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Old 01-29-2011, 03:11 PM   #1
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An Cat Dubh 36

I'm actually quite in love with this chapter. Paul Hewson makes so much sense.

And finally done with it; aaa! I have to go be part of the world. Busy busy busy...I'm getting a haircut, and making cookies, and seeing my friends, etc...

No, it's not PG13, no it's not. Katie cannot make herself be explicit at times like these.

***


When Cath woke up, she was startled to find Bono already awake, his arms loosely around her. He had left and changed sometime in the night, and looked like he hadn’t slept much; his eyes were red-rimmed from that or crying. He smiled at her when her eyes opened.

“Can you walk, love?” he asked. She made a thoughtful little frown, pushed herself up on the heels of her hands and attempted to, with a powerful relief shooting through her; yes, she could, though her entire body ached and there was still an odd twinge in her stomach still. And the room was so warm…

“Yeah, I can,” she said with a bit of a question in her voice.

“Good,” he said excitedly. She was already changed into her street clothes from the day before, and he found her coat and slipped it on her, his hands warm and solid on her arms. Cath looked puzzled.

“Bon?”

“I talked to the doctors and while they don’t exactly approve, you are not spending today in the hospital.” And with that he took her hand and all but dragged her out. He actually ended up carrying her out of the hospital, and when the nurse in the waiting room look confused, Cath laughed. It hurt her sides a little, but god, it felt so good to realize she could still breathe and—

“Where are we going?” she asked him, reaching up and trailing her fingers through his hair, her throat hardening. She swallowed painfully.

That is a surprise,” he said, giving her a conspiratorial wink. She laughed. It hurt, again, but less with him around.

“Where are the others?”

“Working on the record; some of the songs just…aren’t working.”

“Edge is having a rough time of it, isn’t he?” she said quietly, her voice vibrating through Paul from their points of contact.

He nodded, closed his eyes briefly, and looked back at her. “I wanted us to be alone.”

She nodded, leaning her head back against him, and the city died around her, from the strong pull of his presence; every heartbeat had become significant, those strange workings of body and mind. His coat was scratchy, but she didn’t mind; he was underneath it, and she couldn’t bear to be apart from him, especially now.

She actually fit between him and the steering wheel, if he moved a little to the side. Cath fell in and out of consciousness and wakefulness as they drove to somewhere or other, Paul her lifeline. If she could still feel him, she was still here—and she wanted to, she wanted so badly for everything they knew to be wrong. Paul had turned the music down, not wanting to wake her if she needed sleep, and it washed through her mind with the sound of his voice rising and falling as he spoke about people, the world, himself, her, life, death, everything, tying himself to her with his voice.

“Do you want me to stop talking, love?” Her eyes kept closing insistently. “No,” she whispered into him, “don’t.”

Sleep was less comforting when it could have been anything. But his voice threaded around her and pulled little waves of images through her drifting mind. She saw, again, that time they had met in the bar, that sudden electric moment when mind became body and somehow he had known to reach out a hand, and she to grab it, and somehow he had been able to continue singing, his eyes holding her even when their physical contact had stopped. Images, little shadows underneath thought. Oisín running down the beach, telling Cath not to swim out so far. Bright watery light across the great span of sky and land, he only a tiny figure in this landscape: Oisín in America. And…this came more slowly…Bono perhaps in a few months, his eyes reaching out to everything and nothing, the darkness surrounding him and penetrating through him; that other self hardened around him, but to her, he just looked lost…she tried to reach out to him, not realizing this was only memory and her projection of the future, and awoke to the watery sunlight warming both of them. Paul had stopped driving, and had his cheek pressed against the top of Cath’s head, his arms tight around her, freed from the steering wheel.

She sat up a little and looked out the window, but couldn’t really see out; he unwrapped an arm from around her and opened the car door, picking her up again. “Close your eyes, love,” he whispered. She did, and consequentially her feeling of him condensed and intensified; she could hear the wind blowing about the hairs on his head, and the sound his coat made against the breeze, the exact tone and pitch of his breathing.

