a crystal cup

It was the very last box. He wasn’t even sure of where it had been all of this time. He didn’t even know where it had been when he’d moved as he couldn’t recall moving it with the rest of what little he had owned at that point. It was a simple box, not really the type where you’d put up things when you move, it was closer to a shoe-box in size with removable top and all. He’d found it under his bed while he’d been looking for his glasses.

He couldn’t even understand how his glasses had ended up rolling almost to the middle of his bed, glasses weren’t mean to roll and he was nowhere near a hill, the floor was flat and even so why, oh why had his glasses rolled all the way there? In a way, he was glad they had as he found that box. The old box, that used, worn box.

With careful fingers curled about it, not even recalling how heavy or not it might be, he pulled it out from under his bed. He didn’t move from his spot, merely shifted his weight until he was sitting with his back against his bedside table. There were no knobs to press into his back so he rested his weight back and set the box on his lap.

He knew what was in there, or at least he told himself he knew. It was so old, so small. The bottom edges were taped because it had been rough days until it had somehow landed under his bed. He didn’t recall that being there when Eoghan had dropped by with all that new furniture and he couldn’t understand it. He tried not to think too much on that one particular point since it would be too problematic, he knew he wouldn’t understand and wouldn’t make sense of it unless he asked Eoghan and he didn’t really see the point.

Fingers trembling, he pulled the top up and off, setting it carefully down next to his legs. He looked into the box, trying to will his mind to understand what he was looking at but all he saw was crinkled newspaper. Had he mistaken this old box for another one?

He reached for the newspaper, assuming it would come easily as empty but crinkled newspaper does but it didn’t. His fingertips brushed something solid beneath the paper and he frowned. Now he was even more confused, he didn’t know what to make of this very box.

Patting along the paper, he felt out the shape of whatever was in it. After a few moments, his fingers found something that felt like a stem and he lifted whatever it was from there. With his other hand, he carefully unwrapped whatever it was.

With all the paper gone and pulled away, Armin found himself staring at one of a pair of crystal cups. His eyes grew wet as his mind pulled the memory associated with them to the surface and his breath caught. He recalled having looked at them, standing next to Andoni. They had been window shopping, just looking at whatever caught their eyes and these cups had caught his eyes.

He had laughingly said that they’d make a beautiful anniversary gift but that they were a little beyond what his salary could afford, what either of their salary could afford, really. They had walked on. He didn’t know when Andoni might have gone back to get them but he assumed they might have been intended for their anniversary. A moment lost as the accident happened just a few days before the day they would have celebrated.

“You must have wrapped them up this way and put them in our photo shoe-box, expecting me to find them.” He paused, his voice choked up as he set the first cup down and just as carefully pulled the second one out and unwrapped it. “We always brought the box out on our anniversaries to look at old photos.”

From inside the second cup, there was a note and Armin stared at it from within the crystal for a long moment, not daring to take it or look at it. He felt overwhelmed, emotions filling him from all sides, not all of them positive. He suddenly ached, a terrible ache as he remembered that he had lost the one man he had loved more than anything else in the world.

He knew he couldn’t remain holding onto the past, he had done such good progress over the weeks, the months. The sight of these cups and that unread note however made it all surface.

Armin gulped in great gasps of air as the tears broke through his weak hold. He cried, sobbed really.

He cried himself into an exhausted stated of numbness. Finally, he reached for the note, his fingers trembling all the harder. Once he had it between two fingers, he put the cup back in the box and set the box down on the ground, next to his legs. He opened the note, his blurry sight barely managing to read the words though he could tell what they were and his breathing hitched again.

There were no tears this time, he was empty of tears. His throat felt raw from all his gasping to draw in air while he’d been crying, his chest ached and so did his head. He folded the note closed again, brought it to his lips to kiss it and then set it down next to the two cups, settled in the box. One upside down, the other right side up, fitting side by side perfectly.

“What am I supposed to do with the two of you? I know I can’t just display you, not yet, the wound still feels too fresh despite that it’s been years. If I’d found you sooner, maybe I could set you out to display you.” He murmured the words, closing his eyes. He ached, everything ached and he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry about it though he knew he had few tears left in his body at that point.

