tamela_j (tamela_j) wrote,

Short Story: Irony's Paradox

Title: Irony’s Paradox
Author: [personal profile] tamela_j
Artist: [profile] astro_nom
Genre: Lit fiction
Pairings: Bryon/Colin
Word Count: 5,500
Rating: Rish
Warnings: angst, life and death matters
Summary: Bryon Schultz met Colin Markers at an Apocalypse Party... that should have been his first warning that the relationship was going to wreck him. In fact, it was only one of many ironies that Bryon has to contemplate.
Author Notes: Written for [community profile] originalbigbang's Reverse Big Bang, where an artist/mixer created something and I wrote something based on it. It was great and a bit terrifying to be writing original fiction again for immediate release. *meep* [profile] astro_nom, I’m so sorry! It occurred to me after the 12th listening that maybe, perhaps you were looking for a story about an actual apocalypse, not just metaphorical. :(( Thank you so much for the song collection though! I loved them! Seriously, everyone, check it out!

~Irony’s Paradox~


Later, much later, Bryon will probably find all the ironies of his current life, if not humorous, than at least less soul crushing than he does now.

Irony number one: Bryon met Colin at a Apocalypse Party, back when the idea of the world ending was so ha-ha funny.

Irony number two: Colin was the only person Bryon had ever met that he’d ever imagined wanting to spend the rest of his life with, would want to see his face every morning, would want to hear all his opinions on everything.

Irony number three: Colin and Bryon had been on the way to the airport where they were going to fly to Denver to finally tell his parents that they were a couple, that their youngest, baby boy, Colin Markers was in fact gay.

Irony number four: Growing up in the Alanis Morissette era of the late 90s, early zips, Bryon Schultz might not have a firm grasp on if any of those things were, in fact, ironies at all. Maybe they’re all just horrific facts that if had been applied to anyone not himself, he’d find really fuckin’ funny.

He wasn’t laughing now.

December 31, 1999

“Welcome to the End of the World! The Apocalypse is Neigh!” Mark shouted as Byron walked in the front door. He rolled his eyes, but took Mark into a tight hug regardless. He seemed to be the only person he knew who was taking this whole new millenium thing in stride. He also was the only one he knew who wasn’t freaking out about Y2K. Then again, he wasn’t in the tech field like everyone else.

How he’d started hanging out with nerds he’d never know. He blamed his last boyfriend, Greg. Then again, he blamed a lot of things on him. It was Greg that brought them to California, who introduced Bryon to all his co-workers and their larger circles of friends in Silicone Valley before he fucked off and lost his mind. They say he can still be seen wandering the hills of San Francisco during Pride.

“I am so glad you are here!” Mark shouted into Bryon’s ear. “I have a friend who has just moved to town and I have been dying for you two to meet.”

“Mark, this mission of yours is sweet, but I really don’t have to meet everyone you’ve never slept with... and some that you have. Really.”

Mark waved this statement away and snaked his arm around Bryon’s and pulled him into the house. “I know. But seriously, I have got to make up for the ass that Greg turned out to be. I have to show you that all us computer guys are not the same.”

“I don’t think any of you are like Greg... well, very few of you. And really, I don’t think what I need to do is date another computer guy. I think I’m looking for a barista, maybe an architect.”

“Well then, this is your lucky day, here on the eve of the last day on earth, this guy is a working his way through architect school as a barista.”

“Shut up.”

“No, not really, but you’re still going to love him.”

Not possible, Bryon thought. I don’t love anyone. No longer capable of it. It was on the tip of his tongue to say that, but he knew how cynical and cold-hearted it sounded and how ridiculous it was when 20 somethings were that cynical and cold-hearted about life. He rolled his own eyes, and yet, still, it was how he felt.

“Colin, there you are! I want you to meet someone. Bryon this is Colin, Colin, Bryon.”

