Although Orpheus would rather have been in the living room, away from the House’s sphere of influence, away from the reminder of what he had to sacrifice to get L back, he found himself too comfortable to move. Too afraid to break the moment, because it was as though a spell had settled over the two of them. As though they were alone in the universe, as though this moment was theirs and theirs alone, and they could do whatever they wanted with it. There was really no reason to hold L as closely as he was doing now. There was no danger he was in, nothing to compel him other than his own racing heart and the feeling of L’s against his fingertips. They did not beat to the same rhythm, not exactly. Orpheus’ was a harmony to L’s steadier melody. “I love you too,” Orpheus returned softly, the words infused by the smile that now seemed almost permanently affixed to his expression. “I’ve been waiting so long to say that… I had convinced myself I’d never be able to.” The words were soft, his gaze locked on L’s. Had L felt the same way? Had they been dancing around each other for years now without saying anything because they had talked themselves into a lie? Looking at L now, it was impossible to miss the love in his expression, the rawness in his eyes, the honesty in every pore. Orpheus was sure he looked the same. It was so much easier not to have to try to hide things. So much easier to exist, to be truthful about everything he’d tried for so long to conceal. “I can’t say I was particularly subtle about it,” he admitted after a long moment, laughing quietly at himself, “Though I thought I was. I thought I was quite good at keeping it to myself.” Orpheus fell silent for a long moment, searching L’s expression, watching as the memory swept over him. He closed his eyes, letting it soak in. He remembered the room, too. It had been… it had been before Eurydice died. Well before Orpheus had fallen for L in return. Yet… he could feel the sun from that room even now, lighting up their features, wrapping them both in warmth… “I remember,” he replied softly, his smile growing gentler, “It was beautiful.”
L didn’t know what Orpheus had sacrificed. He would eventually think to wonder why there was a game set up behind them, ready for not one but two players. He would think to wonder what Orpheus had done to get him back, why they were in a different room. Orpheus had been holding him when he had come back...Orpheus had expected it, expected him to return. But L wasn’t thinking of that now. He wasn’t thinking of what had happened before, he wasn’t even thinking about after, he was just existing in this moment, savoring every moment. He could feel Orpheus’ heart beating, fast against him, and he knew his own was probably beating fast too, though he wasn’t paying it any attention. Orpheus was the only one who held his attention now. He smiled at the words, letting them wash over him, letting them swallow him whole. He loved Orpheus. And Orpheus loved him, too. It felt a little like a breath of fresh air, like finally surfacing after being underwater for a very long time. “I still didn’t know, though.” He answered quietly, eyes never leaving Orpheus’ face, his expression, the love in his gaze. He couldn’t look away, and he didn’t want to. “So perhaps you were better at it than you think. Although...I suppose it’s also possible I just missed it. I wasn’t expecting it.” He hesitated. “I don’t know how good at pretending I was.” He admitted softly. “But, you didn’t know, so perhaps I was decent at it. I’ve always been a very good liar...though I don’t want to lie to you, ever again.” Another pause. He looked at Orpheus for a long moment, remembering the room, remembering everything about it. “Yes, it was.” He agreed, his voice barely more than a whisper. “And you played for the fish, and they came closer. And I fell in love with you. Though I promised myself I would never tell you that part. I promised I wouldn’t, because I value your friendship and I couldn’t betray that. I could never betray that trust.”
Perhaps it was selfish, but Orpheus would have made the same choice again. He would have played Elpis a thousand times for the chance to have L back. Even if he was still confident that he could free Elpis eventually. He wasn’t going to let that be the end. He wasn’t going to let Elpis suffer just so Orpheus could be happy. That was the reason he hadn’t killed them in the first place. They deserved life just as much as L and Orpheus did. But… if they had to suffer temporarily at the hands of the House… and if they had chosen to do so willingly so Orpheus could reunite with L… how could he choose anything different? He had L back. And, perhaps more importantly, he had L’s love. “Love makes things not make sense,” Orpheus echoed quietly, thinking once again of what he had told Elpis. “It’s entirely possible that we both missed it because we were deep enough into it that logic stopped working. Which… admittedly is more believable for me than it is for you, but…” he shrugged, not sure how much more he wanted to think about it. It didn’t matter now that they hadn’t known, because they knew now. Now they could decide how to move forward, what to do with the fact that there was love, and it was shared. Orpheus had never imagined he’d find himself in this position. “I don’t want you to lie either,” Orpheus managed, lifting his hand to thread his fingers through L’s hair, pushing some loose strands back from his face. “Tell me the truth, now,” he added, his voice an aching whisper. Joy and astonishment threaded through his tone, like he couldn’t quite decide what he was feeling or how to make his voice reflect it. “Tell me what you plan to do with my love. Tell me where we go from here.” Orpheus let his eyes drift open, taking in L’s expression. He was trying to read him, trying to figure out their next steps. “You promised you wouldn’t tell me,” he repeated, voice high and uncertain, but still just as soft, just as gentle, “but now you have.” It was a truth, stretching between them. “Now I know. And you know. And were we normal lovers in a normal world, we might rejoice… we might… we might lay here for an eternity and plan a future together and rest knowing that all is well. But… what do we do, Λ? Can we have this? Are we allowed this one happiness?”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 21, 2021 11:30:35 GMT -5
Love makes things not make sense. The words didn’t explain to L how he had missed this, how he hadn’t seen it coming. Logic had to work. Deductive reasoning, his ability to make sense of things...he depended on that. Needed it to survive. He didn’t know how he had missed this...he would think about that later. Now, he wanted to figure out what they would do next. He wouldn’t lie. He wouldn’t lie again. He didn’t want to, he hated that he had had to do it before. To save Orpheus’ life had been worth it, and he had suspected he would come back, but was that good enough? Because Orpheus was right. He hadn’t made sense, he had chosen to risk himself rather than risk Orpheus, and he thought he would probably do it again, under the same circumstances. Orpheus would probably have been upset by that thought, but how could L choose himself? How could he risk Orpheus’ life? He couldn’t. He wouldn’t, not even if Orpheus wanted him to. Was that selfish? Perhaps, but he couldn’t help it. There was no mask over his expression. Nothing hiding the love in his eyes, the gentle look on his face. He couldn’t look away. He didn’t want to. “Protect it.” He answered, his fragile voice nearly breaking, but not yet. Not yet. “I plan to protect it. As for where we go from here...that’s something we must decide together, I think. Where would you like to go from here?” He listened quietly, considering Orpheus’ words. He had never considered himself capable of being a lover, but now he supposed he was one. Technically, he had been one for years, though he had never thought that Orpheus would be one back. And here they were, together now, both of them understanding each other at last. There were no more secrets. Nothing more L was keeping from Orpheus. He met Orpheus’ eyes. When he spoke, his tone was soft, but clear, his expression gentle. “I don’t know whether we’re allowed.” He whispered, reaching for Orpheus’ hand as he spoke. “I’ve never been very good at following rules, anyway. As for the House...since when do you let the House make the rules? Since when have you given it that sort of power?” He stared unblinkingly up at Orpheus. “I want to lay here.” He continued, just as softly. “Perhaps the House will test us, hurt us for this, perhaps it’s dangerous, certainly it’s dangerous. We might blink out and never blink in again. We might be put through terrible rooms together. But isn’t that true of any life? You may die at any time. Tragedy is not uncommon, I know that better than anyone, I’ve seen it. That’s why I want to take advantage of every moment there is, every chance we get. If you want this...I want to be with you for as long as I can be.”
