I played with this idea for a long time, and though it broke my heart to write this itty-bitty ficlet, I'm still kind of in love with it.
This is also part of my Not-A-Songfic Project (that's what I'm going to call it, I've decided). The song is "If You Ever Come Back" by The Script, from the album Science & Faith. This album has so many songs that fit so many Sylaire situations in my mind, you have no idea. I'll probably end up writing the whole album at some point, though some of the songs may just end up vaguely inspiring chapters of Lie To Me. It really is an excellent album, and I highly suggest putting in the seven or eight bucks to buy it on iTunes or Amazon or what have you.
Here, take it and enjoy. Or don't enjoy. Feel free to let me know, either way! XD
"I Am Become Death"-verse.
They had been together for four years, ten months and sixteen days.
And seven hours and fifty-five minutes.
Time had always come easily to Gabriel, both as the son of a watchmaker and as a former one, himself. He calculated time the way that some people kept track of the weather or the moon cycles or astrology. It was an instinct.
The same way that he knew time, he also seemed to know when things were about to start and when things were about to end. He'd never been wrong.
At least, until Claire walked out.
It had been so unexpected that the action hardly registered. One moment, he had been in the kitchen, attempting to coax their son into eating a bowl of noodles. The next thing he knew, she was dragging a suitcase down the stairs behind her, crying about how I can't do this anymore, it's too much, I have to fix it, Gabriel, I'm sorry.
He tried to stop her- really, he had. He tried to reason with her, he tried to argue, he even tried begging. However, Claire wouldn't listen to a word he said, simply swept past him into the kitchen, kissed Noah's forehead, and was out the door to a cab waiting by the curb.
It was so sudden that the heartbreak didn't register. Even the tiny timer in the back of his mind that tracked their relationship kept ticking, waiting for her to walk right back in the door.
But her absence didn't stop his clockwork routine- he still found himself making two plates, even when he ate alone. He still would call for her sometimes, as if she was in the other room, when Noah took a tumble and scraped his knee or stubbed his toe. He would walk into the room, expecting to see her on the floor with their son in her lap, Muggles by her side as she read a brightly-colored picture book aloud.
Gabriel still found himself reaching for her at night, even when her side of the bed had long since gone cold.
He missed her. He missed the silly little arguments that they would have over what movie to watch on Saturday nights. He missed their impromptu cooking-induced food fights in the kitchen while Noah sat at the table, giggling while he scribbled with his crayons. He missed the way she looked in the summers while she held Noah in the shallow end of the pool, smiling like she didn't have a care in the world.
He missed the way that she would walk around the house in his sweatpants and too-big shirts. He missed the way her hair fell in loose waves around her shoulders on the days she didn't take the time to straighten it, and how he would complain about missing her natural hair color.
He missed the nights when Noah was asleep that they would lounge around in their bed, Claire sitting between his legs, reclining into his chest as she read a book, Gabriel busying himself with pressing kisses to her neck and shoulders until she would roll her eyes and give in.
He just missed her.
Gabriel promised himself that it wasn't for her that he left their door unlocked during the day, the deadbolt open even at night. Anyone he would be worried about would hardly be stopped by a locked door, so what did it matter? And who did it hurt if he left the light on in the front hallway every night? He was the one paying the bills, and it wasn't like he was going to run out of money, thanks to Bob Bishop's ability.
And, well, if when Noah asked, "Daddy, where did Mommy go?" he replied with, "She'll be home soon, buddy," it wouldn't hurt him. Noah would accept the answer with a nod and toddle off to play with his blocks.
Really, he was only fooling himself when he dreamed about her standing at the airport, turning around before she got on the plane and coming straight back to them.
Claire's absence was potent somedays, and those were the worst. Those were the days that he would sit up in the kitchen until the small hours of the morning, simply because he couldn't face the bed they used to share. Those were the days that he convinced himself he wouldn't even be mad whenshe came home- because she would. She had to.
Gabriel was so sure of this that he didn't look for her. He didn't try to go after her- it would be a waste of his time, anyway. She'd managed to escape him for over a year, even when he was actively searching her out- and that was when she had barely an idea of the true nature of their world. Now, he would never find her, even if he wanted to.
So he waited.
If he maybe, sort of, possibly let a few tears go the night of Noah's fifth birthday when she wasn't there, well, no one had to know.
He still left the door open and the light on.
Five years, one month, two days, six hours and twelve minutes.