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Tim: For previous trips into the city, Tim wouldn’t have to worry about classes for the day; typically, Leech would find a way to sneak him out the night prior, so they could spend an evening together. But the parasite gave him specific detail to go to his first two classes, which Tim does, and he returns to his dorm to grab his jacket, and drop off his books. He stalls in grabbing the set of keys to Leech’s room, which have remained in his desk drawer - Tim too fearful to return them - and in the end he leaves them there, heading down to the basement without anything in hand. Getting to the door, Tim stands there awkwardly, shifting his weight back and forth and willing some confidence into his body. It doesn’t work (it never works), and after taking a deep breath, Tim lifts a hand to knock on the door.


Leech: Typically, Leech wakes at any little sound in his vicinity - and typically, he wakes immediately alert. Today is one of the exceptions, however; he doesn't wake at that knock, only when Maddox calls loudly from the kitchen: 'Leech, someone's at the door!' and even then, he's groggy. But he rolls out of bed obligingly, too sleepy to even bitch about it, and pulls on a pair of pants before padding to the door and unlocking then opening it. Seeing Timothy there, he merely blinks stupidly for a second, then - his brain finally waking up all the way - winces. "Ah, fuck, tha's right." He rubs a hand over his face and through his hair, then steps back to open the door wider. "C'min fer a minute, I jus' need'a..." Not explaining what he needs to do (though it's probably finish getting dressed - he's shoeless and shirtless, displaying the ugly wound high under his ribs, the leading edge healed but still angry red and the rest jagged and deep, crossed along its length with black thread), he waves Timothy into the main room and treks back to his bedroom. Maddox, luckily, remains silent in the kitchen.


Tim: Through the door, Tim can hear someone call out after his knock, but it’s fuzzy and unfamiliar. He knows instantly that it isn’t Leech, and something inside of him clenches for reasons Tim doesn’t want to think about. So he remains standing near the door, waiting for it to be opened, and takes a minute step back once it is. Met with the shirtless Leech, Tim’s eyes immediately drop, looking at the wound and going still. Thankfully, his body seems to react faster than Tim’s head does, and he quickly looks off to the side and moves a hand up to rub at his neck. He nods distantly, already feeling like he’s a burden, and fights down the urge to tell the older man that it’s okay, he’ll get someone else to drive him - it’s too late to make those arrangements. Delayed, he follows Leech inside, but he hovers near the door and stays there, silent.


Leech: At least Leech doesn't take too long getting dressed; he throws on the first shirt he finds (which happens to be Kellen's) and pulls on socks and boots automatically. Stuffing the necessities of wallet, phone, keys, and cigarettes in his pockets, he circles through the kitchen, adjuring Maddox to "Don' go anywhere, don' break anything. I'll be back this afternoon." before returning to the main room. He snatches up his leather jacket and nods mutely to Timothy, plainly still partially asleep, then heads into the hallway and down to the back exit near the parking lot. "Sorry fer makin' ya wait. I didn't manage to get any sleep til this morning."


Tim: Sticking near the door, Tim raises his eyes towards the kitchen area, torn between wanting to see who’s in there, and having no desire to even look. He digs his nails into the back of his neck as he waits, glancing over at Leech once the boy reappears, thankfully more dressed. He shifts around uncertainly until the parasite is ready to go, and Tim shakes his head for what he says. “I’m not in a rush.” Obviously; these appointments were, and continue to be, the worst thing for Timothy. He heads down the hallway, slightly trailing Leech, and moves both hands to the front of his jacket to zip it up. “Sorry you have to do this.”


Leech: Shifting his shoulders to settle the jacket more comfortably, Leech zips it up in preparation of the cold weather outside - most of the snow from last week's blizzard has melted now, but the temperature continues to be low. "Shit - don' worry 'bout it. Not like I don't take any excuse I can get to get outta this place." It's obvious from Timothy's demeanor that the minor reconciliation they accomplished during the boating trip, and the previous night in the guitar room, has not smoothed everything over, but Leech does his best to act at ease even if he doesn't feel it. Reaching his car, he unlocks it and crawls into the drivers' seat, rubbing at his eyes until Timothy joins him, then starting out of the parking lot.



Tim: Tim tries to think of a reply to that that shows his appreciation, but it’s hard; his medications already leave him more catatonic than alive, and the dreadful appointment today is making him even more uncomfortable. He manages a quiet hum of agreement, but it’s not convincing; he’d rather suffer through classes than talk to the doctor. Approaching the exit that leads out to the parking lot, Tim hunches into himself, instantly hit hard with a cold, blustering wind. He follows Leech to the car and crawls in, instantly bringing his hands up to his mouth so he can blow his breath onto them in an attempt to warm them up. “Could be worse, I guess.” It could be snowing, or it could be twenty below zero out, or he could be going to the psychiatrist.


Leech: Though Leech doesn't realize that Timothy's referring to the weather, he merely shrugs in reply, which suits well enough for the question. He turns the heater on as the gate rolls back, though it isn't warmed up yet, and lights a cigarette once they reach the road. Holding the pack to Timothy in offering, Leech leans back into his seat, biting back a yawn as he exhales smoke. Trying to find some neutral topic of conversation, he - perhaps unhappily - turns to the upcoming appointment. "This's the guy that made malnutrition sound like a terminal illness, yeh?" Sideglancing at Timothy, he notes that the kid is certainly no more healthy looking than his first appointment. In fact, he's less.


Tim: Tim glances over for the offered pack of cigarettes, and quickly debates it; on one hand, it would help to relax him some, but on the other - the doctor will certainly smell it on him, and probably scold him. Deciding to take advantage of the offer, Tim takes a cigarette and lights it, cracking his own window open and blowing out smoke towards it. He grunts quietly for the question, reminded of how ridiculous this doctor is, and looks out the window. “Yeah. Can’t wait to catch up.” Of course, Tim knows he’s worse now than he was then - he’s thinner, and more pale, and there’s more life in the eyes of the jarred frogs in the anatomy lab classroom than in his own - so he is prepared to defend himself to this doctor.


Leech: Leech makes a noise of bleak-sounding agreement, not at all looking forward to trying to explain how he let the kid get so much thinner. Blame it on the psychiatrist, maybe. Failing to bite back another yawn, he instead lets it take form, blinking rapidly afterward and trying to convince himself that he's awake, no, really. "Well, 'least you won't have to worry 'bout yer protein powder supply fer a while." He sort of wonders if Timothy's been using the stuff he got last time - or if maybe that's all he's been consuming. There may be a flicker of guilt somewhere in the train of thought, but Leech avoids it as well as he can - it isn't his fault Timothy chose fucking a knife-happy lunatic rather than obeying him.


