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Funny How I'm Crying In The Rain

Title: Funny How I'm Crying In The Rain
Characters: Charlie, Liam.
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: only if you haven't seen all Charlie-centric episodes.
Summary: Written for Day 1 of the "Great Minds Think Alike" challenge over at thequillstation. As Charlie reflects on his new life following giving up drugs, many miles away Liam tries to write a song in tribute to his brother.



All alone, I try to be invincible

Charlie lies awake for a long time, staring at the rocks surrounding him, listening to Hurley's snores which he'll no doubt claim had actually come from Vincent. Jack had told him this was part of cold turkey. Liam probably could have told him too, if Charlie had ever listened to him.

He'd hated it, growing up, when Liam always insisted he was right. But big brother would probably love it now, Charlie thinks, to know that Charlie thought he'd actually been right for once. He should have stayed there with Liam, gone through the cold turkey with his support, rather than stuck on this island with a bunch of people he doesn't know.

And if they ever do get off this island, the first thing Charlie will do is tell Liam he was right.

He'd been right about not going back to their old life as well. Because what had that done for him really? Surrounded by false hangers-on who were only interested in him as long as DriveSHAFT were climbing the charts and they could bask in his reflected glory, that's what Charlie's life had been.

More recently, of course, it had been people who were just hanging on in there as long as he was good for a fix. Tommy, for example, had got right out of there as soon as the whole Lucy thing went belly up. Charlie hadn't heard from him in ages.

But none of that mattered here. He'd made such a big deal of telling everyone about the band when they first got here, but nobody had cared. To them, he's just Charlie, their friend, rather than Charlie the bass player from DriveSHAFT. Hurley and Jack's words to him today mattered a lot more, and had marked the first time in ages that Charlie had believed he was worth something. Probably since the band, at least before Liam had snapped at Charlie and said he was the band now.

It hadn't been true what he'd said about losing Liam's number. And even if he had, it wasn't as though he couldn't have got hold of it somehow. He just hadn't wanted to face Liam, hear him say all over again that Charlie was useless because he couldn't give up, just as he'd called him useless so many times in the past.

And he hadn't wanted to remember the negative parts of his life that he can't help but associate with Liam, such as the time Liam had sold his piano, or when he had given up on a perfectly good relationship because of Liam's goading and pressure to choose: his girlfriend, or the band.

Yet now he's here, Charlie's thought of his good memories of Liam too, such as the day Liam had taught him to ride a bike (true, he'd laughed at Charlie all the times he'd fallen off first, but he had been genuinely proud when Charlie had succeeded.) Then there had been the day they had celebrated together when they first heard their song on the radio, and the Christmas they were touring in Finland and Liam had given Charlie the ring.

Charlie regrets now that he stayed away so long. And if they ever do get rescued, he's going to tell Liam that as well.

Charlie thinks back to something Locke had said as they'd walked back to the caves after Charlie destroyed the drugs. Locke had talked about everyone getting a new life on the island. Charlie had thought that was bollocks at the time - after all, they were all desperate to get off this bloody island, why would any of them want to make a new life on it?

But now Charlie thinks he understood what Locke meant. The island's given him the opportunity to put his past behind him, to form genuine friendships with people like Hurley and Jack.

And Claire.

Charlie can't pretend it's going to be easy. Even though it's unlikely (he thinks) that he'll have access to drugs again to tempt him while he's here, drugs and the band have been part of his life for such a long time that it's hard to imagine a future without either. But he'll give it a damn good go.

He's determined to be brave, to face the future.



Together now, we can be saved

Liam barely glances up from his piece of paper as Karen comes to the doorway for the second time that night.

"Come to bed, Liam," she pleads. "You need your sleep. You'll make yourself ill if you carry on like this."

"I'll be up in a bit," Liam mumbles, reading what he's written. No, this is no good, he thinks, screwing up the paper in disgust. Baby brother would have taken the piss relentlessly out of this.

It had always been Charlie who had written the songs and the melodies for DriveSHAFT. Liam still remembers the day he snapped at him - "I am Drive Shaft! Nobody even knows who the sodding bass player is." But what would the band have been without Charlie's music and lyrics? What was Liam but some screwed-up pretty boy, indistinguishable from all the others out there? He'd known all this the day he'd talked Charlie into signing the contract, even knowing that his brother wasn't certain. But somewhere along the line Liam had lost track of that, forgotten exactly who had got them to where they were that day.

