What it is that's died, he couldn't know. Or maybe it's just as aware as he is, unable to move, voice gone.

Maybe it's something he used to know.

Rats pass conversation over a meal freshly scavenged, token to death as the reaper itself, and he wonders what might have happened.

When he opens his eyes, his fingers are gone. In their place is a small throng of furred bodies.


The process of watching your own arm being devoured, he muses, is not as painful as he'd thought it to be. He thinks that once upon a time he might have looked away from it all; the sight of flesh peeled softly away from the muscle beneath, the slowly drying liquid matting up dark fur, the surprisingly light color of bone standing alone in contrast to the faded grey that was obstructing his vision.

Once upon a time was different than what he was now. He would have been sick then. Now, he thinks, it is an art form deserving an audience.

So he watches.

He thinks he would applaud if he were able.

As it is, the players disperse, scattered by light and the deafening cacophony of footsteps. His eyes remain open in the harsh glare because it seems to him that looking away from anything would be unwise at the moment.

Knees land in the pool with him in a flash of dulled crimson, vibrant against the wall he faces, the wall he feels he must always have faced, surely- and that voice, that voice he thinks he must somehow know, surely- frantic and hoarse and clogged and he wonders if the band the other is wearing is blue because of all of the tears he seems to be allowing to fall.

Part of him disagrees and he lets the matter fall away. Crying, he thinks, is impossible- as impossible as many things of the past, and there are a great many.

Childhood comes to him in wisps of paper-thin impressions, a time comprised of gentle guidance and games in dank tunnels, light playing in pools of dirty water yet somehow coming away clean, laughter echoing off of walls and being tugged into small sleeping piles during the night.

Innocence, yes, and simplicity.

He wonders how simple things are now.


Someone turns him and lifts him, wraps arms around him and cradles him close and it takes a long while for him to recognize his brother. He wonders when exactly his body had started to tremble and how much he had bled and when, exactly, he had managed to lose his arm.

He tries to ask his brother, but all that leaves his mouth is a choked groan. Arms tighten around him and he is being rocked like a child, a frightened child, but he doesn't have the strength to be indignant about it because for now he thinks that maybe that's all he really is.

"Shh, shh, it's okay; don't try to talk, alright?"

His brother sounds like a frightened child, too.

He comes to the conclusion that his brother shouldn't be afraid.

It doesn't suit him. If he weren't so tired, maybe he could tell him so.

"You'll- you're going to fine, don't worry- Don's got everything set up for you and we're going to take you home, you'll be- you're okay, it's okay-"

Helpless. His brother sounds helpless, he tells himself vaguely, staring at the slick floor beneath him.

Grey. It's all grey- the air, the ground, his brother's voice, the words being pushed into the air like a desperate mantra.

"-it's okay, it's okay, it's okay-"

The rats, the stains, the walls around him, faded grey, the splash of crimson long gone.

"-it's okay, it's okay, it's okay-"

Swirling, dissolving, empty, gone, remote, blurring, weak, useless. His brother is speaking, still speaking, over and over as though his own will is going to be enough. He can hear the hitched breaths, the pleading tone, the half-sobs, all indistinct and whirling and grey in the stillness.

"-it's okay, it's okay, it's okay-"

Raphael thinks he might be dying.

"-it's okay, it's okay, it's okay, it's-"