"Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting."
- Haruki Murakami
Luke knows he likes boys when he is twelve and Jimmy Mooks puts a worm down his shirt and he can’t look away from how wide he is smiling at Luke’s frantic flailing on the ground.
“Got you!” Jimmy laughs, “Ha! Got you!”
Luke thinks he would follow Jimmy anywhere.
His sister finds out when they are sixteen and he is sneaking back into the house through his bedroom window after spending all night with Teddy Miller, hickey’s fresh on his neck. She had curled up on his bed to cry, waiting for him to come home after her cruddy boyfriend broke her heart again.
She sits up, eyes wide and red.
“Luke,” she hisses, “Oh god. Was she trying to eat you?”
And Luke can’t lie.
“It wasn’t a she, Soph.”
He sits on the end of the bed and watches her process this information.
“Is he hot?”
“What? I wanna know if my brother has game or not, god.”
“I absolutely want you nowhere near my ‘game’.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“…Yeah, he’s hot.”
Sophia laughs and smacks her hands onto his cheeks.
“I’m so proud of you Lukie.”
“Call me Lukie again, Sophia and I’ll tell Mom about your secret smokes.”
His parents, two years later, prefer his sexuality reveal over the news he’s joining the army. His father, a military man himself, begs him not to go.
“My son you’ll die,” he begs, almost in tears, “You’ll die so far from home.”
But his parents only have enough money for one of them to go to college and Sophia wants to be a doctor, Luke doesn’t know what he wants to be, but the army will pay for whatever education he wants if he plays by their rules.
When he comes out of the army he has had two boyfriends, two messy breakups, has two university degrees and has seen too much.
When he comes out of the army the FBI is waiting for him.
He can’t stay in one place for too long. He feels the need to run and move and hunt.
His parents offer him his room again, but he can’t take it.
The FBI offers him a job hunting down fugitives. And he can’t say no.
He doesn’t realize he’s never been in love until he is knee deep in a Louisiana Swamp, putting the cuffs on a killer who sacrificed a chance a freedom in Mexico to come back and see his lady.
“Do you think it’s weird, man?” Luke asks that night, leaning against the bar with Phil.
“Think what’s weird?”
“That- I dunno,” Luke scrubs a hand down his face, already feeling a little drunk and fuzzy from the weird beer they’re drinking, “That its weird I’ve never been in love?”
“Love? You’ve had boyfriends and dates, and hookups- I know you, Alvez, you ain’t lacking in love.”
“That’s different,” he sighs, “I’ve liked being around people, like being with people. But when the relationships have ended I’ve never been that cut up about it. Never cried to broken all of their things, I’ve just accepted it and moved on. I’ve never been in love and …. And man, I don’t know why.”
Phil looks at him for a long moment then he clasps Luke’s shoulder and shakes him companionably.
“Luke, listen to me man,” he says, more serious than Luke has ever heard him be in a bar, “Don’t worry about all those books and movies and shit that tell ya’ you should have fallen in love a thousand times before you were sixteen. That’s a Hollywood algorithm man-”
“Oh god, not the algorithm speech again man.”
“-its all made up. When or if you fall in love it's at your own pace, your own time with someone who is right for you. Falling in love isn’t a necessary feeling in life, it’s not essential.”
“Maybe I’d like it though. Once.”
Phil throws an arm around his shoulder laughs.
“You’re a catch man. If its meant to happen it will. You’ll find someone you want to stay with and who wants to stay with you and you’ll fall in and out of love with them and have a magical wedding with doves and balloons-”
“Okay man, alright,” Luke laughs and shrugs Phil off, “Time to cut you off.”
“Hey! I’m giving you a pep talk here!”
“And you can finish it at the hotel. Come on big guy.”
Drunk or not Phil’s words really do help.
The Crimson King happens, and Luke forgets all about Love.
Thirteen serial killers escape from prison in what Luke can only think of as a cluster fuck of fate and bad luck, David Cullen is among them. Luke immediately leaves the date he was on, without a glance at the very nice guy across from him, and marches into work. He hasn’t got time for romance. He has thirteen monsters to chase.
