Disclaimer:Brothers of the Head belongs to Brian W. Aldiss. I am not profiting financially from this piece of fanfiction, nor do I intend to. Anything related to the film belongs to the filmmakers and Brian Aldiss respectfully - the idea for this piece of work, however, is my own.
All songs used in this fic are also from the novel Brothers of the Head
It was triumph
It was triumph
My happiness took me to loving hearts and couches
Yet we who had survived the journey
Knew that all the while our memory
Stayed with those elegant grey seas
Curling over what was Europe.
Oh you are all things to me
Lover and vampire
You keep three lovers happy
A phoenix of their fire
In this world I’m love’s tourist
Another head is dreaming of your beauty
Our love is a forest
-Our Love is a Forest
No, I was never deaf or blind to your music, Laura
I breathed more oxygen in her company
Reached higher speeds and a wider sort of skies
And dredged for her (secret) salts and alkalis
-I Was Never Deaf or Blind to Her Music
Barry’s face was almost expressionless. One of his legs was thrown over Tom’s who had quite clearly had enough of him at the moment. But Tom had had enough of Barry far too often now and frankly, Barry was sick of it so he did the only thing he could think to do: Draw attention to himself, force Tom to pay attention to him, because Tom was dealing with Barry by simply ignoring him more and more. Something that was almost impossible to do back home on the Head.
Nick had gotten up and left. There was no action from either of the boys for several seconds. Barry sucked hard on the cigarette Nick had left, his blue eyes scanning the back of Tom’s head, wondering...
He reached out, curling a lock of it around one finger, and Tom jerked his head away, his hand appearing from under the sheets to run over his hear, and brush Barry’s hand off as though it was a fly. Barry glared. He did it again.
It was a surprise to both of them when Tom rolled over to face him and shoved Barry’s hand back, hard. He hit the fag Barry held and somehow the burning end was held between his fingers long enough to make him yelp and drop it onto the bed-sheets. He didn’t move to pick it up, but Tom was fast enough. “Fuck, Barry!” he accused as he brushed the ash away. Tom reached over his brother to put it out on the night-stand. He couldn’t care about the furniture right now. He was crashing from cocaine and he just wanted to fucking sleep. He didn’t notice the glare Barry was giving him as he stabbed out the cigarette.
Barry’s white hand shot into the line of Tom’s vision so fast that he hardly registered the glint of silver as it whipped back, but Tom’s reflexes worked faster than his mind as that moment and he pulled back quickly. “Barry!” he’d cried, before his eyes even fell on his brother, who was clutching the knife tightly, glaring at him.
Tom froze, didn’t say anything, didn’t even blink. The knife sliced through the air, and Tom ducked out of the way. “Barry, fuck—stop!”
Before Tom knew it they were up and out of the bed. He staged back from Barry who’s eyes were not his own. He pulled the knife back again, and Tom caught his brother’s wrist before the blade could touch him. They struggled like that, Tom not letting go. Their shoulders were thrown into it, unable to get closer, or to pull away. Unable, always, to pull away.
Their faces were strained with effort. Tom was terrified. Things had never been this serious. He wished, now, more than anything that they were home because this would never happen at home, and if it did... if by some freak occurrence it did, they would have Dad or Robbie... maybe even Bert to stop it. Bert was stronger than he looked.
“Barry!” Tom gasped. He could feel Barry’s wrist slipping from his grasp, but his other hand was holding Barry away from him by his upper arm. “Stop!”
“I can’t do this anymore, Tommy!” Barry was crying. Tom desperately wanted the knife to be gone, because then this would be so much easier.
They hit a wall, Barry’s back pressed against it, and Tom threw his weight into the hand holding the knife. It was the wrong thing to do. Barry’s arm slipped away, and came down, just missing Tom’s shoulder by a hair.
Barry’s arm swung back and then the knife was at the join, pressing. There was a sudden stillness as Tom looked up into Barry’s eyes. “I could do it,” Barry said, and Tom felt his entire body go cold.
