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The Quiet Spaces in Between

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In the days following Liz’s death, Dembe watches helplessly as Red falls apart.

He gets no arguments from the other man as he brings him back to the apartment in Alexandria, though he wishes he’d thought better of it at the time. When Raymond leaves here, Dembe doesn’t think he’d come back again, to this place that he’d come as close to calling home as any. It’s too full of empty silences now.

Raymond does not talk to him, or anybody else. Not even Baz, and Kate, when they stop in to check on him. Just shakes his head and retreats to the back room, but the strain in his eyes and the lines on his face speaks volumes.

He receives calls from Raymond’s business associates, and Dembe runs interference and generally keeps things going as he can. Red, had he been himself, would be appalled at the uncharacteristic degree of incompetence Dembe’s displayed over the last few days. He is trying, but he has much on his mind.

Red sleeps, more often than he is awake it seems, but fitfully, in snatches, and there are always dark circles under his eyes. He’s taken up the couch in the living room. Dembe has tried it before, a few times; he quit soon after he figures out the disservice it does his back. But short of bodily picking him up and dumping him on the bed, Dembe deigns to let this one go.

He does dump the drugs, when he’s managed to find them, god knows from where Raymond has stashed up the mixtures. He settles for the alcohol though, picks up yet another bottle of hard liquor when he goes out for groceries, because he’s more afraid of what Raymond would do without a modicum of vice available to drown out his thoughts.

Kino meows at them pitifully too, confused by the lack of attention he’s paid, and Dembe eventually caves. He tosses a few toys for the cat to chase, watches him in a mostly useless attempt at staving off his own grief. The otherwise dead silence of the apartment is suffocating.

He is not surprised when he returns to find Red gone one day. Has been expecting it for some time, the way Red paces the apartment restlessly, and draws away whenever Dembe comes near, needing distance. He’s raw like an exposed nerve.

Red leaves just the note. Two lines on the back of a discarded receipt, and he supposes he should be relieved Red even remembers to tell him at all. Dembe knows Red will find means of travel and other resources, even when he appears to have taken nothing with him, but still he worries.

When he focuses enough to decipher the hastily scrawled handwriting, panic stirs in his chest.

Cape May

That alone would have been enough to send him on the next train out despite any reservations Raymond might have on the matter. But he is able to breathe easier when he catches the last part of the note - Montpelier. Dom’s place.

Dembe leans against the table and exhales shakily, still feeling unbalanced. That... should be all right then, shouldn’t it? He sinks wearily into a chair.

It makes him uneasy, not knowing how the other man would react to this latest news. Dom was not exactly fond of Raymond to start with, though Dembe doesn’t think he’s about to turn him away, if Raymond shows up at his doorsteps needing a place to stay.

He hopes he’s done enough to get Raymond there. In any case, he’ll give him another week before he makes contact with the task force. Raymond will need a distraction. Solomon is still out there, with the people that had caused Liz’s death. Red blames himself, even though he shouldn't, but Dembe will see him through this somehow.