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Dylan’s making scrambled eggs with bacon bits and red potatoes and cheese all in the same pan when Posey walks in.  It’s four in the afternoon and there are creases on the side of his face from his pillow.  He yawns and rubs his nose, flopping down on the cushion like the walk from his bedroom to the couch has completely exhausted him.

Dylan turns off the stove and lets the pan cool long enough that he can use it as a plate.  He considers getting a fork before shrugging and deciding a spatula is just like a big, less effective fork anyway.

Some of the cheese isn’t melted enough and it’s burned in some places and the potatoes aren’t cooked evenly but it’s exactly what he wants hungover and feeling like shit.

Posey stretches, scratches his stomach.  He looks over at Dylan and waggles his eyebrows.  “You and Hoechlin then?” he says nonchalantly.

Dylan’s heart lodges itself in his throat and he ducks his head.  He chokes out, “You heard us.”  It’s not really a question as much as it is a horrified declaration.

Posey nods, grinning.  “Made easier by the fact that you guys were not even a little bit quiet.”

Dylan closes his eyes with a pained groan.  He knocks his knee into Posey’s.  “Sorry, man.”

Posey waves him off.  “All’s forgiven.”

Dylan chews slower and he doesn’t really taste the food anymore.  Posey leans forward and smiles and Dylan can read in the curve of his mouth and the brilliance of his eyes how thrilled Posey is for him.  Dylan can’t deny that it’s nice to have that, however misplaced it is.

“So,” Posey shakes his knee, grinning madly, “how was it?  Tell me he’s got a tiny dick,” he says suddenly, “if only to balance the universe.”

Dylan snorts.  “The universe remains unfairly unbalanced,” he pauses, that is a lot of ‘un’ in one sentence.  It’s probably subconscious because he’s feeling very ‘un’ at the moment.  ‘Un’ everything.  He pops his mouth and adds thoughtfully, “Un.”  Posey isn’t fazed by his non-sequiturs anymore and he doesn’t even draw attention to it.  Dylan puts his pan off on the coffee table.  He wipes his palms down his thighs.  “It was… yeah.”  He rubs his chin as he remembers Hoechlin’s fingers digging into his biceps, holding him down and fucking into him.  “Best sex,” he tells Posey honestly.  He grins, “and there was some really good sex there to compete with.  Weak in the knees, complete breath-knocked-out, black-out-at-orgasm sex.”

Posey laughs, slaps him on his thigh like a proud papa.  Which is just… weird.

Dylan ruffles the back of his hair and tries to smile.  He’s sure it comes off as more of a grimace.  “He, uh, he doesn’t want it to happen again though.”

Posey freezes.  He moves stiffly and carefully, like if he isn’t too blatant with it he can slip back into the time before the words were said and make them untrue.  Dylan knows, because he has weird-ass thoughts like that, too.  Posey leans forward slowly, with his elbows on his knees.  He says, eyes hooded, “Did not sound like that last night.”

Dylan shrugs and he doesn’t want to talk about this.  He wishes Posey hadn’t heard them, that only he and Hoechlin were privy to his complete and utter humiliation.  But he knows the embarrassment is only temporary.  He might want to talk about it one day and then he’ll be glad he isn’t alone in knowing it, that he doesn’t have to break Hoechlin’s confidence to get it off his chest.  He pushes the leftover egg around in the pan with his spatula.  “You know, he’s got a girlfriend and God in his veins or something so, yeah, it was a mistake.”

Posey wraps his hand around Dylan’s forearm and squeezes.  “That sucks saggy, wrinkled balls, man,” he says profoundly.

And, yeah, it totally and completely does because Dylan has been madly and stupidly in love with Hoechlin forever and he finally gets a shot with him and Hoechlin tells him it doesn’t mean anything.  And it means everything.  So.  Yeah.  Simultaneously the best and worst twenty-four hours of his life and right now he’s never felt lower.

Posey frowns and pulls his attention back.  “You okay, dude?”

Dylan looks up and it’s like there are cracks in his finish, he can practically feel his eyes dull and his smile wobbles and he’s… cracked.  He nods but says with a strange, dark laugh that doesn’t feel like his, “Not even a little bit.”

Posey rocks himself out of his seat and springs forward to wrap an arm around his shoulders.  “Yeah,” is all he says but it’s all Dylan really needs to hear anyway.

 


 

He doesn’t act weird.  And he knows he doesn’t act weird because he focuses all his efforts towards not acting weird.  He avoids Hoechlin more often than not, which is made easier by Hoechlin avoiding him in return.

When they do have a scene or an interview together, Dylan is professional and he smiles in all the right places and he doesn’t act like he and Hoechlin aren’t the great friends they’ve always been.  Then he leaves, sits in his trailer with his forehead resting on his fist and his legs jouncing up and down and tries to calm himself with long, shaky breaths.  Now just coming within five feet of Hoechlin is enough to leave him feeling jittery and nauseous and Hoechlin is no better.

His perpetual smile is turned to its dimmest setting whenever he’s around Dylan and he can’t seem to do much more than stare at him squinty-eyed and shrewd until they find an excuse to walk away from each other.  All conversation they do manage is superficial and never engaged in if it’s only the two of them.

And it sucks because, aside from Posey, Hoechlin was the person he was closest to on set and now they can’t even look each other in the eye.  Dylan had used to love coming to work so much that it pretty much never felt like work and now he doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.  How is this his life?

He almost wishes it had never happened, only he can’t quite bring himself to regret seeing Hoechlin come apart above him.  Feeling Hoechlin’s stubble against his neck, his hands curving over Dylan’s hips, his raw strength thusting into him, his mouth hot and wet against Dylan’s own.  Dylan closes his eyes and snorts.  What the fuck will it take to be rid of him already?

