Posted here for a friend.
Do you know the story of the Doctor and River Song in Doctor Who? If so, then this is pretty much that. If not, then let's just say that it's the most romantic thing I've heard while still breaking hearts.
The first time Rex meets Gatlocke, he becomes acutely aware of just how different Gatlocke is from any other person he's met.
Well, that is to say, it's not quite that Rex has met a lot of people. But as a Providence Agent, he's met plenty of scums. And as far as Rex is concerned, Gatlocke ranks pretty high as a scum. It's just that…
Most scums try to kill him, not kiss him.
And despite the fact that this is the very first time that they've met, Gatlocke just reaches over, grabs Rex's head with his cybernetic arms, and places a kiss on his forehead. If it stopped there, Rex could've just chalked it up to some kind of a strange merchant greet (to which the rest of the merchants denies vehemently when Rex asks). But Gatlocke doesn't stop.
He places two kisses on both of Rex's eyelids. He kisses Rex's nose. And it is only when he goes for Rex's mouth that Six finally steps in and stops the merchant by pressing his blade against Gatlocke's throat. Then Gatlocke backs off, holding up his hands as if to say "Who me?" and grins and grins and grins.
Throughout the entire debriefing, Gatlocke's eyes never stray too far from Rex, almost as if he's trying to memorize every detail. He chuckles whenever he spots Rex doing anything (and believe him when he says that he's never been so self-conscious his entire life). Sometimes, Gatlocke just grabs Rex for no apparent reason other than the fact that he can. Touch his arm, hug him tight, grab his ass. It is infuriating as hell because Rex can never predict it to stop it.
But then the meeting's over and Rex slowly finds himself relaxing because this is it. After the debrief, he never has to deal with Gatlocke ever again. He's going to be free from this creepy attention
And then Gatlocke kisses him.
It's not one of those chaste "I love you, Grandma," type of kisses. It's a full-on, passionate make out, and Rex is just so damned confused. This is the first time they've met and what the hell is this guy doing with his tongue?! Gatlocke ravishes him, ignoring the way Rex is smacking at his chest to try and get some air. He just grabs so tightly that it hurts and he kisses and pushes and takes.
Six rips them apart, pushing Gatlocke back as he makes sure that Rex is okay. They're both breathless and Rex just doesn't get it because Gatlocke looks like he wants to cry. Like he doesn't ever want to leave. He shoves Six aside and grabs Rex by the shoulders. And instead of trying anything, he just looks Rex straight in the eyes and says, "I love you. Don't give up on me."
It doesn't sound romantic at all. It sounds more final. Almost like Gatlocke's saying good bye forever. Almost like he's going to break apart. Then he's dragged away by Six, leaving Rex so confused in the middle of the hall.
The second time Rex meets him, he blushes red and Gatlocke just greets him brightly as if the crazy kiss-confession never happened.
There isn't the desperate groping or kissing as their first meeting, but Gatlocke sticks close. His fingers brush against Rex from time to time and Gatlocke smirks at him every time Rex turns to glare. Almost as if he's being intoxicated with each touch. And just when Rex is ready to snap, Gatlocke just leans in close and rubs his nose against Rex's.
And with a loud cackle, he demands, "No matter what happens, don't give up on me."
It makes no sense at all and Rex just pushes away, feeling kind of peeved. "What the hell does that even mean?"
"It means that I'm going to kiss you."
Six has to pull them apart again. And Rex is starting to get really sick and tired of this guy.
The third time isn't as bad.
Or so Rex tells himself.
Because unlike the first two times when they met because of Providence-related issues, this time, Rex walks into his room and finds Gatlocke lying on his bed. Not naked or anything, mind you. But just… lying there. With an insufferable smirk on his face and his boots all muddy from whatever hole he crawled out of.
"… What the hell?" There really aren't any other words to describe this situation before him. "Why are you here?"
"I thought you could use a break. Also, just saying, I have permission to be here for forever," Gatlocke declares with an extravagant hand gesture. Then he holds up two tickets. "So let's go hang out together. You're going to love this movie."
"No. I don't want anything to do with you."
"Give me a chance. I'll grow on you."
"I don't want you to grow on me."
