, rionaleonhart:
Devour (001: Beginnings)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: G

I know that you want to do this, she had whispered. Youre thinking what Im thinking. I can read you like a book.

And he had hated her for saying it, had wanted to kill her.

But only because he knew that she was right.

He can see what is happening to him, now, and he hates himself for it. He can think I would never all he wants. He can think murder is impossible, its not something I would ever do, its not something that would have ever occurred to me, I am a good person but in the end he knows that it will change nothing.

He can deny it to himself all that he wants. He can tell himself that he is above it all that he wants. It is already too late. The idea has been planted, and now it is always there at the back of his mind, like an insistent itch, like something that scuttles and stings and never seems to die.

He can deny it to himself all that he wants, but he knows that he will do it in the end.

*
Realisation (002: Middles)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: PG

This is what it has come to. This is what he has been driven to do (but he mustnt think that, he has to take responsibility for this, he cant blame the binmen or Ella or Duncan himself, its all his own work but he mustnt think of it like that either, not with that hint of triumph, this is wrong), and he cant think too much about it, because its so strange the life ahead of him seems so blank when he tries to picture it. How can he imagine a life without Billy? It is impossible. When he tries to envision it, there is nothing. A void.

When he killed Duncan and its still so strange to think of it, he killed Duncan, and the knowledge of it is like a scorpion scuttling through his mind he dealt with the guilt through cooking. When he was preparing a meal, entirely focused on its perfection and nothing else (he isnt going to think about the blood bubbling up in the pan, he isnt going to think about it), he could forget.

He needs to be in the kitchen. He needs to create something. Billy is gone. He cant think about this. Billy is gone, and he will never see him again.

or perhaps he will, because he was there, wasnt he? He was there at the meeting of course he was there, he was always there, that was Billy, perfect attendance even after death, and the absurdity of it makes him want to laugh or scream or hit something and Ella couldnt see him, nobody could see him but he could, he could see the pain and the betrayal in Billys eyes upon him, half-curled on the floor and terrified or furious or both, and the guilt was unbearable but in a way he is proud that he was the only person to whom Billy revealed himself.

So maybe it is not the end. But when he has so betrayed him, how can he be forgiven?

Should he be forgiven? Would he be willing to repent?

But even as he thinks it he knows that he would say anything, would do anything to have him back.

He almost expects him to be there when he goes down to the kitchen he should be here, hes always here but he is not, and this time Macbeth finds no solace in cooking.

*
Revelations (003: Ends)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Peter Macduff.
Rating: PG-13

When he hears the helicopter and everything becomes suddenly clear in a flash, he wants to laugh wants to fling his head back and laugh because it was so obvious, he should have realised it before, pigs are flying and the simplicity of it is beautiful and it all makes sense now, men are not immortal, they have flesh to be rent and blood to be spilt and now his time has come, this insanity is coming to an end, and so he rips his jacket open and screams at Macduff to come on, then, and as the knife slams into his ribs he thinks he might be laughing ragged, breathless laughter through the blood seeping into his lungs.

*
what dreams may come (004: Insides)
Title: what dreams may come
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: Er, yeah, nicked a bit of inspiration from Silent Hill for this one. The probability of a full-blown crossover in the future is fairly high.

His sleep is filled with knives and blood and screaming, screaming echoing through the restaurant, through his mind. There is a world in his dreams, and it is the kitchen but it is not, it is bloodstained and rusted and suspended in a black void, the floor metal grating, the only thing shielding him from the nothingness he can feel it shiver beneath him as he walks, and he knows that it could collapse at any moment, could send him twisting and falling and clawing at nothing, desperately, hopelessly. There is a person who is like Billy but he is not Billy because Billy is dead, is never coming back, and every night he finds himself standing over Billys lifeless body, trembling and clutching a bloodstained knife, and the man who is not him says dont worry, it wasnt your fault, Im here, and he wants to scream, wants to hit him because hes not Billy, he has no right to look like him, no right to tell him not to feel guilty it was his fault and he knows it was his fault and he knew exactly what he was doing and if he ever stops thinking that then he truly will be an inhuman monster and maybe he already is but he cant stop feeling guilty, he cant forget this, he cant replace Billy because he is irreplaceable, because he deserved so much more than this.
And he never wants to sleep now because he knows that it will happen again, it will all happen again, and he knows that he cannot bear it, and yet he does not stop.
Perhaps he is trying to punish himself.
*
Unsuspected (005: Outsides)
Title: Unsuspected
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, nameless inspector.
Rating: PG

They have caught him.

Of course they have caught him. He knew that they would catch him, knew it even as he pulled on the gloves, as he walked quietly up the stairs with the knife glinting in his hand. There must have been something in his voice when he was asked about the death, something in his eyes during the appeal for information. Billy must have worked it out. He always knew that he would.

