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06 December 2007 @ 07:57 am
Vignettes - Part 28: Lost Summer  

Title: Vignettes - Part 28: Lost Summer

Author: [info]ladygray99

Chapter: 28/36

Pairing: Alan/OMC, Charlie/Colby

Rating: FRC

Disclaimer: Belongs to many other people, not me

Warnings/Squicks: none

Summary: What moments mark a friendship, a love, a marriage, a lifetime?

Previous chapters: A Thing

Notes:  Yes, I gayed up Alan.  This is my penance for making Don strait.  Feedback pretty please with sugar on top?

Beta(s): The amazing [info]irena_adler long may she write.





Lost Summer



As far as Colby could tell, the Eppes had never thrown out anything, as the boxes stacked into the rafters attested to.

 “What are we looking for again?” Colby asked

 “Blueprints for the South Bayview projects,” Alan answered. “I advised against the builder twenty years ago. Now the place is a crumbling toxic hell hole, the tenants are suing, and the city has conveniently and happily lost the original prints.”

 “Are they lost ‘cause you’ve got them?”

 “You bet. That project was dirty stem to stern. I felt this mess coming ages ago. Try that box.”

 Colby pulled down another box that seemed heavy for its size and opened it. It felt like archeology. The first layer was old receipts, then some finger paintings, the colors long faded, then pay dirt. Baby photos! Colby grinned and dug through the thick pile until he found a little boy with a plastic six shooter and curly hair.

 “Alan, is this Don?” He held up the photo.

 “Oh God, put that down.  He’d kill if those ever saw the light of day.”

 Colby pulled out another photo of a toddler holding a ‘no nukes’ sign. Colby slipped that into a pocket for future black mail usage. At the bottom, Colby picked a black and white photo that for a moment he thought it was Charlie on a really bad hair day. He realized it had to be Alan but he had no idea who the tall lanky guy with the slightly silly smile was. “Hey Alan, great hair.”

 Alan looked up at the photo, flushed, then quickly looked away. “Jewfro. Only achievable with the right combination of humidity and lack of hygiene. Very popular. Drove the girls wild.”

 “Who’s the guy?”

 “Ah...” Alan stuttered for a split second. “McKinney, Donald McKinney. Mad Scottish Poet I met hiking in Spain.”

 “Really?” Colby picked up another photo of the two men. “You two hang out a lot?”

 “Well, we got stuck in this freak monsoon in the mountains. Spent three days in a cave living off cheep wine and salty cheese. Ah…we hiked around for a couple months after that since we were heading the same direction. Parted company around Northern Italy, I think.”

'Oh Alan.’ Colby thought 'If I weren’t FBI you might have gotten away with that.' Colby pulled out about a dozen photos of the two men. Reasonably innocent on the surface, yet it could be argued that their hips met a little too closely and perhaps they turned towards each other just a hair.

 “I met Margaret after that trip you know,” Alan continued. “Headed home, got a job, met her practically the first day. Next thing you know, marriage, house, Don’s on the way.”

 'Of course,' Colby thought 'and Donald the mad Scottish poet is just a memory. Donald, Donald, Don. Oh God!'

 “You ever write him?” Colby asked gently.

 Alan gave him a hard look and neither man was kidding each other anymore. “And say what? ‘Remember me? We had a two month drunken fling forty years ago. I would have written but the whole wife and kids thing got in the way.’”

 “Well, I’d phrase it better.”

 “Colby, the past is dead and buried and it wasn’t anything to discuss at the time. You think you and Charlie have got problems? What we were doing was illegal half the time. The other half it was a medical condition to be cured in nasty ways. It would have been easier to come home with a case of syphilis than a six foot Scotsmen in tow.”

 “Still,” Colby held out the photos. “Looks like it was a good summer.”


 Alan willed his hands not to shake as he opened the box, a Royal Post seal glaring at him brightly. The tape split easily under the kitchen knife and he picked up the hand-written letter folded neatly on top.

Dear Alan,

My apologies for the delay in writing back. I moved to the south coast a few years ago. Nice thing about small towns though, they’ll forward your mail until doomsday. It was a lovely surprise to get your letter. My kids keep nagging me to get a computer so they can email me. Why not drop it in the post I say. There’s a greater civility to it. Or perhaps I’m just old.


I thought you might be writing for your Dead t-shirt back. I found it in the bottom of my rucksack when I got back to the island. I’ve been packing it around all these years, always meaning to send it back to you. It’s probably worth a pretty penny by now. ‘Vintage’ I think the kids call it.

