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Old 12-08-2011, 11:54 PM   #1
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No Love Lost, Chapter 17

Not the last chapter. I lied.

'Flashbacks' are what Ian Curtis got before actual seizures. I was inspired by the weirdest of things. I am sure as hell not copying his life for Ciarán though. First off, this kid ain't epileptic. Or depressed.

My equivalent of the plot device of an explosion and killer bunnies raining from the sky and dancing in front of the screen with little signs reading "stalling! stalling! stalling on plot!"

***


Chapter Seventeen. A Third Way Out.

"Cure just takes you down,
Not down for good, that's understood,
Lights on green, borrowed times,
It's just the same, a different name.

...Turn down the TV,
turn down my pulse,
Control my heart,
The sound's too much.
"

—Warsaw, "Conditioned"


All awash in the background was the steady beep… beep… beep… beepbeep… beep… beep… of Ciarán’s heartbeat. He could hear it, thinly, in his ear. Then he felt gravity. Dizzying terrifying gravity. The earth was pulling him down like a lover. He clutched at the sheets with terrified hands, then realized how exposed he was, half-naked, a veneer of sweat all that was protecting him. He swallowed and blinked. His head hurt. He let his spine relax and his fingers unfurl, trying to veer away from that feeling. Like someone was stabbing him repeatedly in the eye, his skull too thin to let the world out…

Ciarán turned over, hearing beep….beepbeepbeep…beep…beepbeep…beep…and realizing, hospital. He was cold. He hadn’t been cold for days. A thin line of pain, also, hinted at in his stomach.

There were people there. Just that close to outside the room. Wrapping cold arms around himself, he squinted. Felt a weird little shiver between his shoulderblades.

There in the doorway. There was a man and a woman, and a ridiculous pair of sunglasses looking on from a chair propping the door open. The door was saying insistently, make up your minds.

The man and the woman…dark shadowy haze of a small room…hands on her wrist tightening, stopping her from leaving. Lips moving. Her shocked face. Much younger. Different man—or was it the sudden blinding motion before his eyes. They widened and—

***

Beep. Beep. …beep. …beep. …beep. …beep. …beep. …beep. …beep. …beep.

Bono sat there for a long time.

He could hear doctors arguing. “The transfusion wasn’t enough.” “…coming out of it, that’s all.” “…in a couple days…” “…don’t have a couple…” “…not with arrhythmia that severe.” “…just a small amount more. She was fine, that first time…” “…not comatose but…” “…paroxysmal…”

Ciarán’s arms still crossed over his chest, which rose and fell like shallow water. Thin fingers had given up gripping skin and now lay curled automatically. With more strength, that could be a fist that would hit someone. He’d nearly hit himself. Convulsions. Something.

Fingers, Bono looked at. He couldn’t look away, for some reason. They were his hands and they weren’t his hands. The nails had been bitten off. Stubborn remnants of grit beneath. Not blood and plaster, like in 1986. Seven years old, tried to claw his way out…and back then, he’d known he’d wanted to escape. Bono had been glad those hands and that boy were real and alive as opposed to what he’d feared.

Just hands, he remembered. Gripping at his hand. Cath letting go. He’d thought she’d meant it, and that scared look, almost apology, made no sense. White haze. Hands falling, heart pausing. Not a lie, not yet.

Those same hands were instants away from his. The hairs on his arms didn’t understand. That Bono could be in two times at once. He’d reacted to a time when she’d done nothing terrible in her life (steal a beer, maybe, scratch her assailant’s face, stare into nothing unable to help herself…that was all. But nothing like this.) He swallowed and looked up.

“They want you to give him more blood.”

Just that. No hint of anything else. No warmth, no fear, nothing to make it obvious he’d known her before. Except a memory of other hands.

As she nodded, a couple dots of wet fell free from her face, shaken loose.

They’d been well and interrupted before anything could really happen. He’d taken a step back from himself and seen double. Two versions of himself, split clean down the middle, both accusing him. Realized what he’d done.

“Shit,” looking down at his ring, thinking of Ali, and then Ali outside the broken circle of his body as he lay in his parent’s house, rubbing grass stains from his sleeves into his eyes methodically. Grass smelled like graveyards. She’d been anyone, anyone who could comfort him. But she’d been there. I’m not going to sleep with you, he’d said and realized he was lying.

In the middle of these impressions of past, there was a loud thump from the direction of the hospital bed. Ciarán’s wide eyes and clawing hands stilling.

Tired limp hands now. Bono took one. Barely fit in his. His mind raced with his body earthbound and for now, certain his son was earthbound as well.

Somewhere along the way he’d muddled the two. Ali had been like a mother, Cath had been like a child—and he, childlike too. The two halves of him, raw and seeking, had pressed his face against Ali’s and made him stumble into her arms. What he’d needed was that only. All he’d wanted was for her to say it was alright, because that was what he sought. But the two halves muddled, everything hurt, he’d pulled a fierce aching love out of his chest and replaced it with Ali. Her arms around him in the morning had the same sad grass-stain smell as his sleeves.

