thekeyholder91: (muse const)
[personal profile] thekeyholder91
Title: Tempus Fugit (one-shot)
Author: thekeyholder
Beta: Millions of thanks to stargarnet! <333
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG
Summary: Dominic wakes up in a hospital, but he's not alone.
Feedback: would be lovely if you have some time! <3
Warnings: there is *one* warning, but I can't say it, it will spoil the whole story.
Disclaimers: I don’t own Muse, but original aspects belong to me. So don't steal, please!
Author's note: Hello, despite appearances, I'm not dead! This is my first (finished) Belldom story for this year, and that's just tragical. Anyway, what you need to know about this story is that it's a fill for my location: hospital bingo prompt. What you read is actually the original idea. While writing the first draft, I changed my mind about Matt's role in the story. However, my lovely beta and I both felt that it wasn't the best choice, so then I rewrote the story with the original idea. xD Listen to your instinct, kids. Hope you enjoy it...

Tempus Fugit

He woke to a pounding ache on the left side of his head. He briefly wondered if he had, perhaps, partied too hard the previous night, but as soon as he managed to keep his eyes open for more than a second, he realised he was in a hospital. He accepted this fact as if he would have been told that it was Monday. Not much later, however, he seemed to recall that his last memory was of him stooping over books and taking notes. A whistling noise joined the pounding ache before he could wonder why he wasn’t in the lecture hall. He blacked out, only his fingers moving spasmodically against the white sheets.

The next time he woke, Dominic’s headache was gone. His head felt light; in fact, his whole body felt weightless. He sat up and discovered that he had an oxygen mask on, which he promptly took off – he didn’t need it anymore. He was not surprised by his surroundings. For some reason, as soon as he was aware of the unfamiliar texture of the pillowcase against the side of his face, he knew he was in a hospital. Dominic looked around and that was when he noticed a figure standing by the window with his back to Dominic. His sharp intake of breath drew the stranger’s attention who turned back quickly.

“You’re awake. Do you feel strong enough to get up?”

Dominic watched him wordlessly, his hands rubbing against the mattress. He had never seen the young man before. He didn’t really look like hospital staff, although he could be a psychologist or maybe someone sent by his father to pick him up. The last thought sent a shiver down his spine and Dominic crossed his arms. He looked out the window, the branches of a cherry tree scraping the glass. It was so sunny outside, why was he imprisoned in this small room?

“Who are you?” Dominic asked, his voice a bit coarse.

The stranger inhaled, adopting a sterner expression. Noticing that Dominic sat there with his arms crossed, he gave in and started talking while staring at the ceiling. “I don’t have time for a lengthy biography and anyway, all you need to know is that I will help you through your journey. I didn’t joke about having to leave soon.”

“Journey? What journey?!” Dominic exclaimed. “What do you think I am, five? I am not going anywhere until you tell me exactly what is going on.”

The man was surprised by Dominic’s outburst and glanced at his pocket watch. “All right, I suppose we have a bit of time,” he said quietly and pulled a chair away from beside the bed, giving Dominic some space.

Dominic looked at the man and waited. It occurred to him that in their short acquaintance the stranger had barely looked him in the eyes. He appeared somehow embarrassed and eager to be done.

“Why am I here?” Dominic asked, looking at the blooming branches swaying in the breeze. He wished he could feel the warmth of the sun on his face, but his head started throbbing again.

“I think we can talk about that later.” The young man, having noticed the expectance on Dominic’s face, sighed. “I’m sorry if I came off rude. Let’s start again. My name is Matthew.”

Dominic nodded. “Okay, apologies accepted. I’m Dominic.”

After a few moments of silence, he addressed the young man again, “Matthew, do you work for my father?”

He was surprised by a snort. “Oh, no. Not at all. If it’s any consolation, your father won’t be there, the place we’re going.”

Dominic couldn’t help a laugh escape from his lips. However, he noticed again that Matthew was avoiding his eyes. Perhaps the topic evoked unpleasant memories. “Do you get along with your parents?”

Matthew looked up sharply – he obviously did not expect the question. “Well, it’s a bit… complicated. I don’t know them. Just some of my, hmm, brothers and sisters, you could say. The less we meet, the better.”

Dominic felt like a right idiot. Here he was, complaining about his father to an orphan who – he assumed – did not fit into his adoptive family. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right, I have my job,” Matthew smiled unconvincingly, even ironically. Dominic decided not to pry, not yet, at least.

“Do you think you can get dressed? Or do you need my help?”

“What’s the rush, though?” Dominic sighed.

“Well, we need to get somewhere soon.”

“And where is this somewhere?!”

Matthew leaned against the back of his chair, looking out the window. “I’m afraid I can’t talk about it, not yet. Tell me, do you remember how you got here? That might help with your questions.”

The image of books and notes splayed around his room, highlighted passages and his cup of hot chocolate flashed through Dominic’s mind.

“I think I was studying for some exam.”

He struggled to slow down the images, to try and catch some hint that could help him. Carson. Ah, that bastard. Of course. That was his Constitutional Economics professor.

“I remember now that I was cramming for this tough exam and stayed up late.” Dominic grimaced at the memory. “I hate that subject, but I knew I had to get a good mark.”

Matthew nodded, eyes cast downwards. “That’s all you remember? Nothing else?”

Dominic watched the hypnotising dance of the cherry branches. Everything turned darker for a second as – Dominic presumed – a cloud floated by the sun, blocking the light for a second.

“I don’t know.”

