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one step, two steps, you're drowning

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The problem, Jason supposes, is not his apparent innate lack of social skills, as he’d thought, but instead his upbringing.

Come on. It’s not his fault he was raised by wolves.

Sometime between the end of the Gaea war and going to college, Jason had forgotten entirely that he’d never, like, actually attended a public school. That’s not to say he doesn’t know what he needs to for college - raised by wolves he might have been but Lupa taught him plenty about math, and the Legion was not about to let a twelve year old into their ranks without knowing English and enough history to get him by. He’d had to get a GED, but now he’s twenty-three and he’s in college and everything feels so utterly, surreally normal.

It’s driving him up the wall, if he’s going to be honest.

Nothing to chase after, nothing to run from, nothing to push his adrenal glands to their limit as he’d been used to - he’s really experiencing the effects of being an ADHD adult in the world of mortals. He thinks he’s driving his roommate crazy, with his pacing and tapping and twitching. His thoughts are confirmed in his fourth week.

“Fucking - Jesus Christ, dude, you’re wired as hell. Are you sure you’re, like, sober?” His roommate, Seth, is just a few inches shorter than he is, with dark brown curly hair he keeps under a grey beanie at all times. He’s currently laying in bed, and Jason had thought he was asleep. Maybe he had, and Jason had woken him up. He feels just a bit guilty. Jason almost snaps back that he’s one to talk, considering he can smell exactly why he’s so relaxed all the time on him, but - he lets out a breath. He’s right. He can’t keep doing this.

“Yeah, I’m good. I’m sorry, man, I should probably just take a walk.” Instinctual adrenalin keeps him on edge, always waiting for the next attack. Getting the hell out of a small, confined space might help, he figures.

“If you say so. Try not to get mugged.” It’s a joke. Seth has a slightly dark sense of humor, though this is tame. It’s probably why he comes back to the dorm smelling how he does so often. Jason can relate.

Jason pulls on his red Washington State hoodie and leaves the dorm building behind.

He doesn’t know where he’s going, but he walks. Crosses Broadway, goes down Tenth St., passes the Starbucks where he works part-time - they’re fucking everywhere this close to Seattle - and he turns down Lombard. Or - he tries to. Maybe he’s focused elsewhere, or maybe he’s just too caught up in burning off the adrenaline his body secretes needlessly to notice, but as he turns down Lombard Avenue he runs face-first into somebody taller than he is, which is certainly a hard threshold to cross, since Jason hit six-three at seventeen.

He honestly doesn’t know who he’s looking at, at first.

This stranger is six-foot-four, or something like it, and he’s thin. Not in a skeletal way, but lithe, wiry, like muscle has been compacted into carbon fiber over his bones. His hair is long, and curly, and dark, pulled back into a braid that hits somewhere under his shoulder-blades, from what Jason can see, and there’s this soft hint of stubble on his jaw, like he just forgot to shave for a day. His eyes - his eyes are like looking into the abyss, which Jason has certainly done.

He’s gorgeous. He’s absolutely breathtaking, and Jason goes pink. “Uh - sorry, I didn’t see you -”

“Jason?” The stranger speaks, and suddenly he is not a stranger. “What are you doing here?”

His voice has gotten deeper, rougher, more sure of itself, but there’s no doubt who it is. “ Nico? What - I should be asking you that!” Jason picks himself up, brushes himself off. “I go to Washington State. Dude, where the hell have you been?”

Nico is... nothing like he remembers him. Aside from the fact that puberty hit him like a fucking train, oh my gods, while he still dresses in dark colors, it’s not necessarily the teenage-angst-rebellion style he’d been so fond of. The combat boots have been replaced by black Converse that look like they’ve seen the world twice, and he’s wearing actual blue skinny jeans - the darkest wash possible, sure, but they’re not black. He’s got this grey Henley on that’s unbuttoned at the top and shows just a bit of collarbone, and a black leather jacket that actually fits around his shoulders - when did they get that wide? - and Jason doesn’t want to look for too long, because he’s sure his mouth is watering. It makes him feel guilty, because the Nico he remembers is fifteen and malnourished, still baby-faced but sallow with a lack of sleep and too much darkness in his veins, even for the son of Hades.

But Nico’s twenty-one now, he thinks, and the thought of that itself shocks him back to reality.

