Summary: (one-shot) (post-Scottie Socks) A peek at Adrian's and Siren's life together, set the first Halloween after SS ends. Trust me, it's a lot easier to understand if you've read SS.
It was bitingly cold even in his thick fleece jacket, and Siren leaned heavily against Adrian.
Adrian glanced at the man, his cheeks flushed from the cold and perhaps something else, and smiled softly. Siren started when Adrian put his arms around him, murmuring, "Adrian, we're in public," through his chattering teeth.
"Well, you look like a girl. And besides, you're shivering."
Siren made an indignant sound before settling into the other's embrace with a sigh. He rested his head against Adrian's shoulder, lulled by the sudden warmth and the steady back-and-forth movement of the cart. Hay stuck into his sides even through his jacket, but it was easy to ignore when he closed his eyes and thought of Adrian's smile…
"Aww, look at them… so young and in love…" a woman whispered from the other side of the cart. Siren's lips curved upward and he scooted closer to Adrian, the other's arms tightening around him.
"Hey, look at that," Adrian whispered, nudging him slightly. Siren opened his eyes and glanced around. The autumn leaves were beautiful, bright reds and fiery oranges and golden yellows painting the trees, blue-gray mountains hovering above the horizon.
"It's beautiful…" the brunet mumbled in awe, his eyes shining bright and childlike.
But Adrian knew there were more beautiful things around, so he kissed Siren's cheek and asked, "So, what kind of pumpkin do you want to get?"
There were pumpkins everywhere, tiny sweet pumpkins and squat brown old-fashioned pumpkins and large ottoman-sized bright orange pumpkins. Siren surveyed them all appraisingly, his hand on his chin as he thought hard, examining all the pumpkins crucially. He'd pause for a minute or two to measure each pumpkin with his hands before moving on to the next, making mental notes about each one and keeping a running list of his favorites.
Adrian watched him with a smile, reflecting on just how silly Siren was sometimes and just how much he loved it. Siren was rarely childish, but seeing him in such a state was refreshing—after all, he hadn't had much opportunity to behave like a child. It was good to see Siren so happy about such simple things.
There were families everywhere, all having a day out. Young orange-clad toddlers puffed about in the cold air as their parents tried to keep up with them, their older brothers and sisters jumping in piles of leaves. Some families had even brought their dogs, eager Labrador retrievers or spotted spaniels or lanky Dalmatians. Adrian felt a little out-of-place in the midst of all the parents and their children, but he knew that as long as he was with Siren, he was always where he should be.
"We could get a dog," Adrian remarked off-handedly to Siren, his hands shoved deep in his pockets.
Siren smiled up at him, pausing in his inspection of the pumpkins. "I haven't had a dog in a long time… not since my Dad died. That might be nice."
Siren smirked at Adrian, as if to say, 'Ha ha, guess who DOESN'T look like a girl,' before turning to the child who'd spoken to him. He bent down to the boy's level, smiling gently. "Yes?"
"Well, I was wondering, have you seen my mommy?" the boy asked, staring at Siren with enormous teary eyes.
Siren patted the boy's head gently, his voice taking on a soothing tone, "It's all right, don't cry. We'll help you find your mommy. We've gotten very good at locating mommies in our old age, isn't that right, Adrian?"
"We're not old," Adrian remarked. "If I heard correctly, we're 'young and in love.'"
"Shh, I'm being reassuring," Siren hissed, putting a finger to his lips. "Ahem. So, what does your mommy look like?"
"Well, she's really pretty… and she has long hair… and a nice smile… and she bakes cookies!"
Siren sighed. "But what does she look like?"
"Mommy looks like Mommy," the boy insisted, leaving Siren and Adrian to follow him around for hours until he found his mother.
"Oh, thank you so much for finding my son!" she cried happily before turning to the little boy. "How could you wander off like that? I've told you not to go off by yourself, honey… you scared me…" With a sob, she hugged him tightly, tears running from her blue eyes.
Adrian looked away, staring at the darkening sky, trimmed with black and red-orange and blue. "The patch will close soon," he told Siren and softly grasped his hand.
On the ride back home Siren leaned sleepily back in his seat, holding their pumpkin in his lap. They'd ended up picking it at the last minute, and it was rather lumpy and asymmetrical and wonderfully imperfect. The radio was tuned in to an oldies station—"Smashin' hits from the sixties," it boldly proclaimed after every five songs— and Adrian sang along, Siren humming quietly beside him, the tiny notes like Roman milestones on the way home.
