one: mots oubliés
He finds memories of her in the oddest places; he will be walking down the street, and a puff of cigarette smoke will float towards him on the breeze, and he will be back in Paris, outside l'café, a coffee in hand and her bare foot tracing circles on the inside of his thigh. Sometimes it is the sight of things; he will catch moonlight glinting on water and he will think of the Seine on the night he first kissed that full mouth, the full moon glinting and glimmering upon the water. When he slides his tie into place in the morning, her hands are a ghostly cold shadow that hovers just above his fingers, slipping and sliding, pressing sloppy kisses here and there.
At night, he lies in the silence and the dark with the windows open, the roar of traffic numbing his ears. He can feel her, sometimes, in the touch of sheets against his skin, her sweet mouth whispering French declarations of love against his skin as she nuzzles down his body, slow and sensuous as she is in all things. He sees her when he wakes in the morning; he leaves his eyes half-open when he turns to face the other side of the bed during the golden dawns, and he sees the black curls splayed across the white pillowcase, feels the gentle wash of breath breaking against his skin…but all eyes must open eventually, and she is gone.
He works as he always did: efficiently. He is a machine, but he does not go out for beer after work with those who used to be friends, nor does he stop by any pubs. He orders his groceries online, and they are waiting for him on his doorstep the day after he places the order. He can do all of his own repairs around his house, and he lives as one person, so he cleans after himself as well. He lives in a penthouse apartment with an uncomfortable couch no one ever sits on and glass nouveau riche end tables that no one will ever use, and he remembers their little cottage on the bank of the winding river.
It was small, something her grandmother had owned. Smaller than most apartments, but she had had plumbing and heating installed to make it livable, and she had insisted upon living in it. He had put up some sort of half-hearted protest, but they both knew that he would go along anyway, and so he did. There had been a living room full of mismatched, overstuffed, comfortable furniture – a tall, straight-backed armchair that she said reminded her of Sherlock Holmes, a squat, comfortable recliner, a long, low, creaking, broken-in couch that seemed to be made to allow them to cuddle up together and read in front of the fire. There were rugs, threadbare and worn, and tarnished pots hanging from old oak rafters in the kitchen, and it was home.
This place wasn't, and it wouldn't ever be, and he knew that. He knew that every day he passed in and out of it, and when he was feeling particularly nostalgic, he would make himself go and lie down on the hard, uncomfortable couch in the middle of his cold, sterile living room, and he would know that no one would ever dare to cuddle on this couch, and that was why he bought it. No one would cuddle him again; no one but her, and since she never would, there was no more warm comfort for him. Ever.
When he passes the little home-run candle shop on the corner of 36th and Aldersgate, he has to stop, even though the sky is pregnant with rain and rumbling fit to burst, because they are burning honeysuckle and French vanilla candles, her two favorite scents. He owns no candles, no decorations, but he enters the store and leaves with fifty French vanilla tea candles. He lights one every time he thinks her name, and he has lit them all within the hour. He sits in his glossy, magazine-worthy kitchen eating takeout Italian and surrounded by fifty burning French vanilla candles, and if his food is a little wet and salty, he doesn't care to ponder why. He scrubs his face twice as hard that night and ignores the invisible tears that still seem to stick to his skin.
He holds on to his music; it is the one rope to his sanity he refuses to tear away. In a sense, he lives only through the music he hears – his mouth will not articulate the words, and his mind will feign forgetfulness. And so he remembers the little songs she used to hum in a jumble of English and French in the early morning as she would kiss him, her little hymne l'amour, her anthem of love to him in the tiny hours, and he thinks that he would sing them back to her, even if only in his mind – but his mind is so forgetful. He has forgotten the words to the anthem she so lovingly crooned in the dawn, and those mots oubliés, those words forgotten, refuse to come back.
In the darkness of the night, surrounded by the scent of burnt-out French vanilla candles, he turns his face into his pillows and refuses to acknowledge the tears that slide from his eyes, focusing instead on the mantra that slides from his mouth: Thalia, Thalia, Thalia, Thalia.
Probably the strangest fic I've ever written.
Was listening to various pieces of music last night and was totally inspired to write Thuke and foreign things at the same time, which eventually morphed into this AU. Thalia is French, Luke is British, they were in love, something happened. Story is finished and in three sections: this first, "mots oubliés", the second, "mots en partie", and the third, "mots rappelés". A short epilogue entitled "hymne d'espoir" is in the works.
…I don't even have anything to say for myself. –hangs head in shame- God, this is sort of sad. Chapters are meant to be short; I wanted something terse, with punch, but not abrupt. For those of you who play music, think of it as an accented note line accompanied by a decrescendo and a legato effect. (…I'm a doooork.)
Will post every day with new chapter.
Will also have the next chapter for Eye of Gods up in a day or so. Hopefully. GOD I HATE YOU ADA. –pout-
Also, Josh Groban for the epic win of life. (Him and Chuck Norris, because come on. He's Chuck Norris.)
-sigh- I'm sorry I keep doing this to you poor readers...please love me. -cling-