Notes1: More Evan/Mira.
Dedication: To old cartoons.


The room was empty and dark, tendrils of smoke making their way through the mass of bodies. Shapes – only shapes, nothing concrete, – fill the room, and a girl with long hair turned white in the dim light, and was two years too young was sitting on a bar stool, eyes tired.

There was a boy – young man, now, really, with wide shoulders and a still-awkward body – standing behind her. He had been a lovely boy, once, with auburn curls and a soft smile. But time had changed that; lined his face, made him hard. And he was as tired as she, now.

"What are you doing here?" he asked her almost-bare, turned back.

She didn't even turn to look at him when she spoke. Didn't need to. "What does it look like, Evan? I'm getting' plastered."

The boy-man called Evan ran his fingers through his hair; he sat down next to her, and looked at the beer bottles set precariously on edge, in front of her. Five. He glanced at the barkeep – the old man shrugged, and went back to wiping the dirty glass he was holding.

The girl's face was reflected in the glass-top of the bar. Evan realized then that it had been a long, long time since those empty winter afternoons when they were children, and she laughed like particles of sunlight. She was a very different girl now, from then. "What happened this time?"

She shrugged, too-skinny shoulders flopping. "I killed someone."

"Mi–" he started, but she cut him off.

"Don't –hic– call me that. Please," she whispered, and the desperation in her voice was palpable, even as she hiccupped a little. "I haven't been – that girl in a long time. I don' –hic– even –hic– deserve her name. Get me another – uh, beer."

"You've had enough, you're drunk," he told her gently, and tried to pluck the empty bottle from in between her fingers. She let it go with a soft, sad sigh.

"–'M not drunk…" she mumbled, and we watched her rest her chin on her arms. In the smoky darkness of the bar, she looked like little more then a wide-eyed child; not the sixteen-year-old that she was.

Evan wondered who she had killed. She had never been one to lie. "C'mon, you, let's get you outta here."

She stared at him with a clear, solemn gaze, even as he looped his arms around her, and carried her out of the bar. The barkeep just sighed, and shook his head. This happened twice a week; tiresome, really. The old man wondered if she was going to remember this tomorrow.

But probably not. Evan kept the girl's limp, almost-passed-out body close to his.

It was a cycle, this thing they did. Where she would do something ridiculous, and then he would find her, and clean her up. But then she would do something else. And the cycle would repeat, and repeat, like a too-many-times-used washing machine, until something broke.

Evan –he was still really a boy, still too young, still too naïve–, he would always go back, always try to put her back into working order.

He looked down at the girl-who-used-to-be called Mira, and watched her eyelids flutter closed. He clenched his jaw.

He was going to save her, even if it was the last thing he did. He left the bar; his arms wrapped around her body.

Quietly, he watched her sleep.