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belated birthday punches

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Aaron, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    December 12, Year 7 BP
    @John Silver

    There were about a million and one reasons John wouldn't have told him it was his birthday. Some people were quiet about that kind of thing, some people just didn't care, or maybe they didn't think anyone else should have cared. Maybe they were too private a person for that, but birthdays were important for Aaron. Maybe it seemed silly, maybe it seemed simple. But honestly, simple was sort of the reason he enjoyed it so much. It was such a simple way to show somebody that they mattered, that people thought about them, that people cared.

    And he'd come to care about John. He was one of very few friends he had outside of Misty Hollow. And so, when he'd just happened to be looking at the pirate's Starknet profile one day and realized the birthday field said December 5, a week prior to that day, Aaron still remembered how wide his eyes had gotten.

    Had he celebrated? Had he told anyone? Aaron was sure he must have, there had to be more important people in his life to celebrate with than the random guy he'd made drinks for on a couple of occasions at work and made spaghetti with on that one occasion, but he still couldn't help but feel obligated to come by.

    Hopefully the door he'd walked up to in that building had been the right one. He'd never been to the Haymet Place Apartments before, but that was where John had told him in passing he lived and it hadn't taken much after that to work out which room it was. Or, well, which room it supposedly was. A gift under his arm wrapped in blue "it's a boy!" wrapping paper, clearly all he could find so last minute in the house, Aaron stood a little bit straighter as he cleared his throat and knocked three times against the wood of the door.

     
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  2. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    It had been a busy enough day at the orphanage and John was fairly glad he wouldn't need to work any more today - the cold was getting to him, it crept into his bones and no matter how thick his coat or how warm his scarf, he ended up freezing regardless.
    Though he wasn't certain whether he could really blame that on the cold anymore, not lately anyway.
    There were enough other issues to blame it on, the biggest of which he ignored with flawless skill.
    Just that some things could only be ignored for that long, especially if they left visible marks.

    John had turned up all the heatings in his apartment, if only so he could run around dressed as light as possible, seeing as he was most comfortable that way. Plus his parrot didn't seem to mind.
    He wasn't expecting anyone, so when somebody knocked at the door, John was caught a little off guard. He had opted for his favorite, comfy attire to wear at home - bright red sweatpants sat low on his hips and a lose black tanktop which frankly revealed more skin than it covered.
    His curls were much shorter now and even though he was still getting used to the haircut, he could definitely see the advantages - for example that it didn't take his hair four hours to dry after a shower and he didn't end up soaking all of his shirts thanks to dripping wet, more than shoulder long hair.
    The track marks on his arm were not bruised enough to be noticeable unless somebody really knew what they were looking for and thus John didn't bother covering them up quite yet - he knew he'd have to, sooner rather than later, but those were concerns for a future yet to come. One he wasn't willing to think of now.

    His parrot was sat on the back of one of the kitchen chairs, busy trying to crack a walnut, which probably explained by the bird was so unusually silent when John reached for the door and opened it.
    Out of all the people he had expected, Aaron wasn't one of them.
    But the man's appearance was a more than just pleasant surprise - in fact, like a damned placebo effect, John could swear he immediately felt better.
    "Aaron! Hi, I... didn't know you were in town."

    And without really thinking, John took the half step forward and pulled the other man into an embrace he hadn't realized how badly he's needed.
    An embrace which certainly lasted longer than might be considered appropriate for friends. If friends was what they were at all. Though John was not about to get into that now.

    "Come on in."

    Finally releasing Arron, he didn't actually notice the wrapped gift in the other's possession, being too distracted with cursing himself for not having invested more time into tidying up his apartment even though he hadn't known the other would come over. Or had Aaron told him but he's simply forgotten?
    No, his memory surely hadn't failed on him like that, right?
    Yes, he was struggling with insomnia lately and yes, he knew that... his particular bad habit could lead to memory gaps but John was very certain this visit was unannounced.

    Stepping aside, he opened the door to the other, letting him in and vaguely gesturing towards the kitchen to invite the other to sit down - hoping the man wouldn't mind sharing the room with a cockatoo.
    "Tea, coffee, water?"

    Another thought that entirely escaped him was the fact that he was barefoot, the sound of his steps irregular against the floor boards, the silent step of his foot contrasting the dim, hollow sound of his prosthesis.
    But a lot of things tended to escape John's attention lately, and as much as he knew what to blame it on, he preferred to opt for blissful ignorance instead. It was easier that way. He had enough self-loathing to put up with as it was.
    Aaron's appearance somehow made the day seem a little brighter though, a little... gentler.


     
    #2 John Silver, Dec 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  3. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    The longer he stood there waiting, the more he could feel the chill of the draft in the hallway, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his jacket as he held his arms closer, keeping the gift wedged firmly under his arm. Aaron never had been a fan of the low temperatures, which was why the heat he immediately felt radiating from John's home was so very welcome the moment the door finally opened.

    John was staring at him with a look of surprise that Aaron had definitely expected to see, and already, he was rethinking his choices. He should have called, warned the poor guy somehow. But then, he wasn't exactly the only person surprised by what he saw. There was the hair, which looked fantastic, though it would have been a lie to say he was going to miss the length. He'd sort of wanted to touch it. Besides that, though, he was also dressed a lot more lightly than he'd ever seen him before, which was completely natural. He was in his own home, for god's sake.