They have caught him, and mixed with the sickening fear of the realisation is something almost like relief. He has been found out. He doesnt have to be afraid of the prospect any more, doesnt have to look at everyone around him and wonder: do they know?

but the man is talking about cockroaches and rats and it seems incredible, this idea that gradually dawns, he has killed someone, the world should be revolving around Duncans death, life cant just be going on as usual, everything should be related to the murder in the way his every thought is coloured by it but it is true, he realises, this is only the kitchen inspector, its not the police, he has not been found out, they dont know. He has killed a man and is standing in the kitchen that he stole from him and people have no idea, they look at him and see the dedicated chef, not the too-ambitious man who stabs people in their sleep. This man looks at him now, says I look into your eyes, and do you know what I see? and he thinks yes, I know, but all that you see are my eyes you know nothing of what they have seen, you know nothing of the man behind them, nothing.

The inspector smiles at him, grants him a second chance as if I deserve second chances if you only knew and leaves, quietly.

Nobody knows what I have done, he thinks when the door has closed, and he cannot stop laughing, shaking with laughter, with relief. They think Im innocent. Nobody knows.

*
Welcome (008: Weeks)
Pairing: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: I have the weirdest OTP ever.

Joe was so engrossed in his cooking that he didn't notice, at first, that Duncan had entered the kitchen. When Duncan cleared his throat and said, "Gather 'round, boys," he barely glanced up - and then did a quick double-take upon realising that he had company, before turning the heat down and coming around the counter.

"You said that you needed help, Joe," Duncan was saying, beaming, "and I've found just the lad for the job. This is Billy Banquo. I'm relying on you to show him the ropes." He put his arm around the newcomer's shoulders, gave him an affectionate shake. Joe caught his eye and grinned apologetically. "Just treat him as you would treat me, all right?"

A few weeks later, as Joe lay on his bed with Billy sprawled across him and snoring slightly, he reflected that this was probably not exactly how he would treat Duncan, but at least Billy didn't seem to mind.

*
signifying nothing (010: Years)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: PG

She is dead.

She is dead, and he thinks that perhaps he expected it, that perhaps he saw something some kind of shadow behind her eyes when she looked at him and said but then you stopped talking to me, when she stood for hours washing and washing and washing her hands and whispering words that he could not make out.

She is dead, and he feels nothing.

She was his wife. He thinks he might have loved her, once. She is dead, and he searches for some kind of emotion, some response, but there is nothing there.

He feels that this should matter more to him, somehow.

Should it matter?

It is only another death. There have been so many deaths, so many deaths so quickly, and each has affected him a little less. Life must end, after all. Life must end, and each day, however fleetingly wonderful, is only another step towards that ending.

But not for him. He will live for ever, and if he could bring himself to care about the answer he would wonder: is that better or worse?

The people around him carry on, dragging out their shadow-like existences. What should a year more or less matter?

Why should he care that she is dead?

*
Distance (015: Blue)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: G

The lights are a vivid, electric blue, and they cast an almost eerie atmosphere across the kitchen (the silver surfaces reflect the light so well he always insists on having them absolutely clean before he leaves).

His hands look like someone elses in this light. He can almost imagine that he is watching someone else. Someone else is walking across the floor, trying not to make a sound. Someone else is trying not to think about what he is about to do.

The light reflects off the blade of the knife so well. It seems a pity to sully it.

*
Empty (020: Colourless)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: PG

Since Billys death (he wont think murder, he wont think murder), he has become... empty. And when Malcolm points out that he is using the wrong sauce, and he ignores him, he attacks him that is when the tiny part of him that is still sane knows that it is hopeless. If he has stopped caring about the preparation of food, what does he have left? Billy is dead. Ella has destroyed his life and spends her days in a haze of madness, always washing washing washing her hands and never able to rid herself of the blood upon them.

He does not wash his hands. He does not even try to rid himself of the blood, because it is hopeless. Nothing will ever wash him clean. He can no longer bring himself to care about food. Billy is dead. What does he have left? He has the restaurant, but it means nothing to him now. What does he have to cleanse himself for? There is nothing left, nothing.

He tilts his head back against the wall and whispers youre going mad, Joe, in his head, and even though he can picture Billy perfectly, can picture the eyes and the concerned expression and the precise forced casual nature of the intonation with which he would say it, it gives him little comfort.

What does he have left?

*
Trace (023: Lovers)
Pairing: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: All of these are so short. I feel inexplicably guilty.

As he draws his fingers over his hips and across his back, he cannot suppress a sharp intake of breath when he sees the thin lines of blood that are scored in their wake, marring Billys exposed skin but he does not seem to be in pain, does not seem to notice, and so Macbeth says nothing, because there is a part of him that likes the fact that he can mark him in this way.

He has always been slightly possessive.

But a moment later the lines of blood are gone, and it must have been another of those visions, and he knows he should be glad that Billy has not been harmed but he cannot help feeling just for a moment the impulse to make them real.

