Somewhere in the Night
Disclaimers: None. If you read it, you'll understand why.
Author's Notes: This was another writing exercise for me to try something else a little different from my usual. I'll be curious to see if anyone can figure out what my exercise was this time. J The storyline was just a bit of something that occurred to me when I heard the song lyrics quoted herein that happened to fit into the Academy Halloween Special. It stuck in my head like a whirligig and wouldn't go away until I wrote it – even though I was in the middle of writing three other stories. Thanks to Steph for letting me play again.
Song Note: Words and music belong to Scott Bakula and were originally performed in the Quantum Leap episode, "Piano Man". No copyright infringement is intended.
The applause died down before Ewan resumed the piano bench. The air in the auditorium was heavy with anticipation. For almost a year now, at the end of every concert, Ewan had returned to the stage for one final encore. For almost a year, it had been the same song every night. And for almost a year, each and every audience in each and every city waited in respectful silence for the song only known to them as 'Ty's song' because the only way to hear it was at the end of a live concert. Ewan refused to record it, saying it was too personal to share that way.
She seated herself carefully and pulled the microphone closer to her lips. Her dark head dropped and she focused her eyes on the keys for many long moments. Yet not a sound beyond breathing could be heard. Finally, she lifted her head and placed her hands on the keyboard. Only those in the front row could see the streak of tears on her face.
Ewan drew a deep breath, but she spoke so softly, she wouldn't have been heard were it not for the silence that loomed in the great hall. "This is for Ty," as her fingers began to lightly caress the ivories beneath them.
The music swelled and Ewan went through a whole chorus and verse before she started singing. Still, a waver was heard in her voice as the words started to flow.
On the day I walked away,
As the last note faded into silence, Ewan's hands fell into her lap and her head dropped, dark hair hiding her face once more. The audience erupted into cheers, rising to their feet in support as they acknowledged the place that Ewan had touched in all of them.
Without ceremony, she rose and stood by the instrument for a moment, accepting the accolades of her fans with a bowed head. Then she raised her head and offered them a sad smile, before escaping from the stage.
There was the usual entourage of people waiting for her when she came backstage, but she put them all off by dodging into her dressing room. A quick change of clothes and Ewan was able to disappear out the window and up the fire escape to the roof. Here she could focus on the moon and turn her memories back to when they had been pleasant, and she had been on top of the world.
Ty had been everything Ewan hadn't – light to Ewan's dark, short to Ewan's height, outgoing to Ewan's reticence. And yet they had been inseparable... a condition which had started in kindergarten and lasted.... Ewan's mind shied away from that eventuality. Instead, she refocused on the full moon, remembering the many nights she and Ty had lain in the fields together side by side sharing kid dreams.
"I'm gonna be an astronaut, Ewan," Ty had said with childish enthusiasm. "I wanna go to the moon, see the stars up close and visit other planets."
Ewan has smiled. Ty certainly had the brains for it and the drive as well. The blonde head turned and caught Ewan's indulgent look. "You wait, Ewan. You'll see. Maybe you'll even write me a song about it."
At that, Ewan had chuckled. She knew she would. All her life she'd been considered a prodigy, writing and performing her own music since she'd been old enough to hold a pencil and reach a keyboard. And for as long as Ty had been part of her life, what Ty wanted, Ty got.
"You make it to the stars, Ty, and I'll write you that song."
Ty had just grinned in anticipation of both.
Ewan came back to the present when the door to the roof squeaked open. She felt his eyes on her but Greg had learned over the years to choose his battles wisely. A good manager always knew when to interrupt, and when to leave his star to her thoughts in peace. Ewan didn't move or otherwise acknowledge his presence and Greg didn't move, content to wait by the door a few more minutes.
Ewan let her mind drift again, reviewing the hectic years following high school – when Ty had gone to college and she'd been in a frenzy of writing, recording and performing. And still, they made time for one another. Ty had wanted to give up the dreams of being an astronaut to accompany Ewan on her tour, but Ewan had put her foot down. Ty had worked too long and too hard to give up those dreams, so instead, they called, they wrote and they visited every spare moment.
When Ewan would visit Ty in school, she would go to classes and participate in study groups. When Ty joined Ewan on tour, there were any number of little things that Ty took care of, including a flower on the piano and her water replenished throughout the concert.
All in all it worked well, except that the time they spent together never seemed to be enough. And after their first time together... when they became lovers....
