"Church is dead," said a ghostly figure in the dark shadows.
Caboose turned around to see who it was but nobody was there, at least not that he could see anyways. He was confused…and scared.
Church… is… dead?
He couldn't be. He was the strongest one of the Blue team, which was one of the reasons why he looked up to him so much. He admired Church because of it.
There was no way his best friend would have been taken down so easily.
Those words were what Caboose feared the most. It was like a horrible nightmare that seemed far too real. He didn't want it to be real! So at first it didn't seem to want to register in his head. It was all a dream right? It took him a brief moment to finally get it through. Then it struck poor Caboose like a freight train.
The blonde's blue eyes went extremely wide, his body frozen in the spot in which he stood. He felt a massive chill go down his spine as the blood in his body suddenly ran cold, hearing those words. His legs gave out underneath him and he fell to his knees. He was unable to think clearly and he didn't speak a single word.
Caboose took off his helmet, placing it down at his side. The soldier eyes filled with tears and they ran down his paled cheeks. Just a few at first, then they came more and more as he was unable to hold back all the pain building up in his chest. A loud sob escaped his throat and he buried his face into his hands.
"Church… Church? Church! Chuuuuurch!" he choked, crying the name over and over each time, getting louder until he was screaming.
"Church isn't coming back, Caboose."
The blonde sat on his bed, his face in his hands. He was a mess, a complete wreck. For the past few moments he'd done nothing but sit in his room and cry until he cried himself to sleep. Five words kept repeating in his head. The sad part about it was that it was true. Church wasn't coming back. His best friend was never coming back.
"No, No... Church..." Caboose sobbed into his hands before falling back into his pillow then screaming into it. "…He has to come back! Just like he did before! Chuuuurch!"
"It's your fault Church died," it said again, tormenting him.
His tear-filled blue eyes widened as he shook his head, putting his hands over his ears. He didn't
want to hear those words!
"N-No… NO! It's not my fault! I-I didn't do a-anything! It wasn't my fault! IT WASN'T MY FAULT!" He dropped to his knees. "CHURCH! IT'S NOT MY FAULT… I DIDN'T… NO, I DIDN'T WANT ANYTHING TO HAPPEN TO YOU!" he sobbed, more tears streaming down his cheeks as he screamed.
"He would've lived without you," the ghost hissed.
This was torture and he didn't know how much more of this he could take. He kept his hands over his ears, trying to block out the cruel words.
"No…. he wouldn't of…. Church is my best friend! H-He wouldn't… he—he… Church… he wouldn't live… without me….. he couldn't… he wouldn't!"
"Church died because of you."
"NO! SHUT UP! PLEASE JUST SHUT UP! HE DIDN'T… DIE… BECAUSE OF ME! I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING! IT WASN'T MY FAULT!" His voice was starting to crack now as he continued to scream and cry in anguish. The pain was eating away at him from the inside out.
"He was protecting you, Caboose."
"He… He protected me… he… was shot down… he shielded me from the bullets… it was my fault. It really was my fault." His voice became raspy.
"Church… I am a bad person. This is all my fault. I—I should've protected you."
"You got in the way."
"I… I… " He didn't know what to say. He collapsed to the ground and curled up into a tight ball, his eyes clenched shut.
He couldn't take it anymore. He'd completely and utterly lost his mind. He let out another sob before he opened his eyes again and saw his shotgun. He was so tempted just to reach for it and end it all. Why shouldn't he? He had killed his best friend. He was a horrible person. Right?
"Church, I'm sorry…" he said, reaching for it taking the cold metal shotgun into his hand.
He had the gun held to his head he sat up, what more did he have to live for? Church was gone and it was all his fault. He felt like the most horrible person in the world. His body shook violently as he put his finger on the trigger. Someone came out from the Blue Base.
"CABOOSE!" It sounded… like… Church?
Caboose pulled the trigger.
"CABOOSE!" The frustrated snap of the Blue Team leader came from the doorway to Caboose's room as Church, wearing a cobalt t-shirt and black trousers, poked his head in.
Caboose snapped awake he shot up in his bed letting out a loud gasp. His face was pale, covered with a cold sweat, his breathing heavy and eyes wide. Had it just been a nightmare? It just felt too damn real and scary. This was the first time he'd had such a bad dream like that, it left the blonde a heaping mess on the bed.
"Shut the fuck up, would you? You've been screaming all night!"
He slowly glanced up, afraid at first he'd might see a ghost. Holding his breath he looked up at the doorway to see Church standing there… and he was alive. He really was there! He wasn't a ghost, nor was he dead.
"..C-Church." He whimpered. "… you're… alive… you're… really alive." he spoke shakily. He wanted to make sure he wasn't still dreaming.
