A/N: YES I WROTE SOMETHING! My writing has bene murdering me lately and I was struck with inspiration and so happy that this didn't make me want to slam my face into the ground XD. ENJOY!
"Lucy, maybe it's time…"
Not you too.
"…I mean, it's been three years. We…w-we all miss him."
I can't lose another one.
Too many had given up. First, the citizens who hardly knew his name. That had hurt. That was painful because Lucy saw, for the first time, how people gave up on him so quickly. His friends didn't, however. Their group stuck in the belief he was out there, he was alive, and he was just waiting for them to come save him.
"Benny," she gritted her teeth and gripped the steering wheel, drenching it in sweat. The sun glared through the windshield in the most obtrusive, annoying, obnoxious way it could, but Lucy did what Lucy did best: ignored it and moved on. Benny, in the seat next to her, continuously shifted and tried to shield himself from the blinding light. She rolled the car around a turn, and the light shifted. Benny remained silent, plucking and pulling at the seatbelt with a nervous edge. She gave a quick glance, briefly wondering if Benny was any good at the piano. His fingers were long and slender, but strong and careful. Yes, he would be very good at the piano.
Benny plucked at the steering wheel.
Why did she feel like a child in the backseat, biting anxiety pulling at her guts, having just confessed a failing grade to her parents? What was she waiting for, his approval? Benny's OK to keep going, to plunge farther into the journey? She didn't need his, or anyone else's approval.
MetalBeard and President Business were the next to give up. Lucy had refused to speak to either of them for three weeks. Unikitty, over the course of many sleepless, tearful, sobbing nights, explained that MetalBeard had been a sailor, and knew how to deal with death more than any of them, so it would be natural for him to assume. She didn't have an explanation for President Business.
Eventually, when Unikitty couldn't take the fight any longer, she got Lucy to make up with them, though a year later, things were still tense. She had said she forgave them. She understood. She made peace.
It was a lie.
Not even Unikitty knew, but deep inside Lucy's mind, she suspected that Unikitty knew her heart was not in the right, forgiving place.
"Take this turn," Benny instructed, now playing with the inner lining of his pockets, a nervous habit he had picked up about a year ago. Lucy had begun grinding her teeth. Unikitty swore. Batman bit his nails. They had all changed for the worse.
Turning around the bend, Benny sighed and pulled back into his seat, once more plucking at the finest threads on the seatbelt. Lucy watched him for a moment. He hadn't shaved in a bit, and a light stubble traced his jaw. A smirk nearly took over her lips, but like always, Emmet and his memory stole it away, and a familiar, aching, vile twinge repeatedly pulled at her stomach, yanked at her eyelids, and knocked at her head. When she had mentioned this feeling to Unikitty, her best friend had reasoned it was because she missed Emmet. The doctor, and therapist, agreed.
"He's out there, y'know." Immediately, she regretted mentioning it. Only if he would agree and condone her behavior, if he would skip school and tell her it was right thing to do, would she not wish she could take the words out of the musty air and shove them back in her mouth.
"Lucy…" Now he was the one to lose his patience. The air grew tense, and all she wanted was to sucker-punch him out of the car. Didn't he understand? Didn't he understand that the love of her life might lay dead in the cosmos as she wasted her life searching for him? Did he understand at all?
"…we can't keep doing this." His voice was firm and didn't crack. He should have been broken up. Was he still crying at night, sobbing on his pillow, calling her at three in the morning for a shoulder and an ear? Was he still hung up over the fact that he might never see his best friend again? No, he wasn't. But she was. And he should have been.
One of her nails, already chipped down, scratched the steering wheel. "If you want to give up on the guy who saved your life, fine. I don't care."
Yes, I do.
The guilt poured off like gasoline, and Lucy locked and closed her gaze in on the road ahead of her, pulling off the highway. The car bumped and whined as they went, engine sputtering for a break and tires forging on ahead.
Benny swallowed so thickly Lucy could guess his pulse. "Lucy…you know I love you, right?
The words gave her pause, and she shifted, blowing a strand of hair Emmet would have brushed away out of her face. "Uh-huh."
"And I love our friends, right?"