Ewan had purchased the field they had spent so much time in growing up. She'd added a house nearby, but the field – their field – remained as it had been during their growing up years. And tonight, she wanted to consummate the love she felt for Ty under the moon and stars in that field where they'd shared so many memories and secrets and dreams. This, however, was one dream they'd never really talked about, and she hoped.... They had teased and played before, but tonight, finally... she wanted it to be real between them.
Hands touched and embraced, discovering things about one another that were only meant to be shared by lovers. The look in Ty's eyes as their lips met made Ewan's blood race, and she knew the chance she had taken on them had been the right one. As they climaxed together, they promised each other forever. Only they had no way of knowing how short forever was going to be.
The hand on her shoulder didn't surprise her – Ewan was actually amazed Greg had waited as long as he had. He was a good manager and a better friend, but he'd never been known for his patience. A tiny smile flitted across her lips before the touch became a caress, and her body shivered as she recognized the contact. Her eyes closed and her head dropped.
"God, Ty... I miss you so much."
"I miss you too, love," came the low, burring answer. "But I'm so proud of what you've done."
Ewan shrugged. "Just marking time. It keeps me from going completely crazy... or it had until tonight." She turned her head to look at Ty and found – not the ethereal ghost she had expected, but what appeared to be a solid, flesh and blood human being. She lifted a shaky hand to stroke Ty's cheek, and Ewan's beautiful eyes closed at the first touch. Ty raised both hands to return the favor, gently cupping Ewan's face and wiping the tears.
"Why the tears, love?"
Ewan laughed... she had to. It was a release of emotion that she hoped would keep her from going completely mad. Every night since Ty's death, Ewan had wished for this. And now that she had it, she felt like she was losing her mind. Ewan pulled away slightly and Ty's hands fell away from her face. Ewan's hands dropped into her lap and she let them lay there focusing her attention on them as though her life depended on it.
Ewan remembered clearly the day their world had come crashing down around them. Ty had been gone – astronaut training. Being accepted into the program had been huge, but being assigned a mission... Ty had been ecstatic.
Ewan had been in her studio when the door slammed, and the unexpected sound drew her from her work haze and sent her racing up the stairs... only to find Ty staring sightlessly out the large picture window that faced their field. The posture was so rigid, it was painful to Ewan's eyes.
"Ty? Sweetheart? What's wrong, baby? Why are you here?" Concern colored her voice, and Ewan approached slowly, placing a comforting hand on Ty's back. The flinch startled her and she almost removed it, until Ty turned in her arms and she was hit by the raw anguish burning in the eyes that faced her.
One swallow, then a second, before a whispered voice spoke.
"I've been dismissed from the training program." Another swallow. "Ewan, I have cancer." Blunt and pain-filled. They held each other in silence as the sun fell beneath the horizon and darkness pervaded their home.
"Why are you here, Ty?" Ewan drew a sobbing breath and sat quietly biting her lip until she got her emotions under control. Ty waited, wanting to touch but afraid any contact would be unwelcome. Finally, Ewan turned to face Ty. She reached out her hands, breaking into a sad smile when she found them trapped and held in Ty's own.
"I did what you asked, Ty. I'm considered a success in the music biz again. I've hit the big time, just like we talked about." A solitary tear rolled down her cheek and Ty caught it. Ewan smiled again but her eyes were pleading. "I left you and our home and have moved on with my life."
The blonde head shook. "No, you haven't Ewan," Ty scolded softly, then held up a hand to forestall Ewan's vehement denial. "You are a phenomenon, but that was never in question. You were hotter than hell before my illness," said with a rakish grin. Ewan couldn't stop the grin that crossed her face in response. Ty's face became serious.
"I heard the song, Ewan – it's beautiful. But you haven't moved on, and you never really left me. I want you to know I never left you – not even in death." Ty reached a hand up to stroke through the dark locks that blew fitfully in the breeze. "I've always been here."
"Then why am I just now seeing you? Why are you here?"
Ty smiled. "Are you happy to see me?"
Ewan clasped Ty's face in her hands and kissed the perfectly shaped lips. She felt Ty deepen the embrace and slid her hands into the thick, blonde hair. For long minutes the exchange went on until Ewan had to pull away for lack of air.
"God," she exclaimed on a breathless note. "You are still so good at that."
"Lots of practice – somewhere in the night, remember?" hastily added when jealously burned in Ewan's eyes. Those words caused the inferno to become a warm glow, and Ewan flushed.
"So those aren't just dreams?"
