//Someone should have taken his own "coffee-and-nap" advice from the other day. Looks like he was just too caught up in it all to remember, and sometimes when you're really deep in a project it's amazing how you lose track of time and totally lose the connection with your "self" that would remind you to sleep, eat, shower, or whatever. // He awoke the next morning wondering about Lysander's condition, as he hadn't heard from him since their messaged conversation the previous morning. Trying not to worry, he showered and dressed as usual, awaiting his friend's arrival. There was no reason to be concerned! It was a small town and they couldn't have gone too far, and if something had gone wrong he'd definitely have heard of it. Of course he would have. He was just being silly, Lysander was just fine. Trying to swat away the gossiping noise in his head, he very studiously prepared coffee and set about cleaning, even though it didn't need to be done, for the sake of keeping himself occupied with something constructive. The knot of worry in his chest immediately dissolved at the familiar knock and greeting as Lysander let himself in. Elliott set aside the towel and walked over, trying not to show his relief. That warm smile wiped away the last of Elliott's fears, and without really thinking about it, he hugged his friend, who laughed and squeezed him back, asking about his unusual behavior. "Ah, apologies," he replied, holding him at arm's length and inspecting him for injury, "it is just that I had not heard from you until now, and I had been concerned about your physical health..." He had expected another laugh, or a snarky response, but the smile got softer and lit up the corners ofhis eyes. Oh gods, Sam was right... "Thanks, I mean it. It hadn't occurred to me that you might be worried about me. Riding can be dangerous, and we took precautions, but sometimes stuff just happens. I should've messaged you to let you know I was okay and coming by like usual." Lost in that hazel stare for a moment, Elliott was almost slow to reply. "No, there is no fault, I am simply being overprotective. You are your own person, and I am certain that you and Sebastian covered every possibility. Please, sit, I will serve us." Patting his arm, Lysander walked past him to the kitchen. "How about you sit and I'll pour?" "Very well, but only if you regale me with your adventures of yesterday," Elliott said, seating himself and opening the laptop. As he always did, two mugs of coffee were quickly prepared as he talked. "Not a hell of a lot, really. I learned a lot about motorcycles in general, and I'm really glad that I already know how to drive stick 'cause I was able to apply some of that knowledge to riding. 'Bas had a lot of good info and real-world experience that he was able to share so that I don't have to make those mistakes myself." He handed over one mug and sipped his own as he pulled out the folding chair and sat down. "I'll need another round or two of lessons to be really comfortable, but I like it already, and I think I've got enough income to put some aside for a bike of my own. What I wouldn't give for that freedom." His eyes crossed a little as he turned his thoughts inward, then grimaced. "I'll have to put a lot aside, now that I think about it. I'm larger than he is, so I'll probably need something with a greater level of displacement, and I've also got to consider safety gear, too. Looks like I've got a lot of research to do." He returned his gaze back to Elliott, giving the writer a soft flutter of contentment. "I'll have to have you ride passenger one of these days, if you're comfortable with that sort of thing. Get out for a little while, right?" He hadn't expected this offer, and while the prospect of riding was somewhat scary, at the same time it sounded exhilarating. "I...would like that very much. It's been far too long since I went anywhere." As if it were a promise sealed, Lysander grinned again. "Great! That's still in the future, but for now, you said the other day that you think you're almost done with your book?" Elliott lit up with excitement at the reminder and clutched the mug in both hands. "Yes! I was too busy yesterday with Sam to compose anything new, but I know what needs to happen. With your assistance I will-" He cut off as he realized something; what would happen after the story was done? Seeing the energy suddenly vanish and a look of sadness take its place, Lysander put a hand on his wrist. "Hey, what's up? Is it not going the way you want it to?" "It isn't that, it's... What happens after it's finished?" He stared at the floor, now feeling cold as the enthusiasm drained away and left him empty. "After it's- What?" "When I complete my novel," Elliott replied softly, "what then? What will you do?" Confused, then understanding, Lysander laughed and set both of their drinks aside to hold Elliott's hands in his own. "Then I'll just work with you on the next one. You do plan to write another