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Disclaimer: A work of fiction; the recognizable people in the story belong to themselves and have never performed the actions portrayed here. I do not know the actors nor am I associated with them in any way. If you are underage, please do not read this story. I am not making any profit from these stories, nor do I mean any harm.

Title: Grace is gone
Pairing: bb/dm
Rating: PG-13 to R-ish in the latter parts
Summary: Take my eyes, take my heart, I need them no more / If never again they fall upon the one I so adore --Dave Matthews
Notes: one / two / three / four


* "Take my eyes, take my heart I need them no more / If never again they fall upon the one I so adore"*

Billy reached out and stroked Dominic's forearm, the tan fingers ruffling the hair there and then stopping to squeeze his hand before dropping back against his side. Dominic couldn't bear to look at Billy's face. He knew what he'd see; the soft smile arranged to reassure, features carefully set to say that everything was going to be all right and that their friendship would survive. But Dominic knew that Billy's eyes would betray him. They wouldn't be sparkling green, they would be dull with sadness. So, he didn't look.

"Say something, Billy."

"What, Dom? What do you need to hear?"

Dominic looked up then seeing the pain he had caused. His face crumbled and he looked down again and ran his hand over his eyes. His mind flashed back to another time that question had been asked, wondering if Billy knew how cruel that question was. But no, his Billy wasn't cruel.

Dominic felt arms encircling his shoulders, pulling him close. Billy's hands gently stroked his back in slow circles, trying to soothe his pain and that was worse. Dominic grabbed onto Billy, clutching his jumper and burying his face into his neck, his breathing harsh as he tried not to cry.

Billy made soft noises in Dominic's ear, stroking his hair and planting soft kisses on his head. And it was just too much.

"Please," Dominic begged, his voice gravelly from the strain. "Please, Billy."

Dominic dropped to his knees, still clutching at Billy with one hand. He hadn't thought it would be like this. He suddenly didn't want to go-despite all their talks and planning leading to this. He couldn't leave. Couldn't let it end.

Billy stood quietly for a moment before taking hold of the hand that clung to his waist and kneeling in front of Dominic. His free hand wiped away the tears on Dominic's cheeks.

"I love you, Dominic. I love you and I want to see you happy but I don't think that can happen with me."

"I love you, Bill."

"Aye, I know but you're young. You've got to make a go of your career. Your life."

Dominic looked up, wondering at the meaning behind the gently spoken words. He saw tears on Billy's cheeks and reached up with shaking fingers to trace the path they made.

Freedom. That was what Billy was offering him. Freedom to explore and play, to not be burdened with a long distance romance. Their relationship was hard enough to maintain when they were both on the same land mass much less when one of them was on the ass end of the world.

Dominic nodded his head, exhaling a shaky breath, looking away again before speaking. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be."

"I am."

Billy's smile was sad as he reached a hand through Dominic's short hair, then cupped his face, running his thumb over his cheek.

"I don't regret a minute. I never will."

Dominic looked up again into Billy's eyes.

"Not even this, Dom," he whispered, his voice tight with tears, "just promise we'll always be friends."

"I promise."

"Not a fake promise. Not a breakup promise."

Dominic shook his head no.

"Friends?"

"Friends."

"Maybe even friends with privileges."

Dominic laughed, Billy laughing with him as Dominic was pulled back into a tight hug and then both were crying again. Soon, though, they heard a car horn blowing. They struggled to their feet still clinging to one another, reluctant to let go.

"I have to go, Bill," Dominic finally said, speaking into Billy's shoulder.

"Let me drive you."

"No. I couldn't bear to say goodbye to you again."

"No."

"No. Taxi's here anyways."

They separated, each grabbing a bag from next to the door. Billy followed Dominic out the door and down the walk to the waiting car. The driver stowed the luggage and then returned to the car. Dominic opened the back door before turning back towards Billy. They stood staring at one another for a moment before speaking.

"Good-bye, Dom."

"Good-bye, Billy. I love you," he whispered, his throat tight again. He swallowed, blinking his eyes rapidly to fight the tears lurking there.

"Aye." Billy's eyes focused blurrily on a point behind Dom's shoulder. His hand wandered to rub at the side of his nose, staving off his own tears again. "You'll call me?"

"Incessantly."

They stood there a moment longer before Dominic reached a hand out and gripped Billy's shoulder briefly before turning and getting into the waiting taxi. He watched out the back window as Billy got smaller, until the cab turned and Dominic couldn't see him anymore. He rested his head against the back of the seat and covered his eyes with his hand.

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