Did love make people selfish, too? Orpheus considered that, throwing the thought around his mind for a couple seconds before he shrugged and pushed it away. Did it matter? Selfishness in this case meant keeping the other person alive, and that didn’t seem very selfish to Orpheus. Except the part where love made it hard to live without the person you loved… perhaps even selfishness operated under different rules when there was love involved. “Oh,” Orpheus whispered, breathless. He wasn’t sure what answer he had been expecting, but the one he received was so fundamentally L that Orpheus couldn’t help but fall even deeper in love. Odd… he hadn’t thought that was possible. “Well… I’d like to make the most of this,” he whispered, searching L's expression, hoping his words were alright. Hoping that L didn’t want to move forward and pretend this conversation had never happened. Orpheus would go along with it if he did, of course, but that didn’t mean he wanted to. Orpheus glanced down, threading his fingers through L’s hand. How had he never questioned why that felt so natural? Why had he assumed L could only ever see him as a friend? Had he assumed L wasn’t brave enough to pursue this? No, that wasn’t it. It had just been… he didn’t want to put him in any more danger. It seemed, searching L’s expression now, that perhaps love was worth that danger. Perhaps he didn’t mind that they could get hurt, and perhaps L didn’t either. “Neither have I,” Orpheus admitted under his breath, his smile softening to something private, something only for L. A smile he’d been given him since he had first fallen, but one he’d tried his very best to hide. He didn’t imagine he’d done a very good job of that, but this time… this time L would know what the smile meant. “My biggest accomplishment was breaking the rules,” he added, an edge of humor in his tone. “I don’t want the House to tell us we can’t. I don’t… I don’t want to give your world or mine a say either. I just… I want to be able to decide with you where we go from here, I want this decision to be ours regardless of what our worlds would say. Regardless of what the House may do to us.” He held onto L’s gaze, drawn in, wanting to be closer in spite of the feeling of their bodies already held close together. Wanting this moment to never end. “I want that too,” Orpheus whispered, his voice soft and private. “I want whatever version of a future we can get, I want the sort of eternity only we can have.” He squeezed L’s hand, one finger gently lifting to tap the words as well, to imprint them on L’s skin, to make them known as loudly as he could. I love you. “Whatever challenges the House throws at us… we’ve made it through them all before. And us, us together, that gives me strength.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 21, 2021 15:30:20 GMT -5
Selfishness was something L saw a lot of. But this...did it even count as selfish when it was for someone else? True, L hadn’t had to live with what he’s done, Orpheus had, but L had done it for him. It didn’t matter now. It was over, and they were lucky enough to live. That was enough for now. He nodded a little, understanding what Orpheus meant. A small, almost shy smile curved his lips as he looked at the other blinker, his expression open and...well, happy. “I want that too.” He told him softly, holding onto Orpheus’ hand like he never wanted to let go. Like he never planned to. “I want to make the most of this. I never expected to get the chance to, and now that it’s possible...I don’t want to lose it.” It didn’t occur to him that he might want to pretend this never happened. If Orpheus had wanted that, he would have agreed and gone back to how he’d been for years, but he didn’t want to. He wanted to be with Orpheus in every way he hadn’t been able to before. Every way that had been taken from him, every way he hadn’t allowed himself to have. Now that he knew Orpheus loved him...he was holding onto that as hard as he could. He never wanted to let it go. The smile felt like safety, and love, and warmth, and it was everything, everything L wanted. He felt like he would have done anything at all just to see that smile, see the way he looked at him, see the love he’d been so blind to all this time. How he had missed it was a question for later. What they did next was a question for now. “Yes.” He said it so softly, so gently. He wanted that too. He wanted to make this decision without the House changing them, without their worlds tearing them apart. “This is ours.” He told him, and he meant it. “This belongs to us. I don’t want to share it.” Another possibly selfish thing. He didn’t mind, though. He wanted to believe that this could be okay, that this could work, and if he had to be a little bit selfish for that, then he would be. He felt the words. Felt them lightly against his skin. I love you. He lifted a finger and gently shifted so he could answer it. I love you, too. He would always say it back. He would always say it back no matter what, now. “Me too.” He agreed softly, pulling himself just a little bit closer. “We’ve always survived it before. I believe we can do it again. I believe in us, in you, I have for so long and you’ve never once given me a reason to doubt it.” He meant that too. Orpheus had always tried his hardest, he’d never once done anything to make L doubt him, nothing. “I want to make it work.” He whispered. “I don’t care if it’s different than it would be outside the House. I love you. I want to have a future with you.”
Orpheus gave a small smile, leaning a bit closer into L and relishing the feeling of his warmth, the delicate thumping of his heart, the soft sigh of his breath. He would have stayed silent for as long as he needed, for eternity if necessary, if only to keep this in his life. But he hadn’t had to… he hadn’t needed to hide it. Somehow it had been okay to tell the truth, somehow… somehow they were better than they had been before L had died. Orpheus didn’t want to let that go. The sight of L’s smile breaking across his face was enough to send Orpheus’ heart racing, though he had seen that smile hundreds of times before, if not thousands. There was a reason he tried so hard to coax that smile out. It was… well, it was a summary of the L that so few people got to see, the one Orpheus didn’t know how he had gotten lucky enough to meet. It was L, honest and open, more a complete human being than most people from L’s world ever cared to look for. “I think,” Orpheus murmured quietly, a spark of amusement in his eyes, “that I got very lucky there’s nobody in your own world that caught your eye.” He let out a small huff of amusement, glancing down at their hands for a long moment. “I don’t like that nobody knows, I don’t think I’ll ever like it, but… I’m glad you let me in. I’m glad I get to see you, to… to experience you, to know you as countless unfortunate souls never will.” It was baffling to him that L could think himself unlovable for even a moment. Orpheus had loved him even before he’d fallen for him. Then again… he supposed his people had very different ideas of love than a lot of other worlds he’d heard of. He couldn’t quite categorize the love he felt for L. It seemed… well, it seemed to encompass everything, it seemed to fill him up and make him whole, it eased the pain and suffering of his world, it was like a light that couldn’t be turned off, one that provided life and warmth and joy. “I don’t want to share it either,” he whispered, holding L’s gaze. “It’s ours.” Was that selfish? Was it selfish to claim one thing for yourself, one thing that nobody else could touch? Orpheus didn’t think so. His gaze flickered once more down to their hands, the feeling of L’s fingertip light against the back of his hand. How long had he yearned to hear that? How often had he tapped it to himself in his world, when he was certain there was no chance L would see it? Now it was real. He didn’t have to yearn anymore, he didn’t have to imagine the impossible chance of L loving him, because somehow it wasn’t quite so impossible. His smile deepened at the feeling of L pulling closer, warm like they had been when they’d both almost frozen. Only now the chill wasn’t from the cold, but instead the image of future loneliness they’d both constructed in their heads. The futures where the one they loved could never feel the same. Didn’t that chill cut deeper even than the wind? Frostbite was easier to survive than a broken heart. “We’ll make it work,” Orpheus promised, “no matter how difficult it gets.” He leaned his forehead in again, lightly meeting L’s. “Let’s make a future.”
