Author: Valylene PM
Dill was just a little over-the-top when it came to being a spazz. Between being a multimillionaire and figuring out the secrets of a gorgon-in-denial, who knew that trying to start a relationship with said gorgon was such exhausting work?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 9,102 - Published: 02-13-12 - Status: Complete - id: 2996741
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Of Gorgons and Mice
(Disclaimers apply where necessary—Doctor Who, most prevalently.)
"Marcy is a Gorgon."
Dill liked to think he was a realist. In reality, he was a fantasy-loving geek who had an overactive imagination.
"That's a bit harsh, don't you think?" Guy asked, uninterested.
"No, not really."
"Hm. What makes you think that?"
"There were snakes," Dill hissed conspiratorially, eyes darting around the room manically, "Coming out of his head! And he was eating a mouse!"
"That's it?" Guy intoned, returning his eyes to the screen in front of him disinterestedly.
"No!" Dill squeaked. "I saw him turn someone into stone!"
"They're dreadlocks, Dill. He's from a different culture. They eat different things than we do. Besides, it just looked like a mouse. Who knows what it really could have been."
"But the statue, Guy! I saw him turn that guy into a statue with his freaky snake hair!"
"Dill, he's the prop manager for the drama theatre. He was probably just carrying a decoration for the set."
"No, Guy! I'm telling you!" Dill enthused exasperatedly. "Marcy is a Gorgon!"
"No, I'm telling you: he's a normal guy with a normal job and a normal life. He's a regular human, Dill. Like you and me. Not a Gorgon."
"Yeah, well, that's what he wants you to think." Dill said moodily, plucking at Guy's sleeve.
"... Go away, Dill."
Dill was sitting on the street curb outside a café that he liked to frequent often.
It was really just a coincidence that Marcy happened to be in the area with several hours to spare when he happened across Dill. He hadn't called Guy, a vague (very) acquaintance, to find out where Dill might have been.
"What are you doing?" Marcy asked, sitting down and startling half of the life out of Dill.
"Waiting," was the edgy, high-pitched reply.
Marcy smiled and couldn't help thinking how cute Dill was when he was half scared out of his wits. He inched closer.
"The Doctor," he said, shifting uncomfortably.
"Oh." Marcy said. Several seconds passed, wherein Marcy would shift and Dill would move away in what he probably thought was a discreet manner. Discreet for Dill was outright for normal people. Marcy had to bite his tongue to keep his laughter inside. "You know," he said surreptitiously, "you're not very discreet, moving away from me like that."
"I'm not moving anywhere!" Dill said expressly, crossing his arms moodily. Everybody was ganging up on him these days. It wasn't fair.
"Oh. Okay. Then what's your problem?"
"Do I have to have a problem?" he asked snootily.
Marcy smiled fondly.
"No, but not even people with seizures twitch that much."
"... Are you calling me retarded?" Dill asked, narrowing his eyes at Marcy.
That took Marcy by surprise. He spluttered, feeling like choking on his own tongue would be less painful than the verbal flailing he was experiencing.
"What? No! Why would I—jeeze, Dill. Why would I say that?"
Dill shifted nervously, wondering if being sassy would get him turned him into a stone statue faster.
Dill counted the seconds. Marcy did nothing.
Then, "Why are we waiting for the doctor?"
Dill's face screwed up like he had tasted something disgusting. Or maybe lemon. He had never liked lemon.
"Not the doctor," he groused snappily, "The Doctor. As in capitals. Singular—one man: the man. Significant. Very capital. You have to say it right."
"Right," said Marcy, sounding like he didn't understand at all. "So, why are you waiting for this guy?"
Dill sighed. Why was it that no one understood the wonders of British television? Or sci-fi. Or fiction.
"He usually shows up when the world's in danger."
"So... the world's in danger?" Marcy asked, sounding even more confused.
"Yeah," Dill said moodily.
"Oh, really?" Not a question. "What from?"
"You!" He snarked half sarcastically. Only half, because he was kind of half-serious.
The Doctor would descend, lop off Marcy's head with his sonic screwdriver, thus saving Earth, and abduct a very willing Dill off to some red, powder planet that used pillows as a proper code of conduct for everything. They would also wear garbage bags for clothing and wear Kleenex boxes for slippers. The pillows were the important bit.
If Dill's fantasy was a little far-fetched, even for him, Dill didn't reflect on it. It made sense somewhere. It was just... a little extreme. That was all.
Marcy spluttered. "M-me? What did I do to put the world into a state of needing to be saved?"
Dill shifted so he could better affront Marcy.
"I know your secret!" he blurted without really meaning to. "You can't hide it anymore, and because I know, you're going to have to kill me. But I won't let that happen. I'll make sure you don't take over the world!"
Marcy coughed, sounding very much like he was hiding laughter.
"I thought I was just endangering it."
"Yes... well, also taking it over!"
"Ah. Of course. What villain leaves endangering the world when he can also take it over?"
"Right. That's what I thought."
"So, what's my secret, then?"
"You said I had a secret."
"I knew it." Dill crowed triumphantly, eyes shining like he had just received the Nobel Peace Prize. (Not that Dill would care if he did. He'd probably just use it as a dipping sauce dish or something unrespectful like that anyway. But it was the sentiment that counted, right?)
"Knew what?" Marcy asked, amused.
"Knew you did have a secret!"
"So... what is it?"
"Why should I tell you?" Dill asked, pursing his lips skeptically.
"Because I want to know if it's the right secret."
"Oh." That made sense. "You're a bloodthirsty Gorgon who wants to take over the world!"
"What? Because of my hair?"
"I'm right, aren't I?"
"Of course I am. I'm Dilton! I'm always right!"
Marcy smiled. "Sure."
