Chapter: Twenty-Six (FINAL)
Word Count: 4735
Summary: After coming out of the closet to his friends in Canada and getting disowned by them, Pierre Bouvier moves to a hick town in the states to escape. Life is dull and grim for the twenty-one year old Canadian until he meets David Desrosiers, a young man who could change it all for the better.
Disclaimer: Don't know, don't own, didn't happen!
Author's Note: Here it is, the final chapter. Thanks so much to everyone that followed this from start, to sticky middle, all the way up to the bitter end. I hope this final chapter brings some closure to this fic, it's what I tried for! ♥ Sid
It was amazing how after a few hours of staring at the ceiling, the image in his eyes began to move, as if the ceiling itself was shifting, changing, creating new patterns in the texture as if it wasn't a solid, unmoving object, but some sort of psychedelic picture show. How long had David been laying in bed, flat on his back, unmoving and unblinking as he stared absentmindedly upward? He couldn't tell himself how long he had been laying in bed, just like he had no idea how many days had passed since he'd been forced to come stay with Sebastien and Patrick in Canada. The only thing David knew for sure was that everything in his life had changed. He no longer smiled. He no longer laughed. Hell, most days David didn't utter a single word—not a “good morning,” an “I'm hungry,” or even a desperate “I miss Pierre.” Pierre. When was the last time David had let himself say that name? If he allowed himself to think about it, David knew exactly the last time he had spoken his boyfriend's name and the memory of it ate at him day in and day out. “I love you too, Pierre.” David didn't think he would ever say the man's name again.
It seemed that all David did anymore was stare into space. He was constantly lost in thought, and though he surely could have thought of a million things in all the time he was day-dreaming, all he could think about was the last time he had seen Pierre, smiling and healthy from across the street, telling David he couldn't come see him, giving into David's wishes and making his way to the street, slipping and sliding as he crossed the icy road, coming to an untimely stop in front of the car that had been traveling way too fast... and then just like that, he was gone. David could still taste the blood on Pierre's lips if he thought about it. He could still feel how weakly Pierre kissed him back, or the way he placed his hand over David's, as if reassuring him that he would be okay, that he wasn't upset, that he wanted David to keep living without him. Maybe Pierre hadn't meant any of those things by the way he'd held David's hand but David allowed himself to believe it just the same. He needed to feel that Pierre had forgiven him, that wherever Pierre was he was watching over David and wishing for him to go on alone; it was a desperate attempt to keep the guilt of killing his boyfriend from crushing David alive.
This was a belief that David had never spoken out loud, something that he had never admitted: it was his fault that Pierre was dead. How was he supposed to look into Sebastien's devastated eyes and tell the man that he was the one responsible for his best friend's death? How could he accept the man's comfort when he knew that if it wasn't for him, Pierre would still be standing there, probably telling some lame joke or brightening the entire room by simply being himself? There was such a light that Pierre gave off, a glowing warmth that affected everyone around him. Without him there, the world felt like a much darker place for everyone that knew and loved him. David didn't think that he would ever admit to extinguishing that light.
When David felt a weight on the edge of the bed, he blinked himself out of his trance and looked to the side, expecting to see Sebastien coming to check on him, as the man often did, or maybe even Patrick. He had not, however, expected what he did see. It took him a moment to register those chocolatey eyes and that shaggy brown hair, as if David had forgotten what he had looked like. With a gasp, David sat straight up in bed, jumping back in fright so his back was pressed against the wall as he stared at the man who couldn't have possibly been sitting there, smiling so lovingly at him, whole and untarnished. He wanted to speak, he wanted to ask if Pierre was real, but all he could do was stare open mouthed as tears streamed readily from his wide hazel eyes. Incredulously, Pierre gave a chuckle and shook his head in an adoring manner. Not for a second did David's mingled fear, shock and exhilaration die down.
“What's wrong?” Pierre asked suddenly, putting his hands on his chest and looking down, as if trying to get a decent glimpse of himself. “I didn't come back as a zombie, did I? Or worse!” Pierre continued, gasping and looking up as if truly terrified. “Am I ugly now?” he practically whispered the words, though a smile cracked on his flawless lips a few short seconds later.
