Summary: Sometimes the little decisions we make have a bigger impact than we originally intended.
Rating: PG through NC-17
WARNINGS: None for this chapter I think?
Feedback: Would be great. Please.
Disclaimer: I don't own Muse.
Author's Note: About 6 months ago I told myself I was never going to touch this fic again but I started writing a bit here and there and suddenly this got to a full chapter. So yeah.
When I got the call from Officer Nicholls to come down to the police station, I could hardly believe my good luck. It was like after months and months of pain, everything was going right, and I finally had the opportunity to show Dom just how much I loved him, even though I told him every chance I had. Still, I found myself doing everything I could to impress him; I thrived off of his happiness. It was like the blood that pumped through me, keeping me breathing and alive.
“You ready?” I asked quietly, touching the palm of his hand, trying not to let my excitement get ahead of me. The last time I’d gotten ahead of myself with him, he left me for close to a year and I almost killed myself multiple times.
His hand grasped tightly around mine, squeezing just the right amount. “I am. Now let’s go. I’m excited to see this surprise.” He winked and then we were out the door and walking to the car.
As I pulled up to the station, I was so goddamn nervous. So fucking goddamn nervous I could’ve been sick right there on the street. And when Dom nervously asked “What are we doing here?”, there was suddenly white noise in my ears as I began to wonder why the hell I’d thought up this idea. Was this even a good idea in the first place?
I said nothing to him though, but squeezed his hand to at least make it seem like I was okay. We walked into the station, nodding at Officer Nicholls who gave us both a smile. “Hello Matt, Dom.”
We both tipped our heads in acknowledgement, a knowing smile coming across Officer Nicholls’ face. Dom looked around, a nervous and excited smile on his face. I placed a chaste kiss to his cheekbone, reassuring myself more than him that everything was okay.
“Okay Matt, I have to ask, what the hell is going on?” he asked as I brought him to a line of chairs. “When you said ‘surprise’ I thought you’d mean, like, dinner out or something. I’m getting kind of, I don’t know, nervous?”
Now was the time. It was going to happen and I couldn’t chicken out so I spit the words out as quickly as I could as we sat down in the chairs, just before Officer Nicholls opened the door that was just across from us.
“I’m so sorry for what I did and this is the only thing I could think of that could somehow make it all better and I’m sorry this is probably too far I’m just sorry please.”
My words came out in a quick, unintelligible blur and there was a pounding in my head from nerves. Officer Nicholls—oblivious to what I’d just said because he was too busy smiling at Dom’s face—opened the door and stepped to the side. There was a woman behind him, about Paul’s age, give or take a few years. Her long blonde hair shimmered with youth, looking to belong to someone half her age. Her soft grey eyes showed kindness, her face a soft pale color showing accents from the sun’s rays. Her slightly too big ears stuck out from her blonde hair, and her teeth shone like the moon.
I knew all this from simply a picture shown to me a few days earlier, for I was not looking at the woman. For all I knew, she wasn’t even there, and Officer NIcholls had instead brought in a homeless man from the streets. My gaze was held on Dom, his eyes scanning the person in the doorway up and down. I nervously squeezed his hand, holding my breath and fearing he would run away before finally turning to see the woman with my own eyes for the first time. Her eyes, young but holding something raw and emotional, had gathered tears, much like Dom’s.
I held my hand out, pulling Dom—the man I hoped somehow deep inside his heart still loved me—up from the chair and giving him an encouraging nod.
“Go,” I whispered to him.
Suddenly our hands were disconnected and the chair he had been sitting in had toppled to the ground in his rush forward. I watched as he ran fast, nearly toppling over as he buried himself in the blonde woman’s wide open arms. For the first time in over a decade and a half, a mother held her own son in her arms.
“Mum,” Dom choked out, hiding his face in the curve of Pippa Howard’s armpit as she wrapped both arms around her child protectively.
“Oh Dom,” she sobbed, kissing his tear stained cheeks.
Tears cascaded down my face as I watched the two, so in tune with one another even after years apart. Their bodies rocked back and forth as they reunited, the sound of sniffles and tears filling the room. I just caught a glimpse of a smile on Dom’s face, and suddenly I was filled with relief. It was okay. It was all okay.
“I can’t believe you managed to do this,” Dom whispered. His eyes were still shining with both shed and unshed tears, his hand grasping my own tightly. We were sat in the car, waiting for Dom’s mum to join us. We’d decided to go back to our home to allow Dom and Pippa to talk in a more comfortable environment. It’d been a shaky and emotional hour for all of us, and a hot cuppa and some good food was needed.
“It was mostly Officer Nicholls,” I said quietly.
“Yes but you put it together,” he said softly, looking me straight in the eyes. “You are the most caring and genuine man I’ve ever met.”
