Finally, oh finally we’ve gone through the rest of his boxes. Those boxes that were packed up and waiting in that unused room, out of sunlight, away from most of the dust. I can’t honestly utter out loud clearly enough what it means to have the house finally box-free. I didn’t so much mind looking into them now and again but they reminded me somewhat of the hell I lived through when I was younger. Living in a house with one particular man who almost seemed to make it his mission to hoard everything. Not that he really seemed to realize it.

I’m just glad we’re going through the last two boxes now, it’s so much a relief I could cry. It’s what we’d started doing when the twins came up to us with Mira’s phone in a call on speaker phone and Cyrille on the other end asking if he could spend some time over since his sister was going to be out into the country for a while. That was fine with me but I knew how he was, I knew in what shape his brother’s beating had left him and I couldn’t just let him take the bus.

So I’d gotten dressed properly and just moments before I was out the door, Lex was at my side, saying something about how we’d need someone to drive the kid’s car here since he would eventually need it to get around. I don’t know why I hadn’t honestly thought of that. I’m glad he did.

After we’d come back inside, I went straight back to the boxes. I told him we needed to clear them out, I couldn’t really stand the sight of them anymore and I knew that he understood why. I’ve told him about my time in that house and while I don’t think he’s gone through a similar situation, he’s understanding enough to know when something needs done.

From the boxes we found more old clothes, most of them absolutely moth eaten and beyond repair, he looked at them and didn’t so much as bat a lash at the thought of keeping them, he set them in one particular box we’d emptied earlier on and that box would be taken to the trash. Other stuff that still had some use but he personally had none for found themselves in a second box and we told ourselves that we’d drop it off to a thrift store before too long and I knew he’d do it, too.

Eventually, we found a chalice, it looked old but it was still in surprisingly good condition. I held it out to him and he took it almost gingerly. He studied it from all angles before he was shaking his head and offering a slight shrug. “I can’t even remember where I got this from.”

I looked at it from my spot on the ground, still settled next to the boxes and I couldn’t help the slight, somewhat amused grin. “So long as it’s not from way back then.”

For all of a second his face was blank but eventually he rolled his eyes, breathing out a soft, amused snort. “That was never real, he never was born, never died and there was no such thing. I was there.”

The amusing thing about that is that he was there, around the time frame it claims to have happened and it just didn’t. I can only imagine that some people really are good storytellers and that’s that. I’m not one of those people. I suck at storytelling.

“What about this?” I held up an old book and he blinked at it. He carefully set the chalice out of the way—I had to assume it might end up in our library—and he took the book gingerly as if it might fall apart in his hands. It was as old as some of the other books I’ve seen in the library, those books he made sure to keep under lock and key, in a protective case.

“I thought it had burned down with the house almost ten years ago.” His words were low and it was my turn to stare up at him, eyes widened in certain confusion. I never had heard him mention anything about a house burning down. Though if it was ten years ago, it was during our time apart though we still kept in touch, if just barely.

“What fire and what house? What happened?” I had to ask, of course, I wasn’t going to get any answers by just staring at him.

He set the book down as carefully as he dared next to the chalice and finally he moved down to be on my level, he knelt next to me and shook his head, as if absolutely amazed at what we’d just found.

“I was on a pretty big case about ten or so years ago, most of the witnesses were in that protection program they have going for folks who are out to testify about others who might just put their lives at stake, I refused to be bullied into hiding, it’s not what I do. Woke up in the middle of the night, in the middle of the trial period and there was smoke everywhere, the fire was making pretty good progress. I gathered what little I kept at home about the trial with me and I got out. Most everything was in a fire-safe at the office and I’ve always been careful in getting in and out of there almost unseen.”

He shrugged, offering a half-hearted smile and I could only sigh. It was things like these that always made my heart ache, during those decades we spent apart, we barely kept in touch so if things like these did happen, we wouldn’t really have any way of knowing. It was hard news to digest but I was glad he’d managed to get his hands on that book, whatever it was.

“I’m assuming it is going to be settled into one of the clear cases?” He chuckled but nodded, seeing as I’d pretty much hit the nail on the head. It was hard not to, really. Considering everything. This book was old, older than everything that was on the shelves and it was more a collectible than something he would read at this point so it made sense that it would go into the case with some of the others.

“I hope we’ll never be apart again. I know you’re pretty resistant to fire but there’s a limit to everything and I don’t know how I would have taken news of you being killed in that fire. I probably never would have known. You just wouldn’t have come back after the regular few years and that would have been that.” The thought shook me and suddenly my vision was wet. He pulled me closer, hugging me as tightly to himself as he could and I let out a sob. It was all I could do, really.

It was too late to fuss and fret and tell him he had had to be more careful then, all I could really do at this point was sob my heart out as I imagined I could have lost him and that’s all I did. There was nothing else left.

“You can’t even leave me again, Lex. I don’t think I’d survive it.” The words sounded hoarse to my ears and he only hugged me closer still, his head settled against mine. This was going to be one of these days and more than likely one of these weeks, I wouldn’t be able to stand to not have him in my sights utterly.

“We’ll be fine and I’m not leaving you, I have no reason to leave you, Eoghan, you know that better than anyone else. I’m not running away from my guest anymore, there’s no reason.”

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