slybrunette: (weeds. a/n. baby i'll call up a storm)
[personal profile] slybrunette
Title: The Unbearable Lightness
Fandom: Weeds
Characters/Pairings: Ensemble. Andy/Nancy.
Rating: R
Word Count: 3,158
Warnings: Character death.
Author's Note: I've been more or less on the fence about posting this for a day or two but I finally said what the hell and went through with it. All I can say is this is an experiment.
Summary: Future-fic. The thing about the noose around your neck: after a while, you forget how to breathe anyway.



we’ll rent a house on the beach one summer. we’ll look back at this as the dark time.
(NANCY – 3.12 “THE DARK TIME”)







i.


Shane buys a house down by the beach.

Shane. Buys a house. Silas has never been able to reconcile the fact that the same brother who killed a woman with a croquet mallet turned himself around and not only holds down a job now but somehow managed to corral enough money for him to buy a house on the fucking California Coast.

Silas lives in an apartment half an hour away and splits his time between there and the growhouse he’s got set up.

At some point, Shane became the good son.






-







“They’re late.”

Shane’s cooking when he gets there. Slicing vegetables with neat, clean lines, and an ease in the kitchen that comes from too much time spent around Andy.

Silas cracks open a beer.

“They’re probably fighting again. When we were driving back from Seattle, he actually pulled the car off of the freeway so that they could yell at each other for ten minutes. Fuck gas prices; I could’ve gotten home faster if I’d walked.”

“Like old times,” Shane says, cuts through the red skin of a tomato that squirts watery red across the white plastic cutting board.

Silas swallows hard. “Yeah.”






-







Andy’s phone goes to voicemail.

They make it through dinner without incident and Shane tells him that he heard from Isabelle for the first time in half a decade. She apparently told him something involving Celia, a second, brief stint in jail, and a nervous breakdown, but the crux of the conversation was that she was modeling in L.A. and they should catch up.

“She said she heard.”

There is a long moment where their eyes lock across the small wooden table. The muscles in his jaw twitch. “So did anyone with a fucking newspaper.”

“Her sister’s back in town,” Shane adds, and for a moment Silas forgets why he thinks to tell him that. “You could come.”

“I’ll pass.”

He’s had his fill of destruction for several lifetimes.







-







A car pulls into the driveway sometime after one in the morning.

Shane’s asleep upstairs but Silas is wired, can’t sit still for too long, so it’s almost a relief to hear the pop of the trunk on that piece of shit car Andy drives.

Andy’s the only one in the driveway, a duffel bag on the ground next to his feet and another one swung over his shoulder.

“Got a little held up back in San Jose,” he explains, unprompted, “but it’s all good now.”

“She’s not coming?”

He slams the trunk. “Oh, no, she opted out of this one.”

“Maybe she’ll change her mind.”

Andy doesn’t go to the trouble of faking optimism. Silas shrugs.







-








ii.


“They all die, Andy,” she says, once, a tired old refrain, but her fingers are bare and the sheets are tangled around her legs.

“I always did think marriage was death,” he tells her, and there are things that Andy wants from her but that kind of commitment has never been one of them.

He’s far too old to believe in fairytale endings.

(But first:

Esteban dies.

Which, really, is just a nicer way of saying he was murdered. Probably brutally. Completely deservedly, if you ask Andy, and he likes to think that doesn’t make him a bad person but he’s probably wrong.

Regardless, they take a drive into Mexico one summer. Nancy disappears from the hotel for a few hours and two days later the news is reporting that the Mayor of Tijuana is missing.

“Did you do it?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”)









-







Guillermo shows up outside of the old house in RenMar a week and a half later.

Andy answers the door.

“Tell Blanca I better not hear from her again.”






-







She uproots them from Copenhagen.

Spends a few years in jail and then, boom, she’s in his living room telling him that they’ve got to go back to the states, got to get Stevie back, got to figure out a way to deal with Esteban because he knows where they are, he knows about Copenhagen, and it’s only a matter of time before he comes after them now that she’s out of jail.

She’s a fucking hurricane and he keeps getting sucked up into her mess.

You’d think he’d learn to batten down the hatches.







-




Silas harbors a mix of resentment and hurt towards his mother and it contrasts nicely with his brother’s idolization of her.