Then Gatlocke's moving, shoving Rex against the wall, all pretense of friendliness gone. There's no emotion in his eyes, no anger, no murder, and definitely not anything else. Just a vast emptiness that's boring down on Rex with intensity. And for the first time, Rex feels a shiver of fear around this man.
"You can't," Gatlocke says finally. He places his arms on both side of Rex, trapping him. "You can't ever think like that. You have to keep coming to me. You can't ever give up on me. Do you understand?"
"No. I don't. What the hell do you want from me?"
Rex thinks that it's a good question. Because this guy literally came out of nowhere and demanded that he be let into Rex's life. And that just makes no sense. Why would anyone do that? Rex is just… Rex. It's not even like he's all that important in the grand scheme of things. He's just a foot soldier. An agent of Providence, if even that. So what is it that Gatlocke the merchant, Gatlocke the thief, Gatlocke the self-proclaimed pirate wants from him?
Gatlocke presses his forehead against Rex's and the teen thinks that this is the gentlest that he's ever seen the guy. It's hell lot scarier than the blank stare he's got earlier. "I need you."
Then the tender moment's passed, and Rex finds himself whisked away by Gatlocke to go watch that damned movie.
The fourth time they meet, Rex throws his arms up in the air and gives up. Six raises his brow at him, but what the hell. Rex doesn't care anymore. He walks up to Gatlocke and declares, "I like that movie."
Gatlocke perks up, looking most definitely intrigued. "Oh?" he asks. "Which one?"
"You know… From last night."
Six is doing his version of flipping out in the background but both of them ignore him. Gatlocke is looking at Rex with an easy smile on his face and Rex just wants to punch that god-awful smile.
"You know," Rex says, waving his hands in the air. "The new one that came out."
"What do you like about it?"
There. This one, he can answer. Rex's lips curve into a minuscule smile and he talks and talks and talks, amusing Gatlocke and himself with just how easy this is, how they just fit together. He pauses a little from time to time, waiting for Gatlocke to input his own thoughts and feelings into their discussion, but instead, Gatlocke just looks at him as if he's looking at a priceless treasure and smirks.
At the end of it all, Gatlocke tilts his head to the side and says, "I'd like to watch it with you."
Rex is about to correct him and remind him that they did see it together. Last night, in fact. But before he can, White Knight walks into the room and forces everyone to return to their duties.
From then on, Rex loses count. From then on, Rex just doesn't bother to run away or hide. He just stands up and faces Gatlocke on his own level of crazy. They bicker and argue, they clash horribly, and they definitely can't seem to agree on anything. But then there are moments. Small ones from time to time that makes Rex pause and wonder. That makes Rex rethink about their relationship regarding one another. It makes him look forward to the next day, wondering if he's going to be running into Gatlocke again.
And then there are moments that make him incredibly worried.
Because it becomes clear to Rex as time goes by that something's wrong. That something's not quite right. And at first, he thought that maybe he was mistaken, but then it kept happening again and again and again until finally, it dawns on him exactly what is going on.
"We're going the wrong way, aren't we?"
Gatlocke glances around them and then looks down at his map. "No. I'm pretty sure we're going the right way."
"No, I mean… Our timeline. It's going in opposite directions. What I know and what you know are inversely related to each other. The more I get to know you, the less you'll know about me, and vice-versa."
There's a small pause before Gatlocke puts down the map and looks at Rex straight in the eye. "Yes," he says. "That is our tragedy."
He wants so much to demand to know then why did Gatlocke tell him not to give up on him? Over and over again in that insisting tone of desperation. What does it all mean? Except now that he knows what he does, he figures that there's no point in asking. Because this Gatlocke wouldn't know.
The merchant raises a brow. "Why am I hot? Well you see-"
"No, you ass! I mean why decide to keep talking to me when you know how our story ends? No matter what you get from me, the next time you see me again, it won't matter. No matter what we do, it won't stick! It would be better to just stay away from one another. Just start fresh with someone else."
"So after everything that you've done, you're just going to walk away from me?"
Rex freezes. Everything that he's done up to now hasn't happened to Gatlocke yet. That means whatever Gatlocke's talking about, he's talking about something that Rex will do. But see, if Rex hasn't done them yet, he can change it… right?
