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“Ooooh, my name is Shayne and my controller smells!” Damien whines, doing a pathetic impression of Shayne as he wins yet another round of Nidhogg. Shayne can’t help his whining, he’s furious, he’s tired, Damien can’t stop winning because he’s a talented ass, and damn it his controller is broken.


“Shut up!” He yells back, shoving his elbow into Damien’s ribs to try to distract him. It doesn’t work, of course it doesn’t, and Damien just laughs and cuts Shayne’s character in half again. “Damn it.”

“Awww, I’m sorry Shayne, I’ll let you win the next round, if you want.” His voice is mocking but Shayne can hear the softness beneath, Damien’s voice fond and warm.


“Shut up,” Shayne grumbles again, and he puts his controller down for a second to grab a fistful of Doritos and shoves them into his mouth. He gets crumbs all over his lap and the couch, but it’s two AM and he couldn’t care less, dusting them off and onto the floor. It’s Damien’s turn to vacuum, anyway. Hah.

“I’m so tired I could fall asleep literally right now, right here. And I’ll cuddle the shit out of you in my sleep, too. I’ve been told I’m a cuddler.” Damien winks, controller forgotten on his lap as he stretches his back and groans, and Shayne feels his heart go soft.


“We should probably go to bed soon dude. We have to get up at, like, seven tomorrow. I mean today. I mean — ugh, nevermind.” He waves his hand in the air, and Damien laughs again. Shayne can feel it, Damien’s leg jiggling from where it’s pressed against his thigh, and for some unknown reason, it makes him want to hug Damien and never, ever let go.

Fifteen minutes later, they’re still playing Nidhogg. Shayne has managed to win two rounds and he’s feeling all sorts of emotions, gripping onto his controller because holy shit, he might actually win — he might actually beat Damien for the first fucking time, and damn it’ll feel good.

He wins a third time and gets a little suspicious. He’s usually bad at this game, hasn’t played it enough, while Damien is pretty fucking great.

“No!” Damien yells when Shayne wins, he actually wins, and throws his controller onto the couch.

“Dude! Oh my god!” Shayne is so excited he drops his controller and turns towards Damien, launching himself forward to hug him. “I’m a fucking Nidhogg master!”


Damien laughs and squeezes Shayne’s arm. He’s warm and solid against Shayne’s chest, and Shayne has to force himself to lean back and actually let go, because if it were up to him, he’d stay there forever.

Damien’s face is a tiny bit flushed when Shayne looks at him again, smile soft and eyes tired, and Shayne can’t help but wonder whether that blush happened because of the hug — their proximity making him flustered, or because he’s just hot. It’s probably the latter, unfortunately. It’s not like Damien feels anything more than friendship for him.


That saddens Shayne for some reason, he can’t quite place why because he’s so fucking tired, so he pushes the thought aside for later, when he’s actually awake.

“I’m proud of you, bud,” Damien says and Shayne’s heart flutters in his chest, violent yet so warm, so loving. It’s a nickname he’s heard so many times, but coming out of Damien’s mouth it seems to have an entirely new meaning.

“We should probably go to sleep, dude. It’s, like, three AM now.”

Damien sighs and rubs his eyes, as if the knowledge of the time had made him tired all of a sudden. He doesn’t move though, and neither does Shayne; they just sit here in silence, listening to the Nidhogg soundtrack playing from their shitty TV.


“You know,” Damien starts, trailing off like he doesn’t want to break their comfortable quiet, “you know, this might be one of my favorite moments. Of us living together, I mean. I love living with you, but this? These moments make me realize why you’re my best friend and I’m so freaking lucky to have you in my life.”


Shayne is speechless. His heart is thumping in his chest and he can feel his cheeks grow hot, and then he knows. He knows why he hasn’t been able to date in months, because it feels so wrong and weird; he knows why Damien always makes him have such strong emotional reactions. He knows why he can’t imagine living without his best friend in his life. It all fucking makes sense and it’s terrifying.

“I— me too,” he chokes out, because that’s all he can say right now. He has feelings for his best friend — he’s practically in love with his best friend, and it’s scary and amazing all at once.

Damien, obviously oblivious, turns the TV off. He brushes the crumbs off the couch too and then stands up.

