Happy Birthday Dallas Chapter 48
A/N: This is the last chapter. I am very, very, very sad. :( Thank you everyone for sticking with this fic. I appreciate it enormously.
"It didn't mean nothing."
Dally looked up. He was sitting on a bench at the corner in the dark. Two-Bit was standing under the streetlight, a few feet in front of him. He could see his face clearly and was shocked to find him smiling.
"Come on, Dallas," Two-Bit laughed. "You're takin' it too hard. It couldn't have been that bad."
Dally stared at him. "You just…"
Two-Bit shrugged, embarrassed. 'Yeah. I was curious. You going on about it all the time, and Tim, well…" He shrugged again. "I guess I'm a little soused, too."
Dally closed his eyes, disbelieving. Tim had been right about Two-Bit, after all. "You're a fag as much as I am."
He heard the sharp intake of breath and knew he'd managed to hit the target. He smiled. It wasn't an easy thing to do with Two-Bit.
"I told you, I was drunk and curious," Two-Bit said shortly. "I ain't as if I been having a messy, month-long sex affair with Timothy fucking Shepard."
Dally cringed at the thought of Tim and stood up.
"Well, you shoulda been curious with someone else, cause I'm already taken," he snapped. He winced at the word "taken". It wasn't something he usually thought about himself.
Two-Bit raised an eyebrow at Dallas. "Yeah? The way you was acting at Buck's I figured Tim had decided that you ain't 'taken' no more."
Dally heard himself gasp and felt a stab of anger. He turned around and started walking, hardly knowing where he was headed.
Two-Bit caught Dally's arm. "Come on, don't be so fucking dramatic, kid."
"Shut up...I'm going to find Tim."
"He gonna beat me up for going after his girl?"
Two-BIt laughed. "Come on, Dallas. Give it up. It's over."
Two-Bit watched him, interested. "What, are you in love?"
Dally's silence gave him away before he could think of anything to say.
"Christ on a cracker."
"Shut up. Please..."
"Does he love you?"
"Yeah. Two-Bit just..." Dally turned around walking fast. One more crack and he was going to kill Two-Bit.
"You sure?" The idiot was running after him.
"He actually say it? Or you just lying to yourself?"
Dally stopped dead.
"He didn't say it did he."
That didn't mean anything. He knew Tim…
"Fuck, Dallas. You're kidding yourself. How many times you seen a broad go crazy cause she loved some guy who just wanted to fuck her?"
He knew Tim.
"Let it go, come on, Dally."
Two-Bit put a hand on his shoulder. Dally wanted to hit him, kick him, yell something, anything. But he couldn't move.
"He broke it off for a reason, Dal." Two-Bit sighed. "Sorry, kid. This is life."
"No." Dally's voice cracked.
"You'll get over it."
"Hey, at least you got plenty of girls chasing you now. Sylvia's been talking a mean streak about you being great in bed."
Dally gasped and clapped his hands. "Oh, good! I'm so glad. I'm so happy!" He took a deep breath and turned around. "Okay, let's go. I'm through being stupid."
He didn't cry.
They took the long way around to Buck's. Two-Bit figured Dally needed it. He didn't make a sound, but out of the corner of his eye, Two-Bit could see Dally wipe his arm across his face every couple of minutes.
A block away, he chanced a look at the blond. Dallas looked back blankly, no trace of tears. "What?" he asked, his voice low and dangerous.
"Thought you might be a little wetter, given the rain." Two-Bit raised his hands, palms up to the cloudless sky.
Dally's eyes darkened. "Fuck off."
Two-Bit hesitated. "You okay to go in?"
Dally laughed meanly. "Don't be an idiot, Mathews. I ain't goin' in there." He took off at a loping stride, leaving Two-Bit in the dust. "Don't go kissing no other queers," he called back, loud enough to scare Two-Bit, and laughed again.
The lot was dark and safe and hot and empty. It was the perfect hiding spot. Dally curled himself into a ball and tried not to think. He stared across the street at a porch-light. He counted the blades of grass near his face. He watched an ant crawl over his fingers, too curious to believe himself. It hurt.
The sound of someone's voice was enough to push away the self-pity. Dally rolled onto his back.
Johnny peered down into his face. "How's it going?" He frowned, confusedly. "You look… Did your old man kick you out?"
Dally stared at him, astounded that he didn't already know. "I ain't been home in a long while, Johnny."
Johnny sat down on the grass beside him. "Oh. I just meant… You just looked sad, that's all." He squinted at Dally, hesitating. "How come?"
Dally looked at him. "Well, Johnny," he began slowly, "Last month on my birthday, Tim Shepard got stinking drunk and decided to fuck me over. He started it and everything just got worse and better at the same time. Then some fuck-head from his gang found out and started makin' noise, so Shepard quit the deal and left me hanging and now I can't think of nothing but him and I just want him back."
He sat up and shuddered. "It fuckin' hurts, Johnny. I didn't think I could hurt this much anymore."
Johnny was quiet for a minute. Then he sighed. "Yeah, Dally, life hurts. And just when you think it can't get no worse, someone goes and kicks you in the balls." He gazed solemnly at Dallas. "But, don't worry, I ain't much for kickin'."
Dally bit his lip and before he knew it the dam had burst and he was howling with laughter and crying at the same time.
Johnny looked at him for a second and then started to laugh, too.
"Aw, that ain't fair, Johnny," Dallas gasped, wiping his face. "Here I was all prepared not to cry and you make me laugh."
