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Mirrored

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It was not unheard of, nor even unusual, for Marius to come back to Courferyrac’s flat to see his friend examining himself in the beautiful full-length mirror that stood in the corner of his bedroom.  Courfeyrac put together each of his outfits meticulously, from the knot of his cravat to the fine cut of his waistcoat to the snug fit of his trousers.  (Not that Marius had ever paid special attention to the fit of Courfeyrac’s trousers.)  Courfeyrac needed to assure himself that there were no small adjustments to be made that could improve his look, and Marius had to admit he could appreciate his friend’s attention to detail. 

When he arrived home today, however, Marius found Courfeyrac standing before the mirror in his shirtsleeves, waistcoat unbuttoned; clearly his concern was not for his own attire.  Furthering Marius’s curiosity was the fact that his friend was standing far too close to the mirror to see his entire body.  Courfeyrac’s face was only a few inches from the glass, looking closely at something which seemed to be just above his line of sight.  He turned his head as Marius was closing the door; he must have seen him enter in the reflection of the glass.

“Welcome home, Marius!”

Marius smiled shyly.  “You too, thank you.”

Without commenting on this response, Courfeyrac turned back to the mirror and gestured for Marius to come forward.  “Look, Marius.  I’ve just discovered something very curious.”  He pointed to a spot on the glass, and Marius walked over to look.

When he arrived beside Courfeyrac, Marius did not need to lean closer to examine the spot.  After peering at the mirror for no more than a few seconds, his eyes widened in recognition and he took a step back.  The source of the mark on the glass was undeniable.  Marius’s face flushed pink; Courfeyrac raised his eyebrows.

“I can explain.”

Courfeyrac glanced from Marius’s face to the mark on the glass and back, evaluating.  “Ah, yes.  I had wondered if those were your lips, as they seemed to be about the right height, but I didn’t want to falsely accuse you.”

Marius swallowed, then gave a very small shake of his head.  “Not false.”

“So, Marius.”  Courfeyrac looked up at Marius quizzically.  “What exactly were you trying to accomplish?”

Marius snorted and pulled back, affronted that Courfeyrac was continuing to press the issue after he had practically made his confession.  “I think it’s fairly clear.”

“Well, yes.”  Courfeyrac sighed.  “It’s clear what you were doing.  What’s not clear to me is why you felt the need to kiss my mirror.”

Marius’s hand rose to cover his face, and he hung his head.  Why was Courfeyrac not understanding?  What did he expect Marius to say?  Was it really so difficult for him to imagine what Marius’s problem might be, even if Courfeyrac did not share his trouble with the fundamentals of courtship?  Finally, his voice rose from beneath his hand, muffled.  “I’ve never--I’ve never kissed anyone before, all right?  I was trying to practice.”

“You kissed the mirror for practice.”

Marius nodded.

“And did the mirror kiss back?”

Marius’s head jerked up, prepared to defend his honor and the intent of his exercise.  “In a way, yes!”  His lips had touched another pair of lips; this should count.

Courfeyrac did not mock him, he merely smiled fondly at Marius and shook his head.  “Oh, Marius.  As much as I can absolutely understand why you, or someone else, would want to kiss you, I’m afraid you cannot have the pleasure of kissing yourself.”

“And at this rate I suspect no one will!”  Marius’s eyes widened, startled by his own outburst.  A deep breath, and he was able to calm himself.  “Even if someone would want to kiss me, I doubt it would be a pleasure.”

Courfeyrac tsked him.  “To think you were looking so closely in the mirror and didn’t see how kissable your lips are.”

But Marius heard only jest.  “Don’t mock me.  Please.”

“I’m not.  I mean every word.”

“Courfeyrac, who on earth would ever want to kiss me?”

Courfeyrac’s gaze traveled from Marius’s deep blue eyes down to his lips.  He took a short breath before leaning forward.

The softness and warmth of Courfeyrac’s lips on his startled Marius, though it did not surprise him.  These qualities seemed to be inherent in everything about Courfeyrac.  All too soon, his friend pulled away.  Marius felt bereft, somehow.

“As I suspected,” Courfeyrac gave a decisive nod, “your lips are entirely kissable.”

Marius felt his cheeks getting hotter, as warm as his lips had been.  Why was he blushing?  “K-kissable?”

Courfeyrac nodded again.  “Entirely.”

“Yours too.”  No, no, no!  Marius had spoken without thinking.  He needed to clarify.  “I meant--kissing you was completely unlike practicing with the mirror.”

Courfeyrac laughed.  “I should hope so!”  He smiled at Marius.  “And I assure you, your lips were kissable enough to kiss even a second time.”

For several long seconds, Marius could only stare at him.  He was completely stymied; what did Courfeyrac mean by that?  Was he reading too much into it?  Finally Marius replied, unsure, “Thank you.”

Courfeyrac continued immediately, as if the comment had been a set up.  “Were mine?”

Oh.  Even Marius couldn’t question what the implication was now.  He knew, too, his answer to the question.  “Yes.”

Courfeyrac cupped Marius’s cheek with his hand and leaned in to kiss him again.