Bryon shook hands and waited for bolts of lightning or birds chirping some twitter song. Nothing. “Nice to meet you.”

“And you,” Colin replied, then blushed. “Sorry, that sounded stupid.”

“Nah. It’s cool. Mark’s forced network techniques puts everyone off their game.”

Mark glared at Bryon. “I don’t need to stand here and have my character besmirched.” Then he turned and with a ridiculously overdramatic sashay snapped away.

“See? Forced networking.”

“Ah. Yeah.” Colin stood there for a moment and then blushed before turning away.

“That’s it?” Bryon said, though he wasn’t sure if he meant to say it outloud.

Colin turned around confused. “What do you mean that’s it? Mark might have forced you over here, but you’re not being forced to continue the conversation.”

Now Bryon blushed. “I didn’t mean it that way.” When he saw that Colin was unconvinced he continued. “I didn’t mean it quite that way. It’s just... well... Mark is always trying to set me up and so it’s always a bit awkward. I’m not usually this weird. I swear.”

Colin smiled. “That’s okay. I’m always this weird. I just didn’t want to be an obligation. I’m new in town and sometimes I feel like Mark is trying to pawn me off.”

“Now, why would he do that?”

“Well, and this is going to sound incredulous to you I’m sure, but well... I’m a bit socially awkward and new, ya know? And well, Mark is quite the social butterfly. I imagine I exhaust him. I sort of hate this about myself.”

Bryon was taken aback. “You are new at this.”

“Yeah? What social line did I cross that convinced you.”

“You’re honest.”

Colin laughed. “That’s it?”

“And super earnest. We’ll have to work on that, or this town will destroy you.”

“We will, will we?”

“Absolutely. No matter what else we do or don’t become, I think we’ll be smashing friends, if for no other reason than we both need more people in our life besides Mark. Wanna get a drink?”


Sometimes, some quiet moments when he's alone in the hospital, just him, just Colin and the slow, rhythmic beep indicating that Colin was, in fact, still alive, Bryon reminisced about the years between that first meeting and the last.

There were parts after that were easy and felt fated; they had similar opinions on many things: politics, the environment, social justice, music and movies, the important things. Of course there were parts that were a pain in the ass and Bryon is amazed they survived them; they came from different worlds, had many different experiences and thoughts on other very important things. Bryon had been in a lot of relationships and had been burned many times before, his defenses had defenses. Colin on the other hand had never been in a serious relationship before. He was, in fact, still in the closet back home. He had moved to San Francisco with the express desire to become a different person, to maintain the life all his family and friends in Colorado believed of him while living the life he really wanted in California. At first Bryon thought it was fun, almost like sneaking around, then he thought it was adorable, but after a year or two, it was just annoying. Five years in and it was downright insulting.


November 22, 2004

Two days before Colin was to take his bi-annual trip back home, two days before everything changed forever, they were lying in bed, trying to shove a week’s worth of life into two days.

“Maybe...” Colin began as he hovered over Bryon, kissing his nose, his eyelids, ears, cheeks and so on, a word spoken between each kiss. “this... time... you... could... come... with... me?”

He stopped kissing and looked into Bryon’s eyes.

“Yeah?” Bryon asked, licking his lips. “Really? After all this time? Finally?”

Colin nodded, his hair brushing lightly Bryon’s face. “Finally.”

“You mean it?”

“I do. It’s time. You’ve been saying it forever. Thank you for being so patient--”

Bryon barked out a laugh. “Yeah right! I pretty much whined and bitched for like, how long have we been together?”

“Four years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 2 days... not that I’ve been counting.”

“And this whole time you’ve been telling me you weren’t ready to tell your parents about us, no I’m sorry, about you... what changed your mind?”

Colin shifted so he was no longer hovering over Bryon and got comfortable on Bryon’s shoulder, his fingers lightly stroking the man’s left nipple. “Time. I told you I just needed time, you never believed me.”

