Title: All Out to Get You
Author: Serpentis lord_alexander
Pairing: Monaboyd, as I'm so nice.
Summary: Dom's three thousand miles away and crashing like a Spectrum ZX, and why isn't Billy picking up the bloody telephone?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I swear, I'm a leper or something.
Feedback: makes my frontal lobes tingle for you.
Author's Notes: I've been away, I don't know if you've noticed, but I think I'm back. Work ate my brains, I'm a tax officer now, you think I get inspired? This is a songfic, it's a lovely song, by the all conquering James who are marvellous, but then you don't need to have the music to be able to read. And if anyone wants the MPEG of the song, poke me and I shall provide like the sait that I am.
I'm so alone tonight
My bed feels larger than when I was small
Lost in memories, lost in all the sheets and old pillows.
Sometimes, and it is only sometimes, there are things in this world that are designed to almost destroy. An intent, perhaps, a strange need that's like salt in that it's a requirement but then O.D.ing on it will be the death. A little bit of what you fancy is fine, but you'd never have everything you ever wanted, because where's the fun in that? Having everything would kill. There's no dramatic chords that crash when you're so perfectly content, there's no adrenal rush of terror. Will he call back? Will he do this? Will he do that? Will, will, will...a mantra of will, and willing, and wilful rebellion perhaps against the threat of what could be Everything Just So.
It's 4am in L.A. There's a slow dusky pink to the horizon, though the smog intensifies everything to a blushing rose of embarrassment. A beautiful day, and so beautiful it is that it's almost disgusting, that it's wrong, because things aren't supposed to be so lovely when there's a melancholia pervading the senses of the protagonist.
And the hero? He'd prefer anti-hero. Five six? Five seven if he's on a good day, measured just out of bed when the disks in his spine are plump and at their fullest, when gravity isn't a lead-weight pulling him down. A pleasant face, nothing special, though arresting in a faintly misaligned manner that crooks his jaw and reduces his nose to a soft squash. The hair is ridiculous, frankly, especially ruffled and shaggy from endless wakefulness. All bleached tips and dark roots, it's pretentious rock-star wannabe hair. And the rings? A glitter of magpie-treasure across long boned and rather beautiful hands.
He's Dom. He's an actor. The world is at his feet, everything is swimming like a shoal of John Dory through the ocean of his life. Swimming, onwards, flashes of gold-coin scales and the gentle ripple of artistic integrity in the weeds. And yet...he's unhappy.
For perfection is not perfection unless there is something that is not perfect.
It never makes sense, that idea, and Dom ponders it over coffee that he's managed to bully the filter into making. Perfection is not perfect. It's a mind-numbing concept that is set in stone, for where's the life in being perfect? White picket fence and 2.4 children perfect. As perfect as a flawless diamond. But then Dom's never wanted kids, and he prefers the chaos of opal to the flat gleaming cut of something more precious.
Four in the morning in L.A. and he's counting on his fingers the time difference. Four...five...six...eight hours, maybe? Noon in Glasgow then, where another actor is, the childless and praline Billy that is a perfection that is so flawed that he is beauty in his variety.
He's left a message on the answer machine of a flat more than three thousand miles away. No one picked up.
Bed is a room in chaos, a requiem to one of those broken nights where sleep is slow to creep into the senses and too ready to leave. A tangle of linen and pillows and discarded clothes. Dom never begins to sleep naked but during those tormented few hours where he is mercifully unconscious they are dragged off his lean body in a twisting need to have flesh against cool cotton. Maybe he thinks, as he dreams, he is with Billy and that skin needs to slide against the brushed softness of covers/Glaswegian that his sleep-wandering mind is conjuring. Perhaps, in all reality, there is peace in the few hours he has away from endless longing? It might he true that the weight of the duvet is in his subconscious wandering mind the arm and thigh of someone wrapped about him? Dom doesn't know, and doesn't want to know; all he knows is that waking is torment, that he is alone in that king-sized prison that is lacking a small, perfectly formed Billy to make it something that isn't hell.
So alone tonight, miss you more than I will let you know
Miss the outline of your back, miss you breathing down my neck.
