DeClan Asher Quinn

Fucking Out of Here.....

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January 27, 2019 - 8pm

A day after the Emergency Quarantine events at the hospital

 

 

Fucking psych leave!

 

Glass smashed into the fireplace with a violence that was completely out of character for the public face of the good doctor. Remnants of vodka caused the fire to spark and flare as the glass shattered into jeweled fragments in the orange light.

 

He saves the hospital….hell, the damn city…. and the board used it as an excuse to take him out of the line up for fucking three weeks! He had never considered they would yank his authority at a time that the head of the ER was probably most needed; people coming in with more and more violent injuries in the last few days. Chest heaved as he leaned on the back of the leather couch, alcohol sweat seeping from his pores from the bender he had been on for over twenty four hours now.

 

He needed his work….. he needed to be kept busy…. it kept him sane.

 

Pained frown furled his brow as fingers wrapped tight around the double rings hanging from the chain around his neck. Her memory was too close. Maree had tapped into his past. He knew it was not on purpose but it had old wounds seeping thick and vivid.

 

Growling he smacked the pillow off the edge of the couch, overstuffed square tumbling to the floor before bare feet pivoted on the cool wood floor.

 

He couldn’t stay here. He would go crazy if he stayed here.

 

Sweatpants were falling to the floor as he made the bathroom, shower snapped on as he climbed into the cold streams to help slough off the alcohol contamination and cool the heat in his chest. Hand slapped the solid marble wall several times as cold water pounded down the back of his shoulders, other hand still gripping the rings. He couldn’t stay.

 

By the time he got out of the cold shower his skin was flaming red, a faintly compulsive need to scrub was borderline medical. But at least his breathing was no longer threatening to pass him out. Doctor moved to the large closet and began to strip clothes from their hangers to stuff in a large blue duffle, jeans, khakis, turtle necks and sweaters were all stuffed in along with a few hoodies and sweats while naked flesh drip dried over the closet carpet.

 

He would take the boat out. Sail down the coast for warmer weather. Southern Florida was mid seventies this time of year. It would take about eight days to get down there if he stopped twice, barely seven if he only stopped once. Stay in the heated tides for a week before setting back up to New York.

 

They wanted him gone for three weeks… he would be GONE for three weeks.

 

His rain slicker was crammed into the bag along with several unopened bottles of liquor. He paused before zipping it up, frowning he moved to the pantry and took a few days of canned goods as well. His boat was partially stocked with food, fully stocked with liquor. He could easily make Georgia before he needed to port.

 

Full duffle was dropped at the front door as bare feet padded back to his closet. Jeans were yanked over now dry thighs, their looser cut ideal for sailing as he buttoned up the fly. Arms snaked into a light gray turtle neck before a blue cardigan sweater was layered over the top. Hands scratched wildly into the peppered locks to fling water droplets wildly in the air. Winter jacket was snatched off the chair near his bed as were the keys to his boathouse and apartment. Jacket yanked on he hoisted the duffle over his shoulder before snatching the front door of his apartment and flinging it open with enough violence that it hit the inside wall.

 

He was out of here.

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She stared at herself in the mirror, fingers gently wringing at the towel.  It was strange.  She’d never cared about her appearance, never cared for make-up or fancy haircuts.  Every once in a great while she would dance the dance, but never for any length of time.  She simply just never thought about it. She was thinking about it now.  Bo safely back on the plane to L.A., incredibly bitchy… something was off.  The man was off.  Angry.  Bo was always a little more high strung than she was, but something was definitely bothering him.  After dropping the duffel of notes off with Eris for safekeeping, he was on a plane almost immediately.  They had agreed that right now they were two of the same poles, they had to push away from each other simply to keep each other safe.  They would meet again soon to sort it all out… and it would be soon. 

 

After this, a meeting of the minds would have to inevitably happen.

 

In the meantime, she would have to go.  Eris had offered, she’d politely refused.  Under the radar, plans were to her cabin.  She’d heard rumors that Asher was out for three weeks, just whispers from the nurses that had come in to lookie-loo and help clean up the aftermath.  She’d been put out on her ass too.  Bruises weren’t exactly something she could hide when she lied that she was fine.  Medical leave.

 

Gretchen.

 

Sigh.

 

Head cocked slightly.  The brown was, not her favorite, but it suited the light eyes.  Of course, she would have just been as content not to.  Too dangerous to not have done it.  Hell, it was too dangerous for her to even be in her place at the moment.  Backpack was already packed; she was a minimalist.  Toss in a sketch pad and pencils and she was done.  Sink rinsed, the diffused blow dryer made it a bit lighter, but the chestnut brown was there to stay until it started to wash out.  Henna.  Not typically what she used it for, but she’d had it in her supplies.  It would start to spiral up as soon as it cooled.  She really never blow dried it ever either, took too damn long. 

 

Everything put away, lights off.  Building locked, the zip up hoodie was pulled on, hand gathering her hair into a bun at the back of her head and pulling the hood up and down over her forehead.  Jeans, stuffed messenger bag, she stepped out the small door, leaving the over door light on and locked that up too.  Truck was bypassed, affectionate pat on the hood before she took off between the buildings on foot. Too dangerous to be seen in anything that was her normal.

 

First though, her trek took her across the city, subway, on foot.  A bus.  Could have called, but never knew who was listening.  She wanted to stay closed off to the world for now, it hurt too much to allow herself anything at the moment.  Nerves were still frayed raw.  Hands in her hoodie pockets, messenger bag bouncing off the back of her thigh in stride, head down as she walked through the hallway, features in shadow.  Tell him about her skipping town and not to worry.  Tell him that the notes were safe.

 

It had been too much of a flurry of activity to talk about the more delicate things. 

 

Stopping..  reaching to knock on a door, the force at which it opened pulled a gasp from her lips, step back snapping hands from her pockets to defend herself.  Thoughts flung wide, went immediately to the worst case scenario.  The light in her palms calmed almost immediately when she realized there was no danger, stuffing them back into her pockets with a quick glance left and right.  Was he leaving too?

 

Fingers came out quick to push her hood back.

 

[maree]Can we talk for a sec?[/maree] lips were pressed tight, voice quiet, glancing around her again to make sure nobody had heard the smack of the door.  [maree]Not in the hall?[/maree]

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He nearly stepped right into her as he moved to aggressively depart his abode. As surprised as she was, he was the same, stumbling backward as she almost powered up. Wide silver orbs blinked, recognition not immediate, another's name almost on his lips as the bloodshot gaze drifted to where peach curls were supposed to be.

 

Blink was pronounced, a faint befuddlement in the expression before the brows knitted downward finally registering her words. Slight lean forward came as he glanced over her shoulder left and then right before the brow quirked at her.

 

[declan]….only one living on this floor.[/declan]

 

Came the soft reply as he shifted his weight to turn sideways and let her in, his words making more sense as the vastness of his space was made available to her. He had bought all the apartments on the floor and combined them into a single loft, the doors along the corridor were all dummy doors, steel and concrete now blocking behind them. He hadn't done it because he wanted all the space, but because he didn’t want any chance for neighbors. It didn’t hurt that taking over all the apartments had let him open up and put in massive windows to give him spectacular views of the harbor. (loft)

 

He shrugged the heavy duffle onto the floor as he closed the door behind her once she entered. The sparse décor couldn’t hide he was making a hasty exit as the fire still crackled rather than being snuffed out and shards of glass were catching light all along the front of the hearth, two empty liquor bottles on their side on the coffee table.

 

Words were quiet… still thrown off by the dye job as the gaze trailed to it more than once.

 

[declan]….wasn't expecting you.[/declan]

 

He didn’t add her name, not trusting yet that another's wouldn’t come from his lips. Maree had ended up on the long "don’t think about it right now" list he had made as rage festered and the need for escape had consumed him.

 

They were both a bit worse for wear. None had escaped completely unscathed from their ER adventure. Now out of the danger of imminent death, several of his overtures during the chaos left his throat dry and thick lashes downcast. Feel of her fingers under his own still scarred his memories. He had not been forward like that since…………..

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She flinched slightly as his brows knit at her and he leaned out to check the hallway.  Okay.  Yah, the hair.  It was awful, but…  it was necessary.

"….only one living on this floor."

Didn’t mean she couldn’t have been followed. People had killed those she’d come across before.

 

[maree]Doesn’t matter,[/maree] she said equally as soft, very cryptic, a bit lower lip not really wanting to explain, relieved when he moved to let her in.  Her artistic eye was caught a moment by the view, flicker of a smile on her lips for a second until reality pulled her back in.  She smelled booze. He reeked of it, even though it seemed he’d just taken a shower.