He clenched tightly to his blankets, tears running down his cheeks. Letting out a small sob as he buried his face into his blankets; he was shaking violently.
"Ch-Church… I… had the… most... awful dream!" Caboose mumbled through his cries. "I... II thought… I'd lost you… and… and…" looking up at him again turned him into a total ball of emotions.
Church raised an eyebrow at the younger soldier who practically hid under his blankets. He glanced back to make sure Tucker wouldn't suddenly arrive and be an asshole about the entire thing, before shuffling further into the room and closing the door softly behind him.
This wasn't actually a real body he was in - it was the robot he had been possessing for a good while now, with the added benefit of a holographic projector that they'd found at one of the Freelancer bases. He'd tried it out, and had managed to overlay a holograph of what he thought was a younger version of himself, whoever he was. He'd never seen Caboose happier than when he'd first taken his helmet off.
But the guy was upset now. Really upset and downright frightened. A nightmare? About him dying? Well, he knew why the poor kid was upset. He was practically attached to the Blue Team leader, even if Church didn't always appreciate it. He had good intentions though, despite how annoying he could be. With no Tucker to take the piss, he could hopefully calm Caboose down.
The young blonde couldn't seem to pull himself together. He simply continued to shake and tremble, sniffling here and there trying to stop the tears that just seemed to come more and more. He was really attached to Church. He was his best friend after all; he has been since the very beginning. As much as he was a bit of annoyance at times, he couldn't help it, he admired the older boy. So brave and strong.
They practically did everything together now a days, for the most part, that was if Tucker wasn't getting in the way. The blonde hated it when he took Church's attention away from him just so he can hang with him so they could do stuff together too! Jealous…? Very much so.
He was actually glad that Tucker wasn't here at the moment because if he were to see Caboose like this, who knows what would've happened. He'd probably make fun of him for crying and being such a big baby over a bad dream. That was something he didn't need to hear right now. Caboose was already a total mess as it was.
"Well…" Church mumbled, moving to sit on the edge of the bed with a small smile. "I'm still here, right buddy? I'm still around. It was just some nightmare. I'm not going for a while."
He decided not to mention that at this rate he might not be going out at all. What if he lived longer than anyone else in the canyon? What if he had to live forever and watch everyone else die around him? What the heck would he do?
As Church sat at the edge of his bed the young blonde soldier stopped sobbing for a brief moment trying to regain himself. Those words came to his mind again, those hurtful accusing words that made him the frightened crying blonde he was right now.
"..C-Church… they were all blaming me... Th-those gray faced scary people..." He hiccuped. "… they kept telling me it was my fault that you died…. you protected me, and they said that I was just in the way… and… you would have lived without me." he sniffled again as he crawled out from under his blankets to move a bit closer to Church to sit next to him allowing his legs to dangle off the side of the bed.
Caboose was really starting to dislikes these damn gray faced scary people they called Anons. They were so mean to him and liked to pick on him, and now they were torturing the poor boy even in his dreams causing him to have such horrible nightmares. Nope, he didn't like them, not at all!
Why couldn't they just leave him alone? Or go mess with someone else's head…like Tucker…because he is stupid. Even better, maybe one of the Reds. Would be so much better then attacking him.
Shit. The fucking Anons had gotten to him. But how the hell had they invaded his dreams? Church thought to himself.
Church didn't even know they could do that. Then again, the night previously, he had some sort of memory attack. The grey faces showed up there too, so he knew how Caboose felt. But he didn't voice such a topic; it wouldn't help in this situation. He should also probably keep it quiet that Caboose was often the reason his body got blown up or injured.
"Hey, come on, man." he tried gently, moving to awkwardly place an arm around the blonde's shoulders.
He wasn't sure if his arm felt metallic or like flesh and bone; he couldn't really judge it himself. It was weird.
Caboose slightly flinched when he felt Church's arm awkwardly wrap around his shoulder. But at the same time he couldn't help but to feel a small warmth coming from the other. Was he… actually… really hugging him!? Usually he would just result in speaking "kind" words to him to comfort him but he'd never gone as far as hugging Caboose before.
Even if he was just a robot there was still some feeling of warmth to him. This was also the first time that the Blue leader has ever held him like this or at least attempted to comfort him in such a manner.
"I don't think anyone could ever, really kill me. I'm… not exactly human anymore… remember? Besides, I don't think you'd ever hurt me." On purpose, at least. He added silently in his head.
Thats right he wasn't human was he, how could he have forgotten that Church was really an AI. It wouldn't be exactly easy to kill him, besides, AI's couldn't die... could they? This question lingered in his mind for a moment before he shrugged it off to the side. It really didn't matter at this time anyways. He shook his head.
