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Faye ([personal profile] said_scarlett) wrote2011-07-05 05:16 pm
Entry tags:

Fic: El Evangelio De La Miseria (DT: W&G)

So...this is for [ profile] mnschoen. Who is made of awesome and win. And we're totally doing a fic exchange kind of thing for each other and anyway here is my offering! IT IS NOT AT ALL WHAT WAS INTENDED!

Title: El Evangelio De La Miseria
Fandom: Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass/Marvel Run
Rating: R for language!
Word Count: 3,941
Spoilers: Uh...for Wizard and Glass and/or The Gunslinger Born
Pairings: Bert/Roland, Alain/Bert, Roland/Susan
Summary: There is what a man wants, what a man needs, and what a man gets. Fourteen year old Cuthbert has only ever given thought to the first....

"…and anyone with eyes in their head can see you're head over heels besotted with Roland!"

It was, as far as Cuthbert was concerned, an unspeakable blasphemy. He didn't care if Alain had shouted it in anger and thoughtlessness. He didn't care that Alain had said it in private, between only them and surely Al was decent enough not to make mention again. Not after Bert had turned from hot to cold in a moment, drew himself up his entire lean height, spat and turned away. He'd not a single quip or jest or barb to return, and had simply left Alain gaping in the ranch house.

He wasn't sure where he was anymore. Somewhere long the drop, he supposed. It was pretty here, a simple and quiet sort of pretty that Bert found oddly alluring. He was a Gilead lad, born and bred, but something about Hambry and all the Mejis seemed to call to him. A pity none of the quiet, calling beauty of the Clean Sea was doing anything to calm the young gunslinger's troubled mind. Fuck Al. He'd no right to bring to light…any of it, really. Discuss what an idiot Roland's being, aye. Discuss the damned Susan problem, aye! Figure out how in hell to leave Hambry without making a mess their father's couldn't fix, of course!

But whatever Al may or may not have seen with his Touch didn't have a damned thing to do with any of it.

Bert refused to believe Al had been speaking plainly, that it was evident for all to see. Bert wasn't a complete lackwit! And so what if maybe - maybe - he thought about Roland ways he oughtn't? They were just thoughts! A man couldn't be held and accused on account of only what was in his thoughts. Thoughts were sneaky things, after all. Sometimes a man hadn't a lick of control over them. Bert had no control over how he thought of Roland, sometimes. Lately. And besides, plenty of young lads at least considered their best mates from that sort of stand point. It was just normal, them being together all the time and hardly ever seeing a girl. Hells bells, it was a miracle they weren't all rutting with one another in their bedrolls! It was really no wonder that Roland left Gilead and immediately fell for the first pretty thing he saw. Had Al or Bert himself run into the wench first, well, they'd probably have a whole set of different-yet-similar problems.

And it wasn't as though Bert spent his days thinking of nothing but luring Roland to bed or some other such nonsense. He loved Roland, he'd never deny that. Since he could remember, casting his mind back to his earliest memories of swaddling clothes and sucking sweets, it had always been Roland. At his side, in his bed when they had nightmares, leading the way and Bert told since birth that his role was to follow and love, support and aide, to live his life for his din. Steven Deschain held the throne of Gilead, but it was his son who Bert held as Dinh. He belonged to Roland. Was it really so strange or awful to love a man you had been told all your life you belonged to?

And what of it, if Bert's late night imaginings happened to oft revolve around his best friend? A man had a right to beat off to whatever he damned well pleased. He'd also fantasized about his mother's maidservant, Cort's niece, a particularly exotic prostitute he'd seen once, and various ladies of legend and lore. They were just fantasies. He didn't care that Roland had himself a woman, he only wished that Roland hadn't found such a problematic one!

Why did Al have to make it personal? He agreed! Roland wasn't thinking right because he was all mixed up over some girl! A very lovely, nice girl in a bad situation yes, but that didn't give Roland the right to endanger everything! And he couldn't just sit down and shut up. His duty - his whole fucking life's calling! - was to serve and protect Roland. Even from himself.

