Title: Submerged 1/1
Author: Becky
Warnings: Mentions of character deaths, character death, implied slash.
Spoilers: The whole movie
Disclaimer: While the story is mine, the characters and dialogue belong to Miramax, Anthony Minghella, and Patricia Highsmith. It would do you no good to sue a poor college student.
Notes: This might help those who haven't seen the movie understand the mentionings of the cellar; "Don't you put the past in a room, in the cellar, and just never go in there? Because that's what I do." (Tom Ripley) Also, while the movie never says that Tom had anything to do with Silvana's death, I had an idea and I ran with it.

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Water was sloshing against the boat, and the sound seemed to soothe Tom Ripley. He closed his eyes, Peter's last words running through his mind. The tone of his voice had been as soothing as the water now was - until the cord wrapped around his neck and cut off his precious air supply.

If only he had never borrowed that jacket, his life would be the way it had been before he met the Greenleafs - boring, but simple. Tom's eyes wandered over his surroundings, seeing but not comprehending. The cabin was dark, the bed he sat on soft under his body. Tom saw none of it, felt none of it. He could only hear the sloshing of the water, Peter's voice echoing in his head.

Water held his secrets, like the proverbial cellar that he would never find his way out of. It started rather simply. The Italian girl had merely slipped, fallen into the water on her own. Tom hadn't killed Silvana, he just let her slip under the water. He had even meant to save her, but watched her flail helplessly a bit too long. She sank below the depths before he could force himself to move. He reasoned that it was too late then.

He hadn't wanted to hurt Dickie, either. He loved Dickie, he idolized him. Dickie had the perfect life. He did what he pleased, he had money, a beautiful girlfriend. He was beautiful. Tom wanted nothing more than to be allowed to indulge himself in the life that the other man lead. He'd known that Dickie was irritable, that he was quick to snap at a person and say something that could almost be considered cruel. It had happened to him before.

The blood - there had been so much of it. He could still feel the warm droplets falling onto his face during the struggle. All he had wanted to do was be Dickie's friend, to be loved by him in any way that was deemed possible. But he wasn't loved. No, he was practically despised. The first blow had been an act of passion, the following struggle an act of survival - he was certain that Dickie would kill him. The final blows, the ones that snuffed out the life he held more dearly than his own, had been an act of fear. If he hadn't kept hitting the man, he would've let his biggest secret of all slip out.

Freddie had been a pleasure to be rid of. He was so coarse, so boorish. Tom never had been able to stand the imbecile. He couldn't bear to let himself be found out. It would have been the worst thing to ever happen to him. Of course, Freddie wasn't entirely a secret, as his body had been found. If only Tom had been able to drop the corpse into the sea. Water did so well at concealing his secrets.

All Tom wanted out of life was to be loved. The lifestyle he'd lived since first coming to Italy - the money - it was transitory. While it was nice, it didn't matter. Peter could have loved him.
"Tom has someone to love him." Peter had loved him, hadn't he? Peter would have found out, discovered the darkness in the cellar. He wouldn't have loved him, then. Wrapping the cord around his neck had been hard - even harder than watching the helpless girl drown right before his eyes. Harder than hitting Freddie with the Hadrian bust. Harder than listening to the sound of the oar making contact with Dickie's skull.

"If I could just go back," he whispered to himself, "If I could rub everything out. Starting with myself. Starting with borrowing a jacket."

The sky was an inky dark blue as Tom stepped out on to the deserted deck, stars sparkled brightly, the moon reflecting on the water. Somewhere in the distance, Peter's body lay in the depths of the indigo hued sea, the water once again holding Tom's secret. The spray of the sea misted his face, adding more moisture to his already damp eyes.

He couldn't be Tom any longer - he hadn't really been Tom for most of his stay in Italy. He couldn't be Dickie Greeleaf, either. Dickie was dead. Lost somewhere at the bottom of the sea. Tom was what he had always believed himself to be. A nobody - only now, it was completely true. He was nobody. He'd lost himself in the cellar, lost himself to the water.

Tom leaned flush against the railing, staring out over the sea. His eyes closed as he gripped the metal, his body shaking. He'd always wanted to be somebody. Somebody who was special, somebody who was loved. He was nothing, he'd murdered his chance of love. He'd murdered himself a long time ago, when he let Silvana drown. When the water and Tom Ripley claimed their first victim. He was nobody.

Ten minutes later, a pair of glasses lay discarded on the deck, right next to the railing. The sea was calm, smooth. Tom Ripley's very last secret was concealed in its depths. He would forever be a nobody.

"I suppose I always thought - it's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody."