Read: Part 1
Read: Part 2Mike takes a minute when he arrives in front of Kevin’s door. They haven’t seen each other in three months and the last time they talked wasn’t his best moment. He missed Kevin like crazy but now that the only thing standing between them is a wooden door, he’s stalling. He wouldn’t hold it against Kevin if he refused to listen to Mike’s excuses. He’s still standing in front of the door trying to gather the courage to knock when the door swings open.
“Were you planning on ever knocking? Or did you think it would open with the power of your mind?” Kevin asks bitchily. He is wrapped up in a comforter, and sporting the most serious case of bed hair Mike has ever seen. His face is flushed, his nose red, and his eyes are glassy. He’s perfect.
“Sorry, just catching my breath,” he lies, but by the look Kevin shoots him, Kevin doesn’t believe him. “Can I come in?” he asks. Kevin stares at him, and for a moment Mike thinks Kevin won’t let him in but he finally opens the door wider, closing it once Mike gets in. Kevin walks silently into a room - his bedroom Mike presumes as he follows. Kevin sits on his bed and wraps himself tighter in his comforter, Mike takes the room’s lone chair, leaving his bags on the floor.
“I’m sorry for the way I acted,” Mike says, cutting to the chase. He figures that apologizing straight away could only help his case, even though Kevin looks like he is in no state to throw him out. “I’ve been a selfish asshole and I didn’t think,” he adds. “ It’s just... first you decided to study abroad and didn’t say anything. Then there was the whole not-coming-home-for-Christmas I had to learn from the guys. It was too much. We’re supposed to tell each other everything, and I felt like you were pulling away for whatever reason, so I lashed out. It wasn’t fair, and I didn’t think of the fact that you’d be the one stuck here on your own for Christmas. That probably makes me the lousiest best friend on earth. So, I’m sorry.”
He holds Kevin gaze and tries to convey how deeply sorry he is but Kevin quickly averts his eyes. “You weren’t wrong” Kevin starts to say, voice hoarse. He’s leaning his head against the wall behind him, eyes closed and Mike drinks in the sight; he missed this -being able to look at Kevin- he missed the way Kevin’s face says so much more than his words ever could, and how he bites his lower lip when he’s at a loss for words. “ I was trying to pull away from you. I didn’t manage to but I tried,” he finishes self-deprecating.
“Why?” Mike asks stomach roiling. He has a thousand more questions running through his head: did he freak Kevin out, can they salvage their friendship, why didn’t he manage to pull away? So many questions but he’s not sure he wants to hear the answers.
“Because I’m tired, Mike,” Kevin mutters. “I can’t spend the rest of my life like this. One day you’ll meet someone, fall in love for real, and where will that leave me? I- I just thought that if I took a year off from us, I’d learn how to deal,” he adds, wistful.
Mike feels like he’s missing part of the puzzle because Kevin isn’t making any sense right now. “So what, you left because one day I might fall in love? Kevin, dude, you know you’re the most important person in my life. My mom knows this. Even if I were to meet someone tomorrow, it wouldn’t change a thing between us, you have to know that.” It’s not like they haven’t already had that same conversation several times while growing up.
“I know it wouldn’t change a thing for you,” Kevin slurs, and Mike can see that he’s slowly falling asleep. “But I don’t think I could watch you be in love with someone else, it would hurt too much. So I thought, if I can do it - live without you- for a year, I could deal with seeing you less once you’d settle down with someone. Protecting myself, for when you won’t be able to do it,” he finishes as his breathing deepens.
Mike stares at Kevin for a few minutes with his mouth agape before his brain kicks in. He settles Kevin down on the bed, and tucks him in. He sits on the edge of the mattress, feasting his eyes on Kevin, replaying what Kevin told him in his head, incredulous. His mom calling them idiots makes more sense suddenly, because unless he seriously misunderstood something, Kevin just confessed his love. It’s so huge he doesn’t know what to do.
He decides to clean up Kevin’s room a little before getting something to eat from the kitchen. He doesn’t know which one of the cupboards is Kevin so he helps himself anyway and make note of what he’s taken to replace it later on. Watching Kevin until he wakes up would be too creepy so he stays in the living-room and turns the TV on.
When he wakes up, Kevin finds two Sudafed and a glass of orange juice on his bedside table, and he mentally thanks Vicky-T and Zac for being awesome, before he spots Mike’s bags on his bedroom floor. The whole conversation comes back to him. He’s pretty certain that he told Mike he had feelings for him. He groans in his pillow; maybe if he doesn’t move he’ll smother himself and he won’t have to face Mike. Or he could pretend to be asleep forever, at least until Mike leaves the country...
