The weather is bright and sunny outside the window of the coffee shop, with the trickling ends of summer still stubbornly clinging to the last few days of September. Baby’s in first grade now, and she already has more friends than she did when Kindergarten ended last term. His job is going well, too, and he’s…
Hana is fine.
He really is! He is. Generally speaking.
He happened to sleep in a little too late this morning, and he didn’t get a chance to make himself coffee before he dropped Baby off at school, so he ended up stopping here instead.
But that’s not what’s bothering him. It’s just-
Hana jumps in his seat with a surprised, undignified squawk, and Aoife blinks at him.
“Oh, Aoife!” Hana splutters, pushing his hair out of his face and quickly checking to make sure he didn’t spill anything on the table. “I didn’t-you surprised me-…”
She raises her eyebrow at him.
“You…good, there, buddy? You’re not normally this…” She waves her hand around in the air, looking for the word. “…jumpy.”
Hana sighs and runs a hand over his face. “I know, I’m sorry. But I’m actually fine! Good morning, by the way…”
Aoife doesn’t look convinced. She slides into the seat across from him and puts her coffee down on the table next to his, casually tossing her dark curtain of curly hair over her shoulder.
“Look, I only have a few minutes before I gotta get back to the bakery, so spill it.”
“Wha- I’m not- but there isn’t-”
Aoife just keeps looking at him, one of her eyebrows still raised (is it permanently like that?) and Hana is a terrible liar, so a split second later he does, in fact, find himself spilling.
“Alright…” He sighs. “It’s…uh…it’s just Bon-…”
Aoife narrows her eyes and hisses, “What did he do…”
“Nothing!” Hana cries urgently, waving his hands around in front of his face. “Nothing bad! He’s great! He just…” Hana sighs again, dropping his hands back down onto the table. “Ugh, how do I say this…”
Aoife flicks her hand at him in a ‘get on with it’ gesture.
Hana blows out a breath before continuing. “So, uh…we’ve been hanging out a lot, lately…ever since his parole ended, and uh…It’s been great. So great. Too great.” Hana groans and drops his head down into his hands, all of the words just flowing out of him freely now that the flood-gates are open. “Like…the kind of great that I’ve never really…experienced before.” He clears his throat, feeling extremely awkward, and probably visibly sweaty.
“He’s gone through difficult times since we met…and like…every other year before that…I just don’t want to…you know…pressure him, or anything, into doing something he doesn’t want to! I want to…I dunno…wait for the right time? To tell him about my feelings? But I have no idea when that is…he’s only been free of parole for like…two weeks, and I don’t even know if he feels remotely the same way about me, and I have a kid, I can’t just saddle him with that, even though I know he cares about her…” He looks back up at Aoife in mounting dread. “Oh my god, I just dumped everything, didn’t I, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean-”
Aoife’s face softens a little. “Hana. Come on, it’s fine, I told you to spill, and you certainly delivered. You have to stop being so hard on yourself. That boy adores you. He picks up Baby from school on the days you work late now, I doubt he’d mind having her in his life like that. And don’t look so surprised, Baby talks about it a lot and Nimisha’s in her class.”
Right, Nimisha… one of Aoife’s many younger siblings. “Yeah…I guess…”
“See?” Aoife nods firmly. “And besides, I’ll eat my damn shoe if Bon doesn’t have some of those feelings of his own. I’ve seen the way he looks at you when he thinks no one else is watching.”
Hana’s face explodes into a fresh blush. “Y-you-uh-wai-what? You think so…?”
Aoife rolls her eyes. “Yes, of course, anyone with eyes thinks so.” She drains the rest of her coffee and then stands up. “Now you just have to figure out what to do about it.”
Hana sighs and flops his chin back down into his hands as he watches her go. “Right…”
❀ ❃ ✥
After he leaves the coffee shop, Hana heads over to the flower shop down the street with a to-go cup in his hand, his heart pounding up somewhere near his throat. He always goes there on his one free weekday, after he drops off Baby at school, to say hi to Bon, and he’s not going to stop now, despite the…slightly mortifying conversation he’d just had with Aoife.
Bon is the manager of the flower shop now, as of the end of his parole term – much to his complete surprise and continued lack of faith in the fact that he does deserve to have good things in his life – due to the careless whims of an owner who decided he couldn’t be bothered with it anymore.
With the pink shop apron on top of his ever-present jean jacket, the red and black flannel underneath, and those ripped black jeans – Bon looks completely out-of-place, and somehow simultaneously exactly where he belongs, among the beautiful colours and greenery of the shop.
He lights up a little when Hana hands him the to-go cup.
“Don’t get too excited, it’s only tea. I know you’ve already had at least three cups of coffee by now…”
Bon makes a little wordless grumbling sound, but then he smiles a tiny smile and takes a sip of it anyways.
“So, uh, how’s it- how’re the flowers doing? And-and you…how are you doing?” Hana winces inwardly a little at himself. Smooth…
But even if Bon can tell that Hana’s acting strange today, he doesn’t bring it up; he just runs a hand through his shaggy blond hair and shrugs. “Fine. Hired a newbie.”
Hana blinks. “Really? You need extra help?”
“Yeah, I guess. I’m the manager now, I can do whatever the hell I want.” He sticks his tongue out and grins a little.
“Of course you can!” Hana says sincerely. “Who is it? Do I know them?”
Bon shakes his head. “Nah. We met in prison. They got out like a week ago and they need a job.”
Hana pulls in a little breath of surprise. “Oh really?”
“Ex-con running a flower shop with ex-con employees, what’s better than that?” Bon cackles sarcastically.
“But that’s great! You’re helping someone, that’s a wonderful thing to do, Bon!”
Bon splutters, turning away as he chokes a little on his tea. “A-Anyways, they don’t speak, so you might have to learn sign language if you wanna do your friend-making thing.”
“You speak sign language?”
“Yeah. Part’o the,” He waves his free hand a little in emphasis, “lessons I had growing up.”
Hana grimaces. “Ah, I see.” It always makes his stomach turn over when Bon casually mentions his childhood.
Bon has only told him (and shown him) a small fraction of what his mother did to him throughout his earlier life, and usually Hana doesn’t condone violence of any kind, but he secretly believes that she fully deserved having her house burnt down. Even if it was because Bon snapped and did the burning himself, which then resulted in the prison sentence and permanent ejection from his prestigious arts college. He’s not a huge fan of that part of it.
“Well, maybe you can teach me sometime? I’d love to get to know your friend!”
“Psh, yeah, sure.” Bon’s tone of voice is casual, but Hana catches another little smile on his face as he looks away. “And we’re not really close…not like…y’know…” He looks back pointedly at Hana.
And maybe he imagined it, but Bon’s face looked a little flushed, too.
❀ ❃ ✥
Hana spends a few more minutes in the flower shop, until a couple of customers come in; and then he decides he should probably leave Bon to his work for the day.
But when he climbs back into his little brown beater car and turns the key, the engine coughs, splutters in protest for a few moments, and then finally breathes out one last, shuddering breath into the pavement of the rec center parking lot.
Hana groans and drops his head down against the steering wheel.
❀ ❃ ✥
Hana could probably fix the little Datsun Rabbit on his own; he knows how – cars have always fascinated him, and he took it on himself to learn via the internet a handful of years ago – but he currently lives in a small apartment, without the necessary tools, and it’s been a while since he’s seen Kiigari anyways.
He managed to coax the Rabbit to run just long enough to limp it to the Autobody shop, and now he’s sitting in one of the hard-plastic chairs Kiigari has set out in the shop in lieu of a proper waiting room. Her shop is small and a bit cramped – just enough space for two cars to fit in side-by-side – but she runs a tight ship, everything perfectly in its place.
He sits and watches Kiigari work, her black hair pulled back in a pony tail and her brown coveralls stained with grease, content to listen to her curse quietly to herself as she takes his little Rabbit apart.
At least, until Tera pulls up into the parking lot and joins them.
“Oh, Hana! I didn’t expect to see you here!” Tera smiles brightly and waves at him, coming to sit in the chair beside him after leaving her car waiting in the parking lot.
“Eh, well…Rabbit never cares what my schedule is, she dies when she feels like dying,” Hana says with a little rueful chuckle.
Tera laughs, her cloud of curly hair bouncing with the motion of it. “I see what you mean! How’s your work going?”
“Eh, pretty good…just trying to get this program running properly…” He talks a little about the source code he’s been trying to write for the last few days, but Tera starts blinking at him and nodding along like a bobble-head, and he belatedly realizes he lost her somewhere.
She’s a doctor and a researcher, so she’s incredibly smart in her own right, but she’s never been much into programming.
“So…uh…what are you doing here…?” Hana finishes weakly.
Tera blinks and shakes herself a little. “Oh! I’m on late shifts at the hospital right now, so I figured I’d get my oil changed now that I have a chance.”
He knows Tera isn’t always the best at reading people, and she’s still single herself, but she’s one of the smartest people Hana knows, and maybe she’d have some good advice for him…
“Hey, Tera, uh…”
“Do you…uh…happen to have any…experience with…you know…umm…”
“Just spit it out! Fuck’s sake…” Kiigari snaps from under the hood of the Rabbit.
Hana’s face lights up with flustered heat. “I’m getting there!” He turns back to a bewildered Tera. “Sorry…okay…Do you happen to maybe…know anything about…romance…?”
Tera hums, immediately attacking the question the way she does all questions; with serious academic intent. “Not particularly…any specifics you can give me? What is this pertaining to, exactly?”
Kiigari snorts, poking her head up from the Rabbit. “Don’t be dumb, you know exactly what it’s about.”
Tera stiffens in indignantly. “He asked me a serious question, so I’m going to give him a serious answer! But I need more information.”
Hana splutters a little bit more, before finally blurting out the same story he told Aoife this morning. “So, uh…I have no idea what I should do. I’ve never…done any of this stuff before…” Hana sighs, hiding his face behind his hands, mortifyingly embarrassed for the second time today.
“Well, let’s work this out, then! You have feelings for Bon, and you’re worried he doesn’t have feelings for you in return, right? And the second layer of the problem is, you don’t know what kind of date you should take him on.”
Hana nods, face still red.
“Let’s gather some facts, then. Has he shown any…hmm…obvious signs of romantic interest in you? Like…”
Kiigari snorts again, her voice dripping with sarcastic amusement. “Y’mean…flirting?”
Tera scowls in her direction for a second, and then turns back to Hana. “Yes, I mean flirting.”
“Uhhh…” Hana looks up into the ceiling of the shop in thought. “I guess…there was that one time, last week…he was in my kitchen, making coffee…because he ended up sleeping over after movie night with Baby…and he was dancing around in his…uh…boxers…and singing…does that count? He just really looked like he was having fun…But that probably doesn’t count, since I don’t think he knew that I was home…”
Kiigari cackles before Tera has a chance to respond. “Oh trust me, he knew!”
“Kiigari, your input is not helpful right now!” Tera huffs, but Kiigari just shrugs and ducks back down underneath the car. “Well, now that that’s settled, what’s your idea of a good date, Hana?”
Hana sighs, feeling helpless and out of his depth. “I…have no clue…I haven’t really thought about it before…or even dated anyone before…But maybe…uh…a co-op video game? Matching cosplay? Building a computer together? That one might be for later in a relationship, though…”
Kiigari just lets out one loud Hah! and Hana sighs and stares down into his hands.
Tera huffs. “Don’t listen to her. I think those sound like delightful dates!”
