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Fic: What About Now - Chapter 8

February 18th, 2011 (07:18 pm)

Title: What About Now?
Pairing: Jared/Colin
Rating: R
Feedback: Need it! Need it so bad.
Disclaimer: NOT TRUE, and hopefully most will never ever happen. I own nothing.
Beta: The one and only legolastariel  made this chapter in a readable. *bows down*.
A/N: Story begins at the O2 Arena concert November 30th.

A/N 2: Dedicated, as always, in its entirety to the ever lovely and always supportive legolastariel ! Thanks for the help with this.

Summary: Jared is fighting for his life. Colin is fighting with himself. And the press is fighting for a story.


Jared had no idea why he found himself awake at 3 in the morning on one of his precious days off. Looking around yielded no results and a quick check of his BlackBerry showed no received texts or missed calls, which left him even bewildered as it was usually what jolted him awake unexpectedly. Something had ripped him from his sleep and there would be no surrendering to slumber before the culprit had been found. Annoyed, he left the warmth of the heavy covers and made his way down the darkened hallway of his Hollywood Hills residence.

On edge, he peeked through the door to Shannon’s room and found the drummer passed out, snoring loudly into his pillow; limbs sprawled hazardously on the large bed. Assured that his brother was fine and there was no problem on that end, Jared made his way down below. A disturbing rustling sound immediately grasped his full attention as he arrived at the bottom of the stairs entering the foyer. The rustling intensified as he got closer to the front door and Jared was convinced he could now hear angry muttering as well.

Suddenly, the stylish front door swung wide open and someone very familiar stumbled through. The rough entrance almost pushed an ancient-looking Greek jug filled with umbrellas, which was stationed artistically next to the large mirrors covering the walls, sprawling across the floor. Only a quick rush forward from Jared, managing to grasp the flying accessories as he reached the fumbling Irishman, saved his precious jug. Colin had only made it half a step and was currently leaning precariously against the now closed door. Jared’s shock quickly turned into anger.

“Why the fuck are you here?! Are you sure no one saw you arrive?” Jared hissed, blue eyes blazing furiously at his lover’s drunken antics as he peeked through the coloured glass panel next to the entrance. Jared was half expecting to see photography flashes going off in his front yard.

Colin mumbled something and tried to push himself away from the door, but Jared was not nearly done. Without flinching, he pressed the younger man back against the unyielding wood, boring the heels of his palms into Colin’s shoulders, with full intent to hurt, as he tried to break through the drunken daze holding his boyfriend.

“Why are ye so ashamed of me?” Colin whined as his head fell back against the door with a dull thud. His voice was meant to be a sneer but instead it sounded more like a distressed moan.

“Seriously?! Now? Why do you always get like this when you are hammered off your arse?”

Colin tried dimly to focus on the wound up American, but was distracted by how cute he found it when Jared slipped into an Irish accent when Colin was around. Jared never noticed when it started seeping into his speech. Yet now was probably the wrong time to linger on the singer’s
cuteness. Instead he tried to focus on the train of conversation, at least his train of the conversation.

“I know why. I fucking know
why you don’t want to come out. You’ve told me a hundred times, I just don’t fucking understand how it’s not shame!” Colin implored, ignoring the scowling American in front of him as he continued, “I don’t get why a guy like you, a guy who doesn’t give a shite about anyone or anything, who I know has called himself gay in public on numerous occasions is afraid of admitting he sometimes fucks around with me. The only explanation has to be that you are ashamed of who I am as a person. That you are ashamed of being with me.”

“Colin…”

“Why are ye so ashamed of me?” The Irishman complained,
thisclose to stomping his feet like a petulant child.

“Would you stop fucking saying shit like that! Why must you insist on pushing the subject?” Jared snarled scornfully while letting go of Colin in favour of placing his hands on his hips. His deliberately restrained posture hiding the unkind fact; he was barely holding back from punching something... or someone.

