Epilogue: But come what may, I adore thee so!
"Remind me again how old you'll be next week, Seb," Andy said and fixed his big, deceptively innocent blue-grey eyes on his stepfather before taking a sip from a glass of red wine.
"Remind me again who spent the better part of last week proofreading your master thesis, you utter brat," Sebastian replied with a mock-angry look on his face. He wasn't too happy about being reminded that he would turn 35 in only a few days time. Closer to 40 than 30. He shuddered at the mere thought.
"I even checked on the theological facts... Oh, there's a paradox," Sebastian added and stuck his tongue out at Andy.
"That's not a paradox," Andy muttered, but tried to hide a smile by looking down at his finger, tracing the the base of his wineglass. "Don't be so ignorant of religious wisdom."
"Ah, there's another one. You're heavy on the paradoxes this evening," Sebastian said. He poured some more wine into Andy's glass before refilling his own.
"God, will you two drop it. Every single time we're here, you fight about bloody religion. Who cares? You're both going to burn in hell anyway," Toby said with an evil smile before he got up, put his napkin on the chair and went to the kitchen to help Antonio get the dessert ready, leaving Sebastian and Andy to it.
"Have you been talking to your grandparents again," Sebastian shouted after him.
They were sitting in the dining room in Sebastian and Antonio's flat. Andy and Toby had come to visit them in Stockholm from Uppsala where they were both now studying; Toby to be a pharmacist and Andy doing psychology of religion. They usually came to visit at least one weekend per month during term.
Sebastian and Antonio had lived in Villaby for as long as Andy was still staying every other week with Maria, but when he left to go to university three years ago, there was no point for them to stay on. Instead they'd bought a flat in Stockholm, to be far away from the small-minded homophobia in Villaby and close to Andy and Toby.
"Has he been talking to his grandparents," Sebastian asked of Andy once they were left alone.
"Of course not. Last time we met them was last summer and they were both half deaf," Andy said. "At least I think they were, they didn't seem to register a thing anyone said."
"Unless they've changed since I last spoke to them, you can consider that normal. So what's with sending us to hell?"
"He's just being a drama queen," Andy said. "He had an exam last week and he gets like that when he's been doing nothing but trying to remember multi-syllable names for various medications for two weeks in a row. I swear to God he's mumbling the names of antidepressants in his sleep."
"I don't blame him," Sebastian said with a smile. He was secretely very proud of how well Toby was doing. The previous term Toby had had Robert as his teacher, and apparently even Robert had been impressed by him.
"Anyway..." Andy said and turned to face Sebastian who was in the chair next to him. "So when you and Toby went to Villaby last week, for that birthday party..."
"Yes...?" Sebastian's goddaughter had turned ten only a few days ago, and Tommy and Olivia had decided to celebrate both their children on the same day so that Toby and him wouldn't have to go to Villaby twice in one month, once for her and once for Toby.
Since Toby had moved away, he normally went to Villaby for his birthdays rather than having Olivia and Tommy travelling all the way to Uppsala only to spend the night either in a hotel or on a mattress on the floor of a student dorm room.
"I came to visit dad, but on Saturday, he was off on some work-related thing or other for the whole day , so I had a little look around your library for something to occupy myself with..."
"You've got such a nice way with words, Andy. I wish you'd just spit it out though, whatever it is you want to say."
"For All Waters... It's about you, huh?" Andy was beaming.
"I'm sure you've already talked to Ant about this, and he probably told you all about it, but yes. Yes, it is."
"Fucking hell! That's so cool! I can't believe what you were like! You were this total insecure, promiscuous bastard and then you met my dad and you two were like so in love even your psycho stalker gives up? That's the most romantic and disturbing thing I've ever read, you know."
Andy was clearly completely over-excited, and Sebastian, even though fairly embarrassed that Algernon's book could still come and haunt him even after ten years, couldn't help but smile.
"Romantic, disturbing and pathetic," Sebastian said. "Come on, even a theological buff like you must say that it's slightly over the top to read that much into nothing but how two people look at each other?"
"He was right though, wasn't he?" Andy said with a crooked grin that made him look so much like a young Antonio that Sebastian nearly choked.
"Yeah, I guess he was..."
A/N: The End. Feels kind of weird, actually. I have no idea what I'll do next, but if you're interested at all, I'll update my profile as soon as I know.
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Thanks a bunch for reading.