Title: The Shark on the Beach
Author: Raietta ([email protected] or [email protected])
Pairing / Main characters: Gambit/Daredevil
Series/Sequel: There is a companion piece to this: Interlude.
Disclaimer: Soon, very soon, they will all be mine. I have plans for world domination that are well on their way to coming to fruition, and as soon as they do, the first item on my list as world dictator is "Take over Marvel Comics". Until then, though, Gambit and Daredevil ain't mine, and not a penny was made from this work.
Archive/Distribution: Sure! Just tell me where.
Notes: This is actually the second in a mini-series I'm writing of Remy and Matt, but the first story isn't editing very well, so this one got posted first. You don't need to have read the first story to understand this one. Just assume that Remy and Matt are already fast lovers, and you'll do fine. This fic is very quiet and rather solemn, and contains no sex. Sorry! Don't worry, though, I make up for it in the first story. ;0)
The Shark on the Beach
The tongue of the waves tolled in the earth's bell.
Blue rippled and soaked in the fire of blue.
The dried mouth bones of a shark in the hot swale
Gaped on nothing but sand on either side.
The bone tasted of nothing and smelled of nothing,
A scalded toothless harp, uncrushed, unstrung.
The joined arcs made the shape of birth and craving
And the welded-open shape kept mouthing O.
Ossified cords held the corners together
In groined spirals pleated like a summer dress.
But where was the nimble grin, the gash of pleasure?
Infinitesimal mouths bore it away,
The beach scrubbed and etched and pickled it clean.
But O I love you, it sings, my little my country
My food my parent my child I want you my own
My flower my fin my life my lightness my O.
--Robert Pinsky, The Want Bone
The water was chill, the sand was chill, the sky above was a chill, slate gray. The ocean itself, those waves of cold gray spray and sea life, was as chill as grave dirt, but still held some tiny smiling hint of sun, of light, of warmth. It was winter on the coast, and Remy and Matt walked the beach in silence, their words useless against the wind that buffeted their bodies, tangled their hair.
Their car sat quietly behind the rise of dunes covered in soft deadening tall grass, long reeds, and inside the car was the detritus of their long drive, the Taco Bell wrappers, the abandoned Pepsis, a mixed tape silent in the tape deck, a blanket tossed negligently in the back seat. The car was a Ford Explorer, Remy's, and Matt had laughed and laughed and laughed when Remy had shown up with it.
"What?" Remy had demanded, prickling self-consciously, standing by the car door. Matt had heard the uncertainty in his rough, husky accent, and lapsed into a happy grin. "What's wrong wit' de car?"
"Where's the motorcycle?" Matt had answered, and Remy had just smiled, not that Matt could see it, but he could feel it, and it made him smile all the harder. "It's just a bit of a transition, from Harley to Explorer. That's all."
"Yeah..." Remy had agreed, sheepishly, and Matt had slapped him on the shoulder and shouted, "Good family car, LeBeau! You'll be a nice, practical, ordinary man in no time!"
Nice, practical, ordinary.
The car drive had been loud and happy, Remy singing to the music, first on the radio and then on the tapes, and Matt had sung, too, and then for a while he had slept while Remy drove on in silence, and then it had been loud and happy again. Their words had swelled together like a harmony, harmonizing, and jokes and pokes and grins and opinions and ideas had been exchanged, building up a bridge of words to join the two men, who were, perhaps, truly in love with one another, although neither one admitted it, or spoke of it out loud.
Now, on the beach, they were silent again. The surf boomed hollowly, chanting to itself and the sun, which hid from the world. The two men walked the beach, silent in the gusting wind, which scuttled the trash of other people now gone from here. The beach was empty except for them, and it was large and long and a little sad, in the gray sunlight.
Matt, however, was happy, even in the cold sadness of the lonely beach. The smell of the salt in the waves was as strong as a supernova, almost too overpowering, and overhead gulls cried and squealed and wheeled. The waves rushed the shore, then retreated noisily, and he could hear the wind, and the rattling sea grass, and the soft piping of pipers stringing the beach. He could feel the cold of the winter burn his fingers, his nose, and his lips, numbing them all, and then Remy would sidle up to him and hold his hand for a minute or two, walking side by side silently, and he would be warmed. He could taste the salt and the sea water, it was so strong and fresh, and he could almost taste the coldness of the air, which crackled. He walked along the shore, sand crunching under his shoes, which were sneakers, rare for him to wear. He and Remy both were so casual, thick ugly coats, v-necked shirts, jeans, running shoes. They didn't need to be beautiful for one another.
