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 there's a wolf in mirage woods

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PostSubject: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyMon Dec 25, 2017 5:51 pm

there's a wolf in mirage woods Q1s2W7c
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:26 am

He had to admit, the twenty first century has its perks. One of them is definitely this whole 'save the nature, save the bees' mentality, which means his beloved forest has more visitors than ever. Oh, and also internet. Perhaps internet is a priority.

When he isn't out planting flowers, caring for the trees and feeding forest animals, Weston's cooped up in his own room, with a blanket covering him, watching yet another travelling vlog, yet another cat video, yet another lyric video, be it a song from an indie singer-songwriter, or something older. Another point to internet—it's seemingly never-ending, but that's not stopping Weston from trying to reach the end.

Atticus hates him for it. He keeps on saying things about youth and how they don't appreciate the world around them. Emmy took a different approach. She's bought him a ukulele (how very millenial of her), even spent some time teaching him to play, and every month for a year they travelled forty five minutes to Murkwell to get coffee, but nothing works. Weston does not exit the house unless he has to.

So Emmy and Atticus teamed up and one day Weston woke up to a dating app installed on his phone.

"It's all set up, you just need to upload a pic", Emmy said with a goofy grin plastered on her face. "Thank us later."

Weston never used the app, but he didn't delete it when he needed more space on his phone either. Maybe he subconsciously wanted someone to message him so he had someone to talk to. Well. Someone who was not Atticus nor Emmy.

He's in his room, on his stomach, listening to some Elvis on his laptop when his phone vibrates.

[16:04] rev: hello i'm not looking for a date

Weston stares at the messsage. Not a single thing about it makes sense to him. He doesn't know anyone named Rev, and if they didn't want a date, what were they doing on a dating app? Something doesn't add up. The next text only confuses him further.

[16:05] rev: i'm just bored

He considers it for a second, then gives in.

[16:07] West: And I'm supposed to entertain you?


[16:09] rev: yeah, that would be preferable. what's up

Weston glances at Rev's profile. No picture, no surname. It seems like they live in Murkwell, which means that they had to search through a lot of people to stumble upon him. The dating app worked with someone's location, after all.

[16:11] West: Wait, how did you pick me?

[16:13] rev: random scrolling (because i'm bored) and i noticed that we are photo-less buddies. so here we are now.

[16:14] West: Fair enough. How would you like to be entertained, oh Mighty Rev?

[16:16] rev: now that i think about it, i have no clue. oopsie. there's a hole in my theory. can holes have theories?

[16:17] rev: wait no

[16:18] rev: i have embarrassed myself in front of my new friend

Weston lets out a laugh, one of those ugly ones you try to hide when you're amongst people. It's been a while since he talked to anyone except his fellow 'forest rangers'. When Emmy suggested the name, Atticus nearly decapitated her.

[16:21] West: Of course holes can have theories! There are holes which are theoretical. Ever heard of black holes?

[16:22] rev: make fun of my dyslexia don't you

[16:23] West: I didn't mean to, I'm sorry.

[16:24] rev: i'm kidding i don't have dyslexia i just mix up words when i'm tired

[16:25] West: Why are you tired?

[16:26] rev: i hike. went hiking this morning

[16:27] West: Three Peaks?

[16:28] rev: leroy. it's closer to the town

Leroy Hill and the Three Peaks are popular hiking destinations, they made the tourism of a nearby town Murkwell blossom. River Mirage carved its way through Leroy, avoided Three Peaks altogether and, some miles south, a forest was planted around it after World War I, aptly named Mirage Woods after the river. Thus, in 1920, Weston was created as a dryad protecting Mirage Woods. Leroy Forest blossomed too, though nymph-less.

Atticus was there centuries back, created somewhere in the 1700s, a nymph to protect Mirage (the river), and Emmy came in the nineties, when an artificial lake was created in the middle of Mirage Woods. Together they lived in a treehouse just next to the lake, and even thought Atticus mostly complained about the two, they made a nice team.

Of course, Weston won't tell a stranger that.

[16:30] West: How'd that go?

[16:32] rev: you know that moment when you THIS CLOSE to the top of the hill and you misstep and fall, rolling down some thirty feet down?

Weston laughs again.

[16:33] West: No, but something tells me you do.

[16:34] rev: bingo. so basically i never made it to the top and now i'm home licking my wounds and rebuilding my pride

He thinks about saying something for a moment or two, then decided to do it. Hey, Rev already knows that he lives somewhere nearby. He won't reveal anything new.

[16:35] West: If you like nature so much, how come I never see you over at Mirage Woods?

[16:36] rev: i moved to murkwell a couple months ago, i haven't discovered all the places around it

[16:37] rev: why are you advertising mirage woods?

[16:38] West: I work there. The place is beautiful.

That was just a compliment he gave himself, Weston realises. It's his duty to keep the forest healthy, and so far, if he daresay so, it's looking amazing, and Weston is really proud of it.

[16:39] rev: you work there? as what? professional tree admirerer?

Weston has to admit, Rev isn't far from truth.

[16:40] West: Oh, yeah, of course, that's my job.

[16:41] rev: and i'm stuck being a cashier in a 24/7. i call bullshit, this isn't fair

So they've never seen each other, Weston was sure of it. He hasn't been out of Mirage since November, and it was the end of February now. A wave of disappointment washes over him, followed by a wave of curiosity. Who is this mysterious person? Guess he'll never know. Atticus is an advocatee against human/magical creature communication, and the only reason he allowed Emmy to install this app on Weston's phone was because there's no magical creatures in Murkwell, and he found that Weston really needed to socialise.

[16:42] West: Hey, I've been living here since I was born, that gives me a right to have a cool job.

[16:43] rev: as a professional tree admirerer. gotcha

Then Weston doesn't have a funny or witty reply, but he doesn't want this conversation to end. So he tries a more old-fashioned question.

[16:45] West: So what music do you listen to?

[16:46] rev: nice segue

[16:47] rev: mostly the beatles because i'm Just That Cool. an occasional 80s jam. i don't know much of the new stuff i must admit. you?

[16:48] rev: and if you tell me you listen to kanye west, even if only ironically, i'll stab myself in the eye

[16:49] West: It's Elvis all the way for me, I'm afraid. And some bands you've probably never heard of.

[16:50] rev: how very hipster. do you wear those silly glasses, too? listen to elvis on vinyl?

[16:51] West: My vision is 20/20. I'm sorry to disappoint. And I listen to my tunes in a more modern way.

Weston shakes the blanket off himself and snaps a picture of his laptop with the audio file of Hound Dog playing on his desktop. He checks if he has any incriminating documents visible on the picture and sends it Rev's way.

[16:53] rev: who's that on your wallpaper?

The picture Weston uses for his wallpaper is the one of Emmy, diving into the lake from a 25 feet high rock. He took it… well, ten years ago, so the quality of it isn't the best, but it perfectly captured the moment, the sunset, the water, the perfect curve Emmy's body made as she dived in, and the forest behind her.

[16:54] West: My friend Emmy. It's a cool picture.

[16:55] rev: west and emmy sitting in a tree

[16:56] West: She's practically a sister to me, don't worry.

[16:58] rev: why would i worry? i told you i wasn't looking for a date sheesh stop hitting on me

[16:59] rev: i'm joking

[17:01] West: I figured.

[17:04] rev: okay i lied, i like mariachi bands also

This person's growing on him, Weston thinks. What a shame that they're human. As nymphs, Weston and his friends live forever, and they don't age. Weston's stuck at 25, Emmy's a couple years younger while Atticus prefers his older stance of late thirties. Rev is probably also around their twenties, which means Weston has only five or so years with them before it starts getting suspicious.

Weston sighs. That's why he has no friends.

[17:05] West: Any particular reason why?

[17:07] rev: my dad was mexican it's his blood in me singing every time someone croons about a maría

[17:08] West: Carlos Santana?

[17:09] rev: that doesn't exactly qualify as mariachi but sure


Chuckling to himself, Weston quickly finds a lyric video of that song and plays it. Takes a picture of it.

[17:12] West: I'm suffering with you.

[17:13] rev: you'd do that... FOR ME? aw shucks, i'm touched

[17:14] rev: great, now i wanna listen to music but all the good stuff is on my laptop.

[17:15] West: Internet is a wonderful thing.

[17:16] rev: dude i have some vintage bops on the laptop, you can't find that anywhere these days

[17:16] rev: if only i could reach the damned thing

Weston taps on the picture Rev sent to him. It's of a decently sized bedroom, with hoodies and printed T-shirts thrown over an office chair, a couple of cardboard boxes in the corner with 'fragile!!!' written on them in a nearly illegible handwriting, and on the office chair, there's a laptop with a bunch of peace sign stickers, and a hand reaching out for it. Weston just thinks, 'I'm glad I'm not the only one in their bed at five in the afternoon'.

[17:18] West: The Force is strong with this one.

[17:19] rev: it didn't budge. now i'm sad.

Weston wishes he could show Rev what he could do. Being a nymph, specifically dryad, he had similar powers to witches and wizards, just with less physical strenght. Whereas they could lift objects two to three times their weight, nymphs were stuck with lighter objects. He'd have no problem lifting that laptop and flying it his way. But for obvious reasons, he couldn't do that.

[17:20] West: Did you not unpack? Or are those boxes decoration?

[17:21] rev: hey i like those boxes there. they're full of stuff that have no use here.

[17:22] West: Big city kid?

[17:23] rev: try a town even smaller than murkwell. had one road and a gas station. tragic

[17:24] West: So this is a metropolis to you.

[17:25] rev: big apple who? i know only murkwell

[17:26] rev: sundays are such great days. why can't every day be sunday?

[17:28] West: On Sundays, God rests. Every day can't be Sunday because when would things be created?

[17:29] rev: did you just go biblical on me? i'm sorry to disappoint, but i'm more of a new age buddhist hippie sort

[17:31] West: I'm no believer myself, but I grew up around a lot of religious people. It ought to come out sooner or later.

[17:32] rev: ought? OUGHT? good sir (or ma'am), you needn't say 'ought', for it's a word that's been swallowed by time

[17:33] West: I can't believe you just used 'needn't'. I'm truly in shock.

It must be Weston's time in the 1920s resurfacing. Or all the time he spens reading Hamlet. Either way, it's sad. It really is.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:27 am

[17:36] rev: i have a confession

[17:37] West: Confess away.

Weson expects something groundbreaking, and one would argue that it is exactly that.

[17:38] rev: i'm really into poetry.

Thay's the final straw. After that text, Weston is one hundred percent positive he's keeping Rev. Atticus is going to hate him, and Emmy'll teach him sad ukulele songs when it all inevitably ends. There will be a balance in the world.

[17:39] West: Which poets?

[17:40] rev: if i told you i'd have to kill you

[17:41] rev: i'm kidding it's just. Very Nerdy. i don't want to ruin my street cred

[17:42] West: Streed cred? Got any?

[17:43] rev: of course not i read poetry and listen to mariachi were you listening to a word i just said

Weston laughs again and takes his phone with him outside. All this hiking talk made him wish he was in his forest. It's the reason why he's here, after all.

[17:45] West: Would you consider this to be poetry?

He takes a picture of the forest surrounding him, and the sun reflecting in the lake.

[17:48] rev: "perseguimos las mismas nubes
y reposamos bajo la sombra de las acacias desnuda" —mohammed ebnu

[17:49] West: I don't speak Spanish

[17:51] rev: "we still follow the same clouds and rest in the shadow of bare acacias"

[17:52] West: That's beautiful.

[17:53] rev: haaaa gay

[17:53] rev: i'm kidding i'm really tired

[17:56] rev: i spent half a minute laughing about naked trees i think its time to call it a day

[17:56] rev: goodnight west

[17:57] West: Sweet dreams, Rev.

Weston spends an hour in the forest, enjoying himself, waiting for it to fall asleep. There's something very comforting about all the forest sounds slightly fading into background noise. Soon the only sound is Weston's feet crunching up branches and sinking into grass, and he calls it a day. He goes to sleep around midnight, after spending an hour researching Mohammed Ebnu and three hours learning Here Comes the Sun on ukulele. He doesn't have to sleep, but it gives him a nice sense of human routine. Plus, the time passes more quickly when he sleeps and he can't wait to talk to Rev again. Well, he needn't wait long.

He wakes up at five o'clock sharp by his phone wildly vibrating next to his head.


[05:01] rev: doesn't that sound kinda filthy

[05:01] rev: morning "glory"

[05:02] West: You know it's a flower, right?

[05:03] rev: no i'm pretty sure it's a dick

[05:04] rev: anyway you can go back to sleep now

[05:05] West: I'm awake now.

[05:05] rev: my apologies for waking you

[05:06] West: It's okay. Time to wake up and smell the flowers.

[05:07] rev: but not morning glories?

[05:08] West: I'm afraid not. We don't have them in the forest.

Weston jumps out of his bed, then sprints down the stairs. No, Mirage Woods has never had morning glories. But with a little magical help, he can get them growing in no time.

[05:09] rev: BOO

[05:09] rev: anyway. any fun plans for today?

[05:10] West: Maybe. Check in with me around noon. How about you?

[05:11] rev: work. boooring. need me some excitement in life.

[05:12] West: Probably don't go hiking again. Next time you'll break something.

[05:13] rev: i've broken many things but never my pride

[05:14] rev: hiking is reserved for weekends though

[05:15] rev: gotta dash. bye bye

Weston finds himself a nice, private corner of his forest, free of trees, and sits down. Instantly, the forest floor grows greener, sensing his presence. Loads of people preferred Mirage Woods to Leroy Forest, and Weston likes to think it's because of him and the work and care he puts into it.

He plays some Billie Holiday from his phone and gets to work.

Three hours later, Emmy finds him elbow-deep in dirt, with a whole bunch of flowers surrounding the place where he sits.

"G'morning. Since when have you been working?"



She sits next to him, careful not to step on any flowers. Even though the forest could get pretty hot from time to time, Emmy is never seen without a denim miniskirt and knee-high white socks with two stripes at the top. She buys in bulk, because she ruins a pair weekly. Weston used to tease her for it, but it stopped being funny after a couple of years.

"What's that you're growing?", she asks, touching a flower with gentle fingers.

"Morning glories. I figured we didn't have any, and they'll look great climbing up the treehouse."

"I love them." Emmy crawls closer to the bud in Weston's hands and watches it grow. "How come I never get to do cool shit like that?"

"Shush, don't let Atticus hear you", Weston laughs. "And you get to do waves and stuff. I can't do that."

