Stiles stares at the chat message on his computer for a minute before responding: Yes
DHale: Can you drive me to taco bell?
Stiles is now supremely confused. It’s about midnight on a Friday, he figured he was the only one on campus not curring hanging out with friends or hooking up. (Turns out going to a good college out of state on scholarship was not the great boost in social status he expected.) Not to mention he barely knows Derek Hale. Sure they did that one project together in class, and are both members of the campus radio station but….
Stepping outside into the night air, Jack stuffed his hands into his front pockets and looked up into the dark blue night sky, the stars hardly visible due to the campus lights illuminating the area around him. He needed fresh air – the air in his dorm had been rather stuffy and the countless noises bleeding into his room was beginning to give him a headache. There was a few random faces lingering around outside but most everyone had called it a night and were in their dorms. Jack had a long day, far too many orders to deliver and organize for his taste. Sometimes he just had his off days and this had been one of them. The fresh air began to clear his mind, little by little and for that he was thankful.
Spotting a empty bench by a lamp post, he quickly padded towards it and sat down, his black boots hitting the cement path underneath him with a slight ‘thump’ as he plopped down onto the wooden bench, his arm slinging over the back of the bench as he leaned back, pulling out a cigarette from his jacket pocket and sticking it into his mouth swiftly, grabbing the lighter with that same hand he had just used to retrieve the cigarette he lit it quickly and then tucked the lighter back into his jacket pocket. Taking a long drag from the cigarette, he leaned his head back and blew the thick smoke into the air watching as it swirled into a small cloud before dissipating completely.
Jack heard soft footsteps approaching, but he didn’t really pay much attention, nor did he really care who it was that was passing by. Keeping his blue eyes locked onto the sky he continued to take a few more drags from the cigarette.
“I was wondering… If you might like to go for a coffee, sometime?"
Richard blinked and raised his head to regard the man in front of him— he was tall, brunet, had lively, intense, eyes. Once upon a time, he would have been precisely Richard’s type.
"—Really? Alright. Mind if I ask why? Was it something I said, or…"
There were perhaps a hundred different things that Richard could have said. Things about ashes and emptiness, and the way the world poured itself in when his defenses were battered to the ground. The way the pain never faded, not really, not after twenty years when you lost your parents, and not after two, for certain, when you lost your spouse.
"I don’t date, it has nothing to do with anything you did,” Is what he said instead, rather than mention that he would’ve been no good on a date, anyway. Not when he still woke from dreams certain that he’d find Sam beside him, and not when he still kept his wedding ring on his bedside table.
“Now, if that was all that you needed, I’d recommend getting back to work, Agent Branson,” Richard knew all about letting go and moving on. His entire life had been one big lesson in it, and maybe it was childish, but he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to wake up in the morning and stretch his arm to the other side of the bed without feeling that small loss. He didn’t want to give up his routine of sleeping on the couch every few nights, even if there was no longer another mind to escape from.
He didn’t want to forget the fact that for once, for once, he’d lost a lover and it hadn’t been because he’d run away. That they’d had years, and they’d had happiness, and sadness, and time. Memories, precious data in the mind that were fading a bit, now, eroded by months and years and the faultiness of human perception, but certainly still there. In the smell of Sam’s favorite tea, in the feel of the one or two of Sam’s sweaters that he still kept, in the smiles of some few strangers.
Richard wore his tie black, those days. It was a small symbol, it wasn’t worthy of comment, but he liked it. It felt right. It had taken a few months to re-learn how to smile properly, and Richard had had time to wonder just how many times he’d have to teach himself that particular skill all over again, but everything was… Comfortable now. Sam was a part of him, and the loss was, too.
Maybe he was just a fool, and he’d be in mourning for the rest of his life, but he didn’t want to let go of Sam. Just as he didn’t want to let go of the slight burn in the pit of his stomach every time a Nexus file crossed his desk, and he remembered all that they’d done.
Traveling was never something that bothered her. Truthfully, she enjoyed long excursions, even if they were political in purpose. Still, the princess couldn’t help but wish that she were home. The hot, flat plains of the land before her were a stark contrast to the cool mountains of her birthplace. Even in her lightest atire, Lacey felt sweat beading up on her skin. Despite her discomfort, she held herself high in the saddle and rode along without complaint. Such behavior was expected of King Michael’s sole heir, something she was constantly reminded of in one way or another.
Her father rode at the front of their procession and spoke in hushed tones to Lord Uriel, advisor to the king and among the richest of the nobles. While the man gave sound advice and never seemed to lead the king astray, Lacey couldn’t calm feelings of unease when he was around. But with little proof to support her discomfort, there was naught to do but keep her mouth shut.
Behind her, she could hear the creak of every carriage that followed them, each one carrying provisions for their journey and the long stay in Lawrence. If it weren’t for the massive amounts of clothing, gifts, and other such ammenities, they would have reached the citadel days ago. It had been the king’s intention that Lacey ride in the carriage with her handmaidens but the princess refused. “If the king can stand to ride his own horse, then so may his heir.” As it were, she still remained further within the procession, a guard on either side, throughout the trip.
It wasn’t until Lawrence was in sight that Lacey started to feel the exaustion of her journey. Nearly two weeks of travel had left her weary but she was all to aware that more work was ahead. While forming an alliance with King John might not be physically demanding, the next few months were sure to be exausting. As they approached the gates of the city, Lacey urged her mare forward so she was even with her father. Michael glanced down at her briefly, almost as if to make sure she still looked presentable. Sitting up a little taller, she looked ahead as the gates creaked open and waited at her father’s side for their host to meet them.