He walked silently with his lover and felt his own warm sun radiate him from within, happy and summery hot.
Remy walked along and inspected the dross of the beach. Starfish clung to wet, gray and black rocks, looking cold and orange and purple. He touched them gently, with soft fingers, then had Matt touch them too, feel their prickly, rough skins. Matt smiled, touching them, and Remy could feel himself glow quietly. He watched a tiny snail, smaller than the nail of his littlest finger, slowly make a trail in the wet sand, like a curlicue. The wind pulled at his hair, knotting it. He must remember to cut it, some time, even though Matt liked it long and rakish. Well, maybe he wouldn't cut it, then.
The sun, which was shy today, and sulky, showed itself for a brief moment, and Remy watched Matt turn his face to it. Silver sparked and ran like mercury over the mutating waves out in the ocean, and glittered, brokenly, like shards of glass. Remy tried to describe it to Matt, but Matt just smiled at Remy's fumbling words being torn away by the wind, and he fell silent again. Matt didn't need it to be told to him. He could feel the sun on the waves, Remy knew. They were silent again, happy.
They came to a length of the beach littered with old driftwood polished clean of any splinters, smoothed to perfection, and long lengths of seaweed, ropes of green lasagna and gray twine ropes. Remy crouched and inspected them, turned over the mermaid's yards of dark hair, touched the empty hermit crab shells, picked clean. One small living crab hid in the tangles of seaweed, small and red and alive, and Remy picked it up briefly and watched it sit in his palm for a moment before putting it back.
He looked at the tiny air holes oysters made in the sand, or was it mussels? He couldn't remember.
The next tiny living crab he found, he put in Matt's hand, and Matt smiled as he felt the tiny claws balance delicately on his sensitive skin.
The sea roared at them, absently. Gulls bobbed like small fat boats in the water further out.
Lost among the seaweed, a dead shark lay, washed down to little more than a skin of gray rubber and jaws, gaping blankly, blindly, with short rows of teeth that wouldn't hurt anything anymore. Remy stared at the gaping, empty mouth, a ring of bone, and the shark's mouth stared back. The rubbery skin lay stretched over ribs of cartilage, and there was no more meat or tail to the shark anymore. Just the jaws, which gaped. Far out, other sharks swam the sea, lithe, tails flipping and twisting and churning water. But this one, reduced to flapping skin like an old disused tent, sat on the beach, and stared at Remy.
"I know you," the ring of jaws said to Remy, who crouched and gazed. "I know what you're thinking. I may be dead, but I'm not gone. Long after you have fought your last fight, long after all the Magnetos and Sabretooths and Sentinels and Neo have been erased from the earth, long after Genosha has become an empty island, long after you, too, are done with this world, there will still be sharks in the ocean, silent, but there. I am content to be dead, because I am still here."
Matt, sensing the different mood coming from Remy, stopped his stroll and turned, asking, "What's up, Remy?" They hadn't spoken in almost an hour, and the words hung strangely in the cold air. "What are you looking at?"
Remy shook himself, and stood. The cold wind called to him. The shark jaws gaped on, hinges frozen wide. "Jus' lookin' at dis shark bone, cher," he explained, casually, and Matt joined him by the seaweed. "Dere's dis dead shark jaw right here. Jus' kinda... lying open."
Matt nodded, his sightless eyes gazing down at the withered remnants. "Is it gross?" he asked, finally, still feeling Remy's mood, which felt rather melancholy, but happy, all the same.
"Nah," Remy replied, "jus' there. Kinda good to remember dat, after all de scrapes you an' me both been in, all de battles an' acts of heroism, dat dere's still nature out here, goin' on wit' itself, not waitin' fer us."
They were silent for a moment, standing side by side, apart but not apart, as the ocean rolled forth more dross to the beach, more things dead and living.
"Do you see what I mean?" Remy finally asked, looking over at Matt, and Matt nodded, saying, "I understand." And he did.
Remy's hand crept into Matt's, held it, and they stood facing the waves of the ocean, cold with a small, slight hint of warmth, and the gray, dark sky above, and the dunes behind, covered with tall dead grasses. They stood, and even though it was cold and wintry, they were both warm and glad, and the hands stayed clasped together, Remy silently telling Matt what neither had ever spoken before, and Matt replying in kind.
Then, after a moment, they walked on, wind ruffling the dead grass and the seaweed limp on the wet sand, and the shark's jaws gaped behind them, easy, singing nothingness, letting the winter through.