Fiddleford McGucket had forgotten what it was to be touched, in a positive way at least. Since the loss of his sanity most of the townsfolk treated him like some sort of animal, hitting him with brooms, shovels, and whatever else they had within reach to drive the crazed hillbilly away. So, for the longest time Fiddleford went without physical (or any) comfort, and thus forgot how to react when someone would touch him.
“Aw hornswoggle!” This presented a problem, much like the one he found himself in now, McGucket biting his lip as he hustled his way further into the large manor he called home. He fervently hoped that Stanford wouldn’t come looking for him, as Fiddleford was filled with a lot of uncertainty at the moment, and didn’t want to slip into what he dubbed his “hillbilly freakout”, the man cursing slightly as he eventually wedged himself into a hallway closet. Once the doors were shut Fiddleford took deep breath, eyes trained on his right hand that shook slightly from what had happened only moments ago. He had only recently gotten rid of the cast that had covered the thin limb, and as such things like touches and sensations were a bit new to him, and unfortunately a bit overwhelming.
“Fiddleford? Hadron? Where have you gone?” Fiddleford’s breathing hitched when he heard the faint voice calling for him, the man curling in on himself as his name was called over and over, someone eventually passing the closet he was in. “Fiddleford, please come out! What did I do wrong?”
”It wasn’t you…” The southerner thought to himself, hands clenching into fists as the person continued on further into the house, still calling Fiddleford’s name with anxiety that was slowly increasing. Fiddleford didn’t emerge from his closet for three hours, the man nervously checking in the numerous rooms the manor contained, eventually stopping when he came across one of the bedrooms. A tall male was pacing back and forth inside, hair a mess as every now and then the man would tug at it with large six-fingers hands, curses escaping his lips each time. Fiddleford felt guilty as he cleared his throat softly, the man instantly turning to the doorway, anxiety visibly melting away as they realized it was Fiddleford.
“Praise the Axolotl you’re alright.” The man breathed, making no move to embrace the southerner in fear of chasing him off again. “I was so worried, I haven’t seen you in the three hours, twelve minutes and twenty-seven seconds.” The man rattled off, Fiddleford slowly making his way over to the man’s side with an apologetic look on his weathered face.
“I’m awful sorry fer worryin’ ya.” The southerner apologized, hopping up to sit cross-legged on the sizable bed with a hesitant smile.
“Please don’t apologize, I was the one who caused this in the first place.” The man shook his head, pausing when Fiddleford took his nearby hand with a shake of his head.
“Stanferd Pines, this wasn’t yer fault. So sit down and quit worryin’ over everything.” His tone was stern yet gentle, the former interdimensional traveler sitting beside the lanky male with a weak smile. “And you didn’t do a damn thing earlier, that’s just me bein’ stupid.”
“Hadron, you are not stupid in any capacity.” Fiddleford felt some heat rush to his cheeks at the sincerity in Stanford’s voice, his left hand gently squeezing Stanford’s hand.
“About this I am…” He chuckled wanly, studying Stanford’s hand as he slowly began to trace the veins running under his skin with his right hand, a small smile on his face as his sensitive fingers took in the feeling of the skin rippled with tiny scars. Stanford kept silent as Fiddleford moved closer, his confidence slowly growing as he traced up Stanford’s arms, his right hand shaking slightly. Stanford took this as a sign to gently place his arm around Fiddleford’s waist, the man tensing slightly before relaxing under his loose touch, the man pressing a soft kiss to Fiddleford’s forehead.
“Fiddleford…you know I wouldn’t hurt you, right?” His voice was a whisper, but every word was filled with love and underlying hesitation that practically melted the southerner’s heart every time over.
“I know Ford…I ain’t afraid of ya.” He replied just as quietly, watching as Stanford slowly advanced his arm so his free hand lay on top of Fiddleford’s left knee.
“Then may I enquire as to what is bothering you? I thought I had done something terrible to make you run from me…” Stanford pressed a sweet kiss to Fiddleford’s cheek, his eyes brimming with concern and love.
“Aw, like I said, it ain’t yer fault…” Fiddleford couldn’t tear his gaze away, his own eyes showing a fear that made Stanford’s stomach churn. “Bein’ the town’s kook…nobody much cares fer ya…and I didn’t exactly get hugs or nothin’…”
“People hit you?” Stanford’s voice was filled with shock, his blood beginning to boil in anger as Fiddleford slowly nodded, taking a calming breath when he felt the smaller body tense as if sensing his anger. “Oh Hadron, I’m so sorry…”
“’S not yer fault…” Fiddleford shrugged, burrowing close to Stanford when the researcher curled his arm fully around his waist, his tension melting away when he felt nothing but safety and love being held in his arms. This was something he had not felt in a long time, nights spent together in what used to be Ford’s lab slowly coming to mind as Fiddleford felt himself relax into Stanford’s embrace. “This…I missed this…”
“As did I.” Stanford hummed in agreement, closing his eyes with a soft sigh of content as they just reveled in the contact they had both been denied for 30 years. How he ever turned Fiddleford away was beyond Stanford’s reasoning, and as he carried the sleeping male to his bedroom an hour later, he was kicking himself for ever doing so. Fiddleford refused to let go of Ford at first, mumbling something about a robot until he relented his grip on the amused male, burrowing under his covers as Stanford tucked him in then retreated to his own room. When he woke that next morning Stanford was surprised to see a small form burrowed under his arm, lanky arms hugging his lax arm close to their bony chest, which was slowly rising and falling with each breathe they took. Stanford felt his heart melt at the peaceful expression on his old friends face, slowly tucking McGucket close to him as he gazed out the window, a smile on his face as he thought of what the future would hold for them.