I blushed a deep scarlet color, always feeling awkward when complimented. I tried to think of something to say in reply, but thankfully was interrupted by Pippa opening up the car door and sitting inside. She was quiet, but reached up and put her hand on Dom’s shoulder, squeezing it lovingly.
As I drove us home, the faint sound of Kurt Cobain’s voice floated through the speakers along with the soft strums of an acoustic guitar. It was pleasant, the environment in the vehicle. I hummed softly to myself, my way of keeping a grip on reality. And every time I looked over at my right and saw Dom sitting there in the passenger seat, I grew more and more sure of my reality. When we arrived home, Dom got out first, opening the door for his mum and leading her to the front door where he unlocked it, Soldier barking happily.
Pippa immediately was to her knees cooing at Soldier and stroking her hands through his fur. “Oh he is so lovely, Dominic. So lovely!” Soldier wagged his tail and licked her glasses. Pippa giggled, standing up again as we all entered the house, together, as a family.
“Here you are, Mum,” said Dom, walking into the sitting room with two cups of tea in his hand. “Black, two sugars just the way you like it. I think. I can’t remember.” A small, sad smile cast over Pippa’s face, and she patted the sofa next to her. I was sat on the piano bench with Soldier between my knees as he watched over his family protectively.
“Evie is going to be over the moon to see you again.”
In all the excitement, I’d nearly forgotten about Dom’s younger sister, Evie. We’d learned she was in Lancaster studying to be a social worker and would be home on holiday soon and that home was a small cottage in Essex where Pippa worked as a waitress. It seemed she’d really made a life for herself after escaping the grasps of the piece of dog shit that was Dom’s father.
“Does she remember me?” Dom asked his mum nervously.
“She does, love,” said Pippa. Tears were gathering in her eyes as she held onto his hand tight. “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about you. Not a day goes by that I don’t hate myself for leaving you with him.”
“It’s okay, Mum. It’s okay,” said Dom, moving forward to kiss her forehead and wrap his arms around her.
I quietly excused myself, figuring they were about to have a pretty deep and emotional discussion. I moved into the kitchen, deciding to prepare the chicken breasts for dinner while they talked. Soldier followed me into the kitchen, sitting obediently at my feet.
“Hey buddy,” I said softly, leaning down to rub at his ears. “That’s Dom’s mum out there. She’s part of the family now. Is that okay?” He wagged his tail in approval and I gave him another pat, standing up to start cooking the night’s meal.
The night before my first day back to work, I started to panic. Pippa had been over for dinner again and had just left. We were still cleaning up the kitchen when I began to panic, my body seizing up for no reason at all.
Dom quickly threw the sponge he was using to clean dishes into the sink basin, his arms quickly going around me and gently lowering me to the floor.
Everything was spinning and I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was dying as my chest constricted, large amounts of pain shooting through my whole body. If Dom was talking to me, I couldn’t hear him because everything was ringing and needles were being shoved into my ears, covering up the screams of myself and others, whoever they were.
I didn’t notice it, but the word “please” was coming out of my mouth repeatedly, almost inaudible beneath my gulping breaths. I squeezed my eyes shut as tight as I could, trying desperately to pull myself out of this panic and back to my reality. I couldn’t do it. I just sat there, screaming, crying, pulling, whatever it was I was doing. It was painful, it was humiliating, and it was real.
“Hey,” Dom said quietly, softly pushing the door of the bedroom closed as he made his way toward me. After my panic attack had seized, I’d taken a bath and gone to bed immediately, too ashamed of myself to try and do anything else.
“Hi,” I replied from beneath my wall of blankets.
Dom got in on his side, immediately putting his arms around me. My head found his chest, and he was warm. He pressed gentle kisses to the top of my head, mumbling something incoherent as I processed the evening I was leaving behind me. “You don’t need to be ashamed of yourself, Matt,” said Dom, interrupting my train of thought. “Like, I know you know that and that your mind is just not allowing yourself to remember it, but just, I want to remind you.”
I was silent.
“And I’m just going to keep reminding you, okay? Because you deserve to know. You deserve to know more than any other person in this world.”
“I don’t think I deserve anything,” I finally said, quietly.
“No no no,” said Dom. “What can I do to make you understand that that is not true?”
“I don’t know,” I whispered.
Dom’s arms tightened when I said those words, moving slightly so we were moving in a sort of rocking motion. It was soothing, therapeutic. “I love you,” Dom mumbled as we rocked. “We’re going to get this all figured out one day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
I nodded, pressing my face into his neck and blinking back the stray tears from earlier. He pressed kisses to the top of my head before lowering us back down into the safety and comfort of the bed.
“It’ll all be okay.”
“Okay,” I whispered, telling myself I had to trust him.
We were silent then for the rest of the night. I closed my eyes, curling up close to him so I could constantly feel his body against mine as I fell asleep. His breathing was my lullaby, and before I knew it, I was sound asleep and lost in my own dreams.
