WHO'D HAVE THOUGHT?

In the silence the triumphant voice sounded like a doomsday bell – A voice I had hoped to never hear again:

"'Oh yeah' indeed!"

With just three words my Home was destroyed.

Again.

"Finally I'm checking in to the Heartbreak Hotel!"

Commander Kashoggi appeared on top of the old subway station, smug as anything.

I so wanted to wipe that smirk off his face – preferably with one of these old-fashioned weapons (I believe they were called mace), but sadly he had brought his cronies along. They rounded us up, as if we were cattle (poultry would have been able to fly away, darn it!). The disgusted tone in which Commander piglet said the name of what had, even in this short time, felt like Home to me made my blood boil. Even more so as I saw some policemen push little Madonna into a wall, separate AC and DC and man-hand... boy-handle Gazza.

I hit the one that did that in the guts and drew Gazza to me, clinging to his hand. I would not leave him alone ever again. He got into too much trouble, and he seemed to be unable to quite get himself out of it again.

After much struggle (the policemen had quite a problem handling Cliff and Prince – they seemed a bit freaked out at the sight of them clinging to each other) the police had us up against the walls of the station. One of them gripped Big Macca's hair and ripped it back until he looked Kashoggi in the eyes.

Now, I might not be the nicest girl in existence (though I doubt those Gaga-Girls can hold a candle even to me), but as I now found out I hate it when somebody hurts or mocks people I like. I felt Gazza and Iron Maiden hold me back as I let out a low growl. I had to listen to Piglet.

"And so, Mister McCartney (how the hell did he know that name?) I've said hello and you say – goodbye!"

With that the policemen advanced on us again, and all seemed lost. They took Bob, who as a poet was not much of a fighter, Madonna, who was still dizzy from when her head hit the wall, AC and DC who were at a loss without each other. But just when I started a Tug-of-War about Gazza (Two Policemen against one woman. Talk about unfair. And Gazza did not even seem to appreciate it, the ingrate!), Brit lost his temper.

His war cry "You'll never get The Dreamer while I'm alive!" sent things into a frenzy. He alone took on five or so policemen. I did not get a clear view, because Prince and Cliff clobbered the policemen on our side over the head while Iron Maiden and Aretha held some others off. Meat pushed us away, whispering instructions on how to get to a secret hideout (a van), which I tried to keep in mind. Gazza, who was once again trying to take everything in at once – and who was trying to get away to join the fight, the fool – would not be of any use whatsoever. Meat distracted the last of the policemen and we were gone – although I had to pinch Gazza to get him to focus on running away.

Then a scream echoed along the old rails, agonized and ending frightfully abrupt.

A rich Baritone, followed by a high-pitched, wailing shriek.

Gazza stopped dead in his tracks.

"Britney…" his voice was a hoarse whisper, and I felt the tears threaten.

I never cried before.

I had been beaten and mocked by everyone, looked down upon, cast out by my family, but never had I felt sorrow like this.

I swallowed the lump in my throat, took a deep breath and grabbed his hand tighter.

"We must leave."

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

"But…"

"Gazza, we have to leave! NOW!

I could feel his eyes on the back of my head as I dragged him behind me, counting turns and crossings. They were bewildered, hurt and without doubt he thought of me as an unfeeling monster.

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

Like a mantra the words repeated in my head.

After what seemed like an eternity of running in sullen silence, my legs gave way. Only the fact that I still held Gazza's hand stopped me from falling flat on my face.

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

"Scaramouche?"

All of a sudden Gazza was the attentive worrywart again, although he, too, was breathing hard and staggering a bit. I held up a hand and tried to catch my breath enough to answer him when I saw a dark hole a little way ahead. I nodded towards it and dragged myself back to my feet.

"In there."

It was an old passageway. The entrance was half blocked with rubble, which made it nicely hidden, and as I counted back, I found that it actually was part of the escape route and more than halfway to the secret hideout. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Which was regrettably short lived, for suddenly the tunnel on the other side of the rubble was filled with light and noise. Scared again I looked at Gazza. As I met his eyes the fear in them told me that he finally registered the fact that it was him they were after for the main part. I was just a bonus.

