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Mark had been reading his book and it was strange how interested he felt in it, but at the same time he hated it so much. This chapter at least but when they walked away from that river and those were left behind and the next chapter started he got back into it. He was fine with what was going on now. But his eyes started hurting so he opened a drawer in the side table and pulled out his reading glasses. He hated having to wear them but that was the problem with his eyes, he had gotten in fights when he was little and sometimes his head would hurt from an old injury that stopped him from fighting and he stayed home and did other things, read mystery books and things like that and decided to become a detective.
So he was, looking up he saw Nat by the window and he was looking out. Betting he was looking for Sean he watching him through his bangs and then went back to his book when he closed the curtains. It was good that he was at least closing that out of his head so he wouldn’t think too much about the things that did happen in the past here. Because this wasn’t with Sean and that meant he was safe, he just had to realize that he could relax here, and he’d be allowed to do what he wanted, he wasn’t trapped here or anything he could do what he wanted, within reason and not get scolded or asked not to do something. Mark watched the young man as he watched him still and then closed his book. “Nat?” He said loud enough for the boy to hear. “Are you alright?” He was concerned, seeing the look on the boys face he just looked worried, and tired.
Natsuo ate his sandwich relatively quickly, having probably been hungry even when he was still asleep. When he was finished, he set his plate in the sink, and watched as Mark left the room. He could hear his footsteps going down the hall, pausing at his office, then lost in the bedroom. And then coming back toward him, ending up in the living room with the book he'd been reading back in his hands. The raven haired male watched him for a moment, then looked down to Hunter who'd trotted up to him. The blue-eyed pup stared up at him, tail wagging, waiting to be pet. Natsuo shook his head, smiling, and complied. He crouched down, running his hands over Hunter's soft coat, receiving numerous sloppy kisses from the German Sheppard as thanks.
After another couple of minutes, he stood again, and looked at the clock. He still felt nervous from earlier that day, when Sean had been following them around the streets of the town. He couldn't get the image of the silver car out of his thoughts, and was glad he couldn't see Sean through the tinted glass. He didn't even want to know what kind of expression he'd been wearing. He didn't even want to imagine it, though his thoughts kept returning to the possibilities. When he walked back into the living room, he checked the cable box's clock, finding that it was closing in on quarter to eight o'clock. It wasn't that late, though he still felt exhausted. Even with the nap he'd taken when they'd gotten back, he still felt as if he could go for another.
Walking over to the large windows that looked out over the parking lot in front of the apartment building, he stared out. It was mostly lit by street lamps set up every few meters, but his eyes always returned back to the places where the light didn't quite reach. Was Sean out there, watching them again? It was fairly possible. But, if he was...did he ever sleep? Was he taking time off of work to come find him? If so...he'd be especially pissed. Losing money was one of his least favourite things. After another moment, Natsuo grabbed the curtains and pulled them closed, cutting off his vision of the parking lot, and Sean's vision of inside of the apartment. If he really was out there.
Mark nodded and watched as Nat pulled out the makings to the sandwich he wanted before Mark pulled out things for his own. He was having turkey, Hunter looked up to him hearing them get things out and then wagged his tail as his owner tossed him a piece of the meat, catching it in mid air before going back to his own food. Shaking his head, the long haired man went back to making himself something to eat, taking the bread after Natsuo and getting out a couple pieces before putting turkey, cheese and mayo on them. Sliding his things into the drawers of the fridge before Nat did he sat down across from Nat and started eating. Hunter moved away from his bowl after he’d finished and laid down under the table and let his tail fall still.
When he’d finished he’d stood up and went back to the office for a minute, grabbing his bag off the floor as he went to put it away. And after the papers were put away or left out for him to do later, he sighed and then went back to the living room or started going that way. Instead he went to the bedroom and went to the window. Instinct telling him to look. He wished he hadn’t though. There was a man he didn’t recognize talking on the phone, looking at his apartment building. He couldn’t imagine who it was though. Closing the curtains though he turned back and went to the living room picking up his book again and sitting in the same chair as before, opening up to the page he had been on before.
Natsuo watched as Mark stood, leaving his book behind as he followed Hunter into the kitchen. After a moment, he stood from the couch and followed after the other two, finding Mark pouring Hunter his food. The pup watched on impatiently, frozen on the spot. His tail stopped wagging, his feet stopped walking, and it looked like he was holding his breath. He was frozen in time, until Mark told him it was okay for him to eat. He broke out of his trance, rushing to his food bowl as he started to devour its contents. Natsuo shook his head, rolling his eyes as he turned to watch Mark go through the fridge. He walked over, peering over the other male's shoulder as he looked into the fridge. He thought for a moment, then pointed to a package of sliced ham. "Could I have a ham sandwich?" he asked. When he got the okay to do so, he reached in and grabbed the pack, then walked over to the cutting board.
