hannah_chapter1: (Sparta)
Title: Shadows Part XII
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

"I talked to Billy again."

"How is he? How's business?"

"Both fine, far as I can tell. Hardy comes down almost every day, sits outside and stares at the bar. A dog waiting for his master to come home, Billy says."

"Poor Hardy."

"He talked to me."

"Hardy did?"



"The day you got taken. I couldn't believe it. He sounded so normal."

"I know. Sometimes he comes out of it and you see what's buried under all the crazy. It never lasts."

"It's not fair."

"No, but that's war."

Matt says something, I miss it.


"I asked you about my shirt."


"Yes, Dominic, my shirt. The one I was wearing when I was taken. Where is it?"

"Oh. I've got it."


"It smells like you. It helps me sleep."

I wait for him to laugh, but he doesn't.

"Can I have one of yours?"

"Of course. I'll sneak one into the next laundry bundle."


Frank slaps my shoulder.

"Get up. You're coming with us."


He holds up a gun.

"We need to make a withdrawal. If I had my way I'd leave you here. I know you don't have the stomach for this, not a weak little jizz rag like you. But your daddy wants you to go, and he's the boss."

I curse, break away from Frank and go to find my father. I find him in the kitchen, drinking beer, which is all he ever seems to do these days.

"What do you think you're doing?" I shout.

"We need money, Dominic, and the boys are getting restless. They need to have a little fun,"

He smirks and raises the bottle to his lips.

"But if you feel that strongly about it, I can think of other ways to occupy their time. A trip down to the cellar, how would that be?"

Bastard, oh, you bastard. I fight the urge to grab the bottle and break it over his head and try and make him see reason.

"This isn't us. this is not what we do. Any fool can point a gun, that's what you taught me. A real thief has brains and class. Bank jobs are beneath us."

"We've been over this, son. Things change. Desperate times call for desperate methods."

"Your last job was a bloodbath."

"This one will be different. You'll see to that. It's all on your shoulders, Dominic. Don't buckle under the weight."


Frank looks at the bank, then at all of us. He pulls up his neckcloth, masking his face, and we all follow his lead.

"Okay," he says, voice slightly muffled by the mask, "let's do it."

He thrusts a revolver at me.

"Here, try not to shoot yourself in the foot."

Oh, please. Please, please, please. I don't want to hurt anyone. Please, don't let me hurt anyone.

No customers in the bank, just staff. I guess that's something. One of the tellers is a woman. Stevie's face lights up and he takes a couple of eager steps. Over my dead body. I pull him back, ignoring his protests, and hustle the woman into a back office. She's babbling at me, begging me not to hurt her. The sound gets right under my skin.

"Shut up!" I scream into her face.

She falls to the floor, tears streaming down her face. I catch a glimpse of myself in the glass front of a bookcase: looming over a helpless woman, free hand raised as if to slap. I stumble back, sick and ashamed. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, but I shouldn't be here, I don't want to hurt anyone and I'm so scared...

I don't, can't say any of this and she lies at my feet, shoulders heaving, sobs muffled by the hands over her face. One of the others opens the door.

"We're done. Come on."

We spill out of the bank and into the car and Sal floors it. My gun and the hand holding it are wet with sweat. I pull my mask off and use it to wipe them dry. The car stops outside the house and Frank smiles at me.

"You're better at this than I thought you'd be."

I close my eyes.

God help me.


"Take it easy, Dom."

"I can't."

I'm pacing up and down outside Matt's door. I want to see him. If I could just see him for five seconds, it might be enough.

"This isn't me, Matt. This was never me," I close my eyes and see her, crying at my feet, "that poor girl, she thought she going to be raped."

"If you hadn't been there, she probably would have been. You saved her, Dom."

"I doubt she sees it like that."

"It doesn't matter. You can't stop your father, or his goons. All you can do is limit the damage."

"It's not enough, Matt."

"But it's better than nothing."

"I guess."

I sit with my back against the door, wrap my arms around myself and pretend it's Matt. Thin comfort, but better than none.


The house is empty. This can't be right, the house is never empty. I look in all the rooms, find nobody. I search the kitchen drawers, looking for something to use on Matt's locks. I find a couple of knives with thin blades and a chisel.

I go downstairs to Matt's room. I'm almost there when I see the half-open door and hear voices. Matt and my father.

"What do you want, Mr. Howard?"

"I wanted ..."

Daddy stumbling over his words. Half-drunk already, at two in the afternoon.

"I wanted you to know it's over. Dominic doesn't care about you. He doesn't love you."

"He doesn't?"

"No, he doesn't. He had a woman last night, what do you think of that?"

"I think you're lying," Matt's voice, halfway between amused and annoyed, "Dom and a woman? Spare me. Dom and another man, now that, at least, could happen. But it didn't, I know it didn't. I trust Dom, I know he loves me and I know he'd never cheat on me, or lie to me. But you, Mr. Howard? You could tell me the sky was blue and I'd still think you were lying."

"I fooled you once before."

"That you did. But only once, old man, only once. Never again."

They're quiet for awhile. I think about sneaking away, but stay right where I am. How will this play out? I have to know.

"What are you looking at?" Daddy asks.

"It's just strange, someone I hate looking so much like someone I love."

"Don't say that!"

"But it's true. I love your son, he loves me. There's nothing you can do to change that."

"I don't understand it, any of it. Dominic could have any woman he wants. Why did he settle for you? What's so special about a marked-up cripple like you? What happened to you, anyway?"

A dull smacking sound.

"Get your hands off me! You don't touch me there. Dom touches me there. That's his."

"Look at him, thinks he's a fighter. You want to fight me, cripple?"

"I'd love to. Put the gun away, old man, and fight me fair. I'll make you pay for what you're doing to Dom."

"I'm helping him."

"No. You're hurting him, forcing him back to his old ways. He's cracking under the strain, I hear it in his voice every time he comes down here. But I can't do anything about it because you've got me locked in this fucking room!"

"I'm saving him from you."

"He doesn't need saving. He's with me because he wants to be. I never forced him."

"It's not natural."

"Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. We don't much care."

"It can't last."

"It's lasted for ten years."

That shuts Daddy up.

"You know, I used to envy Dom. He would talk about you and I'd get jealous. His father loved him. His father cared. But now I know the truth. You were just like my old man, filling your son's head with shit. No, worse that my old man, because you made Dom like it."

I heat Matt shuffling around the room.

"I just have one last thing to say to you, Mr. Howard."

"And what would that be?"

"A word to the wise. If Dom gets hurt on one of your little adventures, if he gets so much as a cut on his finger, I'll kill you."

"Don't you threaten me, you crippled piece of shit."

"It's not a threat. It's a promise."

Daddy moves to the door and I look down at the blades in my hands. I could end this right now. One quick thrust and all our troubles would be over...

...I run and I don't stop until I reach my room. I open my hands and the knives and chisel land on the floor. I stand and stare at them for a long time.
hannah_chapter1: (Calm)
Title: Shadows Part XI
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

I sit in my little glass cage, phone pressed against my ear. The operator connects my call and Billy picks up on the fifth ring.

"Mr. Howard!", he sounds so happy to hear from me and I can hear people in the bar, laughing and asking Billy to pass on their good wishes. I close my eyes. God, I wish I was there and not here.

"Hi, Billy. You doing okay?"

"Yeah, we're real busy. When are you coming home?"

"I don't know, Billy, I just don't know. Did the supply truck show up?"


"You paid them?"

"Yeah, just like you said. I did the bank, too."

"See, you're doing great, I knew you would."

"There was one thing I wanted to ask you."


"Can I hire a couple of guys to help out, just until you and Mr. Bellamy get back? I'm dead on my feet."

"I guess so, but be careful. Try and get guys that want to work, not ones that that'll drain the bar dry."

"I will. What about you, Mr. Howard, are you okay? Is Mr. Bellamy okay?"

"We're fine. Look, I've got to go."

"Okay. It was good to hear from you, Mr. Howard."

The connection is broken and I push my way out of the booth and the hotel lobby. I walk back to the house, lifting wallets as I go.


I lean against the door.

"I hear you had some trouble."

The door shifts in its frame as Matt leans against the other side.

"I had to teach a punk some manners."

I smile affectionately.

"Tough guy."


"You okay in there?"

"Yeah. Thanks for the books and blankets and the clothes."

"I wish I could do more."

"Don't be so hard on yourself, sweetheart, you're doing everything you can."

"It's not enough."

"It's plenty. It's all going to work out, Dom, you'll see. We'll be home before you know it, fighting over who has to scrub the toilets."

"I hope you're right. Oh, I talked to Billy today."

"How's he doing?"

"Good. He wants to take on a couple of guys to help out while we're away. I told him to go ahead, just so long as he's careful. I should call the bank, make sure we've got enough to pay them. I should probably call the supplier, too, try and keep things running the way..."

Matt's laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh. But listen to you, the responsible businessman, such a change from when we first met."

"I don't want us to lose the place we've worked so hard on, that's all. I want us to have something to go back to."

"We will, Billy will take care of it. He's a good kid."

"The best," I stop, wondering if I should hang this on him, then plunge ahead, "he knows about us."

"What? How?"

I tell Matt all about it and he curses.

"Why don't we just build a stage and do it in the middle of the street?"

"If what Billy and Eddie said is true, we already have. We're just lucky the bar stands alone, if we had neighbours the jig would've been up years ago."

He laughs again.

"I guess so. We really make that bed shake."

"That we do."

"You know something? We're really lucky."

"Yeah, I feel so damn lucky right now."

"But we are. Think about it, Dom. There are plenty of couples in Salvation who've been together as long as we have, or even longer, and they don't even look at each other anymore. We've both seen it. But, even after ten years, I still love you and want you as much as I ever did."

"And I still want you."

"See, lucky. We've got a good marriage."

I have to laugh at our old joke. There are men in Salvation with wives and kids and mortgages, they sit at the bar and tell me their troubles. They wish they had my life, they wish they could be free to drink and gamble and screw, the way I do. But they know nothing. The truth is, running a bar means I know the exact price of each and every drink I take, so I drink a lot less than I used to. I only gamble away what I can afford to lose and while I can never stand up and admit it, I'm tied to another person for life, just like they are - but, unlike them, I wouldn't have it any other way. My life was good until my father came along and started fucking it up.

Our time runs out and, even though I hate to do it, I leave Matt alone.


Daddy slides a bottle across to me.

"It's time to talk business."

I pick up the bottle.

"So talk."

"There's a bank, a big, big score."

"What makes this one so special?"

"Every six weeks, they get a special delivery. Money from all the smaller branches. Their vault will be busting at the seams, and we're talking it all."

