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Dagger No More [Leon]

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Post by Percy Wed Sep 01, 2021 5:50 am

Some things might not ever change, but there was comfort in that. Leon’s reassuring words and kissing his hand right in the middle of the street as life bustled around them brought a flush to his cheeks, mostly hidden until he lifted his mismatched gaze to his boyfriend and those eyes that made him melt. Such a public act of affection, so small in the face of how intimate they were in private, elevated his excitement to the forefront. For now, just this second, he could bask in his new freedom and the prospects of living a normal life with his lover.

It was just exactly what their new normal would become that was scary, but somehow knowing that Leon was on the same page as him made him feel a little better about it. Even if bad things happened, they’d still have each other, right?

“O-Okay,” Percy stammered shyly, aware of the eyes still on them but oddly at peace with it. He wasn’t sure why they seemed so wary (he wasn’t aware of how loud and obvious he’d been or that otherworlders weren’t on the top of everyone’s good list), but he was just as wary of them, so maybe it was a vibe thing. However, he was proud, in his own backward way, to be standing right in the middle of a farm town’s main road, having a moment of affection with the love of his life and no one that mattered could say or do anything about it. “We can do this t-together,” the scarred boy smiled. He’d take this moment. A small bright spot amongst all the dark they’d endured was enough hope for now.

But, sadly, they couldn’t stand where they were forever. A large cart of glass bottled filled with milk was coming, and they needed to make it to the place the doctor had directed them sooner than later so they could make a plan of action. Predictably, Percy had no idea which direction it was in now. “So...” he said, his free hand reaching up to twist a piece of his hair in embarrassment, “do you remember where the doctor said the house was?”

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Post by Leon Hoffman Wed Sep 01, 2021 6:34 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN
A lot had happened today, but nothing could undo the tragedy that haunted both of the two romantics ever since they met—Percy's awful sense of navigation. When Percy shyly admitted to forgetting the directions, Leon could only meet his honest confession with an honest look of his own.

"Dude, it hasn't even been ten minutes—" Leon sighed, letting his head fall down in an almost theatrical disappointment, before looking at Percy with that steely but endearing look in his almond eyes, "Come on, I guess."

* * *

When they arrived at the farm, it was everything and nothing like Leon expected it to be. With all this other world nonsense in the air, he was expecting something more supernatural, but what he ended up getting was anything but. There was a large wooden barn with paint peeling off the sides of it and the distant coos and yelps of farm animals coming from inside of it. There was an ordinary shed full of ordinary tools, right by a tiny, ordinary pasture where the very ordinary animals could roam and ordinary crops could be harvested. To top it all off, there was a large, cozy, and homey cottage right next to all of this to really bring all of the ordinaryness together.

There was a moment where Leon stopped in his tracks, looking over the property with a look on his face resembling both awe and shock, but it didn't last long. Before they could share their impressions, Hoffman was already guiding them to the doctor's front door. He took a deep breath as the look on his face hardened, bracing himself for the invitation into their home. But like everything else, Leon found it easy to ignore his hesitations and knock on the door... or, well, so he thought. Just before his knuckles could thump against the wood, the door violently swung open, revealing several pairs of fluffy bunny ears—was Leon high?

Surprised (and a little taken aback), Leon froze as his eyes carefully fell down to find the faces the ears were attached to, and to his surprise, three lapin children eagerly awaited at the entrance. They looked at him cluelessly, the typical blank stare children gave to things or people that interested them, to which Leon also returned the same cluelessness.

"..." Leon said nothing at squinted down at the three kids.

"..." the kids stared back at him, holding onto each other's shirts and the doorknob. The silence that only lasted a couple seconds seemed like an eternity, and both the kids and Leon seemed equally confused by each other's company.

"...Hi. Is there someone we could ta—"

"MAAA! SOMEONE'S KNOCKING FOR YOOOOOU!" one lapin child yelled for what Leon could only assumed to be the doctor, and did it in the most typically obnoxious and careless way possible—screaming.

"Yep. Okay—that definitely works, too..."


