Author: Renee-chan PM
It's been two years since George met Woof. Those two years have changed him dramatically, but he still isn't ready to give up being the man his parents want him to be. Unfortunately for him... that isn't always a choice. Sequel to "Don't Put it Down".Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Angst - Chapters: 2 - Words: 9,769 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 06-14-10 - Published: 06-12-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6046097
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
June 14, 2010: And now I give you part 2, where our intrepid couple finds their way back to the beach... and destiny finally reveals its hand. ^_~
And do remember... comments and reviews are love! ^_^
Fandom: Hair, the musical: 2009 Revival
Pairing: *sweatdrop* All over the place. Berger x Woof, Berger x Jeanie, Berger + Sheila. *chuckles* Berger was gettin' around this fic... ^_^
Word Count: 8,640
Warnings: Slash. ^_^ Got the gen out of my system with the last fic. ^_^
Disclaimer: Neither the musical nor the boys belong to me, if they did they'd be groping each other on sta-. *pause* *blinkblink* Huh. Look at that... they do. *eg* :D ((Hair was written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni with music by Galt MacDermot.))
On a side note! I am currently compiling a list of places where I have found Hair fanfiction. The post where I am doing so can be found on my LJ (rchan . live journal . com - just look on the right hand side. You'll see the link. ^_^) If you can think of any others that I've missed, or if you've written something that you want included, you can leave me a note on the post, PM me here or send me an e-mail (chibi1723 [at] hotmail . com).
Why am I doing this, you ask? I have some vague thoughts of trying to get a Hair fanfiction archive going. I love this fandom so much (and it is so very hard to find fanfiction for it!), and I really don't want to see the fandom die when the shows close. Thoughts, comments? Anyone but me interested in something like that? Thanks in advance for your help!
Donna - Part 2
It was almost another three weeks before they managed to get back to the shore as George had been distracted with Jeanie. Unlike most of the others, the free-spirited girl didn't demand much from him. In many ways, she had always been like Woof had tried to tell him he could be that night at the beach - someone that just accepted George for who he was. She didn't need anything from him. Just for him to be himself. And because she was high so often - and he was generally the same when around her - she didn't really remember from one day to the next what he was supposed to be. So, he could try out different parts of himself and see what felt most comfortable and there was never any censure from her. It felt good. It felt beyond good.
And she was just so giving, so comforting... she was like having a living teddy bear that one could drag around with one's self. Maybe that was unfair, thinking of her that way, but George had a feeling that Jeanie wouldn't mind if she knew. She just took everything at face value. Woof liked her, too. They got along like two peas in a pod, those two. Then again, Jeanie looked at the world from a slightly skewed perspective of her own. Maybe it was the drugs, maybe it was just her own sensitivity, but she always seemed to know what everyone else was feeling. She was like a living mood ring for their little group. In truth, between her and Woof, it was a little creepy sometimes. But she told the best stories.
One night, Berger was sprawled out in the grass, his head resting on her right thigh as he stared up at her, puffing away at a joint they'd been nursing all evening. She'd been telling him a story - this one about some fairy princess that lived in the moon, of all places - when she'd abruptly stopped, "You know... you don't look like a George, George."
It was such a non sequitur that, for a moment, George wondered if he'd passed out and missed part of the conversation. Fighting his way back through the haze that was currently fogging his brain, all he could manage in response was, "Huh?"
Jeanie shrugged, completely unconcerned with his confusion, "You know. You don't look like a George. A George is someone whose middle name is responsibility, man. That's not you." She snorted, "That's not any of us. George is uptight and wears perfectly pressed black slacks complete with oxford shirt, tie and polished to a shine shoes. Maybe even a sport coat. He goes to some fancy-shmancy prep school and is heading straight for Harvard or Yale. You're not that guy, George. You're never gonna be him." She shrugged, "I don't know. It just doesn't jive. It screws with your aura, man."
