"Monolog for Two"
Shounen-ai and light cursing. Don't own Yu-gi-oh or Jou or Honda. Pity.
You must think I'm a moron. Why not? Everybody else does. How long have we known each other? What, ten years, I think? For ten years I've spent random weekends at your place. Never mine. You know why. But come on! Ten years, man! You'd think that'd be long enough for you to learn my sleeping habits.
We both stay up way too late. You fight off sleep every wink of the way. Toss and turn. Back and forth. Rearranging the pillows and blankets so everything's just right. But you're quiet about it. Not me. I drop off as soon as my head hits the pillow. Or shoulder. Or rock on the ground. I'm flexible. I can sleep comfortably anywhere, unlike you. Something else. When you go to sleep, you get up and down all night. Bathroom, kitchen, or just staring at the ceiling for a while. Not me. It usually takes a few sharp kicks to get me up after I nod off.
Most of the time.
See, sometimes I wake up at night, too. Not often. I just wake up and lay there until I go back to sleep. That's when I hear you. You're so quiet most of the time, Tristan. It's not like you aren't talking, it's just with duels and school and this whole mess poor Yuugi's wrapped up in, we just don't have much of a chance to hear you.
Guess what, asshole, I hear you now.
And just about every time I wake up at night while sleeping over at your place, you're talking to me. At me. Whatever. Is there a little sign over my head that says, "Late Night Confessional"? This is how I learned about your aunt getting cancer. Your older sister loosing her husband and raising your brat of a nephew alone. Your parents arguing and yelling and scaring you half to death that your family might wind up like mine.
I've learned a lot about you. A lot more than I wanted to learn this way. It's like you can't say it to my face or to anyone else's, but once the lights go out all bets are off. I don't want to hear this!
"--really hate it sometimes, Joey. That's cruel of me to say, especially about someone who's our friend. But sometimes I just--"
Oh yeah. You've got a slight problem with Yuugi, don't you, Tristan?
"He doesn't mean anything by it. I think you're the first real friend he's ever had. Guess what, pal, it works both ways. If he's taking up all of your free time, you certainly aren't complaining about it."
Give it a rest already, why don't you.
"Bad thing about it, though, I don't think anyone's ever had such a positive influence on you. You're still hotheaded and reckless, but there's a method to that madness now. Look at Duelist Kingdom and Battle City. You went a long way for someone not involved with those bizarre Millennium Items and so-called reincarnations. I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around the whole ancient Egypt mess. You just take in all in stride. If Yuugi says that his puzzle has an ancient pharaoh living in it, it must be true!"
A lot of bitterness in that last statement. I don't want to hear this now. I roll over and clutch the blankets tighter. Look, look Tristan! Joey's about to wake up! Shit. Doesn't work. You're still talking. I crack open an eyelid. You're staring up at the ceiling. Not even looking my way. Just talking.
"-too much stuff for it *not* to be true! And I've seen him when he duels. He changes. I feel like such an idiot for not noticing it sooner. It's in his eyes and the way he stands. It's like he's become a complete stranger. Like nothing could possibly affect him outside of the game. It's always life and death for Yuugi when he duels, even when he just doing it for fun with Tea or his grandpa. And he's dragging you along for the--"
Just... leave it alone.
"--creepy the way the other Yuugi looks at you. Outside of duel monsters, nothing else gets that kind of weird intensity from him."
Shut up, Tristan! Just shut up and let me sleep! You've never stopped to consider that I might actually be awake when you start yapping like this!
Silence. What, no clever quips?
"This is stupid."
Crap. Knew I wasn't that lucky.
"It's different with Yuugi. Everything is. He doesn't break the rules, he changes them. And he's changed our rules, hasn't he, Joey?" An odd hitch catches in your throat. You sound funny.
Don't want to hear this. Don't know what's coming, but somehow it seems worse than that night you spent crying quietly and telling me that your aunt didn't have much longer to live. A gentle hand brushes the bangs away from my face. You've never touched me before. Not when I'm sleeping.
"Joey." Shaking my shoulder slightly. "Joey." Bit louder.
Muttering, I flop over on my back. Just leave me alone, Tristan. Just let me continue pretending that I'm asleep and can't hear you. Just finish your fucking confession and let it go. Then we can both wake up in the morning and still be friends.
Why aren't you moving your hand? That hand that's now stroking my head like I was a stupid animal or something.
"I'll be leaving soon."
"Remember that job I tried to tell you about? The one at the repair shop? Never mind. You were busy working on your deck with Yuugi."