He reached for the box, curling his fingers about it carefully. He moved it up on the bed and pushed it as far as he could from his position on the floor.

With that done, he eased himself back up to his feet. He ached in ways he couldn’t recall aching before, as if all those tears had pulled old wounds to the surface.

Rubbing his eyes, he took the box up again and carefully he made his way off into his study. He would sit it there for the time being, not really wanting to focus on it more than he had to. It was set down gently on his desk and he smiled at the box and all the memories it contained, a sad sort of smile before he shook his head and turned away. He didn’t really want to think on it much more. He’d bring it up to Eoghan when the man next visited.

Feeling exhaustion despite that he knew it was all emotional and not exactly physical, Armin eased his way back into his bedroom. He set his crutch out of the way as he always did and he climbed into his bed. He didn’t waste much time moving to settle under his cool blankets, aware that they would warm up before too long and help him with the chill his exhausted mind wanted him to believe he felt.

His eyes fluttering shut, he breathed in and out, calmly. Trying as he could, he cleared his mind of everything and tried to imagine he was floating in water. That usually was the one thing that helped him the most in regaining his mental and emotional footing.

Before long, his mind drifted off, sleep claiming him without asking for anything in return. It could only do as it was meant to, after all and all Armin wanted was sleep.

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generosity

“You’re already starting up another box?” Yael looked up from the box he had sat out just against the wall of their guest room. It was empty most of the time so he didn’t feel too bad about putting the box there, it wouldn’t be in anyone’s way.

“Well, when we came back from dropping stuff off last time, I realized there still had been plenty of stuff I’d left behind that I didn’t really use so I thought I’d put them somewhere for a while. Earlier today I found that box again and I looked into it, still filled with stuff I didn’t need anymore so I brought it back out and here it is now. I know where it is so when I find something I know I don’t use and I’m sure you don’t use, it’ll go in there.”

“You know, I don’t think there’s anyone out there more generous than you.” To Quentin’s softly spoken words, Yael blushed and ducked his head. He shrugged lightly, rubbing the back of his mind. He knew it was just how he was. He certainly didn’t go out of his way to give these things to people. It was just one of those things. He bought stuff he thought he would use but ended up not using it. There was no point in keeping things like these in the house. If he really, absolutely needed them, he’d get the item back.

Most of what was in the box or what ended up in the box over time were little things, inexpensive trinkets for the most part. Clothes still in good conditions that simply were not being worn, either because they were too big or just too small though the latter was rather rare in his case. He was long since done growing up and no amount of exercise or food would get him to put on more weight than he had at this point in his life.

After living for two years together, he had gained as much weight as he ever would and he knew he still had himself a lot of sharp angles he wouldn’t lose. He was thin, he’d been thin for most of his life and his metabolism kept him thin. Quentin was a little heavier though not so much fat as there were no bony edges to him.

“I’m just putting stuff in there that we don’t use and you know this as well as I do. At times we’ll be out buying things, we’ll see something, go ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaaaah’ over it, buy it, bring it home and we won’t use it at all because we have no use for it.” He shrugged, finally standing up again and stretching as he did.

“Well I think you’re still absolutely generous and I love you for it. I guess we could go through my stuff for a change, I know I have a slowly growing collection of clothes and there’s stuff I no longer wear. I think it’s all stuff I stopped wearing when you entered my life.” With a laugh, Quentin turned around and headed down the hallway, Yael not quite at his heels though he wasn’t far behind. He knew Quentin kept a trunk of old things stored at the end of their closet and he’d never really peeked into it.

“If it wasn’t for the nature of the things I keep in my special box, I think a lot of that stuff would end up being given away too but I can’t imagine that would be looked at very well.” He laughed, his cheeks still somewhat pink as Quentin pulled the old trunk out of the closet with something of a grunt.

“I’m pretty sure people would buy the stuff, just because it was on sale but I can’t picture the folks who take the stuff in to sell it would even set it up and out there, they’d probably just throw it out. Shame though, I like most of them, not that I’ve seen them in use but I think that in time we’ll get there.”

Of course, that only served to bring a deeper blush to Yael’s cheeks and he stuck his tongue out. “Let’s have a look at what’s inside that trunk of yours. Who knows, I might steal a piece or two.”

