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He couldn't remember the last time real words were spoken between them. He couldn't remember the last time pointless conversations were enough to fill the void between them. He hated, hated how cold their apartment had become. He missed the comfort of seeing the other man waking up across from him, his head balanced on his arms. He missed the blearily smiles that mirrored his own every morning. Most of all he missed his best friend.
Sean looked up from his book when he felt the couch sink down from the obtrusive weight. Looking up wasn't really necessary he already knew it was Tom. Ever since Ryan had found another couch to invade the air between them had shifted dramatically. He ignored the voice informing him that the air between them changed long before Ryan left. He wondered if he could escape without the other man noticing, turn invisible or fall through the couch; if life were closer to a movie this may have been possible. Sean the angered twenty something who worked too late and drank too much. Tom the starving artist with an endless amount of dry humor and witty/thought provoking remarks. He wondered how this scene would play out. Would he eventually stutter and stumble his way through an excuse to leave, then seek refuge in lost verses and half finished melodies? Or would he just wait it out and let the other man have his spotlight? He stifled a sigh, fearing the sound would just force him to acknowledge the older man. The page under his fingers folded, he could feel it crinkling...he couldn't find it in himself to care.
The silence was starting to smother him, he could feel it curling around his neck. Tighter and tighter around his heart. The man sitting next to him seemed to be unaffected by the same silence. Sean knew he wasn't bothered by it, the passive aggressive jerk could play this game for as long as he felt needed. The elephant stood above them, blocking their view of the city. Sean wasn't sure how much longer he could just sit here, feign blissful ignorance like the other man, like Tom. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could just ignore the way his throat ached, taunting him into giving in. He knew, god, he knew he could, he should just get up, leave, let the other man win, just like the last time. The last time when he...when they...Sean squeezed his eyes closed, this time was different. This was every word left unspoken, every fight that went unsettled, this was every broken promise that wasn't forgotten, it was everything piling up between them. He couldn't let this one live under his skin, let it hide in his smiles, the ones that never quite reached his eyes. He really needed this to be over for his sanity's sake.
Sean felt the other mans stare on his back, he couldn't ignore the way the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Subconsciously he reached back to soothe the skin, scratching softly. He looked over at the sound of a shudder, cold gray eyes met his. He felt his body instinctively move back. Tom made no sudden movements, the blonde seemed to be completely unfazed, his gaze steady and certain. It soon became abundantly clear that Tom wasn't going to make an attempt at breaking the eye contact. He was extremely creepy in the way he seemed at ease looking at him, Tom had a habit of staring, an even bigger habit of never seeing the word outside of his minds camera, fixated on that exact moment, the bigger picture, the best lighting to portray his subject. Sean broke the contact by rolling his eyes, he got up from the couch and stood in front of the dirty blonde. “I'm sick of this, I’m just so sick of this f***ing game your playing, you know we need to talk about it.”
Tom looked up at him, his eyes flaring with anger but he remained silent. Sean raised an eyebrow, annoyance written on his face; just because Tom would rather just ignore their problems, doesn’t mean he agreed. “tom!”
Tom looked up, his emotions betraying him, by being so visible against his fair skin. His eyes gave away the most, they released all of his pent up emotions, flooding his eyes with regret, and so, so much disapointment and sadness. Sean could feel his eyes doing the same, he could feel them softening. “Tom” the name no longer held venom and pent up frustration, but leaked sympathy and unspoken questions.
Tom shook his head and held his gaze.
“It was a mistake, is that what you want to hear. Hmm Seany Boy? Is that what you have been waiting for?”
Sean stared at him, his fist clenching at his sides.
“ You think that’s going to work, you really think I don't know you better than that by now, you can't shut me out that easily, just... Tom please I don't want to fight, it happened, it happened and we can't take it back. F***, you know we can't. Will you just, just please tell me how you feel, please Tom.”
Tom looked down at his feet, his shoulders shaking slightly. Sean had hit a nerve somewhere, he could feel the walls falling down, one by one, orchestrated by Tom's gaze somewhere near the ground.
“How I feel, how I feel! You want to know how I feel,” Tom laughed harshly, his voice quivering slightly.
“I’ll tell you; in case you forgotten I lost everything, my life fell apart over a year ago because I trusted the wrong people,” I trusted you, went unsaid but Sean caught it before Tom continued.
“I had just began to find my way again, had finally picked up a camera without wanting to throw up. When, when...I can't do this, I can't ruin someone else's life, I’m sorry. I just can't do this,” Sean looked up as the door closed. He sat down his head cradled in his hands, a line he had read earlier ran through his head “There was nothing but air between us” there was nothing but air between them, Sean wasn't sure this could be fixed with silent apologies and gentle embraces. He ignored the sinking feeling in his chest, that had been tying to make itself known ever since Tom left.
Sean stared at the wall in front of him, the tears clearly present on his face. No things couldn't be fixed with “I’m sorry” and other variations of apologies. He closed his eyes, and wrapped his arms around himself, no; this couldn't be fixed. He wished Tom would have just told him, had just let him know he was scared.
Sean sighed tiredly, the exhaustion echoing through the now empty apartment. He shivered at the cold breeze that ran past him. He sniffed quietly, rubbing his eyes with the palm of his hand. He felt someone place a blanket over him, tucking him in like a child, the irony lost in the act. He felt a kiss being pressed to his forehead, the hair being brushed away from his eyes. He opened them and stared at the man standing above him awkwardly, his hand still resting on his cheek, He could feel himself breaking, and for once Sean didn't care, Tom needed to see, to believe.
Tom looked down at him, his eyes mirroring Sean's, his hand moved to cup his cheek, holding him in place. Tom's eyes revealed everything, he could see an “I'm sorry” daring to escape, a “my fault” pleading to be seen, an “I forgive you” so clear it slipped from his eye.
Sean felt a finger wipe away his fallen tears, apologies of his own. Tom understood more than he actually believed. Sean subconsciously leaned into the touch. Sean felt his lips curving up, and tom offered one of his own. Not everything was fixed, but the truth was finally ready to be heard.