A/N: Yes, as a matter of fact, this is the last chapter! And it's not even that long! I'm so proud! Anyway, without further ado… Let's make things clear up, shall we?
11: What Love Can Do
Lawrence didn't lock the door when he took Adam to the hospital. Adam opens it without using his keys, and with a strange feeling of solemnity in his chest.
Not fear, though. He knows what he's going to see when he comes in. And he knows that he's going to need Lawrence's reassuring hand on his shoulder to stand looking at what's behind that door.
But Adam still opens the door. Because Lawrence's hand is there.
And it's all he needs to face his apartment.
Adam steps through the door. Lawrence follows him, and when he closes the door behind them, Adam notices that there are oval-shaped jags on the other side of it, too. He must've kicked it.
Everything really is ruined.
The bookcase is knocked over. As is the TV, the cord is snapped in the middle and the screen is scattered across the floor. Those shards of glass are mixed with the dirty ones from his coffee table, so covered in brown circles from his coffee cups that you can see them even after the table is broken, like shattered circles that now are only slightly bent lines, a mere inch long.
The cushions on the couch are torn, too. It's weird that he'd destroy that, hell, he's spent the past twelve years on that thing.
Adam stares at the frozen scenario in front of him. Lawrence is standing behind him, the hand on his shoulder squeezes safely, securely. Comforting.
Adam would be really sad. He did love his apartment, after all. He hated it because the walls closed around him, hated it because it was all he could get, hated it because Lawrence moved into it, underlined it all, underlined everything that didn't work out the way it was supposed to.
But he did love his apartment, too. Because it was his safe place.
It was his first own apartment, something he could hold up as evidence when his dad made his usual phone call about how he might as well move back home, because he'd never make it on his own, anyway.
To which Adam always replied the same thing.
At least I can fail on my own, right?
And he could. Adam quickly learned that: If he'd have to ask for help to actually get something out of his life, he'd rather fail.
Because he didn't need help with that, and because it was his.
He had something that was only his and that he was good at. He didn't have to want it, he just had to have it.
That fact remains: Adam has never, in his entire life, done anything he's wanted to do. Something he longed for. Because he learned so early on that life isn't that kind, so there was no point in longing, anyway. And Lawrence underlined that, too.
But he also underlined the things Adam could do.
Things that weren't failing.
He underlined the dreams Adam had that he didn't even dare to acknowledge, simply by pissing him off so much. He underlined the fact that if Adam really didn't want anything more from his life, he wouldn't be this mad at someone who'd already reached his goals.
He wouldn't be this mad at someone who didn't make him remember his dreams again.
Adam glances over the shards of his apartment. Or, that's an exaggeration. The damages seem to be limited to the living room. Why would the black little thing be so picky about staying here?
When Adam thinks that, another thought that makes the sullen blueness in his heart, only for a second, turn into white, flashing, freezing panic, and he turns his head to the left so abruptly this his neck almost kirks.
Then he gets calm.
It's still there.
That thought, on the other hand, almost makes his eyes water. God, he's such a pussy.
"It's… Still there…" He mumbles and throws his arm out meekly at the place he's looking at.
Lawrence follows his gaze.
"What? The darkroom?"
Still there. All the pictures.
Even the good ones. Adam blinks, he's not going to cry over some damn pictures.
"Maybe… The black little thing…" Lawrence begins, in a tone that clearly shows that he still has no idea why Adam calls it that, "…Maybe it knew that it could never destroy your pictures. That you'd never stop wanting to take them. And turn them into something bigger than stalking."
"I don't know. Maybe."
And now, a moment when he's too vulnerable. Shows Lawrence that his photos actually are another thing he succeeded with on his own, succeeded because he had talent – God, the mere word is so scary he barely dares to think it – so he loves them, more than anything in this apartment, he loves them.
Loves them so much that he's never let anyone see them. Because if someone said a single bad thing about them, he'd never be able to recover.
But only for a moment. Then, Adam gets himself together, turns to Lawrence with a stupid grin, throws his arm out at the living room again.
"Will you help me?"
Lawrence glances at the abandoned battlefield, hesitating a little first, but then nodding.
"Sure. It's… It's not that messed up."
"If we work together, we should almost be able to make it better than it was before. Don't you think?"
Adam raises his eyebrows halfheartedly as some sort of recognition. He doesn't see a point in giving a more energetic answer. Especially not considering that they both know that they're not talking about the apartment.
The apartment is so much easier to talk about, though. Because what they're really talking about is something that's not only so much bigger, but also so much more broken, it's a beautiful mirror that's now broken into millions of silver shards on the ground. Seven years of bad luck.
Adam and Lawrence only have the frame left. They're going to have to build it all up again.
And it's all Adam's fault.
The realization is almost too much for him. He's bottled it up for so long now, when it comes out, it comes out with a bang, it fights it way out of Adam's soul with tooth and nails, and it hurts.
