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the rhythm our heart plays

Chapter Text

For Eddy, it wasn't something that came out of the blue.

It was in small increments; hours of joint practices and late night rehearsals and recordings, of morning coffee runs and country-wide adventures. It was moments of being in each other's space for days on end, comfortable and easy, talking about anything and everything and sometimes nothing at all, allowing the music that's close to their hearts fill in the silence for them.

It's in the way Brett furrows his brows when he's practicing intensely on a particular piece for the violin, the way he rubs his eyes when he gets tired and sleepy after hours of practice. It's in moments when Brett laughs when Eddy cracks a dumb viola joke, head shaking with a helpless grin as Eddy throws an overused meme in his face, just to see Brett's smile last a little longer.

It's in the ways where after a grueling long concert, Brett promises they'll only explore for just a little, but he ends up dragging Eddy around the city to different boba shops and scenic night views of old water fountains and starry skies until 3 in the morning. It's in the way Brett said, "I love you Eddy," when they reached their funding goal to travel the world, sharing their passion for music and humor on stage for hundreds and thousands to see.

It's in the way Eddy's heart thrums at the sight of the familiar company he shared nearly half his life with, warm and entirely at home.

For Eddy, his friendship with Brett is irreplaceable. He can't ever risk losing something that important, whether his own stupid selfish feelings have a say in it or not.

So it's ridiculous, really, when the universe decides to consistently suckerpunch Eddy in the gut with feelings he absolutely did not ask for.

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It starts with a simple shoulder pat.

It's a common thing done between people as either friendly support or a sympathetic gesture of comfort and the like. Nothing to write home about, so Eddy brushes it off as nothing important. He doesn't think too much of it when Brett lets his hand rest on Eddy's shoulder a little too long, or if those shoulder pats becomes more of a shoulder rest when Brett needs something to use as support, particularly if they've been walking for hours or if he's just tired from standing so long and there's no walls or chairs around to sit in. Eddy keeps it cool when Brett absentmindedly caresses his thumb along Eddy's nape while he's talking to someone else. Or at least, Eddy tries to because it's easy to duck out of Brett's hand and utter a strained, "bro" as Brett shrugs and says "my bad" as if he doesn't realize the effect he has on Eddy's mental state of mind.

It's cool. It's chill. Eddy is way too old to be acting all antsy over some innocent skinship. Still, it's not like either of them were touchy-feely to begin with, so any sort of physical contact with Brett has Eddy more aware of it than he needs to be.

During a recording for their next video to put into the queue, Eddy subconsciously sits farther than he intends to and Brett frowns and scoots his chair closer. "You're going to get out of the shot. Come here." And it's hard to refuse that when Brett's got a valid point. "I'm not going to bite."

The image sinks into Eddy's mind more vividly than he would like it to. "Pshh, I'd like to see you try," Eddy says, because he really can't help himself.

"Chomp chomp," Brett makes big bites at the air like the dork he is and Eddy ignores how his heart skips at it.

"Okay Jaws, let's get back to business before you go full shark on me. Also, I'm keeping this part in the video. Our viewers will get a firsthand look on how wild you really are."

"A total beast," Brett says in deadpan. "Wait, you think we can use that as our next game? Charades, but for classic movie titles?"

And that's the other thing with the content they put out: it can be random, ridiculous, relatable, and absolutely meme-fiable. Eddy has fun making each of these videos with Brett and he doesn't think there was ever an outrageous idea he did turn down. They've twerked, roasted, and dabbed their way through more videos than he can count, cried over child prodigies that could shoot a man's self-esteem straight into the ground, and sometimes flex their own skills when they have to remind the internet that they are professionals who can decently play the violin every now and then.

"So for today's video, we're going to be playing an original challenge," Brett starts off, pointing towards his eyes. "It's gonna involve a lot of eye contact."

"A staring contest!" Eddy quips. "But with a twist. We're going to each be playing a piece picked from this little hat here and will be allowed to distract the other player using facial expressions only. Whoever messes up the piece or blinks first, loses. Simple as that."

Brett nods repeatedly and Eddy can already hear the whooshing effect their editor is going to put over it.

"Ugh...I have a feeling you have an advantage over me," Eddy says as he gets into a comfortable position, setting his violin on his shoulder while facing Brett. "You look like you haven't blinked in years."

Brett hums. "Better believe these eyebags aren't just for show."

Eddy laughs. The game is on.

For the first few seconds it was fine. They're playing Navarra Op. 33 and his eyes haven't started watering yet which is a good sign. Brett looks impassive as ever as they hold each other's gaze, but all of Eddy's steadfast composure starts crumbling the instant Brett raises a brow, a mischievous glint in his eyes that's definitely up to no good. Eddy, not one to be bested, starts wagging his brows in return, but was met with Brett flicking his tongue at him and Eddy promptly short-circuits.

Oh no. Oh nooooo.

Brett slowly licks over his lips and does obscene things that a tongue should not be doing in Eddy's central field of vision. Eddy shoves his vivid imagination to the deepest corner of his mind as he starts making kissy faces at his competition, but Brett's tongue is doing way too much and Eddy can't help but feel his cheeks flush, flustered beyond saving. His bow skids on the string and he folds in on himself, hiding his face in the crook of his arm. "This is so dumb," Eddy whines, but Brett is too busy holding up his violin in a victory pose to care.

The rest of the recording plays out fine after Eddy finds his composure and pointedly stares at Brett's forehead in an attempt to dodge any inappropriate tongue action from the older boy. Brett still ends up winning the whole thing because his koala eyes are born to win at staring contests, but Eddy's just glad that this game is done and over with. They wrap it up smoothly before planning the rest of their day out, which usually involves dining at their usual favourite spots or maybe a light jog around the city before meeting up with a friend or two in town. If he avoids making direct eye-contact at Brett for the rest of the day, Brett says nothing about it.

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Eddy thinks he's generally good at keeping his cool. If there's a fire, you can hose it down (or, you know, run away). If a string snaps on your violin during a performance, just shift and channel ling ling from within (even if you still have an internal major meltdown like Eddy does, that's a-okay too). If you suddenly develop weird heart palpitations whenever your best friend gets a little too close for comfort, then ignore it! Go see a doctor! Maybe use that time unnecessarily freaking out to do something more productive, like practicing! Practice your problems away!

Oh that's good advice. Maybe he can put that on their new line of merch.

"Eddy."

Eddy nearly jolts out of his chair when Brett presses the cold milk boba tea against his cheek. Thankfully, no, he doesn't yeet his body off the chair and end up embarrassing himself in front of the whole shop. He did maybe produce a curt yelp, but that's to be warranted. Brett gives Eddy an odd look but to be fair, a person shouldn't just sneak up on people like that when they're busy contemplating on life and stuff. Eddy tells Brett as much but Brett just snorts at the excuse and sits next to him, setting down the drinks they ordered onto the table.

"It's not my fault you're spacing out way more than usual. You should've seen yourself earlier, it's like you were staring straight into the milky way." Brett says, imitating the face Eddy was making moments ago. Eddy tries very hard not to laugh.

"That's my brainstorming face! Excuse me for being a great, dedicated work partner here." Eddy says, lifting his nose up in a pompous manner. "My creative juices were just spilling with brilliant ideas left and right before you smacked it all away."

"No, really. If a conductor saw that face you were making during rehearsals, oh man."

"Please. I'm a professional, Brett." Eddy pouts, cheeks puffed out. "However...if I'm forced to sit in on a viola solo, then that's a whole different story."

Brett laughs and it's a nice laugh, Eddy thinks. Even when his jokes might be lame or overused to the point it's beaten into the ground, he can always count on Brett to react the best. It's what makes them click so well, their shared special brand of humor.

Eddy gets lost in his thoughts again. He can tell, only because Brett had poked Eddy's cheek and startled Eddy's composure for the second time that day. "What?" Eddy looks at Brett, giving him a cautious quizzical look. Brett doesn't really do things like that so Eddy isn't sure what to make of it.

Brett stares at him for a bit and Eddy's not sure why he's nervous all of a sudden. Brett then tilts his head and hums, thoughtful. "You finally looked at me."

Eddy blinks, a sudden rush of emotions swirling uncomfortably in his gut. Since that dumb staring contest they did a few days back, Eddy may have subconsciously avoided looking at Brett every time they're together. It's because this gross, fluttering feeling in his chest doesn't go away unless he does but he never realize how bad it looks to the other party. Eddy feels guilty, all of a sudden, for making Brett worry about something he shouldn't have to.

"Oh, yeah?" Eddy says, throwing a friendly arm around Brett's shoulder. "I mean, if you want to stare into my deep, beautiful chocolate brown eyes that badly, I'll let you. Did someone say staring contest round 2?"

Brett snickers, and Eddy is relieved. Eddy doesn't ever want to make Brett feel like he's responsible for the stupid way Eddy is acting, that he's upset with him or quietly resenting him or anything like that. It could never be that. "Are you even sure you have what it takes?" Brett says, fluttering his lashes as if to show off. "I mean, if you want to taste defeat again you're more than welcome to."

"I'll make you eat your words," Eddy says ominously, like a villain from a comic book that's swearing the day of his revenge. Eddy cackles to be extra™ and Brett grins, their friendship set back to that comfortable, easy-going nature that Eddy wants to hold onto forever.

"So. Beautiful chocolate brown eyes huh?"

Eddy groans. "Please just forget it...okay look, maybe I got it from a romance novel that I may or may not have been reading for fun, and they may or may not be always describing the characters like that but - hey! There's some pretty interesting stuff out there okay!"

Brett listens to Eddy whine as he laughs and laughs; a nice deep, rich tone Eddy doesn't think he can ever get tired of.

Chapter Text

Eddy's on his fifth cup of coffee for the day and his body is already telling him what a terrible, shitty idea that's going to be in the next few hours. He can't help it though; between recording, reviewing the editing, brainstorming new content, and checking up on merchandising stocks and all that fun logistical stuff behind the scenes, his body is starting to shut down. It doesn't help that he thinks he might be developing some new heart disease, with the way it keeps jumping all over the place when Brett comes within an inch of his personal space. He never had a problem with that before, so why now?

Eddy glances across the table to see the person responsible for his emotional turmoil tucked in between his own arms, unmoving — presumedly napping, maybe even dead. Eddy feels like he's on his way there so he can't really blame the guy. Eddy watches the way Brett's back rises up and down, hours of work finally claiming its toll on Brett first. It's funny, even, when Brett turns his head and the glasses that he never took off sat askew on the bridge of his nose. Eddy reaches over and gently plucks it off his face, quite used to the way Brett tends to drift off to sleep with them on. It's also funny, the way Brett's hair is mussed up and sticking in all sorts of directions, probably from the way he keeps pulling his hoodie over his head while they work. Eddy's fingers twitch at the sudden prospect of carding his hand through Brett's hair but he curls it into a fist and quickly shuts it down.