George stared up at her for a minute before reaching a hand up to take back the joint. She seemed to want some kind of response from him, but for the life of him, he didn't know what to say. To buy himself some time, he took a puff of the joint, held it in for one heartbeat... two heartbeats... three... then let it out in a slow spiraling breath. Jeanie laughed in pure delight. Having succeeded in distracting her, George wasn't taking a chance that she'd get back on that uncomfortable topic. Snuffing the joint and tucking it back in his pocket, he reached up for her. She came willingly into his arms, an understanding smile on her face as she indulged him in the first of many long, languorous, haze-filled kisses.
However, long after they were both sated, laying blissfully in Washington Square Park's dew-laden grass, George still couldn't get that conversation out of his head. He'd already changed so much of himself these last two years. His name was one of the few things he had left that connected him to his old life, his parents... his sister. How much more could he change before there was nothing of him left? How much more did he want to change? And just like that, it wasn't fun anymore. Holding Jeanie close to him and fighting off a sudden case of the shakes, George fought with the tears that rose up in his throat. He wasn't ready to give it up. Who he was. Some part of him still wanted to be that perfect son, the reliable older brother... the one who could attract a woman like Donna Mitchell. But as Woof and now Jeanie - the two people in all his world who saw him most clearly - had said... he wasn't that guy, would never be that guy. Now the only question that remained was, did he even want to be?
The next morning, he took leave of Jeanie and went after Woof. He was feeling a sudden, intense need to go home and he'd promised the other boy that they'd visit the beach again. Now seemed to be perfect timing. Of course, Woof didn't protest. He was always happy when George sought him out, was beyond happy when he realized they were going off on a solo venture, just the two of them.
The first stop was his parents' house. Only this time, he didn't sneak them in the window of his bedroom to steal swim trunks. This time they went in the front door. His mother was surprised to see him, but shook it off quickly in favor of delight, "George! And you brought a friend with you!" Reaching out a hand to Woof, she turned on her full charm, "Elaine Berger. I'm George's mother. It's a pleasure to meet you!"
Woof gingerly shook the offered hand and with a shy smile, answered, "Neil Donovan, ma'am. It's good to meet you, too. George has said some nice things about you."
George stepped out of the way as his mother herded Woof into the house. It was... something just felt wrong. It made him edgy, tense. Why did he feel like this every time he stepped into his own house? A gentle tug on the fringe of his vest brought his attention away from his mother and Woof. Sammy smiled shyly up at him, "Hi, George."
Pulling the twelve-year-old into a tight hug, he smiled, "Hey, squirt. Whatcha been up to?"
She shrugged, fisting her hands in his fringe as she snuggled close, "Just hanging out with my friends, going to the shore. You know. Stuff."
Ruffling her hair gently, George laughed, "Stuff, huh? Hopefully not the kind of 'stuff' that'll get you in trouble...?"
Snorting, she punched him in the side, "Geooorge. I'm not you, you know. I know how to behave. I don't get in trouble."
"By which you mean you just don't get caught, right, squirt?" He then reached out his hands to grab her around the waist and throw her over his shoulder where he had fantastic access to tickle her mercilessly. After a few minutes of her delighted kicking and squealing, he finally let her down again.
Far from being upset, she threw her arms back around him and let out a satisfied sigh, "I've missed you, George. Why don't you come home, anymore? Where do you go? Don't you miss me?"
Holding her close, George swallowed hard, "Of course I miss you, Sammy. I just... I have things to do, you know? People who need me. I can't be here all the time." Left unspoken was the thought that being cooped up in this house for the entire summer would likely drive him mad. His sister didn't need to know that.
That was the moment when his mother and Woof reemerged from the kitchen. Woof had a delighted smile on his face and his mother looked extremely pleased. George's heart sank. Elaine smiled at her two children and simply asked, "Samantha, honey, how would you feel about going to the shore with George and Neil instead of me, hmm?"
Samantha let out a breathless squeal of delight and ran over to give her mother a hug, "Oh, mom, can I?"
