amusedinred: (anchor point)
[personal profile] amusedinred
Title: Anchor Point (1/?) - Who's Got A Match?
Author: [livejournal.com profile] amusedinred
Pairing: Belldom
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 3286
Feedback: Would be amazing. :)
Summary: Dom has a dangerous secret...
Disclaimer: I don't own Muse, even though it would be a lot of fun if I did. Not making any money and this is fiction. Also do not own the song by Biffy Clyro used in the title of this chapter.

Author's Note: Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] ehassam for letting me send her random bits and for putting up with my questions. Cheers to [livejournal.com profile] frisky_biscuit for looking this over for me, cheering me on and not letting me give up on it.


One

The table was entirely too small, obviously designed to force dining couples closer together, as Dom discovered with his knee wedged painfully against his lunch date’s leg. He hesitated to think of him as boyfriend - they hadn’t yet had that discussion - instead preferring to just go with things and avoid any complications like voicing what exactly it is that this was. If he thought about it though, boyfriend would be the most accurate term to describe their relationship.

The other man did not seem to be affected by having a knee pressed into him and if he was, showed no sign of his discomfort. How they would even manage to squeeze the oversize plates and glasses on the cramped checkered surface was a mystery Dom found himself pondering for far too long.

The lighting, or lack of it, seemed to be the design of a blind man. The place was overly dark for the middle of the day, making the random scattering of mismatched candles appear to be an afterthought, however necessary. A large candle cast a warm glow on the pale man Dom was unfortunately rubbing against as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair, trying to find a better positioning for his legs.

Failing to improve the situation at all, Dom settled for trying to focus his attention on something else. Anything but how irritated he was at his partner’s choice of venue and the way the other man seemed to be oblivious to his distaste. His eyes were drawn once more to the candle, the flame flickering from side to side, strangely comforting in the way it continued to burn even as a light breeze threatened to extinguish it, a thin line of smoke curling up from the tip.

The presence of that smoke, faint as it was, suggested a scented petroleum-based paraffin wax. Judging by the slightly off-white colouring, most probably vanilla. Dom wrinkled his nose. The candle would burn more cleanly, more perfectly, if it were unscented, although he was quite partial to strawberry. In fact, if you were aiming for perfection it would be made out of beeswax. Not surprisingly, however, this didn’t seem to be a place that strived for anything close to perfect. The wax melted and dripped slowly down the side, unable to escape the flame any easier than Dom could escape from this meal.

At this exact moment, if a particular set of circumstances were to fall in place, such as if the waitress carrying the silver tray piled high with dirty dishes and cutlery were to trip and find herself on such a trajectory as to bump into their specific undersized checkered table, knocking everything off-balance including the candle, which if it were to topple over, spraying hot wax onto the hideous cloth, the flame finding new life in the form of Dom's neatly folded napkin, then the entire place could light up in a fiery ball consuming everything in its path, except perhaps that awful oil painting of a fish.

Whatever that painting was supposed to represent, bulging fish eyes and all, Dom was sure it was horrible enough to survive anything. In the case of nuclear warfare, all that would remain would be the cockroaches and that painting in some hellish version of the apocalypse. This wasn't even a seafood restaurant.

It was then that a set of very long, thin fingers appeared in Dom’s line of vision and pinched the wick, snuffing out the flame.

“Dom? Have you been listening to anything I’ve been saying? Anything at all?”

What Dom had been focusing his attention on was not the brunet whose deep blue-eyed stare now pierced right through him. It was a fact that had not escaped the other man, who drew his thin lips into a pout and furrowed his brow; an expression successfully capturing the blond’s interest.  Or maybe it was the shadows playing on his face, giving definition to those angular cheekbones or the way he lifted a hand to run those flame killing fingers through fluffed hair. The brunet flicked a tongue out and absent-mindedly teased his bottom lip, rubbing it gently along the smooth wet surface.

"Seriously, Dom. What the fuck?"

