Disclaimer: This story contains adult content and language, which includes depictions of a sexual relationship between two men. If you are underage or live in an area where this is illegal or you just plain dislike it, well, here's your out, my friend.
Although she may (still) be in denial about it, Darien Fawkes and Bobby Hobbes don't actually belong to Chalie; she's just borrowing them for a little while. Darien, Bobby, The Keeper, Alex Monroe, Eberts, The Official, and any other characters mentioned are the property of Stu Segall productions. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit is being made.
Notes: Feedback is, as always, incredibly appreciated. It does a fic writer good. I can be reached at email@example.com, and would really love to hear from you.
This is angst, kiddies. Bobby. Darien. Angst. You've been forewarned.
Thanks to the best betas a girl could ask for, Devyn Lyonesse
and Suz. Worship them. Worship. Them.
Sex, Lies, and Star Wars
By Charlotte Ruocco
The thing is that I told him it was okay.
I told him. That first morning when we woke up and got over the nakedness thing and he said "Fawkes," and I said "Hobbes," and -- right there, no hesitation, no recollection of whose bed we were in -- we did it again.
And afterwards he rolled me over and pressed his hands against my chest and looked more serious than any guy post-orgasm has the right to and said, "Fawkes, you know how I can get," like he was giving me an out.
Because that's what it was. Hobbes' own special brand of Get Out of Jail Free card, offered up to the ex-thief who's needed more than his fair share.
And I remember looking up at him, my partner, my friend, this guy who knew me better than anyone and wanted me anyway and trying not to laugh. It was like, at that moment, the world had delivered me salvation on a silver platter and Bobby was asking if I wanted to send it back to the kitchen.
Maybe I should have thought about it.
Taken more than a half-second's attempt at introspection, gotten out from under Hobbes and into the shower -- his, we'd ended up at his apartment -- and sat down forty minutes later with wet hair and clothing and rationalization and a cup of coffee and talked it out with him.
But instead I forgot the 'trying not to' part and just started laughing. I laughed and laughed and held him against me so he'd know I wasn't laughing at him. And I said the words "It's okay." I said, "It's okay, Hobbes," until he started believing me. I said it until he ducked his head and let me kiss him again.
We'd been drunk. Really, really drunk. The kind of drunk they warn kids about in public service announcements and fucked-up federal agents go and do anyway. We'd gotten kicked out of two or three bars before winding up at Hobbes' place with dirty martinis and each other for companionship.
I think it was a mutual pass.
I was too smashed to remember if one of us really started it. Just. Something. Something that happened. Something that turned mixing drinks and laughing to our audiences of one about the inside jokes that only we would have understood anyway into something out of a horny eighties movie. Like Animal House. Groping and kissing and touching and ripping seams and good old-fashioned fucking.
Just like the Greeks used to do it.
It didn't matter who started it. What mattered was that we finished it together and in the morning we did it again, an instinct, reaching for each other even though we knew alcohol wasn't an excuse anymore.
And then he had the audacity to warn me about him, to remind me how he gets when he cares about someone. Like I hadn't been his partner, his shadow and his shadowed, for more than two years.
Bobby had the balls to tell me, through his half-growled "you know how I can get", that it was okay if this was it. He'd let it go, let it slide, let me slide into the van tomorrow morning like nothing had happened.
Part of me wants to know what would have happened.
Part of me wishes that I'd nodded.
Regressed to the punk I was at heart and thanked him for finally getting me laid and left. Felt bad, maybe. Felt awkward. Would have acted weird around him for a few days, and things would've been strange until we found our old rhythm again. But we would have. Hobbes is a consummate professional, all other subtitles aside. Crazy, obsessive, and even whatever you want to call what drove us into bed would have fallen by the wayside of the fact that Bobby Hobbes is one fucking hell of a federal agent.
I didn't have the balls to think about it.
I had the audacity not to think beyond the fact that I was wanted. That someone wanted me, that, hell, someone needed me, that the sex was good and how cool was it that this was Hobbes, because we're great together. Why hadn't we thought about this before? Who'd we been kidding, looking for women? Looking for women together?
