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KH AU:: Through Thick and Thin Ch. 4

I've been wanting to write this chapter for a while, even though it's a tough one for me. This is where things really get shaken up. And this chapter is a veritable cocktail of emotions. From here on out, who knows what can happen? Are things irreparable? Well... even I don't know.


It was 1 A.M. on a Thursday night, one week after his late-night encounter with Rudol, and Dilan had just finished writing his eight-page sociology paper that was due on Monday. He had no classes on Friday because he, along with Aeleus, had managed to create a near-perfect schedule thanks to the good fortune of scoring an early time slot when registering for classes. As such, his weekend began… now. Aeleus was out on a date with Ienzo and had mentioned that he'd be spending the night at Ienzo's dorm room, which meant that he had the apartment all to himself. This, of course, meant one thing only. He dug around in his pocket for his cell phone and flipped it open to text Rudol.

Hey, what are you up to?

Not much. You're the only thing on my "to do" list. You game?

Dilan grinned. Great minds really did think alike.


Aeleus and Ienzo were currently strolling together, hand in hand, through the relatively quiet streets of the city. They had returned to Ienzo's dorm room after their date to discover a scribbled message on the whiteboard attached to the outside of the door that warned, "Do not disturb: sexing in progress." The noises coming from behind the door clearly confirmed that they were not welcome.

Ienzo bristled; this was the third time that he had been sexiled from his own room in the course of a single semester. Taking pity on him, Aeleus invited him over to the apartment. He reasoned that Dilan wouldn't mind too much; after all, his only plans for the night were to start and finish his essay, and Ienzo wouldn't be too obtrusive of a presence in the apartment.

Or maybe he was just deluding himself. In any case, he couldn't leave Ienzo behind to sit outside his door and suffer through the sounds of two people having sex two feet away from him filtering through the paper-thin walls. It was inhumane. Thus, the two of them tramped through the wet, rain-sodden streets back to Aeleus's place.

"It appears that I have some sort of chemical imbalance in my body," Ienzo said, gingerly skirting around a puddle.

"… Are you going to be sick?" Aeleus asked apprehensively, shooting him a worried look.

"No, I don't think so. I believe that I am feeling a more emotional reaction, rather than a physical response."

"I have no idea what you are talking about."

Exasperated that Aeleus did not understand his cryptic speech, Ienzo threw his hands in the air. He halted in his tracks and faced his boyfriend squarely. Enunciating his words carefully, he said, "In laymen's terms, Aeleus, I am feeling for you what is commonly referred to as 'love.'"

"Oh," was all Aeleus could say to that, any ounce of sensibility flying out of his head, leaving him dumb. He and Ienzo had been steadily dating for going on five months, but professions of love had yet to be made, despite the fact that the words had been dancing on his lips for several weeks now. Ienzo, to be frank, wasn't one to love easily or to throw the word around casually.

"There is, however, a problem," he continued, heedless of Aeleus's stunned silence.

"What's that?"

"Well, I am rather short, unfortunately."

"But you already knew that." He was starting to recover from his speechlessness, but his brain hadn't quite returned yet.

"Yes, I am aware of that," Ienzo replied somewhat testily; the matter of his height was always a touchy subject. He wasn't that short, or so he preferred to think – he just seemed unnaturally small when he was next to big buffoons like Aeleus and Dilan. "But what I mean is that you are so much taller than I am."

"So… why is this a problem again?"

Ienzo sighed. He stood on his tip-toes and stretched up to kiss Aeleus's chin. "Because, you idiot, I can't kiss you if you don't bend down. You know, for someone who actually possesses something of a brain, you can really be quite dense at times," he chided gently.

"I think we can remedy that," Aeleus said and leaned down to meet Ienzo's lips halfway, his hands settling comfortably on his slim waist.


"You're quick," Dilan remarked with some surprise when he opened the door ten minutes after Rudol's last text to find the blond standing there with a wide smirk on his face.

"I was in the area," Rudol replied, flopping down on the couch and looking up at Dilan with his hands folded behind his head. "My friend lives in West Hall; I was on my way out when you texted me."

"Gotcha," Dilan said. "I was just about to grab a soda. You want anything?"

"Nah, I'm good," Rudol answered breezily.

"Cool, be right back."

He returned, soda in hand, to find Rudol casually flipping through the few small pictures he kept in his wallet.

