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12 November 2005 @ 02:36 pm
o23: lovers. [The Way They Begin.]  
It’s illogical to admit it, but the truth is that Prem’s been intrigued-interested-infatuated since the very beginning when Linden was nothing more than a soft voice and flash of pale skin and a spark of light in trembling fingers all swallowed up in autumnal darkness.

A series of meetings – half deliberate and half by chance – bring them closer together into some sort of friendship. Prem is glad of it because this brightens the winter months. He is in love, of course, but it takes him an absurdly long time to come to that conclusion, never mind the way his brain insists on recalling scattered fragments of shy conversation and lulling him to sleep with the half-remembered sound of Linden’s warm soft laughter. It’s not until the dying days of December that he figures it out, hearing a soft exhalation of melancholic sigh and it’s all he can do not to fling down the remains of his cigarette and stretch his arms out in the dim five o’clock light to bring Linden in close. His conversation falters there with the realization and he drops his cigarette in the snow; he can’t sleep on Christmas and can do nothing but phone up Linden in the middle of the night. They stay on the line talking until morning. Neither confesses a thing.

Winter is always never-ending. It’s even worse when you’re in love. The coming of spring makes Linden flighty-bouncy-giggly. It’s as though he has no need for food or rest or anything else because the new sunlight is enough to sustain him. One day he comes into the lab and grins at Calliope before taking Prem by the hand and dragging him out to the quad to see the trees in bloom. He asks if Prem’s ever seen anything so beautiful. Prem looks at the way Linden’s eyes shine; he reaches up to brush fallen flower-petals out of the young man’s hair and he answers honestly.

The entire university talks about nothing but spring break plans, perhaps because that’s something more pleasant to think about than the final exams coming afterwards. Roza is talking on the phone with her travel-agent booking a trip to Quebec City and Prem leans across the café table to ask what Linden has planned. The tips of his ears pinken; he holds up his battered copy of Heart of Darkness like a talisman and stammers something about research. Prem can’t help it; he wonders if Linden would like to come on vacation with him and he can’t breathe until the other man answers a blushing yes.

Linden’s suitcase is small and old-fashioned, tweedy red plaid, something a refugee would carry in a war movie. He surrenders it at a ticket counter so that he and Prem can take a series of progressively smaller airplanes to the middle-of-nowhere. Prem sits very still, knuckles whitening from a desperate grip on the tray table, but Linden is at ease and comfortable through the turbulence, obviously someone whose childhood dreams tended toward the sky. The plane touches down and they cross the tarmac in an endless expanse of violet twilit sky; they rent a car and Prem drives them through the night while Linden curled in a ball snores lightly in the passenger seat. The dark of night turns mountain vistas invisible, but neither man would have noticed them anyway. By the next morning, they’re driving through the park itself. Linden doesn’t wake until the car stops and Prem takes his hand, leads him through the parking-lot to their destination beyond.

Snow, in warm springtime June is something unbelievable until Prem explains that they’re standing on the glacier, that it’s his favourite place in the world even if there is something disloyal in choosing these mountains over his Himalyas. They fall into an awed silence and the glacier crunches underfoot. When Linden slips in the snow, Prem reaches out to steady him. He feels Linden’s cold fingers, then, clinging to his shirt-front and Linden tips his head, shyly kisses him. It is all Prem can to do to keep from laughing giddily against the other’s lips because suddenly the world is perfect.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
eiviiaru on November 12th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC)
This is just lovely. I wish I had something more to say about it, but it's lovely and I'm happy for them. Yay Prem and Linden!
elskegaderian on November 12th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was trying to go for sweet without tipping over to sappy - I'm glad I achieved "Lovely". :D
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elskegaderian on November 12th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you, very much!
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elskegaderian on November 12th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
Yay for smiling! Thank you. :D
tsuki_no_bara on November 13th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)
this is so, so sweet. neither confesses a thing.
elskegaderian on November 13th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, very much. :D [That's one of my favourite lines, you know.]
thefragyle on November 13th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
this is adorable. it's just--perfect. yay.
elskegaderian on November 13th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you!
lost_romanov on November 16th, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)

i'm a sucker for happy endings. (and i wanted them to hook up ever since the whole cigarette incident.)
elskegaderian on December 4th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it, happy ending and all!)
the_dystopian on January 5th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC)
Oh, gosh. Gorgeous. Mind if I friend you?
elskegaderian on January 7th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you!
(And I don't mind at all; I'm flattered, really. :D)