 


 

Filming wraps for the first half of the season and Holland and Posey arrange for this massive bonfire on the beach, just the cast and crew.  There’s a large part of Dylan that doesn’t want to go but Posey won’t stand for it.  He drags him there, pushes a red solo cup full of something that smells like death into his hand and claps him on the back.

He’s fun for absolutely as long as he can stand it and then he sits on the beach in the sand and observes the fun.  Only Max, Charlie and Daniel are insane enough to be swimming right now.  It’s down in the sixties and Dylan is comfortable in his hoodie and cargo pants, staring up at the moon and sipping at his drink.  Which tastes like death too.  He’s poured a lot of it out on the beach.

He wraps his arms around his knees, effectively trapping himself from a quick getaway when a gruff voice says from just behind him, “Didn’t know you’d be here.”

Dylan can hear Crystal shriek from far away.  He looks back over his shoulder towards the bonfire in time to see Posey lift her up and threaten to run her into the water.  He’s the only one distracted as Hoechlin hasn’t looked away from him since he decided to awkwardly stand by his shoulder like a full-grown parrot.

Dylan shrugs and tightens his fingers around the lip of his cup.  He won’t be drinking any more of the battery acid death drink tonight.  The memory of the last time he was drunk with Hoechlin stark in his mind.

He thinks Hoechlin might have had the same idea, as Dylan’s mostly sure he’s been nursing the same beer the whole night.

Dylan ruffles the back of his hair, watches the waves rolling in.  “Yep.  I’m like persistent mold, man.  Can’t get rid of me.”  He tries to smile but it’s weak.  Hoechlin comes to a decision and settles in next to him, a strip of cold sand all that’s separating them.  Hoechlin’s in flip-flops, cargo shorts, a hoodie and a UC Irvine baseball cap like he can’t decide what temperature he’s preparing for.  Dylan would bet his toes are freezing at least.  Hoechlin takes a sip of his beer, apparently content to sit on the beach with the biggest downer at the party.  Dylan makes sure to say quickly, “Oh, you don’t have to like—”

“Dylan,” Hoechlin cuts him off sharply.  Dylan looks over at him and he says with a slight smile, “Shut up.”

“Yep.”  Dylan mock salutes with two fingers.  “Message received.”

The waves are crashing in slow and unhurried and Max and Charlie are dunking each other in the water, running back and forth on the beach in their shorts.  They’re absolutely insane and Dylan doesn’t know how they haven’t succumbed to hypothermia yet but they’re entertaining.  He wraps his palm around the toes he doesn’t have buried under his thigh and rests his cheek against his knee.  He can vaguely hear Posey crooning in the distance and Crystal laughing.

“It was the last thing I wanted, you know,” Hoechlin says carefully and Dylan startles.  He’d all but forgotten he was there.  Hoechlin looks over at him and his gaze is serious and focused.  He swallows, clarifies, “To lose you.”

Dylan feels his heart stutter in his chest and he’s suddenly much more awake.  “You haven’t lost me,” he says and his tongue feels thick in his mouth.

Hoechlin shrugs and he’s staring down at his own feet.  He looks up at the waves and says tightly, “It feels like it.”

Dylan swallows and admits, “Maybe you lost me for a little bit then.”  He looks over at Hoechlin and his beard’s scruffy and it looks odd on cheeks that aren’t full with a smile as his almost always are.  He’s kind of beautiful in a really understated way, the way he’s dressed down and the moonlight is drenching his back, and that’s new because Hoechlin’s beauty is pretty much exclusively the in your face kind.  Dylan feels his mouth go dry and he hates how hard this is, how unfair it is to Hoechlin that he can’t just let it go.  He smiles and it’s small but real.  He promises, “But I’m a boomerang, man, we’ll get back to it.”

Hoechlin twists his beer bottle in his large hands, his eyes pinched tight and he snorts to himself.  “A boomerang made of persistent mold?” he says, bobbing his head as he turns his grin on Dylan.

And Dylan’s smile widens.  Because Hoechlin is one of the few people who actually listens to everything he says when he talks.  Because Dylan talks a lot and about stupid things and sometimes in ways that he designs to be subsumed by other conversation.  But Hoechlin never misses a beat of it.  Dylan grins and says, “Same as saying ‘Dylan O’Brien,’ they’re synonymous, dude.”

Hoechlin laughs and, fuck, but Dylan has missed that sound.

 


 

It doesn’t fix anything, not really.  It gets a little less like his chest has an anvil sitting on it when he has to interact with Hoechlin and he doesn’t actively avoid him as much but it’s still nothing like it was.  Given the choice between going somewhere Hoechlin is bound to be and sitting on his butt at home, alone, he’s still going to choose the latter every time.

He can see on Posey’s face that he’s gearing up to say something Dylan isn’t going to like and there’s really only one subject that’s off limits between them.  Posey moans dramatically, “It’s been, like, a million years.”  Four months, Dylan thinks, and, yeah, that’s basically the same.  Posey wags a faux-stern finger at him.  It’s covered in Doritos dust.  “I think you’ve mourned your one night with Hoechlin long enough.”

Dylan rolls his eyes.  “It wasn’t one night.  It was over a year of pining culminated in one night of passion.”  He feels it’s important to make that distinction.  He’s not really sure why.  It doesn’t make him sound any less pathetic.

Posey clearly agrees.  “You sound like a romance novel.”

“You sound like a stoner,” Dylan shoots back.

Posey’s grin is blinding.  “You are what you eat.”

Dylan sinks down into the seat next to him on the couch, digs his fingers into Posey’s Doritos and shoves a handful into his mouth.  He waits until he’s got the mass of chips in his mouth mostly under control, enough that he’s not going to accidentally spew crumbs, and says, “I’m assuming there was a reason for dredging up the incredibly painful knowledge of how long it’s been since Hoechlin and I fucked?”