"You have a photo of the two of us in here?" he asked, holding it up questioningly. It was a small, photobooth-sized picture taken about a month into their relationship on a day when he and Rudol had run into Aeleus and Ienzo at the movie theater. They proceeded to discover a photobooth wedged behind the claw machine and wasted five dollars on photos, several of which contained obscene gestures, before they were politely asked to leave for disrupting the peace, which Dilan and Aeleus still considered one of their finest exploits.

"Oh, that," Dilan said, glancing at the picture. "Yeah, I must have put it in there without thinking after we got it taken."

"Well, then I am honored." Rudol grinned and leaned up to kiss Dilan, skillfully plucking the soda can out of his hand and placing it on the table by the couch.


"God," Aeleus groaned as he pressed Ienzo up against the wall, having somehow miraculously managed to make it up the stairs to the door of his apartment without disentangling himself from Ienzo.

Ienzo made a small noise of displeasure at the brief interruption and tightly wound his fingers into Aeleus's hair, tugging him back down with the air of someone determined to be in charge.  

Aeleus could feel Ienzo's lips curling into a smile as he kissed him with a surprising amount of force for someone so small. He pulled Ienzo closer, one hand pressing into the small of his back while the other groped around in his pocket for the key to the apartment.

"Wait," Ienzo suddenly gasped, breaking apart from Aeleus in an unforeseen moment of clarity. "Dilan?"

"No…" Aeleus said slowly, looking down at him in bemusement. "Aeleus."

"I know that, idiot," Ienzo replied impatiently. "I meant, isn't he home?"

"Don't care," Aeleus grunted. "It's not like he hasn't seen us kissing before. And besides, he'll leave if it bothers him." He kissed Ienzo, who felt all protests leave his body in a sudden rush of lightheadedness, once more and fumbled for the doorknob behind him.


Rudol had managed to worm his way out from beneath Dilan and was on top of him, his mouth ghosting over the crevices of his collarbone and his leg slung carelessly over his hip. He had barely slipped his hand beneath the waistband of Dilan's pants to cup him when the door swung open and Aeleus and Ienzo, still glued to each other, stumbled through it.

Several things occurred simultaneously. Dilan swore and accidentally knocked over the soda can that was poised precariously on the edge of the table. A bewildered Aeleus pulled away as he tried to make sense of the scene he had just interrupted, still punch-drunk on Ienzo's earlier confession of love and the ensuing make-out session. Ienzo looked downright mortified. Rudol discreetly removed his hand from Dilan's pants and whispered in the other's ear, "We've been cockblocked, it looks like."

"You're telling me," Dilan muttered back.

"Oh. Sorry, man, we'll go find somewhere else—" Aeleus began awkwardly.

"No, no, it's fine," Dilan said resignedly. "The mood's already been killed."

Realizing that he was still on top of Dilan in an extremely compromising position, Rudol climbed off of him, straightened out his clothes, and perched uncomfortably on the edge of the sofa.

Ienzo coughed and looked at the ceiling as if there was something incredibly fascinating fixed to it.

"Well," Rudol said in a loud voice, clapping his hands together to break the ice. "I suppose I shall leave before the moment gets any more awkward."

"But we'll meet up tomorrow to finish what we started, yeah?" Dilan smirked at him and laced his hands behind his head.

"'Fraid I can't do tomorrow night. I've got a date."

Another, more pronounced silence descended upon the room, which Rudol was apparently oblivious to, for he began gathering his stuff without a care in the world. Aeleus and Ienzo, who had been speaking to each other in low, hushed voices, stopped abruptly, both looking first at Rudol, then at Dilan apprehensively.

"…A date?" Dilan said stiffly. "With who?"

"Oh, just some chick," he replied in an offhand manner, slinging his bag over his shoulder. "It's been fun and all while it lasted, but it might be a bit before we can hook up again." He glanced up at Dilan, who looked like he didn't know what hit him. "You didn't think we were exclusive, did you?" he asked, a faint smile flickering across his face.

"Actually, uh, I did."

"Oh, well." Rudol shrugged plaintively and began walking backwards toward the door. "We weren't. I get lucky far too often to be tied down to one lad or lass." He bumped into Aeleus. "Sorry, mate," he said and patted him apologetically, completely unfazed by his stony glare. "Oh, by the way… Thanks for the dough." He flashed the twenty dollar bill that he swiped from Dilan's wallet and grinned before vanishing out the door.

Dilan looked as though he had been struck over the head with a blunt object. He remained stock-still, staring at the door as if that would make Rudol come back and tell him that it was all just a sick joke. It dimly occurred to him that it was amazing how, with a single sentence, your entire perception of who someone is can be shattered in a fraction of an instant.

Aeleus was the first to break the silence. "That little fucker."