“And this, what, four years 10 months and so on, that is the magic number of time needed?”

Colin shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so. Weird huh?”

Bryon shifted so that they were facing each other, each on their side. “You’re such a dick.”

“I really am. But you love me. What does that make you?”

“A dick-lover? That’s public knowledge.”

Colin pushed against Bryon’s chest. “Now who’s being the dick?”

“So, it must be true; you are a dick-lover too.” Bryon sing-songed as Colin wrapped an arm around Bryon’s neck and tried to pull him down to noogie him as Bryon fought to get out of his clutches while simultaneously pushing Colin under him.

“Mm-hmm.” Colin groaned as he acquiesced, rolling over and letting Bryon straddle him. “Love it. Need it. Got to have it.”

Bryon kissed him hard, grinding into him until Colin groaned into the kiss, then Bryon pulled away with a wicked smile. “Me first,” and he kissed his way down Colin’s chest.


Other times, when he’s alone with Colin, just he, Colin and the monitor’s monotonous murmur, Bryon paced, and pulled his hair and ranted. Sometimes he voiced these rants, sometimes he’s afraid that Colin will hear, could understand somewhere in the fog of his traumatized mind, so he held the monologue in his mind.

The reason they were alone so often is ironically (again with the ironies? He’d always thought ironies were supposed to be few and far between) the reason he needed to rant. They were alone, even though every single member of Colin’s family had come and most had stayed since the day Bryon had had to call them and introduce himself with the worse news in their lives because they were--all those people related and relevant--in meetings with doctors and lawyers and all the other people who got to make decisions.

Bryon was not one of those people. Not to anyone who listened.

He tried really, really hard not to curse out Colin, there so peaceful in his slightly reclined bed. Everyday Bryon had a silent struggle with Colin’s mother who insisted that Colin would want to be upright, facing the world, welcoming each new day with wonder and amazement. Bryon thought she was probably due for a lower dose of her happy pills and that Colin loved nothing more at the end of a long stressful day--and what was more stressful than spending day after day in a hospital--in his Lazy Boy, slightly tilted, with a beer and a paper. Bryon had called him his “old man” for a reason.

No, he tried not to curse at Colin and he tried to forget the fight they were having moments before the accident, their last words to each other.


November, 24, 2004

"I can't believe how easy it was to get last minute tickets on the busiest travel days of the year," Bryon said. They were sitting in traffic. Bryon once tried to calculate how much of his life was spent in Cali traffic, but when the math got to the years stage, he gave up.

"Yeah, me too. It was almost too easy." Something in his voice made Bryon study him. It was just the profile and then not even that as Colin turned his head to stare out the window. Still, Bryon couldn't help seeing what looked like barely contained panic.

"Oh my GOD!"

Colin looked at him and the road and then back to Bryon. "What?"

Bryon slammed on the brakes, ignoring the honks and screeches behind him as he pulled off the packed highway and onto the shoulder.

“Jesus! Are you trying to kill us?” Colin shouted.

Bryon was shaking and didn’t answer; he just repeated over and over. “Oh my God!”

“What are you freaking out about?”

“You. You only invited me because you thought it would be impossible to get a ticket. You didn’t want me to come, you wanted it to appear like you want me to come. Jesus!”

“That’s not true,” Colin argued, but it sounded to Bryon like a half-assed attempt. “I do want... I did want...”

“You changed your mind? What are you... what did I do...?”

“Oh Jesus, Bryon! It’s not you! You have to know that!”

“Do I? Why?”

“I’ve told you. You know what my deal is. I’m trying, really I am.”

“This wasn’t my idea. You’re making me feel like I’m pushing you to do something. I was resigned. This was your idea. Jesus!”

“I’m sorry! I’m not backing out... I’m not. It’s nothing. We’re doing this. It’s just nerves. I swear, that’s all it is.”

