WARNING: Yet _more_ G-rated M/M angsting. Follows "How
Am I Supposed To Live Without You?" and "The Beat of a Different Drum"
I'd offer this one for Valentine's Day... if I didn't think you guys would _kill_ me. Yup, it's more angst (but they do it so _well_!) and precious little resolution. I'm _trying_, I swear... hang in there. What can I say? The moaning and groaning and depression comes naturally for me; the happy stuff is a lot harder. I'm just working my way up to it.
I have this fear that I'm beating this far too much to death. If so, forgive me, the next one (Oh Goddess, I didn't say that, did I???) will be better, I promise. But if you read it anyway then keep your basketballs and your dead otters to yourselves-- you've been fairly warned.
The lyrics don't _always_ go back and forth, but I'm hoping the little "#" and "+" marks (if not the text!) will keep everyone on-track.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine-- (Goddess, I wish! ;-) No offense or trespass intended and no profit made, I assure you.
+And now I'm all alone again, nowhere to turn, no one
to go to,+
+Without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to,+
+But now the night is near,+
+Now I can make believe he's here.+
It's absolutely beautiful here. The air is clean and crisp and fills your lungs with the scent of evergreen and snow. There's no background noise at all-- every sound brings a message, has a story to tell. And, standing on the edge of a mountain, you can see forever and ever. I feel a thrill run up my spine and I turn without thinking to share this with you...
And you're not there.
It's been nearly a month. I should know better by now.
But how can I learn not to expect you when I see you every night in my dreams? Nothing dramatic, nothing exotic. I dream about the most mundane days-- sitting in your car on stakeout for hours, talking aimlessly and sporadically about nothing and everything. Or just sitting there without any words at all.
The people here are very pleasant; they've done their best to welcome me, to make me feel at home. But I think they can sense that it simply won't work; that there's nothing they can do. I spend most of my time out with Diefenbaker, the two of us alone in the wilderness.
Seeing no other faces means I won't find myself comparing them to one I know too well -- and finding them lacking.
The RCMP-issue cabin I have here would probably still appall you, but it's far nicer than the apartment; I think it's even bigger. But I'm hardly ever there. For all it has twice as much in it, it feels empty, lonely, in a way the apartment never did.
People have invited me into their homes-- hospitality is sacred in a place where people are so few and far between and turning someone away from your door can easily be a death sentence. But as I sit there at quiet meals, I find myself missing your family. The noise and ruckus, the bickering and competition, echo in my head in the midst of the calm peace of the people around me. You reassured me, do you remember? That first time, when I was so completely overwhelmed, you told me not to worry; you joked that they only attacked the ones they loved.
I miss being attacked, Ray.
#Sometimes I walk alone at night when everybody else is
#I think of him and then I'm happy with the company I'm keeping.#
#The city goes to bed,#
#And I can live inside my head. #
I think Ma knows.
She hasn't said anything and I'm sure as hell not going to bring it up. But sometimes I catch her looking at me and her eyes are so sad....
Frannie was absolutely impossible for a full week, you know. She moaned and cried and you woulda thought the damn world was ending. You wouldn't believe the grief she gave me-- What did you do? What did you say? Why didn't you tell me about her? What's she got that I don't? How could you just let this happen?
What was I supposed to say? She didn't want to hear my answers. I didn't want to hear my answers. I'm not even sure I have any....
Frannie's over it by now. I wouldn't dare say it to her face, but it's true. She's been making her moves on this fireman she met last week when something she was burning in the oven got outta hand. Poor guy doesn't stand a chance.
But I'm not over you.
I talk to you, you know. Not like I talk to my father when some idiot forgets to lock up Hell for the night. I don't see you-- you're not dead, for God's sake, you're just gone...
At first I found myself in front of the consulate after work. For three days running I pulled up and looked for you before I even realized what I was doing. After that I could see how I simply gravitated that direction at the end of every day, and I started to fight it, deliberately heading away. I kept ending up by the lake-- trading one habit for another, I guess. It's actually pretty out there-- open, and as wild as you're gonna get in the city.
It makes me think of you.
So I walk and I start telling you about my day like you're still there. You don't talk back, but then what's new, huh? It's just somehow I need to share it all with somebody, you know?
Nah, I could do that at home or at some bar somewhere like my old man always did.
I need to share it with you.
+On my own, pretending he's beside me,+
You know yesterday I found myself burning with the need to do something outrageous? Something improper, unexpected, a little wild?
I bet that would shock you. I know it would shock the people here. I recognize it, it's a distinct phenomenon of interpersonal dynamics, whereby when a usual behavior is stopped or perceived as missing, another person will unconsciously take it upon themselves to compensate. It can actually work its way through whole families or groups, one person at a time, which can be particularly interesting in the case....
In this case, it means I miss you.
#All alone, I walk with him 'til morning.#
I can't sleep worth a damn.
Even Welsh gave me grief about it yesterday. Said I looked like shit and maybe I should take some time off. I made a big deal of a couple of the cases I was working on and chalked it up to a touch of whatever bug's been going around lately, and he let it go. I know better than to think I'm fooling him, though. I just don't know how much he's figured out.