“G’night man,” he says gently, smiling down at Shayne and then walking away. He has no fucking clue what’s going on in Shayne’s head, how his thoughts and his heart are a jumbled mess of confusion and fright and this dumb crush. He’s twenty-two for God’s sake, he should know how to handle this.

 

 

It’s 12:42 AM on a Wednesday night, they have work tomorrow, and they’re watching Kung Fu Panda, because it’s a good movie, damn it. It’s also kind of the only thing playing on the limited amount of cable channels they get — which isn’t a problem, because, as stated before, it’s a good movie. Watching animated movies together should become a tradition of theirs, Damien thinks, and he shoves that idea to the back of his brain for later.

“I love the design in this movie,” Shayne says through a mouthful of cereal, slumped next to Damien on the couch. He’s pressed up right against Damien, despite having more than half the couch free, but Damien’s not fighting it. Shayne’s warm, and he’s tired. They’d come back from set way later than usual and decided “fuck it, we’re having breakfast for dinner” — which just ended up being cereal and toast, because Damien had used the last of the eggs making them breakfast that morning. “I want to go to Japan someday.”

“Shayne, this movie is set in China,” Damien says, an amused smile on his face. “Not Japan.”

“Close enough, same thing.”

“It’s literally not the same thing at all.”

“Okay, still,” Shayne insists, putting down his cereal bowl and wiping his mouth. “My point still stands. I want to go to Japan someday. Think of all the cool video game and anime stuff there, dude. It would be sick, wouldn't it?”

“It would be cool,” Damien admits, thinking it over. Exploring the world with Shayne at his side? He could definitely get into that. “But it’s not like you have the money to go there anytime soon — I had to cover part of your rent just last month, remember?”

“I didn’t mean tomorrow, jackass,” Shayne retorts weakly, sending him a half-glare. It quickly turns into something fonder, softer, though, and Damien feels his own expression go soft. “Go with me. To Japan, I mean. We should go together someday.”

Damien feels a smile he can’t help make the ends of his lips quirk upward, and when Shayne mirrors this, something in his chest aches, in the best kind of way. “That’ll be a long way off, you know. You sure you’re willing to wait that long for us to have the money and time for that?”

Shayne shrugs, his eyes crinkling at the edges from the width of his smile. “There’s nobody else I’d rather go with. I want to see Japan with you, dude. Live with it. Plus, I don’t think I could bring myself to find a platonic sugar daddy to get money from, anyway. Wait, what would you call a friend who gives you money? Sugar buddy? Glucose pal?”

Damien’s smile turns to a full-blown grin, and he tries to hide his face a little bit — he’s way too giddy over this hypothetical situation, and Shayne being a huge dork doesn’t help. He feels like a little kid, honestly, getting this excited, and he’s not sure why, but he’s cool with it all the same. “All right, if you’re sure you don't want to find a glucose pal.”

Shayne leans over, dropping his head onto Damien’s shoulder, and closes his eyes. Damien can see how exhausted he is, can feel the tension practically draining out of him. They’ve both been up too long, but he doesn’t mind. Late nights like these often create some of his favorite memories between the two of them...like this one, probably. Damien reaches over and brushes his bangs out of his eyes subconsciously, and Shayne makes a soft, content sound that makes his heart stop. It takes everything in Damien’s willpower to stop his hand from freezing in surprise.

It’s so unbelievably tender, exceptionally affectionate for Shayne, and Damien’s left wondering if he’d mixed some of the milk in that cereal with vodka, but he decides not to question it. If Shayne wants to be sweet for one night, he’ll let him — it’s almost cute, actually. He opens his eyes, peering up at Damien, his cheeks flushed from how tired he is, and Damien knows this is an image that’ll be burned into his brain for a while. “I’m sure.”

 

 

When Shayne walks into the kitchen that morning, Damien is cooking breakfast. It’s rare for them, to eat something other than cereal or bread and butter or whatever they can afford. But Damien is humming along to the radio, flipping a pancake while bacon sizzles in another pan.

“Hey, man,” he says softly when he spots Shayne standing in the doorway, looking like a fucking idiot, “I made you some coffee.”

“Oh, thanks.” Damien has placed Shayne’s favorite mug next to the coffee pot, and that simple gesture alone gives him butterflies. There’s a storm going on down there, the tornado in his gut making him almost dizzy. Fuck Damien for being so kind and considerate. It’s making Shayne sweat and flush, and Damien isn’t even aware of it.