He has a photograph of his friend; it's casual, completely unposed, and he's producing a roar of belly-deep laughter. The usual kilt, and some black shirt with buttons undone at the throat, and Billy's glass-green eyes are crinkled, his lips parted with the positive joy of whatever he's been told. There’s no airbrushing of those creases at the corners of his eyes, that show that even though he's youthful seeming there is a wealth of experience lurking under the smooth flesh. There's no...no? In a magazine, Billy would pose. He'd be dressed in clothes chosen for him, they'd carefully light the shoot, they'd make it so that those flicking through the slick pages would see what they are supposed to see - a successful actor in his thirties. A caricature of Billyness. For who is the real one? This made up and made over man, or the pink-cheeked and laughing creature who looks human?
The second, to Dom, who knows him so very well.
All out to get you.
Once again, they're all out to get you. Once again.
Five am in LA, one in Glasgow, and our anti-hero is twitching. He's been twitching for twelve whole minutes, but it has been suppressed internally. Now, however, as the red neon numbers flick to 13.01, those beautiful hands start a piano-tattoo of impatience across lean thighs clad in creased cotton, rings flashing like beacons. Chipped nails. He needs to do them, really, a touch up of black lacquer to make them gleam.
Every five seconds Dom glances towards the telephone, as if trying to have it ring through the sheer force of his mental desire.
Ring, for fuck's sake. That's what is making him nervous, of course it is, why isn't there a phone call and apologies in that mellifluous voice? Why isn't there the chirrup of Billy being there on the other end just...talking. About nothing, and everything, and memories of hobbits and men? If it had to be, even having the cricket scores read out to him would suffice, even having Billy telling him anything about the most mundane of subjects would inject Dom with the dart of sedative that would calm him down.
He doesn't mean to get paranoid, he doesn't mean to have that foisted through his body like sizzled nerve endings on fire and settle in his head. But Billy should have phoned by now, and he hasn't, and what, screams that agile, far too imaginative part of his brain, what if something has happened? There's a screech of brakes and flesh too delicate for a car to slam into a body at over forty, and broken bleeding corpses on the pavement of Sauchiehall street as Billy lies dead and glazed in the bleak rain-swept city. Too much blood, who'd have thought a body could have held so much? And he's still be perfect in death though that life that has made those bonny green eyes has been stolen by the snapping of fragile vertebrae?
No. No. He's going to fight this. Dom drinks more coffee and attempts to ignore the jittering the caffeine causes. Just a tremor, like booze withdrawal but with the affect of setting his mind galloping about like a nervous, half-wild horse.
Insecure? What you gonna do?
Feel so small they could step on you.
What if, and Dom tries to stop this but in a way this is more dreadful than death, what if Billy doesn't want to talk to him? What if the answering machine is on because there's a want to avoid? The thought is heavy as weights hung from hooks in a carcass, numb and dragging down. Losing Billy. Has he lost him? The phone calls that had been a constant, and Dom's clinging to something tangible that is half-way across the world, across oceans and deserts, has that driven Billy away? Is he in some chic cafe talking to pretty women with breasts that curve as sweetly as pomegranates, discussing his friend Dom who was such a good mate until he became so very strange? For Billy doesn't know why, and where, and what for, and Dom hasn't the courage to tell him about the agonies of being apart when the split hasn't seemed to graze the skin of his closest friend. He doesn't know, and maybe he doesn't want to know, maybe that is why there's no answer at the end of that telephone?
The sleek thing stares across the divide of coffee table and settee at him, malevolent and sleekly black plastic.
Called you up, Answer machine.
When the human touch is what I need, what I need, what I need
"Heya Bills, only me again, just checking you're not dead or anything. I'm not bad, it's a nice day here in LA, impressed I said that in the right accent, huh? Not slept brilliant so I thought I'd give you another ring. How's things over Brit side? Hope everything's alright, just thought about you and thought I'd see if I could catch you. You're not in, that's alright though, give us a call when you get this? You're probably out being famous and not thinking at all about your sidekick, you bastard! Anyway, when you get this, give us a call, miss that crap accent of yours, you Scottish gobshite. Christ, forgot I knew that word, gobshite, that's a good one, isn't it? Like wankstain, or..."
A click as the tape ends, Dom's fingers tightening to white shards on the receiver. Cut off, there's that buzz of the international line, and he places the thing in the cradle with almost overly careful movements.
