Title: Better

Author: CrazyWriter

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: LESBIANS! Now that I've got your attention this has LESBIANS!

Sequels/Prequels/Companions: Sequel to Just Like In The Cinemas

Author's note: Oh, a companion. Hurrah. And an angst fic. ::sings to tune of Lord of The Dance:: Angst then, wherever you may be, Crazywriter is the lord of the angst, said she, and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be, and I'll lead all you in the angst, said she.

Dedication: For the girl who inspired Jane Kirk and Heather, who will probably never see it.

Feedback: I'll give you a marsbar if you review. PLEASE REVIEW!

"Fuck you," I whisper softly as I watch you approach me. "Just. Fuck. You." I know what'd you'd say if you were close enough to hear. You'd laugh and say, but you already did.

Or maybe you wouldn't laugh.

That's right, you wouldn't laugh. Because it's not funny, it never… it never really was funny. There's no humor between us just… space. Distance. An oblivion.

I shrug to myself and start walking away. Maybe you'll take the hint…

Of course you won't. You're Heather… you don't know what a hint is. Or maybe you do. Maybe I've just been mistaking bravery or determination for what I thought was ignorance and stupidity.

But then again, maybe not.

"Erin," you call out. Calmly. Confidently. "Wait." And something inside me makes me just… stop.

I don't want to stop. I want to keep moving away from you, but my feet won't move. They like you better than me, I guess. You get closer and I want to move, I start moving and then I remember my feet are frozen in place.

"I haven't seen you around… why?" you say. That's all. You storm out my home in the middle of the night and that's all you have to say. Like I've been sick a few days. Even though its been at least a fucken month. And I haven't been sick.

But I have been sick. I've been so very sick. Sick with myself, sick with you, sick with life in general.

"There… there were lines we drew, for our own sanity. For normalcy," I answer gruffly. Yes, lines. But sometimes… sometimes I forget we have them. Sometimes when I watch you- I forget that you're so far away from me, forget that we were never close; will never be close, forget that that one night of passion was just a mistake.

I make a lot of mistakes.

I'm not perfect.

"Lines," you repeat. "I know."

No, you don't know, you don't know anything, not anymore. Never, ever again. I want to say something to you, really I do. But I can't, can't find it in me to just say anything. "Heather…" I start then just shake my head and turn to walk away.

"Where are you going?" you demand, grabbing my arm, "Erin, come on."

"I… I have to go get home," I lie. "I'm walking, and I don't want to get late."

"I'll walk with you," you retort. I shrug, not caring.

"It's a long ways."

"Long is good," you cover and start walking.

I hate walking with someone, one foot in front of the other, on a dirty city sidewalk. There used to be more trees on this block, beautiful, strong, full trees but they died, from a Dutch Elm epidemic last fall. Now the few that are standing are weak, and gnarled, and bare. They look empty, like I feel.

"So, are you trying out for the musical?" you ask. I stop walking and stare at you in awe. Only you could do this to me, only you could just start talking about theater like nothing had gone in between. Like we might meet this weekend to go over lines, like we might have once. Like we never had sex. Like you'd never walked out on me, not once, but twice.

"You're fucken amazing, Heather, you know that?" I tell her, my voice laced with bitterness. fucken amazing. Only you would pick a time like this to talk about Hello Dolly. "Yeah, I might try out. I always do. Theater's my thing."

"You'll get the lead, you know," she says off-handedly.

"Who cares?" I ask rhetorically, "There's more important things in life than theater." There are things that are so much more important- you, me, us. But then… that doesn't exist anymore, does it? It never did.

"Really?" you say dryly, "Theater used to be the only thing that mattered to you." And you're right too but then…

"Well, you know what? I grew up," I say calmly. "The world doesn't start and end with theater, Heather… there's so many things that are just better."

"Better," you repeat slowly. "Like what?"

You, I want to say. I want to say a lot of things, life, love, sex, desire. Things like these, theater doesn't even start to compare to them. Theater was my release, my escape for so long. The one thing I was always going to be good at. The one thing I didn't have to work at.

When I was little, I would to the ocean each summer with my parents. Other kids would just build sandcastles at the beach, but I would build entire kingdoms and empires. I tried to build them close to the waves, because then at the night, the tide would sweep over them, destroying what had taken me forever to build. When we stopped going to the ocean, I still built sand empires on lakes or in sandboxes and now, without the tide, I had to destroy them myself. I would kick the castle down, destroy the placed sand barriers and trample the city.

Theater was my empire once, and I tore it all down and I hid. I hid because I was too scared of some girl, some girl who once, long ago, would never have mattered to me. You.

I shrug, "Just… things."

You nod, like you understand. Who knows? Maybe you do. Maybe.

But you never will.

