"Shit… I'm coming!" I called to my door, slipping on a shirt and pulling up my sunny hair into a frazzled bun that somewhat resembled myself at the moment—tired, messy, and barely held together.

It was a Saturday morning after a Friday meeting with my theatre club. 'Meeting', of course, meaning going to a bar and watching my colleagues do body shots as I sipped an appletini while trying to respectfully turn down the tequila my friends knew I couldn't hold. So there I was, at seven in the morning, underage, with a slight hangover, and an enthusiastic knock at the door. That day started off real well.

It got better when I opened the door, at least.

"Yo, Alli. How you doin' after last night?"

I didn't respond for a moment as he walked through my door heedlessly, striding to the itty stove in the back of my dorm room. Tall—or long, rather— and elegant with his wavy, black tresses flopped lazily onto his head, a clip or two to keep them in place, he whistled and pulled a black, Teflon pan and a paper produce bag out of the white backpack over his shoulder.

Smile inducing, this man was.

"Um, Kyran?" I said, questioning.

Kyran stopped mid-whistle to let one of his icy green eyes mind my presence while, I supposed, the other kept watch on the sizzling pan sending pleasing sparks to three of my five senses as I listened to the sizzle applauding whatever smelled so damn good behind the body hiding the food he was heating along with the entire room. My skin prickled.

"Good morning~, Alli," he said, his lips not falling too far from their whistling positions.

"Good morning, Kyran." I succumbed to his pace. "What are you doing here?"

"See it with your eyes, Alli," he said whimsically, raising the pan browning a colorful omelet, and I asked again.

"What are you doing here?"

His smile rose and set like the sun in a hurry, and he stated, "I'm making your day a good one," like it was the most obvious thing in the world. He went on. "I know you're out of it now, being the one who helped you back to your room last night, and I thought I'd make breakfast over here today."

"Hmm," I hummed in masked thought, "Okay. So what are we having?"

"Well, you'll be served an omelet made from eggs, peppers, onion, cheese, and ham, with a glass of freshly milked orange juice, and I will be having granola and dried fruit with a side of water from your tap."

He smiled and I raised a hand to catch the fruit I began unpeeling.

"…Yes," I said thoughtfully, tossing an orange wedge onto my tongue. "This pleases me."

"Good thing, too," he said, grandly flipping my omelet, "I've gotten Alex's warning moratorium down to thirty seconds, so I pretty much risked my life to get this."

Alex was Kyran's roommate. A fine fellow, but didn't enjoy waking with the roosters to the sound of Kyran's probable yoga, or cooking, or voice (he was a self-talker). My first meeting with Kyran was actually due to Alex kicking him out when I was on my way to morning classes. I was vented to in an, almost sadly, annoyed tone about the roommate that wouldn't go on his morning jogs or participate in the 'early bird catches the worm' method of life, and that he had been given five minutes to get what he needed and go. That number was down to ten percent of its former, and I had become his recuperative hotspot for times like these.

"Here you go, my dear," Kyran said fancily, holding out a steaming plate with a slight bow.

I took it humbly.

"Why thank you, pet"

We sat and ate. I listened to Kyran complain about Alex, smiling at how he ate like a bird (his granola stayed practically untouched, like some oat purgatory, while single pieces floated up to be accepted into Kyran's mouth). Expressions were pressed out impeccably onto the man's face as he spoke, and I decided he was much like his breakfast. Granola and fruity. Crunchy and sweet. Nutty and savory. A healthy alternative to almost anything else.

I took his eyes in mine, and he responded well, leaning in to kiss me gently.

"Sweet," I announced, tasting the residue of honey on my lips.

"Is that all you have to say to the fine young man who made you breakfast?"

"No, help me clean."

We finished quickly… or he did. I had begun scrubbing a pan, but it was taken from me and Kyran pecked me, cocking his head to the bed, on which I sat for the next few minutes. Kyran came to join me, but the door called me again, so I stood.

My eyes really needed air bags to defend against that blunt, hazel gaze.

I stared.

"What's wrong, Allis- Okay, okay. Yeah. I love you too. Please don't squeeze me to death."

I felt the back of Jason's shoulder against my eyes. His voice blanketed over my dry, sobbing laughter. I was held firmly in warm arms, and I felt Jason's long fingers move slightly on my back, opening and closing in an odd, but pleasant motion that got my feet to tap out my overflowing happiness. I let go with much restraint and motivation.

I looked him over.

His smile wasn't drawn or sewn or stained onto his face. That grin had to have been molded delicately from his most artistically inclined emotions. It was breathtaking, and only took an arguable second to those golden hazel eyes that I was too caught up in to focus on the rest of him, until he said, "How do I look? Did a year without you do me any good?"

