One Way Or Another

Relationships don't work the way they do on television and in the movies...will they, won't they, and then they do and they're happy forever, gimme a break. Nine out of ten of them end because they weren't right for each other to begin with, and half the ones that get married get divorced anyway...and I'm telling you right now, through all this stuff, I have not become a cynic, I haven't. Yes, I do happen to believe that love is mainly about pushing chocolate-covered candies and, y'know, in some cultures, a chicken. You can call me a sucker, I don't care. Cause I do...believe in it. Bottom line is...couples that are truly right for each other wade through the same crap as everybody else, but the big difference is, they don't let it take 'em down. One of those two people will stand up and fight for that relationship every time, if it's right and they're real lucky. One of them will say something.

- Dr Cox, Scrubs.

It was late in the evening, in a cheap motel room somewhere out to the mid-west of the Spooner Continent. Rain pattered on the window, and the sounds of revelry and Carrot screaming floated up from the bar. In an upstairs room, the fire crackled gently, and Gateau Mocha sighed, looking out of the window.

"Hell, it's pissing it down out there," the blonde man observed, "Damn...it was so nice earlier."

"Mm," Marron agreed vaguely, not even looking up. Gateau turned from the window to frown slightly at his younger partner. The boy was leant over an unreasonably large book, one hand making pencil notes in the margin in a neat italic script, the other moving to push his reading glasses back into place. After thinking for a moment, Gateau sidled over to his partner, and sat down on the bed beside him.

"..Hey..you didn't even look," the blonde said, his tone a little reproachful. Dark eyes glanced up at him for a second, then returned to the book.

"Sorry, Gateau, I'm studying right now." Gateau sighed again.

"It doesn't take two seconds to look at a window."

"I know, I just..." Marron's voice trailed off vaguely as he paused to note something in the page margin.

"You just what," Gateau insisted.

"I..." the boy paused and looked up, apparently confused. "...Sorry, what were we talking about?" Gateau considered explaining, but instead smiled indulgently, and shook his head.

"Doesn't matter," he said, gently removing the pencil with one hand and the glasses with the other, placing both on a bedside table before reaching to close the book. "C'mon, leave that alone. You're smart enough already." He was prevented from completing the motion, however, by a slim hand gently removing his.

"No..I really have to finish this - "

"You don't have to," Gateau said slyly, neatly removing the book and placing it out of reach. Marron looked up at him, frowning.

"Why did you do that? Give me that back."

"But I can think of a lot of more interesting things we could be doing," the blonde murmured, slipping one arm around his companion, and moving to rest his other hand lightly on the boy's thigh. "C'mon.."

"Gateau, I really have to - "

"No you don't," Gateau persisted, leaning down and brushing back strands of silky black hair to kiss his partner's neck gently, blinking in surprise as the boy pulled away, shaking his head.

"Stop that. And give me my book back." The blonde frowned.

"...Hey, there's no need to snap at me. I just thought you could use a little lightening up." Although blessed with a near-infinite supply of patience, Marron was very tired and reaching the end of his proverbial tether.

"Yes, well, it was nice of you to think that, but at this moment I want to read my book, and you are currently interfering with that." Unfortunately, Gateau was also tired.

"Why do you even want to read that thing now? We killed the damn sorcerer here already. Why can't you read it tomorrow?"

"Because I want to read it now," the younger of the two insisted, frown verging on a glare.

"Yeah, but you don't have to."

"No, but I want to. Is there a problem with that?" The question was asked in an almost acidic tone.

"Well maybe there is," Gateau said, giving up on diplomacy altogether, "I mean, we hardly saw eachother all day, and now we get some time together and you just want to read your book, which you could be doing anytime. Maybe I think that's a problem, you know?" Marron turned on him suddenly, glaring viciously.

"Yes? Well maybe I have been working hard all day, I'm tired and I don't want to be messing around. Maybe I want to read my book, learn something that will hopefully make our missions easier and less life-threatening in future, and then go to bed and sleep. Maybe. Is that a problem?" Gateau blinked, startled at the vehemence in his usually calm, quiet friend, but then frowned.

"Tch. I just wanted to spend some time with you, talking or something. But you're so obsessive about your studying and your magic and your damn job, you can't even take two seconds to look outside." Marron slammed one hand down angrily on the bed, and then stood up.