Bert's restless feet had taken him into the shadow of the woods. It was cooler here, among the shade and the breeze from the sea. The grass was soft under Bert's bare feet and the slightly damp wind was welcome on his sun-warmed shoulders. God it was pretty here. Rotten in the middle, for certain, but that was people. People, at least in Cuthbert's opinion, were often suffering a bit of rot in the middle. Most people, anyway. Roland wasn't, but Roland was so dim sometimes that Bert suspected he simply didn't have capacity for rottenness. His heart and mind were all too taken up by Eld thoughts and duty and honor and apparently love like they sang of in tales - where was the room for any rot?

"Oh yes," Bert found himself saying to the trees. "Roland's a perfect paragon of goodness and light, say true indeed!"

There was a drawback to being free from the pettiness and nastiness so prevalent to the core of mankind: a man couldn't see in another what he didn't see in himself. Roland was proving that nearly every day in Bert's eyes. He didn't look closely enough, he didn't taste the danger on the wind or the suspicion in the water. It wasn't even the Delgado girl, it was simply Roland. There was a reason Roland set Bert to watch and listen and remember. At least one of them could see to the dark inside hearts of their potential allies and enemies.

"What would that daft fool ever do without me?"

Before the trees could offer any sort of reply, the soft whisper of voices came along through the breeze. Bert froze, each muscle in his body tightening and coiling. He was alone and without so much as his slingshot. Stupid, stupid, stupid. On silent feet the young man drew himself against a tree trunk. The early autumn bark was rough between his shoulder blades and displaced rocks dug into the soles of his feet among the trees roots. He wished - not for the first or last - that he had some inkling of the Touch.

The voices came again. Male and female and for one moment Bert felt his stomach seize and his legs quiver and something between his stomach and lungs give a great lurch. He was convinced, as though he did call on the Touch, that Roland and his lovely Susan were out trysting by the drop and he'd near blundered right into them.

But the voices weren't right. The man was older than Roland, even if Bert couldn't make out any words. The woman's laughter was harsher than Susan's, didn't lilt up at the end as her's did. Some other young couple, out enjoying the closing of the year. Bert relaxed, and found himself sinking against the tree until he sat cradled in its roots. What if it had been Roland and Susan? What if he hadn't heard, and had stumbled upon them sporting beneath the trees and sky and salty sweet sea breeze?

Again he felt that sick sensation in his middle. He could see it all too clearly. Roland's corded bare back and ass, dappled in shadow and sun. Head bent, skin damp with sweat, Susan all pale and smooth and pretty with her head tossed back and her throat arched, sighing and supine beneath. Would they scramble apart at his presence, or would Roland bark angrily at him to begone without missing a beat? Would he be able to mask his initial reaction or would his jealousy be clear on his face?

He could see too easily, as well, Roland assuring Susan not to worry about his foolish friend. 'T'was nothing but sharp-tongued, addle witted Arthur, pay him no mind. Why did he look so pained? Oh, he's always wanted what I have…'

Because that was what Roland thought, wasn't it? It was easier to think that - even for Bert himself sometimes. He knew what they said, how Bert was jealous of Roland, wished to be Dinh himself one day rather than simply the Dinh's right hand. And while he supposed some of that was true, it wasn't in the way everyone thought. Roland would be Dinh and King and Bert would serve him true, but sometimes Bert couldn't help but thinking he'd do a better job. That wasn't jealousy, it was perfectly reasonable considering how often he saw Roland muck up.

But Roland saw what Roland saw, and in his eyes Bert was angry and jealous over a pretty girl. Why would he ever consider the alternative? Bert was jealous, but jealous of Susan. His nighttime fantasies were assaulting him in daylight now, as though to wash away the imagined sight of the two lovers together. In his mind's eye, Bert was below Roland's naked body, slim and pale and pretty. They twined together beneath skies full of stars, alone in the world and cleaved to one another.

Shaking, Bert shoved himself up from the tree. What was the matter with him? He was very good at shutting away and ignoring the inconvenient, and his feelings for Roland most certainly qualified! The smart thing to do would be to go back to the bunkhouse, play some cards with himself for an hour or two, and forget all about Roland Deschain and Susan Delgado and young love altogether.

