March 30, 2010: Just a short piece of fluff to make up for the crappy last two days I've had. :-P I felt I needed it. ^_^
*eyes title* Wow... I'm really reaching, aren't I? Too bad I need to keep the bigger songs for the main fics. Ah well. ^_^ Anyway, slight continuity note, because I just noticed I screwed up. :-P "I Believe in Love" takes places in the fall of 1983 and Berger mentions Cloud being excited about the new Star Wars movie being released soon (RotJ, for those who care). Problem is... RotJ was released in late May of 1983. Before the fic would have taken place. *falls over* In my defense, it was re-released in March of 1985 in the USA... and I think that's the date I originally found when I wrote IBIL. So, for the purposes of this fic... and because I'm feeling lazy... we're going to split the difference and pretend that RotJ was actually released in May of 1984, instead of 1983, to make this fic fit in the timeline. Heck, if you think about it, it's a minor change, considering that I also decided that "Hair" was written by Jeanie and released in 1985, right? *eg*
Warnings: Slash, some foul language, innuendo abounds. ^_^
Fandom: Hair, the new Broadway revival
Pairing: Claude/Berger, Jeanie + Claude (unrequited)
Word Count: 3,947
Disclaimer: Neither the musical nor the boys belong to me, if they did they'd be groping each other on sta--. *pause* *blinkblink* Huh. Look at that... they do. *eg* :D ((*coughs* For the record, "Hair" was written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni with music by Galt MacDermot.)) Star Wars belongs to George Lucas and all the other people who own it.
The Stone Age
Claude looked at Jeanie and winced. Jeanie looked at Claude and gave him a pained smile. They'd been trading similar looks for the last 3 hours as they alternately pretended to drink their coffee and pretended to work on their respective projects. Finally, Jeanie gave up and closed her book of poetry with a heavy sigh. She reached up a hand to rub at her head and said philosophically, "You know... I remember his playdates being a lot quieter when he was a toddler and that's saying something!"
Giving up his lesson plans as a lost cause as well, Claude leaned his head back with a groan, "I do not appreciate the implications there, Jeanie."
A silvery laugh was Jeanie's immediate reply, "Sorry, Claude... but you gotta admit, the analogy is pretty apt. If it wasn't, you and I would have fled when they decided to watch them... again."
Claude let out a weary chuckle and picked his head back up, "You do have a point, though... Why don't we flee?"
Jeanie's eyes widened in horror, "And leave Berger and my son alone in this apartment hopped up on sugar and high on 4 hours worth of Star Wars movies? With Return of the Jedi being released tonight? Are you nuts?"
Claude looked over into the living room where both other men were currently bouncing up and down on the sofa screaming at Han Solo to... "Go faster, faster, faster! The Imperial ship is right behind you! You can't escape the giant worm just to get gobbled up by the Empire! Move your ass!"
Wincing again, Claude dropped his head down onto the table, "Yeah... forget I said anything. Really, just... forget it." Another loud whoop from the direction of the couch -- Cloud, this time -- made Claude cover his head with his hands, "For goodness' sake, Jeanie... didn't they just watch these damned things last week?"
"Yes. And twice the week before that. And let's not forget the week before that when they marathoned them twice in one weekend," was her gleeful answer.
Raising his head and twitching an eyebrow at her, he said dryly, "Oh, no... let's not forget that." At the sudden silence from the living room, both Claude and Jeanie whipped around to see what had transpired. Both men were still breathing, both still sitting on the couch, both clutching pillows to their chests, eyes shining in anticipation. It was really almost cute. Unable to withstand the sight, Claude and Jeanie rose from where they were sitting and cautiously crept to the living room and inched behind the sofa to peak at the television screen.
Yoda and Luke were deep in the swamps of Dagoba and Luke had just tried -- Claude couldn't help a mental snort at the word -- to raise his ship out of the lake. He'd failed, of course, and had stormed off like the spoiled brat that Claude secretly thought he was. Yoda was just lifting his hand and closing his eyes, preparing to show Luke exactly what one could do with the Force if one believed. Drawn to the scene in spite of himself, Claude pressed himself to the back of the couch, one hand reaching down just as Berger reached a hand up. With twined fingers, they watched as Yoda floated Luke's ship out of the lake and safely onto dry land. Claude couldn't help a small shiver as Luke proclaimed that he couldn't believe it... and then Yoda said bitingly, "And that is why you fail."
