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Chapter Text

From the moment that the construction of the Transcontinental Bridge was announced there were people saying that it should not have been built. And everything that happened on the Bridge after its completion seemed to back up this viewpoint. The monsters that lived in the ocean regularly picked off stragglers that paused too long by the railing. Watchtowers kept being shut down or attacked. The terrible end of Ocean View. And Aqua Land… 

Well. 

POSEIDON and Polaris had spent years trying to get the Bridge shut down. It was the one thing that both groups could agree on. And it seemed like the Bridge’s founders were beginning to agree with them, as discussions of the Bridge being shut down had been ongoing - albeit secretly - for many months now. 

Not many people still lived out on the Bridge. Most lived in the Watchtowers, providing services to the few travellers who were still willing to risk life and limb to get to the other side of the ocean via car. 

Watchtower employees were known to be eccentric. Most had a tragic past that lead them to take such a dangerous job in such a lonely place. But none were more eccentric or more tragic than the crew that ran Watchtower Ten. 

Everyone knew their broadcaster. Etta Perrault’s story had been told along the Bridge and she was regarded with suspicion by many of its employees. Besides her tragic backstory, she was known for telling far too many stories and having perhaps too keen an interest in the monsters that lived in the ocean. 

Then there was their groundskeeper who seemed to care a little too much about his job. There were rumours that he had once stayed awake for two straight days nursing a hydrangea back to health. Bertrand Renard was odd to say the least. But no one could deny that Watchtower Ten had become more beautiful since his arrival. 

Their travel agent was another suspicious figure. Kate Burnham was quiet and rarely said anything that sounded out of place on their broadcasts, but there were whispers of a secret alliance. Some even suspected that she was with one of the groups shutting the Bridge down, sent out there to have an agent on the inside. 

And then there was their supervisor. It was a well known fact amongst Watchtower employees that Roger Kaplan had once been stabbed in the gut and made a complete recovery within just a few days. Many had found that odd, considering that reports of the incident mentioned that he had lost a lot of blood. 

Of course, there were always those rumours of a secret backroom deal… 


“What do you mean they’re shutting us down?!” 

“Etta, you had to know this was coming. No one comes out here anymore,” Kate said. 

“But what about Bob? Where will he go? They can’t just throw him out into the ocean, he’ll get hurt! Or die! Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing here? Helping him?” 

“Yes, but the cons are outweighing the pros right now. The Travel Agency has no other choice.” 

Etta huffed and sat down, her arms crossed. “The Travel Agency can suck my dick.” 

“Etta!” Bertie said. 

She scowled. “Sorry. But seriously, how can they just spring this on us? Don’t they need to give us time to prepare? I mean, even without Bob. Where are we supposed to go?” 

“Anywhere we want,” Kate said. 

“And if that place is the Bridge?” Etta said. “This is our home! We can’t just leave it!” 

“We kind of don’t have a choice,” Bertie said. 

“We could stage a protest.” 

“Of four people? Yeah, I’m sure that’ll work against our bosses and the murderous cults,” Kate said. 

Etta sighed. “I don’t know then.” 

“Hey,” Kate squeezed her shoulder, “I know you’re upset. And I get it. But maybe this won’t be so bad. We can find somewhere near the sea to live. Get places near each other. It’ll be just like home.” 

“Minus Bob.” 

“We’ll find an island with a little cove he can come visit us in,” she said. 

Etta smiled slightly. “I guess that wouldn’t be terrible…” 

“Bertie?” 

“I could probably grow an even larger garden without the constraints of the Watchtower,” he said thoughtfully. 

“Roger? You’ve been awfully quiet this whole time,” Kate said. 

Roger looked up at her slowly. “I can’t leave the Bridge.” 

“Seriously? I mean, I expected this from Etta, but from you?” 

“No, you don’t understand. I can’t leave. It’s impossible.” 

The three of them stared at him for a minute before Bertie spoke up. 

“What happened?” he asked. 

Roger took a deep breath. “You remember that story I told you? About the Gold Dubloon and the wager?” 

“The possible path to immortality, yeah,” Etta said. 

“It’s not a story.” 

“Roger, you didn’t,” Kate said. “You complete and utter idiot.” 

“No. No way,” Etta said. “There’s no way you’re immortal.” 

“No. No, it makes sense,” Bertie said slowly. “Nora stabbed him. And he was fine.” 

“Okay, but it’s a stupid bet. It’s a dangerous bet. Do either of those things sound anything like Roger?” 

“Do you want me to prove it to you?” Roger asked her. “Kate’s got a gun.” 

“You are not shooting yourself in the head just to prove a point to Etta!” Kate yelled. “What the hell is wrong with you?!” 

“What’s the big deal?” Bertie said. “He’s immortal, isn’t that a good thing?” 

“No, Bertie,” Kate said, taking a seat as she tried to calm down. “It’s a very, very bad thing.” 

“You’re forgetting the second part of the story,” Roger said. “If I leave this Bridge, I’ll lose all my memories.” 

“Which means that he’ll forget everything about his life,” Kate said. “The Bridge, his past… and us.” 

