Welcome To The Harem

Time And Again by Vicinity
Summary: Resulting from loneliness and gray skies. Yves/Jimmy.

Title: Time and Again
Author: Vicinity
Email: akavicinity@yahoo.com
Category: Story/Angst/Romance
Rating: PG
Summary: Resulting from loneliness and gray skies.
Spoilers: Slight for "Eine Kleine Frohike"
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine.

I stare out of one of the few windows in the warehouse, one of the few that have not been boarded up or otherwise blocked. Outside, the sky is gray and still, tense and lonely. I would chide myself for that sentimentality but right now it does not really matter. The Gunmen - Frohike, Langly, and Byers - left almost as soon as I arrived, saying that they had to meet with a "source." Much as I wanted to tell them that I could not wait, that I had places to do, I couldn't, because quite honestly, I do not. Friends are a luxury I cannot afford, and I rarely miss them, except for days like this, when life seems to have come to a standstill. The Gunmen, much as their bumbling antics get in my way, are the closest I have to companions. So I am waiting in their warehouse, hoping to come up with a viable excuse for being here by the time they return, if I am still here. I am surprised that they left me here alone, actually, and am not sure if it is an issue of trust or a simple oversight.

A noise from behind startles me, and I do chide myself for getting so lost in my thoughts - losing my edge. I turn quickly, just in time to see Jimmy close the door behind him with a resounding slam. He looks contrite for a moment, until he realizes that the Gunmen are not here. When he sees me, he jumps.

"Hey, Yves," he greets me. "Have you seen the guys?"

"They have a ?source,'" I tell him. "What, no dance routine today?"

He blushes slightly. "Do you need something?"

"I do not need anything," I reply, wanting to make it absolutely clear that I need nothing from him or his compatriots. He looks slightly hurt, so I sigh and make an effort to soften my tone. "I'm just waiting."

"For what?" He perks up, and then a look of suspicion crosses his face. "The guys know you're here, right?"

I choose to ignore the first part of his questions, as I am not sure how I would answer it. "Yes, Jimmy, they know."

"Oh. Alright. So what are you waiting for?" he queries, and I pause. My discomfort must be evident because he changes the subject. Sometimes I think that he's much more intelligent than he lets on.

"Just watching the sky, huh?" Before I can tell him that I am doing something far less frivolous, he sits down next to me. I can feel the ancient sofa sink even more, and I have to brace myself so that I do not fall against him. "I do that a lot," he continues. "It's peaceful . . . today it's lonely, though." He says this shyly, as if he expects me to mock him. I feel a flash of guilt as I realize that he has every reason to expect this.

"I was just thinking that," I answer, and he smiles. We sit in silence for a few moments, and I go back to looking out the window for lack of anything else to say. Invulnerability leaves for few topics of discussion, I've discovered. As I watch the sky, I am consciously aware of his presence next to me - warm and large and smelling faintly of cologne, all of which combine to have an incredibly disarming effect. I swallow, focusing on the dull clouds that remind me of lonely autumn days as a child, moving from apartment to apartment because of my father's activities and my mother's affairs.

His hand on my shoulder startles me out of my reverie, but before I can say anything, he begins massaging my neck. "You're tense, Yves," he says, sounding faintly concerned.

"Occupational hazard,"I mutter, and for a moment I wonder if he heard me. Then he sighs and I wonder if he pities me. I do not want him to feel pain for me, because it would be worse for both of us.

His hands are strong and gentle, and paired with the weather outside, they have a lulling effect, until I realize what is happening. How out of character and how dangerous it is. And yet somehow it is right, this loneliness and this comfort. For a moment I simply listen to our breathing, enjoying his proximity, managing to forget what this could mean. It is only when I feel my eyes beginning to close that I sit up straighter, causing him to pull his hands away.

"Yves?" he says, sounding vulnerable and worried, perhaps afraid.

I turn to face him. "Jimmy," I begin, with the intent of telling him exactly why this is wrong. And then I wonder if it means anything at all to him. I pause, and his mouth is on mine, warm and steady. The thoughts that I had disappear for a minute, and I place a hand on his back. It is sweet and strong and so right, and it is only when I feel his hands on me that I break away. A confused look crosses his face, and he opens his mouth to speak. I place a finger to his lips before he can say anything.

"Jimmy, we can't . . . not now," I whisper, as loud as I can force myself to. He nods, withdrawing. "Maybe . . ." The sentence has to be unfinished because I do not know how to end it. Instead I offer a shy smile, which he returns.

"I should be going," I tell him, rising. He nods.

"Bye, Yves. See you later." I nod and make my way past the shelves and through the paper and parts that litter the floor. Outside, I sigh. As I make my way to my car, I want so much to return, to spend the evening with him. But in the end, it would be worse, and I know that. So I will leave and go home and spend the night alone in my apartment, thinking. As I pull out of the parking lot, it begins to rain, and I wonder if he is watching me go.

