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God Forsaken

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The Graywaren was lonely a lot. It was a condition of being otherly. He got this way after the Forth of July. When Adam went to college, when Gansey was out adventuring with Blue and Henry, and when Opal was off doing who-knows-what and Chainsaw was asleep in a field somewhere, he got lonely. The aching, drowning kind of lonely that only hit when night truly fell. It was a night like that, when the stars were covered by dark clouds and all the dream cattle slept easily on, Opal among them.

Ronan felt the need to leave. He didn't bother getting dressed, or even putting on shoes, he simply slipped out the back door of The Barns, got into his father's BMW, and ventured out into the night. Being the sleepy town Henrietta was, the streets were deserted, and the handful of street lights were dim or flickering. Ronan drove easily, second nature, like counting the freckles on the back of Adam's neck, after a long day. He made his way over to Monmouth Manufacturing, and it rose above the city, dark and foreboding, and empty. Ronan let his car idle for a while, the headlights illuminating the hollowness of the building.

Without the gang, Gansey, himself... Noah, it was like an empty skull, something that once was brimming with life before time had rotted it away to nothingness. Eventually Ronan let the car shut off, and clambered out, knocking the door shut. He climbs the four flights of stairs up to the living quarters, flicking on lights as he went. Here the darkness was too much, as it usually was. All his lights have left months ago, leaving him dark and the artificial light help minutely. Gansey's little cardboard Henrietta was scattered in the middle of the room, gathering a blanket of dust. Gansey had packed up most of his stuff but there were still towers of books he couldn't take with him; pictures, notes and quick sketches drawn up and tacked to the walls that he had left.

Ronan stood in the doorway and his body was racked in shivers. Eventually he was moved enough to grab a blanket off Gansey's bed, and lay down beside the mock town. He left his eyelids drift shut and wandered into Cabeswater. It was different after the attack and no matter how much energy he and Adam poured into it, it refused to be restored to what it was. Without thinking he was grabbing something small- taking, always taking chided the trees- his intent driving him. Suddenly Kavinksy's smudgy form appeared, his outline blurring in and out. Ronan froze, clutching his prize to his chest.

"What're you doing here." he asked.

"You ain't happy to see me?" K was nonconfrontation, for once, and he sank to the ground, leaning against the gnarled trunk of a tree.

Ronan ignored him. "Why'd you do that shit?"

"You'll have to be more specific." K looked... dead. His eyes were hollow, skin white, bordering on purple, his hair was lank, his glasses were a cracked and crooked crown on his head. Ronan wasn't sure if this was the form he had chosen to see or K's reality.

"Forth of July, asshole."

Kavinsky looked at him. "Bored."

"Bullshit."

"I like fucking with people."

"Try again." Ronan demanded.

K didn't look like he could stand up if he wanted to. Energy seemed to be draining out of him as Ronan watched. His dark eyes flicked up to meet Ronan's. "Lonely." Ronan stumbled away from him. "You should be going. Quick, quick little thief."

Ronan turned away, the words stinging. Here was his other. The one that meant he wasn't something singular. Here he was dying. Again.

"Hey!" Kavinsky never spoke softly. His voice was like a serrated knife, cutting the air, even as he lay decaying.

Ronan's voice cracked. "What, you SOB?"

"Look after my boy for me."

"What?"

"Proko. He's alone. Take him to your farm or whatever shit. Don't let him... fade."

Ronan didn't look back but he nodded. "Rest K."

When Ronan woke up he was trembling still, and Gansey's pillow was wet with tears. In his hands Ronan clutched a small potted mint plant and a gold necklace, as thin as spiders thread. With new purpose, Ronan got up, and left Monmouth and the night didn't seem as dark.