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Harry had always felt this strange pull in his chest. As a child, he’d gotten in trouble for running off in an attempt to follow it. It never hurt, but it constantly made itself known. The only time it ever switched the direction it pulled was when Harry’s family flew out of state to visit their relatives. Outside of that, it was a steady force, drawing him to the west and south, pulling on him like gravity, to the point that he would catch himself falling in that direction more often than the others.
No one seemed to know what it was, not doctors, not scientists, not anyone. The only theory anyone had was from Harry’s mother; that Harry had a person from their past life they had a deep connection to. It wasn’t unheard of, but Harry lacked all the other signs. There was no emotional transfer over the connection, no strange thoughts that may not have been his, no deep longing in his soul for another person. So either this was an unknown phenomenon or he was just soulmates with the most empty person in the world. Harry was honestly unsure which.

He was 16 when it happened. He’d been having strange dreams on and off over the last few months, always a little vague, but with consistent elements. Fear, a lot, and anger, and sometimes sadness. Mirrors and glass bottles and wine. Laughing to keep up appearances and barely holding it together, the feeling of being pulled apart at the seams.
At first, he’d thought each dream would be the last, but as time went on it became clear. He would eventually remember most, if not all, of his past life.
It all makes sense with a dream of himself, taking notes on a formula he had been constructing for years. He felt exhausted, he felt desperate. He finally added the last ingredient and drank. It was salty and bitter and warm and then he was convulsing on the floor as green fluid leaked from his eyes and mouth and suddenly he was detached and there before him was someone else.

He woke up with the word “Hyde” on his lips.

There, in his bedroom in late August, Henry Jekyll remembered who he was.

And now, Harry Jackson was taking a gap year to make sure his biggest mistake hadn’t already killed.
___________
After quite a few days of driving, Harry found himself in a city in Colorado. It had taken him quite a while to figure out how to follow the pull in his chest. It was intense now, stronger than it had ever been, more demanding. You are close, it said. I am near, you can find me.
Harry certainly hoped he would find it soon.

When he finally did, he groaned. Go figure. It was a house party, with loud music and flashing lights and underage kids passed out on the lawn. It was the exact kind of place where Hyde would go.

Oh god, what if it’d regressed? What if Hyde hadn’t gotten treatment like he had? What if it had killed? His research hasn’t come up with anything... maybe it was still in the one night stand and getting drunk phase. Or maybe it’d just now gotten to the fire phase.

Hyde set a fire and he burned down the house, he thought to himself, before realizing that was actually a possibility. He felt ashamed of making light of it. At least it wasn’t Halloween, it was March. He wondered idly if the spring plays would be starting soon. No, focus, right, Hyde.

Harry got out of his car and walked into the loud house, hoping he would blend in alright. Thankfully, it looked like most of the people were college students. His uncut hair and hoodie weren’t out of place either since this wasn’t exactly Yale. Maybe the only unusual thing about him was that he wasn’t drunk like seemingly everyone else here was.

Now, he just had to look for Hyde.

————

This was frustrating Harry. There was no sign of Hyde around, no blonde gremlins starting fights or drinking insane quantities of alcohol. He really hoped he wouldn’t have to check to see if it was getting laid in one of the rooms upstairs, but the pull told him Hyde was on this level. He turned a corner and practically ran into a girl with a green streak in her hair and an incredibly short dress. He stopped in his tracks and stared at her. “Oh- er, I’m sorry-“

“You’re perfect,” she said, and promptly collapsed onto him, hugging him around his waist. He staggered under her sudden weight. As he held her up, he looked her over again. Her face was flushed and she was very likely drunk.

Harry tried to force her back into standing on her own feet, but she seemed disinclined to release her hold on him. “Uh, sorry, I need to go back to looking for-“

The pull was gone.

He couldn’t feel where Hyde was. Had it died? No, that made no sense, surely he’d have known. Besides, how would it have died at a college house party?

Well...

Maybe it had set another fire.

“Oh, good. You found Hint,” someone said. Harry turned his head to look at them, and would have turned the rest of his body if the girl clinging to him wasn’t making that impossible. The man was taller than him, with rich dark skin and soft brown eyes that looked amused by the girl’s antics.

Thank god, he thought. I found the only other sober person here.

“Go ‘way, Richie,” the girl- Hint?- slurred into his chest. “‘Ve found m’ soulmate.”

