Title: On the Eve of the End
Summary: A moment shared between Biff and Joshua prior to the crucifixion. What we never saw happen but always imagined. One-shot.
Word Count: 1263
It was early in the morning and for some reason I was awake. Since arriving back home, I'd done a decent job of shirking off the small measure self-discipline the monks at the monastery had managed to squeeze into me. I farted, I feasted, I make love to beautiful woman, and most of all I slept in. What I didn't do was sit, which was why, when I woke up that morning, I was surprised when I found myself sitting outside a little ways from the house in that complicated position Gaspar had taught us that had somehow become much less complicated and painful after the third week of non-stop meditation.
Maybe it was the lack of beautiful woman, or the absent of sound in the quiet morning, or even a lack of green tea to make my bladder act up – I'm not sure what it was but I found myself actually focusing on my meditation that morning, achieving a sort of stillness that I hadn't been able to ever do with Monks Number Two and Three around.
Joshua said the difference between praying and mediating was who was doing the talking. That morning, I was somewhere in between. I'd never been good with praying, but I was even worse at meditating. Somehow though, long moments of silence in my mind, broken by sudden outburst of 'Why? Why? Why is Joshua doing this, damn it! He's your Son, make him stop!' just clicked. I wasn't sure how long I sat out there, cursing to myself and to God over Josh's self-prophesied fate before the Messiah himself joined me. I must not have been too long though, for no one else came up to disturb us.
I knew it was him because I could feel him but not see him. It was something both of us had picked up – him seamlessly; me, in hopes of sneaking out of the monastery for some good old fashion loving – and we both subconsciously moved without sound. Meditating as I was, however, I could feel his presence as soon as he stepped outside. He paused outside the door for a mere moment, before coming beside me and sitting down exactly as I was only with much more grace. Jerk.
I didn't look up at him. I couldn't. Every time I saw him I imagined that little kid with a lizard in his mouth, helplessly resurrecting dead reptiles for his baby brother to play with. I tried to imagine a time before that, before I met Joshua, but I just couldn't. It was like I didn't exist except to be his friend – and now he was determined to let himself be killed.
No. Just no.
Josh was the first to break the silence. It might've been a victory except there was no concession on his behalf; he didn't care who had the last word or who talked first, just so long as he could say his piece.
"This is unusual," he said mildly.
I shrugged. "Couldn't sleep. Habit," I answered.
"I had thought you had forgotten about this habit," he replied.
"It's a seasonal thing – like the flu," I said, dry wit coming to my lips without being summoned. "A few days a year a guy gets struck by the urge to meditate, then it passes and he's all better. Jeez, I thought you were the smart one here, Josh."
Josh didn't laugh. I didn't smile. There was no use pretending. I stared down at my hands, fisted into tight balls of rage and hurt on my thighs and sighed – so much for meditation.
I could feel Josh's presence beside me. I know that God is supposed to be everywhere all the time and whatever, but try sitting next to God's Son and you'll see a very big difference between that and having Joshua right next to you. He didn't have to touch you to have your pain begin to ease and your spirits lifted. Just being around him was like breathing in every good thing that had ever made a guy feel blissful or hopeful or really, damn happy. And I had been side by side with Josh since I was a little brat. I couldn't imagine waking up and suddenly having to go through life without that. I couldn't it. Josh had been there too long, I was in too deep – too much of myself existed only because of him. There was no more Levi left, just Biff, the Savior's stupid pal. I'd die if he died. I knew it, just then.
I would die if he died.
Without warning I felt hot sticky tears roll down my face and plop against my fists with a fat splat. And once I began sobbing, I couldn't stop. I could feel my shoulders shaking, wracking my entire body. An arm dropped over them, and Josh pulled me into an embrace like one we hadn't shared since we were little, scared out of our minds the first time we saw a murder.
"Biff," he said in that quiet, compassionate, understanding way of his. I could feel him trying to take away my pain, but it wasn't happening. I could hear his own grief reflected when he said my name. Whatever he had said before, whatever prophesy, he was so sad that he had to go. He loved us. Loved us in a way that I couldn't even begin to comprehend. And I had known him since we were both kids, it's fair to say that I've stacked up a lot of love.
He was going to miss me. I knew it. Somehow he was going to miss me just as much as I was going to miss him, but it wasn't the same.
He felt everyone's pain as much as they felt it. Everyone's pain and everyone's happiness.
Me. I only had room enough for my own sorrows – but they hurt.
We must have sat there for the whole day. As monks, we'd were both accustom to long periods of doing nothing. Me, in his arms sobbing, him holding me with a few tears himself. The apostles didn't bother us and neither did Maggie or anyone else. Sure they loved him too and were sad too but I had known him the longest, I had been with him every step of the way, and he with me – and even if they didn't respect me for anything else I think they respected me for that.
I spoke to him and begged him and called him every name under the sun. He held me and let me listen to his breath go in and both, and smell the coffee and spices that clung to his clothing, and soak up the feeling of my best friend in the world – my brother – holding me.
And I didn't stop crying. Even as he held me, tried to take my pain away, I saw the same vision over and over. That little boy with curly hair, taking the lizard from his mouth and giving it to his brother – that little innocent, miraculous kid that Joshua never truly grew out of – I saw him murderer, again and again. Tortured and whipped and crucified and that little face screwing up in pain that he couldn't comprehend because Joshua never understood the badness that lurked inside of people. He didn't understand the violence and evil that resided in the rest of us.
And we were going to kill him. We were going to kill that pure, innocent little kid.
And there was nothing I could do to stop it.