*
Close (025: Strangers)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Ella Macbeth.
Rating: PG
I feel I feel like I can do anything, Ella. His laughter has changed, she thinks. He is changing, and she cannot pretend that it does not frighten her. They dont nobody knows. Billy might have worked it out, but
but now hes dead, she says, quietly, watching him for some reaction.
She isnt sure what she is expecting some flicker of remorse, something but Joe just laughs again, that breathless, half-crazed laugh that sends shivers down her spine. So nobody can find out, now. Theres nobody left.
Theres nobody left, she thinks. Youre not the man I used to know, she thinks. Youre not the man I used to know. What happened to us?
I have everything now, he breathes, not looking at her. This is what I wanted.
But thats not right, she thinks. Its what I wanted. You would never have done any of this if it werent for me.
He looks at her, his eyes a little wider than usual, and she wonders do you even know what Ive done to you?
Weve won, he whispers. She wishes that he would stop smiling.
I dont know you any more. I know.

*
Serpent (027: Parents)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Ella Macbeth.
Rating: G
Author's Notes: Because it made so much more sense in the original.

But just before he died, there was a tiny flicker of life. I gave him that.
She pauses, then. She swallows, half-turns. Her eyes glitter with tears.
If it had been for you... I would have killed him myself.
Dont say that, Ella, he says instantly, warningly.
I would have. For you.
I know, he says, after the tiniest hesitation. But I would never have wanted that.
Of course not, she says, looking back at him.
There is a moment in which neither of them speaks, before she stands and walks around the table, moves behind him, leans down.
Duncan isnt our child, she breathes into his ear. If I would have done that for you, what wont you even consider doing this?
Its wrong, he says, quietly, and wishes that he could think of some more concrete reason than that.
She laughs softly almost inaudibly, but he can feel the rush of warm air upon his cheek. Do you think that its right that he takes all the credit for your hard work? That, after all that youve done for him, hes leaving the restaurant to Malcolm?
He is silent.

*
the rest is silence (030: Death)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Peter Macduff.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: Behold as I completely ignore the rules of capitalisation for dramatic effect!

he isnt going to die he isnt going to die he isnt going to die he cannot die nothing can kill him he is immortal he is not afraid.

he is not afraid.

and he is not going to attack him because he has enough blood of his on his hands already, blood on his hands and in his mind and nothing will ever clean him of it, he could go out to the heath where he died and lie down and let the rain pound down on him until the world ends, let it drown him (but he will not drown, he cannot drown, he will live for ever) and it would not clean him, the blood would soak into the ground around him, would stain the world red before he was clean.

and then the whirring from somewhere above him blurs through his thoughts like an omen of death

and the pain is terrible and unbearable and beautiful, blood on his hands and in his mind and in his lungs and in his throat and choking him, drowning him, and it is wonderful and he wants to embrace his deliverer, wants to embrace his death, and it is true, he is dying, he is mortal, and he can taste blood in his mouth and his vision is blurring and it could not be a more perfect end.

he regrets nothing.

*
Indecision (033: Too Much)
Title: Indecision
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Pairing: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Prompt: Too Much
Word Count: 275
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



As he lies there with his head on Billys chest he can hear his heartbeat, can feel the warmth of the blood flowing beneath his skin. He is always so aware of the fragility of life, now; cannot stop himself from feeling a slight touch of fear whenever Billy is still and he lies there silently, his mind in turmoil, waiting for him to breathe again.

There is something else in his mind, but he cant think too much about it because it makes him feel ill, his thoughts shy away when he tries to examine it. He can remember he doesnt think that he will ever forget he can remember Billys eyes on him when Ella was being interviewed, the slight suspicion there, the inescapable feeling that his every thought was being displayed to him. Billy always seemed able to read him so easily.

What if Billy knows? What can he do?

...he knows what he will have to do, but he cant think about it, he cant think about it, he cant consider it, it is insane. It is insane. When the time comes if the time comes he doesnt know whether he will be able to carry it out. He doesnt know he cant think about this. There is a sudden drop in his stomach whenever his thoughts stray near it, the sensation of falling, of trying desperately to claw his way out of something.

For the moment, though, there is Billy breathing quietly beneath him and Billys hand warm on the bare skin of his back, and they are all he needs.

He can worry about the future when it comes.

*
Insomnia (034: Not Enough)
Title: Insomnia
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Ella Macbeth
Prompt: Not Enough
Word Count: 260
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



He cant sleep.

He sits at the end of the bed, staring out into the darkness, and he cant sleep. He doesnt think that he will ever be able to sleep again.

When he looks down at his wrist, he can still see the white marks from where Duncan grabbed him. A little water and were clean, she had said but he still has the marks, still has the cut across his palm, still has the memory of it (it was so easy, he thought I was going to help him, he thought I was going to help him )

Water is not enough. No amount of water will ever be enough. He will never be clean.