Answering the small tug on his hand, Claude let himself be drawn over the back of the couch to settle between Berger and Cloud. There was just something about that damned scene... it got him every time. He only barely caught it as Jeanie, having lost her last piece of sane, adult companionship, threw up her hands and fled into the safety of her bedroom. Claude, finally having resigned himself to watching "Empire Strikes Back" for the eighth time this month, allowed Berger to lift an arm to wrap around him and tuck him up close.
It was times like this that Claude had to admit he felt most content. This simple human connection was what had been missing all those years he'd been in Kansas. And after being 12 years without it, having it in such abundance was a gift, indeed. It felt like after spending years in the cold and dark, he'd finally found the sun and he couldn't help basking in its warmth every moment that he could. In Kansas, he hadn't even been able to connect with his parents like this, much less hold onto a friend or girlfriend. Good grief... he'd been here almost a year already and there wasn't a single person he'd left behind that he missed. Well... maybe his mother, but that was really it. It worried him sometimes, that he still felt so very little connection to the people he'd known for those 12 years, but really... how could it have been any different? The man those people had known was just a figment of his parents' imagination -- that Claude Bukowski didn't even exist.
A gentle jostling around him brought Claude abruptly back to the movie. Cloud was cursing Luke for leaving Yoda to go after Han and Leia. Berger, on the other hand, was using his free arm to gesticulate wildly at the screen, cheering at him and saying things like, "Go on, Luke! Go after them! They need you!" The pair then starting smacking at each other with the pillows they were holding. Claude was glad enough for the distraction, for it abruptly reminded him that he didn't want to see the next segment of the movie.
Berger, picking up on the sudden stillness of the man beside him, frowned. He looked down at Claude for a minute, then pulled the man more securely against him and raised the pillow in question. Claude took it gratefully and planted it firmly over his ears as he hid his face in Berger's side. They'd learned the hard way that there was no good way to deal with the scene where Han was tortured in Cloud City. If they fast forwarded through it, he could still see it. If he fled the room, he could still hear it. And if they muted it... then Claude's mind would supply the memories of his own and his comrades' screams instead. This was best. And it was only a few seconds, anyway...
When it was over, and they were safely into the argument with Lando in the jail cell, Berger took the pillow back and shifted them around on the couch so that Claude was cuddled in his lap. It was silly and Claude had protested vehemently the first time he did it, but now... now he just found it comforting. Cloud, on the other hand, took one look at them and rolled his eyes in disgust. He stopped the movie and turned to face them full on, "Really, guys? Do you have to? Just this once can't we watch the end of this movie in peace?"
Berger just gave the boy his patented innocent grin and asked, "What's the problem, kid?" Claude couldn't help but snicker at that voice that exuded such pure innocence. He'd always been amazed by the fact that Berger, of all people, could hide his propensity for devilish mischief so well. Looked like he hadn't lost his touch.
Cloud threw his hands in the air, "If you're true to form, you're going to be making out with each other by halfway through the carbonite scene and I'm going to end up missing the rest of the movie because I can't take being on the same couch with you anymore! I mean, I'm happy for you and I understand the impulse... but," making a helpless gesture, he whimpered, "It's like parents: it's one thing to know and be grateful for the fact that your parents still desire each other... it's completely another to have them making out on the couch right next to you! No kid should have to see that."
Without even missing a beat, Jeanie yelled out from down the hall, "Claude Michael Ryan, you will keep a respectful tongue in that head of yours or I swear by all that is holy, I am tearing up these tickets I bought for the movie tonight! And keep it down, for goodness' sake!"
Eyes wide and horrified, Cloud leaned over the back of the couch and yelled back, "Mom, you wouldn't really do that, would you?" When no answer was forthcoming, he asked again, "Would you??" With still no answer in return, Cloud let out a strangled yell and leapt over the couch to run down the hall.
