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the more i get of you (the stranger it feels)

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Damien's phone is strewn somewhere to his left on the couch when it starts buzzing consistently every minute around 1 AM. Usually he'd attribute it to spam messages to his email from a website he signed up for 6 years ago or twitter notifications from the president which he followed for a good laugh, but he isn't sleep deprived enough yet to not recognize the certain long buzz as an incoming text message. Normally the only people trying to contact him at this time were his family in a different time zone than California or Keith, notoriously known around the Smosh headquarters as the person most likely to call you in the middle of the night for really no reason. With a sigh of realization that he has to be at work by 9 tomorrow and this might keep him up, he clicks pause on his video game and reaches over to respond.

[ 3 unread messages from: Shanyé] He chuckles lightly at the stupid nickname and opens them.

-hey man. I know its super late and I'm really sorry if you're busy. I just need to get some things out.

-I know youre good at listening and i really appreciate knowing youre there on thr other line lmao

-anyway again if youre busy please please dont bother responding to this or just mute me i just wanted to say some things i 100% dont need a response..thank you again

Weird. As far as Damien knows, Shayne’s alcohol consumption certainly isn't nightly. A brief feeling of worry hits him, but he shrugs it off to answer in a way that would comfort Shayne, as he doesn't seem to be in the best state of mind right now. There isn't much Damien wouldn't do for Shayne, really. Of course he can listen. Listening to Shayne isn't hard, it's more of a privilege. He mentally pinches himself for overthinking about his best friend, his clearly suffering at the moment best friend, yet again, and starts typing.

-Of course. Whatever you need to say, I'm an open ear or arm, dude. :-)

Too cheesy? Shayne's most likely too drunk to judge his reply as sappy or implicating of anything. Is it supposed to be? No. Never while the other was intoxicated. Damien is a man of concrete morals. The implication of that, however, gets to him a bit. That he's been slipping up lately on letting himself acknowledge maybe he would be a little more than okay with...sappy stuff involving Shayne.

A series of buzzes interrupt his neverending borderline-shameful train of thoughts as he receives them.

-right...thanks man youre the best

-im just...feeling the feels big time rn if you catch my drift.

-idk...its gotten so much worse since i last talked to you about it. like im so enamored its almost debilitating to be around him which kinda sucks big time since i see him almost everyday lmfao

Damien considers himself better than average at focusing and remembering yet he's failing to recall a guy Shayne's mentioned he's apparently deeply in love with.

Something he's unfortunately sure, at this point, would affect him. A lot. He's trying not to let it get to him in favor of giving Shayne the support he deserves right now.

But he does let himself finally hear it in his head: ‘I have feelings for my best friend Shayne.’ Unreciprocated feelings...but definitely feelings. Damien sighs. Shayne is gorgeous and the funniest, kindest person he's ever known. He owes him this and so much more.

Damien, 1:18 AM: Who's the mystery man again? I'm a bit sleep deprived at the moment, all apologies.

Shayne, 1:19 AM: come on you know it noah

Oh. So that's a thing. (He assumes the lack of an 's on the end of it is a drunken typo.) Now that he thinks about it, Shayne and Noah have always been pretty close, and he guesses Noah is pretty much Shayne's type, unique and younger and thin and pretty much everything he's not. He rolls his eyes at his own thoughts with a deflated sigh, reminds himself Shayne needs someone selfless to talk to and that's exactly what he's going to provide.

Damien, 1:21 AM: Right right right of course. Makes sense. Sorry I definitely remember go ahead

Shayne, 1:22 AM: lol its cool...dont know how anyone could forget or even not know tbh. i feel like im so obvious around him and it kills me that i can't just..let him know

Damien thinks for a moment before answering with what he almost pictures himself doing to Shayne.

Damien, 1:24 AM: alright..i know its the most clear answer but just to give you my two cents in this, if you treasure your friendship connection before any type of romantic relationship, and these feelings are affecting that friendship, you have to get it out into the open. if you don't, well...romantic love without platonic love rarely ends up working.

And it hits him when he types it out, when he thinks it out, how much he really..how much he loves the man texting him about how much he loves another man.

Damien thinks he wins the award for awkward situations at the moment.

Shayne, 1:26 AM: youre very wise..but i don't know if im willing to risk our friendship. we've been friends for so long and i think losing that would hit me harder than anything

They were always great at understanding how the other felt.

Damien, 1:27 AM: If your friendship is that strong, it shouldn't change his opinion of you. And, hey, don't give up hope that he likes you in the same way. You're quite the charmer.

It takes 7 minutes for Shayne to respond.

