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When the young brunette rode into camp on his horse with Roman soldiers flanking him, the older soldiers watched while making bets on how long it would take for him to break. Like all new soldiers, the teen had a nervous furrow to his brow. His rosy cheeks still rounded his heart shaped face, and there was not a hair on his chin.

"What do you think, Tristan?" The young commander, Arthur, asks a young man with long light brown hair that was plaited in several places.

The quiet young man sitting on the camp's fenced horse paddock finally looks over to the brunette as the young man-- barely older than a boy, really-- gets down from his mount and looks around the camp.

Blue-green eyes meet chestnut brown from across the camp, and for a brief moment, the world stands still.

"Tristan?" Dagonet prods, moving to stand between them and breaking the quiet man's eye contact with the teen.

Tristan looks back to Arthur, "I don't think he'll break. The boy has a fire burning inside him. He will endure."

Chestnut eyes look back to where the young man was before, but he's gone now. The Romans must have taken him away, deeper into the camp.

Tristan sighs softly, and tries not to feel disappointed.

 

¤

I wanna lay in your arms when the world is burning.

¤

 

"How do you do that?" Gawain asks, amazed.

"I aim for the middle," Tristan states simply, having thrown his knife into the end of the handle of Galahad's own knife, which was in the center of the target. Galahad's feat was impressive, until it was upstaged by another.

Galahad glares at Tristan, who simply pulls his knife out then turns away, going back to eating his apple. The younger man sighs in frustration and picks up his pitcher of wine from the table and starts to drink again as Bor's woman holds her youngest babe and begins to sing about home, somewhere he hasn't been since he was a teenager.

The brunette smiles and sings along to the tavern song under his breath with his eyes closed, not noticing warm chestnut eyes watching him fondly. He can practically taste freedom on his lips, it's as real to him as the wine he drinks.

"Arthur!" One of the other men called from alongside him. Arthur had been turning to walk away, but stopped at hearing his name. He looks at his men with a grim face as he walks towards the group's center.

Galahad looks over to see his commander and friend walking over and smiles, not reading the air quite yet, "Arthur!" He jogs over, spilling some of his wine carelessly on the stone below, grinning to the sullen man.

"Arthur, you're not completely Roman yet, right?" the youngest knight jokes, knowing of Arthur's intent to continue his career in Rome once the rest of them are discharged and sent home. Though Galahad has only been on the road ten years, while the rest are all at fifteen, he's been promised the same relief as the others under Arthur's command.

Tristan, on the other hand, sees Arthur's devastated face clear as day and tilts his head curiously as he walks over quietly, cutting out another bite of his apple. He doesn't know where this conversation will lead, but he has a feeling it's no longer home.

The knights all gather, and Arthur breaks the news that they've been given 'one more' mission from Rome before they truly earn their freedom. The other men start shouting, Galahad's blood boiling just below the surface right behind them.

"Yeah, yeah. We're all going to die some day. If it's the death from a Saxon hand that frightens you: Stay home," Tristan says as he cuts off another piece of apple and brings it to his mouth.

Galahad's patience finally snaps, looking at Tristan with wild, enraged eyes, "Listen, if you're so eager to die, you can die right now!" Lancelot tries to soothe him, but Galahad shoves him off, "I've got something to live for!"

I have you, is left unsaid.

Tristan stops halfway in bringing a piece of apple to his mouth, his eyes narrowing as they look at Galahad, the young man panting while glaring back at him. They had agreed to keep what was between them quiet, knowing the newly 'Christian' knights with their heads full of Roman nonsense wouldn't understand two men laying together as equals. Perhaps they could trust Gawain, Galahad saw the other knight as a friend not just a fellow in arms, but the less that knew a secret the better.

But Galahad's temper didn't seem to have much of a filter at this moment.

