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follow your heart and nothing else

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Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean
– Maya Angelou

Travis never tells anyone the truth.

The truth is that it’s – well – it’s not that far from what everyone is really guessing. The truth is that he did sort of leave Phil for Wes. The truth is that Phil ignored every word Travis had to say about the serial killer case, and it was eating at Travis, getting to him in the middle of the night when he’d try and sleep, to the point where he would wake up and go into the station and sit at his desk, staring down at the case files and the victim’s faces until they were burned into his brain.

That’s when Wes found him. He was new, then, but still just the same. OCD, obsessed with being organized and perfect and not breaking any rules. But he wanted to finish his own report, so he was there late that night.

He remembers Wes sat in Phil’s seat, alert and aware, watching Travis rake his eyes over the files again and again, chewing on his bottom lip while he did it until Travis said, “What if I knew something and – and I told someone else, but they weren’t listening to me?”

And Wes had been quiet for a moment before he said, “Then I would say that you should find someone else who did listen to you.”

Travis didn’t tell him that night, but Wes sat there until Travis was ready to go home, and then he got up and walked out with him. “Motorcycles are dangerous,” is all he said to Travis, and Travis just shrugged, before getting on the bike and roaring away to try and get a few hours’ sleep before coming back to the station later in the morning.

The next night, Wes was there, in Phil’s chair again. And Travis, Travis had had a long day of Phil ignoring him about the obvious fucking clues, about the stuff that was right there in front of them, that could save girls’ lives, and he’s tired, tired of not being able to sleep because of dead victims’ burning his eyelids when he closes them, so he spilled out everything between the two desks, between them. Wes nodded seriously, listened to everything Travis had to say, and he didn’t say Travis is wrong. He didn’t ignore the evidence and clues that Travis had found. Instead he said, “We should follow this up.”

“Now?” Travis asked him blankly.

Wes smiled. “Unless you have something better to do?”

“I don’t,” Travis replied quickly, “I don’t, I really don’t.”

So they solved their first case together, and yeah, Travis broke up with Phil for Wes. And he and Wes, they’re good together. Captain Sutton is proud of them for catching the serial killer, for putting him behind bars before he gets the next girl, and that’s how they get into homicide, together. Phil gets chased away, to BHPD. Travis only feels a minor bit of guilt about it.

==

“Do you ever plan to talk about what drove you guys apart?”

“No,” the response is automatic, in sync, both of them with their arms crossed and their eyes averted. Everyone in the group looks at them curiously, and Dr. Ryan leans forward.

“Is it really that bad?” she asks.

“It’s just something that doesn’t bear talking about,” Wes says for them, shifting in his seat. “I don’t want to talk about it, and neither does Travis, okay? We’re not talking about it. Conversation over it.”

“Hey, who wants to talk about my time at my fourth foster mother’s?” Travis says brightly, and everyone latches onto the conversation as he starts chatting, probably saying something that isn’t completely true.

==

They go out for dinner to celebrate solving the serial killer case. Wes reserves them a table at some fancy restaurant that he probably went to all the time with his wife, that he maybe went to all the time to woo clients back when he was one his way to becoming a hot shot lawyer. Travis has all this on the tip of his tongue, but he knows that each time anyone brings up either of those topics, Wes’s eyes get shadowy and he just stops talking.

Instead, they talk about Captain Sutton and his new plan. “Partners, huh?” Wes asks him, swirling the wine in his wine glass before taking a sip. Travis looks at him over his own glass before responding.

“Phil didn’t listen,” he says. “You did. And this is where I’ve wanted to be for… a long time. A really long time. And you’re a good guy, Wes. Sure, you’ve got some weird quirks, and sometimes you do things too much, and you should probably stop trying to follow the rules so much-”

Wes cuts him off with a frown and a, “Really? That’s what you’re concerned about? Following the rules? I broke them by partnering with you.”

“You still followed everything by the book,” Travis accuses.

Wes stares at him for a long moment before saying, “We’re detectives. That’s what we do. Because we’re the law.

Travis doesn’t reply.

