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Realistic or Modern 𝔀𝓮'𝓻𝓮 𝓷𝓸𝓽 𝓼𝓸 𝓭𝓲𝓯𝓯𝓮𝓻𝓮𝓷𝓽 𝔂𝓸𝓾 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓲 -- 𝓹𝓻𝓲𝓿.

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If someone had asked Mason what they were doing that Friday night, they would have unenthusiastically explained their situation. Which was: they had been dragged along to a high school reunion by their friend Harley. All because Harley wanted to see how no one had changed. "It's like a sick joke," Harley had exclaimed. "It's not even been ten years and they want us to go back and fester in that hell some more!"

Mason couldn't help but agree. Though not because so little time had passed. Rather, because high school had been miserable. He had felt so alone. Sure, he had a friend or two. He'd had a best friend. Things like that didn't matter though. If he had called Aaron-- who had essentially cheated off of him for two whole years in university in exchange for some weed-- his best friend, Mason would have died. The concept of best friends was something that didn't exist outside the brick walls of high school. Going back meant his brain would force him to relive it. Even if he had met Harley his senior year, Mason felt no need to relive it. If anything, he wanted to just relish in the friendship the pair had now. Not flash back to the past. Despite this, he allowed Harley to drag him to the same building the pair had been forced to frequent in their younger years.

It looked the same as it always had. Red and grey brick towering above them. Mason was taller now, but he still felt small when they walked through the glass doors, smudges of teenaged fingerprints had been kind of washed away. Someone had clearly tried to make the school look appealing to the former students. "How long d'you wanna stay?" Mason tilted his head to gaze back at Harley, who had simply grunted in response. Great! Mason was the one who was going to have to make the most of this awful scenario. He could already tell. As they walked through the hallways with off-white tile, Mason wondered if he could even stay here. His mind felt hazy, as if running through four years' worth of negative memories really was taking its toll on him. Mason tried to ignore the thoughts that were gnawing away with him. You're not that fucking loser anymore, yeah? Mason was trying desperately to have a good time. Which was why he had allowed Harley to abandon him, the other was already in search of cheap booze.

'Happy Seventy Five Years Belmonte High School!' was emblazoned on a gold and purple banner that someone had haphazardly slung across what Mason could only assume was where the volleyball net had once stood. Whoever had organized the party had certainly been on some lame ass school spirit committee all those years ago. Putting whatever bedazzling skills they had learned to horrible use. For a moment, Mason wondered why he was even here. With Harley of all people. Harley, who had decided once that it would be funny to set two houses ablaze. How come Harley had never decided to burn their old school down? Mason pushed the thought away, instead focusing on the drink that Harley had pushed into his hand. The grin that spread across his face was short lived, as Mason turned, accidentally bumping into someone. Someone... much shorter than himself. "Fuck," Mason said suddenly. He looked at the other, an apologetic look crossing his face. "Sorry I didn't-" HIs face got warm for a moment. "I wasn't paying attention," he said. No use in trying to make it seem like it wasn't his fault. Clearly it was. The other didn't look familiar. Though, he supposed the event was open to all alumni. He looks like he's your age though. Mason pushed the thought away, looking at the other for a moment. Should I just leave him alone? Don't want him to think I'm a freak.








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Razvan didn't want to be at the reunion.

Really, he didn't. He'd rather do just about anything else with his life, if he were to be honest. Learning to swallow swords was up there, along with walking through a room on fire or having a family dinner for the first time in years. Highschool had been shit, from start to finish, and he didn't see anything to celebrate. Did he learn some stuff? Sure. Was he relentlessly mocked and well aware of that fact? Yea, he was. And did it end on a horrible note, making him want to scrub the entire experience from his mind for years to come? Yes. Absolutely. There was a 10th circle of hell, of that he was certain, and it's name was Belmonte High.

Regardless, he found himself there anyway. Mostly, it was because his parents had bugged him about it; texts and calls and email check-ins about if he planned on attending and if, while he was there, he could do some advertising. The last bit he'd said no to passionately, turning to the comfort of the 'end call' button when it was brought up for the fifth time, but he hadn't been so confident about skipping the event entirely. If he went, he reasoned, they'd at least get off his back a little, right? Plus, there'd be free food. He was always a fan of free food.

Except it turned out the free food sucked and the party was a complete bust.

He stood there, solo cup in hand, eyeing the set up wearily. A couple of lone balloons scattered the floor, a hazard waiting to happen. He'd left his cane at home, figuring it was one less tip-off as to who he was. Clearly that had been a mistake. The punch was spiked, something he hadn't realized before gagging on his first sip, and the snacks were...well. There was only so much you could do with pretzel sticks and what looked to be some sort of sliced meat, but perhaps that would be a sign to go with literally any other dish.

He wasn't saying, exactly, he could've done it better. He was just saying that it bothered him. Enough, in fact, that he had decided he would leave entirely. It wasn't as if he'd dressed to the nines for the event- dark-wash jeans, a button up that looked like a bowling alley carpet had puked on him, and worm-on-a-string earrings he'd figured would repel people from trying to talk to him -but somehow, it still felt like too much effort. No need to expend any more energy.

That was the thought, at least, until someone ran right into him, his cup knocking right out of his hand. Great. Not that he planned to drink the punch, but it still felt like another slight towards him anyway. He was fully prepared to lay into the guy who'd run into him, apology or not, but stopped short in his tracks when he got a good look at the others face.

Mason Loman. Christ, he hadn't seen the guy in...well, since high school. He didn't exactly look the same, but he also didn't look all that different. Clearly didn't recognize Razvan, that was for sure; high school had been back with 'Razvan' had been 'Anca' and his hair had been all the way down his back, the thought of which almost made him shiver. Eugh. Never again was that going to happen. Still, the lack of recognition almost made Raz want to hit him over the head more with the closest object to him like a whack-a-mole game, until arcade tickets began spewing out.

Okay, sue him, he was pissed off. Even after all those years, it simmered right under his skin, the want to scream and slam his fists against Mason's chest until he got it. It wasn't an unusual feeling, nor had it been unusual in high school. Hadn't helped then, though. Clearly. If it had, they wouldn't have lost contact like they did.

Fuck. Just when he didn't think the night could get any worse.

"Yea. I got that part." He said dryly, kicking the dropped cup to the side and eyeing the spill with distaste a moment before his gaze moved back up to Mason's face. "Not that I fuckin' blame you. This place is a drag. You'd think they'd maybe spend a little more time making the party look a little less like shit if they're going to force us to come back." If he focused on ragging on the reunion, then maybe he wouldn't give in to the urge of getting the punch bowl and throwing it directly at Mason. It'd been almost-10-years, he reminded himself. People changed in almost-10-years. He could throw a punch bowl after seeing if Mason was still a complete asshole.








