Your voice keeps playing in my head
Even if I tried to remove it, it's still there
For a few weeks the staff had made fun of him in a well-meaning way. What's Robin gonna do now when the cursing mentor is gone? Maybe all of them should get Rähinä-beanies to make up for it? He pretended it was funny for about two weeks. Now he had to pretend he didn't miss Jimi. Because that wouldn't really be normal anyway, would it?
He was restless, so very restless. His running around and doing silly things in the studio had never been funny to anyone other than Jimi and it wasn't now either. And unlike Jimi these boring adults didn't have what it took to get him to stop sillying around. He was well aware he was annoying people but he couldn't bring himself to care. He always gave it his all when he was actually needed.
When at home in Turku he spent as much time with Samppa as possible. There was no one else he could show his feelings to and every time Robin mentioned Jimi Samppa only smiled. Samppa's words from months before still rang clearly in Robin's head and he was determined to wait. He'd make sure he grew into something Jimi would want to come back to.
So barely even Samppa saw anything else than the normal energetic and silly Robin Packalen who was so enthusiastic about anything and everything. It was only at home alone in his room that he dug up the white superman t-shirt he'd hidden under his bed. Jimi's scent was already fading, but there was still just enough left for Robin to imagine them sitting right next to each other, Jimi's arms around him.
But there was one temptation he simply couldn't stay away from. The Robin movie was already being filmed when he was still working with Robin and they had continued that for months afterwards. Now the finished documentary had been in movie theatres for almost a month. And he knew he was in it (apparently his cursing had actually made the headlines). It was easy to convince himself that was the reason he wanted to see it.
The ticket was bought online and printed out and he wore a large hoodie. Anyone recognizing him would just be awkward, and he knew Robin's fangirls well enough to know that they would. He'd chosen a seat right in the back and on the side, so maybe he'd get to sit alone. But even after a month there were surprisingly many people there to see it. That sparked a little pride inside of Jimi.
The movie was entertaining and very positive and it was clear it made everyone feel good. The further along the movie got the prouder Jimi felt. It almost covered the longing he felt everytime Robin smiled at the camera.
"But what if one time you're not there, how will I manage that?"
Jimi had forgotten all about that conversation ever happening, and as it played out in front of him he had to swallow down a sudden lump in his throat. Later the movie showed him that Robin had indeed learned. His stage charisma was more amazing that Jimi had ever seen it and even though all the gestures Jimi had taught him were still clearly visible he had already developed a clear style that was simply Robin.
It hurt so much in both good and bad ways. How Jimi wished things were different. As he left the movie theatre he wasn't sure if going had been a good idea.
Jimi's scent was now long gone but he still didn't wash it. He sometimes wore it himself now, but only for bed. It wasn't something he'd ever show anyone else. Someone might recognize it. But most of all he just didn't want to share it with anyone.
He was working hard and another single was being released again. This time it was a cooperation with The Rasmus and he wrote the lyrics himself. He hoped that Jimi will hear it, wherever he is, and recognize his intentions.
Because he's not afraid. He knew that once he grows up, once his youth is over, there's a sun he can fly to. That's the only path he was sure of. Anything else could remain as clouded as it wanted to, because he was headed straight for Jimi.
So this time when Jare asked if he'd come out he agreed. He pretended he didn't notice Jare's surprised face when he ordered a beer for himself. He ignored Jare's stare when he gulped down most of it too.
It wasn't good. It tasted horrible, really. After all this time he'd nearly forgotten how beer tasted. But with so much time without drinking it wasn't long until he could feel the slightly calming effect. And it helped. He let go and just had some fun for the first time in over a year, this time with a little aid of alcohol.
What kept him the most excited outside of music was still circus school. He went there once or twice a week and that was where he could really let go and relax. The trampoline was still his favorite after all this time, despite the memories it brought back. But he always pushed them back and they jumped forth less and less.
Sometimes he ended up doing things together with a girl named Sara. There was nothing special about it at all. Some tricks required pairing up and they seemed to gravitate towards each other. She had a fun sense of humour and Robin could be the silly twat he actually was without worrying. It felt good.
