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The Midnight Letter

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Bashful sat at the kitchen table in his pajamas, a piece of paper in front of him and a pen in his hand. He wrote and wrote, putting his innermost thoughts into words he'd never let anyone else see. It was a coping mechanism he'd done ever since his feelings surfaced. Write down his thoughts and emotions, until he could keep it in, then tear up the paper so no one would ever read it.

They started as journal entries of sorts, but slowly they became letters. Letters he'd never send, but still letters. He didn't question how they made the transition, but instead accepted it and even started adding 'Dear Doc' at the beginning, and 'Love, Bashful' at the end. It didn't matter, since no one would never see it, but writing it like that, he figured, would help him cope until the next time he felt the need to write.

"Bashful? What are you doing awake?"

His heart nearly stopped as he heard the voice of the very person he was writing about. On instinct, he flung himself over the paper, turning to smile nervously at Doc. He was also in his pajamas, staring in confusion at Bashful. Upon further reflection, Bashful could see why, but he didn't move from his spot.

"N-nothing!" he replied shakily. Doc shook his head, obviously unbelieving that it was 'nothing' but not wanting to bother the shy dwarf.

"Okay then. I'm just getting some juice, then I'm going back to bed" he explained, walking over to the fridge and pulling out some juice. Bashful watched as he poured some into a glass, and gulped it down. Still, even after he was done with the glass, he didn't move to go upstairs. Bashful, in turn, didn't move from his position on top of the paper. They just sat there, staring at each other.

Bashful, in truth, was beginning to get a bit uncomfortable, but he knew that if he moved, Doc would see the paper and it would all come crashing down. He needed to stay where he was.

"Bashful? That doesn't look very comfortable" Doc said with a smile. Bashful shook his head, as best as he could with his head on the table that is.

"I'm fine!"

Doc raised an eyebrow but didn't respond. Bashful didn't make a move to continue any sort of conversation, so the silence returned. Doc poured himself another glass of juice, and sipped slowly, his eyes peering over the rim at his friend. Bashful's heart threatened to pound out of his chest, and he thought if the silence continued much longer he'd pass out.

"I noticed you writing something before I spoke up" Doc said uncertainly. Like he was afraid to say that. Bashful's eyes widened. All he knew was that he was caught, Doc would read what he'd written and he and the others would kick him out. The 7D would become the 6D, and it would be because he just had to fall in love with someone so smart, kind, and generous and he could never have him.

"It's not finished" he said in a small voice, hoping that that would buy him some time. He knew that Doc would want to see it when he was done, and he really wasn't finished with this particular letter, so it wasn't a lie.

"What is it?" Doc asked him. Bashful swallowed the lump of nervousness that rose in his throat before replying.

"A letter... For you" he admitted, the last part coming out as quiet as a mouse. Doc heard him though, and his surprise showed on his face.

"For me? Why? We live in the same house" he pointed out. Bashful laughed weakly.

"Yeah, but this is something I can't say out loud, so I decided to write it. I was gonna tear it up, but now that you know I guess you'll want to read it, right?"

Doc stayed silent for a moment. He seemed like he knew what Bashful was writing, and that scared the poor shy dwarf half to death. But then, Doc smiled and replied,

"Well, if you don't mind me reading it, then sure"

He did mind. But he wasn't about to say that. It was time for him to man up to his fears and just tell Doc, regardless of the consequences. Somewhere in the back of his head he wondered if Queen Delightful would allow him to stay in the castle, but he immediately shook that thought from his mind. While the Queen would probably accept him, Lord Starchbottom would be disgusted. With good reason, too.

"I don't mind. Just let me finish" he said, his voice shaking. Doc nodded in understanding. He moved then, going upstairs to his bed so he could go back to sleep.

Bashful took a deep breath, and finally moved and looked down at what he'd been writing. Now that Doc was actually going to read this, he felt critical of every little imperfection on the page, but he just decided to reread what he'd been writing before continuing, resisting the urge to tear it up and start over.