Staring down at the bouncing 12 year old, George felt a completely irrational desire to yell, "No!" and run screaming from the house. But he didn't. Today... today he was George. Today he was a brother, a son, a friend. Today, he was going to be that person... because he was getting the feeling that that person's days were numbered. So, instead, he pasted a broad grin on his face and said, "Sure. Why not?"
Samantha let out another happy squeal, hugged him, hugged Woof and then ran upstairs to her bedroom to get changed into her bathing suit and beach clothes. Woof just smiled and headed to George's room to go get swim trunks, too. Before George could follow, his mother grabbed his hand. Turning back, he couldn't help but notice the telltale shimmer of tears in her eyes, "George... we have missed you. I know... I know you have other things occupying your mind these days and it is summer... but could you come home a little more often? Please? Your father and I worry about you..."
And there it was again... the wrong. It felt like a noose tightening around his neck and it was making it hard to breathe. He wanted to agree, wanted to say "Yes," wanted to promise his mother anything and everything to get that shine out of her eyes... but he couldn't. He couldn't make that promise. He needed to say "No." Before he could open his mouth to do it, however, his mother sadly shook her head, "You don't have to make me promises that you can't keep, George. Just... please try?"
Taking his noncommittal grunt for a positive response, Elaine smiled, "OK, then." She stepped away from him to reach for her purse and pull out some money. Ignoring George's vehement protests, she said, "Enough. You know I'm going to win in the end, so why do you even argue with me?" Faced with that immutable logic, George could only sigh. That caused her smile to widen, "Good. Now, that should be enough to cover a hot dog, fries and sodas for each of you. And while you go get changed, I'll make up a few sandwiches so you'll have something to eat after you let Neil and your sister steal the rest of your food."
He couldn't help snorting out a laugh at that last, "You're the best, mom. Bologna on rye?"
Elaine laughed, "Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mustard and 'For G-d's sake, hold the mayo!' Right?"
Brushing a kiss against his mother's cheek, he gave her an impish grin, "That's my sandwich!"
Buoyed by that moment of humor, George went to go change into his swim trunks. This time, he actually grabbed towels, sunscreen and a beach bag, too. If he was going to be responsible-older-brother-man, he was going to do it right. It took another half hour to get everyone ready, but George was almost glad of the time to get his head together. Especially as it was now pounding so hard. Damn it. Wrongwrongwrong, again. He sighed. Why couldn't this be easier? Keeping his whimper strictly internal, he bundled up Woof and Samantha and herded them out the door.
By the time they reached the boardwalk, it was clear to see that the place was packed. Now deep into the summer season, the entire population of New Jersey seemed to be there. Woof was awed. Samantha, on the other hand, was not to be denied, "Come on, guys! I know a spot where it's a little emptier. It's about a mile up the boardwalk. Shouldn't take us long to get there. Let's go!"
Wordlessly, they followed along in her wake. And sure enough, she was right. Past the shops, the gaming booths, the food stands and the amusement park rides, it was a little clearer. Making their way down to the sand, they spread out their towels and got out of their clothes. George then got out the sunscreen and, ignoring Samantha's squalling protests, started slathering her up. Once that was done, she immediately yanked the stuff out of his hands to return the favor... and used half the bottle. When she finished, she smiled at her now very white brother, made a pleased noise and took off for the ocean.
Woof just looked up at him and started to laugh. George rolled his eyes, "Yeah, yeah. Real funny. How about you just take the excess off me to use for yourself, huh?" Still laughing, Woof complied. They'd been lucky neither of them had gotten burnt last time they were here, and with Woof's fair skin, George wasn't taking any chances.
Somewhere in the midst of helping Woof lather himself up, George couldn't help but realize something uncomfortable. This skin of responsibility... he'd shucked it off two years ago, but it was settling back around him like it had never left. Some deep, inner part of him was nearly cheering in response. Maybe... maybe he could be this. He could be a George. He could be the responsible brother, the reliable son. He could be a good influence on Woof and Jeanie. He could go to school. He could get good grades and go to college. He could be a lawyer, a doctor... his father would like that, having his son join him in his practice...
