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Snippet #2817472

located in Widow's Peak, a part of Evermore, one of the many universes on RPG.

Widow's Peak

A town linked with tragedy and the supernatural.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Atlas Blake Character Portrait: Cassidy Aisling
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"If I know only one thing,
it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable
often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy
and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues,
why should I wait for anyone else?"


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Cassidy was always good at telling when something was wrong. When he was a kid and his parents had kept medical information secret, he’d always been able to tell that they were carrying something extra heavy that day. Maybe it was because he’d learned to read doctors postures when they brought in bad news, read the reactions of his parents before he knew how to speak ‘medical’, read his friends at the hospital when they were having bad days, but Cass always had a sense of how others were feeling.

Atlas was an anomaly for him, had been from the very beginning. Other than his perfect face, it was what had drawn Cassidy to him initially. This stoic, clean and kept, nearly robotic doctor, with his perfectly pressed shirts and hidden gauged ears was something he’d immediately needed to understand.

So Cass could tell Atlas was off and not in his normal ‘I’m coldhearted leave me alone” sort of way. He was thinking too much, his eyes deep-set and equally relieved and worried at the same time. When he snorted and rolled his eyes at him, Cass was relieved to see some other emotion leak out.

Cassidy fell in step next to the taller man, keeping his eyes forward to avoid watching Atlas’s stress. Is that what you want? Just friends, was a fair question that he really didn’t have a safe answer to. They’d always tip-toed around the subject, leaving their relationship stuck somewhere between doctor-patient and something more. But now… with how he felt now, why couldn’t they be something more?

Cass glanced sideways at Atlas, aware of the awkward silence they’d fallen into but also aware of the other Very Important topic his brain had been skirting around.

He wasn’t sick anymore. As amazing and miracle-like as that was, why wasn’t he sick anymore was a better question. Cass knew something had happened at the hospital. He’d been sick, so sick he’d been ready to die… and now he was here. That train of thought made his stomach feel nauseous and his brain ache with anxiety, so much so that he stuck his hands in his pockets to hide their tremors. Whatever it was, he preferred the awkward tension of Atlas’s presence next to him then the turmoil of why echoing through his head.

Suddenly the street was filled with the sounds of sirens, the town's small squad of ambulances, police cars, and firetrucks speeding past them in the direction of the main part of town. Cass watched them go with wide eyes, that anxious apprehension redirecting itself.

“That can’t be good…”, He mumbled and glanced over at Atlas, “We should probably steer clear right? I don’t want to get in their way if someone is hurt”

Cass was avoiding the question, and Atlas understood why. Like everything else in Cass’ life, their relationship had been left in limbo - something more that couldn’t be. But now? In whatever world his broken mind had transported him to? Why not.

The other boy stuck his hands in his pockets, a wave of anxiety accompanying him, and Atlas wondered momentarily if his own realization that this couldn’t be real made his hallucination jittery. If Atlas thought about it too much, would Cass disappear? Was Cass aware that he would disappear? He was really becoming one for the mental health textbooks.

The sirens nearly scared Atlas out of his own damn skin, he’d been so lost in his thoughts that he felt his heart jackhammer against his chest. He’d been good at trauma, once upon a time, and some part of him ached to run to the scene. His instincts reminded him of flying around corners, hands on a gurney, arguing with other interns about which case was his. High on adrenaline and perhaps a bit of a god complex.

He hesitated, his body saying ’go’, but his mind saying no. He wasn’t a doctor anymore. His credentials had been left behind, all his plans evaporating to the sound of Cassidy’s heart monitor stopping.

“Right,” he said, and his voice sounded dry. “What do you want to do, then? Anything you can think of.” He didn’t know how long Cass would last. If he only had a day to give him the world, then he’d make it enough.

“Tea?”, Cassidy’s voice was a bit of a squeak, the single word bursting out of him like he’d been barely restraining it. Really there weren’t many things Cass held dear as much as a warm cup of leaf juice. In the hospital, it had felt like one of the few completely normal things he could do- sit by a large window holding a cup of shitty cafeteria green tea while the world continued on beyond the glass. Atlas had joined him a few times on lunch breaks- it was a routine he could hold on to, something they could continue from before.

