Sep. 2nd, 2015

hannah_chapter1: (Bender)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part VII
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: 15/R
Feedback: Yes please.
Summary: AU. Something is wrong in Matt Bellamy's life. In all his lives. He appears to move between worlds, but how? Which world is the real one? Is he just insane? And where does Dom Howard fit into all of this? Title taken from "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads.
Disclaimer: I don't own Muse and this never happened.

"What's wrong, Matt?" taunts the voice that is, and yet isn't, the doctor's, "got nothing to say? Now there's a genuine first, Matt Bellamy with nothing to say."

"I don't, I don't know..." Matt tries to pull his thoughts together, can't quite do it.

"That's alright, I've got plenty to say. Can you hear me, Matt? I'm not talking to the surface Matt, now, I'm talking to the one down below, the one buried so deep this body doesn't even know he's there. Although he is beginning to suspect."

"I - "

"Shh, don't talk, just listen. This has to stop, Matt. These walls exist for a reason. These lines were never meant to be crossed."

Matt rubs his eyes.



Commander Bellamy shoves the photographs under the former Deputy's nose. Yes, photographs, plural. Matthew tore off the wallpaper on that particular wall and he found three more pictures: Matthew and Howard holding each other and looking deep into one another's eyes (dancing? perhaps), the two of them kissing and the last picture has them laughing and making obscene gestures at the camera. The commander had stared at these pictures for hours and, when he returned to his own home, he had dreams.

Matthew never dreams - or, if he does, he never remembers. He may wake from a restless slumber in a cold sweat, an all-too-familiar sensation these days, but he never knows the cause of it. But he had dreams last night, oh yes. Dreams of himself and Howard doing the most unnatural things, things that are, in this regime, a castrating offence. When he woke he was clutching a pillow and weeping, a most unsettling state of affairs.

Commander Bellamy does not weep. He may cause others to weep (and bleed, and soil themselves), but he does not weep.

Howard remains silent, his eyes slide away from the pictures to a spot on the far wall and Matthew is siezed by the same kind of frustrated anger he experienced in Howard's home.

"TELL ME! Damn you, tell me or I'll - "

Howard laughs.

"What? You'll what? Torture me? Flay me alive, perhaps?"

"Yes, I think I'll do just that. I'll test myself to the absolute limit of my skills, draw it out for days, maybe even a week. A naked man has few secrets, a flayed man has none. No dignity, either. I'll rip your secrets out of you along with your skin and believe me when I say you'll beg for your release a long time before I'll grant it to you. We'll cross from the first level to the fourth in one giant leap."

"The only way you'll find out what you want to know is if I choose to tell you."

"That's what you think. You'll sing a different song when I start sharpening my blades."

Howard laughs again.

"All this talk of torture bores me. You think you know it all, Commander Bellamy, all the ways to hurt, all the ways to break a man."

"I do."

"No. I could tell you a thing or two, about tortures that make what you do here seems like a walk in a park on a Summer's day."

"Yes?" Matt leans back in his chair, "well then, please, do enlighten me."

"Very well. Imagine, if you can, a man of passion. He wants to smash a dictatorship just as it's beginning to come into its full power. He's passionate and charismatic and he soon attracts followers. He creates an army and becomes a rebel leader.

This worries the people in power, this new world order. This man could destroy them and so they take steps to prevent this. The rebel leader is betrayed and captured. Tell me, Commander Bellamy, what do you think they did with this man they feared so much, once they had him in their clutches?"

"I know what I'd do."

"Yes, yes, we all know what you'd do. But they didn't want to kill him. A martyr is a powerful tool, an image to place on banners, a battle cry to rally the troops."

"What did they do with him, then?"

"They turned him into the very thing he hated. He was hollowed out, stripped of his memories and all his passion. They took this rebel leader and turned him into the ultimate tool of state oppression. He became a cold, cruel machine, one that would kill and maim and never feel the faintest flicker of remorse. He became the clockwork thug."

Matthew's throat, suddenly dry.

"That isn't me. That's not possible."

"Trust me, it is. I should know. I watched it happen. I made it happen."

Tears begin to stream down Howard's face.

"You want to know why your tortures won't work on me, Matthew? It's because I've already suffered the torment of the damned. You can't turn my world into a living hell because it already is one. I had to destroy the only thing I ever loved and pretend I enjoyed it."

A memory bubbles to the surface of Matthew's brain: him on his knees, Howard standing over him with a gun in his hand and tears in his eyes.

I know you don't believe me, Matt, but I'm doing this because I love you.

"You tried to kill me," Matthew gasps.

"I did. Twice. I failed. Now we both suffer for my mistake."





"What's wrong with you?" he screams.

Matt points at Dom, broken and bloody on the floor.