After the first time they hung out outside of circus school Robin came home with a big smile on his face. That night he didn't take out the superman t-shirt. He was too busy sending Sara a picture of his hair standing out in every direction.
It wasn't long after that the shirt moved from under his pillow to his closet. Somehow it was easier to enjoy life and time with Samppa and Sara if he didn't think about Jimi all the time. Out of sight, out of mind.
This was exactly what he'd been wishing for. Exactly the reason he'd left. He'd given Robin the chance to forget about this weird and unhealthy relationship and live a normal life. Grow up by himself and find his own people to love. To learn and grow through his own tries and mistakes with love. He hadn't expected it to hurt this much when Robin did just that.
He just had to deal with it though. This was a good thing. And sooner or later he would probably get over this himself too. At least he hoped so. And he was happy for Robin, he really was.
He tried concentrating on his favorite hobby to relax. He had quite a few small men to paint and he'd promised to participate in a roleplaying game next week. But somehow he just couldn't stay focused. His thoughts kept returning to Robin's smiling face on the first page of that magazine. He'd looked so at peace.
He got up from his chair and dug out a bottle of red wine. It was probably just as well to give up. He could paint them another day. But he knew that the fact that he couldn't concentrate on what he loved the most meant he was truly fucked. Because of a boy who was just a few months from sixteen by now.
As the bottle was slowly emptied he scribbled words and thoughts into the red notebook. Anything and everything he felt he'd want to say. Almost nothing he could actually say to anyone. So many thoughts he could never voice.
In the end he made a decision to post one simple page.
He kept quiet about whatever he might have suspected though, because Robin was finally over Jimi and he was clearly happy. So was Samppa. Robin had stayed energetic and as silly as always in public, but when it had been just the two of them there had always been something off. He guessed it was because he was the only one who knew and Robin could show how he really felt.
But now Robin was enjoying life with Sara. They played car games, they went to circus school, they hung out all the time and texted every second in between. Which was great, as Samppa had been busy with matriculation exams and now entrance exams. Which was the reason for him having to leave early.
Robin was still in the middle of a game with Sara as he left, and he just waved for a quick second before turning his attention back to the screen. In the end it went like usually. For some reason Sara always beat him, but that was one thing that made her awesome.
Afterwards they chased each other to the sofa and ended up cuddling with their arms and legs tangled. Their first kiss was sweet and warm and almost as good as the ones with Jimi. Almost.
This meant that in just over two months it would get a lot harder to see Sara. But they didn't think of that yet. Every moment had to be lived fully and their days were filled with small adventures and roaming around the Turku archipelago.
They sailed around in Robin's small boat, they climbed trees and they went everywhere with their Jopo-bicycles. Some days were hot, some days were cold, but it didn't matter. Any day was good enough for jumping into the sea. Any day was good enough for rolling down hills and picnicing in fields.
Between all that Robin toured around the whole country again and the summer passed quickly. There was so much to do that he barely ever had time for himself. But it was okay, he truly enjoyed every moment of it. He smiled to himself as he thought it was possibly the best summer he had ever had.
Soon enough there was a suitably sized apartment in Kallio in Helsinki waiting for him. It was at a walking distance from his new school, but he suspected he'd end up using the trams anyway. Mostly because they're sort of cool. It was all new and exciting. One of the best sides however, was that he'd be so much closer to the studio now and his working time there would be much less limited.
Somehow in all the excitement and with all the positive sides he even forgot to worry about not seeing Sara much. Once he was all moved in it was all about school, new people and work. Maybe the texts to Sara weren't as frequent as they should have been, and maybe he didn't even notice it himself. But when Sara finally came to visit him a few weeks after he'd moved things were as great as ever as they celebrated Robin's sixteenth birthday.
As kisses became more eager and hands started roaming around everything felt just right. Slowly they removed each others clothes, nervously taking every step together. It was awkward, innocent and sweet and it was everything they wanted. There might not have been that same spark that Robin had once felt, but he didn't even miss it.
After the weekend Sara returned to Turku and normal life continued. But maybe Robin felt a bit more like a man.
