DISCLAIMER: Someone created GW, and that someone is definitely NOT me. Don't sue.
A/N: Guys! Sorry for those who kept on receiving alerts on this. Silly me, but I forgot to log out once when I used a shared computer when our laptop decided to...die for a day. Account's kinda hacked up, and this story's the poor victim. Peace!
That Slimy Suitor
by Schizoid Sprite
"Why do I love her? Because it was her. Because it was me." - Anonymous
Permitting myself to heave a heavy sigh, I flicked to the next page of the document I was holding and crushed my eyes close against the letters swimming on the paper. I felt the tortoise shell spectacles slide down the bridge of my nose, but I was too exhausted to even move a finger to push them back up.
I couldn't go on like this forever. But why do I keep on doing this?
Why do I love her?
I flipped my lids open and took another deep breath, letting my eyes run over the file. My lips were moving rapidly as I mouthed the words written on it, but my mind was somewhere else. It was floating aimlessly over a wild sea of questions, all of which were carrying the overtone of my extreme anxiousness to know why she never showed any hint that might indicate that she likes me.
Groaning, I clawed the spectacles away from my face and slumped against my chair. I always know that this would be a bad idea. I should have known we'll never understand each other; after all we're very different persons—or so she claimed us to be. She never accepted my perception that we're somehow the same.
But we are the same. In those few seconds when our minds were meshed together by the zero system, I saw—felt—everything. My soul pierced through her marble outer shell like a knife would through an overripe fruit, and inside, I saw this crouching little girl that she really was.
The thick blend of tears and blood oozing out her eyes—condensed symbolizations for the extremity of her pain—seemed to gnaw every ounce of strength she clutched to. I watched helplessly as she blindly pawed for something to hold, maybe something that could at least give her some hope. But the floor she was crawling on was carpeted by broken glass. On the sharp facets of the shards were her memories—dark, lonely, painful memories. The loss of both parents, her manipulative grandfather's scheme to rob her of the weak femininity that she used to have, the tears she secretly shed whenever the ache overflowed, they were all reflected and I saw them clearly. Her sobs and wails, they drowned my ears and went straight to stab my heart. And with this supersensitive space heart, I felt as if I were placed to stand on her shoes, doomed to share that overbearing pain.
And then I felt it. Something cold seemed to have knifed my skin open, a sharp-edged and chilly air spreading inside. Then I realized what it was: what I'd done to see her pain, she was doing it too to see mine. It wasn't a pleasant sensation to have someone to see everything of you without permission, but it felt so right. Yes, you couldn't hide your secrets that way, but for a reason that I myself was ignorant about, I thought that if there was someone who'd be given a chance to see me wholly, then it should be her. It was illogical, but at that moment it was a minor issue. I sensed her eyes drinking in each and every memory that I had.
It made me wince when I felt her recoil from the ache I harbored inside. For that I quietly apologized.
The connection was cut as quickly as it was established, yet the impression it made lasted up until now.
And up until now, she was not going to admit that we know each other more than anyone. I doubted that she'd ever give up her belief that her pain was hers and hers alone. She was still displaying her fake self, the strong one that dislikes the weak.
I know that she abhorred me after what I've learned about her. Any moment, I could tell her secrets to anyone, and I could see that she was aware of that. She was understandably frustrated—scared even, that whenever I was present in a place where she was, she would do all she could just to stay away from me. She believed that we have the same polarity, and to prove that she have to act as if we're repelling each other when we're put in the same place.
She did have a hold of my history that no one knows, but she was conscious that I couldn't care less because it was a part of me that I have moved on from, something that I wouldn't deny. Her case was different because who she is today is always connected to how she concealed her bitter yesterday.
I always know that she's not—never, ever—going to like me.
So it was downright surprising when she showed no hesitation to accept my affection to her when I declared it. It was difficult task at first. You know it's hard to chase someone whom you know had hoarded a pile of reasons to loathe you, but I just have to give it a try. I attempted to fight my own shilly-shallying and just go for it. So when she said yes, I thought I was the happiest man then.
