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Airs from heaven or blasts from hell

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George can't bear the idea of going south. He doesn't want to see the border, to let it look accusingly back at him. The border has hundreds of eyes and they all know him on sight.

But he has to go somewhere. He can't stay here.

"I'm driving," he says, and David doesn't argue. He hasn't gained enough weight back yet and he was always a skinny fucker so he opens the door with a skeletal arm and gets into the passenger side of his own truck. "Greg's staying here."

"I know," says David, quiet and subdued. He can't stay either, for even more reasons than George can't. "He's got a place here. He's okay."

George just puts the truck in gear, too quickly and with a thunk of machinery, and peels out of the yard, turning away from the border and heading north out of town. He doesn't know where they're going yet. He doesn't think it matters.

He wonders sometimes if it would've been easier if they'd done time, if they could look back and point and say 'I did a terrible thing and I paid for it and I can find a way to move on.' Instead they made a mistake and were brushed aside for a bigger mistake and now it's going to ride on their backs forever, with no penance to push it off. George doesn't think he's ever going to feel forgiven, and doesn't really believe he should. It's not supposed to be easier for them, and you get the punishment you deserve.

The only hard part was leaving his family behind, but he thinks this will be easier on them too. They don't have to look at him anymore. They don't have to look at their son and never forget.

Guilt eats up the miles, and even the radio can't fill the silence.

"I'm gonna drive through the night."

"The hell you are," says David as the sun sets behind them. They must be going east now. Northeast. George took a turn when the mood struck him and he still doesn't know where they're headed now but at some point it stopped feeling so much like they were heading away from something and a little more like they were heading towards something else. "I'm hungry."

"Eat a burrito. That's what we got them for."

"They're cold," says David. "We're going to eat a real fucking dinner and sleep in a real bed."

They've been going with the devil on their tail, making up for all those days and weeks that David couldn't leave yet, and George couldn't leave without David. They're probably still a couple of weeks too early, but no one wanted to wait anymore.

George knows how fucked up everything got, he knows that people died and that's not an easy thing to live with. The responsibility sits on him, on them, whether the law put it there or not. He's dealing with it the best way he knows how.

He thought it would get better when they left town, packed up their things and never looked back. Instead, the ghosts come.

David sleeps like the dead, heavily sedated on painkillers with an arm over George's chest. They don't even think about not sleeping together once they cross the border between home and everywhere else, don't let that be another burden on top of everything else. So David sleeps and George sees them, twin boys with sad eyes and a woman with wrinkles on her hands and a middle-aged man with a photo of a young girl falling out of his shirt pocket.

He sees them over and over again, in that motel in Texas, in a tent in Oklahoma, in a truck stop parking lot in Kansas. Only at night in the beginning, then spreading to anywhere. Everywhere. Always the twins first, then the others, the names he still doesn't know, the bodies in that truck who became people to him only after they were gone.

"Stop it," he says from their bed in the middle of Iowa, sitting up and rubbing his eyes and trying not to raise his voice. "We didn't know." David wakes up anyway, blinks at him and tries to draw him back under the covers with a wandering hand and a kiss to his side, lips touching a scar George got when they were riding bikes together a lifetime ago.

"I can't," he says, and the twins haunt him from in front of the ugly brown curtains that block their scenic view of the parking lot. "I can't right now."

"You always can," mumbles David, but he's falling asleep again and George holds his breath until he does, watches the lines on his face relax again, listens to his breathing even out. After it all happened, he spent a lot of time listening to David breathing, worried that if he didn't David might just stop.

It would be easier if they said something, if they blamed him, if they were angry. George knows how to deal with anger. He's never been good with quiet and patience and judgment. Their silence says 'stop making excuses' and 'this isn't about you'.

David laughs again in Minnesota, when they stop at a Taco Bell and stand in the parking lot and watch the snow fall. George is fascinated by the snow, even more fascinated by the way it's so mundane to everyone around him. He guesses you can get used to anything, if you live with it long enough.

"We're in fucking Minnesota," he says, and David laughs again.

"Yeah, we fucking are."

The snow falls in huge, fluffy clumps in a way George didn't think happened outside of a Hollywood sound stage. It's a big, foreign world out there, and not for the first time he feels very small.

"I'm sorry," he says to David, who isn't someone George needs to apologize to particularly, but he's a start.

"I'm sorry too," says David, and takes George's hand and squeezes it with a strength that he didn't have when they started this journey. "Sometimes I'm so sorry I can't breathe."

"Not on my fucking watch," says George, and blinks the snow off his eyelashes and tugs David inside to get some lousy food. The twins are under the awning, fading into the 2-for-1 sign and watching George and David pass. George nods at them instead of looking away.

You can't outrun the people inside your own head. But maybe, with enough time, you can make your peace.