==
Somewhere along the day, in between chasing after a guy who is allegedly tied to a gang murder, Wes gets shot. And it’s Travis’s fault.

He knows it’s his fault, because they were arguing instead of keeping an eye on one another like they should’ve. Except, Wes probably was still keeping an eye on Travis, because Wes is just observant like that. Even when everything fell apart, Wes still watched, kept lookout, made sure Travis was safe. Instead, Travis just avoided Wes like the plague. “Oh, my God, are you okay? Wes, Wes, man, look at me,” Travis says, falling to his side after calling it in and making sure the area was cleared.

He doesn’t admit it, not to himself or out loud, but if he’d found the guy who shot Wes in that moment, he’s afraid that he wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from giving him that good old double shot, straight to the heart. Travis is sometimes scared to face what he’s actually capable of.

Wes is struggling to breathe, clutching somewhere around his ribcage where the blood is streaming from his wound, and his head is tilted back, staring up at the sky. “Jesus,” he breathes out, “Holy shit.” Travis knows it’s bad then, because Wes usually tries to refrain from swearing too much.

“Just – hold on, buddy, okay, hold on.”

“Trav,” Wes says weakly. His blue eyes pin on Travis and even though he’s kind of weak from the pain, he’s practically glaring at Travis anyways, “Shut up.”

“The ambulance is on its way, Jesus, Wes; you scared the shit out of me.”

Wes groans. “Your voice,” he says, “It’s so – loud.”

“Wow,” Travis says, swallowing, “Thanks – I just. Thanks. Here’s your partner, a guy who’s genuinely worried about you and you’re just bitching.”

“I can’t even focus on anything you’re saying right now, okay?” Wes groans, trying to sit up. Travis shoves him back down, none too gently.

“Don’t get up,” he says roughly, “Don’t even move.”

“I’m fine,” Wes says, but he’s paling a little.

“You’re losing blood, you idiot,” Travis snaps, because that’s his go-to attitude when he’s worried. In the distance, he hears sirens.

Wes sighs. “This is all your fault,” he tells Travis.

“I know, it always is.” But this time Travis really does know it’s his fault.

==

They don’t mean for it to happen.

Like most everything in Travis’s life, it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. Stars waiting to collide and then, explode, probably.

And it’s just that a few years after they started working together, Wes finds himself going through a somewhat unexpected (on his part) divorce, to a woman he still loves.

But they’re good together, in sync and perfect, working side by side, and their solve rate is excellent. Nobody has anything but praise for them. They go out most nights after work for drinks and dinner, and then one night, it turns into more than drinks and dinner, and Travis is stumbling into Wes’s tiny apartment, tearing at his perfectly pressed shirt, trying to get to more, more, more.

“Travis,” Wes breathes out, and Travis just licks at his neck, bites down sharply. Wes inhales quick, and then clutches at his waist.

Travis knows then he was going to say something important. Knows he was going to say, I’m still in love with her. I can’t let go of it so easily. But Travis doesn’t want to hear it, can’t hear it, so he shoves his hand down Wes’s pants instead, unzips them and tugs them down, and then he gazes at Wes for a minute, before he slides to his knees.

“Oh,” Wes says softly, and Travis just swallows him down, sucking and licking, grasping Wes’s hips. “Oh.

And Travis just doesn’t want to hear the truth.

Therein lies the problem, he guesses, is that he never, ever wants to hear the truth. Not even when they’re lying there in the dark, his come drying stickily between them, on their separate pillows, does he want to hear the truth, even when it’s thick between them, suffocating. He can practically hear Wes’s thoughts, but he can’t think about it, so he just reaches out, traces a finger along Wes’s hipbone, and then wraps all his fingers around that very same spot. He moves his head so they’re sharing the same pillow, practically sharing their breaths, and whispers, “Sweet dreams, Wes.”

He can feel Wes’s eyes on him in the dark, can feel him tense up under his fingers, until Travis evens his breathing out, pretends to fall asleep. Then he leans forward and whispers back, “Not so very sweet.”