Eddy looks back down at his notebook, littered with lists of ideas and random scribbles for TwoSetViolin. He stares at a really crude drawing of two stick figures with violins and hula hoops — something Brett decided to doodle when he was suggesting they add pictionary to their list, classical music edition. It's a comical, terrible looking drawing because it's apparently supposed to be them: one of the stickmen with a disproportionately long line for a body and another shorter one with two circles inside a bigger circle that Eddy can only assume was a representation of Brett and his glasses. It's a very silly drawing but Eddy can't help but be a little fond of it. He's fond of...

Eddy sighs. He suddenly wants to sleep away everything, but the caffeine in his blood is pumping too vigorously through his system and he ignores the little voice in his head that's telling him, I told you so! when it comes to his poor decision-making skills. Eddy looks up again at Brett who's got his brows furrowed in his sleep, neck craning in an uncomfortable position over his arms. Eddy, being the thoughtful soul that he is, figures it's time to wake Brett up so he can sleep on a more comfortable surface that isn't Eddy's dining room table.

"Brett. Hey, Brett. Psst, wake up. Brett!" Eddy's patting Brett's arm to get his attention, but the older boy just murmurs something incomprehensible and digs further into his arms, ignoring Eddy's futile attempt at a wake up call. Eddy stands up and rounds the table to get closer to him, this time shaking Brett's shoulders a little firmer. "Brett. Dude. You can use my room to nap if you want. I don't want to hear you complain about crinks in your neck when you wake up later."

Brett grumbles something again but doesn't make any attempt to move.

Okay then, he has left him with no other choice.

Eddy reaches over the table to grab his violin, resting it onto his shoulder as he leans close to Brett. He takes a steady exhale as he places his bow gently on the strings.

Then, he shreds it like a motherfucker.

Brett instinctively curls in at the brutal screeching next to him, hands covering his ears as he makes a sour face at Eddy for ruining his beauty sleep. Eddy just grins and starts prancing around him. "C'mon, BrettyBrett, rise and shine!"

Brett groans as he tries to wave Eddy away from him. "Okay ookay, I'm up. Just stop this torture. My eardrums are killing me."

Eddy doesn't do as he's told and instead, switches to playing a piece from Beethoven as Brett sluggishly gets off from his seat and follows Eddy like he's the pied piper luring sleep-deprived souls from their rest; only, instead of a magic pipe, it's a violin — the more superior instrument of the two, of course. Eddy takes Brett to the bedroom and stops his playing, pointing his bow towards the bed and ushering Brett to sleep off whatever fatigue he has left in his body so they can get back to work later.

Brett looks a bit sheepish, but he doesn't refuse the offer. It's not like this is the first time they've napped in each other's beds when working at each other's houses. Brett unceremoniously flops onto Eddy's bed and makes an appreciative noise at probably how comfortable it is compared to the hard-wooden surface he was on hours ago. "Yeah I know, you're welcome," Eddy says and Brett grunts in response. Eddy's about to leave when Brett reaches out to grab his wrist, pulling him back.

"Aren't you...gon'ap too?" Brett mumbles, remnants of sleep coating his words. He isn't aware of the brief silence that follows.

Eddy purses his lips. "Nahh, too much coffee in me right now. I'm gonna go practice or something for a bit." Eddy gently shakes his wrist out of Brett's hold. He then shows off the violin he's holding in his other hand to prove his point. "I have it out already, so might as well."

Brett hums in response and lets his hand drop back onto the bed. He then turns to his side as he gets comfortable, eyes already closing in on themselves once more. Eddy doesn't wait for him to fall back asleep before stepping out of the room and closing the door.

Fuck. Eddy leans against the wall and bangs the back of his head against it. He closes his eyes and tries to swallow down the gross fluttering that's flaring wildly in his chest, making its place at home and refusing to leave no matter how much Eddy tries to fan it out. The part of his wrist where Brett had held onto feels like a burned sting and he hates how he wants to feel it burn even more.  Desperately, he tries to shake the image of Brett's expression away but it's useless; it's filling his mind like quicksand, that sleepy and soft look he gives him, the one that Eddy wants to treasure and kiss silly.

Fuck, Eddy swears viciously in his head, sliding down the wall and onto the ground. He sets his violin aside and presses both his hands against his face, hoping to hide all the feelings he tried so hard to throw away. But it doesn't go. It doesn't want to go.

Fuck.

Chapter Text

"This is the worst - the absolute worst."

At 8:12AM in the morning with messy bed hair and a look of impeccable defeat, those are the first words that Eddy murmurs grudgingly around a mouthful of cereal. He barely had any sleep last night because Brett decided to stay over after a late-night recording session. Under any other circumstances, Eddy wouldn't have minded; however, he's not sure how Brett managed to convince him to share his bed but lo and behold, Brett somehow pulls it off with his persuasive prowess and consequently proceeds to put Eddy's heart under a radical amount of stress. "Eddy, don't be dumb," he says, "I'm going to get back pain sleeping on the couch," he says, "it's cold, hurry up and get in already," he says. Even Eddy's carefully constructed pillow fort that he had placed between them somehow ends up being haphazardly strewn across the headboard while the rest tossed to the floor; their limbs and body heat inevitably getting tangled up with each other.

Eddy waking up to Brett's sleeping face is not something he could ever be prepared for.

Godammit, Brett.

Eddy directs a bitter glare to his other companion sitting on the stool across from him for good measure, as if to say that Brett is the one responsible for Eddy's current disastrous state of mind and inexplicable emotional woes. Though it is, in every sense of regard, definitely Brett's fault. Who told him to be so weirdly charming? The dick.

Brett pauses mid-chew on his avocado toast, a brow raised at Eddy's pointedly displaced glare. "...What's with that look. You wanna bite?" Brett holds out his toast in front of Eddy's face and Eddy visibly frowns.

This guy's seriously...

"If you don't want it, then -"

Eddy grabs Brett's retreating wrist and takes a bite.

At precisely 8:25AM with a mouth full of crumbs and an out-of-place George Michel's Careless Whisper playing wildly at the forefront of his mind, a certain Eddy Chen realizes he's absolutely, undeniably in love with his enigmatic, koala-eyed best friend and every single explicit fibre of his being wants to jump out the window.

*

It was just - so stupid. He'd been so careful: just focus on the violin and make ling ling proud, Eddy, don't get a crush on your best friend, Eddy, seriously it's a bad idea. And now look at him. A few instances of Brett coming within a metre of personal space and he lost that battle with hardly a fight.

He tries to pretend it's fine, though. He's sure he can ride these hormones out and hopefully at some point they'll just dull and go away on its own. That's the plan, at least. Fake it 'till you make it, as they say. Except if you're in an orchestra. Don't fake it in an orchestra (-unless you're really good at getting away with it. Not to say that he is, or anything). But yeah, not recommended. You'll get fired. That wouldn't be cool. And, like Eddy proclaimed many times before: he's a pretty cool guy. Chillest of the chill. He can handle this, not a problem.

In fact, he's starting to really ride with this whole crush-on-your-best-friend kind of situation. He's gone through all the stages; he had his internal angsting, the bouts of intense denial. He's acknowledged the feelings, knows it's never going to go anywhere, ever, and he'll make peace with that. If there's one thing Eddy is self-aware of, it's that he can't lie to himself. It'll be okay, though, because he's sure he can keep it together.

"You're John Wick, nothing can phase you," Eddy chants to his reflection in the mirror. "You're John Wick, nothing can -"

"Eddy?"

"PhASE-AHH??" Eddy squawks, body jerking straight into the wall beside him. Brett's standing by the bathroom door looking at him like he's grown two heads, but Eddy's too busy dying from embarrassment to do anything about it. Eddy coughs, loudly. "Err, I can explain," he says, even though he totally can't.

"I think it's better if I don't know," Brett says, but Eddy catches the hint of amusement dancing in his tone. Oh god, he's not going to let him live this one down, is he? "I just wanted to let you know our flight leaves at ten, but I want to get there earlier in case shit happens."

"Right," Eddy agrees, voice still slightly strained from earlier. "Sounds good. Ugh, with my luck, I'm definitely going to get pulled aside for a double security check again."

The corner of Brett's mouth quirks up and Eddy instantly feels mortified. "I'm sure you'll get through it just fine, John Wick."

Aaaaand there it is.

"Okay, no more bullying. Shoo! Shoo! Let me just brush my teeth and I'll be out soon."

Before Brett has a chance to run with another smart-ass reply, Eddy's hurriedly pushes him out of the bathroom and into the hallway, promptly closing the door shut. Eddy keeps his hands pressed against the door, cheeks flushed as he hears Brett's retreating laughter from behind. Eddy feels the butterflies in his gut flutter again and he groans in annoyance.

That guy is seriously going to be the death of him.

*

The two had planned to visit Taiwan again for a private performance that was booked for a family friend's wedding on Eddy's side. It was strewn together last minute, but family obligations isn't something they can easily dodge considering: 1) they're traditional Asians with tight family bonds, and 2) Eddy's mother, the sweet kind soul that she is, was someone Eddy can never really turn down when she's asking for a favor. It's fine though, because they can also meet up with some old friends and shoot some stuff there too, so it's not like it's a complete waste of time. Besides, Eddy loves travelling around the world and exploring everything a place has the offer; it's an adventure that's never really ever the same, with different experiences and shared moments that keeps adding itself into Eddy's private collection of memories.

Needless to say, there is indeed a file in his brain reserved specially for Brett Yang: stuffed with all the memories spent together learning complicated math formulas in their elementary tutoring class, hours of rehearsals in sad-looking practice rooms from their university days, and those weeks spent filming silly videos that were recorded on a bored whim - a whim that became a passion project that kept snowballing into something eventually bigger than themselves.

From the beginning and right to this day, Brett has been a constant factor in Eddy's life. He doesn't want to imagine what life would be like without him; he doesn't want to do anything that would ever risk losing him.

Eddy fidgets with his headphones and leans back in his airline seat, sighing. He glances over to his right where Brett sat, gaze focusing on whatever view was outside the window, distracted and not paying attention to anything else around him. Eddy lets himself look at Brett, just for a few seconds, quiet and unnoticed. He gets himself surprised, however, when Brett suddenly turns his head towards him. Their eyes meet. Brett smiles at him. Eddy smiles back.

