Glimpse of a Closet Door
By Clarity Scifiroots
Fandom/Characters: Dead Zone – Dana, Bruce; implied Johnny/Bruce
Spoilers: s5's "Articles of Faith"
Summary: An epilogue to Articles of Faith wherein Dana meets up with Bruce one-on-one before she leaves.
May!fic 23 of 31
Dana walks down the front steps with a smile.
"Hey." She looks up in surprise at the call and sees Bruce coming around the side of the house.
"Hi." She meets him halfway on the drive. "How're you doing?" Dana notes the hunched shoulders and how Bruce's hands are stuffed in his pockets. "Tough time, huh?" She reaches out and pats his arm comfortingly, knowing that prolonged contact isn't something he wants from her.
Bruce rolls his shoulders in a casual shrug. He doesn't meet her gaze, instead staring past her in the direction of the entrance.
"It's a mess. And I know it won't change much." His lips press tightly together.
"No," Dana agrees quietly, "but there will be those people who will be thinking about it. You know Purdy's organizing a bunch of workshops and special prayer services? He's changed."
Bruce glances at her and nods briefly. "I guess anyone can surprise you at some point."
Bemused, Dana scrutinizes his expression and asks, "Trying to tell me something?"
"You're leaving pretty quick." Bruce indicates her car parked in front of the steps.
Dana crosses her arms over her chest and levels him with a glare. "Your observation skills astound me. So what is this about? I know you're not too happy to see me, Bruce. But just so you know, jealousy doesn't look good on you."
Bruce straightens up and returns the glare. "You're rarely good news," he says. "Forgive me if I didn't rejoice in having you suddenly appear again in Johnny's life when we both know you were just going to pop out again."
"Wait." Dana rubs her forehead wearily. "You're telling me this isn't about me 'stealing' Johnny away from you, but that you're worried about me leaving the guy broken hearted?" She stares at him in disbelief.
Bruce meets her stare with a grim expression. "Dana, let's not pretend you didn't take joy in getting under his skin. He's long had a thing for you and he didn't get over it when you suddenly disappeared one day." He sighed. "You know why we accepted Purdy's invite—to see you."
Dana smiles. "I know why Johnny came. You came for a different reason. You always do." Her knowing look apparently makes him uncomfortable. Bruce glances away and shifts his weight from foot to foot.
"Bruce," she says, stepping closer in order to rest a hand on his shoulder. "I'm not in the picture anymore, okay? I came over to say goodbye and that's just what I did." She waits to continue until Bruce focuses on her. "You're what he needs. I don't know how you're able to sacrifice so much of yourself to keep an eye on him. I'd never be able to do that. Sarah wouldn't have, either. Johnny's got his support and I'd be a complication, you're right about that." She offers him a brief grin. "I bet you'd be a good kind of complicated, though."
Bruce stays silent for a few moments. Without looking away he says, "It is." He smiles slightly at her surprise. "What kind of patience do you think I have, woman?" he teases.
With a laugh, Dana just shakes her head, no idea what to say.
"You... aren't that bad for him, you know," Bruce says.
His words are sobering and Dana searches his face for signs of hidden feelings. She moves her hand to his cheek. "Don't hold it in," she advises. "Yeah, I'm sure this thing has taken its toll on him... but I think you might have been hit worse. Don't try hiding that. Let him help you for a change, huh? I bet he'd love the chance to return the support. He's a nice guy like that." She smiles even though Bruce doesn't react.
She pulls back and tucks her hair back behind her ears. "It's been swell, but I have a cozy little place called home waiting for me back in Boston. I've got news to chase and people to see." She winks at him. "I won't forget about you guys, don't worry."
Bruce walks with her to the car. She rolls her eyes when he holds the door open for her. She gets in and puts a hand out indicating for him to wait.
"Listen, his thing with Stillson isn't nearly as quiet as you might like to think. You guys be careful. And," she takes a deep breath and takes the plunge, "if you need help getting information... I have my sources. Give me a call before you do something stupid and amateur?" she requests.
"Can't promise," Bruce responds, but his eyes lighten with amusement.
"Guess I'll just have to accept that. Take care."
She reaches for the door; as it closes she hears Bruce's "good luck." She nods at him as she starts the car. In the mirror she watches Bruce as she pulls down the drive and wonders how she missed the signs in the past few days. Then again, considering the recent disaster—and some of the media coverage had already labeled it as a "scandal"—with Josh and Rashid's relationship she can understand why Johnny and Bruce would keep things under wraps.
Dana looks back one last time at the Smith estate and lets her heart ache for the two men. One day, she's sure, she'll be back here to cover a sensationalist story about the affair between the psychic and his "sidekick." Like Josh and Rashid the odds are stacked against them: gay, interracial couple with very different family backgrounds. She wonders if it's a story she'll be willing to take—if her involvement would better or worsen the situation. She'd really prefer if she never has to make that choice.