==

Alex is still his emergency contact. “Wes,” she says, coming in, her eyes bright with worry. Wes flushes, the color bright on his neck.

“I uh – sorry,” he mumbles.

“I was worried,” Alex says, clutching her purse. Travis is sitting in the only chair in the room, and he stands up when he realizes this, allowing her room to sit down if she wants. She waves it away. “No, no,” she says, “I just wanted to come and make sure you were alright.”

“I am,” Wes says quickly.

“You -” Alex pauses for a minute and then says softly, “You should really change your information.”

Wes reaches up and scratches the back of his neck. “Thanks for coming down to check on me.”

Travis feels awkward, just standing here watching the two of them.

“It’s not a problem, Wes,” Alex says, “I really was worried. I have to go now, though. If you um – if you need anything…” she trails off, and Wes nods. Then she turns to Travis and smiles. “Thanks for watching him,” she says, and Travis feels something twist in the pit of his stomach. He just shrugs, because he feels like if he says anything, he might puke.

Alex turns back around and clicks out of the room and down the hall. Travis stays standing, watching her go, wide-eyed. Finally, Wes clears his throat. “You look almost as torn up about her leaving as I should be.”

Travis freezes for a minute because he hears that sentence. He hears the should instead of the I am. “I um,” he clears his throat, “Just wishing I didn’t have to play nursemaid to you,” he shoots, turning to face him, and there’s something in Wes’s eyes when he turns to face him, but it’s gone before Travis can pin down exactly what it is.

“Sure,” Wes says, “Because that’s the worst thing in the world.”

Dr. Ryan comes to visit them, with a very serious lecture about how one day their arguing could end up getting them killed, and how she’s glad that they’re both alive, and that she can’t wait to see them next week, don’t think this will get them out of it. Captain Sutton visits, too, and then before Travis knows it, Wes is getting discharged with orders to take it easy, which Travis knows he won’t listen to. Wes listens to a lot of rules, but never really the ones he has to follow when it comes to himself, Travis has learned.

“So, just take these pills,” Travis says, shoving them into Wes’s hand at the door to his apartment. “And make sure you eat something before you do because if you don’t you can uh – get sick,” he scratches the back of his head. “And if you need something, uh – just call me.”

Wes studies him for a long moment. “Call you,” he says finally, “I can do that.” And then he shuts the door gently in Travis’s face. Travis rests his forehead against it for a long moment, searching for the will to turn away instead of pound the door down, and force Wes to take care of himself.

==

When Travis wakes up the bed is empty, and the spot next to him is cold. He closes his eyes for a brief moment, and then sits up, wrapping the sheet around his waist and looking around the room. He can’t see Wes anywhere, and the bathroom door is wide open, so he’s not in there, either. He stands up and puts his boxers on, and then gets dressed the rest of the way. When he walks into the bathroom there’s a note stuck to the mirror; sorry, got called out. Talk later. W. and that’s all Wes says about it the first time.

Travis swallows, throws back some mouthwash and then slips out of the room, much quieter than how he entered it last night. For some reason, even though he’s done this very same thing with women and men alike, this hurts more, makes it hard for him to swallow as he makes his way done the hallway and out onto the street.

He’s halfway into his apartment when his phone rings, the Captain’s number flashing across the screen. “Captain,” he answers.

“We’ve got a case for you and Wes,” he says, “Get here as soon as you can.”

Facing Wes is harder than Travis thought it was going to be, on his way here. Wes is studying their new case file with determination, and he doesn’t look up when Travis plops himself down at his desk. His own case file is sitting there, unopened. Travis isn’t sure where to go from here, because he’s never really mixed his personal life with his work life, until now, so he opens his mouth once, twice, ready to say something, before he closes it and reaches forward to open his own file.

“It can’t happen again,” Wes says, while he’s rubbing Purell between his hands. Travis doesn’t look up from his file, focusing on the description the witness had given.

“Sure,” he says, swallowing back the lump in his throat.

He has trouble trying to figure out why he’s so disappointed.

