Verily, I donate this to my silliest friend! Merry unbirthday gives cheer>!


Rei sighed, leaning on the parapet and looking out over the water. It was late, and the breeze was turning chilly. Still, it was a nice night to be out and about, and the bridge was a good place to think, watching the lights from the buildings either side dapple the river, shimmering and flickering as the water moved. Yes, Rei was glad to have a chance to think. Lately life had been too busy, too humdrum for him to put his feelings and thoughts in order.

He was still worried about Mao. About how she kept trying to get together with him. And the fact that Takao had fallen out with Kai big style and they hadn't spoken in days. That was a worry too. And then there was...the other thing.

Rei had tried not to think about it since the day it happened, but the night seemed like a good enough time to at the very least acknowledge it. It had been a shock, when he'd laid eyes on a male lifeguard and felt a sudden rush of desire flood his mind. It had been scary. The man wasn't even remotely feminine, and the fact that Rei had felt so strongly about him had terrified him. He'd refused to go back to the pool, but it hadn't helped. He couldn't avoid men forever, and the next day in the hotel breakfast room he'd realised that alongside the women, he'd been looking at men as well. Not many men, just the occasional one or two. The dark-haired guy and his equally dark-haired girlfriend had both seemed attractive. And the guy serving croissants had been...nice to look at. He'd still been aware of and attracted to more women, but the fact that he was noticing men at all was enough to unnerve him.

With a sigh, Rei leaned out further, looking down at the black, flowing water.

"Thinking of jumping?"

Startled, Rei whirled around, watching a shadowed figure emerge into the light of the streetlamp. "Yuriy..."

"If you were thinking of doing it, I hope you realise I'm obliged to stop you now." The redheaded Russian leaned on the railings beside him, smiling softly. Rei stared at him for a second, then realised that he'd been asked a question.

"I wasn't thinking of jumping. Just...thinking." Yuriy nodded, looking out at the ships on the horizon. Rei watched him out of the corner of one eye, uncertain and wary. He had heard things about Yuriy, from Kai, from Takao.

He was handsome, really. In a pointy kind of way. Slender and tall, well-proportioned, clear-skinned, well-dressed. With a famously explosive temper as well, and that was what made Rei a little wary of asking Yuriy about the things Kai and Takao had told him about the tall Russian. About his...preferences...

"Heavy thoughts?"

"Hm?" Rei replied, Yuriy's words jolting him out of his daze.

"You look worried."

"Mm."

"What's the matter?" Rei turned his gaze to something bobbing in the water below, shrugging.

"Are you...Yuriy, don't be offended, but...are you gay?" Rei blurted out, unable to look the Russian in the face.

"Yeah. Why, does it bother you?" Rei didn't reply, just continued to stare into the water. "Rei?"

"How did you know, Yuriy?"

"What, that I was gay?" Rei was aware of the redhead shifting beside him, sighing. "I don't really remember. I've been attracted to other guys for longer than I could remember. Since I was a kid, really. Why the sudden interest?"

Rei considered his answer, tucking his hair behind his ears. "I..." Could he be honest with Yuriy? "I...lately..."

"You've been wanting guys."

"Yeah. I suppose you could put it like that." Yuriy rested his chin on his hand, leaning more heavily on the railing.

"It's not uncommon, you know. Every guy...just once or twice...it happens. Passing attraction. It doesn't mean anything."

"What if it's more than once or twice?"

A silence, broken briefly by a group of chattering girls passing along the bridge behind them. Then there was nothing but the wind whistling as Yuriy stood up properly, hmm-ing. "What did you think of them?"

"What...those girls?"

"Mm."

"Well...the one on the left was nice. Nice curves."

"So you like women?" Rei stood up as well, turning to face Yuriy, looking him in the eye for the first time.

"Yeah. But...some men..."

"Some men, you just wanna fuck?" Rei blushed at that. Then again, crude as it sounded, it wasn't so far from the truth.

"Yeah. I...I suppose I'm just a bit...confused."

"What's there to be confused about?"

"Well...is it...normal to like both? I always thought it was more of a...one or the other thing..."

Rei didn't apprectiate it when Yuriy laughed at him, as if he couldn't believe what he'd said. "You can like whoever the hell you want to like, Rei. Nothing is 'normal' when it comes to attraction." Yuriy took a step closer, laying one hand on Rei's shoulder, squeezing reassuringly. "If a woman makes you happy, great. If a man makes you happy, great. It doesn't matter either way." Rei smiled, fiddling with the hem of his shirt.

"Thanks, Yuriy. I think...I needed to talk to someone." Suddenly conscious of the chill in the air, he shivered. "It's late. I should be getting back to the hotel."

"Me too. I promised Sergei a game of blackjack." A short silence. "Before you go, Rei..."

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

Yuriy smirked, his hand squeezing Rei's shoulder once more. "Do you think I'm attractive?" Rei's cheeks burned, and his eyes raced to find something to focus on that wasn't Yuriy.

"I...well...you're not...I mean, um..." Yuriy folded his arms, apparently impatient for an answer. "Um..."

"I find you attractive, Rei." With a soft smile, Yuriy extended one graceful arm, drawing Rei into a gentle hug, looking down at him fondly. "You're very handsome."

Rei had never gotten used to accepting compliments, so much to his own disgust he blushed. "Um...thank you..."

"Do you find this uncomfortable?"

"Um...n-no...just a little...different..." Rei managed a smile, flustered by the attention Yuriy was directing towards him, by the way the Russian was holding him...

And when Yuriy leaned in and kissed him a few seconds later, Rei became even more flustered- grabbing Yuriy by his arms, tightly, staring at him in shock as he drew back with a smile. "I...um...I..." Wordlessly, Yuriy relaxed his hold, stepping back with a rueful smile.

"I don't want to push you when you're so uncertain." Rei watched him, feeling his cheeks burning. "I'll see you tomorrow. Night."

"No, wait..." Rei swallowed down the knot of nervousness in his throat, still uncertain and feeling confused, but knowing that...that he'd -enjoyed- being kissed by Yuriy... "I'm...I'm sure I could stay out a bit longer...no-one would miss me if it was only half an hour or so..." Yuriy smirked at him, putting his hands on his hips.

"Well...I don't think Spencer would mind playing blackjack with me a bit later than we'd planned..."

Rei smiled shyly, looking back out at the harbour. "I'm...not really sure how to act with another guy..."

Yuriy smiled back, shaking his head. "There isn't really a 'way', you know. Just...do what feels right." Rei considered that, then moved closer, reaching out a hand and grasping Yuriy's, watching their fingers mesh together.

"I'm glad I found you out here." The Russian whispered, using his free hand to draw Rei into a loose embrace.

"Me too. I needed someone to talk to, and now I have one less problem and one more boyfriend than I had before you came along..."

"Boyfriend?"

"I...well...um..."

"I'm kidding. So, what other problems have been eating at you?"

"Mao, mostly." Yuriy sniggered.

"The wonder-limpet? She who can't bear to let go of you for more than three seconds at a time?"

"Yeah, exactly...she's like my -sister-, dating her would just be too weird..."

"Well, maybe I could help you out with that too. I'm sure -I- could be a good limpet."

"You'd be an appreciated limpet though."

"All the better!"

Rei laughed, snuggling closer to Yuriy. He'd started the night full of problems, but now...everything seemed better. With a contented sigh he looked out across the harbour, his worries all temporarily forgotten. He knew he would have to go back to the hotel sooner or later, but then, for the moment, he was happy standing there with Yuriy, safe in the Russian's arms...


R&R please!