SPOILERS: Bang up to the minute Season 7. Stay away by all means.
DISCLAIMER: None of this belongs to me. It used to belong to Aaron Sorkin. Not so much now.
Title is courtesy of John Osborne.
FEEDBACK: Much appreciated.
THANKS: To sweetly_savage.
A/N: This is really it for me. I know I’ve muttered along the same lines before, but – bar one commitment that I hope I can make – I think the ‘ship has sunk and I’m going down with her.
There are too many of you to thank for your support and your friendship, so I’m not going to do a Gwyneth. You know who you are.
With so very much love.
The Comfortless Tragedy of Isolated Hearts
There’s a familiarity in the dark that’s not always meant comfort. Not now, though.
Were his eyes not closed, there would still be black. He is in mourning for his life, their lives, and he knows that betrayal as a theme is timeless. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last and he’s not completely sure whom he’s betrayed, just that betrayal is betrayal and he lost his head.
If not a play, then it might make a book. Though this is really not as he’d have chosen to write it.
He knows she’s there before the scent of her gives it away.
“You shouldn’t be here.” The strength of his voice surprises him. If he wants anything more than to see her, it’s to see her safe.
“I… my… it’s probably sleep deprivation or the caffeine or…”
He feels her sit next to him, the eddy of air mixing the smell of her fear, their fear, with the tang of adrenaline long gone stale.
“…or that I have no one to talk to about this thing, this thing that’s bigger than my Dad, bigger than… than work…than me” she sighs, “just… bigger. And because I shouldn’t be here, I’m gonna pretend that I’m not. Not actually here, I mean. I’m gonna pretend that I’m at home by myself,” the air moves with the wave of her hand, “and I’m not talking at all.”
With unerring aim, he finds her flickering fingers and closes his – still cold from shock – around them.
“What are you not going to say?” he murmurs.
“I’m not talking. I’m silent. I’m silent, but I’m thinking so hard that my head is hurting.” She lowers her head to his shoulder and leaves it there.
He thinks that he can feel the pulse of those thoughts through the thin cotton of his shirt and he is almost overwhelmed by the sensation until he realizes that it is his own heart that he hears.
There is silence for a long moment and he thinks how differently he felt just a few hours ago when their eyes locked across her office and he’d had to bite his tongue rather than utter the sorry sorry sorry that hovered at the tip. He would have given almost anything for her to know he’d never have let them take her, have her; that he hated himself for letting the focus fall on her; that he wasn’t sorry for what he’d said, just how she was being made to suffer.
He hadn’t thought how she would suffer. How she will. But now he can’t apologize because she knows. She wouldn’t be here otherwise.
It’s too dark to see her face, but he knows she’s crying because there’s a damp patch on his shoulder and it’s getting bigger. He hears her take a breath.
“I’m not talking to you now. I can’t talk to you now. It’s not allowed” A hand brushes past his chin on the way to wipe her eyes. “This is me thinking to myself, wondering how I can go in each day and not have you there. You’ve never not been there, Toby.” Her voice drops to a whisper. “You’ve never not been there.”
He can’t tell her that she’s wrong and that he’s always there for her and he always will be. He can’t tell her what’s right and what’s not and what she must do for the best. It’s not his right, not anymore.
He’s cut himself loose and they’re already drifting apart. He lets go of her hand.