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Joe said, "You want some?" and held out the weed that he was half-way into.

Normally, Brendon would have said no. (If he thought about it, normally, Joe wouldn't have offered. Joe was pretty good at not only not pressuring others, but generally not even setting up the temptation.) Ryan was on edge about chemical dependence in others, and Brendon hadn't a clue really as to whether his personality was addictive or not, so mostly he just avoided finding out.

Normally, though, Brendon hadn't just gotten off the phone with his mother, having had a conversation regarding why Brendon never went to church anymore, not even when it was possible.

Brendon took the offering, sucked in, and commenced in an immediate bout of coughing. Joe took the cigarette back, rubbed between his shoulders and said, "That happens the first time. Try and relax."

Brendon was more intent on trying to breathe, but surprisingly, around the same time he caught his breath, the relaxation came right along with it.

Relaxation wasn't exactly the right word. It was more as though things, even really important pressing things, distanced themselves just a bit. Far enough that Brendon didn't have to think about them, if he didn't want to.

"Again?" Joe asked, holding out the pot.

Brendon took it without even thinking. There was still coughing after the second drag, but Brendon didn't mind so much, not knowing what was coming at the end.

"Rough day?" Joe asked, taking the weed back for himself.

"Yeah," Brendon said, and laughed. It didn't seem like such a big deal anymore. He told Joe, quite plainly, "I don't believe in G-d."

"Oh," Joe said. "Why not?"

Brendon blinked. It was sort of a big thing, not believing. So big he'd never said it before, probably would never say it again if there wasn't some sort of inhibition-relaxing influence involved. "I don't like being judged."

Joe nodded slowly. "Okay."

That was nice, the way Joe didn't seem to care one way or another, the way he just took this thing that generally made Brendon feel a little bit empty and wrong inside and made it simply another choice. "Do you? Believe?"

"Dunno," Joe said. "I don't not believe."

Brendon nodded. That made sense. "You aren't very religious."

"Probably makes it easier," Joe agreed. "It's just kind of hard, to hear music and not believe all the way."

"I believe in something," Brendon said. He didn't know what it was, although the pot made him feel like there was a word for it, something just out of reach, something he just had to look a little harder for. He was too relaxed to try.

"That isn't good enough?"

Joe had a point. Brendon asked, "It should be, shouldn't it?"

Joe offered him the last of the blunt.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile