See You Later


aaron_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title See You Later
Synopsis Aaron packs up for his temporary move to the Lighthouse. Aaron and Peyton share a moment before parting ways.
Date April 17, 2010

Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

Aaron flips his phone closed. Something he'd been waiting to hear and yet dreading to here all at the same time, and now he just stares at the phone in his hand for a few minutes, unsure of what to do. He has a fair chunk of his things packed, including some new winter clothes, care of Wendy's giftcards. The experience of buying new clothes, with those cards in particular, was an tumultuous affair in and of itself. For all he was mean to her and didn't seem to care much for her while she was alive, that's something he'll regret until the day he dies.

The phone weighs heavily in his hands as he stares at it, but he eventually manages to slip it into his pocket. He hauls two gym bags up and over one shoulder, then his guitar over the other. It feels heavier than it is.

He toes open his door and treads down the hall, dreading this moment as though burdened by a finality that simply isn't even there. This isn't good bye. This is see you later.

Peyton's curled up on the sofa reading a newspaper — with the weather as bad as it has been and the predictions for a blizzard even worse, she hasn't been to the library, so she is keeping up with her "work" at home… reading the newspaper and clipping out anything pertinent to Endgame's interests. She's in short yoga pants and a raglan tee, clearly not planning on going out any time soon.

She glances up at the sound of his footfalls, and tilts her head. They've talked about this, of course, and that it's probably good for him, but it's still sad to see Aaron all packed — he didn't bring that much stuff with him, so she can guess his room is as it was before he moved in. Also, the last time he left, things didn't turn out so well.

"It's that time, is it?" she says lightly, legs unfolding as she stands, chewing her lower lip for a moment as she studies him.

Probably good for him. Possibly bad. Aaron can't make up his mind on the matter. Sometimes he thinks new scenery will do him good, other times he feels like he's making the worst decision of his life. He sets his bags and his guitar down near the door and gets his coat on, moving a little nervously. Jitters. His red scarf is next. It's not freezing out, but it's still bloody cold.

It takes him a while before he nods his head in response to Peyton's question. "I could stay, you know, if you want me to. Or you can come with me." He doesn't really know what he'd do in either case, but he suggests it anyway. And he can't seem to look at Peyton head-on, his face averted. He laces up his boots next — a tall pair of winter boots, another addition to his wardrobe — and seems to have far more difficulty doing so than he should.

"You can stay, but I think doing something for other people will be good for you," Peyton says, gently, watching him try to lace the boots. Her own feet are bare, toes painted a silvery blue, despite the fact that no one outside of her apartment will ever see them in this weather. "I don't want to be rid of you, you know," she adds, frowning a little. "But I can't go there… It's too far from here, and I need to be here if …" if Cardinal needs her hands. "And I don't have anything I can teach those kids. I don't have any skills that orphans need to know."

Aaron nods slowly as he finally gets the laces tied. He knew she wouldn't plead with him to stay, even if that's what he wanted to hear more than anything. Her words seem of little comfort, even if they should be. She's not trying to get rid of him. She's still going to be left alone, the mere thought of which is like a deep stabbing pain for him. He shrugs, "Not really sure what good I'll do them. I can teach them how to cook. That's a skill they need to know."

She moves over closer to him, shaking her head. "Music is amazing. You have a gift, and you're sharing that. It's something not everyone can give them. Lots of people can cook — not everyone can do what you can do," Peyton murmurs softly, not looking up at him, either, though she's closer to him now. "And you can always come back," she adds. "It's not like you're going to … to… Africa or something. It's Staten Island. The weather makes it difficult right now, but I mean, it's like… minutes away normally." Wasn't it just yesterday she was there all the time, much to his dismay?

Oh how the tables have turned. Now he's running off to Staten Island. Is there more irony in store for him? Tick, tock. The seconds feel both painfully long and painfully short, dragging out indecision and shortening the little time he has left with Peyton. At least for a little while, anyway. He moves a bit closer to her, thoughts a flurry in his head. Feelings he can't act on. In the end he just wraps his arms around her and squeezes her tight.

Peyton's arms lift and wrap around him above his shoulders, and she lets him hold her as long as he needs to. Her head ducks and she presses her face into the cushioning of his winter coat. What if it is truly Goodbye? What if he decides, away from her home and away from her, that she isn't worth caring about — that she is selfish and shallow, and all the things she's tried so hard not to be? There's a chance of that… absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder all the time. Sometimes it simply makes the heart forget. Part of her hopes he will no longer need her, and part of her is afraid of the very same. Hypocrisy. Selfishness. Double-edged swords — everyone wants to love and be loved, but who gets those two things in equal amounts?

"Don't forget me," she whispers, voice a touch huskier than normal, words muffled by coat fabric.

Nobody gets those things in equal amounts.

Aaron actually sniffles, and then tightens his hold when she whispers to him. He shakes his head and lets her go, pulling her head up to face him. He kisses her forehead. "Never," he says. "I will never forget you." Because he loves her. He's just not sure she wants to hear that right now. Not like that's ever stopped him before. "This isn't goodbye, you know. I'm coming back. I could never leave you. I love you too much." So much it hurts. What else is new, right?

