The Things I Left Unsaid
He didn't sleep a wink that night.
He tossed and turned, lying on his back with his fingers interlaced under his head and rolling onto his stomach to smash his face into the pillow. No matter how long he stared at the ceiling, the unsettling stutter in his heart remained and his clammy palms itched relentlessly.
His every memory had been freshly engraved on his mind once more.
Every rise and fall of the voice so annoying that it was almost hilarious.
The feeling of sharp claws, no longer distant, but vivid and very much present.
The way his fists felt in silky, Irken fabric.
The smell of his skin.
The glow of his eyes.
Dib groaned and flopped onto his side and squeezed his eyes shut, slipping his hand under the pillow and hooking his foot behind a slender knee.
And his knuckles brushed the notebook he had entirely forgotten about.
"Dammit," he barked, his fingers closing on the binding to throw it as far as he could at three in the morning without his glasses on. It smacked the wall and hit the floor with an unceremonious thwap. He rolled over to face away from it, satisfied. The last thing he needed was the diary of things that had, one-by-one, gone wrong inside his head when he had been a child and the world had been safe.
At four in the morning he finally gave up and stumbled off to take a shower.
As soon as the curfew on all non-Irkens was up, Dib pulled a flannel shirt on and was out the door. He went to a tiny restaurant that served semi-edible food and gave the lilac, pear-shaped waitress a huge tip. She batted her three big eyes at him and smiled broadly in thanks, clearly enamored by his pale skin and angular features. He ate his sandwich in the corner so he could watch the distant sun drift lazily past the window (medium-well, free-range Blorchian hoofbeast on grilled bread, thought they used a digestible rubber cement because there hadn't been a shipment of bread in months.) He refilled his drink before he left and sipped it all the way to the data hub (he still thought of it as a library even though the radioactive paper debacle had made that term politically incorrect years ago.) He muddled his way through the self-book renewal, although the computer mistook his language for Anglo-Plutonian twice and he had to manually change the settings both times.
He picked out two DVD documentaries on espionage at the end of the Vortian Empire's rein and a book discussing the controversy about whether the Tallest could tax the settlements that dumped their waste into black holes in Irken territory. He found a book by the same author asking whether dark matter could be considered a renewable resource or not, and eventually added it to his pile. He took the long way home, flying low over the vast craters that stretched several hundred miles from the edge of the city, dipping down to see the majestic, warped planes of frozen ice that filled them. He fiddled with the radio, but as usual, the only thing on was the Irken National Anthem. There was a hip-hop remix on one station, and he laughed out loud as he reached to turn the dial.
By the time he got home, he was thoroughly exhausted, and he fell asleep with a book open and propped up against the pillows.
Eh. I'm not particularly happy with this chapter. I have a lot more written, but I couldn't find an appropriate stopping point other than this one, and I'm still fiddling with what I'm looking at as the "end" of the next "chapter."
The next update will be soon - within the month, I hope, as long as I stay on top of my school work. There's only a little more of this next section that I need to figure out. After that, I have a lot of ideas fleshed out for the next big chunk of the story.
Again, I want to remind you guys that this story is also on AO3 (Archive of Our Own.) If it were to be seen as too mature for FanFiction, I'm going to get it up-to-date there as well, so there will be a backup site to read it at.
Thank you for all of your feedback and compliments. Writing things that make people excited is my dream, and if you're being honest in your reviews, I'm accomplishing that. :)