 

..bag.  He also had a bag, glancing at it as it hit the floor and he closed the door.  Broken glass that was warmed by fire, lighting up the room with the smell of alcohol. Empty bottles. It wasn’t difficult to put two and two together.  He’d been on a bender.

"….wasn't expecting you."

[maree]You’re leaving.  Why are you leaving?[/maree]

 

It didn’t come out as a question that needed an answer, more of an observation, a disbelief that someone that cared so much for what he did would leave.  What if they called him back early and he was nowhere to be found?  It brought the question forward, was he leaving for good??  Was he not expecting her so he could make a clean getaway?  To where? For what?

 

Sigh was terse, she could feel the lingering sting of rage in the room.  Frustration, anger, it tangled in the air as she brushed it off.  She had to stop that shit.  It was almost as if her brain was starting to do it for her.

 

[maree]I came to tell you I was leaving… just… in case you wanted to see how my hands were doing and I wasn’t there…[/maree]  fingers tensed slightly on the strap of her messenger bag.  [maree]Since you’d come to check on them before…[/maree]  She realized it kinda sounded a bit, presumptuous.  [maree]I didn’t want you to think I’d taken off or something had happened.[/maree]

 

She was quiet a long moment, eyes on the fire, not really wanting to explain.

 

[maree]I took the job at the hospital because it was low key.  Easy to get lost.  People don’t pay attention to janitors,[/maree]  eyes moved back to him.  [maree]…but I don’t know who those guys were in the hospital, or who they worked for.  I don’t know if my face was on the news or somebody saw me in the chaos, Bo went back to L.A. to stay away for a while.  We can’t be seen together.  It was a huge risk for him to come here.[/maree]

 

It was just flooding out.  She didn’t know why.  To apologize for her brother’s behavior toward the doctor?

 

[maree]We’re both in hiding.  Him, because of who he is. Me…[/maree]  she made a face, a scrunchy face as she tried to figure out how to say it.  [maree]I ran from the Order.[/maree]

 

That was a nice way to put it.

 

[maree]..and they weren’t happy.[/maree]

 

Understatement of the year.  Fingers rubbed again at the strap on her shoulder, the view incredibly interesting before moving back to him.

 

[maree]Your notes are in the safest place they can be.  Bo will come back, with reinforcements within the month.  You’ll get to meet some interesting people you can trust.[/maree]

 

Also understatement of the year.

 

[maree]I have to disappear for a while. I just didn’t want you to think I’d bailed.  It’s not safe for me here... and there's a million voices in my head that are scratching at my nerves.  I have to get out of the city.[/maree]

She paused, contemplating the entire predicament, looking over the empty bottles and shards of glass.  It didn’t make sense in someone so controlled.  Maybe that was where the rage came from. Compressed until it exploded.  Then again, she might have missed the mark and he may be a complete narcissist and was only pissed when his work was questioned.  Bo had a tendency to lean in that direction sometimes, except the narcissist part…   There was still the moment in the hospital, as he was dying. He WAS dying.  She volunteered at a hospice, she knew what people said when they were dying.  There was so much more to it.  He was a complicated animal, and a very unhappy one at that.

 

Eyes glanced again to his bag as she pulled her hood up.

 

[maree]You be safe.  Wherever you’re going.[/maree]

 

Fingers went to open the door, glancing back at the bottles on the table, then to the aloof silver.  It was brief before features were turned back to the door and disappeared behind the hoodie.

 

[maree]Don’t make me worry about you, okay?[/maree] knob was turned, door opened, hands stuffed in her pockets to make her great escape.

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He noted the flinch as her hair caught too much attention from him. He couldn’t explain she had awoken a ghost in him and her new color only tantalized that ghost further.

 

He didn’t miss the glance to his bag, faint huff escaping his nostrils as he half closed the door. That’s right, he was leaving, and she was not going to talk him out of it.

 

[maree]You're leaving… Why are you leaving?[/maree]

 

There it was. Trying to stop him. Huff came again as he moved to the open kitchen, glass of water poured from the tap before walking to the fire and tossing it on the log, causing it to sputter and smoke and begin to dwindle.

 

[declan]….why the hell would I stay? Three weeks psych leave and likely… they will extend it. Been looking for a damn excuse to yank me from the beginning. [/declan]

 

It was tempting to toss the glass into the dying fire but with her here he was held in check to his more public persona. Instead he walked it back to the kitchen and set it in the sink before opening the pantry once more to see what was left. Two bags of jerky were pulled out.

 

Walking them back to his duffle he snapped the zipper open and stuffed them inside the already bursting sack. It just needed to make it to the harbor and get tossed onto the boat anyway.

 

[declan]….bigotted no-altered sons of bitches likely be thrilled to deny half of New York care while I am out.[/declan]

 

Heated words were a drastic anomaly for the normally serene doctor and yet betrayed his passion. He was mad because he knew with him not there as a buffer, altered would be turned away from the ER. People would be left to die in the street by the "righteous". Zipper was yanked closed once more, missing her sigh which was likely a good thing as it would have been grossly misinterpreted.

 

[declan]…why are you here?[/declan]

 

A tightness in the sound that betrayed his attempt to be calm in front of her. God she brought the ghost to life.

 

[maree] I came to tell you I was leaving… just… in case you wanted to see how my hands were doing and I wasn’t there… Since you’d come to check on them before…I didn’t want you to think I’d taken off or something had happened.[/maree]

 

Lips parted only to shut again. Uncertain what to say. Did she want him to come check on her? He used to be a real Casanova, could read a woman like a book. Now…. he was lucky he noticed when they were fire spitting mad at him. The silence had him shifting his weight back and forth. Lost for what to say as the swallow came thick. When she finally spoke he was relieved, but it was short lived as she spoke of basically being on the run. Her brother as well. She was like him… trying to escape…. but while he was dodging a ghost, it sounded like she was evading an enemy.

 

[maree]I ran from the Order.[/maree]

 

Blink was sharp at her. They had not spent much time together and this was a lot to spill for a "second" one on one. She was trusting him. In his alcohol laced resentment, he recognized it and was sobering up quickly.

 

His notes….damn… he had nearly forgotten his damn notes! …people he could trust. Frown was instant… dipping over silver eyes to hood the expression. He didn’t trust.

 

After confessing she had to get out of town the room again fell silent. It hung like an oppressive fog over them as skilled fingers scratched the back of his neck, beads of moisture still dripping down the skin from his wet hair. Throat cleared softly as she turned to go, hoodie magically engulfing the dark locks to help put the ghost back to sleep.

 

[maree]Don’t make me worry about you, okay?[/maree]

 

Shrug was light as a foot pushed at the duffle, clearly off balance by the "attention" she seemed to be putting on his well being. It had been a very long time since anyone but Gretchen had cared about his well being.

 

[declan]…. heading to Florida…. call it R&R.......barring a hurricane or bad storm….. should be back in three weeks.[/declan]

 

It was said as though it was a perfectly logical statement and that everyone would understand he meant to sail there instead of drive.

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Again with the huffing.  She just wanted to scowl at the stuffy prat.  This situation was not something to be huffy at, and he needed to get off his pity party.  They were all screwed over here; one of the reasons was that they simply cared enough to make the world a better place.  The last line of defense from something that was obviously bigger than their own troubles.  Did he realize that?  Or was he too busy feeling sorry for himself?

 

She took a deep breath.

 

This was not her own agitation she was feeling.  Maybe a little, but the bulk was his.  It had been for days, along with other rolling emotions she was having a hard time untangling from everything else she was feeling.  She really didn’t know what was hers anymore, she couldn’t separate anything enough to figure it out.

 

"….why the hell would I stay? Three weeks psych leave and likely… they will extend it. Been looking for a damn excuse to yank me from the beginning. "

[maree]But they haven’t.[/maree]

 

It was an incredibly quiet response to what she was feeling from him.  Impulsive. Raw.

 

[maree]You will be back in that ER.  They need you and they know it.[/maree]

 

Swallow was light.

 

"….bigotted no-altered sons of bitches likely be thrilled to deny half of New York care while I am out."

She took a deep breath.  His anger was smothering.

 

"…why are you here?"

After the explanation that really wasn’t planned on- she shouldn’t have said that much, expression was sullen a moment.  Pale jade watched him as if he’d slapped her.

 

[maree]Because I care about what happens to you.[/maree]

 

Brows had come down to an almost irritated puppy-like purse, as if she couldn’t believe that he didn’t see that.

 

[maree]You just saved countless people, without a thought.  I came to make sure you were okay and ask you not to worry about me, if you even would have.[/maree]

 

She took a breath.  That was not her.

 

[maree]Please calm down.[/maree]

 

She added quietly, watching him scratch the back of his neck before disappearing under her hood.

