"Well I don't know what I'm looking for
But I know that I just want to look some more
And I won't be satisfied
'Til there's nothing left that I haven't tried
For some people it's an easy choice
But for me there's a devil and an angel's voice
Well I don't know what I am looking for
But I know that I just want to look some more…
Well I don't know what I'm living for
But I know that I just want to live some more
And you hear it from the strangers in your head, from friends
That love never dies and love never ends
And I don't wanna argue, no I don't wanna fight
'Cause you're always wrong and I'm always right
Well I don't know what I'm living for
But I know that I just want to live some more…"
—"What I'm Looking For", Brendan Benson
So how many of you pissed yourselves when you saw that this was finally up?
Hahaha, I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I don't really want to know. But it's about time, huh? I've been working on this for what…three months, four months now? Wtf. Greg and Chris need more stories about them, I'm telling you…there's only like, two other ones out there so far, courtesy of some dear friends of mine…:(
Here I go, decapitating the Wasteland again. XD
I do not understand Christophe/Kyle in the slightest. I'm sorry, but it's kind of dumb to me. I guess…Kyle is too Jewish, and Christophe is too…French. XD I don't even know, but I don't like it. I mean, I get the justification behind it…but seriously, guys. It's like Cartman/Timmy…it's a pairing merely to be a pairing. Does that make sense? Probably not. LMAO.
But don't worry, KBF, I still love you.
Anyway, this here is my attempt at explaining Gregory's link to the Mole…meaning that I plan on trying to convince you that I know; 1.) how the two of them know each other (adurr XD), 2.) why Gregory carries Mole's address around with him, 3.) why Gregory bursts into song when they're plotting to go and rescue Terrance and Phillip, 4.) just why Greg is interested in La Resistance in the first place, 5.) why Mole was so quick to help Stan, Kyle, and Cartman after they mentioned Gregory's name, and 6.) just why the Mole is…the Mole.
Among other things.
Y'all know who this is for. Qindarka, my love, you keep the fires of passion lit in my heart. Here's looking at you, kid. For Oyaji AKA Zidane 2003, who wrote what is definitely the best story in the entire universe, Parable of a Boy Named Gregory. I'm telling you…if he can make me cry and feel sick with love, he can do anything. Dear Allan, I stole Gregory's last name from you. (love) For KyleBroflovskiFan…dearest Amelia, you are a great inspiration to me. I look eagerly forward to more Fierté Dedans. :3 Also for ShikamaruNoMiko, without whom this would probably not exist. Yay for her! She has corrupted me!
Everybody loves, everybody loves, Gregory and Christophe! And anyone who says they don't is a bloody liar. :P
I 'ope zat you enjoy eet…
So that you know: Ms. Wilma Williams's Military Academy for Boys is a fictitious place. Any and all similarities between it and any other military academy already or previously in existence is strictly coincidental. All characters portrayed in this story are fictitious and should therefore not be lusted after, you naughty fankids you.
He comes here often.
The bridge has been his place late at night ever since he moved back here a year ago, once college was over with. He never really plans to come here, though; he just has urges late at night, gets up, and walks around outside. He winds up here most of the time, though other nights he finds himself in front of a house that once belonged to someone he hasn't spoken to in nearly six years, now. Gregory Thorne, the twenty-three year old man with curly golden-bronze hair, sitting on a desolate Colorado bridge at eleven thirty at night…isn't really a man so much as he is a boy. And he admits it to himself as he sits here, looking down into the water of the river that flows so far down below him. He would never admit it to anyone else, he tells himself, because he's too proud. He learned that much from his old friend.
Gregory is expecting him. He knows he'll come. Some strange feeling in the pit of his stomach is telling him that the two of them were destined to meet again here tonight, though the precise reason for their meeting still eludes him. He looks down at his polished shoes with a sort of contempt; the moonlight shimmers off of them like it does on the water below, and Gregory half-wishes that he cared little enough to kick them off. But he paid sixty-five ninety-nine for these shoes two weeks ago, so he doesn't really want to lose them so quickly.
