A/N: So we take a temporary break from Clockwork Circus and come to an Elly/Leo of fluffy proportions. At least, that's what I'm hoping it turned out like x);;
This little fic is for Shaz-san as a gift -smiles brightly- I do pray this is to your liking, it was quite fun to think up the concept. And I am sorry it took so long to produce orz... But please enjoy :)
It'll Last Longer
The tug on the back of his collar alerted him that he had, in fact, been caught by his best friend. The object in his hands almost stumbled down the bridge in the abrupt movement, not to mention it practically choked him.
"Leo, what the-?"
"That's dangerous, you bonehead," his best friend interrupted before he could go off on his rant. A hand reached out to lightly bonk his forehead. "If I didn't know you better, I would say you had just been trying to kill yourself, Elliot."
That made him sputter. "Like I'd ever do something like that!"
Leo went on as if he hadn't heard him, making a small sigh. "I mean, I know you're upset about the failing grade on your calculus test, but you're not really a math person to begin with..."
"Shut up!" exclaimed Elliot, putting his hands over the raven's mouth. "That's not it, and you know it." He put his arms back down when Leo held his hands up in surrender.
"Okay, I'm done. But what's that?" Leo asked, pointing the book he had been reading at the camera hung around Elliot's neck. "Oh, didn't Oz's uncle give you that for your birthday last week? I never thought you'd actually use it, since I didn't mark you as a photographer, either."
"It'd be easier for you just to spit out what you do see me as," Elliot retorted, but it was half hearted now that the argument had died down.
Leo closed his book and looked down below the bridge as well. Underneath was the small stream that ran right beside their high school and into a body of water further out. The bridge itself wasn't very long nor high, just enough to cover the stream, and wide enough to have the buses cross it. There were small sidewalks on either side of it where people walked – or loitered about like Elliot had been doing.
"Aren't you supposed to be at second period?" Leo asked, making himself comfortable leaning his back on the railing to continue reading.
Elliot scoffed humorously, putting his elbows on the railing. "I could tell you the same thing. You usually get there before I do."
"I ran late today. Missed my bus then I had to prompt my mom awake. Really, I just got here," he explained with a shrug. "I noticed your detour and decided to see what you were up to. You're not skipping, are you?"
"If I get to class at some point, I see no point in arguing that I skipped. That would mean I missed the whole class," the blond declared dryly, tucking some hair behind his ears. He put his camera up and looked down at the glittering stream through the lens. "The sun is good light at this time – not too bright or dim, so I wanted to take pictures of the stream."
"I like it, too," Leo agreed with a small smile. Of course, Elliot had to assume this since the raven's nose was almost literally buried within the pages of his book. He wondered if he was even reading it properly.
He straightened up, snapping a picture of his friend with his covered face. A smile tugged on his lips at Leo's light scowl.
"That's not funny, Elliot. You know I'm not photogenic."
"Like that's the issue. Really, you'd never think that if you didn't keep covering your face. First the hair and glasses, and now a book. It's not like you're scary-looking," Elliot said, reaching out to brush back some of the overgrown bangs. His friend just sighed in a resigned way.
As far as he knew, he was the only one that Leo would allow to brush back his hair. If he was lucky, the raven would even let him tie it back into a ponytail like he had done for their orchestra concert last year. The autumn wind blew the messy dark hair lightly, but the raven didn't seem particularly bothered by it, even though Elliot didn't know how he could deal with all that in his face.
But even so, there were a lot of times Elliot found himself thinking Leo was attractive. It sort of started from there...
...and he'd think about kissing him.
I don't think that's normal. While it was true he knew that Leo didn't think much of anything was weird, he didn't know what the raven felt about him beyond friendship. He kept putting off when he'd tell Leo what he thought about him, what he'd like them to be...
Leo started, slapping Elliot's hand away from his face. "Now that's not fair, you distracted me!" Even though he was reprimanding him, there was a trace of a smile on his lips.
...but that wasn't important, Elliot's desires. Friendship lasted longer than love anyway.
"Take off your glasses and I'll take pictures," Elliot suggested with a chuckle. "I'll post them all over the school so everyone can see the pretty face of Leo Baskerville."
Leo rolled his eyes, walking away. "I think Oz Vessalius is starting to rub off on you, Elliot. Your teasing methods are becoming more like his."
"Shaddup, don't compare me to that shorty!" the blond exclaimed, watching his friend intently. "And where do you think you're going?"
"Where do you think?" Leo replied sardonically, turning around the edge of the bridge. "I'm going under. Didn't you want to take pictures of the stream? You'll get better ones down here where it's closer."
