Disclaimer: La Esperança was created by Chigusa Kawai…not me…

Word Count: 1, 705

Warning: Spoilers for volume 2, one-sided HenrixGeorges, Henri/Georges friendship and generally bad writing…(sorry readers...)

Special thanks to: Everyone who reviewed 'Our Past, Our Present'. It means a lot to me to know what you guys think of my first LE multi-chapter story, so thanks AnimeAngelRin, yaoi kitsune, Bee Bop, Mister Cat, yaoiLOVER6Eiriyuki, EmpatheticDreamer and V.G!

This was written because this section hasn't been updated for a while…no new stories or updates since February…I just had to post something! Right?

Because of You

Henri will never forget the first time Georges genuinely smiled at him. It was several years ago, yet he remembers the scenario as if it happened yesterday.

Georges was the new boy, shy and quiet, watching the other children play and longing to join them, but too afraid to take the first step. Henri approached him in the school grounds, intrigued by the blonde, and spoke to him for the first time.

"Put out your hand!" Henri giggled, rummaging through his pocket.

"Huh?"

"Your hand!"

Georges stared blankly at the boy stood in front of him, unsure of what Henri wanted from him. The dark-haired boy paused for a moment before taking action and grabbing Georges' hand.

"Whoa!" The blonde gasped as something small and square was plonked onto his palm. "This…a caramel…"

"Shh!" Henri pressed a finger to his lips and leant in closer to Georges. "It's a secret! If they found out, we'll get scolded."

Georges looked at the boy grinning at him and realised he too was smiling.

Henri sighed, putting his books back into his bag. Georges was smiling at him from his seat on the third row. That smile…that soft, kind smile…Henri wondered what was running through Georges' mind right now. A lot had happened recently.

Henri wanted to know more about the 'Chris' incident. Of-course, Robert was involved – the troublemakers always have a habit of showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time – but Henri believes there's more to the story than he was told.

Ever since Chris had been arrested, Georges had been acting a little differently. He spent more time at the church, was more hesitant to smile, and – Henri keeps telling himself that he's not paranoid – he looked at Robert with some kind of admiration.

Georges has a mysterious power…everyone around him is attracted to his warm, angelic personality.

But Henri could see beyond the smile. And so could that jerk Robert.

"There's something about him that doesn't feel "human", isn't there? I just feel like seeing that part of him crumble, that's all."

"Henri? You okay?" Georges asked, gently placing a hand on Henri's shoulder.

"Oh, Georges!" Henri jumped. "You scared me…"

"Sorry…"

"No, no, I was…in a world of my own. C'mon, let's go."

Georges nodded and followed Henri outside.

--

"You're quiet today." Henri said, sitting with his back against the oak tree.

"I am?" Georges frowned, looking down at his friend.

"You've been quieter than usual lately…"

"I…didn't realise…" Georges sat down beside Henri, looking into his eyes. "Does it worry you?"

"I always worry about you." Henri sighed. "But…yeah…"

"Sorry…"

"You're saying that a lot more lately too." Henri turned away from the blonde. "You don't need to apologize…"

"Henri…" Georges lay down to look up at the clouds. "Thanks…for looking out for me all the time. I don't mean to make you worry…"

"I know." Henri grinned, turning back to look at Georges.

"It looks like an angel, watching over us from the sky." Georges whispered, his emerald eyes entranced by the fluffy, white clouds.

"Yeah?" Henri looked up briefly, finding the cloud resembling a figure with a pair of fluffy wings, before returning his gaze to Georges. The sun's rays hit him at an odd angle, casting shadows across his face, highlighting his soft features and platinum blonde locks. "An angel…" Henri repeated, without realising he'd even opened his mouth.

--

When school's out, the boys go their separate ways. Georges watches Robert turn left outside the gates, walking slowly, bag slung over one shoulder, and his lanky figure slightly hunched over. He'd returned Georges 'goodbye' with a friendly smirk, but the blonde can't help but feel a little dejected. Robert, unlike Henri, doesn't wait for him at the gates. If Georges is running late – an errand for the sisters usually delays him before home time – Robert will leave without a farewell for Georges. That's how he is…

"So, you want to go out tonight?" Henri asked, nudging the blonde.

"Oh…I can't tonight, I'm sorry, Henri. I promised my mother I'd play for her. She's been feeling a lot better these past few weeks, so we're making the most of it. I can go out tomorrow, though, you know, if you still want to…"

"Sure, sure. My Dad's pleased with your mom's improvement too. You two enjoy yourselves."

Further down the road, two young boys were trading cards.

"I don't know, Brad…I really like this card…" The brown-haired one clutched a card to his chest.

"C'mon! It's a good trade, trust me!" The taller of the two grinned, slinging an arm around his friend.

Georges chuckled. "They look like good friends."

"Hmm…I wouldn't trust him." Henri frowned as they passed the juniors.

"Why?"

"Look at the guy's face. He's scamming his buddy just to get a card." Henri shook his head. "Kids today…"

Georges stopped walking. "Trust…" He whispered, a sad edge to his voice.