"But look, Westie!" she exclaims. "It's a baby", she coos. Weston puts the flower into the ground, shakes the dirt off his hands, grabs his phone and gets up.

"They are looking nice", he agrees. "Let's see what's Atticus up to."

The rest of morning is plain. They find Atticus reading a book, which is nothing new, and Emmy shows some visitors around, making sure to mention what a 'fabulous lake we have in Mirage'. Weston can't be bothered, so he retreats to his room (again) and watches a movie he missed years back. It's noon soon and, like an alarm, his phone buzzes.

[12:00] rev: yo

[12:00] rev: am i being needy? tell me if i'm being needy

[12:01] rev: i have four hours of work left and i'm ready to shove a stick into my eye and eat it like a shish kebab

[12:01] rev: i mean. my eye, not the stick

[12:02] rev: stop it's getting worse

[12:02] rev: anyway HI

[12:03] West: Hello. Everything alright with you?

He can't stop laughter, but he can stop it in text form.

[12:04] rev: everything's peachy. customer service is not for someone who swears in stressful situations as much as i do

[12:05] West: Get a better job, then.

[12:06] rev: i'm not really in the position to choose

Weston doesn't ask any further. Just because he's got a a financially stable life, it doesn't mean he has to be blind to other people's problems.

[12:08] rev: guess who dropped a cardboard box full of rice on his head

[12:09] West: Joan of Ark.

[12:09] rev: you're the worst guesser in the world

[12:10] rev: ME. it was me. a child laughed

[12:11] West: I'd've laughed.

[12:12] rev: ouch

[12:13] West: Are you going to hurt yourself every day? Shall I start a tally?

[12:14] rev: that might be a good idea. i'm clumsy but i heal pretty quickly

[12:16] West: I'm on it.

He gets up from the bed and goes out of his room. Searches the treehouse for Atticus, and when he doesn't find him, he sticks his head out the window and finds Atticus still reading on a chair outside.

"Hey, Atticus", he shouts out, fully aware that he would be heard even if he wasn't yelling. "D'ya have a notebook I have borrow?"

"Go through the books, you'll find something."


The treehouse has six rooms. One for Weston, Emmie and Atticus respectively, a library, a bathroom and a kitchen, and the latter two are just for visitors, which means they're rarely used. Bare necessities, really, because they don't need anything else. Weston quickly finds a used notebook amd retreats back to his room. He opens it to a blank page and writes down: 'Tally of times Rev hurt himself:' , and two lines below it. He takes a picture of it and sends it to Rev.

[12:21] rev: WHAT IS THAT

[12:22] West: A tally?

[12:22] rev: GOOD SIR

[12:23] rev: I HAVE NEVER


Weston is confused for a second; he sees nothing wrong with his handwriting. It's the same as it always was.



[12:26] West: It's better than yours.

[12:27] rev: when have you seen my handwriting?

[12:27] West: The boxes in your room.

[12:28] rev: well, mine's edgy and cool, yours is ancient.

[12:29] West: Ouch.

[12:29] rev: no really, are you like eighty?

Closer to a hundred, actually.

[12:30] West: I'm not, thanks for asking.

[12:30] West: There's nothing edgy about misunderstandings.

[12:31] rev: i guess

[12:31] rev: you win this one old man

[12:32] rev: gotta go, duty calls.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:28 am

Weston is not sure he can admit it, but he's going to miss Rev. There's something eclectic and wild about him, something he hasn't experienced in a while. He seems like the type to grab life by its legs, flip it upside down and shake it until all of its valuables are out on the floor, then steal them, running away and laughing. The same type to drive motorcycles through red lights and jump out of airplanes just because they can, and Weston is going to spiral. He's going to spiral into something bad, and getting over it is going to take years. Decades, even.

He sighs. He'll burn that bridge when he gets to it, or whatever. Instead, he puts on a shitty romcom and only half-pays attention to it.

Emmy joins him fifteen minutes into the movie, and her commentary makes the experience ten times more enjoyable.

"I'd've dumped her. She cheated on him!"

"Yeah", Weston says hiding laughter, "but she says she didn't really feel anything when she and that guy kissed, so it doesn't count."

"Doesn't count my ass. Wait, are you supporting her actions?"

"I'm on your side, but I figured there has to be two sides to the conversation."

"So if I said I think all humans shouldn't be wiped off this planet, you'd disagree with me?" Weston groans and falls back on his bed. "You're a sham, Westie."

"I'm aware."

They laugh for a while, when there's banging on the other side of the wall.

"Quiet, you two!" It's Atticus, so they immediately calm down. Emmy rolls her eyes.

"Hey, how did you survive with Atticus all those years without me?"

"It's not surviving, per se. It's… tolerating."

"Betcha you're glad you got me now", Emmy says as she pushes into his chest with her head full of short, blue curls. Most water nymphs dye their hair to fit in, but Emmy refuses. Atticus, on the other hand, is never seen with blue roots.

"Of course." Weston's phone buzzes, and he doesn't even have to glance at it to know who's messaging him. "It's four o'clock", he tells Emmy.

"How do you know that?" When Weston doesn't answer, Emmy grabs his phone and runs away to her room.

"Hey, bring it back!"

"Nuh uh!" she yells. "Hey, who's Rev?"

"Emmy, give me my phone back or I will end you!"

"I'd like to see you try!"

"Will you keep it down?" Atticus shouts.

They do keep it down, but that doesn't stop them from running around the treehouse chasing each other. When Weston finally catches up, Emmy is im his room, covered in his blanket and going through his texts.

"Who is Rev?" she asks.

"A guy I met on the dating app you installed. He's fun", Weston says apologetically and sits next to her, deciding that it was easier to give in than to fight.

"He is. Plan on meeting him?"

"Um, maybe? I don't know. I don't really want to get involved with humans, because I know that a goodbye is inevitable."

"I mean", Emmy shrugs, "you still got five to ten years with him until it gets weird."

"Yeah, and then what? 'I'm sorry we can't hang out anymore, but I don't age'?"

"I guess you're right, but still. You can't just avoid humans because they die."

Weston sighs and takes his phone back. He reads the texts Rev sent him.

[16:00] rev: i'm out of this hellhole for the next sixteen hours YAY

[16:05] rev: thanks for ignoring me i'm not taking this personal at all

[16:08] rev: are you mad i insulted your handwriting? cuz i was only joking to hide my own insecurities because my handwriting looks like a dog who ran headfirst into a wall wrote it with his back left paw

[16:09] rev: i thought we had something and now i'm heartbroken

[16:10] rev: momma told my half-sisters to stay away from nasty men but she never warned me

[16:12] rev: you're gone but not forgotten

[16:14] West: Emmy took my phone, no need to go all dramatic on me.

[16:15] rev: OH THANK GOD

[16:16] rev: i have no friends can you tell

[16:17] West: You have me.

[16:18] rev: i know you can't see me, but i'm hardcore blushing right now

[16:19] rev: shit that's not the most manly thing i could do right

[16:19] rev: just pretend i, dunno, punched a wall or something

[16:20] West: How is punching a wall manly? And why is blushing not?

[16:21] rev: patriarchy

[16:22] West: That's a good answer. What are your plans for the rest of the day?

[16:23] rev: punch walls, pick up some chicks and ride a motorcycle

[16:23] rev: jk i'm gonna read, i got some books from the library

[16:24] rev: have you done anything fun?

[16:25] West: I believe so. Give it a month and we'll see.

[16:26] West: Also, I just remembered. Ricky Martin?

[16:27] rev: still not mariachi, even though he also sings about a maría. i had a huge crush on him back In The Day

[16:28] rev: brb i'm going to china and punch the biggest wall i know

[16:29] West: Bring me a souvenir.

A picture Weston receives is that of a computer screen with the picture of the Great Wall of China, and a fist pressed against it.

[16:32] West: That's a mighty big wall to punch.

[16:33] rev: i'm a mighty big man

[16:33] rev: WOW that sounded bad in my head and worse in real life

[16:34] West: It made Emmy laugh.

[16:34] rev: what about you?

[16:35] West: Maybe.

[16:36] rev: that's an achievement. now excuse me, i'm gonna read a huge fuckin book. write to ya later

Weston puts down his phone with a smile on his face, all while Emmy's watching him with her chin in her hands.

"Oh, shit", she mutters. "You're gonna fall. Hard."


"Nothing. I didn't say a word. Now let's finish this movie, and maybe the whole series."

Weston spends the rest of the night trying not to look at his phone, which buzzes once just before midnight. He reads the message somewhere after three, when Emmy goes back to her room.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 am

[23:48] rev: i can't believe yekaterina died i was rooting for her

[03:16] West: Did she at least marry the guy she loved?

[05:01] rev: no, but she did kill her son. very medeian.

[05:02] rev: what were you doing up so late

[05:02] rev: don't you sleep you faithless animal

Not really, Weston chuckles. At least not last night. He wonders how humans deprive themselves of sleep every now and then. If he was human, he'd sleep as much as possible. It would be either that or some more crappy movies.

[05:04] West: Probably not as much as it's usually prescribed.

[05:05] rev: i can tell, this is your second day awake at five because of me and you're not complaining

[05:06] West: I don't mind it. It feels like an American high-school drama.

[05:07] rev: then i'm gonna have to ask you to go to prom with me. i don't have anyone else. i'm sorry i don't make the rules.

[05:08] West: You said you had half-sisters. Don't people usually go to prom with their relatives when they have no other option?

[05:09] rev: REJECTION

[05:09] rev: i haven't seen them in years. also, they're not my relatives.

[05:10] West: I don't understand.

[05:11] rev: new age hippie, remember? my parents adopted all kids who didn't have anywhere else to go. i had fifteen siblings

[05:12] West: That's really cool. Had?

[05:13] rev: yea, one had terminal cancer when we found him. the only thing we could do is give him a warm bed and food. i was a kid, i don't remember much

[05:14] West: That's awful, I'm so sorry.

[05:15] rev: no more sad stuff i hate sad stuff

[05:15] rev: what about you?

[05:16] West: I'm an only child. Not much to say on that front.

[05:17] rev: hey, i don't open myself up to you just to get nothing in return

[05:18] West: I wish I had some stories for you, but I don't. I'm sorry, I'm boring.

[05:19] rev: to continue with the high school theme, when was your first kiss?

If Weston was truthful, it was in 1932., with a wizard who was visiting the area. He stayed for a month, and Atticus still calls it 'Weston's torrid affar'. The next one was in 1958., with a vampire who spent a year in Murkwell, caring for her brother who was in a nursing home. Every time, inevitably, people leave Weston. He's not sure he can deal with more heartbreak.

He hates lying, but he can't tell Rev that.

[05:21] West: My friend's birthday party, and I got a dare.

[05:22] rev: that's boring. were they at least cute?

[05:23] West: Not really. Everything smelled like alcohol and cheap perfume.

[05:24] rev: wouldn't know. i wasn't cool enough for parties

[05:24] rev: SPEAKING OF!!!! you rejected my promposal. may i ask why?

[05:25] West: Are you planning on going to any proms in the near future?

[05:25] rev: NO. that was a purely symbolical question. and now i have work. HEARTBROKEN.

[05:26] rev: same time as yesterday?

[05:27] West: That works.

[07:58] West: Also, if you really asked me, I'd go with you.

[12:00] rev: EXCUSE YOU. fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me

[12:01] rev: first you say no now you say yes

[12:02] rev: even if i go with you you'd probably dance with someone else

[12:03] West: If I said I was going with you, I wouldn't leave your side all night.

[12:03] rev: like a loyal dog

[12:04] rev: anyway we'll continue this argument when one of us actually goes to prom and doesn't invite the other one

[12:05] West: I'm glad that's behind us.

[12:06] rev: every time you end a text with a period i feel an incredibly sarcastic vibe coming from you

[12:07] West: Who? Me? No way.

[12:08] rev: Look at me, I'm West, my grammar is perfect.

[12:09] West: Why do you think my name is West?

[12:10] rev: a) it's on your profile as a name

[12:10] rev: b) what else could it be

[12:11] West: A preferred direction of movement?

[12:13] rev: i'm sorry that's hilarious i'm laughing

[12:14] rev: i can just imagine you moving west all the time. missed your destination? WELL WALK AROUND THE PLANET AND COME BACK TO IT

[12:15] West: But the important part is; do I move forwards or sideways, like a crab?

[12:16] rev: both seem hilarious enouHOLD UP



[12:18] West: STOP IT grammar isn't scary.


[12:18] rev: anyway if we were going trick-or-treating would we wear matching costumes

[12:19] rev: in that hypothetical high school drama

[12:20] West: Depends. What are potential costumes?

[12:22] rev: on one side we have the classics;;; salt and pepper, lewis and clark, lady and the tramp, and on the other side we have popular internet edits;;;;;;;; punk, goth, emo, etc. you choose i'm fine with all of these

[12:23] West: These are all good ideas. Just a question, who would be the Lady and who would be the Tramp?

[12:24] rev: you haven't seen my hair. that shit is not smoothing down to be a classy texan lady. i'm gonna be a tramp, and you dress up nicely

[12:25] West: Curly?

[12:25] rev: and long

The picture Weston recieves is one of a cascade of brown curls, with a background of an empty store. Oh, and a sliver of a jaw. It's the most interesting part of the day, because Weston had spent it rewatching a teen high school drama which was considerably worse than what he had expected, and its ten seasons are his plan for the rest of the day, or maybe week.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:30 am

[12:28] rev: "you call them wild curls. i call them breathing. ancestors spiraling. can’t you see them in this wet hair that waves like 'hello'?" —elizabeth acevedo

[12:29] West: Where do you find these lovely poems?

[12:30] rev: try searching for spoken word poetry

[12:30] rev: that's my break. talk to you later

Weston was wrong, and he now has a better plan for the rest of the afternoon. Well, at least until four o'clock.

[16:01] rev: i was thinking

[16:02] rev: i know, how dangerous, hahaha etc etc

[16:03] rev: do you wanna meet up?

Weston won't pretend he didn't feel his heart speed up at the thought. He won't even begin to pretend his breath caught, and his hands reached out for the keyboard, stumbling on their way there.

[16:04] West: Sure. When?

[16:05] rev: now? i mean, i'm done with work, with nothing else to do today

[16:05] West: I'd like that. I don't think I can leave the forest today, though.

He can't just leave his forest unattended, not when there are people inside it. Plus, Atticus would have a fit, and Weston would return to his room flooded with red and pink hearts, Emmy's work.

[16:06] rev: that's okay, i have a car. give me like half an hour

[16:07] West: Looking forward to it.

