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Just Keep Breathing

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I could follow you to the beginning

And just to relive the start

And maybe then we'll remember to slow down

At all of our favorite parts

 

All I Wanted — Paramore

 


I.

 

It’s not that he hated Sabrina — he could never hate her, not really — or even witches in general. Harvey had no desire to follow in his family's twisted career path of witch hunting, honestly, and there was not a killer bone in his body (until he had to murder his own brother, or perhaps more accurately his brother’s zombie, thanks to Sabrina).

 

Sabrina had made him a killer, a murderer murderer murderer— seeing the light leave Tommy’s eyes was like losing him all over again, and how was he supposed to look at her the same way? Look at her and not see Tommy’s face — confused and void and dead. Some of Tommy’s soul had to be left in him, the way he still protected Harvey after their dad had threatened him had to mean something, that he could protect and feel pain.

 

He didn’t, couldn’t, trust magic. Not when she used it like this, when inherently good people like Sabrina knew about the consequences and did it anyways, warping their decisions and defining everything they do.

 

She wasn’t his ‘Brina anymore, and maybe she had never been his.

 

Or, his conscious whispered, maybe this version of ‘Brina, the one where she went to the ends of the Earth for him, recklessly and thoughtlessly throwing herself in the face of danger for her loved ones, for him, was who she had been all along and he had never realized just how much she loved him, how much of her heart had belonged to his. And that had been absolutely terrifying.

 

So when her friend Nicholas had approached him the night that witches ran rampant through Greendale, standing too close — did witches all have no concept of personal space or was that just him? — and almost sounding jealous when Nick stated, “Do you know how much she loves you? Her love burns through her, in everything she does. It’s all for you.” With the earnest way that Nick looked at him while pleading her case, it was coded language for ‘how can you throw that away, you idiot mortal?’

 

Harvey’s breath hitches, not quite able to meet the other boy’s eyes because he knows. It’s not that he doesn’t want her anymore; a lack of love had never been their problem. Which he scathingly reiterates out loud, adding “Not that it’s any of your business,” he snaps defensively, glaring at the other boy, tall and chiseled in dark leather. “Why do you care so much anyways — looking to be her rebound?”

 

Nick smirks, glancing down at him and says, “She should be so lucky.”

 

Harvey rolls his eyes as Nick continued to speak, leaning forward to adjust the rumpled collar on his jacket, and fuck.

 

“Most of the time, mortals are a quick study. You spend all this time worrying about what other people think, scared to follow what you really want — deep in your bones.” Harvey’s breath hitches, heart beat increasing by just a quick look towards his lips, and wait a second, when did that happen?

 

Nick’s gaze lingers there far too long before grasping his shoulder and leaning in so close Harvey nearly freezes in place by the door. He murmurs in his ear, whispering, “If you ever need a bit of danger in your life, don’t hesitate to give me a call...” The boy leaves with a suggestive wink as suddenly as he had arrived, cloaked in the darkest blacks of the night.

 

Harvey stands in the doorway, feeling his lasting touch long after Nick leaves.

 


 

A couple of months have passed since the horseman of death or whatever it was had tormented Greendale; he doesn’t remember exactly what Nick had called the villain. He does remember lingering touches, adjusting a jacket collar, Sabrina. He’s still thinking about it while he was sitting at the coffee shop, waiting for Roz to arrive.

 

Harvey knows how disgustingly tacky it is, to date your ex’s best friend, but she was a breath of fresh air, breathing light to Sabrina’s dark. Harvey knew who she was, he could trust her, could not worry about Roz bringing his dead brother back to life. He didn’t know where they were going, he wasn’t ready for another serious relationship so soon after her. But it was simple, nice, the way she laughed at all the right times and held his hand in the hallways at Baxter High.

 

Harvey liked Roz, he really did, but he wasn’t sure that he loved her. Harvey enjoyed spending time with her, but he had only loved one girl before — the kind of passionate love that never truly leaves, no matter how much he tries to bury in the darkest corners of his soul. And if that was the case, if she had been the one, the end all, the only girl meant to be his, he felt nothing in comparison to what he felt for her. He felt something for Roz, romantic feelings, but he doubted it was love.