The wind blows, and he smells the faint odor of smoke from a Camel cigarette on the breeze, tickling his nostrils tantalizingly. He recalls the smell from nights spent sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere with the other boys and him…he who would never sleep in front of anyone else. He whose cigarette always glowed somewhere off in the corner of the tent while everyone else dozed off and had colorful dreams of home. Gregory recalls that as they got older, the tents got smaller, and eventually it was just Gregory and him and his cigarettes. He smoked Camels because they were cheaper than Marlboros, and he hardly ever swore, Gregory remembers, when they were alone. Only around the other boys. He still wonders why sometimes.
The blonde picks his head up when the scent grows stronger, looks around; he would give anything to see what his friend has become. He's never known it before, but he's been anxious for the past six years about this very day; the day of their reunion. His fingers grip the cold concrete, and they're trembling a little beneath the pastel-orange sleeves of his work shirt. Gregory knows he's a pretty boy; he always has been, and that's always what's pissed his friend off. He's never been hard enough. He's always cried in public. Gregory can scarcely remember a time when he ever cried; can hardly remember a time in his younger years when he had thought that he could feel anything other than limitless rage. But there were times, he thinks, shuddering as the odor of cancer-inducing smoke curls ever more powerfully beneath his nose. There are always those few nights to think of...when we were alone, and when he would speak to me and treat me like a human being. And then that night...
Gregory reaches up and touches his bottom lip, where there's a small, raised section of scar tissue, running from the inside of his lip down to where his lip curves and becomes his chin. He remembers what he said that night, and it makes him sick to his stomach. He remembers what his friend said that night, and it makes him even sicker. He remembers what they did. It got them both into so much trouble…but who were they to deny the truth? He wonders if that truth isn't the truth anymore, or if maybe the ring on his left hand is just a lie in itself. He wonders how long he's been keeping all these questions from himself.
…The sound of footsteps reaches his ears next; the heavy, dragging footsteps of someone who has seen far more than they ever wanted to. Gregory knows those footsteps well. He glances down the bridge and sees the faint yellow-orange glow of embers on the end of a cigarette, glowing brighter as its owner moves closer to him. A faint smile comes to Gregory's lips as his heart beats faster for just a moment. He wonders, for a split-second, if his friend will still be bothered by all the things he was bothered by before, or if he's changed, as Gregory has. The black combat boots thud on the cement more quickly for a moment, and Gregory has the brief sensation of being watched. He sees out of the corner of his eye that his friend throws his cigarette over the railing of the bridge before stepping the rest of the way up to him. There's something militant about this young man; there always has been. But Gregory likes that about him.
"…You are late, Christophe," Gregory murmurs, though he's still smirking. "This is very unlike you." The Frenchman grunts and kneels half-interestedly beside his oldest friend, his hands clasped together in his lap.
"I wasn't aware zat we were meeting 'ear in ze first place," he says, his voice low and rumbling, thick with the accent that he has tried persistently to shed, but that has refused to leave him. His heritage haunts him, and as he looks over at Gregory with deep, green eyes, the blonde knows that's not the only thing. Gregory looks back, and after an awkward moment, smiles are exchanged. Gregory's eyes trace the form of Christophe's shaggy brown hair in the moonlight; it's still as haphazard as ever. He wonders if his friend has a gun hidden in the confines of the thick field jacket that he's wearing.
Gregory sighs and beams at Christophe. "It's certainly been a while, hasn't it?" His own British accent has faded into almost nothing as the years have passed, and he wonders if it's because God truly does hate Christophe, as the Frenchman persistently assured him in their younger years.
"…Yes," comes the response. "I 'aven't seen you…since…well…since we parted last. I lose track of ze years, sometimes. 'Ow 'ave you been, Gregory? I trust zat I find you well?"
"Of course," he lies, and both of them know it. "How have things been for you?"
"Eh…I work for ze Army, now. Surprising, no? I mees ze Academy more often zan not…" Christophe mumbles. Gregory looks over and can see age lines on his friend's face, even though he's hardly a month older than Gregory himself. "Do you evar mees eet, Gregory?"
