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    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

    Player 
    Lineage : Truth
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    Posts : 193
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    Experience : 84,300

    In Progress Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 20th February 2021, 11:15 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom




    Beep... Beep... Beep...

    Darkness enveloped his vision as the distant chirping of a machine buzzed in his ear. He could hear the sound of carts rolling and people chattering in some separate room, and the air smelled sterile. It was... different from before. There weren't any explosions surrounding him, war cries filling his ears, or the smell of gunpowder in his throat—the air smelled sterile instead of iron. His face didn't feel wet with blood and tears anymore. In fact, his entire body felt clean and comfortable as he pressed against a firm but gentle bedding. What was this feeling?

    When all of these things enticed his senses one by one, Leon eventually came to, finding himself inside what felt like a brightly lit room. He was lying in a bed by a window, a curtain sealing him off from the rest of the room, and thin white sheets covering his body. There was no doubt that he was in a hospital right now, and judging by the scenery outside, it was a building farther from the border. How long had he been unconscious? All he could remember was that he was fighting some impossibly powerful Pergrandian, and then... right.

    With his head laid on his pillow, he rolled it over to find the familiar face he was hoping to see. Sitting next to his bed was none other than Percy Dagger, alive and well from what it looked like. That was good, and frankly, that was all that mattered, because Leon couldn't remember what had happened after he blacked out and briefly feared the worst. Here his love was, obediently stationed at his side as he laid in bed. Though, Leon couldn't sport a smile. He couldn't make any face at all, really. His marigold eyes were droopy and tired, and the neutral frown on his face was unreadable and indifferent as he quietly recalled everything and sifted through his thoughts.

    After reassuring himself that Percy was alive, there was something else he had to check. Slowly, he glanced at his left arm. You couldn't tell that there was anything wrong just by looking at his upper arm, but as he slowly raised it above the sheets, the reality of it all become frighteningly clear—he had a prosthetic limb now. With a surprising amount of calmness despite the throbbing in his joints, he held his arm out above him without a dent in his expression. The moment he noticed his arm, it immediately felt off, but instead of playing with his new body, he simply lowered his hand onto his lap and stared out the window.

    Their seven days of service were up, and it only cost an arm and probably a concussion, and he couldn't even imagine what the real consequences were for Percy. Leon couldn't even look him in the eyes when he woke up, only silently acknowledging his presence before thoughtfully staring out of the window. It wasn't that he wasn't feeling immense guilt, tremendous relief, or terrible shock right now. He could already feel the trauma of the events simmering in his chest, but heavy thought seemed to suppress every other emotion right now. All he could do was reflect quietly.

    His first and only love was only a few feet away from him, but this was surely their last interaction before they went down separate paths. Percy would return to his lonely and productive lab, and Leon would... what would he do? If his grandfather would permit him to return to the family, which would likely happen after his sacrifices, what was in store for him? Now that he thought about it, just what exactly was he fighting so hard for?

    For nineteen years, he had wanted nothing more than the approval of his family. Everyone and his ancestors had been walking down the same path for generations, and he was willing to do anything in order to walk that path as was intended for him, as a Hoffman. He hadn't thought about whether it was something he felt personally fulfilled by, or something that truly made him happy, or something that he actually wanted... it wasn't like he had anything or anyone else. What would make him feel whole, if not for his birthright? Who else would love him if not for his family? What would give him purpose if not for the only thing denied to him? At the end of the day, it didn't matter if he was some CEO's private military officer or some social media influencer's glorified coat rack, as long as he was able to walk down the path laid out for him, he was happy.

    But that wouldn't make him happy.

    Being banished to Fiore easily felt like one of his greatest failures and biggest regrets at the time, and for most of the year he spent there, he continued to feel that way. But the moment he went to that Singles event, everything changed. When he got a job as Percy's assistant, he found something he actually enjoyed doing. He got to see new places, try new things, meet new people, buy a small house, get a dog, help people, fall in love... things that he never thought he'd want. He missed all of it. He missed the people who saw value in him as a man, as a friend, as an adventurer, and he missed the life he was beginning to build for himself as he broke down his walls. For a while, he had completely forgotten about his obligations to his family. For a few months, he woke up excited for the life he had made for himself. The moment he received that phone call to return home, a part of him felt... disappointed. Sad. Distraught. Crushed. It was like the world noticed that something made Leon Hoffman feel whole, and so it must be taken away. But now that he was here at the end of his journey with Percy, he felt so dumb. Why did he go through all of this just to stay away from the people he actually cared about? The person he would ride or die with? Why was he trying so hard to choose his terrible family over himself for once?

    "...What the hell am I doing here?" Leon mumbled into the window, a weary look on his face. It might've sounded like he was confused like he was wondering why he was in a hospital. It would make sense considering he blacked out on the battlefield, but he really just ended up mouthing his own thoughts. Why was he here when he only wanted to be by Percy's side? Why did he make them both go through such trouble just for him to stay away? That's not what he wanted at all, so what the hell was he doing here to begin with?


    || Word Count: 1146 || Thread WC: 1146 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    Posts : 288
    Guild : Meliora Vitae
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 20th February 2021, 11:53 pm

    Percy had completely missed Leon waking up, despite the fact that it was what he'd been waiting for in the tense hours following the procedure to implant the metallic base linking biological nerves to cybernetic ones. Unlike the first time he'd done this, he was less scientifically invested. Sure, he wanted Leon to have a functioning replacement arm and was proud of his work, but he was more concerned with Leon waking up at all. Making sure he was going to be okay before he... His large black case he'd packed a week ago was resting beside the chair he sat leaned forward in, a ticket home resting on top. He was leaving with less than he brought in more ways than one.

    Most of the equipment he'd brought was lost or broken, and all his medical supplies had been used and discarded. His clothes had all been stained with blood and thrown away. No matter how often he looked at his arms and hands, they were slick with fresh blood, even when they weren't. Even now he was staring at them, seeing nothing but red, though his face was as neutral as Leon's. His thoughts were like static. Nothing more than a constant buzz of filler noise with no purpose or impact. He slowly leaned back in the chair, tugging at the collar of his last clean teeshirt. It was warm in the hospital room, but he wouldn't take off his coat. The bruising around his joints would likely alarm Leon when he woke, so he'd rather keep the negative effects of his serums out of sight and mind. He could take off the coat at the airport once he and Leon had said their goodbyes.

    Now he knew how his brother felt all of those times he'd been in the hospital. The beeping of machines was way more annoying and comforting when you were the one waiting for a loved one to crack open their eyes. When Leon spoke, his whole body jerked and he stood up. "Leon," he croaked, a relieved smile popping onto his face. Closing the small distance between his chair and Leon's bed, he came to stand over the man, looking him over as if he hadn't spent the last eighteen hours staring at him. "Hey, you're in the hospital. How do you feel?" he asked, perching very carefully on the edge of the hospital bed. "I'm so glad you're awake... I was afraid I wouldn't get to say goodbye," he sighed, feeling relieved about several things at once, but also the adrenaline rush of facing the one thing he didn't want to happen. Leon waking up was the unavoidable ending point. This was it, the moment they'd both struggled with for the past week even through the nightmare they'd endured. Percy had never been so glad he was where he was in his life, though. If he hadn't been here, Leon might have died. Knowing he'd accomplished his purpose for coming was better than nothing. He'd live on, even if it wasn't with him.

    Leaning across the dark-headed man, he snatched the water on the wheeled table and offered it to him. He thought he might cry when Leon woke up, but he sat there dry-eyed and smiling. No tears would come. In fact, other than knowing he'd miss Leon terribly, he felt surprisingly okay.

    [wc: 562 || total: 1708]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

    Player 
    Lineage : Truth
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    Posts : 193
    Guild : Guildless
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    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 84,300

    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 21st February 2021, 9:05 am



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    Goodbye? Leon glanced down to find his suitcase packed and ready to go with a ticket on top, and he suddenly recalled the immense sorrow he felt throughout the week. But it felt a little different now that he had come to terms with what he really wanted. In hindsight, all of the fuss seemed silly now that he decided that he'd stay by Percy's side in the end.