“Oh, dear. Am I single now?” -Richie? probably not- smiled, as he walked over to take Hint into his arms. “Sorry about them. They haven’t gotten drunk in a while,” he admitted. “I’m Richard.”

“Right,” Harry said, gladly giving Hint up to Richard, who whined as she was pulled away. “This happen often? When she’s drunk, I mean.”

“Calling a random stranger their soulmate and passing out on them? Not much,” Richard admitted. Sure enough, Hint had collapsed in Richard’s arms and was quite clearly asleep. Richard cast his eyes over her body, calculating. “I don’t think I can carry them all the way back to my car on my own. Give me a hand?”

“Uh, sure,” Harry said, reaching out and lifting her under an arm (Richard took the other.) “I’m Harry, by the way.”

“Harry? Harry Potter?” Richard asked in a rather good British accent. Harry laughed.

“Never heard that one before. No, Harry Jackson. Extremely exotic name, I know.”

“How will I manage to pronounce it?” Richard joked.

The two continued to joke to each other as they mostly carried, partially dragged Hint out of the house. When they got to Richard’s car and had carefully placed Hint in the passenger’s seat- Richard buckled her in- he turned to Harry.

“So, what brought you here on this fine night? I don’t recognize you, and this party was almost entirely premed students and their friends. Felt like crashing it?”

“In a sense,” Harry admitted. “Actually, I was looking for someone. Know any blonde boys who are hyperactive, drinkers, may or may not have committed murder and tend to sleep around?” Richard shook his head.

“Sorry man, all I got for you is Hint. They only got the blonde part and the murder part.” Harry stared at him intensely.

“You’re joking, right?” Richard tilted his head quizzically, indicating Harry should go on. “Her? A murderer? The drunk girl who called me her soulmate?”

Richard sighed exhaustedly, but answered anyway. “They, uh, tend to scare people off. They’re not dangerous, really, they just... feel dangerous to people, I guess? They’re really nice, though.”

Harry only hummed in response, thinking. “So, you may be a taken man, but may I have your number anyway? Purely for friendly reasons, of course.”

Richard giggled. “Of course, how could I have missed that you saying my girlfriend wasn’t a murderer was a flirtation? May I have your phone?” he asked, reaching out chivalrously. Harry smiled and handed his phone over for Richard to put his number into. After he had, Richard walked around the car to the driver’s side. “I probably won't respond until tomorrow, but text me,” he said.

“Of course,” Harry said, waving goodbye. Richard waved back as he began to drive away.

Harry walked back to his car and got inside before taking a moment to think. Richard felt like an old friend, mannerisms and jokes familiar and comfortable. Harry wondered briefly if he might indeed be an old friend.

No. Hyde first, anyone else after, he told himself. Hyde first.

Did he tell himself?

He gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white, and stared at the house. Harry took in the electric lights, heard the muffled but blasting music, and stared at a girl wearing just a crop top and panties, completely wasted and stumbling across the lawn. This was 2018.

Still, Henry was right, even if he couldn’t be allowed to be involved. Hyde first.

He turned the key in the ignition and drove away. The pull was back, and he would follow it to Hyde. Tomorrow.

Chapter Text

The next day, Harry had mostly tracked Hyde down. It was somewhere on this block, he could tell. The pull in his chest had returned to its strange siren-call from last night. He mentally poked at it, looking to learn more about the new sensation. All he could gather about it was that this pull really seemed to want him to find Hyde. (If it could really want anything; he doubted it was sentient.) Still, if it did, it was probably because Hyde was a murderer. Because Hyde was dangerous and unstable. He caught himself feeling happy, though he couldn’t figure out why…

 

He stopped in his tracks and assessed the emotion. It felt like more than happiness. It filled his chest, to the point he worried it was visible. It felt hot and devoted and wistful and proud.

 

It was love .

 

He was feeling love? That made no sense, what would he be loving about this. It was impossible that he would be feeling this towards Hyde , who he had just been thinking about, so why was this happening?

 

Then, Harry tried to feel out the emotion, like every book he’d read on soulbonds had mentioned. It was shifting, swelling and turning briefly to anger before back to a more peaceful state, almost like… almost like someone else was having it.

 

Apparently, they were close enough that the bond functioned more like a high-level soulbond. Harry wondered if it was a two-way thing, if Hyde could feel him now. Somehow, he doubted it, unless the ‘love’ was gleeful malice instead.