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Post by Percy Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:26 am

"I really thought you two decided to skip your bill and make a run for it," came a familiar voice from somewhere in the depths of the cottage. "When I was on my way home only a few minutes after you left, I saw you two having a serious chat in the middle of the street," the lapin doctor grinned as she rounded a corner from what seemed to be the kitchen, given the steam, smell of cooking veggies, and the towel she wiped her wet hands on.

"Are they our new--" the three children started, but their mother cut them off with a raised hand and sent them out to bring in more wood for the stove fire.

"Now, welcome to our home. I'm Doctor Hariette Bennet, but you can just call me Hari. You've already met Oliver, my husband, and those three were Fran, Berry, and... I think Josef..." Hari paused, then gave them a tired look, "There are twelve, and they all move so fast I didn't get a good look. Anywho, you can either take your dinner out in the ranch house in the field to the left or stay and eat with us. I made plenty, but I'll warn you, it's chaos with so many little mouths to feed."

Percy, who had been hanging behind Leon and had been even more startled by the children than Leon, seemed a special kind of uneasy. This had never really come up before, but kids were not Percy's thing. His interactions with them never went well at all. He'd been bullied in school, and even as an adult the 'Top Dagger Corp Scientist' had been invited to several schools to speak and inspire young minds only to be viciously ridiculed until he left, so he was honestly extremely nervous now. They were loud and unreasonable and hard to relate to. He had to give the doctor props for working a full day in the clinic and then going home to cook up enough food for more than fourteen people, most of which were screaming children, because just thinking about it exhausted him.

Reaching ahead to secretly grip the edge of Leon's shirt in hopes that the taller man would get the hint, he must have looked as distressed as he felt, because Hari had mercy on him. "Actually, in his condition, peace and quiet for the night would probably be best and definitely won't be found in this house," the lapin laughed then called over her shoulder. "Ollie! Get a couple spare sets of clothes and come take these two to the ranch," she called, and within moments the man from the carriage appeared with a small sack of supplies.

"C'mon then," the husband smiled easily, causing wrinkles in his face to betray his age. Though quite energetic and youthful, the duo were a bit older than they looked, probably early forties max. Though Percy felt oddly comforted by the kindness of the parents, the existence of so many little ones on the property almost made him reconsider staying at all. They didn't have much choice, though.

As Oliver led them back out of the home and to the left, the three kids ran back into the house with arms full of wood, seemingly in a competition that was quickly going south. The man sighed deeply, and though it was a tired sound, he seemed happy enough with his exhausting but loving family. "The ranch isn't much, but it'll due until things start working out, I think," Oliver smiled, leading them to a small, plain wood and plaster building at the edge of the corn field. He opened the door for them, then retreated. "This is it, boys. I'll be back in a jiffy with stew, alright?"

And with that he was gone, leaving the two alone.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:44 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN

Although Leon wasn't expecting a bunch of kids to greet them at the door, it didn't take long for that harsh look in his eyes to soften. Unlike Percy, not only did Leon really like kids, but he was especially good at dealing with them too. If it wasn't for his impoverished circumstances in Neutral Grounds and the quick judgments made by employers, he probably would've tried his luck as a caretaker at a daycare or something like that. Still, it wasn't easy for someone with his looks to get a job in that sort of industry, regardless of the kids liked him or not. But after seeing his surprisingly young hosts, Leon suddenly felt less tense.

The kids were shooed away as quickly as they came, surely an act of protection from Hari before they could barrage them with their curious questions, which Leon was sure they were dying to ask. They had only taken a few steps inside, but Leon could already tell that their home was a warm one. Even if this was a scam, he at least felt welcomed, but soon he realized that couldn't say the same for Percy.

The peppermint-head tugged on Leon's shirt, and while he would normally be able to pick up on whatever it was Percy was trying to tell him, Leon was at a loss right now. It was rare that he wasn't able to figure out what was troubling his boyfriend, but between the food, the family, and the housing, even Leon had a hard time complaining right now. What was more, Hari insisted that they eat their dinner in the tranquility and solitude of the ranch—something that Leon was hoping for but didn't know how to ask for.