"No, and it's why I'm here." Ewan cocked an eyebrow and waited for Ty to continue. "Tonight is All Hallow's Eve... Halloween. And on this one night of the year, especially under the blessing of a full moon, the barrier between life and death is so thin, the dead are allowed to cross back over into the land of the living. We have tonight to share together again."
"And if I don't want to give you up again? Ty, I don't want just tonight and I don't want somewhere in the night to be all we have left together. I want us together forever."
Ty would have answered, but the mood was broken when Greg interrupted. Of course, he had no idea there was anything going on to interrupt. All he had seen was Ewan sitting with her arms wrapped around her knees, ankles crossed, staring up at the full moon. He was more than a little stunned at her violent reaction to his touch.
Ewan jerked away, Ty's presence fading as Ewan's mind returned to her present reality. She wrenched herself from his grasp and ground out harshly, "WHAT?!?"
Greg blinked. It was an odd reaction for Ewan... at least the person she had become once Ty's world had changed so drastically. Ewan had been increasing withdrawn since Ty's death, and nothing he had tried seemed to be capable of stopping the slippery slide she was on. He remembered all too well that first phone call and the last.
He'd been sitting down to breakfast when the phone rang, and Greg had given the instrument a dirty look before answering it. There were so many details he had yet to take care of before Ewan was able start her next tour. He was just glad they were finally done with the recording part – it meant they could get the tour underway soon and he was looking forward to that.
So now he glared at the phone. Having it ring before he'd even finished his first cup of coffee didn't bode well for the rest of the day.
"WHAT??" he'd barked, without checking the caller ID. He got complete silence for a moment, and then the soft sound of sniffles. He unconsciously softened his tone, then pulled the phone away from his ear to see who was on the other end.
"Ewan?" he'd said in quiet surprise. "Honey, what's wrong?"
Greg had heard the deep breath but still felt the tremor in her voice when she finally spoke. Her words had shocked him no end.
"Cancel the tour Greg. I'm retired as of today."
"Wha...? Why? Ewan, talk to me."
Her reply was exhausted and despondent. "Just do it, Greg, please," she pleaded.
He nodded his head before he answered. "Sure, honey, sure. I'll take care of everything. You leave it to me," determined to find out what was going on before the day was out.
What he'd found out had shocked him. Ty was the healthiest person Greg had ever met. He found it astounding that the astronaut could have gotten so far into training without something being detected sooner. Ty had merely shrugged.
"Happens sometimes," with studied nonchalance, though Greg could see the pain that shadowed Ty's eyes. What had surprised Greg more was the terrific row Ty and Ewan had had over Ty's condition. Ewan wanted to stay with Ty – Ty wanted Ewan to continue her dream. Ewan had eventually won her point, though only with conditions from Ty.
"You have to promise me, once I'm gone, to go out and live again. Go back to your music, Ewan, because you have such a gift. The world may not deserve to hear it, but you deserve the chance to share. Promise me," Ty cajoled.
Ewan eventually nodded, and Ty looked at Greg to make sure he understood that he would be held responsible for insuring that Ewan kept her promise. Greg nodded his agreement.
"One other thing," Ty asked with a smile, meeting Ewan's eyes and holding her close. "Will you write a song for me anyway?"
At that request, Ewan had burst into tears and run from the room. Ty had let her go and Greg had watched with matching sadness in his eyes.
"Keep an eye on her, my friend," and Greg had acknowledged Ty's words with a nod of his head.
Greg had done what he could – keeping reporters away from them and giving them as much time alone together as could be managed. It killed him to watch Ty slip away from them a little more every day and to see Ewan going as well. Then the day had come when he'd gotten the phone call he'd been expecting... and dreading.
"Ty's gone," was all Ewan said before hanging up the phone again. Greg cursed. He'd known it was going to be soon, but he'd hoped.... With a sigh he picked up the phone again, and started making the necessary calls and arrangements. He knew his work had just begun.
They'd stood together at the graveside and Ewan was completely dry-eyed as the body was lowered into the ground. She'd cried herself out privately – in Ty's arms and alone in the night. Now she accepted the condolences of their friends and Ty's colleagues, wanting nothing more than to hole up and wait to be with Ty again.
But Greg had promised Ty, and Ewan's manager was nothing if not tenacious. So he pleaded and badgered and cajoled and Ewan took to her studio just for a respite. And while she was there, she found the muse that had deserted her during Ty's illness, and she wrote. Words poured from her like water and she wrote until she was satisfied that Ty would proud of the results.
