[Day 1, Evening]
"I heard you."
"Y'only hav'a few days."
Peter huffed and slammed the lid of his laptop shut.
"Berwald, I'll have everything finished on my own time!" He said exasperatedly, which Berward responded to with a dark glare from the doorway.
"Y'don't have much time." Berwald held up a few blank forms. "'nd y'have these t'fill out, too."
Berwald narrowed his eyes a bit at Peter, then turned and stalked back downstairs to his TV programs. Peter scowled after him with a few hand gestures and flipped his laptop back open, typing madly away on a chat window with Sheila.
He wasn't stupid. He knew he didn't have time left. But he didn't have to stick to some other person's schedule.
Peter Kirkland wasn't even twelve anymore. He was taller, handsomer, and mature at eighteen years old, and ready to go far away from home to university.
It wasn't his fault that the university wouldn't send him anything. And it wasn't his fault that his transportation wasn't working out. As for his room, he knew he had to clean it sometime.
And to him, that was all that mattered. Who was Berwald to tell eighteen-year-old, legal adult male Peter what to do anymore? He didn't have the rightto. He wasn't the boss of him.
Peter groaned and quickly typed a reply to Sheila before trudging downstairs in his sweatshirt and jeans for a snack, not caring that he had to go through the room where Berwald was in to get it.
When he got to the kitchen counter, however, there was a plate of neatly cut fruit and crackers with Marmite (something that Peter loved, but Berwald could hardly find at the nearby stores) spread over evenly on top. Next to the plate of snacks was a glass of warm water.
Peter looked back behind him at Berwald, who was chuckling softly to an old Swedish movie playing on the television.
The boy turned back and took his food, then made his way back upstairs.
Maybe he wasn't as grown up as he thought he was.
[Day 2, lunch]
The kids at his school used to say that it was completely moronic for people their age to talk to their parents.
But Peter did it anyway. Albeit privately, so that no one in his school was aware of it.
And even though he didn't respond with many words, Berwald often turned out to be an wonderful conversation partner. Peter felt quite comfortable relating to Berwald about his favorite movies, shows, and of course Skyrim and he occasionally lamented over the poor quality of the most recent Final Fantasy preview.
Most of the time, Berwald just grunted and nodded. But sometimes, he would provide interesting input, such as at the moment as Peter asked, "So, where do you want to go after you finish working?"
Pause. A few bites of crackers and cheese. Sips of elderberry drink.
"Well, besides here. Or like, you know, out of the country, foreign travel and that sort of thing."
"M'be Thai'nd. That'd b'nice."
"That sounds nice. What would you do there?"
"Sleep. Check t'markets. Look 'round."
"Thailand would be pretty fun, wouldn't it?"
That's how these conversations tended to go, anyway.
[Day 3, evening]
"You h'n't cleaned y'room."
"I don't care."
"I know. I don't care right now, I'm busy."
"I'm not a child. I'm leaving soon. You. Can't. Tell. Me. What. To. Do. Any. More."
That's how these conversations tended to go as well.
[Day 4, late afternoon]
"I can't believe you're going already." Sheila picked up an old action figure and slowly turned it around with her hand. "I remember when I used to think that you were just another 'stupid boy."
"Maybe I still am." Peter picked up his own Power Ranger action figure, but instead of throwing it around the room like he would have six years ago, he delicately wrapped it up in newsprint and set it into a box labeled "Old Toys." Sheila tossed her own figure into the growing pile of old toys and memorabilia before standing up and going through the last few books still on Peter's bookshelf.
"It sucks that you're leaving, yeah, but you're not a boy anymore. I'm not just some bratty little kid, either." The girl laughed and added, "But the Klaus kid still freaks me out. And I have to be stuck with him for another year."
"Come ON. He's not that bad, just don't talk about art with him or something like that, it's called tact," Peter said as he helped Sheila pack his books into a separate box. He gave Sheila a firm pat on the shoulder and began taping one of the many boxes that now filled his room. His old writing desk had been moved to his father's garage, and dressers and posters had been replaced by stuffed suitcases and great walls. Sheila sat on the edge of Peter's twin bed and watched him tape up the boxes with a sad smile. Her side ponytail swung back and forth with the breeze blowing through the open window. The same ponytail since Year 4.
Some things never changed.
After a few moments of tape screeching and snapping against the corrugated cardboard, Sheila finally replied, "It just wouldn't be the same. Yeah, it's not going to be the same. Ever."
Peter sighed as he moved on to the last couple of boxes, an old bandana tied around his head.
"It won't ever be the same, won't it? Perhaps I could come back and visit you once in a while."
"You better come over," Sheila replied. She now looked out the window while daylight illuminated the room around her.
"I will, I will, but I won't drop by as much as I used to, I'm afraid." After taping down one more box, Peter set his tape roll on the now empty bookshelf and looked out the window with Sheila. At least his room was finally clean. At least Berwald would leave him alone. For once.
"You think the house'll stay around long enough?" asked the girl.
"I doubt it. Berwald says he's moving closer to his workplace after I leave."
Sheila frowned and licked away at her lip gloss. "Then it won't be quite the same."
"No, I'm afraid it won't."
[Day 5, morning]
It had been awfully quiet. By now, Peter was used to Berwald's silence, but this morning in particular it had felt stale. Unusually stale. There was the silent clink of Peter's plate of breakfast on to the table, later joined by Berwald's favorite mug and plate of cinnamon buns. Without much to say, Peter shoveled his breakfast into his mouth and quickly placed the silverware in the sink. He paused. Last breakfast in the house for quite a while. At this thought, Peter quickly turned on the sink and rinsed out his plate and fork carefully, even rubbing the ware with the same care that Berwald took after every meal.
Peter rinsed the dishes and his hands with a loud sigh. Out of the corner of his eye, he could barely see Berwald smile calmly at him before standing up and leaving his own empty mug and plate next to the sink.
"Y'ready, P'ter?" asked Berwald before he went upstairs to carry down the boxes.
"I'm ready!" replied Peter with a huge grin. He took Berwald's dishes and began washing them as well, now pondering as to why he was grinning and whether he was truly happy about it. He had certainly been living here for too long.
Or had he?
[Day 5, later in the morning]
The trunk slammed shut and Kha-Loung walked around the truck to shake Berwald's hand.
"Like, thanks for letting us take Peter down. We won't do anything, like, bad to him or stuff like that," said Kha-Loung.
Berwald nodded and firmly shook Kha-Loung's hand. If Kha-Loung was nervous, he certainly didn't show it. Peter couldn't help but admire the stoicness of the Chinese boy at times.
While Kha-Loung waved off Berwald with a salute and walked back around the vehicle to get on the driver's seat Berwald turned to Peter and quickly pulled him into a hug.
"Go get'em, kid," mumbled Berwald as Peter hugged him back tightly.
"I will," was all that Peter could manage before Eduard frantically pulled him into the back.
Seatbelts buckled. Doors closed and locked. Windows scrolled down. Engines started,
"We'll come back soon!"
"Don't miss us too much!"
"Whoo! You only live once!"
The kids in the van waved exuberantly back to their parents—some wiping away tears with their sleeves, some waving back with the same enthusiasm, and one tall figure simply stood there with a satisfied smile.
Peter waved and yelled happily after everyone out the window until they finally blinked out of sight, replaced by the cold asphalt and concrete of an empty street.
The boy returned to his seat and looked ahead of him, emotions running around his mind, going in and out when he expected them the least.
The last few days left him in a blink.