Never Too Late
A/N: You know what, there just aren't enough Dre/Cheng stories out there for my liking. So I wrote one, although it's not great but I hope you enjoy reading it :)
DISCLAIMER: This is purely a work of fiction. I own nothing; I'm just a fan with love for both versions of the movie.
Dre laughed as he watched cartoons, just relaxing on the couch with his bad leg propped up on the coffee table. It still ached but slowly it was healing, which he was thankful for. Dre leant to the right as his mom, Sherry, stepped in front of him blocking his view of the TV. She just stood there, looking around.
"Baby, do you know where my keys are?"
Dre shook his head. "No..."
"I checked everywhere..."Sherry sighed as she rifled through the contents of the bag, her frown changing into a smile as she pulled out a set of silver keys. "I gotta go, I'm gonna be late for work. Don't you dare go outside because trust me if you do your mama will find out. Just because you were excused from school today doesn't mean I want you walking about. You just sit and rest your leg, you hear me? "She crossed her arms and set a hard stare upon him.
Dre resisted the urge to roll his eyes, having heard her lecture more times than was necessary "Yeah, yeah. I know mom, you already told me" Dre then added quietly "Like a million times..."
Sherry raised an eyebrow. "I heard that" She smiled as she came over to him and dropped a kiss on the top of his head then hurried to the door, turning back briefly to call out "Love you baby!"
"Love you too, mom!" Dre called back, hearing the snap of the door as it closed behind Sherry.
Dre had been watching the TV for a while and was surprised when he heard a knock at the door. He got up slowly, limping to the door with the aid of crutches. Peering through the peephole he was shocked to find it was Cheng who stood outside. After he opened the door, there was an awkward silence as they both looked at each other. Sure, the two were no longer enemies but they had not really talked since the tournament ended. Dre was not sure where he stood with Cheng, but he hoped that they could become friends. He had been hiding his attraction to Cheng for a long time and he could keep doing it if it meant at least he could be closer to the dark haired boy. Dre did not know when it started, it had started slowly, creeping up on him until eventually he had realized the truth. He liked Cheng. Finally Cheng broke the eye contact, averting his gaze to the floor. "Can I come in?"
"Yeah, sure..." Dre stepped aside to let the taller boy enter, shutting the door before making his way back to the couch. Cheng sat down and then he smiled at Dre.
"So how are you?"
Dre smiled back. "Hey, at least I get some time off school so it's not all bad"
"Does it hurt? Your leg?"
"No, not much"
"Dre...I'm really sorry. About everything .I just want you to know why I did it. I was jealous –"
"I already know why. Mei Ying. And it's cool. And just so you know, I'm not even into Mei Ying anymore – I had a crush but that's passed and we're just friends now. I think we could be friends too, Cheng"
"I'm not sure I can be your friend"
A flash of hurt passed over Dre's face. "Why?"
"You don't understand. When I said I was jealous, I meant I was jealous of Mei Ying"
Big brown eyes widened. "Whoa. Dude, that makes no sense 'cause that would mean you..."
"I do. I liked you from the first moment I saw you. But I was afraid. It was too dangerous. If anyone found out my life would be ruined. I knew you would not feel the same, and the thought of my parents, my friends finding out – it terrified me. So I decided that I would make you hate me, and I thought if you hated me then it would be easy for me to hate you too. Except...that never happened. I kept liking you more"
Dre was silent, letting Cheng's confession sink in. He was shocked. Of all the things for Cheng to tell him, he had never expected to hear that. It was more than he could have ever hoped for, it was like one of his daydreams come to life.
Cheng sighed. "I should go"
"No, wait. We should talk about this..." Dre reached out and grabbed hold of Cheng's hand. Cheng eyed Dre warily. "First, why do you think we can't be friends? I don't care if you're gay. My mom brought me up to believe that love is love, it doesn't matter about the gender"
"It's only you that I feel this way about" The taller boy frowned. "Sometimes I wish you had never come to China at all, that I had never met you"
Dre laughed, and he could see by the look on Cheng's face that he had not expected that reaction. "I used to wish that too. Well, almost. You know what I mean..."He put more pressure into his grip on Cheng's hand. "I'm happy that I came here now though. And I want us to be friends"
Cheng shook his head. "I don't think I can do it"
Dre took a deep breath. "So you're saying it's all or nothing?"
