вторник, 9 октября 2007 г.

cathalin: Halloween

Halloween By Cathalin
Rating: G/PG?
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. I write out of love of these characters.
Thanks: My awesome betas Judy_Blue_Cat and Melisande431
Note: Just a little piece that insisted on being written. Warnings: Not really, but set during canon times and angstier than what I usually write. Still, there’s a measure of joy here as well. Not deadJack. Let me know if you need to know more before reading. Halloween The air is crisp, laden with the scent of snow in the making. Junior’s mittened hand clasps his tightly, breathing life into his fingers, up his arm, into his heart. It reminds him of another hand that breathed warmth into him, showed him new places inside himself. “Daddy,” she says, pulling gently. Ennis shakes his head, smiles at his daughter. Her cat ears have fallen a little to one side, and he disentangles their hands, straightens the headband. “Right as rain now,” he says, and she smiles one of those radiant smiles that twist his heart. “Go on,” he says, and she skips trustingly up the path to the Smiths’ place. There aren’t many places to trick-or-treat here in Riverton, but it’s a damn sight better than how he grew up; he’d never put on a costume or rung a doorbell in his life. A silly notion flits into his head, and he fights it. He knows from experience it’s hopeless, though. What it would be like, him and Jack, somehow having kids of their own – a little girl with Jack’s eyes, a boy with his. Junior herself, because of course he wants her, but somehow – somehow theirs. Nausea churns in his gut at the wrongness of his thoughts, like it always does. An urge to hit someone, kick something, rises strong, almost overwhelming him. He pants in the cold air, hunched over, hands on his knees, fighting it all. “Daddy?” Junior’s voice is shaky, worried. He gasps in a breath, forces his voice out steady. “Fine,” he rasps. “Just need a minute.” She waits in silence, well used to her daddy’s odd ways. He straightens after a bit, looks down at her trusting eyes. “Got a Milky Way,” she says. “You wanna share?” A hot burst of love for this little girl twists through him, and he kneels down right there, on the frigid town sidewalk, takes her in his arms. “Darlin’,” he says into her hair. “Cain’t think of nothin’ better.” Her arms come around him then, pulling him to her with all of her little girl strength. After a bit, they separate, and she splits the candy bar in two, right there in the freezing night. He can give this to her, at least, the silliness of a grown man eating a candy bar on a sidewalk on Halloween night, though he can’t give her his whole heart, like a man should. The chocolate and caramel hit his tongue hard, and the longing rises again, stronger this time. Jack. He knows Jack wants it, wants them together, always has. It’s Ennis as hasn’t been able to even admit it. He can’t do it, he won’t, not never, but maybe - . He cuts his thought off, stands up, takes Junior’s hand again. “Let’s get some more,” he rasps out, and she giggles. “Get you so much candy you’ll be eatin’ it for days.” Junior laughs, delighted, and they do, visiting every house they can, not coming back till most of the jack-o-lanterns have gone dark. Alma is waiting, a sour twist to her mouth. “Took you long enough,” she says. “Finally got Francie down a few minutes ago.” Ennis just grunts, helps Junior spread out her loot, lets her stay up till her head is drooping. Alma’s gone to bed a long time ago, and the house is finally quiet. He looks in on Junior, sees the spread of her hair on her pillow, the cat ears held fast in her hand. He shrugs on his jacket, slips out the door, not letting himself think. The pay phone on the corner is a block of ice in his hand, but he punches in the number, keeping his brain carefully blank. It won’t work, it’ll be her, his wife, or they’ll be gone to some fancy party, or – . “Hello?” Jack’s voice, irritated, roots him to the ground, speechless, panicked. What the hell was he thinking? “The fuck? Who is this?” Ennis’s hand is reaching to hang up when Junior’s face swims into his mind, twisting something open in his heart. “I – .” The word is out before he can stop it, and then there’s silence on the other end for a breath or two. “Ennis?” Jack is whispering now. “That you?” Ennis curls around the phone like it’s a living thing. “I – .” God damn it, he’s acting like some girl himself. What the hell was he thinking? “Hold on, I’m switching phones,” Jack says. Ennis does hold on, rooted to the spot, desperately trying to think of what to say about why he’s calling. Jack comes back on, and Ennis blurts, “Took Junior trick-or-treating.” Damn, he hadn’t meant to say anything about that. There’s silence on the other end, then Jack says, “I took Bobby, too. First time he was old enough. Fun to see. He was a fireman, gotta love that.” There’s more silence for a few seconds, and Ennis shifts from foot to foot, watching his breath trace patterns of fog inside the phone booth. For a while it seems like it’s going to be left like that. But Jack has always known what Ennis means, and Jack speaks again, voice lower. “Thought about - .” He trails off, and Ennis knows, he knows that Jack thought about it, too. Some strong feeling grabs Ennis’s throat, tightens it with longing. “I wish - .” The words are out, almost whispered, before he can stop them, and he’s more afraid than he’s ever been, but some part of him is glad, fiercely glad, that finally, he’s said them. Jack huffs out a breath of air on the other end of the line, and Ennis can imagine his face right now, how his eyes would soften. “Me, too,” Jack breathes, voice clogged. “I gotta go.” Ennis’s voice is suspiciously thick, and for once he doesn’t care if Jack knows. “Happy Halloween,” Jack says, voice a little bitter, a little happy. “Like to meet your kid one day,” Ennis says, flinching as the words come out, unbidden and impossible to erase. Now the silence is laden, and Ennis feels sick. Why didn’t he shut up and hang up? The note of wonder in Jack’s voice, when he finally talks, is worth it, though. “I’d like that, too. See them brown eyes of yours in - .” Jack cuts himself off, clears his throat. Ennis can’t say more, he won’t, but maybe Jack gets it, probably he does. “Yeah,” he says, “yeah.” He lets himself back into the apartment silently, spares one more look at Junior, letting himself think the forbidden thoughts one more time before putting them away, locking them up. Jack’s kids would have dark hair, sparkling eyes, would have smiles fit to call out the sun on a storm-cloud day. He smoothes Junior’s hair and she curls into his hand, just like Jack curls into Ennis in his sleep, when he’s not on guard. Just for tonight, when he lies down next to Alma, he thinks of the children him and Jack could raise, in a different world, in a different time, somehow – that part is vague - part of each of them. Riding free in the Wyoming wind, laughing and tussling, secure in the knowledge their parents - . He sighs, hearing Alma’s soft breathing next to him. It’ll be embarrassing, seeing Jack next month, having told him a little of his thoughts, having let him know a little of his longings. Embarrassing, but also – also a fine thing. Jack deserves it, knowing what Ennis thinks on, late at night, or with his girls. Warming, and freeing, like shedding a costume, a costume the world makes you put on. He doesn’t give Jack much to go on, he knows that, but somehow Jack knows his secrets anyway, most of the time. Jack won’t talk about it – he knows Ennis too well – neither of them will ever talk about it – but it’ll be there, under it all, something neither of them will forget. As he falls asleep, he lets himself go there one more time, knowing that in the morning, he’ll put it all away. Maybe tomorrow he’ll pick a fight in a bar, find someone to hit, to ease the shame of having such thoughts. But tonight – he’ll carve a pumpkin with Jack, their somehow children, kids with his hair, Jack’s grin . . . . He falls asleep smiling, ignoring the burn in his eyes and the wetness on his lashes. The End

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