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I know

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Joe hasn't called David yet. He knows he could. He's a friend after all. It would be just one of many birthday calls. Which is probably the reason why he hasn't called in the first place.

David knows that Joe's thinking of him today. He knows Joe will properly congratulate him the next time they meet. And today they could only exchange a few words, and probably not even in private.

Joe doesn't know how David's celebrating. If there's a party, he's not invited, and if it's just family...

Joe can't help thinking about what he'd do today if it was just the two of them. He imagines how he'd wake David up, what he'd prepare for breakfast, how he'd drag him back to bed... It's so easy to picture such a life that Joe feels he'd only have to reach out to touch it. But he can't because David has a life and a family and he's not part of that.

There's no point in self-pity, though, so Joe grabs a good book to distract himself. When the phone rings, he's so engrossed that he's picked up before checking who it is.

"Do you know what day it is today?" David asks.

Joe smiles at the sound of his challenging voice. "Friday?" he guesses, grinning.

"And?" David continues.

"Good Friday," Joe continues.

"And?" David asks again.

"The 18th?" Joe asks.

"Oh, shut up," David says.

Joe smiles. "I didn't forget," he says softly.

"I know," David says as softly.

"Happy birthday," Joe says.

"Thank you," David says.

"I love you," Joe adds.

"I know," David says.

"Yeah," Joe says, trying not to think about their messed up relationship. Or rather the circumstances. The two of them are fine if you ignore the rest of the world.

"I need to get back," David says.

It's Joe's turn to say, "I know."

"I love you," David adds.

Joe smiles and repeats, "I know."

"I'm thinking of you," David says and then hangs up before Joe can say another word.

He wouldn't have said "I know" to that because he hadn't. He knows that David loves him, but on days like this, it's easy to forget that even if Joe isn't part of David's family, he is part of his life.

It's easy to forget, but only until David reminds him. And he always will. That much Joe knows.