One by one, the other knights agreed to this 'one more' mission. The youngest of them was simply staring hopelessly up at the night sky, so Gawain takes it upon himself to say that Galahad is in, too. The brunette huffs in anger, then looks to Tristan, who's looking down at the ground as he eats the last piece of his apple. Galahad then looks to Arthur as he pours out the last of his wine onto the ground and throws the clay pitcher with defeat to the ground before storming off.

 

¤

I wanna dig in your heart, take away your hurting.

¤

 

From across the battlefield, Galahad can see Tristan squaring off to fight the Saxon leader Cerdic, but Galahad can already see the tension in Tristan's body. Even from this distance, the man is exhausted.

Galahad tries fighting his way to Tristan, but he's so far away; there's so many enemies between them. But he tries, god, he tries.

Tristan matches Cerdic's swings one by one, but then the Saxon catches him off guard with a punch to a wound on his thigh, causing his knees to buckle. He rolls away, then lunges at the Saxon only to be disarmed. He looks up to the other man, only for Cerdic to kick his sword back at him with a condescending sneer on his face.

Galahad has made it halfway to Tristan and tries shouting his name, but the other man does not hear his voice over all the chaos of the battlefield. In return, an arrow flies into his shoulder, causing him to stumble back a few feet in pain and drop his shield, but he's determined.

He needs to get to Tristan.

Tristan has picked back up his sword, and attempts attacking again, only for Cerdic to wound him in the face and kick him to the ground. Tristan drops his sword and tries to crawl away, blindly grabbing a short blade on the ground just as Cerdic grips him by the hair and pulls him off the ground.

Galahad is only fifteen feet away as he watches Tristan stab Cerdic in the thigh before Cerdic stabs Tristan through one side and out the other with his own sword. The Saxon leader then drops the quiet man and his sword back to the ground before picking his own sword back up again and stalking off.

Galahad feels the tears well up in his eyes and takes a step forward, only for some faceless Saxon to drive their sword into him from behind. He looks down at the bloody blade protruding from his chest before it's yanked back out and he falls to the ground and onto his side.

He can't breathe, and he's afraid. His hand shakily reaches out towards Tristan for a few seconds, before dropping limply to the ground.

 

¤

Kiss me and tell me I'm fine, and forget we’re dying.

¤

 

It was common knowledge amongst nobility that the royal physician nearly lost both the queen Caroline and the child alike during the birth of prince Charmont. They survived, but the stress of the incident left the delicate king Christian distant from both the queen's bedchambers and the child as a whole for years to follow.

While the queen is expected to continue making appearances alongside the king, both inside the castle and out in the world, the king's lifelong indifference from the young prince left the boy feeling no such obligation.

Charmont keeps to his studies, to keep his mother happy, and keeps out of the way. He knows every servant passage in and out the castle, knows everyone's schedule and routine to move around nimble and clever as a cat.

When the royal physician started to grow old and frail, shortly after the prince's sixteenth birthday, he started bringing his favorite apprentice along on his visits to the castle. Before he did, the aging physician had spoken highly of Johann Struensee to the king; a bright German prodigy in his mid-twenties who was the son of a well-respected priest and was fluent in three languages.

Shortly after Johann takes over full-time as royal physician, the king demands that Johann moves into the castle. It seems that the king had quickly bonded with Johann, despite their age difference, talking to him fondly as if he were a close friend and confidant instead of just a physician.

Charmont curiously watches from his shadows as Johann politely smiles while molding himself to the king's wants and needs. Even more curious is how he also bonds to Queen Caroline; Charmont frowns at first, thinking perhaps that there might be something more to their friendship, but then realizes Johann looks at Caroline with the same polite smile he does the king.

Charmont watches his mother and Johann talking one day in the garden under a tree, only for Caroline to turn and notice him, waving him over. Charmont hesitates at first, but walks over to the pair, his long dark brown curls dancing in the wind as he walks over, Johann's long honey blonde hair in his ponytail doing the same as he stands.

