A/N: I don't actually know what the lyrics to Carol's song are, so I wrote down what they sounded like to me. Apologies if they're wrong!
Title: I Dream of You
Pairing: Thomas MacLaine and Carol MacLaine
Summary: They aren't twisted people. They're just two siblings who understand each other too well.
On nights when it wasn't raining, the bar was always full. Some of them came for the atmosphere while others came for the drinks. Still others came to hear the owner sing. When the mood was right, one could always count on her sauntering up to the small stage and mixing her own words with the pianist's melody. Never, in the history of the Galaxy of Terror, had she been unable to fit the two together.
Thomas watched her from over his glasses, wiping the counter in preparation for another round of customers. She let one hand rest on the microphone while the other moved in time with the song. Her voice, husky and sultry, wafted above the smoke and perfume that filled the air. The pianist let one note linger, then flowed back into a familiar jazz tune. It was perfect. She was perfect.
A tall man came in and sat down on the barstool opposite Thomas. "Can I get you something, sir?" he asked.
"Well, we don't really have one that stands out. Everyone here has their own favorites. Even our town sheriff gets the same thing every time. So I can't really say."
The man eyed the police uniform that Thomas was wearing. "A cop and a bartender?" There was a note of sarcasm, but Thomas let it go. He wasn't from Greenvale; that much was obvious. There was no need to get worked up. Not yet, anyway.
"My sister owns the bar. I like to help her out on weekends."
He laughed. It was a good, hearty one. "You look nervous, kid. I didn't mean to make you twitchy. Give me whatever you normally have. Better yet, give me what your sheriff has. I'm in the mood for anything."
"Of course, sir." Thomas instinctively reached for a beer from under the counter. George was the only one who really drank it, so there were plenty of bottles left. He tried to hold back a grin but failed. George…he wondered if his boss would be in later. He always loved coming in to hear Carol sing.
"Something on your mind, kid?" The man was looking at him funny, one eyebrow raised as he stared at the bartender.
Thomas froze. "Well, uh…" He looked over at Carol and thought of an excuse. "I…like to hear my sister sing. She has a beautiful voice."
"That she does, son." He watched the man fall into a trance. A dopy grin formed on his face and he leaned back against the bar. Thomas crossed his hands behind his back and sighed. Carol had snagged another one, it seemed. She had a talent for drawing people in. He did too, to an extent. But he would never have the charisma that his little sister had. People were drawn to Thomas for his gentle and caring nature, not to mention his fantastic cooking. There was something about Carol, though, that made her more irresistible. People wanted her in a way that they didn't want him.
Well, except for one man.
The man stuck around for another drink before heading out, no doubt just passing through on his journey. He was just one of many who followed the pattern of patrons. There were a couple of unfamiliar faces, but other people in the bar seemed to recognize them. No doubt they were from one of the neighboring towns, looking for something a little different to do on a Friday night.
It made Thomas happy to see so many people having a good time. Things had been a little rocky in town for the past few weeks. George was agitated about something and it put the rest of the department on edge. He'd also been demanding more and more of Carol's time. Thomas didn't mind it so much, but he secretly hoped that his boss would soon tire of her and return his attention to his assistant. He missed George.
Another patron came in and diverted Thomas's attention. He didn't have a chance to think about it for the rest of his shift. All too soon, the night was over and it was time to clean up.
Carol hadn't reappeared since her last song. Thomas found her in the dressing room out back after he had straightened up the rest of the bar. She was sitting at her station, staring into the mirror. It looked like she hadn't moved for an hour. Something was wrong. His baby sister was never, ever this quiet. "Um, Carol?"
She didn't turn when he called her. He tried her name again but got nothing. Cautiously, he walked in and sat down in the chair next to hers. "What's wrong, Carol? Did Jack say something again?" That fat, useless gas station owner had been nothing but trouble since he started coming to the bar to watch her sing. So far, he'd been unable to make him leave.
She let out a dry laugh. "No. I didn't even see him tonight."
"That what is it?"
Thomas bit his lip. He had a feeling this was the problem, but he didn't want to say anything. Carol knew what it was like between the two men, and he knew what it was like between her and George. "What…did he do now?"
She shook her head, trying to get rid of the images behind her eyes. "He gave me a sundress today. It's the same kind that she wears all the time."
The venom in her voice was unmistakable. He couldn't blame her for being upset. George's infatuation with her was beyond either of them. Of course, both of them knew that he only spent more time with them because she wouldn't return his affections. But it was wrong for him to force Carol to become her. Carol was her own person. If George couldn't see that, then he was blind.
"Did he…hit you?"
Carol shook her head. "No, nothing like that. It just makes me feel dirty to look like her." She turned to look at her brother. "How can you stand to work with her all day?"
"I don't mind. Emily…she's a nice girl. She's only human. And we can't force her to fall in love with George."
"That's just like you, Thomas. I couldn't never be like you, so accepting of people and their stupidity."
"It means that we can have George all to ourselves."
She chuckled. "We can never have him completely. She will always be his ultimate goal in life. And us? We're petty substitutes. We'll never be her. And I don't want to be. I think I'd rather die than become her."
