All my life I've stumbled in the dark
Reaching out but finding only air
Air and space, space and time
Time and faith never seem to collide
Before he left for the airport Robin asked when they'd see each other next. With a smile Jimi wrote down his address in his notebook and ripped out the page. "Tonight?", he said and gave Robin a quick kiss before hurrying down to the waiting taxi.
Somehow it all just felt so perfect. Jimi flew home and Robin followed half a day later. There was no worrying about how they'd deal with reality or how things would work out. The happiness had simply taken over.
As Robin finally landed on Finnish ground that evening he quickly took a taxi and told the driver Jimi's address as if it was the most natural thing in the world. But truth to be told he could barely believe it. They were a couple now. What Robin had been waiting and wishing for for the larger part of four years had come true. There had been so much struggling along the way but they were finally here. So of course Robin was heading straight to Jimi's. He wanted every minute of the older man's time.
While in the taxi his phone suddenly beeped. Probably Jimi, he thought, but he was wrong.
"Good job, man. Thank you. -Jare"
Robin stared at the text in confusion for the rest of the ride. Of course he knew that Jare was Cheek, Jimi's friend but... What was he thanking Robin for? Getting together with Jimi? That didn't make any sense. It had been Jare helping Jimi in that gossip magazine though.
Suddenly Robin felt lost. He didn't know anything about Jimi's last four years other than filming that movie and getting drunk. And that he'd thought of Robin enough to send him letters. Nothing else.
"That was less than a day but I already missed you," Robin mumbled. Jimi withdrew with a chuckle, taking Robin's bag from him and carrying it further inside.
"Always so impatient."
Robin took off his jacket and shoes and followed Jimi, eyes taking in the surroundings. He'd never been to Jimi's house, not even back when they worked together. This was all completely new. He noted the table covered in role playing materials with a smile.
After looking around and noting as many details as possible he decided it was best to just ask.
"So Jimi, why would Cheek thank me?"
Jimi looked up from where he was already making them tea with surprise on his face.
"Che-- Jare texted me, thanking me for something."
Jimi snorted and continued with the tea.
"Oh that little shit, he actually did it."
When Jimi said nothing else Robin pulled out a chair and sat down, patiently waiting for Jimi to get done with the tea. Once the cup was in front of him and Jimi had sat down next to him he tried again.
"I figure it has to do with us?"
"Yeah, I guess. I went to see him earlier and he found out." Jimi was drumming his fingers against the mug nervously. "He pulled out the champagne, actually." He paused for a little while, probably thinking of what to say, or how to say it.
"He said he 'needed to thank you for bringing his best friend back'."
Robin didn't say anything, but the room suddenly felt very small. It felt like whatever Jimi was telling him made the whole world shrink around him and all he could see was that same picture in his head. Then Jimi looked up at him, making eye contact just for a little while before looking away and continuing.
"Jare's seen a lot the last few years. I... Tried to run away from this so much that it was all I thought about. Forcing myself to stay away and... It was really bad. I drank so much attempting to keep it all away. At one point I sort of totally broke down in front of Jare and he listened and it helped a lot."
His hand had let go of the tea cup and reached over to grab Robin's. Silently they held hands for a while, Robin not wanting to break what felt like glass surrounding them. It was like deep inside he'd known, he'd figured it had to be something like that.
Then Jimi continued.
"He told me I'd been completely myself those two years with you, and he was right, I guess. I didn't take his advice to contact you but... It just made it easier that he knew. And maybe it gave me some hope that one day, maybe."
By now, Robin was resting his head on jimi's shoulder, tea long forgotten. Jimi could feel the way Robin was shaking right next to him and tightened his hold on his hand.
"But I nearly panicked when you showed up in Berlin. I was afraid I'd break down again. But well-- I. You know the rest, and Robin I'm very happy to have you here."
He placed a kiss on Robin's head and Robin tried to hid his face, cheeks wet from tears. Jimi pushed him up and used the hand not still clasping Robin's tightly to wipe his tears.
