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.

..."What

...is

...this?"

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."

Matthew

...shoves

...Chris

...away.

"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.

Matt

...stands

...in

...the

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

...can't

...believe

...this

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

...is

...going

...on

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."

"How?"

"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!"
hannah_chapter1: (Invasion)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part VI
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: 18/NC-17
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.


Matt tries to move his arms, can't do it. His brow furrows and then it all comes back to him.

A cell.

A straitjacket.

Bound and restricted.

He attacked that inspector, so they threw him in here. He screamed and threw himself at the door for a couple of hours. When he finally ran out of steam Wolstenholme, bearing all the marks of Matt's first assault, came into the cell. Matt promptly gained a second wind and kicked the policeman in the balls. Then he attacked the officers who came to help Wolstenholme. But they overpowered him, forced him onto the bunk and into this stupid fucking thing. They left him here, stewing in his own juices, Dom's voice inside his head.

He tells him to shut up, but Dom never did listen to him, so why should he start now?

He screams at Dom and Dom laughs.

Ignore him, he tries to ignore him, but he can't, and Dom babbles on, condemning him, calling him a murderer, a psychopath and Matt just can't take anymore.

Matt struggles to his feet, takes aim and runs into the cell door, head first. The first hit isn't hard enough, so he does it again. Three is the magic number, this last attempt cracking his skull and shutting off the voices. Matt

... lies

... on

... his

back, sweaty and spent. Dom pants and sweats beside him, lost in his own cloud of post-coital bliss. Matt reaches out blindly, needing to touch some part, any part, of his lover. Three months since Dom first took him to bed and Matt still can't get enough. He's here every other afternoon, when Mandy's at work and he has no students to teach. Dom doesn't wash his car half as often as he used to, now that he's found a better way to spend his free time - and boost his creativity.

He's tearing through his novel, producing twice - no, three times - as many pages as he did before they became lovers. And that's not all: his protagonist still doesn't have a name, but now he has a face: Matt's face.

Matt's the hero, the confused one, sliding through all the different worlds, unable to remain in any one place for long.

Sound of a door opening on the other side of the wall and Mandy's voice, calling for Matt. Fuck, Dom wasn't lying, these walls really are thin.

"Answer her," Dom whispers, "tell her where you are. Tell her what I'm doing to you. Tell her how much you love it."

Matt shakes his head, bites his lip to stifle a moan when Dom reaches over and tweaks a nipple. Then he hears his phone rings and every hair on his body stands on end. The phone is ringing ... on the other side of the wall. In their bedroom, not this one. He relaxes into the bed and Dom giggles. Matt's phone stops ringing and they both hear Mandy's muffled curse. Matt waits for her to leave the bedroom.

But she doesn't. She's still talking, she must have called someone. Chris? Probably. Dom looks at the wall, then at Matt.

"Okay," he says softly.

Before Matt can ask his lover what that's supposed to mean Dom's pinning him down, hands moving over all of Matt's most sensitive places, the spots that make him gasp and moan. Oh, he knows what Dom's trying to do, but it's going to happen. Matt won't make a sound.

Mandy prattles on even as Dom parts Matt's legs and enters him again. Matt keeps his mouth clamped shut, bites his lip hard enough to draw blood as Dom moves inside him.

"Do you want me to stop?" Dom half-whispers, half-moans, "I will, if that's what you want. All you have to do is ask."

Matt shakes his head and Dom laughs.

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

Biting his lip might not be enough. Matt clamps both hands over his mouth as Dom fucks him. He's silent but Dom is anything but, filling the room with exaggerated moans and expressions of pleasure. And it looks like Mandy's finally noticed what's going on over here. Matt can hear her voice, growing fainter as she leaves the bedroom, bitching about the pig who lives next door.

Their front door slams, a car engine roars to life and Matt loses control. His hands fly back and grab the headboard and he gives voice to a full-throated howl as he comes.  They lie together, completely spent for the second time in less than an hour. Matt sighs.

"You're evil," he tells the limp body still on top of him.

Dom pulls out but doesn't roll off.

"Evil?" he says, "me? I'm not the one cheating on my girlfriend, lying and offering lame excuses instead of sex."

Matt glares up at him.

"Eavesdropping again, are we?"

"No. Who needs to eavesdrop? The two of you fight and the whole street hears it."

"Oh."

Dom strokes his cheek.

"You can't go on like this, Matt."

"What should I do, then?"

"You know what you should do. Tell her about us. Leave her, move in with me."

"Right, into the house next door. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound."

"We don't have to stay here. We could go somewhere else."

"Where."

"Anywhere you like. I don't care."

"I need to think about this, Dom."

"Yes, you do. Because this can't go on forever. You can't live like this, Matt, bouncing from one world to another. You need to pick one."

"I know. But it's hard."

Dom grunts and gets out of bed. He

... looks

... out

... of

the window.

"It's such a lovely day," he says.

He turns and smiles as Matt comes out of the bar.

"All clean?" he asks.

"All clean," Matt confirms.

Matt puts away the broom and cleaning rags. He walks over to the sink, where Dom is washing glasses.

"Anything else you need me to do?"

"No. Why don't you go outside for awhile, get some sun. You need some sun. You're too pale, Matt."

"Oh stop, I can't take all these compliments."

"Don't start. You know I worry about you, Matt."

"I know."

"And you know why."

"I do."

It's been a couple of months since Matt's little dust-up with Chris and, while things between them haven't gotten any worse, they haven't gotten any better, either. Chris doesn't talk to Dom much these days, doesn't talk to Matt at all. That's not a problem. But Matt's memory is still an almost completely blank slate and his headaches and dizzy spells are becoming more frequent. That is a problem. But he still won't go to a hospital, no matter what Dom says. Matt doesn't know much about himself, but he knows one thing: he'd rather die that set even one foot inside a hospital.

Matt stretches and sighs.

"I think I will go outside for awhile, and read my book."

"You do that."

Matt finds his book on the kitchen table and goes outside. He perches himself on a wooden barrel - old, but sturdy enough - and opens his book. He found it underneath their bed about a week ago. The covers ripped off, no title, no author name. Dom has no idea where it came from, or just how long it was under there. But it fascinates Matt, he finds this book and its story of a man leaping into other worlds and other versions of himself oddly compelling.

He reads for a couple of hours, only stopping when he hears a car. He looks up just in time to see Chris haul himself out of the driver's seat. Chris turns, sees Matt and his expression darkens. Matt puts his book aside and goes to find Dom. He stops in the doorway, the sight before him shocking him to his very core.

Dom's lying on his back, struggling to breathe, his face a red and pulpy mess. A hammer lies on the floor by Dom's foot and the blood - oh, sweet Jesus, so much blood.

Matt runs, slips on the bloody floor and falls to his knees. He crawls to his lover, crawls through all that blood. Dom's still fighting for breath and Matt hesitates. What should he do? What can he do?

A shadow falls across them and Matt is lifted up and away from Dom.

"What did you do?" Chris shakes him, making his teeth rattle, "you fucked up little freak, what did you do?"

Matt

... hears

... a

... key

scraping in a lock. He hides behind the kitchen door and waits. An unfamiliar voice in the front hall, asking questions. Matt can't hear the answers, can't hear the second voice at all. The front door opens again, closes and now someone is walking through the living room, coming into the kitchen. The stranger reaches for the light switch and Matt pounces, grabbing the man and bringing him to the floor. The man opens his mouth to scream - or try to, anyway - and Matt puts a hand over his mouth.

"I'm not going to hurt you. I swear, I'm not going to hurt you," he says and then, realising how stupid that sounds, adds, "again."

Doctor Howard stares up at him, eyes wide and terrified. Matt tries a reassuring smile but, when he catches a glimpse of himself in the oven door, he has to admit it doesn't really work. He doesn't look calm and reassuring; he looks like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

"Look, I'm going to take my hand away. Okay?"

Doctor Howard nods.

"You won't try anything clever, like running for the back door or trying to stab me with one of the knives on that rack over there?"

Another nod.

"Good."

Matt releases him and Howard shifts into a sitting position, keeping a wary eye on Matt as he does so. Strange, but the good doctor looks so much younger, so much more vulnerable without his glasses. Howard touches the bandage on his throat and winces.

"What are you doing in my house?" he asks, voice little more than a hoarse whisper.

"Hiding in the last place anyone would expect to find me."

"How did you know where I lived?"

"Your wallet. Don't you remember? I took it from you just before I escaped."

"Took it just before you cut my throat and left me bleeding on the floor," the doctor corrects.

"I'm sorry about that."

"Are you? Are you really?"

"Yes. I didn't want to hurt you, I didn't."

"Why did you, then?"

"I needed a distraction and I wanted to keep Wolstenholme off you. I didn't want him blaming you for my escape, or maybe even thinking it was your idea."

"You were trying to help me, this is what you're telling me."

"Yeah, I was."

"Well it didn't work. Wolstenholme was waiting for me when I got out of surgery, didn't even wait for the drugs to wear off. I was grilled for hours. Why, he asked, would I, of all people, see fit to remove your restraints and give you a weapon? I wrote my answers down, he tore up the paper and threw it in my face. I could lose my job, my medical licence, I might even go to prison myself if Wolstenholme gets his way."

Another apology would be an insult and a waste of time, so Matt says nothing.

"So you've been here, all the time I was in hospital, you were here?"

"That's right. And how considerate of you, to leave a spare key in the flowerpot by the front door."

The doctor gives him a dirty look.

"Don't worry, I was careful, nobody saw me, and I've been a good guest. You've still got plenty of food and I've cleaned up after myself. I even fed your cat and kept it company."

Speak of the devil: a small, tabby cat pushes through the back door cat flap and strolls into the kitchen. Howard holds out his arms, but the cat ignores its master and jumps into Matt's lap instead.

"Aww, isn't that sweet," Matt grins, "I'm its Daddy, now."

"Andrew."

"What?"

"His name is Andrew."

"Oh, okay."

Matt plays with Andrew until the cat gets bored and goes to investigate his food dish.

"Are we going to spend the rest of the evening sitting on the kitchen floor?"

"No, of course not."

Matt brings the doctor upstairs, lets him shower, change and find his spare glasses. Then they eat, Howard sticking to custard and ice cream. They settle at opposite sides of Howard's couch and watch the news. Police are still looking for Matt, still have no idea where he might be hiding, or with who. Christopher Wolstenholme makes a statement and Matt grimaces and gives the television the finger.

"Why do you hate him so much? Why is he so interested in you?"

"I don't know. I just know he's bad news, for me and for you."

"How? Why?"

"The Eye sees everything. The Hand never lets go."

The words, suddenly in Matt's brain and bubbling out of his mouth.

"What does that mean?"

Images pouring into Matt's mind, drowning his reason. He squeezes his temples, tries to articulate it, tries to make Howard see.

"You ... me ... him ... the three of us ... always, the three of us ... the world ... we ... break ... the world ..."

And then it's all gone - worse than gone, like it was never there in the first place. Matt smacks the arm of the couch.

"I had it, I had it all and now it's gone!"

The doctor tries to calm him down, but Matt's having none of it. He jumps up and starts pacing around the room.

"Do you have any idea, doctor, what it's like to be a stranger in your own head? To experience the emotions of a man who is you and, at the same time, not you? You're happy, you don't know why, you're angry and you have no idea why and you ... don't ... know ... how ... to ... fix ...it!"

