Author's Note: I keep seeing these 1-sentence things pop up, so I thought I'd nip over to 1sentenceorder on LiveJournal, steal some prompts, and give it a go. The themes are from the "Beta" set.

These are not in chronological order.

(April 18, 2008)

#15 - Breathing

When Dakin approaches him at Lockwood's funeral, all Tom can think is "oh, for crying out loud"; it helps take his mind off the way his breath rattles in his throat, especially where the boy -- man -- in the casket will never draw one of his own again.

#42 - Neutral

"Surprise, Poland," Dakin says with a smile when he calls Irwin at home (he'd gleaned the number and address off of an easily-manipulated secretary at the BBC, flashing a smile with a hint of sadness), even though he'd always considered Tom Irwin to be more Switzerland than anything else.

#1 - Walking

At the very least the accident was an inconvenience, as Tom wants nothing more than to be able to stroll through the vast grounds of Tintern Abbey at his leisure.

#27 - Jester

"A speaker once told De Gaulle that he resembled Robespierre and De Gaulle responded, "I always thought I was Jeanne d'Arc and Bonaparte -- how little one knows oneself!," Dakin says with a grin, and Irwin bursts into laughter over his account of the battle of Montcornet, unable to hold it in any longer.

#17 - Belief

Dakin hated Irwin after he'd left the Corpus administration building that day, not because that the man had lied but rather because he'd believed it.

#22 - Quirks

He notices one day as they argue over coffee if Appropriation art can even be considered art that Irwin's left incisor will sometimes poke out to grasp his bottom lip when Dakin has him on the ropes, and Dakin is appalled to find it incredibly charming.

#9 - War

"The Treaty of Versailles is the reason that National Socialism rose in Germany and that the second World War came about, so fuck you very much, sir -- Oh, are we still on for dinner this Saturday?"

#50 - Defeat

Dakin, stretched out on his couch and smoking a cigarette, watches Irwin interview another historian, Mr. Cooke -- it's all vaguely interesting until Irwin annihilates the other man with an off-hand remark about he was so sure that everyone knew that Ernst vom Rath's homosexuality was a mere rumor fabricated by the Gestapo and that his sexual orientation had nothing to do with the horrors that took place on Krystallnacht and was Mr. Cooke trying to imply something?

#31 - Smirk (sequel to Defeat)

Dakin says, "You didn't have to murder the man, you know", and Irwin looks up from his notes for the next documentary, proud, the corners of his lips quirking up evilly.

#44 - Near

The feeling he gets when Dakin uncaringly wraps his arm around his waist in public can't be categorized, or found anywhere else -- not in Irwin's books, or his studies, or in his past.

#23 - Question

The grass is green, the sky is blue, but when Dakin asks, "Out of everyone else, why me" Irwin can't find an answer that will fit in the order of life, or the messy pattern of history.

#3 - Wishes

"I would've carried you, you know," Dakin mutters next to him, flicking his just-lit cigarette away; Irwin shrugs, tipping his chin back to catch the sun's rays, comfortable in the grass of Fountains, and says, "Like fuck."

#39 - Share

They finally make good on that drink in a pub near Bradford, and it isn't awkward as Tom always imagined it would be, especially when Dakin reaches over and finishes off his lager without asking.

#35 - Sarcasm

"That's a mighty long 'thank you'," Scripps says on the other line in lieu of a 'hello, Stu, how have you been, it's been ages since I've last talked to you, how's law?'

#28 - Jousting

"En garde," Dakin shouts, thrusting at an invisible assailant with a wooden spoon, and Irwin just stands in the doorway, surveying his ruined kitchen (not that it was anything special to begin with) and wondering how long it will take to get the tomato sauce out of the upholstery.

#13 - Bias

They are on holiday, walking among the grounds of Notre Dame de Paris, taking in the cathedral; Irwin complains that while it is the most famous of the Notre Dame churches it is hardly the most beautiful (with the Montreal basilica taking that title, hands-down), and Dakin tries not to snicker every time Irwin says 'flying buttress'.

#18 - Balloon

There is a little girl crying on the banks of the Seine, and Dakin buys her a large, floating Mickey Mouse just to shut her up -- Irwin takes three pictures.

#36 - Sordid

For the first eight months, it is kept secret, and Irwin wonders when it will come spilling out, his role of the great Stuart Dakin's mistress, and if it will end the whole thing.

#5 - Worry

The world is suddenly on a startlingly different axis and the sky is a hazy shade of white, but Irwin's always been partial to snowy skies; Dakin's heart is in his throat as he stumbles across the ice, "'Let's go ice skating, Stuart, it's been ages since I've gone' -- There's a good fucking reason for that, you stupid cripple!"

#16 - Breaking

Tom can feel his back arch off of the sheets as Stuart thrusts steadily, murmuring some kind of verse at him that he can't hear because something inside is stirring, fusing together, shell and stone and seawater, until it's Atlantis smashing against the cliffs of Dover.

#21 - Quiet

Sometimes they just read together, settled into each other, lost in times long since past and words long since spoken.

#20 - Bane

It's funny how Irwin can make 'Happy anniversary' sound like 'I've resisted the urge to pour arsenic into your coffee for the last 365 days'.