This is not something Nancy will ever learn to accept because she thinks of it as something that started at an airport in Dearborn when its roots lie far deeper than that. We’re talking Agrestic, here, and the idea that part of your life is a fabrication, false lineage, and Silas claims for a long while that it means he doesn’t owe them anything. It’s a family business and he’s not family.

Andy lets him move out not six months into Copenhagen, tells him “she’s still your mother” because he said all he needed to say in that garage and whether or not he loves his nephew isn’t what’s being questioned here.

He always comes back.

(You can kick him until his bones break but he’ll find his way back eventually and fuck genetics, fuck blood relation, he’s more like this family than anyone deserves to be.)








-








That morning, he wakes to her mouth along his neck, her body half sprawled over his, and he expects it’s your turn to take Stevie to school -- and he’s in fucking kindergarten already, man, the years go by fast – or maybe it’s noon already he has to go to work in a few hours, he has to be a fully functioning adult again, but no, it’s a Saturday and she’s nipping a trail that ends at his jaw because she can.

“When did you start talking in your sleep?” she murmurs, the question apparently rhetorical because her hand slips underneath the sheets and then she’s fisting him in her hand. He groans, open-mouthed, and a lock of her hair catches against his lips. His hands slide along her skin, and there’s a slippery quality to her, like he’s still waiting for her to up and leave and he can’t possibly hope to keep hold of her for long but damn if he isn’t going to try.

“Maybe I was dreaming,” he says. “I do that sometimes. Not dream. Well, yes, dream, but the talking part.” Her grip tightens. “You do too. Make these little…moans.”

“I hope I’m not taking you away from anything then.”

“No, no. I’m just fine here.”








-








Hours later:

His phone rings.

He lets it go to voicemail.





-









iii.


They light up out back.

Andy’s usual guy in Seattle’s been missing in action for the last two weeks and he refuses to buy from the guy who peddles ditch weed down the street from him, so he’s been sober more than he hasn’t for a few days now, the long, apparently eventful drive down here included. He relaxes markedly with a joint in his hand, exhaling a long line of smoke as he openly ignores the pool ten feet to their left. The water glows blue-green, lit up from underneath, and it bathes the side of the house in the same garish color, bathes them in it. He can’t tell if Andy’s cheeks are hollower than they used to be or if it’s a trick of the light.

“We’re sure he’s not selling heroin?” Andy pauses, thinks it over. “Maybe got some hitman-for-hire gig on the side?”

“I’m not sure of anything,” Silas says.

His uncle laughs like he smiles, with too much teeth.







-






Silas can count the number of times he’s been to this house on one hand.

Proximity leaves him short on excuses and even shorter on viable ones, but Shane’s never been big on family bonding so he doesn’t ask. Mostly there are phone calls and infrequent stopovers at Silas’ apartment in the city. They drift, have been drifting for years now, and Silas thinks he’s supposed to feel worse about that than he does but there’s something about Shane’s venture down the path of the straight and narrow that’s never quite sat right with him. He’s defensive by nurture not nature, learned to generalize and assume that if someone fucks up once they’re going to do it again.

But more than his brother, it’s this house that makes him nervous. Less than a mile until your toes hit sand. At night you can hear the waves breaking and in the morning there are the seagulls, loud and unruly, and he doesn’t know how Shane can sleep here, doesn’t understand his peculiar attachment to the idea of a house on the beach. It’s never quiet. He never feels like he can think clearly here.

Mostly, it reminds him of the house in RenMar, left still furnished and empty. He has a spare set of keys he’s fairly sure he lost to the cupboard in his apartment and no interest in finding them.

These aren’t things he likes to think about.








-







There’s a girl, for a while, in Copenhagen.

A Norwegian exchange student named Nora with ruby red hair and skin that smells like lemons, alternately reminding him of the lemonade stand he ran for three days when he was seven – his dad’s idea and the first time he remembers that, he’s in the car and almost misses the turn onto his own street, because he can go whole weeks and even months without thinking about Judah and Lars and the muddled mess his mother created and then it’ll just hit him like a ton of bricks at the most inopportune of moments – and the cleaning products that Lupita didn’t even look at much less touch, save for once in a blue moon when his mother was on the warpath and looking for a target.