He was tall. Bigger than me. He looked like an athlete, with long, thin arms lain in muscle that didn't dominate but supported his still thin frame. Jason looked like a true teenager, like a man only a mere two years from being independent. Oh shit.

"What the hell's the matter with you, Jason?" I asked with a grinning yell. "You're not allowed to look like this!" I put a rough hand on his rosy cheek. "God dammit, Jason! What the hell has that man been feeding you! What happened to you?"

For a split second, I seriously got mad when Jason responded, "Puberty happened," and I shut the door on the boy that hadn't even set foot in the door.

I threw the closure open immediately, letting my frazzled emotions out by hugging the still smiling Jason, letting go, and hugging him again.

My hands grasped his shoulders.

"What are you doing here, Jason?" I asked.

"I got my license, and felt like coming down."

I opened my eyes, unbelieving.

"It's a three hour drive, Jason."

"Like I said, I felt like coming down. It's not my fault you had to go to some artsy college and live so far away. Besides, I'm already here. So be happy."

I smiled. 'Be happy,' he says. Hah. It would be impossible not to be happy. That day had begun sourly. Then it was being sprinkled with sugar and coated in honey…

"Ah!" I swiveled my head, letting my blue eyes fall on his green ones. "Kyran, come meet Jason."

"Of course, my liege."

A bowed, black head lead the long body that came to my side. Kyran held up a hand. A casual, two-finger salute was directed at Jason, and Kyran said, "Yo, Alli's little brother."

I turned back, seeing less teeth and hazel.

"Yo, man I don't know."

Jason rounded his shoulders. I felt a chill.

"Hey, Jason, play nice." I said when I realized what was happening. "Kyran's trustworthy… and my boyfriend. So I was kind of hoping you two would get along."

Jason's eyes boiled, slowing to a simmer as they connected with mine. Jason raised his brow. I nodded. He sighed and lifted a hand to the back of his neck. Hazel eyes hid.

"Sorry, then," he said, opening his eyes to look at Kyran. He held out a hand. "I'm Jason. Thanks for putting up with Allison."

Kyran smiled, taking his hand and saying, "It was my pleasure."

My heart sighed in relief.

My boyfriend and brother met, and no one die. Nothing blew up. There was no yelling or rip in the time space continuum. Everything was good. Jason was still slightly reluctant, I was scared that Kyran's tendency to show off around anything resembling male would come up, and I could feel the hair on my arms standing up from the slight static bouncing between the two dark haired men, but, for now, things were good.

I stood, not sure what to do, and Kyran saved me from my momentary submission to the awkward parasite always willing to take a good hold of my flesh.

"Hey, Alli, could you please~ get me a drink from down the hall?" he cooed, holding out a crumpled dollar bill that I took eagerly, willing to eat his bait if the hook pulled me away for a moment.

I looked at Jason, smiled, and felt his back beneath my fingers once more before I waved my momentary goodbye and walked, as slowly as I could, down the hall.

I thought quickly and precisely. Jason wouldn't like Kyran. I knew that from the start. They simply weren't compatible. And, if Jason bared his claws, Kyran would bite back, which would get nasty. I didn't want that. I needed to get them to cooperate. Food would be the best thing. Nobody could argue if they were eating a good meal. But it was around nine in the morning and I had breakfast not too long ago. So, the next best thing was to stay between them, with them, at all times. Hopefully I could last a while. Depending on how fiery they were—which it seemed not too, considering Kyran's cheery wake up call, Jason's rare smile and the way he greeted Kyran civilly—nothing might happen until the evening or maybe even never. So I'd be cautious, and wait it out.

I was back at my dorm with cold droplets creeping down my hand from the water bottle held in it. I opened the door, hoping the calm wasn't a bad thing, but not too surprised when it was.

"You all right?" I asked to a smiling Kyran perched on the floor, knees bent on the balls of his feet and holding a hand to his nose, dripping blood. I got a paper towel.

"Don't worry about me. Go talk to your brother," he said, wiping the blood off of his skin with the flower-printed paper towel I handed him and pressing the cold water bottle I handed him to his nose.

"Why? He hit you, right? Why should I go talk to him?" I said, angry, crouching down beside him and touching his flat cheek with my hand.

"He got hit too, you know?"

I froze before slapping him.

"You hit him!" I screeched, trying to keep quiet, "That boy is three years younger than you, Kyran! And… and…" I stumbled, feeling like a mother scolding my young for fighting. I softened, my knuckle kissing his red cheek. "and he's just a boy, Kyran."

"Age matters less when you're older. That kid looks our age to me, so when he swung at me I hit back. That's all. I didn't really mean it, and I barely got him. So be at ease, my love."

He ended theatrically, the magic of his performance lessened, only slightly, by the red and white tie dyed towel against his face. I was still mad, though.

