Return to fanfiction
"Suki da," he says, but when he says it like that it's a joke, a line from some dragging shojo anime. He can put all the passion he wants into the syllables but it's just melodrama, and the more intensely it's spoken the more ridiculous it sounds. Anyone who knows Shinobu cracks up if ever they hear it. I love you. As if the original ice-man could possibly know the meaning of those words.
Only I have ever heard it said the other way, whispered in the deep night, too soft to echo through the tissue-thin walls. Harshly torn from his throat, unvoiced. If you couldn't understand the phrase you would think he was cursing me, there's so much hate in that hiss.
It is a curse. He does hate me. He hates me for everything I do to him, intentionally and accidentally. Not the slights or the insults or the practical jokes that some hold against me. Hasukawa has a certain right to be annoyed—what did he ever do to me, after all, other than be who he is...such a beautiful innocent.
Shinobu isn't innocent, and whatever pranks I play on him I know I'll receive back ten-fold. I'm quick and I'm cunning, but I'm not brilliant. Not like him.
His hatred isn't of anger, nor envy, nor irritation. Maybe it's fear, fear for what I've seen. Fear that I know him a little better than he knows himself. Maybe that's why. Because I see worth in him when he doesn't. Because I can make that ice-green blood boil and rip confessions from his heart that he would never admit to himself.
He hates that I care. That I get angry when he belittles himself, or hurts himself. Love is a cage and he constantly beats his wings against the bars. I took away his freedom, of everything he ever could have, the only thing he ever wanted. Poor little rich kid. He can deny his family—he won't, because he does have a certain sense of obligation, and he doesn't mind the responsibility. But if he so decided he would turn his back on them without a qualm.
But he can't refuse me.
Tezuka Shinobu, the only boy in school with more control than me. Both self-control and influence over others. I get my way, but people don't jump to serve, as they do whenever he makes a request in that so cold and quiet voice. We're both respected but he has the edge, earned by equal measures terror and competency.
No one saves we two knows that I'm the real victor. That when he manipulates me, it's because I allow it, because it's part of how we work together and we work together better than anyone. But I can always have my way with him, and then it's not his choice. Not manipulation, because he always knows my intent and I never disguise it. But his will means nothing when it's contrary to mine.
So he hates me, for having power over him.
The funny thing is, I don't care about that. I'm not a control freak; I don't need to run anyone's life—my own is more than enough for me to handle. The only time I'd ever make Shinobu do something he opposed is when—not to be cliche—it's for his own good.
It is for his good that he doesn't always get his way. It's for his good that he doesn't abandon his friends when things get tough—that's what he thinks he wants, to play it safe, stay uninvolved, but that's not what he's really like. He hides everything behind a facade so cold and strong that I'm the only one who knows how guilt can eat him alive, when there's no one else there to see it.
And he'll let it. He thinks he deserves it, for being born who he is.
It's strange. He never doubts his skill in anything, his intelligence, or his appearance, or his physical prowess—all perfect, and he's always known so. It's something else—his heart, his conscience. His soul. He doesn't think he had one—it's not a matter of religion. He couldn't care less about an afterlife. But this life...he thinks he can live without a family, without friends. Without love. Because he doesn't think he can feel that.
So he hates me instead. And wonders why it burns.
He tells me 'I love you' because the first time I ever said it to him, it gave me power over him, greater than anything before. He echoed it back—a little later, he had as always to think it through before he spoke—and when he said it he expected it would win from me what it had taken from him, restore the balance and return what he had lost.
It worked, of course, in some ways—it possessed me, made me his so completely I couldn't break free even if I wanted—but it tightened his bonds too. He doesn't understand why every time he repeats it, through his voice might make it a curse, it only strengthens what's between us.
Or maybe he does know. He's smarter than me, after all. More perceptive. Maybe this is all a game he plays, a web he weaves to gather full control over this uncontrollable situation.
You don't need to, you know. All you need do is say it, with love, with hate, it doesn't matter. With all the power no one hears, save me. You don't need to understand. Not when I already do.
"Aishiteru," I murmur into the night. I love you.
"Aishiteru," he whispers back, and it doesn't matter if he doesn't know what it truly means. I can hear in his voice that it's the strongest thing he's ever felt. That's all I ever need to hear.
My first run with the Greenwood chars. Love to know what you think.
Return to fanfiction