Janus wasn’t used to this.
Then again, he wasn’t used to a lot of things.
For the longest time, he had grown accustomed to being deemed as the untrustworthy among the honorable. The wolf that prowled among the sheep of advocates. The snake lost in the garden, tainted with wasted wisdom and power.
He was the evil among the good. He was unwanted. Unnecessary. No amount of shallow reassurances could ever change that.
At least, that’s what he thought...
After being shunned for so long, it was hard not to have that kind of mindset. But Janus was a man who knew many things; persistence was one of them. And Patton was persistent in every sense of the word. His demeanor glowed brightly against Janus’ stone wall of pessimism, almost blinding. The light illuminated cracks of virtue (or what was left of it) and expanded into something Janus could never have been prepared for. He didn’t want to admit it to himself, but he saw the fall. He saw the moment he would crumble. He saw it the minute Patton first smiled at him, and he could’ve sworn Patton became the reason the stars glistened in the pitch-black veil of night for hopeless lovers like him.
But he wasn’t used to it. He wasn’t used to not being the villain anymore. He wasn’t used to losing a title he made for himself to provide a smidge of validity for who he was. After all, it was one of the few things that kept him from slipping away to apprehension. Many times, he thought of going back. He thought of retreating to what he knew. To what he was always certain of. But, of course, something always stopped him. Something always reminded him of everything he had to lose if he were to let go.
It was that smile... That damn smile of his.
A warm hand brushed against his cold and bare fingers, startling him. He drew in a sharp breath before he remembered. That’s right... he took his gloves off hours ago. The sudden contact pulled him back to where he was, lying down on Patton’s bed, gazing at the glow-in-the-dark stars that were scattered across the ceiling in a mesmerizing pattern of asymmetry. They only had a tinge of vibrance left. Perhaps they were too old to retain their gleam for any longer. But to Janus, they were radiant.
Patton’s voice broke through the whirlwind, warm and soothing. He shifted in Janus’ arms, forcing him to loosen his embrace around his lover. He didn’t want to, but after being greeted by a round and innocent face with freckles delicately dusted across, he didn’t complain. Why would he?
“Hmm... ?” Janus replied, his voice worn but still as smooth as it could be. Or, as Patton would put it, almost like a subtle rasp that gently clawed its way through the undergrowth. Apparently, his voice was like that when he was tired. He just agreed, not bothering to question Patton’s awfully specific way of elucidating it.
“Is there something wrong?”
Janus arched an eyebrow. “Why would you think that?”
Patton let out a laugh to smother his concern, but it came out too breathless to be seen as anything else but a failed attempt to conceal himself. “Well, I said your name a bunch of times but…” He paused, looking at Janus with eyes that were heavy with sleep. A glint of worry could still be seen lingering behind them. “You never responded…”
He shifted again, propping himself up with his elbow to face him properly, and meeting Janus with sky blue eyes that could consume his waking hours. “Are you okay?”
There was a pause. Janus stared at him, his eyes hazy with undeniable adoration. He took in Patton’s earnest look, trying to memorize each facial feature before he realized that they were already deeply ingrained in his head, forever serving as a reminder of how desperate he was. Desperate to have him in his arms, to be his port to a storm born of lies, to gaze at his freckles and discover what it feels like to shower all of them with kisses of what he had to offer.
He was desperate to look in his eyes, and be certain that he was Patton’s and nothing else.
“With you, always…”
Janus smiled. He ran his thumb against Patton’s cheek, held his face softly as if it would break if he wasn’t careful, and pressed his lips against his forehead. It was a small gesture, but it was enough to cut strings of uncertainty tied to the weight of the room around them. He could feel Patton’s smile searing into him, and—by god—it was something he could become dangerously addicted to.
Patton leaned into him, already dozing off again. Janus sighed and leaned back, holding Patton close and feeling the weight of it all fall off the face of the Earth for a moment.
Yes, there were many things he wasn’t used to.
But he could get used to this.