You Just Keep Popping Up

Koschei was annoyed. Or at least it was a conscious choice to be annoyed because if he was annoyed he wouldn't be upset. If he got mad he wouldn't cry. And yet he was struggling to maintain the anger. Even as he picked up the nearest object – a pen – to throw at the distant wall in pure anger he knew he wasn't really angry. How could he be? How could he be angry when what was on the screen in front of him had broken his hearts all over again? Damn Theta. Damn his ability to do this every time without fail.

Koschei hated it. Theta had left him not the other way around. Granted Koschei had left him the first time around but that had been stupid, stupid little things had got in the way of them and he'd let them. He'd ended it because he felt like Theta wasn't treating him right and only a few months later he regretted it. But he sorted it out – eventually – he made it right, they got back together and everything was fine. Mostly. Theta moved away, going to a different part of the Academy, at a campus a few hours away from Koschei. But that was fine, they had phones and the internet, and Theta could and did come back to visit. Then Theta had ended it, how had he put it "I see you more as a best friend than a boyfriend." Koschei had broke down the moment he read that message, he was so grateful for being on his own, so glad no one saw the pathetic tears that ran down his face and didn't stop for a while. He hadn't been able to be friends with him, it was too difficult for him. How did you go from being so much more to just being friends? And what he couldn't understand was how Theta thought that would be so easy, did their relationship mean that little to Theta? So they didn't talk, they only saw each other a few times in the just under a year that had passed since then and each time it was awkward.

They hadn't spoke for months, so why now at the worse possible, bloody time would Theta email him? And worse still, why the hell was he being nice? Koschei was sure the nice-ness made it worse. He could deal with Theta shouting and screaming at him, he could deal with any harsh comments, any insults, he could deal with it because it was loud and angry. He could deal with anger. It was the quiet moments of thought and regret that came after anger that he couldn't deal with. And this kind of nice, friendliness months later was akin to the quiet thought. "Good luck" Theta had said, obviously he had been told that Koschei was moving to the next part of the Academy, just a year after him but at a different campus. "Wishing you all the best with it and in life,".

Why now? Koschei's mind was screaming. Why now when he was already in pieces. He was already terrified about the change in what he was doing. The new people, the new life. Everything was changing why would Theta choice then to send him spiralling into more confusion. He forced himself to be polite, despite his initial thought to be sarcastic and rude and tell him to jump off a cliff. He found he couldn't say any of those things to Theta, he still cared about him too much.

"Thank you," he replied, "And good luck with what you're doing now."

Theta's answer to that came almost instantly, the beep on the computer causing Koschei to jump. His hearts beat faster in fear and confusion as he opened the new message; "I'm sorry about what happened between us after I made the biggest mistake of my life."

Koschei was torn between crying, screaming, breaking something and laughing bitterly. Biggest mistake of his life? Was he kidding? Theta had made it perfectly clear when he ended it that he didn't want to be with him, Koschei would never forget that. He didn't get a chance to answer before another message came through from Theta.

"This is probably going to sound so stupidly clichéd, but I guess I just wanted to say that, my life feels somehow empty and incomplete without you"

Koschei blinked, forcing the tears not the fall. He wasn't going to cry because of Theta. Not again. Theta was being an idiot. Yet again. Messing with his feelings once again. Why couldn't he just disappear? It would be so much easier if he just disappeared, it would be just disappeared. If he stopped popping up every few months then Koschei wouldn't think about him, he wouldn't think about how it was.

Except that was a lie wasn't it? He still thought about Theta. Not as much as he used to, but when he did it still hurt. Again it wasn't as much as it used to be but it was still there. An aching in his hearts that hadn't been there when he was with Theta. Theta had understood him. But Theta had hurt him, so much, so many times. He needed a clean break. He needed Theta to disappear.

He made himself keep reading the message;

"I just wonder, do you ever think about any of that? I'm not asking for you to take me back, 'cause I know I have hurt you and wounds take time to heal. I think we should at least talk though and work on our friendship as we meant too much to each other to simply forget"

And that just said it all, didn't it? Theta understood so much. He understood that he couldn't go there again, he understood that it hurt. Koschei hated how hard it was to be angry at someone when he knew they were angry at themselves for what they did. As for talking, could he do that? He was so sure he needed the clean break and yet he couldn't not answer. He could do that to Theta. To himself.