All that time they could have spent like this, with it out in the open...L felt its loss sharply now, in that moment, when they could be as close as they wanted and no one could tell them to stop, and who cared what anyone else thought anyway? He hadn’t gotten this far by stopping to consider what impression he tended to make, after all, and he didn’t plan to start now. Not when he had something so precious he wasn’t sure how he had ever earned it. And yet, somehow, he had. Somehow he had earned this, owned it, carried it right next to his own heart. Maybe he had lost his heart first, but what he had gained was worth it by far. Orpheus’ heart was priceless, and he had been given it freely. Once, he had told Orpheus he found it easy to be his friend, and now...now he could say the same thing about loving him. Of course it was easy. It was as natural to him as breathing. His expression when he met Orpheus’ eyes was surprised, startled even. He hadn’t honestly expected Orpheus to say anything like that, to suggest that he might have fallen in love with anyone else. Of course he understood that it was a logical possibility, but the idea was so foreign to him that it took him by surprise. “I’m glad, too.” He answered softly his fingers still laced through Orpheus’, his expression smoothing back into something softer. “I’ve never been so glad of anything else.” L’s world had told him he was unlovable. That he wasn’t someone people could care for, romantically, platonically, any way. He should have known it wasn’t true from the start, Watari was proof of that, but he had, perhaps, let it get to him. Just a little. Just enough to make him wonder, just enough to make the thoughts in his head whisper but how do you know? One person of thousands isn’t enough to prove it. An anomaly. A glitch. Nothing more. He let himself relax completely. “Good,” he murmured. “Then let’s not share it. Let’s let this be ours, and ours alone.” He didn’t care it it turned out to be selfish after all. He would just have to be selfish, if that happened. Somehow, somehow, somehow they were okay. He had told the truth, and instead of anger he had been met with only love. Would he ever have said it on his own? No, he decided, no he wouldn’t, because he wasn’t as brave as he pretended to be, not with his heart. He hadn’t wanted to risk a broken heart, because he feared he wasn’t as strong as Orpheus had been. He feared he wouldn’t be strong enough to put himself back together again, once broken. Loving someone, it was dangerous, it was frightening, and he wanted it more than he’d ever wanted anything. When had he become this reckless? Since when did he take such risks? Since there was something worth it on the other side, he decided, pulling as close to Orpheus as he could get. “Okay.” He agreed softly, dark eyes meeting hazel, foreheads touching. Could they be any closer than they were in that moment? “Okay.” He said it one more time, his voice a touch stronger. “What do we do first?”
Orpheus was distinctly aware that L had fallen for him while Orpheus was still in love with Eurydice. He scoured his own memories, trying to find any sign he’d missed of how L felt, any bitterness towards the happiness Orpheus had found with his first love… and came up empty handed. L had been nothing but kind, nothing but supportive of every love he had lavished on Eurydice. He had sang L the love songs he was writing her, had waxed poetic about her deep brown eyes… and he hadn’t known. “How much pain did I put you through?” Orpheus asked after a long moment, his smile fading and his gaze dropping down to their hands. “When I loved Eurydice, how much did I hurt you by being oblivious?” The entire song he’d sung to bring back spring, the song L had listened to for months, listening to Orpheus raving about how it wasn’t quite right… it was about Eurydice. And who had believed in him, who had told him that if anyone could get her back, it was him? Who had held him when he failed, who had taken the guitar and kept it safe for long enough that Orpheus started to feel again? Orpheus got the distinct impression that he didn’t deserve L. That L had loved him from afar, had been there for him through everything, had borne the pain of Orpheus choosing someone else… L was stronger than Orpheus could ever be. Because it was L who had helped him pick up the pieces, who had helped him start to live again. How could anyone in L’s world see him as unlovable? Did they know the same man Orpheus did? Deep down, Orpheus knew they didn’t. They didn’t care to find the kind, wonderful man Orpheus had given his heart to the year before. Orpheus’ smile returned as he glanced at L, as he felt L’s tension bleed away. They were safe here, even inside this room. They had each other. That was all they really needed. He let silence fall for several moments, glancing at their hands, then meeting L’s eyes. They were so close. He could feel L’s breath against him, feel as he shifted that tiny bit closer until it felt like they were one, not two. Safe. “Well,” Orpheus whispered, eyes not leaving L’s, “We take this moment for ourselves. And then… and then we take every moment after, as long as we’re together. And… and I bring you flowers from my world, and I write you songs, and we take our little victories where they come. I try more of your world’s food, and sometimes we lay together for no reason other than that we can. We build our own future, one that even the House can’t take away from us, because the House isn’t its foundation.” His smile had widened just a little bit, and he searched L’s expression to see what he made of that. To see if he had any thoughts for their future. “First, though,” Orpheus added, his words barely more than a sigh, “I have a question I’ve been wanting to ask for a very long time…” his free hand rose up to rest gently on the back of L’s neck. “May I kiss you?” he asked, slow and soft, the words barely audible had they not been pressed so close.
The thing about love was that, for every way it was selfish, it was also so selfless it hurt. At least, that was how the love L had for Orpheus was. It was selfish in that it made him selfish. It was selfless in so many other ways, ways that, perhaps, mattered even more. He looked away for a moment at the question. “I won’t lie.” He murmured, his tone gentle. “It felt a little like dying, slowly, little by little. But...you were happy.” He looked up again, meeting Orpheus’ eyes, his own serious, with no hint of bitterness or anger, only gentle love. “I saw you being happy. How could I begrudge you that?” A moment passed, L meeting Orpheus’ gaze unblinkingly. If his hands shook a little, who could hold it against him? “I know you loved her.” His voice was almost nothing but a breath of air. “I know you were happy, and consequently, so was I. I could...feel happy while it hurt, you know. I could acknowledge the pain and not fake the smiles I gave you, the way I continued on, because...I was your friend. I wasn’t faking it, Orpheus. Your friendship did, and always will, mean everything to me. That’s how I felt then, and if you had never loved me back, I would have continued to be honest about all but one thing. I would have continued forever, and it would have been okay, because love doesn’t make sense but when you truly love someone, I think you want them to be happy. I think any kind of love that makes you hurt someone to try to make it feel better is worse than no love at all. I could...no, I would never have hurt you with the truth. I would never have told you.” He closed his eyes, letting the words face into nothing. He meant every one of them. “You deserve to be happy. With me. With someone else. With nobody at all.” He managed after a moment. “My love for you is not conditional on its return. My love is conditional on one thing and one thing only: that is, that you are still you. Perhaps, in some cases, not even that. And...even if you stopped being you...I would continue to love the you that lived on in my memory.” He fell silent. The answer had been longer than the question, but they has been words he had needed to say for a very long time, and never expected to be able to. And now? He felt...empty, but not in a bad way. Perhaps...perhaps free was a better word for it. Like a weight had been lifted, like he was so light he could fly. It was his turn to listen. The life Orpheus weaved in front of him like a beautiful tapestry was...everything, everything L wanted, yearned for. His expression was open, his face maskless, everything written in detail on his skin and behind wide dark eyes. “You have no idea how much I want that,” he whispered, searching Orpheus’ expression, as though he needed more proof that this could be real, that he could have this. Then he heard the words that stopped his heart and made it beat faster, harder, stronger at the same time. Words he had heard before, but never directed towards him. Words he couldn’t have imagined hearing. “Yes.” He breathed. There was more to be said, there always was, but at the moment the single word served its purpose well. Wide, unblinking eyes searched gentle features, two bodies pressed close to each other. Two heartbeats, almost beating to the same, quick rhythm now, as though they understood that the impossible had happened.
