Alex ran his hand over the bark, feeling it under his skin, feeling the groves of his carving as he traced the letters with his fingers.
“You going to fondle that tree all day or give me a kiss?”
“I think I’ll go with the Oak.” Alex grinned as he looked over his shoulder at Kyle.
“I knew you liked trees but still, you’d pick that Oak over me,” the dark haired man said, shoving Alex. “It’s just this one right? If it’s just this one I can deal,” he added as he weaved his fingers around Alex’s over the carving.
“Yeah, just this one. This one’s special.”
“So what’s up, why’d you want to meet at the Oak?” Kyle asked, looking at Alex.
“I want to do it here: this is where our first time was. You told me you loved me under this tree. So…” Alex withdrew his hand before shoving it in his pocket and looking Kyle in the eyes, “So I had to do it in this place. It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t.”
Alex took a deep breath before he pulled his fist out of his pocket. He slowly brought it up before opening it.
Alex looked down at the ring in his hand but it didn’t look the same. It was just as clean and polished but it didn’t have the same spark that it held that day; it didn’t have the same promise.
But it was still Kyle’s ring, on Kyle’s hand or not. It stood for everything he’d said that day, every promise he’d made to Kyle and himself. Even the ones George had made him forget for a moment. That couldn’t happen again. He wouldn’t do that to Kyle.
Alex slipped the ring and its chain over his neck before picking up a photo. It showed Kyle and Alex under a giant Oak. They were sitting, or at least Kyle was. Alex was sleeping with his head on Kyle’s lap as the dark haired man ran his fingers through Alex’s hair. Carved into the tree above them were the words Alex and Kyle Forever.
“So what do you think of the Chief’s announcement?” George asked as he sat on the gurney next to Alex with his books and lunch.
Alex looked up from the article he was reading to see that the back hall that had been empty now held both Cristina and George. “Do I look like I care O’Malley? I’m trying to read, so bother Yang,”
Cristina looked up from her own book at hearing her name and just glared at them both, daring George to bother her.
George tried to return her look for a moment but turned away and back to Alex. “I’m not as scared of you,” he told the other man as he slid away from Cristina and closer to Alex. “Not that I’m scared of you, because I’m not, really…so about that ball-“
Alex cut him off when he snapped his magazine together and slid off the gurney before he turned to face George. “Look, I’m not your friend. You don’t have to talk to me about some charity shit that’s six months away. You don’t have to eat lunch with me every day. Go back to Grey and Stevens. It’s been a week and a half - they must miss you, though why I don’t know.”
Alex stopped short as both he and Cristina started at George in surprised but it was Cristina that spoke first. “What?!”
“We’re all in this together, even you. Both of you. We’re a team. And I don’t think you're as bad as you want people to think so, no, I’m not going to stop.”
Alex just started at George for a moment before his face darkened as he grabbed the ring under his scrubs. “I’m not your friend Bambi,” he barked as he stormed down the hall.