For What Itís Worth

by brooklinegirl (witchbaby)

PG

10/2001




Response to one of the Missing Scene Challenges over at the A-Slash. A take on the thoughts and feelings going on in ďTheory of RevolutionĒ.




I know this is only going to get me in trouble.

So stop doing it. I canít fix things. I tried once; tried to fix it all, put the pieces back together, make it whole. I tried. It didnít work. And the warrantyís way past gone.

So why am I setting myself up for trouble? Meeting it more than halfway? Iím supposed to be smart. Hell, by some standards, Iím supposed to be real, real smart. So why am I acting like a fucking idiot? Is it better to be acting like an idiot and know it, and yet keep acting that way? Or is it somehow better to be totally unawares of how utterly dense you are, safe in your harbor of stupidity, sure of your path, however destructive it may be, just because you donít know any better?

Donít change the subject. Somethingís happening here, and however much you may want it to, itís just not going to turn out well. Let it go. Donít push it. Even though heís encouraging it. . .even though heís courting, possibly, that exact same sort of trouble that youíre chasing. . .donít push things. Walk away slow and no one gets hurt.

Wish it was that easy.

Itís like someone else is taking the steps for me. Iím in there, sure, an anxious observer, but not in charge. Like thereís this path Iím following and I canít get off it. Iím on slow-mo, and it feels like my mind is trailing behind, horrifyingly curious at whatever the hell it is that Iím doing. Like with a road accident, I canít look away. And I canít stop it.

Itís too much, I guess. Face, getting caught like that, in Hannibalís fine, fine little plan. Getting caught the way he was supposed to, but thatís pretty much the only thing that went right here. Went the way it was supposed to go. As ever, Hannibalís plans go one way and the events go the other.

So I should be used to it by now. But Iím not. Not used to it. Not used to Faceís life being in danger. Not used to him being locked up where we canít get to him, where we canít help him. Not that he needs help. Not that he canít take care of himself. He can. But weíre a team. The four of us, I mean. A team, and we stick together, and him off on his lonesome like that makes me all itchy. Needed to get to him.

Wanted a chance to explain. Apologize for getting too close, when weíd agreed to give the friendship thing a try. I wanted another chance to just let it go. One of those, ďhey, itís all cool, letís just be friendsĒ moments. Only Iíd really mean it, wholeheartedly agree, and things would drift back nice and easy and weíd be okay. I donít know why I canít stick to it. Donít know why I push him. Why I cloak the flirting with the craziness, so he canít object without sounding petty. Why I push and push, getting in his space, touching him too much. God, all the ridiculous flirting, when Iíd promised to just let it all go. To be okay with just being friends. Because that was okay, wasnít it? Itís what weíve been all along, friends.

Sometimes more than friends, sure. But always friends first.

No reason we wouldnít be able to keep that up, right? ďItís not you, itís me, canít we just be friends?Ē Whatever words he used (and Face sure is good with words), thatís what he meant. The problem with clichťs is that theyíre usually true. So I didnít argue. Said friendship was just fine by me.

But the plan, as ever, interfered with that. I knew Iíd been all flirty, too flirty, and he just didnít get it, couldnít understand why I was pushing when weíd decided enough was enough. This far, no further. I was gonna stop. Gonna explain.

Till he got beaten to within an inch of his life.

I stand here watching him, after itís all over and done with. He plays it off, of course. Stands real easy, seems real sure. Not shaky, nope, not at all.

But I can see your hand shaking, Facey, as you move to push your disheveled hair back into place. You see it too, and bring it down to your side real quick.

Canít ever let anybody else see the real you, can you, Face? Not how itís done. Is that why ďitís-not-you-itís-meĒ? Is that why youíre ďjust not ready for this right nowĒ? What are you hiding? Why are you hiding it from me? What have you got to be scared of? What canít you share?

Iím just watching you, smiling, sure, because this is the Facey I know. I can see you hiding real clearly, sometimes, when I donít think even you know that youíre hiding. I can see the real you. And yeah, Iíve got that goofy grin on my face, trying to draw your eye. It works too, and when you look at me, when you see me. . .man, itís electric, and any thought I had of letting this go. . .apologizing for the flirting, trying to go back to the way it was. . .all of those thoughts go right out the window.