"Yes. Because if I do, then you and I won't have to suffer."
"I don't care about the suffering!" Gatlocke exclaims. "As long as you're mine, I don't care who gets destroyed or hurt! That's why… Rex, don't give up on me. Don't you fucking dare."
And oh. That's what it was. Rex feels like crying or laughing, he's not sure which one. The reason why Gatlocke had been (or will be?) so adamant that Rex not give up on him is all because of this moment right here. But it still doesn't make any sense at all. Isn't it better to save themselves the heartache? Isn't it better to walk away?
Just what happened to Gatlocke… just what will Rex do that causes this man to be so dedicated?
And suddenly, Rex doesn't want tomorrow to come anymore.
Rex walks into his room and finds Gatlocke there again. And this might not be creepy if it's not for the fact that Gatlocke has one of Rex's motorcycle underwear in his hands.
"Do you just get bored and come into my room?"
"There's a better porn collection here."
"… I don't have any-"
"Anything that smells like you is porn for me."
Gatlocke laughs, putting down the underwear. "C'mon, we're going to get dinner together!"
"Wait, Gatlocke! Explain yourself first! Gatlocke!"
"… You know my order?" Rex asks as the two of them stand next to the burger stand, waiting for their food.
"'Course I do," Gatlocke answers as if he's scandalized that Rex would ever think otherwise. "I know everything about you. Things you like, things you dislike, things you like to eat, and…" He lowers his voice and whispers in Rex's ear, "Exactly how you like it in bed."
Rex feels his face flush red. "Wait a minute! Don't tell me we-"
"Oh, here's our order! Believe me, you love this stuff."
For the most part, their missions don't cross. Rex thinks that it's purposeful on Six's part (or maybe Holiday, but he can't ever be sure just how much influence she has on the top brass's decisions). But for the most part, he's grateful.
How can he not be?
It's one of the rare alone times that he has (now that Gatlocke has taken up the rest of his life). So it's supposed to be a quiet time for him. It's supposed to be easier without Gatlocke. Less painful or happy or any kind of emotions because it's supposed to be his time for Zen.
That's why when he stumbles back to base, barely coherent, and falls into Gatlocke's arms and the man gives him that look of knowing, Rex punches him.
"You knew," he seethes, shoving Gatlocke against the wall. "You fucking knew!"
"Of course I knew, it's already happened to me, remember?" Gatlocke's voice is gentle, despite the angry accusation in Rex's voice. And Rex hates this. He hates all of this. "Let me help you take the pain away." And Gatlocke leans in to kiss him, that jerk.
Rex shakes his head and takes two steps back. "I don't want anything to do with you."
"Don't do this to me."
Gatlocke looks suddenly so small and fragile. And this is so not fair because if anything, it should be Rex who's falling apart. It should be Rex who doesn't have to deal with this shit.
"Rex, I can't without you."
Gatlocke hesitates. Not because he doesn't want to say anything, but because he's trying to find the right words to say. It's hilarious to think about because since when does Gatlocke ever has to stop and think about what to say? Just what are they to each other that Gatlocke would go this far?
"Breathe," Gatlocke decides finally. "I can't breathe when you're not here with me."
"Don't worry; it won't kill you. We know each other for quite a long time more."
"You know the one good thing about this?" Gatlocke doesn't let Rex answer. "It's that when I see you next, you won't be mad. This wouldn't have happened to you yet."
"How is that supposed to be a good thing? Gatlocke, you can't build anything on an unstable foundation! Don't you understand? That's exactly why we can't be together. We can never have anything together. Anything you know about me, won't be true by next time we meet, and everything I've done with you wouldn't have happened to you yet next time we meet."
"But the feeling is real."
Rex gives Gatlocke a bitter look. "And I'm pretty damned sure that I'm angry."
"I love you."
"I hate you."
Then their lips crash together, desperately seeking comfort in the other in ways that they've never done before. Except no, that's not quite true. It's just that Rex has never done it before. But for Gatlocke, this might be the tenth, fiftieth, or whatever amount of times he's done it with the future Rex. But for Rex this is the first time.