Bryon took a deep breath. He wanted to reconsider this whole thing, to drop Colin off at the airport and go back home and wallow. Also though, also he wanted all this over and he wanted to be there when Colin stood up to his family and announced that he was going to be who he was no matter what. He wanted Colin to take his hand and together, the two of them, stand before Colin’s judge and jury, aka, mom and dad and be a united force.

But he really needed Colin to want that as well.

“I don’t need to come if you don’t want me there.”

“I want you there. I need you there.”

Bryon took a deep, relieved breath and nodded. “Okay. If you’re sure.”

Only a few moments before he was excited about this trip, now he was apprehensive and terrified; before he could only see a future bright and filled with truth and happiness, now he saw so very much work still needed before there was anything like a happily ever after. All of this running through his mind and the only thing that wasn’t was his surroundings.

In a million years, he would never be able to remember why he had not looked in the mirrors, not checked over his shoulder before pulling back into traffic and the pickup truck that had no choice but to smash into them, send them in a roll that was almost serene in the moment, something like flying.

Until it wasn’t.


A cast. Bryon had been put in a cast for a broken arm and that was it. That was all the damage he had sustained. Well, all the physical damage. As he held the phone and stared at it like it was a foreign piece of space debris, he couldn’t even begin to contemplate the rest of the damage.

He had to call Colin’s family. Had to introduce himself-- as what he didn’t know-- and tell them what had happened. Where there son was and what little the doctors had told him. The staff at the hospital had told him they would do it if he wanted. He wasn’t related to Colin and was under no obligation, by any law to be the one, but Bryon knew it had to be him. He thought about if it were the other way around, he’d want it to be Colin to talk to his family. The correlation wasn’t exactly the same, of course. For one thing, Colin and Bryon’s mother were sometimes on better speaking terms than Bryon was with her. Bryon on the other hand had never met Colin’s family, never talked to them and couldn’t be sure that Colin had ever even used his name in their presence.

The phone rang and Bryon tried to stop himself from pacing, tried to stop himself from chewing his lip and to for God’s sake, breath.

“Hello,” a frail voice Bryon recognized from a few answering machine messages to be Colin’s mother’s.

“Mrs. Marker?” Bryon asked and panicked. He had envisioned breaking this news to Colin’s father, not to his mother. The idea of telling this woman he’d only seen in pictures but had heard about from her son as being delicate-- even though no one saw that but her most immediate of family-- the news that her son instead of on a plane heading to Colorado was in the Emergency Room of St. Luke’s. How could he ask to speak to her husband though?

“Yes, this is she,” she said and then there was a silence as Bryon struggled with what to say.

“Um... I’m a... uh... friend... of your son’s... of Colin’s...”


“I’m afraid there’s been... he’s been...”

“What happened?” she whispered.

Bryon realized that it was torture what he was doing by not being able to articulate to her just what had happened and more importantly, what hadn’t. He swallowed and forced himself to get the news out as distinctly and precisely as he could.

“There was a car accident. Colin is here at St. Luke’s in surgery. They don’t know if he’s going to...” he choked, unable to say the words.

There was a sharp intake of breath on the other end and then Bryon heard the clank that could only be the phone being dropped. He tried to imagine the space she filled in Colin’s childhood home, where was she standing exactly, the living room, the kitchen? Was the phone on the wall, or on a counter? Where the counters wood, tile, did they have scratches, stains?

There was so much he didn’t know.

Bryon didn’t know what to do next, but thankfully the phone was picked up again almost immediately.

“Who is this?” a male voice barked. Colin’s dad. Bryon had heard this voice too, in almost this exact tone a few times. To say Colin and his father’s relationship was strained was an understatement to be sure.

“Mr. Markers? This is Bryon Schultz, I’m Colin’s--”

“Roommate, yes I know.”

“Yes! His roommate,” Bryon sighed, relieved that he was given a role in this new drama he’d be cast.

“What has happened?”

“There was an accident. Colin was badly injured. He’s in surgery now.”