* * *

"Sorry for the trouble, sir..." Leon nodded at Oliver as he left them alone in the ranch, leaving them to get the stew with a relaxed air around him. Today had been chaotic, and even now Leon couldn't find the mind to relax, but at least they were alone.

Once Leon was sure Oliver was gone, he turned to look at Percy with this tired and strained look in his eyes.

"Is... something the matter?" he'd ask hesitantly, staring down at the shorter man with his full attention.




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Post by Percy Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:47 am

Once they were alone, Percy visibly relaxed as much as he could. His eyes roved around the 'ranch', though to him it looked more like a shed. In fact, not that he'd ever been in it other than to hide from his siblings, the shed their gardeners used was bigger than this one. It was rustic, to be sure, clearly hand-built with rough-hewn wood that had dried itself out over the years serving as the walls and floor. There was a window on each fall, dusty but unbroken. The ceiling was tall and followed the roof angles with exposed beams. It lacked insulation to be sure, but at least there was a well-used soot-stained fireplace at the back wall. Near it on each side were two basic beds, and closer to the front of the building there was a small kitchenette and a basic but sturdy table and chairs.

Turning back to Leon as he spoke, he tried not to seem disappointed. He knew to expect about as much, but... he was used to a certain style of living. This was just another thing to pile on the overwhelming mound that was building. It was better than being homeless. He could make this work. No complaining. It was scary, so much change at once but...no complaining.

"Uhm," he said, unsure how to answer as he peered up into Leon's weary face. "I haven't had the best experiences with...er, kids," he answered, looking a bit sheepish. "Maybe when I'm more on top of things we can have dinner with...all twelve..."

Twelve children was ridiculous.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:43 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN

Leon cracked a small smile. It was funny how they could spend all this time together, and yet still learn new things about one another every now and then. There was a lot changing around them all at once, but this one thing, Leon hoped, never would.

"Yeah, I guess they're not everyone's thing," Leon said with a smiling sigh, suddenly letting his body fall onto a pile of dry, scratchy straw. Uncomfortable and smelly, but suitable for a bed. "Especially if you already have a hard time talking to adults."

He glanced at Percy before staring back up at the ceiling, letting the weight of his body sink into the straw poking into his back.

"I like kids," Leon gently admitted, his deep voice low and quiet from a day of shouting and crying, "I always thought that no matter how fucked up my life got, I'd like to get to a place where I can have my own kid. It still sounds nice..."

His mind wandered a bit as he entertained the thought. He thought of his log cabin, his dog, and the cheerful sound of a faceless child's laughter. It wasn't something he thought about often, but it was one of his more innocent ones. One that wasn't tormented by bloody scenes of warfare or the trifles of mundane everyday life. It was thought full of warmth and envy for a person who didn't exist yet—a person he may or may not become. He had no business of thinking about such an honor now, and there was never a good time to bring something like this up. Not until now, and this time, Percy was part of that thought too.

"Er—" Leon flinched once he realized that he had not only gotten absorbed into his own thoughts but that Percy was now part of something like that. Embarrassed, he rolled his head to the side, completely avoiding Percy. "...But yeah, twelve's still a lot. I wouldn't want twelve..."


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Post by Percy Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:27 am

"Heh, very funny," Percy sneered at his boyfriend's comment, though he took it good-naturedly. He wasn't wrong, after all. If he wasn't speaking about something he was passionate about, often his work to clients, he was no good.

He'd been about to join Leon on the small straw bed when he absorbed what he said next and paused. A shadow cast over his features as he watched Leon's daydreamy expression.

There it was. It crept in like a thief in the night, but instead of taking something, it left something behind. A seed. A doubt. The peppermint head stood awkwardly in the middle of the small building, letting the thought actually truly take hold of him, feeling like ice daggers jabbing somewhere inside. Yeah, they were finally free to be together, but he'd never let himself think about an actual future and what that would look like. Teeth worried the inside of his lip.

That was one thing Percy couldn't give Leon, no matter how much he loved him. No matter how happy they were. Had Percy's presence in Leon's life torpedoed such a pure dream? Given everything that had happened and that they were in a new world now, it seemed so. He’d torpedoed everything else.

