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There is an agonising pain in his arm. He had been given several pain killers to ease it, but it's either taking them another while before kicking in or they won't kick in at all because he's still on so much adrenaline the pills probably don't have a freaking chance in hell to do anything to his body. Just that Sean doesn't care about the why the pills aren't working, just that they ain't.

That deep burning feeling is going through the bone, the flesh and skin, from his fingers up to his shoulder and turns it all into one big hurting *mass*, making him feel dizzy and sick. He had thrown up earlier and he knew if there were anything left in his stomach he would do it again right now.

He hates this waiting, surrounded by the heat, the people and the noise. He wants to take Nick and put him into their broken car and drive to a motel somewhere and *sleep*... 48 hours of sleeping. A coma. Not thinking of anything, Forsaken, vampires, death, killing, Nick about to turn... Just curling up on the bed with Nick beside him and sleep.

Nonetheless, Sean is grinning, goofy and stupid, like a total lunatic. White-faced, tired, shattered, shaking from the pain in his broken arm, covered in blood that is not only his own but also some of Nick's and the vampire's. He is only kept awake by the adrenaline his body produced when fighting for his life. A ghost in a chair in the middle of the waiting room of some hospital. And if he hadn't stopped caring about anything but Nick and their survival a long time ago, he'd feel kind of hurt from how the people around him are withdrawing from him.

But still he's grinning like crazy. Despite Sean's own wounds, Nick's concussion, cuts, bruises and something that looks like a stab wound in his shoulder but was actually inflicted by the broken glass of a window he got trashed through, Sean knows that it's finally over. He *knows* from the depth of his heart that they killed the right guy this time. But even if they didn't, Nick won't survive the search for another Forsaken. So one way or another, they are done, and they will stop now. It will all stop, and for Sean right now that means he'll either start screaming in the middle of this room and probably get arrested, or grinning until his face hurts.

Sometime this day he lost one of his tennis shoes, and with the grin still on his face, Sean stared down at his bare foot while he waited and watched his toes move in the bloodied white sock. He remembered how when Nick and he came into the hospital, desperately holding on to the other one, trying to hold each other up and awake and moving, how his foot in his one shoe was making this squeaking sound every time he took a step, from the puddle of blood that soaked into it, and how he was leaving bloody footsteps all the way through the hall and into the examination room where the doctors finally managed to separate them.

The doctors put him back together as best as they could and tried to keep him in a bed, but he refused, telling them that they needed to keep moving, because that's what they've always been doing. They sent the police to him and he told them a story about a bunch of guys whose faces he didn't see, who beat them up on the street and stole their money and since no one could prove otherwise the cops gave up and left him alone at last.

So Sean is sitting there on the chair, watching his toes move, smiling so he won't scream, and he keeps on waiting for Nick and his blood test, because that's all that really matters anyway.

"What time is it?" he asks no one in particular, even though he is not expecting any answer.

"Half past nine."

For a moment, Sean closes his eyes. "In the morning?" he whispers.

"Yeah. - The sun's come up."

Sean turns up his face and looks up and down Nick's battered body. Just like Sean, he is wearing a greenish hospital shirt, his pants are full of blood, the right arm is in a sling. He has little cuts and bruises everywhere and his eyes are kind of glassy and tired.

"You look like shit," Sean comments.

"And you are scaring people around here, including me. What's with the grin?"

With a groan, Sean gets up from the chair and stands in front of Nick. That close, their noses are as good as touching. He can feel Nick's soft, hot breathing on his face and takes in the smell of him. It's incredible to be alive; fucking incredible and fucking impossible lucky.

"I can't seem to stop," he answers. "Can't seem to stop." He suddenly feels very tired. "Can we leave now or do they...?"