"What did you say to him to get him to hit you?" I asked, thinking that it wasn't like Jason to really get physical within minutes of meeting someone.

Kyran looked apologetic as he spoke, but not regretful. "I was just messing with him. I didn't really say much of anything. He's just… a scary sort of kid, and I guess I went too far."

"What do you mean, scary? What did he do?"

"He just," Kyran shook his head and gave a sighed roar, "Ahh, I don't know. He just looked at me real bluntly with bitter eyes and said what he did… so I got defensive is all."

I paused. "What'd he say?"

"I don't know if I have the right away to say it."

I rolled my eyes. "Kyran, seriously. I need to know the situation. If you're making this all up and you were just screwing with him 'because', then it changes things. What'd he say?"

I didn't really need to ask, though. Six years with Jason and I had gotten pretty good at guessing what he'd do. He probably opened that big mouth of his in a real, good, pent up fury, and said something like,

"'I really love her, you know?'" Kyran recited dully, playing with the carpet. "'I don't care what she thinks of you, or what you think of her. You can't have her.' That's what he said."

I didn't really want to ask and, again, I didn't think I needed to, but I did.

"And, you said?"

Kyran smiled, and I figured he was at least proud of his words, even if they were a lie. "I already have."

I laughed; he did too. I sat, not wanting to leave, but needing to talk to Jason. I sighed, and Kyran spoke gently.

"You don't seem surprised that your 'brother' feels like that… You knew?"

I hummed in agreement. "Of course I did." I said, dropping down to sit cross-legged on the carpet. "He didn't really try to hide it, after a while. Plus, I'm not stupid. I know that if he loved me like a sister things wouldn't have been so easy. He wouldn't have been so forgiving and willing to please. He'd still be the cat I found in a bush that bit me without saying a word."

"So… what will you do?"

I hopped from my seat on the floor, "I guess I'll go talk to him real quick, try to smooth things over, come back, and then everything will be okay."

"No it won't"

"Huh?" I asked to Kyran's retort.

"It won't be okay… probably. But that's all on my end, so just go figure things out with your brother."

He smiled. Kyran's smiles were too reassuring for his own good, and could usually get people to leave him alone like I did; I was never the person to stick around when a friend was hurting if they didn't want to show you in the first place. I'd probably make things worse, so I focused on finding Jason.

It wasn't too hard. His body and pride were wounded, so he'd be hiding somewhere secluded, and since it was Jason, it'd be someplace warm and quiet. So the boiler room by the library would make sense. I opened the door and felt hot air churn with cold, easily spotting the teen sitting atop the makeshift wooden box protecting the heater. His back was against the wall, and his legs, bent, lain across the waving, warped wood. The wall took his attention.

I turned on the light, shutting the door behind me.

"Jason, this was only cute when you were ten. You're sixteen. Stop hiding from your problems."

He didn't move from his spot, accompanying the room like furniture: still, unresponsive,

"Okay," I sighed, "It's still sort of cute. So, please, would you turn to me for a sec?"

Jason did as he was told. I reached up a hand to touch beside his eye where Kyran must have hooked him. It was red, and felt a bit big. It would bruise later.

"Does it hurt?" I asked, removing my hand.

"Not much," he stopped for a moment, and I could see a cold war happening for a trivial thing. "Sorry for hitting him." He said, not sounding the least bit credible. I appreciated the sentiment, though.

"It's okay. If his story checks out, then he was at fault."

"… What'd he say?"

I didn't want to damage his pride, or strip any trustworthiness from my own form, but it was about time we both grew up and stopped hiding.

"Nothing I didn't already know."

Jason looked at me, or maybe it was that he 'saw' me, up close and clear without any cage or species barrier to separate us, and I saw him too. He allowed me to in the moment he said, "I love you, Allison," and I nodded. I saw Jason, for the first time, as he was, a person without claws or teeth, not on his back showing all of his defenses. His ears were neither laid against his head nor swiveling alertly. He simply 'was'. It turned out to be a tad frightening, and I wondered if this is what Kyran felt when he decided to act superior. Jason could really make you feel subconscious sometimes with those meaningful words coming from a straight-laced expression. He'd grown up well.

"Thank you, Jason… for loving me like you do. But-"

"Don't say but, Allison." Jason said, and I stopped, willing to hear him speak. "You can tell me you hate me… or say you love that other guy more. Just, don't say 'but' and then try to brush this off with an excuse of why I'm not good enough. I know you feel like that will hurt me less, because there's a 'reason' why. But, I'd rather you want something else more than not want me."

I exhaled through my nose. "Okay, well…" I said, honestly annoyed at the dumb, youthful reasoning Jason was giving me. Wanting him, not wanting him, or wanting someone more, it was all the same if the result was the same. "I'm too old for you, and I'm sure there are tons of people better for you than me. Plus, I was one of the first people for you to be attached to, so it's kind of like an animal thinking the first thing it sees is it's mother. I was the first to really push 'love' onto you, so you associated me with that emotion, and here we are."