And maybe he resents her a little, for being able to sleep while he is sitting here, consumed by guilt (but he knows that thats not right, that she isnt really sleeping, that if he turns around he will see her lying there in silence with her eyes open but he doesnt turn, he cant look at her, he cant look at anyone ever again because he knows that if he does he will not be able to stop himself from thinking maybe we are friends, maybe we even love each other, but I thought a day ago that murder was beyond me and now how can I be sure of anything, how can I know that I am never going to kill you?).

Nothing will wash this blood from his hands, these doubts from his mind. How can he ever sleep again?

*
Premonition (035: Sixth Sense)
Title: Premonition
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Billy Banquo, Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: Sixth Sense
Word Count: 127
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



He knows that something is wrong.

Joe is acting normally enough or normally for him at any rate, bounding around the kitchen and congratulating people on their cookery and mocking him mercilessly when he is momentarily distracted by his thoughts and almost manages to set the whole building on fire but still Billy knows that something is wrong, he can feel it. Something about the way in which Joe falls suddenly silent when Ella enters the kitchen, the glances that they exchange, laden with some meaning that Billy cannot quite decipher. Something in his eyes when he glances at the photograph of Duncan on top of the fridge.

He knows that something is wrong, that something is about to happen. He only wishes that he knew what.

*

Visions (040: Sight)
Title: Visions
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo (kind of).
Prompt: Sight
Word Count: 116
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



He sees things that arent there, sees them all the time. He sees blood, blood painted in streaks across the floor and walls, blood spilling and spreading from under the door of the Green Room. He sees knives everywhere, in shadows, out of the corners of his eyes.

He sees Billy, and sometimes he is silent and simply looks at him, accusing (but I didnt do it I swear I didnt do it you know that I would never have hurt you Im sorry I had to Im sorry), and sometimes he is as he always was, slinging a friendly arm over his shoulders and ruffling his hair. Mad boy.

He isnt sure which is worse.

*
Atone (042: Triangle)
Pairings: Joe Macbeth/Ella Macbeth, Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Rating: Never sure about this. R? Non-graphic sexual content, at any rate.
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.

Her body is lithe and warm beneath his as she runs her hands up his chest and over his back, her breath hot on his lips when she pulls away slightly, and her eyes are half-closed and she is beautiful and he cannot stop thinking of Billy, he cannot keep himself from looking at her and seeing him there, he cannot help wondering what she would do if she knew.

It is easier to keep his eyes closed. It is easier to keep his eyes closed because then he can forget about everything but the sensation, he can avoid the guilt that flares up whenever he sees her and thinks of him.

And he does love her, he does, and he never meant to betray her, but but it just happened, and then it happened again and again and sometimes he wonders whether it is Ella or Billy he is hurting more by doing this, sometimes he wonders whether Billy ever looks at his wife and thinks of him, whether he feels this strange confusion of love and guilt and fear.

He has to do something. He cannot live with this guilt. He cannot stop what he is doing cannot imagine a future without Billy, without closeness and warmth and shallow rapid breathing in the darkness. He cannot stop what he is doing, but perhaps he can make it better, somehow, perhaps he can do what Ella wants, perhaps he can fix things.

They said we could have it all, he whispers into the darkness, and he can feel her smile against his skin.

*
Repeat (044: Circle)
Characters: The Binmen.
Rating: PG

Here he is. Here he is, the great chef. Here he is, destined for great things, and we are going to guide him there, we are going to have power over him, we are going to create something new out of this man before us.

Watch him.

Watch him twisting, watch him falling, watch him go insane.

He is ours, now. He is ours, now, and isnt it easy to take control? There is a knife lying amongst the tissues and scraps of food today. We do not see it, but we know that it is there.

It is so easy to steer the course of events. This has happened before. Macbeth, and Banquo, and Macduff this has all happened before. History repeats itself.

When a man collapses on a heath somewhere, we know. When a gunshot echoes and blood spreads across the sheets, we know. We will know when pigs begin to fly, when our creation is destroyed. We know.

And we will be there when the next Macbeth, the next Banquo we will be there when they are walking side-by-side, laughing, their arms slung over each others shoulders, oblivious to their future.

This will happen again.

*
In Peace (050: Spade)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: G

He insisted on burying Billy himself, alone, out on the heath where he fell. He wouldnt let Ella come with him, didnt even tell Billys family what he was doing. This was his he was responsible for this, and so he was going to bury him. It was what he would have wanted.

but it wasnt what he would have wanted, he knew that it wasnt, he would have wanted his wife and child to be there, and maybe he would have wanted Joe there but maybe he wouldnt have been able to bear it after the betrayal, maybe he didnt want his body touched with such bloodstained hands, but Joe buried him anyway because he was selfish and weak and he had to do this alone, he had to, and maybe when he had laid him to rest he would stop haunting him.

When it was over he lay down on the patch of bare earth, lay curled-up on his side, and his eyes were closed but he could not sleep, he knew that he would never sleep again.

In a way, he envied the man beneath him.