Orpheus listened, soaking in every word. Of course he hadn’t known how painful it would be for L at the time, but hearing it now… it didn’t surprise him. What did surprise him was the grace with which L had handled it. Not necessarily that L had been capable of it, but that he’d done it without any complaint, without realizing that he didn’t have to be as kind about it as he was. Orpheus knew people considered L heartless. Looking at him now, feeling his heart beating, listening to the him talk about what it was like for Orpheus to love someone else… Orpheus didn’t understand how. L’s heart might have been fragile and soft and rarely given, but he undoubtedly had one. Orpheus vowed silently that he would protect it with everything he had. Just as he trusted L to protect his. “You were willing to suffer for my happiness,” Orpheus repeated, voice breaking. What had he done to deserve L? Beautiful, wonderful L? The man who touched thousands of people and didn’t even realize it, who went without thanks, without most people even realizing how much good he brought into every world he touched. No, L’s world didn’t deserve him. But L continued to serve them anyway. “Our friendship,” Orpheus whispered, not breaking eye contact with L for even a moment, “meant everything to me, too. I think, sometimes, the only reason I didn’t lose myself was because you were here to guide my steps. Because you reminded me who I was, that I was… that I was more than what I’d lost. Because I think even then you had part of my heart, and you helped give it back to me. You helped me pick up the pieces. Only I think you might’ve kept some.” His smile deepened and he lightly nudged L, teasing in his own gentle way. “I can’t tell the future,” he added, voice growing more serious, “but I promise that I’ll do everything I can to stay myself. If you promise me the same.” He searched L’s gaze, knowing it was a dangerous promise to make in the House. Knowing the way the House could get in their heads and twist them, the ways the House couldn’t erase personalities, necessarily, but it could change feelings. Still… he couldn’t help but feel they had some sort of power over the House. It was easier to stay silent for a few moments, to hold onto L and feel him there, alive, so alive. To think about what he had said, the way Orpheus had hurt him without meaning to, every moment this could have stayed a secret had Orpheus not blurted it out without thinking. They would have loved each other in silence until they both died. And probably long past that. Orpheus would never stop loving L. Like he would never stop loving Eurydice. It was funny, how there was room in a heart for more than one person. How he had once thought he’d never move on from her, how he’d learned moving on didn’t mean forgetting. It just meant making room. It meant taking his shattered heart, the one L had helped him glue together, and slipping it into L’s pocket without thinking twice. L was right. Their hearts were beating in unison now, faster than normal, but a rhythm that was theirs. Orpheus pressed the rhythm into his memory. He’d write something to it when he blinked back. He already had ideas. Orpheus’ breath hitched as he heard the response and he let his eyes drift closed as he leaned forward, closing that tiny distance between them. L was warm and this was so comfortable, so safe… eternity must be found in moments like this. The ones that felt like they lasted forever. The ones where time didn’t seem to matter. Where there was nothing but two people and the soft blanket of knowing they didn’t have to worry about being alone anymore.
L didn’t consider it more than he had owed Orpheus by being his friend. By loving him. How could he have told him, how could he have hurt Orpheus with that knowledge? It wasn’t so extraordinary, he thought, it wasn’t so incredible. He had protected Orpheus from himself, he had made sure he would not be the cause of his pain. L had not rejoiced at Eurydice’s death. He had not thought at last. Truthfully...though he hadn’t known her well personally, he had never been jealous of her, not specifically. It had hurt, of course it had, he hadn’t lied about that part. But he had never wished Eurydice harm. He had grieved her too, not as Orpheus had of course, but as someone who hated death, who hated the pain it left in its wake. As someone who never wanted the tragedy that followed him. “It wasn’t all bad,” he answered, blinking at Orpheus, his expression serious. There had been nights when he had felt it more than others, of course. Nights when he couldn’t work, when he couldn’t stop his heart from cracking. When he had cursed himself for falling in love, when he had longed to tell someone, anyone at all. He hadn’t even told Watari. Not because he didn’t trust him, but because something had always held him back, as though he had thought by speaking the words aloud, he was betraying Orpheus. “We still had good rooms and we still laughed sometimes and I still got to spend time with you,” he continued gently. “You could have pushed me away. You didn’t. You...your happiness...has always been enough for me.” He fell silent, listening. Orpheus had never deserved the tragedy he had faced. Neither had Eurydice. They had been deserved a happy ending, and if L could have given it, he would have. But he was no god. He was only a man, and all he could do was be there for Orpheus, hold him, try to help him breathe through the sharp pain of loss. Help him pick up the pieces again. “That was rather selfish of me, keeping a piece of you.” He murmured, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “I find I don’t really want to give it back.” He looked back at Orpheus for a long moment, weighing the chances that this was a promise he would regret. The chances that one of them would lose himself. This heig the House...it was possible. Too possible. How much could the House take? How badly could it hurt them? He didn’t want to find out, he didn’t want to know. “I promise.” He whispered. “I will do everything I can to stay myself.” Being here, now…it was better than anything L could have imagined. Better than anything L would have imagined, anyway, if he had let himself imagine this. Which, sensibly, he hadn’t. It was frightening, how close they had come to never telling each other. They might have stayed forever silent, they might have never said a word, L knew he wouldn’t have. Orpheus...Orpheus was the braver of the two of them. The one who had risked speaking those words L would never, ever forget. And L was more than grateful for it. Having been mostly alone for much of his life...L understood what Orpheus meant. He understood how it felt to be alone, he knew what it was like. Though...the House had been where he met the people he tended to care for most. Where he met most of his friends. L closed his eyes as Orpheus leaned closer. The room was so quiet, he realized, though he hadn’t actually looked around him when he’d woken up. Maybe that was a sight of how much he trusted Orpheus...or maybe he’d simply been unable to look away for long enough. Either way...he wasn’t thinking of that now.