Berger looked down at the man in his arms and smiled, "We could just skip the end of the movie and go straight to the making out part..."
Claude laughed, "On Jeanie's couch? With her in the mood she's in? She'd kill us."
Laughing right along with him, Berger nodded towards the VCR, "We could put the movie back on and actually finish watching it for once..."
Claude let out a sigh as he eyed the distance between the couch and the VCR. He let his head fall back against Berger's chest and frowned, "But... one of us would have to get up. Besides, Cloud would kill us."
Having little other choice, Claude then turned his own set of puppy dog eyes on Berger. And as usual, the other man had no willpower where Claude was concerned and caved almost instantly. Burying his head in Claude's neck he let out a huffing laugh, "Really... he's going to kill us either way."
Claude started carding his fingers through Berger's hair and planting gentle kisses on whatever exposed skin he could reach. Interspersed with those kisses, he commented, "So, the question we face here is... which would be the preferable death?"
At this point, a cry of disbelief sounded from above them, "Oh, come on! That is just... I only left you alone for three minutes! Do you have no sense of self control?"
Berger looked up from where he had had his face pressed against Claude's neck and blinked innocently, "Well... what were we supposed to do for those three minutes?"
Cloud gaped at them for a moment, then threw up his hands in desperation, "Jesus, Uncle Berger, I don't know! Talk, maybe? Play chess?"
To which Berger responded with a malicious cackle, "Play chess? Screw?"
Thoroughly caught up in Berger's insanity, and feeling more like a teenager than he had in years, Claude shifted so he was straddling his lover and could more easily look at both he and Cloud. Pressing a chaste kiss to Berger's lips, he smiled and said, "But Bart... I'm so tired of playing chess... You always win!"
"Agh!" Cloud covered his eyes, "Come on, guys! You've already warped my brain as regards Star Wars, you can not take Mel Brooks away from me, too!"
At this point, Jeanie finally emerged from her bedroom. Gulping hard at the blazing look in her eyes, Berger and Claude hastily separated from each other to sit demurely on the couch. They and Cloud then did their best to give her the most angelic expressions they could muster. She glared back and forth between the three of them and then sadly shook her head, "You know... I knew that Berger was going to be a bad influence -- he always is." Cocking her head, she thought for a minute then snorted out a laugh, "Hell, he even corrupted Sheila and that's saying something."
Berger looked like he might interrupt, but Claude elbowed him sharply in the ribs. Jeanie crossed her arms over her chest and resumed her glaring posture, "But really... Claude Hooper Bukowski," Claude couldn't help but wince. After all, whenever a mother used one's full name... one knew that one was in some seriously deep shit, "I expected better from you. You are a teacher, an educator, a role model. You should be more mature than this!"
Claude meekly raised his hand. When Jeanie rolled her eyes and indicated he could speak, he said, "Well, Jeanie... if you'll remember -- and I'm sure you do -- I wasn't always such a paragon of virtue." Then with an ominous smirk and a barely perceptible signal, he and Berger lifted their pillows and leapt at the blonde woman. She let out a laughing shriek and took off running through the apartment.
Cloud, seeing his way free and clear, leapt over the couch and hastily turned the movie back on. If he could get past the carbonite scene and into the light saber duel before the three adults came back to their senses, he had a chance of getting Uncle Claude and Uncle Berger to sit down and finish watching it without it disintegrating into a make-out session.
After a few minutes, Cloud became aware that the apartment was just a little too quiet... and the adults were nowhere to be seen. He tried to continue watching, but couldn't keep his mind on the movie. It was so quiet... why was it so quiet? Pausing the movie, he got up from the couch and stealthily started exploring the apartment. They weren't in the kitchen. They weren't in his bedroom or the dining room. The bathroom door was open and no one was hiding in the shower. He started to sweat as he realized that he hadn't heard the front door open... and his mother's bedroom door was closed. No. Oh no. They would not do that to me. I know they were all hippies... but this isn't the summer of love. People don't do that anymore! A throaty giggle sounded from behind the door and Claude about fainted. That was his mother's voice. He'd never heard her make a sound like that. He was suddenly forcibly remind that she had been in love with Uncle Claude once upon a time... They wouldn't... Oh, please tell me they wouldn't...
