Peter and Sam were in the middle of a thread so long and winding, even Sam was having difficulty with making headway on where to put the pins in. The case had been one breadcrumb after another- unraveling the spool faster than either of them had anticipated. They couldn’t seem to break it up, and they were starting to run on empty.
DeMarcus and Lou didn’t seem like their prime suspects, and Sam was starting to get fed up with Peter and his blind faith in Chloe. At every turn, Peter insisted that Chloe was right, and had very little room for other opinions. Sure, Sam didn’t think DeMarcus and Lou were fully innocent, he just thinks they were as deep in the shit as Peter was convinced of. After the call with Perry, all Peter wanted to do was talk about the case, but Sam was over it.
In the beginning, it had a been a hard adjustment to go from school during the day, and documenting at night or during free period to being on all the time. Sam could tell Peter’s anxiety was keeping him up later than usual by the way his hair had more tufts sticking out in the morning. When falling into an editing flow, Peter tended to stay up far too late resulting in dark circles under his eyes. But an anxiety pit showed itself as Peter’s hair being messy from stress pulling, as well as chapped lips from biting them too often.
They had been there for all but a week before Peter almost collapsed. They had made dinner, almost ready to eat, when Peter slumped over the table- mid sentence. He had been leaning heavily on his hand, picking at but not eating his food, before his head connected with the table. Sam wasn’t even sure the specifics of what he had been talking about, but he knew it was something about the case.
Sam set a hand on Peter’s shoulder, gently shaking him and saying, “Peter- hey, Pete. Are you okay?”
It took a moment for Peter to lift his head up and acknowledge Sam with a small grunt. “Wha...?”
“You just slumped over, dude. You should go to bed but you need to eat first.”
Peter nodded as he finally began eating his previously untouched plate of spaghetti. Sam had blamed himself for not seeing the signs- getting too caught up in his own exhaustion. Peter had been practically laying on the table, rambling about a lead they should follow tomorrow, before discussing the edits to the question list he had.
I should have known.
Peter had managed to eat some of his food before his head started dropping again. When his fork clattered to the plate with a solid thunk, Sam knew he was truly done.
“Pete, c’mon. Go to bed.” Peter didn’t lift his head, but he did turn his face to look at Sam, eyes barely open.
“Dude, it’s only 9:30, but you’re exhausted. You need to go lay down.”
Sam helped Peter up the stairs by slinging an arm around his waist and putting Peter’s over his shoulder. They hobbled into Peter’s room and he immediately collapsed on the bed.
“Glasses,” Sam said, holding out his hand to place them on the nightstand. Peter complied before slipping under the covers and flopping down onto the bed. Sam went to leave, shutting the door behind him.
As the door shut, Peter let out a quiet, “G’night, Sammy.”
Sam took a bit of time to clean up their dinner, packing away leftovers to be eaten tomorrow, and loading the dishwasher with all the plates and silverware they used. He was almost done when he received a text from his mom.
Mama: Hi sweetie! When you get a second, could you send me the pictures of us Dad took in November? He uploaded them to your computer. Love and miss you!
He replied with a simple ‘ on it. <3 u too’ before finishing the dishes. He opened his laptop on the counter to see their question document for the next day’s interviews still open in Google Docs. He ignored it for a moment and opened the finder application. It took him only a moment to find and send the pictures over iMessage to his mom before closing the window. His eyes narrowed as he huffed in frustration and headed straight back to Peter’s room.
He didn’t bother knocking, and made as much noise as possible as he entered. He threw the lights on as Peter blinked blearily up at him from the bed, one hand suspiciously tucked under the covers.
“So, I just checked my computer to send something to my mom and imagine my surprise in seeing that there were revisions made to the question document.”
Peter at least had the brain cells to look sheepish and not respond.
“What the fuck, Peter? Do I need to ground you from your phone or something?” Sam asked, making a move to grab at Peter’s blankets and rip them back. Underneath the covers Peter had his phone clutched in his hand, screen still lit up with the document in full view.
“Sam, I just can’t turn my brain off. You know that.” He still looked and sounded exhausted, which helped his case minutely. “And I need my phone for my alarm.”
Sam sighed, plopping down on the bed next to him. They were quiet for a minute, both stewing in the frustration of the situation.
“I think we need some new rules.”
