Who We Are: College

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What is Love? K.

Kevin woke up in a jolt. Sweating, out of breath and feeling rather cold. He wondered where he was and if it all had been a dream. His memory was a slur of images: him being with Edd, desire, stress, repressed emotions he couldn't understand, Edd slipping away from him like sand through one's fingers. He couldn't remember properly anything, everything slipped and fell into a dark void in his brain through cracks of his fragmented memory. Kevin hugged his knees, burying his face between them and inhaling deeply- he needed to control himself.

Kevin: Easy...
Kevin: Bad dream...
Kevin: 1…
Kevin: 2…
Kevin: 3…

Kevin raised his head and looked around as he exhaled for the last time. He was in his room, shirtless and in his boxers. His bed was made, meaning he had slept over the mattress, and he was alone. He wondered how he had gotten back home, and he wondered what time it was… and where Lyon had run off to. As Kevin stood from his bed and watched his alarm clock blink 12:41 pm, he thought of what he'd do today. Just as he entered the bathroom, Kevin glanced one last time at the room and noticed a sealed coffee cup on his desk with a paper beneath it. His heart stopped.

Lyon sipped at his coffee slowly, savoring the content and grimacing as he gulped. He had spent nearly 3 hours wandering around campus looking for Edd after dropping off an unconscious Kevin over at their dorm and helping him undress… mainly him doing all the undressing. He always wondered why his primal instincts were so…lax when it came to dire moments or decision making. His past relationships had called him cold, detached and even unemotional… and he couldn't find them being ever more wrong. Still, he had to agree his inner self did stir as he left Kevin half naked in their dorm, but he needed answers. Curiosity or spite, he needed to know what had happened that had made his best friend snap like a twig… and he was considering taking manners into his hands. But, that was an hour ago of unsuccessful search for Double D and he had managed to cool off. As he watched his watch tick 1:01pm he wondered if Kevin was "ok", if he had woken up… and how had he reacted to his letter (which he left with coffee). He grimaced at the thought of the coffee. The Campus Caffé where Edd worked was training new personnel and Edd was a no-show, which made Lyon value even more Edd's barista skills. Burnt, earthy and grainy… it was an insult to Edd's sutil, smooth and crisp brews. Lyon exhaled as he touched his forehead with his index and middle finger, giving a soft massage to himself; a pair of footsteps (more like stomps) he recognized too well by now made him lift his gaze and beam with happiness as he saw Kevin march towards him.

Lyon: Kevin!

Lyon stood up to hug his friend, only to be met by a firm and aggressive grasp on his shirt and a menacing stare.

Kevin: What did you do?!

Lyon: I see you read my letter.

Kevin: Lyon!

Lyon: Relax mate, I couldn't even find him… not that anything would've changed if I did. I wouldn't have touched him.

Kevin: I swear, if you…

Lyon: If I were lying? You would've known by now if I were.

They stared at each other, Kevin with anger blazing and Lyon with an Arctic coldness and a serious face. Kevin slowly let him go and slouched on the chair, exhaling deeply as he did.

Lyon: I see you didn't drink the coffee I left you.

Kevin buried his face between his hands, muffling his voice a bit.

Kevin: That shit was disgusting, I'd never drink it.

Lyon: Don't be mean, the guys who made it are learning. It's not Double D's quality.

Kevin: Nobody can do it like Double D.

Lyon: OOOOoooh, do I sense appreciation in your tone? Or is it something else?

Lyon smirked as Kevin lifted his gaze and clenched his jaw and fist.

Kevin: Not in the mood…

His tone was tense and Lyon merely waved him away as he sat down, giggling.

Lyon: Relax, relax. If you guys had done something, you'd be in a much brighter mood.

Kevin: Done what?

Lyon: You know… spend the night together.

Kevin: We did dumbass, I came back late.

Lyon: Well… you didn't... comeback…

Lyon face got serious as he remembered how he had to carry his friend back to their room. Kevin had been unconscious, but he had never stopped mumbling something Lyon couldn't understand… it worried him.

Kevin: I read the letter moron… you know what I mean.