    At that point, Aaron's gaze had wandered and once he realized that, his blue eyes drifted right back to John's face and he smiled. "Your hair!" he cried, but before he could say anything else, John was pulling him into an embrace. His smile faltered in his surprise, but he wasn't gonna argue with that either. His gut told him that if he was pulling him into an embrace, that meant he needed it in some capacity and Aaron was always happy to deliver. Hugs were meaningful and they were easy. Human contact could do a person a world of good, and Aaron was glad to find that John considered them friendly enough for things like this.

    It was a long hug, though, and once John finally pulled back, Aaron was staring at him with a dumbfounded smile that brightened a moment later before he stepped past him and into his little home. It could've been tidier, but he wasn't gonna judge him. He'd seen worse, he felt like he'd seen everything, in fact. Instead, he made his way straight to the kitchen John had pointed out to him.

    "You don't happen to have hot chocolate, do you? I've had a craving," he said, tossing a glance over his shoulder for a moment, but once he'd stepped into the kitchen and turned back, Aaron froze. His face absolutely lit up at the sight of the bird. "Is this the famous cockatoo?" It was like he hadn't realized just how much he loved birds until that very moment. He was so distracted, in fact, that he'd momentarily forgotten why he was there at all, sliding the wrapped gift onto the table, blue eyes never leaving the bird as he moved to get a closer look.

     
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  4. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Following the other man into the kitchen - which was probably the tidiest place in this entire apartment, but not because John had tidied it up more than the rest but rather because he hardly used it - he got on his tiptoes to reach for two mugs from one of the higher shelves.
    "If the day ever comes that I won't have hot chocolate, you will know something is very wrong."

    Smiling he looked back towards Aaron who had stopped in front of the cockatoo which was currently still fumbling with the walnut - or at least had been because a moment later the bird's beak closed around the nut and cracked it with ease.
    Still too distracted to even bother looking up towards their guest, as it seemed.

    "Well I wouldn't say famous - unless you ask my neighbors, that is. But yes, that's the one."

    John whistled shortly, causing the bird's head to jerk up, black eyes looking towards him as the former pirate crossed his arms in front of his chest and gave the bird an almost scolding look.
    "How do we greet guests, Captain?"

    For a moment the bird was silent, tilting its head, orange feathers standing up before it dropped the walnut onto the table and turned towards Aaron instead, spreading its wings for a moment and puffing up the peach colored feathers.
    "Hi! Hi! Hi! How are you? Pretty bird!"

    It turned around on the chair once and nodded its head towards Aaron a few times.
    John seemed satisfied enough with that reaction and returned his attention to the hot chocolate, but not without pausing for a moment when his gaze fell onto the wrapped gift upon the table.
    Had Aaron had this one with him at the door already? And he hadn't noticed?

    "Are you still headed to a uh... how are they called, baby shower later?"

    It still seemed like such a weird term for such a celebration, and John couldn't help thinking it sounded utterly ridiculous.
    He placed two mugs of steaming hot hot chocolate on the table, his own mug was crowned with tiny marshmallows and legit chocolate syrup poured up top. Yes, to say that John had a sweet tooth would probably be an understatement. The weirdest thing were probably the mugs though.
    He had an odd liking for weird looking and weird shaped mugs, his favorite one was painted in colorful, glittery fish scales, the handle was shaped like a mermaid tail.
    The mug he placed in front of Aaron was covered in tiny bird prints in all kinds of colors and at the bottom of the mug, currently not visible due to the hot chocolate, was the print of an owl head with large eyes.
    Hopefully collecting mugs was less terrifying than weird insect skulls.

    Pulling out a chair, John lowered himself into it, tucking his healthy leg beneath the other one as per usual, and wrapping his hands around his own hot chocolate mug, as if the warmth in the apartment wasn't enough already.
    He was entirely without jewelry at the moment, mostly because he's taken it all off for the shower and hadn't gotten to putting all of it back on again, and it was almost unsettling to find the soft metallic sound his rings usually made against the mug missing.
    Another thing which might have been noticeable was the fact that John's chairs were all a touch high. Not for everyone, of course, seeing as John himself wasn't exactly tall - but they were high enough for him to let his legs dangle without quite reaching the floor. It was a simple tool to take presure off his fake leg but it did wonders on especially busy days.

     
    #4 John Silver, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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  5. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    "Noted. I knew there was a reason I liked you," Aaron deciding with a smile. Any friend of hot chocolate was a friend of his, and clearly John Silver was a friend of hot chocolate.

    The topic of hot chocolate, though, as well as the entire purpose of coming here in the first place was forgotten as Aaron watched the cockatoo trying to crack open the walnut. However long he'd been at it, it at least appeared to be quick work to Aaron because a moment later, the bird had the nut in its break and he had the faint telling sound of the crack before it was promptly dropped onto the table.

    Gaze flicking briefly to John as he got his bird's attention, he looked back and his face lit up the moment the spread its wings and actually spoke! Words! It was a little silly, honestly. He'd seen it in videos before, it wasn't like he didn't know you could teach parrots to do things like this, and yet it was so different actually seeing and hearing it for himself. "You are a pretty bird, aren't you?" he said, struggling for a moment to tear his gaze away from the pretty bird as he heard John questioning something about a-- baby shower?

