Release

Third Point of View

Manfred stared out into the distance, his eyes seeing and unseeing. It had been a long few days of nonstop travel and then just…everything. He was tired, both physically and mentally, it wore on him like the ocean beats at the stone. His hand twisted the silver bauble in his hand, a nervous habit he gathered over the years.

I’m getting to old for this…

He’s been running for too long, so long that he’s forgotten what it felt like to be surrounded by people who understood and accepted him. What it felt like to just have a home again.

Even if home was a bunch of crazy people of various reputations and species, they were still home, they were family.

“I thought I’d find you here brooding.” A sharp drawl stated, pulling him from his thoughts with a huff of laughter. He really shouldn’t be surprised by her sudden appearance, really he shouldn’t be.

“I’m not brooding,” He replied, wincing immediately as even he could hear the defensiveness in his words and tone. “I’m just thinking.”

Olivia hummed and sat next to him on the front of his RV, her dark eyes crinkling as her lips pull up into her signature smirk. “You’re brooding, as you always do when I find you here in the middle of nowhere.”

“Are they looking for me yet?” Manfred asked as he cast his friend a look.

“Not yet but soon. Joe will be first of course and you know once Joe begins to worry…” She trailed off with a half shrug, not really needing to say more.

Since the Veil and all that came with and after it Joe became more attentive to his small cluster of friends – Family – and he tended to go into what they joked as Guardian Angel mode. When that happens, everyone is involved. He really should feel bad for the panic he is about to cause but Manfred couldn’t really find it in him today.

“They shouldn’t worry.” He explained after a long stretch of silence, his eyes turning back to the setting sun and watching it dip under the horizon and plunging them in darkness. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine Manfred.” Olivia replied sharply, as she pointed to the empty bottle at their feet shattered and then to the half drunk one hanging loosely from his free hands fingertips. “You are starting to worry even me, I was fine with the medication, I was fine with the dampeners and then the occasional drink but you look like shit and I’m sure you put a brewery to shame.”

“You know, you’re like the nagging sister I never wanted but got anyway.” He teased, casting the assassin a grin.

Though the grin didn’t stay in place for long, not with everything he’s been carrying around, not with the depression that’s clawing at his soul and suffocating him… the alcohol helped and he’d been sober for a year until he got that wretched phone call three days ago. Sobriety didn’t matter after that, hell, hardly anything mattered after that.

“I’m sorry,” He managed to get out, his eyes blurring as a sob lodged it’s way into his throat. “I know I’ve fucked up a lot, I sunk back into bad habits and just started to ignore everyone again but I just… I couldn’t deal with it anymore Liv, I just can’t…”

The tears he’s been holding in for three days spilled over at his verbal spew, bursting the dam of emotions and tearing sobs from his throat. He hadn’t cried this hard in years, had thought that he finally broke the blasted things but now… he couldn’t hold the soul tearing agony that ripped through him and he was thankful that Olivia let him get it all out without interruption.

“I’m not okay Liv, I’m not okay…” he choked out staring at the woman who he calls sister of his heart through blurry eyes, his hand grasping hers for a brief moment before clenching his eyes shut once more.

“Oh Manny…” Joe’s warm voice was sad and barely heard over his sobs. “Shhh…”

Warm hands brushed over his back softly, and words murmured comfortingly in his ear, he could faintly hear Joe talking over the noise until he felt the emotions begin to float away. He didn’t struggle, he allowed Lem to take his pain and it only caused the guilt to double once more.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” The words slipped out past his lips like a chant, filled with everything he wished to say but could not speak.

Lem clutched the psychic close once he leeched enough emotion, his blue eyes pinched as he cast a look to Joe. His heart aching with each sob from the man in his arms, from each whispered ache of his apologies and though he too ached like the lot of them… he’s had many years to accept the ticking clock of mortality.

Bloodshot eyes roamed over the faces of his family until they locked onto familiar calculating brown washing away the voices of the others. It was a long stare, one that communicated a whole conversation without uttering a word, one filled with emotion.

I’m sorry… I can’t…

…I know and it’s okay Manny.

I’m tired…

…Let go, you’re safe here.

I wish life was fairer…

“Life should end. It means pain ends. Memories end. It’s the natural order of things, you know this just as well as I.” Olivia stated calmly, shattering the silence between the two.

Let go. I’m ready.

Joe held up a silver trumpet pendant with a from look, his eyes flicking from Lem to Manfred and then to the others. “Let’s get him home, clean, fed and into a proper bed.”

“No…” Manfred whispered as he staggered up out of Lem’s arms and towards the Fallen Angel, his hand clumsily snatching the chain away. “I can’t do what I did with Fiji or Bo. I can’t take that and the guilt of keeping them here.”

“Manfred.” Lem stated softly, his hand coming to rest on the man’s shoulders.

Manfred shook his head sharply, wincing at the ache his bones gave him at the sudden movement. “No Lem, what’s needed to be said has been said and I am not alone, as you, Joe, Chuy and Rev keep telling me.”

Nothing more was said between the five as Manfred turned his dark eyes to the spot just slightly to the right of them all.

Olivia smiled for a brief moment before scowling sternly. “Stay with them Manny, look after them as much as you can, while you can and I’ll see you in hell Brother.”

A wet laugh escaped Manfred’s lips at her quip. “You better be the ruler when I get there.”

“Oh I will, goodbye Manfred, give them my love.” She chuckled softly and in a blink the five were alone once more.

“Goodbye Liv.”


Author Note: yeah this…was not what I expected to write… Excuse all mistakes as I wrote it on my phone. I also wrote this when I should be sleeping but nope… Cross posted on my ao3 other account..

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