Not being a huge fan of children, this only sprouted more concerns the more he thought about it, like a highly aggressive, invasive weed. Not only could he biologically not make Leon a father, but... even if they went down the other potential paths of becoming parents, would Percy be able to be a good father in the end? Would he somehow morph into a cold and distant father like his own, or would he mess up a child in another way? Would this be something one of them eventually compromised on for the other? Would it work out or would it turn into resentment? Could two people with different dreams walk down the same path, hand-in-hand?

Well, they'd have to.

All of these thoughts happened rapidly in his exhausted mind, resulting in him only lingering for a few moments before mindlessly walking over to the empty bed and perching pensively on the edge with a pained grunt. Leon had already compromised plenty from Percy’s perspective. Firstly by starting a relationship with him even though he was a man and thus unable to bear children, secondly by having to deal with the assassin, and thirdly by ending up here, even if he still had no idea how that happened and basically none of these things were intended. It seemed clear enough what he had to do, but there were things he needed to know first before he truly grafted this goal into his life and starting the work on making it work out.

“Would you consider adoption?” he asked, finally drawing his internal ramblings to an end. The words were quiet and a bit impassive, but that was how he usually sounded when his mind was frantically scurrying through a whole problem-solving process.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:40 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN

"Well, yeah?" Leon rolled his head over to look at Percy, this time with a puzzled expression on his face, "Isn't that the only way?"

He was a little confused at first, unsure of what other conclusion Percy could've come to if not adoption. But as their quiet conversation carried on, it began to dawn on Leon just what might've been on his boyfriend's mind. Or maybe he really was clueless as to what was going on in that head of his, but he did know that the passiveness of Percy's question made him uncomfortable.

"It's nothin' we need to be thinking about right now, anyway. I'll be alright no matter what does or doesn't happen, as long as you're with me..." Leon reassured Percy, though he didn't look at him in the eye when he said it. Instead, his head rolled back to the side, staring into the straw rustling against his cheek. Strange how he could say something so sincere and loving, yet feel some sense of disappointment as he thought about what Percy said earlier. He began to think about everything that Percy said to him today, and it all made it hard for him to act completely like his normal self. "...So whatever you're thinking, just quit it, 'kay?"


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Post by Percy Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:39 am

The words were nice, but they felt a bit hollow. It left Percy feeling a bit unbalanced, like his footing wasn't as steady as it used to be. Like the ground was only a thin layer of grass-woven dirt on top of rippling water. One wrong step and his foot would go through and he'd plunge into the icy depths. "Okay," he replied quietly, though surely they both knew full well his thoughts couldn't be turned off so easily.

Though not the most perceptive in the world, Percy could tell that Leon was bothered. Understandable. It had been a really long day, and most of it had been the literal worst. Just when he thought nothing could compete with the horrific war they'd survived and they started to see the ghosts from that fading, today happened. He wanted to think Leon was just feeling the physical and emotional exhaustion from everything, but... Perhaps naive, but Percy had hoped that his boyfriend's relief over his well-being and affectionate behavior meant that the big fight they'd had before going on the run might have been left behind in their old world, but it seemed unlikely now that he was sitting across from him and watching him. If he was now sitting here and thinking about it, why wouldn't Leon be doing the same? It made him feel sick.

He'd just opened his mouth to say something, though what exactly he wasn't sure. An apology? An explanation? It was probably a blessing that the door of the ranch house shuddered under a firm knock as the bunny-eared man returned with a pot of stew. "Back, just as I promised!" Ollie chirped as he let himself in, his voice charmingly farmer-like, which was almost comical in juxtapositioned against his wife's well-spoken tongue. He also seemed oblivious to the odd vibe in the room, waltzing right in place it on the stove. He slung a bag of wood down nearby as well. "This should be enough wood to reheat some stew for breakfast in the morning. Assumin' you boys don't scarf all the food down, don't forget to put it in the icebox or it'll spoil. Bowls are in the cupboard and cutlery in the drawer beside the sink."

"Thank you, sir," Percy said as he rose, ambling over to give the man a handshake and a weak smile. "For everything."

"Ah ha ha, don't thank me yet! This place is a lot of work. Come to the main house early in the mornin' and I'll reveal the whole list!" the twelve-time father deviously laughed, shaking Percy's hand and turning to leave them to eat.

