|Let the Truth Sting
Author: Regann PM
Tomas Delgado is finally free and Todd Manning is the one in handcuffs. So why does Tomas still feel like he's the one who lost? T&B, obviously. Spoilers for the finale and vague ones for the OLTL-GH crossover.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Blair C. & Todd M. - Words: 1,199 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Published: 03-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7926444
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It takes a few hours but finally his homecoming is what Tomas has been dreaming about since he was first abducted: namely, his arms are around Blair as she fusses over the ordeal he's been through and, over her shoulder, he can see McBain and a pair of uniforms leading a handcuffed Manning through the Llanview police station. Tomas wants to revel in the moment, enjoy it for as long as he can.
Through some quirk of fate, Manning happens to glance his way just as Tomas looks up. Of course, their eyes meet.
For a second, the murderous expression that takes over Manning's face sends a chill up Tomas's spine. The ugliness there harkens back to a time he only knows of through news clips and his sister's memories, of a man who could barely find control over his raging emotions. But then it's gone, replaced by a mask that hides any evidence of what's going on behind his narrowed eyes.
Blair must notice that Tomas has tensed because she pulls away and, noticing his gaze fixed on something over her shoulder, turns to see what's caught his attention. When she sees that it's Todd, she pulls away from him like she's been burned.
When Tomas favors her with a confused look, she smiles apologetically and steps away. "I think I'll just..." She waves her hand vaguely. "...freshen up? I'll be back."
She doesn't wait for his reply before she hurries off, no doubt to compose herself. Tomas understands; it's been that kind of day. He breaks off watching her disappear around the corner in time to see that Manning is doing the same, watching every move Blair makes like it might be his last chance.
If Tomas has his way, it will be.
He can't stop himself from going over to where Manning waits, hands still handcuffed behind him. "How's it feel, Manning?" Tomas asks. "Knowing you're going to pay?"
Manning's gaze is glacial, hard but somehow...smug, despite everything. "How's it feel, Delgado, knowing you won't ever come first?"
The grin Tomas felt stretched across his face falters a little. "What are you talking about?"
Manning shakes his head. "You remember what I said before, about how she only slept with you because she was mad at me? That's hasn't changed. Blair will never love you."
"Well, she hates you," Tomas points out.
"Even if she hates me until the day I die, she'll still love me more than she'll ever love you," Manning tells him. "That won't ever change."
Tomas remembers the conversation he had with Blair's aunt, a lifetime ago now. "You're wrong," he says. "I'm going to be the one who helps her finally get over you."
"Téa really got all the brains in your family, didn't she?" he says. "I'm doing you a favor, you know. There's one thing on this earth I know and that's Blair. You're just another Max, someone she's using as a roadblock so she won't crumble and forgive me too soon."
"You killed your brother," Tomas snaps. "She's never going to forgive that."
"I lied and told her Jack was dead and I gave him to Mexican nuns," Todd shoots back. "I don't think Victor is going to be a problem if she forgave Ithat/i."
There's something about the loose way Manning stands as he talks, about the lack of that fury Téa always talked about. Everything about him is iknowing/i, and it makes Tomas's hackles rise. Somewhere, in the back of his head, Tomas's doubts take hold with every nonchalant word Manning speaks. "That's my point. You don't know how to do anything but hurt her."
"I know," Manning says, and it's soft, pained. But his eyes are steely as he adds, "But I love her and I always will. Just like she'll always love me."
There's a noise from somewhere behind Tomas, a wounded sound in a female voice, an objection perhaps, caught in a throat. Both he and Manning turn toward it to see Blair slowly moving toward them, eyes still red from all the tears she's shed since Tomas began telling her the whole, unvarnished truth, backed up by McBain in the effort it took to convince her that he was really cleared of Victor Lord, Jr.'s murder.
What unnerves Tomas is that her eyes aren't on him; they're fixed on Manning's, just like his are on her, like the way his gaze followed her out of the room earlier. "Tell him I'm wrong, Blair," Manning says. "I Idare/i you."
Blair flinches and finally lets her gaze skitter away from Manning's. To Tomas, she only says, "Can we get out of here?"
Tomas nods. "Sure, if you need to leave?"
She nods, then points toward the exit, her bracelets tinkering with the motion. "I'll just be...outside."
As Blair crosses over to McBain's office to retrieve her purse, Manning turns back to Tomas and his words are rapid-fire and cutting as he says low, where no one can hear, "You should ask McBain about where I was when he came to arrest me, you know. Or even Blair. But since you won't, I'll give you a hint - the curtains in Blair's bedroom are Iawful/i. But the sheets, well..."
Manning almost smiles. "You wish." He pauses as someone walks by but then he lowers his voice and continues. "Face it, Delgado, you'll never make her happy. Not like I did twenty years ago, and not like I did two hours ago. II will always be the one./i"
Tomas doesn't know what to say, even as denials claw their way up in his throat. None of them make it out, though, and he chokes on them, bitter like vile. All he can manage is, "You're going to jail for the rest of your life."
Manning shrugs. "Maybe, maybe not. It won't change a damn thing, though."
As if to prove his point, Manning looks toward the exit that Blair said she was leaving through and she's there, like a ghost, clinging to it. Her eyes, stark and green, are still fastened on Manning, and tears gather at the corner of eyes. The pain - and the love, a dark voice points out - are plain on her face, even as she looks away, shakes her head and walks out.
"Have a nice life, Delgado," Manning says.
Tomas wonders how Todd Manning can be the one handcuffed and all but convicted of murder and ITomas/I feel like he's the one with the walls closing in.
Tomas storms out of the Llanview PD, knowing he should be on the top of the world.
Somehow, though, it all rings false, especially with Manning's words still echoing in his ear.
I will always be the one.