He traces patterns on Nora’s bare skin while she’s sprawled out on her stomach and she asks what they mean, chin on her folded arms. He never has an answer for her because that’s not the question. The question is what are you thinking and, really, how the fuck is he supposed to answer that?

She leaves six months after they meet, almost to the day.

Says, “You should come with me.”

Says, “Your brother is a psychopath and your uncle is a former porn star, among other things. You don’t belong with these miscreants.”

It’s the way she spits the words that makes them sound dirty, an unkind twist to her mouth.

“They will take you down with them.”

He tells her she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

He tells her lies.









-







“Saw Stevie the other day. Jill-Price-without-a-hyphen,” he strings it all together, a suspicious amount of leftover resentment towards a woman who, best Silas can tell, never actually did anything to him, “says you two should come visit him. Although I’m pretty sure she meant you two should come babysit him while she goes on vacation with the money she got out of her last divorce.”

“What am I supposed to do with a ten year old?”

“Eleven,” Andy corrects.

“Jesus.”

“My thoughts exactly. He’s going to be a heartbreaker though, I can tell. Looks more like your mom than tall, dark, and trigger-happy, thank fuck. Although he is tall.”

Silas eases back against the heavy wooden chair, takes a long sip from his beer as he considers. Asks, “How is it possible that you went entirely gray in less than three months?”

“I wish I knew. Pretty sure it wasn’t this bad before I got in the car this morning.” His runs a hand back through his hair, as if just becoming aware of it. He’s been keeping it on the shorter end of normal. Low maintenance. “I think I like it. Makes me seem distinguished. Wise.”

“Sure, until you open your mouth.”

“Shut up.”

“Yeah, yeah, respect your elders. Got it.”

Andy glares but it’s only half-serious and Silas’ voice stays just on the edge of teasing.







-







He saw Megan in a Starbucks once.

Walked right back out the door he’d just come in with his stomach somewhere in the vicinity of his throat and his tail between his legs.








-








“We’re not going to work out,” Andy says.

He was waiting for that. “Yeah, I figured.”









-








iv.


In the morning, his uncle is sacked out in the spare bedroom and his brother is stretched out along the couch.

All the doors are unlocked.

“Hey, asshole,” Shane says, and when he nudges him, foot between his ribs and the couch cushions, Silas groans, pulls at the pillow under his head. Smacks him with it when he doesn’t let up. “This whole place smells like pot now.”

“Deal with it,” Silas murmurs, and this is the part where Shane comes one forty-five degree angle away from pouring out the half-empty beer sitting on the coffee table onto Silas’ head.








-







They didn’t find out for two days.

To hear Andy tell it, she went out to run errands and never came back. He worked the late shift at the restaurant, crashed at one in the morning, and didn’t catch on until dawn on Sunday when the bed was still empty and his head had cleared.

He called Silas on Tuesday.

It leaves the better part of twenty-four hours unaccounted for.






-







“You need to come here. Now.”

“You’re starting to sound like mom – “

“Shut the fuck up and get to RenMar.”

Silas’ voice had been empty, hollow. So he’d driven.






-






It happens like this:

His mother dies on Saturday. There is a body and he’s the only one who ever sees it. Silas vomits into a trashcan down the hall and Andy makes some excuse about Stevie but his eyes are red and his hands grip the steering wheel far too tightly.

So it’s Shane and his mother’s body on a metal slab in the morgue because someone has to identify the body and he’s the only one who can stand up straight. He saw his father’s body, collapsed to the ground in the bright afternoon sunlight, and that experience was comparatively pleasant. Heart attacks don’t leave marks anywhere but on the psyche of a ten year old.

She is pale, marbled bruises that trail off beneath the white sheet laid over her. Her lips are blue, the ligature marks around her neck a faded red-brown, and he idly thinks that they won’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out cause of death. That it would make for an incredibly anti-climactic game of Clue when you already know the how and the where of the equation.

This is what he thinks. What he says is that it could’ve been worse and Silas calls him a sick fuck and Andy flat out elects not to deal with them. They go back to the house in RenMar and look to him for some sort of guidance and he says nothing. Barely speaks for a day and a half where he’s high almost exclusively and they’re ready to declare him a lost cause just before he pulls his shit together.