"So, maybe you can trust me when I say I'm not giving up on Emmet because I don't care, but because life moves on…and maybe…it's for the best."
She could hear the finality in his voice, and she liked none of it. How could he sit there and proclaim this was for the best, that this was because he loved Emmet, because he knew Emmet was dead? How could he say that?
Hardly anyone believed anymore. It was like being in seventh grade and knowing with all your heart that Santa was real, all while everyone in the class except the nerd in the corner with the odd-looking sandwich for lunch had stopped believing three years prior. It wasn't quiet loneliness, not isolation, but something worse, something like being wrong when everything must be right.
Batman had given up.
Vitruvius wouldn't even acknowledge her. She had waited for him to pay a visit, to tell her to hold on, to reassure her that Emmet was fine, alive, and just dreaming of the day she would come to rescue him. But no, he was silent, dead as the rest of her friends who had passed on to the more adult life she had so craved years past.
Unikitty believed with all her heart. So did Sweet. Sometimes, Lucy believed Sweet's push for Emmet's state of life was more to grow closer to the group, to become 'one of them', not so much that she believed her boyfriend was alive, but Lucy had grown more suspicious of everyone these days.
"Lucy?" Benny snapped his piano-fingers. "Are you ok?"
So, it was one more.
So, only three were left.
That didn't scare her.
If she had to be alone, that was fine. She was good at alone.
But if she ever stopped…if she gave up…
Lucy didn't trust herself.
A few months ago, Benny had been just as fervent a searcher as she was. Together, in his musky, hardly-fixed-up basement, where spiders tread lightly in the corners and his black-and-white TV flickered at the worst moments, they would pour of ever map of the cosmos they could dig up or make up. They pulled sleepless nights, binged on coffee, cried over the coffee, and occasionally brought Unikitty and Sweet in to help. They, and their adventures, were like some obscure, oddball, nerdy club no one made fun or because no one knew it existed.
And the strange thing was, those were the most fun times she had had since…
But if he could lose faith, if someone just as strong in Emmet's friendship as she was, if Benny could lose hope and throw in the towel, what guarantee was there that she wouldn't do the same down the road?
"We've looked for years, Lucy." His strong, faithful hand reached down and found hers. She gripped back immediately. Why did it feel so much like Emmet's? "Maybe…"
"Don't say it." It was a plead. She couldn't take it. If he gave up, it was over. Someone besides her had to be strong.
"…it's possible that Emmet isn't…"
The car stopped with a lurching hiccup on the side of the road, and Lucy wheeled on Benny with scalding coals in her eyes. He leapt back until she had him pressed against the door of the car. "Don't say it." Her voice was raspy and could hardly handle the heat of her anger. "Don't do it, Benny. Don't give up on him like they did."
She sat back in her seat, but her gaze fixated on him.
"Lucy…" He didn't even have to say anything more. The tears pooling in his eyes, the lump in his throat, the sweat lacing his scalp, it all told her too much that she didn't want to hear.
Quickly, before Lucy could catch up with the fate of the world, Benny leaned forward, took her by the shoulders, and pressed his lips against her forehead, as though making a solemn promise, and pulled back. His cheeks had gained a color bloodier than red wine that spread all throughout his face and trickled down to his finger tips that still linked around her hands. Lucy had no idea what face he saw on her, nor how he perceived it. "Good luck, Lucy." Their eyes locked, words, images, and memories rushed at her too fast to read them all when she just wanted to pour over each and every one to piece together what he was supposedly telling her. His hands left her, he unbuckled the seatbelt, opened the door, and headed towards Sweet's house with his piano fingers stuck in his pockets.
Silently, as tears trickled then gushed down her cheeks, Lucy dove into the glove box, hands too cold to function properly, and grabbed a small note pad.
Scribble Cop X
President Business X
She stared at the last name on the list. Maybe if she didn't cross it out, it would be true, and she would wake up. Or Emmet would hop in the car and shake her out of the demented day dream. Or Benny would reveal it was all a test. Anything but this.
A/N: Did…did I almost write a slight BennyxLucy thing? UHHHHH read this how you want I guess XD. Ok, does anyone want to see more of these things, where Lucy slowly watches her friends give up on Emmet? Let me now, and thanks so much for reading!