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A New Beginning

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It had been a few hours since the article was released and for the first time, Noah felt the world underneath his feet crumble.

He looked over at the sleeping form in the bed, half shielded by a pillow. He didn’t feel comfortable anymore. He was now feeling the reality of what he said washing over him and he was cold. It wasn’t comforting anymore, just jolting to the core.

Noah’s phone was warm in his hand as he retreated to another room in the small space he shared with… his fiancee. He had sent about five text messages to Dan with no response. Granted, why would he respond to him? Their relations had been strained in the past few weeks. It seemed cordial but not as real as it was. Nothing felt as real as it was before quarantine was a thing. 

18 texts went unnoticed or unresponsive.
DMs weren’t even happening minus a like or two on instagram. 

Is this what it was like to be excluded out of someone’s life? Noah didn’t like that. He also didn’t like the tightening in his chest. It was another anxiety attack. He had been having them on and off during quarantine. No one knew about it except his mom and dad and of course, Clare. He counted down, trying to get his breathing back in order, also fighting the tears that were threatening to come out.

Once he felt the room not wanting to spin and shivered on the small couch in the guest room, he picked up his phone to text someone, he chose Emily. 

Hey have you spoken to Dan?

It sent off into the universe as he opened instagram, seeing more notifications but not the one he was looking for. His phone pinged with a new text. It was from Emily.

Last night I did, why?
So Dan wasn’t completely isolating from social media, just him. That hurt.

I’ve been trying to talk to him but he isn’t responding. I fucked it up didn’t I? 

He sent the response immediately. Instagram lost his attention by this point and his stomach started to lurch. It wasn’t butterflies, it was something else. He had felt so comfortable in his skin, where he was in life before Schitt’s Creek started, before he started working with Dan. Before he realized that maybe he imagined it all in his mind, having a small crush on his now former boss and co-star. The late night talks, spending time together outside of the show, being there for him, the gazing looks… yeah, he screwed up with what he said not thinking of the consequences.

Another message.

You did. What are you going to do about it?

Fuck. What was he going to do about it? “Noah? Are you in here?” The soft voice of Clare interrupted his thought process. The guest room he was in, the door was never closed since no one used it unless they had company and to top it off, he had locked the door.

“Yeah, I’ll be out in a minute.”

“Okay, I’ll go make coffee.” He saw the shadow outside the door retreat and let out a deep breath. Emily’s text was still lingering in his head. He had to figure out something before things got completely out of hand.

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Things had gotten out of hand online. Twitter was the worst. There weren't direct messages at him but if he looked into his own tag, he saw some disruption and disappointment. Instagram was a take it or leave it, not as bad but still, some rumblings about. 

The long talk with Clare was the icing on the cake. She said she knew it was coming. Was everyone aware of everything and he wasn’t? She also said she wasn’t upset or disappointed but Noah could tell otherwise by the look in her eye. 

“I was fighting this for so long. And it isn’t fair to drag you further into this to cover up what’s going on with me. I do love Clare, you know that, but I need to confront what’s happening.” Noah mentioned, looking at Clare who was sans the engagement ring, looking down at the coffee mug that was now going cold. 

“I understand,” Clare responded, a weak smile on her face.

It was in agreement that during the rest of quarantine, Clare and Noah would remain living together. Neither wanted to be out there alone and at least try to work on their friendship. It couldn’t be thrown away to the side. Six years wasn’t going to be thrown away.

Noah had felt some kind of relief from how the Clare situation went. No engagement, no fiancee, no partner, just… friends.

Now what?

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The texts to Dan still weren’t responded but they were seen. Was that a good step in the right direction? He knew of one way to grab his attention. It was time for Instagram live.

Five forty seven in the evening. He announced he was going on live around six or a little after on twitter and on his stories. 

What are you up to? A new text from Emily, equipped with the smirking emoji.

Just come to the live, Noah sent, unsure smiley face emoji included. He tossed his phone to the side on the bathroom counter as he decided to look somewhat decent and less like a bum. He showered, let his hair air dry and threw on a pair of comfortable lounge pants and shirt, feeling more like himself than he did in the past few days. Once he felt as if he was fully put together, he checked his phone to see more scattered messages from friends, another one from Emily with the hands clap emoji and checked his instagram. The viewers were in the hundreds since he announced his spontaneous instagram live. Emily, Dusty, Annie, Lucky, Stacey were scattered throughout fans. His record company… Schitt’s Creek’s own instagram and one of the last was Dan.

If he showed up, maybe he can work things out. Or at least get a response.

It was a little after six when Noah went live and was immediately flooded with comments and likes. “Hi guys,” he said meekly. The phone was propped up and he was at his piano. “I don’t know why I act so surprised every time I come on here and you guys just come in droves. I’m thankful you guys did come. It’s going to be… a wild ride so to speak.” He started playing on the piano, just notes, maybe the start of a song but nothing quite concrete yet. He had also missed that Dan had joined the live, missing the many acclaim and hearts. “How are you guys doing this week? I hope everyone is safe and healthy. I know it’s hard, it’s really hard. I’ve been having migraines lately, I can’t sleep, I started having anxiety attacks. And have you guys been having really weird dreams?” He began playing some songs off of the upcoming album, Gemini.

