stilljustandrew: (silent)
stilljustandrew ([personal profile] stilljustandrew) wrote2014-08-22 02:05 pm

[oopfsb / darkest timeline] Millman, Session #2 / Matt, later

The note's on medium-weight ivory paper (formal-looking but not expensive; the sort of thing a broke college student might print a resume on), in painstakingly neat handwriting, and has very clearly been crumpled and smoothed out again at least once.

Andrew,

Hey, it's Matt. I'm sure your feelings are mixed about reading this -- mixed to bad -- but there's some stuff I wanted to say. I haven't known what to say to you when I've seen you in person, partly out of anger and surprise, partly because I didn't want to make things worse, and partly because I've been processing a lot.

I think you may have guessed I was not in a great relationship when I met you. That's maybe not a good place to start when it comes to what I did to you, but -- the way somebody I've been talking to puts it, I was "under the influence." There are things I don't understand about what happened in the context of that relationship that I think are relevant to you; there are some memories I don't have.

I'm writing to ask you to please be patient, and give me some time to figure things out before we talk again. I would like to have full knowledge, or at least better knowledge than I've had, before I apologize to you.

I think you deserve that.

-Matt


Andrew scrunches down as far as he can get in the armchair while Millman reads the note through. "I almost didn't read it at all," he mumbles. "I came about this close to throwing it into the fireplace when I first got it. I still feel like maybe I should have."

"Yeah?" Millman looks up from the note. "How come?"

Andrew squirms, catches himself doing it, stops. "Because … like Nita said, you know, every time I go near him I get hurt? And I thought no, don't read it, don't give him another chance to hurt you, just throw it away, the fire's right there, burn it. … And then I couldn't." Soft, and miserable. "I couldn't do it."

He can't take his eyes off the crumpled-and-smoothed-out paper in Millman's hands.

"And then it wasn't terrible. It's like … there's maybe even some hope there. Which, I don't know, maybe that's worse?"

"Hope?"

"... maybe that's the wrong word." He curls up smaller in the armchair. "But like -- it sounds like he wants to apologize."

"How do you feel about that?"

He's silent for several seconds. "I just wanted," he says finally, very soft, "I wanted some, some sign that he cared at all. And this looks like maybe he does? A little? And I don't -- I want it to mean that, but -- I don't trust it. Or I feel like I shouldn't trust it."

A long beat.

"Because I want it too much."

"Have you given any more thought to the question we ended on, last time?"

"How I'd want to feel about him. Yeah. I ... " He rubs his face. "I wish I didn't care. About what happens to him, or what he thinks of me, or anything about him. I wish he didn't matter to me at all. If I don't matter to him. Either that or …" Muffled: "Or I wish I still thought it was real."

"Would that be better?"

Andrew's already shaking his head. "No, it wouldn't. And I don't want that, not really. I don't. I just ... you know how sometimes you wish for something that isn't what you want at all?"

Millman grins crookedly. "Sondheim?"

Startled, and a bit sheepish: "Yeah. Like that. And ... being in a relationship that isn't real, thinking it's real when it isn't, that's the last thing I want. I mean, been there, done that, really don't want the t-shirt."

"Yeah?" His eyebrows rise. "Sounds like there's a story there."

"A whole series," Andrew mutters. "And yeah, I should probably tell you some of it at least, it's gonna be relevant."

"Hit me," says Millman, and leans back in his seat.

He doesn't remember most of the details of the conversation, later; which story led on to which, what he told in more or less chronological order and where he had to backtrack. He does remember that it covered more than he initially expected it to: the First Evil and the neuroclone and Ava Wilson, but also Warren and Spike and even Xander. And, in her own category, Meg.

"She was ... a ballet dancer. From eighteenth century Paris. Beautiful. Really ... and I mean she loved me. Loved me back. She did, I know that. But she never ... I mean I guess that wasn't me either, that she didn't want me that way, that was her life before me -- she didn't really want anybody that way, but at first she only wanted to sleep with me because -- she said it wasn't fair to me otherwise. And I, I didn't want that, because that wouldn't be fair to her --"

"Anyway the point is, she loved me. She really did. And I know that's way more important than whether someone thinks you're hot, I know that, but ... "

Explaining about the neuroclone is harder than he expected. Partly because of its original horror, but partly for the implications he can see now, slowly coalescing as he tells it over. It's one more part of the pattern; one more piece of deception made easy by his own self-delusion. Even in the context of a relationship that was real.

"Every time," he finishes unsteadily, "every time I think someone wants me I'm wrong. Every time. And I just need to learn to, to accept that. And stop wishing for something that's never gonna happen."






He thinks about that later, working on the tenth or twelfth attempt at a reply to Matt's note. The floor around his desk is littered with crumpled copies of attempts one-through-whatever: the one that says fuck you, stay away from me, the one that says take all the time you need, the one that starts how am I supposed to believe anything you say to me and doesn't go anywhere from there.

The one on the desk in front of him now reads:

Matt,

Let me know when you feel like you're ready to talk.

-Andrew


It doesn't feel like enough. It feels like too much.

He folds it in quarters, scrawls Matt's name on the outside, and shoves it into his pocket as he stands up to head downstairs.


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