"No… I wouldn't hurt you on purpose... it usually is an accident." Caboose told him.
It's not like he really meant to shoot Church with Sheila, he didn't know how to control it at the time being a rookie. He panicked when he tried to turn off the missile lock, but it failed horribly in which it ended up with the tank blowing up the blue leader.
"I mean, I'm your…" Oh God. Why was he going down this route? It would end in disaster. It'd cheer up Caboose, sure, but he might end up regretting it forever. "I'm your… um… your best… ahh fuck… y'know… I'm your best friend or whatever." Well, that went well.
At first it didn't register in his head since he pretty much mumbled it so he kinda missed it.
"I didn't really mean to—-" he stopped when it finally registered making him freeze for a brief moment.
He stared at him eyes wide and a slightly dropped jaw from the shock of it.
"Wh-what did you say?" he stammered. "Did…you…just…?" Caboose suddenly had the biggest grin on his face, his eyes lit up, he had waited for so long to hear Church say those words, but he never thought he'd actually hear him say it; he wanted to be sure he heard it right.
"Damnit, man." Church sighed in frustration, barely able to get the words out the first time. Either he was loving this moment, or he really hadn't heard, which wasn't that unlikely.
"I'm… I'm your… your best friend. Alright, I said it. Don't fucking rub it in, and don't tell Tucker, ever." God knew what would happen if the cyan armored soldier found out that he'd admitted to being Caboose's best friend.
"… Or anyone else for that matter." If the Reds found out… heck, if Wash found out… he'd never hear the end of it.
Truth was that he didn't really hear him at first but now that he confirmed it and said it again—-Caboose could feel everything bad from the nightmare just melt away. He never thought that he would ever hear Church say those words or actually go as far as admitting it to him out loud. He usually never would admit to something like this.
The blonde's grin grew as wide as it could possibly grow as he couldn't contain his now overwhelming joy that welled up inside him, it literally overflowed.
But that wasn't important right now. Church felt he was pretty much done here. Caboose had the biggest fucking grin on his face, nightmares most likely forgotten, so maybe he could say good night and get out of there before the younger man hugged him to death. At least the door was shut. Wash was a light sleeper, and was the more likely one to walk in on this situation.
"Church! You—said you were my best friend! You're my best friend~! I kneeew iiittttt! I KNEW IT!" he literally squealed loudly before he tackled and hugged Church, in the process knocking them both back onto the bed!
"Oof!" Church grunted as he was basically shoved back onto the bed and crushed to death. Luckily he was made of metal so it would take someone a lot stronger than Caboose to crush him. Then again, the guy was pretty strong in his own right.
Caboose clung to him hugging him tightly in a near deathly grip. He'd squeed so loudly he actually missed that other part about not telling Tucker, or anyone for that matter, but he felt like he could just tell the whole world. Heck, with the way he screamed it just now he probably woke up everyone in the blue base let alone the entire Blood Gulch.
"I. AM. SO HAPPY!" he started crying again.
But yelling the place down wasn't going to get them anywhere.
"Goddammit man, I said-!" Church began, but looked down, seeing the tears flowing down the blonde's face.
"Oh… sorry… I will not scream anymore. But all this joyfulness'~!" he said tears running down his cheeks still having that big goofy smile on his face.
They weren't the tears of sadness from earlier. They were happy tears. The young soldier was ecstatic by this point. Happier than Church had ever seen him. Well, maybe he could give the guy a break. It was Caboose, after all. It'd slip out at some point.
Caboose couldn't have been any happier, just to know that Church considered himself his best friend. Ever since coming to the Blood Gulch they have been through so much crap. Most of the time it was fighting the Reds, doing this and doing that, there wasn't much fun stuff that happened there or time for happiness. So this was that rare moment.
"Never mind, man. If it keeps you happy, then whatever." He muttered, awkwardly patting the other male's shoulder.
Human contact wasn't exactly something he was good with, unless you count the extremely rare moments he had with Tex. Which were usually followed by a punch to his face.
"It does make me very happy!" Caboose replied.
Caboose just continued to hug him not letting up on his death grip for a moment, even though he wasn't really hurting Church, he wasn't really all that strong to begin with. At least as far as he knew, for all he knew he could have some super power strength that he never knew about. The blonde was just so happy they were best friends. Now he could see that Church really did like him but the blonde never doubted that for a second not ever.
"You think you'll be alright to go to sleep, buddy? I'm really tired." The Blue Team leader asked after a while, which was the truth; even AIs needed some time to rest, or that was what Delta had said anyway.
