Title: Conversations ch 2: "Answer my Question"
Name: falsechaos
Email: falsechaos@mail.com
Rating/Warning: PG-13 for language and angsty mechanics.
Notes: Formerly posted under the alias "Ayame Daae." That's right. I stole my own fic. FF.n account was eaten when Excite decided to 'experiment.' Account lay dormant for a year or so. Can't wake it up. Boo hoo. So here's a new one.
Disclaimer: Don't own. I just play with 'em.

"Sure Jim. Love you too."

That hurt, Aniki. It really hurt. I was so scared. Why did it have to be you of all people? Why did you have to be the one that I fell in love with? It wasn't the graceful sprawl of your body as you leaned against the couch, playing that stupid game. Well, that was part of it, to be honest.

You're our compass, Gene.

Suzuka, Aisha, Melfina, even me I guess, could all do fine on our own. It would be hard, but you could survive too. But you're the one that brought us all together and guided us to the Leyline just as surely as Mel did. You provide that direction that we all need. Melfina's quest to be human. Aisha's quest for glory. Suzuka.... well, who knows with her? But even she found something with us.

So why can't I?

You just sat there damn it! You just gave me another flippant answer and went back to your own little reality in your head. Can't you see me? I'm not a child any more! I never was with you.... So why are you hiding from me now?

I said I loved you, Gene Starwind. And you just brushed me aside. Like you're doing now.

"Gene, there's something I have to tell you..." I don't want to do this! But I have to, I have to know!

"What's that, little buddy?"

I glare at you while you smile, oblivious to reality. Oblivious to me. "Don't call me little!"

"Chum?"

"Or chum."

You're ruffling my hair. I hate that. Why are you doing this? Why won't you let me get it out?

"But some of the ladies like 'em small. Or chummy."

"Leach."

"Leach, lady's man, whatever."

"Stop it!"

"What?"

"Gene this is important!"

"What?" The way you're looking at me now.... Those brown eyes. I could drown in them. Burning with anger or hatred or vengeance or that smoldering look you give Melfina at times. I'm so scared. Maybe I can just forget, just go away.... But no. That look in your eyes. You won't let this go this time. I'm scared, Gene.

"Jim? What is it?"

I'm breaking! "I.... I love you. Not like a buddy! Not like a friend, or pal, or brother, or, or.... Whatever! I've always hated the way you looked at Melfina or all those other girls! You're impulsive and hotheaded and reckless, but I don't care!" I can see your mouth flopping open and shut, but I can't stop. Not now, not when all of this is rushing out, not when I feel this release... "I just need you. I need you like Mel did for a while, she needed you to find herself, to be whole. Please don't hate me, but I have to say this! I--"

Your next words tear into me like a scythe.

"Just shut up!" you scream.

Just shut up. Just shut up. Why? Why now? Why when I've finally found the courage to tell you? Why? Aren't I worth it? Can't you at least love me back? Maybe not like I want you to, but can't you at least smile and say it's all right, we'll be okay? Can't you at least utter that scared word *we*? Can't you.... Can't you just *see* me? See *me*?

"Why?"

That's all I can say. Just a fucking "Why?" I hate you! I hate you.... And it hurts. I hate you because I love you, Aniki.

"Just shut up so I can kiss you, okay?"

What? I can't think as you press against me, press against me towards the arching screens in the bridge. Can't think as your warm lips press against mine. Can't think as I wrap trembling arms around you. Can't think as you enfold me in your own. This wasn't the answer I was looking for. I don't care. This is enough.

The feeling of your lips against mine.

You're all I need. I love you, Aniki. And I'll wait as long as I have to for you to love me back.