“What?” Peter replied.
“We’re used to having forced off time. When we were at Hanover, we had school and our parents to make sure the doc didn’t suck us in like a black hole.” Sam sighed, running his hands through his hair. “No one is here to stop us but ourselves... and you can’t keep doing this, Pete.”
Peter sighed as well. “Yeah... I know. I just- I can’t stop myself. It’s so much more important this time. My meds can only help so much.”
Sam got it. He truly did. With the pressure of doing a second season and living up to the expectations of being on Netflix, he got it. The thrill of the mystery wasn’t new, but there was so much else behind it this time. It wasn’t just a hometown story either- they were thousands of miles away from home, investigating a crime they had no real claim to be investigating. But they were.
Even though they had all these resources and people helping, they were still in charge. They were only eighteen years old and were in charge of deciding the filming schedule which meant when people got to go home for the day.
It was a lot.
“I know, Pete. I understand.”
Sam was at a loss. He felt like he needed to make sure Peter was taking care of himself, but he also felt the immense weight and importance of what they were doing. In all honesty, he had too many teenage hormones raging through his body to be dealing with such real world issues.
When Peter finally broke the silence, Sam had almost wished he hadn’t. It was just like Peter to be the most well meaning person in the room by inadvertently making it way more difficult for everyone else involved.
“Why don’t you just sleep in here tonight? That way, you can keep an eye on me and make sure I’m actually asleep.”
Sam saw about seventy-five issues he could have voiced in that moment, but he decided to placate Peter and just say, “Sure, why not?”
Sam got ready for bed and returned to find Peter already back on his phone. However, when he took it this time, it was to see he was only playing Candy Crush.
“Really, dude? You’re purposely not sleeping by playing Candy Crush?”
“It was keeping my brain occupied!” Peter whined.
“Whatever, this is staying over here tonight,” Sam said, plugging Peter’s phone in on the side Sam was on and placing it on the nightstand. The bed Peter had been using was a plush queen sized bed, so there was plenty of room for them both. Even though Sam knew his feelings for Peter maybe sometimes breached the more than friends category, there should be no issue with them sharing a bed.
I can do this...Right? It’s just like a sleepover, we’ve done this a million times. Except our parents aren’t here and we’re alone in this house... together... in the same room... and bed.
Sam may be great at helping Peter out when he was anxious, but he managed to fail miserably at reassuring himself. Somehow, he managed to shut his brain of and fall asleep. Small miracle.
The next morning they had come up with their list of “Sam and Peter’s House Rules for the Betterment of our Emotional and Physical Wellbeing” (Sam’s title) or the “Roommate Agreement” (Peter’s title). It included the following:
- Dinner is a work free zone
- Meals are non-negotiable unless both parties agree
- When space is needed, space is given
- No fighting
It was a short list, but it managed to do the trick. So, several weeks later after they got off of FaceTime with Perry and Peter began dissecting the call, Sam got frustrated and walked straight into the kitchen. Peter followed, still talking about the call.
He pulled out a pot of water and put it on the stove to boil before pointing at the fridge. “Pete?”
Peter paused in diatribe against Lou to respond with a, “Yeah?”
“Can you read me rule number one on Sam and Peter’s House Rules for the Betterment of our Emotional and Physical Wellbeing?”
Peter rolled his eyes before saying, “The Roommate Agreement states ‘Dinner is a work free zone.”
“Thank you, Mr. Maldonado. As the jury can see, Mr. Ecklund has put a pot of water on the stove to initiate the ritual of the nightly meal known as dinner, and thus, all work talk is off limits. I rest my case.”
Peter shook his head before walking the rest of the way into the kitchen. “Okay, fine. But stop talking about yourself in the third person.”
Sam just laughed before instructing Peter to get out the rest of the material and get to work. All in all, cooking, eating, talking about memes or life back at Hanover, and cleaning everything up took about an hour and a half. Part of Sam was just as eager to get back to work as Peter was, but the other part just wanted to be with Peter. To talk how they used to talk -- without this immense pressure hanging over their heads.
But they had to return to reality eventually.
When the cleanup was done, Sam grabbed a cup of tea before following Peter outside. Peter had asked to clear his head, but wanted Sam there to bounce ideas off of. And their camera person for the night had just returned after taking her leave for her own dinner earlier. He leaned against the basketball pole watching Peter pacing restlessly.
