Arise on the Occasion
A sudden knock on Rowen's hotel door jolted him out of his alcohol-induced dreams. With a low groan and several choicer curse words he managed to roll out of the entanglement of sheets and pillows he had encased himself into and slowly padded to the door.
Opening it he was shocked to find an antsy Sage nearly pacing behind it.
Rowen's mouth dropped. "Seiji?" and then quickly corrected himself, "Sage what're you doing here?"
Sage raised a golden eyebrow at the mention of his Japanese name, but said nothing. Before Rowen knew what was going on he pushed himself through the door and began to silently examine Rowen's staggering state.
"You're drunk." Sage's frown deepened.
Rowen gave him a perfect smile. "Am I? I guess I still am," and he scratched the back of his head sheepishly, "Well I thought you were supposed to be in the States collecting your fiancée." He turned his head away so Sage couldn't see the slight smile upon his lips.
Sage didn't answer him but silently gestured for him to sit on the bed.
Rowen did as he was told and sat clumsily on the bed, trying without much avail at steadying himself from the now-spinning room.
Sage leaned down and placed two hands on his shoulders to make sure he wouldn't fall. "Are you okay? Maybe I should wait till later when you've sobered up."
Rowen looked down at his bare feet and glared. "I didn't think I was that drunk." He confessed, "I only had five drinks."
The corners of Rowen's mouth turned upward into a grin. "Pink Polar Bears."
"You had five?" Sage asked incredulously, "Two of those supposedly could give you a hangover for days!"
He gave Sage a confused look. "You mean you've never had one?"
"No. The only places they serve those is on the Royal Air Force base or the Crown Jewel," by now Sage had slowed his talking, as if realizing something, "Which…is…a…gay…bar."
Rowen blushed ferociously.
"You went to the Crown Jewel last night!?" Sage gave Rowen the weirdest look he'd ever seen come from the blonde. "What on Earth possessed you to do that?"
Sage seemed more inquisitive than upset, Rowen concluded, and he almost found the situation amusing if his stomach wasn't churning and his head didn't feel like a hammer was beating it repeatedly.
Rowen gave Sage a crooked smile, "What do you think possessed me?"
There seemed to be a dramatic change in Sage's persona. His face softened, his frown dissolved, and his eyes even seemed to have glossed over.
Right before Rowen's very eyes Sage reached out to touch his face. The contact was as light as a feather but electrifying.
The world around them seemed to freeze, as it always did when the two were locked eye to eye.
And they sat like that, together in mutual silence. Eventually Rowen broke the stare and averted it to stare intently at the floor in random speculation while the other watched in curiousity at the other's sudden obvious uncomfortable stature.
"Enlighten me Rowen Hashiba, why you out of all people would willingly walk into a gay bar and have a drink, let alone five."
In answer Sage got more silence but Sage never let up his questioning gaze.
Finally, and with reluctance, Rowen replied never lifting his eyes from the carpet. "Well I didn't expect you home so soon. You're supposed to be in Minnesota."
"I was." Sage said softly, "But now I'm here."
Rowen nodded without understanding, his emotions running rampant in his heart beating ferociously.
Swallowing hard the blue haired man had come to a crossroads in his life. Everything from now on would be new and different, unexpected and foreign, and he was ready and willing to give it all up: his past, his present, and his future for the one person he couldn't live without. And that was without a doubt Sage Date.
Even after ten years alone and disorientated it was still hard to handle the guilt that ate at him every day since Sage moved to London. And oh how wrong he had been! Those exact words he had burned his best friend with were now the essence of his life. He now was what he had once hated. He was gay… but did it matter?
Rowen finally tore his gaze away from the floor and organized his thoughts. "Sage I-"
And again their eyes connected. And for Rowen it was that moment he knew he was where he wanted to be. With Sage's lavender eyes anxious for his words, with his perfectly styled blonde locks, and the pale, smooth skin that any female would be jealous for- he was with Sage. And he wanted him for himself.
But he needed the words, the right words, and Sage deserved that after all these forlorn years. He wanted it to be perfect.
Once more Sage waited patiently for him to speak and for the first time he actually caught on to the fact that the flawlessly prim and proper, cool and undaunted businessman was reflecting a nervous exterior.
Rowen relished in it.
Raising an eyebrow and giving him one of his famous toothy grins, he nonchalantly asked, "Did you see Vigil? Is everything okay between the two of you?"
Sage couldn't hide the fact he was absently picking at his fingernails. "Yes." he replied curtly.
"And?" Rowen amazingly hid his knowing smile.
"She's doing better. It was hard to leave her but there is something very important I must settle here in the U.K."
Rowen played the act to a T and feigned a concerned look, "What about the wedding? She didn't cry wolf on you, did she?"
Sage sighed deeply as it seemed his line had been written for him already. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about Rowen. There is no wedding. There never was."
Sage waited for a look of shock or even a perplexed look from Rowen. Instead to his growing anxiety Rowen looked mildly amused.
That was not the reaction he had planned for.
There was a mischievous twinkle in his cobalt eyes as he rattled off, "Don't tell me the whole wedding was a hoax intended to make me believe you weren't gay now Seiji?"
Sage face vaulted, "What!?" he yelled, standing up and completely taken back. The man Rowen would normally describe as barely demonstrating human emotions had panic written across his face. "You knew?"
Their roles seemed to be reversed with Sage uneasy and Rowen quite calm, and Rowen decided he enjoyed seeing Sage flustered immensely.
Trying to copycat a Sage response he shrugged lightly and cocked his head to the side. "Only after Vigil told me before she left." Once the words were out of his mouth he couldn't help but grin like a cat.