Tim: “He better give me chocolate, this time. That vanilla stuff is gross.” Aww, look, he’s adding to the joke. Lifting his cigarette to ash it out of the window, Tim follows Leech’s yawn, them being contagious and all, and fights to keep himself alert. Normally, he’d maybe just curl up next to the window, or up against Leech’s shoulder, and sleep throughout the car ride, but he doesn’t feel too comfortable doing that, and doubts Leech would like it.


Leech: At this point, Leech probably wouldn't care, if only because he's having so much difficulty being awake enough for conversation, himself. He wrinkles his nose at the thought of protein powder in any flavor, but does appreciate the attempt. "Sure. We'll make it a point to ask. Say the vanilla shit made you nauseous an' that's why you lost so much weight."


Tim: Taking another drag off his cigarette, Tim’s nose wrinkles for that comment, and he instinctively curls in a little closer to himself, maybe to hide the body he knows has been dwindling these past few weeks. Still, he doesn’t have to admit to it, and he very carefully keeps his eyes looking out the window. “I haven’t lost weight.” There’s no doubt that he has, but perhaps he doesn’t realize how much.


Leech: Leech turns to look at Timothy with a flat, disbelieving gaze. He's quite familiar with that body, after all, and even if it is clothed, he can still tell it's diminished. "No? What, ya jus' put it away fer the winter? Packed it up in the closet, mebbe." He snorts quietly to himself, turning back to look at the road and turning onto the highway, flicking his ashes out the window carelessly.


Tim: Even though he can sense Leech looking at him, Tim doesn’t look back; he’s prone, no matter what, to honesty when he looks Leech in the eye, and he isn’t up for admitting that he hasn’t been taking care of himself. He shakes his head gently and mumbles a little quieter a repeat of what he said. “I haven’t lost weight.” Also ashing out the window, Tim moves to lean his head against the cold glass, hoping they’d just get there already.


Leech: Leech doesn't fall to arguing about it, only giving a non-committal humming noise; the fierceness of Timothy's answer is enough to say that he's aware of the weight loss, anyway. "Well, I jus' hope he doesn't take three fuckin' hours to get to the point this time." Finishing his cigarette, he tosses it out the window and rolls that window back up, lazily weaving through cars along the interstate. There's a fair amount of traffic, but it's nowhere near as busy as rush hour, so it isn't too long before Leech can take the exit to the part of the city where Timothy's doctor is located.


Tim: Shoulders slightly relaxing when the argument isn’t fully formed, Tim takes another drag off the cigarette, not minding when it burns his fingers when the burning end gets near the filter. “Maybe this time he’ll just write it all down.” Doubtful, but Tim can be hopeful; he really doesn’t want this doctor detailing all the things that are wrong with him to his ex lover. Eventually, he ashes his cigarette out the window and rolls it back up, tiredly watching the city come into view. It’s nice to be away from the school, and to see faces he doesn’t recognize. He doubts he can get Leech to let them stay out longer, so he doesn’t try - although he could certainly use some time out with the general public, and not with his classmates.


Leech: "Mmm...that'd be nice, but I doubt it; yer still not a legal adult." Leech seems to wake up some as they reach the city, sitting up straighter and tilting his head from one side to the other to crack his neck. Finding the street with the office, he chooses a parking garage rather than trying to continue down the street and parallel park, since this district is rather busy during the day; even finding a spot in the garage takes some time, and they get to the third story before there are any available spaces. Parking the car, Leech again checks his pockets before turning the car off and getting out.


Tim: Tim hums quietly, accepting that, although he isn’t at all enthusiastic about it. Instead of trying for conversation, he lets silence take over, both boys seeming to focus more on the city traffic than each other. It takes them a while to park, and Tim refrains a few times from telling Leech of the open spots he missed. Crawling out of the car, he hovers near the back of it, waiting for Leech, and then follows him towards the stairs and then down them, exiting at the ground level and crossing the street to get to the office building. They enter through a thick, heavy door, and dodge around a few people before getting to the receptionist desk, where Tim proceeds forward to tell the friendly girl his name.


Leech: Staying silent, since he'd have to more or less shout to be heard above the street noises, Leech starts towards that desk once they enter - but seeing that Timothy's taking care of it, he just moves to sit down, instead. There's a television playing some sort of daytime talk show, and Leech stares at it disinterestedly until Timothy walks over to join him. Getting a better look at him, it's plain that he's more than lost weight - he's lost color and animation, too, looking drained and gray. Leech nearly says something about it, but bites his words back at the last minute. He doesn't feel like starting another argument, since the boy would likely refuse to notice his declining health. Instead he peers around the waiting room; most of the people there don't appear to be waiting for their own appointments, perhaps having accompanied patients instead. "Wait gunna be long?"


Tim: Turning around, Tim locates Leech fairly quickly, since he’s definitely the only person in here with pink hair. Moving to join him, he has a clipboard in one hand, given to him by the receptionist with quick instructions to fill the paperwork out. Taking a seat, Tim doesn’t relax back and get comfortable; instead, he balances the clipboard on his thighs and scans over the forms briefly, starting to fill out the information - standard details like name, location, allergies, and so forth. He shakes his head, but doesn’t look up. “No, I don’t think so. She said it shouldn’t be too long.”


Leech: Leech merely nods at that, scanning the room's occupants disinterestedly again and, finding nothing interesting in them, glances towards Timothy's paperwork instead. The questionnaire makes a corner of his mouth tuck back in amusement faintly. "When I was fifteen I had to go to the hospital, an' Duster told the nurse he was a friend of my foster family, keepin' me while they were outta town - not that they believed him. But on the paperwork, he gave 'em an address for a pancake house, to mail the bills to."


Tim: Hunching over himself, Tim starts scratching pen to paper, filling out the blank spaces. He only hesitates a few times, initially filling out information for his home back in California, but retraces his handwriting a few times to bold it all out. He perks his ears to listen to Leech but doesn’t lift his head, forcing a smile to cross his mouth, but luckily it doesn’t take too much effort - maybe there is some actual amusement there. “Doubt the hospital would take pancakes as payment, huh?"


Leech: "Prolly not." Momentarily distracted, Leech watches a small boy disemboweling his mother's purse, while said mother obliviously types on her phone. "He used the same address pretty much anytime any one of us had ta go to the hospital, though. They didn' ever catch on, I don' think." Abruptly, he's overcome by something akin to homesickness, longing for the days when Duster took care of everything, Ruckus was only uncommunicative and not missing in action, and his own life was so much simpler.


Tim: Tim only hums quietly for that, finishing up his paperwork shortly before the door that leads to the small appointment rooms opens up, and a middle aged nurse hovers. She looks at her own clipboard and calls out Tim’s name, and it’s an equal mix of relief and dread; he doesn’t have to sit here awkwardly with Leech, but meeting with the doctor surely isn’t any better. Getting to his feet and taking a careful breath, and doesn’t glance at Leech, but mumbles a “I’ll be back in a bit”, and then heads towards the nurse, who is trying very hard to be warm and welcoming.