Jared hated talking about this. He was not going to change his mind and he could not understand why it meant so much to the younger man. The fact that Colin could not just let it go made Jared suspicious and he hated it. “Why is it so important that the world knows you’re banging Jared Leto? Why can’t you just be happy with what we have, without trying to fucking taint it by giving it away to strangers? Am I some sort of trophy for you, huh? Someone you can show to the world, prove that you’re such a stud that you can catch anyone?” Jared sneered, his tone mocking.

“Oh, don’t fucking flatter yourself, you little shit. Why must you always make this about you? Some days, I swear you’re just using me as a way to get fucked on a regular basis, instead of having to go to the trouble of picking up some poor sod in a bar. Big fucking trouble!” Colin was by now shouting as well, overdramatically waving his arms around, his face getting more flushed every second as his ire started to break through the alcohol consuming him. Jared could push his buttons like few others – and not just because he knew him.

Harsh words had double the effect when coming from someone you loved with every fibre of your being.

“Fuck you, Colin! I don’t have to listen to this bull. You can let yourself out,” Jared said darkly as he turned around, “I’m going back to bed.”

“Oh no, you don’t…” Colin exclaimed as he whirled Jared back to face him, grapping the smaller man’s shoulders tightly. Jared was shocked. The Irishman had never once dared touch him when they were arguing and he suspected that the alcohol gave the younger man some added courage.

“Tell me! Tell me, why you are ashamed of me?” Colin demanded. Yet the fight had gone out of him, replaced by shimmery brown eyes and a soft voice. Anger evaporating as a crushing desperation to truly understand why, took over. Why the man Colin loved seemed so intent to hide him away from the world. The sudden change in tone made the annoyance seep from the singer 

“I’m not.” Jared answered gently, as he took hold of the hands that were clutching his shoulders and instead placed them on his face, making sure that Colin was looking into his eyes. “I’m not ashamed of you, babe, never you. I
fucking love you. And you being in my life, even when you’re drunk off your ass and pissing me off with a vengeance, is one of the few accomplishments that I am proud of.” Jared stated softly, his voice clear before he despondently sighed, “But it’s different for you. You don’t have a target on your back 24/7. Call me a bitter asshole, but I really don’t feel like I owe people a front view seat to my life. I just can’t…” The singer halted as his eyes fell closed. The next words were said with such emotion that Colin feared for the ruthless storm of resentment and hurt that raged inside Jared. Feared the impact it had on the happiness of the man he loved.

“They can discard and mock the music all they want, say that I can’t hold a tune and that I’m a pretentious douchebag. Try and steal away the validity of my accomplishments. But I will NOT let them make fun of me for being in love. I cannot take it...” Jared said bitterly, eyes reopening as his agitation rose. He suddenly broke away from the Irishman and began pacing.

“I get interviewed several times a week, Colin, and they’ll be able to bring you into them
all. Make jokes and ask rude questions to try and shake me, to bring a response from me. Even if we add it to the huge list of things they are not allowed to ask, they’ll find a way to bring it up. They always do! I can’t do my job if they have that kind of in.” Jared seethed, trying to make the actor see it from his side.

Colin pushed away from the door and reached out for his lover, trying to bring him back into his arms, “It doesn’t have to be like that. Gay people have a lot more liberty in the business than they did before.” But to his surprise, his words made Jared push himself further away from Colin in a surge of anger.

“It’s not about gay liberties, Colin!” Jared pointed out desperately; needing the younger man to understand. “People can call me a faggot as much as they want, I
won’t and don’t care! I will never be ashamed of my sexuality and I will never be ashamed of the fact that we are both male, I really don’t care about that.”

“But there are so few things in this life, which I don’t have to give away to the world. That I don’t have to make public or fucking announce. So few things, that gets to be my own.” Jared’s voice had fallen to a mere whisper, “You are one of the things that keep me afloat. I don’t have a lot of those. So the ones that I do have, I need to make sure people can’t take away from me. Because they always try to steal away the things I love.” The singer licked his lips, before looking his boyfriend in the eyes.

“You’re a chink in my armour, Colin.”