“So,” Peter began, “What did you think about the call from earlier?”
Sam took a moment to center himself. They were on camera, and he needed to be professional. He did his best to stow away all the multitude of feelings he had for Peter at the moment before speaking.
“I believe Perry,” Sam said, letting Peter stew for a moment before continuing, “I just don’t think that Lou would ever commit any of these crimes.”
“Then maybe DeMarcus did it on his own.”
“And why do you believe Perry so much? They’re best friends-”
Sam was already frustrated with Peter tonight. Peter was being blind to what was right in front of them and his theory was clearly lacking motivation.
“Because he brings up some good points, man. DeMarcus kind of lives under Lou’s microscope, and DeMarcus is Lou’s business. So, I don’t think Lou would let DeMarcus commit these crimes-”
“Okay, but Chloe said that she saw the Turd Burglar card in DeMarcus’ wallet.”
“I know- I know. Pete, you keep bringing that up.” Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes. The amount of times Peter based his theories explicitly on Chloe’s word alone was driving him up a wall.
“But that’s a valid point- I mean- if- if-”
“Sure, but look, we’re kind of running off Chloe’s word here. And I’m not saying she’s unreliable but she could be mis-remembering. That could have been a yogurt card.”
Peter didn’t even refute his point, just continued to work by changing the subject.
“DeMarcus has endless access-”
“But I’m telling you-”
“He has no alibi, and he acts like he’s above the law.”
“If Perry’s telling the truth, then Lou would never let DeMarcus commit these crimes, ever.” Sam knew in his heart that this was true. Lou was a weasel and he was selfish- he would never let his meal ticket to success be thwarted by some dumb high school prank.
Peter finally relented. “Maybe we should interview them together. Maybe there’s something they’re not telling us.”
“It’s not like one of them’s just gonna crack, and then point the finger at the other.”
“Yeah, but we finally know something that can drive a wedge between them.”
“What are you talking about?”
Sam could see where Peter was going with this, but wasn’t sure his motivation was all there. They knew Lou called the cops on the Skip Day party to stop DeMarcus and Perry from hanging out, but that didn’t prove that they hadn’t committed any crimes. Again, Peter wanted to delve into the emotional side of the story, regardless if it would actually help the case or not.
“We can stop there for tonight,” Peter said, turning to the camera. “Thanks for coming out after dinner, we really appreciate it.”
She smiled at both of them, “All part of the job- literally.” They helped her pack up the equipment before heading back inside.
“Alright so, we need to draft some questions for DeMarcus and Lou for tomorrow.” Peter said as he head straight back to their work space.
Sam sighed, “How will that help, Pete? Sure, maybe DeMarcus will turn on Lou, but he’s not going to just admit to anything because he’s on our side. What good will it do besides probably turn them both against us?”
“Sam, we’re just trying to get some answers here. A- and this seems like the best next step to move forward.” Peter had taken a seat at the makeshift desk, already pulling up his laptop to start typing a new document.
“Pete, can you just hold on for a sec?”
“We need to get this done tonight, Sam. If we want to corner DeMarcus and Lou we need to be fully prepared.”
“Well, what if I don’t want to do that? What if there’s another way?” Sam was tired of this. Tired of ruining people’s friendships while in search of the truth. It had happened at Hannover and it would happen again.
“Sam, this is what we’re sticking with. I already texted the film crew about meeting early tomorrow. I didn’t trust everything that Perry was saying and we need to find out for ourselves once and for all if DeMarcus had that card in his wallet.” Peter turned back to the laptop and began typing.
“I’m tired of this,” Sam mumbled loudly which Peter didn’t react to. “Fine, Pete, do what you want- I’m going to bed.”
That got Peter to look up. He looked confused for a moment, eyebrows drawn together and fingers poised above the keyboard. Ever since that first night Peter and Sam had slept in the same room. They would wait for the other’s cue to go to bed, and would turn in at the same time. It had been working rather well, in Sam’s opinion, since both of them got to sleep in a reasonable amount of time and were able to be on the same schedule the next day.
(It also helped Sam’s traitorous heart and brain fantasize about inching closer each night. He’d wake up next to Peter, and even if they weren’t touching, he got to see Peter blurry eyed and messy haired ready to face the day).
