A/N: Hello, It's been a while, has it not? Anyway, AsaGabe is a favourite pairing of mine, one I made up in one of the chapters of 'Series Of Troubling And Dramatic Events', so I'm very proud of it and hope that you like the celebratory one-shot that ensued. It takes place after everyone has left school. Asa and Gabriel are living together, and they take a short road trip. Asa is jealous. Gabriel is neglected. Slashiness abound.
Warnings: Slash. Mild language. Mentions of sexual themes.
Disclaimer: I don't own CB. If I did there would be lots of slashiness and not much of it would be about Charlie.
One Really Good Reason Not to Go On Road Trips
"I hate road trips." Asa muttered sulkily.
"It isn't a road trip," I explained for the umpteenth time, "we're just driving to the farmers markets. Then we'll have lunch, I'll shout, buy you steak and then we can go home with lots of fresh produce for our trouble."
"We're on a road."
"Yes. For now."
"So it's a road trip!" he concluded moodily, eyes darkening as he glowered at the upcoming stretch of road.
I huffed impatiently, "you mean opposed to a unicycle trip? Yes! It's a road trip. A short, worthwhile, road trip."
"I hate road trips…" he muttered again, as we arrived once again at the beginning of our conversation for the millionth time this hour. Well, at least the circle was complete.
"Deal with it," I snapped, which I usually wouldn't do, because I was generally very good at handling his fits of temperament. I suppose he noticed, judging by the way he glared at me, his incandescent yellow eyes fierce, yet oddly vulnerable. Like a wounded animal.
I sighed, regretting my words. Painful as Asa could be, I was in love with him, and I knew better than to strike back, no matter how many stinging blows he dealt. He was oddly sensitive about how people spoke to him, especially me, I've probably made him feel invalid… worthless… insignificant…
"Deal with having vegetables from a can!" he shot back angrily.
Or he could just be angry.
"Farmers market produce is delicious," I frowned at him, trying to concentrate on the road, but deciding to make peace all the same "you like pineapple."
"Yes," he said stiffly, lips barely moving, "so?"
"A very particular variety of pineapple, if I'm not mistaken."
"Hurry up." He urged coldly. I deflated slightly, we had reached the 'freeze out' stage of Asa's anger, his defence mechanism. I hurried on.
"Uncanned, fresh, recently sliced, not too sweet pineapple."
"Get on with the point." He said flatly, making sure his eyes stayed trained in front of him. He was perfect in his cold, indifferent rage. Not long till we reach boiling point now.
"Guess where you can find this perfect pineapple?" I put the question to him. I saw the answer clicking into place inside his mind, I saw the unpleasant expression before he had time to arrange it on his face, regardless of how great an argument I put to him, Asa was not going to enjoy this day. In fact, I was certain that he was ready to go to great lengths to ruin this day, just to prove himself right.
He didn't answer, as I expected, his lips were pressed together tightly, he continued to glare at the road ahead.
What had I done to bring on his vengeful wrath?
Oh yes, I had told him to 'deal with it'. How mature.
And suddenly I felt bold, angry, uncharacteristic of my usual self. I was angry at him, angry because I was looking forward to today and now all I foresaw a brutal fight in the immediate future, angry because he was determined to spoil this for me, angry that he didn't seem to want to make me happy in the slightest.
All the things I had done, or not done, to keep him happy rushed back all at once. I was bristling with valid arguments, but for some reason the only words that slipped out of my mouth were…
"Riley Burns asked me on a date last Sunday."
Of course, I had done it now. I had told him about a possible love interest (not really, but Asa didn't need to know that, did he?), and not just any old person, Riley Burns. Asa's arch rival (who had grown into his large nose and looked rather handsome now, and who was also studying to be a surgeon, and who had won an athletic scholarship to Yale, but had turned it down and had decided that saving lives was more important than track... and god, that body… okay, I'll stop fantasizing now…).
As predicted, Asa's head whipped around so fast I was tempted to ask if he was perhaps part owl opposed to part wolf. His eyes bugged out in a furious kind of way, his fists tightened until his bones stood out like white leggo joints, and his lip curled back in a fierce snarl, the rancorous sound sending chills down my spine.