Lyon bowed his head, smiled and took a deep breath, facing Kevin once more with his usual posture and casual attitude.

Lyon: Do you? You guys went out… but you didn't SPEND the night.

Kevin: Must you always use puns idiot?

Lyon: It's not a pun… I'm just trying to be… discrete.

Kevin: From fucking who?! There's nobody here!

Kevin had slammed his fists on the table and waved his arm to emphasize the "here" part. He was panting and color had flushed from his cheeks, Lyon worried once more.

Lyon: Calm down…

Kevin sighed and rubbed his temples, he didn't look well and it troubled Lyon. Lyon frowned and quickly threw his coffee cup- despite being half way.

Lyon: Get up, we're going to eat something.

Kevin: I don't want…

Lyon: Shut up and follow me. Stop whining… you have something you need to talk about.

Kevin: No I don't...

Lyon got up from his chair before Kevin could answer, and moved towards him. He forcefully swirled the chair Kevin sat on so it faced away from the table and he stood facing him.

Kevin: What the fuck man!?

Lyon: Move…

Lyon's cool and casual attitude was substituted by a chilling and menacing serious substitute. It wasn't common for Lyon to lose his temper, and least to actually express such anger in such an open way- it was simply intimidating. Kevin grunted, but stood up. He got dizzy, his legs wavered and he felt a warm body against his cheek and two strong arms hold him up.

Kevin: Fuck!

His voice was soft and weak, but he mustered what he could to stand up once more.

Lyon: You're pretty fucked up dude. How you feeling?

Kevin: Fine.

Lyon: What are you feeling?

Kevin: Nothing.

Kevin's gaze was idle, which angered Lyon a bit. He felt Kevin was hiding something… at least subconsciously. Lyon sighed and wrapped his left arm around Kevin's waist.

Kevin: WHOA! Dude, what the fuck?!

Lyon: Relax, you can barely walk… I'm not raping you.

Kevin chuckled at his friend and roommate's blunt and open remark.

Kevin: I'd like to see you try… I'd…

Lyon: Break my bones and beat me to a pulp, yada yada… you wish I'd hit on you.

Kevin laughed as they both started walking towards the parking lot. As they walked, Kevin wondered why he had reacted so abrupt to Lyon's touch. 2 years living together, 2 years knowing him, 2 years of seeing him be himself and he had never reacted such a way.

?: What would you like to order?

Lyon: I'd like a Prociutto Panini with a cold glass of wine- your choice.

Kevin: I don't know. What's...

Lyon: He'll like a Filet Mignon with some lemonade… make it look delicious so he eats it all.

?: Surely. Your order will be right up, Sir.

Lyon: Call me Lyon please, Sir is my father. What is your name?

The female waitress would bashfully giggle.

?: I'm Maggie.

Lyon: It's a very lovely nickname, what's it short for?

Maggie: Margorie, but I really don't like it that much.

Lyon: You should ask what my full name is. I actually like yours.

Maggie: T-Thanks, I'll be right back.

As she skipped away, Lyon followed her with his glance, managing to see when she turned back to look at them, which he corresponded with a smile and a wave.

Kevin: Really dude? Really?

Lyon smiled, a tender smiled as he shrugged and then stared at Maggie as she made her way to another table to take another order. Kevin had slouched on his elbows over the table, despite the fact of the restaurant being fancy- he cared little for social etiquette. Lyon's eyes seemed idle, drifting to some other thought or concerning matter. He answered in his calm voice as he smirked.

Lyon: Courtesy isn't a bad thing you know? Besides, treating your waiter or waitress right, a little small talk, a smile, can make a whole difference. They are people, and being nice is actually a change for them… sharing with others is what makes us human.

Kevin: Sounds to me more like your games just to get some action

Lyon: You may think of me as you wish. Relationships must start from somewhere.

His cold blunt answer made Kevin stare at him in abruptly. He noticed how he hadn't changed his posture but his eyes had faded into some other world. Lyon was never the one to lose his cool or to lose his ever casual attitude and laid back personality.