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Oh. Oh god. Another bitchy, blunt person in the place that had contributed to the most miserable years of Mason’s life. He wanted to run away right now. All of the false confidence he had taught himself over the years since leaving high school was far gone as soon as the other had spoken. Their voice sounded a little familiar, but Mason already had a hard time hearing people. The increase in volume as more people came into the gymnasium was only making it harder for him to hear the shorter of the two. Anxiously, Mason wrapped his free hand around the wrist of the hand that was holding the cup. His grasp tightened, a nervous habit that always lingered. Mason knew he needed to say something. Logically, he couldn’t stand and stare.

Luckily the other had spoken up again. Which prolonged Mason’s own need to respond. The negative response made things a little bit easier. “They never put money into this place when everyone here went there. Why would they do it now?” Less of an incentive he supposed. Hey, at least Mason had managed to say something! Though now his throat was getting a little tighter. Where had Harley disappeared to? It wasn’t fair, dragging Mason along only to abandon them with a short stranger. A short stranger who seemed somewhat annoyed.

And while he understood the annoyance, he didn’t feel it was entirely justified. Was the other expecting some insanely good and exciting time? It was a fucking high school celebration. People didn’t celebrate the birthday of their high school. Not normal people anyway. So what right did the other have to be this annoyed with Mason? Was he reading too much into it? Probably. Old habits were hard to get rid of. Especially when you were returned to the worst place on earth.

The other had said he didn’t blame Mason. In all his worry, the taller person had forgotten about that. Pressing their tongue to the roof of their mouth, Mason tried to figure out what he was supposed to say now. “Why’d you come?” He asked suddenly. They don’t even know each other, and Mason was asking horrifically dry questions. If he wasn’t so weirdly nervous, he probably would have just run away. But Harley wasn’t there, and running off would only make him look worse. So Mason had to ensure. Endure whatever fresh hell this was. Maybe it was what he deserved for what his job technically was. To anyone else, Mason and Harley were just business partners who had met their last year of high school. It wasn’t like they had some crazy successful business. Just something that made it seem like they made enough money so what they took from the city didn’t seem like it had come from the city. “I don’t think I would’ve come. I got dragged here by a friend.” Who is still nowhere to be seen… Jesus. Mason didn’t know if they had enough patience to wait for Harley to reappear. The guy in front of him looked annoyed. He didn’t know if it was just a horrible case of resting bitch face, or something deeper entirely. Perhaps it was a hatred for tall people! That could explain it.

Mason didn’t like the eerie familiarity that radiated off of the person before him. His skin felt hot with anxiety. Was he all red? No, probably not. He wanted to hide behind something. “There’re a lot of people here for some shitty reunion. Don’t you think?” Again, another meaningless question. Why was he even trying right now?








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Raz studied Mason, one eyebrow quirked up as he watched the other make different commentary on the event. Apparently, his own bitchy attitude hadn't gone unnoticed. Part of him felt pleased for causing a little bit of distress, while another part of him felt a bit of pity. He might've been an asshole- he could admit that, easily -but it wasn't as if he went out of his way to cause people distress. Maybe he could stand to cut the guy a little slack.

"...Alright, look, I'm not about to bite your head off." It sounded less like a reassurance and more like a choice he'd just made in that moment that he'd decided to announce. Actually, that was accurate, seeing as he'd only just decided that he wouldn't try to accost Mason with the closest object to him. He could be civil, he figured.

Besides, it was slightly more interesting to see if Mason would eventually recognize him, and it wasn't as if there was much else to entertain him at the reunion.

He stuck out a hand for a handshake, the other by his side with a thumb hooked through the belt loop of his pants. "Razvan. I already know you're Mason. We were the same year, but it's pretty obvious you don't recognize me." There was no malice behind the comment, the tone remaining nothing more than factual. He wondered if that would be a tip off, but doubted it.

He wasn't about to give any more hints quite yet, though. He was curious how long it would take. Instead of push it, he instead turned his gaze to the rest of the reunion, eyeing the people who were arriving with a frown. "I'm only here because my parents nagged me about it. Something about how there's a market for young people looking for houses. I'm not bothering with the advertising part, though. Doubt anyone wants some random real estate agent they haven't seen since their teens asking them if they're looking for a new place to live."

Alright, maybe that was a hint. Not like it was a secret that his family were all real estate agents, even back in highschool. Still, he doubted it was big enough to tip Mason off. If it did, he'd be shocked. "A lot of people enjoyed high school, so yea. A freaky sort of pride probably brought them back. I'm not shocked there's a good turn out, honestly, I doubt a lot of them have better things to do."








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If Mason were watching himself in some out of body experience, he would have grabbed himself by the shoulders and said something about how stupid he looked. His anxiety was eating away at him. He didn't care if it was evident, because he didn't have time to think about it. You're not meant to be here. You didn't fit in here back then, now it's not gonna be any different. Why didn't you just lie and say you were busy? That question was so easily answered though. Harley wasn't stupid. He had failed multiple classes, but he had a social awareness Mason could only dream of having. He wasn't unaware of himself, but he was a shitty liar. For the most part. There were lies that he believed so fiercely that they came out of their mouth as truths.

"Oh!" Mason sounded confused as the other announced he was not going to bite his head off. "That's good to know." You're not any warmer though. Mason didn't want to say anything else. Silence followed their own words. He wasn't at all there in the moment. The way that the other held his hand out made Mason realized he did not want to touch him. Please put your hand down I don't even want to be here. You said you didn't want to be here. Or you made it seem like you don't. So just walk away!

It wasn't anything against the other- whose name he had now learned was Razvan-man, Mason didn't know him. Mason didn't know if he wanted to know him. He was more anxious than he had been lately. Having powers always was a kind reminder that Mason was capable of doing things. Even if said 'things' were breaking countless laws, destroying houses on accident, and other things. They all were things! Which meant Mason was plenty capable of them. He reached out and shook the other's hand, mentally trying not to fixate on the fact that the other was warm. The whole gym was warm though, this was not a Razvan-specific phenomenon. Anyway, there was something so much more pressing to dwell on. He knows me. But Mason didn't know him!

"Um, oh, I don- Sorry I've never had the best memory," they sheepishly admitted. It was true! Though that hadn't always been the case. As the other continued to speak, Mason blinked. "Wait," he said. "You're a realtor then?" This really wasn't the best time for something like this, someone who had put them so on edge only moments before. "I've been looking at houses but like," he crinkled his nose in frustration. "The lady who's showed me like? Four? Has the worst ideas. And I don't even know where to look anymore." I will buy a house from you just please stop stressing me out. I know I'm just some college graduate but I have money and no I can't tell you where from or how much but please show me a house. "I think it's cause she's like in her fifties. And old people always like the ugliest houses." And I'm really indecisive and don't want to live in some giant home but I gave her a budget and she keeps finding creepy looking McMansions.

The mention of people enjoying high school pulled him back to reality. Mason winced at the mention. "Yeah, I guess so. I kinda wish I was like that. But I think then you're the same person you were in high school forever if you like it that much." Mason didn't like it. He hated it! God he hated himself from that time. He couldn't even think about it for too long. "It's nice to know that someone else was nagged into going though." Harley made Mason go, and Razvan's family made him go! A connection!








