I realise that most people consider the internet a bad place to make friends. The basis for this is that you can't know if what they are saying about themselves is true. I get it, but I don't agree. I mean, sure, people can lie, and I know for a fact that they do, but I'm not going to let that stop me from making friends! If they want to lie to me, fine. If we meet up and they look nothing like what they described, who am I to complain? I don't rightly care what people look like. Disney has drilled it into my mind that the only thing that counts is what's inside. Or maybe I'm just lonely enough to take the chance. Joo, it's definitely the latter. But the Disney excuse sounds better, right? Oh well.

Anyway, as you can likely guess, I've been checking out chat sites recently, talking to different people, and I find that I enjoy it quite a bit. People always have interesting stories, and are more likely to tell you if they know they'll probably never meet you outside of the virtual world. For example, I talked to a Canadian who met his albino boyfriend after accidentally walking into his room at a hotel and finding him masturbating. He ran out, and proceeded to fall up a flight of stairs that he was climbing to get to his room, which was one floor up from the albino's room, explaining the confusion. He got a concussion in the process. He woke up to find a very concerned if not obnoxious German albino waiting for him to wake up. Somehow they ended up dating, and have been going steady for about three years now.

Then there was a Japanese boy who, though he insists he is unwilling, is somehow in a relationship with a huge Russian guy. They met in high school, where, by some twist of fate, they ended up being a 'couple' in their parenting class, and apparently that feigned couple became real. Again, he claims that he is being forced, but he agreed to moving in with the Russian, and admits to loving him on occasion. So I think it's just his pride getting in the way of him fully accepting the fact that he totally bottoms.

So I guess you probably noticed that both of these stories came from gay men. Well, that is kind of my type of friend. It's pretty hard to be judged by someone that has the same sexual preference as you. Not that I have anything against straight people! One of my best friends, Elizabeta, just got married to her long-time boyfriend, Roderich. They are perfectly straight, and are great people!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how I feel about the internet, chatting in particular.

That's how I find myself spending my Sunday night, logged into a chat browser that I frequent. It's nice, as it doesn't make you use a screen name. Even if your name is taken, it will let you use it. It makes it feel a bit more personal in my opinion, using your real name. I scrolled through my list of friends, but found that none of them were on at the moment. I frowned. It was rare that ALL of my online friends were offline, but it did happen. In these rare cases, I would make a new friend. So this is what I did. I went through the list of people online, checking out a few profiles to see their description. Most people made their sexuality known on their profile, a good idea for the most part. It helped me to avoid homophobics, and helped me find those that I would probably get along with.

I finally found one that looked promising, and he lived in the same city, to my surprise. I had gotten as close as the next town over before, but never the same city! His name was Berwald, and he was listed as 23 years old. That was in my comfort zone of age range, so I opened up the chat box. I sent a quick hei and waited for a response. I didn't wait long before a high-pitched ding sounded, and a reply appeared.

Berwald: Hello.

That was pretty fast. I poised my fingers to type, but realised that I had no idea what I wanted to say. By living so close, I had hardly anything to go off of. I bit my lip a bit.

Tino: Well, I would usually ask how wherever you live is, but you live in the same city, so that kind of ruins that.

Berwald: Ja.

Ja? Who says that? Was he German, Danish? Maybe Swedish? And he wasn't particularly talkative. Wasn't that the point of chatting? But I must admit, I'm a sucker for challenges.

Tino: Ja? Where are you from?

Berwald: Sorry. I'm Swedish. I let it slip sometimes.

Ha, third guess's the charm!

Tino: That's all right, I don't mind, I'd rather you speak in a way that you're comfortable with. And hei, ethnically speaking, we're neighbors!

A pause. Was he thinking about what I had said, or was he simply bored with me? But the ding sounded, drawing my attention back to the computer.

Berwald: Tino, so, Finnish?

Tino: Yep! Surprised you didn't guess Norway.

Berwald: Tino isn't a very Norwegian name.

Tino: Well, most people aren't as well informed as you are.

Berwald: I'm sure that gets on your nerves.

Tino: Ha, yes, I suppose it does. How about you? How do people usually react to Berwald?

Berwald: They say it's strange, if they even work up the courage to ask me.

Tino: Work up the courage?

This pause was a lot longer. I guess I hit a nerve there. Perhaps I should try to change the subject...

Berwald: I've been known to have a rather scary face.

Tino: Oh? Scary how?

Berwald: I glare. Don't mean to, it just happens. I guess my bad eyesight has something to do with it.

Tino: Aw, I'm sorry. I'm sure you're not that bad! And you seem nice enough!

Berwald: Well, You don't have to see my face.

