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Why couldn't I write like this for NaNo. :'| also wtf LJ, why is your last.fm plug-in totally broken argh argh

Title: A conversation.
Word count: 1,291
Warnings: mild language, sappy brotherly confessions
Summary: Love can be a tricky thing. Admitting to it is even trickier.
Notes: This directly coincides with events in AIMverse, so sorry if it doesn't make much sense to anyone not following the logs. orz

“Are you in love with that girl?”

That question does more to catch Buer’s attention than anything else in the conversation thus far. He looks up from his mindless task of the moment, rearranging things behind the front counter, to see his brother staring at a spot on the wall behind him. He considers just answering honestly for all of a second before he realizes what the true point of the question might be.

“Why do you ask?”

Bifrons gives a dismissive shrug, still looking past him rather than at him. “Just wondering.”

“When you’ve never showed an ounce of interest in her before?”

“It’s just a question, Buer.”

Buer straightens from his spot behind the counter and folds his arms over his chest. “It’s not, is it?”

Bifrons finally looks at him then, meeting his gaze with narrowed eyes, and starts to say something—but then seems to dismiss the thought, sighing instead and glancing down. “I don’t know,” he says after a long pause, voice quiet.

Buer ponders—or at least gives the appearance of it, if only to make it seem like the real issue at hand isn’t so glaringly obvious to him. “Is this about—?”

His brother cuts him off with a nod, but says nothing else. Buer chews on his lip for a moment as he decides what question to try next.

“And you want to know about me and her because…?”

Bifrons answers with an unintelligible mutter.

“Hmm?”

“Because I don’t know,” Bifrons nearly snaps, irritation returning to his tone. However, it dissipates just as quickly as before. “I mean, I…” He trails off, tries to start again, and keeps looking down. “I don’t know…what it’s like.”

Buer pauses again, pretending to give his words more thought. “What, being in love?”

The other man only nods, though his head manages to droop as he does so, and his shoulders sink a little lower. Even without the nod, the pathetic look on his face is all the affirmation Buer needs.

“Well…” He really does pause to think this time, stopping himself from cycling through redundant questions; it would be better to get to the point of the matter. “How would you say you feel about him?”

“I don’t—”

“Just try.”

It’s Bifrons’s turn to chew his lip this time, and when he finally speaks, he seems to genuinely struggle with the words. “It’s like… I don’t know. I mean, the sex is great, but…”

He trails off again. “But,” Buer prompts, leaning forward a bit, “that’s not all of it?”

Bifrons hesitates, though he doesn’t sound entirely unsure once he continues. “Yeah, it’s…more than that, I guess. He’s…” He falters, seeming to reconsider. “I really like just spending time with him—talking with him, or going out, or even just drinking together. And sometimes… Sometimes I feel like I wouldn’t rather be with anyone else –doing those things, I mean.”

Buer leans back again, mulling over his words, but decides not to respond; his brother seems like he’s still trying to find the right words.

“And sometimes… Like I said, the sex is great, but sometimes—I want to see him without that smug look on his face.” He stops again, drumming his fingers against the counter for a moment. “Maybe it’s not ‘smug,’ not exactly, but…I don’t know how else to describe it. I just want to see him lose it, just once. I want to see him totally undone, like he does to me.”

He falls silent after that, giving Buer more time to think (and refrain from making any comments pertaining to his brother’s sex life). “And you want to be the one to do that to him?”

Bifrons doesn’t answer for a moment, but then nods. “Yeah.”

The answer is now even more obvious to Buer than it was before, but he still pretends to muse over it for a few moments. “That certainly sounds like ‘in love’ to me, at least the very beginnings of it.”

To that, Bifrons groans and drags a hand across his face. “Goddamnit.”

“What?” Buer acts like he’s taken aback. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Because I don’t—” He cuts his snapped reply short, takes a short-but-deep breath, and tries again. “I don’t know if I know him, Buer. You know what he does—the kind of work he does. How do I know if all I’ve seen of him isn’t just some big act? How the hell am I even supposed to find that out?” This time he drags both hands across his face and closes his eyes. “I don’t even know if I know his real name.”

“Hmm.” There’s one problem easily solved. Buer takes a moment to tap into his power, searches for that particular piece of information, concentrates and pulls—

“Don’t tell me what it is,” Bifrons says sharply, lifting his head to glare at him. “You’re missing the point.”

“Er, right.” Buer releases his power with a sheepish look. “Sorry.”

Bifrons holds onto the glare for a second longer before looking down with another groan. “Besides,” he says quietly, “it’s not safe.”

“What, you not knowing his name?”

No,” Bifrons growls, not even trying to keep his tone level. “Don’t tell me you already forgot. Those goddamn Bliss goons snatched your girlfriend, and she wasn’t even your girlfriend then, and you’re not even their enemy. If they find out Jan Vierste’s got a new squeeze, why the hell wouldn’t they…”

He doesn’t finish; he doesn’t have to. Buer bristles at the memory of the incident, but that only tells him that Bifrons is right. “Well, if they’ve already been tracking his movements—and yours, from the way you say you just love to go out with him—it probably wouldn’t take you being in actual love with him for them to figure out his importance to you.”

“Buer—”

He raises his hands in a defensive gesture. “Just saying, that’s all.”

Bifrons growls again, but he can’t argue Buer’s point. Instead, he decides not to respond at all.

Buer shifts his weight to one foot, crossing his arms over his chest again. “So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.” At first his words come out as another snap, but when he speaks again, his tone is more desperate. “What am I supposed to do?”

Perhaps he should have known their conversation would ultimately come to this, and perhaps he should have prepared an answer in advance—but as it is, Buer can only hesitate, give a small sigh, and shake his head. “I can’t answer that, Bifrons. It’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself.”

Bifrons snorts at that, and also shakes his head. “Really. The Dark Regenerist can’t answer a simple question.”

“For one,” Buer quickly replies, trying to keep himself from bristling, “it’s most definitely not a simple question. And for another, I didn’t think you’d want me using my power for something like this anyway.”

He tries to glare but can’t seem to muster up the will for it, and lets his gaze drop instead. “No… You’re right. I wouldn’t.”

Another silence passes between them. Buer lets it hang for a moment while trying to find the right thing to say. “If you ever need to talk about this—again, I mean…”

He trails off there, but Bifrons catches his meaning and looks up at him again. “Yeah, I know.” A small smile tugs at the corners of his lips. “Thanks.”

Buer lets himself smile back. “Don’t worry about it.”

But really, there’s a part of him that secretly hopes he won’t have to talk to him about it again—and he has a feeling that Bifrons feels just the same way.

who?

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