That's why he's suppressed it for so long. Because Adam doesn't deal with things that hurt. He pushes them down or he lashes out at them, since he's been told all his life, both from himself and from others, that he'd never been able to handle them, anyway.
He didn't deal with the bitterness over his own cowardice when he was younger. So he ended up in the bathroom.
And when Lawrence came into his life, he still hadn't dealt with it. But when he saw Lawrence's success, he was reminded of the fact that he was going to have to deal with it sooner or later. And he didn't deal with that insight, either.
So he tossed Lawrence out.
And now, when Lawrence is back, he's going to have to deal with that. He's going to have to deal with his bitterness, his stupidity, his fear of life, his love, his love that's so big that it almost fills out the broken apartment, rises up to the ceiling and blows it apart.
He's going to have to deal with it all, because he'll never get rid off Lawrence now.
And it's only when Adam feels the stroke of the thumb on his shoulder, that he's sure he'll be able to do it.
Because it seems so hard now. Almost unbeatable.
Lawrence's voice is so grave, Adam's attention is caught immediately.
"Look at me."
Adam doesn't want to. He has to work to turn his head at Lawrence's direction, and even after that, Lawrence still isn't satisfied, he has to grab Adam's shoulders and turn his whole body towards him before he's happy.
"Adam," Lawrence says again, puts two fingers under Adam's chin to really make sure that Adam listens to every word he says. "I never left you."
He's too serious. So serious that it's almost impossible for Adam to escape it.
Lawrence doesn't even pretend to hear him. Damn it, he already knows Adam too well to buy that.
Apparently, it doesn't matter how hard Adam struggles.
"No," Lawrence says when he fixes Adam's gaze with his own. "It's very important that you get that. Because if you don't, you'll just toss me out again, and… I'm not sure if I'll handle that. It was hard enough the first time. I… I love you too much."
Also, his eyes are too blue. Adam really can't escape them, and words can't explain how uncomfortable that makes him.
Maybe he still hasn't learned what happens when he hides things from Lawrence. Or maybe he just doesn't want to learn.
But Lawrence will teach him. He seems to be very determined about that.
"I never broke my promise," Lawrence continues. "I never stopped loving you. And if you… If you let me, then I'll be able to follow through with it. If you just get into your stupid little head that you left me, and not the other way around, I will stay here. And I'll always love you. Like I said."
There is a 'but.' Adam would've pointed that out in an acidic tone if he hadn't been so fucking nervous.
"But if you don't get that…"
The words get stuck in his throat, they're too frightening to be said just like that.
"Then I will leave you. Because I can't walk around and… Convince you all the time. I can't do that. Okay?"
Adam can't answer right away. Christ, he wishes Lawrence could look away, or at least blink, because his eyes are scary. They're not just looking into his Adam's, hazy with drugs from the hospital and the tiredness from having to get over the biggest phobia of his life within the period of five minutes, they're looking into Adam, and Adam can't even answer the way he always does, by simply not answering at all, just slap it away and huddle back into his own loneliness, because then, he's going to lose Lawrence forever.
And he can't do that.
Because just like Lawrence, he's not strong enough to repeat the events of this past year.
It's a new year now, a new time. A whole new life has begun.
So maybe he's just going to have to get over it.
Maybe it really is that simple. And maybe he at least is that strong.
Or maybe he's just that much in love.
"I love you, Lawrence."
He's not sure what answer Lawrence expected. He doesn't really care, though.
Lawrence will stay. He will stay because he knows that Adam means it.
Adam gets fully convinced on that when he feels the lips on his own. Soft and wet, sweet and warm, opening, tasting him. Entering him.
The real him.
This is who Adam really is. This is him.
He really is the Adam he was born to be when he's standing in the middle of a stale brokenness, when everything has fallen apart around him, when a frail sun has risen over his face and when the scars of a previous life are still shining from his arms, but with Lawrence there, Lawrence who kisses him, discovers him, erases the scars with the brush of his fingertips.
Adam is only real when Lawrence is there. He'd disappear in a light mist, like the smoke from his cigarettes, if he didn't have Lawrence here.
Adam could've said all that when Lawrence's moth leaves his own. Or at least he could've said that he's sorry, he's so sorry, so sorry for all the crap he's brought down on Lawrence, for the year they had to be apart that wasn't very long, but still just long enough for both of them do wither away a little inside, that it's never going to happen again, because they both just love each other too much, that he'll carve all his scars open again if it makes Lawrence realize how sorry he is.
But he's not going to say that. Because the best way he can show Lawrence how sorry he is is to leave all that behind, he knows that.
The best way to show that he's sorry is to get his goddamned act together.
So instead, he says this:
"Do you want to see some of my pictures?"
That's almost the same thing as saying all that, after all.
YAY! Another completed fic! Not my most read one, perhaps… But hell, the ones who did read, thanks a lot for doing that! Adam, Lawrence and me will miss you! And please leave a review as a party gift for us!