Wednesday, June 11, 1924
Felix was disconsolate.
He’d woken up with no small amount of dread, gazing at the calendar and refusing to read the scribbled note under today’s date.
He had meetings later in the day. It was all that kept him from reaching for a whiskey bottle.
Fischbach was very confused as he accompanied Felix around, that much was clear. He never asked what was going on, though, as Felix dragged his feet and closed doors harder than they really deserved.
His factory overseer was very confused to see Felix dropping in, too.
“Mr. Kjellberg-” the overseer blinked in surprise. “I wasn’t expecting you in today. You’ve always taken today off.”
Felix smiled bitterly, trying to squash the memories of why.
“It doesn’t matter this year.”
The overseer’s eyes flicked to Fischbach before nodding.
“Of course.” And then they went about business as usual.
The exchange clearly served to confuse Fischbach even more, but he still didn’t say anything.
Between appointments, Felix dropped his head against the car window, staring out at the blatantly sunny day. It had been sunny all week, so he wasn’t sure why he’d expected anything differently, but there wasn’t even a single cloud to be seen. The weather was mocking him.
Felix glared sourly at the sun whenever he got the chance. Some part of him was irrationally angry at the weather being so mismatched to the day, but he knew if he stopped to think, the real reason he was so upset today would bubble up.
So he kept busy. All day. He dragged Fischbach to the usual appointments, and to the usual events, and talked to the usual people, and then he kept going. He talked to workers to make sure things were going okay for them, and did interviews for a shift manager at the factory, then spent a good hour fending off questions from the press when they surrounded him.
And slowly, the sun went down, and Felix ran out of things he could reasonably do in one day. With that, came Fischbach insisting Felix get home and rest.
Felix’s shoulders tightened at the suggestion.
“I’m fine. I’ve pulled long nights before.”
“Then you can pull it at home, where Morrison can watch you,” Fischbach said firmly.
Felix looked over at Fischbach and winced internally. He’d been so determined to get through the day without thinking what it used to mean, that he hadn’t bothered to make sure Mark’s brother was doing alright.
And he looked tired, almost like he’d been following and escorting Felix around for close to twelve hours.
Felix’s shoulders slumped despite himself. “Alright. Home it is.”
The sun was just barely beginning to set by the time they arrived home, Fischbach immediately retiring to his room for rest, allowing Felix to stare at the beautiful colors of the sunset.
Even that was mocking him.
Felix made it halfway to his office before he stopped, one foot resting on the top of the stairs and hand clutching the handrail.
His eyes fell on the door to Cry’s old room. It was kept closed, but never locked, in case one of Cry’s animals snuck back inside.
Slowly, Felix stepped forward—then again. And then, though every coherent part of his mind was screaming for him to leave well enough alone, he opened the door.
The furniture in the room had been covered with sheets, but Felix knew what everything was.
His eyes moved slowly around the room, taking in memories.
The vanity. Cry would sit there and get ready for his days sometimes—usually he used it to make fastening his mask easier.
The wardrobe. The vast majority of Cry’s clothes still hung neatly in it, since Felix hadn’t found it in himself to just... get rid of them. The doors stayed closed, though. The scent of mothballs was heavy in that corner of the room.
The wicker clothes basket sat neatly next to the wardrobe, though the dirty clothes that had once inhabited it had long since been taken and washed and hung up.
The desk. Felix had only ever gotten glimpses of Cry using it, though the evidence of moved papers and ink bottles and pens proved he had. He was pretty sure Cry had written Faceless reports and read orders there, and a soft jiggle of the drawers proved them all locked.
The window, with the part of the roof sticking out past it below. Felix opened the window—it needed a good washing—and stuck his head out to look. It was hard to tell in the quickly fading light, but Cry had clearly come in and gone out frequently this way: the shingles had been worn almost smooth.
Felix grimaced against the feeling welling up inside of him and pulled the window closed with a satisfying thunk. Not very quiet, and yet somehow Cry had managed to sneak out and back in nearly every night.
Felix finally turned to the largest item in the room: the bed.
It had long since been made, and it was impossible to tell Cry had almost died in the bed. It was impossible to tell Cry had almost died in this room, with the strongest seizures Felix had ever had to witness. Not that he’d witnessed many, but if he imagined...
Felix sighed and ran his fingers along the foot of Cry’s bed.
He slowly sat on the bed, trying to keep his tears back.
It didn’t work.
Felix buried his face in his hands, trying to muffle his sob.
“Oh, Cry,” he choked out. “Oh Cry.” He swallowed thickly. “You were supposed to turn twenty-eight today. You were supposed to get a year older today, and we were supposed to celebrate. We were supposed to have a little party, and you were supposed to have amazing cake and butter tarts.”
But Cry wasn’t there.
Cry hadn’t been there, not for nearly six months.
“You promised, Cry!” Felix choked out. “You promised.”
But Cry didn’t appear, just like he hadn’t appeared for the past six months, and the empty air offered no explanation for what had happened that disastrous Christmas Eve.
That wasn’t even the part Felix was most upset about. Faceless had unfortunate events happen to them, all the time, but it just- it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair.
Felix pitched sideways, fingers digging desperately into the sheet covering the bed, tears flowing freely now.
Six months, and no news. No notice of reassignment by the Faceless. No news, or a message from some kind of teammate Cry might have had—not that he ever mentioned having a partner.
It was June 11th. Today was the day they would have planned a surprise party for Cry, even though he fully knew about it. Today was supposed to be his friend’s day.
Today was supposed to be fun- today was supposed to be fun. Today was supposed to be the day when he surprised Dan and Cry with the knowledge that they shared a birthday, that Cry was just a few years older than Dan, but- Dan was far too busy with the new radio show to properly celebrate a birthday, and Cry-
Felix curled up, twisting his hands into the sheets.
Cry had to be dead. He was dead.
It was the only explanation as to why he’d been gone so long without notice. He had to have died in the explosions Marzia had mentioned.
Felix had lost so many people that day.
He’d lost Mark, and he’d lost Jack, and he’d lost one of his closest friends and advisors in Cry.
When Ken went looking for Felix later, he wasn’t terribly surprised to find Felix curled up on Cry’s old bed, shoulders shaking with suppressed sobs, Cry’s mask clutched in one hand (judging by the open bedside drawer, he’d known it was still there), a partially empty bottle and a definitely empty cup shoved haphazardly onto the bedside table.
Ken sighed, sitting next to Felix.
He stared at his boss and friend for a long time before leaning over and wrapping his arms around Felix.
“I miss him too,” Ken said softly.
And that was how they stayed until Felix drifted off to sleep and Ken carried him to his room, gently setting him on his bed.
He did make sure to take Cry’s mask away when he left, though, stowing it somewhere Felix would never look.
It was best to let these things stay out of sight and and out of mind.