(What they don’t see: the ten minutes Andy spends in the bathroom before he returns to reality, sitting on the rim of the bathtub with his phone pressed to his ear. There is a missed call and the voicemail that accompanies it, Nancy at Whole Foods calling to tell him she has no fucking idea what Tahini is but she’s pretty sure it’s a fruit – it’s not -- and definitely sure they don’t have it.

“Also, your handwriting is really kind of atrocious. I’ll see you soon.”

This is the last thing she will ever say to him, recorded and saved for his own personal torment until his phone dies for good a month later and takes her voice with it.)






-







They’re still in RenMar a week later when the cops find the bodies of two suspected members of Tres-Seis in a shallow grave.

His mother would’ve understood the significance of that far better than them.







-






Andy flees. Switches out the ordinary four-door sedan he’s been driving for a van that bears a strong resemblance to his old one, throws his shit in the back, and drives. Takes Stevie to Aunt Jill’s in Oakland and then heads east. He calls every day like clockwork, always a pay phone, but there are no postcards, no mention of where exactly he is or when he’s coming back. If he’s coming back. Off the grid living was always his forte just like responsibility never really was, and Shane fully expects the calls to stop and Andy to just disappear entirely but, no, six months later he pops up in Seattle and buys an apartment and settles. Acquires a steady girlfriend a year or two in.

Silas goes back to the city.

Shane stays in RenMar and learns to tread water until it’s no longer over his head. Lands a job and somewhere down the line he hooks up with Doug who’s working at some hedge fund with a corrupt-as-fuck manager and if there’s anyone who knows how to fool the system into giving you whatever you want, it’s him.

Silas sells weed and Shane learns to manipulate people, life, everything to his advantage and, still, he’s the good son because he’s the youngest and these sort of events are known to cause trauma, when your parents die on you and your family runs out on you and you’re there to see it all come down before the age of twenty-one.

He’s not the good son.

He’s his mother’s son.







-






“They broke up on the way here,” Silas tells him, over breakfast, Andy still asleep upstairs. “I think he left her at a gas station. Or she left him. I don’t know.”

“I liked her,” he offers, and he says it in exactly the same way he says it about every girl Silas has fucked and then broken up with two months later. He liked her. As a placeholder. As this vague idea of a woman he only ever saw a handful of times and never really believed Andy would stick with.

“Yeah, well, I don’t think he did.”

“He didn’t have to. She looked just like mom – you don’t think that was a coincidence, do you?”

Silas burns his mouth on hot coffee. Shane shrugs.







-







You don’t speak ill of the dead.

(She ruined them. She ruined them and they loved her in spite of it or, maybe, because of it.)






-







His mother dies.

He buys a house on the beach.

(The waves break and the sound, it echoes.)







-






fin.


Date: 2011-05-27 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] onlywordsnow.livejournal.com
I can only say that this was awesome and totally worth posting.

Date: 2011-05-27 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
Well thank you so much! I'm glad you thought so!

Date: 2011-05-27 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gigglemonster.livejournal.com
Was this the fic you mentioned being worried to post last night on Tumblr? Cuz girrlll it is amazing and you didn't have a damn thing to worry about.
I wanna say that I was surprised the character death was Nancy but...I don't think I was. I mean, when you think about it, it makes a great deal of sense that she could very well end up this way. Breaks my damn heart and this whole second half was like one big huge punch to the gut (ahhhh the phone message. that part omg) but I could totally buy it.
Aside from that I actually really love that this was an ensemble piece. It's not often I read fic like that, but obviously anything you write I know I'll love lol. And I did! I especially liked all the Andy & Silas interaction and how you included little tid-bits from the promo pictures we've seen (like the grey hair). That's one of the things I'm interested in seeing in S7, is more Andy & Silas.

Now I'm getting rambly and off-topic. But basically this was definitely a successful experiment. Those last three lines are just ugh haunting and beautiful. I loved this!

Date: 2011-05-27 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
Yeah, this pretty much sat in the recycle bin for an hour last night. Crisis time, girl.

You know I tried to make it surprising and sell it, but then that just did not work, so I just threw out hints here and there and said fuck it. I figure, there's an okay chance that Nancy kicks it by the end of the show, and I kind of wanted to play that out in my head. I still don't know how fine I am with that being an ending for her but it was interesting to play with.

