Sweltering, sickening heat. Heat so thick you can practically slice it. Perhaps it was the mind spinning heat that had started it. The merciless rays of sun and the humid arms of the air are known for putting humans in a cross mood.
It's also known that the heat in the heart causes a riot as well.
The air-conditioner in Chucky and Andy's house had broken just a few days ago. Andy was sitting at the foot of the non responsive machine, flipping through the manual as he tried to figure out how to revive their one way of breathing normal cool air. Chucky was knelt beside him, waiting to help or for Andy to figure it out and fix it already. But the instructions were complicated, and the heat was starting to get to them as they discussed what it was they were supposed to do.
There had already been tension between them for at least a week. They had gotten into tiny disagreements before, but they had moved on and been able to keep in the frustrations they had had with each other so far. But now, as things were once again heating up, neither Andy nor Chucky could contain the anger they'd been harboring from each other.
So, perhaps it was the heat that began the fierce brawl between the man and the doll.
It started with a hiss and a sputter. Like a tea kettle left to be agitated by the stove burner, the more they responded, the more they fed into each other's annoyance and heat. The temperature of their anger rose with their voices, and it wasn't long before both were standing and shouting at the top of their lungs. Profane and obscenities were tossed back and forth, each time their words slicing deeper into each other and growing crueler and hotter.
Until at last, Andy snapped. "Fine!" he shot angrily towards the doll, who stood with his arms crossed and a facial expression that dripped of something like malice. "I don't even know why I even try. What do I get for it? Nothing, that's what! Nothing! I've had it with you this week," he hissed, shaking his finger at Chucky. "I don't understand why you're treating me this way."
The doll growled lowly. "Oh, why don't you just tell me how you really fucking feel, Andy?" he retorted back just as hotly. "I'm all goddamn ears." Andy tossed the manual aside, just barely hearing it as it clunked against the AC with a loud thud. "I will," he said softly, anger still seeping through his words. "I've done everything I can for you. I am sick and tired of you treating me like I'm nothing. After all this time, I would've thought you would've changed. But no, here you are, driving me crazy and making me so angry. As if it isn't hard enough to stick around without you attitude!" He held out his hands in a desperate surrender, and his voice grew louder with each word. "I thought maybe you'd be, I don't know, a little more loving by now!"
Chucky made a sound of disapproval. "Looks like you were fucking wrong, Andy," he said, a bit too cocky for his own good. He was soon to regret it.
The look in Andy's eyes said it all. "Yah," he said softly, and Chucky found himself having to fight back tears as he heard the poisonous words that came out of the young man's mouth, "I guess I was fucking wrong after all." He turned away, not seeing the doll tremble behind him as he silently slid on his shoes near the entrance and walked out the door, leaving Chucky to watch, unable to speak as he disappeared outside.
"Andy," he finally choked out. But Andy had already gone, the door slamming behind him and leaving the place as silent as death.
His knees suddenly felt unable to hold him, and he sat down against the broken cause of the problem. "It's not my fault," he told himself. "It isn't." But he knew inside he was wrong. What had he done? What had he done? Andy- why had he hurt Andy like that? Andy had never been so angry before! Andy was not the kind of person to get so upset. Andy did not deserve to be made so upset! How could he have made Andy so angry? Oh, what have I done?!
Andy had never cursed before.
The doll shook, trying to contain the guilt and unpleasant rot he felt now. All he wanted was for Andy to come back so they could fix this, fix them, fix them and their stupid fight and the stupid things they'd said. He just wanted Andy to walk back through that door- he didn't care if the young man was still angry. He'd apologize- he would! He'd say it before Andy did. This time he would, he swore, if only Andy would come back!
But hours went by, and Andy did not return. He probably never would. Not this time.
Andy kicked at the crumpled can on the sidewalk. He was furiously going back through the day, and eventually through the whole week. He pondered over what he'd said, what Chucky had said, and what they'd done. He went back through all the motions, body shaking as he came back to the more recent memories of what they'd done. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became. But not at the doll.
He was angry at himself.
You stupid idiot! How could you say something like that to him? To your doll, to the one you said you'd take care of, no matter what! You know he's fragile, you know it even if he doesn't show it! Shame on you!
Andy sighed. What was he going to do? Chucky was probably boiling mad presently, so there was no way he could back now! They'd probably just fight some more, and he'd end up saying more stupid things he'd regret later on. He tiredly ran his fingers through his tangled hair, wandering about the inner city streets, glancing at shops and restaurants. Remembering. He and the doll had been everywhere around here. There were too many memories here.