He grabbed the bag of bread, pulling out two fluffy white slices. He set them on the cutting board, and put two sliced of ham on top of one. Then, he went back to the fridge and grabbed the bag of lettuce and the bottle of mustard. After finishing putting his sandwich together, he put everything back in it's proper place inside of the fridge, and staring eating. As he sat at the table, he let his lets swing back and forth idly under the chair, causing Hunter to glance up at him a few times.
Mark had gotten through the first chapter and it was good right off the bat, he was enjoying it but it had nothing to do with a river like the title suggested. Though there would be one soon. He could tell from the character’s perspective. He sighed to himself as he turned the page and continued through the book. On the second chapter he was halfway through and the book’s title came into play, someone had been injured by the river and everything in the book was described as going in slow motion beside a river. Silence coated every voice as they were trying to help the other person. But that was it, he hated parts of the book like this so he must have looked like he wasn’t enjoying it at that point in time.
Looking up when Natsuo was waking up he met the boy’s eyes and smiled as he yawned. Turning his eyes back to the page before he turned it, he started having trouble reading the words, it happened sometimes when he was reading for longer periods of time or thinking of something completely different compared to what the book was saying. Hearing Nat say something about dinner before he paused and blushed, he didn’t know why though. “I think we could put something together.” He said marking the page and setting the book on the table as he got up and Hunter followed him, he shook his head at the animal as he put food in the German Sheppard’s bowl. He seemed happy enough. Looking through the fridge they could probably just have sandwiches tonight or they could make some homemade pizza, or something else that he had around. He wasn’t sure what the other was in the mood for. “Anything you want?” He asked looking back to the boy.
When Natsuo opened his eyes next, he found the world outside of the windows across the room from him had grown dark. The only thing lighting the room was the lamp Mark was using to read his book. But he didn't look like he was too interested in it, even though he kept his eyes on the page. He knew he was truly reading it's words, but was he taking them in? If not, he should put the book down. With a yawn, Natsuo sat up from the couch. His neck ached slightly, but it wasn't too bad. As he sat up, Hunter did as well, his tail thumping against the hardwood, his tongue hanging out of his mouth happily. Natsuo smiled softly, running his hand through the dark fur.
When he looked over to the older male, he caught his eyes, and smiled again. He wasn't exactly sure he was feeling smiley at that moment, but he felt like the affect of Sean showing up and following them around in the silver car had somehow worn off a bit. He was in a better mood than earlier, probably because he'd slept some of the stress off. After a moment, he looked to the clock in the cable box beneath the television, finding that it was almost seven thirty in the evening. He turned back to Mark. "Should we do something for dinner?" he asked. "I know it's late, but-" his stomach growled softly, causing a light blush to come to his cheeks.He hid his embarrassed face behind his bangs, leaning back into the couch a bit as his hands snaked around his stomach, hiding it from view, though it would still be heard if it growled again.
Still standing there rubbing the boy’s back a few minutes after he’d said that Nat should try to take a nap. And he could feel the other’s back rising and falling as Mark’s hand went up and down his back. When he did pull away though, the older male felt a bit upset that he hadn’t decided to stay there against his chest. He watched as the other moved to the couch and sat down heavily before falling to his side. With a smile and a shake of his head he turned back to the kitchen and took the boiling water off the burner and poured some in a mug letting a tea bag sit in it as he leaned against the doorway quietly. Almost feeling protective over the boy laying on the couch, he felt bad about what had happened to him. How his life had flipped around. It was a sad fact that he was not used to feeling safe anymore.
Getting tired himself he went back to the kitchen and threw away the tea bag and sat down at the table with his mug, holding it as his body pulled warmth from it. He sighed to himself wondering how long he could have let the other lean on him. He had to have stood there without the other for at least ten minutes. Not having moved away, not have even tried to, the two of them comfortable just like that. Taking a sip he sat there thinking. Fifteen or so minutes later he put the mug in the sink and went back out to the living room to check on Natsuo. Seeing his eyes closed made him guess that he was asleep, so he picked up a book and sat in the chair closest to the sofa and opened it to the first page. A perfect place to start… the beginning of the story… Of any story…
Natsuo sucked in a silent breath when he felt Mark's hand on his back, though he let it out slowly when he felt him rubbing his back. It was calming; it felt nice. No one had done that for as long as he could remember; not since his birth mother had passed away in the car crash when he was merely six years old. He heard his words, though he didn't respond to them. At that moment, he didn't feel like moving away. He wanted to stay leaning against the older male; to be able to feel his warmth and to feel him breathing. He felt safer than he ever had with Mark's arm around him, and even though he wasn't holding him tightly, he was holding him close. And it meant more.