Chapter Text

There was only a week left until they were expected to leave the Bridge, and the crew was still no closer to finding a solution to Roger’s memory problem than they were three months earlier. 

“We could get a boat?” Etta suggested. “If you stay close enough to the Bridge, maybe that’ll count.” 

“Too dangerous,” Bertie said. “He’d have to stay close to the Bridge and it’s about to be coming down.” 

“If they tear it down,” Etta countered. “I doubt POSEIDON’s going to be big fans of destroying something in the middle of the ocean.” 

“It’s still too big of a risk,” Kate said. “What if there’s a storm? He’d be swept out to sea and lose his memories.” 

“You could tie it to the Bridge when it gets stormy.” 

“Then he might as well just stay on the Bridge. And that’s not an option.” 

“Why not? Couldn’t he just like… hide out in one of the abandoned towns? I doubt they’re going to be patrolling the place.” 

“And when it runs out of food?” 

“The ocean is literally right there. You know, the place with all the fish?” 

“Water?” 

Ocean.” 

“That’s salt water, Etta. You can’t drink salt water.” 

“Okay, but he can’t die,” Etta said. “So is water and food really an issue?” 

“I still need water and food,” Roger said, speaking up for the first time in nearly ten minutes. “I won’t die, but I also don’t really feel like starving for eternity.” 

The other three all cringed. 

“Maybe there’s an island near the Bridge,” Bertie said. “Like one close enough to count but without the issues from the boat plan.” 

Roger shook his head. “That’s still leaving the Bridge. There’s no guarantee that even a boat would work.” 

“Maybe we could build a new Bridge,” Etta said. 

“How the heck are we supposed to- That’s a terrible idea,” Kate said. 

Roger sighed and left the room. He went out to the balcony and stared out over the ocean, wondering how much of this he would remember after everything was gone. Would he be able to recognize his friends’ voices? He could hear them faintly through the door. Etta’s voice rose as she got excited. Bertie’s voice was low as he argued with her, darkened by distress. Kate’s voice was soft and edged with frustration. Would he be able to recognize them after he left? What would even be left to recognize them? He’d be a completely different person. 

“Hey.” Kate appeared beside him, leaning against the railing and looking at him with concern. “What’s up? 

He gave her annoyed look. “What do you think?” 

“Right. Bad opener. Are you o-” She sighed. “No, that’s a bad question too. Of course you’re not okay. Are you coping? That’s a better one.” 

“Not really,” Roger said quietly. “It’s… weird. It feels like I’m dying, but I’m not.” 

“Well, you sort of are. In a week’s time, this version of you is going to be gone. We’re going to be left with a stranger.” 

“I should have told you all sooner.” 

“What good would that have done? It’s not like we can do anything,” Kate said. She rested her chin on her hands. “I just feel so useless.” 

“It’s not your fault.” 

“I know. But it’s my job to protect you, and I’m going to fail at it.” 

“You won’t,” Roger said. “I might lose my memories, but it’s not like you’re planning on just leaving me in a ditch somewhere.” 

“That’s what you think. Let’s see how annoying the new version of you is first.” She gave him a small grin. 

Roger groaned. “You’re right, I could be terrible.” 

“You could be really loud.” 

“No.” 

“You could let Etta get away with anything.” 

“Not happening.” 

“You don’t know that. It could happen.” 

“If it does, please murder me.” 

“Immortality. I could cut your heart out and you’d live. I don’t think Bertie would let me do that though.” Kate was quiet for a second before glancing up at him. “Have you two… talked? About this?” 

“Sure, we all have,” Roger said, avoiding what she actually meant. 

“You know what I mean.” 

He sighed. “No. I don’t want to have to deal with it.” 

“You’re going to have to at some point. There’s only a week left.” 

“I’ll do it tonight.” 

“Alright.” Kate straightened up and gave his arm a quick squeeze. “Don’t stay out here too long. Don’t want you drowning in depressing thoughts.” 

“I’ll come back inside in a few minutes,” Roger said. 

“Alright.” 


It wasn’t fair to have this conversation with Bertie now. In a week’s time, Roger will have forgotten all about it and Bertie would still be dealing with the heartache. Wasn’t it better to just skip it and not make him sad? Give him more happy memories to hold onto? Not have to suffer through a really terrible conversation? 

“Roger?” Bertie was watching him nervously from the doorway. He had already changed into his pyjamas and was twisting the ends of his shirt between his fingers. “You wanted to see me?” 

“Yeah. Did you… Did you want to sleep in here tonight?” Roger’s gut twisted up with anxiety. He could just avoid this. Asking Bertie to stay with him for the night gave him an out. He could hold off on this conversation until later. Or never. Either option was good. 

“Of course.” Bertie closed the door behind him and sat down on the edge of the bed, still watching him nervously. “Are you alright? You seem upset.” 

“I’m fine.” 

He scoffed. “That’s a lie. None of us are fine anymore.” 

“I’m as fine as I can be.” 

“Are you still doing work?” 

“Yeah. I need to make sure-“ 

“Leave it for tomorrow.” 