"It's fine. I know you're not ..." Cheng bit his lip, seeming uncomfortable. He cleared his throat. "Even if you were, it would not be me that you liked"
"How do you know that?"
"I bullied you, Dre. I made your life miserable..."
"That's all in the past dude. I forgive you. I've made mistakes before, everyone has"
"No, Dre. You say it but you don't mean it. And even if you could look past what I did to you, you like girls"
Dre sighed. "You're not the only one who keeps secrets..."
"I like you too"
Cheng stared at Dre hard. "Do you really mean this?"
"Yeah. I just never thought you would like me back" Dre released his hold on Cheng's hand and threw his arms around the taller boy. He pressed his face into Cheng's chest as he felt hot tears welling up in his eyes, and tried his best to keep them from falling. Cheng had tensed up upon first having Dre's arms wrapped around him, but he soon relaxed. Dre was now openly crying into Cheng's tee, but the taller boy did not mind. He patted Dre's back after some minor hesitation, not entirely sure of the best way to comfort him. After a while Dre did stop crying, but he kept his arms locked around Cheng. He was looking down, a red flush showing on his caramel skin.
"Dre, it's ok. You don't have to be ashamed of crying. I just don't understand why you cried. Aren't you happy?"
Dre nodded slowly, his voice almost a whisper as he replied. "I am. I just...It seems like it's not real, like it's a dream or something."
Cheng put his hand under Dre's chin and tilted his face upwards. He gently wiped the tear tracks away from Dre's face and then he pressed his lips against Dre's slowly, almost shyly. The kiss was brief, but as Cheng pulled back Dre surprised him by leaning forward and starting another kiss. The boys only pulled apart when they heard the sound of a door slamming shut. Looking back Dre saw his mom had entered the apartment.
She was staring at them in surprise, clutching her bag in her hands like a life support. "What is going on here?"
"Mom, it's cool. I was just talking to Cheng. We're friends now"
"Yes, we are friends now, Mrs. Parker"
"So why have you been crying, baby?" Sherry asked her son, frowning at Cheng
"Mom!" Dre exclaimed. "It was nothing to do with Cheng, and I don't wanna talk about it"
"You better believe we will be talking about it later young man" Her tone of voice was stern, but then she smiled at them both. "Right now though I'm hungry and I'm sure you boys must be too. Why don't I start dinner and Cheng can use the phone to call his parents. I'll drop him home later"
Cheng and Dre glanced at each other. "Mrs. Parker –" Cheng started, but he was cut off.
Sherry held up a hand. "Maybe you misunderstood me honey. I wasn't asking, I was telling you that you're staying for dinner. Now go call your parents and Dre, switch the TV off! I know Harry brought you some homework on his last visit, have you done it yet?"
"Well, I was gonna do it but then Cheng came over"
"So now you're blaming him? What, he's been here all day? No, I don't think so. Now you better get in your room and complete your work" She set her bag down and went over to the kitchenette, opening the fridge and peering inside.
Dre stood up, and limped off to his room. Cheng followed behind him, on the way pausing by a side table to pick up the cordless phone. When he got into Dre's room, Cheng shut the door behind him. Dre was sprawled on the bed, textbooks and a pile of paper strewn all around him.
"Do you think she saw us?" Cheng wondered.
Dre shrugged, scribbling something on his math sheet as he tried to work out a problem. "I don't know. Maybe she did, but at least she's not mad about whatever she saw"
Cheng joined Dre on the bed and dialed the number for his house. When he got through, he spoke to his father in a quick burst of Chinese that Dre could barely keep up with. He did understand it though. Well most of what was said, he was still learning. Cheng did not spend long on the line, closing with a farewell.
Dre poked him with a pencil. "So it's ok? You can stay?"
Cheng snatched the pencil from him. "Yes, it's fine but that answer is wrong"
"What? It can't be, dude. I'm good at math"
"No you're not"
Dre scowled. "Yeah, well...Whatever".
Cheng laughed, leaning against Dre as he got into a more comfortable position. "It's ok...I will help you" He rubbed out the wrong answer with the eraser on the top of the pencil, and then started writing a new solution.
Dre smiled, watching him. Finally after so long he had what he always wanted.
Thanks for reading and if you have a moment or two to spare I would appreciate reviews. Even if it's just :) or :(