Giroux's feet slowly descended the staircase as he tried not to make any noise. The walk down the hallway took longer than it should have, but the sounds of Noka stirring in his room prevented him from moving at times. He wanted to make a quick and quiet exit. As he neared the bottom, he froze in his tracks. Lev sat on the couch facing the TV and the staircase looking wide awake as ever. Giroux involuntarily donned the look of a deer in headlights, quickly thinking whether he should turn around back upstairs or make a break for the door. Had Lev seen him? Movement broke the stillness of the scene as Lev looked up and beckoned for Giroux with a warm smile and a wave, patting the seat cushion next to him. The former lieutenant made his way across the living room with caution, looking around for any signs of the other Captains.

"Wow, you're almost as tall as Found, haha." Lev looked up at the towering blonde. "Umm... is something there in the dark? You're making me nervous." Lev noticed his eyes darting around the empty abyss of the room. The only source of light came from the television in front of Lev, casting an artificial glow around the cavernous room. "Oh my god you look like death-when was the last time you've slept?" Lev's eyes widened as Giroux approached; The young man had dark circles around puffy bloodshot eyes. Silence.

"..."

"Aren't you gonna sit and watch with me?" Lev patted the cushion again. Giroux looked at the TV. A kung fu movie was playing with yellow subtitles on the bottom of the screen. "You only missed the first few minutes-oh! That guy right there is the main character, he's all haughty and over confident, but that lady over there just kicked his ass so now he's all-" Lev began to say until Giroux sat down, his eyes boring holes into the television. The black haired dire leaned forward in his seat to take a better look at Giroux.

"..."

"Ya know, we never really spoke much before, have we?" Lev asked as he leaned back in his seat. "Which is cool, I guess you're not much of a talker. Cait was like that too for a while but he's more outspoken now." Lev blinked when a random character on screen took a flying ceramic pot to the head. "Hm... Are you alright? You're really tense right now." A person on the screen chased another up a ladder in the town square. "Wanna talk about what you've done these past weeks?" The line made Giroux brace himself for any sudden outburst of violence. He flinched when a head leaned itself against his shoulder; he was expecting a fist or a knife. "Hahaha!" Lev laughed when a pedestrian turned around and smacked several others with the board he was carrying on his shoulder. "Ahhh... We need popcorn."

x

"-You sure you don't want any? It's already the second bag and you haven't had a single piece." Lev frowned a little when Giroux shook his head at the offering of buttered microwaved snacks.

"...Just get it over with already." The blonde man finally spoke in a hushed tone.

"Seriously-these villains take WAY too much time gloating when they could've killed by now-"

"I mean you. Stop beating around the bush and do it already." Giroux resigned himself to whatever fate was in store for him.

"Huh? Oh. OH! Umm-how do I say this... I know I'm 'cross-platform' and all, but, and don't take this the wrong way, you're a great looking guy! But, I barely even know you and we haven't really spoken much, so I dunno if I can just skip to *THAT* part of a relationship so quickl-" Lev used his fingers for air quotations.

"Not that." Giroux flatly cut him off.

"Oh."

"Stop making me stew. Get your revenge over with. I attacked your guild. Make it even." Giroux stood up and placed himself between Lev and the TV, holding his arms out at the mercy of the Guild Leader. Lev flicked a piece of popcorn in the direction of Giroux's face and missed by a wide margin; he was too busy trying to look around him to see the TV.

"Kwe'reevenyou'remissinallthegoodparts!" Lev hurriedly said as he ate another handful from the bowl resting at his lap. Giroux stared at the piece of popcorn resting by his foot, then back towards Lev.

"I don't get it-"

"It only works if you face the screen-"

"You're supposed to be enraged at me-bloodthirsty even. Why aren't you?" Giroux asked frankly, more out of sheer confusion than anything else.

"Well it'd be sorta overdramatic to attack you when you're the one missing all these vicious kicks."

"...You...don't make any...sense..." Giroux gave up and fell back into his seat, slouching in sheer exhaustion. Lev slowly leaned back into his seat and resumed using Giroux's shoulder as a makeshift pillow, continuing his popcorn feast all the while.

"Hey. Hey hey hey. Hey hey hey hey hey." Lev prodded Giroux in the side with his elbow. "You're forgiven, okay? Lighten up, you're always so stern and serious all the time haha. That's why I put you with Found, I figured you two would get along and maybe he would make you loosen up. Man, you worry about everything. You think about everything too much. Slow down and live at the same speed with the rest of us, it's not so bad." Lev looked up at Giroux as he spoke. The blonde man couldn't meet his gaze and focused on the screen across from them. "Besides, it took a while but we were able to find it." Lev said before putting another fistful of popcorn into his mouth.

"Find what?"

"The red fiddle lotus." Lev plainly answered between bites.

"What?!" Giroux tried to turn his entire upper body to ask but was held down by Lev. The smaller Dire groaned as though he didn't want to lose the comfortable position he had. Giroux stared into space, dumbfounded. "...I didn't look hard enough... I should've spent my time searching like you instead of-"

"-Oh my god it was suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuch a pain to find it." Lev droned. "It wasn't even the danger of us getting killed that made it annoying, but they grow so freaking far away from this universe. Were you gonna search the Shade if you went lookin?"

"Yeah, that was the firs-"

"Good thing you didn't-it's friggin' extinct there now."