“Fuck this,” Kevin muttered. He had rummaged around the discarded clothes strewn all over the floor of their dorm bedroom for the past five minutes in search of his favourite dark blue sweater without any success. It was much longer than he thought he might need to find a sweater he was almost certain he had dropped right next to his bed the previous night, so he finally decided to give up searching, accepted the disappearance with a sigh and pulled a fresh sweater out of his wardrobe.
He was barely even out of the bedroom when he spotted his missing sweater. It didn’t hang off one of the desk chairs and didn’t lie crumpled on one of the beanbag chairs, though, like Kevin had expected. Instead Andrew of all people was wearing it, looking cosy as could be, with his broad shoulders filling up the sweater almost perfectly and the hem reaching halfway down his thighs. Kevin found he didn’t really mind the stealing, not if it resulted in this.
Andrew stopped his perusal of the unlit cigarette in his hand to look up at Kevin, as though daring him to say something about it.
A month or two ago Kevin would have kept his mouth shut, but now Neil’s influence reared its head. “I didn’t think our clothes were that easy to mix up.”
“They aren’t,” Andrew said.
Even though Kevin had already suspected it, the unspoken admission that Andrew was wearing his sweater on purpose filled him with warmth. He didn’t feel any need to comment on it though, so he simply asked, “Coffee?” and when Andrew nodded once got to work brewing a pot.
The second time Kevin’s favourite sweater went missing, it took him a little longer to find it again after his initial search of the bedroom. Andrew, who was sitting in one of the beanbag chairs with a pint of ice cream, wasn’t wearing it this time, so Kevin looked through their dorm to make sure he hadn’t dropped it somewhere else. After another minute of fruitless searching Kevin remembered he had taken his sweater off during last night’s movie night in Matt’s room. Maybe he had left it there.
He went into the hallway and knocked on the door to Matt’s room. Just a few seconds later, Matt opened the door with a smile that faded a little when he spotted Kevin. Which was fair, he probably thought Kevin was here for some Exy-related reason.
“Kevin,” Matt prompted when Kevin didn’t immediately start talking.
“Did I forget my sweater-” Kevin spotted Neil sitting on the couch then, wearing his sweater and a satisfied grin. “Never mind. It seems I’m living with sweater thieves.”
Matt’s smile brightened again. “Welcome to the club.”
Throughout the next few weeks, Kevin slowly got used to his favourite sweater – and only ever that sweater – disappearing overnight after he had worn it once or twice, but when one day he saw Neil wearing his sweater just hours after Andrew had snatched it from Kevin and put it on right in front of him, he was still surprised.
“Wasn’t Andrew wearing that?” he asked Neil.
Neil tugged the arms of the sweater over his hands in a self-conscious and utterly adorable gesture.
“Yes,” he said. “But he took it off again before he went sparring with Renee.”
“Ah, I see. So, you just snatched it up the second Andrew was gone?”
Neil didn’t even try to look innocent. “I like the way it smells,” he admitted after a few beats of silence. “And it’s even better now that you’ve both worn it.”
Kevin’s insides liquefied or at least that was what it felt like. It seemed with every little thing he learned about his boyfriends or witnessed them doing, Kevin was falling further in love with them. It was startling to discover, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
The next time he was at the mall Kevin decided on a whim to buy two more sweaters that were identical to his favourite one in the hope that at least those wouldn’t get stolen the second he took them off.
At first, his strategy seemed to work. Neil and Andrew noticed his newly acquired sweaters almost as soon as he put them into the wardrobe, but to Kevin’s surprise the first of his new sweaters was still where he had left it the morning after he had first worn it even though Neil and Andrew were already up and about. The same was true for second sweater a week later. Predictably, Andrew still stole his original favourite sweater almost the second he took it off though.
But then, another few weeks and washing cycles later, one of his new sweaters – and he knew it was a new one because Neil had just stolen his original favourite sweater the day before – went missing. He didn’t even try to find it, he knew where it most likely was after all, but he had one question.
“Why now?” he asked Neil when he came into their dorm after classes and found Neil curled up in one of the beanbag chairs, wearing the missing sweater.
Neil looked up at him and gave him a soft smile. “It’s softer now and doesn’t smell new anymore.”
One of these days Neil’s unexpected casual honesty would be the death of him, Kevin was sure of it.
Kevin had already opened the wardrobe to grab a clean sweater since the one he’d been wearing earlier had once again been stolen when he spotted the stolen sweater lying on Neil’s bed from the corner of his eye. Before he could question why it had reappeared, he closed the wardrobe again, grabbed the sweater and pulled it on. Almost immediately it became clear to him why Neil and Andrew constantly stole his sweaters. Neil had explained it to him already, but that explanation paled in comparison to the experience of wearing a sweater that smelled like both of his boyfriends. He buried his nose in the fabric for a handful of seconds before he straightened the sweater and left the bedroom wearing what was probably an incredibly sappy smile.
“He gets it now,” Andrew remarked drily from where he and Neil were perched on the desk in front of the window.
“Yeah he does,” Neil agreed with a soft smile.
Kevin was way too comfortable and happy to mind that they had most definitely planned this.