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The End of Summer

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Grant keeps just one picture in his wallet, an image from the end of their first summer together. Jonathan lies stretched out on the grass, a fallen line of bunting at his feet. He looks relaxed, happy and dishevelled, his loose white shirt half-unbuttoned. The flash makes his exposed pale skin look even paler against the suntanned V of his throat. His feet are tanned darker still, in the inevitable Birkenstocks Grant teased him for wearing. There's a grass stain on the seat of his faded jeans, though you can’t see that. Grant put down the drinks he was carrying to take the picture, which accounted for the angle and Jonathan's slightly quizzical expression.

They'd spent a fortnight in brilliant sunshine, house- and cat-sitting in Dorset for friends of Grant's mother, and done a surprising amount of work in between energetic bouts of sex. Then they'd gone to the Minack in Cornwall for La Cage Aux Folles, Jonathan's last hurrah after graduation, a glorious run of clifftop performances and being periodically upstaged by dolphins. In the early stages of drunkenness at the cast party, they'd begun talking for the first time about what would happen when they went back, Jonathan to London to start his training at Guy's, and Grant to his final year at Cambridge. They couldn't go on as they had been, living in each other's pockets even though not officially living together, happily shagging with no thought for the future.

"I don't want this to stop," said Jonathan, a little unsteadily.

"I don't either." Grant found he was shaking: he hadn't known till now how much he minded about this, how hard he'd been pushing away the possibility of separation.

"Christ, I wish I'd applied for Clinical at Addenbrooke's. At least I’d have a chance of seeing you sometimes." Jonathan pushed his hands through his hair in vexation.

"I could do that for you," Grant offered.

Jonathan snorted with laughter and rolled over to lay his head in Grant's lap. He stretched out blissfully and closed his eyes as Grant tugged at his dark curls. "Mmm, that's nice. Fuck."

"We'll work something out," Grant said, his heart hammering. "I love you, you know."

Jonathan's eyes snapped open. "You do?"

Shit. Grant wasn't going to take it back, though. "Yes," he said firmly.

"Oh," said Jonathan, and reached up to pull him down into a kiss.

All right then, Grant thought, dizzy with relief. More than all right, apparently. Wow.

"Same here, by the way," Jonathan said, when they finally broke apart for air.

He looked half-stunned, almost awestruck. As if he was the one wondering how it was possible to be this lucky. Maybe he was thinking it too.

They hugged each other hard, and went on kissing until William yelled at them that everyone was leaving, and to get a move on or they'd be left behind.

Grant remembers every detail of that night vividly; he thinks he always will. But he keeps the photograph anyway.