David didn't know if he should trust his eyes or even his mind, for that matter. Had it finally happened? Had he finally gone crazy? Or maybe he had simply died of heart ache and Pierre was there to usher him into the next life. Either way, David couldn't tear his eyes away from the one person he'd been wanting to see more than anyone else in the world; he was just as beautiful as David remembered, if not more flawlessly so.
Pierre sighed and gave a weak smile. “Come on, David...” he pleaded gently, and slowly he reached his hand forward and placed it against David's cheek. David watched as his hand approached, surprised slightly by how warm and present it felt against his skin. What had he been expecting? For Pierre to feel cold? For his hand to move right through David's body like a ghost? That touch was all he needed to know this was Pierre, his Pierre, the real Pierre, whether he was alive or not. Within seconds, he was lunging forward, climbing on his boyfriend's lap, wrapping his arms around Pierre's neck, tangling his fingers in his hair, sobbing into his neck. Pierre's strong arms wrapped around David's body and David was reminded of every time Pierre had ever held him like this; he felt safer now in the arms of a dead man than he had ever felt in his life.
“I'm so fucking sorry,” David breathed in a weak sob, though Pierre still seemed to understand him.
“It's not your fault,” Pierre's voice came, sounding calm and warm; the sound was reassuring to David's ears.
David wanted to shout down Pierre's words, wanted to argue that he knew it was his fault, but he couldn't find it in himself to ruin this perfect moment, afraid that it would end before he was ready for it to... though would he ever be ready? “I love you so fucking much, Pierre, please don't leave me again,” David continued desperately. He kept his eyes closed and breathed in, overwhelmed slightly with how strong the other man's scent was; it was real, he was really there holding him, David knew it.
“I can't stay,” Pierre told him sadly. David only cried harder.
“B-but you p-promised!” David sobbed, clinging tighter to Pierre and burying his face deeper in his neck. “You promised y-you would a-always hold me l-like this! Remember?! Y-you promised!”
“David... please calm down,” Pierre requested quietly, and though David was holding on with all of his might, it was as if his arms merely melted away from Pierre's body as the older man pulled him back. “Open your eyes,” he instructed, his voice measured and gentle. David shook his head and cried harder, reaching his hands blindly forward to try and reach any part of Pierre that he could, though when he did, nothing felt right. Still, Pierre's voice was loud in his ears, as if he was speaking directly into them both simultaneously. “Open your eyes,” Pierre told him again, though David only shook his head again and held his eyes tightly shut. There was a long moment of silence, punctured only by the sound of Pierre's sad sigh. “David... Open your eyes.”
David's eyes snapped open and he stared into darkness, his body rigid as he laid on his back, his arms tucked straight at his sides. He jumped up, looking quickly around the empty bedroom for any sign of Pierre, any sign that the other man had actually been there, that the encounter had actually occurred. With a crashing feeling in the pit of his stomach, David realized that he'd dreamed of Pierre again, dreamed that same dream he had been having every night since the man died. Desperation brought David standing, looking under the bed, opening the closet, pushing the clothes that were hanging up aside. It had felt so real—Pierre's scent, his presence, his touch. He had to be there somewhere.
After a moment of searching, David's body came to a stop and he just stared at the bed, imagining Pierre there, hating himself for believing that the dream could have been anything more than it was. He closed his eyes and dropped to his knees, his head hanging and his body shaking as he began to sob in earnest. He felt every last ounce of strength he had draining from him and he fell to the floor, his body curled into himself as he cried in earnest. Every sob came out like a scream, every cry sounded as if he was in pure agony. David wrapped his arms around his head and dug his fingers in his hair, bringing his knees tighter to his chest as he pulled on his hair, willing the devastation to go away, for the pain to just stop. He wanted to die. He wanted to sink into the floor and stop existing. How would he go on in a world without Pierre? In a world where he had killed Pierre? David did the only thing he could do in that moment: sobbed as if he had lost every reason he'd ever had to live.