Maybe that was why we never scored when we went out together. Cruised the clubs, the bars. Had a great time, just Fawkes and Hobbes, Hobbes and Fawkes, lamenting over the fact that no one approached us.
Women, for all their games, they aren't stupid. I like women. I respect them and their radars and sensitivity and shit. They probably sensed the vibe Hobbes and I put out before we did. Before the two of us spent a night stumbling into walls and then finally stumbled into each other.
So I didn't think about it. I said "It's okay, Hobbes," like it was okay. Because it was. Because we'd woken up all tangled together and lacking clothes and we didn't freak out. Because I'd gotten laid and I was feeling good. Because Bobby Hobbes, my friend and partner and the guy who's always got my back had somehow made a smooth transition into fuck-buddydom and that was pretty damn cool, all things considered.
Bobby's in bed now.
He's sleeping, or pretending to sleep, both of which he's good at. He knows how to make his breath all slow and even, like a mimicry of rest. But I'm not in bed, so he's probably not asleep. He doesn't know that I know that he has trouble sleeping without me.
It's been five months and eighteen days since the morning that Hobbes and I woke up together. In this apartment, actually. These days the line between whose apartment is whose is kind of blurred. Half the stuff here's mine, mostly things I dropped that Bobby quietly cleaned and put away.
I have a toothbrush that's mine, and a couple of drawers.
I think it's the bookshelf that first scared me shitless.
If I'm being honest, there're plenty of relationships that progressed to the toothbrush stage. Bringing one here didn't feel like a major thing; morning breath is fucking disgusting, and who the hell wants that when there's a shiny-plastic-and-bristles preventative measure?
Then one day a couple of months back I got to Hobbes' place and he was grinning like an idiot, looking dusty. Turns out he'd cleared off a space in the bedroom's bookshelf -- the highest one. All mine, he said.
I kissed him for a long time, dust and all.
The next day we stopped off after work and christened my bookshelf with its first literary volume, new-purchased at Borders. Bobby picked it out: Philosophy for Dummies.
Lots of people'd had my toothbrush before. But no one had ever had my books. Or made room for them. Asked for them.
I brought some over and wondered what Freud or Nietzsche or Socrates or the clipped packaged wisdom of Columbia Quotations would say about the sick feeling in my stomach as I slid the books neatly into place on their new shelf.
It felt good to know that Hobbes couldn't reach for them without straining on tiptoe and then some.
Scared shitless pretty much summed it up nicely.
Maybe the reason this thing with Hobbes has lasted as long as it has is that everything's unspoken between us. Like we're so good at reading each other's minds that we're too fucking scared to admit that maybe we can't do it all the time.
That everything's okay, like I said it was.
It's not okay. I don't think that it's okay.
Today was a typical day for us, a typical day in the world of unspoken silent Darien-and-Bobby-are-so-fucking-perfectly-okay that I just want to scream and tear my hair out.
Except, well, not.
I've never cared for that particular figure of speech, actually.
But. Today. So, typical. Chased bad guys. Bantered. Caught them. Returned to the Agency, smug and swaggering. Made fun of Eberts' tie together: it was patterned with flying pigs or something and Bobby and I didn't stop laughing until we were expelled from the office, slapping each other on the back.
Drove back to his place, which Hobbes sometimes calls 'ours' when he's not paying attention or maybe when he is. Maybe he's trying to get a reaction. I don't know. I don't give him one, like the times when he'll make a comment about home and then takes us to my apartment.
Bobby made dinner. I made myself comfortable. Chasing bad guys had taken more out of me than I was going to admit, and Hobbes has given up trying to snap me out of what he calls my "martyr mode," wherein I've apparently decided to suffer in silence.
On martyr days he makes chicken with rosemary and white wine. Usually we're more of the cheerios-and-toast food group, but I got him a spice rack and he likes to use it. Likes to cook. Likes to cook for me.
We were both exhausted today, really, so we left the dishes on the table for the morning and watched TV for a while on the couch. Shoulder to shoulder.
It took five months, but Hobbes has finally acknowledged my punkish need to be remote-commando-guy. Five months, and he's learned to live with my restless channel surfing.
