-1Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Angel, etc.
love- I would Love is dead in us
split open your head and put
a candle in
behind your eyes.
if we forget
the virtues of an amulet
and quick surprise." - Robert Creeley
Love is dead in us
I didn't bother knocking. I never do. I simply picked the lock, which should have been warning enough of my arrival, and walked into Krit's new apartment. I'd tracked him all the way from New Mexico to here in Michigan. One of us always manages to find the other despite Zack's efforts. Krit tracked me from Arizona to New York once. I was proud of his tracking abilities.
I surveyed the apartment. Krit, being who he is, had everything in the semblance of order that made complete sense to him. Luckily for me, I had figured out the way his mind worked. If I hadn't, I'd have never been able to stand living with him.
The apartment was alright. We'd been in worse spots. He had a little furniture, a fridge, a stove. No television. That surprised me.
Krit was here, even though he wasn't in my sight. I could smell that distinct Krit smell. I cocked my head, listening closely for any noises. I rolled my eyes, hearing the sounds of Krit doing some girl. I always did have excellent timing.
"Honey, I'm home!" I said loudly.
"Honey! What the hell!" I heard the girl say loudly.
"It's not what you think, I swear!" Krit protested.
I smirked and waited. Like I anticipated, a girl soon stamped out of Krit's bedroom. It was obvious she had thrown on clothes. Krit followed, still doing up his pants.
"Baby, please..." Krit pleaded.
The girl looked at me and stomped out the door, slamming it in Krit's face. Krit stood frozen for a moment before turning to me angrily.
"Syl..." he began.
"Sorry, Krit." I said sweetly, batting my eyes at him.
"Of all the times for you to show up at my door." he complained.
"You'll live." I replied.
"Oh? You plan on doing me?" Krit asked, raising his eyebrow.
"Asshole." I replied, shoving him out of my way and heading to the kitchen.
I opened the fridge, surveying the rations.
"You purposefully eat everything decent before I got here or what?"
"What are you talking about?" Krit replied, "There's a perfectly good jar of pickles in there and plenty of ham. That's a good sandwich right there."
"Sex makes me hungry."
"And no sex makes you horny."
"Exactly. You know me so well."
"Only compared to you."
"I missed you, Krit." I said, turning to him and hugging him.
"I missed you, too." he said.
In a life as screwed up as mine is, it's nice to have something stable and familiar. Krit is stable. My meeting up with Krit is always like that. We always argue about stupid things just because we can. That was never an option in Manticore.
"How long you staying, Syl?" he asked, pulling away.
"I don't know. As long as I feel like." I shrugged, moving to Krit's couch and making myself comfortable, "Put a shirt on, will you?"
"Ah, come on. You know you enjoy the show." Krit teased.
"Oh, baby. Oh, baby." I deadpanned, sarcastically.
Krit grinned at me as he retrieved a shirt and pulled it over his head. And being the idiot he is, managed to get tangled in it.
"Stupid shirt." he muttered through the fabric.
"Moron." I muttered, standing up and pulling his shirt into place, "How do you even get dressed in the morning without me?"
"Oh, I don't. I pick up more chicks just walking around in my boxers." Krit replied, looking as innocent as I know he's not.
"I don't know. Probably only chicks that think Scooby Doo boxers are a turn-on."
"Hey! They're Ninja Turtles and you know it!"
"I'm not doing your laundry anymore."
Krit smiled, ending the argument. I really had missed him. Krit makes life so much more interesting even if it's just by starting these stupid little quarrels that always fill our time together.
"Feel like hitting the town?" Krit asked.
"Clubbing or stealing?"
"We can do both." he offered.
"We'll see." I said, heading for the door again, "And no bringing home chicks unless I've got a guy."
"You're bordering on insult. I can still kick your ass." I warned.
"Yes, Syl." he replied sarcastically, closing the door behind me.
"Dumb ass." I muttered.
"Just testing your hearing." I replied sweetly.
Syl's timing. God, did Manticore screw up on that one. She does it on purpose, I swear. Oh, well. I'd take time with Syl over any girl I've ever picked up. I really did miss her.