“You would.” Kiigari, again. “Nerds.”
Hana decides to ignore that one. “But…those are my ideal things, I want Bon to feel special, you know? Like I chose something just for him, that he would love…”
Tera knots her brow and looks off to the side for a moment, clearly thinking deeply, until she perks up again and lifts a pointed finger up into the air. “I have no idea! But, you’re a scientist, Hana, so I think you already know what you need to do next.”
At his blank look, Tera just smiles and claps her hands together in front of her face. “More research!”
Kiigari mocks them relentlessly for the rest of the time they’re in her shop, but she ends up coming up with a pretty helpful idea after she’s done laughing at them.
❀ ❃ ✥
“Dad, are you gonna ask BonBon out on a date?”
Hana splutters, trying not to choke too hard on the cereal milk he just inhaled into his trachea. “Where-where did you hear that from, Baby?”
She shrugs. “School.”
It’s only been one day! Small towns are so weird.
“Well, I…” He sighs. “I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you about this sooner. How do you feel about it, Baby?”
She beams. “I want BonBon to be my daddy, too. He can do my hair every morning, and he can have his own room here, and watch movies and play games with me every night!”
“I-well-I mean he’d…if we…” Hana decides to give up on the room thing. He’ll explain that one later, if they ever get that far. “…never mind. Yeah, he could.”
“I know where you should take him on a date!”
“Don’t worry, Baby, I have an idea already…”
“But my idea is better!”
Hana sighs and then smiles at her. “Alright, let’s hear yours, then. But you have to keep it a secret from Bon!”
Baby giggles. “I won’t tell!”
❀ ❃ ✥
Baby’s idea is actually a good one; which isn’t surprising, since she’s been spending quite a lot of time with Bon lately.
Not exactly a zoo, more of a large farm on the outskirts of the town that Baby and her class went to on a field trip a few weeks earlier that allows visitors to interact with their animals.
Bon loves animals, especially farm animals, and Hana loves seeing Bon happy, so it might be the perfect chance to confess his feelings, even though it’s not really a ‘traditional’ date setting.
He doubts Bon would care about that, anyways.
He looks into the farm, and he finds that they’re open for visitors for another two weeks before they close to the public for the winter.
But after a day of planning and getting things sorted out, an unavoidable and ill-timed situation causes all of his plans to come to a screeching halt.
On the morning that Hana intended to take Bon on the date, Baby wakes up with a terrible fever.
❀ ❃ ✥
“I’m sorry I ruined your date, Daddy…” Baby mumbles quietly into her fluffy quilt.
“Oh-god-Baby no, it’s okay! This is not your fault,” Hana reassures her firmly, placing a fresh glass of water on her little bedside table for her. Her fever finally broke the previous night, and now hopefully she’ll be able to get some real rest.
Baby sniffles and smiles weakly at him, and he leans over to kiss her sweaty forehead.
❀ ❃ ✥
By the time Baby recovers and is back at school, the farm is closed for visitors for the winter, leaving Hana back where he started. Again.
Since the door is now firmly shut on, honestly, probably the best idea he had, he decides to go with Kiigari’s surprisingly thoughtful one; inviting him over and cooking dinner for him.
Hana isn’t a terrible cook; he can get by on his own just fine with the internet as his guide, but…this is different. So, he decides to take Tera’s advice and do some research.
“You want to ask me about cooking?” Almet’s deep, gentle voice curls up at the edges in surprise. Hana is glad that Baby has her as a teacher this year; he’s liked her since the moment he met her.
“Uhm, yes? I know your wife is an excellent cook, and uh…” Hana splutters, feeling awkward. He’s pretty sure he’s sweated fully through his shirt now, despite the cold weather. “I want this meal to be…special.”
Almet hums and looks out over the playground, where Baby and a few of her friends from class are crawling around on the jungle gym across the school field.