I cringed inwardly at my explanation. I wanted it to be short and sweet, but it ended up portraying Jason's love as a fluke that shouldn't of happened. It sounded cruel, even to me.

"Your mom is four years younger than your dad. No one could possibly be better for me than the person who practically raised me. And, you never really understood that I had a mother, even if it was only for five years. She's my mom and the first family I had that loved me. I can promise you that you didn't imprint me into loving you, Allison. You might have trained me to say it every time I get the chance, but the feeling's real."

Ah, he was prepared, I thought

"I have a boyfriend."

"He's a tool."

"You don't know him."

"I don't need to, to know he's a tool."

This kid was… well he was just that, a kid. Selfishly, stubbornly rejecting the things I say as if that would make a difference. It wouldn't. It wouldn't change how I felt. It wouldn't change his standings. It would just end up hurting both of us more, because I would have to reject him thoroughly to drive it in to that young, ego-filled head of his.

"I don't love you like that, Jason."

"You don't know that." He said bluntly. "If my emotions could be a fluke. So could yours. You thought of me as a brother from the start, but I'm not. I'm a guy you've gotten to know over the past years that you live with and 'love'." Jason didn't give me enough time to think 'so this was his trump', before he went on. "That doesn't sound like a sibling relationship."

"You just put it in a different perspective." I said, unnerved by Jason's body language. He looked like he wasn't going to back down, but, more than that, it felt very cold the way he spoke like it was an interrogation as he sat above me. It made me feel heartless.

"Fine," he said, "let me put something else in a different perspective. You're here now, talking patiently to the guy who just hit your boyfriend and randomly said he loved you after living with you and, sometimes, sleeping in the same bed as you. You're not, however, consoling your boyfriend or even yelling at me. You're not worrying about how your boyfriend might feel about you spending so much time away from him and with the person who just confessed to you. You're focused on me, right now, not him."

"… You're family."

"I'm not."

I closed my eyes, taking in a deep breath that I blew out my nose. "You're 'like' family. You're my brother, and I love you like one."

"You're an only child, Allison. You don't know what sibling love feels like. You're delusional."

"Is that what you should say to the girl you're trying to win over?"

"No. But I don't have to win you over. I just have to show you how you feel."

I felt my face morph. This boy was beyond arrogant, and I was beyond angry. When did he become like that? Jason had always had a bit of a smartass in him, but it only came out when he knew he was right. This wasn't something you could positively determine. Feelings weren't like that. This boy was annoying me.

"So you've won me, Jason?" I asked, staring up at him. "How did you come up with that, when I have a boyfriend and already told you I didn't feel like that about you?"

"Because I've lived with you for six years, and I've seen every reaction you have to me, or your friends, and the differences are stupidly obvious. If you're with a guy, even your long one back there, nothing's there. I bet you barely cared when he was hurt, but freaked out when you heard I was. You touch me all the time, you were so forgiving and willing to please me sometimes, I just wanted to throw you down right then, you're always looking me over like I'm some art exhibit and I can't count how many times I've had to look away so you couldn't spend another five minutes just watching my eyes. You always tell me not to be with girls, and you're overprotective. I don't care what you say. You love me."

"Jason, you can't just-"

"Your pupils are dilated," he interrupted, "did you know? You're flushed, too. Your lips are parted and now you're looking away, because you feel subconscious about me telling you this when you know that it means you're with someone you're attracted to. You told me this a while ago after seeing that special on television about people's body language. You looked like that back then, too."

I did tell him that, and I remember looking at him when I did so, and seeing his pupils overcast his hazel irises. I took in the pink color his ears turned and watched him close his parted lips. He was the same now. I bet he knew that. He'd done his homework for this occasion, so I'm sure he knew.

I didn't respond to his explanation. I didn't want to. I didn't like this. This interrogational confession felt like it was ripping me in two and I didn't want to hear anymore. I didn't want Jason to put anything else on the line that I was planning to snap and I didn't want to want to have to turn the knife I shoved in his back when I resolved to never comply to his frivolous feelings.

I heard Jason shuffle on the platform at my chest. I held my breath and wrist when warm fingers touched my jaw. He gave me the option to stop him, if I wanted. But none of this so far had seemed my choice. I flinched, closing my eyes, when his nose touched mine. He spoke some gentle speak, and I felt something warm and wet seep into my parted lips.

Tears. Mine, to be exact.