"I-- I'm sorry Jimi."
"For what?", Jimi said, turning to place a gentle kiss on Robin's lips.
"Just-- causing you that."
"Idiot, that was entirely me. And it's over, Robin."
Even so, Robin's tears kept falling for a while longer and they held each other until long after the tea was cold.
They had spent every moment togehter since they came back. There had been cuddling on the sofa with movies playing in the background and take-away sushi eaten directly from the box. They'd shared more laughs and tears and in the night they'd again come undone in each other's arms. Robin both hoped he would and wished that he never would get used to the feeling of waking up next to Jimi. It was simply amazing.
These last two days had left such a warmth and happiness inside him that any pain of the last four years, his or Jimi's alike, were at least momentarily forgotten. He left for school with a smile and came back just the same. Theough he could hardly concentrate, his mind was filled with Jimi to a degree it hadn't been since he first realised he liked him. It was like he'd fallen in love all over again.
Samppa was coming down to Helsinki for the weekend and Robin had decided not to tell him before then. This was surprisingly hard though, as there was no one else he could tell either. There were so many feelings inside of him that he couldn't share. Jimi was his now. He could actually call him 'his Jimi'. All those years and all that work had been worth it. He was sure Samppa would see it on his face right away.
And he did. The first thing Samppa said was "Clearly someone's gotten laid", and that was it. It felt so great to just get to tell somebody everything he was so happy about. Samppa had to tell him to stop a couple of times, as he was honestly not interested in Robin's sex life. Samppa almost fell of his chair from laughing at the mozzarella salad. But once everything was out on the table Samppa said;
"I'd sort of guessed the letters were from him."
Robin looked surprised.
"Yeah, it was around the time with Sara, it just somehow felt like it. Can't explain."
"Oh. And you never... Said anything?"
"Dude, you had a girlfriend. Note the imperfect there, though."
And so they were laughing again. Robin never mentioned that text message from Jare.
Wihout either of them mentioning a thing, or even considering the opposite, Robin stayed over again. There was something so fantastically calming and reassuring in sleeping with their arms around each other. There was nothing strange with Robin making them coffee in the morning either, and as he left for school just a little bit earlier than Jimi (mostly for safety) the have-a-good-day-kiss would have them both smiling all the way past lunch. Neither mentioned the bag of extra clothes that was left in a corner of Jimi's bedroom either.
It quickly became a routine. After a couple of weeks Robin would barely go home to his own apartment at all. When it happened it was mostly just to get things or check the post. Sometimes he'd be quite late as he had work in the studio after school, but even when he didn't Jimi would always be home before him. Often there would already be dinner well under way as he arrived and as often as possible Robin would then help out. He was no ace in the kitchen though, but he knew the basics. He blamed it on his lack of experience compared to Jimi, Jimi on the other hand just said he simply sucked with a smile.
"Just because I don't know how to make avocado pasta?", Robin had retorted.
Over the following months Robin's presence became a part of Jimi's apartment. The tooth brush cup would look weird if you took one away, and even if Jimi made sure to point out that those weren't his underwear in the laundry he loved to find them there. When Robin started grocery shopping and included pineapple on the shopping list every time Jimi ordered a cooking book on sushi.
Slowly as it all settled down other people started fitting in to Robin's world again, and he went back to hanging out with friends outside of school. Jimi would always reply to his texts with "don't twat around too much" and Robin would know he'd find Jimi bent over his roleplay figurines later. Jimi never seemed to mind at all, more than happy to spend hours at home with his hobbies. But sometimes Robin wondered if it was the fours years that had made the previously so social Jimi want to sit at home alone. It made it feel like a stone was lying on the bottom of his stomach and made him think of a broken Jimi far too often.
