Written for Dark Kaneanite as part of the Spring Prompt 2011. Hope you like it!
Contrary to popular belief it wasn't often that Bret was melancholy or depressed. Over the course of a colourful upbringing that preceded his career he had learned to make the best of bad situations and just keep going. If he had a dollar for every time he'd almost given up then he would never have needed to work again, that much he did know.
Fortunately he'd been smart enough with the hard earned money the business had given him and the roof over his head was bought and paid for, something that his father never managed in his lifetime. A half century of dodgy dealings and living from hand to mouth had seen Bret living in as many houses as he had hotels over the course of his career. Finally being able to settle down had meant more to him that anything else ever could.
For eight long years he'd lived in the house that nestled in a valley between two mountains. There was peace and quiet to be had in an abundance; the nearest town several miles away and the next city even further still. Once the time had come for him to turn his back on wrestling he'd longed to move away and if it wasn't for Davey he would've done so there and then. Instead he'd hung around in Florida after selling his own place and moved in with Davey lock, stock and barrel.
As he relaxed in his chair he stared out the window and across the fields at the back of the house. Bret found himself near hypnotised by the snow that was quickly falling and slowly settling. It was the first shower of many that would come over the season and he allowed himself a self-congratulatory smile at the thought of his fully stocked cupboards and freezer. Although a solitary life was what he led he did so by choice and knew how to make isolation into a pleasure rather than a burden. Hot chocolate and marshmallows tended to help that along with the writing and drawing that filled the rest of his time.
The largest picture window had that favourite chair in front of it, the same beaten up leather one that had once been far too warm to sit in when it languished in the barely used study in Florida. It had been the first item loaded onto the removal wagon and the most carefully unloaded at the other end too. The seat cushion had collapsed long ago and a replacement one located that lately appeared to be heading in the same direction. Despite it's many flaws Bret never felt as safe or at home as he did when sitting there. Spidery cracks in the covering where his fingers would worry it came as no surprise and they deepened year on year. The truth was though that no matter how broken down it started to look, no matter how much it creaked under the weight of a human body, it would never be thrown away. It simply meant too much.
Letting his head rest against his shoulder Bret curled an arm around himself and gripped firmly at his middle. The only thing guaranteed to make him miserable was that deep ache that he got in his guts when the memories, good or bad, were strong enough to make him feel them physically. The white expanse of snow suddenly became too much for his eyes and he closed them, almost immediately drifting into a daydream. Bret dismissed most psychology as mumbo jumbo, preferring to believe in what he could touch or see but it was only behind his closed eyelids that his memories could seem real enough to take the edge off the pain.
Julie was on one of her regular sabbaticals, taking the kids and all but living back with her mother by the time Mania 7 week rolled around. It was fair to say that nobody apart from the wrestlers found that time of year exciting. To the ring crew it was just another day. To families and friends it just meant not even being able to see their loved ones on even more days of the week than usual. That didn't take the edge off it for Bret or Davey, in fact that particular Wrestlemania was one they were both looking forward to.
Neither of them had the main event spot which meant that they could wrestle, shower and leave. Weeks had passed since their last undisturbed days together and the anticipation of being able to go for a beer, head home and then spend two days doing anything or nothing on a whim was niggling at both of them. Time off from the hectic schedule of being on the road was a precious commodity and one night of unplanned events almost one year ago had made it all the more so. What they had started that night saw the end of one era and the beginning of another.
Bret had long been the object of Shawn's affections and their dalliances, whilst well rumoured backstage, were never confirmed to anyone. They crept around and spent very little time together in public but once the other guys were safely tucked up in bed there was activity on the fire stairs that saw one of them go to the other's room almost every night they were on the road. Shawn was as pretty as any woman Bret had ever seen and certainly more tactile and capable with his mouth than any of the rats he had on the road. Since Julie had made it clear that she wanted Bret to quit wrestling to come home and play house husband there had been little activity in the bedroom. He was understandably making alternative arrangements in the truest sense of the words.
Through a mixture of confusion and shame that had dogged Bret for years Shawn was the first man he'd ever been with and, for a long time, seemed like the only one he ever would be with too. That was until the combination of drink and drugs started to eat away at the Shawn he knew and turned him into the one that nobody wanted to know. Bret tried to help but had drawn a blank, their fledgling relationship shot down in flames when a chance arrival back at the hotel an hour early interrupted an illicit rendezvous. Sometimes when he thought about the days gone by Bret found himself confronted with that image of Shawn naked and sweaty, hair plastered to his face and not being sober enough to stop what he was doing to deal with the reality of what his actions would do.
It was that same night that he spent hours in the bar nursing a large bourbon that seemed never ending. There was nobody he could talk to about what he'd just seen and if anything he found himself anxious that Shawn's chosen bedfellow would be telling all and sundry that Bret had even made a late night visit to a room that wasn't his own. His career was taking off and he didn't need the scandal getting back as far as Vince or Julie. It was more than his agent and divorce lawyer would be able to take.