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Razvan blinked owlishly at Mason, before- unfortunately -letting out a small, startled laugh, corners of his mouth quirking upwards, quickly hidden behind a hand. The sound was wheezy, which was embarrassing to his ears, and he mentally kicked himself. There was nothing funny about being asked about a house. Except, there was a little bit, because he'd arrived with the sole idea that he wasn't about to be selling any houses, and now he was there, talking about selling houses to his ex-best friend who didn't recognize him.

It was a little funny. Negatively funny. He was very much the clown in this situation.

"Oh god. Sorry." This was stupid. He looked stupid. This wasn't something to laugh over. He was going to toss himself through the window at this rate. "Fuck. I told myself I wasn't gonna advertise while I was here. I was going to get here and get some free food and then leave. And now I accidentally advertised. I'm laughing at myself, not you. Jesus Christ, I can't believe I did that."

He didn't know why he was reassuring Mason that he wasn't laughing at him. Leftover friendliness from a lost time, maybe. He was still pissed, but somehow it was easier to be less openly pissed off if the other wasn't aware of who he was. It was weird. It also made him even less likely to try and help Mason connect the dots on his identity. This was the closest he'd had to a pleasant interaction the entire evening, and shockingly, he didn't go out of his way to be miserable.

He inhaled, then exhaled, telling himself silently to get it the fuck together. "But, yea. Realtor. Older agents tend to go the whole 'big house for the little ones' approach. Y'know, the whole 'this would be a nice room for a nursery' sort of deal. Either that or some ugly place that was built in the 70s when they had that craze with absurd houses of winchester proportions. It's a miracle of engineering that they're even--" He cut himself off, reminding himself that talking about his interests wasn't exactly what he wanted to do at the moment. Probably not what anyone else wanted, either. "Generally speaking, if your agent is seconds from withering to dust and leaving the mortal plane, they're gonna just ignore your requirements. Not that I'm here to do business, exactly, but...well, I like money, so there's that. I can help you with a house or something."








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The laughter only amplified in his mind. Mason was unfortunately right back where he had began. In the hell that was high school. He wanted to start crying because of that alone. But he couldn't cry! Especially not over this.At least the other had given some verbal assurance. That he was laughing at himself and not Mason. That was good! "Oh! Okay, okay cool." He grinned, eyes meeting Razvan's for a moment. "I don't... i'm not having kids." That was good enough for Mason. He wanted to be clear.

Kids were not in his future. He didn't even want to get married. Commitment scared him. Now it was their turn to have an awkward laugh, because Razvan had not asked Mason to volunteer that information. "Moving is so overwhelming too. I just... I need to get out of my apartment." Because I think that I will lose it in that place it has like three rooms!! Mason tried to not put much thought into that aspect. "Do you like architecture then?" He looked over at Razban. He had caught the tangent the other was somehow preventing himself from launching into. Mason admired the restraint, because he struggled with stopping himself from speaking in length about biology. Bio statistics had been a nightmare of a class, but he had loved everything else. Botany was one of his personal favorites that he would have explored in further detail if he had the time.

"What kinds of houses do you like?" Which was promptly followed with an apology. "I'm sorry," he said suddenly. "I guess it would be a nightmare talking about work at like, every waking moment. I don't think that people plan to go to shit like this and just talk about their favorite things about their job." Mason rubbed the back of his neck, angling his head down for just a moment. Looking at his shoes instead of directly at Razvan for his response. But at least the conversation felt more natural now. Mason felt less like he was on the verge of offending the other for being alive, and more ike the other was warming up to him. Why was Razvan so opposed to Mason? In the beginning anyway. It was odd. He didn't know what he was meant to say or do.

"I'd appreciate that," Mason said. I could help you. Essentially that was what the other was saying. That was good, was it not? It was great actually. Mason was enthralled with the fact that he could finally move out of his shitty apartment and be comfortable in a house. Houses had their own drawbacks, like more space to clean. But he could live with that! Mason was almost excited to have more space to pick up. He could organize everything really nice, maybe paint a little room or something. That would be... Interesting. Mason wasn't sure that he would be painting a room. It brought him back to when he enjoyed art class. Which was a high school thing. The very era he was fighting to forget. "At least being a realtor is interesting," Mason said. He meant it as a compliment. "People aren't exactly thrilled when you tell them you analyze random scientific studies and statistics for a job." He sounded a bit disappointed at the mention of his own job. "It sounds kind of dumb, but it's fun. Sometimes. It sounds boring though, so I don't expect people to think it's super interesting. Y'know?"








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God, to have the ability to live in a house. If he had that sort of money, he wouldn't be living where he was at the moment. Loud neighbors, small spaces, faulty plumbing, it wasn't exactly ideal. Theoretically, he could move back in with his parents, but he'd already decided that was far worse. Besides, the apartment allowed cats. That was at least a small bonus and was something he often reminded himself of when he got close to snapping and taking a sledgehammer to a wall.

Not something to mention, though. Bringing up money troubles wasn't a good conversation topic. Actually, it wasn't something he even wanted to talk about. Being strapped for cash wasn't exactly uplifting. Best to keep it to other topics, of which there didn't seem to be a shortage of. Mason was asking plenty of questions. Mostly about work, but hey. Raz wasn't picky.

That wasn't true. He was picky. But in the moment, he'd take what was given to him with little complaint.

"Sort of." Architecture was a little off the mark. Honestly, forcing himself to be interested in the structures of the houses he showed was just about the only way he stayed sane. Close enough to engineering that he could trick his brain into finding it fascinating, but far enough that if he looked at another modern home he was going to die. "It's fine, though. I mean, I came here planning to not talk to anyone, so any conversation is out of left field."

Besides, houses were simple conversation. He could manage to talk about houses without losing his mind. He shrugged his shoulders, rocking on his heels a bit idly. "If you're asking about my personal tastes? Smaller side stuff where they're not, like, stacked on top of each other. An actual yard and stuff. Log cabin style is a pain if you get carpenter ants, but still." Carpenter ants were a nightmare. He'd had more than one horrible interaction with them. "I found this one place that had a record player built into the wall. Quirky, but the place was also a million years old. Upkeep would be miserable."

This was probably boring. He was probably being boring. Why was he answering this? He could've just given a simple answer and then been done with it. He didn't really care about appearances, but he also didn't want to ruin...whatever was happening here. It was a quick turn around from how he'd originally felt, that was for sure.

"If you can't tell, my job is actually mind-numbingly boring. I bring people to houses and try to desperately sell it to them. Not to mention I'm cursed to have ever place I try to sell get fucking blasted off the face of the earth by a hero or villain or something." Time to change the topic so he didn't continue talking about houses. He couldn't continue with that. No one actually wanted to hear about the intricacies of real estate. "Science sounds better than what I'm doing, frankly. I was going to do engineering before I got dragged into the housing market."
































