An endless drill of policeman, journalists, reporters and sneering, faceless public figures lined up at the entrance to Gatsby's house as if queuing up for the latest Hollywood picture, or perhaps the new exotic zoo attraction. A rope stretched across the main gate and a policeman by it kept out the curious, the queer and the unwanted. Some few boys realised they could enter by his yard, running gaggling past the kitchen window and intruding so unexpectedly it startled him out of the listlessness that had creeped up on him.

Gaping around the pool, their mouths had become looming abysses and despite the fear unfurling inside his heart, he didn't stop but instead staggered after them, unable to decide if 'get off my lawn' was ever an appropriate thing to say. They turned their heads to him and their faces were blank and something- something- something made him look at the pool.

And there lay Gatsby- no one had even made the effort to retrieve him from where he had sunk to the bottom and lay, twisted and mangled and blue in the face under all that water. He stumbled back and fell down, knees landing in something wet that either water or blood horrified him. Gatsby was dead.

Nick woke up screaming. It was dark in his house and the heavy beat of the Sound overtook the night until his breath became inextricably linked with the tide; with how he was soaked through and freezing cold in the summer air, one would have been excused for thinking him a survivor of a recent drowning, mere minutes ago having been submerged in the water itself.

Water... he did not have enough air left in his lungs to scream again, yet this did not stop him from staggering out of bed and down the stairs, nor from exiting his house via the back door and finally propping himself up on the veranda, taking in great rattling lungfuls of air as the tide boomed against the shore. How long exactly this pale, unsteady figure stopped there was anyone's guess but after a long time he raised his hand from the railing to eye level and saw it was still shaking. He was still shaking. An action he did not understand the reason behind until Dr T J Eckleburg took pity upon him and dragged his gaze over to the neighbouring house. No lights shone within; burning silver halogen and soft twinkling stars promising a world, it was a beast huddled in complete darkness. Nick could not even see the green light.

Overcome with horror, he did what any man could be forgiven to do: he went to find Gatsby.

"Jay? Jay!" Lights flickered on within the overlarge mansion, one by one expanding from the butler's tiny window until the whole place blared with bright white sodium. No alarms pierced the air, but it still made Nick tremble as if he was being observed at every orifice like an escaped criminal, or perhaps an exotic arrival to a zoo. One of the butlers- one of the many thronged in since the owner's new-found lease of life required staff for the inevitable parties now he'd finally set alight to the ruins of his heart and gotten over Daisy Buchanan- appeared at the door. He blocked out the light within; backlit, even in pyjamas, he appeared as a pitch black shadow with a severe face, shadows hanging over his eyes as icicles from the roof of a cave.

"Jay?" he would never admit or, now or ever, that the sting of his eyes was the result of anything but the wind.

"Old sport?"

And, suddenly, he could breathe again.

"You died," Nick wheezed through tears, blinking away sat. "You died, you died."

The sun came out in Gatsby's eyes as understanding dawned. "I see," there was no inflection to the words- they were just words, falling from his mouth like bricks into the water. Brusquely, he turned to the butler, "That will be all, Karau."

"Sir." One perfect, in-offensive acknowledgement and the door slammed shut yet somehow without tearing the fabric of the night. It took Nick a few blinks to realise the would-be murder victim was outside on the grand stone staircase with hi.

Even rudely awoken in the dead of night by his neighbour for the umpteenth time since the loss of his yellow care, there was no disguising the quality of the man; all that was beautiful about him shone silver as if made of the same stuff as stars. That rare smile of his did not put in an appearance tonight, but had it of done it would have possessed the power to set all the wrongs of the eternal world to rights again. Instead in its place was a look of concern as deep as still water or the black expanse between stars, where it would look too heavy a load on any other man alive the man in front of him bore it with the dignity of Atlas, with twice the beauty. Martyrdom was gorgeous on him and borne exquisitely. Every part of the man's infinite being was directed upon the well-being of that in front of him and came with the promise of assurance and safety that felt to the tortured soul as if kind set of hands had wrapped a blanket around their shoulders and in doing so provided endless protections from all things.

Gatsby smiled- only a slight smile, mind- which so jarring after the vision of his face mangled beyond all recognition was the most beautiful smile Nick had ever seen. His breath caught in his ribs and betrayed him by stuttering and sobbing. "I don't know-" he tried to catch himself- couldn't- "-are you real? Is this- say this is all a dream and you're dead after all?" It was impossible to go on.

As if a dream separated them, he watched as Gatsby reached forward and pinched his arm. Pain shout out over his skin like the sound of a shot over open water "Oh!" he wrenched away without wanting to and cupped his free hand over the burn. It would bruise tomorrow and it hurt now, his skin warm where Gatsby had touched him. The pain- it would be incorrect to say he relished in it but…he most certainly cherished it. Gatsby was alive and the pain was incorruptible proof. Gatsby was alive. He was- "I'm real, old sport."

"Yes," he closed his eyes, feeling suddenly-light-headed, the Sound roaring in his ears as low as thunder. He wanted the man to touch him again and his whole skin to be black and blue and violet flowers for his bouquet. When he opened his eyes again, Gatsby was squinting at him in a gentle fashion. Starting when he noticed Nick was now observing him back, he smiled his great smile again and walked down the steps, pulling Nick after him not unkindly by the elbow.

"Why don't we take the boat out, old sport? It's a beautiful night for it."

The further they got from the shore, the clear Nick's mind became, until soon enough he remembered the correct version of events and became terribly flustered and embarrassed at his perceived foolishness- what man ran to his neighbour's house after a nightmare of the neighbour's murder?

When the neighbour was Gatsby, of all gods and goddesses, he found it difficult to imagine any man who wouldn't.