Iím just so glad youíre alive.

So I kiss you. Iíve said it before, Iíll say it again: Iím crazy, I can get away with anything.

You even let me get away with this. And I know you still love me, know youíre just as glad to see me as I am to see you, when you not only allow it, but encourage me. Howl with me.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Let me tell you, I thought I was just about gonna burst with happiness. Forget worries, forget doubts. This was love, this was true love, and it doesnít get any better than this. So Facey had had his worries. This brush with danger (brush with death? Donít think about that just now) brought him to his senses. Heís mine and I ainít never lettiní him go.

Wish someone had shared that information with Face.

*~*~*~*~*

He doesnít exactly respond, but he doesnít exactly push me away. Heís good, real good, for a while, like youíd never know that anything was wrong. That anything had changed between us. All the way home, Iím hyped up, on this utter high, wanting so much to be close to him. Thatís when he starts to retreat. Heís kind of distant, but hey, the guyís had a close call today, right? I can understand how heíd be a bit quiet. I figure, once I get him alone, heíll open up, a bit (as much as Face ever does), let it go a bit, and might even want to engage in a few heated moments of passion as an outlet. Iíd be glad to be of service there.

But it doesnít happen that way. Like Hannibalís plans, my assumptions are more than a bit off. Face is lost, not letting me see. . .not letting *anyone* see. . .whatís going on in there. Heís hurt, I know that much. A guy gets beaten like that, heís going to be in a world of pain for quite some time afterwards. Heís sitting real still, gazing out into the far distance, and his eyes never focus on me, even when they look at me. I know Face. Know him too well. Itís not that he *canít * focus (weíd checked for concussion, first thing). Itís that he wonít. Needs his space. Needs to hide.

Needs to keep me out.

More power to you, Face. Itís one of those things that astounds me about you, this ability to keep people out just when you need them the most. I canít do that. I try to hide my love away, but that just makes it way too obvious. Heart on my sleeve and all that. Canít hide it, even when I know better. Iím not saying that itís a good thing to do. Iím not saying that youíre not seriously fucked up and that this isnít going to fuck you up more. Iím just astounded at your ability to run away when youíre standing right here. Me, I avoid the confrontation. Discretion being the better part of valor, I have a tendency to back off, literally run away. Taking myself out of the situation is the only method I have for hiding away my emotions. I donít have masks the way you do, Face.

I canít hide in plain sight.

*~*~*~*~*~*

ďFace.Ē

ďYeah?Ē The answer is distracted, as he focuses, scowling, at the mirror, dabbing at the cut near his mouth, trying to clean it up a bit. Heís dealing with the cuts and scrapes and bruises, of which there are many. Trying to reduce the possibility of any scars, or any more bruising. Gotta stay pretty. Gotta stay perfect. Lord knows what he would do, were any of that surface beauty marred.

Doesnít matter, though he thinks it does. Heís standing there, clad only in those jeans (his shirt filthy and ripped beyond repair, flung into the corner). Bare-chested, barefoot, hair a mess, and heís still beautiful. The cuts and scrapes, the bruises. . .they make him look like a tough guy. Tough, but hurt, and itíll just make girls want to take care of him. Hold him. Fix him. Be close to him, so theyíll know heís okay.

I know thatís what I want to do.

Heís still just dabbing at the cut, oblivious to the fact that Iím just sitting here on the bed, staring moodily at him. Yeah, I know Iím being moody, just as I know that heís here only because he didnít want to go back to Stockwellís just yet. Wanted to come here to assess the damages. Hannibal knew, too, that Face needed some downtime to recover. I think the colonel was feeling a wee bit guilty, since he agreed too quickly when I suggested dropping both Face and I off at my apartment on the way back to Stockwellís. Yeah. My idea, not Faceyís, though he didnít argue with me. Didnít voice an opinion one way or the other, but got out of the van agreeably enough when we pulled up outside my place.

Hey, I take what I can get.

ďFace, you headiní back tonight, or you wanna stay here?Ē Not what I want to offer. I want to offer a whole lot more. But sometimes Iím smart enough to figure out my limitations. With Face, there are a lot of limitations.