“No problem, Shayne. Do you want maple syrup on your pancakes? It was on sale yesterday, so I got some.” He nods towards the plastic jar on the table and Shayne grabs a plate, the one with the chip on the side and the mysterious stain, and helps himself. He doesn’t eat straight away though, instead waiting for Damien to finish cooking the pancakes.

It’s fascinating, watching him move around their tiny kitchen; and while Shayne knows that Damien is not the best cook, he always tries his best, and at the end of the day that’s what matters.

Now that Shayne is thinking about it, Damien seems to always cook his favorite food when he knows they’ll be eating together. He always chooses the brand of cereal that Shayne loves the best too, and Vanilla Coke instead of regular, and it really doesn’t make sense. Shayne buys the food that Damien loves too, because he’s an amazing roommate, but not every single time. They can only afford one box of cereal at a time at the moment, sharing it because it’s cheaper and they both like them anyway, and Shayne honestly can’t remember the last time he ate Damien’s favorite instead of his own.

It’s probably his incredible generosity, Shayne thinks as Damien sits opposite him and digs into his pancakes. He gets a bit of syrup on his chin and it’s so endearing.

“You’ve got, uh,” Shayne gestures towards his own chin and Damien looks a little surprised. He wipes his chin with his thumb but misses the drop of syrup.

“Am I good?” He asks and Shayne shakes his head. He smiles, because God Damien is adorable, and leans over the table to swipe his finger across his chin.

“There,” he says, wiping his finger on his jeans, and when he looks back up at Damien, it looks like he’s blushing a little.

They keep eating in silence for a while, Shayne trying to stealthily glance at Damien’s face from time to time because the morning sunlight is streaming through the window and he looks beautiful, hair messy and fluffy and lips glistening with syrup. He’s breathtaking honestly, even though he’s wearing his shittiest pajama shirt and there’s still sleep crusted in his eyes, and Shayne finds himself wondering if he’ll ever see anyone as beautiful as him.

 

It’s three AM, and Damien feels like he’s about to pass out.

His hands are getting that tingly feeling again, the way they do when he’s not breathing right, the way they only do when he’s having an anxiety attack, but he’s out of his fucking pills again. He hadn’t had enough money to refill his prescription on top of the bills, and the rent, and the groceries, and the gas, and everything else he’d been stressed out about over the course of the month.

His lungs feel constricted, and his stomach turns violently, and there’s nothing but loudness and static in his brain. When he starts to hear the sound of his own heartbeat roaring in his ears, he knows where he has to go. He hates feeling this vulnerable, but he has no other choice.

“Shayne?” Damien asks, knocking on his bedroom door feebly, his voice a low whisper. If he’s not awake, then Damien doesn’t want to bother him, but if he is…

The door opens, and Shayne had definitely been asleep, but he doesn’t look annoyed. He runs his fingers through his hair, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. He looks a mess, like he's had a rough dream, and Damien almost feels bad for coming to get him. “Yeah? You okay, dude?”

It’s all Damien can do to shake his head, inhaling sharply, and Shayne’s face falls. He gestures for Damien to come in, softly shutting the door behind them so they don’t wake up their neighbors, and he immediately pulls Damien into his arms. Inwardly grateful, Damien stumbles forward and buries his face in his shoulder, doing his best to keep his trembling under control. Shayne, bless him, doesn’t ask questions; he’s dealt with this enough times to know exactly what to do. He traces patterns into Damien’s back, swaying with him quietly, and they stay like that until Damien stops shaking.

“Come on, let’s sit down,” Shayne says, gently guiding Damien to his bed, gingerly pushing him down so that he’s sitting up against the headboard. He perches next to Damien, looking at him with soft curiosity. “Are your hands numb again?”

Damien nods, and Shayne takes his hands tenderly, pulls them into his lap. He rubs gentle circles into Damien’s palms with his thumbs, murmuring things to him all the while. It doesn’t matter what they are — Shayne’s just rambling on about his day, at this point — but it’s nice to hear his voice. It’s soothing, in a way, to listen to him talk, even if it’s about nothing at all.

