Eddie knew what it meant the day Vic’s eyes gained a new value range. It was seeing colour; and it was incredible. And of course it would start with Vic’s eyes. They were already arresting in greyscale but when Eddie looked over at him one day and saw colour bloom in his irises after taking off a pair of sunglasses, Eddie was absolutely floored. Vic’s eyes suddenly had a depth that was never there before. The feeling of seeing grey one second and then full blown colour the next was indescribable. It made his head spin.
Other colours came secondarily, flooding Eddie’s world in a crashing wave that made him lose the breath in his lungs and focus on everything around him. His senses were overloaded. The sky was abruptly an explosive blanket of whatever type of colour Vic’s eyes were. Clothing was more than grey patterns and textured material; it was a bombardment of this new quality that Eddie did not even have the names for. The only colours he could identify were grey, white, and black. The sole colour he had predicted correctly before he was able to see full scale was Vic’s hair. It was so dark that Eddie always thought that it had to be black, even when he could only see greyscale. But now with other colours to compare it to, Vic’s hair was even blacker. This enchanted Eddie as much as Vic’s eyes did.
“What’s the matter with you?” Vic asked, finally noticing that Eddie had been silent and awestruck for the last few minutes. They were sitting in Eddie’s car in the parking lot of some strip mall. Vic tapped his fingers on the passenger window closest to him; an indication that he was impatient and wanting to go.
“Vic, is anything different to you?” Eddie asked, his voice barely squeezing out of his throat.
“No” was the easy, flat reply. Even Vic’s voice sounded as languid as his physical mannerisms. In another life Eddie figured Vic had been a panther, or some other type of big cat.
Eddie tried not to look disappointed. “Alright. Forget it,” he said, and started the car. Maybe Vic would get colours later. Sometimes people didn’t see colour at the same time. Everyone was different. Vic would probably get full scale vision at his own pace. He was always slower when it came to stuff like emotions. It was like when they were in high school; Vic would read just fine but it took him awhile longer to figure out the implicit meanings of the words that were being explicitly presented.
Despite not knowing where Vic stood with seeing colour, there was one thing Eddie Cabot was more certain of than anything he had been in his life: he was completely, inextricably in love with Vic Vega.
Vic often left marks on Eddie’s skin. Clearly visible Vic-sized handprints on his hips, bite marks along his neck and chest, bruises scattered where clothes could usually cover. Eddie would find himself examining his body in the mirror after an encounter with Vic. He was fascinated with the range of colours that bruises could have. Purples, blacks, blues, greens, yellows. “Look at this bruise,” Eddie said one day to Vic, holding out his arm. The bruises were in the shape of Vic’s finger tips. “Isn’t it cool looking?”
“I guess,” Vic said after giving it a cursory glance.
Eddie pretended not to be crestfallen at Vic’s disappointing answer. He had given no indication of seeing the interesting shades of purple. He wasn’t seeing full scale yet. It was getting harder and harder each day that Eddie knew Vic wasn’t seeing yet.
“No, don’t get that one,” Eddie told Vic, pointing at a different shirt that Vic had bypassed on the rack. “That one looks better.”
Vic looked at him funny, his eyes (blue Vic’s eyes are blue cold like ice but electric too fuck he has no idea how gorgeous they are) sparking with some unnamed emotion. Eddie only realized afterwards that Vic probably saw the shirts at basically the same shade of grey. But he didn’t object and picked up the shirt Eddie liked better. It didn’t matter to Vic one way or the other which shirt he bought. He just wanted one that wasn’t patterned. Non-descript grey in his mind.
Afterwards, Eddie always smiled to himself when Vic wore the shirt because it brought out his eyes so nicely. It was really a shame that Vic could not see it himself.
“Bring me that ledger before we go,” Joe barked, motioning vaguely at his desk, already half out the door. He was ready to get home to a good meal and a cold beer.
“The black or the brown?” Eddie asked absently, looking at his watch and not at his father. He was supposed to go play pool that night and was considering how much time he had to kill before he had to meet the guys. A pause from Joe made Eddie freeze and look up, wondering what he had done wrong.
“When did you start seeing colour?” Joe asked, squinting at his son.
Eddie felt his cheeks flush and he knew they were red, now that he could identify that colour. He ducked his head and shrugged his shoulders. “Dunno.”