But they hadn’t talked about it. They had fallen into this routine and Sam was scared. Scared if he acknowledged it, they would lose it. Scared that Peter might catch on and reject him. So, it went unspoken.
“Sam... I just said we have to do this tonight. Can you-”
“You can take care of it, since this was all your idea anyway. I’m going to bed.” With that, he turned and walked towards the stairs.
“Hey-” He stopped just a moment before he would be out of Peter’s view as Peter called out.
“Rule number 3, Peter. Don’t bother me.” With that he finally left Peter alone. It was the first time in a long time he had purposely left Peter, with the intent to hurt him. He can remember doing something similar, albeit different, when Peter made the Gabi video. Even though that was two years ago, Sam was reminded just how frustrating and thick-headed Peter could be.
He took a quick shower and prepared for bed before returning to his own room- for the first time in weeks. They had slept in Peter’s room the first night and because they didn’t talk about it, that’s where they’ve ended up every night since.
His room felt empty. There were clothes strewn about from his quick change that morning, but besides that, there was nothing too homey about it. Peter’s room held Sam’s pillow from home, a water cup on the nightstand, a pair of socks shoved under the sheet that got kicked off several nights ago, and his retainer. It also had Peter’s collection of polaroids they’d taken during the doc, his glasses case and cleaning clothes, and a note from his mother pinned to the wall.
It was hard to sleep in such a barren room, when where he really wanted to be was the room full of love and joy, just down the hall.
Peter wouldn’t be there anyway, Sam told himself. And I wouldn’t want him here. He knew deep down that was a lie, he always wanted Peter by him, no matter what. But he felt dangerously close to breaking Rule #4 today when Peter would just not stop.
Sam laid in bed for an hour, thinking about everything but Peter and the doc. Eventually, he gave up and texted Gabi.
hey. u up?
He set his phone down next to himself, waiting for a response and was surprised to feel it buzz moments later. He was even more surprised when it didn’t stop buzzing- signalling Gabi was calling him, not texting. He quickly fumbled but picked it up.
Her face filled the screen as he put on a smile, for what felt like the first time that day- certainly the first time since dinner.
“Hey,” he almost sighed.
“Hi!” she greeted, smiling back. “What’s going on, bud?”
His happy smile quickly disappeared.
“What did Peter do?”
Sam almost laughed, “Why did you assume it was him?”
“It’s always him, munchkin. Now spill. What did Pete do this time?”
“It’s more like... what he didn’t do.” He sighed. “When we were going over some case stuff, he didn’t even listen to my opinion. It’s really just felt like the Peter show, lately.”
She frowned at that. “Oh, well, I’m sure he’s just caught up in his own head- you know how he can get better than anyone else.”
Sam flopped down onto his back. “Yeah, exactly. Which is how I know that he thinks I’m being too trusting and that I think he’s being too trusting. It’s annoying.”
“What is he being too trusting about?”
“I think I know your problem already, Sam.” Gabi smirked.
“But I haven’t even explained, Gab. Just let me-”
“Sam listen, have you told Peter how you felt yet?”
He didn’t respond.
“And are you two still sharing a bed?” One accidental snap with the flash on sent to her, where she could see Peter behind him in bed, and she had known.
Again, he didn’t respond and now his face was red.
“Listen, Sammy, I think there’s a lot going on for both of you right now, and you’re trying to be professional, but that’s impossible when you’re in love with your business partner. You need to either stop taking everything so personally, or tell Peter how you feel and resolve this issue.
Sam pursed his lips before saying, “I already enacted rule three.”
“Yeah okay but you did that. You literally took away his opportunity to talk to you.”
Sam scrubbed at his face.
“Bud, just go to sleep. You can deal with this all when it’s not 1 AM.”
“What? When did it get that late?”
“Sammy, why do you think I called so fast?” Now that he took time to look at her, he saw she was also in bed. She had a sleep mark pressed into the side of her face from her pillow and her eyes kept drooping.
“Like, I love you kiddo, and as much as I’d love to hear about your years old Peter drama, I have a test tomorrow and need to go back to sleep.”
“Gab, I’m so sorry-”
“Go to sleep.”
“Good night.” With that she hung up.
Sam was happy for Gabi’s help, but that meant he had to actually do something about this situation. Could he really be the bigger person and put aside his feelings for Peter when they spent practically every second together?
