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A Moment of Stolen Peace

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Silence. He doesn’t speak. Neither do you. You stand side by side gazing out into the ocean. The water is deceptively calm. You know it’s toxic. Everyone does. But that’s alright. You don’t swim anyways.

The breeze is cool, welcome against the heat of the sun. You hold your shoes in your hand bare feet digging into the warm sand as you wiggle your toes. He keeps his boots on. You imagine sand in prosthetics is not a very pleasant thing to clean. The minuscule grains grinding on the gears destroying the joints faster than if they were left to their own devices.

“It’s peaceful today.” You say closing your eyes, the wind gently creasing your face. “ That’s rare for this city.”

“It is.” His mind is calm, steady like the vast surface of a great lake, and though darkness and unknown entities may lurk beneath, for the moment at least, it is quiet.

You keep your eyes closed slowly reaching over to take one of his hands in yours intertwining your fingers. The sound of the ocean washes over you. You inhale deeply lungs filling with the cool, briny air. It is early. The city is barely awake. You were too restless to sleep last night. The terrors of your past haunt your mind like the presence of a poltergeist in a long abandoned house. You may have some similar characteristics to that house, broken and decaying, but you have not given up, abandon your own mind, your hope of salvation.

You called Chen, as you have done so many times in the past only this time he was also plagued by horrors of his own. You couldn’t be inside. You felt unsafe, the walls too close, the darkness lurking at the edges of your vision. Leaving Spoon at his place, he came to pick you up driving to the ocean where you now stand.

You have always loved the ocean. It’s waves and mystery drawing your towards it, coxing people to a life at sea. It is unpredictable, powerful, terrifying and yet so soothing. You wonder what untold creatures lurk in it’s very depths. Would the be friendly? Would they have eyes, living so far below the surface that light can not reach? It doesn’t matter, not really. You exhale long and slow, opening your eyes. Chen is watching you. Of course he is. His steady gaze has always been trained on you, careful, calculating. Maybe he sees you as unpredictable, a force of power and potential devastation, just like the ocean.

You smile at him, a rare sense of tranquility radiating from your mind and bleeding into his. “What?” You cock your head to the side, “Why do you always watch me like that?”

“I’ve just…never seen you this at ease before.” His smile is small, the corners of his eyes wrinkling ever so slightly a look of stubborn adoration on his face. “And I don’t always watch you.”

“Hmmm,” you turn your attention back to the ocean, “if you say so.

“I don’t.” His objection is weak. You both know that he has paid careful attention to your actions since he met you. You now know it was more than just suspicion that caused his eyes to always seek you out, finding you in the crowd, making sure you weren’t a threat… making sure you were safe.

“If anything, you watch me more now.” You eye him out of the corner of your eye, “worried I might disappear?”

“Yes.” His tone is serious, his mind stubborn as a brick wall. You head snaps around to look at him so fast it could have given you whiplash. Shit. You should have expected that. A solid answer to your teasing remark. You want to tell him that you won’t disappear, that you will stay, that you are not going anywhere, but you can’t. What good are false promises anyways? Instead you smile at him, releasing your hold on his hand so you can pull him into a gentle kiss in the crisp morning air. It is soft and slow, his arms winding around your waist as you wrap yours around his neck. Just a few moments. Just a few moments of peace before you are thrown back into the chaos and constant devastation that is your stolen life. You deserve at least that much and he deserves more. You would give him the world if only you could steal the means to be an actual person.