A/N: So I heard this Ani DiFranco song called "As Is" and how do you not like a song with the lyrics:
just give up
and admit you're an asshole
you would be
in some good company
Yeah, I know. Good stuff.
Summary: Why do I torture myself with gorilla-retarded-monkey fic? For Dev. Merry Christmas. Youngers and Billy celebrate the Red Sox WS championship.
“When you gonna leave your wife?”
“When the Sox win it all.”
He never thought it was cruel, the way the words fell out of Billy’s mouth. Hard and clunky, clattering to the floor. It was the way Billy was since he was a teenager: his body two sizes too big, his lanky arms crashing into his mom’s favorite vase or bowl. He’d since grown accustomed to his body, but he’d never lost that knack for accidentally breaking things. Still a little rough around the edges, especially the mouth, but even when he was cruel, he was honest so it was always a little hard to be angry with him. Sometimes it hurt, the things Billy said, but his heart was always in the right place.
It just took his brain a little longer to catch up.
Scott was from Boston, and so was his dad and his grandpa and his great grandpa and as far back as he could remember. He and Billy had both gone to Boston for school, though they’d chosen the opposite colleges: he at BU and Billy at BC. Scott had a fierce loyalty to his alma mater; Billy loved that town. If you cut the two of them open, they’d bleed Boston. It was in their blood, flowing hard and fast through their hearts.
Billy had always been the bigger baseball fan, but it was hard to grow up in Massachusetts and not fall desperately, tragically in love with the Red Sox. So Scott’s stupid love affair with the Sox always rivaled Billy’s.
So the first time Billy uttered those words--when the Sox win it all--it was like a punch to the gut, and it took Scott a moment before he realized Billy was just being Billy, and he hadn’t meant it that way. It wasn’t blasé rhetoric; it wasn’t when hell freezes over. Because each year he and Billy believed with all their hearts that this would be the year--the year the Sox would win it all. Inevitably, they were crushed each year, but that hope was always real, that win so close, so tangible they could almost taste it, bite it, swallow it down. And Billy wouldn’t joke around like that. He’d never joke about something as precious, as fragile, as important as that.
It was simply, the plainest, most honest way to express how he felt.
Billy didn’t know when he’d leave his wife. He didn’t know even if he could. He didn’t know if it was possible for this to continue if he didn’t. All he knew, and all he wanted to know, was the way his head felt resting in the crook of Scott’s neck.
Winning the World Series wasn’t a simple feat; Scott and Billy both knew that. They watched their team struggle for those four wins. They knew what it was like to struggle for those four wins, too. And Billy knew that this situation was more complex than just leaving his wife.
For once in his life, Billy wasn’t being literal.
But then the Sox actually did win, and Scott called him about a promise.
It might happen like this: Scott phones Billy and the answering machines picks up. Scott’s voice breaks mid-way and he can barely finish, “… they really did it, Bill.”
His heart will break a week later when Billy recounts in an interview the way it felt to watch the Red Sox finally win it, surrounded by the people he loves, the people who understand what it means to him for the Sox to find that elusive win.
It could happen like this: Scott phones Billy and reminds him of that long ago promise. A promise made when he was in a bind, right after mind blowing sex, saying anything to get Scott to shut up so he could sleep, Billy reminds him, gently. As gently as a bull knocks over merchandise in a china shop.
Scott hurls insults faster than Pedro throws balls, and Billy takes it, because he’s been waiting for this. A sixth sense, the reason he knows where to be to receive an open pass.
Billy’s wife will be on the extension. She’ll file for divorce within a week.
It should happen like this: Scott phones Billy and tells him to meet at their spot. Their spot is a ratty hotel, on the wrong side of town. Wallpaper curling and room smelling of sweat, and maybe piss, and a place that they’re both entirely too old for. Age has changed their standards, and Scott always has to fight the reflex not to gag, but he’d never puke in front of Billy. At least not while sober. It’s a battle of wills, and each pretends they’re okay; they even like their surroundings, thinking about maybe buying the place, making it into a summer cottage or something. They’re both fucking liars, but lying has become so natural over the year that it’s easy to keep up the charade even around each other.
Scott falls into Billy. He lets Billy lead him to the bed, and later, while they try to watch cartoons on TV, Billy holds him tight, remembering every promise, but one in particular, whispering, “I’d leave her for you in an instant.” But the kids, the kids, that silent half of the sentence reverberating in the back of Scott’s head, and he lets it sit there, sinking in slowly. His body sinking too, into the broken, run down bed, and he absorbs every scent, takes photographs of the ugly wallpaper, carpet worn thin, dirty windows with his mind because he’s decided this will be the last time.