He shook his head. He was so tired. He really didn't know if he could do this anymore. Lately, he'd been getting more stressed and more tired, and his energy was practically drained away. He tried to be alone from even his thoughts for just a moment, but he couldn't escape them. His mind just kept replaying over and over and over...
I guess I was fucking wrong.
I guess I was fucking wrong.
"Hey! Hey Andy, is that you?"
Krista de Silva looked into a pair of worn out, almost distressed looking brown eyes. "Andy, what's up?" she asked curiously. She knew he and Chucky had moved into their new home only a few weeks ago. By the look on Andy's face, she knew something wrong had come up. "How's things with you and Chucky, you know?" she pressed. You settling in fine in the new house?"
Andy sighed. "Well... about that..." he began, trailing off and trying to change the subject. He looked off onto the street, watching the cars go by. Krista punched him in the arm playfully. "You guys got into a fight, didn't you?" she asked, a grin playing on her face. "What'd he do?"
"How do you know it was him? It might have been me."
Krista smiled and shook her head. "Fine. What did both of you do?" she asked. Andy put his hands in his pockets and looked almost ashamed. "I yelled at him," he said softly. "I shouted at him and told him things I shouldn't have." I guess I was fucking wrong. Krista looped her arm through his and looked up at him curiously. "So what?" she questioned. "So you yelled. People yell sometimes. And with him, I'm surprised you didn't loose your cool sooner."
They stepped into a small cafe on the side. It was an old, small place, but it was a good place to stop and talk- and boy, did Krista know that they were going to need a talk. Andy sat across the small round table and fiddled idly with the salt shaker. Krista drummed her fingernails for a minute or two, waiting to see if Andy would say anything. At his continued silence, she piped up again. "So why don't you just go back and apologize?" she prompted.
The young man shrugged. I guess I was fucking wrong. "That's just it," he said. "I don't know if I can."
"That's ridiculous!" Krista exclaimed, almost slapping her hands against the table. "Listen, Andy, you've been great to Chucky. He'll understand that you lost it, I'm sure! He won't admit it, but deep down, I'm positive that he'll understand that he pissed you off. He will." Andy shook his head. "No, no, you don't understand," he murmured quietly, almost as if here were ashamed of what he was about to say. Krista looked up at her old childhood friend- looked up into his eyes- and saw it before she heard it.
"I just don't know if I can handle this anymore. I don't think I can do this..."
She froze. As hot as the world was, she couldn't help but feel chills at those words. "No," she whispered softly. "You aren't thinking... you're not saying..." she couldn't bring herself to say it. Somehow, she'd never imagined Andy would feel this way. Andy? Giving up? But here he was, body posture slumped and face tale-telling how he felt. "I'm so tired, Krista," he murmured. "I feel like it's only getting worse and worse with him. He doesn't ever sleep at night- which means neither do I. He's always so unpleasant... and I don't think I've ever felt... appreciated by him. Maybe..." he stopped for a minute.
Krista's heart dropped. "Maybe what?" she asked, though she already knew.
"Maybe we just shouldn't do this," Andy said. "Maybe I should just let him go. He's probably better off that way." He shoved his hands in his pockets. "I don't think he wants me around, honestly. I think he's tired of me. I don't know why I even try."
I guess I was fucking wrong.
He had been lost in this thought when he felt her hand clasp his arm almost violently. "Don't say that," she almost hissed. "You can't possibly believe that." Her green eyes bore into him and he felt his doubts melt away under their pressure. "You know better than even I do that that's not true. You have to go back- you must!" she concluded, only releasing her grip slightly. "You just have to."
Andy didn't know what to say. He was truly afraid he just couldn't do it anymore. But Krista was right. He couldn't leave Chucky, no matter how tired he was. He just couldn't. He did know; he did know better than the rest of them. He knew best of all how much it would break the doll if he left him.
If he left him like everyone else.
"Thanks, Krista," he whispered softly, suddenly realizing his situation. He gave his longtime friend an appreciative hug across the table, engulfing her physically and hoping she would feel the gratitude in his arms. "Thank you for slapping some sense into me." He could feel the vibration of her laughter into his shirt. "You know, Andy," her muffled voice said, "you can always come to me. Even the soldier needs a base to come to once in a while to rest from a battle." He smiled and shook his head at her dry humor.
Then he nodded and let her go. He had a mission to complete.