“I don’t know about that, love, for one, unless you’ve forgotten, I’m shorter than you and a lot of this stuff is stuff I bought while I was making my way here from Siberia. So it’s old, it’s worn though not too badly worn but it’s all for someone a couple of inches shorter than you and I know you prefer your shirts long.” “Details, details.”

Most of the clothes in the trunk ended up being folded and put into the box, efficiently filling it up to the very top. Yael closed it and made a note to head out into their little shed to get another one eventually. Considering how cold it was out right now, he didn’t much feel like getting dressed up just to head out back to gather a box from the shed. Once he’d need something else from there, he would get to it.

“You could almost hide someone in there. Plus, that trunk is honestly beautiful, Quentin. It’s old but it’s in good condition, it could look good at the food of the bed, what do you think?” Yael had spent more time looking at the trunk itself than he had looking at the clothes Quentin had pulled out from said trunk.

“I guess we could. I don’t much see the point to it being there, though.”

“Well, we could use it to store other things. Like our winter coats and winter blankets and all the rest in summer. In winter we could store our summer sheets, the swim suits though maybe not, we use those anyway but you know what I mean. We could put a blanket on top of it and I’m sure the cats would love to have somewhere else to sprawl at.”

Quentin looked at the chest again for a long moment, looking completely uncertain though he sighed after a minute. “I guess you’re right. Want to work your magic on it? It does have a few scuffs and stains, I know how well you worked these antique bird cages you’d found, I bet you could do miracles with this thing. While you’d do that, I could see about weaving us a nice, thick blanket to set up there, just for the cats.”

Yael tilted his head to the side, looking the trunk over one last time before he smiled, oh he smiled, a bright, pleased sort of smile. “I can work something out with it though I still want to keep its old look, I’ll just scrub it and maybe sand it just a tiny little bit but that’s all I’m going to do.”

“You’re the one doing all the hard work so you decide what you do with it. If you want to stain it another colour, I’m sure we can talk someone into driving us into town so we can get a can or two, I can’t imagine we should be walking cans of wood stain or paint out in this temperature too long so a car might be best.”

Again, Yael studied the trunk, looking at it from this angle and that one. “For now, I think just a bit of sanding and a gentle scrub to get it clean. We can stain it next year.”

Next year it would be. Quentin knew when Yael had made his mind and on particular things, he didn’t argue about them. Yael was the artist of the two of them and he knew what he was doing with what he had on hand. It would be a work of art one way or the other and that is all that counted, in the long run.

a pile of papers

He wasn’t in the habit of wearing the suit and tie. He found it absolutely uncomfortable. Unlike him, Lex wore suits as if he’d worn them all of his life and in a certain way it was almost the truth. For all those endless hours and days, weeks, months and years in certain case, he spent working on particular lawsuits, with particular clients, the suit and tie had always been present. Eoghan, much more in the habit of preferring to own and run establishments such as bars and far-from-fancy restaurants had never needed the suit and tie but it seemed that in this particular meeting, it had been preferable. At least, those had been Lex’s words.

“It’s going to be for all of about an hour, two at most, Eoghan. We go up there, we sit together, his people on one side, the two of us on the other. I don’t mind sitting in as your attorney for this one, my name is still pretty well known in the world and I haven’t died yet, just retired because I had bigger projects to work on. They hand us the paperwork, I look it over, I take note of things if there’s anything shifty going on and that’s that. You sign, they hand us the key, we hand them the first payment over—yes, I know, we could just pay it all in one go but humans seem to prefer things when they’re paid in parts—and we all head off, happy and pleased with what we now have.”

It hadn’t really made putting the suit on any more comforting. The tie around his throat left him feeling as if someone were trying to choke him, that was one of the reasons why he hated turtlenecks too. Always that sensation of his throat being squeezed until something terrible happened.

He laughed softly at the thought, Lex blinking at him from the driver’s side a moment. They were almost there, driving downtown to one of the most recent buildings there was. Eoghan didn’t really understand why they couldn’t have taken care of it all in the church but he wasn’t about to really bitch and complain, all he wanted was to get that paperwork signed, make sure everything was in order and then get back out so he could bring in a crew to start working on the library.

