Moritz had no idea what time it was at this point. He hadn’t been keeping track, and he doubted Melchior had either. It was dark outside. It had been for a while now. That probably meant it was late. Probably far later than they’d intended it to be when Moritz came over that afternoon. He wasn’t sure how they ended up like this, both lying on the floor in Melchior’s bedroom. Both kind of drunk. At least, Moritz thought he was drunk. He didn’t usually drink so this was kind of new. Melchior’s parents were out of town for the weekend. The drinking had been Melchior’s suggestion. Something to get Moritz’s mind off things. They had exams coming up. Assignments that were due. Stressed piled on top of stress. Moritz could use the escape. He knew that much.
The two of them had been talking a lot, but that wasn’t uncommon for them. Mostly it was useless nothings. Unfinished pieces of various conversations stitched together with laughter to break them all up again. All that Moritz knew was that he was happy right now. Happier than he had been in a while. As he stared up at the fading glow in the dark stars that Melchior still had plastered to his ceiling from when he was a kid, he was kind of ignoring the reason for that.
“You still have those?” he asked, a hand pointing up at the stars above him.
He didn’t have to look at him to know that Melchior shrugged in response. “You’ve always liked them.”
Moritz didn’t know what to take from that. It went quiet. He dropped his hand again. His brain was running around in circles, thoughts all smashing together, never quite settling on one thing. If he was a little more sober, he’d probably be worried about saying something stupid. But Melchior was just as drunk as he was, and he said just as many stupid things sober as he had tonight. “I like this,” he muttered.
Melchior looked over at him and smiled.
His chest felt tight. “Do you?”
“Do I what?”
Melchior laughed. “It takes the edge off,” he said. “You know, it was actually Hanschen’s idea.”
“Hanschen’s idea for you to get drunk, or for you to get me drunk?”
He shook his head, reaching for the bottle to his left absently. “I didn’t get you drunk. You did that yourself.”
“But was it Hanschen that told you to?”
“Nah. He suggested that I get drunk. With you present. You didn’t have to be drunk.”
Moritz squinted at him. Melchior was swirling the bottle absently, watching the contents spiral inside it. “You’re talking in circles.”
“Li-quid cou-rage,” he said, making both words as long as possible. “That was the suggestion."
Moritz had no idea why Melchior would be the one who needed courage. Usually it was the other way around. Melchior was pretty brave on his own terms. If purely from the fact that he was stubborn at the best of times. He watched him for a moment. Eventually, Melchior put the bottle back down without taking a drink from it. He continued to stare up at the ceiling. There was only one light in the room. A lamp that cast soft shadows over the both of them. Moritz couldn’t help but think that the lighting was doing Melchior even more favours than usual. Maybe that was the alcohol talking. Usually he tried to push away those kinds of thoughts. “Yellow’s a good colour on you.”
Melchior looked over at him, raised an eyebrow. “What?”
He didn’t say anything, just smiled. Moritz wasn’t sure if that was better or worse than a response. Eventually he glanced up again. Moritz watched his eyes count the stars on the ceiling quietly.
His next question was tumbling out of him before he could stop it. He realised too late that he had even less of a filter when he’d had something to drink. “Wouldn’t it be weird if we dated?”
Melchior continued to stare up at the ceiling. He pushed at his glasses absently. Moritz was starting to wonder if he was ignoring the question when he spoke. “I’ve thought about it.”
Whatever answer he’d been expecting, it wasn’t that. He could never have expected to hear something like that. Melchior didn’t so much as move. Moritz was starting to realise that he was too drunk for this. “You’ve - you’ve thought about it?” he managed, his voice far more strained than it usually was.
Melchior smiled. “Yeah. I think about you all the time.”
He had no idea if Melchior was being serious or not. He had no idea if he was being a dick about this because they were both drunk. Most of all, he had absolutely no idea if they’d ever mention this conversation again. Moritz wasn’t sure what to say. When he didn’t respond Melchior turned to look at him and somehow that made this even harder.
“Moritz, are you ok?”
Was he ever? He was too drunk to be anything but honest. “I - I don’t know.”
His brow furrowed and Moritz panicked because what if this was the truth and now Melchior regretted telling him? What if he’d just fucked everything up?
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked.
Maybe. If he could find his voice. “Talk about what?”
He smiled again. “Moritz-“
Moritz had to look away. He pulled at his sleeves of his hoodie, twisted them around his hands a few times. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Melchior sighed next to him and Moritz was too scared to look over at him again. “I was going to tell you,” he muttered. “I just hadn’t figured out when would be a good time.”
Liquid courage. Wait, did that mean that Hanschen knew about this? Was there even something for him to know. His heart was beating way too fast in chest. He reached for the bottle next to him. He couldn’t remember what was in it anymore. He didn’t care, just scarfed it down and ignored the way it burned his throat. He could feel Melchior’s eyes on him.
Was he ever careful? He put the bottle down and wondered if Melchior could tell his hands were shaking.
“I’ve frightened you, haven’t I?”
“I’m not scared of you.”
Melchior paused for a moment. Moritz stole a glance and watched him poke at the buttons on his shirt. “That’s not what I meant.”
Moritz wished he knew what to say. His mind was blank. He couldn’t think. “Melchi-“
“I’m sorry. Just forget I answered.”
“No, I -“ he didn’t finished his sentence. He hadn’t figured out what to say.
Melchior sat up and reached for the bottle. He held it in his hands as if he’d intended on drinking but had suddenly decided against it.
“What do you think about? When you think about me?” Moritz tried to ignore the gnawing anxiety at the question. This was definitely something Melchior would pretend never happened. Maybe that would be better. Maybe he could keep his sanity then.
Melchior continued to stare down at the bottle. “A lot of things.”