But Jimi seemed happy now, and Robin was more than happy. There was no need to mention his guilt and cause more pain. And when Jimi one day handed him a key ("I might be home late some days, have to finish this track.") he played along and pretended it was nothing special. That lasted for about ten seconds before he was hugging Jimi and Jimi hugged him back just as tightly.
"This is your home too now."
On the train he texted both Samppa and Sara, and they decided to go for a movie, all three of them. And then maybe eat something afterwards. It felt like ages since he had last actually spent time with them and that made him feel a bit guilty. But on the other hand he really didn't want to leave Jimi alone too much. That just felt bad somehow.
They met up at Finnkino and picked some random action movie. It was okay, but the best part was just laughing together. It wasn't long ago that Robin last saw Samppa, but Sara he hadn't seen for ages. He was happy he'd met her. Now that he had Jimi again it was somehow easier to think of her as only a great friend, and that's exactly what she was.
After the movie they headed over to Hesburger. They chose the one in a shopping center on the other side of the square and were there in just a couple of minutes. Robin had this weird relationship with Hesburger, ever since his albums were sold with meals in 2012 it had been a bit embarrassing to go. He just never got over it. But here he was, enjoying burgers with his friends.
When his phone went off a grin quickly spread itself over his face when he read the message from Jimi.
"Safely in L.A., don't miss me too much -Jimi"
Samppa snorted and asked "He already misses you?".
"No, no he's in America actually, just, told me he'd arrived, basically…", Robin explained suddenly blushing furiously as he realised Sara was there. He turned to look at her and she was smirking. Oh god, how was he going to get out of this?
"Are we possibly talking about the owner of that t-shirt?"
"What t-shirt?", Samppa asked.
"Oh this guy's t-shirt I found in Robin's room." Sara was grinning in a way that was almost creepy. But what could Robin do really?
There was a few seconds of silence and Robin saw how Sara's eyes widened.
"You and Jimi are TOGETHER?"
And then his own eyes widened. Mouth hanging open he couldn't get a word out. Samppa was looking just as surprised and looked from Sara to Robin and back to Sara.
"Come on guys, all it took was that Luupilla mun korvissa was shown on Voice one morning when I was having breakfast. Suddenly there's Jimi in a certain t-shirt all over the screem in front of me. Wasn't exactly rocket science."
"So, tell me everything," she continued with a laugh.
And he did. Well most of it, at least. A little bit from all the way back when it all started and how they'd met again. Sara asked some questions along the way and made funny comments. That was one of the best things with her, she was simply interested from a friend's point of view and it wasn't awkward at all. Samppa had to cover his ears a couple of times, which had both Robin and Sara laughing. Good thing they were sitting in a semi-private corner, because the laughs got a bit loud at times. Once the story was told Sara dropped a bomb Robin hadn't even considered yet.
"What about your parents?"
“I…” He put down his soda and stared at his own hands. “They… don’t know.”
He hadn’t even thought about. Now it hit him like a punch to the head. He was practically living with the love of his life and his parents had no idea. Sooner or later he’d have to tell them. Media was one thing, but his parents… To keep it from them would be very unfair to both them and himself. Hiding it from everyone had just been the natural thing to do.
“What about your graduation, then? If he’s gonna be there…”
Another thing Robin hadn’t even considered. The exams hadn’t even started yet, how would he be thinking of May and graduation already? That was miles away. Well, until Samppa mentioned it.
“Oh shit, I do want him there.”
“You can’t just tell them he’s there as you know, an old work buddy?”, Sara suggested.
“They wouldn’t fall for that,” Samppa pointed out. “It’s been almost five years by then.”
Robin decided right about then. If he truly planned on spending his life with Jimi, which he of course did, it was inevitable. There was also the risk of media finding out, and the last thing Robin wanted was for his parents to find out about it from a headline. Especially as he had a feeling such headlines wouldn’t give a very positive image and they’d judge Jimi enough already without that boost.
“Oh man, they won’t like it.”
“You don’t say,” Samppa said. “They don’t even know you like guys too, huh?”
