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Waiting is the Hardest Part

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Will is the first to find him, sitting on some curb in front of an alley with his head in his hands. Wolfgang huffs, pushing the heels of his palms into his eyes and wiping away his stupid tears; of course it would be Will. He almost wants to laugh, but his chest is too tight and all he can manage is a sob that scrapes through his throat as it shakes his shoulders.

Will sits down next to him and rest his hand on Wolfgang’s shoulder.

“Want to talk about it?” Will asks quietly.

Wolfgang shakes his head and pulls his knees up to his chest. There’s nothing to say, really. Nothing Will doesn’t already know from being inside Wolfgang’s head. But words bubble and spill from Wolfgang’s lips anyways.

“It’s been three weeks,” he says. He’s cold, suddenly.

Will’s hand moves from his shoulder and slides down the sleeve of his shirt until it’s on top of Wolfgang’s hand, waiting. It takes a moment, then Wolfgang threads their fingers together and sighs.

The pressure in his chest loosens a little.

“He’ll wake up soon.” Wolfgang turns his head to look at Nomi as she sits down next to him. She smiles, a little sad but still warmly enough to make Wolfgang feel a little bit better.

She holds his other hand as Lito’s forehead rests against the knob of Wolfgang’s spine. Lito presses a gentle kiss to Wolfgang’s jacket and says, “Waiting is the hardest part.”

“Another line from one of your movies?” Wolfgang says, even though he knows it isn’t. He feels another kiss from Lito and closes his eyes, breathing just a tiny bit easier.

“He is right,” Sun says. She sits cross-legged in the street and watches Wolfgang with calculating eyes; he feels exposed beneath her gaze. “Waiting is the most difficult thing a person can do. Standing between two points – one good and one bad – can feel like the worst place to be. But with waiting comes results –”

“And sometimes, even if the ending is bad, you realize that waiting prepared you for dealing with it. You can’t change it, but you still have the experiences that came before to get you through it.” Capheus smiles as he sits beside Sun and mimics the way she sits.

“Another one of your movies?” Wolfgang asks.

Capheus nods. “More than one,” he admits.

Wolfgang does laugh at that, even though the sound is little more than a strangled whimper.

He looks at all of them in turn, wishing he had eyes in the back of his head so he could see the soft look on Lito’s face. There’s something stirring inside him, a feeling of relief mixed with a heaviness that threatens to collapse both his lungs. He wonders, for a brief moment if it’s just residual from the time Riley and Will were almost murdered, but then Riley presses a too soft kiss to his forehead and it feels like a balloon of oxygen explodes inside of him.

Wolfgang gasps hard and tears fall too fast for him to wipe away. They all watch him as he falls apart, listening to the sobs that tear through him like flesh getting caught on barbed wire. It hurts so much and he knows they all can feel it because their arms wrap around him wherever they can reach and hold him while he cries; Lito and Will kiss his neck and face and Riley sings something soft and low.

“Felix is strong.” Wolfgang snaps his head up and opens his mouth to say something, anything, but Kala is faster than him and presses her lips to his. She cradles his face in her hands and kisses him soft and slow, wiping his eyes with her thumbs. “Your bond is strong,” she whispers, “he will come back to you.”

“Until then,” Will says, just as quiet as Kala.

“We’ll be here for you.” Nomi rests her cheek against Wolfgang’s shoulder and squeezes his hand again.

Wolfgang watches Kala with hopeful eyes and she nods.

With a smile, she says, “Always.”

And just like that, Wolfgang can breathe again.