Ham was a really clingy person.
Physically and emotionally speaking.
Once he had imprinted on the others, there wasn’t a chance he’d let them go easily. Especially May, Peni, and Noir, who he had known longer than the others, if only for half a day at most.
May liked it when he would stop by. He was like a warm beam of sunshine. She’d come into the living room to see him curled up on the couch, little Z’s floating around his head while he snored.
Every time they had game nights, he’d end up either on Peni or Noir’s lap.
Peni would wrap her arms around him and rest her head on top of his, letting him relax while she played before handing him the remote when she wanted to rest or check her phone. She was warm and smelled like stale gasoline and something indescribable that was all her.
Noir was always cold, and never played video games with them, no matter how many times they asked. He’d hold Ham like a pillow, as close to his body as he could, while Ham played with the others. He smelled like rain and metal and soap and he was so, so cold, all the time, but after holding him for a while Noir would start to warm up and relax, and sometimes he’d even engage the others. He was awkward at the best of times, antisocial at the worst, but sometimes Ham would tell a joke and he would be able to feel the little stutter in Noir’s breathing as be tried not to laugh, and he’d take the joke further and further until Noir was properly laughing and happy and everything was warm again.
(It was like magic, when he laughed.)
They shared a bed, too.
The girls all got one room, and Peter B refused to sleep anywhere but the couch.
It didn’t take long for Ham to pick up on the fact that Noir had insomnia. Really bad insomnia, too. He’d just lay there with his eyes open, staring at the ceiling and breathing for hours on end, head full of static but refusing to shut down.
Ham usually kept quiet about it but one night he decided to speak up.
It had been a good two hours and the only sounds were the cars outside and Noir’s breathing. Ham rolled over and looked at him, just observing.
“You okay, big guy?”
Noir blinked, not really processing the question for a few seconds. He shrugged.
“You wanna talk about it?”
Another good few seconds passed before Noir pulled his arms up, resting them behind his neck. “Do… Mmm. Nevermind. Don’t wanna bother you with it,” he breathed, keeping his eyes on the ceiling.
Ham huffed and crawled across the bed, curling up and resting his head against Noir’s arm. Still cold, as always. Noir didn’t move, didn’t look at him.
“Hey, now, if it’s a bother I wouldn’t have asked! It’s okay to talk about stuff that’s bothering you. Healthy, even! If you keep everything bottled up youre gonna pop one day, buddy...”
He reached up and pressed his hand gently against Noir’s cheek. Noir let out another soft breath.
“...I really don’t wanna go home, Porker.”
Ham kept quiet, waiting for him to continue.
“It’s… Dark. And cold. And lonely, back there. It doesn’t feel like home anymore.”
Ham could feel him taking slow, deep breaths, trying to slow his frantic heartbeat, and he cuddled closer.
“I don’t have anyone there. Nobody i need to protect. The coppers’ll take care of anything I can’t. If I’m not there, it won’t…”
Noir held his breath.
“ There’s nobody there to miss me .”
“Do you wanna… uh, stay with me?”
Noir froze and looked at him for the first time since they had gone to bed.
“I said, do you wanna move into the spare bedroom back in toontown with me? You don’t have to go right now, but I’ve had an extra room for a while ever since MJ moved out and-”
“I can’t- I don’t wanna do that to you. I’m a burden enough already.”
Ham sat up and climbed onto his chest, leaning down over him. “Don’t say that. You’re not a burden, you’re the best friend I’ve got. You’d be doing me a favor , anyway, it’s… Lonely. In my world, too. Maybe if you were there it’d be nicer.”
Noir huffed. “I doubt I’d make anything nicer, really…”
Ham squished his cheeks together. “Hey, hey , cut that out! Can’t you get it in that thick head of yours? I- we- we all love ya! You’re a #$%& delight and I won’t stand for you thinking otherwise!”
Ham had leaned in during his rant, their foreheads knocking together a little. They stayed like that for a while, until Noir’s eyes met his own and the world took a breath.
In that moment, Ham would have sworn that he saw warm brown in those big beautiful eyes of Noir’s. That he saw soft rosey-pink tones in his cheeks and a bit of dark brown in his hair.
It might have been a trick of the light.
Noir pulled him close and buried his face in Ham’s shoulder, trying to calm himself down.
“‘M sorry,” he mumbled, and Ham just rubbed his back. “First time I feel anything in years and of course it’s… All this… ”
Ham blinked in confusion. “Hold on, hold on, back up there. First time you huh ? In how long?”
“Yeah, I haven’t felt any strong feelings since I was a kid. It’s just another thing wrong with me, I guess.”
“You’ve got depression, Pete, there’s not a dang thing wrong with you! You’re sick, ‘s all… Happens to a lot of people!”
“It- it does?”
“Sure! ‘Specially someone who’s been through as much as you have!”
Noir processed this, and felt his chest tighten. Ham kept his hands on his cheeks, warm and stable. Keeping him anchored.
“You need a vacation, don’t ya?”
Noir laughed at that, leaning into his hands. “That ‘n a good drink.”
They both laughed together and Ham slid forward as the movement jostled him, their cheeks pressing together for a moment. It felt oddly intimate, the silence and low light…
Noir brought his hands up and Ham half expected him to pick him up and set him aside, but he just rested his hands on his back.
He was warm.
Ham smiled and rested his head on Noir’s chest, listening to his heartbeat while Noir absentmindedly rubbed his back.
“Mmm… you’re still wearing your gloves?”
Noir froze and bit his bottom lip.
“I’ve got scars on my hands.”
“Oh. ‘S no big deal, really.”
Noir stayed silent and Ham sat back up as he quickly tugged the worn leather gloves off his hands and tossed them onto the bedside table.
There were burn marks around his thumbs, he noticed, taking Noir’s hands in his own. Some of the scars were old and worn and a few were more recent, freshly made, and Ham blindly followed his first instinct and kissed the man’s scarred fingertips with an exaggerated mmmmwah!
Noir blushed up to his ears, but if you asked him he’d deny it. “Wh-”
His hands felt weird for a moment, like he had sat on them for too long, then he looked back and the scars had magically healed over. There were still some old ones set into his skin that nothing could move, but the new, patchier scabs were just… gone.
Ham pulled out a bandaid and stuck it on his hands, the tip of his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. Noir pushed the bubbly feeling in his chest deep down into the bottom of his mind.
“There we go. Tada!”
Ham still had Noir’s hands wrapped carefully in his own, squeezing just a little.
Noir wasn’t used to other people touching him. The most physical contact he got from others was usually a fist to the jaw or a knife to the throat. He wasn’t sure how to react but he felt like he was drowning in the feeling, his stomach flipping and head spinning at the idea that he was cared for and cared about.
Ham squished Noir’s hands against his cheeks and laid down on his chest.
“You try to get some sleep, alright?” He yawned, holding him close. Noir nodded, and for the first time in a long time, he felt like he actually meant it.