"Excuse me, but I hardly think that talking was what you were planning on doing, and don't give me any crap about it, because I know you and besides, the presence of your hand wandering up my leg not more than a minute ago does not give you a strong defensive base." Turning away, he crossed the room and pulled the door open with a little more force than was strictly necessary. "I'm going for a walk, I'll be back later." Gateau rolled his eyes pointedly.

"Oh fine, just walk off, damnit! What won't you do to avoid spending time with me, huh?" Marron paused in the doorway.

"Oh, grow up," he hissed scathingly, "And go find a bathroom, seeing as you're so full of shit today." The blonde sighed, shaking his head.

"And you're a neurotic, manically obsessive bitch every day, dear. I think I must be a masochist, geez.."

"Really. Well if you want me to hurt you, then just keep talking. Otherwise, shut up." Dark eyes directed a poisonous glare at him for a split second, before their owner swept out of the room in a fit of literally glacial indignation. Gateau sighed, and leaned back against the wall, running his hands through his hair.

"Oh, gods..."

Half an hour later found the blonde ducking into the bar downstairs, having temporarily given up on thinking of a way to talk reason into his partner, and decided to get astoundingly drunk and see if that clarified his thought a little. This was unlikely to work but, he reflected, it would probably make him feel a lot better. However, as he sat down at the bar, drink in one hand, the blonde was disturbed from a peaceful sulk by Carrot plunking down in the stool next to him, frowning at him. Gateau turned to face him, scowling.

"...What do you want," he growled. Carrot continued to frown.

"I wanna know what you're doing down here lookin' all sulky," the spiky-haired pervert demanded, "After you disappeared upstairs to pervert my poor little brother earlier, I thought you'd be gone all evenin'. I was lookin' forward to it." Gateau slammed his glass down on the bartop.

"...Yeah? Well, I felt like coming down here so you'll just have to deal with it." Carrot raised an eyebrow.

"Geez, why're you so cranky? You get turned down, or - "

"I'm cranky, you idiot," Gateau snarled, "Because your poor little brother, as you put it, is too neurotic, and too crazily obsessed with saving the world and not letting anyone harm a hair on your damn head, to even take two seconds to look at me. Alright? So yeah, I'm cranky. Got a problem?" Carrot seemed to think about this for a moment.

"...Yeah, I do." Gateau looked up.

"What?"

"I got a problem," Carrot insisted. "See, I don't know how you c'n call Marron nasty things like that, when you're hardly perfect yourself, ya damn showoff, muscleheaded dinosaur! I'll never, ever know what he sees in you, I swear. Maybe you think your body's perfect, but your personality's got some massive holes in it, ya know." Gateau was about to respond angrily, but the statement had struck an odd chord. He wasn't perfect, of course. Maybe he had been a little insensitive earlier..

"You're right," he murmured reflectively, releasing the glass and standing up, "For once in your life."

"Hey, that's not - "

"Yeah, it is. Anyway, I gotta go find Marron. Seeya." And with that, he exited the bar, leaving Carrot blinking in his wake.

Outside, it was cold, although the rain had eased off to a drizzle. Marron was annoyed, but not really angry enough to walk very far, and had given in to weariness after a while, sinking down onto one of the garden benches and sighing heavily.

"Tch.."

"What's the matter, dear?" The boy started slightly at the voice; a figure had apparently sprung into existence beside him. A figure with purple, curly hair, and jingling bangles.

"Mille...?"

"That's me, sweetie," the Haz Knight agreed amiably, "And you, my dear, look just a tiny bit peeved. What's the matter?" Marron shook his head tiredly.

"It - it's nothing."

"Oh, come on now. Spit it out. I don't see Gateau around, does that give me a clue?" Just the sound of the blonde's name made Marron frown again, and Mille nodded knowingly. "Aah, it does give me a clue. So, what's the matter, hmm?"

"Tch..nothing really, he just...kept pestering me this evening when I was trying to study, and we had an argument. It was stupid, but..he just always wants attention, constantly, and wants to be messing around, and...oh, I don't even know." Mille frowned.

"Well, you know dear, we all have our faults. Gateau needs a lot of loving, that's just who he is. We're none of us perfect, hmm?" The boy sighed, running a hand through his hair.

"Yes, I know, but I asked politely, but he wouldn't just leave it, and.." Mille smiled and rolled his eyes patiently.

"You do realise that everybody has faults includes you, yes? You shouldn't be sitting out here brooding and blaming Gateau for some petty little squabble that doesn't even matter. You should be in there spending more time with a man who'd willingly spend the rest of his life with you. I know Gateau's not perfect, dear, far from it, but he's willing to look past your faults and love you anyway." This caused a short silence, and then the frown returned.

