This week’s song is “Angels of the of the Silences” by Counting Crows. As much as I love this song, it was a tough one to write a piece on. But I did it! 🙂 I actually went back to Michael and Aric – the two men from the first song fic – because it seemed to fit where they were. Particularly these lines…
Why’d you leave me ’till I’m only good for…
Waiting for you
All my sins…
I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you
So, first, have a listen then see what it all means for Michael and Aric.
He’s falling apart, Aric. He’s lost without you. I’m so worried about him.
“Fuck.” Aric Brewer punched the mattress then rolled over onto his back, every muscle tight, quivering with… Hell if he knew what. There was too much coursing through him. Anger, confusion, grief, yearning… He clenched his fists. He wasn’t going down that road. He wasn’t going to lay here night after night wishing for something he couldn’t have, so he grasped onto something he could deal with. The anger. Oh yeah, that he could do well.
Aric brushed aside the annoyance he felt at Trina for coming to him with her brother’s current problems. After all, she wasn’t the only one who had looked at him with sad eyes and lamented on how the break up had been so hard on Michael.
Christ, he’d just wanted to celebrate his friend’s engagement like a normal person. He didn’t fucking need this. Why was it on him how Michael was doing? Why was that Aric’s problem? He wasn’t the one who broke it off, who threw it all away.
Everyone was so worried about poor Michael falling apart, but he was the one who decided they were done, who pushed Aric away and refused to speak to him. That was on Michael. “Poor Michael” created this fucking mess and could get himself out of it. Aric owed him nothing. He had to pick up the pieces for himself and get on with his life, and Michael would have to do the same. He would have to…
Aric drew in a deep but ragged breath when Michael’s face flashed in his mind for the millionth time that day. His beautiful face that used to make Aric’s heart race, but now…now, just made it ache.
Deflated, Aric got out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom. Sleep. He needed sleep and a break from that fucking face. He grabbed the pills his doctor had prescribed a little over a month ago when he’d been desperate for the solid night’s rest that had eluded him since he’d been shoved out the door. He washed two tablets down before returning to his cold, empty bed. He struggled to keep his mind clear as the medication did it work, grasping him tightly and pulling him into the blessed black he sought. But, as he went into the darkness, he couldn’t help but hope that Michael’s continued to be just as cold and just as empty since the day he threw Aric away.
* * * * *
Aric stared up at the house. His house. Their house. He snorted. Michael’s house. That’s what it was now. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the steering wheel. He’d been sitting here, parked on the street, for the last fifteen minutes, attempting to prepare himself for what he was about to do.
Confronting Michael had never been something Aric planned to do. Ever. He’d told himself if wasn’t worth it, that if Michael wanted him out of his life, Aric would oblige. After all, he thought bitterly, he’d never been able deny Michael anything he really wanted.
The decision to do this, now, was entirely selfish. He wanted to be able to tell Trina, to tell them all to back the fuck off of him, because he tried. Not that he was foolish enough to expect anything to change by talking to Michael but he would be able to say he made the effort. Maybe, just maybe, this would bring him a small measure of closure, and he’d be able to move on. And not hurt so much. He really, really wanted to stop hurting so damned much.
Gathering his anger close to him, draping it over the pain like a cloak, he got out of the car and strode determinedly to the house. If he had to take a few deep breaths as he rang the doorbell and stood before the door that had once been his to walk through happily and freely, it wasn’t something he acknowledged.
Clenching and unclenching his fists, he waited for Michael to answer. Impatiently, he pushed the bell again and again. He was probably still in bed. Aric nearly smiled as he thought of Michael’s habit of sleeping in whenever possible, catching himself before thinking too fondly of the man who’d broken his heart.
“Should have known you’d—” The door banged against the wall as Michael stood in just inside, gaping at Aric.
“Rise and shine,” Aric said with false cheer as he moved around Michael and made his way inside.
