Disclaimer: I own the plot and nothing else.
Yep, this is a one-shot. Angsty, a tad melodramatic, cross-posted at Gorillazslash on Livejournal.
Critiques, flames, constructive criticism… go ahead, dish anything out.
I see you standing there
The neon lights dance in your eyes and your hair
Words don't mean anything anymore, baby
So won't you bleed for me?
Just give me a little piece of you
That I can hold when you fade away
You can eat my heart
If you'll just say you're sorry
And then you'll bleed for me
And wouldn't it be beautiful?
He looked so innocent.
Lying there beside her in the dim light of the bedroom with one arm curled under the pillow, Stuart looked almost like a child. A slight smile played across his lips in his sleep, his soft blue hair tousled from sleep and from sex and from the frustrated hand that he had run through it repeatedly during his attempt at lyrics that had happened earlier that evening before both of these things. But now, the events of the day had burned out, leaving him with sleep, and Paula watched him in silence, chin propped up on her hand. Things were always alright when he slept. When Stuart slept, Paula didn't have to think about the things she should be telling him. She could just sit and watch him rather than deal with the things that she should be discussing with him… it was like having a goldfish instead of a dog. But the sweetness… the innocence of the face when he slept… it made Paula feel even worse for what she was doing to him.
It wasn't that she didn't care for Stuart. She cared for him a great deal more than she sometimes liked to admit. And of course she loved him… after all the years she had known him he had become like family to her. And of course she was attracted to him to some degree… it was difficult not to become attracted to someone that you shagged this often, but with Stuart, it was different than it was with Murdoc. With Stuart, it was rarely about pure animal lust. For him, sex was an attempt to get closer, to find a deeper kind of connection, like entwining souls together, to find a place where you could be more open and more loved that you could ever imagine. Paula hated to admit it, but from the beginning his affection and profound way he looked at things like that had scared her to some degree. Which was probably why she found it so much easier being with Murdoc.
With Murdoc, the connection didn't matter, the feeling didn't matter, the closeness didn't matter. With Murdoc, it was just sex, plain and simple. And at first that had been enough. They had both understood the nature of what they did. It was just sex. That was all. No need to get caught up in feelings or any of that. But along the twisted spiral of whatever the hell it was that she had with Murdoc, she had gotten to know him better than she had ever cared to know anyone.
Murdoc was so much different than the Murdoc everyone knew… beneath the self-confidence and brutality and charm, there was vulnerability and a self-loathing so profound that it scared her senseless at times. And there was depression, ongoing and intense, that no amount of pills or drinks or drugs could ever begin to contain. The only time Murdoc had been able to escape it was for a time when he was around Stuart. For a while, things had lifted, and Murdoc, terrified at the prospect of the depth of what he had been feeling, had begun to abuse Stuart. He had confided all this in her when he had been stoned out of his mind one night, the same night they had had to take him to the hospital for a drug overdose.
Paula wasn't stupid. She could sense things… she was a woman, for God's sake. She knew that somewhere down deep, somewhere entangled with all the pain and hatred and the insecurity, Murdoc was in love with Stuart, though he would never admit it to her or even to himself, no matter how drunk or how high he managed to get himself. Murdoc fucked Paula on a regular basis, but that had nothing to do with love. Stuart loved Paula, but Murdoc loved Stuart, in his own sick way. It was like some kind of fucked up soap opera, Paula thought with a bitter smile.
One glance at Stuart's illuminated bedside clock showed her how long she had been sitting here and pondering. It was nearly 1:00 AM. Moving as carefully as she could so she wouldn't jostle Stuart and wake him, Paula slipped out of bed, picking out her clothes from the mess of crumpled song lyrics and assorted items on the carpet. She managed to find a pair of Stuart's boxers and her own shirt. It was good enough, and she stole quietly into the dark hallway.
The carpark wasn't far off, and she walked cautiously across the pavement in her bare feet. The Winnebago's door was unlocked, so she let herself in and closed it quietly behind her. The air inside was just as stale and musty as usual, but it felt like home. Murdoc was already in bed. His bass sitting out, propped up against the wall, indicated that he had been playing it. She climbed onto the bed carefully, and Murdoc shifted, turning around to look at her. The bags under his eyes were more pronounced than normal. He had been crying again. He hated when she knew.