    Finally looking over to him, the was a distinct look of confusion on his face before he followed his gaze to the wrapped gift on the table. "... Oh! Oh my god," he started, letting out a distracted laugh and reaching out to push the gift toward John even as he slipped into the chair across from him, only vaguely aware of the fact that he had to shift a bit higher to get comfortably into it. "That's for you. Go ahead, open it. It's for your new baby boy--"

    He was grinning like an idiot, there was clearly no way he was gonna keep that up. "Kidding. It's for your birthday," he corrected, pulling his own mug closer and taking a second to examine it. The next words came out of his mouth casually even as he subtly peered over the mug at him, the corners of his lips twitching upward slightly as though he were trying to keep himself from smiling too much. "You know, the one you neglected to tell me was a week ago?"[

     
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  6. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    The exchange between Aaron and the cockatoo - or rather the brief moment of it that John witnessed - was as unexpected as it was adorable. Not everyone was fond of birds. Especially not loud, puffy birds which talked a lot and occasionally said utterly inappropriate things (which John was totally not responsible for at all).
    But Aaron seemed almost excited about the damned bird and it made John's heart grow fonder just to see those two being silly.

    When his guest's attention finally returned to him again, confusion followed by a very poor attempt at joking mockery, John almost wished he hadn't asked.
    The gift was pushed towards him almost casually, just that this was anything but casual for John. Hell, he couldn't remember the last time he's received a gift. Or if he's ever received one at all.
    So for a blank moment he just stared at the wrapped item, disbelieving, finding it hard to grasp that this was really happening.
    Then, slowly, he reached for it and tugged it closer but didn't unwrap it yet, eyes returning to Aaron's.
    It didn't take long for John to put the pieces together and remember, suddenly, that Starknet was a thing and it provided information even when he didn't, which was probably how the other had learned about this whole birthday nonsense in the first place.

    "No, I haven't - I mean... I have never celebrated it, don't even know how people usually do that kind of thing. It isn't like I didn't tell you, I didn't really tell anyone. And this is really kind but you shouldn't have. It's just another stupid day, not worth the bother. I can't possibly accept this, I mean - ...did you really go out to get me a present for a birthday I didn't tell you anything about? Are you nuts?"

    John realized way too late that he was rambling. That this was going nowhere and he was just trying to make up excuses without really knowing what for.
    Clearly, this was not a situation he was prepared for nor familiar with.

    Shaking his head softly, John finally tugged at the wrapping, rather than tearing it open he searched for the spots where it had been taped and carefully undid them, unfolding the paper piece by piece.
    "If it helps, you might not be late with this present at all. All I know for certain is that I was born in December, the day, however, I have picked myself."

    Whether this was supposed to be reassuring or playfully joking John couldn't tell for the life of him. He was surprised the words even made any sense at all, seeing as he was still trying to wrap his head around the mere fact that somebody had bothered to not only figure out his birthday, but also drive into a different town to drop off a gift purchased especially for this same birthday - all of which was just a little too much to handle at the moment for the former pirate.
    Which was why he focused on the wrapping paper and undoing it as carefully as possible instead.

     
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  7. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    John looked confused, and he supposed that was understandable given just how out of the blue this all must have seemed to him. They'd only seen each other a few times before, had only even known each other for a little over a month, and here Aaron was, bringing him gifts for the birthday he hadn't told him about. As he watched the other man's face, he had to wonder what he was thinking. He had to wonder if he had been a little bit overconfident about all of this, if they weren't at this stage in their friendship at all, if he was jumping the gun so to speak. John seemed more flustered and confused than anything, and it was cute. The rambling really was cute, but it also left Aaron feeling a little nervous like he'd made the wrong decision.

    And yet, despite that, he was smiling.

    "Are you nuts?"

    "Probably," he admitted with a little shrug of the shoulders before he dropped his gaze to the gift again with expectancy. There wasn't any going back now, after all. Maybe Aaron was just a passionate person where friendships were concerned, or maybe he just honestly really liked John. Maybe it had occurred to him at some point that when he was trying to will himself not to think about Eric, he was thinking about John instead.

    And then John was trying to put off opening the gift again, at least that was Aaron was taking from the way he suddenly tried to defend himself further. Telling him that he didn't really know whether or not that was really his birthday, so he'd just chosen it himself. Aaron wasn't gonna question it either. They had lived very different lives, and as said at that was, perhaps it really was a normal thing for people who came from John's day and age, and lived the sort of life he had lived. "So what you're telling me is ... your birthday's December 5," he clarified, a genuine grin tugging at the corners of his lips before he gestured vaguely to him. "Now will you shut up and open it already? Stalling's not gonna make it go away."

    Aaron looked amused by the whole entire ordeal, but inwardly, he was praying that he would like the set of paints he'd picked out for him. It had been an entirely impulsive decision he'd made in the store when he just couldn't decide on something.

     
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  8. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    The wrapping came undone slowly and at this point John really wasn't sure whether he wasn't just trying to unwrap it extra slow, as if unwrapping it slow enough would somehow give the present time to disappear.
    Which, in all fairness, despite Pandora, was doubtful.

    So what you're telling me is ... your birthday's December 5
    The words made John raise his eyes from the gift in his hands, innocent surprise written over his face when he met the other's gaze.
    It really was this simple, wasn't it?
    Or maybe it wasn't - but Aaron made it seem oh-so-simple. He just took it for what it was, not digging, not trying to make sense of it or figure out what the hell was going on. Instead he simply accepted the truth John had so carefully constructed for himself.
    And it was the most wonderful gift anyone could have made.

    It made John smile warmly, gently and for a few silent seconds the present in his hands was forgotten - he simply looked at Aaron in wordless appreciation, stormy blue eyes seeming to take in every motion, every detail of the other's face and storing it in memory to be recalled whenever desired.
    It wasn't the first time John had come to just stare at the other but it was the first time he felt fully, unconditionally accepted by someone without edges and questions and doubts - Aaron might never learn just how much his few, simple words had meant but John was unlikely to ever forget them.
    It often were the small things which got to Silver - and there were a million and one reasons for that, reasons most of which would never see the light of day nor be shared with another. Which was why the fact that Aaron seemed to not care for knowing them all the more meaningful.