"Every day," Gregory replies softly. A vague smile graces his friend's rough lips.
"We certainly 'ad good times back zen, didn't we?"
"…Yes," Gregory agrees. "I hated it at first…but things got better. They always did…when you were there."
"Pfah," Christophe growls. "You're such a pussy, Gregory. You always were."
"Well, you're an arsehole."
"So zen we are both dirty body parts. Zees eez 'ow we are alike."
Gregory laughs lightly, and he hates himself for it afterward; it's a soft, airy sound, like a birdcall more than a masculine chuckle. He cuts himself short, and the Frenchman notices. He snickers a little under his breath, and Gregory feels his heart thumping in his chest against the smooth sound. He loves Christophe's laugh, because it's such a rare thing, like his smile. He shudders when the wind blows again.
"It's a bit cold out tonight, no?" he asks vaguely, though Christophe understands. He sits soundlessly beside his blonde friend, his knees folded, and he pulls a pack of Camels out of his back pocket. Gregory watches the Frenchman take one out with his teeth before offering him one; he shakes his head politely. He's never liked smoking; he would do it sometimes, when he was out with his college friends, but he never got anything out of it. Drinking, either. But he watches Christophe with a bit of a yearning eye as his cracked lips form an accepting "O" around the cancer stick, and he lights it with a match, to seem more sophisticated. Gregory spies a thin, light moustache growing in on his old friend's upper lip, and it makes him smile a little.
He wonders if Christophe ever thinks about the long years they spent growing up together, and all the good times they shared, or if he only remembers the solemn, lonely nights of camping and the gentle friction of their young fingers scraping against canvas and polyester, cold and seeking each other in the dark. Gregory wonders if Christophe remembers anything about stars or The Anthem or praying, or if he blocked it all out so he would only have to dwell on the painful things, like he always did before. Christophe has always been about taking things like a man; going into battle headfirst, no matter what lies ahead. Gregory liked that about him sometimes, though other times it was a little frightening. Failure was never an option in Christophe's eyes…and Gregory wonders if, because they haven't spoken in so long, their friendship has failed, to him.
Christophe seems to sense this doubt in his friend's mind, and he glances over, taking a long drag on his cigarette. His muscles relax visibly, but Gregory fidgets, his fingers cold without gloves. Christophe is wearing black gloves that lack fingers; they're not the ones he was issued back in the Academy (those would be far too small for him by now), but they are of a similar style. There's a box-shaped piece of fabric cut out of the back of the glove, and he has the part that's supposed to cover his forearms rolled down around his wrists, just like he wore his Academy gloves. Gregory can see, even in the dim light, that Christophe's fingers are callused and dirty. He can scarcely remember what it felt like to hold Christophe's hand when they were just boys, alone and afraid in the middle of the night because they didn't know where they were or where they were going. He picks at his cuticles, trying to recall the feeling.
"I 'ave meesed you, Gregory," Christophe sighs, looking up at the sky. "And I 'ave been sinking about everysing…quite a lot, recently…ze Academy…ze trips we took…'ow our muzars always dragged us up to zat cabin in ze middle of nowhere during vacations…"
"I liked that old cabin," Gregory quips, feeling like he should be a part of this conversation, too. "It felt more like home than this place ever has."
"Eet was too cold," coughs the Frenchman. "Far too cold and empty during ze vinter and autumn."
"Just because you always stayed home during the week while I went to school," Gregory murmurs. Christophe looks over at him, interested for a moment. Then he grunts and looks back away.
"…You're right," he says softly. "I deed mees you while you were at school."
"You could have come with me if you wanted."
"Muzar wanted to teach me ze book sings 'erself."
Gregory falls silent after this, knowing that Christophe will just continue to argue the matter as long as he does. The Frenchman takes another long, satisfied drag on his cigarette and puffs out smoke rings, his second soft chuckle of the night escaping him as some thought strikes his fancy. The blonde feels his nails drumming on the concrete beneath him.
"…Gregory…" asks the rough, cracked voice in a tone that Gregory knows well, "do you recall…when we first met?"
