“I've been in the city, about sixteen years," Simeon replied. "In the country, since just after the war.”
“Which war? Gods know there have been enough of them.”
“Oh. Yeah. World War Two. I decided I wanted to see if the States lived up to the hype. They do, both the good and the bad.”
“And the ugly.” Vergil actually smiled as if he meant it. “Sorry, couldn’t resist the movie allusion.”
“A bad one. The allusion not the movie that is. I gather you’re feeling a bit better now if you’re making jokes.”
Vergil thought for a moment then nodded. “I guess I am. Thanks for listening, and for making me talk.”
“It was my pleasure.”
“Pleasure?” Vergil cocked an eyebrow.
“Alright, perhaps ‘pleasure’ wasn’t the right word under the circumstances. Your history certainly wasn’t what I’d expected.”
“I’m sure.” Vergil stared off into space for a second before shaking his head. “And it is just that, history. I can’t change it but now, maybe, I can put it behind me. Or at least not let it get to me the way it has for the last couple of days.”
Leaning back, Simeon studied him. “It made you what you are, a seeker of justice for the downtrodden. That’s not a bad thing to my way of thinking.”
“I’m just a cop,” Vergil protested.
“‘To serve and protect’. Isn’t that what’s emblazoned on the police cars. I suspect it defines you to a T.”
“Gods, Simeon, now you’re making me sound like a saint or some such. I’m just an overworked detective who right now needs to get some sleep.”
Simeon laughed. “Is that a not so subtle hint I should leave?”
Looking at him quite seriously, Vergil debated how to reply. Suddenly, inexplicably, he didn’t want him to leave. Not yet.
“Vergil, that’s wasn’t a question that should take so long to answer.”
“Yeah it was. I am tired but… I’m not certain I want to be… to sleep… alone.”
Reaching across the intervening space, Simeon took both Vergil’s hands in his. “If you need someone to hold you until you fall asleep I will. If you want someone to wake up next to in the morning I might not be the best choice. I don’t wake up until afternoon, late afternoon.”
“I can… deal with that.”
Simeon stood, pulling Vergil to his feet. “You’re sure?”
“About this, yes. For tonight at least I want to be held as if I… I mattered as a person.”
“I understand,” Simeon replied softly. He glanced around, saw the stairs in the small hallway off the living room, and led Vergil toward them.