Out Cold

Mar. 4th, 2004 03:34 pm
almost_russell: (Intense)
[personal profile] almost_russell
Surgery??

Smith had never mentioned that this involved surgery!! Russell looked down on the unconscious Beregond at his feet, and back at the door Smith had just slammed. He had said it before, that guy really needed to work on his communication skills! He reached down, and touched the raw skin around the interface. Man, that was gonna hurt in the morning!

Well, he couldn't leave Beregond sprawled out here, so there was only one thing for it. Russell heaved his friend to his feet, and propped him against the door for a moment. This night was just getting longer and longer! It took quite a while for him to manhandle Beregond all the way back to his place, and he seriously considered leaving him at the bottom of the two flights of stairs, but finally they were through the door, and Russell heaved him onto the couch, before sitting back and catching his breath.

Date: 2004-03-04 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
Beregond wavered in and out of dreams, jolted occasionally by Russell's struggles to get him moved. He'd tried to help, had honestly attempted to move his legs and arms, but nothing seemed to work quite right. Finally, he'd been dropped in a soft place and left to rest.

After a while, his senses began to return. He perceived that he was indoors, and could hear the breathing of another in the room with him. Experimentally, he tried again to lift an arm, and wonder of wonders, he succeeded. He reached towards the sound of the other person, and managed to creak out some words.

"Who's there? Where am I?"

Date: 2004-03-04 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
While Beregond lay on the couch, Russell had changed out of his skin-tight jeans, which were bordering on the painful after all the exertion, into a pair of sweatpants, and a loose t-shirt. He made himself a coffee, and sat down next to Beregond while he waited for him to regain consciousness. It wasn't long before he began to stir.

He took a hold of Beregond's hand, and squeezed it.

"It's me, Russell, you're at my place. It's okay, man, just relax."

Date: 2004-03-04 07:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
Russell's voice was a welcome sound, and he clung to the man's hand as he struggled to get his eyes open. Beregond was becoming more lucid by the moment, but still, he was confused. The last thing he remembered was Smith instructing him on the proper method of creating a backup disc. He'd felt fine then, well, except for the logic problems he'd been having since becoming a program, but now, the back of his head hurt, and he felt different. Very different. Human, if he didn't miss his guess. That's it - he wasn't a program any longer! He finally succeeded in prying his eyes open and focused on Russell.

"It all went well, then? Returning me to my body? Really hurts, though." Beregond realized he was still clutching Russell's hand, but he didn't want to let it go. "I'm glad you're here, thank you for always being such a faithful friend."

Date: 2004-03-04 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell smiled at Beregond, knowing by his words that everything seemed to be back to normal. He sighed a happy sigh to himself, Beregond's hand warm in his, and thought that maybe now he could get some sleep, he was so wiped ....

Hang on, what had he just said?

"Returning you to your body? Yeah, it went well ... sorta ... Beregond, what exactly is the last thing you remember?"

Russell had a bad feeling about this!

Date: 2004-03-04 08:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
"I remember being at Smith's, and how he helped me make a backup copy of myself in case it was needed, in case something went wrong."

Beregond sees the look on Russell's face as he says this, and a feeling of dread starts to crawl up his spine.

"Sorta went well? What do you mean? Russell, what aren't you telling me?"

Date: 2004-03-04 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell hangs his head for a moment, before leaving go of Beregond's hand and picking up his mug.

"Do you wanna coffee, man, cause I need one. In fact, I need something a lot stronger, but since it's 6 in the morning, and I haven't had any sleep for 24 hours, I think I'll stick to caffeine, lotsa caffeine."

He gets up to go to the kitchen, but turns back.

"The first transfer, you came back with something missing. Didn't matter that we had a God and a shaman and your good friend Smith, it didn't quite work ..."

He stopped in the middle of his sleep deprived rant as he saw the look on Beregond's face.

"I'm sorry, man. I've had a weird week! Didn't mean to take it out on you." He perched on the sofa and smiled. "We took you back last night, and everything seemed to work this time! And that's all that matters."

