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You Take It With You
by Claire

Disclaimer: I own nothing and am not receiving any money from this. :-( Depressing thought isnít it.

Setting: This is a partnered story to another one I have written recently, ďNever Be the Same.Ē Donít worry I donít expect you to read it. I guess I should say thanks to Tigerchild now for being the first person to review said story and giving me the urge to write this one also, I hadnít even thought of this version till I read the review. Thanks Tigerchild, itís your fault Iím up writing at 2am. You wanted Bobís POV, you got it! Hope you like it!

 

Itís been four seconds now and all Iíve done is watch her fall apart. Iíve barely left her side for all the good I can do, she canít even see me for Userís sake. Still, something inside me needs to be near her, to make sure sheís going to be all right. When I know that for sure then I can leave, until then Iím afraid sheís stuck with me.

Sheís doing better than she was at first I have to admit, the tears seem to have stopped and sheís not breaking apart in public. Keeping up appearances I guess. I wish she wouldnít, I want her to let go. She deserves to be happy and it seems I wasnít meant to be the one to give her that happiness. Iím not particularly overjoyed right now either really but I guess Iíll live.

Iíll live! Listen to me, the things I say sometimes. Ridiculous.

Oh sure Iíll still be around, keeping an eye on things in Mainframe hopefully if Iím allowed. Iíll never play a game again though, sad isnít it? Games are dangerous things they tell you, you should never venture into one rashlyÖand yet. They were fun in a way. Oh Iíd never admit it in public, might make people think theyíre less dangerous, they could get lax. Exhilarating I think the word is. Playing the games causes a whole rush of emotions, fear, terror, intrigue, horror sometimes. Oh itís not all a bed of roses believe me but when you win itís so worth itÖwhen itís all over the feeling is wonderful. Almost euphoria. And Iíll never experience that again.

The vid windows havenít stopped since it happened. Itís great to know Dotís got such a loyal support network behind her. It makes this easier somehow. I wonít feel so guilty leaving her if I know sheís not going to be alone. Little Enzo surprised me. Heís been so strong for her, always ready with a hug and a quippy little comment to chase her tears away. And yet, when heís alone or with Matrix and AndrAIa he crumbles. I want to comfort him so much but all I can do is watch him cry. I know Dot is worried that heís keeping it all inside and refusing to grieve. I wish there was a way I could let her know heís not. Heís letting all the pain out and itís hurting him terribly right now. But it will get better.

In time theyíll forget about me. Iíll be this vague memory brought up a couple of times an hour, probably at special occasions and such. Theyíll remember the good times we had together, few as they were. Right now I know it doesnít seem that way but they will get over this, Dotís a survivor, I always said that and I always will.

I wish I could have stayed longer. Married Dot and raised a couple of kids together. Perhaps even grown old gracefully together. I would have laughed at her wrinkles, she would have made some icy comment on my receding hairline.

Still, itís not the length of time youíre given that matters, itís what you do with it that counts, and we had good times together.

It was all so sudden I almost couldnít believe it. I was just standing with Dot in the war room discussing things for the future. If she wanted me to move in, what plans she had for the wedding, that sort of thing. She loved to plan. Then all of a sudden my energy just seemed to drain away, I couldnít even stand, just collapsed to the floor like an idiot. Dot shouted something and I can remember feeling like a fool for just fainting like that. It was almost surreal, one nano Iím fine, the next Iím just lying on the floor and my energy levels are fluctuating like crazy.

The next few nanos are a bit of a blur but I do remember Dot holding my head in her lap and screaming for the med team. I barely had the strength to smile at her. She looked terrified, the panic in her eyes was horrific. I can still see it even now. The med team came and took me off somewhere, Iím not really sure where. After that the whole thing becomes hazy. The next really lucid memory I have is of being in a small room, just Dot and I and sheís holding my hand tightly. It was almost as if she thought she could keep me with her if she held on tight enough.

I wish it had worked, you have no idea how much I wish that.

I wanted to talk to her, reassure her that things were going to be alright but I just didnít have the energy. Every time I tried to talk some basic nurse would come in with a needle and Iíd lose the little energy Iíd salvaged once again. It was all I could do to breathe sometimes and Iíd feel my body fading. I was too tired to even feel afraid, I just wanted it to be over.

I still thought then that I was going to be all right. With Dotís support I thought I could beat this thing. It was only when the others arrived that I knew that things were really serious. Well, I knew they were serious before donít get me wrong but when you see all your closest friends gathered around your bed with expressions of fear and grief youíll know what I mean. It was a horrendous experience, knowing they believed I was going to delete. I hadnít really entertained that thought until that moment. It was obvious they knew something I didnít.

I guess after that I just gave up fighting. I think the outcome was preordained anyway, whether I fought or not I still would have deleted. It was my time. Damn Glitch! Why did I do such a stupid thing? It was unprecedented. I had no idea what our merging could do to us. Iíve paid a high price for my rashness though. Just two little words cost me my future. Glitch Download!

Itís funny though, but if I could go back to that time I would do it all again no hesitation. It was the only way to get back to Mainframe and even if I had known it meant signing my own death warrant I would still have done it with pleasure. Anything to see Dot one more time and share those precious last moments with her.

You know, Dot never let my hand go until the very end. It was such a simple thing, just the feeling of her thumb tracing over the back of my hand gently but it kept me from the despair I could feel creeping in. It was the last sense to leave me. I still felt her touch long after my sight had failed and my hearing had gone. In the end it was the only way I had of knowing I wasnít alone.