Sara sighed dramatically.
“Robin Packalen, you are an idiot.”
Maybe he was, but he’d decided now. He’d tell them before his graduation. Samppa was right, he really wanted Jimi there. And even if he could lie to other relatives he wanted Jimi there like a family member. Exactly as what he really was. He went over possible ways of telling them quietly by himself, fingers playing with the straw on his otherwise forgotten drink.
He had a very good relationship with his parents. They’d always supported him when he wanted to sing and they let him start that work so wonderfully early. It was all thanks to that that he’d ever even met Jimi. But he’d never had to tell them anything that could even be compared to this before. Robin had no idea how they’d really react. Samppa felt he did, however.
“Your dad’s gonna kill him.”
Jimi on the other hand had more work at the studio lately and often came home quite late. Robin did his best to have some sort of dinner ready when he came home. He was no master chef, but Jimi seemed to like it either way. Robin had noticed he was now referring to this apartment as home. That made him smile every time and he wondered if Jimi had noticed too.
His parents often crossed his mind, but he'd decided to leave it until after the exams. It somehow felt like telling them would take so much energy and concentration, and possible even make him troubled for a while, that leaving it until after would be best. He did want to get good grades, after all. He'd need those to get into a university. Even though it seemed quite sure he could live on his music for the rest of his life he'd always planned on studying. If he ever ended up not being able to continue with music he wanted to have something else to pull out. First he did plan on taking a gap year and concentrating on his music, though. A year of only music.
He hadn't mentioned it to Jimi yet but he was doing the history exam. There was something sbout Jimi talking about the subject so passionately that had made him find an interest in a subject he'd always considered unnecessarily complicated. But now he wanted to know things, and go to see places with Jimi. He was only starting out, but it was much more interesting than he could ever have imagined. So here he was now, going through Jimi's bookshelves preparing for the exam.
Soon Jimi texted him he'd go out after work, so Robin didn't bother making anything. There was a frozen pizza in the freezer, and that was just perfect. He wondered if this would be one of the nights Jimi came home far too drunk. Sometimes he still got lost among the drinks and didn't know when to stop. Everytime Robin had to see that and help him he felt like someone was sticking needles into his heart. He blamed himself, but what else could he do than make sure Jimi made it to bed, take care of him and hope that it was the last time.
This ended up being one of those nights.
"Fineee", Robin shouted back and turned down the heat. As he opened the door, spatula still in hand he was surprised to see an older couple on the other side. He was even more surprised when they just greeted him and stepped inside.
"Morning Konsta!", the man shouted and Robin closed the door and stood there completely shocked for a few seconds before quietly retreating back to the eggs. He could hear Jimi coming out of the bedroom and suddenly the lady was there next to him, opening the cupboard and taking out coffee.
"So what are you making?"
"Uhh, breakfast...?", Robin munbled.
"So we definitely need coffee. What's your name, dear?"
"Ohh, I see."
"Konsta I knew ancient Greece and Rome was your thing, but really?"
Robin turned around, wondering what the heck the man could mean with that and saw Jimi show up, blushing furiously. The woman snorted and turned off the stove, taking over what Robin had been making.
"Robin, uhh, meet my parents."
Oh. He should've guessed.
So before he realised what was happening he was having breakfast with Jimi's parents. They didn't seem to mind his presence though, which was a huge relief.
"So Robin, hmm. Been going well since that, uhh what was it, frontflip whatever?"
"Frontside Ollie", Jimi corrected and sent a smile in Robin's direction.
"Uhh, yes I guess? I've been doing a lot of music."
"Dedicated. That's good. So what's your opinion on medieval stone churches?"
He turned to look at Jimi, who was suddenly grinning, probably at the look on Robin's face. And then he started laughing and both his parents followed. It was extremely awkward for Robin at first, but the wholehearted sincerity of their laughs, and the way Jimi's was like a perfect combination of his mother's and father's made him smile. They seemed like such a perfect family. Maybe letting his own family know would be as easy?