"Hurry up, Krit. God, last time you could at least keep up." Syl's voice cut through my thoughts.
"Just admiring your...I mean, the view." I quipped, tilting my head for her benefit when she glanced back at me.
"I love you."
"Stow it." she said quickly as she walked up to the bouncer.
Syl swiftly smooth-talked her way into a club that I hadn't been able to get into in a week. She's always had that gift. It drives me crazy. I've never been able to understand it. Maybe it's because she's a girl. And there probably aren't many girl bouncers that I could charm.
I followed Syl into the club, my eyes adjusting quickly. I checked out the room, doing my normal swift check of all the exits, hiding places, security cameras, etc. I haven't known Manticore to scope out clubs for us, but you can never be too careful. Wouldn't Zack be proud?
"Hey, baby. Wanna dance?"
I couldn't believe it. Five seconds and already she's getting hit on.
Syl scoped out the guy and looked about to say yes when I put an arm around her.
"Sorry, dance card's booked."
The guy looked me over and wisely decided to stay the hell away. Syl elbowed me sharply in the gut.
"Why do you do that?" she demanded.
"Protecting my girl." I shrugged.
"First off, I'm not your girl. Second, I can take care of myself. And third, how do you expect to go home with anyone if you won't even let me dance with someone."
I didn't say that I'd much rather protect Syl than go home with someone. She didn't need to know that.
Instead I replied, "I seem to recall owing you one for messing with a certain thing I had going with a girl earlier tonight."
"Butthead." Syl replied, purposely stepping on my foot as she moved past me.
She quickly weaved her way into the center of the crowd. Much easier for her than for me. Obviously, since she's smaller. It's really not fair. And she knows that. She knew it and that's why she did it. She's so catty like that. I guess we all have our quirks like that.
So, being catty myself, I chose to ignore her. A cute blonde wanted to dance and who am I to say no to that?
I bumped into Syl on the dance floor.
"What's up?" I asked without looking at her, knowing who it was.
"I'm cool. Who's the blonde?"
"What do you care?"
"I don't. Just curious."
"Too much cat DNA."
I lost her again after that. "The blonde", as she'd now been dubbed by both Syl and me, asked if I wanted to sit. I shrugged and agreed. I followed her to the bar, actually admiring the scenery this time. Not bad.
"What can I get you?" the bartender asked as I sat down next to Blondey.
"What'll you have, baby?" I asked.
She ordered a drink and I ordered a beer. I paid. She made eyes at me over her drink. I smiled. She leaned against me, placing a hand on my chest.
"I don't normally do this but...there's something about you." she said.
"How much have you had to drink?" I asked cautiously, taking her current one away.
I have this thing about taking advantage of people. I don't really like it. If this was some poor innocent girl who'd had a few too many drinks...
"I'm not drunk." she insisted.
"Good. Then, we can stay and talk awhile." I insisted, glancing around to make sure Syl was still here.
I spotted Syl in the corner. New guy now. I shifted in my seat in annoyance.
"See." Blonde insisted, "Most guys would never say no to that."
"I'm definitely not like most guys." I said, "And I never said no."
We talked, pointless small talk, for the next hour. In that hour, Syl was with four more new guys. The last one she started to leave with. That ended my conversation.
"You know, this place is too loud. You wanna talk at my place?" I asked, quickly getting up from my seat.
"Okay." she agreed, offering her hand to me.
I took it and quickly led her out the door after Syl. I know Syl, she would go back to my place. She feels safe there. She doesn't realize she does it, but she likes to go back to places where she feels safe.
I caught up to Syl rather easily. "The Blonde" had a little trouble keeping up with my pace, but that wasn't important.
"Syl!" I called, "I thought I saw you!"
"Who's she?" Blonde asked.
"Old friend." I replied shortly.
"What's up?" Syl asked stiffly.
"Just wondering what you're doing?" I asked.
"Nothing that concerns you, really."
"Could I talk to you over there for a second?" I said firmly, getting fed up.
"No, I'm..." Syl began, but I grabbed her wrist and pulled her over to the side.
"What is wrong with you?" I demanded in a whisper that no normal person could pick up.
