pairings: 1x2 main, other side couples
warning: angst, potty language
notes: i don't do the beta thingie so excuse the incidental errors.
+ Part 22
-The Twenty-First Encounter-
Ever heard of the short phrase deadly silence? How about quiet enough
to hear a pin drop? Familiar with any of those? Well, apparently, Solo
was not at all acquainted with any of those adages because he went off
on a rant. As soon as it sank in that I was not dating a woman but a man
who happened to be sitting right by him, all hell broke loose.
Let me tally just what I think might have happened. Solo pounded on the
table with each incoherent word, making the dessert forks bounce in cadence
with his rage. Heero slowly edged away from Solo and his flailing limbs,
most likely to avoid becoming a permanent member of the emergency ward.
Lucy and Milliardo watched in avid horror as Solo escalated in volume
of words and decibels, while I just sat there as my brother turned red
in the face. Through all this, I could not discern a single, coherent
word because Solo was too shocked and angry to use actual words of the
After what seemed to be forever, Solo must have run out of steam and breath
because he just stopped in the middle of the tirade. As in, one minute
he's screaming and spraying spittle in my face and the next, he was quiet.
Really, terribly quiet.
I looked warily at my brother in the uncomfortable silence as he breathed
harshly. His body seemed entirely supported by his arms which were pressed
down on the table with such tension that I could hear bone snapping while
his head hung low. I wanted to see his eyes, I had to see if he was truly
as angry as he had seemed.
"Solo," I ventured when the silence became unbearable, "are
As expected, there was no answer from my brother. I did, however, score
a look of chagrin from the rest of the occupants of the dinner table,
most especially Heero. The silence fell again after my failed attempt
at trying to smooth things over and I had no idea where to go from there.
I did not know what to say, what to do, to make this situation all right
with everyone. Perhaps coming out to my brother during Christmas Eve dinner
had not been my most stellar idea, but it was done. I was ready for the
"Erm.." I said into the tension, "thanks for coming to
the dinner. I'll.. uh.. call. We should hang out some more.. Bye. Merry
Lucy and Milliardo took my offer of an escape gladly. They hurriedly tumbled
through some trivial good byes and wishes of a good holiday and practically
ran out of my apartment. I do not blame them for leaving as they did.
I am just surprised that they did not run as soon as Solo heard the news.
Heero, however, frowned a little and refused to budge, not even when Lucy
motioned for him to follow their intelligent move to leave. He sat and
crossed his arms obstinately in front of him, ready and willing to face
the wrath of Solo with me.
Honestly, the fact that Heero was willing to brave this out with me warmed
me considerably. He would stay by my side, only if to cart me off to the
hospital after Solo was through with me. It was very thoughtful of him,
but this was my brother. I would deal with him on my own.
"Heero, you should go." I said softly, adding ‘please' with
The stubborn look faded from his eyes when he saw the look in my eyes,
replaced by a deep concern. He opened his mouth to argue, changed his
mind when he saw me pleading quietly with him and just sighed.
"I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Heero nodded and edged around Solo who had yet to move. He reached out
his hand as if to give me a reassuring touch, but then he thought better
of it. Neither of us really knew what would set Solo off again, but we
both silently agreed that touching would not be a good idea about now.
With another sigh, Heero gave me one last look of worry, picked up his
coat and left.
I do not know how long after everyone left that Solo and I refused to
move, but it was long enough for me to feel a cramp ride up my calves
to my knees. Even then, we were unable to make a move, neither of us knowing
how to begin what was about to come.
I think I mentioned before that I solve all my problems with alcohol,
right? Why should now be any different?
"Want a drink, Solo?"
My voice is raspy, but the nervous anxiety is gone. By now, I think I
am too tired and numb to have any emotions.
"Yeah," my brother actually replies, "bring the damned
With that, Solo pushes off the table and stalks over to the couch. He
falls into the seat rather than taking a seat and I can hear his joints
pop from the kitchen as I retrieve a bottle of scotch.
I join my brother on the couch and pour us a finger of scotch which we
both down like a shot. I pour another then another. We drink as if it
was the end of the world, not pausing between the drinks to even take
a breath. Around our seventh drink, I wonder if I should have bothered
with the glasses at all since it would've been more productive if we had
swigged from the bottle.
We finish the bottle in record time and I silently thank the gods that
the bottle had only been half full. If it had been a full bottle, we both
may have had to go to the emergency room for sibling stomach pumping,
something we did not need. But I can feel the alcohol cruising through
my system, turning my lips and fingertips numb.
The alcohol also seems to have drained some tension out of Solo's shoulders
because he slumps forward slightly. Normally, I would reach out and joke
with him about his inability to handle liquor as well as I, but I cannot
do that now. Instead, I watch as he digs out a cigarette from his pack
out of his pocket and light it.