Leech: Leech nods brusquely, still trapped in his own thoughts despite not enjoying them, staring unseeingly at the child on the floor who is now making a circle of wrapped maxi pads around himself. Trying to focus on something else after a minute, he digs a bottle of nail polish from a jacket pocket and starts going over the somewhat chipped black paint on his fingernails. However, he only gets halfway done with the second hand before the door to the room opens and a harried-looking nurse scampers up to him, speaking in an undertone: "The doctor has requested that you join him and your...ward." Leech narrows an eye suspiciously at this request, but with a very little sigh, puts the nail polish away and follows the lady into Timothy's exam room, where the kid is half undressed on the table, cowering into himself some. It's more obvious now just how much weight he's lost, a shocking amount in the few weeks since Leech last saw him undressed. Covering his reaction to that, he turns to look at the doctor inquiringly. "You wanted me?"


Tim: Heading into the examination room, Tim is first whisked over to a scale, where his weight and height are taken. He ignores whatever numbers are displayed and then follows the nurse into the small, private room, where he takes a seat on the bench and allows the nurse to poke and prod. Eventually, the doctor comes in and exchanges his pleasantries - which doesn’t last long, because he’s getting a closer look at the boy, and he’s in worse shape than he was at their last appointment. He requests for Tim to take his shirt off, which the boy does, and goes to check his heartbeat and lungs, but stops himself with how skinny he looks, how pale is skin is and how it’s littered with bruises. Without sounding too alarmed, he gets the nurse to go fetch Leech, and then goes back to inspecting him. He glances up when Leech enters, and yanks off his ear buds from the stethoscope, eyes slightly narrowed at the boy. “You’re his caretaker, are you not?”


Leech: Naturally, the tone of that question gets Leech's back up right away, but the only way he shows it is the way his mouth tightens and the unusual enunciation of his speech. "Not specifically. I work at the school where he lives,." Fully expecting to get bitched at, now, Leech crosses his arms and keeps his gaze from Timothy, not wanting to increase the boy's obvious embarrassment.


Tim: Adjusting the ear buds to clench gently around his neck, the doctor glances down at his clipboard to write something down, and to briefly scan over the details. “We gave the school specific details to make sure Mister Armstrong is in good health. And it’s very, very clear to me that those details have gone ignored.” At this, Tim looks down at his lap, where both of his hands are fiddling with one another awkwardly. “He’s lost more weight, he’s losing color, I’m not entirely sure where all of the bruises come from but it’s far more than anyone should have. Are the instructions we gave the school going completely ignored?” He sounds like he already knows the answer to that, but maybe just wants to hear Leech say it.


Leech: Leech's eyes narrow slightly as the doctor goes on, but in contrast to the doctor, his voice becomes quieter rather than louder. "Seems you'd have to ask the school. But since the school is inanimate, it probably won't answer you; I do recall you giving him some pretty specific instructions, along with some powdered weight gaining shit, but my job doesn't include feeding him his damn applesauce. I would think a kid of seventeen would be capable of looking after his own health - do you disagree? Is it a brain injury? Should I make an appointment with a neurologist?"


Tim: Looking quite displeased for the way he’s being talked to, the doctor goes back to his clipboard, reviewing notes from the last visit and jotting a few others down. “I am simply asking questions. I would prefer not to have the attitude, or the sarcasm.” He sounds sincere; perhaps seeing Timothy like this has made him a little more invested in making sure the kid is okay. “He’s lost nearly ten pounds, and he was already too lean already. I worry for his overall health.” He looks back at the boy, and redirects the conversation to him. “You need to put on weight, Tim. You need nutrients. Your body will fail on you if you don’t.” For this, Tim doesn’t say anything, just starts to rub at a wrist harshly.


Leech: For that show of 'concern', Leech doesn't relax his displeasure at all, and doesn't appear to be buying the doctor's sudden defense - though alternately, he doesn't become any more acidic, either. "I would prefer not to have the attitude, either, but you threw it at me the second I walked in here, like I'm starving him on purpose. I've got over two hundred kids to oversee, I can't be hand feeding each and every single one, no matter how much I worry about them individually. My suggestion would be to contact his counselor and his coach, who do have the time to take closer personal interest, and will know how his medication affects his physical health." Recrossing his arms, Leech finds a counter to lean against, switching his attention back to Timothy when the doctor does.


Tim: For that little rant, the doctor looks back over at Leech, taking note of what is said and storing the information for later use; the man brings up good points, and perhaps there’s been a bit of miscommunication. “I’m certainly not blaming any one individual here, but it’s very clear that Mister Armstrong isn’t taking care of himself, and quite frankly I’m a little concerned that anyone at the school has let it regressed this far. Even without the individual personal interest, it’s quite obvious that this boy is not healthy.” Glancing back at Tim, the doctor reaches out and snags his right arm, turning it out so he can inspect the inner forearm - either to see just how dark his veins are, or maybe seeing if there are any self destructive marks there. Tim lets it all happen, but still won’t meet anyone’s eyes. Appeased that there are no questionable marks there, the doctor paces back to the far cabinets, starting to rifle through it. “The medications Timothy are on shouldn’t suppress his appetite. Usually, we see predominant weight gain with antidepressants.” He pauses, thinking briefly, before adding on: “I’d like to increase the frequency of his appointments here, until he’s in good health. Will that be an issue with the school? Or should we make other arrangements?”


Leech: "Aren't you? The only question you asked me was if I was his caretaker, and when I said no, you proceeded to chew me out, anyway. Sounded a hell of a lot like blame to me." Undoubtedly, part of Leech's vim is due to his deep-buried sense of guilt, but that at least won't be apparent to the doctor, who knows neither of them very well. He flicks his gaze back to Timothy, running over that emaciated form impassively, though his eyes narrow some. "It is concerning that he's lost so much weight, so fast. I wonder that his coach didn't notice and do something about it, since he's liable to see him out of his uniform every day." Focusing on the doctor, Leech hesitates in agreeing with that - though he doesn't bother to point out that 'the school' isn't an actual entity, again. "It shouldn't be an issue. How frequent do you mean?"


Tim: Deciding to ignore those other quips, since they very well won’t get him anywhere, the doctor grabs a few more little packets of protein shakes; luckily, they’re the chocolate flavor. These responses are only making the doctor worry more, since it’s apparent that no one really cares for this poor kid, so he gathers some more of those packets and puts them in a small baggie for Tim to take with him. “I’d like weekly weight check-ins. Which can just be phoned in. I’ll coordinate these efforts with someone at the school that is a little more willing to help out.” A quick jab, but he continues before Leech can bite back. “And bi weekly appointments, until he’s at an adequate weight level. Tim - “ Timothy glances up, but keeps one hand tightly latched onto the opposite wrist, looking like he just wants to disappear. “Please eat. I’m restricting your baseball conditioning until you’re healthier. You’re too thin to be burning so many calories.” For that, Tim drops his gaze back down, defeated, and the doctor finishes scribbling a few more instructions on his clipboard.


