"Hm?" The man in question peaked out between his closing eyelids.
"Why do you stay with me?" Carnelian questioned him quietly. He treaded lightly on the topic, for his own sake more than for Berthie's.
Berthie appeared to be sound asleep though, his breathing even and rhythmic. The hot breaths ghosted over Carnelian's neck and began to ease him into his own slumber, disappointed that he could not get an answer.
As Carnelian sat beneath a tree, sitting quietly out of Berthie's way, he watched the man separate the different materials that had been shoved into their bags the last time they packed their hammock and tent.
The man yelped loudly, grabbing at his hand. As Carnelian got up and approached him quickly he found blood dripping from the hand that he held tightly, cusses escaping his lips in one long stream. Through his rather inattentive way of doing things Berthie stabbed the palm of his hand on one of the metal pegs.
Immediately Carnelian tried to put pressure on it. Berthie, both overwhelmed with the pain and shock, crouched down and bit firmly into his lip but left his injury in Carnelian's care.
Carnelian wanted to shout at him. He wanted to scream and stomp his feet, demanding to know why Berthie had to be so miserable as to always do things to do things so distractedly. He said nothing though. He tended to his hand quietly and without much fuss and then let Berthie continue with what he was doing, choosing to remain out of his way.
That night as they curled up in the hammock, when things were finally quiet and he was sure that Berthie's temper would not erupt he spoke quietly once more, "Berthie..."
"Hm?" The man moaned loudly though he began to bite into his neck; a rather rough method of showing his affection.
Carnelian breathed out softly, shakily, as he began to embrace the onslaught and forced his thoughts not to come into words. Nonetheless, they remained there in his thoughts.
If he had tried a hundred times and actually asked the question a hundred times it would be too little. Over and over no matter what moment he chose and what manner he asked in his question seemed to fall on deaf ears.
"Berthie, why do you let me stay with you?"
The number of times he asked that question increased as he was feeling himself feeling wretched through their travelling days. The more he thought about it the more he wasn't sure if it was his feelings that caused him to ask those questions, or if the lack of answer to those questions were what was causing those feelings.
On several occasions he thought that Berthie simply had not heard him. As time went on he knew that that couldn't be the case every single time. His mind began to run away with him. He realised and was certain that the only reason Berthie wouldn't reply to his questions was because he would tell him the harsh truth of it.
He needed to hear it though. No matter how harsh it was going to be. He was determined to hear it so that he could move on.
After asking one more time Berthie finally appeared determined to give him a response. The man's eyes were livid, glaring at him as he approached him with fists tightly curled by his sides. He knocked him to the ground in one swift movement, pinning him against the grassy turf, "You stay by my side because you need me. I remain by your side for the same reason."
Carnelian was entirely taken aback. For a moment he wondered if the man understood at all the reason that he stayed by his side. For him to say that their reasons were the same, he wondered and wondered if the man really knew just how much he needed him.
"You are true to your name." Berthie spoke seriously, gritting his teeth. "You expel almost all my negative feelings, you make me feel like a better person." He dropped his head until his face was buried in Carnelian's shoulder, "You...make me feel like I finally have a fresh start... Like I can be better than I really am..."
Although his tone sounded harsh and resentful Carnelian could understand it. He heard something that was important. He heard the sincerity.
He tried to fight against the hands that pinned his arms down. He wanted nothing more than to embrace him. He had not thought for even a moment that he was of such importance to him.
"Why don't you ever say these things?" He asked quietly.
Berthie scoffed and pulled back entirely. "You're mad." He whispered in response. He went to pick up their things but shortly he felt Carnelian's hand grab his. Berthie went to hoist up the man from the ground, only to be pulled down instead. "What are you up to now? What is it you're going to fuss over now?"
Carnelian pinned Berthie down. Though he knew his own strength was a rather minuscule rival to Berthie's his partner chose not to make fun of his attempts. Perhaps it was because the red in Berthie's eyes warranted some teasing also. "Thank you." He kissed him lightly and although the small confession caused him embarrassment he couldn't bring himself to look away.
Berthie only huffed and broke their connection himself, "What are you thanking me for?"
Carnelian didn't say it out loud. He didn't think it would make a big difference. In the future Berthie would still be himself; fighting against expressing his feelings honestly in words. And Carnelian would be just the same; still fighting with himself, trying to believe that he was worth something.
For now though, he keenly felt that he liked his name a little bit more.