There was one terrible nano when I thought they had left me, I remember pain then, sharp and unlike anything Iíd ever felt before. Then it was gone and there was just a profound sense of peace. I stopped the fight at that moment, when I knew there was nothing to fear anymore.

Deleting is a strange experience. It was very disorientating for me, I mean Iím lying there in a hospital bed, unable to see or hear. Next thing I know Iím standing behind Dot watching my own body fade from existence. At the sake of being flippant about it Iíd say it was freaky. Iíve left my body and yet itís still moving, breathing. It turned to Dot and I heard her breath catch when she looked into the eyes. They were completely dead. It wasnít long after that, my body just disappeared slowly and I stood there with the others watching it happen. Strange feeling, almost detached, surreal.

At first I thought I was still alive and would you believe I actually tried to comfort Dot. It really hurt when I realized I couldnít touch her, my arms just passed right through her like they didnít exist.

I guess they donít anymoreÖ This is going to take a lot of getting used to.

Little Enzo was there in a flash, doing what I couldnít do. Just holding her as she sobbed. I was frozen for a time. Shock I think. Itís not the easiest of things to get used to after all. Matrix was devastated, Iíve never seen him cry before but he did then. Huge racking sobs which shook his whole frame. AndrAIa just held him for a while, I think he was dangerously close to hitting or shooting something.

Dot cleaned her apartment from top to bottom that night. I just sat there watching. I couldnít help her after all. It was like she was postponing going to bed. Trying to work away the grief. She wonít have anything to do with planning my memorial. Phong has stepped in for that. It makes me laugh in a way. I never thought heíd outlive me in a million hours.

Well as I said earlier itís been four seconds since it happened and Iím starting to come to terms with the fact that I have to leave soon. I wonít see little Enzo grow up into a man. Iíll never hold Dot in my arms again, never laugh with Matrix after a particularly strange game. Still, Iíve been granted this last little bit of time with them and Iím making the most of it, even though they donít know it.

I went to my apartment with Dot the other second. She found the ring I bought for her. Cost me practically everything I had but it was worth it when I saw her face. So much emotion on such a beautiful canvas. She never spoke, just slipped it on quietly and stood there for a while looking at it. There were no tears although the grief was plain; I could see it in the bruised eyes and pale skin. Sheís refusing to cry now though which is worrying me. I want her to let me go.

You know I couldnít believe it when she went through my dirty laundry. I was so embarrassed. I was going to put a wash in before I left but I got side tracked. I wish I had, I could have died when she started fishing all my smalls out the basket. I think she laughed a little thenÖmy face was burning. She took my favorite shirt too. Just picked it out of the wash and held it to her as though it was the most precious thing in the net. I know sheís been sleeping with it. I only wish I was still wearing it at the time.

She has no idea but Iíve hardly left her side these past few seconds. Iíve heard the things she whispers to herself when she thinks no one can hear. She believes sheís some sort of emotionless monster. I caused this, I only wish she could see herself from my point of view. She sees a cruel heartless woman who had to become hardened to life in order to survive. I see a beautiful caring soul who would help anyone without a nanoís hesitation. Itís not that she isnít feeling anything, itís that sheís feeling too much.

Sheís keeping herself busy, purely to keep her mind occupied and lock the memories away. Itís not good for her, she needs to let her feelings out. Then I can be happy.

I believe the memorial service is going to be pretty soon. I donít know if Iíll be going. It would be strange to attend your own memorial after all. Iím on another plain of existence now, according to Mouse anyway, and I should start living that way. Iím not saying Iíll never come back in the future, Mainframe has been the one place I could truly call home. Itís just that eternity would be a long time to spend alone with no one to talk to. I should find where the other deleted sprites are. My parents. They may be waiting for me. I can always come back.

I hope.

Iím going soon now, I can already feel the pull of this other world calling me away. Iím still torn though, thereís so much I could have done here in Mainframe. I guess it just wasnít meant to be. Dot is all right now, she has her family and friends for support. The pain will ease soon enough and one second Iíll be nothing more than a hazy memory.

I know Iíll see her again in time.

Itís funny, I was looking around my apartment the other second when I went with Dot. You spend your whole life accumulating little artifacts and belongings but in the end though, none of those things matter. Theyíre only physical things after all. Iíd trade them all in, in an instant for one more moment with Dot.

Belongings. What a waste of space in the end. They stay behind and are passed on to others or sold to junk shops. After a time people lose them and they drop out of memory. I always remember buying a book once at an old junk shop when I was a child. Inside on the front cover was an inscription giving the book to A. Murray for his graduation from the Guardian Academy. I think it was the first thing, which made me think about taking up the Guardian code really.

Anyway, Iíve got off the point there, the inscription. I used to lie awake at night just thinking who this person was and how this book, which was obviously something extremely precious to him, managed to work its way into the back shelves of some dusty old shop. I guess the same thing will happen with my things now. Theyíll share the main items out between my friends and family and the rest will just end up as cheap tack in a shop somewhere.

Makes you realize how ridiculous the whole thing is. It made me feel sad at first but then I realized that none of that stuff really matters. After all itís not the objects that count, itís the memories attached to them and those things will remain with me always.

It took a while for me to realize and I wish I could tell Dot; the most important things you take with you.

END

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