It hasn’t worked for the past 3 years, why would it work now?
So he would have to tell Peter. Those were his options. Well, according to his trusted life advisor, those were his options.
He tried again to fall asleep, but even throwing on a podcast did nothing to stop his racing mind.
Maybe sleeping in the TV room would help...
So he crept downstairs, hoping against all odds that Peter would have finally gone to bed. However, as he made it to the first floor, he could hear Peter’s voice, followed by someone else’s- someone unexpected.
“-no. He said ‘Rule three. Don’t bother me.’ He doesn’t want to see me right now.”
“ Pete. He’s your boy, of course he wants to see you, just give him a little time. Then do something really nice- like bring him dog food.” Dylan’s voice was softly coming from over Peter’s shoulder. Sam could make out the light from the laptop as well as Peter slumped over, head in his hands.
“He doesn’t have a dog, Dylan, and he’s not my boy.”
“Pete, dude, we’ve been working on this. He is your boy. Just tell him, bro.” Sam’s heart seemed to move his ribcage with each beat.
I should not be listening to this, Sam thought as he held his breath to hear better.
“I don’t want to do this with you tonight. I just wanted to see if you had any advice on the case-”
“Which is why the first thing out of your mouth was about him, right?”
“Well, he is my partner and like- since we can’t agree I don’t know what to do next and- he keeps dismissing Chloe and like-”
“Whatever dude. Just shut the fuck up about it and go to sleep. You guys can hug it out in the morning or whatever. I’m going to sleep, my high is starting to wear off.”
“Okay but you didn’t actually help-”
The sound of a call being hung up echoed through the room. Peter smacked the lid of his laptop shut and rest his head on the table.
Sam could make out a handful of words as Peter began grumbling “Stupid... m so stupid... never should have called... Sam...”
It was then he decided to make his presence known.
“I thought we had rules about staying up late to do work,” he said, even though it was clear Peter was not doing work.
Peter whipped around, spinning the chair to meet Sam’s eyes.
“Well, you weren’t here to get me to come up so-”
“Hey, don’t put your inability to listen to logic and reason on me. You chose to stay up.” Sam crossed his arms but walked closer to Peter.
“I didn’t meant to blame you- I’m just frustrated that you- that I- that we- ”
“Well I’m frustrated too, Peter. But it seems like sometimes you’re too wrapped up in your own world to see that.” He hugged himself tighter as he glanced away from Peter, looking around the room for anything that he could distract himself with.
“I do see that, Sam, it’s just hard when I feel like I have to prioritize the case over you and like-”
“Sometimes it feels like you forget we’re partners, Peter. Both of our names are on the title scroll, in case you need a reminder.”
“I didn’t- of course I didn’t, Sam, it’s just- we usually agree on things. Like we don’t think the same way or do things the same way but we usually agree in the end...”
“And?” Sam shrugged, stepping closer to Peter again.
“And I know how to deal with it as a friend when we don’t. But on a professional level... Like, do you really believe Perry?”
“Yes, Peter, I do. I trust his word, but that doesn’t mean his word can’t be wrong. It’s just what he thinks is right. Something you won’t even talk about with Chloe and the stupid card-” His hands had abandoned clutching himself in favor of moving around while he spoke.
“Why do you contradict that every single time?”
“Why are you taking it at face value instead of pushing further?” Sam could see Peter’s jaw starting to lock.
“Because I trust her! She believes she saw the card in DeMarcus’ wallet and I believe her.”
“That’s exactly my point. You trust her so you trust everything she says! She’s not Dylan, Peter!” They were nearly yelling at each other at this point. Sam’s voice rising louder with every word.
Suddenly, all of the fight seemed to go out of Peter. They were standing in the middle of the room, in each other’s faces, screaming in the middle of the night. Peter had glanced away for a moment in the direction of the kitchen, before his face melted. The anger and frustration drained out of his face as he sat on the back of the couch.
“What?” Sam demanded.
“Rule number four- no fighting. We didn’t want this to end up like last time.”
Sam’s anger seemed to seep out of him at those words. He bit his lip and sat down next to Peter. “Sorry. I really didn’t come down here to fight.”
Peter sighed and removed his glasses, rubbing at his eyes with his free hand. “I hate fighting with you. It’s just...”