Ever since he heard Robin had moved there he'd almost been afraid of leaving his house. He was very much aware he was not okay. But what was there to do about it? A glass of wine or two had easily become whole bottles and one beer had become ten. Things were just easier to deal with when drunk.
Once away from Finland again it was easy to let go. No one recognized him and he could leave the bar with whomever he wished. Maybe the girls did give him some comfort. For a few hours every night he didn't feel alone, he didn't have to think about how a fourteen year old boy had destroyed his life just by worming his way into Jimi's heart.
Having her over was fantastic though, and their cozy nights in Robin's apartment made him feel warm inside. They'd snuggle up close together and talk about anything and everything. Sometimes things would go further.
It was one of these times when it all shattered into pieces. Sara never brought sleeping wear, usually it was warm enough and they'd sleep in each other's arms. But it was already the middle of winter and it had finally gotten cold for real.
Sara got up from the bed and headed over towards his closet. "I'll borrow a t-shirt", she said and he mumbled a reply. She didn't have to ask that. They shared anything and had done so for months. He smiled to himself as she dug around in his closet.
"Why haven't I seen you wearing this one before? It doesn't seem new?"
She was holding a white t-shirt with a black print with the word 'superman'. Robin's eyes widened and suddenly he was off the bed, rushing to Sara and ripping the t-shirt out of her grip.
"Don't fucking touch that...!"
Sara's eyes widened as she stared at him almost in shock. He slowly realised what he had done and that he was holding the shirt tightly to his chest. And he'd cursed at her. He barely ever did that to anyone.
But she'd touched Jimi's shirt. He kept staring at her without moving an inch, not sure what to do. He hadn't even been aware it still meant enough for him to cause such a reaction. He hadn't even looked at it for ages. It had been hidden away.
As he felt Sara's gaze turn angry he sat down on the bed, still without loosening his tight grip on what was once Jimi's property.
"Whose shirt is that?"
He didn't know what to say. They stared at each other for a while longer and then suddenly Sara just got dressed, grabbed her bag and left.
Not even when the door slammed closed behind her did he relax his grip on the shirt. Jimi's shirt.
It was different bars and clubs every time. It wasn't that he was worried about being recognized, he just didn't want to run into the same people again. He wasn't looking for anyone he'd want to see again. He was simply looking for a painkiller.
In general guys had never really been his thing. Well sometimes, yes, but it had always been mostly girls. And no girl could remind him of Robin, was what he'd been thinking. Which was why he was only looking for girls. Their soft curves and small hands so very different from everything his heart really craved. It made it easier.
This night he sat at the bar for a long while, enjoying drink after drink. No girls seemed to spark his interest at all, despite having really felt a need to run away from reality all day, and none seemed interested in him either. Instead he just kept staring straight forward, emptying whisky glass after whisky glass.
When that young man who looked to be barely twenty sat down next to him and looked at him with large brown eyes there was no telling if it was Jimi or the whisky that made him take up the offer. As they exited the bar hand in hand he noticed the boy was just about ten centimetre taller than him.
When the young man gave him what he needed he didn't even notice the name that passed his lips was "Robin".
That's how it always went right? Robin knew exactly what this meant. It had been a couple of weeks since Sara had left his apartment and he hadn't heard a word from her since then. In a way that wasn't weird, two or three weeks had gone by like that before too. But this time was of course different.
He replied and soon they had decided to meet already the next day, as Sara seemed to have the day off school. Robin still had no idea what to tell her. He just simply couldn't tell her the truth. If she ever went to the press Jimi's life would be destroyed.
And what was the truth? There was nothing between him and Jimi. Hadn't been for almost three years. Robin just couldn't get over something that was already long gone. He thought he had, but these last two weeks had proven him wrong. Every night he'd held the t-shirt close to his chest again. It was like all this time with Sara he'd simply been dreaming, and now that short moment woke him up again. Back into reality where all he could think of was Jimi.
Robin was never nervous, he was always calm before lives and interviews. But he was honestly afraid of seeing Sara and what he'd have to tell her and he was counting the minutes until her arrival. They passed far too quickly.
