Even the Lonestar State Gets Lonesome

by brooklinegirl




Fandom: Local Hero

Written for: Kass in the Yuletide 2005 Challenge Summary: It was Victor's song, but it was like he'd been singing everything that had been in Mac's heart for as long as he could remember.

The song Victor sang at the ceilidh stuck in Mac's head, and he danced to it a little - a little off-balance, a little dizzy - outside on the road while he tried to keep an eye on the stars. He stumbled to a halt right where the road tilted off into rocks down to the sand, and stood there, swaying, looking up, up, up. The stars went on forever, and what had happened before, with the colors, what everyone called the northern lights - he'd heard another name for it somewhere, what was it? It didn't matter. What happened before was really something, and the thing about the sky was that you never knew. It could happen again; it could happen anytime at all. You just had to be looking when it did.

Mac stumbled again, and took a step back to peer up at the stars and see if he could figure it out - what was he supposed to be keeping an eye out for? What had Haepper said? Leo, and - Virgo, right, Virgo, that was it. Mac stared up intently, and felt sure he'd know what he'd be looking for once he saw it. Look at what he had seen already. He was the right man for the job, here. He knew what he was doing. It was funny - he'd thought Haepper was a little crazy to begin with maybe, and maybe he was. The thing was - Mac put out a guiding hand and made his way over to the newly-painted phone booth there on the edge of the rocks - the thing was, he was thinking now, that Haepper was a good kind of crazy. The right kind of crazy. Haepper was maybe the smartest man he knew.

The night air was cold and brittle out here now, and the metal of the phone booth chilled Mac even through his sweater. He swayed gently, tilting his head back to rest against the booth. "Lonesome like a lonestar man like me," he sang quietly to himself, the air carrying the tune better than he could. It rang out clear, and he hummed it to himself again. It was Victor's song, but it was like he'd been singing everything that had been in Mac's heart for as long as he could remember.

The night air carried the sound of a quiet laugh to him and Mac tilted his head to the left, to where the light had come on in one of the upper rooms of the hotel. Gordon's room. Gordon and Stella's room. Their window was open a little bit, and he could hear Stella laughing as Gordon took her in his arms, swung her around and pulled her close. Like before, a little, when Mac had seen them dancing alone in the dining room; dancing like it was something, dancing like it was special. Dancing like they were in love, and Mac wanted to shut his eyes. The thing was, Mac thought, the thing that hurt was that he thought he'd been in love before. He was a grown man, and he'd had relationships, and he'd had women he'd thought he'd loved, but he'd never, never, never had what they had.

He'd never had someone like Stella. And he'd never been someone like Gordon. For all that he and Gordon understood each other - and they did. Mac felt a profound closeness to this guy named Gordon Urquhart - for all of that, Mac wasn't anywhere near the man Gordon Urquhart was. Gordon Urquhart was a man who did things, a man who did...things, yeah, simple things, everyday things, and more importantly, most importantly, he was a man who was happy.

Mac slouched back against the phone booth, and stuck his cold hands in his pockets, and watched as Gordon made Stella laugh again by tilting her back and pressing his lips to her neck in vast theatrical kisses. He swooped her back up again and paused, looking at her, just looking, as she looped her arms around his neck and looked back.

Mac, out in the street, just watched.

He couldn't see it all, not really, and he was maybe not even trying to that hard, because he knew, he knew, how it was going. How it went. How Gordon looked back and loved her so hard he felt like his heart would burst from it. How he'd look at her, could look at her, she was his and he could look until he had his fill, which would be never. Look at her, and pull her to him slowly, tilt his head and kiss her; kiss her so soft at first, as sweet as he could. Kiss her with all the love in his heart, kiss her with passion, with desire. Mac, sliding now down to the ground with the chill of the phone booth against his back, thought that they had more love right there with that one kiss than Mac had ever in his whole, whole life known.

Gordon would get to kiss her as she kissed him back, drew him to her, tugged him toward the bed and murmured to him to turn off the light. She'd laugh, lightly, as he hit the light switch and tumbled her to the bed, him on top of her, drawing her close and getting to have her, getting to have her there in his bed, there in his life, and winning, god, winning.

Mac opened his eyes and stared unseeing at the sea and the rocks and the road that seemed to go on and on into nothingness, until it was eaten up by the fog the way the fog had eaten up their car the first day he and Danny drove into this place. He didn't even turn his head to look at the window, just heaved himself slowly to his feet and stumbled across the road, stopping just in time as the motorbike shattered the silence of the night with its roar and missed Mac's feet by inches.

