Evan pushed his bedroom door open so forcefully that it slammed back against the wall before bouncing back in his face. He stumbled around it and attempted to calm himself just to push it closed behind him. He let out a small whine before falling face down on his bed. No no no no! Why him?! Why did stuff always have to happen to him?! He was breathing heavily into the pillow, and let out a deep moan. Why?! Hugging the pillow tightly to his face, his forced his mind to evaluate his situation...
Quentin Quire was back at the school.
Quentin Quire as in, his best friend.
(Ex-best friend, he winced.)
Quentin who had blatantly rejected him when Evan had stumbled over a trembling confession of affection for the other boy.
Evan shuddered at the memory... He could remember it far too clearly. They'd just come from class and had been hanging out in Q's room. As much as Evan hated the mess, he loved the atmosphere... It was his favourite place in the school, really. The subtle things that only he could pick up on... Like the way all of Quentin's books (and there were a lot) were ordered alphabetically on his shelves, contrasting with the shit tip that was the rest of his room. Or the little bag of marbles on his nightstand that he used to practice his TK, which Evan knew he was self-conscious about not being so great with, compared to his telepathy. Or the black framed photograph of them together, propped up on the windowsill - the one with Quentin posing with his tongue out like an idiot, and Evan watching him with a bright, fond smile - that Evan had given him for his birthday.
It was a nice place to be once you understood it.
Well... It used to be.
Evan wouldn't be all too keen to get back there right now.
It had been one of those days when Quentin had spent his day obviously worrying about something. Well... Obviously to Evan. Because he knew Quentin's tells. He knew that a slight dip in snarky remarks, and the moments Q's 'done with this' expression would slip to reveal a sadder look when no one was looking, would usually mean he had been upset by something. That and the slight weakening of their telepathic connection.
Evan had tried to ignore it, he really had. He knew Quentin hated it whenever he pointed out his observations on the telepath's vulnerable mood. But after one too many slipped smiles, Evan couldn't resist his urge to help his best friend.
"Hey," he'd began, placing a hand on Quentin's shoulder and looking up at him with eyes brimming with sympathy, "Is everything alright with you?"
Quentin had paused, narrowing his eyes a little, maybe slight irritation at being caught out, but there was an odd sort of relief that seemed to fall into his expression.
"It's nothing, Ev." He shrugged, tone firm. "Where's your algebra homework, nerd? I don't have time for homework right now, gotta borrow yours."
"Stop changing the subject." Evan had said strongly, the words coming out before he'd even realized he was speaking. Quentin looked as surprised at the statement as Evan felt. "I know something's wrong. Did you have another nightmare?"
"No." Quentin answered too quickly.
Evan sighed carefully. "It's okay, Q. You're safe. They're just dreams. The Phoenix-"
"-oh my god, Evan! I'm fine!" The telepath cut in harshly, a slight shakes undertone to the words, before the room fell into an awkward silence.
A couple of minutes passed of both of them trying to busy themselves through the uncomfortable quiet. Quentin focused intently on unpinning and re-pinning one of the buttons on his blazer, whilst Evan erased a sum in his algebra work at a painfully slow pace.
"Sorry." He mumbled, not looking up. "I didn't mean to pry... I just worry about you and-"
"-well, don't." Quentin ordered, grimacing at the harshness of this response. "I mean... I'm fine, I can handle it."
"Okay." Evan whispered, focusing on the pencil that span perfectly between his fingers.
"Thanks, though. I guess." Quentin shrugged, trying to appear as casual as he could manage. "For caring. You're the first."
"I'm sure I'm not." Evan assured him gently. "But you're my best friend, Q. I just want you to be okay."
"Why?" Quentin asked bluntly.
"Why do you like me?"
Evan blinked in confusion. "I- Errr... What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean, Evan." The name sent a shiver down his spine. Quentin only used his name if he was deadly serious about something. "Why would you want to be friends with me?"
"I-" Evan took a breath. Quentin had never previously allowed himself to be so vulnerable around him, and Evan had no idea how to approach it. "Because you're amazing. Yes, you can be nasty sometimes, and you say some really mean things to people. But I know you don't mean it. I know you're just trying to protect yourself. You're trying to avoid being hurt, or embarrassed. So, you push people away, and don't show them what you're thinking. But I love that you let me see through most of that. That you let me see you like this. Because it lets me know that not only are you super talented, really powerful, so clever, really funny, and so kind when you wanna be, but you also really care. About your impact on the world and other people. You're amazing, Quentin."
