Summary: As the months tick by with excruciating slowness, he thinks about their relationship, or lack thereof. Wondering if he'll ever get his happy ending. Short oneshot.
Author's Note: Heh. Let's play a game called 'Guess The Characters'. I'm not using names and I didn't tell you because nobody would read it if I did. There, that's a clue. Whoever gets it wins… a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Yum.
As Time Goes By
He's not quite sure when it happened, and it doesn't particularly matter. All he knows is that somewhere along the line, attraction blurred into something more, something unexpected and unwelcome and consuming.
He's the worst person ever.
He always loved Christmas, but this year he doesn't so much. Suddenly his optimism is dampened by sights of couples that should be couples not being couples and other ridiculous things that decide to heap themselves on his conscious and- whoa, there goes the optimism flying out the window.
And now he's suppressing the urge to scowl at people who ask him what's wrong with him, because it's the holidays and he should be happy.
He should be. But he's not.
He hates Winter. Sick of the snow, of the boring blanket of white around everything, sick of the cold, sick of everything. She's the only light in his life and he hates it because she's not his.
He can't even ask her- she's taken. Sort of.
He's tired of holding up the invisible walls around his heart and his guard slips one day when it's especially bad. Of course she's the next one to cross his path, so that doesn't help.
He mumbles an excuse at her to get away because he's only so strong. Today he's not up to hiding it from her but he's still feeling logical enough to know that it's a bad idea to be around her when he's like this.
It's driving him crazy, so he takes a vacation. Goes to some island where it's warm and there's so many people it's almost suffocating so he almost doesn't have time to think.
He thinks he sees her everywhere, so he drinks a lot of foreign fruity drinks to get rid of her.
It doesn't work.
Finally springtime. People are starting to notice. His smile rarely reaches his eyes and he's drawing strange looks, wondering where the real him went.
He bullshits his way through pretty much all his conversations. It would almost be funny if it didn't take so much work.
He briefly thinks about quitting. It's hard to be around her and not… Kiss her senseless and tell her they'd be amazing together. He's afraid of how she'd react, and it's crazy, someone his age being concerned about something like that. But he is.
And he's fallen for her hard enough that he decides in the end to stay because he can't bear the thought of never seeing her again.
The pain is constant, now. The guilt, the anger are almost as bad. Doesn't matter how many times he tries to convince himself how awful he is it just doesn't work.
So when she walks up to him one day and asks him who it is that's got him so mopey, he very nearly flips out and doesn't tell her she's it. Her and her exotic dark eyes, bright smile, and playful attitude have got him head over heels and it's pathetic, it really is.
"I think you're fantastic," she says one day out of the blue, uncharacteristically hesitant, and waits for his reaction.
He can't help it, he chokes on his coffee. "You... what?"
She narrows her eyes at him. "Think. You. Are. Fantastic...?"
She waits expectantly. "Now's where you tell me your secret."
He's proud of how blank he makes his expression when he says, "What secret?"
A condescending look. Chin cupped casually in her palm. Matter of fact. "You know. The one where you're in love with me."
She leaves him alone after that. Alone with his thoughts- shock, surprise, elation… Curiosity, vigilance, frustration. Sometimes he thinks their conversation was all in his head, she's that aloof.
One day, though, he swears she winked at him as he walked by. Or maybe not. He's never figured it out.
The next month comes and goes. The leaves change colors and he's convinced himself he dreamed the whole thing.
Then she does it again. Gold, brown, green; the leaves are left on his desk. A message?
She smiles a secretive smile as she passes him. Things change.
"For someone of your intelligence, you really are clueless." Very casually, and then she pulls at his jacket until her nose bumps his and she kisses him, right there in the office. "And you take too long to make a move."
"I wasn't-" He sighs, lets his hands settle, light around her waist.
She gives him a Look. "Well, doesn't much matter now, does it?"
"What took you so long?" She asks, and he shrugs.
"I didn't think you were ready. Plus, considering our professions… Well, mostly mine, but-"
"Yeah, but I didn't-"
"There was that one time" and she tilts her head gracefully in acknowledgement.
"You've made your point. Now, where were we?" His eyes glint, mischievous.
The office door swings shut.
This Christmas is much better, because he's allowed to kiss her under the mistletoe and give her presents and tell her he loves her out loud.
"I love you too," she says sweetly as he pokes the tinsel halo atop her head.
He braces two arms above her shoulders, trapping her against the wall. "I thought you hated me."
"For…" She trails off. "Oh. That. No, that was my fault, understand?"
"Yeah." He can feel a smile tugging at his lips. "I love you."
She looks amused. "You said that already."
"And I'll say it again and again," he replies cheekily.
"Forever and ever and as long as we both shall live?" Her eyes sparkle at him in the lights.
"Sounds like a plan." And he kisses her again.