Summary: AU. Matt's a private investigator in Prohibition Era New York and Dom, well, he's nothing but trouble.
Feedback: Always welcome
Disclaimer: Fake, fake, FAKE I TELLS YA!
Warning: Strong violence.
Here it is, the final chapter. Huge hugs and thanks to everyone who read and commented and stuck with it to the end, even when it all went a bit mental.
Why is he being so gentle? This is the question going through my mind as Tameleo helps me out of Pauly's and places me in the back seat of his own car. Dragging me by the hair, maybe stopping every now and then to kick or spit on me, now that's the kind of behaviour I could understand. All this care and consideration is very strange. He's even let me have the seat all to myself, sitting up front with his driver.
Like I say, he's acting weird, but this gives me a little bit of hope. He won't let me go, obviously, but he might at least make it quick. One bullet to the head and I can rest. Don't get me wrong; I don't want to die. But there isn't a single inch of me that doesn't hurt right now and if death is the only way to stop the pain, then so be it. We all have to go sometime and I have no regrets. It was worth it. He was worth it. He ripped my dull little world apart and he showed me more love in a month than I've had in my whole, miserable life. At least I'll die for a reason, I'll die to keep him safe. My life for his: it's a fair trade.
The car stops, the door opens and Tameleo and his driver are there, pulling me out and laying me on the ground. I can hear water and a bell somewhere off in the distance. We must be at the docks. That's the way it's going to be - shot and dumped in the water. Oh well, I can think of worse ways to go. I just wish Pauly hadn't fucked up my leg so bad. I'd prefer to die on my feet. Tameleo pulls his gun out again.
"You know what happens now, right?"
I nod and get ready. But then the world as I know it tilts on its side as Tameleo wheels around and shoots his driver through the heart.
What. The. FUCK!?!
Tameleo puts his gun away and when he speaks, his voice is soft. "I don't think you want to see this. You should look away."
He goes over to the body and begins to kick it in the face, destroying it completely. He's right, I don't want to see this. But I can still hear, even wrapping my arms around my head doesn't quite muffle the sound of his foot as it impacts on soft flesh. When he's done he comes and sits beside me. Just what the fuck is he playing at? He doesn't keep me in the dark for long.
"Listen carefully Mr. Bellamy, and don't interrupt. You're dead. I just killed you. That's your body over there. Same height, same build, same hair colour. As far as the rest of the world's concerned, that's you."
I look over at the dead man, trying not to look at the face. There isn't much light, so I'll have to trust Tameleo when he says this guy could pass for me. It doesn't make me feel any better, though. That poor bastard, he never did anything to me. Does he have a family, people who'll miss him? I guess I'll never know.
Tameleo goes on. "When you took out Barzini you left a pretty big hole in our organization. I have to prove I'm the right man to fill it. Finding you and taking care of you personally should do it. I'm going to leave this body in a very public place, just so everyone can see what happens to anyone stupid enough to fuck with us. I have to send a very clear message. But I'm going to have to mark the damn thing up a bit more first. That dimwit Paulsen just couldn't leave well enough alone, could he?"
There must be a catch somewhere, he can't be letting me go. "I don't get it. Why not just kill me? Quicker and easier for you and besides, Barzini was your boss."
"Oh, he was much more than that and if you'd done this four years ago, there's no way we'd even be talking. I'd have gutted you and hung you on a meathook by now. I've known Barzini all my life. We grew up together, went to war together. He wasn't just my boss, he was my friend. That's what I thought, anyway. But friends don't do this."
He pulls his gloves off and holds up his hands, the light from the car's lamps bouncing off them, and now I know why he wears them. Someone has carved the letter B into the back of each hand. No, not carved. Branded? Tameleo reads my mind.
"Hot knives, that's how he did it. He thought I was getting too smart, questioning his decisions, daring to contradict him. We were supposed to be friends, who else was going to talk straight to him? But he didn't see it that way, so he decided to put me in my place. He chained me down and marked me while I cried and screamed and pissed myself. He humiliated me and I swore I'd see him dead for it. If there was any way I could have killed him without drawing attention to myself, I'd have done it."
The gloves go back on. "You did me a favour, even if you didn't know it, and I always pay what I owe. I've done everything I could for you: I let you walk out of our place when I could have broken your arm and shoved your gun up your ass anytime I felt like it. Everyone expected me to come after you, it was the right thing to do, so I had to go through the motions. I put a price on your head and I sent a couple of guys to wreck your place, just to be safe. But if I really wanted you, I would have told them to wait there, just in case you actually were stupid enough to go back. You should have run, like I told you to."
Tameleo gets up and picks up the body, tossing it into the car. "We're done. Get out of the city, Mr. Bellamy. Live a long and happy life, as far from New York as you can. Never come back here: if you do, we'll have to do this for real." He gets in his car and drives away, leaving me alone.
Live a long life, he says. Fat chance. I can't walk, I can't even summon enough energy to crawl. It's all too much. I've been beaten, cut, shot and damn near drowned and I just can't do it anymore. It's a cold night, I'm only wearing a thin shirt and pants and I cannot stop shivering. The colour starts to wash in and out of the world, so I shut my eyes and wait for the end. It can't come quickly enough. Time loses all meaning and I have no idea how long I lie here before I hear the screech of tires. Has Tameleo come back? Has he changed his mind? I really hope so. Please, someone put me out of my misery. Hands turn me onto my back and I open my eyes but something has gone seriously wrong with my vision and I can't focus. I'm dimly aware of being wrapped in something warm and lifted before the darkness takes me.