The very last song she had written had been feverishly scribbled in the early morning hours after dreaming of Ty – a dream that was so real the feel and scent of Ty still surrounded Ewan when she woke up. Then it had been time to say goodbye.
Greg stood by the car while Ewan walked alone in the rain to Ty's graveside. And from that day to this, Ewan hadn't shown any sort of emotion like she'd just thrown at Greg.
Greg almost smiled – he'd missed the fire and the passion that had once filled Ewan. But he didn't want his reaction misinterpreted. Instead, he extended his hand towards Ewan and gestured to the fire door with the other.
"I thought you'd want to know that it's clear downstairs, so if you're ready to head home...."
Ewan blinked. "Thanks, Greg. I think I'll stay here just a little longer."
Greg hesitated, wanting to protest, but knowing it would be pointless, he simply nodded his acquiescence. "I'll drop a car off for you, all right? And I'll be by the house in the morning so we can go visit Ty's grave together."
The look Ewan gave him should have dropped Greg in his tracks, but he just shrugged.
"Ewan, you haven't been home in the year since this tour started. You need closure; you need...."
"I need you to leave me alone, Greg." She hesitated. "Please," she pleaded. "I'll... I know I've got to go back there, and I will. Just not right now."
He nodded slowly. "All right Ewan, I'll leave you alone tonight. But I will be by to pester you in the morning, all right? And if you're not at the house, you call and let me know where you'll be."
Ewan saw the genuine concern in Greg's eyes and nodded. He patted her shoulder, then padded back to the fire door. Greg turned back to look at Ewan, framed by the moonlight. The ethereal picture she presented would be one he would treasure for the rest of his life.
Ewan watched the door close behind him, then she turned her attention back to the moonlight. She waited for Ty to return, and turned her attention back to their last day together.
For days, Ty had been too tired to do anything but sit at the picture window and look out into their field. Ewan curled up at Ty's feet, comforted by the feel of Ty's fingers gently caressing her hair. Her muse had been gone since Ty's announcement and Ewan had no hope of it returning.
She reached up and tangled their fingers together, returning the smile that Ty gave her.
"You know what I'd like to do?" Ty croaked hoarsely. Ewan shook her head. "I'd like to go out into the field with you and watch the moon rise."
Ewan gasped. For the last few weeks they'd stayed in the house as Ty's body grew too weak to get around any longer. A shiver crept over her spine at the implications of Ty's request, but she nodded her agreement with a tremulous smile.
They'd spent hours out in the field, chasing clouds and watching the sun set. Ty's head lay comfortably ensconced in Ewan's lap, and they had talked quietly as twilight settled and the moon began its slow ascent across the sky.
Finally, Ty had drawn a shaky breath and clasped Ewan's hands. "I will always be here with you, Ewan. Even in death, I would never leave you. Look for me in your dreams, love, and you will find me waiting for you – somewhere in the night."
"I love you, Ty."
"Forever, sweetheart," whispered on a wing and a prayer as Ty drew a final breath. Ewan didn't move until the sun peeked over the horizon the next morning.
Ewan shivered as a cool burst of wind brushed against the back of her neck. She looked around, hoping for another glance of Ty, then her shoulders slumped. Apparently Greg had succeeded in completely scaring away Ty's ghost.
Ewan gave a wry, sad smile. Ty had never been afraid of anything, always plunging headlong into the next adventure. Ewan felt confident that Ty would find being a ghost just another voyage of discovery. She just hoped the exploration would continue soon. Having had a taste of Ty back in her life, even as a ghost, made Ewan loath to give it up again.
She took a last look at the moon and walked to the fire door. Then she crossed the threshold and closed the door, heading down the stairs to stage level.
It was mostly silent, only the creaks and groans of the building settling could be heard as she stepped onto the stage. Greg had left the spotlight on the piano, knowing from experience what she would do when she came back down from the roof.
Ewan sat down and let her hands run idly cross the keys, loving the acoustic sound that echoed across the concert hall. Notes became chords which in turn merged into her music. Without thought the music evolved into Ty's song, and Ewan didn't even flinch when that familiar touch landed on her shoulders.
Ty moved to take a seat beside Ewan as she continued to play the melody line.
"Sing for me," came the soft request. Ewan acknowledged the words by re-cueing the introduction, then she started singing again, but for Ty alone this time.
On the day I walked away,
As the words faded into the darkness of the hall, Ty wrapped strong arms around Ewan's neck and whispered into her ear. "Let me love you, somewhere in the night."