Dill wondered why he wasn't a stone yet.
Self-preservation kept him from asking.
"D'yah think The Doctor will come any time soon?" Marcy asked, folding his elbows over his knees. Dill felt that Marcy was overdoing The Doctor's name, but didn't bother mentioning it. Only a realist would know how much emphasis to put on the name to make it sound just right.
Marcy still had a long way to go. It was a long, arduous project.
Dill frowned. "No, probably not. He's a very busy man, you know."
"I know." Marcy replied, smiling, even though he didn't know. "Always saving worlds."
"Hm. So, since The Doctor won't show up—"
"He will show up," Dill insisted.
"But not for a while, right?"
Tight-lipped, Dill nodded slowly. "Maybe."
"Right." Marcy agreed amicably, "So, since the Doctor won't show up for a while, do you want to go get dinner?"
"With me." Marcy affirmed.
Dill thought. "Yeah, why not. But I know your secret, so you'd better not try any funny business."
"Right. You know one of my secrets. And with such an astute protector of humanity, I wouldn't dare," Marcy joked. "What do you feel like? Italian? Indian? Chinese?"
"What?" Dill screeched. People stopped to stare at Dill. He paid them no mind. "You have another secret?"
"I'm not allowed to?" Marcy asked, staring at Dill like he was crazy.
"Well, no, you are, but... well—are you sure it's a secret?"
Marcy laughed. Dill felt offended.
"It wouldn't be much of a secret if I told you, would it?" Marcy teased. Dill blushed. "So, what do you feel like?"
"That's sort of like cheating," Dill mumbled. Then louder he said, "I feel like I don't like you."
"That's nice. What do you want to eat?"
Dill sulked. "Oreos."
"You can't have Oreos for dinner."
"Yes, I can. You can't tell me what to do, Marcy," Dill said petulantly. He felt he needed some kind of control over his life. Especially since both Guy and Marcy seemed to be taking all of it from him.
"Fine, fine. Let's get actual food first. How does Thai sound?"
"Yes, Dill. I'll get you Oreos after." Marcy said, exasperated but smiling.
Dill stopped trying to inch away.
"So, how did it go?" Guy asked.
"How did what go?" Dill countered, half way to the fridge. They were in Guy's apartment, but since Dill was practically Guy's other half, he considered it his own. Mi casa et su casa or something like that.
"... Yesterday what?" He asked distractedly, pulling the milk carton out of the fridge.
Guy groaned. "Put that back. At least don't drink straight out of it! Don't you have your own home?"
"Well, ch'yeah," Dill said stubbornly, drinking from the carton anyway. "But, y'know, yours is so much better than mine."
"You live in a penthouse on the forty-third floor of a hotel." Guy said, deadpan.
"'Eh, so maybe not. But your milk is still better than mine."
"The hotel that you own." Again with the deadpan.
"Are you saying I can't drink your milk? 'Cause that's discrimination. Just 'cause I make more money than you—"
"You have a house in Switzerland, Dill. Switzerland. You don't even speak Swiss!"
"So I'm richer than you," Dill shrugged, kicking the fridge door shut.
"I don't even know why I try with you," he mumbled to himself. Dill found the statement hurtful but didn't comment. Guy was kind of like that. Hurtful.
"Dill," Guy said exasperatedly. "Just answer the question."
"What? How the Hell am I supposed to know what you mean if you don't say what you mean in a complete sentence?"
Guy ground his teeth together and sighed.
"How did yesterday go?"
"You don't know what I'm talking about, do you?"
"No, not really."
"What was yesterday, Dill?"
"God dammit!" Guy shouted. Dill jumped.
"How did yesterday with Marcelle go?"
"Oh. Good. He admitted he was a Gorgon."
Dill was triumphant. Guy was unimpressed. And ready to strangle him.
"How was your date?" He tried again.
"What are you talking about, Guy? I didn't go on a date."
"You had dinner with Marcelle, right?"
Dill nodded cluelessly. "He paid for me and bought me Oreos!"
"Ugh. I give up."
"Don't give up. Giving up is bad. You can do it, Guy," Dill cheered sarcastically, swinging an arm around Guy's shoulders and ruffling his hair.
"Shut up. And get off." Once he was off, the interrogation continued. "How was being with Marcelle?"
"It was alright." Dill wrinkled his nose. "He said he had another secret. Besides being a Gorgon. What do you think it could be? Another super power?"
Guy smirked. "I dunno. Maybe."
"You liar!" Dill groused huffily. "You do know!"
"Yeah, I do."
"Because I don't want to."
"That's not fair, Guy!"
"Yes, it is."
"Ugh. Is it a good secret at least?"
"Yeah, sure. But I don't get why it's a secret."
"What? Is it another super power?"
"Mmm," Guy sucked on his teeth, losing interest in the conversation, going back to his writing. "In a way."
"What does that mean?"
"What do you mean?"
"You are no help!"
"I know." Guy was amused.
"Can't you just tell me?"
"Why not?" Dill whined.
"Because." Guy answered.
"That's so unfair!
"Why don't you just go ask Marcelle?"
"I did," Dill sulked. "He wouldn't tell me."
"I hate you."
"No, you don't," Guy said.
Dill left in a huff.
"I don't know why he likes you," Guy muttered, watching his friend's retreating back. Then he lost himself to his writing and didn't think of Dill or Marcelle for a very long time.
"Guy won't tell me."
Dill dropped down next to Marcy unenthusiastically. He couldn't believe he had just sought Marcy out of his own free will.
"Won't tell you what?" Marcy asked, distracted.
"Your secret." Dill pouted.
"Oh." Marcy replied.
