Story:               IT WON’T BE LONG

Author:              FancyFigures (fancyfigures@hotmail.com)

Disclaimer:        I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc

Pairings:           1x2

Category:          Heero POV, romance

Warnings:         Yaoi, lime, slight angst, sap

Spoilers:           None

Notes:               Some things you just never get over…

Feedback:         If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!

 

 

Written for the Vault’s Spring Songfic Challenge 2005, loosely based on Alison Moyet’s ‘It Won’t be Long’.

 

 

*

 

It’s one of those tear-off calendars.  You know - a page a day, and some pithy saying, credited to Shakespeare or Martin Luther King, or maybe just ‘Anon’.  All’s well that ends well - There’s nowt so strange as folk.  Whatever.  I’ve been staring at it for three whole minutes, or so the digital clock on the kitchen counter seems to say.  I don’t remember hearing the gentle clatter of the minute flags turning over; I’ve tuned out the steady hum of the fridge, too.  I remember who gave us the calendar, last Christmas, it was Quatre - he loves that kind of novelty!  Trowa fixed it on the wall, I must have been busy with something else at the time.  And I remember that the first few sayings in January were sharp and witty and thought-provoking; it had seemed an amusing gift, and we were grateful for the thought.  Each day, another motto.  We laughed over such a domestic measure of our life together.

 

It hasn’t been updated for over a week, I can see that now.  I know why I’ve forgotten it; it’s my usual excuse.  It’s because it was always part of his morning routine.  I tear off the first sheet and crumple it in my hand.  I’m rather rough about it; I don’t read the saying properly.  Something about Everything comes to him who waits.  And to think I always prided myself on my patience.  There’s some irony there, somewhere.

 

I wander back through the quiet apartment, into the lounge, mentally ticking the list of things I need to do today.  A couple of days off means chores - means some experimental cooking - means easy listening and watching movies.  All such entertainment, all for myself.  I pick up the rented DVD that lies on the couch, ready for this evening, and I gaze at the lurid cover.  For a second, I’m confused.  I don’t remember hiring it myself.  By instinct, my mouth frames the familiar words, ready to scorn the trash quality of the movie - ready to berate him for his careless choice.

 

My mouth closes, slowly, no words emerging.  There are echoes in my head; protests; plaintive jokes.  In his voice.  The corners of my mouth twitch, as if I’m about to grin.  I never could resist those damned jokes of his in the end, could I?  Well, most of them, anyway.  Then the voice fades; because it’s only in my mind, after all.

 

But of course, I did hire the DVD.  Must have picked up the wrong one - I think I remember the sceptical look of the guy in the store, glancing around me as if to find someone else involved in the choice.  Someone more suited to that particular brand of shock!horror movie.  I make that mistake quite often - choosing the movie that he would do.  I bring them home and sit and watch them, regardless; after all, particularly in the first few weeks of the new year, there wasn’t a hell of a lot else to do.

 

*

 

The washing in the bathroom basket is an unusually small pile.  It always is, nowadays - it never fails to surprise me, though.  A towel has slipped from the basket and lies crumpled on the bathroom floor.  I stare at it, and the pattern of its folds and creases.  There’s the cloying fragrance of our favorite shower gel, still wafting up to the ceiling after my shower, earlier; there are still misty trails of condensation on the mirror.  For a second, there’s the flicker of movement in the distorted reflection -

 

But when I turn, there’s nothing but my own face staring back at me, hair still damp from its washing.

 

My hand traces a lock across my forehead.  For a second, seen through the foggy droplets, it might be someone else’s hand, doing it for me.  I slide my hand down to my neck, tracing the quickening pulse at my throat.  I can feel goose bumps along my sides, as if I were still naked; as if hands were teasing at me; nudging me; drawing me against another skin.  The erection I’m feeling is all too familiar - it visits me too many mornings, after too many vivid dreams.