They finally look each other in the eye for the first time, after months of Charmont watching the man from the shadows. Blue-green and chestnut brown both widen for a quiet moment, Johann the first to recover as he takes Charmont's hand in his own and bows, kissing the teen's knuckles softly. He stands again with a fond smile, "I'm delighted to finally meet you, Prince Charmont. Your mother speaks of you with much adoration."

It's a much different smile than the one he gives the king and queen.

 

¤

I wanna feel you tonight like the very first time.

¤

 

"You're going to get caught if you're not more careful, Johann," Charmont teased as he read the latest speech that Johann was preparing for the king, "My father doesn't use such flourishing vocabulary, they're going to eventually start to wonder who his ghost writer is."

Johann was laying naked as the day he was born in Charmont's bed, his long honey blond hair free from it's usual bindings, as he watched the prince wander around his chambers as he read while wearing nothing but a midnight blue silk robe that trailed on the floor behind him as he walked.

"Come back to bed, beloved, no one will catch me. You're too clever and quick to allow such a slight to someone you love," the older man teased in return, turning over the blankets that covered his lap and patted the bed beside him.

Charmont jumped onto the end of the bed then crawled on all fours into the older man's lap, straddling his hips, "That's only because I'm practically a ghost. The only people who know me by face are the castle servants, yourself, and my parents," then he added as an afterthought with a chuckle, "Though my father is questionable."

Johann sighs, cupping the prince's cheek, "Your father knows and loves you, Charmont."

"He knows OF me, he loves the twins. Thank you, by the way, for convincing him to give mother the time of day again when you moved in. Though they cry a lot, Frederick and Louise Augusta make mother very happy," Charmont says, closing his eyes as he leans into Johann's touch.

Johann looked to the teen sadly, "Beloved, why do you never believe me when I say you are loved by others?"

Charmont looks at Johann from under his lashes, "Mother is kind, but resents me for all the years father shunned us. Father, he, well…" the boy then looks outright into Johann's chestnut eyes with his wide blue-green eyes, "You're the only person who's ever loved me. I believe it when you tell me so, every time."

 

¤

Let's run away, baby, drive straight into the moonlight.

¤

 

The king is sitting on the windowsill reading a book when his son bursts into his father's chamber room, desperate, not knowing what else to do. Charmont runs to his father's side and drops to his knees, gripping the man's robes as he sobs.

The king looks down to the teen in startled confusion, "Charmont, what is the meaning of this?"

"Please, father, spare him! Please pardon Johann. He's your friend, he does not deserve to die. Please, I'll do anything!" The prince begs as he sobs.

The king only grows more confused, "I don't understand, I already pardoned Johann. There must be some mistake."

Charmont's tear swollen eyes widened in hope, "Can you write another pardon, quickly? I will personally deliver it! There may still be time!"

The king nods and hurries to his desk, writing out a formal pardon as quickly yet carefully as he could. With a signature from them both and a dusting of powder to make the ink set, Charmont takes the pardon and runs.

Through his tunnels and hidden stairwells, to the stable. He doesn't bother with a saddle, just jumps on his fastest horse and tells her to run. He gets to the execution grounds and he sees Johann at the top of the steps of the stand, only to slip in the blood and fall before looking out into the crowd in tear-stained horror as he slowly stands again.

Charmont sobs as he rides up the carriage path to the front and jumps off the horse, running up to the execution stand only to be stopped by guards, "I'm Prince Charmont! He's pardoned! I have a royal pardon from the king!"

"No one knows what Prince Charmont even looks like," The guard says, as Johann is pulled down onto his knees and his wrists braced on the sides of the block, "We can't trust some child with a piece of paper."

"Beloved."

Charmont's eyes widen as he looks up, just in time to see the axe swing down. Charmont sobs and starts to shake, dropping the royal pardon to the ground, now nothing more than a useless piece of paper. He quickly grabs one of the guard's cutlasses from it's hilt on their hip, and before the guard can do anything, rips open his stomach with the sharpened blade.

Charmont drops the blade then drops to his knees before falling onto his back on the filthy ground, paying no mind to the guards panicking and shouting around him as he watches the clouds go by overhead while the puddle of warm blood grows larger underneath him.