As their laughter calmed down Jimi patted Robin on the shoulder and his mother said "It's a good thing someone's taking care of Konsta, he's so bad at it himself."
"I'm here, and I'm 35."
"I know that, dear."
This time Robin laughed too.
Meeting Jimi's parents had left him with a good feeling about this. As the train got closer to Turku he did get extremely nervous, but he was very motivated. This was a now or never situation and he was sure it wouldn't be as bad as he thought it could be. No, things would definitely be just fine.
Once he was actually home he was no nervous he was practically shaking. Thankfully two of his sisters had already moved out, so there was only one to worry about. They enjoyed dinner together like any time when Robin came home. This time when they asked him about his life it didn't feel normal to lie anymore. It had come so naturally for months, but now all the sentences starting with "Me and Jimi..." wanted to come out. But he needed to tell them the proper way. He had it all planned out.
Once dinner was over he hung around, waiting for his sister to get up. She did and quickly excused herself to her room, which was exactly what Robin had hoped for. Yes, she'd get to know too, but both his parents at once was enough. He wasn't sure which was scarier though, admitting he was in love with a man or that the man was 17 years older than him (A subject he was actually hoping to avoid entirely). Because neither of them mattered to Robin in the least, but he knew it wouldn't be that easy for his parents. He just hoped they'd take it well, like Jimi's parents.
Well, he might as well get it over and done with.
"So you guys remember Jimi?"
"Mhm?" Neither of his parents moved from what they were doing. He wished they'd look at him at the same time as he hoped they'd just not care enough to look at him.
"Oh, he…", Robin tried, but was interrupted.
"What's he doing nowadays? It's been a while since you two worked together." Well that didn't seem too negative at least.
"Uhh, acting. But music too. Goes to the studio every day."
"So what about him?", his dad asked.
Oh god, this was it.
"I'm in a relationship with him."
Their eyes snapped to Robin in an instant, his mum gaping a bit and both of them just looking utterly confused.
"What do you mean?"
"We… We like each other?"
He could see his dad's eyes narrow, a frown spreading all over his face.
"Are you kidding me? Since when?"
"November, technically but… "
"Robin Petteri Packalen, when did you plan on telling us that you're dating a man who's what, how old is he now?"
Oh shit, he brought it up.
"I'm telling you now! And he's 35 n--" He didn't get further than that before he was interrupted.
"THIRTY FIVE? Nina, we're calling the police, he can't get away with that! A child!"
No no no no, this was not how they were supposed to react. And Robin wasn't a child.
"I'm not a child, dad! We're both adults and I know what I'm doing!"
"Who knows what he did to you when you were younger, mentoring you back then."
"Your dad is right, this is serious."
"He hasn't done a thing to me! I didn't see him for four years!"
"And before that, huh? Robin you need to listen to us!" His father was almost shouting now. So Robin shouted back.
"NO. You need to listen to me. Yes things might have started when I was fourteen but nothing. Ever. Happened. Four years and we still found each other, and it isn't illegal in any way, you have no right to--"
"WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO, you're our son! He will get what he deserves for this. And we've read the news, we know what a drunk he is!"
Robin didn't know what to do. His father wouldn't listen at all and his mum was mostly standing there, quietly. He wished she'd say something at all. He wished his dad would stop screaming. He only wanted them to know how happy he was, but instead they were putting blame on Jimi for nothing at all. Jimi didn't deserve that, Jimi deserved to be appreciated. Robin had caused enough trouble for Jimi, he needed his parents to accept him.
"He deserves nothing other than good things! I love him dad, and I've liked him for years. And maybe things started back then, but he left, he didn't touch me, he told me to forget him and live my own life but I couldn't! And then I find out he started drinking and had a breakdown because he couldn't stop thinking of me and I feel so guilty! So you are not calling anyone. I know what I'm doing and I know I love him. Just deal with it!"
