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“Life is a waterfall. We’re on the river, and once again after the fall, swimming through the void, we hear the word. We lose ourselves but we find it all.”

It was the numb, floaty feeling that had seduced him. For once in his life, his mind was quiet, calm. He could think about nothing and like it. How had the book the kids in his class always read put it? The best somethings come out of nothings? Something like that?

Maybe it had a point. Maybe this wasn’t the point it was trying to make, but Roy didn’t care. The numb, floaty feeling had seduced him, and he had fallen willingly. He’d enraptured himself in it, and nothing was going to take it away.

You’re just a junkie.

A body moved next to him, and he forced himself to open his eyes, to face the harsh reality of whatever that day was going to throw at him. He wished he could curl up, hide under the blankets and never surface again. Sleep his life away. Too much of a coward to just end it.

His limbs were still heavy from the night before, but his head was starting to pound and his ears were starting to ring. You’re just a junkie. “Hey,” Jade’s arm was on his shoulder. He blinked and glanced over at her, still curled under the blanket like a cat. “I didn’t hear you come in last night.”

“Rough night,” Roy sighed and wrapped his cybernetic arm around her, pulling her close to his chest.

She was the danger that had seduced him.

She was dangerous and deadly, and he loved her all the more for it.

“She was my daughter too.”

The words cut deep. Jade hadn't cared. Jade had left Lian with him, and Lian had become his everything, and he would have died for her a thousand times over. It should have been me.

Roy tried to ignore the tremors starting in his hands as he carefully got up. Maybe he would have held her before. Told her everything was going to be okay. That they’d figure it out. But so much had changed. There was a void between them, and sometimes he thought it was too big to ever be crossed.

Because they’d both learned to play the game. Neither asked what the other did at night. Neither wanted to know. It was amazing how fast it had formed.

He’d been seduced by his devil again and again and her name wasn’t Jade Nguyen.

And she would always come first and they both knew it. And neither liked it, and he didn’t care.

He needed it. He needed it to quiet his mind It should have been you. He needed it to slow everything down.

He needed to not feel anymore. Never feel again.

The people close to him got hurt and they always would.

Look where his daughter had ended up.

Six feet underground. Cold and stiff.

“I wish you would quit,” Jade whispered, her voice soft and low.

“I wish I could,” he replied and shut the door behind him.

It was amazing how easily it had all come back to him. Shoelace around his arm, cutting off his blood flow. Squeeze. Hold. Deep breath. Release. She kept him alive. She kept him going.

He wished she’d kill him.

She would one of those days. Everyone said so.

His dealer would cut it wrong. He’d take too much accidentally-on-purpose. It was all so easy.

It was a thrill. An expensive one. And he lived for the thrills.

Anything to feel again.

Anything to never feel again.

He was a walking contradiction, and he knew it, and he didn’t care. Life was easier this way. He could spend his days and nights getting high out of his mind. Ollie would pretend not to notice the money missing from his wallet just like he’d pretended not to notice before… Well, for awhile at least.

You’re just a junkie.

But getting clean hadn't done him any good. And what was the point in staying clean when he hadn't even been able to protect the one person he was supposed to protect no matter what? He’d failed her.

He’d failed them.

She was my daughter too.

And how the hell was he supposed to go on when there was a Lian-sized hole in his heart? He never knew he could have loved someone so much, truly love someone with all of his heart. And she was gone, and he was left.

What the hell else was he supposed to do?

Roy woke with a start, eyes darting around the room. It was just a dream. Always just a dream. Always the same dream. Lian screaming. Star going up in flames… She had died scared and alone. And where the hell had he been?

Jade stirred next to him.

She should have hated him. It was his fault their daughter was dead. He felt a twinge of pain in his no longer existant arm and lay back down, taking Jade in his arms, breathing her in. He sighed when she turned so she was facing him. “Go back to sleep.”

“What’s wrong?” a hand on his cheek.

“What isn’t?” he responded and shut his eyes tightly, hugging her impossibly closer. She was his lifeline. He needed her more than he would ever admit to.

No one else had ever understood.

He hoped to whoever the hell was out there that no one ever had to.

Because this had to have been the worst that it could get. His heart had been ripped out and stomped on, and a hole had been left in her place.

Lian was dead.

His everything was gone.

So what was the point anymore?