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All I Have To Give

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Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm just borrowing things for a while and I promise I'll put everything back exactly how I found it when I've finished. Well, almost exactly how I found it. ;)


I don't know what he does to make you cry
But I'll be there to make you smile

She turns up on his doorstep, the fifth night in a row, her lovely face streaked with tears, and he doesn't ask why, doesn't really *want* to know why. All he knows is that it is. And she's come to him for comfort, for reassurance, for safety. And so he starts talking to her, about what, he can't remember. Besides, it isn't important. She seems to like the sound of his voice, and while he's normally a quiet, shy, retiring person, with her he's different. He likes to talk, usually about work or bugs, but she doesn't seem to mind. And she laughs, and that's the main thing. And when she finally leaves, because she always leaves, she's happier than when she arrived, a grateful expression on her face.

*I don't have a fancy car
To get to you, I'd walk a thousand miles*

She calls him to ask for a favour, a lift from work. Again. He's lost count of how many times it's happened, but it isn't important. She knows she can rely on him; *that's* what matters. But he doesn't have a car; the mechanic is looking after it, some problem or other, as usual. It's a heap, but it's all he can afford. But not having it does cause difficulty; he doesn't want to say no to her. So he says he'll be there as soon as he can, makes some excuse about work, and she says it's fine, she'll wait. When she sees him walking down the street, she doesn't need to ask what's going on. She knows what he's done and she's speechless, though she does make some quip as usual. It's part of her defence mechanism, so he doesn't know how much his gesture has touched her.

*I don't care if he buys you nice things
Does his gifts come from the heart?*

He's sees it in a shop, has seen it for weeks now, but refuses to buy it. Not his place, not even sure it would be a welcome present. So he doesn't buy it, just looks at it each time he passes the shop. Looks at it and thinks about her. Still doesn't buy it. Thinks the boyfriend would *not* approve. But one day, after she's been at his apartment again upset, he decides to bite the bullet and buy it. He gives it to her unceremoniously, makes up some excuse about someone giving it to him and he's already got one. She isn't sure if he's telling the truth or not, but she doesn't care. It's the thought that counts.

*I don't know, but if you were my girl
I'd make it so we'd never be apart*

He catches himself thinking one day what it would be like to be with her, to be the one she would lean on, to be the one who massages her feet, her back, at the end of a long night's work. Then he smiles, though in a melancholy way. He does that already. In fact, he does everything a boyfriend should, except sleep with her. He wonders what it would be like if sex was a part of their relationship, but dismisses the idea fairly quickly. Their friendship is good as it is, and though he rid himself of the idea rapidly, he still wonders.

*But my love is all I have to give
Without you I don't think I could live
I wish I could give the world to you
But love is all I have to give*

Years later, they see each other every day, they work together, have breakfast together, even dinner sometimes. But she's still with the boyfriend, who's now her fiancé, and he realises one day that he's jealous of the bastard. He knows how she's treated, *she* knows how she's treated, yet she stays. He wants to offer her an alternative, hopes she's smart enough to read the signs he hopes he's giving, but time and again she simply returns home to someone else. Not him. She never stays with him. He wonders if she's scared to, but he thinks more than likely it's because she doesn't feel the same way. He isn't surprised. After all, what can he offer? He cares about her, but that's it. He's no catch, the absolute definition of introverted at times. What can he offer someone like her?

*When you talk, does it seem like he's not
Even listenin' to a word you say?*

She's grown so much more confident, he can see it and he likes to think he's helped her. But the fiancé does his best to chip away at her, and she still lets him get her down. So he takes the fiancé's place and does something that's very easy for him: he listens. It doesn't matter what she's saying, it's just important that someone is paying attention to her. It's more that what she needs, it's what she deserves. And she's grateful for it, he knows she is, not just because she tells him, but because he can see it on her face, in her eyes. And it's the least he can do for her, because she's given him so much without even realising it.

