01 May 2015 @ 06:39 am
Fic: Lives are for Living (39/42)  
Title: Lives are for Living (39/42)
Fandoms: Being Human/Torchwood
Characters/Pairings: Tom McNair/Andy Davidson.
Word Count: 126,600 posted out of about 136,000.



It had been a long night, but sleep was far from Andy's thoughts as he sat on the sofa with Alex, waiting for Hal to return with Tom. They'd spent much of those long hours until dawn talking: About what was on the TV, about Tom's and his life on the farm, about living at Honolulu Heights and the sort of things that they had done when Tom had lived there with them. What there hadn't been was any answers about how he could see ghosts wasn't a werewolf, vampire or ghost himself.

But that was life, wasn't it? It rarely came with answers that neatly wrapped everything up and let you move on. Hal seemed reasonably certain that there had always been the occasional normal human who could see ghosts. Every other village seemed to have somebody who was rumoured to have second sight when I was growing up, Hal had informed them. Before adding that if the gift or curse depending on how you saw it, was present in the same percentage of population as it had been then that there would likely be dozen or more in Barry Island alone with the ability. Cardiff would have even more.

Most of what had been said had barely sunk in, although Andy did appreciate the fact that they were trying to help him. Whether they were well meaning lies he had no way of telling. His mind had been and still was full of what he had seen in the cellar. It had been one thing to hear Tom transforming from the other side of a locked door as he had back at Cwm Elen Farm at few months before or seeing the fully changed werewolf just four weeks ago; seeing the whole process up close had been something else entirely. Terrifying was probably the most accurate way to sum it up, yet fear hadn't been what he'd taken away from it, at least not fear of what Tom was. It was fear for him; How many times could a body be subjected to such pain and survive?

Not that pain seemed to be an adequate word to describe what Tom had suffered. Andy closed his eyes, knowing he would never forget what he'd seen. He knew from patching Tom up and from how he recovered from getting hurt just how high his tolerance to pain was. The transformation had been nothing less than bone-breaking agony. The knowledge that Tom had endured this every four weeks since he was a toddler and would continue to for the rest of his life, brought tears to his eyes. It was too horrible to think about, yet there was no way of wiping the image of Tom crying out, his body twisting and changing as the bones broke and reformed.

"Hey," Alex said, prodding his arm. "You okay? You've gone pretty quiet."

Andy didn't open his eyes, just replied unsteadily. "Thinking. I'm just thinking."

"It probably won't help to say this," she said, sounding less upbeat than she'd done for most of the night. "But sometimes it's best not to think. I know it's not the same thing, me ending up being a ghost, but when it first happened I didn't know what to do or what I wanted. I mean I'd have liked to have gone back to being alive, but that wasn't happening, and then all I wanted was for my door to appear, to not have to stay and watch the world change without me." Alex sighed. "And after meeting a ghost who'd been around for a few centuries and was who was pretty much bat-shit crazy I just about convinced myself that I wanted it all to be over."

Andy opened his eyes. Alex had seemed far too alive to be a ghost, it didn't seem right that she should have to deal with feeling like this as well as being dead and invisible to the world.

Alex's smile wasn't exactly false, but it was certainly a bit wobbly. "But things weren't so bad after a while. I missed Tom like mad, because Hal, well he's nice, but it was kind of his fault I died in the first place and he's not always the easiest person to live with. I think we get on better now or at least we know not to wind each other up so much. Anyway I suppose what I'm saying is life can be a bit shit sometimes, but then good things happen, even if you don't realise they are good at the time and somehow you decided you want to get on with living again, rather than just sitting round waiting for it all to end."

Andy nodded unable to find words. It was getting through that part where nothing felt like it was ever going to be good again, when you just wanted to hide from the world or worse. That was indescribably difficult to do and to get people who'd not been there to understand.

"Don't tell Tom or Hal," Alex said, smile dropping for a moment. "I've told you this because...well you get it, and more than that, I think you need to hear it, that you can get out the other side of it."

"Tom gets it too," Andy said, knowing all the guilt, self-doubt and feelings of not being good enough that Tom carried so well hidden inside. "I don't know how he does it, how he's so strong about it all, how he keeps going after all he's been through. I couldn't do it without him. I don't think I'd still be here without."

"You would," Tom said, walking into the living room. "But I don't want yer to have to, I mean unless yer want me to go or owt. 'Cause after seeing what I am, if yer don't want me around or marry me I'd understand."

"Of course I do," Andy said, puzzled at what he'd said or done that would make Tom think he was having second thoughts. "I want you here, I don't want you to go. I've never wanted that. I never will."