Lyon: You know, showing others who you are or just being nice to them has a greater impact than you'd think. If you can't give that courtesy, you'll always be alone.

Lyon turned and faced Kevin, messy hair and possibly unwashed jacket with a Lion on the left Pectoral, and a clean white undershirt- neither lose nor tight. Lyon smiled and closed his eyes as he shook his head and straightened his own navy blue cardigan with a scarlet short silky scarf he wore loosely. His shirt was an elegant and very thin white collar shirt and his jeans were cardigan with navy blue shoes. He had always loved to dress and shop for winter and autumn clothes. This peculiar attitude he had caused him to usually turn some stares, but he had never bothered with it. He loved being himself… but, what he loved most- more than dressing or talking or flirting- was to be with his friends.

To him, to talk honestly and openly with those he held dear was something worth treasuring and unique, for it meant trust was the foundation of their relationship. As Kevin sat in silent, slightly glaring at him, Lyon felt his stare turn into a glare. His roommate for 2 years and with whom he shared his day, his stories and his troubles just wouldn't extend that courtesy back to him.

Kevin: WHAT?!

Lyon clenched his jaw and closed his eyes as he answered Kevin in a tight voice.

Lyon: Why won't you tell me?!

Kevin: Tell you what?

Lyon: Don't play stupid Kevin… something is bothering you.

Kevin: Nothing…

Lyon: Listen, mate! I've lived with you for 2 years now… you know who I am. Hell, you know my sexual preferences, I have shared with you my heartbreaks and my plays and I have helped you even in your own. We have been together, living together, sharing together our daily lives. What could possibly be going that you can't just tell me?!

Kevin stood silent, a knot in his throat, and bowed his head. Lyon sighed and loosened up, feeling how thin fabric slid from his fingers- he had clenched the table's cover in anger.

Lyon: You know, I worry about you sometimes.

Kevin raised his head and looked at Lyon, who had turned his head to Maggie again. She was coming back with a big tray.

Lyon: You are tough as nails, strong, athletic, determined and…at least not really stupid. But, you are really hard to deal with when you close up.

Kevin: Gee, thanks.

Lyon smirked.

Lyon: It's easy losing yourself: to feel alone, misunderstood, abandoned even… but, you create your reality. Only when you start letting others in will you start actually feeling alive… like you are part of something bigger. If you wish to feel alive, you must accept the love that surrounds you and you must give back that love...

Kevin: What is love?

Lyon smiled as he looked at Kevin in astonishment. His words and come out in a whisper, almost involuntarily as Kevin looked down at his silver ware and he played with his fork on the table cloth.

Lyon: It's when actions take over your thoughts, when you want to share everything with someone else…and you do it. When you want to not only be with them, but to actually live your life and theirs…as a team, a duo…neither sacrificing yourself nor demanding they do.

Before Kevin could ask, Lyon smiled and stood up to help Maggie, their waitress, with the tray.

Lyon: Allow me.

Maggie: Ah… no n-need… pl-please, j-just sit, sit…

Kevin smiled and giggled to himself as he saw Lyon once again play a move on a nice girl. He had to admit though, staring through his eyes at how such a stunning and confident guy could talk to a girl, be nice, be open, and be so wise a few minutes back… he felt blessed for their friendship and envious.

The two boys left with a thunderous laughter accompanied by two blonde, gorgeous girls: one was Maggie and the other was her friend Nadia. The "brief" lunch had turned into a 2 hour meal followed by a 2 hour wine tasting. Maggie had a bit of small talk with both of them as they enjoyed their meal and offered them a special invitation to the vineyard on the roof of the 2 story restaurant which was tall, not big. She had rambled and stuttered on her words trying to convince them that her friend (Nadia) was a very skilled wine taster and that it would be a great experience. And that she'd be really happy if they'd go as the usual clientele for such event were old men, couples and the casual rich "hip" or "hipster" kid. Lyon, smiled constantly and agreed immediately. Kevin wasn't surprised as his Foodie friend was a nightmare as an eating partner, mostly do to his habits of never declining any culinary experience. Kevin tagged along with a shrug.

