Philip let out a sigh of relief as Lukas’s eyes fluttered open. Gabe and Helen were outside, dealing with the fallout of the kidnapping and shooting. He’d been allowed to stay in Lukas’s room, despite not being ‘family’. Mr. Waldenbeck had graciously left to “go get Lukas a change of clothes”. Philip had smiled a bit but that was all he could manage.
“Hey, easy.” He said as Lukas began to look around in a bit of a panic.
“Phi-lip.” It came out dry and broken.
He reached over and found the water with the straw sticking out. “Here.” When Lukas had sipped, he pulled it away and set it aside. “You’re gonna be fine. Docs said so. Just means a longer stay in the hospital this time.”
“What? Yeah. I’m fine. Helen killed him. Ryan, I mean. He’s dead. For real this time. I was there when she shot him.”
Lukas looked at Philip and started to struggle to sit up.
“Whoa! No, no, no!” He pushed down, gently. “Keep still.”
“Why do you look so sad then?”
Philip shook his head. “I’ll tell you later. You just woke up.”
“Seriously. Lukas, you need to rest. In fact, I should go. Let you get some sleep.” Philip started to get up, turning back when Lukas caught his hand.
“I thought we were done keeping secrets from each other,” Lukas said.
Philip tried to joke. “Where would our relationship be without them?”
Lukas winced, hard.
“Do you need more medicine? I can call a nurse.”
“I’m fine.” Lukas waved a hand, keeping the other on Philip to keep him from fleeing. “I just need to know what’s up.”
“The bad guy is dead, that’s what is important. We’re really free this time.”
“Then why do you look like you’re about to cry?”
Philip struggled to hold it in. But he made the mistake of looking at Lukas’s face and that was it. “Helen said that Ryan killed my Mom. She’s dead.” A tear rolled down his face.
Lukas went deadly still. “Oh, Philip,” he whispered after a moment. “Oh God, I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
Philip tried to say something, to reassure Lukas that it was all right. Instead, he broke down, crying in ugly sobs. He felt a tug and fought against it, not wanting to hurt Lukas, to burden him. The tug got more insistent and he gave in. He made sure his weight was mostly off Lukas’s chest as he sobbed against it, body awkward as Hell. He heard Lukas murmuring and felt hands stroking over his back and running through his hair. It washed over him as he cried.
The tears tapered off and he pulled back, wiping at his face with his sleeve. “Sorry,” he croaked out.
“For crying after your Mom was killed? That’s not something to be sorry for, Philip.”
“Yeah.” It was all Philip could say.
“I’m the one who’s sorry,” Lukas said, tears in his own eyes.
“If I had just told when you said to, none of this would have happened. Come to think of it, I’ve got a lot to be sorry for. Hitting you. Saying that horrible stuff about forcing me to steal. Being so mean to you at the party. I’ve been a total asshole to you. And now—“ Lukas broke off, looking completely miserable. “You would be better off without me in your life. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me.”
“I don’t hate you,” Philip protested. “Lukas, you’re the only good thing in my life right now.”
“Yeah, right.” Lukas scoffed. Then he stopped. “Shit.”
“No, just me being stupid. Making it all about me again. Like I always do. Philip,” again he struggled to sit up, Philip pushing him back down, “this is about you.”
Philip looked down at him. “I’m not gonna lie. You’ve hurt me. Badly.” He watched Lukas cut his eyes away in guilt. “But you’ve also given me some of the best moments I’ve ever had in my life. And you’ve changed. You’re a better person now.”
“Am I? Or am I still just a selfish dick?”
“Trust me. I’ve seen the change. The old Lukas would have kicked me out of here in case someone saw us together.”
Lukas flushed in shame. “True.”
Philip went on. “I need you, Lukas. I’ve got Helen and Gabe but I need you too.” He took a breath, as if steeling himself. “And I love you.”
Lukas’s eyes shot to Philip’s and went wide. “You do?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Even after all the terrible things I’ve done?”
“Doesn’t love mean accepting someone, even with all their faults? Yes, after everything. Because you are a good person, Lukas. Just confused at times.”
Now Lukas started crying, tears streaming down his face. He pulled Philip down and kissed his cheek, then wrapped his arms around him. “I don’t deserve you.”
Philip tried to shake his head but Lukas was holding on too tightly.
“No, really. When Ryan shot me, all I could think ‘good. Now Philip can find someone worthy of his love.’ I was paying the price. I knew that. For everything I’d done. If I had died, it only would have been fitting. Would have finished what I tried to do on the roof that day.”
Philip’s arms wanted to tighten around Lukas but didn’t dare for fear of hurting him. “Lukas…”
“It’s what I deserve,” he insisted again. “The only regret I would have, did have, was that it would hurt you.”
Philip took advantage of Lukas’s lax arms to pull back enough to look at his face. “You think I’d want that? You dead?”
“No. But I think it would make your life a helluva lot easier.”
“Maybe I don’t want easy.”
Lukas tried to shrug. “Ow!”
“Stop doing that, idiot!” Philip burst out. “Don’t you get it? It hurts me that you got hurt! It hurts me when you talk about killing yourself! It hurt me—“ he cut himself off, near to tears again.
“Hey. Hey. I’m sorry.” Lukas reached out an arm. “I’m sorry.”
“I can’t lose you too,” Philip sniffled. “I just can’t.”
Lukas closed his eyes briefly then opened them again. “Long as you want me around, Philip, I’m here. C’mere. Please?”
Philip bent down. They kissed, gently.
“I promise,” Lukas vowed, “I’m going to spend the rest of my life making it up to you. All the bad shit I did, all the horror I brought into your life. It starts now.”
“I don’t need that. I just need you with me.”
“Then that’s what you’ll get,” Lukas said firmly. “Long as you want me.”
“Forever.” It came bursting out of Philip before he could stop it.
“Forever it is,” Lukas replied back. He started to move again.
“You think you can fit on this bed with me?” He asked, scooting over slowly.
Philip stopped his chastisement. “What?”
“Remember when we did this at Helen’s? Laying in bed together? And—“ he stopped himself.
Philip finished the thought. “At the hotel. After.”
Lukas nodded. After an uncomfortable silence he suddenly grinned. “Wanna cuddle?”
Philip couldn’t help it. He burst out laughing. “You sure?”
“Yes. We both need it.”
“What if someone sees us?” Philip’s heart was in his mouth.
Lukas looked at him very seriously. After a long moment, he said, “fuck ‘em. They’ll just be jealous.”
Philip burst out laughing, then helped Lukas scoot over. He settled down—very carefully—in the bed next to him. Arm around Lukas’s middle, other on his shoulder, he sighed. “Cuddles are good.”
“Yes, they are. We gotta remember to do this again.”
Philip hummed quietly, halfway to sleep himself.
Lukas wasn’t far behind. As they fell asleep, holding each other, Lukas mumbled. “Rest of my life.”
Philip, from somewhere in the depths of sleep, spoke one word. “Deal.”
That was how Helen and Gabe found them, asleep in each other’s arms, when they arrived.