 

At any rate, Harry was going to track Hyde down. He would track it down and ensure it had not done anything that it needed to be turned in for, and then…

 

Wait, what if it hadn’t? It wasn’t likely, with how violent it had gotten towards the end, but. If it hadn’t, it couldn’t be arrested for the actions of a past life (thankfully, or he would also be at danger of arrest) but he would have no legal recourse to get rid of it. He’d have to take matters into his own hands, but that could be very involved, and there was a good chance he would get arrested for doing it without good rea-

 

Harry’s train of thought was interrupted by his stomach loudly growling. He hadn’t really eaten in the past… two days? He’d been doing fine for someone living out of his car, with a diet of lunchmeat, pringles, and a near-obscene amount of energy drinks (tea made him regress, and he hated the taste of coffee.) It wasn’t an intentional decision, but he’d gotten distracted when he’d gotten close enough that he could feel the pull strengthening.

 

At any rate, he should probably grab some food somewhere, or go back to his car. But, if he went back to his car, there was a chance he would lose Hyde, and he was so close.

 

Maybe somewhere around here, he thought, scanning the row of shops. His eyes ran over a bookstore, some place that sold boardgames, a coffeeshop, and continued down the street before he found himself turning back to the coffeeshop.

 

He wasn’t even sure why, he wasn’t even sure he did it himself. There was just something about that one person that he couldn’t pin down, the blonde boy with hair down to his shoulders and a green streak. Something about him felt off. Something felt… unnatural.

 

It’s Hyde , the voice he’d learned to identify as Jekyll’s internal monologue intruded and wow, okay, center yourself Harry, no regression. Do not regress, your name is Harry Jackson, you’re 19, you live in Pennsylvania but you’re in Colorado right now because you’re looking for someone from your past life, which is not the life you have right now, go away Jekyll!

 

When the rush of intrusive 19th-century thoughts had receded, Harry returned his attention to the man in the window. He didn’t look like a murderer, he looked almost innocent, but something was just wrong with him. He doubted he’d ever be able to pin down what it was, but if that was Hyde, then maybe it was the indelible mark of an incomplete soul, a warning sign courtesy of his instincts that this person was wrong, that they were dangerous.

 

He wasn’t quite sure what to do now. If they had been simply walking around or sitting somewhere less contained, or really anything that would have made sure this conversation wouldn’t have to happen around a bunch of people, he would have just approached. But because of the presence of others, he would have to be more cautious and subtle than he’d planned to.

 

________

 

“Excuse me,” he said to the two of them. They both turned from where they had been gazing at each other to look at him. The blonde raised an eyebrow.

 

“May I help you?” he asked snarkily, voice a bit high-pitched. The other smacked him in the arm offhandedly. “Ow!”

 

“Ignore them, Harry,” said the other man- wait how did he know Harry’s name? “They’re always a bit grumpy when they’re hungover.” Harry stared at him, uncomprehending, until his face clicked with that of the person he’d met last night.

 

“Richard?”

 

“Oh, you do remember me!” Richard exclaimed. “Excellent!” The man smiled pleasantly as if this were a circumstantial meeting and not one where Harry was going to be saving his life.

 

“Yes, I do… may I speak to your friend here?” Harry gestured to the blonde, giving his most convincing smile. “I have something I need to discuss with… I’m sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name,” he said, turning to look at him.

 

The blonde scowled at him. “No, you caught my name, you’re just an idiot.” Richard gave him a disapproving look but didn’t say anything to stop him.

 

Harry felt his false smile fall. So this man didn’t want to play nice. Fine. “Alright then. I suppose you should remind me of your name, and then the two of us will speak outside.”

 

The blonde ran his eerily vibrant eyes up and down Harry’s body, judging him. “My name is Hint. I believe we met last night.”

 

Harry stared at him blankly.

 

“But… I met a woman last night-“

 

Hint slammed his fists on the table. “Did I say I was a woman? Did anyone say I was a woman? Fuck!”

 

Richard placed a hand over Hint’s left fist and cleared his throat. “Hint here is genderfluid and enjoys the usage of they pronouns, which you somehow didn’t pick up on in the 20 minutes of conversation we had yesterday.” He gave Harry a look that showed how clearly any trust or respect he’d had for the man had been lost. “Now, are you going to continue to stand there and waste our time, or do you have something to say?”

 

Harry sighed. He had tried to do this without causing a scene… oh well. He supposed avoiding a scene when Hyde was involved was impossible. “I do, in fact, have something to say.” He glared at them from the corners of his eyes, seeing their surly expression. “I know of the actions of your past life, Hint, and I wish to know if you’ve engaged in any similar behavior this time around.”