Once alone again, Percy walked to the mentioned cupboard for a couple of bowls. "I guess we have a lot of work to look forward to," the peppermint head commented, perhaps overestimating his skill at the mystery tasks. "Hungry?" he asked, though he didn't feel like eating much himself. However, after his somewhat recent weight loss and regain, he was going to at least try to eat a little.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:16 pm


 

LEON HOFFMAN

Leon didn't move from the straw bed to greet Ollie when he arrived with the stew, but just laid there as he listened to their conversation. He almost found it strange how the Lapin man could be so jolly when walking in on such a dull and hollow tension between his two guests—so strange that Leon couldn't tell whether he was tone-deaf or well-intended, but his glee fell flat with Leon. He quietly waited for him to leave them alone with the stew.

When he did, Leon still didn't move from his spot. While Percy was getting ready to fix himself a helping, Leon seemed content with falling asleep right there and then.

"No. I'll just have it for breakfast instead," the inky-haired Hoffman sighed, squirming uncomfortably against the straw. He said this, but he was hungry, but couldn't muster up any sort of will to get up. Even if Percy made him a bowl, which likely wouldn't be any trouble at all, Leon still wasn't sure if he could eat it.

Just then, the moment he closed his eyes, his desire to sleep was squashed with thoughts of their big fight earlier today. He'd never had a fight like that with Percy, and unlike most of their other arguments, he couldn't bring himself to just kiss and make up in less than a day.

He felt... angry. Indignant. Furious, even. He couldn't stop himself from thinking about how Percy lied to him about something so important, how his father laid his hands on him like that, and how things ended up becoming so chaotic and messed up because of it. There were a lot of things he said that Leon regretted, but just forgetting about the whole ordeal made him feel angrier. Even more upset than he already was. Just then, with a frown curling his lips and his brows knitting together, Leon squeezed the straw into his palm.

"Hey, Percy..." Leon said in a quiet but rising tone of voice, still trying to avoid eye contact for fear that his lover would see the anger dripping off his features.


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Post by Percy Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:27 pm

With Leon's decline went every ounce of his determination to eat. After a short pause, Percy replaced the bowls back on the shelf and put the stew into the icebox as instructed. Maybe his stomach would be less knotted in the morning.

When his lover spoke again, he was giving his face a quick wash in the kitchen sink, as if the water would calm him or wash away any of the evidence that today had been real. His fingers ran over the swollen flesh around his right eye, wincing as it hurt but noting that the puffiness was decreasing. Soon all that would be left of Percy's father's presence in his life would be a dark bruise and the wedge he'd driven between Percy and the man he loved enough to defy him over. And the general trauma, of course.

Straightening to turn and look over at him, he felt his stomach churn. He couldn't see the anger, but his lack of acknowledgment to their Lapin host seemed clear. He could be cold to others normally, but there was a special intensity to it when he was upset, and he felt that now more than ever. And then there was that tone in his voice. It was as if he'd traded his father's fearsome anger for Leon's, and they both terrified him, though in very different ways. Or maybe it was in more similar ways than he was capable of noticing due to trauma, since he was already frantically racing to think of ways to gain Leon's favor again. That was all Percy's life had consisted of until recently, so of course, that's where his mind would return to.

Padding closer to the two beds, he awkwardly lingered between them. "Yeah, Leon?" he asked timidly, wishing he could just crawl into the small bedframe filled with straw beside the man, but feeling like he shouldn't. They'd slept together every night for long enough that sleeping alone (even in the same room), especially when he felt so scared, seemed like torture. The pair had broken down so many boundaries that it was confusing to him to feel like a few had been rebuilt. Percy felt like he couldn't just reach out and touch him, which he'd just been getting over, and he didn't feel like he could fit himself into Leon's arms without an invitation.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:07 pm


 

LEON HOFFMAN

He could feel it. The words creeping up his throat, his tongue wet and raw with emotion, all of it begging for his frowned lips to part and release what he had been feeling all day. How could you lie to me? Leon would say. All this time, did you fear your father more than you loved me? Is that it?! Leon would shout. And for a moment, he gave in. For that moment, he'd forget how much he cared for Percy, and how devoted he was to him. He'd forget it all for one moment just to make the man feel as betrayed as he did earlier that day. For a moment, he really did give in to his tongue, his words, and how they begged for a chance to hurt Percy.

