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“I should go. It’s getting late.” But Keith is looking down, away, a flush on his cheeks. Is it from the cold? Or is it from my proximity?

“Let me walk you home. It’s late.” The offer spills from my lips before I could stop it but- we had a nice time tonight. We didn’t bicker for the first time in a year, and every time I found my eyes drawn to him (again), his violet gaze was already upon me.

Keith fidgets with his gloves, indecision writ in the way he shifts his weight, in the way he won’t meet my gaze, in the way he keeps a small but safe distance. So I do what feels right: I step into his comfort zone even as my mind insists, “Lance this is a bad idea, abort, abort.” Dammit, Keith was supposed to be the one with impulse issues!

My hand reaches for his, brushes his fingers lightly, an invitation. “Please? I missed you.”

His eyes snap up at that, equal parts hurt and surprised. “You broke up with me, remember?” He finally hisses, jerking away.

And my heart falls, because he is right, I know he is, but, but but-

“I know,” and I wish my voice didn't sound so broken, but hell, his gaze is locked with mine again, and I can already imagine the walk back to his place, our old patterns resurfacing- I can see in the way his eyes flick to my lips he’d invite me in- I can see myself pulling his sweater over his head and- “Please Keith. Forgive me. I- you broke my heart too, dropping out like that. I didn’t know what else to do. We chose that school together, and then when you decided out of the blue- I didn’t know what to think, I just felt, and I felt it was because of me, because you didn’t want to be with me anymore-”

“It’s not my fault you didn’t want to talk it through.” Keith’s voice is low but there is still an undercurrent of anger, of heartbreak. “If you had just let me explain-” He stops and runs a hand through his hair (how does it look the same? After all this time?). “Lance. Lance.”

And it’s in the way he says my name that gives me the courage to grasp his fingers again. “If you want, we can try again. Fresh start. I’m desperate, I’m lonely, and I’ll be honest: ever since last year when I broke up with you, I haven’t been the same. Ask Hunk. There was just this…piece missing from me, from my life, and I tried to fill it, I did. And I know you and I weren’t perfect, but fuck, I will give anything to try again with you. Because as much as we fought, as much as we disagreed, or drove each other crazy- I knew I could always trust you to be there for me. And, Keith, babe, you’re not my home, I see that now. You’re a person: beautiful, and flawed, and wonderful. And I don’t know if I can keep on existing without you in my life. But, you know, that’s only if you want to start over. With me.”

I’ve always been known as the guy-who-talks-a-lot, but even that confession has me breathless and out of words. And I can feel myself about to ramble on, because Keith is giving me this look, and I can’t decipher it, I never could tell what he was thinking, and he’s not much of a talker, more of someone who expresses himself physically, and yeah, that was hard because god, I always wanted him to tell me that he loved me the way I told him, but I see now, he did, but always in his own way: with unexpected kisses, and morning hugs, and knowing my coffee order, and letting me sleep in on Sundays. And all these little things added up to a grand, sweeping, love confession that I was always too blind to see.

I just hope I’m not too late.

I open my mouth to- to say what? I don’t even know at this point, anything to fill the silence, when Keith squeezes my hand and leans up to plant a kiss on my cheek. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but also, not what I was expecting, either.

“Okay. You can walk me home.”

And I feel his smile in my bones.