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I Can't Make You Love Me

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There was a group of Ravens at Eden’s. Kevin hadn’t even noticed the six men when Aaron’s hand wrapped around his wrist like a brand. Kevin didn’t even notice them then. He was too preoccupied with gaping at Aaron’s pale fingers, which looked so startlingly gorgeous against Kevin’s olive wrist.

“Kevin don’t leave Aaron’s side.” Andrew’s voice shattered the silence in Kevin’s head.

Kevin’s head snapped up immediately, his eyes devouring every inch of the club around him until they finally settled on the group of ex-Ravens.

“I won’t let them touch you.” Kevin expected those words to come from Neil or Andrew but as his head followed the sound he found himself looking into Aaron’s burning hazel eyes.

Kevin should’ve been uncomfortable by the fire that burned in that gaze, but he only found himself subtly leaning closer. Kevin found comfort in the heat radiating off Aaron and the grip he held on Kevin’s wrist. Aaron was a storm most could not weather, and yet Kevin kept finding himself safely inside of the eye.

Kevin shook himself out of his thoughts when he remembered why Aaron’s ire was so strong. Kevin probably should’ve remembered their names, but Kevin didn’t even know the names of most of the Ravens he used to live with much less remember them three years later.

Aaron’s grip was tight around Kevin’s wrist but his pull was gentle as he guided Kevin to the booth Nicky had located while Kevin had been lost in his thoughts. Normally they sat or stood at one of the tables in the middle because the booths against the walls were always full, but tonight Nicky had somehow managed to kick the former residents out of their seats so that Kevin could be hidden from view of the bar for the night.


 

 

Kevin didn’t remember the drive to the Colombia house. He blinked and suddenly he was walking into the living room and there was a strong arm wrapped tightly around his waist. He patted the pale arm affectionately in thanks as he turned toward the couch.

“Neil wants the couch tonight.” Kevin didn’t know if he hallucinated the rumble of Aaron’s voice against his side or his he was just hyper sensitive from the alcohol, but it was truly distracting.

Kevin nodded dumbly and let Aaron lead him. He thought the blonde was going to dump him in the recliner, and accidently hummed a confused “huh?”

Aaron’s huff of laughter was hot on Kevin’s arm and chest as it floated past. Kevin tried to hide his shiver but knew he’d failed when Aaron started to move a little faster toward his bedroom door before rubbing his hands roughly up and down Kevin’s arm as if to warm them up. The absurdity of Aaron thinking Kevin was cold when he was really just extremely attracted to his friend set Kevin into a fit of laughter.

Aaron let them into the room before letting go of Kevin and walking to the bed. Aaron was shaking his head at Kevin’s inebriated state as if he was disappointed, but Kevin saw the slight upturn on Aaron’s inviting mouth as he sat on the edge of his bed.

“I want to kiss you.” Kevin thought heatedly to himself as he slowly made his way to the blonde.

Aaron’s eyes sparkled with mirth as he laughed, a short but pleasant sound.

“That’s the second time tonight you’ve said what you were thinking out loud.” Aaron pointed out the ghost of a smile broadening into a full blown grin.

Kevin’s mouth popped open in disbelief. Aaron had heard what Kevin had said and he wasn’t angry. He was in an even better mood after hearing it. Kevin had no words to describe his relief.

“Let’s go to sleep before you saying anything more embarrassing.” Aaron laughed.

Oh. Aaron thought Kevin was just being a drunk idiot. No wonder he hadn’t been mad. Aaron still hadn’t realized just how thoroughly wrecked he left Kevin every time they spoke. Still hadn’t noticed the heat in Kevin’s gaze every time Aaron played well. Still hadn’t noticed the way Kevin’s eyes were glued to Aaron every moment of every day.

That’s fine. Kevin is okay with just watching. Aaron was something Kevin didn’t deserve. Aaron was a good that Kevin could never have. But for now Kevin was content to just lay beside his friend and fall asleep listening to the steady breathing of the boy he loved.

