A/N: Okay, so I know it's been a while since I've posted anything onto here, but I've been suffering a bit of a creative brain freeze. I wrote this some time ago, and posted it onto the "Bachelor and the Butterfly" livejournal and then forgot about it. I don't know why, but I started reading D/B fanfic again, and thought...'didn't I write something...?' and lo and behold...here they are. YES...there are several that I posted onto livejournal that I didn't post onto here, so get ready...I expect to post them all tonight.
Oh yes, and this fic takes place between when Daniel finds out about Betty leaving via mass email and when she walks up to him and he's holding her release and a lighter.
A warning: This is, I guess, essentially, a song fic. (DUM-DUM-DUUUUUM!) No one busts into song or anything, but song lyrics are intermingled with the fic.
A little background: I think the song I use for this, "I've Grown Accustomed to her Face" from the musical, My Fair Lady is probably one of the more realistically romantic songs in the Broadway musical canon. Granted, I haven't heard all of it, but until I am introduced to another one, this one will continue to hold that place for me. I have it on my iPod and heard it in the car one day, not long after the season finale of UB had come on, and I thought...hmmmmmmm...
So, here you go.
Legality: Anytime I put a phrase in italics, it's because I've taken it directly from the lyrics of the song. (If it's just a word that's italicized, then that's because I just wanted to use it for emphasis.) Otherwise, I use the feel of the lyrics a lot, but not a direct quote.
The song itself has been remade many times, by Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and Rosemary Clooney as three notable examples, but also Micheal Crawford, Andy Williams, and even Kermit the Frog. However, the version I used here as inspiration was the original one sung by Rex Harrison in the movie, My Fair Lady. If you have never seen the movie (what's WRONG with you?), you can see that version here: watch ? V = HroAq_E075Y (remove the spaces).
Now, on to the fic.
Daniel was pissed. Oh, he was more than pissed, he was furious (positively livid! incensed!).
How dare she?
How. Dare. She?
He stalked down the busy New York sidewalk and even the busy, usually nonplussed Manhattan commuters knew to get out of his way.
For God's sakes, she was going to London!
As in: fish, chips, cup o' tea, bad food, worse weather. Mary fuckin' Poppins. London.(1)
What the hell?
And she hadn't said a word.
Not. One. Word.
And here he was, thinking all sorts of mushy things about how special they were to each other and how she understood him like no one else ever and how he...
Daniel paused in his stomping and frowned.
...how he couldn't live without her.
Shaking his head, he turned his frown into a scowl and continued walking.
Of course he could live without her!
He'd lived for the greater portion of his life without her, hadn't he?
Sure! She was welcome to London. Let her leave him! What did he care?
Nothing, that's what.
If their...friendship meant that little to her that she would let him hear about her moving to another country a few weeks before she left and by a mass email, no less, then he was better off without her.
A vision of her face flashed in his memory and he sighed, slowing down. 'Except the little insignificant fact that she almost makes the day begin,' he thought.
In his current state, he hated to admit it, but it was true. He couldn't deny that it didn't feel like the day was really started until he saw her or spoke to her. He remembered all the times she'd stepped into his office, smiling and handing him a coffee and a bagel, even though she wasn't his assistant anymore and didn't have to do that. He'd only just recently admitted that it wasn't about the food or the caffeine she brought him, but it was the smile she always brought with it that really convinced him the day had started and he should get on with it.
He'd never realized how much he looked forward to that, how much he'd come to rely on it, until he was faced with the prospect of losing it. What would he do without seeing her every morning?
Daniel hadn't realized his feet had slowed down until he sighed and found himself near enough to the entrance to the Park around the corner from Mode to know he hadn't gotten very far. He sighed and made his way to a nearby park bench, settling down in it to seethe without the danger of walking absently into traffic or running down some little old lady that got in his path.
She hummed all the time.
The recollection came to him out of the blue, because he'd never actively stopped to notice that fact before, but she did.
He'd grown accustomed to it by now, he supposed...that obscure little tune she was always humming whenever she was happy (and since Betty was almost always happy, it meant she was almost always humming it).
It was like pleasant white noise on those nights when, both finding that they were still in the office and most likely the only ones, they would chose to work side by side - ostensibly to share Chinese food or Italian, but really just to be in each other's company - and in the moments when they'd buckle down and actually work (as opposed to talk about whatever mundane thing occurred to them), she would hum softly under her breath.
He remembered how it always caught her off-guard when he called her out on it, as if she hadn't realized she was humming at all.
But, what did he care if she hummed all the time? She'd probably be humming in London - on the tube, walking in Convent Gardens, in front of Big Ben...
He didn't care one bit. Not one bit. London could have her.
He couldn't really deny that somehow, someway, at some point during all the years they had known each other...her smiles (even her rare frowns) were like second nature to him now.
He hated how trite it sounded, but it was true.
Second nature, like...breathing.
Daniel winced even as he thought it, but he couldn't back out of the thought once he'd given it shape and substance. He had made a promise to be more honest with himself and he meant to keep it...
...a promise to Betty.