Weston is not nearly as calm as he makes it appear in text. In fact, he is freaking out, because he has to change clothes to something more modern. His 'The Future is Female' t-shirt from 1978. usually causes confusion with new people. When he changes into something less political, he grabs his phone and walks to the edge of the forest. Calmly. (Err, perhaps not. He nearly runs.)

There's a parking lot just outside Mirage, where all picnickers and school trips come to park, and today it was surprisingly empty. He counted seven cars and one motorcycle, parked next to the diner, which he knew belonged to the diner owner.

The diner opened somewhere in the nineties, right next to the forest, and Weston is, to this day, surprised it's still up and running. He can't imagine how many people visited every day.

Not to appear like a weirdo, Weston didn't go to the parking lot. Instead, he found a tall tree at the edge of the forest and climbed it. Then, he sits there. On top of the tree. For half an hour. As a nymph, he's already used to waiting in one spot. His mobile and a steady internet connection help.

A green Ford Galaxie makes a turn to the parking lot and parks right next to the diner. A tall man stumbles out of the car, nearly falling, his hair following—because, truly, just as Rev told Weston, his hair is an entity of its own. He's wearing a hoodie, ripped skinny jeans, and well-worn sneakers, like Weston's worst nightmare, and he looks around a bit before heading towards the diner. Weston can only imagine the conversation between him and the loud, rude and arrogant diner owner, but Rev exits with an evil grin on his face and heads into the forest.

Weston thinks about scaring Rev and jumping out of the tree just as he's under it, but decides against it. He'd rather not begin their first meeting by giving the poor man a heart attack. So he calmly climbs down and hides behind a tree.

Rev doesn't even step onto the path leading to the forest before he knows that something is wrong.

"Hello?" he calls out, removing his hands from the pockets of his hoodie. "West? If you're somewhere around here hiding, I'll walk right to the river and drown myself in it, I swear." The speed in which he utters those words is impressive, and it makes Weston laugh.

"Hi", he walks into the path, smiling. The grin Rev unleashes is of astronomical measures.

"Nice to meet you properly. Hug? Handshake? Hug? Hug", Rev finally decides and envelopes Weston into a consuming hug.

"Punch a wall?" Weston asks when Rev releases him.

"There are no walls and I don't punch trees. They're living things, ya know." Oh, Weston knows it alright. "This place is something else", Rev says and, just like that, he's gone, because something grabbed his attention, so he walked off the path to a small clearing, where Weston had created some flowers, years back.

Weston feels like a parent with a child who has ADHD, because Rev exists just like he texts—frantic, unfocused, and all over the place, always one step ahead of Weston. Maybe it has something to do with the hug, which lasted a tad too long, and which Weston still feels, as if the places Rev touched burned under his body.

"Wait, you live here?" Rev asks when they reach the treehouse.

"No!" Weston exclaims. "I mean, yes, but there's people in there and I don't want them to see you."

Rev's eyebrows shoot up, and there's that trademark grin, all teeth and attitude.

"Ooh, am I a bad influence? Do you have to hide me from your parents because I'll turn you into a Satan-loving heathen? That Bible comment should've made things clear to me. Is that a lake?" And he's gone again. Weston follows him patiently, and when Rev sits on a rock near the lake, the same one Emmy likes to jump off of, Weston feels relieved. He sits next to him, careful so their bodies don't touch again.

"I'm sorry", Rev says, and this time he's slower in his speech, watching the lake. "I'm just… new surroundings trigger something in me. I'm real sorry. Let's start this over." He sticks his hand out. "I'm Rev."

"Weston", he says, shaking Rev's hand and feeling calmer. "I don't get a hug this time? Boo." More grinning, more teeth, and Weston's done for.

"Kick me whenever you feel I'm talking too much", Rev tells him and swings his legs like a child on a swingset. "When you said you lived in a forest, I didn't think 'in a forest' in a forest, but I suppose that's alright. It's beautiful here. You were right about Mirage being better than Leroy. Leroy is the quietest forest I've ever been in."

Weston just watches him talk, starstruck.

"I see that texting limits your conversation skills."

"Oh, man, you have no idea. How many jokes I have lost to my inability to type as fast as my brain works. Tell me about the forest, you're obviously the main dude in it, betcha you planted each tree on your own. Talk forest to me." Weston laughs and begins describing the forest to Rev, and is surprised to notice that he's listening carefully and not interrupting, unless he has a question.

He tells him about the river, how it made the soil around it fertile, and about the people who planted the forest itself, as a memorial for World War I victims, and especially for Murkwell's mayor at the time, who spent all his free days in Leroy and who died in the War. He tells him about how the mayor's daughter, then her children as well, visited the forest and took care of it, and every year until World War II started, they held an county-wide event in the forest.

He tell Rev about the many trees, bushes, plants and flowers, and about the animals, primarily birds. Mirage has never had bears or deer, even though Leroy used to have a wolf pack, and he talks about the unnamed lake in the middle of the forest and how it made the forest area smaller, but made air fresher and healthier.

"You really love your job, huh?" Rev asks when Weston's done, leaning back on his on his hands and throwing his head back, and Weston admires the way the setting sun plays with his brown, thick curls. For a moment, he wants to run his fingers through them, test if they feel as soft as they look, but he's a mortal human, and Weston's a nymph who has had his fair share of heartbreak.

"I do. It's the nature, what's there not to love?"

"Wait." Rev looks off into the forest, mouthing words. "I got it." He clears his throat and recites. "'O Hunter, snare me his shadow!/O Nightingale, catch me his strain!/Else moonstruck with music and madness/'" he pauses and smiles at Weston. "'I track him in vain!' That's Oscar Wilde. I don't read much of his stuff, it's too mushy for me, but I liked this one."

"I like it too", Weston says, taken aback. He assumed Rev quoted the poems from the internet, not by heart. "What's the connection? Between our conversation and the poem."

"It's called In the Forest, so… Forest? Nature?" Rev shrugs. "Made sense in my head. A lot of things make sense in my head and not out loud. I'm… I'm making myself look like an idiot, right? I talk too much."

"No, no…" Weston shakes his head. In fact, he found it charming. There's nothing like word vomit to tell you everything you need to know about a person. "It's okay. I don't talk enough, we can balance each other out."



Rev laughs and bumps Weston's shoulder with his own. The warmth returns, with an addition of star-like tingles, and Weston would throw himself off the rock into the lake if it would mean that Rev would jump after him and drag him out. Or something less drastic. He just wants to get closer to him, and that feels awful.

There's a whistle, and Rev sighs, taking his phone out of his jeans. His eyes scan the screen, slowly growing disappointed.

"Fu—shit. I—I gotta go, my boss is pissed because I was supposed to—fuck." Rev rolls his eyes and sighs. "I'm sorry and I hate myself but I have to go. I don't wanna lose my job."

"That's alright", Weston says, hoping disappointment isn't as apparent in his voice as it is in his head. "I'll walk you out, if you wish."

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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:31 am

Rev gets up, this time around slower, almost at normal human speed, and Weston hopes it's because he wants to stay.

"We need to organise to meet up properly, without anyone interrupting. Weekends, perhaps? Maybe then you can get out of this forest and live a little. Would you want to get into the town? There's a great county library in Murkwell, it's where I get all my books, and perhaps you can join me with my hunt for more obscure poets I haven't read?"

"That sounds great", Weston says with a smile.

"I'll pick you up around ten?"

"Saturday or Sunday?"


"Then Saturday, because I don't wanna dig into your church time and make your friends pissed off. Also, the library doesn't work on Sunday. I think that's the crucial part of our plan. Do you have any favourite writers?"

"Not really. Every book I read is by someone different."

"Bunch of different perspectives. I like that."

They're at the edge of the forest and Rev is looking at his car like he really, really doesn't want to go. But he has to.

"See you Saturday, then?"

"Looking forward to it."

Rev smiles at Weston and waves. And then, he's gone, and Weston starts missing him. It gets oddly quiet.

The moment he walks into the treehouse, Emmy's head pops out of her room.

"Who was that loud guy? Can I be your wedding planner?" When Weston sighs and goes to his room, Emmy follows with more questions. "Is it Rev? Because if he is, he's very cute and I heard you laugh so that's a good sign."

"Yes, it was Rev", Weston sighs, knowing that now he'll have to answer all Emmy's questions.

"Are you meeting up again?"


"Most importantly", Emmy faces Weston "Do you like him?"

"A lot. And… I don't know what to do about it."

"Listen", Emmy guides him to sit on his bed, and Weston prepares for a Lecture by Emmy. "Maybe you should embrace it. Be with him for a while. Be happy."

"And then what?"

"You know what your buddy Willy Shakes says. It's better to have loved and lost—"

"Well, Shakespeare was human and he had a wife and a lover. I don't think he lost all that much."

"Maybe. Maybe Shakespeare was a wizard and was killed in the inquisition. We may never know. My point is", Emmy makes a dramatic pause, "it's okay if you want to hang out with him, no matter your intentions. I can take care of Mirage, and Atticus doesn't even have to know."

"Ugh", Weston lies back and covers his head with a pillow. "It's just my luck that there isn't a single immortal in this area."

"Well, my love life is more than lacking and I'm not complaining", Emmy pointed out.

"You've been alive for twenty years. And I'll be a hundred any year now."

"That's a long time to be alone."

Weston sighs and lets Emmy lie next to him, thoughts crowding his brain. It's peaceful for a while, when his phone vibrates.

[17:58] rev: leaving was SO NOT WORTH IT. i put one pricetag a bit to the left and he freaked out.

[17:59] rev: anyway, sup?

Weston smiles a bit, because he couldn't imagine Rev timidly walking into the store and being quiet as his boss yelled at him. There had to be some sweet-talking involved.

[18:00] West: Nothing much. Emmy is complaining about her love life. The usual.

[18:01] rev: i bet it's more interesting than mine. it feels like it's been decades since i've been on a proper date

[18:02] West: That's pretty much what she said. I might play matchmaker and set you two up.

[18:03] rev: but i only have eyes for you

[18:04] rev: "my love must be a kind of blind love/i can't see anyone but you"

[18:05] West: The Flamingos?

[18:05] rev: i'm more of a garfunkel man myself

[18:06] rev: also, how the hell do you know that song?

[18:07] West: An understated classic.

Emmy looks over Weston's shoulder.

"Who is that man?" she says in a hushed voice of a conspiracist. "Nobody knows that song. I don't know that song. I'm willing to bet, though, it's one of those written fifty years ago."

"The thirties, I believe. Art Garfunkel sang it in the seventies."

"Oh, okay, him I know." Emmy gets up and takes Weston's laptop back to his bed. "Wanna watch some Gilmore Girls? Just so you get used to Speedy Gonzales, talking like his life depends on it."

And so they watch a season, Weston occasionally texting Rev and Emmy visibly restraining herself from reading his texts. Weston tells him about the show he's watching and Rev, of course, has a comment on that.

[18:46] rev: honestly, screw jess. dean was such a good boyfriend and rory just left him

They chat more about music and Weston pretends to go to sleep so Rev would go, as well, because even though Weston doesn't get tired, he knows how cranky people get, and Rev doesn't need any more trouble at work.

The last text, however, hurts a bit.

[00:23] rev: sleep tight, soldier. dream of something nice

Weston doesn't often wish he wasn't a nymph, but he wants more than anything at this moment just to be human. Because nymphs don't dream.

The night passes.

[04:59] West: I'm texting you first this morning so you don't think you woke me up.

[05:01] rev: that's cute you think i don't lie awake at night and think about the futility of life

[05:02] rev: fu ti li ty that's a weirdo of a word to spell

[05:03] West: How would you spell it?

[05:03] rev: fyootility

[05:04] West: That's even worse.

[05:05] rev: fewtility?

[05:06] West: Awful.

[05:07] rev: LIKE MY LIFE

[05:07] rev: i'm kidding it's sunshine and roses and unicorn craps.

Weston puts his phone into the pocket of his jeans and digs up a morning glory, roots and all, from the place he planted it before. He carries it to the treehouse and places it against the wall to let it climb up and perhaps decorate the wood. Emmy would be thrilled.

[05:11] rev: how's your life?

[05:13] West: Pretty good. It's gonna be a sunny morning, but I predict rain later on.

[05:14] rev: whoa weatherman

[05:15] rev: also i dislike rain. it's fine when i'm inside, but hair plus rain equals curl squared and a wet me

[05:16] West: I love rain. You should visit the treehouse when it's raining, it sounds amazing.

[05:17] rev: don't tempt me

[05:18] rev: also did you finish your show yesterday?

[05:19] West: Of course. For what kind of wimp do you take me to be?

[05:20] rev: good boy. see you around noon

Weston feels like he's going to jump out of his skin for the rest of his week. Because Rev has him laughing, and looking up poets he's never heard of before, and most of all, craving his presence. He is so real, Weston thinks. Real and present, and Weston is getting closer and closer to falling. Emmy looks at him now and then, smiling at his phone, but she doesn't say a word.

Even Atticus, who usually had a smart-ass comment about every Weston's every interaction, kept to himself, and Weston was grateful. He liked texting Rev, and he liked spending time him, but that's where their relationship was. Maybe, if he plays his cards right, this could blossom into something nice, even if it lasts only a few years.

Yeah, Weston can live with that. Until he will no longer be able to do that. Hey, no one ever said that life was easy.

[16:01] rev: !!! i'm done with work for the week !!!

[16:02] West: This is probably the only punctuation I've seen from you, congratulations.

[16:04] rev: hey not everybody has the TIME or the WILL to put little dots and lines between their letters to separate the thoughts i just don't find it necessary

[16:05] West: And yet you use apostrophes and question marks and exclamation marks.

[16:05] rev: it adds my writing /character/

[16:06] West: It seems like you only have a problem with periods.

[16:07] rev: i use them. occasinally

[16:08] West: Shocked, but pleasantly.

[16:09] rev: psh, periods are for dweebs. and people with vaginas

[16:11] rev: anyway, tomorrow i'll appear chill and i won't leave the house at seven thirty and i won't park next to the forest an hour before our meeting time and i WILL NOT!!! put some effort into my appearance

[16:12] West: Which means I expect your car parked here around a quarter to nine?

[16:13] rev: DEFINITELY NOT

[16:13] rev: dude i have the layout of the library memorised. first we check out mainstream writers and then, by the closing time, you will have read poems by the /most/ obscure people whose pen names are something like Banana Peel and Violet Road Kill

[16:14] West: Please don't tell me those are real people.