"How? You said things will be different this time."

"There's a guy we've got to find, we need to steal his wallet."


"We need to find out where he lives."

"Why don't we just follow him? Why make things harder then they have to be?"

"Two reasons. One, I want to see you in action again, see just how much of your edge you've gotten back and two, this will be more fun."

Fun? Jesus wept.

"Who is this guy?"

"He's the manager. Here's the plan. We find out where he lives, we go there and case the joint. Then we go over there in the middle of the night, take his family hostage and make him open up the bank and the vault. It'll be so easy, a walk in the park."

I stand and push my chair back.

"No. I won't put women and kids in danger."

He smirks and I want to drive my fist right through his teeth.

"Alright, you've had your little rebellion, but we both know you'll do whatever I tell you, so sit down."

I sit down. What choice do I have?


 I'm standing on the corner, waiting for my bank manager. Daddy's on the other side of the street, watching me. He straightens up and flashes me a quick hand signal. Alright, here we go. The manager walks up the street and I go to meet him. I brush against him but only just. He doesn't even feel it. But I got what I wanted. I go through the wallet and find his address, committing it to memory. I cross the street and hand the wallet to Daddy. He runs down, crosses at the other corner and waits for the manager to catch up. When he does, Daddy bumps him, hard, hard enough to knock him down. Daddy pulls him to his feet and he's all apologies. The manager straightens himself out and, as Daddy walks away, I see him checking for the wallet I just saw Daddy put back in his coat pocket. Finding nothing wrong, he shrugs and walks on.

We come back together and Daddy grabs my shoulder. We laugh together and, for a moment, it's just like old times. But then I remember I wouldn't be doing this if he didn't have Matt locked in the basement and I turn away from him. We go back to the house, I get my fifteen minutes with Matt and spend the rest of the day in my room.

It gets dark and we find the manager's house. I stand in the shadows outside, watching him have dinner with his family - his wife, his three little girls. Watching them makes a lump rise in my throat and I realise I'm mourning a loss, not of something I'll never have - I've got Matt and that's enough for me - but something I never had. My childhood was spent on trains and in cheap boarding houses, there were no cozy domestic scenes like this. Could we have had that? Would it have been different if my mother had lived?

We wait until the family goes to bed and then we go to work, checking all the locks. The lock on the side door gives way and we slip inside. We creep through the dark house, mapping it for later. Locks that take no time at all to pick, no guard dog, no male servants, just a live-in maid; Daddy was right, this should be easy.

We leave and I promise myself one thing: whatever happens, I won't let Daddy and his crew hurt this family. I just won't do it.

hannah_chapter1: (Dunecat)
Title: Shadows Part X
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

My father pushes open a door. "This is your room."

I go inside and open a window. The room smells bad, stale. With the window open I can hear the sounds of the city: sirens, cats screeching and people fighting. I think I prefer the bad smell.

Daddy leans against the door. "The bathroom is down the hall."


"We've got your friend locked up pretty tight. I put three locks on the door. Now I know you're good with locks, or you used to be, but don't even think about trying to break him out. Step out of line, he's the one that pays the price."

"You said all this already. I'm not deaf and I'm not stupid. I got it the first time."

"I'm sure you did but I thought I should say it again. Remember Dominic, I want to hurt him, I really, really do. I just need a reason."

I push past him.

"Where are you going?"


"Out where?"

"Just out." I turn and look back at him. "What do you care? You know I won't run away, not with that chain you've got around my ankle."

He doesn't answer so I leave him where he is as I walk down the stairs and out the front door. Standing in the middle of the street, I flex my fingers. I need to find some bars. It's time to go back to work.


The first two hours don't go so well. I'm careful and I only pick the worst kind of drunks, the ones that are so liquored up they don't know where they are or even what day it is. But I still fuck up. My hand doesn't go all the way into the pocket or, if it does, my fingers just graze the wallet inside. But I keep going and, sure enough, it starts to come back to me. I hook one wallet, then two, then three. My confidence grows with every one I lift and, by the time I decide to call it a night, I've left the drunks far behind. I'm robbing people who are stone, cold sober, taking their stuff and disappearing long before they even begin to suspect.

I go back to the house and it's dark and quiet, with no sign of Daddy or his goons. I'd like to go down to Matt but I don't dare. Not yet. I go back up to the room and sit on the bed. I go through the wallets I took, taking the money and dumping them on the floor when they're empty. I did well tonight.

It might seem strange that I would pick up the skill again so quickly, especially when I've been away for so many years. But it's not, not really. Remember, this, what I did tonight, that's all I ever knew, from the minute I could walk and talk right up until I met Matt and quit the life. I could steal a wallet before I could write my own name. I knew it would be so easy to fall back into this and that's why I tried so hard to be good.

Because the simple truth of it is, I was made for a crooked life. I was born to it, I'm good at it and I enjoy it: when everything comes together it feels so damn good. It beats the hell out of working for a living. Honest life is hard, running a business is hard. There's a hundred things to take care of each and every day and a million things to argue about. Should we try and get our beer cheaper somewhere else or stay with our regular supplier? Can we afford to expand and is it worth it? Should we give the bar a name? What name? We never did get around to that. It doesn't really need a name anyway, not when it's the only bar in Salvation.

Thinking of our place makes me think of Matt and I pull his watch out of my pocket and run my finger over the silver case. There isn't a scratch on it - Matt takes such good care of it, he always keeps it wrapped up in a soft cloth so it won't get all scratched up in his pocket. I can still remember the look on his face and the way he kissed me when I gave it to him. And I remember the day I bought it, I was so proud of myself. I could have stolen it right out of the case but I didn't. I walked into the store and bought it, just like any other man would.

I look at the watch and I make a promise: I'll go back to the old ways and I'll do what I have to do to get Matt out of this nightmare and then I'm done with it. All of it. I don't care how easy it is or how good it makes me feel. I worked too hard to just give it all up. A shadow falls across the bed - Daddy, standing in the doorway again. He sees the money on the bed and the empty wallets on the floor and he smiles.

"That's my boy."

I wonder, would he look so proud if he knew how badly I want to spit in his eye?


Daddy and all but one of his precious boys are at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. I stand by the stove, pushing food around a plate. Sal took a plate down to Matt about ten minutes ago. Now he staggers into the kitchen with his hand over his nose and blood leaking through his fingers. Daddy's jaw drops.

"What happened to you?"

Sal drops into an empty chair. His voice is muffled by the hand still holding his nose. "Fucking cripple. I was just having a little fun with him."

I dump my plate on the stove and Daddy stands and points a warning finger. "Stay where you are." He turns back to Sal. "What did you do?"

"I just asked him to give me a blowjob. I thought he'd be grateful." Sal takes his hand away from his nose and looks at the blood on it. "Shit, I think my nose is broken."

Daddy grabs Sal by the back of the neck and smashes his face into the table. "There," he says as Sal falls to the floor, "now it's really broken."

He turns on the rest of his pack. "What did I tell you? How many times did I say it? Don't mess with the cripple unless I tell you to mess with the cripple. Or have you forgotten how this works. I tell you what to do and you do it!"

His voice rises to a shout. "You fucking morons, you'd be nothing without me! I do the thinking around here, I make the plans. Because we all know what we get when you dopes try and think for yourselves. A vault full of dead fucking bodies, that's what we get!"

Any one of them could break Daddy right in half but they're all biting their lips and staring at the floor while he rants and raves. I walk out of the room, leaving my cold food on the stove. I'm smiling as I walk down the hall, a proud and happy smile. Against the whole mob he wouldn't have a prayer but, one on one, my man can take care of himself.


I take the money I stole and put it to good use. I buy Matt some books to pass the time, some clothes and nice blankets. I even get him a pillow. Daddy takes it all down to him and, as I'm in the kitchen making a sandwich, I hear Daddy bringing Matt up to the bathroom. I'd know the sound of Matt's footsteps anywhere, the shuffling sound he makes when he comes down on the bad leg. The door isn't shut right and I see Matt's hair and his hand as they walk past the kitchen. I don't move. It's only when they've come out of the bathroom and gone back down to the basement that I realise my fingernails have made marks in the wood of the table. Daddy comes back upstairs and throws a bundle at me.

"Here. You wanted to do laundry, so do laundry."

I pull the bundle apart: Matt's clothes, the ones he was wearing when they took him. As I unfold the shirt I get an idea. I wait until Daddy's back is turned and then I shove Matt's shirt under my own and smuggle it upstairs. I spread it on my pillow and bury my face in it. The old familiar smell fills my nostrils, a mix of sweat, hair oil, beer. It smells like Matt. It smells like home. I pull the shirt off the pillow, put it on and lie down. I can feel myself falling asleep and it's almost like having Matt in bed with me.

hannah_chapter1: (Fatrix)
Title: Shadows Part IX
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: R
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

No! That wasn't five minutes! More time, I need more time.

"You'd better do what he says."

"I don't want to leave you like this."

"You don't have a choice. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."

Don't worry? Yeah, right. May as well tell me not to breathe. I put my hand on the door. I'd like to think Matt's doing the same on the other side, but I can't tell for sure.

"I'll get you out of here, Matt, I promise."

"I know you will. Go on, get out of here."

I walk away. When I turn the corner I see Stevie. He's leaning against the wall by the stairs, cleaning his nails with a flick-knife. He looks at me and sneers.

"So this is the famous Dominic. We've heard so much about you. The best thief there ever was, better than your father, even. Then we finally see what all the fuss is about and Jesus, talk about a let down. Nothing but a lousy queer."

He makes a sad face. "What's wrong? Missing your woman? Or have I got it wrong? Maybe you're the woman." He giggles. "Don't worry, I'll take good care of him."

I look at him; the pose, the knife, the whole image his way of telling the world just how dangerous he is. But I've known dangerous men, really dangerous men, and this act doesn't impress me, not one little bit. I see a snot-nosed brat and a coward, the kind of guy who only attacks when the odds are stacked heavily in his favour. The kind of guy who could really hurt Matt if I don't cut him down - right fucking now.

Matt couldn't teach me to shoot but he made up for it by teaching me other things, a few dirty tricks he picked up in his other life. I bring my fists up and make like I'm about to take a swing at him. Stevie's hands move up to cover his face and my right hand goes to his armpit, my fingers seeking that special nerve hidden there. I find it, press and he squeals and drops the blade. I follow up with a short, sharp punch to the gut. He doubles over, gasping for air as I pick up the knife. I shove him against the wall and he's still trying to be a tough guy.


I put the knife to his throat, pushing until the point is almost, but not quite, breaking the skin, making sure I've got his full attention.

