Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
Robe stood at the edge of the balcony for Harry’s apartment, lit cigarette between his lips. Harding was standing on his left side, avoiding the traveling smoke that Robe knew he hated so much. And the newly introduced, still distrusted, Glenn Garner was standing at his right. The man had joined him in lonely smoking on the ledge as the trio heard everyone else celebrating inside. With the turning of the new year and Harry finally finding the courage to propose, their group did have a lot to celebrate.
But no matter how much Robe loved Harry and Will. How much he was willing to protect his best friends who had helped him through so many hard times…
Bart’s coughing followed by a question asked vaguely in his direction brought Robe back to the present scene.
“Did you not hear a single word I said, Cab?”
Robe let out another stream of smoke, ground the butt into a nearby ashtray, and brought his eyes up to answer Bart.
“Sorry, I was just a little bit distracted. What were you asking me?”
“I was asking if you had any plans for settling down. Usually after friends get engaged, the single people in their lives start questioning where their own paths are going to go.”
Robe looked nervously between the men on either side of him. He knew that Harding was happily married to a husband that had an affinity for buying hats for the couple’s occasions and holidays. And he knew from the brief interactions with Garner, and stories preemptively told by Harry, that the man was rather loose in his choices. This was only confirmed when Robe had found Glenn’s hand on his thigh and the solider had no intention of moving it.
“Oh, you know guys, romance was never really my area,” he paused and saw the judgmental doubt in their eyes. “It’s a pretty common thing with police officers. We don’t seek out relationships beyond casual things to slip away because we don’t want to have to worry about who we’re leaving behind.”
Robe hoped that his current associates would understand the fumbling excuse with his knowledge of their histories. From what he had come to understand, they were both seasoned veterans of the Federation Force, Garner stewing a bit longer than anyone else. Before the past two weeks had passed, Robe doubted he would ever meet someone older than Harry who still looked like a breath of spring. And now the soldier who was trying to capture his attention turned out to be rather ancient – not that Robe minded.
“I mean, you both understand what I mean, yeah?”
He looked between the two of them, getting no verbal response but the slight nodding of heads. Robe picked his crystal glass up from the concrete where it was sitting between two railing posts. The other witnesses of the porch joined him in the motion of drinking down their entire glasses in one shot. A silence quickly surrounded them, but there was nothing to say that would not come out awkwardly.
After a few more minutes, it started to rain. Bart excused himself at this point, gathering his coat and jacket from the chaise lounge and taking the empty glass inside. As Bart left, there was a slight glimmer in his eye, almost a wink in Robe’s direction. Obviously, someone else had noticed the displays of affection from Major Garner.
“So, Glenn, how do you know Harry? She mentioned you a couple of times before, but I was under the impression that you were dead.”
Great job, Robe.
“Harry and I met on a mission in Nerot’s trade city of Zuucar, right when she was promoted to captain of an intelligence base outside of the port. And despite rank, I quickly learned that as a liaison to that base, she was commander,” he paused while taking a flask out of a beaten leather jacket. “How do you know her?”
Robe started laughing upon hearing his question. Not a faint laugh or a chuckle, just a blatant display of his troubled backstory with Harry. There was no easy way to explain what had taken place between them. How after Harry had rescued him from the holds of the Fiacres that they had slept together for three months before they parted ways. How they were far closer than best friends tended to be in the public eye and how he wouldn’t be alive without her.
Maybe that’s why he felt jealous.
No matter how happy he was for the couple.
The laughing had quietly turned to crying, something Robe didn’t notice until an arm was around his waist and holding him on the lounge under the awning. Some of the rain was dripping down on the person shielding him, but they didn’t seem to mind. He soon realized that he was leaning against the soft leather that he had been admiring on Glenn’s shoulders just a few minutes before. And the arms around his waist should have been making him uncomfortable – the way he had always been kept away from sex with physical contact.
“Robe are you alright?”
Gathering his thoughts quickly and wanting to run away, Robe snapped out, “I’m fine.”
“I know it’s been awhile since I held anyone but nothing about this situation seems to be fine,” Glenn’s fingers brushed along his cheek as the accusation was made. That’s what it was plain and simple, an accusation.
Robe tried to pull himself out of the man’s hold, slowly leaning forward only for his head to get lighter and lighter. Even as Glenn let go from his waist, it felt like he was still being pulled back down into the cushion. The warmth that was beneath him was very tempting. It had been a very long time since Robe had that sort of comfort, but everything about the situation seemed wrong.
Why would a stranger care so much?
The question rolled through his brain a couple of times before Robe forced himself to ask it.
“Why do you care, Garner? You could have just left me standing to have a cry in the rain and now I’ve gotten your shirt damp with my tears.”
“I wouldn’t have been much of a gentleman if I had just left you in the rain. And knowing Harry, having a mixed reaction of both laughing and crying seems appropriate,” Garner paused for a moment, running his fingers through Robe’s hair and leaving a warm breath on Robe’s neck. “I knew her for enough years to know that she has a way of drawing out deep emotions from people.”
“I’ve only known her for a decade, so I can see how your immortal types might balk at that number.”