"Help him!"

Chris swears and pulls out his phone. He glares at Matt as he dials.

"This isn't over, you little psycho, trust me, we're not done yet."

Matt ignores him. He finds a wet cloth and tries to wipe some of the blood from Dom's face. But there's so much of it and the blond's head is canted at an odd angle. Matt's no doctor, but he'd swear Dom's neck has been broken.

Who did this? And why?

Matt hears sirens and then there are cops and paramedics and a hospital. The sight of that building terrifies Matt beyond the capacity for rational thought. Every nerve ending in his body transmits one signal: don't go in there, don't go in, don't...

Any other day, Matt would obey his instincts and flee. But his love of and concern for Dom cancels everything else out.

Dom is taken away from them and Matt staggers into a thankfully empty waiting room. He collapses into the nearest chair. The headache is back and so are the shakes. He hands tremble so violently he doesn't trust himself with a cup of coffee. A shadow falls over him. Matt looks up just as Chris grabs the front of his shirt and lifts him out of his chair.

"You're probably wondering why I haven't fed you to the cops. Well I admit it, I'm greedy. When Dom dies, I want the pleasure of snapping your neck myself."

"Dom's not dead," Matt wheezes as he's hoisted into the air.

"Not yet. But he's dying, we both know it. When he does, you're mine."

Something happens to Matt. The headache disappears, the shakes stop and he is cool - more than cool, cold and calm and in complete control. Chris has raised him up enough so that they're face to face. Matt spits right in the big man's eye. Chris recoils in disgust and drops him. Matt punches Chris twice, once just under the ribs and, as the other man twists and falls, he follows up with a straight shot to the kidney. Quick, ecomonic punches, designed to cause the maximum amount of pain with the minimum amount of effort. The action comes naturally to Matt and it feels so right.

"Don't you touch me," he tells Chris, "you ever put your hands on me again, I'll cut them off. Are we clear?"

The big man is stumbling to his feet and doesn't answer. Matt grabs a finger, twists it. The scream he receives in return is sweet music to his ears.

"Are. We. Clear," he repeats.

Chris manages a weak nod. Matt releases him and he scuttles to the other side of the room, as far from Matt as he can get. The hours slip away, the frustration mounts and Matt just wants to scream. When a doctor does come Matt is on him in a heartbeat, demanding answers. He gets them and soon wishes he hadn't. Dom's not long for this world and, if by some miracle, he does live, he'll never move again, never talk, never think.

"I want to see him," Matt tells the medical man.

"Are you fam - " the doctor begins, but something in Matt's eyes changes his mind, "of course you can see him. Follow me."

The doctor leads Matt to Dom's room, Chris trailing in their wake. Sitting by the bed, looking at the bandaged ruin that was his lover, Matt just feels so lost. Dom was the only thing he had, the one constant thing in this strange world he's found himself in, and now -

He knows it won't do any good, but he reaches for Dom's hand anyway. Their fingers touch. Dom begins to convulse. Matt draws back in horror as an unseen force snaps the blond up and down, again and again.

Dear God, what is happening here?

Dom sits up, opens his eyes. He takes in his surroundings, the hospital room and the three men staring at him.

"How did I get here?" he asks.




doorway, soaking up Mandy's homophobic jibes. He just told her he's leaving her and moving in with Dom and it's gone about as well as he thought it would. Mandy storms up to the bedroom and comes back down with a double armful of his socks and underwear. These are dumped in the garden and she returns to the kitchen for a can of lighter fluid. Matt watches her make a bonfire of his unmentionables and thanks whatever deity there may be for Dom and his foresight. Dom insisted they take most of Matt's belongings - clothes, books, everything but his piano and the contents of his underwear drawer - to his house while Mandy was at work.

They'd planned to move the piano, too, but Dom was called to a meeting with a publisher and Matt really hadn't planned on Mandy coming home so early. That, of course, was when the trouble started.

Matt walks into the garden and watches his girlfriend - excuse me, ex-girlfriend - dance around the fire and laugh.

"Nice," he tells her, "mature."

"Fuck yourself, Matt. You tell me you're leaving me for another man, the prick next door no less, what did you think I'd do? Smile and give you my blessing?"

"No, of course not. But how will burning my things change anything?"

"It won't. But it makes me feel better."

"Sure. Fine. Whatever."

He leaves her to it and goes back inside. He's putting the kettle on to boil, thinking, in a distracted way, that a cup of tea might improve the situation, when Dom returns and lets himself in with Matt's keys. They're wheeling the piano out the front door when Mandy storms back in and treats them both to another round of verbal abuse. Dom doesn't rise to her bait, as Matt thought he might. The blond endures all her insults and, when Mandy runs out of steam, he says five words.

