blair murdock ; d4m [done] Aug 30, 2023 10:16:56 GMT -5
Post by tavi anemos d8 ; nyte on Aug 30, 2023 10:16:56 GMT -5
It wasn't supposed to end like this.
With teeth chattering and a towel wrapped around my shoulders. My tongue keeps stumbling over apologies like it's the only sound it remembers how to make. I don't even know if I am sorry, I can't feel anything. Not the bite of the breeze against damp skin or the droplets of water settling in the notches on my spine.
He's on the sand next to me and there's a whole crowd of people around him. Someone's crying - his mother? - a little ways back as someone else shouts orders drowned out by the blood roaring in my ears. There's a storm on the horizon that wasn't there twenty minutes before and I watch as lightning dances through the clouds and try to blame it for the sharp cracks I hear instead of his rib cage.
They're counting out compressions
still no heartbeat.
"I said get back!"
Palms strike my shoulders, I fall flat on my ass. It should hurt. It doesn't. Wet hair clings to my forehead and I look up at Lennon's father. His eyes are trained on the scratches his son left up my forearms. Long and jagged, fresh waves of blood cording through my fingers from the fall. I hadn't noticed they were there, cute little crescent moons because he didn't bite his nails like I did. "I'm sorry," I say again.
He spits at me before he swings away.
"The tide came in so fast it pulled me under. He tried to help, he-"
A thoughtless murder it was. Instinctual, even. There was nothing past the fear and the burn of salt water in my lungs. When I saw him reaching out toward me all I knew was that I didn't want to die. I didn't realize what had happened until it was much too late.
The bruises on my wrists are in the shape of his fingers.
"You're like a whole other person in the water, man. It's like you're invincible." Lennon looks like a starfish, sprawled out on my bedroom floor with this shitty grin stretched on his lips. "Just like my comic books. Be honest, is the loser nerd thing an act to hide your secret identity?"
I prop my head up on my palm, looking down at him and doing my best to smother the smile threatening to mirror his, "My secret identity as what, a fucking dolphin?"
"Hell yeah! Let's go with that." Lennon laughs, "The whole prodigy thing would be way more impressive if you were also a fish pretending to be a boy."
"Dolphins are mammals, Len."
There's these awful, neon goldfish stickers on my ceiling that we put there when we were eight. Lennon had to crawl up on my shoulders to reach and so they're clumsy and crooked because I couldn't hold his weight for very long.
He was so scared I was going to drop him, too. So I informed him he couldn't be afraid of the water as well as heights and was going to have to pick a struggle.
It's been eight years now and they're starting to peel up at the corners. I've been meaning to remove them for months but just haven't gotten around to it. In between school and practice I've hardly had time to think. Besides, they glow in the dark and that's pretty cool no matter how old you are.
We settle into a comfortable silence before he starts to get anxious. Lennon doesn't like the quiet, "I miss you, you know."
"C'mon, that's not fair. We hang out whenever I have free time, it's just-"
"Training. I know. You're always training." He shifts uncomfortably, not meeting my eyes, "what am I supposed to do when you're a big olympic athlete and I'm still just... me."
"Hey!" I swing my legs over my bed, sliding down onto the floor with him. He's looking up at the goldfish too. "Wherever I go, you're coming with me. It'll be a clause in my contract. Or something." Mom always said I had a knack for arguing, I'll figure something out.
His eyes are big and round beneath the thick lenses of his glasses and the smile he wears is so fucking fragile. "Promise we'll always be together? No matter what?"
I hold out my pinky and he wastes no time in linking it with his.
Since the accident my nightmares have become sweet little things. The worst part is waking up.
"Blair. It's time to go." My mother throws my Reaping clothes in a pile at the foot of my bed. She's getting worse and worse at hiding the disgust that flits across her features whenever she's forced to see me. Even when we're in the same room she doesn't look at me, just the space above my head.
It took six months for everything to go completely rotten.
They buried Len, I wasn't invited to the funeral.
Mom didn't start to hate me until I skipped try-outs, though. I told her I couldn't swim anymore, but she refused to understand that every time I touch the water it feels like I'm drowning again. His hands are back around my arms, seeking revenge. Reminding me of that oath we'd made all those months ago. Even the kiddie pool in our backyard has begun to resemble a fucking coffin.
I'm a horrible person. I hid it well, fooled even myself until all this happened.
Because even now, even after everything.
I'm still just glad that I survived.