Luke likes the BAU team. They are professional and smart and have a jet. A jet.
He comes to understand them all pretty quickly. Tara and Rossi are both wildly intelligent, in different complimentary ways that always seem to come in use no matter who they are hunting. Hotch is the leader, the protector, the bureaucrat. JJ is a scary intimidating woman, even more so when he finds out that she didn’t start out as a profiler, that she built herself into being the best of the best on the job. Garcia … Hates him, but he sort of understands why. She’s still raw over her best friend leaving the team and there are several parallels to be made between him and Morgan. She thinks he’s coming in to replace him.
Luke has no intention of joining the BAU. No matter how much Rossi wants him to.
He hears the rest of the team talk about their one other member, a Doctor who is on Holiday in France with his mother.
“Spencer would love this,” JJ says one day when they are in Alaska hunting a sadist.
“Huh?” Luke asks, thrown off by how warm her voice sounds as compared to her usual firm professionalism.
JJ holds up a bobblehead from a nearby display. It’s a jack-o-lantern with wiggly arms and a three-piece suit. JJ jiggles it and it laughs, eyes lighting up.
“Spence loves Halloween,” she explains as she pays for it and slips it onto her puffy jacket pocket.
“It’s nowhere near November.”
“Doesn’t matter to him. He spends all year getting ready for it,” she looks up at him, “He goes trick-or-treating with my son Henry, his godson.”
“He sounds like a good guy.”
“He is. You’ll see when he comes back.”
Luke sort of hopes he isn’t around for much longer. He wants to go back to the fugitive task force and leave the temptation of this team behind.
They are on the jet home from Modesto when out of nowhere Tara laughs. It’s the first break in professionalism Luke has seen in her.
“What is it?” he asks despite his vow not to get close to these people.
“Reid sent me an article,” she explains still smiling down at her phone, “There’s this English psychologist who is proposing sterilization as a way to control sex offenders.”
She laughs again though Luke doesn’t think that sounds funny.
“What?” Rossi asks, leaning over to see Tara’s phone.
“It's completely preposterous,” she shakes her head with a sigh, “And Reid has a very colorful way of expressing how preposterous he thinks it is.”
“Woah,” Rossi laughs, “The Kid can really swear when he’s mad.”
“He says he’s tempted to release an article to quote; ‘decimate’ the psychologist’s proposal.”
“Hell hath no fury like an angry genius,” Rossi agrees, “Tell him to send me a draft, I’ll proofread the poison.”
Tarra chuckles and taps away at her phone.
Everything he learns about this Dr. Reid builds a stranger picture of him in his mind.
They all come into the bullpen after getting back from Milwaukee to find Garcia standing there grinning.
“A miracle has happened, My Lovelies,” she announces.
“They fixed the coffee maker?” JJ asks.
“They got us a better coffee maker?” Tara asks.
“Okay I’m getting the vibe that you all want coffee, but this is better,” Garcia pulls a box out from behind her back, “Reid has over nighted up the best chocolates that France has to offer. Creamy milky chocolatey goodness, all for us!”
The whole team smiles, and Garcia hands out the chocolates. Luke bites into his, a dark chocolate shell with a coffee ganache inside.
He groans out loud, as does the rest of the team.
Even Hotch looks affected. He’s almost smiling.
“God bless Spencer Reid,” JJ laughs.
Luke hums in agreement. He thinks he might just have to marry this Dr. Reid.
He tries not to spend too much time in Garcia’s room. It’s a small confined space and that doesn’t sit too well with him, as well as the fact that Garcia is determined to hate him.
But he has to be there with her one day, and he is there when Garcia gets an email.
“Oh,” Garcia says, previously indifferent tone melting away into something soft, “It's from Reid! Oh my gosh-”
She clicks to open the email and loads the images. Happy snaps of the Louvre, Notre Dame, and what looks like a tomb covered in lipstick marks.
