Expo Rough Day


on smoke break, bother somebody else
Staff member



The door opened with a quiet click.

The sun had set a few hours prior; he'd told her that he would be home by sundown, but it was ten-- maybe eleven, he'd lost track of time-- and the apartment was somewhat silent in his absence. Beyond the corner of the kitchenette, though, the light of the television still shone. She was awake. That wouldn't be good.

Deciding to get ahead of it, William spoke up.

"Back." He called out, setting the food he'd gotten on the countertop. McDonald's-- a treat. He'd linked up at the dead-drop Prometheus had said to go to after the job ended, laid low for a few hours to make sure he hadn't been followed, and then ditched his suit in the incinerator. Place was an old crematorium-- weird shit. But Prometheus was a weird guy, obviously, with the way he'd sent four men to basically kill themselves.

Paid better than any job he could hold, though. So.

With the rest dead, William took the shares that'd been stowed for everyone else and left in a new change of clothes. He walked home-- the new shoes making slight blisters on his heels, given the trek-- and picked up some fast food with the pocket change he'd collected. The rest of the initial payout was in his backpack, which would be promptly locked away in the storage unit he kept on the other side of the city. It was hard not to feel like the entire city was looking for him, right now, precisely because it was. But, as far as he knew, he was safe. For now.

"Got food." William stated, opening the back and pulling out the quarter-pounder he'd ordered before setting the 20-piece nugget box beside his drink. Easier for her to eat. "If you're feeling up for it."

Eventually, she came around the corner. Sweatshirt on, since it was cold; oversized. One of his. The beanie on her head completed the look, he felt, and he watched her take the seat at the countertop and rest her head on her hand. She gazed at him, expectantly.

"Surprised you're still awake." Will muttered, taking a bite from the burger and giving a soft smile. Meds usually made her sleep schedule fucked up, though, so it was a toss-up if she would've been awake when he came home. Guess him getting the meal paid off-- she quickly opened the box, plucked out a nugget, and nibbled on it. "Yeah." She said, flatly, looking back towards the TV. "Yeah, was just watching TV in the meantime. Finishing up schoolwork." A pause, at that. "Waiting for you to get home."

Will took another bite, chewed on it for a moment-- gaze flickering beyond her, for a moment-- and nodded. "Mm. Sorry. Job ran late-- couldn't call." With a half-mouthful, he swallowed, then continued, wiping at his mouth with a napkin. "Got good news though, Mads."

At that, she seemed to perk up a bit, though her optimism was held under that familiar fatigue; his gaze settled on her for a moment, brow furrowed. "Pay was good. Should have the money for another round of treatment. Get you something nice, too."

"But-- I thought you said--"

Will waved his hand, chewing. There was a moment of Madeline talking before he cut in, shaking his head. "I know what I said, but I got lucky. You know how these things go." A shrug. "Client was a rich asshole, you know? Decided to 'help me out'. Typical shit." Atypical, really, but she didn't need to know that. Still, though, she pushed, leaning forward on the countertop as the nugget dropped back into its box. "No, I don't know. You never tell me what you're doing. I mean, like-- there was an attack downtown today, with all this shit going on, Will, and I don't--" She gave a frustrated sigh. "I mean, you look like shit, dude. Your eyes are red, bloodshot, and like-- you've got bruises on your neck. What's going on?"

"It's just basic fuckin'... security and property management work, Mads. I told you-- I get paid to look big and fuckin' imposing at events." He gestured indistinctly, obviously uncomfortable with delving any further into the subject. She didn't buy it. "I'm worried about you. It's been later and later you come back, and I get you're-- fucking-- looking out for me, and I get that, but--"

"Worry about yourself. Seriously." Will replied, curt tone nipping the conversation in the bud. "You have enough shit to worry about. I worry about you, not the other way around." Another bite of his burger, the feigned neutrality returning as he looked over her shoulder to the TV. Some old shit was playing-- Adventures of Contrail, some old shit playing on Adult Swim. He rubbed at his eyes, a moment, suddenly conscious of how irritated they still felt from the pepper spray. "Big brother shit. Putting my foot down." Madeline crossed her arms, looking away. Distraught. "Hardly fair." She muttered, shaking her head. "And don't pull that older brother shit with me, like I'm a kid. I just-- fucking-- whatever. Do whatever." Something was wrong-- like there was something she wanted to tell him-- but before he could think about it, she took the box of food and stood up, moving back to the living room. "Love you. Be careful. Thanks for the food."

But before she could step away fully, a hand reached over the counter to stop her-- holding onto her wrist for a moment. Mads looked back, that same tiredness in her eyes. William's own gaze held that similar fatigue, but not as much as hers. Never as much as hers. And it fucking killed him.

"I'd do anything for you." He stated, then let go, leaning on the counter. His conscience wasn't cleared. Everything still felt heavy. "Just..." Will rubbed at his eyes, again, then looked away. "I'm gonna get some sleep. You should too. Talk in the morning, I'll drive you to campus."

She nodded, stepped away silently, and he was alone. Again.