"That's right, I'm a queer. You just got your ass kicked by a queer, so what does that say about you, I wonder? You think you're dangerous? Kill a few people and think that makes you a tough guy? It doesn't. I should know, I've killed a couple of guys myself."

I shake my head. "What can I say, someone hurts the man I love, I just go crazy. Ask Eddie. Oh wait, you can't. I shoved a glass through his eye and then I cut him up and fed him to some pigs. And all he did was make a few threats. Then there was this other guy, years ago, guy called Paulsen. Now, he really hurt my man. He fucked up his leg, he even cut off his finger. I found that bastard and I cut his face in half. You should keep all these things in mind. Remember them whenever you get any bright ideas about the man in the room back there. Ideas like pissing in his food, maybe, or bringing your friends down here to beat him up some night."

His eyes flicker.

"You were actually thinking about it, weren't you? Well, let me tell you something: you try anything like that, I promise you'll live to regret it. I'll take this pretty knife of yours and I'll cut you so many times and so many ways, your own mother won't know you. Little children will scream and run when they see you. And, if you're very lucky, I'll stop at your face. Do we have an understanding?"

He nods, slowly and carefully.


I let him go, fold the knife and put it in my pocket.

"This is just between us. You don't tell my father about this little talk of ours, I don't tell anyone about how you pissed your pants like a little kid."

He looks down at the stain on the front of his pants and flushes. Something catches my eye, a familiar chain dangling from his pocket. I reach in and pull out a watch. But not just any old watch: this is Matt's watch, the silver one I bought him for his birthday a few years ago. I take it and put it in my own pocket, saying nothing. Stealing, that's the one thing I can't give anyone a hard time about, especially when it's how I'll be making money while I'm stuck here.

Halfway up the stairs, I suddenly feel sick. That, what I just did, how is that any different from what my father's doing to me? I even dragged up my two worst memories and used them against Stevie - just like Daddy's using my love for Matt against me. No! It's not the same. I'm not like him. I'm not. Not.

Daddy's still in the kitchen. He's switched from coffee to beer and looks a lot happier.

"Here he is. Did you have a nice visit?"

"I want some things. I want to make Matt more comfortable."

"Comfortable? The fuck you think this is, a hotel? We gave him a bucket and a mattress, he'll be fine. He's lucky he's not chained to the wall."

"He's not an animal!"

"No? He fucks like one. You're not really in a position to demand anything, Dominic. You can't bet if you don't have any cards."

"Maybe not. But you want me on this big job of yours, how do you expect me to concentrate on that if I'm worried about Matt all the time?"

"What do you want?"

"I want you to let him out once a day, so he can use the bathroom and wash himself. I want to get him some books, blankets and clean clothes."

"What are we meant to do with the ones he's got on? I'm not doing his laundry."

"Did anyone ask you to? I'll do it myself. Oh, and I want to see him, really see him, for an hour every day."

He's on his feet in a second. "No. All that other shit, you can have that, but you can't see him. You can talk to him through the door  for ten minutes each day and that's it. I shouldn't even be giving you that, but I guess you'll sulk if I don't."

"Half an hour."

"Fifteen minutes. Final offer, Dominic, take it or leave it."

"I'll take it."

It's more than I expected. I'll get Matt out of here, just like I promised him. But, for now, this is all I can do for him.

hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part VIII
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: R
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.
Warning: Violence.

"I'm getting old son, too old to be in this game. I'm thinking it's time I retired. I want to get myself a nice little nest egg and quit the life. But all our old ways, all the nickel and dime scams, they just don't pay the way they used to. Damn Depression, things are tough all over. I'm sure I don't have to tell you about that, not a regular working man like you. I bet you've had trouble making ends meet."

"We get by." That's all he's getting from me. He doesn't care about that part of my life and it's none of his business.

"Good for you. I haven't been so lucky, which is why I've had to find other ways of making money. That's where my boys come in. You've seen my boys."

"I've seen them." And what a charming bunch they are, regular choirboys. Frank and Sal are family, brothers or maybe just cousins, neither one with even half a working brain. Jimmy's the needle freak; the twitchy eyes and the way he keeps scratching his arms, digging right through his shirtsleeves, he might as well be wearing a sign. And then there's Stevie, the kid, the one who was so quick to put a gun to Matt's head - he doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to make him pay for that. He's trying to grow a beard, trying to hide his pimples, or maybe he just wants to look older. Either way, it's not working. Seventeen, he can't be anymore than seventeen.

"Why do you need a gang like this? Why do you need so much muscle?"

"It's kind of hard to rob a bank on your own."

"Banks? Please tell me you're not serious."

"Oh, don't look so shocked. It's just good sense. Knocking over one bank takes twenty minutes, thirty at most, and it pays more than a whole year's worth of breaking into houses and lifting wallets. It worked like this: I planned the jobs and then Eddie would get the boys and they'd have themselves a nice day out. But our last job, that didn't go so well. Things got messy."

"Messy how?"

"You hear about the First National Bank of Philadelphia?"

I can feel the coffee I just drank burning a hole in my stomach. Of course I've heard of the First National, everyone has. Bloodbaths are hard to forget. This was three months ago. Customers arriving at the bank one Friday morning found it locked. When the cops finally broke the door down, they followed a bloody trail to the vault. That's where they found them: the manager, the guard, four tellers, every single one of them dead. It's all anyone in the bar could talk about for weeks and now I'm under the same roof as the animals responsible. And so is Matt.

"How could you do such a thing?"

"It was an accident."

"Accident? You killed six people! Two of them were women!"

"I didn't kill anyone, I wasn't even there. Stevie started it, he gets a little over excited sometimes. But he's young, he'll grow out of it. "

I can't believe what I'm hearing. He'll grow out of it? That's what you say about a puppy that keeps piddling on the floor. How can he be so casual about this? I'm no angel. I built a business with stolen money and I've got plenty of blood on my hands. But Eddie was an accident and as for Paulsen, I could try and wriggle out of that by saying I was exhausted, in pain, half out of my mind and I didn't know what I was doing. Bullshit - I knew exactly what I was doing. All I can say in my defence is I had a reason, even if it was a piss-poor reason. But the day I start killing people just because they got in my way and then acting like it's nothing, that's the day I crawl into the electric chair and beg them to throw the switch.

"What happened to you, Daddy? How can you think something like this is right?"

"That's funny, I could say exactly the same thing about you. Don't worry, it won't happen again. You'll be taking Eddie's place and I'll be there too, just to make sure things go the way they should. And we'll be trying something new."

"We will?"

"Yes Dominic, we will. Doesn't much matter to you, though. You'll do whatever I tell you to, won't you?"

I don't answer.

"Won't you?"

"Yes." Yes, God damn you, yes.

"Then we're set. We'll start working out the details later, I think we've talked enough for one night."

"Can I talk to Matt?"

"Not a chance. I should let him get his claws into you again, let him corrupt you some more? What kind of father would I be if I let that happen?"

Oh Daddy, you've got it all backwards.
He didn't corrupt me, I corrupted him. I try again.

"I want to make sure he's okay. Can't I even have five minutes?"

"Of course he's okay, why wouldn't he be? Don't you trust us?"

Bite my tongue, an honest answer would be dangerous. He stares at me for awhile then shakes his head.

"I always did spoil you."

He gets up, goes out into the hall and I hear him calling one of the others.

"Stevie will take you down. You can't see him, but you can talk to him through the door. You've got your five minutes."

We go downstairs, down a long hallway and around a corner. Stevie stops and kicks the door in front of us.

"Here he is. What, got nothing to say?"

"I've got plenty to say. When you leave."

He walks away and I follow him down the hall, just to make sure he really is leaving. When I come back I can hear Matt calling my name.

"I'm here." I press my cheek against the door. "I'm sorry, Matt. I'm so fucking sorry. All I ever do is fuck up your life."

There's a thump and I feel the door shakes as he kicks it. I take a step back.

"Don't say that! It's not true, so don't you ever say it! Blaming yourself, playing the martyr, that won't get us out of here so please Dominic, do me a favour and climb down from your crucifix, because I've had enough religious bullshit in my life already."

That stung. His voice softens.

"Sweetheart, this isn't your fault. You were right, we should have gotten out when we had the chance. I'm the one that wouldn't listen. And I was stupid to believe he had you just because he said he did. I could have asked him to prove it, I could have kept him in the bar until you came to work. But he came in and I just knew he was your father, he had to be. It threw me and then he told me he had you and..."

I know, he panicked and then he was caught in the trap. And then my father had the bait he needed to hook me. He thinks what Matt and I have is unnatural, but it hasn't stopped him using it against us.

"We're just a couple of lovesick fools, aren't we?"

He laughs, a sad little sound. "I guess we are. But what kind of mess has it landed us in?"

"A big, bank-robbing mess."

"You're kidding."

"I wish I was."

"And they want you to join them? What use would you be? You're dangerous with a gun, Dom."

He's right: dangerous in a hit everything except the thing I'm aiming at, lucky if I don't blow my own foot off kind of way. Matt tried to teach me once and I came this close to shooting him in the good leg. And that's why I'm not allowed to touch the shotgun.

"It's worse than you think. You remember that bank in Philadelphia?"

Silence, then one word: "Fuck."

"Yeah, that just about sums it up."

"What are you going to do?"

"What I have to. Whatever it takes to keep you safe,"

Matt's reply is drowned out by Stevie's voice, floating down the hall. "Okay lovebirds, that's it. Show's over."
hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part VII
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

"It didn't have to be this way, Dominic. I tried to do it the easy way and I gave you a choice, remember that. If you'd come with Eddie when he asked, none of this would have happened. You'd be back where you belong and I would have left your friend alone. Where is Eddie, anyway?"


"I thought so."

"You thought so. That's all you've got to say. You don't care at all, do you?"

"Of course I care. But crying won't bring him back and I've got better things to do with my time."

"Oh you do, do you? Please, tell me all about it. Start with what I'm doing here and, oh yeah, how you knew where to find me. I know Eddie was lying about his car breaking down, so why don't you tell me how it really was."

"Aww, does Dommie want me to tell him a story?" He smiles and leans back in his chair, lacing his hands behind his head. "You're a little old for that, don't you think?"

I kick the table leg. "Talk to me, damn you!"

"Settle down, son, before you make trouble for someone who can't fight back."

The threat works, he knew it would. Bastard.

"That's better. Now, I'll tell you what you want to know and you'll sit and listen without interrupting. Right?"


"Okay then. It started just over a year ago. I met Eddie and we thought we'd team up again. We always worked well together, you remember."

"What you mean to say is, you gave orders and he followed them."