All my life's a circle. The line repeats in my head, a half-remembered fragment from something that I left behind long ago. It is irritating in the way that most remnants are, and for the life of me I cannot remember the rest of it. Instead I think about what it means. A circle is eternal, never changing, both safety and restriction. Like yin and yang. The thought of black and white, good and evil, balancing each other out in the end is a nice idea, I suppose, but in reality the struggle between the two sides is massive and gray and exhausting, with no clear boundaries. No smooth lines.

When I think about the two of us, I wonder if it is the same. It would seem as if I am the dark and he is the light, and we are drawn to each other because of the differences, the desire to balance. Sometimes, though, I think that rather it is the similarities that attract us, the pieces of ourselves that we find in each other. His darkness, the parts of him that are so often overlooked, and perhaps my light, if such an emotional sentiment is to be allowed. He makes me laugh and he makes me smile, and I wonder if I have any such effect on him. I do not want to be the one to bring him pain, to reveal to him this world in which I live, but I would not blind him, for that would somehow be crueler, a willing crippling, a loving attempt to deny.

But all of this is purely theoretical, purely intellectual, because there is to be no proof. Proof would require altering the tenuous balance that we have, changing something and somehow losing control, and that is something I cannot do. I cannot allow myself to take that risk, and I cannot risk hurting him. Something lost would be worse than something unsaid, I hope.

And still, as he turns from the window to look at me, I cannot help wishing that I did not care, that I could forget about the past and the future and live completely in the moment. The meager light from outside illuminates his face, creating shadows around his eyes, places where I could maybe see darkness and reality and something that he will not reveal to me. Then he moves closer and the shadows fall away, leaving only his beautiful innocent eyes.

The Gunmen are out of town and they left him to "guard the fort," as he informed me when I stopped by yesterday, and in a moment of insanity I invited him over tonight. Testing my resolve, perhaps. It would be so much easier if I did not trust him, because it is hard for me to be on my guard when he is so overwhelmingly good around me. If I feared him, it would be easier, I think, but instead I fear for him.

"Yves?" he says softly, and I look up from where I am curled up on my couch, trying to avoid his eyes.


"You ever wonder what will happen when this is over? When we win?" The question is so obviously in-character that I have to take a moment to see if he is serious, if he honestly believes that there will be an end and that "we" will conquer evil.

I choose my words carefully. "I suppose that we will have to find a new quest." I notice that I have said "we," not "I," and I think that perhaps I am envisioning the future as I would like it to be, no matter how impossible.

He smiles slightly. "That's what I thought," he admits, and I wonder what that means he thinks about the future. Our future. He hesitates for a moment. "Where do you see yourself in ten years?"

?Gone' is my first thought, and I wonder what I mean. Gone from here, or gone completely? I know that I am not immortal and I know that I cannot outrun my past forever. "I don't know," I answer honestly, more honestly than I would like to.

"Me neither," he replies, and I wonder if that is true. We are quiet and I can hear the clock ticking on the wall and the few cars passing on the road at this hour. It is a contemplative silence, not an awkward one, and I am glad that we can have this because I do not know what I would say if I had to speak. My thoughts are dangerous and to acknowledge them further would be a slow form of death, both emotional and physical. And yet I cannot rid myself of them. To be iron is to be ice, and in doing so I only pretend to be frozen, a pretense which makes any reality difficult.

I cannot help remembering what happened the last time we were alone like ths, and in some ways I do miss the days in which we feared each other, when we did not know. This closeness, the way this has developed, is so much worse than not knowing, but I do not think that I really want to go back to the way it was, because the irrational part of me believes that this truly is better than nothing at all.

He is the first to break the silence, but when he does it is only to sign. I wonder what he is thinking about, and I wonder how close my thoughts are to his. I told him we could not have anything, we could not be anything, and he will listen to me because he wants to do the right thing. He would want what I want, I think. His back is to me again, and I cannot see the expression on his face.

With nothing else to do, I rise and cross the small room, standing next to him at the window, but careful to leave space between us. He does not look at me, though from the way he tenses his body I know that he is aware of my presence. We stare out the window together, and I know that we have done this before.

Black, the absence of light. Or is light simply devoid of all color? It doesn't really matter because the sky outside is dark, not black, dark with the light of the city beneath it. I remember places where it was truly black, where I knew that I was alone, and I do not know if I prefer this. To be alone is to be invulnerable, simply because there is no one to attack, but there is also the sense of isolation. Despite how I live, what I tell others and tell myself, I do not truly prefer this separation, this sense that I am fighting something that others cannot even begin to comprehend.

He begins to speak, cutting himself off before I can hear anything. "Jimmy?" I make his name a question, and he looks at me. I move before I can stop myself, wrapping my arms around him and pulling him closer to me so that I can kiss him lightly. Telling myself that it will stop there. He returns the kiss and his tongue is on mine, and then his hands are running down my back, grazing my buttocks and moving upwards. I smile in spite of myself, and move my lips upward, caressing his face as I kiss his forehead.

When I break away a moment later, he looks lost and hurt, as if he thinks I am going to tell him it was wrong. When I don't, and when I take his hand and lead him backwards, he smiles, and I remember something that's not the next line, but close enough. Our love is like a circle that's going around one more time.