by Pablo

TITLE: Elysium


EMAIL: little_claps@yahoo.com

DISTRIBUTION: List archives OK, anyone else just ask. Archived on Elegant Slumming http://www.obsessedmuch.net/elegant_slumming/

SPOILERS: Set after Leech.


SUMMARY: Some places really are impossible to escape from.

RATING: R (Some drug use)

FEEDBACK: Think of it like karma.

DISCLAIMER: If only, Gough and Millar, The WB and DC comics own all.

DEDICATION: Thanks to Y for the beta and Ali for all her help.

NOTES: I got to thinking; what happened to Eric after the events of Leech? Given his situation at home and the fact that I'm a pessimist at heart this is where my mind ended up.

He measures his days with the movement of the sun. Only his sun isn't a fiery ball of yellow against a cloudy sky of blue.

His sun is brown; smooth and tapered at each end.

His sky doesn't change colour; change in hue depending on its mood. His sky is always white, pristine and shiny. A polished surface that reflects his face back at him; stretched and elongated as he moves.

His sky is always white.

When he's alone he's free. That's when he escapes, closes his eyes and nobody is able to stop him. He does all the things he always dreamed of doing. His father can't make him do anything that he doesn't want to.

His world is smaller now, bound on each side by a solid wall of white. A twenty foot cube that allows him little movement, even when he feels capable of it. His walls are much closer now but in a way he's freer than he's ever been.

He remembers the mornings fondly, as fondly as he can any time of the day. He remembers the morning light shining through the partially open curtains of his bedroom window. The way his mother would come in, open them and let the heat of the sun envelop him.

The mornings were sunshine and breakfast. And when he was late, as he often was, mornings were disapproving words from his father. Or even worse, no words at all.

Now mornings are green.

He sits on the edge of his cot and stares at his feet but can't see them. They're white, blending against the sky that he walks on. Sometimes he can't even tell them apart. He very rarely feels where they end and the sky begins.

A noise at the door tells him that it must be morning, the sun is rising in the sky. He likes mornings, because when it is morning it's no longer night.

There's a hollow thud and a stretched sound. He sometimes wonders what it must be like to hear another voice, or what his own sounds like. But all he hears now is like a hollow sound travelling through a tube full of water. It's like that now and he learned early on to simply move his head every now and then. Like something mattered.

The noise never lasts long and when he looks down, instead of his feet, he sees the white of the table.

He knows the rhythm now as he fumbles with his hands. Small pinpricks of feeling as he tries to grip tightly to the cool length of metal that's placed there.

He knows not to fight. He made that mistake the first week; a fight he lost with tubes and too much pain. He doesn't fight anymore.

Instead he chews till he loses count and then swallows; each mouthful is the same. It tastes like ash on his tongue; the only flavour he can make out anymore is brown.

It doesn't last long before he no longer has to chew.

Instead, when he looks down, his feet are a splash of colour against the sky. Three round discs of green that orbit around the sun that's brown.

He moves the side of his hand and pushes them around in a circle. One at a time they circle around the sun until they disappear with a faint metallic taste in his mouth. A disembodied hand that holds a cup to his lips.

It's his ritual. The way he measures each day.

He's left alone with the sun.

He runs his fingers over the smooth surface of the sky. His face is pushed against the floor and somewhere in the back of his mind he thinks that maybe this is what cold feels like. Except he's not sure anymore because he can't tell the difference. Everything feels the same to him, white on white.

The only time he feels anything different is just before the sun rises. Before his day starts.

He can feel it in his bones. At the base of his spine. Small electrical charges of what might be pain. They flower and slowly begin to burn through him layer by layer. Skin and bone like it's dissolving.

He never remembers the night, after the sun disappears. He's not quite sure he wants to. All that he knows is it makes him wonder if this is better or so much worse.

Sometimes he prefers nothing but white.

The memories never last for long; he counts the time in his mind. He never makes it past four or five and they're back. Circles of green that he pushes around with his fingers, orbiting a sun of brown and that just makes everything white again.

Everything follows the sun. Once it disappears there is nothing left. He measures that passage of time and once he takes the sun, the sky is dark and he wonders what is real and what is not. Being unable to see what is happening doesn't make it any less terrifying but he's numb to all of that now.

Terror feels almost the same as happiness.

He can hear them but has no idea what they say and sometimes he thinks he remembers what they do at night. But he's never quite sure. His ritual, his habit makes the back of his eyes and the front of his mind nothing but white.

He likes it that way.

The images play across his eyes like a movie. Almost like somebody else's memories implanted in his mind. The things they do to him at night.

He's never able to grasp at the images. They play at the edges of his mind and the harder he tries to see them the quicker they escape. He's given up trying to capture them, the way they flit around like butterfly's wings inside his head.

Sometimes he thinks he remembers but he's no longer sure. How does he know if these memories really are his or if they belong to somebody else? He no longer owns anything, not even what's inside his head.

The brown tastes bitter and acrid on his tongue; like snake's venom stealing away each precious drop of life until there's nothing left.

He saves the brown for last, his treat.

There's a reason why the sun only comes out once a day and disappears to herald the coming of night. Once is all the world can handle; anymore and there really would be nothing left.

He saves the brown for last.

Another lesson he learned in his first week. It was too early and he didn't know. He swallowed the sun and when he'd stood he'd lost control, he couldn't feel anything. Even the way his head hit the edge of the table, the sound a distorted hollow crack that seemed to fragment and echo forever.

When he'd looked at his feet he'd fully expected them to be melted in a pool on the floor, like water. The way his insides had felt.

They'd had to come in and carry him. To move him only a few inches to his cot. Not far, but he'd known to him even that small distance would have been an impossibility. Like reaching out and taking the sun in his hands.

The sun is the last thing before day turns to night.

He likes the brown; they keep away the dreams.

He no longer tries to remember what happens to him at night. He isn't sure how long it took before he gave up trying to keep even his own memories inside his head. He wants to think that it was a long time; that he put up a fight. It's his only consolation and he clings to it. It's the only way to survive each passing day.

He moves the green with the side of his hand, faint taste of ash in his mouth. One by one until they're all gone. It's always the same.

They say taking drugs is a habit.

This is his.

the end

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