Woo! Finally the end is in sight after an embarrassingly many years. I hope you enjoy!
Scott couldn’t believe it had actually happened, he felt resolved, like everything he had ever felt was finally settling into his skin. An anxiety that had always been a part of him was lifted. He felt satiated and calm and thoroughly exhausted. And then he felt Soul’s arms wrap around him and heard the whispered I love you and nothing could have been more perfect.
Scott felt Soul drift to sleep and a feeling he recognized as not his own began to sep through his body, a lack of control, a soul deep longing to be his own person. Absolute desolation and fear, Scott lost his breath as the feeling intensified overwhelming any peace he had felt. He knew the feeling was not his own, and knew that it wasn’t as intense in him as it was in Soul but it still destroyed him. Scott looked at the man next to him and understanding flooded him. He put the pieces together, the days of working up to this moment, to joining. The sudden calm, the last afternoon of happiness. Soul had wanted him to see him happy, wanted him to know his leaving wasn’t because of Scott, it was to rid himself of this feeling. Scott understood but he knew that he couldn’t let Soul complete the next part of his plan. Scott concentrated on the bond, on the little piece of his heart and mind that had never been truly his and began to push, push the dark, raging desperation back, he tried to fill the hole with love and understanding and the piece he had felt minutes before, and while it left him slowly Scott came to understand that it was a part of Soul something he would never be able to fix. It was something only Soul could take care of. Scott felt the edges of his happiness begin to fold in on themselves again. He had once again failed, and it was a failure he would never be able to fix.
Soul woke up slowly, sore in the most delicious way, and wrapped in Scotts arms. For a moment he was content to simply lie there comforted. But he knew that Scott would have felt his feelings and if he were to put his plan into action he would have to act quickly. Unfortunately when Soul tried to wiggle gently from Scott’s arms Scott woke and only held him more tightly.
“I understand.” Scott whispered and Soul could feel tears spring to his eyes. It was what he wanted, or a part of what he wanted, something he had wanted for so, so long. “I understand, but I can’t lose you- please?” Scott’s voice started strong but lost its rigidity with his last words. Soul felt the tears begin to streak down his cheeks but his resolve remained. There was no way he would change his mind. He needed to do this for himself, for everyone. He needed to feel some power for once in his life and most of all he needed a rest. A break from all of it and the only way he could do that was to end it forever.
Soul felt the edges of his mind melt and knew that Scott was looking inside him, feeling what he was feeling. He wanted that ability for himself, but didn’t want to wait around to learn. The sooner he did it the less it would hurt Scott, and now that he was so deeply attached to Scott, even in love with him, going gently mattered a lot to him.
Soul felt Scott begin to cry into his hair and willed his feelings to change. But he could see no other way out but death. His challenge now was to figure out a way to do it without Scott stopping him.
When Scott had stopped crying they quietly showered and got dressed Soul found himself reaching out to Scott, but Scott seemed to always be just a bit out of reach, even when his fingers did manage to connect it was apparent that Scott had shut down his emotions and Soul didn’t have the tools to reach into him and pull the out. It made him feel worse, if that was possible, but he told himself that it was better that way. If Scott was already distancing himself it wouldn’t be so bad for him when Soul was gone.
The house was again almost unnaturally quiet. But it didn’t have the feeing or atmosphere as it did the day before, something had been irreparably damaged between them. Soul almost felt like drawing, but he wouldn’t let himself, he wandered through the house following Scott like a lovesick puppy. It was hours before he realized that Scott wasn’t really going anywhere, that he wasn’t doing anything. The random objects he picked up and put down were just that- random. The rooms they passed through didn’t have any meaning and the pacing through hallways was just pacing.
When Soul realized that he wasn’t going to reach Scott he began plotting with more intensity. He didn’t know very much about dying. He could take some sort of pills- but he didn’t know where any were or how many he would need to take. He could try to set up a hanging but it was unlikely he would be dead before Scott caught him, and honestly he didn’t know if he was brave enough to suffocate. He could cut himself, but he wanted to avoid pain if he could. There were no guns, and again he didn’t know if he could make himself do it. He began considering the objects Scott had picked up in each room, wondering if there was some way to die with them. He could think of ways for most of them, but ways he was not willing to attempt. Cursing his cowardice Soul sat on one of the couches in one of the seemingly endless sitting rooms. He had thought this would be so easy, but nothing here was easy, and leaving was the most difficult of all.