"YOU WILL NOT SHOUT AT ME!"
"Well you're not listening--! You have no idea how much he means to me!"
"I won't listen to any of this bullshit! Get out of my sight!"
The message was clear, and Robin didn't want anything else than get away now either. Clearly this was going nowhere. He just wish his mum had said something more. But she was standing by the side staring at them both with tears in her eyes. That hurt.
"Fine. Don't listen. I won't love him less for that!"
He stormed out of the kitchen and up the stairs, doing everything he could to hold his tears until he was inside his own room. At the top of the stairs his youngest sister was sticking her head out her door and she gave him look of sympathy as he rushed past. At least the whole house wasn't out to judge him.
Once inside his own room there was no holding back. He was angry, he was disappointed, but most of all it just hurt so much. He had no idea how much the approval of his parents would have meant to him. And when they didn't approve, when they wouldn't even listen, he felt so betrayed. So he let the tears fall into his pillow, making sure that no sounds would be heard outside of his room. He just needed to let a few out. Then he'd text Samppa. He needed someone to beat at Gran Turismo.
"Come play GT, my parents know, didn't go well. Need to kick someone's ass. -Robin"
Samppa headed over as soon as he got it. Robin wasn't one to ask for support easily, even in the form of games, so this was clearly bad. It was definitely a good thing he still lived so close to Robin's parents. Maybe not next door anymore, but at least in the same city. He might have overstepped some boundaries on the way, but he felt it necessary. He sent a text with the line "Robin told his parents, heading over to patch up the worst wounds but I think you better talk to him when he gets back. -Samppa" to Jimi, hoping it would help. Otherwise he could just let Robin beat him a few more times.
Robin's parents were sitting in the kitchen when he entered the house. They looked like the apocalypse had arrived, and his dad quickly stood up when he noticed Samppa.
"You should have told us!"
"About what? The wonderfully stable and sweet relationship your son is in and how happy they both are?"
He ignored any muttering and comments from the kitchen and quickly made his way up the stairs. About halfway up a thought hit him and he simply couldn't resist. So he turned around and shouted; "I'll send Jimi your greetings!" before disappearing into Robin's room and closing the door behind him with a bang.
Robin was sitting on his bed, controller in his hand and glaring at the tv-screen. The game wasn't on yet, so Samppa walked over and turned on the playstation. The game was already inside, so he started it and went and sat down next to Robin.
"So. Is he gonna kill Jimi?"
"He threatened with calling the police. Man, I shouldn't have told them."
"You would have had to sooner or later anyway, it's done now."
After a short silence Robin nodded. "True. Just, he wouldn't listen at all! Accused Jimi of insane things when I'm the one who..."
"Guess you'll have to show them then. Should we play? I could drive you to the train station later if you want to go home."
Robin looked at him in surprise first, then smiled and started setting up their game. "Thanks."
Somewhere between the races Samppa got a reply from Jimi.
"Why the fuck did he do that without telling me, is he okay? -Jimi"
He showed the text to Robin who got pissed at him for telling Jimi for about two seconds before sighing and giving Samppa a quick, awkwardly angled hug. Taking Samppa up on the offer of a ride to the train station he packed his things and they left in silence. Robin's parents weren't in the kitchen anymore, and that was just as well. Another encounter right now might not have been for the best.
"You should've told me," he mumbled into Robin's skin.
"I didn't want to cause you any more trouble… They're my parents."
Jimi pulled back a little, so he could see Robin's face. His eyes were a bit wet, but he wasn't actually crying.
"You haven't caused me any trouble, silly. I would've wanted to help."
Jimi shook his head and gently guided Robin over to the sofa and sitting them down on it. He gave him a soft kiss and then leaned his head on his shoulder. Jimi wasn't blind, he'd noticed Robin was blaming himself for something. Figuring out what it was hadn't been hard, but ever bringing it up was. But there was nothing for Robin to feel guilty about. Jimi needed him to see that, needed him to understand that he had done nothing wrong. Jimi had ran away, and the sad truth was that it was probably those years apart that made things work out in the end.