Dill frowned, wondering why Marcy wasn't paying attention to him. He'd specifically sought him out so that he could complain to him. The least the man could do was listen to Dill complain about him.
He leaned over the man's shoulder, wondering what he was so focused on. Too focused on if he couldn't even pay attention to Dill.
Marcy was painting detailed lines into a Roman-looking pillar. Of course, Dill wouldn't have been able to tell a Roman pillar from a Grecian pillar, but this one, he thought, looked particularly Roman.
He watched Marcy for a couple of minutes, and then remembered why he was upset with Marcy.
"You're ignoring me."
"I don't like it."
Dill swallowed. "I love you."
"Pay attention to me," he whined.
"No, you weren't.
Marcy frowned. "I was."
"Fine," Dill said snootily, crossing his arms and sticking his nose in the air as far as it would go. "What was I saying?"
"Ehh, something about seeing a doctor, right?"
"The Doctor," Dill corrected.
"–and Guy Fawkes."
Marcy looked up. "Hey, I was listening."
Dill stared, unimpressed. "I didn't say anything like that."
"What?" Marcy said. "Usually that's all you talk about."
"So, then. Do you usually not pay attention to me when I talk?"
"No, I do."
"You just said that I talk about gorgonzola and Guy Fawkes every time I open my mouth."
"Did I say that?"
"You just did." Dill ground out.
"Not the gorgonzola," Marcy pointed out.
Dill raised a sardonic eyebrow.
Marcy had the inclination to at least look ashamed before he returned to his painting. All the lines looked the same.
"Look, I didn't mean it, okay? You usually talk about, I dunno, your Guy friend and me being a gorgon or something."
Dill fumed silently. All he wanted was someone to listen to him without being a bastard or ignoring him.
"Yeah, sure." He bit out angrily. "Or something."
Dill stormed away as Marcy called out after him.
He was long gone before Marcy had the idea to go after him.
Dill found Guy exactly where he had left him four hours earlier: in his study with his laptop lying precariously on his outstretched legs, a pen dangling behind his ear and a messy notepad on the arm of the chair he sat on.
"He's ignoring me." He said.
Guy didn't look up. It was several seconds before he replied.
Dill took two seconds out of his anger to ponder whether it was healthy to only have two friends who, in consecutive order, annoyed and frightened him to death. That he went back and forth between them like a Ping-Pong ball whenever one set him off (which, he admitted, was quite often) was probably more worrying. He promptly ignored the notion.
The constant clatter of fingers on the keyboard didn't stop or slow as Dill took a seat.
"Gorgon boy. Marcelle."
That angered Dill. Why was it that nobody cared about poor, old Dill these days?
"'Oh.' Is that all you have to say?" He snapped at his best friend, crossing his arms angrily on his chest.
Guy looked up briefly, closing one eye to look at him levelly above wide-rimmed glasses.
"You're such a bastard," Dill complained half-heartedly, sinking down in his chair.
Guy had the best chairs ever.
"I know." Guy said, and went back to his furious typing.
Dill watched him for a few moments before he sighed loudly, burrowing into his chair and brooding.
"It's not like I'm asking him to pay attention to me all the time—only some of the time."
"Whenever you're around." Guy interjected.
Dill nodded. "Exactly. Whenever I'm around. Is that too much to ask? It's not like I purposefully seek him out every day." Well, that wasn't true, because he had definitely sought Marcy out for a reason today. He disregarded this fact. "Paying attention to me isn't that hard. It's not like I actually say meaningful stuff."
Guy stopped typing for a second. "So you admit it?"
"That you don't say anything important."
"I didn't say that," Dill huffed, squaring his friend with a narrow-eyed look. "Are you even paying attention to me?"
"No, not really."
Dill groaned, frustrated, point proven.
"I don't want to be his friend..." he shivered at the thought.
"You just want him to pay attention to you."
"Right," Dill agreed, nodding. He didn't see Guy's exasperated look.
Guy rolled his eyes and sighed. "What are you going to do about it?"
"Oh. Uhh... I dunno. I was kind of thinking about avoiding him for the rest of my life."
Guy hummed, going back to his screen.
The keys clattered noisily again, filling the room with sound.
"Unless he turns you."
"Turns you. Into stone."
Dill stared. "What're you talking about, Guy?"
"Weren't you the one obsessed with the idea that snake-boy was a Gorgon?"
"Oh, that? That was forever ago, Guy."
Guy sighed and refused to comment further.
Dill was hiding in the kitchen when Marcy found him.
"Hey," he said awkwardly, sliding onto the stool next to Dill.
Five days had passed and Dill was still adamant on ignoring Marcy.
"Look, I'm sorry, all right?"
Dill said nothing. He stared hard at his baloney-and-cucumber sandwich.
"I didn't mean to ignore you, okay? We were behind on the props. I only had one more to do before I was done for the day."
"So you'd rather get off work than talk to me." Dill ground out bitterly. So much for his vow of silence he thought, stabbing the mustardy knife into the middle of his sandwich and wishing it was his head. Or Marcy's.
"No, of course not!"
"Then what?" Dill cried, turning so that he faced Marcy. Their knees knocked as he spun on the stool, nearly throwing him off balance. He righted himself self-consciously, gripping the countertop so tightly his knuckles turned white.
"I wanted to get off work so I could talk to you! Without distractions."
The hardened part of Dill softened somewhat and he relaxed unwittingly. Then he remembered that he was angry with Marcy, and dammit, he wasn't allowed to not be angry with the man!
"Then why couldn't you have just talked to me then?"
"Because I was busy! It was stupid, okay? I'm sorry."
Hysteria overtook Dill. The last thing he had expected—had wanted, because, God, it made absolutely no sense for Marcy to apologize to him—was an apology. He felt like a yoyo: flung back and forth between two extremes so quickly that he couldn't keep his head straight. Maybe he was going crazy. Maybe he was crazy.