He came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the living room and surveyed the absolute mess that surrounded him. He’d thought Trina had been exaggerating. Truthfully, he’d hoped she’d been exaggerating about just how difficult a time Michael had been doing.
“What are you doing here?” Michael snapped from just inside the room. “Did Trina send you?”
“No, but given the state of this place…” Aric turned to him. It was a struggle to school his expression, because, son of a bitch, the cloak of anger fell away. Dissolved at the sight of Michael—his Michael—so very clearly on the edge. He swallowed and continued, “And the state of you, she should have. Long before now.”
Michael shoved his hands through his black hair, causing the already tousled locks to stand on end. He wouldn’t meet Aric’s eyes, gaze darting around the room, a flush rising on his cheeks.
“Why are you here now?” he asked. “It’s been two months, why now?”
Aric steeled himself, not in defense this time, but because he knew the last thing Michael needed was to be fussed over, babied. He never reacted well to that.
“You no-showed Oliver’s engagement party.” He glanced around the room, brow lifted. “Though it looks like you had a little party of your own, and seems to be a regular occurrence. I wanted to make sure you were all right. None of our friends have seen you recently. Oliver hand only heard from you when you called to bail on him. I was worried.”
“Well, as you can see, I’m alive and fine. So…” Michael waved toward the front door.
“Alive, yes. Fine…” He sighed heavily. “Hardly.”
“You have seen me in months, so you can’t really be the judge of that, can you?”
The hurt in Michael’s voice, in his wide gray eyes, gutted Aric. Nearly brought him to his knees.
“I’m the best judge of that. I know you better than anyone. And right now, sweetheart,” he walked across the room to stand in front of Michael, “you’re a mess.”
Michael’s lips trembled a moment before he pressed them together in a thin line. Aric’s anger rose again, hot and strong, but it wasn’t directed at the man before him. It was all focused back at himself. All this time, he’d been waiting and wondering, waiting on a sign that Michael was moving on—either back toward Aric or to someone else—and wondering how he could have shoved Aric away so thoughtlessly. Waiting and wondering instead of realizing he was the one who needed to do something. He should have known that. Should have seen that Michael was hurting, drowning in his grief.
The word, though whispered, jolted Aric from his thoughts. “Don’t what?”
“Don’t pretend you care.” Michael took a step back, gaze firmly on a point just past Aric’s left shoulder.
“I’m not pretending. I do care. I’ve always cared.”
“You don’t,” he snarled. “If you did, you wouldn’t have—”
He snapped his mouth shut and turned on his heel, practically running down the hallway to their…his bedroom. Aric didn’t hesitate to follow, pushing the door back open before it had a chance to latch. Michael stood, hands braced on the dresser, head hanging low. His shoulders shook as he struggled to breathe. Aric held himself back, denied the urge, the need to go to him.
“I wouldn’t have what?” he demanded.
“Walked away!” Michael shouted, straightening and spinning around. “I know, okay? I know I told you to leave, but you just walked away without a glance back. Like I was worth nothing. Like I wasn’t worth fighting for. You proved him right, Aric.”
The way his voice broke at the end pushed Aric forward, and he grasped the other man’s arms.
“Stop it,” he hissed. “Do not bring him into this. Into us.”
“There’s no us anymore.” Michael’s breath hitched. “And that was the problem. He was always there.”
“No.” Aric shook his head. “You pushed him out when he didn’t accept me, didn’t accept you, but for some reason when he died, you let him back in. And that was the beginning of the end, wasn’t it? Your bastard of a father managed to succeed in death where he failed in life—our relationship effectively died with him.”
“You don’t understand,” Michael whispered.
“You didn’t give me a chance to understand. You shut me out then you kicked me out. I gave you what you wanted. I walked away, but if you think it was without a backward glance, you couldn’t be more wrong.” He released one arm to cup Michael’s face. “I never stopped looking back, sweetheart. You just weren’t paying attention.”
These two are living in my head and will likely be the subject of most if not all of my song fics. I hope you like them as much as I do!