Doctor Howard gets up, takes Matt by the shoulders. A brave move, after what Matt did to him and what he thinks Matt's done to so many people.

"Matthew. Matt. Calm down, please. I want to help you and I know I can, if you'll let me. We can figure it out, all of it."

"You still want to help me, after what I did to you?"

"I do."

The doctor's touch soothes him, makes him feel more like himself, the way he was before ... well, before everything.

"Alright. I'm trusting you, Doctor Howard. Don't let me down."

"I won't, I promise."

They spend the rest of the evening in almost complete silence, restricting themselves to an occasional comment on whatever show they happen to be watching. Andrew lies on the couch between then, loving all the extra attention. The doctor tenses up again when Matt leads him upstairs at the end of the night. Matt picks up on the other man's fear.

"Do you really think I'd do that, Doctor Howard? Take advantage of you like that?"

Howard wraps his arms around himself, as if for comfort.

"I don't know. But you are bisexual, with an admitted preference for men."

"That's true. But you can relax. I think this relationship should be a platonic one and, well, don't take this the wrong way, but you're not my type."

The doctor's relief is written all over his face. Matt lies down, stretches his arm across the mattress, makes Doctor Howard lie on top of it.

"There," he says, "now we can sleep and I don't have to worry about you trying to sneak away in the middle of the night. You move, you get up for anything, and I'll know."

"I thought you were going to trust me."

"I am. But only so far, doctor, only so far."

They lie together in the dark. The doctor begins to snore and Matt can feel himself drifting off.

The weight shifting off his arm wakes him again. He can see the vague outline of Doctor Howard, sitting up, not moving, not speaking.

"What is it," Matt asks, "what's wrong?"

No answer from the shape beside him. Matt swears under his breath, reaches for the lamp. But, before he can switch it on, the doctor speaks and it's not the hoarse whisper of earlier. This voice is rich, confident and familiar, oh so familiar:

"Oh, Matt," it drawls, "you've really fucked up this time."

Matt

... pulls

... up

... a

chair and sits by his prisoner's bed. Howard opens his eyes.

"Commander Bellamy."

"Howard. How are you feeling?"

"Sick. Weak. Not ready to go back to your chamber of horrors. But you probably knew that already."

"I did. It doesn't matter, I can wait. I'm a patient man."

"Yes. You are."

Howard motions towards the plastic water jug on the table.

"Would you mind?"

"No, of course not."

Matthew pours him some water, helps him sit up so he can drink it. Howard looks at his torturer, a thoughtful expression on his face.

"The orderlies talk about you."

"What do they say?"

"You punched Minister Wolstenholme in the face, broke his nose."

"Yes, I did."

"And you took his spy and flayed him alive."

"Yes."

"Did you enjoy it?"

"Which? The nose breaking or the flaying?"

"Either. Both."

"No, I didn't enjoy it."

"You hated it, then?"

"No. I did what I had to do, in both cases. I didn't feel much of anything."

"You never do, do you? No love, no hate, you just do whatever you must to serve the state. Irritation when someone gets in your way, a faint sense of satisfaction when you've done what you think is right, that's the closest you get to an emotion, isn't it?"

"Yes. I'm such a good little clockwork thug."

Howard smiles.

"it wasn't an insult, you know."

"What wasn't?"

"Clockwork thug. Not an insult, just a fact. A hollow man, all memories, most of his emotions burned away. A man who serves the state because he was designed to, because that's the only thing he knows, the only thing he's allowed to know. That's you, Commander Bellamy. That's the clockwork thug."

"That's not me."

"Isn't it?" Howard suddenly changes tack, "where were you born?"

"What?"

"Come on, it's a simple question. Where were you born?"

"I don't know."

"Who was your mother?"

"I don't know."

"Who was your father?"

"I don't kn-"

"Do you have brothers, sisters?"

"I don't - "

"What's your earliest memory?"

"I don't - I can't - "

"What did you do, in the time Before?"

"Before what?"

"Before the state was established, before the Eye, before the Hand."

"There is no time Before. The Eye and the Hand have always been here, will always be here."

Howard laughs.

"That's what you think. Poor little clockwork thug! You think you see everything. You see nothing, know nothing, have nothing. You are nothing. An empty man with an empty life."

"My life isn't empty."

"No?"

"No. I ... have ... a piano! I have a piano. I have music."

"Yes, I heard about your piano, and it made me curious. Answer one last question, Commander Bellamy."

"I should be the one asking the questions."

"I know. But indulge me just a little longer."

"Ask your question, then."

"Do you get headaches? Night sweats? Do your hands shake?"

"How do you know about that?"

Howard says nothing.

"Damn you, talk to me! What does it mean?"

"The cracks are beginning to show. The clockwork thug is turning back into a real boy."

And that's all the prisoner will say. He closes his eyes and ignores Matthew, his questions and threats about removed fingernails and removed fingers. Frustrated almost to the point of insanity, Matthew leaves the former Deputy and goes to the man's house. The man won't give Matthew answers, but his possessions might.

Howard's house is warm and welcoming, with soft carpets and expensive furnishings, the complete opposite of Matthew's. The house has already been searched, of course, every document, every book, every scrap of paper examined and filed away. But there must be something, something -

He searches for hours, checks every room half a dozen times and gets nothing. He can almost hear Howard laughing at him. Something furious, some alien anger possesses him and he attacks the rooms in a frenzy, smashing furniture, ripping up carpets, tearing strips off the wallpaper.

And that's where he finds it, in Howard's study, taped up behind the wallpaper: a photograph. Dominic Howard in an army uniform, arm around another man, both smiling for the camera. Matthew stares at the other man's face, the face he sees every time he looks in a mirror. He tries

... to

... make

... sense

of his surroundings. They came for him, he remembers that. They treated his head injury, he remembers that, too. Now he's strapped into a chair, but not in an interrogation room. He's in ... an office?

He hears a door open and a man in a white coat stands before him. Matt gapes up at the white coat. It can't, it can't be -

"Good morning, Matthew!" the man exclaims brightly, "my name is Doctor Howard and I'm your psychiatrist. I'm here to help you."
hannah_chapter1: (Invasion)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part V
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: 18/NC-17
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.
Warning: Torture.


Matt can't sleep. Lying on his side with a hand on Dom's hip, he listens to his lover's slow, steady breathing. Oh, how he envies the other man's ability to fall asleep a couple of seconds after closing his eyes. Matt rolls onto his back and runs his left thumb over the surface of his ring, an act comforting in its familiarity - and this is strange, since he's been wearing the ring for less than a week. His thumb presses against the golden eye, hard enough to leave an impression in the flesh and an image flashes into his mind: his fist connecting with someone's face, ring ploughing through fragile nose cartilage, blood spraying everywhere -

Dom cries out in his sleep.

Matt turns to him but the sound is not repeated and Dom sleeps on, his breathing levelling out. Matt runs his thumb over the ring again. What are you? Why do you make me think of fire and blood and screams? Where did you come from? Where did I come from? Questions, he has so many questions. But the ring isn't giving up its secrets and Matt is beginning to think that's for the best. You lost your memory for a reason, a voice deep inside his head insists, let it be, don't go looking for trouble.

He sits up and swings his legs over the edge of the bed. He needs a drink, something to drown out the voices and images and help him sleep. It's a hot night, no need to waste time looking for his clothes. Moving as quietly as he can, Matt leaves the bedroom and goes down to the bar. He scans the shelves, then grabs a bottle.

I've always been a tequila man.

Matt pauses in the act of getting a glass. Where did that come from? He looks at the bottle on the bar: vodka, not tequila. He doesn't even like tequila. Ah, fuck it; booze now, questions later.

He pours his drink and is raising the glass to his lips when something creaks somewhere in the bar and he suddenly realises something: he didn't turn the lights on when he came in. He didn't have to because the lights were already on. Matt comes out from behind the bar, cursing his stupidity and wishing he was wearing more than just a pair of skimpy briefs that leave nothing to the imagination. He can see the vague outline of a man sitting in the darkest corner, the one the light doesn't quite reach.

"Hello?"

The stranger doesn't answer and Matt is frozen in an agony of indecision. Should he grab the phone and call the police? Run for the stairs and Dom? Try for one of the pool cues on the wall? The shape stands and moves into the light.

"Chris?"

"Did I scare you? Sorry," Chris says, not sounding the least bit sorry.

"What are you doing here? It's the middle of the night."

"I don't have to explain myself to you."

Matt blinks. He knows he's not Chris's favourite person, but this open hostility is new.

"Is something wrong?"

Chris laughs.

"Yes, something's wrong. You're wrong, Matt. Everything about you is wrong."

Chris sits down. He

... reaches

... over

... and

turns the tape recorder off. Matt doesn't look up, doesn't speak.

<Dom looked out of the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said>

"Got anything to say for yourself, Mr. Bellamy?"

No, nothing, not a single word.

"Taken a vow of silence, have we? What's this now, some pathetic attempt to get off with an insanity defence? I've never seen that work and trust me, it won't work now. You'll get what's coming to you, of that you can be sure. I've got everything I need to charge you with your boyfriend's murder but that's not enough, nowhere near enough. I won't rest until I've seen you crucified for what you did to these people."

Inspector Wolstenholme's voice drops almost, but not quite, to a whisper.

"They're what I care about, not your boyfriend. Fuck him. Who cares if one queer has a hissy fit and bumps off another queer? I don't."

Matt's head snaps up at that and the inspector smiles, pleased with his reaction.

"Didn't like that, did you? Well it's true, as far as I'm concerned, one less vaseline-arsed fairy in the world can only be a good thing-"

That's as far as he gets. Matt's fist pistons up and out, striking the policeman square in the face. Matt feels and hears the inspector's nose break and gains no small amount of satisfaction from it. Inspector Wolstenholme falls to the floor with his hand clamped over his nose, crimson leaking through his fingers. Blood - the sight of it inflames Matt, burning away all and any rational thought. He's on the policeman in an instant, kneeling on his chest, hands wrapped around his throat. He'll teach this prick some manners, he won't be spoken to like that, not by him, not by ANYBODY!

It takes five men to pry him loose. They drag him out and throw him in a cell. Matt is alone - completely alone, no more voices in his head. They've gone away and left him here. Matt looks down at his hands and flexes them. He just tried to kill a man. He just tried to kill a man and it felt good. No, more than good, it felt familiar, welcome -

Did he do it before?

Did he?

Oh God.

All those people and Dom, the only good thing in his life -

Matt screams until his throat is raw and throws

... himself

... backwards

... and

off the couch. His leg bumps the coffee table and a mug falls over. Dom doesn't try to pull him back to the couch or explain himself. He stays where he is, staring up at his neighbour. Matt's mouth opens but no sound comes out. He turns his back on Dom and stumbles out of his house. Back on his own doorstep, he's fumbling for his keys when the door is opened from the other side. Chris sneers down at him.

"It's about fucking time! Running off like that, upsetting Mandy, what were you thinking? Were you thinking at all? Oh, what's the point in talking to you?"

Matt brushes past Chris, resisting an almost overwhelming urge to punch the annoying twat right in the face. Why should he risk a broken finger or give the prick an excuse to have him arrested? Disappointed with his failure to provoke a reaction this time, Chris gives up and leaves. Matt finds Mandy in the kitchen.

"Where have you been?"

"Walking."

"Until now?"

"Yeah, I didn't feel like coming home. I didn't feel welcome, for some reason."

"I'm sorry, Matt."

"Are you?"

