Palm Of His Hand
Ficlet written for Soupytwist.
Well, no. He still wore a tie. There were some things that didn't disappear with death.
A few other things remained, as well. The shame. The rage. The love. He had stopped believing himself capable of genius a long time ago. He'd given up, his bed made for him by somebody else's weakness. Maybe that somebody else had become weak due to Oliver's own weakness, of course, and he knew that to be true. His weakness for power met Geoffrey's weakness for love, and both imploded most spectacularly. Oliver had never really understood the utter passion with which Geoffrey threw himself into his union with Ellen, even though he had understood the impulse.
Perhaps Oliver had merely been missing one crucial component of the equation. After all, he had known love - real, passionate, sickeningly true love. But his love never loved him back. And it was rather difficult to sustain that feeling of loyalty and compassion towards somebody who, at the very best, had forgotten all about you.
No, not forgotten. Oliver knew, irrevocably, that Geoffrey would never forget him - oh, no. Oliver was, after all, the primary cause of Geoffrey's downfall. No, Oliver was not forgotten. He was despised; hated; cursed. If in life he had never had the courage to face the fact that Geoffrey, in the most ironic twist fate had ever given Oliver, was the love of his life, then in death, he could never escape it.
For that is what Geoffrey was: the big one, the true one, the love that would never be topped by any other. Oliver hated that. He had resented Geoffrey with almost the same passion with which he loved him. He resented his talent, could never resist it. He resented his character, could never come even close to replicating it. He knew which one of them shone, which one was truly put on this Earth to move people. It wasn't Oliver. It never was Oliver. If his "Hamlet" had been a success at all, it had been no accomplishment of his own that had done it. Pacing in the wings, he could feel every vibration that passed through Geoffrey, every tremor, every thought. The stage had moved on opening night, and Oliver's pacing had never even registered on anybody's radar.
No, no. It had been Geoffrey, and it had been Ellen, and Oliver had hated them both, loved them so much, he thought he would go half out of his mind. Ironic, now. Ironic and deeply sad. Now dead, he could view his life as a stage wholly separate from himself. He could walk behind it, analyze its movements, its structure. He could see its flaws. And death was lonely.
But, of course, that didn't mean he had to do it alone. In the biggest twist of them all, Oliver found he could influence what happened after his death - and he could do it through Geoffrey. Of all people, Geoffrey - so close to the edge, he could actually commune with the dead - could be Oliver's salvation. He could do in Oliver's death what he had never been willing to do in Oliver's life. He could bring to life the visions that Oliver had nearly given up on, and he could do it to thunder and lightning and the sort of trembling that this stage had not seen for eight long years. Yes, yes, Geoffrey could do it - and he would do it. Of that, Oliver was quite certain. The one thing that Oliver had never truly lost was the ability to manipulate and cajole. Every, even marginally good, director had it in him, and Oliver, for all his flaws and shortcomings, had it in spades. He held Geoffrey in the palm of his hand, with all the coldness of death and eternity behind him. He wasn't afraid of losing Geoffrey anymore. And that was the most liberating thought of all.