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Title: Incomplete Without You
Day/Theme: May 8th - I am incomplete and you're only half-alive
Series: The Rockford Files (specifically, The Queen of Peru episode)
Character/Pairing: Ginger Townsend, Lou Trevino
Rating: K+/PG

Will be cross-posted to 100songs.


By Lucky_Ladybug


You are so quiet.

They don’t even know if you’ll be alright. The fight we were forced to participate in against those gits left you with a head injury and a coma. Now you’re just lying there, not moving. Perhaps never moving again.

I hate them. When I saw you lying hurt, I picked up the metal bar you were struck with and went at them with it. Just like all the others, they weren’t expecting me to be a fighter, even though we all did porridge at the same time. I got two of them, but the others ran like the frightened cowards they are. They left me to go back to you and try in vain to wake you up.

I can’t say they didn’t have some cause to feel angry, since we were released early on the condition that we work at the Los Angeles branch of our company while they had to complete their full sentences and haven’t been able to find decent jobs since getting out. Naturally they would feel jealousy or envy. But now it’s back to prison for all of them. Those daft fools.

You threw yourself wholeheartedly into the fight when it became obvious they were not going to leave us be. They knew they had no chance against you if they fought fairly, so one of them came at you from behind and hit you with that bloody bar. You looked so shocked, so surprised, for that brief moment. Then you collapsed. I’m never going to forget that sight.

I always liked you. Did I ever tell you that? I thought I told you, but now that I can’t tell you anything I’m starting to doubt. I hope I told you. Even when I was cold and aloof or complaining about something I thought you did, I cared about you. I think you knew that, though, even if I didn’t tell you. You aren’t an idiot; you wouldn’t have stayed with me all these years if you didn’t know I truly cared. And if you didn’t care in turn.

I don’t like most people; I never have. They’re too intrusive or they’re too daft or they’re too ready to betray those who should be their closest chums and confidantes. But you . . . you were always different. I sensed it from the first time I ever saw you, when we were introduced at the London branch of our company. I knew you were a genuine person, a kind and good person, someone I would enjoy working with. Perhaps, even . . . someone I would like to get to know.

You seemed to feel the same about me. We worked on our shared projects for some time, usually getting along, occasionally arguing but making up, and gradually coming to feel close to each other. When I finally suggested we should be flatmates so we wouldn’t have to keep traveling back and forth between our residences to discuss our projects after work, you were receptive to the idea right away.

I had toyed with it for a long time before I ever said anything. I wanted to draw close to you, to care about you, to even think of you as a friend, but I was afraid. I didn’t want to open my heart and soul again, as I had with Cynthia, only to have it crushed to pieces. Perhaps I was weak, but I didn’t think I could go through that a second time. Had you rejected me, I doubt I would have ever tried again to befriend someone.

But you are not anything like Cynthia. I was finally sure of that, and you continue to prove it every day. Even though we don’t always get along and we have petty arguments sometimes, it doesn’t mean anything. What we have together is stronger than all the ridiculous disagreements we could ever come up with. With you I have what I always wanted from Cynthia, what I gave to her and what she did not return in kind to me.

I have your deep and unconditional love, which I reciprocate.

In this sex-obsessed modern age, there are so many people who wouldn’t understand, who would think that only romantic love could bring two people this close together. They are all nitwits, probably with overactive hormones.

You would laugh if you heard me say that. Maybe you would scold me lightly, but you wouldn’t mean it. You would be more amused than you would let on. And you would know that I was likely right.

They don’t understand that platonic love is every bit as enduring and powerful as romantic love, as long as it’s true. We complement each other and we are always there for each other.

Or at least . . . we always have been.

You are not with me now.

I am not in the habit of talking to unconscious people. I doubt that they can really hear me and I feel idiotic saying anything to them where others might hear me. But if I thought it would help you, I would tell my entire life story out loud and not care in the least who might overhear.

I have tried talking to you sometimes, briefly. If you have heard me, you haven’t reacted.

Did you hear me, Lou? Will you ever hear me again?

Come back to me, Lou. Please. You have scarcely lived. There is so much more for you to see, to do.

