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Title: Better Than You Know
Fandom: Richard Bachman's The Long Walk (technically Stephen King ;D)
Characters: Peter McVries, a bit of Ray Garraty
Word Count: 807
Date Finished: July 14, 2009
Author's Notes: I can't leave this book alone i love it so much nggghhhhhhhhhhh

Better Than You Know

He was dancing somewhere between disgusted, angry and depressed. One of those feelings that didn't have an exact word and was hard to describe, but one of those that was so very easy to feel.

He had returned from the hospital mere minutes before, half past one in the morning, to an apartment full of drunk roommates. He didn't know where the booze had come from, nor did he care. And he wasn't shocked at all when none of them bothered to notice the freshly stitched up gash on his cheek.

"Hey Pete, sorry we drank all the beer!" One of them called out, not really sorry in the least bit. Could've been Mark, could've been Gunther.

Peter McVries didn't give a sweet fuck which one it was. They all sounded the same when their words were slurred. He just strolled through the tiny living room area, into his even smaller bedroom and quickly shut the door behind him. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do at that point, but he knew it would either be a.) pick up the lamp on his nightstand -- the crooked one without the shade -- and chuck that motherfucker against the wall or b.) slam his back against the door and slide down it for a sob or two.

C. C won. C was Peter standing aimlessly in the middle of his room, jaw slack, eyes glazed over, fingers tracing the stitches over the gash on his face. Touching it hurt like hell, but that didn't matter. What mattered was her.

"Pris."

Moments passed. Moments where Peter just stood, swaying slightly, staring at nothing in particular. He didn't know what to do next, where to go, how to live. He had been living for her, day in and day out. But now that she had told him to get out -- get out for good -- he wasn't sure of anything anymore. Did he have a reason to get up in the morning? Did he have a reason to feed himself lunch or dinner? Did he have a reason to live?

His mind didn't bother working through any of these questions while his feet carried him to his thin mattress of a bed. He and Pris would snuggle up together in it occasionally, her fitting with her back to his front in a perfectly warm fashion. She complained about how flimsy and cheap his mattress was, but always said that the heat and comfort he provided made up for it.

Now it was just Peter, sprawled out on his back with his arms over his face. One wrist brushed against his stitches and he flinched, grunting in pain. Pulling his arms away, he turned onto his side and froze when he saw a pair of shoulders. They were rising and falling slowly and Peter found that his own hitched breathing was matching with the movement ahead of him. The room was so dark that Peter couldn't tell what color the head of hair was, but he saw the outline of a pale body lying next to him, under his sheets.

"Pris?" He murmured. "Priscilla?" The second inquiry was even quieter, his voice almost failing him.

Whoever that was under his sheets hadn't been there moments before and under any other circumstances Peter would've flipped his shit. But now... now he just stared. Was the pain in his cheek causing him to see things? Was he so emotionally drained that he was getting delirious?

Reaching out, his shaky hand landed on the shoulder of the person in his bed. He was expecting a mess of dark hair, Priscilla's dark hair, to brush his fingertips, but no. No, this person had short hair. This wasn't Pris.

The touch stirred the body and suddenly Peter was face to face with a male. Some guy he had never seen before with sleepy blue eyes and a curious expression. Peter reeled back in confusion, almost falling out his own bed. He had never seen this guy before, ever, but somehow he knew his name.

"Ray..."

Jolting awake, Peter McVries realized he was walking down the middle of an asphalt road, his feet drifting surprisingly close to the yellow line. That dream, those were the worst kind. The ones where you relive moments you never enjoyed, your brain adding in things that make it even more dreadful, if it's even possible.

The worst part of it all was that Peter couldn't decide whether the addition of a comfortable and disheveled looking Ray Garraty in his bed was a good thing or a bad thing.

God dammit.

"You okay?" A voice suddenly spoke up behind him, full of a solid and serious concern.

"Fine," Peter shook Ray's hand off his shoulder and glued his eyes to the road ahead, shifting away from Garraty. "I'm just fine and fuckin' dandy, thanks."

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Heather Alyse

February 2016

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