 

[maree]It’s suffocating.[/maree]  She realized he probably had no idea what happened inside her head.  [maree]I’ve been trying to untangle myself from the hospital for days.  You’re always so calm, except now, this… it’s…  …I’m empathic.[/maree]

 

It was spilled before she could stop it.  Breath was a little fast, watching him poke at his duffel before confessing not to make her worry about him and making her great escape.  She had to get out before he head exploded.

"…. heading to Florida…. call it R&R.......barring a hurricane or bad storm….. should be back in three weeks."

It stopped her in her tracks, pulling her bag tighter as she turned in the hallway and stepped back in, closing the door behind her.

 

[maree]What?![/maree]  eyes were incredulous, hand reaching up to swipe the hood from her features.  [maree]Dr. Asher, tell me you’re not driving down there.  I’m going north.  I have a cabin on the coast.  Area’s been clear for a while now, come with me there.  It’s quiet, the place is big, you’d have half the place to yourself.  You try driving south on that bike you’re a fucking idiot.[/maree]

 

Hand slapped over her own lips even as she said it, hand sliding up over her eyes, fingers rubbing the bridge of her nose and then her forehead.  They found the back of her neck, kneading the red lines on her spine… eyes were on the floor.

 

[maree]I didn’t mean that.  Just…  sorry to bug you.[/maree]  Door was opened again, [maree]…offer still stands.  I’m a quiet roommate.  Take care of yourself okay?[/maree]

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[maree]But they haven't.[/maree]

 

[declan]…they have tried….[/declan]

 

The words were quiet. She didn’t understand the hidden politics that happened with the board of directors. Few did. He had clung onto his job more than once by the skin of his teeth. He had been lucky thus far that there was still a sympathetic member on the board. But Thomas would one day be off the board, on that day the elf suspected his job was lost.

 

[maree]Because I care about what happens to you.[/maree]

 

The blink was almost childlike as the gray looked at her as though she had just handed him a puppy that he had no idea to take care of. A faint "huh?" escaped his lips as he blinked again. Hardly the eloquent ladies man he had once been.

 

[maree]……. I came to make sure you were okay and ask you not to worry about me, if you even would have.[/maree]

 

Again the pronounced blink as he had all the appearance of a scolded puppy. He would have. Though not till he had calmed down. He needed to get out of here… on the water….in his safe place.

 

[maree]Please calm down.[/maree]

 

The furl of his brow continued to look at her with a puzzled and introverted expression as she explained she was empathic. He wasn’t always calm… he was calm when he worked. It dawned on him that working was the only time she had really ever been with him.

 

She seemed ready to go as he mentioned Florida casually. The effect was unexpected as she came back into his loft and shut the door behind her.

 

[maree]What?! Dr. Asher, tell me you’re not driving down there. I’m going north. I have a cabin on the coast.[/maree]

 

[declan]…huh… what?.. north?? Why the hell you heading where its colder?..[/declan]

 

They were rattling off over top of eachother.

 

[maree] It’s quiet, the place is big, you’d have half the place to yourself. You try driving south on that bike you’re a fucking idiot.[/maree]

 

[declan]… what kind of idiot wants to go north in the dead of winter? Bike? No…am sailing down to Florida.[/declan]

 

They both finished their tirade at the same moment, punctuated by her hand over her mouth and his brows shooting up to blink wide eyed at her. He hadn't had a verbal vomit like that in a while.

 

As she apologized so did he, again over top eachother as they both read the discomfort in the room.

 

[maree]…offer still stands..[/maree][declan]…should come with me south….[/declan]

 

And there they were again, blinking at eachother in his doorway.

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"…they have tried…."

Growl was inward.  She was so, frustrated.  It was incredibly disorienting.  Normally gracious, kind, perhaps a little aloof and soft spoken, she was ready to light him up one side and down the other.  She knew they'd been trying to get rid of him, the new brunette had been everywhere in the building, it was amazing what conversations took place when you were invisible.  Janitors weren’t intelligent, couldn’t hold real jobs, didn’t get educated or understand the ways of the world… the stereotype was why she chose the position.  She.  Was. Invisible.

 

It was then the wash of air changed, after her more than unusually aggressive punctuations to his complaints. The longer she spoke, the more his expression puzzled her, until she returned for one last lick and the aggression toward each other’s actions ended with a rather poignant pause.

 

..then blink.

 

Again the overlapped conversation.

 

Well then.

 

The prospect, was an interesting one.  She hadn’t been sailing, since… gosh…  Brazil? Bo had done a secretive short tour on the Yucatan, and she’d slipped off with someone as equally secretive.  God he’d been pissed.  Question was did she want warmth more than her cabin?  It was quiet, comfortable, artistic, warm even though the weather wasn’t. This had the prospect of being uncomfortable if the bleeding anger didn’t stop it’s wicking over her skin.  Plus… hm.

 

It was her turn to rub the back of her neck, taking a long breath and letting it out, pale jade peering up at him, brows knitted in thought before finding everywhere else to look as she contemplated.  The choice was obvious.  At her cabin, there WERE people on the lake.  Small little town, though isolated and quiet, it was still populated; a tiny store that she bought her supplies, passing “hunters” and the like every so often.  There was still a danger.  Bo was pissed she’d dismissed Eris’ protection.  They’d left late last night back for LA, she couldn’t do anything about it until she got back.

 

But.

 

Brow cocked slightly, then fell as she chewed on her lip.  Hood went up again, pause long.  She barely knew this guy, it had her turning in the doorway, gripping the strap of her bag tightly and starting to leave.

 

[maree]Let me know if you change your mind and want to come up.[/maree]

 

Voice was so quiet, more than it had ever been.  Doubt, it was obvious.  Her cabin wasn’t as safe as his boat would be, hands down. Though she knew the Order could scry until their hearts’ content and she was never really safe, the safer of the two places was on the water.  Lip was chewed again, turning to look up at him through the rim of her hood.  She was compact.  He was tall.  She'd stopped her exit.

 

[maree]I can swim like a fish, but I don’t know how to sail.[/maree]

 

Lip ticked up slightly, she wasn’t really sure if he’d been serious, the longer she stood there and doubted- the more exciting the prospect became.  In all her travels, she’d never been to Florida, or the Caribbean.

 

[maree]I'm quiet and don't eat much though.  Will never know I'm there.  Never been to Florida… been everywhere else, but never there.[/maree]

 

A deep breath was pulled in.

 

[maree]Are you leaving now?  I was leaving now.  I have to make a stop first though, let my brother’s… associates know I was leaving and when I would be returning.[/maree]  Hand went back to rubbing the back of her neck.  [maree]That’s if.. if the offer still stands?[/maree]

 

She didn’t know why her chest was skittering.  Anger, to frustration, to calm, then a heart pounding in her ears in less than five minutes… This was such a dumb idea, but so was shrugging off Eris' offer. They would probably get lost or end up in a storm, and strangely... that seemed exciting to the invisible janitor that had once been a carefree world traveler.  So much for peace and quiet. 

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Well this was awkward.

 

He didn’t want anyone with him when he sailed. Did he?

 

He hadn't had a sailing companion since……..

 

Puzzled frown and blink seemed to mirror her own. Both baffled that they had just invited a near stranger along on their sanctuary seeking excursions. As quickly as the jade did, silver sought other places to find interest.

 

Looked like she was going north as she turned and pulled her bag closer to her.

 

[maree]Let me know if you change your mind and want to come up.[/maree]

 

[declan]No.[/declan]

 

It was a very simple refusal as he picked up his duffle from the ground and swiped keys off the entry table. He needed to get on open waters before he self destructed.

 

[declan]…. I don’t do cold.[/declan]

 

As he moved to follow her out the door he nearly ran into her as she stopped and turned. Coming up short to blink down at her just inches away. She was small. It was an odd thought but as his frame stood this close he was suddenly aware that while her presence had seemed big to him, she was in truth… petite to his six foot plus frame.

 

[maree]I can swim like a fish, but I don’t know how to sail.[/maree]

 

Blink down at her was pronounced, trying to figure out what had just happened in the about turn.

 

[maree] I'm quiet and don't eat much though. Will never know I'm there. Never been to Florida… been everywhere else, but never there. Are you leaving now? I was leaving now. I have to make a stop first though, let my brother’s… associates know I was leaving and when I would be returning. That’s if.. if the offer still stands?[/maree]

 

He was just standing there… blinking down at her like she had been speaking a foreign language. Hand moved to rub the back of his neck, massaging a moment the bruises still blossoming there. Throat cleared softly as the hand fell away again.