Johnny grinned. "It wasn't even that funny."
"Funniest damn thing I ever heard," Dally replied. He lit a cigarette. "Johnny, man, I hope you never have to deal with this shit. On top of everything else, let me tell you, it sucks when your own friends turn on you."
"Friends. Yeah," Johnny echoed.
Dally was quiet a minute. "How much do you know, anyway?"
Johnny shrugged. "Only what you just told me," he said simply.
"Well, in that case, yeah, it sucks when your friends turn on you."
"Yeah, I'll bet it sucks when your lover does, too."
Dally smiled wryly. "Don't get wise. You don't got a habit of being mouthy yet, and now ain't the time to start. I may be a… Well, I'll still pound you into the ground, anyway."
There was a short silence, Dally trying to get his shaky breath under control while Johnny picked at the grass.
"Hell, at least you had a lover. Bein' a virgin ain't no fun."
"Makes it worse." Dally grimaced. "It's worse when you got something good and then it's gone. Don't you know that already?"
Johnny shook his head. "I'd rather have it for a little bit than never have it."
"I wouldn't," Dally said softly. "Life's easier when you don't know what you're missing. You're happier."
Johnny looked at him. "You only think you are. Life's better when some good has happened to you."
"Even if it's not happening no more," Dally whispered.
Dally closed his eyes. "Can't see why."
"You're hurtin' too much."
"Well, why don't you fucking tell me then," Dally said, irritably.
Johnny smiled. "Cause now you got hope it'll happen again."
Dally was quiet for a long while. Almost all the house lights had gone off before he spoke again.
"Johnny, you're fifteen?"
Johnny had curled up on the grass, and his voice was sleepy when he replied. "Yep. Sixteen March 1st."
"That's half a year away."
Johnny smiled, embarrassed. "Guess I'm looking forward to it."
Dally returned the smile, watching him carefully. "Yeah. We'll make it a good one. I promise."
Tim walked hurriedly down the street. It had taken longer than he had wanted to calm everybody down. Donny had been barely conscious, which Tim counted as a blessing – he'd had wrath enough coming down on him from the rest of the gang over Dally's flip-out. When Donny healed and started to talk, it was only going to get worse.
Tim rubbed his jaw where Dally had hit him. It stung like crazy but it shouldn't have. Dally had pulled his punch, and in any case, Tim wouldn't ever be taken down by one hit from the tow-head.
Dally couldn't act like that. He had to talk with him, calm him down some and explain why this was the way things had to be. Tim tried very hard to pretend that he wasn't desperate to see him.
"Hey, Shep! Hold up!"
He turned around and saw Two-Bit Mathews tearing down the street towards him.
"What's up," he said impatiently.
Two-Bit skidded to a stop. "You're looking for Dally."
Tim fumbled in his pockets for his cigarettes and found only one. "So?"
"So, leave him alone," Two-Bit said, tiredly. "He sees you, it's just gonna make him more crazy."
Tim felt a wave of irritation pass over him. "It ain't none of your goddamn business."
"He's my friend, so I'd say it is," Two-Bit returned. "He's fine. Just leave him be."
Tim glared at him. "He ain't fine if he'd going around jumping the boys in my gang." He spat. "Heard you got yourself involved."
"Donny's got plenty of friends that were readying to help him out. Half your gang against Dallas didn't seem like a fair fight," Two-Bit said.
Tim shook his head. "I gotta talk to him. Tell him to cool it."
"You know that'd make him turn right around and go lookin' for a fight."
Tim had to admit he was right. He lit the cigarette with a shaky hand, trying to clear his mind. "That ain't-"
"Don't go makin' things worse just cause you miss him already," Two-Bit said softly.
Tim struggled to breath properly. He took a drag off the cigarette and choked on the smoke. "But…"
He looked at Two-Bit.
"He'll be just fine. He's gettin' over you already."
It took several long drags off the cigarette before he could speak after that. "Good," he managed finally.
Two-Bit lit himself a smoke and offered the pack to Tim. Tim hated to bum cigarettes, but he had finished his and he needed it. They smoked in silence for awhile, looking anywhere but at each other.
"You know I kissed him," Two-Bit said suddenly.
Tim went very still.
"Not that it makes much difference now." Two-Bit tried for a laugh, but fell short. He paused, considering. "I saw him after…"
The silence made the air almost thick. Tim could barely breathe.
"What did you do," he whispered.
Two-Bit let out a sigh like a hiss. Miserable. Self-loathing. "I told him I was drunk. I told him it didn't mean anything." His voice was choked with regret.
Tim nodded. "I remember that," he said, voice filled with wonder. He'd remembered rejecting that possibility. Had it only been three weeks since?
Two-Bit's brow furrowed in confusion, but he didn't ask questions. "Yeah," he said. "I told him it was a mistake."
Tim remembered the sex. He remembered joking, lying in bed. He remembered the look on Dallas's face when he'd broken it off. He remembered his rough touch, his ragged breathing, the constant swearing. He remembered...
Two-Bit sighed again. Shrugged. "I guess I walked away from all that. Oh, well." He glanced at Tim. "I almost wish...I wish I hadn't."
Tim laughed until he cried.
He waved off Two-Bit's concern and took a gentle drag off his cigarette, listening to a car drift by, staring at nothing, his mouth relaxed in an easy smile. Heartbroken for the first time in his life.
"You lucky bastard." His voice cracked. "I wish I had."