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Midnight Talk

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Javier blinks as he wakes from a seemingly deep sleep.

 

He turns himself on his back and looks out from the shelter, the night is still pitch black, a small amount of stars speckling the sky. The morning campfire isn’t even lit yet. 

 

He rolls his eyes to himself and huffs, this is the fourth night in a row he has woken up in the middle of the night. Javier doesn’t know if it’s stress or that the fact that the only thing separating him from the bare fucking ground is the thinnest sheet he’s ever seen.

 

He grumbles and goes to turn on his side but nearly jumps back in fright when he spots Charles with his eyes wide open. 

 

The man is staring off into the roof of the tent, worrying his lip. 

 

Javier will never claim to understand how Charles works. He’s strong, a good hunter, and prefers not to speak, but that’s about the extent Javier knows. Sure they share a tent, but Javier is always asleep early and Charles is always awake early.

 

Javier contemplates going back to sleep, but unfortunately he feels as though the effort to pass out will take the rest of the night.

 

Javier takes to lying on his back, hands folded on his stomach. He flicks his eyes to Charles again to find him staring right back.

 

The two flinch in sync and fall into an embarrassed silence.

 

Javier is the one to break it.

 

“Are you alright brother?” He whispers, turning his head to face Charles. 

 

Charles lets out a deep sigh and shuts his eyes tight before looking Javier’s way, Javier expects an answer but all he gets is a shrug. 

 

Javier taps his finger on his hand and tries again, “You seem…unsettled.” 

 

Charles avoids his gaze as he says, “Just thinking.” 

 

“About what?” Javier encourages.

 

Javier felt that the small bond they share is enough to get Charles to open up, he agreed to go to town that one memorable time with Javier; that had to mean something right? They even enjoyed a conversation over drinks and busty women, they’re brothers eternally now.  

 

Thankfully it seems Javier is right.

 

“About someone.”

 

That peaks Javier’s interest, he teasingly raises a brow and asks, “Who?”

 

“A…woman.”

 

Still trying to be quiet he replies, “Well ain’t that something, I’d help you amigo but last time I got attached to a woman I had to flee my country…so.” He flicks his nose.

 

Javier isn’t exactly sure what noise Charles near silently makes, but he chooses to interpret it as a laugh.

 

“I…I’m just not sure what to do.” Charles quietly admits.

 

Javier considers for a moment, he never would’ve thought he’d be helping Charles of all people with their love life. He wasn’t sure how Charles went about these things, or how comfortable he was talking about certain subjects. Sure, Charles was all over that woman in the bar, but the man had refused to acknowledge the woman’s previous presence once Arthur chased the two away. Much to Javier’s annoyance. 

 

He rubs his tongue over his teeth and then asks, “Well how deeply do you care for her?”

 

Another deep sigh, “A lot.”

 

“Must be quite a woman,” Javier chuckles softly.

 

“Hmm.” 

 

“How’d you meet her?”

 

Charles stalls, his eyes dart around trying to settle on an answer, he then responds, “I was out hunting, and..she just sort of appeared. Helped me take down a moose that had run from me.”

 

Javier turns on his side to lean his head on his hand, the other draping across his waist, “Oo, a girl who can use a gun.”

 

“Yes well, she just kept showing up and helping me hunt, so we kept talking and…yeah.” As he talks Charles turns himself to mirror Javier’s position.

 

“I’ve never really wanted to talk to someone as much as I do with her, but I don’t know how to tell her I…” He gestures vaguely, “yeah.” 

 

“Well if she keeps randomly appearing and helps you to hunt then she probably likes you back compadre. Just go for it.”

 

“I…can’t really.”

 

Javier scoffs, “Why?”

 

“Just, us being together wouldn’t be all that welcomed.”

 

“Welcomed? Nobody here cares if you get together with a white woman, it isn’t weird.” 

 

“No, well, yes, but it’s not that.” Charles glances away.

 

Javier feels that that was Charles trying to finish the conversation on a curt note. Javier also feels he needs more explanation than that.

 

“Well what is it? It can’t be anything I haven’t heard before.”

 

Charles shuffles his body subtly and says nothing. Javier rolls his eyes.

 

“What does she look like then?”

 

Charles looks back at Javier and settles, “Blond.” 