Date: 2004-03-04 08:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
"No, that's not all that matters, Russell. You look... well, you should see how you look. I'm worried about you."

Beregond's headache was subsiding to a dull thud, but he no longer considered it.

"It's been a week? It feels like just moments ago, to me. Russell... have you been with me all this week? While I was not right?"

Lots of things begin to click into place, the clues were adding up to something terrible. Beregond reached for Russell, and pulled him gently towards himself, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and kissing him gently on the forehead.

"I'm sorry. I would never intentionally hurt you, especially you of all people. You mean too much to me."

Date: 2004-03-04 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
"I'm fine, really, just tired. And I've been with you for ... some of the week, yeah."

The part of the week you weren't running all over town doing other people!

The feel of Beregond's arm around his shoulder and his lips on his skin were both comforting and disturbing at the same time. Disturbing won, and he eased himself out of Beregond's grasp.

"I know you wouldn't intentionally hurt me, and you mean a lot to me too but ... coffee, I was on my way to make coffee!"

Russell picked up his mug, and almost dove for the sanctuary of the kitchen.

Date: 2004-03-04 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
That clinched it. Whatever Beregond had been recently wasn't good. It didn't matter that he couldn't remember what had gone on, what mattered was Russell's reaction right here and now. Beregond had to make this right... and he wondered at his own reaction as well. Yes, Russell mattered to him, how much so, Beregond was beginning to wonder himself.

He followed him into the kitchen, his head balking against his sudden standing and walking, but that was not important now.

"Russell, coffee can wait. Please, don't run from me now. Or, if you must, tell me why and then tell me to leave. I won't cause you any more pain, and if my presence does so, then... Elbereth, I don't know. Please, talk to me!"

Date: 2004-03-04 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell stood in the kitchen, both hands flat on the bench, as he willed the water to boil. He needed to lie down, and soon. He wanted to lie down with the man who was currently taking up his couch space, but the comfort he had felt with Beregond a week ago had been replaced by wariness, even though he could tell that Beregond had back whatever was missing.

He heard Beregond behind him and turned to face him.

"Look, I know you haven't been yourself for the past week, so I'm not blaming you for anything ... it's just you haven't been very ... nice lately. To people ... to me ..."

Nice? Russell knew that wasn't going to be enough to cover anything!

Date: 2004-03-04 10:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
"And by not being nice, you mean something more." Beregond's voice softened to a whisper, he almost hoped Russell would not hear the next question, but he had to ask. "How badly did I hurt you?"

Without waiting for an answer, Beregond turned to find mugs and bustled about unnecessarily, suddenly unable to face Russell's eyes. He had hurt him, and badly, this was obvious. And it mattered much. This is not how a lover should feel. A lover, or a love? Beregond nearly dropped the mugs at that thought, but it resonated in him. Finally he turned back to face Russell.

"Let me make the coffee, you go sit down, and rest." Beregond knew he probably shouldn't, but he reached to touch Russell's face briefly, then dropped his hand, feeling as if he'd stolen the touch.

Date: 2004-03-04 10:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell felt the soft touch on his face, and knew he had to move past this. And the only way he could do that would be to tell Beregond everything, and hope he could help his friend deal with it.

"No, you're the one who's just gone through surgery. Go sit down, and we'll talk."

Russell joined Beregond on the couch, and handed him the coffee.

"Okay, just so you know, I don't blame you for anything. We slept together ... well it was obviously more than just sleeping ...okay, we had wild hot sex together, amazing sex ... then you shouted at me, told me to shut up, that you'd had enough for now and would be back when you wanted more and left. Then I find out from Martha that "my obnoxious friend" has been hanging out at all the sleazy pickup bars in town, leaving with all sorts of guys. Smith told me that you had come back wrong, and if I could get you to his place, he would fix it ... so I used myself as bait. You fell for it, you were pretty insatiable, but I had to ah ... blow you to disorientate you enough so I could tie you up so Smith could do the procedure. And you kicked me in the ribs ... think that about covers it!"

