Your voice is a weapon
And we’ll do with it what we can
Dan tells himself that over and over as he hurries from the venue. He escapes before everyone else has even gotten to the dressing rooms and stands underneath some fire escape stairs. It's freezing outside, but he hopes the bitter air will calm him down. His heart races in his chest and he struggles to breathe. He sits down, back pressed against the rough brick wall, and rests his head on his knees.
He looks up at the sound of Kyle's voice and feels the warmth of the tears in his face before he is even aware he is crying. He tries to speak but his voice is gone, lost.
Kyle doesn't need him to say anything, anyway. He walks over, unzipping his hoodie and draping it around Dan's shoulders as he sits down beside him. He wraps an arm around him, pulling him closer, and the warmth of his body is a comfort Dan didn't realise he had missed. "I didn't know where you were. Dick is worried that you're a flight risk."
"I think I am."
"Don't be bloody stupid, you’re not. Dick thinks everything is about to crumble down around him at any given moment no matter what. Fuck him." He pushes a hand down the back of his hoodie to stroke Dan's neck.
"I just needed to get out of there," Dan says, leaning into Kyle's gentle touch. "I just needed-"
"I know," Kyle says.
"All those people, Kyle. All of them..."
"It's our job, Dan. They're subversives, you know that."
Dan nods and wipes the back of his hand across his eyes. "Sure. Yeah. But. I mean. So was I." He glances at Kyle. "So were we."
Kyle pulls his hand away and gets up quickly, brushing dirt off the back of his jeans. He wraps his arms around himself and shivers. "They'll be sealing the inner chamber of the venue soon, and Dick wants a debrief during the gassing." He holds out his hand.
Dan looks at it for a minute before taking it and pulling himself to his feet. He pulls the hoodie tighter around him and smiles weakly. "Thanks," he says.
"Any time, mate."
They head back inside but Dan grabs Kyle's hand and stops him just inside the fire escape. "I love you," he says, urgently.
"I-" Kyle falters, looking around. "I know. Come on, let's go."
Dan shuffles after him, dejected. From here he can hear the crowd chanting for an encore. They don't know. None of them know what's happening. That venue staff are sealing them in, that gas will be pumped through the air con system. He has seen the bodies before, seen staff moving them with pitchforks into the ditches out the back of venues. He has smelled them burning.
He follows Kyle through the labyrinth of corridors to the dressing room, where armed members of the Ministry of Defence are waiting for them to be debriefed. Dick smiles broadly when they both walk in, he seems to be the only one under the impression that Bastille are anything other than a weapon.
"Great turnout tonight lads," Dick says to them all. "The Ministry tell me there were a lot of people on warrants here tonight. Good job."
Dan nods, teeth gritted. He had escaped from this, once. He can remember him and Kyle running the streets, hand in hand, after the Ministry released a bio-weapon into the club they'd been at. He leans against his locker and stares at the ground.
"Dan," Dick snaps, "are you listening?"
Kyle steps in front of him to shield him from Dick's anger. "He's tired. We all are. How about we give this little preaching session a rest, huh?"
Dick sniffs disdainfully. "I think you both forget what good work we're doing here," he says.
Under his breath Dan mutters, "and I think they've been drugging your drinking water more than usual."
Dick scowls but says nothing else. They all fall into line and the armed Ministry members lead them from the room. Through the thick, breezeblock walls Dan can hear distant screaming. Kyle brushes their hands together as they walk until the barrel of a gun is pushed between them. They glance at one another and say nothing.
And they keep walking.