The event had been very pleasant as only 2 couples and an old man had shown up beside themselves. Nadia and Maggie were very… professional, for the circumstance and gave a very thorough, complete and lovely presentation of two white French wine and two French red wines- each unique. However, after the scholarly part ended and the tasting began, the two girls shared most of their time with them as they chatted about school. Kevin laughed and drank his way through the evening as Nadia made sure his glass was always served and he enjoyed having a… guy's day out. Maggie had sat next to Lyon who was very courteous and attentive with her, joking to all of them and asking both girls equal questions. Kevin, on the other hand, limited himself to snotty comments, funny remarks and sometimes just being an idiot. The girls laughed as he was the comical part of the evening and made Lyon's casual and confident playboy demeanor be taken less seriously and even inoffensive. They were a great team and both girls never left their sides. By the end, the two groups (boys and girls) went separate ways as Lyon and Kevin held each other as too much laughter and drinking made them tipsy, and a rather quiet Nadia laughed with a drunk Maggie clinging to her arm and screaming that they had to see each other again. As Lyon and Kevin watched the girls leave, they each tucked their receipts- with their respective girl's number written on it- inside their pocket, and they giggled to each other one last time before they walked to the curve to take the main avenue back to their campus… it was 5:36pm.

The Main Avenue was commonly known by students as "World Avenue", a 12 block avenue with various grocery shops, bistros, restaurants, book shops, utensil shops and caffes. It had been created to promote a healthy environment for students- an alternative to the common partying, bar hopping, wild night life stereotyped by other campuses and universities worldwide. It had become more popular as it now linked the campus with the new Planetarium high up on the hill side. As Lyon and Kevin walked down the street, they stopped shortly to admire how all the shop owners were helping each other change the classical candle lamps hanging from the bright yellow light rope for candle lit plastic jack-o-lanterns. Lyon smiled and Kevin felt a fake and forced smirk cross his face- almost painfully.

Lyon: It's beautiful what a community can do. Don't you…

Kevin's face was twitching and his grip on Lyon's cardigan had tightened considerably as his eyes scanned each lantern replaced. He seemed to be in pain, despite his smirk.

Lyon: Dude…

Kevin, startled, simply looked at Lyon in the eyes and stormed past him down the street a few steps bowing his head a bit.

Kevin: I'm fine!

Tipsy as he was, Kevin quickly stumbled onto the floor. Lyon moved towards him and stood beside him, letting his roommate decide what to do.

Lyon: You know, saying you're fine doesn't make it immediately true.

Kevin: Shut up! I'm drunk!

Lyon: Obviously.

Kevin punched a solid hit into Lyon's stomach which made him grimace and fall to his knees. Both boys started laughing soon after this as they were both now on the sidewalk.

Kevin: Help me up, dumbass!

Lyon: Fuck you! You injured me.

Kevin: Cry baby!

Lyon: Look who's talking…

Lyon got up as he said this and extended his hand to his roommate, who laughed and quickly took it to steady himself up- he felt dizzy.

Lyon: I'll suppose you took your… date… down this scenic route the other night?

Kevin's face and laughter quickly stiffened as he punched Lyon on the shoulder, tumbling him back a few steps.

Kevin: It wasn't a date.

Lyon: Words would've been enough.

They stood there for a while, Kevin watching the sunset light coming from behind him illuminate down the avenue, and Lyon rubbing his shoulder looking at him. In two years of living together, Lyon had never seen him so vulnerable… like a cry for help. If only he'd let himself be helped.

Lyon: Want to get something to drink?

Kevin: More booze?

Lyon: Maybe I can pin point a good place.

Kevin smirked and bowed his head, he really needed a drink… he wanted to forget. Forget the emotions bottling up inside him. Anger? Frustration? Jealousy? Doubt? What was it? He was losing it, he felt like it. As Kevin raised his hands to his head, his remembered the haunting voice in his head, in his own tone asking relentlessly "Who am I?". Tears streamed down his cheeks as Kevin shifted his hands to cover his face completely, he felt like collapsing, crying his heart out. A sharp tug at his right arm and a strong pull upward snapped him back and two dark deep penetrating eyes glared into his.