Phantom (038: Touch)
Title: Phantom
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Pairing: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Prompt: Touch
Word Count: 252
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



When he is in bed, eyes closed and unable to get to sleep, he can feel fingers caressing him running up his legs and over his chest and he thinks at first that it is Ella but the touch is so cold, its inhumanly cold, and he can feel breath without warmth in his ear and slight calluses on the fingers as they pass over his body and that is when he knows that it is Billy.

And its impossible, he knows that it is impossible, Billy is dead, and the memory makes his breath catch and the hands that should not be there make his pulse quicken and even as he arches his back, trying to get closer to a man who is not there, he whispers Im sorry.

There is a part of him that wants Billy to hit him, or strangle him, or do something, something to hurt him, to kill him, to end this insane descent. It is no less than he deserves, after all. But the touch is still so gentle, far too gentle. His hallucination is refusing to hurt him, even though it has every right to. He almost wants to laugh at the absurdity of it.

And he tells himself that this is stupid, that he should open his eyes and see that theres nobody there, hes got to be imagining it but he never does, because he is afraid that maybe Billy will be there, or perhaps he is afraid that he will not.

*

Euphoria (052: Fire)
Title: Euphoria
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Pairing: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Prompt: Fire
Word Count: 147
Rating: R
Author's Notes: This is the closest thing I've ever written to smut, which means it's not really smutty at all. I'm not really one for the smut. But yeah, this is completely shameless, plotless Macbeth/Banquo. BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO WRITE THESE THINGS. IF THE BBC HADN'T WANTED IT, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE PUT ALL THE SEXUAL TENSION IN THE ADAPTATION, NOW WOULD THEY? ...ahem.
The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.

It burns when he touches him; when he presses his lips to the base of his throat and digs his fingers in under his shoulderblades; when he collapses onto him with his forehead pressed against his own, his hands tangled in his hair, both of them laughing helplessly. It is like fire when he kisses him, and he cannot suppress a cry, muffled against his lips, and he arches his body upwards and he can feel his heart beating with insane speed, with impossible speed, and he is sure that he is going to die of ecstasy and then it is over and he can barely breathe, is left gasping for breath through his tears and laughter, and Billy laughs at him and ruffles his hair before leaving, and he lies there for a very long time, exhausted and elevated and happier than he has ever been.

*
even now (055: Spirit)
Title: even now
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo (kind of).
Prompt: Spirit
Word Count: 264
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



- and then he looks up from the floor, and for a moment he could swear his heart has stopped.

Billy is there.

Billy is there, and he wants to scramble to his feet, he wants to run away but he cannot, he cannot move, he is pinned there by Billys gaze, by the unspoken accusation there (and they never really needed words in order to communicate, did they?).

It is insane.

It is insane. It is impossible.

The others cant see him. They cant see him, he knows that they cant see him why can he, why is he the one haunted by these visions?

He lies there, paralysed, and Billys expression quiet and unhappy and somehow disappointed is more than he can bear. I didnt do it. You you cant say that I did it.

...Im sorry.

It is impossible. Billy is dead.

But there he is, and he is pale and he is betrayed but he seems so much more real than any of the people around him, and hes sorry, hes sorry hes sorry hes sorry but its too late now, Billy is dead, and maybe he wants him back but he wants him back alive, not like this, not this pallid, silent reminder of what he has done.

Billy is here. Billy is here, and it is insane but it is true in spite of it. Maybe because of it.

Im sorry, he whispers, and the words are painful, and he needs Billy to say something that he is forgiven, that he never died, anything but he does not.

*
Incision (059: Food)
Title: Incision
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: Food
Word Count: 202
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: I will confess that choosing a fandom in which all the characters are involved in chef-ery to some degree when I know nothing about cooking may not have been the best of ideas.

He has always loved using paring knives. There is a real satisfaction in being able to cut so cleanly, so precisely; it is something that so few people seem to truly appreciate. Sometimes he will prepare huge and entirely unnecessary dishes just for the joy of it, the opportunity to use the knives.

Billy has never quite understood his fascination with them. Whenever he begins to wax poetic about the wonder of paring knives (heh, I used to chop up everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid, drove my parents mad... anyway, ysee, anyone can look at a knife, and well, yeah, the looks are important, but the really important thing is how it cuts, you have to keep it sharp, you have to use it properly but youve got to respect the knife, you cant think that youre using it, youve got to know that the knife is allowing you to use it, yknow? so you hold it like this ), Billy will shake his head and laugh, mock-nervous, and say Sometimes you worry me, Joe.

As he stares down at the bloodstained blade, he wonders what Billy would say if he could see him now.

*
Descent (064: Fall)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: G

He has stepped off the edge of sanity stepped from it long ago, as soon as he took the knife into his hand and walked slowly up the stairs with his mind full of things he never thought he would do, as soon as the idea of hurting Duncan even occurred to him and he is falling and falling and falling and he knows that he is falling, can see it and trace his descent and think once I didnt have these visions, have these thoughts once I was a good person but he cannot stop himself, it is far too late for that.