Jared’s words stunned the younger man. He let himself fall back against the firm door behind him, sinking to the floor as he buried his head in his hands. Colin’s feelings had been hurt by Jared’s last words, but even while hurting he could not convince himself to surrender to those feelings. He wanted to be upset about the fact that the man he loved considered him a weakness. It was offensive. But Colin did not want to believe that it was meant as such. There had to be more to it.

Jared’s temper was notorious in the media. Interviewers and bloggers often deliberately tried to push Jared’s buttons in an attempt to get him to snap back. Jared’s smoothness during interviews was not just aggravating for some fans, it was a downright challenge for many up and coming reporters to see if they could get him to bite. The singer being involved in a relationship with anyone provided a soft spot for people to start poking, a way to make Jared vulnerable.

There had been no easy way into this business for Jared and no easy path to any of his accomplishments. The man had fought for everything he owned and he did not always know when to stop. Jared was always waiting for something to happen, for someone to step up and rip his achievements out of his hands. Having rarely been able to catch a break, he had grown to distrust everyone at first sight, which left him eternally confrontational. Every kind word Jared received left him suspicious as he waited for the ‘but’, for the put down, for the thinly veiled insult meant to tear him down.

Looking at the battle ready man in front of him, Colin started to see Jared’s words for what they were. See that he might have gotten the wrong idea about some things. This might not be about shame; it might be a desperate attempt, from an at times desperate man, to protect what he valued and cherished. And the self-preservation skills of Jared Leto were a hard thing to argue with, seeing as Colin could not really disagree with all his points. Colin was not looking forward to the inevitable stupid questions that would be asked by everyone and their grandma, as if they had the right and prerogative to know these things. Why did they go gay for each other? Who topped? Were they going to have a big fancy gay wedding parading matching tuxedos and looking all spiffy? Or how about sparkles and sequins? Colin really had no trouble envisioning Jared’s nightmare scenario of having to account for as well as justify every gay and bisexual stereotype out there, for better and for worse. The thought was not appealing as they both treasured their privacy above almost everything else.

Colin suddenly felt exhausted from a battle that had not even started.

Besides, their combined families already knew. Jared was always welcome at the Farrell residence in Ireland and Constance had received Colin with open arms. So who was missing that really mattered?

And yet when he looked at Eamon and Steven and saw how happy they were with being out, he could not help but wish that he could do the same with Jared. But his brother did not have to deal with a life in the constant spotlight like him and Jared did, so maybe it was entirely unfair to compare it.

Colin’s attention was brought back by Jared taking a seat in front of him on the floor, his long legs akimbo. The singer had sat down silently to await whatever outcome in store for him. As much as Jared wanted to take his loaded words about Colin being the fatal-flaw-in-Jared’s-design back, he knew that he could not. Hurt or no hurt, he would have to stand behind them, they were
his truth and there would be no denouncing them. But that did not change his feelings for the man sitting in front of him, his back against the door and head still buried in his hands. Jared badly wanted to make the hurt he had caused go away. Make Colin see that the adoration Jared felt for him was as strong as ever.

“I love you, Colin, and that is why I don’t want to come out. If we did there would be no more undisturbed vacations all over the world. No more sneaking into hotels under ridiculous names and make love all night long, with no one being the wiser. All of our actions will be watched obsessively by the Gossip rags and they will be making money off of our love.”

“It will be
theirs, not ours... And I want you just to be mine.” Jared added miserably. Putting a hand on Colin’s still downturned head, he stroked the silky dark hair underneath his palm, ignoring his own raging emotions.

Why did the world have to be so fucking complicated?

The comforting touch of his boyfriend made Colin throw his focus back on what was in front of him. He was not sure who was supposed to be comforting whom in this, so instead of leaning into the touch he sat up properly. Meeting Jared’s hesitant gaze he opened his arms.

Jared lowered his gaze. Whether it was a gesture of shame, avoidance or compliance Colin did not now and neither did he care. Leaning forward he grasped Jared’s biceps and pulled the singer forward making the older man fall into his shoulder, head buried in the crook of Colin’s neck. The position was awkward, but after some shuffling around they managed to make themselves comfortable. The Irishman opened his mouth, feeling Jared’s hair underneath his nose as the man’s head was buried under his chin, but he closed it again, not knowing what to say at this point.

