Note from the translator:
This is not a word for word translation. So there will be words missing, or words added when comparing with the original. I gave my best not to change the contents BUT. Sometimes I just had to. The thing is that Kyoux is playing a lot with form and tense, and that made it that bit more difficult to translate. I wanted to leave as much as possible as it is in the original so that the atmosphere and her writing style is reflected. And that might get English people confused sometimes, as it probably would be written differently if the correct English would be 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 pity for others not to be able to read it. Especially since the artwork that goes with it is so beautiful. This piece took ...4,5h... 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.
08. The Redhead
The snow made funny squeaking sounds under his feet.
After a few days of sub zero weather a milder day had come. The sun was shining. It gave the city that yesterday was so gray and unpleasant but now covered in snow some charm.
Today was a nice day to go out.
The Redhead was walking.
He held flowers in his hands.
Similar to those first he ever bought.
To those he bought for him.
He stopped. Looked down then ahead.
Squeezed the flowers in his fist involuntarily.
Laid them down.
On a dark marble slab.
On his headstone.
Just like he did it that day when he bought them for him for the first time.
He was worried a bit that he'll see the grave abandoned, covered in snow. Because he hasn't been visiting it for quite some time...
But no, someone had been here.
He was happy about that and peeved at himself at the same time.
He brushed away the thin layer of snow from his picture. He felt his stomach go tight.
Just like always, when his eyes accidentally landed on the lowest shelf in his room.
He had a box there.
A sealed box. Pandora's Box in which he had all his memories stacked away.
He never opened it.
He caught himself on few occasions in which the image of Rav got blurry, not as distinct. Although he died not that long ago.
He didn't remember the smell of his skin anymore.
The softness of his hair...
But it probably should be that way. Because he had to make space for new memories. For new sensations that he would like just the same.
Rav has to forgive him for that.
He took a candle out of his pocket, exchanging the burned out one in the protective glass enclosure that he brought a few months back. He lit it. He exchanged the candle in the other one that he didn't see here before.
He sat down on the bench across from him.
And although he unconsciously thought it to be ridiculous, he started his monolog.
Looking around first to make sure they were alone.
Only the two of them.
- It has been a while...
Yes he talked with him quite often, but always in his mind. So the words spoken by his lips, that were in his head just a moment ago felt very weird.
- ...and I know you would probably crack up If you saw that I'm talking to a headstone... I probably want to naively believe that you hear me somehow. Maybe it's true, like you said one day that you changed into a ladybird, squirrel or whatever... Although that doesn't make sense since it's winter and everything is asleep anyway... So yes, I think I'm making a total dork out of myself.
He smiled a bit sarcastically, a bit sadly, felling lost. He looked down on the foot prints he made in the snow, playing with the scarf's tassels. He was silent for a long while looking at the white fluff. Frowning.
- You always said that I only came to you when I wanted something from you... I was never able to say that I came just because I wanted to be with you. It was always so peaceful around you... I was able to think clearly. But never mind... I didn't tell you a thousand things that you deserved to hear. I always had fucking problems speaking about my feelings...
He still played with the tassel. A little hunched, he looked down somewhere in one spot rarely blinking.
He wanted to organize everything in his head so badly.
- I don't know what to do.
He smiled helplessly.
- I do have this guy next to me that feels so much for me that it overwhelms me... And I feel responsible for his feelings somehow. Because I stole the first kiss from him, I slept with him... and the funniest thing is I don't even remember how it felt. I offered him to move in with me and Firka. And he agreed although he had this massive grudge against me. I let him sleep next to me. I allowed him a lot of things.
He pulled his brows together, frowning.
- And besides, I'm with Josh now... he forgave me for all I did. And despite that I have this impression that I don't feel anything toward him, that everything burned out long ago. There is this big gap between us about how different we are. All those differences were fine when we were in the infatuation stage where all is insignificant and carefree.
He finally looked at the headstone smiling a little, delicately, a bit sad.
- I feel responsible for the both of them... I'd love to give a lot to them both but on the other hand, I feel that I will never be able to give them what they give me. I just don't know what to do.
- Sometimes it's best to go with your feelings and not with what you think is right.
He heard his voice.
The same a bit rough just like always.
As if he was standing next to him.
But no, that is just absurd.
The Redhead hesitantly turned his head a little. His eyes widened.
