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New Fic: Emotional Latitude

Emotional Latitude
Fandom
: Being Human UK
Rated: PG
Category: Hal and Tom Friendship. Gen. Tom POV.
Series: Five. Post "The Final Broadcast" but pre extra scene.
Spoilers
: Nothing specific, but "The Final Broadcast" for the state of our trinity.
Summary: Emotional latitude is a good thing - well, most of the time, anyway.
Disclaimer: Being Human belongs to the wonder that is Toby Whithouse, not me.
Note: Thanks to rubyrosettared for the Britpicking Beta. (And lemonpiefirefly for catching two typos we both missed! Out of practice at this, I am!) Much appreciated!

xxx

I only came to collect Hal for work.

I didn’t expect to walk in on … this.

There’s clothes strewn all about the place, and the bedside table is dumped over on its side.

The room’s a right mess, which don’t make no sense since it’s Hal’s room.

And that’s nothing compared to the state of Hal ‘imself.

His chest’s heavin’ and ‘e’s sweatin’ like ‘e just ran five miles.

When ‘e sees me, ‘e takes a deep breath, then swallows big and nods at me.

“Tom,” he says, like it’s the most normal thing in the world for ‘im to be standin’ in a pile o’ mess nearly as big as any the wolf ever made.

I look around his room again as Alex’s “gettin’ ready” music changes songs downstairs and suddenly I get angry.

“Have you got a lady up ‘ere?”

Hal shakes his head. “What? No! Absolutely not! I just…”

“You what?”

Hal shrugs in a very un-Hal-like way, and now I’m worried.

“You have a seizure or sommat?”

Hal shakes his head.

“Then what happened in ‘ere? Looks like a bloody tornado came through.”

Hal frowns. “Can we just leave it?”

“No, we bloody well can’t! You possessed, then?”

“I’m not possessed, Tom.”

“I’m gettin’ Alex.”

I start out the door, but before I can yell, Hal rushes over and grabs my arm. “No!”

I step back and cross my arms. “Then tell me what happened ‘ere.”

Hal sighs. “Fine.”

He doesn’t say anything else for a while, so I prompt ‘im. “I’m waitin’.”

He sighs again, then speaks very quietly, with his eyes on the floor.

“I had a fit.”

“So, you did have a seizure, then?”

“No,” Hal answers, with another head shake. “I was… I had a…”

I ain’t never seen Hal at a loss for words, and somehow it suddenly hits me what’s going on.

“Oh, bloody hell! You had a strop, didn’t ya?”

Hal blinks at me with his forehead all wrinkled up.

“A… what?”

I grin. “A strop.”

Hal smiles in his weird little way and shakes his head. “I can assure you, I did not have… that.”

I smile wide. “Oh, yeah, you did! You had a mad fit. A paddy. A tantrum!”

Hal blinks a few more times and moves his mouth like ‘e’s going to talk, but ‘e don’t say nothin’.

It takes me a minute to say anythin’ else, too. When I do, I can’t help but smirk.

“You…” I start, pointing at ‘im and then the mess.

Hal suddenly finds his voice, cuttin’ me off as ‘e turns away.

“Yes. I had a tantrum, okay? Yes. Me. I got angry and pitched a fit. You happy now?”

I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. Hal gives me his best Lord Harry glare, but it only makes me laugh more. I lean against the wall and laugh so hard it hurts. Hal’s glare gets angrier for a minute, then ‘e looks around at the wreck of his room, and ‘e grins just a bit. He snorts a little, then chuckles, and it’s the closest thing to a laugh I’ve ever ‘eard from ‘im. His poor excuse for laughing makes me laugh harder, and next thing I know, I’m bent double. When I look up, Hal’s honest-to-God laughing, too, in his own way. He’s still posh, but ‘e’s almost normal for a minute.

When I can talk, I point to the mess he made.

“So, what about, then?”

Hal sobers up right quick, then hangs his head.

He starts to answer, but before ‘e can, the music that’s been blarin’ from downstairs suddenly stops and Alex calls up from the kitchen. “You coming or what?”

I look at Hal and shrug. He shrugs back.

One thing about living with non-ghost Alex is there’s always food about, and it’s time for breakfast.

I yell down to Alex that we’ll be right there.

As we head out, Hal kicks a jumper under the bed and shrugs at me.

“I’ll get it later,” he says.

“Oh, I dunno,” I say. “You could just leave it.” I point round the room. “Maybe this’ll suit the new you.”

Hal gives me a look like I just transformed right in front of ‘im.

I punch ‘im on the shoulder. This earns me a new glare, but I don’t care.

“I’m just kiddin’ you, mate,” I say. “I’ll help you clean up later, if you want.”

“Thank you, Tom, but there’s no need. This is my mess. I’ll clean it up,” says Hal, all proper again.

“Suit yourself, mate. I was just offerin’ as a favor.”

I start down the stairs toward the kitchen and Hal follows.

Halfway there, Hal stops.

“Tom?”

I turn back toward him. “Yeah?”

“As much as I appreciate the offer, I’ll take care of it. There is, however, something else you can do for me.”

“Oh?”

“Yes.”

“Well, what is it, then?”

“I’d be grateful if we could keep this between ourselves.”

“What? And not tell Alex?” I can’t help but grin as I think of ‘er reaction to Hal, of all people, ‘aving a right good strop.

Hal sighs. “Yes. I’d appreciate it if Alex didn’t know that I… did that.”

“Oh, she won’t mind.”

“Perhaps not,” says Hal, “but I would still prefer she not know.”

I have to think about that. I want to tell. It’d be fun. But I suppose Hal’s squirming now (and there’s a lot of it) will have to be fun enough, because Hal doesn’t ask many favors from me.

I stick my hand out.

“Agreed.”

Hal lets out a big breath, smiles, and shakes my hand.

“Thank you.”

I shrug. “Anytime, mate. Now, breakfast?”

“Indeed,” says Hal. “We best get going before Alex filets us for being late.”

I nod in agreement and start back down the stairs, with Hal right behind me.

It’s hard not to tell Alex, but I don’t. I keep mum because Hal’s me best mate, and best mates keep each other’s secrets. Besides, McNair always said a gentleman’s agreement is binding – unless it was with a vampire. Well, Hal ain’t a vampire no more, so I figure ‘e deserves this. He’s as human as the rest of us, and everybody needs to blow off steam sometimes. So even though ‘e’s a right pain in the arse, and likely mad to boot, I won’t tell. After all, it’s been a long, long time since Hal got to throw a tantrum that didn’t involve blood. A lot of blood.

And last time I checked, nobody died from chuckin’ stuff about.

So I’ll keep quiet.

For now.

But ‘e better watch it if ‘e pulls his Lord Harry crap on me.

He still does that sometimes, you know, and I hate it.

He don’t even know ‘e’s doin’ it – actin’ all uppity and even more superior than usual – but I think sometimes ‘e can’t help it. It’s just how ‘e is.

And if Lord Harry really pisses me off, all deals with Hal are null and void.

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