 

[declan]….dont need anyone knowing how to sail…. I sail…[/declan]

 

He could teach her. But somehow his words didn’t come out that way. Strap of his heavy duffle was adjusted on his shoulder as the swallow hung thick in his throat. Stepping away would be more comfortable but for some reason he didn’t think to do that.

 

[declan]…leaving now.[/declan]

 

As if to make the point the keys jangled softly in his hand. Lips pursed softly before adding.

 

[declan]….wouldn't have offered if it wouldn’t stand. [/declan]

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"No."

Well that was pretty definitive.  It fueled the heavy thought that this was just a pity invitation.  Did she really look that pathetic?  She didn’t think so.   Never had.  Always fancied herself as a bit of a daredevil actually.  How else did an artist get the shot, or see things that the world couldn’t in order to interpret it in her vision?  They had to go places where others were afraid to, or never thought of to go.

 

Toe was unconsciously making a circle on the floor as she watched it.  She was bummed. Truly.

"…. I don’t do cold."

[maree]Oh.[/maree]

 

That was simple enough, dashing the “pity invitation” idea only just a little to make way for the spark of venture.  The world facing ruin and the small grain of adventure was still itchy in her thoughts.  Twins were the same, and they could be so incredibly different at the same time.  Bo was a homebody, the more stable of the two at one point in time.  Things seemed different now. She was the adventurer.  Things were also different for her now.  The ache to get back to what she truly was burned at her.  This was a chance, with someone she did actually know quite well in a work sense.  What they’d just gone through was not quite that, and it gave them some sort of middle ground to stand on so they weren’t complete strangers.

 

As the thoughts rolled through an indecisive bite of her lower lip, she realized he was just standing there after closing the door.  The hand was rubbing at the back of his neck again.  He was, unsettled, she could feel it.  He needed to leave, she understood that intimately.

"….dont need anyone knowing how to sail…. I sail…"

Well… she assumed that but wanted to be forthcoming that she would be pretty useless if he needed help.

…leaving now."

That would present a bigger problem.  Thumb was already rubbing over the small burner phone in her hoodie pocket.  If she disappeared again Bo would be scouring the earth, her ears already boxed for trying to call him in L.A. over the whole ordeal.  She had to go through Eris.  Eris was immediate assistance, and she was also able to “message” launder between both of them.

"….wouldn't have offered if it wouldn’t stand. "

 

Eye flicked to the keys that jingled in his hands, pulling the phone out of her pocket. One call that was too long and it was done.  The she would have to toss it.  They would all be pissed.

 

[maree]Good, then it’s settled.[/maree]

 

There it was, there was the Maree that couldn’t be daunted by any closed door.  The world was hers to look at through the lenses of an artisan.  Adventure.    Everything.  Of course she was potentially also being followed in order to unleash most uncertain doom upon her head, but when had that ever been any different?  Doom though, was another word for a tangle of things she couldn’t seem to separate yet. The man was complex, and there were things that she couldn’t read.  It was like trying to figure out what hand you were looking at in a room full of mirrors. She just had too much still in her head from the days before.

 

[maree]Lead the way captain.[/maree]

 

She stepped sideways from his path.  This was a horrible idea. Pissed. All of them.  She wouldn’t have it any other way.  Phone was placed to her ear as her shorter legs had no problem keeping up.  Phone ringing once before the familiar voice on the other line was a simple greeting waiting for the simple message in return.

 

[maree]Safe.  Change of plans. Sailing south along the coast with safe company, two weeks.[/maree]

 

With that, the call ended and she began pulling it apart to pop out the battery and other removable components. It wouldn’t deter the Order if they really wanted to get their hands on her, but it would keep the general goons from zeroing in on her GPS.  Though, the further they got from New York the less that would probably be an issue.  Pieces were stuffed in a pocket in her bag. Hood securely in place, hands in her pockets.  She looked like a college kid late for class.  An incredibly dangerous to be around, powder keg of power, ready for quiet adventure college kid… but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

She had her sketch pads, food and a place to find inspiration.

 

What else did she need?

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[maree]Good then it's settled.[/maree]

 

She was coming.

 

……..SHE WAS COMING?!?

 

Blink down at her was a bit wide eyed and pronounced. He had meant the offer. He just…. hadn't expected her to accept it.

 

[maree]Lead the way captain.[/maree][declan]..uh…. ya…. Ok.[/declan]

 

Blinking several times he finally moved, sliding open the hall closet to pull out his leather trench coat. As he moved to exit the loft, the coat was dropped on her shoulders while he turned to lock up his place. He half listened as she called someone, silver eyes glancing to her hands as she started dismantling the phone.

 

He didn’t make any small talk as he adjusted the heavy duffle on his shoulder and began trotting down the six flights of stairs to the underground garage.

 

She was coming with him.

 

It was still sinking in as he pushed open the big metal door and headed to his private space. The '42 restored Harley was under its drop cloth, the heavy fabric yanked off and rolled up to push into the bag hanging on the wall before he started mounting the duffle on the back. Turning he looked her over a minute. Lips parted before closing again, gently taking her bag and mounting it with his.

 

….she WAS coming with him. It was an odd thought. No one had been aboard Samantha since……

 

Throat cleared as he tugged his leather coat around her a bit more before zipping his own winter coat up tight. Picking up the Hanmi leather half helmet from his seat, he dropped it on her head with a half grin.

 

[declan]…sorry… don’t have a jump seat so you will have to sit on my duffle.[/declan]

 

Shrug was apologetic as he straddled the old Harley, igniting the engine to roaring volume, waiting for her to climb on, a small lump at the back of his throat realizing she was going to have to hang onto him to stay on the bike.

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He seemed… confused.

 

Was she not supposed to say yes?

 

He was having second thoughts… or he was just, truly an introvert.  She knew introverts, the blink back at him as he seemed to soak in she’d actually accepted ended with a small smile on the left corner of her lips.  The leather trench was not expected, her turn to blink downward as he put it on her shoulders without a second thought.  As he faced away to lock the door, a crinkle ghosted over her brow. Not angry, just amused, the trench dusting the floor on her short frame as she slid off her cross-slung messenger bag and pulled her arms through it.  It was… comically big, reaching behind her to fish the hoodie’s hood from underneath it. She felt like a stuffed marshmallow.  This would not work.

 

Why had he?

 

That’s right, he didn’t have a car.  She’d never seen him drive one.

 

Pawing over herself with amusing grace, the hoodie was swept off, long sleeve threadbare Henley underneath.  Leather trench was pulled back on, chestnut mussed braid swishing over the shoulders, hoodie held between her knees as she snapped out the braid and pulled it tight to the back of her neck and wrapped the elastic around the bundle.

 

It felt, good… as odd that it would sound to anyone else; winging it, getting up and pursuing something on a whim.  She’d done it all her life since her parents had passed.  New York, as amazing as it was, had become a routine.  Nimble fingers folded and Army rolled her hoodie, pulling her bag back over her shoulder and pinching it in the strap.  She’d done this before.

 

Call made, phone secure, she followed just behind his step, losing some ground as he descended the stairs.  Every landing had her jumping down two stairs to keep up, already pulling her bag off her shoulder as he uncovered the bike.  His look was apprehensive.  Again.  Had the right answer really been no?  Too late, she was making him jump.  She relinquished her bag, watching him secure it.  Brow quirked slightly as he adjusted the leather trench around her like a concerned keeper, the helmet the icing on the cake. 

 

This was… almost comical, his lopsided grin sealing the deal.

"…sorry… don’t have a jump seat so you will have to sit on my duffle."

[maree]Relax doc, this is not my first rodeo,[/maree] words were quiet with an amused smirk, nimble fingers immediately moving under her ear to buckle the thing.  It was obvious she’d done this before, a lot, even from her short stature able to effortlessly get on the back of the bike.  Hands patted down the sides of his arms, then underneath on his waist, deciding where handholds would be most comfortable, no qualms about finding them and giving him a nod.

 

[maree]Went with Bo around the world.  He saved the planet, I was Indiana Jones with a paintbrush,[/maree] she said in his ear.  [maree]I brought my sketchpad at least.  Lead the way.[/maree]  

 

She missed it, wandering through marketplaces in nothing more than thin linen and flip flops, the languages, the art, the culture.  Maybe parts of the world were still like that.  Maybe.  This was one of the only ways she would be able to see… she wasn’t letting him back out now.

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He was faintly aware of the redress she had managed as they headed down to the garage. Working to get the trench on with a bit better fit. It wasn’t ideal, he knew that, but neither was her freezing to death on the ride to the harbor.

 

He was definitely out of his element. He had been so suave once. The man pausing as the dark hair caught his gaze and warmed a memory.

