“Tell me something.”
August sits with his head against Jefferson’s shoulder. He’s missed being in someone else’s space this way. There were people, not many, but people, that he shared space with, existed with in times when they both needed to know someone else was breathing the same air that went into someone else’s lungs, but none of them were like Jefferson. None of them were close and closed off and knew more about him than he knew of himself. None of them could reach in and force him open and not fill him up and make him okay with it.
Coming back is still one of the hardest things he did. He thinks it will be like that every time, no matter how far or fast he runs from Jefferson and both of their scars.
“Koalas never drink,” Jefferson says like he never cared for August.
“Not what I meant.”
Jefferson rests his head on August’s, flattening his hair, warming his skull.
“You can’t have an opening like that, August darling, and not expect someone to bait you a little.” Jefferson is practically whispering, and he can hear the smirk behind the words. He’d turn and look, but August knows that it will have faded.
Jefferson lets everything go as soon as he can. It’s easier than getting it torn away.
“Fine. What do you want to know?” Jefferson sits up and folds his arms.
August sits up and pulls his feet under him, rests his elbows on his knees.
“Do you look like this? All the time?” It isn’t what he had meant to say, but it is something he wants to know. Maybe he never wants to talk about life before here, but they can’t deny that this place isn’t right, this time isn’t theirs.
“You mean back home?”
August shrugs. He watches Jefferson. Jefferson watches through the house and out, waiting for a little girl to remember who she is and where she belongs and why she’s not in the right place.
Jefferson watches what isn’t there for a long, long time.
He shakes it off and turns back to August with a grin tossed carelessly across his face like nothing matters to him ever. If August were of a different sort, he might believe that lie. He might be able to tell a lie of his own back with a meaningless shrug of his shoulder.
There has to be a place where they both fit that allows them the freedom of fragility and the illusion of time.
August isn’t even sure that their world will suffice for that, as separate and entwined with others as they both so completely are.
It is easier to be alone together here. He’ll give Storybrooke that much. But he won’t thank anyone just yet.
“Are you not pleased with my current countenance?” Jefferson asks, light and sharp. He pouts, fake and slipping.
“Also not what I meant.”
August lets his hand drop, almost between them, but he doesn’t reach out, and this time, Jefferson doesn’t take the bait.