The Greatest Gift of All
By Bishop Sasarai (Sorry about my name change in Part Two, that's what I'm called on FictionPress…)
Shinon was still officially freaking out an hour later. He could not believe that he had kissed Gatrie like the world was on fire. Even more… He was mortified by what Gatrie had said. Did Gatrie even realize what he had said? Did he mean it in the way Shinon thought he meant it? The world was over. Shinon was sure of it. The end had come.
Shinon didn't go to the archery range. It was too typical of him. He didn't drink, either. Somehow, getting drunk was just the wrong idea. No… Shinon left the fort and headed to the nearby town. He stayed there all day, and he did not come home until well after dark. Amazingly, he was not drunk. Amazingly… He had not touched any alcohol. But the only thing stopping him was…
He didn't want to forget what had happened. He kept thinking over it again and again. The deep feelings that washed over him did not become any less intense, he was surprised to note. They only seemed to get stronger with longing, the more he thought about it, and the less time he had seen Gatrie.
And all day, he thought of Gatrie. He kept wondering why Gatrie had said what he said. Gatrie loved women. Shinon could not understand why Gatrie would say something like that. I love you… The words still made Shinon shiver. Sure, Rolf said it on a regular basis, but Shinon didn't often hear those words in such a context. Shinon was not popular with women. They tended to like the less sharp Gatrie. Shinon was not so easily duped.
So, it was with a sober mind that Shinon finally approached the Greil Fort, and he slipped into their shared room well after midnight. He undressed quickly, then crawled under his bed's covers. It had been cold outside, and the fort was not much warmer. He waited for the blankets and his body heat to warm him up. He listened in the darkness, and found that he could hear Gatrie breathing. But he was not snoring. Shinon moved his head on his pillow, gazing into the darkness in the direction of Gatrie's bed. In the pitch blackness, he could not see much more than a lump in the bed. Shinon felt his heart beating faster, and he glared at himself. He wasn't a stupid teenage girl. He needed to stop simpering like one.
Shinon rolled onto his other side, and he stared at the wall. He could not get to sleep. His mind was restless. He could hear Gatrie breathing still, and it distracted him. The silence in the room stretched, and Shinon wondered if Gatrie was falling asleep. He was still having such a hard time with it. He rolled onto his back now, staring at the ceiling, though he could barely see its cracks in the darkness.
Shinon heard Gatrie's voice, soft and doubtful, in the dark, and he made himself not look over at the dark lump. He looked at the ceiling. He swallowed. He licked his dry lips. He was afraid to say anything, but finally, he heard his own voice, cracked and thin, respond.
"Why did you leave?"
Shinon turned back to the wall. He stretched out an arm, brushing the wall with his finger. It was cold. Somehow, the cold made him feel better.
"I just had to."
Shinon heard Gatrie's bed squeaking. He willed himself not to look. He didn't want to know if Gatrie was sitting up, or just moving around, or even getting up. He didn't want to know anything about what Gatrie was doing right now.
"It's what I said… Isn't it?"
Shinon's finger stopped stroking the wall, and Shinon's gaze froze. His eyes were looking at the wall, but he was not seeing it. All he could see was Gatrie's face. Gatrie's body after a battle and he took off his armor. Gatrie, Gatrie, Gatrie. Fuck Gatrie! No, don't! Gah! Why was this happening to him?
"Listen," Shinon said, his voice ended up coming out hoarse. "Let's just not talk about this any more."
It was silent for a moment, and then Gatrie said, "No."
"I said, no. I don't want to pretend nothing happened."
Shinon stared stubbornly at the wall. But it didn't matter what he looked at, because he felt Gatrie's weight sink into his bed, and how was he going to escape now?
"Please, Gatrie. Let's just forget this."
"Why? I love you. Not talking about it doesn't make it not exist."
Gatrie laughed a little. "I know that didn't make much sense. But… hear me out, Shinon. I love you. But you're…you, and I thought… Well, I thought a lot of things, but mostly I thought I'd just never say anything. Find a nice girl, settle down. That kind of thing. I was content just to be by your side. But when…" Gatrie's voice grew thick with emotion, and he paused for a moment. "When you…kissed me, I don't know. How can I see you and wonder…what might have been? Don't you have feelings for me? How could you kiss me like that and not feel something? Anything, for me?"
"How about irritated? I think that's feeling something," Shinon suggested bitterly. Gatrie put a hand on Shinon's shoulder, a brotherly hand, like he did back before Shinon was stupid and kissed him. Somehow, this made Shinon feel colder on the inside than any words.
"If that's really all," Gatrie replied sadly. "I'll respect your wishes. I…I won't talk about it."
Gatrie started to get back up, and Shinon could feel everything slipping away; if he said nothing more—right now—then he was going to regret it. They couldn't be friends like they were before. Everything was too different. There would always be a gap between them. Maybe Shinon was afraid of losing that friendship, but if he confessed to his emotions, maybe it wouldn't happen quite so soon. Maybe there was just something there they needed to explore. Maybe they could still be friends.
Shinon reached out and grabbed Gatrie's wrist just as he stood up, yanking him back down on the bed. Gatrie tripped over Shinon's pants on the floor, falling backwards onto Shinon's legs.
"Ow…" Shinon muttered under his breath. He could barely see Gatrie's expression, but he looked lost.
"Shinon, what was that f—"
Shinon pulled him toward him roughly, kissing him hungrily. Gatrie was too stunned to react for a moment, and for a dreadful few heartbeats, Shinon was sure Gatrie was going to shove away from him. But he didn't. Good old faithful Gatrie. He kissed Shinon back, though it was less intense than Shinon's kiss; tentative, hesitant. Impatient, Shinon broke off the kiss and glared at Gatrie, green eyes flashing.
"What's wrong with you?" he hissed, a wisp of red hair falling into his face. Gatrie seemed distracted by the hair, reaching for it. Shinon moved the hair from his face first, pretty sure he knew what Gatrie was going to do. But Gatrie's hand didn't stop moving. He gently touched the side of Shinon's face, caressing him with a strange expression like wonder on his face. Shinon scowled. "Gatrie." He took hold of Gatrie's wrist, effectively stopping him.
Gatrie's eyes moved from Shinon's hair, to his face, to his eyes.
He was going to demand Gatrie kiss him harder, but something about the tenderness of his gaze silenced him. Why were things so familiar, and yet so alien? This was Gatrie he was kissing, this was Gatrie that he wanted to…well… Gatrie. Of all the people on the planet; this dumbass. His dumbass.
"I love you."
Gatrie seemed speechless. He stared into Shinon's eyes, gaze so heated that Shinon wanted to squirm out of it and say forget it all. But Gatrie's lips finally formed into a smile.
Oh my god. I hate that ending. Oh well. At least I finally had the courage to post it… It's been sitting on my computer for a while, I kept hoping I'd come up with a new ending. My LegaultxHeath story's next chapter should be up shortly.