 

It wasn’t curly…. it had been straight….her laughter bubbling up on angel wings as he would glance up and wink at her, shirtless and covered in grease working on the bike. A taunt on her lips about never getting it to run….

 

[maree] Relax doc, this is not my first rodeo.[/maree]

 

He blinked at her, coming out of his lost memory. Her wink bringing another blink from him and a faint lopsided smile as she actually knew what to do with the old leather helmet. He didn’t come across many these days that did the motorcycle anymore. With the population decimated, people had taken to snatching up the "fancy" cars. It had never been his thing.

 

Slipping a leg over the old leather seat he had a faint flinch as her hands patted around for a hold. It had been forever since he had a second on the bike.

 

[maree] Went with Bo around the world. He saved the planet, I was Indiana Jones with a paintbrush. I brought my sketchpad at least. Lead the way. [/maree]

 

He wasn’t really sure what to make about being equated with her brother and he had only offered Florida…. not the world.

 

Engine revved before he turned the wheel to make an easy donut out of the space to head up the ramp and out into the blistering cold. The bike was a beast, not build for speed but for everything else. The military vehicle was made for all terrain, sand, dirt, rocks even through a fair bit of water. Once running, it was a beast that did not quit.

 

Wet hair flicked around his temples, the old helmet she was wearing was the only one he had. Streets were navigated with precision, the wiggle between cars and down alleys clearly etched in memory from repetition. It was a twenty five minute ride to the harbor but in the winter winds it felt significantly longer. By the time they were turning into the rickety docks he had almost forgotten she was back there, the grip on him barely felt against the cold winds.

 

Pulling into a hanger marked 235 he was quickly reminded of her as the shift in the bike as he pulled back on the break almost overbalanced. Foot planted to catch them as he glanced over his shoulder with an apologetic small turn of his lips. Swinging down the stand he climbed off in time for Hank to come around the corner shaking his head.

 

[npc]… you only person 'know would go out in dis shitty weather Asher.[/npc]

 

The scruffy old man shook his head more. The thick waft of cigar's coming off his heavily wrapped up form.

 

[npc]… you knows is dead o' winter right? And that girl's a sail craft?[/npc]

 

There was a soft warm chuckle that bubbled from the doctor's chest. A sound no one else ever got to hear anymore but the scruffy dock hand who he paid well to keep an extra eye on Samantha.

 

[declan]…I know Hank. Heading south for warmer weather… can't take this cold anymore.[/declan]

 

[npc]…be a witch's tit in hell to get her down through the gales though and….[/npc]

 

He pulled up short, old blue eyes blinking at the girl.

 

[npc]….geez… sorry maam… didn’t see ya there… dun mind me… old harpooner with no manners.[/npc]

 

His sheepish smile offered up a glimpse of a missing tooth and a few crooked ones. Throat cleared turning to the doc.

 

[npc]…anyway… she outta dry dock, dropped her in waiting like ya asked.[/npc]

 

The man had waited for her to get off the bike before unsecuring their gear, the heavy duffle hoisted onto the seat of the bike to open the side pocket, an envelope very thick with cash and a pair of new heavy winter gloves pulled out and handed to Hank.

 

[npc]… now you know ya don’t needs…[/npc]

 

Hand went up and stopped him.

 

[declan]… its yours… you always earn it. Now get out of the cold, I have it from here. Thanks Hank.[/declan]

 

There was a shy "maam" offered in departure before he nodded at the doc and headed back to the small shack that doubled as his office and home.

 

Hoisting the duffle over his shoulder he headed down to the end of the dock, carefully stepping around a few boards that looked of questionable strength. Bobbing lightly in the water was his glistening girl.

 

He paused before her swaying side, drinking her in before he finally stepped onto the sleek wood trimmed deck.

 

It had been too long.

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The flush was odd at her mention of gallivanting around the world with her brother.  Eerie almost. It made sense, somewhat, the same sensation in a haze of memory from the hospital when she was on overload.  It was the mention of her brother.  If people weren’t a  twin, they didn’t get it.  Saw it as weird.  The fact they often slept next to each other, falling asleep watching television or throwing popcorn at each other during movies.  Communicating in their own way.  Mistaken often for husband and wife.  It never bothered either of them. People who weren’t twins… just didn’t get it.

 

[maree]Bo was always working behind scan card doors and fingerprint locks.  Had to amuse myself with the locals somehow.  Besides, Bo is a bit of a dangerous sort on a bike.  Never rode with him anyway.[/maree]

 

She settled in before he turned on the bike.

 

[maree]We’re twins doc.[/maree]  she said quietly in his ear, seeming to answer the weirdness she could feel from him without his questions.  [maree]People always see more than what’s there because they don’t understand.[/maree]

 

Long sigh coursed through her chest, feeling slightly guilty she hadn’t been more straightforward with her brother.  She knew how it would end, the million questions, the spark of his guilt that he couldn’t help her.  Her own reliving of the horror as he realized what the Order had done to her.  He was already fighting the world, she didn’t want him to wage war on them too.

 

Then noise.  In the noise, there was an incredible silence, alone in her thoughts as they moved toward a point of no return.  There was no doubt in her mind that this was probably a bad idea, but so was every other romp around the world she’d ever been on.  The drug cartel in Central America, the pirates on the East Coast of Africa, the traffickers north of Australia.  She had lived in some of the most dangerous places in the world. She seemed to have a penchant for it.

She anticipated the stop, fingers pressing tightly, thighs slightly into his hips casting off the need for him to apologize.  Much rougher rides had been had.  She hopped off easily and started to retrieve her things.

•npc• "… you only person 'know would go out in dis shitty weather Asher… you knows is dead o' winter right? And that girl's a sail craft?"

Maybe not such a good idea?  She was silent, collecting her bag and thumbing it over her shoulder as the two bantered.  Skin shuddered a bit, it was definitely fucking colder by the water, pale grey drifting out over the harbor.

"…I know Hank. Heading south for warmer weather… can't take this cold anymore."

•npc• "…be a witch's tit in hell to get her down through the gales though and…."


Gales?  She blinked back at the man the same moment he blinked at her.

•npc• "….geez… sorry maam… didn’t see ya there… dun mind me… old harpooner with no manners."

Her laugh was easy, genuine, shaking her head and sliding her hands into the trench pockets.

 

[maree]No offense taken. [/maree]

 

Eyes went back over the water as they finished up their dealings, the pull almost hypnotic.  Around her, the world constantly thrummed, like a ringing in her ears she couldn’t get rid of.  Out there… was silent.  She almost missed the man’s departure, the quick smile shot back at him, her light weight barely making the boards of the dock moved as she followed the doc.

 

Again, the swell from him as he paused.  She didn’t miss it, and definitely didn’t miss the name of the boat.  Once out into the middle of nowhere, she would feel better, but he would feel stronger.  It was okay, one presence she could deal with in the quest to get herself grounded back to control.  Footsteps were soft onto the deck, a silent sigh escaping her lips as she severed ties with the ground that bound her.  The weight of the world seemed to drop into the depths of a never-ending dark ocean.

 

Eyes closed a moment, the feel of slipping into bed after a brutal day of work on one’s feet flushing through her.  The bustle of a crowd gone, and the silence of the light turning off.  This most definitely wasn’t a good idea.

 

If this was what the weeks were to come, she would never want to set foot on land again.

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[maree]We're twins doc. People always see more than what's there because they don’t understand.[/maree]

 

Head shook gently as the bike revved up.

 

[declan]…understand the twin thing. Don’t understand the…. coming with me thing….[/declan]

 

Words were almost too quiet over the engine before he pulled out and took them to the harbor. She didn’t know him…. had no reason to trust he wouldn’t slit her throat out at sea…. yet had not really hesitated in getting on his bike and grabbing him firm.

 

He trusted his patients… his hands… not people.

 

She was different a fact reinforced when her laughter broke through the cold bite of wind as Hank stammered an apology. The doc blinked at her. He had never heard her laugh like that… so easy.

 

But she was forgotten again as Hank pointed out Samantha was in the water. Heart rate picked up, it always did as feet made quick work of the distance. He couldn’t get her away from the world fast enough.

 

It was good Maree got on the deck quick on her own because the doc had already dumped the heavy duffle on the deck and was untying the moorings, ropes tossed onto the deck as feet that seemed to have lost two tons scampered over the deck to the back cabin. Keys were pulled from his pocket and the boat suddenly came to life. He had not wanted a motor on the sailer but Samantha had insisted she wasn’t paddling out of harbors anymore. These days he was glad he had it. It allowed him to put the world behind him far quicker, particularly when the winds were not favorable to sail out of the alcoves of civilization.

 

The deck heaved as he pushed the throttle forward and Samantha made her way out of the covered dock, wheel cranking to turn her almost too early. The doc was clearly anxious to put distance between himself and the world.