Roger looked over at Bertie. He was staring back at him steadily, all traces of his prior nervousness gone from his face. “What?” 

“Leave it for tomorrow. It’s late. You need to sleep.” 

“There’s still a lot we have to do before we leave and we’ve been focusing so much on my problem. I need to get this done.” 

“You can do it tomorrow.” Bertie stood up and walked over to him, his slippers shuffling softly against the floor. He pulled Roger to his feet. “Bedtime.” 

“Bertie-“ 

“No arguing. You need rest.” He lead him over to the bed and pushed Roger back onto it. He sat up on his elbows and watched Bertie as he rummaged through his drawers for his pyjamas. “You also need to spend time with your boyfriend. Don’t think I haven’t noticed you avoiding me.” 

“I haven’t been avoiding you,” he said. 

“Oh no? So why haven’t I seen you outside of meals and trying to figure out how not to lose you? This is the first time I’ve been alone with you for almost a week.” 

“I just…” He did not want to have this conversation, he did not want to have this conversation. 

“Was avoiding me?” Bertie turned to face him, a wry smile on his face. He tossed him his pyjamas. “Get changed.” 

“I don’t want to avoid you,” Roger said once he had changed. Bertie was perched on the edge of his desk, watching him skeptically. “I just…” 

“Just…?” Bertie said as he struggled to find the words. 

“I…” He couldn’t think of a way forward that didn’t involve having the worst conversation of his life. “I thought it might be easier for you if I wasn’t around much before… Well, before.” 

“Seriously?” He stared at Roger in disbelief. “How was that supposed to make things easier?” 

“I just thought if I wasn’t around much before, you would miss me less afterwards.” 

Bertie stared at him for a few seconds more before sighing and getting down from the desk. He walked across the room and took Roger’s face in his hands. “I will miss you no matter what because I love you. All you did was make me miss you sooner, you idiot.” 

“I’m sorry,” Roger said quietly. 

Bertie rested his forehead against his, their noses brushing lightly. “I’m going to miss you so much,” he whispered. 

“I’ll still be there,” he said quietly. “I won’t leave you. Not ever.” 

“But it won’t be you. Not really.” 

“We still have time.” 

“Only a week.” 

“It’s time.” 

“Not enough.” 

“Would there ever be enough?” 

“No.” 

“Come on.” Roger took his hand and lead him back to the bed. “We need to sleep.” 

“Can’t we just… not?” Bertie asked. 

Roger laughed softly. “You’re the one who was pestering me to sleep ten minutes ago.” 

“That was before you reminded me that I’ll be losing you soon.” 

“You haven’t lost me yet though.” Roger lay down in bed and pulled Bertie close to him. Bertie buried his face in his shoulder. 

“Tell me a story?” he asked. 

Roger smiled slightly. “What kind do you want to hear?” 

“One about you. I want to know as much as possible before I lose it.” 

His smile faded. “Bertie…” 

“Please.” His voice was so quiet, Roger almost didn’t hear him. 

“Alright. Any preference?” 

“A happy one. You always seem so sad.” 

“I’m happy with you.” 

“Yeah, but I know all of our stories already.” Bertie tilted his head up to kiss his chin. “Tell me about before the Bridge.” 

“Hm. Those stories are all sad now.” 

“Why?” 

“Because I’ll never see the people who made me happy again.” 

Bertie was quiet for a long moment before softly asking, “Why did you take that wager?” 

“What?” 

“I’ve been thinking about it since you told us but I can’t figure it out. It was a stupid and dangerous bet and neither of those things are you. Why did you take the wager?” 

“I was dying.” 

Bertie looked up at him, surprised. “What?” 

“I had cancer and was going to die. It was a longshot, but I had tried everything else. It seemed better to start a new life out on the Bridge rather than to die.” 

“And your family? Do they know that you’re out here?” 

“Yes.” 

“So why can’t you see them again?” 

“Because I live on a bridge across the Atlantic Ocean that’s surrounded by dangerous sea creatures. No one in their right mind would want to make the trip out here.” 

“Maybe you’ll be able to see them again now,” Bertie said. 

“Maybe,” Roger said. “But it won’t be me anymore. They might not even want to see me.” 

“I still would. I still will.” 

“Well that’s what counts.” 

Bertie gave a small huff of laughter. “Sap.” 

“Only for you.”


 “Are you brooding again?” 

Roger looked up at Etta’s voice. She was standing in the doorway leading out to the balcony, dressed in an oversized black hoodie and sweatpants. She was giving him an exasperated look, as though he doing exactly the thing that she was hoping that he wasn’t. 

“I’m not brooding,” he said. He was just sitting on the edge of the balcony, watching the waves crash against the Bridge below and thinking about how he was about to lose all of his memories. Not brooding at all. 

She scoffed and sat down next to him. “Yeah. Sure. You’re just sitting out here on your own because that’s a chipper thing to do.” 

“Shut up,” he muttered. 

Etta smirked. She fiddled with the ends of her sweatshirt and he noticed that her thumbs poked through holes in the wrists. 

“Is that my sweater?” 

