thewordofweb: (not so pleased)
[personal profile] thewordofweb
The obituary had been burning a hole in my pocket for weeks now. The couple of them. I'd been keeping them from Joe, tucked away in secret places he would never look, thinking I would tell him everything over dinner one night, some throwaway mention as I brushed my thumb against his palm, a soft ' about our future, I may not be in it?' That's not going to happen. First came that fucking uniform and then Joe got his brain near-stolen.

So I've left it. I left it amidst the piles of his homework and I went to find Blair to try and find some absolution over my being such a coward. Now, I have to go back. It's been hours and if he hasn't found it, then I'm in trouble from being gone during dinner. If he has found it, well, I don't know what to expect, but I don't think it's going to be good.

I lean my head on the door for what feels like eternity. It's only five minutes. I count quietly, one-one-thousand...

This is going to take as much bravery as any jump and I push the door open and close it behind myself, just standing there and waiting to see what's going to happen.

Date: 2009-05-02 01:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You don't spend the guts of thirty years in a house with a woman like Mary Liebgott and not learn to pick up after yourself. With Joe, it happens in fits and starts - the day just comes when he can't stand the mess anymore. He's gathering together piles of papers when he finds it, just sitting there. He starts reading before he even realises he's doing it.

He reads a lot slower than Web might, but he gets there, in the end.

Finally a fishing boat found the Tusitala awash five miles offshore. One oar and the tiller were missing, and so was Dave.

It's a moment before Joe realises that he's holding his breath.

Date: 2009-05-02 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Of all things, I didn't expect to find him reading it. I thought it would be a before versus after thing, but not this. My hands are clenched at my sides and I stare at him, my face awash with uncertainty and every ounce of despair that I've been feeling comes flooding back.

I don't say anything. I don't feel like I can. I don't know what you're supposed to say in situations like these. I'm sorry I die, I don't know yet if it was suicide?

Date: 2009-05-02 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Are you serious?"

It's out of his mouth before he knows what he's saying. He holds the...what? The obituary, in his hand and, this time, he's not trembling.

"What the fuck is this? How long have you had it?"

Date: 2009-05-02 02:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It seems as if I'm only going to be playing the defensive today. I stare at him and cross my arms over my torso. I've braced myself for this as many ways as I knew how, anticipating every permutation. Standing here, it still makes me sick to be doing this. "It's an obituary. It's one of some I found." I swallow hard. "Two weeks ago."

Date: 2009-05-02 02:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"You are fuckin' serious." Joe's jaw tightens and he looks down at the slip of paper in his hand again. The way Web's standing, arms crossed, on the defensive, it just makes Joe see red.

"You've had this for two weeks and you didn't think it might be something you wanted to share with me? Jesus Christ, Webster, that's why you were so fuckin' weird when you came back. Isn't it? That's why you fuckin' left."

Date: 2009-05-02 02:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"What the fuck was I supposed to do!" I spit out when all my restraint fails me and this burning desire in my throat to shout can't be held back. "You weren't in any shape, Joe. You were falling apart, what was I supposed to do? I didn't want to be the straw that broke your back!" I point out, stepping forward and uncrossing my arms, glaring at him. "I went out there to think!"

Date: 2009-05-02 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"You were supposed to show some fuckin' trust and come to me with this," snapped Joe, shouting himself now. "Because with a fuckin' mouth like yours I'm willing to be you haven't kept it entirely to your goddamn self." He crumbles the thing in his fist.

"Motherfucker. It's alright to tell me you love me, but you can't come to me with something like this? Jesus fucking Christ."

Date: 2009-05-02 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm surging forward the minute he's crumpling it. "No, stop!" I beg, eyes wide as I try and get it back before it's ruined. I don't even know why I'm so protective of the thing except that it's a part of my life, that it's mine. I grab for his hand, wanting it back. "Stop it. It's mine," I say, eyes a bit wild with shock now that this is all coming to a head. "I. I went to Grant and Skinny, I didn't know what to do. I didn't know..." I stammer, still trying to get it back. "Joe, give it to me. Please. Give it to me?"

Date: 2009-05-02 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Balled up paper hits Web in the chest and there's a mouthful of spit that Joe swallows before he does something he'll utterly regret, no matter how fuckin' angry he is.

"You think I went through this, all this, and you can just fuckin' leave me out when it fuckin' suits you? I'm a fuckin' paratrooper and you think I...what? You think I'm going to fold like a fuckin' child? I was at Bastogne, you fuckin' bastard. I was at Landsberg and Normandy and you think..." He turned his face to the side.


Date: 2009-05-02 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I scramble for the paper and smooth it out the minute I get it back, folding it neatly as I can and shaking my head. Every fatalistic thought has circled my brain ten times, that this? Saying this? It's just repeating words I've thought a dozen times yet. "I am going to die," I say. "And not in battle and not of old age. I'm going to vanish and die before I even turn forty. I don't watch kids grow up, I abandon them before they hit double digits, I die!" I shout at him, louder than before. "Fuck Bastogne, Joe, this isn't about fucking Bastogne!"

"This is about, this is about me not knowing if I did this to myself, if I wanted to! I am not an inexperienced boatsmen," I insist, voice shaking and loud as before. "I am a fucking responsible sailor and..."

Five miles offshore. "So yeah! Yeah, I didn't think you could handle it until I figured it out myself and I still don't have it figured out!"

Date: 2009-05-02 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Joe watches Web simper over the obituary and every inch of his expression is disgusted. He feels wrong just from having held it in his hand.

"Can't you see, you fuckin' idiot?" he snaps, shoving at Web with one hand and staying close, in his face. "That, isn't you! It was, once, yeah, but now we're both here and that's nothing...nothing to do with us."
Edited Date: 2009-05-02 03:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-05-02 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Even if he shoves me, I give resistance and stay in just as close. This is personal but no doubt the sounds will be heard outside. I just can't bring myself to care. "Some things don't change. How do I know if this is one of them?" I demand. "I'm sorry!"