The greatest plans, however, go oft awry. Head bowed and shoulders angled defensively forward, Bert trudged back towards the bunk with nothing but thoughts of Roland and Susan and love chasing one another about in his head. Did he really love Roland that strongly in that way? He'd never really thought of it. Gunslingers weren't queer, and that was that. He was going to marry whatever woman his father chose for him when he came of age, and he would father a gaggle of gunslinging ankle biters and gunslinger-wives-to-be. Whether or not he was in love with Roland made absolutely no difference - even if some dark miracle occurred and Roland woke up one day with a burning lust for Bert. The reasons they could never have anything, even a single night's tryst, were innumerable. Even without the addition of Susan into the picture. Had they never come to Hambry, never left Gilead at all, nothing would be changed. Bert would be pining and longing for Roland, and cursing the centuries of tradition and law and custom that prevented anything further. Somewhere in his subconscious he'd come to accept that fact, but he'd never considered Roland falling in love.

"At this point I ought be thankful I like girls at all!" he cursed at himself, kicking a smooth rock in the path with one dusty toe. It could be worse. If he were a through and through queer, he'd be fucked. Forgiving the contradictory phrasing, of course. He liked girls plenty. Hell, he wouldn't kick Susan out of bed! He just…loved Roland. He didn't understand it or examine it, it simply was. The facts were as they were: he was Cuthbert Allgood, son of Robert, son of Gilead, and he loved Roland Deschain.

But it would pass. Nothing stayed forever, not even love. Not as bright and fierce and all consuming as Bert fancied the young loved. And so too his love for Roland would fade, mellow like mead over the years into something sweet and subtle and warm. Sad, he supposed, but much better than how things could have been.

The bunkhouse was looming in Bert's vision now. He suspected it'd be empty, Al having removed himself to worry and fret over their little tiff in private. That was his way. With luck they wouldn't speak of it again. Bert would just smile and joke and clap Al on the shoulder, giving him every indication there was no ill will lingering. There really wasn't, even if Bert had been fit to kill when he'd first left.

Yet again, the universe proved itself out to get Cuthbert Allgood. Now he could see the solid man-shape on the porch, smoking and watching the path. Oh fuck Al! But Bert's feet didn't slow, and he evened his expression out as best he could. There was no use, really, in trying to hide things from Alain.


Alain was taking a step towards him and speaking before Bert had mounted the first step of the porch. And with that painfully sorrowed tone that somehow never sounded whining or insincere from the larger boy.

"Don't waste your breath, Al." Bert held out a hand. "I'm not in any mood and there's naught to say."

"'Cept to cry your pardon."

"Nope, I said naught." Bert sighed and found himself leaning against a support, rather than breezing into the bunkhouse and throwing himself down on his bed with his back to Alain. He could see all too easily the regret and fear reflected in Al's eyes. As though he were afraid he'd finally stepped over the line, taken the teasing and the honesty too far and made a crack that couldn't be patched. "You don't need to cry my pardon. Swear it by my father, Al, you don't."

"I shouldn't have said…."

"What was on your mind in the heat of the moment?" Bert had to laugh. "Stop worrying your pretty little head about it. Honestly, Al, I'm just happy for once it wasn't me deciding his foot looked so damn tasty he needed to shove the whole of it in his mouth!"

But Alain's eyes were still quiet and watchful, his body language cautious. He didn't respond, only looked at Bert with that quiet and waiting stare.

"What do you want me to say? I know you're only crying pardon so's you can try and talk to me about it. And there's nothing to talk about. I was raised right, you know that. I may not hold with ka but I hold with my blood and my duty and my honor. Which is more important than sommat I can't have anyway. And one of these days I'll go for a walk in the woods and meet some pretty thing and then you two can moan and whine 'bout what a fool I'm being."

"It's your business," was all Al said, still uncomfortably quiet.

"Fuck's sake, Al, I'm not queer!"

"I didn't say you were. Blind and stupid, aye, but no more queer than I am."

"For a man just crying my pardon, you're quick to insult!" But Bert shrugged. "Let's pretend it never happened and be done with it. We've more important things to worry about than my confused crush. Roland doesn't see it, and nor does anyone else, and you only know on account of your stupid, thrice damned Touch!"