Dear Doc,

This is so stupid. I never let you read these, so what's the point in saying 'Dear Doc'? Coping mechanism I tell myself, as if that'll ever get rid of the horrible fear in my gut when I look at you and wonder if you know how I feel. Of course you don't. Not to say you aren't emotionally intelligent, but no one knows how I feel. I never tell them, and since I'm shy around everyone no one ever notices if I happen to be a bit more jumpy around you. But the fear is still there.

Ah, my heart is pounding like it always does when I write these. Like you're standing behind me, watching me write about my true feelings. I doubt you'd ever do that, you aren't one to snoop when you aren't allowed to. Unless it's research. You love researching things, things that would baffle me and everyone else. Happy would probably try to understand, but I'd be the one listening intently to your every word. Your voice is music to my ears, I can't get enough, no matter what you're talking about. Even if I don't understand it.

That was where he'd stopped last. He looked up towards the staircase, and then back down at the paper. Taking a deep breath, he started to write again. His penmanship wasn't as stable as it was last time, he noticed, but that was understandable. This time, he knew Doc would read it...

Now that you're actually going to read this, after that encounter, I suppose I can't beat around the bush like I have done previously. I love you. I love you like I should love a woman, and... I don't know why.

It happened a while back. Do you remember the day in the mine that I fell off the mine cart? You were trying to get one last amethyst from the dirt, and I fell on top of you when Dopey pushed me by accident.

Even now, I can remember the shock on your face. My heart was racing, my cheeks were flared and I was so close I could have kissed you if I moved just a bit closer... I didn't, obviously. I panicked, in fact. You'll remember, I was near hyperventilating almost the whole way home. When I finally calmed down, thanks to you and the others, my thoughts from earlier had still rang through my head. Why had I wanted to kiss you? Why had my body reacted in such a way, when you were obviously fine? Other than being mildly stunned from being fell on, I mean. Then, that night, I couldn't sleep when the realization came to me.

I'm in love with you. And it disgusts me, it tears me apart and it hurts. You'll never feel the same. You probably hate me now as you're reading this, or maybe you stopped after the first 'I love you'. Either way, I feel the same. I hate myself for having fallen for you. No offense to you, of course, it's just... I wish I'd fallen for someone who can return my affections.

Whether you've continued to read or you've stopped in disgust by now, I hope you'll tell me how you feel. You aren't as super-sunshine-happy as Happy, but you do sometimes have a tendency to sugarcoat your words. This time though, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't do that. Be brutal because honestly, I deserve it.

He'd been crying the entire time without realizing, only knowing it when he stopped to examine the work and saw all the tearstains. He wiped his eyes dry, and signed it, 'Sincerely, Bashful'

Usually, he'd sign, 'Love Bashful', but that was hoping for too much.

He headed up the stairs, and was surprised to see Doc, wide awake, sitting on the edge of Bashful's bed, waiting for him.

Oh well. Better now than never, right?

Bashful walked over uncertainly, handing over the paper with shaking hands. He crawled under the blanket and turned over, prepared to be awoken by angry yells or furious slapping at any moment.

Several minutes passed in silence. Bashful opened one eye to check to make sure that Doc was reading it, and his eyes flew open immediately at what he saw...

Doc was indeed reading the letter, but he was crying.

"Doc? You okay?" he choked out, barely a whisper as he sat up. Doc smiled as he looked over at Bashful.

"Better than okay" he replied. He placed the letter on a table beside the bed, and hugged Bashful tight. Bashful hesitantly returned the embrace, almost wanting to cry because he knew now that all his fear and terror was for nothing.

They separated soon, and Doc placed a kiss on Bashful's forehead. Bashful blushed a deep ruby red instantly, making Doc smile fondly. Doc then crawled under the covers with his new lover, and they laid down together, holding each other close.

They didn't care what the others would say when they woke up the next morning. All they knew was that they were in love, and that was all the knowledge they ever wanted or needed.