It's been five months, and he still reaches out to touch me like he's afraid I won't be there the next time he tries.
"Fawkes, you know how I can get," he'd said.
I knew about Vivian, about the fierce, paranoid possessiveness that developed, that goaded him towards a sort of obsession. I knew Hobbes. I knew Hobbes better than I knew myself and he was already possessive of me as a partner, so I didn't think anything of it. I was his best friend. I'd succeeded where some of the government's finest trained agents and psychiatrists had failed: understanding Bobby Hobbes. Going with the flow of his idiosyncrasies and making them work for both of us, making the Agency's hotshot team into something that the other stuffed suits made fun of and envied and wanted. I knew. I thought I knew.
I learned something.
I learned that it's one thing to be Bobby's go-to guy, his pal, even the person he trusts most. It's one thing to be trusted by Bobby Hobbes and something else entirely to be loved by him.
Hobbes loves me.
I didn't need Kevin's and Claire's combined degrees to figure that out.
Especially because as soon as he realized, in typical Hobbesian fashion, he told me.
The first time he told me was like something out of a bad chick movie, you know, the kind where they should hand out kleenex instead of popcorn because the schmaltz is thick enough to swim in, or, in my estimation, drown.
We'd had a great day. Great sex. Afterward it was warm and comfortable and Bobby was spooned up against me, arms linked across my abdomen. I couldn't sleep, and neither could he, apparently, but we were both pretending. An hour into this I feel his lips at the back of my neck and this voice that's quiet, disembodied, almost, and he's telling my neck that he loves me and I'm trying to breathe like I'm still asleep.
Trying to breathe at all.
Cursing him so loudly that I'm surprised he doesn't hear me. Surprised our mutual mind reading didn't kick in and figuring for the first time that maybe we only hear what we want to.
Hobbes loves me.
I piss him off and drive him crazy and make his life a living hell, sometimes. Most of the time. But he loves me. Still. Reaches out to touch me and has this smile that's mine because it's the only one that touches his eyes. Fights with me and yells like he's been taking lessons from the Official, chews me out when I've done something stupid. Fucks me like it's this precious thing, like it's something they're going to take away from him. Brings me home stupid, practical, perfect things, like colored shoelaces and hair gel and exotic coffee blends.
Hobbes loves me, and it's not okay.
We're supposed to be looking for the American dream, you know, stability and a good job and someone who loves you. Bobby and I are a variation on the theme, yeah, but it should be enough. It should be enough that I have this person, this partner, who's seen the worst that I can do and wants me regardless. He's seen me killing, crying, deluded, violent. He's seen me laughing and childish and petty and passionate and he loves me, he fucking loves me, and he tells me even though I've never said it back.
The second time Bobby said that he loved me, we were in the middle of fighting over who got to take a shower first one morning before work.
He was waving my favorite towel around and said something like, "I'm older and smarter and I love you."
And I snatched the towel from his hand and headed towards the bathroom, all, "Good argument," like that was a great non-sequitor, Hobbes, good job, you funny guy, and then I locked the door and banged my head against the wall until I heard him start breakfast.
The third time he said it he was on me and in me and he says these words, these three stupid fucking words like he's trying to prove something. Mouthed it against my cheek and at that point I didn't care if he was reciting the fucking Star-Spangled Banner in Swahili, because, Jesus, my legs were up over his shoulders and the only thing I cared about was him not stopping.
So I said, panting, full-on sarcasm, "That's not exactly breaking news."
Watched his expression go from confused to pissed-off and back again, watched him try to decide if I was a complete asshole or just plain honest. Watched him force himself not care and care about fucking me through the mattress, which was just fine with me.
The fourth time, Hobbes changed tactics.
We were en-route to my apartment, exhausted from post-Quicksilver Madness hijinks, post-Official lecturing, and I was curled up against Golda's door, attempting to keep my head from cracking open.
"I love you," Bobby said. And I'd known him long enough at that point to suspect he'd chosen a moment I couldn't escape, couldn't be tempted to jump from the moving van with my psyche still trying to knit itself back together.
I didn't, and don't, get what is so fucking important to him about that phrase, why getting a reaction from me about it was such a crucial thing.
