Clinton splashed some water on his face and watched the tiny droplets fell in the sink. A solid frown—as if painted—appeared on face while his eyes remained dark, full of rage and hopelessness.
What can he do?
He felt numb, empty inside.
What can he say?
His throat itched for the right words but none came to his mouth.
It’s been an hour since Neal told him the news. His explanations made sense when Clinton put it into perspective: the monthly check-ups, the fear of intimacy, the sudden choke ups when mentioning the future. He thought Neal was still grieving for Kate, but it didn’t sou—felt right.
Now he knew why.
He screamed, punched a few walls, threw some random objects (probably a lamp but Clinton couldn’t remember) and then he finally fell down and cried. Clinton was taught that black men don’t cry. It was a sign of weakness. They were supposed to be strong for their family and keep their emotions inside. At that time, Clinton had to release his frustrations despite the doctrine. He couldn’t keep it inside. He…he...he…
Clinton balled his hands into a fist. His eyes held the same heated spark an hour ago.
Why Neal? How long did he knew? What’s going to happen to him? Did Peter knew (he probably did. It explains the somber interaction between them lately)?
Clinton bowed his head, trying his best to keep his tears at bay. He was falling apart. He felt his world crumpling and there was nothing he could do. It wasn’t every day you heard the news about your boyfriend…
Clinton shook his head. He refused to acknowledge it. He refused to believe it despite Neal showing him the papers. Clinton was always stubborn (he got it from his mother). He just can’t accept the fact the man he loved is…
Neal Caffrey is dying.
Clinton sobbed, the hot tears running down his face. He had to be strong, for Neal’s sake.
He looked at himself again. He wiped the tears from his face and exhaled. He might as well face it.
Clinton left the bathroom and saw Neal sitting on the carpet floor. His knees pressed to his chest while his head laid on them.
Clinton kneeled in front of him. He wished he could take the pain away from him. All he could do is caressed Neal’s face as his throat tightened, the saliva building up in his mouth.
Neal tilted his head to his eye level. Clinton saw the tears strain on his cheeks which made it more difficult. Neal tried to give his usual charming smile, but failed.
Clinton continued to caress his face, his fingers lightly brushed against his cheek.
“Neal,” Clinton interrupted him before he cleared his throat, “I can’t change the past and neither can you. All we can do is move forward. We will get through this.” Clinton placed both of his hands on Neal’s.
“Clinton, I’m…I’m…” Neal choked up as tears came down his face, “I’m…dying. I have A—”
“I know, baby.” He kissed Neal’s hand, “Like I said, we will get through this.”
Neal laid his head on Clinton’s shoulder and cried.
Clinton held him, rubbing his back and placing kisses upon his face. It took every nerve in his system for him not to breakdown. He had to be Neal’s archer, protector, partner and friend. He had to be all of those things and more. It still hurts, but what can he do?
He was powerless; yet strong.
And he will walk on a constant tightrope of the two for the rest of his life.
For Neal and himself.