Warning: character death
A/N: I was in a bad mood all day (maybe birthday blues after all), so I couldn't resist to write a dark fic. Hanky warning applies!
It's often said how in tragic times the world simply stops spinning. I never believed in that. It sounded way too romantic to be true. Until now.
Beyond the buzz of the telephone line, I can hear the roast sizzling in the oven. I should shut it off before it burns. But I can't move. Because my world suddenly has stopped.
My feet refuse to work. I'm rooted here in the middle of the kitchen, frozen in place. The ice creeps up my body and as it reaches my heart and clenches it viciously in its grip, I can't contain a gasp.
"Still here." The words leave my mouth of their own volition. It's not me speaking them, it's the automatic Jim Ellison that took over when my world crumbled a few seconds ago. The automatic Jim cradles the receiver in one hand and moves us over to the stove to salvage dinner. And then he speaks again.
"It cannot be, Simon." Oh, how I wish he were right.
Simon sighs on the other end. "It's Blair's Volvo, no doubt about that. There's a body inside. We couldn't identify it yet, but his backpack was saved. Blair's wallet was inside."
"It cannot be, Simon. He just went over to the university an hour ago. What the hell should he be doing on his way to Auburn?" Automatic Jim is still in denial. I can't even blame him.
"I'm sorry, but the evidence points towards it. He's dead, Jim."
Those words hurt me physically, but Automatic Jim quenches the rising gasp. He's not ready to give in yet.
"I... I have to see him."
"Jim, the body is burned beyond recognition..."
"I have to."
"I'll send a car over. Don't think about driving yourself, you got that?"
I nod and he affirms it with a curt "Yes, Captain."
And then we wait.
It's way after midnight until we're back at the loft. The scent of beef roast with mushrooms clings to the place. I will throw that out tomorrow and air thoroughly. Because I don't think I will ever eat again.
Automatic Jim helped to identify the body. It were the earrings that finalized it. The small loop with a wolf pendant I got him for his birthday earlier this year. The one I'd had made for him because I couldn't find that kind at any place I looked.
While I stare aimlessly out into the bay from the balcony windows, Automatic Jim juggles all the formalities. Do we have a number to reach Naomi? Which funeral home to contact, which friends to inform? What's the name of Blair's supervisor at Rainier? I can't come up with all that stuff, but he's good at the practical stuff. He's always been. But he begins to crumble.
I steer us over to the couch and get pen and paper to write everything down. It's one of Blair's legal pads that clatter the loft since he moved in. My hand is shaking as I write. And Automatic Jim lets the sob wrench past my constricted throat this time.
My inner walls finally break down, merging me with Automatic Jim and the cruel reality. With a sweep of my arm, the pen bounces off the couch and rolls over the floor, the pad slides under the love seat, its pages flapping. My cheeks are wet with tears.
There were skid marks at the scene. A possible second car that cut him off. The driver probably never stopped. Maybe didn't even care. I'm sobbing now. I want to take this place apart. But I don't. I sob.
Tomorrow, Automatic Jim will reappear and make sure that I shower and eat and make my way safely down to the station. But tonight, he lets me sob and cry, mourn the injustice of the world and the loss of a friend. The best friend we ever had.
And after all this, maybe we both will heal.
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