|Tell Me a Tale of Paranoia
Author: R. E. Winterayne PM
If you do that, I swear to you that I will leave." He didn't look up. "And if you do that, I'll drag you back here and kill you."Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Tragedy - Words: 3,904 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Published: 02-23-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2893844
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rated not for sexual themes, but because I felt that it was a little iffy for younger readers. Plus there's some violence and slightly abuse of the mental variety.
As a forewarning, they don't have names, but it's always from the same point of view, so "the other" is always the same person. But I think that there characters are different enough so that they can be easily told apart, but that just might be me.
Forgot to mention ... This is MxM. So if you don't like that leave me alone.
(Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water …
"It's over, isn't it? It's finally over and now we can each go back to our homes and be forgotten because the economy is going to take a down hill turn from here, aren't we?"
There was a responding laugh and an arm that encircled his shoulders. "You're such a pessimist, you know that?"
"Well, one of us has to be, don't you think?" he blew the hair out of his eyes, his hands numb from four long years of being curled around the cold metal of his gun.
"Maybe. But still, try to cheer up."
"I suppose you're right. This is after all, the war to end all wars, no?"
"Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her …" he trailed off, hands fisted in the sheets beneath him, breathing labored. "Nn … What was she eating again?" his shirt hung from one shoulder, leaving the gaping hole exposed to the cool air.
There was no response for a while, since the other was busy heating a pair of pliers over a fire. "Curds and whey." He sighed out after a while, an almost dreamy quality to his voice.
"R-right …" He exhaled as the burning metal touched the skin of his back, hissing in pain.
A fleeting kiss fell to the back of his neck, "Be brave now …"
"Why don't you wear blue anymore? It looks so nice on you." He grinned, "It clashes with your eyes."
"Because, love. We've been over this already."
"But you never give me a straight answer" he all but whined, sitting up, the bandage around his shoulder making the movement stiff.
"Because it's a primary colour."
"See? How am I supposed to understand that?"
"I'll rephrase it, then." The other paused, glancing up from the map in his lap to meet the eyes of the other. "Because it's pure."
"Hey … Will you marry me, when this is all over, I mean?"
"No. Why would you even think to bring up a ridiculous notion such as that?" Ivy-green eyes flashed darkly from behind russet bangs.
"Well, aren't you blunt."
"What do you expect me to say? We're in the middle of a war and one of us can be blasted to pieces by a wayward bomb pretty much at any time."
"So what's the problem with saying yes?"
"The problem is that the other is going to have to live with that afterwards."
"Remind me why I said yes, again, if you please?"
The other laughed and fingered the half wilted flower at the lapel of his warn uniform. "Why roses? Why not lilies or something less … boring?"
"Because. I like roses. Besides, lilies are what you throw at dead people when they're buried in those pretty lacquered coffins six feet under."
"But still … roses? You're so old fashioned."
"When you lived half as long as I have, you'll be like that, too." He paused. "Just be thankful it isn't a striped carnation or something like that."
"I'm close enough to that, don't you think? Give or take a decade or two." A pause, a sigh and a grin, "'Sides, you never said yes, remember? You merely shook my hand and told me that it might be for the best."
"Ah. That's right. Well, I stand by what I said." A wry grin was given in return.
The other laughed and grinned. "Sorry, the bride doesn't have a bouquet." He said, bordering on mocking, but mostly joking, his eyes guarded and slightly uneasy.
"I'm not your bride." the other sighed, "If I were your bride I'd be donned in a dress made from some dead soldier's parachute and bright lipstick so that I may stain your victory kiss with it."
"Well, this fits. I mean, here we are, lacking witnesses beneath a broken archway."
"We never were good at these romantic things were we?" tone dry, he heaved a sigh through his lips and grinned wryly at the other. "All the better, I suppose; I never liked large gatherings. Let's get this over and done with now, hm? I have a horribly stiff shoulder today."
"Hey. I see things in the window …"
"Go to sleep." The other hissed, keeping his eyes determinedly shut. The 'wedding' ring around his finger was too tight and it cut painfully into his skin, staining the sheets a gentle rust colour.
"But I see things in the window." He repeated, his voice shaky and full of the paranoia that's been building up in his chest ever since that day beneath the broken archway, which was only one year past.
"Then go sleep somewhere else and stop bothering me with your nonsense because I want to sleep." He turned further onto his side, presenting the other with his back.