    "Yeah," Leon nodded dismissively, accepting the water with his right hand and resting it on his lap without drinking it. Some part of him was afraid of using his new prosthetic as if the pain weren't really gone or it'd go missing again. For now, he just suppressed those traumatic feelings from creeping into his head that distracted him from what he really needed to do. There was a lot he wanted to say to Percy right now and a lot of apologies he had to make, but he'd rather do it back in Fiore. With everything that had happened in Bellum, Leon felt a little better knowing that he was returning to somewhere safe, familiar, and secure very soon.

    When Leon looked back at Percy, he suddenly felt at peace with the situation. He looked at him indifferently, eyes heavy with thought, but he didn't announce a single thing that was running through his head. How could he have even considered staying away from a dork like him? He really felt like such an idiot for making him go through all of this for what felt like nothing right now. He had to go confront his family so he could return home sooner, but judging by the way Percy sounded, they wouldn't be able to go home together. He'd arrive later, for sure.

    "There aren't many airports close to the border, so you should probably get going. I have somewhere I need to be too, so..." Leon, after placing the water back down, carefully leaned up and rolled his legs out of bed, consciously avoiding his prosthetic and putting most of his weight on his good arm. Now that he was seated on the side of the bed, he looked at Percy once again, cupping his hand into his cheek before reaching over and pressing his lips into his temple. It wasn't so much a kiss as it was a moment of physical connection between the two, mouthing words into his temple with the fatigue of combat in his every move. "...be safe."

    He'd give him something better than this once he finished up with what he had to do here in Bellum, but for now, he simply had to get back to the Hoffman estate. With a mild struggle, he pulled away from Percy and stood to his feet, trudging past him and over to the door in what felt like an oversized gown. He slid the door open and leaned against the doorway, suddenly barraged with the stares of a bunch of hospital staff.

    "(Mr. Hoffman, you're awake? You shouldn't be getting up just yet. Here, let me get a doctor)—"

    "(A-Ahm... no, that's okay. I need to call my family, so could I get some clothes? I'd like to discharge myself as well...)"

    "(I see. Follow me, then.)"

    Leon nodded before turning back to look at Percy one last time. His face cracked into a weak, rugged smile before he stepped out of the room and quietly closed the door behind him. Maybe he was selfish for not telling him his intentions just yet, but he wanted to do it properly. He wanted enough time to truly make it up to him. But when he was following the nurse and was alone with his thoughts once again, a frown fell onto his face.

    His family was waiting.

    . . . . . . . . .


    || Word Count: 630 || Thread WC: 2,338 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
    Lineage : Truth
    Position : None
    Posts : 288
    Guild : Meliora Vitae
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 161,658

    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 21st February 2021, 4:07 pm

    Percy, not knowing all that was going through his head, tried to chalk up his subdued and oddly quiet responses and ultimate goodbye up to still coming out from under sedation. There was a part of him that was hurt by the thought that, now that it was all over, Leon simply couldn't wait to get back to his family to earn their praise and be accepted. That was understandable, though. It wasn't fair for him to expect anything different. He'd be the same, wouldn't he? In fact, wasn't he just chomping at the bit to make sure this magic he now had stuck so he could tell the Daggers and become what he felt he was meant to be? Maybe he'd call later to see how it went.

    Feeling a little pushed out the door, as if discarded, he couldn't help but manage a sad smile at Leon as the man left him standing and waving in the hospital room. So that was it. It wouldn't end with a bang, but with a kiss on the temple and a whisper. The last he'd see of Leon would be him standing in a gown in the doorway. After standing there in the silence that followed Leon's exit, Percy inhaled and exhaled slowly as if to pack all of that away with the rest. Awkwardly, he shuffled over to grab his ticket and the handle of his case. The fatigue showed painfully obvious in how his body moved now that he was alone. Though he'd only taken a bullet to the fleshy part of his arm, the extensive abuse he'd put his body through to be as viable as a mage had its consequences. It was extremely hard to walk and every movement was excruciating. His joints were full of blood and his muscles were tight and sore from overuse. Leon had been right to give him two hours to get to the airport in the end. It'd likely take most of that just to walk downstairs and find a ride.

    ***

    After the week (and change) that felt as long as a year, a car dropped Percy off at his home in Rose Garden. He stood on the sidewalk outside and just stared at it, head buzzing with static. It felt different, yet the same. The early morning sun glinted off the front of windows into his eyes and it was quiet. It'd be quiet from now on. Again. He could start his workday at whatever time he wanted unless he had a meeting. He could start now since he'd slept plenty on the plane, or he could start tomorrow. Normally, when he was working through stuff, he'd throw himself even more into work than he usually did. Now, however, he wanted to do anything but walk into his lab. He felt no desire to touch the circuit board for the Depths Explorer despite its deadline coming up in a few months.

    How long he stood there and stared at his own house as if trying to get his head around how it could still exist when everything seemed so different was unclear, but eventually he hobbled inside. Instead of leaving it at the door to sit for an untold amount of time, he immediately unpacked what was left to put away and stowed the trunk in a closet. He took yet another shower as if that would cleanse his hands of the blood or lessen the dark bruising on his limbs and torso. He even performed his own medical procedure to fix the bullet wound properly and removed the burnt tissue to replace it with a far more sterile and fast healing synthesized film. Did it hurt? Absolutely, but it got lost in the static. Plus, he had some pretty strong drugs on hand, so administering some for just his generalized pain helped a lot.

    Percy proceeded to wander around his home for the rest of the day, thoughtlessly doing random tasks while his brain did whatever it had to do to protect itself. For whatever reason, he packed away all of the nerdy paraphernalia that dotted shelves here and there, stowing them in a box and putting them in the same closet with the trunk. Yeah, no more mecha and silly DVDs. He'd go buy some proper decor later. There was still some food in the fridge he could heat up, so he did and ate. To his dismay, a couple of hours later all of that proved pointless as it all came back up, but he didn't pay it much thought. Maybe he'd waited too long to eat it and it'd gone bad. Percy sat on the couch for a while, watching the news but not really seeing it. It was just all static. Blissful static.

    By the time night fell, Percy was wobbling up the stairs to his bedroom. Maybe he should get a cat or something? He liked cats, but usually, he was so focused on other things he thought he couldn't care for one. But now, surely he could? Hm, maybe the war had knocked some sense into him. Taking a break to care for a pet might be nice. He could take it onto the S.S. Endeavor with him. Dagda and the others would probably love it. As he sprawled across the bed in his tank top and boxers, there was a smile on his face. Yeah, tomorrow he'd go get a cat. Maybe go to ICEA and look around, buy a few things. Last week there'd been a new restaurant opening in the heart of town, it was worth a look. What would he name the cat? Maybe he'd ask--- Dagda. Or Artemis. Did he really not have any other friends? He hadn't seen Shen in over a year, right? Maybe he should throw a party? Yeah, his house was made for that, yet he'd never done it. Once he got the house decorated and got a cat, he'd have a party...

    [wc: 1000 || total: 3338]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

    Player 
    Lineage : Truth
    Position : None
    Posts : 193
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 84,300

    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 21st February 2021, 9:43 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    As he entered the Hoffman estate, he walked in with an attitude and feeling completely different from before. He didn't say anything to anyone and didn't make himself known, just stepping into his room and quickly but carefully packing his bags. By the end of it all, his room looked closer to being a guest room than his room, and it was strangely fitting. For all of his life, this place never felt like home. If anything, he felt more like a guest than a member of the family. Sometimes, he even felt like a dog. Seriously, he was putting his life on the line for this? It was silly, but Leon couldn't feel himself smiling or laughing. Percy was probably on his plane by now, right?

    With everything packed and his attachment to his room left behind, Leon left his bag at the front door and quietly made his way to the top floor where his grandfather's office was. Their Grandfather didn't come down from the top floor very often, and no one was allowed up there unless they were summoned. Adam was the exception and served as his father's mouthpiece, so to speak. But neither Adam nor his Grandfather had summoned him up yet, likely not knowing he was here at all. Hell, they were probably completely ignorant of his hospitalization. If Leon were buried along with hundreds of other Bellian bodies, they wouldn't have cared.