But as he allowed each successive thought, he could feel his breath speeding up, his heart starting to pound. Panic... this was panic. Abruptly sitting down, he buried his head between his knees. Woof wrapped an arm around him and made soft shushing noises as he rocked him, "Easy, George... easy. Remember? You don't have to try so hard. You can just be you, right?"
Unsettled and now irritable, George shrugged off Woof's arm and lurched to his feet, "But... how do I know who me is, Woof? Me... 'Me' is George. 'Me' is Samantha's older brother. 'Me' is Elaine and Jack Berger's son. 'Me' is your friend. 'Me' is the leader of the Tribe. 'Me' is your lover, Jeanie's lover, everyone's lover. 'Me' is a student... 'Me' is a hippie, a rebel. 'Me'..." Voice choking on a small sob, George sank back to the towels and all but fell into Woof's embrace, "'Me'... doesn't know who he is, anymore."
Woof let George have a few minutes to get himself back together before speaking, "Well... 'Me' likes you, anyway, George. But 'Me' can't answer that question for you. Only you can." Placing a gentle kiss on George's temple, he sighed, "I wish it were different, though. I'm tired of seeing you suffer."
Gingerly wiping his eyes and cursing when he got sunscreen in them, George let out a breath, "Yeah... and I'm getting tired of suffering, too. Believe you me, Woof. I'm pretty damned sick of it." He then rose to his feet and grabbed his wallet, "Why don't you go join Samantha for a while? I'm gonna go head up to the boardwalk and get lunch for us, OK? She'll be hungry when she gets done swimming. She always is."
Recognizing George's need to get away, Woof agreed without fuss. It was quieter down at this end of the beach. Hopefully their stuff would be safe. George climbed back up onto the boardwalk and started the long trek back to the more populated area, mind in a whirl of confusion. Deep in his gut, he knew what the answer was. As Jeanie had said so eloquently, he wasn't a "George". He never would be. But if he wasn't a "George"... who was he?
The empty stretch of boardwalk soon gave way to a few small shops selling towels, trinkets made of seashells, bathing suits, sunscreen, summer dresses, anything one could possibly need while spending the day at the shore. He paused at one of them, browsing idly through a few of the trinkets. He felt like he'd reached this odd point of limbo between his old life and his new one and he was in no hurry to complete the transition.
Moving on to the next shop in the line, he was greatly amused to find the main counter filled with glass pipes of varying colors and functions and there was a bar over the counter from which hung peace signs of every shape and size. Instantly drawn to it, George went inside the store to find the proprietor. He would have thought he'd have remembered a store like this on the boardwalk... but really, would he have thought to look for it before?
He spent the next several minutes talking shop with the owner, delighted to have found such a haven amidst the confusion of the day. Guy was even cool enough to share his joint. George felt a momentary pang for indulging when he was supposed to be "responsible older brother guy," but squashed it. "Responsible older brother guy" needed to loosen up or he was gonna have a stroke. Mind now drifting on a happy little cloud of smoke, George found his eyes drawn to the other counter. There was a wristband sitting there all by its lonesome among a cornucopia of hemp bracelets: soft, supple, dark brown leather. He lifted it off the counter and was pleased to find that it felt as soft as it looked. He couldn't say why he was so drawn to it... except that it had looked so out of place among those ordinary hemp bracelets, one of a kind... and something that "George" would shy away from. This whole store was something "George" wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole... yet he felt so comfortable here, it was like coming home.
With a lump in his throat, he queried after the price. High on his own haze of smoke and affected, himself, by how affected George was, the proprietor just smiled and snapped the wristband around George's left wrist, "For you, man? Today? Consider it a gift." Before George could even protest, the man shook his head, then pulled George closer and planted a soft kiss on his forehead, "For the journey, man. To keep you grounded." Then with a wicked smile, he waved George on his way, "Catch you on the flip side, brother."