I had already wanted to hide in a hole with the way Jason was acting, practically stripping my emotions clean and displaying them, but now I wanted that hole filled in after. I couldn't remember the last time I cried. I know that I had when I was hospitalized, but that's because Jason told me so, and my dad confirmed. I hadn't consciously cried since I was in sixth grade. Not since I was twelve, maybe thirteen. Not since we brought Jason home, at least.

"Shit." Feeling the hand on my face tense and the warm breath against my skin fall away, I mumbled, "You're such a dick, Jason."

I pressed a hand to my eyes. They burned. My skin burned. I burned. Jason's hands were torridly scalding as they attempted drying my tears. I pulled away.

"Allison," Jason said, his voice melted into a sweetly, scared syrup, "I'm so sorry. Allison, please, I didn't mean… I just…" I heard his feet hit the ground next to me. "Why didn't you stop me… if you were scared?"

I hadn't wanted to look at him, but I snapped my glaring head towards him. His hands were on my shoulders. We would've been eye to eye, but he had bent his legs to try and see between my eyes and hand. I looked down at his wide, hazel stare.

My left fist trampled the side of his torso. "Jason… you… dumb… idiot!" I yelled, smacking his side continually as I spoke. "You don't force yourself on someone you love, you dumb… bastard! That makes me feel like a hunk of meat you think you have a chance with! When the hell did I ever tell you that something like this was all right? You dumb, prepubescent, cocky, ass!" My last ire packed insult was shot into Jason's shoulder when his arms wrapped around me hastily.

I struggled; he hugged me tactfully so I couldn't move my arms to hit him anymore. I wanted to hit him. He deserved to be hit. I prayed to any god that he would have an eternal punishment of being hit by me when I killed him and then killed myself just to go and eternally smack him to dust.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." He said, his voice sprinting off of his tongue, "I wasn't thinking, you're not a piece of meat, I'm an idiot, and an asshole, and I don't deserve you. I don't want to be your brother, and I wanted to convince you I'm not. I'm sorry. I just wanted to show you that I'm a guy. I didn't think I'd hurt you. I'm so sorry. You don't have to love me back; it doesn't matter. Just, please forgive me." He ended, his head over my shoulder so I could feel his words passing by my neck. We both paused until, "Ah, hey! Allison! What the hell?" He asked, understandably surprised when I stomped on his foot.

"You really suck at this, Jason." I said, calmer.

"Suck at what?" He asked, softly, patiently, like he was trying hard with every morsel of his mind to make up for his fault—whatever it may be.

"Trying to win someone over."

"Well, this is the first time I've tried, so you'll have to tell me what I did for me to learn."

I realized he wouldn't be letting go of my torso for a while, so I laced my fingers behind his back and rested my head on his shoulder. He kissed my neck.

"You can't… do things like that and then say it doesn't matter if they love you. You can't. It makes it seem like what you said before was a lie. It's no good."

"I wasn't lying."

"I know, but still."

"Okay. What else?"

I sniffled.

"Don't trap someone like that. You won't be happy if that's why you get what you want.

"All right, no more traps. Next.

"… Let go of me."

"Not right now. Anything else?"

I paused. I wasn't sure what it was, but I had something to say. What Jason did was utterly unacceptable and I barely expressed that to him. You couldn't steal a kiss from someone you really love. You especially couldn't do something that untrusting and controlling to someone who felt the same. It was borderline demonic and… Oh… crap.

"Jason, I love you."

The words came out instinctually, like a tiger's claws. The rule I lived by of telling people exactly what you think just shoved it out of my gut like some nuclear word-explosion, killing my ever so slim dignity reserve. I always despised Jason's ability to light my fire.

"Well, yeah Allison. I know yo- Wait." He pulled away from me, looking at whatever embarrassing face I wore, "Wait, you're serious. You meant that! Holy shit, you totally meant it. God, Allison-!"

Jason's expression was one of utter glee and bewilderment, and I yelped when he lifted me up like a child. I ended up atop the heater's cover, and it was Jason's turn to be a child when he hugged my lower back, pressing his head into my abdomen. His touch was warm. It stung as well.

I looked down at the brown head laid against my stomach. "Jason…" I started, feeling uneasy. "This is… weird, Jason. I know that I wasn't a sister to you. But, you were a brother to me, and this is weird. Give me a second to figure this out. Please."

Jason was unwavering. "You've had a while to figure your feelings out, Allison. I wanted to wait longer, and work my way into your life again, not as your brother. But I didn't expect you to be with someone, so I panicked. I've given you a lot of time to figure out what I am to you. You finally gave me a clear answer, and I'm going to take it."

"But… Jason… at- at least let me talk to Kyran. I'm really, really confused right now. It's not fair that only you get to talk with me right now."

It was mostly an excuse to get away from Jason for a moment. I was stagnant water around him, and he was a never-ending stream of pebbles dropping down onto my surface, creating ripple after ripple of uncertainty and reliance. He could get me to do anything.

