Gabe opened his eyes, greeted by a bright blue sky and the tiny pokes of grass blades under his body. Dazed, he blinked around, trying to collect the thoughts and memories of the days before. Nothing existed in this moment of tranquil confusion, save for himself and the peaceful world around him.
Then, suddenly, a shift of color flashed behind his eyes. Memories flooded back of Tycho, of Moira and Jim, of the rake guy and of monsters and dark gods, ending the world, and arriving into this new, perfect world. He jolted upright, gasping for air after the shock of memories engulfing his mind. He looked around for Tycho, knowing he was dead now, but still holding onto hope.
Instead, he got a big look of the world around him. The sky was vivid, with spots of clouds rolling by, and he was just beyond a forest which overlooked the town of what appeared to be New Arcadia. Gabe rose to his feet, stumbling only a little, and sullenly looked upon the town and sighed to himself with melancholy. Sure, the world was perfect, but Tycho wasn’t here to see it.
Gabe muttered something too low to hear, and walked on towards the town.
New Arcadia definitely was very different. People went about as if nothing had ever happened, and seemed a bit friendlier than normal. There weren’t any homeless people, nor were there any incredibly rich people. Everything was fairly middle and balanced, and everything just seemed right. Where evil began, so did good, so there were things to fight but it just wasn’t as challenging as it would have been had Tycho still been there.
Gabe simply walked about the town, not even bothering to take in the view. He hated being alone like this, especially without anyone to vent to. People tried to talk with him, say hello, ask him how he was doing, if he was lost at all - but he just walked on, ignoring anyone who spoke.
Finally, he made it to the Agency building. It was, of course, empty and abandoned, locked up with a ‘For Sale’ sign. He was tempted to break open the lock in a fit of rage, but someone appeared before that could happen.
“Howdy, stranger!” A peachy old man stepped up, grinning and going to shake his hand. Gabe unknowingly took his greeting, just a bit shocked and overwhelmed by everything. “I see you’re eyein’ this beauty of a buildin’ right here. Care to check it out? I just came over to see how the ol’ gal’s doin’, myself.”
“…Sure…” Gabe mumbled.
“There’s no need to be shy, now.” The old man unlocked and opened the door, allowing Gabe access to its hollow shell.
He took a step in, and memories forced their way through once again.
He saw the tables, the shelves, his punching bag, the desk, the board with leads and anomalies and various references and a “GABE DO NOT TOUCH MY THINGS” note, and he remembered Tycho’s chair…
He looked to the front door, past the old man, and remembered when they first came up with their agency’s name, and getting it plastered on the glass for all to see.
Gabe turned and headed upstairs, to the rooms up above.
The second room was Tycho’s, and out of habit, he hesitated to open the door. He remembered being terrified of opening the door after having a nightmare, and knocking before entering, finding Tycho fast asleep and still asking if he was awake. He recalled that every night he had a nightmare after that, he would try to sleep on the floor and eventually be called into bed by Tycho himself. Gabe opened the door for real this time, and expected to see his big comfortable bed with messy sheets and an even messier floor, papers and books everywhere. Instead it was still empty, as it had been for a while. He closed it and moved on.
The third and last room was Gabe’s actual room, where he was allowed to sleep after a few months of sleeping in the main room. He opened the door and looked around the drafty place. He didn’t have much to his name; just a few punching bags, a dresser full of used clothes, and a bed on the floor with one single blanket and a small pillow. He didn’t really miss this room.
Gabe realized something, and hurried downstairs.
“How much is this place?!” He near shouted.
“Why, it’s about $108.”
Gabe grinned, shoving his hands into his pockets and bringing up nothing. He stared wide-eyed at his empty hands and was on the verge of panicking before a familiar voice resounded,
“I’ll take it.”
Gabe looked up in a flash moment of furiousness, ready to fight whoever dare steal this last shred of whatever home was to him. He immediately calmed down the second he knew it was Moira, waltzing into the house, in all her fighting glory.
“You…,” Gabe whispered to no one in particular. She handed the cash up front, and took the key from the old man.
“I’ll be here to help do paperwork tomorrow.” She stated, and the old man hobbled back out of the building. She turned to Gabe, who stood without any expression on his countenance.
“You…you killed him…” His face slowly contorted, obviously trying not to show sadness or regret.
“It had to be done, okay?” She held her arms, not wanting to see a sad Gabe, “It had to…”
“I…I know…” He balled his fists, “I know it had to…I’m…I’m not some idiot…I…”
“It’s over, isn’t it? We won…we really did…”
Gabe looked down to the floor, nearly bowing his head, and then it began; one gasp of breath, one small tear landing on the floorboards, and one fist to the wall with an anguished howl and he was finally on his hands and knees, sobbing.
Everything he knew, for 14 years, finally came to an end. What was he supposed to do with his life without Tycho? He had formed such a dependency on him that his life didn’t really serve a purpose anymore. Tycho just wasn’t there, and he never will be again. Moira kneeled down to Gabe’s level and rubbed his back. He did something even he didn’t expect; he hugged Moira, and she, against every odd, hugged back.
It was silent for a while before they parted.
“I’ll help you get your furniture back, or whatever you need. I still had my job when I arrived here, so at least you have someone supporting you.”
“It’ll be alright, Gabe. There’s always something to fight. If you wanna take on a rookie job with my agency, I’d be happy to help.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Why are you here? Why are you helping me?”
“…I kinda knew you’d be here, of all places. I wanted to help you because we’ve literally gone through hell – or, underhell – and back, and we did it together. Okay? People don’t just say, ‘welp, we’re done now, bye!’ or some shit like that. That’s not right. It’s not me.”
Gabe didn’t reply, but stood up and wiped his eyes and face.
“I’ve got to get back to my place for now…okay? Come with me. You need a bed to sleep on.”
“…Okay.” He nodded, and followed her out, taking one last look on the empty building before closing and locking it up for the first time in what has probably been ages.