Communication Breakdown

Curt had been staring at Arthur for what felt like an hour, but the younger man didn't seem to have noticed anything. He was completely engrossed in a book and was oblivious to everything, including Curt. And Curt didn't like that at all.

"Arthur?"

"Yeah?" he answered absent-mindedly.

"What are you reading?"

"Mmmm… A biography of The Cure. I told you I was doing an interview with them next week, remember?"

"Yeah… Bunch of fucking sad clowns, if you ask me. So ridiculous it's actually hilarious," Curt snorted.

"Not everyone can pull off glittery outfits and make-up, it's true," Arthur replied with a small, amused smile.

Curt gave him the finger, which only made him smile some more before his eyes focused again on the pages before him. The blond picked up a magazine lying on the coffee table and tried to take an interest in an article dedicated to Led Zeppelin, but he gave up after a few minutes, bored as hell. He didn't feel like reading, contrary to Arthur, and he knew everything there was to know about Led Zep anyway. He lit his twenty-something cigarette of the day, but it didn't solve his problem. When he finished it, Arthur was still reading and not paying any attention to him whatsoever.

Enough was enough. Curt coughed, once, twice, and stood up the third time, making Arthur look up from his book.

"Yes Curt?"

"Errr… I'm getting a beer from the fridge, do you want one?"

"No, thanks," he said politely before going back to his book.

Curt grumbled something about Arthur's precious book that ought to be burned along with the atrocious band it was babbling about and he went to the kitchen to retrieve a most welcome bottle of beer. He considered calling some friends, to see what they were up to, but he really only felt like being around Arthur right now. He glanced at the window and saw it was raining. Yeah, he was definitely not in the mood to confront the outside world. Besides, he already needed to confront Arthur, and it would keep him busy for a while, seeing how his lover was not in the mood for talking. But then again, when was Arthur ever in the mood for talking?

Leaning against the frame of the door, Curt sipped on his beer and watched Arthur intently, as if trying to hear his thoughts. How did he manage to keep still and concentrated for so long on one thing? It amazed Curt, who on the other hand was always fidgeting. The only times he managed to be somewhat quiet were when he was working on a song.

It also unsettled him; Arthur as a whole unsettled him. He was just so… quiet. So reserved. He always seemed to have something on his mind, but he rarely shared it with anybody. Curt still had a hard time accepting that, not feeling hurt by this almost excessive restraint. He had let Arthur all in, but he knew it was not the case the other way around. Usually he wouldn't think it was such a big deal; but on days like that one, he minded. He fucking minded. Just like he couldn't stand the fact that all he could hear was the pages Arthur was turning, and not Arthur's thoughts.

Irritated, he strode across the room and stopped in front of the stereo. Rummaging about, he finally found the album he was looking for and decided to play it at maximum volume. The song he picked was not random too; "Communication Breakdown" started yelling through the speakers and Curt went along, singing the lyrics as loud as possible.

"Hey girl, stop what you're doin' ! Hey girl, you'll drive me to ruin!"

He watched with satisfaction Arthur start and drop his book, and he got closer, still echoing Robert Plant:

"I don't know what it is that I like about you, but I like it a lot!"

"Curt, what the hell are you doing?! Turn it down!"

"Won't let me hold you, let me feel your lovin' charms!" Curt screamed, ignoring him.

"Turn it the fuck down!" Arthur yelled, annoyed.

"Communication breakdown, it's always the same! I'm having a nervous breakdown, drive me insane!" Curt kept going, motioning innocently that he couldn't hear a single word of what Arthur was trying to say.

The latter went straight to the stereo, realizing he wouldn't manage to have Curt do anything against his will, and he stopped the song altogether.

"C'mon Arthur, just when it was getting to the interesting part! Don't you want to hear me tell you how I love you through Rob Plant's lyrics?" Curt laughed, delighted to see his plan had worked.

"Curt, I don't have time to play your stupid games! I have work to do. And you should be working too, on your music."

"You know I don't work like that. Inspiration comes to me first, not vice-versa."

It was Curt's turn to get annoyed. Again. What was wrong with Arthur? How could he resist Led Zep's music? How could he resist him, Curt freaking Wild? Sometimes he would think Arthur was just immune to fun, or anything that didn't involve brooding or working.

The moment Arthur sat back in his easy chair and picked up his book was the point of no return. Curt crouched in front of him, grabbed the book and threw it at the other end of the room, leaving Arthur flabbergasted.

"Why are you like that?" Curt blurt out.

"What?"

"Why are you like that?"

"What do you mean 'why am I like that'? Sitting in our house? Trying to get some work done?"

"You know what? You're a real pain in the ass, Stuart, a big fucking one."

Arthur clenched his teeth and gave him a hurt look, having not seen that one coming.

