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Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

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Steely, blue eyes.

God, she feels stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She knows better. Gil told her about him, a rundown of what he’d be like. It was a warning, she knows it, but here she is. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

“You haven’t been eating,” the words come straight out of her mouth and she doesn’t even think about it. Gil turns in the doorway, she could have waited only a damn second and he would have never heard. Bright would have let her pretend she never said it. Gil will never forget it. “I-I mean, you just look… worse.”

All three of them wince. Nice Dani, why don’t you just kick the poor guy when he’s down? She hides her face behind her coffee, sinking into her chair. Stupid blue eyes. Stupid face. Stupid Bright.

The man in question looks away from the evidence board. His hand tremors and he smacks it against his thigh without every breaking eye-contact with her. It’s like he doesn’t even notice he’s done it. She scratches the thought, no. He wants her to think he doesn’t notice his hand tremoring so bad he can’t hold a coffee. It’s all mind games with him.

He turns his back to the board and Gil sends them one last glance before leaving.

“Listen,” she tries to apologies, but then he turns around, and he looks at her with those sad blue eyes and damn him. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

“Nah,” he throws that tremoring hand her way. “You’re completely right. I’m on new meds, practically a horse tranquilizer with a dose of Seratonin. My therapist thinks they’ll help me sleep but I, uh, can’t keep any food down. I’ve started going to the park at night, otherwise, I keep Sunshine up all night. I’m suffering, she doesn’t need to as well.”

Like a fool, her heart pounds in her chest. It’s not hope but fear because Sunshine is an odd name for a person. He’s very attractive, God has she mentioned those eyes, yet? He’s bound to have a girlfriend. “Sunshine?”

She’s never really seen him smile. Sure, smirks and stuff but those always seemed forced and mostly always self-deprecated. His face absolutely lights up, “Oh! She’s a yellow Jenday Conure. She’s the greatest. I’ve taught her colors and numbers. She even whistles show tunes. Her favorite is House.” She notices how still his hands are, no tremors. “She’s just a baby. Their average life span is 20 years so she’ll outlive me but Gil already promised he’d take her. She’s incredibly smart. I think she might actually be able to read but I haven’t developed any test to really see-”

His entire body moves as he speaks, his hands moving to the pace of his voice. It’s weird to see him so happy when she can so clearly see he’s deeply gripped by anxiety or depression, something she hasn’t rightly placed a name on.

Her brain pauses, he’s still rambling about his bird but it’s quickly becoming less about the bird and something said. “Their average life span is 20 years so she’ll outlive me but Gil already-” He thinks his bird will outlive.

She smiles when he laughs, she hasn’t a clue what he’s just said. His smile gets even bigger and he keeps talking. She can feel the weight of his too-thin body in her arms, failing to find perch against her body as his arms flail around their bodies. The memory of the others, the guns pointing and the shouting. They were going to kill him. Harmless Bright.

She smiles for real. Allowing her own features to mirror his excited ones. She can feel his joy seeping into her bones, this childish joy that she knows he’s been depraved of. God. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

No way, in hell, is she going to let him die. Not on her watch. He’s going to outlive that damn bird and she’s going to see to it.