I was a little bummed out this morning. A developing cold seemed to finally wear on Brian. His eyes blood shot, his voice strained and his energy looking quite low. "Perhaps we should stay in today." I suggested, preparing to give him his insulin. I still felt uneasy about the process of doing so, but I did feel obligated to take care of him. He didn't flinch, so I must have done the procedure correctly.

He snuggles me after the fact. "Not a bad idea, I suppose." he says wearily. I give him and gentle hug and start getting up. "Are you hungry at all?" I ask, throwing on some clothes. He shakes his head. "Just coffee, thanks." He groggily gets up as well. I watch him carefully, he definitely seemed a little disoriented. "How's your blood sugar?" I ask, helping him to his feet. "Feels stable." he says, shaking off a dizzy spell. "I'm gonna hop in the shower for a bit."

While he does so, I make way for the kitchen. I still make a small breakfast for him, and his coffee. By the time he's out, dried and dressed, he's looking less debilitated. He flops down on the couch, not really wanting to do much. Picking at his food occasionally.

I grab the small stack of PS2 games he brought with him, looking through them. "Could I load up something for you?" I ask. He thinks a moment. "Fatal Frame 2. Once I get reacquainted with the controls, I figured I could show you a fair bit of how it plays." he says. I stick in his memory card and the game. He also has me watch the opening trailer, and my interest is a little piqued.

I take a seat by the computer, having a few things to attend to. He fumbles through menu's until reaching one of the unlocked modes, a mission mode apparently. The first one he shows me is a bit... unsettling. A cramped room, and three ghosts in the form of children. One of which takes no damage. And another, with a very loud sobbing, makes the screen go dark. I observe the battle quietly.

"Those twins..." I start, gathering my thoughts on what I had just seen. "Do they share a health bar? Why is it you couldn't damage one of them?" I ask, trying to make sense of things. "Storyline stuff. The one I couldn't damage, she was not physically human when she died. For technically a second time." he says. "She's actually a doll. I still can't quite tell them apart when a battle with them comes up."

He showcases a few more battle-specific missions. Another one, of three oblivious children playing tag, kinda irks at me. I keep silent through this one. Before long, he resumes an old save file and trying to remember where he was exactly. He walks into one room, the colors suddenly turning monochrome. All I see is a lot of smoke and he makes a face. "Oh... that. I remember now." he says with annoyance.

I turn my gaze from the game to him. "That?" I ask, seeing the game's colors returning. "The Kusabi. Completely invulnerable and kills you in one hit, at least right now anyway. If I'm not mistaken, I'm now searching for the main character's sister. Whom has wandered off." he says.

I watch him play for the next three hours, taking in the plot as is right now and watching the battles. On and off, he explains certain things to me concerning story and game play mechanics. I get the feeling I might have nightmares tonight over this.

He finally decides to take a break, glancing at the clock. "What'cha feel like doing for lunch?" he asks. He looks a little better now, but I'd rather not drag him outside without good reason. "Would a sandwich or three suffice?" I ask playfully. He smirks back. "Sure. You've got enough for yourself though?" he asks. I head to the kitchen to assess that. "I can make two each for us." I call out. That probably won't be enough for him... I think to myself with much amusement.

He's slow to finish eating, looking a little squeamish. "You alright, love?" I ask with some concern. "Mild wave of nausea, I'll be fine in a minute or two." he says. I go over to sit next to him and start rubbing his shoulders. He lays back against me. "Sorry for all the trouble." he says, his expression growing serious. I kiss his cheek. "This is hardly any trouble. You'd be doing the same for me if the situation were reversed." I tell him sternly. He says nothing in response, but it's easy to sense the annoyance he feels toward himself.

I lay him on his stomach and proceed to massage his neck and back. Or try to, in any case. "Dude, when was the last time you had a massage? I'm feeling a lot of knots here." I tell him, trying to work around his upper back. "The last time? A little more than a year ago, when Becky visited." he says. "Hurt like hell, though. And I imagine she had difficulty working the muscles too." While I said nothing, I couldn't help but pity him. And I began to wonder if this was the source of his frequent back pains.

While I kept this up for the next half hour, the muscles weren't loosening up very much. Once he started breathing too hard from enduring the soreness, I stopped and brought him some aspirin. He chokes it down dry. "Even if just for the intimacy factor, I did enjoy that." he says with a tired smile. I couldn't help but blush, he certainly knows how to make me feel loved and wanted. I help him to his feet and bring him to my room.

"Take some rest, a nap might be what you need." I tell him, kissing his cheek. He grabs my hand and pulls me on top of him. "Care to join me?" he asks, snuggling against my chest. I roll him to his side and plop right next to him. "Mmm... sure." I say dreamily. We cuddle for the better part of the hour before drifting off to sleep.