Leech: Not seeming to mind that jab, Leech only nods passively, glad not to have the responsibility of that, as well. "The nurse we've got is fairly competent, I'm sure he won't mind helping you with that. Need to schedule the appointments here in advance." He would add that it's not very convenient to be running from the school to the city and back every other week during school hours, but that would be pointless - however concerned the doctor pretends to be, he definitely won't want to stay at the office late or on weekends just to make sure Timothy's healthier. He lets his gaze wander the informational posters around the room while the doctor talks to Timothy, to keep himself from looking at that worryingly skinny body.


Tim: “I’ll have the receptionist coordinate the appointments with school administration, in the case.” Really, the doctor just sounds like he’s completely done with dealing with Leech, since he just seems to want to get the hell out of here. Tim doesn’t blame him. Finishing with the scribbles, the doctor reaches for Tim’s shirt, which was discarded off to the side, and hands the item back to the boy, only talking once Timothy takes the clothing. A little quieter, but not quiet enough to keep the conversation between just the two of them, the doctor adds: “If you need anything, Tim, even just someone to talk to, call me. There’s a card in your bag—“ He nods back to the countertop, with the plastic baggie. “Any time.” The way it’s said, it’s obvious that the doctor has zero faith in anyone at the school, and Tim just nods, maybe to get the man to stop looking at him like that. Once the older man lets go and reclaims his clipboard and starts for the door, Tim starts to tug his shirt back on. Before he departs, the doctor looks at both boys, but focuses more on Timothy. “Stop by the receptionist to sign some paperwork. I’ll be seeing you soon.”


Leech: Leech just pretends he can't hear that confidential tone - not like he has much faith in anyone at the school, either - and takes to drumming his fingers impatiently on his leg, letting the bastard think as badly of him as he likes. Watching the man leave, Leech does take the opportunity to sneer at his back (an expression which makes him look about as vicious as a two day old kitten) before switching his gaze back to Timothy. The boy's obviously uncomfortable, so Leech tries for a light tone, which doesn't entirely work. "Sounds like someone's got an admirer." Pushing off the wall, Leech waits for Timothy to get redressed and collect his necessities before heading out of the room.


Tim: Quickly tugging his shirt back on, Tim works his arms through the holes and feels marginally better now that he’s covered up. He can’t really get himself to respond to that, mostly because he’s trying really hard not to cry, so he manages a quick hum and then hops off of the examination table. He also shrugs on his jacket and grabs his baggie of goodies, peering inside of it as they head out to the hallway, and back towards the receptionists area. It doesn’t take long to exchange information and sign some paper, and soon (but not soon enough), both boys are heading back to Leech’s car silently.


Leech: Given the response he gets (or lack thereof), Leech doesn't try for conversation again, inexpressibly glad to get out of the building even if it is cold outside. He does his best to ignore Timothy's apparent distress, since he has no idea how to comfort him aside from the physical comfort that's now off limits; instead, once they get to the car, he points it deeper into the city rather than back towards the interstate. Lunchtime traffic makes what would normally be a very short drive into nearly forty-five minutes of discomfort, but eventually he turns onto the street with Duster's shop on it and finds a spot to park in the back - off limits even to customers, but allowed for friends.


Tim: The car ride is excessively uncomfortable, with neither boy speaking, and Tim keeps his head pushes up against the cold window, willing whatever discomfort that appointment just caused to go away. It doesn’t work, not even a little bit, but it at least keeps Tim quiet - which he assumes is a blessing for Leech. Not comfortable with the area, he doesn’t question the direction that Leech is heading in, and only really realizes where they’re going once Leech pulls up to the shop. Tim looks confused, and before unbuckling, glances over at Leech. “What’re we doing here?”


Leech: Leech is no more comfortable than Timothy is during the ride, though better at concealing it; his only words are irritated grumblings directed at the other drivers. For that eventual question, Leech shrugs as he unbuckles his seat belt. "Need to talk to Duster. An' I think Lars has been wanting to see you." This is all the explanation he gives before getting out of the car, taking the back stairs up to the apartment entrance rather than circling around to the front of the shop, and letting himself in without ceremony. Maggie is in the kitchen and looks slightly surprised for this invasion, but smiles when she recognizes Leech and Timothy with all apparent friendliness, not impaired by the baby she's juggling. "Hey, you two. This is a nice surprise. Dust just headed downstairs for something, but he'll be up in a minute."


Tim: Tim may have expected a little more of an answer than that, but he doesn’t question the other boy, nor does he ask for more detail. The prospect of seeing Lars sounds nice, but he knows how the older boy is going to look at him, and he really just doesn’t want to deal with it. But he gets out of the car and follows Leech into the apartment, keeping quiet and stuffing his hands into his pockets. He nods in greeting at Maggie, but can’t really muster a smile - luckily, she’s busy enough with the baby to not really pay much attention to him. But she does add in that Lars is around, as well, but isn’t entirely sure where he is. For that, Tim shifts his weight, and scratches at his neck.


Leech: Rather than wait for Duster to emerge, Leech heads downstairs, giving Timothy an uncertain glance that says he can follow, if he wants. He thought the prospect of seeing Lars might do something towards repairing Tim's mood, but apparently it doesn't - given Leech's memory of the last unwanted conversation he had with Lars, he doesn't blame the kid: the guy's way too fond of bossing people around. So the parasite just troops downstairs and finds Duster in his little cubicle of a tattooing room, leaving Timothy to his own devices.


Tim: Back downstairs, Lars is finishing up with a nose piercing, and is ushering the attractive group of girls out of the shop with that award winning smile and dimples. So when both boys emerge from the stairs, he grins broadly at them, delighted to see Timothy - until, of course, he really sees him - all skin and bones and pale skin. He glances over at Leech, but of course the other guy isn’t looking at him, so instead he goes straight up to Timothy and wraps him up in a hug, squeezing him in and pressing a kiss to the side of his head. He speaks up more to Leech than to Tim. “Well ain’t this a surprise. For what do I owe the pleasure?”


Leech: Leech is not looking at Lars, no, he's hunting for his own friend, but he does catch that question and gives a momentary flick of the eyebrow. "Not fer me. I'm jus' delivering some love notes to Duster, from my brother." Thankfully, Duster emerges before any more conversation can pass, Leech having no inclination to talk to Lars or even to sit and endure Lars' remonstrative looks, as if it's his fault Timothy seems to be starving himself to death.

Duster is a little all over the place, but gives a smile to both Leech and Timothy. "Love notes? And I thought my heart throb days were over. Come upstairs, Leech; I've got those sketches done, I want you to see them." And wants an opportunity to make sure the kid is doing okay, of course, and maybe more importantly, wants some damn lunch. Leech nods, following after Dust, but glances back to Timothy briefly. "I'll find ya in a while; don't think we need'a worry about leaving too soon." If Lars' company can't improve Timothy's mood, at least he'll be able to spend some time with his dog.