Yeah. He won't risk losing him.

He absolutely can't.

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It's become a testament to Eddy's mental willpower on how good of a job he's doing for not letting any of Brett's words or actions get to him.

He's getting better at keeping things extra low-key, and he's quite proud of himself that he's got it together enough that he can ignore the smaller things; like, if they accidentally brush hands or if Brett catches him looking, Eddy can easily stick his tongue out and make a joke out of it. Hell, someone give him a reward for letting Brett sleep on his shoulder on that seven-something hour flight without even breaking a sweat! That's god-tier level of coolheadedness right there.

He's got this.

Brett buying Eddy coffee to make up for drooling on his shirt? Nothing heart-pounding about that!

The cashier at the café overhearing and telling him what a sweet a boyfriend Brett is? Hilarious misunderstanding!

The overpacked hotel they booked at accidentally reserving a one-bedroom suite to share instead of two? Not a problem for Eddy Chen!

Brett being in uncomfortably close-quarters for a full solid week? Who cares, Eddy doesn't!

"Eddy. Eddy."

"Huh what yeah?"

"I swear I'm gonna leave you behind if you keep spacing out like this."

"You wouldn't dare."

Brett, in fact, does dare and does just that - rolling off with his suitcase and not sparing Eddy another glance.

"Hey, wait for me!" Eddy fixes the shoulder strap of his violin case before hurriedly rushing to catch up to his friend. "How dare you abandon me!"

"You're too slow."

"You saying I'm not fast enough?"

"If you can walk slowly..."

Eddy rolls his eyes and bumps shoulders with Brett who grins and bumps back at him. Luckily for Eddy, the rest of the walk up to their suite went rather smoothly and he puts all unnecessary thoughts behind him.

*

Or at least, that's what Eddy tries to do for the next 24 hours.

After unpacking most of their stuff and making some calls to assure everyone that they arrived first, Brett and Eddy decided to go out for a quick look around the city to destress and take it easy for a while. They mostly go with the flow, wasting some time at an arcade with unfortunately no wins at the totally rigged claw machine, pops by another bubble tea shop to get in on that sweet boba action because yes bbt addiction is real, and then strolls around to snack on some street food while Eddy shows Brett a hilarious compilation video of conductor styles that leads them into mimicking scenes from one of their older videos. Everything between them seems almost...normal. Almost.

"Hey, give me some of that." Brett pulls at Eddy's hand and bites a piece of the chicken skewer out of his stick, snapping it up and chewing it contently.

There's...something weird about this, but Eddy isn't able to place his finger on it, like he's trying to sightread what that stacked ledger line note is on an old written music score. He watches Brett chew, and then looks away while they walk towards the railing that leads out to a dock, the water glistening in the hue of the moonlight. From behind, someone on a bike rings their bell and nearly runs into Eddy, if not for the fact Brett quickly yanks Eddy towards him to clear the way.

"Be careful, man. Don't think you'd want to perform at the wedding with a bruise or a broken bone," Brett says, looking at the runaway biker with a pinched frown. It's a cute look, Eddy thinks.

"Yeah no, thanks. Wouldn't wanna steal the attention from the bride and groom, bruised or not."

Eddy starts to feel a little antsy again when Brett doesn't let go of his arm and instead, pulls him towards the direction of the docks. "Oh whoa, look at that view...I kinda wanna capture this. Hold this," Brett shoves his near-empty bubble tea and box of fishballs into Eddy's hands before pulling out his phone. "Think we can use some of this footage for a vlog or something?"

"Yeah, and have our viewers shit on us for not practicing."

"Eh, we are practicing. Mentally. I've been fingering Tchaikovsky on my leg the whole plane ride here."

"Liar," Eddy laughs. "My drool-slicked t-shirt would like to have a word or two about that."

"Well your shirt can't talk, so hah!"Brett snaps some photos of the nightlife view and Eddy can't help but smile at that. This is nice. Having fun, dumb conversations like this. Spending time together like they don't have to care about anyone or anything else. Eddy's okay with things staying the way they are now, like this.

"Fancy spot, huh?" Eddy casually remarks as Brett continues to take pictures.

"Yeah, it's definitely a nice spot to take your date to."

And well, shit.

The shoulder rest drops and Eddy finally realizes what that nagging feeling tugging at the back of his mind was: a date! That's what it feels like. Is that what it is? But there are plenty of times where they hung out with just the two of them, and it's not like this is anything intimate. He's overthinking it. Get a grip, Eddy. He's definitely overthinking it.

"You...what? You have someone in mind that you wanna take here?" Eddy asks carefully. He just wants to clarify. He just wants to know if....what if...

Brett is silent for a moment and shakes his head. "Nah...I'm just saying," he shrugs and looks back at Eddy briefly. "But hey, if there's someone you know at the wedding who's single and looking, I'm down to meet them."

See? Overthinking. Eddy readily unclenches the tension from his shoulders and laughs, short and a little clipped. "Uh huh, any requirements I should know about?"

"Hmm...someone tall, I guess. Cute. A good sense of humor and a nice laugh. Hardworking, inspirational and..." Brett grins. "Bonus points if they don't play the viola."

Eddy's starting to wonder if maybe Brett is fucking with him or something. He's not sure if he should laugh or cry at this point. "So a Hilary Hahn or Janine Jansen?"

"You already know."

*

They get back home relatively late and decide to get ready for the night. There's still a few days before the wedding and before the rest of the family arrives, so there's plenty of time to meet up with them later and rehearse for their performance. He feels a bit bad that he has to drag Brett along with him to this, but Brett's just as much as part of the family at this point. His mother insisted on having Brett come, and Brett didn't seem to mind either, joking about how he's Eddy's obligatory plus one to the event.

But no, seriously, these pseudo-flirting remarks are starting to take a toll on Eddy's mental health and he's not sure how much more of this he can take.

It doesn't help that the universe seems to be dead set on making Eddy's life as emotionally turbulent as possible by shoving every cheesy romantic comedy trope in existence into Eddy's personal life.

"Oh you have got to be kidding me," Eddy mutters under his breath, staring down at Brett who had miraculously tripped over his case and shoved Eddy all up against the wall and right into his personal space. The sound of blaring french horns blow rampantly in the back of Eddy's mind, a warning signal that's got Eddy completely alert and consciously aware of how close Brett is and how Brett's still got him pinned there and is making no attempts at getting out of his space.

Brett doesn't move. He's just staring at Eddy with an unreadable look and wow does that not make Eddy break out in a nervous sweat.

Eddy presses a hand against Brett's chest and tries to push him away. "Bro, this is kinda..."

"I uh..." Brett starts, wincing a little as he shifts the weight to his other foot. "Think I stubbed my toe. Really bad."

"And you had the audacity to warn me about playing with a bruise or broken bone at the wedding," Eddy teases, but he helps hold Brett under his arms and takes him over to their king-sized bed. Even while joking, he's still concerned. "Stay here, I'll clean it and wrap it up."

Brett thanks him as Eddy goes to find the supplies, luckily they had a small first-aid kit packed just in case of situations like these. With that in hand, Eddy comes over to kneel down in front of Brett to examine the foot. There's definitely a bruise and some light scrapes present, but luckily nothing serious. "Looks like you'll get away with just some swelling."

Brett sighs. "Well, that's a relief. I saw my life flash before my eyes back there."

"So dramatic," Eddy says, laughing as Brett attempts to kick him. Eddy isn't an expert or anything, but he manages to clean the scrapes and bandages relatively well while Brett observes with mild interest. Eddy holds the part that's slightly bruised and prays that it won't swell too bad tomorrow, or that would really suck for Brett with all the walking around they're going to have to do.

"Thanks," Brett says, and Eddy hums in response. "Not too shabby, I guess."

"Are you complaining?" Eddy grouses, smacking Brett's leg.

"Nah, you did a good job," Brett says, giving Eddy a genuine smile. Eddy pointedly looks away.

He feels emotionally drained, suddenly. Tired of thinking. Tired of everything. From the floor, he rests his head against Brett's thigh and sighs. Hesitantly, Brett rests his hand on Eddy's head and gently starts petting him like he would a large dog. Brett has always been fond of animals and Eddy idly wonders if he thinks Eddy is some kind of overgrown puppy or something. It feels nice, though, so Eddy doesn't protest. He doesn't really want him to stop.

"My legs are going numb," Brett says after a long while, but he doesn't stop petting him.

"Don't care," Eddy murmurs, leaning into the touch as Brett curls his fingers behind Eddy's ears and caresses down along his neck. Eddy glances up and sees Brett's gaze on him again, a quiet look that makes Eddy feel some kind of way. Eddy closes his eyes and wonders how long Brett will let him stay like this before kicking him off.

*

Eddy finds out later that it'll take quite some time before Brett starts to lose feelings in his toes and proceeds to pinch Eddy's cheeks to get him off. Eddy laughs and laughs, hoping that it would drown out the suffocating feelings away.

Chapter Text

 

Eddy's not sure how it happens but they're tussling, for some reason. They're in each other's faces and there's so much breathing, hot breaths skimming over heated skin, touching so close but not close enough, layering the tension thick as every nerve in his body is lit on fire, building and building into a rising crescendo.

Eddy's breath gets caught in his throat as he's physically shoved against the wall, Brett's dark eyes burning with something akin to desire and a stormful of lust. He's looking at Eddy like he wants to tear him apart, so Eddy surges down forward and kisses those lips in front of him – because that's the most logical thing to do, right? – and it's all rough, teeth clinking and tongues aggressively slicked against one another. Eddy closes his eyes and, in between groping and tonguing further into wet mouths, he counts in his head – exactly up to ten – and slowly opens them again.

Brett's still there, brows furrowed as he kisses back with certain vigor, but this time he's gently threading his fingers through Eddy's hair and cradling the back of his head, pressing a little deeper in his mouth, a little more delicate, a little more sensual, and is blissfully rewarded with a rasp moan escaping Eddy's throat. Eddy pulls back a little, staring down at pink lips that glisten with a bit of saliva at the corner of his mouth which, for some impeccable reason, makes Eddy want to kiss Brett all over again and so he does. Enamored eyes trail up towards red, flushed cheeks and Brett nudges his leg in between Eddy's thighs a little harder, rubbing purposefully against his crotch and causing Eddy to tense, canines gnawing at his bottom lip as he struggles to hold back a low whine.