[16:15] rev: they better not be i made those names up i own them now

[16:16] rev: prepare to raid the miniature spanish section with me gringo

[16:16] rev: how awful i'm never saying that again

[16:17] rev: hey Creator dude i am rev ruiz and i have sinned

[16:18] West: 'Creator dude'? Are you by any chance talking about God?

[16:19] rev: perhaps. although i was under an impression that if there actually was an omnipotent being it would be a woman

[16:20] West: I agree, that's very Hair of you.

[16:21] rev: duude i loved hair the whole musical is my jam

[16:21] rev: i mean musicals? never heard of her. i only watch action movies and horror flicks

[16:22] West: I've only watched the movie version.

[16:23] rev: i've seen it live a+ would jam again

[16:25] West: Oh, no, I just thought of something.

[16:26] rev: what

[16:26] West: You're the loudest person ever, and I'm going to the library with you.

[16:27] rev: darn tootin

[16:28] West: Will you manage to get us permanently banned?

[16:29] rev: i'll do my best
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:32 am

Fondness is the best word to describe what West was feeling. Maybe it was just the way they balanced each other out. Maybe Rev can crack him open and let him feel, for once.

[16:30] rev: hey yo westie look outside

Weston's hopes rise like a hot air balloon. Is he outside? Will he hear his voice again, rapid and loud? He can even imagine it, footsteps against the wet grass.

[16:31] West: I'm looking?

[16:32] rev: can you see it? a rainbow

Yes, there is indeed a rainbow, beautiful and bright. It has been raining whole week, without a sign of the sun, but the clouds cleared up a bit, only letting a few rays of light in, and it was delightful.

Weston snaps a photo of it and sends it to Rev, just in time to receive a photo of the same rainbow, as seen out of a window.

[16:33] West: Great minds think alike.

[16:34] rev: and lesser minds copy them.

[16:39] rev: does it get lonely in the forest? i mean i know you live with other people but i can't imagine just being around the trees all the time

[16:40] West: I don't see it like that. The forest is my home, the only one I've known. Also, there's way too many birds to ever feel lonely.

[16:41] rev: i don't know, it's probably just me. if i spend a lot of time in the forest alone i get freaked out

[16:42] West: You don't have to be alone in Mirage.

[16:43] rev: how sweet. you gonna protect me from the monsters?

[16:43] rev: jk the only monster is the human with his destructive urges STOP DESTROYING THE PLANET YOU MONSTER

[16:44] West: And then I am the tree hugger.

[16:45] rev: you're the huggiest of them all

[16:45] rev: you'll never guess what happened

Weston had a pretty good idea. In the past week, Rev burned himself twice, slipped on mop water, nearly drove into a traffic light and electrocuted himself fixing the wiring in his room. Weston's tally is growing and it shows no signs of stopping.

[16:46] rev: a sign fell on my head as i was putting it up

[16:47] West: How surprising! I'm shocked!

[16:47] West: Are you okay?

[16:48] rev: of course i am i'm always okay

[16:48] rev: you should see the other guy

[16:49] West: The sign?

[16:50] rev: i suppose

[16:51] rev: my boss was THRILLED i think he just wants me dead

[16:51] rev: same boss same

[16:52] West: I don't want you dead.

[16:53] rev: life is tough and then, if you're lucky, you die

[16:54] West: Or, alternatively, life is tough until you find someone who makes it less tough.

[16:55] rev: how very optimistic. wish i could think like that

[16:56] West: Maybe you should read happier poems.

[16:58] rev: "i’ve learned to suffocate death/and continue doing so all day" —paul caroll

[16:59] West: Since you like poetry that much, did you ever consider writing it?

[17:00] rev: dude. man. DUDE. i don't think anyone wants to read a fifty page poem which consists only of rants

[17:01] West: I'd read it and correct the grammar.

[17:02] rev: how nice of you

[17:03] rev: my mum wrote poetry though. i might find some of it and send it your way

[17:03] rev: OH FUCK



Weston is stunned for a second. He isn't sure whether Rev was joking or if there was an actual fire, so he decides to wait for ten minutes, and if he hears nothing from Rev, he'll call the firefighters.

[17:16] rev: everything's fine it's all good the lady was smoking and i didn't ask what

[17:17] West: Good, I'm glad. How long must you smoke to produce… that much smoke?

[17:18] rev: apparently since two

[17:18] rev: honestly i'm impressed

[17:19] rev: okay now my whole flat smells like weed

[17:20] West: Good luck explaining that.

[17:21] rev: i've bullshitted my way out of weirder situations i'm gonna be just fine

They talk for a while, and Weston thinks he did a good job hiding his excitement about tomorrow. He didn't even pick out the clothes for their library trip, and if nothing, that was a sign of being level-headed, right?

Then his calm completely shatters, because, oh Lord, is this going to be a date? Is he going on a date with Rev? It feels like his brain turns to sludge and oozes out of his ears. He hasn't been on a date in decades. How is he supposed to act? What if it isn't a date, but Weston think it is, and then Rev thinks he's weird?

Rev did hug him the first time they met. All those talks about prom and Halloween couldn't have been a coincidence. But humans have always had issues with relationships and genders. And Weston could just be misreading the signs.

Dryad migranes. The absolute worst.

They say their goodnights somewhere around one and Weston tries to fall asleep, to make time pass faster. Keyword 'tries'.

Come morning, and he's in his authentic Cavern Club Beatles t-shirt which is still whole only because of a little help of nymph magic. That, paired with an enthusiastic bookish attitude, and he's ready to go. An hour before he's supposed to. Rats.

[09:04] West: Is it too eager to say that I'm already prepared to go?

[09:05] rev: say no more and get your ass to the parking lot

Weston does as he was told, walking through the forest, no, jogging, just to get out as fast as he can and see Rev again. He slows down just in time to reach the edge of the forest. There, at the edge of the parking lot, is the familiar green car, with the windows down, and in it is Rev, with an old baseball cap on his head. He hears late Beatles music dripping out of the windows, and a grin consumes his entire face.

He walks to the car and gets in.

"So, these are the rules", Rev immediately starts the car, and Weston can see a mischevious spark in his eyes through the tinted lenses. "I am the captain and I'm in control of this ship. Rule number two, you can pick the music, because I've only got the music I like. Rule number three, if I stick my head out the window like a dog, you are the captain. Rule number four", Rev stops and squints at Weston. He takes off his glasses and hands them over to Weston. "Put these on, they'll look hot on you."

Weston does what he was told, and Rev looks him up and down.

"Perfect. Any questions?"

"Good morning", Weston says slowly, smiling. Rev smirks back.

"Good morning to you too. You ready to take on the world?"

"Maybe. Only if you're going with me."
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:33 am

Rev makes a throwing up noise, making Weston laugh.

"What's all this cheesy bullshit, I thought we were better than this."

"You're completely right, I'm sorry." Weston considers it for a while, then presses his fist against the glove compartment. "There, does that make it better?" Rev averts his eyes from the road to Weston punching his car.

"Hm. It ain't a wall, and the punch was weak. Six outta ten."

"Passable." Weston then plays with the CD player, which looks like it's been replaced, since it's the only new thing in the car, and chooses a random song, which he immediately recognises as Chubby Checker's Let's Twist Again.

"Do you listen to anything from the twenty first century?"

"Do you?" A beat of silence.


"Pffs", Rev exhales. "You're as bad as I am, just give into it. There are some great new artists out there, but you can trace them all back to someone in the past. It's hard to be original when everything has been done. Plus, I really dig jazz, because it's never the same. Honestly, this whole trend of electronics in kinda annoying. It's too perfect, ya know? I like to hear raw instruments. But that's just my opinion. I know, I know, how hipster of me."

"I mean, you can listen to whatever you like, but I agree with you. Electronic music is just not my thing."

Rev starts whistling along to the song and Weston just enjoys the music for a while. He guesses it's one of those rare moments of silence around Rev, and he is right. The song ends, and Rev eyes the CD player until another song starts.

"I installed the thing myself, and it was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I love Rhonda", he pats the wheel affectionately, "and having to gut her and play with the wiring was kind of terrifying."


"The car."

"Oh no", Weston groans, "you're one of those people who name their cars and clean them every week."

"Um, look at the back seat." Weston does. The back of the car is filled with empty cardboard boxes with Rev's handwriting on them and a couple of chairs. "Rhonda's soul is more important than her rusty metal exterior."

"Rhonda deserves better."

"Are you planning on starting a fire any time soon? Because these chairs would use some heat."

"Poor chairs."

Rev looks at Weston like he's going insane.

"Dude. These chairs are the ugliest thing since… name something ugly."


"Hm. Uglier."

"Googly-eyed goldfish?"

"Perfect!" Rev shouts and scares Weston. Then they laugh, for the rest of the ride, and Rev breaks one of his rules because he fights with Weston over the music ("Rev, we can't listen to I Am A Walrus four times in a row." "Okay, first of all, fuck you, this is my car. Second of all—" "Think about Rhonda!")

They reach Murkwell, eventually, and Weston can't remember the last time he laughed so hard. His stomach and cheeks hurt, and halfway through the ride, he realised that he's staring at Rev like he's the night sky, and that he has no intention of stopping. If Rev notices, he doesn't show it.

When they exit the car, Rev locks it and into the library they go.

"This library is my second home in Murkwell, I swear to all that's good in this world. You'd never guess that a county so small would have something as magnificent as this." Weston admires the sheer size of it, and Rev continues talking. "The librarian thinks I'm cute. Hi, Jenna-May!" he waves at the bored-looking librarian in her thirties. She doesn't even look up from her book as she flips him off.

"Fuck off, Ruiz."

"She's madly in love with me. Anyway", Rev reaches out for Weston's sleeve to tug him, but Weston's wearing a t-shirt, so he ends up grabbing his wrist and off they go, into the forest of a different kind.

As Rev promised, they start off at the high school must-read section.

"I will now shit all over Holden Caulfield and why J.D. Salinger can suck my dick", Rev says as he drops a stack of books onto the floor and sits down, leaning against a bookshelf. Weston enjoys the view for a second, before he takes out his phone and takes a picture of Rev, going through the pages of The Catcher in the Rye, books surrounding him and his baseball cap resting on his knee. Rev doesn't notice it, so Weston sends it to him via the dating app and sits across of him, so that their feet intertwined.

"Gross", Rev accuses Weston, but doesn't make an effort to move his legs. "Wait, there was this one quote…" he's going back and forth though the book, obviously ticked off that he's not finding what he's looking for. Weston's just watching him, remembering the details of his face.

Rev looks up and finds Weston staring at him.

"Take a picture, it'll last longer", Rev quips, but he says it with a smile.

"Beat you to it." He raises an eyebrow, and Weston just nods at his phone. Rev puts the book down (disrespectfully, face down, breaking its spine) and digs through the pocket of his jeans until he finds a phone. He looks at the photo, then his hand flies to his hair.

"Is my hair really that flat? It's this damn cap", he shakes his knee so the cap falls off it, and ruffles his hair. "Anyway, I think the quote's here", he returns to the book. "'…I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff'", he reads and then closes the book shut, throwing it onto the pile. "What kind of pretentious asshole thinks that he's everybody's guardian angel and that it's his Grand Duty in life to save everybody?"

Rev rants about The Catcher in the Rye for solid ten minutes, and Weston doesn't have the heart to tell him that he's never read the book, and that he has no idea what he's talking about.

"I thought you only liked poetry", Weston points out as Rev's taking a breathing break.

"I like everything I can get my hands on. But I do prefer poetry. It's shorter and I can read it in one sitting, whereas it takes me twice as long to read a novel because I have to pause every now and then because I get distracted."

"Did you just use 'whereas' in a sentence?" Weston asks, and Rev shakes his head.

"No, definitely not." Rev closes the book shut and gets up, shoving it into the bookshelf and taking the book pile with him. "Let's get into more interesting and indie stuff."

"Aw, no Shakespeare?"

"I fuckin' loved Bill back in the day, but, you know what, Hamlet is a weak, weak man. I know everyone has their own opinion on why he didn't off himself, but my theory is that he was just weak. A person who truly wants to kill themself, does. Or at least tries."

Weston decides not to ask what Rev meant by that. He heard plenty times throughout the week how Rev talked about hating himself and those thinly veiled suicide jokes, and he didn't want to dig deeper, mainly because he was scared of what he might find.

The next section is more popular books, this time some Weston's heard of, and some he's actually read, so he can join the discussion of Goethe and how Werther would fit into the modern society (Rev decides on a 'meme-loving weeaboo' and Weston nearly cries laughing), but, as promised, as the pile grows smaller, they reach poets Weston's never heard of.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:34 am

"Now this one's interesting", Rev says dusting off the cover of an old-looking book. They're in the Spanish section now, and almost everything has dust on it. Gee, wonder why. "You've probably never heard of it, and I only found it a couple of years ago, but it's basically a book written in Portuguese—"

"You speak Portuguese?"

"Heck no. It was written in Portuguese but the only copies that survived were translated to Spanish. And the translator was the dude who the author wrote about in her later poems."

"That's sweet", Weston says. "Did they burn the Portuguese copies or what?"

"I think the author's husband didn't want them existing or something. There isn't a whole lot about that."

"Wait, husband?"

"Yeah. Riveting, right?" Rev holds up the library's copy of the book. "I just wanted to talk about this book but I've now come to the realisation that, if I read it to you, you won't understand a word, so here's the plan. I have a copy at home, so I'll translate some of the poems and then we can discuss."

"That sounds fun", Weston admits.

"I know, right? I'm the best date planner. First this library thing, then poetry reading? Man, I'm good."

A huge weight is lifted off Weston's chest, because it indeed was a date, and he wasn't wrong, and he's most definitely developing a crush. Emmy was right, he was falling hard, and nothing will break his fall.

They spend more time in the library. Weston isn't exactly sure of how the time flows when Rev's near, but after hours and hours of talking about poetry and movies they've seen, Jenna-May walks up to them holding a key in her hand.

"Guys, it's closing time. I have to kick you out."

Weston and Rev get up, picking up the books surrounding them on the floor (and there were many books) and start returning them. Weston didn't even realise they went through most of the library, sitting on the floor of every aisle.

"I'll return them tomorrow. Just… go."

"Jenna-May has plans", Rev whispers, so close to Weston's ear he gets goosebumps all over his arms. "Let's bail."

In a minute they're back in Rev's car, and something crashes into Weston's mind.

"Oh, shoot, I don't think we had lunch."

"Um", Rev makes a funny face, "I guess not. I had too much fun to think about food. Too late for it now."

