Work Header

grief has found me before, but today i am joy incarnate, personified

Work Text:

Graham looks like shit. Not even the "cannot sleep because I see me demise in that table I bought even though I didn't really want to" kinda way, just... like a building fell on him three days ago and he hadn't washed the debris off, hadn't changed his clothes nor took care of the dried blood. His companion, a young woman, looks much the same, if a little better cared for. Oliver guesses that she was another victim of the impostor, likely working at the Institute with the Archivist.


Certainly not the kinda "hello" Oliver was expecting. Nor was the young woman, but the call caught her off-guard in a pleasant way, making her laugh loud and unabashed, even when she tries to keep up with Graham who has now started into a sprint.

Oh, he's planning to tackle Oliver, it seems. Well, he knows how to deal with that. The numerous eyes are startling but it's not enough to throw Oliver off his stance: heels dug into the ground, the absolute agility and ease of being able to redirect Graham's velocity to the side. It sends them both tumbling to the ground, and Oliver swears quietly at the near-twist in his knee.

The young woman is still giggling when she trudges up to the both of them, offering both her hands to the pair of them. Oliver notes that her hands are free of extra eyes: a little blessing, perhaps, but it might not last for long.

"This is--" Graham coughs into the crook of his elbow, his other hand squeezing the young woman's; she doesn't look particularly surprised. "This is Sasha."


"She's kind of my daughter now, in an unofficial way, because like..." Graham casts a grimace about the immediate area, and Sasha looks away, her smile replaced by a thin line. "Well. Stuff."

"Yeah. I know."

And even Graham's struggling-to-stay-normal-not-despairing grimace falls away, and in its place is the same look that he had when Oliver said he was leaving when the stress of the job (but maybe not just the job, because ever since Graham bought that friggin' table--) got to him. Guilt, and panic beneath it.

"Right, anyway," he starts, not wanting to let this linger anymore than it should, "I was just getting back to some reports."

"Reports?" Graham asks just as Sasha nods and says, quietly, "Ah."

Oliver's not going to entertain that, unless Sasha asks and prods. Unless it's solely to needle Graham about his -- oh, how did he and Anahita put it before? With Graham's past with previous boyfriends having been accountants themselves -- even though, by Graham's recounting of his and Troy's time together at university, Troy was studying history, not anything to do with accounting before moving to New Zealand -- Oliver and Anahita had called this funny little phenomenon "Graham's little thing for accountants". No, wait, it was-- it was "Graham's little thing for hot and sexy accountants".

It seems that Sasha knows it, too, if she doesn't Know it. And wow, won't that be a headache; two mindreaders for the price of one.

"One big ol' happy family," Graham mutters to himself. Funny image: Graham is immediately flustered, Oliver stares back wide-eyed, and Sasha's dissolved into giggles again.

Not that Oliver's averse to the idea, of course, but being an avatar of the End, it's... It's something Oliver doesn't dare think about now, about how much time he has left (again) with Graham, about how long it'll be until Graham's gone (again), and it's that old feeling of unfairness again, although muted now by his acceptance of the inevitability, the unfairness of having something, someone good and the inevitability of him being ripped away again. Oliver doesn't hope for a direct connection to his god for an answer he doesn't dare ask.

Graham doesn't ask it, either. Instead, he asks, "So do we even have showers still?" He doesn't even ask about them being together again, the relief of seeing Oliver having been washed over by the reality and memory and, quite likely, his guilt. Apprehension, too; they'd talked about maybe getting back together again once they'd gotten back on their feet, but then Oliver was beset by an unswayable path of foreseeing death and Graham was stuck on the line to being replaced because he wouldn't be a willing agent of the Watcher.

"I actually really need a shower, this is disgusting and itchy," Sasha says, wrinkling her nose at building dust that's clung to her clothes and skin. Oliver has questions of his own, about how they... got out, but he's content, for now, in some shaken way, to just lead the two further into his domain.

They're not quite as clean as they want by the end of it, but it's enough to feel different in a better way. And when Graham swings back to where Oliver is sitting and writing up reports, he almost sling an arm around Oliver's shoulders and leans in for a kiss on the cheek, like he used to before he bought the table. Instead, he freezes, and goes to back off, but Graham's real death will hurt anyway so Oliver might as well go all in, right? It's a hell of a way to lean back in his not-that-comfy chair, but he pulls Graham back to him, and kisses him on the cheek, and revels in the soft, relieved, "oh," that comes from Graham's mouth.

Yeah. His weird, funny, batshit bonkers, dearest Graham. Oliver can feel this feed his god -- his fear of losing Graham again. He's not going to change it.

Sasha clears her throat, and if Graham didn't die of whiplash from looking up that fast, Oliver's not sure what will kill him. The embarrassment, perhaps, judging by Sasha's knowing smile.

Oliver does wonder what they talked about in the Not-Them's realm. One of it's realms, seemingly. Unless they were stuck on that carousel. He wonders if they relished in its death.



Sasha wants to find her boys. Graham says he'll go with her, because it's been dangerous from the now-gone gallery all the way up to Oliver's place, and it's even worse alone. Oliver... is reluctant to let Graham go just yet, and he knows it.

"You could--" And Graham bites his tongue, hard, blood-in-his-mouth sharp.

Oliver could. There's no sense that it would disrupt his serving Terminus, really, not if he takes what he needs with him. And what's that? Pen and paper? Easy, in concept.

Still, he's not sure he wants to meet the Archivist. Jon. Sasha's friend.

He goes anyway.

It's worth it. Especially with Sasha bonding with Oliver over embarrassing Graham.

"So how many sexy accountant boyfriends have you had in the past--"

"You're a terrible child and I don't like you anymore."

Fear rolls around, either lazy or with sharp teeth and claws or it's clever strings, but Oliver laughs for what feels like the first time in a long time.