“Well, Rhaj is amazing in the kitchen, so I’m sure I could help you out. Is there anything I should avoid?”
Hana smiles up at her. “Bon’s pretty easy, I’m not sure he really cares at all, unless it’s meat…”
“Ah, is he a vegetarian?”
Bon would never say it himself – he hates asking anyone for ‘special treatment’ for anything – but after he’d meticulously picked all the meat out of the first dish Hana had ever made for him, Hana asked him straight and got a begrudging answer he hadn’t really expected.
‘Worked at a slaughter house for a while, after the first time I…uh…left home. And I mean, I’ll eat it if I have to-‘
But- ‘That’s not the point, Bon! You don’t like it, I’d never force you!’
“Well then, I can send you a few of Rhaj’s recipes, if you’d like?” Almet says, shaking Hana out of his memory.
“That would be great, thank you!”
❀ ❃ ✥
The recipe Almet sends him, courtesy of Rhaj, is a taco (clearly edited to omit the original meat ingredient, Hana notices with a smile) with fried tofu, avocado, black beans, and mango salsa.
It’s more than doable for his skill level in the kitchen – he tests it out once on Baby just to make sure, and she loves it. So, after asking the Lear’s to take Baby for him for the night (enduring Aoife’s exaggerated wink while he drops her off), he invites Bon over for dinner.
“So…we’re not playing board games with Baby tonight?” Bon asks as he flops down into one of Hana’s kitchen chairs.
“Er…no…she’s at a sleepover, so I…uh…wanted to experiment with this new recipe! I thought you might like it…” Not exactly a lie…
“Uh, alright, th-thanks.” Bon’s face lights up in a brilliant blush, like it usually does when anyone does anything nice for him.
He pulls his plate towards himself and takes a bite. He’s stopped checking for meat now when he eats Hana’s cooking, and it warms his heart to have earned that kind of trust.
Hana stares down at his own plate for a second, and then takes a deep breath, trying to will himself to just say something already-
“Hey, Bon, uh…actually I wanted to…tell y-” But he abruptly cuts his sentence short when he looks up again. “Holy shit! What’s happening to your face?”
Bon blinks at him, and then drops his taco back onto his plate. “What? Whaddaya mean, my face?”
“It’s…it’s puffy- are you…are you allergic to anything?”
“No…? Not that I know of…” Bon reaches up and itches his rapidly swelling cheek. “What the fuck…it’s getting kinda…hard to breathe…”
“Oh my god, Bon, we have to get you to the hospital!”
“Psh, nah,” Bon wheezes, “It’ll prob’ly pass on it’s…own…”
❀ ❃ ✥
“So. Bon is going to be just fine. And he’s allergic to mangoes.”
Hana looks up at Tera from the hospital waiting room chair. “Oh thank god…wait, mangoes? How did he not…?”
Tera shrugs. “Apparently, he’s never had one before. His mom had him on a very strict, narrow meal plan growing up, and I guess after that…when you’re just eating to survive, you don’t really…branch out, to expensive imported fruits…” She looks sad for a moment, and Hana feels his heart twist. “Anyways, we need to keep him for a few more tests, but he should be good to go in an hour or so!”
“Thank you, Tera.”
Hana sits back in the uncomfortable chair with a sigh, resigning himself to staring up at the muted TV in the deserted waiting room, until he sees a person approaching from the corner of his eye.
She’s short, curvy, and wearing a hospital security uniform-
“Hana!” She smiles and waves at him, coming over to sit down beside him for a moment, her face instantly twisting with worry. “Is everything okay? Baby…?”
Hana sighs, his shoulders slumping under the heavy burden of guilt. “Yeah…Baby is fine, she’s at a sleepover. It’s Bon…”
“Oh no, what happened!”
Hana claps his hands over his face and groans. “Oh, nothing, you know, just poisoned him with a food I didn’t know he was allergic to…”
“Oh dear…but…if you didn’t know he was allergic…how is it your fault, exactly…?”