“You awake?” Mike asks, startling him. And here goes his plan.
“Hey” he answers, face still half hidden in the pillow.
“You should take your meds,” Mike says softly. Kevin does and he tries to make the glass of orange juice last as long as he can to delay the train wreck of a conversation he can feel coming. Mike clears his throat.
“Do you remember what you told me before falling asleep?” he asks.
Kevin contemplates denying for a minute because he knows he could get away with it. He’s sick so Mike wouldn’t hold it against him, he’d probably chalk it up to the fever. In the end he owns up to it, and nods his head yes because this is important, it’s not just about him; this is about Mike. “Did you mean it?” Mike continues and Kevin nods again. From now on he won’t talk, he decides. Bad things happen when people talk; things like confessing to your best friend and potentially jeopardize your friendship.
“Since when?” is Mike’s next question.
“What is this? Twenty questions?” Kevin snaps. He takes a deep, calming breath before answering “Since I was 13.” Mike gasps and Kevin can see the moment when he gets it, as his eyes widen. He probably remembers a thirteen year old Kevin, so nervous he was shaking, telling him that he liked boys too, and would Mike still be his friend? Kevin sympathizes with his old self because those are the same feelings, the same question that are plaguing him now.
Mike buries his face in his hands and Kevin can hear him mumble something that sounds a lot like “we’re so fucking stupid”. Kevin stares at Mike but doesn’t dare moving. Mike takes a deep breath and looks up at Kevin.
“I’m in love with you” he says. “I can’t pinpoint precisely since when, and some days it feels like I’ve been in love with you since the day we met. I’ve realized I was in love with you the day Tom Conrad kissed you. These past few months without you have been hell because I miss you, I’m scared to death that you’ll meet someone while you’re away, and there won’t be a thing I can do about it. I don’t like it, and I know it’s not an excuse but this is the reason why have been such an asshole.” The longer Mike speaks, the more he seems to curl in on himself. His voice is strong but he looks like he’s bracing himself for rejection.
Kevin is speechless. There are a thousand things he’d like to tell Mike but he can’t form words. He wants to reassure Mike, tell him that there is no-one better anywhere, he knows this for a fact because he’s been looking with all his might and he couldn’t find anyone who stood the comparison.
“I love you too,” Kevin says, voice trembling. He watches Mike, wanting to catch his eyes before he resumes talking. He used to imagine how he'd tell Mike that he loved him the first time; declaring his love in the middle of the cafeteria, serenading under Mike's dorm room's window, in front of their family and friends, but nothing even close to the situation they're in. He wouldn't change it for anything because it's them and it's ridiculous, and utterly perfect.
Mike is smiling at him and Kevin can't help the dopey smile he gives Mike in return.
* * *
Mike knows they should probably talk some more because Kevin is still going to finish his year in Ireland, and they should clear everything up before starting anything new. But he doesn't care, he told Kevin he loved him, and Kevin feels the same. They have two more weeks to get into the details. This is no time for discussion, there should be kissing. Celebratory kissing. He joins Kevin on the bed and kneels over him.
“What are you doing? “ Kevin asks, voice high-pitched, holding Mike at bay with both hands.
“I'm going to kiss you,” Mike answers, voice unsure. He was pretty sure they were on the same wavelength.
“I'm sick, Mike. You can't go around kissing sick people,” Kevin lectures him, exasperated.
“Pretty sure I can,” he shoots back smug and happy. He closes the distance between them. He's probably still grinning like an idiot but he doesn't care anymore. He's about to kiss Kevin -- he's been thinking about it for so long, he feels like pinching himself to make sure it's not another dream.
The kiss is tame, just Mike's lips against Kevin's, their smiles preventing them from doing more. It's nothing like Mike imagined it would be, but it's even better; he doesn't know why but it is. “ I love you,” Mike repeats when they draw apart, “ I love you and your germs, too,” he finishes before cracking up.
“If you get sick, I’m not taking care of you” Kevin replies mock sternly. “ You’re the worst patient ever. Always grumpy.”
“You’ll have to take care of me anyway,” Mike shoots back smugly, rearranging the comforter around the both of them.
“Just you wait. I’ll send you back to your mom, sick and all” Kevin deadpans, before laying his head on Mike’s chest, breathing already deepening.
As he drifts off to sleep, Mike thinks that they kind of owe their moms on this one. He and Kevin are going to have to repay them tenfold. Knowing their mothers, chances are they’re going to collect in full. He wouldn’t say it out loud but he would accept anything if it means he’ll spend the rest of his life with Kevin.