Dec 13th - Needles and Shawles

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Guys, I'm sorry as all hell. But: The trimester end performance on Friday went very well (thank you so much to all those who crossed their fingers for me! You are the best!!),and afterwards I was a little too tired for getting two words in a row. Saturday I fell asleep during the day three times, the last time with my head in front of my laptop. I very unenthusiastically got up from bed after going there at three in the morning with a bad kink in my neck, with the plan to get everything ready for the day with all my nieces and nephews early, so there would be time for writing before they would arrive. Yeah. Seven wasn't early enough, I was still running around when they were at the door. And when everything was straightened away after they left, I fell asleep again at my desk. So. This is part one for today and I very much hope, I will get out a part two as well!!!

Hugs, Lulu

"No."

"Linus..."

"No!"

"It's important..."

"You poke me with that needle and I will puke all over your shoes. All of them. Those you wear and those in your closet. I swear!"

"I can't believe this."

"You...?!" Linus gaped at Beatrice. "You can't believe this? Are you shitting me? You can't believe that after ten days of being locked into an apartment I'm not quite sure is located where exactly and being played voodoo doll with, you can't believe that I'm not going to give you one more drop of my precious blood for at least three days?"

"You are being childish."

"And no ultra sounds. Or whatever else you might cook up to torture me with. Three days. Don't you dare touching me!"

Beatrice sighed deeply. "You are endlessly annoying."

"Oh, that compliment applies both ways. Trust me on that one."

"I want to make sure that you survive the birth of your children, in contrast to all the other cases on record..."

"Nope. You used that to scare me into doing what you want me to do for a few days too many by now. You also told me that all the pregnancies lasted between seven and eight months. That's enough time to prod and suck me dry of my blood with the next three days free of any medical procedures." Linus glared, hands in his hips. He felt silly, but Beatrice was gambling with her life if she even thought about getting near him for anything but a hug.

"You were so much nicer to be around the first few days", Beatrice sighed, turning away from him with emphasis.

"That was the time I needed to process that I am a very male being being pregnant. After ten days, I can say it aloud without a panic attack. Aren't you proud of how far I have come in such a short amount of time?"

Beatrice turned back, they stared at each other and broke down in laughter. Linus was enchanted. He never knew his half-sister was capable of laughing so hard that tears streamed down her cheeks. She laughed loud and belly deep and when the joke was dirty and good, she had the most dirty laugh, Linus had ever heard. And it always happened so unexpected. Almost all the time, she wore that blank mask of well educated indifference, but for the moments she let loose in big way.

Like now.

"Tom says it is save for us to go shopping", she got out between residual chuckles while she dabbed at her lashes to get rid of the laughing tears.

"Will I ever meet that elusive Tom?", Linus asked. "I entered Europe as his highly valued staff member Mitchell Gardener, PR assistant. He was even on board but I never saw him."

"No, I guess you won't. He likes his privacy", Beatrice said bluntly, but with a smile.

"Are you having a wild affair?"

"No."

Linus wasn't sure he really trusted her answer.

To be honest, Linust wasn't caring too much. More important was the fact, that he was allowed to leave the flat. Being stuck inside for 10 days was grating away on his sanity. He had never been too good at sitting quietly around. The memory of listening to Ced, reading to Ian on his flight to New Zealand, being fascinated by the wonky story and falling in love with a voice only a few weeks ago, resurfaced. He had had only a short impression of the two men sitting behind him from passing them on his way to the loo. Asking for the title of the book they were reading was only his way to connect with them before they had to leave the plane after landing. And his strategy had worked well. And it was still his plan to buy some books by the author as soon as possible. All his hope was on the grocery story they were now heading to having some on stock. He didn't count on more than fifteen titles being on sale in the whole store, but maybe he would be lucky.

Glasgow.

He was a highland born and raised Scottish lad.

The lowlands were... very flat. And industrial. At least what little he had seen of the city while arriving in the dark and how walking for seven minutes through the streets.

The store was a store like any bigger grocery store. They went in, Beatrice loading them up with fruit and veggies. After they had tackled the bulk of the shopping together in comfortable silence, Beatrice went off to look for a few items for herself and Linus went to search for some bestselling books display, hiding somewhere near the register.

While finding himself in a confusing aisle where all kinds of juices and pop where on sale, hands landed on his eyes, a voice saying "It's not the easter bunny."

Linus was frozen in place, the instinct to fight and the instinct to just hold still warring inside him, letting him jerk in place in shock. His heart raced, the man behind him was a lot bigger than him, but then the scent flooded his memory. It was more woodsy than it had been, but still linked to most of his best memories.

It's not the easter bunny.

That's what Toby had always said.

"Okay, maybe I made a mistake. Is that you, Linus?" the voice said and the hands were lifted.

Linus turned around.

Adrenalin and regrets and Toby being Toby made tears spring to his eyes.

"No, it's me", he croaked, looking up into those sharp grey eyes he had missed on so many nights, when he wished for nothing more than to be curled up with his best friend in a blanked ford to trade stories and secrets and don't feel so goddamn alone anymore.

Before he could say anything more, he was enveloped in a huge hug, that made him whimper hug Toby back as hard as he could manage himself.

"I missed you, stupid", Toby croaked and hearing his breaking voice made Linus's eyes spill. Toby was still the Toby, obviously, through and through.

Then Toby was wiggling free and holding Linus at arm's length.

He wasn't the lanky guy anmore Linus remembered from their last days of high school. He had filled out, looking healthy and happy.

"Can we be friends again?", Toby asked and with raised eyebrows. "Because I was always waiting for you to come back to visit so I would be able to tell you that I understood and you had no idea how to handle whatever happened to you back then, but really, it would be just cool to be able to talk to you again, mate. It's been twelve years since we last smoked dried oak leaves in that cold as hell tree house. And I still miss your sorry arse."

Linus wasn't able to answer. He started to cry in earnest and was very happy that Toby just pulled him back into his arms, to he could hide his face as well as his loud sobs in the big wooly shawl he wore five times around his neck.

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