*That's okay, baby, just tell me your problems
I'll try my best to kiss them all away*

One night after a particularly massive argument with the fiancé, she turns up at his place. He's watching something on TV that he really wanted to see, but for her, he makes to turn the programme off. She stops him, lets him continue, but sneakily curls up on the couch with her head on his shoulder. He doesn't put his arm around her, doesn't need to in order to provide comfort to her. Wants to, would like nothing more than to, but it isn't his place. And he isn't that at ease with such close physical proximity, even with her. But he puts his own feelings aside for her. Then she starts to cry, quietly at first, hardly trembling, but soon it all comes flooding out. It isn't the first time, but this seems worse, almost like she's close to breaking point. So he puts an arm tentatively around her shoulder, squeezing her upper arm, and suddenly she grabs his shirt in a death grip, holding onto him like a lifeline. And he does something he's never done before, but now seems perfectly natural; he drops a brief kiss on the top of her head. Almost instantly, she calms, and they watch the rest of the programme curled up together.

*Does he leave when you need him the most?
Does his friends get all your time?*

Now the fiancé is the husband, and the father of her child, and he wonders why they're still together, wonders how it got to this. She complains about the husband all the time, and while he's happy to listen, he does wonder why she doesn't change her circumstances. She strong enough to do it, stronger than she realises or wants to admit, but he can see it in her. And he wants to tell her, tries to, but she just gives him reasons, excuses, why things have to say the same.

*Baby, please, I'm on my knees
Prayin' for the day that you'll be mine*

And time and again, it's on the edge of his tongue, perched on his lips, the words that could change everything forever. The words that would bring them closer together or tear them apart. He wants to tell her what he realised so long ago, that he wants *her*. But he still doesn't know what she thinks, what she feels. She cares about him, he knows that. She's protective of him, that much is obvious. But when he's dated other woman, she's never shown any indication of jealousy or reluctance. She encourages him to pursue relationships, encourages him in every way she can. Just not in the way he wants to be encouraged. Because he wants her. And he can't have her.

*Hey girl, I don't want you to cry no more inside, oh
All the money in the world could never add up to
All the love I have inside, I love you, baby*

And finally, things snap. And he's so proud of her, he could burst. She told the husband to get lost, to get out and leave her and her daughter alone. And he doesn't know exactly what she said, but the husband went without a fight. In fact, he was almost meek. She, on the other hand, was a quivering wreck afterwards. It was like she had used all her strength up in that one act, but it didn't matter. He was there to support her, just as he always had been, just as he always would be. And while she wasn't shedding tears, he knew she was weeping inside, crying from relief at finally being free. And then, then he wanted to tell her, whether it was the right time or not. He just wants to unburden his heart, which feels so heavy from keeping the secret.

*And I will give it to you
All I can give, all I can give
All everything I have is for you
You've got what I got, you you
What I need, my love is all I have to give
All that I have is for you*

It's late when he gets home, having just worked a double shift and then being stuck in the office. It's going up for eleven at night, and he hasn't slept for over twenty four hours, and his internal clock is all messed up, and he just wants to *sleep*. But there's a knock on his door, a knock he would recognise even if he was deaf, and he knows he won't turn her away. But when he lets her in, the expression on her face is a new one and he starts to worry. She makes a beeline for his couch and sits down, holding something in her lap. He sits next to her and waits for her to talk. It doesn't happen and it's a first. So he asks the direct question, inquiring after the package she was holding. Wordlessly she shows him. It's the butterfly in a case he bought her all those years ago, the one he debated over for weeks. It was nothing special, just a Swallowtail, but he thought she would like it. And she had. And now she was showing it to him again. He wants to know why. And her answer surprises him.

"This was how I knew you loved me."

He's speechless, but when he finally regained his voice, he asks the obvious question.

"Why now?"

She explains how she was waiting for him to make the first move, even though she sort of knew he wouldn't. She told him how her ex-husband was everything she was used to, everything she thought she wanted, and he was...different, so different that it scared her how much she liked him and how much she *wanted* him. He wants to talk, so does she, but she has something she needs to know first.

"Does it matter? I'm saying it now."
He wants to know what she's saying. She hands him the butterfly case. Even to someone like him, the meaning is obvious. He's quiet for a while as he studies the insect, then with a smile, he hands it back to her. Says she can keep it. Says he's got something better.


Her answering smile is like the sun rising, right before she kisses him.