"He what?" he hissed, giving me his full, undivided attention.
"Asked me out. He said he had a friend who could get us fantastic dinner reservations. Allemande, you know, that fancy place by the ocean? Romantic atmosphere, candlelit tables, and the best seafood in the country, apparently. Costs an arm and a leg to get into, and that's just for the slush table. Its right near his apartment, too, apparently."
I watched as Asa slowly absorbed all this information. I practically saw each concept register on his face.
He had a friend who could get us practically anywhere connections in high places.
Allemande romantic atmosphere, perfect for seduction, and almost everyone who eats there goes home with the person who brought them there, or at least spends a good hour in their car, parked outside the house, getting busy in the back seat.
Costs an arm and a leg He had money, and more importantly he was willing to spend money to get me into his bed.
Right near his apartment perfect excuse to invite me back there after he had laced me with some of the oldest and most expensive red wine to exist. Also perfect excuse for him to say that it would be silly for me to drive 'all the way home' when I could just stay the night and 'hey, I have a big bed, why don't you just sleep with me, you'll hardly know I'm there' so that he'll be able to lay some moves on me and once again, get me to sleep with him.
Yes, I saw this lengthy analysis of my statement register in my sulky, but incredibly jealous and sensitive boyfriends mind. I saw the cogs turning.
And then there was silence.
Not a comfortable silence, because I knew it was the calm before the storm, the exposed sand beds before the tidal wave, it was falling but knowing too well that you're going to hit the ground with a splat.
"Pull over." His lips were white with fury, and I obeyed, a little scared, despite the fact that this had been my intention.
"He…" it seemed that he was beyond words, like his immeasurable fury overrode his capability to speak, "he… and you… h-he…"
There was another pause, and then…
"HE ASKED YOU TO DINNER!?"
There we go.
"I can't… I won't…" he was beyond rage now, and I was considering cowering in my seat and begging for mercy, "I cannot believe you cheated on me."
I was silent. Oh dear. He thought I accepted. Not good.
"You had sex with him… and now you're… dirty… now you're not mine anymore."
"Dirty?!" I cried, indignant.
"I hope you're happy, I could be HIV positive! You could be HIV positive! But you might just be a carrier and I may just develop the disease and die!" he was nearing yelling volume again.
"You didn't just sleep with him, you slept with everyone he's ever slept with! And let me tell you the list is long! Every hooker, player ex and trashy bimbo to spend a few moments in his bed has now spent a moment in yours! Not to mention Mary Dee!"
I shuddered, Mary Dee was Bloor's resident whore. I was happy to leave that part of the academy behind.
"With him. He knows about us, you know," Asa had crossed the thin line between enraged and psychotic, and was having trouble forming complete sentences "I bet… that's why… he asked… no other reason…"
I stared at him disbelievingly, feeling a lot like I had been slapped.
"No other reason?" my voice was barely a whisper.
"Of course," he hissed, "why else would he ask? Why else would he go through all the trouble to call his fancy friend and pay for a fancy dinner and mention that his fancy apartment was right around the fancy bloody corner?"
I felt cold, numb all of a sudden, "you know," I said voice hollow, "even though you would never go even remotely out of your way to try and make me happy, there are others who would. And clearly, there are others who think I'm worth more trouble than you seem to, who have a higher opinion of me who you do. Who would treat me like a human being." I spat the last part, and then I yanked the keys from the ignition, got out of the car, and slammed the door so hard that I was surprised it didn't fall off.
I tried to block out Asa's shocked face, and I surveyed the area around me, there was sparse vegetation on either side of the road, and a little further up there was a sign that said farmers market, and an arrow pointing right, down a dirt road.
I was going to forget my stupid-idiot-jerk boyfriend, I was going to reach my destination without his assistance or commentary, and so help me I was going to get god-damned fresh vegetables if it killed me.
There was a shrieking sound on the road, a shooting pain, and then nothing.
