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home's a place that i have never known

Chapter Text

John's worn sneakers slapped against the ground methodically as he pushed his way through rows of corn. The leaves left thin scratches on his arms but he pushed through, barely feeling the pain through the rush of adrenaline.

"Get back over here!" a voice, high-pitched with rage, barked at him from close by.

Fingers snatched at his backpack as he pressed on, the source of the shouting on his tail as he burst out of the rows of corn to see a red train just starting to gain speed on the track ahead of him. As if expecting him, one of the cars' doors had been slid half-open, revealing a dimly lit compartment with a metal floor.

John made the split-second decision- the kind of decision that barely ends up well for anybody, and made a leap of faith for the open train car. A squawk of surprise could be heard from behind him as his fingers grabbed frantically at the cold metal handle of the door and his feet scrambled to keep a hold on the slim doorway into the car.

"Get back over here!" barked the police officer, voice full of rage.

John turned around to stick his tongue out at the cop, though it was a bit difficult with how much he was grinning.

"Fuck off, Lee!" Lee seethed as he chased feebly after the train, breathing heavily. John rounded a corner and he was out of sight.

As the train began to move faster and faster, John left the police officer behind, panting for breath and holding onto the train for dear life. The wind whipped across his face and back, making him uncomfortably cold despite the black hoodie he had zipped tight against the Autumn air. John slowly edged along the open door and fell inside the compartment, breathing a sigh of relief as he lay on the cool floor.

 

Alexander wasn't expecting a lot of things, but he definitely didn't expect a random person to almost fall on him as he rested his eyes in an empty train cart.

He jumped up in surprise, staring wild-eyed at the man lying spread-eagle on the metal floor in front of him.

His heartbeat hammered against his chest, despite the fact that this man wasn't making any threatening movements. In fact, he wasn't moving at all. Was he okay?

Still pinned against the wall, Alex started to creep forward, his bare knees scraping painfully against the slightly rusted floor. "Uh-" Alex started weakly, before shutting his mouth tightly and clearing his throat quietly. "Are you okay?" he spoke loudly over the rattle of the train.

The man's breathing visibly froze, his muscles stiffening as his breath hitched. Alexander scurried away as the man lifted his head slowly off the ground, his chin and forehead slightly grimy from the dirty floor.

A crown of frizzy dark brown hair framed his freckled face, and his hazel gaze pierced into Alexander's mind, leaving him breathless. After a moment of mutual consideration, Alex realized he was staring and looked down.

"Who are you?" the freckled person mumbled.

"You didn't answer my question," Alex responded, brushing a strand of hair behind his ear as he looked back up at the man, who had slid into a sitting position. His hoodie and sweats were now covered with a thin layer of dirt to match his face.

"Yeah, of course, I'm okay. And now, if you'd like to answer my question..." the man growled, hot-headed.

"Okay, okay, you didn't have to go off on me-" this earned Alexander a glare from the Mystery Train Man. "I'm Alex."

"John." After a couple of awkward seconds, Alex finally spoke.

"Would you care to tell me why you almost fell directly on me while I was trying to sleep?" While his words were a little bit passive aggressive, Alex let out a nervous chuckle that hoped would ease the mood.

"Would you care to tell me why you were asleep in a train car?" John shot back.

"That's fair, I guess," Alex shrugged. "It's free."

"If you don't get caught."

"Anything's free if you don't get caught."

John smirked. "I like your attitude."

"Once again, you haven't answered my question." Alex pointed out. This time, though, John seemed more relaxed about the questioning.

"I was running from the cops." John shrugged nonchalantly, then broke out in a grin at the look on Alex's face. "Chill, chill. I didn't, like, murder anybody. I stop in this town every once in a while, I've got some friends here, and there's this one cop here who's got it in for me. I stole some corn and loitered around a farm or something, and for some reason, he still really wants to arrest me."

Alex laughed incredulously. "Is that all it takes to get arrested in Ohio?"

John grinned. "Yeah, pretty much. Ohio's this kinda gray area, there are some states, like New Jersey, which are kinda," he made a poof gesture with his fingers. "not really there? And then there are states where it's just kinda all-out insane, like Florida, with their alligators or something. Ohio's right there in the middle."

Alex laughed. What could he say? the man's laugh was infectious.

Alex definitely didn't expect to fall in love with the man, but fate works in crazy ways.