"They want me to stay because of the stab wound, but not a chance in hell." Nick takes a step back, swaying a bit, and Sean immediately catches his arm before he can fall. It's something he has done a dozen times before whenever Nick had one of his especially bad days but had been refusing to acknowledge until that moment how close he is to breaking apart. Sean does it unconsciously by now, alert and tuned into whatever Nick does or needs all the time.

"Let's go, yeah?" Nick smiles. "Let's just go." With Sean`s hand still on his arm, Nick starts walking away, and the hand lingers for another moment before Sean unwillingly takes it away.

"..police talked to me, too. Didn't believe a word of our story, but what the fuck..." Nick shrugs. "And did you lose a tooth, by the way?"

They step out of the building and the sun is bright and warm and calming and Sean shudders again at the thought that they are both alive.

"Yeah," he answers.

He turns towards Nick and shows that bright smile again that he still carries around. "The Forsaken kicked me in the face while you were knocked out."

"The sick bastard." Nick is grinning now, too. "Chicks dig that little piece of danger though, so you are not totally fucked."

He wants to kiss Nick, but he doesn't.

"What town is this anyway?" he says instead.

People are passing by in their cars, and none of them has any idea about the real world.


They lie on the bed side by side, like they have done for the last seven and a half months. He knows he should have taken a shower first, they both should have. But he couldn't get the strength together to actually strip and step into the tub and, even worse, keep on standing until the blood is washed off. They both hardly managed to take off their clothes down to their underwear and slip under the covers. Nick is asleep almost the moment he has closed his eyes, and for once Sean is thankful for it because it keeps him from having to ask the question he knows he will have to ask sooner or later. What´s going to happen now?

On their way to their motel, for a second he was thinking about what they'll do if this was the wrong guy again. What he *knows* is that they won't be able to start at the beginning a third time. Find another Forsaken, fight him, kill him on holy ground and not get killed themselves. Nick hardly had enough strength left for this one; all that kept him going had been Sean's pushing and the last pieces of hope he could pull together. Nick has nothing left to give. If this was the wrong Forsaken again, he will turn. Sean doesn't know whether he could kill him then, he couldn't say.

Sean has wondered sometimes how it would change Nick. This is no Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He knows Nick won't lose his soul and become another being, someone else entirely just so you can pretend it's not really *him* doing those things but a demon inside his body. Nick will get hungry. Addicted to killing and blood and guts. Addiction turns you and twists your soul, it makes you do things you couldn't have imagined in the past but then you do it in the blink of an eye just to stop that craving even if only for a moment. Sean knows what it means, because it's what made him leave his life behind without giving it a second thought and what made him follow Nick for three months just for the chance of finding him on some freaking street somewhere in the middle of nowhere. That craving deep inside, that makes him sleepless at night when they are lying on the bed together and that occasionally makes him softly run a finger over Nick's naked shoulder when he is sleeping and unaware. Craving is what made him say "I love you" right before the doctors pulled them apart.


Back on the road, it's hot and they are in the middle of the desert, strangely almost at the place where this has all started, and Sean is driving. They haven't talked in a while now, Nick has his sunglasses on and is staring out the window, while Sean keeps his eyes on the street and softly sings under his breath with the music on the radio. There still was no discussion about where they are going now. It is Sean's decision, and Nick hasn't asked yet. It doesn't matter anyway, and the feeling of not having a goal, somewhere to go to, is freeing him. They can do whatever they want to, whatever they please, and they have all the time in the world.

He was thinking about them visiting his sister at first but decided against it then. He wants to see Houston. He wants to see Nick's former life, wants to know him through and through before it all turns into dust. So it'll be Texas and Mrs. Nick's mother and her fast food king.