Gregory smiles warmly over at Christophe, his eyes sparkling with reminiscence. "From the beginning, then?"
"Of course. Zat eez ze only way."
"Very well," Gregory says, settling back and preparing for a long night of storytelling. "If I remember correctly, it was a cold day in October…"
It was a cold day in October, and five-year-old Gregory Thorne was being pulled closely along by his mother down a busy New York street. He could hardly feel his hand through her tight, bony grip, and it irritated him a little, though he had other things to pester her with than pleas of; "let me go, Mum, let me go!" Buildings, cars, and people passed everywhere around him, and he struggled to keep up with his mother, his tiny feet stamping on the cracked cement sidewalks of the city as the smells of car exhaust and roadside concessions swirled around him in the air. A lot of people were talking on phones or smoking; walking in and out of shops while children ran down the sidewalks, grinning and chasing each other. Some people sat in alleyways reading newspapers under the shelter of cardboard boxes or marquees, but it was completely normal to Gregory, who had lived here with his mother for nearly a year, now.
"Food!" the young British boy demanded, his golden curls bouncing from side to side as he stumbled along behind her. "Mum I'm hungry I WANT LUNCH!"
"Well you'll just have to wait, Gregory," she sighed heavily, jerking him into a tall blue building that was unfamiliar to him. "Mum has work to do with the homeless first."
A bell on the glass door jingled as she pushed it open and led her son inside, and Gregory was hit with warmth that made his flushed cheeks flush even more. The blonde woman ushered her son into a corner with an order of; "now you be good, Gregory, while Mum does her work," before hanging up her coat and signing in at a desk, and Gregory was left to climb up onto a cushioned red chair and entertain himself. His short legs dangled over the edge of the seat, and he looked around the room carefully, swinging his feet crazily as he did so. There were a few people sitting around looking tired and dirty, and Gregory noticed that this place had a slightly bad smell to it, like an old sandwich or dirty socks, or both mixed together. He scrunched up his freckled nose at the odor, his blue eyes scanning the room for toys. He saw his mother leave the room. The grungy old man sitting next to him sneezed loudly.
"Bleshoo," Gregory mumbled, earning himself a toothless grin from the man. Gregory looked away from him and tried not to appear frightened, even though he was. He didn't know where his mother was anymore, and he was now alone in this strange, foul-smelling place. His tiny fingernails dug into the cushions on the seat, and he felt his eyes starting to dampen when he saw something intriguing in the glass portal that led into the building.
A tall, gangly woman with ratty, wavy hair was pulling along a boy that looked about Gregory's age; a boy with big ears and spiky brown hair to match his mother's in color that jutted out from under a large hat, and with mean, screwed up green eyes that made Gregory wonder if he was in trouble of some kind. The boy was wearing mismatched clothes and a lot of them, too, but Gregory liked everything about him immediately. The boy's mother noticed Gregory sitting alone in his chair, and she murmured something that sounded like nonsense to her son, who protested back in the same nonsense language that was dimly familiar to Gregory. He thought he had heard his mother use some of those words before, though they were meaningless to him. Gregory cocked his head to the side curiously, having forgotten all about the toothless old man sitting beside him and the fact that his mother was nowhere to be found.
"Go, Christophe!" the brown-haired boy's mother commanded him, pushing him over toward Gregory. The tall boy stumbled a little but went, moving slowly over toward the chairs and eyeing Gregory contemptuously as he went. He took his hat off, stuck it in his pocket, and wound up folding his arms over his chest and pouting against the chair on Gregory's other side. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy watched his new companion with an uncertain gaze as the woman approached the desk and started to speak in slow English to the man behind the counter.
"…Aló…I am…Nicole Delorne…I do not…speak much English…"
Gregory blinked at the boy who had been called "Christophe" by his mother, and after a few minutes of persistent staring, Christophe looked back. "Pah!" he barked, his lower lip jutting out irritably and his eyes narrowed into angry slits. Gregory smiled his most winning smile at Christophe, but the boy barely even blinked at him. His bushy brown eyebrows lowered further and he looked as though he would have rather enjoyed hitting Gregory if it would mean getting him to stop smiling like that.
