Notes: I think this is the only three-word title in AtM,
let alone the only one that actually has an implied subject. Wow.
Also, for your edification: this is the end of AtM chronologically. I will write more, but it will all take place earlier in their lives, and will be added to the story as such.
Fall Down Rising
"You thought I'd be mad?" Adam asks, and the look he gives Tim is patently disbelieving. "You can do whatever the fuck you want on your own time."
Tim makes a gesture that indicates passivity. "I'm not the one who was afraid," he responds, and goes back to untying his boots, the heels resting on the table and leaving wet prints from the rain on the tabloid sitting there. "Jackie was."
They are not gentle, that night - not that they usually are, but that night, less so than usual. It is almost as though Adam is trying to burn his touch into Tim's skin, trying to memorize the feel of his body.
Two weeks later, Adam is dating Carole Reviendra, who, as he states it, "has huge tits, gives great head, and is actually interesting."
He dumps her by the end of the month. "She would rather fucking play with her tits herself than have sex," he said, and then added, "And she couldn't think. God, she liked Britney Spears. I would take Estelle's teetotaler over that."
Lindy nods, and then listens to him stumble over his thoughts and finally conclude, "If, you know, Estelle's teetotaler weren't a guy."
A week after Carole's abrupt exit from their lives, Adam is back in bed with Tim, desperate and raw. The sex is better than it was with Carole, but there is no heart to it, if there ever was before.
He feels as though he should be concluding something from this, either that he's really straight and five years living with and fucking Tim were just a flight of fancy, or that he was never meant to want a girl and that Carole and Elisa and Beth and Janine and all the nameless others were the flukes.
In truth, he does not come to any conclusions.
Tim starts dating an Irishwoman to whom Estelle introduced him. Adam dates a bassist, a girl, who dumps him for Estelle. This feels, in many ways, unfair. Why in hell does he always pick up the gay ones?
Everthing the band writes has an undertone of fury to it, though that's hardly new. It's more there now, more obvious, as though every single one of them has a barely-suppressed urge to not just Stick It to the Man, but also to Kill and Savagely Mutilate the Man.
They've gotten more popular since it started. Estelle is afraid to wonder whether it's because people are no longer offended by Tim and Adam's understated, mostly unpublicised, relationship, or because the music's just gotten better.
She asks Esther, who plays with an open kilt pin for a bit before answering, "I think they're falling apart and it's like a swan song."
"You think so?" she asks, and he is silent for a long moment before answering, "Of course not. I think they're going to self-immolate, that someone will do something absolutely horrible that will ruin the band but make them immortal."
She is afraid he's right.
The chicks are meaningless, Adam finally decides. Not because of anything else, but just because they weren't the ones for him. He's found the one who is.
Her name is Delia Ruthven, and she is short with a sweet nature and a temper like kindling. He feels strangely alive when he is near her, and that is how he knows that she's special: he's never felt like that around anyone else.
He proposes to her in a flight of fancy, and goes through with it because he means it.
When asked by the media about Adam's impending marriage, Lindy says, "We're all very happy for him. It's not every day one of your best friends settles down to become a normal person."
The reporter laughs, and asks Tim something like, "So what do you, as Adam's ex, think of this?" and Tim gives her a look that threatens dismemberment if she makes one more false step.
"Firstly," he says, "I'm not his ex, for chrissake, and the answer is the same as Lindy's. Why should mine be any different? It's not like we were ever fucking in love or anything."
Delia Kolcenke lives with her husband in New Hampshire, and she is immensely happy. She is in love, her husband loves her, and their life is content.
She doesn't object when he asks if his friend from the band can stay for a week as he's passing through. After all, she's met the rest of the band; she likes them and they like her.
She does not expect her husband to pick up smoking again while Tim is staying, which they fight about and neither of them wins. She does not expect him to turn into someone with a barely-hidden grudge against the rest of the world, and it bothers her to see the change in him.
They have a fight, on the fourth day, over whether Tim should stay the rest of the week. She wants him out, and Adam believes in being good to guests over peace between spouses.
She does not expect to realize, on the last day of that week, that Adam never really freed up that space inside whatever passes for his heart that belonged to Tim, and that it goes deeper inside him than the part that belongs to her.
So she divorces him. Delia Ruthven doesn't take second place.
The restaurant smells of garlic and home, of Italian cooking and the memories of family.
"My mom's absolutely delirious with joy," Lindy says, "I think she's going to start pestering me for grandkids, too."
"When's the wedding going to be?" Klaus.
"In a year or so. We don't want to rush things." She touches one of her earrings self-consciously and sips her Coke.
"We should meet him." Tim.
"Threaten him – 'If you don't treat our Lindy right you'll regret it!'" Jackie quips.
"And Adam could bring in all his Mafioso relatives," Klaus suggests, sending a sly glance in Adam's direction. "Really scare the guy out of his wits."
"You want him to respect her, not run for the hills." Tim, taking the last appetizer off the plate.
The waitress arrives at the table then, delivering plates of food and refilling Klaus's Sprite. After she has departed, Adam grins and says, raising his beer bottle in a toast, "May he stick around for as long as Lindy wants him there, give her kids if she wants 'em, and never, ever leave the toilet seat up while she's in town."
"Hear, hear!" Jackie declares emphatically, echoing the gesture with her glass of soda, everyone following in agreement.
"Thanks, guys," Lindy says. "I promise he'll join us next time."
"He better," Jackie answers, elbowing her before digging into her lasagna with gusto. "So how're things with your other band going?" She eyes Klaus as she asks it.
He shrugs. "Okay. I liked us better, though."
"I would feel flattered if I didn't know you were sucking up," Adam states, amused.
"He'd better not be sucking up," Tim says. "Their bassist couldn't find his way out of a lit room with a map and a flashing neon sign over the door that said 'exit'."
"You just don't like him 'cause he's violently homo-" Klaus stops midphrase, then finishes brilliantly, the rest of the band watching him – Lindy and Jackie with horror writ on their faces and Adam and Tim impassively – "Um."
"No," Tim responds nonchalantly, "He's just a jerk in general."
Klaus would breathe a sigh of relief if it were in his nature.
"But," Tim continues, making Klaus tense again, "especially about that." He watches them all stare at him. "What? He complains so much that I wonder."
Lindy trades a glance with Klaus that makes Adam roll his eyes as he takes a cigarette out of the pack in his jacket.
"We get it," he says, half-irritated, rummaging through his pockets for a lighter, giving up, and taking the one offered by Tim. "Hypocrisy, him without sin casting the first stone, et cetera. We're not completely stupid, you know."