==

Travis never tells anyone, and neither does Wes, and it’s an unspoken vow between the two of them that they’re never going to tell anyone about what led them to that fateful day, the Unspoken Day, the one that landed them both in couple’s therapy with Dr. Ryan in the first place.

It’s hard, when Dr. Ryan says on that day, “Wes, why did you put your gun on Travis?” Because Travis feels his stomach leap up into his throat and his pulse start racing as all the eyes in the room land on him. It’s not the first time she’s asked, but they’ve always gotten out of it before. A big lead has landed in their laps just in time, or someone has been found dead or something.

Travis sits there, listening to the long silence, the hum of the fan above their heads while he waits and prays for his or Wes’s phone to ring, for any interruption – the yoga group, a fire alarm, a tree to come crashing through the building right now – he’ll take it. Instead, he’s met with complete and utter silence. He clears his throat. “Hey, you know, one time, my foster brother and I, we snuck out and decided to try and get into this bar underage –”

Dr. Ryan drills her gaze into Travis then, staring at him with an almost disappointed look on her face, like she knows that Travis is avoiding this, that he’s defending Wes, covering for him. Travis won’t be faulted for it – it’s what partners do, and anyways, he’s a little selfish; he doesn’t want to talk about it. “That’s not what I asked about, Travis,” she says.

Travis looks out the corner of his eye. Wes is frozen, paralyzed with fear, unable to confront this. His jaw is firm, set in place, and his fingers are curled into fists, arms crossed. He stares straight ahead. Travis feels something protective in his heart, wants to jump in front of Wes like there’s a bullet coming towards him all over again. Dr. Ryan turns her critical eye on Wes, arches one perfect brow, and says, “Wes?”

He doesn’t look at her. Every couple in the group stares at him.

Travis says, busily, “So we just really wanted to hook up with some girls, you know - not girls though, women. We figured the best place was a bar, right, okay. So we try and -”

“Wes,” Dr. Ryan interrupts again.

Travis is panicking.

“And we argue with the guy at the door for an hour, I swear, but we talked him into it. Man, we were good, like, the best. Just –”

“Wes, you’re never going to get past this if we don’t discuss it,” Dr. Ryan says, gently, still looking at him. And all the couples are staring back and forth, from Wes to Dr. Ryan to Travis, who is still panicking. “Wes, tell us why you put the gun on Travis.”

“Stop!” Travis shouts, making everyone in the room jump. Because Travis isn’t the one who freaks out. Travis isn’t the one who just doesn’t talk about it – he talks around it, but it’s not working, and he can’t do this. “Stop. Just stop,” he says, standing up. He grabs his jacket and stuffs his phone into it, while he pulls it on. “I don’t – I don’t want to discuss it, Wes doesn’t want to discuss it. Just stop.”

And he pulls Wes up out of his seat, and walks out.

==

It does happen again.

And again and again and again.

And Travis lets it happen, but so does Wes, and the problem is always the same, right from the beginning. Wes still wants to be married to Alex, and Travis is never enough. Travis is messy and a rule breaker and he’s mouthy and maybe he’s too rough or something, he doesn’t know.

They clash at work, and then six nights out of seven, after arguing over their cases, they end up going back to Wes’s place, or maybe Travis’s little trailer sometimes.

“’S good,” Wes moans, and Travis smiles against Wes’s chest, kissing down, down, down.

“Yeah,” he murmurs. “Tell me what you want, then, Wes.”

“Want – God - want,” Wes mumbles, arching up against him as Travis sucks on his hipbone and thrusts two fingers in and out of him,

“I know, Wes,” Travis soothes, pulling his fingers out, slipping a condom on. “Soon, okay? Soon, I promise.”

Wes moans, gripping Travis’s biceps, and Travis thrusts forward. “God, you feel good,” Travis whispers in his ear. Wes breathes out.

 

“More,” he demands, and Travis knows he’s pushing himself, just like he always does, trying to push the millions of thoughts he always seems to have running through his mind out of his head, at least for this moment. “More,” he says again, and Travis moves forward just that much more. “God,” Wes moans, tilting his head back, tightening his fingers on Travis’s arms.