    Time set back into motion when John finally tore his eyes off the other and pulled away the last layer of wrapping paper with new-found determination.
    It took the former sailor the blink of a moment to understand what it was exactly he was holding in his hands, but once he recognized it, his eyes widened a touch.
    It was paint.
    Something he, somehow, had not expected to find in there at all.
    Yes, he sketched occasionally, but Aaron didn't know that, he's never seen any of the casual scribbles John busied himself with during his break at the bar or when he was sat together with the children at the orphanage amongst a mess of sheets of paper, crayons and colorful pencils.
    So what, had this been a mere lucky guess?
    John had never painted before. He had never properly drawn before either, merely scribbled whatever caught his eye.
    He didn't know whether he'd be any good at this if he tried. He didn't think his silly scribbles were any good. Not that he was frustrated about it or something.
    But-...

    Running a thumb over the box cover, John looked up towards the other man finally, a smile on his lips.
    "Aaron, they're beautiful."

    And it wasn't a lie. The colors really were beautiful and though John had no damn clue how to properly work with them, he had no doubt he would give it a first try soon enough.
    "Did you take me for the artistic type right away? Am I this obvious?"

    The question was clearly amused; to explain what exactly he meant, John turned around on his chair for a moment to reach behind him and snatch a light blue notebook from the counter which he then handed to Aaron without providing any further explanation whatsoever.

    The notebook was filled with smaller, simpler scribbles and more detailed sketches, most of which were sketches of birds.
    The first one was the sketch of a cockatoo, followed by others, ranging from sea-related birds to rough sketches of everyday forest birds. There were seagulls and falcons, a robin redbreast and swallows in between rough, messy sketches of flowers and an apparently random assemble of objects, be it a mug or a stapler or the outlines of a window.
    Some sketches were more detailed than others, some had never been finished, there were the occasional dried traces of black tea upon a page and in between the scribbles a few notes - grocery shopping lists, work hours, scores for some game. Pencil mixing with pen in between.
    The notebook had enough empty pages but almost half of it was already full, as simple as some sketches were, the strokes had a certain accuracy to them.

    "Thank you."

    John finally said, smiling warmly at Aaron, feeling like a simple thank-you wasn't quite enough.

     
    #8 John Silver, Dec 28, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
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  9. Aaron

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    There was no denying how much he liked John looking at him like that. Practically gazing at him with those blue eyes of his. God, it was like he could just melt a heart, and Aaron felt a little like he was melting his in that moment. Really, it felt like some stupid high school crush, which was funny. It was funny because he remembering thinking that when he'd first met Eric, too, and for several weeks and then several months after that. They were such similar feelings.

    It was funny and it was scary.

    But looking at him now, it wasn't scary. Looking at him now, Aaron didn't really even think of it. All he thought of was how eager he was to see John rip that damn package open so he could see what expression his face might hold. And, most importantly, whether or not he needed to keep hanging onto a certain receipt. Just in case, by chance, John hated his gift.

    He didn't hate it, though, and for that, Aaron was relieved. In fact, he felt himself absolutely swelling as though what he got him for his birthday was somehow more important to him than anything else. It felt so stupid and so right.

    How had he even gotten here?

    As John suddenly turned and reached for a notebook, Aaron's brow furrowed, clearly not knowing what to expect until it had been handed to him. He hesitated, blue eyes watching John's for a moment before dropping while he opened it up to that first beautiful sketch. He definitely hadn't expected it. Honestly, it had been entirely a guess, he hadn't had any idea that John was already an artistic sort. He'd had an inkling that it might be something he could be interested in, but to find out he was already there? Aaron's lips parted as he flipped from one sketch to another and then to yet another, those parted lips eventually becoming a smile before he looked back over to John.

    "John, these are amazing. I had no idea, I honestly-- I didn't have a clue," he told him, breathing out a little laugh. "I mean, I'm thrilled. I didn't really know what you'd want and I thought those just seemed very ... you. Like you might want to try to use them someday. You know, like ... paint stuff, Aaron said. It'll be fun, Aaron said! Except-- Except this is perfect because you're already amazing at this."

     
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  10. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Somehow, John found himself unwilling to remove his hand from the box of paints, as if it was the most valuable object in his possession.
    Truth be told - for all he knew, it might even have been. He had no idea how valuable paint was, truly, he's never purchased any after all. Though he heavily doubted it was more expensive than a motorcycle.

    Watching the hesitation in the other's eyes, John still didn't provide any explanation whatsoever though, instead just smiled encouraging and waited until Aaron opened the notebook and turned the pages with something akin to amazement.
    John even believed to see a touch of pride in the other's eyes - and it was well justified, too, seeing as this had indeed been an awfully lucky guess for a gift.
    He didn't catch the reference to this whole internet-meme thing, which wasn't surprising at all, but in fact he didn't pay much attention to the words in general - being much more focused on that damned smile of Aaron's and the soft amusement in his voice.

    Usually there were few sounds John preferred to his own voice, really. It was no secret that he was quite a talker and a skilled story-teller, too. But with Aaron he would be willing to listen to the other for hours on end without making a single sound, which was a realization as concerning as it was a little terrifying, simply for how unfamiliar it felt.

    "You can't fool me - this can't be a coincidence. You must have been stalking me, admit it. Thought I'd seen you sat on my windowsill last Tuesday night."