He can practically see Posey’s brain come to a stuttering halt.  Dylan doesn’t talk about it that bluntly and he’s never admitted how much it hurt.  How much it still hurts.  He’s not sure why he’s done it now, only that it’s Posey.

Posey coughs, possibly choking on a sharp-edged chip, and kicks his feet up on the coffee table.  He hits Dylan in the chest with the back of his hand in a brotherly fashion.  And Dylan gets it.  Solidarity, man.  Solidarity.  “Seana has a rad girl for you.”

Dylan perks a brow and says uneasily, “She’s not gonna hand me, like, a Barbie doll or something, right?”

Posey dissolves into a fit of giggles.  “Dude, what?”

Dylan shrugs.  “I don’t know, just, the way you said that: ‘she has a girl for you.’  Kind of made it sound like the girl came pre-packaged or something.”

Posey’s laughter goes higher pitched.  He shakes his head and claps him on the thigh.  “You are so fucking weird, man.”

Dylan sighs and lets his head drop down against the back of the couch.  It’s true that he can’t keep pining over Hoechlin.  He’s pathetic enough as it is.  It isn’t even so much that he wants Hoechlin anymore, as much as it is that he doesn’t want anyone else.  He rubs his eyes and says heavily, “Yeah, fine, I’ll meet Seana’s ‘rad girl.’”

Posey perks up and says brightly, “That’s the spirit, dude!” and tells him all about Seana’s friend, Jena, who’s witty and soothing and totally the girl to get him over fucking his most epic crush to date – all Posey’s words.

Dylan grins at him and tries to believe it.

 


 

The thing is, Posey likes Hoechlin.  They share a first name.  It’s, like, a lifelong bond.  But he broke Dylan’s heart, into pretty much an infinite number of pieces.  And Posey knows they’re infinite because, just when Dylan thinks he’s good, he finds another piece of it.  Posey watches Dylan go to work and act professional and smile this battered smile at Hoechlin when they have to see each other and Posey forgets that he likes Hoechlin.  Because, in those moments, he doesn’t.

Jena is cool and she likes Dylan and his awkward humor and his strange brand of self-conscious confidence.  Seana brings her to set when she visits and Dylan rushes over to spend time with her and it’s good.  He entertains like only Dylan knows how and calls Jena ‘Jeana’ – a nod to the story she’d told about her and Seana that first double date.  Because Dylan can really kill it when he wants to.

Posey’s so caught up in watching him that he doesn’t realize he’s not the only one doing so until something slams down next to him.  Hoechlin’s leaning against the service table, back turned to Dylan now, and he’s breathing hard.  He looks shaky and half-sick.

Posey worries his jaw and contemplates keeping his thoughts to himself for half a second before telling him, low and harsh, “It could’ve been you.”  Hoechlin flinches.  “He wanted it to be you.  You’re the one who didn’t want to be with him,” Posey reminds him because it was a shitty thing and Hoechlin deserves to have that rubbed in his face.  Dylan would never do it and Posey is the only other person who knows so it falls to him.  He shrugs his shoulders and squints over at Dylan holding court with Jena and his fiancée.  “How long did you think I was going to let him sit around hung up on you?  He’s my best friend, he deserves better than that.”

Hoechlin doesn’t say anything.  He draws up his shoulders with the next breath he takes and leaves.  Posey’s not sure whether to feel sad or victorious.

 


 

Dylan’s sitting on the roof of his building, legally drinking a beer – and he’s pretty sure that should have lost its luster by now.  It hasn’t.  He’s staring up at the hole-punched sky on one of those rare nights when you can actually see it, letting his eyes go unfocused.  The door opens, the creak so loud it scrapes against his spine, and thuds back against the brick keeping it open.  He turns, expecting to see a neighbor or a couple of lusty teenagers when Hoechlin turns his head and spots him.

Dylan sits up ramrod straight in his deck chair and nearly fumbles the beer out of his hand in his surprise.  Hoechlin holds up a case of beer in one hand and a massive bag of Funyuns in the other.

Dylan swings his feet off the end of the chair.  It’s one of those reclining deck chairs.  Dylan and Posey had cleverly and laboriously stolen it from a hotel pool area a year or so ago and Dylan likes to tell himself they’ve outgrown doing shit like that now.  He doesn’t believe it even when he says it.  He has it set on one of the lowest notches so he’s at like a twenty-five degree angle.  He’s put a twin-size mattress topper over it so it isn’t even the most uncomfortable thing ever anymore.  The only other things up there are his own six-pack and a milk crate with an ashtray for when he and Posey come up here and smoke joints.

Hoechlin moves the ashtray and sits down on top of the crate.  He rubs the back of his neck like he’s embarrassed.  “You didn’t answer the buzzer.  Figured you were up here.”

Dylan has no idea what he’s supposed to say to that.  He has no idea what Hoechlin is doing here.  They don’t just hang out.  Not now.

He rips into the case at his feet and offers a Rolling Rock to Dylan, who can only stupidly hold up his still half-full Mich Ultra.  “Hey, so.”  Hoechlin bites his lip, pops the tab.  “You said we’d get back to it, right?” he says carefully and shrugs his shoulders.  “We haven’t yet.”

Dylan looks between the peace offerings Hoechlin’s brought and smiles to himself, shaking his head.  Hoechlin’s trying, and that’s got to count for something.  He snorts.  “Beer and Funyuns?  If this doesn’t do it, I don’t think anything will.”  He reaches down and tears open the bag of Funyuns.  He thinks he hears Hoechlin sigh in relief.

Hoechlin spends the first half hour alternating between sitting and standing up and staring down over the side of his roof to the street below.  Eventually Dylan rolls his eyes and pats the long end of his deck chair that he purposefully hasn’t put his feet back up on.

