What It Could Be

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Orion couldn't put into words how crushed he felt by Zachary's simple sentence. He understood, but at the same time he couldn't even consider letting his boy go back to that disgusting alley. He wanted to ask why, and for how long Zach would be gone if he did let him go, but he just couldn't get a darn word out! Zachary seemed to sense his frustration, but when neither of them said anything for the next several minutes Zach awkwardly slid to the passenger's seat and buckled his seatbelt before turning to look out the window.

No. No no no!

Even though he was screaming in his mind, Orion put on a fake smile and got them back on the road. The drive felt like only a few seconds, when it had to have been at least fifteen minutes. Zachary didn't wait for him to open his door when he parked and instead headed for the alley by the club. He fished his spare key from his pocket and opened the door before Orion was even able to force himself to get his seatbelt off.

Where are you going, sweetheart? Please come back...

Groaning quietly to his empty car, Orion leaned forward and pressed his forehead to the steering wheel he was already gripping tightly on either side. He understood what Zachary wanted, and knew that the abrupt shift in lifestyle would likely have a negative effect at some point... but he wasn't ready.

A gentle knock on his car window made him glance over at Xena. Her expression was worried, and when he leaned back and rolled the window down, she quickly reached in and hugged him like one would an upset child.

"It's okay, hun. He just needs more time to adjust."

Orion frowned but nodded, allowing Xena to turn off his car and remove the keys, then undo his seat belt for him before she opened his door. "Come on, Orion. You've been sitting here for nearly an hour."


He was going to argue that he couldn't have been sitting in his car for so long, but when he looked at the dashboard clock, it told him that she was right. Grumbling under his breath, Orion forced himself out of his car and locked it, then followed after Xena to the front of the club. He didn't want to go with her, he wanted to go pull Zachary into a hug he couldn't escape until he promised not to leave later, but he knew that would only cause more problems.

"Can you help Jim clean up the main area and tables before we open please?"

It wasn't really a question, but he nodded anyways and quickly got busy. By the time people were beginning to trickle in he was panting, already tired. They had finished awhile ago but he had gone above and beyond and also cleaned the bathrooms and each of the rooms upstairs. Hearing them, he quickly ducked back downstairs and into his room to take a quick shower. The warm water released a small portion of the stress he was feeling, but when the door to the bathroom opened and Zachary stepped in, barely visible through the steamed-up glass of the shower, Orion felt his heartbeat stumble in his chest.


Forcing himself to pretend that he wasn't affected, Orion scrubbed at his hair, only realizing that he didn't even have soap in it yet.

"Sorry, I-I'll just wait till you're done..."

Before he could say anything Zachary backtracked into his bedroom.

Darn it.

He quickly got his hair cleaned, then moved to his body before stepping out into the chilly bathroom. Zachary had left the door wide open, letting in the cool air-conditioning. It added goosebumps to his flesh as he walked into his bedroom after wrapping a towel around his waist. His feet stopped in front of his bed, and more importantly, in front of a curled-up, sleeping Zachary.

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