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Love Like You

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It wasn’t as though it was particularly surprising when things fell the way they did. Michael and Jeremy never had been especially shy when it came to telling each other the way they were feeling. After so many years of people teasing them and hinting that they would be a good couple, Jeremy finally found himself stopping and noticing certain things about Michael that he hadn’t seen before. He spent more time thinking about what it would be like to date Michael, turning the idea over and over in his head before he ever put any of his feelings into action.

There had been one instance in particular when Jeremy had gone over to stay the night at Michael’s house that made him start to question if he really did think of Michael in the strictly platonic way he’d always believed.

It had been fairly soon after they had finally made up from everything that happened as a result of Jeremy taking a certain pill, which meant that they both still had some fairly fresh wounds emotionally. Jeremy found himself chatting with Michael’s mothers while Michael himself was in the shower. They’d told him how glad they were that the two boys finally made up and explained how mopey Michael had been in the time they were ‘fighting’.

It was in that moment, imagining Michael feeling so sad just because of something Jeremy had done, that he realized that he would probably do just about anything to go back and change things. To stop Michael from ever having to experience that pain. To make him happy. The realization was sudden, slapping Jeremy in the face with an unexpected intensity, and yet he never felt scared.

The revelation didn’t make him nervous or nauseated or anxious. Instead, it simply felt as though it had been right in front of him the whole time. Like it had been waiting for Jeremy to see it. It felt comforting, in a way.

A few hours after that, Jeremy found himself telling Michael everything he had been thinking. He’d come to the decision that he didn’t want to hide things anymore, especially from his best friend. So, he tried being honest.

“Y’know,” Jeremy had started, eyes drifting from the cartoons flashing on the tv over to Michael. He noted how even the simple image of Michael so focused on the colorful show made his heart thump harder in his chest. “I always thought I might be bad, but now I know it’s true.”

Michael blinked in surprise at the sudden admission, turning to meet Jeremy’s gaze. “What? You’re not bad. Why do you say that?” He frowned.

“Because you’re so good,” Jeremy replied earnestly. “And I’m nothing like you. I mean, just look at you. I just- honestly? I adore you. You make my heart go all fast just from watching cartoons.”

Michael froze, eyes widening. He squeaked slightly, automatically looking away as his cheeks started to heat up. “That’s, uh, real gay.”

Jeremy laughed softly, nodding in agreement. “I think it was supposed to be.”

“It- It was? Don’t go gettin’ my hopes up, now. You know my fragile gay heart can’t take it.” Michael gave a small nervous laugh.

Jeremy shook his head, his own cheeks warming up. “I mean it.”

Michael finally cracked a soft genuine smile, pressing himself into Jeremy’s side a bit. “Good, then.”

-----

They hadn’t gone into detail about their feelings that night, but they both made it known that there was almost certainly something there. They’d decided to just let things develop naturally. To see where things went. If they ended up together, so be it. If not, they would stay at each other’s side nonetheless.

After graduation, they ended up rooming together for school. They shared a small dorm, fully decked out to be as cozy and inviting as possible. It was a dreary, rainy day when things finally fell into place.

The pair of them were sitting together on a drowsy afternoon, the hypnotising drum of rain pattering against the roof almost enough to put them to sleep when things finally happened. Jeremy wasn’t quite sure what had caused the shift in mood, honestly. One second they were chatting and the next he found himself lost in thought, eyes glued to Michael’s.

Jeremy carefully leaned closer, the intoxicating atmosphere practically guiding him. He hesitated a few inches away from Michael’s face, giving him an opportunity to move away.

Michael didn’t move. In fact, he actually leaned in a little closer in response.

Jeremy finally closed the space between them, pressing a sweet, curious kiss to Michael’s lips. It wasn’t very long or especially passionate, but even just the short peck spread a tingle of warmth through Jeremy’s chest.

He pulled back, looking up at Michael curiously. As their eyes met, Jeremy felt the warmth from before return, considerably stronger than before and this time lingering within him. It made his body tingle, his mind hazy with a gentle euphoria.

Michael was staring back at him, expression completely unguarded. His eyes shone with awe, lips fixed in a lovestruck smile.

“Micah,” Jeremy murmured, voice soft. “Was that ok?”

Michael’s breath caught, eyes flashing. “Yes. God yes.” He nodded slightly. “I’m- I just-” He broke off, cheeks turning brught red. “Happy.”

Jeremy laughed, pulling him into a hug. “Yeah.”

Michael wrapped his arms around Jeremy tightly, clinging to him. He buried his burning face in the smaller boy’s shoulder.

”God,” Michael breathed. “It’s been so long, I never- Never thought this would actually-” Jeremy felt Michael’s body practically melt against his own, the two fitting together easily. “Feels like home. Is that weird?”

Jeremy smiled to himself, heart fluttering. “No. I don’t think so. I know what you mean.” He held Michael close.

He thought over everything that had happened. The way it hadn’t seemed strange at all when someone suggested him and Michael being together, the way he found himself contemplating the idea more and more over time, the way Michael looked at him as though he was absolutely and irrevocably in love despite everything Jeremy had done.

It made Jeremy’s heart thump in his chest, yet his head calm. He felt peaceful. Content. He thought, in that moment, that maybe he could one day make Michael feel as happy in return. He decided that he really liked that idea.

“Hey Micah?”

“Yeah?”

“I really like you. A lot.”

Michael laughed softly, giving Jeremy a light squeeze.. “I like you a whole lot too, Jerm.”

Jeremy smiled. “I hope one day I can learn to love like you. Even after everything, you look at me and it’s like you would break the moon in half if I asked you to. Like you wouldn’t even question it. It’s amazing, honestly. I wanna love people like that.” He paused. “I wanna love you like that.”

Michael’s breath caught in his chest, heart jumping to his throat. “I-” He had to cut himself off and take a second to keep his voice level. When he tried again, it came out as barely a whisper. “I’d like that very much, I think.”

Jeremy hummed softly in response. “Thank you. For being here. And caring. Really. Thank you for being here, even after everything I did. I don’t deserve you.”

Michael shook his head, pulling back to meet Jeremy’s eyes. “I forgive you. I forgave you the second it was over, remember?” He offered a crooked smile. “Heartache and loneliness can drive people insane. It makes people do crazy things. It’s alright.”

Jeremy melted, unable to stop himself from leaning forward to peck Michael’s lips again. “One day, I’m gonna be able to love like you. I promise.”

Michael just smiled, pressing his own kiss to Jeremy’s chin. “I’ll be counting on it, then.”