If Graves were to split his life into its most important stages, he’d probably split it two ways: Before Twisted Fate, and After Twisted Fate.
Perhaps—if he happens to feel particularly numeral that day—he might even add a third stage: With Twisted Fate.
But no matter how hard he tries to, Graves will never be able to deny the fact that his life—both his past and his present—has ever not revolved around that man.
And so, it comes as no surprise that—when Twisted Fate returns to him, face apologetic and rough with understanding—he simply can’t find it in himself to mind. Or, perhaps, he’s just too many glasses in to truly care as much as he should.
“May I sit here?” Fate’s voice inquires softly, gesturing to the stool beside him.
Graves grimaces. “I hate you,” he grumbles by way of reply, but Fate sits down anyway.
The man shuffles beside him as Graves orders himself another beer, quietly refusing the bartender’s offer for one of his own. Fate’s words are as silky smooth as ever, and Graves finds himself
He doesn’t want to chat—really, he doesn’t—yet Graves still finds words to spare for the other man. And after every beer, Graves finds himself loosening—the jokes are coming faster, the old sense of partnership returning to their very beings as if, Graves thinks, it had never even left. They speak in low tones as the bustle of of the bar slowly dwindles into a pleasant hum, their words occasionally punctured by a bark of understanding laughter.
It’s three drinks on Graves’ part later—and still none yet on Fate’s—that Graves finally lets out a nearly resentful sigh.
“I still hate you,” he says again, more for his own benefit than for Fate’s. His finds tighten around his once again empty glass. “Yet sometimes, I still find myself wanting us to try again,” Graves sighs, and his face twisting into a soft grimace. He barely registers the fact that Twisted Fate is holding his breath, his own face morphed into one of guarded nervousness. “To try us, again.”
There’s a soft pause as Fate registers his meaning—the true weight behind his words—and Graves watches varying emotions flit across the man’s face.
"Us," Fate repeats, the word rolling off his tongue like a long forgotten melody. His eyes shine bright in the darkness of the Bilgewater Tavern—just like they had the first time they had met—and his gaze settles into one that Graves has trouble holding. He quickly looks away.
The gunman knows a denial when he sees one, and the soft wonder that shines through Fate’s face is a very far cry from that. Fate always had been terrible at hiding his emotions from him, and for the first time in a long time, Graves is truly grateful. There’s nothing more to be said on the matter, and—finishing off the last of his drink—Graves gestures for the bartender’s quick return.
This time, Twisted Fate orders himself a round, too.
It’s with this subtle shift that both men continue to speak together well into the night. The alcohol burns heavy down the both of their throats, but Graves’ heart feels somehow lighter than ever before.
And it is, without a doubt, the beginning of yet another chapter in Graves’ Fate-centric life.