A/n slowly working through all my pennames (that I can recall...i know WittyUsername, Parrot, Smutnazi &Ianthine...may have more from my "dark age" where I have 3 years that blur together). And I am reposting most of that fic in a central location. This was, obviously the original of the Rizzles fic Interstitial.
Their love is interstitial, it exists in the gaps and the spaces between. It doesn't take up any part of them, but is rather the glue that holds all those parts together. It is something that goes unspoken of, it is the tetragrammaton of their relationship. It eixsts, but only as a concept, something that is too big, to beyond them to be spoken of. Speaking of it will make it a concrete, make it a thing rather than just an idea. It's one thing to have the idea of love, but it's another to turn this concept of feelings and emotions into a feeling or emotion.
So they don't speak of it. They make no mention of what it is that they have. They do not try to define it, do not try to give it a name. It is simply there. They have no reason to speak of it, no reason to mention it. After all, it's not as though they have to describe themselves-what they are to each other-to the world at large. The world at large has given them their terms for the other. Master and servant. Employee and employed. There's a whole other world to their relationship beyond those terms, but they are the ones they used when asked to describe themselves.
And they are happy with those words. Because they don't want to put a name to what they have. They don't want to think about what they are to each other, what they mean to each other. It's not something they enjoy thinking about, not something they want to dwell on. They prefer to simply revel in the beauty of it, than to analyze it, think about it. It is inevitable that they do, of course, and they realize that when they're forced to think about their relationship, about what it is, the thoughts only bring pain. They know it cannot last forever, although they would like it to. They are more than willing to share their reluctance to part with the world at large, but they hide it behind other reasons.
One claims that he'd be utterly lost without his keeper. The other claims that he will never have a position as easy, as well paid, and to put it quite frankly, fun as the one he has. They are reasons that pass well enough amongst their companions. No one is any the wiser. Oh there are whispers and rumors, mentioned in the dark as juicy bits of gossip come out late at night after many bottles of whiskey, only after those being talked about have long since left. There are some relations of both that have a fairly good idea of what's going on, with that sort of intuition that aunts and sisters seem to possess. But one day, society dictates that they must part. One of them, at least, will not be able to escape the bonds of matrimony forever, and they know that both of them are likely to travel down that path.
It is something that is too good to last, and they both know it. It's one of the reasons they refuse to talk about whatever it is they have. Because to talk about it would show that they did, in fact, mean something to each other, and it would make that inevitable parting that much more difficult. No, it was easier to lie to themselves, and even in their own thoughts consider themselves nothing more than master and servant. Servants came and went, every master had a handful over a lifetime, and every servant had a handful of masters. They were traded and bet and bought and sold, both masters and servants alike-those who had found themselves in cushy, comfortable positions could find themselves suddenly in a job of gruelling physical labor after a hand of poker went awry, and that smug little former footman finds himself rising to the top on a lucky straight draw.
But they, they both know that they've got a good thing, and they do not risk it carelessly. They do not bandy it about. They keep it locked away in dark corners of dark rooms in the dark of night. When they do communicate, it is in a secret, silent language of stares and sighs. They do not need to speak, they can read the little longing glances, the quirks of an eyebrow, the slump of shoulders. They do not need to ask if the other is wanting, they can simply sense it, and simply know. They are always wanting, nay,needing.
They talk of Plato, at times, curled around each other on cold winter nights, staring up at the ceiling, tracing lazy patterns in wiry chest curls. About the theory that lovers are one soul, cleft in twain. They scoff at the idea, while secretly wondering if it is true. They laugh at the idea of love, mocking those that believe in such silly notions. They giggle over the idea of specific dream rabbits, and the idea of ever being someone's little lambykin. They both admit a sordid fascination with Rosie M. Banks-but only because they find it hard to believe that anyone buys into that sort of sop. All the while, they know, although they do not think of it, that they are each other's specific dream rabbit, their little lambykin, and they hope that they get the sort of happy ending that Rosie M. Banks tended to grant to her characters.
They act as though it's normal for master and servant to spend their nights wrapped around each other, laying gentle kisses across a vast expanse of flesh. It is eaasier than accepting the reality. It is easier than acknowledging that what they have is something more. That it is something greater than them. It's easier to deny everything and keep the stiff upper lip than it is to ever attempt to confront the feelings that they keep buried. They act as though what they're doing is perfectly acceptable, even as they keep an ever vigilant eye, ensuring that their secret is always kept safe.
Because this is a secret that would ruin them. The scandal it would create would cause schisms-and there are times where they make dark jokes about the possibility of an apocalyptic scenario should word get out. Both of them are rather aware that the master-and-servant scandal wouldn't even register when compared to the rest. They jokingly suggest that the fact that they're both men would be secondary to the uproar caused by the eighth wonder of the world rollicking with a near-simpleton, or the uproar caused by all the young women who considered the young master to be their backup plan, in case all else went awry. They laugh about the ability of one aunt to quite possibly obliterate the entire countryside for miles around her upon hearing of the news. They chuckle over the idea of condensing that outrage into some sort of superweapon, as they shuck the front page of the paper aside, skimming over the social pages as they sip their tea.
So they keep it quiet. They wear their masks, and keep the stiff upper lip so that they do not have to consider how utterly lost they'd be without the other. There are times, on quiet, lonely, nights, when circumstances dictate that they must be apart, where they wonder if this is love, or if it is rather some twisted perversion of it, forged out their mutual brokeness. They start to wonder what one of those pyschotherapy types would say about them, before they gulp down shots of whiskey and put those thoughts to rest.
They do not push the unspoken of boundaries. They live within their carefully constructed walls. They do not talk about what they have. Instead, they happily live on, making light of their situation. They let their love exist, filling in the gaps, never shown, never expressed, but instead letting it sit interstitially, the glue holding both of them together.