 

¤

Kiss me and tell me you're mine, like no one’s watching, like time is stopping.

¤

 

When Joe's cousin James said he was taking him to one of James' favorite clubs this upcoming Saturday night to listen to this new style of music that came from New Orleans, Joe was curious but hesitant. He didn't have work in the morning, but working as an English teacher in a Catholic school left people with the expectation to see him at mass on Sunday mornings.

"We can't stay out too late, James, you know I have church in the morning," Joe said.

"Don't worry, Joe. I'll get you home at a reasonable hour. I'll even send you a suit to wear so you don't feel embarrassed. I'll pick you up at seven," James told him, with a twinkle in his baby blue eyes before walking off again.

Joe sighed before walking home to his tiny studio on the far side of the city.

When Saturday came, Joe was waiting outside his apartment building when James' car pulled up. His cousin was new money, having made several good moves in the stock market back in college before making even better investments since graduating. He had tried telling Joe at the time to invest, but Joe was scared, and now it was too late. The stocks that once were worthless were untouchable for Joe's pay grade and only getting more valuable by the day.

But it was okay, Joe made an honest living doing what he loved; shaping young minds. He wouldn't change a thing.

James pulled up to the club and a valet took his keys while they headed inside. Joe quirked his brow to the curious music playing from the band up front as James guided him through the club to a small table at the front-right of the room.

There was already another man with neatly combed brown hair sitting at the table with his legs crossed and hands folded on his knees, wearing an all black suit and shirt. The man had pale olive skin and his eyes were closed, a scar over his left eye that went up into his brow.

"Ah, LeChiffre! You beat us here, my friend!" James says with a smile as he claps LeChiffre on his right shoulder before unbuttoning his jacket and taking the middle seat at the table while the scarred man opens his eyes to look at James with a small smile. James motions to Joe as the curly haired brunette unbuttons his jacket and takes the last seat on the other side of James, "This here is my cousin Joe that I told you I was bringing tonight."

LeChiffre leaned forward in his seat to get a look at Joe's face, who was looking around at the elegant room in amazement, "Charmed to meet you, Joseph."

"Please, just call me Joe; Joseph makes me feel like I'm in trouble." Joe says before finally leaning forward to look at LeChiffre.

Blue-green eyes meet chestnut brown eyes, and for a moment, neither man breathes.

"Do either of you want a drink?" James asked as he looked between the two suddenly quiet men.

"I'll take a whiskey on the rocks, please," Joe says softly as he doesn't look away from LeChiffre.

"Gin and tonic, if you will," LeChiffre says with a nod towards James, his eyes not leaving Joe's.

James raises a blonde eyebrow at the two of them, but stands with a chuckle as he buttons his suit jacket then walks to the bar.

 

¤

I'm gonna search for your love, right through Hell and Heaven.

¤

 

Joe unlocked the door to their apartment and went inside, putting his cloth bag of groceries down as he kicked off his shoes by the door before he pulled off his coat, "Jean? Are you home?"

No answer called back to him as he hung up his coat on a hanger in the closet next to the door and sighed. He had expected as much; ever since he had asked Jean to stop going to those illegal gambling clubs at night, Jean's been spending more time at the stock exchange trying to play the market instead.

He picked the bag of groceries back up then walked into the kitchen, placing the bag on the counter. The brunette then went into the living room and set up the phonograph, smiling softly as music started to fill the previously quiet apartment before going back into the kitchen.

The young man opens the icebox and takes out the chicken from the butcher, then a roasting pan from the cabinet. He hums along to the music as he unwraps the chicken from the butcher paper then seasons the chicken and places it into the pan, before taking the vegetables out of the cloth bag of groceries on the counter. He rinses them in the sink before starting to slice them into the pan, when suddenly arms wrap around his waist from behind, startling him into shouting and cutting his thumb open.

