If your life flashes before your eyes before you die, then Sollux Captor’s memory is stuck on repeat. It’s that same scene, his mind cutting out, taking over, flashes of black and white, and then that one last flash of red. Tears mixing with blood, he could only feel a numb burn as he held her. He would have killed himself anyway, really. There was nothing left to live for, anyway. If there was one person that kept his disorder in check, it was Aradia Megido. Long tumbling hair and tilted smile that lingered for weeks, she was the arrow that struck hard and refused to be tugged out. Yes, he would have taken his life right after he took hers, an eye for an eye. But the court rooms and swarms of police had said differently. They wouldn’t give him the pleasure, they would do it themselves.
On the day of the sentence, an onlooker could say that Sollux Captor may have looked happy, watching the judge bang his gavel with a determined expression. His lawyer, an old friend who’s blindness only enhanced her sense of justice, had balked, demanding a pardon based on mental instability, but Sollux has tugged her arm, shaking his head ever so slightly.
when he finally reaches the chair, it’s cold, metal, hard
“What are you doing?” she had hissed in his ear later that evening, whacking her cane against the dead man walking. “I could have won that case, you could have been let off on an easier sentence!”
“I know, TZ, I know.” Flashing a smile, he patted her shoulder one last time. “You’re the best lawyer anyone could ever have. But justice has called my name, and the only sentence I want to see is death.”
“You don’t have to do this.” Even with her odd, bright red sunglasses, Sollux could see the tears brimming her milky eyes. “She wouldn’t have wanted this for you.”
Sollux could only let out one last goodbye, before wrapping her in a hug, and following the guards to his overnight cell. He denied a last meal, his last rights, anything they offered. Only wanted a good night’s sleep, he told them.
the straps are too tight, he decides. he deserves it, he realizes.
The bunkbed already had another occupier, who’s gangly body was so comically large his legs didn’t fit on the mattress. Sollux ascended to the top bunk, laying on his back and staring at the cracks on the ceiling. Like weaves, showing years of unrepairable damage, it reflected something that could never be fixed. The hard cushion underneath his back squeaked with every movement, a deafening echo that bounced across the walls and made him flinch.
the wet sponge goes on Sollux’s head, to conduct electricity. to make it more painful. to make him suffer.
“Hey, motherfucker.” The voice was light, happy, recognizable. Sollux had heard the voice before, with countless interviews on the television, the sound clips blasting through his car radio on the way to work. Gamzee Makara. Murderer of several, mentally unstable, highly into recreational drugs. Sollux tensed, clutching the sides of the bed. Perfect, he had been stuck in a prison cell with the most famous murderer in America right now. “You’re friends with Karkat, yeah?”
Karkat. The name did belong to one of his best friends, the angriest redhead that he ever had the displeasure of rooming in college with. God, if KK saw him now. He’d never hear the end of it. Karkat would force him to live, to keep going, to keep breathing. Well, there are some things that even the mighty Karkat Vantas couldn’t make go his way.
someone is reading something about his sentence, his case, why he’s dying. thanks for the reminder, he thinks.
“Yes.” The lisp that used to plague his tongue and make every day social interactions had disappeared when he first kissed Aradia. She fixed his curse, he always used to joke, and she would just laugh and mention how she missed it. The kiss itself was slow, planned, cautious, careful. She taught him to be spontaneous later. Maybe that was the beginning of his undoing. “What about him?”
“’Sup, man. I’ve been bros with that motherfucker since, fuck, before I can even fucking remember! How're ya doin’?” The man himself stood up, resting his head on the edge of Sollux’s bed. The shorter boy tried not to flinch away, he could smell the ripe stench of cigarette smoke on his breath. Gamzee’s skin was such a dark brown that it was hard to see the pale scars across his face, but it was still noticeable to anyone who looked at him directly. He had a lazy smile that spread across his face, his lids only half open.
“Well, not very good, seeing what’s happened in the past months.” Sollux was a sickly pale in contrast, with skinny arms and a spine that protruded out in a deathly and unattractive way. After a night of flames and heat, Aradia would lie in bed with him, running her long fingers down his spine and giggling softly. Her hair would spill across the pillows, leaving strands around the bed for days afterwards. He never minded.
the man is finished speaking, he gives the signal to the executor. sollux inhales.
“Oh, your girlfriend.” In another time, the pale man would grow angry at such a dismissive comment, but he didn’t have anger running through his veins anymore. It had melted from his fingertips when the haze was over, when she was over. “Yeah, heard about that. I’m sorry, motherfucker. Really am.”
“Thanks.” Even if the anger was gone, the sarcasm wasn’t.
“You wanna know something?” He didn’t wait for a response, just sighing contentedly. “In my religion, which is Buddhism if you didn’t fucking know, we believe in something called reincarnation.”
“Yeah.” Sitting on the edge of the bed now, Gamzee’s forehead almost touched the cracked ceiling. “Wanna know what’s cool about it?”
the switch comes down.
the reaction is instantaneous.
Out of a hidden pocket, Gamzee lit a cigarette, bringing it to his lips and blowing a steady stream of smoke out with a strange calmness. He offered it to the other prisoner, and he shrugged, sitting up and taking the cancer stick without a thought. He had to admit, it did have a nice effect. The glowing end made for a nice light, and the full reflection of his prison cellmate lit in the dark, dank cell.
“What?” Sollux let out his own smoke, and even if he coughed a little, he still remained relaxed.
“That even if your girl is six feet under right now in this life-
the electricity ripples through his veins, and he’s dying.
he’s been dying.
he’s pretty sure he screams her name, before he goes.
“-she may be very much alive in another.”
he died thinking of her.
In Another World
Sollux Captor, six sweeps old and half-blind, floats along.
He’s smiling, and he doesn’t smile often.
The red clad girl in the short distance in front of him is smiling too. Her wings flutter, and her outfit drapes in layers.
Sollux grabs her hand, squeezing it once. It feels soft and delicate in his own, hard and clammy. She squeezes back, staring in wonder at the future in front of them. Green light brightens her beautiful, beautiful face.
“I’m glad you’re here, AA,” he says, his heart swelling. She tilts her head, letting out a light laugh.
“What are you talking about? Where is this coming from?”
“I don’t know,” he confesses. Something stirs inside of him, and when he kisses her that night, he notes one thing.
How alive she feels.