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Mason really didn't care about the houses. Well, not at first. The way that Razvan seemed so excited about some of the obscure homes he had found made Mason feel excited. Like he was living vicariously through the shorter man. He likes his job I think. But maybe not? There were mixed signals from what he could tell. One moment Razvan was talking about ants... Mason had to resist shuddering. He hated bugs. The way they could be there and you didn't even know... Unbearable. Then Razvan had moved onto some record player built into a home. Mason didn't ask if it would 'date' the house. It didn't matter. Razvan had deemed it interesting enough to share, and for some reason he felt grateful for it.

In an odd way, he felt comfortable around Razvan. There was something so familiar about him. From being worried and afraid as the other gave him blunt responses and somewhat mean remarks, Mason felt safe. For now. Who knew what would come next? Maybe Razvan would fix his small hands around Mason's neck and choke him to death. WHat had caught his attention was when the other mentioned that all his properties were destroyed. Oh.

They might have been at least partially responsible for that.

"Oh!" He looked at the other. "I'm so sorry." Why? You didn't do it! Or you don't want him to think you did. "That sucks. Have you been able to do anything about it?" If the other had gotten paid before the house was... Crushed or something, then maybe he could survive! Mason had looked back at the other, scanning his face. Why did he think Razvan was joking? The other saying science wasn't boring made Mason smile. Oh! He could talk about it for hours.

"Science can be really cool!" He looked at Raz and then at his hands. "I wanted to work in botany, but this city sucks for a job ike that. All the wildlife is so..." Boring. The closest thing to a forest they had was a man made park. It was not cool, or fun. All the same blue spruce trees that stood tall. And then fell because no one took care of it. "It's dying. All the trees here are like, diseased." Mason frowned. He wanted a big garden, if he had his own house it meant he had his own yard and he could do his own landscaping. That could be so cool!

It would also make using his powers so much easier. All the things he used them for usually just contained Mason carrying around seed packets because it was safer and the seeds weren't fucking diseased like the local leaves and trees. "You wanted to be an engineer?" He looked back at the other. "That's cool. What kind of engineering would you have wanted to do?" Was that a bad question? A dumb one?








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Had he been able to do anything about his properties getting destroyed? What was he supposed to, go at them with a bat?

Okay, well, it wasn't as if Razvan hadn't considered it. Violence wasn't a solution or whatever, but also, sometimes it was. Could he hold his own against a villain or hero? Probably not. Was it tempting to give it a shot? Oh, absolutely. Next time he saw one of those motherfuckers, it was on site. He had enough bottled up rage over the issue for it to carry him through an attempt. Anything could be a weapon if you tried hard enough. Maybe he'd hit them with his car.

That, of course, was all just fantastical thinking that functioned as stress relief so he didn't blow a fuse. "No. I mean, they're all the same, you know? Logistically speaking, at least. Villains destroy shit. Heroes also destroy shit. I'm left with properties that never go past a second showing because they've been obliterated into dust." He sighed, clearly annoyed just thinking about it "I swear to god, I'm going to start throwing things at them if it happens again while I'm on-site. See how they like it."

At the mention of botany and the city, he raised an eyebrow. "Yea. Not the best location for that sort of work." He agreed. God knew the city was a mess even past all that as well. "If you get a house, don't do any of that flat lawn stuff. It's boring. Plus, you probably know plants, so like....do something that isn't the classic American lawn." The number of identical houses he'd seen with mowed lawns that just looked like a suburban hellscape was unreal. "A garden or something, I don't know. I don't own a house. I'm sure there's something science-y you can do with it."

When asked about engineering, he paused. On one hand, it could be a dead give away. On the other...he wanted to talk about it. He wasn't weak willed, but in this case, he was going to take the risk that it connected him to his high school interests. "Aerospace. Rockets and stuff like that. And now I sell houses, so you can see how well that one worked out."








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The conversation was... Puzzling. Not because of the subject matter- not entirely- it just seemed so all over. First jobs, houses, what to do with his garden, and so on. In al fairness, Mason preferred this to boring things like; "Where are you from?" Though he didn't think that Razvan would have asked a question because apparently they attended high school together. Technically, Mason wasn't even from here.

Plus! Mason hadn't run away to hide! Another private victory! Usually he had to isolate in these situations. Not now!

Mason's first experience with the necessity of isolation was when he was in fourth grade. Then he moved, made a couple of friends in Texas, but they all drifted away. Kids seemed to have finally learned that inviting him to their parties would get them nowhere. The awkward social interactions of elementary school birthday parties were already a nightmare. In seventh grade even his teachers had awkwardly danced around informing him about some class-wide trip to Austin. it was common knowledge that Mason's mother wouldn't ever allow him to do anything of the sort. So while everyone else enjoyed visiting the state capitol and walking through the Texas State Cemetery all because Mrs. Whittle was obsessed with 'Texan history', saying she wished she had been alive when it was its own country. Wasn't that a red flag... when the group had returned back to the school, Mason had loathed hearing them talk about what they had seen. It wasn't really envy, he didn't care about the bland historical landmarks and glorified tombstones that had been viewed. He remembered listening to his classmates cite the most useless facts. "Hey Mace, did you know that France recognized Texas as its own country? There was an embassy for Texas in Paris." And while that was at least partially true, Mason didn't care. things like that were constantly in his head. Useless information people wanted him to care about.

All that to say: He could easily say he was from Texas. Or anywhere that wasn't here. It wouldn't technically be a lie, and lies that were based in truth were so much easier to tell. But he didn't even have to talk about that. For once, he was free from awkward ass conversation topics. Even if... This one was also odd. Talking about heroes and villains now... Jesus.

"Oh yeah," Mason nodded in agreement. "I'm really sorry about that. I can't imagine what it would be like." I definitely have ruined a house that you were trying to sell. Oh my god. This just makes things worse. "But, have you like... Been able to sell any?" He didn't want to talk about his garden, worried he would say something that identified him as anything but Mason Loman, kind-of biologist.

So he focused on the engineering comment. "That's cool," he said. Again. "Have you ever thought about picking that stuff up again?" He didn't even know what that meant. "I mean, I couldn't imagine going back to school. It kinda seems like a nightmare, but if you're really committed to it then maybe it's worth checking out?" The way his voice quirked up at the end of the sentence, almost unsure of what he was saying to the other man. "Or you could buid a rocket and sell houses in space. People probably wouldn't break them up there." But meteors would. Mason was kind of joking, though if Razvan liked the idea maybe it wuld help.

"I've thought about moving away from here but," Mason hesitated. "It seems like a lot. I already have a shit sense of direction, y'know? So I don't wanna move somewhere that'll seem cool at first and be a nightmare later on. It's kinda boring here but, I can live with it." Resisting the urge to say "y'know" once again, Mason instead threw the now empty cup into the trash can. They really had to get a bunch of shitty plastic cups. "If you had the option would you move outta here? Aside from all the fuckin' property destruction and no wildlife, it's... An alright city. I guess."