Alain's expression finally changed. There was a tightening of his jaw, a sudden hardness to the usually soft and pleasant lines of his face. His shoulders stiffened and Bert was wary. He'd been more than willing to just make peace and move on! Al was the one who spoke out of turn, Al was the one who wouldn't stop beating the sleeping dog!

"The Touch?" Alain barked a harsh laugh now, and recoiled. "You think I saw this because I looked into your mind? I'd as soon go into your mind without your leave as I would club you over the head and have my way with you!"

The fight began before Bert could hope to stall it. Fuck the Mejis for turning them against one another like this! For surely it was the place, not anything inherent of them. And when pushed, Bert only pushed back.

"Oh like you've never done it! Bet you've been having a right laugh at me ever since, aye? Poor, deluded Bert, making cow eyes at Roland in his head and simpering like a girl! What a lark!"

"You stupid, blind idiot!" Alain was shaking. His hands were balled into tight fists and there was lightning in his amicable eyes. He looked almost frightening, broad and tensed and breathing like a bull. "I can see it for naught other than looking to you as you look to Roland! "

It was funny, really, Bert decided. He expected he'd have some sort of reaction, something immediate and emotional. Had he really just heard Al correctly? Al looked to him…as he looked to Roland?

"That's stupid," Bert said, without thinking. "I'm not your Dinh."

"That…" All of the anger and bravado and ferocity slipped from Alain then, and he stood a dejected and defeated fifteen year old boy. "Right. Affected stupidity, I get the message."

"What?" The conversation was spiraling out of control too quickly. It was as though they were having two, Bert saying plainly what he meant and Al all double meanings and innuendo. Which were fine by Bert, but not from Alain.

"You know damned well I didn't mean I look to you as a leader."

"I didn't say ye did? I thought…I mean…look, you did just as much as say you fancy me, right?" Which was stupid. Or at least it was stupid to make a comparison to Roland. Bert had meant what he said first, he wasn't Al's Dinh. What great burden of duty and honor and station was keeping Al from giving him a look or a hint? They were all bound by the same customs, to marry and have children and continue their lines, but Bert had yet to have anyone say 'and before you do that you must never, ever have a roll or two with another bloke on punishment of hell and being sent West'. He had always rather assumed that went on behind closed doors stayed behind closed doors, and as long as a man had a brat or two all would be well.

"Aye." Alain turned away and sighed.

"Then it's still stupid, as you can have me." Well, in theory. Bert supposed that he really ought to turn his attention toward how he felt regarding the matters of Alain Johns and Romantic Interest. The thought had never crossed his mind, but he supposed he wouldn't kick Al out of bed either. He couldn't say he looked inside himself and felt a burning, consuming fire or anything like that, but…. Well, Al was kind and good and loyal and honest. Despite all the teasing, he wasn't a bad looking fellow. And there was love there. It was a fact that Bert was in love with Roland, but it was also a fact that he loved Alain. They were bound together, they three, in ways the mercurial gunslinger couldn't begin to understand.

"Aye," Bert said again, nodding with his conclusion. "S'not the same at all, as you can have me."

Alain looked at Bert with a long, darkened look. Clearly, the world had gone mad. Or this was all some dream. He still half figured this was some sort of joke or prank or attempt to teach him something. Especially as Al was just sort of glowering at him with that same 'you're an idiot' expression. Which only further illustrated Bert's point: whatever Al thought he felt, it wasn't at all the same as what Bert felt for Roland. Had Roland casually and truthfully announced 'you can have me', Bert would sure as hell not be glaring!

"What?" he finally asked. Alain shook his head and turned away, towards the dimming sky and the Clean Sea. They stood that way a moment, silhouetted on the porch of the old bunkhouse. Alain's broad figure at the head of the steps, half turned from Bert and seemingly sinking into shadow. Cuthbert angling forwards from the post with confused eagerness, his lookout dangling away from his chest and starkly pale in the waning sun.

"What in god's name makes you think I want you now?"

And then Al was gone.

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