"And if you could swing by with some of his things, too, that'd be great, Anne," the rich baritone drawled into the mouthpiece of the cellular phone. "You don't have to see him -- I'd do it myself, if I could leave long enough..."
"I'm sorry it happened this way, but--"
"I know, Anne. I know. Just... I'll see you soon, then. Just go to the front desk and ask to see me. Thanks." He hung up the cell phone, turning to look at the room around him. Walls that had a slightly blue tint in the white, the delicately coloured flower border, the high-pile royal blue carpet, bedding, curtains... So *inviting*, somehow, yet so unnatural. The man sitting in the corner, on the floor, looked out of place.
His fleece dressing gown was wrapped tightly around his body, worn over the red silk pyjamas, those matching maroons making him look like a splash of blood against that cool-coloured room. Ginger-hair only added to it; but his eyes matched that sorrowful room, flicking around him nervously.
"Feeling better now?" Zechs asked, using the same tone he used whenever he came near a nervous animal, kneeling slowly and moving forward at the same time. The nurses had given Treize a mild sedative, and it seemed to lessen his nervousness, the crying.
"Yes." A stiff answer from his tight throat as he hugged his knees a little closer. It was probably a lie, too. Zechs's heart ached to see Treize like that, from so domineering to... this.
"That's good," he tried to encourage, sidling up to his friend, creeping a hand behind his stiffened back. "Do you want to lay down in the bed, Treize?"
At last he grasped Treize's waist at the other side. "Why not...? It's warm, and more comfortable."
"They stare at me more up there. From too many sides. I can watch them all from here when they show up."
Carefully, gradually, Zechs shifted his best-friend and lover into his arms and out of that corner; when he came out of the corner, Treize curled defensively against Zechs, legs tucked beneath him. "I'll get them to move the bed into the corner -- would you like that more...?" The head buried against his chest nodded, and he sighed. "Okay. I'll stay with you until then."
How such a great man had fallen to *THIS* in such a short time... would forever be emblazoned in his mind. Azure eyes closed as he let himself remember it all.
A strangled gasp of voice as sweat-slicked hands clutched at golden-warm shoulders.
"So tight... ah, you're so tight..."
Silken strands of blonde hair flowing like water, fall down to brush the pillow as he leans in to kiss the beautifully strained man beneath him.
Softly huffed breathes leave that man, a laugh of raw air as fingers dig in harder. "Fuck me harder, Miri... I need it..."
The even softer whirr of a camera, unheard beneath the creak of the hotel bed and their own soft moans.
"I'll miss this..."
"It doesn't... Umh! Oh, have to stop..."
"Why are you marrying her, Treize...?" Zechs asked in an unhappy tone. "Just tell me."
"Because my parents want me to do it, and I don't want to disgrace my family. She thinks it's love, but... it'll be name only. One child, Anne will hate me, and I'll still have you. If I come out openly... well. My business ties would shun me, along with my family, and it would ruin my career and life." Nimble fingers fastened his silk ascot, smoothing it down just so.
Not that he thought very much on how Zechs resented the idea of being the 'love in Treize's back pocket'. He had to be practical, and Zechs simply had to take it or leave it. But if he left Treize would be miserable, and everyone knew it.
Zechs had been openly gay for years now, and most people guessed rightly that they were a couple, leaving Treize with a lot of things to rebuke. In public. In private, though...
The sex was hot, passionate, and Treize was so kind and tender with him, even when they weren't pleasing themselves. His public and private personas were worryingly different to Zechs. In public, he was *the* ladies man, in private, he was as queer as a three dollar bill.
And now that same man was getting married to the girl-friend he'd flaunted for months now, unaware of the stinging jealousy he made rise up in Zechs -- it wasn't his fault Treize was so... horrid about it! Fine, marry for the family's sake, but did he have to seem to enjoy it?
"She's a poor girl, Treize."
"Easier to control," Treize shot back, winking at him. the ginger-browed man was paying for the whole thing -- ceremony, Anne's dress, the flowers, the reception for two hundred friends and family... all of it.
Finally completely dressed in the pristine white tuxedo, Treize turned from the mirror, looking candidly at Zechs. "I'm promising you, you'll always be my best man. *Always* -- I love you, not Anne, Zechs."
Speech upon speech upon speech, while Zechs sat there, trying to look happy. Treize's speech had been sickeningly happy-sounded, and had only made the beautiful blonde man more and more miserable.