It's strange that for so many months they've been together 24/7 and he hardly knows anything about Nick's life before. He knows Nick sick and in pain, he has stroked Nick's back when he couldn't stop retching for hours, he knows him when the pills are moments from not working any more and Nick is shuddering from the fear of hurting him. When he is lying on the bed and Sean is sitting by the window, the gun in his hand, and they watch each other all night through, too afraid to say a word. He knows Nick when he's happy and making silly jokes, he knows what Nick laughs about, that he can't fall asleep without the TV running, the way he looks like when he finally *is* sleeping. He knows what Nick likes to eat and what not, how he smells, that he frowns when he is cold, that he never gets drunk any more or does drugs because that's what got him into this shit in the first place. He knows the music Nick likes or dislikes, that he hates the movies but sometimes goes in spite of that because Sean likes it so much, and they never talk about it.

But Nick never mentions his life *before*: His friends, girlfriends, family. Nothing except for that one time right when they met, that short "divorce when he was a baby, mother marries the fast food guy, move from D.C. to Houston"-speech he gave. "I could be dead tomorrow," he'd said. But just like there could be no tomorrow, for Nick there has never been a yesterday, there's just now and here, and nothing else matters to him.

"How's the arm? You okay to drive?"

Sean looks at him, surprised. Nick's eyes are hidden behind his sunglasses and he can't make out in what mood he's in.

"Hurts, but it's okay. It's the left, so...," his voice trails off. The way Nick keeps on staring at him from behind the black glasses makes him feel strange. He should ask about the hospital. About how Nick feels, if he is sick again or not, he should say something, do something. Maybe he should explain what he has said in the hospital. But there is nothing to explain actually, nothing to change, to take back or put into the "right perspective," because he meant it just like he`d said it. Truth is, he he's afraid of Nick's answer and of the kick in the shins he'll get sooner or later. The Good-bye-Speech.

"I need coffee," Nick says, and looks out of the window again. "And a donut. Or...maybe a cheeseburger. Anything. I don't care. I'm hungry. Man, I feel as if I haven't eaten for real in months."

"I felt the same way. It'll get better..." He feels uneasy, and it never felt like that between them. Something is off, and he is still afraid to ask the question.


They stop at the first diner they see, not only to eat but also to get out of the heat.

It's cool inside, the air-conditioning is running high, and there's this faint but distinct sound coming from it and filling the place, audible even through the music and the talking of the few other guests. They take a booth far away from everybody else, turning towards it even without having to look at each other, both of them grabbing a menu immediately.

They had gotten used to being on their own, on keeping their voice down, trying not to be suspicious just so the local sheriff won't stop them and ask about the strange pills they are stocking or why they always keep a gun handy. They have spent whole days in large towns, doing low-profile jobs and without talking to anyone but each other. And except of the obvious problem it wasn't such a bad life. It was okay really. He wouldn't want to trade it for anything, not the driving, the motels, the cheap jobs. Nothing at all.

The waitress brings them some water before they even have to ask for it, and nods at Sean when he smiles at her thankfully, even though her eyes obviously are checking out their most obvious wounds.

On the other side of the table, Nick is just sullenly looking into the menu, oblivious to the world around him. He still is like this when Sean has made his order and both of them, he and the waitress, are waiting for something to happen. But it's as if Nick isn't seeing anything, not even the words in front of his face. His eyes are unfocused.

"So," the waitress says at last, "where are you kids going?"

"Houston," Sean answers.

Nick's head is up, and he is staring at him now, and he looks...kind of blank. Without looking at the waitress he at last orders a burger and after that starts watching his fingernails scratching the table in front of him. The waitress looks from one to the other, opens her mouth as if to say something, but in the end just leaves with a shake of her head.

Silence. Just the sound of the music box and the soft humming of other people's voices and the air- conditioning fill the air. Sean presses his hands flat on the table to keep them from shaking. "What's wrong, Nick?"

"Do you remember where I was heading when you picked me up that day?" Nick doesn't look at him.

"I think..."

"Houston," Nick says. "I asked you to let me come till Houston."

It's all falling into place somehow suddenly, and he wonders how he could ever been able to miss this fundamental thing about Nick. How it could just slip under his radar. All that desperation, hiding too well under a few nice, brave words when it had been right under his nose. Nick, who had given up back then and had been on his way back die.