 

Turn down the lights

Turn down the bed

Turn down these voices

Inside my head

Lay down with me

Tell me no lies

Just hold me close

Don't patronize

Don't patronize

 

It’d been a week since that night Kevin had fallen asleep with the knowledge that his crush was more than just a crush. Kevin dreaded the fact, and would never admit it, but he was in love with his anger friend. He felt it every time Aaron asked Kevin if he wanted to play Black Flag together. He felt it every time Aaron smiled at him after successfully blocking Kevin. He felt it every time they sat at the library and studied quietly together. Aaron had become the center of Kevin’s universe and Kevin didn’t know what to do about it. Aaron was heterosexual. Not bisexual or even bi-curious. Kevin had no chance. He couldn’t stop loving Aaron like he couldn’t make Aaron love him back.

Neil and Andrew were going on one of their trips this weekend so Nicky had decided to spend the weekend bonding with the upperclassmen more. Kevin had no interest in spending any more time with his teammates than he already did. Friday night he found himself alone in his room drinking straight from the bottle of his favorite vodka while he jotted down new plays. He jumped dramatically when the door suddenly swung up and an irritated Aaron stormed into the dorm.

“Whas wrong?” Kevin’s words were already slurring and he still had half a bottle to finish.

“Great. Alcohol. Give me some.” Aaron’s sentences were short, clipped but not sharp.

Kevin nodded his head and stood to give Aaron the bottle, only stumbling once before he thrust it at the shorter man.

Aaron hummed his thanks before tilting his head back and talking large swallows. Kevin swallowed as well as he watched Aaron’s throat constrict and release. Kevin’s eyes roamed Aaron’s face before dropping to his neck again. When Aaron released a sharp exhale and shivered Kevin’s gazed snapped up to meet Aaron’s and he subconsciously licked his lips. Kevin must have hallucinated Aaron’s pupils dilating as he watched Kevin’s tongue dart out to wet his lips because the blonde turned abruptly and walked into the kitchen.

When he came back they settled onto the couch. Kevin tried to pull up one of the exy video’s he needed to rewatch and take notes over, but stopped when Aaron made a disapproving noise deep in his throat. The sound made Kevin’s entire being stop to focus on Aaron. Aaron only ignored Kevin’s heated gaze as he pulled the laptop into his lap and pulled up VSauce’s channel.

Kevin hummed before saying, “None of the dumb biology ones.”

“Fine. None of the history ones either then.” Aaron said rolling his eyes.

Kevin just shrugged, or at least he tried to. He was definitely feeling the alcohol that coursed through his body and he had to lean down over Aaron to see the screen which trapped his body between Aaron and the couch. Kevin didn’t even notice which video Aaron picked, just that they were talking about Mars. He couldn’t see well and he was uncomfortable.

Kevin hummed, “I’m going to move you.”

Aaron only nodded slowly, his eye lids drooping. Kevin turned Aaron sideways so that the blonde’s back was against the armrest and his feet were in Kevin’s lap. Once Aaron was settled Kevin pulled his own feet up and slid into the space between Aaron and the back of the couch, his head resting in the crook of Aaron’s neck. Now he could see the laptop screen better and he was much more comfortable.

Halfway into the video he felt Aaron’s breathing even out signaling that he’d fallen asleep. Kevin closed the laptop and set it quietly on the ground.

Kevin whispered, “I think I’m in love with you. “as his eyes fluttered closed.

 

'Cause I can't make you love me

If you don't

You can't make your heart feel

Something it won't

Here in the dark

In this final hour

Imma lay down my heart

And feel the power if you want

No you won't

 

Kevin had been chastising himself constantly for his late night confessions. At least Aaron hadn’t heard the most recent one. Kevin needed to get a fucking grip. Aaron didn’t feel the same. Why would he? If Aaron ever decided to try something with a man he’d probably go for someone who could unabashedly love him and wore confidence like it was a part of their being, like Matt. Not someone who was too scared to love someone unapologetically and shed his confidence behind closed doors like Kevin. Aaron deserved to be cherished by all and Kevin was too fucked up to love him like he deserved.