His voice brought Dilan out of his reverie. "Yeah," he mumbled. The apartment suddenly seemed even smaller than usual, and he felt the clawing need to escape from it. "I'm going down to the Late Night Café." There were some things that only greasy, fried food could cure. He swept past the couple without another word. The door shut behind him with an audible click.

"I knew there was a reason I didn't like that kid," Aeleus muttered darkly, pacing back and forth. "Always had my doubts about him… But I thought it was just like the way he doesn't like you—" he gestured at Ienzo, who sniffed "—you know, like you think that no one's good enough for your bro. Like he could do better than whoever he's already got."

Ienzo started to sit on the couch, then thought better of it; given the scene they'd just interrupted, he didn't know what kind of things Dilan and Rudol did on that couch, nor did he want to find out. Instead, he perched on the edge of a chair, keeping tactfully silent for once.

Aeleus stopped pacing and looked directly at Ienzo. "I'm gonna go find him. Will you be all right here by yourself?"

"Naturally," Ienzo said crisply, leaving no doubt in Aeleus's mind about his ability to take care of himself.

"'Course, what was I thinking?" Aeleus paused at the door and grinned at him. "Be back in a few then."

He took the stairs two at a time on his way down to their residence's dining hall. After 9:00 P.M., the dining hall transformed into what was colloquially known as the Late Night Café, where students could satisfy virtually all of their late night cravings, ranging from burgers and fries to ice-cream to chips and dip. It was a popular hangout spot for many, fulfilling the needs of the hardcore studiers to the wild partiers, and Aeleus knew that he'd find Dilan in their usual booth. True to form, he was digging into a tray of deep-fried, grease-bathed mozzarella sticks, his expression inscrutable.

"Hey," Aeleus said, sliding into the seat opposite him.

Dilan didn't answer immediately, focusing his attention on a piece of fried mozzarella. "I should've known," he blurted out without a proper greeting, his tone resentful. "I mean, all the signs were there. Like the fact that he possessed more condoms than a freakin' Trojan factory. Or last week, when he was drunk and spent the night with us, he asked me who I'd choose if I could do anyone on the baseball team, then went on to tell me that he'd pick the catcher because the catcher's used to spending an entire night on his knees." Aeleus opened his mouth to speak. "—Or when he said that he can't have just one of anything," Dilan plowed on. "Fuck," he broke off, throwing the uneaten mozzarella stick back in its tray. Suddenly, he'd lost his appetite entirely. He shoved the food across the table and buried his face in his hands.

"You had no way of knowing, man," Aeleus said bracingly.

Dilan let out a bitter laugh that held no humor in it. "Yeah, 'cause I was just another one of his fucking games, right?"

Aeleus helped himself to some of Dilan's abandoned fried mozzarella and switched tactics. "Look, he was a jackass. He was just good at hiding it, that's all. Not your fault," he counseled. "And you're gonna get over it. We'll go out, I'll buy you a couple drinks, and you'll find someone who's not a lying sack of shit." He pointed at Dilan with a mozzarella stick.  "And trust me, when I see him again, I'm beating the shit out of him," he added, his voice suddenly ominous.

"Yeah," Dilan muttered through his hands. "You and me both." With a sigh, he dropped his hands and glanced at the clock that hung on the wall by the burger station. 2:00 A.M. on what was turning out to be the longest night of his life. "Late Night's about to close. I'm going to bed."

Aeleus shoved the last piece of fried mozzarella in his mouth and got up as well, tossing the empty container in the trash. He slung one arm around his best friend's neck as they were ushered out of the dining hall along with the rest of the stragglers. "Think about it this way," he said. "It's the weekend. You have three days to chill and plan revenge."

"Hah," Dilan said bleakly as they started to climb the stairs. He quickly changed the subject, not wanting to think about Rudol's betrayal anymore. "So, what made you come home? I thought you were spending the night at Ienzo's."

"Yeah, well, his roommate was getting laid, and I didn't want to leave him sitting outside his room listening to them going at it. That's, like, cruel and unusual punishment. So we decided to come back here instead. "

Dilan simply nodded to indicate that he heard and shouldered open the door to their apartment. Ienzo looked up from the sports magazine he'd been leafing through to while away the time. Obviously, it wasn't his first choice, but then again, his opinion of what constituted good reading material drastically differed from Aeleus's and Dilan's.

The atmosphere in the apartment that night was subdued. Ienzo kept his mouth shut for once, refraining from making his trademark snarky comments, while Aeleus remained silent out of respect for Dilan, who made it clear that he wasn't up to talking at the moment.