"… Allison?"

"Yeah?"

"Did you sleep with that guy?"

I coughed, my thoughts getting caught in my throat and choking me.

"God, no, Jason!" I denied, looking down at the youth I wished would look back. "Kyran just wanted to screw with you. So… don't worry about that, okay?"

He hesitantly nodded his head. I ran my fingers through his hair.

"Jason, let go. I need to go talk to Kyran."

He growled.

"I left him with a bloody nose and I said I'd be back. Plus, he's really perceptive. He probably guessed I'd… I'd give in to you. I need to talk to him about this.

"Tell him later."

"Jason."

"Whatever. Just don't make me come along."

"You're such a brat."

"Shut up."

"Alex… is Kyran in there? I need to talk to him."

I hesitated. Alex didn't seem friendly at the moment.

"Why?" he asked, without tone.

"Umm… well, he wasn't in my room, and I… Alex, I'm not in the mood to be interrogated. I've had too much of that today. Is Kyran in there?"

Alex kept breathing through his nose and looking down at me from his big build. He looked like he'd had a tough day too. I was glad he tried to soften a bit for me.

"Alli, you know I owe you my life for nesting him in the mornings. But, I'd rather have him loud and stupid than quiet and depressed. He's pretty down right now, and I know it's your fault, somehow."

With Kyran coming practically bruised to my dorm every morning, I had forgotten how close these two were. They had a nice, loyal, warm relationship, and I'm not sure Alex ever really approved of me. He probably thought I'd taint the innocent Kyran that he saw as some pure swan hatched from a golden egg.

Alex was a gentle being, despite his stature. He majored in art, watercolor, in particular. I'd seen his paintings and I'd seen him paint. My favorite work was of a real moment, Kyran crouching on the front lawn as the sun rose, a bird resting on his shoulder. I probably fell for that painting more than the man himself.

"What did you do to him, Alli?

I paused, my mouth open, trying to give an answer I couldn't.

"I don't know, Alex. I'm really confused right now, and I want to talk to him. I need to figure something out and that involves him."

"Does it involve that kid behind you, too?" He asked, nodding his head to the wall behind me where I'm sure Jason was waiting with some punk look, like he'd rather be on fire than be here. I could barely believe what I was about to do, what I'd already done.

I gave Alex a look that he stared down easily.

"Yes," I succumbed, "it has a lot to do with him, but that's what I'm really confused about, so I need to talk to Kyran. Right now. Please, Alex. I'm not going in there to mess with him. I just really need to see him for a second."

I saw Alex's lip curl. He was upset with himself for letting me pass. Alex must've felt like Kyran's guard, and I guess that would make me the villain. It didn't feel good, but it was true.

"He's in his room," Alex said, adding more before I opened the door to Kyran. "He needs someone to be with him, Allison. He's no good at being alone."

He used my full name, a very serious sentiment.

"Then you'll just have to get up earlier, won't you, Alex?" I said, only partly joking as I opened Kyran's door and slipped inside with a smile.

The door clicked behind me. A blue shrouded bed bulged from the man lying beneath the covers. I could see his black hair.

"Alex, I'm just tired," Kyran said, giving me a start, "leave me alone. I'll make lunch once I get up, okay? Give me a second."

I waited a bit after Kyran's words. I was glad Alex had been hounding him. He'd probably know how to handle Kyran better than me, but I more needed Kyran to help me.

God, I was selfish.

"Could you make some for me too?" I asked, Kyran whipping over his shoulder to stare back at me with wonderfully bursting eyes.

He flopped back to his position with a groan.

"You scared the crap outta me, Alli."

"Well… I'd appreciate you cleaning that up before I ask you to move over."

Kyran looked over his shoulder again, this time with a look of worry as he forced his body towards the wall. He turned fully to me and pulled a corner of the comforter up, welcoming, but hesitantly.

"What's wrong?" He asked.

I got under the sheets, sighing and curling into myself.

"I'm just tired… and confused and I feel like I need to talk to you about it."

I looked at him. He looked back. I loved the simplicity of this conversation. We were both under the same cover and saw each other eye to eye. I liked this. I liked the warmth of this, and it dunked me further into the tangled web of confusion I was already wrapped in.

"So your pulse isn't totally sporadic for that kid? Huh. I thought you'd fall right into his lap with the way you acted."

"… Is that an insult?"

"No, no. Not at all," he said, laughing and serious, "I meant that you're a good actor Alli, and you're really good at being the quirky girl who plays everything off as a joke. You're composed, but not around him. I mean, you shut a door in his face between performing the most aggressive displays of affection I've ever seen. So I just figured…"

It sucked, because I was offended, but his words were completely true. I couldn't really yell at him, but that's not what I came to do, anyway.

