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11 July 2009 @ 01:12 pm
Fic: Or Anyone (Andy)  
Hello, all! I just found Studio 60 recently and binged through most of it (and loved), but decided there really needed to be a little bit of Andy Mackfic. First time writing for this fandom, all feedback is love!

Title: Or Anyone
Author: blindswandive (Lauren)
Summary: A bleak but quasi-hopeful Andy Mackinaw character piece.
Rating: PG
Characters or Pairing: Andy. (References to both Jessica [Andy's deceased wife] and Matt.)
Warning: A very little language, borderline suicidalism. Could be read as vague, vague pre-slash if you wanted to, and squinted, but essentially gen/friendship.
Spoilers: B-12, sort of, and Friday Night Slaughter?
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or episodes or scripts. No profit is being made. Initial quote is a quote from Studio 60 episode "Friday Night Slaughter," and is not meant to be read as my own; no copyright infringement intended.
1792 words.

Or Anyone

"You know, I don't really... like anything, or anyone. But if you ever wanted to talk about anything..."

Matt didn't want to talk.

It hadn't done any good, really, in the end. He hadn't expected it would. But at least he'd thrown it out there, tried.

He'd thrown it out, done his duty as a nominal member of the human race. And when Matt had zoned out, he'd even waited a while, watching him for signs of life, but in the end he'd given up and gone. He had things to do--things Matt would want done. And when the day was as done as it ever was, he'd gone home, and that was okay.

Andy told himself it was okay, because he didn't really care much. It wasn't like he worried about Matt, when he had nothing else to do (which was too often). It wasn't as though he'd exposed some fragile, delicate inner mechanism that worked in sympathy or empathy or human emotion generally, because he clearly didn't have one to expose.

So it was okay.

But when Andy got home to the smallest, sparest apartment in Los Angeles, toed off his shoes by the door, and looked in at the quiet emptiness, he thought maybe he might care, just a little. Just a very little.

He sighed, and set about settling in.

His routine was always the same, and he ran it so automatically that he hardly thought about it, anymore. Every night, he got in, shoved off his shoes by the door where they lived, and dropped whatever else he'd carried with him to the other side, in a heap. Tonight he had the laptop, so he dropped everything else first, so the computer's fall would be cushioned by the rest of the pile, but that was the end of conscious decision making, for the day. And he would leave everything there where it lay until the next day.

He walked in his white socks (always white socks, with thick soles) to the corner of the studio that was the kitchen, and poured some bourbon (whichever had been on sale at Trader Joe's) over ice, and set it aside while he fished something in a box from the freezer. He ate the first thing that came out, every time, whatever it happened to be. It saved him the bother. But he read the directions every time, even the ones he'd memorized, and let the ice melt and water down the drink while he waited. He watched whatever it was (he read the directions, but not the labels) while it rotated in the microwave, and wondered if he was standing too close and rotting his brain, every night. He wondered if he'd notice, if he did. Probably not.

When it was cooked (in as much as microwaving was cooking), he went through the motions of plating and stirring--he prided himself (in as much as he had any pride) in still eating off of a plate, rather than out of the container over the sink, like he wanted to. He ate it standing over the countertop, instead, and felt civilized enough for it, and when he was done, he washed the plate, and then washed down the food he never really tasted with the bourbon he almost did.

She had wanted him to be civilized.

He carried his drink to the couch and lay down, facing the small TV he didn't tend to turn on, crossing his left ankle over his right and resting the drink on his stomach until it sweat through his clothes. When it was too wet to leave, or too cold to hold, he set it down--on a coaster, no less--on the table that sat at perfect arm's length. Civilized.

Jessica had civilized him. A long time ago.

After they'd moved in together, even before they were married and she had the state-sanctioned right to boss him around, she'd made him eat everything off of a plate, with utensils. She taught him to use coasters, to get dressed even on days off, and to be relatively polite to people on the phone--even telemarketers. And she made him sleep in a bed with sheets, every night, a bed that got made in the morning so that it looked like a bed when they got to it again in the evening, romantic and practical.

She would have wanted him to be civilized, now.

He'd backslid on the telemarketer thing. And sometimes on the clothes. And Andy didn't really have a bed, now, either, but the couch folded out, and he hoped that counted. There wasn't really room for anything more, when he'd left the house behind.

He always got comfortable without setting it up--could have slept just fine on the surface where he landed, after he ate. He felt stupid pulling off all the cushions, folding down the body and smoothing out the sheets, tucking in the corners and laying out a blanket. He felt silly to go through the work when he could just pass out there, still in the day's clothes with his watery bourbon on hand, comfortable on the couch and alone.