book, don't you?" Elliott's reaction of relief and wonder made him laugh again. "Did you really think that I'd just walk away after this was done? This was brilliant! I haven't had this much fun in ages, and I've never been able to create anything this great before. I mean, it's your creation, I'm just helping, but still, I'll do it again if I have the chance." Leaning over from his chair, Elliott hugged him again, and Lysander sighed and shook his head fondly. "You really were worried. That's why I'm sticking around, you know, you really are a good person, and I want to support you." Light burn me, I want to tell you everything, to ask you to stay by my side even longer, to be more than just a companion. But in a strange way, I am glad that I lack the courage to do so, because even more terrifying than the thought of you leaving is the thought of you pushing me away. Feeling relieved in a fashion, Elliott sat back comfortably in his chair. "Thank you. I feel clingy and selfish in asking you to work alongside me again, but I could not have done this without your input." "No worries!" The smile was bright and cheerful, and Lysander took a long drink from his mug. "There's not a hell of a lot more I can do on the farm at the moment, as everything is kinda self-sufficient, and I'm not sure how I can expand my operation without stretching myself and my resources too thinly. Like I said, this was fun, and if you've got more ideas, I want to hear them. Do you-" He laughed again and tilted his head to the side, wearing that gentle smile that melted Elliott completely. "Do you have any idea what a dream it's been to meet someone whose work I've read? And then being able to work with them? This has been amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything." "I cannot express my full thanks. Perhaps one day I will have the words and means to do so." "Then for now let's use what words we do have and get this finished!" Lysander grinned, shifting his chair closer to the laptop, "I love the twist you're pulling at the end. It totally fits with everything that's been set up and still comes as a surprise." Talking back and forth as Elliott typed, they worked until it was time to leave for practice, and very reluctantly, Elliott saved their work and got up. Lysander's touch on his arm was reassuring; it wasn't as though this was the last time they'd work on it, they also had tomorrow. He packed his satchel and followed, thinking as they walked, and Lysander didn't bother him, giving him the mental space he needed. A lot of it was required, apparently, as Elliott was somewhat distant all evening. Not absent-minded or ignoring anyone, but if something didn't require his direct attention he scribbled quick notes on the pad of paper that he always kept on hand. Nobody minded this, as they were mostly figuring out the new vocals, which involved Lysander and Sam for the most part. His skill as a writer had translated well into lyric-writing; what he had written with Sam the day before had come out quite well, and not only was Lysander was suitably impressed, the general consensus was that it was what they were looking for. The two strings players sounded excellent together, and the lyrics not only fit their vocal style but the musical one that they were trying to cultivate as well. They were on their way to being professionals! As they broke up for the night Elliott made up his mind to finish the story as soon as he got home. He was almost finished with it, he was so close! After all of these years, after this last year, he could feel his triumph just a finger's breadth away. He was still wide awake, and the sudden adrenaline rush would surely keep him going until he was done. The first one to leave for once, he offered Lysander a quick hug before rushing out the door, grinning at the playful warning to "be sure to get some sleep tonight!" Ha! He would sleep when this was finished and not a moment sooner. Closing the door behind him but not locking it, he unbuttoned his waistcoat and hung it over the back of his chair, opened the laptop again, then went to the kitchen for coffee. It was going to be a long night, but damn it, he was ready! With his drink at the ready, he sat down at his chair and typed quickly, glancing at the notepad now and then, and only pausing to consider the wording of a phrase or to be certain that particular character interactions flowed correctly. Leaning back in his chair to re-read something, he unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled up his sleeves, needing the slight freedom it offered. A little while later he got up for another cup of coffee, and unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt. He really did need a shower, but that would wait, he was very nearly finished! He was startled by the first rays of daylight through the window and glanced at the clock in his taskbar. It was morning already? Where had the time gone? No matter, it was time well-spent, and