There was no response. None at all. The moon, overhanging the coastline, lit up the beach in a splatter of grays, glinting off the sea as it lapped at the shore. Nobody was here. Not even the gulls, perched on the rocks and watching warily, were roused from their nestings.
His legs cramped, and he half-buckled, falling onto his knees numbly.
This wasn't really happening, was it? No no it couldn't be happening, he wouldn't allow it to happen - it was perfectly within his rights to ensure something like this didn't happen, never happened, no, there was no way Cleverly was gone.
He just had to yell louder, shout louder, and Cleverly would hear, and he'd come right back, and they could march right up to Narke and fix this. He'd stick his magic into Narke, grab him, rip out the stupid parts of his brain that made him think this was a good idea, and everything would just go right back to normal. They'd go right back to their status quo, the good one, the one he liked.
Cogito reached up, hands digging into the sides of his head. He just had to get Cleverly's attention. He wouldn't be fucking stupid enough to leave, right? He wouldn't be stupid fucking enough to just abandon everything and just fucking go because of what Narke said. Yes. Yes he didn't leave, because Cleverly wasn't stupid, he wouldn't abandon him like that.
"Cleverly," he yelled, at the top of his lungs, his throat aching.
Only the ocean answered.
This wasn't fucking real. This wasn't real. This wasn't real. This couldn't be real. He would've waited. He would've waited, right here, on their beach, waited for Cogito, and they were supposed to hug each other and Cogito would heal that nasty disgusting bloody wound and then they'd march right back and he'd fix it all, because that was how it worked, that was how it was supposed to be, and it isn't fair, wasn't fair, never fair if it didn't, if it was all wrong, and he didn't want to think about it being wrong-
Where else could he have gone? Where else? It's not like he had anything else out there! It's not like anyone else cared about him (except Cogito, except Cogito) so where did he go? To some fucking nothing mortals? But they weren't, no, why would he do that? No, there was no reason for him to do that, none at all, so clearly he must actually still be here.
Right. He must still be here. He wouldn't have left, that's stupid, that's so fucking stupid so clearly he wouldn't. He was waiting here and they'd fix it all (because why would he leave, right? He wouldn't, because he's not stupid, he wouldn't just listen to Narke) and Cogito just had to find him and he wasn't responding (because he was hiding, yes, he was trying to hide himself, which was stupid but understandable, thank the stars Cogito had grace and intelligence and understood Cleverly, even when he wasn't being clear).
He kneeled, picking up a handful of sand and hurling it into the ocean before the futility of his action struck him. After a second of breathing heavily, staring at the water, Cogito lifted all four arms, letting his magic course through them and ignite in his hands.
Cleverly was just scared, that was all. He just had to show Cleverly that it was fine to come out (Cleverly wouldn't leave him) because he was still scared of Narke (Cleverly wouldn't leave him) because, duh, Narke had just attacked him (Cleverly wouldn't leave him) and he didn't want to be injured further (Cleverly didn't leave him).
He scooped up the rocks, disrupting the gulls that squawked in indignance. There was no one there.
He tossed around great sand dunes, piling up stacks of the fine grains until panic overtook him and he scattered the beach once more. There was no one there.
He dug into the ocean, grabbing fish, weeds, anything that moved and wasn't a drop of water. There was no one there.
There was no one here.
"That is not how this works," he hissed, barely, fingers digging back into the sides of his skull. "You must be here!"
Half-dazed, his eyes flicked around the beach, around the rocks, the sand, the water, then up the cliffside, up to Cleverly's window, open. He wasn't in there, was he? If he was, he would have heard, he would have heard and he wouldn't leave Cogito to suffer (he wouldn't) but maybe he was still scared, hiding, it was okay, don't be scared, you can't be scared, please
He was not fucking having a breakdown (he was) no he wasn't (he was) he was going to go to Cleverly's room and scream himself hoarse because stupid fucking Cleverly made him just a little bit nervous and he couldn't believe Cleverly would do such a thing who cares if Narke hurt him he should understand and know by now that they'd fix it, right? Right, right.