Ienzo borrowed one of Aeleus's t-shirts to sleep in and spent the night curled up on the couch in what was a sporting display of tact on Aeleus's part; it would have been downright heartless to even entertain the idea of having his boyfriend share a bed with him when his roommate had just been dumped so brutally.

  Dilan stared up at the ceiling above his bed, his hands laced behind his head. If Aeleus and Ienzo hadn't interrupted, if they'd been able to stay in Ienzo's dorm room for the night, would he be lying here alone right now? Or had Rudol planned on dumping him anyway after they fucked? He couldn't answer the burning question. With a heavy sigh, he pulled the covers over his head, rolled over, and tried to fall asleep.


Dilan did not sleep well that night. It took him what felt like hours to nod off, and when he did, he slept fitfully at best. However, he chose to make up for this by spending the entirety of the following day in bed.

By 6:00, Aeleus decided that he'd had enough of his roommate's wallowing.

"Dude, get up. We're going out tonight."

"If by 'we' you mean 'you,'" then I'm not stopping you. Have fun."

"By 'we' I mean 'you and me,' dumbass."

"Nah, I'm cool," Dilan said, speaking more to his pillow than to Aeleus.

Aeleus rolled his eyes in a remarkably accurate impression of Ienzo. "Stop acting like a girl, Dil."

"I'm not acting like a girl!" he protested, clutching to his blanket as Aeleus tried to rip it away from him.

"Yeah, you are." He succeeded in wresting away the sheets, and Dilan groaned and flopped back down on his back. "So quit being a pussy. You're going out tonight, 'nuff said."

"Fuck you," Dilan replied, but his heart wasn't in it.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Go shower." When Dilan didn't reply, he added in a more sympathetic voice, "You'll feel better."

"Ugh, fine," he groused and slunk off to take a shower and get ready.


Dilan had to admit that Aeleus was right: getting up, showering, and escaping the cramped confines of the apartment made a world's difference in his attitude. By the time they arrived at the bar, Dilan was starting to feel a little bit better. This, of course, meant that something was bound to go wrong. He should have realized it the moment that Aeleus, who was a few steps ahead of him, stopped abruptly and swore.

"Pick another bar," he said shortly, turning around to face Dilan. "We're going somewhere else."

"What? Why? This is the only place that has— oh." His mild protests died down when he glimpsed the reason why Aeleus was so hell-bent on leaving, but the damage was done. He'd already caught sight of Rudol, who was sitting at the bar and chatting up some blonde chick whom Dilan had never seen before. With a sickening lurch in his stomach, he recalled what Rudol had said about having a date that night, but the nausea soon gave way to burning hot anger. "No," he decided, standing resolute. "We're staying." He left Aeleus behind and made his way over to the bar, where Rudol and the unknown girl were laughing over some private joke. If he couldn't have Rudol, no one could. Maybe it was petty of him, but at the moment, he honestly did not c are.

"So," Dilan said loudly as he sidled up to them, taking a sick sense of satisfaction from the way Rudol nearly choked on his drink at the sight of him. "I guess a real man was too much for you to handle. Good thing you had a breeder to fall back on, but she's not much of a looker." His eyes flicked over the slight blonde girl condescendingly before continuing scathingly, "Or was she just the only thing you could afford? I doubt she'd have much to offer with a chest like that. But I'm sure she makes up for it in other ways. S'too bad that your tiny dick is probably dwarfed by the size of her cunt." Not very subtle, but at 6'6", Dilan wasn't very subtle to begin with.

The words hung in the air like the smoke that filled the club. Insulting someone's manhood and implying that a female was a slut was hitting way below the belt, and Dilan knew it. Neither Rudol nor the girl appeared to know how to respond to his allegations, but then again, what kind of comeback was there? Rudol stared at him, mouth agape, and Dilan smirked at him. Payback's a bitch.

His blonde companion managed to get over her shock long enough to snarl, "I don't know who the fuck you think you are, but you don't know shit about me, so don't even pretend that you do, you sorry son of a bitch." She stormed off to join a flamboyantly-dressed male with pink hair, leaving Rudol to face Dilan alone.

"You are such a dick," Rudol hissed, the tips of his ears as red as flames.

"And you're an asshole. What do you know, we make a perfect pair. Too bad you're busy going after the first piece of ass you find to see that."

"She's just a friend!"

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"She is! My date fell through, so I went out with her instead. And she happens to be dating a lovely little freshman girl. So piss off, would you?" He scowled and tried to leave the bar, but Dilan firmly planted himself in front of him, effectively cornering him.

