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Dance Til We Drop

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He wakes at 4 AM when he smells Chinese food. Stevie is rummaging in the kitchen.

"Bloody chopsticks," she mutters, because she can never break them apart.

He's not sure it was ever not 4 AM, but he joins her at the table. "Why haven't you left me?"

She points at Dr Cream lurking behind the couch. "That bastard's still here, you're not interrogating him. Enjoy yourself for once, River."

He laughs and throws a coat in the angry ghost's general direction. When he looks back at Stevie, she's an inch away from his face. Her breath chills his lips.

*

He wakes at 4 AM when he smells Chinese food. Stevie is rummaging in the kitchen.

"Don't you have a bloody fork here, River?"

He's not sure it was ever not 4 AM, but he gets out of bed and glares at the ghost crouching behind the couch. Dr Cream ignores him.

The room is icy. He puts on his coat then sits down with Stevie.

"Frankie's in jail," he says abruptly.

Her eyes are fluorescent blue and her body transparent. "I visit everyone I loved."

Before he can ask, she leans forward, an inch from his face. They freeze.

*

He wakes at 4 AM when he smells Chinese food. Stevie is rummaging in the kitchen.

He's not sure it was ever not 4 AM, but he calls out to her. "Why are you here, Stevie?"

She saunters in. "Fuck, your ghosts are creepy."

He gestures at her, and she laughs and flops down on his bed. Her breath doesn't cloud like his.

Trembling, he reaches out, not all the way. "Why can't you stay?"

Fading away, only her eyes remain. "It's your rules."

Dr Cream is standing behind her, razor in hand. "Your rules," he echoes in mocking falsetto.

*

He wakes at 4 AM when he smells Chinese food. Stevie is rummaging in the kitchen.

River is out of bed and charging the couch, his shirt flapping.

"Get out!" he screams at Dr Cream.

"Her own child killed her and you think you don't need truth?"

River unclenches his fists and opens the door. "Go," he says with a surprising calm authority. "There's no room for you."

Cream slinks out.

"Stay." He puts a hand on Stevie's. "I always needed you."

"Course you did, stupid." She steps into his arms and her welcome cold numbs him as they sway.