"Jean!" Joe says as he turns in the other man's arms, "You scared me!"

The scarred man chuckled as he held Joe's waist with one arm, taking his bleeding thumb in his other hand and sucking on the cut as the brunette hisses with a wince before pulling off, "My apologies, mon beau."

Joe sighs, turning again in Jean's arms to rinse the cut under the sink, though doesn't pull away as Jean once again wraps his arms around his waist and rests his chin on Joe's shoulder, "I'm almost finished getting dinner ready, I just need to put it into the oven."

Jean kisses Joe's cheek before pulling away, "I'll go get some gauze for your thumb from the medicine cabinet."

Joe smiled over his shoulder as he held pressure on his cut, "Thank you, darling!"

Jean soon returns with a small jar of petroleum jelly, a roll of gauze, and shears. The scarred man quickly dresses Joe's thumb before setting the leftover items to the side, kissing the bandaged wound gently before cupping Joe's face and kissing him softly on the lips.

Joe smiles and kisses back as he places his hands on Jean's hips, "Welcome home. Now, let me put dinner in the oven so we can go dance in the living room while it cooks."

Jean chuckles and nods, pulling away with a smile, "Alright."

 

¤

Millions of years yet to come and in all dimensions.

¤

 

Jean quickly unlocks the front door to their apartment with shaking hands and enters, shutting the door just as quickly behind himself and locks the deadbolt.

He ran through the livingroom and down the hallway, into the bedroom, turning the light on. From the bed, he heard Joe groan as he shielded his eyes in confusion, "Darling, what are you doing? It's the middle of the night."

Jean threw open their closet, taking out their suitcases and throwing them onto his side of the bed, "Get up, we need to leave."

Joe sat up in the bed, frowning as he watched Jean throwing clothing into the cases wildly before getting out of bed, wearing his favorite blue and white striped pyjamas, "Leave? Leave where? Darling, will you please tell me what's going on?"

Jean zipped the cases shut and quickly went around to Joe, cupping his face and kissing his forehead, "They caught me counting cards in one of the clubs, they took everything... I ran. We have to go. Put on your shoes."

Joe nodded, swallowing thickly, before heading down the hall into the living room for his shoes.

Suddenly, Jean hears the front door getting broken down as Joe screams. Jean runs down the hall into the living room, where there's now several armed gangsters from the club. One of them has Joe down on his knees with a gun to his head; Joe is trembling with his hands up in surrender.

A man in a well tailored tan suit stood in front of the window, looking out into the darkness, "Cozy little place you've got here up on fifth avenue, LeChiffre… Even if you're living like a pervert with another man."

Jean looks down at Joe before quickly looking back up at Mr. White, feeling winded by this point from exertion and anxiety, "Whatever you want, I'll get it for you. I'm good at what I do. I'll get you more money, you can have it all. Just let Joe go."

Mr. White looks to him and raises a brow, "You know how the old saying goes, LeChiffre. Spare the rod, spoil the child."

Jean's eyes widen and he quickly looks over to Joe, who looks up to him just before the thug with the gun to Joe's head fires. Blood and brain matter splatters across the room as his body drops forward, lifeless on the floor.

Jean drops to his knees, tears running down his cheeks. Mr. White looks at Jean then nods to his men before walking out of the apartment. The same man who shot Joe walks up to Jean and puts the mouth of his gun against the center of Jean's forehead. It's still hot.

Jean closes his eyes and lets out the breath he didn't realize he was holding as he waits.

He doesn't wait long.

 

¤

I know that you'll always be my happy ending.

¤

 

"Will should be here any moment, Doctor Lecter. His second lecture of the morning gets out by eleven am. Would you care for some coffee?" The man in the navy suit asks the silver-blond man as he gestures to the pot of coffee off to the side of the room, which Hannibal can smell is burnt even from where he stood.

Hannibal, however, smiles politely as he nods, "That sounds wonderful. Thank you, Jack." The man walks over and pours a cup of black coffee and takes a sip, before sitting the cup over by the seat on the left side of the room. He then walks over to the cork board with all the missing girls on it, eyeing them curiously.

