|The Damage Which Does Not End The World pt 1
||[May. 30th, 2011|06:25 pm]
Fandom: Deadwood |
Pairing: Al Swearengen/Seth Bullock; Al/Jack Langrishe implied
Rating: N17/M for bad language, m/m sex, power exchange, non-con, armchair psychology implied
Disclaimer: I own nothing, make nothing, nothing to look at here...
Spoilers: info about the rather truncated ending of the series. Some notions pull from Meredith's character in "44 in Chest".
Note: edited 5-30-11 to correct some gawdawful formatting glitches
Damage Which Does Not End The World Pt 1
“Why you still here, Bullock? Why ain't you home with the missus, hmm?”
Bullock tapped his glass on the bar. “I want to see that cocksucker and his toadies ride out for myself before I stand down tonight-that a problem for you?”
Al sighed. “For myself, I don't care, but I got weepy whores, a minion less than stable, and I'd as soon not spend the night watchin' for you to get twitchy over something can't be changed. And I wouldn't mind what payin' customers might still be around, not be put off by a jumpy sheriff”.
Bullock bit the inside of his cheek and turned toward Al, a bit of whiskey sloshing over the rim of the glass. He wasn't sure exactly how or why, but that dark place inside him was urging him towards a combative turn of mind best kept here in the Gem. His complicity in Jen's death made him feel unfit to cross Martha's threshold tonight--his powerlessness to steer things towards a righteous outcome left him angry and afraid, no sense of place left to him.
“Your “payin' customers” can-” Al talked over his challenge.
“Come up on out to the balcony, Sheriff-we can catch the tail-end of the sight of those bastards leaving camp better from that fuckin' vantage. Do us both good to get away from the mournful for a while, eh?”
Bullock looked at Al for an accompanying cynical sneer but Swearengen looked weary and somehow diminished.
The Sheriff raised an eyebrow. “Bottle?”
That got an eye-roll, at least.
“Yeah, Bullock...bottle. Couple bottles, if you like—Davy!” Al gestured from the bottles on the back of the bar to the Sheriff as he turned towards the stairs.
The camp's lights blazed in the dark as Hearst's wagons moved out. The rich man cocked an eye just briefly at the balcony, corner of his mouth turned up, as he rode away. Neither Al nor Bullock knew for certain how visible they were, leaning on the railing in a corner away from the light, but both felt Hearst had seen them clear as day, took their final measure, and found them small and weak.
“That bastard's calling us “cunts” and worse in his mind, as I suppose he's a right to, seein' he's fucked us into goin' against...ah, fuck—why the hell am I talking failure of duty, of not doin' right, to you?” Voice getting louder, Bullock turned to face Al as he choked back his frustration. Hoping that anger would push the helpless feeling away. Glaring, eyes shining.
Al looked down at his hands, then looked ahead, past the hotel, past the camp, and into the hills.
“Who you are, Bullock, besides the frequent pain in my balls, is a human bein'. And us human bein's...we hurt when others beat us down and fuck us over. Amongst the myriad other fuckin' ways cocksuckers find to hurt us.”
He absently rubbed the stump on his left hand, then passed the bottle with his right.
“But as I was tellin' a whore the other night, when you get fucked because some bigger, stronger motherfucker is holding you from behind, holdin' you down, not givin' you any chance to help yourself...it's not your fault. You just gotta take it, shove it to the back, and learn a way to live with it...whiskey, pussy, and profit being excellent tools for that fuckin' task.”
He turned his back to the hills, to the camp, and looked at nothing.
Bullock found himself in front of Swearengen's face, starting to shake a bit with the effort of conveying to the low-life murdering, whore-mongering saloon-keeper how different they were, how nothing in the thieving soulless prick's brain equipped him to understand Bullock's dark feelings of failure. He drank deep from the bottle and swallowed the burn as he gathered himself.
“I know this is foreign to you, but I am a lawman in my fuckin' soul. Even when I tried to leave off of it, it took no time at all to pick that fuckin' badge right up again. I do the right thing, do you understand me? I do right by my brother. I do right by my brother's widow. I do right by my brother's boy. I do right by Mrs. Gar—Ellsworth.” His vision was blurred by either whiskey or eyes watery with rage.
“I do right by every-goddamn-body and it never fuckin' works out! My father might have called me“Sloth”, but by God I've spent my whole goddamn life tryin' to make up for it. I do the right thing and try so fuckin' hard.” He took another pull off the bottle. “And I know you don't have any goddamn idea what I'm talkin' about.”
He turned, his back now to the camp, and stared blankly into Swearengen's office.
Al looked at him from the corner of his eye and sighed. “You have no fuckin' understanding of how easy it is to be...made unable to...to control things, do you? You really think failure on your part is a...a weakness of character, or some other self-fuckin'-righteous fatal-fucking flaw, huh?”
