There was a party on Shilo. They’ve managed a successful raid on Tecnoid.
True, Pirates picked up any excuse to celebrate, but still, spirits were high. Even with Sonny nearly getting shot.
That didn’t dampen his spirits, and he was celebrating along with the others.
Most of the others. As always, Corso had slinked off to a more quiet corner of the bar they were celebrating at and just sit there with a bottle, mind probably wandering off to the next raid. Sonny sighed. Corso was always so tense. So focussed on what had to be done. Never relaxed. Never at ease.
“Care for another drink?” Sonny asked as he joined the other man at his table, who just looked up once before looking at the counter again, apparently deep in taught. “Come on, Corso. Not even a ‘hello’?”
“Today’s raid nearly ended in disaster.” Corso started. That was a ‘no’. Sonny just sighed but let it slide.
“It didn’t go that bad.” Sonny said.
“Still. Too close for comfort. You nearly got yourself killed. Again. That has to change.” Corso started. “I really think you should stay here for the next mission.”
“Excuse me?” Sonny answered, a little indignant.
“You heard me.” Corso said. “Stay here. Delegate. Put yourself away from risk.”
“Corso. You know I’m not like that.” Sonny said. “I can’t just stay behind the scenes while you and the others are going up to the front lines.”
“It would be better for everyone involved. You’ve been injured for about what? Five times during missions now? One of these days that’s going to end you… And then what?” Corso asked. “You’re too important for the Pirates to die.”
“I’m really not… I mean, yeah, I am important, but in the end… I think there will be someone to step up to the plate when I bite it.”
“That ‘someone’ won’t be you. You’re the heart of this organisation and losing you would be a great blow. Maybe even the killing blow.” Corso said, looking down. “I won’t allow that to happen.”
“And having me sit around with my thumbs up my ass is the solution?” Sonny said, letting frustration with his friend seep through.
“I’m not saying that…! I’m just saying you should be away from danger, is that too much to ask?”
“Seeing what we are and that I am still the leader, yes, yes it is, Corso.” This apparently was the breaking point for the soldier.
“Why are you acting like this? Why are you so goddamn callous about your own life?” He continued.
“Corso. You’re overreacting….” Sonny tried. Corso just slammed his hands on the table and got up.
“Why don’t you realize how much you mean to me?!” He now shouted, as the bar fell silent and all eyes were now on them. “The cause. I meant to the cause. I….I…..” He stammered, looking down, artificial eye flashing in distress. “I have to go….” And before anyone knew it, he was gone. He had a talent for that. A rather awkward silence followed.
“Alright. Move along. You’ve heard him say worse things after a few glasses of Unadarian liquor.” Scrubs, their waiter robot said, shaking around his thin limbs in a rather annoyed manner as he floated around the place. “Honestly. One accidental heartfelt confession and everyone is flabberghasted. I don’t get humans.” He muttered, going back to his counter as the place went back to normal.
Sonny just stared for a while. Mean much to…? This was not what he expected. Yes, Corso had his moments of sudden outbursts, but this… this came straight from his heart. And it confronted him with several issues of his own…
Corso was… someone he cared for. Very deeply. Ever since he met him while first joining the pirates. He was meant to protect him, since he started out with little to no skills in the way of defending himself. Corso took that job very seriously. To an almost deadly degree. And even as Sonny grew into his own as a Pirate, even becoming its leader, Corso stayed close. Always there to protect him. To keep him safe…. It was actually understandable he’d want Sonny out of harm’s way.
But that wouldn’t feel right. Even as their leader, Sonny never wanted to give commands from the safety of the shadows. That felt like the cowardly thing to do. He’d send others to their deaths while he was safe. That just wasn’t right. Not to mention… he wouldn’t know what to do if one of them got hurt or worse…
This brought him back to Corso. If Corso were to ever get injured… He’d be at a total loss what to do. He might be the leader, but Corso was definitely a part of ‘why’. Sonny knew he would never have gotten this far if it wasn’t for the other man watching his back. They’ve become the best of friends. Even more than that. He just never… pushed the issue. It felt like he’d just bother the other man, perhaps even cause a rift between them. But now he basically had a full confession thrown at him. That meant it was at least on some level mutual. With that in mind, Sonny got up. The two of them needed to talk. Right now.
Corso wasn’t hard to find. The two shared a cabin at their base and Corso could usually be found there if social places became uneasy for him. Which was quite regularly. Right now, he sat on the edge of his bed forgoing most of his clothes save his pants and tank top, facing away from the door and from Sonny, hunched over and head in his hands.
“Corso?” Sonny tried, approaching the man. No reaction. “Listen, about what happened…”
“Every time you get close to Death…. I see it happen. Your lifeless body, blood pooling everywhere and empty eyes staring at the sky… I can’t let that happen. Not again. Not with you.” Corso started, voice trembling, not turning around and Sonny was shocked at just how vulnerable his friend sounded. How scared.
“Listen, I….” Sonny started, taking a seat next to Corso. “Maybe I shouldn’t have brushed off your concerns like that.” He sighed. “Maybe you were right. Maybe I don’t know how much I mean to you…”
“Then why don’t you listen?”
“Because the same is true for you.” Sonny said. “You mean the Galaxy to me. I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to you on a mission and I wasn’t there to do anything about it. I want… I want to protect you, too.”
“I don’t need protection.”
“Everyone needs to be protected at some point in their lives. Please. Let me protect you.” Sonny said. Corso just looked away in silence. Sonny cleared his throat, before slightly changing the subject.
“How long have you felt like this?” Sonny asked him.
“Quite some time.” Corso said. “I wouldn't say immediately after we've met, but I can't deny that I was... attracted to you since day one.” He sighed, looking down. “But also since day one I realized you were out of my reach.”
“How so?” Sonny asked, raising an eyebrow as Corso simply pointed at his bracelet.
“I'm not stupid, while you didn't outright say it, I knew you had a wife somewhere.” He said. “Even if she wasn't around anymore you obviously wouldn't be interested in me.” Sonny just sighed.
“You know, there's such a thing as bisexuality.” He said, making Corso look up. “In fact, I've had male partners before.”
“But what about your wife?” Corso asked. “How would she feel about you having someone else?”
“After fifteen years? She'd tell me to hurry it the hell up.” Sonny said, grasping Corso's hand. “Listen, I don't know why you're doing it, but you should really stop trying to sabotage yourself like this. It's clear that you love me, so why not act on that? You're always the first of us to act in every other situation.”
“How can I know you're just doing this to make me feel better instead of having genuine feelings towards me?” Sonny just groaned and held his head, before getting up to lock the door. Corso only had a moment to question this before Sonny plunged onto the bed, encircling Corso so that he fell with him, the two of them only inches apart.
“You know me better than that, Corso. All I want is to see you happy. If that isn't a big enough clue, I don't know what is.” He said, leaning his forehead against Corso's. “I won't force you to do anything you don't want, but you have to come clear with yourself.” With that, Corso's eye softened, as he managed a slight smile. Wrapping his own arms around Sonny, he nuzzled his face into his partner's chest.
“For now... I just want you near me for the night.” He whispered, closing his eye and falling asleep. Sonny couldn't help but smiling contently. He never saw his best friend this calm, peaceful even. It was a welcome change.
“At ease, my brave soldier.” He whispered, shutting off the lights and closing his eyes himself. “At ease…”