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Changing Suits - Club

by G Richmond

Story: Changing Suits

Chapter: 02. Club

Status: Final Draft

Author: G. Richmond

Warnings: Mild slash, angst

Feedback levels: UP TO LEVEL 1

Feedback requests: None

Author's notes: None


Three weeks.

That was all it took for Face to move on.

Murdock would have punched him, and hard, if he had had the presence of mind. But the shock was so great it froze him in his steps.

Face didn't even see him. He was across the street from the pilot, walking arm-in-arm with some pretty brunette and laughing. Laughing so naturally, like the past 6 years had never happened. Like they had never been together Like the pilot had never made an impact on his life. Like Murdock had never even existed.

And he looked so impeccable as always; nice suit, meticulously combed hair, clean shaven. Perfectly matching the vacuous model on his arm in her small black dress and too-high heels, and perfect makeup that made it look like she had just crawled off the cover of a fashion magazine. It probably wasn't too far from the truth either. Templeton Peck was back on form.

Murdock hadn't been able to move on quite as quickly. In fact, even if Face had chosen to look across the street and caught his eye, he probably would have had to do a double-take. The pilot's usual confident stride was hunched and purposeless, his clothes were wrinkled and hung lifelessly like he had slept in them more than once, and he hadn't seen the better side of a brush or a razor in weeks.

Face was out of sight before Murdock recovered, and he was beginning to draw stares before he finally came round and did an about-face, pacing back the way he had come. He was supposed to be buying groceries, the food back home had long gone off, but he couldn't even think of that now. His mind was in turmoil, and he just wanted to be back behind closed doors. He was already so close to crying he barely got the door open before breaking down, just getting it closed before curling up with his forehead on his knees.

This was all Face's fault. They could have made it work, Murdock was sure of it. If Face had only given him some warning he would have made more of an effort, would have fixed everything that was wrong. They could have gone out for meals, bought stupid presents, done all the things they used to do when they had first started dating. When they still had to climb out the hotel windows and down the fire escapes to get some time alone so BA and Hannibal wouldn't catch on.

And BA, Hannibal and Frankie weren't without blame in Murdock's mind. The pilot had spent enough time in psychiatric wards to know he was rapidly falling into a downward spiral, but he was too depressed to even care. They had all lost contact so long ago, there was no way the others could know he was in distress, but still, he couldn't help thinking that if they had made more of an effort then he wouldn't have to suffer this alone. Even BA would be a comfort now, in his awkward kind of way.

BA wasn't homophobic, at least not intentionally. It was more of an awkward conversation stopper, so much so that whenever they had had the guys over for meals back in the early days, Face and Murdock was always careful not to sit next to each other. They had once, and BA had spent the whole meal speaking gruffly into his food and not looking at them. They didn't know exactly what he thought they were going to do sat at a table of their friends, but they tried to see the amusing side to it. So it was with a fond exasperation that they avoided the subject of their relationship in front of him.

Hannibal had been the disinterested father that wasn't really bothered who they were dating full-stop. As long as they didn't bother him with the intimate details, he was happy to let them get on with it. Although they both suspected that secretly he was pleased that they had found happiness, but uncomfortable with the subject.

And Frankie was as enthusiastic as ever and had greeted the news that they were dating (and had been dating right under everyone's noses) with exuberance and a little too much encouragement. He had tried to insist on throwing a party, horribly titled a `Coming Out' party, like the two of them had been clinging to the frame of their metaphorical closets. They had politely declined, and BA had threatened him with grievous bodily harm, so fortunately the plans didn't go ahead.

But where were they now? Where were they when Murdock needed them most?

Nobody really knew where Hannibal was from month to month. They had received the occasional letter from him, but they usually divulged little information as to his whereabouts. But he always seemed to be doing well. He acting career was back on track, and he loved to brag about the newest movie he was `starring' in. The Aquamaniac had even had a sequel that he had been especially proud of.

BA was back in Chicago running a youth centre. He had moved into the same apartment building as his mother and kept the peace in his area. He occasionally wrote or rang, but never had much to share and Murdock ended up doing most of the talking, since whenever Face took the call the conversation lasted less that 3 minutes, which neither Face nor BA could see the problem with.

Frankie had got himself a girl and settled down in LA. He was still working as a special-effects guy, and was always positive and cheerful when they spoke. He called every few months to see how things were going, but the calls had started to come less and less recently, what with a baby on the way and marriage on the horizon. Murdock had been very excited about this news; he was looking forward to everyone getting together again.

But now he couldn't even think of it. All he knew was that he wanted someone there to help him up, to tell him that it was all just a bad dream. But there was no one. He was alone.

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