Songfic to "Cheers Darlin'" by Damian Rice (the guy who sang the songs for "Closer", although I never saw the movie and I knew about him a year before it came out. This song is from his first album, O. Yes, the letter.) BTW, I KNOW I made a mistake, I left out two lines in the middle, I'm sorry, I just can't go back now and stick something in! I'd have to rewrite half of it.

It's basically Sands angst. NOT a Mary-Sue or a self-insert. Trust me. If I get some positive reviews, I might write a sequel, but for now this is it. Please R&R!

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She only saw him close to the end of the party, though it was obvious he'd been there the whole time – she'd never heard the door open after the first ten minutes of the party, and the wind outside meant that everyone heard when the door opened.

Cheers, Darlin'

He was sitting at a small table in the back corner, sipping some kind of alcoholic drink. She couldn't see it from where she was standing. She had noticed the light flashing off his glass, she supposed. He'd raised it almost mockingly to some unknown toast before finishing the last few drops. Popping the olive in his mouth, he got up to leave.

Odd. She'd been staring right at him, and he hadn't noticed. He always noticed. That's how they'd met, when he noticed her staring at his t-shirt across the dingy old bar in that long ago club . . .

Here's to you and your lover boy

Edward tapped her on the shoulder. "Something the matter?"

That was Edward. Always so prim and proper. Well, she hadn't married him for his personality, much as she hated admitting it. It was nice, though, knowing that the man you married was incapable of handling the idea of divorce. She had complete control in that area, at least. She smiled at him. "Just spotted an old friend . . . I'll just go and say hello . . ." she trailed off as she moved away through the crowd of partygoers. Why had they invited so many people to the wedding? Why did Edward have to keep in touch with ALL of his family?

She preferred someone a little more adventurous. Daring. Like . . . him.

Cheers, Darlin'

She almost missed him, and he was about to open the door when she grabbed him and pulled him into a small side corridor. It led to the kitchens, and the dinner was long over, so no one was there. Her original question died on her lips when she noticed something odd.

"Why are you wearing sunglasses?"

His look stayed blank, as usual. She wanted to rip the glasses off. The only way she'd ever been able to tell anything about him was from his eyes. He always kept his face in the exact expression he wanted.

Eyes are windows of the soul, right?

I got years to wait around for you

"Well, hello to you, too."

She clenched her teeth. How could he be so calm? After all that he'd done?

"Should I be honored that you came to talk to me personally?"

Her anger dissolved into exasperation. So he was trying to turn this against her. Fine. If he wanted to play that way, she could play that way.

"Considering that I've vowed to shoot you on sight, you should be honored that I even bothered to talk to you."

Cheers, Darlin'

"Oh, I wouldn't shoot a man at your own wedding. That gets messy, trust me."

She smirked. "We're alone in this corridor. I'm a virgin bride; you're probably wanted in three different countries. I could plead self-defense and no jury would convict me."

"Actually, only two countries, and neither of them are the U.S."

"Sure. You just decided to walk out on whatever assignment you're on to come to a wedding?"

He flashed the briefest grin. "I'm on leave."

I got your wedding bells in my ears

She got tired of this banter very, very quickly. "Where's the pathetic excuse?"

He frowned quizzically. "Excuse?"

"For leaving me virtually standing at the alter. I know you're going to give it any second now." She mimicked the apologetic tone of voice she could hear already. "'Look, baby, you know I would have, but . . .'"

His expression went blank again, and he just shrugged.

Cheers, Darlin'

She stared for a moment, then grabbed his shirt collar and shoved him into the wall. "You left me without a word, and come waltzing back into my life without even an excuse for it?"

"You're the one who dragged me into this conversation," he pointed out. "I was going to leave without a word."

"Even worse!" she fumed. "You have NO idea the hell I've been through these past three years! And I could have straightened things out much sooner if YOU hadn't stuck your foot into things!"

He raised one eyebrow above the rim of his huge sunglasses. "Stuck my foot into things? That's an odd way of putting an engagement."

You gave me three cigarettes to smoke away my tears

She glared at him. How dare he. How dare he! He appeared and just expected everything to be the same way it was three years ago? Did he think she would divorce Edward on the spot and come running back to him? Fall into his arms the way she did the first time?

