[ Sky – Master Post ]
Title: Is Falling
Characters: Severen, Betty, Arkady, Lir, Baron, and some extras
Warnings: Blood and angst
Notes: There’s a reference in … Pale, I think, to the time Severen tried to kill himself, in Philadelphia. Here’s the story.
"Betty… Bet…" Severen trailed off, uncertain why he was holding a telephone, or what was so red. But, it was a shiny red, a wet red, a gleaming stream of pomegranate-coloured… Why was he holding a telephone?
"Sev? Severen? Are you okay? Talk to me, Sev!" There was a voice coming from the phone. It sounded like a girl he knew, but he couldn’t think of her name. "Arkady! Goddammit, Evan, get out of bed! Now! Sev, say something!"
"Who are you? You’re pretty." He knew it wasn’t the right word, because he couldn’t see her, except that he could. She was blue and violet. She was there and not there, in the sides of his vision.
"Doesn’t matter, Sev. Just keep talking. Tell me about what you can see." The girl sounded afraid, but she was fading away.
"It’s fuzzy and tan. No, tan isn’t right. It’s beige. And there’s all these tiny mountains and valleys. And it’s warm, but I’m cold. I don’t know why I’m so cold. I don’t like the cold. It sneaks up on you. It’s like a dog. Chews on your feet." Severen continued to ramble about the cold. At least he thought he was talking about the cold. He couldn’t quite make out the words, any more. The girl was talking to someone else. Something about heaven, he thought.
The ceiling was blue, when the black-haired angel blocked his view of it. "Severen? Severen, let go of the phone. Aw, fuckit. Betty, hang up and call nine-one-one."
The phone squawked affirmatively, and then the girl’s voice went away. There was just that thin, pale face, hovering above him, like moon and metal. Severen turned his head. He felt his face move, as if he were going to speak, but he couldn’t remember what he was going to say.
Arkady ran his mouth, as he tried to stop the bleeding, complaining that he wasn’t a field medic, even as he tore his own shirt for cloth to tourniquet Severen’s open wrist. It wasn’t likely to be fatal. He knew that, because the slice went the wrong direction, but Severen hadn’t been eating, lately, and he’d lost enough blood to cross him over from bitchy to spacey. It wouldn’t be fatal, but it would probably be notably bad. At the very least, that was going to need stitches.
After tying the knot in the tourniquet, Arkady stood up, taking Severen’s hand with him. "Stay on the floor, Sev. I need you to keep your hand up here, with me, and keep talking to me. Keep talking, Sev. We’re gonna call Sin for you. It’s gonna be just fine."
From the hall, he could hear Betty pounding on Lir and Baron’s door. The only words he could make out were, "the door… go right now." And then she was running for the stairs — he knew it when the fire door at the end of the hall banged open, and he could hear her bare feet start down the concrete stairs.
Severen was crying, now, sobbing in terror and trying to curl up, but Arkady kept his foot in the way. "Stretch out, Sev. You need to stay flat. Come on, man. Stay with me."
"Jesus." Lir was the first one in the room. "Is there any blood still in him?"
"Pray to god there is," Arkady muttered. "Guess who doesn’t get to have his own room, anymore."
Baron raised an eyebrow at the scars up and down Arkady’s forearms, as he pulled the sheet off the bed. "Medics are going to be here any second. Roll him on his side a sec, Arkady."
The three of them managed to get the sheet under Severen, and for a few minutes, the crying stopped. For Arkady, the lack of sound was worse than anything.
"Come on, Sev. Talk to us. We’re here, and we’re not leaving you," Arkady prodded.
"Tell us what you cooked for Sin, the night you left," Lir suggested.
Dinner was something Severen’s mind could hold on to, at least for a little while. He got distracted talking about the details of what a complete pain in the ass it is to dice carrots, and then he was talking about the demons in the boiling water, and then his eyes rolled back in his head.
"Oh, hell no!" Arkady shouted. "You are not allowed to die, you son of a bitch! We’re playing fucking Boston, tomorrow."
Severen’s fist clenched at the word Boston, but he didn’t come back up. Baron held the door for the medics.