Several minutes passed before Colin felt his mind settle. He pressed a kiss to the side of Jared’s head and breathed out, “I love you, too.”

There was really nothing else to say. It was the only thing that remained certain.



¤¤¤¤¤¤


Colin had made himself comfortable in the lounge chair next to the bed – or as comfortable as one could get in one of those damn chairs. Since they had moved Jared from the ICU to a private room the seats were no longer made of plastic; however, they were still torturous to sit on for more than an hour. And Colin had been here since early morning. According to the clock on the wall, it was reaching noon. He had started on a dreary paperback, which he was halfway through by now. His back was killing him; hopefully Shannon would be back before long.

“If I throw a stick, will you leave?” The man in question almost fell out of the chair in surprise. Though severely muffled by the breathing mask on his face, Jared’s scratchy voice resonated within the room. The man had always had impressive vocals.

Not wasting any time, Jared pushed again, “Why the fuck are you here, Colin?”

“Why wouldn’t I be here, Jay?” Colin asked, slowly regaining his senses. Jared visibly cringed at the use of the familiar nickname. The Irishman had secretly hoped the other man would stay asleep while he was there, as he was more than content to merely gaze upon Jared. Watch him breathe. Talking would undoubtedly provoke the unavoidable war of words that was bound to ensue the moment the American was coherent and started demanding answers from him. The singer had never been one for staying silent to avoid confrontation, even while severely weakened. If Jared had something to say, he would say it.

“Because you have a girlfriend now, remember?” said Jared scornfully. He then audibly swallowed, suppressing a cough. When he continued speaking his voice sounded choked and for a moment Colin feared Jared was fighting tears. “You’re just here because you cannot let this go. Let us go. Don’t do this to me, Colin, you know that I never moved on like you did. And that’s okay; I guess I always had more to lose than you…” Jared’s voice had gradually become more and more strained, yet it was now painfully obvious that his problem was not crying, but difficulties with inhaling.

Abruptly, rough sounding coughs shook the singer’s exhausted body, practically choking the weakened man, as he could not get his struggling lungs to accept the air. In a flash, Colin was on his feet and stepped over to the bed. He hesitated for a split second but quickly made up his mind and moved an arm underneath Jared’s back, careful not to touch the wound as he propped him up, helping him into a sitting position. The singer’s brows were furrowed and his face was marred with pain. Colin moved to sit on the edge of the hospital bed so that Jared could rest against his chest; the older man was still too weak to hold himself up for long.

For several minutes, they just sat there. Jared drawing in one shaky breath after another with Colin holding him, one arm around the smaller man’s shoulders. The Irishman had to resist the urge to rest his forehead against Jared’s damp, sweaty hair. Holding him close gave him a relief he did not even know he had been desperate for. He had longed to feel the singer’s chest rising and falling – to feel his heart beating, assuring Colin that Jared had indeed made it. He was alive.

After a while, Jared’s raspy voice broke through the calm that had settled, sounding miserable. “Why are you doing this to me, Colin? Why are you putting us through this again? We both know that the whole long distance, gay relationship is not for you. So please just stop. ” The singer drew in another trembling breath and reluctantly rested his head on Colin’s shoulder.

He was simply too tired to care, too tired to try preserving his tattered dignity.

Colin stayed silent; he just did not know what to say. Angry and raving Jared he could handle – defeated and desolate, he could not. Frankly, it alarmed him. For with few exceptions, Jared was a hard-ass. Strong and proud. Refused to cry, especially not if anyone was watching. And now, Colin was witnessing tears sliding from the clenched eyelids, down the hollow cheeks where they continued down the throat, disappearing into the fabric of the light-blue hospital gown. The Irishman held his breath, not daring to say anything. He was well aware of how vulnerable the singer would feel in this situation and he did not want to say anything to make him feel worse.

