An Inevitable Destination



Scene Title An Inevitable Destination
Synopsis Joseph winds up retroactively lying to Teo, but what is important is the before and after.
Date October 11, 2009

Old Lucy's: Upstairs Flat: Bathroom


If pain is noble, then the slip of a needle somehow manages to sidestep this quality altogether. Joseph's head rests back against tile as he eases the plunger down, lets go of the breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding onto since he uncapped the syringe. The bright lights of the bathroom swim harsh against blinking eyes. Pulls free the sliver of needle as easy as a warm knife through butter, leaving behind a drop of red on his skin, a drop of blue in plastic.

He'd thought about it. He's given it an evening to think about it, dangerously carrying around the little, glowing blue cylinder in his pocket and turning it in his fingers as he turned around his thoughts. Thinking about it had so quickly turned to convincing himself.

But there is some truth. It's always the rationalisations with a grain of truth that are the worst. There is nothing moral about giving Felix Ivanov a hit of highly addictive designer drug.

With fidgeting fingers, Joseph eases the cap back over the sharp end, pushes aside the spent syringe for later disposal. Lets it roll across tile, incriminating beneath bathroom lights, but the door is locked anyway. It's the few seconds he has to wait, where there's nothing to do with euphoria or triggered memories, that are surprisingly blissful in knowing anticipation, except for this time, it comes cheaply, and for a split second—

Well. He likes to think he'd take it back if he could.

Clasping his hand over his arm, Joseph pulls his knees up a little further. One of them, the twenty-somethings he's sharing space with, is watching TV in the living area, with the dog probably curled up at their feet. Now used to the company. He'll probably miss it, too, as much as he doesn't know Leo, as much as he knows something of Abby. But this is the last time, unlike the other ones.

There's a crash coming. It's all he can't think about.

And after…

It's a narrow road. Needle thin, as it were. The road to Heaven, that is.

It's a groggy, waking up kind of experience, what happens after the high. Pieces get taken away, put back together. Joseph opens his eyes to bathroom tile stretching like an impossible desert, and realises that the nattering sound going on at the edges of his hearing is the same TV show being played that had begun when he'd started ignoring the present in favour of the past. Mouth dry, limbs stiff, he raises a hand to grip the edge of the sink, to pull himself up.

Like a dream, too, the memory is escaping him. Not that he still doesn't remember it. Even before Refrain, he could easily recall that day, when his power had been something special. But what he misses is remembering it without the knowledge that it could always get worse, and would. Reliving the bliss of the moment—

That's the key. It's the one he can't find without a little help.

He scrapes up the spent needle, with a click of fingernails against plastic, recapped with only a drop left of glowing blue, and hides it in a fist as he kneels leaning against the bathroom cabinets. He has a long history of exile, from liquor to church to New York City, and so perhaps this shouldn't be any different, and yet there is that one bitch of a thing that comes after. The sharp shock of reality. His knees ache uncomfortably against the tile. If he wanted to, he could unlock the door next time, and maybe Abby or Leo would find him.

Teo had had a good idea, about leaving behind the emptied syringe. Except maybe he's this kind of man, whereas Joseph isn't supposed to be. Doesn't necessarily want to be.

It— the needle, the needle that Felix was meant to have— clicks and rattles within the sink as he drops it into the pristine white bowl, standing now as he fixes his shirt, rubs his inner arm before dutifully rolling down his sleeve. Regards himself in the mirror, searching out physical evidence of the past hour. Of the past month and a half. Joseph is pretty sure it's there, because everyone is walking on egg shells, and speaking padded words as if anything harder would break him into a million pieces but maybe a million pieces would be better. Damned if he can see it though.

Damned if he can see it. Regardless of the syringe that spins like a compass in pooling water, Joseph runs the tap to wash his face, droplets shaking loose and wetting his collar, his sleeves.

Okay, no.

That was an unfair assessment. Everyone except Deckard speaks with padded words. Brain damage. Cancer. Lord have mercy. It's kind of like worry, Joseph supposes, when he lets himself think about it. He worries too - Flint was too thin, and absent now— and probably not going to come back with any more of it, because he can't ask, because four should have been enough, because why can't he think about the man without thinking about the drug — and the pastor doesn't have the church he can leave unlocked at night. And ever since he'd asked that question— Jesus Christ, Joseph— well, what is there left to seek out?

They're all going to Hell.

That's what Joseph knows in his heart. Even Abigail, devout Christian that she is, goshdarnit she tries, but Joseph knows and has always known that every last face he has met since coming to New York City are destined for fiery eternity. Knows it like he knows God exists and knows it like the fire and brimstone passion that breaks voices ringing echoes in the church halls. He could always shelve the notion, hell, he can still shelve it day to day. He doesn't bat an eye when Teo talks about his boy or when Raquelle fails to tone it down a notch.

If they knew, maybe they'd be right here with him. If they knew they were doomed like he sure as anything knows he's doomed, perhaps they'd be in exile too. They'd be so ashamed.

Water drains, as he picks the needle out, pockets it. No need to smuggle it, the twenty-somethings he's sharing space with had given him the bedroom with its own bathroom and everything, but you never can be too careful. Addict behaviour. Junkie tendencies. It will be easier to get away with, down in Grand Central Terminal. Everything has hard edges down there, including the people.

He can't tell if this is the crash or if it's coming, but then again, that's what hallucinogens are for.

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