Date: 2004-03-04 11:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
As Russell described the events of the past week, Beregond slowly pulled himself into a corner of the couch, clutching his coffee cup tightly.

Finally, Russell's story over, Beregond quietly leaned forward, and gently set his cup on the coffee table. He didn't want to speak but he had to, he didn't want to hear the sound of his own voice. Beregond hated himself this moment.

"This is not what I would have wished for us to have together. Yes, I had hoped to be with you, but not like that. Never like that. It is not fair that you carry these memories while I am free of them."

Beregond stood slowly, his hands shaking. "I should leave you in peace. I have caused enough harm, and wish to spare you any further pain. I will return to Minas Tirith and attempt to break free of the ties that draw me so often to this world."

Beregond knew this would be difficult, as Russell had become the strongest of those ties.

"I am sorry."

Date: 2004-03-04 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
"No!"

Colour drained from his face as he realised how badly Beregond was hurting. What had he accomplished by letting it all out? He certainly didn't feel any better, and he cursed himself for not thinking things through first.

"It's me that should be sorry! With all you've been through in the last 24 hours, I shouldn't have opened my big mouth."

He reached out and took his shaking hand, moving towards his friend

"Please, stay! We'll grab some sleep, and talk in the morning."

Panic was beginning to set in, as he saw the pain on his face. Pain he had put there.

"Beregond?"

Date: 2004-03-04 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
"No, Russell, don't be sorry. You spoke the truth, a truth I needed to know. No matter if I was in my right mind or not, I am responsible for my own actions. It would seem this is a lesson I must learn twice in my lifetime." Beregond did not elaborate on the first circumstances, Russell did not need a story about funeral pyres right now.

"You truly wish me to stay? Because in all honesty, I do not really wish to leave." He looked down at the hands holding his, and curled his own fingers around them, feeling the shaking subside.

"Just do not make me sleep on the bagful of beans. I claim the couch this time." Beregond glanced up, a small tenative smile on his face, hoping that somehow they might find their way back to the warmth of the friendship they once had. He dared not to hope for more, and would be grateful for just that if it were possible.

Date: 2004-03-05 04:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell was so relieved that Beregond was not about to walk out of the door again. He squeezed Beregond's hands, and moved closer to him.

"I wish you to stay. And neither of us are sleeping on the "bagful of beans"..." He found himself grinning at the memory "... cause I found the bedroom!"

He ran his hands up Beregond's arms to rest on his shoulders, and looked into his eyes.

"I need to crash, I need you to hold me, and I need you to promise me you'll still be here in the morning?"

Date: 2004-03-05 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
Beregond finally smiled, a small smile of relief. "You ask of me what I would willingly give but dared not hope for."

It was good to see Russell returning to himself. Perhaps they would both weather this strange turn of events after all.

"What sort of man does not even realize he has a bedroom when he takes an apartment?" Beregond winked as Russell looked near spluttering, then leaned to close the distance between them, daring to kiss him. "I will be here in the morning, and beyond that, if you will allow. Now, show me this bedroom, while you're still able to walk."

Date: 2004-03-05 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
The touch of Beregond's lips on his took the edge off the craving for affection he had felt over the past week. He had taken comfort in Arwen, but this was different. This was what he had really wanted.

He smiled at his friend ... his lover ... and took his hand, leading him towards the bedroom. Without even thinking about it, he pulled off his t-shirt and sweat pants, and climbed into bed, so pleased to be lying down, curled up in a soft quilt that he almost purred, sure that he would actually do so when he finally felt Beregond's skin pressed against his own.

He pulled back the quilt, smiling sleepily up at Beregond.

"You gonna join me?"

Date: 2004-03-05 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
I do not need to be asked twice. The sight of your bare chest and sleepy smile have me shrugging off clothes as fast as I can, and I'm crawling in next to you in mere moments.