"'Ello," Gregory said cheerfully. "I'm Gregory. I'm five yeahs old and cun do times tables up to six!"
Christophe was breathing hard, like an angry animal of some kind, but Gregory's gaze would not falter, so he was reduced to an answer. "…Christophe!" Christophe snapped, jerking his head around and glaring at the other side of the room instead of at Gregory. Apparently, he had understood very little of what Gregory had said, because he said nothing else after that, other than a few things in that soft nonsense language that Gregory didn't understand.
Ms. Delorne was deep in discussion with a new representative who spoke her language and was getting her forms filled out quite quickly, now. Gregory lost a bit of interest in Christophe and started wondering where his own mother was again, half-watching as the little brunette boy stomped over to an empty chair beside a young woman with red hair who was sitting on the other side of the room. He shot his fiery gaze down at the floor from where he sat, rubbing the toes of his used-looking shoes together anxiously. Gregory's focus of attention was propelled back to Christophe again when the little boy spat on the floor, and his mother turned around and yelled something at him to make him stop. He snapped back into his chair and looked defeated for a few seconds while Gregory wondered if he knew how to play Flipslip.
He got up and wandered over to Christophe, still smiling merrily away, and he gestured for Christophe to join him on the floor. The brunette did nothing and said nothing to acknowledge the blonde. "C'meah," Gregory urged, flapping his arms. Christophe looked at him as if he had painted himself bright orange and was eating broccoli with a golden fork, but slid off of his chair anyway. The boys' eyes were just a little uneven, with Christophe standing a bit taller. He looked down at Gregory with a hint of curiosity in his eyes.
"Mmm?" he asked when Gregory held his hands out, palms up. Gregory took hold of Christophe's wrist and placed it palm-down on his own hand, then gestured for Christophe to do the same with the other. He did. Gregory wasn't sure how well Christophe could understand him, but he tried to explain to him the rules of the game as best he could.
"This is a game called Flipslip! You try to pull your hands away as fast as you cun before I turn my hands over and hit yours. 'Kay?"
Christophe had to think for a while, but then he nodded slowly. Gregory beamed. Then, being a little boy who was eager to prove his worth in the realm of Flipslip, he promptly flipped his hands over and smacked the backs of Christophe's hands as hard as he could.
Christophe promptly screamed.
Before Gregory knew what was happening, an open palm collided with the side of his face, and he was on the floor with a stinging cheek and the weight of another boy pressing into his stomach. Thin hands were around his neck, and he was crying as Christophe shrieked things in his crazy language that sounded bad to Gregory, even though he had no idea what they meant.
"Christophe! Christophe, NO!"
He heard his mother calling for him, and then he knew that it was all right, but he cried harder anyway as Christophe's mother yanked her son off of him. He felt his mother's arms swoop protectively over him and pull him up into an embrace, and he grabbed her sleeves, watching Christophe out of the corner of his eye. The brunette boy's mother slapped him hard across the face, and he let out a little cry of submission, looking down at his shoes as she hissed angry nonsense words at him. Gregory felt his own mother flinch when Christophe's mother slapped her son a second time.
"Vous êtes mauvais, Christophe! Vous êtes un enfant mauvais et horrible! Vous disgrâce votre famille"
"…What's she saying, Mum?" Gregory asked softly, wiping tears from his stinging face.
"It…it's nothing, dear. Just something in French," Mrs. Thorne replied, stroking her son's curly hair with faintly trembling fingers. "He's just being scolded. Don't you worry about it."
Gregory wondered why Ms. Delorne hit her child, and why they didn't speak the same way that he and his mother did. He knew what "French" was—he knew that his mother spoke it quite fluently—though he didn't understand why Christophe and his mother didn't speak English at the same time. He tightened his hold on his mother's shirt, and she picked him up and carried him over to the front desk, engaging in a heated conversation with the clerk who had been talking to Christophe's mother. The clerk handed over the woman's papers without protest, and Gregory's mother read them over while he watched Christophe with a wary eye. Christophe's pale, mousy face was red where Ms. Delorne had slapped him.