He didn't see Rav's silhouette.
He didn't even know what to expect, but definitely he didn't expect what he saw.
He clenched his fists.
The anger flooded very fast, clenching his teeth.
Because he saw the same eyes, Rav's eyes but with a different look to them. In a different frame.
A tired one and a bit mocking. With half closed lids.
With foxy and a bit dangerous smile.
- Please forgive me for interrupting your monologue; I didn't want to be a impertinent intruder. If you know what I mean - he said mockingly.
The Redhead even didn't notice the moment he got up.
He didn't notice the moment he lost control.
His fist did it for him.
The proud although small silhouette was lying in the snow quickly changing to a sitting position.
Despite the pain and the blooming red on his face, the black-haired man didn't stop smiling.
A bit arrogant and overconfident.
As if he was prepared. As if he knew that the Redhead would do it.
- How dare you... - Nivan looked down at him with disgust in his face - How dare you approach me after what you did?
The short man with the black hair pulled into a low ponytail was still smiling.
He touched his face with his gloved hand in the spot where the Redhead's hand connected with his skin. He wasn't moving to get up.
- I was hoping to be able to apologize - the man's expression sitting in the snow didn't change even a bit form mocking to apologizing though. - My way of settling the unfinished business in the past was inappropriate and I do realize that and therefore I wanted to ask your forgiveness. - his smile dimmed a bit but his eyes were still cold.
The Redhead was clenching his fists tightly.
He was trying to calm his breath.
- "Inappropriate"? Are you kidding me? You jeopardized the life of my friends, my boyfriend and mine. Because what? Because you wanted to "settle unfinished business"? Who are you to play with people in these dangerous games?
The black-haired man's smile dimmed a bit further.
- Everyone deals with his issues any way they can. A few moments ago you too wanted to settle some unfinished business, in a way. Not by talking it out but with brute strength... - he looked up at the Redhead. His eyes serious and cold - I'm not saying that it's wrong. Quite the opposite, sometimes talking alone won't give you the same result as letting your emotions out the way you just did - he made an emphasis by falling silent for a moment, after which he saw the Redhead calm down: - Am I OK to get up? Or am I still at risk for another hit?
The Redhead couldn't hold back the smile.
Because Rott, the small black-haired man, was speaking in the same way as his older brother.
Like Rav, whom they both missed.
And so, suddenly the held back anger dispersed.
The Redhead gave him a hand, which the man sitting in the snow grabbed with his gloved hand. Standing again, he righted his elegant coat and took out a white silk handkerchief from his pocket. He unfolded the it with one fluid move and put it to his split lip.
The white fabric quickly absorbed the red of the blood.
- I don't want to justify myself now, but that event shouldn't become so dangerous. I'm not a killer, although you probably think that I am - said the short man looking at the Redhead, without lifting his head - People very easily stick stereotypes onto some professions. And label them throwing everything in the same bag. But that's how it always has been. Back then my emotions ruled me because I myself was holding you for a murderer. Yes. I thought you killed my brother.
At these words the Redhed's brows shot up high. He was silent, he never interupted others while they spoke.
- And I wanted to say that I'm sorry for that too. I was wrong. You were a snot, a talented one but still a snot. But now I know it wasn't you who killed my brother. Now I know that you wouldn't be capable of killing anyone.
- How can you be so sure about that? - said the Redhead giving him a distrusting look tinged with anger again.
Rott smiled approaching the other bench where white lilies lied.
The Redhead realized then that the man have had a feeling of what might happen, when he approached.
- I know more about you than you think - replied the short man - You got sloppy with covering your tracks. Besides even back then you weren't that good at covering them. And I understand that. I know that after my Brothers death you suffered with depression.
The Redhead was looking at him in silent disbelief. Rott went pass him and crouched to lay down the flowers on the marble slab.
- I know that my brother loved you.
The Redhead felt his throat constrict hearing those words. He let out his breath through clenched teeth, uneasily, gradually, unevenly.
He wanted to say something, but couldn't. He looked away.
- I've got his diary. I have a lot of his things and I know a lot more about him than you do. We both know he didn't deserve what happened to him. And we both know who is responsible for that - he got up and approached the Redhead standing really close to him. He looked up at him with his hands in his pockets - I want to find her - he said whispering - I want her to suffer like Rav suffered. No I want her to suffer even more; I want her to beg for death. - he hissed.