"Yes! I know Chris can be hard to take - "

"That's an understatement.."

" - but he's my brother, my only living relative. Can't you at least try to get along with him?"

"Oh, I can try, but we both know it would be a complete waste of time."

Matt can see she's just getting started but he can't take anymore.

"I'm going to bed, it's been a long day."

But sleep refuses to come. Matt lies on his back and stares at the ceiling. His mind obsesses over the events of the evening, worrying at them like a dog with a bone. Three mostly sleepless nights come and go and then he's knocking on his neighbour's door. If Dom is surprised to see him he doesn't show it. Matt follows him into the kitchen. Dom leans back against the counter by the sink, waiting for Matt to begin.

"We need to talk, Dom."

"Do we? I kissed you. You ran away. Did I run after you? Have I spent the last few days shouting through your letterbox or crying underneath your bedroom window?"

"No."

"No. I took the hint and left you alone. So tell me, Matt, what is there to talk about?"

Matt would like nothing more than to turn tail and flee, just like the last time. But he's got a speech all worked out in his head and he's not leaving until he's gotten through it.

"Thanks for helping me the other night. I shouldn't have run off like that. And it's not that I'm homophobic or anything, but I've got a girlfriend and I don't - "

"Did you like it?"

Dom's words cut through his carefully rehearsed speech.

"W-what?"

"I kissed you. I touched you. Did you like it?"

Matt can't think of a single thing to say. Dom pushes himself up and off the counter and advances on him, the movement reminding Matt of a nature documentary he watched, something about big cats and the way they stalk their prey. Matt backs away but, unfamiliar as he is with the layout of this kitchen, only succeesds in trapping himself between his neighbour and his neighbour's kitchen table. Dom reaches out and caresses his cheek.

"You haven't answered my question. Did you like it?"

"I - I - "

Dom leans in, hand sliding around to grip the back of Matt's neck, lips brushing the spot just below Matt's ear.

"Do you want me to do it again?"

Matt's only response is a moan as Dom's lips blaze a trail from his ear to his mouth. Dom's hands haven't been idle during all this. oh no; one slides down from his neck to his rump, the other goes to work on Matt's belt. Matt whimpers against Dom's lips when the other man reaches into his boxers and takes him in hand but he doesn't push him away, doesn't even think of stopping him. They stay like this for an untold length of time, lips brushing together, Dom's hand stroking Matt's erection. When Dom lets go and steps back Matt makes a low, frustrated sound.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm giving you a chance, one last chance, to tell me what you want. Do you want to back to your nice little girlfriend and your nice little life, or do you want to come upstairs and let me make love to you until every cell in your body comes alive? The choice is yours, Matt. Now, what's it going to be?"

The choice is really no choice at all.

"I want to go upstairs with you."

"Of course you do."

Matt stands in Dom's bedroom and watches him shut the curtains. Dom crosses the room and strips Matt down before making a start on his own clothes.

"Have you ever been with a man, Matt?"

No, never. The lie comes automatically to Matt's lips. But then he looks into Dom's eyes and, even in this dim light, he can see the anticipation of the lie and it forces the truth out of him.

"Yes," he admits, "but not for a long time."

"Don't worry, it'll come back to you. It's like riding a bike, you never really forget."

On the bed with Dom's fingers and tongue exploring him (and Dom is a rougher and more thorough lover than any Matt has had before), Matt is transported back to a different time, to a period of chemical and sexual exploration. Wild times, oh yes; he might spend one night speeding through city streets, brain fizzing on a cocktail of mind-expanding drugs and the next draped over a kitchen table (or even just the arm of a couch), dizzy with anticipation, waiting to be filled -

 - and then Dom is beside him ... on top of him ... inside of him, cock breaching the tight ring of muscle, making Matt hiss and moan. There is pain, yes, that's to be expected after such a long abstinence but it soon fades and Matt gasps as Dom's thrusts become faster, sharper. Matt holds Dom's shoulders and wraps his legs around his waist. He closes his eyes and steps outside himself, looks down at the men writhing on the bed. Skin slippery with sweat, muscles pulled tight as violin strings, bodies completely in sync; they're so beautiful, oh God, how is this happening -

 - and then he's back, nails clawing at Dom's shoulders as he rides out his orgasm. He's aware of Dom panting in his ear and then there's a new sound, halfway between a scream and a sigh, as he finishes. All the strength leaves Dom's arms and he collapses into Matt's four-limbed embrace. They lie together in silence.

"Are you okay?" Dom's voice, muffled against the skin of Matt's neck, breaks the silence.

"Never felt better."

"Good, that's good," Dom yawns, already more than half asleep, "you're back where you belong."

How can you say that? How can you know that? Matt thinks but doesn't say. He tightens

... his

... grip

... on

the rifle. His men are watching him, waiting for their orders. They're such good soldiers.

"Okay, we're hitting another Eye substation. You all know what to do. Destroy the satellite equiptment, grab food, medical supplies and any paperwork you think might be important. Kill anyone stupid enough to get in your way. Any questions?

There are none.

"Then let's do it."

Two grenades thrown with deadly accuracy take out the left wall (only a complete idiot would try to go in the front) and the team pour in, using the fire and smoke and confusion to their advantage. Matt follows them in. This is the tenth substation they've attacked since Dom left and every one of these attacks has gone like clockwork. Matt's beginning to think they have a chance of winning this war, blinding the Eye one strike at a time.

Matt's on the third floor when he sees a familiar figure up ahead: it's Dom. He turns and runs and Matt goes after him. What will he do if he catches him? Matt doesn't know, but he can't let him get away.

Hot, sharp pain in his cheek and he goes temporarily deaf in his right ear. Someone just took a shot at him! He hits the ground and swipes at the wound on his cheek, trying to assess the damage. It's not so bad. That shot, it came from behind. Matt stands and goes back the way he came, all thoughts of catching Dom forgotten, looking for the shooter. But the area is clear of Eye operatives and all he finds are his own men. Chris sees his injury and comes over.

"What happened?"

"I - " Matt pauses, trying to gather his thoughts, "I saw Dom, I got shot ..."

"You're lucky he didn't kill you. He's probably long gone by now. But we'll get him, his luck can't last forever."

Matt wipes some more blood off his cheek. He's confused; Chris assumes Dom shot him - but Dom was ahead of him, way ahead. The shot came from behind and the only people on this floor are Matt's. So who shot at him?

You need to open your eyes before it's too late.

Dom's words coming back to haunt him. He pushes them out of his mind and turns his attention back to the task at hand. They clear the building, carry away all the valuables and, when they're done, burn the place to the ground, an extra "fuck you" to the Eye and everything it stands for.

Back at their new base of operations, a medic cleans Matt's cheek and slaps a dressing on it. It'll heal clean, he's told, no scar. Matt goes to the room he's using as an office and starts reading through the paperwork they found. Chris knocks and enters.

"I came to see how the patient is doing."

"I'll live. It's just a scratch."

"You were lucky. You could have lost an eye."

Matt grunts and kicks the lid off one of the crates they found. It's full of alcohol.

"They always keep the best stuff for themselves. What's your poison, Chris?"

"I've always been a tequila man."

Matt passes him a bottle and goes back to the papers on the table.

"Take the booze and share it out. There should be enough for everybody."

"Consider it done. I - Matt? What's wrong?"

Matt is frowning down at the desk.

"Have you ever heard of something called the Hand, Chris?"

"No, can't say that I have."

"That name is all over these reports."

"I wonder what it means?"

Matt walks

... down

... to

... Howard's

cell, his two aides flanking him. He's almost there when the door opens and a guard backs out of the cell, pulling a wheeled stretcher.

"What are you doing?"

The guard jumps at the sound of the commander's voice, then points at the limp figure on the stretcher.

"He's been starving himself. He hasn't eaten for a week. Minister Wolstenholme wants him out of here. I'm taking him to a hospital."

He reaches for the stretcher and Matthew pushes him away.

"I don't care about the minister and we have a hospital here. Howard will go to that. And why wasn't I told about this?"

"You were busy, I didn't want to bother you."

"So you thought you'd ignore the proper channels, run right to the Hand and make me look like an idiot?"

"No, no, it wasn't like - "

Matthew ignores his feeble excuses. The prisoner is trying to say something. Matt leans in until his ear is almost touching Howard's mouth. The prisoner is weak, the most he can do is whisper two sentences - but that is more than enough.

"Didn't refuse to eat. He refused to feed me."

Matthew stands up straight. The guard takes one look at the expression on his face and his courage, what little he has, deserts him. He tries to run but he doesn't get far. Matthew assistants catch him and drag him back to the commander.

"How long have you been working for Wolstenholme?"

The man's lip trembles and tears spill from his eyes. Matthew lays reassuring hands on his shoulders.

"Shh, there's no need to be afraid. Wolstenholme can't hurt you," Matthew's grip tightens and the guard squeals, "but I can. Now, answer the question. How long?"

"Ever since you arrested Howard. The minister came to me, said he wanted inside reports on your progress."

"He told you to starve the prisoner."

"Yes."

"Why?"

"He wants the deputy out of here, one way or another. He wants him away from you."

Matthew squeezes his shoulders one last time.

"There, that wasn't so hard, now was it?"

He looks at his men.

"Take Howard to the hospital, put a feeding tube in him. I want this one in the white room, stripped, shaved and strapped to a table. Oh, and run a live feed from the room to Minister Wolstenholme's office. I'm going for my tools."

The unfortunate guard begins to scream as Matthew walks away.

Matthew is putting his jacket back on and watching one of his men hosing the blood off the floor when the minister storms in. Matthew smiles at him.

"You look upset, Christopher. Didn't you enjoy the show? I'll admit it took longer than expected, but it's been quite some time since I flayed someone alive. I'm out of practice."

"Why did you do this?"

Matthew shrugs.

"I punished a traitor. That's what I do here. You've never complained before."

"This is different."

"A traitor is a traitor, I don't care who they work for."

"You could have just shot him. You didn't have to do ... that."

"That was for you, a friendly warning. Don't meddle in my affairs."

"You arrogant little shit. I outrank you! You don't warn the Hand, the Hand warns you - "

Enough. Matthew's fist pistons up and out, striking the minister square in the face. Matthew feels and hears the minister's nose break. Wolstenholme staggers back with his hand clamped over his nose, crimson leaking through his fingers, eyes wide and shocked.

"It's over. Bellamy. I'll have your head for this."

"For what?

"You just struck a member of the Hand!"

Matthew's brow forrows in confusion. He turns to his assistants.

"Gentlemen, did I just strike the minister?"

"No, Commander."

"We would have seen."

"And we saw nothing."

"He must have fallen."

"Tripped on the stairs, maybe. They can be treacherous."

The minister's face has gone from red to purple.

"There are no stairs here!"

"There are always stairs."

Matthew smiles.

"Do you understand now, Christopher? The Hand is nothing here. The Eye controls this place. I control this place. I decide what is truth and what is fiction, I decide who will live and who will die. No man is above me, Christopher, not even you."

The commander snaps his fingers.

"Bring the bag."

His men carry over a large bag with something moving and sloshing inside it. They lay the bag at the minister's feet.

"You can go now, Christopher, and take your spy with you. I'll break Howard in my own time and I'll do it my way. Interfere again and you'll be the one in the bag."