I stopped writing ensemble a long time ago. I never thought I'd do it with Weeds and I'm still not okay with how I wrote Shane and probably never will be, but it was experimental and it gave me more of a feel for Silas at least. This is obviously set several years past those promos (and for the record? all of the other promo pictures show that the gray hair thing was a trick of light or something cause, no, it's still very obviously brown) but they definitely inspired me. I do want to see more of Andy and Silas because I find that they are very similiar in certain ways and they play well off of each other.

Basically, I'm super relieved to hear that you liked this. Thank you so, so much for reading and reviewing! ♥ ♥ ♥

Date: 2011-05-27 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] workswithwords.livejournal.com
If the show doesn't end like this, I will feel supremely cheated somehow. Steph, this is absolutely excellent. It's sad and heartbreaking, but its so inherently the characters that we know, they are beautiful and fucked up, and you've captured them SO well.

I'm a little bit speechless to be honest!

Date: 2011-05-27 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
♥ ♥ ♥

Excuse me, I'll just be over here doing my happy dance of joy.

No, but seriously thank you so much! I have been in panic mode with this thing for days and then I see reviews like this and suddenly think I'm either an idiot or my friends are far too nice to me. I don't know. You flatter me, basically.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this hun!

Date: 2011-05-27 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] royalpevensie.livejournal.com
DUDE. THIS IS SO GOOD. oh man I don't even read fic generally, I was just sort of intrigued by the summary, but I'm so glad I read it, it's so them.

Date: 2011-05-28 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
Aw thank you ♥ I actually forgot the summary when I first posted it, so glad I went back and checked, lol. But I'm glad you enjoyed it and thought it was in character. That's always my biggest concern.

Date: 2011-05-28 04:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] royalpevensie.livejournal.com
LOL yes, I'm glad you did, too! I used to read so much fic back in the day (mind you, I was 14, just discovering online fandom, etc) and sometimes I miss it but I find I usually don't have the patience for it anymore. BUT THIS, OH MAN, SPECTACULAR PLEASE WRITE WEEDS FIC ALL THE TIME.

Date: 2011-05-28 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
Haha, I've been pretty solid into reading/writing since about 12 (yikes), but with reading I find that I have to be in a certain mood otherwise I can't get into it, even if it's really well written. I don't know. So I see what you're saying about not having the patience cause sometimes that's me too.

There will be more, I do know that much, lol.

Date: 2011-05-28 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falseeeyelashes.livejournal.com
Steph, this is STUNNING. My god, rip my heart out haha. I saw this earlier today right before I went for a run, and the warning in the summary -- character death! -- totally lured me in, and mannnnnn, once I started reading I could not stop. You do such a great job of intertwining these different threads of the story set at different times before arriving at such a devastating conclusion. Also, your Andy voice is just so, so great, as is the way you play out the duality of the two brothers -- the good son and Nancy's son.

And! Scrolling back up, the Nancy quote you used to open this with is just SO PERFECT for this, wow. Great, great job, dude. This might be the best Weeds fic I've read yet.

Date: 2011-05-28 06:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
I watch those overly censored Weeds marathons on the TV Guide channel and they were airing the back half of S3 on Saturday and I will never pass up the opportunity to rewatch that (the finale, oh my god). But. I saw that episode that quote is from and just about dropped everything for this.

I like how it's the warning that lures you in, lol, because character death seems to be such a huge turnoff for people but I secretly love to see how it plays out. Also, I feel like I could write Andy forever and ever and just be completely content with that choice, so thank you for that. A lot.

I'm seriously thrilled that you liked this! Thank you so much!

Date: 2011-05-28 02:54 am (UTC)
anr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] anr
Oh, nice! Really enjoyed reading this.

Date: 2011-06-02 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
Thank you so much hun! I'm glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2011-05-28 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corleones.livejournal.com
This is absolutely fantastic. You have the best, lightest touch with this fandom and you just tap into the tone of the show so well, I don't even know what to say. Really, really excellent job.

Date: 2011-06-02 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slybrunette.livejournal.com
Aw thank you so much hun! I feel like I really connect with this show, in a way I haven't with any other fandom in years so it really means a lot to hear you think I get the tone of it.

I'm glad you enjoyed :)

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