"An' I won't, I promised." Tom wrapped his arms round him. "I ain't gonna go. It's were just if you had wanted me to, I would've for you."

And you'd break your heart to do it if you thought it would make me happy, Andy thought. He didn't deserve him, and although it hurt to admit it, he knew he'd never be able to make the same selfless gestures that seemed to be second nature to Tom. Closing his eyes, he leant against him. "I know you would."

"Do you want me to go and find Hal? Or you know, just let you two have a moment?" Alex said.

Before Andy could say that he didn't know and as Tom said, "If that'd be okay." Hal appeared. He looked at Tom and Andy, before turning to Alex and asking, "All is well then?"

"Looks that way," she replied, sounding as relieved as Hal looked.

"Can I ask Hal now, about the wedding stuff?" Tom said, sounding uncertain if he should let go of Andy even for a moment. "It's okay?"

Andy nodded, starting to feel overwhelmed again now everybody was in the room and looking at him. Hopefully Tom would be able to answer any of questions that they had. It needed to be done, he told himself, once everything was back on track with their lives and the wedding he'd feel better. The fleeting positive thoughts turned bitter as soon as Tom let go of his hand, doubt rushing back in like a rip tide. Things might be better for a while, but then he'd screw it up or there'd be some other disaster and everything would be ruined, and it would all be his fault because it always was.

"Hal, before all this stuff happened, with thinking I might have made Andy like me there were something I were gonna ask yer," Tom said, walking over to him. "You've heard me and Andy are gonna get married soon as we can sort out how we can do it and when his brother gets back from being in the Navy. So from what I've found out any man getting married normally has a best man. I haven't got anybody else to ask, and even if I did I'd rather it were you. So if you don't mind I'd like yer to be mine. My best man that is."

"Thomas, it would be an honour..." Hal began, then stopped as Tom hugged him.

"Yer won't regret it. I mean there won't be loads of people there and it'll be at a hotel, so it won't be all weird for you with crosses and stuff, like if it were a church or something," Tom said. Then seeming to realise he was still hugging Hal, and that he looked surprised and a little uncomfortable, Tom let him go.

It was hard to find the same enthusiasm that Tom had or really any at all, Andy realised as he sat on the arm of the sofa, where he'd retreated to shortly after Hal had appeared. He frowned. That was wrong, that wasn't how it should be at all. He should be excited too, he should be up on his feet, smiling and laughing with them. He wanted to be happy. Why couldn't he be happy? What the hell was wrong with him? Why, now he knew that he wasn't going to change, wasn't everything okay again?

Because that was never the problem, it was only a small part of it, the part that had pushed him too far. It was a simple answer, and Andy wondered why it had taken so long for it to filter through. Probably because his mind was his own worst enemy for the moment, he decided. It was all too easy fall into the trap of fooling himself that he was just a bit down because of the possible werewolf thing, because of all that had happened recently. It was also frighteningly easy to get to the point where there seemed like there was nothing and nobody that could or would be able to help.

He had to do something about it, he told himself although it made him feel sick at the thought of it. He had to because feeling like he had been, having that feeling of formless, unfounded dread hanging over him every day was no way to live a life. It wasn't even living, it was barely surviving. Things couldn't go on like that. Tom was right, he needed help.

"Andy? I said what do you think?" Tom asked, putting his hand on Andy’s knee to get his attention.

Andy blinked, knowing that he'd missed whatever it was. "Sorry, I didn't hear you. I was thinking about things, about what you said yesterday."

"Oh right. I just were just saying to Hal that we'd be getting married somewhere in Wales and that we'd bin thinking of having in September. I were just checkin' it really were September and that you hadn't said it were after September when James got back. " Tom stopped, frowned and then added, "What were I said yesterday?"

"That there are a few things I should do," Andy said, taking hold of Tom's hand, but still not able to admit publicly exactly what he meant. "People to call, like Martha or Gwen. You were right, I need to do it sooner rather than later. I've left it too long really. I'll do it when we get home. I promise."

Tom gave his hand a squeeze. "Do you wanna to go home now then?"

Andy nodded, then felt bad about it. Tom hadn't seen his friends in over a year and here he was wanting him to leave after just a few hours or was it days? Not knowing was rather frightening, and he said uncertainly. "I mean we can stay longer if you want, I'll be okay. It was September, after the fifteenth I think. I need to check."

"They'll understand," Tom said, moving close to him.

"Of course we do," Alex said, giving Hal a look that said don't you dare contradict me. "We can have a night in," said turning to Hal. "I can have another go at explaining modern stuff to you and you can.... I don't know tell me about how you used to ride a horse or something.

