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Emergency Shirt

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Ryan knows he should have stayed in bed.

 

Some days just telegraph to you that staying in bed is an option that you should take once in a while. He was feeling kind of bad when waking up, whether it was the aftermath of a weird dream he forgot about or just the general feeling of the day he doesn’t know. All he knows is that he feels uncomfortable when he gets up. Maybe he’s coming down with something.

 

During breakfast, he knocks his empty mug off the table when he reaches for his phone. Cleaning up the shards takes some time because he doesn’t want any of his room mates step in any residue and by the time he is done, he’s running late. Whatever. Jeans, V-neck shirt, sneakers, a cap on his head to hide that he didn’t have the time to gel his hair and he’s good to go. He has to look acceptable because he is going to be in some taste test video later so despite the time limit, he checks himself in the mirror. Acceptable. Not amazing, but good enough.

 

He arrives on time, sits down at his desk and glances over. Shane isn’t here yet, which is the way things go normally. He will come in within the hour and Ryan isn’t really worried. In fact, he is glad he has some time to himself because Shane is distracting. It’s hard to work when your best friend is sitting next to you, especially when said best friend is hilarious, imaginative and intelligent. Ryan sighs. For him, it’s extra tough because he likes looking at Shane. A lot. Usually he does it out of the corner of his eyes, but sometimes he allows himself to just watch. Shane likes to wear button downs and he rarely does up the appropriate amount of buttons. Ryan can’t complain because from where he’s seated he has the perfect view of those shirts revealing Shane’s chest.

 

So what if he’s kinda sorta crushing on Shane? It’s not like the big guy knows. Ryan cringes at the thought as he is starting up his editing software. If Shane found out what Ryan really thought he would never let him live it down. It wasn’t just that he thought Shane was sort of attractive in a weird way. He had a full blown crush. His mind would supply the terms “cute” and “adorable” when Shane got excited about something. He would feel pride when Shane complimented him on the research of a case or even when his co-host just really got into the episode they were shooting. He would sometimes look at Shane’s hands that were usually wrapped around a mug of coffee or tee and imagine what it would be like to hold them. Ryan didn’t just fantasize about them boning. He was one step away of picking names for their possible future children.

 

Ryan didn’t need someone to tell him how fucked he was, he already knew.

 

Sure enough, Shane arrives about forty minutes after Ryan and he looks wonderful. Dark blue chinos and his black and white striped shirt. No glances of chest today, then, but Ryan can at least appreciate at the rolled up sleeves. He knows he has nice arms, but Shane isn’t that bad actually. He wants to reach out and stoke down that forearm so they are definitely nice enough.

 

At least Ryan can stay cool around Shane, mostly. He knows that there are posts on social media where people make fun about him giving Shane “heart eyes” and it makes him nervous, because if Shane sees them he might realize what Ryan really feels. But right now, they are not on camera, so the only person who might catch him staring is Shane himself and Shane isn’t very attentive in the mornings. He’s clicking through emails and sipping coffee from his travel mug and mutters something about TGIF and Ryan is so in love he could kick himself.

 

The day goes on as usual. They have lunch together and talk theories and movies. Ryan is happy when they walk back, because Shane is walking close enough for their hands to brush once in a while, purely on accident of course. The time for the taste test video comes up and Ryan is just about to leave. He grabs his Buzzfeed mug and quickly chugs the rest of his coffee. He is almost done when suddenly, the handle of his mug breaks off out of nowhere. The mug falls, lands on his chest and splashes his white shirt with black coffee. Ryan jumps back but it’s already too late. In the middle of his chest blooms a huge coffee stain, very visible for everyone’s eyes and definitely for camera lenses.

 

Ryan curses and first picks up his mug before he grabs some tissues from his desk and tries to fix the mess. In his periphery, he sees Shane move. While Ryan tries to dry himself off, Shane takes off his headphones and gets up.

 

“You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, it’s just- Fuck. I have a video in twenty minutes and of course this has to happen now. Fucking shit...”

Ryan keeps patting at the stain. The moisture lessens but the color doesn’t change. Great.

“Do you have anything to change into?”

He’s about to dismiss the comment with a biting remark but then he pauses. Shane isn’t joking or messing with him, he’s genuinely trying to help and it would be unfair to snap at him because of his frustration.

“I… don’t think so. I took the Shaniac shirt home last week… unless someone has some merch lying around I’m pretty much fucked.”

“Well...” Shane sounds hesitant and Ryan looks up.

