Title: What Lies Within Us
Characters/Pairing: Christian Clarke/Syed Masood
Spoilers: Follows directly on from the reunion of 6/01/2012 and chronicles what may have happened in the weeks they were offscreen.
Rating: M - because it's Chryed and they're making up -_-
Summary: Christian and Syed love each other. But the unbreakable has been broken; and now they have to pick up the pieces of their shattered relationship and put them back together.
A/N: I think that the hand hold, or 'Hand Spoon' as I like to call it (because Christian's hand was, in essence, spooning Syed's hand), was the start of a long process for Christian and Syed as they attempt to put their relationship back on track; it symbolised the fact that they love each other immeasurably, but it also showed the quiet tentativeness of the reconciliation, the fact that they are going to have to let the issues into the open and get to know one another again. They need to rediscover why they loved one another so much; they need to remember what they fought so hard for. And I'm a little bit glad that EastEnders did not show us those vital few weeks onscreen, as it means that I get to have a go at chronicling them. So here it is; my interpretation. And I hope I do them justice.
Many thanks to Jenn for the beta!
"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
At first, the touch is so gentle that Christian himself can barely feel it.
It's like a breath of wind ghosting across his fingertips, the pulsating cold of Syed's knuckle grazing against the skin with a tentativeness that almost pains him. It reminds Christian how much he misses Syed's touch; the brushing of shoulders, the brief contact of fingertips on flesh, reassuring twinges and touches; they were a part of them, who they were, what they wanted to be forever more.
The unbreakable that was broken.
He can feel the tiny tremor that runs up Syed's spine as he finally registers the contact; his eyes fix on the sight and feel of Christian's hand against his own, something unreadable flashing over his features. For a brief moment, the breath in Christian's throat catches. His fingertips tremble in the wind, knocking against Syed's knuckles as if they are the doorway to his heart; willing him to let him back in, to open the gateway, to grant him entrance to the only place he has ever really felt fit to call home.
What if it's too late for that? What if that moment in the restaurant this morning - the pleading eyes that kicked him in the stomach, every single brick of his defences crumbling under the force that battered relentlessly against its walls – had been his last chance? What if he'd been too scared, too fearful of hurt, too unwilling to risk anymore slivers of his heart, to take the only hand that was ever going to be held out to him?
He knew that he'd done the right thing – or, at least, the logical, reasonable, necessary thing. But here and now, his heart trembling slightly with the cold and the fear as he waits for Syed to do something, all he wants is to go back to that moment and fling himself wholeheartedly into that gorgeous uncertainty.
A breath escapes from between Syed's lips, greying the air in front of his face, and then Christian feels movement: the curling inwards of a fist. Perhaps he's trying to pull away. Christian's brain screams at him, wailing in despair: he doesn't want this. But then the thumb catches against his, pulling the fingers inwards until Syed's hand is engulfed in the warm cocoon of Christian's palm.
It has barely been a few seconds since he reached outwards in his first tentative touch, but Christian feels as though a million lifetimes have flashed past; a life's worth of words and feelings and unspoken promises flitting between them in a few short moments of contact.
Then Syed looks at him. Looks at him properly: that look that he always used to give him, piercing him through with the dark daggers of his eyes, dredging something up from deep in his core and making him feel as though he is the only person still breathing on earth. Warmth emanates from their joined hands, their heat playing off one another, but Christian can hardly fight the tremble that grips him under that gaze. The wind gusts suddenly, lifting up the flyaway strands of Syed's hair; they're so close, so unbearably close, that Christian feels the tickle of the fibres on his lips, pattering down along the line of his jaw like tiny fingertips.
Syed parts his lips, the tip of his tongue darting out nervously to moisten the flesh before scurrying back between his teeth. The urge to pull him closer strikes Christian heavily in the chest; the need to lean in and kiss and hold and crush and touch and pull them together so that there's not a single breath of wind between them…
He fights it. He has to. He tightens his grip on Syed's hand, squeezing their fingers together – redirecting all that passion and need and want into the least threatening touch that he can give; it's a hug, of sorts.
He doesn't know where he stands. There's something…something…but he can't be sure of what it means. There's enough to save, but he doesn't know how much saving is needed. The fragments of their shattered relationship lie strewn around them, the patterns of what they once had etched out in the way the pieces have fallen…but Christian doesn't know how sharp the edges are; whether he dares reach out and touch them, letting them cut his hands to pieces as he forces them into some semblance of what they had been before...or whether he's too scared of the pain.
The glue was always their love – always – and he knows now that that is here. He's tried to kid himself. He's seen Syed try to kid himself. But the further they've tried to move on, the further away from acceptance they have found themselves. It's like there is a cord that joins just beneath their ribs, always tugging them back to this place; wrenching them painfully together with a strength that could only be staved off; never defeated.
He doesn't want to beat it anymore.
He wants this.
Oh God, he wants Syed.
That's all he's ever wanted. He knows that now. He'd risk a thousand wounds if he could only have Syed back for one day. For one minute. For one second.
To hell with reason. What good has it ever done him? It brought him a world of pain and heartache; a sea of troubles, an ocean of hurt, drowning him in emotion and confusion.
But it's one thing saying that. Another thing entirely to quell the panicking voice that's bubbling away somewhere in the depths of his stomach; the unfiltered, raw cry of someone who doesn't know what to do.
A sudden breath brings him crashing back to Earth, his eyes focusing as the light from the streetlamps falls almost hypnotically across Syed's face; he feels Syed's thumb drawing tiny circles across his knuckles; those eyes search his; lips slightly parted, as if trying to find words whilst silently begging to be kissed. It takes all of Christian's strength not to give into that silent plea.
Not now. Not yet.
There has to be words first. There has to be.
But he doesn't know what to say.
Luckily, Syed does.
The words perforate the air, slicing neatly through the silence like a warm knife through butter; quiet, gentle, sincere words, breathed out into the atmosphere, dancing their way through the cold and settling in Christian's ear.
Words that are spoken with eyes as well as tongue.
The right words. The only words that could possibly be uttered. The words that needed to be said.
'Let's go home.'
So, this is what we saw on screen (except my little addition at the end) - now it's time to move on to what we haven't seen. I hope you approved of this first segment; I hope you felt it was in character, realistic, true to the story that we all love so much. If you have any comments at all, I would love to hear them, as it is criticism and ideas from my readers that really help me to write these boys as well as I can. If not, then I hope you'll keep on reading...and I hope you'll enjoy reading about these boys as much as I love writing them.