“Yeah! Like, I can’t talk to you about it so-”
“You call Dylan.”
“I mean, I called Gabi, so we’re even.”
It was quiet again as Peter fell back onto the couch, his spine pressed neatly into the cushions while his feet still hung over the back. Sam followed him, accidentally falling a bit on top of him, shoulders overlapping. He opened his mouth to apologize when Peter moved his arm from being crushed under Sam and slipped it around his waist. His hand settled on Sam’s hip and Sam felt a shock of excitement rip through him.
“I’m sorry if you felt like I didn’t trust you- because I do- I trust you more than anyone. Like, I know you think I’m sometimes too trusting, but it’s just- sometimes I don’t know how to stop.” Peter turned his head toward Sam as Sam looked back. His hand began tracing patterns into Sam’s side as he spoke.
“You have a big heart,” Sam said, “It’s the reason we’ve made it this far.”
Peter smiled at him.
“I know you trust me, Pete. It- just- today it felt like you were siding with Chloe over me and- and I didn’t know how to deal with that. On a personal or professional level.” Sam’s heart was in his throat- or maybe his head- either way it was beating so fast it felt completely disconnected from his chest.
“I wasn’t trying to,” Peter added, “I just- it’s like with Dylan. She’s the reason we’re here and I just want to help her. She’s lost her two best friends and- if I were in her situation - I mean - I just- I can’t imagine losing you.”
Sam reached out and grabbed Peter’s free hand with his, linking their fingers together.
“Me either.” They were both quiet for a minute, simply looking into each other’s eyes, smiling softly. Sam stroked his thumb over Peter’s knuckles as Peter returned the gesture. A sudden spike of courage coursed through Sam’s adrenaline filled body.
“I-I...” After all this time, Sam couldn’t bring himself to say it. Sure, Peter’s arms were wrapped around him, and they were cuddling in the middle of the night all alone, but he just couldn’t. He was always the brash one, the one to jump on a decision while Peter took his sweet time. Why was this so different?
Thankfully, with his indecisiveness in place, Peter seemed to absorb the brashness- like some sort of Freaky Friday event had just taken place. Peter nodded in understanding before dropping Sam’s hand. For a second, Sam was worried he had done something wrong- that Peter was preparing to push him off the couch or away. But then Peter’s deft hand landed on his cheek and their lips connected. Their noses bumped together, and Peter’s glasses began digging into his face, but the kiss was sweet.
Sam pulled back after a moment, lips pulled into a huge smile, to see the same expression reflected on Peter’s face. He turned on his side and reflected Peter’s gesture, moving his hand to cradle Peter’s jaw. When his hand settled, Peter tilted his head slightly to kiss Sam’s palm.
He could physically feel his heart skip a beat as Peter’s lips left his hand. In one swift movement, Sam pushed Peter’s glasses into his hair before pushing himself in and pulling Peter towards him to meet in a solid and heated kiss.
He put everything he couldn’t say into it: the smiles Peter reserved for him and only him, the love and adoration that came only when it was forged in a close friendship, the safety and excitement he felt with Peter, the fantasies he had about their future. He put it all on the table as kissed Peter.
Their first kiss had been sweet and chaste- like a middle school spin the bottle kiss. It had swept Sam up with such joy he hadn’t ever felt. But this kiss- this kiss lit a fire low inside of Sam’s soul. Their lips slid together once, and then again, and again, until their mouths were slightly parted. Sam pushed harder against Peter, tilting his head so they met at a different angle.
Sam hadn’t really kissed anyone before. Sure, he’d gone to Camp Miniwaka for years and had had they classic ‘spin the bottle/10 fingers’ experience, but none of it was real. It had all been basked in the sweet summer glow and freedom of summer camp and it hadn’t meant anything, not really.
But the way Peter was kissing him back, with passion he usually only brought to interviews and editing, Sam could see why people never wanted to stop. It was a while before Peter’s tongue made its way into Sam’s mouth- a completely welcome surprise. Sam reciprocated almost immediately, tracing his own over Peter’s teeth and doing his best to memorize the feeling.
Eventually they pulled apart, when the loss of breath became all to much for Peter’s lungs. Sam’s chest was heaving heavily, but not as much as Peter’s. His hair was a mess- glass tangled within the curls- as he smiled back at Sam, eyes widening before sitting up straight on the couch. His breaths were shallow and pained as he looked at Sam.