Wolstenholme mutters something as he bends and drags the back out of the white room. Matthew watches him leave, then dismisses his men and goes back to his home. It's been a long day. Matthew's house is small, neat and almost completely devoid of personality. There are no books on the shelves, no pictures on the walls, no soft, padded furniture. A simple table and chair serve his needs.

The only concession to luxury is a grand piano in the middle of the living room, the piano of a dead traitor. The possessions of enemies of the State often find their way into the homes of the Eye and the Hand. The second he laid eyes on the piano, Matthew knew he had to have it. He doesn't remember ever having had piano lessons, but the first time he put his fingers on the keys they began to move, seemingly of their own accord, picking out a sweet melody.

He'd never admit it, but this piano is the one thing that gives Matthew pleasure, real pleasure. His hands never shake, headaches never plague him when he plays. He sheds his uniform jacket and tie and sits on the stool. He turns the Howard situation over in his mind again as he plays. He doesn't

... know

... what

... to

say as Chris elaborates

"When you first came here I was happy. Dom's a good man and a great bar manager, and I know it's not easy for him in a place like this. He can't be as open about his sexuality as he'd like to be and he's been lonely. You were good for him, Matt. But now I'm worried. I get a bad feeling when I think about you, even looking at you sets my teeth on edge. It's like you just don't fit in this world."

"I don't know what you want me to say."

"No? Then explain this: tell me why you don't exist."

Matt gapes at him. Chris pulls out his phone.

"I took your picture one night and I got a friend of mine to feed it and your name into some databases. I wanted some information on you, anything she could find. But she found nothing. According to her, you were never born, never attended school, held a job, owned property. I asked around all the nearby towns, Bellona, Oldtown, Stillwater. You should have passed through at least one of them on your way here, but I couldn't find a single person who'd seen you. So where did you come from, Matt? Did you fall out of the sky?"

Matt turns away and Chris is up and on him in a second, grabbing him by the arm and spinning him around to face him.

"Don't you walk away from me, Matt. I want answers and you'd better believe me when I tell you I'll get them. I'm not Dom, you can't get around me by batting your eyelashes and bending over for me - "

That's as far as he gets. Matt's fist pistons up and out, striking the other man square in the face. Matt feels and hears Chris's nose break. Chris reels backwards, blood pouring out of his nose and dripping down his chin.

"That's it. That's the end of the line. Get your things, Matt, or whatever your real name is, and get out of - "

"No," Dom's voice from the doorway.

"What do you mean, no? Look at my face, Dom. Do you really want a guy like this sleeping next to you?"

"He shouldn't have done that, I know. But you provoked him Chris, you know you did."

"I want him gone."

"Fine. I'm leaving with him."

"You can't be serious."

"Try me."

"You'd give all this up him?"

"In a heartbeat," Dom walks over and takes Matt's hand, "I know you mean well, Chris, but I go where he goes. That's just the way it is."

Chris glares at them, then goes behind the bar. They can hear him fumbling with the ice machine. He comes back out with a bar towel full of ice pressed against his nose. He lets himself out and they stand in the middle of the bar, watching. Matt sighs.

"Maybe he's right. Maybe I should go."

"No, you should stay."

"Why?"

"I need you."

Matt starts to speak and Dom puts a finger on his lips.

"No, no more, not tonight. We can talk about it in the morning."

They go back upstairs and make love. They lie together afterwards, like two sticky spoons. But they don't sleep.
hannah_chapter1: (Daria)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part IV
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.


The naked man curls up on the floor. Against the brilliant white tiles he looks like a bloody human comma. Matthew kneels beside him.

"I admire you, Howard, I do. I've broken so many people in this room. But not you."

The prisoner remains silent and Matthew sighs.

"Why are you doing this? I'm not going to get bored and give up. If I can't break you here I'll break you in one of the others. The blue room or maybe the red, I've got some nice toys in that one. I will break you, of that you can be sure."

Howard raises his right hand and gives Matthew the finger.

"That won't help you."

The light bounces off the heavy, gold ring on Howard's middle finger. Matthew grabs his wrist and pulls the ring off.

"This isn't yours. You gave up the right to wear it when you turned traitor."

Matthew stands, putting the ring in his pocket as he does so. He beckons his men over.

"Clean him up, treat his wounds and give him something to wear. We'll give him a week to rest, then it's the blue room for him."

Matthew leaves the white room and goes back up to his office. He.

...sits

...on

...his

neighbour's couch and sips the water the other man gave him. Dom sits on the arm of the couch, a worried look on his face.

"I still think I should call a doctor."

"No, no doctors."

"Your girlfriend, then."

"No."

Dom falls silent, thinking.

"What about a cup of tea, then?"

"That sounds good."

"Milk? Sugar?"

"Milk, two sugars."

"I'll be right back.

Matt puts his water on the floor beside the couch and looks around as Dom busies himself in the kitchen. His neighbour's tidy, he'll give him that. Books and remote controls are lined up neatly on the coffee table. There's a desk in the corner with a laptop, printer and a stack of pages on it. Dom comes back in with two mugs of tea. He sits beside Matt and hands him one. Matt raises the mug to his lips. The tea is hot and strong, just the way he likes it. They drink in silence and Matt tries to think of something to say.

"What do you do, Dom? Besides wash your car, I mean."

"I write."

"Where does the car-washing fit in?"

"Helps me think, it's a zen thing."

"What kind of writing?"

"Short stories, articles. I'm working on a book, but I haven't gotten very far."

"What's your book about?"

"A man who can body surf."

"Body surf?"

"Yeah. His mind can jump into other worlds and other versions of him. Sometimes, and this is the clever bit, he jumps into the same body at different points of the same timeline."

"Sounds interesting."

"It will be if I ever get the fucking thing finished."

Matt finishes his tea.

"Why are you doing this, Dom?"

"Doing what?"

"Why are you being so nice to me? I thought you didn't like me."

"Not liking you is one thing. Not giving a shit when I see you collapse in my driveway is quite another. What makes you think I don't like you?"

"You're rude to me every single time I see you. And you laughed at me when I fell over my bin that time."

Dom looks uncomfortable. He puts his mug on the coffee table and dry-scrubs his face with the side of his hand.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that. But I don't hate you, I hate your girlfriend. You just got caught in the crossfire. She's always sending you over here to bitch at me."

"You go out of your way to wind her up."

"True. But she started it, didn't she?"

Matt thinks back to the day Dom moved in. The other man parked a van across their drive while he moved stuff. It didn't bother Matt, but Mandy couldn't park when she got home from work. Matt came out and found her screaming abuse at their new neighbour, who was giving as good as he got. Even then he thought she was going too far. Matt puts his mug on the coffee table beside Dom's.

"I suppose she did."

Dom looks at him thoughtfully.

"But that's not all of it."

"No?"

"No. I can hear the two of you through my bedroom wall sometimes. It drives me mad."

"Why?"

"I'm jealous."

"But you hate Mandy."

"Who said anything about Mandy?"

Before Matt can even begin to think of a reply Dom's lips are on his. Shock freezes him to the spot as the other man's tongue slips into his mouth. Dom's hand brushes against Matt's groin and Matt shoves him away and

...tries

...to

...stand

up but one of the other officers grabs his shoulder and pushes him back into his chair. Inspector Wolstenholme clears his throat impatiently.

"Do you want a lawyer?"

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.">

"Do you want to make a statement?"

Matt shakes his head.

"Alright. Take him away, a few hours in a cell might change his mind."

They take him out and throw him in a cell. He crawls onto the bed and curls into a ball.

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.>


Oh, why can't he get that out of his head?

Murderer.

Matt's head snaps up. Dom's voice - but where is he?

Psycho.

Matt squeezes his temples. The voice is in his head.

You killed me.

"No!"

Yes. You killed me, Matt
.

"I didn't, I wouldn't..."

You would. You did. You bashed my skull in and watched me die on the kitchen floor. What did I do to deserve that? I loved you, I supported you, I put up with your moodswings and this is how you repay me?

Matt sticks his fingers in his ears but the voice is inside his head and he can't block it out. It's almost a relief when he's taken out of the cell, cuffed and brought back to the interview room. Inspector Wolstenholme is already there. Matt sits at the table and the inspector looks up from his notes.

"You are Matthew Bellamy."

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.">


Oh, brilliant. Dom's voice has faded out of his head but now he's back to that. Maybe he really has gone crazy.

"You're unemployed."

Matt shrugs.

"You lived with Dominic Howard. He was your lover."

Matt shrugs again.

"Why did you kill him?"

Matt's mouth moves but no sound comes out. He knows there's an explanation, there has to be, but the period between Dom standing at the window and Dom dying on the floor is blank.

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.>

Inspector Wolstenholme plucks a file from the floor, opens it and takes out some photos. He spreads them out on the table like a winning poker hand. Pictures of Dom, pictures of the hammer, of the scratches on Matt's face.

"We caught you with the murder weapon in your hand. His blood and skin was under your fingernails and yours was under his."

The inspector taps a photo, a close-up of a hand.

"See this? The way the fingers are bent and broken? We call them defensive wounds. He must have put up quite a fight. But you didn't let that stop you, did you?"

Oh, why can't Matt remember anything? The inspector picks up the file again and opens it.

"I would like to get a statement from you, but I don't really need one. I have all the evidence I need to put you away for life right here. I have statements from your neghbours and I've got plenty of forensic."

Wolstenholme places more photos on the table, more corpses. But Matt's never seen these people before.

Has he?

He looks into the policeman's eyes, which are bright with hate.

"What I want to know, Mr. Bellamy," he hisses, venom dripping from every word, "is how your fingerprints and DNA showed up at all these other crime scenes. A fight with your boyfriend getting out of hand is one thing. But this is serial killer territory. Is that what you are? A fucking psycho killer?"

Matt shoves away from the table and

...rattles

...the

...cuffs

on his wrist and looks at the doctor expectantly. The other man is sitting at his bedside again, drinking a glass of water. He puts the glass on the floor and Matt rattles his cuffs again.

"Let me out."

"You know I can't do that."

"You said you'd help me."

"I did. I will."

"But you can't help me unless I talk to you."

"True."

"How can I trust you, doctor, when you obviously don't trust me? Please, let me out and let's talk face to face. I won't hurt you, I promise."

Dom thinks about it. Release a patient he knows is violent? Foolish, not to mention dangerous. But he wants to help Matt, he really does and this might be the only way. If he refuses the patient might stop talking again and then they'll be back to square one. Dom stands and unfastens the leg restraints. He half expects Matt to lash out once his legs are free but the patient just lies there. Dom frees his hands and steps back, ready to run if he has to. But Matt doesn't attack. He sits up and rests his back against the wall, rubbing his wrists.

"Better?"

"Much better. Thank you."

Dom goes to sit again but then they hear voices outside and they both recognise the loud, self-important tones of Christopher Wolstenholme. Matt's been restrained for months but he moves with a strength and speed the doctor would have thought impossible if he wasn't seeing it with his own eyes. The patient scoots off the bed and picks up the glass. He smashes it against the bedframe, grabs Dom by the hair and puts the jagged edge against Dom's throat.

The door swings open to reveal Wolstenholme, flanked by two orderlies. His lip still shows the marks of Matt's attack and Matt takes a certain bitter satisfaction in that. He glares at the prosecutor.

"Back! Get the fuck back!"

Wolstenholme holds up his hands in a placatory gesture.

"Calm down, Bellamy. Let him go."

"Get back, or I swear to God I'll cut his throat."

"I don't believe you, you won't hurt him."

