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fic: Like A Sinking Ship

Title: Like A Sinking Ship
Fandom: Slings & Arrows
Length: 600
Content notes: no warnings apply
Pairings: Darren Nichols/OMC, past Darren Nichols/Geoffrey Tennant
Rating: PG
Author note: written for the Ship challenge at [community profile] fan_flashworks; more backstory 'verse, following A Looker On and To beguile the time
Summary: “This song is figuratively incoherent,” Darren said, eyeing his radiocassette player accusingly.

Some say the heart is just like a wheel,
When you bend it, you can’t mend it
And my love for you is like a sinking ship
And my heart is on that ship out in mid ocean…

“This song is figuratively incoherent,” Darren said, eyeing his radiocassette player accusingly. “First the ship is a simile and then it’s a metaphor on an apparently literal ocean. And I don’t believe anyone says the heart is just like a wheel. I’ve certainly never heard them do it.”

“Do you want me to turn it off?” Lee looked hurt. Again. Darren could practically see the cartoon thought-bubble over his head: If you make your boyfriend a tape of your favourite album, the least he can do is pretend to enjoy it.

“No, no, leave it on,” Darren said wearily. If Lee turned it off, they might end up having another Relationship Conversation, and he very much did not want to do that. Besides, he liked the plangency of the music, more than he cared to admit.

(He was not yet familiar with the term blood harmony: when he learned it, in Berlin, he was surprised that Heart Like A Wheel was the first example that came to mind. He hadn’t thought of that song for years.)

Lee slumped against him on the couch and sighed. Darren put his arm around Lee’s shoulders and bit his ear in a desultory fashion. They’d been going out for two months now, considerably longer than Darren expected to last with someone he’d never intended to get off with in the first place. Both of them knew the writing was on the wall. He wasn’t sure if the Kate and Anna McGarrigle tape was a parting gift or an attempt to drag things out.

It didn’t help that Lee was so absurdly jealous of the time Darren spent with Geoffrey. Obviously, Darren needed to protect his directorial vision from the idiots hell-bent on sabotaging Timon, particularly his stubborn leading man, even if that meant arguing about the dishes for the banquet scene until 3 a.m. He didn’t know why Lee couldn’t understand that. It wasn’t as if Darren and Geoffrey would be getting up to anything else. Geoffrey had made it offensively clear in that game of Truth or Dare at the Macbeth cast party that his inclinations were entirely heterosexual, and that he had buried what happened with Darren after Measure for Measure in oblivion.

Not thinking about that. Not thinking about Geoffrey. There must be better things to do with a wet Sunday afternoon in January.

“Want to have sex?” Darren twisted a lock of Lee’s hair around his fingers and tugged at it.

“All right,” Lee said, unbuttoning his jeans listlessly. “If you like.”

That was the last time, though they didn’t know it. The ship went on sinking, sank. The tape went into a cardboard box with a load of other junk from Darren’s room, back to his mother’s house at the end of the year. Given her constitutional inability to throw anything away, it might be there still.

Two years later, in the quadrangle after midnight, with Darren and Geoffrey bleeding from the duel, Lee paused for a moment from his First Aid efforts and gave Darren a look that said, more clearly than words, I knew he was the reason we broke up.

Darren was light-headed with shock and the adrenaline drop, his teeth chattering. It was probably just as well he couldn’t get the words out: Oh, it’s so much worse than that, darling. He’s the reason we got together.

Also posted at https://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/243740.html with comment count unavailable comments.


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