As he left the store, George found himself gently rubbing the leather band on his wrist. It felt so right... just sitting there, sun-warmed leather against his skin. Even though the rest of him almost fit in with the parade of other bodies on the boardwalk, this marked him as unique. "George" wouldn't wear something like it. As the smoke haze started to clear, his mind settled back into its earlier state of confusion. That store... he'd understood something important while he'd been in there. He knew he had. But with the haze, that revelation was also fading. He was almost tempted to go back and beg another drag, but if there was one thing George Berger didn't do, it was beg. By the time he reached the hot dog stand, he still hadn't come any closer to an answer. It was enough to make him want to pull out his hair in frustration. Why he thought he'd reach an answer today, he didn't really know. What he did know, though, was that he was running out of time. He was reaching a breaking point of sorts and if he didn't make a decision soon, the decision would make him... or worse, it would break him. He didn't want that. If he was going to lose himself, he wanted to do it on his own terms. He wanted it to be his own choice. And he wanted to have a say in who he would become. He didn't want to just get swallowed up by the waves. He couldn't be that passive.
It was with an irritated scowl that he realized that what he had thought was the line to the hot dog stand was actually anything but. There was a cluster of people along the railing, blocking his way to the cart. Annoyed by the unnecessary delay, George started pushing his way through the crowd. Good grief, there were a lot of them... and every one of them perfectly processed, neat as a pin, clean cut prep school boys. They were "Georges." That thought brought him up short. These... these were "Georges". Staring around at the sea of young men, his heart tripped into a rabbit-fast beat. These... they were built to be "responsible older brother guy." You could see it stamped across each of their faces.
And there was nothing of him in any of them.
That thought floored him. He had absolutely nothing in common with these boys. Nothing. How could he? They were nothing like him. They'd grow up, get married, buy houses, have kids, get a dog... probably all not more than a stone's throw from where they were born. Maybe one or two of them would do something more with their lives - become politicians, soldiers, doctors, lawyers... whatever. And they'd be thrilled to do it. The stark contrast was overwhelming and George couldn't stand another minute of having that truth shoved in his face.
Pushing his way through the crowd, he desperately tried to find the other end. Just when he thought he'd reached it, however, a small hand on his bare wrist brought him up short. The small voice accompanying it asked in an excited whisper, "George? Is that you? Did you bring Neil with you?"
For a moment, he felt a rush of blinding panic. George... is that me? I don't know anymore... Who the hell am I, anyway? Then he understood. Looking down into a pair of earnest bright blue eyes attached to a head of blond pigtails, he finally made the connection, "Patty...? Yeah, Neil's here, but he's down in the ocean with my sister somewhere. Is Donna with you?"
Delighted to be remembered, the girl shook her head, "No, not this time. I came down with my sister - the one who's going to college here in the fall." Making a face she added, "But we haven't even made it down onto the sand yet." She sighed, "We go through this stuff every time we go somewhere together. I'll tell you, George, I really love her, but she is a pain in my neck!"
George felt his eyebrow climbing in spite of himself. Waving around at all the drone-boys, he said, "You mean she's responsible for all this? Who the hell is she? The Queen of England?"
Patty snorted, "Yeah, right. More like Joan of Arc." Then tugging lightly at his hand, she said, "Come on, I'll introduce you."
As she pulled him effortlessly back through the crowd, George had to laugh at her technique. In their wake, they left more than a few of the boys hopping on one foot and wincing. He'd have to remember that trick next time he needed to get through a crush of people - step on enough toes and the rest get out of your way.
