Title: White lies.
Fandom: Rockman EXE. (MMBN, MMNTW)
Genre: Comedy. Romance.
Disclaimer: Rockman, its characters, places and themes belong to Capcom, Shogakukan, Keiji Inafune, ShoPro, TV Tokio, etc.. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: "To commute" is the Navi equivalent of "to have an intimate intercourse". "The digital blue light" is what they call upon when they're frustrated, just the way we say "for God's sake," and such other phrases when under pressure. :)
Summary: Rockman says a white lie to take himself out from a rather tight spot. As he tries to drag Blues along in the mess he's made, a rather unexpected discovery is made…
* * * * *
"You told them… what?" asked with the breathless tone of someone who heard the words the first time around, but hoped to have heard them wrong.
Rockman fidgeted. Whoever thought that the visor took away from the intensity of Blues's glare, would have another thing coming. Right then, Blues was glaring, and he was glaring hard, and even through the visor, it was damn scary.
Rockman wondered dimly if he was getting steadily smaller under the scrutiny… it surely felt like so.
"Uhm…" he cleared his throat. "That I was flattered by their attention, but weren't interested in any of them?"
"That I wasn't interested because I'm unavailable?"
"…that I'm unavailable because I've already got a boyfriend?"
"After that, Rockman." And stop dodging the question, thankyouverymuch.
"Uhm… that said boyfriend is you?"
As mentioned above, Blues had had a slight hope that if Rockman spoke the words aloud a second time, it would change their meaning. It didn't. And now he had to deal with it.
"Let me get this straight," he began, very slowly. "You got cornered by some fans…"
"Uhm, nope. It's Navi I know personally we're talking about here, even some fellow Net-Battlers of ours. There was even-"
"…you got cornered by some infatuated friends of yours," Blues interjected. "Were confessed to, and had the brilliant idea to use me as an excuse to turn them down?!"
Rockman winced. Funny, how his brilliant come-up sounded so utterly foolish, when Blues voiced it.
"I told you it was a spur-of-the-moment thing!"
"Obviously. No amount of thinking could have lead us into a bigger mess."
"No buts. I don't know whatever possessed you to say I'm your lover, but you'd better confess your lie now, and save us the trouble."
"I can't! They said that if I were single, they'd have a fight to decide which one of them is worthy of me!"
Blues rubbed his face. Harshly. And expelled a few choice-words under his breath. To him, the fact that those Navi were willing to fight for the possession of Rockman, as though he was a thing or a prize, spoke volumes about their so-called "love" for him.
"So you lied to them to prevent that, and now you want me to cover for you? Play the role of your lover? Is that it?"
Rockman blushed. Why did Blues have to phrase it like that? "Lover" sounded so much more… intimate, than "boyfriend".
"Please? We just need to play pretend for a little while. Once they're all sure we are a couple, we can stop."
Blues fought down the urge to twitch.
"First off, we might not convince them. At all. Second, even if we did convince them, it might take months."
"Play? Pretend?" Rockman offered, wondering what part of it Blues wasn't getting.
"We can't pretend forever." Blues reminded him in a pointed, non-amused way. "You aren't in love with me. Things will have to go back to their status quo sooner or later. You'll be 'available' once more… and they will corner you again, though this time, you won't have me to fall back on. What will you do then?"
Rockman winced. What Blues said made lots of sense. They weren't in love, and even if they pretended, it couldn't hold up for long. There was no doubt that they'd have to "break up" soon. And once they did, Rockman would be swarmed by moo-eyed admirers all over again.
"Most of them will have gone back to their hometowns a month or two after the Tournament," Rockman reasoned. "Besides, they wouldn't try and woo me after I just broke up with you, would they? I mean, when I'm heart-broken and all? If worse came to worse, you will have granted me some time to consider my options. Or for them to fall for someone else."
That was also a possibility.
Blues expelled a sigh.
"That isn't the only fallacy of your so-called plan."
What? To Rockman, his plan made perfect sense. His admirers might be willing to fight among themselves to win Rockman; but not even the most riotous was stupid enough to challenge Blues. Pretending to be with Blues, Rockman would keep his friends from hurting each other, and spare himself some unwanted attention. It was a work of genius.
Blues begged to differ.
"Rockman, it's obvious we aren't a couple," he said, and crossed his arms.
"Couples spend time together."
"Sure we do. We meet… what… once a week?"
"Exactly. We meet twice a week, and we are not even close friends, but occasional Net-battler partners. If we were a couple, we'd meet daily, if not several times a day."
Rockman bit his bottom lip.
"We'd try. You're busy with your work at IPC, and I have to assist Netto-kun. We'd like to be always together, but our schedule wouldn't let us."
"If we were a couple, we'd make that time. I assure you we would."