Heís finished cleaning up what he can here. I watch him leave my line of vision in the adjoining bathroom. Hear him turn the shower on. Iím still lying on the bed, scowling to myself. He re-enters my sight, as he grabs a towel off the hook on the door. Stops for a second and actually (will wonders never cease!) looks at me. ďIím probably going back to the house tonight.Ē He pauses, still looking at me, steam from the shower filling up the bathroom behind him. ďBetter that way.Ē

He walks away, and I hear his jeans hit the floor, hear him get in the shower. Hear his muffled groans as the heat hits his sore, bruised muscles, the water massaging him, working out some of the pain andÖI need to stop thinking about this.

I need to stop thinking about this.

I want to drag myself away. Donít want to be here, waiting, when he emerges, damp and warm from the shower. Shouldnít be here. Donít know how much I can take. Fuck it. How, how, how can I handle just being friends? Iím a smart guy, should be able to figure this out. But I canít.

Guess Iím not that smart.

*~*~*~*~*~*

So while Iím planning on leaving, trying to get myself to head downstairs, maybe start dinner for the two of us (dinner is still okay, right? Dinner is still something we can handle), I never quite make it. He emerges, one of my threadbare towels wrapped snugly around his waist. A cloud of steam surrounds him. His wet hair is dark, almost brownish gold. Iím haunted by the memories of what we used to be.

He looks at me, and heís so tired, I think he actually lets himself see me. Heís not been shying away; thereís just been an utter lack of depth to any of his looks. Heís been looking at me without giving me any of himself, and itís cold when he does that. Makes me cold.

This time, though, he sees me. Heís tired and worn and he sees me. Heís just looking, no promises in his eyes, but just need. He wants me, he needs me, he loves me, but he canít be with me. I know that and he knows that. Weíve tried that, goddamn but weíve tried that, and it doesnít work. Doesnít work in a real big way. Thatís why I get this look. Heís not asking, but warning. I want this, I need this, but donít hold onto it, okay? It ainít never gonna be more than it is, so donít count on it. Donít count on me. I can be your friend, and a better friend you will never find. And I can be your lover for a time. Can balance it for a time, but then it falls. I fall. And I canít find my way back. Youíve gotta know that.

Yeah, I see all this in his eyes. I told you, weíve been friends for a damn long time. I see all this, I know all this. I know Iím gonna get hurt, but hell, Iím hurting now. So Iím going into it with my eyes open. I know. So I ask you again: is it better to be doing something stupid and know it? Or is it better to be oblivious about it? You tell me, because I sure as hell donít know.

All I know is this: I love him. I love him and Iím not going to let him stand there hurting, inside and out. Not when I can do something about that. Not when I can fix that, for a time. I donít have that in me, to let him hurt. Heís been through enough. So much. Too much. Now Iím here, and anything I can do to make it better for him, Iím gonna. And thereís no guilt and thereís no hurt, no trip Iím laying on him. Because going into it, I know. I know just how much he can give, and I know itís gonna need to be enough.

So when he gives me himself, like that, lets me see his eyes, lets me in, what else can I do? Heís standing there, hurt and lost, and what can I do but take him in my arms and hold him close? What else can I do? His damp head lays on my shoulder for a minute or two and his arms are tight around me. He wants me close, needs me close, to ground him. To make up for being that close to danger and death. It scares him, the danger, more than his need for me scares him. And he holds onto me and doesnít let go.

After a moment, his head tilts up and his lips are warm on mine. All passion and need comes through these kisses he gives me, and Iím drunk on it. The fierce, unyielding need is here, and it holds me together as it pulls me apart. Weíre on the bed now, as close as can be, and heís trying to get closer, trying to be one. This is as much as he can give of himself, this sheer need that leaves him tremendously open. Itís all love and desire, building hot and fast and in that moment, when he comes inside me and his eyes are open, looking into mine, open and unshuttered and letting me see him. . .at that moment, I know heís mine.

And thatís gotta be enough for me. I get that moment, and he falls asleep next to me, exhausted and spent enough to let me hold him close. When I wake up, my arms are empty and itís just me again. And I tell myself. . .thatís got to be enough.

~end~


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