"You're very lucky you're so sleepy, Russell, or else I would be tempted to do so much more than this." As he spoke, Beregond pulled Russell closer and nudged his head to rest on his shoulder, Beregond's feet urging Russell's legs closer to tangle with his own, trying for as much body contact as possible.

"I'll still be here in the morning, I promise." He had said this earlier, but felt that at least for a while, until all fears and the events of the past had eased away, a little extra reassurance wouldn't hurt.

Date: 2004-03-05 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell snuggled into Beregond, reveling in the feel of skin on skin and slipped an arm around his waist. Everywhere their skin met, he tingled. He moved his head a little, and nuzzled his neck, kissing it gently.

"You smell so good!"

He smiled and sighed contentedly, pressing himself a little closer as he heard words of reassurance.

Date: 2004-03-05 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
"And you -feel- so good. Might I confess? That first day we sat by the stream, and fell asleep in the grass after so much of your smoke, I was very aware of your hand resting on me, even in my sleep. I woke once, and dearly wanted to pull you closer even then, but dared not! Your friendship means everything to me, and I could not risk losing it."

Beregond nuzzled Russell's hair, pressing a kiss to him, enjoying the feel of that thick mane against his face.

"I'm so glad I haven't lost you. You mean more than you know to me."

Date: 2004-03-05 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
Russell smiled and snuggled closer, if that were possible. The smile faded as memories of another night came back to him.

"I thought I'd lost you a couple of times, lately. When you died ..."

His arm tightened around Beregond.

"... when you died, I realised that it was more than friendship I was feeling."

Russell knew now that he needed to be with this guy, this decent man, who seemed to be followed by mayhem wherever he went. And he would take the mayhem too, if that meant he could have Beregond.

Date: 2004-03-05 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
More? How much more? Beregond wondered if he dared pursue this further. Russell was exhausted, he'd just been through a week no one should ever have to experience, and perhaps his emotions were taking him where his mind might regret tomorrow, when he was more rested.

But Beregond wanted to know. And he knew he would not sleep well if he was left to wondering all night.

"I feel more towards you too. Much more." Beregond said no more, but lowered his head to find Russell's lips, hoping a less hurried kiss might give him some idea of what Beregond meant by this.

Date: 2004-03-06 04:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
He wanted, needed to tell Beregond exactly how he felt. Needed him to know, in case anything else happened, in case he didn't get another shot.

If he had been awake, he would have considered laying his heart on the line carefully, weighing up past relationships, past failures. He would have thought about consequences, probably decided to wait before being so totally honest.

But lying here, wrapped in Beregond's arms, floating on a heady mixture of exhaustion and contentment, he felt safer and happier than he had for a long time. And when Beregond's lips found his, slow and needy, a handful of words tumbled from him.

"I ... I love you, Beregond."

Date: 2004-03-06 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guide-beregond.livejournal.com
Following the kiss and Russell's confession, Beregond's eyes closed, and he leaned against Russell, forehead against forehead, nose touching nose. He remained quiet, wishing to savor the echo of those words in his mind and heart. He had not heard such words in a long while, and had not realized how much he missed them until now.

Finally, he leaned away, letting his head drop back to the pillow. Russell was pulled close, Beregond nudging him to rest his head against his chest. He held Russell there with a hand resting gently in his hair. "Hear my heart? Can you feel the steady, strong beat of it? It beats because of you, literally. You would not let me die, you found a way, and even put up with the abuse of your own emotions in the process. But you are here, with me now. I know and trust you, I believe in you, I count on you."

Beregond stroked Russell's hair, slow long strokes meant to soothe him towards sleep. "And one more thing, Russell. I love you, very much."

Date: 2004-03-07 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almost-russell.livejournal.com
The steady sound of Beregond's heart as Russell's head lay pillowed on his chest took him further towards much needed sleep, and his words filled Russell with hope.

Beregond's hand on his hair proved to be his undoing, and he finally gave in, falling asleep with words of love echoing in his ears.

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