All this because Cleverly couldn't keep his fucking mouth shut, couldn't just go along with Narke in the second so Cogito could fix it later, couldn't just fucking pretend. Why couldn't he just fucking pretend? None of this would have happened, none of this would have occured, Cogito wouldn't be here, it'd already be fixed.
And he wasn't waiting at the beach, why, because he was stupid, because without Cogito there he just tripped over himself and made an absolute bumbling idiot of himself, stupid fucking Cleverly, why why why did he have to do that? How fucking idiotic, to not know, to not understand that Cogito would have just FIXED it all if he'd just STAYED PUT, if he'd just KEPT HIS STUPID LOUD MOUTH SHUT.
But it was ALRIGHT. Because Cogito trudged up the path towards Cleverly's room, even though his legs hurt (was he bleeding, yes how was he bleeding he was bleeding) and they would just fix it. He'd tell Cleverly all the ways his stupidity had made it harder, and he'd make Cleverly understand how dumb he'd been and what to do next time (because there'd be a next time, Cleverly would fuck it up, he was sure of it) but Cleverly wasn't stupid, he'd understand, and he'd say those magic words, and Cogito would just feel better.
Stupid Cleverly, making him do this, making him work so hard to fix Cleverly's mistakes. But Cleverly would make it feel better, right? He would just he would just hold Cogito and it'd be better, it'd magically be better, it'd be fine, it'd be fine, Cleverly makes it better, it's fine, it's fine
He grabbed the doorknob, throwing the door open jerkily. It banged off the outer wall, shaking slightly, but Cogito barely recognized it. Cleverly's room was in its typical state of disarray, but flew into a new depth as Cogito grabbed the other's belongings with magic and levitated them, eyes scanning.
It was just how they'd left it that morning.
Cleverly wasn't here. He hadn't come back here.
No, that wasn't right, he had to come back here, right? What kind of stupid fucking idiot didn't at least grab their belongings before leaving? He should be HERE, should be WAITING RIGHT HERE, like he was SUPPOSED TO DO, waiting for Cogito and THEY'D FIX IT, they'd make it better, Cleverly would make him feel better, and, and
Cogito's hand twitched and he dropped his magic. He crawled onto Cleverly's bed, drawing his knees up to his chest.
Something was wrong. Something was clearly wrong. Think. Think. He knew he could figure it out, if he just sat down to think. He was being too emotional, letting stupid nonsensical feelings overtake his brain when he shouldn't. (He was not feeling anything, right now). What stupid fucking emotions had he even been feeling? None. He didn't feel them. They weren't real.
Right. They weren't real. They weren't affecting him. Now think, without them clouding his thoughts (because they weren't real, they never clouded his thoughts, but now he would really sit and think, but he hadn't ever felt anything, no, because that meant he wasn't perfect, and he was, so no, he never felt anything).
So they were fine. He was fine. He was perfect. Where was Cleverly.
He must have left (no no no). He must have, where else was he (no no no no no)? He wasn't in the main city, he wasn't at their beach, he wasn't in Cogito's house, he wasn't in his own. So he must have just (no) left (no) and that was unacceptable. Cogito wasn't angry though, he wasn't upset, wasn't sad, wasn't furious, because he wasn't emotional. He was smart and he would think through this logically and rationally, despite Cleverly being a stupid, immature, pitiful child ruled by his feelings.
Where did he go? To mortals, like he'd been saying? That has to be it. He didn't like the ocean so he wouldn't be swimming in it. He would have gone to a mortal (no no no) instead of waiting (stupid fucking brainless ignorant fool) because... because he was emotional, yes, and he hadn't been acting rationally but it was alright since Cogito could be rational enough for both of them (had to be). Because when Cogito didn't reel Cleverly in he did absurd things, absurd things like this, where he just disappeared, left without thinking, without realizing that they could fix it.
So the solution would be to find which mortal place he was at and come and remind him that it was alright, Cogito and Cleverly could fix it all, wipe everyone's memories, and they could go back to living as they once had.
