|A Selfless Kind of Love
Author: friendoftheearth PM
AU. Warning - no Jackson, just memories of him. Chapter 21 rated M for sexual content.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Aaron L. - Chapters: 36 - Words: 45,528 - Reviews: 239 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 06-24-12 - Published: 01-09-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6638130
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
My thanks to Sylvain for the beta work.
A Selfless Kind of Love
Craig had brooded over his experience, his 'meeting' Jackson. He knew it had happened, that it had been real. Nothing, no one would ever convince him otherwise, he just didn't understand how it was possible.
He could remember that night as if it was yesterday; the details still, all these weeks later, crystal clear in his head. He had been attracted to the other man, so much so that he had followed him into Bar West with the intent of talking to him, getting to know him. But when he'd gone inside, it was like he'd just vanished into thin air. He had been right behind him, hot on his heels, then something had distracted him, only momentarily, and in those few seconds the object of his interest had disappeared. He had looked for him, had checked every nook and cranny of Bar West, but he was nowhere to be found and, as he'd headed for the exit door, he'd spotted Aaron.
For the second time that night, he was attracted to someone and, after talking to him for a few minutes, he'd forgotten all about the dark-eyed stranger. He'd not given him a second thought, not until today, not until he realised who he was. Now he couldn't get him out of his mind. It seemed he'd seen a ghost that night! The idea didn't scare him, it was a bit too late to be scared now! Now he was just intrigued, in awe he supposed.
It had been twenty minutes or so before Aaron had joined him and Paddy by the kitchen table, and in that time they had decided not to mention what had happened. Not then anyway. They didn't know how he would take it. There were a great many ways in which he could react, he could just laugh it off, scoff at it, but then he might get angry, or it might scare him, badly shake him. Neither man wanted to upset him in any way. They'd both been shaken at first but, in those twenty minutes, they had regained their composure and Aaron hadn't sensed there was anything wrong... if wrong was the right word in this instance.
Paddy had quietly told the younger man about the pictures, that Hazel had copies of them all so they were his to keep, gently adding that he'd just shown the pictures to Craig.
Aaron had looked uneasy on hearing that, Craig knew it was an uncomfortable moment for him, his new love interest looking at pictures of his first love, someone who had meant the world to him. Aaron didn't have to worry about him being jealous, he wasn't the jealous type, not that there was anything to be jealous about. Although he didn't know him, he had the utmost admiration and respect for Jackson Walsh. From what Aaron and everyone else had told him about Jackson, he knew he would have liked him, that they would have been friends. He knew he had to say something, something that would hopefully put Aaron at his ease, and the words that had tripped off his tongue seemed to have done just that... "There's some nice ones here, you should get one framed."
Aaron had smiled at that idea, but he'd not made any attempt to look at the pictures himself. Paddy had excused himself and disappeared into his surgery. Craig knew he had to make himself scarce too, give Aaron the space he needed. "I'm going to nip to the shop and get a paper, I won't be long."
He'd done just that, had taken a leisurely stroll to the shop, had chatted to the owner, and one of the other locals, then started to walk back up the hill. But something had told him Aaron hadn't had the time he needed alone with his memories. He didn't want to intrude on them, it was all part of the healing process, and so he'd turned around and took himself off in another direction.
He hadn't planned on going to the church yard, it just happened to be in the direction he was going, the gates were open and that somehow seemed like an invitation to go in. There was no one else around, just him and his thoughts.
It was so quiet, so peaceful, an air of calm surrounded him. He felt at ease, and as he walked along the leaf-laden pathway, he realised he wasn't here by chance, that he was here for a purpose.
He had no idea where Jackson's grave was, yet his feet seemed to know the way. It was another mystery but he didn't want or need answers. He was accepting of it all now. He soon found himself looking at the marble stone that bore Jackson's name. It was in a nice spot, and fresh flowers adorned it.
He had the sudden urge to talk, to say what he was feeling; it didn't seem at all odd to be having a one-sided conversation.
"I love him, and I know you did too, just like I know you brought us together and... I just want to say thank you."
It was late autumn, the sun was shining weakly and there had been barely a breath of wind. But out of nowhere came a sudden rush of air, stirring up the leaves that lay around his feet, above him branches of an overhanging tree bowed and swayed as the invisible current swept through them. It might have spooked some people but it had made him smile. He knew his words had been heard.
As the air around him stilled, he reached out with his hand, gently trailing his fingers along the top of the stone in one
last display of heartfelt gratitude.