Enough not to make me go home, at least. That kind of torture I don't need. I spend too damn much time thinking now as it is. I don't need any more free time.
In fact, if I help Huey out with that Carson case I think I can manage some overtime....
+Without him, I feel his arms around me+
Do you know all the times we touched over the years?
I think I do. It was all casual, friendly, nothing more. But now it comes back to me. I find myself sifting through memories to recall how you feel. Your hands on my shoulder as you concentrate on the computer screen. Your arm slung casually about me as we walk. The play of your muscles under me as you carry me for miles through the woods. The feel of you in my arms as I pull you gasping from the lake.
Then my mind imagines your arms reaching back.
And as we stand there, wrapped tightly together in my daydream, then, finally, I am home.
#And when I lose my way I close my eyes and he has found
You helped me solve a case yesterday.
Well, you and Dief both, I guess. Huey would laugh his ass off if I told him how I broke that Carson case. But people are used to hunches from me. I didn't have to explain how the fur around Carson's dog's face smelled just like the house special over at Mi Piace.
I imagine telling you and seeing you smile that little bemused smile of yours. Hot damn, huh? Looks like the blustering American cop can learn some of the finer points of tracking after all.
But now he's got to keep stopping himself from tracking you all the way back to Pata-tacka-whatever....
#In the rain the pavement shines like silver.#
#All the lights are misty in the river.#
So I drive. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, I just drive. Driving's been my escape ever since the first moment I could duck out the back of the house when I heard my father coming in the front at night and just disappear into the city. The Riv's still my escape.
You spent so much time in it the past few years it's almost like you're a part of it too now. I find myself edgy, short-tempered when I'm driving someone else around and they're sitting in your seat. "Your seat"-- just listen to me! I nearly bit Frannie's head off today when she threw her bag back over into the back without looking. When she complained, I gave her some line about ruining the upholstery the way she's always slinging things around.
I couldn't tell her I'd been afraid she'd brain poor Dief.
But alone, cruising the streets at night, I find the old peace. Only this time it's the emptiness of the house that I'm fleeing.
Pretty ridiculous, huh? "Just silly," I bet you'd say. The house is still crawling with people like always. Nothing's changed. I mean you were never even there for more than a meal, you know. Maybe it's just the city that seems empty then.
Only not when I'm driving....
+In the darkness the trees are full of starlight,+
+And all I see is him and me, forever and forever.+
The daydreams take up more of my time now.
There's not much to do. It's a peaceful community, no drug-running, no kidnapping, no extortion. Precious little theft and not a murder in years. Some domestic disputes, hunting accidents, the occasional poacher in Tuktut Nogait.
Mostly it's just being here in case I'm needed, checking in on a sick family, rescuing an unlucky trapper. But at least here my uniform means something. Here I have a real job; I'm needed, in my small way. I'm respected.
But I have far too much time to think.
I take Dief out hunting nearly every night. We're both getting better, honing skills that deteriorated while living in the city. I imagine you're with me, complaining endlessly about the cold and the dark and the trek, but coming anyway, as I know you would. The world is beautiful at night, but it would be so much more so with you here to share it.
#And I know it's only in my mind--#
Some idiot in the commissioner's office has got it into his head to make sure everyone's working with a partner now. Welsh said something about it the other day and Huey and I both threw a fit. So he assigned us to each other. It's just temporary and a formality for the brass-- we're still working our own cases and sitting at our own desks.
But it's just a matter of time.
We both have to get over it, huh? I mean, they're not gonna keep us together. We'd kill each other within the week. Besides, we both know what we're doing. No, they'll assign me some damn rookie with only a couple of years on the force and I'll have to hold his hand and show him around and he'll want to sit across the desk and ride around in the Riv....
And I resent the hell out of him already.
+That I'm talking to myself, and not to
I imagine us together, but it never goes more than that one bare step beyond the friendship that we've shared-- safe, strong, platonic....
Actually, you know, Ray, the term "platonic" is something of a misnomer. It refers to the ancient philosopher, Plato, who believed that love between two men was the most perfect and only true kind of love in existence. His argument was-- to be quite honest-- appallingly misogynistic, and was based on the societal conventions in place in Greece at that period, many of which are simply no longer as relevant in modern Western culture. It was, in fact, just such a cultural shift-- specifically the deep-seated homophobia of later Western European culture-- that made the assumption that his argument referred solely to non-sexual forms of expression....
I'm doing it again, aren't I? How am I supposed to know I'm babbling when you're not here to cut me off?
#And although I know that he is blind,#
How much did you see, Benny? How much could you see?
You're the tracker, the expert, the one who can spot the tiniest thing out of place and read it like a map, but if you don't know what it is you're looking at....
I bet your grandmother's library didn't have a book on this. How about an Inuit story, huh? A legend where the hero doesn't get the girl... and doesn't want to? Where two hunters walk off into the northern lights together?
I bet not. For all you fluster at a woman's come-on stare, I'll bet you never even recognized one from a guy. They do look, you know. I've seen it happen.
