Michael Knight (still_michael) wrote in open_high_ways,
Michael Knight
still_michael
open_high_ways

Let It Be Me

The drive to LA had been almost tolerable.

They'd taken a rental-- Stevie didn't have her car, of course, they'd been on tour-- and Michael had managed to talk to Stevie instead of the dashboard. He did have to pull over at a rest stop and ask Stevie to drive, and tried to make a mental note of what happened.

He'd been driving, she'd been singing along with the radio.

White bird
In a golden cage
On a winter's day
In the rain
White bird
In a golden cage
All alone

The leaves blow
Across a long black road
To its darkened sky
In its rage
But the white bird
Just sits in her cage
All alone

White bird must fly or she will die
White bird must fly or she will die


Stevie worried, of course, because Michael drove. It was part of him. "Yeah, it's nothing," he told her. "I've just become a lot more concussion-prone since taking this job-- and a bookcase fell on me. I'll be okay." And once again, he'd promised to see a doctor as soon as he could.

Because a doctor, after all, could be a neurologist or a parapsychologist.

Stevie's apartment building was something old and English-styled, with brick and timber and stucco pretending to be wattle-and-daub. It suited her.

As did the apartment. Warm and pink and beige and brown, with silk flowers and hardy plants. After a couple of minor collisions with suitcases, he asked how long she'd been there. "Three... no, four months. Yeah, four." She headed straight for the kitchen-- something Michael understood well. The milk was probably off and half the fridge probably needed throwing out. "It's starting to feel like home," she called.

Michael looked around himself. Stevie always had gone for maple and cherry instead of oak or birch, which Michael preferred. His hand happened on a framed photograph. Stevie and Greg Noble, in stage costumes, her arms around him from behind. They both looked... really happy. She'd been happy. With someone else, but happy.

At least he knew why that hurt.

Deep breath, don't let it hurt, can't let it hurt now.

"Hey, where do you want this stuff, huh?" he called. Do something. That might help.

"Closet's fine-- thanks!"

... Whoo, milk must have gone bad, he was right. But Michael collected her suitcases to stash in the hall closet. Spare pillows, a couple of jackets-- hardly anything for living there four months...

Greg Noble.

Written on a bright red jacket-- it looked like the one from the photo, at least at first glance. She'd been happy-- they'd been happy. And that was why he'd never wanted her to know.

He wandered back into the dining room.

So did Stevie. "Michael, what do you want to do about--" but the closet was open, and... oh. She'd forgotten he'd left that there... "I'm sorry."

"No, it's okay.
But the white bird
"It... it's not fair of me. I can't expect you to never be with another man. To never fall in love again." He wished he didn't sound so-- tired, so hurt by it. He wanted her to be happy. She was supposed to have mourned him and gotten on with her life.
Just sits in her cage
"I'm not gonna lie to you, Michael," she said, softly. "He was a wonderful man, and I loved him. But when I went to bed at night... I dreamed of you. I tried not to," she said as Michael turned to her. "I tried to forget you."
All alone
Michael didn't say anything for a long moment... just... touched her. Hands in her hair, on her neck-- and when he bent to kiss Stevie, it was gentle, sad. Neither long nor short, but quickly moved to holding her.

Just holding her.

A moment or two passed, with Michael... not knowing what to say. "Stevie? I... gotta ask you something... before I forget."

Stevie sniffed, nodded, pulled away to look up at him. "What is it, Michael?"

"There are some things of mine... I didn't get to keep. That I'd like to have with me, you know?" She went on tour at the end of all of this, after all, if all went well. "I was... wondering if you had some of them."

She was almost grateful for the distraction, and nodded. "I've got a box of things. What did you want?" She caught his hand and led him to her room, to her closet, where more private things were stored.

The search kept them until it was time to change, to head to the recording studio and shoot the video for First Night Together-- which Michael was getting pretty sick of singing, even without the headaches. Kitt was supposed to meet them there, after all, and Michael... missed him. Wanted just a moment to rest his hand on Kitt's shell, at least, if he couldn't make time for anything else.
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