 

And with Roz there, it stung a bit less when he sees them together, laughing and smiling like a perfect couple, like they were meant to fucking be.

 

But who are you really jealous of? His conscious whispers, late at night when his thoughts run wild and he loses control, his lust haunting his dreams where Sabrina used to be.

 

Therefore, he sleeps terribly, plagued by his brother, by Sabrina’s friend, by Sabrina herself. It’s starting to show on the outside as well, with the dark circles around his eyes, irritability, low grades in every subject except art, which he still found solace in. His life is a mess, he’s spiraling away, he has no clue where he’s going to land and it’s absolutely terrifying.

 

Harvey sighs, resting his hand on his cheek and checking his watch. Roz seems to be running late — he’s already halfway finished his hot chocolate.

 

With a missing Roz, there’s no silent support when he enters the coffeeshop. Sabrina’s Harvey replacement, someone who could actually keep up with her in all aspects of her life, and it stung more than he wanted to let on. Harvey hates being jealous — it feels so trivial and mortal, as the witches would say, but the fact that Nick could follow her where he couldn’t… but maybe it was better this way, he reflects.

 

Nick places an order upfront and spots him, sulking in the back with his drink. The warlock approaches him, steaming mug of coffee in hand as he comes to stand in front of him. He’s still wearing that fucking leather jacket, and Harvey shoves thoughts about how Nick looks so far deep down that he fears he might choke them back up.

 

“Well, it would be rude of me to not say hello, would it?” He asks, lightly. The confident gleam in his eye makes Harvey think Nick already knew how he looks in leather, saw it written all over Harvey’s face. The cocky bastard.

 

“Come to rub it in my face?” Harvey retorts, for lack of a better response. He’s just so tired and he’s conscious that it shows everywhere on him.

 

Nick chuckles, rolling his eyes. “If that’s an invitation, there’s something I’d love to rub in your face.” He doesn’t wait for his shocked reaction and invites himself to sit next to Harvey, sliding into the seat next to him.

 

Harvey’s eyes widen almost comically as his face heats up, and he's really proud of himself when he doesn’t spit out his hot chocolate at that line and forces the swallow down, the dark liquid burning hot against his throat.

 

“So about that bit of extra danger...” Nick says, a light smirk on his face as he slips his hand on Harvey’s thigh, slowly creeping upwards.

 

His eyes widening, Harvey startles, jerking his knee up and ricocheting against the table. Harvey stutters a response and realizes too late that he’s trapped, that he’s been prey this whole time and the boy next to him is the predator, taunting him.

 

He wonders what Sabrina would say if she were here, seeing this. What would she think, her new boyfriend flirting with him? Was this just a game to Nick? The quiet laughter in his eyes as his hand gently, so fucking gently, caresses his leg, slipping up so far he can’t ignore it, much less pretend it was an accident.

 

Honestly, from what he knows about Nick already, he shouldn’t be surprised he was this forward. Nothing about Nick’s presence is timid, from his confident posture to the clothing he wore — witches hide in the shadows but nothing about him is hidden.

 

His mind unravels into panic, with Nick’s hand right there, waiting with a stupidly arrogant eyebrow cocked to see what Harvey would do. Thoughts of Nick kissing him, of kissing Nick, fluttered through his mind in a frazzled haze and he shudders internally at what this all means.

 

Nick’s free hand tugs on Harvey’s chin, softly turns his head and forces him to meet his eyes.

 

“Lust isn’t a sin, Harvey, it’s an emotion. One that we’re all allowed to follow sometimes, even mortals.”

 

Harvey swallows, he thinks Nick can hear his heart beating out of his chest — do witches get super hearing, is that a thing? — and he’s forgotten all about his date with Roz.

 

And oh God, Roz.

 

But still, for a reason he doesn’t even want to begin exploring, Harvey allows the hand to stay there moments longer than he should have before he all but runs out of the shop, abandoning his drink and running away like the chicken shit he is. He doesn’t wait to see Nick’s reaction, and he can’t shake the feeling that he’s leaving his dignity behind as well.

