Song lyrics copyright 1989 by Warren Zevon, from the song "They Moved the Moon", on the album "Tranverse City". I don't own any of these characters and all the other normal disclaimers.
They Moved the Moon
The electric, carnival-like atmosphere of the city's boardwalk and the knowledge that two days of Shore Leave still lay ahead should have been enough to put Lucas in high spirits.
A few months ago, it would have been. A few months of his life...a few months and ten years for the rest of the world.
But he didn't want to dwell on that tonight. He did enough of that day-to-day, trying to get used to the new way of things on seaQuest, his new duties...his new commanding officer. Tonight he wanted to try to forget about all of that for a while, maybe help a friend forget, too. Someone he had a feeling was perhaps having a hard time dealing with it all as well, though he'd be damned if he was going to admit to it openly.
The problem was, that friend had made himself scarcer than a ghost as soon as they'd all disembarked that morning. Lucas had tried to find him, checking all the places he thought he might turn up, but after all these hours he had nothing to show for it but an increasing feeling of unease and a pair of tired, aching feet.
Unhappily, the young ensign sunk down onto a park bench to try to think, his eyes disinterestedly following the passers-by, just on the slim chance that he might spot the man he was looking for. Occasionally other faces he recognized as belonging to out-of-uniform crew members walked by, but they were lost in the throng of young people strolling, laughing, acting as if the world had never been a better place to be. The locals' wild attire and wilder manners would catch his attention briefly: a leather-clad woman leading a man by a leash attached to a choke collar; people with odd, grotesque tattoos covering most of their bare skin; would-be poets shrieking their words as if they preached the Holy Testament of some new religion...such was the "normal" way of things in this little honky-tonk of a sea town.
Most of the lurid scenery was wasted on Lucas, who would have given anything at that moment just for the simple pleasures and drudgery of life on seaQuest--the way it had been before. When Captain Bridger had been there. When so many others now gone and presumed dead had been there. And before his friends who had survived had all been thrust into this war-torn new world without a moment to catch their breaths and attempt to figure out what had happened to them.
With no further thoughts on where to go and what to do to kill what was left of the evening, he sighed and got up off the bench, giving up his search as hopeless and resolving to head back to the boat. Hopefully Tony would be happily preoccupied with the mysterious blind date he'd been so worked up about this morning; Lucas could really use a night of peace and quiet. Tired of the bizarre crowds, he followed a wooden staircase down to the beach for the walk back, ignoring the voice in his head that warned that the dark, deserted shoreline was the perfect place for some lowlife to be waiting for a clueless victim. He almost welcomed the idea of someone trying to take him on. A fight might be good for working off some of his frustration.
About ten minutes later, spotting a lone figure up ahead on the beach, Lucas was surprised and elated to discover that by giving up on his search, he'd wandered directly across his friend's path after all. But drawing nearer, ready to call out a friendly hello, he stopped short and wondered if he should continue or turn back before his presence was detected. The man sitting alone on the water's edge, crying softly, did not look like he wanted to be disturbed.
They moved the moon
When I looked down
When I looked away
They changed the stars around
Lucas had stood back silently and debated revealing his presence for several agonized minutes. Finally concern over his friend's state of mind had overruled his unease that he was invading on something he obviously wasn't supposed to be witnessing. Lucas didn't think he knew anyone who kept his emotions more tightly in check than Lieutenant Timothy O'Neill. Apparently, tonight those emotions had decided they were sick and tired of staying locked away inside.
When there was no immediate response to his greeting except a stiffening of Tim's slumped shoulders, Lucas stepped a little closer, finding his heart pounding hard in his chest. "Tim, it's Lucas." He stopped himself before uttering what would have been a sincere but incredibly stupid question--"Are you all right?"
Of course he isn't, you moron, Lucas answered himself. Instead he offered, "Could you use a friend, or do you want me to go away?"
Tim's hands dropped from where they'd been shielding his face, but his head didn't turn to look at the younger man. Sniffling loudly, he sighed and managed to answer with a shaky, "Yes, and yes."
Oh, that's real helpful. Lucas decided that whether Tim wanted him to stay or not, he was going to. He was afraid for his friend's condition and wasn't about to go unless he was certain that being alone wasn't a dangerous place to leave him.
He sat down on the cool sand, staring intently at the lieutenant, who was refusing to look at anything but the water's distant, moonlit horizon. If he was even seeing anything at all; the dark gaze of his tear-stained eyes seemed focused somewhere entirely elsewhere. Another galaxy, perhaps.
"Come on, Tim. Talk to me. I was looking for you all day. I've been worried about you. And I think this is enough evidence to know that I was right to think you're hurting a lot more than you were going to show to anyone."
Tim angrily wiped his eyes and insisted, "I'm fine. Just...a little stressed."
"Bullshit." The curse came out stronger than Lucas had intended, but it did the trick. It was enough to shock Tim into finally looking at him, surprise overriding the pain for a moment. "None of us are fine. We're all trying to figure out what happened, what we're supposed to do, and meanwhile the rest of the world expects us to get right back up on our feet and join a fight that we don't even barely understand. It doesn't even feel...real...to me sometimes, you know? I start to wonder if this is all some crazy nightmare we're having."