“Oscar Wildes tomb,” Garcia explains, her voice dreamy, “There’s this tradition to leave a red lipstick kiss on the grave, its started in the 90’s and there’s like this massive fine if you get caught ‘defacing’ the tomb but it doesn’t stop anyone.”
“Romantic and illegal,” Luke says with a smile, “I think Wilde would approve.”
“Exactly- he would love it, I-” Garcia obviously remembers who she is talking to in the middle of her sentence because her face falls, “-and we should get back to work, for our jobs, our working jobs.”
Luke laughs but doesn’t stop her.
“We saw you on the news, with those FBI shrinks.”
“Mama,” he laughs, “They’re profilers, not shrinks.”
“Okay, okay. It was just nice to see you, you don’t usually stay in one place for long enough to visit. You’ve grown a beard.”
Luke groans, feeling guilty.
“I’m sorry mom,” he sighs, “I’ll come see you soon I promise.”
“What keeps you so far away from us, Mijo?”
Luke closes his eyes and sighs again.
He doesn’t know how to tell her that he feels too big and restless in their old yellow kitchen. That the road calls to him even more now since Phil was tortured, and that he feels the constant need to run. He doesn’t know how to tell her that he doesn’t want her to see him, see right through him, and have it break him.
“I’ll come home soon, ma.”
“I worry about you all alone.”
“I know, ma. I’ll come home soon.”
He meets Spencer Reid and be feels like he can’t breathe.
They arrive back after crossing another killer off the list, he gets blown off by Garcia in the elevator and catches sight of someone in the roundtable room.
He walks into the room and-
And no one told him that the elusive, chocolate sending, Halloween loving, genius, Dr. Reid was handsome.
Fluffy-haired and frowning down at a file in his hand, and so god damned handsome.
Luke feels a bit flustered.
“Hey,” he says finally walking into the room when he regains himself, “Luke. Alvez.”
“Oh, Hi, I’m Dr. Spencer Reid.”
He smiles, and Luke honestly feels like he’s floating. Why did he have to be born with a weakness for cute guys? Damned lizard brain.
And then he knows about Luke catching Cullen and he asks about how they caught him and Luke stumbles over his story because Reid doesn’t drop his gaze. He doesn’t look away.
Thank god Rossi comes in because otherwise, he may have burst into flames then and there.
By the end of the case, Luke doesn’t know how to feel about Spencer. He just knows he’s never felt like this before.
He takes up the offer to join the team.
Luke learns quickly that Spencer Reid is just as weird and smart as his teammates described him to be, but also kind, and goofy, and insanely insanely attractive.
He walks into a BDSM shop with Luke and doesn’t blink an eye, tells him facts about murder and ancient history with almost childlike enthusiasm. And he is a competent, dedicated agent. The rest of the team seems to run smoother with him there.
He mentions this to JJ, almost without meaning to, after one of his profiler training session when she is taking him to lunch.
“Yeah, I think we do,” she says and sips her coffee, “But it’s not just him.”
“What do you mean?”
“Having you around is doing a lot to balance us out too,” she says with a smile, “We always work best with a diverse group of agents. Lots of experts mean killers get caught quicker.”
“Also, I can kick down doors.”
“Get it right, Hotshot,” she laughs, “You’re not the only door kicker around here.”
“Urgh, don’t call me that. Makes me feel old.”
“I’m older than you.”
But yeah, Reid is awesome.
And Luke is powerless against it.
Maybe its been too long since he was in a relationship, maybe its because he’s staying in one place longer than usual. But he can’t get Reid off his mind.
He tries to shake it, become his friend. Maybe exposure will lessen the grade-school-crush he has and he can look at the guy without wanting to smile every damn time.
But that doesn’t work.
They go out to a movie, they hang out with JJ and her kids at the park, they go to an exhibition at the museum full of paintings that make him vaguely uncomfortable and Luke still can’t shake the urge to back Spencer into a corner and kiss the living hell out of him.
Of course, this temptation is taken away. When Spencer gets sent to jail.
Luke does what he can to protect Spencer in prison. He threatens Shaw and he doesn’t regret it for a moment. It may be stupid, maybe is soldier’s instincts taking over, but for better or worse he did it for Spencer.