Hoechlin finally sits down next to him and it’s weird.  Because Dylan is leaning against the chair’s back so he’s kind of forced to stare at Hoechlin.  He reaches down and drags out a handful of Funyuns from the bag between them and they talk about work and the apartments Hoechlin’s been looking at and Dylan’s next project and it’s the most at ease they’ve been with each other in six months.

Three beers later, and Hoechlin is leaning his shoulder and back against Dylan’s shins.  It’s everything Dylan can do to stop himself from parting his legs and letting Hoechlin settle between them, Dylan’s chest pressed up against his back.  He coughs and Hoechlin runs a hand down his stubbly face.

He pushes Dylan’s hip to scoot him to one side, stretches out, and lays down next to him and there really is not enough room for that.  Dylan’s shoulder gets shuffled on top of Tyler’s and they’re pressed together all along their sides.  And that is so fucking unfair Dylan kind of wants to cry.  “Dude, what—”

Hoechlin sounds sleep-drunk and his voice is heavy and languid.  “Dylan,” he says and he turns onto his side so he can stare at him unblinkingly.  He swallows and looks down between them, lost.  “You have to know, if I hurt you, I didn’t.  I—I am so sorry.”  He says the words slowly and carefully, like he’s practiced them, like he doesn’t want to forget any of it.  “That is absolutely the last thing I wanted to do.  I care about you so much and you are such a good friend to me and I—”

Dylan’s hand cuts through the air like a switch and he says sharply, “Dude, could we just like, I don’t know, put a moratorium on talking about it?”

Hoechlin looks momentarily gutted and he says, “Yeah, sure, I.”  But he clearly can’t just let it sit because he’s manned up and broached the subject and something has to come out of that.  Dylan can relate.  He sits up and covers his face with his hand.  “I just feel like I fucked everything up,” he says hoarsely.

Dylan sits up too.  He rubs a hand over Hoechlin’s shoulder, soothing and warm.  He squeezes before he lets go.  “You didn’t.  It’s probably for the best that we got it out of the way, you know.”  He looks away and the veins in his neck strain.  “I would have crushed on you forever if I hadn’t, I don’t know, gotten my chance with you?  I’m sorry if I’ve been,” he shrugs, “weird about it or whatever.”

Hoechlin pulls Dylan’s face back around and his eyes are bright.  “I was harsh,” he says, no room for argument.

Dylan feels his heart thump hard in his chest.  He doesn’t want to talk about this, he doesn’t want to remember this.  It was hard enough dealing with it once, waking up after having absolutely everything he’d wanted for well over a year with Hoechlin and finding him a tense bundle of muscle next to him, jaw working over time as he spat out, ‘You can’t tell anyone about this.’  His throat feels sandpaper-rough.  “You were freaked.  It’s cool.”

Hoechlin shakes his head and grabs Dylan’s shoulder and shakes it a little.  “It’s not an excuse.”

Dylan swallows and it scrapes all the way down.  “Tyler,” he croaks.  He stares down at his shoes.  “You reacted better than most dudes in your position would’ve.”

Hoechlin grips his shoulder harder and his gaze gets even more intense.  “I don’t want—”

Dylan works his jaw for a second, and squeezes the neck of his bottle between his fingers.  “Dude,” he says tightly, “moratorium.  Can we?”  He takes a swig and it’s gotten warm and it tastes like ass.  He drinks it anyway.

Hoechlin looks like he wants to argue before his shoulders slump and he huffs out, defeated, “Yeah.”

 


 

It’s ridiculous that nearly eight months after the one time they’ve slept together, they’re still walking on eggshells around each other but that’s where they’re at and Dylan knows it’s mostly on him.  He bounds up to where Holland, Posey and Hoechlin are standing together and claps Hoechlin on the shoulder with a grin.  He makes a show of getting between them and they all grin at his antics.  He keeps his hand on Hoechlin’s back and says brightly, “What are we talking about?”

Hoechlin’s smile falters a little and he says awkwardly, not meeting anyone’s eyes, “Oh, um.  Brittany and I are talking about moving in.  Together.”

“Dude, that’s awesome,” Dylan enthuses.  And in a way it kind of is.  It sucks, it definitely sucks, but at the same time it’s the final nail in the if-maybe-someday fantasy Dylan hadn’t even realized he still had.

Hoechlin grins and Dylan can tell he’s genuinely pleased by the authentic reaction.  “Yeah?” he says, stupidly happy, cheeks all round and smiley.

Dylan squeezes the juncture where Hoechlin’s shoulder meets his neck and says with an indulgent grin, “Of course.”  Posey’s watching him carefully so Dylan props his hip up against the counter and turns so he’s talking only to Hoechlin.  “Would you get a whole new place, do you think?”

Hoechlin shrugs and his cheeks are nearly dimpled with how wide he’s smiling.  “I don’t know.  I’m trying to talk her into moving in with me.”

Dylan nods solemnly and says with exaggerated seriousness, “I understand not wanting to give up prime real estate like that.”

Hoechlin laughs and quips instantly, “Exactly.”

Dylan watches the way Hoechlin’s cheeks fill out and his eyes crinkle and his hand smooths over his scruff and it feels like letting go.  It doesn’t hurt as much as he thought it would.

 


 

Posey feels half-dead when he finally gets done filming and he doesn’t even notice Hoechlin’s in the staff kitchen with him until he says with gruff (and feigned) nonchalance, “Where’s Dyl?”

Posey decides not to call him out on the fact that he is literally the last dude in the world who gets to ask after Dylan.  He’s given him enough shit, he thinks.  Dylan seems better about it and he’s even dating a little so Posey purposefully sets aside the frosty attitude he’s been occasionally throwing Hoechlin’s way.  He yawns and tells him, “Some interview for The Maze Runner.”  And he can’t help his grin.  Damn but he’s just so fucking happy for and proud of Dylan.  “That’s why we filmed all his shit the last two days because he’s out promoting for, like, the rest of the week, I think.”

