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i've seen your sorrow (it arcs across the purpled sky at moonset)

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cody took the last watch. he stalked around a bit, poked his nose in a few corners, and then picked a seat near the edge of camp to have a smoke. he listened to the sleeping noises of the men, each familiar. each would be missed. he scanned the horizon and noted the first shades of light, not yet strong enough to put out stars. good. he might start the caf soon. 

 

his eyes fell to the general. on his side, as always, with one arm under his head; in the other, held tight to his chest, he kept his few belongings wrapped in his cloak. cody studied the same face he had seen perhaps a thousand times before, brow drawn even in sleep, but without the piercing eyes and gritted jaw, it spoke only of sorrow. in some lights, it even looked pleading. 

 

another lock of hair fell over his eyes as he turned farther inwards on himself. cody took a drag to keep his ass on the ground and not in the cloudless sky. wouldn't do anyone good to let his heart jump too far now; they hadn't even broken camp yet. and then a small sound escaped the general, and cody put his hand on his blaster, completely forgetting to keep a hold on his heart or his cigarette. 

 

he searched the darkness behind the general for movement, and finding none, looked to the body for sign of injury. he hadn't woken. cody didn't have time to consider whether that was a good or bad sign, as the general's face twisted with an unfamiliar pain, and his breath shuddered. and then--he was crying. 

 

cody blinked, half expecting this to stop being true in the fractional moment that he wasn't looking. but a tiny pool had formed in the hollow next to the bridge of his nose, and there, tears were chasing down the length of it and falling onto his sleeve. 

 

cody sat back against the cases and found his cigarette again, eyeing the general warily. such things were part of a soldier's life, of course; he'd seen worse on both sides of it. but still, there was something unsettling about the unbreakable general laying there without a trace of resistance in his features. none of the fight cody knew he'd put up if he were awake, only this pure and utter grief, which wrote lines in his face for the growing dawn to cast deeper with each passing moment. 

 

sighing, cody got up to pull the caf. he didn't like to see the general like that. it felt like taking advantage, somehow, to watch. when he finished, he circled camp again before taking up his seat. the general's eyes flickered open, and cody stared resolutely at the horizon while he wiped his face. he sniffed quietly. 

 

ten till, said cody, as gently as he could. 

 

he set his untouched caf down closer to the general than himself, and in the corner of his eye the general sat up and took a sip. 

 

thank you.