Concern (Mood Post)
"Superiority lends itself well to expectation. You imagine what will be, how it relates to you and then conclude that you're prepared for it and there's nothing else to do but warn people not to bother. You have it covered. You're spot on and protected.

Then of course, the reality comes along, slapping you across the face, convincing you otherwise and you're left blinking and staring at the unexpected direction it all takes. Not that you weren't prepared? 

But that you ultimately, were preparing for the wrong eventuality.

~Stumeer Greel, Humbled Akashic~

He turned the scalpel over several times in his hands. It was fresh from the plastic, scoured clean by steam and disinfectant and repackaged for surgery purposes. He'd peeled open the plastic to examine the tools and wonder at the life that clung to the edge.

It wasn't some metaphor either. At some point in the near future, a surgeon would pick up this same instrument, carve away layers of skin to get at something inside that was doing a person harm. At some point this scalpel would be the divider between life and potential death. Or at least, an earlier death than they had wanted. 

The pencil thin shaft of the instrument spun neatly through his fingers, catching on his thumb just below the blade with well-practiced efficiency. 

Part of him was concerned. He couldn't deny that. Concern had a way of seeding his thoughts, maybe an after-thought or leak from Margot that had begun to infect him prior to their Seeking but so far it felt more like the tumour this scalpel was meant to be cutting out rather than the wholesale part of him that made up part of 'being human'. 

Then again, they weren't human anymore were they?

He sat there, internally observing the fluctuating and compartmentalized section of his emotional spectrum that had been murmuring and pulsing, blue azure through to purple vermillion since they'd eliminated the threat to Margot's betterment. Since Lucien had been put down, that small part of himself had been restless but not...upset. Anticipatory but not degrading. 

He'd been preparing himself for the inevitable since listening to that voicemail from Luke. A flashpoint of possibilities that ended in a knife thrust, the only variable being who was holding the handle. As time had progressed, as Margot had reassured, over and over and over again, steeling herself and falling apart and settling her nerves and breaking down and they had finally driven across the state lines in pursuit of what some might consider 


He'd began to winnow down that variable until it was a familiar male hand holding the knife. Until Margot wasn't even a factor anymore. Because the part of her that was like this part of him, he'd been wondering over and observing for days now, was much bigger, much broader and much more prone to reacting and that wasn't a bad thing. If anything, it made her suited to enlightenment or at least, satisfaction.

He spun the scalpel over his fingers, frowning.

So what does that make you suited for?

He remembered the look on Luke's face. The stumbling, jarred expression of shock at what had happened and in that moment of eye contact before he'd listlessly glanced at his Sister for the last time, Luke had stared with something like surprised relief. As if he didn't know it was going to be that way when it finally happened. As if the kid had been preparing himself, losing an arm, a sister and a mother all at once, for the worst possible hell and the brightest possible pain.

Those eyes had said 'Well...this is new...'

Then he'd glanced at his Sister, like he wanted to apologize and slumped back onto the ground, dead and gone.

And Ned had stood there, pain a distant memory (blooms of red, green and terrible yellow that he could see under his skin but couldn't feel for the Life sphere he'd briefly employed), dribbling blood down his chin, wondering why the horror that he had expected after such an event, the shock and awe and trembling, had not taken over. He rationalized the punctured lung, the discombobulating mental state, the feral thoughts, all of it had played some part in the moment.

None of which explained why sitting here with the scalpel in hand, spinning it over his fingers, staring at the tumour of concern he'd been prodding and test poking with a mental finger, didn't bring anything else to mind but a general sense of annoyance and a restless sense of....

Fulfilment? Satisfaction? Anticipation? Evaluation?

Whichever word used, it wasn't 'Horror'. 

"Hey Ned..." He looked up, brow furrowing at the interruption, regarding Jose standing in the door. The man was frown-smiling in that way that said 'I'm friendly but you look troubled'. Jose was staring at the scalpel and Ned did his best to smile briefly to wave off the concern.

"Break time done?"

Jose offered a nod, still looking at Ned's hands and the tool. An up-nod was thrown out.

"You bleeding, amigo."

Ned glanced down, eyeing his thumb where it had caught the edge of the blade. He huffed slightly and stood up, moving toward the sink nearby with a careful set of steps.


"Yeah..." Something in Jose's voice. It took him a moment to recognize the concern. "...You alright?"

"Yeah just....few days left. Has me thinking, you know?"

"Heh, yeah. Not sure what we gonna do without you, Hermano. Who gonna tackle all them crackheads come in through the door for Maria?"

Ned chuckled. Genuinely. The concern in the air faded. The tumour in his head wilted.

"Not my problem anymore, Jose. Bigger things. Brighter plans."


Ned watched the red thin out in the stream of water, spiralling down into the drain. He flicked the tap off a moment later and reached for some gauze on the shelf nearby.


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