He glanced down at the phone, seeing that Emily and Annie were in the live, chit chatting. “Hey Em,” he paused to clear his throat. “How’s it going Annie?” He smiled big. He went back to the piano, playing a slower version of Jacob’s Dream.  “I’ll admit that I’ve been struggling. It’s been rough but I’m trying to get there at the finish line. But I wanted to get on here to address some things. It’s something that I’ve been wrestling with for a while. I should say this up front and maybe this isn’t the traditional way of saying this or doing this, maybe I need a conference or a public statement. As of today, I am… single. Wow, saying it out loud makes it feel real. Clare and I have mutually decided to continue being friends and stay together throughout the rest of quarantine and she is still in the background,” Noah paused to the camera to see Clare drinking and writing something but smiles at the camera. She goes back to doing what she was doing and she still had love for Noah. She wished that he would be happier and comfortable and honestly, nothing had changed to make things awkward.

Clare was still going to be rooting for him in the corner and vice versa.

“An article came out today and I know a lot of you guys have read it and seen it. I’ve seen the responses and no, there was no queerbaiting happening so we can ignore that rumor that’s come out. The honest answer is that for the past few years,” Noah started playing a song, “I Want You to Love Me” from Fiona Apple’s latest album Fetch the Bolt Cutters. He wasn’t singing the lyrics but some fans caught on and started using the apple emoji. “The past few years I’ve been trying to suppress these feelings or changes happening within me. I can’t necessarily put a label on it just yet but mentally and emotionally, I’m not… I’m not what I thought I was. I’m not what I said in that article. If anything, I want to say thank you to Schitt’s Creek for opening my eyes to a lot of things.”

To that, the Schitt’s Creek’s instagram threw out a hugs emoji, followed by a “we love you, Noah” comment. 

“I can say that the article in The Independent was me hiding a lot of myself. I hope you guys can and will stick with me as I go through this journey.” Noah was almost afraid to read the comments when they were nothing but pouring out love, some rainbow emojis. “I’ll answer some questions and maybe take requests from you guys but first, I think someone’s trying to join this chat. Can I figure this out? I hate technology.” Noah grumbled but there was a lightheartedness around him, almost as if some weight was lifted off his shoulders. 

Emily joined the chat, hair up in a messy bun but she had a big smile on her face. The live exploded with hearts and Emily’s name popping up. 

The brunette was quite proud of her friend. And even if she looked half tired, she was in a good mood. 

The live was successful in that Noah managed to take multiple steps to correcting some things. He still had yet to resolve things with Dan but knowing he was present at the live was enough. Noah did promise that he would do more lives often, interact with fans which somehow gave him the boost he needed. 

I’m proud of you. I love you was sent from Annie and he felt his heart warm.

I love you too. I miss you. Tell Menno I said hey.

Clare and Noah spent time at dinner to make and consume together, also, calling her parents to tell them everything was over. That was a fun time. It was slightly easier with Noah’s parents but still rough.

By the time it was around eleven at night, Noah had felt exhausted. Mentally exhausted. He wasn’t sleeping too well and now that he was sleeping alone in the guest room, Clare took the main bedroom, he wished he had company. A cat? Dog? The only dog he liked was Redmond. And the only guy he was interested in wasn’t talking to him. He couldn’t dwell on that too much. He might have to come up with plan b.

Maybe not while youtube was currently playing a video where 4 guys were playing Mortal Kombat Trilogy on Super Nintendo, arguing about which console adaption was better. It was mindless chatter but entertaining. And the answer was Sega Dreamcast, no question. And just when Noah could feel his eyelids get heavy and he relaxed further into the pillows of the simple yet neutral room, his phone vibrated on the bed. 

He wasn’t expecting to see Dan’s name show up. And he wanted to facetime.

Breathe, Noah his mind repeated as he accepted the call and for a moment it was dark and then there was some light, showing Dan, hair just as wild as ever, without his glasses and it looked like he had been crying some because the eyes were red. “Hi.” Noah said.

There was a beat of silence.

“Hi.” Dan replied. “So, um,” he cleared his throat. “All of what you said today…” he trailed off.

“It was true. It is true. And I didn’t, I didn’t realize how badly I had hurt you. And I’m so sorry that I did.” Noah said to the screen, and he didn’t want to say it out loud but he saw something in Dan’s eyes. “I just wanted to tell you that. You’re allowed to hate me if you want to but just know that I still care about you and I miss you, too.”

“I miss you, too, Noah.” Dan replied. “Is it okay if you talk to me like this? I can’t sleep yet.”

Welcome to the insomniac club. “In that case, you can talk to me so I can fall asleep to your voice.”

“You’ve missed my voice?” Dan’s voice was now playful.

“I’ve missed a lot of things about you, Dan. I took it for granted and now I can’t experience that again.” Noah admitted. Boy, he was on a roll now.

“What else have you missed?”

“I miss Red. I miss snuggling up with him on your couch… in your bed. I miss seeing your face, wondering what your hair would do in the morning.”

Dan didn’t say anything but he smiled. “Red misses you, too.”

“Just Red?”

“I miss having you in my arms, Noah. I wish you could be here with me. I want to help you with whatever it is you need. I just needed some time alone to process everything that was going on.” Dan confirmed and then assured him that despite everything, he was going to be there, even if it took time.

“You’ll be there with me every step of the way?” Noah moved to slip under the covers since he felt a little chilly now. “Even if I want to one day take you out on a date?” Now this was the true test. He had been so open the entire day, he decided to shoot his shot.

“Like in the way I wanted?”

“No hiding, no… bro code. And if we hold hands, that’s okay, too.” Noah laid out the ground for Dan, knowing it might work. In the past, when it was just them, in public or not, Noah had put up a front and it frustrated Dan to a point where they got to now, almost starting over, starting fresh.

“I wish quarantine was over so I can see you.” Dan admitted, seeing Noah sleepily smile at the screen. 

Both parties stayed up a good while on the phone before succumbing to sleep. This was the beginning of something new, Noah could feel it as he experienced a good rest.

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