“Is it? Huh, I could’ve sworn it was mine. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since I came to the Watchtower. In fact, I think I remember buying it with a friend of mine back on the mainland. Her name was Mary and she liked long walks on the beach and pineapples and-“ 

Roger snorted. “Yeah, sure. Keep it.” 

“Are you serious?” Etta looked at him in surprise. 

“Sure, why not? It’s not like I’ll remember it in a week. Plus you ripped it, so…” 

“I didn’t rip it, I tore it while climbing down from feeding Bob. There’s a difference.” 

“Not a big one.” 

They stared out across the water in silence for a minute before Etta spoke up. “So… I guess I’ll have to reintroduce you to horror movies?” 

“Hm. Yeah, I guess so.” 

“Maybe you’ll actually have good taste this time round.” 

“I’m sorry, but how was I supposed to enjoy IT after you told me that people want to have sex with the clown? If you want me to enjoy something, you don’t tell me what the internet thinks of it,” Roger said. “You know that.” 

“If I have to suffer, you have to suffer with me,” she said. 

“At least I’ll forget that,” he muttered. 

“What, you think I won’t remind you of it?” 

“Please don’t.” 

“No promises. We’ll see how annoying New You is.” Etta looked over at him, her face somber. “I will miss you, you know.” 

“Yeah?” 

“Yeah. I know I haven’t really mentioned it a lot like the other two - we don’t really have that type of relationship - but I will. A lot.” 

“I’ll miss you too.” 

She laughed bitterly. “You won’t have anything to miss. I’ll still be here.” 

“I know,” Roger said, struggling to figure out how to phrase what he wanted to say. “I just… I won’t have the memories of you. I’ll miss those.” 

“You’ll miss yelling at me to do my job? I doubt it.” 

He gave a small huff of laughter. “Okay, maybe not that part. But I won’t remember this. It’s weird to be living something that you know you’ll forget in just a few days. It makes you wonder what the point of living it is.”

“So that we have something to hold onto.” Etta reached over and took his hand. Roger stared at their joined hands like they were some strange sea creature. “So that when you don’t remember, we can remember and give you something to hold onto. So that you can stay you.” 

“I’m not sure if that’s possible,” he said. 

“We’ll make sure it is.” 

“You won’t be around forever.” 

“We’re not going to leave you.” 

“That wasn’t what I meant.” When Etta merely stared at him in confusion, Roger sighed. “It’s not just losing my memories that’s the issue. I’m immortal. One day you’ll all be dead and I’ll be alone. What do I do then? Who keeps me human then?” 

“You’re still human,” she said. “And we won’t die for a long time.” 

“But you will die one day.” 

“Then you find some other poor broadcaster to annoy for fifty years. And then another and another. Of course they’ll never be as great as me, but they’ll be decent enough. And I’ll make sure that our spirits continue to annoy the heck out of you.” 

He snorted. “Thanks. That really makes me feel better.” 

“It’s what I’m here for. Now will you stop brooding and come inside? Kate’s making popcorn.” 


The day had finally come. The car had been loaded up the night before and the crew were running their final checks of the Watchtower before heading down to Submare 3 to release Bob. 

Etta pressed her hand up against the glass and Bob pressed against it. “Hey buddy… We’re gonna let you go now. But it’s okay, cause we’re gonna see you again soon. We’ll be just a little bit down the shoreline from the Bridge. You’ll be able to find us no problem, yeah?” 

He growled sadly and she pressed closer to the glass. “It’ll be okay,” she said tearfully. “We’ll see each other again soon.” 

“Etta?” Kate was standing by the latch to Bob’s tank. “It’s time.” 

The Travel Agency had calculated the safest time to release the monsters back into the ocean. They were releasing Bob at a time when there would be less predators around and he would stand a better chance at getting to a safe area. 

“Can’t we just- I don’t know, bring him with us?” Etta asked, tears running down her cheeks. 

“We’re doing the best we can,” Kate said. “He’ll find us.” 

“Five more minutes?” 

“You know it has to be now.” 

She nodded sadly and pressed her hand against the glass one last time. Bob pressed his tentacle up next to her hand and growled sadly. Etta stepped back into Bertie’s waiting arms and buried her face in his chest, blotting his shirt with tear stains. Kate opened the latch and Bob sank slowly out of sight. 

She walked over and put her hand on Etta’s shoulder. “Come on. It’s time for us to go now.” 

Etta nodded and the four of them walked out to the car, leaving an empty Watchtower 10 behind them. 


The edge of the Bridge was in sight. Kate pulled over to the side of the road and turned off the engine. She twisted around in her seat to look at Roger. 

“We can stay here as long as you want, okay? We’re in no rush,” she said. 

Roger nodded slowly before getting out of the car. The others followed. 

“It’s… probably better to just get it over with, right?” he said, looking around at the faces of the people who mattered more to him than anything else in the entire world. Bertie was biting his lip and clutching Etta’s hand tightly. Etta was wincing slightly from Bertie’s tight grip and wasn’t looking at Roger. Kate was the only one who still looked steady. 

“It’s completely up to you,” she said. “You can take as long as you want.” 

“Stay,” Bertie said quietly. “Wait until the last possible moment.”