He knew that. They were merely his playthings while Emily still wandered about, oblivious to what was going on around her. Still, the MacLaine siblings loved George, and they would do anything he asked them to. They also knew something that the other petty women of Greenvale didn't know…especially Emily.
"Carol, George said he's ready to make the first sacrifice."
That got her attention. "When did he say this?"
"He told me in his office today, after I brought him some files. I told him that we would help whenever he was ready. But he wants to keep us out of this first one. He said he doesn't want our hands to get dirty yet."
She smiled. "Who is the first victim?"
"Anna. Becky will probably be the second. He said that the 'secret club' idea you came up with was brilliant."
"He did?" Carol's mood had lifted considerably. "When is he going to kill her?"
"He didn't say. But he promised to let us know." The bell in the clock tower sounded in the distance. "Let's not worry about that right now. Want me to drive you home?"
"I think I can manage. I'll leave the door unlocked, since I don't really want to sleep right now."
Thomas nodded and watched his sister go. He let his mind wander as he began shutting off the lights and locking up the building. Finally, George was ready to start this adventure. He'd been so pleased when Thomas discovered that old legend and figured out what he needed to do. Now they would have a part in his ascent to power. No more hiding behind counters and desks. No more feeling insignificant and foolish. He and Carol would become immortal, just like him. Just like G.
He could hear the piano as soon as he entered his apartment. The door that connected their apartments was open, filling both of their spaces with her music. It was their favorite way to unwind after a long day. She would sit there and play and sing, and he would dance across the floor like a ballerina. After this recent turn of events, they both really needed the break.
Carol had changed out of her clothes and into a slinky, silky nightgown. George had bought it for her years ago. It had been one of her favorites ever since. She said it made her feel like a woman every time she wore it. It made Thomas happy to know that. She deserved to feel like the beautiful woman she was.
She turned her head to see him in the doorway but didn't stop playing. "What do you think of this piece?" she asked. With ease, she transitioned from an old favorite into something he hadn't heard before. "I started writing it yesterday. It still needs something. I just can't figure out what."
"Have you put words to it?" Thomas suggested.
"No. I can't think of anything." She continued to play. Thomas sat in her chair, one of the few pieces of furniture in the tiny apartment. "What does it sound like to you when you hear it?"
He closed his eyes and let the music take over his senses. As she played, he felt himself transforming. He became his sister in his mind. The way she moved as if walking on air, feeling her soft hair gently sweep across graceful shoulders, hips swaying to a haunting melody. He stood, eyes still closed, and felt his feet move on their own. He was wearing stiletto heel shoes, the red ones that Carol favored so much. When he walked, he could hear the soft clapping sound they made on the wood floor. They made him taller, more elegant, like some divine creature sent from the heavens.
The music stopped and he opened his eyes. He was back in Carol's apartment, and his work shoes were still on his feet. Carol was smiling at him. Her normally harsh face had softened into one that he remembered from long ago, before George had come into their lives. "Well?" she asked him.
"It reminds me of you. In it, I can feel the way you move and stand the same way that you do. My emotions are the same as yours. Its like I'm dancing in your shoes." He looked down at his feet, wishing for an instant that he actually was wearing her stilettos. "You're a goddess, Carol. Your music proves it."
She laughed. It wasn't the haughty one he had come to expect from her. It was gentle, carefree. "Oh Thomas, what would I do without you?" She turned back to the piano and kept playing. Soon she was humming, and then she flowed right into singing.
I dream of you
Like a god
Here's something from me
A farewell song
Wait behind the door, please
The show is on
I have seen your haste
From this nightmarish place
"What are you going to call it?" he asked after she stopped singing.
"I'm not sure yet. But it feels more complete now that it has words. Tell me," she paused and looked back at her older brother, "did you really think of me when you heard this song?"
"I hear you in every song," he said. "This one just seems to embody you more than the others."
She nodded, satisfied with his answer. For a few moments, there was only Carol's music to fill the silence. She slowly eased out of the song. Thomas watched her slump over the piano, unmoving, and his heart filled with pity. Without a word, he stood and sat down on the bench next to her. She leaned against his shoulder.
"Thomas, what did I do to deserve a brother like you?"
He smiled, even though she couldn't see it. "I could ask the same thing about having you for a sister. Maybe fate meant for us to be together."
She laughed. "There you go, rambling about fate again."
"I think its true. I'm glad you're my sister, Carol. You know that I'm here for you, whatever you need. I know you're independent and all, but you're still my little sister. I can protect you."
"What do you think is going to happen to us?" she asked, sighing heavily.
"I don't know. But at least we'll be together."
"You're right, as always." Carol shuddered a little. Thomas put his arm around her shoulders, and she leaned in closer.
It was unsettling for them to not know their fates. Each day began with a question - what was going to happen to them? - and ended with uncertainty. The man that they loved was pulling the strings. They had no choice but to play along. Yet even among all the problems that continued to arise, they still had one thing to turn to. They still had each other. And even if George's plans were thwarted, even if Emily finally returned his affections, even if the entire world came crashing down around them…in the end, they would still be together.