"Exactly. He knew his place. Anyway, he tells me he might be wrong, but he thinks he's seen my son. He was driving through this town, a little place called Salvation, he saw a man unloading a truck and this man looked just like me, only younger. Now I know that can't be right because I didn't raise my boy that way, to scrape a living like all the other saps. It must be a mistake. Eddie's not sure, he didn't get a real good look and it's been a long time since he laid eyes on you, so we let it go. Then, two months ago, we find ourselves not far from Salvation and we decide to drive over, just to see if Eddie's right. It's a Sunday morning and oh, look! There you are, coming out of church, looking all respectable in your nice suit."

Well, what's so strange about that? Why shouldn't I dress nice for church? Good clothes are wasted when I'm working. Sunday is the only day I really make an effort.

"We stop the car and we watch you. Talking to the ladies, shaking hands with the preacher. Everyone's smiling, acting all friendly. They treat you like one of their own. I just can't understand it and, even when we get to New York and start making our plans, I can't let it go."

He gets himself a glass of water and stands beside the table. looking down at me, as he drinks it.

"Eddie's the public face of this little gang we've got and I'm laying low, pretending to be dead. He says he'll go back and talk to you and he'll get the straight story. He comes back with bad news: you really have given up the life. Eddie thought you'd jump at his call but no, you won't go, too busy being a respectable businessman. You've got a bar and you've got yourself a partner. Eddie thinks he looks familiar and he knows he's heard the name Matthew Bellamy before. We ask around, we look through some old newspapers and we get the full story. It's not hard, it was all big news way back when. Now we've got our lever, the tool we need to get you back, and Eddie goes to get you. I wait a week; no sign of Eddie and no sign of you, so I get the boys together, they go to Castle Rock and I come to Salvation."

He takes a drink and I wait for him to go on. I just know this little story of his is going to have a bad ending, bad for me and really bad for Matt.

"I don't come see you, not right away. My guess is, Eddie fucked up by rushing into things and I won't make that mistake. What I do is, I watch you. I keep my distance and, for three days, I watch you. I see how you spend your days. I see how you spend your nights."

Oh, fuck. We thought it had all blown over and we went back to our old routine. My shock is written all over my face. I can feel it and I know he can see it because his eyes narrow.

"That's right. I followed you home one night, then I followed you back to the bar and upstairs. I taught you everything you know, remember. You didn't hear me, or see me. But I saw you."

He turns and throws his glass against the wall, where it shatters.

"I saw my own son on his hands and knees, grovelling for another man's cock!"

Now I'm really pissed off. We try to be so careful, keeping our love hidden away so we don't corrupt the children or frighten the horses. Matt's room is the only place we can drop the act and be ourselves. We thought we were safe there, but now our refuge has turned into a carnival sideshow, where anyone passing through can come and gawk at the freaks inside. But my angers melts away, to be replaced by fear, at my father's next words.

"I don't know how it happened, how he got his sickness into you, but it stops now. He'll never get his hands on you again, I'll make sure of that."

"Don't hurt him." Is this me? This tiny, childish voice, is it really mine? "I'll do anything you want. Just don't hurt him, Daddy, please."

"I should hurt him, I want to hurt him. I should go downstairs and beat his diseased brains in. But I need him to keep you in line. He'll be safe, just so long as you do what you're told. Disobey me, step out of line just once, I'll tie him to a chair and break every bone in his face. And I'll make you watch."

No! I can't go through that again. I can't, I just can't do it. He puts his hand on my back.

"It's for the best, Dominic, don't you see? The way you've been living, it's just not right. Trust me, I know what's best for you."

I pull away from him. "Don't touch me."

"Oh, I know, you hate me right now. But that's okay. The job I've got lined up, it won't be happening until next month. We've got plenty of time and I just know you'll swing around to my way of thinking."

"Exactly what kind of job are we talking about?"

He goes to the stove and makes some coffee. A cup is placed in front of me and I stare at my reflection in the dark liquid as I listen to him.
hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part VI
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

I didn't plan on updating so soon, but I'm stuck in a friend's house for the weekend, bang in the middle of nowhere, taking care of her kitten. Well, I say kitten, furry psychopath would be more accurate. It keeps trying to eat me!  So I thought I'd knock out a quick chapter between attacks.

How, what - I rub my eyes, thinking he must be a trick of the light, or my imagination working overtime. But no, he's still there and it's definitely him. People always said we could be twins; I have my mother's eyes, or so he always told me, but the rest is all him. Same basic face, same blond hair but he's lost most of his since we parted ways. Automatically my hand flies to the top of my head and the bald spot I just know is forming there. Matt tells me I'm imagining things but it's not like he's got any worries on that score, he's just greying at the temples and it looks good on him-

And I cannot believe I'm worrying about my hair at a time like this. Get a hold of yourself, Dominic! Dad holds out his arms to me. "What, no hug?" I stay where I am and he sighs and lowers them again. "So much for the family reunion. Aren't you happy to see me after all this time?"

"I might be, if I hadn't spent the last few weeks thinking you were dead."

"Oh yeah, that. You shouldn't believe everything you hear, especially when someone like Eddie is doing the telling. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. But it suits me to have certain people thinking I'm dead. Of course you wouldn't know anything about that, would you Dominic? Or maybe that's something I should have asked your partner about when I paid him a visit."

His words send a chill through me. "What did you do? I swear, if you've laid so much as a finger on him I'll-"

"Mind your manners Dominic, and don't raise your voice to me. Didn't I raise you better than that? Didn't I teach you to respect your elders?"

"No, you taught me to screw everyone for all they were worth and then run like hell."

"Fair enough. But I always meant to teach you to respect your elders. Don't worry, your friend's fine - for now." Dad shakes his head in wonder. "He was so easy. All I had to do was tell him I had you and he limped out of there as fast as his fucked up leg could carry him. He practically broke his neck rushing into the trap. But he'll be safe with me, so long as you do what you're told."

He reaches into his pocket and hands me a slip of paper. "I've got a couple of rooms in that town, the one with the whorehouse, what's its name again?"

"Castle Rock."

"That's the one. We're going on a nice, long trip together. It's time for us to get close again, the way a father and son should be. But I'm a reasonable guy, so I'm giving you one day to wrap things up here. I want you at that address by ten tonight. If you're late, even if it's only by five minutes, I'll be gone, tossing pieces of your friend out of a car window as I go."

Dad leaves, my stomach clenches like a fist and I get to the toilet just in time to puke up my breakfast. I stumble over to the sink, washing the taste out of my mouth and splashing water on my face in a vain attempt to calm myself. How could I be so stupid, how could I believe Eddie's lies? I feel a throb of self-disgust. Eddie was always a follower, never a leader and there had to be someone behind him, pulling the strings. I've been out of the game too long, being around regular people has made me soft.

I dry my face and pull myself together. Beating myself up over this won't get Matt back. To be honest, I couldn't care less about our business right now. If I stepped outside and found it on fire I wouldn't look twice. But Matt would want me to be responsible, so I have to go through the motions. Billy's just coming up the street as I unlock the bar. I bring him into the kitchen out back and tell him he'll be running the place by himself for awhile, at least a month, while Matt and I take care of some family business. I hate to do this to him, I know the idea frightens the shit out of him. He looks like I've just told him I'm sticking him in front of a firing squad in the morning.

"Oh Mr. Howard, I don't think I can do this."

"Now we both know that's bullshit. You looked after things before and you did just fine."

"That was just a couple of days here and there, not long enough to really fuck up."

"Relax, you'll do great and you won't be alone. I'll be talking to your family and they'll help you out. The sheriff will keep an eye on you and I'll call and send telegrams when I get the chance. I'll even talk to Hardy and tell him not to bother you. I hate to dump all this in your lap Billy, but Matt's got some problems, family problems and I don't trust him to deal with them by himself. I know he can be a prick but he's still my partner and I have to-"

"You don't have to do that." Billy's soft voice cuts right through my usual spiel.

"Do what?"

"That - being mean to each other, or about each other. You don't have to do it around me. Because I know..." He trails off and blushes.

"What do you know? What is it you think you know?"

There's an empty cup on the table, Billy grabs it, staring at it as his words tumble out in one big rush. "I swear I never meant to snoop. It happened last year. I went home after we closed but I left my coat here, it had my week's pay in it and the carnival was coming to Castle Rock the next day and I wanted to get there early so I came back. When I let myself in I could hear noise upstairs and I thought Mr. Bellamy was hurt or something, I went up and I saw you. Both of you."

He doesn't elaborate but I can fill in the blanks myself.

"And you didn't tell anyone?" Billy shakes his head. "Why not?"

"Because I like you, both of you. You've always done right by me. Thanks to you I have a job, so I don't feel useless, you only yell at me when I've really fucked up and you give me time off when I'm sick." Now he looks at me. "I'm not saying I think what you do is right. But the way I see it, you're not hurting anyone and it's nobody else's business."

Well what can I say, here's to a secret very well kept. Billy is still looking at me with those big, brown eyes, eyes so dark they're often mistaken for black.

"Okay, I'm sorry we lied to you for so long. It's not really like we have a choice. If people knew the truth they'd drive us out of town, and that's if we were lucky.

"I know." He gives me a small smile. "But it gets harder and harder to keep a straight face when you're fighting."

That breaks the tension and I laugh myself. "Is our acting that bad?"

"No, you're good, really good. My Dad's just waiting for the day Mr. Bellamy snaps and uses the shotgun on you."

Now there's a cheery thought to send me on my way. "Well, we both know better, don't we? Look Billy, I wish I could tell you why we have to go away, but I just can't, not right now. But I promise, when we get back we'll tell you everything. How we met, what happened to Matt's leg, the whole thing. Does that sound fair?" He agrees that it does and I leave him to open up while I go see Hardy.

Tell him everything when we get back, an easy promise to make when I don't know if we'll ever see this town again. Hardy's pigs fall over each other to get to me, grunting eagerly, hoping I'll feed them like I did the other night. Sorry boys, I've got nothing today. And I think it'll be a long time before I'll be eating bacon again. "What the hell are you doing on my property, Blondie?" Hardy is on his front porch, glaring down at me. "Need to talk to you. Can I come in?"

He turns his back and disappears inside, which I think means yes. Once again, I'm amazed at the difference between Hardy, who only changes his clothes when he thinks of it and has a bath maybe once a year, and Hardy's house, which is spotless. No joke, you could eat off that floor. We've never been much for small talk, so I get right to it. "Matt and I have to go away for awhile."