    He had crossed paths with his siblings on his way up, but Leon paid them no mind. Unlike before, he looked tired and weighed by the thoughts in his mind. There wasn't any room in his heart for them anymore, not that there was a lot to begin with. Their petty quips and malicious comments almost seemed powerless when he realized that this was the final day he'd let them harm him like this ever again. He couldn't even recall what they said just now as he walked up the spiral staircase—he could only hear his own feet.

    . . . . . .

    Knock, knock

    "(Come in)," said an old and husky voice from within a particularly ornate office. It was none other than Igor Hoffman, and he looked about as rugged as Adam and Leon in his old age. When Leon stepped inside, he seemed to match the calm and collectedness of his grandfather, but apparently, his presence at all was enough to bother Igor. He frowned, "(I don't recall summoning you. Well, it's no problem. I needed to talk to you anyway. Sit.)"

    So, Leon sat without a word. When was the last time he saw his Grandfather? Every Hoffman met with the head of the family once they turned eighteen, as some sort of appraisal ritual. But for Leon, it was the day he was sent away to Fiore with gnarly scars on his face for souvenirs. Today was different.

    "(Congratulations, Leon. You've survived the war, although it was just the beginning of it. I also see that you've had the honor of sacrificing a part of yourself for the effort. As defective as you are, even I can commend you for doing such a thing. Though, the bare minimum shouldn't be so commendable)..." Igor talked away, leaning back into his chair with a cold, unaffectionate gaze, "(Fear not. I've already decided to allow you to return to the family if you ended up surviving through those border clashes. Some wealthy merchant's daughter has even taken an interest in you since you deployed)—"

    "(I only came back here to tell you that I'm leaving for good this time)," Leon looked him in the eyes, determined but equally unaffectionate, "(I don't want to stay here.)"

    "Excuse me?"

    "...(I realized something when I was out on the field. Why am I trying so hard to be here if I'm not wanted? I've spent too much time trying to impress you, spent my entire life trying to feel welcomed in my own home, but it still doesn't feel like I really belong here)," Leon's eyes glanced out the window behind Igor, staring into the clouds. Was Percy feeling alright? Did he eat something?

    "(Are you... rejecting me? Your grandfather? Do you know who you're talking to?)"

    "(I've found someone who... doesn't look at me the way you all do. Sometimes it's like he lives in his own head, and he doesn't take very good care of himself, but he pushes himself and pushes me to do better without asking me to change. He's done more for me in just a few months than you've done in my entire life)," Leon cracked a sad but whole smile, beginning to stand up from the seat he had sat in for no longer than two minutes, "(Thank you for sending me to Fiore and thank you for putting me in that war, Grandfather. Without it, I don't think I would've realized that I'd rather die than live for people like you. I'll be going home now, so bye.)"

    Leon's bowed his head in a gesture of farewell and gratitude, but the glare on Igor's red face was anything but the appropriate response. He stood up from his seat with a furious expression, storming over to Leon with his hand raised. That was the first time he had ever talked back to him, let alone put his foot down.

    "(You...! You insolent child!)"

    Slap!

    . . . . . .

    It might've not been the best of ideas to provoke a man known for his physical bursts of violence considering Leon had a concussion, but it had to be done. The large red print on his face was only temporary, but the liberating feeling of leaving that office would stick with him forever. What was he so afraid of, all these years? Maybe he didn't have the strength to see things clearly until he was sent to Fiore. Luckily, their interaction was brief, and now that he was officially expelled from the family, he no longer had any obligation to stay here. Of course, Alphonse and Claude would notice.

    "(Eh? Did Bellum always have high-quality prosthetics like that? I didn't know amputees could serve)," Alphonse mocked him, although he seemed genuinely impressed by its craft. At first, Leon ignored him and passed him by, Claude watching as his younger brother slid past them. Alphonse, not liking that he was ignored for the second time, grabbed his shoulder. "(Hey, little man, answer me, won't you?)"

    "(Where's uhh... Perseus? Did you two break up?)" Claude chimed in, as usual.

    The moment Percy's name was mentioned, Leon stopped in his tracks. It wasn't immediately obvious, but something in him had cracked. Years of frustration and anger suddenly broke through that steely dam of his, rushing out of him like a beautiful and lethal river. How many of his scars were because of these two? How many pillows did he wet with tears because of their torment? Leon couldn't even recall. He didn't want to. All he could do was stop, close his eyes, take a deep breath, and...

    Thwack! One solid punch went flying right into Alphonse's face, and Leon could feel his nose break as he smashed his knuckles into it. But then another came, and then another. Before he knew it, he was straddling his older brother on the ground and barraging him with raw, powerful blows to his face. Years of pent-up anger came crashing down onto the wavy-haired Hoffman likes missiles, all while avoiding the use of his prosthetic. Claude eventually tried to separate them, but not before Leon sent a punch his way as well. He had such a shitty family. He had such terrible brothers. Even when some wouldn't directly torment him, it wasn't like they did anything to stop the abuse they knew was going on. Hell, sometimes they even tried to excuse and rationalize their behavior! Why did he deserve this? Why was it that he had come back from those battlefronts with an arm missing and a conscience stained with blood, but neither of them had a scratch? Why was his sacrifice the bare minimum?

    Not a minute had passed before it was an all out fist fight between the three of them, and soon Henri and his younger siblings came to break it up, but Leon didn't stick around to face them all. With blood running down his nose, his face with patches of red punch marks, and swollen with small injuries, Leon made a break for the door.

    He could hear them yelling and shouting, and maybe even chasing after him, but Leon wasn't listening. How fast was his heart beating right now? How many injuries did he just get because he stood up for himself for once? When would he get to see his Percy again? Thinking about all of it suddenly made Leon start smiling a little. He was an idiot. He really, truly was an idiot.

    Snatching his bag and dashing from the house, Leon ran out of the Hoffman estate with a swarm of siblings behind him and his parents watching him from a window on a higher floor. He didn't get to say goodbye to any of them, and he didn't really want to. As far as he was concerned, he was satisfied with how he left them. He ran far from that estate, all the way to the main road so he could call for a cab, and never once looked back.

    The Next Night

    When Leon arrived back in Fiore, it was a day after he confronted his family—two in the morning, to be precise. There were a lot of loose ends he had to tie up and revisit since returning back here, but he couldn't do any of that without confronting Percy first. Still, coming back to Fiore was... refreshing. He loved his home country for all of its faults, but he had built a home for himself here in Fiore, and there was no feeling like coming back to where your heart was.

    His face still had fresh bruises on it from all of the slapping and punching, and blood was still smeared across his lips from his nose. He didn't even take the time to clean himself up since boarding the plane, and somehow he managed to end up feeling nervous by the time he arrived at Percy's house. With his bag slung across his back and his black hair unkempt, he looked up at Percy's home with those steely, anxious eyes of his. What would he say when Percy saw him again? Would he be upset? Surely, he would. Would he want him back? The longer he stood outside his door, the more he made himself sick with suspense. By there was no use in thinking about it—he was here now. Even if Percy wanted to punch him, despite his concussion, he'd let him. He deserved it.

    Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his phone and called the two-tone man, staring at his shiny new hand apprehensively. He didn't even begin to sift through... what happened at the border, and every time he acknowledged his prosthetic, something stung in his head. He had to focus on Percy right now. He waited and waited for him to pick up, but would he? Leon was committed to waiting out here all night if he had to.

    "Pick up, please..."


    || Word Count: 1902 || Thread WC: 5,240 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
    Lineage : Truth
    Position : None
    Posts : 288
    Guild : Meliora Vitae
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 161,658

    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 21st February 2021, 11:00 pm

    He wasn't sure when he fell asleep. While he hadn't put himself into bed properly, he had at least dragged a pillow down while he remained sprawled across the bed. His phone laid at his side on the mattress, sleeping but still on the ICEA page he'd been looking at full of typical rich house lamps. his body had been too tired and sore to move in the end, and once he was down, he was down.