    The grin was back in no time, leaving no doubt that he was joking.

    Accepting compliments was another thing John would yet have to learn how to handle. At least compliments concerning things he's created with his own hands.
    When it came to people complimenting his looks he didn't have any problems with that whatsoever. But something he's made? That was an entirely different topic.

    Though Aaron's compliment about his sketches had partly passed John by anyway, due to being much too busy just staring at the other like a fucking idiot.

     
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  11. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    As incredible as this entire coincidence was, Aaron had to wonder whether or not he had subconsciously picked up on the whole artist thing at some point. Based on what little he honestly knew about John Silver, it probably shouldn't have been an easy assumption to make, and yet here they were. Coincidence at its finest, so it seemed, and Aaron was definitely not complaining.

    Daring was a word he would have used to describe John, given all of the jokes he tossed around with such ease that it was almost as though he'd gone to school for the art of teasing. "Easy there, don't let that head of yours get too big," he laughed, as though he had about a hundred better things to do than sit at John Silver's windowsill in the middle of the night.

    For once in his life, John's attention seemed to have glazed right past that compliment, something that almost struck Aaron as surprised until he realized that it had been so much more personal than any other he'd given him before. God, John was more interesting a man than Aaron ever wanted to let on, happily agreeing one moment that he was a natural with words and the next unwilling to take in the fact that somebody was completely in awe by the level of talent he held.

    Had those drawings been ones by Aaron, they would have been a lot less recognizable for what they were.

    "Is this something you've been doing for a long time?" Aaron asked, his gaze having dropped to the notebook once more, starting to flip through page after page because he just wanted to see so much more. Justifiably intrigued, that was what he was. Knowledge had never been something Aaron had concerned himself with later in life, not when he'd been so happy just surviving with Eric, but things were different now and every moment he spent with John, he seemed to learn something new. Logically speaking, it could have practically been turning into an addiction.

    "My mother had a talent for art, but it never really reached me, I guess. Not a lot of similarities between us, to be perfectly honest, but I won't lie and say I've never wanted to be able to draw. Of course, I think I've ... wanted to do just about everything at some point in my life," he admitted with a little smile. Propping his elbow up onto the surface of the table, he seemed to have more or less settled comfortably into that chair, leaning his cheek against his hand, blue eyes lifting from the sketchbook to meet John's once more. Quelling the nerves he had come here with had been child's play by that point. Really, he felt more at home in this kitchen with John and his funny little bird than he had expected to.

    So, what did that mean? Truth was, Aaron didn't know and he wasn't sure he wanted to know. Underneath those smiles and deep beneath that surface of his, he was afraid of this going too far. Venting to Jesus about his struggles, about how much he missed Eric, and about the fact that he probably wasn't ever going to see him again was one thing, but he was venturing into new territory.

    What did it matter, though? Xylographs custom made for the birthdays of men like Eric were an entirely different level, whereas this was just a box of paints for a guy he'd met and almost burned down a kitchen with. Yeah, definitely not the same thing. Zoning out at that thought, Aaron suddenly cleared his throat and dragged his absently wandering mind and gaze right back to John, the objective of his thorough confusion.

     
    #11 Aaron, Jan 13, 2018
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  12. John Silver

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    Being stuck inside his apartment had never ceased being uncomfortable. It was too quiet, too forcefully domestic. It was like a life he was expected to live but simply couldn't fit into.
    Every time he shut the apartment door behind him he was already beginning to seek a reason to leave again. He couldn't stand the silence and the ticking of the clock like a reminder of all the things he refused to remember.
    A psychologist might have read a lot of problems out of this behavior, but luckily for John, he didn't even know what psychologists were.
    Working on various suppressed traumas and serious commitment issues were things he'd never willingly agree to.

    With the feathered Captain around he's been more willing to stay home for a few hours longer than usual. The bird broke the silence and it was fun to play with it on occasion. Though John also took the parrot outside with him often enough.
    However, being sat in his kitchen with Aaron now, there was none of the discomfort he usually felt around this place. It was fine.
    To just sit here and talk to this man whom he couldn't quite put a finger on yet, the man whose kitchen he had pretty much set aflame, the man who was not quite friend nor stranger nor anything in between, really. And yet, he was just right, without any labels or definitions required for the time being.
    It was comfortable to have Aaron around, and time passed easier with him. A little brighter, warmer, softer. Everything feeling a little bit more like things were alright.

    Is this something you've been doing for a long time
    In between all these messy thoughts, it took John a moment to make sense of his company's words. Eyes skipping lower to the notebook in Aaron's hand, it struck him then that the other was probably speaking about the sketches.
    "Actually not at all. I think the first time I scribbled into my notebook must have been roughly two months ago at work, when one of the kids asked me to draw a fox for her."

    When Aaron mentioned his mother, John realized that this must have been the first time the other had really willingly spoken up about his past and the place he's come from.
    There were immediately a million questions he wanted to ask, but the former sailor tried to hold back.
    He didn't want the favor returned, truly. And it didn't really matter to him what Aaron had been like before Pandora, or what he had done or not done.
    Once more John had to remind himself that it didn't matter - not because he wasn't interested, but because he had no intention of using any of the information Aaron shared with him to his advantage. This wasn't the goal here.
    A bit difficult to get used to, seeing as John was a pragmatist, more often than not winning other peple's trust for the mere sake of using it to his very own advantage.
    But not with Aaron.
    He had no interest at all in using the man in whatever way - a thought which only made this whole thing all the more confusing.

    "Were you close with your mom?"