"Hey Georges, this is-" Henri paused, seeing Georges a few paces behind him. "What's up?"

"Hey…Henri…can I…can I ask you something?"

"…Yes, of-course. What is it?"

"Is it so wrong to want to trust people?"

"No…not always. But you have to be careful…not everyone is as innocent and honest as you, Georges…" Henri moved closer to his friend, making sure to take a good look into Georges' eyes.

"You're strong, Henri…so much stronger than me…" The shorter boy admitted, his hand deep in his pocket and clutching his rosary. "One day, I feel like I'm going to need you by my side…" Georges pressed his forehead against Henri's chest. "When that day comes…would you please lend me your strength…?" The blonde knew how weak he sounded, asking for help like this. He always felt dependant on someone, whether it was his mother, Henri…or even Robert…

Henri slowly wrapped his arms around his friend, revelling in the moment, but worried for Georges at the same time.

"Always…I'm here for you, Georges."

--

Henri knows Georges better than most, and yet he's treated the same as everyone else. It's this fact that makes Henri find Georges an annoying as he is endearing, but he believes it's worth all the hassle to see the blonde genuinely smile. Henri, the loyal sidekick, there to protect and defend, but never allowed to get close. He puts up with it – that's the price he pays for his close friendship with Georges, and there's nothing he can do to change it.

"Hey, you!" Henri called out, running over to a tall, dark-haired boy. There's still another ten minutes left of morning break, and now's his chance to get some answers.

The figure in question doesn't acknowledge Henri, but he doesn't walk away either.

Robert gazes out of the window, elbows resting on the sill. Henri may have shouted out to him, but he approached him quietly.

For a moment, the two dark-haired students stand together in silence. Henri decides to speak first.

"It's because of you isn't it?" He says, a little dejectedly, staring out of the window and spotting the familiar figures of Erwin and Freddy.

Robert says nothing, as Henri predicts, but he shifts from one foot to the other. This tells Henri more than mere words could. The older boy knows what this confrontation is about. After all, Henri only approaches him when Georges is concerned.

"How far are you willing to go…?"

"I already told you…I want to see what's behind his façade." Robert explains, unusually open and straight-forward for a change.

"I…won't take back what I said, but…part of me believes you should stay away from him." Henri's tone changes from friendly interrogation to a warning. "Something's changed…he's…questioning his own judgment…"

"I'll break that mask, and expose who he really is."

"What's really in it for you?" Henri turns to face Robert now, struggling to keep his rising anger in check. His voice gives him away as his pitch rises, and his eyes are glaring daggers at the older student.

"It means I win, nothing more."

"You think that little of him…?"

"Hn. I hate people like him." Robert mutters, wondering if Henri regrets his early words about allowing Robert to free Georges from his protective barrier.

Henri opens his mouth to retort, but footsteps drawing nearer from the west hall make him pause. Georges emerges from around the corner, an angelic smile on his face as always. He seems a little surprised – and so he should be – to find Robert and Henri together. Nevertheless, he greets them politely.

"Hi Henri."

The shorter dark-haired boy nods. "Georges…"

"Morning Robert."

Henri watches from his spot by the window as the taller boy walks up to Georges. He bends slightly, his lanky frame almost looming over Georges' small 5'2'' figure, in order to whisper something into the blonde's ear, a smirk on his face the whole time.

Henri clenches his hands, but stays where he is, watching the scene play out in front of him. It isn't his cue yet.

Georges, the only student with a smile for all situations, freezes. As Robert walks past him, lightly brushing his shoulder as he saunters, slowly, casually, down the hall, hands in his pockets, Georges just stands there. He isn't smiling now. He looks a little shocked, blinking a few times.

Henri steps towards him, worry etched on his features as he checks the boy over.

"I'm fine, Henri." Georges whispers. "I'm fine." He repeats, in an attempt to reassure himself.

Henri looks into those expressive green eyes, but Georges gives nothing away. He flashes Henri a smile – as always – covering up any discomfort he felt from Robert's whispers.

Georges playfully links arms with Henri – his best friend, his loyal sidekick – and gives the younger boy a gentle squeeze. "Let's go."

And Henri finds himself nodding. He so desperately wants to ask about what Robert said to throw Georges off, but he won't. Because Georges is smiling again – genuinely this time – and Henri's job is to make sure that Georges has a reason to smile.

--

Henri can't help but find it unfair that, after years of trying and stressing, Robert can, with just one look, begin to crack Georges' invisible barrier.

- Minako Angel

--

This time, I wanted to explore what might have happened had the 'Chris' incident featured again in volume three. I can't remember if Georges really mentioned anything to Henri about Chris, but here is my version of the events following Chris' arrest.

Again, Henri features prominently, however, I wanted all three boys to have focus here. For some reason, I'm slipping into 'Henri's voice'. I hope I write him accurately enough…

I think I was aiming for a trust issue here…but, it ends as more Henri angst. What can I say?

The end quote was from a short collection of drabbles I wrote a while back. I always wanted to write a story for the one used here. Its title was 'Boundary'.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my latest one-shot! It's been a while since I've read La Esperança…

Thanks for reading!

Minako Angel xxx