“...Around.” It’s a noncommittal answer. It’s exactly what he expects from Nico, and it’s nice that something is still the same about him, six years later. Jason... Jason hasn’t changed much.

“Good to see you’re as mysterious as ever.” It’s accompanied by a smile, and the gods have graced him tonight because he gets one in response.

“Yeah, I’ve been told.” Nico rolls his shoulders and sighs. “You’re in college now, then?”

“Yep. I’m in for, um, psychology, at least for now. I’m kind of thinking of changing my major to English, though.” Jason slides his hands in his pockets, just a little self-conscious of how much he hasn’t changed. He’s still six-three, he’s still got that scar over his lip and the thin-frame glasses and the same blond hair. It’s a little shaggier, now, and the remaining baby fat has disappeared from his face, but apart from that, he’s exactly the same.

“That’s cool.” Nico looks away. “It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?” The conversation is just a little awkward.

“Six years, actually.” Jason bites his lip, sighs, and makes a choice. He had been out tonight to get rid of the adrenaline jitters, and Nico is nothing if not exciting. “You have the time to sit down for a coffee or something? The Starbucks just down the street is twenty-four hours. I can pay.” He does not mention that that’s where he works. He isn’t expecting a yes.

Nico looks thoughtful, frowning at the ground, and then he shrugs. “Sure. I’m not really here for any specific reason. Just, in town, I guess. I have time.” His voice is still soft, but it’s deeper now, and for some reason Jason finds himself not wanting to dwell on the cadence too long.

“Wait - really?” Jason grins, eyes lighting up. “Um - great! We should, uh...” He nods down Tenth, and turns, looking back just once to make sure Nico is following.

 

Being inside a Starbucks at eleven thirty-two at night is a surreal experience. Especially since he works there. The one barista behind the counter looks tired, and Jason recognizes her.

“Hey, Molly. How’s the night shift going?” She looks about ready to bite his head off. She’s very small, but he’s learned not to underestimate her. Redheads - even dyed, as she is - are nothing to play around with.

“Going about as well as your love life, Grace. What do you want?” She only notices Nico after a moment, blinking at him. “And who’s this guy? Damn, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone taller than you.”

Jason smiles apologetically back at Nico. “Sorry - I work here. Molly is usually way more polite to customers because she knows that anyone else and Jacob would fire her.” She just rolls her eyes at him. “Molly, this is Nico. We were... high school friends and he happened to be in town.”

She eyes him, and he knows those deep brown eyes know far more about him that he’s comfortable with. “At eleven at night? - Don’t explain yourself, Jason, I’ll forget it after I take my second nap. What’ll it be?” Jason orders himself an iced chai latte, and Nico orders espresso - and, of course, specifies that he wants, like, an actual espresso, not just a latte with an espresso poured in. Molly glares at Jason, and he knows the next shift they share is going to be hell on him.

Nico picks the table. It’s in the corner, one of the round ones with comfortable chairs, and Jason sets his chai on the table. Nico doesn’t speak first, so Jason does.

“So what have you been up to?” He keeps his voice quiet, even though Molly has headphones in and is looking at her phone. There’s no one else in the shop.

Nico shrugs, long, thin fingers toying with the small espresso cup. He’s acquired a couple more rings over the years - a band of stainless steel with a design Jason can’t make out around his right ring finger, a thin black band around his left pinkie. He still has the silver skull ring, though it’s been moved to his left middle finger, as opposed to his index. “I’ve been... travelling. Seeing the sights. It’s nice to wander around and stay in random hotels and actually see things without having to think about impending doom.”

“Glamorous.” Jason cracks a smile. “Have you seen Seattle yet? Or did you accidentally land in Everett on the way?”

Nico smiles, and Jason gets the feeling he smiles a lot more than when he knew him first. It’s... nice. His face looks like it was made to smile, and he shoves that thought down and away. “I meant to come to Everett, and I’ve seen Seattle. I went with Percy a year ago. He wanted to see that part of Puget Sound.”

Since when did Nico and Percy go on trips together? “Oh, shit. I haven’t seen Percy in like three years. How’s he doing?” He doesn’t voice the question his head had asked.

“Pretty alright, last time I checked. The breakup took a lot out of him.”

“Breakup? Since when?” He’s... been really out of the loop, hasn’t he?

