Chapter with better formatting, in PDF file: xkyoux.wordpress.com/2012/05/0…
*Author notes available at the beginning of chapter one*
Note from the translator: This is not a word for word translation. So there will be words missing, or words added when comparing the original. I tried my best not to change the contents. BUT, sometimes I just had to. The thing is that Kyoux plays a lot with form and tense, and that made it that much more difficult to translate. I wanted to leave as much as possible as it was in the original so that the atmosphere and her writing style were reflected. And that might get English people confused sometimes, as it probably would be written differently if the correct English were used. Of course you'll find mistakes in the text, so please, instead of mocking my language skills, just sit back and enjoy a beautiful love story. I decided to try and translate it because I adore their story so much that it would be a pity for others not to be able to read it. Especially since the artwork that goes with it is so beautiful. This piece took 4.5 hours to translate, so if you don't like the way it's done, please pay me some respect for the hours I've put into this and don't read. But, I really hope you'll like it as much as I do.
Note from the editor: Thanks goes to the hard work of the ever talented Anna, whose painstakingly translation from Polish to English is making it so all English speaking fans can enjoy this truly beautiful piece. I am simply doing some formatting and tweaking (English and all it’s damn rules!), so it is even easier to immerse oneself in the story. I tend to either work in snippets, or lose myself, and all concept of time, completely in the words. I converse a lot with Kyoux during the process, so I really have no idea how much time I spend. That’s okay though. I volunteer to do this for love of the story. However, I would like to point out that it’s a conscious decision by the author to mix past and present tense, and to use spacing for emphasis. These things are stylistic choices, not errors, so please don’t leave comments about them. Focus instead on the lovely story Kyoux is weaving.
It happened a good couple of weeks before Marcin told me the revelation. After the whole talk... which he would probably tell you about soon enough.
It was early morning, the day after the Christmas party, at the good ol' Muffin Café*.
I woke up early.
It was dark outside, but at that time of year, it wasn't unusual.
I woke with start when I thought I overslept for Uni, because it wasn't the alarm clock that woke me up. Looking around the room, I realized that it wasn’t mine, and that next to me I had someone who I hadn’t had the pleasure of having so near for a long time, and that I was still holding him tightly.
I cuddled even closer to his back, resting my forehead against the back of his head. I closed my eyes. And I actually was happy that he was next to me, that things were working out.
I wondered many times how peeved Josh** must be. Because I think he was... I wasn't sure.
Back then, I didn't know how much animosity Marcin held toward me. He hid it well with other emotions, using his well tried methods that he rehearsed for years.
I should get some recognition award for hurting people that meant so much to me. Consciously and subconsciously.
I heard a few times that I was an 'honourable man', a 'good boy'.
In truth, I should have a sticker on my forehead that read: 'A total dickhead. Beware'.
I was thinking about how I would react if someone played dirty on me, just like I played Josh. And supposedly I had a goal in that, some vision. A stupid plan. Now it just seemed to be pathetic. I sure as hell knew that I would not be able to be that calm. For that, I admired him... although I didn’t understand that.
The relationship with Josh was my first, and only. I didn't do relationships before that. Because, why bind yourself to someone, do the feelings and loyalty game, when you had everything you wished for? Youth, energy, and easy money made from the pleasure of hacking.
Drugs, sex and admiration from my circles.
I had an easy life back then.
Even if some scraps of morality tried to get to me, you just had to grab the relevant stimulant, and I could keep on pushing forward without looking back.
But maybe Nemesis or that 'Karma' or however it was called, was in fact punishing us for what we did wrong.
And when we were too satisfied, we had to give something away, something that was precious to us. If that was the case, then karma took Rav*** from me.
Forever. Without any hope for a return.
Death took on a different meaning back then.
It became palpable. Ruthless and indifferent to my pleading. In one second it took away youth and joviality.
I thought that after what happened, and how much it hurt me, that I learned something, that I knew how to change. How to be a good man. To have a normal and peaceful life.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
Sometimes I felt like I was dragging some sort of shadow behind me, which didn’t allow me to be happy with what I had.
Whispering in my ear, reminding me what I had and how good it was - back then.
Because in reality, that was my world.
And despite me living on the edge, that dangerous line was where I had my space. A place where I felt fulfilled.
I felt lost for the first six months after Rav's death.
As If I was drug away without any word, without any forewarning, forced to an alternative reality.
I felt as if I was in detox. In some horrible, bad dream, that didn't want to end.
But that's when I found out that a friend in need is a friend indeed, and what family really meant.
Without them, I probably wouldn't have left my room for quite some time.
If at all.
My shell was cracking for a long time.
The Muffin's Café helped me open myself, helped me smile again, and find the carefree side of myself.
But was it the real me? And not a mask, which I put on to fit in?
I thought that I still couldn’t find my place. Find that sense, my place in reality, without hacking and Rav.
I let myself be carried by life's currents, pretending not to see some of the things that were happening to make it easier on myself. To make my life effortless.
The paradox in all that was that it actually was me who complicated things.