He did it for the team, so they wouldn’t fall apart.
(And maybe he did it for himself. Because he wants to see Reid again.)
He knocks on the door and JJ answers it a moment later, jaw smudged with colored paints.
“Luke,” she smiles, but there is a sadness to it that she hasn’t been able to shake since Reid went away, “Come in.”
“I bought cookies.”
“God no,” Luke laughs as he steps inside, “I wouldn’t inflict that on you guys.”
JJ snorts and takes the cookies from him.
“They’re through there,” she nods into the living room, “ Today's theme is painting knights fighting Godzilla.”
“I’d watch that movie.”
JJ rolls her eyes and disappears into the kitchen. Luke walks into the living room and finds Henry painting on the floor with Garcia who is holding Michael in her lap. Diana is sitting on the couch, an open book in her lap while she watches the children.
Luke smiles at them and walks over to the couch.
Diana looks up at him, peering over her glasses.
“Would you mind if I sit with you?”
“Are you a friend of my sons?”
“Yes. Yes, I am. I’m Luke.”
“Luke,” she says thoughtfully, “From the Greek, Lucania, meaning light giving.”
Luke nods as he sits next to her.
“I think my parents named me more for the patron saint of doctors and artists.”
“’The beloved physician’, yes,” she hums thoughtfully, “‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven’.”
Damn, all those years of Catholic school and he can’t even remember that much.
“I like the ‘eat drink and be merry’ part.”
Diana smiles, and it’s a mothers smile that makes Luke instantly miss his own.
“Look!” Henry shouts and holds up a paint-smeared piece of paper where a little grey man is holding a pink sword to a big green blob with red claws.
“Woah, that's so cool Henry!”
“Very nice,” Diana agrees, “Inspired by abstract expressionism.”
Henry giggles and goes back to painting. Garcia smiles up at them thankfully from where she is guiding Michael through painting a flower.
“Children are such wonders,” Diana says, “Imbued with something undefinable. Divine knowledge some philosophers have postulated.”
“They’re certainly something magic,” Luke agrees, “My sister has two.”
Diana hums in understanding.
“Having a sister is a valuable resource in this world. I have two. Fiercely protective creatures, sisters are, if a little unbearable at times.”
“Yeah, I agree with you there.”
“I often thought of giving Spencer a sister,” she continues, looking back down at her book, “But he was a wonder all on his own. He needed no encore.”
Luke can’t imagine Spencer with a sister. But then he looks over at JJ and Garcia feeding the boys cookies and thinks the universe gave him a good group of them.
Diana goes back to her book, obviously done with their conversation, and Garcia looks up at him.
She means from Emily who is meeting with Reid’s lawyer.
He shakes his head. Garcia and JJ hide their sadness from the boys, but Luke can see it there.
“There’s still hope,” he says to the room. No one replies.
When he leaves that afternoon all he can think over and over again in his head is-
Patron Saint of Doctors. Patron Saint of Doctors. Patron Saint of Doctors. Patron Saint of Doctors.
Spencer gets out of prison but there is no time for celebration before the crash. Before they lose Stephen.
He comforts him about his PTSS, something that Luke has intimate knowledge of, but there is no time for a proper conversation because they need to get Emily back.
They finally get to talk a few days later at Rossi’s house during a team dinner. Spencer comes into the kitchen where Luke is opening a couple bottles of wine for the thirsty masses out on the terrace. He drags his knuckles against the counter tip and stops next to Luke.
“Hey,” Luke says with a smile, “They send you in here to make sure I didn’t drink it all by myself?”
Spencer smiles weakly and shakes his head. He looks so beautiful that Luke all of a sudden remembers his crush on his and his mouth goes dry.
He hasn’t been alone with Spencer in months, how could he still feel this way? He’s never- … this feeling has never lasted so long with anyone else.
“My mother was telling me about you,” Spencer says, looking up at Luke through his eyelashes, “She called you Lucania.”