Don’t prove that old mantra true. Don’t prove that only the good die young.

Your family would be heartbroken without you. Fight for Michael, for your parents. Fight for yourself and for the life you have yet to live.

And . . . even though it’s selfish . . . please, fight for me as well. I can’t bear to think of the world without you in it. I would go on, of course, but I would never be the same. I would never again be fully happy.

I am incomplete and you are only half-alive.

****

You always were quiet. Not this quiet, though.

They don’t think you’re gonna make it. I could see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. They don’t wanna tell me. I guess they think I can’t handle it. Or who knows, maybe they think there’s still some hope and they don’t wanna say there probably isn’t any.

The car crash wasn’t my fault and I know that, but when I saw you slumped there like that and I couldn’t get you to wake up or even move, I sure felt responsible. But really, it wasn’t me. I know it was that creepy drunk I was trying to miss, and it was the rain pooling all over the street, and it was the fog hanging thick in the air.

That doesn’t help much, though. You’re still lying here, so still and more quiet than you’ve ever been, and there’s no indication that you’re ever gonna come back.

You always were an unusual guy, eccentric and quirky with your polite facades and all the other masks you tried to hide behind. But growing up in New York, I’ve seen all that before. I knew what you were doing the first time I saw you. And even though of course I couldn’t know all the ins and outs of your heart and soul, I saw enough there to know that you were worth getting to know. I saw the good person behind all the masks.

You’ve never even believed me that you’re a good guy. I know some of that’s because of your bad temper and your wild card ways. But somebody really did a number on you too. They made you feel like you’re garbage, and that makes me hate on them without even knowing who they were. I could see behind all the masks so easy. Why couldn’t they? They’ll have a hard time ever finding a friend as loyal as you.

I’ve tried to tell you all those things, and even though you still can’t see the good in you, you know that I believe everything I’m saying. I’m not lying or trying to butter you up; I really love you.

There were times when I thought I was crazy to even be with you. I really thought it when you tried to convince me to go into crime with you. But I ended up being convinced and I ended up enjoying it, like you did. We shouldn’t have done it; I know that now and I knew it then. Even knowing that, though, I don’t regret being with you through all of that. I could never regret having met you.

Ginger . . . why are you lying so quiet, so still? When are you gonna move and come back? It’s so lonely without you. And the longer this goes on, the more I have to worry that maybe the doctors are really right. Maybe you’re not coming back.

You have to, though. I know I get mad sometimes and we have stupid arguments about flooding the car engine or other insignificant things, but that’s nothing. I don’t care if you think I flood the engine or that I need to “use my loaf.” Nothing would make me happier right now than if you woke up and said that.

I had a pretty normal childhood, you know. I hung out with Mike and made friends and had fun at school overall. But none of the friends I made ever really lasted. I tried to hold onto them, but they pulled away from me.

You never did, though. You wanted my friendship more than anything else. That’s why you stuck by me all these years. I know you hate prison and you never wanna go back because of how rotten it was, but that’s not the only reason you gave up lifting jewels. You gave it up so you wouldn’t drag me down again. You knew I wanted to go straight and you respected that.

Sometimes you’ve said that at least if something happened to you, I’d still have Mike and my parents, while you wouldn’t have anybody if something happened to me. That’s true and everything, but that wouldn’t make it easier for me to get over you dying. Even though I have other loved ones besides you, they’re not you. There’s only one you, and losing you would still leave a hole that couldn’t ever be filled by anyone.

Ginger, please . . . please wake up. I miss you so much.

I’m incomplete and you’re only half-alive.

****

Lou started awake. For a moment he lay there in the darkness, staring up at the ceiling and still half-lost in his unpleasant dreams. Then, groaning, he rested a hand on his forehead and rolled onto his side.

He jumped again when his partially-open door opened the rest of the way and Ginger was standing there, his hair going in all directions, the sleep still in his eyes. “Hey, Ginger,” Lou mumbled. “What are you doing up?”

“Just checking on you,” Ginger answered. “I wouldn’t have come in if I hadn’t heard you awake.” He walked in farther. “I was thinking about the first time you were ever seriously hurt.”

