[identity profile] indybaggins.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] wl_fanfiction
This is the last part of the story. *smiles* I want to thank everybody who read and commented, you people are awesome. And for this last part... I know a couple people will cry. I know I did... *hugs you all* I'm sorry.

Author: Indy Baggins
Title: If Roses are meant to be red…
Pairing: Greg/Ryan
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Sixteen years after they met, Greg realizes he’s never let himself want anything quite as much as he wanted Ryan.
Author’s comments: This was my NaNoWriMo novel for 2006. The story of Greg and Ryan has for me, at its core, always been a love story. Needy, fucked up love, sure, but love none the less. And this is my attempt at telling their story, from the moment Greg met Ryan until the moment he let him go.

Beta-duty is done by Clay, for which she deserves many roses *smiles*

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine




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The next four summers they spent taping in London, together.

Colin had become a permanent fixture on the show, and a permanent presence too. Greg never pretended to like him, and Colin never pretended not to know he was lying through his teeth when he cynically claimed nothing mattered, and so they became friends too, eventually. Through mutual desperation.

He had a talk with Colin once, about longing for something that couldn’t be, and Colin had touched his arm, both reassuringly and warning, and said “it’ll crush you Greg,” his eyes serious and soft. He had laughed emptily and said “it already has.”

Most nights Ryan was in his bed with him, occasionally someone else. They had never outgrown games like that as much as grown into them. Making the other jealous, so jealous he came storming through the door at three am to pin the other against the wall, was not an offence, but a sweet confirmation of the power they had over each other. Their sex had grown harder too, no longer soft touches, outreached hands falling short of actually touching. He would have been sad about it, if it wasn’t both the cause and resolution of the vile and sharp anger inside of him, the only reason he didn’t lose it completely.

The one thing that he would never lose was that he understood Ryan, and he knew that now. Ryan never needed a sorry anymore, but a cigarette. Not adoration, but a fuck. Eventually, it stopped mattering that he still, however messed up, loved him.

They broke it off many times. The first a year after their discussion on the beach, in a hotel room. Ryan screamed and pounded things, more aggressive than he had ever seen him before, and his heartbeat shot up at the sight. They had some of the best sex either of them had ever had (“break-up sex”, one of them had muttered, and the other had agreed with a low grunt and even more friction because hell it felt like they were cheating on themselves right then), once against the wall with their pants still half-on and once on the dusty carpet, limbs tangling into each other and spit instead of lube so it goddamn hurt but neither of them minded.

Afterwards they didn’t talk anymore, but they both knew it hadn’t been the end. Oh no.

The second time was on a street in London when they were both drunk off their asses, and he had ended up crying into Clive’s jacket until Ryan had come up from behind and hugged him, breathing an apology and a crude suggestion in his ear. He had blinked away his tears and nodded, eagerly.

The third time was a year after Ryan’s son was born, and he had promised things to a child he would never live up to. Ryan, eyes distant and sad, had said “we can’t, Greg, not anymore…” and he had agreed with him, for once. He had left the room with a terrifying sense of finality that time (his heart beating in his chest, so hard, the sound of blood rushing in his ears) and when Ryan got up from the bed to stop him before he was gone completely, he had thought he would break down and cry. (He never did.)

After that, there were simply mornings where there was no trace of the night before left besides perhaps a discarded condom. Days where they ignored each other, only to move together again through the night. Months without a sign, a call, anything. But, always, in the end there was the fall back into what they both tried to avoid.

Ryan started smoking even more, and Greg did the occasional drugs with Tony, until Tony went to rehab, and he switched to drinking again. He didn’t even pretend to be happy, and neither did Ryan, and sometimes he felt everything close in around him, every wall and every burning touch and he needed Ryan more than he had ever needed anyone else, but instead he would drink even more, forget as much as he possibly could, because there was nothing else he could do. Not anymore.

When London ended, when the show moved to the U.S. for good, had been the second time he often wished things had ended there. They had lost their tenderness, but not their lust. Their insight. It still could have been a preciously closed chapter in his mind, a time of wonderful once had.

But of course it didn’t end there either. He followed Ryan, and the show, over the Atlantic, maybe crazy, maybe foolish, he didn’t care. They were still together, sporadically, still fitted together in a way that neither of them ever had felt with anyone else.

They still joked softly, over beers. Still coordinated their cigarette breaks in order to be angry and silent together. Still looked at each other in ways that made his heart clench.

Slowly, through the years, at a pace that was hardly noticeable at the time the tone between them changed. Ryan rarely smiled anymore, if at all. His humor became bitter, his tone tired. The only times he could still make Ryan laugh was recalling some old tale, some old fun. When they were together, neither of them needed to live in the present, and maybe that was why they both avoided and couldn’t stay away from each other.

Where every trace of softness had left them years before, now they would spend hours just lying together, having slow, drawn-out sex, or calmly sleeping in the same bed, their grip on each other loose.