Kevin’s thoughts were particularly dark that night as he laid in his too small bunk and stared at the empty bed beside him that Aaron used to sleep on. The space now empty and cold had once been warm and full of Aaron’s quiet fire. Kevin could practically hear the soft snores that usually lulled him to sleep. He pictured Aaron’s hair fluttering softly in the wind, which was generated by the small black fan he kept beside his bed, and the orange glow from the street light that set Aaron’s sleeping form ablaze.

“You’ll ruin him like you ruin everything else you love.” A dark voice floated through his mind, it reminded him of Riko’s voice.

Kevin’s mind warped the warm image he’d created and suddenly it was Riko’s small body lying in the bed across from him. His black eyes glaring at Kevin through the darkness. His mouth a sharp sneer. He slowly sat up, the black black blankets melting off his body and landing safely on the ground. Kevin’s eyes shot back to the man in front of him when he heard the bed groan. Riko was standing up. Riko’s feet were on the ground. Riko was was approaching Kevin.

Kevin shot out of his bed his breath rushing out of him in loud huffs. His eyes were rapidly searching the room making sure that Riko was still dead, and not in Kevin’s room. He tried to hide his panic until he remember that he had the room to himself tonight. When he realized he was entirely alone his breathing picked up its pace, thundering out of his chest. He tried to stand but quickly lost his balance, crashing into the wall. He leaned against the wall as he tried to just fucking breathe. His vision swimming, the room around him flickering from his current bedroom and his old one. Everything was spinning, so he closed his eyes. Suddenly Riko was standing before him, his pale hand shot out to wrap around Kevin’s neck. Kevin started choking, tears falling from his eyes.

“Kevin!”

Was that Aaron? Aaron didn’t deserve this darkness. He’d never let Aaron into the Nest. Kevin tried to tell him to run. But Riko was squeezing harder by the second.

Suddenly Kevin had water thrown in his face, causing his eyes to snap open and air to rush into Kevin’s lungs. Aaron was standing in front of him, not Riko. He was panting, an empty cup clutched tightly in his hand.

“A-Aaron?” Kevin’s voice was a hoarse whisper as his mind caught up to his reality.

“Yes, I’m here. You are Kevin Day. You are safe at Palmetto state. You are a fifth year striker. You are a fox and I am here with you.” Aaron said reassuringly, his fingers slowly wrapping themselves around Kevin’s forearm.

Normally being talked to like that annoyed Kevin, but Aaron’s words washed over him leaving only contentment and safety in their wake. He was with Aaron and he was safe. He felt himself starting to smile as he stared into hazel eyes.

“Do you want me to lay with you?” Aaron offered quietly.

Kevin’s throat was still sore from his imaginative choking so he nodded and walked to his bed.

“I’m going to clean up the broken ceramic, then I’ll join you I bed, okay?” Aaron said, though his tone was softer than a demand as if he was making sure it was okay to leave Kevin alone.

Kevin hadn’t realized anything had broken. His head tilted to the left in question as he stared silently at Aaron and tried to convey his question through his facial expression.

“You must have bumped into the table. Matt heard the lamp shatter and woke me up.” Aaron pointed to the broken lamp on the ground, Kevin not only had no memory of breaking but also hadn’t noticed lying there, before saying, “How else would I have known to check on you?”

Kevin felt his face heat. He hadn’t even questioned Aaron’s appearance in the middle of the night in a room that was no longer his. Aaron took Kevin’s embarrassed silence as consent to leave him there while he fetched the broom.