And then the crowd opened up. For a moment, George thought he was sun-dazzled, or still drifting on that smoke-cloud. For in front of him was a vision better and more beautiful than any drug trip he'd ever taken. In spite of himself, he found his eyes starting at her feet and traveling up. She had on a pair of leather sandals, delicate things, almost no better than being barefoot. He liked that. Slim calves, but trim, muscular - she probably did a lot of walking. He liked that, too. Starting just above her knees, her body was clad in a lacy, white sundress. It was loose and flowing, but clung just enough in all the right places to show off a figure just as slim and trim as her legs. And thanks to the breeze, he could also tell she wasn't wearing a bra underneath it. He really liked that. Forcing his gaze upwards, he noted the long stretch of her neck, around which hung a wooden peace sign, huge and proud and solid. Traveling further upwards, he saw a strong chin in a heart shaped face, rosy, high cheekbones, full, luscious lips and a mass of feathered, unbound, sun-blond hair. And the piece de resistance... a pair of the most piercingly clear ice-blue eyes he'd ever seen. When they locked on his, the entire rest of the crowd melted away.
There was such passion, such fire in those eyes... such certainty. This was a girl- no. This was a woman who knew exactly who she was and exactly what she wanted from life. She was strong, solid... a rock. She could be a shelter, someone he could lean on... someone who could take this burden of responsibility off his shoulders. And, oh... the blazing heat of that gaze... Suddenly, George couldn't help but remember that the fire that burns the hottest is always blue.
Drawn in by that gaze, unable to even look away, he came forward. He heard Patty's introduction out of one ear, but couldn't even make out the words. The woman in front of him filled his vision, his hearing, his every sense. And, amazingly enough... she seemed just as taken in by him. What he could possibly be, what he could possibly have done, to earn that attraction, he hadn't a clue. Whatever it was, she clearly saw something in him that she liked... something she didn't see in the veritable ocean of clean-cut boys around her. She didn't want to grow up, marry, have a house bought for her to clean and raise children in. Her passion, her strength... they were for something better. Something more. And, oh G-d, how he wanted to be along for that ride!
Stepping up to her so their bodies were separated by mere inches of air, George offered her a beaming smile. Her own lips twitched in response, then widened into a beaming smile of their own. Then she spoke. And her voice... oh, her voice was like rich velvet. George immediately wanted to roll himself up in it. But there would be time for that... as much time as he wanted. For now, he just did his best to focus on her words. And what she said was, "Hi. My sister spoke rather highly of you and your friend last time we were here. It's a pleasure to meet you at last. I'm Sheila. Sheila Franklin."
And there they were. George could feel it... the edge of the precipice under his feet. He could be George for her, for now... he could try. He could be "responsible older brother guy." He could try to take care of her... but in the end, he knew he wouldn't be able to maintain that. Jeanie and Woof were right. He wasn't that guy. And today had shown him that in bright, Technicolor clarity. He would never be that guy... and he didn't want to be. And somehow, he knew that for Sheila... that would be all right. She didn't want a guy to protect her - she could take care of herself just fine. She didn't want a clean-cut, prep school boy. She wanted something different... someone different. Well... he could be different. He was different. And he wasn't a George.
Smile widening as something finally settled into place deep within him, he finally let go of the past. And, in that moment... George died, quietly, with no fuss... not even a whimper. Sliding a hand around Sheila's waist and pulling her flush up against him, he placed a gentle kiss on each of her cheekbones, "Hey, Sheila. Nice to meet you, too. I'm George Berger... but I don't dig George so much. Berger will do just fine."
Woof: Well... I guess that wasn't so bad...
Berger: *busy with Sheila off in the corner*
Sheila: *voice drifts back* Are you sure this is legal? *gasp* Oh... never mind... I suddenly don't care... *_*
R-chan: *twitch* This is the after-fic silliness, you know. You could go join them...
Claude: ^_^ *wanders off to the corner*
Woof: ;_; But... But I thought you liked me!
R-chan: *cuddles the Woof* I do! Woof, I do! O_O Trust me, you have a happy ending coming your way, too.
Woof: *sniffles* Promise?
R-chan: *rae* Do I lie about these things?
Woof: O_O *shakes head* No, ma'am.
R-chan: *pleased smile* *patpats the Woof* Good. At least one of you trusts me. *glares in Claude's direction*
Berger/Sheila: O_O *twitch* Not gonna ask...
Questions, comments, piney apples?
What? I've been playing .hack infection lately. So sue me. ^_^