And Charlie had been right, that day he'd walked away from Liam in Sydney, saying that Liam had never been there for him. At least, not in all the ways Charlie had been there for Liam. Okay, so Liam had said Charlie wasn't returning his calls, but Liam could have called more often, or even flown back to the UK to visit. He could have argued harder with Charlie, persuaded him not to leave Sydney, to check into the same rehab place Karen had checked him into.

So why hadn't he?

Liam struggles with the undeniable truth, that there's always been a part of him that had resented Charlie, from the moment Simon Pace had sat him down and told him he had a new baby brother.

"I don't want one," four year old Liam had pouted, immediately resenting the screaming little sod who took up all their parents' attention. After his time in rehab, he'd come to understand that this pattern had continued throughout their days in the band, when even as the girls had flocked to him, he'd come to understand that it was Charlie's talent that had got them there.

And Charlie was associated with a lot of the negative memories in Liam's life. "You were with me the night I missed Megan's birth. You were the one I was stumbling around Dresden with trying to find a sodding fix." It had been the same on Liam's wedding day, when Charlie had been the one searching Manchester with him for the hit he'd needed to get through the day without passing out.

Liam had said to Charlie that day that it was going to be the last time. He was a family man, he was giving it up. But Charlie had just had that "seen it all before" expression on his face, and Liam had then resented him even more when he was eventually proved right.

Yet Charlie had always been there for Liam, always on hand to support him. That day when they were filming that stupid nappy advert, Charlie could easily have ditched Liam and gone ahead with the filming anyway. But even though Liam had cocked it up by turning up high, Charlie wouldn't ditch him. "He's my brother."

And the day Megan was born, once Liam was actually sober enough to get to the hospital, which was Charlie's doing too, he'd been the one to sort out a cover story for Karen, rather than tell her the truth, that he'd just been too fucked up to get there.

That was Charlie all over. Sure, some people might have thought him selfish, but those like Liam, who were close to him, knew how he was always there for those he loved.

Liam just had to think of a way of getting that across in the song he was writing now.

When all the reporters had been coming round in the first couple of days, they'd asked if DriveSHAFT would ever reform, perform some kind of tribute to Charlie. Karen had given them an earful at the time - "He hasn't been dead a week, let us grieve in peace!"

But Liam wants the opportunity now to perform the tribute, show the world how Charlie was loved. He's going back after all, even though he'd said he never would (he tries not to think of the fact that if he'd just said yes in the first place, he and Charlie could have been planning their comeback together). They'll perform all their greatest hits, and they'll perform the last song Charlie ever wrote, back when he still had hope for the band before Liam sold his piano - "Funny now, you finally see me standing here/Funny now, I'm crying in the rain. All alone, I try to be invincible/Together now, we can be saved."

And Liam will write a new song for his brother. By the time he's finished, everyone will know who the sodding bass player is.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
xgreen_bananax
Jun. 29th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I love this! Charlie and Liam are so IC and just perfect. I love how you portrayed their relationship, with both of them saying how they associate the other with a bunch of bad memories, but with them both realizing how they've been helped by the other. I have to say, it's really beautiful.
tellshannon815
Jul. 3rd, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! These two really should have been reunited, glad you liked!
mollivanders
Jun. 30th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
I really liked the parallels you drew between the two brothers and how they blamed each other for negative things but in the end realized they were better off with each other than without. this is beautiful :)
tellshannon815
Jul. 3rd, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I just wish they'd got the chance to be reunited and tell each other they are better off together.
aja_evenstar
Jun. 30th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
I absolutely love this fic. I love reading about Charlie and his brothers relationship, and this was awesome because it really broke down perfectly that Liam had reached his position because of Charlie's talent. That's always been something that lay in the background of the show, and wasn't ever really said right out i don't think, so it was good to see it here.

By the time he's finished, everyone will know who the sodding bass player is.

Perfect closing line.
tellshannon815
Jul. 3rd, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Well, I went back to all Charlie's episodes to write this so I can say with confidence that it wasn't really said right out. There's actually a part of me right now that would love to know what ended up being in Liam's song!

Glad you enjoyed this!
angela_weber
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
This is great! Charlie's relationship with Liam was always my favorite part of his episodes, and you addressed it really well. It's nice to see Liam transitioning from the selfish (jealous!) wanker we saw early on to this guy who appreciates his brother and his talent--it's just a shame that it took rehab and Charlie's "death" to do that. I really loved this.
tellshannon815
Jul. 3rd, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
You know what I'd like to see, but don't think I ever have? Something where the two are reunited. I've seen lots of Charlie resurrections, but nothing ever involving Liam, which is crazy, since he was such a big part of Charlie's life.

Thanks for reading!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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