Weston finds it suspicious. They've been in the library for a little more than seven hours, and he's pretty sure humans normally eat every four to five hours. He doesn't want to think about it. It could mean that Rev's financial status is worse than he thought, or some sort of mental illness. Rev's said many times that he hates life. But if he doesn't force it, Weston won't either. Things about them should be discovered gradually, or not at all.

"We could've eaten some books. They're trees, and trees are plants. So that means books are vegetables", Rev points out. "Books are healthy for you, kid."

"I'm a kid?" Weston laughs. It's funnier than Rev thinks it is, because Weston's at least eighty years older than him. "I think not."

"Everyone should be a kid inside. Of course, with added wisdom and social norm somehow shoved into your tiny kid brain. What a perfect society that would be."

Does this man have no filter? Will he say every single thing on his mind, not thinking about its relevance? Yes, he will. And Weston's enjoying every second of it.

Rev starts the engine and, as they're driving to Mirage Woods, Weston reaches the realisation that they're going to say goodbye soon. He doesn't like this part of interactions. That void between goodbye and hello always seems to be too wide, too deep. Tonight he'll read Rev's texts in Rev's voice, as he'd learned it throughout the hours they spent talking. All the pauses, all the times he'd say five sentences without breathing in between, and all the rants he had about miniscule things are now stored in Weston's brain, and soon he will be able to recognise Rev's voice in a crowd of thousands.

Some people just have a way of crawling under your skin, growing roots into your bones and blooming.

Rev stops the car in front of the forest and they just sit quietly, with an experimental early hip-hop track in the background.

"So", Weston says.


"I had fun."

"Me too. I am Date Master."

"I thought you were the captain?" Weston asks, eager to put the whole Rev timeline together.

"That too. I am everything I want to be in my car, goddamn it."

More silence, and Weston is unsure what to do. In the end, he decides to say goodbye to Rev, walk out of the car, and watch him drive away.

It took most of his willpower not to hug Rev. If not more. His head hurts just thinking about what might have happened if he had more courage.

He doesn't see Rev in the flesh for nearly a month after that.

They make plans. Rev promises to come pick him up after work on Monday, but his boss doesn't let him leave the shop because the girl who has the second shift doesn't arrive, and someone has to run the shop. He spends twelve hours a day at work those two weeks, Weston's counted, so when he finally comes home after six in the evening, he doesn't want to bother him, because he must be exhausted.

The week after that is school trip week, which is one of the things Weston used to love, but this time it made him want to jump out of his skin. All of the local schools, all five of them, organised an trip to Mirage, one for each work day of the week, and Emmy, Atticus and Weston had their hands full and nerves strung just trying to keep up with all the children in the forest. Emmy once saves a child from drowning, and Weston stops a pair of siblings from eating grass, but that's the most interesting part of that week.

Throughout all this time, however, they keep on texting each other, but it never gets as good as real life. Once he got the real-life experience, Weston couldn't help but notice all the times that Rev would usually go off on a tangent, but didn't, because he got bored of typing. Even though he usually preferred quiet, he'd grown to miss Rev's constant background commentary.

While texting Rev, Weston developed a habit of walking through the forest, without a certain destination, to check on some flowers, or birds, or bushes, or anything, just to have something to do until Rev replies to his last message. Rinse, repeat.

One night Rev disconnects early, deciding to start a huge book which will hopefully be read by morning, as he says, so Weston's left wandering aimlessly around the woods, with nothing to tear through the boredom. It's rather quiet, and Weston considers just lying down and listening to the sounds of the nature, when he hears one sound he's not used to hearing. A wolf howl.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:35 am

He guesses that the wolf is near, so that means it probably came from Leroy, following Mirage River. That usual, human fear of large animals doesn't appear, and since Weston can't really die of flesh wounds, he decides to check it out, maybe save a couple of rabbits from certain death. As he walks closer to the place where he first heard the howl, he hears cracking of tree branches and leaves crunching, and then there's a wolf, right in front of Weston.

It's magnificent, Weston notices, with long brown fur and his head close to the ground, and it's huge. He doesn't know all that much about wolves, but they're not that big, are they?

A thought crosses his mind, but he doesn't let it live on for long. It can't be a werewolf, right? While it was the full moon, the wolf didn't have any pack markings, and that was a thing all werewolves had. Plus, there haven't been any werewolves in this part of America ever. The only pack he knew of lived closer to the east coast, so this was just a big wolf.

"You're not going to attack me", Weston tells the wolf, as if it can understand him. The wolf eyes Weston suspiciously, then starts circling him, but not in the 'I want to eat you' way, but more in the 'what a strange bald animal' way.

Weston offers his hand out, if the wolf wanted to sniff it by any chance.

"You can come closer. I don't bite, and neither should you." He could swear that the wolf looks like he's listening to him, but not understanding a word of what he says. The wolf carefully makes his way closer to Weston. Then, it nudges Weston's hand with its nose, and Weston begins thinking that wolves are just bigger dogs. "Oh, Atticus is going to flip out when he discoveres you were here. He's not the biggest fan of larger forest animals, that's why he shunned all the Leroy wolves from here. But then, how did you get to Mirage?"

The wolf steps away from Weston after he tries to pet it, its ears rising. There's definitely some noise coming from behind, Weston thinks, but the wolf's having none of that. It jumps away into the forest and howls again, then starts running. Weston feels it leaving the forest just as Emmy's face appears from the shadows.

"Was that a wolf?" she asks, her voice gaining a squeaky edge from excitement.

"Yeah. That was so cool", Weston says, only now realising that his heart is beating faster.

"Dude, wolves aren't that big."

"What are you, a biology expert?"

"No, but I helped Atticus with the Leroy pack. Not even the alpha was the size of that thing. Where did it come from?"

"Damned if I know", Weston says and starts walking back to the treehouse. "And it must be a wolf. What else could it be?"

"Um, hello, it's the full moon tonight. It's definitely a werewolf." Emmy looks as if she's doubting Weston's intelligence.

"It can't be. There aren't any werewolves here, you know?"

"There might be."

"No", Weston dismisses her shaking his head. "It's just a wolf. If it was a werewolf, first of all, they wouldn't be here, and second of all, they would come to the forest and search for some other immortals."

"I guess you're right", Emmy deflates. "A girl can hope for a friend, right?"

Weston pats her back and in fifteen minutes, they're back at the tree house. He doesn't text Rev about the wolf, just in case it was actually a werewolf, but he does spend the rest of the night watching spoken word poetry and thinking about Rev.

[06:01] West: Good morning. I'm surprised you didn't wake me up already.

[06:03] rev: shhh

[06:04] West: Rev, I'm sorry to inform you, but you have a job.

[06:06] rev: not today

[06:08] rev: i may have only fifteen off days a year

[06:09] rev: well fourteen now

[06:10] Weston: But?

[06:11] rev: what but

[06:12] West: You started a sentence and didn't finish it.

[06:13] rev: oh

[06:14] rev: i'm sorry

[06:15] West: It's okay, get some rest.

[06:17] rev: i can't see the screen

[06:19] rev: wait

—Incoming call—


"… Hello." Rev's voice is shot and hollow, and it creates an ache in Weston's chest.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. I will be. Jeez, it's so nice to hear you."

"It's been a while, hasn't it?" The ache is replaced with something warm and blossoming, and Weston wraps his blanket around himself, to keep the warmth in.

"I want to see you as soon as possible", Rev says and makes a choking noise. "I feel like I'm coughing my lungs out."

"I can come over if you want."

"No!" Rev nearly shouts out and then continues coughing. "The last thing you need to catch whatever this is from me. If I feel better in the afternoon, maybe. Plus, how do you intend to drive?"

"I'll figure it out", Weston says. There's a bus stop near Mirage Woods, and he's pretty sure that the bus stops there every two to three hours. "Do you think you will get over this illness in a day?"

"Dude, I will be better before noon."

There's silence on the other line, and Weston thinks for a moment that Rev died. So he voices his thoughts.

"Are you dead?"

"A little bit. Just enough, you know, so the kids find me relatable."

Weston laughs, and Rev doesn't say anything. Again. How suspicious.

"What?" Weston asks.

"I like hearing you laugh."


"Hey, shut up, don't make it weirder than it is already."

"Okay, okay. Did you finish that book?"

"What book?" Rev asks, then remembers. "Ah, the one from yesterday? I didn't, I fell asleep like the loser I am. I'll work on it today."

"Good luck with that", Weston tells him.

"Thanks. I'm gonna go read it now. Bye bye", Rev says and hangs up abruptly. Weston is left with the quiet again.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:36 am

It's not a new thing to Weston, this silence. He's spend most of his time in it, after all. (Rev would probably say that A Hundred Years of Silence is a bitching rock band name.) But it's only starting to bother him now. Only when he's tasted noise, he begins to miss it.

[09:46] rev: i'm feeling better now

[09:47] rev: finished schiller's robbers. karl moor made me feel better about my dramatic lifestyle

[09:48] West: I'm glad. Also, Schiller?

[09:49] rev: goethe's pal/possible fuck buddy

[09:50] West: Are you just going through your list of LGBT+ authors?

[09:51] rev: that sounds like a good idea, imma go make the list right now. and no, i'm not

[09:52] West: Send the list over my way when you do it.

[09:53] rev: sure thing pal

[09:55] rev: also, i'm probably gonna be done with my translation of some of the poems as i promised on wednesday. want to come over then around five?

Weston wants to 'come over' right now, but it's not an option Rev gave him. So he says yes, and then they spend a good part of two hours discussing Robbers (read: Rev discusses it with himself, and Weston adds commentary where needed. It's an arrangment that works for Weston.)

Wednesday is too far away. Time couldn't pass more slowly. He spends his time planting flowers, and Emmy starts teasing him, so much that calling him Flower Boy, and Rev picks up on it rather quickly.

Time couldn't pass more slowly, but still it passes.

[16:17] rev: hey yo flower boy come on over work's over i'm a free man

[16:18] West: Didn't we say five?

[16:19] rev: are you saying you're not on your way here?

[16:20] West: Shut up. You said Oaktree Lane 8?

[16:21] rev: 18. the quadruplex, and the door with a peace sign

Seven minutes later, Weston knocks on the door with the peace sign charm stuck onto it with sellotape.

"I knew it!" Rev is to be heard from the inside. "At least let me change my shirt!"

Weston waits for a few seconds more when a slightly disheveled Rev opens the door with a grin.

"Hello. Long time no see", he says, and lets Weston in.

Weston takes it all in. The place is small and filled with books, with an occasional pair of jeans thrown over the sofa and the stack of books. The kitchen is clear, however, and so is the way leading towards two doors. A bedroom and a bathroom, Weston guesses.

"I see you tidied up for me", Weston notices. Rev sticks his tongue out at him and drags him by the wrist one of the doors.

"In fact, I did. This bedroom looked like someone nuked it before. Now it looks half-decent, at least."

The bedroom is the tidiest place in the house, Weston notices with a smirk. Rev tidied the bedroom up for him. What a loser.

"Here's the good stuff", Rev says sitting on the bed, showing Weston to do the same. He reaches out to his nightstand and grabs an old, yellowed notebook and an equally old book from it. "I only translated five, because translating poetry is weirdly difficult. I decided, 'fuck rhyming', and I focused on the main point of the poem. If I find any more I find interesting, I'll translate them, but these ones will have to do for now."

"That's okay. I'm sure we'll make do with what we have."

"Aye", Rev tips an imaginary fedora Weston's way. "I apologise if the translation sounds like a toddler did it."

"Don't worry about it."

Rev hands him the notebook and opens the book for himself. They read through the poems together—Rev's handwriting is readable, but it's the scribbles in the margins that distracts him, of synonyms of the words in the poem, of different inversions of the sentence and just random doodles. It's endearing, and Weston's more interested in Rev's sidenotes than the poems, even though the poems are really good.

They read in silence for about fifteen minutes, and then they start discussing, pulling out quotes and dissecting the poems.

The poems follow the author, who signs the earlier poems with I.G., and the older ones D.G., even though her name is on top of every page of the book, as she's fighting to get out of an loveless marriage. Nearing the middle of the book, she meets someone she calls 'Permanent Man', and half of the book is about their affair. It doesn't say how their relationship ended, and Rev promises to research it further.

"This is so sad", Weston says when he finishes the last poem Rev translated, near the end of the book. The last verse echoes in his head. 'If I had a different body/something more similar to yours/I think we would be happy./But this world is my cage/and your soul is a traveller/you can't fade, Permanent Man.'

"Yeah", Rev says, not looking up from the book. "D'ya think it's a metaphor of sorts?"

"It could be. It could also be literal." Weston can easily imagine Permanent Man being an immortal such as himself, and the author being human. Something in the words made him think of Rev and him, and it struck a chord.

"Maybe… she was ill? It was written some time ago, medicine wasn't as good as now."

"Perhaps." Maybe he was a vampire, Weston thinks. He prefers that answer.

"Did you notice how she has a certain theme when she's talking about him?" Rev asks and takes the notebook from Weston. "Here." The quote says: 'Your lips fit so differently over mine/like Someone molded them for me'.

"It could refer to the fact that they're different genders? That doesn't sound too probable." Oh, yeah. Weston is certain that he's a vampire.

"Mm, yeah, I don't think so either. The difference could come from many things. Gender, sure, but also the fact that she was Portuguese and he was Spanish. Or that he was a sailor and she was a rich noblewoman."

Weston nods along, his eyes tracing the lines Rev had analysed. He notices they exist in silence only a minute after, when he looks up.

It could be his imagination (it probably is), but Weston could swear that Rev was staring at his lips for a fraction of a second. Weston feels something tightening in his chest, and breathing hitches.

This has to stop, the rational part of Weston's brain thinks. It can see pain on the horizon and it's trying to steer him away from it. But he would still do anything to kiss him at that moment. He would give all the flowers in Mirage to reach out. Flowers can grow back and be reborn. Humans can't.

The moment passes, and neither of them do anything.

Weston thinks, 'If I could dream, I would dream of him'.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:36 am

He never quite catches his breath after that. His breathing steadies only when Rev drops him off at the parking lot and drives away. It's going to hurt, it's going to hurt so badly when they'll inevitably separate. Weston doesn't know who will be able to put him back together again.

Emmy notices the change of his mood as he's walking to the treehouse and she's in the lake, swimming, but somehow, she doesn't ask him about it. It's nothing short of a miracle.

Because he doesn't want to talk about it. Not one bit. He doesn't want to talk about how much his cheeks hurt after spending time with Rev, or how he rereads their texts over and over again until he nearly memorises them, or how he can almost predict how Rev will react to any given situation. And he definitely doesn't want to talk about how everything reminds him of Rev.

