I'm hosting over at the [livejournal.com profile] torquere_social LJ today, and offered to write a couple of New Year resolution inspired ficlets. [livejournal.com profile] machineplay's resolution was : to visit the gravesite of someone you haven't seen since before they died. Somehow that turned into a partner peice to this.

*****

It didn't say Tell on the gravemarker. He didn't have a tombstone, and if he did that wouldn't have said Tell either. Or Tallulah. Or Scarlet, or any of the other names Tell had taken on in his few years.

Mike clenched his hands to keep from reaching out. He was crouched down, and after a minute he tucked his fists into his pockets, hunching his shoulders, pretending it was just against the cold.

It was just a slick, smudged plastic marker. Black plastic, grey mud, white typeface.

Stephen Marcus Teller.
1978 – 2005.

The marker only has basic facts, no polite lies about beloved son, and certainly nothing like the reality. It didn't feel like Tell at all.

Tell always had hated being fenced in with facts and realities, when there were stories and fantasies and make-believes to be lived. That's what had torn Mike up inside, in the end, because he'd wanted something real with Tell, and it had taken three days longer than thirteen months for him to realise that that was never going to happen. It had only taken one afternoon, one argument, for Tell to drop out of Mike's life, with only an arch, blown kiss.

Mike drove his fingernails into the palm of his hand and bit his lip, and tried not to remember the smear of red lipstick on Tell's fingers and the dull thud of the door, the last time he'd seen Tell.

Well, seen Tell alive. He'd seen the odd photo in the three years since – flyers and adverts. A poster outside some drag dive he hadn't gone in to. They didn't count, though.

He hadn't come to the funeral, either. He'd known about it, because he was the kind of boring guy who read the local paper and paid attention to the facts, like the hit and run victim reported at the bottom of the third page of the June 2nd issue. But he hadn't come, because Tell was his past, and Stephen Marcus Teller hadn't even been that.

Even now, with the February damp seeping through the knee of his jeans, Mike wasn't sure why he was here, in this place that Tell had never believed in. A graveyard was one place you could be sure Tell wasn't going to be, not even if his body was.

Mike shook his head, and forced down a lung-full of cold, damp air. Fancies.

There wasn't a cross piece to hook them on, so in the end, Mike arranged the cheap, glittering, rainbow beads in a circle around the marker and stood up, feeling the pull of stiff muscles in his back.

"See you later," he said, and then blew a dry, casual, kiss into the air. His hand twisted into a small wave as he turned away, towards the main path, and he didn't look back.
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