"He’d lost a lot of blood before he called us," Arkady explained as he handed Severen’s arm to an EMT. "I don’t know how long he’s been bleeding, but I got his arm up as soon as I tied it off, so he hasn’t been bleeding since we called you. Not a whole lot, anyway. I don’t know his blood type. He doesn’t have any other family. We’re all he’s got."
"Well, only relatives will be allowed to come with us, or visit him, until he’s out of the ICU," One EMT answered, as they lifted Severen onto the gurney. "You did good, though. Probably kept him alive for us."
"I’m his cousin," Arkady lied. "I’m coming with you."
"We’ll hold down the fort," Baron said, grimly. "I’ll see what we can do about cleaning all of this up."
"Sorry you got to see it again, Baron. I’ll buy you a beer in Boston," Arkady promised. "I gotta go."
"Evan. Fucking. Newkirk. Here’s my ID for the eighth time. His mother is my aunt."
Severen was pretty dazed, when he woke up, but he knew what Arkady’s shouting sounded like. There was no mistaking that tone.
"Arkady?" Severen’s voice was raspy and gummy. He coughed and tried again. "Arkady, where the hell are we?"
Everything was blotchy, and Severen could see swatches of red and beige and hear snippets of people shouting at each other and trying to talk to him, but most of the words were garbled. It all came in blinding flashes and left just as quickly.
Arkady removed the nurse from his path and rushed into the room. "Severen! Jesus Christ!" It was against his better judgement and probably medical advice, but Arkady bent down and hugged Severen around the shoulders. "You scared the everliving shit out of us."
As he leaned back, Arkady could feel his eyes tear up and his hands start to shake. "I thought you might be leaving us."
"It’s so fucking empty. It’s all so empty and cold and black. And it came to me. It sat on my bed." Severen looked up to where Arkady sat on the edge of the bed. "The things it said. I just couldn’t contain it, any more."
Arkady lifted his right arm, to show the inside of it to Severen. "It told you that you were broken. Damaged goods. It said that no one cared, and we were all using you. It told you that no one would ever see the world like you do, and that you’d end up old and alone in a nuthatch, somewhere."
"It’s real, isn’t it. It’s not just me."
"It’s real for the unlucky ones, like us. But, Sev, listen to me." Arkady reached out and put a hand on Severen’s shoulder. "It’ll tell you just enough truth to make you believe it when it starts lying. And then the days come when it doesn’t have to tell the truth at all, any more, because you’ll believe anything it says. But you can’t believe it. It’s wrong. It’s going to laugh if you die, and I’m going to have to hear it."
"It’s Boston, you know." Severen sighed.
"No, actually, I don’t." Arkady sat back to listen. "Tell me about Boston. Do you want to cancel the show? We may have to do that, anyway, depending on how long they keep you here."
"We’ll play. I’m pretty sure I already have stitches. It’ll sting like a bitch, but I’m pretty sure I can just walk out of here in a couple of hours. We’ll play Boston." Severen rubbed his face with his unbandaged hand. "So, I’m from Boston. You probably can’t tell. I worked very hard to get rid of that accent. I grew up there, went to school there. It’s where I met Sin. I wasn’t Severen Bellamorte, Gothic rock posterboy, then. I wasn’t even Mr. Lindstrom, high school English teacher. I was less than nothing, for a long time. I was that guy people went out of their way to make trouble for. I got away from Boston. Sin and I, we escaped. And here I am, going back. I don’t want to be in Boston."
"We’re cancelling." Arkady held up his hand when Severen tried to speak. "No. We are cancelling. We are not going to Boston, on this tour or any other. No Boston."
"But, if I don’t go to Boston, it wins. I’m not dead. I have to go to Boston," Severen reasoned.
"Shit. You may have something, there." Arkady smiled warily. "But, we still have to get you out of this dump."
"Find out who you have to punch to get me a sandwich, first. I can get out of here, if you can find me some food and a shirt." Severen’s eyes gleamed with mischief for a split second. "Mostly food, or I think I’m going to pass out again, before I get to the door."
Arkady shook his head. "I’ll see what I can do."
They played Boston. Six months later, Severen got an angry letter with an enclosed hospital bill, which he quietly paid.