Actions

Work Header

Rum and Rhyme

Work Text:

"Don't know what that was, honestly," the doors to the bar thudded open, the hinges screwed into the side creaking in dismay at their unwelcome treatment, and in the thin murmurs of the bar their voices chimed in at one another, exchanging indecisive glances and glares. Mostly glares, anyway. The bar they had strutted into was lively as ever. A single wooden pole vaulted to the ceiling of the room, marking it as a bland centerpiece; a stick in the wind if you asked its patrons. A low, orange light was emanated from a crackling fireplace barbed with stout, iron railings that had a curling design rolled to the heart of the fire, inducing a flicker from it every few seconds, colouring shadows across the customers' face and the squared corners of the heap.

So even it wasn't the eye candy - well, not as far as Famine scrutinized the place in this case. He didn't understand why War had an almost intimate knack for this pub, or perhaps Famine himself was just in a foul mood and his rationality stopped clicking ever since he trudged off the embankment of snow back there...in any way, War kept revisiting this place, and Famine even suspected it was a main setting in his dreams if he had ever considered sleep (none of them really did, Famine then realized with a snarl at himself).

It wasn't a bad place, some vestige of Famine reminded, it was just...unfavorable.

"Damn it," War breathed out for what Famine counted inwardly the sixth time, and he noticed the red, beefy fingers of the enraged horseman twitching, then curling themselves into a firm fist, "I can't take this anymore. You guys are so quiet, and I have no idea what's going on right now. Do you think-"

"No," Famine interrupted him mid-sentence, turning to War with a glaring expression, and they were both a confused entity of melancholy, never-had-been and poignant issues which wouldn't stop circulating their minds, "We will discuss that matter later. I'm tired of standing, can we please take a seat you brute?" Of course, almost all of Famine's words came out like knives that took a stab at his colleague even when he didn't meant them. These words just seem to manifest at a last moment of thoughts for him, and appeared to seem so. Famine glanced at War from the corner of his volucrine eyes and saw him glare back with a fist half-raised in midair, as though he was about to punch him for that last line. If War threw hands now, Famine knew he would go at him without restrain. Both had the patience of a frantic snake right now, and their paroxysm of anger was still climbing. 

Famine internally embraced the outcome, knowing full well he wouldn't be able to dodge War's fist, but he would strike back as well. That sort of petty suited him, despite it was his own fault for not being cautious with his way of words. 

However, it didn't happen. 

"You two, stop it," a quiet, unexpected voice sliced through the stiff, fuming tension between the two horsemen, "Death told us to wait here while he settles the gypsy. We ought to calm down first - we're not thinking straight right now."

"Ya think?!" Famine lashed out once more, turning his body to the side in such a violent manner, this time at his shorter friend, and truly his tongue was just as poisonous as his previous intentions. But was it really him? He wondered deeply at his mind. Was it really his fault for feeling that way suddenly? This explosive tantrum that swelled up like tears in his vessel? He was a horseman for God's forsaken sake! He was indomitable! He was an embodiment of suffering and emptiness, yet now he turned to a mess of fury and sorrow?! He simply despised those feeble, humane feelings that made him feel exposed, "Like what, Pestilence?! Let's just 'calm down' with a cup of English tea at the table, chatting away like nothing happened - you're trying to think that something like that didn't just happen?! Is that it?! Just 'calm down'? That's your new view to our current predicament?!"

"Famine, god-damn it!" War hollered back at once, snapping, "What the hell is wrong with you? What the hell is wrong with us?! Why are we..acting like this?! I'm supposed to spark feud between those..cretins! Not between us! We're harbringers! Yet you're fueling me with something I don't need right now! If you can't keep your beak shut-"

Then War stopped himself from running his mouth and squeezed his eyes shut, sighing in frustration. He lowered his arm and buried his face into his palms, shaking his head as he did. Famine huffed, panting and on the verge of breaking down. But that was stupid. Famine was egoistic and stubborn. He denied his feelings faster than any of the horsemen, even from himself, but the agony was real. There was a bramble of suffocating pain wrapped around his throat, and Famine lost his voice to respond altogether.

The glisten in his eyes were thickening, and he felt like crying. 

Was this how it all boiled down to? That they were insufferable etches of filth and were wrong all along? Had they been that blind and ignorant for thee few centuries? That perhaps, they were no different than the squabbling humans? Brainless, pathetic beings without faith and redemption? Had he ever thought about that? Had any of them thought logically at all up until she told them? Had Death rethought this? Had they been retarded that they relied on the cryings of a child to have opened their eyes? How long had this been going on? Just how long had they denied themselves?...

"Oh fuck," Famine uttered out, hanging his head, "What the hell are we supposed to do now?" His heart (if he even remembered he had one) was in his mind, throbbing against the confinement of his skull. He felt like he was one of Pestilence's patients - shriveled and ill-fated all their life after being struck. The sick feeling clambered in his throat, and all at once he felt like he was going to throw up from raw anxiety. His overthinking was about to bring forth its own brand of punishment, and he wanted to die, but whoever heard of a horseman dying?

"Get drunk and then decide?" War finally murmured, sighing heavily with a cloud of hot breath. A hint of forced humor laced his steely tone. 

"Death's going to reap our damned souls," Famine grumbled in a low tone, but he forsook the option of arguing with the horsemen right now as he wagered his own civil war with his mental stability. The three horsemen dragged themselves to the serving bar and sat themselves down. A waft of alcohol graced their presence in a sudden wave, and now it was imminent. Green bottles with red labels lined the sturdy glass shelves across of them, their shadows cramped with one another at the small space given at the sheer amount. Famine counted the rows of alcohol mentally, pathetically attempting to erase stirring thoughts of reminiscence. No one noticed them, and everyone else was busy having a chaotic time with their friends. 