But he did it, anyway. Every night.

What else could he do?

If he dozed off, he always made it right once he woke up, set up the bed and brushed his teeth and stripped and got in, even if he he'd slept so long that he wasn't tired anymore, even if he had somewhere to be sometime soon. He got in and lay still and closed his eyes and pretended he might sleep, because it was the civilized thing to do.

He hoped she'd have thought that that counted.

Occasionally mutinous, he wondered if he should just make the bed up when he got home, just lie in it with his bourbon so that he didn't cross the line and fall asleep on the couch, so he didn't have to get up again, but that seemed like cheating, somehow. It defeated the purpose of transitioning from waking to sleeping at all. It defeated the relief of the end of the day, of the end of waking.

So he left it for the last thing, every night. He got home, he ate, he lay down on the couch, and listened to the quiet.

It was too quiet.

He hated the quiet.

But if he waited long enough, one of the neighbors would invariably start shouting, screaming, banging something (or someone), breaking something (or someone). The old woman upstairs would turn on her TV too loud, because she was mostly deaf. A pipe would break, or at least run too loudly while someone used up most of the building's hot water. And the quiet would die, and Andy would listen to the noise.

He hated the noise, too. But something in him settled, when it got loud. The white noise drowned something in him, and he unwound by inches.

It got a little bit better.

It had gotten a little bit better, over the last month and a half; better because of Matt, really. Matt, who had managed to drag him from his apartment for the first time in over two weeks, when he'd been getting light on reasons to get up at all, and on provisions. He'd gone sixteen days without stepping foot over the threshold, not seeing the need once the play had closed, and what with the rain. But then, in the nick of time like some TV trope cut loose, Matt had called him with work, had told him that Andy was the one doing the favor by coming in. Matt had even gone through the requisite bullshit flattery, which had made it easier, because then Andy didn't have to believe Matt about how good he thought he was. The wave of vague terror faded, when he was sure it was an act of either pity or desperation, when he was sure he only had to be in the room. That, he could live with.

Andy had still stopped the car by the flood control, on the way there, though--just to get out and look at how high and fast the Los Angeles river was running along its concrete banks in the downpour. Just to see if it looked like it would flood over again, like it had in '97, and start washing cars away, destroy another undercarriage he couldn't afford to fix. Not to wonder if he was still just as bad a swimmer as he'd been when he was a kid, or if he'd be even worse after no practice and fighting against the currents and the rain and the long coat he was wearing besides.

Just to see it.

Just to look.

But Matt had been waiting--had said he'd needed him, had even asked him about the play--so Andy climbed back into the car and drove on. And every weekday since then, he had gone in to work for Matt, even if he told himself that the next week would surely be the last one.

After three weeks of that, he stopped thinking about the flood control so much. He started buying his food in two week increments again, instead of one, because he wasn't so afraid of it going to waste. He could see the possibility of the next month, again, could see farther than Saturday.

Because of Matt, in the end.

...Maybe he did worry about Matt. Maybe when it was too quiet, before Mrs. Rohrbacher woke up and turned on the television, it was what drove him off of the couch and all the way to the bookshelf, to thumb through plays, to remind himself what writing was like before he could forget over the long night. Maybe it was what made him go back to the door, to fish out the laptop from the heap and start pecking away at notes--to produce more for the show, more for Matt.

Matt wasn't writing shit, himself, and was throwing out everything of everyone else's; he might as well have more to choose from, more to slaughter. It might ease some of the pressure of producing a great enough quantity of crap to massacre by mid-week. Andy could produce fodder for him.

Maybe he did care a little.

If it was enough to write just to be cut, just to suffer the soul-crushing agony of being edited out, he must. Eating, sleeping, exiting the door every morning, and not leaping into the river after he did, that was one thing. But lining up for the slaughter...

He must care enough.

Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: "For No One," the Beatles
segsig: dancingsegsig on July 11th, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
Sweet insight into Andy! Nicely done.
Lauren or Lou, as you like.: Kithiconblindswandive on July 11th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
indyhatindyhat on November 29th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
I love this. It's quite and thoughtful and note-perfect, from the very little we really learn about Andy. The river part was a nice touch, and you handled it very gently — lovely.
Lauren or Lou, as you like.: Kithiconblindswandive on November 30th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much. I was just so in love with his character (what little we saw of him), I'm glad this did him some justice.

Thanks again - it's wonderful getting feedback on this now, a nice surprise in my inbox!