To Meet Again

Part 1:

Jason

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Knote: This is not canon. Although some stuff is. A hint for reading this story. Assume nothing. Expect anything. Bear in mind that I'm a MITSUKAKE freak so a lot of my fics tend to have MITSUKAKE as a main character. Hint hint.

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        Things were, as always, far from perfect. Jason sat back in the metal chair and massaged his head with his hand. Bills lay on the table before him; spread so thick he could hardly see the brown plastic underneath. A crumpled ball of paper sat on top of the heap. He straightened it slowly. A bright yellow sun bearing sunglasses smiled at him from one corner of the perky stationary. The messy, childlike cursive sprawled down the neat little blue lines. He leaned his elbow on the table and rested his head in his hand.

            Dear Jason,

            You are a very sweet man. You're warm and kind and I'm sure that you'll meet someone very special someday. It's not that I don't like you. It's just that I need some space. I borrowed some money by the way, I'm sure you don't mind. After all your parents are rich.

            Luv u 4ever!

            Danielle

            The date in the left hand corner said it was October third. Had it really been four months?  He flung the paper away from him and rested his forehead on the table, closing his eyes tightly. Danielle's face appeared in his mind. Jason clenched his teeth and tried to make it disappear. Three years. Three solid years they had dated. And then suddenly…this…

            He shot to his feet, the metal chair falling to the floor with a satisfying crash. Stomping to his room, he snatched the shoe box from under the bed and upended it on the mattress. Letter after letter cascaded on to the bed. At least twenty in all. All starting with 'Dear Jason'. Tears stung his dry, sleep deprived eyes and he gulped heavilly to keep them back. Danielle, Jessie, Ashley… Every single damned relationship since he was fifteen. Jason slumped on the floor beside the bed and dropped his head back closing his eyes. Maybe if he staid here long enough, the world would just disappear. As if to mock him there were three sharp raps on the door. 

            "Go away," he said, knowing it was useless. Only one idiot knocked like that. The door slammed open as he knew it would and booted feet stomped a few times on the mat, then clunked their way to the bedroom, pausing for a second at what he knew was the kitchen.

            The light flicked on and he could feel the disapproving stare.

            "Don't you know it's rude to barge into other people's homes?"

            "Jason Murphy Michaels if you get your electricity shut off again I'm going to kill you."   Jason opened one eye and looked at the slim frame of his best friend. He was fairly tall, but unlike Jason, his skin looked like it hadn't quite caught up with his bones. It was obvious he was young, but the eyes that shone from the thin face radiated maturity. That maturity showed in often annoying ways. Especially when he treated Jason like a kid while he himself was ten years younger.

            "You're going to kill me? With what? Those skinny arms of yours couldn't even lift a butter knife."  Duncan rolled his eyes and shed his heavy jacket, hooded sweatshirt, woolen sweater and blazing orange scarf. He wore another sweater under that which he kept on and, Jason was willing to bet, at least three layers of shirts. Duncan retained heat like a sieve retained water. 

Duncan took a handkerchief out of his pant's pocket and wiped the dust off the top of the dresser. Then laid his discarded clothes on the top of it, folded up the handkerchief and put it in his pocket.

            "Has anyone ever told you that you have a problem?" Jason said. Sea green eyes flicked from Jason to the bed and filled with concern.

            "Don't tell me you're looking at those stupid letters again."  Jason grunted and closed his eye. Lecture time.

            "It's been four months now. You're making everyone worried. You don't answer calls. You don't even go out except to work."

            "And food shopping." 

Duncan sighed and Jason felt a hand on his shoulder. "The point is, you need to get out more." 

The older man scowled. "Get out and what? Meet another Danielle and get my heart smashed? Oh that's sounds pleasant. You're such a great friend."

            "That's not what I meant and you know it." His voice sounded hurt. Jason sighed and nodded. He flopped his head back again and stared at the ceiling. There was a wet spot on the ceiling right above the bed. Figured.

            "I know… I'm sorry.  It's just…it always happens. I always let myself get hurt."  Duncan gingerly sat, as if he were afraid the floor would bite him.

            "Ugh…this is filthy…how often do you clean?"  The corner of Jason's mouth twitched up. Duncan was a neat freak, born and bred.

            "You should see the dust elephants."

            "I wouldn't doubt it. Here, why don't I just get the broom and-" Duncan started to stand. Jason grabbed his arm and pulled him back down again.

            "How about not." 

            "Oh…very well. But if you get anything shut off…and I mean anything…I'm coming over here and cleaning this house from top to bottom and I mean it."