*
Goodbye (065: Passing)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo.
Rating: G

"Mad boy," he says, but it doesn't have the warmth behind it that it usually does - there's something behind it that sounds almost like fear, and oh god he knows and anyway he should be afraid of him, shouldn't he, he's the one with the power here - but he knows, he's worked it out and oh god there's only one thing that can be done now and he has to do it - and so when he says But you love me there's a fervour behind it that wasn't there before, and when Billy moves to leave he stays him, presses his lips to his wrist (why did you never work it out - you worked out who killed Duncan, but you never realised this -), and it is a goodbye, and he thinks that maybe Billy understands that.

*
and here he is (066: Rain)
Title: and here he is
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo (kind of).
Prompt: Rain
Word Count: 117
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: First fic for my new claim! Hurrah!
The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.

and here he is, cradling his friends body in his arms as he stumbles across the heath and laughing, laughing until he cant breathe, the tears streaming down his face.

Is this insanity?

And at last he drops to his knees, chilled by the screaming wind and soaked through with rain and mud and tears, and he sets Billy down on the ground in front of him, very gently, and he leans over carefully and kisses his ice-cold lips and then collapses onto the body, clinging to it desperately, and he does not know whether it is sobbing or laughter that sends these shudders through him.

He stays there for a long time before they find him.

*

Haunting (070: Storm)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: Both of my claims involve incredibly mentally disturbed people. Does that say something about me?

He cant go back in there.

He collapses against the frame of the door as soon as he is out of the room, his entire body trembling, and he cant go back in there, he will never be able to go back in there ever not even when the body is taken away and the sheets are cleaned and the blood is gone because that image is burned into his mind, they could clean the room completely, could change everything about it and still when he went in there he would see the bed, blood-spattered, and Duncan white-faced and bleeding and dying as the knife scraped against his ribs and he would hear his blood-choked cries for help and he cant go back in there, he will never go back in there, he would rather die than see it again but he can see it, he will always be able to see it, he will see it when he sleeps and when he blinks and when he is smiling and laughing and nothing is worth this, nothing.
*
fall apart (071: Broken)
Title: fall apart
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo.
Prompt: Broken
Word Count: 108
Rating: G
Author's Notes: Er, sorry if you caught it when the HTML was hideously messed up. Still, it's fixed now! *thumbs up!*

His breathing is harsh and shallow as he presses his face into Billys neck, clings to him as if the world is falling apart around them, as if this is the end, and he is whispering quickly too quickly for Billy to understand about Duncan and blood and prophecies and he is gripping his arms hard enough for it to hurt but Billy says nothing because his own pain is nothing compared to Joes right now, because Joe needs this, whatever this is, and then Joe raises his head and leans forward and whispers but what if I kill you?, and his breath is hot against Billys ear.

*
Hubris (074: Dark)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Malcolm Docherty.
Rating: PG

How dare he challenge him, challenge somebody godlike, beyond human, with the power of death behind him how dare he challenge him, as if he knows anything about cookery, as if he could not be killed in an instant one phone call would be all he needed, or he could rip him apart with his bare hands, could take up the knife and kill him as he killed his father people die so easily, people are so weak, he is a god, he is unquestionable, and how could anybody dare to question him? He has the scars and the burns of experience, of knowledge, and he knows everything and this boy almost cries out in pain when he grabs his wrist and pulls him across the counter and his skin is smooth and unscarred beneath his fingers and he hates him, he hates everything about him and he has the blowtorch in his other hand and there is a second when he is absolutely determined to kill him then and there, in front of everybody this is the punishment for hubris but he does not (I, that am cruel, am yet merciful).

*
Unclear (075: Shade)
Title: Unclear
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo.
Prompt: Shade
Word Count: 312
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.

He sits with his elbows resting on his knees, his head in his hands, regarding him in silence.

In the end, you have to make a choice. Do you love him, or are you afraid of him? Is he your friend, or your enemy?

Is there room for anything between? Is it possible to love a person and fear him at the same time, to love him and hate him and be terrified of him and want to protect him? Would he be able to kill him and whisper I love you in his ear as he dies? It is a ridiculous image, and he cannot suppress a private smirk. It is ridiculous that he should be laughing to himself at the idea of killing his friend. Something is broken inside him, broken and twisted and wrong, and he has the restaurant but was it worth it? He has the restaurant, but he is losing himself. Was it worth it? Would this be?

He looks at Billy, now, and he imagines what it would feel like to twine his fingers in his hair, but he does not know whether it would be as he kisses him or as he pulls his head back and presses a knife to his throat.

It seems insane that he should feel such conflict. People do not want to kill the ones they care about. His emotions cannot be so tangled, so confused he cannot love Billy if he has to

It is impossible. He swears that it is impossible, that he cant Billy is his friend, is one of the most important people in his world, he wouldnt be able to its not

He looks at Billy, and Billy looks back at him, his smile a little rueful, a little uneasy.