And now that he thinks about it, it means that this is Gatlocke's last time.
"Let me help you forget," Gatlocke whispers. "Don't think, Rex. Just trust me."
And Rex does. And he's pretty damned sure that they do this quite a lot, because Gatlocke knows exactly just what to do to make him scream and let out the pent up frustration.
"Is it worth it?" Six asks, his voice uncertain.
"I don't know," Rex admits. "But I don't mind it."
Six looks down at the ground for a second before looking back up. "Rex… One day, you're going to know more about him than he knows about you. One day, he won't know who you are anymore."
Rex nods. "But until then, I have to make the best of it. Otherwise, I'll go insane."
The older agent looks like he wants to say something else, but he doesn't push on. He just lets Rex walk off to find Gatlocke again.
There are times when Rex thinks that maybe they're going overboard.
Because Providence just issued a new creed about non-fraternization in the public areas, and everyone already knows that it's talking about Gatlocke and Rex, because they're the only two who keep getting caught. Granted, if Gatlocke hadn't decided that fooling around in the command center where the PA system is was a good idea, none of this might have happened to begin with.
"Bathrooms don't count," Gatlocke says as he trails butterfly kisses down Rex's back. "It's not a public area."
"That's what you said about the halls," Rex reminds him. "And the labs. And the gym. And-"
"Your tongue is not being productive right now."
"Neither is yours."
"Time to change that."
"What do you want to eat?"
Rex does a double-take at the question. "Wow, you're actually asking me what I want to eat for once instead of ordering for me? That's new."
"Maybe you want to try something new. I mean, we always eat the same stuff," Gatlocke says with a shrug.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say."
They kiss slowly, taking their time unlike their usual method of doing things. Rex thinks it's kind of annoying, but he decides to just enjoy the change. It's kind of nice, taking things slow. Gatlocke showers him with kisses, exploring every inch of Rex's body with his mouth.
"Gat," Rex whispers, "Can't you…? Can we…? I mean…"
"I want to go slow," Gatlocke answers in between kisses. "I want to find out exactly what your body likes."
Rex chuckles a little. "You already know what I like."
Gatlocke freezes for a split second before chuckling. "That's because you like whatever I do," he says smoothly, covering over whatever emotion just flashed on his face.
And Rex is about to call him out on it when Gatlocke bites down hard. "You want to go fast? I can do that, too."
It's not until Holiday pulls him to the side and says, "Rex, we need to talk about you and Gatlocke," that it finally hits Rex.
They passed their halfway point.
And as Holiday lectures him about the necessary for safe sex and other things about protecting hearts, all Rex can compute is the sinking feeling of "Oh gods, this is going to be over soon. I'm going to lose him."
He should've realized it sooner. He should've remembered Six's warning before any of this happened. He should have remembered that Gatlocke wouldn't be the one who always remember more. That Gatlocke wouldn't always be the one who pushes. One day, things are going to change and it's going to be him chasing after Gatlocke, and letting the merchant know that things are going to be fine. Damn it, he should've seen it when Gatlocke became clumsy during sex. Because Gatlocke always knows what to do because Gatlocke has done it a thousand times. Because Gatlocke knows just how to make Rex gasp and moan. The minute Gatlocke slowed down and tried to figure things out, Rex should've realized that they've hit that point (or passed it). And now that he's stopped to think about it, when was the last time Gatlocke ever asked him what he wanted to order?
He knows more about Gatlocke now than Gatlocke does about him. They've passed the middle point and now they're speeding towards the end. Or at least, for Rex it'll be the end. But for Gatlocke, it'll be the beginning.
"Rex? Are you listening?"
"I'm sorry, Doctor Holiday. I need to go see him right now."
And he stumbles through the halls until he finds Gatlocke. The merchant gives him a confused stare, but he doesn't refuse Rex's advances. Because right now, all Rex needs is for Gatlocke to be there, damned who's watching or not.
Gatlocke punches him.
He doesn't hold anything back, which lets Rex know exactly how pissed off he must be. Then Gatlocke takes two steps back, lips drawn back into a sneer as he rants. Rex has long learned to block out things that Gatlocke says that doesn't involve him.