Hal looked baffled, but agreed with her. Turning to Tom he said, "I expect you wish some privacy to talk after all that has happened. So I will wish you a safe journey home and if you need any assistance in choosing attire for the wedding I will be happy to assist."

"Don't leave it so long to visit again," Alex said giving each of them a hug. "I meant it."

"We won't," Tom said, then looking at Andy said, "Well I'll try not to, but it'll depend on stuff. I mean like the farm, there's a lot of work and things and... I should probably just stop talking, right?"

"I know what you mean," Alex replied. "So both you take care of yourself and just take it easy, alright?"

Hal shook their hands. "If there is ever anything you need, please contact us. While there is still the issue of visibility on modern technology, I have found that mobile phones can send written messages and they are very popular method of communication, especially at work."

"I didn't know you had a phone," Tom said. "Can you do them email things?"

Hal nodded. "Yes. It seems to be the only way to organise people at work and obtain new guests. It is no substitute for a hand written letter, but I do find them preferable to texting messages. The space to use correct punctuation is most welcome."

"He had to join the 21st Century some time," Alex said.

"I do better than most my age with technology," Hal replied.

"Most people your age have been dead for four hundred years," Alex pointed out, more joking than anything. "So I use a computer better than a century old dead guy isn't really saying much."

"See what I live with," Hal said, trying and failing to sound put upon. "People in my day used to show respect."

They were alright for ghosts and vampires, Andy decided as he and Tom left. It was good to know that Tom had people like them that he could rely on if anything happened.

“Did you mean what you said about calling Gwen or someone about things?” Tom asked, once they were far enough from the house for Alex and Hal not to hear. "I mean I know you probably did when you were in there, but once we get home, you still will won't you?"

"I'll try, but if I don't," Andy said, moving in front of him. The fear that he'd fail, that he'd lose everything, lose Tom, made is heart hammer until he was half certain the whole street could hear it. "I want you to call them for me. To tell them what I've been like. I'm not good enough for you, but I don't want to drive you away, lose you. And don't tell me you won't go, because I don't want you to stay and be miserable with me. I can say some awful things and you shouldn't have to live with that."

Tom closed his eyes for a moment, looking worn out. "I don't like it when you say how rubbish you think you are, 'cause ain't to me, but I think I get it. So I'll help you any way you want or need, but I won't go, no matter what you say or do."

Andy nodded. He wasn't quite sure if he believed it, but he wanted to and that would have to do. Actually having hope for the further, as faint as it was, was far better than dread that it would only ever get worse than had been slowly consuming him.

"Do you mind if drive?" Tom asked as they reached the land rover. "I mean you're always saying I need the practice and stuff."

Andy wasn't sure that he'd ever actually said that or if he had whether he'd meant it kindly or not but not having to drive sounding like good plan, so he nodded and let Tom get in the driver's seat. He'd have to sort out getting a licence for Tom to drive legally, as although Tom claimed to have a provisional licence not long after they had met, he wasn't sure that was actually the truth. It was just a technically Andy told himself, closing his eyes and leaning back in his seat. They'd faced far worse together than a driving test.

It was a slow and slightly roundabout route back to the Elen Valley as Tom avoided main roads and rigorously stuck to about five miles an hour less than the speed limit. Finally as they turned on to the track that lead back up farm Andy felt some of the tension ebb away.

Looking out of the window at the sunlit valley and the clouds racing overhead, no other sign of civilisation around them, he gave a sign of relief. As much as he wanted to Andy knew couldn't hide from the world here forever, but with help hopefully he could get himself to a point where he'd be able to go out and deal with it on his own terms again. He owed it to Tom and to himself as well to at least try.


TBC

Long time no posting. Sorry about that, no good excuses, beyond getting distracted with original fic and just not finding time to write/edit. I've not given up on this and it will post the end sooner rather than later, I promise. I've had to alter round a couple of things in the last few parts (including rewriting a whole section from Andy's POV rather than Tom's. Consequently the number of parts has changed from 40 to 42, although they all will be around 3k each rather than the 6-7k that last few have been. So I'm hoping to get back to weekly posting for these last few parts.



 
 
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fififolle: Being Human- Hal and Tom BF[personal profile] fififolle on May 3rd, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
Yay! Lovely to have another chapter. So many funny and good lines in this one :D

"Thomas, it would be an honour..." Hal began, then stopped as Tom hugged him.
Aw, a really touching moment :D

"Most people your age have been dead for four hundred years," Alex pointed out, more joking than anything. "So I use a computer better than a century old dead guy isn't really saying much."
*sporfle*

Thanks for updating!
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