not_that_spike: (damn determined)
[personal profile] not_that_spike
Tom's cloak is fucking great... for ten minutes at a time but not for weeks: this whole thing is really damn hard. It's like he's there but not there. He knows Beth doesn't want him to leave her side much because she's worried about him and the fact they're still together through everything is more of a testament to how much they love each other than anything else, but... it's hard. It's hard to eat, because they're only worrying about food for four adults and one kid; lucky for them Beth's nursing Junior. It's hard to get clean or take a piss or even get a breath of fresh air, and he wishes Beth would at least tell Hero he's there. Hell, he'd tell all of them, explain how he got there, everything. Beth and Hero were heading for the bar the day the Israeli army showed up. Natalya and Ciba would've found out anyway if that was the case. If they knew, he could act as their advance scout. He could lift all the supplies they need. He could even be rear guard, making sure they're always safe: he'd be good at that. He'd be helpful that way.

But he promised Beth it could be her choice, and even when the cloak starts to feel a little bit like a straitjacket, he reminds himself this is her world and he's no more than an intruder. Well, an intruder who happens to love the hell out of one of its remaining women and hard though it is, it's infinitely preferable to sitting at the bar stewing. So far none of the doors they've opened have led anywhere but their expected locations, and if he hadn't chanced out here after Hero, there's no telling if he ever would have seen Beth and Junior again. The only time he really gets to have anything to do with her is in the middle of the night when Beth's on watch... and not even then, always. Sometimes, one of the other women is awake and then the only thing he can do is bite his tongue and shut the hell up.

One night while Beth slept, he stole away outside. They were in an abandoned convenience store that night, somewhere in Missouri, he thinks. The whole town was empty; he walked up the road a way and once he was damn sure no one was watching them, he slipped out of the cloak for a precious little bit and just breathed. He breathed, then changed into a fresh shirt and rolled up the old one and stuck it back in his pack. It got washed in secret the next time they camped out by a stream and he left it far away from the rest of the camp's laundry to dry out. Alone is one thing, but alone in a crowd is something else entirely. There haven't been any opportunities to work out, precious few opportunities to even talk to Beth for fear of being overheard.

Personally, he's ready to let Natalya and Ciba and Hero know. He's ready to be able to hold Junior for more than a few minutes while she's sleeping. He's ready to start contributing to this walk across the country and it's a really big country.

More than anything, though, he's ready to find a door that leads back home.

And that might never happen.
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June 2009

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