"…Susan?" Gregory heard his mother say, "I think I might…like to take this job on. I think it would be good for Nicole's son…to have another little boy around to play with. And Gregory could use a friend, as well. I think once the two of them get used to each other…things will be all right. And besides…I need a new assignment. Marta just moved out two weeks ago."
"Are you sure, Katherine?" Susan, the French-speaking clerk, asked softly. Gregory's mother nodded and hugged her son. He hugged her back, not understanding what she was talking about. "…Well…all right. Madamé! Madamé, un mot, s'il vous plaît"
Ms. Delorne abruptly stopped her conversation with her son, and she got up and approached the desk, speaking in rapid French to both Susan and Mrs. Thorne. Gregory's mother set him down, and he walked tentatively over to Christophe, who, in his mother's absence, had settled down on the floor and brought his knees up, folding his arms over his legs and burying his face in them. Gregory sat down in front of him and looked him over, hard. There was a lot of dirt on his too-big shoes, and in his hair. His clothes had holes in them and looked as though they were decades old. Christophe's hands were like claws around his elbows, the young tendons and knuckles raised in the skin as his fingers shook and dug into his arms. Gregory blinked, confused, and reached out and gently touched Christophe's shaggy hair. The French boy did nothing in retaliation.
"…I'm sorry," Gregory murmured, leaning forward on his knees and reaching down to rub Christophe's shoulder comfortingly. "I didn't mean to scare you."
Christophe lifted his head up a little, one of his mean green eyes glaring out at Gregory from between the gap. "…Fuck you, American," he hissed, his words angry and coated with malice. Gregory's eyebrows furrowed. He didn't know what that meant, or why Christophe hadn't accepted his apology. The French boy batted Gregory's hand away and hid his face in his arms again, grunting hotly. Gregory assumed that he didn't want to talk, though it bothered him because he didn't know why. He decided that it wouldn't bother Christophe much if he didn't have to respond to anything that Gregory said.
"…I'm not American, I'm British," the blonde boy muttered, folding his legs in front of himself. Christophe shuddered against his voice and adjusted his feet a little. Their mothers were still deep in discussion at the front desk. "…You hit me really hard, Christophe…"
"Pfah," Christophe replied dully. Gregory rubbed his throbbing face.
"…Why does your mum hit you?"
Christophe jerked up at the mention of his mother, his eyes wide for a moment, and Gregory wondered if the French boy really did understand what he was saying, only he chose to fake it. Christophe's lips parted, as if he wanted to say something, but then he changed his mind and looked at the carpet to his left, his gaze angry and burning again. "Doesn't your mum love you?" Christophe's eyes narrowed further, and Gregory saw his new friend's nails digging into his pant legs. "…Christophe, cun you talk in English at all?"
"…Yes," Christophe mumbled, the word sounding weird to Gregory with the heavy, foreign accent. He sort of liked the way Christophe spoke, though; it sounded smooth, like cake frosting. He grinned.
"…Cun you tell me why your mum—?"
"No," the French boy hissed, giving Gregory a seething look. The blonde lowered his eyebrows a little.
"Oh, well…all right, then…"
"Eedyot," Christophe growled, his tiny hands balled into fists. Gregory opened his mouth to protest this remark, but his mother swept up from behind him and picked him up, planting a happy kiss on the side of his face and making him scrunch up his nose. Ms. Delorne picked up Christophe, as well, and the brunette linked his arms tightly around his mother's neck, closing his eyes into her shoulder. She smiled at Gregory, who gave her a confused look in response.
"Gregory, Ms. Delorne and Christophe are going to come and live with us for a while! Isn't that exciting?"
Gregory turned his head to look at his mother. "…You mean like that Spanish lady?""Yes, dear, precisely like that!"