“So good,” Travis pants, and they continue.

Again.

==

“Travis –”

“No,” Travis says, and he’s shaking, stomping his way out to Wes’s car. It’s raining and he’s getting wet, and it just makes him shake even more. “No, don’t,” he says.

“I just –”

“I don’t want to hear it!” Travis shouts, turning around to face him. “I know there’s a reason, okay? I know you didn’t just – put your gun on me for kicks or something. Jesus, Wes, I know. I know that we fell apart at the seams for reasons. But I trust you, okay, and that’s all that matters. I’m not ready to hear why you put your fucking gun in my face, and the day I am, I’ll tell you, okay? And you know what? You’re not ready to tell me. Jesus. You’re fucking shaking.”

“So are you,” Wes says, glaring at him, his chin tilting defiantly.

Travis huffs a laugh. “I’m tougher than you.”

“Shut up and get in the car,” Wes says, clearing his throat and making his way around to the driver’s side. Wes drives in silence for a while until he says, “Thank you,” in a soft tone.

Travis doesn’t say anything, just reaches over and pats his arm. Then he says, “I did it so you didn’t have to.” And the words are familiar, them,, and they make sense, and there’s a tilt of a smile at the corners of Wes’s lips as he keeps driving.

==

“I think I might have a chance with Alex,” Wes says earnestly one night, when they’re shutting everything down, ready to leave. They’re coming off a long case, and Travis is tired. He pauses, just about to shut his desk light out, and stares at Wes.

“What?” he says, not sure what he heard, “I – what?”

“I do,” Wes says, looking eagerly at him, and Travis thinks, holy shit. Did Wes miss the part where he’s been fucking his male partner for the better part of two months now, or is he just avoiding that conversation? He already knows the answer, anyways. He swallows. He’s known this was coming for a while.

“Well,” Travis says, “That’s. Great.”

“Alex and I – we’re good together, great together.” Wes looks like he’s trying to convince himself of something, and Travis shifts on his feet.

“Yeah, man,” Travis agrees. “I have to go.” And he darts out of the station like it’s on fire and he wants to get away as fast as he can.

Wes comes in the next morning, and he looks like he hasn’t slept, and Travis – Travis knows how that feels, but he bites down on his lip and doesn’t say anything, just pushes a cup of coffee forward, made just the way Wes likes it. “Thanks,” Wes rasps, and Travis looks away.

They get through the day, and then when they’re leaving, Wes says, “You want to um – come back to my hotel room?” and scratches the back of his neck.

Travis pauses. He shoves his hands in his pockets, and looks down at the floor, and then he says quietly, “No.”

Wes looks at him, surprised. “What?”

“No.”

“Travis –”

“Look, this isn’t going anywhere, Wes, and I respect that, but I can’t –” Travis breaks off, swallows. “I can’t,” he finishes softly, “I just can’t. It’s not going anywhere, and I get that. You told me that, when it first happened. I get it; you’re still in love with Alex. And she’s great for you. But I can’t keep… waiting forever, I guess,” Travis shrugs.

“Waiting forever,” Wes repeats, arms crosses, body stiff, as he stares blankly at Travis. “Waiting forever? Travis – this wasn’t even supposed to happen and you – I – you’re fucking. Are you kidding me?”

“Don’t do this man,” Travis says quietly, “Don’t make a big deal out of me shooting you down, okay?”

“I’m not making a big deal out of you shooting me down, I’m making a big deal out of you making a big deal,” Wes shouts, and Travis looks up.

“I’m not making a big deal,” he spreads his arms wide, “No one is making a big deal. I just said no.

“You can’t hate me for still loving my wife.”

There’s a minute’s pause before Travis says, softly, “No. I can’t.” And he walks out.

==

“So, um,” Wes scratches the back of his neck, and it’s his nervous tell, has always been his nervous tell, Travis knows that. Travis shoves his hands in his pockets and leans against Wes’s car, waiting for him to talk. They’re standing outside Travis’s place after the catastrophe with Dr. Ryan, and both of them are more than a little relieved to be back on familiar territory. Travis feels like he can breathe again.

