The Love Letter
Rating: I'm going to say G. I know we're on a slash list, but nuthin' happens. Wait, just to be on the safe side - I'll rate it a PG. This would also be labelled pre-slash.
Pairing: Ezra and ?? (Although you'll work out who if you read it. If you really don't want to read it without knowing, ask me and I'll tell you)
Disclaimer: It's not enough that I have to tell myself I don't own them, but I have to say it out loud as well?? Fine - I heard a nasty rumour that they didn't belong to me, it all depends on what kind of day at work I had as to whether I believe that or not.
Thank you: Thanks to my beta Lumina. Without her Ezra would be saying Australian things like "G'day Cobber, how 'bout we hit the frog-n-toad and go to the pub for a schooner of New before you head home to the bubble-n-strife??" (Points to any non-Aussie who knows what he just said <g>)
Feedback: Yes Please, knowing what you guys think would be lovely.
Notes: This is complete. I repeat, this is complete. I know you'll read this and wonder how I could be so dreadful, but it's finished. I'm sorry, but Ez said what he had to say, and that was that. Nothing else. Also, I have no ownership rights to "As Good As It Gets", "Jerry Maguire" or "The Princess Bride"
I forgot to thank Mog for the ATF universe. Thank you Mog.
Dear Mr. -- To my -- Darli-- My lo-- Mine,
For someone with a better than average handle on the intricacies of the English language, I find myself at a complete loss of words. I find myself unable to form whole sentences when I am thinking of you. I find myself abandoned of speech when you leave my side.
I find myself in you.
I find myself within the space of four sentences throwing away the ardent vow I made myself to stay away from sentimental and mawkish phrases! Then again, I should have expected nothing less; all rules I have laid for myself over the years spanning my life get deleted, re-written and re-edited time and time again purely for the fact you constantly amaze me.
You challenge me in ways I never understood existed before we met. I find myself striving to think of new ways I can show you how much of a human being I am, and how little influence the Maude Standish way of life has had on me. While I will never deny my parentage and my love (though sometimes strained) for my mother, I regret things I have done in the past. Things, that while on the surface are nothing to be ashamed of (or jailed for) I desperately hope you will never hear of. Some of my deeds in the past have laid waste other peoples dreams and while a part of me - the logical side of me - knows you would never condemn me for them I am constantly on my guard around you, afraid that you will see past my façade, and find that the true me is not worthy of your time and energy. That I am not worth the effort to help become the person who would be worthy enough, almost enough to be called your friend and comrade-in-arms.
It is this fear that holds my heart closed, and it is this fear that I need to lose before I can ever imagine telling you what I truly feel for you. Mr. Larabee and Josiah both came to the same conclusion when our last case ended; that I was dangerously close to losing my values, my friends and myself. The six months with little contact with those who ground me ate away at my soul. The therapist Josiah and the department recommended has been quite helpful, and it is at her request that I am writing this missive. She had mentioned that what she had found difficult in speech was liberated by word, and during the courtship of her and her husband dozens upon dozens of letters built the foundation that became their marriage. Whilst I hold no fantasies of the two of us even co-habituating, at least I can finally 'say' what I am finding harder and harder to bear by myself.
I am in love with you.
I have not the foggiest idea of when I fell for you. There was no great thunderous moment that I can espy on a calendar and say 'This is when he stole my heart and branded it his'. I do know that it was not the often-mentioned 'love at first sight'; as you know, I believe that appearances are everything and that they can be very deceiving. I do remember the first time we meet, but there were no lightning bolts, no electricity passed between our hands when we were introduced. What I do remember is that one cold Denver day I was looking forward to the smell of your horrendous coffee the moment I stepped into the office. I remember once after I had had a hideously expensive hair-cut that I enjoyed watching the way your hair refused to curl behind your right ear, no matter how many times you tried to caress it into submission. I remember watching the ease you and Chris share, and I felt a physical ache in my heart that hurt so much I considered asking Mr. Jackson what were the symptoms of a heart attack were. But mostly, I remember how one day I realized that every morning I took deep breaths before I knowingly went into a room you were in, because no matter how well prepared I was, the first sight of you always took my breath away.
Appearances are everything in my line of work, and it is getting harder and harder to keep myself away from you - to keep myself from touching you too often, to keep my hand from lingering that one second too long when I do touch you. I have to keep myself away from you, as I know that you could never love me. I am neither a clueless nor a stupid man, and I will not waste time pining on unrequited love. Well, that is what I say to myself each and every morning when I first wake, and yet each and every day I find myself watching you like you were my holy grail and I was the last soldier left.
When I was convalescing after my last gunshot wound, JD and Buck decided to help me stave off the boredom by bringing over some videos for me to watch, but with the boys being, well childish, they bought movies that they thought would end up driving me batty. Instead, trite movie lines found their way to my heart. Cliché-d lines I had heard mocked for their love finally made sense, though I was at first loathe to admit it, even to myself.
'You make me want to be a better man'. When I first heard those words from the incomparable Jack, I froze. It was as though he was talking about how I feel for you. Every action I do or have done I wonder what you would think of me and how can I make myself more of a person you would like to spend time with. A person more like someone who you would have been proud to introduce to your late mother.
'You complete me.' That one made me sigh with regret, for I would never be able to complete you; that is a role more suited to Mr. Larabee. I know you and he are not lovers, and that the relationship he has with Ms. Travis is a strong one, but you and Chris are family by choice. It is the differences between you that work so well and blend your styles together, and in turn are a reason why our team is so successful. If not for my ability to mesh so well into the local crime scene I wonder if I would be needed in the team. Without you or Chris, the team would be nothing, without me however, I am confident that life would go on.
My favourite line was in a movie I would have never watched if I hadn't been suffering from insomnia. I had thought that the fairy tale would lull me to sleep, but I could not be more mistaken. I had wondered about JD's tendency to jump out at Buck spouting about how the ladies man had "killed my father. Prepare to die" and why he sometimes called Casey "Buttercup," but after the movie it all came together. I could see why the young man loved the movie. I could picture him sitting snuggled up next to his mother watching it, and I instinctively know he picked this movie, not as a joke, but as a genuine show of his affection for me. The love story in this film gave me a way to tell you how much I feel for you, without the worry of you seeing what is in my heart.
I am worried that Mr. Larabee has a handle on what is going on - the first time I said the line to you in his presence he got a melancholy look in his eyes that normally only ghosts his face on the anniversary of his marriage. He has said nothing to me, but I fear he may know how much of a façade my indifference is. I am unsure on whether he will keep his suspicions to himself, but the problems that would arise for the team from the questions that he would have to ask would outweigh any happiness on my part. Of course, that is using the huge assumption that it would end 'happily ever after', and I am too much of a realist to believe that it could end in that manner. Life is not the bed of roses we wish it to be, and I have come to terms with the realities of tables for one in restaurants and Sunday mornings spent in bed with only the weekend papers to keep me company.
I will end this now, and lock it in my safe deposit box with the rest of my important papers. If anything should happen to me Josiah has a key and I hope he will use his discretion on whether to give this to you. Perhaps I should just throw caution to the wind and put my courage in the sticking place and just tell you. Perhaps I should get JD to sit you down and watch the movie with you. Then maybe, just maybe, the next time I say, "As you wish" you won't laugh and tell me to talk like everyone else. Perhaps.
Ezra. P Standish