Thought i'd start out slow in this new category. Fun, going from a vet in other categories to a newcomer here :D
This is a oneshot!! I'm pretty proud; usually I can't confine myself to just one chapter thingy. I'm' getting better :D College essay constraints do that to ya... be concise? Never! (and then it's november and you're trying to limit yourself to 1000 words between two essays.. gaah..)
DISCLAIMER #1: I don't own the series.
DISCLAIMER #2: I do, however, own Iggy. He says so himself.
DISCLAIMER #3: I do have to wonder, though. He's blind, so looks obviously won't do much. Sweet guy must have to like a girl for personality :D
DISCLAIMER #4: this disclaimer thing is a new obsession. I'm likin it.
DISCLAIMER #5 WHICH I SWEAR IS THE LAST ONE: i've read one of these books. so discrepancies may occur, for which I am deeply apologetic.
The discovery shouldn't have made him cry like it did.
Iggy had fallen over Fang's guitar, and, rather than stalk away sulking like his first instinct had told him to do, he'd picked it up and played with it. Max had long been encouraging him to try, because- although she'd never said it- it wasn't like he could do anything else. Iggy couldn't read, couldn't watch movies with Gazzy or even peruse recipes on his own. He'd settled down on his bed, playing at the strings and trying to form something out of it.
He hated it.
He couldn't construct the sounds in his mind, couldn't remember the sound that came first in a string of three, couldn't pluck the strings without hitting at least two at once, couldn't separate his thoughts into concentrating on using both hands for different motions, and he didn't like how much noise it was making. He didn't like drawing attention to himself; each sound from the guitar made him self-conscious. And he was practically tone deaf besides.
The discovery shouldn't have been surprising- he was already blind, what was one more imperfection? For some reason, after putting the guitar back on Fang's side of the room and slinking away from it, Iggy had felt numb with defeat. He'd sunk back onto his bed, head in his hands. It's just a stupid guitar, he'd thought, who cares if I'm music illiterate, too? It's no big deal.
But the thought wouldn't go away, and then he started to cry.
He hated it. He hated being the failed experiment, hated how when everyone left the house and he was alone, he couldn't do anything, just wait for them to get back so he could have a life again. And he knew they got frustrated with him. How many times had that happened? He could tell, even if they thought he couldn't. Max, thank whatever God there was, did her absolute best to either not feel it, or just not show it. Her patience was infinite, so he did his best to shy away and not try it. But he couldn't blame the others for their frustration. Gazzy would harp after Iggy to watch a movie with him, but get bored of explaining the visuals about halfway through, and make up excuses to finish it some other time; they never did. Nudge would drag him places, because she always liked having someone to talk to, but those times had decreased until he only tagged on if there was no one else, because he slowed her down, and the bouncing, bounding girl didn't like being held back. Hell, even Angel got tired of leading him around by the hand all the time. And not a week ago, Fang had started batting Iggy's fingers away from his belt loops, slipping on ahead instead, leaving Iggy motionless until someone noticed that he was lost without ever having moved anywhere.
He knew they loved him; he hated that he was constantly, unintentionally but so, so constantly, wearing down on their patience and testing that love.
Iggy drew his knees up to his chest, tears wetting the rough denim. It just made sense that he was hopeless at the last thing he could have done for himself. He was almost glad he hadn't known sooner; the guitar had been a present, for Fang's nineteenth birthday, merely a few weeks ago. If Iggy had known how truly detached he was, that there was so little he was capable of doing himself, he would have been far worse off.
It wasn't fair that he'd made this discovery so soon after what had happened with Fang. They'd been back in a city, one quickly extinguished lead on Nudge's parents. Nothing had come of it, as they'd expected, but Angel had had her heart set on ice cream, so they'd wandered off in that direction. Somehow, (Iggy suspected Gazzy had helped her with the internet) she'd come up with the address of some new place, and had wanted to go there.
If there was anything that truly unnerved Iggy, it was when they went somewhere entirely new. He couldn't stand the absolute confusion, when he didn't know where they were, when he had no idea at all.
Like had become natural, he'd reached to snag Fang's belt loop with his finger, so he'd have some idea of where he was going and so, although he didn't like to admit it, he'd be closer to Fang.
Then Fang had pushed his hand away, hissing a sharp "back off, Iggy" before stalking on ahead.
And Iggy had just stood there, speechless, until Max had noticed he'd gotten left behind and tugged him by the hand to get him to follow along with her instead. It seemed too shocking, that Fang would leave him there like that, when Iggy only knew where he was by touch. But it had happened. And it wasn't the last time.
So maybe it wasn't coincidental that he was heartbroken over the stupid guitar thing at this very moment.
