spoilers: none after s4
notes: for the toby challenge. thank you, genesis 5-9. thank you, those who helped: fallon, kimmy, jenn and em. i needed that boost of confidence. this is for amy_vic. i do hope it shall please her.
And after the great flood, there came life.
Not a very good life, not an ideal existence, but something like it; no longer an adrenaline rush that starts at the tips of your toes and ends at the tips of your fingers, writing, typing, gesturing grandly into the air to make a point.
And Tobias was fifty-two years old, and he begat to Huck and Molly, and they were his life. He would get to see them every other weekend and act like the father he never quite felt he was, in the city that was never quite theirs. His city of New York; why he moved back, he can't really tell, it just felt right. He felt banished from D.C. and this was the altered, caffeinated version of home: buildings tall enough and streets big enough for him to get lost in. He knew what he knew; some things were still the same as when he left, some things disappeared into taxicab smoke. What was in-between, stayed in-between.
Every morning, he would wake up and feel nothing; he would go down to the one coffee shop he knew and buy the same coffee, the blackest black they had. He didn't care if the coffee beans came from Italy or Colombia, just as long as it felt bitter. Sometimes, he'd visit a bookstore. Afterwards he would always go home and write feverishly, anxiously, using all the words in the world and letting nothing out. He would stick to this routine; he loved his routine. He took comfort in the thought of nothing out of the way ever happening, and his world wouldn't shatter every week or day or hour or minute. He had the newspapers delivered right to his front door, but he rarely read them. When he did open one, he pretended not to look for her name. So he didn't.
Thus did Tobias, unprepared for what was coming; and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and he stayed the same. At the end of all these days, she came; it wasn't dark or sweet or scary, it was just a fact, that at a certain season you can get a cheaper plane ticket from L.A. to New York City on the internet, and pay for it, and be on your way; that's the kind of person she's always been, and it petrified him into a brooding stillness. And when the land had frozen over, she called. It was December and the sky was perfectly clear behind the closed curtains of his bland apartment.
She called, and the world crashed again.
She was in the city for two weeks before she called. She wasn't sure how he'd react. They met at a bookstore that she loved; her place within his territory, and he was displeased. He walked like a stranger in the streets of his home, and she felt comfortable in this store he didn't know with the soft cushions and the cat. The cat sat in her lap, and, within him, the water prevailed. She seemed to know the map better than he did, not more in depth, just in a better way. She bought herself a chai latte and he insisted on his coffee, black. Little could move him from his principle, and yet he didn't trust himself with her and her breeze upon her, her L.A. sunlight trying to melt down his icebergs.
She put her hand on his and told him of everything she's been going through. She talked about growth and change and realizations. She looked into his eyes, and he knew he didn't stand a chance. That didn't stop him from trying. Rain fell down within him, but the store was warm and inviting. It was one of those book cafes, and definitely too fashionable for his taste. She used to joke and say he was the most conservative liberal she's known, other than the drinking. She wasn't joking now. She sounded grown, and tired, and restless; she was still packed with the energy and it crawled in her veins like electricity. Or maybe it was him, he couldn't really tell anymore. It didn't matter. When he looked at her, his eyes darkened and deepened, and his lifeless life twisted around her words and expressions.
When he looked at her, the ice turned to water; and the water was on the face of the whole earth.
And Tobias felt six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
He used to test her, drink after drink. He'd send forth a raven, testing her waters, waiting; he'd send forth a dove. He'd send forth his hand, reaching for hers. He had the Jewish gift of turning water into wine, and wine into guilt; when they last kissed, she didn't melt into him. Her battles showed on her face and, beautiful as she was, it was too late, too broken, too familiar a dance to embark on at the end of all things. And the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him. And they scattered to two different parts of the country, carrying the load of their sins, trying to disappear where the sins were too numerous for theirs to matter. She was good at lying, and he was good at making it sound believable.
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
She searched for their kisses in his face, that night. She searched for the alcohol that was never enough to make them uninhibited but always made it so they allowed themselves a little more. She searched for their impurities and wars. She found bitter coffee and dark, uncommunicative words in a disarray. They discussed nothing in particular, and he made sure to put a question mark at the end of everything, so their words won't dry up from off the earth.
He let her see his apartment; his shelter, his dry land of Ararat. She came forth like a dove, and his heart did not spread wings. She put her hand on his face, gently. She kissed his forehead and his cheeks and his forehead again. At last, he found himself without words; and Molly's pictures and Huck's pictures weren't enough to distract her, and neither were his piles of books, his countless, meaningless manuscripts, his dirty dishes or his general sense of shame. She kissed him.
And the waters prevailed unto Mount Ararat; they broke down his ark and left him standing there, naked.