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Comfortably Numb

Posted on Mon Oct 26th, 2020 @ 7:29pm by Jonas Bailey & Alden Loxley

Mission: Yuan Fen
Location: Whitefall
Timeline: August 2511 - 2 Months before Road Trip

Two and a half months ago the war had finally ended, along with Anouk's life. Hers was only one of so very many, but hers hit so much harder than the others. Personal, selfish and all-encompassing was that loss, that sorrow. He'd drowned it in many ways since then, like most of the survivors, he supposed. Stupidly, carelessly and with copious quantities of alcohol.

Right now, fresh from somehow a short, but profitable mission, Alden was slumped over his guitar in the corner of a bar somewhere between comfortably drunk and lazily hungry. Across the table from him sat an old friend, not a chance encounter but a necessary step in ensuring Loxley's continued existence. He'd hit bottom a while back, but Jonas' wave had dragged him from the smoking ruins of some bar on Hera and brought him here.

"I didn't even love her when I met her," Alden muttered. His brain was confused, his heart hurt. "I hated her. You ever loved someone so much you hated yourself for it?"

Jonas sat there, sipping on his...whatever number it was...bottle and shook his head. It had been a long and arduous journey for both of them. Yeah, they'd parted ways for a couple of months while Jonas took care of a snitch or three. Light work, when you think about some of the things he'd done. But a mercenary took what jobs he could get after the War. Had to be careful, though. Some folks were looking for nothing more than payback for what the Alliance did. And payback wasn't what he did. Even if he was rather fond of his friend, Alden.

"Nope. Can't say that I have, Alden," he answered. "Not sure if I've even loved someone. Even a little bit."

Denying the tears that kept rising in his eyes, Alden looked up to the taller man and focused on Jonas' face. It was a little harder to do that now, the alcohol fighting his internal emotions, but that familiar face with its strong features was more welcome than he could ever say in mere words.

"Folks keep telling me it's better to love and lose than never to know what love feels like," Alden said. "But I envy you, brother." He fussed at his ring finger with his left thumb, seeking a wedding band that no longer existed in any useful form. "You know what we need," he murmured. "Whiskey."

He stood up, shakily, and waved at the barman. "I just wanna be someplace that doesn't hurt..." The existential nature of that comment kicked him upside the head as he sat back down.

"I'm not so sure about what folks say," said Jonas. "But you're right about one thing. We need whiskey." He watched as Alden sat back down. "But being someplace where it doesn't hurt...let's see if this Whitefall dung heap of a bar can help with that. Then maybe we go see if we can't find something to shoot at in the desert. Firing off a few rounds always made the hurt go away for me."

From somewhere deep down inside, Alden mustered up the smallest of smiles for old friend. Times were tough, emotions were raw, but shooting shit in the desert? That never got old. He was about to say something, when the barman showed up, so Alden just nodded.

"Whiskey?" The question was simply asked. The man grinned. "Overheard you folks," he admitted. "Bottle coming right up." He was back in seconds, to drop a full bottle and two shot glasses down on the table. He took the credit note from the drunker of the two men gladly, and strolled back to his station.

"Sober shooting or drunk shooting?" Alden said, an eyebrow raised as he poured the drinks and regarded Jonas.

"Well hell, Alden," said Jonas as he watched the liquid fall into his shot glass, "we're already halfway to drunk. No going back now. 'Sides, only way it'd be sober shooting is if we wait 'till tomorrow. And I have a feeling that ain't gonna happen. So drunk shooting it is."

That first shot disappeared swiftly down Alden's throat, the second lingered long enough for him to give Jonas side-eye and grimace. "More?" He asked, waiting for the younger man to drink, the refill ready behind that empty glass. Alden's own second helping was tentatively followed by a slower sip of a third and a shake of his head.

A smile hid in those dark blue eyes, waiting for the level of blood/alcohol to even out and lean in favour of the booze. "More'n'halfway now, I'd say," Alden acknowledged. "And 'morrow's too far 'way." Third shot hit hard and heavy and his volume rose up to meet his mood as it kicked in a little harder. Alden raised his shot glass. "To drunk shooting!"

Jonas raised his glass. "To drunk shooting!" And threw it back. "Ahhh, that'll numb it all the way down."

---

And that was how the duo found themselves out in the desert trying to shoot tin cans and bottles off of a bunch of rocks. Alden wasn't sure that was this was the safest thing to be doing, considering he could barely focus on his own feet, but there was something about destroying inanimate objects that stayed the internal screaming and crying. It was simple, it took up all his concentration and it made loud noises.

Right now, this was the best thing ever, and the smirk on his face as he finally exploded a beer bottle into tiny bits from across the open ground denied everything else worrying his sober mind.

Jonas didn't really have any sheets up to catch the wind, let alone three. He was pretty well passed that and just sailing on the tidal booze. He watched as the bottle exploded and then took to shooting one of his own. Or was there two down there? Three? Bah, it didn't matter...Jonas opened fire on all of them. One was bound to shatter. Or bounce. He couldn't be too sure it wasn't a tin can...

Something between luck and sheer bloodymindedness kept the two men upright (mostly) until everything they could locate to shoot at was as exhausted as they were. Something drove them to use all but one mag of ammo. Something ensured that they remained able to defend themselves should the worst arise, should they be ambushed out there in the middle of nowhere.

And something made them chuckle as they staggered, arms wrapped round each others' shoulders, in a semi-dignified struggle back to the bar to finally crash onto separate bunks, wrapped in liquor induced dreams. Two words mumbled from two pairs of lips as they drifted into uncertain slumber.

"Road trip..."

 

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