IRIS: Ronan? Ronan! Hey! Stop! What’s up?
RONAN: I can’t do this anymore.
IRIS: Oh, come on, I’ve seen you dance longer and harder than that.
RONAN: No, you know what I’m talking about!
IRIS: What is up with you?
RONAN: You! I’m sorry, I keep trying. I try to be okay with it.
IRIS: You try to be okay with me having a good time? Well, thanks. Hey! Ronan Westley Carroll, don’t you dare walk away from me!
RONAN: Is that really the kind of man you want?
IRIS: Excuse me?
RONAN: What do you—Are you seriosly… Seriously?
IRIS: What? Just ‘cause he beat you at chess?
RONAN: Why were we even playing in the first place?
IRIS: Because you like chess! Because you’re good at it! But he beat you, so what? Get over it.
RONAN: Do you really not get it?
IRIS: You’re threatened by him. That’s fair. He’s classy.
RONAN: What kind of a name is “Valdemar” anyway?
IRIS: He’s German! So fucking sue him! What, are you gonna add bigotry to your mess of whatever the hell this is?
RONAN: Oh, you mean he’s a sophisticated European? Oh, I hadn’t noticed—
IRIS: Oh, grow up!
RONAN: Oh! Now I’m the bad guy, huh? Now I’m the one slobbering over every woman on the dance floor!
IRIS: Oh, what, like you’re not?
RONAN: I don’t slobber over you! Do I? No, seriously, do I?
IRIS: … No! No, of course not. We’re… friends.
RONAN: Good night, Iris.
IRIS: Ronan, wait. Stop! Ronan!
RONAN: Good. Night. Iris.
IRIS: Just tell me, OK?
RONAN: Fine. I have been in love with you almost since the moment I laid eyes on you. There. I’ve said it.
IRIS: I thought love at first sight was a shallow poison. Isn’t that what you’re always saying?
RONAN: That’s why I said “almost”. I didn’t fall in love with you because you’re beautiful, OK? I fell in love with you because you read Fiona Dugnot and you caught my Dragons’ Will reference years before they started making the series. I fell in love with you because instead of ganging up on me for being a dork, you embraced me, OK? To the point where other people could take me seriously, too. I fell in love with you because… because I thought you might fall in love with me. That doesn’t happen to me. I’m the guy who doesn’t have a girlfriend because “girls don’t watch Stardancers or play Gift of Hades, but you did! But I waited too long. And you wound up with Jeff. And then Tommy. And Seth, and now… Did any of them… You know what? It’s none of my business. None of it was ever any of my business.
IRIS: Why didn’t you say anything?
RONAN: Because I was young and stupid. OK? And almost as inexperienced then as I still am! Given that chance again… Well, given that chance again, I’d probably make the same choice as before, but for a different reason.
IRIS: What do you mean?
RONAN: Back then, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to feel rejected. Now… I think I wouldn’t say anything because I wouldn’t want to hurt you. I wouldn’t want to put that burden on you.
IRIS: Shouldn’t that be my decision?
RONAN: Don’t do that.
IRIS: Don’t what?
RONAN: Don’t pretend like you’d actually…
IRIS: You didn’t tell me! Why are you telling me now?
RONAN: Because right now, I do want to hurt you! I want you to know how I feel about you, how I’ve always felt about you, because I need you to know that I am not your friend. I never have been.
IRIS: Because you were using our friendship to seduce me? Original.
RONAN: You want to tell me that hasn’t worked on you? Come on, Iris. How long have I know you?
IRIS: Yeah, well, fool me once—
RONAN: Three times, Iris.
IRIS: On a scale from one to Lindsay Lohan, how drunk are you right now?
RONAN: Tony Stark.
IRIS: Oh, you wish.
RONAN: And you need to stop flirting with me.
IRIS: Seriously? How the fuck was that “flirting”?
RONAN: Because you did that thing…
IRIS: That thing? What thing?
RONAN: That thing with your… with your eyebrow.
IRIS: That thing with my eyebrows? Are you fucking with me?
RONAN: Oh, you know what I’m talking about!
IRIS: What could I possibly be doing with my eyebrows that would make you think I was good to go?
RONAN: See, and this right here is why we can’t be friends. Because no matter how hard you try to act “normal” by your own standards, no matter how little encouragement you give, I will always read more into it.
IRIS: Is that my fault?
RONAN: No. No, you’re right, it’s not. But it isn’t about fault. You really can’t help being like catnip for me. I can pretend that you’re a good bag of treats I can use to sharpen my claws and improve my game or something, but in the end, you’re nothing but a toy for the muse of fire to dangle in front of me and it’s driving me crazy!
IRIS: Sometimes I just don’t even know what you’re saying—
RONAN: Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m saying. I’m gonna go now—
IRIS: No, please.
RONAN: Why won’t you let me leave? Why do you keep pulling me back into this?
IRIS: Because I…
RONAN: You almost said it, didn’t you? Something real sweet; maybe not “I love you”, but, like, a sweet little “I don’t want to lose you”?
IRIS: But I don’t want to lose you.
RONAN: How the hell can you not understand that’s the worst possible thing you could say to me right now? Or ever? Because it means you do love me. Platonically. And I’m just now finally coming to grips with that. You love me like a brother. You’ll never love me as anything else. But that’s just not how I feel about you. And this isn’t about blame. This is just… I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.
Author’s Note: I have posted a different version of this before on the old blog. This version has different characters for reasons I don’t want to go into right now, and has been cleaned up and adjusted a bit.