Author's Note: Okay, it took me an eternity but I finally finished my second TTMR fic

Author's Note: Okay, it took me an eternity but I finally finished my second TTMR fic. Now, this contains some MAJOR spoilers, people! Don't read this if you don't want to know what REALLY happens to Tom after the movie according to the original author- Patricia Highsmith. If you want to keep your delusions that Tom found a nice young man somewhere and ran off with him, or if you want to pretend that he got caught and was thrown in jail for the rest of his life ("sniff"- poor Tommy, don't be mean to him), or if you want to pretend that Peter never died, well, that's all fine and dandy. I'm not saying that those are bad ideas… I'm just saying that there are sequels, and I've read several, and they aren't what Ms. Highsmith had in mind. Like I said, major spoilers. Don't blame me if you get mad. Now a warning to book fans- I didn't stay perfectly on track with the books. Why? Because I wanted this fic to be about Tom and Peter, and the book doesn't have Peter in it (waaaaah!)- Forgive me for this. Okay… I'm done rambling. Enjoy!

Love always, Tsuki

Bittersweet

By Tsuki-Moon

His lips ran softly down my stomach and further still, causing me to cry out. He came back up, then, pushing against me. His lips and mine pressed against each other, my tongue driving his lips apart and slipping into his mouth. He didn't speak a word- not a single word. I just knew that he loved me… did he know how much I love him? God, I hoped so. I cried out again as the motions became sweeter… just… don't… ever… stop.

I woke up from my dream in a cold sweat and with a hard on. I sighed and sat up soundlessly.

Peter…

These dreams came often, but it was worse than ever on this day. I looked up at my calendar to double-check the date. Yes, that was right- March 17th. I breathed loudly and rose to go take a shower. I turned the water on and just stood there for a moment, remembering my dream. One small tear dripped from my eye, but that was all I would allow for now- one tear. But even that was lost as I stepped into the steam filled shower, flushed down the drain in a single moment.

* * * * *

"Bonjour, M.Ripley." Mme. Annette smiled at me maternally. She was our maid and housekeeper, ever cheerful and looking for any new challenge that we could give her. "Would you like something?"

"I can get it myself, thank you." I smiled. I treaded into the kitchen and picked up a bottle of white wine from the counter. It was empty. I frowned and immediately found a red wine bottle, which was part full, sitting next to it. Whatever, I thought, I just need a drink.

"Morning, cheri!" A calm voice chirped. I looked up to see Heloise- tall, blond, beautiful… and my wife. She sat down gracefully across from me. "I just got off the phone with Noelle." I nodded. That certainly explained why she was down after me. Usually, Heloise is the first one up. "Her husband just received cruise tickets as a present from the well-to-do banker, M. Onniel. You remember him? We met him at last Christmas's party at the Daurland house." I nodded. "Well, he gave him cruise tickets, but you know how he feels about cruises. So he gave them to Noelle to do as she pleases. So she called me…" I stopped listening here. I took another sip of my wine and stared at Heloise. She was beautiful, that was true, but I had never been especially attracted to her. I could see how others would, but I never have. Don't get me wrong, for I do love Heloise… there just isn't any sexual draw. Oh, we have sex, but not as two people in love. No, usually we only even sleep in the same room after something comes up. Usually, sex is more of a symbol than an act of love, for us. It means don't ask any more questions. And we never do. I think, though, that as much as I care about Heloise, I really did only marry her for the same reason that I killed half the people that I did- greed. Her father is rich beyond the farthest dreams and she gets an allowance of sorts every month. I, too, have a large wealth- along with a well-known name, for better or worse- and I think that Heloise was attracted to that more than me. I swear, we may as well have signed a contract instead of being married by a priest. Heloise pauses in her tale about her best friend and I interrupt.

"So, when is the cruise?"

"Next week, Tome." She always said my name like that, with a strong French accent that cut through the air roughly. She smiled in thanks as Mme. Annette set a cup of coffee down in front of her.

"Well, I hope that you have fun. Did you offer to pay for your ticket?"

"Of course, but Noelle wouldn't hear of it. Remember, you paid for hers last time."

"Oh yes." I had forgotten. I was silent for awhile. Peter's dark brown eyes were stained behind my eyelids so that I feared that I would break down crying every time that I blinked. I drained the rest of my wine and stood up to go put the cup away.

"Is something bothering you, cheri?"