“A year and a half ago, or so. He and Annabeth - I mean, they got together when they were sixteen, when the world was supposed to end . I don’t know why everyone thought they were somehow fated to get married or something. That, and Tartarus -” Nico cuts off and frowns before shrugging. “She’ll never admit it, but what Annabeth saw of Percy in there scared her, I think. They’re both doing pretty well now, though. Last I heard Percy was having some sort of... thing with this Texan.” It gets a very small huff of a laugh out of Nico. “I guess Will really was the exception for Texans. The guy Percy’s after wears a cowboy hat and spurs and the whole nine yards, really.”

Since when was Percy into guys? Since when was Percy into Texans ? Since when was - any of this? Jason’s head is spinning. But he should have expected it, he figures. He decides to move on. “Speaking of Will, how are you two doing?”

It’s the wrong question. Something in him says Nico’s going to do that thing he used to do when asked a hard question - fade into the shadows and run away. He doesn’t. He just scowls and sighs. “We broke up two years ago, actually. We were fifteen when we got together. Again - I don’t know why we’d get our hopes up about lasting forever.” Nico shrugs, and takes the first sip of his espresso. “That’s kind of why I’ve been travelling. Will - I dunno. Shit goes south sometimes.” Jason ignores how that makes his heart speed just the slightest bit.

“Damn,” he murmurs. “I feel like I’ve been out of the loop for a hell of a long time.”

“You kind of have.” Nico looks up at him, finally, making eye contact, and it shouldn’t be intense but it is. “Everyone kind of put bets on me being the one to disappear after the war, but as it turns out it was you.” Jason looks away, now, unable to keep eye contact with those shards of the void Nico calls eyes.

“I wanted to get away from the whole - monsters, fighting, dying cycle, you know?” His voice is quiet. “And Washington is pretty quiet. I think it’s too close to Canada. There’s not many monsters around, except for the odd lost one, and I still carry a sword - it’s just - I dunno.” Jason sighs, sips at his chai. “The air here just seems - cleaner. It’s helped me clear my head a bit. After everything with Piper -” This is where he breaks off, familiar guilt flooding him for the first time in six years.

He doesn’t want to talk about it. Nico does. “What happened with you two, anyway? She doesn’t talk to anyone about it, except Annabeth, and Annabeth keeps secrets to the fucking grave.” It’s tinged with a hint of amusement. Nico has gotten that close with Annabeth, too, then?

“...It’s a long story.” But those piercing eyes again take his agency from beneath his feet and Jason looks away, stares into his chai through the clear plastic cup. “Her - her memories of us weren’t real. That never really - it never sat well with me, you know? And it never sat well with her either. She didn’t like having shit in her head that I didn’t remember, that she knew was false, because even after she learned they were false they didn’t go away for some goddamn reason.” Fucking Juno . He doesn’t say that part out loud. “And - I mean, I kinda figured out that the whole reason I got with her for any amount of time was that I was expected to. You know? I’d played the hero for Camp Jupiter for the longest time. Everyone expected me to get the girl, and I guess I did.” He frowns. “But, I dunno. It never felt... right, I guess. And, uh, I - I dunno. There’s just... I’ve done a lot of thinking, and there’s, a pretty good number of reasons why it was the best choice. For us.” He stutters to a stop.

The look on Nico’s face tells Jason that he knows he’s skirting a topic. “That isn’t all there is, though, is there?” The kid - no, okay, with that hint of stubble on his jaw he’s not a kid anymore - the man always knows more than he should.

Jason averts his eyes. Nico, of all people, would understand, right? It’s not like he’s overprotective of it anymore, anyway. He just - Jason doesn’t want Nico to think he’s mocking him. But.

But he can’t lie to those eyes. Looking back up was his first mistake, and when his eyes drop again he just can’t force an untruth from between his teeth.

“I - I guess I never really, uh, wanted to get the girl, you know?” He takes a sip from his chai to avoid having to talk for a second. “I, um. Didn’t want to get the girl. ” His emphasis changes and he shrugs. “I kind of figured out after we’d broken up that - that I’m gay. I mean I guess it made sense - I always, uh, skirted the topic of Reyna back in the Legion, and I never dated anyone else apart from Piper, and I was always so wrapped up in being Praetor and all that shit that I never thought too hard on the topic of romance.” He shrugs. “I guess I really should have realized it, with, uh, with Percy - just that I spent way, way too much time looking at him to be straight and platonic about it - but - yeah. It took getting away to college and being able to think about this shit to really get it.” He laughs, babbling in his nerves. “And - and being able to actually - you know. Be with people without everyone throwing themselves at me because I was Praetor or a hero or something.” Jason still hasn’t met Nico’s eyes.

