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loving you is muscle memory

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The harsh lights of the hospital room made Neil want to wince. Nothing about hospitals was appealing, everything stark and clinical and cold. Also, if he was ever in a hospital, he was usually in substantial pain. Most things he could fix with a bottle of whiskey, ace bandages and sewing supplies, so a hospital was always a bad sign. The pain meds made the situation less horrible, but it wasn't much of a benefit.

Also the temporary amnesia thing. That was a bitch to handle.

The nurse had been abrupt, but polite, and strangely familiar with him. (Knowing himself, he was probably in the hospital a lot: his life was a little bit hazardous.) Temporary amnesia induced by anesthesia and the aftermath of surgery. Memory should return rapidly, but try not to do stupid things, with a cutting look in Neil's direction.

It was disquieting to have other people with him too, people that weren't his mother. The two that had been in his room when he woke up were still there, sitting in the uncomfortable chairs next to the bed. The brunet who had introduced himself as Nicky was fiddling with his hands nervously. He had tried to instigate conversation in the few minutes after the nurse had left, but the blonde next to him shot him a look and he had shut up.

The blonde was interesting. He had been the first one to notice he was awake, and the one to call the nurse as soon as Neil hadn't recognized the pair. While the nurse was sure to address Neil, she spoke mostly to the blonde about the effects of the amnesia, which was interesting enough. He seemed quiet, but dangerous, the kind of person that Neil should be wary of. Strangely, looking at him, the breadth of his shoulders and the quiet deadly strength he carried, Neil felt safe. Instead of cataloging possible weaknesses, Neil found himself staring at the line of his nose, the curve of his eyelashes, the soft skin of his lips. He wasn't used to noticing those kinds of things. The blonde tilted his head to the side, working out a kink in his neck, exposing a stretch of pale skin on his throat. Neil wanted to press his lips there, to bite down and leave a mark.

“Weird,” Neil breathed out, against his own will. The drugs loosened his tongue, made him speak when he didn't mean to. The brunet- Nicky’s head shot up at his word.

“Why, what's up? Are you okay, do you need anything?” Nicky said, his words spilling out as if they had been blocked by a dam, sentences piling up behind his teeth.

“I’m fine,” Neil said quickly, not missing the looks the pair shot each other. He resolved not to say anything else, his thoughts too embarrassing and potentially revealing to speak. “I was just so sure I didn't swing.” Goddammit.

Nicky’s eyes bulged out, before he fumbled for his phone, probably to record Neil incriminating himself. He almost told him not to, but the blonde turned to face him and the words dried up in the back of his throat. Facing him, Neil was taken aback. His eyes were hazel, but seemed close to gold in certain lighting. His laser focus on Neil made Neil flush slightly, warmth pooling along his cheekbones.

“What?” The blonde said, somehow making the word sound like a demand instead of a question. It was impressive but Neil wasn’t going to break. His mouth was shut.

“I said I thought I didn't swing. This has never happened before,” Neil said, cursing himself in his head. The blonde tilted his head slightly. There was almost no facial discrepancy, but somehow Neil knew that he was confused. “What’s your name?” Neil asked. The blonde narrowed his eyes. God, his eyes were something else.

“Andrew. Why?”

“Andrew,” Neil said wonderingly, rolling the sounds on his tongue. “I like that.”

“Nobody asked.” Andrew said scathingly. The tone was meant to sting, but Neil just felt a wave of overwhelming fondness sweep over him. Neil felt his face break into a somewhat goofy smile, and made very little effort to stop it.

“Get that look off your face, idiot,” Andrew snapped. Neil tried to school his facial features into blankness, but the smile wouldn't go. This gorgeous ornery bastard made him lose control, apparently. His mother would have killed him.

“I can’t.” Andrew’s cheek spasmed the smallest amount at that. Neil chose to interpret it as amusement.

“Try harder.” Andrew’s tone was studiously devoid of any emotion.

“I’m trying, but it’s difficult to control my facial expressions on heavy medication, oh brilliant one,” Neil said, having given up on any pretense of a working brain-to-mouth filter.

“You’re ridiculous,” Andrew said, rolling his eyes.

“And you’re beautiful,” Neil retaliated, before closing his eyes and wincing. Nicky, whose presence Neil had entirely forgotten, made a tiny squeaking noise in his chair. Andrew looked borderline homicidal, but Neil noticed the tiniest blush on his cheeks.

“I really don’t have any control over what I’m saying. Whatever I think just slips out,” Neil said, trying to backtrack. The corner of Andrew’s lips quirked up for a millisecond.

“At least that never changes, no matter how much medication they put you on,” Andrew said wryly and Nicky nodded agreement behind his phone.

“How about an incentive to make you behave? If you talk again, I kill you,” Andrew threatened. Nicky winced in his chair, but made no move to stop Andrew. Power dynamics in play. Neil registered a distinct lack of fear in himself, which really made no sense. Andrew’s coiled control and dangerous words made him terrifying; he was a predator, and Neil had always been prey. Neil should have wanted to run, to hide, to play dead.

“Not the first time someone threatened me with death. It is the first time I've wanted to kiss that person though.” Apparently Neil really believed in pushing his luck. Andrew rolled his eyes and stood up, walking closer to the bed, until he stood over Neil's prone form. Neil would have called it looming, but Andrew was too short for that. Neil found himself smiling again.

“What will it take to make you shut up?” Andrew murmured, leaning his hip against the edge of the bed. His hand fell casually right next to Neil’s on the white sheets.

Neil pretended to consider his options. “A kiss.” Andrew rolled his eyes so hard, Neil was worried for him.

“You have no idea who I am or what I've done. You could despise me and you have no idea, and you're asking me to kiss you?” Andrew said, words sharp and tone sharper.

“I obviously know you well enough for you to be sitting in my hospital room when I woke up, and don't think I didn't notice the nurse only talking to you about my amnesia. The me with memories trusts you with my life. Come on, just one kiss,” Neil wheedled.

“You are on medication, you don't know what you're doing and thus cannot offer consent,” Andrew evaded.

“Now you're just saying stuff. I’m on pain meds, but I haven't said anything I didn't believe, and I know what I'm doing,” Neil said. “Besides,” Neil lowered his voice, forcing Andrew to lean in the slightest bit, “I know that I trust you. I can tell. Don't ask me how or why, but you feel like safety.”

Andrew sighed out loud, infinitely put upon. “You are a menace, did you know that?” He said quietly. His hand moved to cover Neil's on the bedspread. Neil smiled triumphantly.

“That isn't a no,” he said. Andrew leaned forward.

“No it wasn't,” Andrew said, before pressing his lips against Neil's. Neil met him halfway, hand instinctively pushing into Andrew's hair. The kiss felt familiar but new, and Neil loved every second of it. They had obviously kissed before. Nicky was making strange noises in the background, but Neil wasn't exactly paying attention.

Andrew broke from the chaste kiss after a couple of seconds, but before Neil could open his mouth to talk, Andrew had pressed his hand over it.

“The deal was you would shut the fuck up if I kissed you,” Andrew said, blank faced except for the slightest tinge of red on his cheekbones. Neil pouted for a second before closing his mouth. The excitement of the interaction had faded, leaving Neil exhausted. His eyes began drooping.

Andrew moved his hand away from Neil's face to push it through his hair instead.

“Go the fuck to sleep, junkie,” Andrew said, the last thing Neil heard before closing his eyes and succumbing to exhaustion.