This is, for all intents and purposes, me dealing with recent events in my life. It's unbetaed, just sort of poured out; I'm sorry if it depresses anyone. But I have nowhere else to go to unload lately. Very self-indulgent
Subreality is the creative property of Kielle. Tamsin is mine. Kielle has blanket permission to archive; anyone else, just ask.
Feedback to hutch @ jazmer.com.
The turret room was dark.
Though it was still fairly early at night - around ten p.m. or so, Tamsin thought -- he had a strange feeling about things as he stepped into the room, closing the door behind him.
Ten p.m. was usually a time when Hutch was wide awake; if not at work in Reality, she was hard at play in Subreality, working on the computer, hanging out with some of her new friends, or doing something creative (even if that creativity involved letting the mind wander while she vegged out to a video game).
But the lights were off in the lower level; the television set was dark, the computer shut down, and Tamsin didn't see any light shining down from the hole in the ceiling that led to the upper level of the room Hutch had recently begun occupying in the House of Strange Dimensions.
Just to be on the safe side, he called his Writer's name as he mounted the spiral staircase leading to the upper level. He got no response, though, and as he reached the top of the stairs, he was beginning to wonder if she was even there. She'd said she had no plans to do anything but concentrate on that Angel/Doyle fic that had been unfinished for four months now, so they'd agreed to work on it tonight...
No, she was here. He could feel it, in that unique Writer-Muse bond that they shared. Letting his eyes adjust to the darkness -- not too difficult, as the windows let in faint moonlight from that barely-slivered satellite -- he cast his gaze over the bedroom. The sheets on the bed were rumpled in disarray, but without any lump that might indicate someone asleep beneath them. His eyes tracked to the bathroom door. It was closed; a flickering glow shone from the crack at its base. Ah-ha, he couldn't help thinking.
Approaching the door, he called her name again.
"Go away." Her voice was thick and hoarse.
"What's wrong?" he asked, concerned.
"Are you decent?"
Before she could react, he pulled the door open. His Writer was sitting in the bathtub, fully clothed, her knees drawn up to her chin. A box of tissues rested on the side of the tub, and a small wastebasket looked to be about half-full of discarded tissues. Lit candles had been distributed about the small bathroom, though their flames seemed only to emphasize its darker corners in moody glow.
Hutch's eyes were red, her face tear-stained, and at the moment she appeared to be registering shock from the way Tamsin had just entered the room. A moment later, anger replaced her surprise.
"I said go away," she muttered, reaching for another tissue to blow her nose.
"Did something happen?" he asked instead, moving into the room to take a seat on the lidded toilet.
He raised a sardonic eyebrow, and after a moment, Hutch heaved a sigh.
"It's... just... God, I don't know. Seems stupid. A lot of little things. Work, Eric, bills. I just about lost it today at work... I was working decedent returns--" (Tamsin mentally translated that to be returns filed for deceased taxpayers) "--and saw a date of death for someone who'd died four days after my grandfather did. And his wife died about two weeks later. I started thinking about what it would have been like if my grandmother had gone like that, and..." As she spoke, tears began welling up again; she buried her head in her hands for a few moments and cried, almost soundlessly, her shoulders shaking.
"It's normal to feel that way," Tamsin said, his voice soft and soothing.
"I know," Hutch gulped, swallowing hard. "But I keep thinking I should be over this by now. I know it hasn't been that long, but... I was supposed to be the strong one. Do you know what my mom said to me, at the viewing?"
"She told me to be supportive of my brother and my father. Dad, because, well, it was his father that died, and my father hasn't lost any immediate family for a long time; and Mike, because he spent the last year and a half living in Jackson, being there through all of it. And you know, I understood all of that. But I don't think my mom ever stopped to think that /I/ might need the support, too. Just because I wasn't there doesn't mean I wasn't close to him, that I wouldn't be as overcome by the whole thing.
"And you know, I was a good daughter, I was supportive. But I had to hold it in when I needed to cry, and... and I keep remembering how much I miss him. Thinking about going to the cottage this summer, about things we did when we were little..."
She dissolved again. Tamsin waited through the worst of it before getting up to get a washcloth and dampen it.
"Come here," he said, reaching for her hands to pull her out of the (thankfully dry) tub. Supporting her with one arm, he led her out of the bathroom and over to the bed, pulling the covers up over her once she had laid down. Gently, then, he brushed her hair back from her face and wiped her cheeks with the cloth, soothing away the soreness that had come from hours of weeping.
"It'll be all right," he murmured. A thought put out the candles in the bathroom, and the resultant darkness in the room blanketed everything in rich, velvety blue. "Sleep, now. It's okay."
As she drifted off to sleep, he thought he heard her murmur something that sounded like "Thank you". Smiling, he held her hand and watched her fall asleep. Whether she knew it or not, things would get better.
Back to the X-Fic.
this page last updated on 18 january 2003