she loves me
Her hair always looked best down, no matter how much she hated it. She’d always tie it back in a ponytail or pull it into a messy little braid, but he loves the way it falls over her shoulders, gleaming in the hot afternoon sun.
He’d reach out to run his fingers through it, and she’d smack his hand away, telling him to stop grabbing me, dumbass, can’t you see i’m working, and--
she loves me not
He doesn’t get why she doesn’t understand this-- it’s simple, goddammit, it’s not rocket science that he doesn’t want her to get hurt, and just because she wants to throw her life away on the front lines doesn’t mean he has to let her.
He knows it’s not his decision, he knows, but he doesn’t get why she won’t see his side, and when she slams him against the wall, he--
you love her
“Y’know, I hear it lasts longer if it you take a picture.”
Wash looks up just as York sits down next to him on the couch, tearing his eyes away from the dark armor in the corner, ignoring them just as much as always, and the question doesn’t register until York laughs and elbows him in the side.
“You keep that up much longer and I’m gonna think you’ve got a crush, man. You gonna go all googly-eyed and shit?”
“A wha-- no,” Wash says, but it’s too late, and York’s already laughing just at the look on his face, sliding an arm around his shoulder.
He leans in, conspiratorially, and grins, jerking his head at Tex. “You want me to go talk to her? Break the ice before she breaks your balls?”
“No, York, shut up, I don’t--”
( please )
you love her not
there are images and he doesn’t ( they’re not mine they don’t belong to me ) recognize them even though he feels like he should ( know this like he knows everything else ) and they’re pressing in and he can’t he can’t do this anymore please just make it stop--
( someone has to remember her )
not me it’s not me you’re not me get out get out of my head
( i need you, david )
and he’s shaking and it’s coming apart again and he can’t let it please please please don’t do this again
( i’m sorry )
and she smiles--
he loves her
She gets special treatment. They all know it, and they’re all used to it, even if South bitches about how unfair it all is, like she really expects fairness out of Project Freelancer. Tex is the ideal they can never live up to, no matter how hard Carolina pushes herself to try and take back the top spot, to survive the two A.I. ripping her mind to shreds, but she’ll never do it as long as the Director keeps giving Tex the best missions, the most chances to improve.
He doesn’t come down to the observation room above the training floor often, preferring to watch from the comfort of his office, but Wash catches him in there, once, watching Tex take down one Freelancer after another, and the look on his face is the same one he keeps catching in the mirror.
he loves her not
( she was always gone she was never here she doesn’t exist she’s just a-- )
She’s gone and they don’t know where she is and he has to find her he has to she needs him they’re going to hurt her again and this time no one will be there to stop it
( i have to save her )
and he has to understand he has to he has to he’s the one who made her he won’t just let this happen
“Return to your quarters, Agent Washington. That is an order.”
( end simulation )
He wakes and he doesn’t know which one of them is screaming and he reaches up reaches for the chip in the back of his head--
i love her
He didn’t forget. He doesn’t forget things, not now, not ever, he’s the one who remembers because someone has to and that someone is him and he’s the only one left
( david? )
He goes through the motions, he follows orders, he does what they tell him, but he knows she’s not here, knows there’s nothing at the crash site, nothing in Blue Base, and he knows why Church doesn’t get it ( i have to find her i have to protect her i can’t let them hurt her again ) and why this is the only way--
i love her not
He’s gotten used to the sound of metal on metal. That’s all there is, here, metal walls, metal floor, metal doors, and he thinks if there were windows they’d find some way to make them metal too.
He still dreams. He wonders if it’ll ever stop. They haven’t made him see anyone, yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Uncertified or not, article twelve isn’t something that just gets erased.
( do you remember, david? )
someone has to.
He just thought he was the only one until--
she loves him
She came back. He feels like he should expect it, by now. She comes back because he needs her to come back, and somehow no one ever asks her if she wants to
( he would, he’d do it better he’d make her right this time, make sure she wouldn’t leave, he knows what he did wrong he’s sorry he is he just missed her too much )
and she doesn’t understand, but she’s never understood why he did it in the first place, why he kept doing it, why he wouldn’t let go, even when the answer’s right in front of her, and--
she loves him not
Epsilon follows her, just like last time. He always follows her, Wash has learned, no matter where she goes. He can’t stop, can’t let go, and Wash doesn’t think he knows how to do anything else anymore.
Not him. He’s learned.
( did you love her? )
He snaps the heavy plates of armor on, piece by piece, watching the way the light plays off the blue, and he can't help but think he'll never be able to take them off, not if he wants to survive, not if he wants to start over again.
The best lies he ever told were to himself.