Title: Fates Interwoven: Where No Sun Shines
Another Author's Note: Huge props to poets, Dylan. And everything I have to Chris, who has seen me through too much; the CJ to my Toby.
Summary: Toby wasn't a poet.
And the silent night will shatter
The disjointed din of the airport surrounding him could not drown out her soft murmurs echoing in his mind as she walked away.
Hours later, her low voice still haunted him; like the scotch he was drinking, both searing a fiery path down his chest, invisibly branding him.
And every shot of scotch did something new to the deep blue ink on the yellow lined paper that sat on his desk in front of him. The first one made the print slide slightly to the side as if pushed by an unknown, invisible force. The second shot caused the shapes to thin and shrink, until he finally blinked and they had disappeared off the page, evaporating into the air. They came back fatter than before with his third drink, the ink slowly seeping out of it's lines, until it filled the entire scrap of paper.
He poured shot number four and set the bottle back on the desk never taking his eyes off the distinctive script; her new address and phone number in California. This was how he could 'find her' she said when she pressed it into his hand, though they both knew it wouldn't be that simple.
Taking a long drink of his fourth scotch, he looked again to the words and numbers on the small page to see what they would do next. It didn't really matter. He had had them memorized at first glance.
He counted sixteen different license plates on the drive to the airport, and despite what their passengers may say, he knew they were only passing through.
He could still hear her in his mind, but the words were as elusive as the smoke rings that escaped his lips into the heavy air; their not-quite-distinct shapes and patterns always dissipating, yet never completely disappearing, lingering to brush against his skin.
In what he recognized to be a superficial attempt to rid himself of the acrid haze that enveloped him, he opened a window only to be struck by a rush of icy air and close it again. He breathed deeply as he was besieged once more by the smoke, finding it more comforting than the numbing cold.
A small mechanical click punctuated the silence, causing Toby to blink as if awaking from a trance and he wondered briefly how long he'd been staring out the window. Perhaps only seconds; perhaps much longer. He walked across the room to the portable CD player he had confiscated from Marie's desk and pressed play. And once again, Dylan began to sing.
The disc was a gift from his sister for a birthday he would have just as soon forgot. He didn't listen to Dylan much anymore, and he wasn't sure why that was, nor why it was the only thing he wanted to hear tonight.
"'A poem is a naked person. Some people say that I am a poet.'"
"What's he mean, Gabby?"
"He means a poet uses words to bare their soul, like a naked person would bare their body. It's exposing the flaws as well as the beauty."
"Is he a poet?"
"I don't know, Tobe. I guess only he can know for sure, right?"
The car ride was quiet. The radio played, the familiar voice singing of a joker and a thief, and he heard her singing along softly. He drove and counted license plates and wondered if she was keeping her own count, but he didn't ask.
Toby wasn't a poet. His words worked as walls, rather than windows. He manipulated, and rarely revealed. And when he couldn't hide behind his words, he used the silences.
Toby wasn't a poet, because what Gabrielle had forgotten to mention to her little brother all those years ago was the vulnerability that came with that kind of honesty.
He counted sixteen different license plates on the drive to the airport. And it was one more thing he never told her.
He tried to be a poet once. He tried to talk to Andi, show her his fears and his passions. And she left him because it was too hard; he was too intense.
So, the second time through, he tried to protect her from himself. He hid those dark places and deep emotions from her. And she left him because he was too cold, it was too distant.
The night Andrea moved out, he drank Jim Beam because she said he was the reason she was leaving, yet he felt he had done all he could.
Tonight he was drinking Johnny Walker because she said it had nothing to do with him, and still he felt he could have done something more.
Andi said 'goodbye' though they both knew they would see each other the following week at a DNC luncheon.
She kissed Toby's cheek and whispered 'thanks' before turning away and boarding her plane, leaving him to wonder if he would see her again.
He poured another shot of scotch and closed his eyes, her voice still in his head. Slowly, Dylan's voice began to merge with CJ's, and the words became clear.
'Never no more do I wonder,
And for the first time, he wondered if he had tried to be a poet with the wrong person.
a light breaks where