Tim: The remainder of the day didn’t really get much better for Tim, and although it was nice to see Lars, and his dog, they eventually had to leave, which meant more worrisome looks from his friend. The trek back was mostly in uncomfortable silence, and Tim immediately heads back to his dorm, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. He has to go to dinner, where he does eat (after some prodding from Jesse, who - like Lars - was looking at him with sad eyes), and he holes himself back in his dorm until it’s lights out. He tries to sleep, but after an hour of laying there, he remains wide awake, a sick anxiety swelling in his stomach. Sitting up, he curls his legs up to his chest and wraps his arms around his shins, then lowers his forehead to a knee and wills himself to calm down. His breathing is a little more labored than normal, and he might be rocking back and forth, but luckily that movement is very minimal - really, he just looks like he’s trying not to burst out in tears.


Leech: Leech was moderately startled on getting back to the school, to find Kellen and Maddox complacently existing in the same room, even on the same couch, but it quickly became obvious that Kellen resorted to his back up plan of DRUGS FOR EVERYONE after his usually fail-proof charm and sense of humor did fail to gain Maddox's friendship. If Maddox can be said to have a thing like friendship. In any case, they aren't killing each other, and after the earlier stresses of the day Leech is pleased to call this a win. He joined them on the couch and in the drug abuse, before returning to his bedroom to catch up on some of the missed sleep that Tim's appointment claimed.

Kellen is still in the basement when he wakes up, passed out on the other side of the bed, and Leech can't help wondering what might be going wrong upstairs that Kellen didn't return to his dorm; thus, it's with some trepidation that he goes upstairs himself to do dorm checks - not scrupling to take the service elevator rather than climb all those stairs with a hole in his stomach. To his surprise, the dorm halls are mostly quiet (so maybe Kellen just got too stoned to remember he has a dorm), and Leech is already looking forward to being able to go back to bed when he reaches Timothy's dorm. He's been skipping this one more often than not, lately, not wanting to see Tim and Ness close, but since Ness is still in isolation he pushes the door open almost soundlessly and peeks in, intending a quick check. Timothy's posture stalls him though, and he watches the boy uncertainly for a moment, then nudges the door open a little more to lean against the frame. "Trouble sleepin?" His voice is quiet as well, low and still a little sleepy.


Tim: Caught up in his own anxiety, Tim doesn’t hear his door click open, or the way it is tugged open, Leech hovering behind the wooden frame. Perhaps because he’s so wound up, he doesn’t exactly startle when that voice comes out, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less surprised. Instead of lifting his head to look over at Leech, since that’ll just be no good and will show just how distraught Tim is, he shakes his head, and swallows thickly to get rid of the warbly tone that would accompany his voice if he hadn’t. “No, I’m—“ He’s about to say he’s fine, but thinks better of it; Leech hadn’t asked if he were okay, just if he was having difficulty getting to sleep. He tries again, still with his head lowered to his knees. “Just heard something, is all.”


Leech: The lie is pretty feeble, and Leech cocks his head to the side, plainly not buying it. Not for the first time, he wonders whether it's a good idea, trying to return to a civil state of affairs with Timothy - it's nice to be able to be in the same room with him without going tense all over, but on the other hand, it's difficult to see him like this and not being able to walk over and put his arms around him. After a pause, Leech shuffles a little farther into the room, humming. "Well, since yer up anyway...mebbe you should have a light snack. Like, a turkey or two. I hear those are good fer sleeping."


Tim: Really, this is maybe one of the few times Tim wishes Leech would just go away, pass by his room with nothing more than one of those dismissive looks he’s been really good at giving the boy. So when he senses Leech entering the room a little more, he clutches at his curled up leg a little tighter and takes in a hitched breath, trying to steel himself. The anxiety is only growing more, probably wouldn’t were it Jesse coming into the room, and Tim presses his forehead in harder against that knee like he can force his mindset out of his head. He knows what is said is a joke, but he can’t bring himself to laugh, or even acknowledge it as funny, he just shakes his head again. “I’m not hungry.”


Leech: Leech sighs a bit to himself when Timothy refuses to even lift his head, still wavering by the door. It's quite plain that the kid didn't 'just hear something' and that he's probably not just having trouble sleeping, either; Leech has lived through enough anxiety attacks himself to know what one looks like, even if he isn't used to seeing it from this end, as much. "No, I didn' really think ya were. Do I need to get yer counselor?"


Tim: Clutching into himself some more, Tim immediately shakes his head for that question, ignoring the first comment because it’ll just make him feel worse. “No, I fucking hate my counselor.” Kind of rare, for the kid to curse and to openly criticize like that, but he’s not really paying attention to what he’s saying, or rather how he should say it. In an attempt to maybe convince Leech to go away, Tim untangles from himself, but instead of looking over towards the door, he rubs at his face and over his scalp roughly.


Leech: Leech almost points out that Timothy seems to fucking hate everything right now, but manages to restrain himself to a simple "Arrite." It's very obvious that whatever originally was wrong with Timothy, it's getting much worse, and though Leech hates knowing he had some part in that - he isn't deluded enough to believe that this breakdown is entirely his fault - he hates watching it happen even more, and having no idea how to help. Deciding that his presence is probably detrimental either way, he pushes up from the door frame, but can't force himself to leave just yet. "...can I do anything for ya at all, Timothy?"


Tim: As soon as he sounds like Leech is leaving, Tim has the quick reaction to call out to him, to get him to stay in here as if that’ll make everything, or anything, better. But luckily he doesn’t have to call out to him, because he lingers near the door anyways, and Tim continues to rub at his face until eventually those heavy hands moves to his scalp and neck. He’s rubbing at the tense muscles of that neck, and his first instinct is to shake his head and dismiss that offer. But there’s another part of him that wants Leech near, or for him to not go away, so he talks in a voice that sounds very desperate. “I can’t…I can’t stop my brain. What am I supposed to do, Leech?"


Leech: Grimacing some at that question, Leech paces closer, absently closing the door behind himself and using the time to try to come up with a hopeful answer; unfortunately, nothing comes to mind and he decides to go with honesty instead. "I don't know. Wish I did - it woulda been helpful a few hundred times." He doesn't go too near Timothy's bed, instead snagging the chair from his desk and pulling it out to sit down facing him. "What's got ya so upset?" Realizing what a ridiculous question this is, he quickly clarifies: "I mean, is it anything specific?"