    It was one of those questions John couldn't quite prevent himself from asking.
    He's never had a mother, and from what he's heard he had missed out on a lot in that regard. As much as he ignored the mere existence of his childhood altogether, in the end he was still curious about how different things had been for those who had grown up in circumstances different from his own.

     
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  13. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    Two months. That was a lot shorter a time period than he'd expected, and that was obvious by the way Aaron's brows perked up. Art wasn't an easy thing and John was really good at it for only having started a couple of months ago. He had to wonder whether or not the pirate realized that. Had he ever stopped to think about how easily it must have come to him so early on? Aaron was pretty sure he couldn't even draw a half decent looking stick figure if John had asked him to try. And for John, he would definitely try, if not to see that smile on his face again. Hell, a really crappy drawing would probably make him laugh, too, while he was at it.

    As obvious as his surprise was, though, the expression shifted and it was just as obvious how thoroughly impressed Aaron was at that news. "I envy people who have enough one artistic bone in their body. It sounds like you have a few of those."

    The subject moved on to his mother and Aaron hadn't really meant for it to go there. It had just been a comment, a thought that he hadn't actually intended to voice, but there it was, an opening for him to ask about his past. But Aaron didn't mind that either. The past led to the recent past and the world he'd come from, and that wasn't something that he'd keep balled up inside forever. It wasn't even that he was trying to hide the rather gruesome truth of the place he came from. If it came up, it did. If it didn't, well ... that was great, too.

    "I loved her," he said after a moment of silence that was so long, he was ashamed of it. "If that's what you mean. But I think close is a different thing entirely. I wasn't really what she wanted me to be. I think I started out in politics because that's what she wanted me to do, and I just had this desire to ..." Aaron trailed off, his gaze having drifted absently toward the window where he could see the sky had darkened. It was raining now and he was sure he spotted faint lightning in the sky off in the distance, but he wasn't even paying attention to any of that. He was lost in his own head.

    Mom was a complicated subject.

    "She used to make me eat foods I didn't like because she thought it would make me more manly. I knew really early on who I was. Homosexuality wasn't really in her vocabulary, so to speak." Aaron didn't necessarily sound bothered by it the way he would have years ago. The world was a very different place now, or the world had been when it had changed. Things like that didn't matter anymore. People were just people. Alive. Dead.

     
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  14. John Silver

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    The evident surprise in the other's expression was unexpected. John didn't know much about art at all, he didn't know what art was considered good and what wasn't and his sketches were far away from any kind of art he's ever gotten to see.
    Which meant he also couldn't judge whether the things he sketched were in any way good at all.
    He had also never considered drawing to be something others considered to be difficult to learn.
    Back on the ship he's never drawn anything, in fact he's only picked up on it here in Pandora, and it had come to him naturally, which meant he's never stopped to really consider any of it.

    To hear that Aaron envied him though eventually did make John think. Aside from making him stare at the other blankly as if not certain whether Aaron wasn't actually joking.
    However, luckily he didn't have to linger on that thought for much longer then.

    The topic shifted into more serious aspects and the silence lingered for too long to mean anything positive.
    When Aaron looked out of the window, John followed the other's glance in time to see lightning break through the black clouds. Thunder roared in the distance.
    It was an odd kind of comfort to have the privilege to be sat inside a warm, dry house when outside the weather was going crazy. It took a lot of the fear away which John had experienced when finding a thunderstorm chasing them across the sea.
    In comparison to the raging waves and ice cold, merciless rain which had soaked the men on deck while they had desperately tried to safe their lives, clinging to the ropes, feet slipping on the wet wood when the winds tore at the sails and forced them to climb up the masts in the midst of the storm to take in the sails and pray to all the unknown Gods above and below to spare them one more time - sitting here in the kitchen now almost made the storm outside seem meaningless.
    Harmless.
    But John remembered the terror of a storm at sea too well to truly believe the illusion of safety.

    I loved her
    Another flash of light fell through the window, the howling of the wind rattling in smaller growing distance.
    Aaron's words sounded evasive, in a way. Or maybe as if he was trying to justify himself, or perhaps he was simply unwilling to speak of all things bad when it came to such an important family member.
    But it was evident that he hadn't been on good terms with his mother at all.

    Thunder shook the earth and lured the first sound in a while from the parrot which had been perched upon the chair once more.
    The bird had puffed up its feathers in tense discomfort and was now hurrying towards Silver, away from the sounds at the window.
    John let go of the paint-box when the peach colored bird toddled into his arms and buried its head against his chest. Softly the former sailor ran his fingers through soft feathers in an attempt to calm the bird, shielding the parrot from the oh-so-scary weather as best as he could.

    She used to make me eat foods I didn't like because she thought it would make me more manly. I knew really early on who I was. Homosexuality wasn't really in her vocabulary, so to speak.
    Looking up from the bird towards Aaron, he listened to the other's story quietly while patting the feathered Captain.
    Homosexuality was another term John had needed a while to learn. Where he came from it hadn't existed yet.
    Sodomy they had said when tightening the knot around another poor fella's neck, eager to watch him dance on air for their own amusement rather than genuine offense.
    But even back then, John hadn't understood how anybody could possibly be this bored in their lives to judge someone for something as ridiculous as whom they preferred sharing bed and love with. It was just one of many ignorant things he's witnessed - but maybe he's simply been ahead of his time.
    If the English would ever have caught him, he'd hang for a whole lot of offenses, certainly, sodomy only being one amongst a list of many.
    And then it wouldn't have mattered anymore that he made no difference between men or women and enjoyed the company of both equally.
    Hell, they would've hanged him for no reason at all other than him being a poor-ass nobody with a much too clever tongue.

