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Nick? Nick? Nick?

Kevin's eyes shot open. His breaths, quick and heavy, slowed as he looked around. Then he turned to his right, to nothing, nd it started all over again. The memories came flooding back to him and in a rush of emotions he felt tears in his eyes. His face got hot, whether with anger or the oncoming crying fit–he didn't know. What he did know was that he wasn't happy now.

The bed made a creaking noise as Kevin sat up, turning, and got to his feet. He didn't have the energy to do much, and his legs felt weak, like spaghetti. He found the strength to make his way to the living room, where he was blinded by the sunlight–he'd had the curtains drawn in his room–but didn't care much.

He looked down at his phone, at his lock screen–a picture of Nick giving him a small, peck kiss on the cheek–and couldn't help smiling. Then he frowned, opened his phone, and quickly dialed Nick's number.

After seven rings, it went to voicemail. Kevin, swelling with frustration, threw his phone at the wall and immediately ran after it. He picked it up to hear the beep and left a shaky-voiced message. "I love you, Nick, please come back please please I love you."

He called two more times to no avail, and, as he fought back the sobs which threatened to tear through his throat, he then called three more times just to hear Nick's voice through the voicemail message. He cried like a baby all three ways through.

It took a while for Kevin to settle himself.

Soon after, he heard a knock on the door and looked up immediately, hope flickering in his chest and a fleeting sense of happiness striking him. It faded, however, when he saw who was outside. He was still glad they'd come to visit him, though.

Sean and Eli stood at his doorstep, sheepish smiles on their faces and a box of what looked like chocolates in hand. "Hey, Kev," Eli said, blinking at him. "How are you?"

Kevin, who had been staring at the ground, flicked his head up toward Eli and flashed him a scowl. "What do you think?" he snapped. Then he froze as Eli flinched, and immediately a new wave of guilt swept over him. "Ah, jeez, sorry, Eli... I got all... emotional and stuff."

"No worries," Eli muttered, though he still looked shaken.

"Can we come in?" Sean asked.

"Please do," Kevin said, and it sounded a bit like a plea. The two of them stepped in and looked around like if they'd never been inside the house before.

The air was silent and awkward, but Kevin decided he liked it better than loneliness. Sean cleared his throat suddenly after a few minutes.

"So, uh, how–what-what have you been doing s-since–uh–"

Kevin swallowed, one that would definitely earn his character a little GULP above his head were his life a comic strip. His eyes wandered, and he couldn't keep eye contact with his blue-haired friend because it would make him burst into tears. He didn't need any more of that.

"Uh, not–er, nothing much, really. I-I haven't left the house in a few days."

Eli looked up. "If you want, we could take you out somewhere, like... get you back up on your feet–that's if you want, though, I–I'm–"

"No, don't worry," Kevin said, trying his best to muster a kind tone of voice. "I'm fine."

It was quiet again for a while. "Well," Sean announced rather loudly, swallowing, "we really should be going. I'm sorry," he added to Kevin.

"No problem."

Yes problem, major problem, Kevin thought, twiddling his thumbs. Very big problem. I can't be alone again–

"I really hope you feel better, Kevin. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call." Eli smiled at Kevin and placed the box of chocolates on a coffee table.

"Bye, thank you," Kevin shouted as the two left, the door slamming behind them in the now empty house.

Kevin put his head up, stared at the walls, and recalled the only thing he could in the past few days–that first morning.

He'd turned in bed to his left to say good morning and was greeted with emptiness. The left side of the bed had been made neatly, covers pulled over nicely with just enough space left for Kevin. He'd just supposed Nick had gotten up and gone to the living room himself. Kevin had left the bed as it was.

He'd looked through the whole house and not been able to find Nick. After he'd given up, he decided to call him.

The phone rang and, for the last time in days, Kevin heard Nick's actual voice, not his voicemail voice or his voice in videos.

"Hello?" Nick had answered.

"Nick? Nick, oh my God, Nick, I'm so–"

There was a three-note, monotone beeping on the other end, and Kevin had put the phone down in shock. Nick had hung up on him.

So he called again, and there was no answer, and again and again with the same result. That, Kevin thought, was the moment he knew he wouldn't see Nick again. He would sit alone in silence for days, waiting eagerly–

His thoughts were interrupted by a sound that had never brought him more joy. The unlocking of the door from the outside.

The only other person who had a key to his house was Nick.

The door creaked slightly open, and Kevin jumped to his feet. He felt nervous, almost, to see his boyfriend again. Hopefully he'd be okay. Unharmed.

Nick's lanky figure stood in the doorway, and when Kevin tried to keep his composure it ultimately failed. He broke down, tears flowing out like a river, as he ran toward Nick and put his arms around him. Kevin put his head in Nick's shoulder as he sobbed.

Nick did not move. Kevin, however, felt a spot of wetness on the bare skin of his shoulders and knew Nick was crying, too. It just made him cry harder.

"I thought you weren't coming back," Kevin rasped into the fabric of Nick's button-down shirt. "I thought you'd left me. Where did you go?"

There was no response.

"I thought I'd lost you."

Kevin heard Nick let out a loud sob as he broke away from Kevin's embrace. He watched Nick bury his face in his hands and step back against the wall, letting out heavy, ragged breaths to accompany his crying.

Kevin stepped forward, pulled Nick's arms down gently, and placed a small kiss on his lips, feeling the moisture from his tears. He didn't want to see Nick cry. "Hey, hey, sweetie–don't cry, please, I love you."

"I love you, too," Nick choked. 

It was quiet for a while before Kevin said anything.

"Then why did you leave me?" he whimpered.

Nick stood, stony-faced, staring at Kevin with eyes that were so empty and yet so full–full of love, anger, sadness, regret. "I–I don't know what I was thinking–I thought, I have to get away, I can't be here much longer and I have no idea what was going through my mind but"–He paused to breathe–"I just started walking. I didn't stop until I realized what I'd done, and I just... I love you, Kevin–"

"Shut up, I love you too." Kevin smiled. Nick's blue eyes widened and Kevin could see the joy in them.

Without thinking, Kevin pressed a sloppy kiss on Nick's lips. Nick kissed him back–a beautiful, messy kiss, complete with attempts to talk through the other's lips and smiles from the both of them–and when he broke apart Kevin felt a sense of longing again. But there was something else–a heavy weight lifted from Kevin's shoulders, freeing him from the shackles of loneliness and missing–that made him want to hug Nick and never let go.

"Don't leave me again, please," Kevin whispered as Nick wrapped his arms around him.

"I won't, I promise," Nick murmured back, and the two of them stood in the living room, hugging and seemingly never letting go.