A/N: Oh well, I like this pairing very much, and I'm kinda disappointed we never get to know what happened to poor wicked Maurice... I mean, he just disappears like that and nobody ever mentions him again! So, I thought he deserved his 'happy ending' too. (I know, I'm so lame haha). Yesh I know he was kinda bitchy (and I honestly haaaateeed him so much, but now I miss him a little) but I think he had his reasons. So, I'll stop rambling now and let you enjoy the story, please R&R! :)
Redmond closed the infirmary door with a sigh. His fag, Hartcourt, was still feeling sick.
He'd been feeling bad too: he'd endured a severe stomachache after the match against the Blue House —just like the other players; but most of them, including him, were feeling better by now. Except, of course, for poor Hartcourt.
After several hours, he was still suffering the effects of the laxatives Ciel had put in the meat pie.
As a prefect, Redmond was worried about his fag's health, but there was nothing he could do about it except going to visit him every once in a while to see how he was doing.
He walked through Weston College's empty halls. There was nobody there; everyone was still in the yards, watching and participating in the Cricket Tournament. Even his uncle, the Viscount of Druitt, must be enjoying himself somewhere there.
Redmond didn't even know who were competing by now. He didn't care much, though. While his health had been recovered, his pride still hurt from the beating Blue House had given them.
He wandered around without a specific destiny. He just wanted to avoid the commotion of the tournament.
After a while, he decided that he'd go to the Swan Gazebo. It was a nice, quiet place, and it should be lonely by now...
It should have.
As he got there, he noticed the silhouette of a man standing. Redmond frowned. Who could it be?
He walked closer, already intrigued. It was when he realized it was a teen, and he was wearing the daily uniform, which was strange because every student would be wearing the sports' one by now. There was also a suitcase lying at his right side.
The young man was giving his back to Redmond, leaning on the balustrade, thus he didn't notice his arrival. Redmond folded his arms and clicked his tongue in distaste, he wanted to be alone, but he also wanted to know what the youngster was doing there.
"Excuse me," he said, fingering his shoulder. Now he was close to him, he could see that the teen was shorter than him, but not for much. "What are you doing here?"
The young man turned, and he froze when he saw the one who was talking to him. Redmond froze, too, as he recognized him. His blonde hair was limp, falling at the sides of his face gracelessly. He was terribly pale and there were bags under his eyes. His eyelashes weren't long and thick, as he remembered them, but instead short and colorless. His lips didn't look full or pink as they did with the make-up he used to wear, but Redmond knew who he was just for those green, dull eyes that once were big and full of energy; but it was that look, that gaze he possessed, which remained unchanged even now.
"Cole," he spat bitterly.
Maurice swallowed. Oh well, this was awkward. He wasn't expecting to find him here, not to mention on his own. It wasn't that he didn't want to talk to him —how could he not? He was still so beautiful and regal and proper, and yet Maurice couldn't stand that look he was giving him: disapproving, angered. He couldn't blame him, though. He'd lied to him. He'd disappointed him. He deserved it. He honestly did, and that thought was taking his sleep every night since he'd been away.
Still, he did his best to act normal. Just a cool, quick greeting and he could leave like nothing had happened, right?
"Redmond. H-how you've been?"
However, his nerves decided to betray him and he inwardly cursed himself for stammering, but this was Redmond, and he…
"What are you doing here?"
Ouch. He hated that tone, so resentful. It was doing nothing to soothe his anxiety.
He sighed, trying to put his thoughts back in place and pointed at his suitcase. "I came to pick up the last of my things. When I…" —was expelled, "...Left, I wasn't able to pick some important papers and stuff I missed."
Of course, he didn't tell him that that had only taken him five minutes. After that, he'd decided to wander around the school and even watch the game secretly to remember good times before leaving again.
Redmond nodded absent-mindedly.
There was a silence.
"...Good game, by the way."
The prefect looked up to meet Maurice's eyes, surprise written all over his face. "Did you see it?"
Maurice shrugged and let out a small smile. "Of course. I wouldn't miss it."