Tino: I guess not... Still, you seem nice. Surely your face can't scare EVERYONE away!

Berwald: No, I have a few friends. ...If you can call them friends.

Tino: Huh? What do you mean by that?

Berwald: Well, quite frankly, I hate one of them. I've thought about slipping poison into his drink so many times I've lost count. Lucky for him, I don't have the courage, or the poison. And the other two are... Indifferent. All the time. The only time they show any emotion is when they're picking on the first guy. But they're the only friend's I've got.

What was I to say to that? How was I supposed to take it? Was he joking? It didn't sound like it...

Tino: Wow... That sounds pretty awful. I guess that explains why you're here. Looking to make new friends?

Berwald: Something like that. What about you?

Something like that? What other explanation was there?

Tino: Same as you, in a way. My best friend moved away recently, and I was feeling a bit attention deprived. But I've made a lot of new friends since, so I'm better now.

Berwald: You sound like the type that would have a lot of friends.

What did that mean?

Tino: Oh?

Berwald: Ja. Really nice, friendly.

Tino: Haha, well, thank you. You seem like you would be quiet.

Berwald: I am. I don't like to talk much, and it's hard for people to understand anyway. My accent is pretty heavy.

Tino: Really? My accent is pretty bad too, but people can still understand.

Berwald: Well... I've always been particularly bad at speaking, especially in English.

Tino: Hmm. Well, it isn't your first language, so it's okei! Besides, it's what you say, not how you say it.

Berwald: Ja, I guess so. You're the first person to think that way.

Tino: It sounds like you haven't met many decent people...

Berwald: I guess I haven't.

And now we were stuck. What could we talk about next? He must be new to this, because he wasn't very good at keeping the conversation going. In fact, it seems that he had a knack for saying things that killed conversation! Ah, topics... I was never good at this part of chatting!

Tino: Well, do you have a job?

That was usually a pretty safe thing to ask, unless they were unemployed, and touchy about it.

Berwald: Ja. I design furniture for IKEA.

I laughed. What a stereotypically Swedish job!

Tino: Really? That's cool!

Berwald: ...You laughed didn't you?

Tino: ...Maybe a little. Sorry?

Berwald: No, it's alright. I think it's pretty funny myself.

Tino: I'm glad. But wow, that really is cool! Do you have a specialty? What if I have something you designed in my house? That would be so cool!

Berwald: Maybe you do. Not everything I design gets made though, and I've only been working for them for a year and a half. But I've made a few tables, chairs, dressers, and one couch.

Tino: I have all of those things! Did you make them?

Berwald: Um, I don't know... I can't see them.

Tino: Right, sorry. I'm not as stupid as I make myself sound, promise!

Berwald: I don't think you're stupid. What kind of couch do you have?

Tino: Um... A blue one? I know I got it from IKEA, but I don't really know who designed it. I didn't pay that much attention at the time. Next time I'll totally look for something you made though!

Berwald: I'm flattered, but I don't have anything out at the moment.

Tino: Aww, that's too bad! You should tell me when you do!

Berwald: Will do. What about you? Do you have a job?

Tino: Ha, I guess, if you can really call waiting tables at a cafe a job.

Berwald: Well, it pays...

Tino: Minimally, but I guess so.

Berwald: Which cafe?

Tino: Elizabeta's cafe.

Berwald: Is it on the corner opposite the highschool?

Tino: Yeah, that's the one!

Berwald: I've been before. Maybe I saw you?

Tino: Maybe so. Blonde hair? I'm the only blonde that works there... The only PERSON that works there, actually, aside from the owner. Remember me?

Berwald: It's been a while...

Tino: Ha, so you forgot?

Berwald: ...Maybe. Just a little bit.

Tino: That's alright. I'm not really memorable anyway.

Berwald: I'm sure that's a lie. I won't forget talking to you any time soon.

I blushed a bit, not having expected to get a compliment.

Tino: Aw, well, thank you. It's been nice talking to you too. It's weird being able to talk about things in town! And it's even weirder to think that I might have seen you before!

Berwald: Ja, I know how you feel. Granted, you're the first person I've chatted with, so it probably isn't as strange to me as it is to you.

Tino: Oh, wow, this is your first time chatting? I'm surprised I didn't scare you off.

Berwald: I almost lost my nerve when you started talking to me, I won't lie. But you're nice, so I'm glad I responded.

Tino: ^.^ That's sweet of you.

Berwald: Sorry for being awkward and having nothing to talk about.

Tino: Not at all! You have plenty to talk about! How about hobbies? Interests?

Berwald: Um... Furniture designing?

Tino: Oh, right, you like your job. I forget that there are people like that out there.