"How?" genuine wonder here, a touch sad, and a touch pained. "Our days are too busy. We couldn't drop everything just to rush into each other's arms. We wouldn't."
"We'd make detours and bend our schedules just to catch a glimpse of one another. And if our days were too full, then we'd snuck out from our PETs at night, and meet somewhere."
"You wouldn't go against Enzan's instructions just to meet me."
"If we were lovers? I would." With a finality that made Rockman's insides tingle pleasantly, and his cheek grow warm. He looked down at his boots, idly kicking the dirt to hide his sudden bout of shyness.
"Oh. Uhm. W-well, if that was the case, then… we could try and meet daily for… for as long as we need to keep the pretence up."
Blues heaved another suffering sigh. Why couldn't Rockman stop being impossible?
"Which brings us to fallacy number three."
"Four," Rockman supplied sulkily.
"Four," Blues conceded with a nod. Fallacy number one had been choosing him in the first place.
"If we pretended to be a couple." Pause. "We'd have to interact."
"…interact?" Making quoting marks with his fingers.
Blues allowed himself a snort. Rockman couldn't get anymore red even if he wanted, and the wondering, wide-eyed look on his face was as adorable as it could get.
"I'm not suggesting we commute." Turned out Rockman could get redder. "But to keep up appearances, we'd have to act as lovers do in public. We'd have to take walks hand in hand, talk of sweet nothings. We'd have to hug and hold each other. We'd have to touch. Intimately. We'd have to kiss."
Rockman was so red by now, one would expect steam to come off his ears at any moment.
He fought down his blush, and bravely moved closer to Blues.
"Well, I wouldn't have any problem with it."
"Really." Non-amused, still.
"Really! It seems to me I've got no problem touching any of my friends!"
"It's not friendly touches we're talking about here."
Rockman's eyebrows furrowed together in anger, eyes narrowing in a nearly dangerous look – but the blush staining his cheeks and nose turned the killer glare into a pout, and a rather adorable one at that.
"What I mean is that I have no problem in showing affection with touches or kisses! If there's someone here that has an issue with physical contact, that's you!"
"That isn't true."
"No. The fact that I don't randomly glomp whatever Navi crosses my way, doesn't mean that I have 'an issue with physical contact', as you put it. I merely aren't as touchy-feely as you seem to be."
"I'm not touchy-feely!"
"I almost believed you for a moment, there."
"I told you, I'd have no problem sharing intimate touches with you!" with an emphasis on the last word that caught both by surprise. There was a brief silence, which both ignored, then Blues remarked:
"You'd blush ten different shades of red if I just breathed against your cheek, let alone touched it. I don't want to know what would happen if I placed a kiss on it," in a sort of amused wonder, half thoughtful, half taunting.
"Well, even if I blushed when you kissed me, and I might not—" keep telling yourself that, Rock "—that wouldn't give our pretence away! It'd only mean I'm… shy. Yeah. I could be your boyfriend and still be shy in public, couldn't I?"
Blues conceded the point with a tilt of his head.
"Are you going to help me?"
"C'mon, Blues! Please!"
"No, and that's final. There are just too many ways that this could go wrong, or turn against us. I'm…"
"You're scared!" Rockman accused, which caught Blues entirely off-guard.
But Rockman wasn't really listening. He was too busy working himself into a digital frenzy, face beetroot red still, eyes glinting, teeth clenched, nose and eyebrows scrunched in either hurt or anger, shoulders tense.
"It seems you were right and my plan is doomed to fail. But guess what? The only bug in my plan was to chose you of all people as my potential boyfriend! What possessed me? What possessed me indeed?! Of all the kind, loyal friends I have, why did it have to be the holier-than-thou jerk that's scared of touching other Navis, as though they had the plague or something, and can't find it in himself enough courage to lay a single finger on me even if it's just a preten—MPH!"
And "MPH" is the only possible way to translate into words the strangled, surprised, happy little noise that Rockman emitted when Blues dived, caught him by the waist and, swooping down like an eagle on his prey, sealed Rockman's mouth with his own.
"Don't," Blues growled, short-winded, when he pulled away. "Ever. Say. I'm. Scared. Of. Something." Implying: see what happens when you do? As thought being kissed thoroughly by the most handsome Navi he knew was a bad thing for Rockman.
Rockman blinked, trying hard to catch hold of his scattered senses. His face felt on fire, his chest heaved and thumped as though housing a frenzied bird that demanded to be freed, and he…
"…I really wouldn't mind it if you proved me wrong like this again."
"…that… wasn't supposed to be voiced out loud."
"But it was."
"Seems like it."
Rockman gazed at Blues a while more, mouth agape. He was motionless, because all of his processing power was being used to give the latest happenings a resemblance of order and—
"…I am not in love with you?"
Blues cringed, then scowled. (Rockman could tell, visor or not. The way the rest of Blues's face tightened was a dead giveaway).