“Bertie…” Roger said softly. He looked away. “It’s not going to get easier with time.” 

“I know, but- But maybe something’ll happen! We’ll think of a way to stop this!” 

“You know that’s not going to happen.” 

“It has to!” Bertie shouted. He wiped away a tear and whispered, “Please. There has to be something.” 

Roger walked over and wrapped his arms around Bertie in a tight hug. He let go of Etta’s hand to hug him back. 

“You can’t leave,” he said quietly. “I can’t lose you.” 

“You won’t,” he promised. “I’ll still be right here.” 

“It won’t be you though! It’ll just be some- some stranger with your face!” 

“You don’t know that. It might be fine. I might be exactly the same.” 

“You’d better be,” Bertie muttered, burying his face in Roger’s hair and breathing in deeply. 

Roger glanced over at Etta. She still wasn’t looking at him. “Etta?” 

She finally looked over. He was surprised to see tears on her face. “There’s not really much else to say, is there? He’s already said it all.” 

“You knew I’d be leaving.” 

“That doesn’t make it easier.” 

“I know.” He held out an arm to her and she stepped closer, burying herself into his side. A weight pressed up against his back as Kate wrapped her arms around all three of them and Roger closed his eyes, trying to ingrain the memory of his crew - his friends, his family - into his mind so deeply that no amount of eldritch magic could ever take it from him. 

Just one memory, he begged. Just this one. Please. Please. After everything, don’t I deserve that much? 

After what felt like both an eternity and only five seconds, he pulled away from them. “I should…” 

Kate nodded. “I’ll wait for you on the other side.” She gave his hand a quick squeeze before walking over to the mainland. 

Etta gave him a last quick hug. “I did like you, you know. You were a good friend.” 

Roger gave a small huff of laughter. “Thanks. You weren’t so bad yourself.” 

Bertie gripped his hand so tightly Roger worried he might break it. “Do you have to-“ 

“Yes,” he said firmly. “I do.” 

“Don’t,” Bertie said, his voice cracking as he tried not to start crying again. 

“I’m sorry.” Roger pressed his lips gently to his one last time. Bertie tasted like marshmallows and chocolate and salt. He tasted like everything that was right and good with the world. Like happiness and love and hope all wrapped up into one perfect bundle. 

He pulled back. “I love you,” he said, soft enough that only Bertie could hear. 

“I love you too,” he said quietly. 

He turned to face Kate. She was standing just a few feet away, on the other side of the metal grate that divided the Bridge from the mainland. The wind was tossing her black hair around her face and she reached up to brush it back, her gaze fixed on Roger. She was steady. Constant. He could do this. All he had to do was walk over to Kate. He met her eyes and she gave him a tiny nod. You can do this. I am here, it said. 

He stepped across the line. 

It was like his mind exploded. All of sudden his life was flashing before his eyes, his brain was burning. He felt his hands slam against the ground, gravel digging into them as he fell, his body seizing up as he spasmed. The world spun around him and he heard Kate yelling something, felt her hands grip his arms as she moved him onto his side but he couldn’t see her. 

His vision was clouded and bleeding all at once, flashes of memories crashing through his mind before fading away. He saw Kate on her first day at the Watchtower, wearing her Travel Agent uniform and smiling brightly at him as she introduced herself. He saw Etta staring at him in fear as blood soaked his clothes and a knife twisted further into his gut. Bertie, grinning at him over a bundle of yellow roses. Bob swishing his tentacles happily in his tank. 

Soon Kate’s voice faded as his hearing was overtaken by dozens of voices speaking in unison. There was Etta, exasperated as she told him that there’s no one on the road, there’s never anyone on the road. His sister telling him to hurry up, they were going to be late for school. Kate telling him that she’s got something he’s never heard before that’s sure to cheer him up, her voice filled with pride. And Bertie, just seconds earlier, telling him that he loved him. 

And then suddenly it all stopped. His ears were ringing loudly, the world was spinning like it had been knocked off its axis, and he was quite certain that he was about to throw up. He tried to turn onto his side to be sick and a pair of hands grab him. There was a woman kneeling beside him. She had long black hair and her eyes were dark and filled with concern. 

“Roger? Roger, are you okay?” 

He tried to say something but his throat was sore, as though he had just been yelling. He coughed and then tried talking again. 

“Who- Who are you?”

Chapter Text

Roger collapsed as soon as he stepped foot on the mainland. His body seized up as he fell and he was spasming by the time he hit the ground. Bertie moved to help him but Etta grabbed his arm. 

“Kate knows what to do.” Her knuckles were white as she clutched him. 

“I have to… Something…” Bertie could barely make his voice work. 

“I know,” she said quietly. 

After what felt like an eternity, Roger’s spasms stopped and Kate helped him onto his side. 

“Roger? Roger, are you okay?” she asked. She hadn’t taken her eyes off him since he had left the other two and she didn’t seem about to now, as she softly ran a hand through his hair, her eyes dark with worry. 

Roger tried to speak but only a hoarse noise came out. He coughed and Etta had to pull Bertie back as he tried to rush forward. “Who- Who are you?” 

