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Visions of Fire

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Sebastian’s eyes were glued to the dull screen of the gps, Ruvik’s head only inches away from his own. “You’re positive that that’s your old house? The one that burnt down?”

Ruvik’s jaw muscles visibly flexed as he clenched down on his teeth. “I am most positive. They must have rebuilt it on my land in spite of me. Those fools will pay—“

“Hey hey hey!” Sebastian interrupted, “this isn’t a vigilante mission to take down Mobius, we’re only getting Joseph back. You can always get a new house and go on your own little expeditions; I’m done with that charade.”

“I am homeless and half dead. The odds are very low at this point Sebastian.”

“Touché, we’ll worry about that stuff some other time. Let’s just head out there and scope the place out okay?” Sebastian inquired, stretching his arm across the space between the seats as he backed out of the parking lot into the main road.

Ruvik grunted in agreement and with that, he went back to his usual silence. Sebastian turned the radio on to liven the mood a little with no success.

***

Krimson City traffic made Sebastian’s brain want to self-destruct itself. It had been almost forty minutes and they were still downtown, nowhere near the main highway.

Sebastian peered over at Ruvik and noticed the dreamy, vacant expression on his face as he gazed out the window. Curiously, Sebastian peeked from behind his fluffy hair and saw nothing interesting. Nothing other than a shirtless man sitting on a bench, wiping the gleaming sweat off his forehead. Suspicion rose in his head but he decided to let it go. Probably for the best to just ignore what he deducted.

“So Ruvik,” Sebastian attempted to distract Ruvik from his staring, “What was it like to be a rich aristocrat? Being that I’ve always been poor, I’m just curious.” He waited for a response to which he got nothing.

“Okaaay, did you have a hobby? You know, other than butchering small animals.” Ruvik’s head snapped towards him and glared daggers at him “What?” Sebastian asked sarcastically.

“No, what are you trying to do? Did I not just explain to you how I knew I was in the wrong? Why must you antagonize me?” Ruvik spat towards him, his eyebrows furrowed.

“I don’t know, maybe I’m just testing the waters. See if you really have changed. I haven’t felt super threatened yet so I guess we’re in the clear. I did ask a simple question though.”

Ruvik’s posture relaxed and he began to pick at his fingernails. “I didn’t have time for hobbies. I had rigorous studying and learning to do. I never had the chance to do things normal children did.”

“You never watched cartoons?”

“No.”

“Ate Spaghetti O’s?”

Ruvik’s face scrunched up. “What? No.”

“Uh... never played video games?”

“Forbidden in the house.”

“Damn, I really pity you now. What kid doesn’t get to eat fucking Spaghetti O’s?”

“What are Spaghetti O’s?”

Sebastian threw his hands in exaggerated astonishment. “Jesus Christ! We’re getting a can of Spaghetti O’s on the way home. Hopefully they’re as good as I remember.”

“We’re going back home after this? I thought we were going to get Joseph? I’d really enjoy having a body that isn’t charred as well.”

“I don’t have any supplies really. I honestly didn’t think we’d find the place. I need at least a handgun, these people don’t know how to have a civil conversation.”

Ruvik nodded his head.

“Oh and I don’t know if you should get your body just yet,” he muttered nervously.

Ruvik’s eyebrows lowered darkly. “Sebastian, you can’t be serious. Do you know how long it has been since I’ve had a normal functioning body? I was still an adolescent when I lost feeling in almost seventy percent of my skin! I need that vessel as soon as possible!”

“Okay okay! I know, it’s just we don’t even know where it’s at in this place. Your house was huge last time I checked—,” he sighed as he glanced at Ruvik’s slumped over posture. “Fine we’ll look for your body but if I get killed I’m blaming it on you.”

“I won’t let that happen.”

“No offense, but a marshmallow saying this just doesn’t convince me,” he laughed.

Ruvik grinned and played with the dingy material that had been bunched in his lap. “So, I’m a marshmallow now?”

“Yeah. You’re white and puny. Marshmallow confirmed.”

Ruvik blushed and quickly glanced out the window so Sebastian couldn’t see. Sebastian rolled his eyes then let the words “we're going back home” bounce around in his head.

***

Eventually, buildings and skyscrapers were replaced with long stretches of emerald fields with very few houses spread about; mostly forest covered the area. The sun had finally made its way to the horizon and gave way to the moon and her stars. Only a blotch of sunlight made a gradient of blue fading into pinks and oranges making the clouds above them dark and moody.

Sebastian yawned and stretched as best he could within the small confines of the cab of the truck. Ruvik made no effort to even look in Sebastian’s direction, let alone talk to him. Sebastian figured it would make the time go by faster if he were to strike up a conversation.

The thought rolled around in his head for quite some time before he finally had the courage to ask, “Ruvik. Why did you show me your childhood? Did you show Joseph too? Or was it just me?”

The hum of the truck made Sebastian even more anxious. Not like he could do much to him but he didn’t want any unnecessary conflict. Ruvik remained quiet for a time.

“I showed you because,” he began, his voice unsure and shaky, “I thought you, out of all the participants, would be able to understand me. Even if it was just a little. You didn’t though. You didn’t even try to understand.”