They hold their gazes as Brett attempts to unbutton the white dress shirt and brazenly slides a hand up Eddy's stomach when he gets it free, taking much delight in the way Eddy shudders from the cold touch. Brett tiptoes to press wet kisses along exposed collarbones, licking a thick strip of tongue up Eddy's neck before mouthing under his jaw, hot breath mingling with sensitive skin and it's remarkably riveting – how Brett, this Brett, is able to make Eddy respond to every kiss, every touch in a way that he's never felt before. He would've been greatly disturbed if not for the fact that it feels good, too good for him to give a damn, and so every ounce of doubt is fed with copious amount of pleasure and it's a trade-off Eddy has no desire to complain about.

He's deftly aware that he's making some weird sounds now, and it's doing a good job of getting Brett hot and bothered as he bites at Eddy's shoulder, hands roaming firmly and much more deliberate than before. The desperate rush of more more more whips wildly around in Eddy's head so he takes Brett's face and kisses him hard, swallowing stifled moans and soft noises that sound really pretty and it urges Eddy on, keeps him going as Brett licks eagerly into Eddy's mouth. They get utterly lost in the moment and soon Eddy closes his eyes to relish every pulsing second, heart hammering in an absolute high.

He wants him, he wants him, he

When Eddy wakes up in a sweat, he's wide-eyed and panting and, with a deep unsettling drop in his chest, very much alone.

From the other side of the bedroom door, he can faintly hear the sound of violin playing.

It takes a minute for him to calm down, then another to digest all that was wrong before he slings an arm over his eyes and recoils, muttering a chain of resentful no's and fuck no's under his breath. Eddy curls onto his side and thinks he's thoroughly fucked as he puts his hand over his pulsating heart, painful and unrelenting.

The guilt soon settles in, and Eddy can only bury himself further into his bed, the loud symphony of his emotions dimming into a sour rallentando.

Chapter Text

Eddy doesn't make an effort to avoid Brett.

He doesn't want to miss the ridiculous way Brett scrunches his nose when he gets frustrated over a section of the piece, teeth gnawing on his bottom lip as he changes his bowing. Nor the way Brett would press beside him, shoulders touching and knees knocking as he shoves his phone in Eddy's face, showing him a particularly hilarious meme that he knows Eddy would laugh at and appreciate. He likes seeing the way Brett wakes up groggy with wild, untamed hair – how he rubs his eyes and kindly tells Eddy to fuck off when Eddy's being particularly teasing about it. He especially doesn't want to miss the way Brett looks at him when they play a synchronized harmony, happy and proud, the most infectious smile framing his face that makes Eddy's heart ache in more ways than one.

Eddy doesn't want to miss not having Brett beside him. He really doesn't.

It does, however, make it extremely hard to put a brake on his feelings. His gaze lingers longer than it should, and the casual touches makes him want lean into Brett even more. He can't help the way he plays with Brett's fingers when he's bored, and Brett would just let him do whatever he wants. Sometimes he'll run his fingers over Brett's palms to tickle him, getting barely any reaction as Brett is far too concentrated in whatever manga he's reading to care. If he feels daring, Eddy would lift the other's pinkie and hook his own around it, locking it in a wishful way, before Brett eventually shakes him off so he can turn the page.

It's playful and innocent, and Eddy really should stop before his heart gets crushed into a billion pieces when Brett finds someone who looks at him the way Eddy does and isn't such a coward to admit it.

It comes sooner than Eddy was prepared for it, though.

They're at the wedding and they've already played their pieces – a few Taiwanese classics including《望春風》and their rendition of Schubert's Ave Maria. Luckily for both their sanity, no Canon in D was requested (a blessing in and of itself). There were other musicians in the family that had also stepped up to perform in the wedding hall as well, all of which were met with loud applause.

The wedding went well.

The bride and groom cried as they made their vows. His mother and sister cried. Pretty much everyone cried. Even Eddy felt soft when the now-married couple had said "I do," and met in a kiss.

Soon after, Eddy finds himself lounging and socializing with a good chunk of his extended family, holding a glass of wine that he takes small sips of when one of his aunts or uncles drone on about what's going on in their lives, or whatever's going on in their sons' or daughters' lives. The stories all became a blur after the first few minutes, but he's polite enough to nod during appropriate times to make it seem like he's listening. Eddy does perk up, however, when one of his aunts mention the name of the girl that was playing the piano in one of the wedding performances – Melody. Melody Wu. A terribly cheesy name for a musician, but it was cute. She was cute.

Brett seems to think so too.

Eddy watches from a distance as he sees Brett talking to the pianist with a bright, inquiring expression. He's always been a good talker between the two, so Eddy understands; he understands why she's giggling at Brett's jokes, why her eyes flutter and blushes as Brett smiles at her, why she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and leans into his space, whispering something to make Brett flustered.

Brett suddenly looks up towards Eddy and Eddy tears his eyes away from the sight.

His head hurts.

*

The pounding in his head doesn't stop even after they got back to the hotel.

Eddy had stripped off his blazer and threw it over his shoulder before collapsing onto the bed, face-first. He doesn't want to move or think for the next 24 hours. For the next 40. His brain needs a definite break, practicing be damned (– a joke, it's a joke, he thinks to the imaginary fans poking him with a pitchfork for saying such blasphemy).

He just needs to...he just needs time to get over it. To get whatever funk he's in out of his system.

Brett follows inside soon after and Eddy curses his luck that they're still stuck sharing the room for the next few days. There's rustling in the background and he thinks Brett's picking up the blazer he tossed to the side. Maybe he's changing. Eddy decidedly stays put with his face stuffed in the duvet.

"Hey, you alright man?" When Eddy doesn't respond, he feels the bed shift as Brett sits on the edge of it, poking at Eddy's legs. "You seemed out of it near the end."

Eddy makes a disgruntled noise from the bedding. He turns his head to the side, eyes half-lidded as he studies Brett's concerned look. "You know how it is," Eddy murmurs, sighing as Brett rests his hand on Eddy's back, rubbing up and down in a comforting manner. "There's only so much awkward laughs I can offer before ā goes off on another spheal about her great great grandchildren and how they're excelling in life at the ripe age of five." And, maybe a little more bitter than he would've liked, "You seemed to be having fun though."

Brett tilts his head, eyebrow raised like he's trying to figure out what Eddy's blabbering about.

"Melody, right? She's cute, huh?" Eddy closes his eyes, unable to look at Brett's face. "I heard she won a lot of competitions as a kid, too. A pure-blood prodigy right in front of our eyes. Am-AA-zing!"

"Hah, right? She's nice, said our performance was pretty stellar and that she'd love to hear us play again." Brett pulls at Eddy's cheeks when Eddy doesn't reply, laughing when Eddy swats his hand away.

Eddy lazily opens one eye. "Did you show her our channel?"

"I'm hoping to be swimming in views by the time she shares it with all her friends."

"Good good," Eddy nods agreeably. "Glad to see you're promoting us even through all that flirting."

Brett makes a weird face, but before he can comment on it, Eddy's rolling over on his stomach again. He doesn't want to talk about it anymore, even though he's the one who brought it up. That, plus the pounding in his head is starting to really bug him now. "Dude, you look like shit," Brett says instead, carding his hand through Eddy's hair. "Want me to get you an aspirin?"

Eddy shakes his head and helplessly leans into the touch. It hurts, Eddy wants to say. It hurts. He's picturing it again, Brett's smile as he talks to her, the way he leans into her space, the way they seem lost in each other's eyes while Eddy watches from the sidelines, an ugly jealous note tugging at his heartstrings.

He thinks about the dream he had, of soft touches and warm breaths ghosting along his body, never pressing hard enough to be real. It can never be real. But he wants it so badly. He wants him. He wants him to want him.

He can't even deny that horrible churning in his stomach anymore, the way his feelings just clench up in his throat and leave him so paralyzed to the point he can't move – can't fucking breathe – and it just makes him feel so stupid. Being in love is so stupid.

He can't be happy for his best friend, and it's such a shitty feeling.

"Eddy?" Before Brett shifts, Eddy's reaching out to wrap his arms around Brett's waist, burying his face behind Brett's back as he curls around him.

"Sorry," Eddy murmurs. "I'm so sorry."

Brett doesn't say anything, but he rests his hand on Eddy's thigh, to show that he's here, that he's not going anywhere.

I'll give up on you. I promise, Eddy thinks, holding Brett tighter. I promise, so please...let me just have this one last moment.

"Brett..." Eddy calls softly.

Brett hums, like he's trying to play it off casual even though Eddy's pretty sure Brett knows something is wrong. He's considerate like that. "What's up?"

"I want to tell you something, and it's not going to be pretty."

"...I'll listen."

"You're going to hate me for it."

"I'm sure I won't."

"Brett..." Eddy says quietly. Then, "you smell like stinky tofu. I think you should go shower."

Brett stares down at him. "Are you serious right now?"

"Yes I totally aM--OUCH! Okay okay, no pinching! That hurts!! I'm sensitive there, hey!! Ouch!! Mercy!!! Uncle?! Ahahaha I'm sorry Brett! Hey! Put those fingers away! I'm not afraid to kick you!! Ahahah, Breeeett!"

*

I promise.

Chapter Text

Brett thinks Eddy is cute.

Granted, he doesn't have pretty curves or feminine features to frame his body or face, but it's the way he acts – when he pouts innocently at Brett when he wants to get his way, how he laughs when Brett swats at him because no, I'm not going to do the violin twerk at your wedding, Eddy but knows he absolutely would. How he pokes at Brett's cheek or arm when he wants to be a distracting little shit, but gets frowny when Brett doesn't react to his ministrations (Brett's plenty amused, if he's being honest). He likes the way Eddy makes a gross, disgusted face when he sees mushrooms on a dish they ordered. Or how he screams bloody murder when a cockroach skitters across the floor. Or the way he dances to some pop song Brett can't name like he absolutely owns it, no shame whatsoever. One of Brett's absolute favourite is when they shoot each other a mutual look of 'we fucked up' when they butcher a piece during a recording, the way they cringe at their mess-ups and then burst out laughing over how terrible it sounds.

Even now, as they're recording for a video, Brett has trouble keeping a straight face with the way Eddy keeps trying to blow away strands of blond wig hair out of his face. It's stupidly cute.

"You look so dumb. Here, let me get it for you."

"Nah-ah! No touchy! This how you talk to bae, huhh? So rude!" Eddy's doing that obnoxious lower lip pout thing while crossing his arms, voice tweaked up a couple octaves. He whips his head away, only to get more blond hair whipped in his face, and Brett really can't help but laugh at this point. "First I see you talking with other girls - a pianist, even! And now you make fun of me? Who you think you are?" Eddy says, in between coughing out wig hair.