“You were a better friend than I deserved,” Orpheus replied quietly, thinking to himself. He had been young and naïve, he hadn’t really understood the way the world worked. And he had been relentlessly insistent on the fact he could change it. He had made promises, countless promises that he hadn’t been able to keep. And yet L had stood beside him the whole time, he had been kind, he had helped Orpheus piece himself back together. It was more than Orpheus had deserved. All of it was. Especially since he’d been hurting L the whole time, all without knowing. “I would never have pushed you away,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m so grateful for every room we shared as friends. You got me through more than I can say.” He meant that. He wouldn’t trade the time he had with L for anything. L had taught him so much about life, and love, and what it meant to care so much for someone that you were willing to sacrifice everything for him. Orpheus had loved L at the same time he had loved Eurydice. Platonic love was not so terribly different from romantic, and he realized distantly that he couldn’t pinpoint exactly when his feelings for L had changed. Within the past year for certain, but that was an incredibly unspecific amount of time. L would have known for sure, in Orpheus’ place. The smile spread back across Orpheus’ smile. “Fortunately for you,” he whispered, “I don’t think I want that piece of myself back. It’s a gift. You’ve taken care of it better than I ever did.” Although he was still joking, at least a little bit, his tone was genuine. He meant everything he was saying. If he had given himself to L, then he didn’t want to be returned. He didn’t look away. He wanted to be lost in L forever. His expression grew more somber and he nodded. “Good.” Hearing that promise, even if the House decided to test them on it, to see how well they could keep that promise… at least they knew the other would try to always stay himself. And that was all that mattered, in the end. All they could do was try their best. Orpheus didn’t feel very brave. He felt lost, floating without an anchor as long as L was dead. Had telling him been an act of strength or an act of weakness? Perhaps it was neither. Perhaps it was just an act. One that he was grateful for, now. He knew how poorly it could have gone. Deep down, though, he had trusted his friendship with L. Even if he hadn’t felt the same… some part of Orpheus hoped they would have pulled through as friends anyway. After a long moment, Orpheus pulled back, his palm still resting gently on L’s cheek. He blinked, then gave a tiny smile. He didn’t have words for how he felt, other than perhaps… content. Fulfilled. Like fireworks, if he had known what those were, though perhaps gentler. Holding L was different from holding Eurydice, and Orpheus found himself rejoicing in every difference. It didn’t need to be the same to be worth as much. “Shall we get out of here?” he breathed after a long moment, pulling back just enough to be able to see L’s face better.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 25, 2021 22:01:46 GMT -5
“No.” L shook his head a little. “No, that’s not possible. If it’s true you didn’t deserve me, then you must have deserved better.” Orpheus deserving better was more than possible. But, somehow...it was okay. Somehow, they were okay, and though they’d been okay before Orpheus had told the truth, there were no more secrets. That had been the last thing L kept from Orpheus, the last thing he didn’t expect to say. Odd, how it had started with him never saying his name. A small smile lifted L’s features, and he met Orpheus’ eyes, his expression gentle. He was glad, he was really glad Orpheus had been there. He was so glad they had managed to get here, now, in this moment, where everything was okay. Better than okay, even. Orpheus had given him more than he knew, had given him a gift he had protected with his life, and not just romantically. Everything about this was a gift to L. He couldn’t help being specific about his feelings, and when he had gotten them. He couldn’t help knowing exactly when it had happened, it was just the way his brain worked. The same way he made his calculations, the same way he guessed at the minds of killers and was rarely wrong, this was how he worked, and maybe that was okay. “Good.” He whispered back, meaning it. He didn’t want to give it back. He wanted to keep it forever, safely next to his own rapidly beating heart. He wanted to stay here a thousand years and never blink away and he wanted to drag Orpheus to his world so they never had to stop holding hands. At the very least, he wanted to be safe. And himself. And he wanted Orpheus to be safe and himself, too. In the House, that was a lot to ask, he knew, but how could he help it? How could he help wanting them to be safe and happy together? For as long as they could be? He knew their time was limited, but that meant he would savor every moment that much more...right? He believed they would have been okay even if he hadn’t felt the same. He wouldn’t have pushed Orpheus away for being honest...he might have been confused, and then maybe he would have been uncertain how to proceed, but he wouldn’t have wanted Orpheus out of his life. Whether he felt the same or not, he would have wanted Orpheus to stay. Of that, at least, he was sure. He felt alive. And peaceful. And he trusted Orpheus, with his life, and his heart. Maybe it hadn’t been stolen after all. Maybe he had chosen to given it, chosen to let Orpheus touch it, feel it, hold it. And it didn’t feel dangerous. It felt safe, safer than L had felt in a long time. He understood there were risks to loving someone, especially for him, but lying in Orpheus’ arms, his heart beating, his wide eyes focused unblinkingly on the other blinker’s face? He felt like the safest man in the world. “Yes.” He murmured, and finally pushed himself up. His body shook a little as he moved, and as he made it to his feet, he wobbled, uncharacteristically off balance. “Ah...side effects.” He muttered. To being dead. Apparently, being dead for at least an hour made your body very uncooperative. He took a step forward. Or tried to. His legs gave out almost immediately and he stumbled forward, reaching for something to catch his fall.
Orpheus shook his head firmly at that. Better? There was no better than L. Sure, he was human. He was flawed just like everyone else, but there was truly no better than him. Orpheus had the experience of having friends now. He knew what they could be like, and L… L had always been the best. Even more so now that Orpheus knew the truth. Knew that being a good friend had been painful for L, and Orpheus had never seen. He hadn’t known. He knew now, though. They were both so different, both very different people, and yet… here they were, in each other’s arms, existing and sharing space, sharing hearts. There was a theory, that humans had once had two heads, four arms, four legs, and one heart. They were too powerful and had to be split apart. And when the two pieces of heart that fit next to each other were reunited… they were whole again. Orpheus didn’t know if he believed that. What he had with Eurydice was no better or worse than what he had with L. It was different, of course, but he knew they were both love. So maybe his heart wasn’t a perfect match for either L's or Eurydice’s, but he knew he felt stronger with L at his side. Perhaps there were no two hearts that fit together perfectly. Maybe each person had several hearts scattered throughout the universes, beating in time with theirs. And most… most never got to meet any but those who landed in the same world at the same time, and what chance was there of that happening? Orpheus shook his head, his smile widening at the thought. He was lucky. He was so, so lucky. Orpheus loved L. He loved his calculations, how he knew exactly when he fell in love, how he knew the exact number of times he had blinked in, and yet didn’t even remember his own birthday. He loved how L was kind without meaning to be, how he said things without thinking, sometimes, how he tried. No matter what. He loved how L looked at him, he loved the way his hair dusted over his forehead, he loved L’s heartbeat and the feeling of their fingers intertwined, he loved how he walked barefoot and crouched so he could think better, he loved how L was willing to share his sweets, he loved L. Every piece of him, no matter how small, even the puzzle pieces that L himself couldn’t seem to see. Maybe one day he’d be able to tell L the magnitude of his love. Maybe one day L would know. Maybe love of that same magnitude bloomed to life in L’s chest. For now… Orpheus was just happy L knew he loved him. Orpheus eased himself to his feet as well, his fingers still intertwined in L’s. He let him go as he seemed to catch his balance – perhaps the hand there would make it more difficult to walk. And then L was falling, and Orpheus didn’t even think. He moved forward, wedging his shoulder underneath L’s arm, one hand pressed lightly to his chest to hold him steady. “Hey,” he whispered, not seeming to notice the extra weight he was bearing. “Hey, you’re alright.” Orpheus managed a small smile, searching L’s expression. “Let’s take it slow?”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 27, 2021 13:50:12 GMT -5
L didn’t know theories of love. He knew some things...he knew that there was a vein in the finger on your left hand that went straight to the heart, and that was where the practice of wedding rings in his world came from. He knew that people acted differently sometimes when they were in love. He had his own experience...the ache he had felt, the pain, the joy, the deep longing for a home that happened to be a person, for something not more but different. He had loved Orpheus before he had been in love with him. He could take the two feelings and compare them, and he found they weren’t so very different after all. He knew it would have hurt, if Orpheus had never felt the same. But he wasn’t lying about it being okay. He would have loved Orpheus silently forever, he would have stayed his friend, and it would have been okay. He knew sometimes friendships were seen as less permanent than romantic relationships, but he disliked the assumption that they were, that they were less or more easily broken. What he’d had with Orpheus, even before there was that sort of love, had been strong. He believed they would have survived. He couldn’t have begun to describe how he loved Orpheus. He couldn’t have begun to explain it, couldn’t have put it to words. He was no poet. He was no musician. Orpheus was the poet, the musician, the one who had a way with words, who said what he meant and believed the best in everyone and gave chances as freely as the rain. Who didn’t mind that L had fallen for him too early, who wasn’t angry with him for it. Who sang and brought back spring when all seemed lost, who had lost one love and mourned her so wholly it had devoured him, who both felt strongly enough to break and was strong enough to heal again. Because L had done what he could, but he knew Orpheus would have healed on his own, would have healed eventually regardless. Not because he didn’t care, but because he was just that strong. Would L have been able to heal? L didn’t want to finish that thought. He suspected it would lead somewhere he didn’t want to go. He changed the subject in his head. When he fell, he tried to catch himself, expecting to hit the ground hard. And then there was Orpheus, steadying him, holding him up and supporting him. He met Orpheus’ eyes, his face too pale but his expression soft. “Slow.” He repeated in a whisper. “I don’t think my body is quite sure it’s alive…” He supposed it would probably take a little bit to get over having been dead for over an hour. He leaned on Orpheus a little, letting him steady him. “Sorry…” he murmured. “I can usually walk.”