Shayne, 1:34 AM: maybe you're right. i guess i’ll try telling him as soon as possible. thank you so much, man.

Damien sends a smiley and falls asleep at 3:14 AM.

-

Two days after Damien receives Shayne's Noah-breakdown, near the end of the work day, he encounters Noah himself in the coffee room.

He acts as casual as possible, which involves tripping on a chair, while approaching him.

Noah chuckles and raises an eyebrow at him while standing and waiting for the coffee machine to brew.

“So,” He leans against the table. “Talk to Shayne lately?”

Noah’s smile falls into a suspicious look.
“...yes? I gotta go, see you later.” He grabs his coffee and hurries out of the room.

Damien expects he'll be hearing from Shayne soon enough.

-

After work, Shayne invites Damien over. It goes expected, Shayne avoiding the elephant in the room as the two sit on their asses playing their current favorite video game for at least two hours. Somewhere along the line, it gets late and music gets turned on as they relocate to the coffee table in Shayne's kitchen. They trade out video games for cards and each other's company. Damien tells himself that if Shayne isn't going to bring up Noah, he'll have to soon.

‘'What I Got” by Sublime drifts around them quietly from the speaker as Damien throws down a final winning card and Shayne does his stupid screech.

Damien, for one, knows he is not a hypocrite. Second, he does not know what he’s doing. Third, he does it anyway.

As he starts talking, ‘'Kiss From A Rose” by Seal begins to play. Shayne has a glazed over look in his eyes that only pushes Damien’s words out further.

“Alright. I can't sit here and act like a hypocrite. This is bothering me and I can't let it affect our friendship. I don't expect anything from you and I understand if you want me outta here, but...again, I just hope it doesn't affect our friendship.” His heart rate is worse than when he works out, he's definitely sure.

Shayne wears a sad smile. “You're dumb if you think anything you could say would make me want you ‘'outta here’ at this point.”

Damien takes a long breath.
“I have feelings for you. The not friend kind. The sappy ones. I have for a long time, and I realized I couldn't give you advice I couldn't take myself.”

Shayne's sad smile turns to a surprised one as he glances down at his lap then back up again with a shy smile.

“You remember.. The first time we ever really hung out we were playing chess on set, and- and I started humming this song, then you started singing it along with me? I just- I thought so early into being friends with you that you were the closest thing I’d ever find to a soulmate,” Shayne chuckles after saying. Their faces are too close for best friends. Damien is so in love with him.

Shayne shrugs like the asshole tease he is. “I still do, if it counts for anything,” he says quietly, before cradling a hand on Damien's jaw and leaning in to kiss him. Their knees are touching and Damien is so in love with him.

And then he remembers Noah. And how Shayne didn't mention him once. And how he has more self respect than allowing himself to be told he's someone's soulmate, while being a clear rebound. He pulls away and doesn’t say anything. Tries not to look at Shayne.

As he leaves, Seal sings “baby, i compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray”.

It's a great song. He'll never be able to listen to it again, but it’s a great song.

-

Shayne has never considered himself a heavy drinker. The night before, he made up for every drink he would've had to had to consider himself a heavy drinker. He walks into the Smosh Squad office with the worst hangover he's ever had and one coffee in both hands. Keith takes one look at him and his eyes bulge out of his head.

“Jesus Christ, man, what the hell kind of Disney cast reunion party kept you up all night?”

'The one where the two extras from the Ketchup on Everything bit make out and one up and leaves', he bites back in exchange for a light laugh. “Just missed out on some sleep. I'm all good.”

Once he's done being attacked with questions from Olivia and Courtney, he makes a beeline for Noah at the coffee machine. Noah grabs him by the arm with a concerned look in his eyes.

“Damien?”

Shayne nods sullenly.

Noah leans back and crosses his arms.
“What happened? If you lie, I'll be able to tell. Don't try it.” Shayne believes him for some reason.

“I invited him over to follow your advice you texted me a couple nights ago. You know, get it out, don't let it affect your friendship, I said I’d tell him as soon as possible-” Shayne bends an arm to scratch the back of his head while talking sheepishly.

Noah looks completely lost. “What the fuck- what are you talking about? You did not text me about any of that.”

“But-” Shayne whips out his phone and scrolls through his recent texts.

Shit.

He has to find Damien.

-

When Shayne appears at Damien's door immediately after work, Damien masters the art of acting like nothing happened.

“What's up,” he says, looking anywhere but Shayne till Shayne's words pull his attention to him.

