brighton and wolverhampton
Wolverhampton slipped away from the events and the press in his own city in the wake of the millennium, and arrived in Brighton a week or two into the beginning of January, not entirely sure why he was even there in the first place.
He’d heard it from countless cities before he heard it from Brighton themself. Everybody knew - everybody had known what was bound to happen, older cities trying to explain it to them, trying desperately to make them understand or prepare for the worst, but they’d just shrugged it off with a laugh and a knowing look between the two of them.
He’d actually been surprised at how well he’d gotten along with Brighton and Hove in the first place. Wolverhampton usually kept to himself, avoiding the extended company of both humans and cities. But the two not-yet-Cities were both so magnetic, something just drew you to the two of them and you were hopelessly charmed.
He liked to think that they were friends. He didn’t exactly have many of them, but if he were to be friends with anyone, he thinks he’d like it to be Brighton. His fingers twitch towards his phone, Brighton’s simple ‘Hove’s gone' still sitting in his inbox. He supposes that Brighton must consider them friends, at least a little.
Wolverhampton found Brighton sitting alone at the end of the pier in the very early hours of the morning - he side eyed the ‘Closed’ sign as he walked past it, but it wasn’t as if you could stop a City sitting on their own pier. The January morning was cold, and snow was falling lightly from the sky. The rides were silent and empty, and the grey mist rolling in from the sea gave the whole place a distinctly eerie atmosphere. He hovered for a moment, unsure of what to say, but Brighton beat him to it.
'You're here,' they breathed out, glancing at him out of the corner of their eye.
He shrugged slightly, dropping his rucksack to the wooden floor and lowering himself down to sit next to them. The two of them sat in silence for a few minutes, before Brighton spoke again.
'Where were you?’ they asked, still staring out at the horizon.
He was caught off guard, and his gaze dropped to his feet. ‘I…’
Brighton paused, twisting their fingers in their lap. ‘Only, I texted you. I hoped you’d come sooner.’
Wolverhampton was still looking at his feet, but he shrugged. ‘I figured you’d’ve texted loads of people.’
Brighton shook their head. ‘No.’
'Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm saying that everyone else hasn't helped. Most've them have been really nice, you know? I mean, well done to Portsmouth for managing to deal with me,' they said, with a huff of laughter that was devoid of any real amusement. 'And I got a message from London that was actually quite nice, surprisingly.'
The corner of his mouth twitched up. ‘Really?
They nodded. ‘Yeah. But I don’t know how to talk to her, really. She’s kind of intimidating. And I just…I need someone to talk to, you know?’
Wolverhampton’s brow furrowed. Surely they couldn’t mean—
'And then I figured that, since we're friends, that maybe…maybe you wouldn't mind.'
Wolverhampton blinked at them. ‘Oh.’
'You don't, do you? Mind, I mean.'
'I, uh, well, of course not,' he stammered, more than a little surprised. 'But can…can we have this conversation somewhere warmer?' He pushed himself upright, offering a hand to them once he'd regained his balance.
Brighton’s expression pulled into a small smile, for the first time since he’d sat down with them. ‘Yeah, okay.’
They took his hand, and he pulled them to their feet. He was caught off guard when they wrapped their arms around him, his arms flailing slightly before coming to rest lightly and slightly awkardly on their shoulders.
'I'm glad you're my friend,' Brighton said, stepping back and pulling their jacket tighter around themself.
Wolverhampton nodded. ‘Yeah. Me too.’