Condemned

Chapter 19: Time

Chapter Nineteen: Time

AN: check out my DA for the playlist, complied by reader suggestions not too long ago- link at the end of the chapter ;D

enjoy and tell all your friends! :P

"How long?" I ask Andri as he re-bandages the wound for the fourth time this morning.

Dandachi's condition has blistered and deteriorated in the last three days, just as Andri had predicted. Bane has watched every second of Dandachi's demise with acute attention, and, by the sickening scowl which seems to be permanently etched onto his face, he is savoring every millisecond of it.

"No need to look so smug," I say coldly, refusing to look at him as I cut another line of bandage. I feel him turn his eyes on me for a moment. He huffs and continues his sadistic crusade.

"How long?" I ask Andri again, not satisfied with being ignored.

This time, he acknowledges me with a glance and moves to my side.

"Time is not a thing you should be worrying about," he whispers down at me.

"How long?" I say again, silently wishing for him to move a little further away. It's very rare we two maintain such close proximity- Andri is intensely prone to keeping his distance. Now that he's so close, it feels asthough some silent archaic rule has been compromised.

"Three, maybe four days," he says casually.

"And then...?"

"All of this- pettering ends. And so does he. Permanently."

Dandachi wails asthough his intestines are being dragged out. I wince, moving instinctively closer to the pathetic wretch which used to be such an imposing character, asthough my presence might offer a little comfort. With a firm hand, Andri pulls me over to the washing area, where a pile of laundry has turned into a mountain.

"You have work to do," he scolds, gesturing for me to kick myself into gear.

"Well, the last few days have been a little busy, don't you think?" I retain, crouching down over the heap of rags and beginning to organize them into more manageable piles.

"Move them," Bane says monotonously.

"Hmm?" I reply, sensing the chill in his voice and preparing myself for whatever might be on it's way.

"The clothes and your washing things. Move them into this side. Now."

I stop still.

"'Now?'" I say, unable to stop myself, "are you really going to start beckoning me like I'm some sort of puppy dog?"

"For the love of God, woman, for once cease the constant stream of defense."

"'Constant stream?!'" I repeat, genuinely aggravated "me? You're the one who's so consistently uptight you won't let me near you half of the time, and now suddenly you're calling me to-and-fro, left, right and center?"

A thick silence stirs and in the midst of it Andri gathers up the bowls and takes them out to be refilled for lunch. He stops by Bobby's side and they talk for a few seconds, leaving only Bane, the dying man and myself in the sweltering hot cell.

"Leave him," Bane says unexpectedly, almost pleading. "Allow him to die. He deserves it." He stops again.

"Personally, I cannot wait."

I'm unsure at this point as to whether or not Dandachi is conscious, but he doesn't retaliate, regardless of whatever state of sleep he is in.

"Have some compassion," I say, sounding surprisingly tired, and I know my body and mind has thrown away all forms of defense or onslaught towards how bane might act. I just stare at him through the cold bars, my eyes asking him for far more than just compassion- asking for something to complex for my mind to even begin to peel apart.

"I have none," Bane says plainly, staring right at me. "None at all. None for you, none for myself..." He points a finger at the spot where Dandachi lies, slowly deteriorating into a corpse.

"And certainly none for him."

He coughs, a vicious sort of thing which breaks through his solid chest and ricochets off the walls of his throat. My upset subsides a minute or so as he breaks into a full-fledged coughing fit, and I move to his side of the cell to find him some water. He drinks it gratefully then, once the coughing has stopped, looks at the floor with a defeated, small expression which I should imagine mirrors my own at this moment.

"Just move back over this side a while. Please."

Within ten minutes my washing station has transferred over to Bane and Bobby's cell. I keep an eye on Dandachi, who sleeps undisturbed apart from the odd groan. Bane has a bit of a funny turn, and I make him lie down, suffering a minute panic attack at the incident which gradually dissolves as Bane returns to normal.

"If that was me lying there," he says, "would you care for me in the same way you've fussed over him these past few hours?"

"You know I would," I reply, holding a cold cloth to his forehead to cool him, "ten-fold."

I pause a moment, unsure whether or not to ask.

"And what if it were me? Would you care?"

He closes his eyes and the lids flutter gently. He re-opens them and stares straight up at the cracks in the grey ceiling.

I move to prompt him, but just before I do he says, "you know the answer."

I think about that for a long time.

He seems on the surface not to even like me half of the time, let alone care about me, but the way he always seems to save me from threat- surely, there must be something there. Mustn't there?

you know the answer.

"Do I?" I ask into the silence, but when I look down I find that Bane's eyes are closed, and he is entwined in the depths of dreaming.

I lie down on the floor next to him, and try to imagine the thoughts of a man so lost.

It's several hours before I wake up, and when I do, Bane is still sleeping. I look over to see that Dandachi still sleeps, too. On the floor next to his bunk lie a pile of clothes which someone has pushed through the bars to be washed. Quietly as I can, I slip through Bane's half into the side where Dandachi lies, intent on collecting the clothes. As I bend to pick them up, humming to myself, I decide that I'll change Dandachi's dressings; then I'll get started on all these clothes. I must be three, maybe four days behind on my laundry duties. I suppose we'll have no soap again.

I bundle up the clothes and make to stand.

Just as I do, a thick hand clasps itself over my mouth.

AN: LE GASP!

all i can say is: it's all gonna hit the fan next chapter. And when it's hitting the fan, it's hitting the fan HARD.

playlist link: art/Condemned-Playlist-355274572

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