Because we're waiting for Hurricane Irene to steal our power, I thought I'd throw out a hardrive-clogger!

AU and thus any comparisons to current screen versions not allowed. You have been warned...

The Revenge of Later

But we worldly men have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.

O sweet Revenge, now I do come to thee.

Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus Act 5 Scene 2

It's not just the disaster of the space. It's the silence.

The dimming light of a falling sun trips past skeleton windows, light dying off the closer it gets to the ground. As if connection to the debris would sully its reputation. All that remains to fight the shadows is an orange glow barely strong enough to announce itself. The whisper highlights a broken bottle, amber droplets still clinging to the crystalline edges. Old pallets are strewn to the four corners, splintered wood embedding in the shoes of the encroacher. Dirt kisses knees that seek a less painful meeting with concrete.

An atmosphere stolen by dark novels to exhale foreboding into tragedy, the embodiment of a Hollywood cliché that only he would appreciate. A riot of cobwebs and clutter, the existing destruction of the echoing warehouse had help, she suspects. His emotions have been known to drop layers onto mess and the testament to impropriety is a trickle of red licking a path down his wrist. Any attempt at tending the wound promises escalation. In the frost of dusk, contact is relegated to merging streams of breath.

Until today the cracks have been subtle, a fine filigree that added character, humanity. Hers had always seemed deeper, throwing harshness onto her surface. A badge she's worn. But he's been filling the holes with a nothingness that evaporates on the breeze. One cannot be held together by vapor.

Some damage is only visible when the mirror is allowed to reflect. She knows this pain, but has never handed it the keys to expansion. Too late to pull back what advances with the aggression of cancer. By proximity, she learns that he has the means to end the march.


It's not just the gun in his hand. It's the intention.

It dangles from fingers almost too limp to maintain such devoted possession, hardly a challenge to remove except that even in this state, he might be faster. The single eye of the sleek barrel sizes up its surroundings with the absent arc of its handler's swaying hand. She will let the fidgeting man hold the weapon like the security blanket it can't be. For now. However nonthreatening her posture, the coil of her spine is compressed. Ready to dodge yet prepared to shield.

He won't be aiming at her.

There's a different enemy, one that doubt has marked for elimination. One that scales beneath the skin, a fever winding between bone and flesh. Indecision buys opportunity but her words are chained. Platitudes are nutrition for devilish sentiment. Even as joints protest the crouched position, she feeds him a calm presence, a lie at best. Something had come unhinged before her arrival, a rawness that he's holding in now, locking down and containing what he'll surely regret releasing later. Later, a concept that must be nurtured into reality. They need a later but merely giving him time won't secure it. And granting space pours fuel on grief, feeding fires that compress into a shell casing that she needs a plan to deflect.


It's not just the kiss. It's the goal.

The distraction is enough for sneaking hands to rob him of a dangerous device, if not the motive behind it. The grip is still warm where his fingers had been, where hers now grope for the safety. She cringes at such an absurdity. Safety, a place that he will not go regardless of the heavy tugging on his reins. The damage is done and though he submits to her will to live, the memory of an effort to do otherwise will be a ghost at the table.

It's a moment that lacks finality and so she forfeits reason and presses the gun into his hand once more while insisting they hold it together. Playing at a controlled explosion. Because he needs that outlet, to prove this is over, she coaxes him to expend the single bullet into the closest wall.

The light by which she'd assembled her own better pieces follows the path of the hollow point.

Hours from now the sunrise will yawn through glass shards and she's no nearer to resolving his fears. Nor understanding what gave them enough life to try to steal his. No promises and no solutions, this is the method of passive salvation that cannot be trusted to last. Because an empty chamber goes against his profession. Ultimately, whatever broke is not mended in diversion. But sometime after the first bird reminds them that a world continues outside, they will rise from the floor, the weak and the strong.

The division of those labels is contemplation for later.