Elliot leaned over the railing to keep track of Leo. "Are you stupid? Students aren't allowed down there."
"We're not allowed to do a lot of things, but that doesn't stop us – or rather, you – from doing them anyway." At this point, Leo was under the bridge and out of sight, his voice echoing. "Take skipping class, for example."
"I told you, I'm not skipping! But I guess that was too much for your brain to process." When he received no answer, Elliot sighed, bending down to pick up his backpack. Really, the things Leo made him do...
When he had finished going down the rocky inclined concrete, it didn't take him long to spot the raven sitting down at the top of the incline, looking right at home as he read his book.
"Honestly, Leo? Is there a place where you won't read?" he remarked with an incredulous sigh.
He shrugged. "I like to stop by every now and again. Came a lot my freshman year."
"Really?" Elliot blinked in surprise as he took a seat next to Leo, careful to keep his balance. "I did too. A teacher pissed me off about a month into school so I, um, sort of ran out."
"So this temper of yours, how long has it been around, Elliot?" Leo lilted with a knowing smile.
The blond opened his mouth, ready to retort before he realized that it would only prove Leo's point. He scoffed, trying to keep cool. "Forget you, I'm taking pictures." He put down his backpack and went down the incline to the stream. Grass and soft dirt separated him and the last of the concrete from the water. A few feet away from his left was a small trickling brook in between clusters of purple and white blooms. Elliot crouched to take a good picture, taking care to make sure the lighting was still in his favor.
Before he knew it, Leo was beside his side, sneakers crunching against the loose gravel.
"Did you just leave my backpack there by itself?"
"We're under a bridge, it's fine. I left my book, too, so don't worry about it."
From the corner of his eye, he saw the raven watch him intently, for once not occupied with a book. Elliot almost blushed, trying his best to keep himself looking busy capturing photos. He was getting scatterbrained though, sometimes just clicking away at the ground.
Leo didn't seem to notice it. "Why do you suddenly like taking pictures?" he asked, following Elliot to a pile of rocks next to the stream.
The blond shrugged as he snapped a photo of them. It kind of reminded him of the little houses his mother used to say tiny spirits lived in. "I guess," he began lightly, "I just like looking back at moments, and having things to come back to as the proof of the beautiful things I've seen." He wondered if Leo caught the quick glance he took at him when he said that. "...Meaningful things."
"Like this?" the raven asked with a gesture at the stream.
Elliot shrugged again, looking down and pretending to fiddle with the settings of his camera. "And other things, I guess..."
"What're you going to do with them?"
"Like I said, just to look back." He chanced another peek at his friend, his gaze tracing over Leo's form slowly, steadily, while also seeing all him at once, as if he were taking a series of photos with just his eyes – taking in the wrinkled clothes, the unkempt hair, his quirky beauty... He looked simply right just standing there amongst the casual silence and calming nature. Quickly, before he could stop himself, he took a picture of the perfection.
Leo huffed, crossing his arms. "You're going to waste your film if you keep taking random pictures of me."
"It'll last," Elliot reassured as he looked down at the screen of his camera, down at the picture of his best friend appearing nothing less than flawless. The light illuminated one side of his face more than the other, coming down on a small, contented smile. Definitely a keeper. "Besides, I've got a lot of memory. I think I can take almost two thousand pictures."
"Have you already?" Leo inquired in interest, stepping closer.
"No, but I'm uploading the ones I've already taken onto my laptop tonight. It feels like I've done a lot."
Even under the bangs and round glasses, he could see the surprised expression on Leo's face. "What, you've already taken so many? What are they all of?" There was a note of amusement in his voice that endeared Elliot to want to answer truthfully.
But he couldn't. Friendship lasts longer than love. And what Elliot wanted more than anything, was something that would last with Leo, his friend, his equal, his opposite and balance. He'd do anything to preserve that. The feelings in his chest told him to take that chance – they told him that something more everlasting could happen with the raven if he let them out and free them.
"Um, just of little things...like this."
Leo tilted his head. "You just said 'um.'"
"So what if I did?"
"That implies uncertainty. Last I checked, you were Elliot Nightray. Uncertainty doesn't fit in that small head of yours."
The blond glared. "Was there a compliment in there?"
He was ignored as Leo walked up to him, touching the hand he had over the camera. "Let me see."
Immediately, Elliot panicked. "No."
"You heard me! You're my friend aren't you? Respect my decisions!"
At this, the raven replied simply, "Is a friend not supposed to stop you from being stupid? C'mon..." He smiled softly, touching Elliot's hand so gently that the blond didn't even feel it at first, as if it were a fleeting butterfly. Fleeting, not lasting. But Leo was staring up at him, his dark eyes dragging him in under glass and hair. "You said these were the things you saw, right?