We willed our feet to run again, side by side this time.

Running, I found, was much easier without holding hands.

I don't quite know how long we ran, or how far exactly until the blaring alarms and shouts died down. Only that I finally spotted the escape route Meat had spoken about, and pointed it out to Gazza, who was a bit faster than me and climbed to the surface first.

That was when I heard the shouts coming closer again.

I pulled every last ounce of strength and pulled myself up the ladder while Gazza knelt above me, chanting "Hurry, hurry, hurry…" and then "Give me your hand!" and pulled me out. We closed the trapdoor just as the first torchlight swept through the tunnel beneath. I sealed the door shut with the bolt and listened anxiously as a policeman climbed up the ladder, tried the trap door – and finally shouted "This one's locked. Onwards!"

I collapsed next to Gazza and for a while we just lay there, side by side, panting.

Suddenly, Gazza sat up.

At once I was on my feet again, looking for the danger – and found nothing. Well, there was the van Meat had mentioned (a rusty blue thing with broken windows and the left side mostly ripped open, only covered by rugs like a curtain), but there was no danger. The fact that there were plants growing all over the place made it quite safe, since no-one would be able to spot us from above.

I looked inquiringly at Gazza, whose eyes were confused, scared, and angry.

"How did Kashoggi find the Heartbreak Hotel?"

Okay, time to get rational again. Think, Scaramouche, think… "He must have some way of tracking us!"

Well, paranoia works, too.

But the theory seemed quite plausible.

Now, what way could he have? How could Kashoggi…

"The Hospital." For once, Gazza was faster than me. It could be because of the fact that I tried all kinds of complex theories before reaching the simple ones. Gazza jumped up. "When they operated on our heads!"

"Heads!" I beckoned him to me, and searched the back of his head while he searched mine. His hair was so – no sidetracking! Geez!

He found it first.

It was a strange feeling – the foreign object that I hadn't really noticed until now seemed so obvious all of a sudden under Gazza's searching fingers, as well as the scab that covered it.

He turned me around and swept my hair over my shoulderto have a clearer look.

"I think I found something!"

"Well, cut it out!" I looked around to find something sharp, but Gazza grabbed my shoulder and turned me to face him, looking aghast. "What?"

It was quite cute that he didn't want to hurt me, but also pretty useless in that situation. Why did he have to be so dreadfully impractical? I shrugged him off, continuing my search, while trying to explain. "Gazza, if there are bugs in our heads, the police will track us down in hours!" Or less. Finally I found a glass shard in the broken rear window of the van and held it out to Gazza. "Cut it out!"

He seemed reluctant, looked between the shard and me, to, fro, to, fro, until I shot him a look that made him grab the shard so fast he almost cut himself. It was a good thing I learned to hide my feelings – I hate pain, and if I showed hesitation, Gazza would not do it. I squared my shoulders as I felt his fingers sweep aside my hair.

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

An involuntary gasp still made it out as the shard cut down into my neck and Gazza ripped the bug out. His hesitation vanished into indignant anger at the sight of it.

"He's had us from the start! He's heard everything!"

That explained how he knew Macca's name.
And this was proof that without any doubt, Gazza's and my escape from the hospital had been anticipated – wanted, even.
Well, at least I didn't say anything too embarrassing. Still, it bugged me (Pun intended). Who did that pig think he was? I bowed down over the bloodied device in Gazza's hand. "Hello?" I felt Gazza's shock at my sickly sweet voice, but proceeded. "Pervert!" Gazza snorted a bit "This is a short sentence, and the second word is off!" The last word was a hardly concealed threat, and made Gazza look a bit shocked for a complete different reason. He seemed confused as well, but I did not quite know if that was due to me bringing back the bite or because he did not get the meaning of my words. I took the bug and the shard from him, which brought him back to his senses. He went down on all fours. "Quick, now me!" I lowered the shard and heard him whimper before I even did anything. As the shard finally connected, he grunted and winced like a little kid, until he finally held his breath. I ripped out the bug and he collapsed while I looked the devices over.

Baby.

He coughed. "Quick, crush them!"

Okay, now he lost his mind.