"Is Matthew in trouble? He is, isn't he?" My God. All the years I've been in this town, I thought Hardy had only two voices: a scream and a louder scream. This quiet, reasonable voice is a complete shock, as is the way he's looking at me, clear and direct, with none of the usual twitching and eye-rolling. I finally see the real man, the way he must have been before the war rattled his brain and I'm ashamed of the way I've treated him all this time. I didn't dismiss him or make fun of him the way most people do, but I never tried to get to know him either. I only put up with him for Matt's sake.

"Yes he is and yes, before you even ask, it has something to do with the dead guy we brought up here the other night."

Hardy scratches his neck. "Is there anything I can do?"

"I wish there was, but this is something I have to do on my own. You could do me one favour, though."

"Name it."

"Try not to frighten Billy too much. He's already shitting his pants at the idea of running the bar by himself, he doesn't need anything else upsetting him."

"Okay." Hardy sticks out his hand and I shake it. "Bring him back, Dominic. Don't let him get hurt."

Another promise that's easy to make, not so easy to keep. I spend the rest of the day talking to Billy's family, the sheriff, anyone and everyone important. Billy's going to be fine, they'll all support him. He's a hometown boy after all. For all that we've been accepted and welcomed, Matt and I will never be local the way he is.

I'm knocking on a door in Castle Rock, right on time. Dad opens it. "Good boy, I knew you'd do what you were told. Get in here."

I hang back. "I want to see Matt and I want to see him now."

"Sure, why not?" He leads me to a room two doors down. We go inside and I see Matt sitting on a bed in his shirtsleeves, four men guarding him, all armed to the teeth. I start forward, wanting nothing more than to take him in my arms and make sure he's okay, fuck anyone watching, but my father's hand is on my shoulder, an iron grip.

"No. Not one more step, not a single word. I said you could see him and you have." The man closest to Matt puts a revolver to the back of his head and thumbs back the hammer. "Now walk away, or you'll be washing his blood and brains out of your hair for weeks." I want to cry, I want to scream, but what else can I do? I turn my back on Matt and leave the room. Forgive me, my love.

I follow my father back to his room. He points to the second bed. "Get some sleep, we've got a lot of driving ahead."

"Where are we going?"

"New York, where else?"

I should have known. The days that follow are agony. We're a three car, rolling caravan and my father keeps me with him and as far from Matt as he can. If it wasn't for the brief glimpses I catch here and there I'd think they killed him and dumped him somewhere along the road. My father won't talk to me, except to give me orders. Sit here. Eat this. Don't do that. So much for father son bonding. There'll be plenty of time to talk when we get to the city, that's all he'll say.

We finally get to New York and what appears to be our final destination, one of those big houses with four floors and a basement. This one has definitely seen better days. They make me stay in the car while they bring Matt inside. I think he's going in the basement. As soon as they've got him hidden away Dad brings me into the kitchen and tells me to sit at the table. I do what I'm told, it seems to be the safest option. He sits across from me and makes himself comfortable. "We really need to talk, Dominic."
hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part V
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: NC-17
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

This chapter is for starlight_myth, a little get well soon gifty, since she was sick over the weekend. She wanted some fluff and smut, I hope it works.

What do you know, pigs really do eat everything. It all went the way Matt said it would. He talked to Hardy this morning, I don't know how he convinced him, but Hardy promised to help us and he did. He blasted into town just before closing time. While everyone in the bar made a quick getaway and Matt tried to calm Hardy down I took the body out through the back and into the car. Eddie was a skinny guy but it still took longer than I thought and I was soaked in sweat by the time I was through.

Taking the long way around I drove up to Hardy's farm and waited for him and Matt. I felt bad for making Matt walk so far but it was the only way to make it look real. Hardy's not my friend, Matt had to be the one to bring him home. We did what we had to do and the pigs did what they do and nobody'll ever find Eddie now. There's nothing left to find.

We help Hardy clean up the kitchen and walk back to town, leaving the car until the next day. It's still dark when we get to my place. As I unlock my door I hear Matt's voice, pitched low, the first thing he's said since we left Hardy's. "We'd better stay away from each other for at least a week, just to be safe."

I don't look at him as I step inside. "That's probably a good idea."

I've got the pedal all the way to the floor but I'm still not going fast enough. This is a waste of time, I'm too late, I know I am. One thing they say about Tameleo, he doesn't fuck around. If he gets his hands on you, that's it for you. He doesn't waste time with torture; two in the chest, one behind the ear and he's done. Matt's probably in the river by now. Why did I waste so much time with Paulsen? And why didn't I think of him sooner?

Coming up on the docks and I see something on the ground. I slam on the brakes and I'm out of the car before it's stopped moving. It's Matt: even in this dim light, even with him lying face-down, I'd know him anywhere. I know the shape of his body like I know my own face in the mirror. Kneeling beside him, I turn him onto his back. His eyes are closed and he's not breathing. I pull him into my arms, trying to warm him, to bring him back to life, but it's hopeless. He's gone and all I'm holding is a cold and empty shell...

That's when I wake up, squeezing my pillow and with my heart beating so fast, I think I'm about to have a heart attack. But it soon passes. I'm fine, Matt's fine and that's not how it happened. He wasn't dead. I have no idea, even now, how he was still holding on, but he was. He moved, he opened his eyes and I got him back. It took two weeks to put him back together, but we made it. But my mind won't let it go, worrying at it like a dog with a bone. Just over a week since Eddie and I feel like I'm coming apart at the seams, jumping at shadows and constantly looking ever my shoulder. The little sleep I do get is plagued with nightmares: if I'm not reliving Eddie and Paulsen's murders then I'm finding Matt dead on the ground. It's getting so I'm afraid to close my eyes.

I drop the pillow, turn on the light and check the clock. I don't believe it - I've only been asleep twenty minutes, if that. There'll be no rest for me tonight. Unless ... yeah, fuck it. I don't care if it's Friday. I need Matt, I need to be with him tonight. To hell with the rules, just this one time.

I get dressed and walk to the bar as quickly and quietly as I can, keeping to the shadows, as I always do. Once I'm outside Matt's bedroom I knock and call his name softly. He's not expecting me and being mistaken for an intruder and shot down by my lover would really fuck up my night. He'd have a hell of a time explaining it to the sheriff. I hear him turn on the light as I come into the room. He rubs the sleep from his eyes. "Are you alright? Did something happen? Did someone else come?"

I shake my head. "No. I just, I needed to see you."

Matt pulls the blanket back. "Get in here." I shed my clothes and do as I'm told. It's only when I'm in bed with him that I realize just how cold I am.

Matt indulges me as I press against him, shamelessly stealing his body heat. I could fall asleep so easily, now that I'm safe and warm and I have Matt, real, live Matt, in my arms. He won't let me off the hook though, and I didn't think he would. He places two fingers under my chin, tilting my face up so we're eye to eye. "Have you slept at all this week?"

"Not a whole lot, no."

"It was an accident, Dom. I know it doesn't make you feel any better, but you didn't mean it. And he brought it on himself. He should have left you alone. He should have left us alone."

He's right but it doesn't help and it won't stop me worrying. "I think we should leave town."

Matt shifts away from me. I knew he wouldn't like the sound of that but I do think it might be the best thing for us. "You want us to leave, just give up on everything we've worked on for so long?"

"We could start again, buy another place. We did it once, we could do it again."

"You sure about that? Things have changed, Dom, and things are tougher than they used to be. You know that as well as I do."

Matt's right, things have gotten bad. In a lot of ways we've been lucky; we had the good sense - if anything about that mess could be called good - to rip off Barzini back in the twenties, when things were good. But the high times couldn't last, they never do. Wall Street crashed and things got tough, with people on breadlines and bank robbers cutting a bloody trail through the country. Desperate men, desperate times. Salvation's been good for us - this town has continued to thrive in its own quiet way, ignoring the Depression like it ignored Prohibition. We've got some money saved but we sunk most of what we had into this place and, when it comes right down to it, I don't want to walk away from it anymore than Matt does. We've worked too hard to just give it all up

"What if I left and you stayed to take care of things. I could get by on my own." And going right back to my old ways about five minutes down the road.

Matt looks hurt. "You'd leave me?"

Amazing: he helped cut a man in half last week and didn't even blink but this panics him. I smooth his hair back from his forehead. "Not forever. A month, two at the most. I don't want to go, even the thought of leaving you breaks my heart. But this whole thing smells bad to me. It feels like a set up. What if Eddie wasn't working alone? There could be others out there and, if I'm right, they'll be coming for me and they'll go through you to get to me. I don't want you to get hurt because of me, Matt. I never want that to happen again."

"Hate to bust your bubble, Dom, but bad things were happening to me long before you came along." He runs his left thumb over the stub where his little finger used to be. "As for this, well, I own at least some of the blame. I'm the one who kept giving Paulsen reasons to hate me and hurt me. I'm the one who beat the shit out of him every chance I got. It was the closest thing I had to a hobby back then. And, you know what, it could have been worse."

"Worse? He almost killed you! How in the name of sweet, bleeding Jesus could it have been worse?"

"He could have cut my cock off. I've only got one of those." Oh. Well, I guess that shut me up.

Matt runs his finger up my chest, tracing the scar there before continuing. "It's funny, this town is everything I hated when I was growing up, the kind of place I couldn't wait to get away from. But I'm happy here, with you, and I don't want to throw that away, not if we don't have to. Why don't we just see how the next few days play out. If anything looks funny, anything at all, we'll leave. And if we go, we go together."

I agree but I'm still not happy. Matt gets out of bed. "Come on."

"What are you doing?"

"We're going to take a bath."

"It's the middle of the night."

"That's never stopped us before. You need to relax, Dom. You're staying with me tonight, all night, no creeping off before dawn." He points a finger at me. "Don't even think about fighting me on this one. You're here already and tomorrow's Saturday. Everyone sleeps late on Saturday. Just this once, we'll make an exception."

I follow him into the bathroom and sit on the toilet while I wait for him to fill the tub. We haven't done this in a while. It's a treat we usually save for special occasions, like birthdays. When it's full Matt pulls me over and helps me in. I sigh happily as the hot water surrounds me and hold out my hands to him.

"You first."

He gets in and sits with his back to me, waiting patiently while I wash his hair and body. I love this: I love taking care of him like this, the way he trusts me - and only me - to take care of him like this.

When I'm done we swap places and now it's my turn. His long fingers massage my scalp before moving down my neck and back, washing all my worries away. Once I'm clean I start to get out of the tub but Matt's hands are on my shoulders, pushing me back down and his voice is a low growl in my ear.

"Who said you could leave? I'm not done with you yet."