Work was okay. Many of my students and their families were so unbelievably loyal; they’d simply adjusted and agreed to be taught by a substitute piano teacher during my absence whom Gloria had personally picked out.
So many asked what had happened. My situation had been explained to their mothers and fathers, but it was up to me to tell the kids as each came in for their lesson and sat down on the bench. It all went okay.
“I was worried that you got eaten up by a monster!” one of my students exclaimed the second he arrived.
I smiled, shaking all my limbs to test they were still there. “Nope,” I said. “No monster got ahold of me!” The irony was unbelievable.
But I managed to push through. The rest of the day went off without a hitch, my made-up story of some weird strain of chickenpox convincing all my students; kids will believe anything, and the small white scars all over my arms just convinced them further.
After lunch with Chris, I just had two more students, and before I knew it, Dom was walking in to the studio to pick me up. We chatted quietly with Gloria for a few minutes before taking off, his hand instinctively going for my own. He squeezed it tightly, kissing my cheek as we walked out onto the street.
“How was your day?” he asked cheerily.
“It was okay,” I replied, giving him a smile and a nod. “Yeah, went well I suppose.”
“Good. I’m taking you out for dinner to celebrate. Anything you want, you decide.”
God, I was so blessed to have him, to be treated so well by him. We ended up at a small Italian bistro with a candle and bottle of Chianti between us. It was dim and romantic, but not too fancy that we felt out of place in our casual street clothes. When our meals were placed in front of us—mushroom risotto for him and chicken picatta for me—the environment was easy-going. I felt relaxed and safe, and as we discussed our days, things just felt normal, like we were any other couple in London enjoying a nice meal.
And in bed, later that night, it was exactly the same. Riding above him, throwing my head back and moving my hips back and forth, back and forth, I felt so normal. Sex and euphoria was streaming through my veins and I was a person: a healthy, living, breathing, totally in love person.
I made sure he knew, whimpering his name and mumbling the words “I love you” incoherently over and over again as he came inside of me and I collapsed on top of him, breathing heavily. Our bodies stuck together from sweat and come. We were both numb, boneless. I felt so heavy on top of him, my weight completely dead. I couldn’t move even if I wanted to. Everything was bliss, just the two of us lying there, still connected.
“As much as I would love to stay like this forever,” Dom finally said a few minutes later. “My bum is starting to fall asleep and I’m all sticky.”
I giggled, maneuvering off of him and to the side so he could stand to get up. He smiled at me, leaning down to kiss me. I quickly captured his bottom lip between my teeth, nibbling gently.
“Matt,” he said, pulling off. “Don’t distract me.”
I pouted, but allowed him to get up anyway. He came back a few moment later with a wet towel, which I gratefully accepted. I wiped myself clean, throwing the towel carelessly to the side and burrowing back down into the warm blankets.
“We should go to Italy,” Dom said a few minutes after getting into bed and turning off the lights.
“What?” I asked, taken aback.
“Yeah, why not? We could take a holiday. You’ve told me you have money saved, from your mum and dad, yeah? We could both take a week off, get out of the city. We can go wine tasting and learn to make pasta and all that stuff you do in the Italian countryside and have a proper romantic holiday.”
“You would want to do that?” I asked, turning to him and placing my hand on his, tracing his knuckles.
“Let’s do it. Let’s go to Italy.”
I could see Dom’s smile in the dark of our room, or rather, could hear it. I snuggled into him, his arms wrapping around me the way they always did. “I love you, Matt,” he whispered. “I’m so thankful to be yours.”
Mine. “You belong to no one but yourself,” I said quickly.
“I know that,” he replied. “But I want to share that with you. I want to share everything with you.”
“I want to share everything with you, too.”
I heard shuffling, Dom’s arms leaving me for a second. Suddenly the room was bathed in light from his bedside lamp. He was sitting up, his hair tossed in random directions which was so fucking adorable I almost couldn’t handle it. He was looking at me with intention, studying me. “What you’ve done for me... I just. How has all this happened?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused. Everything I’d done for him was just being a human being; it was the same thing anyone would have done.
“No no,” he said, shaking his head. “I know what you’re about to say. Don’t pull that ‘Anyone would’ve done it’ thing. It’s not true. You know how I know that? I was on those streets for years. And besides Tom, you were the first person to actually do something.”
“Nope! Don’t be stubborn and just admit that you’re an amazing person who genuinely cares so damn much about people.”
“I... I don’t know what to say,” I admitted.
“Just... Please recognize it. I will help you, yeah?”
“I do want to try,” I said. “I just... Don’t feel special.”
“You are special, Matt. And I love you.”
“I love you too,” I whispered, curling up into him as tight as I could. His arms wrapped around me and he kissed me to sleep. And briefly, even if it was just for a moment, I felt like a good person.