Adrian had grown to love so many small things, so seemingly insignificant, but at the same time, so immeasurably important. The way the ends of Siren's hair curled when he forgot to get it cut or the sweet little messages Siren left him in the mirror-fog after he'd taken a shower (timid 'I love you's and 'Have a great day at work's and 'We really should tidy up the bathroom, the cupboard is terribly cluttered's marching across the clouded glass of the mirror), complete with goofy little cartoon pictures of Siren cheering him on, or even just the sound of Siren sighing against his neck when he held him—Adrian loved all of those things.
They led rather a quiet—but not dull—life, going to work, making friends, sitting on the couch together and watching reruns of shows from the sixties. They lived in a small town, and not much went on. All the townsfolk loved Siren—Adrian thought it was an awfully difficult thing to avoid, in fact—because of his sweet smiles and his gentle kindness and just his general aura of love-ability. Love-ability, that was a new word he'd created in Siren's honor, because that was how Siren was. He was just overflowing with love-ability.
Of course, that wasn't to say that life was sunshine and daisies either, or some cliché of the sort. After all, for rainbows to happen there first had to be rain—it was a simple fact of life. Sometimes Siren's darker side would slip out from its hiding place—Siren would cry or get angry or seem utterly broken—but that wasn't often, and it always seemed reparable. It wasn't, really, but it could be patched up—slap a Band-Aid on it and it's fine. That was how life went.
At the moment life was feeling charitable, and it was just Siren sitting on the front porch carving their pumpkin, seeds and stringy wet orange things stuck in his hair and on his arms and everywhere, and Adrian, watching him lazily, could only think about how endearingly sweet Siren looked even covered in pumpkin guts.
"So, have you got a costume yet?" Adrian asked. He was really supposed to be helping Siren in the carving process, but sometimes he just got distracted with staring at the other man. Siren didn't seem to mind.
"No," Siren replied, carving out a glop of orange and dropping it beside Adrian, who jumped a little and edged away from the growing pile.
"We could go look at the store tomorrow if—"
"I figured I'd make it… I always did before, after all."
"Oh?" Adrian asked curiously. "Well, what are you going to be?"
The brunet's smile was soft, a slight pink curve of his lips, breathtaking. "An angel…" his voice trailed off as he reached his scoop back into the remains of their pumpkin.
"You don't have to dress up for that, silly," Adrian whispered, and pulled Siren close, into his arms—not caring that he was sitting right on a pile of wet, slimy pumpkin that he was sure would stain his pants horribly.
After all, what were washing machines for?
Siren seemed to have quite the knack for bending coat hangers, if his pair of angel wings and his spraypainted gold halo were any indication.
"Where'd you get the hose?" Adrian asked, staring at the wings that did, indeed, have holes in them. "It's got runs in it…"
"Well, I couldn't very well go to the store and buy hose. The cashier would wonder, don't you think?" Siren asked, shrugging and giving a small smile. "Melissa gave it to me—she said the runs were symbolic. Personally, I think she's just too lazy to have a yard sale, so she's giving away all of her junk."
"Yeah, she works in the room next door to mine, I always see her at lunch break. John's wife."
"John the farmer?"
"…John the butcher?" Adrian tried again.
Siren shook his head.
"No, not John the Baptist—John the cop."
"Oh! That one. There are a lot of Johns around, y'know. I get confused sometimes," Adrian said quickly, giving a sheepish grin to hide his nervousness. Siren didn't know, of course—couldn't know, or he wouldn't stay with Adrian. Siren wouldn't love Adrian if he knew that he'd killed everyone…
"So, have you got any ideas?"
"Oh?" Adrian asked, startled. "No, not yet… and I'm not talented like you, so I guess I'll have to go shopping… oh, woe is me…"
Siren stuck his tongue out playfully at Adrian and nudged his shoulder. "You're so silly."
For a moment, Adrian almost believed it.
The children of the town (and their parents) had gathered under the spreading oak trees that were hung with black and orange crepe paper and fake spider webs. The crepe paper had felt disgusting beneath Adrian's fingers, but he had forced down the memories and hung it anyway. That paper had been pink, after all, not black. Nobody decorated black for weddings, although… in hindsight, perhaps his sister should have.
