He’s moved his laptop closer to her bed.
His whole setup, actually. The bags of Honey Buddha chips, the cans of Dr. Pepper, his computer, his other computer, and himself. He’s sitting beside her, but substantially below her. She has to look to the left and down to see him, which she knows will give her a crick in her neck but she’s doing it anyway, just to see him.
She’s laying on her stomach on the bed, her legs raised and waving back and forth gently as she fiddles with her phone.
She smiles to herself as an idea comes to her. She opens up the RFA app and dials Seven’s number from her contacts. He’s her number one speed-dial; he has been since she fell for him.
She listens to the dial tone, then subsequently his phone ringing from the floor next to her. In her periphery, she sees him startle, then smile at the phone when he sees the caller ID.
“I know that it’s you calling… but I almost pretended not to know. Actually, I was-” he huffs a laugh “-waiting for you to call.” His cheeks tinge pink and he rubs the back of his neck almost shyly.
She grins, but doesn’t say anything.
Seven laughs again as he continues: “You are so persistent… How do you never quit?”
The room gets quiet for a moment, and all she can hear is his quiet breathing over the phone.
“I thought I should never let anyone remember me. That if I made them sad, if I made them miss me, I’d be in their hearts. Ever since I became an agent, if someone grew to like me I’d run away. I’d just suddenly disappear one day…”
He pauses, as if gathering his courage to continue. She dangles her forearm off the bed, offering to hold his hand if he needs it. He glances at it and smiles, catching her meaning immediately.
“At first, I felt so lonely and… empty. But the more I did it, the more I got used to it. The RFA helped me cope with that loneliness. I kept the RFA a secret from the agency. I wanted to believe that they would always be my family. I thought and I judged in my own terms and drew the line.”
He stops again; she can see him swallow. “I knew how hurt you’d feel… but I tricked myself into believing it was for the best. I broke out of that because of you… your positive energy. I used to be the positive one with Saeran, but I forgot all about that after starting at the agency.”
He looks up at her to find her smiling down at him; his face gets even redder. She closes her eyes and lays her head down as he starts talking again. His voice is so soft in her ear.
“Thank you for helping me remember what I had forgotten. My life - everything is so messed up, but now I have hope… I feel like we can do anything… And - “
He forces himself to keep looking at her as he continues, even though he feels insanely vulnerable. “I want to be with you. This is the gift you’ve given me. Are you listening?”
She breathes a laugh, her eyes still closed. “Yes. Come up here.”
She opens them when he sputters and suppresses a smile when his face blushes even brighter.
“W-What? Ho-How can I go up on the bed?”
“What’s wrong about coming up on the bed?” she teases, a lilting tone to her voice.
“W-Well, I’m not saying something’s wrong. But thi-this laptop! If I put it on the bed, the air won’t flow. And then the CPU will get overheated…” He notices the disbelieving look on her face and turns away, rubbing the back of his neck. “Y-Yeah, uh, anyway…”
She tilts her head, giving him her best puppy-dog eyes and a pout to match.
“Still,” he relents, laughing shyly, “If you want me to go up… I’ll do it later, after this is done…” He laughs again, and she thinks she could melt.
“Should we just look at each other like this right now?” Another laugh has her heart skipping beats. “I have to work, but I feel sleepy. I’ll just look at you like this and take a break.”
He gazes at her, his eyes softening, his smile warm like sunshine.
“And if I can’t stand it… I’ll go sit beside you.” He breathes gently into the receiver before continuing. “And no more jokes over the phone, okay?”
She smiles and then hears his breath catch.
“Oh… you’re smiling again… You’re so cute…” He laughs outright into the phone. “I’ll hang up now.”
Seven lasts ten minutes.
Even though he continues working - sporadically, never for too long - he spares tons of glances to look up at her. Time and time again, he’d looked up to find her gazing down at him with unveiled affection in her eyes, her caramel-honey eyes, and he’d be melting all over again.
Finally, he decides he can’t take it anymore. He slides his laptop off his legs and stands.
She watches him stretch, admires the sliver of exposed skin where his shirt slides up.
“Like what you see?” he asks, clearly teasing her despite his face being as red as his hair.
“Absolutely,” she replies, resting her chin in her hand and following him with her eyes as he walks over to the other side of the bed.
At first he just perches on the edge, spine ramrod straight. She lightly touches the tips of her fingers to his sleeve, silently reassuring him. He peeks down at them, slumps, then falls back against the bed.
She smiles and adjusts so she’s sitting - which causes her skirt to flip up a bit, but she makes no move to adjust it - then repositions herself so she’s laying next to him on her back.
They lay in silence for a bit.
Then she feels a gentle brush against the side of her hand, a silent question.
She doesn’t need to look down to know what it is. With yet another smile, her face heating, she slowly seeks out his hand and twines her fingers with his.
Seven’s hand is big and warm, the weight of his fingers between hers reassuring. The sleeve of his hoodie brushes against her wrist, tickling her. In the silence of the apartment, she hears his breath hitch.
She doesn’t want to be the one to break the silence, so instead of speaking she just turns to look at him; the way his hair falls into his face, both in front of and behind his glasses; the way his chest rises and falls with each soft breath; the way his forehead slopes into his nose, and the way his nose drops off to the gentle curves of his mouth.