“Yeah,” Luke laughs as he uncorks the last bottle, “We had a little chat at JJ’s one afternoon. She’s a smart woman, your mom.”
“I think you made an impression,” Spencer continues, still smiling, “Not only does she remember you, she actually gave me a book to give you.”
Spencer reaches into his suit jacket and pulls out a small hardback. Luke takes it and snorts with laughter when he sees the title.
“’Book of Chivalry’.”
“I think she sees you as a knight.”
“I really didn’t do anything heroic in front of her.”
“You were kind to her, that’s more than some people will give to a person with Schizophrenia,” Reid says, his tone serious, “She … She may also have sensed that you were protecting me.”
“I know about Shaw, Luke.”
Luke feels himself freeze. He doesn’t feel ashamed of what he did, but he didn’t want Spencer to know.
“I … I just wanted to keep you safe.”
Luke almost jumps out of his skin when Reid lays a hand on his arm. He definitely blushes.
“Thank you, Luke,” he says softly, “For everything you did for me. We hadn’t known each other that long before this all happened and … I am grateful for you.”
Luke feels like he is going to melt and burst into pure steam at the same time, and he knows he’s looking at Spencer with a love-struck look on his face. Spencer is smiling at him likes he’s given him water after a three-year crawl through the desert.
“You- doesn’t matter how long we knew each other,” Luke shrugs, trying to be nonchalant, and failing, “I’m a ride or die sort of guy.”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“Have you seen the Fast and the Furious movies?”
“No, what are they about?”
“Okay, one day we are going to have a movie marathon, and you can tell me everything scientifically impossible about them.”
Spencer's smile widens.
“I’d love that.”
They jump when a throat clears across the room. Emily is standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips.
“Wine?” she asks, eyebrow raised dangerously.
“Right away boss,” Luke says, grabbing all the bottles, “No need to start a riot.”
“Garcia is this close to hacking the servers and firing you herself, Alvez,” Emily laughs, “And Reid, she’s threatening baby pictures she got off your Mom. It’s getting pretty dire out there.”
Spencer winces and grabs a couple of bottles as well.
Luke can’t keep the grin off his face for the rest of the night.
Two weeks later he is driving to a crime scene with Emily when she says-
“You know he’s single right?”
“No,” she rolls her eyes dramatically, “Reid!”
Luke almost chokes on his coffee.
“And you are telling me this why?”
“Because I have two eyes and a functioning brain,” she smirks at him, “I see the way you look at him, Alvez.”
“Like you’re starving, and he’s covered in-”
“Okay! Alright!” he shouts, “If I admit to liking him will you stop that sentence and never start it again.”
Emily rolls her eyes.
“But…” Luke hesitates, “Shouldn’t you be telling me about the rules against office fraternization and team dynamics?”
“Nah,” she shrugs, “I think you should go for it.”
“Reid could use a good guy like you.”
“I uh,” Luke swallows, “I honestly never anticipated this conversation ever happening.”
“I’m the boss. I know everything.”
“But how do you know if Spencer is even interested in guys?”
“I know everything,” she repeats and then shrugs, “And he may have come out to us all a few years ago after Gideon left the team. He had Reid under the impression that the closet was the best place for him, but Garcia managed to convince him otherwise.”
They arrive at the scene and Emily shuts off the engine but makes no move the exit the car.
“Just …” she sighs and looks up towards the heavens, “Reid deserves someone nice in his life. And I don’t know you as well as I know him, but I think you do too. I think you could be nice for each other.”
Luke feels both touched and nervous.
“I’ll think about it. I- … I just need a little time. And I think he dose too.”
“Okay, enough emotions lets catch this bastard.”
That weekend Luke makes the trip home and ends up in his sister’s house laying on the living room floor as his nieces play ‘stacks’.
As far as Luke can tell the aim of the game is to stack every available thing on Luke’s back until it inevitably falls over and then they start again. Sophia is sitting on the couch watching them with a smile while she rubs at her pregnant belly.
“You’ve got it bad, Hermano,” she laughs when he’s done explaining everything that’s happened over the past year, with some censoring for the girl’s benefit, “Real bad.”