    Percy would have thought he'd have some rough dreams, but it was actually the opposite. Not even the reoccurring ones from before came to him now, no angry face of his grandpa sending the highly flammable liquid back onto his head for it to catch fire. No passing memory of wrapping his motorcycle around the pole, or even the feeling of suffocating on his own tainted blood after being unpossessed by Ozin. It was more of the same. Static. Nothingness. Peaceful nothingness. Other than the angry wound in his arm and the blackened bands of flesh around his joints, he might have looked as innocent as a child who had just fallen asleep while playing a game.

    The theme to his favorite show started playing loudly near his head. At first it didn't rouse him, but as it kept going, his mind flickered into a more alert state. For some reason, though he knew it was his favorite show, hence being his ringtone, it annoyed him. He needed to change it to something...normal. Just a normal, bland beeping. In fact, that's what he was doing when he reached for it, but he answered it instead. He was confused to see a timer ticking on the screen and couldn't figure out how to get to his settings, and then he realized he'd answered a call.

    "Mmm?" a sleepy voice sounded a moment or two after the answering click, followed by the shuffling of blankets and a pained groan as it seemed he rolled over to place the phone between his pillow and face. This muffled his voice, but at least his sore arm didn't have to hold the device. He hadn't seen who it was, but in his half-asleep brain, it couldn't have been anyone other than Leon. "...Leon?" he muttered, slowly waking up more fully. His heart was suddenly racing in his chest. "What's the matter? Is the prosthetic not working?" he asked, voice becoming unmuffled mid-sentence as it seemed he sat up. He actually checked his phone to make sure it was Leon now, and sure enough, it was. Mild surprise crossed his face.

    Not knowing the man was outside of his house, Percy slowly moved around, holding in any vocalization of pain other than a sigh here and there, until he could get out of bed and turn on the light. "Is everything alright? It's 2am."

    [wc: 475 || total: 5715]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 21st February 2021, 11:29 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    It wasn't completely out of the ordinary for Percy to be up at this hour, but still Leon's heart skipped a beat when his phone stopped buzzing when it was answered. Percy was so close by, and yet they were talking on the phone as if they were still separated by borders and plane flights.

    "Percy? Percy, hey... erm..." Leon rubbed the back of his head, ruffling his head as he lingered on the phone. From the sound of it, Percy was just waking up, and he sounded... alright enough. Honestly, Leon was a little worried that he'd do something rash when he was alone, and he couldn't help but be concerned after what they had both been through. Still, he wanted to see him. With suspense in his low, deep voice, Leon walked over to the door and leaned against the wall beside it, staring into the dark sky. "It's kinda hard to explain like this... so... can you come outside?"

    He wanted to see him so bad, it felt like he was going to burst.


    || Word Count: 177 || Thread WC: 5,892 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 22nd February 2021, 12:12 am

    "Come...outside?" Percy asked in confusion, then the line went quiet. Since the call hadn't disconnected, it might have sounded like he'd gone quiet. But actually, judging by the distant uneven thumping, he'd dropped the phone and was moving as fast as he could down the stairs. It hurt to move that fast, but he didn't care. Hanging on the railing, he more slid than walked down and then rushed to the door to unlock it.

    Was he really here? How could Leon be here? He'd gone back to his family. He'd earned his place. He'd paid an arm for it! Percy paused behind the door, staring at it for a long moment. Was he being foolish, thinking he'd heard Leon say to come out here? Maybe he'd said to 'look outside' to ask about the weather? Arguably, that made no sense, but somehow made more sense than the man standing outside of his home right now. What would he feel if he opened the door and he wasn't there?

    No, he had to know for sure, even if it ended in him looking stupid and immense disappointment. Yanking the door open, he was met by exactly what he'd been afraid to believe. Leon was standing there in his doorway, moonlight reflecting in his messy black hair. In two short steps, he closed the distance between them. Percy didn't say anything. He just pushed his forehead into Leon's chest and stood there.

    [wc: 241 || total: 6133]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 22nd February 2021, 12:38 am



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    Hearing the other end of the phone suddenly go silent, Leon felt his heart sink. Did he just hang up on him? Well, he should've expected a reaction like that, but when he pulled his phone away just to make sure, the call was still ongoing. Confused, he looked at the door and then back at his phone, and before he had any time to brace himself for what was about to happen, he heard the door swing open.

    There wasn't any time for Leon to behold him, since before he knew it, Percy was up against him, pressing his forehead into his chest. It had only been a day since they had last seen each other, but they stood there within each other's grasp as if they had been apart for a lifetime. Leon was tired, but when he was greeted with Percy's face once again, his eyes seemed to glow and his heart raced. Without hesitation, he wrapped his arms around him, pulling him into a large embrace.

    "I'm sorry... I was being an idiot and put you in a shitty position..." Leon mumbled, stroking Percy's hair as he slowly rocked their bodies back and forth, "It took me a bit to figure out what I actually wanted, and you suffered because of it. You went through all of... that together with me, even when I told you that I was going to stay. I don't want to be anywhere if you're not with me... I'm sorry, Percy."

    It was chilly outside, but wrapping Percy in his arms like this melted away any sort of frost that threatened him. His heart was heavy with guilt and relief all at once, and he couldn't help but gently sway in the doorway with him in his arms, surrounded by his tight and ginger embrace. He missed his scent, the way his hair felt against his skin, his lean but athletic figure... his voice, his everything. Leon almost couldn't believe that he nearly gave him up for such a terrible path.



    || Word Count: 340 || Thread WC: 6,473 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 22nd February 2021, 1:11 am

    Percy remained silent even as he spoke, his breaths steady and deep. Leon smelled so good. Inhale. Exhale. He had to. For just a moment he felt his eyes burn, and something deep within him knew if he popped that emotional cork, all the boxed away and ignored stuff would come tumbling out like champagne foam. He might not consciously have any sense of self-preservation, but it seemed that was just physical. His big brain did what it always did for him. It locked away the things that would crush him to save him, even if that hurt him in the end. He'd delude himself until the problem went away.

    With a bit of tension in his body and no small amount of effort, his arms came around Leon and hugged him tightly. He smiled into Leon's chest, nuzzling his cheek into it a bit. That's right, this was a happy moment. No need for tears. Leon just told him that he'd changed his mind. He was back, right? Things could be normal. "It's okay," he said, finally pulling his face back to give Leon a smile he could see. "You're back. As long as this is what you want, then I'm happy and it was worth it. Did you tell them--" he continued, then stopped with a look of concern. "Leon...your face..." Had all those bruises and swelling and b̦͎̺̽̍͐̚̕ĺ̛̯̟̻̣͚̮̔ͭo̴̘̺̞̹̗̱̜̹̎o̵͓̝͑ͯd̶͇͎̼͕ͦ been there at the hospital? No, no they hadn't. "Did they hit you? When you have a concussion?" he asked, his voice getting heated for only a second before it was just back to neutral. He took another deep breath and slowly released it, eyes avoiding the blood. So many corks he wasn't allowed to pop.

    "Come inside, let me clean you up?" he said, reluctantly slipping out of his arms and slipping his hand into Leon's. His discolored knuckles ached in Leon's calloused hand as he slowly led him through the doorway and closed it, but he couldn't feel better about things right now.

    [wc: 336 || total: 6809]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 22nd February 2021, 4:57 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    Hearing Percy forgive him so easily put Leon's mind at ease, and it felt like this was the first step to returning back to their 'normal'. A lot of stuff happened this past week, and honestly, he couldn't tell whether he was handling it all suspiciously well or if he were just deluding himself. Not to mention Percy, who Leon hadn't found the opportunity to truly check up on since he blacked out on the battlefield... maybe that was a bridge they could cross tomorrow. Tonight, however, Leon just felt the weariness and fatigue begin to weigh on his shoulders like two stone slabs.