I spoke slowly.

"Kyran, just tell me what to do. I love him, but he's sixteen, and my 'almost' brother for the past six years. I don't want to plunge myself into a relationship so deep with him that I could risk drowning. I'm scared, and confused, and I don't know what to do. I am an awful person for asking you this, but what should I do?"

"You just said it, right? If you love him then that's all there is to it."

I gave a childish harrumph, "No, it's not. Love's not some magical potion that'll make everything fine. He's still a kid. He still grabs for the things he wants without thinking. He's still stupid, and he still relies on me to coddle him when he has a problem! He's still a brat and he's still refusing to be civil with people he doesn't like. Not even mentioning that the thought of him being my… what you are to me makes me want to curl up and have a good, deep talk with myself about how I ended up like this!"

I was breathing heavy, no longer looking at Kyran's smiling eyes and instead far off into a distance that wasn't there, hoping to just unleash my unseen fury in a fiery explosion that wouldn't be seen by anyone. But, showing it to Kyran, the least judgmental and most liquid person I would ever like to know, was fine too.

"Then keep him as your brother, if you can't even say what you're thinking about doing, it's probably not a good idea."

"… I already kind of gave way when he was right in front of me, because I suck at saying no to him. But, I'm not sure if that's a feeling like a sibling would have or a suitor would have because I've never had siblings and I don't know what to do."

"Then go with him, if you're this reluctant about not being with him you'd be a wreck rejecting him."

"Ugh," I groaned with an angry eye-roll. "C'mon, Kyran. You're the screenwriter here. Quit with these short answers and give me something good."

"Okay, okay," he agreed with a laugh. He laid his hand out before my face. "Close your eyes." He said, and I gave him a look.

"Why?"

"Just do it. I won't do anything to you."

They were warm, considered words and could only be true. My world went dark.

Purple, Kyran's voice flickered in my mind. It swirled. "What's your favorite color?"

I peeked. "Seriously, Kyran?"

He laughed airily. "Yeah, c'mon, I promise this will work. Just answer what I ask you, okay?"

"… All right," I mumbled, closing my eyes again.

"What's your favorite color?"

"Blue."

"Why?"

"Huh, why? I don't know… because it's the most appealing to me, right?

"Well, why is it appealing to you?"

His words felt simple and soft. They were a blanket that told me to relax and say my answer with confidence, even if I didn't have a proper one. I paused.

"I don't know why."

I had never thought about it. It never seemed important or necessary to know, so I just let it by without wondering. But, it was my favorite for some reason, I was sure.

Kyran's voice continued to swirl about in my flameless mind. "Most people will say what you just did. Blue is the most loved color, because the sky that's always above us yields it. That even reflects to water, making oceans, lakes, and rivers blue. It's what we're most used to, and accustomed to. It's less of a 'favorite', or a 'like', but more of a comfort that we feel when we see it. Now, think about that feeling, and then think about us—me, and that young man who came today. Which makes you feel comfort? When you think about spending the rest of your life with one of us, who do you know would be able lay down and hold you when you're depressed, or accompany you in your happiness? Who is your salvation? Who is your blue?"

I opened my eyes. Kyran wasn't smiling anymore. It was a very calm look, and I appreciated it. It calmed me as well, because I was still slightly shaken from the aftershock of my confused fury. But, I was better.

"You're a man of cheese, Kyran."

"Really? I thought that was pretty good.
I gave a smile to match his; it faded quickly. "Thank you Kyran," I said, making sure to throw my graciousness at him hard and fast, "I love you, so much." I kissed his forehead and he looked shocked in the moment before I started to leave his mattress. I stopped at the door and, looking to his grin, I said, "Please keep coming to my room when Alex kicks you out. You're the coolest alarm clock and I mean that in the best way possible, and let Alex coddle you if he feels like it. Don't ignore him."

Kyran smiled and I got a wave as I closed the door behind me, Alex in front of me.

"He's all yours." I said. My breath wasn't cooperating with me, and came out much faster than I wanted. I may have scared Alex slightly, so I called out to him before I left his dorm. "Don't worry about me, and Kyran will be okay too, but I bet he'd let you worry about him for once if you go in there now, so do that."

I didn't look back at Alex as I exited his room, turning to the spot Jason had stood, and looking down to the spot he now crouched, head in hands.

I was panting, and not sure why. I paused, looking at Jason who had to know I was here. I waited for him to make eye contact before I tried to speak. He didn't, not for a long time. Ten breath filled minutes passed, followed by fifteen silent ones. I inputted an ignored, "Jason?" at one point, and a few more silent minutes blew by as wind, cooling my thoughts that were frazzled and hot from the adrenaline of making a huge decision that would change my life, forever. I was glad for the silence. If I hadn't had it, I wouldn't have been sure if my thoughts were thought over enough. I would've been unsure. I was glad I wasn't.