In the end, you have to make a choice. Which is stronger: love or fear?

*
Shift (076: Who?)
Title: Shift
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Billy Banquo, Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: Who?
Word Count: 255
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



He has never known anything like this suspicion before, has never wanted to believe anything less. He has never known Joe to be so unnerved, starting whenever anyone speaks to him, glancing up at every unexpected sound he has never known him to be distracted from his cooking. He has never found it difficult to meet Joes eyes before, but now he finds himself sneaking furtive glances at him, looking away too quickly when he raises his head.

He finds himself wondering who Joe Macbeth really is, whether he has actually changed or whether hes always been like this, whether he just never noticed before, and he doesnt want to think that he could have been so unobservant about his friend and hes sure that he hasnt always been this paranoid but he cant think that he has changed, he cant think that he is acting suspiciously, the implications are more than he can deal with.

Its impossible. He knows Joe, and he would never have it is impossible. He must have talked to Ella about the death it makes sense that they would say the same things about it when asked (even if they both spoke as if trying to appear spontaneous, even if Joe looked at him with something like fear in his expression when Ella was speaking). He would never have done anything like that (not even if he stood to gain the restaurant, all that he has ever wanted).

He isnt going to believe it. He isnt going to believe it.

*
Uncertain (077: What?)
Title: Uncertain
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Billy Banquo, Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: What?
Word Count: 199
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.

Do you ever think about those binmen?

The question takes him aback, and for a moment all that he can do is stare at Joe in silence.

Yes, he thinks about the binmen. He thinks about them all the time. They were right about the stars, and they were right about Joe, and maybe they will be right about him as well. Less happy than him, and yet more happy. He thinks about what they said about his son, and his grandson, and all his descendants, their futures assured.

He thinks about what they said to Joe, and what happened so shortly afterwards, and he hates himself for the possibility even occurring to him but he cannot escape his suspicions.

For a moment he feels a twinge of fear when he thinks of what Joe might do if he thought about the prophecy, thought that Freddie was a threat to him, but he pushes the thought away instantly, violently. He knows that Joe would never do anything to hurt him or his family. He does not deserve to be forgiven for doubting him like this.

...No, he says at last, and his smile should not be this forced. Never.

*
what never happened (079: When?)
Title: what never happened
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Pairing: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo.
Prompt: When?
Word Count: 319
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: This ficlet is really quite astonishingly pointless.
The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



Actually, do you know what I love about squid?

What do you love about squid? Billy asks, and he can tell from the tone that hes just humouring him but he certainly isnt going to let that stop him talking about it.

The name. Nobody knows where it came from it just appeared one day in the seventeenth century. Billy is watching him with an expression that he has only seen on his face a couple of times before an Im planning something expression, a this expression can never mean anything good expression but he is too busy to worry about it, he is in full flow about squid and is Not To Be Interrupted. Its like its like God, right, parted the heavens, reached down here, and said, There yare, people. Squid. He smirks to himself, and then starts when Billy strokes his face. Whatre you doing?

Squid, he says, half-fondly, half-exasperated, and reaches out to stroke his face again.

Whatre you doing? he asks again, batting his hand away, and Billy grabs his wrist and pulls him in and kisses him.

The kiss is quick and clumsy, mainly because he has managed to yank him completely off-balance, and neither of them are especially sober, and so it is hardly surprising that they end up lying half-entangled in the middle of the road and laughing like idiots.

Youre not supposed to touch the chef, he says at last, when they have managed to get their breath back, and Billy grins and kisses him again watch me before helping him up.

-

When they eventually turn into the alleyway, supporting each other and still laughing, there is nobody there. A truck clatters down a road somewhere, three men sitting on the back of it, singing meaningless words.

A few seconds more or fewer a moment lingering on a street, an instants hesitation can change the world. Timing is everything.

*
set in stone (080: Why?)
Title: set in stone
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: Why?
Word Count: 169
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



There is a moment just a moment when he wavers, when he almost says no, dont do it and shuts the phone off. There is a moment when he thinks of Billy, the slight shake of the head and the exasperated grin and the quiet laughter, and he doesnt think that he can do it. Maybe, even if he suspects him, he wont talk to anyone else about it. He has always been trustworthy. Maybe he could go to him, could confess, and together they could work out what he would have to do.

...but he knows that he wouldnt be able to do that. The prospect of confessing to Billy the thought of it makes him feel ashamed, almost. He cannot let Billy know what he has done.

And he cannot leave him with these unconfirmed suspicions. They never had any secrets between them.

After a few quiet words he sets the phone down, and for a moment he almost resents Billy for going where he cannot follow.

