Title: Tattooed Broken Promise
Rating: Pg-13, barely
Prompt: Blue Valentine
AN: Ended up a little happier than the song would imply. Happy Valentines Day!
ETA: I don't why this all came out in italics, but it's fixed.
Why do I save all of this madness
In the nightstand drawer
There to haunt upon my shoulders
Baby I know
Id be luckier to walk around everywhere I go
With a blind and broken heart
After LA, he goes to Philadelphia. And there’s a part of him that insists that this is the cowardly path to take, this desperate flight to a different city where no one will know his name, but there’s a larger part of him insisting that he deserves this respite, has earned the freedom to do as he pleases and go where he wants. He’s tired, and soul-weary, and he just wants to rest.
(Of course he can’t rest, can never rest, hasn’t felt rested in years, not since his dreams showed him the truth and he chained himself to the brightest burning star in his sky—Dru named all the stars and he’d told her once that brightest ones were probably already dead, burned out too fast, and that’s why they shine so bright, and Dru had loved that, and he’d laughed at the time, but now it makes him feel sick—and he remembers asking to rest, begging for rest, and later he got three glorious nights, but in the grand scheme of things, that was never enough and he’s just tired.)
So he goes to Philadelphia, because who would think to look for him there, and rents a cheap apartment, finds a local butcher that doesn’t even blink when he orders blood, and he sleeps.
(He dreams and dreams and dreams of her, all golden light, and fierce eyes, and fire, but that’s all done, in the past where he’s convinced himself it belongs, because she is beautiful and strong and young and she will find someone someday who will give her all of the love she deserves without all the pain, and if that excuse sounds hollow in his mind sometimes, well, he’s almost convinced himself that he’s a good liar).
He doesn’t like to think that he’s hiding, but that’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s hiding from everything. From apocalypses and demons that would like him dead, and the fingers of fate that will try and convince him he has a job to do and a destiny to achieve. He doesn’t want a destiny; he just wants to get some sleep, here in Philadelphia, in a cheap apartment with a fake name on the lease. He’s done enough for the world.
(He’s done little for the world, it’s always been about her, always, and it still is, and probably will be forever, until the world really does blow out, and if he ends up somewhere after that, it will still be about her, always, and he’d promised himself once that he would never be the one to walk away from her, but he is so much older now, and what’s one more broken promise?).
He likes to be still, to be quiet, to keep to himself. He likes to have the time to breathe now, here in this place where the world isn’t about to end. He can feel his soul, warm and nudging at him, and he has time now, finally, to feel it out, and explore what it is to have one. It doesn’t make him feel suddenly complete, but it doesn’t torture him the way it did in the beginning, and it doesn’t burn in him the way it did when he was making choices and fighting and trying to sort out right and wrong and guilt and duty, all at once on the head of a pin. Mostly it just sits inside him and feels—not warm, exactly—but something close.
(He sees her everywhere, in his dreams, and in strangers on the street, and it’s like having an itch inside his skull that he can’t possibly scratch, which reminds him of the chip, which reminds him of her, and how the chip changed everything between them, and then did so again, and then again, and he’s not even surprised, because everything comes back to her anyway).
He decides he likes the fall the best, with it’s all it color and crisp air. It’s been too long since he’s lived somewhere with seasons. Years. Even in the dark, he can see the red and orange and yellow of the trees, dancing like flames against the night sky. He always has been drawn to fire.
(On Halloween, he comes home to a note pinned to his front door, and it’s not signed, but he’d know the writing anywhere, even on this tiny scrap of paper, and his heart soars and sinks all at once when he reads her words—I was waiting for you to pull your head out of your ass and come home, but you haven’t, and I’m tired of waiting—and there’s a hotel name and a room number, and he loves her, oh he loves her, he loves her and she found him and that means something, it means everything).
He goes to the hotel. There was never really another option. Of course he goes. And it’s her, really her, on the other side of the door, and she is furious with him, and calling him names, even as she pulls him inside. But under all the anger, there is a spark of something else, and she’s here, in Philadelphia, because she wanted to find him. And then her hands are on his face, pulling him down and pulling him close, and he loves her so fucking much, it’s stupid, and maybe she loves him too.
For the first time in months, he doesn’t wake up tired