"… And what the hell were you thinking?"
"Saved your life, didn't I?"
Gatlocke's lips thin. "You didn't have to do that. You know I can take care of myself!"
And it's true. Rex knows that Gatlocke can take care of himself. He's seen Gatlocke in action (he supposes what Gatlocke will do is a better way to put it). "I know," he agrees. "But I wanted to."
"You don't always have to take care of me!"
Gatlocke looks perplexed but he doesn't refuse. And now that Rex thinks about it, Gatlocke never refuses.
Rex often wonders about just what happened to Gatlocke (what Rex will do) that makes the merchant so dedicated to be around him. He's thought it before in passing, but he's never actually sat down to think about it. He's asked Gatlocke about it, but Gatlocke always pauses for a second as if remembering something horrifying before quickly changing the topic.
Whatever it is, it happened pretty early for Gatlocke, which means that any day now, Rex is going to walk in and find out that Gatlocke no longer cares about him, no longer knows who he is.
Today is not that day.
Gatlocke hesitates in front of Rex's room, looking so suddenly young. And Rex realizes yet again that he's known Gatlocke for far longer now. It's no longer Gatlocke who's going to be pushing. It has to be him. Gatlocke's going to close up, just as Rex probably did to him (will do to him. For Gatlocke, it hasn't happened yet).
"My room's inside, Gat," Rex says, gently placing a hand on Gatlocke's shoulder. "What's wrong? Nervous?"
"Only because I won't be able to hold myself back," Gatlocke answers with his usual confident grin. Then there's a pause and the smallest of whisper of, "Are you sure you want me in there?"
"Gatlocke," Rex presses a kiss against Gatlocke's nose. "Whenever you want to, come to my room. I'm giving you permission."
"What's wrong? Having a hard time picking what you want?" Rex asks as he comes to stand by Gatlocke at their usual burger place. Well, it's usual for Rex but who knows for Gatlocke?
"They all sound delicious," Gatlocke says, screwing his face as he thinks about his choices carefully. His first time here, then. "If I pick the wrong one, you're going to judge me for the rest of my life. So I have to make sure that this counts."
"Don't be silly." Rex turns to the burger stand worker and orders their usual. Because it's not Gatlocke who knows their order now. It's just him. "You're going to love this."
The day he realizes that this is Gatlocke's first time with him, Rex fears that they're nearing the end.
Gatlocke's hands are uncertain, ghosting hesitantly in an uncharacteristic manner that doesn't suit him at all. Rex has to stop him and look him straight in the eye.
"What's bothering you?"
"You've done this with me before," Gatlocke mumbles, rubbing the back of his neck. "Except not me. The future me. The one who knew your body intimately."
"Gat, are you comparing yourself to your future self?"
Gatlocke ducks his head, hiding the blush as he clenches his fists. "I'm probably not as good as him and-"
"Stupid." Rex pulls Gatlocke towards himself and kisses him fully on the mouth. "You're you. You'll learn as we go. And believe me when I say that you're a fast learner."
"You're the one I want to be with always, Gat. So shut up and trust me."
Rex coughs, grimacing as blood splatters dribbles from his mouth to his clothes. This is not looking good. He's tied up in who knows where location in front of Van Kleiss, who's sneering down at him.
"If you don't cooperate, Rex, I can very easily kill you," the man declares. He speaks in a calming manner, soothing, almost. The voice of a politician who's promising anything for a vote.
"No you won't." Rex grins. "You're not going to kill me."
"Because you're going to cooperate with me?" Van Kleiss sounds confused yet hopeful.
"No, because I don't die here. Gatlocke still knew who I was last time we met. It's not our last encounter yet."
"What are you-"
The doors break open and Six is there with the rest of the Providence Agents. Van Kleiss no longer has time to focus on Rex, which is just fine. This is just fine. Rex laughs as Gatlocke rushes over to him, an unfamiliar red in the midst of the black and white of Providence uniforms.
"You idiot," Gatlocke's muttering darkly under his breath as he unties Rex. "You stupid idiot!"
"Hey Gat, kiss me?"