Talking is never like touching, being touched, being loved. And that's the crux, the grain at the centre of this rotten pearl, this entire point condensed into one small item. Easily digestible. The egg of the cake, the silver tarnished coin in the plum pudding of the situation.
What I need?
I need you.
Love. Being alone. Being in love and being alone and never seeing a way out of this thing.
Billy isn't a queer, who'd have ever thought that he was? He's not that, he's not like Dom who isn't really queer himself but has a tendency to fall for the person and not the gender. Billy, with his sweet womanish mouth and receding hairline, his sensible taste in clothes, who could ever hope and pray that he may slowly turn to that idea when he so obviously will not? Dom lives it, and breathes it, he's asked God and Allah and most of the Hindu deities to try and make it be, though in that desperate and rather passive way that someone who doesn't believe tries ancient superstitions because they are a last resort. The dreams are nightmares that tell him that he's with Billy because when he slowly comes around in that sleep-addled sense of half-consciousness he reaches out and Dom is always alone.
It's six in the morning and he's slowly falling apart because there's no safety net there, no Billy to talk him down. Depression has been tasted before though Dom fought that away, but there's always been a terror of relapsing into the despair of listless fear. What he was terrified of that time was something less easy to trace but this, this could be slowly untangled and unknotted, the threads reknitted into place, and they'd create an image of Billy in guilt and want and upset.
Looked in the mirror, I don't know who I am any more -
The face is familiar but the eyes - the eyes - give it all away.
A shower and a shave, hair plastered back like some second rate Spanish gigolo. The razor glints lights and sunlight as he squints and stares at himself through the mask of steam and foam. Masks, always masks, hiding behind them because that's safe and never letting that skim of cheerful Domness crack. After all, that would be weak and Dom hates being seen as unable to cope. But it's there, he can see it at seven o'clock LA time and now it's three in the afternoon in that godforsaken Scottish city and there's no phone call.
Silence. Not golden. It's a tarnished silver, a lowering cloud that has no lining to speak of. Even with the television blaring out CNN and the faint hum of a vacuum cleaner in the hall outside this room, nothing can shatter the bubble of overblown quiet that rests like a shroud across Dom's shoulders. He waits now, like someone who is waiting for the news of a death, with obsessive desperation to have the entire situation over.
Usually the mask can hide these emotions that crackle across his eyes and mouth, usually the lips tug into a grin and kitten-blue eyes are bright with merriment, but not today. Not now Billy has ostracised him and there is a silence a continent and an ocean wide. Usually Dom can hide behind laughter, but when there's no one to make laugh...
Billy, who has the most beautiful smile, who has the most beautiful mouth. He laughs for Dom, and the realisation of being able to do that is heroin to the mind. If he can make this handsome, wonderful man feel so very good, then that is Dom's goal; he is the Joker, the Clown, the Court Jester to the prince that is William Boyd. There's no outlet now, not for that bubbling need to be needed. After all, he provides a service for his friend. And if there is nothing more to be given, is there nothing more to be said? Is there nothing more to go onwards with, into the metaphorical sunset, no white charger of humour that brings a sparkle to not just Billy's seafoam eyes?
He stares into the mirror without focussing, eyes half-dazed with the solidity of what is being wielded at him, what is he is being pressured into believing.
All out to get you
Once again, they're all out to get you -
Here they come again, here they come again, here they come again, here they come again.
Red numbers that seem to loom like the countdown towards execution click to eight, then nine. More coffee is drunk and Dom is pacing now, sugar and the blackness of the liquid making him need to shift. He rearranges things, does his hair into that chaos of spikes that signifies someone who doesn't want others to think they're trying when in reality they're trying rather too hard.
Four in Glasgow. Five. There'd be Ready Steady Cook on BBC2, or repeats of Buffy on Sky One. Cooking tea, people coming home, there's a song that snatches into his head by Del Amitri about record players and being lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow. By five o'clock everything's dead, it's small town life, not something as vast and confusing as a city. Maybe Billy's on the underground somewhere in the bowels of Glasgow, maybe he's disconnecting the phone so Dom can't ring again. He's taken to doing that every so often, aware shamefully of his own desperate note rising. Tremors, like trills, like the slow climb of notes from bassoon to piccolo. It rises more with each time he gives into the demon and rings. Billy's probably removed the phone from the socket and is in peace, with people he wants to be with, not worrying about some poor bastard crackling under the glaze of a demeanour half way across the planet.