"No? Read my file, better yet, take a look in the mirror and remember what happened the last time you were here. Psychos like me love hurting things. I'll kill this bastard right in front of you without thinking twice about it."

Matt smiles and increases the pressure until a tiny bead of blood trickles down the doctor's throat.

"His blood will spray all over your face and it'll be so beautiful..."

Wolstenholme backs out and Matt marches Dom out of the room. Dom doesn't dare open his mouth to try and reason with the patient. Matt backs down the hall, keeping a careful eye on the prosecutor all the way. They reach the open area by the nurses' station. Another patient is being escorted back to his room. He sees Matt and starts to scream.

"Scary man! Scary man! Scary man!"

Matt bares his teeth at him and the other patient wets himself. He pulls away from his orderly and runs down one of the other hallways, crying and screaming about the scary man. Matt whispers in Dom's ear.

"Guide me out."

Dom does and they move out of the secure unit and down through the other floors of the hospital. They cause a stir everywhere they go. Patients scream and run when they see Matt and that's good. He can't lose Wolstenholme and the orderlies with him but all the others have their hands full, no chance of anyone sneaking up on him. They reach the door and Matt shoves it open with his back. He lets go of the doctor's hair, reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wallet. He sticks it in the waistband of his own trousers. Then he grabs the doctor's hair again and whispers in his ear.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

The glass slices though the doctor's neck. Blood sprays the floor and Dom collapses as Matt lets go of his hair. Matt turns and runs

...to

...the

...bathroom

and falls on his knees in front of the toilet. His stomach lurches again but nothing comes out. He dry heaves a couple of times and collapses on the floor beside the toilet. The cold floor feels good against his face. He pulls himself into a sitting postion as his stomach settles. At least his headache - the agony that sent him to bed before the sun had gone down - has blown away. Dom came up to check on him at closing time. He wanted to cancel the after hours poker game and stay with Matt. But Matt wanted to be alone.

The space beside him was still empty when he ran to the bathroom, Dom still downstairs, maybe playing poker, maybe just cleaning up after the game. Matt stands, runs water into the sink and splashes his face. He grabs a towel and dries off. He turns to leave ... then turns and looks at the mirror over the sink. Something's not right but he can't quite put his finger on it. Then he sees it: his movements don't quite match up with his reflection. He waves a hand in front of his face and, a fraction of a second later, his reflection does the same.

Matt blinks.

His reflection doesn't.

What the fuck is going on?

The mirrorman is smiling now. Matt isn't smiling. The mirrorman's hands shoot out of the mirror and grab Matt by the throat...

The bathroom door opens and Dom stumbles in.

"There you are!" He frowns. "What's wrong, still sick?"

"No, my reflection...."

Matt doesn't know how to finish that sentence. He looks at the mirror again and Dom slips an arm around his waist.

"Oh yeah, you're fucking hideous. I'm surprised your mother didn't sell you to the circus."

Matt waves a hand in front of his face again. Nothing wrong with his reflection now. Maybe there never was. Dom rubs his neck.

"Did something happen?"

"Yes ... no ... I don't know. Forget it."

He goes back to the bedroom and Dom follows him in.

"Tell me what happened, Matt."

Matt tell him and it sounds even more insane out loud. Dom sits on the bed, thinking.

"I think we should take you to the hospital and let them run some tests."

"I don't need a hospital. There's nothing wrong with me."

"No? You fainted your first night here, now you're having headaches and hallucinations."

"No hospitals!"

Dom gets up and starts pacing around the room.

"Chris thinks I should get rid of you."

"Why?"

"He says there's something not quite right about you. He thinks you might be dangerous."

"What do you think?"

"I don't think you're dangerous. But I'm worried about you and I know you're hiding things from me."

"I'm not hiding anything."

"You are. You know it, I know it. I'm not angry, I just wish you'd trust me."

Matt takes a deep breath.

"I do trust you, Dom. I don't mean to keep you in the dark."

"Then why do you?"

"I'm scared."

"Scared of what?"

"I don't know who I am."

"What?"

"I can't remember my past. I know my name, I know I can play piano and I know all the little personal details, my likes and dislikes, all that stuff. But I don't remember my parents, or growing up, or even how I got here. I knew it all that first night, I did, but it's all gone now. It just faded away."

"What's the last thing you do remember?"

"Standing at the crossroads and flipping a coin."

"Do you have anything in your wallet that might help, something with an address?"

"I don't have a wallet. I had some money in the front pocket of my jeans but no wallet, no keys, nothing like that."

"You don't have anything else that might help?"

Matt thinks about it.

"There is one thing."

He goes downstairs, finds the jacket he was wearing that night and brings it to the bedroom. He reaches into the inside pocket and pulls something out, offering it to Dom.

"I have this."

A ring rests on Matt's palm. Dom takes it and examines it. It's a gold ring with a black stone. Dom touches the small, golden eye in the middle of the stone.

"Is it yours, do you think?"

Matt takes the ring back and puts it on the middle finger of his right hand. It's a perfect fit.

"What does it mean?"

Matt rubs

...his

...left

...thumb

over the eye in his ring. The minister stamps around Matthew's office.

"Why haven't you broken him yet?"

"I will. These things take time."

"No, you're being too soft."

Matthew laughs, a rare thing indeed.

"I have been called many things, Christopher, but 'soft' is not one of them."

"You need to push harder."

"If I do that I'll kill him. But if that's what you want, just say the word."

"What?"

"Do you want a quiet, backdoor execution? If that's all you want, I can do that right now. You can come down to his cell with me and I'll open his throat while you watch. It will take me all of five seconds."

The minster's hands clench into fists.

"I want a confession."

"You'll get one."

"When?"

"When he breaks."

The minster swears and storms out of Matthew's office. Matthew looks down at his hands. They're shaking again. He stares at them and they still. This is something new. Headaches, night sweats and now shaking hands. It really is very strange. Matthew looks at his ring, then takes it off and lays it on the desk. He pulls Howard's ring from his pocket and places it beside his own. Another gold ring, but this one has a red stone and a tiny gold hand where Matthew's has an eye.

The Eye and the Hand, secret police and ruling council. The Eye sees everything. The Hand never lets go.

Matthew plays with Howard's ring and thinks about the Deputy - the former Deputy. The minister's threats don't bother him at all. But why is he interfering like this? Confessions take time, some prisoners can hold out for months and the minister's never complained before. And, come to think of it, why would a man like Howard, a man so devoted to his job he probably quoted the Law in his sleep, turn traitor?

Did he turn traitor? He doesn't act like a guilty man. Could he be innocent? Could the Eye be wrong?

Matthew tries to push all these questions out of his head. When he looks down at his hands they're shaking again.




hannah_chapter1: (Dunecat)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part III
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: 18/NC-17
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.
Warning: Violent and disturbing scenes ahead.



Matt closes his eyes and turns his face away. Doctor Howard is sitting in the chair by his bed and Matt wishes he would take the hint and leave. But he won't come right out and say it, no, he won't tell the doctor anything. He's had enough. Talking doesn't help him so he's taken a vow of silence. He hasn't said a word since that awful day in the doctor's office and that was almost two weeks ago. But the other man just won't leave him alone.

"Matthew."

Matt says nothing.

"Talk to me, Matthew."

Matt goes right on ignoring him.

"I can't help you if you won't talk to me."

You can't help me, Matt thinks but does not say. The doctor, with his glasses and degrees, which have been so carefully framed and hung on the walls of his office, can't open his mind to the truth. There is no help to be found here.

"Burying your head in the sand won't make your problems go away, you know. Do you think I'll give up if you ignore me for long enough? Well, it's not going to happen. I won't quit and

....I

...close

...my

eyes and I drift away

Into the magic night I softly say

A silent prayer, like dreamers do

Then I fall asleep to dream

My dreams of you.

The voice of Roy Orbison fills the kitchen and Matt sings along as he sweeps the kitchen floor. Dom reaches around him and picks his car keys off the table. Matt doesn't miss a beat: he keeps on singing, keeps on sweeping. He hears the outer door open and close and the sound of the car starting up. It's Dom's turn to go to the market. They've only known each other for a few weeks but they quickly fell into a routine, comfortable as any married couple. Matt has never slept in the spare room down the hall. He hasn't had any more fainting spells but they've played it safe and stayed away from the pool table, just in case.

The kitchen door opens again and Matt turns around.

"Did you forget someth..."

He trails off, suddenly unsure of himself. It's not Dom. The man standing at the door is big and broad. Matt puts the broom aside and turns off the radio.

The man steps out of the doorway and holds out a hand.

"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you. I'm Chris, I own this place."

Matt shakes his hand. "You're the big boss man?"

"Guilty as charged. And you're the new piano player."

"That's me."

Chris pulls out a chair and sits down. "I'll come by some night, I'd like to hear you."

"I'm not that good."

"That's not what Dom said."

"Dom is too kind. What else did he say?"

"He said you're amazing in bed."

Matt's eyes almost pop right out of his head and Chris laughs.

"It was a joke. But you are sleeping together, right?"

"How did you know?"

"It's obvious to anyone who's looking. Dom's whole face lights up when he talks about you. And he doesn't give his shirts to just anybody."

Matt looks down at himself. "Yeah, well, I didn't have much when I got here."

"Where did you come from?"

"Nowhere in particular."

"So you're a drifter."

"You could say that."

"What brought you here? Why did you come to Missing Mile?"

"I got to that crossroads a couple of miles down the road and I flipped a coin."

"Interesting."

"What is?"

Chris laces his hands behind his head. "Oh, just the way a small action can have big consequences. One tiny thing can change your life forever, make it better or ruin it."

"I never really thought about it."

"Maybe you should."

Chris gets up and walks into the main bar. Matt watches him go

...and

...he

...stands

and salutes the other man.

"Commander Bellamy."

"Minister."

"Let's drop the formalities, Matthew, we're all friends here. Call me Christopher."

"As you wish."

Matthew sits behind his desk and looks at Christopher expectantly.

"You arrested Deputy Howard last  night."

"I did."

Christopher makes a tutting sound. "A terrible thing, when one of our own is found to be false. And such a high-ranking member, too. Why, he's the first finger of the Hand!"

"He was the first finger."

"Well, quite. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how serious this is. We must make an example of him. All traitors must be seen to pay the price."

"I'll take care of it. I'll handle this one myself, from start to finish."

"I know you will. I would expect nothing less from you."

The minister stands. "You really are the perfect soldier, aren't you, Matthew? Your record is spotless and you never question your orders. You must see the world in black and white, no shades of grey for you."

"I do my duty, if that's what you mean."

"Of course you do, which is why I have so much faith in you. I know you'll do what must be done."

Christopher leaves and Matthew drums his fingers on the desk for a moment. Then he presses a button and two men enter the office. These are Matthew's most trusted aides, he knows they will do whatever he asks of them and ask no questions.

"Bring Howard to the white room. I'll meet you there."

They bow and leave. Matthew goes into the small bathroom to the left of his desk and washes his hands. He always cleans them just before a session. Then he picks up his bag and goes down to the white room. The room is cold and empty and Matthew's footsteps sound very loud as he walks on the tiles. The walls are tiled as well and there is a drain in the middle of the floor. A hook dangles from the ceiling directly above it.

The door opens and Matthew's men drag the prisoner in. His hands are cuffed in front of him and he's still wearing his pyjamas. They drop him at Matthew's feet and stand back. Matthew kneels and looks Howard in the eye.