Lyon: Pull your shit together!

Lyon let go of his arm in a fierce swing and grabbed him by the collar. Kevin knew Lyon could get mad, but he had never seen him go physical on somebody… why him?

Lyon: Stop it, Kevin! I see you! I see you every day! I've seen you go through every single shit and shenanigan you have had… you've never broken down!

Kevin felt the knot on his throat once more, his eyes going deep into Lyon's… a need to say it… to ask his questions.


Lyon's eyes watered, and he pushed Kevin against the wall, being almost the same height made their quarrel quite even as either of them could overpower the other in seconds. But, Kevin simply shut his eyes. Lyon punched the wall with all his force and gave his back to him. He breathed heavily and deeply, trying to find his cool once more. He didn't wish to scold Kevin, but to talk with him.

Lyon: You know, it's not normal for me to be so attached or caring for someone. Hell, I don't give a shit for most people…you know it. One night stands, flings, the boyfriend or girlfriend occasionally… but I just never feel committed to those relationships. It's a curse I guess… for just loving to love… for just searching that… pure and irrational emotion…and yet, I always worry for you. Your grades, your dumb shitty plans…

Kevin opened his eyes as he leaned on the brick wall behind him which was part of a traditional Italian restaurant "La Famiglia". Lyon stood under a string of light cable, and it gave him an amazing and mysterious aura… like an archangel.

Lyon: Why can't you just… tell me? I want to help… I need to. I can't see you like this. It kills me dude.

Lyon fixed his clothes a bit and tucked his hands into his pocket, still not looking at Kevin- who was now just leaning on the wall.

Lyon: You asked me what is love… and I can't give you the best answer, but I gave you mine. If it hurts, there's always a reason… your emotions and your heart are honest. I have always lived separating my emotions from my mind, to avoid impulse decisions, but, also, so I can feel with no second guessing. Acting is just easier. I… you… we… let me…

Kevin: Who am I?

It was a very low whisper, mumbled as a struggling Kevin bowed his head and clenched his fists.

Lyon: What?

Kevin: Who am I?

Louder, his fists digging into his palms.

Lyon: Kevin?

Kevin: WHO AM I?

It was a scream, from the top of his lungs. A scream with all the repressed agony from yesterday and god knows how far back. Lyon was taken aback and could only stare as Kevin's face was slowly covered in tears. His friend stared at him with clenched fists and teeth… demanding an answer.

Kevin: Who am I, Lyon?! Tell me!

Lyon stepped closer, opening his mouth, but with no words. Inside of him, he felt sheer pain looking at his friend in such a state… much like that morning.

Kevin: Who am I? I want to… know. I need to…

Lyon: Kevin…

Lyon's voice was a soft whisper.

Kevin: I can't do it man. Everyday my head fills with these weird thoughts. I've never had them before… and they make me feel weird. I feel like shit… I look like shit… and only when I'm with you or Double D do these thoughts go away. At least most of the times. I'm going crazy!

Lyon: Let me help you… I'm here…

Kevin: I don't know, I just… don't know… like, I feel good with you and Edd and… and… it feels wrong… like, I shouldn't feel like this… and I get afraid. I get afraid of feeling like this… and I wonder why... WHY?! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!

Lyon: Breath…
Kevin: I cant!

Lyon: Breath.

Kevin: I CANT!

Lyon: Kevin…

Lyon placed his hand on Kevin's cheek and was immediately pinned against the wall by him. His fists were firmly grasping his cardigan and they were pressing against his body so he wouldn't move... Kevin was crying.

Kevin: Don't touch me!

Lyon: Why?

Kevin: I… don't know…

Kevin rested his head on Lyon's chest and a muzzled a cry that escaped his throat. Lyon slowly wrapped his arms around his beloved friend, his eyes tearing up as he held him close, comforting him, supporting him. Lyon bent his head a bit and laid a soft kiss on Kevin's head.

Inside his head Kevin remembered a word he had once used to insult his classmates. This time, it cut through him, suffocated him… like a dead weight.


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