You were playing, he thought; you were playing and I wouldn't miss it. A blush dyed his face and he berated himself mentally, looking away in order to hide it from Redmond. He was already so ashamed, he didn't need any more humiliation.
Redmond's eyes lowered to the floor again. "We lost," he mumbled sadly. Maurice stared at him with deep intensity.
"Yeah, but you did great anyway," he reassured him in an attempt to erase that sadness from his eyes. He hated it. Redmond gave a shrug.
"Well, thank you."
"You're welcome," he replied with a faint smile, but then it dropped as another silence settled between them and a question made his way into his mind and out of his mouth before he could stop it; "And how's that boy, Hartcourt, doing?"
He regretted his question as soon as he realized what he'd said. And what would Redmond think of him now, after he'd sounded so unreasonably jealous?
But he only gave a weary sigh before settling at Maurice's left side and leant his elbows on the balustrade, eyeing the gardens surrounding them without paying much attention to them.
"More or less. I hope he gets better soon."
Now it was Maurice's turn to sigh, and he rolled his head the other way, averting his eyes from Redmond. He scowled as the nagging voice in his head reminded him how Redmond had reacted when the boy had fallen to the ground, obviously unwell, and he said in a thick voice:
"You seemed quite upset when he collapsed like that."
Redmond's crimson eyes fell upon him again, harsh, unforgiving. "Of course," he answered in a stern voice. "He's my new fag, you know."
"Oh," Maurice said. Honestly, he hadn't seen that one coming. Yes, he had noticed Redmond's despair, but he thought it was just because he was a prefect, and well, prefects have to worry about their fellow students, right? And yet, Redmond threw the bomb at him just like that, without even trying to soften it. Raw, and Maurice wasn't expecting that. He tried to giggle in order to relieve the tension in the air, to act casual and happy for Redmond; but the nascent lump in his throat didn't let him, and the only thing he could do was simper and ask another dumb question: "And is he good?"
'And is he good?' actually meant 'Is he better than me?' ...It was the hidden question between the lines, and yet, Redmond got it. He knew Maurice and his ways of acting really well by now.
He smirked coldly and nodded without mercy. "He is. He is the best fag I've ever had."
Yes, he's better than you.
Maurice's lower lip wobbled involuntarily and his eyes stung all of a sudden. Redmond was still looking at him with evident superiority, so he tried his best to swallow his mixed feelings and faked a smile.
"Is that so."
"Yes," Redmond continued with spite. He wasn't nearly done with this. He wanted to make him feel bad about what he had done. "He's kind, and his cooking is awesome. He also quite intelligent, you know? And he's a good athlete, as you could see. He's also really cute, he's honest, and—"
"I see you've been doing fine, Redmond," Maurice cut him off. He was trying his best not to cry, but this was so much for his heart already. He took his suitcase and gave a few quick strides as he said his goodbye: "I wish I had more time to talk, but I gotta go now—"
Redmond's hand caught his wrist before he could get any further. Maurice tossed his head back, wide and glossy-eyed. The suitcase fell from his hand and on the floor, but they chose to ignore it.
"Maurice. I'm sorry. I've been acting like a jerk, haven't I?" Redmond licked his lips. Oh, how much he hated to apologize, but the boy deserved it. Yes, he'd betrayed his trust, but that was in the past, wasn't it? And he could see, it was written in his face —Maurice did care about him. And no matter what he'd done, Redmond was still fond of him.
After all, everything Maurice had done had been for him. The lies and the manipulation of other people, everything Maurice had done it in order to impress him so he'd like him. It was twisted, but at the same time it was sweet in some odd way. To have someone who cares about you so much he's willing to do everything for you even if it's not right, it was something not everyone could count on having; and for Redmond, it was in front of him.
Maurice's hands fell at his sides and he shrugged. His eyes were reddish by now, but no tears were falling… Yet.
"You have all the rights," and then he looked at him, hurt, and added: "Besides, Redmond, you're always a jerk."
Redmond chuckled, choosing to ignore the insult. He deserved it, anyway. "Oh, you know me so well. I miss you, Maurice."