He took Bullock by the arm and guided him into his office. Turning to face the younger man, Al's eyes going black and hard. “God, it must be hard to be tryin' to direct us lesser mortals from your high fuckin' pedestal and seein' your failure everywhere you look, even if your eyes are the only ones seein' it.”
Bullock started to sweat. Jesus, the cocksucker was getting close to something Bullock suspected would be a dreadful truth. Al took a pull from the bottle, got close to his face, forcing him to fall back a step, and taunted him in a low growl that seemed to get louder with every step.
“You're a fraud, ain't that right, Sloth? Deep down, you think your pride, your fuckin' arrogance, let you make promises you were just too fuckin' weak to keep, hmm?”
Bullock took another step backwards to gain some distance, in the room and in his head, but Al advanced with him. The hectoring continued, although a more sober man would have seen some warmth of understanding coming to the older man's eyes.
“Can it be, at your age and position, you still have not learned that you are not as omnipotent as you'd like to think? Is it possible for you to be that fuckin' self-deceiving?”
Bullock's head was spinning. “I should have...”
“Shut the fuck UP, Bullock!” Lower now, barely audible. “Your fucking pride is killing you, like swallowin' live dynamite, and I fear the resultin' explosion will destroy more than you would have seen harmed, had you been in your right fuckin' mind when that fuckin' plate was passed”.
Bullock had a moment of clarity, enough to note the bottle once in his hand was now on the bedside table, his coat and hat on the chair nearby. I'm readying to leap,he thought. Off a cliff, into hell, into a cooling stream, he wasn't sure what or where. Only the readying felt a certainty.
Al's voice was still low and gruff, but softer, the tone he used with hurting whores who must be made whole to serve his purpose and their own.
“I can help you, Bullock. Will you let me help you? Or will you ask that I let you go to hell like your hero friend did, and allow you to leave misery as your fuckin' legacy to your family, your friends, this camp?”
Al drank a short pull from the bottle, put it back, and ran his good right hand over the inner pocket of the Sheriff’s discarded coat, feeling for steel, and waited for a response. He ran his thumb over the hard edges he found, waiting. He felt energy coming from the steel, the night, the quiet tension in the room. He thought scrubbing the last bloodstain had done for the last of his strength. Second wind, he supposed, smiling a bit. Who knew he had it in him, at his age?
Jack, he thought. Jack would know. And be unsurprised.
He heard the bed springs squeak. Cocksucker's makin' himself comfortable.
He turned from the coat and looked at Bullock sitting on the edge of the bed. Bullock ran a hand though his hair, took another long pull from the bottle, wiped his mouth and looked up at Al, then down.
“I do not like the way I'm feelin' right now, that's a surety. But I have to say, I don't have the slightest goddamn idea what you're talking about.”
“I know you don't, Bullock.”
The rumble was closer to his ear than he had remembered.
“You don't have to.”
“I think I should go,” Bullock said, yet made no move to get up from the bed.
It was dangerous here, under the surface of their uneasy alliance. They had accomplished some good things together, but his mind's eye could see Swearengen turning on him with a taunting, “What did you think was going to happen? Did you not know what I was?” just before the knife slid in, if it furthered the bastard's purpose. Just another minute for his head to clear and his spine to straighten...wish that metallic jangling would stop...
“I think I should go,” Bullock repeated.
“Yeah? That's funny, 'cause I'm thinking you need another fuckin' 2 by 4 again, fuckin' mule that you are.”
Al's mouth curled into a snarl, black eyebrows drawn together, as he twisted the younger man's right wrist into the Sheriff's own handcuff, snapping the ends together. One knee on the bed gave Al the leverage he needed to jerk the cuffs up between the metal posts of his headboard and down towards Bullock's left wrist. Bullock had thought he was stronger, but as he tried to pull his cuffed hand away and hold Swearengen off with his left, he could feel his body twisting until he was on his knees, trying desperately to keep his balance on the swaying mattress.
As he felt a hard knee touch his balls, he panicked and tried to shove the knee away with his free hand. That hand was twisted and caught in hard steel as well. He whipped his head around in disbelief as he heard a chuckle behind him.
“Your problem, Bullock, not suggestin' you have just the one, mind, but the problem fuckin' you up at this particular moment, is that you never learned much about fightin' dirty, did you?”
Al got off the bed and walked to his desk, pouring himself one measured shot of the better whiskey kept in his drawer, then walked back to Bullock, who by now was glaring at his own handcuffs tight around his wrists.
“I do hope your keen professionalism means that I'll find some keys in that coat, time comes for that”.
Bullock's rage burned off some of his alcohol fog. “You son-of-a-bitch,” he gritted, “you get over here and get these off me or I will tear this bed apart and beat you to death with the pieces”.
Al leaned against the nightstand, examining his shot of whiskey against the lantern's glow.