"You sound like a jealous girlfriend," Brett says jokingly, but then Eddy's scrunching his face like he ate two sour lemons, so he changes tactics. "Don't be mad, Edwina. You know I love you the most."

Eddy pitches his voice in a squeaky falsetto. "Hah! You think I'm easy girl? Nice try, playah! You ain't playin' me today!"

Brett shakes his head, ready to commit to the bit. "What can I do to make it up to you, babe?"

Eddy sits up and looks at Brett searchingly, before murmuring, "Say it again."

Brett tilts his head. "Say what again?"

"The L-word."

Brett blinks. "Ling Ling?"

Eddy makes a huffy noise. "The other L-word!"

"I...love you?" Brett tentatively says, earning a nod from Edd -no, Edwina. "I love you," Brett says, as genuine as he can muster.

Eddy seems satisfied by that, but there's a small wistful smile that Brett doesn't quite catch. "Okay! I guess you can get Debussy tonight!"

"Dude --" they both crack up at that, Eddy heaving and Brett bursting out in giggles, comfortable and familiar.

*

It's nice, this thing they have. Brett feels warm and happy whenever he's around Eddy and he wishes they can share moments like these forever.

...If only Brett didn't go and fuck everything up.

Chapter Text

 

From the moment Brett met Eddy, they became pretty much inseparable.

They've been glued at the hip since forever to the point where Brett can't remember a time when they weren't together. Eddy's presence became a natural part of Brett's life; like how plants need sunlight to grow, or how a bow needs rosin for sweet friction. It's just facts.

So it's only natural that they'd pick up on small nuances about each other; if something might be slightly off-key, out of tune.

Brett isn't blind. He notices the way Eddy's been acting kind of weird, but the guy's good at keeping things under wraps and yeah, Brett gets it, it's hard to tell your best friend everything in the world sometimes and Brett can give him the space and time he needs to work it out. Whenever Eddy's ready to reach out, he'll be there to listen and support him through it all...if he ever decides to tell him, that is. Eddy's doing a superb job at playing it normal, though, so Brett plays along to his tune.

It's the least he can do, as a friend.

*

Too bad it was a game of Mario Kart that screws them both over.

*

Eddy cackles as his character drops another banana peel on the road, eliciting a noise of frustration from his competitor hanging off the edge of the bed. Brett watches the screen helplessly as the red shell he sent forward burst against that same damn banana, a fruitless attempt to dethrone Eddy from the race.

"Either physics took a vacation or those banana peels are on steroids," Brett mutters as he watches the ranking line-up on screen, frowning as he sees Princess Peach take up first place.

"What do you even know about physics?" Eddy counters, ducking as Brett takes a swipe at him with a pillow.

"Enough to know turtle shells aren't supposed to explode from hitting bananas."

Eddy simply grins. "The power of potassium, go figure." With a roll of his shoulders and ignoring Brett's complaints, Eddy musters enough strength to crawl onto his bed with the goal of smushing his face into the soft, fluffy pillows scattered across the headboard. "This is coming from a game that has a racetrack made of rainbows in space," he continues as he sluggishly turns over, letting out a small grunt when Brett half-heartedly whacks the pillow against his stomach. "You can't logic your way out of this one, bro."

Brett rolls his eyes and slumps back against the pillows next to Eddy, staring at the screen as it shows some of the highlights of the race. He isn't mad so much as frustrated from seeing Eddy's smug look shooting his way, coupled with that ridiculous eyebrow waggle he does when he wants to particularly get under Brett's skin. Brett's not one to fall for such obvious bait, but no one ever said he couldn't play one for one.

"I guess you should just stick to the strings instead of the streets, huh?" Eddy goads.

And alright, that does it.

Eddy finds himself yelping as the older boy pounces on him in one fell swoop, tackling him off guard. "Repent for your arrogance." Fingers suddenly rakes up against his stomach and dances across his sides, andEddy can't help but burst into laughterasBrett proceeds to tickle him in the name of revenge.

"Wait no, I'm sorry! Ahaha, I'll stop! I'll repent! Brett!!" Eddy stifles his laugh as he tries to wiggle away, but Brett isn't having any of that.

Eddy flails around like a fish which Brett finds amusing as he tries to hold him down, his own strength more than enough to hold out against Eddy's sensitive body. Brett eventually eases up on the onslaught, only because he's pretty sure he's a handful of tickles away from making Eddy cry from laughing too hard. Eddy pants slowly, trying to catch his breath, chest heaving up and down as he regulates his breathing to something more manageable. He tilts his head back as he does so, exposing his neck that was swept with sweat along the curve of his shoulder. When Eddy finally opens his eyes and looks up at him, Brett freezes. It's as if he's been caught staring at something he's not supposed to.

Brett starts to feels Eddy squirm underneath him and it makes his chest churn fiercely. His hold on Eddy's wrist tightens. "Stop moving" he says, because it's distracting, and he didn't mean to make it sound stern or commanding, but his voice thickens just so and Eddy, wide-eyed and lip-bitten, listens. Eddy let's his gaze linger on Brett, and Brett doesn't...he doesn't know what to do with any of that. He's more aware, though, of Eddy's warm body underneath him. The heavy press of their hips. The fact that he still hasn't loosen his grip and gotten off his friend was another thing, but his brain decides to malfunction right at this moment and leave him with nothing but pure, uninhibited instinct. Brett suddenly wants.

Eddy doesn't make any attempt to push him away. Instead, his voice gains a slight treble as he calls his name. "Brett?" Eddy sounds hesitant, but there's a tinge of anticipation in there. Of what? Brett's leaning in closer, his heart beating erratically in his chest. Eddy's lips part. He wants.

There's a sudden loud knock against the door and Brett jerks and slams his forehead into Eddy's. Subsequently, they both howl out in pain because holy shit! Eddy ends up kicking him off the bed in a disoriented jolt of adrenaline, Brett's body toppling straight into the ground as the room spins out of focus.

"Brett!"

Eddy's calling for him, probably, but all he sees are stars spinning around his head. Or are those musical notes? Huh, yeah, that does look like Paganini's Caprice No. 24 dancing around his eyes right now. Funny.

"Brett!!"

*

He was back at the wedding hall, standing amidst the buzz of people chattering and clinking wine glasses. A pretty girl had stood in front of him, smiling and leaning into his space, a dizzying scent of perfume filling his senses. It's not her that's distracting him, though.

"He's special to you, isn't he?" she had whispered in Brett's ear, right as he looked up towards Eddy.

How annoyingly obvious.

Chapter Text

The thing about having your best friend's face hovering over yours two inches apart is that your mind starts to shut down a little.

Eddy had tried to calculate the time signature of his heart rate in an attempt to distract himself. ¾ths? 6/8ths? God, he couldn't tell. It was probably doing jazz for all he knew. Eddy was too busy staring at how close Brett's mouth was to care about whatever crazy rhythm his heart was going for.

Eddy can barely recall what happened afterwards aside from colliding heads, watching Brett ungracefully tumble off the bed (–Eddy's fault, sure, but it's not like he asked to get headbutted either), and then a flurry of disjointed memories of helping Brett sit up, scrambling to get the door and politely declining the housekeeping lady who looked at him like he was a little crazed (Eddy was still in panic mode, sue him), before going back to Brett to make sure he was okay. They had an awkward exchange of words that Eddy doesn't really remember, and now...

Well, now here he is – lying on the couch from outside the bedroom door, contemplating on all his life decisions and possible retributive karma that led him up to this very point.

Was it because of all the viola jokes? Was his willpower and sanity being dragged through the mud all just because some angry viola god out there is extracting revenge for all the times he proverbially threw the instrument into the gutter? Or maybe it's all the lies and excuses he made up to escape from some of his lessons way back then...even though technically, it's not his fault that there were other priorities in his busy adolescent life to attend to.

Also...is it just him, or does Brett's lower lip look really plump and soft close up?

"..."

Eddy sighs, grabbing a nearby cushion from the side and promptly stuffs it into his face.

This is going to be a long night.

*

Eddy does eventually fall asleep at some point.

This time, there were no sexy dreams to wake up in an undignified sweat to, so that's a plus one for the guilty conscious. The only downer is that by the time Eddy does wake up, his body is aching and sore all over, clearly making a protest from his bedding choice. He didn't mean to stay out like this. It was just...he just needed to clear his head a little. You know, mentally prepare to face the one person in the world who's apparently insistent on giving his poor heart cardiac arrest.

Brett...

Eddy remembers it clearly. Vividly. There's a lot to unpack there and truthfully, he doesn't really want to think about it right now. At least, not until coffee.

With a tired yawn, Eddy combs a hand through his hair and gets up to prepare for the day. He flips his wrist to check the time on his watch, a quarter past six, so there should be some time to brew something before they have to book it for their flight home.

When he walks into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes as the rest of his sleepiness ebbs away, Eddy comes across Brett, of all times, leaning against the kitchen countertop. Brett looks up and Eddy bites the inside of his cheek, unsettled. It's way too early in the morning for a confrontation. "Err," Eddy starts, trying to find words to suit the situation at hand. Maybe it wasn't too late for him to do a U-turn out of this place.

"Oh, you're awake," Brett chirps.

For a brief moment, Eddy is mentally thrown off and nods.

"Making some coffee right now. Want some?"

So he's choosing this method, Eddy muses, the one where they both pretend that nothing happened and resume their life as it was before that point. Press of a reset button. He supposes it's much better than awkward conversations that would result in them avoiding and tiptoeing around each other. This is the ideal way, in all honesty.

"Yes please."

Eddy pulls out a chair and sits himself down, crossing his arms over the table and letting his head rest on them. He quietly watches Brett pour a fresh brew into two porcelain cups before adding cream and two packets of sugar in one of them, just the way he knows Eddy likes it. Sweet.

"Thanks," Eddy was in the middle of saying, right as Brett passes the cup to him. The moment their fingers brush against each other, Brett jerks, spilling some of the coffee on him. "Ack!"

"Shit, sorry." Brett averts his eyes a bit too quickly, grabbing a towel from the counter and handing it to Eddy. "You okay?"

Eddy reaches for the towel and, after a split-second thought, he makes an executive decision and grabs at Brett's wrist instead. Predictably, Brett flinches at the touch and Eddy sighs, pulling away. "You're being too obvious," Eddy says pointedly, giving Brett a sideways glance as he sets his coffee on the table.

