[identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] prefer_my_life
Title: if the wheels of time slipped off their tracks
Fandom: Being Human
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Hal/Alex, Tom
Author's Note: Word Count - 1,369. Set Post-S5, so beware spoilers.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to the BBC, as always.

Alex ends up ringing her dad first, just in case, and finds out – well, her family’s on holiday.

“That’s strange,” she says, frowning at Tom and Hal as she sets the phone down. “Because it went so well the last time.”

“Do you still want to go up to Scotland?” Tom asks and Alex hugs herself, rocking on her feet. “No, I guess not,” she says, a strain in her voice. “Not ‘til they’re back.”

“Well,” Hal says, taking a hesitant step forward, “they have to come back eventually.”

She looks less than convinced, but agrees with him. “In that case, I definitely have to go shopping,” she points out and sneaks a glance at Hal.

Somehow he finds himself thinking about the bra of doom again and leaves the kitchen very quickly.

“You all need to sort that out,” Tom points out as he goes to bed that night. “It’s getting very uncomfortable around here.”

+

They don’t tell Tom right away, not outright. Alex points out that it’s hard enough, transitioning back to being human, without redefining what they already know. Even what they’re doing is pushing at their seams of normalcy.

Actually, it’s more like what Alex does to him tears at his insides, pulls him apart and then puts him back together. The sleepless nights, his body lost and confused after five centuries of a different rhythm, are interrupted by Alex’s steady hands on his chest, the beat of veins he can’t see pulsing under her skin, the heat coming off her in waves.

“Did you seriously go fifty years without this?” Alex asks him, his hand finding hers under the covers and pulling her close to him. “Going five months was torture.” Habitually, their fingers slide together.

“I learned to cope,” he tells her, kissing her knuckles in soft presses. “Some days were harder than others.” She smirks at him, dirty and full, and he rolls his eyes. “You know what I meant,” he defends, pulling her closer and dipping his mouth to her neck. Her skin is still damp, the tang of salt alive against his tongue, and when she curls her leg around his hip he pulls her flush against him.

(There are older instincts than vampirism roiling in his blood.)

“I do,” she gasps, rolling back under him as he trails his mouth from her collarbone to her breast, the soft lash of his tongue catching at her nipple.

“Hal –” she chokes out, arching her body back, and once – once upon a time, she would have been short for this world, her neck exposed and her hands fisted uselessly into the sheets.

(Once.)

He hums against her skin and suddenly her hands are in his hair, holding firm as he continues his descent. “Still here,” he says, his voice a low rumble in his chest.

“S’il vous plait,” she replies, switching back to their earlier game, and though he would sigh and protest anywhere else, here he complies.

“Je suis un peu occupe,” he says, dipping his head between her legs.

(Actually, it’s hard to imagine how Tom doesn’t know.)

+

There’s something horribly mundane about the way the three of them pick up jobs in the wake of the Devil’s murder spree, paying bills and taking out the trash.

“Well this is what being human’s all about, isn’t it?” Tom asks one night when Alex suggests they just blow off their bills for a while and let something really horrible happen, like getting kicked out of the Heights, or having the electricity shut off.

“I think we should get away for a bit,” Hal says. “Give us some perspective.”

She’s a bit surprised by the plane tickets to Paris, in the end.

“It was your unfinished business,” he says, really confused why this doesn’t seem like a good idea to everyone else, and Alex kisses his cheek before putting the tickets away. “I want to travel the world, Hal,” she agrees, “but sometimes – real life just doesn’t let you.”

In the end, he ends up returning the tickets and buys a baby grand piano off Craigslist instead. Tom helps him move it and they put it by the window, the old tired keyboard put in the basement.

“We wouldn’t be your friends,” Tom says when Alex gets home, “if we didn’t make sure you didn’t cross something off your list.”

She tries to brush it off but at three in the morning, Hal hears the soft strains of a piano drifting upstairs.

His bed is colder for it though, so he wanders downstairs and makes a pot of tea, listening to her play. When he enters the room, two steaming mugs in his hands, she takes one without comment and resumes her play, Hal resting comfortably on the couch with an old newspaper.

There is something achingly familiar about this though – something not quite human.

(He probably just doesn’t remember it right.)

+

Hal gets his first gray hair six months later and Tom carts out the old dominoes set, just in case. Alex smirks at him and tousles his hair, promises never to mention it and then buys him Rogaine for his birthday.

She actually does seem to like the season of Pushing Daisies he buys for her birthday though, so it all works out.

+

The world compresses to Barry, and Barry becomes the world. The National Orchestra of Wales moves to Barry, away from the carnage of Cardiff, and one day Alex comes home saying she’s quit her job and she’s now third string pianist.

Once upon a time, Lord Harry might have ensured third string became first, but all they can do now is congratulate her and swear they’ll go to every concert.

“Don’t be silly,” she jokes.

The wheels of time, however, seem to agree, and third string becomes first far quicker than either Hal or Tom could have predicted. For her opening night Alex dons a black dress that hits her knees with a slit up the side that reminds Hal of a night long, long ago. He dons a suit to match her and Tom puts on his best outfit, a mustard yellow shirt with a boutonniere.

“Is your family coming?” Hal asks, and it should be obvious but Alex only smiles and kisses him and Tom on the cheek. “You’re my family,” she says, and sweeps them out the door.

(If he didn’t know better, he’d think she's not telling them something.)

He walks her home after, long after Tom’s escaped, and the click of her heels on the empty sidewalks tickle at his mind. There’s something strange about all this, but he can’t quite put his finger on it –

“Thanks for coming,” she says, dropping their linked arms to catch at his hand and pull him flush against her. He steps closer, trapping her between the old brick wall and him, and still, he cannot help it – old habits die hard – he nuzzles at her neck. There’s no threat here though, no danger, and she clutches at his nape.

“I’m very glad,” he says in a hushed tone, “that you decided to stay.”

Alex hums, and whatever question he had drifts away. “Yeah, I bet you are,” she says, a twinkle in her eye, and tilts her head to catch at his lips with her own. Slowly, almost torturously, she parts his lips, the sweet taste of concert mints on her tongue. His hands drop firmly to her waist before the tide breaks and he follows her, her mouth rough on his, and her breath, hot and sweet, mixing with his. The sharp graze of her teeth against his tongue force his hips against hers, an erratic pattern that she meets with only his name, and her soft echoes carry through the empty town.

+

“Don’t you think it’s odd,” he asks her one afternoon when Tom is out for groceries, “how nobody ever comes to Barry? And how we never go anywhere?”

She looks at him, nostalgia in her eyes, and switches the channel over to Antiques Roadshow.

“I think it’s enough, Hal,” she says, a firm line in her voice.

(He lets her carry the answer for him.)

Finis
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