By: Missfortune
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the song. People far richer than I owns them. Ain't it always the way?
Warnings: None
Notes: The song is Torn as sung by Natalie Imbruglia.
Pairings: Ron MacDougal/Fred Luo?!

~I thought I saw a man brought to life.~
~He was warm, he came around like he was dignified.~
~He showed me what it was to cry.~

"Fred! How could you?" Gene demanded.

"Because Gene! You don't want me. I found somebody who does! What do you care?" Fred retorted angrily.

"Fred, I do care. Just not that way. Seriously, Ron MacDougal? You know that's trouble." Gene said.

"No, Gene. You don't know him. He's not who you think he is at all. He's so full of life. He's fun to be with. Warm and caring. A good sense of humor. Not to mention dignified, which is more than I can say for some people." Fred said with a sidelong glance. "He showed me that its ok to cry and he's always there for me."

"I don't know," Gene said shaking his head. "I mean, he is a MacDougal. They are dangerous, Fred. I just don't want you to get hurt."

"I know what I'm doing Gene. I'm a grown man. Just because I'm eccentric doesn't mean that I'm stupid!" Fred growled.

"I never said you were stupid. Heck you're smarter than I could ever hope to be. I just know that sometimes people get a little funny when emotions are involved."

"Well, I am perfectly capable of handling myself in a relationship. I keep a nice clean head." Fred informed Gene.

Gene snorted. "Sure Fred. Whatever you say."

~Well, you couldn't be that man I adored.~
~You don't seem to know, seem to care, what your heart is for.~
~But I don't know him anymore.~

Fred looked up from his sprawled position on the floor. There were papers strewn all around him. He was trying to straighten up his paperwork but all the sitting was hurting his back. He'd gone from his desk to the kitchen table, to the couch and finally ended up on the living room floor but there was still a throbbing ache in his back. Fred glanced over to Ron who was dozing in the chair with a full contact intergalactic wrestling on television. Blood was being sprayed across the arena as steroid pumped brutes attacked each other like rabid animals. Fred paled and looked away from the television.

Slowly, trying not to jar his aching muscles Fred got to his knees and crawled over to Ron. Fred placed his head in Ron's lap and began to nuzzle him into wakefulness. Ron snorted and shook as he came awake. He looked down at Fred with an annoyed expression.

"What?" Ron asked shortly.

"My back hurts. Can you rub it for me?" Fred asked hopefully.

"You woke me up for that?" Ron asked looking peeved.


"I was having a good dream," Ron informed him.

"But I-"

"Go do some paperwork or something, I'm trying to get some sleep here," Ron said waving his hand.

"I'm sorry. I just-"

"Shh. Go."

~There's nothing where he used to lie.~
~My conversation has run dry.~
~That's what's goin' on. Nothing's fine I'm torn...~

Fred pushed the food around on his plate. Peas in one pile, carrots in the other. He wasn't hungry. It was too quite and uncomfortable at the dinner table. Ron sat across from him racing through his second helping and well on the way to a third. The only sounds were that of Ron munching and slurping. It was extremely disgusting. Even Gene and Jim weren't that bad. In fact, even Aisha, the cat girl wasn't as noisy as Ron. Or maybe it was just that the sounds were echoing through his skull and the devastating silence that had fallen over them lately. They never talked anymore. Never had anything to say to each other. It was driving Fred crazy.

"So," Fred said softly, breaking the silence. "Um, what did you do today?"

Ron stopped slurping for a moment. "I took out a hit on some goodwill ambassador chick who was visiting from Zoloft." Ron boasted.

Fred dropped his fork. The clattering of silver on china filled the air. Ron looked up for a moment before going back to his food.

"Y-you killed Jinnia?" Fred stuttered.

Ron shrugged and continued eating.

Fred pushed his chair back from the table. The chair made a loud scuffing on the floor. Throwing his napkin down Fred dashed from the room, trying to hide the tears that had started to fall.

~I'm all out of faith.~
~This is how I feel.~
~I'm cold and I am shamed.~
~Lying naked on the floor.~
~Illusion never changed,~
~Into something real,~
~I'm wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn,~
~You're a little late, I'm already torn.~

Fred lay across the bathroom floor staring at the mirror on the door. His naked image stared back at him. He looked horrible. Black bags under his eyes. Black hair limp and stringy. Sunken cheeks. Haunted eyes. He couldn't take this anymore! He was miserable all the time. They never talked. Never cuddled, never kissed, never ever touched. Never did anything together. Just fucked. Because they didn't even make love. Ron just used him. He took everything Fred had to offer and then left him to go do some other unspeakable act that his job demanded.

