You are not a liar by nature. You have never been a liar until now.
You were not a liar when you were six, the time you told your mother you had seen the family cat escape. You were not a liar when you told her you didn’t know where he had gone. You were not a liar when you didn’t tell her you’d seen your brother strangling him in the backyard. You were a brother. These are things that brothers do for each other.
Kristoph told you he wouldn’t do anything like it again. You believed him. Of course you believed him. He was sixteen, and these are things brothers do for each other.
There are no trials in the undocumented strangling of cats. There are trials in the murder of humans.
You were not a liar when you were sixteen, the time you told your brother he’d lost fair and square in court. You were not a liar when you told him the defendant was guilty. You were not a liar when you didn’t tell him you’d seen Daryan beating the truth out of a witness the night before. You were a friend. These are things friends do for each other.
Daryan had told you he wouldn’t do anything like it again. You believed him. Of course you believed him. He was sixteen, and these are things friends do for each other.
There are no trials in the undocumented beating of witnesses. There are trials in the murder of humans.
You are a liar now.
You were a liar then, too. You have been lying to yourself for just as long as you have been lying to others. Longer.
He is not like you. He is honest and beautiful and your complete opposite. He rushes into everything without a plan and is genuinely surprised when something doesn't work out. He believes in people. You have never believed in people.
(You have always believed in him.)
He is exactly like you. He claims to be fine after panic attacks and expresses his pain by screaming at three in the morning. You like to tell yourself that your screams are the songs they were meant to be, but you know they are not. You have not written a song since your brother was executed.
You tell yourself that he deserved it. He did deserve it. He was still your brother.
Kristoph Gavin deserved to be executed. Kris didn't.
You tell yourself they were not the same person. You have always known the truth. Kristoph Gavin, attorney at law was not the one who killed that cat. Kris was.
You fall in love with him in the spring before he leaves. He is your opposite and your other half at the same time. He is just as lonely as you are. His hair, however, is nowhere near as cool as yours.
For all you joke about the massive amounts of hair gel he must use, you love his hair more than you have ever loved yours. His hair is strange and ridiculous and completely adorable. Your hair is a cheap imitation of your brother’s. You can't bring yourself to cut it. It is the thing you hate the most about yourself.
He is the first person to tell you it's still okay to love him. People have told you many times that your brother is a monster. He is the first person to tell you that the monster is your brother. It is never wrong to love your brother.
You do not cut your hair. It isn't Kris’s anymore. It's your hair, and you like it.
(He tells you he is proud of you for liking it. You kiss him goodbye with lyrics flying through your head.)
He leaves when you are least expecting it. He tells you he is going to save his father and talk things out with his brother and come back to you in a few days. Instead, he saves his brother, talks things out with his father, and calls to tell you he is staying.
You are angry when he tells you he can't do long distance. You think he is abandoning you. You stop being angry when you realize he is only doing as his father asked. You do not have a monopoly on dead family members.
You buy a one way ticket to Khura’in. He cries when you call to tell him you're at the airport. In that moment, you love him more than you ever have.
You cannot lie to him, but that doesn't stop you from trying. It's a reflex, at this point, to tell people you're fine. You are not fine. You have not been fine for a very long time. Most people believe you. Most people have only seen Klavier Gavin, the rock star you have not been in a very long time. Apollo sees you. He sees through every single one of your lies, no matter how small.
He is the first person to tell you it’s okay to not be fine. He, of all people, who copes by shouting into the sky that he’s fine, tells you it’s okay not to be. You call him a hypocrite. He smiles gently. It is not a look you see on him often.
Most of his smiles are challenges. He smiles when he knows he’s bested you. You fell in love with him for these smiles.
On some days, you hold his hand as he laughs and stare as he grins up at you. These smiles are blinding. You stayed in love with him for these smiles.
The gentle smile is new. It is just as beautiful as the rest, but it holds depth. It is a sad smile. He hates himself nearly as much as you do. (You do not hate yourself quite as much anymore.If someone like Apollo claims that you’re incredible, who are you to argue?)
He blames himself for everything, just as you do. You know you will never be able to convince him that very little is actually his fault, so instead you try to keep him from beating himself up over it too much. He does the same for you. This works, up to a point.
You reach that point on a rainy day when you are both drowning in self hatred. You suppose there is some sort of dramatic irony in the fact that he never learned to swim. Relentless self deprecation evolves into a screaming match that climaxes when he slams you against a wall and shouts that you’re the most incredible person he’s ever met. This notion seems so ridiculous to you that you laugh. You cannot stop laughing. He holds you until your tears run dry and your laughter fades to wheezing, both of you somewhat stunned at your reaction.
Later that night, he tells you it is probably time for some therapy. You agree.
It has been time for some therapy for years. You cannot imagine why neither of you had brought it up before.
This is another lie. Neither of you have brought it up because there are parts of you that do not want to get better. You tell him this in therapy the next month. This is the day you stop lying to him. (You do not stop lying to yourself. You’re working on it. You're working on a lot of things. You'll get it, eventually.)