"Ohhh, Eamonn! Hi!"
"Are you free tonight?"
"Yeah, I have tonight off. What about it?"
"Wanna go out to sushi with me? Tonight?"
"I've never had sushi…"
"What!? You haven't?"
"Okay, you've lived in Japan for a couple months now, and you STILL haven't had sushi!?"
"Is it mandatory to eat sushi when living in Japan? Is there a law for this?"
"Well…no, but still. I'm dragging you to sushi if you want to."
"…Sure. I should be off by five-thirty, so…"
"Good. Meet me at the back of the building at six! Bye~!"
"Wait, Moni—…and she's hung up. And I'm talking to myself."
Eamonn met her just outside the Pantasia Main Building, and they took the bus to a restaurant. Monica told him that it was a good one that she'd been to with her coworkers and Kai, a couple times.
They got a table after they arrived, and at first exchanged small talk as they drank sake and ate sushi.
…It was still weird that he could eat raw fish, but as long as he wasn't getting sick, he was fine with it. Also, it tasted good.
The conversation was good, even if it was nothing but small talk so far, too. Maybe…maybe this wouldn't be as odd as Eamonn thought it would be.
"Uh…" Monica chuckled sheepishly, putting down her cup of sake on the table. "Remember how I told you last time about the false pregnancy?"
The Lion of Oz immediately knew this was going south. "You told him?"
Her face fell. "Yeah." Eyebrows furrowed a bit as she sipped some of her sake, and then she continued. "Yeah, I told him. He…he didn't take it well. We haven't exactly talked since."
Eamonn bit his lip, taking his own sip of sake. "I'm…sorry to hear that, Monica."
"I kind of had it coming, though. I shouldn't have held off on telling him the truth for so long, and…you know," She took another sip, "What you said about telling the truth sooner than later—you're right. Continuously lying to him would've hurt me and him more in the long run."
Eamonn swirled his cup of sake, hesitating, then asked, "Did you two…break up?"
"I…" She shrugged, looked down at her cup, then up at him. "I dunno, it's complicated. We haven't talked, but it's not like either one of us said that we've broken up or anything like that." She then puffed her cheeks. "Not like I haven't tried talking to him since, that is! I've called him at least three times in the past week, left messages, and all that stuff…"
"And he hasn't answered." The other guessed.
She shook her head. "No. Goes to voicemail or he just…ignores it, I think."
He sighed. He wasn't sure what else to say. "Well…maybe he just needs the time."
"Maybe." She sighed, frowned, then her eyes lit up. "Enough about me—how are you and the General Manager doing? Did you ever, uh, talk about the escalating relationship you two have?"
"Um," Eamonn needed a moment, to compose himself. "We did."
"How did it go?"
"…It went well." That was what he managed. "We talked things out. We gave each other the space we needed, and thank god for that. Maybe…" He looked to her, "Maybe he really does just need the time." He then frowned. "How long have you not told him the truth for?"
Monica grimaced. "A while."
No wonder Kai would be that upset.
"Heyyyy, Monica!" The two turned to see a young, blond man approach their table, waving. "I thought that was you over there? Where's Suwabara?"
"Spencer!" Monica's eyes widened as she looked to him. "What are you doing here?"
"Thought I'd check out this place myself. Got recommended by a couple of buddies at work, but none of 'em could come with me tonight so I'm on my own."
"Spencer?" Eamonn looked from the blond young man, and then to Monica. "You know him?"
She nodded. "Yeah, I worked with him during the Monaco Cup, we competed together." She looked to Spencer, then
"Just call me Shachioko." The blond shot him a cheesy grin. "Mind if I join you two?"
Monica's smile turned mischievous, and Eamonn wasn't sure what to make of it. However….the Lion of Oz took a deep breath, before speaking.
"And that's what happens when Shadow White drinks, everybody!"
Shachioko and Monica roared with laughter. Eamonn was pretty sure one or maybe both of them were a bit tipsy at this point, so he'd asked the waitress handing them drinks to slow down on the alcohol for now. As much experience as he had, handling drunken soldiers back in Oz, he did not want to deal with drunken co-workers tonight.
In a way, it reminded him of days from long, long ago. Drinking with his own soldiers, and with Roan.
Thinking of him made his chest ache, and he tried to wash it down with a chug of sake.
"I'm still surprised the General Manager actually hooked up with anyone, let alone you." Spencer managed, looking to Eamonn. "I mean no offense, I'm just really surprised."
"To be honest," Eamonn took another sip of sake, then put his cup down, "I wasn't expecting it, either."
"Like," The blond continued, "everyone expected him to hook up with Kuroyanagi after the Pantasia Newcomers' Tournament, not you!"
Eamonn nearly knocked over his cup. "What?"
He knew that Kuroyanagi and Sylvan had nearly kissed twice, during the Pantasia Newcomers' Tournament, but he had no clue that everyone literally thought they were going to be…well…a couple. At all.