 

Hint blinked, clearly stunned. “You… know about my past life?”

 

Harry smirked, good, he was frightened of the truth being revealed. He did have leverage in this. “Of course I do,” he said, leaning to tower over Hint. “I know every single action Edward Hyde did.”

 

Hint looked at him, mouth slightly open, mouthing the words ‘Edward Hyde.’ Harry raised an eyebrow, waiting for his threat to click.

 

But it didn’t seem to. Hint seemed impatient for him to say more. Harry stood there, making eye contact, looking for an appropriate reaction.

 

After about 15 seconds of this, Hint swallowed nervously. “I’m, uh… from the look on your face it probably wasn’t anything good.” They shook their head as if to clear an errant thought, small ponytail whipping back and forth as they did. Their gaze returned to Harry, giving him a sad smile. “If you’re looking for an apology, I’ll give it, but I have no idea who you are or what I did to you.”

 

Harry was dumbfounded. “You don’t remember anything?” Hint shook their head apologetically in response. Harry stared in the distance for a few moments as he thought.

 

They were lying. Of course, they were lying, that’s exactly what Hyde would do. They remembered everything, just like he did, but they weren’t trying to be better. They were probably murdering again! Which meant they might go after Richard… no, he couldn’t have that. He had to make sure no one else died, so he should either make them afraid of him, or keep a close eye on them.

 

Since he really didn’t want to cause a scene in the crowded coffee shop, he should opt for the latter, but he somehow doubted that would be efficient. “Right, well, could you step out back with me for a moment? I have a few quick things I think you deserve to be told.”

 

Hint’s face clearly read skepticism, but they didn’t express it outside of a slightly stiff “sure.” They stood up from the table and followed Harry to the back door to the coffee shop, and into the alleyway behind it.

 

“Listen, Hyde ,” Harry said, immediately confronting them once the door had closed. “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but if you even think I’m going to let you get away with it!”

 

“I don't know what you think I'm trying to get away with! Listen here, buddy, I don't know who the fuck Edward Hyde is, why you're so convinced that I'm apparently his reincarnation and why you're accusing me of trying to get away with some unnamed horror but you need to fucking stop!” Hint immediately took an aggressive step towards Harry, who leapt backwards.

 

“You can lie to that man you can lie to the world but you can't lie to me, Hyde!” Harry snapped.

 

“Don't call me Hyde.” The blond said angrily.

 

“I'm not falling for this if I remember everything then you must remember everything!” They had always been the same, if Harry remembered then Hint must, that was how this worked.

 

“I don't remember anything, okay? Get off my back! You know, I actually thought you might have been a decent guy but apparently I was fucking wrong!” Hint glared at him with hauntingly familiar green eyes.

 

“You, deciding I'm not a decent guy? That's rich, coming from you, Hyde!” Harry declared, looking down haughtily at the blond.

 

“I'm not Hyde!” They insisted.

 

“Listen here, I don't care who you think you are, I know who you are and that you’re fucking dangerous! You can't be trusted and I'm going to make sure people know that!” God, Hint was infuriating. They were lying, they were pissed off, he could tell through their little mental link. That little bit of emotions that weren’t his were screaming anger and guilt.

 

“What the fuck even makes you think that? What do you think I’ve ever done to- to anyone?” they stuttered out, voice starting to crack a bit. “What did I do to you?”

 

“...fine.” If they were so desperate to keep up their façade of ignorance, he could play along. Harry could read them their list of crimes, if that was what they wanted. “Let’s see, it’s more what you didn’t do to me when it comes down to it. There’s the countless instances of manipulation, mental attacks, getting me hungover, eventually causing both of our deaths… not even to mention!” he was enjoying this a bit too much oh god look at their face he can feel it he’s destroying them but he can’t stop he’s not doing this anymore “The constant barfights, the indescribable sins, the occasion where you burned down an entire block of London, and!” Jekyll laughed bitterly, “Don’t forget! Murdering a key member of the parliament, horribly maiming a small child, and causing my best friend to die of shock due to your own moronic plan!”

 

Hyde was crying now, looking at his hands like he couldn’t believe he’d done it, but what mattered more was that a door was opening. Jekyll couldn’t be interrupted in this, by someone who wouldn’t understand and would start to suspect him an-

 

It was Lanyon.

 

Lanyon , he was alive, he looked a bit different but god it was him and he was coming over to- to Hyde wait what?

