Rhett noticed that Link was getting frustrated with something. The furrow in his brow was beginning to become more prominent. His lips pulled into a scowl more often than not.
Every single time the blond has tried to broach what was eating Link, the brunet would just glare and stalk off into his room. The sound of the door slamming behind him rattling Rhett's bones.
Rhett was beginning to feel like he was trapped in a cage with a wild animal, the way Link would silently stalk past him to get to the fridge. He wanted so desperately to reach out and soothe the anger from the smaller man's body. But he was afraid the brunet would silently snarl at him before secluding himself away.
This went on for what felt like years, but was really only a week. Where he wouldn't see Link about the apartment, only in class. The pair not even walking to class together. It felt like a weight had been placed on the blond’s chest, increasing exponentially until it felt like the air in his lungs was stagnant and unmoving.
Then one day he came home after a long shift at his part-time job, and there, Link was. He could spy the dark head of hair over the back of the couch. He couldn't tamp down the feeling of hope that rose in his chest, pressing uncomfortably in his throat to try and make a home there.
"Hey," he called out tentatively. Link hadn't budged when the door had swung shut, and he certainly hadn't bolted when Rhett called his name. The feeling in his throat took on a suffocating edge, he wasn't sure if this was a good thing, or a bad thing.
The tall man bee-lined it to the couch, circling it with apprehension before sitting next to his friend.
Maybe that's what this was about? They had said they liked each other, Rhett had even said he loved the smaller man. But maybe Link didn't want him anymore. Maybe he was too much, or not enough.
Fingers snapping in his face caught his attention, dragging him from his spiraling thoughts. "Sorry bo," the blond rubbed his neck, the sweat on his palm making him wince.
Link just shook his head, either to say it was fine or silence Rhett, he wasn't sure. Whatever it was meant to be, the blond gave the brunet his undivided attention.
' Sorry for this week. ' There was a gentle tremble to his hands.
"Hey, it happens. I'm not goin' anywhere," he offered the soft words up to hopefully placate whatever was eating Link.
The brunet smiled, but his hands still shook. ' I've been trying to talk again. I'm sorry bo. I think the damage is done, the scars too deep. '
Rhett wanted to scream to the heavens about how light he suddenly felt, it wasn't his fault that Link was upset. But the high quickly came crashing down. "Why are you trying to talk again?" he searched blue eyes for the answer he didn't want to see.
' You said you missed my laugh. I wanted to give that to you. Wanted to be someone worth loving. '
And here Rhett was, piling more hurt onto already fragile scars. "Oh Link. I love you, I've loved you for some time now. You could laugh tomorrow, or never again, and I would still love you. I'm so, so sorry you felt like you had to do this for me. I never wanted to push you like that."
And tears spilled over blue eyes at the words, the smaller man launched himself into Rhett's chest. The taller man wrapped Link up in his arms, brushing hands up and down his back. Whispering words of love and affirmation in the delicate shell of his ear.
All the while the guilt tore at his own scars.