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David is sleeping in Matteo’s bed more nights than not now. Laura has accused him of abandoning her for some hot ass and as he turns an unflattering shade of red, she cackles like there’s no tomorrow. He likes waking up with the blond boy enveloping him like an extra blanket. He likes the way Matteo plasters himself to his back with one arm under his neck and one around his front. Sometimes the arm around his front makes him nervous because the hand attached to it occasionally lands on his chest. The first few nights he had kept his binder on while sleeping and he hadn’t heard the end of it for weeks. Matteo had apparently done some research and had read that one wasn’t supposed to wear one for more than eight hours, much less sleep in it. They’d argued about it and Hans had overheard them so he got an earful from him too. Then Matteo had told Laura who had looked like she was ready to kill him herself. He’d stopped sleeping in it after that. He still wore loose shirts when he and Matteo were together, sometimes when the dysphoria got especially bad he wore that sports bra that Laura had gotten for him just to keep things still. Matteo said nothing about it.

There’s daylight coming through the slit between the curtains they’d drawn shut the night before and he can hear someone in the kitchen. It’s probably Hans as Linn has been going through a rough patch and barely leaves her room. He feels Matteo nuzzle the back of his neck and place a tender kiss in the centre. He smiles and presses into the warmth of his boyfriend’s bare chest. He didn’t think he could have this, ever. He never thought he’d feel so safe and loved with another person. Of course he felt it with Laura, but it wasn’t the same. The blue eyes that looked at him like he was the most important thing in the world made him weak in the knees and stand a little taller all at the same time.

“Mornin’” came a muffled and sleepy greeting from behind him and a series of sleepy kisses were pressed against his neck and the top of his back.

“Hey…” he whispered back and closed his eyes as those lips tenderly brushed over a darkening bruise that had been made the night before, right below his ear. He shivered and he could feel the smirk. If he wasn’t so warm and comfortable, he would’ve turned around and smacked it off the other boy before latching on to that spot under Matteo’s ear that made the blond whimper. Discovering that spot had been awkward. It hadn’t even been intentional. They’d been cuddled into each other, surrounded by their friends while binging some show and he’d just intended to lay a casual kiss on his boyfriend. Matteo had reacted instantly and the whimper gained the attention of everyone who wore the same smug and teasing expressions. David had hidden his face in Matteo’s hair with red cheeks while Matteo just flipped everyone off. It had still been in the early days of David being an actual part of the gang and not too long after his secret being broadcasted to the whole school.

A knock on the door brought him out of his musings and Matteo grunted in annoyance. The blond was so not a morning person. And he counted everything before noon as morning.

“Come in” David managed to get out, it was still nerve-wrecking to let anyone see him without his binder on, even if he was covered in a t-shirt, Matteo and a duvet. He always felt exposed without it, like someone was going to point out that his chest wasn’t as flat as it should be.

“I’ve made breakfast, my butterflies” Hans cheerfully announces as he pokes his head inside and then he’s gone. Presumably to see if he can convince Linn to actually join them in the kitchen instead of eating in her room.

David had frozen at the announcement. He knew Hans referred to Matteo as his butterfly, but he’d never called David by any endearments before. Matteo of course felt the way David’s body had stiffened and he was tracing soothing circles on his belly where the shirt had ridden up. And Matteo waited. They’d both learned that sometimes both of them needed a bit more time to put words to what they wanted to say. It had been the source of quite a few misunderstandings and they were working on the verbal thing, but most of the time it worked.

“I think Hans just called me butterfly” he whispered and he didn’t know whether he wanted to laugh or cry. Maybe both.

“He did” Matteo agreed and the blond shifted, causing the duvet to slip down a bit, revealing David’s bare arm which promptly was peppered with soft kisses.

“What does that even mean?” He knew that Hans was a very affectionate person and he’d made it very clear to David that if he hurt Matteo again, Hans would make sure David regretted it (as if he didn’t already).

