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Old 01-28-2011, 08:17 PM   #1
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An Cat Dubh 35

It was very, very difficult not to reveal anything; for me, writing, as well as Cath. The chapters before should make more sense now.

***

Cath held her head in her hands, after Oisín left, only just realizing what she had done. How could she had let him be so perceptive? It would probably be almost as bad for him as it would be for Bono; Oisín and Cath had both been ripped apart by the loss of their mother…and Oisín must have been through more than she thought, though he didn’t speak about it. Whatever had happened in the last year, she didn’t know—but he was doing better than she had been when she last saw him: there was still a basic goodness in Oisín that Cath would not have if not for Paul Hewson.

She clenched her fingers, white-knuckled, feeling that terrible echo of a hole being punched through her, the loss she was causing.

She should run and make Oisín come back: the light would enter his eyes suddenly and he would at least be around for the next few days. It wouldn’t heal years, but it would be enough.

But—she could not rise and get him. Her strength had drained to the vicinity of her feet and dissipated into the floor until she thought she had become affixed permanently to the hospital bed, sitting there and staring after the door as if that would bring him back.

Before Oisín had come in, Bono had rushed into her room happily.

“Cath,” he said exuberantly, “I found someone you want to see!”

“Did you really?” she smiled back.

“He’s heading this way pretty soon.” Bono crossed over to her and kissed her softly. She lifted her arms with a little difficulty and brought them around him tightly, swallowing away the sudden rush of conflicting emotion—euphoria, frustrated sadness…

“I think I know what we should do when Ciarán gets out of the hospital,” he said smiling, his hand trailing over the side of her face. She leaned her head against his neck, absorbing the feeling of his warm skin, his hair tickling her cheekbone, the rising and falling of his breathing. Flesh and bone like anyone, veins and skin and excitement and the questions of youth. There was something more elusive that made him Paul, and inseparable from her—and made this all the more difficult.

“What?” she asked back quietly, trying to smile though he could not see.

“We should get married, Cath,” Paul said, resting his chin over the top of her head.

She was glad suddenly he could not see her face. She did not tell him why that would be impossible, but let him speak on about how the album was nearly done and he could finish up with Gaelic and they could go somewhere nice with the band and…

For a moment, the image spun into an impossible reality…

Bono in leather pants, she in something white, all around them the smell of wet grass and the look in his eyes, and they ignored the baby’s insistent cries; Edge tried to distract Ciarán, successfully, and everything fell still, the rings cold and bright on both of their hands—

—before again she remembered. It was impossible.

That imagined look on his face turned, despite her imagination, into something frantic and worried. The thought faded with him asking, childlike, “Are you going away, Cath?” “Yes…for a little while…”


She felt doubly terrible, now. The inside of her body burned, not at all mercifully, and that elusive ache had returned, but it was nothing in comparison to what Bono would surely feel.


In the waiting room, Bono waved goodbye to Oisín, who looked as if he was about to leave. On his way, though, Oisín, with a troubled look on his face, paused and put a hand on Paul’s shoulder as if he was stopping the other man from leaving.

“Bono,” he said bleakly, “there’s something you ought to know.” It took a moment for Bono to decipher the words under the accent, but then he was confused.

Edge looked at Oisín wildly, while Bono thought—what the hell was it that he needed to know? Had Isaac not really died? Was Cath too tired to see anyone? Was Oisín asking for him to giver her some sort of message after he was gone?

Ciáran made a high thin sound that came to the back of Bono’s mind as he heard what Oisín said.

“Cath’s dyin’.”

Oisín could feel the other man suddenly go rigid and stare at him like he was mad. Bono was completely still. He could process this statement even less.

“But…she…” he said brokenly when he could find his voice. He had to look away. He came to a conclusion: “You’re wrong. I saw her a few minutes ago, and she was fine!”

Edge shook his head with a tight expression on his face, but this went unseen: the world tunneled into the words he heard only, Oisín’s reply.

“There’s no other explanation for why she would want to even look me in the eye after a year.”

Bono shook his head. “Maybe she just wanted to see you. Everything’s changed.”

“It has,” he agreed quietly. It occurred to Bono that the man could have just left and said nothing, and he would have found out eventually.

He was still frozen, only feeling around the edges, and those edges were numb. The room was disconcertingly solid, everything slow and immoveable.

He started speaking, tried to convince himself again that this was some terrible joke or mistake, but Edge spoke. Edge had been silent; his voice came raw and unexpected and forced Bono to listen.

“There was a lot of blood, Bon, just before Ciarán was born.” Said baby wrinkled his face crossly at Edge for speaking. “You came in after it was cleaned up.”

“No,” Bono admitted, “I was there for some of it.” He had assumed that was normal, and it had been why he had left the room: there was too much fear of something happening that shouldn’t happen, and—

He suddenly thawed into feeling, and walked a few steps over to one of the chairs, sitting down hard. The rest of the room was moving—no, he was shaking. He curled his hands into fists, little jagged edges of pain forming from his fingernails, and lay his head against his knees, trying very hard not to cry. Everything felt so insubstantial.

He raised his head finally, a stillness settling throughout him, and walked away.

Cath knew he knew when he walked in shakily and collapsed on the floor beside the hospital bed. She was almost scared; she had never seen him like this. He pressed his face against her thigh, barely able to support himself; she could feel he had been crying.

“Cath, why didn’t you tell me?” he said in a very small voice. “I was the last to know.”

“It would hurt you too much.” And—it hurt even to look at him; his pain reverberated through her even more sharply, for she knew she could do nothing to take it away. “And I thought everything would be fine by now. But something went wrong somewhere along the way, and there’s nothing that can be done.”

He made a sharp sound that still sounded hopeless, but didn’t ask how she was sure. He pushed his head away from her and stared up, unable to look away.

“How bad is it, Cath?”

She gave a shaky smile. “I can’t move, right now. I don’t have the strength to. And Oisín said I had a fever. I told the doctors I didn’t want to know; it’d only make me feel worse.”

His hands clenched into fists and then opened again. He let out a long, shuddering sigh, is body exiting through his voice, and aged in front of her, though his eyes were still too raw with pain. He pushed himself up from the floor and very gently carried Cath out of her sitting position so that he held her in her arms. She closed her eyes briefly, willing them to another time, another place. When she opened them she saw that young, broken look in his eyes again, and for some reason it connected—as they had before, with their painful pasts—and dragged a last bit of calmness out from the depths of her being to effuse through her body.

“How long?” he dared to ask.

“A day, maybe two.”

His tears fell from his eyes to her face, and she let them trail there like redemption or forgiveness.

“I’m not worried, Paul," she told him in between his heartbeats. "I’m worried for you, what you’ll do when I’m gone.”

And she wondered if he would be capable of even being around Ciarán; she had been around Paul in his intense happiness, never when he had to go through something terrible, though she knew he had had major upheaval in his past with his mother’s death.

He shook his head, tears sliding down his face. “I don’t know. I don’t know what or how. I don’t want to think about then, don’t want…”

He fell asleep with his arms tight around Cath, tears and frantic despair holding them together with arms even tighter, but still he felt like she was slipping away.
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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Oh gosh that's so sad! Mm, it did make the other chapter easier to understand... but THAT IS SO SAD.
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:41 PM   #3
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Yeah...it is...
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:33 PM   #4
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it made me cry... grrr!
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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Writing it is much worse, believe me The chapter with Oisin made me very very sad...

I actually like the one I'm writing now, for some reason.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:19 PM   #6
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*sigh* How can it get better?! *goes to read next chapter*
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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It can! XD
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