Nico hasn’t spoken.

He doesn’t speak.

He doesn’t speak.

He doesn’t speak.

Until he does. “Looks like Percy really is a closeted gay guy magnet, isn’t he?” For some reason, a joke about the thing Nico had struggled so hard with for so long coming out of his mouth makes Jason laugh, curling forward on himself and then leaning back in the chair again. He grins at Nico, and Nico kinda half smiles back. The tension fades away and Jason relaxes.

“Yeah. Fucker. If only he weren’t so attractive.” Nico actually laughs and Jason feels like he’s floating.

“So you’re doing well out here in Washington?” Nico meets his eyes again and it doesn’t feel so soul-piercingly terrifying anymore.

“Yeah. It’s nice. Proximity to Seattle means I’ve seen more Starbucks than I had ever hoped to in San Fran, but the weather is nice, and the people are cool.” He shrugs. “Life’s pretty good.”

Nico is quiet, now, but Jason sees the faintest hint of a smile. “Good. ...You should probably be getting back, now, though. You probably have classes tomorrow.”

He’s right. Jason has classes tomorrow indeed. He sighs, finishing off his chai with a slurp that makes Nico smile. “Yeah, you’re right. It’s like, midnight now, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” Nico stands up, and Jason stands with him. The next thing he says takes Jason off-guard. “Let me walk you back to your dorm.”

He snorts, throwing the ice from his cup in the trash and the cup in the recycling. Everyone in the Seattle area recycles, he notes. “I’m not some blushing maiden, Nico, I think I can make it three blocks.”

Nico shakes his head. “Jason, you’re my friend. I’m being friendly. I’ve been working on it recently, give me some slack here.” It prompts a laugh from Jason and he relents, shrugging.

“Yeah, sure, why not. It’s that building.” He points as they exit the Starbucks, his dorm building in perfect view.

 

They start walking and small talk comes naturally. Places Nico has seen, people he’s met. Jason’s classes, that one time he broke his glasses in American Literature. When Nico had had just too little sleep the night before and shadow-travelled into some poor Austrian lady’s living room. That one party Jason went to where he danced with this amazing guy and then got left on read when he gave him his number.

The conversation, from there, tips into the few partners Jason has had since he left New York.

He tells Nico about Elliot, shorter than he is, dark hair, light eyes, how he’d been the first guy Jason had really ever been with. Joseph, who had long hair and a kind smile and hadn’t ever dated Jason but he did come over sometimes and it almost always melted into wandering hands, until his girlfriend called him in the middle and Jason had cut it off there. Kosuke, who had the deepest, darkest eyes Jason had ever seen save Nico’s and who had left him because he was transferring to a new university for his grad work and couldn’t do long distance.

Jason hadn’t known he’d had a type.

The moon is almost full, and it hits both their eyes in a wash of pale light as Nico slows to a stop. Jason stops when he notices the other’s footsteps had gone away and turns and his breath is stolen.

Bathed in moonlight, Nico is the image of ethereal. His cheekbones are starkly contrasted by a couple loose strands of that dark silky hair and his eyelashes are so, so long, his eyes turned into puddles of moonlight by reflection. Dazedly, Jason thinks he’d like to memorialize this moment in a painting, if only he had the skill.

“Do you ever...” Nico speaks, and Jason is startled from his staring. Nico swallows and tries again. “Do you ever think about - if things had gone differently?” His voice has a strange timber to it this time, like he’s talking about something without saying it.

“...Always. How do you mean?” Nico fixes him with those moonlight-puddle eyes and steps forward, towards him, and Jason feels very small.

“I mean...” Nico’s eyes are wide, locked on his, and he has the feeling Nico isn’t used to having to look down to meet Jason’s. “I mean that I don’t think it should have been Percy. That I fell in love with, I mean.”

Jason learns that Nico is a pool illuminated by moonlight that is far, far deeper than you think when looking at the surface. You step in, ankle height, and the next step you take you’re tumbling into its depths, falling to the bottom, and you don’t even realize.

He doesn’t know when - or why - or how - but somewhere between those words leaving Nico’s mouth and Jason trying to process them their lips had met, and Jason was leaning up into him, and Nico’s hands had found his waist. God, his hands are stronger than he expected from the look of those delicate fingers. Nico’s arms are much more well-built than the leather jacket let on.