Orpheus found that the moment to mentally wax poetic about love in his mind was gone. Now… now he needed to make sure L was alright. Being dead for an hour couldn’t have been good for anyone’s health, no matter how restored they were by some multi-dimensional being. Death… death was permanent, in a way. Orpheus had learned that, though he’d never died himself. The body seemed to forget, it kept living, but the mind never did. And… as Orpheus had seen in L… sometimes the body never forgot either. It seemed natural that it would take longer to go back to normal the longer you were dead. It was still difficult to watch. “Hey,” he whispered again, supporting L and holding his gaze. “We can do slow… we can wait as long as you need until your body remembers what life is.” His fingers lightly traced over L’s arm, trying to remind him that he was there. That he wasn’t leaving, that he would stay with L, support him for as long as he needed. “Please don’t apologize,” Orpheus added, not thinking about the room around them, not thinking even of L’s weight on him. “I know you can. I know.” He managed a small smile, trying to reassure him. “Maybe… maybe it’s alright if you can’t walk right now. Maybe you don’t have to be the one to support yourself all the time.” I promise, Orpheus thought to himself, that I will be here whenever you fall. That you won’t ever have to stand alone. He didn’t dare say it out loud. It felt… like saying it aloud might be tempting fate, tempting the House to make him break his promise. “So… we have a few options. We can stay here until you feel better, or… you can try to walk it, or I could carry you.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 27, 2021 19:47:03 GMT -5
L smiled a little. This wasn’t the first time, or even the second time he had died, but there was something different about this time. Mainly, he hadn’t blinked back (as he had in the first arena room - had he even technically died in that one, or had he merely gotten close? No, he was sure he had died) and he hadn’t exploded (the second arena had made him wonder about the permanence of his own body, since he had watched one be destroyed). In this case, he had been dead, and he had come back. His body was the same, and it had been dead for a while, and apparently that wasn’t something you just shook off. Not this time, anyway. He thought he would be alright in a few minutes. He just needed to convince his body he was really back and his heart was really beating again. He looked at Orpheus, still drowning in his eyes even now, when he felt the effects of death on his body. Still feeling, somehow, safe. Even in a room in the Paradox House. He must have truly lost his mind. “I don’t want to wait.” He whispered, searching his eyes, trying to get what he was feeling to come across in only a look. Even though he doubted that was possible. “What if there isn’t time? What if the House decides to test us? To see how strong the promises we’ve made are?” He let out a breath. “I don’t want to waste a moment.” He admitted softly. “Now that I know.” He hesitated, dark eyes meeting hazel, expression soft and earnest. “I can walk.” He decided, his tone determined. “I can...I can walk. We need to leave this room, before something happens.”
Orpheus understood L’s urge to leave the room, though he had a very different motivation than L did. He doubted the House was going to throw anything else at them while they were there, but he couldn’t escape the thought of Elpis. He couldn’t help but hope that the House had allowed them to watch his and L’s reunion. He hoped they had been allowed to see what they had sacrificed everything for. He hoped they knew that Orpheus had taken their advice, and it had made his life infinitely better. He doubted the House was that kind, but… he could hope. Meeting L’s eyes, Orpheus thought he understand what he meant. It was only a look, but it said everything it needed to. “I don’t think it will test us now,” Orpheus admitted, shaking his head just a little bit. Still… “I think we should get out of here anyway. Just in case.” He adjusted his grip on L, meeting his eyes for a long moment. L hadn’t had enough time to rest. How could Orpheus possibly ask him to push himself that hard, especially after being dead for so long? The answer was simple: he couldn’t. If L didn’t want him to do this, he would say something. Of that, Orpheus was certain. “Rest,” he whispered, leveraging his other arm under L and gently picking him up. He shifted him into a bridal style position, his gaze locked on L’s. “You’ll have plenty of chances to walk when we get out of here.” His voice was gentle, only loud enough to be audible to L. He managed to nudge the door open then very gently brought L out into the hallway. It was a good distance away from the living room this time. That was alright. As long as L didn’t have to walk it.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 27, 2021 22:38:49 GMT -5
L didn’t know about Elpis. He didn’t know what his life had cost. He only knew that the House was not to be trusted under any circumstances, particularly not the rooms. He only though the living room was any safer because he had never experienced or heard of anything happening in it, and even then he didn’t trust it. The House just wasn’t the type of being you made deals with, in his mind. “Probably not.” He knew it wasn’t likely. “But the House thrives on the unlikely.” He really shouldn’t have felt as safe as he did. “It could get bored with us and decide to turn this room into something else. Anything could happen.” And yet, supported here, leaning on Orpheus...he felt alive. He felt safe. If he could have frozen this moment and lived in it forever, he would have. He let out a small squeak of surprise as he was lifted off the ground, his arms wrapping instinctively around Orpheus. And then not instinctively anymore, but they stayed. He couldn’t look away from Orpheus, his eyes wide and surprised, but far from disapproving. A small smile tugged at his lips in spite of himself, and after a moment he gave in and leaned his head on Orpheus’ shoulder. There were not many people who could make L Lawliet rest. There were, in fact, exactly two in all the worlds. “I could have walked.” He whispered back. It seemed important Orpheus know that he was allowing this not because it was his only option. “If I’d wanted to.” How far were they down the hall? He hoped it wasn’t too far. Orpheus may have been stronger than he appeared, but he was bound to get tired carrying a whole person.