Scott watched Soul for a moment before resuming his wandering. Soul felt acutely alone and desolate for a few moments then decided to use his free time to look for something that could help him. He knew there were many bathrooms, and surely one would have some sort of pill he could take. Sighing he levered himself off the couch with entirely too much effort and went on his own aimless quest through the house.
Knowing he had little to nothing to lose Soul opened every door that was unlocked and rifled through every drawer and cabinet he could find. Finally when he was getting close to giving up, or taking a break as he told himself he found an unlocked room. When he made it through the door Soul realized it was really a suite of rooms, something about the airy decorations mixed with pieces of heavy furniture told him it was Josie and Nova’s rooms. Thinking of all the difficulty she had with her pregnancy Soul felt a renewed sense of purpose, there had to be something in here that would help him. He was not wrong. He found in one of the bedside tables a bottle full of small blue pills, take one for sleep, the label read. Soul took the whole bottle. He left the room as undisturbed as he could. He thought he could take the pills immediately but didn’t want anyone to stumble upon him and make him throw them up- or worse take him to a hospital. He would wait until it was almost time for bed, then his drowsiness would be natural and no one would know what had happened until the next morning. Soul felt bad for a moment, imagining Scott waking up next to his cold body, but shook off the feeling. They would have the night, and Soul would make it up to him by taking the bond with him. Scott would finally be able to make the choices that were the best for him, and not worry about what might happen to Soul.
Dinner was quiet in the best way, Sylvia was there, along with a few of the others, but she didn’t speak, just frowned at her food and seemed to shiver every now and again. She seemed sick and Soul couldn’t summon an ounce of sympathy for her. He knew the time was nearing for him to leave this place and if she died with him all the better for everyone, especially for Scott.
Scott and Soul walked to their rooms slowly, still not recovered from the day and the unexpected exchange of emotion. Soul still felt like Scott was pulling away from him, but by the time they were ready for bed, and Soul had the bottle of pills hiding under his pillow Scott was pulling him closer, and moments later kissing him, sliding his hands under Soul’s soft top.
“I don’t want to let you go.” Scott whispered into Soul’s hair so quietly it almost couldn’t be heard. Soul wanted to respond, to reassure him, but couldn’t find the words. He tried to summon all the love he felt for Scott, all the pleasure he had felt in his arms, and tried to push that feeling toward the place in his chest he could feel Scott, tried to push that feeling into him so he would have something to hold onto when Soul was gone, then Soul put his mind to making Scott forget.
Soul pulled himself gently from Scott’s arms, successfully this time, and gingerly swung his legs out of bed fighting his own post-coital drowsiness. He could sleep forever in just a few moments, he told himself, willing his eyes to remain open as he quietly pulled the bottle from under his pillow. The small pills looked black in the darkness of the room, and he wondered it this would work. They were so tiny and seemingly innocent. There were ten in the bottle, and Soul hoped it would be enough. He had remembered to set a glass for water in the bathroom and he took the pills in one swallow, they tried to stick in his throat gripping each other and fighting all the way down. Soul fought his gag reflex and sore throat and finally they were down. Relieved and sad that it would be over soon Soul made his way back to the bed and crawled under the covers next to Scott. He wanted to feel Scott’s arms around him but didn’t want to make the discovery of his body any more jarring, so he placed a pillow in Scott’s arms to replace his body, and curled around a pillow of his own and waited for it to be over.
Scott woke with a feeling of dread building inside him. He knew that there was little he could do to stop Soul from dying, but he didn’t think it would happen so soon, he didn’t think he would do it in their bed, and yet when he pulled the pillows from between them his fears were confirmed. Soul was absolutely still and pale, a hit of blue shadowing his eyes and lips. His chest was still and cool. Scott sat frozen for a few moments; waiting for the desolation to hit him, for the ripping feeling of the bond being broken and it didn’t come. He could still feel Soul, just out of reach. It was worse than the years of wondering what feeling him would be like and with that thought Scott felt the tears begin to fall.