Nick rubs his left thumb over the nails of his other hand. "Hope," he whispers. "You gave me hope. You know that? Survival of the fittest and all that shit I told you back then?... Such a crap. It was hope that made me go on and later it was fear, too, because I just wasn't sure that you could kill me if it ever came to that. So I didn't have another chance but not turn, did I? Fight back."

Finally, he looks up, and there's this slight smile on his face, soft, that goes all through Sean and, of all the parts of his body, makes his *toes* tingle.

"More than that," and now it's Nick's voice, too, that's soft, warm, deep, throaty even, a half-whisper that makes Sean's breathing fast, catch, makes him want things to Nick. "I was afraid that I would have tried to turn you, too. It's a temptation, Sean. Keeping you with me, forever. Forcing you. I had those dreams sometimes, about grabbing you, bending your neck and ripping it open. Not of killing you... you see. Because in those dreams you never screamed or fought back. I forced you, but you let me force you. - I knew you wanted it. I knew... And it was the most exciting feeling. To have that much power over someone else, so he would let you do anything. Such a turn on. God, you can't imagine..."

He closes his eyes, as if remembering. And for one crazy second, Sean wonders if they really got the right Forsaken this time, or if this is a Nick minutes away from turning to a full-fledged Vampire and trying to frighten him away to save him. And the scariest thing is not what Nick is telling him but that it's not working. Sean isn't scared. Sean wouldn't leave, never would. His life doesn't mean a fucking thing to him. His hands are shaking even more, and he takes them off the table and hides them in his lap. His broken arm hurts, and he desperately wants one of his pills. In the car, they are in the car, and he should go and get them. He should get them now and he... shudders as if from being cold from deep within.

"The dreams freaked me out," Nick says. "I was afraid that I could really do it and that part of me only let you come along because of that. Because you were available and always would be. That all it would take was for me not wanting to fight it any more."

Cold. His hands are cold, too. He feels cold inside, as if about to break, and he really needs those pills against the pain.

"That I could one day bite you, drink of you, fuck you...whatever I choose to do. And I wouldn't even need force. You would just let me, Sean. And that was the only reason why I let you stay with me. Because of the turn on."

He doesn't say anything. Instead, he turns his face towards the counter and when the hell is their food ready? When the hell is this stupid waitress going to come back and stop his own personal freaking go-to-hell-Sean show?

"But yesterday," Nick says very softly and calmly, "when they told me I'm not infected any more, I realised it was like this, Sean: I didn't want you to go anywhere anytime without me, not because of the infection, but because I needed you. I would have done anything to keep you, even turn you if it came to that. I was that fucked up. And still... I'm okay now, and I still don`t want you to leave. So if you are trying to go to Houston to dump me at my mother's...fuck you, Sean."

"I need my pills," Sean says, dumbfounded. "My arm hurts. - I..." Sean stops dead. Puts his still shaking arms back on the table. Takes a deep breath. Looks up at Nick. Still no food and the waitress seems to have vanished off the face of earth, but who cares about that anyway?

His okay arm creeps over the table, towards Nick. There's a moment of hesitation, as if he doesn't know what to do, so Sean glances at him from under his lashes, waiting, until Nick's hand moves forward and meets his in the middle. Sean can clasp their fingers together, hard and gripping. The warm skin touching his fights off the cold he was feeling earlier and instead, makes his whole body tingle from anticipation. He licks his lips, listens to his own and Nick's breathing and is just thinking for a moment while holding Nick's hand.

"I want to go and take a room somewhere," he whispers finally. "Yeah...I'd really like that. - What about you?"


Cheeseburgers on the table, forgotten and cold. Sean is on his knees, crouching at the feet of the bed, his hand on Nick's thighs, holding him, while he runs his tongue softly over the half-hard cock in front of him.

