|Primary Characters:||Thomas, Pierre, Martial, Bertrand, Fatia|
|Warning:||m/m sex, some strong language|
|Description:||Pierre and Thomas fight, then Pierre bumps into Martial. Martial, as always, has an unsettling effect on Pierre. For a while, things seem to work out, but Martial is a very complicated person. Most of the students at the dorm end up getting hurt before the situation is resolved.|
Towards morning, Elodie had come to the conclusion that maybe Pierre had been right after all. It wasn’t an insight she relished, but she had to admit that she had treated Thomas unfairly. She had more or less ignored the fact that he was in love with her, just because she’d felt more drawn to Pierre. To be honest, she probably felt that way because he was in a wheelchair. She knew she had a tendency to get carried away, especially if she thought she had found an underdog to root for.
When she realized she wasn’t going to get any more sleep, Elodie sneaked out into the corridor again. By now, it was all quiet and dark. She made herself a cup of green tea and sat by the window looking out. Eventually, she heard the others open their doors and returned to her room, to get ready for the day.
In the afternoon, she had come to the decision that she might as well do the honourable thing and apologize to Thomas, in person. There was a part of her that enjoyed humbling herself, for a good cause. Normally, of course, she knew she was morally superior to most people and this was just a temporary situation. As soon as she’d talked to Thomas, her conscience would be clear and she’d be free to go about her life again.
She’d forgotten he’d gone to visit Julie’s parents, though she’d reminded Pierre of it only the night before. It wasn’t until around eight or so, that Thomas finally came back. He had his arm around Julie’s shoulder and they both looked very happy. It made Elodie falter a little. By the time she’d renewed her resolve, Thomas and Julie were sitting in their room, talking. It couldn’t be helped. Elodie wasn’t going to be put off just because they seemed to be busy.
“Thomas, can I talk to you for a minute?”
He looked surprised. Perhaps he’d assumed she was there to talk to Julie or simply to wish them welcome back.
“I guess so. Go ahead.”
“Not here. Can we go to my room?”
He raised his eyebrows enquiringly. Julie got up and kissed Thomas’ cheek.
“No, that’s ok. You can talk here. I want a cup of tea. Do you want one too, Thomas?”
“No, thanks. Ok, Elodie. Go ahead.”
She waited until Julie had closed the door behind her and began to recite the statement she’d made up. It was rather like in a court, when a criminal was confessing to his crimes. Quite exciting, really.
“Thomas, I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings. I never meant to do that. It was just that – there was something about Pierre that I was – drawn to.”
Thomas thought he knew what that was, but he was tactful enough not to say so. Instead, he nodded.
“It’s ok. I’m – over that now. No problem. Was that all?”
Elodie frowned. It was really. Except there had been that thing Pierre said. Or rather not what he’d said, but the fact that he had said it. She’d noticed that the two brothers weren’t talking and at first she’d assumed it was just because of her. Now she realized that it had something to do with Martial. What a shame. The guys in their corridor were all taken. No one left for her. Oh, well. She’d just have to look somewhere else. Hopefully, she’d find a guy who had more ideals than these did.
“Oh, yes, but – Pierre said something about you – never mind what it was, but it means he misses you and he would like to make friends again.”
“How do you know that?”
Elodie’s cheeks heated up uncomfortably. Fine. If he twisted her arm, she might as well tell him. It was all for a good cause.
“He said I was a dumb bitch and that I broke your heart and that he didn’t want to see me again.”
“I see. That doesn’t mean he wants to see me or anything more than -”
“Yes, of course it does. Why would he care about your heart if he didn’t care about you?”
She had a point there. Thomas was wondering if that really had been his brother’s exact words. Somehow he doubted it. It smacked more of Elodie, than Pierre, but whether or not the wording was correct, it did seem as if Pierre still cared about him, just like he still cared about Pierre. Thomas didn’t want to admit it, but he missed Pierre terribly. It might be undignified of him. After all, he had learned that Pierre had never opened up to him the way he was constantly opening up to him, but somehow, it didn’t matter. All he wanted was to have his brother back.
When Elodie had finally left, he got up and headed for his old room. Pierre’s room. He was hoping that he’d find his brother there, because he’d rather not face Martial just yet. The memory of that night was still too vivid in his mind. He’d have to confront Pierre about that – or maybe not. If Pierre would just welcome him back, he’d settle for that and hope Pierre would never do anything like that again.
He knocked on the door, held his breath and waited. From inside the room came the familiar sounds of the wheels moving across the floor. The sounds stopped and Thomas could almost see Pierre fumbling with the door handle.
