(this story contains some swearing)
He was hiding. He was hiding, and there was a tree behind him, keeping him from view. He put a hand over his mouth and stifled a giggle.
“Oh Remus,” A voice drifted towards him playfully. “Where are you?” the voice sang.
Remus’ arms felt all jittery. It was hard staying in place, like he wanted to move about and run.
“I know you’re out here!”
Remus felt himself smiling. He knew they were looking for both of them, but Remulon was always mad when Remus tried to share the hiding place, so they must be hiding separately. It was harder to find two targets instead of one. His heart beat faster with excitement. The seeker was coming closer.
“You can come out now, Remus.”
Remus swallowed, feeling all jittery, like he wanted to run. They were coming closer. He wondered where Remulon was.
“Don’t pretend like I don’t know where you're hiding.”
Remus’ skin felt prickly. His heart beat faster. The seeker was coming closer, he knew it–– how did he know–– was it just the mounting sense of dread?
“You really think you can hide from me?”
They sounded amused. Remus’ skin felt cold. His heart pounded. He was shaking, like he wanted to run. He was hiding. He was hiding, and he didn’t know where Remulon was–– where was Remulon?
Something was behind him. It wasn’t the tree.
Something slammed into his shoulder and he grunted, flopping around in his semi-coherent state. His legs crashed into the hardwood floor after him, dragging half of the blanket down in a tangled fuzzy puddle. Remus blinked groggily as the room steadily came into focus around him. His breaths were loud in the silence.
The door opened with a bang and his head snapped to the side. Remy peered down at him with a wrinkled nose and a judgemental gaze.
“Did you fucking fall?”
Remus flipped him off.
Remy looked unimpressed. “Get the hell up and eat something or you’re going to be late, Briar Rose.”
“Well why didn’t you wake me up sooner?”
“Because you didn’t fall asleep, you basically fainted. I was about to come slap you anyway, you just did the job for me.”
“I did not faint, if anything I just passed out when I hit the pillow,” Remus argued, stumbling over to their open duffel bags to change clothes.
“Why is that an improvement?”
“It doesn’t make me sound like a wimp.”
“When are you ever anything else?”
Remus threw a sock at his head. “When I’m out providing for us, like the adult I am. Why aren’t you at work?”
“A plumbing catastrophe or something. All I listened to was the fact that I didn’t have to go in.”
“Of course you did.”
“Shut up, I made you food and everything.”
Remus finally noticed the scent of toast filling the apartment. They didn’t exactly have a toaster, so Remy must have scorched it on a pan or something. Remus wondered how he didn’t wake him considering their “stove” and their “bed” were only on opposite sides of one room. Usually Remy’s kitchen escapades ended with the place drenched by the crappy sprinklers or a building filled with noxious fumes when the crappy sprinklers didn’t douse them.
“Oh, so you’re a chef now?”
“It’s bread, dipshit.”
“I can see that.”
Remus picked it up and took a bite. It was just white bread, nothing else. Maybe there was a pinch of salt somewhere, but for the most part it was evenly cooked and distinctly unburnt. The slices were good, for what they had. It was a bit of a surprise, considering the fire that had been involved to make it.
Remy wasn’t necessarily a really bad cook, but he was really good at wrecking things. He could crash systems by tearing apart exactly the right wire, or choke out the power to an entire street for exactly two minutes. He knew how to make bombs out of scrap and expired hair products. It was a good kind of talent, considering the place they grew up in.
Remus chewed slowly, the cold toast feeling heavy on his tongue.
“Remy, why aren’t you at work?” he asked again–– quietly this time–– like he was asking Remy to reveal a dangerous secret.
The other boy didn't look at him. “They found out about my papers.”
Remus swallowed. “Think they’ll try anything?”
Remy shrugged. “Seemed more mad than worried. It was illegal for them to keep me around, whether or not they knew it.”
There’s a decent chance it wouldn’t be reported, then. Remus took another bite. His best friend was good at wrecking things, but Remus was good at creating things. Personalities, scripts, even documents. It was a good kind of talent, considering the place they were running from.
“Okay,” Remus said, already seeing the pieces click into place. “I’m supposed to get my paycheck at the end of the week, I can just get Orion to hand it over today.”
“She’d do that?”
“She’s a sap,” he replied.
He didn’t tell Remy that his boss had probably figured out that he was underage, that he was unregistered. He didn’t tell Remy that Orion might care, just not enough to lie for them if she figured out where they came from. He spared a look at their duffel bags and their stolen clothes half scattered out of the zippered maws like spilled intestines.
“Take everything we need, then meet me on the corner of 5th and Mandarin ten minutes after my shift.”
“We’ll hop the blue line?”
“They can’t follow far if the train guards don’t see our faces.”
They didn’t need to confirm that they were leaving. It was another clause of their unspoken contract with each other, that if their façade was no longer flawless, they would vanish again as thoroughly as they could. Suspicion didn’t warrant the dangerous kind of curiosity, not at first. No one up here even liked to think about Hell anyway.
It was a disturbing truth, but a comforting one. When people were old enough to finally learn about Hell, they could brush it off again. It was a good thing, what their predecessors did. It was a good thing, to dig that awful underground kingdom and bury the thieves and murderers and sadists within. The surface dwellers could sleep easy, knowing their children were safe, while their grandparents had imprisoned thousands of others. Remus and Remulon were only the children of monsters, anyway. They would have turned out no better than if they had been raised by wild dogs.
No one up here liked to talk about Hell. They wouldn’t dare consider that the barrier was not quite so strong as their legends said.
Remus wasn’t even tired anymore, despite the lack of sleep. His limbs felt charged, like they always did before a fight. His heart still beat furiously, but he didn’t get that jittery feeling so much anymore. He made eye contact with Remulon, brown and green reflecting off of each other for the thousandth time since they first swore their allegiance to one another.
Remulon began moving around the cramped space, cleaning the things they had once touched and taking the things they could get away with. Remus stood and walked out the door, stalking through the building with as much silence and precision as his ally back in the apartment. They would hide, and they would run, and they would hide again. As long as they were still together, they were never going back down there.