“Oh shit- Pete, do you need your inhaler?”
Peter nodded quickly before placing his feet on the floor and putting his head between his knees.
Sam let out a trail of “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fu-” as he sprinted to the kitchen for Peter’s backpack. He opened the outside pocket to find the it and then ran back to Peter. He jammed it into Peter’s hands and sat down next to him- rubbing his hands up and down Peter’s back.
After Peter administered the medicine and sat back for a minute, catching his breath, Sam began to giggle. It started out as a small, quiet thing, barely more than a movement of his chest, but quickly blossomed into quiet laughter. Peter quickly joined in, a pained expression crossing his face.
“Ow...Don’t... make... me... laugh.”
“Sorry, dude... It’s just, I gave you an asthma attack.”
Peter squared him with a flat look before dead panning, “What can I say, Sammy. You take my breath away.”
Sam continued to giggle at that. His hand snaked it way up from Peter’s back to rest at the nape of his neck, scrubbing through the bottom of his hair. Peter smiled at him as he continued to take slow and even breaths.
“Maybe no more... tonight.” It was almost funny that Peter couldn’t even bring himself to say the word. Peter had always been a bit shy when it came to this subject, but...
We’ll work on it.
“Yeah,” Sam said, smiling back at Peter. “That’s probably a good idea.”
“I think I just forgot to breathe but... you know my lungs,” Peter replied, leaning into Sam’s hand. “And if we started again, I don’t think I’d know how to stop.”
Sam’s heart leaped in his chest yet his mind filled with doubt.
“This isn’t like a pity thing, right? Or like a weird experiment because I don’t think-”
“I love you.” Plain and simple, just like that. Sam’s whole world had changed at 3 simple words. It was like when he said ‘ hey let’s make a documentary about the dicks, ’ there was no going back.
“Now that’s unfair,” Sam sighed leaning his forehead against Peter’s shoulder, “You can’t tell me not to kiss you then tell me you love me for the first time. Ugh!”
Peter wrapped his arm around Sam’s waist pulling him in. “Sorry.” He sounded so sincere, Sam lifted his head to look at him. “Not just for that but for everything. I know I’m not the easiest person to deal with all the time and I understand if you don’t want-”
“No, hey, Peter, babe... I love you too- if that wasn’t obvious.” He gently placed a kiss onto Peter’s cheek.
Even though Peter’s face lit up, he still continued to speak. “I mean, I hoped so- but like- I was never sure sure y’know? And Dylan always said-”
Sam couldn’t help himself but to cut off Peter using his lips. He was careful to only do it for a moment, enough to shock his brain but not his lungs this time around. He squeezed the back of Peter’s neck as he moved away.
“Listen, I love you and you love me and that’s great, but I’m so fucking tired, Pete. Can we please just go to sleep?”
“Yeah, yeah- let’s do that.” Sam made sure to grab Peter’s inhaler before heading back upstairs. (There had been too many instances of repeat attacks and Sam wasn’t about to take any chances).
They clambered their way up the stairs, hands laced together, before heading into Peter’s room. Sam was happy to be back in the bed with Peter and as soon as they laid down, he had no idea how he had been so content just to share without touching.
Peter laid on his side first and as Sam moved to lay down, snuggled up next to him. Peter’s arm slung over Sam’s side and his forehead came to rest between Sam’s shoulder blades. He hummed contentedly, but something about the way Peter was pressed into his back was a bit uncomfortable. Sam couldn’t quite pinpoint it until-
“Glasses,” Sam said, reaching a hand back.
“Shit, thanks.” Peter handed them over before pushing his face into Sam’s back. “Better?”
Sam just huffed a laugh before lacing Peter’s fingers with his own. He took a second to run his thumb over them before bringing them to his mouth for a soft kiss.
Sam’s heart had never been so full.
The next morning came as a shock to them both when they were awoken not by an alarm, but by a knock on the bedroom door. Had they been awake they would have heard Chloe yelling at them from downstairs before she had to go looking for them, but instead they received their very own private wake-up call.
Through the night, Sam had moved to sleeping on his stomach, yet Peter stayed glued to his back. His face came to rest less towards the center, but his arm was still wrapped firmly around Sam’s waist. The blanket wasn’t completely covering them, but rather had been kicked down towards the foot of the bed.