It's a good angle, he is thinking, with Nick on his back, his ass at the end of the bed and him between Nick's tangling legs. Sean can hold him down with one hand and doesn't have to put any weight on his broken arm. It's working somehow, even though Sean is writhing under him, trying to get nearer, move, just something. But still Sean has the power to keep this as fast as he wants it, as deep and strong as he wants it. He could suck him forever if he chooses to. At least he likes to think so. The thought of Nick's eyes on him while he is sucking his balls into his mouth and is running his tongue over it, is incredible, and he can feel his own cock swelling and nudging against the bedside in response without him even touching once.

Nick is panting beneath him and pushing his hands through Sean's hair, not trying to fuck his mouth, just petting him, while whispering his name, and Sean rolls the balls in his mouth and works the skin with his tongue as an answer. He turns to the cock again and sucks at the tip, runs his tongue over the slit at the peak and sighs over the slightly bitter taste filling his mouth. The humming makes Nick arch and harden the grip of his fingers. Sean moves his mouth tenderly down the shaft one last time, then he comes up to look into Nick's flushed face and his blazing eyes. Nick pulls him forward, kisses him, wet, deep, licks his mouth from the inside and outside. Over his lips, to his cheek and ear, down to his neck. Sweat everywhere, they are both slippery, hard to grip and touch, but they try anyway, run their hands over each other in a frenzy, as if not knowing where to touch first, until Nick reaches beside him on the bed and takes the lube from where they left it earlier. Panting, Sean watches him spread some on his hand, how he moves forward in his sitting position, reaches down and closes his hand around Sean's cock. At the first touch, Sean is gasping. He presses his eyes together and pushes his head back, trying to get himself under control.

"Okay?" Nick whispers.

Sean is laughing from deep in his throat. "Not exactly...just give me a second, yeah?"

"Yeah." And the sound of the voice sends another shudder through Sean's body.

He lingers there for a moment, in that feeling of Nick's warm, slippery hand on his flesh, keeping him on the verge of orgasm for a long time, until he is able to calm himself down by taking deep breaths in and out. Nods at last. The touch is soft and light when spreading the lube... and maybe that wasn't such a good idea, to let Nick do this. He is nearly laughing at that, but it turns into a groan, when Nick decides he is ready only seconds later and urges him on to move forward, with his legs around his back and his voice, sounding low, dark and needy: "Come on. Sean. Come on."

The hand on him is guiding his cock forward, and Sean opens his eyes and looks again, watches Nick slowly lower himself backwards while spreading his legs wider. The tip of his penis nudges against Nick's opening, and the sight of that finally makes Sean moving with the pulling/pushing on his body.

He forges his way inside, just a bit, feels more than hears Nick gasp from pain, and he stops. But Nick's hand is still on him, and guides him deeper in spite of the shudders going through his body from the strain of taking him in. Heat engulfs him, and they are both gasping, making incoherently sounds, words maybe, but he's not sure.

Even if he'd wanted to, Sean can't stop any more. Nick's hand is gone now, but he is still going in more, pushes until he is buried all the way in and on his first thrusting out and back in again, he is lost forever when Nick squeezes his muscles down around him. Totally lost now and starts fucking hard, deep and fast.

Nick is straining up against him, one arm comes up and clings to his neck until Sean comes down to press their lips together. He feels a tongue being pushed into his mouth and wonders how it would feel on his cock, that insistent moving. Nick's erection is between their bodies, sliding easily from sweat and pre-come, and Sean rocks into Nick's body hard and draws a low moan from him, muffled by their kiss. Feels his tongue being bitten, just slightly, not painfully. It just makes Sean groan into Nick's mouth, and he starts thrusting even harder, lost and forgetting everything except of this, this moment, their body heat and the pressure on him and an arm slung around his shoulders, and suddenly Nick is growling, then half-screaming, choked up, again and again, in sync with Sean's fast rocking, until he comes with one last violent shudder and a deep moan.