The coffee was already done when his doorbell finally rang. He'd even taken out some cookies. Anything to lighten the atmosphere a little bit. But the awkwardness was thick in the air as Sara followed him into the kitchen. Once they were seated, both with coffee in their mugs it finally started.
"It's a guy's shirt, isn't it?"
That wasn't what he'd expected her to say at all.
"You're in love with a guy and that's his shirt."
Robin couldn't do anything else than stare at her open mouthed. He'd sort of planned to tell her that much himself. He owed her that. She was his friend and if the dream was crushed maybe the closest thing to the truth was the best option. He really hadn't expected her to figure it out herself though. Maybe he was more see through than he thought?
In the end he just looked down and nodded.
"I knew it."
"I'm sorry. I really am. I honestly thought I was over him. I was in love with you."
"Who is it?"
Robin was quiet for a while. He wasn't really thinking about it, because it wasn't even an option. But even saying anything at all took will power.
"I-- I can't tell you. Sorry."
Another quiet moment.
"Damn. I really wanted to know."
"You really hurt me, you know."
"And I'm really sorry about that, I--"
"Shh. Listen. I've had time to think. It's-- I know this meant something. You wouldn't be able to act for that long. Seems the owner of that t-shirt just meant more in the end. And if so, I will just deal with that. I'll be fine."
"So well, uh, I guess you're my ~gay BFF~ instead of boyfriend now?"
And then Robin just laughed. And laughed some more. And Sara laughed with him.
"I'm not gay though."
"Whatever you say."
It was that easy in the end. Suddenly the coffee was tasty again and even the cookies disappeared one by one.
A little over 24 hours later he was ringing Jare's door bell. Technically he hadn't even told him he'd be coming over. Or that he was coming back to Finland. But he hoped these were the kind of situations you had friends for.
"Yo Jare," he said as the door opened.
Jare stared at him for a little while.
"You look like a ghost."
"Get your ass inside," Jare continued with a smile.
And that he did. Soon they were sitting on Jare's huge sofa with a large glass of wine each. The bottle was within reach and Jimi suspected he'd need way more than one glass tonight.
For a couple of hours it was all just the normal guy talk they always shared. What's been up lately, how work's going, have either of them heard anything especially inspiring lately? Soon enough they'd emptied almost two wine bottles.
"So why exactly did you fly here all the way from America?"
Jimi fingered his wine glass.
"I did something really stupid. And I guess I just need to tell somebody."
"Well spill it then."
"I, uhh, I've been in a pretty bad state for a while already… And you know what I do when-- A few days ago I sort of let a 19 year old boy take me home."
Jimi had to blink a couple of times and then he actually laughed. This was exactly why Jare was the best. Exactly why he'd needed to tell Jare. He got it off his chest and Jare would never judge him. At least for the moment just saying it out loud made him feel a lot better.
"It must have been his big brown eyes."
The second day after that Jare called and ordered him to come out somewhere with him. Jimi figured it wasn't a bad idea and soon enough he was cooped up in a VIP-booth in a Helsinki night club with Jare. For a while their topics easily followed the same pattern as two days earlier and for the most part they were left alone.
But after quite a few drinks women started trying to hit on Jare and while he was dealing with them Jimi was left to his own thoughts. He must have looked too far gone to be of any interests to the girls in question. He was well aware he was getting way too drunk already, but he quickly emptied the glass he had and ordered another.
Jare finally managed to get rid of the girls and ordered himself another drink too. By then Jimi was just staring down into his glass and clearly needed cheering up again. Jare had no idea what was actually going on with the man, but he was sure it was more than he knew about. As his drink arrived the music changed into a quick and quite loud beat.
In an istant Jimi's back was even more hunched and before long his head was hidden in his arms on the table, back shaking just a little bit as if he was about to cry. Suddenly Jimi was falling apart right in front of Jare.
From the speakers a young man's quite familiar voice sang "When my youth's over I'm not afraid, I won't hide, I trust that my wings will carry and I'll fly into the sun" and suddenly all the pieces just snapped in place.