To his amusement, Brett looks partially offended. "You're more calm than I expected."

Eddy scoffs. "Of course I am. I am a man of many talents! Perfect pitch isn't the only thing I got going for me, you know."

Brett huffs, but Eddy can tell he's fond. "Uh huh. So impressive. Maybe you should try out for America's Got Talent."

"I rather you just spill the rest of the coffee on me."

Most of the tension slowly unwinds, evident in the way the creases in Brett's brow goes away and Eddy can feel his own anxiety ease off from it. Brett visibly relaxes, but there's something hesitant in his eyes and Eddy knows it's a little more serious now.

"That time...back then. I'm not...I wasn't -"

"Yeah, I know." Eddy interjects, although he's not entirely sure what he knows. All he's certain of is that last night, whatever that was, wasn't supposed to happen. The regret was clear on Brett's face. "I don't think we have to make a big deal out of something that doesn't matter."

There's a brief moment of something unreadable in the other's eyes and, "Oh." Brett says mildly. "That's...good then."

"Right," Eddy says, ignoring the quiet ache that's settling in his chest. He doesn't want Brett to beat himself up over it any longer than he has to, so this is the best way he thinks he can handle it. Show Brett that he's cool with it. That nothing's changed. Nothing has to change.

Keeping the status quo.

"Well," Eddy quips brightly, tapping a finger on the side of his cup. "Since half my coffee spilled due to terrible poor service, can I get a refill?

Brett clicks his tongue, but he grabs Eddy's cup anyways. "Yeah yeah, so demanding."

"I don't pay you to stand around and chit chat, peasant!"

"Pay me, my ass. This is a shitty job. I'm quitting. You can get your own damn fix."

"I'm kidding! I'm kidding~! I'd really like some coffee pleaseeee. Pretty please? With Paganini on top? Bro, you're not gonna refuse my cute puppy eyes, are you?"

Brett rolls his eyes, but Eddy doesn't miss the way Brett's mouth curls up at that. "Hey!" Eddy yelps as Brett reaches out and ruffles his hair, shoddily messing it up in all directions. If Eddy was to look in a mirror, he'd probably look like a frazzled squirrel right now.

"Uh huh. Real cute," Brett says as he pulls away, a small smirk teasing at the corner of his lips. The bastard. Eddy shoos Brett away to get his coffee, fighting down the warm blush on his cheeks. Whatever game they're playing now, Eddy's pretty sure he lost this round.

*

The complimentary coffee that the hotel provided was meh, if Eddy had to rate it. Nothing remotely fancy, but it gets the job done so he can't really complain about it. Eddy spends the rest of the morning sipping on it mindfully, keeping his eyes glued to his phone as he checks his instagram and twitter, scrolling through new posts from his friends and family, most of which were about the wedding. Brett's on the other side of the living room, packing his stuff in his suitcase and getting ready to head back home. Their small mini vacation, if one could call it that, already over.

By the time they leave, Eddy wonders if he'll be able to leave all these moments behind him. His jealousy. His neediness. Maybe he can abandon his feelings here too, while he's at it. It's starting to really wear him out now and there's really no benefit in keeping it around.

"Eddy. Ready to go?"

"Yeah, wait for me!"

*

But hey, spoiler alert: he just keeps on falling harder.

Chapter Text

The jetlag hits them hard for the next few days after their return. They spend most of the time vegetating and recuperating from the travel, and the other times productively planning out some special episodes for TSV. Ray is scheduled in three weeks from now for a concert in Brisbane, and he agreed to meet up with the two of them to hang out and maybe record a few things for fun. The former members of 2cellos mentioned that they'd also be popping by that same week, both Luka and Stjepan telling them that they're more than happy to pick up the cello again for a collab. It's all very exciting news, but...

Brett looks over to Eddy who's completely dazed out, staring at his laptop screen with clouded eyes and a vacant expression to go along with it, reminiscent of the time he had to sit in on an excruciatingly long ballet rehearsal back in his orchestra days.

Brett nudges Eddy with his foot. "Let's get some air."

Eddy groans at the idea, flopping over the table like a limp noodle. "Dude, I know you. You'll say it's just gonna be a short walk, but catch us hiking up the tallest hill in the city two hours later."

"Come," Brett stands up with a hop, not denying the accusation. "I think we both need it." He tugs at Eddy's hoodie as he passes by, pulling it up and over Eddy's head.

Eddy groans again, but Brett knows he'll come along with him.

He always does.

*

They're both lying outside on the top of the hillside that overlooked the city, tired from the long hike they had to make to get to that very point. The sun is setting and the cool breeze dances in the air and sweeps across the grassy field where they lay, making the sweat on Brett's skin feel a little less gross and a bit more bearable.

Contrary to many of the times they're fooling around and cracking lame jokes on stage and off, echoes of laughter and shoulder nudges in between each sarcastic jab and silly remark, there's also the more serene, quiet moments that they share. It's quiet mainly because at this point Eddy is dozing off, not quite asleep, but not paying attention to anything else either. His eyes are closed and he's probably daydreaming about food, or maybe musing about the cringey violin performance in that b-rated movie they had to sit through last night for their upcoming roasting session.

Brett's twirling a lone dandelion between his fingers while observing Eddy's expression, warm and at ease even when he's not conscious of it. Without much thought, Brett reaches over and tucks the dandelion behind Eddy's ear, watching in amusement as Eddy scrunches his nose a little, like he's about to sneeze, but after a sniff his body relaxes.

A heartbeat. Then two. Unconsciously, Brett almost cups Eddy's cheek in his hand. Almost brushes his thumb over dry, chapped lips. Almost thinks about kissing him again.

["I'm not..." saying it was a mistake. "I wasn't..." sure if you felt the same. But if...if maybe —]

Eddy's words come back to him, sharp and clear: "don't think we have to make a big deal out of something that doesn't matter." Back then, the confession that Brett held onto dies immediately on his tongue. Eddy's eyes, silently pleading Brett to let it all go.

doesn't matter. no meaning. meant nothing.

Brett rolls onto his back, closes his own eyes.

Eddy wants to stay as friends. So a friend, Brett will be.

Chapter Text

 

It was inevitable, the way Eddy keeps thinking about it.

He thinks about closing his lips on Brett's own, pressing in until their tongues meet, skittish and shy before an urge for more of it, more of Brett overwhelms him. The kisses are so sweet, slicked in hot pools of saliva that Eddy swallows with a shiver, the rest of his body warming up to an unbearable degree. He thinks about deepening the contact, thinks about pushing Brett down as he licks into his mouth, hungry and desperate and wanting. He thinks about Brett rolling on top of him, thinks about the way Brett grinds on him nice and slow while pressing firm kisses along Eddy's neck and under his jaw, how he shoves his tongue deeper into Eddy's mouth and swallows all his moans.

Oh fuck.

Eddy slaps the side of his face. Hard.

Reality check!

"Alright, Eddy. Get your shit together," Eddy says with firm conviction. He slaps the side of his face a couple more times for good measure. "Good bros don't daydream about making out with their best mate. It's not a thing. Stop trying to make it a thing. It's — It's sacrilegious."

As if in protest, his subconscious promptly shoves another mental image of Eddy raunchily making out with his good ol' buddy and pal and friend and wow. Just.

Eddy aggressively cards his hands through his hair with a loud whine. "Aurgh! Stop it, me! That is so not cool!"

Honestly. Ling Ling Insurance better cover the expense of his rapidly declining heart rate 'cause this shit is lethal.

*

So. Eddy thinks about it.

He thinks about it when he watches Brett suck the boba out from the straw of his drink.

He thinks about it when Brett unconsciously bites his thumb in the middle of his brainstorming.

He thinks about it when Brett fingers the violin in one of their practice runs.

No, seriously, give him a goddamn break!

Eddy keeps thinking about it and thinking about it, and at this point he's this close to writing his own obituary:

Here lies Eddy Chen, death by inappropriate thoughts triggered from a wild YouTube violinist with kissable lips.

The humility.

"Oh man, how come we haven't tried this place before? Their fried chicken is insane."

They're out for lunch. Eddy watches from across the table as Brett happily takes large bites of said fried chicken like it's the best thing in the world. Maybe if Eddy wasn't so distracted, he'd be able to appreciate the taste and flavour too. But, yeah, no one has the right to look that adorable eating fried chicken. Especially not with sauce splattered all over their mouths. "Dude. You...got something on your face."

"Hm? Where?" Brett asks, flicking his tongue out and around his lips.

Okay, he has to be doing this on purpose. Eddy is sure he is. There's no other explanation for this fuckery.

"It's. Here, let me just...." Eddy grabs a serviette for Brett and, with a tender loving smile, shoves it into his face.

"Nffdghh?!"

*

Eddy didn't get this far in life to be tragically compromised this way.

But, well...he keeps thinking about it to the point where he gets sick of it.

Quite literally.

*

[Eddy] sorry bro. Sick af 🤢

[Eddy] raincheck on recording?

[Brett] oh sht. Yeah no worries

Eddy does feel bad that they have to push the schedule, so he responds to Brett's text with a couple of alternative dates that could work for them. Normally he'd still power through a video even if he's got a sniffle or cold, but the headache he's sporting today is an absolute bitch. There's no way he can concentrate on anything when it feels like a gang of violists are trying to drown his brains out with their C string and — shoot, right, easing up on the viola jokes. He doesn't want to get cursed again.

Not like it matters, considering how cursed he already feels right now. Maybe he's feeling like shit because of all these immoral thoughts he's having towards Brett. It's certainly stressing him out, if that's anything to go by.

Now, instead of agreeing on an alternative date and leaving Eddy to rot away with his fever and unholy thoughts, Brett decides to still come over to check up on him. "Figured you'd want me to keep you company," he says with a knowing grin that makes Eddy feel unnecessarily attacked. Stupid Brett. Stop being so nice to me. Eddy doesn't want to fall for him any harder than he is now.

Eddy's long past the point of trying to abandon his feelings, since clearly that didn't seem to be working so well for him. The best option is to give himself some space between them so he can work things out in his head, but the thought of taking a break from Brett feels wrong, somehow. Besides, it's kind of hard to do that when you're one half of a duo on a YouTube channel. They can't really stay away from each other even if they tried.

He really should have tried.

Eddy's sitting in his bed while Brett's checking his temperature, brows furrowing at the thermometer. "It doesn't look too bad, but you are warm..." Brett looks at Eddy, curious. Inquisitive. Eddy's heart catches in his throat. "Are you really sick, or were you just making excuses?"