            "I'm so threatened. Not that I mind you rudely barging in here…but why did you come?" 

            "Ugh…and your clothes! I'm surprised they haven't walked out the door. How do you stand it?" Jason lifted his head and gave his friend a glare. The twenty-year-old didn't seem to notice.

            "And your dishes are dirty too. What are you trying to do, breed mold? If so, you're doing a remarkably good job."  Jason poked him hard in the ribs. Duncan yelped and fixed him with a puppy dog look, rubbing his injured side.

            "What do you do that for?"

            "Did you come over to see how I was doing or criticize my housekeeping?"  Duncan raised light brown eyebrows.

            "You call this keeping? Furthermore you call this a house? I've seen bigger cardboard boxes."

            "Don't make me poke you again," Jason said, waving his index finger threateningly. Duncan rolled his eyes.

            "Well I hate to run…but I have a lecture in half an hour and I'm running a little late."

"Why did you come over?"  Duncan shot him with a 'why do you think' look. Jason nodded. He didn't like making people worried but…

"I came over to prove that I was right," Duncan said, standing and brushing off the back of his jeans, cringing at the imaginary dirt.

"About what?"

"You are officially pathetic."

            "Oh thank you…so much," Jason said dryly.

            "Seriously though. You really should get out more. Nick is coming over for a week or two. He's going to go ballistic if he finds out how you're living so you'd better shape up before he gets here."

            "All the way from France?" Jason asked incredulously. Duncan nodded.

            "He's bringing one of his friends."

            "Oh yeah? What kind of 'friend'?"  There was a pause as Duncan disappeared inside a sweatshirt. When his head had poked out he procured a comb out of somewhere and combed his short chestnut hair back into place. As if it really needed it.  Even a tornado couldn't mess up Duncan's perfect hair.

            "Who knows? Nicky has a lot of friends…"

            "Not all of which follow the straight and narrow."

            "Very good pun. You want a medal or a maid? I'd suggest the maid…really."

            "Get out of here," Jason said, lobbing a nearby sock at him. Duncan took an exaggerated step back, even though the sock wasn't even close to hitting him.

            "I'm going to call you tomorrow Jason, and if you don't answer I'm coming over. I mean it."  Without another word, Duncan spun on his heel and stomped back out of the room. Jason couldn't help but chuckle. He walked as if his snow boots weighed twenty pounds each. The door opened and closed, a little too loudly. Jason kept his ears open. Duncan could be a quiet little booger when he wanted, twenty pound snow boots or not.  Some papers rustled faintly. A smile lifted both his face and heart. As annoying as his friend was…he couldn't help but love him.

            Jason crept into the kitchen. Duncan was arranging the bills on the table. Hooking his fingers firmly into the collar of Duncan's coat, Jason pulled sharply. Duncan gagged. Ignoring his friend's struggling, Jason dragged him to the door, opened it and gently pushed him outside. Duncan glared at him, adjusting his collar. Then concern stole over the young man's face again.

            "Take care of yourself okay Jason? I've never seen you this bad."

            "I'll be fine."  Duncan nodded but didn't look convinced. Then after patting his shoulder, the twenty-year-old turned and trudged down the sidewalk through the ankle deep Colorado snow. Jason watched him for a while and shut the door. Looking back at his tiny, empty house…a weight settled in his heart. Maybe Duncan was right. He went to his room, scooped up all the letters and shoved them in the shoe box.  Something white fluttered out and landed on the bed. He set the box down and picked up the hand sized piece of notebook paper. For a moment it seemed his heart stopped. This couldn't be…could it? He turned the paper over and a sudden, dizzying warmth filled him as a memory washed over him,

            Big eyes, long blond hair, cute little green dress. A tiny hand holding out a little piece of notebook paper. The words were written in pencil and surprisingly still clear. Even after all this time…

            Dear Jason,

            Your my frend forever. Don't ever forget me. I wont forget you!

XOXO

            Your best frend forever

Cassandra

P.S. dubble XOXO!

Cassandra. The name sung like a bell in his mind. Cassandra, Cassandra. That had been in third grade. Funny that he could still remember what he felt but not her face. Just her eyes. No woman he'd ever met had eyes like hers. Deep blue pools of light that he'd be contented to swim in forever. But Cassandra was centuries ago and miles away. Back when he didn't know love could hurt so much. He put the note on top of the pile and shoved the box under the bed.  Then with a heavy sigh, started to pick up his clothes.

Duncan would be over tomorrow as Jason's phone had been cut off today. He would never have the heart to lock his friend out. But he'd be damned if he gave him anything to clean.