This Friday is a quiet one. Rev texts him twice in the morning, once during the break and not at all around four. Weston feels like something quintessential is missing, but he doesn't bother him. If he wasn't replying to Weston's texts, it's his business, and his business only.

He replies eventually.

[19:52] rev: can i call you?

[19:53] West: Of course.

—Incoming call—


"… Hi." Rev's voice comes through his phone quietly, slowly, and Weston immediately thinks something is wrong.

"Is everything okay?"

"No." There's a soft sniff, and Weston's heart feels like it's ripping itself into pieces. He doesn't know what to say, though, so he doesn't say anything and waits for Rev to talk first. "Can I… No, that's stupid."

"It's not, go on."

"It is. Can I come over?" Rev asks and his voice breaks. "Because I feel that if I'm left alone tonight I might do something to myself and I really don't want to wash the blood off my bedsheets again and I just—fuck—"

"Of course you can come over", Weston says quickly, alarmed by Rev's words.


"This instant."

"Mm… okay." Another sniff, then Rev hangs up.

There is pressure around Weston's temples and white circles play tag on his eyelids. He doesn't want to—no, he can't imagine Rev being this unhappy, much less hurting himself. It's something his brain doesn't even want to fathom. And he will do anything in his power to stop him from doing anything to himself, at least only tonight.

Everything is a waiting game with Rev, Weston notices bitterly, as he paces his room waiting for a knock on the front door. When there's a knock (faint, but it's still there), Weston almost runs to the door.

Ha manages to calm down for a second before he opens the door.

Rev looks like a wreck. There are red cricles around his eyes, like he's been crying, and he's wearing a hoodie two sizes too big and the sneakers Weston's seen before, only dirtier, and even though Rev's quite a few inches taller, he doesn't appear like it, all slouched and curled up together.

He doesn't say anything. That part probably hurts the most.

"Come in", Weston tells him quietly and closes the door behind him. He walks up to his room, expecting Rev to follow.

When he reaches Weston's room, Rev drops to the floor, with his back to the wall and front to the bed. Weston sits on the bed and just watches him for a while.

Rev plays with his shoelace for a couple of minutes and sighs.

"I know you want to know what's up with me", he starts. "But, please, don't ask me anything. I don't want to lie to you, but if you ask me a question, I'll most probably have to."

"Just one."

"… Okay. But I can't guarantee I'll be able to answer it."

Weston knows all about secrets. So he chooses his words carefully.

"If you stay here tonight, will you feel a bit better?"

"I just might."


"Truth. Now go do something, I can't stand you wasting your time just staring at me." Weston nods, and quickly gets up to pull out the ukulele from the closet. He considers his place to sit—the bed, the floor in front of the bed—in the end he decides to sits against the wall, his shoulders a foot away from Rev's.

He checks if the ukulele is in tune. Once he's sure it is, he starts playing Here Comes the Sun.

Weston's listening to Rev's breathing carefully. It stops stuttering at irregular intervals after the fourth time he plays the chorus, and Weston allows himself to hope that maybe Rev will fall asleep and forget about whatever was causing his pain in the morning.

"Sing something", Rev says, quietly, and Weston's pretty sure the tears returned. He doesn't look at him, though. It's the same procedure with a frightened stray dog. You make yourself available and wait until it aproaches you.

Weston listens to him, and, even though he doesn't have the best singing voice, he starts singing Can't Help Falling in Love.

The bridge comes, and Weston hears Rev moving before he feels a head full of curls on his shoulder.

His voice breaks, but Weston doesn't stop singing. He's worried that, if he does, he will ruin the moment.

He plays the last chorus twice, trying to think of a new song to sing. In the end, he decides on Wouldn't It Be Nice. Five seconds into the song, Weston finds that it was a bad idea, since Rev leaves a wet sob into Weston's shoulder.

"Sorry", he whispers. "This song reminds me of something."

"Good or bad?"


Weston understands and continues playing.

He knows for certain that this song is a snapshot of his wishes with Rev. Wouldn't it be nice to do all of the things the song sings about? Wouldn't it be nice if Rev was immortal, such as Weston? Wouldn't it be nice if he was a little bit happier?

Because it's clear to Weston now, that his happiness is a facade. All those times Rev joked about death and depression stopped being funny and instead made Weston want to hold Rev and never let anyone hurt him, including all the pain he could cause to himself.

He then switched to more recent songs he knew how to play, some which wouldn't trigger anything in Rev. The song's called Intertwined, and it's just calm enough to lull Rev to sleep. Except, it doesn't. He stays awake through that song, and the other one, and the other one. Eventually Weston gives up on ukulele and sets it aside, listening to Rev's breathing.

Somewhere around three, Weston guesses by the moon outside, Rev's hand reaches out for Weston's and holds it. Weston squeezes his hand lightly and leans into him completely.

They wait for dawn like this, molded into each other.

"I'm sorry", Rev says, moving so that their bodies don't touch anymore. "I don't usually fall apart like this. I promise I won't keep you up again."

"No", Weston shakes his head, "I insist that, whenever you feel messed up like that, you go to me. I don't think you should be alone on nights like this." Rev simply shrugs.

"Well, I usually end up alone anyways, and I've lived through all those years, right? I just keep on living, no matter what happens."

There's a burn, Weston's certain of it, all over the right side of his body where Rev's body had been before, and it's only now starting to hurt. If it was up to him, he would never separate from Rev.

"Living is good for your skin", Weston jokes.

"Eh, fuck that." Rev gets up and stretches, and Weston gets a lovely view of his stomach. He scolds himself for thinking about Rev like that immediately, but the ache in his chest remains. "I'm sorry, again. You can go to sleep now."

"I'll manage. Don't even worry about it." Rev huffs, not accepting that as an answer.

Weston gets up as well, ready to walk Rev out, in case he wants to leave. He isn't sure if he'd let Rev leave, or especially drive in this state, but it's not up to him.

"I've gotta go", Rev says after a beat of silence. "Work and stuff."

"Text me when you arrive", Weston says before he can stop himself. He needs to know that he'll arrive safely. Rev doesn't flinch, nor mock Weston for being cheesy. He just nods.

They walk to the door, and after Weston opens it and turns to Rev, Rev is in his arms, hugging him.

It's different than the first time. It's quiet and serene and torn apart, like a beach after a storm, and Rev is so close to him that Weston's insides feel like they've been doing flips. 'Not now, not now', he's thinking. He keeps thinking that until Rev lets him go and closes the door behind him. Then, he starts breathing again.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:37 am

He's felt these feelings before. He's already had these thoughts. 'This time. This time it's going to work out. This time it won't end up with me, alone, crying in my room.' But this time, it's different. Rev is human, and now he knows for sure that this story won't have a happy ending.

When Emmy emerges from her room, he asks her to go with him to the cliff side of the lake. She follows him without questions.

"I heard you play ukulele last night", she says casually, with her hands in the pockets of her skirt. "What inspired you?"

"Rev came over", he tells her. "He wasn't feeling the best."

"Was he sick?"

"Just a bit mentally unwell."

"Humans have it so bad, man", she says shaking her head. "Imagine having to live by all those bullshit rules, under crap governments. You work, and you die. Bummer."

"Yeah", Weston says. They reach the cliffs, and he takes his phone out. "Jump", he tells Emmy.

"Gladly. What's the cause?" she asks, already beginning to crack her knuckles, as if it would help with her jumping abilities.

"I want to recreate that photo I took, you know the one?"

"Oh, the wallpaper dive? Sure."

And off she goes.

She slips the first time, but Weston takes a picture of it anyway. She decides to redo it, and the second time is absolutely perfect. Wet hair flowing behind her, her arms stretched out, her back a perfect curve. Weston still thought that the first one was better. With a salute, Weston leaves Emmy in the lake and heads to his room. He sends Rev the failed photo and sets the other one as his new wallpaper.

[08:02] West: She slipped.

[08:03] rev: officially my new favourite photo

[08:04] West: Are you feeling better?

[08:05] rev: a bit. but only because of you

[08:05] rev: sorry, work, see you around noon

[08:06] West: Bye bye.

Weston grabs the ukulele from the floor where he put it last night and proceeds to learn more songs on it. None from this century, of course. Rev and he share a music taste of a nostalgic eighty-year-old man.

[12:00] rev: N O O N

[12:01] West: Congrats, you can tell the time!

[12:02] rev: how very rood

[12:03] West: Spelling is still a failing grade, though.

[12:04] rev: i haven't been graded in a hundred years, please don't make me relive high school again

Weston's never been in high school, but if all the teen dramas he's watched taught him anything, he knows that high school is incredibly trying. After all, everyone gets pregnant or their siblings die or their relationship inevitably crumbles. Tumblr, on the other side, claims otherwise. Weston's not sure which he wants to believe.

[12:05] West: Was it that bad?

[12:05] rev: worse

[12:06] rev: you said you were a player, though. how did that work out for you?

It takes Weston a couple of seconds to make the connection. Oh, right. First kiss. Truth or dare. Lies.

[12:08] West: I don't know how you got 'player' from that story. I kissed one person, not the entire party.

[12:09] rev: shame. that would be an interesting story.

[12:10] West: What about you?

[12:10] rev: what about me

[12:10] rev: oh

[12:11] rev: my high school stories?

[12:11] West: Yeah. Got any interesting ones?

[12:12] rev: not really. although i was involved in a poly relationship for about four months

Weston would argue that there's a very interesting story behind it, but it's up to Rev whether he'll tell it or not. He does, if only partially.

[12:13] rev: it was a very open and liberal community

[12:14] rev: there was this girl and this guy, i might dig out a picture of them

[12:15] rev: and we hit it off quite nicely

[12:15] rev: i mean, me and patrick did. jenna was Super Not into it

[12:16] rev: she was the one with the idea for us to try dating all together in the first place, but after a while she decided i was not enough of a Caucasian so she dumped me

[12:17] rev: her ultimate goal was to date pat

[12:17] rev: but after jenna told me to fuck off, pat fucked off with me and we dated for nearly half a year after that

[12:18] rev: and that's the whole story

[12:19] West: Wow. That was truly a rollercoaster.

[12:20] rev: i know, right? my life isn't nearly as exciting as it used to be

[12:21] West: It can be, if you try.

[12:22] rev: i used to try but now i'm just fed up with everything

[12:23] rev: anyway gotta go, see you at four

Weston wonders how can such a young person be fed up with their life. If he had a limited time on this planet, he would make sure to travel everywhere, meet everyone and experience everything he possibly could.

But, he doesn't know Rev. And he doesn't know what's stopping him from doing exactly what Weston would do.

[16:37] rev: okay i found the picture

[16:38] rev: it was halloween and our class went as woodstock so don't laugh at our clothes

The photo Rev sent was, indeed, a Hippie Explosion. Weston's lived through the sixties, and he can surely say that they nailed the fashion. All the tie dye, the peace signs, baggy clothes, long hair and headbands, it all painted an impressive picture.

In the middle of it, there's a slightly younger Rev with his hand around a boy, laughing at something the girl sitting next to him said. There's writing in the bottom right corner, but Rev covered it with his thumb.

[16:40] West: That's very authentic.

[16:42] rev: i know. most of our parents or grandparents were alive through the sixties so we raided their closets. that, plus a couple of cheap wigs, markers and protest signs, and we were set

[16:43] rev: did you sleep at all today

[16:44] West: Did you?

[16:45] rev: nah. i'm one of those twilight vampires, i don't need sleep

[16:46] West: Don't complain to me when you inevitably black out on the kitchen floor.

If only Rev was a vampire. Weston knows he used that comparison as a joke, but still. He hates the fact that he's still hopeful.

[16:48] rev: "consciousness is a tiny speck
in this vast universe" —amitav radiance

[16:49] rev: basically it's overrated

[16:50] West: I don't think I can agree with you.

[16:51] rev: you don't have to agree. trust me, we've got very different worldviews

'You have no idea', Weston thinks.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:38 am

They text each other for a while until Weston pretends that he is extremely tired and puts his phone aside for the night. Maybe Rev doesn't want to sleep, but that doesn't mean his body doesn't need it.

Weston invites Rev over during the weekend. Partially to check up on his mental health, and partially (mostly) because he just wants to see him. There's no shame in that, right?

Mhm. Sure, Weston.

So they end up on the cliffs, sitting shoulder to shoulder. It's a sunny Saturday, and Rev is as talkative as ever, as if nothing happened.

"You know, the whole of literature in the 1800s sucked. Everybody was so set on being sensitive and nature-loving and whatever the fuck, and the Russians decided, fuck that. Our main characters will all be identical and will serve no purpose to the plot. As if the plot matters. No, the only thing that matters is that sexy, sexy inner monologue and all those very intimate diaries. I mean, what the fuck? I hate baroque as much as the next guy, but we're not exactly making any progress."

"The Russians? Do you mean Pushkin and Lermontov?"

"Precisely the lot. Fuck 'em", he sums up his soliloquy in a simple, if ineloquent, sentence.

"Are you only reading Romantic writers?"

"Hm. This year, I guess I am." Rev shrugs and swings his legs off the cliff. "Next year I'll be all up in Homer and Sappho."

"That qualifies as LGBT+ literature, I believe", Weston points out, and Rev stares at him for a second. "Sappho was… Sappho, and Homer wrote about the most interesting ancient Greek love story of them all."

"Oh no. I knew it. I knew Achilles and Patroclus were up to something. Oh no, how didn't I notice before!" Rev exclaims and excitedly flails, somehow managing to hit Weston's shoulder, and off the cliff into the lake he goes, with one final 'oh no' from Rev.

When he emerges and starts breathing again, he looks up at Rev, still on the cliff, with nothing short of shock on his face.

"I believe I've been pushed", he states, brushing his wet hair back so he can see properly. Rev's covered his mouth with his hand.

"I'm so sorry", he says, and it comes out muffled. Then, an epiphany.

Rev only considers it for a moment before he takes two steps back, runs, and jumps off the cliff. He manages to get noticeably farther than Weston, but he drops into the water with the same undignified plop.

When he dives out, he shakes his hair like a wet dog.

"Is this enough of an apology?" he asks, and Weston can't stop laughing.

"The verbal apology was enough", he manages to say and somehow not drown.

"Tell you what", Rev says looking around. "Race you to the other side."

He doesn't wait for Weston's response, he just shoots off, leaving Weston with water sprayed into his face.

