One Condition [Part 2/2]
Yu：Why the hell… I don’t know, I was bedridden and bored and still need to add 30s slang to the other fic, but can’t do that until either I find my reference site or this damn Baccano episode loads up, so plz enjoy…
_ _ _
_ _ _
If you thought GuanShan didn’t noticed that he hadn’t woken up feeling this good in a very long while, then you were damn mistaken. Which was the first hint that something was wrong.
It’s kind of sad he doubted himself, his surroundings, his luck whenever he felt good; as if a tidal wave of ‘bad’ was about to crash him against the jagged rocks of reality.
After his eyes readjusted to the light, and the expensive sheets and heavenly pillows, and the sofa across from him, and the high-rise ceiling, he knew exactly what that incoming tsunami was.
“Morning, sleepy-head,” said the tidal wave.
A muffled ‘Nooo,’ was groaned faced down into the pillow.
Maybe if he pressed hard enough to the point of flattening his nose, he could smother himself.
But the onslaught wave had no interest in his deliberations, and strode from the kitchen to hand him a glass of water and pills he assumed were for hangovers.
“So let me try filling you in, in case you aren’t aware,” HeTian spoke, taking a seat on the adjacent couch. “Yes, you did arrive drunk on my doorstep at around midnight,” he folded his legs casually, “Yes, you did a bit of drunk rambling- but nothing embarrassing,” He winked. Prick. “And yes, you also passed out in my bed. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for you being in the smack middle of it, and having a tendency to kick sheets off of you, then hog them back on to your side, right before kicking them off again.” Wait. Had he slept in the same bed with him? He looked at the medium length of the sofa and knew the flat well enough to gather that the bed was the only comfortable place for the night.
“Sorry to inconvenience you,” GuanShan reluctantly mumbled, hating being formal with the bastard, but there was no doubt he was in the wrong.
“On the contrary. I told you that you needn’t try to deal with everything on your own. It’s okay for you to ask for help and that’s exactly what you did.”
“..什么?” GuanShan didn’t understand.
“Only thing to deal with now is how you’d like this done,” HeTian spoke with a definite change in his voice. The words would seem neutral and perhaps business-like, but GuanShan detected a certain chill reminiscent of the time the dark eyed boy promised steel wires and blood-dripped lips.
GuanShan kept silent, not sure when he had sat up with his legs hanging off the side of the bed.
“Your father, GuanShan,” HeTian alluded to his unasked question, “Do you want him dead or alive?”
GuanShan wondered if it’d be overdramatic to say that the world stopped. If anyone thought so, then how many people have offered before to commit murder for them?
GuanShan sputtered, but nothing coherent ever came out. It was as if he was just buying time while he tried figuring out what the hell was going on.
“What all did you hear last night? I was only looking for a place to crash-”
“There was a condition to you staying here. You had to tell me what was wrong or I’d throw you out… He’s back, right?”
GuanShan wasn’t good at hiding tells, but he at least knew what was one. So when his breath hitched at the question, there was no denying HeTian had the confirmation he’d been looking for.
“Shan… He’s back from prison. And as much as people would like to claim they’re ‘correctional facilities'…9 out of 10 they are most certainly not. If he’s beating the crap out of you and your mom, there’s only one solution to that.”
“Showing him what the hierarchy is now that he’s outside a prison. If his dumbass gets killed and winds up in a backalley, that’s his fault. And if done right, no one will waste the manpower investigating it.”
There was hesitation. But he really had to know.
“HeTian… Are you a part of a gang?”
“Ha~…No, GuanShan. I’m not.” And he believed him.
“But,“ he paused, "to kill someone -”
“Doesn’t take being a Tong or a Triad.”
“Besides, I’ve seen his criminal records. Your father’s ties to either organization weren’t even that deep to begin with. He won’t be missed.”
The redhead wasn’t entirely sure how to covertly ask ‘Why the fuck do you know that?’, so he didn’t.
“No,” was the first word that practically forced its way out, “No. No, no, no,” Bringing his hands to his face, GuanShan shook his head, “There’s no reason to kill him. If I could just put him back in prison, that’d be-” “Done.”
His head popped up. Eyes wide in shock…fear…admiration?
“He’ll be back in prison by the end of the week. Stay here for now, and try to get your mother to come here as well. Tell her to say she’s heading to the market for groceries-”
“That’s doing too much-”
“Your business is my business.”
The statement was said with so much finality, GuanShan didn’t think he could help the first thing that shot out his mouth:
“Do you like me?”
It sounded like the most random of questions. Maybe even a bit needy too. What is this, primary school??
But in the context, with the housekeeping job, and the kiss, and the clearing of his name, and this, it just seemed-
His innerself watched in confusion at his heart plummeting from a drop door in his chest, until it shattered upon the metaphysical floor.
He shouldn’t be so blunt.
But then again, shouldn’t he be feeling relieved?
It’s just because the prick was being rude.
But he’s always like that. And honestly, he was just being clear.
Which is all he could’ve asked for.
But they had kissed, so how could HeTian say that??
Was it a game?
Did it matter?
Wouldn’t it be better if it was a joke?
Wouldn’t it be better if-
“I don’t know how I feel about you, actually,” HeTian’s words cutting through GuanShan’s high-speed train of thought that was tumbling off a broken bridge Old Western-style. “I just…saw a tool of amusement at first-” GuanShan almost interrupted, “-and after a little while, I saw only a friend, who was a bit of a pain in the ass, but worth it.”
GuanShan felt a bit better, but it went away as soon as he saw the expression of an internal struggle, and words starting again with treaded caution.
“And I thought that this would continue… Until I saw,” HeTian paused, his eyes looking directly into his own, “a possibility.”
Realization hit him like thunder, but lightning always comes first, and so before he could fully pass the sofa and reach the exit, HeTian’s reflexes had captured his arm. Every muscle rigid in his body, completed with a clenched jaw, and his eyes never deviating from the door leading outside of the Hell he’s found himself in.
“Shan - listen - that time - the kiss - it - it was just a joke, I swear. I’m not trying to push you outside of your comfort zone. I already know you don’t like me, and that’s fine,” he emphasized.
“But that doesn’t change the fact that I care about your well-being, because above all, you’re my friend.”
“Do you understand?”
Not at all.
HeTian’s words were crystal clear, but whatever the fuck was going on in his head wasn’t.
“You… I….” were the words that wound up beating the other stream of thoughts that had raced to his lips.
“It’s not…like that. I think that I just need time, is all…”
His eyes caught the sudden expansion of HeTian’s chest, and felt that this might be the closest he’d get to an audible gasp.
It was such a human thing, and he amusedly hadn’t thought HeTian capable until now. But that wasn’t the only surprise. GuanShan thought to himself of how all the times the person before him had smirked mischievously, or forced grins masking threats, but he had forgotten that genuine smiles may look a bit different.
For example, they tend to stretch the mouth at both corners, and raise the cheeks. There are sometimes wrinkling around the eyes. And even the darkest of irises had the potential of lighting up like the Chinese New Year.
HeTian’s chest finally drew inward, and his lungs exhaled, “Take all the time you need, GuanShan.”
There was evident emotion there. Hope.
GuanShan, for once, allowed himself to feel it too. Maybe this time a tidal wave wouldn’t come. Maybe this time, there’d be smooth sails.
_ _ _
Yu: 什么/shénme is just “what” (Probably coulda guessed that one, right?)