When Whose Line ended, and Ryan left television for good, Greg couldn’t say he’d been surprised. When that also meant that Ryan had left him for good, he didn’t truly realise it until he hadn’t shared a bed with Ryan for over a year and suddenly couldn’t remember what he looked like when he came. What his pillow smelled like. What he said first thing in the morning.

They still talked on the phone, and maybe met in person once or twice, but Ryan leaving Whose Line had been the end for them too. Finally, eventually, everything had watered down to nothing. And it didn’t bother him, not truly. Part of him had expected them to jump in bed together again as soon as he saw Ryan again; they had many years left, after all. Many tries, many fights, many stages.

And then the call came.


“You’re gonna be the death of me,” Ryan had said to him once, before flopping down on the mattress spread-eagle style with a sated sigh and fastening his jeans. He had laughed and breathed into Ryan’s ear “I goddamn hope to be…” before sticking his hand down Ryan’s pants and undoing the button again in a matter-of-fact kind of way.


That was the first thing he had thought off when he had heard it. Ryan saying “you’re gonna be the death of me...”

Strange, how a sixteen-year friendship, a heart-stopping, crazy fucked up love, was summed up and erased it the couple minutes it took to receive one phone call.

Two hours later, he was on a flight to London.



---

Eventually, he has fallen asleep right there leaning on the windowsill, or maybe he’s seeing ghosts or maybe he’s crying again because he sees Ryan there, next to him. Looking through the window, telling him he can see the sea with a huge, shit-eating grin.

He just looks at him, soaks him in for a moment. He looks so young again, ridiculously skinny and handsome, glowing in the moonlight, face alight with a bright smile. He almost looses himself in the fantasy, the idea of perfection, a story without an end. He reaches for Ryan, wants to touch his face, to hold him, fuck him, for one last time, always one last time…

Then the image fades, and real life comes tumbling back, flashes of the last forty-eight hours, the sea, the cold, throwing away the cigarettes, driving out there, the tears on Josie’s face, the colored umbrella’s, the streets in London, the subway, the plane, the phone call. Always back to the phone call. And the words.

It had been Colin, of course. After all, it was fitting. Colin, the one who called to tell it to him personally. Colin, the one who was unashamedly crying on the phone, barely able to get the words past his lips.

He knows it’s the truth though. Eyeing Ryan, the vision of Ryan, the sharp-edged face etched in his mind, he knows.

“You died.” he speaks, almost as surprised at the sudden clarity of the memory as he is at the fact that he’s saying it.

Truth is, he’s angry. He is utterly, completely angry at what life did to them both, at all the chances they were too fucking cowardly too take, at all the time they could have had but didn’t, and last of all at Ryan, for being just like him, for being too much. For being there even, although he knows he’s just imagining things. He was never one to believe in much of anything. But it doesn’t stop him to yell at Ryan.

“You died! You… you fucking died.” his voice breaks down now, and it’s Ryan, looking amused, who fills out the last of the blank. “Of lung cancer, yeah.”

Colin had added, in between his bitter, breathless silence “he didn’t tell me either Greg.” But of course that wasn’t enough. He knew why Ryan hadn’t told Colin, Colin would have cried and held him and Ryan was never one to say goodbye. But Greg, he could have… given him whatever he needed. Always. Ryan had known that, he must have known... And now he wasn’t there to need anything anymore.

“We fucked it up.” He finally, silently admits to the figure of Ryan, a knot in his chest loosening, a hitch breaking free, but keeping his head up determined, he’s willing to face it now, all of it. And then Ryan smiles at him, a last, bright, beautiful smile, and contradicts him. “No we didn’t.”

And he blinks and he’s gone, he’s just staring out the window, catching the tiniest glitter of water in the distance. He’s cold, shivering all over, and so he closes the window, and steps back to lie on the bed.

He sees them again, running from the icy cold rain into a warm hotel room. Ryan pressing a small kiss on his nose. Words on his lips he never quite said, but it was close, he could see it in his eyes.

Laughing, together on a stage, the world consisting of nothing but that very moment, created just for the both of them, with a fast, flickering trace of glee in Ryan’s eyes and a warm tension in his stomach.

Drinking beers, Ryan’s long fingers slowly curling over a glass and wiping away the condensation, with stale tasting kisses later and a hang-over chased away by Ryan’s hand on his back and gentle, absent-minded mid-night touches.

Smoking, smoke curling towards the ceiling and between them; (‘we all need our poison’) old, smoked cigarettes in ashtrays, ashes on pillows, on Ryan’s stomach, caught in his eyelashes.

Fucking, of course fucking, outside on green, wiry grass, against cold, dirty walls, in alleys with puddles and parks with sunshine and hotel rooms, always uniform hotel rooms with white pillows (Ryan’s curly hair against a white pillow, the arch of his thigh just covered by a sheet, street lights at night making his skin look transparent, the need to touch him to make sure).

Slowly, a small, tender smile spreads over his face and, already half asleep, he looks towards the window (one last time, always…) and mumbles “Goodbye Ryan.”





The End



Art of the last scene by Cae



mood:

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