He offered a wave to the retreating back of the rider and let himself into the unlocked hotel. The whole place was dim and silent, quieter even than the night outside with its rush of waves and the sound of the stars that Mac couldn't seem to block out now that he'd heard it with the northern lights, the - aurora, that was it, the aurora borealis, up in the sky there. Maybe he had imagined it, the sound he thought went with it, a sort of energy, a sort of crackling that he was maybe feeling instead of actually hearing. But it was so real, more real, realer than anything else he knew in life.

Mac thought to himself, as he worked his way up the stairs, hanging onto the rail, that he was maybe a little more than a little drunk.

That was okay. He was okay with that. He deserved to be drunk. Sometimes, it was right to be drunk. Victor had said that to him, during the long talk they'd had earlier in the evening. Victor had treated him like a friend. Mac felt like he knew Victor, like he'd known Victor, like he'd always known Victor. Victor had a way of making you feel like that, and Mac knew why the whole town loved him. Victor listened. Victor understood. Victor understood life, and how hard it could be, and the ways it could go wrong, could go so very off-track without a man even knowing until it was too late, much too late, to do anything to fix it.

Mac got to his room, fumbled for the key to the door that he locked carefully behind him every morning for no reason that he could think of, and let himself in. He didn't turn on the light, just slid his shoes off and laid himself down carefully on the bed, folding the pillow up behind his head to keep the room from spinning.

The thing was, it wasn't till you were stuck in this loop of working and driving and sleeping and living and you never knew, you never even knew, you really didn't know how not happy it all was, how not happy you were. How not happy you are. A man had no way of knowing that in the world where Mac came from. Texas, where everything was big. Where everything was important, or seemed that way. A world of suits and oil and money and cars that never let you down. There weren't stars there, not like there were here, and there sure as hell wasn't anything like he'd seen tonight, the sky with all those colors he didn't even have names for. Nothing even close to that.

The hotel was quiet, and Mac closed his eyes and thought about the stars. He breathed in deep; the sweater he still wore smelled like salt and sand. He wiggled his toes and got more comfortable on the bed. He couldn't hear anything, but somewhere up on the floor above him were Gordon and Stella together. Gordon was a good guy. He maybe deserved Stella more than Mac did. Stella needed a guy like that, a guy who would end up on the right track. A smart guy, who listened. Mac was a guy like that. Only it was tougher for him. Out there in the world away from this town. Tougher to be this way.

Gordon, he had it made. Mac opened his eyes and studied the ceiling in the dark and felt a surge of deep, primordial, primeval, even, desire - wish, want, longing, craving. For what, he didn't even know, couldn't pin down like that. It wasn't like money, like figures, like oil prices. He just wanted. He wanted Gordon, Stella, this town, this life, he wanted to be a part of that. He wanted all of that, every bit of it, to be his. He wanted - Mac sighed and rubbed his hands over his eyes. He didn't want Gordon to not be a part of this. What Mac had offered Gordon before - the apartment, the car, the job, the life, if only Gordon would give him this, this, all of this - he'd meant it. Maybe more than he'd ever meant anything before in his life. Only it wouldn't have worked out like that, it couldn't have. Mac was a businessman - he knew that. Gordon was a part of this whole damn thing, wrapped up in it.

Wrapped up in Stella, upstairs there, making love to her in the darkness, and if Stella was looking at him with even the tiniest part of how she had looked at Mac when she danced with him at the ceilidh - looking at him like she knew him, like she knew every secret part of him, knew it all and loved it all and understood it all - if she was looking up at Gordon with even half of that - then...

Mac shut his eyes again and rolled over on his side, tugging viciously at the comforter until it came loose from where it was tucked in at the foot of the bed - from when Stella must have tucked it that very morning after Mac left - and pulled it over him. Stella wasn't looking at Gordon with half of that. What Mac had seen had been almost nothing of what she had to offer. Gordon - Gordon had all of that, every bit of it, and Mac felt half in love with Gordon for it, with whatever it was that Gordon had that made a girl like Stella fall in love with him.

Dancing with Stella earlier - seeing Gordon dance with Stella days ago, in the dining room, and tonight, in the bedroom - all of that, tied all together, that was what Mac was missing in his life, what he hadn't even known wasn't there till he came here. He could have lived his whole life without knowing that. He could be in Texas right now, with his car and his job and his apartment, and never, never known any bit of this at all.

He shivered, a little, and pulled the comforter closer, thinking about the stars as he waited for sleep.


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