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Notes: This takes place right after The Fight and right before the comicon at the end. And this slash? Is actually canonical. LOVE that.
[ words like daggers ]
The couch dipped slightly as Banky sat down next to him, their knees touching. Holden took a deep breath and tried to look at him but found he couldn´t. He sat there with his head in his hands, his eyes squeezed tightly shut, the pain crushing his chest, and waited for Banky to talk first. He didn´t have to wait long.
What the fuck, Holden,’ Banky asked, low and quiet, breathless almost. What were you thinking?’
Holden breathed out slowly, letting his hands fall to his kneed. I´m not sure I was.’
Banky´s snort was derisive, but not half as derisive as Holden had heard before. That much is clear.’
I thought I could fix it,’ Holden whispered, turning his head towards Banky even though he still couldn´t look at him. He concentrated on Banky´s fingers, tapping lightly against Banky´s knee. I just thought--’
That you´d drag me into some sick fucking twisted plot so you could deal with the fact that your girlfriend wasn´t the girls-only-dyke-type you thought she was,’ Banky asked, and the bitterness in his voice was like an iron claw wrapping around Holden´s heart.
No,’ he said, feeling his hands tremble and grabbing onto the back of his knees, trying to hold it in. I wasn´t using you.’
Holden squeezed his eyes shut tighter, swallowing past the ever-growing lump in his throat. I didn´t think I was using you.’
Sometimes you´re not that smart, Holden,’ Banky said, and his tone had actually lightened. His hand was hot against Holden´s back as it traveled lightly down it. Sometimes you´re down right fuckin´ idiotic.’
It made sense in my head,’ Holden said, finally able to look at Banky. Now that the bitterness was gone, now that Banky sounded like he might actually be able to get past this. It sounded logical.’
Banky met his eyes unwaveringly, and it hurt all the more. You honestly thought that, were I in love with you, it would help me to sleep with you? You thought I would feel better, or whole, knowing that at least I got to fuck you once? Because it would have been once, right,’ Banky asked, raising an eyebrow. It would have been once, and then it would have been all about her again.’
But now the bitterness is back, and the pain is shining through his eyes like a neon green sign, and Holden can´t even breathe when they´re looking right into him like they were. You thought I loved you, and that you could fix me. By letting me have one touch. One fuck. One fucking kiss.’ He shook his head and looked like he was two seconds away from throwing up as he let his hand fall off of Holden´s back onto the couch cushions below. Fuck you, Holden.’
Holden shook his head, his eyes widening as Banky´s words began to penetrate his conscience. No. Banky, no. I didn´t--’
The fuck you didn´t,’ Banky said, the daggers in his voice slicing through both of them.
I didn´t,’ Holden said, sitting up straighter and facing Banky more squarely. I didn´t think it through. It was a fucked up, half thought out plan. I´m sorry Banky, I love you.’
A tear coursed down Banky´s face and he blinked it away and looked at the television, at the floor, at anything but Holden. Don´t.’
Holden leaned towards him, his hands reaching blindly to clasp onto anything, onto Banky´s arm, or leg, or shirt. Banky. Please.’
Don´t say that to me,’ Banky whispered, closing his eyes as yet more tears fell out. Don´t fucking say those words to me ever again.’
I do,’ Holden said, his fingers crushing into Banky´s jeans, tugging at his leg as though that would help him somehow. Banky I love you more than anyone in my whole life. I always have.’
Banky´s laugh was hollow, and Holden could feel it reverberating through him leaving a cold chill in its wake. No you don´t.’
Holden scooted even closer, his hand tightening on Banky´s leg as his other came up to clasp onto Banky´s neck. I do. You mean more to me than anything. I fucked up, and I´m sorry, but God, Bank. You have to know I love you.’
Yeah,’ Banky said, nodding his head, turning it to face completely away from Holden, his jaw clenching. But what if I told you I loved you too, Holden? What if I told you that it´s not brotherly, like yours, it´s not innocent, like yours?’
Holden could feel himself losing control again, he could feel the tears coursing down his face and he wanted nothing more than for Banky to just look at him. Just look at him and see that he was in pain too. Bank. I know that.’
Banky´s head pitched forward as Holden´s grip tightened on his neck and Holden thought for a moment that this too would pass. Banky would be hurt, and he´d be angry, but they´d deal with it. They´d work through it.
What if I told you that you broke my heart,’ Banky said, his voice not nearly loud enough to hear, but loud enough to tear what was left of Holden´s heart in two.
Holden was out and out sobbing at this point, and he didn´t know if he could stop long enough to answer him. I´m sorry,’ was all he could manage, and it tumbled out of his mouth a million times over but it still felt like it wasn´t enough.
Please stop crying,’ Banky choked out, and Holden wondered for a moment at just how much stronger Banky was. He wondered how it was Banky wasn´t breaking too, until he realized maybe Banky was. Maybe Banky´s breaking apart was just a lot subtler than his was. I can´t sit here and listen to this, Holden, it´s too fuckin´ hard.’
So Holden bit his lip and swallowed past the tears to come and unclenched his hand from Banky´s leg, bringing it up to wipe at his face. You´re right,’ he said finally, his voice rough and rugged. Raw. You´re right, I´m sorry.’
I´m sorry, Holden,’ Banky said, shaking his head, his voice trembling on the edge of breaking. I´m sorry I can´t be here for you right now. I´m fuckin´ sorry, I want to be.’