 

Motor hummed, the moment they cleared the docked boats on both sides he pushed the throttle further, almost immediately she started to chop up and down on the winter waters, biting wind pouring over his features to flush his cheeks crimson. He wouldn’t admit it, but this psych leave might have been the best thing to happen to him in a while. He hadn't had a chance to take her out for more than a day in over a year. To get a chance to stay off land for days on end… it was a blessing.

 

As New York's shore got further away, her nose lifted and dropped in larger more violent slaps. The deck never seemed to tip side to side, with a clearly expert hand he navigated the rough winter waves to hit them head on.

 

The wind was their only conversation for nearly forty minutes as he got the vessel headed out into open waters and pointed south. He finally cut the engine, eyes closing as he lifted his chin and seemed to breathe for the first time. After the lights of the city it was pitch out on the open waters, until eyes could adjust it seemed they were merely floating out in the abyss.

 

Stepping out of the driving cabin he moved to the deck and picked up his duffle, pausing to blink at her, almost having forgotten she was there, faint lopsided smile came to his lips before jutting a chin towards the steps going down into the lower cabin. He didn’t wait, lugging the duffle down into the depths of the now quiet sailboat. Fingers flipped a switch on the wall and lights flickered to life. Below deck it became apparent just how large the sailboat was. He hadn't wanted something this "fancy". He had wanted a raw sailboat, man against the sea. Sam had scoffed at him and dictated if they were travelling the world she wanted a few comforts. She also had always thought they would eventually have kids and need the extra room. It had never come to be.

 

Dropping the duffle in the middle of the kitchen he waited for her to come down. Chin jutted to the door on the left of the stairs just behind her as she reached the bottom.

 

[declan]…you can take the bedroom on the left. Has its own bathroom and a small closet.[/declan]

 

Words were quiet as he unzipped the duffle and began to unload the canned goods into the kitchen cabinets and small fridge. The liquor went into a bar that when the door was opened was clearly kept stocked even without his home additions.

 

[declan]I will be in the room on the right.[/declan]

 

Quiet words added.

 

[declan]If you aren't used to the choppy ride it’s a good idea to lay down first couple hours rather than fight through it. Get over any queasiness faster.[/declan]

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[declan]…understand the twin thing. Don’t understand the…. coming with me thing….[/declan]

 

[maree]…been in more dangerous situations, with more dangerous people if that’s what you’re inferring.  Besides, I might decide to relocate down there considering my luck as of late.[/maree]

 

Her words were just as quiet, losing any response to the sound of the engine and the whip of wind.  She was there, really, but thoughts began to wander as soon as she felt the emptiness of the ocean beyond the weather.  Feeling a little bit useless as the doc released them both from the chains of the real world, she found a spot on the bench opposite the wheel where he stood, tucked in a corner, pulling her bag to her chest.  She lurched slightly with the deck, forehead to her knees as the man put distance from the world. 

 

The hum of chaos, was lifting off her shoulders.

 

Weight off her chest.

 

It left a very, very empty feeling, and a very bright beacon from the steering wheel that began to twist in her gut.  Eyes peered only once from beneath the hood, forehead back to her knees as the waves chopped.  It was familiar, eerily familiar.  She’d sailed on almost every ocean on the planet, with some that knew what they were doing, with some that didn’t. It wasn’t the weather that was unsettling her, or even the man on a mission a few yards from her.  Memories, flooding in.  Days that she missed, the laid back extrovert having been forced into a compressed introvert for too many years… and then silence.  Darkness. Emptiness.

 

She wasn’t shivering from cold.

 

The entire world had been stripped away, light eyes unable to adjust right away to the nothingness as the motor went silent and the vessel stopped moving.  Waves echoed off the hull, the odd sound making the neck below her ears twitch slightly.  As he stepped out of the driving cabin, her attention snapped to him with a swift inhale.  Eyes, distant, frightened almost before moving back to the nothingness.  His aggression and agitation turned childlike glee had her slinking even more into the introverted expression.  It was unreadable, unfolding herself as she followed him down into the guts of the elegant beast, presence completely silent… ghostly.  Peach complexion had turned wind-whipped, explosions of faint peach freckles across the tops of her cheeks and across her nose.  Muscles in her neck flicked again as his duffle hit the floor.

[declan]…you can take the bedroom on the left. Has its own bathroom and a small closet.[/declan]

Lashes blinked quietly, hands tangled tight in the strap of her messenger bag dangling in front of her.

 

[declan]I will be in the room on the right.[/declan]

 

Finally a nod came.

 

[declan]If you aren't used to the choppy ride it’s a good idea to lay down first couple hours rather than fight through it. Get over any queasiness faster.[/declan]

 

Silence lingered moment.

 

[maree]...spent a summer on a small R/V off the shore of Mogadishu.  I’ll be okay….[/maree]

 

She managed a soft half smile before disappearing into her designated cabin, door closing softly behind.  Wind chapped hands untangled from the bag, setting it silently on the bed.  It wasn’t the pitch of the water, it was the overwhelming silence.  The unbelievable, frightening nothingness.

 

Sitting next to her bag for a moment, the shivering eventually subsided.  It was a mixture of cold, and decompression.  Taking armor off for the first time in almost a decade, not having a need to protect herself from anything.  Absolute sound depravation directly following a barrage of cacophonous nightmares.  It was time to get up and make peace with it.  Door opened just as quietly and she made her way back up to the deck, the slow pace around the edge of the vessel in the undulating waves almost surreal, finding herself on the bow.  Hood came down, tendrils of dark curls clinging to her face as the air moved across the water. Arms crossed and hugged themselves, the silent maidenhead watching the complete nothingness in ghostly silence.  She could see her breath slightly, the wisps twisting out and away from her.

 

She was either going to return with a renewed sense of self and strength, or she was going to go crazy… feeling the ocean’s very depths in a never-ending echo that stretched further than the universe felt to her.  Dark.  Empty.  One thing she knew, she was cold.  Really, really cold.

 

[maree]..so quiet..[/maree]  voice lost into the darkness, particularly to no one.

 

Sniffle soft, she took a long breath to make her way back beneath the deck.

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With every inch he put between them and New York, the shoulders lowered and relaxed. It was dangerously frigid, wind and water biting through coat and clothes but the doc didn’t seem to notice. He blinked at her when he turned off the engine, something in her gaze… fear? Was she second guessing her decision?

 

With the engine snuffed out he was content to empty his bag of goods into the kitchen, the duffle then tossed into the room on the right holding only his clothes at this point.

 

He took a minute to let her know where she could stay and to flip on the propane marine heater, pilot lit to start warming up the lower cabin.

 

[maree]… spent a summer on a small R/V off the shore of Mogadishu. I’ll be okay…. [/maree]

 

He nodded but looked somewhat skeptical. She looked a bit….ill… despite her half smile. As she vanished into her cabin he hopped the steps to the deck two at a time.

 

Rigging was quickly untied, sails hoisted. A normal person would keep using the motor, a normal person wouldn’t even be out in the winter gales…. he wasn’t normal… not when it came to this. Rope was wound around his forearm and pulled, pitching the boom in the other direction to catch the winds and get the bow pointed south. Eyes closed as he stood on the edge of the deck, body hanging off the edge as the grip on the rope kept him from falling over. Riding the rail when she emerged again on deck. He didn’t say anything, simply watched her walk the tipped deck.

 

[maree]….so quiet…[/maree]

 

Wind drew her words to him, head tilting as he watched her move to the steps once more. He thought to let her go down on her own but found his own words carrying over the wintery winds as the boat finally caught the gust just right and began to zip up and over the waves.

 

[declan]…. its not you know…. quiet…[/declan]

 

Quiet words came as his eyes remained fixed ahead, body leaning a bit harder off the deck to wrankle the sail into full bloom.

 

[declan]….with all the unnatural noise of the city it just seems that way…. but if you listen…. nature makes its presence known out here…[/declan]

 

As if to make his point, the crash of the bow down into the waters sloshed violently, throwing mist over the deck, punctuated at the same moment by a soft siren sound bubbling up from beneath the vessel. A whale call reverberating off the water's surface from not very far below.

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He didn’t look convinced she was okay. Hell, she wasn’t convinced. It was a much different experience when the entire world was numb to you. Now, it was empty, and it felt fathomless. Even in the wind, the angle of the deck, the world seemed quiet. Flickers of moisture on her cheeks from spray that didn’t quite know which way it wanted to go tickled…. the loud silence was like the gaping hole in her chest. Normally compressed, shielded from the world, the sensation was now never ending.