"You didn't--Did you?"
Jimi looked up in an instant, face all scrunched up but eyes wide.
"No. No, of course not!"
Jimi's head returned to the table but now his shoulders were completely tense, so clearly trying to hold so much inside him. It was obvious that he was close to breaking. He gently placed a hand on Jimi's shoulder and said "Dude, let's get you out of here".
The taxi ride passed in silence and Jare watched Jimi the whole way. After helping the very drunk and broken man into the car he had simply collapsed against the window and was now staring out through it without a word. Jare was bursting with questions but all in good time.
Once they were inside the door Jimi simply leaned against the wall and slid to the floor, collapsing into a sitting position. Then everything keeping him together must have just given in because suddenly he was sobbing loudly and before he hid his face in his knees Jare could see the tears streaming down his face.
He gave Jimi a few seconds as he took off his shoes and jacket before walking over and squatting down next to him. He carefully placed a hand on his shaking shoulder again, this time biting his lips before asking.
"Do you want to talk about this?"
As Jimi nodded into his knees Jare sat down properly onto the floor. With his hand still on Jimi's shoulder he waited for the other man to be ready to talk. It took a couple of moments before Jimi had calmed down enough for that.
"I don't… I don't understand how it even happened. I never meant for it to. I was ignoring it. But then-- and now I just can't let go, he just--"
Jare smiled a little to himself.
"Start from the beginning, dude."
Jimi nodded. He still didn't look up but he started talking.
"I-- I was having something of a crush on him. Or I admired him more than-- but I never intended for anything to happen, I was ignoring it! He was just so amazing all the time, it was impossible to not like him. But then one day he fucking decided he was in love with me and the kid fucking kissed me."
He swallowed and took a few seconds to gather his thoughts. Jare was watching him and listening without a word.
"I told him no, of course. But he's such a sneaky shit and then things got-- I don't know, it was good. He was sweet and so fucking addictive. Then the shit was growing all over the place and got so attractive and then he tried to turn me on and I just couldn't deal with it. He had no idea what he was getting into and I was fucking lusting after him and he was just a kid! I just fucking had to go and get sexually attracted to him. But I just can't do that to him, he's too young to understand. So I ran away and I've tried-- I've tried so fucking hard but I just can't live without the spazz in my life anymore. But he needs his own life and he got it and now he's happy with that girl and things are like they should be, I just can't--"
He went silent and leaned his head back against the wall, hands covering his face.
"Oh man, come on, let's get you some water."
Jare helped Jimi up again and led him into the kitchen. After placing him by the table he brought them both a glass of water each. He placed Jimi's right in front of the man and sat down on the other side of the table. The silence lasted for a few more minutes.
"So you just ran away?"
"What else could I have done?"
"You fucking idiot."
When Jimi looked up there was a sad smile on Jare's lips.
"I remember you back then, dude. And that was the most fucking relaxed I've ever seen you. Yeah sure, I made fun of you but you were yourself and you had your life under control. You were fucking happy, idiot."
"But-- it-- I'm not a fucking pedophile."
"Indeed. You're fucking in love, dude."
Jimi stared at him for a while and then sighed and looked down again.
"Well, but I did the right choice. He's happy now with his girlfriend and everything."
"Actually… Their break up was all over the head lines a week ago."
Suddenly there was a quick hint of hope in Jimi's eyes. Hope that maybe-- but it disappeared as quickly as it came. Because it's not like that changed anything at all. Robin was still seventeen years younger than him and he was still underage. And there would be a new girlfriend soon enough. With Jimi it was all about idolizing him, after all. Just a phase. He made this clear to Jare. That there was no hope, really.
"Well sure, do whatever the fuck you want. But some things are worth fighting for. You have a right to be happy too, dude, and there's no shortcut to that. You have to fight the whole way."
In fact he was now staring at his missing piece being dragged to a taxi by Cheek on the cover of a gossip magazine. Jimi was clearly very drunk and looked far from okay. His face wasn't showing, but even without the headlines Robin would have recognized him.