There's a knock on the door, Hannibal looks over as Jack quickly goes over to let a shorter bearded brunette in before shutting the door again. The man is looking at the floor as he goes to the coffee station, mumbling something quietly under his breath to Jack as Hannibal looks back to the board. This must be the Will Graham that Jack had spoken to him about.

Hannibal hears Will drop into the chair on the right side of Jack's desk, while Jack walks around behind his desk. Hannibal decides now's as good a time to start as any, "Tell me then, how many confessions?"

"Twelve dozen, last time I checked. None of them had any details, until this morning-- then they ALL had details." Jack growls in frustration, "Some genius in Duluth PD took a photograph of elise nichols on his cell phone, shared it with his friends… And then Freddie Lounds posted it on TattleCrime dot com."

"Tasteless," the tense, tired, scruffy man wearing glasses and sitting in front of Jack Crawford's desk says.

"Do you have trouble with taste?" The silver-blonde asks in mild curiosity as he looks back over his shoulder before looking back to the board displaying the missing teens.

"My thoughts are often not tasty," he begrudgingly admits, shifting in the chair a bit.

"Nor are mine. No effective barriers," the silver-blonde man says, moving to join him at the seat beside him as the brunette drinks some of his also black coffee, judging by the smell of it.

"I build forts," The brunette supplies.

"Associations come quickly?" The silver-blonde asks, searching the younger man's face as he sits. For what, he's not sure. He picks up his own forgotten cup of now lukewarm coffee and takes a sip, and it nearly slips out of his fingertips a moment later.

"So do forts," the brunette adds, looking up to meet the silver-blonde's eyes for the first time. Chestnut brown eyes and blue-green eyes both widen, both men stunned to silence for a moment.

Jack looks between the men curiously, "Gentlemen?"

Just like that, the spell is broken. The two men look at Jack, the younger man clearing his throat then finished his coffee, before standing with his jacket, "It's nothing. I have to go." 

The silver-blonde watches the scruffy brunette leave with a small, curious smile, as Jack frowns in confusion. Jack waits for the door to close behind Will, then looks at Hannibal, "I thought you said you didn't know each other, Doctor Lecter?"

"We don't," the silver-blonde looks back to Jack with a neutral expression, "From what you've told me, Jack, what he has is pure empathy. He can assume your point of view, or mine, or maybe some other point of view that scares him. It's an uncomfortable gift, Jack…" Hannibal leans forward, his fingers steepled together as his elbows rest on his knees, "Perception's a tool that's pointed on both ends. This cannibal you have him getting to know; I think I can help good Will see his face."

 

¤

I know forever don't exist.

¤

 

It's the faint scent of that familiar, atrocious aftershave that catches his nose as soft footsteps make their way closer behind him that alert Hannibal to Will's presence as he concentrates to sketch a rendition of the painting hanging before them. A hand gently rests on his shoulder as the man takes a seat beside him on the bench as Hannibal quietly closes his sketchbook.

"It's good to see you," the brunette says, glancing at the older man from under his lashes. The left side of the younger man's face is battered and bleeding.

The silver-blonde looks back fondly, the right side of his own face just as battered and bleeding, "If I saw you everyday forever, Will, I would remember this time."

They look like two halves of a whole, reunited face to face for the first time since Hannibal had left Will bleeding out on his kitchen floor back in Baltimore.

"Strange to see you in front of me. I've been staring at afterimages of you in places you haven't been in years…" the silver-blonde quietly looks away, and the brunette looks up at the ceiling, "I looked up at the night sky there. Orion above the horizon, and near it, Jupiter… I wondered if you could see it, too," he looked at the silver-blonde again, leaning towards him, "I wondered if our stars were the same."

The silver-blonde looked finally to the younger man again and smiled warmly, "I believe some of our stars will always be the same," he leaned in until their lips were almost brushing, cupping the younger man's cheek, "You entered the foyer of my mind and stumbled down the halls of my beginnings."