Tim: After he speaks, Tim lowers his head again, his arms crooked up around his neck like he’s trying to fold into himself. More and more, he’s realizing what a burden this is, but that thought process goes into storage further into his mind, something that he’ll think about later. Right now, his panic his taking presidence, and he shakes his head for that last question. “It’s everything.” Maybe he could detail some more, but it’s hard to separate it all. “It just won’t stop, none of it. Snider and Lars and that doctor—“


Leech: Leech narrows his eyes for that initial answer, because it isn't very telling, but nods understandingly when Timothy goes on; he didn't hear any of Lars' and Tim's conversation, but given the guy's way of caring is so forceful and in your face, he doubts it did much to soothe Timothy's embarrassment. "I know what ya mean. All gets overwhelming sometimes." Gnawing on his lower lip, he thinks back to the days when these sorts of attacks were common, voice dropping a little lower. "Xanax helps sometimes, if I took it soon enough; otherwise I usually jus' found somewhere to hide until it blew over or I passed out. But talking to Duster was better. He wouldn' even have to say anything, just listen to me rant - er if I couldn' talk, he would talk instead, not even really anything comforting, only something to distract me."


Tim: Tim nods his head to agree with that, because it just seems like everything is getting poured at once. Of course, everything that’s happened between himself and Leech only adds to it all, especially with how confused he is about their current standing - he never really considered them being :friends:, at least not after the roller coaster they went through. He would reach for some medicine if he knew he had any, but all of his pills are sent to the school nurse, and that requires too much effort and will require even more talking, so he instead just works on his breathing. “I just want it to stop, all of it. I just want it to stop.” Here, his emotions start to unravel some in his voice, but he hides his face away from Leech and clenches his stomach to try to ward off the familiar prickling of tears behind his eyes. “Everything’s fucked up and I’m fucked up and it’s just not getting better, none of it.”


Leech: Relieved that Timothy is at least talking to him now, rather than acting like he just wants Leech to go away, Leech is still more concerned by what he's saying. Though he knows perfectly well that logic rarely works in such a state of mind, he tries anyway. "There isn' anything you can do right now to make any of it better, anyway. 's gotta wait fer a while." Leaning down, he crosses his forearms on his knees, sort of folding in half to get more on Timothy's level. "Best ya can do is try to think about somethin' else, somethin that doesn't make you feel like yer coming apart." Which naturally is easier said than done, and in Tim's current mindset, probably damn near impossible. So Leech tries to take the lead in that, staring at the hardwood for a moment. "Do ya remember the camping trip we went on last year, near the end of the year? Jefe tried to convince everyone to learn survivalist skills and didn' want us to take anything but water, an' then like ten kids ate some sorta fucked up berries an' came out in hives and had to be airlifted to the hospital?"


Tim: Tim visibly breaks down for Leech’s first attempt at calming him down, because that just doesn’t help at all - even if its true. He might let out a quiet little whimper, because this is just absolutely hopeless, but he quickly manuevers away from that noise by sucking in a breath and holding it in. Naturally, the second attempt doesn’t work too well, either; the only things that Tim can focus on are the things that have been swimming around him for weeks now: cheating on Leech, getting disowned, having to deal with Kellen, trying to find a way to convince Jesse that he’s really all right, ignoring the way Lars keeps looking at him, Ness getting in trouble, Leech getting stabbed, sleeping alone, answering doctor’s questions when he doesn’t know them himself. This all just makes him whine quietly, trying to push them away, and luckily it’s Leech’s storytelling that draws him in the opposite direction. “…yeah. Father Axl walked through poison ivy and had scabs from itching his face so much for weeks.” Although his voice still sounds shattered, at least he’s trying.


Leech: He's not quite able to try smiling at that, though usually, it's a very warm fuzzy memory. "Had to cut a big chunk of hair off cuz it got pine sap stuck in it, too; 's when he did those awful corn rows." He does at least sound vindictively pleased about that. "Good thing our group got so completely lost er we prolly would've ended up jus' as bad off. Although Justin was sick fer like a week afterwards, cuz he fell in that river, remember, then it rained the rest'a the time an he hadn't brought any other dry clothes."


Tim: Still pressing his face into a knee, Tim works another breath into his lungs, this time a little deeper, but he still feels like he isn’t getting enough oxygen. When he exhales, it comes out with a tiny laugh, however weak it may be, for the memory of Father Axl and those horrible, horrible corn rows. He nods his head and tugs his body into itself some more, keeping up with the conversation because it’s a good distraction. “That trip was definitely the worst one I’ve ever been on. Tony had that allergic reaction to a bug bite, and Snider kept on insisting that herbs found in the forest could cure it. All it ever did was make him complain more.”


Leech: Leech tries to keep his own fidgeting to a minimum, directing his attention out the window rather than watching Timothy, because it's too tempting to give in to the urge to comfort him physically - which might arguably help right now, but would be worse in the long run. "Well...yeh, that was pretty bad...think the time we went an' helped out at the old folks' home might been worse, but at least we didn' have Lovato around that time. And it wouldn' have been so bad if Jefe didn' invite the ones with dementia to try to camp with us in the yard. Charity's great but ya don' wanna take it home with you."


Tim: After he’s done talking, Tim takes in a few quick breaths, like speaking alone took all of his energy and all of the air left in his lungs. Despite the way he tugs his legs up into his chest more and secures his hold on them, Tim’s shoulders do seem to relax the more the parasite talks, but he doesn’t dare look up at him right now. “Guess I’d agree, if I had old people grabbing my ass.” Since that only really happened to poor, poor Leech. Another shakey breath, and then Tim tries to force his body to relax more.


Leech: Leech snorts for that, trying for a somewhat lighter tone. "Don' say 'old people' like there were flocks of 'em, it was jus' that one creepy ex-burlesque dancer. She was more'n enough all by herself." Straightening up, Leech digs his cigarettes out of a pocket and lights one, then tucks the lighter into the pack, tossing it lightly to land on the mattress near Timothy. "I hope we can finish out the rest'a the year without him planning any more trips." Probably a vain hope, since Jefe will surely be inspired by the warming weather in the next few months.


Tim: This time, Tim’s brief laugh doesn’t come across as forced, and while it lacks its former strength, it does at least sound somewhat natural. Or like Tim didn’t have the time, or forethought, to prevent it from happening. He lifts his head when that pack of cigarettes lands near him, and peers down at it for a moment. He’s not a usual smoker - probably has shared more cigarettes with Leech than he had smoked in all of his time spent here - but he’s able to force those memories away. The nicotine will serve as a nice distraction, so he reaches over and fumbles a cigarette out, flicking the lighter a few times to get it lit. Face uncovered, he still doesn’t look over at the older boy, but instead looks over towards the far wall. “Maybe someone else will beat him to it, and plan a trip that isn’t so ridiculous.” Tim hopes; the last thing he wants is to be stuck in this school for months on end.


Leech: His shoulders relaxing minutely for the sound of that unfeigned laugh, Leech leans back to his previous position, folding forward to rest his forearms on his knees. He glances back towards Timothy, narrowing one eye in question. "Is that a hint? I don' know where the hell I'd plan a field trip to." Pondering that over a few drags, he tilts his head to the side. "Could mebbe go to the Salem witch museum; I'm sure Jesse an' Kellen would be thrilled by that. Priests might even approve since they got all those mannequin witches getting tortured."