"Me? What's wrong with you?" she returned, "You found another bimbo. What's your problem?"
"She's not a bimbo..." I began to protest.
"What's her name?" Syl interrupted.
"Fine. Hell, Syl. I give up." I sighed and turned back to what's her name, "Change of plans, baby. Can we go to your place?"
"Don't bother! I'm going to Dave's!" Syl called after me.
I didn't bother looking back at Syl as I walked away with...whatever her name was.
I woke up and my first thought was I felt bad about what had happened with Krit. I felt Dave stir at my side and tried not to think about Krit.
"Morning, beautiful." he muttered.
"Morning." I muttered in response.
He stroked my arm, but I slipped away.
"What's the matter?" he asked, sitting up.
"I gotta go." I said quickly, pulling my clothes on.
"Will I ever see you again?"
"Maybe. You never know." I said over my shoulder as I headed for the door.
It was a long cold walk to Krit's apartment. I don't know what I felt bad for. I've never felt bad about ditching Krit and spending the night somewhere before. Maybe because this time he really didn't want me to.
So this time, I actually knocked.
"Who is it?" Krit called through the door even though he had to know it was me.
"Krit, it's me." I called back.
He paused for a long time and I leaned against the door.
"Please, Krit. Let me in." I said quietly, knowing he would hear anyway.
Slowly, I heard the door click and the door opened. Krit looked at me funny. I looked down and made my way to the couch.
"How was your night?" Krit asked coldly.
"Krit, don't be all sulky. Please. I hate it when you're like that."
"Krit." I pleaded.
"I need some milk." Krit said shortly, ignoring me.
"Damn you, Krit." I said, shooting off the couch and appearing in front of him, "Talk to me. I'm sorry I ditched you...but...I mean, it's not like it hasn't happened before..."
"That's not the point, Syl!" Krit snapped, "The point is that I asked you not to. I really thought that I came first with you. You always have with me. But apparently, I was wrong!"
"Krit!" I said, astonished.
Could he really believe that? Krit always came first with me. Always. He was my best friend. Always has been and always will be.
"I really don't want to talk to you right now, Syl." Krit said quietly.
"Krit, stop!" I insisted, "You do come first with me!"
"You've got a great way of showing it!"
"Krit! Please, I was just...I didn't know it meant so much to you...I feel really bad..."
"Cut the crap, Syl." Krit said, his voice even more forceful now that he wasn't yelling, "You didn't care what I said or did or felt last night."
"That's not true, Krit. It was just a one-night fling. That's how it is with us. You've never had a problem with it before."
"This time was different. I wanted to spend time with you, Syl. Not with some stupid blonde. I wanted to spend time with my blonde."
Krit carefully raised a hand and stroked my hair. Like the cat I am, I purred softly and rubbed against his hand.
"I'm sorry, Krit. Really." I said softly, "Forgive me?"
"I can't stay mad at you, Syl. You know that."
I slowly smiled and hugged him. He returned the hug, so I kept the smile.
"How can I make it up to you?" I asked, pulling away.
"Fine, you want to make it up to me? You can make it up to me by doing whatever I want to do for the rest of the day."
I knew I was doing myself in, but I nodded in agreement.
"Can I make a suggestion for the first thing, though?" I asked.
"Buy some decent food. I'm hungry."
Krit laughed and nodded.
"Alright, Syl. Let's go get some food."
Syl followed me around all day. I'm pretty sure we both had fun. Who wouldn't have fun going to a biker bar, ending up with two new motorcycles, tearing up the streets, stopping at McDonald's for a pair of Happy Meals, then going all the way out to the Lakeside to play on some old machinery like a pair of reckless kids? It was great! I could almost forget how upset I'd been when Syl ditched me the night before.
I'm still not sure why that bugged me so much. Syl was right, it wasn't the first time she'd spent the night somewhere else. She always came home. I shouldn't care. But for some reason, this time was different. When she came home this time, I smelled the smell of some disgusting guy on her and it didn't sit well with me. Knowing she had gone home with that guy and what she had done with him shook me. I really didn't like it. That guy didn't deserve her. He didn't deserve to be able to lay a hand on her.
"Hey, Syl?" I called across to her.