Heart beating in his throat and hands suddenly unbelievably clammy, Cloud approached his mother's bedroom door. He didn't want to know. He really didn't. But... he just couldn't leave it alone. I mean, it's not like she's been celibate my whole life. I know she hasn't been. And it's not that I don't want her to have someone -- I do! But... not Uncle Claude and Uncle Berger... and sure as hell not at the same time! This is just wrong on way too many levels!
When he reached the door, he heard a bedspring creak and someone moaned. Cloud's stomach gave a sick flip. Oh G-d... I think that was Uncle Claude. They... they can't be...
With a sudden sense of fatality and martyrdom, Cloud finished his funereal march to the door, grabbed the doorknob and flung the door open. Seconds later he heard three pleased yells and was inundated by three supposed adults battering him with pillows. Letting out a startled little scream, he fled. The three adults split up and managed to herd him into the center of the living room where they proceeded to pummel him mercilessly. At some point in there, he managed to grab the last pillow off the couch and at least return a few volleys.
Eventually everyone ran out of energy and collapsed somewhere in the living room. As they were staring around at the light cloud of feathers settled over most of the furniture, Cloud threw a pillow at his mother, "Mom! That was just cruel and unusual. I really thought you guys were doing something nasty in there! You can't do things like that to your son!"
Berger smirked from where he was sprawled on top of Claude on the couch, head comfortably pillowed on the other man's chest with Claude's fingers carding through his hair, "First of all, you asked us to do something other than make out -- which we did. Second, that was nothing. If this had been 16 years ago, at least two of us would have been having sex when you opened the door." Smiling serenely, he said, "Would have given the scene much more verisimilitude."
Jeanie propped herself up where she was laying on the loveseat with her legs dangling over the arm, "Banana-Berger, that's a hell of a word! I didn't even know you knew any words that big!" With a wicked smirk, she asked, "Have you been getting into my son's SAT review cards?"
The long-haired man stuck his tongue out at her, "Just because I don't choose to use them, doesn't mean I don't know them."
Cloud just let out a quiet whimper from where he was curled up in front of the couch. Taking pity on him, Claude dropped a hand down to pat the boy's head, "It's OK, Cloud. Its not 1967 and we wouldn't have done that to you even if it was."
Berger snorted, "Speak for yourself, Claudio. I would have."
Jeanie laughed, "And as I recall, you did. More than once."
Eyes blazing with a suddenly recalled memory, Claude smacked his lover in the shoulder, "Yeah, I know -- once was to me!" At Berger's confused expression, Claude elaborated, "It was two weeks after I joined the Tribe. I had just gotten off the subway and asked Crissy where you were. In all innocence, she told me that you were at Dionne's and wanted me to meet you there. In total ignorance, I did. And you were there all right... as was Dionne... and Hud... and Suzanne... and Woof... and Jackie... and Jeanie, I think you were there, too!"
As Berger started to laugh and Jeanie said through her giggles, "You're right, I was!" Cloud just whimpered louder and clamped his hands over his ears. Claude heard him murmuring a mantra to himself over and over, "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing..."
Patting the boy's head soothingly, Claude winced, "Sorry Cloud... I guess that was more information than you needed, huh?" Cloud nodded vigorously and went back to his steady rocking. After a moment of silence, Claude cleared his throat and offered, "Maybe we should watch the end of the movie? It's almost 5... and "Return of the Jedi" premieres at 8..."
Cloud sat up so quickly that he almost bumped heads with Berger, who'd been leaning over the couch to watch him, "That's a great idea!" He then lunged towards the VCR with a speed born of desperation and hit the play button.
By the time the end credits rolled and everyone was getting into their jackets to go to dinner before going to the movie, Cloud edged over to his mother. When she saw him fidgeting nearby, she couldn't help a small smile. Placing a hand against his cheek, she asked, "OK, baby, I know that look. What's the matter? Still traumatized?"
Cloud shook his head in response, "No... it isn't that. I just..." Abruptly looking up to meet his mother's eyes, he asked, "Mom, why didn't you ever get married? Did you just not meet the right guy?"
