Finally found and done! Please to be not killing me, mm'k? XD

"You alright?"

Slayn looked at up, rather startled and slightly irritated. He had been looking at the ground expressly to avoid talking to him. Yet it didn't work. He'd muse about why this was so later.

"Yeah. Why do you ask?"

"Dunno', chief. You just seem to really gloomy lately."

Hugh gave a shrug as he walked over to Slayn. "C'mon chief! Cheer up! Bossy pants has a long enough face for the entire party!" Hugh winked. Slayn rolled his eyes.

"I'm just a little nervous. That's all. Tomorrow we'll be going to stop Zion, and so on so on. We're going to fight to save the world." He stopped a moment, and added smoothly, "I think I have the right to be edgy."

"And I didn't say otherwise. Thing is, you need to lighten up a little!" He mussed Slayn's hair and pinched a cheek. "C'mon, let's see that fabulous smile!"

Slayn glared at him, only smiling when he realized that the death grip on his cheek would not be released off his face until he did so. Although all in all, it looked closer to the spectrum of 'evil grimace' than 'friendly smile'.

"There, see? That's a step closer…" Hugh said, wisely releasing his grip, probably sensing that Slayn was only so far away from ripping his face off.

"A step in the right direction, you mean." Slayn remarked lightly, rubbing his hurt cheek. It was probably bright red.

His originally dour mood had indeed improved, but he was quite sure it wasn't just because Hugh could make him laugh no matter how things were going. It was just some sort… something.

He wasn't sure what That Something was, but thinking about made his heart feel like it was being dipped in acid. Or something else that was just as incredibly hurtful and bitter.

And whatever those feelings were, he felt he couldn't do much more than acknowledge them. He didn't know how he knew this, but he did. Suddenly very uncomfortable, he looked away.

"Hey, what's up?" He grabbed Slayn's shoulder, and spun him around to look at him.

"Nothing." His eyes stung though, and his throat felt constricted.

"Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Hugh replied briskly. "You've got tears in your eyes!"

Slayn hastily rubbed his eyes with his sleeve, "It's just that there's so much going on right now! Zion, Gray, this body… I… I'm just so uncertain! These feelings too; feelings I don't want because… because…" He sniffed.

'Because…?"

"They're…" he paused a moment, wondering as to his word choice. 'Wrong' came to mind, but he didn't want to use that one… "…different." He finished.

"How so?"

"I don't know! I just know that they… that I'm so unhappy right now!" He hiccupped, something he tended to do when upset like this, rare as moments like these were.

He continued hiccupping for a few moments, and then Hugh started digging around through a pocket. Once he finished, he held up what looked like a small, roasted peanut.

"What… what the hell?" Slayn managed through a few more hiccups.

"This, chief, is a magic acorn!"

"It's a peanut."

"Acorn! After all, they say that great things come from small beginnings, right? Here, I'm sure it'll help you."

He tossed it, and Slayn caught it in mid-air, afterwards asking how long it had been in his pocket. He got only a grin for an answer. Good lord.

He scrutinized it, supposing it wasn't poisoned or anything of the like. Cautiously, he put it in his mouth and chewed. It was salty, and made his molars tingle. And he did feel better, even if only a little. Maybe it was only the power of suggestion. He didn't know that, either.

Who else would have done this for him? Not Yayoi, probably not Annette, and certainly not Monika.

"You're… you're so nice to me…" To his dismay, his eyes filled up again.

"We've been together for so long. You know, I really like you…"

"Oh, Hugh…"

He took small, unsteady steps towards him. He could hear his hear thumping, wondered if it had acoustical properties, and if Hugh could hear it too.

"I can always count on you, can't I, Hugh?"

"Of course, chief. Always." His voice was noticeably softer than usual, and there was genuine warmth to it.

Slayn practically threw himself against him and hung on tight, like he was a sturdy piece of driftwood in the middle of the ocean.

"You okay?"

"I will be. Just a little longer, please."

"Sure. As long as I don't have to invite you to my friend Mr. Prozac or anything."

"…Thank you so much." A small sigh as he felt his hair being mussed again. It was so warm here…

"You going to be alright now?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." He pulled away, knowing it was probably expected of him.

"That's good. I was getting a little… worried, is all," he thought for a second and added jestingly, "I was getting ready to start asking people if they knew any good psychiatrists or therapists or friends who know-I'm rambling, aren't I?"

"Yes."

"Funny how people never know they're rambling until it's five seconds too late, huh?" He gave a large, toothy grin. "I guess I'll be going back now."

"Yeah, look, about that, tonight, can I… Can I sleep with you?" A flash of insight later and he realized what an awkward wording that was. "In your room. I mean, I could sleep on the floor-"

"-A fine way to treat a friend indeed!" Hugh interrupted indignantly. "I acquiesce to your request, but you'll sleep on the bed like a decent human being!"

"Thanks."

"No problem."

Slayn laughed- he felt so much better. This conversation probably wasn't what did it so much as the person he was talking to. Hugh looked at him, a little startled by the sudden outburst, then joined along with him.

Whoa. Finally done! Cookie for me