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Seven Years Bad Luck by dee
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Author's Notes:
Cee hated this. I remain sorry for that, but proud of this. Inspiration owed to KJ Parker.
Shatter. Scatter. Crash, tinkle. Gather up the shards, slice yourself open, edge them with blood. It's alright, stop shaking, it's just a mirror, we can get another one.

It's just your life.



Dom's waiting, cap down round his ears, grumpy regular counterpoint to the waitress's "I'm a little teapot" routine with the coffee pot. They're a tableau blocked perfectly in the brightly-lit Punch and Judy stage of the diner window. They're frozen in a one-act play, and I've missed my cue.

It's somewhere in the small hours and I'm leaning against a lamppost that sheds no light - the bulb's dead - watching the show from across the road. It's barely twenty feet distance, but my shoulder blades have melded with steel, my feet embedded in the cement.

The step off the kerb takes a lifetime.

I don't see the car.



Someone's wrapped a blanket around her shaking shoulders, but she's still sobbing into the hot, sweet tea in her hands, saying over and over that she didn't see him, he just stepped out, he's wearing black, ohgod --

No.



What?

No. Dom's waiting. He's waiting. And I made a promise.

That's true.

Cut the crap. Let me tell you.

(kiss hug kiss hug)--and she's buying a stairway to heaven...



He'd give up Zeppelin for Dom. Trade it in for his smoke in his lungs and their limbs aligned, entwined, his veins burning to wrap around as though he could be absorbed like a contact poison.

He'll still be burning hours later, when Zep's long gone and he's dripping in a dingy mirror. The light flickers on and off, reflecting off cement and his eyeballs, and Orlando will realise he's late.



Dom shaved Orlando's head in New Zealand, razor hum and evil glint. All his fault.

Elijah and Billy watched, always watching, cackling and watching like mismatched crows. No respect, dicing for his clothes.

Left behind like a ticking bomb so he knows his moments are numbered, moments with Dom's hand melting like ice high inside his thigh and his sweat across Orlando's tongue.

Not now, can't now, the fuse is hissing down, oh fuck.

"Find me later."



Moments, moments: he's sitting, he's dancing, he's out the door, cold air like water in his lungs. He's in a club with Elijah and Dom's gone. His pocket beeps--

--"Meet me at..." Dom thumbs into his phone, and Billy says, "What do you mean - he's alright?"

"I mean he's alright," Dom snaps. "Lay off sometimes, willya? He's just himself."

The phone in his hand beeps--

--"I'll be there." Orlando smiles.



Not enough, not good enough. But wait -- wait for me -- I was telling you...



Dom shaved my head in New Zealand (with Elijah and Billy watching). He took the length off with wide sweeps of the clippers, curls tumbling around my face into the bin between my knees.

"Down to the skin, that was the plan, right?"

We were in the laundry; there was no mirror. "Haven't you missed a bit?" I asked.

"Trust me," he offered.

He stripped my scalp with a razor the same colour as his eyes, with confident and careful strokes. His breath was the first thing to touch newly denuded skin. He didn't nick me once.

Laughing, Elijah brought the hand mirror and went to help Billy find a camera. And I saw what Dom had done to me.

He fidgeted. "We can take it all off, if you want. I know you didn't plan to have a mohawk. But..."

I looked up at him.

"Keep it?" he begged. "It suits you."

"It's perfect," I told him, and handed the mirror back to him.

Somehow, it got fumbled. It was in my hand, in his hand, and then it wasn't. It slipped through our fingers and hit the cement floor edge on. Shattered. Scattered.

And...

("Shit!" Orlando yelped, crouched in an instant and grabbing for fragments, even as Dom said, "No, don't, you'll cut yourself." From inside Elijah shouted, "What the fuck?" and Billy came out only to slide to a barefoot halt just outside the radius of the farthest-flung shards. "Hey," he said, "you know what that means.")

...we freeze like that, outstretched fingers as close as Adam and God.

"Was that my fault?" I ask.

"Not sure," he replies. "I don't think so. At least, not alone."

"It's not all your fault, either."

"Both of us, then."

I nod. "So we're together in the punishment?"

He grins. "Bound by fate."

"Exactly."



Oh, what the hell, she thought. I'll go up Somerset instead.



I'm standing in the middle of the road with one hand outstretched at empty bitumen. My heart's beating out of my chest, but the glare in my eyes is just the rising sun.

Memory is leaking out of my head like water into sand.

I lower my hand and squint against the sunrise. When I turn, Dom is still waiting, like he hasn't moved at all.

The ring of the bell above the door is like the forgotten echo of a siren, but I'm already past it, heading straight for his booth. It feels like forever since I've touched him.

I'm still breathing hard when I slide in opposite him, leaning forward with the need to be closer, but I have no excuses. All I can say is "I'm sorry."

"I'm used to waiting for you," Dom says.

And I'm talking, sound spilling out like a foreign language I've half forgotten, but I know that even if you took all the words in the world and distilled them, reversed them, translated and transliterated and turned them into code, I still wouldn't be able to say what I want.

All I can do is hope Dom knows.