Never Staying Quite the Sane


I'm not sure he'll ever understand. I know by the look he gave me when I told him that he didn't get it. Crafty as his mind is, able to think tall buildings in a single bound and all that -- I don't think he'd get this one. I don't know that I'd try to tell him again.

He understands, though, where I am -- where I'm coming from, whatever the current jargon is. What I do, even if not why. I see him sometimes, watching me, when something's been done or said that makes me want to react and I have to hold myself back. I catch him sometimes, watching me, and he has this look in his eyes that says he understands. Sometimes he looks like he wants to say something, or yell it. Sometimes he looks like he wishes he could send us off, alone, for a while. Or send us off together.

He does what he can to help, without doing any of those things I've begged him not to. He doesn't understand that part. He agreed, since really he couldn't not. But he doesn't understand and he spends a lot of wasted time talking to me, trying to make me change my mind. He talks about how much I get hurt, how much I'm wasting, how much I'm losing. I tell him it doesn't matter, I have what I need.

He knows it isn't true but he also knows -- or he accepts it when I say I know that it can't change back to the way it was. It was wonderful for awhile, then things happen the way they usually do. I don't mean usual for me, although that too, but the way it happens for everyone. Things just... change. You can't ever go back.

He says I ought to change them again in that case, and at least make things better for myself. Get myself away from him, move on, let myself free of him in case... well, I suppose in case someone else could come along. I try to change the subject then, because I've never been able to explain it to him and I've finally decided to stop trying. He doesn't understand.

Which is weird, because it seems like he does the same thing himself, so much of the time. All of the time, maybe. You'd think he'd know better than I do that it can't ever matter. But he shakes his head and says I'm giving up, or afraid to let go, or one of a dozen things someone who cares says to a guy like me, in a situation like this.

Happens a lot, so why more people don't get it I'll never know.

I guess you're wondering what I'm on about. I'll explain it, but I don't expect you to understand either. Dad doesn't, my friends don't, no reason for a group of strangers to get it.

Funny, because you know, it's really kinda simple. Ray and I used to be in love. Three years we were partners, we were lovers, we were friends. Everything you could think of a person could want, we had -- except for riches and fame, but everything else. We were happy, we had love, we had each other. We had enough family and friends who were glad for us that we had safe places to go, people to talk to freely. We had enough going for us that we didn't have to mind those who didn't understand.

Then, things changed. Not drastically, not really; although you'd think otherwise given what happened. But things changed just enough and Ray stopped being in love. He didn't try to say why, although when he finally told me (I'd already figured it out) he apologised and offered to do whatever to make sure we stayed friends. We've stayed partners and we still work ok together. Still the best team on the squad I reckon. That's what they say, anyway.

My dad offered to split us, put me with anyone I wanted (well... almost. I asked if I could have Teresa and he gave me one of his looks). He even took me home one night and asked if I wanted to leave again, if I did he'd do what he could to find me a decent place. Position overseas. I tried to explain why I didn't need to and he thought at the time that I was just hanging on, hoping that Ray would change his mind.

Maybe I was, but it didn't matter. He hasn't, he's not going to, and everyone tells me how sorry they are for me the way things are now. Everyone knows I'm still in love with him, and more than once one of them collared Ray and gave him what-for. He came around and yelled at me for it and I convinced him I hadn't put them up to it.

I told him I knew he wasn't in love anymore. I told him I didn't expect him to be. Can you understand that? Probably. It's not so hard. Can you understand why I stay with him? Yeah, you probably figured -- I still love him.

That's what drives my dad so nuts. That I stick around, wanting to stay partnered with him, knowing I love him and knowing he doesn't love me anymore. He asked me, actually said in so many words (after a bottle of particularly fine scotch), if it didn't hurt too much being around Ray like that. Was I doing it deliberately, was I trying to hurt myself for some imagined sin I'd commited.

Told him love doesn't mind being hurt. That's when he shook his head and decided maybe I'd drunk enough for one night. He didn't understand. Often enough he does things I thought he'd know what I meant. Maybe he doesn't realise he does it too. Maybe... I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want to admit it. But I honestly think he doesn't understand, so I've given up trying to say it.

Love doesn't mind hurting.

and because folks on CI5 wailed for a happy ending...

I don't exactly know how it happened. I rather suspect Murph and my dad set it up; if I asked them I'm sure they'd deny it. Perhaps I shouldn't look gift Doyles in the mouth.

But he's mine again. Yesterday he loked me right in the eye and told me how he'd made a huge mistake, and he wanted to come back. Offered to make it up to me, even offered to grovel for a bit -- in public, if I wanted. He even sounded sincere.

Scary. I asked him a bunch of daft questions, if he'd cook for me every night and bring me breakfast in bed. He said yes to everything, as long as it meant being with me again. He got all solemn and quiet, as I thought it all over. I still loved him and all and I probably would have been expected to say yes right off, given what I'd been telling everyone since we'd broken up.

But I rather suspected Ray had something up his sleeve -- an old visiting girlfriend whom he wanted to steer away from marital questions or something. Nah, that's not true. He was being honest, saying he still loved me and wanted me back. I just didn't know if it were true.

Still, whoever had done it had gone to a lot of trouble and it wouldn't be polite to refuse. Not if it meant a bit longer of actually being with a Ray Doyle who was in love with me. Days, hours, years, who knew. If I were careful maybe I'd keep him forever. Well, until one of us finally died anyway. That's enough of a forever for me, though.

So I told him yes, I'd allow him back -- gave him a couple of conditions just so he wouldn't take advantage of me. Let him know I wasn't going to be a pushover so's he could leave again whenever he took the notion, and think he could waltz right back and have a place waiting.

He would, I knew that. But no reason to let on to him about that. I think my dad knows, and maybe that's why he arranged it. He had to have. No other way to explain how that brick could have fallen right as Ray and Murph were walking along, headed for a meeting with dad. They both looked at me like I were nuts of course, when I suggested it. Denied it loudly and often. Right.

Whatever works.

-- THE END --

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