A new pang of pain went through his head. His whole body hurt, but the pain in his head started to become unbearable. Dominic sat up, looking at his feet dangling from the bed. He noticed a sink and a mirror in the corner of the room, and decided to have a look at his head, see how bad his injury was. However, he barely made a step when he lost his balance, and would have collapsed had Matthew not caught him. He was smaller than Dominic, but very strong. He helped Dominic to the sink and poured him a glass of water.

Dominic’s right hand gripped the sink tightly while he drank, but Matthew was there, his hand placed lightly upon Dominic’s shoulder in case he felt faint again. It seemed that the dizzy spell was gone, though. Dominic splashed some cold water on his face before finally looking in the mirror. The person looking back was him of course, but somehow he couldn’t identify with the reflection. Something was wrong, but the mirror couldn’t show what it was.

Dismissing his gloomy thoughts, he turned his head to have a look at his injury. Matthew too leaned forward to inspect Dominic’s head. Judging by the pain alone, Dominic expected something much worse. The left side of his face was bruised, but it didn’t look serious. He’d seen much worse on TV. The intensity of the pain that flashed through his skull wasn’t justified by the physical appearance of his injuries. Dominic shrugged and glanced at Matthew who looked like he saw a completely different image. When he noticed Dominic’s eyes on him, Matthew just gulped and flattened Dominic’s hair where it was sticking up.

The vision of something red and flowing flashed through Dominic’s mind, but he focused on getting back to his bed instead. He tried to catch his breath while watching the pink cherry blossom petals flying in the wind. Matthew attempted to secretly glance at his watch, but Dominic noticed his gesture. He, too, knew that they would have to go. He didn’t know why or where, but he felt that he couldn’t stay in the room much longer. However, something kept him trapped there, some kind of thought that was cowering in the back of his head. Dominic wondered if it had to do with the exam. Would Professor Carson let him retake it? The old git was a heartless creature and would fail him just for fun. But Christmas was coming up, maybe he’d feel generous…

Christmas, hmm. Where did that one come from? Closing his eyes, Dominic found it only slightly strange that the cherry tree was already blooming in the winter, but he probably mixed up the dates. Time was irrelevant anyway. Dominic wanted to ask Matthew if the tree outside was real or if they were even in his hometown (he suspected his father had him transferred to a bigger city). Then he remembered. The images hit him like a brick, hard and unforgiving.

Of course, this wasn’t real. Nothing was. Maybe even Matthew was a figment of his imagination.

He was afraid to open his eyes. He breathed erratically. He couldn’t open his eyes, because then everything would crumble and he would fall into darkness. He would be alone. Forever.

“Hush, you’re not alone. I’m here.”

Dominic let out a sob as Matthew put his hands on his shoulder.

“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me that I’m dead?”

Matthew sighed, gripping Dominic tighter. He couldn’t stand the accusatory look in those silver eyes. “Strict policy. The person has to realise it themselves by the time they arrive to the destination.”

Dominic nodded, leaning into Matthew’s touch. “Is it also a reaper work policy to be an arse?”

“No. I’m sorry. I just… hate this job,” Matthew whispered in Dominic’s ear, as he embraced the boy tightly. “I don’t know if I can do it for much longer. I thought that if I were detached, it wouldn’t affect me as much. Clearly, I was wrong.”

“It’s not your fault. If the driver hadn’t hit me, if I hadn’t been jaywalking, if the road hadn’t been so slippery, if I hadn’t overslept, if that stupid Carson had set a different exam date… I’m mad at myself, to be honest. Not just about this, but a lot of other things. But we have to go, I know. I’ll have time to think about it later.”

They held each other for a long time. In the end, Matthew wiped his eyes and then kissed Dominic’s forehead. “Let’s get you dressed.”

Matthew helped Dominic put on a coat.

“So how is it? The afterlife?”

Matthew had been waiting for the question. “Peaceful for a good while. You’ll like it; you can do absolutely anything you want. Then, you can choose if you want to reincarnate or not. Everything will be explained when we get there.”

Dominic nodded, deep in his thoughts. “All right. I have a question, though… are you allowed to visit me? In your free time maybe? Can we…”

If Matthew had had a physical heart, it would have pumped with unspeakable emotions in that moment. “I don’t see why not. If you don’t mind…”

“Of course not!”

Matthew stood there, trying not to smile like an idiot. After all, he’d met Dominic due to very unfortunate circumstances. In fact, his whole life was a series of unfortunate events, and he usually caused grief to most people he met. But here was the kindest soul he had ever known, willingly asking to spend some time with him. Distracted, it was with great difficulty that he remembered what he was there for.

“Before we leave, Dominic, I need to stop your heart. It won’t hurt and you won’t feel it in this dimension.”

Dominic sighed. “Okay, how do you do that?”

“Usually, I just touch people’s hands or forehead, and thus the thread of life is cut.”

“Kiss me.”

“Excuse me?”

“Come on, give me your deadliest kiss.”

Matthew faltered, but he had no choice but to oblige. He stepped closer to Dominic and tried to smile encouragingly. He could feel how nervous Dominic was, but it would end soon. He pressed his lips against Dominic’s, softly and then more intensely, to be sure that his kiss was the most memorable. Dominic tightened his hold on Matthew’s arms, but he stayed strong afterwards. He didn’t cry. His smile wasn’t as happy as he wanted it to appear, but he felt at peace.

“Shall we?” Matthew asked and held out his hand.

Dominic placed his hand in Matthew’s, and with a last look at the cherry tree, he faded away with Matthew.

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January 2017


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