Title: "house of horrors"
Author: monimala
E-mail:mala@malisita.com
Fandom: The 4400.
Rating/Classification: Shawn/Jordan, Shawn/Liv, second person pov, adult language, sexual situations, angst, slash.
Summary: Spoilers for 2.5, "As Fate Would Have It," the July 10 episode. His hands do everything they're supposed to.

You sign stacks and stacks of papers. Contracts, affidavits, thank-you notes. You crumple cards that come with flowers all ready wilting and going brown. You shake hands and pat shoulders and hand tissues to the assistants trying to hide their sniffles when you walk past. You button your shirts, tie your shoes. You wipe your ass. You find a spare five minutes to jerk off and it's like being thirteen again with a porn mag and a cigarette that Kyle stole off a high school kid. Mechanical. Some flat, glossy, vision before your eyes as your body does what it needs to.

Your hands do all the things they're supposed to.

Except one.

You stare down at the fine network of lines on your palms. A gypsy at a carnival once said you had a long lifeline and would find a great love. Typical bullshit they tell you for five bucks and you were nine and thought the whole thing was dumb and gross. Mom took you and Danny to the house of horrors next and you ran screaming through it with your eyes closed...thinking the monsters wouldn't catch you if you couldn't see them. What would happen if you ran through the Center? Eyes shut tight. Screaming at the top of your lungs. The monster would still catch you, that's what.

Jordan would still be dead.

The gypsy never said you would lose him.

That's what you get for five bucks. Half the story. Mumbo jumbo. An abduction and quarantine and Nikki's warm body underneath you and nearly killing your baby brother and running and running and finding the one place where you could stop...and fingers that can't do enough.

You can't heal the world. You've said it so many times that you're thinking of removing the words from your vocabulary. There's probably a 4400 out there who can do it. You can find him or her. Piece of cake with the Center's resources. And maybe they can take out your memories, too. All those times, bolting down the stairs and cradling him in your arms. Feeling the jolt course through you as you healed him. Checking to see if anyone was watching—and they all learned early to quit staring—before you kissed him on the forehead and whispered, "it's okay, I'm here" like your mom used to when you were sick. Instead of ginger ale and crackers, you nursed him on champagne and your shoulder blades. And you never sang him to sleep.

You pleaded with him. You begged. Don't do this. Don't go out there. Don't *die*. But you couldn't stop him. You couldn't save him.

You never wanted to heal the world. Just him.

Apparently that was too much.

You zip up your pants, fasten the button, don't even look at Liv as you slide on your watch. She was grateful in bed. Eager. She touched you all over and didn't seem to notice that you kept your palms flat on the bedspread. She didn't notice that you closed your eyes and screamed and screamed and screamed. You clutched the sheets, tore through to the mattress, and pretended that somewhere down there in the coils it was you beneath Jordan. Beard burn and bruises and him promising "I'll never leave you."

He lied.

He was good at that. Wrapping lies in spin and multi-syllable words and his cock.

Jordan would tell Liv to be gone by the time he gets back. He would have somebody come and burn the sheets, put down another set of Egyptian cotton. No, silk. He had a major thing for silk.

You don't say anything. You flick on the lights, letting the glare do the talking, and slam the door shut on your way out. The halls are dark, the floor cool under your bare feet. It's still there, in the antechamber by the auditorium. You ordered them..."Don't fucking touch it. Don't you DARE touch it." The lid is still open. You think you can see the imprint of his body there, the outline. The silk lining is cool, though, like no one was ever there.

Maybe they got him again. Maybe he's there, in the future. Maybe they'll drop him back tomorrow, next week, next month, a year from now. With a new vision. The real deal. No fake fortune tellers in costume jewelry. *You have a long lifeline. You'll find a great love.*

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

It still smells like his cologne. You dabbed it behind his ear before you knotted his tie. That was his spot. You could lick him there and he would forget his first key trophy girls and his meetings and his photo ops. You know this is pretty sick and twisted. You know full well they're whispering that you're off your nut but they fear you now just like they feared him and they won't say it to your face. You know a lot of things these days. Things you never wanted to know. You know joy. And you know loss.

You pull the lid down over yourself, leaving just a few inches for air. And you sleep. For a while.

And in the morning...

You sign stacks and stacks of papers. Contracts, affidavits, thank-you notes. You crumple cards that come with flowers all ready wilting and going brown. You shake hands and pat shoulders and hand tissues to the assistants trying to hide their sniffles when you walk past. You button your shirts, tie your shoes. You wipe your ass. You find a spare five minutes to jerk off and it's like being thirteen again with a porn mag and a cigarette that Kyle stole off a high school kid. Mechanical. Some flat, glossy, vision before your eyes as your body does what it needs to.

Survive.

Alone.

Liv brings in your coffee, bright and hopeful and clean. You'll burn the sheets tomorrow. Or next week. Sometime around Tuesday. "Shawn..." she starts up.

"Don't worry," you murmur, cutting her off. You smile, tracing your index finger around the rim of the mug, wiping away the steam and the foam. "I'll never leave you."

--end--

July 12, 2005.



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