When Jalil opened his eyes, the other side of the bed was cold and empty. He sat and put some clothes on with a sigh. It was the third time this week, it occured every so often and if he was not worried the two first weeks, it had been nearly a month now. It was getting on his nerves. What was the point to have a significant other if they didn't confide in you and couldn't stand the idea to stay in bed with you until morning .
As expected, a familiar figure stood on the balcony, in the cold, shivering. What was new was the way their shoulders shook.
« Christopher », he called softly.
The whole body of the white man tensed for a few seconds. Eventually, he turned around.
The feeble lighting of the moon was enough to confirm Jalil's suppositions : he had been crying.
« Can you come in ? I would like to talk with you and it is freezing out there. » he said, tucking at the other man's sleeve.
They both stepped in and Jalil closed the French windows. He gestured to his partner to sit down on the bed and joined him.
« Apparently you don't want to talk about it, but you just can't spend your nights on this balcony. »
Christopher hid his face in his hands.
« Look, Chris... I dismiss it at first because I believed you were past this shit, but if laying with a man is too much for your conscience, just say it. No need to make both of us miserable. » Jalil said diplomatically.
He was not one for yelling and fights when he could avoid them.
« I am not having cold feet ! » Christopher protested vehemently.
« Really ? So what is it ? Because it bloody hell seemed like that. » he retorted, crossing his arms.
Jalil flinched at the vulnerability in his own voice and was glad the room was dark enough his lover couldn't see it. Fighting back tears, he felt a cold hand take his. Suddenly, it was easier to breathe.
« You really thought... ? I am not having a sexual identity crisis, okay ? After Elaine, I did some thinking – don't laugh, you jackass!- and I liked her quite a bit but I eventually realised that I... I didn't fall for her as badly I had for... for Ganymede. » the blond boy mumbled.
Jalil squeezed his hand in support.
« I am sorry. » he said.
And he was. A lot of bad things happened to them in Everworld, but Ganymede's death was one of the worst. He remembered well Christopher drinking the guilt away.
« It's okay. » the young man reassured him, drawing slow circles with his thumb on the other's man hand.
« Are you certain ? » Jalil checked once again.
Christopher buried his face in the soft fabric of Jalil's tee-shirt, taking in Jalil's pleasant smell and peaceful heartbeat.
« Yeah. Other terrible things happened after. And I have you anyway, why would I need an angel-like Greek God ? » he said in a muffled voice, his cold hands looming underneath Jalil's shirt.
Jalil tried to stay focused and took both of his boyfriend's hands in his. They needed to have this conversation.
« Chris... Just tell me what is wrong, would you ? » he murmured softly.
And his tone said « Please, trust me. » ; Christopher was not sure what to do with that.
« I have a brother. A younger one. Brillant kid, you would have liked him. He called me on my bullshit sometimes. I miss him. We almost only argue, but I miss him so much. Last time we talked, we fighted. It was always like that. I would have like to say to him he is a good kid before leaving. » Christopher explained while Jalil held him close.
« Oh. »
« I'd like to let him know that I didn't leave with some skinheads or something ; I'd like him to know the truth of it. But maybe he isn't as far from the truth than I think. » he said with a laugh.
Jalil's face squinted in confusion.
« What do you mean ? » he asked, curious.
« Once, during our adventures, I was asleep and came back to our world. I said something racist to the kid, and he answered back. To prove him I was not racist, I told him I was sleeping with a black guy. »
Jalil was laughing so hard his ribs hurt.
« I didn't mean it in that way of course, but he took none of it. So I'm guessing he might have figured a part of the truth. But I miss him. I miss my parents too. » he added.
Jalil sighed. His boyfriend was an idiot.
« What didn't you talk about it ? We have families too, we would have understand. » he said.
« It's been three months since we last saw them. » Christopher retorted.
« So ? You still would have every right to miss people you loved ten years from now, even if you haven't seen them for years. » Jalil said. « Next time you woke up from a nightmare and couldn't sleep because you think of your loved ones, talk to me. » Jalil said seriously, squeezing the hands still in his.
Christopher kissed him lightly on the lips. Jalil lightened his hold on his partner's hands, who came back of their own volition to their previous task of exploring the skin of Jalil's torso.
They had been together for nearly a month, now. Maybe it was too soon, maybe not. Christopher was not sure at which point you were supposed to say that in a relationship.
« Jalil, I love you. » he mumbled, kissing Jalil's neck.
« That is a good thing, because I love you too. » the other panted, hands running all over his boyfriend.
In the morning, at breakfast, when the two men didn't join them, neither April nor David said anything, even if they refused to meet each other's eyes. Both knew the boys now shared a room but they were too tactful to point it out.