Title: Puppet

Author: D.L. SchizoAuthoress

Rating: R, collectively

Warnings: Mentions of violence and death, perhaps a little profanity. Rating may go up in further chapters.

Summary: Evan Treborn can revisit his memories and change the past. But what if he's not the only one who knows about it?

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"Puppet"

'Third Time's the...Something-or-other'

Lenny Treborn sometimes stares at the moon, blurry and pale behind thick glass and metal grating, and wonders what his life would be like it he hadn't gone along with cousin Evan and Kayleigh Miller that day. He wonders why Evan isn't here too, at Sunnyvale Institution. Uncle Jason was crazy, and Lenny's crazy, so shouldn't Evan be at least half-crazy?

He certainly seemed half-crazy on that day. Lenny had watched, trailing behind Evan and Kayleigh as they made their way to the junkyard. Evan stopped walking, looked disoriented, and suddenly became frantic-talking about cutting a rope, something...he knew something. And he used Lenny, used Lenny's guilt and horror over the poor, dead mother and the poor, dead, innocent little baby...pressed that shard of metal into Lenny's hand and told him to atone for their deaths.

As if Lenny was the only guilty one.

Lenny knows who the guilty ones are. Lenny knew, and Lenny still knows and believes that he did the right thing. He did the right thing by killing Tommy Miller, because even if Tommy spared Evan's dog, it wouldn't bring back those two people he killed. But nobody knows that, and nobody would believe Lenny if he could say so.

Because Lenny is crazy.

Whether he was crazy in the beginning, Lenny doesn't know. He knows that it's supposed to be wrong to kill people, but shoving that piece of metal into Tommy's back...it felt so right. Watching Tommy shudder, and gasp, and fall down in the dirt felt like it was right. And of course there was no point in running away, or denying that he'd done it-not with Kayleigh screaming and screaming, and Evan staring at him in horror, and Tommy's dead body between them. So Lenny just sat down on the ground and waited.

Now he lies in his bare room at the institution, strapped to the table and dead-numb with medication, still waiting. He sees things, sees people all the way the are and the ways they could be. You know, if things had gone differently? Maybe he dreams, or maybe he has visions, but whatever it is, he knows.

Lenny knows about all kinds of things. Kayleigh is a crackwhore living in a rundown motel room, Tommy has been dead for seven years, and Evan is going to college. But Kayleigh could have been a sorority girl, or a waitress at a truck stop. Tommy could have killed Crockett and gone to juvenile hall and become a criminal, or he could have been abused by his dad. Evan could be in a fraternity, or studying psychology, or anything. He could be on the other side.

The waiting has consumed Lenny Treborn. The waiting is all that he has left. And if he wasn't crazy in the beginning, he's crazy now.

****

Evan is here. He has stolen something, a key card maybe, so that he can sneak around the institution like a thief-he is awkward again, stunned by Lenny's situation. He shouldn't be, not really. Aunt Andrea and cousin Evan have both shut Lenny and his family out for years, or at least that's what Mom says when she visits. Lenny reminds them too much of Jason Treborn, doesn't he?

Groggy with the medication, Lenny lacks the strength to turn his head, to look at his cousin. But there is something he doesn't yet know, and so he has to ask. "When you put that shard in my hand, you knew...you knew that something was going to happen."

When Evan speaks, Lenny is faintly surprised. "Yeah," Evan says, sadly, "I knew."

Lenny hadn't expected Evan to answer, and he hadn't expected the sudden grief that comes with this knowing. "Then you should be here...where I am. You should be...where I am..."

They both know that this is the truth. Something lets them know that this is the truth. And Evan can't deal with it, can't deal with his cousin in this nightmare place, can't deal with the condemnation that he fully deserves...just can't deal.

Evan vanishes from Lenny's field of vision, and a flat buzz that is the door being keyed open tells him that Evan has left.

For good.