But, even so, he knew he should move away, that he should push off of the other male and walk away. Even if it was just to lay down on the couch, instead of in the bedroom. After a few more minutes. Natsuo finally did just that. Slowly, he pushed himself off of Mark, forcing himself to stand up straight as he walked over to the couch. He sat down heavily, then fell onto his side. He kept one of his arms under his head as he stared at the TV. He watched as Mark walked back into the kitchen, attending to his tea. Hunter came over to him, pushing his face into Natsuo's as he licked his cheek, before lying down in front of him on the floor. Inside of his head, his thoughts were keeping him awake. I wonder how long I could have stood there for, leaning on him? he thought to himself, though he let his eyes close.
The fact the other was tired didn’t help the fact that Mark was worried, he hadn’t turned on any lights in the living room so the only light was from the windows and the kitchen. When his chest was met by the other’s head he smiled a bit. Tired. Mark smiled kindly at the top of the other’s head as Hunter moved closer to the boy’s hand, he could tell that the dog knew that Natsuo wasn’t feeling the best at the moment and he was worried. Hesitating for a moment Mark raised one arm and put it around the boy’s back rubbing it softly to help him calm down. The sight of Sean’s car and the fact he’d spoken about his past had worried him and he wasn’t sure what else he could do.
The other’s head on his chest, he didn’t move or push him away, he was welcoming the boy into whatever he needed to feel better, well not whatever but something he could handle. Whether it be he held onto the other or left him alone, though right now it seemed he didn’t want to be left alone. “Maybe you should take a nap then.” He whispered to the other as Hunter sat down Nat’s palm close to his head his fingers touching the top of the fur as far as he could tell. He could hear the cars passing outside, one of his neighbors coming back home from where they were that day. It was silent except for their breathing and things not inside the apartment…
Natsuo nodded when Mark opened the passenger side door, and he slowly got down. He turned when he had his feet planted on the ground and grabbed his own bag of books, then followed Mark into the apartment. The warmth hit him slowly, starting at his toes after he'd taken off his shoes. As turned and looked back outside before closing the door, watching the snow falling behind him. But also checking for Sean; his silver car was nowhere in sight. With a slight breath of relief, he turned away and closed the door, walking further into the apartment. He heard Mark putting the kettle on to boil, knowing that he was making tea. Hunter trotted over to him, tail wagging behind him as his tongue hung past his lower lip. Natsuo shook his head at him, though didn't stop to pet him as he walked past.
He was just about to sit on the couch when Mark walked over to him, looking concerned. The raven haired male paused, letting the other feel his forehead as he checked his temperature. He shook his head, though he didn't push the other male away. He dropped his eyes, and could feel his eyelids falling slightly. He was exhausted. The day had started off wonderful, but had turned into something he didn't even want to think about. With a light sigh, he leaned forward, his head on Mark's chest as he finally let his eyes close. "I'm just...tired." he finally said. He could feel a wet nose against his finger tips, then pushing up against his palm. He felt Hunter run his snout along his hand until the top of his head was in his palm.
Mark noticed that the boy wasn’t getting out of the car and once Hunter was inside he closed the door and walked back over to grab one of the bags of books. Opening the other’s door he smiled to him. “Come on, its warmer inside.” He said quietly before taking one of the bags and standing by the door as Nat got out. Locking the car after he’d gotten the door closed he walked back up to the front door and opened it again, Hunter still trotting around the apartment when they got in, taking his shoes off by the door he left them against the wall then went farther into the room, setting the bag on the couch as he went into the kitchen and turned the water on, he for one could go for a cup of tea, it would warm him and Nat up, if the boy decided to get a cup as well.
Leaving the water to boil he pulled out the large book he’d gotten for himself and flipped through it for a moment before setting it down on the coffee table. This apartment was safe to him, he hoped it was safe to Natsuo as well. It wasn’t large, it wasn’t meant for more than two or three people but it was comfortable for him. Looking through his bangs as his longer hair fell over his shoulder at the boy, he could tell he was truly shaken up. “Are you ok?” He asked putting his palm to the other’s forehead wondering if he was getting sick since he just didn’t look good, he seemed paler than normal and he wanted to make sure that he was ok. “You don’t have a fever.” He said dropping his hand back to his side.
Natsuo felt the heat rush to his cheeks when Mark re-voiced what he had just said. He hadn't meant to say it, not like that, at least. Not in a way where Mark wold understand that even if it was so wrong...it was the right idea. He turned his face away, looking back out of the window, though not really looking at the same time. He nodded as Mark started talking, seeming to put at least some of the piece of the puzzle together; Natsuo still hadn't given him all of the pieces yet, though he knew they'd eventually slip out or something; find their way to Mark's ears. Though, when he thought about never meeting Mark, his chest tightened. He didn't like it, though he liked the thought even less. "I'm glad that we met." he whispered, though he knew he hadn't been heard.