Sean doesn't stop. He has his whole weight on his one good arm, trying to keep his broken arm off the mattress somehow, while he is fucking Nick through his orgasm. He can hear his own ragged breathing mixing with Nick's encouragements, grunting right into his ear with that raspy voice.

"don't stop...don't stop" again and again and again. So he doesn't stop, keeps fucking, tries to get closer to Nick, closer, just closer. When he comes at last, Nick has his legs clamped around him, pulls him deeper and is laughing softly to his ear, the most wondrous, happy "Oh god" sound Sean has ever heard him make.


The fingers are soft and warm, tracing lightly over his body, over the cuts and bruises on his arms, his back and his thighs. Nick is sitting naked beside him on the bed, his legs crossed, the face content but at the same time in deep concentration as if he is trying to memorise every inch of Sean's skin at once.

"You've seen me naked so often...," Sean murmurs into the cushion.

Nick's answer is a kiss and a lick on his lower back. "Not like this," he whispers back, and the breathing on his sweaty skin makes Sean shudder and smile at the same time.

"I still want to meet your family and your friends."

He turns his head and reaches for Nick, who lies down beside him, face to face, near enough to kiss.

"hmmm..." An arm closes around his hip and nudges him over. With his head on Sean's shoulder, Nick says: "I wasn't always the good guy I am now, you know."

Sean stifles a laugh.

"I was fucking evil. Sex, drugs and rave parties."

"You've been to *rave* parties?"

"Did I mention the drugs," Nick answers with low grin. "Lots. And. Lots. Of drugs." Sean leans forward and licks his lower lip, and the touch turns into a full-fledged kiss when Nick twists himself a bit up and their mouths are coming together.

Running his hands through Nick's hair, Sean pulls away from him after a while, flushed now. "And what? You think I wouldn't like..."

"No." Careful not to touch Sean's broken arm, Nick is twisting and comes to rest on top of him. Sean opens his legs to give him better access and at the same time thrusts his groin up. Their cocks are sliding against each other, and they both groan. "No," Nick says again, this time sounding just a bit distracted. He slides down Sean's body and finds a nipple to lick on. "I'm nervous what my *friends* might think, you know. - You are...well, such a dork. - And they are so fucking cool." Sean can feel him laugh against his chest.

He sounds embarrassingly affectionate to his own ears when he calls him a "Jerk." and pulls Nick back up. They kiss again, his hand pushing down and coming to rest on Nick's lower back, moving even lower, and he gets fingers between Nick's cheeks. Still slippery down there and a bit sore obviously, because Nick catches his breath before relaxing back into the kiss.

"Did I hurt you?" Sean whispers against the mouth on his, and the only answer he gets is Nick's deliberate push against the fingers on his ass. Two move in easily, and Sean twists and rubs when he finds Nick's prostate, and he gets a nice gasp and a groan in response. Nick has his face into the space between Sean's shoulder and his neck, now and then kissing his collarbone.

"Nick," he murmurs. "Nick..."

For just a moment, he is being distracted by a searching hand between their bodies and after that a rough pull on his erection, turning into soft caressing immediately. Licking his lips, Sean closes his eyes and starts again: "In the hospital, when I said I loved you..."

Nick's moves his head up, his gaze dreamily when their eyes meet.

"I was serious."

"Yeah," Nick whispers back. "Yeah."

Then they kiss again and thrust against each other. Sean replaces his fingers with his cock and after that, he forgets everything, every question he might have had left.


Nick is sitting at the table by the window when Sean wakes up. The sight of him in his underwear, illuminated by the first sunlight of the day makes him remember that morning months ago when they were three minutes from killing their first vampire together, a girl whose name he'd never even found out. But back then, Nick had been holding a gun in his hand and the look on his face had been of serious determination and hardly controlled fear. Now, he is holding a cold, greasy cheeseburger and now and then takes a bite from it. He looks relaxed, happy even and smiles at Sean when he realises he is awake.

