When Bastion woke up, the bed was empty.
It was not uncommon for her to be the first to wake. Both House and Aladdin drowsed until late in the afternoon, and Bastion was accustomed to rising early, her deep-set eyes (heavier than before) fixated on the ceiling as she marked the hours in sunlight tracking above her bed. Eventually TJ would wake up and the two of them would creep out earlier then the rest, amusing themselves through the morning, but after an hour passed in silence curiosity got the best of her and Bastion sat up.
It was like no one had ever lived there. Devoid of personality or signs of life, the bed was empty and cold and most likely it had been for most of the night. Another half-hour passed while Bastion watched the point in space, as if she could try to interpret the history behind it, the reasons why. She did not move until she heard House stir and she understood how much time had truly passed. Bastion tried to tuck the thought away, but it bit and lingered on her heart like a disease. The bed was empty. It would not be filled again.
“Red,” he said, more matter-of-fact than helpful. Bastion stared at him, a frown curling on the tight edges of her mouth. She did not interact with the Centurions often outside of matters that were a concern to their mutual master, but this one she found having something closer to conversations over the past handful of months. He was taller than her, broad in shoulder with eyes that were set like a winter evening. She did not know his name.
“What do you mean, red?” Her tone was scornful, disdain audible on the edges of her tone like a dog bordering on a snarl.
“Your eyes,” he pressed on, and he passed a scant look toward her that was quickly directed elsewhere. “They’re red now.”
Before Bastion had time to reply, he moved on with the rest of his patrol. She bit at the tip of her tongue and tasted blood, but it did not satisfy her unease, nor her anger or self-loathing. Something had changed — and for the first time in her life, she knew exactly what it was.
The Double Tap was loud at this hour as travelers began to filter in for the beginning of the trade meet and the record player on the counter argued for space with the King’s Court musicians practicing at the far corner. Despite that, all of Bastion’s attention was fixated on a single point: the large, hulking man who bent over her, and the seemingly lost and still-gentle secondary he kept at his side.
“I knows you pretty well,” Chuck went on, sinking all of his weight into a heavy lean against the table, “But I gots to give you the same speech that everyone else gets when’s they run with Lonely. It ain’t mean nothin’ on you.”
“I get it,” she said, and her attention drifted to Chuck’s second, a pristine white patch in his hand. She felt nothing for it, and nothing for the bloody handprint patch she had ripped off of her pants. Your eyes. They’re red now. “Go on.”
“The bottom line is that we’s family,” the Yorker grunted, gesturing broadly, “and ain’t nobody gonna ever fuck with our family–”
No one, thought Bastion. No one ever again.