Title: Etched on Every Wall
Rating: K
Warnings: Spoilers for the ending of DP.
Characters and Pairings: Zach - mentions of York, Emily, George and Thomas. Implied York/Emily. One-sided Zach/Emily.

Summary: With a sigh, he returned the kitchen, flicking the less valuable remnants of another man's (his) life into the trash can he found there - subconsciously digging into the other pocket to get whatever pieces lay hidden there, too. (He could never escape them.)


By the time he was done with the dishes, Zach's fingers were prunes.

Despite the immaculate (if not alarmingly colorful) state of his suits, York's penchant for multitasking and high-calorie snacks had left a disastrous trail throughout their (his) apartment - if there was time for the now (always) white-haired occupant to grieve, it had gratefully been swallowed by an obsessive need for cleanliness.

And despite all his eccentricities, York's home had always remained frightfully dull. The square space thrived in low-light with all its deep wood tones and vaguely emerald granites, only brightened by decidedly metallic kitchen appliances.

Zach had always preferred oceanic blues and breezy whites, both of which York was opposed to (he had only appreciated them once, on a blonde girl long gone) and so the space had remained a cave.

It hardly mattered now. The apartment had seen relatively little use in all of its rental history, federal cases and love of odd sleeping spaces considered.

Drying his hands, Zach wandered into the living room, eying the shaggy carpet with some disdain. He wrestled internally between thoughts of a warm shower or a Hoover.

The inner turmoil was interrupted as long fingers prodded into the pockets of his (York's) slacks - his thin, patrician nose crumpled with distaste upon the discovery of a generously re-wrapped lollipop and yet another half-smoked cigarette.

With a sigh, he returned the kitchen, flicking the less valuable remnants of another man's (his) life into the trash can he found there - subconsciously digging into the other pocket to get whatever pieces lay hidden there, too. (He could never escape them.)

But Zach is surprised by the feel of firm, square paper - and his jaw creeks with an unknown anxiety as he pulls out a carefully folded piece of parchment.

When he unfolds it, fingers trembling with the delicate strain, air rushes from his lungs at the familiar faces he once knew (they never knew him) - the Polaroid encases all of them, George, Thomas, York - Emily - in eternal smiles among the horrible fluorescent lights and tacky wood paneling of the Greenvale Police Station.

He stares at the image for quite some time.

It is only when he notices the creases of care in the picture are carefully created around them (the only people he ever loved) - York's hand rested carefully on Emily's lower back and her looking entirely comfortable with it there - that Zach smiles so happily (so sadly) his eyes crease and his lips strain...and he finally lets go.

With some resignation, the picture is lovingly smoothed out and tacked to the fridge - Zach glances at it one more time before going to retrieve the vacuum.