The tension is such, the building pressure that needs release, that he wants to break something. Scream. Anything. Silence oppressing and nervousness constricting about his chest corset-like, the thought of no Billy, or worse...
So much worse...
Billy being in the world and thinking ill of Dom.
Insecure? What you gonna do?
Feel so small they could step on you.
Called you up, Answer machine,
When the human touch is what I need, what I need, what I need.
"Heya Bills, just seeing if you're definitely not dead but then if the police had come into your flat they'd have seen the message button blinking and would have called me, wouldn't they? Just seeing if you're alright, and you're not mad at me, because I swear I never stole anything from you, well, a apart from that bottle opener shaped like a shark, but I swear I'll return it. Actually, I had it taken off me when I was coming over here so I'll get you a new one. Bills, if you're there, pick up? Maybe you are and you're in the bath or you're temporarily blinded and can't see the machine blinking? But if you are, pick up and..."
"Fucking thing, always cuts me off. If you're not there then I'll just have a chat to you on this. Did you know you sound like a right ponce on this message at the beginning. 'I'm not here at the moment, but if you leave your name and number I'll call you back.' That's so bloody normal, that is, Christ almighty you've got famous friends, get Andy to do Gollum on it for you, that'd be fucking ace, that would. Or anyone, just you sound like Miss Goody Two-Shoes, Mr Prissy Pants. Look, I didn't mean to insult you, if you're pissed off with me just overlook this entire message and think about the last one and the..."
"You need a longer tape in that, you do. Really, Billy...if you're there, please pick up. Miss you, just want to hear your voice that's all, so I'll leave you to it. Sorry about spamming your answer machine, talk soon, alright?"
What I need?
What I need?
Ten a.m. and there's nothing. No call, no voice, Dom's staring listlessly at the screen and holding the phone receiver in his hand in the slowly ebbing hope that maybe Billy will call. Even to say 'fuck off you stalker' but it would be interaction and contact is so very needed at the moment. He stares at the screen, some shite Americanised anime about young girls with unfeasibly large tits, wondering if this is what his life is going to be; loneliness and the desperate connection that is being frayed through Billy not being there.
Faint knock at the door, apologetic, and he's not ordered room service. Dom's so tempted to leave them to fuck off as his bed doesn't need changing or his bathroom cleaning but he has to be civil, doesn't he, the world isn't coming to an end. Finally, with the gentle tap of the third attempt he is up and opening the door and the waiter is a small, slim Glaswegian with eyes the colour of breaking foam and a mouth that was modelled in perfection, and with that Dom is clinging to Billy wordlessly, feeling the warmth of summer perspiration against his bare chest and small, neat hands stroking at his shoulders.
"What the fuck...?"
"Thought I'd come and surprise you."
Billy's dragged in, and dragged back into the tightest of embraces when the door slams as Dom just can't. Let. Go. Not now, not when the darkness is cracking with the faintest trickle of luminescence, not when Billy's holding him. Aware of babbling something, endless, he tries to be quiet but when his eyes meet Billy's own there's nothing left to say even if he tried.
Let me breathe, if you let me breathe..
Fingers, gentle, trace stubble that Dom seems to have permanently, even when he's shaved and is looking young and confused and oddly desperate. Maybe he is asleep and this is one of those cruel, twisting dreams that will have him awaken with a grunt of hope before everything is dashed on the rocks of internal despair. Kind Billy, holding him, slender and sweating in the change of climate from temperate Glasgow to vicious LA, even though the air conditioning is whirring away softly in the background.
"You look like shit," Billy murmurs in an oddly paternal manner, and Dom laughs almost hysterical as tension cracks and then, finally, he's too ruled by his senses not to do this, he's kissing Billy who tastes like duty free scotch and mint toothpaste, like tiredness on a red-eye flight that takes eighteen hours and the cracked lips that are the curse of recycled air. Kissing and not letting go, refusing to let go and no one could get a crowbar between them, especially as Dom is aware, vaguely, that the caressing hands are cupping his backside through the crumpled cotton of his pyjama bottoms.
Slowly, as they melt into one octopus of limbs and gasps and liquid noises of mutual hunger, before mouths duel again, Dom manoeuvres Billy towards the nuclear holocaust that is his room and makes the case for never being alone in his potent mind ever again.