 

It’s not til he’s almost home that he remembers to breathe, gulping in air as he walks through the door.

 

He forgets to call Roz.

 


 

Their break up a few weeks later was short and simple, just as their relationship had been.

 

“Do you still love her?” Roz’s voice shakes, her lip was trembling — already seeming to know what the answer was.

 

“Roz, I-,”

 

“Harvey,” she cuts him off, saying, “I had a vision, about us. About you. You… with Sabrina, and…” She trails off, not quite meeting his eyes before she finishes, “And my visions haven’t been wrong yet.”

 

“You’re upset at something that hasn’t even happened, Roz! That’s some Minority Report bullshit you’re pulling at,” Harvey insists, still tired and exhausted, dark circles evident on his face.

 

“Hasn’t happened yet? ” Her voice rises with each syllable, disbelievingly. “I’m supposed to be your girlfriend, Harv! And while I believe you wouldn’t cheat on me, wouldn’t disrespect me or our relationship that way... I’ll never be what Sabrina was to you, even if you don’t realize it yet.” There’s some sympathy that flashes across her face then, and another emotion that Harvey can’t quite put a name to. “I’m sorry, I can’t play second place to her — it’s not fair to me, or Sabrina.”

 

She kisses him on the cheek one last time before she walks away, leaving Harvey to deal with the aftermath of that, shaking and breathing hard in the school hallway.

 

II.

 

Weeks pass, and Harvey spends his time pining, drawing, the art therapy soothing the sad cracks of his broken heart. He tells himself he’s upset over Roz, and during the day he lets himself believe it, but late at night in a darkened room and having nowhere else to hide from himself, he knows that’s not the case.

 

Roz has barely said three words to him, leaving Theo to spend time with everyone in shifts, frustrated that he was the only one left trying to keep their friendship alive.

 

Harvey’s so deep in a sketch, it barely registers that he’s not alone in his room anymore. Nick’s here, watching him brood.

 

“What do you want?” he asks, not bothering to look up.

 

“She misses you, Harvey.” Nick says, simply. He sits down on the bed, the mattress shifting down under his weight.

 

“You came here just to tell me that?” he asks, eyeing him dubiously.

 

“No, but it’s just... in class, she’s present, but not present, you know? Her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes anymore — she thinks I don’t notice, but I do. Sabrina’s been going through a lot, and I think, for some reason she needs you, mortal.”

 

Harvey blinks once, twice, three times. He opts to ignore that dig for some reason, too startled to make a snarky comeback. Hears Roz’s voice ringing in his head over and over, I’ll never be what Sabrina was to you.

 

I’ll never be what Sabrina was to you.

 

He knows the warlock is right, because he’s been feeling empty for far too long.

 

The only exception was Nick; his charismatic personality pushing his boundaries and forcing him to feel an emotion that wasn’t the chaotic, broken white noise he preferred to the gut wrenching grief over Tommy.

 

He reaches for Nick’s hand silently, and he lets Harvey take it, drawing soothing circles on his palm.

 

A few heartbeats pass, with them just sitting together in silence. Harvey loathes how his voice cracks when he says, “She said it wasn’t safe for me to be around her. I’ve tried to move on, but — but nothing else matters except ‘Brina...”

 

Nick looks at him, and Harvey absolutely loathes the pity he sees reflected in his dark eyes.

 

“Like I said before, Kinkle, don’t be afraid to follow your passion, and that includes her.”

 

He purses his lips together, getting up from his desk chair to sit on the bed with Nick. Feeling a little bolder and taking a page out of the warlock's book about having a lack of boundaries, Harvey rests his head on Nick’s shoulder, breathing in his cologne, earthy forest scents and hints of coffee. He lets his thigh bump against Nick’s, pressing into his.

 

Nick’s other hand comes to rest in his hair as he brushes his fingers through it, making Harvey sigh contentedly. 

 

“Maybe I already am,” he breathes, so quietly that Nick nearly misses it.