A/n: The lyrics are from "Crash (Crazy in Love)" by the Korean boy band Battle (you can YouTube the music video). Credits for the translation goes to Battle International Forums.
Van is actually a Vietnamese name, and it's pronounced "vuhn."
1. Tell me watcha gonna do
This is how Van first met Danny. Danny slouched into Spanish class, a weathered black backpack hanging precariously over one bony shoulder. Van caught a flash of red (his hair, shot through with the vibrant color) and remembered the boy he saw at the welcoming assembly: the one who'd elbowed his way through the students packed together on the bleachers, heading straight for Van (he'd held his breath); but then he'd barged right past. The rest of the assembly had been a blur—Van only remembered a tenseness, a hyper-awareness of the boy sitting behind him, two seats behind and three people to the left.
Now he was here, in Van's class, sitting down next to him. He tried to sound casual, said, "Hey."
"Hey." The other boy glanced over at him, then away.
He pushed onward. "You a sophomore?"
"Yeah? Me too."
For the first time, the boy showed some interest. He twisted around in his seat and looked Van up and down. Van thought, hoped, that that was a flicker of appreciation in his eyes. "No kidding? You're a giant."
Van flushed. Giant? He hated that word—it made him feel big, chunky. A lumbering idiot. "Yeah, well, story in my family is my mom raised me on elephant milk." Lame.
But the boy laughed, tossing his hair out of his eyes. It was tangled, or, as Van was beginning to think of it, artistically messy. A piece of it fell over his eye, a streak of red against his pale skin.
"I like your hair," Van commented. "Your parents let you dye it?"
"My parents are dead; I live with my aunt. But yeah, she lets me do pretty much whatever I want with it."
"Oh. Well, that's cool. I mean," he rushed to add, "that your aunt lets you dye your hair. Not…you know—"
Awkward silence. Then, "Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. Van Nguyen."
"Nice to meet you, Danny."
"Encantado," he drawled.
Delighted to meet you. Van fought the blush that surged up his neck.
2. I just want your love
Danny plays the piano.
When Van asks him why, he says, "I don't know. I just…do. I like sitting at the piano, pressing the keys, playing, making music."
He has elegant hands. They are a pianist's hands, long-fingered and slender. At recitals they are at variance with the rest of his appearance: Danny refuses to wear the formal attire required of the performers, instead opting for jeans and a collared shirt. His only concession to the code at times is to wear a tie, jet black usually, knotted loosely around his neck.
After coming to one of his recitals, Van is reluctant to come to any others, even if it is an extra chance to see Danny. It has to do with how Danny plays the piano. When he's up there at the piano, performing, Van understands what he meant when he said he loved making music. Danny doesn't just play the piano; nor, for that matter, does he perform. He isn't up there to put on a show. He isn't up there for the pleasure of the audience. He's up there because he wants to be, because he loves the music—Van can see it in the way he caresses the keys, coaxing out crescendos and decrescendos, weaving the melody. Whether he's playing Beethoven's moody Moonlight Sonata or Debussy's dreamlike Claire de Lune, Danny is fully absorbed in the piano and the music. There is nothing and nobody else, and that is why Van doesn't like going to his recitals. He doesn't like to see, to acknowledge, that Danny's world is one of sharps and flats, turns and mordents—a world he doesn't (can't) belong to.
Even after a year of being with him, Van still feels like he doesn't know Danny all that well. He's familiar with his moods and his tempers; his sarcasm, his intensity; but he doesn't know why. Why is Danny…well, Danny? Why does he act the way he does? What are his reasons for isolating himself, never willing to let anyone close to him, to matter?
He flirts—no, he teases Van. The way he always stands close to Van, or brushes his fingers against his arm. The way he insinuates and looks at Van, eyes hooded but alert, always watching. All these things and more, he does to tease Van. Van knows because whenever he blushes, whenever he jumps or stutters, whenever Danny has succeeded in making him uncomfortable, the other boy always laughs and backs off. Backs off and leaves him alone for a while, just to let him know that it wasn't anything serious. It didn't mean anything.
Sometimes Van wishes Danny would just leave him alone and quit baiting him; but he knows that he would miss Danny's touch, his presence. So he doesn't say much about it.