As he swilled the unwanted and burnt tasting liquor around the glass he had noticed Davey heading in his direction. Pushing his shades back up his nose he hoped to send a message that he didn't want to talk, especially not about 'it' or to someone that had a closer relationship to him that he cared for.
"Penny for 'em lad?"
"I'm not in the mood Davey. Can you give me a little space?"
"'Course I can if you want me to. You sure that's what you want though? I've seen a few sad faced fellas in my time and you look like one of the most miserable. I'm a bloody good listener. Have to be with that sister of yours about."
Bret could do nothing other than shake his head and carry on circling the glass tumbler in his hand, the truth on the tip of his tongue; a truth that there was nobody worse on the roster or in his life to trust with.
"You can sit down, just don't be givin' me a list of twenty questions to answer, okay? I'm not in the mood."
"I know, you've already said that one. So, what's the plan? Big night, quiet one before bed?"
With the last comment Bret couldn't help but snort. He was grateful that he and Shawn didn't share twin rooms like a lot of the guys did, mainly because he'd always been a stickler for his own space. Their arrangement was good for their joint pretence and the fact that after the blazing rows they often had that he could walk away until Shawn came down and calmed down.
"I'm... I'm just having a little peace and quiet in the real world. You remember how that goes that? People who don't talk about wrestling and booking and money and bullshit all day long. Man, I could scream sometimes."
The makeshift spiel was the best Bret could do at such short notice. He tried to glance up and see if Davey had bought it but there was no real expression on the Englishman's face that would give it away that easily.
"Well, if that's all that's up with you. You looked like bloody broken hearted schoolgirl. If you'd take them silly shades off then I bet you've eyes as pink as your gear from crying like a silly bugger over whoever it is. Never seen you this upset over some casual shag before and I don't reckon you'd shed any tears for your wife given all what's happened."
Pride and fear made Bret keep his mouth shut as he watched Davey sink the last of the beer he'd brought over with him. When he got up to leave Bret sighed with relief and vowed never to drink in hotel bars again, slamming down the drink and shoving the glass across the table. Checking the clock above the bar he decided it was time for bed and slid out of the booth, crossing the room uneventfully until a hand clapped on his shoulder.
"Yeah, long day. Like I said, I'm not in the..."
"Mood." Davey finished the sentence for him and brandished a bottle of Scotch. "Yeah, I get the picture. Listen, I've got this, broad shoulders for bawling on and a good ear for a tale. I'll even get a tissue ready. Come up with me, we'll have a talk and if that doesn't make you feel better then I don't know what will."
After a moment of hesitation and the feel of the warmth on his shoulder radiating across his aching muscles Bret relented.
"That you keep your stupid dog off 'a me."
Nothing had happened that night, in fact nothing happened between them for a couple of months. Bret had slowly extricated himself from Shawn's life, standing back to watch the disaster that his ex-lover was becoming but powerless to do anything about it. No amount of pleading by anyone Shawn knew was making a blind bit of difference so Bret made the decision to stop until he thought he had a chance of being listened to.
Weeks after he last exchanged civil words with Shawn, Bret eventually confessed to Davey what had been on his mind that first night in the bar. It was prompted by an offhand comment Davey made about how good Curt was looking when they all went for a cheat meal after the end of another loop. As a pair they were increasingly conspiratorial and viewed much like the Statler and Waldorf of the group. Bret almost choked on his fries when Davey said he liked more than the cut of Curt's cloth and with one well timed wink a confession was made and a door opened to something that would go on to change both their lives.
Later that night when they were back in Davey's room, half a bottle of vodka nailed between them, something had happened that in the fullness of time would get recalled and recounted in different ways. Bret would always remember a rough hand working out a knot in his back that seemed to descend lower and lower until he was being firmly groped and grinding into the bed like a two bit horny whore. Davey would always say that it was Bret who had stripped his shirt off first and worked his way across the bed until he was mere centimetres from where Davey laid. His version described a pliable and sensual body made all the more so by the alcohol and a memory of the smell of Aramis on Bret's skin, citing the fact that he was close enough to smell it without even moving as proof perfect of how what they had done wasn't started by him.
In the end though it didn't matter. Their first night was a rough and tumble affair, not that it was ever a candlelit supper and soft music deal between them. The one thing they did agree on was the way their first encounter was as emotionally draining as it had been physically. Ever since they'd started to grow close Bret had lost his interest in casual, no-strings sex with the ring rats. By then he was frustrated and ready, more than ready to feel the thick fingers curl around his shaft as they would do, jerking him hard and fast as they stared intensely into each others' eyes. There were more grunts than groans and awkward kisses with neither of them prepared to relinquish the lead. Silent assent was given to the mutual approach and that single answered question resulted in both of them collapsed on the bed, sweaty and still half clothed, staring at the ceiling and wondering what had just hit them.