I was mistaken.
Of course I could call her my girl now, but I just couldn't feel it. Every time we're together I could still sense the inner repugnance she had for me. We never kissed—not even touched each other intimately, except when we attend social and political functions. During which, with sheer bitterness, I would feel as though I was just being dragged as an arm candy.
So often I wonder why we were still together. So often I wonder why she never spoke of some kind of a break up when I could feel that's what she just wanted all this time. So often I wonder why I still love her.
The sound of my exhalation was annoying to my ears. I didn't know how many times I sighed this afternoon. I guess that's the only thing I could do now, especially that I was so confused on what I should do. Or just what I should feel. Well, I just feel that I love her and….that! That very reason was the root of all of this. I love her and I couldn't do anything about it.
Gnashing my teeth I willed myself to concentrate on my work. There are some responsibilities I should paid heed to. I couldn't afford to let them fall, even if I was crumbling down on my own, emotionally. No one needs to know that.
I had just scribbled a signature at the bottom of the paper when suddenly someone knocked on the door. Thinking it was my secretary, I bellowed my permission for entrance without looking up.
"Should you make a hermit of yourself even on this special day?"
The pen halted in mid-scrawl on the paper. I pressed my lips in a thin line and slowly looked up. Oh, this thing again. It always happens: when I'm upset for whatever reason—even if the reason was she herself—just a glimpse of her would turn everything upside down.
The smile she gave me contained no warmth. She tossed a handful of her hair to her shoulder with a small nod and settled herself on the empty chair across my table.
For a couple of minutes I just stared at her like stupid. She was the most beautiful creature I've ever laid my eyes on. The most expensive gold was to be found in the curtain of her hair, and the purest of the milk was spilled onto her skin. Her eyes were my favorite jewels, the price of which would have dwarfed all my properties. And oh, those cherry-hued lips…
My thoughts just brought some kind of wretched ideas to my head. She was just so perfectly beautiful to me. And me? Maybe…maybe she found me ugly?
Bile sloshed up my throat. Why haven't I thought of that? I learned, still back during our zero system encounter, that she have somehow liked Heero. In terms of appearance, we're on the extremes. I was just this little kid compared to the brawny man that is the mysterious Japanese. We're almost black and white.
Maybe she's got a brunette fetish? Ah, no. I know she adored Milliardo Peacecraft too, since they were little children. And he's just platinum blonde like me. So the hair color wasn't a factor.
Oh…Then…then maybe she preferred muscles?
"I hate it when you're spacing out whenever I'm here."
I blinked my apprehensions away to be greeted by her genuine scowl.
"I-I'm sorry," I looked down shyly, pretending to continue my work. When she didn't say anything, I continued it for real. I re-read the document and finished my blotted signature left half-scribbled on the paper.
Only my eyes turned to her. "Yes?"
"I hate you."
I trembled at the words. She didn't know how hard the blow those three words sent to my heart. I forced the tears back and willed myself to look stern. So finally, she's going to end it right here.
One deep breath. I looked up. "I know that."
I was quite surprised when her face twisted into a shocked expression. "What?"
She blinked twice, demanding for an explanation silently. Her lips squeezed into a thin line and her jaw tightened. A peculiar sheen in her eyes glowed; it looks vaguely familiar.
I know I've seen that before…
…in the sockets of the poor little Dorothy hidden beneath the hard exterior she was putting up.
The realization hit hard. I just hurt her.
What should I do now? Apologize again? So she's hurt…does that mean that she doesn't…really hate me at all? I opened my mouth to express regret, but I was quick to close it again when in a flash, the hurt expression she was wearing was gone. Her trademark smirk slipped back in place.
"Very well, then," she muttered under her breath. She bent a little and began to dig up something from the paper bag she brought with her. Her eyes lit up and her movements stop in hesitation if she'd pull out whatever's inside.
I caught her glance.
"Quatre, do you know what the date today is?"
I furrowed my brow at the question. I scrambled to reach out for my calendar but her biting voice aired to stop me.