Kevin silently watched as Aaron quickly swept the shattered ceramic and tossed them, along with the shade, into the trash beside Kevin’s bed. When he was finished he turned to look at Kevin again, his eyes roaming Kevin’s face before flicking over his body, to check for injury with a small frown on his face.

“You should probably take your shirt off since I soaked it.” Aaron mumbled.

Kevin jumped, he hadn’t noticed that his shirt was even wet. He had immediately forgotten that Aaron had thrown a glass of water on him.

“I thought Neil was the only one dramatic enough to throw water on people.” The joke had slipped out of him, sounding rough as it escaped his lips.

Aaron’s frown deepened and lightly punched Kevin’s arm. Kevin must have really freaked him out if Aaron didn’t want to make fun of Neil. Kevin took off his shirt feeling like shit for scaring Aaron.

“I’m sorry.” He croaked.

Aaron sighed heavily before turning to look at Kevin. His gazed flicked down to Kevin’s chest and stared there as Aaron’s ears turned pink.

“Don’t apologize you ass. I don’t care what time it is. Next time you think you’re going to have a nightmare or do have one and you need me, call. Have I ever ignored your calls?” Aaron asked, his eyes still locked onto Kevin’s chest.

The statement floored Kevin. Why would Aaron do that for him? Aaron was his friend, had been for a couple of years now, but he’d never offered himself to anyone like that.

Kevin nodded, but he wasn’t sure Aaron saw it. He hesitant hooked his finger under Aaron’s chin and lifted the blonde’s face so he could see Kevin nod. Kevin had meant to remove his hand the second Aaron registered that Kevin understood and was grateful for Aaron’s offer, yet he couldn’t. Aaron’s chin was solid and warm between Kevin’s finger and thumb. His eyes more brown than green in the dark of Kevin’s room. He broke eye contact only to watch as Aaron’s tongue flicked out and wet his lips.

Aaron was not interested in men. Aaron was not interest in Kevin. Kevin dropped his hand and laid back onto the bed. He knew that he should send Aaron away, but he wasn’t sure if he’d be okay alone right then. He scooted over so Aaron had enough room to lay without being forced to touch Kevin before he closed his eyes. Kevin heard Aaron sigh before the bed shifted signaling that Aaron was laying down beside him. Kevin’s eyes fluttered open when Aaron’s head landed on his shoulder, his hand coming to rest just above Kevin’s belly button.

“Good night Kevin.” Aaron hummed, vibrating Kevin’s bare skin.

Kevin forced himself to relax as Aaron drifted into slumber. Before he could stop himself Kevin started to slowly run his hand through Aaron’s hair. Aaron hummed contently and threw his leg over Kevin’s before he snuggled his face into Kevin’s neck.

Kevin shouldn’t be letting Aaron sleep on him when it meant more to Kevin than it did to Aaron. Kevin should have told him the truth about his feelings. He didn’t think he could handle another sleep over. His heart couldn’t handle all of this pining. He’d tell Aaron tomorrow. He just needed Aaron’s reassuring presence tonight.

Kevin fell asleep with a smile on his face and his hand securely in Aaron’s soft hair.

 

I'll close my eyes

Then I won't see

The love you don't feel

When you're holding me

Mornin' will come

And I'll do, I'll try

Just give me till then

To give up this fight

And I will give up this fight

 

He was drunk. Aaron was so drunk. The clubs light pulsated around him, Kevin’s body a malleable wall behind him. He didn’t know when exactly he and Kevin had started dancing together instead of with the girls they had started with. He did know that he was having a fucking great time grinding his ass into Kevin’s groin. He wasn’t sure where he learned to dance like this, probably from watching Nicky shake his ass everywhere, but he didn’t care. Every time Kevin groaned or dragged his big hands up Aaron’s sides was a new memory he would cherish. Aaron slid his hands up his chest to his neck, and finally up into his hair. Kevin somehow leaned closer and wrapped his arms around Aaron’s waist, burying his head in Aaron’s neck. Aaron pushed his hands out of his own hair and into Kevin’s drawing out a loud moan from the taller man.