"I'm..." Eddy licks his lips nervously, watching as Brett's eyes flicker down to them.

It's hot, suddenly.

"Maybe I'm lovesick."

"Ridiculous," Brett says, without missing a beat.

Whether it's the pounding headache or something else, Eddy feels a rush of impulsive confidence wash over him, rash and maybe even desperate.

"Maybe you should kiss it better."

It's all said in a heated rush, and he's definitely not thinking as he surges forward. All he can think about is wanting to press his lips onto Brett's own, just like how he envisioned it a thousand times in his mind. He wants to hold him closer. To mark him. To not let anyone else touch him or kiss him or —

Eddy's met with Brett's palm held firmly over his mouth.

"Cut it out, Eddy." Brett doesn't sound mean when he says it. He just sounds...closed off.

Eddy pulls back, watching Brett silently. He feels sick all over again.

"You're not feeling well. I'll grab some medicine from the store."

Eddy doesn't bother to tell Brett that he already has some in the kitchen cabinet. He'll let Brett have that excuse to get away. He's not sure if he can say anything at all, really.

By the time Eddy falls back asleep and wakes up again, there's takeout for congee on the nightstand and a post-it note stuck on the plastic bag, telling him to get better in that familiar, messy handwriting. The room is quiet. He's alone.

Eddy throws an arm over his eyes and sighs. He's not sure if he wants to cry, but he comes close to it.

Chapter Text

They don't avoid each other. In fact, it's worse. Eddy can't help but stare and when Brett catches him, he returns his gaze just as long. Like all it takes is for someone to surge forward to break the barrier that's keeping them apart. But Eddy lost his courage weeks ago when he jumped into the fray and was rewarded with a slap to the face (or mouth, rather) so it's not something he's keen on trying again any time soon. But he's starting to lose it, the way Brett keeps looking at him like that; the way he keeps giving Eddy all these mixed signals that he can't wrap his head around. It's vexing and confusing and makes Eddy lose all sense of reason, but he knows Brett's making the sound decision of keeping...whatever they have at bay because it's the right thing to do. Right?

Eddy isn't capable of making sound decisions when he's emotionally high strung like this.

But it's fine. It's whatever. Eddy thinks he can wait it out. Maybe if he waits long enough, the loud, beating pain in his chest will become nothing more than just a quiet dull ache.

*

Eddy thinks about it again:

Hours of recording and playing games and cracking jokes until his stomach hurts from laughing so hard.

Days spent practicing together, nailing down the harmony and dying at the hands of absurd sightreading challenges and impossibly difficult pieces.

Weeks spent together on tour, performing and exploring unknown streets and odd coffee shops and nightviews, special memories and experiences shared just between the two.

Years and years of giggling and smiling over the stupidest things, comfortable and easy and completely at home.

Eddy sees Brett and thinks, I want this to last.

So Eddy doesn't want to risk it. He shouldn't risk it. Their friendship means so much to him.

But he thinks about it: The maybes. The whatifs. What could have been. What could be.

The beating pain in his chest doesn't go away.

It doesn't go away at all.

*

"I think maybe we should talk about it after all."

They're at Eddy's place again, an hour into practice for a short ensemble they're going to do with Ray later on. It's not like they're making any substantial progress, with the soulless way they're putting their hearts into it. They're distracted. Frustrated. They need a break.

"About what, the phrasing of this section?" Brett says, setting down his violin.

"You know what I'm talking about."

Brett looks at Eddy with a quiet, unreadable expression before he sighs. Almost as if resigned.

"What's there to talk about," Brett starts, gaze cast to the side. "That I almost kissed you that night in Taipei? That you almost let me do it?"

Eddy swallows. Straight to the point. Having it said so bluntly to his face like that is something else.

"You said it was nothing to you," Brett continues, tone detached and indifferent. "We both threw it down the drain and moved on. So what's the big deal?"

"What's the big deal?" Eddy feels annoyed, all of a sudden. "I mean, you're acting as if this doesn't bother you at all, but we both clearly didn't move on from it. Why do I have to feel like I'm the only one worrying about it?"

"So, what, you want me to be bothered?"

"That's not the point!"

"Then what is, Eddy?"

"I don't...I don't know, but it's not this."

There's something missing in this. Something that they're both too afraid to speak up about. But Eddy's too flustered to think clearly, and what's more pressing is that they're fighting right now. They never fight. That's just - that's not their thing, and Eddy wants to backpedal as hard as he can to get out of it.

Brett seems to be thinking the same thing because he's quickly changing the topic. "We're supposed to meet up with Ray at the studio soon. Let's just...get ready, yeah?"

"Right," Eddy murmurs. His fingers curl into a fist and, awkwardly, he raises it in front of him. "...We're cool?"

Brett's smile is tight, but he fistbumps Eddy anyways. "We're cool."

Chapter Text

They are totally not cool.

Ray's here. They finished the ensemble and now they're recording for a second video that was a little more fun. Surprise! It's another game of charades, because that's the most requested pick from the twitter poll for whatever reason and yeah sure okay, he'll admit it, the creative juices have been running low the past few days but it's also very difficult to come up with fun things to do when his mind keeps running full-stop into a roadblock. A roadblock, mind you, that wears a deadpan face and black framed glasses.

At first, Eddy thinks they'll have it in the bag but he can see that him and Brett are definitely not on the same wavelength at all. They're guessing wrong more than half the time and when they win, it's a mediocre cheer at best. He just prays the jokes they sprinkle in between turns are enough to salvage the whole video.

Eddy's turn to play. The word? Lover.

(Seriously. The universe really does have it out for him these days.)

Eddy goes a couple bars into the first romantic piece that pops into his head, which happens to be Salut d'Amour, but he makes the fatal mistake of looking over towards Brett. They make eye contact and vivid flashbacks of everything Eddy had tried to suppress comes punching back in his face: Brett leaning in close, warm breath over Eddy's mouth, eyes heavy with meaning like he wants him. Eddy wants him. His head is full of him. Of Brett's amused smile. Brett's dumb addictive laugh. His silliness. His weird habits. His entire everything, and.

Oh shit.

His bow stutters on the string and Eddy instantly blanches. They say transcribing emotions into your playing is an integral part of interpretation, but to hell with that! He can't risk wearing his heart on his bow for a second longer than this. Shaky bow be damned.

Keep it cool, Eddy. You got this.

Eddy restarts with a different piece, one from Schumann this time as he twirls and faces away from Brett, away from his gaze and all the words left unsaid.

What if we can't go back to how we were?

It's the one thought that scares Eddy to death.

What if I lose you?

Everything feels so wrong, suddenly, as if he was forced to commit a heavy col legno on his violin, his heart almost hurting as much as the microfibre cracks on the bow breaking with every hit.

So yeah, this is definitely not keeping cool and fine, maybe this was a lost cause from the start. Listen. He isn't taking any criticism right now. Still, Eddy thinks he'll be okay. As long as he never brings it up again, it'll be fine. It'll be okay. They can still be okay.

So imagine Eddy's mortification when Ray calls him out on his bullshit.

*

"What's up with you and Brett?" Ray asks Eddy the moment Brett steps out of the studio for a toilet break. Eddy has a snipey excuse to fire, but Ray seems genuinely concerned which makes Eddy feel less inclined to be defensive.

"What do you mean what's up?" Eddy goes for playing dumb instead. "It's the same old usual. He's doing his thing. I'm doing my thing. We're doing our thing, thing." Eddy winces. Very smooth. "Everything's fine."

"Right," Ray says, in a way that means he definitely isn't buying what Eddy's saying at all. "Right. And I'm a hot Korean pop idol topping worldwide charts. Look, Eddy, I'll be real with you. Being around you two is like being around an old married couple sometimes and, even if that gives you guys a total advantage when we're playing charades, I totally respect that."

"O...kay? Are you saying you're...jealous of our bromance, or something?"

"No — I mean, yeah who isn't, but. What I'm saying is, the vibes a bit...different now. It's like you guys are dodging around each other and it's really painful to see when I know you both care about each other a lot. I won't pry if you don't want to tell me, but you're both good people and what you guys have is pretty amazing...I'd hate to see it unravel just because you're both too scared to communicate."

Eddy bites his bottom lip, affronted but he knows Ray means well. He's right, after all, and nothing hits harder than the truth when it's coming at you like that. "Yeah," Eddy closes his eyes and sighs. "Yeah, you're right. I'm just...scared of losing him, you know? He's my best mate."

Ray smiles and good-naturedly pats Eddy on his upper arm. "And you are his. Have a little more faith in him, Eddy."

"Ray..." Eddy starts, throwing the other violinist the most thoughtful, considering look he can muster. "I truly hope your kpop career goes well."

Ray bursts out laughing. Eddy grins, determination set in his features as he gathers all the courage and honesty he has left in his bones for his longtime partner and best friend.

Eddy owes Brett at least that much.

*

Their other special guest doesn't sugarcoat it.

"When the fuck are you two going to get over yourselves and fucking talk it out like fucking adults." Luka snaps the camera closed and levels a feral glare that could undoubtedly kill a man. Or two. "I'm going to be real with you. This session is straight up garbage. Unless you two get your act together I am not filming another second of this — this stupid unresolved sexual tension. It physically pains me to see this. Fix this. And don't make me beg."

"He has a point," Stjepan says sagely. "This is something you can't leave ignored." Luka nods furiously in agreement beside him. "Hear each other out, okay? Love and peace, boys. Love and peace..." With that, 2cellos shuffles out of the studio set as they leave the violin duo to bask in the aftermath of what seems like a sloppily cooked intervention.

"Well, damn." Eddy says.

"They really just called us out like that," Brett says, sounding a bit mystified. "Now we cannot not make up. Who else will implode if we don't."

Eddy nods defeatedly. "Can't argue with that logic."

*

As the saying goes, it's time to kiss and make up.

Chapter Text

"Scissors, paper, ROCK!"

"My win. You go first."

"Fuck."

*

Eddy's palms are sweaty as he paces around the room, wired with adrenaline as the violins in his head hit the E string and tremble there. He's working up the nerve to talk, but spilling your guts out isn't as easy as it seems when all you've been doing for the past decade of your life is, well, hiding it. Ugh...why did he have to go with scissors?

Brett's standing in the middle of the living room with his arms crossed and eyebrows raised. Eddy takes a breath, resolve settling in.

First, he should apologize for being a dick earlier. That's a good start.