Hoechlin’s tense when he bites back, “Oh.”

Posey totally gets it.  Dylan’s clearly become the ‘it’ actor of Teen Wolf and, yeah, it will be an embarrassingly short while before he’s outgrown it.  “Dude’s taking off,” Posey says.  “Jeff’ll be lucky if he can keep him another two seasons.”  He shrugs.  “That’s my guess for how long we’ve got him at most.”

Hoechlin freezes.  “You think Dylan would leave?” he says tightly, barely unclenching his teeth.

Posey shrugs again.  “I think eventually there’s going to be an offer he can’t refuse.  They’re gonna say, ‘Dylan, you would make a perfect Deadpool’ and he’s gonna say, ‘Stiles who?’”  He snorts and glances over at Hoechlin, adding seriously, “Can’t think of anyone who deserves it more though.”

Hoechlin’s shoulders are still strung up tight when he grunts out, “Yeah, right.”

 


 

Dylan is very much not expecting Hoechlin to be on the other side of his door at eleven o’clock on a Tuesday night.  He’s been acting… off since last week and Dylan has no idea what to make of it.  Hoechlin’s hands clench and unclench at his sides and he makes no move to come in, only glares at some spot in the middle of Dylan’s torso.  Eventually he practically snarls out, “Are you going to leave the show?”

Dylan feels blindsided.  “Uh, hi.  What?”

Hoechlin huffs, runs a hand through his hair.  “It’s a show on MTV about werewolves and it’s full of plotholes and nonsense and I know it’s lame so are you going to leave?”

“Um.”  Dylan shifts uncomfortably on his feet and furrows his brow.  “Not that I know of.”

Hoechlin pushes past him and he’s like a step away from manic.  “I mean, I know you’re not leaving right now,” he gets out, frustrated, “but would you?  Leave.  If you got a better offer?”

Dylan shrugs.  He hasn’t really thought about it.  So far every offer he’s gotten has already taken into account his shooting schedule with Teen Wolf.  No one’s asked him to set it aside.  “I don’t know, maybe.  If Jeff asked me to stay though, I probably would.  I mean, I wouldn’t have any offers if he hadn’t taken a chance on an acting-virgin like me, right?”  Hoechlin still looks lost in his own melodrama and it’s a while before he looks up and pins Dylan with an incisive stare.  “Hoechlin, what?”

Hoechlin lets out an explosive breath, drops down on the arm of Dylan’s sofa and says with gross sincerity, “I don’t want to do this without you.”

Dylan’s breath catches and he kind of hates Tyler for saying it but he gets it.  He thinks he gets it.  He touches Hoechlin’s shoulder and he shouldn’t have because he doesn’t mean it as a friendly touch and that’s a massive step backwards for him.  It doesn’t help that Hoechlin instantly relaxes at the feel of it.  “I don’t think that’s something you have to worry about, dude,” he says honestly, kind of hating himself for how much he means it.

 


 

The second half of the season wraps and Holland throws a massive party at her place for all of them.  Even Colton comes and, for Posey, it’s like all the good things in the world in one place.  Hoechlin and Dylan have even been at their most normal since nearly eleven months ago now.  They’re like ninety-five percent back and Posey just hopes they’ve both learned their lesson about sleeping with a co-star.  Because even if everyone else didn’t know what had gone on between them, they still knew enough to get that something was off and the uncomfortable tension was pretty impossible to miss, even for the most oblivious among them.

One glance at Hoechlin though says the lesson really hasn’t been learned.  Posey’s been drinking for a good while now and so he has no ability to ease into it and just snaps, “Don’t look at him like that.”

Hoechlin tears his eyes away from where Dylan is dancing with Holland and Colton, looking a little dazed.  He licks his lip.  “Like what?” he hedges, like that’s fooling anyone.

Posey’s face hardens and he says bluntly, “Like you’ve seen him naked and you want to again.”  Seriously, the last person in the world who gets to look at Dylan like that now is Hoechlin.  Hoechlin looks away but he doesn’t deny it.  Posey punches him lightly in the shoulder.  “He’s getting over you, dude.  Let him.”  He knows he probably sounds like he’s begging but he doesn’t care.  Dylan doesn’t need to get fucked up over this all over again and Posey won’t forgive Hoechlin this time if he doesn’t let it lie.

 


 

Dylan’s still spectacularly awkward in interviews.  It still seems to him like his interviewers aren’t really asking him questions so much as they’re enjoying the sound of their own voice.  Most times he can barely get a word in edgewise even when he’s flying solo.  The woman sitting across from him now at least has a really nice smile even if she can’t shut up.  Finally she asks, “So, you’re the star of feature films now?  Are you tempted to give up Teen Wolf in favor of bigger and better projects?” and slows down enough for him to actually answer.

He isn’t going to fight over her own one-way banter to get his responses in.  He remembers Hoechlin showing up at his apartment, months ago now, and asking the same question.  He knows the answer now.  “You know, I get to goof around every day on set with some of the absolute best people in the world and get paid for it.  There’s not really much that’s bigger or better than that.”

 


 

The next season of Teen Wolf starts in a week and Jeff throws a backyard barbeque for them all to come together after months apart and Dylan is so fucking glad he managed to break away from all the Glimmer press so he could make it.  Last year, he hadn’t gotten to see any of the guys, or girls, until their first interview for Comic-Con and that majorly blew.  Hoechlin comes up to him when he’s working the grill and stands silently at his side.  Dylan pokes him in the stomach with the butt-end of his tongs and grins.  “Hey, man.  I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”

Hoechlin shrugs.  “Been kind of keeping my distance.”  He squints over his shoulder, back towards the house, and stares at something Dylan can’t make out from where he’s at.  “Posey’s less forgiving than you.”