 

Aaron stumbled into the house, Kevin holding up most of his weight. He let Kevin guide him to his room, Aaron’s head resting on Kevin’s bicep as they slowly made their way down the hall. He fumbled with his shirt when Kevin deposited him on the bed. He couldn’t get the damn thing off and he was so hot from the alcohol burning through his system. Kevin had the audacity to laugh at him!

“Oh fuck you, boozy.” Aaron was embarrassed by how slurred his words were, but at least Kevin understood them.

Kevin only laughed harder, the bastard. Aaron was not some helpless child, and he didn’t give a shit if he looked ridiculous with his arm and neck caught in his shirt.

“Shut up and help me get this piece of shit off you bastard.” Aaron snapped

Kevin stopped laughing as his face heated. He looked kind of cute like that. A small smile gracing his full lips and a bright blush favoring his cheeks. Aaron found himself bewitched by that small smile. Kevin very rarely showed his contentment so freely. He had come a long way from the scared boy he’d been all those years ago. Aaron’s chest swelled with pride as he realized Kevin smiled more alone with Aaron than he did anywhere else.

He was shaken from his thoughts as Kevin’s fingers gentle untangled his arm from the fabric of his shirt and lifted it over his head. Aaron found himself distracted, still by that small contented smile.

“Hey Kev? You have such pretty lips. I want to kiss them a lot.” The words fumbled out of his mouth before he could analyze them.

Aaron did not find shame or regret, only mild embarrassment after uttering those words. Kevin on the other hand froze, his face only inches away from Aaron’s.

“You’re drunk. You don’t mean that.” Kevin turned quickly to walk out of the room before finishing, “Good night Aaron.”

“Wait! Kevin, please stay with me tonight.” His first word came out as a shout, but each word that followed got quieter and quieter from fear of rejection.

Kevin stopped in the door way and sighed. Aaron couldn’t see his face, but from Kevin’s body language he was fighting an internal war. Finally he turned around and made his way back to the bed. Aaron tried to hide his sigh of relief, but knew he’d failed when Kevin’s smile returned.

That night Aaron fell asleep curled around Kevin. If he had been more sober and less tired he’d have laughed at the absurdity of being the big spoon.

 

'Cause I can't make you love me

If you don't

You can't make your heart feel

Somethin’ it won't

Here in the dark

In these final hours

I will lay down my heart

And feel the power if you want

No you won't

 

“Fuck, I don’t know how to tell you this.” Kevin took a deep breath before continuing, “Aaron. I like you. I want to be with you. I know you don’t like guys, but I needed you to know so I don’t spend the rest of my life wonder ‘What if?’”

He couldn’t believe this was happening. Kevin fucking Day was proclaiming his love for Aaron.

“Don’t be dramatic” he told himself.

It was at least partially true. Kevin Day liked him. Actually, truly wanted to be with Aaron. What the fuck this was insane. Aaron wasn’t bi. Aaron didn’t like dick. Aaron had been deeply unsettled when he first started living with Nicky. And again when he found out about Andrew’s sexuality, though by then he had had years to better himself and the hateful teachings he’d learned so he overcame his initial reaction quicker than he had with Nicky. What if he had to go through the same things he had said and done to Nicky and Andrew? Or worse? Though Aaron could admit that he would deserve it for all the shitty things he’d done to the only two people who cared about him.

Again those were Aaron’s initial thoughts, but after that first moment of fear and self-loathing he said, “I need to think about how I feel. I’ll come to your dorm tomorrow night with my answer.”

Aaron had to turn and walk briskly out of the room so he wouldn’t see the look on Kevin’s face.


 

The next night came quickly and Aaron was still confused about his feelings for Kevin. Aaron had at least figured out that he was less straight and picky, but actually bisexual and somewhere on the ace scale. He’d given up trying to figure it out entirely. He hadn’t experienced enough to feel comfortable claiming he was one thing when he wasn’t even aware of everything he could be. He stopped worrying about it and decided he was going to ask Dan or Renee to help him figure it out since they were more educated and patient than he was.

