I do not own Red vs Blue. RvB belongs to Rooster Teeth.
Washington led Carolina to the exact spot where they had found CT buried in the sand. This was the only time he wished the Meta was still here. He didn't want to have to do the digging, but, he knew there was no way Carolina would volunteer to do it. She probably wouldn't even help.
You'd think that after being a Recovery agent he would get used to the sight of dead bodies. But this was different. He was disturbing her grave. It felt…wrong. She was at peace now. No matter how much Wash wanted to hate her, he never could. He understood the fear that she felt constantly. Her urge to escape. He was simply glad that, no matter how abrupt and terrible of an end it was for her, it was over. Connie, or, CT wouldn't have to be afraid any more.
Carolina's ever present gaze was bearing down on Wash harder than the desert sun as he kept digging but found nothing. He broadened his search area. Perhaps the sands shifted. Perhaps the wind buried her remains even deeper? But no matter how deep or long Wash looked, he could not find CT.
"That's it. She's not here. Someone must have moved her body," Wash reported.
Carolina's narrowed visor angled down at him.
"I wish I had my old suit that could track the recovery beacon, but-"
"But it was just. Another. Dead. End."
Wash cringed inside his helmet. Back in their hayday, if he could have even called it that, he would have still been upset about disappointing Carolina, but, now, he was afraid she would shoot him.
The teal Freelancer stalked off.
"So are we moving to the next location, boss?"
"I am. But I'm not bringing those morons."
"They're slowing me down. And it seems I won't be needing their help if all I'm running into are your dead-end 'leads!' Now you can come with me or not. But I'm leaving. I have no chance of finding the Director doing time like this."
Wash was taken aback. He knew that this travelling with the Reds and Blues wasn't going to last long, but, with the way things were going, the fact that she wasn't going to shoot them probably meant that this was the most peaceful parting they were going to get.
When they returned, she hopped on her mongoose and revved the engine. She gave him a look to which the grey freelancer sighed.
"I'm going to stay here with them. We'll still follow you, but at their pace. We'll rendezvous with if you need some back-up."
"Fine. But I won't need your help."
With that she took off into the distance.
"Stay safe, boss." Wash said, not knowing if she heard him or cared.
He turned back to the Reds and Blues who were staring at where Carolina's outline was disappearing in the horizon.
"Where is Church going?" Caboose said.
"Caboose, I told you. Call me Wash."
"Well, good riddance! We have successfully eliminated two Blues at once! Score for the Red Team! Victory, imminent!"
"You guys realize we're still not really at war." Tucker said.
"Wait. Two Blues?" Wash was now alarmed.
"Um…we count Carolina as two Blues? because, well, she's, uh…" Simmons started.
"Twice as scary?" Grif finished.
"Wait. Where's Epsilon?" Wash turned to Tucker.
"I don't know, dude. The guy just pops up when he wants to. Maybe he doesn't feel like talking."
"When have you ever known Church to be quiet? Where is he, Tucker!"
"I don't know. I'm a lover not a finder!"
Wash raised his pistol to Tucker's helmet.
"Tell me where my AI is right now!"
"Okay, okay! Chill out! Caboose put him in Carolina's motorcycle thing."
"Church said that he needed to figure out if Carolina is really evil by spying on her in the motorcycle."
"What!? Caboose! Argh!"
Wash then climbed into the warthog.
"Get in. We're going after them!"
"Why? We just got rid of the annoying AI guy and the scary, crazy chick! Why would we go find them again?" Grif whined, as he already got in the jeep knowing they would be forced one way or another to go.
"Why did you think Carolina wanted Epsilon to start with? His memories! And if she attempts to revive Epsilon's memories, he'll lose himself again! That's why I've been suggesting places we look first because, after we run out of leads, she'll start grilling Epsilon for information! That won't end well."
By this point everyone was in the two warthogs, and Wash smashed the accelerator. They would need to catch up to her at the next site. There was no way a fully-loaded warthog was going to catch the single-person mongoose any time soon.
They drove for hours upon hours. Wash wouldn't let them stop for anything. Epsilon and Carolina's lives could be in danger. He wouldn't let what happened to him, happen to Carolina. And he couldn't let Epsilon go through that again.
They approached the abandoned Freelancer outpost, and it was a miracle the sim troopers hadn't died yet. Not because of hunger or thirst but because he was going to shoot them all for the incessant complaining. Clearly, they didn't realize how much of a crisis this was. Although, when Wash thought about it, no one really could except him.
He walked around to the tree where the FILSS consol was. He saw it was shot several times and destroyed.
"Someone must have sabotaged the consol, but I think I can still get in."
"Yeah…somebody must have." Simmons said slowly.
"Somebody with superior shotgun abilities and authoritative power to put machines in their place! Hoo rah!"
"Yeah. Or the fact we couldn't get the codenames right." Grif said.
"That was just you, Grif."
The door in the wall opened slowly.
"Got it. Guess York taught me well."
"None of your concern. Let's go."
They walked into the facility. It was dark and dusty. Clearly, no one had been here since the last time the Reds and Blues were here. It was quiet, but it was also a big place. After wandering a bit, they made their way to the motor pool.
"Ugh. Bad memories!"
"Dare I ask why?" Wash said.
"This was where Tex showed up and totally destroyed us!" Simmons' voice cracked.
"Really? You look fine to me."
"That's because I saved you with the armor-freezy-thingy Sheila let me use!" Caboose proudly announced.
"The armor lock? Yeah. They invented it after…the break in." Wash trailed off.
Suddenly their heard familiar voices.
"Church! Are you here! It is your bestest friend!"
"What are you idiots doing here!" Carolina came around the corner.
Church was projected next to her helmet.
"Carolina! Please tell me Epsilon is in your storage unit…" Wash pleaed.
"Nope. I'm in her AI slot. And you know what? It's actually not half bad."
"But, Epsilon. You remember what happened. It could happen again!"
"Did you ever wonder that maybe the reason Epsilon unraveled in your head was because you couldn't handle him? That your mind was the weak mind! Epsilon was just too strong for you?" Carolina snarled.
Wash took a step back but then took two forward.
"Carolina. I've had more mental toying than this. Of course I've thought about that. Mental hospitals and jail give you lots of time to think. I'm not saying that you couldn't handle Epsilon. I'm not saying you can. I'm saying that you could get hurt. I just don't want anyone to go through what I've gone through. Especially you. You don't deserve it. I'm trying to protect you."
Carolina's hands tightened into fists.
"You're protecting me? Wash, what do I have left to lose! What do I need to survive for! Nothing! All I care about is vengeance for everything the Director's ever done for me! And if this AI can help me do it, I don't care what the cost is. I already died long ago! I'm just a Fury! Killing the Director is my only purpose! Everything I would live for died with the other agents! The only other people I cared about! If you're not strong enough to handle the truth that this is all we exist for now, you'll just have to pull your head out of the sand and wake up, Washington!"
Wake up? That's exactly what Connie said. Why did everyone assume Wash was living in a dream? What made his world fake while everyone else's was real? Just because they claimed they lived with more pain?
Wash knew about pain. Wash knew pain probably more than Carolina. He just chose to try to move past it. He tried to forget it. That's how he knew he was more scarred than her.
When she reveled in her pain and showed off her battle scars, Wash tried to hide his because his were deeper. His wouldn't scar. They took out chunks of flesh that could never just grow back together. They would never heal.
Carolina might always think that he was a naïve kid, but, in his mind, he was older and wiser than her.
While Wash tried to wake up from his nightmares, Carolina tried to dream them longer.