Jason’s head spins, and his back hits a wall, and he feels fingers thread through his where his hand is pressed against brick. His lips feel like they’re being bruised. Nico feels like he’s trying to leave a permanent mark, leave his lips swollen for the rest of his life, with how his teeth tug and nip at Jason’s lips. The hand that isn’t laced into Jason’s own is sliding and exploring and moving like he’s got a time limit and he wants to remember the exact shape of where Jason’s hip meets his thigh. Jason’s world is spinning. He’s sinking.

He’s okay with that.

Nico breaks, gasps, and their eyes meet. When he speaks, Nico’s voice is rough, low, and his eyes are wide, pupils dilated, and Jason wants to bite down on his throat so he can feel the low tone in his teeth.

“I - I don’t -” Jason pulls him in for another whirlwind kiss. He speaks again when they break once more. “Not here.” It’s more confident. Jason doesn’t know what Nico doesn’t, what he was talking about, but he doesn’t have time to think on it. His world is engulfed in black, and his breath stolen, and it’s a miracle when the blackness dissipates that he doesn’t jump Nico again immediately.

His head continues spinning when he’s back on solid ground. Nico hasn’t let go of his hand. He doesn’t have much time to look, but the curtains he sees look expensive. The small part of the room he sees looks ornate, ridiculously high-end. Nico must have shadow-travelled them to his hotel room. Rich bastard.

Jason doesn’t think he knows up from down anymore. Nico is pressing him down into something soft - a bed - expensive sheets - and Jason is complying and dragging him closer and they’re locked together like they need their lips touching to breathe. Jason’s internal sensors - thanks, Jupiter - tell him the floor they’re on is high off the ground. Suite-level in any normal hotel. The altitude doesn’t clear his head, as it normally would.

Instead, he’s falling, and his hands are up that soft grey Henley and they’re dragging and scraping blunt nails over soft, scarred skin. Nico is gasping against his lips and dragging his fingers down to his jeans and they shake against his stomach as they pop that button.

They’re both impulsive people, one way or another.

Somewhere in the whirlwind of sensations, the feeling of skin and the sound of a breathless groan and the taste of lips against his own - their clothes come off, rushed and messy. It’s a blur. Jason’s jeans land somewhere else in the room, he doesn’t know where his boxers go, and he’s left with one sock still on his foot, somehow. It isn’t fair how good Nico looks, above him and between his legs with his own tight jeans undone and just low enough that his hips stand out in stark relief, and he’s not wearing anything under them. Jason feels exposed, raw in a good way, as those dark eyes rake down his body, burning with an intensity Jason has only seen on the battlefield. He feels like a deer staring into the eyes of a predator. He doesn’t want to admit how hot that feels.

“Do you -” Nico wets his lips and Jason shudders. “Do you want to -”
Jason doesn’t let him finish the question. He pulls him down again, slides his fingers into silky dark hair, and tugs. When he breaks from the kiss he’d stolen, he looks deep into Nico’s eyes. “Yes.

That’s enough for Nico, it seems.

Jason realizes, and then ignores the fact, that he’s never bottomed for anyone save his own hand.

Hm. Well.

He’s also never slept with anyone the first time he’d seen them in six years. (There’s a first time for everything.)

Nico pushes him back down, into a kiss that involves teeth and tongue and a couple embarrassing sounds from Jason, and he feels Nico lift his arm. His eyes pop open to see Nico shoving his arm into the shadows cast on the duvet. He hears rustling from the other side of the room. When he pulls it back and he sees what Nico has in his hand, Jason laughs.

“Couldn’t get up and get it from your bag, huh?” His voice is breathier and more wrecked than Jason knew it could get.
Nico laughs, face pink. “Hey, it was technically in shadow. And.” Jason’s breath catches as he feels the other’s ghost across his ear as he leans in. “I don’t wanna take my hands off of you right now.” There’s the tone that makes him want to sink his teeth into Nico’s throat, feel the vibrations of the liquid-dark-raspy tone in his mouth. This time he does, sinking his fingers into the other’s silky hair where it’s falling out of its braid and pulling him up so he can wrap his lips around a pale column of skin and bite. The sound he gets out of Nico should be illegal, and it goes straight between his legs.

