Deep As You Go
by Lorelei Jones
Written for some challenge or other on the ELF list. I think it was the missing scene challenge. Title taken from the lovely October Project ballad, "Deep As You Go," because sometimes I really am just that sick and twisted. Betaed by the lovely Emerald Green, Eliza, and Gwynedd Rook. Set during "The Siamese Dream." Contains references to "Treasures of the Mind," "Photon Bullet," "Hide and Seek," and "Dead End." I think that's all of them.
"Dream dreams," Teslov says, and Lucas falls down into the blue depths of his own mind, deeper than the rabbit hole where he once found Rawlings and where a fire-breathing worm lurks now, making more holes and scolding him for being late. He jumps into the pool of water at the bottom of the hole and swims after a mermaid that flashes him first Katie's smile, then Lonnie's. He chases the mermaid into a cavern and it turns around at the dead end to show him Darwin's smile lined with rows of shark teeth. He kicks away as it lashes at him and he can feel one of the teeth pierce his flesh just above his right eye, driving into his brain. He's heard pinching someone wakes them up; a tooth in your brain must not work like that.
Teslov is dead, executed by the people he terrorized for years; but Lucas is dreaming still.
He dreams a seaQuest made of numbers that glow like coals, and he knows they'll burn if he touches them, but he can't not touch them because they're burning out, ashes dropping through the cold, cold blue. He can't not touch them because he needs them, needs to hold onto them, and he wonders if this is what addiction is, this driving, desperate need that overrides even the instinct of self-protection. His hand brushes a number, bright and angry in the murky depths of his brain, and there's a twist like somebody flushed the ocean, except they're flushing him.
When the twisting stops, he's surrounded by Node Three. There's a werewolf at one of the terminals, something like a red supernova at another, and Mycroft looks down at him from every screen. Lucas looks back, and Mycroft raises a gun and pulls the trigger. Lucas can't even flinch before something hits him hard, slamming him back against one of the terminals. He looks down to see numbers oozing out of the wound, then doubles over, coughing up more numbers. One of them suddenly flares in his hand, like the one that first led him here. He stares at it and feels something akin to panic.
"No harm," he hears himself mutter over the clicking of keys. "It won't do any harm, it's just to keep in practice."
The lies he tells himself. The lies he can get away with telling himself, because of what he can do.
"Couple of above average guys," someone says, and he flinches as a hook appears out of nowhere, stabbing into the number and yanking it out of his hand. The hook might as well have gotten his hand, too, and something shudders through him like a torpedo detonating inside when Clay Marshall says, "That's one."
"No," Lucas wants to say. "No."
Before he can, Teslov speaks.
There's a blue moon made of numbers.