Maurice was completely disarmed with those words. His eyes glistened and new tears formed. It wasn't only the fact that Redmond was saying he missed him, which meant he was actually important to him, but the fact that he was calling him by his first name, something he'd never done before, not even when Maurice was his fag.
"Redmond…" He whispered, loving the taste in his mouth. And yet, he looked at the ground, the result of his conflicting emotions. He didn't deserve this, he had only caused him trouble. "But you're so much better without me."
Redmond grabbed his shoulders, and Maurice had no option than to raise his eyes to look at him. When he was standing so close, it would be a sin not to stare.
"I know," Redmond said with honesty. "But you were my fag for a long time, so I still miss you," and it wasn't a lie, there were some nights when he still thought about him, and it hurt, losing his trust in him had hurt, but it hurt because he cared; "I want you back, Maurice, not as my fag, but as my friend."
Maurice gulped. He was already crying, he couldn't help it. Those words… Those words were what he'd been dreaming of for so long, from the very first moment Redmond said he was disappointed. Those words would let him sleep the whole night after so many months of insomnia. But even so, he couldn't bring himself to feel worthy of them. Redmond was being way too good to him. Redmond... Redmond was perfect, and good, and he deserved the best...
"Redmond... I... I don't know..."
"Of course, that doesn't change the fact that I still don't trust you. You lied to me, and I hate that, but I'm willing to forgive you. You're gonna have to work very hard to earn my trust again, but this is a start... Nobody knows me as well as you do, and not even the best of the fags could replace you. Besides, everyone deserves a second chance, don't you think?" the prefect added, smiling very faintly at the end of his speech, but it was sincere.
"I…" Maurice choked, not knowing what to say. He decided he might as well accept the offer, after all. Yes, this was part of learning. This was part of becoming a better person. He'd never had a true friend before, and the fact that it was Redmond himself who was offering him his friendship so selflessly... He couldn't refuse it, he couldn't. "Thank you, Redmond. I'll do my best, I promise."
And he meant it.
Redmond knew, thus he nodded, and his smile grew on his lips.
"Call me Edgar. We're friends now, aren't we?" He declared, stretching out his hand for Maurice to take. He repressed an amused chuckle at his stunned expression, but after a while the younger male beamed widely and took it with the wrong hand, for he wasn't looking for a handshake as Redmond had been expecting. No; Maurice intertwined his fingers with Redmond's and leant against the balustrade. He placed his head on his shoulder, closing his eyes and taking a big breath to inhale his smell.
He loved it.
It was the prefect's turn to be surprised, but he didn't refuse the touch. It was nice, everything around them was nice: the light breeze, the smell of flowers, the sight of the gardens and the pure sky, the serenity of the atmosphere. He could stay like that forever, he thought, and Maurice did too.
"…You know," Redmond said after a while of comfortable silence where he'd been staring affectionately at Maurice's content expression. "That look suits you very much."
"Don't lie. I'm ugly," was the immediate response as Maurice looked up at him with hidden sadness. He hated himself. He always had. His appearance wasn't beautiful, and he wasn't particularly talented, but for once he'd felt loved, and the fact that Redmond could be lying to him, even if he had good intentions, it destroyed him from the core.
And still, Redmond shook his head.
"No, you're not. I'm not lying, it does suit you. It's the real you, and I like it."
Maurice laughed, feeling a great burden fall from his shoulders. It was a good, honest laugh. Did Redmond mean it? Well, he could get used to it. He could get used to this feeling of confidence Redmond was giving him with his very presence next to him.
"If you say so… Thank you."
Thank you, Redmond… For being the first one who accepts me as I am.
"…By the way, didn't you say you gotta go?" The prefect teased, suddenly remembering Maurice's excuse to escape moments before. Maurice pouted.
"I can stay a little more. Here, with you," he stressed, more to himself than to the other male, as if he was still trying to convince himself that this was actually happening and it wasn't a dream. Redmond chuckled, and he gave Maurice's hand a light, playful squeeze.
"I had a feeling you'd say that."