athenejen: iAthena (Default)
Title: I have saved all my ribbons for thee
Fandom: Who Killed Amanda Palmer - Ampersand
Pairing: Girl/Boy
Rating: R
Words: 1011
Disclaimer: Pure fiction; inspired by the song "Ampersand" by Amanda Palmer.
Warnings: Suicide attempt, mental illness, bad breakup.
Summary: She loved him.
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] knitmeapony in the Yuletide 2009 fic exchange, first posted here. Many thanks to C for the super-speedy, super-encouraging beta! Feedback and constructive criticism is, as always, welcome and cherished.

~

She sat in the park at night, brushed snow off the merry-go-round, pushed it fast, then jumped on and let her hair stream in the wind. She lay back and gazed at the stars, scarf wrapped so perfectly that her glasses fogged up and the sky blurred. She climbed the jungle gym and perched at the top, looked out over the frozen lake and watched her breath spiral in the wind. She thought about drinking—Maker's stolen from her parents' liquor cabinet—and she thought about smoking—it would rasp through her lungs and make her feel alive—but in the end, she just walked home.

~

She'd seen him before, of course. In third grade, he'd won the spelling bee; in fifth he played second violin, badly. In eighth, he'd gotten in a screaming fight with the assistant guidance counselor and disappeared for the rest of the year.

In tenth grade, he sat next to her in English class. They never spoke.

Their junior year, she's the one who got detention for yelling at a teacher, angry as hell that this softball coach pressed into service for Creative Writing dared rip her poem to shreds in front of the class. Literally.

He caught up with her on her way to the parking lot afterwards, pressed her poem into her hand, criss-crossed with Scotch tape and a little mangled. Just as they got to her car, he said, softly, "I liked it."

~

He writhed below her on the couch in his parents' basement, the low tones and dramatic music of Interview with the Vampire playing unheeded in the background. "Shhhhhh," she whispered, and held him down with her hands and her hips as she kissed him.

~

They spent three Christmas mornings wrapped up in the enormous comforter on his tiny dorm room bed; through the window the quad was quieter than at any other time of the year, and the snow that inevitably fell would slowly sift over the footsteps until they were gone. One year—the first year—they had a snowball fight, their playful shouts echoing off the buildings and fading away into the snow.

~

She spent one Christmas morning in the emergency room, filling out form after form after form and begging the nurse to let her see him.

~

He had a beautiful tenor voice, rich and warm and clear, and he loved Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, Neil Young. She would sing Patti Smith to confuse him, sometimes, Joan Jett and Jefferson Airplane and Bikini Kill. He was her Rebel Girl, she told him, and he said that he was the Bird on the Wire for her.

Maybe, in retrospect, they should have tried it the other way around.

~

He walked to the middle of the lake, slipping a little through the powder on top of the ice. He was wearing an ancient pair of hiking boots, nearly worn through at the heel, and an enormous puffy blue parka. He stamped on the ice, once, twice, tried out an old Gene Kelly soft shoe move. He spun and spun and spun until he was too dizzy to see straight, then flopped down flat on his back on the ice.

He counted stars until he slept.

~

They crawled to the corner of the roof; he peered six stories down on both sides of the point, and it almost felt like flying. His right hand held tight to her left as she inched forward until she could see for herself, and when she did she laughed with joy.

He loved her laugh. Always did.

~

She came to pick him up at the center. The center, he scoffs at it to himself. The institution. The funny farm. The crazy house. The crazy prison. She picked him up, and took him home, and sat him down on the couch and gave him juice and looked at him with sad, sad, despairing eyes. He wished he knew how to tell her that they were going to be okay, that they still belonged to each other, that that was the only person he knew how to be.

~

He kissed her desperately, yanking at his clothes, clutching at her shoulders, crying with need. He grabbed her hands and laced their fingers together, he pulled her on top of him and hooked his leg around her hip, he kissed and kissed and kissed her.

She kissed him back, he thought. He was sure she kissed him back.

~

She sang him to sleep, hummed Famous Blue Raincoat until his breathing shifted slow. She kissed him on the forehead, just a faint brush of lips against skin, careful not to wake him, and brushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear before kissing that, too.

She stayed awake that whole night, curled into the armchair near the window, watching the moon make its way across the night sky and tuck itself beneath the horizon.

~

She found him passed out in the middle of the kitchen, blood pooling around him. When she came back to herself, she was sitting cross-legged next to him, with blood soaking through her pants and smearing across her hands as she held his wrists shut.

~

Three months after she left, she got a card in the mail. Monochromatic bamboo printed on the front, Zen-style, not a panda in sight.

Inside, the card read:

She hates me, she hates me, she says she doesn't hate me, but I know she does. She loves me, she loves me, I know she used to love me, but she doesn't anymore. I used to know what love looked like, what hate looked like, but now I don't know anything. Now I don't know anything.

It wasn't signed, but she knew it was from him.

~

He joined the ministry, she heard, just like he said he was going to, spreading the word of God to heathens in Africa.

She's never been anything but a heathen herself, still is, and there was a time when he was, too. She remembers him.

She loved him. She loves him. She—

~


A/N: I detect certain similarities to Dar Williams' "The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-ed," another wonderful song, though I hope this story is a little less pointless and a little more poignant. I hope. The title is a line from "Bird on the Wire" by Leonard Cohen.
location: Lucien's Library
Music:: The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr
Mood:: 'determined' determined

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