[Master Post – Glass]
Title: Shiny in a Certain Light
Fandom: Viridian Legacy: Glass
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D0)
Warnings: Expletives, arguments, consensual violence
Notes:Yeah, it's going to happen. I'm working up to it. Hell, this whole book is working up to it.
Evan lay on his futon, game controller in one hand and a beer in the other. Like any other day, he told himself, except this one, he'd just broken up with another girl. More accurately, she'd broken up with him. Nothing he'd done, really, not so much as who and what he was. She couldn't handle that he was a rock star, or that he was a drunk. It wasn't even that he was a mean drunk, because he really wasn't. He just tried not to talk to people before the first beer of the day. It wasn't like other people weren't like that with their coffee. It wasn't like Severen wasn't a complete headcase before his tea, in the morning.
And maybe that was it. It wasn't that he was a drunk or that he was a rock star. It was that he was a headcase. It was that he just couldn't ever quite relax, no matter how laid back he looked. Sev looked uptight; it was just part of him, always. There was no way anyone could ever mistake Sev for being relaxed. But, Evan tried harder. He'd worked until the flinch, every time someone touched him, unexpectedly, turned into a sly smile, until he could sprawl across the furniture, no matter where they were, and look like he owned the place. He worked at seeming flippant, presumptuous, and lazy; unflappably jaded, dissolute. He did his damnedest to look like just another rock and roll stereotype.
Fucking Baron. The kid didn't have to try. He really was a rock and roll stereotype: reckless, coked up, and easy. Evan had never really believed half the stories he'd heard about trashed hotel rooms and leagues of fans with the same strains of the same STDs, not until he was in a band with Baron. Then it was all terrifyingly real, and, somehow, still funny as hell. Baron never really hurt anybody, and he always paid for anything he broke. No arguments. He knew when he screwed up, and he cleaned up after himself. That was somethng Evan could really respect. That and the few times Baron had bailed him out of his own drunken stupidity, the few times he'd gotten supremely, maliciously trashed, at company parties. He hated those things. It was almost enough to make him wonder why he'd gotten into a band, instead of hanging on to his job at the gas station. Almost. The ridiculous amout of money was a great reason, most days, even if he was still living in the same place he had been, before. He just couldn't be bothered to move. The neighbours were all college kids, so they were loud and obnoxious, and nobody could be bothered to call the cops on a loud party. Nobody stole from their neighbours, the crime rate was pretty low, and nobody looked at him funny for the way he dressed. Not around here. It was safe.
But he couldn't keep a girl near him. Some of them didn't like that he lived in a slum (a very nice slum, but no less a slum), others didn't like his drinking, others couldn't handle that he was away half the year and hell no, they couldn't come with him. There were the ones who couldn't cope with him cutting himself open. Some just couldn't reconcile the rest of him with the idea that he was a masochist, not that many of them got far enough to know that. And most of them hated that he did suspension and flogging shows with Liz, in the off season. Weirdly, the kinky ones hated that the most, probably because he wouldn't let them get away with half the things in private that he trusted Liz to do to him in public.
And that was something else. He refused to get into a relationship with any girl who couldn't stand Liz. It was a violation of some really basic principles to try: you don't date someone who hates your sister, no matter how bizarely kinky and incestuous your relationship with that sister is. And no matter how much he loved Liz, how much he wanted her, on some level, he still thought of her as his sister. She was the only person he even still spoke to, from when they were kids. Liz had a few other people she still had phone numbers for, but they were never at the house, as far as he could tell.
Probably for the best, really. Everyone had expected him to marry Liz, and here they were, twenty-some years later, neither of them married to anyone, treating each other like favourite siblings. It wasn't something he wanted to talk about. He spent a lot of time thinking about it, though. He shivered thinking of how very good it was that he didn't scar much, and that cost him the fight, onscreen.
Cursing, he tossed the controller aside and finished his beer, in one long swallow. He rolled onto his back, tossing his hair out of the way, not to lay on it. Why couldn't he have been Mike, he asked himself, Mike was so uncomplicated. On the other hand, Mike was also missing out on the outstanding complexities of the perfect ache. Evan's fingers traced a nearly-invisible line on his chest, an almost faded scar from where Liz had taken a strip of skin off him with a metal lash. Metal was so different from bamboo or leather or birch, but in Liz's hands, he loved them all. That one, he'd thought she'd broken his rib, at the time. Well, not at the time. A few seconds later, after his eyes rolled back down out of his head, once the orgasmic keening stopped and he could feel his toes again, then he thought she'd broken his rib. He also thought there was nothing in the world he wanted more than for Liz to kiss him, but she didn't. She also hadn't broken his rib. It was a hell of a bruise, though, around the open skin, down into where she'd crossed his rib with the lash. He'd twisted into it just wrong, but that happened, sometimes, when she was behind him. She took it as a cue to take him down, and he was never sure whether he was grateful or disappointed. Probably grateful. He could still remember how much it had hurt to breathe. It was probably the right decision, however much he might have wanted just a little more, anywhere other than there.
That seemed to be one of those things about Liz; however much he had of her, he always wanted just a little bit more. But, there was a limit to that, he was pretty sure. He didn't think he'd care so much what or who else she was doing, if he was on the list. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe he'd get possessive, but he'd never really been possessive, before. And that lost him a few more girls. He could manage protective, even if he was horrible at it, but never possessive. Girls were like cats, as best he could tell. You didn't own them; you just pet them when they wanted it and let them sleep in your lap, and they pretty much took care of themselves. If they got into a fight with the neighbour's dog, you hit the dog on the nose with a newspaper, and rescued them. He hadn't gotten any better at fighting, over the years, but he'd gotten a whole hell of a lot stronger, so it mattered a little less. Baron was right. You didn't pick a fight with the drummer — anybody's drummer, ever.
But, none of this got him Liz. She'd never gone away, of course. Always been there, except in a few really critically awful moments, when she'd told him to go fuck himself. Probably his own fault, anyway. But, after a few really incredible weeks, when they were sixteen, she just got bored with him. They never really broke up; she just stopped saying yes, and after a while, he stopped asking. But, he was always there. They were always together, in public. A really exceptional number of people honestly believed they were related, probably because he was tastefully smug to her and she was brutally rude to him. They'd worked on that act. It was almost as good as the one where some unfortunate guy would come up to compliment him on his date, and they'd spend a few minutes discussing her beauty and talents, before telling the guy she was his sister and walking off, without another word. She was so practical and he was really kind of boring, but together, they were theatrics incarnate — always a good show.
But, that's all they were: a good show. Real wasn't for other people. It was him drinking beer on the couch, and complaining about the crowds in Prague. It was her, in a t-shirt, eating brownies and shouting at the company accountant about whatever stupid investment he'd made, with their money, without her approval. And what the hell was that with her and Paul, anyway? He couldn't manage money to save his life, and he was awful at parties. She spent half the time they were together yelling at him, usually something about being crass or bad investments.
Maybe next time, he'd ask again. It had been a few years. Maybe next time, she'd say yes. On the other hand, maybe next time, she'd cut him off, entirely, but after all these years that was a lot less likely.