Friday night, just before the Beltane Bonfire...
Johnny's six p.m. show at the Wonderplex was canceled due to the Beltane Festival, and it was just as well. He wasn't really in the mood for performing and while he was happy with Olivia, there was something bothering him, something that had been bothering him for a while, and Ben's arrival in Rhy'Din hadn't helped matters any. He'd been quietly brooding for a few days, though he was trying hard not to show it, not to let Olivia know. It wasn't her fault, and he didn't want her to worry, but the fact of the matter was he was homesick.
Thanks to the end of the filming schedule, Liv had returned to her previous routine, arriving home at about 6 PM herself for the first time in months. Expecting to find the apartment empty, she was quiet as she came in, setting her bag and shoes by the door before making her way down the hall. In fact, she was already stripping out of her clothes with the full intention of having a shower to work out the kink in her shoulders as she passed the living room door.
While it was true that he'd left of his own accord, he'd never really thought he'd be away from home this long. He'd never been out of touch with his sister this long, and much to his own surprise, he found himself missing her. He even missed Reed a little bit, or at the least, missed annoying the older man. As much as he loved Liv, he missed being part of a family, and her relationship with his sister only brought that feeling more to bear.
He'd tried and failed for what seemed like the thousandth time to reach her on the phone, even going as far as trying the comm link at the Spaceport, all to no avail. He could take a car engine apart and put it back together without any problem, but he'd never really been very good with technology. He'd always had Reed around for that. He was standing near the window, watching the world go by, wondering if he'd ever see his sister again. His cell phone lay on the coffee table, broken and melted beyond repair - telltale signs of a bad temper when he got frustrated enough. So lost in thought, he didn't even hear Liv come in. It could have been an arch-enemy sneaking up behind his back, and he wouldn't have been any wiser. It wasn't the first cell phone that he'd ruined, and it probably wouldn't be the last.
He was too still for her absent-minded attitude to notice him where he stood by the living-room window, and Liv really was in her own little world as she set the shower to running, padding across the hall to finish stripping and grab her towel. At least it was Friday ...admittedly, Johnny had insisted on them going out to the Beltane fires tonight, but it was Friday. She could sleep in tomorrow morning.
Something seemed to draw him back to reality - the sound of the shower, the smell of her perfume - something that told him he was no longer alone, and he blinked out of his thoughts and dragged his eyes toward the bathroom, forgetting about the evidence of his bad mood that lay on the coffee table. Was it 6:00 already? Where had the day gone? He hadn't even made dinner yet, and the festival was supposed to start in a few hours. He pulled himself away from the window, letting the curtains fall back into place and started toward the hallway. "Liv?" he called. "Mind if we order out tonight?"
The sound of his voice was answered with a startled yelp, and the slithering thump that announced Liv tripping over whatever it was this time and landing hard on the bedroom floor. "Bloody hell, Johnny, I thought you were at the Wonderplex!" She was laughing as she said it, scrambling back onto her feet to tuck the towel around herself before she managed to distract him from whatever it was he had on his mind.
He arrived at the door to the bedroom, just as she was scrambling to her feet and tucking the towel around herself, chuckling a little at her modesty. "You realize you don't have anything under there I haven't seen already," he smirked, crossing his arms over his chest and taking a lean in the doorway. Despite his homesickness, he just couldn't stay sad for long in her presence.
Her smile was wry but warm as she finished hiding herself away, moving to where he leaned against the door frame to kiss his cheek. "But if you can't see it, you might not feel an irresistible urge to touch it," she countered teasingly, stroking her fingers against his smooth cheek. Despite the tease, though, her smile faded, those newly healed eyes sharp as they studied his expression. As much as Johnny might have liked to think otherwise, Liv had noticed the darker turns of his mood recently. It seemed as good a time as any to ask about them. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"
The smile he wore on his face faded when she asked the inevitable question and he had to turn away from her so she wouldn't suspect there was anything wrong. "Nothing," he said, reluctantly pulling away from her touch and moving to the closet to pick something out for the festival. He pushed a few shirts aside and pulled one out at random. "I'm thinking stripes. What do you think?"
She watched him move past, her brow furrowing in a worried frown. "I think you're avoiding the question, Johnny," she said quietly. "You haven't been right for days. Is it really so awful that you can't even imagine trusting me with it?"
He held the striped shirt up in front of him. "They say stripes make you look fat. Do you think I look fat?" Yes, he was both avoiding and trying to change the subject. Though she seemed to see right through him, he was hoping he could fool her or at least distract her a little bit longer. He sighed at her question, his shoulders visibly sagging. "It's not that, Liv."
"Then what is it?" No, she wasn't going to let him distract her; one of the more distressing sides of Liv's character meant that if she thought something was wrong, she would poke and prod at it until you gave in and told her. "Are you sick, or is there something upsetting you that you haven't told me about?"
"You left the hot water running," he pointed out, in a final attempt to distract her, as he laid the striped shirt out on the bed. "And no, I'm not sick. Don't worry so much. I'm fine. I'm just..." There was that frown again. He'd never been able to lie to her, not from the first moment he'd met her, and he was having a hard time doing it now. "It's going to sound stupid."
Rolling her eyes, Liv turned her back, skipping across the hall to turn the water off before returning to meet his frown head on with a clear expression. "No, it won't," she promised him. "It's bothering you, whatever it is, and that could never be stupid." Tucking the end of the towel away, she came to him, reaching for his hands. "Just tell me. You never know, I might be able to help."
He moved over to the dresser and opened a drawer while she shut the hot water off. "Am I going in my civvies tonight?" he asked, his back turned to her as he went through the small pile of clothes he'd picked up at a second-hand store in the Marketplace. He straightened, turning to face her as she reached for him, letting her take his hands in his, looking into her face, recognizing the trust she held for him and the desire to help. Brows lowered as he seemed to momentarily debate what to tell her. "I'm just... I'm just a little homesick, I guess," he admitted finally, feeling ridiculously stupid.
"You have Lucy and... seeing you two together..." He broke off a moment, uncertain how or if he should continue.
Liv relaxed as she heard that; though it was awful that Johnny was feeling unsettled, it was a relief to know it wasn't because of anything she'd done. Her lips curved into a loving smile as she squeezed his hands. "There's nothing stupid about missing your home or your family, Johnny," she assured him softly. "Nothing compares with even just talking to someone so close. Why don't you call home?"