Orpheus knew L was right. He knew the House could be cruel, he knew everything could go wrong, but he was willing to risk it. Maybe not… maybe not in this room. Maybe he would try to be like L, try to be more careful about where and when he risked everything. Staying in the room was a risk he didn’t want to take. Not when L had only just come back. “I’ll be honest,” Orpheus whispered, a spark of amusement hidden in his voice, “If the House doesn’t think a confession of love is entertaining enough, it’s entirely beyond hope.” A tiny smile spread across his lips and he held L just a little bit closer, making sure his weight was as supported as it could be. “We’ve been anything but boring since we blinked in this time. Although… I wish we hadn’t had the House watching for all of that.” He sounded at least a little bitter about that. “Just us. I’d like that, just once.” He knew it was a lot to ask. He knew it was one thing he could never have. His relationship with L would never be normal. For one, they’d always have an interdimensional being hanging over their heads. The feeling of L’s arms around him, holding on for safety and then for comfort… there was almost nothing he could imagine that was better than that. The smile, too… Orpheus made no effort to hide his own wide smile. “I know you could have,” Orpheus returned, glancing down. “Just rest, love.” He kept walking forward, finally entering the living room and easing himself onto the couch. He adjusted L so the detective was laying with his head in Orpheus’ lap. He teased his fingers gently through L’s hair, a soft hum building in his throat. Everything was the same, but… but so much had changed. Orpheus found he preferred it as it was now.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 29, 2021 11:15:17 GMT -5
“That’s true. We’ve been more entertaining than usual, I’m sure.” L answered, pulling himself closer to Orpheus, though not so much that he couldn’t still see the other blinker’s expression. “I wonder if he knew this would happen.” He whispered, shaking his head just a little at the thought. “Did it intend this? It knows inside our heads...could it have been trying to get us to confess? If so, it could have done it differently.” He paused, thinking that over. If it had...was he to thank it? No, he didn’t think so, he didn’t want to thank the House for putting them both in that position, even though he wouldn’t have traded what he had now for anything at all. If it was a gift, it was from Orpheus and Orpheus alone. “I’d like that too.” He murmured, eyes wide and unblinking. “But...if the House can blink in anyone at any time...I suppose no one is actually ever alone. Still, it’s attention is probably on us more here than in our own worlds, so I do know what you mean.” He knew it would never be normal. They could never make plans, they could never say want to do this on Tuesday? They would always be at the House’s mercy and their time was never theirs. He held on until they reached the living room, then allowed himself to be lowered to the couch, shifting a little until he was in a more comfortable position, his head still resting in Orpheus’ lap. He was tired, suddenly, but he ignored the feeling. He didn’t want to sleep, not now, not when there was so much more to talk about. “I wish...we were from the same time.” He said quietly after a moment. “Or the same world, if we aren’t. I might have never met you.”
“I think,” Orpheus admitted quietly, “That if it had wanted to get us to confess, it would have been a little bit more upfront about it. It couldn’t have known that I was going to tell you, because I didn’t know I was going to. I think it was trying to hurt us. Or maybe… maybe it was trying to convince us that this wasn’t a good idea. Either way… it didn’t succeed. We aren’t playing into their hand.” He couldn’t be positive about that, of course, but he didn’t think the House could have planned this. He looked down at L, a soft smile pulling at the corner of his lips. If this was a game… they were playing their own game. “Perhaps, in a normal life, we would never have drawn its attention,” Orpheus replied, shaking his head a little bit. “Perhaps, if one of us found a way into the other’s world, the House would be too annoyed or distracted to watch us at every moment.” While they were in the House, though… there was no question whether it had its eye on them. Orpheus watched L carefully, how peaceful he looked there with his head on Orpheus’ lap. They were both alive. Both still breathing, both probably looking at life with different eyes. He wanted a future with L, he wanted that so badly it hurt. Maybe one day… maybe one day they could have it. “I know,” he whispered, one finger absentmindedly tracing L’s jawline. “I wish we could have met elsewhere; I wish I could see you outside of here…” he hesitated for a long moment, his finger stopping and coming to rest at L’s hairline. “If we’re in the same world, I will see you eventually.” It was a hopeful thought, but one he was confident in. “If we’re in the same world, I’ll wait for you as long as I have to.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 29, 2021 15:23:31 GMT -5
L listened, considering Orpheus’ theory carefully, his expression thoughtful. He knew the other blinker could easily be right. Still, he wasn’t entirely convinced. It was so easy to believe that they were just dancing to the House’s rhythm, not their own. It was so easy to believe that this wasn’t really their game after all. But he wanted to believe Orpheus, and so he was going to try. “It won’t convince me of that.” He murmured, shifting a little closer to Orpheus. “There is very little I’m 100% certain of. But I know that this is the right thing to do. I’m completely certain that I want to do this.” A normal life...what would that be like? The House had been a part of his life for so long now, he couldn’t really imagine what it would be like to lose it, or to never have had it. To never appear at random times in random places, to never have made any friends at all, to never have died. No...he supposed a normal life wasn’t something he remembered having. It had been a long time since that first blink of his. “It’s watching us now, though.” He said quietly. “It’s observing, perhaps learning from us. It’s probably planning what its next move may be.” It didn’t matter yet. They would handle that as it came, like they always had. What mattered now was that they were together and things were okay. The idea that someday they could meet in his world...it gave L hope and brought a smile to his face, a small, genuine expression. “I wish you didn’t have to wait,” he whispered, reaching for Orpheus’ hand. “It seems unfair that you should have to wait so long when it could be anytime for me. Although...it would be strange if I met you in my world now, when you’re here, too. I suppose that’s possible.” He waved a hand vaguely. “The House is confusing.”
It was difficult to know when the House had them in its clutches, difficult to know if they were really doing their own thing at all. Orpheus didn’t blame L for doubting his certainty that this was their choice. Still… Orpheus knew the House likely hadn’t anticipated his actions. It had wanted him to kill Elpis, and he had found a way around it. It had wanted him to hurt them, and when he hadn’t, all his actions after were his own. If he hadn’t talked to Elpis – which the House almost certainly hadn’t planned – would he have told L the truth? He didn’t think he would have. “100%?” Orpheus asked, his voice high and uncertain. He knew L well enough by then to know that 100% was a rare number for him. For him to believe that this was the right decision, to be certain enough to give it a 100%... Orpheus couldn’t help but smile. That was as good as a love profession from L (which, of course, he’d already gotten… somehow). He didn’t know which was better. “Let it,” Orpheus responded, glancing up at the House. It could do what it wanted, but it wasn’t going to take away this moment. They were in the living room. They were safe, and L deserved the chance to be comfortable. He deserved the chance to be safe for once in his life, and Orpheus… Orpheus wanted to give him that chance. Even if the House wanted to interfere. “The House is confusing,” Orpheus agreed softly, threading his fingers through L’s. “And I don’t know if I’ll be able to come back to life to meet you in your version of the world. But at the very least… at the very least I’ll wait for you. Maybe I’ll haunt you. Maybe you won’t know until I see you smiling to yourself out of nowhere, and I’ll know you must have blinked back from something nice.” His own lips twitched into a smile. “Or maybe I’ll wait a while longer. Maybe I’ll watch you grow old, and when it’s your time I’ll take your hand and lead you home.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 29, 2021 20:58:54 GMT -5
L was uncertain. He worried they were as predictable to the House as they sometimes seemed to be, he worried that it had wanted this to happen. Still...even if it had, this belonged to them, didn’t it? It was theirs, both of them. Whether the House had intended this or not, he refused to believe it could ever belong to the House. It may have been unusual, it may have depended on the House, but then...maybe it didn’t depend on the House at all. Maybe even if they never saw each other again, if they never blinked in after this, which was exactly something the House would do, maybe this was still theirs, and they could still love each other as deeply as they did now. L knew he would never stop loving Orpheus, even if this was the only moment they got to be together like this. “100%.” He confirmed. “Even if the worst happens, even if I never see you again after this, even if the House keeps us apart or tries to break us or one of us dies...this still will have been the right decision. Even if this moment is all we get, it’s enough. It’s worth it.” L smiled a little as he felt his fingers close gently around Orpheus’, warming them. He listened quietly to Orpheus talk, listened to his gentle words and tried to imagine it in his head. He couldn’t quite do it, growing old seemed a strange idea and he wasn’t sure how to picture it. He’d never tried before. “If you do decide to haunt me,” he murmured back, “will you try to let me know? I would like to show you so many things in my world, even if you have to stay dead.” He would rather Orpheus were alive with him and able to see everything, but if that wasn’t possible, then he would take what he could get. It would be okay. As long as they were together, things would be okay.
