AN: This is a scene written at 2 a.m., of what may turn into a longer story. It is currently un-betaed, but anyone willing please message me!


"Is this it?" I'm not sure what I'm asking. The question was out of the blue and I see her hesitate before responding.

"I suppose..." We both know that at our age we really have no reason to be contemplating the universe, but I've been on a tangent lately. This is the highpoint of my life. I should be happy; I've little reason to be otherwise, my life is good. Still, all the rationalizing in the world can't seem to shake the feeling of dread settling in. This is it. I don't think I've ever understood the phase 'it's all downhill from here' as well as I do now.

So this is life? As good as it gets? I don't have much responsibility: I don't work or even do chores regularly. Still, life seems at best mediocre. I want to cry-- to wail and scream like a child. It may not change anything, but it's the strongest emotion I've felt in a long time.

"So, on a scale of one to ten, how do you think your life is?" It's a superficial question and I know numbers can't express the lethargy taking over our lives.

"Six, maybe." Her eyes don't even move from the ceiling, not that I could tell if they did-- I wasn't looking at her, either. "You?"

"'bout that..." I suppose it could be worse; at least I have Ava. She's a year older than I am, but the feeling is the same. I sigh. "Do you ever feel like you're just on auto-pilot, running off inertia?"

"Some days..." It's gotten worse lately. I can go for hours without having any emotion at all. Even rebellion seems to much effort. I just nod and do as I'm told. Her comment makes me think of last week. I'd seen the most far-off look on her face. She'd kept up in conversation perfectly well, but she just wasn't connecting.

"We should go out and do something." She's not enthusiastic; I'm sure she's recalling the last time I tried to get us more involved. Involved with something other than depressing psychological discussions, that is.

"Why?" The question is loaded with the topics of days gone by. Conversations full of phrases like, 'What's the point; we're all going to die anyways.' spring to mind. And don't even get me started on religion or life after death; it's a veritable minefield of topics.

Sometimes I long to be of average intelligence, or even just a little more self-absorbed. I see kids at school and I can tell they don't go to bed wondering about the outcome of the genocide in Darfur or even things closer to home, like the rising deficit or the state of American foreign affairs. They just think about simple things, like how they did on a test or the outcome of some reality TV show.

I don't answer her question for a moment and the silence turns smug on her part.

"Because we should care!" I burst out, sitting up abruptly. The bed makes a loud creaking noise at the sudden shift of weight.. "We should care about going out, about talking to people. About small things-- concerts and activities!" I'm almost crying, but she can tell it's just frustration, not anger toward her. She scoots closer to me and tries to tug me back down onto the bed. I resist for a moment, still wound up.

"I know... but how does pretending help us?" It's an honest question and I find I don't know the answer.

"It doesn't, but what's the alternative?" I let her pull me back down. "Staying here forever?" As I say it, I realize it doesn't sound so bad. Never having to deal with the world outside this room; it sounds perfect.

We lapse back into silence and I let it go for now. I just try to hold onto this moment-- nothing but sound of of breathing and the warmth of her resting next to me. It's the closest to happiness I've been in a while.