Everything was fuzzy. Maybe I did die in my quest for fresh vegetables…
I was at the supermarket, looking for decent celery, when someone near me cleared their throat. I turned to see Riley Burns standing just behind me. I smiled apologetically, "sorry, celery crops bad this year. Takes a while to find one worth buying."
"Oh, no problem," he smiled a pleasant smile, "I just wanted to say hi. Gabriel Silk, if memory serves."
"Yes," I smiled back, "that's me. And you're definitely Riley Burns. You've hardly changed at all since Bloors."
He grinned widely, "can't say the same for you, Gabriel Silk, you grew up well." I could see a hint of appreciation in his eyes as he gave me a one over. I blushed ever so slightly. It was true that I had changed considerably over the past few years. Charlie joked that it was because I finally got a boyfriend, since that's when the slow transformation started. I had grown into my too-long limbs, and my shoulders had broadened, so I didn't look so gangly now. My cheeks had hollowed out, taking away the babyish quality it had once possessed, even my hair sat a little better and no longer dragged my face down.
"So…" he stepped a little closer, "I was thinking dinner."
"What?" I asked, confused at the turn of events, "celery? For dinner?" he must be talking about what he was going to cook himself tonight.
"No," there was laughter in his voice, "I was thinking we could spend some quality time together. Like a date. I have a friend who can get us in Allemande, even though it's booked solid till February next year. Best seafood to be had anywhere. And my apartment's right around the corner and it has got great views in it. I'm near the top, see. Ocean in every direction."
He seemed momentarily concerned, "you are gay, right?"
"Me? Oh, yes. Exclusively a guy's guy."
"So I was thinking-"
"However I'm more one guy's guy than anyone else's."
"Huh?" Riley asked, brow furrowed in confusion.
"Um," I faltered at the fact that he didn't cotton on to my hint, "I'm not single."
"Yeah, see I've been dating Asa Pike for years now. I'm quite happy with the arrangement, actually. He's nice, well, to me… well, sometimes…"
"I can't believe you're still with that guy…" Riley said disbelievingly, "I mean, you're hot. How have you not found someone who isn't a scumbag?"
The last comment was a little hard to swallow, I was aware of my cheeks reddening, and of words flying out of my mouth, uncensored.
"He is not a scumbag!" I yelled, startling Riley ever so slightly, "He's kind, and clever, and hot, and he loves me! And I love him!"
I was aware of people staring at me dumbly, so I decided to move.
And I left, leaving behind a single bunch of celery on the plastic overlay.
There was dull beeping sound to be heard. My vision was blurry, I only saw indistinct blocks of colour, and then pain shot up into my forehead. I hissed. My ribs hurt, it ached to breathe, and there was something wrong with my legs, I couldn't feel them.
"Oh, dearie, you're awake." A kind voice floated from what seemed like a distance to my ears. My eyesight sharpened.
I was in a hospital ward. Light blue curtains cut my space off from the area next to me, and there was a window adjacent to my wafer-thin bed. The hospital smell hit me hard, and I tried not to make a face. Most gloriously, there was a redhead dozing in what looked like an uncomfortable position on an armchair below the window.
"What happened?" I asked the kind faced nurse shakily.
"You were hit by a car, dear. By a fellow near the farmers market. The man's name was Mr. Burns, if I'm not mistaken. Riley Burns. Said he knew you. Horrible accident."
I was silent for a while, trying to take things in. So Riley Burns ran me over… Then I re-noticed Asa.
"How long has he been here for?"
"Five weeks, as long as you have been out," the nurse said earnestly, "he's such a devoted fellow… All us nurses have been talking about him, he hasn't left your side for a second, bathroom breaks exclusive. He wouldn't even leave to eat, so we had to bring him food here, just so he wouldn't starve, dear thing. He needs a shower, though."
I let the guilt wash over me. I deserved it.
"How about… Riley?"