And they looked like such a happy couple. He wished he'd never introduced them. Wished he'd never made his solitary secretary meet Treize, just... out of friendship.
And to make it worse, the maid of honour was making eyes at him -- even telling her that he was gay hadnít stopped Anne's sister, Noin, from her pursuit.
A hush fell over the room suddenly, and he looked up -- Anne had the microphone.
"I'd like to thank all of you, family and friends, for coming today. I know most of you are overjoyed about this marriage... and, well, I'd like to give all of you a gift for your belief in this. So if everyone would reach under their chairs, they'll find a manila envelope holding their gift, from the groom and the best man, to you."
It was perhaps thirty seconds before that wave occurred, opening envelopes, then...
Cries of disgust, shock, bewilderment and perhaps fear, filled the room, almost drowning out Anne's voice as she announced she was going to get an annulment in the morning.
Sharp azure gaze saw what Treize's mother was looking at, and so did Treize.
A photograph, glossy 8x10, of he and Treize fucking. Passion writ clearly on their faces, a very recent picture that showed Zechs buried ball deep into Treize with the other man's legs wrapped around his waist. There was no denying what was going on in that picture...
With a startled, shocked sound, Treize had fled the reception room.
Morbidly, Zechs had lingered.
Half an hour later, Zechs found Treize in a janitor's closet at the back-hall, sitting in the corner with his knees drawn up to his chest, body shaking furiously. Zechs had spoken to him a few times, but hadn't gotten a reply. So, worried, he helped him to his feet, then the car, then his own apartment.
There, he started to cry hysterically.
Two hours later, Zechs pulled into the Mellinmore mental hospital, Treize half-dehydrated and still crying. The best guess the doctors had just then was that he'd finally snapped under the strain of his high-stress life and the struggle to maintain separate but equal faÁades.
Dr. Winner said that Treize might just have to stay for an indefinite period of time, since the hysteria and fear was starting to give way to paranoia. Then again, if Zechs, being the closest and most stable part of Treize's life, could help Treize pull himself together again, it could be as short a stay as two weeks.
"But this event may have simply served as the catalyst to awaken an as yet unforeseen psychosis." Dr Winner's voice echoed in Zechs' head as he sat there on the floor, Treize still curled tightly against him.
Knowing Treize, he'd probably be better in a month -- because when Treize had a problem, he had a *problem*. Things would fester and rot until it was too late...
The door swung outward, and Treize startled at that sound, not looking up as Zechs did, but cowering closer.
"Thanks, just set the box there," he instructed quietly, watching Alex, the mostly friendly orderly, set the box down at the foot of Treize's bed. So Anne *had* gotten some of Treize's stuff -- and he could see his duffle-bag. That told him she'd grabbed him a change of clothes, too.
He'd never forgive her for what she'd done, but he could never really fault her for it, either; how was she to know how Treize would react?
It had burned in his soul how Treize was using both of them; except, Anne had the courage to hire a P.I, have those photographs taken, and have them all printed. When she found out, Anne told him, she'd been furious, then simply decided for the simplest revenge -- to let Treize pay for the wedding, the reception, and *then* reveal the truth. It didn't bother him so much -- everyone already knew that he swung towards just men -- but Treize...
The ad agent's career would suffer, and Zechs had no idea how the man would ever face his family again. He probably wouldn't.
A shift from Treize, and Zechs looked down to the man clutched to him. He'd fallen asleep, finally sagging against him. Shifting his grip, Zechs stood, lifting Treize up with him, and walked towards the comfortable looking bed.
"Mmm, 're safe," Treize sleep-mumbled as he was laid down carefully. Then Zechs slid in beside him, giving Treize the 'shelter' he needed to hide from the accusations that existed solely in his mind.
"I know." And Treize always ran back to him, didn't he? The stern business man always ran back to his theatre friend when he was in need of something or someone. Only now, Zechs was the only choice to run to -- no more hiding what he was, no more facades. And somehow, that bothered him -- if Treize left him now, if would be of his doing, not... some other, foreign, part of him doing it.
But looking down at the placid face, the ruffled mop of ginger-coloured hair resting on his chest, he was sure that Treize would never leave him. And that soon enough, they'd be together, truthful with the world around him.
And until they were lovers again, in the most heated of senses, he had the negatives of the photographs.