Kate gasped softly and let go of him. His head fell back against the pavement. “Ow.” 

We knew it was coming, Bertie thought to himself as he leaned against Etta, his legs giving out. We knew it was coming. This shouldn’t be so shocking. 

“Bertrand,” Etta grunted, struggling under his weight. 

“Sorry,” he breathed, righting himself. 

Kate was still staring at Roger in shock. He struggled to sit up on his elbows and looked over at Bertie and Etta, confused. Bertie’s heart wrenched in his chest as their eyes met. He looked so helpless. Lost. 

“What’s going on?” he asked. 

Bertie’s chest swelled with hope. “Do you remember us?” 

Roger’s eyebrows furrowed. “I’m sorry. Am I supposed to?” 

All the air rushed out of Bertie’s chest and Etta grabbed him as he stumbled. “Bertrand?” 

He took her hand in his, clutching it tightly. She cast a worried glance at Kate, who was still sitting next to Roger, stunned. 

“We should… What do we do?” she asked. 

Kate shook her head before getting to her feet. “We need to get moving. Can you stand?” she asked Roger. 

“I… I think so? Who are you?” he asked. There was a hint of terror in his eyes that Bertie had never seen before. 

“We’re your-“ She paused. “We’re your friends. We’re going to get you somewhere safe, okay?” 

“Safe? What happened?” 

“Don’t you remember anything?” Etta asked, somewhat pleadingly. 

“I’m sorry, I don’t. What’s going on? Why don’t I remember anything?” 

“It’s… A long story. We’ll explain it to you in the car,” Kate said, holding a hand down to him. 

“I’m not going anywhere with you people until you explain what the hell is going on,” Roger said. 

Etta snorted. “At least he kept his sharpness.” 

“But nothing else…” Bertie said, finally finding his voice again. She squeezed his hand. 

“You can trust us,” Kate said. 

“Why?” Roger asked. 

“I told you. We’re your friends.” 

“That doesn’t mean anything! If you’re so important to me, then why don’t I remember who the hell you are?” 

“Because you’re an idiot who went and gambled his memories away,” Etta said sharply. 

Bertie squeezed her hand. “Don’t,” he said quietly. “It wasn’t his fault.” 

She took a shaky breath. Bertie knew that she was only upset because she was scared and worried. They all were. 

Roger still looked confused, but he took Kate’s hand. She pulled him to his feet and the four of them headed to the car. 


The house that Kate had found online was a small cottage in a seaside town. There were three bedrooms, a couple of bathrooms, a kitchen, living area, and a small backyard. They had lucked out and found a house that was fully furnished. It had a warm feeling to it, but Roger still felt uncomfortable as he sunk onto a couch in the living room and watched the three strangers get settled in. 

Etta immediately threw her bags in the largest room that she would be sharing with Kate. Kate glanced over at Bertie. “Which room do you want?” she asked. 

“I’ll…” he glanced over at Roger nervously. He raised an eyebrow. He didn’t know why he kept looking at him like that. “I’ll take the one near the garden.” 

“There’s no garden,” Roger said. 

Bertie frowned. “There will be,” he said, somewhat sadly, before going into one of the bedrooms and closing the door. 

Kate turned to Roger. “Come on, I’ll help you unpack.” 

“Unpack?” he asked. 

“Yeah. Your stuff?” 

“I have stuff?” 

“Right,” she said quietly. Then a little louder, “Come on.” 

They headed back out to the car and Kate handed him a couple of duffel bags. “You’ll be in the last bedroom. It’s the smallest, but it should still be cozy. You never really seemed to need much space anyways.” 

“I suspect that won’t have changed after losing all my memories,” he said. True to her word, Kate had explained what had happened once they had gotten in the car. It was still a little hard for him to believe, but something in his gut told him it was true. Maybe it was a small part of his past self holding on, trying to keep him with the people he apparently cared about. 

The car ride to the town had been uncomfortable to say the least. Etta and Bertie had sat in the backseat, leaving the passenger seat open for Roger so he could better hear Kate. Bertie hadn’t said a word the entire trip. He had only stared out the window and occasionally reached up to wipe away tears. Etta had been quiet, only speaking when Kate left out a detail. She held Bertie’s hand the entire time. 

“How’s your head?” Kate asked. 

Roger rubbed it. His head had been aching since he had woken up on the Bridge. “It’s still a little sore.” 

“There should be some Tylenol in one of my bags. Let me see if I can find you some.” 

Back in the house, Kate went to her room to look for the Tylenol, while Roger brought his bags to the empty bedroom. It was small and cozy, just as Kate had described, but Roger felt a little more relaxed in the cool blue room. His window looked out towards the sea, and something about having it in his sights again made him feel less like a stranger in his own body. 

Speaking of which… 

He began rummaging through the bags that Kate had given him, trying to find out something about his past life. Past life. Huh. That made it sound like he had died and come back to life. Which was somewhat accurate, he supposed. Whoever Roger Kaplan used to be, he wasn’t anymore. 