He feels her staring and turns to look at her, knocking his glasses askew in the process. He laughs as he adjusts them, positioning his head so he can see her better.
“What?” he asks.
She marvels at how soft his voice is; it’s so soft the comfortable silence doesn’t even feel close to broken.
She doesn’t think when she responds, only says what’s on her mind.
Seven swallows and his eyes go wide in surprise. “O-Oh…”
“It might embarrass you, but it’s true,” she whispers. “You’re so beautiful.”
Seven sits up suddenly, disentangling his hand from hers. “Stop saying it so nonchalantly,” he says. “Or…”
She follows his lead, moving to sit next to him on the edge of the bed. “Or…?” she prompts.
He surprises her by looking her in the eye, a slight blush high on his cheekbones. “Or I might do something stupid.”
She smiles, seeking out his hand again and squeezing it. “And what might that be?”
He bites his lip, barely suppressing a smile, then sighs. “Stop me.”
He leans in close to her, so close she can feel his breath on her lips.
“Please stop me,” he murmurs.
Instead of responding, she closes the distance and presses her mouth to his, her eyes fluttering shut.
He takes a second to kiss her back, stunned, his brain short-circuiting. But when he does, when his arms wrap around her waist, she melts into him. She grips the front of his shirt and moves closer.
Seven’s the one to break it. He pulls away and rests his forehead against hers, face flushed.
“You didn’t stop me,” he says, sounding awed.
She splays her hand on his chest, his heartbeat strong beneath her fingers. “You didn’t stop me either.”
“I didn’t want to. How could I stop you, I-” He breaks the sentence off and flicks his gaze away.
“You?” she whispers.
“I really wanted to kiss you,” he admits, shyly meeting her gaze once more. “I really… I really want to kiss you again…”
“So kiss me.”
This time Seven doesn’t hesitate at all, tangling his fingers in her hair and pressing close to her. His mouth is sure against hers, his hand firm against the small of her back.
She practically molds to him, her body curving into his while her hands seek out his hair. She runs her fingers through it gently, making him shiver.
She breaks away to breathe for a second and the instant she does, he’s chasing her mouth with his, unwilling to let this end for even a moment. She laughs against his mouth, cradling his jaw with one hand.
“You’re cute,” she mumbles against his lips.
“Not as cute as you,” he replies, covering her hand with his.
She laughs again, pressing one last chaste kiss to his mouth before parting. She gazes at him for a moment, then wraps her arms around him and rests her forehead on his shoulder.
“We’re in this together, Seven. Okay?” she asks.
He pushes his nose into her shoulder. A few seconds pass before she feels him nod. She lets her hands wander into his hoodie to rest against his back, his shirt the only thing between her hands and bare skin.
“Yeah,” he breathes, so soft she wouldn’t have heard it had he not been right by her ear. “Together.”
She gathers her courage, so amplified just by being with him, and whispers, “I love you.”
He doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t regret it.
“You don’t have to say it back, I just need you to know that I do.”
Seven takes a deep, shuddering breath. She can feel him tense under her fingertips. She rubs soothing circles on his back, turning her face into his neck and closing her eyes.
“I do too.”
She blinks. Then looks at him.
He’s smiling, the biggest grin she’s ever seen him wear. His cheeks are red again, but he doesn’t look embarrassed in the slightest.
“I love you too,” he repeats.
She thinks she’s going to smile - who wouldn’t smile at a time like this? - so she’s surprised to feel a tear roll down her cheek. She wipes it away only for it to be replaced with even more, and soon she’s sobbing into Seven’s shirt as he holds her.
“I-I’m sorry,” she says, her voice muffled. “I shouldn’t cry…” She laughs at herself. “I must seem insane to you.”
“You don’t,” he reassures. “I know… I know it’s my fault you’re crying. I was so mean to you, I-”
She cuts him off with her fingers against his mouth.
“No,” she says firmly, her voice thick. “You were doing what you thought you had to do to protect me, Seven. I’m not upset with you.”
He looks confused for a moment. He takes her hand in his and presses a kiss to each of her fingers.
“I’m just... “ New tears well up in her eyes. “I’m just really happy.”
Seven squeezes her hand and uses the other to wipe her tears away. “And… And I’m the one who made you so happy you’re crying? That might be a lapse in judgement,” he jokes.
She shakes her head. “No way. Loving you is the best decision I’ve ever made.”
He stares at her in amazement, then kisses her knuckles. “You think you can win the ‘Who-Loves-Who-More’ game?” he teases. “You’ve got a big storm comin’.”
She laughs. “Bring it on. I can do this all day.”
He rubs the back of his neck, suddenly sheepish. “Well… All day… I do have to get back to work….”
“And?” she asks. “You can’t multitask? Or is this you forfeiting?” The challenge is clear in her voice.
“Oh, them’s fightin’ words, missy,” he says, affecting a terrible southern accent.
“That’s what I was going for, my love.” She stands up and straightens her clothes, then practically dances off to the kitchen. “I’ll make some dinner. And you better eat it.”
As she walks away, he hears her start to hum quietly to herself. She busies herself with tying an apron around her waist and putting her hair up into a loose ponytail.
He’s in way too deep.
But he wouldn’t have it any other way.