"No." Quentin turned his face away, the blunt response causing Evan to frown deeply. "No, you're wrong."
"I'm not, Quentin." Evan promised, forcing himself to continue. He took a deep breath and pushed out a slightly lowered voice. "If I didn't feel this way, how could I have fallen in love with you?"
Quentin's eyes snapped back to Evan's immediately - wide and almost frightened. "No." He whispered. "Don't say that."
Evan looked down sadly, blushing in pure humiliation, willing himself not to cry. "Oh."
"Evan, I can't be with you like that. You're not right for me." Quentin continued, though Evan really, really wished he'd shut up for once. "I'm dangerous."
"I can handle it!" Evan argued, tears threatening his eyes.
"No, you can't! Look!" Quentin reached forward and swiped an escaped tear from Evan's cheek. "It's too easy for me to hurt you."
"I'm fine!" Evan almost pleaded, swallowing over and over around the lump in his throat.
"You're not right for me," Quentin repeated, oddly softly, "I need someone as heartless and broken as me... Not someone who cries at Bambi. Or still listens to Westlife when they get upset. Or is so... Mortal."
Evan opened his mouth to protest. But, how could he? Those things were true. All so true.
"And you..." Quentin continued, voice faltering. "You need someone who won't hurt you."
And the next day he had left. Without even saying goodbye. He was just... Gone. No one knew where. Or how. Or why. He'd just left.
And Evan was alone.
But now he'd decided to come back.
And that was possibly even more painful than his disappearance.
Evan had caught a glance of the pink hair as he left his Biology class just minutes ago, and his heart had stopped for a moment. Before Quentin even had the chance to look up, Evan was gone, fleeing to his room.
But he couldn't stay there.
Quentin was back and he had to deal with that. He couldn't avoid living his life just because of some stupid rejected crush. This was his school too. He had a right to be here.
Swallowing hard, he stood up straight and took hold of the door handle. He had lunch to get to. Trevor and Idie would be wondering where he was.
Ignoring his insecurities, he threw open the door and stormed down the corridor to the lunch hall. In silence, he took his seat next to his friends offering them gentle smiles. He gave a quiet 'thank you' upon noticing they'd collected his lunch for him.
See? He noted mentally. You still have amazing friends. You'll be fine.
But then he was frozen
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up on end as he sensed the boost of cerebral energy that only came with the close proximity of his best friend. He stared intently at his plate. Maybe if he didn't move, Quentin wouldn't see him. He shook that thought off. Quentin Quire wasn't a Tyrannosaurus rex... Although, the amount Evan was shaking, he might as well have been. Still, he kept his head down, rhythmically dragging his fork through the mashed potato he'd now entirely lost his appetite for.
"Evan," Idie's gentle voice spoke up, although Evan didn't afford her a glance at the sound of his name. "Are you alri-" her words were cut off by a squeak of surprised, followed by an irritated exclamation of, "Quentin!"
Evan started at the loud bang of a boot on the table, and the sound paired with the shake from the action tricked him into looking up... Straight into Quentin's eyes! Quentin who was currently in the process of awkwardly dropping to sit cross-legged on the table in front of Evan.
Evan opened his mouth to say something? Protest? Cry? He didn't even know.
"Don't say a fucking word, nerd." Quentin ordered with an eye roll that held an obvious air of discomfort and... Nervousness?
Evan's mind was alight with questions. Quentin wasn't avoiding him? Why wasn't he allowed to talk? Oh god, was Quentin going to tell everyone about what happened? Why was he sat on Evan's lunch table? Why didn't anything make sense?
Evan was so busy questioning every element of this situation that he didn't notice the music that slowly began to echo out from the announcement tanoy into the room, arousing confused chatter from the other students. That was, until Quentin opened his mouth...
"You make me feel funny-"
The tuneful words had Evan's mouth dropping open in pure shock and confusion, glancing to Idie at his side to make sure it wasn't just him seeing this.
Quentin's head was lowered slightly, and his eyes flitted around the room, avoiding contact with anyone, especially Evan, communicating an air of irritation at the situation. But Evan could see right through it... He could feel it. Nerves! Definitely nerves!