“It’s what you want, isn’t it? Be with Laura? Without... what? I know. Without me there, Tommy.”
In response, Tom’s eyes narrowed and hardened. This hurt him, physically, much more than the threat of the cold metal blade, it’s edge pointed towards him.
“I was never deaf or blind to her music!” Barry cried, struggling to get away from the wall, but Tom held him there with more strength than he knew he possessed. “It was triumph! It was triumph!” Barry cried, and Tom remembered the lyrics Paul had been helping him with, written on a napkin and left at his elbow on the table when Laura entered the room. “Our love is a... FUCKING forest!” Barry cried, sobbing in earnest now, his words broken in harsh, chest-deep gasps... Tom remembered now how silent Barry had been during that meal. “No, I was never deaf of blind to your music, LAURA!” Barry quoted.
He always told himself that he wanted Barry with him forever, but then there was Laura and... he’d never felt that way about anyone, and staying with Barry for the rest of his life was getting harder and harder to contemplate; to believe it would happen. Tom watched as tears spilled down Barry’s face and he hated himself, but his brother didn’t even know he was crying because this wasn’t... Barry would never do this. This was his fault. Tom’s. He should never have lost his temper. When he lost his temper, bad things happened.
But suddenly, through this... Tom saw a way out... he knew it was a mad idea, but he felt, in that moment, that it would work, but only in that exact moment, because with the look in Barry’s eyes, he knew that this side of Barry, if you could call it a side, certainly would cut them apart, and Tom knew how much Barry would suffer for that later.
He couldn’t let that happen, so he went with his gut. “Why don’t you get it over with?” It would hurt Baz... he knew this... but this hurt was better than the hurt that would overtake him if he actually hurt Tom.
Tom watched the struggle in his brother's eyes, and then Barry slowly, slowly pulled the knife away and let it clatter to the floor. He realised he was crying and wiped his face on the sleeve of his sweater. He didn't look back at Tom.
There was a noise outside the door and Tom cursed silently. Eddie... fucking Eddie, why couldn't he ever just leave them alone?
Tom waited several moments. "Barry?"
Barry sniffed softly, refusing to look at him. There was a thin cut on the join. A reminder, but it was about as deep as a paper cut and the least of Tom's worries right now.
"Tom grows on Barry..." Tom said, waiting for Barry to finish, but he didn't. "Tom grows on Barry, and Barry grows on Tom... that's how it is."
"But you don't want it that way, do you, Tommy?" Barry asked, and Tom's heart clenched at the sadness in his tone. He wished, for a moment, that Barry would find someone to fall in love with, and then a second later wondered if that wouldn't just make it all harder.
Tom couldn't lie to Barry. No secrets. Never. They'd promised each other that and they hadn't broken it. "I can't read your mind but... it's not what you're thinking." A white lie... almost... it was better.
Barry looked at him, something akin to betrayed in his eyes, mingled with apology. Usually they didn't look at these episodes as any fault of Barry's, but Barry knew how close he'd come to hurting them this time... hurting Tom.
"What am I thinking?"
"You're thinking I'm going to leave you... for Laura."
"You have already," Barry said, averting his eyes.
That hurt. Tom reached up and gently took Barry's face in his hands. Controlling his temper. Barry pulled away, but Tom persisted. "Never." Tom promised.
He could feel Barry relax as he began to believe him. Slowly, slowly he moved into Tom's arms. When Tom's mouth was next to his ear, he whispered, "I love you. Always will," soft enough so Eddie wouldn't hear. Barry shuddered against him, and Tom pulled away and moved to the door, shutting it in Eddie's face. Not now. Please just go away. Tom thought, wishing it was always that easy. That they could just shut him out... shut everyone out so effectively.
Sometimes... it was times like these that he felt like he didn't need anyone but Baz. It was so easy with Barry in his arms to wonder how he could ever want to be free from him.
- One Time in Particular