And the last person Iggy had wanted to show up was somewhere near the doorway. He always knew who it was, how could he not? It was so easy; Angel had a bounce in her step, and Nudge smelled faintly like daisies, Gazzy stumbled when he dashed about and ran into things, Max had the sliding steps, and Fang had that scent that had ingrained itself into Iggy's memory so deeply, he wondered if he'd be able to recognize himself as easily.
Sometimes, it truly scared Iggy, to realize that he would barely be able to recognize himself.
"I'd ask if something was wrong, but..." Fang was still lingering by the doorway. Iggy buried his face in his arms and said nothing. Fang drew in a slow breath. "But I think it would be a stupid question."
There were many other questions he could have asked; Iggy didn't want to offer up any.
"It's not so much 'if' as 'what', anyways." God, but Iggy hated that lack of sympathy in Fang's tone. And that undertone of what is it this time was so starkly present, it was like white fire beneath his words. "Care to specify?"
"Back off, Fang." Iggy had never snarled like that, and never, never at Fang.
Maybe it had just been because the words were so present in his mind, but Fang seemed to realize that, too. More than he'd realized how Iggy hadn't so much as dared to touch him for days, had reached for anyone else for guidance, resorting to wandering alone instead of going to Fang.
How Iggy would have liked to snap at him and shove past, but when he stormed out of the room, he couldn't see where Fang was to push, so as it was, he just stalked out, Fang standing silently by the doorway.
"Iggy..." His voice was lost in the sound of the howling wind outside the windows. "Iggy, wait-" The slam of the door drowned out the rest of his words as well, and by the next time he spoke, Iggy wasn't even there to hear it. "I'm sorry, Iggy.."
It was raining. It was raining, and when it rained, the paths all felt different, and Iggy couldn't tell where the dirt path ran into the dirt alongside the meadow, and he was rendered completely dependent on whoever he was with to lead him home.
At the moment, he was alone.
"There's something wrong with you, isn't there?"
Iggy turned away from Fang's voice, wiping at the tears on his face before realizing that the rain made it pointless.
"Yeah, Fang. There is. Never bothered you before." He barely heard Fang shuffling and sighing, and ultimately saying nothing, for so long that Iggy was scared he'd leave. He forced away tears, refusing to even turn in Fang's direction, "but I appreciate you coming to find me so I don't get lost."
"That's not the only reason I came. Don't-" Fang was hissing, voice low, "just don't treat me like that's the only reason I'm ever near you."
"Oh, right." Iggy's fists clenched, lifeline home forgotten, "You don't even do that anymore." He hated how obvious that hitch in his voice was.
"Iggy-" Fang's fingertips brushed his shoulder, but Iggy edged away, "I don't... don't mean it like that."
But the hesitance, all that reluctance, told Iggy that, maybe, it was even worse.
Maybe Fang knew. Maybe he knew what Iggy thought of him, and wanted to get as far away as possible.
"So if you don't-" he tried to steel his tone, heard himself fail, "why the hell do you do it?" I get lost, he wanted to cry out, to just sink to his knees and let himself finally cry, I get lost and I miss your touch.
Fang said nothing for a long time, rain falling between them in whispering quiet. Iggy could barely remember the last time he'd seen the rain. He'd always thought it tasted just like tears.
"What happened, this afternoon? Before I came back?" Fang asked softly. Iggy crossed his arms over his chest, back to Fang. He thought, with little certainty this time, that before him was the expanse of meadow, somewhere beyond, strawberry fields, but he didn't know. He just didn't know.
"I found out I can't play guitar, either." Iggy snapped, jaw tight, "that's what happened."
And then Fang laughed. Iggy's heart twisted and burned and smoldered, and Fang was laughing at him.
"What the hell is so funny?!" He'd never snarled before today, but, again, that growling, biting tone had wrenched itself from his throat, flinging his words like daggers at Fang in hopes of hitting his heart. "It's not... it's not funny, not at all. Don't you get it? It's something else I can't do, and- and I can't do anything by myself in all this dark anymore!" And, damn it, he was sobbing right in front of Fang, those desperate words like everything he'd wanted to say and never could, "I hate it, I hate it so much, why don't you get that? I hate getting lost like this, because no matter what happens, I always get lost! I can't do anything but by touch, I even feel lost in my dreams, because everything's dark, and I'm almost lost now!" He felt Fang's arms around him, pulling him against that hard chest, and he couldn't resist, no strength left to pull away.
"I was laughing because you're pouting about a stupid guitar, Ig. Hell, even I can't play well, and I can see, and I've read all about how to play. I'm sorry." He held Iggy tighter against him, "And... I'm sorry for everything else, too," he murmured into Iggy's ear, below the sound of the rain around them, "I didn't mean anything you thought I did, I swear it." Iggy could feel how Fang drew in a breath, tensed from anxiety, "I got freaked out." Iggy made a little noise of despair that made Fang cringe. "Not... not like you think. I'm sorry you got the wrong idea."