"Sorry, about before - it wasn't your fault, I'm not mad at you or anything. Sorry I was grumpy earlier," he says, half mumbling, staring down at the ground rather than making eye contact. He didn't-he felt like if he looked Brett in the eye, every single stupid thought in his head would be completely visible on his face, and yeah, Brett is, like, cool and mature when it comes to the more serious stuff, so he wouldn't be a dick about it, but-anyway, Eddy isn't ready to see how Brett will react. Not yet, at least. Not until Eddy can get everything off his chest and break down later.

Being emotionally vulnerable is ridiculously hard.

"It's just that, being with you makes me so...I just couldn't stop thinking about it, Brett." Ahhh seriously, why is this so hard. "For the longest time, I couldn't stop thinking about you. And wanting...erm, I...um...I just...with you, I..."

Where is he going with this?

Seriously, why does confession scenes in movies always make it look so easy? This is ridiculous.

*

Brett's standing there staring at Eddy like the nervous wreck that he is. His mind goes static the moment he pieces together Eddy's words: "wanting", "for the longest time", "thinking about you". It's quite a shock to the system. The embodiment of the surprise pikachu face meme, even.

Eddy's stuttering again, and none of what he's saying is making much sense anymore. It's downright endearing, Brett has to admit, and he supposes he can be brave too.

There's a lingering fear, though. A nasty little thing in the corner of his mind that says this might go all wrong. But here, with Eddy being so honest and open right now, Brett can't stop himself from reaching out.

"Ugh fuck it, I don't care anymore," Brett says under his breath, knowing full well he still does. Regardless, he charges towards his friend and slaps both his hands on either side of Eddy's face, holding it in place. The latter makes a confused gurgle as his cheeks gets smushed but Brett ignores it and leans forward, ridding any last respectable distance between them. "You like me, right?" Eddy probably has no clue where this is going, perhaps not even sure what kind of like Brett is referring to, but he nods to the best of his ability anyways. Brett inhales sharply and huffs out a "great, me too" before smacking their lips together. Taken completely off guard, Eddy back peddles and trips over his own feet, bringing them both tumbling to the ground. Brett winces when he scrapes his knees but he's not prepared to stop and mentally deal yet, so he presses forward and kisses a stunned Eddy once more. This time, finding his centre ground, Eddy timidly wraps his arms around Brett's waist and gradually reciprocates, mouths melding into each other, sensual and slow compared to Brett's firm, hurried ones. The time they pull apart is filled with only soft breathing, but it doesn't last long as their lips meet again and again, leaving ounces of tension and longing and relief into each press of a kiss.

Finally, they think wondrously.

Their first kiss earns them bruises on their shins and near bleeding lips, but when they stop to catch their breaths and actually take a chance to look at one another, there's only matching grins adorning each other's features.

*

"We're making a huge mistake."

"Probably."

"It's going to ruin our friendship."

Brett shrugs.

"I'm serious, Brett."

"We can always talk it out," Brett replies sincerely. "If you trust me...trust us." He idly plays with the ends of Eddy's hair as Eddy hugs him even tighter, hiding his face in the crook of Brett's neck. "Back then...you told me that this didn't mean anything to you."

"Lying, obviously." Eddy murmurs against Brett's hoodie. "I was giving you an out. An excuse for the moment and giving a chance for us to stay...I don't know, normal."

"Because trying to stay normal worked so well for us, huh?" Brett says with a tinge of playful sarcasm. Eddy's hold on Brett tightens.

"Look, Brett. This is a heavy loaded thing we want here, and I just don't want you to regret this when you sober up and come to your senses because it will take me a while, a long while to get over it - over you. And I don't want to resent you as I try to shove my feelings back down my throat again and pretend that it's nothing - that it's fine. I can't pretend that I'll be fine, Brett."

What we want.

The words linger in Brett's mind like a sustained vibrato.

What we want.

"I'm sober." Brett says abruptly while Eddy shoots him a gentle, exasperated look. "Like, really sober. I like you, Eddy. Like, like like you. The want-to-be-in-love-together-with-you kind of like. Just to clarify."

He can see Eddy slowly giving into him, eyes hesitant but hopeful. Why is it so hard for Eddy to believe that he wants him? Truly, deeply, madly want him. He's just as insecure about their relationship as Brett is and Brett is determined to change that.

"I like you too, Brett. I like you a lot." Eddy says, looking at Brett like he's everything in the world. "The like-like kind of way." Eddy bites his lip, a nervous tremor in his voice. "If we do this, if you really want me the way I want you, then I'm going to be all in. A lifetime subscription of me being disgustingly in love with you. Or more like, I won't be able to hide it anymore. It's going to be insufferable. And mushy. And gross. Asian drama romance levels of cringe, even."

Brett reaches out to hold Eddy's hand, fingers entwining as he smiles heart-achingly soft. "So. Where do I subscribe?"

Chapter Text


As far as romantic comedies go, Eddy can safely say that he secured a happy ending.

Well, it's still an ongoing kind of thing, but you can bet your damn arse he's gonna do everything in his power to make it a happy one. Considering that it took months of heavy pining, blind misunderstandings and unsolicited love advice from third party groups to have both of them realize their feelings for one another, Eddy is not going to waste any more time lamenting and spend much more time living in the now. Together, with Brett.

"I literally asked you to kiss me, Brett. I gave you seductive eyes and everything. How did you not realize?"

"Seductive?? Dude, you said you were sick, first of all. I thought you were just messing around."

They're on Brett's sofa with Eddy lying on Brett's lap, some animated film playing in the background that neither of them are really paying attention to. Eddy's too distracted playing with Brett's hands, tracing and pressing along his calluses, the proud markings of a violinist, with the pad of his fingers. Brett let's Eddy do so while he idly cards his other hand through Eddy's hair. It's nice.

"That was me flirting. I was flirting with you, Bretty." Eddy blinks innocently up at him. "It's not my fault you were too oblivious to notice."

"Me? Oblivious? I literally asked you to sleep in the same bed as me, bro. I flirted with you the whole time we were in Taiwan. No, maybe even way before that."

"Wow...Wow, we're so fucking dumb."

God, they've been so utterly stupid. If Eddy was watching their love story play out on a TV screen, he'd be yelling himself hoarse at their obliviousness.

Brett's laughing as he shakes his head, tone entirely fond. "The absolute dumbest."

Isn't that the truth. Eddy's smiling as he takes Brett's hand and gently cups it against his cheek, warm and purposefully intimate. There's no pretense this time, no need to pretend that it meant anything else. Eddy turns to press his lips tenderly into Brett's palm and basks in the way Brett looks at him, gaze heavy with adoration that belongs only to him.

Obnoxiously, Eddy flutters his lashes, just to be a little shit. "Mhm...is this seductive enough for you, my beau soir?"

Brett doesn't answer, instead he caresses his thumb over Eddy's lips, watching them slowly part. There's a still moment of anticipation; the sound of both their heartbeats drumming in the air, a rhythm that only they can hear.

Brett smiles and pinches Eddy's cheeks. Hard.

"AckKK! Brett!!" Eddy whines, slapping Brett's forearms in an effort to release his poor cheeks. "You mood killer!"

Brett's laughing again and Eddy wants to retaliate, but Brett's already leaning down to kiss away all of Eddy's protests and complaints and dammit, Eddy can't really find it in himself to mind.

He's too happy to care.

Chapter Text

Nothing life changing really happens the next few weeks, as Brett had privately worried over in his mind. Eddy's demeanor is pretty much the same when they're together, aside from maybe being a little bit more handsy in public, but that's hardly anything new. The only difference is the obnoxious flirty pick-up lines they spout to one another while obligatorily messing with their friends, coupled with subsequent hand-holding and sweet kisses behind closed doors. There's something different then, in those private moments alone together, where Brett looks into Eddy's eyes and knows the special bond they share is precious and unbreakable.

"Hey, whatcha thinking about?" Eddy's curious voice interrupts Brett's thoughts.

"Food," Brett answers, pushing away the hand waving in front of his face. He gives a subtle once-over at Eddy who's lying propped over on his side and pokes at his stomach. "Let's go get ramen."

Eddy perks up at that, promptly abandoning what's left of his attention to the emails on his laptop in favour of appeasing his hunger. "Oh hell yeah! It's a date."

"Yeah," Brett muses. "Date, huh...how is this any different from what we usually do?"

"Hmm...you're right." Eddy hums thoughtfully. "Guess we've been on tons of dates already, haven't we?" He taps at Brett's hand and when Brett turns it over, Eddy cheerfully entwines their fingers.

"Alright Romeo, just don't be expecting romantic candle-light dinners from me anytime soon."

Eddy snorts and playfully jabs at Brett's leg. "Whatever is cool man, as long as I'm with you." Eddy squeezes their hands together and Brett can feel the warmth spread from it. "I wanna hang out and go on traveling with you. I want to keep playing and listening to the violin with you. I'll keep on doing stupid awesome shit with you, even when we're old and ugly and wrinkly."

Okay yeah, how can he blurt out cheesy lines like that without feeling overtly embarrassed? Brett can't even muster up an intelligent response because his heart flips a little at that. Eddy's smiling at him again, bright and full like the afternoon sun, and yeah Brett's heart is definitely flipping like flapjacks. He's smitten.

Brett stares at Eddy's face, trying to collect all rationale for coming to this haphazardly strewn conclusion, but none of it really makes any coherent sense and, well, the idea of rationalizing feelings is kind of pointless in the first place. It's through the times they spent together, the laughter, the hardships, the earnest passion and companionship. All of it comes together to make a dazzling double concerto; of interesting phrasing and crisp intonation, of shared jokes that leave funny accents and adoring gazes that sweetens the melody. It's unique and imperfectly perfect and just so them. Brett wants to listen to this piece play out for the rest of his life.

Eddy's now starting to squirm under his gaze and it makes it difficult for Brett to suppress his laugh. I love him a lot, Brett thinks, and leaves it at that. Affectionately, Brett leans in to kiss the tip of his best friend's nose and watches bemusedly as the other flails about in excitement. Not much later, he ends up getting tackled in bed and is bombarded with smooches all over his face and, despite all efforts, Brett ends up laughing into their kisses anyway.

*

"So like what, we're boyfriends now?"

"I guess so? I'm your boyfriend. And you're um, mine? You are, right?"

"Yeah I'm yours, Eddy. Wow this is so homo."

"No shit." A pause. "That's...not going to be a problem, is it?"

"Nah, I'm so gay for you bro."

"Bro..."

"Bro..."

"We should get back to practicing."

"Right. P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E! You should always be practicing!"

"Pfft, that's right! 40 hours a day! Get at it!!"

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