Everything's Not Lost

Note: This is it - the last instalment of "Coldplay"... I had to decide if I should write an AJ/Nick, because that's the last pairing I haven't written so far, or go back to my favorite one as finish - guess what I've chosen? *g*
Short, slightly angsty and very sappy, but then you know how much I like that kind of thing...
Beta: Yep, this is my first BSB slash beta'd by the lovely Gray - you rock, girl! All mistakes left are totally mine.


Howard Dwaine Dorough was a very self-confident man. He knew his place in life and he liked it just the way it was. He could do what he enjoyed, earn a lot of money and still find things that challenge him. He didn't care that he was not the most popular member of Backstreet - he was old enough to not define himself over how many teenies were screaming his name.
Instead he defined himself over a lot of other things - like his charity, business, song writing,family, and friends... All things that would last for a long time after Backstreet.

But then he fell in love.

It was not something Howie had expected or even wanted - his standard answer to the girlfriend question was nothing but the truth. He really wasn't looking for a relationship. Being single was fun, he loved the independence he had, the freedom to live his life the way he wanted. His heart, however, had obviously decided otherwise.

Once he had accepted that fact Howie let himself fall into the excitement, the vertigo of being in love. Nothing could hurt him, his love was his shield, his blanket, his safety net. He felt invincible and saw his future through rose colored glasses.

His band mates couldn't help but be happy for him while teasing him relentlessly about the way he behaved like a love struck teenager.
Kevin and Brian had tried on countless occasions to set Howie up. The happiness they both had found in their marriages was something they wished for their friend.
Nick complained loudly about being the only single Backstreet Boy - "How can you do that to our fans, man? Not to speak of poor little me, left alone out in the cold, with no one to party and pick up women with!" - but beneath all the teasing the fact that Howie had found love gave him hope that one day he would too.
And then there was AJ. Recently engaged AJ, who got a somewhat strange look in his eyes when Howie slapped him on the back and said: "Now let's see who ties the knot first!" He covered that up fast enough, smirking and congratulating his best friend.

After all, what mattered most to AJ was his friends' happiness and well-being. That was Howie's favorite little-known fact about their "bad boy" - that during the last year AJ had turned into the glue that kept them all together, kept them from drifting apart into their separate worlds.
So Howie was happy, which in turn made AJ happy and the whole group profited from Howie being deliriously in love.

Then, a bit further down the line, things began to go wrong.

The first sign, something Howie noticed but didn't really, because he was so busy imagining his rose-colored future, was when Sarah stopped accompanying AJ wherever he went. Howie knew that he should tear himself away from his own affairs and try to find out what exactly was going on - but AJ seemed to be okay and said he didn't need any help, that everything was fine. So Howie let it be and went back to his own world of butterflies and kisses.

Then came the group meeting where AJ told them that he and Sarah were "taking a break". Again, when Howie tried to talk to AJ, he was told to enjoy the best time of his life and not worry about him. And since Howie wanted to believe AJ he did just that.

People in love can be incredibly selfish.

The final split came as no surprise to them. They all had seen that AJ seemed to be more himself without Sarah, freer and more content than they had seen him in a long time. Still, Howie felt his conscience when after a couple of consolatory words he went back to normal, instead of taking the time to find out if AJ really was okay. Which he seemed, really - but Howie still had the feeling that he should at least have tried.
After all, wasn't that what friends were for?

But then things came crashing down on Howie and he suddenly found himself alone again, his trust betrayed, his heart broken into pieces.

The rose-colored dream had ended. It was time to wake up.

But waking up hurt, hurt worse than anything Howie had ever experienced, with the possible exception of his sister's death. For several months he had defined himself solely over his love, had bathed in it, luxuriated in it - and now he didn't know if he could go on without it.

For the first time in his life Howie felt completely lost. His place in life was suddenly unclear, leaving him confused and alone. All Howie wanted was to be happy again - but it seemed he had forgotten how.
He did what was expected of him, but the others were scared to see him so empty, so broken. Nothing they did seemed to reach him - at least not permanently. Nick managed to cheer him up over short periods of time, but nothing seemed to make a real difference.

Howie barely managed to keep up the facade required of him - luckily they were not touring and there were not too many public appearances required of him. He managed those, but every time he put on a smile and said that he was fine, that everything was going great, he felt himself getting closer to a point where he wouldn't be able to go on anymore.

Howie felt like brittle glass, as if he could splinter and break apart at any moment. And a part of him wanted that, wanted him to fall with no one there to catch him. After all he had lost his love - he obviously didn't deserve to be happy. So Howie retreated into himself more and more, refusing to listen to his friends and family who tried to convince him that not everything was lost, that he could - and would - love and be loved again. That he was loved, if he would only let himself believe them.

But Howie didn't think he could survive another heartbreak and put up a wall around his heart that not only closed out the possibility of finding love again but also threatened to separate him from his friends and family.

At that point AJ took action.

Howie suddenly found himself with his best friend in AJ's summer house up in a mountain somewhere. Why he had agreed to this he didn't know, only that it had always been next to impossible to refuse AJ anything.