Brought from his daydream by the revelation of that mouth moving without a sound reaching his burning red ears, Dom once again tried shifting to a more comfortable position where he would not be pressed so close to the source of criticism. Settling for picking up and refolding the napkin, Dom tried to avoid the other man's gaze.

"I don't know what the hell has gotten into you lately. Snap out of it. No one's bloody home in that head of yours."

"Huh?" Dom's attempt at recovering the situation was anything but smooth. The mental image of bringing palm to face all too clear in his mind. "What?"

"Brrrfffftring."

The noise of disapproval escaping from the brunet's lips sounded more like a snorting horse than a playfully blown raspberry, if that had in fact even been his intention. He rolled his eyes and snatched up the menu from the table with a flourish that was unmistakably dramatic.

"You really should pay more attention, Dominic. That look of vacant stupidity is unflattering. Doesn't match the colour of your eyes at all."

Cheeks slightly flushed with the sting of that remark, Dom averted his gaze and allowed his eyes to wander around the room while the brunet peered down at the menu with a look of intensity usually reserved for a piece by a favourite author and not the scribbled lines of Mack Cafe's Soup of the Day. What caught Dom's eye this time, to his horror, was not a candle or a painting, but a small child pulling a finger from her nose, adding her own brand of flavouring to the burger she was mostly managing to wear rather than consume.

"Do we really have to eat here, Matt?" Dom choked out at a volume barely above a whisper, having broken from his stubborn silence to address the pale brunet who had dragged him to this forgotten circle of hell.

Matt chose to ignore the question and continue his investigation of the menu, leaving Dom to wonder if he'd even spoken out loud at all and if it would be irksome to repeat himself.

"I've ordered you the Fillet Mignon," Matt said without looking up. "I've heard it's not the best there is, but it is suppose to taste like something your mother would have made. Sounds nice."

When had Matt placed the order? Dom had lost track of how long he'd been sitting there plotting an escape route. And why Matt would bring up a topic such as his mother right now, in this place, especially when she had probably never seen the inside of a kitchen in her life, bothered Dom enough for him to ask, "my mother?"

"Well, not your mother, you idiot. It's a figure of speech. Jesus, Dom. Can you just relax? Honestly, can't fucking deal with you sometimes."

"Well, I can tell that you're obviously in a shitty mood today," Dom said as he crossed his arms, a gesture he hoped appeared to be one of strength and not a desperate attempt to protect himself from possible harm.

"Really? You can? Well I'm glad you're paying attention to something. Was afraid I'd have to spell it out for you. Backwards on your forehead. Read it in a mirror and see how ridiculous your face looks right now."

"Fuck you."

"Oh yeah? I'm tired of your shit, Dom. Just fucking sick of it. Thank you very much for ruining lunch. I hope you're fucking happy," the brunet said, all but flinging the menu from the tiny table in frustration as he tried to tear himself and his chair away from it.

"I didn't even do anything."

"That's right. You never do anything," Matt scowled. "It's never your fault. Fuck it. I'm going back to work. You can cook dinner tonight. It better be ready when I get home. Do something for once instead of being so fucking useless."

"How can you even think of dinner already? It's only lunch."

Dom barely remembered to keep his voice lowered now, something the other patrons had noticed. They politely pretended not to acknowledge the scene unfolding before them, but Dom knew that every single one of them was listening intently, hungry for the entertainment provided by chaos in someone else's existence as much as they were for the food.

"I can't eat lunch now when you're being this way, Dominic."

And with that, Matt turned and left at a pace fast enough to simply disappear out the door before Dom could register what had happened. Before he could even look around at the faces of his unintended audience and blush, gripping a half-shredded napkin in his hand. Or stare at the waitress approaching with a tray of food and realise he had been left there alone in that dark, overcrowded, nightmare of a place, with the bill unpaid.

*    *    *

It seemed a curious thing to Dom, the frustration and anger along with the effort he was exerting to create a perfect meal, surrounded by more dishes, food and appliances than one would expect to find in a five star establishment much less the tiny apartment of two men both in love and at war with each other. A contradictory reality consisting of both the desire to break free, while at the same time being enslaved by the obtainable benefits.

