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Hiding the bodies

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Five feels his breathing come in short bursts, frozen in place as he stares around himself.

He just skipped time and everything was fine and people wandering around. So, he skipped some more and again everything was fine. So, he skipped some more.

And now, everything around him is rubble.

Torn-up streets, destroyed buildings, fires burning, ash drifting with the wind.

Five can feel his heart hammer in his chest.

What is this? What happened here? Why is the world in ruins? His thoughts are too erratic for him to try and truly work out any likely scenarios, just running in an endless wheel of whathappenedherewhathappenedherewhathappenedhere.

There is not a single building left standing and the air is hot and full of smoke and not a single person to be seen, the world around him abandoned.

His eyes widen.

Oh god. What about the others? What about my family?

He turns abruptly, sprinting back the way he came, along the rubble-lined street, vaulting over anything in his way, skidding to a stop in front of his home. At least where his home is supposed to be.

It’s just entirely gone, destroyed. Only the gate in front of where the door used to be, making Five entirely certain that this is his home. The home he left barely a minute, but also a lifetime ago.

Everything is just gone.

He yells for his siblings, for his father. No one answers. There is no one.

Five is alone.

Panicked, he tries to gather his powers into another burst to let him skip planes, skip to another time, any other time. He chokes when he realizes that his powers won't work. He tries again and again and again, his chest getting tighter with every failed try.

He is stuck.

Five sinks to his knees, staring up at the destroyed building that used to be his home. He is alone. And there is no way to go back.

+++

It takes him a while to bring himself out of the shock, to get back to his feet, to force his brain into working again.

Okay, let's think about this rationally.

Just because his home is destroyed doesn’t mean that his siblings are dead as well, right? Five skipped forwards several times, so his siblings could have been literally anywhere else when the world was burned to ashes, right? He’ll just have to leave this place behind him, go somewhere in the world that hasn’t been destroyed and look for his siblings along the way.

He’ll find them, wherever they may be.

But first things first. He doesn’t know how soon he’ll get to a generally inhabitable area again, so pillaging for some survival gear is first on his list.

So, he focuses on that, focuses on the thoughts on how to improve his chances for survival, making a list of things he needs to survive in his head and forcefully pushes anything else - thoughts of his family maybe having died in whatever happened here - aside.

Five nods decisively to himself, turning to look around himself and then he starts sifting through the rubble, gathering anything that might be useful for survival.

A cart is quickly found and he starts piling his various finds on it.

And that’s when he sees them. 

It’s the bloody eye that catches his attention first. A bloody eye held up in a hand, as though specifically presented to Five.

He automatically reaches for it, takes the eye and wipes the blood off it with his thumb. The blood which isn't even entirely dry yet. Meaning that whatever happened here, couldn't have happened all that long ago. Maybe minutes ago, hours at most, barely any time at all before Five got here.

How is that even possible?

And then it suddenly occurs to him that there is a fully intact hand right there in front of him. All other bodies he has seen so far were burned to a crisp.

He scrambles to his feet, hoping against hope that the person attached to that hand might still be alive. They are not. And Five stares at the face in the rubble. Blonde hair, strong features and somehow eerily familiar.

He chokes, averting his gaze from the face of someone who looks so familiar but was much younger the last time Five saw them. Only for his eyes to fall on yet another body.

He stumbles over, hopinghopinghoping. Something is lodged in his throat as he desperately shakes the shoulder of yet another body with a too familiar face. There is a woman lying in the rubble just a few feet over, buried almost entirely, only her face visible. The features fit.

No.

Five refuses to believe it. These people could be complete strangers for all he knows. Just because they died right in front of where their home used to be, together, eerily resembling his siblings, doesn’t mean these are Numer One, Number Two and Number Three. It doesn't.

He stumbles on, around another pile of rubble, finding yet another body.

And Five doesn't even have the strength anymore to really let himself feel hope that this person might still be alive in contrast to the others. Still, he stumbles closer.

And then, his breath leaves him. He feels like something punched him in the chest.

This person's arm is uncovered and on that arm is a far too familiar tattoo, a tattoo that perfectly matches the one on Five's own arm, a tattoo that only he and five of his siblings bear.

Five feels his chest tighten, his heart thudding in pain, unable to rip his eyes away from that arm that apparently belongs to his brother. His dead brother.

And Five only left their home a little while ago, he just had an argument with his father, he just left the dinner table where all of his siblings had been gathered. And now his siblings are dead. That tattoo proves it.

He feels something hot lodging in his throat, making it almost impossible to breathe. He stares at the tattoo on that arm, even as he blinks rapidly, trying to fight back the hot, desperate, helpless tears gathering in his eyes.

Five is alone in a destroyed world and his siblings are dead. What is he supposed to do now?

And then there is a cough. And the arm twitches.