We were still chilling on some big fancy structure that hadn't been used since before the Pulse. She was across from me, wedged between two metal beams.
"Hmmm?" she asked.
"Why did you go with that guy? Why not one of the other guys in there?"
"Oh, I don't know. I guess he reminded me of someone." she responded, noncommittally.
"Not important." she replied.
When Syl says something's not important, it usually is.
"Come on, Syl. Who?" I persisted.
"I'm not telling." Syl responded, crossing her arms stubbornly, "You can't make me."
Now that's a challenge if ever I heard one.
"You don't think so?" I asked as I made my way along a criss-crossing beam to her perch.
"What are you doing, Krit?" Syl asked warily.
"Nothing." I said innocently as I reached her side.
Without warning, I tickled her mercilessly. Poor Syl's weakness is that I know exactly where and how she's ticklish.
"Stop!" Syl cried, "You'll make me fall!"
"Liar!" I replied, "Say you surrender and I'll stop."
"Never." Syl replied.
"Come on, Syl. Give up already."
"No!" she actually squeaked.
"You just squeaked!"
"Just say you surrender."
"Okay, okay. I surrender. Leave me alone." Syl exclaimed.
I backed away a step, letting her recover. I looked at her expectantly.
"Okay. He reminded me of you, alright?" Syl admitted.
I stared at her, stunned.
"Th...that loser reminded you of me?" I stammered, incredulous.
"Well, gee, Krit, I'm not the one who called you a loser." Syl said innocently.
"You slept with that guy because he reminded you of me?" I demanded.
"N...no." she stuttered.
"That's what you just said!"
"Hey, I'm not the one who got all up in arms about me sleeping with the guy anyway. Besides, you went home with a blonde. What does that tell you?" Syl snapped, sitting up straight.
"You're not turning this back on me."
"I just did."
"Damn it, Syl."
Angrily, I climbed down until I was at a safe distance to drop to the ground. I heard Syl following.
"Stop following me, Syl!" I called over my shoulder.
"We live together. Where else am I going to go?"
"Maybe to your Krit-guy's house."
"Oh, shove it." Syl growled, shoving me from behind.
I whirled around, shoving her back.
"You're such a child." Syl accused.
"Don't you whatever me."
Almost at the same time, we turned our backs on each other. Syl huffed indignantly. I crossed my arms across my chest. We stood in silence for a long moment.
"Are you done sulking yet?" I ventured.
"Are you?" Syl returned.
"Only if we agree not to speak of this again."
"Ready to go home?"
Syl and I walked home in silence, stopping to grab a pizza for dinner. We acted like everything was perfectly normal for the rest of the night. But that night, while Syl slept in my bed and I lay awake on my couch, I couldn't help but think about what had happened. What did it mean? Did Syl...no, that wasn't possible. Or was it?
I can't sleep. Not with so much on my mind. Dave had reminded me of Krit. And I get along well with Krit. Most of the time. But was that the only reason why I had chosen Dave over my other options? And Dave wasn't the first guy that reminded me of Krit, either.
This was stupid. I didn't have feelings for Krit. Krit's my best friend, my partner. Krit's always had my back and I've always had his. Even back in Manticore. Nothing's gonna change that. I won't allow that.
I groaned in protest and buried my face in a pillow. Krit smell. Normally a smell I enjoy, but right now it wasn't helping. I threw the pillow against the wall in frustration. Apparently I threw the old pillow too hard because it exploded on impact. I jumped out of bed as the stuffing fell everywhere. Krit was going to kill me.
As if he were reading my thoughts, Krit walked in. I knew the pillow had made some noise, but he had to have already been awake to hear it. I wondered what had kept him up.
Krit looked around at the scattered pillow stuffing, then at me.
"What did my pillow ever do to you?" he demanded.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to." I said quickly.
"Didn't mean to? What did you do to it?" Krit asked, his eyes wide.
"I threw it." I said sheepishly.
"Into a shredder?"
"No! It just exploded! That's shoddy pillow manufacturing if you ask me."
Krit smiled and laughed. I glared at him indignantly, knowing he was laughing at me. He smiled wider and hugged me. I shoved him away.