"Let me see what you see."
Elliot couldn't deny a statement like that, not one that invited him in so cruelly. He couldn't deny Leo seeing inside him, through his eyes and heart, if the raven requested it himself. While his mind proceeded to beat itself up, he remained outwardly calm, taking off the camera from around his neck and handing it to his friend.
Leo smiled in thanks and sat down on the concrete, his sneakers brushing into the grass. Elliot looked away, instead occupying himself by fiddling with the flowers next to the stream. With a weary countenance, Elliot cast a dry look towards the sky – man, what have I gotten myself into...?
The burning blush was already on his face when Leo remarked, "You... Are you like my stalker or something? I just went through ten straight pictures of me."
"I take pictures of other people," he lied.
Leo scoffed. "No, really, Elliot," he said, but the teasing tone was gone from his voice. The blond quickly sat down next to him, nervously gazing down at each photo Leo went through. He paused longer at some than others – when Leo fell asleep on a park bench, the sunlight falling peacefully on his skin; Leo walking down the school hallway in a blur; a dark figure with messy hair playing the piano; the raven sitting down at the library reading with a small smile on his lips.
There were a lot of pictures of him reading.
"You don't do much of anything else," Elliot explained.
"Still... Why so many of me?"
The blond brought his knees up, staring ahead. "I thought I told you. Moments to look back at."
"But you're with me all the time," Leo pointed out, slowly putting down the camera. "You don't need these."
"You don't understand, you idiot, I do," Elliot corrected with a shake of his hand. The heat was back in his cheeks, and he shook his head harder in a vain attempt to make it go away. He was talking too much and if he didn't stop, Leo would be able to make the connection. His arm shot out to grab for his camera. "Alright, you had your fun, now give it back."
The camera was held out of his reach, and Leo made what was almost a smirk. "No. I'm not done."
Elliot was left there with his arm hovering over the raven's chest, half-leaning on him. Noticing the body under him, he was torn between tackling Leo onto the concrete to get his camera back...or just sit back and pretend he had nothing to be embarrassed for.
Like that was going to happen.
With a click of his tongue, Elliot stretched out further, thinking his height advantage over the raven would be enough to help him... But Leo was quick, and he moved up, raising the camera further away. The smirk on his lips could've been interpreted as a taunt, a silent challenge.
"Such a bothersome person," Elliot hissed, taking one of Leo's wrists and pinning it down next to his side.
"Such an impatient idiot."
"I am not! You took my camera!"
"One, I didn't take it – you handed it to me. And two, what are you so afraid of?" The raven titled his head slightly in question, one of his arms still raised to keep the camera away.
Elliot narrowed his ice-blue eyes slightly. "It won't last," he murmured darkly and helplessly, his grip on Leo's wrist loosening until his hand hung limply, only brushing against the pale skin. "It won't last, okay? Is that what you want me to say? That's what it keeps coming to, but I'd rather..." He drifted off quickly as if he had never spoken. He was babbling, knowing Leo had no idea what he was talking about.
"...You must be the...the most dumb smart person I know."
"What does that imply?"
"It implies," began Leo as he sat up straighter. There was a sudden seriousness in his tone that made Elliot's gaze snap up to meet his midnight purple eyes. He was so focused on that that it wasn't until too late he realized Leo's freed hand was on his bicep, holding him. "...It implies that I'm telling you how I really do see you."
At this, Elliot rolled his eyes, preparing for the insult that was sure to come, the insult he'd play along with and their lives would move on, and he would lose another chance to confess everything...
So it went without saying that he was left breathless when he was yanked by the collar – again – and pulled towards Leo's face. Suddenly, before he could stop himself, he pushed back on Leo's chest with a holler of, "No!" And as soon as he uttered it, he hated himself for saying it, for it coming out so desperately and pitifully. His eyes widened, gazing at the raven warily.
"You shove me away and yell like I'm about to kidnap you…and all you can say is a little 'my bad'?"
"I didn't…" Elliot stopped, struggling to find the words, and his frustration was showing obviously on his face. What he wanted to say was, I didn't want it to happen. But that would be a lie. That was contact that Elliot had been just longing to have with Leo.
But I'm so used to just letting it go, and telling myself that friendship was better.
If he ever loved me back, how long would it last?
Leo let out a small sigh, brushing back his bangs as he thought, making his eyes more visible through his glasses. Finally, he broke the silence. "Elliot, don't you like me?"
The blond managed to make a dry chuckle. He blinked, trying not to think of what Leo had just uttered. "What kind of stupid question is that?" He noticed movement coming closer to him that he pretended not to notice.