Scott will kiss Billy and it’ll be sweeter because the Sox have won the World Series.
It happened like this: Scott phoned Billy, and they cried.
Their families had one last barbecue in the park. Colder, and strange so late in the year, because they were supposed to be skating and playing already. The wind cut through Scott’s coat, and he wished he was in Boston, wished he could see the medley of colored leaves decorating the sidewalks. A kind of longing for the scenery of some of his fondest memories: orange and red, like fire dancing in the boughs lining the park, the river nearby that they’d skate on during the winter. Where he and his teammates would woo their girlfriends and future wives, and use the cold as an excuse to get close.
Wished he was far from here, maybe 1985, when Boston was all he knew and all he wanted to know, and the only thing he wished for besides playing pro-hockey was for the Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots to win it all in the same year. He’d always been a big dreamer.
The kids ate hot dogs and Scott kept looking around for the peanuts and cotton candy.
Later, Scott and Billy lay in bed, because Scott’s wife was out of town, and stared at the ceiling, anything but each other. Things weren’t more awkward, they were just maybe still in awe that this was happening. They’d always thought about it, but more in an abstract way. Sure, when they were kids, they’d had the celebration planned out to the minutest detail, and their dads had promised them all new equipment--brand new skates, top of the line sticks. Through the years, though, the part after became a bit more hazy. Mostly because for so long they’d told each other that it didn’t matter; the sole focus had been on the final win. Thinking beyond that was inconceivable.
And now, after so long, after so many tales from their fathers and grandfathers, it was too surreal to comprehend. Absolute bliss and their heads had exploded.
Billy shifted in bed, sending small shockwaves though the mattress. Crashing into Scott, and he thought about all the things Billy could say right now and ruin everything. He hoped Billy wouldn’t open his mouth and say something stupid. Something that they both knew would be a lie. There’d been a moment, the first time, the morning after Billy’d first said it where things had been awkward. Where Billy had been a little too smooth, rehearsed, and his words soft without their usual careless edges. Reckless and negligent with his words, and all the usual markers of honesty strangely absent that morning when Billy reeled off everything he thought Scott wanted to hear. Trying to make this more than it was, when Scott was content as is, and never really meant his question to be taken as anything more than a joke, but maybe things had changed, maybe it was relevant, maybe that’s why he still prodded, maybe that’s why the two of them smiled too wide at Billy’s automatic reply. Unconscious now, and a reply for all occasions, everything ending with World Series.
Just admit that you can’t give me what I want, Scott thought. What I might not even want. As inconceivable as the party after the win, Scott couldn’t even begin to imagine life without the limits and restrictions they’d created and learned to live with. Would their relationship, would they even be the same if one thing changed? Was it that impressionable, or had they just grown too dependent on the things that kept them grounded in their quasi, not quite real, relationship.
If Billy spoke, it might have made things a little less real. Maybe it would have made concrete the wants and hopes Scott had never much paid attention to. Maybe it would have made Scott question his contentment. Scott, without illusions, and content to take it as is.
Scott closed his eyes, praying for Billy not to open his mouth, not to change this. Not to try.
He winced internally when he heard Billy lick his lips, take a breath. Don’t say it, don’t don’t don’t. Pleading, imperceptibly, and Billy’s hand so close to his he could feel the heat rising off his skin. This was, maybe, the only moment Scott wasn’t happy the Sox had won it all. Don’t don’t don’t, squeezing his eyes as tight as possible, and waiting for Billy’s clunky, thoughtless words. I’m leaving my wife. I can’t leave my wife. Scott, I just can’t. I love you, Scott.
“So now I’m supposed to leave my wife, right?”
Scott laughed. More perfect than “when they win it all,” and he rolled into Billy’s chest, and he laughed.
Billy would, of course, leave the decision up to him. First the baseball gods, and now him.
Scott just laughed, kissing Billy’s collarbone and content as is, in bed, with Billy, and the Sox as reigning champions.
There had been too many questions, Scott thought, after the game. What does this mean to the city of Boston? What does this mean to all the Boston fans? Too many questions and so much analysis, and Scott thought:
Just let them enjoy the moment.
inspired by the would've could've should'ves of miss windy. Bright/Ephram Everwood ficcage. HELL YEAH.