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Alone and Longing in the Crowd

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Objectively, Riz knows Fabian’s life isn’t perfect. Fabian isn’t perfect. It’s still hard not to get jealous sometimes. Right now, for instance. The party is at a party. Everyone there is rich as fuck, old friends of Fabian’s with shiny golden watches and sleek polished cars, designer jeans and expensive leather shoes. Riz feels out of place among them. His pants are brown and too large, not clinging to him in any remotely attractive way. His shoes are scuffed to all hell and one sole is practically hanging off in the toe. His wrist is markedly bare. He doesn’t even have a car in the driveway, he had had to hitch a ride with Fig who had spent the previous night in Gilear’s apartment. Soon even that option will be null and void, as apparently there has been talk of Gilear and Hallariel taking the next step and moving in together. Riz really shouldn’t see that as Fabian taking something from him, Fabian doesn’t even want Gilear and his mother to be dating, but it kinda feels that way anyway. Because Fabian, purposefully or not, kinda has everything Riz doesn’t. Fabian is rich, and strong, and handsome. He draws people to him like moths to a flame, rats to the piper. Compared to him, everyone nearby seems to become enamored and invisible in turn. Perhaps Riz is exaggerating, not everybody seems to become half as important when placed next to Fabian. Mostly, it’s only Riz himself who falls into that category.

Anyway, the party. Riz wobbles, somewhere between feeling awfully lonely and overlooked, and self-conscious. Also drunk. Most definitely drunk. He really should not have had so much alcohol. Clearly the four shots and two beers are making him far sadder and greedier than he had anticipated. He shouldn’t be jealous of Fabian; Fabian had had to kill his own dad for YES!’s sake! And his relationship with Bill Seacaster had been so freaking complicated to begin with. Riz doesn’t know why he even got to the subject of being jealous of Fabian in the first place tonight. Except he knows exactly why. Because the party is at a party and the music is pumping to the rhythm of Riz’s heartbeat, and the others had split off to dance and drink and pick fights and what have you, and Riz is all alone on a too plush chair that threatens to swallow him whole, and Aelwen Abernant is seated on Fabian’s lap on the couch in front of him. They are making out furiously. They have been for nearly thirty minutes, so long that there had been time for Riz to take pictures for Adaine, and Adaine to storm over and unsuccessfully try to seperate them, and now for both her and Riz to have given up and left them to it. Adaine had left in a huff. Riz had stayed.

It’s a sick sort of game he has been playing for the past few months, ever since he realized he maybe kinda sorta definitely had a crush on Fabian and it maybe kinda sorta definitely wasn’t going away. The rules are simple, he can watch Fabian and maybe touch him if it’s casual -friendly- but he can’t have him, and the only prize is a heart that feels like it never left the palimpsest, all tight and serrated to ribbons of tightly compacted blood and muscle. It’s not a very fun game, but it is addictive, and Riz can’t seem to stop. So he’s watching now, nursing his third beer and trying very hard to just pass out already because the darkness would be such a goddamn relief. Fabian’s running his large warm hands over Aelwen’s back, and his cheeks are flushed a pretty shade of pink, and he is breathing heavily enough that it's the only noise Riz can hear over the music and the half-shouted conversation on all sides, and Riz just straight up feels sick.

Aelwen (finally!) pulls off of Fabian with a wet laugh. She is beautiful, all silken blonde hair - shiny lips - and mischievous blue eyes that sparkle like diamonds in the pulsing half-light of the party. Riz has certainly hated people more than her before, Goldenrod for example who had eaten his fucking dad, but it is becoming a closer and closer call with every minute that passes. Fucking beautiful evil sister of Adaine’s coming along and sweeping Fabian, who is not perfect in the slightest but is kind and loyal and sometimes tells the dumbest jokes with the biggest smile, off his feet when she doesn’t deserve him at all. Riz doesn’t deserve him either of course, but at least he never sold girls trapped in crystals to a douchebag dragon.

“Hmmm, satisfactory.” Aelwen smiles down at Fabian all coy and cold and uncaring. Like she doesn’t even give a fuck that he broke her out of captivity. Like this is all just a game to her. “I’m going to get a drink,” she drawls “I’m far too sober at the moment.” She slides gracefully off of his lap and sashays away. Fabian grins at her as she goes. His eyes, or at least the one he still has anyway, shine like some precious, smug jewel after her. And then his gaze slides over to meet Riz’s on the chair opposite him. His expression changes immediately, still bright and electric with endorphins but darker now, void of the fluster Aelwen paints across his brow. Something in Riz simultaneously exalts and withers at the look. He still can’t bring himself to move away.

“The Ball!” Fabian croons with a flash of white teeth. Riz aches with liquid warmth in his stomach. He takes a swig of his beer just to have something else to attribute it to.

“Hey,” he responds, and his voice doesn’t quite crack but it does rasp on the way out. Way to sound cool and attractive Gukgak! A weird expression flickers over Fabian’s face, too quick for Riz to decipher. Then it’s gone and Fabian is smiling and leaning back on the couch, gesturing for Riz to come sit next to him. Riz does before he can even pause to question if he should be getting close enough to touch Fabian as drunk as they both are. Moth to flame, rat to piper, he follows Fabian’s beckon without a thought. Fabian smells like whiskey and cologne and heady arousal. His lips are tacky with pink lip gloss. Riz wants to bury his face into Fabian’s neck and inhale till his lungs are full of the scent, wants to lick the sticky coral color clean off of him. It’s not fair! Fabian isn’t perfect, but good god DAMN if he doesn’t look it.

“What is going on in that brain of yours, The Ball?” Fabian murmurs cheerfully.