Berwald: Hmm. I guess I like to read. Oh, and cooking too. And I carve a little.

Tino: Oh, wow, how cool! I wish I could cook! I practically live off of freezer food. And carving? What do you carve? I've always been terrible with my hands. Well, I'm alright, as long as it's on paper. But sculpting and stuff... Not my strong suit.

Berwald: How can you live off of that stuff? So bad for you... And I carve whatever comes to mind. Usually simple things, like animals. It's nothing fantastic. What about you, any hobbies?

Tino: Ha, I've got quite a few. I draw and write a bit, when I get a chance. And I volunteer down at the humane society every tuesday and thursday. I love puppies! I watch reruns of the Moomins, and I swear, if you make fun of me, I'll... Well, I'll do something!

Berwald: Moomins? Like, the white trolls? Those Moomins?

Tino: The only kind there are! I've loved them since I was little.

Berwald: And you still watch them?

Tino: Yes! I love them!

Berwald: Well, I guess I can't make fun of you. I'm a Swede working for IKEA, that whittles.

Tino: Ha, I guess you're right. That is pretty funny, in retrospect.

Berwald: What happened to not laughing?

Tino: Right, sorry.

Berwald: I get the feeling that you aren't really.

Tino: Seems you have good intuition.

Berwald: Ja, seems so. Well, sorry to say, but I have to go for now.

Tino: Awww, alright. Will you get on again?

Berwald: Ja. I'd like to talk to you again. When do you usually get on?

Tino: Almost every night.

Berwald: Alright, then talk to you tomorrow?

Tino: Sure! Same time?

Berwald: Ja.

Tino: Alright, talk to you then!

Berwald: It was nice talking to you. Night.

Tino: You too. Sleep well.

The little green dot saying that he was online disappeared. I added him to my friends list, then shut my computer down, scooting my computer chair back and getting up. I stretched my back a bit, sitting for so long having made it ache a bit. After the screen went black, I shut my laptop, heading into the bathroom to get ready for bed. Such an automatic ritual as brushing my teeth didn't require thought, so I was instead left to think of Berwald.

He seemed very sweet, just from our small conversation today. His style of typing, namely formal, pegged him as a bit old fashioned. Calm, quiet, polite, and I imagined handsome. Probably blonde, thanks to his Swedish descent, and an accent as well. In short, exactly my type. I felt bad thinking of him this way already, as I had barely even talked with him. But I could just feel it! There was something there...

But I knew better than to push it too fast. I had messed up my last relationship that way, and I was more than cautious about it now. Still, that didn't mean that I wasn't willing to try. He sounded like a perfect match too. He had a stable, well paying job, and he could cook, which was definitely a quality that I desired in a man. He had a good sense of humor, and he was so quick to compliment!

I left the bathroom, turning out the light as I went, and got into bed. I snuggled up under my covers, the fabric cool and pleasant to my skin. I wondered what he would be like in person. Probably just as awkward as he was online. Actually, probably more awkward. But still sweet. Perhaps I needed to see about setting up a meeting, eventually...

A/N: Hei hei. I'm going to guess that the majority of people that are going to read this are going to be my readers from No Such Thing As Coincidence. If that is the case, thanks much for checking out another one of my stories! If you're new to me, well, hei! I'm KuroRiya! (If you want to shorten that even more, just go with Riya.) If you haven't, might I shamelessly suggest you go and check out No Such Thing As Coincidence? It my most popular story. (Read: My precious baby.) I'd really appreciate some new readers! But I'll admit, the style of that one is a bit different than this.

This story, just for those who are wondering, is going to be a lot shorter, and a lot more serious. (Where NSTAC is a funny highschool romance, this one is... Ahem.) If you didn't read the summary, let me just warn you here: This story isn't going to be a perfect, sweet one. There is something... Different about Berwald. I can't tell you what, just yet, as that would ruin the surprise. I'll just warn you that this romance is going to be difficult.

I didn't even realise until I was about three chapters in that this is very similar to a Terra Saltt story. I didn't even plan it that way, but that's kind of how it ended up. When I say similar, I mean in structure, not in content. Let's see if anyone can pick out the similarities! Yaoi points for anyone who can.

I had actually planned to write all fourteen chapters before I posted this, but I couldn't contain myself. I'm four chapters ahead, and I'll try to keep up with that, and update regularly, but please be patient. I have NSTAC to work on as well, and, sorry to say, but that will have to take precedence sometimes. But I'll get this one finished, promise. Also, not all of the story will be chatting. The first couple chapters start out this way, but it will become more "story-like" as we go.

Thanks much for reading, and I'd love if you could drop a review and tell me how I'm doing. I'll update soon! Love always!