Most of the contents of the bag were fairly boring: clothes, a few books, a pair of earbuds. He was rummaging through the second bag, hoping for a journal or something like it, when a photograph fell out onto the floor. He picked it up. 

The photo was of a group of four children on a beach; three girls and one boy. They all bore a striking resemblance to one another: siblings, most likely. The youngest girl was smiling a huge gap-toothed grin, one arm raised as she waved to the camera. Another of the girls was sitting on a rock off to the side from the other three, her nose buried in a book. The oldest girl’s arm was around the boy’s shoulders, and she was laughing as he turned to say something to her. There was a sharp tug at Roger’s gut, a yearning that he couldn’t quite explain. 

“Roger?” Kate was standing in the doorway with a bottle of Tylenol and a plastic water bottle. 

“Oh. Thanks.” He set the photograph on the bed and took the bottles from her. 

“What’s that you've got there?” she asked. 

“I found it in my bag. Do you know who those people are?” 

Kate picked up the photo and her face fell as she looked at it. “You said you found this in your bag?” He nodded. “Roger, I think this is your family.” 

“What?” He grabbed the photo back from her and stared intently at the children’s faces. If she was right, then he was the boy in the photo. And the other three children were his sisters. He had sisters. 

“Do you know where they are?” he demanded. 

“I didn’t even know you had siblings until right now,” Kate said. 

“How could you not know that?” 

“You weren’t exactly the most forthcoming with personal information.” 

“So you don’t know anything about my life?” Roger asked, feeling his heart sink. 

“Not really,” she said apologetically. “Etta probably knows a bit more than me, so you could talk to her. And Bertie-“ She cleared her throat. “You should just give Bertie some space for a while.” 

“Why? Did we not get along well before?” A flash of realization crossed his mind. “Is that why he keeps acting so nervous around me?” 

“No, you… You two got along really well. Which is why you need to give him some space. He’ll come to you when he’s ready.” 

Roger frowned. The thought of someone having information about who he was - information that was otherwise lost - and not being allowed to talk to them didn’t sit well with him. But he was determined not to rock the proverbial boat, especially since Kate looked more than capable of kicking his ass if he upset either of the others. 

“Alright then,” he said. “I can wait. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.” 

She smiled sadly. “No,” she said. “You already left. And we’re not losing you again.” 

Chapter Text

“Kate?” Roger was standing in the doorway of the kitchen, frowning. 

“What’s wrong?” Kate paused in her cooking. She was preparing breakfast for the crew, only two of whom were awake. She had left Etta snoring in bed and hadn’t seen Bertie yet. Knowing him though, he’d be up as soon as he caught the scent of bacon and eggs. 

“Why do I have a giant scar on my stomach?” Roger lifted up his shirt to reveal the scar from where Nora had stabbed him. Kate flinched involuntarily. 

“Oh… That… Um… You were stabbed.” 

He dropped his shirt, staring at her in astonishment. “I was what?!” 

“Stabbed. With a knife.” 

“Why was I-? Who the hell-? What?!” 

Kate set down her spatula and took Roger’s hand, guiding him over to the table to sit down. He stumbled backwards into a chair, still staring at her in shock. “You were trying to protect Etta. There were people who wanted to kidnap her and we were trying to stop them. You just… ended up being stabbed.” Kate left out the part where she left him alone, likely leading to him being stabbed. That wasn’t important. Nor was her punching him in the gut right before she left. 

Roger stared at her for a few more seconds before dropping his gaze with a sad sigh. “I got stabbed trying to protect Etta?” 

“Yes.” 

“And now I can’t even remember her.” 

“Yes,” Kate said quietly, her heart sinking. 

Roger shook his head, not looking at her. “I was stabbed trying to protect her, and now I can’t even remember why I would do that. If it happened now-” his voice broke- “if it happened now, there’s no way I would be stabbed for Etta. And I hate that. I should be protecting you people, I should care about you, and I don’t even know the first thing about you besides your names.” 

“We don’t need you to protect us. That’s my job.” 

He stood up and began pacing the kitchen in frustration, his voice rising. “It doesn’t matter if that’s your job or not. I don’t remember anything about the people I care about! I want to be myself and I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how I’m meant to act or think or anything! I try to remember anything past yesterday and it feels like my skull is splitting open!” 

“Don’t try to remember then.” 

“I need to! I have to remember. I have to,” he said, barely more than a whisper. 

“Then why don’t I help you?” Kate suggested. “I could teach you what you need to know. I could tell you all about us. I know it’s not much, and it’s not everything you want or need to know, but it’s a start.” 

Roger stared at her for a few seconds, searching her face for anything she might have been hiding. “You would do that?” 

“Of course. I want you to remember. I hate seeing you so upset.” 

“Okay then,” he said, nodding slowly. “Let’s do it.” 


It ended up only being the two of them at breakfast. Bertie hadn’t left his room after all, so Etta took a plate in for him and decided to eat there as well to keep him company. Kate pushed her eggs around her plate nervously as she tried to decide on the best place to begin. They had already covered the basics in the car - they worked in a Watchtower on the Bridge, Etta was the broadcaster, Bertie, the groundskeeper, Kate, the Travel Agent, and Roger, the supervisor - and now Roger wanted to know more details: who they were as people, their likes, their dislikes, how they had all gotten along. Kate could have filled entire books with what she knew about the others; the problem was finding a good starting point. 