"Did you sleep well? I hope so. You've got a big day ahead of you."

Howard spits in Matthew's face. Matthew wipes it off, unconcerned.

Howard's voice is hoarse. "Do you think you can get away with this, Commander? You can't. When I get out of here I'll have your head for this."

"Oh, I don't think. I'm too stupid to think, remember? I'm just a thug. The clockwork thug, isn't that what you and your friends call me behind my back? Wind me up and watch me go."

Matthew sits on the floor, it's more comfortable. "The key in my back has been twisted all the way and I'm just raring to go. But I always like to take a moment and explain the procedure first. Extracting information takes time and we must go through several levels to reach our goal. In the first level, which is where we are now, you'll deny everything. When we reach the second you'll talk, but everything you say will be a lie. An amateur might stop at the third level, because that's when you'll tell lies that sound like they could be true. But not me, I'll press on to the fourth and final level, the one where you break and tell me what I want to know."

"What makes you think I'll tell you a damn thing? If I'm dead either way, why should I talk at all?"

Matthew smiles. "Spoken like a man who still has all the flesh on his back. I'll soon fix that."

He stands and snaps his fingers. His men grab the prisoner and suspend him from the hook in the ceiling. Then they rip his pyjamas off. Matthew removes his jacket and tie, handing them to one of his aides, and rolls up his sleeves. He opens his bag, takes out a bullwhip and uncoils it.

"We'll start with ten, a nice, round number."

Matthew cocks his arm back and begins. The whip cracks, the sound bouncing off the walls. On the fifth stroke the blood begins to flow and drip down the drain but Howard doesn't scream. He takes the flogging in silence. They get to ten and Matthew stops. He admires his handiwork, then drops the whip.

"Cut him down, clean him up."

He turns his back on the prisoner and he

...presses

...his

...fingers

against his temples. All this shouting is giving him a headache. He knew Mandy would be upset about the glass. If she had come home alone she would have shouted at him for a bit and then it would have been forgotten. But she brought her brother with her and that's how the trouble started. Chris has never liked Matt and he takes every opportunity to insult and belittle him.

"It's just a glass!"

"Just a glass? Just a glass? That's just about what I'd expect from you. I thought you might be a bit more careful with my sister's things when she's letting you live in her house, but obviously I was wrong."

"She doesn't let me live here, I pay half the rent. It's our house."

"No it isn't and it never will be. It belonged to our parents and now it's hers. You're just a lodger, that's what you are."

"Do me a favour, Chris, and fuck off. Mind your own business. Leave me alone."

"This is my business. Mandy's my little sister and I hate to see her waste herself on someone like you."

Mandy's just standing there, saying nothing and Matt's had enough. He grabs his jacket and puts it on.

"Fuck you both. I'm going for a walk."

He goes out the back door, ignoring Mandy as she tells him to come back. Now she speaks up. Matt shoves his hands into his pockets and walks, head down, temples throbbing, he doesn't even know where he's going, his mind is too full of murderous scenarios. He's not a violent man, never has been. But he feels so very raw and ragged and he can see himself doing it. God help him, but it would feel so good to bash Chris's brain in and shut the interfering bastard up for good. Then he'd do her, he could just wrap his hands around her throat and squeeze and squeeze and then it would be done. Peace at last, nobody to nag him or tell him what to do. He could finally do things his way, all his way, his his his...

Matt snaps his head up, suddenly afraid. Where did all that come from? That sick and murderous voice chanting away in the middle of his brain, that's not him. He could never do such awful things, he's sure of that. Matt looks around; he has wandered all the way into town. He turns and hurries back the way he came. Fuck the voice in his head, he'll go home and apologise to Mandy, yes, and even to Chris. He'll make this right.

He's almost at the house when a wave of dizziness washes over him. The ground rushes up to meet him and he just knows he's going to hurt himself. A fractured skull isn't out of the question, not with the way his day's been going. But then he feels an arm snake around his chest, arresting his descent and hears his neighbour's voice.

"It's okay, I've got you."

Matt

...can't

...believe

...what

he's seeing.

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.>

Dom lies on the kitchen floor, his clothes torn, his blond hair dark with blood. Matt kneels beside him and Dom looks at him with his one remaining eye. But there's no recognition in his battered face. Dom's beyond such things now. There are no lasts words, words of love or of condemnation, just a series of choking sounds as Dom fights for breath. He soon loses the battle. His body spasms one last time and then stills.

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.>

Matt kneels beside the corpse until the front door is kicked in. Men pour into the kitchen, pull him to his feet and take the bloody hammer out of his hand. Really, there's no need for any of this. He knows he could explain this, if only he could get the image of Dom at the window out of his head.

<Dom looked out the window. "It's such a lovely day," he said.>


They shove Matt into the back of a police car and bring him to the station. They scrape blood and scraps of skin from under his fingernails. They take pictures of the scratches on his face and take his ruined cothes away. He's allowed to shower and they give him a cheap tracksuit that's two sizes too big. Then he's dumped in a small room that stinks of disinfectant. He sits in the chair, which has been bolted to the floor. Matt looks up as a tall man enters the room.

"Matthew Bellamy?"

"That's me."

"I'm Inspector Wolstenholme. You are under arrest for the murder of Dominic James Howard."

Matt wants to talk to the inspector and make him understand how it was but

...he

...can't

...move

his arms, he's been tied to the headboard. Dom leans over him with a gun in his hand.

"You always were a heavy sleeper, Matt."

Matt opens his mouth to call for help and Dom clamps a hand over it.

"Shh, no need for that. I'm not here to hurt you. But I'll kill the first man who steps through that door."

He takes his hand away and Matt glares at him.

"Just like you killed Tom and Morgan?"

Dom shrugs. "They were following me, I couldn't have them leading you to me."

"Morgan had a family, you know."

"Everyone's got a family, Matt. But shit happens, especially in wartime."

"So now you're a killer as well as a traitor."

"Change the record, sweetheart, that song's getting old."

"But I like that song, I think I'll sing it all night. Traitor, traitor, traitor-"

"Stop it, alright? Just stop it."

"Tell me something, Dom, did you ever believe in my cause?"

"I believed in you. I still do."

"But that didn't stop you betraying me."

"Call it betrayal if you like. I call it doing what I had to. You still don't get it, do you? The Eye always knew where you were, Matt. They could have picked you up anytime they felt like it. I had a choice: I could sabotage your operations so you wouldn't be a threat to them, or I could let you succeed and watch them take you."

"If that's true, why am I still here? You're not around to fuck things up anymore, so why am I still free?"

"I'm keeping you safe. I'm covering your tracks and I'm feeding them false information. But I can't do this forever." He puts the gun on the floor and runs his hands through his hair. "They'll kill me if they find out what I'm really up to and you'll kill me for betraying you. There's no way out for me."

"Poor baby."

"Your concern is touching."

"What do you want, Dom?"

"I want you to come with me. Forget this war, forget the whole damn thing. Come with me, Matt, before it's too late."

"No."

"They'll get you."

"I don't think so. Even if they do, so what? I'm not afraid to die."

"Who said anything about dying? They won't kill you, Matt. I thought they would at first but I know better now. You'd be more dangerous dead than you ever could be alive. People would flock to your cause, your picture would be everywhere. The last thing they want is a martyr. No, they've got something else in mind for you."

"What?"

"I'm not sure yet. But whatever it is, it won't be pleasant. I'll ask you one last time. Please come with me."

"No."

Dom punches the mattress and Matt smirks up at him.

"Did you really think I'd go with you?"

"No, I knew you wouldn't."

"Then why did you come here?"

Dom leans down and kisses him.

"You're going to rape me now, is that it?"

Dom shakes his head and kisses him again. His hand drifts down and cups the bulge in Matt's underwear. Matt moans and bucks up into the other man's hand. Dom nips at Matt's earlobe, which has always been one of his more sensitive spots.

"I miss you," he murmurs, "don't you miss me?"

"Of course I do. That doesn't change anything. You know I'll kill you."

"I know you'll try. But let's just say you're right and I'm a dead man walking. Isn't a condemned man entitled to one last request?"

"He is."

Dom reaches up and tugs at the rope around Matt's hands.

"Then this is mine. Kill me tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that. But fuck me tonight."

As soon as his hands are free Matt sits up and grabs Dom by the shoulders. He growls, throws the other man onto the mattress and straddles him. He rips open his lover's shirt and runs greedy hands over his chest and stomach. Moving lower, he undoes Dom's button and zip. Dom raises his hips and lets Matt strip him. He pulls his shirt off, lies down and spreads his legs in invitation. Matt crawls back up his body, shoves his fingers into Dom's mouth and Dom licks and sucks at them greedily. Matt pulls his hand away, reaches down and shoves his finger into Dom, not taking the time to be gentle, they're both already too far gone for that. Dom whimpers and bites his lip as Matt pushes a second finger inside him and stretches his hole. He grabs Matt's wrist and tugs until he gets the message.

Matt pulls his fingers out, climbs off Dom and gets rid of his underwear. Spitting into the palm of his hand, Matt prepares himself. He grabs Dom's hips, pulls him to the edge of the mattress and enters him, sliding all the way in on the first thrust. Dom's nails dig into Matt's back, tearing the skin, drawing blood as they move together. Matt responds in kind, biting Dom's throat, collarbone, shoulder, anywhere he can reach. His thrusts become faster and rougher as he begins to lose control. He might be hurting Dom but if he is Dom's not complaining and, when he looks in Dom's eyes he sees them glazing over and knows his lover's almost there. Matt's right on the edge himself so he lowers his head and takes Dom's mouth again. They come togther, biting at each other's lips. Matt pulls out, falls forward and Dom catches him and holds him close.

"Stay with me," Matt's trying to stay awake and failing miserably, "I need you, Dom. Stay with me."

Dom snorts. "What, and have you blow my brains out when you come to your senses? I don't think so. I'll stay for a little while. But I'll be gone when you wake up."

Dom is as good as his word. When Matt opens his eyes again he is alone - but there is a piece of paper on his chest. He unfolds it and reads the message:

Matt,

Who ever said there was only one traitor?
You need to open your eyes before it's too late.
Dom


Matt tears up the note and

...turns

...his

...head

towards the door of his room. He can hear voices in the hall, raised voices. One is unfamiliar but the other belongs to his favourite psychiatrist.

"Really, Mr. Wolstenholme, I must protest!"

"Protest all you want but you can't stop me."

The door flies open and a man in a suit comes in. Doctor Howard trails after him. The stranger, Wolstenholme or whatever his name is, looks down at Matt and switches his briefcase from one hand to the other.

"So this is the famous Matthew Bellamy."

"That's him."

"He doesn't look like much."

"Appearances can be deceptive."

"And he's mentally ill, unfit to stand trial."

"Yes."

"Are you sure about that, Doctor?"

"No, I just wrote those reports for fun and I stamped the word DANGEROUS on them in red ink because I like the colour."

"Sarcasm doesn't become you, Doctor Howard."

"I'm sorry, I get a little uptight when prosecutors barge into my office and demand access to my patients."

"I didn't mean to upset you. I just wanted to see him and make sure he really is unfit to stand trial."

"Trust me, he is."

"Is he always restrained?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"We can't trust him. His first week here, he attacked three orderlies. One man need eight stitches in his face, one of the others almost lost an eye. And he frightens the other patients. They won't stay in the same room as him, not even for a minute."

"So you keep him isolated."

"We have to."