Alan reached into the box and pulled out a very old Grateful Dead T-Shirt. He was fairly sure he could still smell the cheep Italian hash on it.

‘Also, do you remember that mad Frenchman with the new fangled instant camera? Well, you’ll never believe what I found.’

Alan looked into the box again. At the bottom was a faded Polaroid that was truly incriminating. Donald had a sheet wrapped around him in a sort of toga/kilt thing and Alan was in short shorts, sandals and not much else, plus holding a very suspicious looking cigarette. Though you couldn’t see Donald’s hands it was easy to guess where they somewhere inappropriate on Alan’s body. Alan quickly looked around and slipped the photo into his shirt pocket.

‘Truth be told I have no recollection of that night, though considering the number of empties in the photo, I’m not surprised.


It’s raining here in Dorset right now. The locals are complaining but it’s practically tropical compared to the North Sea winds blowing down off the artic. I’ve got a little cottage down here with a kitchen garden and a few chickens. The old lady kicked my sorry arse to the curb as soon as the kids were grown, so I’ve been fending for myself for a while now.


I have to confess I’ve been thinking of you lately, which made your letter that much nicer. Remember our Spanish cave? It had a jasmine plant growing halfway over the front and when the rain would let up the smell would fill the air. We had no such thing in the Hebrides, too cold for such an exotic beast, but a former occupant of my cottage was ambitious and for a week each summer I have a jasmine bush in bloom. The first time I woke to that smell the memories hit me like a brick up the side of the head. I spent the week craving salty cheese, among other things.


I don’t know if you travel much anymore. I suppose you’re as old as I am for we can never really freeze people the way we can in our memories, but should you make it to the islands, come to Dorset and I’ll show your around. Come in summer when the jasmine is blooming.


Yours in memory,

Donald McKinney

“Dad? What’s wrong?”

 Alan’s head shot up to find Charlie and Colby standing in the doorway. “What?”

 “You’re crying?”

 Alan’s hand went to his face to find his eyes and cheeks wet. “It’s nothing.”


 Alan forced a smile. “Just milk that spilled long before you were born.” Alan packed up the box quickly and headed to his room. He gave his son a quick kiss and Colby a pat on the cheek as he left. Colby’s eye’s quickly flickered down to the box and he gave a slight smile.

 “What was that about?” Charlie asked.

 Colby, just shrugged.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
fredbassettfredbassett on December 5th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
Aw, Alan must go to Dorset, he must, he must!!
ladygray99: Colbyladygray99 on December 5th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
He will. Alan needs love to. It'll just be a separate story from the main one. I've got it all worked out in my head. It's just back logged. I think I need an Alan icon for it though. hummmmm
fredbassettfredbassett on December 5th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Looking forward to it :)
thady: DIV: Readers Marilynthady on December 5th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely. Alan should really go to Dorset. *nods*

Heh, I love the idea of a photo of Don as a toddler. :) A+ blackmail material. :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 5th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
Alan will be spending a few weeks each summer in Dorset while the jasmine is blooming.

And if Don doesn't behave that picture will magically find it's way into his personnel file.
melissima: Sad Charlie by <lj user=delgaserasca>melissima on December 5th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
omg this is beautiful! :)

I have not been a big fan of slashing Alan, but this? This I love. What a perfect way to handle it. And jasmine-scented nostalgia? *swoons*
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 5th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think that may be my first swoon :-)

I was trying to justify in my own head why Alan would be completely cool with Charlie and Colby and it spun off into this long ago romance.

Once that thought was there it had to be written down.
Devo79devo79 on December 5th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 5th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
del_writes: fiction is factdel_writes on December 5th, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
gorgeous, just gorgeous.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 6th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Thank you dear.
shara50 on December 6th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
I love seeing another aspect of Alan, great job!!
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 6th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Thank you. I had fun writing it.
athenedeinonychus_1 on December 6th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Awwww, sweet.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 6th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
dance_the_codedance_the_code on December 7th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
This was fantastic. Beautiful.

Brings tears to my eyes.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 7th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you darling. I got a little weepy writing it.
grissoms_girlgrissoms_girl on April 27th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'm crying here please let Alan take a loooong trip :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on April 27th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
He will. It's in the cue to be written just Donald is a very mellow bunny and doesn't complain when other bunnies cut in line.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 20th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
Awww. This was quite bittersweet, but leaning heavily towards the sweet part. I'm glad Alan took Colby's advice.

ladygray99ladygray99 on January 20th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
I always feel that Alan needs love.