His knuckles were gripping white at the wheel. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Damned if I knew. "What do you think it means?"
"What is this, 'Twenty Questions'?"
"Sure, if you want. Animal, vegetable, or mineral, Hobbesy."
"Fawkes. Fuck you. What is 'I know' supposed to mean?"
I'd considered. Anything to make this conversation end. "What does Han Solo mean when he says it at the end of The Empire Strikes Back?"
Huh. No shot-back response to that one.
We drove quietly the rest of the way, and even though I was suffering in silence, Bobby didn't make me chicken.
A few days later he tossed a rented copy of The Empire Strikes Back down at breakfast, narrowly missing my bagel.
"Han loved Leia," Bobby said, triumphant, like he'd caught me. "He said it because he loved her."
"Then he got frozen in carbonite," I pointed out, and opened the morning paper.
He hasn't asked me since then.
He still says it.
I think he's stopped expecting anything in return.
So maybe I am a complete asshole, and that's it. That would explain why I have something most people spend their lives looking for and I can't call it love, real, true, honest-to-god love, won't let myself be okay with it.
I'm not perfect. I'm not a saint. I'm an ex-con who's had a lot of shit happen, whose life has become something out of the X-Files' discarded storylines. I've changed, yeah. They say that I've become a better person, but I think I've just started accepting the fact that I have to roll with the punches or else get the crap kicked out of me, as per usual. Bobby's been a bright spot, overall, when he's not the one kicking my ass.
I love Hobbes for the way we can laugh and work and be together, but I can't live as the only thing that's keeping my partner from a long slow dive off the deep end.
I'm selfish, maybe. Probably. That, like Bobby's declaration, isn't exactly breaking news. I've tried, and I've come a long way, and these past five months with him have been interesting. The closest I've ever come to something resembling stable and maybe that's why I feel like I can't fucking breathe anymore.
I do things, sometimes. When I don't want to deal with it anymore.
I'll go out. I'll go out and get drunk, get more fucked-up than the night that started all of this. Sometimes I'll go home and sometimes I won't, but when I do Bobby makes me coffee and holds onto me like he doesn't care. So usually I don't.
I know he follows me. That was a given from the beginning, from the first "you know how I can get". He's scared out of his fucking mind that something's going to happen to me. It feels like a kind of bitter irony that I'm the thing that keeps him sane because I can't deal with it. I thought I could. I thought it would be okay. But you set yourself up as a lifeline and eventually you're going to get dragged under.
When I'm out, alone, minus Bobby Hobbes and the vibe we put out, people hit on me.
I don't care who does it: men, women, transsexuals, whatever the fuck people are calling themselves these days. I flirt, I'm hot, they adore me. Things're simpler in dark bars where it's all smoke and sweat and the people don't want me. They want my body. They tell me. They don't want me and my mind and my soul and my fucking books. They don't know that I can go invisible and crazy. They don't know about the things I've done and the things I'm capable of and the things I'm afraid of and want me anyway.
They'd never say they loved me the way Hobbes does, dark eyes wide like he's discovered something wonderful.
Bobby's in bed now.
When The Tonight Show ends I know I'll get up and go to the bathroom and brush my teeth with Darien's special fucking Symbol of Relationship toothbrush and get in beside him.
I know he's not asleep and after a few minutes he'll reach out for me.
Like an accident. Like a shift in his sleep.
Like he's capable of that without me there.
I'll stare at the ceiling and the clock will tick and it'll be five months and nineteen days and I'd said it's okay, it's okay, Hobbes, but it isn't.
I turn out all the lights in the apartment on my way out of the bathroom.
The bookshelf tracks my progress across the room. Hobbes always says that he's going to read Philosophy for Dummies one day, some day soon, and then he can talk about how all of it is really bullshit with supporting arguments and examples. I generously offer to take a look at one of his self-help books.
I lie down on top of sheets.
It's a long time before I feel Bobby start to move. The clock's already made it into the next day.
His fingers reach out to touch me, to touch reassurance.
My breathing's slow, even. A mimicry of rest.
When he tries, I roll over.
And I'm not there.
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