Bryon told Mr. Markers everything he knew, skipping the details of the accident or the argument that had precipitated it. All those things had been on the tip of his tongue, but thankfully Mr. Markers brisk, no-nonsense demeanor made all unnecessary details die on Bryon’s lips.

“Tell his medical team will be out on the next flight.”

“Oh... okay.”

Colin’s father hung up before Bryon could say anything else.


Most of the time though, most of the time Bryon sits on a horrifically uncomfortable chair next to Colin’s bed and talks to him, tells him stories, about work, their friends and their dramas--what little he knows-- turns out, when your boyfriend spends his days in a vegetative state for months and months, your friends are less inclined to share their piety and downright silly problems with you. Go figure. So, he tells stories that Colin knows because it was their stories, plots and intrigues they had created in the life they had made for themselves. It took a few weeks for him to figure out that he’s not really telling these stories to Colin, he’s telling them to Colin’s family. All the stories of their son, brother, grandchild that he couldn’t really tell them. He couldn’t tell them anything. It wasn’t his secret, his story to tell.

Even though he wanted to, oh god did he want to.

But he didn’t. He added this to the list of ironies that one day he might be able to laugh about; he’d never spent a day in any closet ever... until he’d met Colin, until he sat in that room and pretended that he and Colin were roommates. He couldn’t imagine how he was fooling anyone, roommates don’t spend hours a day everyday for months and months in the hospital. He supposed they believed what they wanted to believe and he was fine with that, more than fine. If he ever told Colin’s secret, he’d have to tell his own too, he’d have to tell everyone it was his fault. Colin was here and maybe dying because of him.

Bryon took Colin’s hand, roommates did that, didn’t they? For a moment he imagined it was ice cold and that he hadn’t noticed that Colin had died while he wasn’t paying attention. Then he put his forehead against it, more out of the shame that thought had elicited than anything. It was warm, and because Colin’s mom was there everyday to moisturize him, he was soft, softer than he had ever been since Bryon had known him.

“Remember that first time we broke up?” Bryon whispered then paused, waiting for Colin’s retort, which time?. He smiled and continued, “The first time, back when I was convinced at each hiccup that you were going to leave me, that you were going to be like all the others, every time we even disagreed on anything. You always said I was the patient one, but I think we both were.

“Anyway, that first time I left, I got in my car and just drove around town. I visited all the places that we’d ever gone, ever had a meal, where I’d ever taken your hand in mine, kissed, you know. I tried to convince myself that I was better off without you. That I could go on and forget all about you.

How’d that go for you? he imagined Colin say. Bryon smirked. “You know how. How it always went. I’m not going to lie, there are times now when I wish I would have walked away. I think almost wistfully about how I’d already have had suffered and mourned and I would have had moved on with my life by now and all of this... all of this excruciating pain and anxiety would be over.”

He took a deep breath, fought down the sob that was in his throat. He thought he’d be passed this after all this time, but the memories just came flooding back. He was just relieved that he had been able to finally remember the good as well as the bad.

He heard the door open behind him and somehow he knew that it wasn’t a nurse or doctor. He pulled his hand away from Colin’s and spun around. It was Colin’s dad. Just him. Bryon couldn’t remember a moment when it was just the three of them in a room. He was usually trailed by his wife, his daughters, sometimes some random family member that came and went.

Bryon went to stand up, to excuse himself and leave the man alone with his son. “No, stay,” Mr. Markers said with a wave and Bryon wasn’t sure if that was a suggestion or an order. He shrugged; it didn’t really matter.

There was the longest, most awkward silence that Bryon had ever experienced that seemed to last for an eternity. What did one say to one’s secret boyfriend’s father while said secret boyfriend lies in a coma? He’d missed that day at school.

Finally, Mr. Markers bluntly asked, “You and Colin, you’re not really roommates are you?”