Rev is fast, but these waters know Weston too well to let him lose. With a bit of nymph magic as help, Weston manages to reach land nearly ten seconds before Rev and climbs up.

Something tells him, though, that Rev slowed down on purpose. Because, when he reaches the shore, Rev hops up and joins their lips in a kiss.

Weston doesn't expect it in any way, shape or form, so when their lips meet, his breathing, no, his entire body freezes, and he doesn't even get the time to reach out for him before Rev is moving away.

"Shit. I am—I am sorry—I don't think I should—" Rev bites down on his lip to stop himself from talking and just looks at Weston. Maybe to search for permission. Maybe for strength.

Whatever the answer was, he decides to lean in and kiss Weston again.

This time, Weston gets the opportunity to lose his fingers in Rev's hair, which serves two purposes. One is to feel its texture, like he'd been waiting for weeks. The other, to pull him closer.

It doesn't last very long. It doesn't last even nearly how long Weston wanted it to be. When Rev pulls away this time, it's gentle, but finishing.

Weston opens his eyes only to find Rev looking at him already.

"Hello", he says, and his voice sounds like he's looked up at the stars for the first time, like he's set sail into the ocean and has found himself surrounded by nothing but water.


"I just…" Rev trails off and glances at the forest around them. He stays quiet for a while.

"Are you, by any chance, speechless? Because, if so, I want this moment written down with your signature on it, and I'll frame it and put it above my bed."

"Shush, don't ruin it. I'm gonna go now, just for my thoughts to rearrange themselves, and I'll text you, okay?"


Rev moves a piece of Weston's hair from his face and after a moment of wait, he gets up and waves him goodbye.

Everything just went from bad to terrible, Weston thinks as he watches Rev walk out of the forest. He's a passenger on a train with no brakes shooting off onto an unfinished bridge over a canyon.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:39 am

He sits there for a while, playing the scene through his mind a thousand times until the ink fades out, and then a thousand times more.

What kind of damned beauty does that man possess, to keep Weston's mind on him even when he's not here, to occupy every word that comes out of his mouth? He wants to know everything. Everything that's ever hurt him or made him smile, everything that he's ever dreamed of or wished for, because the only thing Weston wishes for right now is to be human for him, to be normal and to be able to tell him the truth.

He doesn't even notice it. He genuinely doesn't know how amazing he is.

That's probably the worst part.

He's in his room when his phone buzzes, and he immediately reaches out for it.

[14:12] rev: that was fun

[14:13] West: Thoughts in check?

[14:14] rev: thoughts in the single worst mess they've ever been

[14:15] rev: hm

[14:16] West: Hm?

[14:17] rev: i dunno, you go first.

[14:18] West: I thought it was nice. However, I feel like we should repeat this at least a dozen times before I can make any sort of judgement.

[14:19] rev: i didn't know you were such a flirt

[14:20] West: How about you?

[14:21] rev: i think we should enjoy this before it crashes and burns because once you realise that i'm an annoying idiot who talks too much you'll dump me

[14:22] West: That's the opposite of a problem.

[14:23] rev: oh shush you

[14:23] rev: anyway i think i can drag my lazy butt to mirage near the weekend, how does that sound?

[14:24] West: Sounds like a long time.

[14:26] rev: when life gives you lemons you make shitty lemonade because life didn't bother to give you a cup, water and sugar alongside those lemons so your lemonade sucks

They talk for a while. Rev tells Weston about the newest book he picked up (it's Edgar Allan Poe, so Rev starts talking about the complex rhyming in Raven and he goes on about it for nearly a quarter of an hour), and Weston wants to kiss him again. Every time he says something stupid or funny or cute he wants to kiss him, and it's getting ridiculous.

Wednesday night, and Weston is in his room, finishing off a show he started a while ago. It's a nice, calm moment, and the forest is quiet from the outside, with the moon illuminating the room through the window.

It's calm, until there's a scream.

Weston gets up and rushes to the window. On the edge of the lake, there's a body, alternating between wolf and human. There's blood under it and bones cracking, and every time the human body takes over it screams, and when it's mostly wolf, it howls.

Weston runs through the treehouse only to find Atticus already at the door, with his arms crossed on his chest.

"It's that werewolf again", he says, scowling.

"There's something wrong with them, I'm going to go and help."

Atticus doesn't move from the door. He just stares at Weston with determination in his eyes.

Atticus has always had issues with vampires and werewolves. He claims that beings who have angelic energy shouldn't come in contact with those with demonic energy. His beliefs are similar to those religious extremists, and Weston and Emmy tend to ignore him. However, when it hurts other people, it becomes a problem.

"Did you do this?"

Emmy rushes out of her room, but she doesn't say a word.

"I just assured that we wouldn't have any werewolves on our territory."

"You—" Weston opens his mouth, but his anger doesn't let him form a proper sentence. He stops and tries again. "Remove the magic, otherwise, I swear God that I'll reroute your river out of my forest and banish you to Leroy mountain. Remove it now."

"I don't care. Just keep it away from the house."

There's silence, inside as well as outside.

The screams and howls echo in Weston's head as he pushes Atticus out of the way and runs out with Emmy to the body, now fully wolf-like, lying in a puddle of blood.

"Lord", Emmy breathes out.


"At least we know it's a werewolf now."

"Help me get them to the lake."

Werewolves are larger than normal wolves, so it takes them a while to lift the wolf and carry it to the lake. When they put its body to the ground, it whines.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry", Weston whispers. Emmy watches them, unsure what to do.

"I mean, they're gonna heal on their own, there's nothing we can do."

"We can wash the blood off them", Weston offers, and Emmy agrees. "Just to make their life a bit easier in the morning."

So they get to work. They clean the wolf's fur carefully, working around deep gashes and breaks which are healing before their eyes. They clean off as much as they can before the wolf wakes up and panics, trying to get up and run away, but its front legs are still broken, so it flails helplessly, letting out high-pitched whimpers.

"They don't know us", Emmy explains. "They won't remember anything in the morning."

Weston cups his hands and takes some water to wash the wolf's chest. The wolf looks at Weston, and there's something like fear in its eyes.

"Shh", Weston says, trying to sound as calming as possible.

"It must be a new werewolf", Emmy notices as she washes blood off her knuckles and knees. "Because it wouldn't hurt like this if they were older."

"Yeah, I think so too." When Weston's done with the wolf's chest, he sits back. "It will probably take a while for the breaks to heal."

"Imagine how much it hurts."

A silence falls. They sit next to the wolf until his front legs heal, and when they do, the wolf immediately jumps up, squealing a bit (its ribs must be broken still) and glances between Weston and Emmy.

"If they attack us now, I'll be pissed", Emmy whispers.

The wolf doesn't attack. It backs away carefully, and when it's sure it's out of their reach, he begins running out, into the trees, out of the forest.

"How do they live like that?" Emmy asks. Her voice is still quiet, as if not to disturb the peace that ruled over the forest at night. "There are no other wolves in the area. That means they're alone, in pain every month."

"I don't even know how to go on about this."

"Let's find them", Emmy suggests.

"How? Put up 'Are you a werewolf? Come to Mirage Woods!' signs all over the county?"

"Maybe word it a bit more eloquently. 'Do full moons stress you out? Do you hulk out every thirty days?'"

"Yeah, much better."

Weston and Emmy spend an hour cleaning the blood off of the grass and another painful fifteen minutes trying to wash their clothes. Emmy's socks are ruined, and so is Weston's white t-shirt, but the rest can be saved.

Weston is angry. When they walk into the treehouse, Atticus is nowhere to be seen and the door of his room is closed. According to human logic, he should sleep on it, so he does exactly that.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:40 am

Since he forgot to set the alarm, he sleeps until one in the afternoon, and his first instinct when he wakes up is to check his phone for new messages from Rev. None.

[13:19] West: RIP, Rev. Did you sleep through your alarm?

[13:26] West: You're either at work or dead and I will wait until 16:00 to find out. If you don't reply I'm calling the cops to search your house. I will pay for your funeral and cry at it.

[13:37] West: What are your favourite flowers? I want your funeral to look nice.

[13:48] West: I think you're an iris man.

[16:23] rev: i left my phone at home one time and you're already burying me

[16:24] West: HE LIVES!

[16:25] rev: of course i do, that's the only thing i do well

[16:26] West: You're pretty good at talking as well.

[16:27] rev: i think i should learn to shut up every once in a blue moon

[16:28] West: Agree to disagree?

[16:29] rev: whatever floats your cruise ship

[16:31] West: What are you planning to do for the rest of the day?

[16:32] rev: hibernate

[16:32] rev: oh wait was i supposed to answer with something more romantic


[16:34] West: There's no need to yell, I hear you well enough.

[16:35] rev: nerd

[16:36] rev: want to come over on sunday? i translated a couple more poems and i found something interesting

[16:37] West: Sounds great. I'll pop in unexpected.

[16:38] rev: cool. now scram, i have to read faust

[16:39] West: Is that Goethe again?

[16:40] rev: of course. if nothing, i'm consistent. by the end of this i'll know every single writer from the 19th century

[16:41] West: Get on it, then.

[16:41] rev: toodles

It seems to Weston that he lives in the spaces between being with Rev. When he's with him, time doesn't exist, and when they're apart, it drips like honey.

Saturday morning, and Weston is woken up by his phone ringing.

"Hello", he answers, quickly shaking sleep off him.

"Are you, by any chance, free?" Rev's voice comes out of the speaker muffled.

"As in, single?"

"As in, now."

"What did you do?" Weston's mind immediately goes to some new way Rev can hurt himself. Drove a car into a tree. Hit his head and forgot everything. Set something on fire.

"I am. What for?"

"Help", Rev squeaks, "I fell."

He knew it.

"Fell from where?" Weston immediately starts searching for some clothes. "Are you hurt?"

"No, but I'm stuck in a ditch. I fell off one of the Three Peaks. The southeast one. Save me. Please."

"I'll be there in twenty minutes."

It takes him half an hour to hike over to the Three Peaks and find Rev, his torso seemingly lodged between two rocks.

"How in the world…?" Weston asks before shaking his head and walking over to Rev, who stretches his arms out helplessly.

"I told you, I fell", he says, his voice resembling those of an angry child whose mother doesn't let him have dessert.

"And not break anything?"

"I am the luckiest man in the world, what can I say? Now pull me out so I can breathe."

Weston grabs Rev by his wrists and tugs. He's significantly more stuck than Weston had imagined, so he uses a tiny bit of magic to give him more strength. Soon, Rev's flying out of the ditch, crashing against Weston's chest with a huff.

"I'm free", he announces, slightly breathless. Weston can't help himself—he allows his arms to wrap around Rev, and he's pretty happy when Rev's hands end up on his waist. "Thanks, shining-armor-prince-dude."

"That's the least eloquent sentence I've ever heard you utter. I'd expect more from a man who spends his time reading books."

"Well, sorry", Rev mocks, "My vocabulary is my vocabulary."

Quiet. There are birds singing somewhere far, and the wind rustling thin branches, but that's it. Rev is in his arms, and everything else is far away.

Weston lets himself live in the moment, if only for now.

"'I'm going to let snow cover us"', Rev says finally, and it takes Weston a second to realise that he's quoting something. "'It can freeze us still where we're standing/Make a statue of everything we are/Together.'"

"Who's that?"

"My mum."

There's a pirate, or, rather, a scout in Weston's stomach, tying it into a knot.

Will anything ever be beautiful after him? Will he enjoy sunrise and the colours it brings, if he can't share them with Rev? When they separate, Rev will surely begin doing things that hurt him again, and Weston won't be there to stop him. There's no way either of them will leave unscathed.

Unwillingly, they let each other go, and Rev nods in the direction of his car.

"Should I employ forest rangers to care for you when I'm not around?" Weston asks, to break the silence.

"I need a bodyguard. Or, better yet, a carriage." Rev starts walking, Weston still by his side. "Imagine being a royalty back in the day. How much do you imagine would two horses and gold-plated carriage cost back in the day?"

"Three months of selling your body in a brothel."

"I'd imagine at least half a year."

Weston wonders whether he should reach out for Rev's hand. He wants to, but Rev's hands are in the front pocket of his hoodie, and who's Weston to disrupt his natural biology.

They walk down the hill (it isn't the steepest thing in the world. Weston trips once and Rev three times, Weston catching him every time) until they reach Rhonda, parked just off the road. Rev looks at her and sighs melodramatically.

"So, now I have to drop you off at the forest and drive home, huh?" he asks.

"Aren't you going to hike some more?"

"No, fuck that. All three peaks of the Three Peaks want to kill me. I'll limit my hiking to Leroy, thank you very much."

Weston wants to ask when Rev climbed the other two peaks, but he's been living here for a while before they met. He has a life outside of Weston's screen and fantasies.

They enter the car, but Rev shows no intention of starting it. Instead, he presses play on the radio.

Since Rev is responsible for eighty percent of the conversation, Weston decides that it's only right that he starts this conversation as well.

But they sit, alone with their thoughts, until Rev finally starts the car and drives towards Mirage.

"I'm sorry, I'm a bit lost these days."

"It's okay, it will pass."

"I sure as fuck hope so", Rev says, and there's something in his voice Weston never heard before. Exhaustion. It's wrong, it doesn't sound like him and Weston needs to find a way to fix it somehow.

Too attached. The words ring in Weston's head like a shout in a church. Rev is creating connections that marry Weston with ordinary things, and when those connections break, Weston will have a hard time avoiding everything that Rev used to be in his mind.

He opens his mouth to say 'I'm sorry, but I can't do this anymore'. He doesn't say it. Maybe tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:40 am

Rev drives to Mirage and Weston gets out of the car with a goodbye. He watches the Ford drive away, and he walks back into the forest, with the words still in his throat.

The words are a lie, and he doesn't want to lie to Rev any more than he already has. They both have their secrets, and because Rev is respecting his, Weston will respect Rev's.

Sunday, of course, comes rushing, because Weston knows that he's going to end things today. It has to end. It hurts too much as is.

So he appears on Rev's doorstep and when the door opens, they share a smile. Neither of them look right, but at least their conversation doesn't faulter.

"G'morning. On time, as always. Half an hour before the meeting time, on the dot", Rev points out and lets Weston in.

"The bus' fault, not mine."


They reach the bedroom and then Rev's pulling out the notebook and the book again. The bedroom, Weston notices, looks worse for wear. 'Please don't do anything to hurt yourself after I leave'.

"I've got three poems, but the last one is the most interesting, that's why it's last. So let's just go quickly through the other ones, they're not even nearly as interesting", Rev rambles and opens the book.

