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Better Days

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Hawkeye can’t stop grinning.

Not that he’s trying overly hard to wipe the large smile from his face, but really, it’s getting a little ridiculous. This has gone on long enough.

And yet; there's wind whipping his hair out of the almost permanent slicked back style he's had to force it into for the past five years, his hand is clutched tightly around the stick shift and his feet are backing and forthing seamlessly against the pedal and clutch.

There's no way he's going to be able to wipe the smile off his face anytime soon.

And then a hand rests gently on his thigh, squeezing just the smallest amount and a loud whoop of joy reaches his ears and Hawkeye's grin grows impossibly larger until he can’t help but let out a laugh of his own.

Hawkeye turns his head and drinks in the other man, the sandy blond hair waving restlessly in the wind, the long gangly limbs stretched out in the passenger seat and the large smile stretched across his face.
This; this man is the main reason Hawkeye will be unable to wipe the smile off his face anytime soon. At least for the next three months.

He snaps his attention away from his passenger and back to the road, guiding the sleek, black convertible around another bend in the mountain and he feels free. More free than he’s ever been.

It was finally over; school, college, they were finally finished. Five long years of medical school and the two of them did it. They’re officially doctors. And isn’t that a scary thought. But Hawkeye pushes the thought aside, he doesn’t have to worry about that now, not for the next three months.

Thinking back on it all, it seems so stupid that it took them so long to get here. Five long years. For five years BJ was his best friend, from their first day at college together. And even from that first day Hawkeye wanted more from the man; but he knew BJ was straight and so he settled. He settled for being BJ’s best friend.

He should’ve known the other man would surprise him. BJ always did.

The convertible moves effortlessly under Hawkeye’s hands as wind whips at his hair again, and then the sun hits his face as the car glides around another bend, the world opening up as they near the top of the mountain and Hawkeye drinks it all in.

He’d been so scared. Scared like he’d never been of anything else.

Scared for months and no way to stop it.

It was the end. It was almost the end of the best five years of Hawkeye’s life and yes, he was scared of college ending and scared of having to join the real world, actually put all that he’d learnt into practice, but he was excited about that as well. But what he was really scared about, what kept him up at night with worry was the thought of losing BJ.

Five years practically in the man’s pocket and now, now the future was uncertain. Hawkeye and BJ would graduate numbers one and two in the class and theoretically they could intern anywhere they wanted, but despite that Hawkeye knew everything would be different after graduation. Everything would change and eventually he’d lose BJ. It could be months or years later, but it would happen and Hawkeye had never even really been with BJ. This whole time, five years and their entire friendship had been a lie. But Hawkeye didn’t know how to fix it.

And again, Hawkeye should’ve known better than to underestimate BJ.

Hawkeye thinks back on it now, barely a week ago, as he guides the car smoothly across the top of the mountain and into their descent and he lets it go, lets the car take control as it screams down the slope of the mountain, gravity pulling them faster and faster until he finally has to break softly and drag them around another bend.
It’d had been graduating night and they were high and giddy with success. It was done. College was all over and they were free. And yet the feeling was constantly overshadowed for Hawkeye by the gripping fear of the loss he was about to face.

He’d avoided talking to BJ for most of the night; he wasn’t sure what he was going to say. Afraid he was going to just blurt out his deepest fears and then BJ would simply cut ties and be gone from Hawkeye’s life right then and there. Immediately. Fear gripped Hawkeye’s chest again and he froze where he was, standing in the middle of the graduation party, staring. It was a large hall and there was a lot of people around and yet Hawkeye felt as though there was a spotlight pointed straight at him as he stood there in his suit, a drink in his hand staring at his best friend of five years. Trapped.

“Hawk!” The object of his affection yelled happily from across the room even as he started to move toward him. “Hey, Hawk!” BJ yelled again, eager as a puppy.

Just one of the things Hawkeye loved about the man.

“Hey, Hawk.” The man said affectionately as BJ reached him where he still stood frozen in the middle of the room. And BJ really was like a puppy after he’d had a few too many glasses of champagne and he was all over Hawkeye now, slinging one arm around Hawkeye’s neck and pulling him close, hugging him tight to BJ’s body.

“Hey, where’ve you been? I’ve been looking for you all night.” BJ squeezed him tight, not concerned in the least at Hawkeye’s strange absence from his side for most of this graduation party.

Hawkeye sighed in frustration and anger, but pushed it all aside. “I’ve been around.” he muttered, the deliberate absence of emotion colouring his tone.

And maybe BJ hadn’t had as much to drink as Hawkeye had thought, because he immediately sobered, loosening his grip around Hawkeye’s neck as he moved around to look him the eyes. “Hey, we should- We should talk.” BJ requested, seemingly uncertain.

And this was it. Hawkeye knew this was where they discussed their inevitable parting.

And so he deflected. If he just kept putting it off, it’d never happen right?

“Yeah, yeah we should.” He agreed and then snatched a flute of champagne off a tray as it floated by. “But right now we have celebrating to do right?” and Hawkeye, trying to act as happy and carefree as he could, tried to pull away from BJ and join the rest of their classmates.

