Word Count: 1,117
Warnings: mild language
Author's Note: eltea rocks my world with her editing skills. ♥ It rained like crazy last week, hence... XD
He always marvels at the way it climbs, droplet-fingers latching onto the trailing threads of the cuffs of his jeans, seeping up from the shredded place he treads on with every step because his pants are too long. His shoes are soaked through, likewise his socks; damn the lurking puddles to a thousand arid hells. Betrayers—Seventh Circle.
Wet shoes full of wet feet splash in wet pools of broken sidewalk, and he almost can’t tell where the water ends and he begins. The black mailbox flags him down at the last second, and he sloshes up the isthmus of aggregate between the two swamps of grassy yard. Three brick steps usher him onto the porch and up to a Welcome mat that won’t do much for his sopping feet, so he kicks off his Converse and peels off his socks, draping them over the arm of the wicker bench to free his hands for rolling up the forlorn bottoms of his jeans.
He pushes his hood back, picks up his sodden footwear, lets the mat prick at his damp soles, and knocks.
“S’open,” the voice calls.
“Hands full,” he calls back.
Todd comes to the door and opens it to scan Micah expectantly from head to naked toe.
“I thought you might’ve brought food,” he remarks.
Micah shrugs, his shoelaces trailing, a bead of water gathering on the rightmost one as if waiting for something.
“No worries,” Todd decides, stepping back so that Micah can step in. “I’ve got some shit.”
Micah wanders over the threshold, trying to think where he’s seen a heating vent near the floor. He could put his shoes down in front of it on a plastic bag from under the sink, and they might dry a little.
“Shit?” he prompts. Todd’s lexicon is rarely encouraging.
“You know the rules,” Todd replies, maneuvering past him to exhume a pair of scissors from a drawer, then employing the implement to cut along the seam of a Safeway bag. “If you want real food, you have to bring it yourself.”
Todd has a cigarette balanced over his ear like a ballpoint pen, but the house smells like Eggo waffles, so he’s probably just misplaced it. He crouches just past the window, where a rusting vent breathes warm air onto the linoleum, and spreads the bag. Micah treks over, pants legs unfurling again to drag on the floor, and sets his shoes down on the plastic, which crinkles persistently as the heater vent’s sighs ruffle its edges.
He stands again, and Todd straightens the edges of the plastic, looks up at him, and frowns.
More specifically, he looks at Micah’s jeans, which admittedly are in a bad way.
“Take those things off before you track water all over my floor,” Todd orders, so Micah does, right there, unbuttoning and then unzipping without so much as taking a step backwards first. He hands the jeans, which are heavier for the water, to Todd, who takes his socks as well and goes to drape them over the shower rod.
Micah knows where they’ll be because that’s where Todd put them three days ago, when he’d been just about as wet as today.
C’est la vie et la pluie, he thinks idly.
While Todd is off fighting gravity and wet denim, Micah takes the orange fleece blanket off of the couch and then wanders back to sit at the table, selecting a chair, curling up, and tucking the blanket about his bare legs where he hugs them to his chest.
His T-shirt is a little damp, too, but he’s not going to be ceding that anytime soon.
Todd returns, having lost his cigarette somewhere en route, and considers Micah where he’s bunched up like a wet cat, dark hair straggling into his too-big eyes.
“You want an Eggo?” he asks.
Micah shifts. “Do you have anything else?”
Todd leans against the counter and searches for his cigarette, finding nothing but his own hair—which is sandy-brown, and which Micah is fairly certain he cut himself.
“Doubtful,” Todd decides.
“What flavor are they?” Micah inquires warily.
“Blueberry,” Todd answers. “And I’ve got blueberry juice from Trader Joe’s.”
Todd’s three vices are cigarettes, Grand Theft Auto, and blueberry juice from Trader Joe’s.
“Okay,” Micah says, so Todd rummages for a waffle in the freezer, finds one, sticks it in the toaster, and jams the lever down.
Micah likes it here. Here is just about the only place Micah likes.
He doesn’t really like it at his house. He guesses it’s not too bad, because his mom’s always away, but he doesn’t like being alone.
The problem is that he doesn’t like people either.
Not liking people means he doesn’t have friends, and not having friends means he doesn’t like school, and not liking school means he doesn’t do very well, and not doing well means his mom gets mad at him when she’s around, so it’s a good thing she’s always away after all.
When Micah is at home, Todd beleaguers him with IMs telling him to do his damn homework. Not everyone can be like Todd and drop out of high school to make websites for people with lots of money but very little time.
Micah doesn’t really care about his homework, though. He doesn’t care about much of anything. It all just seems very pointless in the grand and overarching scheme of things, and he can never work up the will to take interest in the details.
Except Todd. But Todd’s different. Todd listens to him when he wants to talk, and talks when he wants to listen. Todd feeds him junk food but refuses to give him cigarettes; and doesn’t ask stupid questions; and will just sit there, in warm, companionable silence, when Micah can’t find the strength to untangle his tongue.
That’s why Micah walks here when he can. Even when the heavens have opened and let loose.
Todd just… cares. About him. Regardless.
And Micah feels safe here, in this boring, slightly run-down house, in this lightless kitchen, dim and gray in the rain, blue-purple seeping in among the shadows, with the unmistakable scent of Eggo waffle slowly permeating the room.
He loves Todd. Or he’s in love with him. He doesn’t really know the difference, and he doesn’t think it really matters. What matters is that here, with the rain patting at the windowpanes as if it’s lost something on their surface, with the faint sizzling of his blueberry waffle, with his heart beating against his knees, with Todd’s fingers drumming impatiently on the countertop as he scours the linoleum for his fallen cigarette, Micah is happy.
And that’s a nice thing.