Holden´s fingers flexed into Banky´s hair, thankful that Banky hadn´t yet knocked his hand off. You don´t have anything to apologize for,’ he whispered.
Banky nodded, finally looking at him again. Yes I do. I‘m selfish. I should just be there for you. You loved her.’
Holden bit his lip and looked down, closing his eyes and willing himself to remain in control. Yeah. I did.’
And I know that. I know that, and I should have just let it fuckin´ ride,’ Banky said, sighing and leaning back into Holden´s hand, tilting his head back and letting Holden´s fingers slide through it. I can´t just sit here and pretend anymore. I can´t fuckin´ do it. I want to.’
Pretend what,’ Holden asked, his brow furrowing in confusion.
For fuck´s sake, Holden,’ Banky said, sounding angry again before his face fell. Pretend I don´t love you. Pretend it doesn´t feel like a fucking knife in the chest every time you fall for someone else.’
They don´t matter, Banky,’ Holden hissed, leaning forward. They don´t matter to me like you do. Don´t you get that?’
I know,’ Banky said, the half smile wobbling and threatening to fall. I know, but don´t you get it? Because right now, all that matters is that you don´t love me like I do.’ He shrugged and looked down at his hands, his fingers lacing and unlacing together. I´ve tried to not let it matter. I´ve tried to be okay with just being your friend.’
Holden´s fingers clenched in Banky´s hair. You´re not just a friend to me, Banky. You´re everything.’
Banky´s jaw clenched and fear shot through Holden as he waited for him to pull away. Banky´s hands shook as he lifted them to dig into his eyes, covering his face. You don´t fucking get it.’
I do. I swear, I do.’
Do you sit up at night, not able to sleep because I´m in the next room,’ Banky asked, his eyes boring into Holden´s suddenly. Do you sit there and think, just once. Just fucking once, I want to know what it´s like. I want to feel his hands on me. Me. Just fucking once, I want it to be me he´s kissing. Me he´s saying he loves,’ he asked, not even bothering to blink past the tear that fell. Me he can´t stop thinking about.’
Holden shook his head. Banky--’
And then the one time, the fucking one time we kiss, and it´s this,’ Banky said, his tone angry suddenly, his eyes flashing at him, his finger jabbing into Holden´s leg. It´s this shit, that´s not about me. It´s not about me, it´s not about us. It´s about her, that fucking dyke.’
I didn´t know,’ Holden whispered.
You owe me that much, Holden,’ Banky hissed at him, his mouth curling up in an angry line. You owe me a real kiss. A fuckin´ honest to God kiss. Because that wasn´t one. That was a fucking tactic.’
Holden breathed in sharply, his eyes drifting over Banky´s face. You want me to kiss you again?’
Yes,’ Banky whispered, his voice dipping. I deserve one real kiss.’
Holden´s hand rose to cup Banky´s face, his thumb running along his jaw. I can do that.’
Banky shook his head. I don´t want you to be able to. Fuck, Holden, you´re able to kiss a fuckin´ goat. I want you to want to.’
Holden blinked and nodded, looking into Banky´s eyes. He licked his lips and nodded again. I want to,’ he whispered, leaning closer to him, close enough to almost touch. I want to.’
Banky sobbed into his mouth the instant they touched, his fingers curling in Holden´s faded and worn sweatshirt and pulling him closer. His tongue licked tentatively at Holden´s bottom lip and he opened his mouth, immediately accepting it. His head swam and his dick jerked and his fingers tightened in Banky´s hair as he slid his other hand down Banky´s neck to curl around it.
Their kiss deepened until he couldn´t breathe anymore and he felt himself growing hard and then Banky´s hand was traveling down his chest. He let out a muffled moan as Banky´s hand grazed over his dick and then Banky was pulling back and pushing him away.
Oh, so you´re fuckin´ hard now,’ Banky asked, glaring at him.
Holden looked at him, his eyes slowly focusing. I didn´t know it was gonna be like that Banky, I felt something.’
Fuck you, Holden,’ Banky yelled, standing up, swaying slightly and reaching out to grab onto the back of the couch. You can´t fuckin´ don´t do this to me!’
Holden reached up and grabbed Banky´s hand, pulling him back down. Banky. I felt something.’
No,’ Banky yelled, fresh tears in his eyes. You´re hard because you´re confused, and you´re fucked up! You´re fucked up, Holden, and this? This is fucked up! It´s fucking fucked! Because I love you, and this is just this is just a hard-on. One fuckin´ hard-on.’
Holden watched helplessly as Banky stood once again, unable to make himself grab after him again. Banky, I think there´s something here. I think this is something we should explore.’
Banky laughed and it felt like a slap in the face. Well you just mull it over, McNeil. Because I´ve fucking explored it, okay? I´m through exploring. I love you, and you maybe kind of think there might be some sort of something, and I don´t give a fuckin´ SHIT!’
Holden turned to watch him walking to his room, his head downcast, his shoulders slumped, and he felt like his heart was breaking all over again. I love you too, Banky,’ he whispered, his last ditch attempt.
It´s not enough,’ Banky said, pausing at his door, his hand on the knob but not turning around to look at him. I´m moving out in the morning. It would be easier if you weren´t here.’
It was a year before they spoke again in silent pantomime across a crowded comicon showroom.
It was the most painful, lonely, empty year of Holden´s whole life.