"God! What do you want from me?" He cried, slamming his hands down on the table.
"I don't know!" Marcy growled, looking just as frustrated as Dill felt. "You're the one making me doubt myself! I don't even know what I want from myself and then adding you into the mix is just—just—"
"Go on!" Dill interrupted loudly. "Say it! Say you hate me, that I'm horrible, that I ruined your life! You know you want to, it's all you've thought about since you met me!"
It was all anyone thought about Dill ever. Even Guy did sometimes.
Dill could see the exact moment that Marcy lost it. Marcy sprung off of his stool, fire burning in his eyes, a scowl moulding his face into an ugly array of sharp lines.
"Maybe you did, and maybe I have! You have no idea what I've put up with—trying to be your friend trying to be mo—" Marcy cut himself off and the kitchen was silent. Marcy wouldn't even look at Dill now.
Dill paled, knuckles white and spasming around the bar's metal railing as he strove for balance. It felt like he was going to faint. Or throw up. Or fall off his stool. Maybe all three. He hoped not at the same time.
"Why are you even here, then? If all I do is ruin your life? Why did you even come in the first place?"
"You know, I'm starting to wonder that myself," Marcy spat.
That hit home. It was one thing for Dill to know it about himself, but for someone else to recognize it in him was painful.
"You asshole!" He seethed.
"Hey," Marcy sneered. Dill noted that his accent got thicker when he was angry. The angrier Dill made him, the harder it was to understand him. "Do not start insulting me now! I am not the one who ruined my life or hurt others deliberately or—"
Dill slapped Marcy.
It was quick. Over in less than a second. The snap of skin igniting upon skin rang like a gong in the silence that followed.
The sound didn't register to Dill. The only thing he could think about, could remember, was the sting on his palm, the only evidence that he had just slapped Marcy.
Dill stared at his hand in shock. He had never hit someone before. Had sworn he would never hit anyone, no matter how mad they made him. He was just like his mother. He was becoming his mother.
"O-oh m-m," he couldn't even get the words out. He started shaking, fear consuming him, resentment curling in his gut as he pulled his eyes away—reluctantly, like there were weights attached to his eyeballs, gluing them to his palm—from his hand, up, up, up Marcy's body and, finally, to his face.
A red blotch had started to consume the tanned skin. Ugly, welting, massive.
"G-G-God. I'm sor–I'm so sorry!" He gushed at once, falling off his stool awkwardly as he tried to scramble down to Marcy's side. He took Marcy's chin in one hand, inspecting the cheek for damage. "I–I'm so sorry, I–I don't–I didn't mean to–it-it was—"
Marcy cut him off, slapping Dill away and pulling his face out of Dill's hold.
"I think I should leave." Marcy said, voice barely more than a whisper but rock hard.
It all seemed so surreal, Dill thought, shaking his head slightly. "No. No, let me get ice, a doctor, morphine, something."
Marcy's eyes were hard—flat—as he stared at Dill. Cold panic slipped through his organs, settling in his stomach.
"No. I need to leave."
Dill stared like a spectator in an out-of-body experience as Marcy left the kitchen. A few seconds later he heard the front door close and footsteps walking down the porch.
Dill slumped to the floor, boneless.
God, what had he done?
Guy found him later.
Dill was curled up in a tiny ball beside the laundry hamper. He would have balled up inside the basket if he'd been able to fit. He'd tried. It hadn't worked. He'd curled up beside it.
Guy only had the misfortune of seeing his long-time friend like this once. They had been twelve. Dill had called Guy's first ever cellphone. When Guy had picked up, Dill hadn't said anything.
Guy could remember the sound of the drier buzzing in the background, the metallic clang of zippers and buttons hitting the walls of the drier as they spun to completion. Just the sound of Dill's soft, uneven breaths on the line.
It had scared the crap out of Guy. He hadn't hung up as he had run the entire mile to Dill's house, had let himself in and found Dill in the laundry room.
Dill had once said that the sounds and the smells relaxed him. Kind of comforting.
(Guy didn't get it at all.)
He had said that Dill was like a large, creepy armadillo he wanted to call the wild animal control about when he had found Dill like that; all pathetic and mopey in a ball in the laundry room.
Guy had thought that Dill had grown out of his need for inanimate comfort.
He shut his cellphone belatedly, the click of the lid sliding closed eerily loud in the room. He started the drier quietly and pried the cellphone out of Dill's limp fingers, closing it, too.
Guy sat. Cross-legged, he leaned against the drier and stared at Dill.
"You're ostentatious, you know."
"The worst." Dill agreed.
"This is why you don't have any friends."
Dill squeezed his legs and closed his eyes. "I know."
Guy thumped his head back on the drier. The sound resonated around the small room like a bell.
"You're not your mother."
Dill said nothing.
"It wasn't your fault," Guy tried again.
Dill's eyes snapped open, the hatred in his eyes so bright that it startled Guy.
"That's not true. It is my fault. It's always my fault! It's the same with you, too!" All the fire that had been in Dill seemed to leave and he deflated like a balloon. "You hate me."
"I don't hate you," Guy said calmly.
"Yes, you do! Admit it! You never liked me. Not since the day we met! You despised me!"
"Don't." Guy said, voice steely. "Don't you ever say that, Dill. I've been your friend for twenty years now. Don't you dare underestimate that."
"Twenty years of acting." Dill said, smiling so bitterly that it almost hurt Guy to see it.
"You never liked me. You just kept me around because she paid you. How much is it? Twenty grand a month? Thirty?"
"It's not going to work, Dill. I'm not going to fight you."
"Forty? Was it forty?"