 

Shane has moved over and is standing behind Ryan’s right shoulder. His eyes are fixed on the coffee stain and he has brought up a hand to rub the back of his neck. It’s almost as if he’s… embarrassed?

 

“I do have a shirt here for emergencies…”

Ryan frowns a bit. Why is Shane telling him this?

“Good planning… I should do that, too.”

“Yeah you should. But what I’m saying is: If you want to, you can borrow it.”

“What?”

Ryan is genuinely surprised. The gesture is so sweet and nice and before he can even think fondly about what a great friend Shane is, his thoughts wander and the full implication hits him: If he took Shane up on the offer, he would be wearing Shane’s clothes. He would be wearing his shirt and while they do share fashion tips, sometimes buy the same things or gift each other clothes, this is different. Wearing Shane’s shirt is something a lot more personal. It’s like one step away from getting up in the morning after having sex with someone and putting on their shirt because your clothes went flying somewhere and you don’t know where they went. He swallows and tries so, so hard not to blush. Instead he focuses on Shane. Surprisingly, his friend also seems shy about the suggestion.

“I mean… if you don’t have anything to change into, I think that could be an option. But I have to warn you, you know my shirts.”

 

Ryan does. He sometimes pokes fun at them but by the end of the day he thinks Shane dresses well. He might not be the type to buy Hawaii shirts or pink button ups but all bias aside, he thinks Shane looks really good in what he wears. But he also knows that some parts of Shane’s wardrobe are… loud for the lack of a better term.

 

Nevertheless, Ryan can’t help it. He feels horrible for using the situation to fuel his crush but he really, really wants to know what it’s like to wear Shane’s shirt. It’s mortifying, but he wants this. No matter what shirt it is.

 

“Are you really- Do you mean it?” Ryan swallows hard.

Shane seems surprised.

“Yeah. Of course I do. It’s really no problem for me, I’m just asking what you would rather wear in front of a camera. I mean it’s… it’s the one I wore in the Alcatraz Postmortem…”

Ryan frowns and tries to remember. He has a vague memory of Shane reading the question about their own personal prison to him. There are a couple of memories coming back to him. Shane’s shirt had been half unbuttoned as usual. He remembers white fabric with blue and yellow-brown-ish designs. It had been vaguely Asian, maybe inspired by the way Chinese restaurants decorated their place. Blue palms and water and little huts and ships. He thinks about it for a moment. Shane had laughed a lot in that episode. He had worn his stupidly cute clear glasses.

 

Ryan’s heart flutters. Well, shit.

 

“Literally anything would be better than this right now,” Ryan finally says. “If you really are offering… dude, you’d safe my ass. And my face.”

Shane laughs.

“Alright, I’ll get it for you.”

And just like that, he walks away.

 

Ryan refuses to panic. He kind of wants to because he’s about to be in a video wearing Shane’s shirt and well, the fans are going to have a field day with this because he has seen some of the pictures where they laugh about Ryan and Shane wearing the same clothes. They matched on purpose for a Postmortem once but in general they tend to buy similar things and sometimes their audience picks up on it. Oh well. Ryan can either wear the coffee stained piece of crap or suck it up and wear Shane’s shirt. Oh G od.

 

He doesn’t have time to freak out properly. Shane returns with the shirt in hand, neatly placed on a coat hanger and he hands it to Ryan. And Ryan just can’t make a quip or snarky comment. He has to be serious here.

 

“God, Shane. You’re an actual lifesaver you know that?”

Shane chuckles.

“You can make it up to me later.”

Ryan has already reached for the shirt and everything (including him) freezes. What?

Shane laughs at his wide eyes.

“Jesus, Ryan. That was just a joke. Just take it, it’s fine.”

“Oh. Sure, of course.”

He grabs the shirt. The fabric is soft and it really does feel nice.

“Thank you.”

Something about Shane’s expression stings in his heart and leaves a warm little spot there.

“Anytime, little man.”

 

Ryan barely has time to change and move to the set. Everyone else is already there so his arrival is accompanied by cheers and Ryan flushes and a nervous smile spreads over his face. If anyone notices the shirt, they don’t say it. Ryan catches himself fidgeting at the buttons and feeling the fabric and he really has to stop that.

 

Here’s the thing: Ryan and Shane have vastly different body types. Shane is a lot taller and where he is soft-ish, Ryan has muscle. But by the end of the day, with Shane being 80% leg, their torsos are not that different in mass. Which means that Shane’s shirt fits him okay. It’s a bit tight around the bicep but otherwise it’s comfortable, not too long or too short and there is enough room for him to breathe comfortably.