“I need you to let me explain. I can't- I can't live with knowing I hurt you and you thinking I would ever on purpose,” He pauses before saying hesitantly, “Let me in so we can talk?”

Damien waves him in and closes the door behind him. They face each other awkwardly in the middle of his living room.

“I don't really get what there is to explain. You told me you had feelings for Noah, I told you.. If you have feelings for a friend you need to let them know, I didn't want to contradict my own statement so I let you know, and...all that heebie jeebie. Shayne, I can't- I won't let myself be a rebound.”

Shayne looks like Damien just punched him in the stomach. It only breaks his heart a little bit.
“No. No, no, no. This is the story from beginning to end. I’d been talking with Noah for awhile about..my feelings for you. He let me externalize anything i felt like I needed to say. Something about how he'd be happy to help me align my chakras. I don't know, the kid's a freak,” he takes a break from his hand gestures to frown at Damien. “You thought I was in love with Noah, really? Anyway, remember a couple weeks ago, when I laughed so hard I cried because Boze said you, Noah, and Joven look like a Pokemon evolution? I set your three contact names in my phone as Noah 1, Noah 2, and Noah 3.” He shakes his head. “Not the best idea, especially when you're texting one at 1 AM about the other on a spur of the moment decision.” He looks at Damien, and Damien doesn't know how to respond.

“I- you were drunk, man. How do I know-”

Shayne laughs in his face.
“I was absolutely not drunk. It was 1 AM and I- Damien, I was drunk the entirety of last night after you left. Not when I accidentally texted you,” He pauses. “Just grossly in love.”

Damien hands the phone back to him and shoves his hands a little farther down into his pockets as he stares down at his feet while taking a long inhale. He exhales and looks back at Shayne.

Shayne has no idea how to communicate his bewilderment that the thing he loves most is also the thing he fears most.

And then Damien cracks that goofy smile, and Shayne's heart grows three sizes.

“So we're both a couple of stupid idiots then, huh?”

Shayne runs a hand down his face and sighs, smiling lightly. “No, you're not at all. It’s totally on me. I would never, never, conscientiously put you through all this bullshit. I'm.. I’m sorry.”

Damien steps forward and envelopes him in the softest hug he thinks is possible. He wants to cry, inhaling the warmth of his neck so strongly.

“Hey, don't be sorry. At least you didn't text Joven.” They pull apart only for Shayne to clap from laughter and to shoot ideas of Joven’s responses back and forth. (“No one will ever love you if you’re so fucked in the head that I'm your immediate contact for any sort of advice”)

The air in the room goes back to the two standing awkwardly close together and looking anywhere but at the other.

Damien, ever the hater of full silence, breaks it. “So, when you said all that stuff about it being debilitating to be around me..and the closest thing to a soulmate..you meant that?” Shayne notices how different his voice gets when he's serious. He also notices how into it he is.

“Maybe you are a stupid idiot.” He takes Damien's hands. He remembers the two of them playing chess. There's his move. Damien's turn.

“I'm your stupid idiot,” he says in his deep, borderline southern accent.

Shayne shakes his head, mouth feeling on the verge of cracking from smiling so wide. “Shut up,” he says, “I'm gonna kiss you now.”

Damien leans in as fast as he does and they knock teeth before smiling into each other’s lips. It's not Shayne's first time kissing a guy, but it's his first time kissing someone he's pretty sure he's way too in love with to never kiss again. It's Damien's first time doing both. He can safely say he likes it. Although it's strange feeling facial hair against his face, the feeling of Shayne's hands tangled through his hair and Damien's hands on his hips trumps any uncomfort.

He thinks he can definitely get used to this.

-

This time, Damien's phone starts buzzing consistently at 1 AM after Boze unwittingly opens a selfie of Shayne and Damien kissing. As she screams at him through the pixels on his screen, (‘'OH MY FUCKING LORD”, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME YOU ABSOLUTE HEADASS? GONNA LEAVE ME WITH NO EXPLANATION?” “whatever fuck yall for real i knew from day one”), he only laughs lightly before setting his phone down and turning back over to bury his head in Shayne's neck and arm over his side.

-

When they come into the office the next morning, the squad and games crew surprise them with loud, excited support and congratulations and Boze pops a rainbow confetti in their faces with the clear look of “this is what happens when you wake me up at 1” plastered across her face.
Shayne and Damien just laugh as Damien intertwines their fingers, to the boisterous “awww” ‘s from Noah, Courtney, Olivia, Wes and Mari and exaggerated puking noises from Boze, Keith, Ian and Joven.

Yeah, they can get used to this. Maybe they already kind of were.