What the - oh my God. His hand dips beneath the water to grip my cock and my brain shuts down as he begins to stroke me, hard and fast, just the way I like it. My body knows its master and it won't be long before I'm arching my back, crying out as I come-

But, just as I feel myself getting close he slows, almost stops. When my breathing has slowed and I've come down from my high he does it all again. And again. I have no idea how long it goes on, this wonderful torture, but I'm soon reduced to a babbling mess. I don't even know what I'm saying. Do I want him to stop or do I want him to never stop? Oh, who cares? He finally takes pity on me: he speed up his strokes again and this time he doesn't slow, doesn't stop, just keeps going, bringing me right to the edge and then over and I scream and my body surges up as I come harder than I ever have before. Spent, I collapse back into Matt's arms.

He holds me close, stroking my chest and whispering in my ear but I can't hear him over the sound of my own heartbeat. Fuck. Just when I think it can't get any better, he goes and does something like that. Nobody else could ever make me feel the way he does, nobody. Matt gets out of the tub, pulling me with him. I stand and stare at him dumbly as he grabs a towel and goes to work on me, drying me off. He leads me back to the bedroom, I crawl under the blanket and he goes back, to clean up I guess. I'm almost asleep by the time he slides in beside me again and I try to fight it off. I want to make him feel as good as he just made me feel. Any second now, I'm going to turn around and pull him to me. Yeah. Any second now...

The smell of coffee pulls me from sleep and I open my eyes to find Matt sitting on the edge of the bed, fully dressed, holding a cup under my nose. I sit up and take the cup from him. He runs his hand through my hair.

"I hated to wake you, you looked so peaceful. But Billy will be here soon, so you'd better get up."

I sip my coffee. "I'll be right down." He leaves before I can thank him for last night. No big deal, I'll just have to return the favour tomorrow night.

A week passes and life goes on much as it always does, no big dramas, nothing out of the ordinary and I begin to relax, to breathe freely again. Matt was right, it has blown over. I'm in my bedroom, putting on my shoes and getting ready for work when I hear my front door open. It has to be Matt, he's the only one who has a key to my place, for emergencies.

I yank the bedroom door open. "What is it? What's wr-"

The words dry up in my throat as the man by the door steps into the light and I see his face.

"Hello, Dominic. Long time no see." I grip the edge of the door for support as I gasp out one word:

hannah_chapter1: (Default)

Title: Shadows Part IV
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: R
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

Matt's whole body tenses up and I squeeze his shoulder, a silent warning. I know what he's thinking: he wants to go for the shotgun, which is leaning against the wall beside the bed, just within arm's reach, close enough to grab it quickly if he needs to but not close enough to cause an accident. As far as the rest of the town's concerned Matt lives alone so he keeps the gun handy, just in case there's trouble some night after closing. Well, I guess trouble finally found us but I don't think blowing Eddie's head off is going to solve anything. I feel Matt relax and I know he's gotten the message.

As for Eddie, he obviously has no idea just how close he came to being nothing but a big, red stain on the wall. He's still smiling down at us, like two men in bed together is the funniest thing he's ever seen. It probably is. "We need to talk, Dominic, so let go of your little friend, put some pants on and meet me in the bar."

Eddie leaves the bedroom and we hear him go downstairs, still giggling to himself. I get up, Matt starts to get out of bed as well and I hold up a hand.

"No, stay here. I'll take care of this." Somehow.

"I don't think you can explain this away, Dom."

I pull on my pants and shirt, don't bother with my shoes. "I know, but I have to try. What else can I do?"

I find Eddie at a table with a bottle of whiskey and two glasses. He waves a hand at them. "I hope you don't mind me helping myself, I had to do something while I waited for you boys to finish up." He smirks. "Sounded like you were having the time of your lives. I thought the ceiling was going to fall in on me."

My hands curl into fists and I force myself to take deep, calming breaths as I walk over to the table. Eddie pours me a drink but I won't take it, or sit down with him. I may have to talk to him, but nobody said I had to be polite.

If Eddie's offended by my refusal he doesn't show it. He just plays with his own glass as he looks at me. "I can't believe I didn't see it before. There was always something just a little bit off about you, Dominic. I could never quite put my finger on it, but now I know. You're one of those guys. One of nature's mistakes. Tell me something: have you ever even tried to do it with a girl? I bet you did. But you just couldn't get it up, could you?"

His words bring back shameful memories, things I thought I'd put to rest long ago. A handful of humiliating encounters, with me trying to lie to myself and be like everyone else, before I just let go and accepted what I was. Some guys like me might be able to lie to themselves, convince themselves that they're not queer, but it's something I could never do. I could fool everyone else, but never myself.

I won't rise to his bait. "Okay, you know about me, about us. And if I don't do what you want, you'll spread the news far and wide. That's it, isn't it?"

"You catch on fast, Dominic, you always did. That's it, or most of it, nine out of ten. I'm going back to New York and you're coming with me. I've got plans, big plans, and I want you by my side. Refuse and I'll spill everything I know - but you won't be the one who gets hurt."

He takes a piece of paper from his pocket and, even before he unfolds it, I know it's a newspaper clipping and I bet I can guess what it's about. I should have known this was coming. He makes a big show of reading it.

"I knew I'd seen your partner before, so I did a little digging. He looks pretty lively for a dead man." Eddie giggles. "Sounds pretty lively, too."

My whole body is trembling now and my fingernails are digging into my palms.

"Says here he killed two men, and one of them was a cop."

Eddie tuts and shakes his head. "He shouldn't have done that. Cops don't like it when you kill one of their own, they're not happy until someone's bled for it. This other guy, this Barzini, I don't think anyone cares about that. It was a long time ago and he was a crook and a sadistic fucker too, or so I heard. But killing a cop, your friend will burn for that."

Eddie stands and closes the gap between us, whispering in my ear. "Just imagine that, him strapped down in the chair at Sing Sing while you watch. Maybe they'll be nice and let you blow him one last time before they throw the switch."

Big mistake. One thing you should never, ever do is threaten Matthew Bellamy in front of me. I lose what little self-control I have left and I grab Eddie by the back of the neck and slam his face into the table-top - completely forgetting about the glasses. There's a crunch, the bottle falls and breaks and Eddie's body spasms wildly, his feet drumming on the floor, then he goes limp. There's noise from upstairs, Matt's voice, but I don't answer. I'm frozen in place, staring at the blood dripping off the table. Time slips sideways and...

I feel like I'm locked in a nightmare and there's no way out. I haven't slept in two days and every breath I take stretches the stitches in my chest. The room stinks of blood, gunpowder and human waste and the fat man on the floor is still babbling away but I ignore him, he's already told me everything I need to know. There's a large bloodstain on the table and I press my hand against it. This might be all that's left of Matt now. I left him - I left him and Tameleo's got him and he's as good as dead and this idiot has no idea what he's done. Something beside the table catches my eye: a meat cleaver, the edge stained with more of Matt's blood.

Inside I'm burning, an unholy mixture of guilt, grief and rage is boiling in my veins, but I keep the same neutral, vaguely interested expression on my face as I pick the cleaver up and stand over Paulsen again. Jesus, does he ever shut up? He's begging me now, something about taking him to a hospital, but I've had enough. I put my foot on his injured knee and press down hard. He screams and the sound is music to my ears. He made Matt scream, I'll make him scream. He hurt Matt, I'll hurt him. Paulsen stares up at me with his good eye.

"Please, Dominic, Mr. Howard, I've never done anything to you. You've got no reason to hurt me-"

"Oh, but I do. You torture the man I love, you sell him out, what did you think I was going to do?"

I let that sink in as I drop to my knees by his head. "Yeah, you heard me. I don't hate Matthew Bellamy, I love him. Do you get it now, you stupid shit? Do you see why telling me everything you just did was the biggest mistake you ever made?"

He opens his mouth to say something but I've heard all I ever want to hear from him. I grip the cleaver in both hands and raise it above my head. His scream is drowned out by mine as I bring the blade down-

Matt's voice calls me back to reality. Dressed only in pants and holding the shotgun, he's staring in disbelief at the scene before him. "You call this taking care of things? Seriously Dom, what the hell were you thinking?"

"It was an accident. He knew all about us, everything that happened in New York. He was threatening you and I lost it. But I didn't mean to kill him!"

Matt puts the gun on the bar and takes me in his arms and I relax into his embrace. This is a serious violation of the rules but it's the middle of the night, there's a dead man on a table and being caught together is the least of our worries right now. When he's sure I've calmed down Matt releases me and grab Eddie by the hair, pulling his head off the table, just to make sure he really is dead. One glass got the artery in his throat and the other went into his eye: he's dead alright. Matt drops him and wipes his hand on his pants.

He takes control of the situation and I'm happy to let him. "We can't go to the law, Dom. They'll lock you up for sure. We have to get rid of him."

"Should we bury him?"

"No, that's not good enough. He has to disappear, and I mean really disappear."

"Well, what then?"

Matt stares into space for a few seconds before snapping his fingers. "Hardy. He could help us."

"What could he do? He barely has enough sense to remember to put on pants before he comes to town."

"He has pigs, we could cut the body up and feed it to them. Pigs eat anything, he's always telling me that."

The thought of that disgusts me but Matt's right, this body can't be found. "Will he help us?"

"If I ask him to. I'll go talk to him in the morning." Matt runs his fingers through his hair.

"But right now, we've got to clean up this mess. We can wrap him in some old sheets, put him down in the cellar for the day." He takes me by the shoulders.

"Everything will be fine. Trust me. We'll deal with this and  things will go back to normal, or as normal as they ever get. You'll see."

I don't know if he really believes that or if he's just trying to make me feel better. Either way, it's not working; as I stare at the body on the table I can't shake the feeling that the bad times are just beginning.
hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part III
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

There was a time in my life when I wanted noise and crowds and excitement. But those days are long gone and now I'm happy to sit here on the front step and watch people come and go, occasionally raising a hand in greeting. I really have turned into such a boring old fart. I've been dragging crates of liquor around all morning but Matt's having one of his really good weeks with almost no pain in his leg, so I've left him and Billy to it while I take a break and enjoy the fresh air. We don't do much business during the day, just enough to stop us dying of boredom. Most of the men in town spend all day down in the mines, doing ... whatever it is they do in mines, I've never been too sure. Nights are our busy time and weekends are just insane. Matt and I never get together on Friday and Saturday nights. I barely have the energy to drag my ass into one bed, let alone two.