Hell, I've done it myself.
+Still I say, there's a way for us...+
"Platonic" is actually the perfect word, in its own way. That's what I want: a perfect true love between two men, a communion of mind, soul, and body.
How can I be thinking this? I know the common prejudices: you're an Italian Catholic cop. What could possibly suggest "homophobia" more than that? I mean, I know you're not naive, but in your soul have you really ever accepted that such things can happen?
I'm terrified that I'll offend you. That I'll be standing there and I'll see this look of disgust or horror or, worse, pity come over that face I love so much-- and I think I'll just die. I know I should not be doing this, thinking this. I know the common prejudices... but I also know that you're anything but common.
My heart tells me that we could be so good together. We were so good already. I know people used to stare at us and shake their heads in confusion-- How could we stand each other? Two people so different, it's a wonder being always so at odds didn't handicap us both.
But it was only a surface opposition. We were more complete together, and, deep and unspoken, we recognized and trusted each other's strengths. You always complained bitterly, but you came anyway. I always objected, but I followed your lead. Maybe we were just perfect partners.
But I want to believe we could be so much more.
#I love him. But when the night is over,#
#He is gone. The river's just a river.#
But I can't drive forever, you know. You have what you've always wanted in life and I want so bad to be happy for you, I really do. Either way, somehow I have got to come to terms with this before I lose my mind....
Something has got to happen, and it's gonna have to happen soon.
+Without him the world around me changes--+
+The trees are bare and everywhere the streets are full of strangers.+
I thought that being back here in the city would be... different. Better than being so far away. Worse than being home. Somehow different. But it's not. I feel the same emptiness. The only difference is the intensity, the fear, that comes from being so close....
Something is going to happen, and it's going to happen soon.
#I love him. But every day I'm learning--#
I can't see loving anyone else the way I do you.
I know from experience that the sharpness of the pain will pass. Maybe someday I'll even try to find something, someone, to fill up some of the void. God, I hope I don't end up hurting them the way I did Angie.
But right now my heart can't believe that will ever happen. Right now I'm only trying to find a way to live with the emptiness, to accept it into me, into my life, the way I did you.
+All my life I've always been pretending.+
A part of me can't believe I'm doing this.
My father's been strangely quiet, but perhaps I just can't hear him over the dissension in my own mind. Why take this risk? I've lived without love most of my life and I can do it again. I've learned from experience that some prices are too high to pay, even for love. Losing your friendship would be one of them.
But my heart insists I take the chance. The problem with stoicism is that it offers no chance, no hope. There's time enough for that later, to accept the loss, to learn to live with it... once I'm forced to face that it's irreversible.
#Without me his world will go on turning.#
How did you do it, Benny?
How did you live with the pain of loss, bury it away inside you, and still manage to smile politely at the world? How did you get through the days missing something that was so much a part of you? Jesus, Benny, how did you get through the nights?
It's my turn now, isn't it? I saw the new smile on your face, remember? You're not having to pretend any more.
Oh dammit, Benny! If you were gonna leave me with a broken heart at least you could have taught me how to live with one first....
+The world is full of happiness that I have never known.+
I deserve this. We deserve this.
We have both lived through too much pain, it is time for some joy. I always think the best of people, Ray, how can I do less for the world, for whatever forces may affect our lives? Nature's justice is harsh, but it is true.
I know it makes no sense. I have no doubt that love is a force in this world, but I also know it doesn't follow orderly rules like gravity or the tides.
But I know this emptiness is wrong, and we would be so right. I just know.... Call it a hunch, Ray....
+I love him. I love him.+
Your car's not at the house, but I pay off the taxi driver anyway.
As he pulls away I stand there in the street, not knowing what to do. I can't stop my hands from shaking. Perhaps I should have waited until morning....
Yes, I should have. It's well after midnight, after all. What was I thinking to risk disturbing your family at such an hour?
I was thinking I could not wait another minute to see you.
That's ridiculous. I wasn't thinking at all. But I am now. The possibilities run through my head automatically. You could be working a late shift, sitting on a stakeout, away visiting relatives....
Visiting a non-relative.
Oh God! This was a mistake. A horrible mistake. You're probably with Louise, or Chris, or Maeve, or whoever is in your black book this week and I shouldn't be here and if I just leave now quickly no one will ever have to know....
#I love him, but only on my own.#
I turn the corner towards home, still trying to convince myself I'm coming to terms with it all and...
Oh God, now I'm seeing you!
For a split-second my heart stops cold. Does this mean you're dead now? Oh God, no, Benny....
But then you turn around as I pull up and there is such panic written on your face that I don't care. All I want is to grab you and hold you and protect you and make whatever it is all right.
Instead I pull up beside you as I've done a hundred times before and roll down the window....
(squeal of tires and scurry of footsteps as Dianne is hustled into an unmarked van and joins the International FicAuthor's Relocation Program... ;-)
Dianne la Mercenaire... -*- <email@example.com>
Vanity Web Page-- http://moonlight.dreamhost.com/lamerc/
"I had to. I was depressed. When depressed, we must dance and throw a party." -- Chris