Even though Cleverly had picked mortals over Cogito (fuck him) because, because what? Why did he pick mortals over him? Why did everyone pick everything else over him? He wasn't he was he was perfect they were just stupid they were just ignorant, they didn't see how good and perfect he was, they couldn't appreciate how intelligent and sensible he was, so they just ignored him, stupid stupid stupid
It was okay, Cleverly didn't ignore him (yes) wouldn't abandon him (right) and he was just just just scared, he was just scared, he was waiting for Cogito to save him, he must be. He left because he wanted to be chased, he wanted to be rescued, because Cleverly was emotional and wanted to feel needed, important, special, so he wanted Cogito to save him. Right. Yes. That was correct.
And Cogito would save him, because he was very very generous, very kind, would give Cleverly what he wanted, and in turn Cleverly would make him feel better (he felt, fine, finefinefine there was nothing wrong with him, but Cleverly just made it Better, more than it was, but he was perfect without Cleverly but it was just enjoyable he was allowed to feel enjoyable right it was fine) and Cogito would save him and it'd all be better, it'd all go back to normal, fuck everyone else, fuck all the mindness idiots in Gemline, fuck them all for disrupting it
They were just fucking stupid, for doing this, for getting in the way, because now this was time Cogito no Cleverly had to take away from needing Cogito Cleverly? Something? Someone? Needed each other maybe Cogito no Cleverly needed Cogito, yes, he needed Cogito because Cogito was perfect (he was going to no he already was perfect) and Cogito could fix this and fuck everyone else who fucking got in his way, kept fucking up their perfect paradise
It wouldn't last would it? It wouldn't actually work, right? Everyone was so fucking stupid, couldn't see how incredibly smart Cogito was, kept trying to interfere (or maybe they were jealous, yes, they were jealous he was so much better than them, that was why they ignored him, because they were stupid and didn't realize and were jealous of it yes yes yes) and everyone kept disrupting him and Cleverly, so he had to had tooooo
Had to do something permanently, right? Had to fix this forever so it stopped happening (and only he was strong enough to fix this, only he was sensible enough, smart enough, perfect enough, his magic was the best, he was the strongest, please come back Cleverly) what could he do to fix it because everyone would just keep interfering
He hadddd had to do something, had to
Make sure Cleverlyyyy never had a reason to leave again (yes) that felt right, make sure Cleverly never actually left, no reason, no purpose, Cleverly wasn't stupid, he wouldn't just leave, if it was perfect he'd stay, yes that's reasonable, right? Yes yes yes he just had to had to he should just be leader instead (he was smart and intelligent enough, smarter and more intelligent than everyone else in Gemline) actually perfect idea yes he always had the best ideas, if he was leader he could bring everyone back
Because everyone would see how good of a leader he was (yes!!) and how smart he was (Yes!!!!) and they'd all come back, everyone who had left, they'd see how perfect he was and come back, because of everything he'd do to make Gemline better, and everyone would agree he was the best leader ever, the most perfect leader ever, he was perfect, they'd like him, they'd talk to him, nobody would ignore him after he took over, yes yes yes and Cleverly would come back, and it'd be just fine, it'd be alright, Cleverly
Alright think, put it into little neat ordered thoughts, a plan of action, that was how he'd fix this (because he was perfect and figured out how, he knew, he found the key to fixing it all, forever)
1. Make Gemline his
2. Make Gemline perfect
3. Bring everyone back in
4. Bring Cleverly back in
Yes, that was how he could be happy, yes, even though he wasn't emotional it wasn't so bad right to want to be happy he already was happy it was fine he could be happy he was already happy but he could be more yes it was okay he wanted to be happy he was happy no he wanted to be happy please please Cleverly made him happy he wasn't alone Cleverly wouldn't abandon him he wasn't alone he wasn't alone he wasn't alone he wasn't alone he wasn't alone don't leave don't leave don't leave fuck you
fuck you Cleverly fuck you I hope you die I want you to die for doing this to me fuck you fuck you fuck you you're so stupid for doing this you're so unbelievably stupid for just leaving didn't you think it through I would've fixed it and now you're gggone fuck you I hate you I hate you I never want to see you again I'll fucking kill you I will I will
no no I won't no I don't want to be alone please I won't kill you I won't hurt you I won't I won't I don't want to think about being alone you won't leave you won't leave if I just make it all perfect please come back you have to you have to it'll be perfect just for us and I'll bring everyone back and I'll make them love you too and then you'll have everything we ever wanted, nobody will laugh at us, nobody will ignore us, it'll be perfect, right it'll be perfect, we'll be happy, we'll be happy (I'm happy) we'll be happy (already happy) please Cleverly
He looked up, blearily, though his vision was smeared. He wasn't crying, those weren't tears, no, they weren't. He never cried. He wasn't emotional. He was perfect and perfect and everything Cleverly wanted needed
"Cogito, are you alright, dear?" Metara said, voice soft, draping a hand over his chest. "Are you crying?"