"No, I won't 'piss off,'" he said evenly. "I want an explanation. And I want my fucking money back."

"What is there to explain? This 'thing'—" he accompanied his words with those annoying air-quotes "—that we had was never serious anyways. Don't make me out to be the bad guy. It's not like I ever led you on."

Dilan had an ugly expression on his face that suggested that he thought otherwise. "And the money?"

"Soz, it's gone already," Rudol said flippantly, holding up his empty hands.

"What? Gone where?"

Rudol's cocky grin slipped down a notch. "That's none of your business."

Dilan laughed, more out of sheer disbelief than anything else. "None of my— of course it's my business, you stole that money from me!"

Now the grin was gone completely. Rudol coughed to try and buy some time, peering around Dilan to evaluate a potential escape plan. He sucked in his breath when he saw Aeleus towering threateningly behind him and realized that smooth talking wasn't going to fly this time. He exhaled.

"To pay off my gambling debts," he admitted, his voice low and chagrined.

"You gambled yourself into debt? Dude, what the—" Dilan didn't even know what to address first; there were so many things wrong with this situation. "Okay, first off, if you needed money that badly, why the fuck didn't you just tell me instead of— wait." He stopped short. A memory from a few weeks ago niggled at him, and he recalled that moment when he was on the shuttle and noticed that his money had a habit of vanishing. "How long have you known that you were in debt?"

"Um. Two weeks?"

"And how long have you been stealing money from me?" He was doing his very best to keep calm, all things considered.

Rudol swallowed. "I didn't think you'd miss an extra ten bucks here and there," he mumbled, avoiding the question.

Dilan let out a disbelieving noise. "Who the fuck are you?"

"Still the same guy you met in your Eastern Religions class. I never made any attempt to hide from you, Dilan. You knew who I was from the very start," Rudol retorted defensively.

Dilan snorted. "Oh, what was that, a two-faced, lying slut?"

Rudol felt a white-hot flash of anger ignite within his chest. "Shut up," he hissed, his fists clenched tightly. "Shut up," he repeated, the volume of his voice rising higher. "Take that back."

"No," Dilan replied infuriatingly.

"Well, guess what? This is who I am — this who I always will be!" He threw his arms up in the air wildly, any and all vestiges of composure gone. By this point, the bar had gone silent, all eyes watching the scene unfold. "And nothing you can say or do is gonna change that, so you can either take me as I am—" he shoved Dilan in the chest roughly "—or leave me."

Dilan looked as if he was going to haul off and punch Rudol in the face, but he broke away at the last moment. "Leave you," he muttered, making his choice. Aeleus made a motion to indicate that he would be perfectly willing to wreck Rudol's face, but Dilan stopped him. "It's nothing… just… never mind." Aeleus shot Rudol a look of pure hatred but left reluctantly, leaving him standing alone and breathing heavily.

He self-consciously flattened his hair down with the palm of his hand, trying to regain his usual calm, aloof demeanor. He'd fully expected to be punched at the very least, so getting away without a scratch was a minor victory. Taking one last deep breath and composing himself, he made his way over to where Lumaria and L'Erena were sitting. Neither one of the two of them said anything as he slipped into a seat at their table, avoiding their gazes.

Finally, L'Erena broke the silence. "What," she said, "was that all about?"

"Nothing," he mumbled. "Just some guy I dumped. He didn't take it well." He reached for Lulu's drink and downed it wordlessly, heedless of its fruity taste. He normally didn't care for such drinks, but he needed alcohol right now, and he'd take whatever he could get. His friend didn't protest and slid L'Erena's drink over to him, as if he knew Rudol's mental state at the moment and realized that he needed something to take the edge off of it.

Rudol murmured his thanks and knocked back the electric martini as well. "Sorry for what he said about you, Rennie," he said, apologizing for Dilan's choice words. He felt somewhat guilty, for he was the one who brought Dilan's wrath down upon him and, subsequently, L'Erena. "Fag?" he asked, offering a pack of cigs as a proverbial olive branch.

"Yes. Yes, you are," L'Erena informed him, but she accepted a cigarette nonetheless.

Rudol lit his own cigarette, cupping his hand around the flame, and took a drag. As he exhaled, he stared up at the ceiling and wondered why, if he considered Dilan another throwaway boyfriend, he felt a gnawing pain of guilt in the pit of his stomach.


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(Deleted comment)
Sep. 15th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
Thank you for the comment! I think you have the wrong post, though... seeing as how Snape belongs to a different series than this one. xD (But I do love him too, for what it's worth. <3)
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