"I think it's a perfectly valid question. Now answer it. Or," he leaned in as Elliot backed away until he was over his body that lay on the ground, "I'll have to guess at it and force the answer out." He smirked then, holding up the camera and waving it teasingly. "Though to be honest, I think it's pretty obvious what you feel."
"Elliot." Dark eyes approached closer, searching and holding just as much longing as the blond had always felt swell in his heart. Could it really be possible, that just maybe…Leo was also looking for what could be everlasting? And not just in anyone…but him?
"Yeah?" His voice was soft, and his eyes were already half-closed, so that his friend appeared like a blur – the same beautiful blur that turned up in the images he would take of Leo when he moved. Even that moment won't stay forever, even though I…
"Can I kiss you?" Leo requested, but it was quick. Elliot took some comfort in that, seeing that he was just as nervous was he was, just as unsure and scared. "On the lips, I mean. Something…friends don't do, you know?"
"Yeah…," he replied in a breathless voice, wondering why Leo was talking so much nonsense. He brought his face near the raven's and let his vision go black.
It was a chaste kiss at first, nothing more than the meeting of puckered lips, quick and awkward. They laughed softly and dubiously, breaths on each other's lips as if to soothe themselves. Leo pressed their mouths together again, more sure and relaxed this time, and almost immediately Elliot responded by melting perfectly into the kiss that came together as inevitably as puzzle pieces. He laid back down on the cold concrete, slowly bringing Leo down with him as they were still connected by their lips. Black bangs brushed against his forehead and cheeks softly, tickling him as they curtained their faces.
In the middle of moving their mouths, pressing one another to test limits, their mouths parted, but Elliot wouldn't be able to tell you whose tongue began exploring first. All he knew was he was warm and tingling wherever Leo touched him, and that his heart was soaring out of his chest – and the only thing he could think was, I love you, I love you, please let this last forever, please… I love…love you!
Click. Leo pulled back slightly, a big smile on his face.
Elliot blanched, jumping up with the raven sitting happily on his lap as Elliot snatched the camera out of his hands. "You didn't-!" All it took was the press of one button for the image to pull up on the screen. Their eyes were closed, and there was a small smile, a flicker of tongue…
"Hmm, what's the problem?" Leo lilted. "I thought you wanted a keepsake for these types of things."
A keepsake? If he wasn't so flustered, Elliot might have laughed. Doesn't the saying go "take a picture because it'll last longer"?
Ignoring his urge to toss the camera, Elliot scowled. "You took advantage of the situation," he said, the usual bite in his words gone. The expression on his face was something more akin to a pout now.
Leo chuckled, taking the camera back. "Did it come out alright?" he asked as he too looked down at the new photo. He smiled proudly. "I think it's good considering I wasn't looking."
"Yes, I suppose you were a bit occupied," Elliot retorted sardonically.
"Oh, don't get mad, Elliot, just because I teased you a bit." He tapped the blond's nose with his finger in chastisement. "Besides," he slung the camera around his neck, "now you can look back at it, right? Of course, you wouldn't need to if this kind of thing happened more often."
"You never did tell me how it was you saw me," the blond pointed out, looking down at where their thighs were touching.
The raven blinked in surprise. "Didn't I?" He chuckled, pecking him on the cheek. With a hum, he declared, "I love you. You're a dumb smart person, and you see beautiful things. And I love you."
Elliot could only blush and smile softly at Leo as they kissed again. No invitation but the look in their eyes was needed. It was burned into Elliot's memory, as he tried to keep each wonderful detail refined as if it had just happened. But then again, maybe Leo was right, maybe this sort of thing was more everlasting. Leo was his friend and lover. And quite honestly, Elliot wondered why he ever doubted something like love couldn't transcend time.
When they pulled back again, blood racing and eyes half-lidded, Leo whispered, "…So are you going to let me see the other pictures of me?"
"I didn't do anything perverted," the blond quickly established, leaning his forehead against the raven's and staring him down.
"Really, nothing? I guess you are pure…"
"…You're kind of ruining the moment."
Leo chuckled, intertwining one of their hands, and Elliot felt the cold skin warm up against his. "Sorry. Want to kiss again?"
"…Yes," he mumbled, glancing back into those dark pools of midnight purple.
"Mm. Then, let's."
We'll make it last forever.
Ending A/N: I'm not good at writing pure fluff. I really wish I could, but...but I think this attempt worked out quite well! -sweatdrop- Well, what do you think, Shaz-san? :'D It wasn't a fail, was it? -fidgets- I could've made it fluffier! ...Somehow.
It is my wish everyone enjoyed xD Please do leave a comment/critique.