There was no denying that Sage was uncomfortable, but he had to admire his determination and strength residing inside him. He didn't break down, he didn't even curse or bat an eyelash. He simply straightened his back and looked Rowen in the eye and calmly announced, "And what do you think of me being gay?"
It was the same question Vigil had asked him two days ago and Rowen was well and beyond ready to answer it once again, this time with more strength of mind. "Why would I mind Sage if I think that I am too."
Sage's eyes widened and he didn't say a word, but Rowen on the other hand made up for Sage's lack of speech. "I know when you told me back in Toyoma things were different and I reacted…horrible, and horrible isn't even the word to describe the mess I made of things. You were right Sage, you've always had that knack to discover things way before anyone else could even sense them, and I should've listened to you then instead of heading down a destructive path that only made me realize how my life would never be complete without you. I want to make things right, and I want to try again because I finally realize how much," he held his breath for a second and then staggered with the last words, "I love you."
Rowen looked to Sage for an answer but Sage's mouth was dry, not for lack of words or lack of wanting to speak, but in the sheer absurdity that life could have this kind of turn around. Just a week ago Sage was scared to death to see his former crush and best friend, and would've like to go on living his life without thinking about him and now…
"Is this a dream?" Sage demanded, searching Rowen's eyes for the truth.
"The intense headache would tell me no Sage." And after a quick hesitation he added, "I didn't lose my chance with ya, did I?"
Sage relaxed and let the tension in his shoulders subside, "Rowen 'love' is not the word I would use to describe how I feel for you. Obsessed is more like it." Turning to him he said in a whisper, "I've never been able to let you go." And he laughed despite himself.
Rowen's whole face seemed to light up as he watched Sage grow comfortable with the idea that he wasn't going anywhere.
Feeling a little spontaneous and daring, with the help of the aftermath of the Pink Polar Bears, Rowen challenged, "So ya gonna kiss me blondie?"
In a split second Sage went from good spirits to dead serious. "This is what you want Rowen, right?"
Without faltering he stated, "I'm not running Sage."
"I know but I want to make sure."
"I know what I want." Rowen challenged, "And I am not going to change my mind. I want you and there's nothing on this Earth that could change that."
Sage reached out and brushed a finger down Rowen's jaw line, so feather soft that Rowen wasn't even sure that Sage had actually touched him. Encouraging him he leaned into the touch and after that Sage needed no more encouragement.
Gently Sage held Rowen's face and leaned down so the two were not but a breath away. And Rowen realized he could've been anywhere, even smack dab in the middle of traffic and if Sage was giving him the look he saw right then he could've died a happy man.
It was picture perfect. Sage slowly placed his lips on Rowen's and Rowen could smell Sage's cologne and relished the scent, reminding him of the very spirit of the man he loved. It wasn't hard, it wasn't demanding, it was so loving that Rowen, the brave archer that he was made out to be, could've cried.
And suddenly Sage pulled away, his eyes searching to make sure Rowen hadn't changed his mind or regretted his decision. But Rowen noticed that Sage was pleased to see that Rowen hadn't moved and even had grabbed onto his hand and was refusing to let go.
With his free hand he pushed a stray strand of hair out of Sage's face and gave him a genuine sated smile.
"I love you Rowen." Sage placidly confessed.
Rowen beamed. "I know."
"Sage is back already?" Kento contemplated out loud as Mei, Ryo, and Mia were all gathered in the Hotel's lobby awaiting Rowen and the blonde in question for a late dinner. He gave a low whistle, "That can't be good for his demeanor. His old lady must've sent him packing!"
"Hush!" Mei silenced her husband with a look, "That isn't polite to say. We don't know that."
Kento pointed out the truth. "He only stayed a couple of hours in the States. Enough to get dumped and collect the ring." Pointedly ignoring his wife he looked to Ryo for guidance, "What do you say Ryo?"
"I dunno. I've never been able to figure out Sage." Ryo kind of fumbled for his words, then dropped the subject as he spotted Rowen and Sage coming out of an elevator.
Kento and Ryo's jaws dropped to the floor and it wasn't a surprise when Mia used her hand to push Ryo's mouth back into its place. Kento didn't have the luxury as Mei didn't seem to notice any change in her husband's friends.
When the two came within earshot Kento immediately went into ranting mode, "Rowen! Sage! I…" he stopped himself and then shook his head, "Never mind. I can't keep up with the drama. Nothing is going to be a shock after this." He scratched his head awkwardly and gave them a grin.
Sage ignored his remark and asked as though nothing at all had changed. "Where's Cye? We're going to be late for our reservation."
"Didn't you hear?" Mia finally spoke up, a blank expression on her face. "He's in Burnsville with Vigil."
"With Vigil?" Sage echoed, not comprehending.
"Yes." Mia said with a laugh in her voice, "I just gave him the extra push he needed to go get the girl he so desperately wanted."
Kento blinked, "I am so lost."
Mei smiled at Sage and Rowen warmly then gingerly tugged at Kento's arm and started for the doors that led to outside, her husband in tow.
Mia continued, "I'm glad you and Rowen could work out your differences and come to an agreement." She quickly kissed Ryo's cheek. "Don't you think so Ryo?"
"Let me get this straight." Ryo said to her, "You knew that Cye was in love with Vigil and you never said a word about it to me? And you also knew about Rowen and Sage?"
"I got the gist of things." Mia grinned playfully.
"You never stop amazing me." But this time he nodded to Rowen and Sage.
As the four of them made their way to their awaiting taxi, Ryo pulled Rowen to the side and asked him quietly. "Everything okay man?"
But Rowen barely heard Ryo for his eyes were fixed on the blonde in front of him. Somewhat aware that he was being spoken to he answered without thinking, "Everything's perfect."