And he’d loved her. He did love her. He went through the motions at first until the bright confused torrent filled him after the pause. The body’s seeking and acceptance. You’ve known her you’ve loved her, know her, love her. It was like being out of body. Then coming back into his body again.

He still didn’t know who he was, which one he was, when he held their newborn children, and when for some reason he cried.

His brain backtracked. He was nineteen, Cath was eighteen, he was watching her eyes shift around the room; she was looking very long at a little stack of objects. Some records, some clothing, some scraps of paper. Her picking everything she owned up in her arms with a troubled frown.

I’d heard it. When I wasn’t supposed to. When I’d found that of all places, she was at Ali’s. Outside, she was talking to Ali. She was saying she was going to leave.

He closed his eyes.

“She’s just gone,” his brother had tried on him when their mother died.

“Gone,” Edge had said after Cath’s heart stopped.

How could you do that to me.

Ali had been forgiving darkness. Ali had been easy to understand, everything but approval. Afterwards, he’d looked into her eyes and seen closed suitcases. He’d been calling out to everyone, anyone, and then someone—sometimes the same thing has many faces, and there was some restless spirit he couldn’t reach, and…suitcases.

They’d never said they loved each other. Not outright. Said it in phrases and at weddings. Perhaps for fear of loss. Everytime Ali looked at him she saw Paul, and she’d been scared. His eyes were saying he was going to leave. His body and his soul didn’t mean it, because they clung to her. And, “love you,” he breathed out, a desert sparrow finishing his sentence outside, as it came to him with a sudden clarity that life was a short line that she encompassed. His life as it was now had begun short, in her. There was never any sadness between them, because it was straight and real and almost forgettable.

Not like the heady aching feeling in the rain, clutching a pointed scratched up girl, their fingers bruising each other’s skulls for no reason they could fathom. If her lips were free she would say had to leave. But I’ll find you, you’ll find me. I have to you have to someone has to. They were both so fucked up they fit. It hurt so much and so well that it hurt when she was gone. She looked into his eyes, she avoided mirrors. But when Ali-not-her looked into his eyes she just saw eyes.

Ali could face herself, and the world and she probably couldn’t face this just like Bono couldn’t face this, clutching his son’s skeleton of a hand with the funny short thumbs just like his.

We kept joking when he got into fights we’d have another boy to be better…fuck.

Bono wondered, now that there were two sides and two halves, who he could really turn to for forgiveness. Not himself.

If I’d never met either of them. If I’d closed my locker a second earlier at Mount Temple. If I’d taken a different way back home.

He opened his eyes again and saw Ciarán curled up like an embryo, chest rising and falling.

A doctor came in. Not the first one but the second one, the one who had argued. He uncurled Ciarán and peeled Bono away and Bono watched blood add to his son’s blood. Ciarán winced and gasped. With that, Bono was certain. He hurried out blindly. His hand clutched the telephone to his ear. Gripped it like bone.

“Long distance,” he muttered irritatedly to the operator. “Not Dublin, California…the fuck…no. Ireland.”

Ali sounded exhausted when she picked up the phone. “You alright?” he asked, almost forgetting why he’d called.

“Yeah, I’m just back from—“

He remembered and spoke hurriedly, cutting her off. “Ali, I need you to come over here.”

Silence. “What’s happened.”

“It’s C—it’s—“ He drew a great breath but she cut him off this time.

“California. I know. You told me a dozen times you were going there, you were really excited to see Oisín and Ruth in a couple days after. I don’t see what this has to do with me.” That little confused frown, the one that wasn’t ever angry. He could hear that in her voice.

He could say one of two things. “Ciarán,” he explained.

“You found him? Where? How? I—oh god. What happened?”

“I love you,” Bono responded, then hung up. There was only so long he could speak to her without saying everything.

It was parting words that did it to her. Made her worried.





***

and then he finds Edge in the hallway and they elope together, surprise!

No, but we needed some levity. This chapter made me cry. I'm not sure why.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:44 AM   #2
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'and then he finds Edge in the hallway and they elope together, surprise!'

You can't write that here.....

So seriously - you can't tell what way he's wavering and I think ultimately the decision will not be up to him. And we have no idea if Cath even wants him back. She's been frosty to him as well.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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Muahahahaha.

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Old 12-09-2011, 01:05 PM   #4
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Wwwwooooowwww.

This was deep! *enjoyed every bit*
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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raining angst bucket......

I should use that to tag my stuff.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:18 PM   #6
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Tagging this chapter was fun XD
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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THIS WAS AMAZING. If it was a movie it'd make a hell of a montage... the flipping between past and present and juxtaposition and GAHH

Whatever happens in the next chapter, you must cover everyone's emotions to perfection... I really want to see how everyone deals with what's to come...
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Glad you thought it made sense. It could have been really confusing really easily...

and That's the hardest part! I think I've gotten Ali down though...
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