kindkit: Sailing ship at sea. (Fandomless: Blue ship)
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[livejournal.com profile] halotolerant, remember what I was saying about feeling gloomy and morbid? . . . yeah. Feel free not to read this one if it's likely to upset you.

Title: The Body Forgets
Fandom: Colditz
Character: Dick Player
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Character death
Word count: 500
Summary: Dick without Pat.
Notes: Loosely inspired by Constantine Cavafy's Body, Remember. As for the rest, I can only blame my pessimistic streak that, when I think about characters being happy together for the rest of their lives, then makes me wonder what happens after one of them is dead.




He used to be beautiful. Standing naked at the mirror, Dick squints away thirty years and sees smooth skin, shining hair, grace and strength. Men lusted after him once. Women too, he supposes.

Later his hair thinned and his body thickened. Wounded vanity urged him onto diet after diet.

He's slim again now. Bony, in fact. He doesn't eat much, now that Pat is dead.

Looking at the bald patch he can no longer disguise, the wrinkles and brown spots on his sagging skin, Dick knows that Pat would still find him beautiful.

He touches his drooping neck and the hollow near his shoulder where Pat used to bite. It stirs nothing in him. When he runs an open palm firmly down his belly to his groin, the way Pat used to, his penis doesn't respond.

Once there were hundreds of men, a carousel of beds, a cornucopia of fucking. Then there was Pat. Now there is nothing. His own hands on himself don't feel like Pat's. He can't remember what Pat's hands felt like, his mouth, his prick, his hole. Not really. He can't remember deeply, in his flesh. He can't bring it back.

Dick sits on the edge of the wide bed, on what used to be Pat's side, and lights a cigarette. They'd both almost stopped smoking, only sharing one after sex or sometimes for the pleasure of passing it hand to hand, mouth to mouth. But cancer got Pat anyway, and now the heat and the nicotine jolt are the only ways Dick can feel him. Dick's almost up to forty a day. He coughs often, painfully, low in his chest, and that feels like Pat too. Like Pat dying.

He holds Pat's pillow in his lap and finishes his cigarette, then lights another. After this one he will bathe, he will dress, he will go to George and Harry's for lunch and they will try to take him out of himself. They don't know that he is already out of himself. Displaced. Sometimes, now that Pat's smell has faded from the pillow and the scarf Dick can't make himself stop wearing, he wonders if Pat ever existed at all. All Dick's memories could be dreams, all the photographs, hallucinations. Substanceless, bodiless.

He can't remember anymore exactly how Pat smelled. Exactly how he spoke when he was amused or frustrated. Exactly the texture of his nipples under Dick's fingertips, or the taste of his semen on Dick's tongue. Loss upon loss, a second death when one was too many.

Dick's body is forgetting so much. Pat has grown hazy and abstract to his senses, a blur of smoke and loneliness. Desire is gone, and hunger. Dick forgets to sleep, and even crying seems to come out of habit alone.

One day his heart will grow inattentive between one beat and the next. His lungs won't recall how to expand. Life and grief will slip from him in one moment, and even this forgetting will be forgotten.

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