For a split second, Bryon scrambled for a story, but then looked the man in the eye and shook his head. “Not really, no.”

“How long have you... have the two of you... been...”

“Together? Five years.”

The sharp intake of breath was the only indication to Bryon that the information had wounded the man. He wished he could take it back.

“How long have you known he was gay?” he asked instead.

Mr. Markers shrugged and he suddenly looked so dejected and sad. “I don’t really remember when I figured it out. I just thought it was something... well, I just thought it was a conversation he’d have to start. You know? But he never did.”

“He was going to.”


“He was bringing me home, we were on the way to the airport. He didn’t tell you he was bringing a friend?” Now Bryon looked sad and dejected too.

“He might have told his mother. They’ve always talked more.”

Bryon smiled. “Colin’s really good with mothers. My mom likes him much more than she likes me.”

Mr. Markers studied Bryon. “There’s so much about my son I don’t know, isn’t there?”

Bryon didn’t know what to say so he didn’t say anything. Mr. Markers continued. “I don’t know why he never thought he could tell us. Didn’t it bother you that he essentially lived two separate lives.”

Bryon barked a bitter laugh. “So very much. It was one of the only things we ever fought about.”

“How’d you put up with it?”

“You sure you want me telling you these stories? You don’t even know me.”

He lifted his hands with a shrug. “Looks like we’ve got nothing but time. Besides, I want to know my son before he... I want to know who he was, whether he wanted me to or not.”

“Okay. You wanted to know why I put up with living in his closet? Well... I have been in other relationships, relationships where there were no such secrets to keep, but they were also relationships were I was treated badly, where my trust and faith in humanity was tested... With Colin... well, if the worst you could say about him was that he was terrified of being who he truly was? It just seemed to me better than the alternative.”

“I loved my son... love my son, but he is weak. Takes after me that way. I tried to figure out why he thought he couldn’t tell me, why he thought he had to live his whole life a lie, and all I came up with is that because it was easier.”

Bryon wanted to say something to ease the man’s mind, to refute his self-loathing character analysis, no matter that maybe he wasn’t a 100% wrong. But, it was something else he had said that made Bryon’s throat swell and his head spin. “You keep using past tense. Is there something happening that I don’t know about? Forget that, I know there are things happening that I’m not privy too. Just tell me. Please.”

Bryon tried to stare the man down, but he couldn’t, the heartbreak in his face was painful for Bryon to look at it. “Nothing is decided. But they are starting to tell us that a decision will have to be made in the near future if things don’t change. They want to think about what is best for Colin, what Colin would want. Only... well... I thought I should talk to you. It turns out, I’ve discovered, that I don’t really know my son at all... when it comes to adhering to his wishes... I don’t... I don’t know.”

Bryon didn’t know what to say. The man was trying really hard not to cry, but with each pause there was a hitched breath and a few painful sounding sobs. He didn’t know him, but he imagined not many got to see this part of him. Bryon wondered if Colin ever did. He tried to think about what he would do if it were his father, but that really wasn’t helping. His father would never let Bryon see him this way.

So, he did what he imagined Colin would do, he shuffled his feet and scanned the room and waited for the moment to pass. Finally, Mr. Markers continued, “I don’t suppose... you... you and Colin every talked about... what he’d... how he’d want...?”


December 31, 2001

“Another toast?” Bryon asked, holding up his half full champagne flute. They’d found about two dozen things to toast so far and were both more than a bit tipsy. It was, after all, their anniversary.

“Do you think there are many people that mark their anniversary by the first time they ever met and not the first time...” Colin started then blushed.

“First time what?” Bryon asked.

Colin cleared his throat. “The first time other...um... relationship milestones were hit.”

“Is that what the kids are calling it now?” Bryon laughed.

“You know what I mean.”

“I do, but I’ll never stop thinking you are adorable when you’re drunk and bumbly.”

“You’re bumbly,” Colin said while trying unsuccessfully to pout.