"Get away from me, you big meanie."
"I love you, Syl."
"You know, your insults were better yesterday."
"Oh, shut up."
"You wanna end up like the pillow?"
Krit looked around at the pillow remains.
"You wouldn't." he declared, "You don't like to clean and that would be messy."
"Damn, you're right. For once." I added, shooting him a defiant look.
"Just for that, you get the couch." Krit said.
"I'm not going." I shook my head.
"Sure you are." Krit said, grabbing my arm and yanking me over before I could plant my feet.
I lashed out with my foot, but he moved his leg before my kick could connect. I jerked my arm away, but he grabbed me around the waist.
"You're moving whether you like it or not." Krit announced, picking me up and carrying me out of the room.
I elbowed him, but he refused to let go. I gave up and crossed my arms angrily until he dropped me on the couch.
"And no killing the couch cushions." Krit warned.
"Bastard. Go away so I can sleep."
Krit stuck his tongue out at me and retreated. I rolled my eyes and ignored him, curling up on the couch. This is how Krit and I were, nothing more, nothing less. I liked it this way. So why did I keep thinking about it being another way?
I smiled to myself and rolled over on my side. Silly Syl. I really didn't care about the pillow. But Syl's always fun to play with like that. I love messing with her mind. It's a highlight of my day, really.
I can't imagine life without Syl. The thought strikes suddenly and unexpectedly. I mean, sure I've been places and haven't seen her for long periods of time. Years have gone by that I remember never having met up with Syl. Mostly, right after the escape. But I always knew she was out there, somewhere. I could always count on seeing her someday, eventually. Looking back, I remember all the good parts of my life outside of Manticore are times when Syl was with me. I always knew Syl made life interesting, but it was just know that I realized I couldn't live without her.
So what do I do now?
God, I hate this. I hate this second-guessing everything about Syl and me. I liked it just being. No questions about why or what could happen, just being there and having fun.
I couldn't sleep now. There was too much going on in my head for sleep. Besides, I'd gotten all the sleep I needed already. But lying there just thinking was going to drive me nuts. I needed to do something. But how could I get out of there without Syl knowing? I didn't have any windows in there. Damn it. I should have gotten a place with more windows.
I threw back the covers and crept out of the room. I glanced anxiously at Syl, but she didn't move. I'd almost made it to the door, almost out. Syl stirred slightly and I froze where I stood. But she doesn't wake up and I make it out the door without a problem. Syl's slipping. I'd never been able to sneak past her before.
I leaned back against the wall for a moment before getting it together and heading out.
Krit left. I was lying awake and heard him sneaking past, but decided to play it like I was asleep. I wonder what's gotten into him and why he left. Maybe he just needed some space. I get like that sometimes.
I sat up on the couch. No point in pretending to sleep anymore.
For lack of anything better to do, I started doing sit-ups. Not as extraneous as push-ups, but still affectively distracting.
"Well, Syl. What's up? What are you gonna do?" I said out loud.
I shook my head at myself. Wasn't talking to yourself a sign of mental instability? Oh, well. I probably shouldn't be surprised. I did have a screwed-up childhood.
"Come on, Syl. You've gotta make a decision. Either you go for it or you drop it. One or the other." I prodded myself.
Already I had reached the 50's in my sit-ups. I counted to myself as I thought about my options. 51-52-53...take up things with Krit, try and make it work. 54-55...Zack wouldn't be happy, but screw him anyway. 56-57-58...what if something happened, like a situation with Manticore? If it was him or me? He would chose me and I'd never be able to live with myself. He'd endanger himself when we could easily both make it if his or my feelings didn't get in the way. 59-60-61-62...or what if we had a fight? Sure, Krit and I fight all the time, but it's never serious. What if...? Oh, fuck the "what if's".