Eventually the feeling comes back to his hands, but they stay like that for a while afterward; Shayne playing with his fingers and babbling on about the pilot of some new show he’s watching, and Damien listens intently. It makes him feel grounded, in a way, like being with him is the one thing tethering him to the earth when everything else seems to be so unsteady.

“Thank you,” Damien mumbles once he finds his voice again, finally able to meet his gaze. “I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have you here with me.”

“I’ll always be here with you,” Shayne answers without missing a beat, and Damien’s chest fills and holds. “It’s not a problem, I promise.”

At that point, Damien’s heart drops, and he realizes just how much he doesn’t want to go back to his room, where he’ll be cold and worried and alone. If he’s alone, his thoughts can come back. But if he’s with Shayne, he’s safe. There’s really only one option, here.

“Can I…stay? Like, with you?” Damien asks, and he quickly starts to backtrack when he sees Shayne’s head snap up. “Just for tonight, you know? I don’t — I can’t be alone right now.”

He watches Shayne go soft, and he nods back. “Yeah, dude, of course you can. You know you can always stay with me.”

Shayne gets up to turn off the light, and Damien tries to make himself comfortable in bed. It’s not the first time he’s slept here after a panic attack, but he doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to feeling so vulnerable. He lays down, his back to Shayne, hoping that staring at the wall will be boring enough to send him to sleep. It’s not, though, it never is, because his OCD kicks in at that moment to send one thought through his brain over and over again: you’re not enough. You’re never enough. Everyone hates you. And the list goes on.

“Are you still anxious?” Shayne asks, breaking his train of thought. When Damien doesn’t respond, he can feel the mattress dip as Shayne flips over, and then there are two familiar arms slipping around his torso. He lets himself be pulled back gently until his back hits Shayne’s chest, and he lets out a breath he didn’t even know he’d been holding in. He feels enveloped, secure, and it’s like his brain suddenly switches off.

He’s not used to being the little spoon — or any spoon, for that matter; it’s been a while since his last relationship — but as Shayne entangles their legs and nuzzles his face into the back of his neck, he can’t think of a time he felt more safe.

 

 

“I want snacks,” Damien moans pitifully, legs dangling from the back of the couch. He’s lying on his back, looking at Shayne upside down. He’s been whiny all day, bored out of his mind because it’s Sunday, and normally Shayne would hate that whiny voice, but, now that he’s discovered that he’s literally in love with him, he doesn’t mind it as much.

“We don’t have any, Dames,” Shayne sighs as he watches the other try to touch his toes only to groan and fall back down onto the couch.

“Ugh, this sucks,” Damien answers.

“Do you want me to get you some? I’m sure there’s a 7/11 open somewhere.” Shayne shrugs, legs propped up on their coffee table. He’s sat on the floor, next to Damien, reading A Song of Ice and Fire. Damien twists his neck to look at him, and Shayne swears his cheeks are flushed.

“Dude, it’s literally ten PM. You don’t have to go now.”

“If it gets you to stop whining,” he says without really meaning it, smiling when Damien punches him in the arm playfully.

“You’re the best. You’re a king,” Damien answers, smiling still, and his cheeks are a little pink. “I’ll make it up to you somehow, I swear.”

You could kiss me, Shayne thinks. He’s looking at Damien’s lips, soft and pink and parted, and when he forces his gaze back up to his eyes, Damien’s whole face is red and, for a millisecond, Shayne swears he was also looking at his mouth.

“Uh,” Shayne coughs, “it’s okay, really. I’ll just… I’ll just go now. You can choose a movie or something, while I’m gone.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure,” Damien stutters and the air is awkward suddenly, like they both know something could have happened between them, maybe, if one of them had been brave enough to make the move. Shayne’s mind is whirling because it really did look like Damien wanted to kiss him, just for a second, like a fleeting thought that you can’t control but that’s so strong it knocks you down; those sudden realizations of things that could happen and that maybe it’s a terrible idea but it feels so right somehow. Shayne has a lot of those at the moment, urges to lean in and hold Damien or kiss him or grab his hand, so strong that they make him dizzy sometimes, and trying to fight them back is the most difficult thing in the world.

“Hey, Shayne,” Damien says, as they both stand up. “Thanks. It really means a lot.”