"I can't believe you are eating that," He murmurs more to himself than Nick, while he sleepily stretches, clambers out of the bed, and pads towards the bathroom. When he comes back into the room a few minutes later, he is considerably more awake, and Nick has a cup of coffee and a donut ready for him.

"How did you sleep?"

"Like a baby." Sean takes the chair opposite Nick's, sips from the coffee and enjoys the feel of Nick's foot softly rubbing his leg as a good morning greeting. "You?"

"Same here." Again, another grin from Nick, just that this time it lights up his whole face. "And I've been thinking."

"About what?"

"Well, you've got your college degree but trashed your job. I dropped out of college before I even got over my adolescence phase. So what now?"

"You *truly* never thought about the future." It somehow does surprise him, even though Nick had told him so himself. But still he had always somehow expecting Nick to at least *dream* about what could be in the future, if they survive.

"Did *you*?"

"Sometimes." He takes a bit off his donut and drowns it with the coffee.

"And what did you decide?"

"That I don't want to make a decision until I know if you'll be there or not."

Nick has this funny look on his face, as if Sean has just said something really extraordinary, and when he bends over the table, his kiss is soft and warm, with a hint of tooth paste lingering under the taste of coffee and cold cheeseburger.

"Thank you", he whispers into Sean's mouth.

"You are very much welcome." Unwilling, they let go and for a while, neither of them is talking. They just look at each other and now and then Nick's foot nudges against Sean's.

In the end, Sean sips from his coffee again, because he can feel it getting cold in his hand and because he starts feeling ridiculous staring at someone else like that. "So, what where you thinking about?"

"Huh?" Nick makes, as if his thoughts were somewhere far away, and the sight makes Sean grin.

"Well, you said, you've been thinking about what to do now..."

"Oh...." He's laughing. "I'm warning you. It's kind of stupid."

"Try me."

"I was thinking about job, college, a home...all those things. �" And you know what? I don't want it. Not right now."

"What *do* you want?" Sean asks.

"A vacation. You know... just going somewhere without a plan...just *drive*. Enjoy life for a while. Just..."



Again they just look at each other. The rest of the cold cheeseburger and the coffee and the donut are forgotten on the table and Sean repeats what he has done only a few hours ago: He stretches his hand over the table and entwines Nick's fingers with his.

"I'd like that."

A smile is playing around Nick's mouth. "What about your job? Movie business, going where the real money is, living the normal life and all that?"

"You know, normality can go fuck itself," he answers softly.


They pack early the next morning, after blowing each other in front of the toilet. Sean jokingly calls Nick a crazy fuck because he insisted on doing it right there only a minute after watching his pills vanish into the drain. But he does understand how Nick ticks by now and how he celebrates being alive, and this is just one of his more obvious ways. His way of proving that he won. It's not as if Sean actually minded. And when they have their bags in the car half an hour later and he sits waiting behind the steering wheel while Nick is getting them some more coffee and something to eat, he is thinking that life is good somehow. Life is really good, even without a career and a lot of money and everything.


Nick's face is the usual mask of blankness when he gets on the seat beside him and offers a cup of coffee with a muttered "Hot. Be careful." But his eyes...they look at him open and warm and they make him wonder if Nick has ever looked at anyone else just like that. But it's unlikely somehow.

"You do know how I feel about you, don't you?" It's coming out of nowhere and surprises the hell out of Sean, so he doesn't know what to say at first. Finally, he gently strokes the back of his hand against Nick's and the kiss is wet, deep and lingering.

"Yeah," he answers. "Yeah, I do."

It's going to be a hot, dry summer day again. Sean puts on his sunglasses and starts the car, and they keep the windows down and enjoy the warm wind on their faces while he drives just a bit slower than usual.

Because they've got all the time in the world now, because they've got something to lose.