Chapter Seventeen: Man Talks

Uh… Right. New chapter is up. I'm really sorry for this uber late update… but I just lost inspiration for this story (and pair) and I've been caught up with school, college exams, Senior's Night, graduation and college enrolment….

And oh my freaking god, I'm going to college. O.o

OOC-ness and a nice!Creed.

I feel that the previous chapter was a little too heavy on angst, so I decided to put some humor in this one.

….

He held her smaller -colder- hand in his and looked at her with those hazel eyes that she loved so much -too much- and suddenly she wished she hadn't agreed to see him.

"I'm sorry."

"I know."

"I didn't know what I was doing and I just kind of… kind of…"

"I know."

"What do I have to do to make it up to you, Eve?"

Her name rolled off his tongue with such ease and familiarity… and intimacy.

Eve shut that last thought out because she didn't want to hurt anymore. She didn't want to hope anymore. Because it was stupid. It was idiotic. It was NEVER going to work. The fact that he had said the wrong name during their first REAL kiss proved that… How could she have thought that it would work out anyway? How could she have imagined them together, happy, contented and in love?

StupidStupidStupidgirl.

Eve bit her lip and withdrew her hand slowly. She felt his fingers brush gently against her palm, and for one fleeting second she thought that he had tried to snatch her hand back. Train only looked away and stuffed a fist in his jean's pocket.

"You don't have to do anything. You were probably confused. I was-- I was wearing a yukata. It could have… roused a few memories. You know, people kind of do things impulsively when-- when--"

Train shook his head and bowed low. "It's not a good excuse and you know it."

"Then what is a good excuse?" Eve dared to ask. She stared at his dark head and felt her heart clench at his next few words.

"I don't know." Train really wished he had thought first before saying something so foolish.

….

"Gah. I wanted to shoot myself." The Black Cat slumped over the bar's counter, sloshing alcohol on the smooth surface and causing yet another wave of aneurism for the exasperated bartender. The man grumbled as he cleaned up the mess, whispering something about being underage and irresponsible guardians. Creed Diskenth could only sweatdrop and give the man a very apologetic look.

"Seriously. I mean, how moronic can I possibly get?"

"Is that a rhetorical question? Because I reeeeaaally want to answer that."

"Shut the hell up, Jenos."

"Make me."

The Chronos Number considered himself immensely lucky that Creed was there to prevent a certain Black Cat from throwing a beer glass at his face. ("Train, put that down, or so help me I will shove that up your--")

Soft music and the idle chit-chat of the bar's regular patrons drifted to the three men's ears. It was quiet for a bar, the dark-haired man mused, but the ambience was very welcoming and it seemed like the perfect place to hang-out and do some man-to-man talk.

Or in Jenos' and Train's case, boy-to-boy…

"Both of you should stop acting like immature brats and start being serious here. I thought we came here to talk about something, hm?" Creed, the more reasonable one, crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the two bickering men. At first, he felt rather accomplished… being the only real adult in the situation, but then, seeing that smirk from Train made him think that playing mother-hen wasn't always a good thing.

"Oh hush, Creed. This is perfect practice for when you and Echidna decide to make a family."

SMACK.

"Ow! Jeez, do you want to kill off all of my brain cells or what?"

The Black Cat rubbed the offended body part and shot his companion a glare. Creed only huffed in mild indignation.

Jenos looked rather amused by it all. "Y'know, both of you should get some sort of sit-com thing going. I'm so sure Rins would love to watch that."

"And you should get a life, Jenos Hazard."

"Touchy. Train is being an uncharacteristic emo-kid. You should put some eyeliner on. It'll set off your 'oh-so-pretty hazel honey whatnot' eyes off."

"Why are we talking about this? WHY?"

"Because we are three unattached men who've nothing better to do…"

Creed deadpanned. "I'm engaged."

"Ohohoho. Good for you then, mate! Would you like a martini along with that pat on the back?"

"Ugh. Jenos with an accent is seriously freaking me out. Also, what do you mean unattached? You're with Rins!"