Shayne shrugs, because he doesn’t really know how else to react, and when two minutes later he’s in the elevator, he slumps against the wall and exhales. It’s like he’d been holding his breath for hours, days maybe, always aware of what to say and and do and keep to himself, and God it’s hard. He wants to shake Damien’s shoulders, tell him he wants to kiss him and touch him and hold him and love him, give him everything, pour his heart into Damien’s hand and let him keep it, nurture it. He wants nothing more than to wake up next to him every morning, his best friend, the man who’s been with him through everything, all the good and the bad and the worst. He wants Damien, and it kills him that he can’t have him.

Twenty minutes later, he’s back with an armful of snacks, and Damien is waiting for him on the couch. He’s got a Marvel movie paused on the TV screen, and he leaps up as soon as Shayne walks in.

“Yo! My hero!” He says, smile wide like his eyes as he grabs the plastic bag and dumps the contents on their coffee table. There’s a lot of candy, pretty much everything that Damien loves, but Shayne allowed himself a can of Vanilla Coke.

“You’re the fucking best, Shayne,” Damien says earnestly, grabbing a pack of Sour Patch Kids and leaning back against the couch.

They watch the film, knees pressed together because it’s something they always do, though they don’t really know why, and Shayne laughs when Damien makes a dumb comment about Iron Man, and Damien laughs when Shayne imitates the villain. It’s nice, it’s something they do a lot, and it’s something Shayne can’t imagine himself living without. He wonders if they’ll still be best friends when they’re old, hair grey and bones sore but still making each other laugh, still caring about no one else more, still in their little bubble. He fucking hopes so.

 

 

It’s Tuesday night — laundry night, of course — and Damien swears he’s just figured out where his missing favorite hoodie might be. The faded blue one, with the tattered strings and the little hole in the pocket, the one he’s had for years because it’s so comfortable and makes him feel safe. It’s the one that Shayne, that son of a bitch, just pulled out of the dryer and immediately put on.

“Are you wearing my hoodie?” Damien asks, one eyebrow quirked, and Shayne flips the hood up and does a little mock spin for him.

“I might be. Like what you see?” He asks playfully, and Damien swats him with the towel he’s supposed to be folding.

“You look better in it than I do, you model wannabe,” Damien admits, a soft smile breaking through his facade as Shayne turns back to unloading the dryer. “Keep it.”

“Nah, what’s mine is yours, dude,” Shayne says, waving it off. He stands up for a second, catching Damien’s gaze, and suddenly the atmosphere feels electric. “Guess I’ll have to wear your clothes more often.”

“You should.”

“I will.”

Was that flirting? It feels like flirting.  Wait a second; there’s a realization coming on, he can feel it. Do I want that to be flirting?

At that moment, it’s like the the entire world falls out from under him. He can feel his cheeks heating up, his hands tingling with the anxiety, and all of a sudden the next important realization hits him: he’s an absolute idiot.

There’s a reason he feels safe with Shayne the way he doesn’t with anyone else; a reason he’s always willing to get up and make breakfast, or only buy Shayne’s snacks when they’re short on money. He’s got a massive crush on his best friend. Like, the oh god, I think I could love you if you let me kind. It makes his heart clench and his stomach flip and he kind of feels like he’s going to throw up from just how intense it is. He hasn’t felt something so strongly in a long while, and it just proves to him how once-in-a-lifetime this is.

It’s the same thing he’d felt a couple of days ago, before Shayne had run out to grab snacks for them; the close proximity between them, the tension in the air, the overwhelming urge to just do it, dumbass.  It’s then that Damien realizes just how easy it would be to kiss him — and how much he wants that.

So he does. On a whim, he leans over and kisses Shayne, and Shayne doesn’t pull away.

He does the opposite, actually; he tilts his head and leans into it, into him, and Damien can feel how hard his heart is hammering in his chest from the way they’re suddenly pressed together. He’s surprised by the rapid thump of his own heartbeat roaring in his ears, drowning out any coherent thoughts his brain may have decided to come up with. Shayne tentatively slips a hand into his hair, then, and that’s when he throws all his inhibitions out the window completely.

He kisses back until Shayne is pushed up against the dryer, though their laundry is completely forgotten about. He hadn’t expected everything to feel so right, but here they are; kissing in the hallway, and Shayne is wearing his hoodie, and he keeps making these soft, content sounds, and they should definitely be asleep except for the fact that Damien doesn’t think he’ll be able to sleep ever again, and he kind of doesn’t want to because going to sleep means that he has to stop kissing Shayne, another thing he definitely doesn’t want to do.