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The answer to if he sold any properties was 'yes', technically. The answer he gave was a idle shrug, twisting at one of his hands with the other in a fashion that probably would look painful for anyone without loose joints. For him it was more of a sort of fidgeting he did when he couldn't find anything else to do with his hands.

Raz had sold properties. There were a few that had somehow run the gauntlet and made it out the other side in one piece. Those were the few exceptions to the rule that was 'Razvan Carol has extrodinarily bad luck and a tendency to curse whatever house he touches'. If he had to come up with a ratio, there were probably 2 sold houses to every 9 destroyed, which weren't great odds. It was a miracle he was still in business, really. He was pretty sure the reason was that his parents were off selling houses as well and that no one really thought a property getting turned into a crater in the ground could be the fault of the random realtor trying to sell it.

He could rant and rave and get into a tangent about it. Best to avoid the topic entirely.

He did end up hiding another small laugh behind his hand for the rocket thing, looking to the side. It was frustratingly easy to fall back into an amicable rhythm that he sort of had to remind himself he was pissed off. He'd credit that hardship to the fact that it wasn't like he was exactly rolling in friendships. Never one to admit he was lonely, but there was only so much hanging out with his cat and cousin he could do before he lost his mind.

"If I could feasibly move to space, I would. Fuck selling houses there. I don't think rent exists off of Earth anyway." It was a lie, mostly just to continue the joke. Space was....well, to say the least, a lot could go wrong up there. It was why he wanted to build rockets instead of pilot them. "I don't know. I'd probably move, if I didn't have so much stopping me. Yea, it's an alright city, but I grew up here." A lot of people would consider it a positive thing, but he said it in a negative manner. "Sometimes I consider pooling all my money into a cabin in the woods somewhere and just never leaving the forest ever again. It'd probably be less of a headache to live there than around here."

He fell silent, eyes firmly set on a spot on the floor to the side, before he looked up at Mason once more. Alright, he wasn't being a dick. Raz could continue cutting him some slack. "I can give you my phone number so you can text me what you're looking for in a house. But be specific. Also give me a budget. It'll make it easier on the both of us." It was a bit out of left field, but they'd been on the topic of moving and Mason had just managed to pass the silent is-he-an-asshole test Raz was conducting to see if he wanted to even bother searching for a home for the guy.
































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Something about talking in circles was far from satisfying. Especially with someone who had introduced himself with the demeanor of someone who was going to wring Mason's neck. He's short though! He probably couldn't... Better safe than sorry. Mason wondered in silence if Raz was just waiting for another misstep on his part, so he could do exactly that.

There was silence that lingered for a moment. Mason wracked their brain, straining to think of something- anything- to bring up that wasn't work related. But poor Razvan had already offered up his number, which meant that workplace conversation would likely prevail. "I'd really appreciate that," he said softly. Mason didn't love hearing the quiet aspect of his voice. His tongue pressed up against his roof for a moment. They looked at Razvan, smiling slightly. "Hopefully whatever you find doesn't get crushed or something." Bad joke! Bad joke! Mason could admit to that. He gave a sheepish smile. "Sorry, that's a shitty joke."

Just wanted to show I was paying attention to what you'd said!! That's good though, right?

"God," Mason said. "I dunno if I'm gonna stick around much longer. What about you?" There was a moment of silence before he spoke up once again. THe lingering silence was uncomfortable. He didn't like the silence, having become too accustomed to it at work. He ha drubbed the side of his face awkwardly. "It's just so..." There was silence that followed. Again. "You're cool though, sorry I didn't even realize how that sounds, I didn't mean it like, y'know?" Mason wasn't sure he even knew. But he did know that he had somehow managed to find someone to sell him a house. That was all he needed right now. Some place to stay that wasn't his apartment. His annoying ass neighbors who talked too loud... A house would be better.








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It was a shitty joke, but Raz decided he'd let that one slide. The apology helped. If it had just been a joke about his properties getting destroyed with no real acknowledgement that that was a reality that was driving him insane, it would be a different story. Besides, he'd already committed to helping Mason with a house, for whatever reason. Best to not get pissed at them right after offering them his phone number, right? Better for his mental health, at the very least. Maybe Mason's physical health too, though Raz didn't have a good throw, so even if he did hurl something at the other it probably wouldn't do any damage.

He fished a pad of paper out of his back pocket and a pen out of his breast pocket, both of which were the very specific places those things belonged on his person when he was out and about. Pens and papers were essential when you least expected them to be, so he'd learned it was best to keep them on his person at all times. Not that he was often writing his phone number and giving it out to people.  That, at the very least, was new. It probably wouldn't be a habit that continued, either.

"It's fine. I'm very aware I'm not 'cool'." He said simply, scribbling out his name, number, and a few simple instructions of what to send him so he could start looking for houses to show. "Or pleasant. And it's not like buying a house is exactly fun, so don't worry about trying to make me feel better about that. I came to this event with very, very low expectations to begin with, so honestly? Went better than I was thinking it would."

He finished the note and assessed it carefully, making sure he wasn't forgetting anything. Name, phone number, instructions. That was all that was needed. Better than what his business cards had, anyway, which were all back in his car. His handwriting was still as shitty as it was in highschool, but still legible enough to work. Of course, if Mason didn't text him with his requirements for a house, then he'd know he over estimated his ability to write in a way people could read. No real loss either way, he figured. Mason was right, the houses would probably end up getting dusted anyway.

He held it out, shrugging his shoulders and using his other hand to put his pen back in his pocket. "Here. Honestly, I was leaving before bumping into you, so don't feel like you need to stick around on my account. I'm running home to feed my cat anyway. Plus, if anyone else here talks to me, I'll keep over and die of a heart attack just to get out of it." It was a joke.

At most, he'd fake fainting.









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Looking down at the paper in his hand, Mason was hit by a stark realization. They had seen this handwriting before. The issue was not that it was familiar. Mason could say with full certainty he had seen it before. Oh, one hundred percent. He knew this handwriting. The issue was that he couldn't recall where he had seen it before. Dark eyes scanned the paper again. Razvan Carol. Realtor. A phone number followed. "Thanks," he said. Smiling at the other's joke- he hoped it was a joke- Mason waved. "Then I'll let you go. Thanks, uh, again. I really appreciate it."

With that he'd turned, content with what he had said, even if his movements were awkward and clunky. Mason was always that way, things wouldn't exactly change from one positive interaction with the others. Still, it had felt good to get approval like that. Razvan had once- fo some reason- been skeptical of Mason. Mason had righted that wrong, whatever that wrong was! He had wandered across the room, identified Harley. The paper was shoved into his pocket. "Hey, I'm gonna head out. I'll see you tomorrow?" At work. Which would be any list of locations, really.

Mason had made it back to his apartment, shutting the door and locking it behind him. So close. He was so close to buying a house! One successful interaction was all he needed.

Mason didn't text him until the morning. The message was carefully typed out.