Tim: Taking a few drags off his own cigarette, Tim eventually lifts his eyes enough to scan the room briefly, and spotting a mug of water on his nightstand. Reaching back, he grabs for it, and uses it as an ashtray so he doesn’t make a mess in his sheets. His body appears to be relaxing more, but he’s still curled into himself, not looking comfortable, but at least not a shaking mess any more. He feels those eyes on him, but can’t meet them. “Because Jesse needs more ammunition in his obsession.” The amount of books the boy has stacked next to his bed is a sure sign that Jesse’s obsession is at an all time high. He blows smoke up towards the ceiling, and ashes his cigarette. “Could be interesting, I guess. Wish we were going to the beach in the summer. Not now.”


Leech: Leech gives a restrained shrug, because at least the ghost obsession the boys share is relatively harmless - except when they get caught staking out the bell tower. But he nods in agreement for the latter statements. "Yeh, as far as sheer discomfort goes, I think that last one was the worst. Nothin' like dry-heaving when ya got stitches in yer stomach." He scowls momentarily for the memory. "But the amount of bullshit I gotta organize whenever the headmaster decides on an outing, makes me wanna avoid them as much as I can. 'specially the ones where we're around other people - camping or whatever isn' too bad; less of a chance of public casualties."
omfortable Tim was throughout it, makes the boy turn his head off to the side, focusing on the window and the light snow that’s falling on the other side of the glass. He doesn’t add to the memory, since there isn’t much to say, so he instead takes another drag off his cigarette and taps the end of it into his mug. “Yeah, that makes sense. Seems like it’s a lot of work, getting a bunch of reform school kids to behave in public when we can barely do it on school grounds. Maybe Jefe will throw in the towel for trips this year."


Leech: Leech nods quite emphatically in agreement, because it does take a lot of work, even before they actually leave the school. "Yeh, mebbe, but I'm not gunna count on it. He seems to think that gettin' everyone out of the school once in a while keeps tension down. Which, I guess it might, but I'm not convinced it's worth it." But his tone is fairly dismissive - Jefe will do what he likes; Leech merely has to follow along. Since Timothy seems somewhat more calm now, he switches the topic, though hopefully not to anything that will cause a relapse. "Did ya tell Lars about the next visitor day?"


Tim: Tim hums quietly for that, since he can understand both sides; he certainly craves to get out of the school, just for a change of scenery, but every trip seems to be dramatic, and the boys come back worse for wear. Especially after his unapproved, spontaneous trip with Ness. The next question makes Tim’s shoulders hitch up, which he disguises as a shrug, and he rolls his head to the side again. The memory of his last conversation with Lars isn’t exactly pleasant, but at least the question is directed at the lighter, easier part of their conversation. “Yeah, he’s going to come, I think. He said he wanted to see Jesse’s progress.”


Leech: Noticing the quick discomfort when Lars' name is mentioned, Leech leaves that alone for now; he isn't exactly thrilled with the guy, himself, so it's easy to not talk about him. Instead the parasite just hums in understanding. "Think Kellen's -- our sister, is gunna come too. Hope by then his group's got enough cohesion not to embarrass the fuck outta themselves onstage." He doubts it. Standing, Leech crosses to nudge a window open just enough to toss his cigarette butt out of it.


Tim: Finishing up his cigarette just as Leech gets up to head towards the window, Tim stubs his own out into his mug, pressing the filter into the side of the ceramic until it’s completely dead. He flicks his eyes up to the parasite, but doesn’t let himself linger there for long, and instead refocuses his attention to the hand still toying with the ashy filter. “At least Jesse will play to the best of his abilities, if Keiran’s in the audience. But…that could just make him more nervous, I guess."


Leech: Reclosing the window, Leech turns to face Timothy with a look of confusion. "Why would that make him nervous? Is he...fond of her?" It wouldn't be surprising if he is, on the one hand: Keiran is an attractive girl, so far as Leech is a judge of such things; on the other hand, the idea of Jesse being attracted to anyone is sort of strange. "I'm sure he'll do fine, either way. That's not a pair I have to be concerned for."


Tim: This time, Tim does meet Leech’s eyes for that question, more a force of habit than really wanting to actually look at the boy. He freezes for a second, but then stirs himself away from it, and shrugs a shoulder passively. “Something like that, I guess. He thought she was really cute, last time she came to visit. Got all wide eyed and silent.” Which is rare for Jesse; typically, you can’t shut him up. He nods his head in agreement, and stretches out again to put his ash filled coffee mug back on his nightstand. “Yeah, him and Justin will do great. I’m sure the other group will, too. Jade won’t want his grade to suffer."


Leech: Leech quirks an eyebrow minutely, amused with the idea of Jesse's crush. "That's...unexpected." Pacing back to the chair he was previously occupying, he can't help snorting at Timothy's words, giving him a brief, flat look. "Jade? I don' think he could give a fuck less if he was flunking every class he's enrolled in. 's why I tried to appeal to his vanity by tellin' him they'll look like idiots. If only Lovato didn' make himself into such a tempting target..."


Tim: Again, Tim shrugs a shoulder, because he isn’t sure how he feels about Jesse’s crush. On one hand, it’s adorable - unexpected and new. On the other hand, Tim has draining faith in that family, and can’t help but assume that a crush on Keiran will only lead to the boy being heartbroken. This all remains unsaid, and Tim scoots back a bit so he can lean back against the wall near his pillows, and drag one of them into his lap. “Even when he’s not trying, he seems to do well in all his classes. And he tends to hate anyone that’s dumb.” Case in point: Tony. Still, Tim continues: “Kellen will behave, at least.”


Leech: "That's true - failing guitar class might offend his vanity, too. Guess if worse comes to worst, I could jus' accidentally forget to plug in Lovato's amp. Though that'd prolly only work for one song." He gives a minute sigh, then shakes his head to dismiss the topic, because no amount of dwelling on it will fix anything. He doesn't say anything regarding Kellen's behavior, because even with as much as the kid respects him, he's unpredictable and doesn't always consider consequences.


Tim: Tim gives another little shrug for that suggestion, because it could help. Chances are, the boys will do something to sabotage Tony, but maybe it won’t be as bad as their rehearsal in class. Lifting a hand up, Tim rubs at his face, then trails that hand to the back of his neck. “I’m sure it’ll all go smoothly. Last time wasn’t bad.” Despite Justin’s improvised song, of course. Visibly more relaxed than he was when Leech first came into the room, Tim takes another careful breath and looks down at the pillow in his lap, voice dropping a few pegs. “…thanks for talking to me. It helps.”