But BJ knew him too well. Knew what he was doing. Knew how to cut through it.

“Hawk.”

Just one word. One desperately called name and Hawkeye was done. He sighed again and nodded his his head in defeat. Guess they were having that discussion now then.

BJ wound him in with the arm still around his neck, squeezing him tightly before he directed the two of them to the front of the room, out through the large wooden double doors and into the main entranceway, off to one side. It was quiet out here, no music and only a few people milling around, no one taking any notice of them as they stood near the doors, awkwardly hugging each other still but not saying anything yet. Just taking each other in for a moment.

“I can’t believe it’s all over. I can’t believe we did it.” BJ’s voice was awed but solemn. Tired and almost sad, Hawkeye thought.

“Who’d have ever thought, you and me,” Hawkeye paused to nudge the other man in the ribs lightly with his elbow. “Would be doctor’s, hey. Our professor’s certainly didn’t see this coming.” he chuckled.

BJ laughed with him. It was true, no one had expected the two resident tricksters to do so well.

“Hawk, listen-” BJ started, serious tone in his voice and Hawkeye once again tried to distract the man.

“We’ll be fine, right. We’ll get jobs here in the city and we’ll see each other every weekend and it’ll be just like it is now. Nothing has to change.”

But somehow his distraction turned into the voicing of one of his biggest fears and even to his own ears, it sounded like he was pleading.

But then BJ was pulling away from him and taking a step forward, putting distance between them and Hawkeye braced for it. Here it comes.

BJ wasn’t not facing him now, he was facing the entry doors like part of him wanted to escape and Hawkeye could relate to the feeling. But when BJ muttered next, Hawkeye wasn’t sure if he was talking to him or the ground.

“I’ve let this go on for so long. Five years.” BJ murmured quietly, still looking at the ground under his feet. “Five years of being your best friend, but now you’re right, everything is going to change.”

Cold fear drenched Hawkeye and he almost felt like he couldn’t breathe.

But then BJ turned and looked him in the eye and he looked scared and suddenly the room was a little warmer. At least they were both terrified of this thing.

“Hawk.” BJ pleaded but Hawkeye didn’t know what he was pleading for, as the man took a step forward, boxing Hawkeye in against the wall. BJ shook his head. “I’m sorry Hawk. I should’ve been honest with you that first day we met.” BJ took another step and then there was only a foot of space between them and Hawkeye wondered how he had become so confused in such a short time. “The first day I wanted to do this.”

Hawkeye couldn’t breathe. Hawkeye couldn’t breathe because suddenly BJ’s body was pressed fully up against his, with Hawkeye’s back pressed up against the solid wall the only thing keeping him upright and Hawkeye couldn’t breath because BJ’s lips were suddenly covering his own, soft and gentle and dry and then a tongue ran wet and slow over Hawkeye’s bottom lip and Hawkeye gasped, letting in a rush of oxygen and the warm scent of BJ so close and all Hawkeye could do now was fall desperately into the kiss.

The kiss. BJ was kissing him. His brain must have been oxygen deprived.

Hawkeye gasped again with the realisation and pulled away slightly, backing even further as he tried to process what was going on. BJ had just kissed him. His best friend of five years, the man he’d been secretly in love with for five years, his very straight best friend had just kissed him.

“I’m so sorry, Hawk.” BJ whispered again and then stepped away, putting more than a foot of air between them and Hawkeye took the opportunity to gasp it in, trying to get his brain to process this faster.

“What- Beej-” Hawkeye gave up sentences then, his brain clearly not working any more efficiently with the increased oxygen and instead he just gaped at the man. “BJ you’re straight!” His brain latched onto the simplest thing first.

And BJ just nodded before he said, “Mostly.” Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

Hawkeye was back to gaping.

BJ sighed, clearly realising he was going to have to do some explaining. “I knew. I knew by the end of our first year that I was in love with you, despite the fact that I’d never been attracted to another man before, that I was attracted to you and I just didn’t know how to deal with that.”

Hawkeye couldn’t believe his ears. How was this possible?

“And I didn’t know, Hawkeye, if I wanted to go down that road. I didn’t know if you’d even be interested in taking me down that road.” The terrified look on BJ’s face was back tenfold and he dropped his face toward the ground as he muttered quietly, “I still don’t.”

And Hawkeye’s brain was still hiding somewhere in the back of his skull, taking shelter from all of the shock, but the lost and hurt expression on BJ’s face, on the rock that was his best friend, stirred something innate in Hawkeye and he pushed himself off the wall before he’d even realised it and he took a single stride into BJ’s space.

“Beej,” he whispered. “I thought this was goodbye. I thought you were going to tell me you’d applied for an intern position on the other side of the country and I’d never see you again. I was terrified.” He confessed and his brain had finally crawled out of it’s hiding spot and was coming back online, was starting to piece things together. “I think- Maybe you’re just scared as well, scared of things changing. But Beej, I don’t think this,” he waved between the two of them, “is really what you want.”

BJ snapped his head up to look at him and he looked a little affronted, like maybe he hadn’t thought of that. And he paused for a moment, had the decency to actually consider it seriously before he shook his head.