"Hi! This is Mason, from last night." Then he had told the other what he wanted in a house. Smaller, a nice yard, not in the suburbs of the city. He couldn't live somewhere where all the houses looked the same. Mason wouldn't be able to tell his house apart from the others. And the budget was... Seeing it made his brain feel ehausted. PLease don't ask me how science made me this much money. The budget had been declared at: Eight hundred thousand. Good enough. God. God! Mason tried to igore the discomfort at even sending that. He didn't want to think about it. Especially when he and Harley had a job to do.








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Clearly Raz was not in the right occupation if Mason Loman was making more money than him.

Nothing against Mason. Actually, it was less about Mason and more about the fact that he was working in the science industry and still somehow had the money on his own to budget for eight hundred thousand on a house. Raz had been thankfully sitting when the text had come about; he was hanging upside-down on his couch, legs thrown over the back as he stared down Green Bean, who seemed to be trying to decide whether or not she could get away with scratching at the coffee table with him being right there. When his phone had buzzed, he'd had to basically contort to grab it. His cat had quickly taken the opportunity to scratch at the table. He did little to stop her, seeing as he knew who the text was from and considered it business.

The money had thrown him off. Completely for a loop, if he were honest. He had to toss out whatever prior notions he had of showing some shitty little house that 'had spirit to it' and replace them with the idea that he could actually show better houses. It had taken him a moment to come to terms with it. Actually, more than just a moment. It'd taken 30 minutes of looking at possible properties before he actually went oh, yea, okay, this is happening. Fucking insane, really.

He ended up finding a place to show. It wasn't big- a quaint little one-story with a garage and a shed -but the yard was fairly big, straying from the millimeter of space between houses that was commonly found in cookie-cutter suburban neighborhoods. A bit more of a forested area, though not too forested considering its proximity to the city. It was well taken care of, two bedroom one bathroom, a finished basement, and a full kitchen.

It was also so, so fucking expensive. Raz had to keep himself from looking at the price too long.

That said, he sent a picture Mason's way, along with the address, captioned with "found one. if you're interested in seeing it tell me when you're free." and left it at that. Once the date and time were set, he went about his day, feeling a little more weirded out by this whole sudden re-association thing than he had the other night. Mason, rich? Yea. He hadn't exactly seen that one coming.

The day of Mason's showing, Raz had another one. He'd come a good 30 minutes early, in his suit and tie, face clean-shaven unlike at the party and earrings kept to simple, circular metal studs, trying to maintain some professionalism. He had started working on making sure everything was set- usually, he'd work with the owner on it, but the place was being sold after the woman who owned it passed away, so there wasn't exactly anyone to work with. A simple sale, though, even with that. It was a nice place and the couple he was working with were already into it.

Or, it would've been a simple sale, if a car hadn't been thrown through the front-facing wall of the living room.

Luckily, Raz hadn't been standing there. He'd been standing in the front hall, close enough to be right there when it happened but far enough that he didn't have any serious injury. Some glass from the window had caused a cut on his cheek, to which he'd quickly pressed a tissue from his pocket to, but that was it. Though, the tissue was already clearly bled through and unlikely to hold up much longer, so he was maybe a little pissed about it. Well, at the injury at least. The house getting destroyed? Oh, that he was extremely pissed about.

Apparently, he wasn't one for self-survival tactics, because he found himself marching out the door, a small lamp in his free hand. It wasn't there for long, seeing as he soon was hurling it at the battle that was happening. Weak arms led to it not going that far, but hey. He made his point. "Hey! Dipshits! Stop ruining the fucking houses!" If he got killed, so be it. He'd spoken his mind. It was a weight off his chest.








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Mason didn't think much of it for a while. He knew he had to look at the house, but he had done what he could. His minor contribution was all he needed right now. The texts seemed good enough, and he had to head to work with Harley. The pair of them always met at this small building that was technically registered as a small, local lab. The lab had plenty of uses, but for them it was just for a front. Something they could say they worked at, and so on. The combination of their abilities really were... Interesting to say the least. As far as the government was concerned, Mason could grow small plants, and control them. That meant little home grown floral bouquets, that would bloom and twist about in the hands of someone else. That did not mean Mason had the ability to grow a tree from the ground up that would split the foundation of a house in two and skewer a hero on one of its branches.

Which he had definitely not done before.

Harley had super strength. Mason had always thought that would be a horribly boring power to have, but ever since the two had begun to work together, he had taken it all back. Watching Harley pick up things that no person should be able to... It was impressive to say the least. Mason had been prepared for a moment like this for quite some time. They had planned out a robbery, and so far it was going well! The only downside was that Mason always felt a little guilty. Watching the trees and plants that he grew eventually get chopped into pieces by the local fire department or heroes or both in some awkward tandem. The cops, fire department, all of them seemed so depressing. They were all weak heroes. Mason recognized a few as people who had made his life miserable. Before he'd met Harley. Harley had been able to protect him from a lot of things. He didn't know how to explain it to others. He didn't want to explain it to anyone. The sudden deafness in one ear, the injuries, and then he just didn't explain it. Getting new friends had prevented the explanation.

Now was not the time to dwell on that. The sound of something crashing on the ground beside him made Mason stiffen. He had looked to his left, just slightly, to see a card that had narrowly missed him. Oh jesus. Some other freak with super strength then? He ooked over at Harley for a moment. Mason knew no one could see his face. Every part of him was obscured. He felt a little bad, remembering what Razvan had said the night before. But Mason didn't want to get crushed! He aslo wanted to keep his money, he really wanted this money. Plus, it was kind of fair, given the people he stole from were all shitty. He wasn't trying to justify his actions, it was just funnier. Funnier to get a reaction out of generally angry people. THat was all.

Watching as one of his own creations wrapped itself around a house, attempting to reach a hero who had climbed to the top, Mason felt an odd sense of satisfaction when it caught up to them. Which meant that he and Harley... They had won! They hadn't ended up with-

Catching sight of a short, angry man from where he stood, Mason blinked. His eyes widened. There was no way. He looked at Harley fr a moment. "You should apologize to him." As if Mason and the hero hadn't caused... A majority of the damage. But he knew Razvan! He had to see him in a few hours! "I'm..." Mason leaned towards Harley from where they stood. Really they shouldn't just stand around. "I'm buying a house from him!" The words were spoken softly. Harley gave Mason a look. There was definitely some guilt there. Mason pulled a handful of seeds out of his pocket, causing them to grow almost instantly into flowers. "Here! Give him these too! Go!" Mason gave Harley a slight shove, looking towards Razvan. Thank goodness the man didn't recognize him.

"Sorry!" He yelled to the man, before running away from him. Sprinting in the opposite direction and hiding.

A few short hours later, he was face to face with the destination Razvan had sent him. Mason left his car, looking over at the other and seeing the other. "Hi!" He said excitedly. "I hope you weren't waiting too long or anything."








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The villain had given him flowers and said sorry.

That was confusing. Startling enough that, in the moment, his anger had switched over to perplexment as he stared after the two that had just ruined one of his houses. Flowers and an apology. That hadn't happened before. If he had expected it to happen, he would've thought it'd be done by a hero, not a villain. He'd stood there a good few moments after the fact, trying to process what had just happened, before ultimately deciding he no longer wanted to be in front of the newly wrecked property.

