It seemed like the only thing a self-respecting man could do. He was angry, and he was hurt. He wasn’t going to let the locker room, or Elijah for that matter, think that he was a push over. So he had stuck to his guns, and refused all of Elijah’s attempts to make up with him. Then Elijah stopped trying, and that hurt even more.
The problem with his solution was, his feelings hadn’t changed. He didn’t know why he loved Elijah, but it was beyond the things Elijah did for him. It was beyond Elijah’s body and beyond Elijah’s words. And it was beyond Elijah’s actions, too. The longer he and Elijah spent apart, the more Punk missed him. He missed Elijah’s smile. He missed Elijah’s laugh. He missed Elijah’s arm around his waist. He just missed Elijah’s presence, period.
It had given him some form of Elijah in his life, while Elijah was still trying to make up. He could feel Elijah’s hope, and his longing. But after being rebuffed so many times, Elijah appeared to have moved on. He was dating Shelton, which burned Punk to no end, since it was Shelton with whom Elijah had cheated in the first place. Every time Shelton so much as set a hand on Elijah’s shoulder, Punk wanted to kill him. He had to fight himself then, trying to get it through his head that Elijah was no longer his. It burned him even more that that was his doing. He hated that he was feeling so lousy because of his own choices. It should really be Elijah’s fault, since he was the one who cheated. But if it were up to Elijah, they would still be together. Punk was the one who had refused to forgive. And now, it wasn’t Elijah’s unfaithfulness that was hurting him; it was no longer having his Elijah.
He thought about dating someone else. Flaunting it in the locker room, in front of Elijah. But what would that accomplish? It would hurt Elijah. It would be revenge, but even the idea made Punk feel like crap. Not to mention, he would be using whatever guy he did it with. And he just couldn’t do that to someone. Elijah did still show him some consideration; he wouldn’t let Shelton kiss him in the locker room, and he moved away if Shelton started getting too hands on with him. It gave Punk a lump in his throat to see Elijah denying his new boyfriend the public affection they had always shared. He wondered what else Elijah was denying Shelton, and hoped he knew the reason why.
He was miserable without Elijah. It was a fact he had to face. There was only one obvious solution: get Elijah back. But how could he do that? How could you reclaim someone you cast away with such resolve? He really didn’t know. It really made him wish that he had contemplated it all a bit harder in the first place, instead of sticking to an untried principle he held.
He was still trying to sort out his emotions when he overheard something interesting. He didn’t mean to spy, but he heard Elijah’s soft voice around a corner, and he couldn't help but stop to listen, missing that lovely sound. The conversation, however, quickly began to concern him.
“Come on, baby.”
Shelton’s voice made his eyes narrow. He peeked around the corner, his blood curdling when he saw Shelton covering Elijah on the couch.
“There’s still guys around.” Elijah sounded uncomfortable. Unhappy.
“They’ve seen worse.” Shelton chuckled, his hand sliding down Elijah’s chest possessively. “It’s been weeks, baby. When you gonna be ready?”
“Soon.” Elijah’s voice sounded weak and stressed.
“Come on, E,” Shelton pushed. “Just relax.” He kissed Elijah, and Punk turned his eyes away. He hated seeing that. It didn’t seem right, that Shelton should be rewarded for sleeping with someone else’s boyfriend.
“Shelton.” Punk turned back at Elijah’s sharp voice, seeing that he had pushed Shelton back. “I’m not ready yet. I’m sorry.”
“S’ok.” Shelton looked annoyed, but he stood, helping Elijah to his feet. His arm slid around Elijah’s waist, possessing him. Punk gritted his teeth. “Let me take you out tonight. Maybe some candlelight’ll get you in the mood, hmm?”
“Ok,” Elijah agreed. He looked defeated. Sad.
‘He might as well be wanted by someone.’ Punk wasn’t sure where the thought came from, but he felt, for a moment, like he could see through Elijah’s eyes. He had refused Elijah, again and again. And, defeated, Elijah had turned to the only other man who seemed to want him. But still, he couldn’t give himself to Shelton. He was holding out, his hope not quite dead.
Punk was at war with himself. He knew he wanted Elijah back. But if he took him back, he would have to admit that he was wrong. And he still felt that Elijah had been the one who was wrong. He slumped to the floor, wiping tears from his eyes. Why did Elijah have to cheat in the first place? Everything had been perfect before that. Now everything was just confusing. In every fairy story, the hero would dump the cheating bastard and move on to Prince Charming. Elijah was his Prince Charming, though. He loved everything about Elijah, except that one night.
“Fuck.” Punk held his head in his hands. Wasn’t this the part where he was suppose to run after his love, and reclaim him in a grand sequence? If only it could work like that. Technically, he supposed he could run after Elijah, proclaim his love, and take back his prince. But people never actually did things like that. Even if they could, they didn’t.
He took a deep breath, mustering the strength to stand. That was actually a good question; why didn’t they? Because they were afraid? That was probably it. They were afraid of looking stupid. They were afraid of rejection. They were afraid of letting everyone in on their true feelings and desires.
There weren’t many people around, though. Most of the guys had left already. Elijah and Shelton would be leaving shortly. And he would go back to his lonely room, and spend another miserable night thinking about how everything had gone wrong. Or, he could just let go and live a fairy story for once.
Resolutely, he marched into the hall. Jogging down the corridor, he quickly caught up with Shelton and Elijah.
It was like a grand finale in a movie. It almost moved in slow motion for him. “Elijah.” He caught Elijah’s hand, staring earnestly into his eyes. “I love you.” That was it. Honest, and completely straightforward.
The look on Elijah’s face was heartstopping. He squeezed Punk’s hands, tears brimming in his eyes. “I never stopped loving you,” he whispered. They hugged, Punk’s throat so choked with emotion he couldn’t have gotten a word out. He barely even noticed Shetlon’s angry snort of “Fine!” and stomping departure. He was touching Elijah; holding Elijah again. That was all that mattered.
He tilted his head back, kissing Elijah softly. He loved this man. Just being in his arms again was overwhelming. This was the most intense feeling he’d ever had. He couldn’t believe that he’d actually done it; he threw himself out there, and his man was his again.
It wasn’t exactly a fairy tale, but he knew he could now be happy again.
Punk & Elijah Fic