Wes says, “Do you want to grab some dinner?”

Travis’s heart skips a beat. It’s been months since they’ve grabbed dinner together, since before everything fell apart at the seams. He knows he should say no. He knows he should walk away, right now, should let Wes down easily again. But part of him doesn’t want to. The other part of him is still screaming, not yet. There’s still Alex.

“What, you don’t have any plans to water the lawn after your stressful day?” Travis jokes, but he’s seriously asking. Wes looks at him, eyes sparkling.

“If I watered the lawn after a day like today, I might flood it,” he replies, and Travis breathes out.

“I could eat,” he says, pulling away from the car door so he can open it, and the smile Wes gives him is blinding.

“The usual sound good?”

“It sounds great,” Travis says, and his heart is doing that funny jumpy thing again.

==

Things fall apart really fast after that, and the reason is there, glaring and bright, in both of their faces. They’re fighting all the time, and Wes, always OCD before, has a new fixation on getting back with Alex if it’s the last thing he manages to do, without actually giving in to what Alex wants.

Snappy retorts escalate into arguments, that soon escalate into full blown fights, with Wes’s fist smashing into Travis’s face, Travis’s hands wrapping around Wes’s wrists, bruising them as he tries to hurt Wes. He has so much anger built up inside him, directed towards Wes, and Wes has so much anger and hurt inside him, directed towards him and his ex-wife.

The thing is, they both know how they got here.

But by unspoken mutual agreement, they choose not to tell anyone.

==

“This is really good,” Travis says around a mouthful of food. Wes eyes him with a near-disgusted look on his face, his nose wrinkled, as he stabs a fork into his own food, cutting it into neat pieces, before taking a bite.

“I can tell that you’re enjoying it,” he says finally.

Travis swallows his food and gives him a toothy grin. “It’s one of the best restaurants. Of course I’m enjoying it. Man, I haven’t been here in forever.”

Something shutters in Wes’s eyes for a split second, before he grins back at Travis, picking up his fork and taking another bite, swallowing, and then saying, “Yeah. Me either.”

They eat rather silently after that, but they keep sharing those little grins, and Travis can’t escape the feeling that something big is about to go down. He just doesn’t know what it’s going to be.

==

“I have had enough,” Captain Sutton barks, glaring them into silence. Wes is still standing his ground, fingers gripped onto Travis’s shirt, and Travis has his hand wrapped around one of Wes’s wrists. They’re both flushed, angry, and Travis’s last words are ringing in the air, she’s your fucking ex-wife, not your wife, remember?

That had been all he’d gotten out before Wes tackled him, threw him to the ground. Another fight. It’s an endless cycle of spiteful words and physical injuries inflicted upon one another; they can’t seem to help it anymore. “You two need to get your shit together. You used to be so good together,” the captain looks sad for a moment, lost, like he can’t figure out what happened, and both Wes and Travis roll their eyes, because in the last few months, they’ve heard it a million times. “Find that place again, or I’ll be forced to go to extreme measures.”

“Sure, Cap,” Travis says, and lets go of Wes. He coughs, glaring at Wes, and Wes’s grip tightens for only a few seconds before he, too, releases Travis’s shirt. “We’ll work on it.”

Only they don’t, because the next day Travis is staring down the barrel of Wes’s gun, a split-second of terrifying realization, this has gone too far, before the captain and two other Very Nice Officers from the precinct grab them both by their shirt collars, one disarming Wes, and throwing them into Sutton’s office. Captain Sutton says, “You’ve left me no choice. I’ve already called Dr. Ryan.” He pauses.

“You’re going to couple’s therapy,” he says, and Travis almost wishes he’d have fired them instead.

==

“I’m sorry,” Wes blurts in the car.

There’s a beat of silence. “Huh,” Travis says finally.

“No, really, I – Jesus.” Wes huffs, “I’m really bad with emotions.”

Travis smiles wryly. “I think that could be said for both of us. Dr. Ryan would nod frantically in agreement, even.”