I told him before and now it's coming out again, louder than the last time, more firm. "I'm sorry, okay?" I don't say anything more because I don't know what else to say. I still believe it will happen. Some things you don't change.'s one of those things. "I'm sorry, but I die. And there's nothing to say it won't happen here. Besides," I mutter, almost too quiet for him to hear, "it's not like you'll still be with me sixteen years from now."

Date: 2009-05-02 03:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"You don't get to do this to me, you fucker." Joe shoves Web backwards, hard enough that his back hits the wall. "You don't get to do all this to me, take me this far from everything I've ever fucking known, and then leave me. You don't even get to fucking thing about leaving me."

Date: 2009-05-02 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When my back hits the wall, anger rises in me and I debate hitting back or doing something, but for the moment, I take it. I let the anger burn and bubble and I press my back against the wall and just watch him. "Do this to you?" I echo, and maybe I won't keep that anger in. "I haven't done anything to you! Would you stop saying that, would everyone just stop..." I sputter, the rage cutting me off as I clench my fists and release them, pushing him to try and get him off me. "I wanted you, I love you," I spit the words at him. "I didn't do anything to you, I didn't change you or force you, I didn't!" I wildly insist, jaw set. "I didn't make you do this! I didn't do this to you."

Date: 2009-05-02 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I thought you were fuckin' smart, asshole." Joe swallows hard and looks down, so close to Web that he can feel the heat off his body. "You're the only one who could get me here. You're the only one I want."

He turns his back.

"I fuckin' love you, you asshole." He remembers saying it before, but it's taken this long to come to his lips again. "I fuckin' love you, and I am not, not gonna lose you like that. Fuck that. Fuck you too."

Date: 2009-05-02 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I scramble to get around him, to grab hold of his wrists and stare at him while my lips are pressed together so hard I feel like if I bite them I'll draw blood and my vision is blurred by the wetness in my eyes and all I can do is grab at him. "Don't say that," I beg, not the former, but the latter. "Don't say that, don't..." I plead and give a choked sound of desperation. "I die, Joe," I say, voice boyish and thin, reedy almost. "I don't want to die, but I don't know if I get to stop it." That same choked sound is wracked out again and the tears fall without my even wanting them to.

Date: 2009-05-02 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Joe repeats it, eyes fixed on Webster's face. "If you're telling me that that's how the fuckin' world ends, after everything we've got and everything we've done, then fuck you, Webster. You find that piece of paper, and then that's it, that's us, forever? Fuck that. Things change, Webster. Things change because we're fucking here and I fucking love you, you asshole. I don't want anybody but you and if that ain't enough then what the fuck are we bothering for?"

Date: 2009-05-02 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Because you can't control everything, Joe," I say quietly, not daring to take my eyes off of his face. I inhale sharply, a deep sniff, and try and set myself back in order. I didn't believe him when he said those three words before. Maybe now I do. Maybe it just took time to sink in. Bullshit, though. I know he loves me. I believed it then, too.

I slip away from him, my body going, and I stare at him blearily. "Five miles offshore," I repeat quietly. "Sharks, they think."

Date: 2009-05-02 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"So don't go five miles off shore." Joe's jaw was tight, colour flushed in his face, so hot it hurt.

"I can't do this. I'm not going to fucking lose you like that."

Date: 2009-05-02 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How many times have I said this to other people? "You're stronger than I am, Joe," I note, with no great happiness in my tone. "You're strong enough to go on, you're strong enough to deal. And you're strong enough to stop. I don't know if I am." I meet his eyes, begging, pleading. "I can't just not ever go out there again. I love you, you know I do, but a life without the ocean...?"

Date: 2009-05-02 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Fuck that."

Joe walks away from Web, puts his back to the wall in the far corner of the room, arms folded across his chest. Every inch of his posture was tense, defensive.

"So you'll keep sailing and you'll fuckin' leave me the same way as you left her, whoever she is, only, this time, you will have done it your fuckin' self. You selfish fucking asshole."

Date: 2009-05-02 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Give up haircutting, give up baking, give up...give up the thing you love most outside of people," I get out. "You are what I love most in this world," I say, leveling down on him and crossing the room to try and forcibly unfold his arms, to try and get him to see sense. "I just...Jesus, Joe, I love it out there," I plead, getting closer and trying to get his eye contact. "But I don't want to leave you. I don't. I don't want to ever leave you, Joe. Not ever. Not today or tomorrow or five or ten or fifty years from now! Do you know what that means?"

Date: 2009-05-02 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Means I'm stuck with you."

For as long as they get. He's stuck with him for as long as they get, but, Jesus Christ, they fought a war, either of them could've died. People die. It happens, which doesn't mean Joe's got to like it.

"Just promise me you'll be fuckin' careful, you asshole."

Date: 2009-05-02 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"If you actually came out there with me, you could watch for yourself," I point out as I carefully snake my hand around his waist and lean in, not sure if we're done fighting just yet. My back might get a bit of an ache from the shove, but it's nothing compared to what could have happened. "I've never wanted to be serious about anyone in my life. You?" I get out, that choke in my throat back, for different reasons. "You, I'd be willing to bring home to my parents and earn my father's fucking scorn for. My sister would love you. Cam, too," I say with a quiet laugh.

John? Well, might disown me, but that's brothers for you.

Date: 2009-05-02 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I don't think I'm ready to bring you home to my Ma, but yo ain't got any concept of how scary my Ma is."

He actually manages a smile then, leaning back into Webster's hand.

"Maybe I'll start coming out there with you."

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