As he looked out the window, watching as scenery passed by, the thought lingered. He felt that, even if they hadn't met, he'd feel as though a piece of him was missing. He glanced over at the other male through his bangs, watching him a moment. Maybe Mark himself is a piece of the puzzle. he thought. When they pulled into the parking lot in front of the apartment building, Natsuo paused before opening his door. Mark's words resounded in his head. But what happens when a day comes when I'm not with you? he thought, watching as the brunet and the German Sheppard made their way over to the front door to the apartment. Because, even if we don't voice it, I know that day is going to come...a day I'm alone again. Even if you come back...
Listening as they started heading back home again he didn’t realize how much the other had been through at the time. He didn’t know half of these things. He could remember how Nat had always been thrown off, frightened terribly in every mention of the older brother’s name but he didn’t know of anything that happened in between the time he’d bet him and the time he was adopted. Nor did he know anything before it. Scary thoughts came to mind of what kind of accident caused his parent’s death and made his brother change, he wasn’t sure he wanted to picture what had happened to the younger male. At the mention of being touched by his brother, he looked over for a second then back to the road. “Touched you?” he asked though it wasn’t a question.
“I can understand the change your brother had. If you were really young then you wouldn’t have understood it really, since he’s older I’m guessing he did.” He said. “And I have a feeling that if your parent’s hadn’t died that, one, we’d never have met under conditions like these, maybe never at all, two, your brother most likely would have never turned out like this.” He pulled into the parking lot of his apartment building and then turned the car off. He looked to the boy and smiled at him. Mark didn’t know what to say but he sat there for a minute before speaking. “I can promise you that you’re safe with me and Hunter. Alright?” He said before getting out and letting Hunter out. Taking the leash off the dog, he watched as the animal ran around before it ran back and jumped on him almost knocking him over. That had been a bit of a scare but the boy had to trust him, the two he was with would keep him safe…
Natsuo watched carefully as they kept driving down the snow-covered road, trying to evade his older brother behind them. He noticed the shock in Mark's eyes at the mention of Sean's name, as well as how he seemed to increase the seriousness of the situation. After that, he seemed to try harder to lose the man behind them, and once the silver car was no longer in sight, the raven haired male relaxed a bit. He let his eyes fall closed again, and didn't even bother opening them at the other male's question. "To be honest...I'm not really sure." he said after a moment. "When I was six, our parents died in an accident. Sean and I were there...we saw it. Though, because he's older than me, I think it had more of an effect on him." he paused, thinking about it. "The foster care agency kept us together, until Sean turned eighteen and he was sent to live on his own. We moved around a lot, from family to family. Most of them were okay with me, but even as a kid, Sean was intimidating. Something inside of him changed. He was mostly okay when it came to me, but he was always angry around other people. He picked fights with our foster siblings, and even with our foster parents sometimes. Because of that, nobody really wanted us."
Natsuo opened his eyes, looking out the window beside of him. He leaned his temple on the cold glass, finding comfort in it. He could still remember one incident, where he'd pushed one of their foster mothers down the stairs. Luckily for her, she caught herself quick and wasn't badly injured. But after that, they weren't put into anymore homes. Just kept in a group home together until Sean came of age. Then, they sent Natsuo into a foster family by himself, and that's where he'd lived for almost six years. But, a few months before he turned eighteen, Sean reappeared and adopted him. And that's when it got really bad. "He never touched me until he'd adopted me. Before then...we'd only been brothers."
Mark then kept his eyes on the road and slowed because of the kids, but their eyes were on something a bit more, interesting. The car that kept chase. It looked like one that would cost at least ten times as much as his truck and it didn’t look like it would make it too well in the snow that Mark could make it through. A large bumb, speed bump in the snow, he kept his eyes on it as snow flew out of the way as the truck went through it. Hunter was growling quietly in the back and if he got the chance, he’d be off biting at the tires since he was smart and knew that no one could get anywhere with a dead tire.
At the name he looked to Nat and froze. His brother, of course. No kids ahead he sped up, the snow easy enough to get through and it fell right back into place for the most part, he was just making it easier for the other to follow. Turning again he saw that the snow plow was coming down the road, he sighed and turned right before they were on top of each other, his tracks erased as the snow was pushed out of the way. That would hopefully stop the older brother. Leaning back in the seat he kept his eyes on the rear view for a minute before looking ahead and keeping his eyes ahead as they got back out onto one of the main roads. “Hopefully that threw him off then.” He said, this would hopefully prove the other again. “Why is he so sure you belong to him anyway? Did something happen?” He had a right to know but if the other kept quiet about it, he wouldn’t push it anymore.
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