Still, he apologised anyway- he had roused the whole household for nothing, after all.

"Oh! It's no trouble at all, old sport," he turned back to the tiller, the nape of his neck sparkling with his golden hair, cast in silver under the full moon. "I've been meaning to find an excuse to take the boat out. It's hardly the first time my household's been up at this hour, anyway."

Nick looked away, then down. "Still," he murmured as a perfunctory sound as he needed something to say. 'An excuse'- it was it was not meant anything like an insult, he knew that deep in his bones, but the dark caverns deep in his heart stirred and snapped at every criticism as starving dogs to prey. Jay Gatsby would never insult any man anyway he held everyone he met too dear for that.

Feeling his mood slightly improved, Nick leant back in his seat and observed the man as casually as he could, sitting on his hands to stop them from reaching over to brush his collar aside and check there was no bullet wounds there.

He was beautiful. Perfect and beautiful and more so because he knew his personality was as golden as the rest of him. Perhaps these were the wrong thoughts to be entertaining, not least because it was a crime in all fifty states and the world over, but he was tired and the moon was bright and he had stopped signing his letters home 'love Nick' and Daisy had stopped calling at all. No amount of parties or dalliances could match the fire a man could keep in his ghostly heart and for the first few weeks after the whole affair came to an end hotly miserable, Gatsby had never ceased to ask if his cousin had phoned. Never. Each morning, Nick had braced himself to hear him eventually cut ties with him, now that he had outlasted all his usefulness. The words never came.

Instead, a change came over Jay. The smiles began again, and then the laughter and the parties, secrets confessed to the wrong cousin during the bleached hours of the morning following the fatal crash forgotten. With every new guest that chirped and preened and glittered, the past was trodden further underfoot, until Nick stopped attending every party religiously and tried in vain to find a new altar. But he still kept coming back to Gatsby.

Damn you, he thought, without meaning a word of it. Damn you, jay, damn you.

His American Dream was still talking, and Nick even unconsciously has swallowed every word "…I've been meaning to ask you if you wanted to come out on the boat one of these nights anyway, old sport- isn't it beautiful? But I haven't seen you so often- the last Saturday, why, I didn't see you at all!"

"I only live next door, Jay."

Silence dropped over them. For all he hated himself for the look on the other man's face he couldn't find it within himself to apologise- it was the truth, after all, and he was five years too old to lie to himself and call it honour, or pretend he didn't love men or even have the decency to pretend he didn't love The Great Gatsby. It was only next door and if he wanted him…

"Ye-es," came the reply, a very long time afterwards. "Yes, old sport, you do." Turning back to face the open water, he added: "And Daisy only lived across the bay… I'm starting to think I have a problem telling the people I love that I love them."

He does not mean that, he does not mean that, he can't mean that he can't he can't- "Why's that?"

"Because- oh, it's nothing."

"Tell me."

He sighed and looked over then, night so dark and eyes so full the tide went in and out in them, "I just… need to be perfect."

Nick shrugged and forced his gaze away, "You are to me, for what it's worth. And- you were to Daisy, too. I think- I think that's why in the end she didn't dare choose you."

The next time he looked, Gatsby was suddenly very close, looking at him with an intensity akin to white heat, "This is not about Daisy."

He frowned, "Then who-"

"You" and he stepped forward and kissed him on the mouth.

It took one fleeting, infinite second for Nick to think what and then wonder who's driving the boat? before he kissed back, and then neither of them broke away for quite some time. When they did, Nick's voice shattered on an exhale unholy with relief. "Me?"

Gatsby smiled, even more beautiful for all the hardships Nick knew he had suffered, "You, old sport."

"No- not- say my name," he seized the soft silk of his shirt and sobbed to feel his heart beat.

"Nick?" a frown ghosted over his face with the concern he felt to see the fresh tears, but before he could say another word Nick had- in an act of uncharacteristic boldness- seized him forward and kissed him again. Not the wrong cousin after all.

"Jay," the murmur rose soft and light in the scant space between their mouths- a pure spring of new hope pouring forth, "Christ."

"I'm not him."

"No," Nick agreed, drinking in every millimetre of the man in front of him. "You're better. You're- you're perfect to me, I'd still love you if you weren't. God knows you already do the same for me."

The instant the words left his mouth he wanted to cry anew, for he'd been horribly presumptuous that the man loved him back and horrible to confess his feelings so hastily and in nowhere near the careful declaration the object of his affections deserved. Then, Jay smiled, "You're perfect to me too, old sport." The third kiss left them both breathless, and Jay leant against him, "Let me sail us back, old sport. Then we shall go to bed."

Swallowing, Nick moved to let him go back to the driver's seat, though without relinquishing his free hand, "The staff-"

"Are all consummate professionals who will keep quiet, you have my word."

He laughed, feeling a touch hysterical, "Are you real?"

Jay squeezed his hand tighter- tight enough it nearly hurt, "We both are."

Nick closed his eyes, nodded, then opened them again. Still there. With a sigh heavy in its relief, he settled onto the leather seat beside him. The green light was behind them as they returned to shore.

A/N the green light is not daisy, but the dream itself and Nick has romanticized Gatsby a bit, which is why Daisy isn't quite as sympathetically portrayed as she'll be in my next fic. But this was obligatory fluff I haven't written since the high school halcyon of 2013 superwholock me, and I'm actually quite pleased with it :)

A/N the green light is not daisy, but the dream itself and Nick has romanticized Gatsby a bit, which is why Daisy isn't quite as sympathetically portrayed as she'll be in my next fic. But this was obligatory fluff I haven't written since the high school halcyon of 2013 superwholock me, and I'm actually quite pleased with it :)