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with a snippet of sorts?

if you like Hollis Mason, Watchmen, The Minutemen, or that other bit of Backstory Nonsense that I wrote exploring all three, then you'll probably like this.  I hope.

and if all that doesn't entice you, mayhaps the prospect of teh ghey will.

the usual rules and notes/warnings apply:
- written and posted on-the-spot. therefore, unbeta-ed
- also: ending is a crapshoot because of the writing-on-the-spot thing
- complete disregard for canon timelines
- blending of GN and movie canon
- all of this can be thought of as taking place in the universe of A Brief History of Who I Love



"...to help her grow up tough, so she can fight the bad guys."

"Sal.  Maybe I got this wrong but....aren't New Year's resolutions supposed to be about yourself?"

They had clustered around Ursula's piano to watch the clock and count down to midnight. Now, in the warm cloud of cheer following the bringing in of 1950, Hollis sits at the bench, his back against the heavy instrument while he watches the others mill about the living room laughing and hugging and smiling and touching.  Sally, enormously pregnant, still somehow manages to be aglow with her own unique spark of vivacity.  She grins, eyes twinkling, at Hollis remark and puts one carefully manicured hand on her belly.  In an evening gown of black silk and satin, she is a vision--as she always has been, Hollis supposes.

"Stand up, Mason, and let me welcome you into the new year,"  she orders.  "I can't bend down, you know."

He smiles and obliges her.  She brings a hand to his face.  The kiss she plants on his mouth is warm--and it lasts, certainly, longer than it should; long enough for Hollis to feelhis chest tighten up when he pulls away, forces himself to inhale. 

Sally winks.  "Happy New Year, kid."

The same game as always, then.  He manages another smile.  "Happy New Year, Sal.  And"--he plucks the fluted glass of champagne from her hand--"none of that."  A nod to Sally's belly.  "You have to take care of her."

Sally wouldn't be Sally, he supposes, if she didn't make a show of rolling her eyes and sighing.  "You never let me have any fun, Mason."

"For your own good."

"Yeah, thanks.  I really appreciate it."  But she pats his chest and her smile is full, genuine, and fond.  "Where's Bill?  And Nelly? I have to wish them well."

And she's gone, disappearing into the kitchen or some other room, already living in the golden charm of the next moment.  He's never been much for champagne but Hollis drains what's left in the glass, if only to wash away the feel of Sally's kiss.  Suddenly--and acutely--aware of his own physicality, he lingers by the piano and wills himself to ignore the feeling of his hands being too large, his shoulders too broad.  The rest of the party crowd cycles past him.  Ursula's friends: artists and musicians and writers, all of them swilling drinks and settling in the comfort of a slightly drunken lucidity.  A rakish figure catches his eye.  Byron Lewis, flirting with some smokey-eyed, dark-haired girl in the doorway between the dining room and living room.  Byron himself cuts a striking image, leaning in to the girl, his black hair loose and long and unruly, his sharp and slender frame all but crackling with his own unique breed of visceral, sexual energy.  He smiles at the girl and Hollis suddenly feels guilty and indecent for playing voyeur to a moment not meant for him.  Twisting away, he heads for the study, for the balcony.  Cold air, he thinks, will be a welcome change.

He isn't the only one who thinks as much.  Stepping through the door, Hollis finds Bill already standing outside, surveying the city skyline, hands stuffed into his jacket pockets.  At the sound of the door, Bill looks around.

"Hey.  Happy New Year."  His smile is, as ever, full and sincere.

And for the second time in a night, Hollis feels his chest tighten up, feels his lungs threaten to collapse under the weight of a heart that is suddenly too big.  But he manages a smile because Bill smiled first, and it's nearly 1 a.m. on the first day in January, and Hollis wants to cherish what can be cherished in a year still full of the threat of the unknown.

"Happy New Year.  Sally was looking for you, I think."

"Oh?  I'll find her when I head back in."  He shivers, shoving his hands deeper into his pockets.  "It was getting a little--ah--crowded in there.  Needed a minute, y'know?"

Hollis laughs, though he's not quite sure why.  "Yeah.  I know."

An almost-comfortable silence falls between them, and Hollis goes to stand against the balustrade beside Bill.  Watches, from the corner of his eye, the other man turn to gaze out at the city lights again.  Watches his breath ghost in quiet clouds against the cold air.  There is something caught in Hollis' throat, it seems; something he should say or meant to say a long time ago, but the actual verbal translation of it is lost to him.  Wishing for more alcohol, he looks down at the fluted glass--empty, now--and thinks again of Sally's kiss.  With a sigh, he sets the thing down on wide balcony railing.

"What's all that for?" Bill looks over at him.

"What's all what for?"

"The--" Bill mimics the heavy sigh, and then smiles again.  "That."

"Thinking, I guess."

Bill nods, his smile dissolving.  "Always."

Hollis wants to ask what he means by that, opens his mouth to do so--and then realizes he might not want to hear the answer.  Quiet fills the space between them--this time, uncomfortable--and Hollis finds himself wondering about Bill as a young man.  Wanting to know if his gentleness, his air of tranquil content and honesty was always so understated--not hidden by, but almost secondary to his character of seriousness and quiet reserve.

Bill exhales heavily, then, and glances towards the door.  "I'm going to head back in, before my fingers frost off."

He draws his hands out of his pockets.  His knuckles are red and chapped, but he's smiling again.  And, in an act that would seem brazen were it anyone else, he puts one ice cold hand on Hollis' and squeezes gently.  Again, the second time in a night, someone's touch lingers for too long.  And again, Hollis pulls away.  Not a recoil--just a gentle extrication.  But enough to nearly topple the champagne glass.  He catches it just before it tips over the edge of the railing.  Bill makes a sound that might be a laugh, and when Hollis looks at him, he's shaking his head.  He seems about to say something, but the door swings open.

"There you boys are."  Sally twists around to yell over her shoulder, "I found them!"  And then she looks back at them. "Come on, come on.  Laurence wants to make a toast."  A roll of the eyes, and she continues in a stage-whisper, "He's drunk."

This time, Bill's laugh is genuine.  "In that case, best not keep the man waiting."

He steps in after Sally and Hollis watches them go, letting the door swing nearly to closing behind them. Catching it at the last moment, he follows after, into the warmth and the bustle, overwritten with the sounds of laughter and someone calling Sally's name.

Date: 2010-01-01 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eugenetapdance.livejournal.com
Oh, god loves me. I got up from my astonishing hangover and here this was.

Date: 2010-01-04 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] luckinfovely.livejournal.com
you're just the best at vivid writing and word choice and sentence construction and characterization and imagery and JESUS REALLY.

also, 13294038102938 bonus points for your use of "swill," in addition to three buckets of sparkly awesome for making me like characters from a fandom for which i possess no particular fondness. and for this:

"The--" Bill mimics the heavy sigh, and then smiles again. "That."

I LOVE THAT.

in closing, I REALIZE THIS DOES NOT LIVE UP TO THE THRESHOLD OF SPAMINESS SET BY MY PREVIOUS REVIEWS. be assured that the relative brevity of this comment in no way reflects the degree of fluff i bear for this particular piece. yes.

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