"I always hated clichés you know. Society tells us that to say a certain thing in a certain way is clichéd and it says to us that that is wrong. We should avoid clichéd. But most of the time these clichés are real. It's just feelings. Just because so many people have felt it and expressed it before doesn't make it any less real,"

Why the hell was he rambling about clichés? That was another thing that Theta did to him. Made him just say whatever it was he was thinking. Because it was true, clichés often were true. He continued;

"Of course I still think about it, T,"

He stopped and deleted that. He couldn't call him 'T' or say 'Of course' it didn't feel right. He went for a more formal approach;

"In answer to your question, yes, I still think about it." and he went on to explain how it still hurt but not as much and that he wasn't angry, he had tried to be but really he had never been angry and that he'd forgiven Theta a long time ago and then he hesitated.

He knew that what he was about to say would probably hurt Theta so much but he also knew it had to be said, so he tried to word it so it hurt less and so Theta understood.

"I hate having to say this, I'm sorry that I have to because I don't want to hurt you. Over the past years we've hurt each other so much and I don't want to do that again." He had to admit some of the blame, it wasn't all Theta, it was a case of 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. "The truth is I still care about you deeply. They say that you never forget your first love" Koschei couldn't help but think speaking of clichés, "and I really think that's true because I'm never going to forget you. The problem is that I still care about you but I don't think we can be friends, too much has happened, everything we were and everything we shared, I can see you as my friend after all that. 'Cause sometimes I think a clean break is easier."

He clicked send and hope to Rassilon that Theta was still at his computer and would answer straight away. He fidgeted continuously were waiting, tapping along to the drums and feeling his hearts beating faster in fear.

When Theta's reply came just a few moments later, Koschei lost his fight with the tears instantly. He tried to blink them back and once he had cleared his vision he read through the message again;

"You know, it's funny, everytime I talk to you it seems like we were meant to be and then I remember everything that happened. How is it that everything seems so right yet it seemed so wrong? The silly thing is that even now there's so much I think we need to talk about, and I miss the little things that's the worst part. I'm glad you forgave me at least. Maybe it's not meant to be or maybe it is but I hope that we both lead great lives and that our journeys take us to place we have only dreamed or read about. And I guess, just sending each other message means that we're not completely alone in the world. Know that you have changed me and that wherever I am, I will never forget the part of me that once belonged to you."

Why did that sound like a goodbye? No, perhaps the more important question was why did Koschei care that it sounded like a goodbye. Why did part of him what to instantly send back "No, don't leave me, we can work it out," while another part of him was saying he should be glad. When Theta had sent the first message, after all, Koschei had thought about ignoring it and just blocking Theta so he couldn't send anything again. But he hadn't, why hadn't he? Was it because he still loved Theta? Maybe but that wasn't to say he wanted to get back with him, or even be friends with him again. He wiped away a stray tear which fell down his cheek – and tried to think of a response.

"I think that's just life, nothing's ever simple. It's never a case of 'this is how it should be and therefore how it is', it always gets complicated and everything else gets in the way and things get messed up. When you said "there's so much I think we need to talk about" what exactly do you mean?"

He ended up being a coward, just answering the part that was easy. But then, he'd always been a coward hadn't he? Always just avoided what was too difficult. And maybe that was why he and Theta weren't together. Theta had ended it but he had chosen to just accept it, he had said the pathetic "Fine, whatever" message back in response. He was the idiot he hadn't thought for it, who had answered in the heat of the moment when upset. In the months that had passed after losing Theta, Koschei had often wondered that if he hadn't just accepted it, if he had tried to make Theta change his mind, would he have? Was this as much Koschei own doing as Theta's? And why the hell did Theta have to turn up now, now when it was too late.

Koschei knew he was probably just setting himself up to be hurt again, he knew he was probably going to regret this. He probably should've just left it and now answered at all in the first place. But there was something about Theta, something that made him keep answering, made him keep asking questions and want to know what he meant. Something that made him want to just sit at the computer screen and talk for hours about everything and anything, like they used to. Something about him that almost made him forget everything that had gone wrong.

Almost but not quite.