He almost laughed at the absurdity of the thought.
He shook himself out of the reverie and tried to latch back onto the anger, but he couldn't quite shake the melancholy.
It would be so quiet without her now.
He sighed and leaned back in the bench, the hard planks digging into his back, the cold of the armrest only slightly muted by the sleeve of his jacket.
It would've been better if he'd never met her.
The thought flittered across his consciousness, leaving an empty sort of aching in its wake, drizzling down like rain into his chest. But he couldn't help but think that it was true.
Why did she enter into his life only to leave it barren when she left?
Yes, he knew he was a playboy and immature and selfish before they met. He was proud (had been proud) of the man he'd become thanks to her, but...
Shallow doesn't feel as deeply, he admitted. Before they met, he was independent and content and he would've never felt this pain...this emptiness.
He sat up as an idea struck him. He could be that way again, couldn't he?
Oh, not the playboy or immature, but he could close himself off the way he had. He didn't have to be so...feeling and open.
He could close himself off to missing her.
The image of what she would think of such a solution came to him unbidden and he could see the frown, the disappointment, the gentle reassurance that he could do better...be better.
He slumped back against the bench, running a hand through his hair at the futility of it, rubbing his face and covering his eyes from the park he wasn't really looking at anyway.
'I've grown accustomed to her look,' he admitted to himself. He looked up as if asking for divine intervention and slapped his hands against the bench seat. 'I can't believe it, but I've grown accustomed to her voice...to her face.' He shook his head, laughing at the unfairness of it all. 'I can't unknow it now...I can't forget her.'
He scoffed and pushed himself off the bench, needing movement again, and he took off down the path. "London!" he sneered aloud. "She'll hate London!" he decided. "I can see her now...a Queens girl trying to decide whether she should be offended when someone asks her for a fag!" He smirked and felt a sort of unholy glee well up in him. "She'll be back in a month." He laughed. "Hell...a few days of eating cabbage, and blood sausage...trying to figure out she should look left first before crossing the street, or what people are telling her when she tries to talk to them..." he laughed again. "The tube system alone will have her running back in two weeks!" he decided. He nodded, envisioning it as he unconsciously began to rub his hands together as he went. "And then she'll come back begging for her job again..." he paused in his stalking and grinned as he envisioned her standing in front of his desk again, proverbial tail between the legs, repentant and contrite. "Poor Betty!" he said, still grinning. "How humiliating," he shook his head in mock sympathy. "The utter shame." He couldn't help but grin. The grin became a smirk as he considered his options. 'Will I take her in, or hurl her to the wolves?' he asked himself. 'Give her kindness, or the treatment she deserves?' he began walking again. 'Will I take her back, or throw the baggage out!' He imagined her face, sad and dejected and without that sparkle that brightened the room whenever she walked in and the grin faded from his lips, the joy leaving his heart.
'Poor Betty,' he thought to himself. He stopped himself from planning how he could get her a book about adjusting to life in London or something and frowned at himself. 'What am I doing?' he asked. 'Feeling sorry for her?' he grit his teeth. 'She's leaving me!' He shook his head. 'She chose London!'
"London," he said aloud, slapping his hand against a passing mailbox. "Ha!"
But the image of Betty standing in front of his desk didn't go away, and the frown didn't last long on his lips. He remembered her walking in, her pleasant smile, her sunny looks, the new little flip his heart made at the scent of that Clinique perfume she always wore even though he'd given her Chanel one year for her birthday. He sighed again.
It was no use, he knew. He was too used to hearing her say, 'Good morning,' every day. Too involved with her joys, her woes...her highs, her lows.
If she were like any other woman, she'd be easy to forget. Just like a habit one can always break...
...but she wasn't.
She wasn't like anyone he'd ever known...
...and he'd never loved anyone the way he loved her.
The thought stopped him in his tracks, reeling from the realization he had only started to allow himself to come to since that moment during her sister's speech at her wedding. He exhaled, and for a moment, his shoulders slumped in defeat. He knew if she came back, he'd take her back in a heartbeat. No matter how much she broke his heart by leaving.
And then, suddenly, a thought came to him. 'What would Betty say if she saw me like this?' he wondered. If he could tell her what it was about, assuming it was about someone else, she'd tell him...he thought about it for a moment.
Well...she'd tell him not to give up, wouldn't she?
It seemed so simple when he thought about it.
Yes...he had a plan.
He looked up at his surroundings for the first time since leaving the office, searching out a street sign, a familiar landmark even as he whipped out his phone. He had no time to walk all the way back, he had to call for his car.
It was no use, he knew. He'd grown much too accustomed to the trace of...something...in the airto let her go now.
So he wouldn't. He didn't have to. He was her bossand she was under contract.
She might not appreciate being kept back from an opportunity she thought was good for her, but she'd come to terms with it. Especially when she realized it was for her own good.
He just really couldn't let her go...not now.
Not when he was so damnably accustomed to her face.
(1) A direct quote from the movie "Snatch". This is said by the character Avi, played by Dennis Farina. I couldn't resist.