"...Yes, but - " Sighing, Mille turned and placed both hands firmly on his companion's shoulders, speaking in the most authoratative tone he could muster.

"Now listen to me. Do you love this man or do you not?"

"I - I do."

"In that case, get down from off your high horse, and go and apologise to him for behaving so childishly in the first place, because if he hasn't called you out by now for being such a pigheaded little shrew, then he's being far more generous to you than you are to him. He'd follow you around for the rest of his life, come hell or high water, just to see if maybe someday you'd smile at him, so what gives you the right to pick at petty faults in that kind of devotion? Get over yourself, and go tell him you're sorry before I feel the need to knock some sense into you, child." Mille sat back and smiled as the boy blinked at him owlishly for a few seconds, then nodded slowly, and stood up.

"Yes..you're right. Thank you, Mille." The aforementioned Haz Knight smiled cheerfully.

"Oh, it's nothing. But I'm not the person you ought to be talking to right now. Go on." Mille smiled, watching the boy walk back towards the hotel. This was certainly much more fun than spending the evening at Mama's church. Now, where was the bar...?

"Gateau!" The blonde turned, startled, at the sound of his name. He'd been on his way upstairs, in his search for the owner of the voice that had just called him. He smiled, relieved.

"Hey, I was lookin' for you," he said slowly, moving back down the stairs.

"Really?"

"Yeah really. I thought you'd have gone back to the room by now, so I was just going.. But that don't really matter. Listen, I'm sorry I wouldn't let you read earlier and kept yammering on. I was being, uh, what's the word. Insensitive? Yeah. So, um, sorry." The younger of the two smiled slightly, and moved a little closer to the blonde.

"...And I was being stupid and pigheaded, so I'm sorry too." Gateau managed to pout.

"I was sorry first.." A light shove in the chest made his sulky expression crack into a grin. "Hey!"

"You know perfectly well that that doesn't matter. What matters is we realised we were both at fault, and admitted it via apologising." Gateau frowned.

"I know what you mean. I think. But, uh, what now, then?"

"A compromise is probably the best solution," Marron said thoughtfully. The blonde raised an eyebrow, grinning.

"Yeah? Okay...how about, you read your book to me for a bedtime story." This earned him another shove.

"Somehow, I don't think it would interest you very much. And anyway - " the sentence was interrupted at that point by a yawn " - I'm too tired for reading."

"Well, that's easy enough to sort out, then," Gateau declared, reaching down and sweeping the boy into his arms without warning, elicting a startled yelp.

"Gateau - !" The blonde's grin did not abate even slightly as he began to walk up the stairs again.

"Shh, you."

"What - "

"I said, shh. It's gotta be past your bedtime, you're overtired and grouchy. I think you ought to sleep now." Realising that there was very little argument he could make to that, Marron sighed, leaning his head against Gateau's shoulder.

"...Yes, mother. What're you going to do, then? Go down to the bar?"

"Hell no, I'm tired too," the larger man muttered, unlocking the door with one hand and kicking it closed behind him, frowning as he noticed something. "Geez, you went outside, didn't you? You're all cold and wet."

"Hmm...well, maybe I'll just have to take this wet shirt off, then. And you realise, you are not wearing that old jacket to sleep. Or those boots." Gateau nodded agreeably, courteously assissting with the removal of the shirt, and then placing his companion on the bed in order to remove his own jacket and boots, laying down on the bed the second he was done.

"There. Now, you go to sleep."

"And what if I don't?"

"...I'll think of something," the blonde muttered, shifting into a more comfortable position, laying back with his partner draped across his chest, and blowing out the candle on the bedside table, reducing the room to darkness.

For some time, the room was quiet and peaceful, not a word to be heard or said. Eventually, however, Gateau couldn't put up with it any more.

"Marron, stop wriggling."

"...'m not," was the drowsy, murmured response.

"You are, you - " Gateau stopped. Sighed. Smiled to himself. "...Doesn't matter. Just go to sleep."

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

feather-duster offers her most abject and humblest apologies for a piece of such unadulterated sap. feather-duster loves these two. Watching the anime does her head in, though, cause feather-duster just wants to grab the pair of them and lock them in a closet together until they get it worked out, i.e. start shagging like it's going out of style. Oh, and the obvious string of closet-related puns would amuse her greatly, too.

And, feather-duster loves Scrubs. Especially Dr Cox.