 

“Lanyon?”

 

Lanyon looked up, confused. ”Uh, no, my name is… Richard- why do you have an accent?” He was wrapping his arms around Hyde as he asked, cradling him close and softly patting him. This… if Jekyll didn’t know any better, he’d think Lanyon was trying to comfort Hyde.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous, you’re clearly Lanyon. What on earth are you doing?”

 

Lanyon didn’t seem to deem this question as deserving of a response, instead whispering something to Hyde. Whatever Hyde said back disturbed him, and he looked up shocked. “Harry.”

 

Harry? Lanyon only called him that when things were getting really bad- had Hyde threatened him? No, some memory was- wait wait wait no no-

 

“Richard!” Harry blurted. He was suddenly met with a mess of a scene, Hint collapsed in Richard’s arms, sobbing, hands shaking, dammit Jekyll ! “I’m- I’m so sorry, I think- I must have regressed just then, I-“

 

“Yeah, no shit! What did you say to Hint?”

 

“I- fuck, I can’t know that, the last words I remember saying were something about how they killed both of us! Did you catch any of it?” Harry asked, a bit desperately, hoping he could at least figure out if things he’d said were justified.

 

“Something about killing your best friend, but that’s definitely not what’s important right now.” Richard hugged Hint close as he stood to his full height. “What did you come out here to tell them? You can say it to both of us, go on.” He smiled, but it seemed to chill the surrounding area by five degrees, it was so devoid of warmth.

 

“Why don’t you ask them?” Harry demanded. “They know better than I do what I said, and besides, it would be better coming from them.” He looked up to Richard, and coldly said, “You never want to hear that your partner was a murderer from another source, after all.”

 

He walked away, pretending he didn’t hear Hint break into tears again. He had almost made it to the door when Richard called out to him. He turned around, hoping to keep the exhaustion from being obvious. “Yes?”

 

“...Who was Lanyon?”

 

Harry’s breath caught, the question and its implications spinning in his head. “How do you know that name?”

 

“You called me it,” Richard replied, with hostility plain in his voice.

 

Harry leaned against the door in shock, there was no way. He’d found them both? In one day, he’d found them both, and they… were dating.

 

That was wrong, that was wrong , that wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing Lanyon was his - no, bad Jekyll, 2018, Richard needs a response what should he say -

 

“It doesn’t really matter,” he said, and left the two of them behind as he opened the door and walked back into the coffee shop.

 

He failed.

 

———

 

Why had he done that?

 

Had he wanted to ruin the two of them? He could feel the jealousy and anger spiraling off Jekyll’s memories, but he should have better control of them by now!

 

He could also feel the bit of his soul that was linked with Hint’s, sick with guilt and loathing and so, so much anger.

 

...Guilt.

 

Had they already known about all the things they had done, or had they been telling the truth when they said they didn’t remember? If they had known, why did they feel so guilty? And if they hadn’t… was he wrong in trying to supervise them?

 

No, of course not. They were still, after all, an incomplete person, one of pure evil, and they had been on their own for 19 years. He could practically feel the evil radiating off them in that alley. What kinds of things could they have done in that period?

 

...What were they doing?

 

Harry raised his head from where he had been laying it on the steering wheel, invigorated from his position of defeat by the sudden need to run over everything about what Richard looked like, acted like, because he’d just had a thought.

 

Was he okay? Was he worried about his partner, the one who was crying, who was getting wasted and calling people their soulmates?

 

Did he want to be there, or was he being forced to be there? If Hint was lying and they did remember, it was almost definite that he was undergoing some kind of mistreatment. And if they didn’t, he could still be in danger- this was Hyde.

 

He had to get Richard out of there.

 

He had to figure out what Hint had done, and he had to get Richard out of there.

 

For Richard’s safety.

Chapter Text

Hey guys, sorry for bad news, but we won't have a chapter out this week. We're working out ways to get these done, and right now it's looking likely that we won't be managing chapters every week, but we can guarantee that they will all come out on Thursdays. Thanks for your patience!
-CloseToSomethingReal

Chapter Text

“Shit!” Richard swore and threw his phone at the couch, staring at it in disbelief. “Shit shit shit shit shit oh god no no this can't be happening!”

Hint looked up from tearing open the packet for a candy bar that they were selfishly refusing to share, like the jerk they were. (It must have been revenge for the prank Richard had pulled earlier.) “What happened?”