“It means you can’t escape now… you’re officially stuck with us” Matteo was still showering his exposed skin with kisses so soft they almost tickled.

Us?” David wasn’t quite sure what Matteo meant with that. He never wanted to be without Matteo, and slowly he had come to accept that Matteo felt the same. Regardless of what David thought was wrong with himself.

“Us… Me, Hans, Linn, the boys… the girls too” the words were warm and certain and they drew a sob out of something deep in David’s chest. Hot tears were soon running down his cheeks and he let Matteo roll him until he was laying half on top of the other boy. Matteo, who quite possibly was the softest human being on earth, was running gentle fingers through David’s messy hair and over his back.

“It…” David tried to start, to put words to the overwhelming storm of feelings such a simple thing had brought up. It’s been so long since I felt like I had a family. It’s been so long since he could rely on anyone that wasn’t Laura. It’s been so long since I’ve felt like I belong. It’s been so long since I’ve had people care about me. The list went on.

“I know” was all Matteo said, and David knew that Matteo did know.

“They were always your friends” David had never felt unwelcome in the gang, but there had always been this feeling that they weren’t really his friends. Everything they’d done for David had been because he’d been with Matteo.

“They’re your friends too… Kiki threatened bodily harm if I ever hurt you, you know” Matteo let out that soft laugh that David had fallen in love with. It was almost more like an exhale than a laugh.

“Kiki?” David had never really hung out with Kiki, and she could say the most ignorant things… but she wasn’t bad.

“Ja…” He felt Matteo place a soft kiss on his forehead and soft fingers were wiping the tears that were slowly drying on the cheek not currently pressed into a naked chest.

“Huh” he snaked his arm over Matteo’s stomach and snuggled closer. Most times when they were in public, Matteo would be the one to be leaning on David, but when they were alone, David often ended up being cradled.

“They really love you… all of them” Matteo murmured and all David could do was nod. If he tried to talk he’d end up crying again.

David knew they should get up and join Hans in the kitchen. Hans who had made breakfast for them. Hans who apparently had added David to his list of people who were important.

“Butterflies, the pancakes are getting cold!” Hans, who was also somewhat impatient, shouted from the kitchen and with great reluctance David disentangled himself from the other boy.

“Nein…” Matteo whined and David laughed. His boyfriend could be so lazy it was almost impressive.

“You heard your guru. Time for breakfast” David turned his back to Matteo, sitting on the edge of the bed, before tugging the t-shirt over his head so he could put his binder on.

“You’re hot” Matteo traced his spine from the line of his hair all the way down to his tailbone, sending shivers through his entire body. David really longed for the day he’d no longer need the fabric that he was about to worm himself into. He wanted to be skin to skin with that wondrous boy with blue eyes and a mop of blond hair that seemed to have a life completely its own.

The bed shifted as Matteo lazily rolled to the other side and got up. He’d probably just pull on whatever shirt was closest and didn’t smell too terrible. As he made the final adjustments of the binder, he turned around and saw Matteo in a t-shirt and boxers searching for a pair of jeans somewhere in the heap of clothes on the floor.

“Here” Matteo said as he threw the jeans David had worn the day before at him.

“Are you wearing my shirt?” David laughed and that possessive part of him really liked having Matteo wear his clothes.

“You stole mine, so it’s fair” Matteo countered and David looked down on himself. Indeed he was wearing Matteo’s shirt. The blue one with palm trees on it. He liked wearing Matteo’s shirts too. Not that he’d admit it out loud, but he also liked Matteo’s grandpa-sweaters. They were really comfy. And almost always smelled like Matteo.

“Ready to brave breakfast?” Matteo reached out his hand and David took it. David nodded and he was pulled out of Matteo’s room rather quickly. Food was always a great way to get Matteo to do things. He knew he probably had a silly grin on his face, but it didn’t matter. He was happy. He had Matteo. He had Laura. And somehow he had Hans, Linn, Jonas, Abdi, Carlos, Amira, Hanna, Kiki, Mia and Sam too. He had something that he could call family.