"Do you? Maybe he's faking."

"Then he deserves an Oscar because he's got everyone in here fooled."

"I want to bring in another doctor to examine him. I want a second opinion."

"You want a second opinion, get a second opinion. A third, a fourth, a fifth, as many as you like. But you won't get the answer you want."

"We'll see."

The prosecutor bends over Matt.

"I wouldn't do that, Mr. Wolstenholme. I really wouldn't."

Wolstenholme ignores the warning, leans in and whispers in Matt's ear.

"You can't hide."

He sees the danger too late. Quick as a striking snake, Matt whips his head around and sinks his teeth into the other man's lip, biting deep. The prosecutor screams and the doctor tries and fails to separate them. He runs out of the rooms and comes back with three orderlies. It takes the combined efforts of all four of them to free Wolstenholme. The prosecutor staggers back, blood pouring from his lip. His hands clench into fists.

"I'll see you in court for this, Howard."

"Will you, now? I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to hear you tell a judge about how you ignored all my warnings and almost got your face bitten off by a mental patient. I think you should leave, Mr. Wolstenholme."

The orderlies lead him out and Matt hears the doctor telling them to bring him to the nurse's station and have someone take a look at his lip. The doctor follows them out and returns with a napkin and a cup of water.

"Can you hear me, Matthew? You don't have to talk if you don't want to, just nod or shake you head."

Matt stares at him, then nods.

"Will you let me clean you up?"

A pause, then he nods again.

"You won't attack me?"

Matt shakes his head so the doctor walks over to his bed. He dips the napkin in the water and cleans Matt's face, wiping away the blood and spit. He takes to his patient while he works.

"We haven't seen the last of him. His type never quits. But I think he'll leave you alone for at least a week, maybe even two. You really gave him something to think about, didn't you?"

Matthew's mouth moves but the doctor can't hear him. Even though he knows how dangerous this is - he was just treated to a graphic display of what such reckless behaviour can lead to, after all - he bends over his patient until his ear is almost touching Matt's lips. But Matt doesn't attack, he just whispers four words:

"Save me from him."
hannah_chapter1: (Invasion)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part II
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.



Matt is lying on his stomach, head pounding, ears ringing. A bomb must have gone off somewhere nearby. What perfect timing. He shakes his head, trying to clear it. The gun is on the ground beside him, he must have dropped it when he fell. Reaching for it, he cries out when a hand stamps on his fingers, pinning them. Dom picks up the gun and steps back, releasing Matt's hand. Matt gets to his feet and laughs bitterly.

"I should have known you were too good to be true. I have to say, I never thought it would end like this, betrayed and murdered by the man I love."

"Stop saying that! I never betrayed you!"

"No? If you betray my people you betray me."

"If you'd just let me explain - "

"I don't want to hear your lies, Dom. Come on, let's get this over with."

Dom doesn't move and Matt grows impatient.

"What are you waiting for? Here, I'll make it easy for you."

Matt turns his back on Dom and stands with his hands pressed against the wall.

"If you had a knife you could stab me in the back, like a traitor should. But a bullet will do just as well."

Dom growls and spins Matt, pinning him to the wall and shoving the gun under his chin. Then his expression softens and he leans in, kissing Matt gently. Matt doesn't respond and, when Dom persists, Matt bites the other man's lip, drawing blood. Dom curses and raises the gun. It smashes into Matt's temple. Pain

....flares

....in

....Matt's

head and neck. And, as if that wasn't enough, he's freezing. Naked and lying on a pool table, what else does he expect? He hears one side of a frantic conversation, the sound of a phone being slammed down and then Dom is standing over him. The other man has pulled his jeans up but is still shirtless. Dom sees Matt stirring and his expression changes, going from worried to relieved.

"How do you feel?"

Matt peels himself off the pool table. "My head hurts. What happened?"

"You screamed and then you fainted. I thought you'd dropped dead on me."

"You're good, but you're not that good."

Matt searches for his jeans and underwear.

"I called a doctor."

"I don't need a doctor, so call him back and tell him not to bother."

"Too late. He's on his way and he never answers the phone when he's driving. Please Matt, let him look at you, don't drag him out here for nothing."

Matt's not happy but he agrees. They are both clean and dressed when they hear a knock on the door. Dom lets the doctor in and explains the situation. The doctor examines Matt, doing all the usual doctor stuff - taking blood pressure, shining a light in his eyes, checking his breathing - and finds nothing wrong. Nothing obviously wrong, at any rate. He asks if anything like this has ever happened before and Matt says no. He asks Matt to come to a hospital for tests. Matt refuses. They argue but Matt will not be swayed this time. The doctor leaves and Dom sees him to the door. Matt is staring at the wall when Dom returns. He pulls the smaller man to his feet.

"Where are we going?"

"Bed, where else would we be going at this time of night?"

Matt allows himself to be lead upstairs. Dom points at a door at the end of the hall.

"You can sleep in there, or you can sleep with me, whatever you want."

It's not a difficult decision, Matt doesn't want to be alone tonight.

"I'll stay with you."

They go to bed and lie together in the dark.

"Why won't you let the doctor run tests?"

"I don't like hospitals."

"Why did you lie to him?"

"I didn't lie."

"Yes you did, when he asked you if anything like this had happened before, you lied then."

"No, it wasn't really a lie. I've never fainted like that before."

"But something else happened."

"Yes, maybe, I don't know." Matt stops for a minute, trying to think of a way to put it into words. "Sometimes I look in the mirror and it's not me. Well, it's me, obviously, but it's not me. Does that make any sense?"

"No. It sounds insane. I think I'm sharing my bed with a crazy person."

"Are you scared? Afraid I might smother you in your sleep?"

"No, I'm not afraid of you. Madness must be catching because this feels right to me. When I saw you tonight it felt like, I don't know, like I'd found something I didn't even know I'd lost. That's insane, isn't it?"

"No, it actually makes sense, in an insane kind of way."

They laugh together and Dom

....reaches

....into

....his

cabinet and pulls out a file. He turns to face Matthew as the orderlies remove the mouth restraint. He dismisses them, sits behind his desk and smiles at his patient.

"How are we today, Matthew?"

"That's Dr. Lecter to you."

"I'm sorry, but the mouth restraint is a necessary evil. You have been known to bite."

"I wouldn't bite you, Dom," Matt winks. "Unless, of course, you wanted me to."

Doctor Howard blushes and changes the subject. "How do you know my name?"

Matt gives him a withering look. "It's on your name tag, Doctor Howard."

"My first name isn't on the tag. How did you know my name is Dom?"

The patient raises his shoulders slightly, which is the closest a man in a straitjacket can get to a shrug. "I heard it somewhere. Is that all you wanted to ask me? Did I put on my best jacket for nothing?"

"Once again, I am sorry, but it's for the best."

"I don't mind. Actually, I kind of like it. I feel like I'm giving myself a cuddle. Better than being chained to the bed. Someone really needs to do something about the damp patch on my ceiling."

The doctor pours himself a glass of water and opens the file in front of him. "I thought we could talk about these other worlds of yours today."

"Why? You don't believe in them."

"Let's just say I'm curious. Now, you've told me you move in and out of other worlds and other versions of yourself. How does that work, exactly?"

Matt doesn't answer but the doctor presses on. "Do you possess them? Merge with them? Do they know about it? What happens to your body here when you're in another world? Can these other versions of you move into other worlds or is it just you?"

"You're the one with the fancy degrees on his wall, you work it out."

"What's the matter, Matthew? Don't feel like talking today?"

"Not about that, not today. Let's change the subject."

"As you wish."

Howard pulls pictures out of the file and Matt rolls his eyes.

"Not the dead people again. Why do you show those to me?"

"No, Matthew, these are not just dead people. They are your victims, these are the people you hurt." Howard holds up one picture. "Do you remember this one? Your girlfriend, Amanda. She was your first but she wasn't your last, was she?"

"No! It wasn't me, I keep telling you that! I didn't do it, I didn't do any of it! He set me up! He was working for them the whole time!"

"Who was?"

"Him, the man next door."

"There was no man next door, Matthew. That house was empty and had been for months."

Matt stares at the doctor.

<We're coming for you, Matthew.>

Matt looks around wildly, searching for the source of that voice.

"What's the matter, Matthew?"

"Didn't you hear that?"

<The Eye sees everything, Matthew.>

"Hear what?"

<The Hand never lets go.>

"That voice, just now."

"I didn't hear anything."

<Time is running out, Matthew.>

"Are you deaf or just stupid? It's them, they're coming for me! I have to get out of here! I have to get away before they find me!"

"Calm down Matthew, before you hurt yourself."

But Matt can't be stopped. He lunges forward, falling out of his chair and hitting his head on the edge of the desk. Doctor Howard stands quickly, knocking over his water glass. Water drips on the floor and

....the

....glass

....falls

and smashes on the kitchen floor. Matt swears under his breath. That glass was part of a set, Mandy's going to kill him when she gets home. He bends to pick up the pieces and yelps when a shard pierces his thumb. He goes up to the bathroom, cleans the cut and puts a sticking plaster on it. Then he goes back down and cleans up, wrapping the broken pieces in an old newspaper and sticking it in the bin.

Matt goes into the living room and sits at the piano. His next student isn't due for an hour an a half, which gives him plenty of time to work on his own stuff. But he can't concentrate today. He plays a couple of notes and gives up, pacing restlessly around the room. What's wrong with him this week? He loves being on his own when Mandy is at work, loves the perfect peace of the empty house. But now he doesn't trust this place. What was once comforting is now threatening. His house is full of strange sounds, shadows, and he can't shake the feeling that someone is watching him. It feels like someone is standing just behind him, close enough to touch - but when he spins around, he is alone.

Looking out the window he can see Howard, cleaning his car again. All the man ever seems to do is wash his car. Matt's even seen him doing it on rainy days, power hose and everything. And he has the nerve to call Matt shiftless. Matt blinks, then rubs his eyes. His neighbour, well, he's changed. He's wearing a uniform and has a gun in his hand. Matt blinks again and the image, vision, whatever it was, has passed. The man outside is dressed in casual clothes and there's no gun in his hand, just a wet sponge. Matt turns away from the window and

....looks

....at

....his

watch. It's three in the morning. He loves this time, it is his time. It is the hour of the secret police. He takes a keyring from his pocket and unlocks the cell door. He kneels and pulls the bag off the prisoner's head.

"Good morning Mr. Howard."

Dom squints up at him. They took him from his bed an hour ago, still in his pyjamas, as is their way.

"What's the meaning of this, Commander Bellamy? Why have you brought me here?"

"Use your head, man. Why do we bring anyone here? You, of all people, should know what happens in my department. This is where traitors come to be processed."

"I'm no traitor. I serve this State!"

"Your logic is flawed, I'm afraid. We do not bring innocent people here, only traitors. You are here, so you must be a traitor."

"Prove it. Show me the evidence."

"I show you nothing. I do not have to prove your guilt to you, only to the Hand. And I can and I will, you can be sure of that. We do not make baseless accusations. We only move against people we know are false. We are very, very good at it. Nothing escapes our attention. The Eye sees everything. The Eye is never wrong."

"You can't do this to me. I am the Deputy!"

"You were the Deputy. Dead men have no titles. No exceptions, none. You know the Law - you wrote it."

Matthew leans down until their noses are almost touching.

