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Uncle Monty's Cottage

A 'Withnail and I' fan community


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uh hullo; i'm afraid i have a bit of fic to post
my booooo withnail
skull_stompin wrote in crow_crag

since no one else has taken part in the community since, oh, like ancient times or something and i still am smitten by these two I FIGURED WHY NOT AWKWARDLY SHOVE THIS ON SOME PAGE AND THEN HIDE IN A CORNER AND WISH I WAS DRUNK.

Title: He was a Convicted Man of Decay
Author: ​skull_stompin
Rating: T
Pairing: Withwood
Warnings: Major Character Death (yeaaah, i knoooow. i'm sorry. however, it's very subtle and infrequently mentioned so it's sort of tolerable in that aspect????)
Author's Note: Keep in mind, this is the first time I've ever actually posted to any sort of community, so I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. If I've screwed up with the posting or something, please just send me a polite message and not heckle me in front of everyone so that I may quietly change it and then kill myself.



His skin is milky-pale translucent. The kind that's hard to hide behind, much less ever get comfortable in. His veins are blue. You can literally see them on his wrists like little trails on a map, separating here, turning here, jutting there, all until it fades off further down his arm. Marwood wonders if doctors ever favor him and his wrists for keeping their yearly shots all the more simple, and then he stops wondering because Withnail has probably not had a yearly check-up since he was lugging around a schoolbag.

"What?" Withnail pulled his arm to his chest, nearly cradling it as though it were a child, and stared wearily back at Marwood.

"Do doctors like you?"

The blue eyes flickered, as they did when they were angry, or perplexed, or tired, or depressed. There were too many to try to decipher. "Not particularly."

"Oh." He said. And that's all. The rest of their evening carried on, and somehow Withnail trusted him with his arm again, and it wound up resting somewhere beneath his shirt and on his stomach.

------

There are certain moments where he's sure he's gone insane. For example, he's half lying, half upright on a cornflower blue mattress kind of lolling between sleep and conscious uncertainty. There's a figure in the corner of his eye, and it quivers where it is; dark, brooding, tall, lean, gawky, deteriorated in a fuck-all sense. He closes his eyes and inhales for a familiar scent that seems so impossibly there.

It must have spoken. Must have. Must have said something posh and snide and bitter, but it's gone with that scent that was never truly as there as he may have thought.

If he could cry, he would. He's crazy. Insane. Fucked. At the base of his neck is a rattling pain that rivets his eyes. If he could cry, he would.

------

He awoke with the sensation of falling- spinning uncontrollably- quivering the tips of his fingers, pumping his cells alive with panic and adrenaline. He kicked and sob-gasped and then he was conscious. Aware of the heavy damp of his coat, then the stiff of his back from passing out on the carpet, and, finally, of Withnail, sort of sitting, sort of draped on the couch near his feet.

"Jesus," he mumbled, shifting to a more-so sitting position.

"It was nothing. Go to sleep."

"You sounded like you were being smothered."

"Just a bad dream." Marwood shuttered to his knees and let his coat sag around at his shoulders in this elegant, ballroom-dress sort of way. He was too hot, too sticky to wear the damn thing, but as always, the apartment was too cold to do much else; he settled for that awkward midpoint.

"Where are you going?" Withnail was sitting erect, bunching his tweed about him and setting a naked foot gingerly onto the cold floorboards.

"Bed." He rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the kinks, to which they made an unpleasant popping noise. He winced and tried rolling them the other way.

"We can trade places. I'll sleep on the floor," his voice was heightened, stressing a sort of desperate pleasantry.

"Or I could go to bed," Marwood got to his feet, shrugging the coat back onto his shoulders with the sudden, bitter chill that wrapped itself around his bones. He picked his way through the rubble of the living room, and then heard the creak of floor perhaps four feet behind him. Withnail, of course- who else?- looked apprehensive enough to sweep into a dustpan and shake into a windy night. "Are you scared?"

"No!" he nearly scoffed, unfurling his feathers, "I just would rather you not."

"Not what?"

Withnail stopped in the doorway, looking an odd balance between demanding and pleading. "Not leave," he overlapped himself, "-At least not this night."

"You're scared."

"No."

"Then what?"

He hesitated, playing with a bit of the splintered wood in the doorframe. "I dreamt you died."

The thing between them seemed to quiver; it was special, and he knew in that moment it would mean something. A memory meant to be, one of the things he'd recall on days where he was snapping, or crashing, or burning. He pondered a kiss. Simple. Three strides forward and he'd know how it felt to kiss Withnail, if his mouth tasted of cigarette and ash, if his lips were soft or coarse. He took a step forward, and then hesitated, the step's purpose shattering to pieces and sort of lying a lump in the back of his throat.

"I'll be fine. I'm not going anywhere," he smiled instead, and then averted his gaze abruptly and ducked his head.

------

Marwood was sitting on him this time, literally sitting on his lap, one leg on either side, and he would be laughing if the friction wasn't so very warm. Instead he had his face tilted close to Withnail's, breathing in alcoholic fumes and trying not to dissolve into a paste of cheap scotch and clay. He was in that heavy state of booze and drugs where he watched things happen from a spot in the corner of the ceiling. Every movement he made was about three seconds before comprehension, and he was in a savage fidget between relaxation and tweaking.

