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Needed Relaxation

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James shoved the door to his house open, stepping carefully into his home. Brown and Anna trailed behind him. James disappeared down the hallway, while the others entered other rooms. After changing, the two guests sat on a small purple couch that appeared to be just the right size for three people. Anna had changed out of her usual jacket, blouse, and skirt in favor of a simple short-sleeve shirt and knee-length skirt. Brown had changed from his usual outfit into a turtleneck and sweatpants. Anna grabbed the tv remote as James came out of the hallway, wearing a binder and a pair of lounge pants with rolled-up cuffs. He dropped himself onto the couch between his friends and flung his arm around Anna's shoulder. "What's on tv, Anna?" The time traveler glanced up from the tv, looking over to James. "Nothing I've seen. I don't recognize any of these shows or movies. I don't watch television much." Brown spoke up. "I don't think any of us really have any time to watch tv, Anna." Anna hummed in acknowledgement. She settled on a movie for the trio to watch.

 


 

Richard gave a small half-smile as he watched his daughter and her friends. The movie had finished, so Anna had resumed scrolling through channels. Jame had fallen asleep midway through the movie, and Brown had one arm around him. Deep within, he felt glad that they had this opportunity to relax. From what bits of conversation he'd picked up when they chatted, they all had hard lives. James, especially, bore scars from previous investigations gone wrong. Not to mention Richard was never going to get those glowing yellow eyes out of his mind, and it was probably the same for Anna and Brown. Anna was giving the sleeping man a warm smile, and Richard felt content. It was nice, he decided, to just be in the same room with no obligation to talk or do anything. Even if he was a ghost who couldn't interact with the physical world. God, he didn't deserve to be in the same room as these people, with the deep connection they shared. It was the kind of connection that could only be made through pain. But the pain had passed, at least for now, and the trio were safe. And Richard was going to do everything he could to keep it that way.