He didn't stop when the door opened, or the light flicked on, or even when he felt his body rising in the air by the support of two sets of hands. David didn't bother to embrace Sebastien or Patrick as they carried him, nor did he think to make their job easier by repositioning himself to be more easily carried. He simply stayed as he was, curled in a ball, hands in his hair, face covered by his arms as he screamed in pain with tears streaming down his soaked cheeks. Carefully, Sebatien and Patrick lowered David into the middle of their bed and laid down on either side of him. Sebastien's hands worked to pull David's hands from his hair while Patrick forced David's legs down straight and pulled the blankets over the three of them. Still, David didn't notice what was happening around him, too lost in his own world of grief to feel the shaking bodies on either side of him or to hear Patrick's ragged breaths and Sebastien's stifled sobs. And though the two men wrapped around David and cuddled against him, David didn't glean even a second of satisfaction from their affection. They weren't what was going to make things better. They weren't the love of his life. They weren't Pierre. Slowly the three drifted to sleep, Sebastien and Patrick cuddled around David body, just as they had every night since Pierre's death, hoping desperately that it would get easier, though of course, it never did.
And every morning waking up and having to remind himself that Pierre was gone was just as hard as the previous had been. When would it start getting easier? When would each day stop feeling like the end of the world? When would he stop feeling like everything was lost and there was no point in going on? As David stood in front of the mirror, his face devoid of emotion while he absentmindedly brushed his hair, he knew that that day sure as Hell wasn't the day things would start to feel right again. How could it be? It was time to say goodbye, time to put Pierre to rest... The day of Pierre's funeral had finally arrived.
David felt strangely under-dressed as he stepped out of the house wearing a pair of black skinny jeans, a white v-neck t-shirt, light grey hoodie and heavy black winter coat, though with Sebastien next to him in a casual plaid button up, blue jeans and a jacket and Patrick wearing a dark blue button up, dark jeans, a winter coat and a scarf, David felt a little less out of place. “When we were teenagers, Pierre told me if I let him be buried in a suit, he'd haunt me,” Sebastien had reminisced with a teary laugh several days before when they had all been sitting down with Pierre's parents to plan the funeral. David alone hadn't laughed at the anecdote. No formal wear, that was the one rule, Pierre's only real request whenever talking about his future-funeral... How was he supposed to know it would come so quickly in his life? Still, as people began to file into the cemetery, no one had defied his wishes, but David hardly realized as people began to show up. From the moment he got to Pierre's coffin, his eyes had been stuck on his lifeless boyfriend's form, looking so pale yet peaceful at the same time; David thought Pierre looked breath-takingly beautiful, even in death.
What would he have given to lay down with Pierre one more time? What price would he have paid to crawl into the coffin, wrap himself around Pierre's body, close the lid and be buried alive with the man? He couldn't think of another way he would rather die than being held in Pierre's arms for eternity, just as the man promised he would always do. He could imagine it as he stood there staring at Pierre, imagine his breaths slowing as his oxygen supply dwindled, imagine himself falling into a gentle slumber, imagine himself dying in his rightful place. Really, as long as he didn't get claustrophobic and panic, it would be a rather peaceful way to die, and then he wouldn't have to feel this pain anymore, or know what it was like to live without the love of his life. David had never believed in an afterlife, but Pierre did... Were Pierre's beliefs strong enough to carry the both of them through onto whatever was next? David wanted to believe so, he wanted to believe that if he climbed into that coffin and closed the lid, that he would go on with him, that he would be reunited with Pierre in death. If nothing else, at least he wouldn't have to live every day knowing that he had killed the man that he had planned to spend the rest of his life with.
David hadn't realized he had started crying until he felt a hand gently wiping his tears away and he jumped slightly, pulling his eyes from Pierre's sleeping face and looking around. Patrick wrapped an arm around David's shoulders and pulled him closer, resting his head sideways against David's while Sebastien continued to wipe away his tears. How were they doing it? How were Sebastien and Patrick surviving? Sebastien's bright blue eyes shone with unshed tears but he still offered a weak smile, as if he was telling David that everything would be okay, that all wasn't lost, that someday he would feel happiness again, even if it seemed impossible. David wanted to reject his comfort. He wanted to push Patrick away, push Sebastien away, scream in their faces that nothing would ever be okay again, but was far too weak to do it. Instead he just stood there, not embracing either of them in return but not moving away from them, either. His eyes moved back to Pierre and his tears began to fall faster. He felt so lost without Pierre... how could things ever be okay again?
