The fact that he could have done something made everything much more elevated. Much more real. Painful.
The big fight was the catalyst. Two passive-aggressive men throwing things at each other in a room, speaking with quiet venom about things long-passed but somehow relevant in the context of a ceramic vase like a missile in the heavy air.
Things were said that, out of context, could be deadly. Something about a failed audition. Something about a failed past relationship. Something about someone being unfaithful. Something about someone being crazy.
Bang. Big flash of lightning, dividing the two of them and shattering the ground, pieces of a freshly fractured heart sucked through the new hole in the ceiling and out into space. He looks like he's been stabbed through the chest, and his one true love has put the dagger there. But he quickly pulls himself together and he shakes it off, and he pushes the weight of his insecurity down to deliver one last blow.
The blonde's eyes go wide. He opens his mouth to say something, but the words halt as a door slams shut, the house shaking on its foundations. The farther away the footsteps get, the more tremors they create, and everything is in shambles by the time a cab is called down the street.
Life goes on. After awhile, it isn't so hard to avoid glancing to the part of the room that he used to keep his humidifier for restless nights. It's easy to consider the empty cabinets a positive addition to storage space, not that he needs it, all alone in a big house. He transfers himself to a different perspective and packs himself up and moves across the country to a smaller house in North Dakota that couldn't possibly fit another person.
He lived plainly for a year. The sting of fleeting, hurt words hadn't dulled, but he didn't need closure to know that he could have found another way to come across this. Couples had tiffs sometimes, but healthy couples certainly didn't fight like that; like two sociopaths starved of feeling, searching for whatever will make them feel the most.
He almost didn't think of what a brunette was wearing and how beautiful he looked when he turned away to leave for what seemed to be forever.
Things were not smooth on the other end. After an entire six and a half months of a supposedly uncleared leave for a certain brunette man, a concerned friend dropped by his makeshift apartment complex to see if he was okay, to which the answer was unknown. As he was absent from the complex altogether with signs of a struggle and blood on the wall closest to the door. The police, although it was an unofficial case, began running the numbers as soon as possible.
It didn't dawn on any of them to tell his estranged love any of the news.
Another year passed. A brunette man was identified by a gas station attendant after the skinny figure had somehow picked his way out of a car trunk in North Dakota. His captor was quickly compromised via hearty tackle by the strongest attendant before he could notice.
After a once over in the back of a speeding ambulance, it became clear that the two years of imprisonment hadn't been by any means easy. The brunette was fading in and out of consciousness, asking fervently for a certain blonde man.
In the bustle of blood tests and kits and interrogations and media build up, the local news does an hour-long live report on the man that had been missing for two years without much fuss.
A blonde man in a lonely house happens to be flicking through the channels on a lonely Sunday evening when he catches a glimpse of a familiar set of hands with an even more familiar collection of tattoos folded over a stuttering chest that moves up and down. On a gurney. He feels himself walk closer to the television, feels his knees hit the wood floor, trying to wake himself up from this horrible nightmare. But he blinks, and he blinks, but it's still there.
The hospital is ten minutes away, but he gets there in six. He pushes past the news cameras and reporters, he flashes his new driver's license like some sort of a badge and sidesteps around the barriers.
He was conscious. He had a tube wrapped around his arm and his nose, gauze over his entire right arm, his hair is pinned back and blood is seeping through whatever enhanced cover the nurses had placed there to stop the bleeding. He was drinking something from a Styrofoam cup, scrubs slipping off his shoulders as he stared at his lap with the least amount of emotion he'd ever been seen with. He wondered if they'd used up his supply the last time they'd seen each other.
"Hey." Is all he could say, standing in the doorway in pajamas and plush slippers, his keys hanging out of his pocket, and his ID hanging loosely in his hand.
The body in the bed looked up. He took another sip of his water and blinks a few times before replying with the same, lonely word. He stared for awhile, almost as if to ask how he'd been found. He didn't look surprised.
"Ah," came the reply. He glanced down into his cup as if to look for more of an explanation. The blonde crossed the room and sits in the stiff chair that was placed at an angle beside the gurney.
They'd exhausted their supply of conversation, it seemed. An entire two years of thinking of what they'd say when they saw each other again, and everything was tense. Things they thought of 24 hours ago didn't seem so relevant anymore.
Neither of them knew how to admit that they were wrong.
"I've been thinking so much about what I'd say when I saw you," the brunette murmured, mostly to himself, "Like apologies and stuff. I didn't think it'd be here. Not this soon. Especially not when I was breathing."
"What?" The blonde practically hissed. He felt like he was a tire and someone had jammed a nail into the right place to send all of his air from inside to outside. But very, very slowly.
"I don't know," he shrugged and poked at the burns on his upper forearm through the fabric, "I kept telling myself you were looking. For me, or for who did this, or something. And I kept thinking you were almost there like maybe the sirens aren't working today and you were just about to burst through the door. But it was stupid. I know that, now. That knowledge settled in around month two. Like, why would you come looking for me? After all I said?"
"We both said things," he whispered. "I forgave you."
"You shouldn't have," the brunette replied with the most heartbreaking smile and this look in his eyes... damn, the look in his eyes as he gazed blankly at the markings on his arms and the scars that were peeking out from the shortened hem of the blanket, "I wanted you to be happy. And as soon as I left that house, you were."
"I wasn't happy," his voice was hoarse and quiet as if the words spoken years earlier hadn't yet settled in yet. "I missed you."
"Here's what I think," the blonde said, determined to say something to fix everything, "We've turned up here by some weird coincidence."
"The universe just made a mistake--"
"No, the mistake was the fight."
The brunette closed his mouth and sighed, leaning his head back. "But I can't fix it."
"No, but you can move on. We both can. But better, this time."
Another sigh, "Why."
"Because I made a mistake and it almost got you killed."
"I got into an unmarked cab," the brunette said as an afterthought as he felt himself being gathered into two lonely arms. He heard something about never letting him go again, but it garbled under the hum of hope in his ears.