"You and I have begun to blur. I don't think either of us could survive separation," the brunette whispers before closing his eyes and closing the distance between their lips, knowing the weight of his knife in his jacket pocket was a drop in the bucket compared to the weight of the consequences he'll face if he's not quick enough with his 'forgiveness'.

 

¤

But after this life, I’ll find you in the next.

¤

 

He pants as he looks down at the ground as blood drips from the wound in his face, on his hands and knees. He lifts a bloody hand, looking at it in morbid fascination, his eyes darting to look at the other blood covered man as he watches him struggle to stand, rasping in exhaustion, "It really does look black in the moonlight."

The other man nods quietly as the brunette holds out his shaking, bloody hand, pulling him up to stand beside him, smiling softly, "See? This is all I ever wanted for you," the silver-blonde swallows, steadying both of their tired bodies as they look down at the third serial killer on the ground, dead and bled out, "For both of us."

The brunette looks back up to him, huffing out a small laugh as he smiles, "It's beautiful," he said, then kissed Hannibal softly on the lips before resting his head on the older man's shoulder as they held each other.

The younger man felt faint and weak, the adrenaline starting to wear off. He knew the older man must be feeling it, too. That's when he heard the faint sound of helicopters in the distance, and the sound of car doors slamming shut on the other side of the property.

Will closed his eyes tight and took a calming breath in, gripping Hannibal's shirt tightly before tipping them back into a fatal free fall together over the cliff's edge into the icy Atlantic below.

 

¤

So when I say "forever," it’s the goddamn truth.

¤

 

"Alright, now, class. Please, quiet down and take your seats for a moment," Miss Buchwald said as she stood in front of the class, all of the children quickly running to their small desks as asked.

One child with longish blonde silky hair and chestnut brown eyes huffed and folded his arms on his desk, laying his head on his arms as he watched the brightly dressed teacher as she talked animatedly. He was wearing a light blue button down short sleeve shirt with brown and orange weiner dogs on it, and dark blue jeans.

"Okay! So, today is a very BIG day for someone new to our class! He just moved here to California with his Dad, all the way from New York, so let's make sure we all give him a very BIG welcome!" She looked over to the coat closet, motioning for someone to come over, then frowned a bit, "Adam, honey, it's okay to come out now!"

The small boy hesitantly stepped out, wearing a white sweatshirt with the NASA logo on it and a light blue button down underneath, with khaki pants. He had brown curls, and when he finally looked up to look around his wide, anxious eyes were green-blue.

"Would you like to tell anyone about yourself, Adam?" Miss Buchwald asked with a smile, but Adam looked up to her and bit his lip then shook his head, fussing with his sleeves. The teacher sighed softly, nodding, "That's okay, go sit over next to Nigel, he's the blonde boy with the dog shirt on."

Adam looked around the room anxiously, but when his and Nigel's eyes met they both simply stared for a few seconds with wide eyes, before Adam ran over to sit at the desk next to Nigel.

Miss Buchwald then told the class they could go pick a book to read from the shelf. While all the other students ran to the book shelf, Adam turned to look over to Nigel with a nervous smile. Something felt familiar about the other boy, like coming home. Nigel just smiled back at Adam, feeling shy for the first time in his very short life.

"Nigel, Adam, there will be time to get to know each other during recess! Come pick out a book, please!" Miss Buchwald called over from the bookshelf.

Nigel huffed and looked over to her, "Okay, Miss B!" He looked to Adam as he stood up, holding out his hand for the other boy with a grin, "Come on, Adam!"

Normally, Adam didn't like touching other people. Except maybe his Dad. Other people's hands were too soft, too rough, too wet, too dry, too dirty, or some other funny feeling that he didn't like… But Adam looks up into Nigel's grinning chestnut brown eyes, and finds himself smiling too as he takes the other boy's hand.

 

¤

I'll keep finding you.