Title: Going Crazier
Original Story Crazy, by canciona
Summary: Margaret receives a phone call from Billy.
Notes: I set out wanting the capture the same story, the same emotion from someone else's POV. As it's a love story, I couldn't pick just any outsider; it had to be someone close. Margaret, I found, was perfect, and a lot of fun to write, too.
Disclaimer: The author makes no claims or inferences to reality or truthfulness. Moreover, this story is based upon the work of another author and recognises their creation.
"You'll think I'm crazy when I say this." There's a note of something in Billy's voice, a tremble maybe, or a vibration. He sounds-- excited, terrified, and joyous, all at once.
"Oh, I already think you're crazy," I say, laughing.
So easy for me to be happy when he's happy. I cradle the phone between my ear and shoulder in order to be able to continue folding my clean laundry.
"Idiot," Billy says affectionately, and I can hear the grin in his voice. "Well. You'll think I'm crazier, anyway." And he sighs quietly into the phone, sounding almost melancholy all of a sudden.
"What is it, then?" I say, trying to sound casual and soft at the same time. Just in case it's something important, I stop with the clothes and take hold of the phone again.
He sighs again. "I'm in love."
"Oh?" I say noncommittally, waiting for him to continue. It might be a place, a song, a film part he's been offered. He falls in love with little things all the time. Or it might be the love of his life. You never know with my brother. Just when you thought you had him figured out, he surprises you.
Even after thirty years, I'm still pretty clueless.
I can read his mood, though. And right now, he sounds full of hope. Like wherever he is, the sun is shining, and he knows for a fact that it will keep shining for a long while.
"Oh, yeah. It's-- are you sitting down? You might want to sit down," he says, teases.
I love it when he sounds happy. I want him to sound that happy always. "Oh, it's that bad? Are you planning on getting engaged to an elephant or an apple tree, then? Or perhaps a kangaroo? Because let me tell you, nothing else would shock me," I say. And then I can't help but add, "Actually, I don't think even those would shock me. Or even surprise me!"
Billy laughs, and it's a tremendously happy laugh. It sounds like it comes from somewhere deep inside him.
Oh, I like this.
I sit on the edge of the bed, anyway, distracted from the laundry.
"Um, nope, sorry, not planning on an engagement," he says. There's a pause and he adds with an odd intonation, "Yet?"
"Are you asking me?" I say, amused. "Because if you are, I'd say go for it. You sound... happy." I don't think there's any other word for it.
"Well, no. Well, seriously? In case it wasn't-- I mean, if-- look, here. If it was that easy, I would have-- we would have-- done that already." Some of the ealier terror creeps back into his voice. He sounds a bit frantic, or possibly just a bit wild. I wish I could see his face; would make it easier to read the changes in his mood. He always communicates with expressions, anyway. Bloody actors.
"Oh, so it is an elephant," I snort, because it's a usefully bland thing to say.
It gets another chuckle out of Billy. "No, no. It's a-- it's a boy. It's a man," he says.
"Oh," I say. "Well... is this where I tell you, 'I told you so'?"
I expect another chuckle, but what I get is a straightforward, "It's Dom."
"Quite," Billy agrees.
There's a brief moment of silence. Maybe it was a good thing he told me to sit down.
"Well," I say, trying to make some sense out of this. "Um."
"My thoughts exactly."
I can feel a grin tugging at the corners of my mouth. "How?" I ask, hoping - knowing - he'll hear the smile in my voice.
"Um. Ah." Billy rarely struggles with words like this. It must be something special, then. "Um, there was a... photo album."
Suddenly I'm glad he's not here; he can't see the smirk on my face. "What, dirty pictures?"
Billy makes a choking noise. "No! Maggie!"
I laugh. "So, just someone showing you what was right in front of your nose, then?"
And now he sounds like he's choking for real. "What? Did you know? Did you bloody know and not tell me?"
"Ah," I sigh. "As much as it pains me to admit this, I did not see this coming. Think of all the fun I could've had, taunting you!" I sigh again, theatrically. We're family, after all, I have a tiny piece of acting talent and sense of drama in me as well. It's nothing like Billy's, but it's there. We are, after all, brother and sister. "But, considering it's Dom, of all people - well, he has been right under your knows for years now, hasn't he? Only logical." I tut at him lightly.
Billy mumbles something that sounds distantly like a murder threat.
"Who was it?" I ask, ignoring him.
"Sean," he says. "It was Sean. Always the wise one."
"Maybe I should send him flowers, or something."
Billy laughs again, finally. "Please don't, his ego has grown enough because of this already. Sean Astin, the Matchmaker. It's a tale he'll be telling Ali's children, one day."
"Or a tale you and Dom might be telling Ali's children, one day," I say casually.
Billy goes completely silent. Like the whole thing is still in the process of actually sinking in. Like he never even thought of that, and needs a moment to calm his heart, which has started to hammer at the thought of him and Dom, twenty years down the line, still laughing and completing each other's sentences while they tell the story of how they got together, to Sean's small grandchildren. And, undoubtedly, making fun of Sean in the process, just because they've got story telling nailed down to art.
We both stay silent for a bit, both of us thinking along the same lines. In the end, I change the topic. "I suppose this is also the reason why you broke up with your girlfriend?"
There's a note of genuine regret in Billy's voice when he says, "It's hard staying with someone when you're in love with someone else. Wasn't fair on her."
"You shouldn't feel guilty about doing the right thing," I say. I know he'll feel guilty no matter what I say, but I still feel like it needs to be said. Billy's too sweet for his own good, sometimes.
"Yeah, I suppose I shouldn't," he says, sounding completely unconvinced. "Anyway," he brightens up, "I'm going to, you know. Take Dom to meet you, soon. What're you doing next week?"
"Um, nothing in particular but - Billy, you do know I've met Dom before, right? Or is it not, in fact, Dominic Monaghan we're talking about?"
Blly laughs. "Sure is," he says. "And I know you've met him before. It's just that - well, he took me to meet his family again, you know? Because he said that, that... that they'd already met Billy, his best friend - but he wanted them to meet Billy, the..." his voice disappears for a beat, only to reappear, more faintly. "The man he loves."
He sounds so genuine, and so pleased, that I don't have the heart to even tease him. I can feel myself starting to grin widely.
I always worried about him. That's what people like me do, they worry about those close to them.
Apparently, though, things are working out. Life is finally working out, in every way, for my dear brother. I'm suddenly almost overcome with emotion.
"Oh, Billy," I say, trying desperately to keep my voice from wavering. "Sounds like he's crazy about you."
"I'm crazy about him, too," Billy says, warmth in his voice.
Then he adds, in a dreamy tone, "And we're both just... going crazier."