Because in truth, I couldn’t live an uncomplicated life.
I needed the excitement in life, to make me aware that, in fact, I could still feel something. Without it, I felt empty.
Not that long ago, I realized as well that I never said 'I love you' out loud.
And yes, it scared me a bit.
I didn't manage to tell Marcin that he was my first crush.
I didn't manage to tell Rav that he was my soulmate. That he was the one who understood me best.
I didn't tell Josh either... although there was this one moment that I had so many feelings inside to turn them into those three little words.
I feel one, big
I cuddled up even closer to Josh. Inhaling his scent.
I wanted to remind myself of everything that I felt toward him not just a few months ago.
How I was absorbing every nice thing he said. How I was happy that he wanted to spend time with me.
A little bit like a dog that was happy that he got the owner’s attention.
I smiled ironically.
I probably should have said it in a nicer way.
But. Maybe I turned bitter.
I was lying like that for a moment longer, knowing that I wouldn’t fall asleep anymore.
I had to go to Uni that day. That thought somehow escaped my memory after meeting Josh at the Muffin's and leaving with him. The thought was easily lost to me.
I got up from the bed. Went to the bathroom to put myself together, came back to get my shark hoodie, which my man gave me yesterday, he was still sleeping by the way. I smiled, looking at the shark print. I liked sharks a lot and only he knew that.
I looked at him.
I didn't want to wake him.
I only had an hour left not to be late to school.
I should go, although I would prefer to stay.
Or was that what I was supposed to feel?
"Who did I see?"
And I saw him, a little more dishevelled than usual. His blonde mohawk wasn't as perfect, nope, not today.
I thought that he probably banged Nathan till late at night, and then he couldn't drag himself from the bed, and that I probably would hear about all that in a minute.
"I'm going to class." I tried to get past him, but he grabbed ahold of my tie, keeping me in place successfully.
Yes, I had a suit on. Something worth noting. I didn’t like the smart, stiff clothes. But yesterday was the Christmas Party, and so I convinced myself. The Blonde and I, we actually had a nice entrée. But he and Nathan went back to our place, so he could change. I decided that a shark hoodie didn’t look good with dress slacks, so I went for the 'stiff' attire instead.
"And shouldn't you be in the class over there?" He pointed with his finger in the direction opposite to the one I was going to.
'What an excellent memory', I thought.
"I can walk with you, since my class is not far from yours," he added with a slow smile and a hooded look. He had bags under his eyes, and I didn’t know why, but it irritated me a bit. A few people were looking at us already. Not that we weren't a curious sight in our ensembles. The Blonde was standing really close to me, still holding my tie in his palm.
"I should. Let go," I said, looking down at him.
"You look good." He moved even closer toward my face, looking straight into my eyes. I moved my head back on a reflex, rolling my eyes in annoyance. I pulled my tie out of his hand, turned away from him and was walking when the Blonde joined me. To my big surprise, he was still quiet about his night spent with Nathan.
"How was it at Josh's?"
"Good," was my reply. If he thought I would ask him the same, he was wrong.
"I fed your rabbit." Uh-oh. He's leading up to something. "And I fed Firka too... she was surprised that you weren’t there. And I'm taking Nathan home for Christmas."
Yeah... right. Hadn’t I mention that it would be nice for Josh to come with me to see my family? "Great. Are you going to tell your parents that he's your man?"
I lifted one brow, interested in his reply. Marcin was still hiding from his parents. They lived far away, so wasn’t like he had to admit to anything. Although... he was twenty-two years old now, so he could finally stop telling fairy tales about his girlfriends.
"No, I'm introducing him as a colleague of mine. And don't laugh at me. It's not as easy as you think. My family is so totally different from yours." He looked at me with something between 'I'm almost angry' and 'almost offended', but with a troublemaker vibe to it. He never changed a bit. I read him like an open book. But I didn’t think he was aware of it... and I thought that it would be better for it to stay like that.
"OK, I'll stop, oh look, it even made me sad." I pointed to my lips, pulling them down. He looked at me with a murderous stare, which amused me even more.
"I'm going to class," he said.
After those words I knew he felt more offended than 'almost angry'. But instead of leavening, he stood there in his usual pose; his feet wide apart and hands in his pockets.
"Then go." I stopped with a little smile on my face.
"I'm going," he said, still standing in place. Then he added, "What time do you finish?"
I'm sure he knew that, but he probably wanted a confirmation.
"Then we'll be walking back together."
I watched him leave with that half smile glued to his face. Because he hadn’t changed that much since those good times. Times that were so far away from hacking and that different lifestyle. And it pleased me greatly. Because it means he was still honest and uncomplicated. He reminded me of all the good things. Carefree, simple.
And that gave me hope.
Because in that world, that we were discovering together, I knew how to find myself.
I had my place in it.
*Muffin’s Café - this's RPG group, for which Nivan had been created. There, he met Josh, Nathan, etc., which are not my OC's. They belong to my friends.
**Josh - Niv's current boyfriend [OC that belongs to Fukari]
***Rav - Niv's boyfriend when he was a hacker.