“Not really sure where we are”, Cassidy glanced around, his mind skirting around how he’d even gotten to this part of town in the first place, “Maybe you know a place?”

Tea. Of course. Give the boy the ability to drink alcohol or go skydiving and it's tea he asks for. Atlas thinks about the half-full mugs skittered around his living room floor and it's almost funny. Almost.

If Atlas was feeling like himself he would have dissected Cass’ words. Asked questions, prodded for information, figured out how. But maybe he didn't want to know. Maybe he didn't want to prod so much that it would cause Cass to disappear just as suddenly as he'd appeared.

“Yeah,” Atlas replied, and turned his back on the mess of sirens and drama headed into town. “This way. There's a little bistro a couple of blocks over.”

____________________________


It hadn’t been too cold, but the welcome warmth of the small restaurant loosened the tense uncomfortable muscles along Cass’s spine. He hadn’t realized he’d felt rigid and sore till he sunk into the comfortable booth next to the window, his herbal tea order still brewing behind the counter. Atlas had opted for black, of course, his tea order just as stoic as his uncomfortable posture across the table.

Cassidy fiddled with his sweater sleeves, pulled over his thumbs out of nervous habit and glanced between the sidewalk outside and Atlas’s pinched face, “Soooo…. you’re- uhm- taking the day off? It’s your weekend or something? I always thought you just kinda lived at the hospital”.

Atlas stopped breathing. He wasn't sure he had been breathing right since they'd first entered, because the barista had looked right at Cass’ bright ass smile and asked him very directly what she could get for him. A stranger. Someone who had no reason to share Atlas’ mental breakdown. Mass hallucinations didn't work that way. Which meant ...

What?

He had seen Cass die. He'd been there. Pumping his chest and trying with everything in him to start his chest again. He'd felt the lifelessness of his body. Heard the long scream of a machine warning them they'd lost him. Seen the looks in his colleagues eyes. Heard Cass’ mothers cries follow him out the building.

And yet ... “Cassidy!” A voice called, and Atlas pushed himself away from the table to fetch Cass’ tea from the counter. What was he supposed to say? How was he supposed to answer. The mug was a typical one, but the little pumpkin sticker on it spelled Cass’ name out plain as day. Real.

The barista put another drink on the counter but hesitated before she called out the name. He wanted to ask her if she really saw him. Just to make sure he hadn't somehow split his mind and created a multiple personality issue - taken Cass’ identity on as his own, and she was just humoring his crazy ass. She seemed to take his mental breakdown as nervousness though, because her eyes flickered over his shoulder and she said tenderly, “He seems very sweet.”

“Fuck,” Atlas muttered, and left her with no explanation as he went back to the table and sat Cass’ mug in front of him. “I quit,” he said, a little too harshly, a little too I'm-losing-my-mind. “You aren't there anymore.”

Cass stared at the tea, then at Atlas again while he tried to sort out what he’d meant. He quit? Are doctors even allowed to quit? Atlas hadn’t finished med school entirely, so he guessed it was possible to choose a different path….but Atlas quit because Cass wasn’t there anymore?

“That….uhm...I’m not really following you”, Cass picked at his cup, ripping at the sticker while he continued to stare with wide eyes at the clearly unraveled man across the table, “I don’t understand what’s going on. I’m not at the hospital cause….”, He frowned, snakelike pain coiling around his forehead, telling him that train of thought was only going to bring on more discomfort, “Cause I’m better?” He tried, his voice hitting a note that clearly conveyed his complete confusion.

Atlas didn't want to do this. Like a child who threw a tantrum rather than leave the park because they were having too much fun. He wanted to go back, to enjoy whatever time with Cass he had, to not shatter it with the truth. He wanted to turn back the clock to a world where Cass wasn't dead. Whatever was going on though, whatever this was, it was fucking with Cass too.

“Because you're dead, Cass.”