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Placement notes: This was inspired by I think ep. 2. Anyway, it's before Colleen (Tommy's daughter) gets into the car wreck. It's after whatever episode it was where Franco catches Tommy drinking on the job and before the wreck.
[ m e n . d o n ' t . t a l k ]
Tommy sat on the couch, staring down at his hands. There was a white circle, just barely there, where the golden band used to be. To be honest, he was probably the only one who could see it, and that was only because he knew it should be there. Because, after all, he was Irish and the Irish have the curse of alabaster skin that reddens but never darkens.
It´s always these late night shifts that find him contemplating the presence, or lack there of, of phantom white rings around his fingers. Two in the morning, not a fire in sight, and most of his men asleep in myriad places that weren´t here. Two in the morning, and no sleep for him, because that´s another curse of the Irish: depression.
There was the noise of almost silently padding feet on the cold concrete of the firehouse floor and he could see just the tips of someone´s toes peaking around the corner as they stopped to scratch their belly. The loud belch punctuating the air let him know it was Franco and he allowed a soft smile to spread across his face.
You´re a gaseous S.O.B. Franco, you know that?
Franco laughed, turning and seeing him, letting his shirt fall back over his pants as he lifted his arms above his head to stretch. Yeah, yeah, he said, flopping heavily on the couch next to Tommy and swatting him heavily on the leg. You´re one to talk, cause see, I seem to remember a cabbage roll dish you brought--
Franco´s smile widened as he leaned his head back against the couch and let out a honk of a yawn, shaking his head violently to wake himself up. Go to bed, Tommy, I got the helm.
Nah, Tommy said, shaking his head and propping his feet up on the table in front of them. Not tired.
Franco frowned at him, his palm rubbing at his eye as he rubbed the sleep out of them. What´re ya talkin´ about? It´s 2 in the morning, you´re pullin´ a double.
Tommy shrugged, smiling. Wide awake, Franco. Fresh as roses.
Franco laughed, shaking his head. Fuckin´ roses. Yeah, now I know something´s up.
Tommy frowned, raising an eyebrow. Hm?
Next thing ya know, Franco said, spreading a hand out before him. You´ll be sayin´ you´re right as rain. He nodded, laughing again as his hands fell to his lap. Then they´ll take out the straight jacket and tell us you´ve been abducted by Hare Krishna´s or something.
Tommy´s frown deepened as his eyebrows knitted together. Franco, what are you--
You´re full of shit, Tommy, Franco said, his face sobering as he turned to look at him. All this bullshit about how you´re fine, it´s bullshit.
Wanna work shit into that sentence one more time? I think you can fit it in there if you squeeze it in the beginning.
Or at the end, doesn´t matter, Tommy said, clearing his throat and standing up. Ya know, maybe I will go try to catch a few winks.
Franco shook his head, frown lines creasing his forehead. Full of it, Tommy.
Tommy sighed, scratching at his stomach more out of annoyance than out of an actual itch. What, Franco? What am I full of shit about?
Franco looked at him, pointing to the spot next to him on the couch where Tommy had been sitting. He waited silently until Tommy heaved a sigh and sat down again, turning his gaze back to him. You tell me, he said finally, nodding his head.
What are you, my wife, Tommy asked, laughing past the bitter taste rising in his throat. Sit down, Tommy. Talk to me, Tommy. Tell me your problems, Tommy.
Hey, Franco said, pointing a finger at him and lowering his voice. I´m not your fuckin´ wife, and don´t try that shit on me. Don´t try that macho men don´t talk´ crap, cause it´s me, Tommy. He nodded, his finger coming back to rest against his palm as he lowered his hand. And you´ve been there for me on more than one occasion, and so have I for you. So this who are you, my wife´ shit? Not gonna work.
Tommy´s hand lifted to run through his hair and he chewed for a moment on his lip. Sighing again he brought a leg up on the couch and turned more fully towards Franco. Fine, he said, nodding resolutely. What am I full of?
I don´t know, Franco said in an almost yell, his hands spreading. That´s the point, man.
Look, man, I just don´t see the point in talking about things, okay? He laughed, shrugging his shoulders. Am I happy my wife´s leaving me? No. Am I happy they´re thinking of moving? No. Am I happy my daughter´s dating a fucking miscreant and got his name tattooed on her belly? No.
Wait, Franco said, putting a hand up to stop him. Where?
On her belly.
Franco´s mouth quirked up. Like, on her hip, or like in a circle around her bellybu--
That´s my daughter, asshole, Tommy said, pointing at him and raising a warning eyebrow.
Okay, okay, continue, Franco said, laughing lightly and holding his hands up in surrender.
I´m done, man, he said, shaking his head. That´s all. The point is, I´m not happy about all this shit going on in my life, but I don´t see what blathering on about is gonna do. Ain´t gonna fix it, is it?
No, Franco said, shaking his head. It probably wouldn´t.
Right, Tommy said, reaching in his pocket and grabbing his pack of cigarettes. So I don´t see why--
Because maybe if you talked about it, you wouldn´t be drinking on the job again, Franco said quietly, his eyes avoiding Tommy´s as he stared at the blank TV screen.
His hand froze just as he lit his cigarette, the taste of tobacco already filling his lungs. His eyes closed and he lowered the lighter to his lap, shaking his head as he let the trapped smoke out through his nose. That was a one time deal.
Yeah, Franco said, the staccato laugh not fooling either of them. Sure.
Look, Tommy said, opening his eyes and looking at Franco´s profile. It´s just a little, okay? I´m Irish, it takes like, a gallon for me to feel the burn, okay? This is just a little.
Franco rolled his eyes and delivered a withering look to Tommy. You think I´m gonna buy that? You think I don´t know it´s a little here, and a little there, and a little more at home, and a little bit more than a little at the bar. Then, before you know it, you´re right back to square one. He shook his head, pursing his lips and muttering. If you´re not already there.
It´s not a big deal, man, Tommy said, attempting to smile at him.
Hmm, Franco said, nodding and sitting up, reaching over and grabbing Tommy´s coat off of the floor. Let´s see what´s not a big deal, he said, looking at Tommy and rummaging through his pockets. When he came up with nothing he threw his coat back on the floor and turned his glare to Tommy. So you finished it? Or you tossed it?
Tommy shrugged, looking down at his hands and studying the white ring that still wasn´t there. Finished it.
Franco nodded, relaxing slightly at Tommy´s admission. I thought you were sober, man, he said softly.
Oh, don´t look at me like that, Tommy spat out, taking another drag from his cigarette. Don´t look at me with that oh poor pitiful Tommy´ gaze. Take your pity and shove it up your--
Fuck pity, Franco said, shaking his head once. I´m not capable of pity. You did it to yourself.
Tommy couldn´t help the little snort of laughter he gave at that, shaking his head. Then whatever it is. Don´t.
Franco sighed, rolling his head around in a slow circle. Just take care of yourself, alright Tommy? That´s all I´m saying.
I am, he said, blowing out a ring of smoke.
Franco looked at him, his eyes dancing in amusement. He says as he pours tar and smoke into his lungs.
Hey, Tommy said with a smirk, pointing at him. You pour smoke in your lungs too. I just happen to light the match when I do it.