Joe continued to look at him wordlessly for a few minutes, but he didn’t press for more information. Eddie was glad. His dad had no idea about him and Vic, and Eddie was not feeling prepared to have that conversation anytime soon.
“The brown,” Joe said at last.
Eddie counted the tiles on the ceiling of the motel room as he lay on his back in bed next to Vic. There were brownish water stains that crept along the dust grey of the tiles themselves. Vic was smoking. The night air coming in through the open window was calm. Eddie was happy and even the water stains held some sort of beauty for him that night. The rare sereneness between them was interrupted when the question “Do you see colour?” burst out of Eddie’s mouth before he could stop it. He regretted it immediately. It was out of nowhere and Vic didn’t like being surprised with emotional stuff. It made him tense like he wasn’t sure what to do his feelings, let alone someone else’s.
“What the fuck kinda question is that?” Vic asked.
It took considerable effort for Eddie not to turn to look at Vic. Part of him wanted to, but the what kept him still was the part of him that was afraid to know what sort of facial expression Vic was wearing. “I’m just curious,” Eddie explained. His curiosity was the truth, but omitting that he could see colour made it feel like a lie.
Vic smoked in silence. Eddie remained still. Anticipation made sweat bead up on his forehead but Eddie pretended the perspiration was the result of the sex they just had. Pretending like he wasn’t anxious for Vic’s answer felt better than admitting he was scared of it. He could fake being unaffected until it became a shield rather than a hollow platitude.
“I see snatches of colour,” Vic said after he finished his cigarette. He lit a new one. “Not all the time.”
“Oh yeah?” Eddie said casually.
Vic seemed to have nothing else to say on the matter and Eddie let it drop. Yet every time he thought about the fact that Vic could see a little, his heart would speed up. Vic seeing bits of colour was better than him not seeing at all.
“Do you know what colour your eyes are?” Eddie asked one morning as they drove to Joe’s office.
Vic’s forehead wrinkled as he thought about it. “Blue, I think. I never really look.” He sounded bored. He obviously didn’t know or care why Eddie wanted to talk about it.
“What about mine?”
“Blue,” Vic answered instantly. The promptness of his reply made Eddie smile to himself. That meant Vic had seen him. He had looked at Eddie at some point and had seen his eyes and had remembered what colour they were, even though he didn’t see full scale and could easily forget the names of colours. That knowledge meant more to Eddie than any admission of love could, which he knew not to expect from Vic anyway.
Still, Vic had seen.
Their sex that night was the best Eddie ever had.
Eddie had always liked red since he started seeing full scale, even when it was a nameless colour. It had heat and vivacity. It was an energetic colour. It reminded him of things he liked, familiar things and things that felt comfortable. It was a pack of Red Apples. It was the red faux leather of the chairs in his favourite bar. It was the paint of the car he was thinking of buying. It was the ink he wrote his schedules in. It was a ripe strawberry and the core of a sunset.
But when he saw the deep red that soaked through Vic’s clothing, he hated it with a rage that was so sudden and intense that it was dizzying. His mouth was filled with a coppery taste as he knelt on the cool concrete of the warehouse next to Vic (no Vic’s body now Vic’s gone that’s his goddamn fucking body oh fucking shit Jesus Christ). He put a shaking hand out and tears jumped to the corners of his eyes. He felt like vomiting. The body didn’t look like Vic at all. All of his fluid strength was gone and his brilliant blue eyes were closed. He almost expected Vic to jump out from a corner of the warehouse with a crooked grin and laugh at Eddie for “being a fuckin idiot. Jesus, Nice Guy, didja really think I was gone? Goddamn you’re stupider than I thought. I’m just messin with ya, don’t get so worked up.”
The same shade of red that Eddie hated had made a pool all around Mr. Orange and it soaked his shirt just like it soaked Vic’s. It didn’t stand out the same to Eddie as Vic’s blood did. He wasn’t sure if that was because he didn’t care about Orange or if it was because the world was a little less bright now that he had to face it without Vic.
The last thing Eddie thought as his body hit the ground and his consciousness left him completely was how surprising it was that physical sensations had colour, too. He had never really noticed it before. He would never notice it again.
Getting shot felt the way red looked.
Fuck, I really did love you, Vic. I shoulda told you.