Apparently, they had spent more time shopping for matching tea towels and oven mitts than having any serious discussions. After all, a heated debate on what colour would best match the curtains - rinse and repeat for any number of household objects - was much the same as important decisions on their future together. Surely, choosing to purchase a four-slice toaster was an unspoken commitment to eating breakfast together for the rest of their natural lives. Or at least the life of the toaster. Perhaps a more realistic view on love, Dom mused while licking garlic butter from his fingertips, lingering momentarily on the taste.

It dripped down onto his palm as his attention turned to the ticking of the clock on the wall. An old-fashioned thing neither man had as yet bothered to replace, holding onto some notion of rebelling against the digital age, however ridiculous that seemed surrounded by so many electronic items, including a coffee maker with more features than anyone would ever need. Matt had insisted that one cup made all arguments of excess invalid. You cannot fault a machine with the ability to turn your entire outlook around at five o'clock in the morning. You could not complain about that sort of technological innovation. The old clock had stayed, regardless.

Wiping a buttered hand down his stomach, Dom smoothed the front of his apron and turned to the gas oven. He let out a sigh as he twisted the knob, the familiar clicking noise of the ignition system allowing him to ignore the clock ticking long enough to move his focus to more important matters. For a few seconds though, he did wonder what would happen if the stove's inbuilt safety system were to fail, gas leak into the room, building up until the electric sparks producing that sound were enough to send the kitchen, and Dom's entire world as he knew it, exploding in a giant gaseous ball of fire . The moment passed, however, as nothing happened except the usual eruption of a small wall of bluish flames at the back of the oven and the sudden presence of heat.

The passage of time was another strange concept. It felt like only five minutes had gone by before Dom was ready to set the food on the table, a distortion of the actual time and effort spent on the exercise. Nevertheless, as he placed the garlic bread down, straightened the table cloth and readjusted the roast vegetables around the flame-grilled meat, Dom managed a smile. All that was left was for Matt to arrive home and share in his achievement, but the loud ticking of that clock was the only sound Dom could hear. It was becoming deafening in the emptiness of the room.

Finally, a scraping of a key in the lock told Dom he could bury his fear of food going cold and a night spent alone. Matt emerged through the doorway, a weary grin spreading on his face despite a dishevelled appearance with hair sticking up at odd angles and a slight sweaty glow to his pale skin.

"Wow, Dom, that's... wow," Matt said, sinking into a chair. He pulled his plate toward him and began piling mashed potato onto it, before adding the grilled beef, roast pumpkin and a ladle full of gravy. Taking a bite of garlic bread, he giggled. "Couldn't settle on the one cooking method?"

"Different things taste better cooked a certain way."

"Okay then. It's nice. It really is."

Dom let out sigh of a relief so slight it went unnoticed, and carefully added things to his own plate, grinning at the sounds now coming from the brunet.

"Oh god, this is fucking delicious," Matt moaned, licking stray drops of gravy from the corner of his lips. "I want more."

Grabbing another slice of garlic bread, Matt brought a long finger to his mouth and slowly wrapped his tongue around it.

"That butter tastes amazing. Did you make it?" Matt asked.

The question almost went unheard as Dom tried to concentrate on swallowing, which in light of the current situation seemed too difficult to do without choking.

"Er, yeah," he said, cheeks tinted a faint shade of pink. "No big deal. Just used fresh garlic and made it from scratch. How was work?"

"Long and hard," Matt sighed, Dom spluttering into his drink and dropping a fork off the table with a clang. "But nothing out of the ordinary. You alright?"

"Yeah fine," Dom laughed, head re-emerging from beneath the table cloth. "Busy then?"

"Always," Matt nodded, stuffing more potato into his mouth. "Chris almost saved my life at one point. I'll give him one thing, that man is good at his job. In the right place at the right time, every fucking time."