“It’s not fear, Hawkeye. Like I said, I’ve known since that first year. I’ve known and I’ve denied and I’ve debated with myself and I’ve tried to drown it in study and girlfriends and hobbies and it’s just always there.” BJ thumped a fist to his chest, directly over his heart. “It isn’t going away. And I could’ve continued to ignore it, I could’ve dragged you out here and said goodbye to you and moved to the other side of the country and I probably would’ve eventually gotten over it, but I don’t want to leave, Hawkeye. I don’t want to get over it.” BJ took a deep breath before he ploughed on. “I want to get a job in the same city as you and live in a tiny apartment with you while we work ridiculously long hours and never get to see each other and I want to spend my days off with you and it scares me to think that we could go our separate ways and I’ll never get to have that.”

Hawkeye had to admit, as confessions go, that was a stunner.

Hearing all of his own dreams and fears voiced from the one person he never thought he could hope to hear them from, once again sent his brain into shock. But there was a sudden cascade of warmth through his body and even without thinking he was accepting what BJ was offering. There was no way he couldn’t.

He leaned into the man, his body acting without input from his brain and then heat sizzled between them as Hawkeye’s lips landed on BJ’s once more.

And this time it was desperate, hopeful and Hawkeye is trying to communicate everything he wanted to say through that one kiss.

It was BJ who broke the kiss this time. “Hawk, are you- Is this what you-”

BJ couldn’t seem to get the words out, but Hawkeye could hear the ‘want’ that didn’t quite make it out of BJ’s mouth and he was nodding even before BJ had finished speaking.

Hawkeye moved closer and rested his forehead against BJ’s, trying to project confidence. “I’ve wanted this for a long time, Beej. I didn’t think I’d ever get it. This is a bit of a shock.” he chuckled softly.

BJ nodded, a small smile threatening at his lips. “This- How are we going to do this? Now that we’ve-”

“Let’s take a vacation.” Hawkeye blurted out and he wasn’t sure where it came from, but he immediately thinks it’s a brilliant idea. “We’ve been working non-stop since high school. We just graduated, let’s go somewhere, no more work, no more study, just us for a few weeks.”

The smile that stretched wide over BJ’s face was beautiful and infectious and Hawkeye immediately knew it meant he was in with the idea.

“Where do you want to go?” BJ asked softly.

Hawkeye shook his head for a moment, before an idea struck him. “Let’s take a road trip. Travel across the country. Just you and me and a car for a few weeks.”

BJ grinned again. “Alright.” he agreed and then he bent his head and he was kissing Hawkeye again.

*****

They’re in a small motel room, stopped for the night in the middle of nowhere.

They’d been on the road for just under three weeks now, with another three still stretched out in front of them.

And the road is great, the trip is great, getting to see the country they’ve lived in their entire lives is great, all the scenery and different towns and as many tourist attractions they can fit in as possible is great; but this, this right here is amazing. This is why Hawkeye wanted to go on a road trip across the country.

The room is dark and he’s naked, stretched out on top of the crisp, white, motel bed sheets and BJ is splayed out next to him, lying face down in the pillows, one arm stretched across Hawkeye’s chest and the weight of it is comforting.

Hawkeye can’t stop grinning.

Even as he’s panting, trying to catch his breath; coming down from the high they just reached together, and Hawkeye is so happy he thinks he might burst with it.

But it’s been two weeks. Two weeks of this happiness and he hasn’t exploded with it yet.

Hawkeye chuckles under his breath and rolls himself over, throws his own arm out to hug at the other man’s shoulders.

BJ groans next to him and turns his head out of the pillow to look at Hawkeye. “I’m getting too old for this.” he complains.

The laugh bursts out of Hawkeye with his surprise and he rocks with it for a few moments until he’s panting and chuckling. “You’re twenty-five! You’re at your peak of physical fitness. It’ll never be better than this.” Hawkeye explains to him even though he knows BJ knows all of this.

BJ just groans again and grins at him. “That’s the problem.” BJ kids. “You’re wearing me out, old man.”

Hawkeye sighs; BJ will never stop playing the age card, simply because Hawkeye happens to be a whole two months older than the other man. Hawkeye snatches the pillow from under his own head and whips it around slamming it hard into BJ’s shoulder and the man jerks in surprise.

“Hey!” he yells and then it’s on and they fight over the pillows for a while; it’s juvenile and silly but neither of them care, it’s why they’re on this trip after all, until BJ’s superior strength wins out and he has Hawkeye pinned to the bed underneath him.

BJ leans down and nips at Hawkeye’s lips and Hawkeye can feel his body stirring at the long line of maleness pressed along the entire length of him. He can feel BJ’s body stirring as well.

“I thought I was wearing you out.” Hawkeye protests, even as his hands start to wander.

“Mmm.” BJ agrees even as he leans down to kiss Hawkeye again. He pulls away a moment later, hovering over Hawkeye and staring down at him, considering. And then a wicked little smile forms on BJ’s lips and he leans into kiss Hawkeye again, but just before their lips make contact BJ whispers, “I guess we’ll have to just spend all day in bed tomorrow, recuperating.” and then he attacks Hawkeye’s mouth like there’s no tomorrow.

End.