I smiled in response. "Of course not. I am just having an important meeting at the art gallery today. Some paintings from Asia came in and the administrators sound like they are about to lose their minds."

"Ah." She smiled sweetly and left it there. She always did. It did not matter if I really did have a meeting or if I was helping my acquaintance Reeves smuggle dope across a border or two, Heloise never asked. If I loved nothing else about her, I loved that. I smiled at her once more and kissed her on the cheek.

"I'll see you later, love."

"Of course, Tome." I brushed off my black turtleneck and stood up. Yes, I did love Heloise… but I never opened up the closet for her. I never intended to, nor had I ever wanted to. After all, Heloise was a polished woman of fashion and was never, never the type for cleaning.

* * * * *

"I love you." He had said to me. Do you know that I had barely ever heard those words before? My aunts never said it, I can't remember my parents at all, and any lovers that I had ever had only said it mockingly or with a certain tone that let me know quite well that they didn't mean it. But not Peter. He said it with such passion that you immediately knew how incredibly truthful he was being. I had almost cried then, but instead I just smiled and hugged him close. I can't remember if I returned the comment or if I just lay there next to him. I wish I knew.

Now I stood silently at the small lake. I wished that the ocean was nearby, but it wasn't. Still, I had to be near some body of water today. Peter had always loved the water. I knew that well…

Back then, as large as my Italian home was, there was only one bathroom. Why, I can not say, but that was it- one. I went upstairs that evening to bathe, but when I opened the door, Peter was in the bath. "Oh, God, I'm sorry." I flushed bright red and immediately averted my eyes.

Peter shook his head with a laugh. "It's fine, Tom, really. It's not like you haven't seen me naked before." I smirked at the comment, realizing how true it was. By now, Peter and I have bedded together several times already. "Sit down and talk to me, will you?" He asked me softly.

"Of course." I drew my robe around me tighter and sat down on the floor next to him. I was still careful to turn my eyes away from his waist and below, simply out of courtesy. Peter leaned back in the tub further and closed his eyes with a sigh. I chuckled. "You sure look comfortable."

He smiled. "I love the water." He shrugged a bit and sat up. "I always have. My birth had something to do with water too, I think. Something about a hot tub or along those lines. Either way, I consider it my own little realm. I control the water."

"Yes, O'great god Neptune." I teased. He laughed out loud at that, his eyes shining. Then, in a tantalizing way that seemed quite unlike Peter, he grabbed me by my shoulder, tugged off my robe and pulled me into the warm tub with him. I gasped as he kissed me with a great amount of earnestly. His thick, moist tongue explored my mouth and, when it seemed tired of that, turned to my right cheek and jaw line. I groaned loudly as wet, fresh kisses were pressed into the inner shells of my ears, open and only half-formed. I started to press against him, planning to over power him and take control, but he forced me down again.

"I rule in the water." He reminded me teasingly. I laughed, but was silent again at a new round of kisses. I let my delicate Peter have control there, but later, when we were on land in a wilderness of white, silk sheets, it was- then- my turn to rule.

Ring

I was torn back to reality by my cell-phone. I picked it up -thoroughly annoyed- and recognized the number calling as English. "Hello." I answered

"G'morning, Tom. How are things?"

"Just fine, Jeff." Jeff Constant had an easily recognizable voice, and one that I did not care to hear often. "What about you?"

"Not so good. I'm actually calling from my cell, so the number probably showed up as if from England. Actually, I'm in France right now… probably not even an hour away."

"What's your point, Jeff? What's wrong?" Silence.

"There's a rather upset customer who bought a Shannat piece at the art auction last year. She claims that it must be a fake. Since she lives in France, I figure that you might… give me a hand?"

"Are you asking me to help you make peace with her or kill her?"

Jeff laughed. "Make peace with her, friend. Killing only comes if she's even more annoying and stubborn than her messages suggest." I laughed as well, but not as freely. I think we both knew that we were both only half joking. "Anyway, can you come to the Warddof Art Gallery at three o'clock? I could really use the help."

"Fine." I sighed, "But it will have to be quick. I promised Heloise some quality time and promised not to work at all today. I'm sure that she won't be pleased."

"I'm sorry, Tom. Really, I am. I know that you wanted to stop this whole thing after the Derwatt scandal. But when we found those painters that could forge paintings just as good as our old fake Derwatts, well… I just couldn't resist, old friend."