"Dill! Your mother is not paying me to be your friend!"
She had tried. It had been fifty thousand. Guy had been sixteen, and had declined the offer. Dill's friendship meant more to him than that. He hated that woman. Didn't understand how she could mess her own kid up so bad.
Dill didn't know; didn't need to know.
"What is it, then—that keeps you around?" Dill sneered. "Being able to say that you actually know Dilton Dalonsey?"
"Fuck," Marcy swore, running a hand through his hair. "You're right. You're so fucking right, Dill. Of course I would only be your friend so that I could use your name. D'you think I'd want to be independent or work for my own goddamn living? Shit, man. It's not like I want to—"
"Shut up," Dill said angrily. "Shut the fuck up, Guy. You're not like that. You're not fucking like that."
Guy shut up, revelling in his small victory.
They spent a long time in the dryer room. Eventually the cycle came to an end and the dryer shut itself off with a loud, alarming buzz. Outside, the sky had turned orange.
"You like him, don't you?" Guy asked after a long time.
Surprise hit Dill like a mallet to the forehead.
He hadn't considered the possibility that he might actually like Marcy before. Of course he didn't like Marcy! He was just one of Dill's passing fancies; a mystery Dill couldn't keep his hands out of long enough to let slip by. But even after he'd figured out Marcy—or at least, the part that he actually cared to find out about—he'd let him go. At least, that's what he thought. But then... why had he gotten so emotional?
He'd gone looking for him, even.
There was something about Marcy. Something different about him that made Dill set his hooks into the guy like a fisherman gutted a fish: with relish.
"Oh, God. You're thinking cliché thoughts, aren't you?" Guy cut into his thoughts, disgust dripping from his voice.
Dill ignored him.
Guy continued on, anyway, always the trooper. "I've created a monster now. Look at you: you're so disgusting, pining away in here after some guy you don't even like. Man, if only I had my camera–"
This time, it was Dill's turn to interrupt: "Shut up, Guy."
Guy did, teeth clicking as they closed abruptly.
"I like him." Dill stated, tasting the words on his tongue, the inside of his mouth. He reiterated, finding that he liked them more and more as he said them. "I like him. I like him."
"Uh-huh," Guy said, picking at his nails. "Getting the picture, Dill."
"I like him."
"Got it, Dill."
"I like him."
"Oh, my God," he breathed, sitting upright and staring at Guy beseechingly. "What the Hell do I do?"
"What?" Guy asked dumbly, blinking at him owlishly.
"I like Marcy. What do I do?"
"Uhm," Guy cleared his throat. "I don't know."
Dill shot him an annoyed look. "You're not very helpful."
"Well, why did you ask me?"
"Uhh, because you do this for a living..."
"What? Sit in laundry rooms and tell idiots that they're idiots?"
Dill rolled his eyes. "No, do this. I dunno–" he waved a hand vaguely at himself. "Romance or some shit."
"Oh, no, no, no, no," Guy stressed, making an x with his arms. "I am not going to plot out your love life, Dill. I refuse. That would be... that would be heresy!"
"Hah!" Dill snorted. "Since when are you religious?"
"Thought it'd be something nice to pick up. Everybody needs a hobby. Thought I'd take it up. Right now. Like, right damn now."
"No, no way, never!"
"Cherries. There'll be lots of cherries! Maybe some sugar, too."
"No, Dill, I said no! I won't help you with your love life. It would be... it would be immoral and–and wrong."
"You don't care about morals."
"I do right now."
"Come on, Guy! Please? I'm desperate! Why else would I ask you?"
"Thanks. That really helps my esteem issues."
"You'll get over it. Please, man, I need this!"
Guy sighed at him, but didn't answer. He did, however, cross his arms over his chest and look the other way.
Dill cracked a smile.
He had won.
"Great. Thank you."
"Hey! I haven't agreed to anything yet!" Guy declared, whipping his head back to look at Dill.
"Oh, yes, my friend. You did."
"I'll make it up to you. Big time."
"I'm not doing it, Dill." But his tone lacked conviction. Dill knew he'd crumble.
"Big time." He enunciated.
Guy's lip wavered. He looked as though he would continue fighting, and then, suddenly, his frame collapsed in on itself, and he was just Dill's—Dilton Dalonsey, Dilton the idiot—best friend again.
Guy blew out a sigh and imagined that this was what the end of the world felt like.
"What if Marcy doesn't want you anymore?" Guy asked, the thought a heavy weight in his gut.
Dill seemed to shrink in on himself again.
"I don't see why he really would in the first place..." Dill intoned.
Yeah, me neither, Guy thought. Then again, he had been Dill's friend for twenty years. There was a lot of scar damage that could be done in twenty years. The thought of anyone being with Dill was just... something that Guy couldn't imagine.
It was like Guy having a relationship with a fish.
"You're so pathetic," Guy groused, slapping the back of Dill's head. "He asked you out what, a dozen odd times. What guy keeps trying after a dozen rejections? Especially for someone as dense as you?"
Dill opened his mouth to reply but Guy cut him off.
"A damn persistent guy."
"But—" Dill started to say.
"Shut up. We'll make it fucking happen."
"You mean... make Marcy like me again?"
"Yeah. But you'll have to change."
"It'll be hard," Guy cautioned, imagining the course of action they'd have to traverse and Dill's reaction to them.
"Fine." Dill agreed, sounding happier.
"You can't give up. I'll beat you half to death if you give up."
"Great," Dill chirped. "Now, what do I do?"
Dill had taken up dance. Tango, supposedly, if Guy ever got around to teaching him properly. The doctor had recommended he take up some sort of sport to help the medication and mood regulators.