"Unfortunately, our relationship is on indefinite hiatus." The Chronos Number waved a hand dismissively.

Train ran a hand down his face and slammed his glass on the counter to order milk… or whatever. Beer, gin, vodka… Anything. Just to get his mind off things. Off Eve. Off Jenos. It was all terribly frustrating and somehow even the Number Thirteen couldn't handle mixed emotions of anger, annoyance and angst all rolled into one very gross-looking burrito from hell (as Jenos had dubbed it earlier).

There was a moment of dramatic silence, and Creed secretly thought of this as a good sign. Hopefully the pleasant twinkling of piano keys filtering into the room from godknowswhere held some sort of life-changing significance.

Alas, the Diskenth's hopes were all shattered when Jenos decided to speak up.

"Maybe you should talk to her about it again? Like, think of a more sensible answer next time. 'I don't know' is just freakishly vague, man." Jenos patted Train's head gently before downing another glass of gin.

He hadn't expected to meet the two former assassins hanging out at a local bar, of all places. But maybe it was because Jenos thought that Creed was a little too… unstable to be allowed any alcohol, and Train sort of looked too underage to be allowed in. He didn't really think that number Thirteen would have any problems that were remotely close to anything associated with girls. You know, girls. The opposite sex, the ones with bigger chests and prettier faces (except for him, of course. Jenos considered himself to have attained god-like perfection)?

"That wouldn't exactly be the best idea… I mean, with my poor conversational skills and all…" Train sighed again and tapped his fingers on the counter. "I hate how I can't forget about Saya. But then again, I can't really help it, right? She's an important person in my life. There's no changing that either."

"But she's dead." Jenos so carelessly pointed out. Train glared at him.

Their other companion stiffened noticeably and turned away for a bit. The silver-haired man busied himself by looking at the assortment of wine bottles and different kinds of drinking glasses on the counter and on the shelves behind the bartender. Creed felt a pang of guilt at the pit of his stomach, and the strong urge to gut himself if required overwhelmed him.

"Oh stop it, Creed. That was eons ago… I'm not guilt-tripping you or anything." Train said cautiously. He put a hand on his friend's shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. "Anyway, it's my fault for being too caught up in the past. I mean, I'm trying to move on… but it looks as though there's still a part of me that doesn't want to."

"But if hadn't… well… killed--"

"I'll stop you right there, Creed Diskenth. Not another word. Past is past. You're my friend now, and I've forgiven you for being the demented, fucked-up life-ruiner-slash-terrorist you once were." The dark-haired man winked and turned back to his drink.

"Uhm. Thanks."

"Aww. I truly believe this is man-hug worthy moment, you guys!"

"Go and be gay somewhere else, Hazard!"

"Please… I beg of you both. Just shove the witty comments up your asses and try being serious about this!--Train Heartnet, I am talking here! The least you could do after dragging me out of my house, discontinuing my wedding planning, and forcing me into some bar, is to listen to me give you advice."

"But mom--!" SMACK.

"Fine, fine. I'm sorry! Just keep the magic mallet away! Seriously… shouldn't we be against cartoon violence, or something?"

Creed heaved a very exasperated sigh and rubbed his aching temple. The whole situation was getting awfully ridiculous. One minute, they were all sad and guilty-feeling, the next second they shift to another topic and start shouting at each other like snotty little five-year-olds. Creed felt that a migraine coming and wished that they could get the counseling over and done with before he developed another headache.

Train and Jenos, he established, can't be half-drunk and be adults at the same time.

Another sigh. "Okay, back to the situation at hand. Train, what in god's name were you thinking? Couldn't you have at least cleared out the situation to yourself?"

Train rubbed his head. "I was… well, for the most part …confused, okay? I mean, I like the Princess. I think I really do. But all these situations just jump out at me and… and I get confused even more that I end up blurting out Saya's name... And in case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly the type of guy who has all his thoughts organized into neat files in his head."