Oh my god, he thinks, and the reality of this entire situation knocks the air out of his lungs. I’m making out with my best friend.

And yet he doesn’t stop, doesn’t want to stop, until he’s positive he’s going to pass out if he doesn’t take a moment to breathe. When they break away, it’s all they can do to stop and stare at each other, still close enough to be sharing the same breath. Shayne’s cheeks are flushed and warm beneath his palms, and it takes all Damien’s willpower to keep himself from breaking into his dorkiest smile. And then Shayne blinks at him, slow and affectionate, and he does it anyway, because he really can't resist him.

“Sleep,” Shayne finally says, a soft, beautiful smile on his face. “We should probably sleep. We have to work tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” Damien breathes, nodding a lot more than he should be. “You're right. Sleep is, uh, probably a good thing.”

“Good,” Shayne agrees, his voice gentle, almost, and he’s beaming. It makes Damien’s chest fill and hold, and maybe his knees go a little bit weak. Maybe. “I’ll see you in the morning, then.” Shayne pushes himself up on his toes and kisses his cheek before disappearing down the hallway, leaving Damien alone with his thoughts.

Sleep, as it turns out, is yet another thing he hadn’t considered in the grand scheme of how this is all going to go down. It feels wrong, Damien thinks, that they’re not going to sleep in the same bed, but he’ll get there. Soon enough, he’ll be brave enough to follow Shayne into his bedroom instead of retreating into his own and having a small freakout.

Baby steps, he reminds himself, taking a deep breath. Making out with your best friend isn’t just something you get over that easily — something that becomes fairly obvious when Damien can’t fall asleep for another hour, at least.

They don’t talk about the kiss in the morning, but after they've eaten breakfast, Shayne pushes Damien up against their kitchen counter and kisses him again. Damien lets him until they’re definitely going to be late for work.

 

 

They’re laying on Shayne’s shitty bed, watching anime, when it hits him.

Damien is yawning, because it’s late and their day at work was exhausting, and (albeit maybe unconsciously) does the yawn-and-stretch thing, reaching around Shayne’s shoulders to pull him that little bit closer. Shayne’s about to make a joke about it, gently mock his boyfriend (the word still makes his heart go wild), when Damien giggles because of the show and snorts, covering his mouth and nose with one hand.

And then it hits him. He loves Damien. He’s in love with him. He’s in love with his best friend, his boyfriend, his everything. He’s in love and he’s never been happier, laying there with Damien on his shitty bed, fingers intertwined, Damien’s head on his shoulder, with a bag of chips and a Vanilla Coke.

Damien is wearing his hoodie; it looks so fucking good on him, makes him look warm and cozy and soft, so incredibly soft. The black color makes his skin look paler, too, a sharp contrast that brings out his eyes and the pink of his lips and cheeks, and Shayne stops breathing for a second because Damien looks good, too good almost.

“You okay, baby? You’re staring,” Damien says, voice soft like the fleece of his sweater and it makes Shayne melt, turn into a puddle of love and affection. They’re both smiling, warm, in their little bubble.

“Yeah,” he breathes, smiling against Damien’s shoulder, “you look good in my hoodie. You should steal my clothes more often.”

Damien laughs; he hides his face in the sleeve of the sweater and Shayne guesses he’s blushing, cheeks turning that pretty pink color that makes him look like a fucking angel.

So he takes Damien’s hands, pulling them off his face and leaning into kiss him — because he can now, and he desperately wants to. He can’t get enough of Damien’s mouth, how he always seems to melt under his fingertips; it’s intoxicating, addicting, and Shayne is already hooked.

Damien sighs softly when they part, eyes shut and cheeks warm under Shayne’s fingers. “Aw, look, we missed the fight,” he says, pointing at the laptop screen where the credits are rolling, but Shayne can’t bring himself to care. He hasn’t been paying attention to it anyway, too busy staring at Damien’s profile, too busy running his hands through the soft, brown locks.

“Sorry, love,” he says and Damien tenses up for a millisecond, barely noticeable, before smiling that cute grin of his and leaning against Shayne’s shoulder again.