The first things he wanted were the windows and they would have to do them quickly, with the late autumn, almost winter chill settling on them, the air would be more than a little cold. It was the only work they’d have to do outside. Everything else was inside and that meant they wouldn’t really have to stop once it started snowing, so long as the heat was on, that was.

“I was just thinking about how much I hate wearing neckties. Though they’re fabulous on you and I used to love latching onto one to pull you closer to me. Neckties and turtlenecks, I always feel as though they’re squeezing my throat, I can’t help it.”
“It’s going to be a short lived thing and once we’re back in the car, you can loosen the tie and pop open the first two buttons, I promise.”

The building looked brand new, shiny almost even. Eoghan couldn’t recall seeing it get built up and he knew that at the size it had, he could have seen it from the roof of his home, even if they were pretty far away. Maybe Yael had seen it be built.

They stepped out of the vehicle, breath fogging out of their mouth as they moved to the doors to step inside. The place looked absolutely modern, shiny surfaces, sharp angles but still rather minimalistic in look. It was strange. He didn’t much care for it. Then again, with his love of all things old, it couldn’t be all that surprising.

Lex kept a step behind him though Eoghan could still feel his presence strongly at his side. He wasn’t afraid or even uncomfortable at the idea of being where he was, this wasn’t new, this whole buying a building or property thing but this felt different in its own way, he couldn’t really explain it or understand it.

They stopped at the front desk where a young woman with pretty eyes and an easy smile asked to know the reason for their visit. Eoghan told her they were meeting up with Mr. Sartain. Her smile brightened as she looked them over briefly, trying to be discreet though she wasn’t quite as much as she believed. She told them to head to the last elevator on the right and to head to the top floor, the secretary there would then tell them which direction to take. Before they left, she gave them a magnetic card and asked them to bring it back down before they left, if they’d please.

As they walked away, Eoghan breathed another soft chuckle. The whole situation felt a little surreal at this point and it amused him more than anything else.

“I don’t know which one of us she was checking out but she wasn’t exactly subtle about it.” He murmured the words as he took one quiet look at the elevator. There were no buttons to press to call it but there was a reader for a card so he swiped it and the elevator doors swung open.

They stepped inside the spacious moving box, the walls clear and reflective. Eoghan turned to study the floor number buttons on the wall and found only two. One for the ground floor and one for the top floor. “Guess this one only goes to the top, I suppose it explains the card.”

The box’s motions were smooth and after a few moments, the bell rang and the doors, on the opposite side of where they had stepped in, slid open. They stepped out, approached the front desk and were directed towards a meeting room with quite the view. Eoghan didn’t doubt that a lot of folks had probably complained about the height of this building, it towered over everything else and it made their skyline less than appealing with but a single building standing out so tall.

They were seated and before long joined by two men in pristine suits.

As he dropped the magnetic card off at the front desk on the first floor, Eoghan lightly loosened the knot of his necktie, popping his first button undone. He was done with it trying to choke him silly and that was all there was to that. He offered the young woman a smile and a wink before he joined Lex who was rolling his eyes at him.

“You shouldn’t be giving her false hopes, you know.”

“I’ll never see her again, it can’t hurt, really.” He mumbled the words in reply, buttoning up his coat to his throat as they stepped outside. Lex handed him the small suitcase in which all the paperwork was, precious paperwork that he would need to keep somewhere safe and he would. Eoghan hugged it to himself as he sat in the car before he settled it between his feet on the floor of the car.

“So you finally have yourself a good building that won’t fall apart on you in the next few years, how does it feel to know you’re bettering the world?” His voice was softly amused as he pulled them from the parking lot and eased back into the street.

Eoghan chuckled, looking up to the building one last time before it was trying to disappear behind them as they drove away. “I just want to make sure Armin and the kids work in a good environment and I want people to not be afraid too visit their library. So long as I don’t have to step into that brand spanking new building of theirs ever again, I think I’ll be happy. All the smooth lines and up to date everything creeped me out.”

“It was strange, I admit. I’m pretty sure our seller at the top was one of us, there was just something about him.” Lex shrugged, turning at the intersection. “You shouldn’t have to step in there ever again as it is. We have all the paperwork, we have all the keys and I forgot to tell you but the guy you talked to about the stained glass windows called back to say that whatever you’d ordered was now being processed, how are you going to work that one out?”