That left him with only thinking about Kevin. Kevin was downright gorgeous. Aaron had always been aware of how attractive he thought Kevin was, but had dismissed his attraction as a purely physically thing that everyone felt for someone as stunning as Kevin. And yet Aaron’s stomach had clenched the first time he saw Kevin smile without restraint. He felt stupid butterflies in stomach each time a smile graced that distracting mouth.

Kevin also was the only one who didn’t flinch when Aaron lost his temper. The only one who understood his cursed need for affection, especially on the bad days. The more Aaron thought about it the more he realized just how similar they were. And just how right he felt in Kevin’s arms.

Aaron Minyard actually liked Kevin Day. No one in a million years could have seen this day coming. Maybe besides Allison since she seemed to always be the first to guess who was hooking up.

Aaron found himself standing nervously outside Kevin, Andrew, and Neil’s dorm. Just as he was going to knock the door flew open and he had to step out of the way. Neil and Andrew didn’t even slow down on their way out of the dorm. Andrew nodded to his brother while Neil offered him a smile as they passed. Aaron ducked his head and enter the dorm quietly, a blush already tainting his face and ears.

Kevin was sitting casually on the couch his laptop playing what was presumably an Exy game. Kevin’s eyes flicked up from the screen to look at Aaron before widening dramatically. Aaron was shocked by the laugh that escaped him as he took in Kevin’s bewildered expression.

“Did you think I was going to ignore you?” Aaron asked, his eyebrow raised mockingly.

Kevin shook his head, probably still dumb struck. He closed his laptop and set it onto the ground before patting the cushion next to him. Aaron took it as the invitation it was and sat next to Kevin on the couch. As Aaron thought of the right words to say Kevin opened his mouth three times as if trying to say something as well.

“ I like you too. “ The words flew out of Aaron’s mouth in a rush that he had no control over.

Kevin’s head swung dramatically to gape at Aaron. If Aaron’s own face didn’t look so damn embarrassing red as a tomato he’d have laughed at how ridiculous Kevin looked.

“Oh shut up and kiss me.” Aaron laughed, his face unbearably hot.

Kevin nodded quickly before crashing his mouth against Aaron’s. The kiss was awkward and almost painful until they worked past their nerves. It morphed into something soft, yet heated. Kevin’s hand cupped the base of Aaron’s skull, his fingers sliding into Aaron’s hair. The grip was both supportive and secure. Aaron hummed contently into Kevin’s eager mouth. The sound made them both freeze and Kevin pull back to make sure everything was okay.

“Don’t stop.” Aaron hummed, his eyes fluttering closed as he leaned his head back into Kevin’s sturdy grip.

Suddenly Kevin was devouring his mouth. When Aaron gasped from surprise Kevin took the opportunity to lick into his mouth. Somehow Aaron had ignited a fire in Kevin, one that rapidly spread from him into Aaron. His body was on fire and there was nothing he could do other than enjoy the heat as Kevin laid him back on to the couch.


 

They laid on the couch sweaty and panting as Aaron thought about the moments that lead him here. All the times they had slept together for safety or convenience, all the smiles and out of place friendliness, and all the nights alcohol had taken their inhibitions away and they danced the lines of friendship. He only now realized how fucking obvious Kevin had been about his feelings. Aaron had been truly blind not to notice. Though he was grateful Kevin had waited for Aaron to be sober when he confessed. Kevin had waited till Aaron wouldn’t feel pressured or forced into anything, the realization making Aaron snuggle closer to Kevin in appreciation and something warmer.

 

'Cause I can't make you love me

No

If you don't

Say you ain't gotta love

You ain't gotta love

You ain't gotta love it

I can't just make you love me

I can't