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I'm holding my breath, as the seasons change

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It's all happening at once.

His mom got home last week, his dad wants him to come and spend a couple of days at his place for the New Year and Lisa's back in Belgium. The one saving grace at the moment is that Lisa's staying at her parents' over Christmas break, giving Robbe some more time to gather all his things and get out of Milan's bedroom, so Milan can move all his stuff back in here and Lisa can have her bedroom back.

"Honestly though, I don't really see why I should be giving up the big bedroom again," Milan says. He's leaning against the doorframe, pouting and moping and decidedly not helping Robbe pack up his things. "If you think about it, I've been living here the longest so I have rights."

"Didn't you move in at the same time?" Robbe asks distractedly, getting down on the floor to reach under the bed for the clothes that have somehow made their way under there.

"Yes," Milan acknowledges. "But she's been gone for like 4 months so I've been here more."

"You're just going to have to work that out with her," Robbe says, definitely not wanting to get in the middle of this.

"Who has to work out what?" Sander asks, appearing back in Robbe's bedroom with a plate stacked high with sandwiches. At least his boyfriend has been helping him out during this stressful day.

"Lisa," Milan sighs. "She's going to want her bedroom back and then I'll be stuck in here." The disdain is obvious in his voice.

"This bedroom isn't so bad," Sander says, smirking at Robbe while he says it.

"Boys," Milan says slowly. "Please tell me I don't have to burn my mattress because let me tell you something about adult life: it's expensive enough without having to replace a mattress because horny boys-"

"Okay, Milan," Robbe says loudly. "That's enough, thank you."

Robbe gently starts guiding Milan out through the door.

"I was going to help," Milan protest weakly.

"Thanks, but I think we've got it."

"Make sure you put down a towel or something first, if you're gonna-," Milan says loudly while Robbe shuts the door in his face.

"He's a bit late with that," Sander says, amused.

He's sitting on Robbe's bed, surrounded by three piles of clothes. Robbe carefully finds somewhere to sit in between it all, trying to make sure he's sitting as close to Sander as possible.

"You seem to have a system going on," Sander says, handing one of the sandwiches to Robbe before grabbing one for himself.

Robbe points at pile number one and says: "Clean," points at pile number two and says: "Dirty," and finally points at the one that has to look pretty familiar to Sander and says: "And yours."

"Quite the collection we've got going on," Sander acknowledges, looking down at his own clothes.

They've been sleeping together in Robbe's bed, in this room, ever since Robbe found Sander at his school that Monday before break. Robbe knows Sander's parents asked him to start sleeping back home when they went to see them last Saturday, but Sander was able to convince them to let him go home with Robbe.

It's been nagging at the back of Robbe's head all day now, but it feels extra daunting now, surrounded by heaps and piles of his stuff that he's going to have to put in bags and boxes to move it across the city again. That realization of how much he's going to miss everything. This flat, and these flatmates, and this bed and Sander.

He knows that Sander doesn't come with the flat. Sander comes with him. But he's leaving to go spend some time with his dad tomorrow, and it'll be the first time they'll spend any significant amount of time away from each other in two weeks and Robbe is dreading it so much. Then after all that, he'll be back home and living with his mom again, something he's so grateful for it's hard to put into words, but it'll also mean that Sander won't be able to sleep over all the time anymore and that just feels incredibly heavy right now.

They finish their sandwiches in silence, but something must show on Robbe's face, cause Sander grabs his hand and gives it a little squeeze: "What's wrong?"

"I'm just," Robbe tries to explain. "Going to miss this."

And he means everything, but he also means Sander. He just doesn't know how to say that without coming across clingy and just juvenile.

"Yeah, I know," Sander says, scooting closer carefully, mindful of the clothes. "It's a nice place and they're great roommates. You'll get to see Zoë in school though, and you just know Milan is going to be blowing up your phone all the time. He told me earlier that we've got a standing invitation for games night and we better show up or else."

"Yeah." And if it hadn't been for the way Sander's looking at him, Robbe would've probably swallowed the rest of it down, told himself not to worry and just keep packing. But Sander is looking at him like that. Like he'd listen to whatever Robbe has to say. Like he genuinely just wants to help and fix it. Or at the very least kiss it better.

"And I'm gonna miss this," Robbe admits. "You, in my bed."

"I'm not going anywhere," Sander says, immediately.

"But I am," Robbe sighs. "To my dad. For like three days. Won't even get to kiss you at midnight on New Year's Eve."

"But you'll get to kiss me the second of January, and the third and the fourth, and the fifth," and with every date he lists he leans closer until he's within kissing distance, and as soon as he is, he's kissing the frown off of Robbe's face.

"I'm gonna miss you so much," he admits right against Robbe's lips. "But you'll be back before you know it."

"Yeah, and then school will start again, and you'll have exams to worry about..."

"Isn't that great?" Sander asks. "I can't wait to just fucking, I don't know, go back to our normal, every day, boring lives but just with you right there."

Robbe stares at Sander until he asks: "Too soppy?"

"A little soppy," Robbe admits, pulling at Sander's shoulders until he gets the message and gets on Robbe. The clean clothes pile tumbles over and most of it ends up on the floor but Robbe can't even begin to care. He's way too busy kissing Sander and trying to get his hands underneath layer after layer of sweater, shirt and yet another shirt, to finally get to skin.

"You got a towel here somewhere?" Sander asks in between kisses. "In one of these piles?"

Robbe can only laugh in reply, chest shaking with it as Sander sits back up and starts rummaging around through all the garments on the bed. "Where's the towel?!" he yells until Robbe's all but crying with laughter.

 

When they emerge from the room a little while later, after they've made sure that all the clothes that managed to stay on the bed with them now have to go to the laundry pile, Robbe is all packed up and ready to go the next day. Milan tries to give them the stink eye for about 20 seconds, before dissolving into what Robbe considers the proud gay guru look he's got going on almost constantly when Sander and Robbe are both near.

"You can always just switch out the mattress in Robbe's room with the one you've been sleeping on," Sander says from the stove.

He's heating them up leftovers for dinner, and Robbe's watching him work from his perch on the counter. He can't believe Sander would bring this back up. He'd kind of rather disappear into thin air than have this conversation again.

Milan hums into his llama mug and says: "Eh, that mattress' been through some things as well, if you know what I mean."

"Oh god," Robbe groans.

"Did I ever tell you about that time Zoë walked in on me and a one night stand, in flagrante?" Milan asks.

"No, but I'm not surprised," Robbe says.

"I'd say, swap mattresses with Zoë when she's not home," Sander starts.

"But we all know that one's seen things as well," Milan finishes for him.

When Sander is close enough for grabbing, Robbe buries his face into his throat and demands: "Stop."

Sander laughs at him but eases the sting by kissing the top of his head.

(They do stop talking about it, but only because Zoë gets back home, and Robbe thinks they're all a little too scared of her to even joke about this mattress swap in front of her.)

 

It's weird to sleep in the bedroom without anything on the walls or on the tables and desk. Instead, everything is neatly packed away, making the room feel so incredibly bare. Sander is lying next to him though, his arms around Robbe's waist and his usual good night kiss on the back of Robbe's neck still making his skin tingle. It still feels a bit sad, but not as daunting as it did earlier.

Robbe is quite excited about facing boring, everyday life with Sander as well.