Dylan laughs.  Posey can be a bit hard-headed about shit and Dylan respects and appreciates that he’s protective but he tends not to know when enough is enough.  He gives Hoechlin a semi-abashed, semi-amused look.  “Yeah.  He can be a bit like a pit bull when he gets an idea in his head.  Sorry about that.”  He lifts a shoulder.  “I hope he hasn’t been too hard on you.”

“Nothing I couldn’t handle,” Hoechlin says magnanimously.  He shoots a quick side-eye look at Dylan and lowers his head.  He kicks at the dirt with the toe of his shoe and says softly, “Nothing I didn’t deserve.”

Dylan doesn’t know how to tell him that that isn’t true and make it sound genuine.  It took him a while but he finally gets that a lot of the shit that went down fell entirely on him.  The main point of it, though, came down to: Hoechlin got to not want Dylan back.

It doesn’t make him an asshole because he’d rather fuck chicks.  Yeah, maybe he shouldn’t have taken Dylan to bed but they’d both been pretty shitty at the time and Dylan stands by what he’d said nearly a year ago now.  He never would have had a hope of giving up on Tyler if he hadn’t gotten something with him.  He knows Hoechlin wouldn’t believe him if he said as much though.  He’d just think Dylan was being nice or whatever.  So he opts to change the subject entirely.  He looks around just to confirm it, flips a burger and says, “I didn’t see Brittany.”

Hoechlin’s mouth purses.  “We split up,” he says simply.  “A few months ago.”

Dylan feels like an asshat.  He tends not to keep up much on everyone when he’s post-Teen Wolf and working on other projects, aside from Posey at least and that’s mostly because Posey doesn’t let him lose touch.  He wonders if they ever moved in together or not, he can’t remember if he ever heard the follow up to that.  “Oh man, I’m sorry,” he says seriously.  “I didn’t know.  That’s-that’s shitty, I know you two were close.”

Hoechlin smiles tightly and he looks uncomfortable.  “Still are, thankfully.”

“Still,” Dylan impresses.  “That sucks, dude.”

Hoechlin nods and watches him grill his burger, taking a sip of beer.  “Yeah.”

 


 

After that, Hoechlin’s just there.  Like he always was.  Taking the spot next to Dylan during interviews, praising him and his talent and his character, and they’re getting the comment from fans again about Tyler’s heart eyes when he looks at Dylan.  And, yeah, once upon a time Dylan had thought that meant that the interest flowed both ways but now he knows it’s standard Hoechlin so he tries not to let it get to him.

This was just Hoechlin and it was the way he’d always been with Dylan until they’d fucked things up, tactile and warm and supportive, and Dylan is just going to have to get used to it all over again.  At least he knows it isn’t leading to anything so there aren’t going to be any mixed messages on his end this time.

They get back to work and Hoechlin and Posey pull a mondo prank on him that first week and the cast really feels like a family again.  Hoechlin stands next to him when they all laugh and joke together between scenes and Dylan purposefully throws improv in there designed to make Hoechlin crack up.

They even hang out in Santa Monica just the two of them, drive down so Hoechlin can try to teach him to surf, again, and it doesn’t even hit Dylan how potentially awkward it could have been until the next day.  Hoechlin is just his friend again, admittedly his goddamn gorgeous friend whose cock has been inside Dylan, but still just his friend and – despite everything – that feels really nice to have again.

Hoechlin dunks his head under the surf after Dylan tugs on his surfboard leash and topples him over and they throw clumps of sand at each other and laugh like idiots and, yeah, Dylan thinks, this could be enough.

 


 

It’s Posey who introduces them and it’s his first even semi-serious relationship since Hoechlin.  Lindsey is ridiculously nice and she’s sarcastic and not afraid to not look pretty at all times and she eats like a human being instead of a bird and she’s gorgeous.  Dylan’s kind of completely infatuated with her and she just, whoa, the way she treats him is just – it’s clear in everything she says how smart and talented and funny she thinks he is but not to the sycophantic degrees Dylan now knows it can get to.

Hoechlin goes a little weird when Dylan introduces them.  His words twist out too sharp and his tone dips down to just the slightest bit mean and Dylan’s never really seen Hoechlin get mean.  He’s so glad Hoechlin’s saved up his one mean streak to use on Dylan’s girlfriend.  Or, you know, not glad at all.

Dylan tries to glare him into submission but Hoechlin won't meet his gaze.  Dylan corners him after Lindsey heads out and pokes him in the chest.  “Dude, what the fuck?”  Maybe if Lindsey were a less perceptive girl, she would’ve missed the way Hoechlin was trying, in the subtlest way possible, to show her how unwelcome she was.  But Lindsey wasn’t a less perceptive girl and it was clear she’d gotten the message.

He shrugs and won’t meet Dylan’s eyes.  “What?”

“Seriously,” Dylan says helplessly.  “You were a total dick.”

Hoechlin’s mouth purses tight and he stares down at his bottle of water.  “So.  What do you care what I think?”

“Well, I thought we were friends,” Dylan gets out angrily, unable to believe what an asshole Hoechlin’s being.  Mostly because Hoechlin isn’t an asshole, even when he has cause to be.  Dylan wants to point out that he was never rude to Brittany and he had a lot more reason to be than Hoechlin does now, but he’s not that bold.

Hoechlin snags up his forearm before he can storm out and says, looking the slightest bit abashed, “You’re right.  I.  I’m sorry.  That was… shitty of me.  I just, it took me by surprise.”

Dylan grins at him, relieved.  “Cool.”  He pokes Hoechlin again.  “Just, you know, channel ‘supportive’ and not ‘total douchenozzle’ next time.”

Hoechlin rolls his eyes and says exaggeratedly, “I’ll work on it.”