"You don't talk, you never do. And then when I finally get you to talk, you either scream at me or use fucking irony. Why do you push me away like that? What happened to you to make you deflect every single attempt to communicate with you?"

Arthur remained silent, his eyes staring blankly at the ground, and Curt sighed.

"Alright. I don't care in fact, I don't care about your past. And you shouldn't too. 'Cos I'm your present Arthur, and if you want me to be your future too, you'd better start changing. I'm not the enemy, okay? Don't fucking go Brian Slade on me."

At these words, Arthur met his eyes, and what Curt saw in them made him stand still.

"You think it's easy for me? You think I chose to be 'like that'? I can't bloody help it, it's who I am. And if you're so unhappy with that, why did you even move in? Why did you even bother with me?"

"'Cos I love you, you moron."

"Yeah, you love me, Arthur Stuart, the oh so quiet journalist. Why isn't it enough?"

Curt rubbed his eyes, suddenly very tired; this was going nowhere, he should have known it from the start and just shut the fuck up. He saw Arthur get up and grab his leather jacket.

"What… Where are you going?"

"Outside. Get some air," was the short reply he received before Arthur disappeared behind the front door.

Great, just great. Now Arthur would avoid him for hours, if not days. Maybe he would even go as far as tell Curt to move out? It had only been a month since he had made Arthur's house his home as well. For fuck's sake, trying to force communication upon Arthur had been the worst idea he had ever had, and he had had quite a few.

Well fuck it. If he had just screwed up his relationship, he might as well go and get pissed in a pub. He was about to dial the number of one of his friends when he heard the front door open and close.

A very wet Arthur was now standing in the hall, water literally dripping from him, and Curt would have found it comical if it weren't for Arthur's very serious gaze.

"Are you alright?" he ventured, getting closer to the younger man.

"I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry too…" he started, but Arthur motioned him to stop.

Curt obeyed, watching Arthur struggle to find his words.

"I didn't… I know it's hard for you, because it's hard for me too. But you say I'd better start changing, and well, I did start changing, even though you don't seem to have noticed. I don't talk much, but I do talk way more since I've been with you. And as much as I'd like to, I can't just let go of my past. It ain't that easy, and you know that: you're having a hard time letting go of your own. But I'm working on it, with you, thanks to you. That's why you don't have to worry: I know you're not the enemy, and I won't leave you like Slade left you. Never. You're stuck with me for good."

Curt could only smile and Arthur seemed finally to relax.

"Wow… That was a bit too emotional, wasn't it?"

"I don't care. That was nice, you finally talking about how you're feeling," Curt replied reassuringly.

"Still, I think The Cure is rubbing off on me," Arthur joked.

"Urgh, that's terrible! Let me chase them off…"

Curt brought Arthur against him and kissed him fervently.

"Wait… I think they got under your clothes, you should take them off…" Curt let out, starting to lift his lover's shirt.

"Oh really?" Arthur smiled.

"Yeah, it's getting pretty serious, take them off."

Arthur didn't protest and simply burst out laughing, following Curt's advice and getting rid of his jeans. Curt loved it when he made Arthur laugh, and it happened more and more often. Maybe Arthur really was changing after all, maybe Curt didn't give him enough credit for that. But then again, patience and insight had never been his greatest virtues.

Some time later, they were lying on the wooden floor and Curt was beginning to doze off when Arthur got up and kneeled in front of the stereo.

"What're you doing?" the blond asked sleepily.

"You're not the only one who can express his feelings through music, you know? I'm not a music journalist by chance."

Curt propped himself on his elbows, intrigued.

"Is 'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You' on Led Zeppelin's first album?" Arthur asked very matter-of-factly.

"Yeah, it's the second track of the… Hey wait a minute!"

"What?" Arthur laughed.

"Haha, very funny. Abso-fucking-lutely hysterical."

"Sorry, that was an easy one."

"Yeah it was…" Curt mumbled, pretending to sulk.

It took Arthur a few minutes to find the album he was looking for, and once he had set it on the right song, he laid down next to Curt again.

"That's…"

"'Thank You'."

Curt fell silent, touched by Arthur's attention, and he let the music fill the room entirely. He wrapped one arm around Arthur's shoulders and closed his eyes, enjoying this peaceful moment.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me

Kind woman, I give you my all

Kind woman, nothing more

Little drops of rain, whisper of the pain,

Tears of loves lost in the days gone by

My love is strong, with you there is no wrong

Together we shall go until we die, My, my, my

An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look... see

And so today, my world it smiles

Your hand in mine, we walk the miles

Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one

Happiness, no more be sad, happiness... I'm glad

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me

Yeah, today his world smiled, and Curt felt as if he had finally found his home, his place, his one love. And that felt fucking great.