“Somehow I completely forgot that I have a research paper due!” Richard cried, frozen in shock, unsure of what he could even do right now.

Hint frowned, pulling the candy from the package and taking a bite. “How do you know that?” They asked with a mouth full of chocolate and peanuts.

“I just got a text about it!” Richard told them, burying his face in his hands.

Hint couldn't help but giggle. “Oh, you are fucked.

“You're not helping!”

Hint stretched out along the couch, relaxing as if to shove it in Richard’s face that they could. “Never said I was helping...Maybe you could beg the teacher for an extension? Say you were too busy getting abducted, or some shit. Might be good enough.”

“Abducted? Hint, do you think my professor was born yesterday! He's not going to believe that for a second!” Richard complained.

Hint shrugged, took another bite of their candy bar. “Well, what do you want me to tell you, Richie? You’re the one who forgot his assignment!” They reminded him. “I got all my work done this weekend.”

“Hint, you flip burgers at a Wendy’s for eight hour shifts. It’s not hard to get all your work done!” Richard told him.

“Well, I’m sorry I had the smart job plan!” Hint laughing, leaning back again, yawning.

“Don’t you lie to me, you don’t have a job plan!” Richard retorted. “Working at Wendy’s for the rest of your life isn’t a job plan, Hint.”

“Fair.” They waved the rest of the candy bar at him, and then smirked. “Well, come on, Richie, you’d best go and get your laptop and get working on that research paper for your professor! Don’t want to fail out of the only job plan this house has!” They pointed out, and took another bite of their candy.

“You’d better cook tonight, I don’t have time.”

“The only cooking I can do is flipping burgers!” Hint argued. “I’ll call in for something, what do you want?”

Richard sighed. “Anything but pizza again, that’s what you ordered last time.” He decided.

“Chinese?”

“Sounds good.” Richard agreed, rushing into the bedroom to grab his laptop and sit down on the couch, forcing Hint to move or get sat on.

“What are you doing?” Hint demanded, finishing the last of their candy and sitting up.

“Getting started on the paper! Hint, if I can at least get some of it done I might be able to bargain for an extension!” Richard explained.

He opened his laptop, pulled a word document open and a search bar and began looking for information.

Picked a cop-out subject that he already knew half the facts about and started digging.

Hint played a game on their phone. It was noisy and distracting and they did not have headphones.

Richard sighed. After Hint had called to place a take out order at the Chinese place nearby, he sent his professor an email.

There was no way he was finishing this on time, so he'd best clear the waters first and send a preemptive apology to his professor.

He didn't spend very long on the message, he wanted to get as much of the paper due as possible, at least have a solid outline to work off of by the end of the day, hit send and threw his phone to the side.

What kind of professor didn't warn his students until a day before the project was due? Richard didn't remember being assigned this paper, and why had it never been mentioned in class?

Did it really matter? No matter what he had to get this paper started, and started well, or he was fucked.

Hint was curled up beside him, reading over his shoulder, even if they probably didn't understand what everything was about they knew how to fake interest.

Normally it was in order to infiltrate and halt Richard's work for something far more pleasurable but far less productive, but today they kept quiet.

They were no fool, they knew what they could get away with and what they couldn't. Right now, they knew not to try anything.  

So Richard typed and searched frantically, he was a med student he couldn't afford to fuck up this badly, desperate to have something to show tomorrow in class.

“Richard?” Hint said softly.

“Yes?” Apparently they didn't know better than to try something.

“Your phone went off you have an email from someone.” They told him.

Richard sighed, placed the laptop on the coffee table and grabbed his phone.

It was an email from his professor. Perfect. He could find out if his effort was worth it.

He opened it to find only two words written in the text.

APRIL FOOLS!!!

He dropped the phone. “Holy fuck oh my god.” He gasped, shaking his head, unsure of whether he should laugh or cry.

It was brilliantly done, and he couldn't believe he had fallen for it.

“What is it?”

“It was a prank. The research paper was an April Fool’s joke.” Richard admitted, closing his laptop and burying his face in his hands.

Hint burst out laughing, covering their mouth with their hands. “Oh my god, Richard, I can't believe you fell for that!” They cried, giggling non-stop.

“Oh, sure. Says the one who dumped salt all over their rice krispies this morning because you fell for me switching the salt and the sugar.

“That was pure evil. You ruined my cereal. This is fucking hilarious!” They told him. “I can't believe he got you that well! All that work you were doing!”

“Yeah, yeah, he got me. But you still didn't.”