There was silence broken by some shuffling and he had only just sighed and settled back under the covers when the light clicked on. Cursing and swearing and hissing under his breath, he retreated under the covers, but not soon enough to miss the sound of breaking glass.
"What the Hell do you think you're doing?" he hissed.
The other looked up from his scrutinizing of the shard of glass in his fingers, decorated with patterns of the light overhead.. "I told you. I see things in the window."
"I don't care if there's a faceless bogeyman looming over you, turn off the light and go to sleep!"
"It wasn't a headless horseman." The other bit out.
"Whatever it was, ignore it and go to sleep."
"It was you with someone else." The other exhaled in his ear, leaning over him , hand holding his bicep tightly, not letting him move. "Do you want me to ignore that?"
"Let me go and go to sleep."
"Is this some kind of premonition, you think? That you'll leave me and I'll find you with someone else one day?"
"It is close to being just that if you don't let me go this instant and go to sleep."
"I love you, you know that?" it was slightly unhinged, like the grin on his lips, coloured thoroughly with desperation.
There was movement on the bed next to him, followed by the shuffling of footsteps. Finally, maybe now I can actually get a good night's rest …
The thought was short lived as the light clicked on and he was rolled onto his back, knees pressing his biceps into the mattress.
"Wha--? What the Hell is wrong with you? Get off of me!" Hands trailed down his chest, over the fabric of his night shirt.
"Hold still." His voice was cold, frighteningly so. "Please. Don't be scared of me."
His shirt was stripped from him and he quit his struggling immediately as the point of a knife barely touched the stretch of skin right under his collar bone. It was gentle. So gentle …
It moved around, his eyes following its every motion before landing somewhere to the left, where he couldn't see it anymore. He wasn't scared, his heart wasn't hammering in his chest, blood wasn't rushing in his ears and his hands weren't clenching in the sheets, his breathing wasn't racing and his head wasn't spinning.
No he wasn't as scared as the other was, with his trembling hands and his petrified expression.
He didn't allow himself to move as the tip cut through his flesh, spelling out crude letters into the tender skin, smudged by the blood that poured from the cuts.
"W-why …" he breathed out when the other was done and had sat back to examine his work, trembling slightly from the pain and the other's weight that settled upon his hips, "Now I'm covered in red …"
"But red suits you, love. It matches the paleness of your skin."
"Shut up and clean this mess up. Tomorrow you're doing the laundry."
Tell me … Tell me why you're like this …
There was silence as the cut was doused in alcohol and dressed and bandaged. His chest felt tight and it was hard to breathe.
"I'm sorry. I love you. But I feel like I have to remind you that you're mine …"
He glanced down at the bandages around his chest. Already, the letters MINE were beginning to appear on the white in a faded red.
"Do you forgive me?" his tone was hopeful.
"I wasn't mad to begin with, but I guess, sure." He sighed and patted the other on the cheek. "Let me go to sleep now, love, okay?"
The other nodded, wrapped him in his arms and pressed his nose to the his hair.
Why won't you tell me?
The wedding ring had cut into his finger again …
"That's a lot of red."
"Yeah. That tends to happen when you carve words into someone's chest." The other answers blandly.
"I thought you didn't like wearing red."
The other grinned at him, his upper lip pulled back in almost a sneer, "I don't. I'm pretty ticked with you for making me wear so much red."
"You sure toss that one around a lot. Noticed that?"
There was a laugh, but it was lacking all humor. "Yeah, I know. But you always forgive me, don't you?"
"Shame on me for that, indeed." He turned back to the open closet before him trying to find a shirt that wouldn't press down on his chest.
The other got up from his spot on the bed, and pulled out one of his shirts. Old and worn and soft and smelling slightly of rain and the outdoors. He slipped it over the other's head and put him back on the bed.
"Stay here, okay? I'm leaving to go get groceries, so please don't leave this room, okay? So that I can be sure that you're safe."
He didn't wait for a response, he just shut the door. There was the scratching of a key in the lock and the fading footsteps of the other as he left him there.
"Might as well catch up on some reading." He sighed, settling beneath the covers, propping his pillow behind his back.
Pulling out a book, he glanced at the title, Macbeth stared back at him in bold lettering from the cover. He grinned to himself. A tale of guilt and paranoia. How fitting.