She had been young and stupid. Her father's debt had been the beginning of her change. She'd cried into his arms, and he'd promised her everything would get better. He'd made plans to help her. She thought he was devoted to her.

She'd been a complete idiot, and she knew it. Obviously, he did not.

I die

"It doesn't matter, anyway."

She closed her eyes for a moment. Edward wasn't her idea of perfection, but he had money. He had a soft heart. And he was willing to devote himself to her. That was enough. She knew it was enough. And that knowledge was enough to keep her strong, instead of giving in to his charms.

That tiny bit of control, knowing that she could walk away from him, gave her the strength to stay. She wanted answers, and she wasn't going to leave until he gave them to her. She decided that, since he refused to answer her directly, she'd try subtlety.

She could always resort to violence, if need be.

When you mention his name

"Edward is very devoted to me. It's enough."

To her surprise, there was a tiny twitch in his face. "Yes, he seemed very nice. I'm happy for you." She blinked. What? "You've found the perfect dupe of a groom."

That was more like the man she knew. "He suits," she commented casually. "He's rich, soft, and sweet."

"And I'm so sour?"

"Oh, don't you even think about turning puppy-eyed on me. It's so uncharacteristic of you it's disgusting."

And I lie

"Why did you drag me over here?" he asked suddenly.

She blinked again, caught off-guard. How did he always manage to do that? Ask just the right question? Give just the right answer? "I wanted to know why you were here. Why you came." Damn. That sounded terrible.

He grinned slightly. "How sweet." He paused. "Perhaps your husband is rubbing off on you."

"Makes sense, you did," she short back. "You made me do such evil things."

"I made you?" He faked innocence. "I never made you do anything."

She snorted. "Yeah, sure, you never held a gun to my head. But you made doing the worst things seem like such fun. Remember that road trip?" she smirked.

I should have kissed you when we were running in the rain

He grinned. "Oh, yeah, that. That was a lot of fun." He seemed lost in memories, and he looked so cute that way – NO! She bit her lip involuntarily. It wasn't emotions, it was just memories. Memories of forbidden fun and various motel rooms and how could she ever forget that ridiculous dog collar? But she was an adult now. She'd grown up, and she had important issues in her life. No more little excursions for her. Time to get a life.

It's just lust, she reminded herself. It was always lust. Never love.

She'd never really loved him.

What am I, Darlin'?

"Look, I don't have time to stand here and talk about the past, okay? I have a future."

His look remained passive, but his words were taunting. "Then why did you want to talk to me?"

She thought about that. Why did she want answers? "I'm angry. At you. Your . . . betrayal . . ." – she spat out the word – ". . . forced me to grow up, fast. I learned a lot of things the hard way. You took my trust, my love, my hope, and you dashed them into the floor." Her voice had risen in anger, and she forced herself to keep it down. "I think I deserve some answers."

To her increasing aggravation, he was still calm. "I suppose you do."

"So?"

"So what?"

The boy you can fear? Or your biggest mistake?

She ground her teeth. "Answers?"

"Oh, from me?" His innocent tone was grating on her nerves, and she was about to slam him into the wall again when he continued. "I don't think you want to know."

"Try me," she shot at him.

He shook his head. "No, I think you'll be much happier this way."

She gave in to her instinct and slammed him against the wall again. She was thankful it was the solid concrete of the outer wall, and it didn't vibrate. She was also thankful that no one could see them unless they deliberately poked their head around the corner.

Cheers, Darlin'

The sadistic streak in her smiled when he winced. "You are a complete and total bastard, you stupid son of a bitch . . ." she trailed off for a moment, casting around for a good insult. "You rotten little traitor –"

"Traitor?" She did smile to hear his surprise.

"Traitor. You betrayed me. You complete idiot of a bastard traitor." She punctuated the last few words with pokes in his chest.

He seemed hurt, but she wasn't sure if it was a façade or not. He muttered to himself, almost too soft for her to hear, "You don't know the half of it."

Here's to you and your lover man

Before she could respond, he said out loud, "Are you finished yet?"

She faltered for a moment. "Yes." He smiled. "With insulting you. You still haven't answered me." His face went back to its passive default – was it her imagination that it was a little sadder than before?

