Threads of Fate

 

 

Epilogue

 

~~~

 

Gone from dreams and from my earth,

Gone be faerie folk from mind and hearth.

As I fill this place with fragrant wood,

Faery folk now be gone for good!

 

~ A chant to banish faeries and focus one's energy

 

~~~

 

He liked it there - Patrick had decided that, shortly after moving into the place. It was a great city, Antrim. Not too busy, not too small… they'd had some trouble at first finding an apartment - a flat, he reminded himself - to live in, but that wasn't a problem for too long.

 

"It's such a tourist city," Alex scoffed, more than once. "You're never going to make a good native - you get way too impressed by this sort of thing."

 

Somehow, though, when the question of moving somewhere else was brought up, he never seemed all that interested in pursuing the option.

 

He likes it too - just won't admit it. Patrick smiled a bit to himself, fumbling with the keys and his grocery bags. It hadn't been an easy first month, but he was adjusting. His parents had been a huge help, financially.

 

"I'll really need to meet this boy," his mother had said, when he'd gone home to make the arrangements. "Imagine someone winning over my compulsively practical son enough in just one summer that he'd move halfway across the world."

 

Needless to say, they were more than a little startled - but not as horribly disappointed as he'd almost expected. They were flying down for a visit in a few weeks, even.

 

Patrick was partly nervous and partly excited about introducing them.

 

"Hello?" he called out, finally wrestling the door open. Sometimes it didn't take the key properly, which made it difficult to manage when his arms were full. Apparently today was one of the better days.

 

"Kitchen," Alex's voice carried back to him - not that that was a surprise. Their 'flat' wasn't that large - the kitchen and what he would've called the living room were one big area with the fridge and stove and cupboards on one end and the beat-up TV and slightly ratty couch on the other. It was cozy enough, though.

 

In any case, with him working as a junior editor for the local paper and Alex part-time down at the library, they made just about enough to be comfortable.

 

"Hey." Patrick put the groceries down on the counter, looking back to where Alex was sitting at the table with a sheet of paper in front of him, tapping his pen against the surface thoughtfully. "What are you working on?"

 

"Just a letter." With a bit of a sigh, Alex pulled the paper off the table, folding it up before his lover could get a look at it. He looked up after with a slight, almost defensive smile. "Nothing important."

 

There weren't many people he'd be writing to. Patrick made the attempt to smile back, trying not to act too worried. "Okay, if you say so."

 

You have to let go some time… Seriously, Alex.

 

"I'm fine, you know." The younger boy stood, eyes flashing a bit stubbornly. He glared up at Patrick as if he expected some kind of argument. "You don't have to treat me like I'll break apart if you talk too loud or something."

 

Patrick grinned sheepishly. It wasn't like he could deny it. "Sorry."

 

Alex set the letter down, very deliberately, and turned to reach up behind Patrick's neck so he could pull his face down a bit. "I think," he said, eyes going half-lidded as his voice went low, "that you'd better make it up to me."

 

There wasn't much point in denying that.

 

It was much later when Patrick was able to think about the letter again - although it didn't come to mind immediately. He had one hand splayed comfortably on the flat plane of Alex's bare stomach, his face very close to the younger boy's shoulder. His heart-rate had slowed, but he still felt sweaty and was entertaining vague thoughts about showering. It felt too good lying there for him to want to move just yet, though.

 

Alex let out a long, low breath, breaking the comfortable stillness that saturated the air around them by turning his head toward Patrick and shifting closer. His skin was warm where it brushed his lover's and the feeling of closeness was not unwelcome.

 

"You know," Alex breathed out, eyes still shut as he spoke, "I'm sorry."

 

Patrick watched his face carefully, running a finger over the curve of the younger boy's side in an attempt to be relaxing. "What for?" His own voice came out just as hushed.

 

Alex sighed. "I don't love you enough," he replied, very softly, tilting his head again so that his forehead brushed Patrick's.

 

A few guesses could probably give him the reason for this. "If you love me at all, it's enough. Don't worry about it, all right?"

 

His lover was quiet.

 

"I know you miss him." How could he not know? He'd known that even before Marc left - it was impossible not to notice now. "You don't need to worry about me - think about yourself sometimes. Does it really help to write letters?"

 

The usual heat seemed to have found Alex even in that mood; he frowned a bit and answered, shortly, "Yes it does. And you can quit giving out to me about that any time. I'm not going to go off my nut just because of a letter."

 

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry." Patrick smiled a bit, despite the conciliatory tone. At least this mood wasn't so terrible it couldn't be overcome.

 

Sometimes he worried… But he would've worried more if Alex never got moody.

 

Another soft sigh answered him, and then the younger boy did open his eyes, staring at him with a certain amount of guilt. "It bothers me that I don't know if I would give you up if it meant I'd get Marc back," he said, very quietly.

 

Patrick wasn't too concerned with this - he ran his thumb carefully over Alex's pale skin and adopted his most practical tone to reply with. "You can't trade people."

 

"But if I could - "

 

"But you can't." This was the kind of calm, unshakeable logic that never seemed to fail him. Patrick leaned back enough to kiss his lover's shoulder, and murmured, "It won't happen, so don't worry about it."

 

He got more silence in return - and then Alex shut his eyes again, the corners of his mouth edging up. His free hand came up to rest over Patrick's, stopping the motion of his thumb. "I love you," he said, still in that quiet tone, and sighed again. "I need a shower." Despite the words and the wry tone, he made no move to get up.

 

"Me too," Patrick agreed, and smiled again, not moving.

 

On the kitchen table outside, the letter Alex had so carefully written and then folded up sat waiting. For one second more, it remained where it had been placed - and then without so much as a flicker, it vanished, leaving behind the faint echo of a distant someone's laughter in its wake.

 

~~~~~~

 

The End