Eventually, Jared broke the silence. “Let me go, please.” For a moment, Colin was confused as to whether or not the singer was talking about their relationship yet again, but then Jared started to struggle in his hold. Reluctantly, Colin released his grip on the other man’s shoulders and helped him lie on his back once more. He debated with himself on giving Jared a reassuring squeeze on the arm, but refrained. It would be neither appropriate, nor welcome. He retook his seat on the lounge chair and watched the minutes tick away on the clock as Jared took the time to catch his breath.

“Why don’t you just go home? You know, home? The one thing you said two guys fucking didn’t make.” Jared’s sharp voice cut through the room, sounding a lot stronger than it did previously. Colin could not help but look faintly like he had been slapped. But the singer continued, “We were a home to me. I just wasn’t enough for you.” The anger evident in Jared’s tone was somehow comforting to the Irishman.

This he could deal with. And if the American felt strong enough to bitch, he could at least breathe. Or so Colin hoped. With any luck, the man was not dumb enough to do it otherwise. But with Jared, you never knew.

The last few times they had met, they had conveniently avoided talking about their last fight. The Fight. Yet it looked as though it was time. One way or another, they both knew that this could not be postponed. Most people would probably have preferred and expected for this to wait until they were both of equal strength. But Colin knew that there was no way for him to be welcome in this room without them clearing the air first. Or at least, giving it an honest try. Hopefully, enough time had passed for them to be able to talk without yelling.

“You were enough. No one has ever made me feel like you did. But you could be such a selfish asshole, Jared. I was always second to your career. And please don’t deny it. We both know that if pressed, you would have left me for your job in a heartbeat.” Colin said softly. There were a lot of things he felt he needed to say as well, but he would do his part to ensure that the tone stayed civil. Jared’s lungs could not handle a shouting match right now.

“That’s not true.”

“Isn’t it? Jared, I always felt second in that regard. Like I was your dirty secret, I’m not saying that staying in the closet wasn’t a good idea, because it was, especially after you left me...”

“Wait, wait, hold on! I left you? You asked me to leave. You kicked me out.” Jared’s voice rose slightly in volume, but the lack of strength in it remained.

“You walked away and never came back!” Colin replied, his softer tone becoming harsh.

“I wasn’t welcome.” Jared countered, his tone becoming despondent, haunted in a way. A tone that Colin’s voice mirrored, as he could not help but feel the same.

“I was so angry at you, not because you left. But because you didn’t come back.”

“I wanted to come home so many times. But then I remembered that it wasn’t a home to anyone but me.”

Colin decided to leave the last bite unreciprocated. It was painfully obvious that they had reached another stalemate in their argument, and it was doubtful that they would ever agree on who left whom first, or whose fault this entire thing was.

Jared was once more breathing heavily on the bed and for several long moments, it was the only sound in the room. Until the Irishman decided to break the tentative silence. “So what do we do now?” His question was met with silence and for several minutes, the room succumbed to it.

“I don’t know.” Jared whispered eventually, desperation seeping into his voice. “All I know is… I will always love you so goddamn much, Colin, but I can’t let us break me again. I just can’t.” The man stopped talking while he took another deep breath.

Then something seemed to occur to Jared. “And aren’t you supposed to be a happy man with a shiny new girlfriend and everything?”

“Alicja and me… she is not you. There is no more her and me.” Colin replied softly, then decided to steer the conversation away from his former girlfriend. That was still a subject he could barely define in his head, let alone put into words. Instead, he asked, “Who says that it won’t be different this time around? That we won’t know better?”

“What would make us different? We were good together, when we were good. But when we were bad, we damn near killed each other. We were so hurtful, so nasty at the end. I want to put my heart back on the line and love you all over again, but every time I look at you I’m reminded by how quickly you got over me, how little I must have meant to you. Was I ever allowed into your heart, at all?” Jared asked and then went quiet, staring up at the ceiling. This time it was Colin’s turn to look miserable.

“More than you obviously think, Jay. And much more than I ever thought I did. Something about those years with you changed me. But it happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice how much, until after you were gone and I was trying to pick up the pieces and move on the same way I always had.”