Leech: "Yeh, but last time nobody had to cooperate with each other." He waves a hand slightly, about to go on, but that statement of appreciation stops him short. Never having spent much time with people who say 'thank you' or 'sorry', Leech probably doesn't handle such things very gracefully, but he doesn't entirely blow it off. Shaking his head, his voice drops somewhat, as well. "I'm glad it helps." Probably it's safest to leave it at that, so he doesn't say anything more, but he doesn't yet get up to leave, either.


Tim: Just after it’s said, Tim wishes he hadn’t - or at least had worded it different. Leech talking to him helped :this: time, and he certainly doesn’t want the boy thinking that their conversations are always a savior for him. But he can’t take it back, so he just nods stiffly, and digs his nails into the flesh on his neck, warding off any swelling emotions those simple words create. He keeps his voice low, almost a whisper. “Would normally go to Jess, but I didn’t wanna wake him up.”


Leech: Leech probably won't take it like that, in any case; he isn't so garrulous that he looks for excuses to talk to people, and conversations with Timothy are still uncomfortable enough that he wouldn't normally have sought one out. "I don't think he'd mind, either way. An' Kellen passed out downstairs tonight, too - he an' Maddox don't really get along, but they can at least get high together without anyone getting injured." The last is said a little wryly, because Leech just doesn't know what to do with Maddox, at all.


Tim: “Probably not, but I still don’t wanna wake him up. Kid loves his sleep.” Which maybe makes up for Tim’s recent bouts of restlessness. He continues to dig his nails into his skin, but doesn’t take to rubbing; instead, he just grips at his neck a little tighter, warding off any thoughts of Maddox and what he’s doing down in the basement with Leech. He manages a little noise of consideration for that information, but it’s obviously forced, and he mumbles out while looking down at his pillow. “That’s good"


Leech: Leech tilts his head slightly, but he doesn't bother saying that Jesse would probably want Timothy to wake him up, because surely Timothy knows that. He merely stares at the toes of his boots for a moment silently, missing the boy's reaction to Maddox's name, speaking more hesitantly. "So...I take it yer meeting with Lars wasn't as comforting as ya coulda wanted."


Tim: Unfortunately, Tim knows it all too well - which probably adds to his own stresses, if only because he knows not going to Jesse is what is upsetting the boy the most. The silence between the two of them is weighing down heavily on Tim, since it’s so incredibly uncomfortable, and Leech’s eventual words do nothing to help. Tim digs his nails in deeper, biting at the skin, and then releases his grip - keeping his fingers over the small incisions the nails created. He forces a shrug, not at all liking the memory of that conversation. “No, not exactly. I know he means well, but he talks to me like the doctor does, and it’s just…not….” Tim doesn’t know how to end that sentence, so he just lets it trail off.


Leech: A corner of the parasite's mouth tucks back wryly for that description, and he nods knowledgably. "Yeh, seems like he gets a little overbearing an' forceful with his concern. I'm not used to that at all." Not that he thinks Lars was concerned about him, but he definitely was intent on forcing Leech to talk to him the previous time he visited Duster. Returning to staring at his boots, Leech goes on more slowly, voice dropping some. "He told me...not to try to be yer friend. I wouldn' do it jus' cuz he said it, but if you want..." He trails off, though not quite long enough for a response, merely trying to gather his thoughts. Shaking his head, he tries again: "I do like you, Timothy. I mean, I like being around you. I know it isn' easy, now, but if we can get past that, mebbe..." Trailing off again, but this time he just gives up; he's pretty sure his point was obvious, without going on.


Tim: “He’s just looking out for me, I guess. Just…sometimes it’s just a lot. I wish he’d stop looking at me like I’m one quick shove away from breaking in half.” Although, really, Tim :does: look like that. Eventually dropping the hand from his neck entirely, Tim starts picking at a thread on his pillow, thinking perhaps this conversation will fade away - neither boy really wanting to talk about it. But then Leech continues to talk, and Tim can’t help the way his eyes shoot over to look at the older boy, a little wide, curiosity lurking behind the irises. The following words sting, or maybe just make him feel something; either way, Tim visibly tenses, but it isn’t dramatic enough to really draw much attention. “He said the same thing to me.” Because surely, Lars knows that Tim would maybe consider it, or at least give into being friends if Leech attempted it. Lars probably wanted to cover all bases. This all seems to bring Tim’s exhaustion to the forefront again, because the boy drops his head back to his knee, one leg still curled up to his chest. He takes a breath and goes to speak, but stops himself before anything unfiltered can come out. And then, instead of saying anything about what he wants, he tilts to the side to look over at the parasite, but still not lift his head from his knee. “Maybe what?"


Leech: Leech gives a quiet snort at the idea of Lars trying to tell Timothy who can be friends with, but it doesn't come across too harshly, because he knows that Lars' intentions are probably good, from his point of view. Instead of speaking on that, Leech just shakes his head, trying not to let his tone become too heavy. "Mebbe we can...not take his advice. If we can ever get to a point where being around each other isn' painful er uncomfortable." He shrugs lightly, thinking that's enough of an overture to say that he would prefer friendship to awkwardness - and fairly certain that it won't be thrown back in his face, despite Lars' advice earlier today, since Timothy did previously approach Leech on his own. Stretching forward, Leech reclaims the pack of cigarettes where Timothy set them to light another.


Tim: Unlike his customary ‘look once and then avoid all eye contact for the rest of the day’ tactic, Tim keeps his eyes on Leech after he talks, maybe trying to read anything that remains unsaid. But, as is usual, Leech is completely blank, leaving Tim with only his words to pick apart and decipher. The idea of being around Leech and not being uncomfortable sounds completely out of his reach, damn well impossible, so he takes that suggestion with a grain of salt, doubtful that it could ever really happen. Still, it’s a nice thought, and despite his better judgement, Tim slowly nods his head. “…yeah, maybe we can do that.” Instead of offering up a solution, or his own input, Tim just shifts his head around so he is no longer looking at Leech, and instead closes his eyes so he can try to relax.


Leech: That response puts any vague worries he may have had - and they were definitely there, despite the blankness - to rest, at least so far as looking like a desperate fool goes. Despite Kellen's hovering, and Maddox's dubious company, Leech has been unarguably lonelier lately; knowing that Timothy doesn't flat-out hate him helps, some. The way the boy rearranges himself and closes his eyes reminds Leech that it is the middle of the night, so he draws himself back to his feet to take his leave, not quite rushing. "Hope ya can get some rest. If I can do anything for ya...come find me, whenever. Even it is still uncomfortable."


Tim: With his eyes closed, Tim is a little more keen on hearing the other boy’s movements, but instead of coming closer to the bed, Leech appears to be getting ready to go, and something in Timothy’s stomach flips. He has an urge to reach out to him, but knows that isn’t wise - wouldn’t be accepted, most likely - so he just nods his head briefly, accepting those words. “Thanks. I’m sure it’ll go away in time.” Doubtful, since circumstances for Tim haven’t changed much - he’s still drugged up and abandoned by his parents, and insatiably lonely, but at least it sounds good to say.
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