3. Baby come to me
By the time their junior year rolls around, Van can practically feel the tension in the air whenever he and Danny are near each other. It makes him nervous; makes him want to hold his breath, and be really, really still. But it makes Danny even more excited, causing him to run his hand through his hair, or step closer to Van, or maybe brush against him.
Then one day, right after lunch, outside in the quad where anybody can see them, Danny hauls Van to him by the arm. Van trips, thuds against Danny's chest, and then Danny's lips are pressed against his, and Danny's hands are cupping his face, pulling him closer.
For a moment, Van can't think. Danny is kissing him, and it's horrible, it's wonderful, he wants Danny to stop, but oh, if Danny would just keep going— Then someone shouts, "Fags!" and Van wrenches himself away.
On their way to the principal's office, Danny shoves him up against the lockers, and Van feels his mouth against his throat; "Why," he asks, breathlessly. "Why, in front of everyone?" Why, where anyone can see?
"Because," Danny says simply, "I couldn't wait any longer."
The day before Van's birthday that year, Danny sneaks into his room at midnight, tapping on the window to be let in. Laughing, he kisses Van, and when Van reaches up his hands to push Danny away ("It's twelve fucking thirty, what the hell are you doing here?") he realizes that Danny is not wearing anything under his jacket, and before he knows it Danny is there, naked on his bed. Pretty soon, Van is in the same state of undress.
In all his daydreams, Van never imagined that he would lose his virginity like this: on the eve of his seventeenth birthday with his parents right down the hall.
The only part his fantasies that comes true is Danny, whose touch is everything and more than what Van ever wanted.
4. Can't stop, don't stop, I'll just crash
Van is surprised when, even after they graduate from high school, he and Danny continue to stay together. It's wonderful, he thinks. Or, at least, it should be. Once, early in the morning, he wakes up in their bed, and somebody is downstairs playing the piano. Somebody being Danny: the space next to him on the bed is empty, the pillow still indented with the shape of his head. Van lies awake in the bed, trying to decide whether or not to go downstairs. It takes him all of five minutes to decide. It's six thirty in the morning for god's sake, he's sleepy, he's sore, the bed is warm, and—
And of course, Danny doesn't really want him down there. Doesn't need him to be. Won't welcome the intrusion. So Van decides to just go back to sleep. Except he can't; it's not just the music, it's the music and Danny. Danny, up at six-thirty to practice, to play. Danny, playing like he's pouring himself, everything about him that Van doesn't know, into the piece. What is the name of the piece, anyway? It is something fast. Hurried and intense. He can't describe it with words; Van is not a musician, or any type of artist. All he knows is that everything Danny will never tell him, he's already expressed through his playing.
If only Van can understand what the hell he's saying.
Sometimes Van wishes he could just kick that stupid goddamned piano. It takes Danny away from him: to concerts, to competitions, to exhibits. It's always with Danny; it will always be a part of Danny. And Van?
To sum it up, if Van ever dared to kick that piano (which he won't, he's too scared) he knows Danny will kick him back, harder, and then laugh when he hears Van's explanation.
So Van just settles for glaring at it, silently, whenever Danny practices.
Fuck you, Danny. Fuck you and that piano and the way you spend so many hours with it, so many goddamned hours while you leave me alone. Fuck you. Fuck you for not even a single "I love you" all these years. Fuck you for not caring.
That's what Van wants to say. He knows he will never get up the nerve to say it, but surprisingly, he doesn't have to.
It happens abruptly. "I can't give you what you want," Danny finally says, softly, uncharacteristically gentle. "I can't—I know you want me to love you, but I can't."
Van is numb, but still he manages to talk. "I kind of figured, you know. All those years, and not a single 'I love you.'"
"You're not. You got what you wanted: a warm body to fuck when it's cold. I get it." Danny doesn't try to correct him, so he goes on. "All you give a damn about is that stupid piano."
"Insult it? Fine. I won't. Fuck you, Danny. Fuck. You."
Fuck you for everything, fuck you for nothing. Fuck you for making me care, even when you never did.
I love you, still.