 


 

Hoechlin manages stiffly polite but he never gets any better than that.  Dylan frowns at him but Hoechlin only ever shrugs like he’s doing the best he can even though they both know he’s not.  Hoechlin can be massively charming when he puts his mind to it.  Hell, all he really has to do is smile to make people fall in love with him but for some reason, he refuses to do that where Lindsey’s concerned.  Which is stupid because Dylan knows they’d get along if Hoechlin would just give her a chance.

Though even if he did turn it around, Lindsey’s pretty entrenched in her opinion on Tyler and it’s not likely to budge now.  Dylan can’t blame her for it either and, even though he still tries to defend Hoechlin’s behavior, she’s all but written him off as an asshole.  It sucks that his girlfriend and one of his best friends can hardly stand to be in the same room but he’s resigned himself to it now.

He and Lindsey decide to take a break when he leaves to film in Vancouver.  They haven’t been dating long enough to make a go of it long distance for months on end and they’ve been dating too long to completely throw in the towel.  Essentially they call it a Free Agent Intermission and Dylan can vaguely remember telling her, drunk and giggly, that he hoped she got nailed by a bunch of hot dudes so she could get it out of her system and go back to lanky, awkward O’Brien when he got back to L.A.

She’d then done a lot of things to convince him she thought he was neither lanky nor awkward and Dylan bit back the urge to tell her he loved her.  He isn’t sure it’s true but he thinks he’s getting there.

 


 

The very first thing he does when he gets back to L.A. is stop by Jeff’s.  No one expects him to make it to their regular pre-taping get together and his cheeks hurt from grinning when everyone jumps over each other to hug him till it hurts.  He really never has to wonder if he has a place among these people and there is little in the world that’s better than that.

Hoechlin’s one of the last people to get to him and he claps Dylan on the back, leans in and says lowly, “I’m really glad you’re here,” and the words sound heavy, like he’s saying something else underneath them.  He lets out a weighty breath and his hand smooths between the dip of Dylan’s shoulders in a decidedly not-platonic caress.  “I missed you.”

Dylan’s grin goes the slightest bit uneasy and he takes a step back.  Hoechlin’s holding a beer in his free hand and Dylan wonders how much he’s already had to drink.  He manages to extricate himself from the situation when Posey grabs his wrist and starts crowing about how he’s going to make him the ‘Eating Asphalt’ drink he’d perfected while he was gone and drags him off to the kitchen.

‘Eating Asphalt’ tastes like straight napalm and Dylan ends up dumping most of it down the sink when Posey isn’t looking, which leaves him pretty much the most sober person around.  He still bounces on Jeff’s bed with Daniel and Holland before going off in search of Posey.  He finds Hoechlin instead.

He’s sitting outside near the edge of the pool alone, his legs crossed at the ankles, knees drawn up and arms wrapped around them.  Dylan settles in next to him, knocks their shoulders together and puts his beer down next to his hip.

Hoechlin looks over at him with a brief smile that doesn’t touch his eyes.

Dylan frowns at him, pokes him in the shoulder to try to get him to smile properly.  “Hey, mopey.”

Tyler buries his mouth in his own shoulder as he turns to look at Dylan.  “I’m not,” he says grumpily.  He rubs a hand over his face.  “Moping,” he clarifies in his mopiest voice.

Dylan looks at him, unimpressed.  “Tell that to your face, dude.”

Hoechlin stares at the slight ripples in the pool, the light dancing with the sway of the water.  He glances down at his knees and lets out a shaky breath and he sounds… raw.  “I miss you.”

Dylan frowns at him.  He smooths his hand over Hoechlin’s forearm and squeezes tight.  “Right here, bud,” he says lowly, half-whispering because it seems like the situation calls for it, though he’s not sure why.

Hoechlin shakes his head and looks at him properly.  “No, I,” he croaks.  His eyes flick down to Dylan’s lips for half a second and then his hand is sliding over Dylan’s, lacing their fingers together over his arm.  His voice bottoms out and he says, “I miss you,” and Dylan gets it.

His eyes widen and he backs up so quickly that he knocks his beer over.  Hoechlin’s still got Dylan’s hand in his grip even though Dylan is trying to tug it away.  “Tyler, don’t,” he pleads hoarsely.  He feels trapped and he wants nothing more than to wake up and realize this has all been some fucked up feelings-rewind type dream.

Hoechlin leans forward as he leans back so he’s basically got Dylan under him, their linked hands up by Dylan’s shoulder.  Hoechlin swallows and Dylan can see his adam’s apple dip down and back up his scruffy throat hypnotically slow.  It’s stupidly attractive and Dylan has to get out of this situation.  Hoechlin’s voice scrapes out of him and he sounds wrecked.  “I know, I.”

Dylan shakes his head frantically.  He’s not going to do this.  Not again.  “No, okay?” he says shakily.  He hates Tyler for putting him in this situation a second time, for making him have to be the one to say no when he has to know how impossible that is.  “This.  This I don’t forgive, okay?”  He tries to sound firm and intimidating, anything other than scared out of his fucking mind.  “You do not get to fuck with me like this.  I am trying,” he says, and his voice breaks stupidly, “I cannot even explain to you how hard I am trying to—”

“You don’t have to,” Hoechlin cuts him off.  He squeezes Dylan’s hand in his own.  He looks away and licks his lower lip.  “Not if it’s as hard as I’ve been trying to pretend like I don’t still think about it, like it wasn’t the best, most mind-blowing experience of my life.”

Dylan stops focusing everything he has in him towards escape.  He just stops completely.  He says blankly, “It was?”

Hoechlin leans in, runs his nose down the line of Dylan’s jaw.  His eyes are closed and he looks kind of blissed out.  “It was,” he says breathlessly and he catches Dylan’s mouth in his own before he can protest.

