He hated more than anything to be seen like this, and his aggression, always misplaced, urged him to push NOV away. Instead, iTunes wrapped his arms tightly around the guard. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been hugged. That was pretty sad, he thought, because hugging felt pretty damn good. It didn’t fix anything. But it somehow improved the situation, in a way he couldn’t place. He only noticed a moment later that something hot was spilling from his eyes, and he recognized it as tears.
NOV pretended not to feel the tears that hit his neck and bled through his suit. He could have squeezed tighter, but he was already matching the other and more would have been damaging. To keep his mind off of those things, he wondered what the rattling in his chest sounded like to iTunes, and if it sounded any less irritating when he wasn’t the one making it.
It strange the way he cried, the tears somehow just flowed out of him, but his body didn’t jerk with any effort and he didn’t make a noise, stilled against the purr of the blackguard holding him. They didn’t stop all at once, but it was a long time before they began to ebb and iTunes found the need to shift. Where he pulled away and slumped back. He knew what he wanted to say, he just didn’t have the will to say it.
Eventually he found the words, “We never hugged.” And turned his head away to stare off into some far corner of the room.
And back to this. NOV felt weary of the constant refusal and pride, and hurt, and more than a little frustrated. His rattle grated in his ears—Users, he wish he could turn the noise off! But more than that, he wished that he would stop getting written off.
“Why?” he asked. His brow furrowed as he realized the question had actually come out of his mouth, but he continued. “Why did we never hug?”
But he was smart enough to know that any answer he gave couldn’t be justified. To be purposefully cruel is often not justified in any manner, except the one committing the offense. Worthless pride. But it was what he had. “What?”