Soon David's eyes were drawn to two people who were approaching, Pierre's father and uncle. Both men embraced David as if he was truly family, hugging him tightly and speaking words of comfort to him, perhaps expecting similar words in return but David was in no place mentally to give them. He noticed Pierre's mother standing several feet away with her arms crossed and a harsh glare on her face. She was staring at David as if she would have liked to rip him to pieces, a wild look of fury and devastation in her eyes. Pierre's father turned and looked at her, motioning for her to walk over, but she shook her head and continued to glare at David, making David feel as if he was three inches tall. His body retreated slightly without him thinking about it, pressing harder into Patrick's arm which had been placed supportively around him again as soon as Martin and Pierre's dad had finished with their hugs.
“That's enough, you're being ridiculous,” Pierre's dad whispered harshly. David wanted to tell him it was okay, that she had every right to be treating him this way, but nothing could have made his voice work in that moment.
“If it wasn't for him, our son would still be alive!” Pierre's mom whispered back quickly, tears spilling from her dark brown eyes.
Several things happened at once when those words hit the air: Patrick pulled David closer to him, Sebastien, Martin and Pierre's dad all yelled words of protest and David lost that battle with himself not to fall apart. So someone knew the truth. Pierre's mom knew that it was David's fault Pierre was gone. Feeling his desperate sobs, Patrick wrapped both arms around David and held a hand to the back of his head, glaring hard at Pierre's mom.
“I told him it was ridiculous to run away,” she went on, not caring about the scene she had caused. “I told him he should have stayed and worked out his problems at home, but did he listen?” she ranted, beginning to attract quite a bit of attention the more she spoke.
“Stop!” Sebastien yelled, standing in front of Patrick and David as if hoping to shield the younger boy from her harsh words.
“No! I'm not the one that needs to stop! Everyone else needs to stop! Just stop pretending! If it wasn't for David, Pierre would still be here! He would have realized his life wasn't in America and he would have come home! He would have been safe and whole and none of this would have happened!” she continued hysterically.
Rather than trying to get her to stop talking, Pierre's dad wrapped his arms around his wife and pulled her close, allowing her to fall apart against him. Did she really blame David? Did she really think it was his fault? No. When it came down to it, she was a mother in grieving and she just needed someone to blame. It didn't matter to David, because not so deep down he knew that he had caused Pierre's death. He didn't try to defend himself, he didn't try to stop her from attacking him because he knew she was right. He knew he had killed Pierre.
The rest of the funeral went by smoothly enough. People took turns sharing stories about Pierre, some of them funny, some of them touching; Sebastien shared the story of how he and Pierre had first met. “I met Pierre on the first day of kindergarten... I'll never forget that day. Michel Dupont pushed me down and peed in my lunchbox because he was bigger than me... and ya know what? Pierre was bigger than him. Pierre punched this kid square in the nose, he had to go to the nurse's office and Pierre and I both got detention. But it was worth it... because I made the best friend I could ever have that day.” Pierre's mother's speech was emotional and heartbreaking, the kind of speech expected of a mother who had out-lived her child. There was a small part of David that wanted to say something, a part of him that wanted to tell the people there who didn't know him who he had been to Pierre, but no words ever came and before he knew it, Pierre's coffin was closed and lowered slowly into the ground.
Watching the coffin go down into the grave was a surreal moment for David. He felt ungrounded, like he was watching the scene from outside of his body and was only half aware of what was happening around him. All he could comprehend was that he was never going to be able to look upon Pierre's face ever again. He would never touch his soft skin or run his fingers through his shaggy hair. He would never feel those strong arms around him when he was upset or scared. He would never feel those lips pressed against his. Yes, he had known all of this before, but there was such a finality to it now, as if it was simply done, there was no going back; Pierre was in the ground and nothing would ever bring him back from it.
David didn't know how he got back to Sebastien and Patrick's apartment that night. He didn't know how he had gotten into his pajamas or ended up in bed with his two friends. The moment Pierre's coffin was lowered into his grave, David's mind had simply checked out, unable to deal with the finality of his boyfriend's death. His head ached as if he had been hit with a sledge hammer and his eyes were so swollen he could barely open them. How long had he been crying? He was coherent for only a moment, however, before his mind checked out again and he allowed his sorrow to swallow him whole.