He'd been out for much longer than he'd expected. Even after his little "pep rally" with Krista, he wasn't sure he would say the right thing. Being with Chucky was a lot like playing minesweeper- he never knew when he was going to hit a bomb. He sighed, a little more than nervous about coming back into the house. It was late- so very late. He hadn't planned on staying away so long. He wondered if the doll was even still up.
He might be. And if he was, he was probably in a worse mood than before. Andy took a deep breath and assured himself he could do this. He would fix it. He could. He could. He could. Then he slowly inserted the key into the door before sliding into the dark house, which was still as hot as ever. Andy supposed it was still cooling down from the merciless heat during the day. He glanced over at the clock on the microwave in the kitchen- bright neon number shone into his face: 1:56.
Yes, he'd arrived much later than he'd planned.
He didn't see any signs of Chucky being awake, however, so he supposed that was a good sign. Perhaps the doll would be in a better mood to hear him out. He mentally crossed his fingers as he slid off his shoes and left them in their usual spot by the door, hoping that he was right. Hoping that he could fix this. He couldn't stand it when they were like this, angry and upset with each other.
He also couldn't stand knowing that he'd left Chucky hanging. That he'd been gone for so long-too long. He wondered what the doll had thought when he never came back after hours and hours. When he still hadn't come home after the sun had long been in bed. Did Chucky worry, or think that he would never come back? Andy could only inwardly groan and curse himself as he shuffled towards the room that they shared.
Oh, how was he going to fix this?
He cracked the bedroom door open as quietly as he could. Fortunately, the door was still relatively new and didn't bear the attributes of squeaky old hinges. The only light that seeped into the dark room was the low lamp from the hall, but it was enough for Andy to see the shape in the bed that told him the doll had gone to sleep already. How long did he wait up? Or did he wait up at all?
He took a step towards the bed. If he didn't wait- would it be because he had lost hope? Or because he didn't want him to come home? Another step. What if maybe he was wrong, and the doll didn't want him around? A few more steps. He was almost at the side of the bed. What if he was making up sob stories to make him feel like he was doing the right thing when he really wasn't? What if...
Chucky stirred. Andy was just above the mattress when the doll rolled over and the young man could see his face. All his questions melted, all his fears and his petty worries about how the doll felt or didn't feel vanished when he saw his face. The room seemed too silent- Andy felt as if his heart broke so violently, it could be heard throughout the entire house. The young man could see glistening give-away trails on the doll's cheeks, and he knew that it was because of him.
"Oh, Chucky," he whispered, the guilt rising in his chest. "And I'd promised I'd never make you cry." He swept his knuckles over the left-behind tears gently, trying to make due for what he'd damaged. He fit the doll into his arms and molded around the smaller body. "I'm sorry," he whispered softly into the ginger hair. "I'm so, so sorry..." Shaking hands patted against his chest as the doll awoke with sluggish groans, reaching out for the young man. As if he was trying to see if Andy was really there.
"Andy?" he mumbled- and Andy could hear the signs of long unending cries in the doll's voice. "Is that you?" He nodded, patting the back of Chucky's head. "It's me," he said in shame. "I'm sorry I was so late." There were several different expressions that crossed the doll's face as his small hands curled into tiny fists and beat against Andy's chest. "You bastard," he cried angrily. "I thought you were never coming back! You idiot! I hate you!" Andy sighed and took the harmless swats quietly. "I know," he mumbled apologetically. "I'm sorry."
"Fuck you," the doll growled, hiding his face in the man's chest, still hitting him.
"I'm sorry," he said again.
He held on tightly and listened to the doll heatedly shout at him about all he'd done wrong and said nothing outside of the occasional repeated apology. He let the doll spit out every horrid phrase he could think of, let the doll hit him as many times as he wanted, until finally- after several long, grueling minutes- he seemed satisfied and grew quiet and just lay against him, his panting quick warms puffs of air on the man's neck.
Andy had started to fall asleep when he heard Chucky faintly whisper into the darkness. It wasn't much, but the young man could only feel better when he heard it. "I'm sorry too, you little fucker," he said, probably thinking that Andy couldn't hear him. "Don't you ever do that to me again." Andy smiled, grateful that the room was too dark for the doll to see his joy.
It really wasn't much. But it was sign that maybe this relationship wasn't completely burned after all.
AN- I haven't done anything in ages. College keeps me busy. I feel like this is crap compared to the other things I've written, but I guess that's really up to you, huh? Oh, and 256 degrees Fahrenheit is apparently when blood boils. Just in case you were wondering about the title ;)