 

I stroke slowly at the front of my sweat pants, watching the gentle dilation of my pupils in the clearing mirror.  The voice is in my head here, too - but it’s much lower; much more mischievous.  One minute it’s laughing, teasing - then it’s gasping.  Begging.  Crying out.  I can hear my name, but I don’t know where it’s coming from.  I’m afraid that the sound is from my own mouth; from my own need, as I rub faster and more satisfyingly.

 

There’s a single vest lying on the upturned pile of laundry that I dropped at my feet.  It’s not been worn for a long time now; it doesn’t need another wash.  It should go back in the drawer in the bedroom.  Or it shouldn’t be here at all.  I grip hold of the sink behind me and it rocks a little on its foundation.  My body arches against it; my eyes close.  But I can still see the vest, white, creased, too tight for my own size - I can see it imprinted on the front of my closed lids.  I can smell its particular smell; feel the excitement of fresh cotton pressed against a bare thigh.  Mine.

 

I’m awash with dissatisfaction, even as my body shudders with completion.  I despise my own lack of self control; I don’t know where the hell that proud patience is that I used to treasure so much.

 

*

 

I clear my papers by the laptop in the dining room and dust a little round the shelves.  So much stuff, still here.  Still his.  Ornaments; books; souvenirs of his travels.  He’s a terrible hoarder.  But he’s never bothered to collect it from the apartment - to move it on with him, somewhere else.  I tidy a few piles of CDs, most of them not my style of music - I straighten the picture of the sea on the wall over the music system.  He’d been fascinated by that one; said it reminded him of last summer away.  I’d only just started to use water colours, and although there were so many things wrong with it that I wanted to tear it up and start again, he snatched it from me with a laugh, and later that night I found it framed and hung on the wall.

 

My hand lingers on the pale wooden frame.  There’s still a stain there - a dark nut-brown stain where the coffee cup shattered, and the hot liquid spilled down the wall and on to the floor.

 

That voice is very clear in my mind, too.  The one that was shouting - that was arguing.  I can’t remember the exact words, nor the mixture between his and my voice.  We were both represented; both angry; both cruel.  I hate raising my voice - I’ve always tried to avoid conflict, though I’ll defend myself without doubt.  That’s what I felt I was doing, defending myself.  I don’t know at what stage I progressed from righteous indignation to fierce attack.  I found vocabulary I’d always associated with him; I found resentment and confusion that must have been building up inside me for months.  And suddenly spilling out in a single, explosive evening.  Like I said, my voice was just as harsh - my words just as damaging.

 

I stare into the reflection in the glass of the picture.  It’s just me; just my hooded eyes; my weary eyes.  That night it saw two faces, both twisted with fury.  It caught the glimmer of movement of a hand raised; the wide shining of tortured eyes. That night, the whole picture shivered on the wall as door after door slammed. 

 

And then it had reflected nothing but stillness and silence.

 

That silence is still there, every morning, when I wake up and fix a light breakfast.  Every day, as I power up the laptop and start to work.  Every evening, as the light fades outside and the heating system in the basement hiccups its way into life.  Other people in the block come home from work, they chat and laugh by the elevator, they turn up their TVs over supper.  In our apartment, I hear this particular brand of silence over everything else; I hear it as plainly as the shouts from a football crowd.

 

When I go back into the kitchen for coffee, I see the pages of the calendar fluttering in the warm spring breeze from the kitchen window.  I tear at the top one - Look ere thou leap, see ere thou go - and another comes with it.  It stays nestled in my palm for the moment.

 

*

 

In the hallway, there’s a message blinking on the machine.  I know it’s Wufei; I know it’s about last Saturday night.  And I know I’m a coward not to answer it.  You see, I like him a lot, but the nights out will have to stop soon.  It was a great evening - great fun, great atmosphere - then it got to about midnight and I ran for home, like some kind of modern-day Cinderella.