"Jason, what's wrong?" I asked, finally sure he was playing the same game as I, and waiting for the other to move first. I sat down in front of him, crossing my legs and looking at his eyes as they decided to unveil themselves.

"… Nothing, I'm fine."

I laughed softly. "You sound like Kyran when you say that."

Jason got mad like I knew he would in that childish mindset of his and he stood. I held my arms up to him and he sighed like I hoped he would as he grabbed my hands with his and pulled me to my feet.

"Seriously, Jason. What's got you so wrinkle-browed?" I asked, thinking of his answer.

"… You spent a while in there." He said, inserting his hands into his pockets. That was about the last of his skin besides the layer on his face that had been showing.

"Well, duh, Jason. You wrung me out dry with all that talking so early in the morning. I mean, give a girl a break."

He stared at me with intense eyes I had wished to see, and said, "Allison, what's going on? You love to drag shit out and I get that, but just say something and get it over with."

I exhaled a breath that released my suspicions and unclouded my mind. I closed my eyes. They snapped open. "You don't get to title 'us'." I started bluntly and Jason cocked a questioning head. I resumed, "If you give our relationship a name then I won't be able to handle that, so that's a no. I'm pretty much not going to lay a finger on you until you get out of high school, and or until dad catches wind of this and approves. You can't come visit me anymore like this, but I'll take time out to come home more, because I know you have finals coming up; I can't have you failing because you came out to see me. I won't treat you as a brother, but that also means I'm not going to humor you when you act spoilt and I certainly won't dismiss those little passes you always make at me. So you have to watch yourself if you want to make this work."

I almost stopped three, four times in the middle of that to say 'unless' or 'but I don't really care' or some other passive thing that would make my words less solid. But, I knew if I did, he wouldn't get what I was trying to say. I'll try it his way, but he has to try mine too. He'll be just a 'guy', but he also won't be a 'boy' anymore. It couldn't work like that.

"Wait. Allison, are you serious?" He said.

I heard a smile in his voice, and that made me happy; that made me calm. I wondered if I had actually been worried about him changing that flighty, childish mind of his and rejecting me. Who knows? I didn't. I was far too interested in my current emotions of a crashing wave, waiting to be calmed by the shore.

He hugged me, slowly enveloping my frame in warm arms and I exhaled, laying my head on his shoulder. I was tired; he seemed drained too. I asked him leisurely, "When are you going home?"

"As late as possible."

"Will dad let you stay the weekend?"

"If you do, he will."

"Then do that."

"Yes, ma'am."

I laughed, if only slightly.

It wouldn't be good for him to leave today. Not that it would make a big difference or cause some catastrophe, but it wouldn't be good. I'd probably feel insecure all over again and I bet he would too. This would seem much smaller than it actually was, and then who knows what would happen. I didn't.

"I'll have to find a hotel then." Jason said, casually.

I squeezed hard, until his back cracked; I relaxed when he grunted.

"I'm not letting you stay in a hotel by yourself."

"Then where?"

"Stay in my room for the night."

"… uh,"

"I already said I wasn't going to touch you, quit being a pervert."

"Yes, ma'am"

We ate lunch at the college cafeteria. It tasted amazing, which it usually didn't. The weather seemed nice, so we walked around campus and basked in warmth until it rained. When we ran to go inside, I stumbled in the mud, and Jason ended up falling too when he tried to catch me, so we came in soaking and dirty, which was actually very enjoyable since awful things were always funny. We watched Fight Club in our dirty clothes, and then wrestled to decide who would sleep on the mattress—I was not sleeping in the same bed as him now. I won, and it might've had something to do with the kiss I planted on him when he tried to flip me, although I'm sure he would've let me win anyway. We changed into clean clothes, turned out the lights, and lied in bed. I got lonely quick.

"Jason," I whined, tired and not willing to argue, "come and lay here."

"No." Jason grunted. "I don't want you to forget you asked me in the morning and get mad."

"I won't~, I promise. So just come here."

"No."

"Ugh," I groaned, throwing the sheet covering me over my shoulder and standing up, "You're such an unlovable thing. Stop batting at me all the time, Jason."

"What are you talking about?" he asked, moving away from me as I laid down behind him on the floor.

"I mean, you're just… such a-"

"A cat, I know. Sorry I'm not the loveable puppy you always wanted."

"What are you talking about?"

Just before we fell asleep, I felt him warm when I spoke against his ear.

"I love cats."


The End~

That took me forever. Oh, god. I didn't even check it after, I will later, so sorry for any errors. I wanted to put this up. Oh, and, I know that this '~' isn't really proper in english writing, but I like them, so whatever. That's all folks.

Thanks for reading.