Guy had taken tango for six years, and was supposedly an expert, though Dill hadn't been seeing any of Guy's so-called talent yet. Six weeks and all they'd been doing was stupid, silly stuff.
Speaking of, Dill focused on what Guy was saying.
"No, more with the right arm." Guy instructed, shoulders shaking to keep the laughter out of his voice.
"Like this?" Dill stressed, raising his arm higher.
"Closer. Now turn–yes, just like that. Good. Now, open your eyes."
Dill opened his eyes to see himself posed in front of the full length mirror like one of those exit sign men.
"What was the purpose of making me do this again?" Dill asked, as patiently as he could. He had gotten used to the meds he'd been given and felt more like himself again.
"Just for my personal amusement." Guy responded, snickering through his fingers.
"Guy, I am going to kill you. It will not be pleasant. You will not like it. It will not be quick. There might possibly be a gardening trowel involved."
"Dill, neither of us owns a gardening trowel."
"So I'll rent one. Hell, I'll buy one just for this."
"Yeah, yeah, sure you will."
"Oh, I definitely will."
"Hmm. Stay there, don't move. I'm gonna go get my camera."
"Life just doesn't make sense anymore, man." Dill said.
Guy, Dill's designated babysitter for the next few weeks to see how the drugs affected Dill, and to make sure that he didn't get any crazy ideas—like biting his tongue off to see whether it was gummy on the inside, like he'd thought on the last prescription—felt that he could agree wholeheartedly.
"I know what you mean."
"I mean, it's like a... like a giant watermelon."
"I get yo–what? What the Hell, man?"
"It's big, and everybody wants some because they know how great it would taste, but there are those bigoted idiots who're always—always, man, fucking always—at the front of the line and take three goddamn slices, and then when your turn comes, there's none freaking left."
He definitely didn't get it. At all.
"It's a plan, man. A plan to screw us all over."
"Hm. How... philosophical of you."
"Good to know the good, old Dill's still in there somewhere."
"Uh-huh." Dill said, right before he passed out.
Guy called the doctor and asked for different meds.
"I don't want to do this anymore."
"You're not going to let me off."
"Only for you."
"Let me stop."
"Please. I don't want to do this anymore."
"Nope. You made a promise to me."
"I take it back, just let me stop this."
"I hate you! I hate you and this stupid, goddamn world!"
Some days were better than others.
There were days that Dill was so energetic that Guy was almost blown out of the water. There were some days that Guy was positive that everything they worked to achieve was within reach.
And then there were days that were abysmal. Days that Guy wanted to give up and cry, because what they wanted to achieve was so far out of reach that it was almost cruel.
Those were the days that Guy truly felt like what they were hoping to attain was impossible.
Some days, Guy just wanted to give up.
Some days, Dill was like the sun. And some days, Dill just was...
"Dill... Dill. C'mon, Dill. You've gotta get up. Let's do something."
Dill lay unresponsive. His eyes were open, and he blinked every so often, but the rise and fall of his chest was slow, and he looked like he was hibernating with his eyes open.
"Please, Dill. I need you to get up now."
"Get up right now. Dill. Get up right now."
"I swear to you, if you don't get up this very second, I'm going to leave. I'll get up and walk out that goddamned door and I won't come back."
"You can just lay here and sulk for the rest of your life. I'm going to leave and get on with mine."
"You can't keep doing this, man. C'mon. Don't you want to go outside? Don't you want to get out of here for a little while?"
"It's driving me nuts."
"I'll—uh—get you peanuts or something if you get up."
"Fine. Goodbye, Dill."
Rain pitter-pattered down the windowsill like a macabre collection of tears. They rolled, unsteady, like wax.
Silence screamed through the room, still like a picture.
Breathing marred the stillness; the ragged inhale and exhale that punctured the hush. Lines in tiger butter: in, out, in, out.
"You must really like him a lot, huh?"
In, out, in, out. Like ripples on a lake.
"I dunno if I could do it."
Shhh, shhh, shhh, the sound of air being sucked into greedy lungs. Inflating the tire-swing alveolus.
Wet palms. Nervous throat-clearing. All the preparations that led up to this moment.
Sticky fingers grasping at his own.
"Calm down. It hasn't been that long."
"I know. Still."
"You'll be fine."
Dill rolled his eyes.
It would be fine for Guy. He was just a spectator. He wouldn't have to deal with the outcome of the circumstance, whatever that was. If—and only if—he actually got the nerve to confront the opportunity.
It was silly. He was better off going home.
Dill turned to leave, but Guy snagged his arm.
"You are going to stay, dammit, and you are going to go out there and talk to him. Just like we planned, remember?"
Dill gulped again, balling his hands into fists and nodding meekly.
Recently, Guy had gotten a lot more assertive in his moods. Dill would have been an idiot to refuse anything Guy said in that tone of voice. After all, it was partially his fault that Guy was like this.
Well, to be completely truthful, it was entirely his fault that Guy was like this now.
Still, he couldn't find it in himself to feel guilt.
He could see Guy rolling his eyes at him. He was about to turn and confront his friend when Guy pushed him forward.
Not a, "Hey, go on, you can do it" nudge, but an honest-to-God, "Get the Hell out there before I castrate you publically for making me do this" push.
Dill stumbled several steps before picking himself back up. He turned half way to glare at Guy, who just rolled his eyes and made shooing motions with his hands, pointedly looking at his watch.
Dill turned back around and pulled the hem of his jacket down as far as it would go.
Right. He could do this.
Squaring his shoulders, he moved forward.
He pushed his way past the canned goods aisle and marched to the boxed items of the grocery store, pausing at the end to scan the corridor for his prey.
Dill felt somewhat stalker-ish doing this.