"So what's the right idea?" Iggy asked softly.
"I can't..." Fang hesitated again. Then he nudged him back enough to tilt Iggy's face up towards his. "I'm sorry."
Fang held onto him, as Iggy sobbed so hard he couldn't catch his breath.
"I freaked out because I realized how you feel about me." Iggy buried his face in Fang's chest at Fang's words.
"You're not supposed to know that." His voice sounded strangled when he choked out the words, "damn it. You're not supposed to know."
And the whole world was falling apart, it was like all that darkness was becoming darker, nothing left, just like the day he'd opened his eyes and seen absolutely nothing.
But Fang didn't push him away, didn't let him back up like Iggy tried to.
"You forget that I can see you, Ig."
"That's not..." Fang drew in a shuddering breath, felt Iggy shivering, "come on. We'll talk at home." That said, he took Iggy by the hand and led him back to the path.
Iggy didn't even try to pay attention to where they were going. He had no idea where they were anymore, none at all.
"Hello." Max opened the front door, confusion in her voice. "Where have you been?"
"Hello, Max." Fang led Iggy by her, no room for explanation in his voice.
"Something... going on?" She ventured. Iggy could feel her staring as he wiped away tears he couldn't help.
"Where're the little kids?" Fang asked instead. Iggy heard the front door close again.
"Asleep, Fang. It's almost eleven."
Fang forewent any reply in favor of leading Iggy to the living room. Fang was growling, flicking the light switch on and off as Iggy settled into a corner of the couch. Someone- Max, he knew- had started a fire in the fireplace.
"Power's out." Fang collapsed next to him. Iggy traced the fingertips of one hand over his own palm of the other hand, looking down like he could see what he was doing.
"Didn't notice." At that, there was a mumble of curses from Fang.
"Sorry. I didn't- think."
"I'm used to it."
"I'm sorry." Fang's voice was soft. "You still don't get it. What I meant. You don't. You can't."
Iggy tried to imagine the firelight on Fang's face, but couldn't. He hadn't seen Fang's face in so, so many years. Or his own.
"You're not explaining it well. I fell for you and you hate that, is that it?" He forced away tears again, "I'm sorry."
Fang was dead silent for a few long moments.
"Do you remember the night they told us that you'd become blind?" Fang finally asked. Iggy remained silent, but nodded. "You weren't there when Jeb told me and Max."
"The little kids didn't understand," Iggy breathed, running his fingertip along his palm, along each finger, "they thought it wouldn't last."
"Jeb told us exactly what had happened." He could feel the heat from Fang beside him, Fang's quiet voice slipping beneath the sound of the rain howling at the windows, "I'd never cried like that before. Never have, not for myself. You're... you're the only person that means that much to me."
And then Iggy felt Fang's lips on his, that sweet, rain-drop tinged kiss, but maybe, that was the taste of tears.
"I freaked out because I didn't know what to do. I didn't know where to go from there, because it felt like anything I do would be taking advantage of you." Fang murmured once they'd parted, words in Iggy's ear, "that's not because I think you're vulnerable or weak or something. Farthest thing from it." And Fang was saying, in that artful, skewed way of his, that Iggy wouldn't have seen him coming, and that, more than that, wouldn't have been able to turn Fang down, out of that sympathy that was so ingrained in everything Iggy was.
"I know how to solve that." Iggy finally smiled, turning towards Fang.
"Yeah?" He could hear the slight smile in Fang's voice. Iggy cautiously felt his way to find Fang's shoulders, then pushed him back on the couch. Slow, careful movements, as he moved over Fang, then leaned down and pressed his lips to Fang's.
"Just like that."
"How can you do that all without seeing?" Fang asked, tugging him closer, wrapping his arms around Iggy. Iggy tucked himself into Fang's side, head on Fang's chest.
"Because I know you," he murmured, and when he closed his eyes, it was easier to pretend he could see their moment, "by touch. I have to. Otherwise, I'd be lost." Fang was silent, fingertips tracing Iggy's hand where it lay on his hip.
"I'll never push you away like I've done, never again" he promised in a whisper, "I'll never let you get lost again."
"I know." Iggy murmured, "I love you."
Fang hugged him tighter, "I love you, Ig." Then he lay a kiss to Iggy's neck, nuzzled against him, "did you know you look the most like an angel of any of us?" Iggy shook his head no.
"I can't know that by touch…"
"That's okay" Fang assured, "I can do all that for you. After all... it's not like any real angels can see what happens on Earth anyways. You're just like they are."
Both fell asleep there, curled together, as rain fell against the windows. Iggy wasn't lost in his dreams; the feel of Fang against him was like Fang was leading him through, giving shape to the world that had been undefined for so long.
For the first time since the entire world had gone dark, there was light.
Hope ya liked that :)
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