Danny was there, somewhere in the back room scouring the place for something to eat, and Marwood found himself thanking the part of his brain that kept this in view, because when Withnail's hands, raw and smooth, began to slide up and down his bare back, he nearly lost all sense in his delirious little mind. "No," he rasped, turning his head sharply to the ceiling (was there a breeze?), trying to find some sobering solidity in the leaks and stains. Instead though, he felt lips light against his adam's apple, at first kissing and then sucking at the skin offered. "Danny though," he tried again, twisting his head to the right, only to feel those same lips work their way to his collarbone.

"It's okay," Withnail murmured, a finger tracing lightly against his back, leaving chilly little trails all over his skin.

"It's really not," he shifted again, feeling significant pressure building with the adjustment he'd made. He bit down a gasp.

There was an echo of naked footsteps, fragmenting and re-solidifying in Marwood's ears, and then the familiarity of sheets clinging to his back. In other words, he awoke with a cliche’d sigh.

------

He never really could leave the place, even with his new apartment smelling nothing of vomit or alcohol, even when the only evidence of his ever having existed in that shabby flat were a few locks of hair that were probably still scattered near the base of the bathroom sink. There was still some attachment there, and that's what kept him awake at night. He tried, had really tried, to squirm his way out of the past; for an easy breakoff with no messes and no pain to the memories, but that was never really possible with that emphasis on life isn't fair, darling.

------

"I'm glad you're here," the whisper was so near his ear, making him want to shrug it off, "I'm a thousand times glad that you're here." He was excited back then, back when his face was only just starting to become gaunt, when people who might possibly care would hint his drinking with subtle emphasis. His eyes had been a crystal blue, flicking a slightly vacant resentment to a world that was only beginning to become bitter, but still relatively blue.

Withnail had grinned, pressing close with a grope to his arm that gave Marwood one of those confusing stomach-flops that you get with physical contact from someone new. His arm was stressed with a nervous, excited squeeze, "I'm glad to be here, Withnail."

"Oh sod off. Everyone says that," but he was still smiling, wide and earnest and focusing all of his complicated attention upon Marwood: the mere understudy.

"But I am," he'd responded lamely, not entirely sure if that was honest or not (he never was a man for parties, or meeting new anyones- especially when every anyones he saw had little silver cases for their fags and spoke as though their tongues were delicate finery).

And then Withnail leaned in to whisper, "We should get a drink," said for the first time of many, "Just the two of us. Let's leave and get a drink."

Marwood felt himself break into a grin, crooked and wide despite his effort to play things coolly, "But your party's only just begun..."

"Balls to the party. It happens every year," he was already beginning to walk him to the door with desperate little shoves, leaving the group to murmur about quaint things in their exquisite voices. "Have you seen the drinks here? They're all served with little toothpick olives. Boring!" he concluded, a little too loudly from what the flick of disdainful attention that momentarily glazed them.

Marwood gave one of those physical hushes, looking around worriedly at the faces around them. His gesture didn't go unnoticed, much to his embarrassment, because Withnail was giving a sparse chuckle and bellowing, "What? You worried someone's heard us?" He turned his back from the door that he'd previously been shoving Marwood through to address with rest of the room, "Yes, BORING PARTY WITH BORING PEOPLE," the crowd hushed, glaring at the two of them with quizzical annoyance. "EAT YOUR CRUMPETS AND DRINK YOUR SHERRY, YOU CUNTS. I'm off to enjoy my bastard birthday!" and then Marwood was yanking him through the doorway, and they ran to the nearest pub laughing and hollering down the streets.

------

The problem with leaving someone who understands you so incomprehensibly through, yet never does the duty of the out bit quite well is that you always assume your organs to be on display and your skin caked with mud.

In other words, Marwood was invigorated. A certain, ineffable freedom from a chain that had kept him so promptly at his knees, and yet he was certain that a piece of him, while not exactly dead, was opaque for what looked to be the rest of his goddamn life. Opaque like the eyes that he so swore would watch him from his bedside; the kind of eyes that really should belong to someone more alive.


That was the night he wept to God in fits, tangled and choking and quite sure that it had been love, but they’re never going to know that now, are they?


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...I am the worst mod and I've neglected this place terribly because school happened. But I wanted to say that I really liked this! Pre-canon fic is so interesting with these two because you really can't help but wonder when you see the film, how the hell did you end up here? And this is just a heartbreaking progression from beginning to end (and now I'll be over here sobbing about their almost-relationship). Thank you for posting this <3

I am mildly offended to discover this fic is a whole year old and has only one comment - this is just gorgeously written, and I loved it and feel it deserves far more reaction than it seems to have had. The whole dreamlike atmosphere works incredibly well.

Thank you so much! Is it safe to assume that you're the one who put this on a fic rec on tumblr? If that was indeed you, the feedback you've given has given me so much confidence in my writing and I can't thank you enough.

If this is the tumblr rec you are thinking of, that was indeed me! (If not, you must have been recced there more than once, so congratulations!) Either way, you are quite ridiculously welcome - I didn't get around to commenting on many of the fic I recced in that post, but this one stood out so much to me as something that (to my own mind) deserved so much more credit than it appeared to have gotten that it would've felt wrong not to. Seriously, it's lovely work.

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