Colin got to his feet and started pacing back and forth in the small hospital room, his gestures as dramatic and theatrical as they had always been and his accent suddenly very pronounced. Jared followed the younger man with his eyes; he found the actor’s behavior comforting. So very familiar. “Only this time, it didn’t work. I tried to let Alicja into me heart, I really did, and then I thought having Henry with ‘er would make it easier to let you go, but it didn’t fucking work! I wasn’t the same man anymore. I couldn’t give me heart to anyone new, because I didn’t fucking ‘ave one. You stole it several years ago, mate. And the more I think about, the more I realize I don’t want it back. You can keep it.”

Jared did not answer, his face remaining impassive.

At least, that is how it would look to anyone who did not know him. But unfortunately for the singer, Colin did know him. He knew him well. And it did not escape his attention the way the captivating blue eyes shone and the way Jared’s facial muscles had tensed inceptively, in a way that usually meant he was fighting with himself not to portray how affected he was by an emotion. But exactly what emotion it was had Colin struggling. So he did what they had always done to each other, he put it to the test. And right now, the Irishman felt like he had nothing left to lose.

Taking two steps forward until he was standing with his upper thighs against the bed-rail, Colin slowly moved his hand towards the American’s cheek and merely placed it there. When his hand was not immediately batted away, he felt himself grow bolder. Leaning over the bed, he placed his forehead against Jared’s and simply looked into the other man’s eyes. They looked back at him with a peculiar mixture of annoyance and doubt.

But love too.

The breathing mask prevented their lips from meeting, which was more than okay. They were not ready for that, maybe they would never be. But perhaps they could try being friends again.

“I’m not running from you.”

Colin’s remark made Jared snort, which inevitably left him coughing hoarsely and the actor immediately started rubbing the older man’s shoulders trying to provide comfort in any way he could, yet careful not to get anywhere near the lump of bandages. Enjoying a break from the tension a tender smile covered Colin’s face.

“That was incredibly corny, Mr. Farrell. Glad to know you’ve still got it.” Jared wheezed, unable to help himself, even while struggling to breathe he could never manage to stay silent. A comfortable silence settled between them. The worn out singer closed his eyes, relaxing his body completely. For a while, the Irishman wondered if Jared had fallen asleep, when the older man suddenly spoke up.

“Tell me about Henry?” The question brought a tender smile to Colin’s face. Jared’s voice belayed a genuine desire to know more, and it made his heart soar.

They still had a long way to go. However, both felt more at ease in each other’s presence than they had for a long time.

Maybe there was still hope for them.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

TBC

Comments

Posted by: shiralyndee (shiralyndee)
Posted at: February 18th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)

Thank you for the new chapter!! And yes they BOTH have a long way to go. But what's going on with the man that shot Jared??? At least they are talking and hearing each other some what better.

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)

You're welcome and don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Helmstrom. They indeed have a long way to go, but at least they are talking :)

Thanks for commenting

Posted by: nessamelda (nesamelda)
Posted at: February 19th, 2011 06:43 am (UTC)
furry hat

Finally they're talking. Love your update ^_^

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)

Indeed! Thanks for reading and commenting :D

Posted by: cujlover (cujlover)
Posted at: March 1st, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
smiling from the heart

Loved that chap pretty much and hope I'll get more soon!
*looks expectantly* *_*

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)

Working on it. Glad you enjoyed the chapter and I hope you'll like the next as well :)

Posted by: alice_domoto (alice_domoto)
Posted at: March 25th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)

Hi bouncinggoat~

I finished reading all the 8 chapters last night until 4 in the morning...haha~
The story is really well-written,with the chaos and flashbacks~
I think COlin n Jared's problem is they never had a chance to communicate properly and be honest with each other. In this chapter, they are finally frank with each other. Hope that things will go on fine for them~Looking forward to some sweet scenes~haha
Can't wait to see the next chapters~~

Alice

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)

Hi Alice,

I'm so glad you like it and I'm sorry if I robbed you of sleep. ;) Thank you for the nice compliment, I really appreciate it.
I agree, communication is a major issue between them and was one of the reason why they didn't make it- hopefully they'll get better :)

Once again, thank you!

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