un_fallen: (color - got my eye on you)
[personal profile] un_fallen
A light rain is falling onto the wastes of Jubilee; still falling, if indeed it has ever stopped. The ground is beyond saturated, colorless mud and desolation as far as the eye can see, and the rain only promises to intensify. A bleak horizon is broken only by a low, equally colorless fueling station nearly invisible in the murk.

Raguel stomps around in it, his shoes making schlock, schlock noises in the mud, and if he realizes it's raining he pays it no attention. He felt something: perhaps no more than the stirrings of a wildly overactive imagination, but this was oddly familiar. By long practice he's learned to sort the instinct from the white noise and confusion that clouds most of his mind, and Raguel has always trusted his instincts.

Date: 2009-08-07 05:08 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
There are places where the world is heavier. Sometimes it's the place itself (a tower, a road, a path); other times it's something that's there, something that gently warps reality around itself (a rose, a little scrimshaw turtle). And then sometimes, it's who's there - the people that press down just a little harder against the metaphysical rubber sheet of the universe.

Or, if you want to put it another way: like calls to like.

Somewhere out in the thick swirls of fog, someone draws in a deep breath, and then spits it back up in a loud, ragged cough.

Date: 2009-08-07 05:25 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
And another, and another, though it's harder now to distinguish the coughing from the harsh gasps that come between.

One cracks open on something louder - no words, but perfectly expressive.

It's not a happy sound.

Date: 2009-08-07 05:45 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
The figure is moving, but only just. There's something that might have been an attempt to push itself up from the dirt, but it - doesn't end well.

When it lands, another gasp lurches out, breathless and painful.

Again.

Date: 2009-08-07 06:25 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Beneath the mud, its features haven't settled yet, still locked in the perfect, sexless symmetry of angels. But these things are always quick; the eyes it blinks open are wide, and unfocused, and a vivid, inhuman yellow.

Raguel's presence doesn't seem to have registered.

There are so many drops.

It tries to lift itself again, bowed and shaking under the rain.

It isn't silent, either; quietly, ever so, it's making the sound you make from deep in your belly when you don't even have the air to scream.

(There are so many drops. There are so many hundreds of thousands of tiny pinprick drops of water, falling down, there  are  so  many )

Date: 2009-08-07 06:56 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Its arms give out once more.

And then it's a minute, or nearly that, before the demon on the ground lets out a low moan of relief.

Its forehead is resting in the sticky, slippery mud, the effort gone from its shoulders (though the shaking isn't).

It doesn't look like it's about to try again.

Date: 2009-08-07 12:37 pm (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
One. Two. Three. Four.

After eight long, wobbly breaths, Crowley - with considerable difficulty - rolls over onto his back. His hands leave imprints in the mud, but they don't last long.

It's not that he looks more himself, but rather less, as his body gently overlays his features with a semblance of humanity, weathering them into the sort of face that actually exists 'round these parts; the harsher jaw and angular hairline that say male, the tiny crooked tilt to his mouth, the faint blue tracery of veins beneath his eyes.

One ear is a quarter-inch higher than the other.

He's staring up at Raguel's wing, the one above his head, like he doesn't really see it.

Date: 2009-08-07 07:24 pm (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Something certainly gets his attention, though it isn't clear which; whether it's the sudden shock of the temperature change, or another rasp of fabric against his skin, or the intrusion of another layer of sound, painfully distinct even beneath the pervasive, crushing roar of the rainfall.

Crowley's gaze is still unfocused, a little wild and a lot dazed, but it slides slowly to one side and lands (or thereabouts) upon Raguel.

(There are so few colours here that, even out in the dark and the fog, Crowley has to narrow his eyes against the two blinding points of blue above him.)

Date: 2009-08-07 11:00 pm (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
It's too much. It's still nearly too much: the wall of noise, and the glaring mist, and the scratch of a million coarse, tiny fibres, and the clammy seep of the mud, and the thick smell of feathers and of another living body, and every millimetre of every tiny trickle running down his temples from his bedraggled hair, and the cold air in his nostrils, and the sheer overpowering thereness of his arms and his legs and his skin and his lungs hurting and his heart beating terrifyingly fast and his stomach roiling in panicked protest.

But something's certainly got his attention, fraying as it is - and gradually, a few more thin scraps of reality manage to force their way through and begin to knit together. Visibly, between one moment and the next, Crowley stops looking through Raguel and starts looking at him.

Date: 2009-08-07 11:27 pm (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Crowley lets out a brief exhale, one that's not so different from any other breath in any way you could describe, but whose meaning couldn't be clearer if he'd said it aloud. Oh. It's you.