"Shut up, twat. I'm so thankful, Robin, that you convinced me that we could do this. Because we can, and we're in this together. Maybe I couldn't have helped, but you wouldn't have had to do it alone."
Jimi could feel Robin nodding, his shoulder moving slightly from the action. He reached out and grabbed Robin's hand, entwining their fingers.
"So what are they going to do to me?", he asked with a hint of a smirk on his lips.
"I want you to write the lyrics. About anything. And then sing it."
It was a relief there was no one else at the studio, because Robin simply couldn't keep his lips away from Jimi's. It all ended in happy laughter and Robin spent the next few days thinking of the lyrics. Jimi was working on songs for other artists and Robin spend the day on the sofa with a pen and a notebook. One time Jimi left the studio without a word and came back with a bag of groceries, headed straight to the fridge. Later Robin when Robin went to check what he bought he found a packet of Tuc crackers in the fridge, exactly where he'd kept them when he was fourteen. He grabbed two, ate one and threw the other one at Jimi from the door. It hit him in the head and broke into several pieces.
"Ouch, was that really necessary?"
They both grinned.
His parents mattered to him a lot, and they'd always gotten along great. He hoped this wouldn't mess up things for real, but if they really couldn't accept it he supposed they'd get to see less of him. He lived in Helsinki, he enjoyed life with Jimi, and if coming home would only be painful he'd let it be until maybe one day they'd accept it. But all hope wasn't lost yet. Maybe Jimi was right and talking to the both of them could help. Jimi seemed quite convinced, at least. That didn't make him less nervous though.
So the hours they sat on Robin's parents' sofa, drinking coffee were quite the torture. Jimi tried to lighten up the mood several times, even suggested they'd play something, but Robin didn't feel like it. He just wanted his mum to come home already. But when she finally did, when the door opened, he wish she'd stayed at work.
She must've noticed the extra shoes inside the door. Robin quickly let go of Jimi's hand and replied with a quick "In the living room." As she walked in she almost dropped thebag she was holding. Maybe not the best start.
"Oh. You-- You brought him over."
Jimi stood up, took a few step forwards and held out his hand.
"Nina, it's nice to see you again."
She stared at him for a while before putting her bag aside and taking his hand. Robin let out a breath he hadn't been aware he was holding.
"You too. Would you boys want some more coffee? I think I need some."
"Uhh, sure, yes please."
She disappeared into the kitchen and they could hear the sounds of her making coffee. Jimi headed back to the sofa and smiled at Robin (See, that wasn't so bad?). He sat back down and leaned in for a quick reassuring kiss. "No, don't do that again, mum could see us!", Robin whispered and Jimi chuckled. "It'll be fine."
Soon his mother came back with the coffee and some cookies. They both thanked her for it and they sipped in silence for a little while. In the end it was Robin's mum who broke the silence.
"I take it you're here to talk?"
"Yes," Robin replied with a very determined voice, and Jimi smiled at him again.
"Yeah, I'd… I'd like to maybe clear up some things--"
"Why do you like Robin?", Robin's mother interrupted him.
"What makes you want to be in a relationship with a boy so much younger? Just, answer this."
Jimi swallowed and he could feel Robin tensing up next to him. But Jimi had expected to have to explain himself in some way similar to that. Or even doing so on his own initiative, because maybe that would show the most. Robin's hands were in fists on his lap, nails digging into his skin, waiting to hear this and see the results.