“I…I guess it isn’t…” Hana pulls his hands off his face and turns to face Chaar. “I dunno. I was just…I wanted this night to be…and now it’s just…” He sighs again, running a hand through his hair in a futile attempt to push it off of his face.
Chaar leans forward, concerned. “You wanted this night to be…what?”
Hana’s face lights up in a flush, and he turns off to the side and mumbles “…a date…I guess…”
“A date!” Hana says again, way too loudly this time. He shifts his eyes around the waiting room, but it’s still just him and Chaar.
“Aww, that’s so sweet,” Chaar giggles.
“But I failed! I didn’t even…he didn’t even know it was a date! And before I got a chance to…the anaphylaxis…”
“Ruined everything.” Chaar nods knowingly. “I see. Well! There’s nothing stopping you from trying again, right?”
“He’s never gonna trust me again…” Hana breathes, slumping over and hanging his head in his hands.
“I’m sure that isn’t true.” Chaar reaches over and places a gentle hand on Hana’s shoulder. “But, if you wanted to try something else, maybe you could take him to the Wizards musical! It’s playing in the city right now, tickets are a little expensive but they’re not hard to get now that it’s been on for a bit. He likes musical theater, doesn’t he?”
Hana blinks and sits up straighter. “Actually…that is a good idea! He does love musicals…”
“I’ll babysit for you!” Chaar claps her hands together excitedly. “Baby and I still need to finish those dresses we’ve been working on for her new collection!”
A few months ago, Chaar introduced Baby to the world of making doll clothes, and she hasn’t been the same since.
“Sure, that would be great! Thanks, Chaar!”
❀ ❃ ✥
Hana buys the musical tickets online, and then awkwardly asks Bon to meet him at his apartment, with no other instructions besides ‘wear something fancy, and show up at 4 o’clock’ before sprinting out of the flower shop again.
Baby had been slightly put out that she didn’t get to join, but when Hana told her Chaar wanted to work on the doll clothes with her, she’d been instantly okay again.
His plan had been to surprise Bon with the tickets, get drive-thru food on their way out, and then into the city from there, but…
It’s already 4:45, and Bon isn’t here.
Hana paces his apartment with a growing knot in his stomach, occasionally stopping by the mirror to examine himself. The longer front portion of his red hair is pulled back away from his face with pins and product, he’s freshly shaved, and his body…
Well, his suit fits him nicely, so that’s about all he can really say about that.
He tries not to be too critical of his appearance, to set a good example for Baby, but at times like this, he can’t help but pick himself apart a little bit…
He shakes his head, and goes back to pacing. Bon’s apartment is only about a ten-minute walk from his own…so what happened…?
Is he hurt?
Alright, I’m giving him another ten minutes, then I’m gonna go look for h-
There’s a knock at the door.
Hana jumps in place, races to open it – and comes face to face with Bon. He breathes out a sigh of relief, until he properly takes in Bon’s appearance.
He’s dishevelled, half-dressed – he’s not even wearing shoes. The bottom portion of his outfit is a pair of wide-legged, high-waisted, flowy dress-pants, but on the top he’s wearing a loose, ratty tank top with his favourite jean jacket hanging half off of one of his shoulders, revealing the edges of his tattoos and some of the old, twisting burn scars across his shoulders and chest.
“Bon, what happened? Are you okay?”
“I-I’m-I’m sorry-” Bon chokes out, his face pale and his hair even spikier than usual; like he’s been constantly running his hands through it. “I shouldn’t-I’m so late-fuck-I should just go-”
Before he can make a move to leave, Hana takes one of Bon’s wringing hands in his own, and gently tugs him inside. “You’re so cold…come on, come warm up.”
He pushes Bon carefully into a kitchen chair, and then grabs a blanket from the back of the couch and wraps it around him. He pulls his fluffiest pair of slippers from the hall closet, and hands him those as well.