"Didn't wake you, did I?" she asked him quietly. He sat up slowly, rubbing a hand across his gritty hair.
"No." his voice was coarse, unsure. "I was jes' thinkin'."
There were red patches on the purple silk sheets that covered him, small red flowers of still-wet liquid that sent unpleasant chills up her spine. She never liked knowing when it happened. Once, she had walked in on him doing it… glass shards scattered across the floor, the broken bottle clutched in his shaking fist, the sharp points of the glass skittering across his skin. That look on her face before he saw her was one she wanted to forget, but it stayed burned into her memory. That expression of pain, the face that said quite plainly how out of control he was, how far downward he had spiraled. It was a haunting portrait of a man she pretended to know, when in truth there were dark spots of his mind that she would never uncover, and truthfully didn't even want to. One moment could paint a picture of a life, and his was a hollow, chilling silhouette, ragged and dark on the canvas.
She could see one of the cuts now as he sat up, angry and red, cutting a jagged line across the left side of his abdomen, the blood just beginning to clot. It was like a leering mouth there, burning its sneer into her.
"Are you alright?" she asked him. Her voice shook dangerously.
Murdoc was avoiding her eyes, looking down at his own legs rather than at her face. He knew that she knew about the cuts. He knew she had seen him do it once, and he knew that she saw them whenever they were together. The knowledge make it difficult for him to avoid her questions. "Yeah…" he answered her finally. The true answer, the unspoken 'no', hung between them in the air. They both knew it was there. Neither acknowledged it. Paula wished she had the strength to point out the fact that he knew he wasn't alright, that they both knew he wasn't alright, and that he never would be if he kept going on like this. But she didn't. She and Murdoc were the same… both afraid of the truth, of the little tendrils of reality that reached for them and whispered their words in their ears. Murdoc drank them away, Paula pushed them away, but they were always there. They had both attempted to drown so many truths in the time that they had known each other, mutually afraid of themselves, and sometimes even of each other.
"Murdoc…" Paula said softly, touching his shoulder lightly. His eyes met hers, the mismatched eyes that held infinite amounts of unpleasant emotions that he despised showing. He was trembling now, vulnerable again, insecure, afraid. Murdoc, like Stuart, was like a child… when he was afraid. Looking into those eyes made Paula sure that she could also see a Murdoc much younger, going through every day of that painful childhood that he didn't talk about without a word about his hurt, just as he did now. Paula was suddenly overcome by a strong desire to hold him, to put her arms around him and make everything better. To stroke his hair and kiss him and tell him it would be alright. To be tender with him, warm with him, just for once, just as Stuart was with her, just like she was with Stuart. But she didn't. She couldn't.
Instead, they flew together as they had so many times on so many nights before. Clothes were stripped aside, discarded like fallen leaves. They didn't bother with foreplay. They never did. The closeness, the time, the tenderness… it was all too painful, too alien, and they never let it get in. It was just the sex, the pure electric lust, the drowning of the emotions they tried to kill with thrusts and moans and sweat. At one point during the rush of it all, Paula managed to brush her lips against Murdoc's, and immediately wished she hadn't. It made his eyes scream, crying out with the caged sensations and feelings that he could never let escape. By the time the act was over, they were both crying silently, the fiery center of an orgasm barely gripping them before they rolled apart, put the distance between each other. Murdoc rolled over to face away from her, holding his body still and rigid, almost succeeding in pretending he wasn't crying.
Paula placed on hand lightly on his sweaty back for a moment, feeling the ribbed edges of a jagged cut beneath her palm. Her hand left it, and she kissed the place where her hand had been for a brief second, tasting his sweat mingled with the bitter blood.
"I love you" the words rushed through her mind, the words she could never bring herself to say. And she tried now, tried to force them past the wall she put up to keep them in. "I love you, Murdoc. Please…" The words wouldn't come, and she let them die in her throat, keeping them inside. She hated herself for not releasing them. Because she knew that if she could ever let them out, things would change. She knew that for better or for worse, things would change, and maybe they could put an end to Murdoc's pain in the end, heal him, she could help him see the light at the end of his twisted, consuming tunnel. But she couldn't. And so she just let him bleed for her, just as she bled for him.