 

While he is trying to shovel a weird looking blob of a novel food sensation in his mouth with Keith sitting next to him, clearly disturbed, Ryan notices something.

 

The shirt smells like Shane.

 

It’s not body odor. It’s just that Ryan notices that the shirt carries part of what makes up being in the presence of Shane. It’s the mix of smells that make a person and their wardrobe. Part of it is whatever soap and detergent Shane uses. Underneath, there is a whiff of what he might catch when they hug in greeting or while saying goodbye. A scent that hits him when he enters Shane’s apartment. It’s only halfway into the video that Ryan feels completely enveloped by the smell and he starts to get nervous.

 

Of course he knows he is being ridiculous. Nobody in their right mind – except Ryan and he might not be in his right mind with this – does know what Shane smells like. So of course they wouldn’t notice that Ryan smells like Shane. If they recognize the shirt, they probably think it’s one of the occasions where one of the ghoulboys bought something the other wore. By the end of the video, Ryan is sure that he is the only one who knows whose shirt he’s wearing. Well, he and Shane, but the big guy isn’t present for the video.

 

He could watch it, however. His brain adds “helpfully” and Ryan is glad he is on his way back already because he is starting to blush. A tiny, brave part of him wonders if Shane is going to watch the video. If Shane is going to look at Ryan wearing his shirt, maybe thinking about it a little too much…

 

Ryan is fucked and he knows it.

 

Shane is at their desks and clearly engrossed in work. When Ryan sits down, however, Shane is quick to save his work and disentangle himself from the various stuff he’s plugged into. He turns to look at Ryan and Ryan’s stomach does a little flip at the smile he sees directed at him.

 

“How did it go?”

 

Man, Shane truly is an amazing friend. Ryan could tear up about Shane being ready to drop everything to ask about how the video went after Ryan had a pretty sub-par day in general. After Ryan had to borrow Shane’s shirt.

 

“It went well. I got a weird taste in my mouth now but that’s … normal. I still have some dried mango stashed in my bag so I’m probably gonna eat that.”

Shane laughs.

“What did they make you eat?”

Ryan snorts.

“Fuck if I know. It was weird, not really something I’d buy. But I’ve had worse.”

Ryan takes a deep breath and steels himself.

“Thank you again for the shirt, I’m not kidding, it really saved me. Do you want it back now?”

He doesn’t want to give it up. Right now, he can’t smell Shane on the shirt but something about just thinking that he is enveloped in Shane’s scent causes his heartbeat to quicken.

“Nah. It suits you. You can keep it on.”

Ryan full on blushes.

“Are- Are you sure about that?”

“Yeah. I can pick it up the next time I come over, it’s no problem.”

Shane looks at him and Ryan freezes. Shane’s eyes are so tender and comforting and Ryan is just sitting there, wearing his best friend’s shirt because it makes him happy, because he has a crush on Shane. Suddenly, he feels like garbage. Sure, he never openly lied to Shane, but he is constantly lying by omission and he is at the point where it becomes too much.

 

Ryan swallows hard.

“Shane. I gotta be honest with you… You offering me your shirt actually saved not only today but my entire week.”

Shane breaks into an honest, bright smile.

“Yeah? I’m glad I could help.”

Ryan fists his hands in the soft material and wishes he could hold onto Shane like that.

“That’s not all, though.”

Shane frowns slightly and Ryan does a quick look around to make sure everyone in the office is minding their own business.

“Shane… I...”

He doesn’t know how to say it. Shane is staring at him with wide eyes. Ryan wants to shrink into a ball.

“I really want to pay you back for this. How about we hang out at my place later and I’ll get us takeout and you can pick a movie?”

Okay, that wasn’t exactly what he had wanted to share, but it was a step in the right direction. Shane’s eyes crinkle in that familiar way and Ryan feels warmth wash over him when he hears a chuckle.

“Sounds good. I’m in the mood for Vietnamese, what do you think?”

Ryan would have agreed to chewing old shoes.

 

-

 

They are sitting together on Ryan’s bed because Ryan’s roommates claimed the living room. Ryan wants to curse them and thank them at the same time. He and Shane sit cross legged on his bed, their knees and shoulders are touching and they are laughing at the comedy Shane picked. It turned out to be a romantic comedy which is a bit awkward but Shane loves the stuff and it’s so fucking cute when he laughs and the corners of his eyes crinkle so they keep watching it. Ryan’s laptop is at the foot of his bed, playing the move and he is trying to watch it but he keeps looking over at Shane. Ryan really should have should have changed when they got here, but he… “forgot”. Shane is looking so soft, sitting on Ryan’s bed and for a moment, Ryan can imagine them as boyfriends. After a day at work, he is (for some reason) wearing Shane’s shirt and they are just relaxing and watching something cute and mindless before they will settle in bed together.