A man lurches into view and the street suddenly empties. Here we go again: it can only be Hardy, on his way to see Matt. Hardy is Matt's only close friend. He has a farm outside town, where he raises pigs and chickens. Most people just dismiss him as crazy and they stay away from him if they can, but things aren't that simple. He's another war veteran and whatever he went through was so terrible, Matt won't even tell me about it. I've never pushed him on that; if it's so bad that it even disturbs Matt, I don't think I want to know. People say that, before Hardy went to war, he was one of the nicest guys around. Now, whenever he comes to town, he screams abuse at anyone unlucky enough to catch his eye, an endless stream of insults, sexual suggestions and paranoid chants. Everyone's an asshole, or out to get him, or doing something disgusting in the bedroom, or all three.

Matt's the only one who understands him and is willing to spend time with him, but even he doesn't escape the abuse, with Hardy calling him "cripple" and "scarface" and referring to the two of us as "the queers who run the bar." He also refers to the sweet old lady who teaches Sunday school, a woman who's probably never had an impure thought in her life as "the Whore of Babylon" and "a champion cocksucker" so we don't take much notice. We either ignore him or play along and today is no exception. He starts in on me before he even gets close.

"Hiya Blondie, you look tired. Been fucking each other in the ass all night again?"

No, not last night, but I go along with it. "At least we don't screw farmyard animals. And what have I told you about spying on us? If you want to watch then you have to pay."

He snorts at that and goes inside. There goes all our business: the second he goes in, the five customers inside come out, followed by Billy. I can hear Hardy shouting at Matt as Billy joins me on the step. Billy's worked for us for about six years. If things had gone the way they should, he'd be down in the mines right now, working alongside his father and uncles, but he's got weak lungs. He can't handle the air down there, so we took him on. We've never regretted it, he's a good worker, only going home sick when he really needs to. I think today might be one of those times; I can hear his breath rattling in his chest as he sits beside me.

"Why don't you go home Billy, have a rest, come back tonight if you feel up to it."

He wants to take me up on it, that much is obvious, but he makes a token protest. "Are you sure, Mr. Howard? I could stay if you need me to."

"No need. There isn't enough work for three people today. Hell, there isn't enough for one, especially now."

Billy turns his head and looks inside. We can both hear Hardy, still ranting away, and the soft murmur of Matt's voice. It's enough for Billy.

"Thanks, Mr. Howard." I wish I could get him to call me Dom, or even Dominic, but he just won't do it. Even after all this time, Matt and I are still Mr. Howard and Mr. Bellamy to him.

I could go back inside but there's really no point, so I stay where I am. It takes about almost two hours for Hardy to get bored and go in search of someone else to annoy. His foot collides with the small of my back as he comes out and, when he's halfway up the street, he turns and shouts something at me. I don't catch all of it, something about my mother, a whorehouse in New Orleans and the best blowjob he ever had.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Now he's gone, we might get some business. As I'm brushing dirt from the back of my pants I hear someone calling me. The man approaching me isn't a local, but there is something familiar about him. Then I recognise him: Eddie Considine, a face from the old days, and I mean the really old days, when I was still with my father. There were only a couple of guys Dad would consider friends and this is one of them. We teamed up with him a few times and he's probably the closest thing I've got to an uncle.

I don't know what he wants or how he even found me, but I have a bad feeling about this. He claps me on the back as he draws level with me. "Dominic Howard! I don't believe it! My piece of shit car dies on me, I walk in here, looking for someone to take a look at it or give me a ride to the railway station and I find you here. What are the odds?"

Pretty low I'd say, but maybe this is all just a coincidence. Maybe. He looks me up and down and grins. "Look at you, all grown up. You were just a kid the last time I saw you. What were you then, sixteen, seventeen, something like that?"

"I think I was sixteen, I don't exactly remember." And I dont care. Please, just go away, get out of my life, leave me in peace. But I'm fooling myself if I think that's going to happen. I'm going to have to explain myself, so I invite him into the bar and make the introductions, referring to Matt as my business partner, explaining how we run this place together.

Matt clearly isn't sure how to act around Eddie, so he plays it safe, going for aggression. "What he means is, I run this place while he drinks and gambles and chases women." I shoot Matt a dirty look as I go to get Eddie a drink.

"Ignore him. He never gets laid, so he thinks nobody else should be allowed to. Everyone should be miserable, just like him. Seriously Matt, why don't you lighten up a bit? Try smiling once in a while. Give your face a party." Matt curses me out before storming into the back. I join Eddie at one of the tables and he leans back in his chair, pretending to admire the bar. He doesn't fool me though, not for a second. He's looking for stuff to steal, it's second nature to him, just like it is to me. Even now, after so many years on the straight and narrow, I spend the first couple of minutes in a new place checking it out, looking for small things I can slip into my pocket without anyone noticing.

I know what he's doing and he knows I know, so I get right to the point. "Please don't steal anything while you're here, Eddie. I know it's hard, but try and control yourself."

He looks hurt. "I'd never steal from you, Dominic. Come on, you're practically family."

"Yeah, and I know my own kind, so just behave. But since we're talking about family, have you seen my Dad lately, or heard from him?"

Eddie frowns. "You don't know?"

I shake my head.

"I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, Dominic, but your father died three years ago."

I'm not sure what to say. I haven't seen the man in so long and there was always a chance that he'd died somewhere long the line, but I never knew for sure. I grab Eddie's glass and take a drink myself, I think I need it.

"How did it happen?"

"He got himself stabbed in a bar brawl, fighting over a girl. You know what he was like, he'd flip over anything pretty in a skirt." Eddie winks at me. "From the sound of things, I guess you're the same way. He'd be proud."

Yeah, well, I've put a lot of time and effort into making people think that. In some ways, having Dad as an example made it easier. All I've ever had to do is act like him. If you can fake the attitude you're halfway there. Eddie finishes his drink.

"It's great to see you, Dominic, it really is, but I can't stick around. I've got to get to New York." Oh, thank God.

"Is there anybody around here who'd drive me to the station?"

"I'll take you myself, just let me tell Matt where I'm going." I go behind the bar and call to Matt, telling him I'm going out. He says something in reply but I don't really hear it. It would be easier to go back there and talk to him, but I'm not turning my back on Eddie. If I leave this room he'll be ass-deep in the cash register.

"So what's the scam?" We're sitting on a bench, waiting for the train. He spent the whole journey talking about the good old days, so I knew this was coming.

"There is no scam, I've just given up the life. I'm working for a living now and that's all there is to it."

"I don't believe you. Will Howard's son does not waste his life running a shitty little bar in a shitty little town."

I tense up and he apologizes. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult your business. It's a very nice little bar. A nice little bar in a shitty little town." He puts a hand on my shoulder and leans in. "Come to New York with me, Dominic. We'll pull some jobs, have some fun, leave all this boring shit behind. Come on, you know you want to. You know you'll always be crooked. It's in your blood, there's nothing else for you. This little act of yours is all well and good, but you'll never change, not deep down inside, not where it really counts. I know you, I know you better than you know yourself."

I peel his hand off my shoulder. "You know nothing about me." But, as I turn my back on him and walk back to the car, I find myself thinking about what he said. What if he's right?

"Do you know where he's buried? You could go visit the grave. I'd go with you." I love this man so much. It's just over a week since Eddie rolled in and dropped his bomb and I still haven't recovered. I've been edgy and distant with Matt while I try and sort out all the shit in my head, but he hasn't complained. This is something he could never understand, but he's trying so hard and I love him for it. Let's face it, if Matt heard his father had died he'd go and piss on the grave and, knowing what I know about the man, I'd be right there with Matt. Ignorant prick of a man who turned his back on his son just when he needed him the most, and all for no good reason. Matt jumped at the chance to go to war and that went against the Puritanical old shit's moral code or something, but here's the thing: Matt was young and he was healthy and he would have been drafted anyway.

I pull my mind back to the present. We're in the kitchen behind the bar, so holding his hand or anything like that is completely out, so I just answer the question. "No, and even if I did, I don't think I'd want to go. I want to remember him the way he was, not as a name on a stone." I stop for a minute, trying to find a way to put what I'm feeling into words. "I'll be alright, really, I will. But hearing this after so many years, having Eddie turn up, reminding me of the old days, it's just a lot to take in, you know?" Matt smiles in understanding and I finally spit it out, the thing that's really been eating me up. "Eddie said I'd never really change, that I'll always be a crook and, sooner or later, I'll fall back on old habits. But I've tried so hard to be better, Matt. I don't want to go back to the way I was."

Matt speaks softly, but his voice crackles with emotion and his eyes never leave mine. "He doesn't run your life, you live it whatever way you want to. Who the hell does this guy think he is? He just shows up one day, takes one quick look around and he thinks he knows you? Fuck him." He falls silent and I think we're done, but then he continues. "I always knew what you were, Dom, and I never cared. We made some stupid mistakes and I wish we'd done some things differently, but I don't regret a single second of the time we've spent together. And if you'd stuck to your old ways, even after everything that happened, I wouldn't have left you. But you have changed, Dom, you've changed so much and I am so proud of you. I know it wasn't easy."

His voice becomes even softer. "You might find this hard to believe, Dom, but you were never that bad, even in the beginning. If you were, you would have just used me and thrown me away when you got bored. You could have taken the money and left me to die."

The very idea drives me crazy and I slam my fist down on the table. "I would never do that to you!"

Matt laughs, delighted with my reaction. "See? Not so bad." He gets up and goes out to the front of the bar, giving my shoulder a friendly squeeze on the way, the closest he can come to a gesture of affection while we're down here. For the first time in days, I feel like myself. He always knows how to make it right.

Two nights later I'm lying with my head on Matt's chest, listening to his heartbeat slow as he falls asleep. I'm almost asleep myself when the bedroom door crashes open, the main light comes on and Eddie's voice fills the room. "Look at you two! Don't you just look so sweet together." Shit. Naked and wrapped around each other, there's no way we can talk our way out of this. What the fuck are we going to do?
hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part II
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

"Remember everything I taught you. Make your old man proud." Those were the last words my father said to me. I was eighteen then, striking out on my own, and I spent the next twelve years living up to his expectations - or trying to. But I knew I never could, I knew I'd never be the man he wanted me to be.

My father was all I had. I never knew my mother; she ran away from home to be with my father and died bringing me into the world, all done at the age of sixteen. Dad was only seventeen, still a kid himself. He kept me, and he was always pretty open about this, because a baby makes a good prop. My first memories are of people playing with me and declaring me the cutest thing ever while Dad milked the "honest man trying to make a living and raise his son" angle and stole the eyes right out of their heads. I was a diversion when he wanted to seperate people from their valuables and I was also the bait he used to lure women to his bed. Some girls just can't seem to resist a guy with a kid.