“‘S okay,” he says, “I’ve already seen it anyway.”

Shayne hums, still carding his fingers through Damien’s hair, both because he knows Damien loves it and because fuck, that hair is silky, curly at the ends because it hasn’t been cut a while, and it’s yet another thing Shayne can’t get enough of.

I love you, he thinks, I love you so fucking muchGod, I love you — I love you. The thought has run through his mind so many times in the past few minutes that Shayne wonders how Damien hasn’t heard it, how he hasn’t  felt it like sometimes they can guess what the other is thinking. But he keeps it to himself, because maybe it’s still too soon, and the moment doesn’t feel right, and that’s okay. Because soon he’ll say those three words, and hopefully Damien will say them back — and the tornado in his mind and heart will calm down, turn soft, turn content, and they’ll be the happiest boys on Earth.

 

 

“Let’s go for a drive. I want to get away with you.”

That’s how it had started — the urge to grab Shayne and just go somewhere without telling anyone. Shayne, like the blessing he is, had agreed without question, and it hadn’t taken long for them to pack the bare essentials and jump into Damien’s car. They’d thrown a backpack full of clothes into the backseat in case they ended up staying somewhere, taken both of their wallets, and left the apartment at sunset.

And now they’re laying on the hood of Damien’s car, stargazing in a quiet spot just out of the city, because he’s apparently the sappiest person in the world when it comes to Shayne. Not that he’s complaining — he’s always been soft; he’s glad he finally has someone who cares about him just as much to be soft with. It’s been a new experience for both of them; Damien’s been the first best-friend-to-boyfriend Shayne’s ever had, and Shayne’s the first boy Damien’s ever dated, period. It’s good, though, beyond good, and Damien’s left wondering why they hadn’t started dating a long time ago. Right from the beginning, they clicked on another level. It had just taken them some time to figure out what that meant.

Damien breaks his gaze from the sky and looks over at Shayne, and everything seems right with the world. Maybe it’s the way the moonlight hits him just right, or how he’s wearing Damien’s hoodie yet again, or the flush in his cheeks, or how their fingers are laced together, but it’s magical, and it makes Damien’s stomach do cartwheels. Everything feels safe, calm, warm, and he swears he could live in this moment forever. It’s perfect.

The urge to express exactly how he feels hits him at that moment, and he’s not sure he can resist it any longer. He’s been trying to hold it in for a while, not wanting to say it too soon — this is one relationship he can’t mess up, after all. However, it shouldn’t be as much of a surprise as it is when the words slip out subconsciously, barely even a whisper — but Shayne still hears it, judging by the way his breath catches in his throat; “I love you.”

Shayne turns toward him, his eyes wide and...hopeful, and that makes Damien’s heart clench. “You...yeah?”

Damien swallows hard, nodding. “Yeah, I do.”

Oh,” Shayne murmurs, inhaling sharply. His free hand comes up almost involuntarily, fingers tracing Damien’s jawline, and the air between them is so thick it feels like concrete. Shayne swipes his thumb along Damien’s cheekbone, and his heartbeat stutters over itself. This is everything he wants in the world, right in front of him. “...I love you too. Oh God, I love you, I’ve been dying to say it.”

And it’s like everything in Damien pours out at once, and he becomes a puddle, and it’s all he can do to pull Shayne into his arms and simply hold on because he just can’t, he can’t function right now with how much he loves this man. Shayne’s trembling with the intensity of it all, or maybe that’s him, or both of them at once, and they lay there together to ride it out. He’s never been too good at regulating his emotions — everything is always too vivid, too intense — but...it could be all right, actually. Loving so much is a feeling he could get used to.

“You gonna be all right, baby?” Shayne asks as the tension drains out of him, tracing patterns between his shoulder blades, just like he always does to comfort him. “That was pretty intense.”

Everything feels yellow, he thinks. Bright yellow, and baby pink, and soft red, and they’re such beautiful, perfect colors to feel, and he’s so in love he’s positive he’s glowing with them, just like the stars dancing overhead. He’d say that out loud, except he’s not entirely sure it would make sense, so he presses his forehead against Shayne’s and sighs happily instead. They don’t need words. They never have. And this, right now, he thinks, probably conveys the same feeling. This moment, knee deep in the stars, is all theirs. “I feel absolutely golden.”