Soul had wanted him to be free of the bond, he knew that, but this was more trapped than he had ever felt, he was more useless than he had ever been and now there was no chance to redeem himself. The only way he had gotten through the other long, long years was knowing there was a chance for everything to change. It was all over and all his pain had been for nothing, all his pain was nothing compared to the long years awaiting him. Scott couldn’t face seeing anyone, saying anything, he just wrapped his arms around the still body that had been his love and held him close.
Soul was drifting, it was dark here and peaceful. Just like he had imagined death, and it was wonderful. He had thought he wouldn’t be able to think, but the gently dreamlike suggestions floating through his mind didn’t bother him. It was kind of nice to still exist in some way. If it was this peaceful. The only bad thing was he could still feel Scott, not distinctly but there was a niggling feeling where his heart would have been, if it had been beating. Where a deep sadness had made its home. Soul hoped Scott would feel better soon, for both their sakes.
Soul drifted deeper and the thoughts became even less distinct, but there were images, dark swirling things that should have scared him but just felt familiar. There were feelings that almost felt like memories. Voices just out of reach, words he could almost understand. Still he drifted through the inky shapes, his own body indistinct, only a thought surrounding his consciousness, gently, free of the rigidity of bones and skin. He watched the shapes, and listened to the voices and drifted deeper, so deep it felt like he was beyond sleeping. He would have wondered if he could, if this was sleeping to his spirit. If being dead didn’t stop him from thinking why wouldn’t it keep him from sleeping?
Soul thumped solidly into a room or somewhere… he stumbled before realizing he no longer had a body. He laughed to himself silently, and wondered for a moment if he could make a sound. But his wondering cut of when he became aware of where he was. It was the forest, the one made from hands and nails and smoke, the one he had been drawing seemingly forever. He really didn’t want to be here. The foreboding he had avoided was again closing around his throat choking him. This was altogether too real. This wasn’t just an image it was a place and here he knew bad things could and would happen to him. He couldn’t breathe and even though he didn’t need to, it terrified him.
Slowly he looked around and realized this was the composite of what he had drawn for so many years, exactly as he had drawn it. The image wasn’t a metaphor he didn’t understand it was a real place. It was Hell.
“Oh fuck.” Soul whispered the words and no sound came out. He turned to his right and found that there was a gate. It was the only thing that looked manmade. It was carved from rusting iron and towered over even the trees. Soul began walking toward it even as everything that was left of him screamed at him to stop. But the gate was opening and he couldn’t help himself from entering. Thought streamed through his mind. What had he done to deserve Hell? He hadn’t really hurt anyone, except Scott, and that wasn’t on purpose. He had never really believed in God but that would only send him to purgatory wouldn’t it? He walked through the gates and it hit him. He had killed himself. That was why her was here. But it didn’t explain why he had dreamt and drawn this place for so long. At least, maybe, he would finally get some answers.
Soul walked and walked and the feeling of dread began to fade. It wasn’t nice here, that was for sure but nothing was bothering him. The scenery was creepy but nothing was trying to hurt him. He could stay here if he needed to. Maybe he could figure out why everything in his life had gone so horribly wrong. Maybe in death there would be answers. And even better his new non body didn’t seem to get tired, he walked for what could have been hours and felt no aches or pains. Just the faint hint of foreboding and curiosity. He hadn’t been able to stop walking, or turn in any direction that he chose, but he wouldn’t know how to choose. This suited him just fine. And if this was his eternity- so be it.
Scott had begun to sob, and if he wasn’t holding Soul so tightly or if he hadn’t been hoping quite so hard he might have missed the soft exhale of breath. Scott’s sobs stopped immediately though the tears continued to fall without pause.
“Soul?” He asked quietly, there was no response, but there was a small hiccup. Scott knew that people had just died sometimes made small sounds as their bodies began to decompose but that had definitely been a hiccup, a distinct muscular event, not a random- it happened again. And Scott began to shake Soul willing him to breathe normally, to open his eyes, to take a breath or something, but he was still. But Scott’s hope was unstoppable now.