"You ought to lie low for a while. The world would have decided to discard the After Colony calendar and you wouldn't be aware of it."
I gritted my teeth and stretched my hand to reach my calendar. She might be right and normally I would have smiled sheepishly at that and apologize. But the tone she said it with was dramatically insulting. Of all of the days I could forget the date of, why should it be today?
And hah, who am I to think that I was already accustomed to her sarcasm?
My fingertips were already just an inch away from my calendar when she blocked it away with a box. I stared at the box for a while, seeing a distorted reflection of myself in the glossy red wrapping. I looked up questioningly at her.
She shrugged coolly. "My gift for you, I think."
Gift? I gathered my brows and accepted it. I heard her irritated groan when I just blankly fixed my eyes on it.
"I don't think you have x-ray vision," she nonchalantly remarked in a sing-song voice, twirling one finger around a slim band of precious gold strands. "You know you're not going to see what's inside without opening it."
Now curious, I fumbled to tear the wrapper carefully. I coyly erased the image of a dead frog I have in my head, expecting it to meet me when I lift the lid. This would be the first gift I would receive from Dorothy, and while I was so happy inside, I just couldn't push away the thoughts that she might just be playing pranks on me. I don't know if Dorothy was that type, but there were times that she could be utterly unpredictable.
I could feel the impatience reeking off her as I fingered the scotch tape off cautiously. Without warning, she just lunged forward and motioned to snatch the box from my grasp. I dodged it out of her reach.
"Just tear the wrapper already," she managed to say between angry, gnashed teeth. "Why do you have to be so carefully slow? Wrappers are made to be torn off. They say it feels good to hear the sound when the papers were ripped off."
I shifted the box to my other hand. "I don't care if others are fascinated by its sound. I'd rather tear all these documents than the wrapper of this box."
Dorothy shot me an incredulous look. "Why's that?"
I beamed at her meaningfully. "Because it's your first gift to me. Everything about it's important."
Her eyes widened at my statement. They drastically softened after a while, yet they still held the coldness I wanted to wipe out. Her scowl was spicy as ever.
She didn't interfere anymore. It took me minutes to have the wrapper peeled off from the box. Smiling to myself, I folded it into two and have it inserted into my planner. I gripped the box with barely controlled excitement and wondered idly what was inside.
"Yes, I'm going to open it," I readily responded when I noticed the edge of irritation when she said my name. I slowly lifted the lid.
I gave no reaction when I saw the little things inside. In my peripheral vision I saw Dorothy shifted.
"You don't like them?" she asked.
Cookies. They were chocolate chip cookies—obviously homemade, presumably baked by Dorothy herself. They have a variety of shapes and sizes: I could recognize a heart, a triangle..was that a house? A teddy bear, a flower, and another heart…
I managed to frown despite myself as I picked up one which was strangely twisted. "I'm sorry, I don't like them."
"Oh," was all she said. There was no tinge of disappointment in her tone.
"I love them," I happily cut the silence that set in. "Are you the one who baked them?"
She made no reply. I paid her a few glances and noted that the scowl was still there. How could she stomach giving me such things if all she ever wanted to do was to upset me with that frowning face of her? It's as if she's just obliged to give me this because there was an occasion. Which reminds me that I still didn't know today's date…
"Yes," she replied. I already forgot what I asked her when she spoke that. "I did bake them myself. I sought help from Miss Relena, though."
My lips twitched at the thought of the two woman covered in flour, stooping over the oven and watching their little masterpieces. I was touched. I squinted at the cookie I was holding. "This one's pretty nice. I like the shape, though I cannot figure out what it is. A star maybe?"
I examined the thing closely. It has some kind of limbs—five of them—stretched out in their own directions, and even if it has a distorted central appendage that suggested a face, I still want to insist that it's a star. Well, the face doesn't look like a face at all…So, yes, it's a star.
"I knew it. It's a star," I announced confidently. I stared up at her for confirmation. I was somewhat thrown off at first when I saw her face, but eventually I thought I love the sight. It almost sent me giggling.
