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Doll Parts.
(2,028) // (R)
Bob Bryar/Ray Toro (unrequited), Brian Schechter/Ray Toro
Once or twice Bob has wondered if ‘spying’ wouldn’t be a more correct term to define what he does. Again, no. Spying implies hiding, and Bob never hides. Months ago he found this perfect, perfect spot, high, well-lit, and with great visibility over Ray’s bedroom. From there he can see the entire room, but he doesn’t do weird shit like using binoculars or peeking through the curtains, nothing of that. He just sits and watches.
The guys aren't mine, it never happened.
Inspired by this post at [livejournal.com profile] we_are_cities + #37 Abstract at [livejournal.com profile] fanfic50
For [livejournal.com profile] untilsally. ♥ [livejournal.com profile] anne_elliot offered help and cheers, [livejournal.com profile] ky_betty did the beta duties. Thank you so much. ♥ Title stolen from 'Live Through This' - Hole.


*

Bob seldom rests. At all. One could say that he suffers of a severe case of insomnia but no, it wouldn’t be technically correct. He doesn’t feel sleepy during the night, exactly as he doesn’t feel sleepy during the day. Tiredness aside – it’s always there, always fogging up his mind, the kind of tiredness that won’t be defeated by coffee or pills – Bob’s just… awake all the time? And since he’s awake, he spends his days watching Ray.

Once or twice Bob has wondered if ‘spying’ wouldn’t be a more correct term to define what he does. Again, no. Spying implies hiding, and Bob never hides. Months ago he found this perfect, perfect spot, high, well-lit, and with great visibility over Ray’s bedroom. From there he can see the entire room, but he doesn’t do weird shit like using binoculars or peeking through the curtains, nothing of that. He just sits and watches.

It’s Ray who doesn’t notice him – and ah, it’d be so simple to, really. If only Ray paid more attention to his surroundings, if he for once stopped talking to his boyfriend on the phone (Bob knows him, a short, loud dude with way too many tattoos. Brian Something) or took off his headphones, then he’d see Bob in a second. He isn’t exactly small, after all.

On the rare occasions when Bob is able to lie flat on his back and rest, his eyes closed at last, he dreams of Ray. No exceptions, no other people. In every dream Bob has there’s Ray and Ray only. Sometimes he eventually acknowledge his presence, sometimes he just stands in the middle of the room, drying his hair with a spare towel or tuning his guitar, oblivious of everything. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because all Bob cares about is possibility of watching him, even when he sleeps.

It’s a bit weird that he seems unable to picture Ray in any other place. It’s probably because the bedroom is the only room of Ray’s house Bob has free access to, in a way. He remembers – of course, how could he forget? – the very first time he saw him, in that thrift store at the end of the street. Bob was there, idly looking at a shelf filled with old books when Ray walked in. He was lost that instant, sold to him with no chance to turn back, body and soul. Bob has also seen Ray in the courtyard and in the living room but still, Ray’s bedroom is his sanctuary, Ray’s frame between the closet and the bed as perfect as the sacred image of God. To Bob, Ray is God. His personal, holy version to worship in silence, from afar.

*

Bob doesn’t recall how many times he’s lost in that obsession. If he had someone to talk to – a friend, a relative, someone - and they asked him about it, he’d honestly answer, ‘forever’. In some way, it’s true. The part of his life that doesn’t include Ray has no real meaning for him.

He recalls other people, other places (an old woman, maybe his mother? A living room with wood on walls, maybe his old house?), the thrift store where he met Ray too, but the past seems to vanish if compared with the present. Bob feels sorry about it – mildly, almost nostalgically – but that’s it. Memories are blurred at the edges, frayed like an old cloth. As the days go by, turning first into weeks, and then into months, they fade more and more, blurring in the background of his mind. There’s only space for his burning sun in his head, and truth be told, Bob likes it that way.

He knows Ray’s routine by heart, and it couldn’t be otherwise. Taking full advantage of his strategic position, Bob has come to learn what Ray does every morning after he wakes up, and also what he does when he turns back home from work. Small little details, casual gestures, a certain look, a particular tone of voice: Bob has seen them all at least once, and he recognizes them with the confidence of an expert. Practice makes perfect, that’s what they say and hey, Bob has all the time of the world to practice.

Sometimes he’s even able to anticipate Ray, ‘now he’s going to laugh, now he’s about to push his hair backwards, tucking it behind his ear’. If Bob stops and thinks about it for a moment, that ability almost gives him the creeps. It’s insane, he doesn’t need a shrink to realize that much. Rather, he should do something about it, an attempt to heal from what could only be called an addiction. When Ray isn’t home and the sunlight is already gone, hiding the familiar shapes of the bed, the closet, and the chair on which he drops his clothes, Bob actually believes it to be a real target, something he could achieve if he tries hard enough.

It takes a flick of the switch to make his wonders – his hopes, maybe – crumble to dust. Ray is back, and Bob is pushed back in the abyss of his obsession, too.

*

Bob seldom has direct contact with Ray, at least in the world that lives and breathes out of Bob’s mind. Their existences run on parallel tracks, close but not close enough to really meet. Still, sometimes they become tangents – Bob has just heard someone on TV talking about math, that’s why he’s thinking in math metaphors – crossing paths but for a fleeting moment. When it happens and Ray draws near, he goes perfectly still, holding his breath until Ray is gone.