When I come to I'm lying on something soft. My eyes still aren't working the way they should: all I see is grey. Then a dark shape looms over me and starts prodding me. Enough! I've had enough of people touching me, hurting me, tossing me around like a fucking rag doll. No more! Adrenalin whips through me and I lunge forward, grabbing the shape by the throat and squeezing with what little strength I have left. More hands on me, trying to pull me away and I lash out, feeling my elbow connect with something soft. I hear a pained grunt and the hands disappear for a few seconds before returning. There's a voice in my ear now: I can't make out the words or put a name to it, even though it's familiar. But it calms me and I relax my grip and let them do what they want. I'm pushed back down, something stings my arm and everything goes black and stays that way for a long time.
Okay, if this is the afterlife, it's really, really boring. No fluffy clouds or fire and brimstone, just a ceiling. I'm lying on a bed with a towel wrapped around my waist and I'm staring at a ceiling. There's movement to my left, I turn my head to find Dom sitting on a chair beside my bed. He smiles down at me.
That's it, I really have gone crazy. "This isn't happening. You can't be here. I must be dead. Dead or dreaming."
"Trust me, Matt. You're not dead and this is no dream." He takes my hand and runs it over the stubble on his face. "Does that feel like a dream? How about this?"
He opens his shirt and presses my hand to the cut on his chest.
"Is this real enough for you?"
I can feel stitches beneath my fingertips. Okay, this is real. Dom squeezes my hand between both of his, being careful of the stump. "You came back for me. Did you really think I wouldn't do the same for you?"
"How did you find me?"
"I almost didn't. I went to the hospital, told them I'd been in a fight, got myself sewn up. But it was two days before I could get out and start looking for you. It was like you'd just fallen off the edge of the world. Nobody knew a thing: lots of rumours flying around, never any truth to them. Paulsen was my last shot. You hated each other, if anyone had some real news about you, good or bad, it was him. I found him lying in a pool of his own blood and shit and he told me everything. I knew Tameleo would take you to the docks, it's his favourite dumping ground, but I was too late. Or I should have been. Why didn't he kill you?"
"It's a long story." And I don't feel like going through it now. "Paulsen's still alive?"
"No." All the life drains out of his face and his hands tighten on mine.
"Dom, what did you do?"
He won't look at me. "Here's a funny thing: the last time you smacked him around you were looking for me. He thought there was bad blood between us and, if he told me what he'd done to you, it would win me over and I'd take him to a hospital. Bastard." Now he looks at me and his eyes burn with hate.
"He hurt you and I killed him for it. I took the meat cleaver he used on you and I split his face right in two. And I'm glad I did it. The only thing I regret is not having the time to hurt him the way he hurt you."
I'm not sure how to react to that. I should be happy, I guess, after everything Pauly put me through. But it all seems so far in the past, like it happened a hundred years ago. Dom gets up and goes to a table by the window and stands looking out, pulling himself back together. He comes back with a glass of water in his hand and it's only then I realise how thirsty I am. He helps me sit up, holds the glass to my lips and takes it away far too soon for my liking. I whine in protest and try to grab it back but he holds it out of my reach.
"You can have more in a couple of minutes. Too much too soon and you'll just bring it back up. I could do without you puking all over me again."
Dom goes to set the glass on the floor by the bed and, as he does, I notice the fading bruises around his eye. I try to think back to that last desperate fight in Barzini's office. I don't think he got hit in the eye, but I could be wrong.
"What happened to your eye?" Now something comes back to me, a vague memory of hitting someone with my elbow. "It was me, wasn't it?"
"It's not your fault, Matt. You had a fever, you didn't know what you were doing. The doctor's the one you should be apologizing to. You damn near choked the life out of him before I could pull you away."
Dom scratches his chest. "I have to go see him in a couple of days, get him to check these stitches. If I can persuade him to come back and see you, do you promise not to try and kill him this time?"
I promise and I'm rewarded with more water. Questions, I have so many questions.
"Where are we?"
Dom looks vague. "I'm not sure. Out of New York, as far as I could drive before I had to stop and find you a doctor. I didn't really get a chance to read the signs along the way."
"How long have we been here?"
"Almost two weeks."
Shit, I don't remember anything. Time for an important question. "Did you get the money? Please say yes, tell me we didn't go through all that for nothing."
"I got it: putting the stuff back in the desk was where it all went wrong. Everything leading up to that was perfect."
At least something went right. For every question he answers I have a dozen more. But one looms large over all the others.
"Dom, why am I wearing a towel?"
"Made things easier. If I could wake you up enough to eat some soup and take your pills I was doing well. Getting you to the bathroom and back was too much for me. Easier to just clean you up and keep changing the towel."
His words pull me two ways. On the one hand, I'm ashamed of how I've lain here for two weeks, messing myself like a baby. On the other, the way he's taken care of me, the proof of how much he loves me makes me want to cry. I feel a lump rising in my throat but Dom quickly lightens the mood.
"Of course, now you're back in the land in the living, I expect you to get off your ass and go to the bathroom like a normal person. Don't think you can lie there and expect me to wipe you forever. I love you Matt, but love has its limits."
"All this lying around was getting boring anyway."
He holds his hands out to me. "Why don't we start now. We could get you cleaned and dressed and try and take a walk outside, see how your leg is doing. How does that sound?"
"Sounds good." I take his hands in mine. "You'll catch me if I fall?"
Dom smiles as he pulls me to my feet, a smile that lights up his whole face.
Okay, that's the end of the whole thing, but I am planning a sequel, if anyone's interested. Oh, and can someone explain how to do journal cuts to me, so that all that comes up is chapter one, chapter two, instead of the whole link. I really can be so stupid about certain things and the front page of my posts always looks so messy. Cheers. Thanks for reading!