(As though he has any reason to be surprised.)

His eyes slide shut again.

In, out. Might be easier not to, but he can't remember how.

Date: 2009-08-07 11:44 pm (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
The proximity of Raguel's voice makes him flinch, face tight.

Date: 2009-08-07 11:59 pm (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Another sharp breath, and Crowley raises a hand a few inches out of the mud in what might be an acknowledgment, or might just be an incoherent attempt to get Raguel to stop bellowing in his ear so loudly that too-bright coloured spots are dancing in front of his eyes.

Date: 2009-08-08 12:26 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
There's not much room to feel or think on anything else right now, beyond trying not to let living be the death of him. But there's just enough, Crowley finds (opening his eyes and looking up into the fog), for a sudden swell of hatred so visceral that it nearly lifts him up off the ground. For Raguel, for the way things work, for this being the first thing he arrives back to and for every link in whatever chain of events it was that left him this addled version of his friend so completely unable to grasp that Crowley -

A gust of cold wind claws the thought clean out of his mind.

Date: 2009-08-08 01:06 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (fuck you and your white christmas)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Crowley's trying to push himself up again. Less urgent now that Raguel has at least arranged for the rain to give them some space, he's trying for a sitting position first.

He's up on his elbows, so far steady in the treacherous mud.

Date: 2009-08-08 01:33 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (fuck you and your white christmas)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
He notices his abdomen for the first time, which is almost enough to cause one. Not anything about it, exactly, but rather just that it's there; that instead of merely the raindrops and the damp cloth against his skin, he can feel the muscles moving beneath the skin, slowly contracting as he pushes himself upright.
- Oh. The

A shudder runs through him. A twitch, like he'd meant to move a certain way, and then hadn't.

Finally, he's sitting.

Date: 2009-08-08 04:50 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
This time, he's together enough to shoot Raguel a narrow, poisonous glare - not the same violent anger anymore, but still more than a little vicious. And, under the circumstances, probably not something Raguel should take too personally.

"Y-" he starts to say, and then realises very, very quickly why this isn't a good idea.

Date: 2009-08-08 05:05 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Before, his abdomen; now, his tongue. Crowley presses his lips together hard, and tries not to let his throat close up against the sensation - wet, and slab-heavy, and fleshy in his mouth.



His stomach heaves, and he leans forward in a dry retch.

Date: 2009-08-08 05:36 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Crowley's hands are braced on his knees, but one comes up again as he manages to shake his head - a rather clearer message, this time.


The rain falls, but not on them.





Face grey, Crowley looks up at last. And after a long moment, manages an indistinct, "When."

Date: 2009-08-08 05:56 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley

Like a high, clear note, something wavers in Crowley's expression, and he says, "Is - ?"

Date: 2009-08-08 06:16 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Jubilee.

He tries to think, but he can't.

No great surprises here, either: when Raguel finally looks back around, the first thing Crowley does is reach out a hand to be pulled to his feet.

Date: 2009-08-08 06:33 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (fuck you and your white christmas)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
If it seems too soon for Crowley to have recovered, that's because it is. He nearly recoils from the touch of skin against skin, and isn't any great shakes at staying upright, either.

But he's been gone a year.

(He tries to let his mind only skirt around the edges of it: he's been gone a year.)

Date: 2009-08-08 07:33 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (fuck you and your white christmas)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
There aren't any craft docked at the station - nothing that'd break atmo, so far as Crowley can make out.

But there will be.

When he manages to filter the meaning of Raguel's question through the noise of it, Crowley looks back at him and nods.

(That's another formality, and they both know that, too.)

Date: 2009-08-08 08:01 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (fuck you and your white christmas)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
The mud isn't the only thing that makes the walk to the station difficult, but it definitely doesn't help.

Crowley's fingers end up leaving bruises on Raguel's shoulder, but they don't last.

Date: 2009-08-08 08:22 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (tyre iron (it's the end of the world))
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
By then, Crowley's wearing what it takes to fit in, with the exception of a pair of shoes. The floor is cold beneath his feet, but it's better than shoes.

The light in the corridor flickers tiredly, but the room is dark, and passes for quiet. The chair in the corner isn't the most uncomfortable Crowley's ever sat in, and for the moment, that'll do. He's holding himself carefully enough that it doesn't much matter.

Date: 2009-08-08 08:37 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (cast down)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Crowley nods faintly, head already tipped back against the wall, but stays in the chair.

He's been gone for a year.

Out here, you take what you can get.

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un_fallen

August 2009

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