“You know, Sheriff, you bein' the strong young buck you are, you just might be able to do that. Not the way I'd bet personally, of course, but I'd be a fool to rule it out as a possibility.”
He turned the glass a bit, as if grading the color, still not looking at Bullock. Finally, he set the shot glass down and looked the younger man in the eye.
“I do know this, though...you won't be able to do it quiet”.
Al put on his open friendly face, the one that got suckers to trust his scales. “Shall I step back, give you some room to jerk and pound away? Oh, and feel free to express your feelings in whatever loud and profane manner you like...” as he bent near Bullock's ear “...knowin' that the first ones likely to hear will be Dan and Adams.”
He straightened and continued conversationally, “I expect the whores'll hear next and be curious about the racket. Then,” tapping his upper lip, as if in deep thought, ”I'm seein' Merrick bein' the last to hear something is amiss, runnin' in with his notebook at the ready.”
He turned an innocent, quizzical face down towards Bullock. “You reckon he carries that damn thing wherever he goes?” and downed his shot of the good whiskey, smacking his lips. “Ahhh...decent whiskey is worth every penny, once you get the taste of it”.
Bullock’s head was down, back starting to bow. His (HIS!) handcuffs had slid down to where the headboard met the bed. So tired...a pillow, stained with sweat and Swearengen's hair oil, was right under his face. Fucker was tryin' to show off, show Bullock what a devious cock-sucker he was, that he still had power, even if not all ten fingers.
Reason flickered in his head. The man ran whores, after all. When his prick worked right and he wasn't at death's door, he was known for fuckin' Trixie so hard her snatch hurt for days, to hear the whores whisper. The last day he fucked Trixie, he was fuckin' Dolly by that night. Whatever kind of son-of-a-bitch Swearengen was, he wasn't fucking queer. Bullock just had to be reasonable.
“Okay, Al, “ he sighed. “You've had your fun. You win, you are whatever fuckin' conquering cocksucker you think you have to be tonight. Now get the keys from my coat, unlock these, and...”
Air rushed out of his lungs as Al fell on him hard, arm around the cuffed man's throat. In a wild glance back, he could see Killer Al, the frightful mug Dan or Johnny would have recognized instantly as a prelude to sudden deadly violence.
“Fun? FUN?? If you think this is “fun”, Bullock, I'll strangle you where you lay and call both your women to come find you. This, fucknut, is a fuckin' lesson!”
The weight left Bullock's back as Al got up. The restrained man took a deep breath, then froze as he heard the rustling sounds of Swearengen taking off his ratty old jacket and vest. The smell of old sweat became stronger from the bedclothes, overlaying a sour musk of old spunk and a faint, very faint tang of a scent he could only identify as "whore". He looked at the older man after he heard the quiet thud of empty boots hit the floor, first one then the other, faint snap of suspenders as the pants were pulled off. He tried to look up to the eyes, to see if they were murderous, or mocking, or, God forbid, lustful. His exploring gaze got no further than the outline of Swearengen's swelling prick under his long johns.
He said he was going to help me, he thought, as his breath caught in his chest. He forced to keep himself from raising enough hell to bring half the town running, pushed down the overwhelming urge to fight, flee, or bellow. He could feel tears beginning to leak out from behind clenched eyelids. He said he was going to help me. In his fear and anger, he was unable to recognize the feelings of betrayal that clenched his gut.
Al began unbuttoning the buttons in the back of Bullock's shirt. Bullock tried a clumsy backwards head-butt, off the mark and easily dodged. Al bunched the shirt's fabric around the handcuffs. Sweat was giving an oily sheen to Bullock's back.
Echoing an ominous statement made recently to him, Al said, “I'd suggest you drink that,” as he held a refilled glass to Bullock's mouth. Smart, he thought, as Bullock dipped his mouth towards the glass as Al poured. Smarter than I was.
Bullock knew what some men did together, ass-fucking like you'd use a woman. Sodomy. Sodomite. Men sneering at two men caught together, “which one a'you is the woman?” before the violence started. Folk figuring the strong fucked the weak. Jack McCall, beat to a pulp and certain to die, sneering, askin' him if he missed Wild Bill's dick in his ass, how that had enraged him.
He heard rustling, drawers opening and closing, as his head spun, little pieces of his soul breaking off as he thought I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this, then I can't take this, I can't take this, I can't take this.
He started to jerk on the cuffs, making the headboard knock against the wall with an audible thump. Swearengen's warnings about witnesses to his shame flooded back, and he slumped into the pillow again. He could feel all the fight in him slipping away. He rallied enough to groan, “I will kill you, you filthy raping cock-sucker queer,” then closed his eyes.
“Everybody says that, but how rarely their threats in that respect come true. Bein' as how I already watch my back around you, I can't see how that'd dissuade me now,” Al said in a light, casual tone as he reached around and under and started unfastening Bullock's pants.