"Your life, everything you had, that's all gone. You're in my world now. I will break you down, I will hear you confess and, when the Hand passes sentence, I will throw a rope around your neck. Then I will do it to the next traitor, and the one after that. I will not stop until every last threat to this great State is gone."

Matthew leaves the cell, locking the door behind him. He

....feels

....a

....hand

on his shoulder, shaking him awake. He opens his eyes, wincing at the pain in his head.

"Chris?"

"Yeah, it's me. I've been searching for you all night. Where are the others?"

"Dead."

"Shit. All of them?"

"Yes."

"Even Dom?"

Matt pulls himself up, using the larger man's body for support.

"I don't want to talk about that now. I just want to get out of here."

"Okay, I have a jeep outside."

Chris drives them back to the old factory that's been serving as their headquarters. Soldiers salute as Matt passes by and stare at the blood on his face. He returns their salutes absently as he walks to his room with Chris trailing behind. Matt cleans the wound, washing away the blood and dabbing iodine on the cut. He can't let it get infected.

"We have to leave this place, Chris."

"Why?"

"It's not safe, we had a rat in our group."

"Who?"

"Dom."

"I don't believe it."

"It's true, I wish to God it wasn't."

"But you, you and him..."

"Yes, me and him. I loved him and I let him into my bed, into my heart, and he betrayed me, he betrayed all of us."

"Is he still out there?"

"Yeah, fucker got the upper hand." Matt touches the cut on his head. "But I'll find him and I'll cut the lying, cheating heart right out of his chest."

"Whatever you say, Matt, you know I'll follow you anywhere."

Matt smiles. "I know. You're a good man, Chris. With you behind me, I know we'll win this war. We will blind the Eye."
hannah_chapter1: (Invasion)
Title: Same As It Ever Was Part I
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: 18/NC-17
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.


And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself - Well...How did I get here?


Talking Heads - "Once in a Lifetime"


Matt opens his eyes, not sure where he is at first. He's been having those dreams again. Each one is different but, in some ways, they are all the same. The man in his dreams - who is he? Matt never sees his face but it's always the same man, he knows it, he can feel it. But what does it all mean? Matt rubs the sleep from his eyes and gets out of bed. Maybe he should go see someone about this, a psychiatrist or something.

He puts on his clothes and goes downstairs. Mandy is standing by the sink, finishing her coffee.

"You're up early. I didn't think you'd be up before nine, I would have made you something."

"It's fine, I'll do it myself. You off?"

"In a couple of minutes."

She puts her cup in the sink and grabs her handbag. She kisses his cheek on the way out.

"See you later."

He hears the front door open, then Mandy swearing and the click of her heels as she comes back to the kitchen.

"Something wrong?"

"Howard's parked his car across our drive again. Will you go talk to him, Matt? I can't deal with him, not this early in the morning."

Matt sighs. 8.30 in the morning and the day is already ruined. He should have stayed in bed, not that it would have helped. Mandy would have come up and dragged him out of it. He goes outside and bangs on his neighbour's door. It flies open and Matt comes face to face with a very irate Dom Howard. Dom sneers when he sees Matt.

"Bellamy. What the fuck do you want?"

"I want you to move your car,"

"Do what, now?"

"Are you deaf? Move your fucking car! Mandy needs to go to work."

"She has to go and make the money, since you're too lazy. Don't you think it's a bit much, expecting your girlfriend to support you while you spend all day sitting on your arse?"

"I told you before, I have a job. I teach piano and I work from home. Not that it's any business of yours."

"Oh yeah, that's right. Matthew Bellamy, the great musician, thinks he's better than the rest of us."

"Just move the car, will you?"

Matt turns back to his own house. Still looking over his shoulder at Dom, he walks right into his own bin. The bin falls over and Matt goes down on one knee. Dom starts clapping and

....Matt

.....can

....feel

himself blushing as Dom claps and cheers. He looks down at the piano for a second, pulling himself together.

"Stop it, I wasn't that good."

"Good? You were amazing! You should be in a fancy concert hall with an orchestra. Playing in a dump like this will be a waste of your talent."

"Does that mean I got the job?"

"It's not much of a job, but yeah, if you want it. Tell you what: there's a spare room upstairs, so you can have free bed and board, you help out behind the bar when we're busy, I'll pay extra for that and you keep any tips you get. Sound fair?"

"More that fair." Matt looks around. "Is all this yours?"

"Nah, I just run it. I drifted into town a few years ago, got hired by the owner, now I'm the manager. The big boss man stays at home and counts the money, I'm free to do things my way. Everyone's happy."

Matt looks up at him and Dom falls silent as blue eyes meet grey ones. The tension between them has been building all night, ever since Matt walked in, ordered a beer and asked about a job and Dom agreed to give him an audition after closing time. Now, as they look into each other's eyes, it finally boils over. Matt stands, kicks the piano stool to one side and then they're in each other's arms, mouths fused together, hands sliding under shirts. Matt cries out when Dom's lips leave his and begin to move down his throat. It's hard to form a coherent sentence when the other man is touching him like this, but he does his best.

"I think .... we should .... bedroom..."

Dom stops kissing him. "I have a better idea."

He grabs Matt's hand and leads him over to the pool table. Matt giggles.

"Are you serious?"

"I know it's weird, but I've always wanted to do it on a pool table."

"Kinky."

Dom pushes Matt onto the table and moves between his legs. "You complaining?"

Matt moans as their erections grind together. "Wouldn't dream of it."

They kiss again. And again. Dom pulls away and unbuttons his jeans. Matt follows suit, kicking off his shoes and pulling off his jeans and underwear. Dom, jeans and boxers around his ankles, moves between Matt's legs again. He's got a tube in his hand now.

"Where did that come from?"

"My pocket."

"You always carry lube around with you?"

"No, I got this out of the bathroom cabinet about an hour ago."

"How did you know you'd actually need it?"

"I didn't, I just hoped I would. It's always good to be prepared, don't you think?"

"Definitely."

Dom offers the tube to Matt. "Get yourself ready. I want to watch. I want to see those long fingers sliding inside you."

Matt is happy to oblige, taking the lube and smearing it over his fingers. He puts on a show, spreading his legs and moaning as he prepares himself. Dom likes what he sees, if the way he's stroking himself and licking his lips is any indication. Finally, Matt can take no more. He pulls his fingers out and lies back on the table.

"Please." Voice soaked with desire. "I need you inside me."

Dom graps the lube from the table where Matt dropped it and slicks up his cock. Matt bites his lip as Dom enters him and begins to move.. It's been so long and the other man feels so good inside him. But it's not perfect - not yet. In all the excitement, neither man thought to remove his shirt and that's what Matt wants: he wants to feel skin on skin. He pulls at the bottom of Dom's shirt until he gets the idea. Dom stills inside Matt as he pulls his shirt off in one fluid motion and Matt sits up to do the same. Lying back down on the pool table, Matt puts one hand on Dom's stomach, feeling the muscles there tighten and relax as the other man moves again. He strokes his cock with the other. Matt's back rubs against the felt of the pool table as Dom fucks him, the sensation unlike anything he's felt before. Dom thrusts faster, faster still - then  he cries out, nails digging into Matt's hips as he comes. Matt's almost there, he knows it - but then it all goes wrong. Matt screams as a monstrous bolt of pain rips through his head. The sound scares the shit out of Dom and he

....looks

....down

....at

his patient.

"How are we today, Matthew?"

"Tied to a bed, Doctor, same as yesterday."

Doctor Howard pushes his glasses up on his nose. "Yes, I am sorry about that."

"Then let me out."

"You know I can't."

"Of course you can. Just undo the little buckle here and - "

"It's not that simple Matthew, you know that. You're a danger to yourself and a danger to others. I can't take the risk."

"Oh, come on. I'm as sane as the next man. They put me in here. Are they paying you to keep me locked up?"

"Here we go again. What will it be today? More conspiracy theories? Or are you going to tell me about these other worlds, the other versions of you that your mind jumps into? Not very original, is it? Sounds a bit Quantum Leap to me."

"Don't you laugh at me."

"I'm not laughing at you, Matthew, of that you can be sure."

"Yes you are. But I'm telling the truth. I know it - and so do you."

"Truth? You want truth? Alright. The truth is, you're a very sick man. You've done terrible things, Matthew. Really terrible things. You need to forget about these other worlds and accept this one thing. That's the first step on the road to recovery."

"You are so full of shit, Doctor."

"Well, on that point we'll just have to agree to disagree. But I won't give up on you, Matthew. I know you can be well again, if you're really want it. But, for the time being, the restraints stay on. It's for the best, don't you think?"

The doctor walks away. He's almost at the door when Matt calls his name.

"Dom!"

Dom stops. How does the patient know that? How does he know his first name and that he prefers to be called Dom? Could he be telling the - no! Impossible. One of the orderlies must have told him, simple as that. Dom starts

....to

....say

....something

but Matt can't hear him over the roar of the guns. Things have gone to shit and they're the only two still alive. Dom grabs his arm and points. Matt gets the message. All the other escape routes are blocked. There's only one way to go and they run down the narrow street. They are seen, of course, and they hear shouts as the man chasing them get closer. Dom wheels around and fires blindly. They hear a scream as they pick up the pace.

The sounds behind them begin to fade and they're safe - for now. Taking refuge in a bombed out building, they spend the night in each others' arms, talking. They're too keyed up to sleep but can't quite summon the energy to do anything else. The sun finally rises. Dom stretches and gets up. Leaving his gun on the floor by Matt,  he goes to the window - well, the hole where the window used to be - and looks out.

"I think we're clear, Matt. We were lucky."

"Yes we were. But, then again, we always are."

"What are you getting at?"

"Don't you think it's strange, the way all our operations go to shit?"

"How is that lucky?"

"Well, like I said, every operation fails, we always lose men, someone always gets hurt. But I never do. You never do."

"Is there a point to all this?"

"Oh, there's a point alright. No plan is perfect, I'll give you that much, some are bound to fail. But when they all fail, something starts to smell bad, especially when two people always walk away without a scratch. One of them must be a traitor. I know it's not me - it has to be you."

"You can't be serious."

"Can't I?"

Dom backs away as Matt picks up his gun. "Matt, please, you don't want to do this."

"No, I don't. But I'm going to, just as soon as you confess."

"But I didn't do it!"

"Wrong answer." Matt shoots the floor by Dom's feet and the other man jumps back. "Tell me the truth and I'll make it quick. Lie and I'll blow your fingers and toes off first."

"Okay, okay, it was me! But I never betrayed you! Everything I did, it was all for you, it was the only way to keep you alive. But I had to give them something. Don't you think I would have saved the others if I could?"

Matt takes aim, planning to put the bullet right between his lover's eyes.

"Don't do this. Please. I love you."

"I love you too. This hurts me, more than you know. But I have to do this. A lot of men have died because of you, Dom. Good men, good friends. You have to answer for that."

Matt's finger tightens on the trigger but, before he can fire, the world explodes and he

....falls

....on

....his


side, right beside his bin.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, Bellamy?"

"Wrong?"

"Fucking hell, did your brain leak out when you fell? You've been kneeling like that for at least five minutes. And it's not the first time you've shut down like this."

Matt stares at him, he has no idea what's going on. But, for some reason, he's thinking about his dreams again. Was he just dreaming. Dreaming awake? Dom throws up his hands in disgust and goes back to move his car.

"You're losing it, Bellamy. You need to get help."

As Matt picks up the bin, he thinks the other man might actually be right about something for once.

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August 2016

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