Home is Gone

Leaning over, he kissed Claudia on the cheek before turning and walking away. Fighting to keep the tears in his eyes from falling, Steve bit his lip, refusing to turn his head and look back at the girl who had become his new sister.

He couldn't do it. He couldn't face the rest of them, not that they'd care much anyways what had happened to him. They were busy with other important stuff. Warehouse Agent stuff. They couldn't waste time talking to a civilian, now could they?

Turning a corner, he wondered bleakly how he was supposed to get home. He didn't have his car with him; they had driven Pete's to the bar to get Sally, his Prius was back at the Warehouse…

I guess it's yours now, Claude, he thought wryly, leaning up against the wall and sinking down into a sitting position, covering his head with his arms as if it would protect him from the pain. Taking a shuddering breath, Steve tried to stand back up, but his legs wouldn't cooperate and he just sat there, trying to steady his breathing.

He heard noise from the scene behind him, the screeching of sirens and the telltale murmur of voices, all oblivious to the fact that, not one hundred meters away, an ex-warehouse agent was sitting just out of sight, slowly losing the battle against the tears that threatened to fall.

I've got to get further away from here, Steve said to himself. Numbly, he forced his legs to move, and he stood up, ambling further away from the scene. He thought he had seen a bus station a few blocks away, and slowly he moved towards it, not really sure what he would do when he got there.

There was no one else at the bus stop, and he collapsed onto the bench with relief before reaching in his pocket for some change to pay the fare. His fingers found only fabric, and he sighed before getting back up and walking away. He didn't know where he was going this time.

What could he do? Go back to the ATF? Yeah, they'd be thrilled to see him. It wasn't like his coworkers had liked him all that much and they'd definitely be mad to see him come back after unceremoniously ditching the agency only months before. So the AFT was out. Another agency, then?

No, he thought, burying his hands deep in his pockets. I don't think I could handle it. Steve now discovered a new appreciation for the time Myka had spent away from the Warehouse after she had quit. But at least she had a family business she could go to. He didn't have anything; no family, no real friends…nowhere.

He could go back to his old apartment, or at least, see if it was still open. They had probably already filled it by now. He just wanted to go home. But home, throughout his life, seemed to enjoy dodging him.

The house he had grown up in was full of bad memories; of the bullying he had experienced as a kid, and, more importantly, of hearing the news that Olivia had been shot and killed. He had left for college, a temporary home, no more, and then went to his old apartment. Now that was gone and he couldn't go back to the Warehouse, the only place where he hadn't been pushed around or laughed at.

Or traumatized, he thought, giving a humorless laugh.

The dark stillness all around him seemed to seep into his jacket; saturating it and making it feel heavy on his shoulders. Steve walked aimlessly, wondering without any answers, where home would be next. Or whether it would ever be there again.