That's who Rott was talking about.
The Redhead was looking in his dark eyes.
In eyes that saw the same he did. At the lips that spoke the same thing he always wanted to say.
He was afraid to do that in the past.
Now he was afraid of even more mundane things...
- She... it's not that easy. She has to have a group that covers her tracks very carefully - the Redhead said. He said it in a low voice standing rigidly, lifting his chin a notch. Looking down into that black stare.
- I know that. I know she changes locations very often, changing identity. It's hard to catch her. I tried.
- Why are you telling me all this? - the Redhead had a feeling to why that might be.
- Because you can help me with that. I know you need money, and I can give you ...a job - seeing the Redhead's expression he added - a clean job, relax. Nothing that would be worse from what you did in the past - he gave him a roguish smile.
- It makes me a bit uncomfortable that you know "so much" about me. I'm not sure if I shouldn't hit you again for good measure. - The Redhead said coldly. Rott's smile widened.
- I have a good hacker. Young but talented, who needs someone to direct him - he unbuttoned his coat and took a leather diary out of a pocket. Seeing the Redhead's reaction he smiled in triumph, with a satisfaction. He took out a business card and handed it to him. The Redhead didn't take it straight away.
- Think about it. With me you'll have protection which you couldn't get on your own. You can take your friend with you and form a new group.
- I really want to hit you again - Rott smiled again at those words. The Redhead finally grabbed the card.
- I'll agree to your terms. I'll give you the best equipment and place to work. Let's just say it will be my way to apologize for the past. Just consider it.
The Redhead fell silent. He was looking at him with an expression that was hard to read.
- And now please will the two of you excuse me - he said looking at the Redhead and then sliding his gaze toward his brother's picture - duties are calling - he turned, made two steps then stopped. He took one more look at the Redhead but this time gently, without the arrogance or mocking smile - About the things... you were telling Rav. It's not really worth to follow reason, believe me. It won't work anyway. Give yourself some time "it" should resolve itself - he smiled at him politely, a bit sad, just like Rav did it sometimes. He said goodbye with the tilt of his head.
The Redhead was still watching his departing silhouette, his fingers stroking the stiff card.
He sat down on the bench for a while, next to his headstone. He sat there in silence.
The Redhead entered the flat bringing in the cold air with him. He took of his shoes and hanged the jacket on a peg. He went past his door. But stopped half way to his room and backtracked.
He opened the door a bit and peeked inside.
The Blonde was sleeping, lying on his back with the snake huddled on his stomach.
He opened the door wider and entered the room, looked at the bare walls and consistent mess.
He decided that he needs to help him do something about that. Since they have so much furniture in the basement anyway...
Shoving all the clothes out of his way with his foot he found his hoodie, the one that he didn't give it to him. He didn't even know that the Blonde "borrowed" it from him. He hanged the hoodie over his shoulder. Finally able to get to the mattress he took the snake form his belly and put it back to its terrarium. The snake was surprisingly well cared for. He smiled. The snake even didn't move.
He lifted the blanket. Covered him. Carefully.
He sat down next to him cautiously trying not to wake him.
He looked at his sleeping form.
His eyes moved over his hair, nose, lips and neck, wondering if he could look at them differently...
If he could feel attracted.
Marcin's is not a bad looking guy. Quite the opposite. He actually was very his type. He really was attracted to him once... But now he looked at him as at a good buddy, long lost buddy. Whom he wanted to win back.
He wanted someday to see him just like that... without the mohawk, without the aggressive piercings.
Although they weren't that bad... but he wanted to see Marcin... just... well... just him.
He would probably do that for him...
It's so weird to be so sure of another person.
He had this fleeting thought that if he touched him a bit more often, then maybe he would feel something more. Because he is more... tactile... kind of guy or whatever it's called.
He smiled to himself disbelieving in what direction his thoughts were taking him.
He had a second thought that he probably shouldn't contemplate things like that while being in a relationship with someone else. And a while ago, while being with Josh... he wasn't thinking about things like that. He wasn't thinking about anyone else.
He took the business card out of his pocket, turning it over in his fingers.
He missed that, like nothing else.
He didn't feel so lost in that environment.
Josh doesn't understand that... but Marcin?
He was curious...