He glanced behind him desperately and felt the stirrings of panic rise in his gut when he realized that Guy, that bastard, had left him. Just up and left him.
What an asshole.
Still, he forged on.
Past the bakery section, the confectionary goods, the fresh foods, the deli. Past the baking supplies and the household items until he passed the dairy aisle.
Poking his head around the corner, Dill could see the object of his affections appraising a jug of milk.
Slowly, he shuffled down the aisle until he was standing somewhat close to Marcy, eyeing him like a hawk as the man, oblivious to all except his plight, lifted the jug over his head to look at the expiry date.
Raking up every inch of courage that he might have been in possession of at the moment, Dill spoke.
"Y-you know, the date's on the neck."
"The expiry date. On the neck."
Two seconds later, Marcy was turning to him, friendly smile in place.
"Well, I'll be. There it i–"
Dell picked at the insides of his sleeves nervously.
Awkward silences. He hated awkward silences.
Dill wished, for the first time in almost a year, that he was who he used to be. There had never been any awkward silences then. He scrapped the thought almost immediately.
"Uhhm," he started, biting his lip. "How are you?"
"Good," Marcy said slowly, as if he couldn't believe that Dill was standing right in front of him. Or that he was talking to Marcy. "I'm good."
"That's, uhhm... good," he finished weakly. "What've you been doing lately?"
"A lot." Marcy was still staring at him like he couldn't believe this was happening. Dill started to freak out.
Was there something on his face? Had he walked out of the house without pants? He hadn't sporadically sprouted a second head or third arm, had he?
A quick glance downward assured him that, no, he hadn't grown a third arm or lost his pants in the last twenty-six seconds. That was good.
What if Marcy didn't like him?
He started panicking.
First came the laughter, nervous and piddling.
Then came the stupid comment.
"He hasn't come yet."
God, he could have smacked himself.
What an idiot, idiot, idiot. What a stupid, stupid imbecile.
Marcy interrupted his "I'm-an-idiot" tirade.
He avoided eye-contact as he answered. "T-the Doctor."
Lame. He was so lame.
Marcy laughed. Or maybe he sighed. It was hard to tell.
Were his knees actually shaking, Dill wondered, or was it because he was in the dairy section without a coat?
"Guess you weren't a threat to the world, after all," he offered weakly, smiling plaintively.
Marcy just looked at him.
He giggled nervously again. "J-just thought I'd l-let you know," he stammered. "I'm, uh, I'm gonna go."
He turned to leave.
"Wait!" Marcy called after him. Dill tensed, wondering what came next.
He turned again, staring at Marcy as he put the milk-jug down and stood to appraise him. "I haven't..." he started. "I haven't seen you in a long time."
Dill smiled wanly, remembering the last time they had met and how it had ended.
"Yeah. I've been doing... things."
"Self... self-improvement things."
Dill shifted from foot to foot anxiously.
He opened his mouth. "I'm sor—"
"I thought you hated me."
"What?" Dill asked, blinking stupidly. "What?" he asked again, just for good measure.
"I thought you hated me. You-you had this look on your face... like I was the most horrible thing you'd ever seen. That's why I left."
"Oh," Dill breathed, feeling like his knees were about to give out on him. "I thought you hated me."
Marcy smiled then, teeth flashing at him.
"Not as such."
Dill eyed Marcy. Nothing had changed. Same paint-splattered jeans. Same dreaded hair.
"Still think I'm a Gorgon?" Marcy asked, catching his eyes and smiling a little wider.
"Not as such," he echoed back, allowing his own smile, hesitant, to show. "More like a vampire."
He looked startled. "'Vampire?'" he parroted back.
"You haven't aged at all. It's freaky."
Marcy rolled his eyes.
Back to the familiar.
"Yeah, well, tough luck. I'm not into blood play. And I love garlic."
He smiled wider, feeling good about it.
"You've changed," Marcy hedged, inching closer.
"I know," Dill smiled, hugging his torso. "Part of the self-improvement thing. You have no idea how bad it was."
Marcy cocked an eyebrow.
"Well, maybe you'll have to tell me over dinner, then."
"So? How was it?" Guy asked as Dill stepped past the door.
Dill hung his coat on the rack behind the door and slipped into the kitchen. He re-emerged several minutes later with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
"It was good."
"Oh, no. You've got that dreamy look on your face."
"Anything I could possibly swing off you and put in my books?"
"Just for that, I'm not going to tell you anything."
"Oh, come on! That's not nice. I was just kidding. It was a joke. C'mon, Dill, tell me," Guy begged.
Dill smirked at his friend, held a finger up to his lips and said, "I don't kiss and tell, Guy."
"What?" Guy asked, perking up in his chair, laptop falling to his knees. "You kissed?"
"I'm not gonna tell you," he sing-songed.
(No, he hadn't, but that didn't mean that Guy had to know. Though, he had managed to get Marcy to promise a second meeting. Was it too soon to call them dates yet?)
"You are horrible."
"Augh," Guy groaned. "Help a guy out, man. Feed a starving writer words of creativity! You can't just let me hang out in the cold. I've gotta know!"
Dill fell asleep to the sound of Guy banging on his door, demanding answers to his questions and a full recount of his evening.
It had been an accident when it had happened.
Furthermore, it had been completely innocent, and nothing had come from it.
Dill fantasized about it; replayed the memory in his head a million times until it drove him nuts. He could have been blind and still have seen the image as clearly as day.
They'd been at the theatre. Dill had come over to help with the set. They'd made it an afternoon of pizza and paint and had stayed well past the normal theatre's closing time. Many of the other theatre-goers had left for home.
"Toss me that line, would you?" Marcy asked, pointing vaguely at the heap of snake-like wires.
