It was a familiar scene that the two engaged in many nights. A private room or empty bar where they could speak freely and enjoy eachothers company. One of the benefits of maintaining a high rank was having privacy in a secluded location, instead of a dorm or mess hall where they first shared their friendship in.
Mittermeyer could remember how personal Reuenthal got when there was a drink in his hand and only Mittermeyer's ear to absorb his stories. Alcohol and privacy loosened their calm and stern demeaners.
"It's getting late," Mittermeyer felt a tired heaviness on his shoulders. He spoke too late as his friend already opened a new bottle of wine for them to share. It was easy to lose track of time when there was no sunrise or fall.
Reuenthal went ahead to pour it, "This is a vintage. It'll be a sin to let it to waste."
His friend agreed and took his respected glass, "You make me indulge myself too much, Reuenthal."
"Me? I did not drink as much before I met you."
Mittermeyer looked amused at that statement, "That's more something I would say."
Reuenthal cocked a grin, "Are you insinuating I am a bad influence?"
"No," Mittermeyer tasted the fine wine. "Instead I wish to believe we are good influences on eachother. I would not be here without you."
Reuenthal felt the impulse to chug his drink whenever Mittermeyer complimented him. He felt undeserving at each remark.
His friend noticed his reaction. "Whether you believe it or not, it does not change the fact we are here together, wearing these matching ornaments of honor. In rank and in friendship." He was speaking from the heart. "To imagine a universe without you, would be to imagine my early demise." There was a comfort in having Reuenthal close, and also a longing for more.
Reuenthal felt that same longing. Each comment on their friendship was a remainder that there was nothing more beyond it. Finally, he responded to him as the hand that quenched his drink shaked slightly, "Mittermeyer, it is torture to hear these words." He looked away from Mittermeyer's direction.
Torture was a strong word. His friend disapproved of many of his remarks similar to this in the past. "Stop thinking so low of yourself. It'll destroy you to not accept your worth to this galaxy, or me." Mittermeyer often frustrated himself about Reuenthal's self-image.
The tension grew in that room.
There he goes, getting mad about me, thought Reuenthal. It always made him smile to tick him. Mittermeyer cared so much about him, "What do you make of it, then?" He finished his glass and reached for more.
Mittermeyer pushed the bottle out of Reuenthal's reach. "You never accepted the concept of someone caring about you."
"Nonsense, I have many who care for me. Unfortunately for them, they haven't realized I don't reciprocate."
"What about I, Reuenthal?"
He scoffed, "It's well established you are an exception." Mittermeyer let him have the bottle back. "Is that all you needed to hear?"
"No." He caught his friend's eyes. "You are holding back, Oskar."
Reuenthal paused. "What are you trying to do?"
Mittermeyer gulped. He choked on his words when it came to this sort of emotion. He recited this line in his head about a hundred times for quite some time. Something he realized too late in his life. "Reuenthal. I know."
Those two words made Reuenthal's eyes widen. He felt his entire body grow weak and his throat ached as he confessed, "Then you know why this is torture." His love for his best friend haunted him each time they met.
Reuenthal put down his glass and tried to stand up, but felt the firm hand of Mittermeyer pressed onto his shoulder. "No," the tenderness in his voice melted Reuenthal's fear. "We've been avoiding this for years and I won't allow us to avoid to any longer. I was blinded by my own feelings to confirm if you felt the same."
Reuenthal sat down, now closer to his friend. This vulnerability was killing him, but Mittermeyer's peaceful emission from his face calmed him. Mittermeyer had the most tender smile, reflecting his accepting and happiness of their mutual love for eachother.
"I agree that it was torture. Don't be alarmed. I was afraid to go any further in how I treat you." His hand reached for Reuenthal's. They held them together and looked in eachother's eyes. Reuenthal was in disbelief that the universe decided to allow him this one blessing in life. Mittermeyer lifted Reuenthal's hand to press a kiss upon it. "I want to hear you say it."
Reuenthal took his hand away and leaned close to Mittermeyer's face. "I'm not a maiden." They cupped eachother's faces and kissed. It felt so natural as if they've been lovers for years. Mittermeyer's soft lips felt so soothing to Reuenthal's thinner and more forceful mouth.
Mittermeyer nor Reuenthal need to hear declarations of love. Their souls uniting in an embrace was all they desired.