Fred curled up into a ball. He was so ashamed. He couldn't deal with this. Even though Ron had never raised a hand to him he was being abused. He was being walked all over. His mental state was so fragile. He felt like he was about to break and he couldn't stop this falling apart. He had no control. He could only watch as his life went swirling into a black hole with no escape.

He'd thought that he was in love. He'd thought that Ron was the exact thing that was needed to get over Gene. He'd thought that Ron actually cared for him. But he was wrong. It wasn't real. It was just a lie that his mind made up to soothe him. He'd thrown himself wholeheartedly into this dream. But that's all it was. Just a dream. He was awake now. Rudely awakened to the harsh reality that Ron didn't love him. Ron didn't even care for him, not even a little. His whole little fairy tale was falling down around him. Gene had been right. MacDougals were trouble. But it was a little late for him to realize the truth now. He was already in deeper than he ever wanted to be.

~So I guess the fortune teller's right.~
~I should have seen just what was there and not some holy light.~
~But you crawled beneath my veins and now~
~I don't care, I have no luck, I don't miss it all that much~
~There's just so many things,~
~That I can't touch I'm torn.~

Why hadn't he listened to Gene? He'd warned him this would happen. But Fred just wouldn't listen. He had been convinced that it was a perfect match. He was so sure that there was more to Ron MacDougal than people saw. And there was. It just wasn't anything that people would want to see. It was horrible dirty secrets that shouldn't be let out. Fred was no angel, but next to Ron's sins, he was a saint. And it was scary to think that he shared a bed with that monster at night.

Not only was Ron bad for Fred and his health but he was bad for business. He scared away customers, stole others and just generally was a jinx. Things kept going wrong. Fred was in despair as he watched his funds fall so drastically. It wasn't that he needed or missed the money, it was just an unhappy coincidence. Just another disaster in the string of events that Fred was currently calling his life.

~I'm all out of faith.~
~This is how I feel~
~I'm cold and I'm ashamed,~
~Bound and broken on the floor.~
~You're a little late, I'm already torn.~

"Fred! What's wrong?" Gene exclaimed pulling his friend in out of the cold rain.

"I'm tired Gene," Fred sighed as he slumped against Gene's warm body.

"Geez! You feel like ice!" Gene exclaimed. "Come on, we have to get you warmed up."

Gene literally carried Fred through the apartment that housed Starwind and Hawking. He swiftly walked up the stairs to the living quarters. Fred soon found himself on Gene's bed as Gene efficiently stripped him of his soaking garments. Gene took the wet clothes into the bathroom and returned with a large fluffy towel. Fred had managed to pull himself under the covers of Gene's bed and lay huddled under them shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. Frowning in dismay Gene walked over and sat on the bed next to Fred's shivering form. Dropping the towel on the floor Gene climbed under the covers and pulled Fred into his arms.

"What's wrong Fred?" Gene asked as Fred clung to him desperately.

"You were right," Fred said through chattering teeth.

"About what?"

"About me getting hurt," Fred admitted.

"Did he hit you?" Gene demanded furiously.

"He didn't even have to," Fred sighed as he tried to dash the tears from his eyes.

"I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault. I was the stupid one," Fred choked out.

"No. You weren't stupid. People just get funny when emotions are involved." Gene soothed.

"When did you become the smart one Gene?" Fred asked.

"You know what they say about learning too late." Gene said with a half smile.

"No. What do they say?"

"I don't remember, I was hoping you'd know." Gene joked.

"Gene," Fred groaned as he cuffed him on the shoulder.

"What?" Gene asked innocently.

"Seriously, what do they say about learning too late?" Fred asked looking up into Gene's eyes.

Gene leaned closer until his mouth was near Fred's ear and their eyes met. "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." Gene whispered.

Fred blinked and looked at him. Smiling a sardonic little smile Gene brushed his lips gently against Fred's cheek. Instinctively Fred leaned into the tender gesture. It had been so long since he'd been touched with anything other that resembled tenderness. He snuggled closer to Gene who wrapped his arms around him. Fred's bottom lip quivered dangerously. He bit his lip in an attempt to stop the movement. Gene tsked and brought his hand up to Fred's face. He ran his fingers across Fred's lips making him release his bite.

"It's ok. Just let it out. Cry." Gene urged.

And he did.

The End

C&C is welcome. Did you like it? Maybe encouragement will jumpstart my muses ^_^

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