 

Agile balance kept her upright, eyes peering out at him from under her hood. Should she… do something? What he was doing didn’t look…. safe. Fingers tightened on the rail, very aware of where the booms were. She definitely wasn’t an idiot, and had seen more than one hot shot boyfriend try and be cool only to get knocked on his ass in the Yucatan.

 

"…. its not you know…. quiet…"

 

She watched him a moment, she’d meant to go below deck, hadn’t quite made it. Pale jade went to the sail fighting to open, holding her breath a bit as he leaned further. Was she supped to help? …… um… ok….right hand was pulled from her pocket, fingertips closing in succession as she gave it a little push. He didn’t need to know she could do that, lashes plinked with moisture looking up at the thing as it unfurled. If he went over the edge she was fucked. FUCKED.

 

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea?

 

He was always so quiet and reserved. This was not quiet and reserved, this was a death wish. He obviously had done this before. She had not.

 

"….with all the unnatural noise of the city it just seems that way…. but if you listen…. nature makes its presence known out here…"

 

Head cocked slightly, furled expression at him dashed as the slosh brought her hands back to the rail to keep her solid on the deck, the water plinking against her skin. Her internal burn would keep her warm for a while. It would wear her out eventually, but there was heat downstairs or so he said. Face scrunched, hand reaching up to wipe the spray from her now drenched face, curls pressed to her skin as she cleared them from her eyes. Breath wisped from her lips, swallow heavy. It brought a chill, not the water or the wind, but that sound. What the hell was that?

 

It was terrifying.

 

It shouldn’t have been terrifying… fascinating and relaxing perhaps? Mixed with the terse anger of the water, and the odd mood shift from the doc, it was twisting at her gut. Mass, in a sea so large she couldn’t seem to find a breath. She had to calm. Had to calm. The sudden lack of civilization had given her a false sense of mental safety. She took a slow breath, tried to make the vast nothing more manageable.

 

[maree]Never could pay attention to it before…[/maree] lips pursed, both hands on the railing as she peered over into the churning water. It was overwhelming… throb of the water itself with the movement of something beneath it, vibration of sound sending shivers up her skin.

 

Back of her hand reached to wipe the chilled tip of her nose as she stared into the depths, gaze cast over her shoulder only after she was convinced it wasn’t going to eat them.

 

[maree]…something I can do to help??[/maree]

 

Eyes went back over to the water.

 

[maree]...or are you a solitary daredevil?[/maree]

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The call below them seemed to spook her. It was a unique sound if one had never heard it before. Smile tickled almost easily on his lips, a relaxed state he never shared with anyone.

 

[declan]…it’s a north america right whale… he is late to migrate. Normally by now they are all down by Georgia or Florida.[/declan]

 

It was too dark to see, but the sound of exploding air at the surface of water betrayed the creature surfaced beside her. Slap of its tail told him it was heading south too… and it was small for a right whale…. only twenty or twenty-five feet long. Still young. Might have gotten separated from its pod. Perhaps that was why it was still up in these cold waters. Wouldn’t survive up this far north. They might have a companion the whole way down.

 

[maree] Never could pay attention to it before..[/maree]

 

Back arched to hang a bit further over the side relishing the raw freedom and death wish that shivered the back of his neck before finally pulling himself of by the rope twisted around his arm. He watched her peer over the side trying to see what was in the dark, lips parted to warn her but he was too late as the whale surfaced again and spouted wet air up towards her. It was side-riding them. Chuckle was soft.

 

[declan]…they are gentle…. too much so… used to be hunted badly for their oils because they didn’t flee the boats. Were near extinction before the world went to hell.[/declan]

 

Rope was tied off as he hopped off the rail back onto the deck.

 

[maree]….something I can do to help??.... or are you a solitary daredevil?[/maree]

 

The foreign sound of low pitched laughter came once more as he hopped down into the captains bridge, taking a place behind the second sailing wheel. Words were quiet as he cranked the wheel to shift the rudder, steering with some invisible compass in the abyss of the winter night.

 

[declan]…. no worries….been sailing her for years on my own.[/declan]

 

Wheel cranked again to turn the boat into the oncoming waves, the bow pitching hard up and down, skilled hands keeping the vessel from getting hit on the sides and potentially tipping.

 

[declan]…promise not to get you killed until at least we get to warmer waters.[/declan]

 

Smirk played on the edges of his lips as he continued to steer by what seemed to be instinct, though eyes flicked to the sky often. It was the stars in the night sky that guided him.

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It felt so... odd. Empathy for things that thought rational thoughts and spoke rational words was sometimes wrought with confusion. Lies spouting from lips that contradicted what they felt on the inside left her always tired, with a headache and just general malaise. With the ocean, emotion was clear, and that was terrifying to her. An odd sense of fear at first, now relief as whatever it was in the darkness seemed to settle beside them, the slap startling her momentarily but bringing her closer to peer over the edge... the rest... well...

 

Annoyed expression pursed her lips before the inside of her forearm went to wipe water from her face. Coulda' warned her, maybe that was the point. He thought it was funny....

 

Ass...

 

...the sound of laughter quirked her brow. Doc didn't laugh. At least, she never heard him do so. He also didn't sail, but obviously he did, answering her question as the laughter came again and he settled into his chair.

 

Of course he didn't, feeling a bit like Alice in the rabbit hole. It occurred to her finally that maybe this wasn't a good idea, the slap of the bow against the waves making her think for a moment he was on a death trip.

 

It was too skilled. He'd done it before, many times. That was the truth. Not getting her killed was also a good plan.

 

[Maree]Good to know cap.[/maree]

 

Doc just seemed, an inappropriate title at this juncture. He definitely wasn't acting like the guy in the ER, this daredevil move seemed like it certainly had purpose.

 

She was back to gripping the railing and looking into the dark waters.

 

[Maree]...happy...relieved and having fun. [/maree]

 

It was what she could glean from the vastness around them, watch finally casting to him in the chair and keeping her balance to settle into that interesting seat she'd spent time in on their way out. Gaze kept moving to their wake and a strange fuzz she couldn't shake. Static from the clusterfuck of activity that was being left behind, or something else... she wasn't sure.

 

[Maree]Ever run into anyone out here?[/maree]

 

It was an interesting question.

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He couldn’t help the chuckle as she was doused with exploded wet air from the blow hole of the whale. The young mammal seemed to be using them as a surrogate pod, it would be good if it followed them all the way, these waters were far too cold for it.

 

These waters were far too cold for anyone. Yet, he promised not to get her killed in them.

 

[maree]Good to know cap[/maree]

 

Smile slid his lips as the boat pitched up and back down a good fifteen feet with each wave. The further they got out the wilder the ride as eyes periodically sought the sky and made minor adjustments on the wheel. It was aggressive sailing…borderline reckless… and he loved every moment of it.

 

Every thunderous crash downward took them that much further from the world and each inch further seemed to lift weights from his shoulders. Every scowl at his appearance washed away… every scream for help softened to a memory… every life and death decision he had to make turned to misting waters and slid from his shadowed personality.

 

[maree]…happy…relieved and having fun.[/maree]

 

He glanced to see she was looking over the rail at the whale once more, smile lingered as he nodded when he answered.

 

[declan]…waters are too cold for him…that young he likely still needed a few more seasons to know the migration route on his own. He is using us as a surrogate pod. Good thing we are heading south and not across the pond to Europe.[/declan]

 

It was a horrifying thought… that he might turn their little boat out into the great vast ocean. But the wheel kept steady as the gaze flicked skyward once more. The black abyss had long ago stopped being "dark" to the elven eyes, he saw clearly over the thundering winter ocean.

 

[maree]Ever run into anyone out here?[/maree]

 

Brow quirked as he glanced down at her in the upper deck couch, head shaking without hesitation.

 

[declan]… on winter waters? No one is that stupid.[/declan]

 

It wasn’t exactly a comforting response considering THEY were out on winter waters. Yet he seemed completely at calm in the frigid spray of ocean mists as the bow again rose and dropped over a wave, crashing easily over twenty feet now.

 

[declan]…and rest of the year it is a rarity. No one sails anymore… and these are not trading route waters so no one takes the big ships down the coast.[/declan]

 

He seemed distinctly pleased by the fact that they were effectively guaranteed to be devoid of any human contact for the rest of their trip.

 

[declan]….anytime I am off a couple weeks…. I head down there. Found a place few years back and I go back each time.[/declan]

 

"A place" was a bit of an understatement. Melody Key was a private island that could not be reached by anything by boat which just about guaranteed no one else was going to stumble on his little sanctuary. With two off the grid buildings he not only had a get away, but it had power and running water.

 

It was his oasis.