But this wasn't a wedding, this was a Halloween party, and of course it would be decorated in orange and black. There was even a black bat piñata hanging from one of the trees, full of candy. There wasn't much need for it, though—Siren, dressed in his angel costume, bent halo and holey wings and all, was handing out candy in wanton fistfuls. Adrian was surprised he wasn't handing out vegetables instead, since he was morally opposed to candy (or something of the sort—Adrian could never quite be sure.) Siren was wearing a long white shirt and white shorts with striped black-and-white leggings underneath. He wasn't the typical angel, of course—the typical angel being a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl—but he was close enough for Adrian, the unexpected black only making him purer in his eyes. The black stripes, the rips in his wings, betrayed his secrets, the forlorn darkness in his heart that he always tried to hide with a smile.
Siren caught his eyes and grinned over at him, and Adrian shuffled forward, wading through the crowd of miniature goblins and sheet-wearing ghosts and glittery pink fairies.
"So, what are you exactly?" Siren asked as Adrian finally reached him, absent-mindedly directing some children to the apple-bobbing booth he'd organized.
"Jack the Ripper," Adrian said with all seriousness, but Siren laughed a little anyway.
"Nice top hat, Jack. You could've thought of a costume that fits your personality better—or at least one the children and I would understand. You should've been a big orange pumpkin!" Siren cried happily, demonstrating the size of a pumpkin with his outstretched arms.
Adrian shook his head and fiddled a little with his old-fashioned vest, which looked like it had come right out of the eighteen-hundreds. "No." He poked a little at the tomato juice he'd artistically spilled onto his coat so that it looked like blood. He had a lot of experience with blood, so he knew how it looked when it was spilled.
"Oh, c'mon, Adrian—aren't you having fun?"
A laugh bubbled in Siren's throat as he grabbed Adrian's hand and tugged him to the apple-bobbing booth, crying merrily, "Come on, Jack, I want an apple!"
"That's horribly unsanitary, Siren…" Adrian mumbled.
Siren couldn't possibly understand Adrian's sudden sadness, but he went about fixing it anyway. "Get me a green one!"
Adrian stared at the apples, red and green and yellow, bobbing sickly about in the spit-tainted water. Red for violence or love, green for innocence or envy, yellow for happiness or illness. Adrian wasn't sure what the apples meant, roiling about in the metal tub, but they made his stomach clench, especially the muted red, too long plucked, the skin smashed already and the fruit beneath turned to mush. The red apples swam like blood in the tub, like before, and…
When Adrian turned away, a hand to his mouth, Siren gave a heavy sigh and grasped his hand, leading him away from everyone else. Adrian could only stare at him as they came to a stop behind the tree, listening to the sounds of a piñata being hit and children cheering that seemed to drift from so far away.
He stared at Siren, who met his gaze with unreadable brown, a deep look that seemed to convey eternity and nothing at all. Adrian didn't know what the eyes meant—a promise or a threat or love.
But like taking in a breath, the moment passed, and Siren spoke up. "Adrian… don't be so sad," Siren mumbled, standing on tiptoe to give Adrian a slight kiss, his halo hitting Adrian's top hat in the process, crunching and bending into an ugly mess of metal. Siren didn't seem to mind, though, putting his arms around Adrian's neck and leaning against him.
"I love you," Siren whispered quietly before breaking away and attempting to straighten his halo. When he was unable to, he merely shrugged and looked at Adrian. "Well, come on," he said encouragingly, "We've got a party to attend to, haven't we? If we don't hurry, someone will eat all the pumpkin pie!"
Adrian watched as Siren returned to the celebration, the pale sunlight that filtered through the trees dancing across his hair. Adrian nudged his top hat back into place before following, catching glimpses of children running about and fake cobwebs though the holes in Siren's wings and the horribly misshapen circle that had been a halo.
Siren's kiss lingered, burning, upon his lips. "I love you too," he murmured softly, knowing that Siren would hear his words and smile softly. Beautifully.
As the Halloween sun drifted red below the horizon and Siren's bright smile burned the veins behind his eyelids, Adrian thought that perhaps things would be all right.
That night Jack the Ripper walked home hand-in-hand with an angel. It was hardly different from any other night.
AN: So here's a Halloween present for all the SS fans! Hope you enjoyed it. There was... too much symbolism. Reviews are loved, and hey-- you can pretend you're trick-or-treating! And then I can pretend to give you candy! Bwa ha ha. I'm dumb. Pfft.