    "You're always fixing me up like this. Thanks," Leon followed Percy inside, stepping inside the dark house except for the light in the upstairs bedroom with a tired look on his face. With all of this adrenaline getting away from him, all of that fighting and bruising was beginning to pound against his throbbing head again. Although he didn't regret it, perhaps provoking his grandfather and picking a fight with his two older brothers wasn't one of his best ideas while concussed.

    Before Percy could completely pull away from him in order to grab what he needed, Leon reeled him back and spooned him from behind, slowly waddling them both towards the staircase in one of his bear hugs.

    "I didn't get any sleep on the flight..." Leon mumbled as he gently pushed him along.


    || Word Count: 239 || Thread WC: 7,048 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 22nd February 2021, 5:47 pm

    "I'll always fix you up," Percy smiled, only a couple steps away before he was pulled back in. Alright, it seemed like Leon had some other idea. Well, that was fine, he had some stuff upstairs he could clean his face with.

    Percy ran his hands along the strong arms around him as they waddled toward the stairs. On one arm, his fingers hit cold metal. For a second he'd forgotten. He wondered if it worked, but that was also a conversation for tomorrow. He could feel the heaviness in the man pressing against his back, and rightfully so. Truthfully, Leon shouldn't be out of the hospital yet, let alone running around getting in fights with his family or flying on an airplane. "None at all? Alright, let's get you to bed," Percy said, reluctantly prying himself from the arms he thought he'd be forever missing so he could lead him upstairs toward the light safely. With Leon concussed and Percy not walking so well, concentration on the steps was crucial to avoiding an accident.

    He led him into his room and to the familiar bed he'd once asked Leon to stay in while he was sick. It was arguable whether they were in better or worse shape now, but the illnesses and wounds were a little less obvious other than the bruises and the gleaming of a prosthetic in the lamplight. The pillow was still where it was when he'd been laying across the bed instead of in it, the duvet was crumpled, and the phone he dropped was facedown near the nightstand. Could he have offered Leon a guest room? Sure, but... there was something urgent in him being within sight right now. Sleeping beside him would ensure he was still there in the morning and that this wasn't a dream. "It'd suck if I was still asleep right now," Percy muttered, his hands only releasing Leon's waist so he could turn down the covers for him. Gently pushing him to sit down, Percy darted out of arm's reach for a wet rag so he could at least wipe the grime off his rugged face before he was trapped in bed.

    Coming back to stand in front of him, Percy gently tilted Leon's face up so he could make quick work of the crusted blood. He wasn't sure what his aversion to seeing it earlier was. It was fine now. "Just hold still for a second," he spoke softly, mismatched eyes gazing over his face as he quickly cleaned. Even blotchy and bruised, it was a face that made him smile. He'd seen so many expressions on this face. He'd seen beyond the typical intensity, glimpsed its smiles, endured its anger, suffered its pain... the last one had him inhaling and exhaling with measured deliberate breaths again. Leaning forward, he placed his lips against Leon's forehead as he once had, before they'd fully crossed the lines of just friends.

    [wc: 491 || total: 7539]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 22nd February 2021, 7:54 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    He felt like a patient right now, as if Percy was his doctor. Well, in a way, he was. Whenever he was ill or injured, Leon was more likely to go to him than a traditional doctor for a multitude of reasons, but lately it felt like he was getting treated by him more and more.

    "Mmph..." Leon groaned and winced a little as he felt the wet rag dab against his skin and the dim lamplight gleam into his eyes. Even when Percy kissed his forehead, he still felt sensitive to the touch. But despite all of the distractions, Leon couldn't help but notice something strange about Percy when he dabbed and cleaned his face with that cloth. There was a strip of dark flesh around his wrists, and his elbows too.

    Instinctively, Leon snatched Percy's hand and held it up, giving him a clearer view of his arm. It was just his wrists and elbows, though. As Leon's marigolds examined his body, he found near-black marks like that at all of his joints, all the way down to his ankles. He didn't notice it before because of how dark and distracted he was, but it looked pretty serious.

    "What... is this? Where did all of these come from?" Leon, baffled, squinted at Percy. He was beginning to stand up when he realized that these injuries looked bad, his hand glued to Percy's. It seemed that both of them had the tendency to put each other before themselves, and even in their most vulnerable moments of weakness, they could distract themselves by tending to the other. "You need to get this looked at right now."


    || Word Count: 276 || Thread WC: 7,815 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 22nd February 2021, 8:39 pm

    Percy fell silent, looking to the bruises as Leon did. He was weighing his options. Lie or truth? With a short huff, an easy smile appeared. "Oh, I just overworked them. Did you think I could move like I was for that long without my body getting strained?" he asked, tone dismissive as he skirted the line between truth and lie. Normally he didn't have to take so many doses of his serums in a row or sustain that state for so long. Soreness and bruising were normal, but he'd pushed it a bit far... but he'd had no choice. There had been so many-- He dropped the rag into his free hand and placed it on the nightstand. "I looked at them already. Just bruises. Nothing some rest won't fix, and we both need some of that, I think," he continued to speak, every word measured and calm. Almost smooth, even.

    Using the hand Leon held plus one on his other shoulder, he pushed Leon back onto the bed and climbed over him, laying on the mattress beside him and covering their bodies with the covers. If he'd had any clue he'd see Leon again, he'd have worn something to cover them all until they were gone. There was no need to worry him over something so small. However, unlike his usual stubbornness, Percy actually gave in. "In the morning, if you want, I can go get looked at. If that'll make you feel better," he said, still holding Leon's hand.

    [wc: 252 || total: 8067]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 22nd February 2021, 10:13 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    "Wait, really?" Leon hesitated, surprised by Percy's sudden cooperation. He wasn't usually so agreeable at the first attempt, so Leon was more or less expecting to bicker back and forth with him until one of them gave in, but Percy ended up complying a lot faster than usual. "...Alright."

    Leon let his body sink into the mattress, hand weakly interlocking with Percy's as he stared at him—he was probably overthinking it. After all, a lot had happened to the both of them since coming back home, and reuniting like this was a bit overwhelming for them. Neither of them was likely thinking straight, and once they fell back into their usual rhythm, everything would be normal again. They were definitely caught up in the moment.

    With his mind at ease and his body weighed with fatigue, Leon almost immediately closed his eyes once he was underneath the covers. He hadn't showered or eaten a proper meal since his departure from the hospital in Bellum, and his head throbbed like crazy. He mumbled something about going to see a doctor in the morning, but his speech was so slurred with drowsiness that the words blended together to create a bunch of nonsense. It was like something had flipped off his switches, and all of the power that kept Leon running had flickered into almost instant slumber. His hand still interlocked with Percy's, Leon closed his eyes.

    Later That Night

    Badoom! Bwoosh!

    When Leon opened his eyes, he was high up in the mountains, overlooking a rocky landscape where bodies dotted the horizon as if it were part of the scenery. Spells blasted craters into the mountainsides, and technological horrors blasted the ascending troops with bullets that could drill through even the strongest of metals. He felt out of place—like he was an observer looking at the scene through a one-way window. This was the border clash, wasn't it?

    He blinked.

    "...I didn't think Pergrandians could use magic?" Percy asked skeptically, peeking over from their hilly retreat to look at the incline nearby. He looked pretty beat-up from what Leon could see through his HUD. When did he put his exosuit on? It didn't really make any sense as far as time went, but he accepted it as reality without trouble.

    "No, they're not supposed to. If that's true, then..." Leon responded with the same skepticism, but... didn't he say this before? Actually, he could've sworn that Percy said that exact same thing at some point as well. Some Pergrandian shot him in the head, so he had to step away to recollect himself, and then Percy came over... and then...

    He blinked.

    "It's ok, it'll be ok, just breathe, okay? Slow in and out, I know it's hard and it hurts, I'm sorry."

    Percy soothed him, though the look on his face seemed ransacked with panic. When Leon opened his eyes again, he was laying on the ground with some sort of dome above them. Percy looked completely different, but Leon recognized him immediately. What pain? What was going to be okay? Why did he look like that?

