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Pork and Schnapps

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It’s been around six months since Nick told Hap that he could return, that he didn’t need to be in witness protection anymore. But Hap’s been scared, almost petrified. He rarely ever leaves that little shack they’re trying to pass off as a house. Sudden movements still make him jump, but he supposes everyone who gets shot feels that way for a while, maybe even forever. But that’s not the only reason he hasn’t gone back. He doesn’t know if he can handle being in Monroe’s house again, with all that happened…especially with Angelina. Nick had been the one to call and tell him what happened. Part of him was really glad that Monroe was okay, but a bigger part was still mourning his sister.

Quite often he wondered what Monroe would say and do if he were to just show up at his door. Nick said Monroe was heartbroken when it all happened, that he blamed himself. Hap was DOA, or at least that’s what Nick had to tell Monroe. But the truth is, Hap made it to the hospital, barely, and somehow made it through surgery. The doctor’s said he was strong, but Hap – and Nick – knew it was because he was a blutbad.

Today is the day, Hap thinks. It’s been far too long since he’s seen his childhood best friend. He’s scared, of course. What if Monroe’s mad? He sits in the car, about two blocks down, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. His heart’s beating like a jackhammer and he’s starting to sweat a bit. But finally he musters up some confidence and gets out of the car, walking down the sidewalk, and up to Monroe’s door. His brain told his hand to knock, but it didn’t listen, instead pounding on the door. He can hear Monroe mumble from the other side. He smiles and takes a deep breath.

Monroe’s eyes are wide when he sees standing there, right in front of him. He opens his mouth to speak, but the words fail to find their way out. Instead he just stares, mouth agape. If his heart were to beat any faster it might explode.

“Look like you just seen a ghost, man.” Hap attempts at humor, but his voice cracks as he does his best not to cry.

Monroe reaches out, grabbing Hap’s shirt and yanking him inside, slamming the door shut behind them. He paces the room a few times and keeps looking at Hap, like he’s not sure if he’s hallucinating or if it’s all real. He’s hoping it’s the latter. A few broken words fall from his lips, he can’t manage to form any real words yet. Finally, he stops pacing and just stands in front of Hap, staring. A few tears roll down his cheek.

“H-hap…” He throws himself at his friend and hugs him, holds onto him for dear life, like if he were to let go, Hap would just fade away again. His body trembles as more tears stain his face, and now the shoulder of Hap’s shirt.

Hap hugs back just as tightly. He wonders why it took him so damn long to come back. Then, all of a sudden, he’s getting shoved back towards the wall. Monroe’s staring at him with crimson eyes. Instinctively, Hap’s eyes turn red too – something that’s been happening a lot more as of late.

“Dude!”

“How are you here, Hap? You died! I scrubbed your blood off my floor!”

“Monroe…” Hap sighs, a few tears rolling down his cheeks. He reaches across the distance and rests his hand on Monroe’s shoulder.

Monroe jerks away. He growls and stomps out of the room. Hap takes a second to regain a little composure and then goes after him. He finds Monroe in the kitchen, leaning back against the counter, chugging a beer. Hap leans against the threshold, looking down at his feet, not saying anything. He waits for Monroe to speak first.

Monroe sets the empty bottle down, quickly regretting chugging that whole thing. He sits down at the table, picking at a loose thread on his flannel shirt. “What happened?” His voice is soft, strained.

Hap takes a seat across from him. “I don’t remember much. But they told me some cop guy – a bauerschwein – shot me while you and Angelina were out…doing whatever. Nick told me I barely made it to the hospital, somehow pulled through surgery. He took me into protective custody.”

“Nick knew…this whole time.” Monroe growls at the thought of his best friend lying to him like that.

“Yeah, man.” Hap pauses. “Please don’t be mad. He had to. He wanted me to be safe until they closed the case.”

“And they closed it six fucking months ago.” He looks up, eyes an even deeper red.

“I…I was scared.” Hap looks away. “I’ve barely left my house in the last six months.” He turns back to Monroe, catching his eye. “I’m sorry. I should’ve come back sooner, man. Missed you.”

There’s a part of Monroe that’s still angry. At what, he’s not sure. But a bigger part of him is ecstatic to have his friend back. His face softens and his lips curl into a little smile. “Hey, how about some pork and schnapps?”