Moritz sat up too and hated that his head was kind of spinning. He’d definitely drunk too much. He should have realised. He just hadn’t known his limits yet. Maybe he would be the one to forget this in the morning. He hoped not. “Care to elaborate?”
He smiled, looked over at Moritz. “Honestly? Everything. Just spending time with you. Listening to the weird music you’re embarrassed to say you like at three in the morning. Studying that just turns into watching movies and ignoring work. I don’t know. Getting ice cream?”
Moritz laughed. “Ice cream?”
He shrugged. “It makes you smile.”
Should he blame the way Melchior was looking at him on how much they’d been drinking? Or should he let himself have this moment? “Anything else?”
“I don’t think I can get anymore specific than that,” he said.
Moritz nodded. He looked down at his hands because looking at Melchior was getting a little much.
“Moritz, are you sure you’re ok?”
He still didn’t have an answer. He looked up at Melchior again. “What are you thinking about right now?” he asked.
Melchior raised an eyebrow, shifted a little closer to him. “I think you know.”
“If it’s the same thing I’m thinking that’s kinda ... weird.”
“It’s not ... something we do.”
Melchior held his gaze and Moritz was starting to panic again. “Do you think it could be?”
“Why would you let me decide?”
This was all too much. He had no idea what was happening. Or where this was going. “Melchi, I - slow down.”
He stopped. “I’m not doing anything?”
“You’re not but you are.”
“Just - I need to think. I can’t think.” He buried his head in his hands, ran his fingers through his hair. Fuck Hanschen. This wasn’t helping at all. Melchior put a hand on his shoulder, his thumb drawing little circles. Usually it was a gesture that would calm him down. Moritz didn’t think it was working this time.
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe this is too weird.”
Moritz had no idea what he meant by that, but he was too scared to ask. It took him what felt like a long time to look up again. “You’re giving me a choice, right?”
This was a bad idea. A really, really bad idea, but his mind was blank and this seemed to be the only thing he could make out in the fog. Moritz had no idea why Melchior hadn’t said anything else. He’d been so chatty until now. What was it about this moment that changed that? He couldn’t wrap his head around any of it. He was taking to long to make a move. He was ruining this moment, whatever it was. He was going to regret this forever. “I’m not brave enough,” he said.
Melchior smiled. “I doubt that.”
Moritz had no idea why Melchior always had so much faith in him. Or why it seemed to spark courage. “I’m going to do something weird.”
“You’re always weird.” There was a fondness to his tone that hit Moritz right in his core. It was something that Melchior seemed to only save for him. Maybe that was telling. Maybe Moritz should have let himself believe this sooner.
There was never a good time for anything, but this would have to do. Who knew when they’d get to be like this again. Even so, he still took too long. He knew that. The process of allowing himself to do this took more than Melchior would probably ever know. Or maybe he already did. As Melchior held his gaze, Moritz thought that might have been the case. He leaned in, using a shaking hand to grab onto the front of Melchior’s shirt. As their lips met, Melchior pulled away.
“This isn’t that weird,” he said.
Moritz knew he was teasing, but it was times like this that he was reminded why most of the people in his class hated Melchior. “Kiss me back, you coward.”
Melchior laughed. “Right. Sorry.”
He let Melchior take the lead because that seemed to suit them. This would be far too sloppy otherwise and it was already more of a mess than he’d wanted it to be. He was trying not to think too hard about it, but it was a little difficult when this was all he’d wanted for far too long. Longer than he’d ever want to admit.
“Moritz, you’re still shaking.”
Shit. “I - uh - yeah, I guess.”
Melchior pulled away enough that he could look at him, his thumb stroked Moritz’s cheek gently. “Talk to me,” he said.
Moritz swallowed. Melchior was still so close to him. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to organise his thoughts. “I think about you all the time.”
He wished that he couldn’t tell that Melchior wanted to laugh. “Just while you’re drunk or?”
“Yes. I mean no. I mean -”
Yeah. Melchior’s laugh was still his favourite sound. It had been since forever. “Hey, we’ve been over this. I think about you too.”
Moritz pulled at Melchior’s shirt. He wasn’t sure what he was trying to achieve, if anything, but he had to do something with his hands. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” he muttered.
“But if I was sober I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”
Melchior pulled Moritz’s hand away from his shirt and just held it instead. “I think you would have. In your own time maybe.”
“Like when you’re out at college somewhere being brilliant and I’ve lost my shot?”
He shook his head. “No, like when you’re ready. However long that takes.”
Moritz wished he had any clue what that meant. “It’s ok, right?” he asked, because he couldn’t hold the question back anymore. Melchior holding his hand definitely wasn’t helping.
“Would I have kissed you back if it wasn’t?”
Good point. “Would you do it sober?” If he’d needed to drink just to talk about this, surely he’d need to drink to do this as well. Moritz kind of hated the thought.
Melchior kind of did too. He could sense it. He shook his head. “I would. If you wanted me to.”
Moritz was going to say something but Melchior kept talking.
“I’d want that too.”
“You would or you do?”
Melchior squeezed his hand gently. “You know the answer.”
He rolled his eyes. “Moritz -”
“Just say it. Properly. Just once.”
“That I’d kiss you sober? Of course I would.”
“Would you date me?”
His brow furrowed. “Is there another way to date a person?”
Moritz kissed him again. He hadn’t planned to. It just kind of happened. He wasn’t sure if it was better or worse than the first time. It was definitely more desperate, if that made a difference. He pulled away. “Wait. My head’s spinning.”
Melchior smirked. “It’s ‘cause you’ve been drinking.”
“No. It’s because of you. Because I -” He didn’t finish the sentence, but he could tell that Melchior knew what he was about to say.
He swallowed. “Me too.”
“Ok. I’m gonna - I’m gonna kiss you again.”