 

It takes him a moment to realize that the fantasy hit him harder than he expected. It’s not until fat, hot tears fall on the shirt he is still wearing that Ryan realizes he is crying. Fuck . The movie isn’t at the point where the predictable misunderstanding happens and the protagonists break up yet. Actually, it’s pretty light and funny right now, but Ryan started crying because he just thought about how he and Shane never will be lovers. How today will most likely be the first and last time he is wearing Shane’s clothes. How he will never wake up in Shane’s arms to the other man kissing him, being close to him. Ryan can’t help it. He tries to calm down and breathe in quietly but a shaky sob echoes in the room and another tear falls onto Shane’s shirt. He vaguely sees Shane move next to him but he can’t focus on that, he has to make sure he stops crying, he is ruining Shane’s shirt more than it already is by Ryan wearing it and, oh God, all he can think of is Shane being grossed out and-

 

Warmth.

 

Ryan’s mind settles at once. His head feels heavy and he leans forward, surprised when it comes to rest against something – no, some one – solid. It takes him a moment to realize that the reason why he feels safe and warm and protected is because Shane is hugging him. Shane’s hands are on his back and Ryan s leaning against his chest and everything is fine and terrible at the same time.

 

They are quiet for a second or two. The movie is continuing, but Ryan sees Shane’s hand move, feels the man pressed against him stretching and then the laptop is shut and they sit in silence. Ryan wants to speak. He has to. He has to explain to Shane, has to be a good friend and mention his attraction, because the alternative sounds creepy in the long term. He looks up.

 

Originally, Ryan planned to look Shane in the eye and tell him everything. He wants to mention that he developed a crush a couple of months ago and how he is afraid it could ruin their friendship. He wants to assure Shane that he has no reason to be uncomfortable, that Ryan will keep his hands to himself in the future and not initiate touch unless Shane wants to. He really, really wants to promise to Shane to be there for him always in whatever way he wants.

 

But he can’t. All he can think of is:

 

“I like wearing your clothes, Shane. Thank you so much for lending me this. Sorry for crying on it.”

Shane looks confused. He’s frowning and moves carefully as if he’s not sure where to put his hands and then he’s speaking:

“I- Okay? It’s fine and really, don’t worry about it- God, Ryan are you okay? Did something happen today or… this week or something? Jesus, hang on, I think I got a tissue somewhere-”

Shane digs in his pocket and produces a slightly crumpled but fresh paper tissue. His other arm never leaves Ryan’s shoulder and Ryan uses the movement of hunching over and blowing his nose to move a bit more into the half-embrace. He wipes his face and sniffles and can’t look up. It’s quiet for a moment, except for the muffled noises of his roommates watching something downstairs.

Finally, Shane speaks.

“You know, when you said it saved your entire week I was going to ask if you were alright. It sounded like this week was… a bit shit but I didn’t want to pry or anything. But now I feel bad for not asking. Do you… want to talk about it?”

 

Shit. Ryan feels like the worst. He made Shane worry about him that much and now Shane feels bad and it’s Ryan’s fault.

He presses closer, just a tiny little bit. If Shane is going to get mad at him at least he will have this memory to hold onto.

 

“It wasn’t anything that happened. Just… shit I got too much into my head and freaked myself out. I didn’t mean to make you worry, it’s nothing that you had anything to do with-” He swallows for a moment because technically that’s a lie. “It’s just me being stupid.”

Shane squeezes his shoulder slightly.

“You’re not being stupid. To me it looks like you’re dealing with some stress maybe. Are you overworked? I can take on some stuff for Unsolved if it’s too much.”

Ryan shakes his head.

“It’s not that...”

They are quiet for a moment. Ryan settles his head on Shane’s shoulder.

“Well,” Shane says finally, “whatever it is, if I can help, tell me. Also, if wearing my stuff really chills you out or something, you can pick whatever you like from my closet. Might have to roll up the pants, though.”

Ryan sits back, surprised.

“What- Are you serious?”

Shane shrugs.

“Sure, if it helps?”

“You don’t think it’s weird?”

“Ryan… I always think you’re weird. But literally everyone we work with is weird. I’m weird. So why the fuck would I care?”