Her dark eyes lift at the touch of lips to her forehead. Someone loves her — someone who isn't related to her. Someone who doesn't have to. She has someone kind — usually, anyway — and intelligent, if a bit unstable, who cares for her, would do anything for her, and yet she gives herself instead to men who will never love her, never hold her simply because they care — only in order to get something else. What does this say about her?

Peyton glances away, takes a deep breath and looks up again with a feigned smile. "No. It's not goodbye. Au revoir and bon voyage, instead, right?" She stands on tip toes to plant a kiss on his cheek. "I love you too. Please be safe. How are you getting there?" Apparently she hasn't been told the plan.

As though the kiss didn't make that clear months ago. It only messed things up between them. Apparently, words are safer. Though hers have quite the effect on him. He stiffens a bit. It never seemed that way to him, never obvious enough to sink through that thick skull of him, or walled up heart. Something to that effect. Maybe he's tried to shield himself from pain so much that he can't get what he needs from people to make him feel better.

His eyes twinkle, and he takes his hand and brushes some stray hairs out of Peyton's face to help distract her eyes. His fingers glance across her skin, and he syphons away some of her pain. A bit of a parting gift, as it were. He gives her one last squeeze before releasing his grip on her and moving towards the door.

"Gillian said she had it covered. Someone's flying me over there— safer than driving in this weather. A guy named Magnes, I think it was." He looks confused a moment. "Why the hell does that name sound familiar?"

There's a soft chuckle and Peyton glances down, running a hand past her eyes as if the name gave her a headache, though it's to get rid of any tears lingering on the dark lashes. "Magnes. He's the one trying to make me fat by dropping off food every other week. Pizza man. He was dating Claire, shows up and either causes havoc or rescues people randomly — he tried to fly me away when Danko face planted me." Oops. She had kept that a secret until her face healed, only to let it slip now? "He's an okay guy. A bit odd. He has control over gravity or something, I guess, is how he flies."

"With how frequently you go down to the gym…." Aaron was about to make what would have likely been a foot-in-mouth comment-slash-complement about her incredibly attractive figure, that bombshell just plain knocks him off his feet. He doesn't even hear her further comments about Magnes, too shocked by the news. "What?"

"I have to go down to the gym or your cooking and his will make me a balloon," Peyton protests, before he catches on to her slip. "Ohhh." Shit. They'd been getting along fairly well and she hadn't had to lie to him about anything. Damn it. "It's fine. I'm fine. It was a long time ago, now, and it was when you and I didn't see each other for several days. I didn't tell you because I didn't see you and I totally forgot about it." Not 100 percent true, but not altogether a lie, either. "I'm sorry. Don't worry. It's been weeks and I haven't heard anything about him causing problems."

Aaron runs both hands through his hair. It's not exactly what he wanted to hear upon his departure, but he seems to shrug it off all right. He shakes his head a little bit, since she does look OK. But then, he did just recently syphon away some of her pain. "Good. I don't want to hear that there are any problems." Which isn't to say he doesn't want to know that there have been problems. He just doesn't want there to be any. "Promise me you won't do anything reckless while I'm gone."

Peyton's brows rise and she just smiles with a shake of her head. "You and I define reckless in different ways." He'd probably consider her interaction with Kain the other day as reckless — she just thought of it as fun. "I'm really not up to anything dangerous these days — I'll try to stay out of elevators in case crazy people are in them and I won't go to any gala balls because that's where the crazy people hang out, apparently." Neither of her most recent predicaments were because she was doing anything wrong, after all. "Be careful and give Gillian a hug for me, all right? Oh, and here." She goes to the table near the door, where she usually dumps her keys, and picks up a small case. Inside is an iTouch. "New phone. Use it to call me, and don't worry about the bill, it's coming here."

An iTouch. Aaron looks at it. It's beyond just a phone. He collects the over-accessorized phone and slips it in its case into with his things. "You'll probably hear from me tonight, after I've settled in and whatnot." But he won't overuse it, no matter who's paying for it. Not that he'll worry about the bill, but aside from Peyton, he doesn't really have anyone to talk to. Plus, he doesn't know what sort of power issues might be happening. The last thing he needs is a phone with a dead battery. He gives Peyton another hug. "Thank you," he says, "And I will definitely give her a hug for you. This one's from her." Because Gillian told him to give Peyton a hug for her.

She squeezes him again, tightly, then steps away, turning away swiftly, though probably not before he can see the tears glittering on her lashes once more. "Go, or you'll be late… I need to hop in the shower before Faye comes over. We're going to attempt to see a movie if any theatre is still showing them in this horrible weather," she says as she disappears down the hallway toward the bathroom.

Aaron watches as she goes and stands there for nearly a minute before opening the door and carrying his things outside it. He takes one last look into the apartment, trying to push away the ominous feelings passing through him. Irrationality playing on his fears. He's going to see this place again, and her again. He has to. "See you soon," he says, though she's not likely anywhere near enough to hear him say it, the words nearly catching in his throat.

He turns about and closes the door behind him.

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