“You’re not perfect,” Riz responds stupidly. He winces, cursing his alcohol lubed tongue even before he catches the flash of hurt indignation that flares up across Fabian’s features. It’s dumb for Fabian to take that personally because no one is perfect, that’s the point, but it’s even dumber how guilty Riz feels immediately after. The guilt and shots intertwine effortlessly and he keeps talking even though he knows he should shut the fuck up. “You look perfect though, all… shiny and euph… something. Euph-happy.” The hurt melts off Fabian’s face like an icicle in the sun. He smiles at Riz painfully soft.

“You are so drunk.”

“And you’re so perfect!”

“I thought you said I wasn’t perfect.” Amusement, annoyingly fond and gorgeous at the corners of Fabian’s lips.

“Don’ laugh at me. You’re not perfect. In fact, ‘m r’lly mad at you.”

“Is that so…”

“Mhmm.”

“May I ask why?”

“Cause you ‘eserve the world, and you kin’a have it, but you don’ even know and all you wan’s Aelwyn, an’ she-- an’ she sucks.”

“You’re mad at me because of Aelwen? Are you… jealous, The Ball? You like her?” Fabian’s jaw is tight with a suppressed something, eye narrowed in something else. Also he’s talking nonsense because Riz literally just said Aelwen sucked and Fabian’s response was to ask if he liked her. Fabian definitely wasn’t perfect; he could be such a dumbass sometimes. If this is some stupid way to let Riz down easy and give him the chance to back-off without ever needing to have the rejection be official, the goblin is far too drunk to take it. Riz feels hot all over and sort of hazy in a way that really makes him regret the drinking. He gets the feeling he’s missing something very important here, a clue of some sort, and he desperately wishes he could figure out what the hell it was.

“No,” he says numbly, and of course this is when his slippery tongue decides to fall heavy in his mouth, difficult to breathe let alone speak around. “I-” his voice catches sticky in his throat “I’m jealous… of her.” Oh. He hadn’t meant to say that. Fabian looks all sorts of confused, brow furrowed in concentration, trying to piece together what Riz is saying like it isn’t obvious. Like Riz doesn’t practically have a neon sign on his forehead that says “I’M IN LOVE WITH FABIAN ARAMAIS SEACASTER AND HE IS TOO GOOD FOR ME IN A THOUSAND WAYS AND HAS EVERYTHING I COULD EVER WANT BUT CAN NEVER HAVE INCLUDING HIMSELF AND HE’S NOT INTERESTED AND HAS A GORGEOUS GIRLFRIEND WHO’S KINDA A BITCHY MONSTER THAT I WOULD NOT MOURN IF ANYTHING WERE TO HAPPEN TO HER AND WHO ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT DESERVE HIM, BUT FOR SOME GODFORSAKEN REASON HE CARES ABOUT HER AND I’M PRETTY SURE IT’S SLOWLY KILLING ME”.

He wishes he could say that out loud, give Fabian the final push into understanding even though it could only lead to humiliation and heart-break when the half-elf finally does get it. Anything has to be better than this Purgatory he’s currently trapped in. All he manages to say around his fuzzy leaden tongue however is “You’re perfect,” lamely. Not perfect in the literal sense of the word, but perfect in every damn way that matters to Riz. His eyes burn and he can’t maintain eye contact with Fabian any more, can’t watch as the realization and then pity creeps into Fabian’s gaze. And it will be pity, he knows, because Fabian is too good for it to be disgust. Pity and maybe some guilty discomfort. Riz would almost prefer disgust to that dreaded but inevitable mixture.

“Oh,” Fabian gasps, slightly strangled, after too long a pause. Riz resolutely. Does. Not. Look. At. Him. At least, until Fabian asks him to -- “Look at me?” Moth to flame, rats to piper, Riz does. He tilts head up the required amount to take in Fabian’s cautious, hopeful? face and tries not to full on cry and embarrass himself further. He swears he will never drink again after this ordeal. Facing a rejection while drunk is nearly impossible to do dignified and--

Fabian kisses him.

Fabian kisses him.

Error 404, can not compute, Riz”TheBall”Gukgak.exe has stopped working. Fabian’s lips are in fact, tacky and sweet with lip gloss. Riz doesn’t even think, just follows Fabian’s beckon as per, and licks wetly at his mouth to wipe away the taste of Aelwen and get to the much more desired taste of Fabian as quickly as possible. He feels his own fangs drag softly over Fabian’s flesh without his own input, slippery and hot with a touch of the clumsy sharpness that comes with desperation. Fabian gasps and pulls back. For a moment Riz worries he has gone too far, but Fabian is choking on air and way redder in the face than Aelwen had left him, and his eye and mouth are wide with shock and arousal.

“Jesus, The Ball!” he heaves out “You can’t just… I’m going to die here aren’t I… You’re-- you’re perfect! Like how... I don’t… But you like me?”

“Yeah,” Riz rasps. Like moth to flame, like rat to piper, I love you past all self-preservation to the point of death which is very dark for a junior year romance but feels pretty accurate.

Riz manages not to say that part. There will be time for talking later, when Riz is sober and his head feels like a sentient bowling ball being tortured in Hell and he damn near has a panic attack about Fabian being drunk at the time “Less drunk than you, fuck I feel like a pervert”, Fabian and Aelwen’s relationship “We’re not together, just fucking. You honestly think I could love anyone as cruel and bitchy as Adaine’s sister?”, and finally whether or not Fabian and Riz are in a relationship “Fucking please! I do not think my poor heart can survive last night just being a one night stand, The Ball.” There will be time for all that later, but for now Riz has his fingers tangled in the wispy white strands of Fabian’s hair, and he has taken Aelwen’s spot in Fabian’s lap, and it’s perfect.