Jeanie's smile softened and took on a melancholy look, "Oh, no, sweetie. I met the right guy... I definitely met the right guy." Cloud couldn't help but notice her eyes straying over to Claude as she spoke those words. When she turned back to him, her smile wobbled around the edges, but remained true, "He just wasn't mine to keep. And I knew that even then." Shrugging slightly as she lowered her hand, she finished, "I just haven't met anyone since that even comes close to measuring up to the standards he set."
Enfolding his mother in a gentle embrace, Cloud found his own voice getting rough, "I'm sure you will, mom. Someday."
Pulling her son close, Jeanie smiled, "And even if I don't, I have you. That's enough for me." At his disbelieving look, her smile widened, "If you'd asked me when I was 17 if I could ever say that, I'd have flat out told you 'No.' But things change, Claude. You're all I could ever want and whatever hardships I endured in my life to get to this point, with you... I wouldn't trade for anything." Her eyes roamed over to take in Claude and Berger again before fiercely meeting her son's, "Not for anything."
Giving his mother a kiss on the cheek and another tight hug, Cloud whispered, "I love you, mom. I don't think I tell you that enough."
Patting him gently before releasing him, Jeanie smiled, "You don't, but that's OK. I know it, regardless." Turning back to the others and clapping her hands briskly, she said, "OK, are we ready?" At the round of nods she received, she started shooing everyone out the door.
The last one out, Claude paused on his way past to lift a gentle hand to brush against her cheek, "You OK, Jeanie?"
Looking up to meet the sincere concern in those warm, brown eyes Jeanie, as usual, felt her breath catch. Smiling broadly, she tried to wave off his concern, "Worried about me again, Claudio?"
He smiled down at her, "Always, Jeanie. Always."
Jeanie's heart warmed at the love in that voice, aimed just at her, "I'm fine, Claudio. Really, truly. It's just... You know what? Really, don't worry about it."
Claude pulled her into a one-armed hug and placed a kiss on top of her tow-haired curls, "You do know I love you, Jeanie... right?"
With a soft smile, Jeanie returned the embrace, "I know you do. And it really is enough." At his dubious look, she gave him a playful shove, "I have you in my life, Claudio... and that's a gift that I never thought I'd have. You're alive and you're here and you're family. It's enough for me. It really is." Looking out into the hallway where Berger and Cloud were vigorously debating the merits of where to sit to get the maximum effect for the movie, she smiled, "Besides... we both have others who need us more. And you were right, all those years ago. We would never have fit, you and I. Not really. We'd just have hurt each other in the end. This... this is better."
Claude's answer was, "It's a shame we don't know what we're going to be like as adults when we're children. Knowing what I know now, Jeanie... I'm not sure we'd have been such a bad fit, after all." Jeanie's breath caught again and she pulled her friend to her in a tight embrace, "It means a lot to hear you say that, Claude... you have no idea how much." Pulling away, Jeanie turned to finally lock the door behind them before meeting his eyes again, "But it doesn't change anything." Before he could open his mouth to speak, Jeanie shook her head, "I'm glad... but I'm happy with the life I have and I wouldn't change it. Not one little bit of it."
Feeling something in Claude relax at her words, Jeanie knew it had been the right thing to say and when he held out an arm to her, she gratefully entwined her own with it. And as they set out, she couldn't help the almost girlish skip to her step at the thought of his earlier words... because if the man she thought of as a perfect fit, now thought she might not have been a bad fit... maybe there was someone out there for her after all. And maybe, this time, she wouldn't scare him away.
And you know what? I don't think we need any chibi-silliness. We had enough in the fic. ^_^
Questions, comments, raspberries?
As a side note... I'd just like to say thank you to the people who are leaving me such nice reviews! It's wonderful to have feedback, especially for a set of fics that I thought, for certain, no one but me would read. ^_^ I'm a little sad that some of them are unsigned, so I can't tell you personally how much you rock... but that's OK. ^_^ *waves at Electric Blues and MasqueS* You guys (all the reviewers) are the reason I've let this fandom run away with my muses for as long as it has. ^_~ So, thank you all for the reviews and I hope you continue to enjoy!