    Suddenly overcome with both curiosity and concern, Leon reached up with his left arm to hold his lover's face in his palm. Whenever he felt uneasy or vulnerable, the dark-haired Hoffman was quick to resort to physical touch, and he thought Percy liked it when he did that too. But when he raised his arm up to caress him, Leon was greeted with... nothing. Half of his arm was gone. In fact, it was bleeding profusely. It was bleeding so much that if he held it over a cup, he could fill it like a low-pressure faucet. He could see inside of his arm and what was left of the bone that he once had.

    Suddenly, every noise that reimagined his experience suddenly went mute, and all he could hear was the sound of his own blood spilling onto the mountain floor. He could only smell blood, and he could feel it begin to fill up in his mouth and choke him. The calm and gentle breaths that he took became laborious, quick, and light. He began to hyperventilate, and all of the pain Percy was asking him to withstand had abruptly become real. It was obliterating. It ripped through him and tormented him with agonizing pain. Leon had just lost his arm! It was gone!

    All Leon could feel was pain. The sounds that recreated all of this suddenly seemed to be amplified—the cannon fire, the war cries, and explosions. The unforgiving chill of the Pergrandian border seemed impossibly cold and froze him as he laid in a thin bed of snow, writhing in his own pool of blood. Percy was moving his mouth, but no words came out, and if they did, Leon didn't hear them over his haunting cries.

    It hurt. It hurt. It hurt! It hurt so bad! It hurt so much that he wanted to die! He just lost his arm! It hurt!

    "Agghh!! Haa...! It hurts! It huuurts! Haaa...!"


    When Leon came to, he was on the floor directly beside the bed, on all fours while desperately clenching his left elbow as if it were still a stump. He hugged his arm tightly, his teeth clenched and his body caked in a cold sweat. His head pounded like crazy and his stomach curled in on itself. He could still feel the pain and the blood in his throat—whether it was real or all in his head, he could feel it, and it was terrifying.

    Judging by the sudden chaotic display of sheets on Leon's side of the bed, it was likely that after fidgeting and mumbling in his sleep, he suddenly broke into a desperate fit, falling out of bed in his distress. But for Leon, there wasn't a transition between the nightmare and reality. With his eyes fixed on the floor his forehead pressed into, he continued to hug himself as the color drained from his face.

    "Ughmph...!  My arm! My arm... Percccy... it hurts...!" Leon began to audibly sob as he called out for his lover, though it wasn't clear whether or not he believed he was still there on the battlefield or not, "It hurts! Ummmngh...!"



    || Word Count: 1042 || Thread WC: 9,109 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 22nd February 2021, 11:03 pm

    Percy had been sleeping like a peaceful, dead corpse at Leon's side, not even feeling the beginnings of his bedmate's nightmare. He didn't even notice as his lover's hand disappeared from his hand, but he did notice the thump. "Mm?" he asked the air, turning his face toward it, but not opening his eyes. However, the desperate scream that sounded from the floor jarred him awake. As odd as it was, when he rose up, his arms were in the position as if he had someone in a headlock, and his heart was racing as if he'd injected himself with steroids. For just a second he thought he'd see someone's head in his arms, but there was nothing. Wasting not a single second more, he scrambled his stiff body across the mattress and flopped ungracefully into the floor beside Leon. What was going on??

    After hastily bending low to look under Leon and check the arm he was screaming about, afraid a defect in the prosthetic was causing the pain, he came to the conclusion that it was fine. A nightmare? A flashback? The worry in Percy's face intensified. He could treat physical wounds, but it was the emotional ones that he was at a loss with. He'd watched his mother fall to them his whole life, and he had his own experiences with nightmares after his face and head had been burned. What had the therapist said?

    "Leon! Leon," he called, kneeling beside the man and rubbing his back. "I'm right here, Leon. You're ok, you're ok, come back to me. Wake up," he cooed, lips near Leon's ear to try and make sure he could hear them. The screaming... it was agonizing to hear. His own body broke out in a cold sweat, though his thoughts remained present and on the writhing man in his arms. Shifting around in front of him, he placed his hands on either side of Leon's face, trying to lift it up from the floor. "Look! I'm here, your arm isn't hurting. Leon, can you tell me what you see? Name things you can see and breathe for me, okay? In and out, deep and slow, breathe for me," Percy said, calmly but loud enough to be heard over the sobbing, assuming Leon could hear the present at all. If he couldn't then...Percy wasn't sure what to do.

    [wc: 395 || total: 9504]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 23rd February 2021, 1:13 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    Leon's entire body trembled violently as images of war barraged his mind. Everything was vivid and detailed that Leon was convinced that he was actually back on that battlefield, bleeding out and writhing on the ground. Horrific screams pounded against his own throbbing head, but then he felt something familiar.

    Just when he felt himself on the brink of fainting, someone raised his face from the snowy ground into full view. It was Percy who was holding his face up with a panicked expression on his face. He was telling him to breathe slowly all while cupping his wet cheeks in his smooth palms. Leon did as he was told, his hyperventilating decreasing to quick and laborious breaths, and then it was slow, shakey, and meditative.

    His heartbeat began to slow down, and suddenly the pain diminished into uncomfortable throbs, and then nothing at all. With his glossy eyes wide and gazing into Percy's, they were no longer in the snowy battlefront on the Pergrandian-Bellian border. They were back home in Fiore in Percy's bedroom, and they fell asleep together. Though, judging how it was only a little brighter outside but not quite yet sunrise, it hadn't been more than a couple of hours before he was haunted by those terrible... nightmares.

    "I-I..." Leon stopped hugging himself and slowly raised his prosthetic up to see through the darkness of the room. Percy was right—he wasn't hurting... anymore. In fact, none of that was actually real. It happened, but it wasn't happening anymore. Still, he trembled. Whenever he looked at his shiny new arm, he could only think about what happened on those mountains, and he throbbed every time he thought about it. Quietly, Leon looked back up at Percy, placing both of his hands over his, closing his eyes.

    Leon didn't get any sleep that night.

    . . . . . . . . .

    Later that day, Leon spent most of his morning sitting on the couch, scrolling through his phone. He was making calls and sending texts to people that he entrusted his stuff to in his indefinite absence. His cabin was still waiting for him, and some nice lady was taking care of Robin instead of sending her away. She was a lovely woman, and she was willing to return his puppy to him whenever he was ready. Not only that, but he had to ask about his motorcycle... he just sort of abandoned it here last time.

    There was a lot that needed to be done, but Leon was beginning to notice that he was lacking the energy to do it. Having gone almost two days without sleep, his eyes were droopy and baggy. Not to mention that he was an absolute mess right now as far as appearances went. He needed a shower.

    "Hey, Percy," Leon leaned back into the cushions, head nearly dangling over the back of the couch as he called out to him, wherever he was, "take a shower with me."

    As far as Leon was concerned, the two of them were dating, and all of the physical boundaries that he had set for himself suddenly seemed possible. It wasn't that nothing embarrassed Leon or made him self-conscious, but he simply knew what he wanted and didn't see anything wrong with asking for it as long as Percy was alright with it. That, and... well, he wanted Percy's company wherever he could get it after what happened last night.



    || Word Count: 577 || Thread WC: 10,081 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 23rd February 2021, 5:40 pm

    Unlike Leon who was running on empty, the two-toned man he'd come back to Fiore for was brimming with energy despite his limited range and slow movements. Percy poked his head around the divider wall to peek at Leon, giving him a considering gaze. He'd been busy dusting the unused entertainment room, to the point that when he stepped fully around the wall, he still had the duster in his hand and a vague haze of dust particles glowing in the light. After a second, he sneezed and gave up cleaning for now. Earlier in the day, he'd let the Dagger household staff that would normally come to clean that they didn't need to come for the foreseeable future. Normally this would be because Leon was staying and he didn't want talk to get back to the estate, but this time, it was just that the scientist was intent on taking care of it all himself. He'd even made himself a list of things he needed to do so he'd stay organized.

