WEB ADDY: http://orbis.cjb.net
FANDOM: The Fast Show
PAIRING: Ted/Ralph pre-slash.
STATUS: New, complete.
CATEGORY: Angst, reflective.
ARCHIVAL: fabulae. Otherwise, if you're mad enough to want it, feel
free. Just let me know where it's going.
FEEDBACK: Much appreciated. Be as harsh or detailed as you feel
SUMMARY: Ralph looks back on his memories of Ted.
NOTES: This is an attempt at a serious piece of writing based on sketch
comedy. Make of that what you will.
DISCLAIMER: Ted and Ralph belong to Paul Whitehouse (yay!) and Charlie
Higson. The Fast Show belongs to them and to the BBC. SBS just stuffs up
what they show of it. My role is being sent broke from buying all the
videos. As you can see, profit is obviously not a motive.
CREDITS: Just to be a dickhead, I'm going to thank Mark Williams' facial
expressions. Also to Mez, with whom I was having the conversation that
eventually led to me "having" to write this.
him all my life, a steadfast constant within all my memories.
As a boy, I'd watch him, then only a young man himself, as he tended to
the humble tasks set him by the head groundsman. I was fascinated by the
slow care he gave to every motion, sitting cross-legged beside him, eyes
fixed on slim hands darkened by the earth they tended. Strands of dark
hair, having escaped from beneath his cap, framed a face turned brown by
long days beneath the summer sun. It was not an elegant face, nothing
extraordinary in its lines, but even then, it pleased me to look at him.
My father had little time for me, my mother too busy with the running of
the household to spend a lot of time in play. Having no siblings, then,
I spent a great deal of time by myself. As strange as it may seem, the
time spent watching Ted became the bright point of my days. He never
spoke much - that hasn't changed greatly over the years - but I always
felt a quiet companionship in his company.
As the years passed, I had less time for idling away the hours seated in
tickle-long grass, silently watching the steady movements that had
become so dear to me. I was sent away to public school, my days filled
now instead with sums and textbooks, my only reminder of home being an
occasional letter from my mother and the tantalising scent of fresh-cut
grass drifting through the window of a classroom. Holidays were my
paradise - long summer days spent in the fields, learning to hunt and to
fish and perhaps even catching a glimpse of Ted working tireless in the
I remember once being collected from school on a rare weekend, so that I
could attend the wedding of Ted and his late wife, a gentle girl from
the nearby village. My father complained at having to lower himself to
the celebrations of the 'help' but I was morbidly fascinated with the
ceremony. Ted was barely recognisable in his suit, the new Mrs. Ted
glowing with a happiness that I wanted only to see torn tattered from
her face. I think it was then that I realised, although it is only
recently that I've come to admit it, even to myself.
I eventually moved on to university, some of the darkest months of my
life. It wasn't for me, and Ted was kind enough to visit me in hospital,
bearing daffodils from the meadows and uncomfortable conversation about
the drainage problems in the lower field. I, in turn, prattled
mindlessly about the food and a failed dramatic endeavour.
Soon after Ted's visit, I was judged well. I returned to the family
property and to idyllic days walking the grounds, occasionally stopping
to watch Ted work, admiring the flex of wiry muscles almost hidden
beneath the harsh cloth of his shirt. With time he seemed to grow
uneasy in my presence, as though succumbing to the beastly class divide,
silence spiralled by my father's death and my inheritance.
Years passed, time crept.
Ted and his wife had children, then grandchildren. My mother died and I
was left alone in the big house. The highlights of my days remained the
bittersweet times I'd spend in the company of Ted's silence, although on
occasion they were also the most painful. Troubled by memories of
childhood conversations, I'd try to draw him into speech only to be
rebuffed without a word. Sometimes I would just stand, silent, beside
him, searching for the ultimate witticism with which to entice a
flickered smile from his lips, eventually walking away again without
disrupting the quiet hum of bees in clover and the soft-distant birdsong
from the hedgerows.
I don't know when I fell in love with Ted, couldn't name a moment now
clouded by the passing of the years, but I remember keenly the moment I
first admitted it to myself. It was a summer's afternoon, one of those
golden days where the sunlight seems to shimmer in the air and the scent
of flowers and grass becomes a heady drug within the nostrils. I was
speaking of irrelevancies to Ted's barely hearing ears, when suddenly
everything made sense, painfully so, and I knew I loved him.
It was not a life-altering realisation. Days passed, months, even years,
all in the same, steady manner so reminiscent of Ted himself. I came to
live for the moments I would spend in his presence, contriving foolish
excuses in order to appear less pathetic. I came almost to accept the
futility of my emotion, although I would spend long nights in front of a
red-radiant fireplace thinking thoughts I would gladly have cast aside
were it possible for me to do so.
There is no future for us; I know that. Yet, with the recent death of
Mrs. Ted, I occasionally allow myself to hope that one day I will walk
the grounds *with* him, feeling, for the first time, as though I was
truly a man, truly alive. Autumn-heavy clouds, the rustle of drying
leaves beneath our feet and Ted's labour-worn hand held tight within my
own... And the dreams are almost enough.
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