"Oh, well he was in here for a little while. I got the feeling your dear friend didn't like him much, though. In any case, Mr. Burns kept on tormenting your dear friend, talking about restaurants and 'phenomenal nights', I think, or something like that. The sweet boy put up with it for three days, until he cracked, yelled 'you don't love him the way I do, you don't even deserve to stare at his shoes!' oh yes, made quite a scene, 'I know I've made mistakes with him, but I love him more than anything! He may choose you, but until he calls you and tells you so, get the hell out!' he yelled. Oh, it was the most interesting thing to happen on my watch these last twenty years." The nurse prattled.
Were nurses allowed to talk so much? I wondered.
"Oh…" was all I could muster.
"Now how are you feeling, dear?"
"Can't… can't feel much below my wast..."
"I expect the morphine will wear off soon enough, you'll be in terrible pain, the bone in your leg was shattered."
"What else? Don't leave anything out, dear."
"My head… its all… fuzzy"
"You hit it rather hard."
"And my ribs..."
"Okay, I'll be back with the painkillers soon, you're very lucky, you know, it could have been a lot worse."
Can't imagine how. I almost preferred being dead. Asa's been hanging around here for a month, even believing that I slept with another guy, and having to spend three days being taunted by the guy in question. It's not fair to him.
He just really hates road trips.
Asa shifted uncomfortably on the couch, and eventually cracked his eyes open. He then sprung up so quickly it gave me a headache to watch.
"You're awake! Are you okay?! Oh, of course you're not okay, that son of a bitch ran you over… But you think you'll be okay? I'm so sorry, for everything, you were so right and I never paid enough attention to you and I understand! I understand that I hurt you and that pushed you towards Riley and I forgive you for sleeping with him and I'm okay with you deciding to stay with him if that's what you want and-"
"I didn't sleep with Riley. I didn't date him either. He asked me out and I rebuffed him." I got this all out very quickly, thinking the truth may sound less unpleasant if said really fast.
"I didn't, yeah. I was just mad at you and I wanted you to remember…"
"Remember when you thought I was good looking and when you kept on coming up to me for no reason other than because you liked me so much…?"
"…I kept on flirting with you shamelessly all night at that party we were at, and then when it was time for you to leave I was too nervous to just ask you out…" he continued, smiling deliciously at the memory.
"…so you just kissed me instead," I finished the happy story, "I just wanted you to remember what it was like at the beginning. So I baited you."
There was silence for a moment, and then, "I'm glad."
"I'm glad. I'm really glad Burns didn't get his filthy hands on you, but I'm glad that you remember things as good as I do, too. And I'm glad you're okay," his expression suddenly became tortured, and his voice a fragile whisper, "I thought you were going to die."
"I'm not dead," I attempted to sit up, but he gently pressed me back down, kissing my forehead, which I now noticed was bandaged, tenderly before pulling up a chair and sitting beside my bed, stroking my hand softly, "I'm fine, really."
"If you had died…" he was so sad… my heard lurched with remorse, "I would have hunted down Burns and killed him." His voice became unexpectedly cold at the last part. And I believed him.
"Avenging the lover, very appropriate." I said lightly.
"I can do it anyway, if you'd like." He said hopefully.
"Can I do it anyway, please?"
"You've got better things to do," I said firmly, "for example, once I get better we've got a whole of affection to catch up on."
"Well, when you put it that way, I guess it can wait." Asa grinned, tawny eyes lighting up, he leaned forward, his mouth searching out mine, taking detours along my collarbone, up my jaw, at the corner of my mouth…
"Oh!" I cried in surprise, causing Asa to jump back.
"What's wrong?" he asked, alarmed.
"I don't have my vegetables!"
He groaned loudly, flopping back into his chair, "you nearly gave me a heart attack…"
"I vowed that I'd get those vegetables or die trying…" I said quietly.
"Well, you had a good crack at that. You nearly did die. So let's have a short recess and when you're better I'll take you to get your fresh vegetables from the farmers market."
"But the farmer's market is closed."
"Yes, but there's an even better one opening at Woodbury in a week."
I smiled widely, "you looked it up!" I cried joyously.
"They let me have a laptop for a little while." He said dismissively.
"I love you."
"I love you more, Gabriel. With all my heart."