“Well, I figured that for now, just to change the windows, I was going to have regular, plain old windows set up. I know the stained glass order is going to take some months to complete. So I figured I’d get the contractors fit in the new, plain windows so they’d have that done, then they can work inside and whenever the new windows are ready, more than likely around spring next year, I can have someone come in and change those around.”

It did sound like a plan to him and he knew he was going to be busy again, not half as busy as he’d been with the old library, no, the job that had needed done in there had been extensive, this was different. The building was bigger but in better condition. “This is going to be a fun project.”

“Better be fun, you were getting pretty cranky about the other one, let me tell you.”

“Sorry.”

“All forgiven, let’s just focus on the present and future.”

“Let’s.”

your slogan

“Oh, oh! What about ‘Even your wet dreams are made of chocolate’?” Besides him, Lex groaned and rolled his eyes. Eoghan had been trying to find a new slogan for his chocolaterie. All of them were corny but every new one he uttered was even cornier than the last. He didn’t know how much longer he could last and not begin to shake the other to get him to stop. It had been amusing at first but now it was just flat out silly and it made no sense to him, none whatsoever.

“Eoghan, enough, everything you utter has a dirty side to it. While it might bring in the attention of some customers I’m pretty sure it would scare off the rest.”

“But Lex, you’re doing adult chocolates more than anything else later, I’m pretty sure most folks who order from you are consenting adults willing to hear that kind of slogan.” Lex rolled his eyes again, reaching out to lightly swat at his companion and lover.

“At this time of the year, yes, I seem to get more adult-shaped chocolate but during the rest of the year, that’s not the case. The few I get during the summer since I don’t really do bigger pieces are all normal things and-“

“You can’t want to claim that the requests you get for Valentine’s day are ‘normal’, let alone safe for kids.”

“Well no, of course not.”

“So why not something with a bit of a naughty feel to it?”

“I don’t really need a slogan, Eoghan. Information about me gets out through word of mouth. People talk about their good experience to their friends and those people get in touch with me. Then there’s the website and even that is a chore to keep up to date. I really should just set up different pictures of what I can do without custom information and set up the rest with a ‘contact me if you want anything else, most everything is possible for a price’ or something.”

“You’re boring, Lex.” Eoghan stuck his tongue out, knowing he was childish and Lex chuckled softly, a low, slightly tired sort of sound. There had been a huge disturbance in the air in the earlier morning and he hadn’t been sure what to make of it, it had woken him up out of a dead sleep, way early in the morning, earlier than he usually was up and about and he hadn’t been able to get back to sleep once it had passed.

Letting go of the whole idea for the slogan, Eoghan took a moment to look Lex over, a soft frown finding his lips as he did. “You honestly look a little like shit and you’ve been up earlier than usual, are you okay?”

Shrugging, Lex ran a hand through his hair before he was looking out the nearest window, off into the distance, as far as he could see. “I don’t know, I just felt something wrong this morning, as though a gifted person had pulled massive amount of energies into a single point. I don’t know why.”

Lips still to a frown, Eoghan scooted closer, looking up to his lover a moment, worry etched all over his face. “You’re saying that there might be someone out there who might be using their gifts for reasons they shouldn’t? On a big scale?”

Lex answered the question with a shrug and a sigh, rubbing a hand over his face again. He hadn’t liked the sensation of it though he hadn’t really felt anything evil in that energy shift, he’d just felt the shift. “It didn’t feel like someone trying to harm someone else, just like, I don’t know, it almost felt like an idiot trying to play a joke or something, I don’t know. I’m surprised you didn’t feel it, you’re usually attuned to these things more than me.”

“I usually am but not when it comes to someone with a gift like yours. I’m so used to the fluctuations of your gift that anything that might feel like that will go right on past my radar and I won’t know any better.” His voice was softly apologetic and Lex shook his head, managing the hint of a smile.

“Well, nothing seems to have exploded, I see no smoke, so no fire and nothing looks out of place, maybe I just imagined it.” It seemed more than a little unlikely but there wasn’t much they could do about it at that point.