Catching sight of his brother, Pierre stopped in mid-movement, a look of intense stupefaction on his face.
The silence was beginning to feel awkward and finally Thomas broke it.
“Aren’t you going to ask me in?”
A hint of a smile moved across Pierre’s face so quickly Thomas almost wasn’t sure he’d seen it.
“Ok. Come on in.”
Pierre wheeled the chair aside to let his brother in.
Thomas’ head was full of questions and phrases, all of which were crowding to spill out, but in the end he didn’t use any of them.
“How have you been?”
“Thomas – I’m sorry about that night. I don’t know what got into me. It was just that – I felt so embarrassed and you were standing over me, looking like I was something disgusting.”
“Not you. Martial. Wait. I’m sorry about that. If he means that much to you, I’m fine with it. Really.”
Thomas had never heard his brother sound so – nice. It almost made him cry. Pierre had never really bothered to be gentle or kind with anyone. He despised people who acted that way and called them stupid or naive. His sharp wit was something he took great pride in. Yet now, his voice was softer, warmer, more affectionate. Thomas couldn’t resist bending over and hugging his brother. If he’d done that even three weeks ago, Pierre would have given him a tongue-lashing worse than mom’s, but tonight it seemed everything was different.
Pierre held on to him, hugging him tight, not letting go for a long time. When he did, tears were glittering in his eyes. Thomas had to look again to be sure. The only time he’d ever seen tears in his brother’s eyes was when he’d been in severe pain because of his condition. Pierre never cried otherwise. That made Thomas break down as well. He was sobbing loudly, trying to turn his face away from Pierre, not to give him any excuse to ridicule him. Instead, he felt Pierre’s hand on his arm, squeezing it reassuringly.
“I missed you. I thought you’d never come back.”
“I’ve missed you too. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. You and I were going to stick together. I promised you that, when – it happened. If I’d been there with you -”
“Are we going to have that conversation again, Thomas? You know that it wasn’t your fault.”
“I should have been there with you.”
“You know as well as I do that you weren’t there because I’d told you to beat it. I wanted to be alone. Besides, you know that nothing you could have done would have helped. It was my fault. No one else’s. Are we clear on that now? I’m getting tired of repeating myself. I thought you’d finally accepted that.”
“No. You know what happened. Don’t make this into your own personal little guilt trip.”
“But it should have been me.”
“No. It shouldn’t have been you or me, but it was, so let’s just leave it at that. You don’t know how many times I’ve almost hated you for being perfect and whole and – Don’t you start. It’s totally unfair.”
“I’ve felt that way too. Why you? Why not me?”
“Shut up, Thomas. Let’s leave it.”
“I’m not perfect. Why do you say that?”
“Because you are. Smart, kind, straight. You won’t catch normal Thomas falling for a guy.”
“You think just because I fall for girls, I’m always lucky?”
“Ok, now that we’re on that subject, are you doing Julie?”
“You don’t fancy her.”
“Yes, I do. We just decided that – we’d wait.”
“I knew it. You don’t fancy her.”
“We do things. It’s just that -”
“She’s scared to death of becoming pregnant. And I agree. It would be way too soon. You see. It isn’t always easier being straight. Martial’s not going to get pregnant, so who has the easiest time of it now?”‘
“There’s that, of course.”
Pierre was smiling again. He’d misjudged Thomas. Here he was actually joking about his relationship with a guy. And Thomas hadn’t given him away to mom and dad.
“Where is Martial anyway?”
“In his room, studying. He says he can’t study here. I’m a distraction.”
“I’ll bet he’s a distraction to you too.”
“Mm. You could say that. Want to stay and study with me instead? You won’t distract me.”
“Thanks. I might have to do that. Julie does distract me a bit.”
“Great. What are you waiting for?”
“I’ll go get my books and let Julie know I’ll be studying in here. Be right back.”
Thomas was about to open the door when Pierre called to him.
“And Thomas – have you ever heard of condoms?”
“That’s what you straight guys use so your girlfriends don’t get knocked up. I know this because I’m going to be a doctor.”
“Oh, is that right? I guess I’ll have to get some of those – what did you call them? – condoms and see what my girlfriend thinks about it. There’s just one thing though – ”
“If I run down to the condom machine, I won’t be able to study with you.”
Pierre couldn’t help laughing. It was great to have his brother back.
“Suit yourself. I’ll be right here, if you change your mind.”
Thomas grinned happily at his brother. It was great to see Pierre laughing again. He thought he might be able to get used to Martial too. If Pierre loved him there had to be something about him that was worth getting to know better.