| Disclaimer: Marvel owns them. The song used in the two quotes is "It's Only the Wind" by the Pet Shop Boys. |
When Life is Common
by Ana Lyssie Cotton"It's only the wind, how it take you by surprise. Just a little wind, and before you know it dies..."
Brian was staring down at the glass in his hand, utter concentration apparent in his features. Concentration that excluded the background noise coming from the jukebox. The conversation his team mates were having. And the incessant chatter of the blonde sitting on his right, her arm around his shoulders. Meggan.
The smoke in the pub didn't bother him, didn't make his eyes water. The song in the jukebox switched to something else.
Quicksilver, blonde, beautiful. Meggan.
The glass in his hand hovered above the table as if contemplating spilling before it finally raised to his lips. He took a sip and it lowered back down. Steadily. Undrunkenly.
The alcohol in the glass wouldn't kill him. It wouldn't get him drunk. But he wasn't supposed to be having it. He'd had it before, and it had made him angry, violent. He'd hit her. Meggan.
And she'd forgiven him. She really shouldn't have, but she did. And he was drinking again.
Alone. He suddenly felt very cold and very much alone. And very afraid.
"Brian, what's the matter? Why aren't you talking? Are you ok?"
The questions spilled out, piling one on top of the other. In her haste to understand, to fight the twinge of fear.
But he wasn't.
Meggan shoved a hand through her hair and looked concernedly at the man she loved--her fiancee`, the man she was to marry in three weeks' time. And she wondered.
He was so quiet that night. He didn't normally get that quiet--well, he used back when... Back when... Meggan's eyes widened and she stared at the glass he was holding.
He'd go quiet those nights, the nights he'd hit her, the nights she'd cry herself to sleep. Maybe an outburst, maybe not. He wasn't hitting her--not really--he was hitting himself. Hurting her because he couldn't do anything else to escape the pain.
Knowing you were basically unfit for the life you were leading and doing something about it were two different things. Meggan shuddered, remembering. It hadn't been her. Kitty had told her that, over and over. So had Rachel when that golden bird had deigned to pay attention to the mortals around her.
It still didn't help. Nothing did. Nothing would. Except Brian. In some ways, he was more than half of her. Sometimes, they were only whole if she wasn't all there. If she was still nothing.
The Crimson Dawn had changed that. The only good thing to come out of the experience. Brian still gave her nightmares of the torture he'd received. In turn, she gave him the pain of dealing with his loss.
He'd left her before Rachel.
Meggan could remember it. She'd sat there for a long time, not really there, pieces of herself scattered around. Then, slowly, rebuilding, becoming whole again. Without him.
And then he came back.
In the background, the jukebox flipped over to something vaguely modern. Someone had decided for something melancholy to fit their mood.
And they had to relearn being together. Relearn what it was like being halves of a whole. Except that she'd never BEEN half. Not till now.
Meggan wondered if she would ever be able to be whole without him. Without the overwhelming need she felt for him, she was nothing. Wasn't she?
"My hands are not shaking, I didn't touch a drop. You must be mistaken, I know when to stop..."
© 1999 Ana Lyssie Cotton