His fear of showing his scornful face quickly disappeared underneath the burst of anger, gripping the straw so tightly that it made his palms ashy. He'd begin to roll over, ready to continue where they left off in the discomfort of that dusty old ranch.

But then he stopped.

Percy lingered awkwardly between the two beds, standing there out of place and apprehensive. It was true that Leon didn't want him by his side tonight—and maybe Percy picked up on that—but seeing him stand there, the room dull but his bruises vibrant and deep with color, his bandaged body that looked tender to the touch, and that look in his eyes that hesitated to go any closer... it broke his determination into pieces. It was pulverized into a fine dust that stung his eyes, his face heating up and his heart beating angrily. Painfully.

Ashamed, embarrassed, and so angered with his inability to deal with his anger, Leon was speechless when he turned to shout at Percy. He didn't say anything he wanted to say. He couldn't.

"...Nothing. Goodnight," he mumbled monotonously, quick to whip his face away from where Percy could see it and briskly snuggled up against his straw bed again. Like most nights, Leon was still and virtually unmoving the moment he committed to rest. But his fists trembled, and he'd shut his eyes so tightly that he felt his head begin to ache before he'd open them again, glaring pensively into the straw.

Silently, he brooded over the things he never said. He thought about what he wanted to say a moment ago and how he had to keep himself at bay. He stopped himself from turning over to see what kind of face Percy was making right now, but he couldn't stop himself from dying to know.

He had never felt like this before, and he didn't know how to feel.


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Post by Percy Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:41 am

Percy was still bracing for what seemed like a furious round of yelling when the silent Leon suddenly turned back over. He remained standing there for another moment or two, staring at Leon's back and letting his face relax and ultimately fall into a pained and sad expression. The breath he drew in hitched in his throat, and after he quietly cleared his throat, the rejected boy moved to the vacant bed. "G-Goodnight."

Percy felt like crying. It was a regretful despair tinged in anger that twisted in his chest. Leon wasn't the only one with both a temper and hurt feelings in this. He fought the emotional reaction with all that he had, trying to tell himself that it was fine that Leon needed space and that one night of not cuddling was neither the end of their relationship nor worth crying over no matter how much he needed his lover's comfort or wanted to make him feel better.

As he laid on the straw and turned his back to his boyfriend, he hoped sleep would swiftly take him, but it wasn't to be. His mind relived being called to his father's office, the terror of finding out his father had found out. The rage at Lila for apparently spitefully tattling. There was a surge of terrified pride that he'd finally stood up to his father and anger that Leon couldn't see how big of a step that had been for him. There was sorrow that it had been too little too late and pointless and set in motion everything that followed.

Percy thought about things he could have done differently, but annoyingly, he couldn't really think of anything even though it had all gone so badly. Despite Leon's furious reaction to finding out he was kept secret, what other choice had he had? As far as Percy was concerned, it was the only option that wouldn't outright kill their love. If he'd told his father sooner, the assassin situation would have happened sooner. There was no doubt there. The moment his father learned of it, this was the inevitable reaction. The only other options would have been to break Leon's heart earlier and make his rejection of his family's hard-earned approval pointless, or have kept a tighter hold on his own feelings and rejected the man from the start.

As dramatic and selfish as it was, Percy knew he'd rather be dead than miss out on Leon and everything his lover had done to change him and his life.

Speaking of death, that was something he'd also yet to unpack. Like most things that he didn't know how to process, he wanted to keep it packed up and shove it away to be forgotten, but he'd learned the hard way that that rarely works. The packing tape comes loose and the boxes open eventually, spilling everything out. Deluding himself, though it came natural, was unhealthy. He didn't want to repeat that. So now, alone on his straw bed in a farm shack in a new world, Percy trembled and dealt with it.

[wc: 514 || total: 30,000 || le end]
Percy
Percy

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