stepping off the stage after that final performance, joseph feels a whirlwind of emotions. saying goodbye to the crowd was tough enough, as he even choked up just thanking everyone then, but now that it’s all begun to settle in, he feels himself shake even more with all the pent up emotions.
just as he feels his hands begin to twitch, a pair of arms slide around his waist from behind, lips pressing a tender kiss to the back of his neck.
“you were great out there tonight,” richard mumbles, emphasizing his comment with another kiss to younger man’s neck. “really held it all together.” at that, joseph feels tears beginning to form in the corners of his eyes, threatening to slip down his face. just as one does manage to escape, it’s quickly wiped away, and joseph brings his gaze up to see matt standing above him, a look of both fond- and sadness on his face.
“you will do amazing things in the future,” he says, his voice rough as though he’s been trying to hold back his own emotions. “i’m sure of it.” he smiles softly, and joseph feels a warmth begin to form inside his chest. as if to add to it, he feels someone take his right hand inside their own, pressing sweet, tender kisses to each of the knuckles.
“no one could ever truly replace you.” quinn says, each word punctuated by a kiss to the soft skin. finally, joseph feels himself begin to smile.
“i hope you guys don’t do this with the guy who takes my place.” he says, a half-hearted attempt at a joke. the other three men do laugh at it, before each leave kisses across joseph’s skin - richard on the back of his neck, matt on his forehead, and quinn on his hand. more tears fall down joseph’s face, but now he isn’t quite sure what they’re from, whether it’s happy- or sadness, or a mix of both. all he knows, at least, is that he will be fine from now on - as long as his boys are there to catch him when he falls.