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We All Survive

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Jon should have known.

He should have Known.

Over the years he’d seen the occasional statement stained with…blood, tears, unnamed monster goop…but nothing like this. He could feel the misery pour out of the folder before he’d even opened the box.

 

The pages were grimy, singed at the edges. There was blood coating the official Institute manila folder, a smattering of brownish fingerprints and tear stains and ink blots. When he opened it, many of the words were scratched out, or written on top of each other. No one but the Archivist could have possibly read it, for the incidence of backwards letters or wild misspellings.

 

What entity was this, even? Spiral, because of the way the author disregarded standard writing rules, such as “it should be apparent which side of the paper is meant to be the top and which is the bottom”? Or did that indicate a statement written while in the clutches of the Vast, being thrown to and fro until up and down didn’t mean anything in that emptiness where there was no ground? Maybe the blood indicated the Slaughter, and was written by a dying hand?

 

It was like Archivist catnip. A stale, guilt-free written statement dripping with this much trauma? He might not have to read anything else for a week.

 

Maybe that was why he reached for it first.


 

If Martin had been home, he would have asked Jon why he was weeping before his fingers ever touched the statement. But Melanie tells Martin, after it’s over and they’ve buried Jon, that he can’t blame himself. That they were fighting forces beyond anyone’s comprehension and there is absolutely nothing Martin could have done to stop what happened. It was just bad luck.

 

Martin thinks he ought to try to believe her.


 

 

 

This next scene needs very little description. Jon was on the floor, and he would not wake up. Martin was with him, later, and then there was paperwork, and signatures, and then Basira, and broken speed limits, and then a midnight phone call to Georgie.

 

 

There was another hospital bed and another round of confused doctors and as the man he loved waste away to skin and bone and shallow, labored breaths, Martin did not cry, or beg, or ask anything of anyone. He thanked Basira when she brought him tea. He stroked Jon’s hair, and told him about the stray cat he’d seen on his way to the hospital, and told him he was loved, and when it was time to say goodbye, he kissed Jon’s forehead and thanked him, for everything.

 

 

 

And the Watcher drank it all in.