 

Shane’s too good for this world. He’s definitely too good for Ryan. Ryan steels himself, because this is unfair. Shane deserves the truth even if it makes things complicated or awkward.

“Shane… That’s way too fucking nice because… I do like to wear your clothes, you see. But I do like it a little too much. I’m sorry if that freaks you out. But… you know me, I can keep calm if I really have to. You can just forget about it, just… ignore me, okay?”

Shane just frowns.

“I… I don’t get it.”

Ryan groans.

“I like wearing your clothes because they’re yours. You calm me down and you make me happy and today I noticed how much your things smell like you and that sounds creepy as fuck but it made me feel like you were hugging me or something and I really like that thought because- I. Uh.”

He bites his bottom lip. Fuck it.

“Because I like you. No. That’s not the right word. I have a crush on you, had a crush on you for a while now and it just feels unfair doing this-”

He gestures to his shirt.

“Doing this without you knowing. It’s creepy and I don’t want to be creepy. And I’m sorry for putting this on you but you deserve to know.”

Shane swallows hard enough for Ryan to hear. It’s quiet for a while and Ryan, while he has stopped crying, feels so full of dread and regret. But then Shane speaks.

“Do you know how much I like to see you in my clothes? Because… not only do you look hot in nearly everything, you are also … fuck, I don’t know, it sounds so weird. But you’re wrapped in something that belongs to me? You’re covered in what I’m usually carrying and it gives me this… idea that you sort of visibly belong… with me? Like we could be something more, something… different?”

Ryan stops breathing.

 

“Are you serious?”

Shane stares at him.

“I’m serious.”

“Jesus.”

 

They still sit together. Ryan settles a hand on Shane’s knee and Shane glances down quickly and makes no move to push him away. Instead he asks:

“Is… that what was giving you so much stress? Were you freaking out because of me?”

“Yeah. Well, not because of you, it’s not your fault. I was stressing myself out.”

His brain settles on something Shane said.
“Wait, you think I’m hot?”

Shane groans.

“Really?”

“You said I was hot! You- You like me!”

“Brilliant deduction, Detective Bergara you should do something with cold cases or something.”

“Don’t fucking sarcasm your way out of this! You-”

Shane moves in and Ryan forgets what he was going to say when Shane kisses him. His mind stops reeling and all he can think is Wow, Shane’s lips are really soft what the fuck and then Shane pulls away, they part with the sound of the soft kiss Shane gave him and Ryan is speechless.

Shane is staring at him with apprehension.

“Was that okay?”

Ryan snorts.

“Shane you’re such a fucking idiot.”

“What?”
Shane barely has time to frown before Ryan leans in and presses a firm kiss to his lips. The arm around his shoulders tightens and pulls him closer and he carefully puts a hand on Shane’s side. They have to tilt their heads a bit awkwardly because they are still sitting next to each other but the kiss itself is perfect. It’s warm and soft and perfect.

 

When they part, Ryan can barely hear Shane’s reaction.

“Oh.”

He snorts and it quickly turns into a proper laugh.

“Yeah, you could say that.”

 

Shane very slowly and carefully moves and pulls Ryan down to stretch out on the bed with him. He reaches out his free arm to settle around Ryan’s waist. His fingertips trail over the fabric of the shirt Ryan’s wearing, Shane’s shirt and Ryan closes his eyes and just enjoys for a moment..

 

“So...”

Ryan opens his eyes at Shane’s voice.

“My closet isn’t exactly super organized… but if you see anything you want to wear, please, go ahead. Okay?”

Ryan chuckles.

“Okay.”

 

They stare at each other, both of them dumbfounded in their own way. It ends in giggles because holy shit what just happened Ryan is so fucking lucky and Shane likes him, wants Ryan to wear his things so people know they belong together and Ryan mentally goes through his own closet for things he could lend to Shane. Somehow, the image of Shane in a Lakers Jersey really does it for him in the weirdest of ways and he has to kiss Shane again. Shane doesn’t complain, simply kisses back and holds onto Ryan and Ryan thinks back to this morning about how shit everything felt and he is so fucking glad he got out of bed because that somehow got Shane in his own. And then Shane pulls back and gives him a smirk and a heated glare and Ryan feels anticipation tingle in his stomach.

 

“What is it?”

“You know what would look even better than you in my shirt?”

“...what?”

“You out of it.”

“Ah. I see. You know, that could be arranged.”

“Cool.”

 

Ryan snorts. Shane is such a fucking dork, he thinks as he starts to unbutton the shirt, which is quickly aided by Shane’s long fingers.