 

And why?  Because I thought he might touch me - I thought he might want to be something more than a friend.  No, that’s hypocritical; I know that he does, but I also know that I’ve never encouraged him, and he respects that.  On Saturday night, he’d done nothing but put a friendly hand on my shoulder, but the whole of my body had shuddered with shock.

 

“It’s been months,” he’d said, very softly.  Not an accusation; not a plea.  Just a statement.  He sounded a little weary. 

 

I nodded, because he was right.  I think about it now, very objectively.  All those pages, all those curling edges on that damned stupid calendar.  All those moments when my mind drifts away - all those times my heart misses a beat.  I don’t know how long it’s going to be before things change. Guess all the guys are a little weary of me by now.

 

“The time will come,” I’d said to Wufei.  “One of these days.  That’s how it should be.  I’m sure it won’t be long.”  Then I’ll be over him, is what I was too cowardly to say.

 

Wufei hadn’t even smiled; just sighed.

 

I dig now a little deeper for my brave patience, but it’s even more elusive.  I walk into the lounge and sit carefully down on the couch.  The page from the calendar is still between my fingers.  A little while later I reach for my coffee cup and wonder when it went stone cold.

 

*

 

The doorbell rings and even now I sit there for a second, waiting for him to answer it.  He was always so keen to get there first, to see who was visiting us.  Then I bite back a sigh and get up myself.

 

He’s on the doorstep.  “Heero,” he says.  I can’t work out the tone; I can’t decipher his expression.  I feel as if my stomach is fighting to get out of my mouth, but can’t get round the swollen tongue.

 

I move my hand back down to the door knob and suddenly his foot is between the door and its frame and his look is very fierce.  “No, I won’t let you freeze me out again!  Let me talk to you.”

 

I try not to look up into those eyes but it’s inevitable; I’m like a rabbit drawn to the snake.  My mouth fills with warm saliva and my heart seems physically to push out from between my ribs.    “Every couple of weeks, Duo, you turn up here.  We said we were making it a clean break.  How the hell do you think we can do that if you keep coming back and confusing us all over again?”

 

“I can’t do it,” he says, a little hoarsely.

 

“Give it time,” I say, rather woodenly.  “It won’t be long -“

 

“Until it’s all gone?” His fierceness looks very damp around his eyes.

 

“Yes,” I say, simply.  “Then maybe we’ll be free to move on.”

 

“That’s - not what I want.”  He bites off any other words.  His head shakes quickly, sharply, as if only for himself.  I can see his fist clenching.  I don’t remember him ever being this tense.  Volatile, yes - but never so agitated.  And never at a loss for words.

 

“I can’t do it,” he repeats, as if anything original escapes him for the moment.  His hand darts out quickly, and takes hold of my arm.  “Can you?”

 

“Let go.”  My voice sounds rather faint.  His palm is warm, and I can feel its sweatiness even through the cloth of my shirt.

 

Can you?” he urges me.  I don’t pull away.  “Look at me and tell me that’s what you want!  For a time to come when it’s all gone - when I don’t see you any more in my mind’s eye - when I don’t feel you around me all the fucking time!”

 

“It’s for the best,” I say, but it sounds more like an excuse than an explanation.  “We hurt each other - all the time.”

 

“Not all the time…” he whispers.  The flashes of memory seem to crackle with static from his fingers; Saturday shopping; Wednesday movies; laughing all times of the day and night.  His clothes folded over my arm; his plate clattering into the sink; his calls from another room, demanding my attention, my company.  His hand on my wrist; his smile against my neck; his whispered words in the middle of the night, always more vulnerable than in the bold light of day.

 

“Three months, we said.”  I cling to old, painful conversations like some kind of security blanket; like a comforting mantra.  “Trial separation.  To help us see clearly again.”

 

“But not to forget,” he says, sharply.  “I do see clearly now, Heero.  Believe me!  I know I wasn’t ready, before - I was careless of it all.  Of us.  I needed to grow up a little, I guess - I needed to appreciate what we had; what you were to me.”  He laughs, a little brokenly.  “But fuck, I doubt this time away from you is going to make that any clearer than the crystal it already is!” 