The flowers were still on his dashboard by the time Mason showed up to the showing. He frankly wasn't sure what else to do with them, so there they say, very obvious through the front window of his car and confusing to passerbys who knew him and knew for a fact that he wasn't the sort of person who received flowers from people. Thankfully, none of them mentioned it when he made his pitstop to his apartment beforehand.

Having a chance to head home before meeting up had been a good thing, because he'd been able to put a bandage on the side of his face where the glass had got him. It made him look a little less of a wreck as he hopped off the hood of his car where he'd been sitting and eyed Mason wearily, half expecting their tour to go wrong as well. God, he was so tired. At least he wouldn't have to do the customer service shit at the moment.

"You're fine." He reassured, fishing the keys to the house out of his pocket with one hand and grabbing his cane off where it has been sitting next to him with the other. Another item he didn't tend to bring around to showings if he could help it- people could be assholes, unsurprisingly -but had decided he wasn't going to obsess over keeping up appearances with Mason. He was pretty sure he'd earned that luxury. "Some people just don't even show up, so congrats, you're already a better client than most."

He made his way to the front door, getting it open after fumbling with the key momentarily. He waffled between using his ability and simply not, before ultimately deciding fuck it, might as well. He'd had it since early highschool, a simply sensory hallucinatory power that wasn't good for much more than making people feel at ease or making a place smell nicer. He'd used it often just for the sake of making himself feel better, but nowadays he used it for work. He generally went for the same sort of scent, though: lavender. It was easy to do something when you were used to it and less easy to come up with new scents on the spot.

It was a nice space. The front hall had stone-like tiles and a closet space for coats and shoes. Beyond it was a hall to the kitchen, passing by the entry to the living room. Wood floors with rugs that didn't come with the sale, big front windows, generally a nice ambiance. He'd live there. Then again, he'd probably take anything over his apartment, so maybe that wasn't saying much.

"Alright, so, I tried to find something small that was still a nice house." He explained, turning towards Mason and leaning on his cane, free hand moving around as he spoke "It has an attic space and a basement, both finished, but no second floor. It's not really a modern style, either, because frankly I think modern minimalist stuff is kind of ugly, but feel free to correct my assumption that you wanted to avoid those." Honesty was the best policy, right? Which was funny to think considering he was currently not telling Mason who, exactly, he was. But still.
















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Apologies were always a step in the right direction. So even if he couldn't give Razvan an apology face to face, he could do that. And Mason figured that was good enough. He had spotted the cluster of flowers on the other's dashboard, feeling a surprising level of excitement bubble up within him when they realized that Razvan hadn't just chucked the flowers out his car window.

Beaming at the... Compliment? Mason chuckled. "Really? That sucks, but I'm glad I came." He looked over at Razvan, as the other led him into the house Again, seeing the man with his cane, something struck him as oddly familiar, but Mason ignored it after just a moment of thought. It was probably nothing, really. He was used to things being nothing, as if he was telling himself that something was simply insignificant. He would make things up, decide something was important when truly, it wasn't. "I really like it already." The two of them were looking at each other, and then Razvan walked back into the house. Mason really did like it already. It was cozy, creepy in a way. But in a good way.

"No, no. I agree. Big houses are... They're a lot." Mason could recall the house that he'd lived in as a child. His parents hadn't had the biggest house, but when he lived with his uncle the house was big. "I like it a lot already." He had followed after Razvan. Maybe they could live together! Which result in Mason silently reprimanding himself. That was weird, even if he felt a weird sense of safety and familiarity radiating off of the shorter of the two. His skin felt hot with anxiety for a moment. Just a moment.

"This might be a stupid question," Mason hesitated. 'Do you think my cats will be fine during the move?' Luckily, that wasn't the question. Dear Helena and Kneecap would certainly survive the trip. Rather, he wanted to know something else. "I was just wondering if you know whether the people who live around here are like... All old or not." Mason liked old, fun houses. He did not like old people. Old people asked prying questions that made him want to crush his head in. Maybe the old people's houses would be what got destroyed next- unintentionally.








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That hadn't been the question he'd been expecting, honestly.

That said, it was fair. Sometimes, a place was only as good as its neighbors. It was an idea that stood truer for homes that were in closer proximity to each other, but considering some of the shit he'd heard from clients about their neighbors, he couldn't blame Mason for asking. He paused in the kitchen, which was a fair size with sunlight filtering in from a set of glass doors that led out onto a back patio, something he'd been about to mention next but now decided to put off for a moment longer.

"Okay, honest answer? A lot of the older residents croaked recently, so the place is shifting from having an elderly crowd to housing younger people. There's a few folks around that are still pushing 80, but I doubt you'll ever interact with them." He commented, shrugging his shoulders as he scratched the side of his face with his free hand, only stopping and jolting the appendage back when he noticed he was accidentally getting close to his latest cut. "That said, there's not a lot of single home owners around. Mostly couples or people with kids. You'd be one of a minority, but that would be the case really anywhere you find yourself." He paused, then added "It's not a stupid question. I've heard worse. Better to know the situation you're getting into before you commit to a house."

With that, he proceeded to gesture semi-grandly to the kitchen. "Full kitchen. Stove, oven top, fridge-freezer, dish washer, the works. All modern and recently replaced. There's, like, a rotating shelf in the cabinet in the corner for spices." He paused, then averted his eyes awkwardly. "Not exactly important, but hey, it's fun. I'd kill for a rotating spice shelf." Oh. That definitely made it worse. Normal people didn't get weird over rotating spice shelves.

Time to move on! He was going to die by the end of this showing. He jabbed a thumb behind him to point out the doors and backyard area. "There's a porch area with room for gardening and stuff. Shed for tools as well. It's a pretty decent backyard with a fence that runs along the property lines, so basically anything within the fenced area is yours to do with what you will."








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The most Mason knew about houses was what he had seen on HGTV when he was a kid. He would kind of just lay on the floor and play with the family car- Heather- and let his mother process whatever the 'damage to the foundation of the house' was. She would always kind of gasp, or say someone chose the wrong house. Funniest of all was when she saw a house she liked. "Oh, Mason. We should live somewhere like that. The way the porch is formatted." She talked like a robot, a little bit.

However, she would often backtrack as soon as she discussed the houses. Everything was too dangerous for the family. So Mason just let himself know that a move to any house with more than one floor was impossible. Do I want a house with more than one floor? He wasn't sure. That was something he hadn't specified to Razvan, so Mason figured they didn't care either way. Wasn't that a 'pro'?

"Oh, that's fine I think. I don't care about neighbor shit anyway." Mason really didn't. As long as people kept their kids to themselves, he would be content. Having kids was a horrific fate. Mason knew he would be a horrible parent, so he didn't even entertain the idea. "I really like the yard." He smiled. Gardening? HE remembered. It wasn't as sweet as he would have thought, given this was Razvan's job and all of that mess.