“Not just about the – gun,” he waves a hand here, motioning just how much he doesn’t want to talk about it. “But… about what I said. Before… just. Jesus, Travis. I hope you know what I’m fucking trying to get at.”

“I do,” Travis says, more than a little amused at how flustered Wes seems to be.

There’s more silence, until Travis finally says, softly, “I’m sorry, too. We said some shitty things, man.”

Wes huffs again. Travis smiles, reaches over and pats his leg. Finally Wes says, “I’m not in love with Alex. I don’t think I was, even when we divorced. I think I just wanted back what I had, you know. I was –“

“Obsessed with it? Fixated on it? Hell-bent on –” Travis cuts off at the look Wes gives him. “Yeah, okay,” he agrees finally. “I think you still loved her a little though. Alex is a great woman.”

“She is. But she’s not great for me,” Wes says decisively. Travis gives him a strange look.

“Have you like, found someone else, dude?” Travis asks him, then holds his hands up, “Because I’m all for you getting back on the horse, you know – I’d love to meet her – but this conversation is taking a strange turn, that’s all I’m saying, okay?”

Wes keeps his focus on the road, but he rolls his eyes. “Seriously.”

“And sometimes you manage to attract some real weirdos - remember Purple Haired Girl? Not that you aren’t a very handsome man –”

“Travis, shut up.”

“-But really, I have to be honest here, you just have a like, I don’t even know, knack for attracting people that seem to want to kill you – oh man, remember that brunette Russian? She was kick. Ass.

“Travis.”

Travis opens his mouth to say something else, turns to look at Wes, because they’re stopped at a red light, near Travis’s place finally. Wes looks amused, only a little irritated and annoyed, and mostly nervous, for some reason. Travis really, really wants to know what that reason is. So he closes his mouth and waves a hand in a gesture for Wes to keep talking.

“There is someone else,” he says, and Travis’s stomach drops a little.

“Oh,” he says faintly, and he opens his mouth, ready to do his Let-me-distract-everyone-from-the-present-conversation thing, a talent he perfected way back during his first foster home visit, when the dad beat the shit out of his foster sister, and the social worker kept pestering her to talk in detail about it, but Sophia kept bursting into tears every time she asked her. He’s about to talk about Weirdo number 3 (the German neo-Nazi), when Wes interrupts.

“Travis,” he says softly, “It’s you.”

==

“This is your fault,” Wes hisses, “You don’t know when to shut your fucking mouth. If you’d just learned to shut your fucking mouth.”

Travis shoots him a dirty look, sticks a foot out in front of Wes to not-so-accidentally trip him. Wes stumbles, and then grabs ahold of Travis’s shirt to keep his balance. “Fuck you,” Travis spits out, and holds his chin up, marching into the room marked for couple’s therapy (please be silent). Behind him, he hears Wes hiss something particularly unkind that he doesn’t feel like repeating anytime soon.

“Gentlemen,” a British voice says, as they enter. “Take a seat.”

Travis pauses, hesitates. “Welcome to therapy,” Dr. Ryan says, and Travis knows he’s in for it.

==

“I’ve worked through it,” Wes insists. “I was… I was bitter and angry, for a really, really long time.” Travis doesn’t say anything. “Travis,” he pauses, “Can you say something.”

“I’m… at a blank, here,” Travis says finally. “I just – you – what?”

“It’s you,” Wes repeats, “It’s… it has been you. For a while. And I – I know you felt that way one time. I hope you still feel that way. But I know that you could have moved on, too. Because I was so – you know. Because I pushed you away. Pushed this away,” he gestured between the two of them.

Travis reaches out, grabs Wes by his shirt, and pulls him forward. He kisses him hard. “Oh,” Wes says softly.

“It’s you, too,” Travis replies.

And Wes grins.

==
“You seem… better,” Dr. Ryan says, decisively.

Travis and Wes look at each other. They smile.

Travis says, “We are. We’re… getting there. Cleaning old wounds.”

Wes says, “A fresh start.”

Getting there.