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fic: A Box Of Pastels

Title: A Box Of Pastels
Fandom: Man In An Orange Shirt
Length: 450
Content notes: no warnings apply
Pairing: Michael Berryman/Thomas March
Rating: G
Author note: written for the amnesty challenge at [community profile] fan_flashworks; prompt used was Memory.
Summary: He keeps the snaps of Thomas in the box that had the pastels in.

He keeps the snaps of Thomas in the box that had the pastels in, rescued from the waste paper basket, and hides it away somewhere Flora won’t find it. The photograph of them in Italy, Thomas with his arm in a sling, both of them smiling at the camera as if they hadn’t a care in the world. The one of Thomas in his studio, sitting laughing on the bed. Michael puts his letter to Thomas with them, still sealed up in its envelope. He knows them by heart, the words he wasn’t brave enough to send. Would Thomas have come away with him if he had sent it? There’s nothing he can do to change the past, but he can’t stop himself from wondering.

Flora wouldn’t let Robert take the pastels to school. Too messy, she’d said, and though he’d said the same to Robert about taking them out on the bus it still made him angry. Did she think Thomas’s gift would turn their son into an artist or a homosexual? Or did she just hate Thomas so much that she wouldn’t let anything good come of knowing him? No doubt she’d have preferred to throw his present to Robert away unused, but that would have been wasteful and too obviously unreasonable. She never could bear anyone thinking she was in the wrong.

She’d have done better to let the boy take them. When Michael went into Robert’s room, because the house was too quiet without him, the box of pastels was there on the chest of drawers, reminding him of that last meeting with Thomas. The shock of desire at seeing him again slamming through him with the force of an explosion, so hard Michael almost staggered, could hardly speak. Thomas wearing that dark red scarf that made him think of the covers on the studio bed. Thomas looking at him as if he saw right through him, saw everything about him. The longing and the pain and the shame as Michael’s courage failed him again, even when Flora and the boy had gone and he and Thomas were left alone together in the marble lobby of the department store.

Thomas knew he wanted to say yes, to come to the exhibition. And if he had?

He dreams of it sometimes, walking in and seeing Thomas’s face light up. Thomas pulling him into some back room at the gallery and locking the door, the two of them tearing at each other’s clothes, as frantic as that first time in the studio. Thomas saying Come away with me, and his dream self saying yes, yes, I want to. When he wakes up his face is wet with tears.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/229895.html with comment count unavailable comments.


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