“If it happens again, soon as you feel something you tell me and I’ll try to reach out in that direction to see what I might be able to feel, otherwise, I guess we’ll just have to leave it be. We’re all right, there’s no one out there in this city who knows about us or our gifts and who might be out to try to hurt us.” He was trying to sound reassuring and he didn’t feel as though his words held much strength in that regard. “We can bring it up to the others, see if they haven’t sensed anything themselves and if they have, we can try to find more information in whatever way is available to us.”

Lex nodded, trying not to think too much about whatever it was he had felt. He didn’t know what it was and focusing on it now wouldn’t really get him anywhere, he knew. He tried to leave it be. He even plastered on a smile of sorts before he turned his gaze back to his life mate. “So, how about you fling another slogan at me to see if you still suck at them?”

The rest of their day had gone without a hint. There hadn’t been another surge, there had been no news of anything unusual happening in the city though the weather folks had talked about a sudden downpour in one particular area of the city while there really hadn’t been any clouds in the sky.

There wasn’t a slogan picked yet and Lex still was of the mind that he didn’t really need one. Eoghan had stopped uttering the silliest of phrases that came into his mind and they had spent most of their days just relaxing and doing little more than what was absolutely necessary: rest, food, slight bathroom breaks, a check-up on Adela and that was mostly it.

The setting sun found them settled in front of the crackling fireplace, the tie-dyed green and black blanket set out over them. Words were not uttered, only the quietness of their breathing was present as they relaxed and appreciated the peace that was offered to them at that point. It was rare, as of the past while, for them to have a day where nothing was required of them. No commissions, no work to be done on the building. The paperwork had been written up, or was in the process of being written up for the church to be bought and eventually—quickly Eoghan hoped—fixed so it could be turned into the best library ever.

“Lex?” Eventually, Eoghan did shift, turning his head just so, barely. He didn’t want to move, he was too comfortable to move.

“Mmhm?” Lex’s answer was a simple little sound, he kept his eyes closed, his breathing slow and steady, he too was plenty comfortable and didn’t really feel like moving.

Above him, Eoghan chuckled and closed his eyes, settling his weight so he could press his face to his lover’s throat with a low, content note. “Love you.”

The words, not often spoken though they still were known, warmed Lex who breathed a sigh of content. He curled his arms tighter around the other, holding him as close as he dared. “And I you, lame slogan and all.”

“HEY!” Eoghan straightened up, their trapped heat escaping with his motions as he moved to pout down at the other. “I resent that, take it back.”

“Nope, I’m sorry but your slogans are lame, I love you anyway. If you don’t settle and keep more heat from escaping, I’m not giving you any tonight.”

That seemed to do the trick well enough and Eoghan huffed—a playful sound this time—before he settled back down again, tucking the blanket just so about them. “You play dirty.”

“You love me for it.”

“And I do, I’m screwed.”

“Yup.”

it’s futile

They had been walking together, side by side, bundled up securely, a paper bag of freshly baked and still warm bread inside their reusable bag when suddenly the rain started to pour out of absolutely no where. They took refuge, as best as they could, under an awning, looking out to the sudden downpour, not really able to understand where it had come from.

“The sky was clear and bright when we came out, where the hell did this come from?” Quentin looked out from his huddled spot, knowing he was still getting somewhat wet as the awning wasn’t exactly that big though it did some of the job it was supposed to, that was keeping them from getting soaked to the bone in this more than sudden pour of absolutely cold rain.

Yael, standing next to him, shrugged but stepped back a little more to move away from the edge of the awning, his pants were already beginning to get wet, this hiding out thing was going to be futile, he had a feeling, they’d be wet one way or another. “I don’t know, it was chilly but clear out just moments ago and now we’re just- we can’t stay here, Quentin, this place isn’t even staying dry. We’ve got hoods, we’ve got out coats, the only thing we can really do is run home. We’ll be wetter but we’ll be home sooner and we can have a hot shower to warm back up again.”

It did seem to be the only option, the rain was falling thickly, as if someone had really overfilled the cloud and had decided that this very particular spot was where it was supposed to pour out. As he tried to look off in the distance though he couldn’t make out much for how bad the rain was, he was sure he could see where it seemed to more or less literally stop. At least he assumed that this was what he was seeing, he wasn’t sure.

