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For yuletide, I was assigned postingwhore. Among other things, she requested a fic regarding Elaine Marie Alphin's Simon Says. Which I had not read, but somehow intrigued me more than the fandom I could write. So. Here it is. *g*

Title: Rain Lyrics
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Simon Says
Ships: Graeme/Charles, Charles/Adrian
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: There is not beauty out of loss.
Notes: Spoilers for the book. Duh.

i. I listen to the rhythm of unhappy pleasure
one year ago

Adrian runs into Graeme after a performance of The Magic Flute. He's on the way to the orchestra's after-party, and he's so caught up in remembering the last tenor's solo, he doesn't see his human obstacle until it's too late.

Graeme falls backward when they impact, and Adrian lurches forward to catch his arm, steady him before either of them hit pavement. He manages to catch Graeme by the elbows, yanks him close as they both stumble.

"Sorry," he gasps out, and that's when he recognizes Graeme. "Sorry," he says again.

Graeme smiles, a brilliant flash of teeth and charisma. "Think nothing of it," he says. His hands are warm against Adrian's chest, where they'd landed in the aftermath of the collision. "I'm--"

"I know," Adrian interrupts. "The golden boy, Whitman's own pride and joy, the hope of every generation to come." He lets the corner of his mouth quirk, softens the remark to a tease.

"Graeme is usually easier to remember." He steps back, and the night air is suddenly cool, instead of brisk. "Adrian, right? I've been to one of your concerts, I think."

Adrian sketches a bow, and smiles again. "It's been a pleasure, but I really must be off."

Before he can continue on his way, however, Graeme catches him by the wrist. "Or."

Adrian lets himself get pulled closer, and raises an eyebrow at Graeme's expression. "Or?"

Graeme pulls him closer still, and Adrian blinks.

And steps back.

Graeme's hand tightens around his arm, then he lets go.

Adrian considers a number of apologies, but rejects them all. "In any case," he blurts instead, "I'm expected somewhere else."

"Of course," Graeme replies, and there isn't anything in his smile but understanding. "Perhaps some other time."

"Perhaps." Adrian chuckles, and turns his back.

He can feel Graeme watch him as he walks away.

ii. I don't want absence to be this beautiful
one month ago

Charles doesn't receive visitors, even now, in his studio, so when Graeme appears at the door, it comes as a surprise.

It's raining outside, Charles realizes, because Graeme's hair is dripping wet, and he's shivering. "You're cold," he says, and casts about the studio for a blanket he remembers seeing, back when the paintings were first trucked in. It's in the corner, huddled by the turpentine, and he snatches it up, gestures for Graeme to shed the clammy sweater he's wearing.

Graeme strips it off as he pulls the door shut, and he smiles at Charles as if it hasn't been several weeks since they've spoken. "I thought I'd make sure you haven't atrophied since I've been gone."

"Right." Charles laughs, and he's surprised at how rough it feels in his throat. He eyes Graeme's frame, thinks he's leaner than before. "I could say the same about you."

Graeme laughs as well, and it becomes an awkward cough. He leans against the wall and his eyes burn as he looks at Charles. "How are you?" he asks, and it sounds like more than a question.

Charles looks away, at the half-dried palette leaning against the wall. He'd been trying to find a precise shade of blue, but it hasn't even come close yet, he realizes.

"How's the sequel?" he replies, instead, and Graeme pushes off the wall, draws closer to him. "Graeme?"

Graeme's smiling, and he reaches out, cups Charles' face in his hand.

Charles is holding his breath, focused entirely on the Graeme's thumb, stroking cool circles against his jaw.

"I wanted to see you," Graeme says, "before."

Before what? Charles thinks, but Graeme kisses him before he can ask.

iii. A soft catch of its song whirrs in my throat
two months from today

Adrian lopes up the stairs to Charles' studio, skipping every third step. It's a familiar route by now, as is the sound of Charles at work.

Before he enters, Adrian pauses when he recognizes the sonata pouring out of the studio. He didn't expect this, when he gave Charles the recording of his last concert, but those are his chords, his arrangement. It warms him, a steady outpouring that reveals itself in a smile.

Charles pokes his head out of the studio. "Adrian?" There's a smudge of vermillion, high on his cheek.

Adrian strolls into the room after Charles, whistles a quick trill at the latest work. It's only a splash of black, three shades of red, but even those few, bold strokes are impressive.

"You still haven't picked yours," Charles reminds him.

Adrian laughs, and runs a hand through his hair. "How can I choose one, from such riches?" he asks.

Charles flicks his brush at him, and rusty water splatters against Adrian's worn T-shirt.

Adrian squawks, swings out to bat the brush out of Charles' hand. Quickly, however, Charles catches his wrist, and for a long moment, they both freeze.

Adrian waits for Charles to release him, to step back and establish the boundaries that have meant so much to him.

Instead, Charles smiles, and lets the brush fall. When Charles tugs on his wrist, drawing them together, Adrian retreats, instead. "Charles," he says, and he watches him closely. There isn't even a tremor of doubt on his face.

"Whatever you want," Charles responds, and gestures around the room. "There's always more."

Adrian smiles, because there's also a smear of green on the back of Charles' arm. "A renewable resource?" he jokes. There's a crescendo in the background, and the cello solo begins. "You're too generous."

And suddenly, Charles is serious, eyes bright, and his hand against Adrian's arm again. "No," he says, "I'm not."

Adrian catches his breath, and there's barely that much space between them. "Charles," he starts again. "I don't--" He stutters to a halt. Considers his wording. "I don't want gratitude."

Charles shakes his head. "It's not that." Then a corner of his mouth quirks. "Not much of that, anyway." He inclines his head, and their lips brush.

Then again, and a third time, and then Adrian opens his eyes.

"When it's not that at all," he says, and when disappointment flickers across Charles' face, Adrian bites his lip. "When it's not that at all," he repeats, "then, maybe."

"Then," Charles states, and it's a steady promise.

Adrian grins, and looks at the painting in progress. "Maybe."

And it's enough.


A/N: Title, summary, and headings adapted from Denise Riley's A Misremembered Lyric.

Originally archived here and linked here.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
I saw this fic recced and thus sought out the book so I could read said fic. By the time I finished the book I'd almost forgotten why I'd gotten it from the library, and I thank you for causing me to read the book.

> "I wanted to see you," Graeme says, "before."
> Before what? Charles thinks, but Graeme kisses him before he can ask.

Oh, ouch. Adds to all the poignancy of might-have-beens that's already in the book.

And then the rebirth/life continuing of the third part, with Charles playing Adrian's music in his studio -- which feels so true to the possibilities in the end of the novel -- and just the fact of him leaving the door open.

And the little details like "Adrian waits for Charles to release him, to step back and establish the boundaries that have meant so much to him."

And the whole closing, about gratitude, is so perfect.
Mar. 1st, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Wow, really? I'm thrilled you read it, and honored you picked it up on this prompting. To be honest, I never would have read it myself, if my assigned person hadn't made it one of the requests. It really is a fascinating book, and I'm glad you think this works as part of the universe.

Thank you so much!
Mar. 2nd, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Well to be completely honest, initially I checked it out to see if it was the Simon Says YA suspense novel I had read years ago. It wasn't, but I got intrigued anyway.
Oct. 3rd, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
Is werid to see fanfiction for one of you faverite books but I kind off wish this would of happened in the book but too bad Gray dead. *sulks in a corner*
Oct. 9th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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