Scott picked Soul up and ran down the hall ignoring his lack of breath and clothing, with only one thing on his mind, making sure Soul didn’t slip any further away. Scott could make his spirit come back, if only Soul had a body with enough life left to come back to.
Scott looked sadly down at the body that looked resolutely dead in the small hospital bed. He had demanded the bed be brought to his rooms, his childhood rooms with the mural of poppies and familiar distance from the center of the house. It was funny that this was the first time Soul had seen his room, or rather not seen it. He was here finally but for all purposes gone. He was propped up with pillows but his head stubbornly listed to the side no matter what Scott did to prop it up, the tube down his throat forced air into his lungs and the electronic box on his chest sent muscle spasm inducing shocks to his heart forcing it to pump.
“If he’s dead it won’t help.” Nova had told him as he attached the box. “If he’s dead the blood will clot and you will just have a mess.” Scott had known Nova wasn’t trying to be cruel but it had felt cruel. He really believed resolutely that Soul was coming back and mess or not he would make sure his chances were as good as possible before reaching into the bond and pulling him back. There were just a few things he had to do first.
Soul felt jostled for a few moments but he was not able to stop walking. His throat began to burn his chest burned and it felt like things were punching him in the chest every few moments. It was very uncomfortable and Soul really wished it would stop. But he was soon distracted as the landscape began to change. There began to be more different body parts, not just hands but arms, legs. Feet, even, and here and there what looked like closed eyes. Soul shuddered. Not only were the body parts getting larger the forest they formed was getting deeper, the dread began to build again. When the light was almost completely obscured and Soul began to be thankful for his inability to stray from the path because it ensured he wouldn’t fall or get hopelessly lost, or even worse, lead him to inadvertently touch some of the flesh plants. He wondered for a moment what they would feel like, and if it would be worse if they were blood warm- or cold.
Soul’s dislike of being dead began to increase and he began to regret his decision to end it all when he came to another gate. This one was smaller and at each cross of the iron bars there were eyes. They blinked slowly at Soul and he wondered if it was worse that they could blink, or if simply staring would have made the whole thing worse. Soul didn’t have to wonder too long because the doors opened and his legs began to move again.
Soul waked for only a few minutes more before he stopped moving in front of a fountain, it was enormous and filled with something that he didn’t want to identify, it seemed almost like the shadows that had surrounded him on his way falling to Hell, they seemed more solid here, or rather liquid. Soul was now free to move on his own but found himself unwilling to move, he waited, sure that something would show itself to him now the compulsion was gone. He stared into the fountain, watching the shadows intertwined in ever narrowing fractals. He found himself drawn to the patterns, even reaching out a hand to touch.
“I wouldn’t if I were you.” Soul turned; surprised by the voice even if a part of him was waiting for it. The voice was as cool as it was deep, and even though the words held a hint of humor, Soul had the feeling the owner of the voice wouldn’t have a very good sense of humor. “Well not if you don’t want to stay here forever.”
Scott held Soul’s hand in his own, the chill seeping into it was worrying him, and he couldn’t wait any longer. He held the cup of tea in his other hand, the steam wafting from it didn’t smell very good but he trusted that it would help, and anything was worth getting Soul back, even if it meant following him to Hell.
Scott felt himself falling, it was an oddly peaceful feeling but he didn’t let the peace get to him. He had to stay focused, he had to keep his eyes open and follow the thin invisible thread that was connecting him to what remained of Soul, if he let that intangible string break, of if he drifted too far off course he would have a nearly impossible task getting back to himself, if he would even want to after having lost Soul forever. And so even as the voices whispered for him to follow them promising love, peace, anything he had ever wanted he had to resist, and even as the shadows slithered through his mind promising to tell him the answers to everything he had ever wanted to know he pushed them away, and as the flickers of memories he longed to relive danced at the edges of his vision he closed himself off to them and willed himself to fall more quickly, chasing after the thread.
Soul had an unknown head start and it would take hours to follow him again and any distraction could ruin his hopes. Scott focused himself, reminding himself that everything he wanted could be found with Soul, and that the only thing he really wanted was Soul. With that thought in his mind he landed in a hand on the outskirts of Hell.