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A shadow passed, a shadow passed

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The mud sticks to Roscoe's shoes, but he doesn't care, just grips his umbrella tighter and continues his path through the silent graveyard.

All he can think about is his guilt. He should have came sooner. It shouldn't have taken Ritchie getting sick to make him visit. He shouldn't have left his roommate, his friend to lie silenced, in the absolute black of the thick soil.

The graveyard is grey. That's the only way Roscoe can think to describe it. It's dull and drained of life and colour and Roscoe hates it. He hates the mud and the old tombs and all the creepy fences around it but he keeps walking because he has to.

Colin - or his grave at least - is as far from the church as you could get without passing the fence. Roscoe swears slightly at that, angry at the church for not letting Colin lie with his family. Angry at whoever decided he didn't deserve the dignity of being in the same place as his grandparents. Angry at the world for letting him die in the first place.

Eventually he's there. The grave seems too big and too small at once, simultaneously dwarfing and being dwarfed by the slightly wilted daisies in a vase in front. Roscoe remembers Colin's excitement when spring would arrive and the patches of grass in the city were filled with his favourite flower. Roscoe wishes he didn't remember.

He lies down the flowers he brought - daffodils, the bright yellow having seemed suitable at the time but now seems darkened and grey by the surroundings - and awkwardly sits crossed legged in the mud in front of the grave.

The silence hangs in the air for a moment, before Roscoe sighs and starts to speak.

"Ritchie's sick." He says matter of factly, folding up his umbrella and resigning himself to getting soaked through, refusing to look at the gravestone. "He's got... what you had. They caught it early, so they think we'll have more time, but-" he cuts himself off.

"You should have got more time. You should have, but you didn't and that's what makes me so angry. Knowing that all my memories are just that - memories. I'll never see you laugh at Ritchie again, or that stupid smile you do whenever you come into the kitchen every morning. I'll never be able to tease you for being so shy again, or kick you out of the bedroom so I can get laid, or..."

He sighs again, looking up at the grey sky and watching the magpies flying overhead. The rain is inappropriate, he thinks. Colin doesn't want it to rain - wouldn't want it to rain. He swears again at his mistake.

"You're dead, and Ritchie's sick and Jill told me about Gregory-" he holds back tears at that, not averting his stare from the birds in the sky. "He died, Colin. He died, and you died, and Ritchie will die and then what will I do? It isn't fucking fair."

There's distant chatter from across the graveyard - he glances over to a family, wandering idly to one of the graves, presumably visiting some long-dead relative. He tries not to hate them for seeming so happy to be in a graveyard, for not being alone like him. The youngest laughs at something the mother said, and Roscoe feels a pang in his chest.

He turns his eyes back to Colin's grave, looking at the writing for the first time. 'Colin Morris-Jones' It reads, followed by '1964 - 1986' . It seems wrong, almost rude to see Colin's life laid out like that: just a name, two years, one more to add to the list of people killed by AIDS.

"You were meant to be more. You were meant to 'learn everything', remember?" He half-heartedly makes speech marks with his fingers before dropping his hands into his lap. "You were meant to get a good job, and work hard, and be so much more than this." He gestures at the grave, ignoring the tears threatening to run down his cheeks.

"I loved you, Colin. I love you, and you're gone, and that's not fair. It's not-" he's cut off by a sob escaping his chest, and he curls in on himself.

He doesn't know how long he sits there, curled in a ball and sobbing. All he knows is that eventually the rain stops and the sun peers through the clouds, sending shapes of light shining through the trees onto his face.

He laughs at that. He doesn't know if it's the universe playing a joke, or if it's Colin trying to comfort him from beyond the grave, but he starts to laugh through his tears.

He throws his head back, not sure on why exactly he's laughing but it's not just the sun anymore - he's remembering the way Colin would laugh whenever Jill told a joke, and how he'd dance around the kitchen when he thought no one was looking, and how he smiled at Roscoe like he was the only person in the world. Roscoe laughs and laughs, until his sides ache and his tears dry.

When he eventually leaves, trousers covered in mud from where he was sitting, he leaves behind a grave covered in daisies and daffodils, illuminated by the sun, and for the first time in a while Roscoe thinks things will be okay.