    Heading toward the bathroom behind the entertainment room, he went ahead and turned the shower on so it'd be warm and steamy when they got in there, then limped his way back into the living room.

    Approaching the man sitting listlessly on the couch, his face clouded with worry. The nightmare was still fresh in his mind. The question was, would this be a recurring thing or was it because it was the first time he'd slept after the event? He wouldn't bring it up just yet in hopes that he'd sleep later, but if this turned to insomnia, he had a plan. Reaching a hand out to him, he gently grabbed Leon's remaining hand to pull the dark-haired man off his couch. He was aware that he seemed to be avoiding the arm with the prosthetic but said nothing of it. "Alright, I guess so," he complied evenly, not nearly as comfortable with this sort of thing as Leon seemed to be but also unwilling to turn him down. His cheeks turned a light rose, but his behavior remained steady. "Are we going to use soap this time?" he joked genially, leading Leon down the hall and into the bathroom, where he turned toward Leon. "Need help with your shirt?"

    [wc: 383 || total: 10464]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 23rd February 2021, 11:26 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    Letting Percy guide him to the bathroom, Leon could hear the water pouring from the shower as they approached. Honestly, he wasn't expecting him to comply so easily with his physical demands either since he knew that Percy wasn't the touchiest man out there. They had been really intimate with one another this past week because of their heartbreaking circumstances, but that no longer loomed over them. It wasn't like Leon had regretted anything, but if Percy wasn't going to play hard-to-get, then maybe...  

    "Maybe. But how do you know I won't do anything if you help me get out of it?" Leon stared at him with his weary but interested expression, looking completely serious, "Remember what happened the last time we went into a bathroom together?"

    Leon was just trying to get under his skin, but maybe he ended up getting worked up himself. Now that he thought about it, Leon hadn't realized just how physically needy he really was until he thought about stuff like this. Sex and intimacy were never really things he had worried about until recently, and now that he had tried it, there was no helping his interest. Needless to say, he also couldn't say no to a distraction from... himself.

    Suddenly captivated by his two-toned lover, Leon thoughtlessly reached out with his free hand to grab his chin, but when his shiny prosthetic fingers came into view, he stopped just before they could grab him. Leon froze when he saw them, and suddenly that look of pouncing in his eyes diminished into mild shock and discomfort before he paused and quickly dropped it back to his sides where he couldn't see it. It was already taking everything he had just to pretend it wasn't even there, haunting him.

    "I'm just messin' with you. I can undress myself, though," Leon huffed, the small burst of energy he had just a moment before declining back into his listlessness. He was starting to feel less and less like himself.


    || Word Count: 333 || Thread WC: 10,797 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 24th February 2021, 9:51 am

    A slight frown crossed Percy's features as he watched Leon's obvious aversion to the arm kill the mood. He hadn't wanted to bring it up now, but it seemed like it might be better to do it sooner than later. As he shyly turned his back to the man and started to take his clothes off-- he'd chosen a long-sleeved shirt and pants specifically to hide his bruising-- Percy spoke again. He was still calm, but there was a little nervousness in it, both from being nude and from the topic he was about to breach. "I know...it's still fresh," he said quietly, shrugging slowly out of his shirt and folding it on the counter. "But you need to start using the prosthetic. Not only do you need to get used to it and it's added strength, but the muscles and nerves are still integrating into their cybernetic counterparts. If you don't exercise them, they could atrophy," he said, undoing his belt, stepping out of his pants, and folding those, too. "I obviously didn't get a chance to ask, but if it would make the...transition... easier, I can wrap it in bandages so you can't see the metal. Or even add the touch-receptive syntheskin I think I mentioned to you before. Then it would even feel relatively normal. That might help?" he suggested, pulling off his boxers and quickly stepping into the shower.

    While he waited for either an answer, Leon to join him, or both, Percy began to wash himself with the citrusy body wash and shampoo that was in every bathroom in his house. He thought it smelled nice in the steam, but today he wasn't thinking about that. He was considering his disappointment over watching that devilish gleam leave Leon's face, even if the memories and prospects did make him anxious. It made sense that he wouldn't want to mess around, it was only a couple days after the traumatic event, but it still felt...weird. Leon wasn't the only one who had some things awoken deep inside, and though Percy, even calm Percy, didn't know how to ask, he at least wanted a kiss. It was strange to so nonchalantly admit this to himself, since he knew that being in a relationship with a man was going to be complicated. It'd be so easy to chalk it up to one night of high-emotion pre-war passion and desperation in Bellum and try to forget, but... even with the threat gone, his feelings hadn't changed. Arguably, he'd been fighting feelings since before singles night. And Leon had come back because of...whatever they had. Avoiding it would make his decision to leave the Hoffmans for nothing.

    [wc: 446 || total: 11243]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 24th February 2021, 5:58 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    Bandages? Syntheskin? Percy could be clueless about a lot of things but he was always pretty attentive when it came to stuff like this, so figuring out that Leon was avoiding his prosthetic arm was probably very clear to him. That being said, Leon didn't respond to Percy when he did bring it up. He didn't want to talk about it. He didn't want to think about it. Every time he saw his new arm, he was always approaching the brink of distress. It made his heart stop and beat faster all at once, and he could feel the throbbing in his arm. Living with an arm he rejected was already proving to be difficult, and taking a shower with that rejection was already hard enough.

    With a little difficulty, Leon managed to undress and follow Percy into the shower. Bathing with others wasn't anything groundbreaking from where he was from, but how could he not be enticed by the naked body of his lover? Well, maybe when he wasn't sifting through his dark thoughts. When he stepped into the shower with Percy, Leon let the water soak him without much attention given to the two-toned man at all. He didn't really think this through.

    On one hand, he had to bathe. That was just essential to good hygiene. But... how could he do that while avoiding his prosthetic? He didn't want to feel it on his skin and he didn't want to see it, so how? Letting the water wash over him, Leon glimpsed over at Percy sheepishly. It was unusual for him to look so vulnerable, let alone act like it, but he wasn't sure what to do. He desperately wanted to return to a normal life, but with this... thing attached to him, it became harder and harder to do so.

    "T-The... er... bandages..." Leon suddenly looked away from him and glared at his feet, equal parts ashamed and embarrassed, "...do you really think it'd help?"


    || Word Count: 329 || Thread WC: 11,572 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 24th February 2021, 6:20 pm

    "I'm not sure, but it might?" Percy asked, equally clueless about how to really help the man. Dagda had taken right to the thing, once he realized Percy wasn't attacking him or hurting him. If anything, Percy was feeling guilty about giving him the arm at all. Maybe he should have waited, letting him get used to the idea that the appendage was gone before he offered a replacement...but then something could have happened to degrade the nerves and muscles and it might have been impossible. It was best to do it immediately while it was still fresh. Had he been wrong? He chewed on the inside of his lip as he considered it. Maybe he'd done more harm than good. "We could try it. I... really thought I was helping. I'm sorry I didn't ask first," he said vaguely after a pause, putting some soap on a loofa and turning to face the vulnerable man.

    "But it's a problem for another time," he smiled, though his own uncertainty about many things hung over him like a shroud. The calm he exuded was nigh unshakeable, but beneath it ran some sort of anxiousness. Everything was hazy and undefined. How would this go? How would the two of them move on? The warmth and relief he'd felt last night when he opened the door and rushed into Leon's arms already felt distant like a divide was rapidly opening between them. Like they didn't know how to communicate anymore. Leon would have to come to terms with the arm or lack of at some point, and eventually, they'd get back to normal...right? He placed the soapy loofa in his lover's normal hand, then snatched a backup loofa and soaped it as well. "Turn around, I'll get your back," he said, though his mind was wandering a bit. Since Leon didn't seem interested in him in that way at the moment, that was one worry off the table...or was it another one being piled on? Percy was someone who fixed things, so when there were things he couldn't, it just gnawed at him. "Just let me know if you need help."