"I-- Right from the start I was amazed by how talented and motivated your son is. He was so young but he gave music his all, it was simply inspirational, it still is. I think, I-- I've never really been considered mature, people keep asking me if I'll ever grow up. The responsibility and roles your son took on at such a young age has matured him a lot, to me, and to so many others, he's as much of an adult as I am, and has been so for a while I think. I love how with him, we can be both adults and act childish at times. I don't see an age gap. I love his amazing energy, his pride and how stubborn he can be at times --Like how he decided to tell you about us without telling me. Somewhere over those four years I didn't see your son, deliberately so, I was staying away, I noticed I couldn't really live without him. And then he showed up in Berlin and wouldn't let me escape this time. I'm grateful though, your son makes me a better person and I think a much more relevant question is what he sees in me, because I see everything in him."
Next to him Robin's hands were pulling at the hem of his shirt and biting his lip, but a tear still made its way down his cheek. Not caring anymore he reached out and grabbed one of Robin's shaking hands.
"Jimi…", Robin mumbled.
"That's… Thank you."
"You're uh… welcome."
"I'll have to get started on dinner, but I can't say I understand entirely. I do see you're not out to harm him though. So I will trust Robin's judgement. I can't make any promises for his father though."
Jimi quickly got up, offering to help. Robin guaranteed that Jimi was a good cook, even if he was lazy when it came to actually making food. So when Robin's father came home half an hour later he was greeted by Robin setting the table while Jimi and Nina discussed the best spices to add the final touch to the pasta.
"What's going on here?"
"We're about to have dinner, dear." Robin's mother replied. Jimi turned around, just about to greet Robin's father when he continued.
"Who let that man into my house? Get out."
Jimi let his hand drop back to his side and Robin held on to the plates in his hands so hard his fingers went white.
"Mika, calm down, dinner's ready and we're hungry."
"I will not have dinner with him."
"Well, he's having dinner here so you can have your elsewhere then."
Robin's father muttered something unintelligible and sat down. Robin and Jimi stared at each other for a while before finishing what they were doing. Jimi especially tried to ignore the way he could feel Mika Packalen's eyes following his every movement. He made sure not to look at him, to just act as normal as possible. It wasn't easy though.
Once everything was ready they all sat down. Jimi sat next to Robin and opposite his mother. He wasn't sure if they planned it or if it was unconscious, but it made him feel better. This had started so well, but he hadn't been prepared for Robin's father's outburst when he arrived. He hoped he could still do something about it. Robin had again been completely quiet since then, but he was now glaring at his father. Well that's not going to help, Jimi thought.
They ate in silence for a little while and Jimi gathered his courage to say something.
"Mr Packalen I--"
"Leave it. I don't want to hear it, and I hope I won't have to see your face more than strictly necessary. It's honestly quite disgusting."
Jimi just gaped at him for a few seconds, before nodding and looking down at his plate. Neither Jimi nor Robin finished their pasta. They just sat there until dinner was over, cleaned away their plates and decided it would be best to leave without exchanging a word. Robin's mum followed them to the hall and gave Robin a hug. She even smiled at Jimi, if only a little.
"He can be very stubborn. Take care, both of you."
They nodded and Robin mentioned graduation, making it clear Jimi would appear as a friend in front of the other guests.
"Of course you're welcome, he won't be able to act like this with all those people around."
Suddenly Robin's father shouted from the living room. "If I ever get any reason to hurt you, Constantine, I will."
Robin's mother sighed and Robin quickly grabbed Jimi's hand, holding onto it like Jimi might disappear at any moment. Nina gave them a look of sympathy and nodded towards the door. They both nodded back and left quietly, hand in hand.
Maybe it hadn't been a total loss, but it was far from a success. It was one step forward at least, and when they couldn't hold each other during the long way back to Helsinki they made up for that when they reached what had become their home. It was already late and they left the day behind with Robin's head on Jimi's shoulder, arms around each other and legs entwined. Every millimeter of skin touching somehow felt like extra support.
There was a long way to go, but they'd face it together now.
Your old man, he didn't understand
Said to me 'leave and don't come back'
Then he sent your brother after me
We need to run, so take only, what you need
Come on, nothing's gonna chance,
Come on, let's get away
C'mon, we could be together,
Someday, someday, someday