    "That sounds horrible, I am sorry."

    It wasn't pity in his words though but genuine regret that the other had to put up with a mother who apparently hadn't been able to accept her son for the person he was and had been.
    "She was wrong to treat you that way."

    John might not have had a family, nor did he know what a family was supposed to be like, but one thing he was damn sure of: a mother should love her child unconditionally, regardless of whether it was different from the rest or not. She should provide support, care and reassurance rather than spark shame and cause pain.
    It was a mother's duty to love her child.
    Even when it wasn't easy. Especially then.

     
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  15. Aaron

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    John was sympathetic, and Aaron was appreciative of that. So appreciative of that. Looking up, he met the other's gaze and gave him a small smile, shaking his head. "Don't be. It was a long time ago," he admitted, though in the grand scheme of things, maybe that wasn't true. In the grand scheme of things, the outbreak hadn't been that long ago, but it felt like it had been. It had felt like an entire lifetime ago. Aaron felt like a different person now, too.

    "I hate looking back on her like this, in such a negative light. She raised me, and for her to go the way she did--" Aaron winced slightly, gaze drifting away for a moment because it was hard to think back to the things and the people he'd lost. So he didn't, but sometimes it couldn't be avoided. Right now, it couldn't be avoided, it seemed.

    The fact that he was being so open with John at all must have meant something, though. That he liked him. That he trusted him enough to tell him these things.

    Still, it must not have made any sense coming from John's point of view, and he couldn't help but give him an apologetic look as he lifted his gaze to meet the other man's. "Things back home, they were-- ... not complicated," he admitted, as though that were exactly what he'd been about to say. "But they were grim. Bloody. Brutal. Nobody deserved to go the way the world went."

     
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  16. John Silver

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    It was a long time ago was a much too easy way out. John knew that, even though he used it himself all the time. If he'd want - if he'd risk - to pause and think, he, too, would realize that he knew the things he had experienced in his past, no matter how long ago, had influenced him and were still influencing him.
    Had he grown up in a warm home with loving parents and enough money to live a comfortable life, if he would have went to church and stayed in England and perhaps even joined the Navy or tried himself in politics, well.... he would have been an entirely different person now. One his current self would probably dislike.
    Of course the past shaped people.
    And especially the things that hurt stuck around.

    Aaron't brief yet very clear summary of the world he's come from left John with a light frown and a thoughtful look.
    His world, perhaps, could also have been described as grim, bloody and brutal but a gut feeling told him that their pasts were not comparable in the slightest, and that not only for the different centuries they were from.
    "It is better now, that's all that matters."

    The frown faded, replaced with a warm, gentle smile - the desperate optimist in John would never die and there was a very simple reason for that: life wasn't worth living if one didn't believe in a happy end.
    Because, as he had once so simply put it himself: the world was a place of unending horrors and clinging to all that was good, to every shimmer of light and every hope that things would turn out just fine, was oftentimes the only thing to keep one going.
    It certainly was for him, and had been for many years now.
    All the bad had to come to an end eventually, as all things did. One only had to endure it for long enough to see it make place for something better.

    And the way Aaron spoke about his mother, though evidently hurt by the way she's treated him, and yet with no rage or the bitterness of a man unable to see the good in the bad - it was uplifting, somehow, strangely so.
    It made John feel less of a fool for being optimistic.
    It made John feel a lot of things, actually.
    Aaron, in general, made John feel a lot of things.
    And the former sailor yet needed to decide if that was for the better or the worse...

    "Do you want to stay the night? The couch is pretty comfy and it looks like the weather's only getting worse. I wouldn't want you to walk home in a raging thunderstorm and pouring rain. I would tempt you with breakfast but after the kitchen disaster I guess I can't really do that anymore..."

    A grin tugged at his lips as John ran his fingers through soft peach feathers once more.
    The couch is pretty comfy was only relevant in so far that he was going to crash on that oh-so-comfy couch and leave the bed to Aaron, of course. There would be absolutely no arguments about that, should the other indeed take him up on the offer.

     
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  17. Aaron

    Aaron The Walking Dead

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    It was better now. And that was all that mattered. Life in Misty Hollow was so different and there may have been a lot of downs for the group since they'd moved there. They'd lost Rick, and they'd lost Glenn in much more personal ways than Pandora simply snatching them away like it had others. But it wasn't like home. They weren't constantly looking over their shoulders, listening for the sounds of the dead. They were living. Not just surviving. Living.

    And no matter how little John knew of the world he'd come from, he still seemed to understand that much. Perhaps because they had both come from terrible places and terrible situations. That was why Aaron found himself smiling back, mirroring the gentle look on the other man's face.

    Despite everything, despite the fact that John had almost burned down Aaron and Jesus' house, and despite every egotistical comment that slipped through those lips of his, he seemed to be one of the few things he constantly thought about on a daily basis.

    Aaron seemed to hesitate when John offered to let him stay the night. Glancing out the window toward the rapidly darkening sky, he was certain he saw another flash of lightning. If he went out there now, he'd have to wait for another clockwork bus that would take him back to Misty Hollow, and the last thing he wanted was to end up stranded.

    "Are you sure? I mean, I'm more than happy to have a couch to sleep on to stay out of the rain," he said, clearly not catching on to the fact that John had meant the couch to be for himself. "But you don't have anyone coming in tonight? A roommate or anyone I'd be disturbing?" Shit. Was this his stupid, childish way of asking him if he lived with anyone? If he was single?

