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i'll always be here

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It's one of the first times since Ryan was killed that Lukas has decided to sneak into Philip’s house.

 

That’s not to say that Lukas and Philip never spend any nights together, because that's not true at all, but Lukas’ dad has been home a lot, too. Apparently getting shot and being kidnapped makes a parent a lot more attentive. Who knew?

 

So, as this is the first time his dad has gone to Poughkeepsie in forever, Lukas has decided to sneak into Philip's house.

 

And after knocking on the window for, like, three straight minutes, Philip opens it. He looks even more tired than he usually does.

 

Lukas slips in without saying anything and walks to the center of the room. Philip plops onto the end of the bed. “What're you doing here?” Philip practically slurs as he scrubs his eyes. “Thought your dad was home.”

 

Lukas shrugs. “He left for Poughkeepsie this afternoon for work. I think he's gotten bored breathing down my neck.” The thank god goes unspoken.

 

Philip lets out a long yawn before responding. “That's nice.”

 

In lieu of responding, because what the hell does Lukas even say to that, he takes the opportunity to look at Philip. He's wearing a pair of boxers (what a shame) and a sweatshirt. Lukas double takes at that, because his room is practically a sauna right now.

 

And then he squints for a second before crossing his arms. “Philip,” he says slowly, “is that my sweatshirt?”

 

So the thing of it is, a while ago Lukas lost his favorite sweatshirt. He’d gotten it at a motocross tournament about a year ago, and during the winter he practically lives in it. He remembers asking Philip if he’d seen it about a month ago. Philip said no, so he let it drop. Because what reason did Lukas have not to believe him?

 

And it obviously is, so there’s really no point in Lukas asking, but he kind of wants to see how far Philip will take this.

 

But Philip shocks him. He doesn’t deny it at all.

 

“I-I’m sorry,” Philip stutters. His lip wobbles a little and his eyes turn glassy. “You left it here last time, and you’re barely over here anymore b-because Helen and Gabe are practically watching my every move and… and it helps me sleep.”

 

Lukas blinks, shocked again. “Helps you sleep?” When he looks at Philip he notices that his eyes are downcast as if he’s ashamed or embarrassed at the admittance.

 

“I can’t s-sleep when you’re not here,” he whispers, “and when I’m wearing it it’s almost like… it’s almost like you’re here with me.” And just like that everything falls perfectly into place. The bags under his eyes and him ‘not being interested’ in coming to his motocross tournament in Poughkeepsie. Philip hasn’t been sleeping. Something else dawns on him then.

 

“Philip,” he says slowly,” I haven’t spent the night here in two weeks.”

 

At the meek shrug he gets in response, Lukas can practically feel his eyes widen. “Philip,” he demands. “Look at me.”

 

He does, and Lukas notices that there are a few tear tracks on his cheeks. He strides over to kneel in front of where Philip is sitting on the edge of the bed. He cups his head and tilts it down a little before wiping the tears with the pads of his thumbs.

 

“It’s fine, you know,” he whispers, only continuing when Philip scrunches his eyebrows in that adorable way he does whenever he’s confused about something, “I mean, it’s fine that you’re wearing the sweatshirt. I don’t mind.”

 

“But you did,” Philip practically whines, “you did and I still kept it from you.” This time he breaks eye contact with Lukas to play with the sleeves of the sweatshirt where they go over his wrists since it's too big for him. Lukas finds it incredibly endearing.

 

Okay, well, he finds everything about Philip endearing, so that's not really saying much. From the smile he gets when he’s talking about the city, the little snore he sometimes lets out when he’s really asleep, the way he sometimes snorts whenever Lukas tells a really bad joke (not that he would ever admit to it). He finds it all endearing.

 

Christ almighty is Lukas fucking whipped.

 

“Well, I don’t now. Besides,” Lukas drawls, a small smirk now gracing his face, “it looks good on you.”

 

Philip blushes at that, and Lukas laughs. It’s a rare occurrence to see Philip blush. He gets embarrassed, sure, practically all the time, but he almost never blushes. Lukas decides right then that he loves it.

 

After a second or two of heavy silence Philip pushes himself off the bed and practically tackles Lukas to the floor, shoving his face in Lukas’ neck and wrapping his arms around his waist.

 

Lukas chuckles a little before wrapping his arms around Philip right back. At the feeling of his arms around him Philip started crying. “It's all my fault, you know,” he whispers. “If I hadn't made you tell he never would've found you, and he never would've shot you, and-”

 

“Philip-” his protest is cut off.

 

“-and it's my fault. I'm so s-sorry, Luka.”

 

Lukas doesn't pick up where his protest was cut off. He stays silent for a minute and contemplates his answer, because that one sentence was weighted with so much falsity and underserved self-loathing that Lukas doesn't know what to do with it all.

 

“Lukas?” Philip asks in a small voice after a minute and Lukas starts. His silence must've made Philip think he doesn't forgive him—despite him having done nothing wrong; the apology should've been from him, not Philip, never Philip—and that breaks something in him.

 

He wraps Philip more securely in his arms and begins slowly rocking them back and forth. “It's me who should be apologizing,” Lukas whispers into Philip’s ear. “I hurt you, I hit you, and I hid you. I hid the truth. You did the right thing, pushing me to tell. Besides, if I had done it earlier none of this would've happened in the first place.”

 

“So you don't hate me?” Philip mumbles. It's almost inaudible due to Philip’s head being shoved into Lukas’ neck.

 

Lukas blinks, because where the hell did that come from? As if Lukas could ever hate Philip. As if it's possible for anyone to hate Philip.

 

“C’mon. I mean, Philip, you’ve gotta know.” He does, doesn't he? Lukas can't be so horrible of a boyfriend that Philip doesn't know, he just can't be.

 

Philip looks up, confused. “Know what?” Okay, apparently he can be.

 

“That I love you.”

 

He never thought he'd be the one to say it first. And at Philip’s gasp, it's a good thing he did.

 

Philip finally looks up at him, and the shocked, hopeful, wondrous look on Philip's face is one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful things Lukas has seen in a long time. “Really?”

 

Lukas nods with a small smile.

 

“I love you, too.” Philip's smile is radiant.

 

And with that Lukas picks Philip up and carries him to the bed, scooting back so that they're laying down. He lays flat on his back and Philip automatically wraps himself around Lukas and rests his head on his heart.

 

They lay in silence for a few minutes before Lukas glances down at Philip. He's fast asleep. Lukas kisses his head and whispers, “I'll always be here.”