#32 - Sorrow

Every once in a great while, Irwin will stop and close his eyes, remembering the sound of a motorbike hitting the pavement; he likes to think that's what the end of all things sounds like.

#45 - Natural

It's easy, more than, to look at Tom and acknowledge that it was inevitable.

#7 - Wasteland

"With a shower of rain, can we stop in the colonnade and go on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, and drink coffee and talk for an hour--"; Irwin rubs his temples, mutters, "Shut up, Dakin", and hangs up the phone.

#38 - Sojourn

"I'm going away for a little bit, perhaps a month or two, in order to film a piece on the pyramids and -- Look, if you're going to be like that, then just come with me, you scheming wanker."

#26 - Jump

It would be so simple, so ridiculously effortless for Dakin to just pitch himself off of whatever plateau of superiority he's been living on and into Irwin's arms -- Irwin, skinny as he is, would have no trouble catching him.

#4 - Wonder

They are on Bear Lake, staring at the explosion of light and color whispering a scream above them; Stuart takes Tom's hand into his and doesn't let go.

#49 - Victory

"Hah," Dakin smirks, and Irwin stares at his fallen army, blaming Hasbro for all of it.

#25 - Quitting

Left behind in the classroom, still leaning against the window as if Dakin were still crowding him, Irwin removes his glasses and thinks this teaching thing isn't quite working out while his "diary" burns a hole in his trouser pocket.

#11 - Birthday

Stuart bought him the complete works of Samuel Johnson -- there are no words to describe Tom's joy, none.

#2 - Waltz

It's a dance -- not an all that complex one, at that -- between them, and despite the pain in his leg Irwin doesn't wish for the music to end (even if Dakin has two left feet).

#30 - Just

Stuart kept all of his essays from that extra term, and there are times when he will slide the folder marked 'Oxbridge-Bound' out from the third left drawer of his desk and re-read the cramped handwriting marked in the margins, blood-spattered commentary that he's had memorized for years; he remembers his younger self complaining of how unfair it all was… he remembers a lot of things about his younger self.

#40 - Solitary

He thinks of Irwin more than he ought to: during class, during breakfast, during lunch, during dinner, during the night… but it's all right, he supposes, if he's the only one who knows.

#14 - Burning

There is smoke in his kitchen, but Tom hands Stuart the signed papers with a simple, "Count your lucky stars that I can't sue you for property damage now."

#19 - Balcony

"Time for you and time for me / And time yet for a hundred indecisions / And for a hundred visions and revisions / Before the taking of a toast and tea," Tom says softly, bringing the morning air with him from the veranda, but Stuart takes the coffee that's offered to him anyway, letting the other man off the hook for waking him up at obscene o'clock in the morning without a complaint.

#33 - Stupidity

"You never really wanted to suck me off back then," Irwin laughs, delicately sawing off a small sliver of cheese cake with his fork, and Dakin shrugs and thinks wrong again.

#34 - Serenade

Stuart stands in the doorway, silent as a wraith, as Tom putters around his office, singing loudly that wild horses couldn't drag him away.

#8 - Whiskey and Rum

"I love you," Dakin says, swaying on Irwin's welcome mat, his glassy eyes a paint smudge in an otherwise perfect portrait of confidence -- Irwin lets him sleep it off on his couch with a promise that they'll talk if any of this is remembered in the morning.

#12 - Blessing (sequel to Whiskey and Rum)

Dakin wakes up on the sofa and smiles through his hangover.

#43 - Nuance

Dakin can tell when Irwin's talking about a topic that bores him; there is the slightest variation to the way he says his R's, and Dakin makes sure to not bring up George Boleyn the next time they go out for drinks and a bite.

#29 - Jewel

They've been meeting up a few times a week for the last three and a half months, and when Irwin sits down, sporting a shiny pin badge given to him 'by a lovely man after the Charles II special aired', Dakin has two drinks for every one that Irwin orders.

#10 - Weddings

"What the hell could be so important that you and Pos felt the need to go all the way to fucking Massachusetts for it," Stuart asks Scripps, curious at the barely-contained joy in that Yorkshire drawl.

#41 - Nowhere

"Where to this month," Stuart inquires, tired, blinking in confusion when Tom shakes his head and asks if the sheets are clean.

#24 - Quarrel

Stuart slams cabinet doors and drawers and books and papers and he thunders up the stairs and clears his throat far more often than necessary, but it's Tom's silence that speaks the loudest.

#6 - Whimsy

Dakin watches the Empress give a tiny grain of sand to a little boy and wonders what he would wish for if the choice was his (he knows, he knows, he knows, he knows).

#47 - Valiant

Irwin smiles at the steadying hand on his arm, saving him from what would have been a rather nasty tumble on a patch of ice, ignoring his hero's comment of "if those glasses are doing shit, then maybe you should take them off."

#48 - Virtuous

What kind of man (the best kind) would have students lie about themselves, to lock away their true feelings and politics, in order to make it into a stupid school?

#37 - Soliloquy

"Told by an idiot, signifying nothing," Dakin mutters, all because Irwin called him 'Stuart' and his heart hasn't stopped pounding for two days.

#46 - Horizon

They sit up and talk, spent and new, as light breaks over the houses; And where mortal men would stare at the place where earth meets sky they only have eyes for each other.