Grumbling, Dill went over to retrieve the one closest to the edge and looked the most untangled of them all. Several minutes later, after much cursing and threats, he emerged victorious.
"Uhh... yeah, sure. Toss it here."
Dill plodded toward the edge of the stage, a good four feet off the ground. A simple miscalculation in his path had sent him sprawling—clawing at the air, probably looking like a retard—down, down, down, off the stage.
Marcy caught him awkwardly, knocking the breath out of Dill as he manhandled him to the ground.
Dill blushed brightly the whole time, fingers clawing into Marcy's paint-splattered woollen, knit sweater, refusing to let go.
"T-that scared me," he admitted once his feet were firmly planted on the ground.
"Yeah. Me, too."
Dill looked up, surprised at the husky quality of Marcy's voice.
Marcy looked down at him.
It was magical.
Fireworks could have gone off in the background, Dill thought, to help the romance along.
Or maybe not, he decided on rethinking the crackle, snap, bang fireworks made. Ear-splitting sounds that were more likely to ruin romance than help it along.
He was so busy fantasizing about fireworks and romance that it came as a complete surprise when Marcy's lips, warm and chapped, touched his own.
Dill jolted, fingers tightening in the wool sweater as Marcy jerked backwards.
"Sorry! Sorry, that was my fault! I'm sorry!" Marcy yelped, eyes looking everywhere but at Dill.
It was cute, he decided, watching Marcy fester in his own self-doubt.
"I-it's okay," he said shyly, gripping even tighter to Marcy as the man tried to move away.
"It's just, there were signs and I'm so sorry. I thought—Jesus, I'm so sorry. I'm such an idiot."
It was nice not being the one on the panicking, "I'm-having-a-nervous-breakdown-here" side of the party.
"Marcy," he said sternly. Marcy stopped talking immediately and looked down, ashamed, face red. "Marcy," he said again, more gently this time. "It's fine."
"No, it's not," Marcy groaned, though his hands found purchase on Dill's back again. "I completely screwed that up. Screwed us up. Again."
Dill rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Marcy. I wanted you to; I just wasn't prepared for it to happen at that exact moment."
"What?" Marcy exclaimed, eyes lifting to meet his own. "You—no, no, that's not true. I took advantage of you, I'm sorry, it was wrong. I'm so, so sorr—"
"Marcelle..." Dill enunciated, rolling his eyes exasperatedly but smiling all the same. "Shut up and kiss me before I kick you."
And Marcy did.
"That was your secret?" Dill asked, incredulous.
A laughing Marcy was his answer.
"That was it?" he asked again.
It was several minutes later that Marcy calmed down enough to give an answer.
"Yepp. That's it."
"So, your secret, this huge thing that I've been carrying around for years and practically killing myself over trying to figure out is that you liked me all along?" He squawked.
"You should be in theatre. Are you sure you don't like acting?"
"Yes." Dill hissed, eyes narrowed, nostrils flaring. "Was that really it?"
Marcy, ever eloquent, nodded, a grin lighting his features.
"That's... that's—that's insane. Illogical. Preposterous... stupid! All this time?"
Marcy nodded again.
"And I didn't even know it! Are you sure? This entire time?"
A third nod was his answer.
"Even after, y'know... after?"
An exasperated eye-roll was his reply this time.
"Yes, Dill. This entire time, even after."
"That's so stupid!" Dill exploded.
"Hey, are you calling me stupid?"
Dill paused and thought for a second. "Yes," he decided. "I am."
"That's not very nice," Marcy pouted, poking his ribs.
Dill squirmed, dislodging the finger, biting at it when it made a return attack.
"I'm not a very nice person."
"Oh, come now. That's not true at all."
"Sure it is."
"I'm not a liar."
"Sure you are."
"Oh, you definitely are."
Dill squealed like a pig as Marcy tickled him mercilessly.
"Tha-that's not fair!" He wheezed.
"It totally is."
"Ugh. God. You guys are disgusting. Take it somewhere else, would you? I actually want to retain my sight into old age. And get some work done."
Dill stuck his tongue out at Guy as he passed by, laptop in hand. Just for show, he pulled Marcy in for a kiss, making sure to exaggerate the sounds. Just because he could.
Guy made a sickened sound and left the room.
Dill broke away laughing.
A few seconds later, he back-tracked.
"So, that was really it, huh?"
"What was?" Marcy asked, kneading the muscles in Dill's neck.
He could feel Marcy roll his eyes behind him.
"Yeah. You were also right about the other one."
"What one was that?" He asked distractedly, leaning back into the hands on his neck.
"The one about me being a Gorgon."
Dill's laugh was strained.
"That's not funny."
"Good," Marcy said, leaning down to kiss the back of his neck before releasing him. Dill turned to stare at him. "It wasn't meant to be."
"As a serious thing can be. A heart attack."
"That was bad."
Marcy nodded. "Really."
"I don't believe you."
But he didn't not believe him, either.
"See? You do lie. I am a Gorgon."
"It's all true? The snakes, the mice, the turning-living-people-into-statues thing?"
"Mmm, but not the mice. I can't stand them. They're too chewy."
"Oh, my God," Dill said, paling dramatically. "You're serious."
"That's... that's—" he broke off, not knowing what to say.
"You're a... a G-gorgon," he stuttered pathetically.
"I promise not to statue you. Or eat you. At least, not all of you."
Dill swayed faintly.
This was a whole other can of worms.
"That's not-it-it can't be. You're lying."
"Afraid not. One hundred percent truth this time."
Dill stared at Marcy, taking in the dead-serious eyes that gazed back at him.
He could have sworn that dreadlock had just moved.
Dill stumbled upright, nearly knocking over the coffee table and upsetting himself.
A wail rang through the house, followed by Marcy's amused laughter.