Jenos held his shot glass against the light and set it down on the counter. He mused. "… In my opinion, your being a little of a masochist and a sadist at the same time," the man crossed his legs and poked Thirteen's forehead. "See, you're hurting yourself every time you bring Saya up. You're not as 'over' her as you think you are… otherwise you would have never had this problem with Eve in the first place. Also, you're hurting Eve. Give the kid a break, Train. She's sixteen and can't handle that much emotion all at the same time."

The Black Cat bowed low and chewed on his lip unconsciously. Of course he knew that. But what was he supposed to do? Lie to the girl and act like everything was okay?

"I know all that, Jenos. But I… as chessy as this probably sounds… I've never fallen in love with anyone else before. I've never experiences being 'in love'. I don't exactly know what to do, aright? I don't know what to give anyone on Valentines Day. I don't know what the hell White Day is… I don't know what a decent anniversary gift is… I'm clueless about things like this! I don't know what to say to Eve to make things better than they are. I don't know how NOT to break a heart when I've never had a chance to take care of one before. Do you see my point?"

An awkward silence took over. Creed shifted uncomfortably in his seat and clasped both of his hands together. He STILL felt like everything was his fault, after all. And he thought inwardly that maybe… maybe if he hadn't been so selfish all those years ago all of this wouldn't have been happening.

"Well, you've already broken her heart. Why not try to fix it?" The former terrorist fixed his amethyst eyes at the Black Cat. "Though, how to do that, I am clueless. You'll just have to find out on your own… You can't very well lie to her, much less to yourself. Maybe you should try being more honest?"

"Hm. Creed has a good idea there. You haven't told Eve what you really feel… if you made things clearer for her, she would probably feel more at ease…" Jenos winked.

"Or you could try sweeping her off her feet and taking her to a small island getaway and--"

"Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?"

"No. Not really."

Train shot Jenos a very sour look and propped his chin on folded arms. "What the hell am I doing? I shouldn't be asking you for advice anyways."

"Excuse me for trying to help you out. In case you haven't noticed I was trying to be nice."

"Well, I appreciate the nice-ness but it hardly makes my situation better, doesn't it?"

"Maybe if ya hadn't decided to be all Ross-like and didn't say the wrong name--"

"Wait, what are you talking about?"

"Calm down, you two. Seriously."

Creed only sighed as the babbling and verbal warfare ensued. He drank the remainder of his water (because Echidna had asked -pleaded- with him not to drink any liquor) and waited until the two men squabbling in front of him calmed down, acted a little less immature and eventually tried to listen to what else he had to say… Sure enough, it didn't take too long for the profanity to run out and for the shouting to die down.

The silver-haired man was glad he didn't have to shove ice down their throats to get them to shut up.

"Train, I personally think that you should try talking to Eve again. Just to clear things up. You can't leave the girl with such an unsatisfying answer, after all…" Creed patted his friend's shoulder lightly and gave him a slight smile. "I think the girl deserves an explanation. You can't just kiss somebody and go off saying other people's names like that. It's just… wrong."

"Wronger than youz trying 'ta take over the worllld?"

"Uhm. I don't think so, Jenos but--"

Jenos held his hand up at Creed's face and looked at the man with disinterest. He took hold of another glass and chugged it down, spilling liquor all of his shirt and even managing to flip his hair with a flourish. Creed blinked and looked at the counter, eyes widening at the shotglasses scattered all over and the bartender lying unconscious on the floor.

He did NOT remember seeing that many glasses and an unconscious man before the argument started.

I think I'm going to get a an aneurism.

"O' course it's not wronger ya, dumbass! It's the wrongest thing evah!" And then Train just sort of stood on the bar stool and did a little happy dance, apparently trying to mock Jenos who was in the process of taking his shirt off and showing off his (rather impressive) six-pack.

It was then that Creed established that the bar wasn't the best place to do counseling.

"I should've considered the ice cream parlor."

….

Author-person: A little filler chapter and a little humor to lighten up the mood. If I manage to finish up the work that's been dumped on me (it doesn't feel like summer vacation at all T.T), and if I manage to rack my brain for more words, I will update within the week. I won't promise anything, though.

Please be patient, okay? For all of you who've supported this story up until now, I thank you so much. :')