"A couple of 'state of the art' micro-transceivers? No way!" I mean, who knew what they could be good for! Absentminded, I continued speaking while I looked closer at the devices to find the right switch. "I'll just activate the maximum negativity spectrum…" Found it…

"What?"

Geez, Gazza, really – do you know anything?

"Turn them off!" I did so and, still intrigued, studied the transceivers further, then stowed them away as the light dimmed so I could examine them further in the morning. I ripped off a part of the curtain to wipe away the blood that dribbled down my neck, then leaned against the side of the van and looked at the setting sun, just resting for a while and trying to ease the guilt I felt.

The Bohemians were gone.

And it was all because of us.

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

Gazza's voice was so soft I almost missed him starting to speak.

"We're… all that's left, Scaramouche."

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

"The Bohemians are finished!"

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

"The Heartbreak Hotel destroyed! Only we escaped!"

Escaped? Yes, we probably did, but the sacrifice this escape had cost tore at my soul.

Only the good die young… Meat's voice echoed through my brain and I wondered how she felt at the irony when it was enough to make the tears threaten again for me.

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

I had Gazza to think about. He was probably as close to breaking point as I was.

I felt like I had to give credit where credit was due. "Britney Spears died to save us…"

He did so much for us; he deserved to be remembered for it. I still heard his war cry, and corrected myself. "To save you."

Because this was, as I said, Gazza's quest, not mine.

I was just – there.

He was important.

And somehow, he was different now. It seemed that tight spots brought forth his more decisive part. His gaze was focused, determined, his posture upright and proud as he vowed that Brit would not have died in vain.

What he said after that quite frankly took my breath away.

"It's up to us now!"

Us!

And he said it as if there never had been a question about it.

I can't cry, I can't cry, I can't cry…

But this time, the tears threatened for a different reason altogether.

Gazza seemed to take my silence differently. His voice grew hesitant again.

We're part of the underworld, Scaramouche." Who knew I would come to love that silly name so much? "You and me, cast adrift." He shrugged out of his leather jacket (now a bit rugged and dusty), pushed aside the rug curtains and sat down on the mattress that appeared behind it. "There's no turning back now," he continued, "not ever!"

He looked so lost again, so small and heartbroken.

I tried to lighten the mood. "We never belonged, anyway," I reminded him, twiddling with the bloodied rag.

At least I got a snort that sounded almost amused. Geez, he made me miss the eager puppy like that! Then something occurred to me. "Did you notice?" He looked up, and there was a curious spark in his eyes. "You lost your st-stutter!"

He smiled.

It was a softer smile than his usual grin, and it did funny things to my brain. Such as repeating the phrase of my first-ever song over and over again: 'Can anybody find me somebody to love?' Shaking my head to get rid of the phrase (unsuccessfully, now I knew how Gazza felt) I offered the bloodied rag to occupy him and turn that smile away, and he took it, absentmindedly wiping at the blood on his neck and hands while pondering. "Well, I feel different," was what he finally came up with, his satisfied, slightly goofy grin almost the grin of his usual self, only that now it seemed do much – more. It made me feel slightly dizzy. I sat down next to him, afraid my knees would give up on me. I guess they had yet to fully recover from all the running – or at least that's what I told myself. Something in the back of my head called me a chicken for it. Trying to cover, I smiled, a bit nervous. "We're both different." What came out then surprised me, for I never noticed until I said it out loud: "For the first time I don't hate myself."

Astounding.

The fact that I had just admitted that I had hated myself as well as the fact that I no longer did. When I was with Gazza, I felt – dare I say it – good.

The fact that I had been accepted enthusiastically by the Bohemians had worked wonders, too.

Warmth spread through me.

"And," Gazza let out a low chuckle, looking happy and surprised at the same time, "I don't want to die!"

And I thought I had problems.

Then the realization hit me – he could be dead – and for a moment ice-cold dread settled over me.

Gazza didn't even notice as he continued. "I found something to live for!"

The warmth was back, and for a moment I dared to – but I beat down that treacherous feeling of hope, years of mocking and hating myself crashing down on me at once. I was not that girl. I was the one that took home her broken heart and nothing else. Happy endings were for happy girls, and that was one thing I had never quite managed.