the book was nearly complete, he just needed to work a little longer. Rubbing at his bleary eyes, he rested his weight on his arms as he scrolled through the last few pages, checking a few things. It took a few minutes to realize that he'd read those pages several times and didn't remember it any of those times. Damn, he was getting fuzzy, another cup of coffee should do it... Feeling a soft touch on his arm, Elliott woke up, startled and confused. A glance at the taskbar again showed that it was a couple of hours later, as evidenced by Lysander's arrival. He couldn't stifle a broad yawn, and massaged the bridge of his nose, piecing together his thoughts as he blinked away the meager sleep he hadn't intended to get. “Mmm, it appears that I dozed off. Damn. Good afternoon, Lysander.” Lysander looked relieved that Elliott wasn't ill or injured, but also annoyed at him. “Did you get any rest after practice last night?” Shaking his head, Elliott sat up properly in his chair and winced at a crick in his neck. “I did not, as I am in the final stretch of finishing my novel. With the end in sight, I seek its light, illumination at the end of the tunnel.” This produced a moment of introspection and a self-effacing laugh. “Even in my current state I am given to moments of poetry.” Now looking relieved but stern, Lysander put a hand on his arm again. “Lovely. Get your ass to bed and get some sleep, you can finish it later.” “Your concern is appreciated but unnecessary," Elliott replied, amused at Lysander's reaction, "just a little more work and I can rest.” Lysander doubted this openly, knowing that Elliott would toil himself to sickness in this pursuit, and reminded him that it would be best to return to it later once he was better rested. Once again, Elliott turned down his offer, claiming that he simply required more coffee, but this was unconvincing, as he had to hastily grab for the edge of the table after a sudden wave of drowsiness almost made him drop the mug that he'd just picked up. Taking away the mug, planting a fist angrily on one hip, and gesturing without ambiguity, Lysander told him in no uncertain terms that he was to get some sleep, right now! Sighing, Elliott offered him a polite smile. "I have work to do," he explained, wondering why Lysander didn't understand, "I will sleep when it is complete." Lysander shot back that he would make him, and Elliott called his bluff. "I doubt that, now if you- Gah!" It wasn't a bluff, and Lysander had no patience left for his exhausted companion, leaning down to grab him around the waist and throwing him over his shoulder. Confusion and embarrassment had a quick argument for dominance, refereed by astonishment, as Elliott tried to process a reply while Lysander strode to the bedroom. "Lysander! Put me down, this is quite unbecoming," he demanded, and when Lysander agreed, he had no time to question it, as his vision suddenly took in the floor, the wall, then the ceiling in one smooth arc before the mattress creaked loudly as Lysander roughly dropped him onto his bed. Struggling to a sitting position, he glared at his friend. "If you are done with being domineering I have work to-" Again he was interrupted, this time when Lysander put a hand in the middle of his chest and firmly shoved him back down. "No you don't. You need rest, and I'm going to wait here until you go to sleep. You’re almost as stubborn as I am and will work yourself to exhaustion if I don’t do something about it. I’m your friend, and I’m looking out for you. Now quit being a pillock about it.” This aggressive and dominant side of Lysander was unusual, and, Elliott had to admit, rather arousing, but he was of a rather single mind of the moment and put that thought from it. However, before he could offer up another argument or protestation of complete cognizance, he yawned again. He dropped back against the pillows and sighed at himself, knowing that it was futile to resist any further. With a quirk of his lips in a weak smile, he agreed with Lysander's assessment that yes, he was tired, but that didn't justify him being so forceful about the entire thing. With a posture that clearly lacked any sort of humor, Lysander sat down next to him. "Really? Can you say that you wouldn't do the same for me if our roles were switched?" Considering this, Elliott replied that he could not, and the fierce hazel stare became warm and gentle again as he squeezed Elliott's shoulder supportively, two actions that made Elliott's pulse quite erratic for a few moments. "You know I'm right," he said, with a smile to take away the edge, "I understand, I really do, that drive to finish something when you’re just so close, but you also know that you might make errors while tired that could compromise the entire project.” Reaching up, Elliott wrapped his fingers around his friend's, barely able to keep his eyes open. He agreed with Lysander's opinion and position, and was asleep before he could finish his thought.