Present perfect

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Warnings/notes: never accomplished Eric/Frey, drabble-ish snippet.

Disclaimer: I don't own Alice 19th. The style of the names of this drabble was inspired by Dave Duncan's trilogy 'The Great Game' ('Past Imperative', 'Present Tense' and 'Future Indefinite').

(!) Major spoilers for volume 6. One reference to 'Past Simple'.

written at 27th march 2005, by Misura. Part of a set of three drabbles.

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Sometimes, Frey thinks he almost understands Eric.

And sometimes, he thinks he'll never be able to understand the other man at all.

It doesn't really matter though, since they always understand each other perfectly when it comes to the important things, like the Lotis-words or why Frey's family never calls or why Frey never goes to visit them during the few weeks of vacation he allows himself to take each year.

Frey is certain he could say anything at all to Eric -or nothing- and Eric would understand him, and respond accordingly, with a flood of words or with silence. Eric is very good at silences.

The only person who came even close to making him feel the way he feels around Eric was Ida, and -their- silences were usually filled with other activities. He couldn't simply sit and watch the nightsky with Ida, no matter what all those romance-novels say.

(Not, of course, that Frey ever reads romance-novels, but he's heard about these things. And maybe he's seen a movie or two, for educational purposes.)

With Eric, he can. Officially, it's for some classes he's taking - Astrology or Astronomy, Frey can't quite recall which of the two is what. Eric's mentioned -briefly, casually, in a conversation that had nothing to do with the topic whatsoever- that the weather's going to be great to observe the stars the coming week, informing in passing if Frey might happen to be taking Astro-something classes this period, because if Frey does, he'd be delighted to help him out a bit by sacrificing a few hours of sleep for the sake of expanding Frey's knowledge.

Frey has replied, with disappointment, that no, he's not taking those classes, but hey, wouldn't Eric be willing to give him a bit of a headstart for when he does? Eric grumbles a bit, commenting that really, Frey hardly -needs- a headstart in anything, what with his being such a star-pupil and all, but in the end, he agrees.

They hardly speak more than a dozen words during their wake, but Frey remembers that night as one of the happiest of his life, and makes sure to sign up for Astronomy -and- Astrology as soon as possible, so that he'll have an excuse for a second time.

Somehow, there never comes a second wake, due to both him and Eric having a busy schedule, but that only serves to make that one night more special.

And there are plenty of mornings, afternoons and evenings which they spend together, doing nothing and anything, and on occasion, Frey finds himself wondering if perhaps he doesn't merely like Eric -even if 'merely' is hardly appropriate, considering he'd quite willingly -die- for Eric- but really, really -likes- Eric, the way he liked Ida.

It's only rarely though, and he never speaks of it to Eric, not even in silence. He's a teenager after all, and Eric's only a little bit older than he is, so there'll be enough time to figure out things like liking and 'liking' later, when he's more certain.

Perhaps when he's come back from Japan.

"I have two last pieces of advice to give you," Eric mentions, as the call for passengers to Tokyo is made for the first time.

Frey nods, reaching out for the bag that Eric has been carrying for him thus far.

"Firstly, don't assume that just by speaking loudly in English, you'll be able to make someone understand you." Eric starts walking in the direction that the announcer has requested travellers for Japan to go, and Frey follows him, not exactly unhappy with the prospect of postponing their goodbye a few extra minutes.

"Hai, sensei," Frey replies. He'd have added a bow, only he's afraid he might lose his balance.

Eric grins, though his eyes show little amusement. Frey wonders why, and if there's enough time to find out, but then he shrugs it off as unimportant. This is a goodbye after all, for a long time, even if they're both joking around like it'll only be for a couple of days.

"Secondly, if you insist on breaking my heart by falling in love with another, make sure it's someone who isn't attached to someone else already, okay?" Eric's grin widens, as he hands over the last of Frey's bags and slaps him on the shoulder.

Frey stares at him, trying to read Eric's eyes, while Eric seems intent on not letting him, instead checking his watch and mumbling some nonsense about a train he'd like to catch.

"I'll take care," Frey finally says, his voice barely audible over the sound of the intercom.

"Good." Eric smiles, his eyes showing affection and friendly concern. "I'll keep you to that. Remember; if you mess this up, I'll come and drag you back to Denmark."

"Hey, have a little faith in me," Frey protests. "I'm not stupid! And don't talk about anyone replacing you; you'll always have a piece of my heart, even if I'd marry a hundred girls."

"Now -that- would definitely count as 'messing up'." Eric snorts and shakes his head. "Not to mention it'd probably be illegal, too. No matter, I'll have to trust you. And -you- will have to get on that plane, before they decide to leave without you."

Frey nods, risking a hug and masking his nearly falling over due to the weight of his bags by clinging to Eric a little more tightly than absolutely necessary. Eric makes no comment about it, and Frey thinks that just maybe, he won't find a bride anywhere in the world, because his heart's already lost.

The second before he boards the plane, he looks back, to find Eric still standing there, smiling.

As the earth below him slowly disappears, the view from his window being filled with clouds instead, Frey remembers white snow and red roses, and it doesn't hurt as much as it once did anymore.

OWARI