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Title: The Valley At Night
Fandom: Earthbound
Character: Jeff/Tony
Length: 593
Rating: G/Slash
warnings: postgame, mild spoilers for Mother 2 and 3

Once they had graduated, Jeff and Tony went to work in Saturn Valley.

Jeff had been formally invited to their newly built research facility. When it was requested that Tony accompany him as a research partner, the valley's strange inhabitants had no problem with this and agreed that more heads were probably better for the large scale operations they were planning in the future. There had only been a slight dispute when Tony had wanted to act as Jeff's assistant, deferring to him in all matters, whereas Jeff could clearly see that Tony was as competent a scientist as himself, if a little more practical and down-to-earth and less ingenious, and had insisted that they act as equal partners in the expedition.

Tony had rarely been to Saturn Valley before and had rather forgotten what it was like. He hadn't expected an isolated forest tribe to already be so technologically advanced. He could well believe Jeff's theory that they had at some point actually migrated here from the planet Saturn. Their medical technology, which they quite happily dispensed for free while dressed in a comedy doctor's outfit and sat in a trash can, possibly in imitation of Jeff's father, was near perfect. As far as he could tell, they had gone beyond the point of upgrading their technology to the highest point it could go and were now working on integrating it more into nature. Their buildings, constructed in ways that reminded him of Dr. Andonuts' laboratory, still managed to blend into the woodlands perfectly, giving a pleasant postmodern effect. Their attitude was more of a people who had lost interest in the race to improve long ago than people living in actual ignorance of the outside world.

Except now the battle against Giygas had ignited their interest again. Maybe the existence of the Phase Distorter had shown them that advancement was still possible. They seemed especially worried that it was missing and could still be in the hands of the enemy. Jeff had the distinct impression they didn't really believe the battle was over. This sent chills down his spine, as the Saturns were usually right.

The Saturns wanted to meet people from all over the world who had been even slightly involved in the battle against Giygas but had very strict conditions, throwing out anyone who could possibly disturb their peaceful life or damage the forest. They had grown nervous around the Montague brothers and their mining operations and told them to leave. They had never quite trusted Jeff's father either, claiming that the man had some kind of bad luck following him around and he gave them the willies. This was going to be quite a sensitive diplomatic mission, Jeff realised, not just a scientific research exchange. Diplomacy wasn't something he had all a good track record with. He suspected that Tony would start to shine a lot more when it came to this aspect of their job; he was a lot more emotionally sensitive.

As they sat in the window of the guest house reserved for them, staring out at a peaceful forest night where a few Saturns were still wandering around with fireflies in jars, relaxing in their hot spring and tripping out on the stuff they insisted was coffee, Jeff realised that he mostly just really enjoyed Tony's company. Now they were in middle of nowhere, the only two humans in their workplace, they would finally have the chance to tell each other.

That was, if either of them ever had the courage to speak up first...

October 2017

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