Weston goes through the notebook until he finds a poem he knows they didn't read and goes through it quickly. They're from the second, Permanent Man stage, and that's all he notices, because, as Weston's reading, he doesn't process the words. He's examining the handwriting, remembering every scratch and edge.

Rev's not fully into it as well. When they finish the first poem, he immediately goes to the second one. When the second one is read, Rev puts the book aside and moves closer to Weston.

"Now, I want you to read this last poem, but cover the last line."


"Trust me. It's messed up."

Of course, he does what he was told to do. The poem is called Sand.

"You are like sand
Even though I've only been to the beach once
I still find you in everything I do
I cannot wash myself clean

A day won't pass without finding you in it
You're in my hair and in my lungs
In my mouth, with the taste of sea water
The grit against my skin

One day I realise that I haven't felt sand in months
That you're gone
One day you'll be just a story I tell my friends

'Remember the time when I went to the beach'
You are like sand"

Weston looks up.

"What's the last line?"

Rev takes the notebook away, so Weston wouldn't cheat, like that's something he would do.


"Hm." Weston frowns and thinks about it for a second. "Is this about Permanent Man again? Because if it is, it could be something about wanting them to stay together?"

"I knew you would read it like that", Rev says. "It reads like a love poem until the last line."

"Which is?"

"'I don't miss missing you'."

Weston reaches for the notebook from Rev to reread the poem. The last line changes the song from the ground up.

"This is about her husband. He abused her." Rev nods silently. "That's… awful. Is that the only mention of it in the book?"

"The only one. She didn't deserve it."

"She didn't", Weston agrees. Why is there so much silence surrounding Rev? It's not natural. Maybe he should say something. "Can you read some of the poems? Out loud, in Spanish."

Perhaps only so Weston can hear his voice for the last time before he leaves.

As Rev's stretching to grab the book, Weston can't help but look at his wrists, to find evidence of any harm. None. That means either there is none, or they're somewhere else.

Rev opens what seems to be a random page and clears his throat. Weston doesn't understand a word, but Rev's voice is soft and fluent, and it calms Weston down. When the poem's done, Rev tosses the book aside again and leans in to kiss Weston.

There's something resembling desperation between their lips. It's not right, but Weston needs it one way or another. It feels like his insides grow cold like steel. They separate only when Weston feels wetness on his cheek.

A teardrop lies on Rev's eyelashes like dew.

"I'm sorry… I can't. It's not fair to me, and it's definitely not fair to you."

Weston feels himself frowning against his will.

"What? What's going on?"

"I can't be in a relationship. Not now, not ever. It's—this sounds like the worst thing ever—it's not you."

Two currents rush into Weston's head. One is relieved; Rev's breaking things off with him so Weston doesn't have to do it. The other one numbs everything in his body down and he doesn't feel pain. In fact, after a couple of seconds, he doesn't feel anything.

"Could you… leave, please? I can't do this anymore." There's something so infinitely small in Rev's voice.

Weston gets up, his movements mechanical.

"Can I text you?" A weak, third current appears for a brief second, and it's closed off before it can even begin.

"No. Please don't. If you text me, then I'll text you back and then it will hurt even more when things end. Let's just stop this here. Clean break." Weston doesn't hear half of the words. Rev's talking quietly and his brain rejects it.

He leaves nevertheless. Without a goodbye.

When he comes to the treehouse, Emmy follows him silently into his room, grabbing a blanket from the bed to cover both of them.

"That's it, huh?" she asks softly.

"Yeah, it is."

"You wanna tell me what happened?"

"Not really."


Weston lets his head drop onto Emmy's shoulder, and she leans their heads together. Maybe Weston cries. Maybe he doesn't. He doesn't really remember.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:41 am

The next weeks are full of silence and avoiding. He doesn't read. He doesn't listen to old songs. It feels like he lost structure and substance, and nothing matters. Because how could it matter, when it didn't before him?

He actively tries not to stare at their texts, and fails miserably. By the end of week three, he memorised them all. Then he begins reading again, and it's Goethe and Schiller and Homer, and Rev's voice comments along every line.

'I hope he's happy', he thinks, knowing that he isn't.

One day, when he goes out of the treehouse to walk around the forest in an effort to get out, there's a school folder on the doorstep. When he picks it up, a small paper falls out of it.

'As I promised', it says, in a messy handwriting Weston recognises all too easily.

A minute after that, Weston's sitting on his bed going through the papers from the folder. They're copies of poems, and while most if them aren't signed, at the end of a couple there's a name. Di Ruiz.

There's maybe thirty or forty poems in total, and around half of them are about nature. Like Rev had said, very hippie and new age. There's some about love, and Weston finds the quote Rev mentioned when they were on Three Peaks. One, however, sticks out. The paper that was copied looks crumpled and much older than the rest, with ink and tea stains. It's called La Revolución.

'Nothing is permanent except now
And I would give you all my nows
In exchange for your painful tomorrows
And nostalgic yesterdays

May your father's blood flow through your veins
And may your mother's stubborn brain be yours
May you be loud and unapologetic
Because you are right, darling
You have always been right

When the world caves in on you
Remember what you used to be
And most of all
Be happy'

A crazy thought enters Weston's brain, but he rejects it at once. He's definitely not. Weston would notice. Would he?

While his brain tries to stop it, his hands are reaching out for his phone and calling Rev (it's Saturday, he's not busy now, his schedule is ingrained into Weston's brain). He will not forgive himself if he lets this go to waste because Weston was blind, or Rev was scared.

"Good morning", Weston says, his hands shaking.

"You got the poems, huh?"

His voice is just like Weston remembers it, if a bit tired.

"I think we need to talk."

"Do we?"

"I think we do. I want to know about your parents."

"…I don't think—"

"Trust me. One last time. And then I'll go and never attempt to contact you again."

"… My parents, huh?" Rev asks, and Weston can almost hear the clogs in his brain turning and clinking against one another. "When do you want to meet up?"

"As soon as possible."

"Mirage? I'm on my way."

'Not human', says an aggressive voice in Weston's imagination. In the half hour it takes Rev to get to the forest, Weston's pulling up moon calenders on his phone, comparing then to the dates of their texts, and hoping. He hopes so hard his throat hurts and his teeth draw blood from his lip.

He's sitting on the cliffs with his legs dangling off the side when a familiar figure climbs up to him.

"Before I start", Rev says, slowly and timidly, careful not to let his facade break, "I tell you the story, I leave, and we're done."

Rev doesn't ask for confirmation, so Weston doesn't have a reason to complain.
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:42 am

"So, erm…" Rev pulls out a small notebook from the pocket of his hoodie to read from. "My mother, she was a poet but she also wrote this one story which was a fantasy retelling of her life. So I'll basically sum up that story.

"My mum's parents were born in the Dominican Republic, and they migrated to America before my mum was born, so she never learnt a single word of Spanish growing up. Once she was finishing high school, she wanted to learn more about her culture and background, and the college she got in was close to a neighbourhood known for its high number of Latinx immigrants. My mum, being the person she is, after finishing the first day of her school marched right into the neighbourhood and offered English lessons in exchange for Spanish. Mutually beneficial."

"She sounds like you", Weston can't help but notice.

Rev stops for a while, considers it in silence, and moves on.

"My dad was one of those immigrants. He left his family in Mexico and travelled to the States in hope for a better future, and my mum came to him like Lady Liberty and offered everything he needed to succeed—the English language.

"So, for about a year, my mum and dad met up with each other once a week, and they both picked up on the language fairly quickly. After a while, they didn't need each other's help with language, but they still kept their weekly meetings, because neither could bare to break things off so easily.

"One day, my dad came to my mum's dorm early, while she still had classes. That wasn't that uncommon—he'd just chill until she came and they could continue—but when he entered mum's bedroom, he found a bunch of papers on her bed, as if she had been rearranging them, and he couldn't help but read some.

"They were all poems. The pile on the right had the classic Dianne nature poetry, and the one of the left had love poems. About my dad. He didn't even dare to read further, he just picked a corner of the room the farthest from the bed and pretended nothing happened.

"Because he'd been feeling the same feelings. They'd been scaring him for a while, and now that he knew my mum felt the same, he didn't know what to do.

"He tried to be subtle about it, but, as you've come to realise, 'subtle' is not a trait that the Ruiz family tends to have in abundance", Rev's biting down sarcasm, and at that moment, he looks like they hadn't even already said goodbye to each other.

"So, the moment mum walked in, my dad blurts out, 'wanna go grab a coffee or something?', and mum's confused out of her mind, because they went to a cafe every other week. So she says, 'as a date?', and my dad swears in Spanish before saying yes."

There's a tint of pink on Rev's cheeks and a smile on his face, and Weston wants to take out his phone and take a picture, but then he remembers that they don't do that anymore. At least, if Weston is completely wrong.

"The moment mum finished college, she and dad moved to the cheaper part of NYC and had me. Um, in my mum's story, it was the fifties slash sixties, so NYC had a bunch of hippie protests, which they wanted to join. Mum had cousins which had fought in WWII, so she was against war of any kind, and dad followed along, with a similar ideology in his brain.

"And then I came along. When I was little, an orphanage for kids of soldiers next door to us lost the funding they had from the state and closed, leaving a few dozen kids on the streets. Mum was not having it—she immediately went out and rounded up the kids, leading an army of kids across snow-covered New York back to her parents, cuz they had a larger house. In under two weeks, they all found shelter for all the kids, but the twins, who were my age and inseparable. We took them in, and that's how everything started. That's why I have a ton of siblings. In my mum's story, that is."

Rev looks down at his notebook again, as if just remembering it, and flips a page. Weston allows himself to peek at it—the pages are empty.

If Weston was doubting something before, now he was absolutely sure. It takes most of his self-control not to stop Rev's story and yell out something incriminating.

"And, um…" Rev's biting his lip, staring at a spot somewhere in the distance. "This is when the story gets full-on urban fantasy." Oh, Weston can't wait. "They were sending letters to young men to come and fight in the Vietnam War. And I got the letter. My parents were completely against it, and I, as a classical hippie of the period, was terrified.

"My dad got to work—he searched for people who avoided going to war in all ways possible. After a couple of weeks, he couldn't find anybody who was able to avod it, legally. Then he found a man who claimed he helped a couple of other guys, and that the government never looked for them."

The air has gotten tense, Weston notices, and Rev's jaw is tightening. Equal parts of him want Rev to stop, and to continue.

"I… we had no other choice. War wasn't an option, so I went with the man. I remember… driving in his car, back seat, and then black. I woke up, covered in blood and…" Rev shakes his head. "Okay, yeah, that's the story my mum wrote."

"Rev", Weston starts, unsure how to approach the subject.


Blunt, sharp, and concise.

"Are you a werewolf?"

Rev rises his head to look at Weston, his face giving no emotion whatsoever. At least, not on the surface. Something is boiling down there, Weston can sense it.

"What? That's stupid. You been reading too many young adult novels?"

"I'm asking you a question."

"No, I'm not a werewolf, and this isn't Twilight." The facade crumbles to pieces, and Rev's jaw shivers, as if he were cold.

"Are you a werewolf?" Because Weston will be damned if he lets this all go to waste after all the moon calenders he's read. He's going to reach the bottom of this story even if it means he embarrasses himself.

"Truth?" Rev says after a short period of silence.


"Yes", he breathes out, and the dam opens, flooding with words. "You don't have to believe me. You can leave this very moment and tell your friends about this crazy kid who thought he was a werewolf and who told you this insane story about the sixties and hippies and his mother's poems, but I am not lying to you. Every month, every single month I black out at night and wake up in the morning not remembering anything, and it fucking hurts—"

"It shouldn't hurt."


"I said it shouldn't hurt." His heart is beating like a hummingbird's wings, but he has to be collected, for just a couple more moments.

"How the fuck would you know?" Rev's watching him, with his jaw almost unhinged from his face.

"It only hurts for the first two years. First thirty times you turn."

"…Weston?" Rev asks, but neither of them have a coherent thought to voice out loud. "Are you… what?"

"What do you know about other immortals?" Closer, just a bit closer. The final hundred meters of a marathon, and he's ending this here and now.

"There are others?"

"Yeah", Weston breathes out. "Wizards and witches and sirens and vampires and—"

"You're… in on this whole situation?" He'll pounce, Weston knows it. The moment Weston gives him an answer, he's going to pounce and he's never letting go.

"I'm a nymph."

"I… have no idea what that is." Underwhelming? One could say so.

"How old are you?"

"Seventy two?"

They're both trembling at this point, and neither know what to do. It's not exactly a situation you're socialised into, and Weston thought it would be much less confusing.

"I'm ninety seven."

Rev inhales, all wide-eyed, and utters what will be the final straw.

"You're like me."
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PostSubject: Re: there's a wolf in mirage woods   there's a wolf in mirage woods EmptyTue Dec 26, 2017 10:42 am

Then they're hugging, and Rev holds onto Weston harder than it's humanly possible, and it's alright.

He won't be alone anymore, a thought appears in Weston's head, neither of them will be alone anymore. He doesn't have to let go this time, and it won't hurt. All sorts of scenarios about the future pop into his head —and, for once, all of them are good.

"You know", Weston says after a couple of minutes of warmth, "I saw you in Mirage a couple of times."

"Mmph", Rev lets out a sound into Weston's shoulder. "You knew about werewolves and you saw one and you didn't think there might be a werewolf in this general area?"

"I mean, I had my doubts", Weston loosens his grip around Rev's torso, "but I never thought it could be you."

"And when you saw me, did I look… um, alright?"


"Because one day I woke up with a branch through my lungs and I needed to pull it out", Rev says with a cringe. "Not the most pleasant way to begin the day. Oh, and the other time I remember, I was completely fucked. Woke up on Three Peaks with a trail of blood behind me."

"I don't know about the first one, but… I don't think you really wanna know what happened the other time. It was bad, but I'm dealing with it."

"I'll take your word for it. Oh, shit!" Rev squeaks and punches Weston's shoulder. "Dude! You know the poems we read?"


"I'll bet you five bucks that the guy's a werewolf too."

Weston laughs, because he'd been thinking the same thing.

"I was thinking vampire, but you're on the right track."

"Can I stay with you?" Rev asks abruptly. "Like, you can teach me about others like us and I don't have to do this shitty job anymore so I don't have to pay for the flat anymore and—"


They're hugging again.

There's still a load of history between them. Weston wants to know how Rev survived all these years alone and packless, and Rev just needs any sort of information about people like them, but that can wait.

They're alive now, and everything else can wait.
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