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She couldn’t lie and say her rational side wasn’t giving her a fit of fear at the daredevil behavior, but the empathy that was becoming honed as the world disappeared behind them said otherwise. He was absolutely confident in what he was doing.  That was always a double edged sword with interpretation…. he was either experienced and fine with it, or completely out of his gourd and at peace with his fate. She was hoping the former.

 

"…waters are too cold for him…that young he likely still needed a few more seasons to know the migration route on his own. He is using us as a surrogate pod. Good thing we are heading south and not across the pond to Europe."

To Europe?  It made something in her chest jump, and it was all her.  Fear for getting close to the place that had almost killed her.  Longing to see what had actually happened to her homeland.  An odd look that he would actually consider such a thing most likely knowing this boat would never make it.   His answer about them not being alone didn’t sit well. He could be right, maybe he had never run into anyone out this far.  She was still trying to sort out what she was feeling. Emptiness or amplified… it was all new.

"….anytime I am off a couple weeks…. I head down there. Found a place few years back and I go back each time."

So he did have a destination.  Duh, why wouldn’t he have a destination?  It most definitely seemed this was not his first rodeo.  He had confirmed it.  Tucking her coat closer around her, her answer was somewhat delayed, the spray and darkness of the growing waves a dangerous and mesmerizing beauty.

 

[maree]I never remember you not being there, in the ER I mean.[/maree]

 

He was as bad as her. She was cold, something though gave her pause to use any power that was in her fingertips.  Whether it was the paranoia that people could actually be out there, why wouldn’t they be?  People were all sorts of stupid, and there were no laws out there…. maybe it was just the pretending for a moment that she wasn’t special, the world hadn’t gone to hell and she wasn’t hiding from the world and forced to stay apart from her family.

 

[maree]How in the world could you find a place like this on accident?[/maree]

 

It was a loaded question. Whoops.

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[maree] I never remember you not being there, in the ER I mean. [/maree]

 

Snorted laugh was soft and perhaps a bit bitter as he let the wheel spin right for the briefest moment.

 

[declan].. its usually when I am put on a forced leave.[/declan]

 

Hand rubbed the back of his neck as he added quietly.

 

[declan]…doesn’t happen as often as it used to. They know better.[/declan]

 

He was just too damn good. When they promised the puffed up elitists the best surgeon… they had to call him. That meant they learned to put up with his idiosyncrasies, including the fact that they would have to serve the altered in the hospital or he would walk.

 

[maree] How in the world could you find a place like this on accident?[/maree]

 

Smile was a bit distant in the dark as he adjusted the wheel slightly left knowing they needed to be a bit further into the ocean waters to avoid the jagged coast lines. Damp lashes flicked up to map the stars once more, a faint blue hue forming over his lips and the tips of the elongated ears as they cut through the freezing temperatures. It would be a good eight hour sail before they felt a noticeable rise in temperature.

 

[declan]… it wasn’t entirely by accident.[/declan]

 

Hip rested against the side of the vessel as the right hand remained on the wheel, lightly correcting each time the damp lashes sought the sky and the boat crashed down over a storm filled wave.

 

[declan]……another lifetime ago… I vacationed down there once.[/declan]

 

A ghost passed over his features before his shoulder lifted, head tilting to rub his ear against the coat as if brushing it away.

 

[declan]…then got fired about…. guess was six years ago now….before you worked there.[/declan]

 

Fingers lifted to sheepishly scratch in his too long hair.

 

[declan]…. I might have disagreed with another surgeon on how he was about to handle a delicate operation on an altered kid…. and he might have ended up with a scalpel through his hand.[/declan]

 

Truth was a bit darker. The surgeon was about to ensure the altered child didn’t wake up from the surgery. Bunch of racist skinheads had taken over the New York hospital from the beginning. Shrug came with a bit of a lopsided grin.

 

[declan]…so they fired me and I left town. Wasn’t really planning to come back. Went south and spent about four months looking for a good place to become a hermit. Found this place.[/declan]

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".. its usually when I am put on a forced leave.…doesn’t happen as often as it used to. They know better."

He was bothered by it, little pieces of everything finally starting to fit together.  She knew the board was made up of a bunch of assholes that hated him- janitors heard a lot of things when people thought nobody was listening, that every nurse in the building was constantly after his ass, his hours were hell.

 

Then why?

 

[maree]Why do you do it then?  I hear the board talking, janitors are invisible.  I know people bother you there, nurses seem to have a bullseye on my forehead because I have keys to everything.  The hours are exhausting.  I get why Bo does it, he can’t leave a problem unsolved… but you, why don’t you just leave?  There has to be somewhere better that will appreciate?[/maree]

 

It showed her innocence in the whole situation, how non-social she’d had to be for so long. Did she know all the hospitals in New York? No, but she knew every library where she could read art books without seeing another person for hours.

 

She listened quietly.  He was talking.  It was strange.  The further they got, the more he found his voice.  Eyebrow quirked slightly at the confession as she pulled her coat closer around her.  She needed a Czech parka.

"…so they fired me and I left town. Wasn’t really planning to come back. Went south and spent about four months looking for a good place to become a hermit. Found this place."

 

Mouth opened and closed a few times.  She was finding it really hard to not talk about her brother with every breath.  It was weird not having to hide it, and difficult not to talk about him all the time.

 

[maree]Why did you come back to New York then?[/maree]

 

She had a feeling it was the same reason he refused to leave the hospital even though they treated him like crap.  She pondered his words a moment, she already knew the answer, fingers pulling a damp dark curl from her cheek.  She went to expel a thought, then stopped herself for a moment.  Eyes found the sky he was looking upward at, then the darkness of the water.

 

[maree]It’s good there are people in the world like you that will help us.  It’s dangerous.  The people who helped me after I almost died, instead died because of me. They knew the risks, and they took me in anyway.[/maree]

 

Lips quirked, sniffling slightly and rubbing her nose, settling back further into the seat.

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Gray eyes closed against the spray of frigid winds. A serenity that didn’t exist in his life in New York settling over him.

 

[maree]Why do you do it then?[/maree] [declan]huh?...[/declan]

 

Eyes opened to blink at her through the moist air.

 

[maree] I hear the board talking, janitors are invisible. I know people bother you there, nurses seem to have a bullseye on my forehead because I have keys to everything. The hours are exhausting. I get why Bo does it, he can’t leave a problem unsolved… but you, why don’t you just leave? There has to be somewhere better that will appreciate? [/maree]

 

Head shook with a ghost of a smile.

 

[declan]…where? New York is the largest working hospital still in North America. Has the largest concentrated population. Has the most people in need. The hardest cases that no one else can solve………..or touch.[/declan]

 

Wheel spun a half turn as he watched the sky a moment, correcting to keep them from bashing into rocky waters but not carried by the torrential ocean waters out to sea. It was an artful skill to sail stormed waters. Skill and a bit of insanity as he spoke of being fired and looking for a place to be a hermit.

 

[maree]Why did you come back to New York then?[/maree]

 

[declan]…perhaps I am like your brother in this. I couldn’t leave it alone.[/declan]

 

Smile came with a half shrug as he watched her ponder a moment. It was strange to be on ocean waters with a companion again. A twinge of guilt threatened to disrupt his harmony but it vanished with the flow of the bow over a twenty foot wave, the crash towards the bottom sending the shiver right down to his toes. Calm waters anyone could enjoy. This…. this chaotic violence… this was all his.

 

[maree] It’s good there are people in the world like you that will help us. It’s dangerous. The people who helped me after I almost died, instead died because of me. They knew the risks, and they took me in anyway .[/maree]

 

He was silent a while. Watching the dark waters and the sky whose stars got brighter and brighter the further from civilization they got.

 

[declan]….fear drives everything these days……..[/declan]

 

Frown lingered over the brow, wet ears flicking backwards to send thick droplets horizontally projected only to saturate once more.

 

[declan]……fear….. and pain.[/declan]

 

Chilled fingers adjusted the wheel, head shaking gently.

 

[declan]….most use both as a shield, an excuse to…….to ignore.[/declan]

 

He had once too. In the beginning. The world had taken her from him and he could not have cared less whom he ignored and let perish in the wake.

 

But her encouraging words from the past and his true nature haunted his apathy. So it had been short lived, which is why he ended up in New York, at the last vestige of dense humanity. Where he would always be up to his eyes in blood and forever loathed for his indifference for whom he saved.

 

Eyes hit the sky and then the coastline.

 

[declan]…couple more hours we will make Ocean City…. no one there anymore but good place to dock a bit for sleep. Can normally just sail through the night and not go too far off course…. but not in winter waters, have to steer the whole time.[/declan]

 

He had cleaned up a boat house there from some old mansion, big enough to literally park Sam all the way inside.

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