That was before the other sound enveloped her and surrounded her. It was very warm outside, but there was wind here, and that sharp smell lifted her spirits. She was face-up to the sky as Paul walked, that great expanse of sky. She felt very close to him, against the sound of the water, his heartbeat surrounding her, his arms very real and alive; for now, he was her energy.

She felt his breath tickle her cheek, and his warm lips pressing very softly to her own.

“Open your eyes,” he said gently, a little catch in his voice.

She opened them, and saw the sky wheeling above her, the clouds impossibly heavy and light at once, capturing the beginning light of morning and presiding over the faint lingering sense of night. Under such a sky, she was bare and limitless, and very close to nothing—his heartbeat filtered in again, the warmth of his body—no, she was part of him, he part of her. They were a little more against the nothingness of the unknown. She looked down then, and squealed and clutched at him; he laughed, the sound traveling to her ears before it hit the air.

He was standing in the shallow part of the waves; they came up about to his knee, and if she looked down at them, she got an intense wondering vertigo. So she did not, but leaned back and looked up at him. The dawn edged across his face.

“Aren’t you cold?” she asked. He nodded. “Doesn’t matter,” he said in a faint voice. She buried her head against his chest, trying to capture the essence of him in feeling and sound and presence. He stood there while the sun rose, the water pulling around him insistently but breaking around him, the sky lightening in colors Cath had not seen heavenwards for a long time. If she looked up, she would be lifted into some transient place of reflection, but no—she focused on the feeling of him, the way everything so real could always be gone—grounding herself in earth desperately.

He cradled her thinking body and what felt like hours later, walked through the tide over to the sand dunes, laying down and laying her against him gently. She listened to his heartbeat for a while longer, the oceanic vibrance of it, and abruptly felt sad. Here she was leaving this man, who had a while yet.

He looked down and caught at the unintentional tear that slid down her face; it slid down his finger and disappeared into the sand. Something suddenly connected within her. She leaned forward, lay her face over his, and kissed him hard. Paul made a surprised sound before kissing her back. A minute later, his face tightened and reddened and he was crying even harder than she had been. She wrapped her arms around him tightly while he shook, and kissed him to silence him. Somehow that…oh, no.

Still red-faced, he pulled away from her suddenly, though he still held one of her hands; if he wasn’t connected to some part of her, he probably wouldn’t be able to breathe.

“Paul,” she said, sighing, “it’s okay.”

“No, it’s not,” he said, looking away. “I hate this. I hate my body. I shouldn’t want to do this to you at a time like this.”

She pulled him to her again and he looked at her with a little fear for his body’s reaction. “Cath…that might not be the best idea…” He tried to hold himself away from her as best he could, which was difficult because he lay on top of her and she had caught her arms around his waist.

“Paul, stop.” She brought her fingers to his lips to silence him again. “I have to be near you. I can’t…”

He studied her expression intently; the waves crashed around them. “Cath, are you sure…”

She nodded, and not of her own volition, another tear slipped out of her and before he could wipe it away, she brought his mouth to hers and the tear came away on both their faces. He kissed her knuckles, and her fingers, and the blue veins on her arm, their clothes insubstantial and then unimportant, cast away. They just held each other for a long time, separated by nothing, as if with their bodies and their substance they could both make each exist until the end of time. Paul stared into her eyes, the wind blowing his hair aslant and bringing goosebumps to his bare shoulders, and she tried to memorize the exact angle the sunlight made across his collarbone, the little skip of a heartbeat that happened when they were close, the way his feet rested next to hers.

He made love to her like they were sky and ocean, inseparable, everything they could not and did not want to say drifting out into the sunrise. A close silence had grown between them, replaced by the language of their breathing and their thoughts in each others’ eyes. Paul lay with his head pressed to her chest, and she brought an arm around his sun-warmed back, letting it rest there and counting the freckles on his shoulders. Time had slowed for a little, let them out of its mad rush. He shifted, looked up, felt along her face with his fingers like a blind man, then kissed her long, his heartbeat skipping again slightly and fluttering into her skin.