The smoke exhaled by Solo clouds and drifts in my living room, leaving
little trails before disappearing. I stare at the dance of the smoke with
slightly bleary eyes before reaching for the pack myself. It is not often
that I smoke, but I think this situation warrants it.
"Thought you quit, little man."
Startled that Solo had spoken, I choke a little on the cigarette and cough
out a series of cloudy smoke. When I no longer feel my lungs seizing,
"I cut back, not quit. Quitting is for losers."
"Yeah," Solo says as he pulls from his cigarette, "but
that's the least of my worries."
We fall back into silence, but the ice had been broken. What would come
"Little man," Solo sighs, "how could you?"
"How could I what?" I answer, my voice tinged with bitterness,
"be in love?"
"Don't get fucking defensive on me. I'm not the one who decided one
day to be gay."
Well, if things aren't just progressing rapidly downhill.
"Yeah, that's right, Solo," I say, heat of anger evident in
my tone, "one day, I suddenly woke up and said, oh lookie, I'm fucking
"Shut the fuck up! You.. how could you? Is this your idea of a joke?
Jesus, Duo, you have a boyfriend! You are a goddamned fairy!"
At this point, I abandon all semblance of composure.
"Oh yeah, that's right, Solo. Why don't you tell me some more what
the hell I am because lately, I can't seem to tell! Do you think this
is easy for me? Do you have any idea the shit I went through when I..
"When you what?" Solo yells, nearly standing in his rage, "when
you decided to like dick?"
"Fucking Christ! Why are you so damned convinced I chose this? I
didn't! If I could have, I would have loved a woman, if only to spare
myself of this crap. It just happened, goddamn it. I met Heero and it
I lose steam and I can feel the frustration coil within me tightly. What
can I say to make this right? Why must this be so difficult?
"Just happened?" Solo growls, leaning closer to me, "shit
like this don't just happen. You don't fucking ruin your life without
deciding to do it."
"Ruin my life?" I say, my voice filled with disbelieving confusion,
"how the hell does this ruin my life?"
"Your job! Your family! Your fucking life!"
I can't reply to that, because those are the things that have been in
my mind ever since I started being with Heero. Our relationship could
have serious repercussions, like now for example. I knew this, I told
myself all this, but finally, right now as Solo stares at me with murder
and betrayal in his eyes, I see what I should have seen.
"Heero.." I begin softly, "isn't going to ruin my life.
He won't let himself do that."
"No, of course not," Solo answers sarcastically, "because
you're doing a hell of a job on your own. A boyfriend. You. Do you have
any idea how wrong that sounds?"
"It is not wrong! Jesus, Solo, what is so damned wrong about being
in love with Heero?"
"You're the one who's wrong, Solo," I say, my voice rising along
with my frayed temper, "I thought it was wrong at first, but it isn't.
Do you know he loves me? Do you know how happy I am when I'm with him,
that he makes me feel okay just by being there?"
"You are fucking crazy," Solo replies, equally angry, "listen
to yourself! You sound like a goddamned girl! He loves me, he makes me
happy.. well, what about the rest of the people in your life? What about
me? Mom? Dad?"
"I didn't fall for him to make you or mom happy! I did it for me.
Don't you think I agonized over how to tell you and them? It made me physically
ill to think about it!"
"So you choose that queer over your family, is that it?"
"No! Damn it, Solo, it should not be about choosing! You're supposed
to accept me in any way that I am! You're family. I'd never condemn you
like this for anything, damn it!"
"Well," Solo says as he gets dangerously close to me, "I'm
not you! I never could be because you were always so much better than
me! And now look at you. You're.. you're disgusting."
I roughly shove Solo away from me and stand. Yes, I can understand why
Solo is acting this way, because, let's face it, I did shock him. And
after all, there have been times when I have wondered why it was that
I had to love a guy instead of a woman. During those times, I ran from
Heero, avoided him, hurt him, but in the end, I was always back with him.
I am in love with him. He is in love with me. That is not wrong, that
cannot be wrong, I am convince of that if nothing else. Why couldn't Solo
see it the way I did?
"I'm leaving," I hear Solo say, "I can't take this shit
"You're drunk, Solo."
"I'll take a bus."
"But," I say as I reach out to stop him, worried that he might
do something foolish.
"Don't fucking touch me! You.. I don't know you."
I freeze like he had hit me in the solar plexus. Actually, it may have
been more merciful if he had because I don't think it would have hurt
In all my life, I have never lost anyone close and dear to me. I have
always been lucky, not knowing that kind of pain. Until now.
I could only stand there as Solo packed up his things and left without
even saying good bye. My brother, my only brother, shut the door to my
apartment with a final click, leaving me all alone.
My brother who I have idolized since I was born.
My brother who took on the neighborhood bully with me only to find out
that the bully had a bigger, older brother.
My brother who teased me about my first kiss in second grade.
My brother who was always so proud of me, supported me and loved me.
He was gone. He had abandoned me, all because I was in love.
[part 23] [back to 0083's