Luke pops his jaw, frustrated.
“That’s all you’ve got? I spill my guts to you and that’s all you got?”
“Hey, I’m not wrong!”
“Soph, it’s just … I’ve never felt this strongly about anyone I’ve not dated before. I feel like I’m burning alive when he looks at me when he smiles. And I haven’t even kissed him!”
“And you’re afraid that if you do date him those feelings will get stronger,” she continues for him, “you’re afraid that you’ve never been in love before.”
Luke goes stiff and a tower of DVD’s fall off his shoulders.
“How do you know that?”
Sophia hums and twirls her hand through the air.
“I know you, bro. You’ve never told me about any of your boyfriends before, but now you are telling me about a wonderful guy you haven’t even dated? I don’t need to be a profiler to see what’s going on.”
He feels a nudge against his head and stills as little Grace balances a beanie baby on the back of his skull.
“It's not just that,” he continues, “I’m also confused as to why now, of all times, would I feel this way.”
“That’s obvious too.”
“I’m really beginning to hate you-”
“Lukie!” she laughs, “You keep yourself closed off as a natural reflex. You’ve done it all your life. That’s why you’ve never let yourself fall in love before. But now this Spencer, this genius profiler, he can see through all your walls, all your defenses, and you know there’s no point to closing off. That’s why you’re feeling like this.”
Luke feels like a tone of bricks just fell on him.
Oh god. She’s right.
His nieces scream “Swear Jar!” at the same time and Sophia lightly kicks his shoulder.
“Nice one, you just lost five dollars dummy.”
The revelation follows him around for days afterward. He’s never thought he had a problem with emotional intimacy before, but now it seems so obvious.
He knows where it comes from too. Years spent sneaking around, being in the closet, then in the army, then in the FBI. It's no wonder he has problems being intimate when he’s spent his whole life having to hide himself to some degree. Why get close to someone when it could ruin his life, get him hurt-
Make him vulnerable.
But now he has the bosses go ahead and the implication that she will protect him from the homophobic sentiments still present in their institution, as well as confirmation that Reid is in fact attracted to men.
He just needs to get up the courage to do something about all this.
Luke decides he needs the right moment to come. Reid is still raw in a lot of ways, from prison, from Scratch, from Cat Adams and everything else. He doesn’t want to do any damage to Reid, doesn’t want to cause distress- god it would kill him to hurt him in any way.
In the meantime he goes about business as normal. He treats Spencer the same. He gets coffee with the other man, goes to an obscure foreign film festival with him and Garcia, spends as much time with him as he can, waiting for the right time to present itself.
In the end, the right time doesn’t come.
He gets shot first.
No one saw the gun until it was too late, and the fucking moron of a serial poisoner shot him right in the shoulder. He wasn’t even wearing a vest, no one had anticipated the guy going to work like business as usual.
Luke fucking hates Missouri.
Simmons and Tara take the guy down while Rossi presses a near buy pillow into his wound.
“Is that a hemorrhoid pillow?” he chokes through the pain.
“Don’t think about it,” Rossi says, “It’s the pain talking.”
That is definitely a hemorrhoid pillow.
“What’s happening?” Garcia asks over the coms, sounding worried.
“Alvez has been shot,” Rossie relays, cool and calm, “It’s not life-threatening, but he needs an ambulance asap, the bullets still in him.”
“Oh! Okay, calling an ambulance asap and all other abbreviations-”
“Is he okay?”
Luke almost jumps at the sudden appearance of Spencer's voice over the coms and hisses when he accidentally jostles his wound.
“I’m okay, Reid.”
He says it through grit teeth, which undermines the message.
“If- if it hit the subclavian artery, it feeds the main artery of the arm- or the brachial plexus, which controls arm function he could-”
“Reid, he’s going to be fine,” Rossi interrupts, “Its small caliber, didn’t go in very far, he’s bleeding but I can’t feel anything broken and there isn’t enough blood for a rupture.”
Over the line, Spencer makes a noise like he’s choking.
“I’ll meet you at the hospital.”