"Can't you just accept that I was a . . . all those things you called me . . . and we can both move on? Your Edward's probably wondering where you've gone off to, you know."

Her eyes narrowed. This was getting unusual. He never let an insult pass without either accepting it with a grin, or denying it with a better insult to the offender. To just let it slide by . . .

Cheers, Darlin'

"What's going on?" she asked, softly. "You're different."

She wished, again, that she could see his eyes, not just the impassive face. She wanted to see if there was guilt there, from not telling her something. Or mischief, for confusing her. Or the haughtiness that he wore when he felt his companion was inferior to him.

She had a feeling, though, that it was the hard, blank stare he'd been perfecting, that betrayed nothing, hiding all of his emotions, putting up thick drapes over the windows to his soul.

She searched the dark glasses, for some meaning, waiting for some hint to his feelings, any hint.

He gave her nothing.

I just hang around, eat from a can

"Nothing's different."

"Yeah, right. That company of yours is never so nice as to give you a whole day off." She smirked with memories. "They didn't even give you a night to propose to me."

He smiled, too. Even laughed a little. "The good old days, eh? I don't even remember what that crazy assignment was."

She shook her head, remembering. The proposal, as real as it had been, had also been a setup, so that he could get a bunch of cops dressed up as a band into the club to surround their target. He'd pretended to drop the ring, "searched" the area around the target, and then pulled her out of the building in the crowd with the rest of the confused and frightened diners.

Cheers, Darlin'

She gave him a long look. "I was wrong." He cocked his head a bit, as if interested. "You haven't changed one bit. Son of a bitch," she added, affectionately.

He laughed again. It was pulling her back into familiarity of memories. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, like a bucket of cold water over her head. She never loved him, really. She was fascinated by him, by how odd he could be, and he'd been willing to get her out of her problems. But she'd never loved him.

Perhaps lusted after him . . .

I got a ribbon of green on my guitar

"So, are you going to give me answers, or am I going to have to beat them out of you?"

Her tone had been playful, but she saw him wince. She blinked, confused. Something had definitely happened.

He flashed a very brief smile. "What do you want to know? I'm still working for the Company, I'm still the best in the business, and I'm still single." He added the last one jokingly.

"Dream on," she said automatically, considering her next question. He was the best in the business. He was proud of that. She remembered his constant answers, when she'd asked him for details. She whispered them almost unconsciously. "Set them up, watch them fall."

Cheers, Darlin'

He seemed sad. "Not exactly, anymore." Before she could ask him to clarify this mystifying comment, he changed the subject. "And you?"

She sighed. He was avoiding the subject, again. "I've changed. I'm a lot smarter now. I can take care of myself."

"I noticed. Still the icy queen of dangerous beauty, though?"

She rolled her eyes. "You always were a terrible flirt. And I hate it when you call me that. I am not dangerous."

His smile was sad and soft, and suddenly, she felt that he was lost somewhere else. After a long pause, he shook his head. "No, no. You're not."

I got a beauty queen to sit not very far from here

"We're not getting anywhere." She let go of him, in exasperation. "I can never get any straight answers from you. Ever. Why am I even trying?"

"Couldn't tell you that."

"Oh, shut up." She was so confused. This was so unlike her planned scenarios. She had imagined this, finding him, listening to his dumb excuses, rattling out her grievances, watching him falter, trying to apologize, and laughing in his face when he asked for her to come back to him.

But here he was, and here she was, and she was being drawn back into him. The warm, comforting feeling, the highs, the adventures, the quirkiness she had been attracted to. He was pulling her back into him, without even asking. She gritted her teeth. "Stop it."

I die

"Stop what?"

"I'm not coming back to you. I never loved you, and you never loved me, and now I don't need your sympathy."

He sighed. "I'm not trying to seduce you, you know. If I may remind you, I just came here because I was curious, and you're the one who –"

"- dragged you in here? You owe me so much!"

"As you keep on repeating."

"It's true! You owe me answers and I am not letting you go until you tell me why you never came back!"

"Came back from what?"

When he comes around to take you home

Damn. She turned to face Edward. "Oh, Edward . . ."

"Should I tell him, then?"

