originally posted jan.13.2008
are you drowning or wavingbuffy the vampire slayer (indesolution-verse) | warren mears, jonathan levinson | 1,060 words
notes co-written with sailor (jonathan pov). two companion fics dealing (or not) with the fallout from these threads. title from bush's out of this world.
Warren walks into the hospital room and expects to feel anger. It's only when he sees the shape of the body on the bed that he remembers how long it really took for the rage to break through the dam of— he doesn't know. Disbelief. Fear. Actually, he could have clocked it to the nearest hundredth of a second, from the give of her body under his fist to the give of Andrew's under his lips. What will be his salvation this time? Jonathan? Never. He's standing beside Warren with a litany of "oh god oh god oh god" tumbling from his mouth and Warren wants to hit him not for anger but just to shut him. the hell. up.
But the ghosts of violence hang heavy in the air of the room, weighing down his fist with its own inadequacy. He can't compete with this. He would give anything to be able to. He has.
Jonathan tries to run to the bedside, but there isn't even enough space to work up to a proper sprint and so he just sort of stumbles to it instead. It's funny, and Warren laughs in a choked sort of way. Jonathan snaps his eyes back at him as if to say, What are you, crazy? Warren just returns it like, What are you, new?
It gives his eyes something to do for a few seconds, anyway. But then his gaze slides sideways away from Jonathan, along the body under the bright white sheets, and it feels strange to be able to say "the body" but not "it" even though they cover him like a shroud. Andrew still had remnants of a Spiderman bedset in the lair, and now all this white, what is that supposed to be? Symbolic of his redemption? What bullshit — what bullshit.
Maybe he should be grateful for it though, because at least he doesn't have to look at the bruised and missing parts under the blinding whiteness that covers them.
Jonathan's not holding Andrew's hand, but that's only because he can't, both of Andrew's palms wrapped thick with gauze. Instead Jonathan lays his fingers twitching beside Andrew's on the mattress. He's crying. Which, if Warren is in the room. "You must really feel bad."
"Shut up, Warren," he whispers, not looking at him, not looking away from the body. Warren does, for several seconds.
"I'll bet he stabbed him in the stomach."
"What?" For a moment it's as though the words really don't compute, and then pain shuts down Jonathan's face, closes his eyes. "How can you—"
"I'm just saying." Warren's voice is flat and rushed. "It's what I would've done. You did tip him off to the poetic justice of it all."
Jonathan just looks tired. "You think I don't already know that?"
"I think you should get the fuck out." Just the facts; anger still eludes him. Or maybe it's so much a part of him now that there's no way to tell when it's the only thing moving him.
"No." Resignation dawns on Jonathan's face and he shakes his head in a delayed reaction to the word. "He needs me here. He needs both of us, Warren."
"Like a hole in the gut," Warren mutters before turning around and walking out the door himself. He made a funny joke, but he doesn't laugh this time.
There isn't enough air in the hospital room for all three of them. Jonathan keeps drawing in breath and choking as it catches in his throat. Keeps trying to say something other than "oh god" over and over, one hand drifting up unconsciously to grip Warren's sleeve. His fingers twist until he feels tears sting his eyes, and Jonathan doesn't cry in front of Warren. Ever. Unless he's getting the crap beaten out of him — or unless Andrew is stretched out under the scratchy white hospital sheets in front of them, not moving. He's not moving.
Don't think of kaddish. Don't think of kaddish. Jonathan trips over himself to get closer to Andrew, close enough to see that he's still breathing. At least there's that. He chokes again and drops down, reaches for his friend's hand and recoils almost immediately. "Oh god." Don't think of death beds, don't think of mortal wounds, don't think of divine retribution, don't think of kaddish.
Warren is laughing, Warren is talking, none of it is sinking in until he brings up the poetic justice of it all. Jonathan closes his eyes and feels a fresh wave of tears. He knows this. He hasn't actually stopped thinking about it all day and all night. It's all your fault it's all your fault if he dies it's all your fault and you gave the mafia psychopath ammo and you were waiting for something bad to happen and you got it tenfold and it's all. your. fault. Jonathan just looks up at Warren and clenches his jaw. He's not going anywhere. Andrew took care of him when he was hurt, and now he's returning the favor.
And then, Warren is gone.
Jonathan has learned, over years of therapy and friendship and hatred and supervillainy, to not assume things about Warren. If he keeps his expectations low, he won't be disappointed. But this is a whole new low, and Jonathan can't even say anything as the door opens and closes again. Just stares at Andrew for a long while and prays in his head. Don't think of kaddish. He tries to come up with any healing prayers, but kaddish is the only thing that comes to mind, and he just keeps crying and shaking his head and trying to force himself to not assume the worst.
"I'm sorry," he says suddenly, though it feels weird to break the silence. He knows Andrew can't hear him and hesitates a little before touching his hair. "I'm really— If you hate me forever, I get it." Jonathan remembers how much he hated being touched when he was hurt, how he was so afraid of sudden movements, and withdraws his hand. "You're going to be okay," he lies quietly.
"I'll stay, okay? Warren will come back, and we'll both stay here." More lies. Warren isn't coming back. But Jonathan won't let Andrew wake up alone. He just lays his head next to Andrew's hand and closes his eyes, waits this out.