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Light streams through stained glass, and Jeremiah is still in the dark. The light catches on his hands, clasped together as if in prayer as he rests his elbows on the back of the wooden pew in front of him, and turns them red. He looks up at the vacant pulpit. He isn't quite sure what he thought the benefit would be to setting up camp in a church, but it feels now as if it's a mockery of himself.

His body aches. That's Bruce's doing, from their fight earlier. A part of him whispers "lovers' quarrel," and he shuts his eyes against it; the movement stings his bruised right eye. It's all right that Bruce wins their fights (the physical ones at least), because in the end love and hate are just the same. Every wound is a mark that he can take to mean that, as he needs Bruce, he is needed back. Jeremiah is the unstoppable force, smashing itself into the immovable object again and again just because those moments of impact are all it has. He sighs and goes about attending to these freshest injuries.

He folds his jacket over the back of his pew and rolls up his right sleeve to expose a gash near his elbow. The movement of the rich fabric past the contusion hurts a little, and he thinks idly that he can't remember when or where he got this suit. The coat and pants are both an iridescent, jewel-toned purple, while his vest is an equally iridescent green. His tie is blood-red. He would never wear this. The old Jeremiah would never have dared to wear this. But he is wearing it, and he is the same Jeremiah. He must keep believing that he is the same Jeremiah. The blood from the cut is mostly dry or half-dry. It's not too deep, but best not to risk an infection. He takes a small bottle of rubbing alcohol out of the open first-aid kit next to him and pours some onto a handkerchief. It stings upon contact. Jeremiah presses the cloth harder onto his arm. The pain provides him with clarity. It's grounding, reminding him of his own existence. He gets so lost in thought - he always has, but now it's different. Now there are a hundred warring thoughts in his head at a time, trying to split him open along as many fault lines.

He threads a needle once the wound is clean and prepares to stitch himself up. It's more difficult than it ought to be, since he must use his left hand. His stitches are clumsy. He frowns more out of disappointed perfectionism than pain.

Jeremiah is used to walking on eggshells: he's always been cautious, mindful of his appearance and the impressions he made. Now this practice must extend to his thoughts as well. Any passing idea might disturb the schism inside his mind and send him into a fit of violence. He craves the rush he gets from mindless cruelty. It sends him into laughter he can't control, laughter that lasts until his lungs hurt and he thinks he can taste blood at the back of his throat. In his moments alone, he hates the laughter. It's the best thing that's ever happened to him. It's a nightmare.

As he ties off his shoddy suture, he thinks again of Bruce. His immovable object. His best friend and only love and ultimate addiction. It's at times like these that Jeremiah longs to return to the way things used to be, before Bruce turned his back on him and made them enemies. They're closer than they could ever have been, now, bonded by fire and spilt blood, but Bruce will never love him. He can't. Jeremiah can't become the person he was before the gas, and so they will never be perfect. Not until Bruce, too, becomes something new.

He's alone in the church. He's been alone for a very long time.

The muscles in his cheeks work without his bidding them to. His mouth stretches crookedly outward, and his breathing becomes harsh and spasmodic. Jeremiah can feel his clarity leaving him as he begins to laugh, and this knowledge, paired with the pain in his tired body, only spurs him on. The laughter is all-consuming. It possesses him, body and soul. The church is empty, save for him, and he turns his face to the stained window, letting the red light wash over it.

He will stand at the pulpit. He will be the god whose cross Bruce may die upon. He will watch his rebirth, and at last he will be whole.