"I wish," Tim answered bitterly, shaking his head. "Oh God, I wish that was all this was..." He paused, unable to continue as he turned his gaze back out to the sea. Lucas had to fight down the overwhelming urge to reach out and hug him, was almost about to say fuck it and just do it, when Tim softly spoke again. "Lucas...can I tell you something?"
"Anything, Tim." Anything.
"I just wish I knew...I need to understand...Why us? Why did we survive, when everyone else...when so many of the rest of the crew...There was no logic, no rhyme or reason as to who made it back and who didn't."
"We lost a lot of good people," Lucas agreed. "And no one's given us a chance to even grieve for them."
"Miguel...Why did he have to die? I miss him...so much, Lucas."
"Yeah, Ortiz was a good guy. I miss him, too."
"I loved him."
The words, barely above a whisper, hit Lucas with an impact more worthy of a two-megaton warhead than a breathless confession.
"I loved Miguel more than anything. He was my best friend...sometimes, I felt like he was my only friend...my love...my...lover."
The last word was been barely audible over the roaring crashes of the ocean, but there was no mistaking what had been said. Lucas both wanted to hear everything and to run away and imagine that this conversation had never happened. Eventually he found himself saying, even as his heart was shattering into a million pieces, "You can tell me, Tim. Tell me what happened."
I was counting on you
To stand by me
To see me through
I was counting on you
"Why did this have to wait untill after the party?" Tim whined unhappily.
"I told you, I didn't want to give it to you with everyone else watching. It's something...private. Only something you and I would really appreciate."
"For cryin' out loud, Miguel, it's only my birthday. Most people just gave me a card, or new flannel shirt or something. You didn't have to do anything special." Tim shifted his one bag of presents--most of them perfectly fine yet perfectly impersonal--to his left hand while he reached with his right to open the door to his quarters. With a worried frown, he hesitated opening the door as he looked into his friend's oh-so innocently smiling face. "You're not pulling some practical joke on me, are you? Like, I'm not going to walk in here and find you T.P.-ed the place or something."
"Tim, would you please relax? I swear, you're way too paranoid. Just open the door and we can get on with it."
Miguel's birthday card and present of a jumbo bag of Hershey's kisses--Tim's one junk food weakness--had been accompanied by a cryptic note in the card saying, "Your real present from me is coming after the party. Don't say anything." He'd lifted his eyes to meet Miguel's curiously when he read it, but the Cuban had refused to offer any explanation or further information on the mysterious present until now.
"Okay, okay." Tim opened the door to his quarters and closed it behind Miguel. He dropped his package on the bed and turned back to his friend, still extremely suspicious. Arms crossed, he sighed and stated, "We're alone. So what's the big surprise?"
"Close your eyes."
"Will you just do it, Tim? Humor me for once."
Sighing again, Tim did as his friend instructed, wondering what in the world Miguel had in store for him.
The last thing the lieutenant expected was Miguel placing a tender, warm kiss on his lips. He would have jumped back in shock but Miguel's strong arms wrapped around him, holding him in place and refusing to let him go.
"Miguel, what are you doing?!" he gasped when his mouth was finally released.
"Trying to kiss you. Trying to tell you that...I love you."
Can't you see me?
Don't you hear me now?
Don't you know me anymore?
Don't you want a love that's strong?
Don't you know my heart belongs to you...
Tim just stared in shock at his friend, trying to convince himself that he must have misheard those last few words. "What...did you just say?"
"I love you. Le amo mas que las palabras pueden decir. Please, listen to me...don't reject me, not until you hear me out."
"Miguel, don't do this." Tim felt shaky, unable to will his body to move, to get away, as if his mind was somehow disconnected from his body and could no longer control it.
"What are you so afraid of, Tim?" Miguel reached up to run a hand through O'Neill's short hair, then let the hand curve downward against the slope of his neck. His brown eyes held a compelling, soft radiance to them, and wistfully he smiled. "I've thought about doing this for so long, but I was afraid you wouldn't understand...that you would reject me. I was afraid that I'd lose you as a friend and I wasn't about to risk that.
"But then, when you nearly resigned...and I was afraid Mariah was going to kill you...I realized I couldn't let my fear stop me from telling you how much you mean to me."
"Why me..." Tim could barely breathe, could barely get the words past his lips, which were still tingling strangely from Miguel's kiss.
"Why anyone? Why do we ever fall in love in the first place? I don't know, Tim, and frankly I don't care. I just know how I feel. You're...I've never met anyone like you. We barely have anything in common, but somehow, we just connect. I always feel...comfortable...with you."
"I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now, Mig." He regretted the words--even though he was speaking the truth--as soon as he spoke them, as soon as he saw the hurt they inflicted. But he couldn't help feeling way in over his head about this whole situation. "It's not that I'm not...flattered...or that I don't care about you, Mig, you know that I do. But I'm an officer, and you're an enlisted man. We could both get in serious trouble simply for having this conversation! Let alone what my religion has to say about relationships like this..."
