Chapter 12: Distance

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"You okay?" Kostya looked over to the kid sitting down next to him. He sat in the library, finishing some assignments early to pass some time.
"Yeah I'm fine." He answered. Kris smiled cheerfully at him, noticing his saddened expression and how lonely he looked sat all by himself in the library so early in the morning.
"What happened to your cheek?" Kris asked, concerned by the greenish-purple mark spotted along his chisled cheekbone. Kostya put his hand over it, feeling quite self conscious about the question but answering anyway as if it wasn't a big deal.
"Robin happened." He grumbled.
"Again?" Kris exclaimed sympathetically. "Well I hope you're  alright. Where are the guys anyway? Don't you always sit outside with them until the bell rings? You're never normally in at this time either, what's up?"

Kostya was admittedly astonished by how much the Bulgarian freshman had really picked up about him- but pretended he wasn't.
"Well, they're kind of linked to the...fight with Robin. You probably know it was the Formal yesterday night, some things were said, we started throwing a few punches and before I knew it I..." He sat in silence for a second before slowly meeting eyes with Kris in realization.
"...I hurt one of the most important people in my life." Kris sat, empathetic as the Ukrainian thought about his horrible fate for another of the countless times he had since it happened. He hadn't slept, no longer feeling hungry, all he wanted was to see Nikita and tell him how much he loved him and how he was more sorry than he'd ever been in his entire life. However, since desperately  calling Ari for forgiveness and advice, knowing that he'd be the most understanding at the time, he'd took the advice simply suggested for him to cool off and keep some distance for a while.

Kostya couldn't keep his mind off of it. He might as well have not come in at all that day, but he didn't want Robin to think we was weak- that he was shying away from his awful blunder. But why? Why would he still care what he thought when what he really Should have been caring about was Nikita? He saw his friends in the corner of his eye several times throughout the long day: sure they were looking at him, judging him; only God knows what Nikita must have thought of him. A careless asshole. An uncontrollable antagonist of his own little story. A monster. What if they were thinking about him? Whispering and slandering his name- sure they weren't like that when he was around but what if they changed as soon as he wasn't there? Besides, who was he to distrust when he'd spontaneously decided to draw blood in the hands of his true love when all he wanted to do was to protect him from his own rage? Shame on him.

"Kostya." He was knocked back to reality in an instant. "Class is over." Benji sighed. He scanned the room, an empty Math classroom surrounding him.
"I know, I know. I was just...thinking."
"Do you need to talk?" He whispered as Kostya got up from his seat slowly. "They still haven't put a lock on that janitor's closet." Kostya smiled at him, glad that his friends could be so understanding. They did as they pleased, slipping into the small space as it was difficult to distinguish them in the hefty hall of students. They sat down, sighing heavily before beginning to address the dreaded topic. Kostya felt like he was back at square one, pretending nothing he felt was real.
"So, last night..." Benji began, his toe tapping rapidly against the deteriorated wooden floor. "I understand that-"
"No. There's nothing you need to understand. I have no excuse for doing what I did, alright? I just want to know that-that he's...okay."

Benji stared at the floor.
"I mean, he refuses to talk about it, that could be seen as a good thing, right?"
"Who am I kidding, he has every right to hate me right now. I...I-" Kostya decided he was willing to take a risk; to come clean. "I ruined everything we had together..." Benji sat up, intrigued.
"You mean?"
"I mean we weren't friends at all. That was actually why I fought Robin, he saw us...together."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Benji breathed in a curious and excited manner.
"He was still scared about it. I just wanted to keep his feelings safe so bad that it seemed worth fighting for- but not now. Not after what happened." Kostya looked down at his hand- he'd washed away the remnants of blood from his knuckles but the scarlet splatter of Niki's innocent wound never seemed to leave.
"You're going to talk to him, that's the only way we can sort this out." Benji began, circling the room for inspiration on a way to help his friend; Kostya still wouldn't buy it.
"After what I did? I know Nikita's forgiving but could he really take me back after this?"

"I mean..." Benji started, his mind trailing off slightly. "Well, you could um... put yourself in his shoes. Let's say he full force punched you in the face without thinking- hard to imagine but stay with me- and now he's sitting in a closet really trying to redeem himself. Would you forgive him?" Kostya hesitated before quickly answering.
"Yeah, of course I would, why would  I..." He paused. "But I'm not him am I? Plus, he hates it when I fight, maybe this time was the last straw. We weren't even exactly dating to be completely honest but what if this has really brought him to hate me?" Benji sat back down and put his hand on Kostya's shoulder comfortingly.
"With the way he looks at you? The way he smiles at the thought of you, the way he read that love note over and over again?"
"Wait, you knew that was from me?!" Kostya spluttered.
"Okay, I may have acted surprised, but it was so fucking obvious. Come on! Who else is known for being an old-fashioned, wine and roses and handwritten love letters romance kinda guy? I don't know how you two even ignored that obvious romantic tension so obliviously!"
Kostya stayed wide eyed as he uttered.
"Okay, I get your point. So, how am I going to talk to him?"
Benji smirked to himself, proud that he'd configurated an idea in the first place.
"Okay listen closely. Now this may seem crazy, but..." His smile stretched wide with great pride of his master plan. "You're going to write him a song."

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