Some time later, I awake with my head buried in his neck. His breathing a little heavy, but he's still resting comfortably. Trying not to wake him, I manage to slip from his grip and head for the kitchen. I start preparing soup and tea for him, contemplating what to do for a real dinner. After about twenty minutes, the scent must have woken him up. I find him on the couch messing around on Deathscythe as I bring him his food. He smiles at me tiredly. "Thanks, doll face. You're the best." he says. I take a seat next to him and wrap my arms around him, clinging to his side.

"What'cha feel like having for dinner?" I ask him. Without hesitation, he responds. "Pizza. I'll treat." I pet him gently and call in the order, he finishes his soup relatively fast. "How's your appetite?" I ask him, grabbing a now unplugged PS2 controller. He shrugs. "Feels normal enough, I think. The nausea has long subsided." he says. I grab the adapter and hook up to Deathscythe. "Good to know." I say, booting up an NES emulator.

He snuggles against me in comfortable silence, watching me play various games. There was a slight break in things when the pizza came. As we were eating, I got to the more interesting portion of Mega Man. The Wily stages always wore on me, but some clever actions would allow me to endure with minimal headaches. Minus one of the bosses, but I digress.

With that done, he asked for the controller and I watched him play through Mega Man 2. We alternated each game, going through all six of the NES Mega Man games. It was amusing to see him struggling with 4 and 6, games he apparently never really played or gave a serious chance. To his credit, he wasn't abusing savestates.

With that done, he boots up the SNES emulator with a knowing look. We then skip ahead to Mega Man X3, a game that reminded us of our childhood in many ways. We alternated stages and got all the hidden elements. Finished in record time. We take a much needed break, and he steps out for his first cigarette of the day. I must admit, I'm amazed he held out so long.

When he comes back, we resume our gaming marathon awhile longer. He gives me a poke out of nowhere, smiling slightly. "I hate to say it, but I'm getting hungry again." he says. I giggle at this, poking him back. "Diner trip, then? I just need to shower first." I say, getting up. Then he pulls me back down in a tight hug. "Can I join you?" he asks, attempting to sound innocent. I tap my fingers against his grasp gently. "Of course." I say.

We proceed to shower and dress. Magic decks in tow, we make for the car and head to what seems like his new favorite haunt. We didn't see the cheerful lady this time around, sadly. We take a booth and order, shuffling our decks.

He passes me his deck, I cut it. "What's the plan for tomorrow?" he asks, taking his deck and cutting mine. He draws his hand. The look on his face says he isn't keeping it. I draw mine, mildly satisfied. "That's a bit of a surprise." I tell him sweetly. I cut his deck again after a reshuffle, he draws his new hand.

He raises an eyebrow at me. "I see. Play or draw?" he asks. "Play first. Island, done." He draws. "Pass. I take it there's something big planned." he says. I draw. "Plains, done. You could say that." I wink at him. He draws, shaking his head. "About damn time... swamp, tap for a black. Typhoid Rats, done. Party?" I draw. "Pass. Yup, I suppose that was obvious enough."

We continue with the idle talk and our game, attracting the attention of many passers-by. Explaining what we're doing. Yes, it's a game. No, it's not Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon. No, we're not influencing satanic powers. rolleyes

Our food comes and we rightfully declare the round a draw. We both have steaks, and take our time with it. Slightly burned, just the way I like it. We split a cheesecake after, and linger for another two hours. Just playing more games, having coffee and overall enjoying each others company.

During one game serious enough to deem taking our time, we attract the attention of an elderly couple watching us. We ignore them for the most part. Brian declares an attack where I have to think things through. I stare at the field for about three minutes before making the appropriate responses. Suddenly, the old man of the couple speaks. "Can't say I'm really following this whole thing. But you two have some intensity to the way you're thinking out strategy. Like a couple of war generals."

Brian glances at the man and smiles. "With the way she plays? I take no chances. Quite possibly my greatest opponent outside my hometown." I silently take the praise, giving him a wink. The lady notices, and asks, "Are you two together?" I laugh lightly at the inquiry. "You wouldn't believe how many times we get asked that. He's my best friend, nothing more." I say simply. She nods, not entirely convinced. "Ah... on the outside, I would imagine you two being married."

Brian gives me a soft smile. "Maybe in the future. We'll see where the next few years go." he says. On the outside, I smile back. On the inside, I'm still surprised and humbled that he'd say such a thing. If nothing else, he's always honest about his feelings.

The couple bid us good night and take their leave, we continue on with our game. One I ultimately lose in end, but easily one of the best games we've had in quite some time. When the check comes, I grab it before he can see it. "This one's on me, you already got the pizza." I say. He nods, accustomed to our arrangements at this point.

We head back home and spend the night the way we always have thus far. More and more, I find myself enjoying and appreciating him. The hanging out, the talking, the intimacy... I can't lie, I feel like I'm falling in love all over again. smile