“I’m gonna make some tea, now, okay?”
Bon just nods, his eyes far away, as he mechanically moves to slide his feet into the slippers.
“Okay. Can you tell me what happened?” Hana says quietly when they both have a cup of tea in front of them.
Bon wraps both of his hands around his cup and clears his throat, staring off to the side of the table. “My mom called.”
Hana tries not to let the little burst of anger he feels towards the woman show up on his face. “I see. And what did she say…?”
Bon laughs, but it’s humourless. “Oh, you know…the usual. That, and she’s filing another lawsuit against me.”
Hana chokes on his tea. “What? Why!?”
“I guess I’m a danger to her now that I’m free.” He shrugs, staring into his untouched teacup.
“But…why would she call you just to tell you that…?”
“It’s just what she does.”
“But…you haven’t done anything bad! You’ve just…worked at the flower shop and lived your life, since you were released! How can she…how…”
Bon smirks at him crookedly. “Welcome to the circus, bud.”
Hana huffs and crosses him arms. “Well- this circus is fucked up and I don’t like it!”
“Pfff-” Bon splutters, and then throws his head back in slightly-hysterical-sounding laughter. “Oh, shit, Hana-”
Hana’s lips twist at the edges with the effort of trying to hold back a smile. “Well! It’s true!”
Bon wipes the little laughter-tears out of the corners of his eyes, and then blows out a long breath, before looking up at Hana calmly again. “Nice suit, by the way.”
“Oh, uhm…thanks…” Hana suddenly feels embarrassed about all of his plans from earlier. Everything just seems so trivial now…
“Sorry I was…sorry I was too late, for…whatever we were gonna do…I…” Bon hangs his head down and stares into his cup.
Hana reaches across the table and layers his hands over Bon’s, which are back to gripping his teacup again. “Bon. It’s okay. I’m not upset. It doesn’t matter.” He clears his throat. “Well…I mean…I shouldn’t say…it matters, but not like…that kind of matters, you know…?”
Bon raises a confused eyebrow at him. “What…were we gonna do, exactly…?”
“…M-…musical…” Hana mumbles, his head down.
“Musical!” Hana blurts out, his voice way too loud again, making Bon blink. “I was…I was trying to take you to…to the musical…Wizards…as…as a…as a date…” His voice shrinks again as he trails off, but Bon definitely heard him this time, because his shocked face lights up in a rivalling blush.
Hana pulls up the last little dregs of his courage, and keeps talking. “Because I…because I have…feelings…for you…and I wanted…I wanted to take you somewhere nice, somewhere that you’d love, because I thought…you know, even if you don’t feel the same way about me, which is completely fair, because I come with, you know, a kid, and everything, or maybe you just don’t…then at least we would do something that you loved, and you’d have a good time, and…” Hana looks back up at Bon’s face, and then blinks in surprise.
There are tears brimming in Bon’s eyes, just starting to drip down into the fuzz of the blanket pooled around his arms.
“Bon!” Hana cries urgently. “Oh, no, did I say something wrong…? It was too much, wasn’t it…”
But Bon just shakes his head and sniffles, scrubbing roughly at his eyes. “No- no you…that’s…one of the nicest things anyone’s ever…shit…” He takes a deep breath, and then sticks his hands out in front of him in the way that people do when they’re about to make a serious point. “Hana. I’m the one who’s got the shitty baggage here, not you! A cute, smart computer programmer with an awesome kid? I’m a criminal! I have a record! I can’t…I…why would you ever want…”
Hana blinks. “You…you think I’m cute…?”
“How-” Bon splutters. “How is that the only thing you got from that!”
