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Lucas felt like a weight was lifted when Nathan finally raised his face once again. Albeit a small weight, he was seriously starting to question why the other man could affect him so easily. To say his life was boring would be a total lie, but Nathan felt like a surprise. He was caught off guard, and all at once feelings of wariness and enthusiasm arose inside him. 

"Sure. No guarantees I'll be gentle though", he returned the smile, waiting for Nathan to deal the cards. 

"Actually, wait", he paused the other mid-shuffle, hand grazing Nathan's. He quickly pulled back, though, thinking for a moment. 

"Let's play a game of Cribbage or Crazy Eights something. I'm getting bored of destroying you at poker", he teased, leaning back, palms positioned behind his back. There was a mischievous glint in his eyes that probably hadn't made an appearance since his high school days, when he was still that energetic gangly young boy. 

Apparently Nathan had no idea how to play any of those games, causing Lucas to shake his head. Rich kids, he had though to himself as he scootched over to explain the rules of the game to Nathan. After a few minutes of questions and petulant frowning from the other man, Lucas had successfully enlightened the other in the ways of Crazy Eights. They played a few rounds, with Nathan winning, much to Lucas' disdain. He blamed in on beginner's luck. 

Lucas sat cross-legged on the hospital bed, shuffling the deck for another round.

"So, looking forward to being tossed into the real world in a few days?", he asked conversationally. It wouldn't be long now until Nathan would be discharged. Lucas wondered if they might never meet again after that. It was a sobering thought. He hadn't had good company in a long while. His colleagues at the hospital, the boys at the bar, they all seemed like background props. Faceless and nameless, essentially. They were very impersonal, as Lucas had made it that way. However, he felt like he had a friend in Nathan. Without realizing it, the corners of his lips were tugging downwards slightly. 

"Or should I break your leg so I can keep you here?", he continued. His words were playful but his voice revealed nothing of it. This was not looking good. 


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Lucas Odierno