Orpheus, too, knew that the House could take this away if it wanted to. It could choose to never let them see each other again, it could choose to make them wait an eternity. But if it had pulled them both from the same world… Orpheus smiled. If it had pulled them from the same world, it was never going to win. Because Orpheus could be patient. He would never stop being patient for L, even if it took several thousand years to find him again. “It’s worth it,” Orpheus agreed softly, though he didn’t like how uncertain it was that they’d get more than just this. He supposed it was the same for normal people – he knew better than most how someone could disappear when you thought they were safe – but here he was forced to think about it. Forced to remember that every moment could be his last with L. He supposed, then, that he best make the most of the ones he had. One glance at their hands brought a smile to Orpheus’ face – it was a promise, in a way, that they would keep holding on. That right here and right now mattered more than anything else, that they were together. Together. Orpheus felt almost giddy. “I promise I’ll try to let you know,” Orpheus replied, lifting his gaze back up to catch L’s eye. “If I haunt you, you’ll know.” He considered for a long moment, though he didn’t really know what ghosts were and were not capable of doing. Or even if Hades would let him eventually leave the Underworld to find L. No… he knew that one. Hades wouldn’t let him, but Orpheus knew the way out. He’d make it to L eventually. “When your lights start flickering,” Orpheus decided, “look for our code. I’ll be obnoxious enough about it that you won’t be able to avoid noticing.” He squeezed L’s hand lightly. “Maybe by then I’ll be good enough at Japanese that what I say will make sense.” He was practicing as often as he could, but that… wasn’t very often. He’d written a few songs in the language, though. All for L. He was probably better than he thought he was.
It seemed so very much like the House to give them this and then snatch it away. To give them what they wanted only to make it as painful as it could. Yes...he thought that was exactly what the House would do. But it tended to underestimate them. It played with them, it didn’t control them, and that meant they still had a chance. They had each other. Orpheus loved him. L thought he was ready to believe anything was possible. He looked up, searching Orpheus’ eyes. He knew Orpheus was no stranger to loss. He knew Orpheus had survived a broken heart, and he knew from seeing it happen that this wasn’t an easy feat. He knew now, with his own heart in someone else’s hands, how painful it would be. And at the same time, he had no way of knowing at all. How could he, until he experienced it? He felt like begging the House to give them time, but he didn’t, because he knew it wouldn’t listen if he did. It would do as it pleased. They were holding onto each other. They were together. L hadn’t believed this could happen, he had known there was a slim chance but he hadn’t really thought there was, not in any way that mattered. And now? He squeezed Orpheus’ hand a little. If this was a promise, he would make it, every day for the rest of his life. He would never stop making it. “Good.” He said softly, eyes gentle as they rested on Orpheus’ face. “Come find me. I don’t know what ghosts can do, but we’ll make it work.” He trusted Orpheus. He knew if it were possible, he would come. And that was everything L wanted. “I’ll notice.” He added, a small smile curling the corners of his mouth up. “I’ll pay attention to it. And perhaps you’ll even be able to appear, if you’re that sort of ghost.” He, too, had been trying to learn. Ancient Greek wasn’t easy, but he’d made a lot of progress, and he was confident they’d be able to understand each other, when the time came. When. Apparently he was that confident in this plan. He blinked, he knew that wasn’t like him, but he found he was okay with that. Maybe it was actually okay.
Orpheus held L’s gaze, not letting even the slightest hint of uncertainty slip into his expression. This was theirs. Whatever the House wanted to throw at them, they could handle. It wasn’t Hades. They hadn’t made any deals with it. They didn’t owe it anything, and even if it took millennia… Orpheus would have a future with L. That wasn’t something that could be taken from them. It was so easy to believe that everything would be alright, with them both hand in hand. It was so easy to believe that they could overcome absolutely anything. “I know we will,” he whispered, his eyes locking on L’s. “No matter what happens, you aren’t losing me.” He didn’t intend to break that promise. “Not now, at least. Not that we finally get to have this.” He had never expected to have L this way. He would have taken that secret to his grave, had Elpis not struck a match and started the tiny spark of hope that had burned in Orpheus’ stomach for the moments before the words had burst out of his mouth. “Do ghosts get to appear, sometimes?” Orpheus asked, tilting his head. He wasn’t very familiar with the concepts of ghosts, just that they existed, in some places. It wasn’t that compatible with his understanding of the Underworld, but he supposed things changed over time. Besides, there were souls that stayed on Earth instead of venturing to the Underworld in his world, too. Orpheus didn’t know how confident L was. He didn’t know L was thinking of this as when, instead of if, but he found he was thinking the same. Perhaps they were getting ahead of themselves. Perhaps they weren’t even from the same world… but there was overwhelming evidence that they were. If L thought it likely… then who was Orpheus to question it? With his free hand, he gently brushed a strand of hair back from L’s face. “I won’t be part of another ill-fated love, L Lawliet,” Orpheus whispered, the love in his eyes almost painfully evident, “So we’re going to make this work. No matter what.”
NOTE: Excessively spamming the shoutbox may result in a 24 hour ban. Other forum rules still apply. Please do not advertise by linking other websites. Members are encouraged to report offending content to the moderators by PM.
Cloudy Sky: Seeing the name gave me flashbacks to certain events that happened about two weeks ago.
Jun 22, 2021 4:51:35 GMT -5
Violetsky: Her name is Tika. She's a Cymric, or long-haired Manx.
Jun 22, 2021 6:27:08 GMT -5
Violetsky: I left the gel pack in the freezer overnight and now it's a solid thick sheet of ice.
Jun 22, 2021 6:32:05 GMT -5
Violetsky: Cymric is the technical term for a Manx cat that has long hair.
Jun 22, 2021 13:48:50 GMT -5
Violetsky: Technically they are Manx's as well; they are not a separate breed but an alternative variety of traditional Manx's, which are short-haired. They're also called longhair Manx's.
Jun 22, 2021 13:50:11 GMT -5
Violetsky: It's okay, I thought she was a traditional Manx for a while
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:13 GMT -5
Violetsky: Well, she is. It's like if brown bears that lived further up North had thicker and longer fur than their southern counterparts. If that was true, then they would be the same species and "breed", they just have different adaptations.
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:52 GMT -5