"Then I should go." Ortiz dropped his hands from Tim, who suddenly found their absence left him feeling desperately empty and alone. Miguel headed for the door, apologizing, "I'm sorry, Tim, I...forget it. Forget I ever--"
"Miguel, wait..." Tim reached out, his hand falling on the other man's where it was gripping the door. Silence hung heavy for a long moment, Tim painfully aware of the closeness of Miguel's body, knowing that he was on the brink of a decision that would change his life forever. He should let him go, reason told him, his religious beliefs told him. This was wrong; this would only hurt them both worse in the end than the pain of letting it go now.
But his heart, for once, raised its voice first, silencing reason. "Don't go," he breathed softly. "Please, don't go."
I'm so confused
Don't know what to do
Don't know which way to turn
I was counting on you
"Your birthday...that was only a few weeks before the seaQuest was taken to Hyperion."
Tim nodded. "A few weeks...it went so fast...and I wasted most of that time worrying and scared shitless of what was happening instead of enjoying it, treasuring it. I swear, it was as if Miguel somehow knew we only had a little time and was desperate to savor those days...And all I did was keep trying to find a way out. I did love him, I knew that well enough...but I didn't want to lose my career, not after I'd just figured out that I really wanted to keep it. He was sure we could keep everything quiet and I was sure we were doomed to be found out. I said, we could wait until his tour was up...I could wait for him, but he didn't want to wait for me."
There was a long pause, and Tim's eyes lowered as he struggled to find the control to continue. "Two days before we were taken to Hyperion, I told him I couldn't do it. I couldn't continue with the relationship with the fear of a court-martial and the fear of God hanging over my head. Now I'd give anything to take back that conversation, to have spent what time we had left together loving each other, instead of fighting."
"Tim..." Lucas swallowed hard and looked out at the ocean, wishing he could find something comforting to say...and knowing how futile an effort it was. What solace could he offer? "He might not be dead. There's a chance...we were scattered all over the place when we were returned to Earth, maybe Miguel--"
Tim shook his head firmly. "He's with God now, Lucas. I have to accept that. Everyone that has turned up alive was accounted for within the first week we got back."
"Maybe...maybe he lost his memory...we were all pretty disoriented and--"
"No, Lucas. No, he's...gone, and I have to accept it. I can't...I just wish...if I just could have told him how I felt...told him I was sorry...I loved him, and I didn't want to accept it...my faith that kept me from accepting what I felt for him, and now that's all I have to hold onto, to believe that one day, I might get the chance to see him again...to tell him...tell him how sorry I am..."
Lucas saw Tim starting to tremble as he lost his tentative grip on his emotions once more and instinctively grabbed him, pulling him close, offering a shoulder to bury his tears into. Tim was so far gone he didn't offer resistance and reached out in response to the teenager, clutching at him tightly.
"He knows, Tim. Wherever he is, he knows," Lucas offered, wishing he held the faith to truly believe that...wishing he had the faith to find the inner strength to fight off the moisture welling in his own eyes, both in sympathy and his own breaking heart.
They moved the moon
(I feel so strange)
When I looked down
(Everything I depended on)
When I looked away
(Has been rearranged)
They changed the stars around
Lucas lay on his bunk, staring up at the ceiling, heart heavy and his mind reeling. His shirt was still damp from Tim's tears, which had finally abated sometime later and both men had returned together to the boat. The walk back had been mostly in silence, but Lucas could tell Tim seemed to be doing slightly better, at least finally relieved to have found someone to talk to, someone who would not judge him or scorn him for what had happened.
If only Lucas could say he was feeling better himself.
When he closed his eyes, he could still feel the lieutenant's slim yet strong body pressed against him. He could smell him. He could remember the feel of his hair brushing against his cheek, so silky and luxurious that Lucas had not been able to resist touching it while he offered his solaces, as guilty as the stolen caresses made him feel.
He shuddered and squeezed his eyes tightly shut. In one moment he wished he could banish all these impressions from his mind forever; in the next he wanted never to forget, to hold onto them in case it was the closest he'd ever come to Timothy again.
He'd been planning on finding the lieutenant that night, to offer comfort and friendship and find out if Tim was having as hard a time adjusting to this new world as he was. He'd been planning on telling Tim his own feelings...real feelings...for him. Feelings that had grown in secrecy and from afar over the past few years, which he had never had the courage or the opportunity to dare explore.
And now...now he knew Tim's heart belonged to someone else, someone taken tragically from him. Lucas would be there for him in a heartbeat, but he feared it could be a very long time before Tim could ever open himself up again--even as a close friend--to anyone.
Whatever it takes, Lucas vowed. However long. I'll wait, I'll be there for you, Tim, when and if you're ready.
He just hoped this crazy new world of theirs wouldn't claim one or both their lives before that time came.