“No,” Luke grits out, “They’ll need you for interrogating this bastard, you know the science better than anyone.”
The line goes quiet until Spencer's voice comes back quieter than before.
“Okay. Alright, I’ll- okay.”
Luke gets out of the Hospital and a uniformed officer drives him back to the hotel. A call to Emily tells him that the Unsub has confessed and is being processed and that the team is either at the station finishing up or have been sent back to the hotel to sleep before the plane leaves tomorrow morning. Emily orders him to get as much rest as he can, and for once Luke doesn’t argue.
He isn’t expecting Spencer to be sitting on his bed when he comes out of the shower.
“Reid,” he says, startled but happy, “Man, you made me jump.”
Reid looks frazzled. His hair is fluffier than usual like he’s been pulling his hands through it, and when Luke walked out he was sitting hunched over while his feet tapped against the floor. He’s still dressed in his suit, but his tie is loose and crooked.
And Luke is wearing a towel. That’s it.
He feels his skin prickle.
But Spencer isn’t looking at him.
He’s looking down at his hands, where they are squeezing his knees. He looks scared.
“Hey,” Luke says softly, forgetting his state of dress for a moment, “Hey, what’s wrong?”
He sits down on the end of the bed beside him, careful not to touch him. Spencer shifts and swallows.
“You were shot.”
“Yeah, but I’m okay, see.”
He gestures to the bandages around his shoulder. He’s bruised up something bad, but in the end stitches and antiseptic were all he needed. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it felt.
Spencer looks up, biting his lip. He looks from the bandages to his face.
“I was,” he clears his throat, “I was so scared when I heard the shot over the coms when you went quiet. I-I thought … I thought you had-”
Luke forgets about not touching him and reaches out, peels Spencer's hand off his knee and clasps it in his own.
“-I’m alright. I’ve been hurt worse. I promise you I’m alright.”
Spencer squeezes his hand back and meets Luke’s gaze for the first time since they’ve been sitting together. Luke watches him take a few deep breathes before he sits up straighter.
“I feel like sometimes you see right through me,” Spencer says in a whisper, “Like you can see all of me and you still like me.”
Luke feels like he can’t breathe.
“When I heard the shot I got so scared, more scared than I should, and it made me realize,” Spencer laughs, humorless, with a tight smile, “That I have been ignoring what I’ve been feeling for weeks now- maybe months I don’t know.”
Spencer drops his hand and kneels up on the bed, so Luke has to look up to meet his eyes. All the air freezes in his lungs when Spencer cups his face.
“I was scared,” Spencer continues, “I haven’t felt anything for anyone since- for a long time and I pushed it down, so I didn’t have to think about it and then I heard that shot.”
His fingers press his fingers into Luke’s jaw.
Luke thinks that maybe he dies from the gunshot and this is heaven because if he is reading this all right … Spencer likes him back.
“I’m sorry I scared you.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Spencer laughs, “God, don’t be sorry.”
He leans down so their foreheads press together and Luke feels his heart splutter in his chest. Spencer licks his lips, so close, a hairsbreadth away, and it feels like all his atoms are going to vibrate apart from the effort of being so close but not as close as he wants.
“I think I want you to be…” Spencer hesitates for a breathless moment, “I think I want you.”
“You can have me,” Luke breathes, feeling giddy, “However you want me, you can have me.”
Spencer almost looks shocked. As if being in this intimate situation wasn’t an indication that Luke felt the same. As if Luke could ever feel differently.
He presses up and Spencer leans down an inch and they are kissing, slow and deep and like Luke has dreamed of doing for almost a year now.
Spencer clutches his hair and Luck circles his hands around Spencer's forearms, wanting to pull him closer but not wanting to risk breaking the kiss.
They kiss until neither of then can breathe and they break apart panting.
And then he watches as a bright scarlet blush takes over Spencer's face.
“Are- are you only wearing a towel right now?”
Luke laughs, right in his face and wonders if this feeling of love he feels right now will ever leave him. Spencer splutters through an embarrassed sentence and he hopes it never does.