"Things," I repeat aloud to myself. "Things, just things in general. There's so much more to life than theater… I'm sad it took me as long to realize as it did."

"Do you…" you stumble over your words like a scared little kid. "Do you think of that night often?"

"Don't," I warn, "Just don't."

"Erin," you reply, in the same warning tone. Erin, that's it. That's all you say. That's all you have to say. You thought I didn't like you, didn't want you.

I thought I didn't love you.

I didn't even know what that was. Don't you… don't you get that?

Because when all you have to say is my name, when that's all you have to say to break away whatever kind of defense I still have, that could… just maybe… be love.

"I don't think about it," I lie. "Not at all. You made your intentions perfectly clear."

"Erin," you plead, "You know it's not like that…"

"Is why you caught up with me?" I demand, turning to face her. "Haven't told I'm evil in too long? Well, look, I know what you think of me and what I am, so just get away from me!"

"Erin, it's not like that!" you cry, "It's not like that at all!"

"Then what is it like?" I ask, and then scoff when she's silent. "Look, Heather, you know what you are, and more to the point, who you want. But you're not okay with that… but guess what, I'm okay with it. And the last thing I want is you telling me it's not." I sigh, "You're the last thing I need," I mumble under my breath.

Liar.

Hypocrite.

Liar.

You're everything I need. I need you, even far away, I need some semblance of you in my life to… to keep me sane. We drew lines to keep ourselves sane, but I kept them for you. Because you kept me sane. In months after we slept together, in the weeks after you fled into the rain from my embrace, I'd thought a lot. About you. Always you in the end.

"I know you don't need me," you say softly, "Or want me. I know. But I need you, Erin. I need to hold onto you. What we had was-"

"How do you know I don't want you?" You don't answer. You just keep walking, walking with me, side-by-side, one foot in front of the other. Silence except for simply, plodding footstep. Methodical. Full, pounding steps. One foot, then the other. Simple, like life will never be. Ever.

"And I see you, there with the rose in your teeth," you sing, your voice soft and sweet, "One more thin gypsy thief…"

I've been called a gypsy before, I guess because of my thick black hair and my blue eyes and my wide, mischievous smile. Or at least that's what they used to say. Gypsy child. But hearing it from you… makes it sound just a little… bit… more… real.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I ask softly, trying not to smile at her beautiful voice, but not having to try too hard. It's… it's just not a happy thing.

"Gypsy," you say simply, like a child, and she reaches for my hand, I pull away.

"No." I shake my head, "No, Heather, we can't be doing this." That said, I turn to walk away.

"You can't run away from me, Erin!" you call out. I turn on my heel.

"Yeah, well, you're the one who knows all about running away," I spit. "You ran away from me."

"I'm sorry I hurt you. Really," you whisper. Almost inaudible.

"It's not about that. It's not about you hurting me, or me hurting you. It was never about that… it never was… you know it too."

"What was it about then?" she demands. I'm vaguely aware of the people moving by us, the cars on street... but just vaguely.

"It was about desire… love," I say softly, scared of the words coming out of my mouth and startled by the word love. "It was always about that."

"Do you mean it?" you ask timidly. I nod.

"Reckon so."

I like to destroy empires, destroy myself. I've never been able to find it in me to destroy anyone else, not even you. Not even after you hurt me like that. So I just drew lines, massive barriers of sand and stone. I hid behind them, hiding the want and desire behind a front of anger and cold dismissal. But sometimes, I peek out behind these barriers and reach for you.

Sometimes I need you.

And before, you ran. You ran far away, into the stormy night in a scene as poetic and cliched as a cinema.

I want to run now.

"Can I come in?" you ask and I realize we're at my door.

"What for?" I ask bitterly, "A cup of Earl Grey and then to give me more pain?"

You shake your head, "You said it yourself. This isn't about pain. It's about desire. And maybe, it's even about love."

"A love you didn't want," I say as I open the door for her. "A love you'll always need, but never want."

"It's not like that, Erin," you reply. "There's so many things you'll never understand because… because I'm Heather, and you're Erin and that doesn't change."

I sigh and start finding tea. I've memorized this tune. Her, me, kitchen table, tea. I don't like this.

"Life's a trade-off, isn't it?" I mutter. You nod, I didn't expect you to hear me, but I guess you did. "A trade-off," I repeat. "Want one thing so badly you've got to give up everything for it. Sucks, it does."

"I know," you say, walking towards me. "I know."

I don't move, I let you wrap your arms around me, it feels… right. Somehow. Good. "I love you," I hear myself say. "I do."

"I know," you whisper back, kissing me. "I know."

"Heather," I say, the word feeling so right, "Heather…"

"What?" you ask between the kisses.

"Where do we go from here?"