Tools, he didn't care of. Looking at the other for a moment, exhaling slowly through his nose. "I think it's a cool place," Mason said offhandedly. He smiled a little bit, looking back at Razvan. What else was there to ask about a house?








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'I think it's a cool place'. Not earth-shattering positivity, but positivity all the same. Raz figured it was good enough, so long as it was honest, but that didn't mean he had any intention of just letting Mason settle. Would it be easier to convince him to just buy the house they were in and be done with it? Sure, yea. It'd probably be relatively simple; from their conversations, Mason seemed pretty easily swayed. Not in a bad way, per say, but Raz was pretty sure if he'd just said something about how this was the best house on the market, Mason would go along with it. Unfortunately, while he kind of hated his job, he was still something of a perfectionist. He wasn't going to do a half-assed job.

"Alright. Tell me what you hate about it." He said point blank, gesturing around the room. "Or mildly dislike. Or would prefer different. Really, anything that makes you think 'I'm not sure I can picture myself living here'." Far too often, people got stuck in houses that were just plain shitty. They'd find problems they hadn't even thought of, but it wasn't as if they could just up and move right after buying. Better to get it right the first time around.

All in all, it was a nice house. Again, Raz would live there, with his really low standards. Just because he'd live there, though, didn't mean that Mason could live there. Different people, different opinions. One mans trash, another mans treasure, along with the opposite. Showing Mason more houses meant more of a chance that one of them would get wrecked, but that was unfortunately a chance he'd have to take.

It would be fine. He needed to stop thinking about houses being destroyed or it'd happen again. "You could definitely take this one. I mean, it's a nice place. I wouldn't have showed it to you otherwise. You could just buy it and then we're done here." Then they'd go back to not talking and that would be that. Raz was still a bit pissed off, but he couldn't say that their interactions had been negative between the reunion and the current period. "But if you think you want something else, then I can find some others to show. Could always come back to this one if none of the others live up to it. Up to you, really. It depends on how fast you want out of your current place too, I guess."








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What the other asked of him made Mason stop and stare. Not because he was upset by the comment, or the prompt. None of it bothered him. I destroyed the property he was showing today. Well! Technically it wasn't all Mason's fault. Harley and one of the absolute goons from the government hero agency had decided to seek safety at the top of someone's hme. They didn't know that it was for sale.

There was definitely a giant red 'FOR SALE' sign that screamed that the house was in fact: FOR SALE! But Mason had poor eyesight, and he was willing to give the hero the benefit of the doubt on that front. Mason was already wracking his brain for something wrong with the house. He was quite complacent, given the fact that he had never really been given choices as a child. So this was already worlds better than the random one floor houses that he had moved between from middle school to high school. Mason had tilted his head so his better ear could take in whatever clarifications Razvan had to tack onto his sentences.

"I... Uh..." He had loosely wrapped his hand around his right wrist, eyes scanning the kitchen. "There's a lot of... White stuff?" He said, voice quirking up at the end. "Like, everything seems really clean. Like if I was gardening outside and I walked in..." There's white carpet. The whole kitchen is white. The tiled floors are white or cream or tan. That's not good. "I wouldn't mind painting, but the floors would be a lot." That was something. Mason hadn't even thought of that until right now. "And it feels like there are a lot of windows." He exhaled slowly, staring at his hand, releasing his wrist when he finished talking. See? Hadn't been so rough!

Mason eyed the other for a moment. For just a moment he realized he kind of recognized him. He couldn't place where he knew Razvan some, but Mason figured he had seen him in a store or something. Or you've seen him cussing you out whenever you and Harley manage to crush a property he's selling. Yeah, probably that one.








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  • filler

















Alright. So he did have negative opinions about the place. That actually made Raz feel a little better somehow. There'd been a part of him that had expected Mason to not voice any dislikes, even if he had them; he seemed to have that sort of demeanor. Raz got it, yea, it was hard to hate on something in front of someone who's job it was to sell it to you, but it would've made his job harder if Mason had made getting commentary similar to pulling teeth. He almost looked visibly relieved by the whole thing, going as far as to have a weary smile on his face.

"Alright. Less white, fewer windows." He agreed, flicking out his phone and opening a notes app to jot it down. "Yea, white is kind of a pain in the ass to deal with. Some people like fixing up houses, but its not for everyone. I don't blame you."

It would be easy to find another house with those added requirements, he was sure of it. Well, if it hadn't been crushed yet. There was no saying that he wouldn't get back to the office and learn another building had been reduced to scrap. Hopefully, if that were the case, it'd be one of the shitty ones he didn't like; the copy-paste houses that looked like a suburban nightmare. With his lucky, though? It'd be one of the cuter houses.

He pocketed his phones, leaning on his cane once more and eyeing Mason. If this house wasn't the one, it made little sense to stick around much longer. "So, that's really the only one I had for today since I was trying to get a feel for what your tastes were." He admitted, shrugging and scratching at the side of his face idly. "If you want to look around more, you can, but otherwise I can just contact you when I get a new showing together. Up to you, honestly. You could even tell me to fuck off and go back to your original realtor, but I'm kinda hoping I did a better job than showing you random McMansions, if I'm being frank."








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There was something so painfully familiar about Razvan. Mason had tried to puzzle this all together in his head. It had been rotting in his brain ever since he had returned home from the stupid high school reunion. What if he had known the other? Raz said he had recognized him, but he wasn't sure if the other was lying. Maybe Raz was just being nice. He had some mannerisms that Mason recognized. He just couldn't remember where from or how they related. He reminded him of an old friend, but that absolutely could not be Raz. There was no way! Whatever similarities were coincidental. The more he thought about it, the worse he felt. Some kind of guilt racked his brain when he thought about it too hard.

Razvan was familiar, and maybe that was all he was. Mason sometimes thought thing and convinced themselves of it. That had to be what this was! Mason was lad his crituqes of the house had been agreed with. "Yeah," he echoed. The other having spoken up made his attention return to Razvan. "Oh," he said. "Yeah! That's fine, I really liked this one. Except for all the uh, white and all that. Like we said." He smiled at the other. Razvan's words had him nodding in response. He really thought the other was great at his job. There was something so entertaining about the other man. Not in a weird way, as if the other was some kind of program. Razvan just made Mason feel safe, with his sour disposition and blunt demeanor. He could work with it easily. It made him feel good.

"I think you're great at your job," he said. He was gushing now, which made Mason wonder if that was normal. He did like Razvan, a lot. Plus the other had held onto the flowers from Evil Mason. Who he hoped the other did not recognize at all. He didn't think he would have. "You picked a cool house. I think... Do you like being a realtor?" He looked at the other with intrigue in his eyes for just a moment. He had to crane his neck downwards a bit to meet his eyes. Not that he was just staring the other down. It was just easier to do thins this way, trying to make some kind of connection. What if he seemed condescending? He dind't want the other to think ill of him. Especially not now!








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