She turned back to glare at him, but she realized that he was lying through his teeth. That was his style, and she should have expected it; a lie for every occasion. "Edward, this is –"

"- an old friend," he finished. "I left school early, a long story, never told anyone about it. A few people were not happy that I simply disappeared."

Edward seemed satisfied with this, and she had to admit, it did sound more than plausible, coming from him. "Alright. I understand."

I'm too shy

No, he didn't, but he was willing to accept that. She felt sorry for her husband. He never asked her complicated questions about her past. He wasn't stupid, for all his soft heart. He knew that this was something it was better not to get involved in. She did love his for that, in a way. He was a man she could trust with something as important as her safety, her money, her life. It was what she'd always wanted.

"I just have to shake a few answers out of this slack-off," she laughed, poking at the sunglasses. "I'll just be a few minutes, dear." He nodded, and smiled. She exhaled when he disappeared.

"I see why you love him."

I should have kissed you when he were alone

She glared at him. "No more games. No more smart answers. I'm tired of this . . . charade."

He shook his head. "You don't know what you're asking."

"No?"

"You're so happy now. I don't want to ruin that."

"Oh? Suddenly you're so concerned for my welfare? Bit too late for that, isn't it?"

He started to say something, then stopped, and started again. "Look, things got complicated. Very complicated."

She gave him a long look. "You blew it?" He never blew it. He was the best.

What am I, Darlin'?

She could see by his face that she'd hit the nail on the head, and that openness troubled her. If something had gone wrong, and he was still emotional about it, no wonder he didn't want to talk about it. "There were a few rats in the system Not my fault."

"But it blew up, so you couldn't get the money." She folded her arms across her chest. "So why didn't you come back and tell me? We could've waited a little longer. They wouldn't fire you for something that wasn't your fault." He didn't answer her, and shifted uneasily from foot to foot. "No. There was something else."

A whisper in your ear, a piece of your cake

He was silent for a long time, and his outward display of nervousness was making her nervous. What was breaking his concentration like that? "Can you just forget about it?"

That when it hit her. Suddenly little details jumped out at her like puzzle pieces that were finally fitting together, regardless of the clichéd metaphors.

"You got caught." When he didn't respond, she pressed further with more certainty. "You got caught, and they did something to you –"

"I'm not going to stand here and listen to you hypothesize about things that don't concern you." His tone was harsh, and his words clipped. He was the agent, not the man.

What am I, Darlin?

As he tried to push her away, she pushed him back. "You are going to stay right here, and you are going to look me in the eyes and just try to say that I'm wrong . . ." Before he could react, she grabbed the sunglasses.

She stared.

He grabbed the glasses back, and shoved them onto his nose. Without another word, he pushed her roughly away. She followed him to the door, too shocked to stop him.

Some backward portion of her mind noticed that he had perfected the art of pretending that you can see. He'd probably spent days, weeks, even months at it, perfecting his hearing and touch until he could move normally. It looked to an average person as though he simply had a few odd habits in his walk, large hand movements, perhaps talking to himself.

The boy you can fear? Or your biggest mistake?

She had never loved him. But now, she could admit that she had gotten many highs from hi, physical and mental. She had enjoyed him, and she had left him. She had resisted his attempts to win her back, because he'd never had her in the first place. They'd had a lot of fun together, and they'd known each other better than almost anyone else in the world, up until they'd parted.

She didn't love Edward now, not really, but she could grow to love him, and he was kind, and willing to wait. He wanted to love her, too. They could have a very nice life together. Childhood and freedom and adventure were fun, but she was an adult now. She had to plan ahead, for her future, and it wasn't such a bad one. And she had memories to hold on to. Memories of him.

What am I?

She had never loved him. But now, she pitied him. She hated him for making her feel emotions towards him, when she had never really felt anything for him. She hated him for the guilt she felt, wanting to kill him when he'd been close to death, hating him for what was probably the worst thing that had ever happened to him.

And she thought of how much he had tried to stop her. She realized what he'd meant, now. He was a bit of a bastard, and he would be the first person to admit that. So it would have been so much easier for the both of them if it had stayed that way. She could have simply buried him in her hatred and forgotten him.

What am I?

She had never loved him. But now, while she built her life out of the ruins of her childhood, she knew it was going to take all that she had to forget about him.

I got years to wait . . .