*

Incomplete (082: If)
Title: Incomplete
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Peter Macduff.
Prompt: If
Word Count: 230
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



Macduff stares down at Macbeths body, twisted, his face contorted, his blood staining the always-immaculate kitchen surface. And even though this is what he wanted, this is his revenge, this is where the bloodshed can end, he feels somehow... empty. There is a void somewhere in his chest. Something about this is wrong.

When he first drove the knife into Macbeths ribs, and he was making his way stumbling wounded towards him across the floor, he had he had been about to do something, or say something, and Macduff had killed him because he had to die, he had to die as his family had died, but

but he had been about to do something, or say something, and as Macduff stares at the body he cant help but wonder.

What if he hadnt killed him then? What might Macbeth have done? He could have learnt something, perhaps could have learnt why. Macbeth wasnt always like this. It seems somehow wrong, for him to die so suddenly, before his last words.

Macduff doesnt leave. He stays there, beside Macbeth, until the sun rises. The blood is staining the kitchen surface. He would have hated that.

Something is missing. Some last word, some last gesture. Some kind of proper closure to his life, and Macduff only wishes that he knew what it would have been.

But now it is too late.

*
Before (083: And)
Title: Before
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Billy Banquo.
Prompt: And
Word Count: 135
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



I suppose it's what I deserve, said Joe, my just deserts - but he can't kill me anyway, pigs can't fly, I'm immortal, and Billy suggested just desserts? youre attacking people with them after all, grinning, and then became serious and said but its true, youre changing, Joe; when you threatened Malcolm with the blowtorch - I didn't know what you were going to do, I was worried about you - and Joe laughed, you weren't even there, how do you know about - you weren't even there, I had already - and then Macduff's voice echoed through the kitchen, broken and furious, and Joe pushed himself off the counter and turned to warn Billy to get out of the way of the fighting - only Billy wasn't there with him, because Billy was dead.

*
Invisible (085: She)
Title: Invisible
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth, Ella Macbeth.
Prompt: She
Word Count: 156
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: I'll get back to the James claim eventually. I promise. And my posting of fics will become much less concentrated shortly. I'm sure your friends pages will be very thankful.
The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



He doesnt know what he feels. She set him on this downward spiral into insanity, ruined his life. She helped him to gain everything that he had ever wanted. He hates her. He loves her. He doesnt know what he feels.

He doesnt understand how she can endure this, how she seems able to cope without being consumed by the guilt that paints blood across his vision, that makes him freeze for split-seconds, convinced that he has seen Billy flicker past out of the corners of his eyes. She persuaded him, and she took in the second knife, and yet, as he stares at her, turned away from him and washing her hands, he is amazed by how little she seems to think of it.

...or maybe it is eating her from inside, this guilt, but she tries not to show it. She always hated showing weakness.

She always seems to be washing her hands, now.

*
not to think (086: Choices)
Title: not to think
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: Choices
Word Count: 215
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



I could turn back now.

He pauses, staring at the door. It is cold, but still he is sweating.

I could turn back now. I dont have to do this.

Its only a restaurant. Im in charge of it anyway, really, even if people dont realise it. Its only a restaurant. I dont have to do this.

The blade of the knife catches the light as he shifts. He tries not to look at it, tries not to think.

If the binmen said the restaurant would come to me... I shouldnt have to do anything. It should happen whether I do this or not. Its its my destiny.

He isnt going to do it.

Its too much. Its too much. Its insane. He isnt going to do it.

...he said that if he died now it would pass into my hands. He said

He said its almost as if something were telling me that I needed to do this. And Malcolm cant have the restaurant, he doesnt cook for the love of it, he doesnt understand it, he doesnt understand anything. I need this. Ella said that I needed to do this.

...and what does it say about me that Im searching for reasons to do it now?

The blade is cold against his palm.
*
Strings (094: Independence)
Title: Strings
Fandom: Macbeth (ShakespeaRe-Told version)
Characters: Joe Macbeth.
Prompt: Independence
Word Count: 185
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The table for the ShakespeaRe-Told version of Macbeth is here.



He doesnt need her. He doesnt need her, but he stays with her because he loves her, because he cant because he doesnt want to leave her. He is in control of his life, he can make his own decisions, shes not shes not controlling him, shes not manipulating him, and of course he will consider whatever she says to him but in the end he will be the one who picks up the knife if he does pick it up he will be the one who picks up the knife, this is his responsibility.

She isnt making these decisions for him. When he looks at Duncan, it is not her voice that he hears in the back of his mind, whispering that he could have it all, it would be so easy. He can think clearly about this without hearing that insidious whisper, consuming him and poisoning his thoughts and driving him mad. He could ignore her if he wanted to. He could leave her if he wanted to. These are his own thoughts, this is what he wants.

He is not being manipulated.

@: fanfiction, Pair: Joe Macbeth/Ella Macbeth, Pair: Joe Macbeth/Billy Banquo, Ch: The Binmens, Ch: Peter Macduff, Ch: Joe Macbeth, Ch: Billy Banquo