This didn't make him a bad father, though. He used me, sure, but that doesn't mean he didn't love me in his own strange way. I always had clothes on my back, I never went hungry and I even got an education - kind of.  I didn't go to school but Dad made sure I could read and write and even taught me book keeping. He preferred to work alone if he could but, every now and then, he'd team up with other crooks. Lock pickers, forgers, card sharps, anyone with a skill he thought I should have. Dad taught me everything he knew - how to pick pockets, to melt into crowds, how to break into a place and back out without leaving a trace, all that and so much more - and he made sure all his partners did the same. He wanted me to be a master thief and ladies man, just like he was.

That's where it all fell down. Ladies man? Me? What a joke. The most beautiful girl in the world could run at me naked and ... nothing. Not a twitch from down below. But if I saw a guy I liked the look of, I'd have to slam my dick against the edge of a door to make the damn thing go down. I was fourteen when I realized I leaned the other way and I spent four years trying to keep it from my father. He could never understand or accept it, but I never held that against him. His mind just didn't work that way. Real men fuck women and that's it. It's not like this set him apart from everyone else. But it got harder and harder to pretend to be something I wasn't, so I decided to go my own way. There were no hard feelings. Dad just clapped me on the back, wished me luck and sent me on my way. I haven't seen him since but I like to think he's still out there somewhere, stealing everything that isn't nailed down.

I've got to hand it to him, the man taught me well: more than a decade on my own and I was never caught. I lied and cheated and stole my way across the country and no cop so much as looked at me twice. By the time I got to New York, a city just made for a crook like me, I thought I was invincible. I'd never been caught, so I thought I never would be; I'd never lose, I could even take on someone like Anthony Barzini and still come out on top.

Now there was a situation doomed from the start. There was no love between us, just two selfish bastards using each other. He got a nasty little thrill from doing something he shouldn't and I was - at first, anyway - flattered by the attention. It soon went sour. The look on his face and the way he could never wait to get away from me, that was the worst, but it wasn't the only thing. He had to keep warning me to keep my mouth shut about us - like I really had to be told - and worrying about what would happen to him if anyone found out. Not what would happen to us, just him. He kept insisting he wasn't queer but really, who was he trying to fool? Then there were the times I'd come into his office for some reason and find him holding court, entertaining his friends. Suddenly, with me right there in the room, he'd start making jokes about homos and fairies and talking about how guys like that should have their cocks cut off and fed to them.

Enough hate eventually built up and I decided to strike back. Barzini loved the sound of his own voice, he told me a lot of things he shouldn't and I decided to use that against him. I dropped out of sight, only reappearing long enough to spill a secret or two, just enough to make him sweat. I loved the idea of Barzini going crazy over me but not daring to do anything about it. I knew he wouldn't send any of his own men after me, too afraid of what I might say to them. It was a fine game and I had everything under control, or so I thought; then he sent Matthew Bellamy after me and everything changed.

I think I fell in love with Matt the second I laid eyes on him. He was beautiful and he was lonely and I wanted him more than I'd ever wanted anyone. He was special: it's hard to explain, but it's like something in him called to something in me. I wanted to care for him and give him all the love he'd never had. And, for the first time in my life, I'd found someone who saw me, all of me, the good and the bad, and still wanted to be with me. But I almost wrecked everything. I was such an arrogant little prick and I thought I could get away with anything. Rip off Barzini and skip town before he knew what hit him? Easy, I could do it in my sleep - except I couldn't. I fucked up, which was bad enough, but then I almost got Matt killed. The best thing that ever happened to me and, even now, the thought of how close I came to losing him makes me sick.

That was the end for me. No more stealing, no more cheating. Fuck all that - time to live an honest life. It wasn't easy: I'd walk into a store or through a crowd of people and I swear my hands used to itch and I'd have to shove them deep into my own pockets to stop myself. But I kept going and, if I was ever tempted to fall back on old habits, all I had to do was look at Matt to see where that shit would lead.

Losing a finger was bad enough, but his leg turned out to be the real problem. That stupid bastard Paulsen - he chipped the bone when he dug the bullet out and it never healed right. The doctor actually wanted to cut Matt's leg off at the knee, he said it would be less painful in the long run. I still think he just wanted revenge, since Matt had tried to strangle him. Either way, I knew Matt would never forgive me if I let that happen, so the leg stayed on and now he walks with a limp. It's not too bad most of the time, but if we get a couple of weeks of really damp weather he has to use a cane and sometimes the leg jams up and he can't walk at all. He has to lie down with a hot flannel wrapped around it, waiting for the pain to go away.

We spent two years drifting around, travelling, seeing the country and just enjoying each other. At the end of all that we were ready to settle down and make a life together. We'd had enough of cities and we found ourselves in Salvation, a small mining town in Pennsylvania. The guy who ran the town's one bar wanted to retire and sell the business. Even though we didn't know the first thing about running a bar, we decided to give it a try. Prohibition was still in force back then - it was only repealed three years ago - but in a place like this, nobody ever cared. The sheriff, faced with a choice between upholding the law and having his office burned down by a bunch of seriously pissed off miners or turning a blind eye, went with the second option. All he asked was that we kept control of our customers and didn't let trouble spill out into the street.

To our surprise, we fit right in here. It's funny, but being scarred the way he is means Matt gets respect. He takes no shit: he'll happily take the shotgun from behind the bar and crack a rowdy patron over the head with it and everyone knows it. As for me, I've charmed the locals, flirting with the ladies and letting the men beat me at poker. They say everyone loves a winner but that's bullshit. People hate a winner, what they love is someone who loses and does it with a smile. God help me, I even go to church on Sundays. But nothing could make Matt go near a church and, considering the way he was raised, I can't say I blame him.

Obviously, in a place like this, there's no way we can live together, not without attracting all kinds of attention. Matt stays at the bar and I rent a place of my own. We have our rules. No touching, no affection in public. We only get together in Matt's room, we limit it to three, maybe four nights a week and I never stay the full night. I'm always gone before the sun starts to rise and the miners start their working day. And, just to be safe, I've gained a reputation as a ladies man, flirting with all the single girls and making frequent trips to the brothel two towns over. We have a nice arrangement: I pay them well and they tell everyone about Mr. Howard, their favourite customer. All the girls love me because going with me means they get to take a break and still get paid for it. I'm not going to turn nasty and try to hurt them, I never actually lay a finger on them. Then there are the fights, which we stage a couple of times a month. They entertain the customers and help us keep our cover. Sometimes they aren't fake - we love each other, but that doesn't mean we still don't piss each other off from time to time. Like I said, it's a screwed-up life but it's our life and we're happy. But nothing good lasts forever, as we're about to find out.

hannah_chapter1: (Default)
Title: Shadows Part I
Author: hannah_chapter
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. Sequel to Temptation. Dom's POV. Ten years have passed and Dom and Matt have made a life together. But when his past comes back to haunt him, how far will Dom go to keep Matt safe?
Feedback: Always welcome.
Disclaimer: Oh so very, very fake.

Author's Notes: I was a bit vague about ages and actual timeframes in Temptation so, just to clarify: Matt was 21 in 1918 and Temptation took place in 1926, making him 29, and this story takes place in 1936. Actual birthdays and age gaps are the same as in RL, making Dom about half a year older than Matt.

A chair flies at my head, I duck just in time and it smashes into the wall above me. I straighten up and stare at Matt in shock. He threw a fucking chair at me! I can't believe he just did that. We've been standing in the bar we own and arguing for the better part of an hour, in full view of our customers and our assistant, Billy. It started, as it so often does, with Matt accusing me of being useless and lazy, wasting good money on gambling and whores and leaving him to do all the work.

There was no way I was going to let all that pass and the fight's been raging ever since. But that chair thing, that was the last fucking straw. I rush at him, planning to try and see how many times I can smack his head into the bar before it splits right in two. Before I can even begin to get close a couple of guys, having finally decided enough is enough, grab me and push me towards the door, trying to get me to cool off.

Matt doesn't even flinch, he just stands with his hands on his hips, pouring on the insults. Okay, I've had enough of this shit. I go limp, they let me go and I storm out, only stopping long enough to tell Matt to fuck himself and to hope he falls down the stairs and breaks his neck. Then I'm gone. Lots of people see me as I head to my place on the edge of town, red-faced and loudly cursing my prick of a business partner. But not a single person sees me, three hours later, as I creep back to the bar, let myself in and go upstairs. The bedroom door opens suddenly and Matt is there, smiling happily. "I thought that went quite well, don't you?" I don't get a chance to agree before he pulls me into the room and fuses our lips together.

The alarm goes off far too soon. I slam it off and fumble with the lamp. Matt groans and rolls over, wrapping me up in his arms again. "Don't go. Stay just a little longer, Dom. Please?" I turn in his arms and kiss the tip of his nose before sliding reluctantly out of his embrace. Much as I'd love to, I can't stay and we both know it. Where the hell did my pants go? I finally find them, balled up and flung under the bed.

Matt lies on his side, watching me through half-closed eyes as I pull them on and find the rest of my clothes. "Sorry about the chair. I guess I got carried away."

"It's alright, just don't make it a regular thing. I know we want these fights to look real, but there's no need to wreck the place." I don't get an answer and, when I look up, I see he's fallen asleep again. I press another quick kiss to the top of his head, turn out the light and tiptoe out of the room.

It's still dark when I get back to my place. I kick off my shoes and crawl into bed without bothering to take my clothes off. I don't wake up until noon and it's a good hour before I stumble back up the street, trying to look as hungover and pissed off as I can. Most of the guys who saw our little dust-up last night are probably down the mines right now but word gets around, especially in a town as small as this, and there are still a few people standing around and grinning as I start kicking the door and screaming for Matt to get his ass out of bed and let me in.

The upstairs window opens and I take a step back so I can look up. Here we go: Matt doesn't waste any time, just gets right to it. "Fuck off and crawl right back into whatever gutter you spent the night in! If you're too stupid to remember where you left your keys you can stay out there! It's no more than you deserve for prancing out of here and sticking me and Billy with the clean-up! Again!"

"You let me in right now or I swear to God, I'll burn this fucking place to the ground with you inside it!"

"You own half this place, you fucking idiot!"

"So I'll burn your half!" And so it goes, slinging obscenities back and forth until Matt runs out of steam and agrees to let me in. He doesn't even get the door half open before I'm shoving past him and calling him a slow, crippled son of a bitch. Once the door is safely shut behind us we drop the act - but not all the way. I'd love to jump on him and kiss him until he can't breathe, but that would be against the rules. No affection in any kind of public place, not even a place we own. That stays in the bedroom. We content ourselves with exchanging small smiles before getting to work. There's no doubt about it, we are leading one seriously screwed up life. But I wouldn't have it any other way.


hannah_chapter1: (Default)

August 2016

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