When David next opened his eyes, the scene had changed drastically. The room was dark and there was a man on either side of him sleeping, though in that moment he couldn't discern who was who. It didn't matter. He laid in bed and stared upward for several minutes before something got the better of him and he got out of bed, making his way quietly out of the room and into the living room. Pierre the dog's head popped up when he entered the room and he patted her gently, scratching behind her ears for a moment before the sight outside the apartment caught his eyes. He opened the sliding glass door and stepped onto the balcony, looking out over the city. He was reminded of the last time he had looked out over Montreal at night with Pierre, how the man had come up behind him and wrapped his arms around him, how they had decided to go back together someday. David's hands gripped the railing and he let himself fall apart again, his head hanging over the edge as he began to cry again in earnest. Well, they had both ended up in Montreal again, he thought, but it wasn't at all how they had expected to.
His eyes opened and he looked down, his first subconscious thought being about how high up he was. It took a moment for that thought to rise to the front of his mind and become relevant, but soon his sobs subsided and he stood straight, gripping the railing hard and staring with purpose over the edge. How easy would it be? As easy as taking a step. As easy as falling. As easy as waiting to be taken away. A twenty-second floor drop would more than suffice. David didn't have to think twice before he was climbing onto the railing, standing with his hand against the side of the building to keep his balance before the moment he would jump. He felt strangely peaceful as he stood there, the wind making his body sway slightly and his soft black hair blow gently away from his face. With a deep breath, he looked forward and picked a foot up, prepared to step off of the edge, prepared to let everything simply fall away.
David's foot found the edge again and he turned to look back into the apartment, seeing Sebastien and Patrick standing mere feet from him, both with outstretched arms as if preparing to grab him, though it was obvious that neither wanted to get too close and risk rushing him into jumping. “Go away,” David whispered, tears falling down his cheeks.
“David, please! Get down from there!” Sebastien begged him, feeling rooted to the spot with fear.
“I can't,” David replied weakly, shaking his head slowly.
“Yes you can, just give me your hand and come back inside,” Patrick told him shakily, his hand stretched out toward David.
“It's my fault,” David whispered, tears falling faster down his face.
“She didn't mean it, she's just grieving!” Sebastien tried to reason with him.
“But it is my fault!” David snapped, screaming the words in a sob and frightening both Patrick and Sebastien into silence. “He was crossing the street to see me! I told him to come see me! He said no but I pouted until I got my way! And now he's dead! Because of me! He's dead because I wanted a hug! A fucking HUG! He's dead because I couldn't wait! He's dead and it's all my fault!”
Deafening silence followed those words and for several long seconds, no one moved. Sebastien and Patrick stared helplessly at David, shocked speechless. They wanted to lunge at David, to pull him down but didn't trust themselves to be faster than the eighteen year old who was poised in such an unstable position. Every last trace of anger and aggression slipped from David's features, leaving nothing but devastation and regret, feelings that had been weighing him down since the day Pierre died, making him feel as if every step, every sigh, every look, every move took twice the effort. “I love you,” David whispered, his eyes flicking from Sebastien and Patrick quickly.
“If you love us then come down!” Sebastien sobbed, reaching his hand out for David, offering everything he had to give.
David looked at them for a few more seconds before he shook his head quickly, breathed the words, “I'm sorry,” and turned to take a step forward, the last step he ever intended to take.
Sebastien and Patrick screamed for him, both men lunging forward, arms outstretched in an attempt to save the younger boy. “NO!” they seemed to scream in unison, their chests hitting against the balcony, their arms and bodies stretching down over the edge, grasping at nothing but air. Sebastien lost his ability to stand and he collapsed, screaming his pain, crying in incredulous anger, unable to believe what he had just witnessed. Patrick stood over the edge, unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to cry. Not until the loud crash sounded did he break, sliding down from the edge of the balcony and sitting next to Sebastien, his face struck with horror and grief, shaking with fury as hot tears began to pour from his eyes. Sebastien fell onto him, screaming into his chest, sobbing all of his pain; if it weren't for Patrick's arms wrapping around him and holding him tight, Sebastien felt that he might have fallen through the balcony and died just like the boy he had come to love like a younger brother and best friend. How were they supposed to come back from this? As if Pierre dying hadn't been hard enough, David had thrown himself over the edge in front of their very eyes and they had been absolutely helpless to stop it. And so they sat there, sobbing in each others arms, completely drowned by the fact that their two best friends in the world were gone, and no matter how much they searched, how hard they cried or how desperately they begged... nothing would ever bring them back.