But Gazza was here, and he seemed to wait for me to speak as I waited for him to elaborate.

I gave in first.

"The dream?"

That was the only plausible reason I was able to come up with, and the sad, slightly disappointed look in his eyes told me it was the wrong one.

His soft correction left me speechless.

"You!" He said it as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, and something inside me melted. We stared at each other for a while, until we both realized what had just happened and looked back at the setting sun.

This time it was Gazza who spoke first.

"But – we will be caught in the end. You know that, don't you?"

I was a little surprised that he was able to have so clear a picture of the future, but then again, this was Gazza I was talking to. He tended to surprise.

I sighed. "Yeah, I know." And, because I was being me, I added, for good measure: "And probably killed…"

Now if only I could erase that stupid happy grin…

The thought of Gazza dead took care of that quite nicely.

Did I mention that Gazza was one for surprises? And that his new personality trait was being decisive?

Well, what he decided to do next was pretty much the biggest surprise I ever got in my life.

He. Said. He. Loves. Me!

Me!

The sudden rush of joy made my head spin, and I finally dared to name the emotions that had made my legs wobbly and my stomach acting funny.

"I love you, too," for a moment I fought myself, "Gaz!"

I chanced a glance at him and was met with a resigned, slightly annoyed and sullen expression and a serious: "Do you think maybe perhaps just once you could use my full name?"

Hell no!

But the tension was broken, and I felt my mischievous self again

"I love you, too," I repeated, looking him gravely in the eyes and then stubbed his nose with an impish grin, "Gazza Fizza!"

He should have been content with Gaz.

The look on his face was priceless, though, hope morphing to indignation changing into resignation shifting to acceptance and finally a gleeful chuckle escaped. I felt a blush rising in my face and looked away, strangely bashful.

This was just who I am. And he was happy about it. The warmth spread down into toes and fingers, filling me entirely.

"And – if I have your love – dying doesn't matter much at all," he said, still smiling.

There was that word again. I was cold once more, pictures storming my mind unbidden. The playfulness mood I was in turned solemn, grave, and I slumped the tiniest bit as I felt the smile leave my face together with the blush.

"Does it?" Gazza's voice was soft, worried, anxious. I wanted to reassure him, somehow, tell him that everything was going to be alright, that I was alright, but at the same time I couldn't bear to lie to him right now.

The words came to me in a soft whisper, and somehow they felt like they were mine. Not flowing through Gazza and overwhelming me, but coming from deep within, wanting out. I let them.

I wasn't even surprised when they came out as a song.

"There's no time for us." The words were barely above a murmur. I kept my eyes strictly turned away from Gaz, who looked at me, slightly amazed, and then at the ground, looking to be deep in thought. "There's no place for us…" Always on the move, fleeing from the police, and before that, from ourselves, if he was anything like me.

"What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us?" Home, Security… Love. Vanishing like the setting sun, but without the reassurance that it would come back. Slipping away like Life.

Oh, hell.

"Who wants to live forever?" It was not exactly an answer, or very reassuring for that matter, but it seemed enough for Gaz, whose voice suddenly joined mine as I repeated the phrase, his soft, mine growing slightly desperate.

It is a strange trait that just at the moment your life threatens to run out you realize how precious it is.

With another wondering "Who?", I somehow knew that now it was Gazza's turn.

As expected, the music grew stronger, but strangely enough it didn't burst as on similar occasions before, or sweep us away. This time we played the music instead of the other way round.

It was soothing and left me wanting at the same time.

Lost in thought and feeling, I listened to Gaz.

"There's no chance for us…" I liked his voice when he was singing on top of his lungs, but this soft almost-whisper sent shivers down my spine.

"It's all decided for us!" He sounded so sad. So desperate. I felt the sudden urge to touch him, soothe him, and sat down on my hands to still them. That just wouldn't do. I don't hug people. I just don't.

"This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us…" I sighed. That was gloomy.

"Who wants to live forever?"