    How old was Aaron again?

     
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  18. John Silver

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    The gentle smile was returned and the warmth that setlled in John's stomach with it was as new as it was a feeling he caught himself wishing he wouldn't have to miss.
    Aaron looked towards the window only to find the former sailor's words confirmed - the storm wasn't looking like it was going to get any better.
    The question that followed, however, was trying too hard to be subtle and lured a mocking grin from John. He probably shouldn't have made the comment he was about to make then, but he had simply not taken enough time to think about it first, never really considering what was taking it too far.


    "Uhm, let me just quickly check my list of fuck buddies, see whether I have anyone scheduled for tonight."

    In fact he didn't even attempt to sound joking, quite the opposite. With that hint of a thoughtful frown the words sounded entirely serious.
    And perhaps it was less amusing when taking into consideration that John was indeed prone to one night stands. And there was indeed more than one person he's slept with on occasion.
    Something that hadn't bothered him at all until right then and now, all of a sudden.
    It had never felt wrong until in this very moment, with the memory of Aaron's warm smile still fresh on his mind....

    Rolling his eyes and dropping the play-pretend, John grinned at the other man mockingly.
    "I live alone, Aaron. And I am not in a relationship. The only individual you'd be disturbing is this feathered beast here, and he seems to like you well enough."

    The grin eased into a gentler smile as John pushed himself out of the chair he's been sat on, grabbing the box of paints before nodding at Aaron to follow him.
    "Make yourself at home. For all I care you can rummage through my wardrobe in case you'd like comfy PJs or something. Should fit you seeing as most of my stuff is too large for me anyway - makes for extra comfort. "

    Leading the way through the living room into the bedroom, John pushed open the door to what was, after the kitchen, the second neatest room in the apartment: his bedroom. With a bed definitely too large for him alone. Though the sheer insane amount of pillows (and like 3 blankets) sure made up for that.

    "The sheets are fresh, actually, so you're lucky I guess. Uh... if you wanna use the shower, check the heat first, unless you wanna burn alive. I've been told I shower with water hot as hellfire."

    The amused smile that followed the words wouldn't have been necessary at all because he wasn't lying - he really took exceptionally hot showers.

     
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  19. Aaron

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    Okay, so maybe he was fishing just a little bit, but he was trying not to be obvious about it. Not trying hard enough, clearly, though, because if he had, then he wouldn't have even asked those questions at all. Or he would have worded them differently. Instead, John saw right through him and promptly made a comment about fuck buddies.

    Aaron's eyes widened a fraction at that, and surprise couldn't even begin to describe what he was feeling in his chest and in the pit of his stomach. Stupid, that was more like it. He liked to think he knew what a teasing John Silver looked like by now, but he didn't have that look on his face. He looked serious, like he really was going down that list in his head, like he was about to pull out of his phone and make some calls.

    And Aaron felt really stupid.

    So what came next? Where did that put them? Where did that put him? It didn't matter in the end, though, because John suddenly grinned at him and Aaron felt a little bit like his heart was going to burst out of his chest from the sheer embarrassment. After all, there wasn't a single doubt in his mind he had let his emotions onto the surface there for John to see, the shock of his answer not really giving him time to process or hide what he was feeling. There was a light flush to his cheeks that reddened and reddened as he pressed his lips to a fine line.

    "You don't have to-- That wasn't why I was asking," he suddenly told him, almost defensively, as though it shouldn't have been a big deal in the first place. As though he just genuinely didn't want to overstep or disturb anybody. Really, Aaron probably should have just kept his mouth shut.

    In the end, he did just that, wincing slightly as he got up and turned to trail after John, suddenly feeling more self conscious than he thought he could have.

    It was really only when they reached the bedroom that Aaron began to process John's intention to take the couch, and his gaze slipped from the comfortable-looking bed piled with pillows and blankets back to the other man again. "Wait-- I'm not taking your bed, John. I'm completely fine with the couch, let me take the couch."

     
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  20. John Silver

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    It was latest when he noticed the other's reaction to his words that John realized he really, really shouldn't have made that comment.
    And there it was, clear as day, the fact he's long since known: he might be good at flirting and meaningless encounters of the more physical nature, but when it came to genuine emotions, people he actually liked - more than just liked, perhaps - he was awful.
    It had already proven with Madi. Hell, he's loved her. And he's done the worst job at it still.

    But the true regret over those stupid, joking words, only settled when they reached the bedroom and Aaron almost defensively claimed That wasn't why I was asking before attempting to go about the whole bed and couch issue which John would have none of though.
    Pausing and turning around to face the other, his smile grew gentle for a moment.
    "Hey, it's okay. You don't have to justify yourself. I was just being an idiot there. And you are absolutely taking the bed, I insist. All I'll need is like five pillows and a blanket, really."

    He's slept on the couch often enough - especially after exhausting work days when he's just fallen asleep while watching some stupid movie on the telly.
    The couch was actually comfy and he didn't mind it whatsoever, really, Aaron had no chance getting out of this one.

    "Now that that's settled, I'll take a quick shower if you don't mind. And - could you do me the favor of feeding the feathered Captain there some mango? Just a slice of it, not too much."

    Truth be told, he might as well have fed the bird himself, but Aaron seemed to have a liking for the parrot and since the parrot also hadn't seemed to mind Aaron (and thus hopefully would't bite the poor man, because that might get bloody and painful, as John knew from own experience by now), he thought the other might just enjoy feeding the bird its daily portion of fresh fruit.

     
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