 

Javier chuckles, “You’re very descriptive friend."

 

Charles smirks and lays down onto his back, Javier sighs, assuming that the conversation is done now, but as he leans back down to a comfortable sleeping position his brain fills in the gaps of the talk, a mass of puzzle pieces coming together with only one left to go.

 

He turns back to Charles, who is still completely awake.

 

“I thought you go hunting with Arthur?” 

 

Charles tenses next to him and makes a non-committal ‘hmm.’

 

“Sooo…what was he doing during these talks?” Javier asks in honest curiosity, a trace of amusement in his voice. 

 

“I don’t always hunt with him,” Charles responds, slightly defensive, his head turned away.

 

“Charles you are never not hunting with him."

 

Charles refuses to answer, only giving a small sound of ‘shut the fuck up Javier.’

 

Javier goes to tease him again when the last puzzle piece clicks into place. Javier backs off slightly and goes to speak, but nothing comes out.

 

“Are you,” He brushes his tongue over his teeth, unsure how to phrase this, “Do you like Arthur?”

 

Charles snaps his head to Javier with a deadpan stare but his body is as still as a rock. 

 

The lack of response tells Javier exactly what he wants to know.

 

“Charles...dios mío.”

 

Charles throws his arms up in defeat and lays on his side, decidedly not facing Javier.

 

Javier sits up with his legs crossed, any trace of sleepiness that was struggling to overtake him is now gone. 

 

In hindsight, Javier thinks, it isn’t that crazy of a realisation. He always thought the two were particularly close. 

 

He looks at Charles; his body language is cold, his face reflecting so, but through his icy expression a fracture of pain seeps through.

 

“You know,” Javier begins, Charles shifts his body further away.

 

“Arthur’s hair is more brown.”

 

Charles whips around with an incredulous expression, Javier simply shrugs, he lowers his voice further, trying to make sure the next part comes out as soft as possible.

 

“I’ve seen crazier things in my life amigo, this doesn’t even make the list.”

 

Charles visibly relaxes but still keeps a shield up on his face.

 

“I guess.”

 

Javier shifts his spot to be in line with Charles’ head.

 

“I’m just thankful that out of every man here, it’s Arthur. I thought I was the only one with taste.”

 

Charles actually smiles at that, “You just see any girl with big tits and go for it.” 

 

“Exactly, taste.” 

 

Charles laughs and Javier feels the same as when he finds a stash of loot. Charles then manoeuvres into sitting up next to him. 

 

“I still don’t know what to do.”

 

Javier sighs.

 

“I’m going to be honest with you Charles you’ve got yourself quite a predicament, he might be more outspoken than you but he’s just as closed off, especially when it comes to love.” 

 

Javier gaze drifts to the moon, it has fallen during their talk and Javier wonders just how long they’ve been up.

 

“I assuming you’ve heard about Mary.” Javier says.

 

“Yeah, still not really sure what’s going on there.”

 

Javier scratches his thigh, “No one really does, but she’s the reason you can’t get laid.”

 

Charles splutters; surprised, but reigns himself in before he can make a loud noise, “Hmm,” Is all he responds with, a small lilt at the end.

 

Javier grips Charles' shoulder and looks at him.

 

“But you’ve got better chances than anyone, and don’t worry about the whole,” He gestures at Charles’ body, “Situation, I’ve heard some things over the years and I don’t think it’s impossible.”

 

Charles’ eyes widen in shock as he considers Javier for a moment, seemingly making his mind up about something. Javier smiles and pats him lightly on the back, still trying to make as little noise as possible. 

 

The two then sit in silence, the cicadas from the woods being the only sound heard. They look at each other and Javier nods casually to ease the awkwardness. Charles whispers a gruff “good night,” and lays back down. Javier following suit.

 

 

 

He feigns sleep until he does fall asleep, waking up the next morning to an absent bedroll beside him. 

 

He does his morning ritual, taking a bit more time to tie up his hair (totally not because he snapped a hair tie on the first attempt.) 

 

His gaze travels across the camp taking in what everyone is doing. He can't help a sly grin when he spots Charles and Arthur over at the horses.

 

Javier thought himself special last night getting Charles to smile, but Arthur deserves a goddamn medal for the toothed laughters Charles sends his way, unsurprisingly Arthur mirrors him right back.