calliope_love: (Break/Liam: Winter)
Callie ([personal profile] calliope_love) wrote2015-10-02 10:41 pm

31: Sure smells like franchise in here

Title: The Less Things Change
Rating: Fluffitude
Disclaimer: Still not mine
Summary: -- but this AU is, mostly
Length: 614 words

“Rather a stupid bunch, aren’t they?” Break observes.

Oz hums in agreement. What a depressing state of affairs this is. So much of the world has seemed fresh and new again since those old memories started trickling back into his head — not just two lifetimes now, but three counting Jack, all swished up together in his head. He’d sort of hoped this particular experience would have that same newness about it, now that he’s paying attention. Halloween with some old friends he’s just met, and traditions they’d never have had access to a hundred years ago! ...but no, instead this whole thing is turning out to be sort of uncomfortable, when all is said and done. Gore isn’t neat anymore when you’ve seen people you love covered in it. Squirming with the awareness of what’s about to happen to this movie star doesn’t have the same effect once you’ve seen stronger people fall.

“Splitting up is such a bad idea,” Oz mutters, remembering belatedly what used to happen when Break ran off on his own. He switches tactics. “Blaaaahhhhhh, I don’t want to watch this anymore! You were right, let’s watch Hocus Pocus.”

“Oh, I think we ought to wait for Gilbert to get back, hm? It wouldn’t do for him to miss the beginning.”

— that’s a familiar tone and if Oz recalls correctly, it means evil. He glances down at — Break, Kevin, Allen, whatever the hell his name is these days. Break. Xerxes 2.0. He’s playing with his phone, blowing up colored bubbles or some such, laying on the floor with his feet up on the couch because Alice has claimed the bulk of it in the midst of her nap. Catching Oz’s look, Break raises his eyebrows, pointedly.

Ah. Yes. Oz gets it. Good. Smiling beatifically, he settles back, idly ruffling Alice’s hair as she drools on his thigh. And trusty, stalwart, devoted Gilbert, sure enough, returns from the grocery right as someone is getting brutally murdered all over the television screen, and promptly starts screeching about how Oz is going to give himself nightmares.

“Meat!” Alice yells, surging back to life at the sound of Gil’s voice, and — there it is, there it is, the more things change the more they stay the same. Suddenly Gilbert is yelling and Alice is clambering over the back of the couch to drag him into the kitchen and there’s Break, too, lonely and quiet without Sharon at his side, but wearing that same soft, peaceful smile he sports in the only photograph they have of all of them together. Break, of course, had remembered everything before he’d turned eight years old; such is the fate of a Child of Misfortune, reincarnated. Before Oz has time to wonder again what it must have been like, to be a very small boy and know you were once called the Red-Eyed Ghost, Break’s got his game face back on and he’s draped himself over the back of the couch, smarming and beaming flapping his hand and making things worse as only Xerxes Break can do.

It’s easy to keep smiling, when Break is Break and Alice is Alice and Gilbert is still yelling despite having had a solid century to mellow out. They haven’t quite found Elliot yet, or Oscar, or Echo. Sharon and Reim and Leo and Ada, they’re displaced, floating around somewhere in years between. Vincent is only recently gone. But what they have here is a start, better than nothing...something new. Something that can grow.

Somebody dies horribly on the screen, and Oz keeps grinning. That isn’t real. The second chance screaming all around him is.

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