"I know the feeling." I laughed. "Don't worry, Jeff. I'll be there."

"Great! See you soon!" He hung up, leaving me alone to think and get to my car.

* * * * *

"Oh, I feel so much better after talking to you, Mr. Ripley. Thank you for your time." The middle-aged woman took off her glasses and shook my hand bravely. I smiled- my charm turned up as high as I could manage.

"Of course, madam. I assure you, it was no trouble at all. And trust in me completely when I say that I would not invest so much in this company if there were any chance that they were selling frauds. I own at least three paintings that I have bought through here myself. Pay any doubts that you had no more mind."

"Yes, thank you." She smiled and was escorted out of the room by her driver. I waited until she was safely out of the building before I spoke again.

"So, what stupid thing did you do to screw this one up? Color combinations? Paint strokes? A stray brush hair?"

"No. Just that woman who claims that Shannat hated Beethoven."

"What?"

"Shannat was a painter that painted to music. All of his paintings are named after different songs- Mozart's, Bach's, and a bunch of others that I've never heard of. But I guess he never painted anything that used Beethoven's stuff. We did, and got fanged for it."

I thought of the different works of each composer, each played differently by a pair of hands that I knew by heart- Peter's hands. "Well, that was careless."

"Hey!" Jeff laughed, "I'm paid to know art, not music!"

"I know." I smiled. "Look, I'm glad it all worked out. I'm going to go now, before Heloise runs off with our gardener or something." Jeff chuckled at that and nodded.

"You'd better hurry, then. Anyway, I'll call you if there are any more problems."

"You do that." I walked out of the gallery and down the street. On the edge of the corner was an old cathedral. I walked inside, softly, and listened to the choir practicing. How many times had I done this in Italy? How many times had I looked up at that balcony- at Peter's graceful gestures and his warm smile? He loved his students, I knew that, but whenever he looked down for a moment and noticed me, I saw his face light up splendidly. Oh God, what I wouldn't give to see that look again. I looked up at the alter- probably a place I have no right to look upon- and bowed my head. Listen, God, I was never one who believed in sin. That is, not until the moment that I saw Peter's life run out of his face, his cries only masked by my own wails and tears. I have no regrets of killing Freddie Miles, and a few sorrows about killing Dickie- but no regrets. But if you ever gave me a chance to redo a moment, I would not life a finger to harm Peter. You know that I wouldn't. Why? Because I regret it. Never have I felt that feeling as I do in this case. I loved Peter with all my heart. Why do you punish me so? Why did you not clear my mind and let me see what I was doing? Did you not want me to be happy? Did you want me to kill again to punish me for the "sins" that I committed? I swear, I had never truly sinned until I killed Peter. Why do you hate me so?

I shook my head. Peter always hated me saying things like that. He hated that I never "talked" to God except to curse him. Well, I think I have good reason now, dear one.

I walked to my car slowly and drove down to the lake, where the call had so rudely interrupted me. I pulled two small, gold charms from my pocket and looked down at them. One was a key. The other was a small heart with a keyhole. "You could have done it." I whispered. "You could have unlocked everything. And do you know what? I do not think you would have been scared of my darkness- no, not in the least. Yet, that's what I fear, even now. The darkness…" I shut my eyes, trying to stop them from watering. "I miss you, Peter." I let out a soft sob and threw the key and heart into the lake. Back to the water… his eternal realm. Fitting in a way that he had died while at sea. His body would forever be where he felt most comfortable. The tears would not stop streaming down my face, no matter how much I wanted them to stop. "Happy Birthday, my love."

* * * * *

Home. I climbed up the stairs to my room, hoping to find some small comfort there. I threw my coat on a chair and sat down on my bed. Pinned to the pillow was a note:

Dear Tom,

Hello, cheri! Samantha, Noelle, and I have gone on a shopping spree-road trip for a day or so. I knew that you wouldn't mind. I'll be back tomorrow! Hope your meetings went well.

Love, Heloise

I red over the note twice and threw it away. No… Heloise was not the type for cleaning. Especially not deep, dark closets like mine. And I'll bet my life- and many others- that she is afraid of darkness. Of course… who wouldn't be? I lay down on my bed, fresh tears springing to my eyes and cried. Before long, I was asleep, dreaming of soft kisses, loving whispers, and a man who loved me.

The End