The other man had left the fire some time ago, and at first he hadn't paid much attention, call of nature and all that, but when he didn't return, Darryl Wilson began to worry. He brooded for another fifteen minutes or so, glancing at the other dads occasionally, but Ron was writing in his diary and Glenn was fucking around with his guitar, neither looking up at all. Darryl pushed off the log he was sitting on and headed into the woods, following the path Henry had taken.
He was just wondering if he’d taken a wrong turn when he stumbled into a clearing and found Henry standing on the bank of a small brook in the moonlight. He didn’t seem to notice Darryl as he moved up behind him. “Hey, you okay, man?” he asked, reaching out and putting a hand on his shoulder.
Henry yelped and turned around quickly, swatting at his hand before he looked up into Darryl’s eyes, visibly relaxing when he realized who he was looking at. “Jeepers creepers, don’t sneak up on someone like that,” he said, a tiny smile lifting one corner of his mouth before he looked away again.
Well. That wasn’t great. Darryl frowned, watching him. He wasn’t exactly close to the man, but, uh, they’d been getting closer during this adventure, and… He could tell Henry was upset. And it was pretty easy to guess why. He grabbed his shoulder tightly, giving it a manly dad squeeze. “We’ll get them back,” he said quietly. “I promise. We’ll find them again.”
Suddenly there was a lanky hippie pressed against his chest, and his shirt was getting wet, and yeah. He was crying. Darryl silently cursed himself for not bringing his sunglasses even though it was dark, because he’d love to be able to hide his own eyes right now. Hopefully Henry was too preoccupied with his own breakdown to realize that tears were threatening Darryl as well.
“Hey, hey,” he said awkwardly, gingerly wrapping his arms around the other man and slowly rubbing his back. That was about all he could think of. He’d already said the one thing he’d known, and instead of making him feel better, he’d started crying. “I know,” he murmured after a long silence only broken by Henry’s sniffles. “Hey, it’s okay.” Yeah, that was stupid. He tightened his grip on the smaller man, holding him close and clenching his jaw to keep himself from falling into the same pit. Hell, when they found his son he was supposed to eat his skin, what could they even do about that? At least they knew Henry’s kids were safe.
Henry’s hand was on his cheek. How long ago had that happened? He blinked down into his eyes. Yeah, there was some water in those blinks. Shit. He cleared his throat. “Well, I, uh, we should get back to--”
He was cut off by soft lips on his own, a situation he was starting to become accustomed to. Maybe he should just say stupid things more often, if he could get this to happen. And where had that thought come from? Carol…
Carol never wanted to kiss him like this. He closed his eyes and leaned into it, kissing Henry back slowly, his arms still around him. He hadn’t let go. Why hadn’t he let go? He’d been embarrassed, they were going to go back, and…
He hadn’t wanted to. He’d wanted this but hadn’t known. Thank God Henry knew what to do. He pulled him closer even as he broke the kiss to breathe. “Henry, I…” He gave up and leaned in again, taking his mouth roughly with his own.
The sound Henry made proved it was the right decision, a yelp that faded into a moan as the man’s body pressed fully against his, hands gripping his shirt in fistfuls in the middle of his back. Darryl’s hands slid downward, grabbing Henry’s waist firmly. He’d never felt so close to a person. It threw into sharp contrast the distance his own wife usually held him at.
Oh. Right. He shouldn’t be doing this. He started to pull back, then realized that there was far too much pressure against his back to be Henry’s hands. He opened his eyes and blinked in confusion at the sturdy vines twisted around the two of them. “Uh, Henry…?”
“Er,” Henry said sheepishly. “I, well, suppose I didn’t want you to move? I really didn’t mean to, this is all so new.”
Darryl shook his head, smiling slightly. He couldn’t really regret any of this happening when Henry was so… adorable. It was weird to think of another man as adorable, but Henry managed it, the freaking nerd. “Okay,” he murmured. “I’ll stay here.” Not like he had any choice, but…
He lowered his head to kiss him softly again, but bumped his cheek instead when the man’s head turned unexpectedly. Henry gave a small, nervous laugh. “Oh, uh, hi,” he said. “Just… a little tied up at the moment…”
Darryl followed his gaze and flushed slightly. Aw, hell. Ron was at the edge of the clearing, staring right at them in that disconcerting way he had. He cleared his throat. “We were just, uh. Checking stuff out,” he finished unconvincingly.
There was a long silence before Ron spoke. “I was looking for Maggie and Richard,” he said. “Have you seen them?”
“Aw, jeeze, no,” Henry said quickly. “Not out here. Sorry about that. Maybe they’re still back at camp?”
Ron continued staring. “Sure,” he said eventually. “Guess I’ll leaf you alone now,” he added, giving a small laugh as he pointed at the encircling vines. Darryl and Henry both winced.
“How long does this thing last?” Darryl muttered under his breath, and he felt Henry shrug against him. He sighed deeply. “Yeah, Ron, thanks,” he said more loudly. “I hope you find your frogs.”
“Thank you very much,” the small man said with a polite nod. “I hope that as well. I miss them very much.”
Darryl waited for a moment, then coughed. “Uh, you were leaving?” he prompted.
“Oh, right. See you around,” Ron said before turning and walking slowly away.
Henry let out a sigh and sagged against Darryl, giving the vines an opportunity to squeeze a little bit tighter. “Aw, Jimminy crickets,” he said in a frustrated huff, and Darryl chuckled softly.
“Hey, don’t worry. I got you,” he said, stretching his hand as much as he could to rub a small circle on the small of Henry’s back. “We’ll get out of this, and, uh. Maybe try it again. Another time.”
“I’d like that,” Henry said, smiling up at him, and Darryl felt that maybe this world wasn’t so bad after all.