Quentin looked in the direction his companion was looking and he braced himself. He pulled his hood over his head, knowing it wouldn’t do much good but there was only so much they could do. The rain didn’t look to be about to stop and he didn’t really want to stay where he was for much longer. “All right, on three we just run. I can carry the bag, don’t let go of my hand, I don’t really want to lose you in this rain!”

Yael laughed, his head shaken though he pulled his hood up and slipped his hand to Quentin’s own. He could barely see across the street, he knew the rain was going to sting something bad but they had to get out from under that awning and they had to get home. They’d heal from whatever this rain would do to them, he just hoped their bag was waterproof enough to keep their breakfast bread intact.

His hand securely wrapped around Yael’s own, Quentin counted up and on three they took off at a run. He almost hit a pole but Yael’s sudden tug at his hand moved him just enough to avoid an accident that would have been more than a little painful. After a couple of blocks, they slowed down, just enough. The rain was letting up where they were at and they were already soaked to the bone, it was unpleasant.

“I wonder if Mira could have control over that kind of thing.” The bread was now sitting on the counter, cut into thick slices. Yael still had a towel over his shoulders and about the end of his hair. They had showered and dried up, their coats, pockets emptied, had been dropped into the dryer for some much needed help. They’d known that just hanging them up wouldn’t have done any good.

“I guess it depends on how well he controls his gift and how strong he is. I mean, think about it, that was a lot of rain and some heavy stuff, maybe he could, maybe he couldn’t I don’t really know for sure but I guess it doesn’t really matter. His gift is his to control.”

“Yeah I know but I mean, imagine if he’d been out there with us, you think he could have been able to keep us dry?” Yael took one slice of the bread, buttering it up just slightly, just enough. Quentin blinked, shrugging lightly as he did the same.
“It’s possible he would have been able to but he wasn’t with us, we got ourselves soaked but the bread still is a little warm and I think that makes up for it.”

With a laugh, Yael shook his head and gathered his plate of fruits and cheeses before he settled at the table with the bread and his glass of tea. They had been soaked to the very bone when they’d come back inside, their clothes absolutely wet. The reusable bag where they’d stored the bread had begun to be soaked through just the same but barely, the paper bag the breads themselves had been in still had been dry for the most part. Just a couple of wet spots but that had been it.

“What have we learned today?”

“We take our umbrella with us no matter that the weather is absolutely perfect and nice?” Yael snickered, shaking his head as he took a bite of his sliced bread with a soft sigh. This was good food though he still felt a little chilled inside. “Or we ask Mira to walk with us.”

“I don’t even know if our umbrellas would have held for how hard it was falling down. I had leftover bits of already healing bruises on my arms when we came inside, that was bad. Almost like hail but too wet and not solid enough though it felt pretty solid when it fell.”

“I guess it doesn’t really matter much at this point, we’re inside, it’s warm, we’ve got our food and while I’m still a little chilled, at least I’m mostly dry and I know that if I still do feel chilly I can take a bath later on. That or we push up the temperature in the pool and we have ourselves a long swim and dip.”

“Two very valid options, for now, food, yes?”

“Well I’m already eating, you’re the one who’s just talking and not eating.”

Quentin, rolling his eyes, took a bite out of his bread slice after having added a bit of jam to the very end. He knew there was nothing he could do about the strange bit of rain that had fallen over their heads but he still couldn’t really wrap his mind about the sudden rain, it made no sense, the sky had been perfectly clear when they’d stepped out and it still had been absolutely clear when they had stepped out of the bakery.

It baffled him, confused him really. He knew about freak storms but this hadn’t really seemed like it. Not that there was much he could do about any of it at this point so he tried to let it be. Focused on what was in front of him instead of thinking about what had happened in the past. “I’m eating, I’m just trying to understand what happened. I keep on telling myself that it just happened and that we can’t really change any of it but I still can’t really let it go.”

Shrugging, Yael offered him a half-smile, as if to let him know that there really wasn’t a whole lot they could do about the situation.

“What if it was someone who made it happen? What if someone out there is out to get us?”

“You’ve watched too many James Bond movies, Quentin. I can’t imagine why anyone out there would want to do that kind of thing to us, we keep to ourselves, we don’t bother anyone, why try to, what, soak us to death? I just don’t know. Try not to think about it, really.”

He did try, he would but that was as futile as staying under the awning had been.