There were no people around for miles and the atmosphere was quiet and peaceful, balm for Howie's torn soul. He wrapped his arms around himself and drew a deep breath, savoring the unpolluted air and listening to the wind singing in the trees surrounding the house and the birds sitting in their branches.

As he relaxed slowly Howie realized that for the first time in weeks he felt as if he could just let go, as if he didn't have to keep up his facade anymore.

Strong arms wrapped themselves around him and pulled him against the warm body of his best friend. "That's it, D - you're safe here, nothing will hurt you here. It's only us and the sun, the mountains, the trees and the animals - and I'll never hurt you, D, I promise..."
AJ's voice was deep and soothing and although Howie had started to draw away when he had felt his touch, he now allowed himself to let his head rest on AJ's shoulder and his body relax into his embrace.

For a long time they just stood there, watching the scenery and taking in all the life around them. Finally it was Howie who broke the silence: "Thanks for taking me here, Aje."
AJ turned Howie around so that they faced each other before answering simply: "You need this - you need time to heal and someone who loves you no matter what."
Howie wanted to protest, but AJ ignored him and continued, his eyes never leaving Howie's, his voice sincere: "Let me be that someone, D. I know you don't think you can ever trust someone with your heart again - but you also know that you can trust me. So please listen to me and try to believe me, okay?"

Howie could only nod, not trusting himself to speak. Everything AJ said was true, but a part of him didn't want to hear what he was going to say. He knew that AJ wanted him to open up, but Howie simply didn't know if he wanted to risk his heart again.

AJ motioned for Howie to seat himself comfortably on the bench running along the front of the house. His hands never left Howie as he sat down beside him, his touch strangely reassuring. Something new had opened up between them, new possibilities filled the air and Howie knew that without AJ's touch he would have run,would have been afraid to sit here and listen to what he was about to say.

Then AJ started to talk. He talked about growing up without a father, about the terrible feeling that it had somehow been his fault. He talked about his need to be a grown up, to show everyone that he could take care of himself, that he didn't need anyone. He talked about the loss of his grandmother and how the need to present a perfect facade had almost broken him. He talked about the freedom he had felt when he was drunk or high and how he had begun to rely on that more and more. He talked about his relationship with Sarah, the way they had both needed each other, used each other, all the time aware that this was just another way of escaping reality.

AJ sat there and talked, lining up everything that had gone wrong in his life for Howie to see. When he ended Howie had tears in his eyes and his heart felt as if it had broken again - this time for all the pain AJ had gone through. AJ on the other hand seemed calm and Howie couldn't help but ask: "How can you be so calm about it? You're always there for others, I just don't know how you can do that when so many terrible things have happened to you?"

To his surprise AJ smiled. "Because I've found that love can heal any wound, D - no matter how fucked up everything seems, there's always hope and reasons to go on." Still smiling AJ reached up and caressed Howie's wet cheek.
The unexpected touch made Howie shiver and he averted his eyes that had darted to AJ's lips. He understood what AJ was trying to tell him and he was grateful that he had been allowed to catch a glimpse of what had made AJ the person he was now. But he was still afraid of what AJ hadn't said aloud, but that had underlined every word, every gesture.

If AJ loved him, after everything that he had gone through - would Howie be able to open his heart again and allow him inside?

As if sensing Howie's inner turmoil AJ stopped his caress, letting his hand drop to Howie's shoulder instead, squeezing it gently. "I'm not asking you to love me back right away, D - I'm just asking you to let me help you regain your trust in love. Do you think you can give it a try?"

Howie thought back on everything AJ had told him. AJ had fought his demons and had won - and now he was offering to help Howie do the same.
The answer should have been simple, but Howie was still afraid. He had lost so much, he didn't think he'd be able to lose again.

Howie looked at AJ who was silently awaiting his decision. AJ had opened himself up completely without knowing if Howie would accept his offer, accept his heart.

Suddenly the answer was clear and Howie let himself fall - right into AJ's open arms.

~~~
Coldplay - Everything's Not Lost

When I'm counting up my demons.
Saw there was one for every day.
With the good ones on my shoulder,
I drove the other ones away.

If you ever feel neglected,
If you think all is lost,
I'll be counting up my demons, yeah,
Hoping everything's not lost.

When you thought that it was over,
You could feel it all around,
Everybody's out to get you,
Don't you let it drag you down.

Cos if you ever feel neglected,
If you think that all is lost,
I'll be counting up my demons, yeah.
Hoping everything's not lost

If you ever feel neglected,
If you think all is lost,
I'll be counting up my demons, yeah,
Hoping everything's not lost.

Singing out,
Oh oh oh yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Everything's not lost.
Come on yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Come on yeah,
Everything's not lost,
Oh oh oh yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
And everything's not lost,
Come on yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Come on yeah,
Come on yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Come on yeah,
Everything's not lost
Sing out yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Come on yeah,
Everything's not lost,
Come on yeah,
Oh oh yeah,
Sing out yeah,
Everything's not lost.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *.

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support