On one hand it’s almost a relief to never be noticed. It allows him to keep on living like that, which all Bob wants. Without Ray, Bob’s life would have no meaning. On the other hand though, there’s that tiny part of Bob’s mind that yearns for validation – love.

Ray is Bob’s God, yes, and just like any follower of any religion, Bob is desperate for Ray’s love.

Once or twice Bob has tried to rationalize, to gather his feelings for Ray and lay them down. Usually they’re all bundled up, a knot in his chest that pulses every once in a while, when Ray enters his bedroom right after a shower, still naked and with water dripping from his hair, or when his boyfriend comes home with him.

That’s hard to watch. Reason tells him to not to, to close his eyes and think about something else until they’re done, but he can’t. Bob has literally no option but always looking at the object of his desire.

It isn’t easy to deal with it and to accept the fact that – oh fuck, there’s someone else in bed with Ray. It shouldn’t be like that. In a perfect world, Bob would be the one lying on the mattress with Ray’s dick in his mouth, or being held in Ray’s arms, touched everywhere. He’d writhe the same way Brian does, he’s sure. He’d even moan – obscenities? Bob can’t put his finger on it – and whisper, and curse, and laugh in short, raspy breathes, exactly like Brian. Sweat would form on his brow, too, he’d stretch his arms, his legs and stare at Ray while they have sex.

Why isn’t he in Brian’s place? Why hasn’t Ray chosen him? He’s got blond hair and clear eyes, his skin is pale, he sort of resembles Brian, doesn’t he? Tattoos aren’t a problem, Bob would get them too if Ray wished so. He’d laugh at Ray’s jokes, and he’d try his best to be as loud as Brian can get when he’s nervous, even if Bob’s nature causes him to keep quiet all the time.

Bob would turn himself into Brian, if only Ray wanted him to. If only Ray let him to.

*

All the good things come to an end. Bob heard it once from someone, probably that old lady who – another time, another world – could have been his mother, and from then on they ring in his mind every once in a while. A warning of sorts, a piece of advice against investing too much in things, in people. He’d lie if he said he chose to ignore those words, turning a deaf ear to them, and he’d lie if he said he treasured them, learning from their wisdom.

He recalls them the moment he falls, sliding down from that place that has been his personal heaven until few moments ago. He has no idea why, he just falls, hitting first against wood, then against the cold, hard surface of marble. It hurts, yes, his whole body hurts in several places, but what hurts the most is not being able to watch Ray anymore. Eyes closed, Bob lies there, motionless and unable to get up.

*

Brian stretches his arms above his head and yawns. He should think about getting dressed, it’s late and he’s got to work tomorrow, but he feels all warm and cozy right now, wrapped up in the comforter. He guesses he can stay in bed for a little while more. Besides, Ray is turning back with hot muffins, coffee, and still with no clothes on, three good reasons to remain where he is. Perhaps he could even sleep over at Ray’s, he doubts his boyfriend would have any objection.

“Come here.”

“Wait, it fell down.”

Brian frowns. What fell down, exactly? “What are you talking about?”

“The doll.” Ray puts the tray on the bed and kneels down, picking up a doll from the floor. It’s the one that he keeps on the shelf next to the mirror, the one he bought in that thrift store a few months ago. Brian doesn’t really like it – dolls give him the creeps, especially when they’ve got glass eyes that seem to follow people everywhere – but Ray says it reminds him of the one his grandmother kept in the living room when he was little.

“How in the world did you manage to fall, uh?” he asks, brushing nonexistent dust off plastic arms, fake blond hair. It wears blue and white clothes, small shoes, even a knitted hat. Brian watches while Ray puts it back on the doll head, and from where he is, he’s able to read the nametag sewed on it. ‘Bob’. Brian arches an eyebrow. Fucking dolls, fucking glass eyes.

“Come here now. Everything’s getting cold.”

“Yeah, I’m coming. Perhaps I didn’t put it up straight last time I cleaned around, that’s why it fell.”

“Perhaps, yes.”

Nodding, Ray places the doll back on the shelf, losing some moments to make sure it won’t move again. As soon as he’s done, Brian switches the lamp off and picks up the remote from the nightstand. When Ray slips under the comforter, eventually, they share a sloppy kiss. Now they’ll eat their muffins and drink coffee while watching some TV, then they’ll perhaps have another go, a quick handjob before dozing off. Everything’s alright. Who cares about stupid dolls with creepy eyes. They look real, but they aren’t.

*

Sitting in the dark, Bob watches Ray and Brian share one of the muffins.

His body still hurts – he doesn’t know how that’s possible, since he’s made of plastic and cloth stuffed with pellets – but Ray ignored Brian to pick him up, he touched him and made sure Bob was whole and undamaged. All the rest doesn’t matter, he’d fall from his shelf over and over again if that’s what it takes to attract Ray’s attention. Because Ray loves him, Bob’s sure about it now. Ray loves him, he just hasn’t realized it yet. He will, of course. In time, he’ll see that Bob is other half, not Brian. They’ll go out, they’ll have sex, they’ll do all the things Ray is still doing with Brian and more, spending all the time together. Bob will learn how to live like a human, making Ray happy.

And sometimes, only sometimes, they’ll sit somewhere, side by side, perfectly still and staring in front of them. Just like dolls.

Sitting in the dark, Bob watches – and waits.
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