There's an unreadable look in Gatlocke's eyes and Rex knows that this must be the first time that they kiss (first time for Gatlocke. Last time for Rex). It's clumsy and tastes of iron, but Rex knows that he's going to treasure that feeling for the rest of his life.
"Hey Gatlocke! Let's go see this movie!"
Gatlocke looks uncomfortable around Rex. Like he wants to back away forever and never return. He looks awkward, and it's obvious that he doesn't want to be here, and Rex knows that this is it.
They're getting closer to the end.
He knows that they're nearing it because he knows that emotion on Gatlocke's face. It's the same one he wore when Gatlocke first appeared in his life. And once upon a time, he thought that he should change the ending of this story. That he should back away so that Gatlocke would never have to go through the heartache (and that he himself would never have to suffer through watching the one he loves slowly cut himself off from him). But then he remembers Gatlocke's desperate eyes. He remembers Gatlocke's final words.
"I love you. Don't give up on me."
Rex doesn't plan to. So he pushes after Gatlocke, hands brushing, eyes trailing, always chasing. He's not going to stop now.
The mission is a simple enough one. Evacuate the city. Rex and Six are ready to leave and give the orders for the firebombing when he spots it. The familiar black cape and flash of red.
"Six." He doesn't need to say anything more, because the older agent has seen it too.
"No. We're supposed to be evacuating."
"Give me five minutes. If I'm not out by then, light the place up." And he doesn't wait for Six's response before he runs forward, chasing after Gatlocke's shadow.
Rex finds him in an alleyway, standing defensively and untrustingly. So different from that Gatlocke that he used to know. And this is how he knows that this is the end. He's finally arrived. The last time he's going to see Gatlocke (and the first time Gatlocke meets him).
You know, he never did get the answer to the question of why Gatlocke was so dedicated to him. Maybe he's about to find out.
"My name is Rex Salazar," he says, holding up both hands to signify that he doesn't have a weapon. "I work for Providence. We need to evacuate this area. Will you please come with me?"
Gatlocke tilts his head for a second before talking two tentative steps forward. "Where exactly will you be taking me?"
"To a safe and secure location." It's stiff and cruel and completely unlike their usual encounters. Rex can't help but to flinch at it. This is Gatlocke's first time meeting him. He can't be like this. He needs to be something… Someone that Gatlocke will forever hold on to. Will forever love. Because right now, that might be distrust in Gatlocke's eyes, but soon enough it's going to be nothing but adoration and love (just like it used to be, just like it will be).
"Gatlocke," he says, causing the other man to tense, "It's going to be okay. I'm here to help you." Still keeping his hands up in the air, he slowly begins to walk forward. His eyes are locked onto Gatlocke's and he makes sure to telegraph his every move so that Gatlocke isn't spooked.
"Why do you know my name?"
"Believe me when I say that you and I get to know each other very well."
"I don't want to know you."
How familiar. Rex smiles. Did you feel the stab of pain too, Gatlocke, when I said that to you? "Gat, don't tell me you're giving up on me already?"
"Can't give up what I never had."
Rex stops walking forward when he's within arm's reach of Gatlocke. "You know-"
He never gets to finish what he wanted to say. Because that's a dagger in Gatlocke's hands and that's blood that's spilling out of his stomach, and is that betrayal that he's seeing in his own reflection in Gatlocke's eyes?
"Van Kleiss sends his regards," Gatlocke spits.
But no. It can't end like this (It can't begin like this).
Rex grabs Gatlocke's head, causing the young merchant to stab him again. But there's no time to focus on the pain. He needs to get his point across. He needs for Gatlocke to know.
He presses a kiss on Gatlocke's forehead. He feels the tension and the confusion and additional stabs, but he continues on. Two kisses on each of the eyelids. One on the nose. And…
Rex never finishes his sentence. He never gets to kiss Gatlocke a final goodbye either. His mouth is filled with blood and the world is swimming in front of him. Not fair, he thinks. So not fair. And Rex Salazar closes his eyes and collapses against Gatlocke's chest, feeling arms wrap around him in the ways that they used to. He smiles. Because in a way, isn't this also perfect?
This is the end of the story of how Rex Salazar met and lost Gatlocke.
But it's the beginning for Gatlocke.