The blonde sat up letting go of Church allowing him to get back up as well. He gave a small nod to him. He felt a whole lot better now but something in the back of his mind told him that maybe just to be sure.
As Church went to get up and go back to bed himself Caboose found himself lightly grabbing hold of his arm, kinda like a child would to a parent.. He knew this was probably pushing it a bit. Since Church already had to push himself to comfort him much to his discomfort, but he still felt a little bit wary that if he went back to sleep they might come back again.
"Church… will you… stay with me? You know just in case those meany gray face people decide to come back." he quietly asked. He looked up at him with almost a puppy-faced look. Who could deny those big blue eyes of his?
Church opened his mouth to protest, but the puppy dog eyes got to him. Goddamn those eyes! He hardly ever saw Caboose out of his helmet, yet he'd developed a sixth sense of when the younger man was pulling that look, and it was extremely hard to resist. Especially right now, when he was too tired to do so. A soft yet clearly exasperated sigh came from his lips, before he nodded slowly, sitting back down again on the bed.
Over the years he had learned that giving Church the puppy dog eyes made it a lot more harder for the blue leader to resist him; especially when it came to wanting his attention, that is if Tucker wasn't screwing it up. After a while it was only then that he realized at that he seemed to of caught on to it. Even when he'd been wearing his was wearing his helmet he somehow knew he was giving him that look. Church still found it hard not to give into it. It was like Caboose's weapon against him.
"Sure thing, Caboose." He answered quietly. The brief energy from hearing the soldier's screams had left him, and now all he wanted to do was rest.
"Move up, would you?"
His smile grew once again hearing him say that he would stay with him.
"Thank you Church." he said softly as he crawled back onto the bed making room for Church to lay down as well.
The blonde snuggled back under the covers trying to get himself all comfortable. He laid back his head hitting back against the pillow.
Church lay on top of the blankets whilst Caboose laid underneath. He wasn't going to make this any more gay than what it already was. There was already the chance that either Tucker or Wash was awake, and if they walked in to him like this he might have to shoot himself. He'd never live it down, to say the least.
Shuffling back, Church laid down, his head hitting the pillow with a soft thud. His eyes closed, but he wasn't necessarily asleep. He'd stay awake for a while to make sure Caboose went to sleep, then he might consider leaving. Then again… maybe one night keeping the younger man happy wouldn't hurt.
Caboose glanced over only to notice that he'd been laying on top of the blankets. It was obvious that he didn't want to make this as awkward as it already was. He didn't see that way. Caboose saw it more as a friendly cuddle type of thing. He noticed his eyes were closed.
"Church… aren't you gonna be cold?" the young blonde soldier asked concernedly. "You should get under the blanket too."
"No, I'm good."
Caboose had yet to understand the conduct of not sleeping with another man unless you actually properly loved them. That was what Church had been taught, anyway, and even if it comforted the younger soldier a little more he wasn't going to ruin that principle. He certainly wasn't homosexual. He had a relationship with Tex, for crying out loud. Well… a sort of relationship. He wasn't sure where they were in 'relationships' right now. Probably somewhere close to domestic violence, but she could be alright. Sometimes.
"Ok then…" he replied before laying his head back down again onto the pillow.
Caboose has never been in any kind of relationship before, so it was hard for him to understand anything about love. Especially when it came to sleeping with people, let alone another man anyways. He wasn't homosexual either…or as far as he knew. He didn't really have a preference, it was far too complicated for him…for reasons beyond his own comprehension.
Though there was that one time when he had a crush on Sheila but that was about it. Then that Spanish speaking asshole Lopez got in his way. Then she was destroyed on multiple occasions, put into a large ship, and then blown up yet again. After that since Tex disappeared she wasn't able to get repaired. He hated to admit it and probably never would, not out loud at least, but he was kind of jealous of Church's relationship with Tex. He wasn't sure why… but he was.
The Blue Team leader kept his eyes shut, hoping to drift off before Caboose started talking to him so much. The guy would probably keep him up all night at this rate, so it would be better if he just slipped off to sleep. Now that everything was quiet, Tucker and/or Wash had no reason to bother them. That was his logic, at least. Not to mention his hope. It was getting more unlikely that they'd come to see what was going on, so Church relaxed a little more.
It was only one night, after all.
Caboose was really happy that Church was staying with him, even if it was just for this one night. He just hoped those horrible nightmares didn't decide to come back. Even if he did he would have his best friend next to him to chase all the nightmares again if they did come up.
He stared up at the ceiling for a moment, he felt his eyes becoming heavy unable to keep them open any longer. He was tired, all that crying had worn him out. It wasn't long before his eyes drifted shut and he dozed off into a happy slumber with no more nightmares haunting him.