And then there were the alleged beings of malevolence and calamity sitting dully, not even putting effort to lighten the atmosphere. It was such a heavy fog that snaked in their midst that Famine could almost make it reek, and at any given moment he was quite sure their cold aura was going to unintentionally set off the wonderful welcome of World War Three, which was exactly War didn't need that right now, evident from his drop of spirits. 

"Three glasses of Chardonnay, please," Pestilence scrounged his loosely clung clothes that wrapped around his thin body like a mummy, before fishing out several crumpled bills and tapping them on the surface of the long serving table, picking up the attention of a coughing bartender as he did so. Under the indecisiveness of the light garbled in the pub, the white wrappings around the ill horseman made him conspicuous as they hung around his joints and hands. But it was his eyes, Famine took notice of them ever since they limped away from their steeds - there was a melting sort of sadness swirling in his purple eyes. 

A passing thought suggested to Famine that perhaps Pestilence's eyes were about to fall off again, much like his worn-out sense of fashion.

"The passing of one is a tragedy," War recited suddenly, his eyes leveling the table, his voice a deep hum, "The passing of a hundred is an occurrence. But the occurrence of a hundred on one? That's true evil. She fled from the grasps of battle and starvation, but gripped with diseases...but she didn't deserve that. She was a child!"

"I can never forget that look in her eyes," Pestilence murmured, "Why didn't Death come for her?"

"She wanted to die, but she didn't do anything wrong," Famine sighed, ruffling his mop of a hair, "I don't even know what's right and wrong now."'

"We were the antagonists all along," War chided, his red eyes like wet rubies in the shadows dusting across his face, "This is our fault, Famine." War was feeling a great many things that his greed and conquest of lands couldn't bring him. There was no satisfaction to his work now, no usual sense of triumph over the silent watch of humans tearing at each other. Nothing. 

"I know," the horseman of hunger replied mildly, bitter as he sensed another storm forming at the horizon in his mind, "And we're damned for that."

The three horseman glanced at each other, sighing so frequently that they probably increased the carbon dioxide levels of Earth by a rocket. 

It was a day of grey and black, the fog outside the town rolling in from the streams of trees from the woods like white waters rocking to the rhythm of the town's heart. A wash of navy blue coloured the skies, and the tapping of boots and flats could be dully heard from the corners of the cobblestone street. Time slipped through the crannies of their fingers, for it had been their greatest ally until now. A few street lamps buzzed to life, clearing the path with an occasional hum of electricity. 

Before they knew it, their incessant drinking blended into the loud yells and shouts of the patrons in the cold, silent night. 

"Why...do I feel...much more...saddened...than..b..before?" Famine clutched his head, uncouthly gurgling out his entire sentence, "What the hell...di..did you pu..put in my...drink?" He slammed the bottom of his cup down harder than he anticipated, smashing it in the process. The glass pieces shattered across him with a clink, the shards grazing the tip of his knuckles. He shook his head, his eyes blinking profusely to keep himself awake and sober of his actions, before whirling around on his seat, glaring at War through his dangled strands of hair which resembled seaweed more than anything, "So, about our horses, huh?"

"Water bout' yit?" War hiccuped, his eyes attempting to coordinately blink, "Bout' Hatred? Dun wanna talk erbout 'im right now." The tall horseman could barely focus, his vision overlapping like a crossed eyed man at the strange figure of Famine. He could almost make out purple lines traced around the horseman opposite of him, and War chuckled at how bizarre the sight beheld to his inebriated self, the sound becoming a mirthless draft in the boisterous bar.

Pestilence had leaned back on his chair, ranting on about something in French ("something about being a father," Famine vaguely understood his long-winded phrases and purple prose), to which the ill horseman would jerk up for no reason at himself and then switch to Mandarin, before proceeding to continue his rambles like an unscathed lunatic. Famine watched Pestilence throw his head back and cackle (very much like a witch, Famine noted inwardly) unpleasantly at a French joke, and then picking a pace of haste at speaking again (normally Famine would thought that was odd, but Pestilence was talking to thin air and right now all of them were as sober as Crowley from Good Omens). 

"I'm so tired," Famine groaned out, and everyone ignored him. The horseman sighed again, calling up a memory of his horse. He did love him. Two best friends, inseparable and ubiquitous, he miserably thought as a wave of nausea slapped him, but now where did it all come down to? 

The three horsemen were equally tired, despite how active they appeared to be when intoxicated. Their heart had soaked up the rains of anger and realization, and there was no more space for it to go. No crops for it to water. But they couldn't cry. Their eyes wouldn't let them. Some sort of a cursed barrier, War thought as he collapsed onto the table in surrender. The bar was a serendipity to him. His mind was addled to the point nothing connected to his original reason for dropping by. So much for discussion.

Pestilence glanced at his two colleagues that were on the verge of passing out, which seemed more human than anything. The horseman had thought about it for a long while - he liked thinking. He was a deep thinker according to several accounts he recalled, and used to take pride in that, but was it useful now? Barely. He analysed their situation and through the fog of his own befuddled mind, which he knew out of all of them that it wasn't an ideal proposal that soothed their ego, nor was it truly a wise one, but he piped up anyway, "Wouldn't it be better if we just vanished? We leave humanity alone. Swear off our powers. Something along the concept of retirement."

But the horsemen were to exasperated to reply, so they weakly passed glances at one another, their mind slowly gathering thoughts...