"You never loved him anyway."

Mandy recoils as if slapped and they wheel the piano over to Dom's, ignoring the curious stares of the neighbours. The piano is soon set up in Dom's living room - their living room, now.

Dom pulls Matt onto the couch and into a kiss that leaves them both dizzy.

"I did it," Matt grins, "I really did it!"

"Yes, you did. Any regrets?"

"Not a one. I've made my choice. This is the world I want to live in."

Dom's face lights up at that and Matt




is happening. He was so sure they'd win this war. They'd blinded dozens of eyes, each successful raid bringing them closer to the Hand, whatever that is. Tomorrow's raid was supposed to be the big one, the beginning of the end.

It's the end alright, but not for the Eye. Matt's the one who's been caught unawares, his home base breached, his people slaughtered, with less than a dozen lucky souls fleeing to safety. Matt fights, oh, how he fights, but he is finally forced to admit defeat. Better to retreat, gather up all the smaller squads and continue the fight another day.

All the exits are blocked so Matt jumps out the window, praying for a lucky fall. His prayer goes unanswered. His ankle snaps like a twig, his gun flies out of its holster. He reaches for it, but it's kicked away by a soldier in a black uniform. Matt rises to his knees, gives his captor a weary smile.

"Dom. Somehow, I knew it would be you. Going to kill me now?"

Dom nods, raises his weapon. Matt gazes in wonder at the tears on his former lover's cheeks.

"I know you don't believe me Matt, but I'm doing this because I love you."

The blond's finger tightens on the trigger but, before he can fire, a big man in a gasmask and a uniform that's the twin of Dom's steps up and disarms the blond, throwing him to the ground beside Matt.

"Now now, Dom," the figure chides as he removes his gasmask, "you should know better than that. We don't want him dead, not when we have such grand plans for him."

Matt stares up at the big man, not believing it.

"Chris?" he wheezes, "what



here?" Matt demands.

The being possessing the doctor sneers at him.

"What's going on? You're destroying everything, Matt, that's what's going on."


"Are you serious? Did you really think you could slide in and out of worlds, trying on different versions of yourself like outfits in a shop, and not fuck things up?"

"I don't, I never - "

"Wake up, sweetheart. Cause and effect, every action has a consquence."

The doctor's hand reaches out, taps Matt's forehead.

"Just look at this poor bastard here. You've driven him insane and I shudder to think of all the damage you've done in other worlds."

The doctor rubs his eyes as whatever's inside him sighs.

"You know what the worst part is? You're forcing me to do the same thing. I'm leaping into other versions of myself, trying to repair the damage you've caused. I just hope I'm not making things worse."

"I don't understand any of this. Who are you? Who am I? Where did we come from? How are we doing this?"

""Now that is one hell of a tale. I'd love to tell you, but it would take all night and I'm short on time. But I'll be seeing you soon, Matt, in this world or the next."

The life leaves Doctor Howard's face and he collapses, unconscious. Matt stares at him, thinking he should call someone, knowing he can't. But then the doctor shifts from an apparent coma to regular sleep, turning on his side, muttering and scratching himself. Matt relaxes and, incredible as it may seem, can feel sleep beginning to claim him, too. He'll think about tonight, and everything that's happened, in the morning.

Dawn finds the two men lying face to face, wrapped so tight around each other they're breathing one another's breath. Matt's the first to wake, acutely aware of the soft, warm body pressed so tightly against him. He swallows thickly as his cock rises to the occasion. He said Doctor Howard wasn't his type, but that was a lie designed to put the other man at ease.

Doctor Howard yawns, opens his eyes. He doesn't seem terribly concerned at finding himself in Matt's arms. He looks into Matt's eyes and smiles. It occurs to Matt that, while the good doctor knows all about Matt's bisexuality and his preference for men, Matt has absolutely no idea which way Howard swings. The question is quickly answered when Doctor Howard tilts his head forward and slides his tongue into Matt's mouth.

There are reasons, so many reasons, why this is a bad idea. But, as the doctor takes Matt's cock in one hand and uses the other to guide Matt's hand to the hardness between his own legs, Matt can't think of a single one.

The way they move together, it's, well, it's divine. Every flick of a tongue, every stroke of warm, stiff flesh is in perfect sync. It's like they've done this a thousand times, lovers of many years' experience. They even come together, moaning and biting each other's lips.

"Doctor Howard," Matt gasps, "I don't know what to say."

"I think," the doctor rasps, "under the circumstances, you can call me Dom."

Their laughter is quickly cut short by the sound of someone pounding on the door.

"Howard!" Christopher Wolstenholme shouts, "I know you're in there! I know Bellamy's with you! I want him. Open up! Open up now!"


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