“I’ll miss you,” he said simply. Sometime in the minutes before, in his face but not in words had been the desperate, disbelieving sadness he could not express, that of the world being ripped apart by her absence—don’t die; my mother died—and now it’s worse, if you’re gone—but now he accepted it as best he could, feeling more a part of her; they had merged and never really separated into one being.

She nodded and kissed him back. There was something very fragile about the light that hit the waves as she dressed herself again and walked supported by Paul back to the car.

She told him she really could walk, and he heard her this time, though he held her hand and his fingers were inseparable from hers.


“It’s strange,” she told him as they walked aimlessly down the streets of Dublin.

“What, love?” He swept her hair from her face—the wind was strong today—and somehow that led into a brief moment where neither could speak, their bodies were glued so tightly together.

When they separated, her face slightly red, she said, “The people walking by probably think we have ordinary lives, just as we must think of them. We never guess about problems, or marriage, or children, or life and death.”

He nodded. “That’s just as well.” Cath laughed, “They’ll be all too interested in your life when the record’s out.”

He pulled a disbelieving face. “Really, Cath, I’m pretty sure not.” She rolled her eyes.

“I’m sure there’ll be plenty of women suddenly incredibly attracted to Bono Vox, singer in a band.”

He caught at her other hand and wrapped his arms around her again, stating seriously, “They’re not you.”

She looked back for a long moment, all that past echoing through his eyes assuredly. For some reason, she saw only that moment when he had seen her and neither had known the other, that day when he walked a different way to school. Had she known, then? No. Perhaps.

“I shouldn’t have spoken to you,” she said. “That day when you sang. I should have left before anything happened. Then you wouldn’t have been hurt by this.”

“No,” he said forcefully, denying that thought from existence: it was wrong. “You had no idea this was going to happen. And honestly, I couldn’t pull myself away from you.”

“You were only a boy,” she said softly.

He shook his head, grinning a sly grin that faded after a moment. “Cath…this needed to happen.”

She gave him a questioning look, and opened her mouth, but he put his fingers to her lips in an echo of her gesture hours before. She stilled and kissed his wrist, waiting for his explanation.

“Not you dying, but even with this, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I was a mess before I met you.”

“You’re going to be more of a mess when this is over,” she protested.

“Don’t do this, Cath. You know you would have had a pretty bleak existence if Isaac somehow managed to keep a hold on you. Things could have been different. Terrible. For both of us, if we hadn’t met.”

She shuddered. “You’re right. You know,” she said thoughtfully, “it was right around when I met you that I stopped being afraid. Of anything.”

“When the band was playing?” He looked confused. She shook her head, smiling.

“When I saw you walking down the street. Something in your expression gave me the strength to leave Isaac, and I strengthened more from that, and then I looked for you.” She did that sideways smile that now brought a little twinge of pain to Paul with the realization that he would never see it again. “And I found you.”

“You didn’t even know my name!” he cried incredulously, sweeping her aside into a tight embrace to stop her from being run over by a car as they crossed the street.

“I went by instinct. I was right, although it was pretty surprising.”

All conversation halted; his expression had suddenly grown unbearably sad, and she reached up and kissed him until he thought one of them would start crying again. But no, that time was over; they both understood.

She stayed in his arms, and they found their way back to the car; Cath admitted after she stumbled that the pain in her abdomen had grown sharper, and Bono realized they had to go back.

The orange plastic chairs and the doctors were not a welcome sight. Cath sighed and clung tighter to Paul.

“Don’t leave,” she said.

“I won’t,” he answered. And he didn’t.
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Old 01-29-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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I like it

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Old 01-29-2011, 05:28 PM   #3
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I see why you liked this one. Well-written, romantic, and bittersweet.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:47 PM   #4
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Thanks, both of you
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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You're killing me! Ever see the episode of Friends where Joey read the Shining and when it gets too scary he puts it in the freezer? That's what it feel like. I'm going to put my laptop in the freezer so she won't die.
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:35 PM   #6
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Oh Grace, I knew you were going to kill me XD

I'm sorry! (and I haven't seen that episode...I *have* seen a clip of one of them getting stuck in leather pants though )

I fear for your laptop
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