"You didn't know?" Shachioko tilted his head. "Those two were kind of made for each other. I mean, Meister's the only one that Kuroyanagi actually gets along with. He basically just yells at the rest of us, save for maybe you because you're Meister's boyfriend now, and…well, to me, Meister has the patience of some saint. Kind of hard not to see how he and Kuroyanagi could get with each other."
Eamonn didn't say anything, picking up his cup and downing the rest of the sake.
"I'll be back."
He got up from his table and left before Shachioko could say anything else.
"What? What did I do?"
"Dude, you just basically told him he doesn't deserve to date the General Manager?"
"Monica, I-I didn't mean—"
"Spencer, just go and apologize, okay?"
"I, oh…okay, okay. I'm going, I'm going!"
Eamonn was thankful to be alone in the men's washroom right now. Leaning back against the wall, close to the sinks, he ran a hand through his long hair.
Gods, he should get it cut. It would remind him less of his past that way.
What Spencer said was right, though. It was hard not to see how Kuroyanagi and Sylvan might have gotten together, if Eamonn hadn't appeared in this world in the first place. Honestly, it was a bit…crushing. He sighed, burying his head in both hands, closing his eyes.
Eamonn took his face out of his hands to see Spencer enter the bathroom, hesitant. The younger man fidgeted a bit, adjusting the cap on his head with a hand as he walked over to him.
"Sorry about…just now. I wasn't really thinking…" He closed his mouth, shaking his head. "I don't know, maybe I drank too much. I just…I…"
"It's not your fault." Those were the words spilling out of Eamonn's mouth, and it made him wonder if he drank too much as well. "I just…needed a moment. And you're right. If I wasn't there, something might have…they might have…"
"Well, that's only a what-if." Spencer tried to reassure him, lowering his hand to his sides. "We'll never know for sure."
Just like how, Eamonn knew, that he'd never know if his family back in Oz was okay. He swallowed, lowering his gaze from Spencer's own, before his eyes flicked towards him again.
"I just…when I got here," He finally managed, "I wanted to start new. I wanted to forget the past, move on. But…I feel like I'm getting worse. Like I keep being in the way. I don't…I don't know."
He forced himself to inhale slowly, then exhale.
"There's just so much I miss from before." The Lion of Oz muttered. "People I've lost."
Maeve. Indra. My son…
Their faces came back in his mind's eye, and he tried to shove them away. Spencer swallowed, unsure of what to say.
"Do you want to talk this through with me?" Spencer asked. "I'll keep it between us, I promise."
Eamonn shook his head. "…need Sylvan. I'm gonna call him."
"Uh…" The younger man paused, hesitated. "I'll go pay for drinks. It's on me, okay?"
"Eamonn? Are you okay? You…sound like you're crying…"
"I don't know. I don't fucking know. It just…it just hurts, okay?"
"Where are you? Are you injured?"
"I'm not…physically injured, just fucking sobbing, and I don't know what to do."
"Where are you? I can come pick you up right now, I'll use one of Pantasia's smaller cars to get there…"
"This…restaurant…lemme give you the address, you probably don't know it…"
"Okay, okay. I'll get there as soon as I can—"
"Why does this have to be hard? I just wanted to move on…"
"Just…please, please, pick me up. I'm scared."
"I'll go get you—"
"Stay on the phone, please? I'm fucking scared."
"…Let me switch to my cellphone. I assume you're using yours?"
"Just a moment."
"I'm back. I just got into one of the cars, I'm on the way."
"Thank god. I was…"
"Are you feeling any better?"
"Monica got me some water, Spencer paid for drinks. We'll be waiting outside."
"All three of you are there?"
"Yeah. We just…started talking, and Spencer mentioned something and I got upset and I ran to the bathroom, and I just nearly sobbed my eyes out and now I'm on this phone…"
"Eamonn, breathe. Deeply. Do that for me, please?"
"What exactly about what Spencer said upset you?"
"He mentioned everyone being surprised at you and me getting together, because they thought you and Kuroyanagi would get together."
"…I see. I thought rumors of that would reach you at some point. It's true that people thought we were going to get together, but Kuroyanagi insisted to me that he's completely straight, even if he did nearly kiss me twice due to bread reactions. I'm not about to force anything that personal out of him. As for you…I never thought it would reach you this soon. I thought it'd reach you sooner."
"Yeah, really. I guess…well, then again, you came right after the Newcomers' Tournament ended. I guess everyone was in shock of how you arrived that they didn't have time to chat about other rumours."
"I see…well, I'm glad you told me about all this. I really am…I know I wanted to move on, but…sometimes I feel like I'm just in the way. That I'm…I shouldn't be here. Hell, I come from Oz!"
"Eamonn, you belong here. I know you told me you don't think you do, but you do. You're home to me."
"My fucking god…"
"You're home. You're home to me. I don't want to lose you. I don't want to lose you like I lost my family and Roan, please…I just…"
"…You're home to me, too. I won't ever forget that I'm home to you. I swear that. I'll be here in five minutes, I'll take you home. Just hold on, okay?"
"I love you."
"I know, I know, I love you too."
"Will things…will this ever be okay?"
"It will. It will."