She was blushing.
"Have your eyes checked, Quatre Raberba Winner," she huffed, mockingly emphasizing all three of my names. "That's not a star. That's you."
"M-me?" I half-laughed when I asked that.
Dorothy sighed tiredly. She slumped against the chair with an aggravated look on her face. I would have assumed she wasn't in a good mood, but I knew the posture was just induced by the rose-colored patches on her cheeks.
I re-examined the cookie. This time I noticed how she carved my bangs and pushed small dark chips into the dough as my eyes. My vest was also whittled with not-so-careful details, from the collar to the buttons—though they looked as if they were just accidentally scratched when wasn't baked yet.
"Thank you," I said, smiling at her. "You don't know how happy I am to receive this from you."
She frowned and raised a forked brow. "Actually, that wasn't all."
I didn't have the chance to ask if there was still a surprise gift when she suddenly stood up, motioning as if to leave the room. But she didn't; instead, she leaned across the table and slid her hands on both sides of my face. I lost all awareness of what was happening then, when she lightly pressed her lips against mine.
It was just that, a peck. But for me it meant the whole world. I was undoubtedly ecstatic.
She leaned back but didn't let go of my face. Her expression was far, far different from the bitter, cynical, hard Dorothy she always used to show. The Dorothy looking into my eyes right at that moment was the Dorothy I saw inside her with the help of the zero system—only, the hurt was all erased. I think I'm falling harder for her.
For once, the mist over her eyes was gone, and the jewels I always treasured shone even brighter. I raised my hand and placed it over one of her hands. "I love you," I said in a low voice.
While she didn't respond, I still know that she felt the same. For the first time the smile that she directed at me was soft and warm, teeming with meaning she didn't want to verbalize at the moment.
Before she slumped back to her chair, she picked the heart-shaped cookie from the box and took a small bite. I did the same, choosing to eat the tree-like… no, flower-like…no, no, it's clown's wig-like…oh fine, this abstract-shaped cookie sitting on the top of the…other amorphous shapes I dared not name in front of her.
In the silence that followed, I slowly realized what I really am to her.
I'm her frog prince.
It was a silly thought, but that's what my space heart could hear from the beating of her own heart. For as far as she could remember, she treated her life as a fairytale that violates all the rules of fairytales. For her, she wasn't a princess, but an ugly hag who takes pleasure in the suffering of others. It just so happen that this weak creature, the frog that was me, entered into the scene just to cause her organized storyline to go haywire.
Like a slimy suitor I came up to ask for her love. She accepted me without getting permission from her brain but never promised to give me what I wanted. From that day on, I gradually went on a transformation to a prince—or a knight. Everyday I prove to her that I am strong. Everyday I make her see that she wasn't a witch, but a princess as beautiful as life itself.
I saved her from her self-created dragons. And in the process, unconsciously, she saved me.
Sometimes, fairytales weren't fairytales. Love doesn't grow overnight, and it doesn't just appear out of nowhere after a princess kissed a frog and the frog turned into a prince. It undergoes a process, and it continues on forever.
While Dorothy seemed to have just shown what I really meant to her just after that small peck, I didn't believe that it just popped there. It flattered me to know that somehow, while we were together, she was learning that she was just an ordinary human. An ordinary girl who needs an ordinary man. An ordinary girl who could love an ordinary man.
I was more than grateful that she'd managed to burst the thick bubble of her self-denial.
We might not be a part of the sweetest tales of the history, but we're part of each other. We're each other's half. That, for me, is enough. I don't care about the flow of time. I don't need fairies or magic spells.
She is all I need.
While she chewed on another cookie, that formless thing she said was actually Sandrock, I checked the calendar and doodled a tiny heart on today's date. To some, it might appear like an ordinary Valentine's day, but for me, everything that I thought I needed was expressed, with or without words, on this date.
The happily-ever-after line doesn't necessarily apply to this tale of ours, for I know that even before this event, I know we've already started our happy forever.
The end XD