Lou grimaced. “I remember. We both got knocked out a couple of times when we were lifting jewels, but we didn’t start getting hurt real bad until that was all past us.”

“Perhaps it’s a pity we didn’t; it might have frightened us into going straight sooner,” Ginger grunted. He sat down in the chair near the bed. “We might not have even ended up in prison that way.”

“I guess that’s possible,” Lou said noncommittally. He pushed himself half-up on an elbow. “But I still kind of wonder if you would’ve ever got more comfortable being open with me if that hadn’t happened to us.”

“I wonder that as well,” Ginger admitted. “But I hate to think it had to be that way for me to trust you that much.”

“In a cell, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do except talk,” Lou said. He smiled, vaguely. “That part of it was nice.”

“That was the only part that was nice,” Ginger growled. “Of course, that was a large part.” He hesitated. “When you were lying there, so bloody well hurt, I didn’t know what to say or do. I didn’t talk to you aloud very much, but I talked a great deal in my thoughts. I already knew that you were the best part of my life, so I’m thankful I wasn’t so daft that it took you almost dying for me to see that. And it wasn’t even the first time I’d been faced with losing you; I was afraid that would happen after the disaster with Michael. But it was the first time I was ever faced with losing you to death, aside from the incident where Vivalene tried to cut our rope ladder, and that was its own private horror.”

“I know.” Lou sat up fully and reached over, laying a hand on Ginger’s shoulder. “I was thinking about when you were hurt in that first car crash we got into.” His grip tightened and his voice thickened. “I really thought I was going to lose you then. It scared me every bit as bad as when I thought I might lose Mike.”

Ginger grasped Lou’s hand. “The thing I remember most clearly about that time was hearing you sobbing.” His voice had lowered. “I only remembered hearing that once before, when you thought Michael might die and it was partially your fault for involving him in the first place.”

Lou nodded. “Both those times, I just felt so helpless.” He smiled a bit. “But both times, everything was okay.”

“And we were all certainly lucky about that,” Ginger declared.

“Yeah.” Lou leaned back with a sigh. “I guess it was on my mind now because of what Florence did to us recently.”

“That’s probably it,” Ginger agreed. “I was definitely thinking about it again tonight. And wishing I had been able to bring her down for good.”

Lou slumped into the pillows. “At least there’s usually a long stretch of time between each attack from her,” he said. “Maybe before she has the chance to try again, the government agents will find and catch her.”

“They haven’t had any luck so far,” Ginger said dryly.

“Her luck’s gotta run out sometime,” Lou said.

“Yes, but will that be before or after ours does?” Ginger returned.

That sobered Lou. Not knowing what else to say, he sank into the pillows and stared up at the ceiling. Finally he replied, “I guess, unless we decide to try to find her ourselves, we’ll just have to hope and pray that her luck will run out first.”

“Apparently so,” Ginger grunted. “Since it would be foolish to go looking for her and encounter her on her turf. What already happens is bad enough.”

“You said it,” Lou shuddered.

Ginger started to get up. “Well, since we’re alright now and it’s getting late, we’d better try to go back to sleep.”

“Yeah.” Lou looked over at him. “Thanks for coming in. Goodnight, Buddy.”

“Goodnight.” Ginger headed for the door.

Lou settled back into the bed with a smile. He remembered how joyous Ginger had been when he had woke up after being hit during that fight against the other ex-convicts. It certainly hadn’t been the first time Ginger had showed how much he cared about Lou, but since he had never come that close to losing him to death before, there had been a light in his eyes that Lou had never previously seen. That had meant a great deal to him. Lou was the only person, aside from Ginger’s parents, that Ginger had been that happy to see before.

Likewise, that first time Ginger had been seriously hurt had been horrible, but when he had awakened and Lou had known he would be alright, he had felt such elation and joy as he never before had. Ginger meant the world to him, even though Ginger wasn’t the only person Lou loved. And, Lou knew, Ginger knew that now. Neither could feel complete without the other.

He slipped to sleep, happy that it wasn’t only romance that created such strong feelings and bonds between loved ones.

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