-A short story I wrote really late a few months ago. It's not flawless, but I like it well enough anyway.-

"I love you." He said again.

"Zelos, please," Regal began, rubbing his forehead, "don't do this now."

"We're alone."

"That's not entirely true."

They were alone. The two of them were standing on one of the many balconies adorning the mansion's exterior. But there were people inside. What seemed like hundreds of bright, colorfully adorned couples danced in between each other on the other side of the veranda doors. Zelos tutted, setting his glass down on the stone railing that encompassed the terrace, and turned to face Regal. He was waiting for an answer, and Regal knew it.

"Zelos…" he said slowly.

"Don't say it like that," Zelos said, a shiver of annoyance passing over his face, "I know what that means."

"That's because we've been over this before!" Regal exclaimed, voice raised with ever-mounting exasperation. "Why do must you insist on bringing it up repeatedly?"

"Because I love you!" Zelos snapped, his voice rising, too, "and I know you love me, too."

Regal was silent; there was no point in denying it. Neither of them would believe his protests. The chosen's expression softened and he moved closer.

"Regal," he said in barely more than a whisper. Then he stood on his toes, closing the few inches that separated their lips, and kissed Regal gently. After a moment, he pulled away, rocking back to stand normally.

"Please," he whispered, gazing pleadingly into Regal's eyes, "we should be together."

He wanted to speak, but he couldn't. He wanted to agree, but he couldn't. Trying to ignore the feeling that his chest was caving in on itself, he shook his head. At first, it was pain that flickered across the younger man's face, but it was replaced by anger in an instant.

"Why? Why not?" His voice was shaking, but Regal couldn't tell if it was fury or agony.

The businessman tried to find the words to explain. His thoughts were on Alicia, on what had happened to the one who was closest to him the last time he had allowed himself to have feelings—to love— someone this much. But Zelos had already guessed.

"That was years ago, Regal, how long must you suffer before you can be happy?"

"That's not… You don't understand."

"What don't I understand?" Zelos yelled, glaring at Regal with a ferocity the duke had never seen on his features. "You did what she asked. She forgave you. She wants you to stop torturing yourself, Regal, she told you that. I was there, I know. Why are you so desperate to keep us from being happy?"

"Don't ever have the audacity to act like you comprehend what happened better than I do," Regal growled, anger coursing through him out of nowhere, "how arrogant you are, thinking I should come simpering after you like one of your precious 'hunnies' simply because you've shown a little interest in me. I have news for you, Zelos Wilder, not everyone's world revolves around you."

Zelos blinked, looking for a moment as though Regal had hit him across the face. There was silence, broken only by the chattering of the crowd the doors could not blot out.

"I'm sorry for wasting your time."

The flatness in Zelos' voice stung the most. The redhead retrieved his previously abandoned drink, and headed through the doors, disappearing into the party. Regal remained where he was, allowing the anger to dissipate. He hated how beautiful it was that night, the clear sky and warm weather mocking his disquiet. He had crossed a line. Zelos had let down his barriers for Regal, and in return Regal had… well, there was no making up the things he had said.

A door below him opened and closed. Zelos was leaving, striding away down the stairs.

"Look back, please, look back," Regal pleaded silently. Maybe if he could signal to him, apologize quickly, then maybe he might still have a chance to make amends. Zelos paused and turned half-back. He hesitated, but then he continued on, breaking Regal's heart with every step he took.