Author's Note: I95 is an actual highway connecting Massechussetts and Maine. According to Google maps, anyway. Still not a native English speaker and this fic has lots of conditionals, so, you see. OTL

Highway 95

There are times when I wish I had never come here. My life had never been a summer Sunday walk through the park with an ice cream cone, but I learned how to appreciate the occasional lollipop in the rain instead. I had my own way of doing things, a way I had devoted all my life to improving and adapting to. Everything else had to coexist with my rules.

Now I'm a tramp and I have to coexist with hers, and she screams at me.

"Please, lecture me until his oxygen runs out!"

It would have been so much easier. I had an unstable income, but still an income, and I had a place where I knew I would be alone every night – believe it or not, the knowledge had its advantages. Most importantly, I didn't have to deal with Henry or children in general. Children are the embodiment of trouble. Take the kid, for example. He attracts problems from all over the country like a three ton magnet and it all spirals back to his mother. Now I have to deal with her pain, too. What have I gotten myself into?

What is wrong with me? I shouldn't be thinking like this. I'm becoming like her.

Except that's not true, either. What am I doing? I can tell from the glaze in her eyes that she's scared. Hell, so am I. Terrified. I run a hand through my hair. This isn't getting us anywhere.

"We have to stop this. Arguing won't accomplish anything."

It all traces back to her; Henry never would have gone there if she had accepted his point of view. He never would have brought me here if she had allowed him to have some damn Sacher cake with chocolate topping and ten candles for his birthday. Mary never would have given him the book if she had chosen to spend Friday nights with him instead of council meetings.

Henry would never have searched for me if I had taken the god damn pill and spared him of all this nonsense.

I'm a terrible person. Maybe if I leave while I still can, it will make things okay. When he gets out, she will tell him I had to leave back to Boston for the rest of the money I'd earned because I'm going to need it as long as I keep wandering aimlessly around the town. She will tell him I'm coming back, but I never will because I will have mysteriously disappeared after a car crash on I95 and I'll be halfway to San Diego. Maybe it will make them happier.

"No, it won't," she agrees and looks me straight in the eye and in that moment, I forget what I was talking about. In any case, she's right. This is no time to point my finger at people. I should pull myself together.

I've always wondered if brown-eyed people had a darker layer to their personality than others. Out of the few I've met, they were all an impish sort. It's not like I believe some kind of physical trait or a constellation of stars during certain months of the year can directly shape our fate and make it decodable by a set of static rules we've written down over the course of centuries, but something about her eyes draws me in and it feels like foothold trap and a snare around my neck and I'm not sure whether to let it or back away.

In any case, this is her world. I have no right to raise my voice at her. More importantly, seeing the raw desperation, I don't want to. I want to never have to do that again. I don't want the picture of the two of us arguing to be the first thing Henry will remember seeing after he's been rescued and safe in her—in my—when he gets out of there. "What do you want me to do?" Anything, tell me anything. I'll do anything you want, because right now, I can't do anything I want. I can only avoid it for as long as humanly possible because I know what you want contradicts my wishes. It's my saving grace.

"Help me."

Sure. Sure, I can do that.