He’s pretty proud of the way Nico’s hands shake as he pops the bottle of lube he’d retrieved open and slicks three fingers up.

Jason silently thanks the gods that he’d showered barely twenty minutes before he’d left his dorm.

The sensation of one finger sliding into him isn’t new, but it’s good. Neither is two, or three, and he accentuates how good it feels by kissing and sucking at his bedmate’s neck, leaving little red marks behind. Nico finds a good angle and Jason cries out and bites down hard enough to leave a bruise. The fingers that aren’t busy dig into Jason’s hip and he knows bruises will be there come morning.

It’s a different story, though, when those fingers pull out, and he feels something far warmer, far more blunt pressing at him.

His eyes meet Nico’s, his hands curl in his hair, and he gasps through it as his - friend? Lover? Bedmate? - pushes into him. It’s good. It stings, but it’s the kind of sting that fades into an intense sort of pleasure.

He hadn’t realized Nico could be so gentle.

Those long, thin fingers are dancing over his skin now, and Nico has leaned in, pressed his face next to Jason’s and closed his eyes. He’s babbling, a little, mumbling in a language Jason doesn’t know. It must be Italian. He hadn’t really ever cognizantly thought about the fact that Nico probably knew Italian, past that stint in Split.

Nico moves like liquid, his spine under Jason’s hands reminding him of ferrofluid - magnetic, dense, sharp at the same time as being so gorgeously fluid. Nico doesn’t hit that perfect spot in him all that often, but when he does Jason’s eyes swim with stars and his spine tingles with heat. The sounds he gets out of him are downright sinful, and Jason curses himself for using that word in such a cliche, but they’re so deep and rough and rich that he doesn’t really know how else to describe them. His world is reduced to the steady pump inside him, the growth of pleasure between his hips uncoiling and unfurling like a flame, and the slide of the other’s skin against his own.

He could sink into this feeling for the rest of his life, he’s sure of it.

He’s not surprised when Nico’s name crosses his lips when he comes.

It’s reassuring that as soon as his back arches and he tightens, Nico stutters to a stop, panting out a garbled, accented version of Jason’s name into his shoulder, fingers dragging down his side and resting on his hip. For some reason, Jason doesn’t actually mind the feeling of the evidence inside him. He doesn’t examine the feeling too long, instead focusing on the rhythmic pace of Nico’s heart beating a quick staccato against his own sternum, on the sensation of breathing in time with another.

Nico pulls his hips back and Jason winces, but it’s soothed by the feeling of the other dropping to the bed beside him and wrapping his arms around his chest.

Jason is the one to pull the covers over them, but Nico is the one to use an expensive sheet to clean them off, pulling a snort from Jason, which earns him a grin.

Gods. Gods, Nico. How did he end up here?

On second thought, the look in Nico’s eyes, uncharacteristically soft, makes any complaint stop dead in its tracks.

He’s content to lay there, next to Nico, for a moment, but the coming morning... it swirls in his mind and that instinctive anxious adrenal response kicks at him weakly, and he bites the bullet.

“When I... um. When I wake up. You’re still gonna be here, yeah?”

Nico’s soft smile drops, and he scowls for a moment, before he looks away and it melts into a slightly sad frown. “I will. I can’t really fault you for having to ask.” It’s quiet. Jason feels his heart break and he turns to face him more fully.

“I’m only asking because I have this weird urge to know what you look like when you wake up from a decent sleep.” The way Nico’s face lights into a softer smile feels like he just solved world hunger.

“Jason...” Slender fingertips touch his face, and Jason doesn’t know where this touchy side of Nico came from. Maybe he’s relaxed in the past six years, about being touched. Maybe Jason is special. (He tells himself it’s the latter.) “You were the first person to trust me after... after everything. It’d be extraordinarily shitty of me to just leave you in a random hotel room.” Jason grins. “And... I haven’t slept next to someone in two years,” he murmurs, softer now. “I miss it.”

Jason leans in for another kiss. “It looks like you’re planning to stay in Everett awhile. I think I can spare a night.”

Jason has never slept under such expensive sheets.

He’s never kissed someone the first time he’d seen them in six years.
He’s never known just how fast he could fall for someone he’d known for years.

He’s also never slept as well as he does that night, and when he wakes up, he thinks that the way sunlight creeps in a honey-golden line over Nico’s sleeping face is worth missing American Literature for.