 

I stare at his anguished eyes; listen to the impassioned tone of his voice.  I can see an equivalent beggar, reflected in his pupils.  He’s speaking my words - describing my shame; my misery.  How obvious it all seems to me now!

 

“I was arrogant,” I say, almost too abruptly, so that he’s startled and his speech falters for a second.  “Don’t say any more.  We’re both to blame.  I didn’t listen; didn’t understand.  I wasn’t ready, either.  For it all - for you.”

 

His lips purse together.  His leg seems to relax, but his foot stays in the doorframe.  He rubs his nose quickly, like he does when he’s nervous.

 

We stare at each other for a moment, the rest of life around us completely ignored.

 

*

 

“Three months,” I say again, hearing the sterile, disheartening words echoing in my own head.  “It won’t be long.”

 

Heero – look, please -“

 

“But anyway, that’s longer than I want to wait,” I continue.   How the hell did I ever think otherwise?  “It seems I can’t do it either, Duo.”  His eyes widen suddenly, but I don’t let him speak yet.  I have things that need saying, and I’m tired of saying them to the silence in the apartment.  

 

“I have days when I don’t think that time will ever come - that my feelings will never change.  That I’ll never be able to pass a mirror without seeing your eyes reflected back at me - that I won’t ever be able to enjoy the rich taste of a meal without remembering you at the table opposite me - that I won’t ever be able to brush my hair without feeling your fingers running through it instead.  That I’ll never be able to touch another’s skin without remembering the imprint of yours on my fingers.”

 

He’s nodding, watching my eyes, my lips - he’s wary; he’s a little bemused; he’s hopeful.  His eyes are alert and calculating the truth of my expression, and maybe a little mischievous too.  He’s everything that Duo is, and always was; all the deepest and best things. 

 

“I don’t want that to be gone,” he almost whispers.  “I don’t want to move on.  Not without you.  I’ll do anything to put it right.”

 

I put a hand to his mouth and the soft dampness of his lips sends shivers through my fingertips.  “So will I.  I want that as much as you do.  Those days I described - they’re all days, Duo.  There will never come a time when I can be over you.  Because I don’t want to be.”

 

He’s moving forwards into the apartment - more like a stumble than a step.  He reaches for my hand and the slip of paper creases between our palms.  His eyes dart down in surprise.

 

“I’m days behind on the calendar,” I say, softly.  I feel a fool.  “I need to tear another few pages off to catch up -“

 

“Leave it,” he murmurs.  His head dips down, his breath brushing against my cheek.  “Let’s not rush the days away.”  He takes the paper from my hand and unwraps it.  And grins.  Remembrance rushes into me like warmth into a vacuum.

 

Home-keeping hearts are happiest,” he quotes.  “Now ain’t that a fact!”

 

End

 

 

 

***

Alison Moyet : It Won't Be Long

One of these days
I'm waiting on a day
When nobody comes to trample my meadow
Biding my time
There's gonna be a time
Might take a while
But changes are coming
And it wont be long
When everything you said
Won't sit around and pile up with the traffic in my head
And when I wake up
I wont see you on the bathroom floor
In the tangle of clothes we left lying there
It wont be long

One of these nights
With company I find
I wont be inclined to leave before sunrise
When my eyes, my mouth, my hands, my head
Don't tell me that nobody else will do

And it wont be long
When everything you said
Won't sit around and pile up with the traffic in my head
And when I wake up
I wont see you on the bedroom floor
In the tangle of rope we left lying there
It wont be long
It wont be long
'Till it's all gone

And it wont be long
When everything you said
Won't sit around and pile up with the traffic in my head
And when I wake up
I wont see you by the bedroom door
In the wallpaper stained by the cup that I threw at your head
It wont be long.