“I am. And I do know what you mean. I think, for me, the reason I celebrate the day we met as our anniversary and not any of the other um... milestones, is because it’s an easy date to remember.”

“A toast to us being stereotypical dudes who are bad at dates.”

They raised their glass.

“What a year!” Bryon said.

It had been a hard one, not just for the nation and the world, but for them too. Not in big buildings-coming-down ways, but in smaller ways. Still, for Bryon and his track record for bad relationships one after the other for the last, well, pretty much from the beginning of time, they still felt as if the world was ending from time to time.

“Right?” Colin agreed. “And what will 2002 bring us?”

“Well, for the first time ever I can say this and be pretty sure not to be proven wrong, it literally couldn’t be any worse than the previous year.”

Colin smiled sadly. “Couldn’t.”

“Just as long as we live through it, right?”

“Right.” Then Colin, and maybe it was the bubbly talking, got solemn and earnest. “I can live through anything as long as you’re there beside me.”

Bryon smiled and leaned into Colin. “Me too.”

“So, no more freak outs this year?” Colin asked.

“What ever do you mean?” Bryon asked feigning innocence.

Colin nudged Bryon. “I mean no more running away, packing your bags and storming out whenever we have a disagreement.”

“I never left after disagreements; I left after fights. And I always came back.”

“And while you’re gone, my world ends, and I’d like less of that this year.”

Bryon buried his head in Colin’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’ll try not to do that. You know my past, know how I’ve conditioned myself to deal with that by leaving before I’m left.”

“Yeah, I know. But you also know that I’m not them. I’m not leaving you. Ever.”

“You can’t say that.”

“I’m drunk; I can say anything. No, seriously, maybe we can’t promise to not freak out and to stay together forever and ever, but, can we atleast make an agreement between the two of us? Something like, before you pack your bags and pull the plug, you discuss it with me, you sleep on it, and you think about how the decisions that you make would be the end of the world for both of us, not just for you? Deal?”

Bryon wrapped his arms tightly around Colin and kissed him slow and deep. “Okay. I promise,” he said because he was drunk and could agree with anything.


Bryon stood there and listened to Colin’s dad stumble around with his words, which was fine, because Bryon had a hard time understanding what he was getting at anyway.

“You’re asking me if I think Colin would want us to keep him on machines forever in the hope he comes out of this someday or if he’d want us to pull the plug?”

Mr. Markers didn’t answer, but Bryon didn’t really need him to. “I don’t know... I mean... I feel like anything I say, any choice I make would be what I wanted, what I needed... not what...”

“I know. I feel the same way. I just thought... maybe... you’d have a better idea of what he wanted.”

Byron thought for a moment. “I don’t know exactly what he’d have wanted. We were too young... are too young to talk of life and death... but well, I know what he’d wanted me to do, what he’d order me to do.”

“What’s that?”

“Sleep on it,” Bryon answered while thinking, and think about how the decisions that you make would be the end of the world for both of us, not just for you...

“Then that’s what we’ll do,” Mr. Markers said, sounding very much like a man relieved that he didn’t have to actually make a decision just yet. Bryon was relieved himself.

When the other man left Bryon and Colin alone again, Bryon climbed on the bed with Colin. No longer worried that they’d be discovered, his roommate and he, wrapped his arms around Colin and whispered in his ear. “I told you that you couldn’t promise me forever... and I did so want to believe you.”

He rested his head gentle on Colin’s chest and tried to read messages in the rise and fall of the beating heart, of the beep of the machines, of the silence all around them. “Let’s just sleep on it, shall we?”

And then he matched his breathing to Colin’s before slowly closing his eyes and drifting to meet Colin in his dreams.

The End

As I like to have my toes in as many social waters as possible, this post can also be found on DreamWidth. You can comment here or there...or not at all if you want to make me cry.

Tags: ofbb, reverse big bang, short story
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