How he managed to sing the same phrase as me and made it sound so much different was astonishing. There was an urgency in his words that made the strange, empty feeling intensify, but at the same time the thought that nothing was forever was oddly comforting. And if there was to be only one sweet moment in this life, at least mine was going to be with Gaz. This time it was me that joined him in the repetition of the phrase, easing up a bit, no longer sitting on my hands, when we proceeded asking who dared to love forever. I could almost feel Gazza's desperation as he burst out: "when love must die!"

The graveness and worry from before mixed with the strange hollowness and the affection I held for Gaz, confusing me.

Until I repositioned my hands and felt skin and bones under my left one, somehow rendering me incapable of feeling anything else. I jolted and looked down at my hand, only to find that it covered Gazza's. The empty feeling in me had gone the instant I touched him.

I looked up at him, into dark green eyes as full of surprise as mine probably were.

Only that they battled down the fear considerably faster, the surprise melting into fondness and worry and whatever else before Gaz carefully trained his eyes on our joined hands and covered them with his free one.

I jumped up, self-conscious.

Not so much because I was still insecure, but because I was feeling just the tiniest bit shy and completely confused.

I was not the kind of girl that was overly fond of hugs.

Not even twenty-four hours ago I had flinched and edged away whenever someone tried to touch me – even Gaz.

But now I wanted his touch.

Needed it, almost.

I had never been so scared in all my life.

Breathing deeply, I ran my hands through my hair, pulling at a strand or two that had gone awry, then turned around to Gaz, keeping a steadying hand around the still-intact door-beam of the van. I never felt the edges cutting into my palm.

Gaz held a careful distance, standing now as well, looking concerned, a little hurt and utterly sincere.

Suddenly my fears about being hurt seemed so ridiculous, and they were being overruled by the aching emptiness that had risen again.

Shyly looking down, I took a deliberate step into his direction.

And another.

And another.

Until I was standing right in front of him, and placed my hands on his chest.

Only then did I raise my eyes back to his.

It felt like coming home.

A tear rolled down my face, despite the fact that I felt happy enough to melt.

Reaching up to caress his cheek, I sang again, fully aware this time of what would come out. "But touch my tears with your lips..." Gaz closed his eyes as his hand came up to press mine to his face, his expression like that of a parched man feeling the rain on his face.

His other hand went to my waist, drawing me nearer as he sang. "Touch my world with your fingertips..."

No way.

Fingertips were much too little contact.

He seemed to have the same thought, for his hands covered my shoulders and he ran them down my arms almost reverently. I, too, let my hands wander, caressing a surprisingly muscular chest, strong arms, defined cheekbones, while his thumbs caressing my sides made me slightly dizzy.

But not dizzy enough to stop singing that like this, we could live forever, love forever.

Gaz clutched me to him, almost crushing me in his desperate attempt to get me as close as possible. Not that I minded right now. I did the same.

"Forever is ours today," he sang, and as I burrowed my head in his chest, inhaling his scent, I felt that he was right. Tonight, at the very least, forever was ours.

When we sang the original question this time, it held a totally different meaning. Because, as I triumphantly repeated, forever was ours.

My giddy smile matched his perfectly, when Gaz pressed his forehead down against mine.

"Who waits forever," Gaz sang, almost under his breath, and as I looked into his eyes, they were darker than usual. His "anyway" was only a husky whisper that made my knees weaken again.

He carefully made me sit down on the mattress of the van, but as he straightened up, I felt, almost detached, my hands gripping his shoulders and pulling him down to me. The sudden movement made him topple over, and he crashed into me, his weight pushing me down until we both lay half in and half out of the van. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I didn't care. The last light provided me with a look of hunger on his face, one that I could find myself responding to. I raised my head a bit, and Gaz lowered his until our lips met.

I vaguely sensed him close the ragged curtain before I was swept away in something even stronger than music.

Who would have thought there was such a thing?


Well, that's that, then.

I am not very good with soppy scenes, I'm afraid, and if Scara is a bit out of character - well, it felt wrong for her to be snarky in that situation. She can face Gouvernments and Idiocy and Saviours and World's end and all that jazz with snarky comments, but I felt even she would be overwhelmed by pure affection, since it was something she hungered for, as well.

Enjoy.

P.S.: the running is mine.