Now Koschei found himself thinking about everything about him and Theta. All the times they had shared good and bad. With Theta the good had been great, it had been amazing; curling up and watching their favourite films; funfairs; being pushed in the sea at the nearest beach; walking hand in hand; and middle of the night phone calls just for the sake of talking. But the bad had been terrible, neither of them liked arguments, but they were both so good at them. They were both opinionated, deep thinkers and sensitive, fighting with Theta always hurt Koschei. He hated being annoyed with him when he left him, he hated worrying that it would be over between them. And the fights tended to be serious; Theta felt like Koschei had no faith in him and thought he was a failure; Theta didn't understand Koschei's believes and had criticised them.

Why wasn't Theta answering?

Koschei found himself thinking about one time when they had been on the same campus at the Academy, the morning after an argument Theta had come up to Koschei who was sat with his nose in a book on some stairs outside, he'd sat beside Theta and handed him a drink, his words had been so simple, "It's a new flavour, thought you'd like it." Koschei had looked up at him and seen an apologetic expression to match the olive branch that was the fizzy drink "Forgive me?" Theta had added and Koschei couldn't help but smile and answer "'Course." And everything had gone back to its brilliant normal self.

Dammit, Theta, answer!

If only it could be that simple now. If only a drink and a "forgive me" could make all this better. But it couldn't. Too long had past, too much had happened. Koschei wasn't even sure how he felt, and he hated that he was having to think about it. He was sure that once he moved campus's he would forget about Theta and maybe find a new boyfriend. Although maybe "forget" was too strong a word, because he'd always known he'd never forget him, but he had thought he'd be able to move on. And now here Theta was, popping up yet again, awakening his feelings, sending him spiralling back into a web of confusion when his life was already complicated enough. And why they hell wasn't he answering?

He slammed his laptop shut. No way, no way, was he going to just sit there, doing nothing but thinking and worrying while Theta took his precious time to answer. Not when there were a million and one other things he could be doing. Like the million and one other things that had already been on his mind before Theta came back into it. If Theta answered, he'd see it when he was next on the laptop, if he didn't – Koschei hated how much he hoped that Theta would answer. The idea of him not answering worried him too much, he needed to know what he meant, what he was thinking – then he didn't and everything would go back to how it had been.

Nothing would change. Which was good. Yes. Definitely good.

TKTKTK

When Koschei opened his laptop later that evening he couldn't explain why but he felt sick with worry. He was terrified about what Theta was going to have said back, more terrified that he wouldn't have answered. His throat felt tight and his hearts were beating faster and faster. He ended up hitting the screen a couple of times in a vain attempt to make it hurry up and eventually he got to his emails and the first thing he saw was:

Inbox (1): Theta Sigma

He forced himself to open it straight away without thinking, without giving himself time to talk himself out of it.

"I feel like there's so much we should talk about - like how we feel, what happened to us and stuff like why, a year on, does everything still feel like it was yesterday or maybe that's just me. I just feel like there's so much we left unsaid afterward I ended it and I think now it needs to be said. I just think we should talk, properly, about it all."

Just talk. Just talk. Theta made it sound so easy, though Koschei knew this must've been just as hard for Theta as it was for him. Trust Theta to be the mature one, trust Theta to start all this. And trust Koschei's stupid bloody hearts for not letting him just say no, that he had nothing to say, that this was over. He couldn't say that, it wasn't true and he couldn't lie to Theta. He'd never been able to lie to Theta, something about Theta just make him talk, made him honest and that continued even now, so when he wrote back he said something he never thought he'd say, something he was going to dread until it happened, but always something he knew needed to happen.

"Meet me tomorrow," he knew Theta was currently in the area, staying with his Dad before going back to the Academy. "Usual place, midday."

Theta's reply was almost instantaneous, "See you there."

Koschei sighed, and swallowed realising there were tears in his eyes. Bloody Theta. Always managed to pop up and leave him confused as hell. He had no idea what he was going to say, no idea what Theta was going to say, no idea where this was going. No idea about any of it really. But the one thing he did know, one way or the other, tomorrow would solve everything between them. For better or for worse it was going to change and he didn't know what would be better what would be worse. He just knew tomorrow would decide it.

A/N: The outcome of their meet up is up to you, this is a one-shot which I probably won't make a two-shot. You decide whether TK make up or forever break-up. As for me, this is something I just had to write and once I started it just kept going. R&R? I'll love you for it.