Ewan nodded as she clasped Ty's face in her hands and brushed their lips together teasingly. Ty's hands loosened the buttons on Ewan's shirt, and Ewan brought their lips together more forcefully, jointly crushing their mouths as the passion that flowed between them became overwhelming. Ty grabbed Ewan's hands and held them, pulling back slightly from the kiss.
"Sweetheart, take it easy, all right? We have all night."
"I told you, Ty... I want forever."
Ty looked down. "Let me love you, Ewan. For tonight, just let me love you."
Ty's hands pushed Ewan's shirt from her body, caressing skin as it was bared. Lips followed in their wake and the trail of goosebumps created made Ty smile in response. Ty's hands continued to stroke and caress Ewan's body, feeling the shivers of release begin to course through Ewan. Ewan moved Ty's lips back to hers as she crested and her grip on Ty's arms was strong enough to leave bruise marks. Ty's arms went around Ewan and held her close as Ewan drifted back to earth in the afterglow of their lovemaking.
Ewan reached out to reciprocate, but Ty grasped her hands. "Not yet. I just want to hold you for a little while."
Ewan's forehead creased at the odd reaction, but she nodded her assent. Ty had always asked so little of her, and truthfully she felt as though she'd finally come home for the first time in over a year. She never wanted to lose the feeling.
"Ty," Ewan ultimately broke the peaceful silence between them as she turned in the strong arms. "What you said earlier – was it true?" A perplexed look crossed Ty's face and Ewan smiled in reaction. "I guess that wasn't very clear, was it? The barrier thing – is it really so thin that life and death can cross realms?"
"Of course... I'm here, aren't I?"
Ewan took a deep breath. "I'm going back with you," covering Ty's lips before a sound could come out of them. "I know what I have here, and it doesn't begin to compare to what we have together... in any reality. I want you more than inside my dreams, somewhere in the night. I want you always."
"You're sure? It's not like you can have a second chance at life if you chose to come with me."
"I'm sure. Isn't that why you came back?" cupping Ty's face and pleading for the truth. Ty looked in Ewan's eyes and sighed silently.
"I came back because I was offered the opportunity to have one more night with you. Anything else, you had to figure out by yourself and make your own decision on. I can't ask you to give up your life... your dreams... everything just to be with me."
"Ty, you are my dream. You always have been. Everything else is just gravy."
Ty gazed in Ewan's eyes for a long moment, gauging the truth and sincerity behind the words and seeing clearly Ewan's belief in them.
"Take me home, Ty."
"Make love to me, Ewan."
When Greg got the call from the theatre manager the following morning, he rushed to the concert hall. There, slumped over the piano keyboard, was Ewan, with the most intriguing smile on her face. In her hand was a disc and a note addressed to him. He took them and called the coroner, knowing what they'd find when they autopsied her body.
He sat down on the edge of the stage and flipped the disc over in his hand before ripping the envelope open. He slid the single sheet of paper out and simply looked at the strong handwriting inscribed there before letting his eyes focus on the words.
Dear Greg, (it read)
Life has finally come full circle for me and it is time to move on to a different existence... a new reality. When you get the doctor's report, it will say my heart was worn out – old before my time. The truth is, my heart broke when Ty died, and it has taken my body this long to catch up to that fact.
Please don't mourn me my friend, as I have found my peace. I am happy in Ty's arms once more and it is where I belong. It was my choice.
The disc is the master of Ty's Song. It was too personal to share while I was alive, but now... well, it's yours to do with what you will.
You have been so special to me, Greg, and I will always think of you with great love and affection. Live long and love well, and if you find what you really want in life, hold on tight and never let go. Life's too short for second guessing.
Always your friend and favorite pain in the ass,
Greg wiped his eyes and looked at the disc once more before shoving it in his coat pocket. Then he tucked the paper back into the envelope and stuck that in his pocket as well.
"You all right, Greg?" the theatre manager asked in concern from the rear of the hall. Death of this sort wasn't common in his line of work. He gave a sigh of relief when Greg nodded and waved his hand, rising from his spot at the edge of the stage and walking down into the theatre.
"Yep, everything is all right," he said softly. A whisper of sound caught his attention and he stopped and turned in the aisle, keeping his focus on the stage. Almost, he could hear the sound of the piano and Ewan's voice and Ty's laughter. A smile crossed his face as he continued his exit. "Everything is finally all right."
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