“Ruvik!” Sebastian snapped, “I don’t think you understand what you put me through! Listen, I am so sorry for what happened to Laura. What your father did? Fucked up beyond all reason. Besides all that, you really fucked me up mentally. It’s hard for me to pity you after all you did to me. You have to understand that.”

“I do understand now Sebastian. I am trying my best to redeem myself but it seems you won’t let me.”

“Look, I’m sorry. I forget that you have changed a little, thanks to Leslie, but every time I see your face, I’m taken back there. Everything comes back to me.”

“There’s nothing I can do to reverse it. You can only let me help you now without questioning my every move.”

“Why are you helping me though? You could be anywhere in the world right now, why are you hanging around me?” Sebastian asked suspiciously.

“I thought I already answered this. It’s because you’re the only person I know—“

“Bullshit. You have an ulterior motive. Just say what it is.”

“Sebastian I don’t have—“

“SAY IT!”

“Is it so terrible that I find myself attached to you?! There is no ulterior motive! I—I simply like being around you...” His face was flustered.

Sebastian’s eyes blinked rapidly.

“You wanted my answer and I gave it. Are you satisfied with yourself?” Ruvik cried, his arms crossing over themselves.

Sebastian’s eyebrows rose comically. “Not really satisfied, more like confused as fuck.”

“Why?”

“You hang around me because you... like me? Why would you like me? I’m an ass.” He pondered for a second, eyes shifting from the road to the smaller man. “It’s not, ‘like’ like right? You know, romantic feelings?”

“No!” Ruvik’s own body betrayed him as his face heated, a blush creeping onto his face.

Sebastian let the mood cool down a bit. His eyebrows furrowed as he thought about the whole ordeal. Then he remembered earlier, when they were stuck in a traffic jam. “Hey,” he asked nervously, ”Can I ask you something?”

Ruvik hummed with a blank expression now.

“Do you... like men? You know, sexually?” Sebastian grit down on his teeth and scrunched his face awkwardly waiting for Ruvik’s answer.

Ruvik curled in on himself, making his body even smaller than it already was. “I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” he mumbled from under his arm, “or how it’s relevant.”

Sebastian wanted to punch himself in the face. “Just curious is all. I mean, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! I was just wondering if that’s why you always turn red as a tomato when I talk to you— See! It’s happening right now!”

“Sebastian leave me alone!”

By this time Sebastian was full on laughing. “Big scary psychopath likes dudes. That’s a twist I didn’t see coming!”

“Can we stop talking about this now?” Ruvik grumbled.

Sebastian grinned maliciously and made sure to lean in a little closer, dropping his voice an octave. “Why’s that Ruvik? Scared you’ll want this?” He asked rubbing down the front of his torso jokingly. “My manly essence too much for you?” he teased.

“I get it, me being homosexual is hilarious to you.”

“So you are?” Sebastian asked excitedly with a mischievous grin.

Ruvik smacked his hands to his mouth, his face a new shade of crimson.

Sebastian’s laughs bounced off the walls of the cab, hitting Ruvik and making him sink deeper into his embarrassment.

“Hey I’m just poking fun at you. Liking dudes is perfectly fine. Don’t let it bother you too much,” his voice trailed off a bit, letting the humor in his voice falter. “Have you always known?” he asked in a more serious tone.

Ruvik evaded any sort of eye contact but still answered, “My sister had a number of boys that wished to court her. I was jealous that she wanted their attention. I also found myself jealous of all the attention she was receiving. I wanted them to notice me in that way too. I knew then and there that I preferred the company of males. I never had a chance to act on that though.”

“So you’re a virgin?”

“...yes.”

Sebastian didn’t know what to say to this new piece of information.

“It’s strange, isn’t it?” Ruvik asked sullenly.

“No! It’s not strange, just rare for someone to hold out on that for so long. There’s nothing wrong with waiting for the right person.”

Ruvik suddenly smiled darkly. “Oh but I wanted to. I dreamed of getting rammed from behind—“

Sebastian now found himself blushing. “What. The. Fuck?!”

“What?”

“I—I don’t want to know that, Jesus Christ...”

“Good to know I can make you uncomfortable too Seb.”

“Yeah yeah yeah, let’s just stop talking about this okay?”

Ruvik’s eyes gazed dreamily through his thick white lashes. “Alright. I blame you though.”

“Blame me for what?”

Ruvik let out a small chuckle. “I don’t think you realize how attractive you are Sebastian.”

A strange twisting sensation deep in the stomach alarmed Sebastian. What was this? He hadn’t felt this since— no there was no way.

“Okay seriously lets just stop talking about this,” he said suddenly dead serious.

Ruvik raised his hands in mock surrender then went back to his scenery watching.

Sebastian made another quick glance to Ruvik’s white form and found himself confused. Whatever that was, it had nothing to do with the fact that Ruvik complimented him. He had to have been overly tired. Right?

He switched the radio off as a they came up to a wooded area. Ruvik suddenly leaned towards the windshield to get a better look and muttered, “We're here.”