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communication is key (sometimes alcohol helps, though)

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Andrew kicked the customary piece of broken metal pipe into the door jamb as Neil rocketed past him. He stepped into the humid night air and sighed.

"Feels s'good out here," Neil mumbled, head thrown back to the stars and arms outstretched. It was September, a month into Andrew's last year at Palmetto and Neil's junior. The Foxes won their first game by a comfortable margin and of course, had a party to commemorate. It wasn't the same without the upperclassmen, they were the upperclassmen now. Kevin still managed to get blackout drunk and was probably drooling on their dorm doorknob with his keys lost somewhere in the basement.

"Having fun?" Andrew snarked halfheartedly. Neil was spinning around slowly, his eyes shut like there was music playing. His feet stuttered to a sloppy stop at his voice, his eyes finding Andrew.

"Be having more fun if you'd kiss me," he said grumpily. He crossed his arms and walked closer to the edge of the roof. The campus sprawled out before them in all of its fall- semester glory. The sod trimmed neatly and the sidewalks blown off, the lamppost hung with orange and white streamers. The yellowish light was dim and did nothing to hinder visibility of the stars above.

"You're drunk."

Neil knew this and understood why he felt uncomfortable with his ability to consent to anything other than an ibuprofen and Gatorade.

"I still wanna make out." He all but whined, deep red curls blown in his face by the warm breeze. Andrew's eyes tracked him carefully as his shoe caught in a crack of the cement. Neil rested his hands on the edge, feeling the coolness seep through his clammy hands.

"I know," Andrew said quietly, "me too."
He moved closer to Neil, itching to touch but unwilling to take when not explicitly given. Neil would feel the same way with the roles reversed.

"Come back over here," Andrew demanded. His hands were sweating for christ's sake. The roof was a bad idea with him in this state. Neil's brows furrowed, but not from confusion.

"Why do you even care?" He forced out of his mouth, the same time he swayed on his feet.

"They would put me in jail for homicde."

Neil shrugged, too drunk to keep his thoughts on track long enough to argue. He pressed his hands to the edge before lifting up to sit, wobbling on weak limbs.

Andrew was on him in a second, arms around his waist, slinging him back from the edge.

"Fucking stop it." Andrew bit savagely. His heart was beating out of his chest. Neil's expression didn't look anything like he'd almost killed himself with a magnificent splat.


Andrew closed the distance between them in two steps, hand grasping Neil's throat. "Yes or no?"

That seemed to cheer Neil up.

"Yes, 'drew."

Andrew slid his hand to the back of Neil's neck and pressed him into the crook of Andrew's shoulder. Neil went, immediately pliant under Andrew's touch and let his breaths fall heavily into his collarbone as Andrew wrapped him in his arms.

So he didn't fall, of course.

"I want you around for a long time."

Neil, who had been worried about what their not-relationship could withstand with Andrew graduating this year since Matt had brought it up, exhaled shakily at those eight simple words. He had never been insecure about anything like this, but he began to wonder whether this thing with Andrew was convenience, that Neil was simply there and easy to train.

Andrew's hand slid into his hair and massaged his scalp lightly. The feeling made tension bleed from Neil's muscles, his whole body sagging against him. He ran his thumb along Andrew's jaw, reveling in the familiarity of soft skin over hard bone. Andrew's eyes told him everything he needed to know as always, but he still felt uneasy. Maybe it was the alcohol.

"You do?" He asked, because he needed to know that he wasn't losing the only thing that made him feel whole again.

"Idiot," Andrew said, staring him down. "Yes."

Neil's heart stopped and started in the same breath, roaring back to life and beating faster than ever.

"Kiss me," please, please, please, kiss me. "Just once." He promised.

It's never just once with you, Andrew thought. One more kiss, one more minute in bed together, one inch closer, one more year, another and another until they were wrinkled and gray.

He pressed their lips together chastely, savoring the softness of Neil's lips before he forced himself away. He felt sick putting distance between them, but Neil wasn't sober enough. He was smiling though, his breathtaking - heart stopping - grin.

"You wanna kiss me again," he accused playfully. Andrew put his palm over his face and pushed him away gently.

"Shut the fuck up, Neil."