letsdropin: (Thoughtful || mittens)
Reid Garwin ([personal profile] letsdropin) wrote2010-09-14 05:08 pm

[profile] 7s_prompts: 14.3.3. Go.

A/N: Reusing the journal for the original character Cameron that started as based on Reid; set in the same world as the character [profile] laedecker. Laedecker and Dorothy used with permission and love.

Cameron made his way across the carnival slowly, carefully. He could feel his joints creaking, even if the din and the wind swallowed the noise completely. The dusty air choked him a bit as it did everybody now and again; he had to stop and wait until the fit of coughing died out, before going on.

His body looked in as good a shape as his years permitted, he still got the looks of the matrons - and the occasional maiden - during his still spot-on acts. His face wasn't too lined; his muscles were perfectly working. But somewhere, he had become an old man.

He found Laedecker exactly where he thought he would. Decades of knowing the man had honed being aware of his habits into almost an instinct, or something like. The head of the carnival was there to the west of the location. Just back in from arranging things with the leaders of the town; staring unerringly at where the sun would be setting. He'd seen him do that thousands of times, over the years. Literally.

Not that everybody knew the meaning of thousands.

Cam stepped up beside him, the wind, unstopped by carts and wagons, whipping the long, ashed-blond hair into his face a bit.

Few people would have even realized the slight shift of Laedecker's body was acknowledgment of presence.

He could speak up now... and he was silent a little more. Delaying the inevitable. Or maybe making sure he didn't start coughing, instead of talking.

Eventually, he managed to rasp out, "I'm staying here."

And that got the other man to look at him, serenity gone from the the familiar, lined face in a flash. "Is something wrong?" Have I managed to make the carnival not your home, after all this time? Cam wasn't sure that was the question he was being asked, but it sounded close enough.

He shook his head. "No. Love to stay. For always, or as good as, as long as your road leads you on." And now he turned to meet his eyes, his own untypically clouded even with the aging man's squint he had developed. "But I can't."

Now, he knew Laedecker understood. By the pain in his clear eyes. "You can stay as long as you--"

"I know I can, boss man. Always known. But that would mean you'd have to watch it. She'd have to watch it." He shook his head. "Can't do this to you."

"Cameron..." It wrenched at his heart, the way his voice broke. Dessert's dried dregs, it wrenched.

He swallowed, and rushed in to add some more of the thoughts. Not all, wind and sand not all, but some. "I'm older than either of my parents lived, boss man. I'm older than any of my grandparents lived to. It may not be tomorrow, or next week, but I don't want you to have to see it, and I got to go. Well. Got to stay."

"You've decided?" The weathered face that he still considered more beautiful than any he had seen turned west again, and the voice, while strained, was steady again.

"Pretty much." Of course, if the two of them worked together, they might talk him out of it. It would be so easy to stay with the carnival, it was his home. The place where the strange wily child that had been too thoughtful was an asset, not a nuisance. Where not having family was considered not a failing or flaw but misfortune and everybody was rootless and people loved him or hated him or just got along with him not because of where he came from, but because of what he accomplished. He'd lose that, to the last of the dregs, when he returned to the farmers. Oh yes, they could talk him out of it. But he knew Laedecker understood his argument. He understood his reason. "Reckon if I'm wrong, when you swing this way again in ten years or fifteen, I'll be here to greet you. All cheerful and waving my walking stick. Might agree to throw knives for a night, too, if I've lost practice with the whole fire thing."

"But you don't think you will."

"Oh, I haven't given up on myself that much." No, he didn't think he would. He hadn't heard that coughing since he was a child, not more than a random person watching around the acts; but he had listened to it too much then to not know. Better leave before he starts coughing up blood. Better leave while he can leave hope back with them. That it wouldn't be now, or tomorrow, or next month. One day, and maybe not yet.

He saw the nod, even if it was small. "Have you told her?"

"Not yet. Hadn't picked the place yet."

"Why here?"

"Best cherries I've tasted my whole life." He shrugged. "As good a reason as any, when all are the same, some ways." Important ways.

He waited for more questions; there weren't any. There would be, he knew. And maybe argument. And maybe even persuading him to stay. Everything was possible.

For now, he started back towards the wagons. He wouldn't have sworn to it, but he thought that when he looked back, Laedecker's shoulders were shaking.


Dorothy found him just after the next fit of coughing had eased, sitting with his back to the big wheel of one of the loading carts. "Keeping yourself from sunburn again?"

"Like always, precious. Just like always. If I don't do the tan things gradually, everybody'll think I've burned myself on my own fire, nobody would notice I'm actually better than that."

A conversation they'd had a few times already, it called up her rich laugh as she settled beside him in the dirt, on the other side of the axle. He ducked his head to be able to see her face; after a moment, reached a hand to pick up a lock of her hair, caressing it between thumb and fingers. It was as dark and shiny as the first day they'd met, lustrous, beautiful. Like it always held reflections of the fire that burned inside of her.

He didn't realize his fist had closed around her hair until her voice quivered, startled. "Cam? What is it?"

"Nothing." It wasn't like him to chicken out of things. And he did now, and immediately berated himself about it. He'd have to tell her.

"Not nothing. Speak."

So he did.

By the time he'd gotten through the main point, her hands were balled up and she punched his arm with one of them. "Don't you dare. This is the craziest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. Staying behind! To die all alone! Don't. you. dare!"

He leaned around the axle and met her lips as she was going to yell more; the words melted into kissing him back with the same level of fierceness. Yes, he'd looked around. Even here, a girl that looked like her seemed odd to do this with a guy who looked old enough to be her father, if they all knew that he wasn't; and it was coming time that town folks would start wandering about, too.

"Don't you dare," she still whispered when he pulled back, and her eyes were swimming. "Why would you think that I want to miss a moment... any moment that's left?"

He didn't look away, though it cost him every ounce of willpower. "It's better."

"Cam!"

And here it began.

[identity profile] danthbacktuhel.livejournal.com 2012-11-07 03:21 am (UTC)(link)
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