"No," he near-growled.
Metara hesitated, in the doorway, before sighing softly and entering. Cogito's eyes watched him pace across the room (no, you don't belong here) until he found a chair and perched in it warily (no no no this isn't for you go away). He folded his hands in his lap and set an expression of pity and worry on Cogito. In response, he bared his teeth (go away go away go away).
"I was worried I'd find you here, after... you know," Metara said, "I know you and Cleverly were very close...."
no they weren't no no "We were NOT," no he wasn't emotional he wasn't emotional "so don't you dare" he didn't need cleverly it was the other way around if he needed cleverly that made him weak because he needed it but he didn't need it he didn't "imply that we were."
Metara blinked, brief surprised flitting on his features before he coughed, politely, into his hand. "Very... well. I was worried, regardless, how you were coping."
"Just fucking FINE, I'm FINE," Cogito snarled, salt in his mouth from the tears he wasn't crying.
"...Are you certain? You're-"
"NOT CRYING! You're so fucking INSUFFERABLE, METARA, so fucking nosy, VAPID, all you can ever think about is projecting your own stupid fucking feelings on everyone else, all you're DOING is projecting how you feel onto me, do you know how absolutely fucking disgusting that is? To be so emotional and irrational to FORCE someone else to feel the way you do, you ignorant bitch?"
Metara recoiled slightly, as if he'd just noticed a snake on the bed. He stared, warily, as Cogito breathed heavily in turn.
The outburst felt good (it wasn't an outburst) no outbursts are emotional he's not emotional he isn't he isn't dramatic (then what is it) it's just the truth, right? He's just being honest yes it has to be the truth because not emotional so not outburst it's not how he's feeling fuck you Metara for making him look like he had an outburst, fuck you fuck you
"I... see," Metara said, uncertainly. He shifted in the chair. "Well... if you need anything... please let me know, alright?"
He could just, just just just, kill Metara right here, right? Could just pop his fucking brain, could just lunge across the room and strangle him, could just beat the everloving fucking shit out of him, he should be grateful Cogito wasn't, that Cogito was in control and never felt those urges, ungrateful bitch who didn't understand what he was doing, stupid stupid stupid everyone in Gemline was so fucking stupid (not Cogito) (not Cleverly)
After a moment's hesitation, Metara offered, "...Don't be a stranger."
He could just say he wanted Metara to die but he wouldn't, he didn't say it he was so kind he was very generous he was protecting no he was just not feeling any of these things if only everyone knew they should be grateful stupid stupid
Cogito stared, bitterly, as Metara rose from the chair and left, gingerly closing the door behind himself.
Stupid fucking assholes. Only cared when things went wrong, when they had to "clean up" their "messes". They didn't act like that when Cogito and Cleverly were younger, no, they were just nothing then, everyone hated them (but they liked each other) fuck everyone, they should all die, but Cogito would have grace, he'd be rational, he'd be smart, he'd be kind to them and forgive them but he'd make Gemline perfect
because Cleverly deserved it they both did, they deserved to be on top of the world because nobody else got it, because everyone else abandoned them, because because because please Cleverly because don't leave don't please come back, please, it'll be perfect this time, we won't feel this way ever again, please, please, he'd make sure of it
And, despite himself, Cogito hunched over to sob into his knees.