The air in the room was thick and heavy in the absence of an open window, the blond deciding to undo a few buttons on his shirt rather than leave the table. Still, the unexpected warmth caused a few beads of sweat to form along the bridge of his nose. Realising he was no longer listening to the brunet discuss his eventful day at work, Dom's attention turned to the way the man's tongue moved around inside his mouth as he spoke. The way his chest rose and fell rapidly to the rhythm of his excited speech. The way he tapped his long fingers on his chin as he tried to recount each detail, unaware that what he was saying had ceased to be important. That was, of course, until he asked a question.

"Again? Really, Dominic?"

"What?"

The brunet shook his head, scrunching up his napkin and tossing it onto his empty plate before he stood from the table. Dom got up hurriedly, barely managing to stop himself from leaping across the room. Instead, he made his way over to Matt as calmly as he could.

"Look, let's not do this tonight, Matt," Dom soothed, hooking his fingers into the back pockets of the brunet's jeans, pulling him close. "You've had a hard day. We've enjoyed a nice meal. Let's just not spoil this, okay?"

The heat of Matt's breath was just inches from his face, a distance too far for Dom's liking. He dug his fingers in and pulled the brunet even closer, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth, both moaning into the kiss. Matt reached up and grabbed Dom's hair, pulling hard. Dom blinked suddenly at the loss of contact as he was dragged from the brunet's lips.

"Not tonight," Matt sighed, looping his long fingers around Dom's wrists and removing those hands from his pockets. "I'm tired and filthy. Just want a shower and sleep."

"I could join you in the shower?" Dom whispered, hardly believing the unfolding situation.

"No. You could clean up this mess and let me rest. I'm not in the mood for this right now, Dominic."

And with that, Dom was left once again standing alone in a room fall of dirty dishes and left over food. The only sound the ticking of that clock. A sound, which Dom decided in that moment, was the most awful thing he had ever heard.

*    *    *

There was a chill in the air, evidenced in the way Dom's breath became a silvery-white mist, the darkness enveloping him as he flicked off the car headlights. With one quick turn of the key in the ignition, he was plunged into silence. Without the hum of the car engine or the white noise of the stereo, he was left to the thoughts inside his head, a place he was no longer sure he wanted to be.

He continued to grip the steering wheel and waited, for what exactly, he did not know. Perhaps some sort of inner courage to just get on with it, or for someone to race to his side, grab onto his shoulders and tell him it was all a bad idea.

It was always a bad idea, but that knowledge alone was ever enough to stop him. Dom sighed, the sound almost making him jump, and pushed open the car door. Getting to his feet, he patted his back pockets to check that it was all there, and seemingly satisfied with the result, made his way toward the shadowy outcrop of rocks he could see in the distance.

Stumbling more than a few times on the slippery ground - there had not been much time for changing his shoes in his haste to get out of the house - the blond came close to giving up and heading back. Instead, he wiped his sweating palms on his jeans and resolved to follow through with it; to have control over something, anything, in his life. Unfortunately, this seemed to be all there was.

To be fair, he had not arrived at this point by accident. Matt had pushed things too far, bringing Dom to the edge of his ability to just accept what he had been given. It was the image of that pale brunet staring at him with such disregard as he pushed him away, as he had fixed his blue eyes firmly on Dom's own grey ones, and then just left him without a second thought, that sent Dom scrambling up the small pile of boulders a short distance from a clump of trees and scrub.

Looking around cautiously, and finding himself blissfully alone, Dom removed the tiny box from his back pocket. Curling his fingers around the thin wooden object, he struck it swiftly along the side of the box. The sound all at once both familiar and comforting. For a moment, he watched the flickering of that flame, a perfect little fire on the end of the match.

Then Dom tossed it into the bush. There was a few seconds of black nothing, but it soon found life in the thick layer of fallen leaves. As he watched the small cloud of smoke gather, as he listened to the crackle of burning leaves and as he recognised the distinctive scent of fire, Dom felt at home.

In his world, all was calm.
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