Hana laughs a little too, and then shakes his head. “You think I don’t know all that other stuff already? It doesn’t change the way I feel about you. I know the history. I’ve seen the scars. And I still want you. If…if you’ll have me, I mean, if you don’t want to, that’s completely fine and I totally understa-”
“Seriously?” Bon gives him a look, somehow not detracted by the fact that his eyes are still a little red and puffy. “I’ve been in love with you for like…uhhh…months.” His face explodes into a fresh blush, but he soldiers on. “I just…I don’t…I don’t deserve someone like you…”
Hana shakes his head firmly. “You have to stop doing that. You have to stop talking about yourself like you’re worthless. To me, you’re…clearly worth it. You’re worth three tries, you’re worth a million tries! If a hundred more things go wrong on a hundred more dates I try to take you on, well, then I’ll just have to plan a hundred and one dates to give you what you do deserve – a nice time, with someone who loves you.”
Bon’s eyes well up with fresh tears, and he tries to blink them away as he stares back at Hana, wide-eyed. Hana reaches across the table and offers his hands again, and Bon slowly, carefully lowers his into them. Bon pulls in a deep, shaky breath, and then seems to get a hold of himself enough to speak again.
“So…” He starts, his voice rough and crackly. “The tacos…and…and the farm…those were…”
Bon huffs out a laugh and smiles down at the table. “Fuck, you’re cute.”
“Well, now that we’ve established that we both think the other is cute…” Hana clears his throat, trying to hold back another smile. “And that we both…uhm…”
Bon raises an eyebrow at him and smirks a little.
“That we both…have the same feelings for each other…” Hana can feel himself sweating again, but he pushes through it, because he feels like this is important to say out loud. “Will you…ah…will you…willyougooutwithme?”
“When you ask me like that…how can I say no?” Bon smiles, expression cheeky and teasing, but his blush is just as bright as Hana’s feels, their hands still sitting entwined together on the table. “And…I think we still have a date we need to go on, so…got any ideas?”
❀ ❃ ✥
After ordering pizza, they play Super Mario Bros co-op mode together until Hana’s neighbour knocks on the door to complain about the noise. Bon’s cackling laughter and Hana’s frantic shouting of directions was apparently too much for some people after 9 pm.
“So, uh…is there anything we can do about your mom’s lawsuit, or…?” Hana asks, from where they’re wrapped up around each other on the couch, TV dark and their controllers sitting side by side on the coffee table.
Bon shrugs, picking his head up from where it was resting on Hana’s chest. “Eh, she’s got no case against me, really. I haven’t seen her since I got out. If anything, she could probably get a restraining order, but that’s not exactly the end of the world…” He scrunches up his face and looks off to the side. “I really am still sorry about the tickets, though. Waste of money…and I actually did wanna go…”
Hana reaches up his hand and runs it gently through Bon’s hair. “Like I said, it’s alright! We can just try again, maybe take Baby with us next time?”
“I’m shocked she was okay to let us go alone this time, honestly…”
“Ah, Chaar offered to babysit…”
“Mmm, the doll clothes, eh? She’s really getting into that.”
“Yeah, she is.”
“Don’t look so sad, she’ll get into that Warhammer stuff too eventually, I’m sure.”
Hana laughs. “I know! I know, she’s always curious when I start painting them anyways, it’s just, they’re so tiny and delicate…”
“Mmm…” Bon hums, letting his head flop back down onto Hana’s chest.
“You’re gonna fall asleep here, aren’t you?”
“Mm…prob’ly…didn’ really sleep much last night…or the night before that…”
“Bon! You really need to start taking better care of yourself…”
Bon just hums again, already sounding drowsy.
“That’s it, when I make coffee tomorrow, you’re only getting one cup.”
Bon just grumbles unintelligibly into Hana’s shirt.
“Well…” Hana says quietly, after a little moment of silence, “I may be biased, but this is definitely the best date I’ve ever been on.”
“Isn’t this the only date you’ve ever been on?” Bon snorts sleepily.
“I stand by what I said!”
They fall silent again after that, with Hana slowly running his hand up and down Bon’s back, until eventually, they both end up fast asleep together on the couch.