He got through at least half of the play when the door unlocked and opened, revealing the other's tall frame. His glasses were askew and his golden hair was slightly disheveled, but he was grinning, carrying a cup of steaming tea towards him, and putting it just out of arms reach.
"I'm back. Did you miss me, love?"
"No, not really. It's quiet here when you're gone and it's nice to actually get to read in peace once in a while." He sighed and his chest smarted.
"You seem to have calmed a little."
"For the record, I haven't been anything but calm all day. And I'm still mad at you. Making me wear so much red."
"But, love, you're pure. So why can't you wear red?"
"Do not kid yourself. After this, there is no way I can be called pure." He buried his face in the collar of his shirt as the other disappeared again, locking the door behind him.
When will you come back to me …
"What year is it now?"
He looked up from his book, eyeing the figure on the floor before him. "1943." He answered simply.
"How long has it been now?"
"Four years." The other said, knowing perfectly well what the other meant by that, but not wishing to answer him properly.
"That isn't what I meant." The other hummed pleasantly.
"So why aren't you answering properly?"
"Because, love. If you don't remember it's your fault." He grinned dryly. "For the record, it's Twenty six years next month."
"Seriously? Twenty six?"
Yes. Twenty six years since that day beneath the broken archway.
"Yes. Twenty six. And yet, I still sit here wondering why I even ever agreed to this.
"Because you love me, of course." Far from confident, his tone was questioning, his gaze darting from the other's chest to his eyes.
The other merely hummed in response.
"Do you sometimes wish you could fight in the war like them?"
"No, never. At least not now. Look how much fighting changed over time. I mean, back when it was bows and arrows and swords and spears, it was at least partly fun."
"Fun? You call stabbing people like that fun?"
"In relation to something as Hellish as this, yes. In comparison it looks kind of like a children's tea party, don't you think?"
"No, not really."
"Well, love, you always were a bit slow when it came to things like this."
Fingers danced across the old, fading scars on his chest.
"It's over now, isn't it?" the other asked from the floor from where he had been cleaning his gun.
"You asked me that back in 1945. Yes, you daft fool, it's over now. It's 1956."
"So now I don't have to worry about you being blown to pieces by those bombs, do I? I can stop worrying so much about you …"
Yes, please …
"Yes. I think that would be for the best." He sighed, "When did you get carried away in this paranoia of yours, anyway?"
"Since that day. Because you never said yes officially, and it wasn't an official wedding and no one was there to see it."
"So you thought that the Germans would bomb me because of that?"
"Well, yeah. I mean, doesn't the Almighty punish those who go against him like this? I mean, we didn't even have a cross."
"You're comparing the Germans to the Almighty now?"
There was no response. Only the gentle humming as the other continued to clean his sword, bringing the barrel to his lips from time to time and smiling contentedly around the kiss.
"That's absolutely disgusting, you know."
"What? Jealous now?" the other smirked at him, running his tongue along where his lips had just been, winking at the other.
"Hardly. I just wish you'd take your loving displays with inanimate objects elsewhere when I'm reading."
"But it deserves love. It saved both of us on several occasions, didn't it?" that desperate, unhinged quality was back in his voice, but it was mellowed out by something that seemed … warm, almost loving.
Grunting in annoyance, the other closed his book with a snap and got up off the couch where he had been sitting. He was getting sick watching the other shower love and affections so tender on that object when he hadn't shown it to him once in all these thirty eight years.
There were sudden, hurried footsteps behind him and he half expected to feel the gun pressing firmly between his shoulder blades.
But the other's hands were empty as they wrapped tightly around his waist, pulling him back into a chest that was so much broader than his own.
"I'm so glad you're safe …"
"Safe from what?" he wanted to ask, but by the time that he was finally able to turn around the other was gone, disappearing down the hallway.
He looked down and noticed that his finger was bleeding again.
"Can He punish us, do you think?"
"No. I don't think He can. We gave up life with him, didn't we? We descended here willingly and became one of those things caught between the two races."
"Yeah. I guess."
"Still scared he'll steal me away from you?" He turned and was met with a grin so thick with subdued apology and appreciation that it almost made his breath hitch in his throat.
I'm glad you're starting to come back to me …
"Don't worry about it, love. I'm not that desirable anymore that He'd want me back that badly." Fingers trailed up his bare back, pressing against the scars where his wings had been so long ago, making him shiver unconsciously.