"Nice of you to notice. That was one of my first objections." He straightened, taking Rockman with him, and then let go of him altogether.
Rockman worked his mouth for a little while, producing no sound. His eyes remained wide the whole time, then he blinked quickly, removing himself from his current train of thoughts.
"No, I meant… you said we won't stay together for long because I am not in love with you."
"Well, you aren't."
"That wasn't the point."
"There was a point? I wasn't aware."
"Blues, don't dance around the issue."
"I'm not doing anything of the sort."
"The Digital Blue Light help me, I'm going to sock you, and sock you very hard if you don't take this seriously right now." He shook a little blue fist to back up his threat. "Now. You said that I am not in love with you. As though implying—" he added in a rush, before Blues could interrupt him "—that you do. Love me, that is."
Blues was silent for a long moment, then arched an (invisible) eyebrow.
"…what do you mean 'and'?"
"What I said. That I love you changes our current predicament how?"
"It changes it a whole lot! You—wait. You aren't denying it? You mean you do love me?"
"I thought we'd established that?"
"…and when were you planning to tell me?!"
"Some time around never."
My, but today was full of surprises.
"I… you… you…!"
"Close that mouth, before you swallow a random pixel," Blues advised, tapping Rockman under the chin. Rockman obeyed, glared and blushed, though the latter wasn't intentional.
Blues offered him a smile, or something close – it was rather sad-looking, for a smile.
"You know, that's actually fallacy number six of your plan. I can't pretend to feel something for you, because I do. But the feeling isn't returned. And getting together on such a basis, even if it's just a pretence, can only lead us to pain. Both of us." He made a move, as though to touch Rockman's cheek, but stopped himself in time. He collected himself, straightening again, and turned his back on Rockman, his hair swirling about him like silver ribbons. "So you know now why I can't agree to help you."
There followed a moment of silence and stillness. So long, that when Blues turned, he fully expected to see Rockman gone. But the Blue Bomber was still behind him, biting his bottom lip and looking adorably thoughtful.
They both opened their mouth, saw that the other was about to speak, and closed it. They looked away, glanced at the other from the corner of their eye, enveloped in the most awkward silence in all their long acquaintance.
Then Rockman shifted his weight from one foot to the other, looking down and to a side.
"You know, I… I don't think that you having feelings for me is any reason not to get together."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I… mean." Rockman blushed, and began twiddling his fingers, curling in on himself in a shy manner. "You just confessed to me in your own way, didn't you? And if I had to pick one from all the people who confessed to me today… I'd chose you, no doubt, because you are a jerk, and you have an issue with physical contact, but you are also the one I like."
A most proverbial "!" appeared above Blues's head.
"…and since it's really impolite not to answer a confession right away, I am choosing you." Rockman continued, his fidgeting getting steadily worse. He was all but hopping from one foot to the other, swaying this way and that, making little gestures with his arms and hands. "And since I've chosen you, now we… get together, no? But for real, not as a pretence. And since we're officially together now… we get to do all of those things we said before… like… tweak our schedule so that we can see each other daily and… meet at night and… talk about sweet nothings and walk hand in hand and hold each other and touch intimately and kiss and… stuff."
With an emphasis on the last word that caught one of them — namely Blues — by utter surprise. Especially since there was only one lovers-only activity they'd previously mentioned that hadn't made it to Rockman's little speech.
Blues opened his mouth, reconsidered, closed it, then opted to say it anyway.
"…you didn't just say what I think you said." With the breathless tone of someone who heard the words the first time around, and feared to have heard them wrong.
Rockman tilted his head. Whoever thought that his inexperience took away the chance of him ever being a tease, would have another thing coming. Right then, Rockman was teasing Blues. Sporting a smirk like a cat that had got both canary and cream that — despite the outrageous batting of lashes that accompanied it — was damn sexy.
"That I'd do stuff with you?
Blues wondered dimly if he was flushing red under the scrutiny… it surely felt like so.
"That we can tweak our schedule so that we can see each other daily?"
"That it'd be impolite not to answer a confession right away?"
"Before that, Rockman." And stop dodging the question, thankyouverymuch.
"Perhaps… that I like you, too? And very much so?"
As mentioned above, Blues had had a slight fear that if Rockman spoke the words aloud a second time, it would change their meaning. It didn't, thank the Digital Blue Light. And now he had to deal with it.
Lucky err… poor Blues! XD;;
I purposefully had Blues use the more mature terms of "love", "commuting" and "lovers", while Rockman is the more naïve one, speaking of "liking" "stuff" and "boyfriends". Funny, ain't it, that's it Rockman the one to suggest a physical aspect of their relationship? XD;;;; Also take notice how never, not even once, does Blues utter the words "I love you", or "I'm in love with you" or anything even remotely close. It just isn't his style, is it? *giggles*