Todd patted his pocket absently, and waved Dirk away when he excused himself. Farah was still frowning down at her dessert bowl like she wasn’t sure why it was there.
He knocked over the leftovers of his lassi special right into his lap. “Ah, crap,” he said, but it was okay, they were doing well, and this wasn’t going to ruin his mood. He slid sideways out of the booth, jerking a finger vaguely in the direction the bathroom might be and wandered off, tugging his wet tshirt away from him.
He slopped water over his shirt and grabbed for a tissue. The tissue dispenser was empty. He gaped at it and even stuck a hand in but no. “Ah, craaaap.”
He turned around, grimacing at the wet coldness and then screamed. It was muffled as a hand, his hand, that was his hand, and that was another him standing right in front of him, what the fuck.
“Shut up, shut up. We have to go,” the guy told him almost bouncing impatiently, “We need to fix the universe.”
“You’re late!” Todd said, slapping the other … Todd’s hands off his mouth, “we already did that! We’re done now. Amanda’s safe and so is Lydia Springs!”
The other Todd gaped at him in a really unattractive fish-like way then said, “I forgot about all that.” He shook his head, “Not that. This time it’s serious.”
Todd closed his eyes, hoping (like he had done a million times in the past three years) that it would all be gone when he opened his eyes, but then he opened them and (just like a million and one times in the past three years) his day just became a whole lot worse.
"No, no, that didn't happen." Dirk looked a lot more patient and sympathetic than usual.
"It did! How can I remember it if it didn't?"
"So…" Dirk trailed off until Todd made an explosive noise and then he hurried forward, "time travel is actually a little more complicated than we thought. Or know. And you just kept using it."
"Why did I do that!"
Dirk looked a little awkward. "You didn't tell me. There were problems. Maybe you thought you could fix them." Todd would feel at least a little better about it all if Dirk were as pissed off at him as he deserved.
"It'll probably wear off soon." Dirk suggested, "Normal people don't ever remember this sort of thing. There was this one guy at Cambridge…"
Todd listened silently about the poor guy who had been unlucky enough to be at Cambridge the same time as Dirk.
Dirk could feel himself grinning as he strolled down, trying to get a signal on his phone. Then he came face to face with himself and the grin slid right off.
“That’s not fair, I solved it this time.”
He nodded at him-himself sympathetically and rolled his eyes, “You’re telling me. Do you know what I had to do to find that contraption again?” Then he shrugged and said, “Well, nothing really, it just came to me but there was a lot of running.”
He-himself started nodding again enthusiastically. What was it, with all the running? “We’re going to have to start running again right now, aren’t we?” He said without stopping nodding.
The other him grimaced and drawled in a really very annoying manner, “Well. Yes.”
They heard the squeal of tires and without looking to see whether it was the sleek black van that haunted their nightmares, they started running. But when had Dirk ever been that lucky?
"So that didn't happen either, right?" Todd was relieved. "I remember you telling me that but that's just like, weird time travel fuckup."
Dirk looked startled then dismissive in a very particular way that meant he didn't want to talk about whatever the subject at hand was. Usually Blackwing. Todd's heart sank. It had happened.
“Are we going to stick together?” Dirk shrugged and rolled his eyes, “Well, I don’t know, Todd. If the past month of really very frightening things happening haven’t shown you that the universe decides what I do, then…” he rolled his eyes again and made a big production of being unconcerned about how stupid Todd was being, and Todd wanted to just grab him and, and…
A month! A month where Todd had just dropped out of his job, his last chance of pretending he wasn't a worthless loser who was going to fuck up his fucked up band even worse and prove his parents right. Dirk had shown up in the basement of the bar through a hidden trapdoor and Todd had only kicked him out twice before deciding to stick with him.
“Yeah, we are. We’re going to stick together.”
Dirk looked at him, derision fading away into surprise then surprised wonder then feigned offense, "There's no need to shout, Todd."
Todd smiled up at him, sure that his eyes big and earnest and his smile was really wide, and slightly creepy. But that was okay, because when Dirk smiled back it was just as wide.
"We didn't meet three years ago," Dirk's eyes were narrowed thoughtfully, "I think the time machine gave you… possibilities."
Todd slumped down further into his destroyed couch. "Great. More lives I could've fucked up."
Dirk patted him awkwardly on one shoulder, "There, there."
Todd scrubbed his face. So far they'd established that he definitely had pararibulitis and that his parents were dead. And Amanda wasn't talking to him. Great.
Dirk continued patting him gingerly with three fingers, mechanically precise like he'd seen it done but had no idea...
Todd sat up straight. No. No, he fucking hadn't.
Dirk continued patting him gingerly with three fingers, mechanically precise like he'd seen it done but had no idea how people did it. Todd glanced up at him to see a determined expression on his face like he was going to power through the awkwardness out of sheer willpower.
It was good. Things were good. Amanda still wasn't talking to him but she had let Farah know she was safe and that was miles more than he would've expected. They had an honest to god detective agency. For the first time since he learned Amanda had pararibulitis, he could see light at the end of the long dark road he had paved.
So instead of shrugging him off and brusquely telling Dirk that he should go back to bed, Todd let the edge of his lips twitch up.
"I didn't!" Todd said, "… did I?"
Then he hurriedly added, "No, I couldn't have."
"What." Dirk said, fingers hanging in mid-air. Then suddenly he went pink from ears to nose. "Oh. Yes, Todd. You did."
"I did?" Todd parroted, "did you? I mean, did I, or did we?"
Dirk went more red, "Well. I suppose I would say we did. I mean I definitely did."
Oh. Right. So. "On the couch?"
Dirk's forehead wrinkled, "Traditional for a bit of a snog isn't it?
"Snog?" Todd asked, bewildered.
"Snog. Canoodle, neck, play tonsil tennis! Keep up Todd!"
"So we didn't…" Todd suddenly felt both relieved and awkward.
"We did! I just said we…" in the middle of rolling his eyes (and his entire head) Dirk suddenly realised what Todd was saying and the red that had receded came back full force and helpfully took over the white expanse of neck as well. "No. We didn't."
Todd thought for a moment. Under pressure got out some his best thinking these days. "We could." He leaned in so that his shoulder was a finger's breadth away from Dirk's. His stomach knocked and let him know he was nervous. I know, asshole, he thought at it.
"We could?" Dirk looked surprised but he leaned in companionably. "Do you mean we could snog or we could…"
Todd would've said he was beyond blushing ever since the time in fifth grade his three year old sister had announced that he played at teatime with her dolls.
His unsympathetic glands just shrugged and let his face get an unattractive red. "Whatever."
"Best assistant ever," Dirk said in an awed tone. Then he grinned silver bright at him and bounced up. "Well, let's go, Todd! The couch would be so inappropriate."
Todd wanted to groan and he did but he also took the hand Dirk held out to haul him up and away.