" I don't know what you're talking about. You're as beautiful as that day I met you after WWI."
"It's the first world war. At the very least world war one. Not WWI." He paused, "the first and only war that I fought in since becoming like this…"
A single kiss fell upon the side of his throat.
Even when he knew the other was waiting for him downstairs, so that they may go on their 'date' in order to try to get something back into their marriage.
He looked at himself in the mirror, dressed in a pale royal blue, boots pulled snugly half way up his calves.
"You look lovely. I told you blue looked good on you." The other told him as he came down the stairs.
"Hm. I suppose. But if I get any blood on this old uniform, then I do think that it would look positively dreadful and I would have to burn it."
"Well, love, shall we go?"
The other grabbed tightly onto his hand, smiling down at him. "Yes, let's go to war."
More scars to add to the already fading collection.
He was splayed out against the other's chest, perched upon his lap for the first time in the four and a half decades that they had been married.
"Remember that night, back in 1940?"
"How could I forget? It stares at me every time I take off my shirt, doesn't it?"
"I think I need to fix it though. The letters are fading."
"If you do that, I swear to you that I will leave." He didn't want to look up because if he moved he might be put down somewhere so the other could leave.
"You wouldn't do that." The tone again, was lacking confidence. "And if you do that, I'll drag you back here and kill you."
He didn't even bat an eyelash at the threat in the other's voice. "If you do that, I'd be wearing an awful lot of red, love. You know I don't like wearing red."
"Oh, don't worry. I'll clean you up real nice afterwards."
Laying down on the grass outside, he noticed that the other had calmed down considerably now that there had been a time of relative peace.
"Why do you associate war with me being taken away?" he voiced out, staring up at the sky.
"Because. War is a time of death and destruction. What better time than that." The other hummed in response.
"I suppose you have a point there." He sighed. "Let's go inside. I need a cup of tea."
"You're such an old man, you know that?"
"Oh do quiet down, love." He sighed, twisting to look at his back. "Is my back covered in dirt?"
The other glanced at it shortly before nodding. "Yeah. Lots of it. Here, I'll clean it for you." His hand came down on his back in roughly gentle beats, brushing away all that clung to the fabric of his jacket. "There. All clean."
"Is that sarcasm I hear?"
"Oh, you're getting smarter by the day aren't you?"
Cup of tea in hand, he sat on the couch, pressed to the other's side as he felt his breathing against his own.
"Are you back to normal now, love?"
"Hm? Why are you asking me that now? I'm perfectly fine, I've always been fine."
"Right … Sorry, I suppose."
The other just hummed gently under his breath in contentedness.
He heard humming coming from the study, his study, full of maps and charts and documents and looked in.
The other was there, staring at on old photo of them, all black and white and grainy.
The humming ceased as he turned to look at him, grinning broadly, genuinely. "Remember this?"
He stepped forward and examined the picture. It was them, before the broken archway that was never fixed.
"Yeah. That was after you made that pretty carving in my chest. I have little idea as to why you'd drag me all the way there to get my picture taken when my chest was sliced open."
"Because I love you."
"You toss that one around almost as much as you do 'I'm sorry.'"
"… Always. You've always stayed by me, no matter what I did. Thank you. But … why?"
He hummed as the other traced the scars once more.
"I thought you already knew the answer to that?"
"Because you love me?" no response. "I love you."
… Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.)
I don't understand most of it myself ... But I wrote this for the sake of characterizing some random characters. I'll just take some time to explain some of the imagery and symbols and whatnot that some people might not get.
War to End All Wars - They met sometime in 1917, when world war one was over. For those who don't know, world war one was also called The War to End All Wars.
Red is pure - red is a primary colour, and cannot be mixed, for those who didn't get my symbolism there.
Striped Carnation - if you aren't fluent in floriography, the striped carnation means "Sorry, I can't be with you." So he's pretty much saying that he should be thankful he wasn't flat out rejected.
"This is a brand new war ..." - If you didn't understand, that's world war two.
Macbeth - A play by William Shakespeare
Four years - When asked how long it was, he stated that it was four years since the beginning of the war in 1939.
Twenty six years - Twenty six years since they met in 1918, which is what was originally asked.
"Let's go to war." - The Vietnam wars, started in 1954 (I think) and ended in 1975 (I think) so I added it because it was conveniently within the time frame.
Thanks for taking the time to read, please drop off a review if you can.