“Why don’t you start with yourself?” Roger suggested, picking up on her uncertainty. “We seem to have gotten along well. You at least aren’t avoiding me like the other two.” 

“They aren’t avoiding you,” Kate said. Roger raised his eyebrows. She sighed. “Alright, they’re avoiding you. But it’s not because they don’t like you. It’s just… hard.” 

“Do you also want to avoid me?” 

“No,” Kate said, surprised to find that she wasn’t lying. She really didn’t want to avoid Roger. She wanted to spend as much time with him as she could because watching him on the Bridge - watching the last pieces of her Roger leave - she could barely take it. She didn’t want to waste another second with him this time around, no matter how hard it was to be around him like this. 

He smiled. “Then we must have been important to each other.” 

She smiled back, her heart wrenching slightly. He had never used to smile like that. “Fine. Where do you want me to start?” 

“At the beginning, I guess. When did we first meet?” 

“It was my first day at work,” Kate said, smiling at the memory. “I was so excited to start, and you were so unexcited to see me.” 

“You’re the new Travel Agent?” The man standing in the doorway to the Watchtower looked at her like one might look at a fly buzzing around the room: an annoyance, but ultimately uninteresting. She resolved then and there to be as interesting as possible just to prove him wrong. 

“Yes. I’m Kate Burnham.” She held out her hand for him to shake. 

He stared at it for a moment before taking it. “Roger Kaplan. I’m in charge here. The last Travel Agent left suddenly, so I’m afraid everything’s a bit of a mess for you taking over.” 

“I don’t mind,” she said. “I like messes.”  

“Did we get along?” present Roger asked. 

“Usually,” Kate said. “Sometimes you were an asshole.” 

He snorted. “Apparently that’s a theme for me. Etta said something about me being sharp?” 

She laughed, her chest aching as she remembered his sharp rebukes with a fondness and longing she hadn’t expected. “Yeah. You were definitely sharp, especially with her.” 

“So we didn’t get along? Then why would I allow myself to be stabbed for her?” Roger asked, looking confused. 

“Because you still cared for her, even if you fought all the time. And she cared for you. Anyone could have seen it.” 

“What’s she like?” 

Kate’s heart swelled as she thought about her girlfriend. “She’s… perfect. She’s smart, and funny, and creative - she used to come up with all these stories about the Bridge and you hated it because she always used to tell them on air and you would go to reprimand her and she would start making up a story about something being in the water to distract you because you would get so scared and go off to check on it and she always laughed because we didn’t know why you were so paranoid and-“ Her voice broke and she ducked her head, trying to hide the tears that were beginning to stream down her face- “and you wouldn’t speak to her for hours, you were so mad, you’d just sit in Submare 3 and sulk with Bob and then-“ 

“Who’s Bob?” Roger cut her off. 

Kate looked up in surprise, and Roger started when he saw her tears. “What?” 

“Who’s Bob? You didn’t mention another crew member.” 

Kate wiped her cheeks. “Bob wasn’t a crew member. Well, not in the traditional sense, at least. He was our sea creature.” 

“Our what?” 

“Sea creature. It wasn’t safe for him to be out in the ocean alone, so we were looking after him.” 

“…Oh. Where is he now?” 

“We had to let him go when we left the Watchtower. We don’t know where he went, or if we’ll ever see him again.” Kate stared down at the floor, tears still streaming down her face. She hadn’t been expecting it to be so hard to tell Roger about them. She had figured it would be like telling any new person about the crew. But this was all stuff that he should know. It was all stuff that he had told her when she had first arrived. 

“That one’s Bertie,” Roger said, stepping into the greenhouse. “Nice, but a little clueless. Likes plants more than people. Don’t ask him about hydrangeas unless you want to listen to a two hour lecture.” 

“Who’s the girl next to him?” Kate asked. She was cute, and although dating your coworker seemed like it would get very messy very fast out in the middle of the ocean with only four people around, Kate couldn’t help but want to know as much as she could about the resident cute girl. 

“That would be Etta.” He sighed, exasperated. 

“And why is she trying to hide in a rose bush?” 

“Because she’s supposed to be doing work right now,” Roger said, glaring pointedly at Etta. 

“I’m going, I’m going!” Etta said, heading out of the greenhouse. 

“It was nice meeting you!” Kate called after her. 

“And that’s Etta,” Roger said with a sigh. “Completely hopeless, but a good broadcaster when she actually does her job.” 

“I look forward to working with you all,” Kate said, giving him a bright smile. 

He blinked, surprised, before muttering gruffly, “Yeah. Same.” 

“I… I should leave you alone,” Roger said. 

Kate wiped at her eyes. “Sorry.” 

“No, it’s fine. I… I understand. I’m sorry.” 

His footsteps faded as he left the room and Kate buried her face in her arms, letting her tears drip down onto the table. No matter what she did, she could never stop him from leaving.