Tangible Schizophrenia


Broken Model

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: R
Pairing: Dwight/Gail, implied Gail/Miho and Dwight/Joe [The Salesman]
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, etc.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: I arbitrarily picked the name ‘Joe’ for Josh Hartnett’s character. Loose sequel to Straw Man. Done for the contrelamontre frustrating lust challenge in 50 minutes.
Summary: The difficulty of defining a relationship.


Dwight’s tried to explain what he and Gail have a million different ways, but none of them ever seemed to fit. He’s used the language of myths, of Freud, of the pulp papers, of poets and of dead-drunk idiots. But maybe that’s the problem because the two of them don’t have much to do with words.

With Ava, he was a jackass. A complete lovesick jackass that wrote poems and sappy letters to win even a glance from the beautiful princess. With Gail he never had to bother in order to get sex, but getting Gail was a different matter. She was and is a whore. She’d heard men say anything and everything in hoarse lustful whispers and she’d learned how little truth speech had long before Dwight had had his first encounter with double-dealing in the form of a crime story suppressed “out of respect” for Cardinal Roark. Her body is always up for sale, her head ready to cock an ear and her mouth to curve into a fake smile, but what’s inside it may as well be sheathed in iron. Words just slip right off.

To this day, Dwight can’t figure out how he got so lucky as to find a way in. But he is, and she was in him the moment they looked at each other over a man’s bruised body, and ever since they’ve been trying to pry each other out. It’s got something of lust to it. Something, because he’s a whore of a kind himself and she’s beautiful, because he can just let his hand hover over her bare shoulder and that alone makes her tremble, because every damn time they’re near each other he wants her goddamn heat and he can see the same want curling her towards him. The curve of her calves and the span of her hips haunts his dreams, the smell of her cigarettes and the sour-sweet taste of cunt linger in his waking thoughts. And he knows she keeps an old coat of his in her closet, and he knows how she was free of charge, when it was no transaction but only a fiery gift between man and woman.

Which is why he knows it’s not only lust. In a city of gorgeous women for sale, Gail is the only one he ever is loyal to. With Ava he was obsessed, with other women he was putty to plaster over the cracks of their troubles, but Gail is no broken-winged dove and yet she pulls him back anyway. He comes to her just to talk, just to soak in the raw feral presence she exudes. Just to watch her rule what little she’s wrested from the world.

And in Sin City, dumbass strongmen like him are a dime a dozen. Maybe he’s more convenient because they don’t have to pay for his services, but like he said, it was never about payment between him and Gail.

She’d said she loved him.

Dwight always thanks the bandages then, and the surgery, because between the gauze and the stitches, he hadn’t been able to tell what the hell his face had been doing when she had said that. He hadn’t been awake when Molly had cracked open his chest and massaged his heart, but at that moment he’d thought he’d gotten a pretty good idea of what it would have felt like.

But the thing is, love is supposed to be calmer. Or at least it’s supposed to express itself like those involved are people and not savage animals circling each other. But the way Dwight loves Gail is deep and angry and snarling, is a pounding fever that makes him forget all the codes of chivalry or morality or even just plain knowing his place. And she knows. Sometimes it feels like they’re less walking down the street together than prowling, assessing, waiting to lunge at the other and drag both of them down.

Which is why he knows it’s not love. At least, not love as everyone else defines it. Lust seems closer, but then he finds himself retreading all the old arguments and he ends up nowhere.

But it is easier to treat it as lust, and that’s how they cope. They pretend it’s just a terminal case of having the twisted hots for someone, and therefore it should be easy to take off the edge with someone else. The girls take care of their own in all ways, and Dwight suspects that in Gail’s case that means Miho.

It used to be Shellie for him, but she was too damn sweet and good and gentle. He liked her, and he couldn’t take it far enough, and so he just went in circles. Gail’s side to Shellie’s bed to back out on the window ledge, smoking like a fury and thinking of Gail’s pointed heels sloping to smooth long legs. It wasn’t healthy.

Not that he’s in any position to speak of healthy, but nevertheless, he liked Shellie too much.

It could be Miho. Maybe. If Dwight decides to believe Gail’s snide little comments and if he’s willing to risk a painful death. Truth is, Miho’s as gorgeous as the rest of them but she’s small as a child and he highly respects her, so that’s two strikes against the idea that he can’t quite persuade himself to get past.

For a week or so, it’d been that strange man Dwight had met at Gail’s workplace. Joe, professional assassin and occasional attack dog for Old Town, so there’s a few interests in common. And he can take it, and apparently likes getting it as hard as Dwight can give it, so there’s no worrying about holding back. He’d taken off the itch for a much longer time than any of the others. He understands, maybe, beneath his blank eyes and his eerie serene smile. When he sleeps, he’s very still and soundless so it’s almost like being next to Gail, and when he touches the scars on Dwight’s body he doesn’t ask stupid questions. If it really, truly were only lust, then he’d be enough.

But Dwight is leaning beside Gail in the alley and looking at the swell of her breasts while she tells him Joe’s back in town, and damn everything but he wants her. He can’t, though. It’s her or life for them both, and part of wanting Gail is wanting her to stay alive.

“Want me to send a message so he stops moping?” Gail coos. She blows her smoke right in Dwight’s face and laughs at how he grimaces. Her laugh tips her an inch closer, and temptation never was such a trap. Dwight doesn’t worry about his body around her—he worries about his sanity and spirit.

He couldn’t kill her. Not even if she sells him out worse than Ava, because with Gail he could understand why she’d need to do something like that. With Gail it’s need.

Dwight curls his fist behind him and withdraws so he’s no longer in her obscuring smoke. The smell clings anyway. “Sure. Why not?” he says thickly.

“Bastard.” And she’s not smiling, but she’s not telling him no because goddamn it, she gets it and she can’t have it, just like him. “Okay.”

Of all the ways to describe them, ‘okay’ is probably the worst.