DISCLAIMER: I own very little, and nothing that is related to this show, apart from this story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Potential spoilers up to Season 3, but it's difficult to say since I haven't actually watched that far yet. This is a collection (not in chronological order, so perhaps incorrectly titled) of the Alice/Dana relationship, which seems so much deeper than the credit its given. This could get angsty, but not excessively so, I hope.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By lemonjelly



"The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on, nor all thy Pity nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all the Tears wash out a Word of it." - Omar Khayyám


Tuesday. March 8th 2005
Weather is an unusually crisp 50°. Light rain this morning – early. Still damp on the pavements. Still smells of it.

"Don't marry her – just don't marry her. It's not what you want."

Alice knows people; she knows when not to push it. And she knows Dana even better than most, and she knows that she should shut her goddamn mouth.

"It's too late."

"It's never too late! Even on the day, you just don't say 'I do'." Alice knows when to shut up – it's when Dana turns her back mid-conversation. It's when Dana says, "Back off, Alice." Even if you don't notice those early signs, even if you don't catch on then for whatever reason – maybe you're new to this – even then, there's more. It's when Dana stops using your name to address you. It's when her responses are barely more than whispers, surprisingly cold and detached.

Alice knows this, knows to shut up. Doesn't shut up, anyway. Stupid.

"It's not easy, that's why you have to do it. You can't always take the easy way, and lie back and let her fuck you because you can't find a better manager." Alice's voice was shaking now, she was furious and she was crying. As far as she saw it, Dana came to her, and that wasn't fair. It had been five hours since Alice had been standing up on the spot-lit stage in The Planet and tried to weigh in her mind how likely it would be that her voice would crack and fail her if she said what she'd wanted so badly to say.

"…I love you."

She hadn't cried then, thank God. But her legs had almost buckled as she feigned the calm walk away.

"You need a drink?" Shane had asked, when she made it back to the bar. Alice had choked an unexpected sob, muffled it by her own hand and stared at the surface of the bar until she could trust herself not to break.

"No. Thanks." She'd said. "I think I'll just head home."

And then Dana rings her cell twice whilst Alice cries in the bathtub. The voicemail she leaves expresses gratitude in the first, then concern in the second. She calls a third time when Alice is getting out of the tub and wrapping a bathrobe around herself, wrapping tightly to quell remaining sobs still quaking inside of her chest, but that last time Dana fails to leave a message telling Alice that she's on her way over.

When she buzzes in from the pavement downstairs, Alice puts on her bravest face and puts the door on the latch. Let her come.

Fast forward through Dana turning away from her as Alice reaches for her forearm going, "Please, Dana – please, don't marry her."

Fast forward through Dana saying, "Back off, Alice." when Alice launches into Tonya's faults.

Fast forward to: "lie back and let her fuck you because you can't find a better manager."

Dana blinks and her mouth shuts. She steps back like taking a hit. "You're out of line. That is out of line. You want to pretend this is all business, why? You don't want to believe I'd ever have feelings for someone else?"

"What do you know about it, Dana?" Alice bites back with a viciousness she hadn't expected from herself. "You date three women in your adult life, hate one, love the other, and marry the third. Is this just your default setting? Is this enough to convince yourself that you know enough about love and life to settle down? You've had enough, huh?"

About three minutes before that, Alice thinks retrospectively. About three minutes before she said that – that would have been a good time to shut the fuck up.

"Fuck you," Dana says, cold and detached. "I don't have to explain myself to you."

She casts an angry look at Alice and, if she's surprised to first notice the tears on Alice's cheeks, she doesn't show it. She just walks away.

Even then, when Dana's heels can still be heard clacking down the stairs, Alice can't stop her stupid mouth from yelling after her: "Good – because you can't even explain it to yourself."

She shuts her front door only after she hears Dana's car speed away form the kerb. It hardly seems fair, she thinks to herself when she catches her own eye in the mirror in the hall. Here was Alice, make-up free, wet hair, in her bathrobe with red eyes whilst Dana had turned up still beautiful and perfect from her bachelorette party. And then, when Alice looks more into her dark, red-rimmed eyes, studying her own tear-stained cheeks, she remembers her heart – sore and heavy – straining in her chest, wrestling back juddering sobs.

"What the fuck have you done?" she asks herself. "Why did you do that?"

Another sob escapes her throat and stuns her with how loud, how stricken it is. She clamps a hand over her mouth again, not wanting to hear it echoing back at her in the empty apartment, so Alice just stands in the semi-dark, in the silence, and feels the hot saltwater running over her fingers.

Dana's in her car at a stoplight, wondering how to explain to Tonya her long absence, her hoarse voice and the long rivers of mascara-black down her cheeks. Maybe she'll just sneak into bed with the lights all off, and maybe she'll bite her lip and push her face into the pillow. Maybe no-one will hear her and then maybe it'll go away.

Part 2

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