    [wc: 358 || total: 11930]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 24th February 2021, 7:19 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    A few days had passed since then, and even with the bandages on, the relief was temporary and trivial. When night fell and there was nothing but a bed waiting for him, every time Leon tried to sleep, he'd open his eyes to that same scene over and over again. That image of the snowy battlefield and the wintry chill against his body, his blood pouring out of his dismembered arm, and the familiar yet unimaginable pain burned to his memory. So many nights he had woken up in Percy's arms, sobbing and shaking like a terrified child, holding himself and crying about the pain that he didn't even know was real or not. He tried telling himself that the nightmare he had would go away—that all of his anxiety and distress would just disappear if he gave it time, but that never happened. It just got worse.

    Leon stopped making a lot of his meals and began ordering out more and more—something he never did when he was in his right mind. He didn't go back to the River Village just yet, let alone go back to his cabin since he was afraid of being alone, even though he didn't really want to admit it. But even when he was always by Percy's side, he wasn't his affectionate and attentive self. He wasn't really sure if he had even kissed him since he came back. The insomnia was destructive, having garnered less than ten hours of sleep over the last few days. Rings formed under his eyes and he always seemed bobbing off to sleep and then waking up just when he was about to slumber. Every time he saw Percy with those bruises, he felt awful. Every time he became self-conscious of his arm, he felt awful. Every time he forced himself awake from his inevitable moments of dozing off, he felt awful. He felt terrible so many times, and everything he liked to do suddenly didn't seem pleasant anymore. All he could think about was not thinking about what happened at all, and yet his life was full of consequences of his actions. He couldn't handle it anymore.

    . . . . . . .


    "Fuck, man... ergh..." Leon held his head as he walked in, his face flushed and screwed into a testy frown. He smelled like alcohol.

    It was nearing midnight when Leon came back to Percy's house after about two hours of absence, irritated and on-edge. He wasn't much of a drinker but enjoyed a bourbon every now and then. It was one of the things that brought him and Percy together, actually, though it was the reason he was kicked out of one of Rose Garden's bars. He ended up drinking himself drunk and couldn't pay his tab since he forgot his wallet, and even though he was at fault for his absent-mindedness, he ended up almost picking a fight with the bartender in his intoxicated fit. It wasn't easy to get Leon drunk, but when he was, he lived up to the image his intense and wolfish face made him out to be.

    When he closed the door behind him, he trudged his way further into the home, and there on the couch was his wallet. Obviously agitated, he picked it up and glared at it. He had meant to return to the bar and pay what he owed, but when he caught sight of his bandaged hand that held the wallet, something seemed to anger him even more.

    Thwap!

    "Tch! (The hell'as his problem?)" Leon cursed to himself under his breath, his Bellia slurred together as he threw the wallet at the door. He just felt angry. He felt upset. Even when he had filled himself with alcohol, he still felt as awful as before. Where was Percy?


    || Word Count: 637 || Thread WC: 12,567 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Percy
    Percy

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Limited Edition- Buddy Buddy- Taskmaster- Halloween job event participant - Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Percy 24th February 2021, 7:53 pm

    Percy was just sort of floating through the days, a little tired from every night's sleep being interrupted by screams of terror and pain, but glad that Leon was here with him and not alone. At the same time, working with Leon through his trauma was a strain. It was as if they just existed in the same space but didn't share it. Percy missed his friend but felt selfish for feeling that way. None of his attempts to calm the effects of the war on Leon had worked. He grew more and more listless and tired, and when Percy saw that it wasn't something that would get better on its own, he suggested he see Maggie Dagger's therapist. Or any therapist. Seeing him this way was painful. It was as if the last flicker of the Leon he'd known had been snuffed out that first day he was back when they showered, and he hadn't seen the man since. Percy wandered between his house and the lab, piddling with random things but not really getting anything done.

    He'd been upstairs quietly playing a game on his bedroom TV, waiting for Leon to return. While he was worried about him being gone so long and what he might be doing, he also realized maybe the man needed some time from him. Given the lack of affection and touching, Percy was starting to think that he might be serving as a painful reminder that was triggering the incidents. It was a subject he wasn't sure how or if he should even bring up. His keen ears picked up the commotion downstairs, so with no regard for the game he was playing, he dropped his controller and quickly dashed down the stairs.

    What awaited him clenched his chest. The smell of alcohol greeted him before his eyes even found the man. This wasn't like him. This was new. Pausing at the bottom of the steps, Percy couldn't help but be reminded of his childhood, when his mother would wander in from her parties and trips to the winery. He recognized self-medicating when he saw it, and it didn't sit the best with him, but he'd remain accomodating. "Leon?" he asked quietly, looking him up and down. He seemed even more agitated than when he left. The two-toned man wouldn't ask if he was drunk. It was clear he was. "What happened?" he asked, getting the vague gist from the parts of the Bellian he understood that someone had gotten under his bourbon-soaked skin. He padded over to the dark form laying in front of the door, picking up the wallet and returning it to a nearby counter where he could find it later.

    Seeing Leon so angry, drunk or not, twisted his stomach. Though he was unsure how to handle this new situation, he appeared calm. As far as he could tell, he was calm. The only part of him that didn't seem to cooperate with the rest of his body was his stomach, which rejected more food than it kept for some reason. The sandwich he'd made himself earlier had been doing a nice job of settling until now, so the jury was still out. "Anything I can do to help?" he asked, slowly approaching what felt like a stranger in his living room.

    [wc: 554 || total: 13121]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Leon Hoffman
    Leon Hoffman

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    In Progress Re: Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon]

    Post by Leon Hoffman 24th February 2021, 8:32 pm



    Congratulations; You Survived The War [Percy/Leon] UeP3Iww

    When you change, don't announce it; just bloom



    "It does'n matter anymore," Leon clicked his tongue as he watched Percy pick up his wallet and place it on a nearby counter with an irritated look on his face. Now that he was watching him, he didn't remember feeling so physically pent-up these last few days, but maybe it just ended up getting piled under all of the other troubles he was coping with. He was angry, anxious, and suddenly inspired to tend to some of his other needs.

    While Percy was slowly approaching him, it was Leon who was closing the distance all of a sudden. He had hastily taken off his jacket and let it drop to the floor as he approached his lover, grabbing his chin with his hand and connecting a kiss. As usual, it wasn't a gentle kiss. It was strong, aggressive, and almost breathtaking, and yet Leon wasn't satisfied with this level of intimacy. His prosthetic hand grabbed Percy by his wrist as he pushed him back to the countertop, leaning over it as their lips collided. When Leon pulled away, he couldn't imagine what sort of face he was making. Although there was an unmistakable lust in his eyes, it was second only to the pain he was feeling as well.

    When Leon pulled away from the kiss, it seemed as if he were going to say something, but the words never came. Instead, he just kissed him again, nibbling his lip and then moving down his neck. With Leon pushing his body against Percy's, the itch he needed to scratch was becoming more and more apparent. One hand kept his two-toned lover's jaw facing forward, while his wrapped-metal fingers crept down the seams of his pants.

    Leon didn't want to hear Percy's voice if it wasn't full of wanting. He didn't want to sit down and talk about his feelings—he didn't want to feel like this at all. Would sleeping with Percy make him feel better? Somehow the bourbon didn't really help with what he wanted, so now he was just left with all of the dread he was trying to avoid for so long. He hadn't slept a wink, so all of his kisses were sloppy and unrefined. The depression he had felt had almost suffocated all of the longings he had for Percy, but when it resurfaced, he couldn't help but push himself onto him in his drunken fit.

    After a slew of his wild kisses, Leon finally pulled his lips away from Percy's body, his face still hot and glaring. He really wanted to sleep with him right now, and in that careless desire, he unlatched his hand from Percy's jaw only to begin to unbuckle his belt.

    "You said you'd help me... so..." Leon groaned, his head throbbing, but he didn't care anymore.


    || Word Count: 466 || Thread WC: 13,587 || WC Needed xxx || Job Approval ||
    Notes: ???
    @Percy
    Hoffman Estate
    "([dialogue])" - Speaking Bellia



    _____________________________________________________________________________________


      Current date/time is 3rd March 2021, 5:35 pm