The last thing Sam remembered thinking before going to sleep was how happy he was but now he was feeling an opposite emotion as he hears, “Oh my god.”
He opened his eyes and squint to see Chloe standing with the door open, mouth agape.
“Shit.” He bolted upright, turning over and jostling Peter as he went, who only grumbled and pushed his face into Sam’s side instead. “Uhhhh...”
He was relieved when Chloe pulled herself together quickly and just said, “Guys, it’s 10 AM. Why are you still asleep?”
“It’s 10? AM?” Sam asked.
“Yes,” Chloe shook her head exasperated, “I don’t usually plan on barging in on you two unless its an emergency and none of the crew could get a hold of you.”
Sam looked to the nightstand for his phone, only to remember it was still in the other room from his first attempt to go to sleep.
“We’ll be good to go, just give us a minute,” Sam said, waving her off.
“You have ten minutes to get outside before I drag you there myself,” she smiled before shutting the door behind her.
“Pete,” Sam said, shaking his shoulder. “Hey, dude, we have to get up.”
“Sammy... five more minutes, babe.”
Sam’s heart leapt in his throat at that. Peter was never one to really jump on board with nicknames. (The only one he ever really used was Sammy).
It’s too early for this.
“Babe, it’s 10 o’clock. We were supposed to leave 2 hours ago. Where is your phone?” Peter huffed before blindly reaching for his nightstand. Sam simply shoved him away for a moment before reaching for it himself. He clicked the power button and home screen button to no avail.
“Pete, it’s dead, but we have to get up.”
“We don’t have to do anything.” Peter grumbled.
Sam rolled his eyes before placing his hands on Peter’s shoulders and pushing him flat onto his back. In one swift movement, he bent over and fiercely kissed Peter. It wasn’t as heated as the night before, movements a little more slow and deliberate, but he did play dirty. It was a bit gross, morning breath isn’t quite the best taste, but he moved nonetheless. Just as Peter hummed in his mouth and began to respond, Sam rolled off and out of bed. Peter sat up just enough to glare in his direction, looking affronted and disgruntled.
Sam smirked at him, leaning back against the wall “The way I see it is we have ten minutes to get ready. Now, it’ll take me five minutes to do what I need to do so that leaves five minutes for us-”
By the time he reached the end of his sentence, Peter had already jumped up after him and pinned him against the wall. He had to duck a little bit to reach Peter’s lips, but it was like they had picked up right where they left off the night before. Peter moved flush against him, putting every ounce of energy he had into kissing Sam.
Several moments later, Peter pulled back leaving Sam a bit breathless. Peter was also looking a little worse for the wear and Sam eyed the inhaler on the nightstand before closing his eyes and leaning forward towards Peter. When he didn’t make contact his eyes opened again.
Peter simply patted his face with one hand and said, “Two can play at this game,” before turning and walking out of the room.
Sam laughed after him as we watched Peter stumble into the hallway.
“Glasses, babe,” he called after.
Peter didn’t say anything just turned around, walked back in and slipped them onto his face. Before he could get to far, Sam had grabbed his hand and pulled him in close again. He leaned down to sweetly kiss Peter once more before they truly had to go.
“One for the road,” he said as he pulled back.
Peter just smiled as he leaned up to reciprocate the gesture.
“One for me too.”
They speedily got ready for their day, throwing on clean clothes and brushing their teeth. Peter grabbed his portable charger and got his phone charging before slipping his laptop into his backpack. They were about to walk out the door before Sam remembered the inhaler sitting on the nightstand.
“Shit, one sec.” He jogged back up the stairs snatching it before leaping back down the stairs. He presented it to Peter by kneeling and bowing his head.
“Your inhalant device, my liege.”
Peter shook his head but packed away the inhaler nonetheless. “You’re so stupid.”
“Aww babe, I love you too.” He couldn’t help but press a kiss to Peter’s cheek. Yesterday seemed to open the floodgates of affection Sam hadn’t known he was holding back. Three years worth of wants seemed to be pouring out of his body every second he was in Peter’s presence, but by Peter’s smile, he didn’t seem to mind.
“Ready?” Peter asked.
“Ready,” Sam replied.
He opened the door.