"-When you come around. Yeah, that's what I've found out, honey..."
Evan still couldn't move. Quentin Quire - omega level telepath, international terrorist and future avatar of the Phoenix - was singing Westlife... On a lunch room table... In front of half the school... To Evan?
"What am I doing without you?"
His eyes looked up to Evan for the first time now, and his lips quirked into a small smile that he obviously didn't expect if the eye roll that followed it was anything to go by. But the smile didn't go away. And as he continued the verse, it only got brighter, even through the amused head shake and - yep - another eye roll.
And Evan couldn't help but smile back. Westlife. Actual Westlife. Quentin didn't want a guy who still listened to Westlife when he was upset, that's what he'd said. But now... This had to mean something, Evan wished. Surely, he couldn't be misreading this.
His hopes were all but confirmed when Quentin leaned closer, eyes now locked with Evan's and winked as he once again sang the key line;
"What am I doing without you?"
Before he suddenly threw a fist in the air, moving with the sudden build in the song that made Evan laugh gleefully, and blush deeply.
Confusion and - most likely - pure shock or horror echoed around them, but Evan couldn't care less. He was entirely focused on the fact that his best friend (no longer ex-best friend, maybe?) was freaking singing his favourite song to him, and jumping up to stand on the lunch hall table to do it.
"We've got a little world of our own,
I'll tell you things that no one else knows,
I'll let you in where no one else goes!
What am I doing without you?
All of the things I've been looking for,
Have always been here outside of my door,
And all of the time I'm looking for something new...
What am I doing without you?"
Evan laughed more as Quentin awkwardly dropped down into the seat opposite Evan, leaning forward with a devilish grin as he continued into the second verse.
Evan was hypnotized. If he wasn't in love with Quentin before, he definitely was now. This was the most stupid and romantic thing anyone had ever done for him. No, he thought in that moment, this was the most stupid and romantic thing anyone had ever done for anyone.
Quentin took his hand and deepened their eye contact.
"When I'm falling down,
There's always someone who saves me...
And boy, it's you!"
Evan blushed deeper, feeling the full weight of the lyrics and hoping Quentin knew what he was saying - hoping he meant them... Hoping that he really was Quentin Quire's hero.
He didn't have much time to deliberate this before Quentin was back on the table and laughing through the chorus once more. Evan couldn't help but laugh back, filled with glee and hope and love. He saw nothing but Quentin's grin and the compassion in his eyes and he was almost certain he was dreaming... Until Q offered him his hand. Evan took it warily, and was tugged up onto the table with a light squeak of protest.
Quentin continued through the bridge, and Evan mimed along with the backing vocals in pure elation, holding tightly to Quentin's wrists to keep himself from falling.
The music slowed and Quentin wrapped his arm around Evan's waist, reconnecting their gazes as he continued to sing through the penultimate full chorus. He stroked Evan's fringe from his eyes, forcing him to feel the weight of the purely lyrical section of music. Forcing him to be struck by the vulnerability and compassion in Quentin's deep brown eyes, lined with the blue of his aura so perfectly to highlight his heightened emotions.
The music quickly picked up again and Evan found himself joyfully singing along through the final chorus of the song, as Quentin threw their joined hands in the air and moved Evan around as much as they could manage without tumbling off the dining table.
And in a second, he was tugged back to Quentin's chest, their eye once again reconnected.
"What am I doing without you?" Quentin whispered along with the final line, before the music cut off and there was a silence only broken by both of their laboured breaths.
And then they were kissing. Sweetly and strongly and like everything Evan had ever wished for and more.
They were only tugged back to reality at the sound of Idie's squeal of joy and excitable clapping, which somehow prompted the whole lunch room to break into applause and yells. Evan blushed darkly, hiding his face in Quentin's shoulder, having forgotten their surroundings. He felt the vibrations of Quentin's laughter through his chest, before the telepath threw a triumphant fist in the air, laughing louder.
"Oh my god, Q." Evan breathed, looking up at Quentin with an unstoppable smile.
"What?" Quentin shrugged, feigning carelessness. "If I have to admit that I'm wrong about something I'm gonna do it in style." He leaned closer and lowered his voice.
"I love you, you fucking nerd!"