"…Oh," Gregory said softly, glancing back over at the back of Christophe's spiky brown hair. His mother was telling him what was going on in soft French, and Gregory heard Christophe murmur a few things back to his mother. He heard his own name in there a few times, spoken in hushed tones by that smooth, foreign voice. "…Okay, Mum."
Mrs. Thorne and Ms. Delorne carried their sons out of the homeless shelter, the British mother speaking cheerfully to her son about how it will be almost like having a brother around, and won't that be lovely, and to celebrate we'll have pancakes for dinner tonight. Gregory watched Christophe from over his mother's shoulder, and the French boy turned over in his mother's arms, as if he had sensed Gregory's gaze on his back. He blinked heavy green eyes at Gregory, locks of dirty brown hair in his face. Gregory waved at him, his blue eyes big and unsure, and he saw, for a split-second, a tiny smile on Christophe's pointed face. He smiled back, into his mother's shoulder, as they walked into the parking garage where Mrs. Thorne's old Volkswagon Jetta was waiting.
The car would have been very small and cramped for four adults, but the two boys fit comfortably in the back seats. Christophe looked around, amazed, for a few moments, but stopped when he saw that Gregory was staring at him. His face flushed and he glared out the window while Ms. Delorne murmured; "eet eez a…lovely car, Katherine." Gregory heard his mother let out her little titter of a laugh.
"Oh, no…it's nothing, really."
They started the drive back home in relative silence, the two women occasionally engaging in brief discussions; sometimes in French, sometimes in English. Gregory looked out his window for a little bit, then quickly lost interest in the outside world, yawning as he realized that he was quite tired.
"…What does 'fuck you' mean?"
A silence fell over the car, and Christophe looked immediately away from the window and over at Gregory, a look of pure terror on his face. Gregory, for some reason that he didn't know, felt immediately guilty for asking. His mother cleared her throat nervously.
"Why, honey? Where did you hear that?"
Christophe's eyes were pleading and wet. Gregory swallowed thickly. "Somebody said it while we were going to the car…that's all…I just want to know…"
Ms. Delorne grunted and looked out her window with a smirk on her face. Gregory's mother sighed.
"Don't worry about it, dear. That's just something that people who have problems with themselves say when they want to make other people feel bad."
Gregory was still staring at Christophe, who, at this point, had turned carefully away from him and was wishing fire upon the passing buildings again. Gregory saw that his friend's shoulders were shaking, and he wanted to make him feel better, though he didn't know why he felt bad in the first place.
"…Where's your dad?" Gregory asked gently, once again earning himself a startled look from all parties present. Apparently, this was not the correct topic. His mother shook her head at him, signaling that this was yet another question he wasn't supposed to ask. He bit his lips together and looked down at the torn upholstery of his seat, strong green eyes still intent upon his face. He felt the seat beside him dip as Christophe moved over and sat right up next to him, breathing hard, wheezing breaths into his ear. The French boy waited until their mothers were speaking to one another again.
"…Fazur eez running," he whispered, his eyes sparkling in the corner of Gregory's gaze. "'E eez a bad man."
Gregory didn't need any more of an explanation than that. He bit his lower lip, glancing over at the green eyes that were barely three inches away from him. Christophe smelled faintly of kerosene and rotting fruit. Gregory yawned again, and Christophe—after a few seconds of trying to keep it in—yawned, too, only for a much longer time. Gregory noticed, for the first time, deep bags under Christophe's eyes, and he wondered if his friend slept well at all at night. Christophe gave Gregory a don't-mind-if-I-do-thanks kind of look, then rolled over and rested his scruffy head on Gregory's shoulder. Gregory blinked, then, realizing that he was going to be used as a pillow for the remainder of their trip, decided to make himself comfortable, too. He leaned his own head against Christophe's and closed his eyes.
For a few more minutes, he listened to the bright French conversations taking place in the front seat, and then he felt his eyelids getting heavy. As Gregory began to doze off, he felt rough fingers close around his own; in his half-conscious state, he didn't think twice about them.
"…We are running, too," Christophe murmured, his words slurred, though not from his accent.
"…From what?" Gregory breathed, feeling his body starting to go limp. But Christophe was already fast asleep.