I heard, I was just... busy...
"I've saved up enough money. I'm going to transfer to the college in Adamsville. It's about a hundred miles away from Domino. I guess that might be far enough away. I can still come and see you guys, but I'll be far enough away that..." You chuckle. It sounds like it died and got stuck in your throat on the way up. "It'll be far enough away," you finish.
Slinking off. That's something people would expect of me, not you.
"Nothing's final yet. I haven't even told my parents." A sigh hangs heavy in the room as I hear you sit up. Still touching me, still with that gentle hand stroking my hair. "I'll tell everyone before I go. Wouldn't want anyone to think I was running off."
Good for you. Now go back to sleep and quit with the freaking petting.
"There's something I have to tell you first." Another moment of silence. "What am I talking about, you aren't even awake. This doesn't count. But... It will have to do. I don't want to lose you. And I'm too much of a coward to say this to your face."
Shut up, shut up, for christ's sake, just shut the fuck up! I don't want--
"Joey." Just a tiny hint of desperation to your voice. "Joey, please wake up." Why so quiet Tristan? You want me up, wake me the hell up. That's how it works. You want me to hear this, than wake me up. I'm pretending to sleep, but you don't know that. Wake me up and I'll listen. Come on, Tristan. Wake me up. Please.
I can't hear what you just said. So soft. Barely breathing the words out. What--
"I think I have since that day under the bleachers in first grade."
What're you talking about? First grade... Oh. Oh god.
Tony Edwards had been running around bragging about kissing Melissa Jones. Melissa sat in a corner and cried that she was never going to get that first kiss back. Mrs Harris made Tony sit next to her while the rest of the class got to play outside. Me and you had run off under the bleachers again, hiding from the rest of the class. We always got picked on until we learned how to fight back. Fifth grade, I think. Kids like Tony were always saying how my dad was a stupid lush without even knowing what that meant. And they got on you all the time because your hair kept sticking up in the front.
We were under the bleachers and I'd asked what the big deal was. It was just a stupid kiss, getting girls germs and spit on your mouth. You said you'd rather kiss your dog Blankey than kiss a girl. We kept that up for a while, making up a list of stuff we'd rather kiss than a girl. Garbage, our sisters, that funny smelling food we had for lunch. Stupid stuff. You said you rather kiss me than one of the girls. I think that was supposed to be an insult.
Then we got into an argument about which one of us would be the worst to kiss. It wound down and we just kind of sat there for a while. I leaned over and kissed you on the cheek and sat back with a big grin. I think I was waiting for you to get up and start crying like Melissa. It was my first kiss. You got the weirdest look on your face. Like the look of a kid getting on a roller coaster for the first time. Excited and scared and determined to enjoy what was coming next even if it killed you. You turned red and then I turned red and then you kissed me back. Just a little peck on the cheek.
But what's that got to do with now? Wait. You can't mean...
"I know you can't hear me, but... I love you, Joey."
I feel like screaming. Is this what you meant the entire time? Following me and Yuugi around during Duelist Kingdom? Yelling from the sidelines with Tea while I dueled Weevil and Mako and the others in Battle City? Even watching my sister, looking after the one person in the world I love the most. Is this what you meant?
Tristan... Is this what you meant?
A faint rustle of your clothes. The faint tap of your palms meeting the floor on either side of my head. A sudden presence of body heat over me. Warm moist breath barely touching my cheek. All of this. All this and all of Duelist Kingdom and Battle City boiled down to this one touch. The gentle pressure of your lips on mine.
I can't move, can't open my eyes or let you know I'm awake, I just can't... But I have to. I reach up. Why is my hand trembling? Why can't I... You're pulling away and I open my eyes at last and you stare down at me with half-lidded hazel eyes that snap wide open. Shock wipes that fleeting look from your face. Like that time I went sledding and wound up busting the ice in a frozen pond. Shock and cold and pain all at once.
My hand catches at the back of your neck. I'm holding you here. Close enough that your eyes blur in a patch of hazel in front of me. Now I know why people close their eyes when they kiss. Close enough that I can taste your breath, faintly spicy from our earlier dinner of Thai food and slightly sour from half a night's sleep.
"I hear you, Tristan," I whisper.
All I have to do is tilt my head up. Just the tiniest bit. And I'm kissing you for the first time again. You make a strangled noise in the back of your throat before kissing me back. Heavy weight suddenly doesn't seem that heavy and you're resting against me rather than hovering slightly on your elbows.
I hear you. Like I always have, listening to you while you talk to the darkness.