"Cheek and Iron Sky 2 actor Jimi Constantine seen leaving a club together, Constantine too drunk to walk."
Robin pulled his gaze away from the magazines and paid for his items. When had Jimi started drinking again? He'd stopped completely around the time they started working together and he'd always been so proud over his achievements. Robin knew he'd had serious problems with alcohol before so this worried him.
Even after the walk back home he couldn't shake the feeling that Jimi wasn't okay. All this time Robin had been thinking Jimi was off making a name for himself and living a good life. But what if-- What if Jimi needed help? Maybe Robin could do something, maybe he could at least be there for Jimi. Even if Jimi didn't want him like Robin wanted Jimi.
He threw his groceries on the dining table, dug up his phone and sat down. After unlocking it he scrolled down his contacts to J. There was Jimi's number still. He stared at it for several minuted before deciding that he had to do it. Nothing proved Jimi would even want to talk to him, but maybe, just maybe, he would. So he pressed call and waited.
The sound of the call connecting made his heart speed up to levels he wasn't sure he'd experienced before. His fingers tapped the table in front of him as the signal finally started.
"The number you have dialed does not exist."
With a sigh he closed the call. He wasn't entirely sure if it was disappointment or relief he felt. But Jimi didn't want him to contact him, that much was clear. Jimi had after all told him not to wait. But Robin had. And he would.
Somehow this little failed try at contacting him gave Robin more motivation than ever. Maybe he wasn't good enough for Jimi yet. Maybe he still had some way to go before that. Maybe it was finally time to accept an international offer.
He could enjoy his work again too. It wasn't just something he took seriously and concentrated on, but it was actually fun again. He even started socializing with some of the other actors.
But most of all he made sure to stay in active contact with Jare. They texted and even called, and he was thankful Jare seemed to understand that despite the weirdness of it, it was something Jimi needed. When talking to Jare it was okay to off handedly mention Robin. It was okay to blurt out that he missed him more than the day before. Because Jare knew and didn't judge him.
He did still tell him that he was an idiot for letting it go, but Jimi was dealing with that.
Weeks became months and the summer passed surprisingly quickly.
He didn't even ask Maki what he thought about it. He personally answered the request right away asking for more details and an agreement. After that he might just have literally jumped around his apartment like a ten year old high on energy drinks.
This was his first real connection to Jimi in any way for three whole years.
He worked hard after school and during weekends and despite being very good at English he walked around practicing it whenever he could. He wanted his songs to sound as good as possible.
His first international single was released in April 2016 and though it might not have reached the top it did well enough. Robin was sure Jimi would hear it wherever he was. He was sure he was on the right track.
Jimi had visited cons in his life. He was proud to admit he'd gone to Ropecon every year when he was younger and even more active with his roleplaying hobby. But this was new. Now he'd be participating in panels and interviews in front of people who'd loved the first movie and were looking forward to this one. Thousands of people.
But even between all the stress and flying around he recognised Robin's voice instantly when he heard it on British radio. A wide smile spread over his lips. Robin's voice was so much darker now, but he still reached the high parts perfectly. And he sounded amazing in English. Jimi lived on the energy from that little moment for weeks, a smile constantly on his face. His Robin was making it.
He unlocked his door and pushed through with all his bags. There was quite a pile of post on the floor inside the door, but luckily enough no advertisements. His bags were left in a corner and he picked up the pile of letters and headed into the kitchen. One filled coffee cup later he started going through them.
One after another he opened them finding absolutely nothing of interest. A few bills and some weird job offers. Then there was a completely normal looking envelope which contents made him drop his coffee mug to the floor.
"Mr. Robin Packalen,
You are as a contributor to the official soundtrack of Iron Sky 2 hereby cordially invited to take part in the World Premiere of the movie Iron Sky 2 in Berlin the 11th of November 2016. Please inform us of your attendance before the 1st of September.
Energia Productions and New Holland Pictures"
The tears streaming down his face were of pure happiness.
I saw you and I got addicted right away
I stumbled and stepped into your trap
Now you're pulling me to you, and I run towards you
And there is no cure, I give in to fate