My other option. 63-64-65...I tell Krit to forget any thoughts he has. We keep things the way they are. Both of us like the way things have been. 66-67...but what if we both miss out on something terrific? That something that tons of movies and books are about. That something that never existed at Manticore, that I don't even know is possible for freaks like us. 68-69-70...but what if it is and I miss my chance? Who do I possibly trust more than Krit? Who can I trust more than Krit? 71-72-73-74...and who do I feel safe with, if not Krit? Who else would actually understand me? 75-76-77...but what if I decide to try things with Krit, if I fall in love with him, and he doesn't feel the same? Where does that leave me? Back with the one-nighters, the short-lived boyfriends? Could I even go back to that kind of thing? 78-79-80...Stop it.
I stopped doing push-ups and sat still on the floor. I'm not delusional. Even to myself, it sounded like I'd already made up my mind. But when it came down to it, it didn't really matter. Because even if I did decide to try things with Krit, I was only half the equation. It all rode on what Krit decided that he wanted.
"Great. So now you're sitting on the floor wondering whether what he wants is you."
Yes, I am. What else can I do?
"You can go find him."
Should I? Oh, stop it, Syl! You really do need help. You're arguing with yourself, you psychopath!
"I gotta get out of here." I said out loud and jumped off the floor onto my feet.
I grabbed my jacket and went to find Krit.
Syl tracked me down. I stopped and slowly turned to face her. She jogged to catch up to me.
"Look, Syl. I'm sorry if I woke you up..." I started.
"No, Krit. I wasn't asleep." she interrupted me.
I cocked my head and shot her a questioning look. She avoided my eyes and looked around at the alley that we had found ourselves in.
"Syl?" I pressed.
"Krit, I've been thinking..." she began.
Normally, I would have thrown in a comment like "Oh, did you hurt yourself?", but this time it didn't seem right. I patiently waited for her to continue.
"I have to know..." she paused again.
"What?" I asked quietly, thinking I already knew what she was going to ask.
"Is there something between us, Krit?"
Hearing the actual words out loud was more of a shock than I was ready for. I felt like I was frozen in place. All I could do was stare at her. She looked nervous. I haven't known Syl to look nervous about anything. The look on her face worried me.
"Krit, please say something."
I haven't known Syl to say please either. I had to snap out of it.
"Syl, I..." I only managed the two words.
I had no idea what to say. I really didn't. That's the whole reason I was out here. I was trying to figure out what was going on with Syl. Apparently, she had figured it out faster than I had.
Syl's eyes widened and I caught a look flit across her face that I never would have been able to imagine having been there before. She looked hurt and crushed and regretful. She turned away from me and all of a sudden my mind and body started to work again. I jumped after her, turning her back around to face me again.
"I'm sorry, Syl. You know I care about you. More than anyone in the world." I said quickly.
"What are you saying, Krit?"
"I'm not sure."
"Are you saying that you...have feelings for me?"
"Do you have feelings for me?"
Syl smiled suddenly and backed out of my grip.
"You're such a child." she muttered, "I'm serious, Krit."
"Me, too. I can't imagine life without you, Syl. And I think...I think that if I could ever love anyone, it would be you."
"With lines like that how do you ever go home alone?"
"I mean it, Syl. For once in my life, I am dead serious." I swear.
"You know what, Krit?" she asked, still smiling.
"What?" I asked cautiously, not sure what that smile meant.
"I feel exactly the same about you."
Did I hear that right?
"Repeat that, please?" I asked.
Syl laughed and stepped closer. Her hands on my chest, she stood on her toes and kissed me. I couldn't help but be amused that she had to stand on her toes to reach me. But then I didn't care because I realized that this was Syl. And she was kissing me. And it was great. Really great. Wow.
I pushed Syl away and gulped in air. She laughed at me, like I knew she would and smiled her Syl smile. I smiled and shook my head.
"Next time, warn me first." I said, leaning closer to her.
"Oh, yeah?" she asked.
"Yeah. This is your warning, by the way."
I leaned down and kissed her. Syl's hand was on the side of my face. My hand found her soft hair. How could I have not known I loved her before now? It felt like I'd loved her forever and we had always been like this. Maybe we had, just neither of us had known it.
I pulled away slowly, resting my forehead against hers.
"Syl?" I asked quietly.
"This is how it's supposed to be. You feel that, don't you?"
"It'll always be like this, won't it?"
"I hope so."
"I love you, Syl." I said, not sarcastic this time.
"I love you, Krit."