"You know what? God is George Carlin. The minute that he died, that's what I thought. Like, oh, from now on he just took God's job."

- John Ennis, "The Dana Gould Hour"

Nick's pen hovered above the paper. Desk pieces. Right.

He felt like he was on coke. He'd never done coke, but this had to be what it was like, late in the movie and near the tragic end, his heart racing and all his nerves terribly alive, not sure if he wanted to laugh or cry or bleed or jack off out of rage.

"It's not supposed to be fun," he mumbled, way too late. "It's supposed to be..."

Important. Worth fighting for. He couldn't fight. He couldn't do anything but falter as the girl he loved walked out the door into... What? Nothing. Who cared?

He cared. He cared all the way.

And seriously? That was it? Two iffy days and she was gone? After everything he'd done for her, she couldn't listen to him for five minutes when his life was imploding? Was it fucking fun for him when he had to teeter on the edge of her whims, have her jump out of his arms the second her phone rang, drive her around to auditions and cheer her up when she returned with a furrowed brow and battered self-esteem?

It wasn't fun, but he would do it every single time, because she was worth it. Because the moments when she beamed at him, the moments when they curled up in the hot haze of the afterglow and murmured meaningless banter back and forth, the moments when he woke foggily in the night to rediscover her tucked at his side... That all made up for the scraping and the running and the blue balls while she flitted off to some last minute appointment.

What was he worth to her? Not much, apparantly. She had a little money now. He had no stock anymore, about to lose his job, and probably his room before the end of the month, unless he could miracle back the goddamn coffee-slinging gig he'd quit with glee three days ago.

He should have known. Part of him did know, but his brain hadn't let him question it. The endorphins had tricked him. She was using him, had only been using him the whole time, and now he was used up.

Work shit, he could handle that. Sabrina, even, he could handle. He expected swords and axes swinging down at him, but this was a dagger slid between his ribs, and there was nothing he could do but collapse.

They'll suck you dry. They'll crack your bones for the marrow.

He looked at the page, almost puzzled at the words spidered across the page in his own handwriting. He scribbled them out.

He was done being noble. He was done being a dog. If he was unloveable, then by god, he was going to fucking be unloveable.

He thought about Sabrina's narrowed eyes, fortressed by mascara. He thought of Abby's dipping to the carpet. He could almost feel Paul's blase gaze boring into him as he stood in the tomorrow that already existed in his mind and floundered.

Then he thought about his dad, sighing as he handed Nick two hundred dollars and a promise of nothing else, not really looking at him at all. He thought about the last half-hearted lecture from his mother about the potential he was pissing away before he left. He thought about driving south, thinking that anything L.A. would give him was better than the nothing that he was leaving behind. It had circled his head, drummed out in the beat of every song that crawled through the radio.

And he wasn't wrong, was the thing.

Nobody could hate him more than he hated himself. There was something a little comforting in having that solid place to stand. Sure, it was really messed up, but hey, he'd take what he could get.

Carlin, give me strength, he prayed.

Swallowing, he gripped his pen and set it down on the page again. He stared at nothing for five or ten minutes. He scrubbed brusquely at his eyes with his other hand.

Then, haltingly, he began to write.

A/N: (Gross, an Author's Note. Feel free to leave now. You've done your time im my world.) Oh, Nick. You give and give and what does it get you? Yeah, I write these sort of rushed epilouges for myself at the end of every episode because I love the show too damn much not to let it go on in my head just a little longer. I felt like posting this one. I guess someone else might care to read this nonsense? I dunno; I like it because I can meddle in things I should have no right to be involved in, heh heh... The quote at the beginning is from The Dana Gould Hour, one of the most fantastic podcasts on the internet. I listened to it the same day I watched "Choose Your Battles" and wrote this, one big messy blend in my brain that never shuts up.