As time passed the sex got better but stopped short then of how far it would take them years to go. It hadn't started off about sex and it would go on to mean more than that every time they met in secret. It was agreed that all they needed was the right time and that waiting for it to arrive wouldn't be easy but ultimately worth it in the end.
Over time they grew to look more like tightly knit relatives to everyone on the outside of what they had. The nature of their work made it easy to keep the secret from those that knew them, travelling to be around each other when needed and working together where possible.
On one of the balmiest nights of the summer so far Diana had phoned to say hello to her brother and to ask him where Davey was after not being able to catch him at the last hotel. Knowing that putting him on the line would raise no suspicions Bret passed the handset to the man sprawled beside him on the large couch and thought nothing more of it. It wasn't until he heard the tone of Davey's voice that he gathered something was wrong and offered to make himself scarce until the call was over. After being waved back into his seat it wasn't long until the phone call was done and he was putting the handset back on the base.
"Everything ok Davey?"
"Yeah. Not bad."
"From here it, err... it sounded bad."
"She's not coming back. Decided to stay in Canada. Reckons we're over."
"Man, I'm sorry."
The short and stilted conversation turned on that one last comment. Bret believed that Davey wasn't sorry and that he'd been looking for a way out since their fling had started. It was far more than a fling to both of them but that had been easy for Bret to conclude with no ties other than paying maintenance for his absent kids. He sensed that the word 'love' wasn't one either of them parted with easily. It didn't offend him that he'd never heard it from Davey and he didn't mind if he never did. All that mattered was that if they had a chance at happiness that they should take it and Diana's departure was giving them that. It was the one thing he could thank the least favourite of his sisters for.
"So you need a place to stay?"
"Nah, I'm happy enough with the place in Florida. Good weather is hard to come by in England. You're welcome to come and stay with me though, plenty of room there now I'm on me own and there's gonna be no kids around. There's only Winston and he's as easy to get on with as I am."
Bret lifted his arm and he smiled as Davey made his way under it, his head soon rested in it's usual spot on his chest. He gave a small squeeze to the broad shoulders his arm was wrapped around, doing his best to be reassuring despite the brave face Davey was putting on it. He knew all too well that when kids were involved things all of a sudden got much harder than they had been before.
"Well there's only me around this place now Davey. I guess I could get it sold pretty quick and move in. If you're sure that is. I suppose it might let all the guys know what's going on."
He'd been amazed by the physical strength that Davey had shown over time but the emotional strength and resilience would be a new horizon for both of them. There was no way Bret was going to turn down the chance to make their arrangement more permanent but he didn't want it to cost them anything more serious than the rental of a couple of U-Haul trucks.
"You've got to know that not everyone is as cool with this as we are."
A mutter that sounded like "Don't care." had the distinctive Lancashire twang that Bret sometimes struggled to understand but there was no need for any further questions. The doors were being opened for them to go on to so much more if they had the courage and the desire to get there. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that they'd had to do little work for, much unlike their careers. They shared a silence that underlined the decision they had made, both sensing that to talk properly might risk one or the other of them having a change of heart. In the background the film they'd been watching played quietly as a peaceful sleep descended over them, leaving two bodies huddled together on the couch set to dream of whatever was to come.
The silent house around him ensured that Bret didn't wake after the daydream turned into a deep sleep. It was a sleep coloured with lucid dreams that would be sure to break his heart if he was awake. Every day of the nine years alone had been harder than any day of the backlash they faced for being true to themselves and what they wanted. Behind closed doors there had never been talk of regret and the only regret that Bret had gone on to feel was that they didn't discover each other sooner. The time they had shared spanned a number of years but still wasn't long enough and was made harder by the demons that Davey fought every day. Through it all he was grateful that they were at peace with the decision to try and make a go of it and cherished every memory of waking up to find a handful of braided and beaded strands clattering over his face and pillow.
The ghost of a smile settled on his face as the sun descended behind one of the mountains and dusk began to fall. In the murky grey darkness he was a man alone with nothing more than a few gadgets and the internet to connect him with the outside world. In truth though he was never alone when he sat in that chair and he slept his most peaceful hours there whether he really knew it or not. The lines on his face echoed those deeply creased into the cushion coverings but the warmth of the leather was the closest he got to the all encompassing heat of Davey being in that chair with him. It may be different and inanimate arms he slept in now but, awake or asleep, he couldn't deny that the comfort they brought him calmed his soul just the same.
A/N: Soooooooooo. *exhausted sigh* - that was tougher than I thought it would be! I've tried to get the timelines generally right but forgive me if the specifics are a little out – I did so much reading you'd think I was writing this for an assignment and some of this is approximation as I was just confusing myself in the end! *grins*
All reads and reviews appreciated as ever!