Dylan’s arm goes around Hoechlin’s neck embarrassingly quickly and he lets Hoechlin take control of their kiss.  Because no one’s ever kissed him the way Hoechlin does, like they’ve thought about nothing else and nothing could be better than getting their mouth on him.  He’s never felt so wanted as when he has Tyler’s hands on him.  He tears his mouth away, pants against Hoechlin’s already swollen lips, “Hoechlin, we can’t.”

Hoechlin shakes his head, presses his mouth to Dylan’s neck, yanks Dylan’s hips up against his own.  “Posey said you weren’t with her anymore.”

Dylan doesn’t miss the way that he doesn’t say Lindsey’s name and it’s true that they’re technically not together now.  Dylan had come straight here without even telling her he’d be back tonight.  But he hadn’t told anyone, going for the element of surprise and all.  The intention had always been to get back together though.  The only thing that had been keeping them apart was distance.

“Tyler—” Dylan starts.

Hoechlin stops him with his mouth and disentangles their entwined fingers.  He’s hard and Dylan can feel it even through their jeans.  He curves his hands around Dylan’s hips, draws them together and grinds against him.  There’s a part of Dylan that wants to stop him.  But it’s a very, very small part and he doesn’t fight it when Tyler’s hands slip down his thighs, drag thumbs back up the inseams of his pants, brush against his balls and cock and unbutton and unzip his jeans.

He closes his eyes against Hoechlin’s cheek while Hoechlin pants, looking down at his own hands working between them.  “Tyler,” he says and he should stop this because he knows better than this.  Truly, he does.

Hoechlin meets his eyes and desperation is trying to claw its way out of them.  “Please,” he says breathlessly, licking his lips

Dylan loops his arms around Hoechlin’s neck, pulls him in for a dirty, filthy kiss full of tongue and promise and Hoechlin gasps against him.  His hands abandon the catch of his own jeans and he wraps his arms around the small of Dylan’s back.  His eyes are scrunched tight, like he’s afraid to open them and find Dylan’s not actually beneath him, and Dylan’s completely lost in the slide of their tongues.

He slides his calf up Hoechlin’s thighs until he reaches his ass and pushes him to grind down harder.  Hoechlin moans and buries his scruff in Dylan’s neck, whispering words that are too low to hear into his skin.  Dylan tangles his fingers in Hoechlin’s hair, lets him bite into his shoulder and hump their hips together and Dylan has to wonder what the fuck he’s doing.  He knows where this ends.  He’s been in the exact situation before and yet he can’t bring himself to stop.

Hoechlin is still mouthing words against his skin, breathing lowly and Dylan can just barely make out his own name repeated between other unintelligible sounds.  He pushes his palm into the middle of Hoechlin’s chest to make him back off slightly and Hoechlin actually growls.  He brushes his mouth against Dylan’s shoulder in quick apology. “Don’t wanna stop,” he whines, hips hitching forward.

“Tyler,” he says breathlessly, “what is this?”

Hoechlin kisses him hard, pressing Dylan’s head back into the stone tile painfully.  “This is me,” he says into Dylan’s mouth, fisting his hand in the back of his hair to cushion his head against the ground, “getting my head out of my ass.”  He grinds down against Dylan’s dick and says brokenly, “I can’t even—I’ve wanted this so fucking badly.  Thought about it.  C-couldn't stop.”  He pulls away, stares down at Dylan like he’s not sure Dylan’s getting it, like making sure he gets it is more important than getting off.  “Even just touching you.  Not even.  I mean, I’ve wanted to hold you, to put my hand on the small of your back, to just be able to touch you like you’re mine.”

Hoechlin stares down at him like he still can’t quite believe that he’s allowed to do it now.  His thumb brushes Dylan’s lower lip, drags it down, and he lets his other fingers trail down his neck, his chest, his hips, his thighs, ripple up the length of his cock.  Dylan’s eyes bug and he drags Hoechlin back onto his mouth.

This is idiotic and Dylan’s going to end up back in the same situation as before, pining and alone.  But he can’t bring himself to care about the future heartache, not with Hoechlin staring at him like that, pupils blown and so clearly in awe of him.

Hoechlin leans in and he’s lost that frantic edge to his movements.  His palm smooths down Dylan’s cheek.  He kisses him slow and chaste, like he’s trying to impress something words can’t contain but Dylan has no idea what the message is.  Hoechlin pulls away and opens his mouth but he swallows down whatever he means to say.

He slides down Dylan until he’s straddling his knees, carefully inching up the hem of his t-shirt before changing direction and tugging down his boxers and jeans in one go.  And this has definitely never happened.  The last time they were in this position, Hoechlin had mostly pretended like Dylan didn’t have a dick.  He hadn’t so much as accidentally brushed against it with his hand but now he’s clearly working up to something big.  Dylan props himself up on his elbows and blinks down at him.

His dick is bobbing in front of Tyler’s face and Hoechlin looks half-determined, half-intimidated as he stares it down and it would almost be funny except – well, no, it’s still kind of funny.  Tyler curls his fingers around the base of Dylan’s cock and even without the petrified look on his face, it’s obvious he’s never touched another guy’s dick before.

Dylan hooks his fingers under Hoechlin’s chin and pulls him up and into a deep kiss.  “It’s doesn’t have to be anything, you know,” Dylan tells him when they pull apart.  “It just needs to be you and everything else is second to that.”  And he hopes Hoechlin gets what he means because he barely feels coherent right now.

Hoechlin stares down at Dylan’s chest with bright eyes and he nods his head once.  He drops back down, pressing kiss after kiss to his chest over his shirt and to his stomach under it.  He nuzzles into the dark thatch of hair beneath Dylan’s navel, licks into it, kisses his skin messily and drags his tongue down until he reaches the base of Dylan’s cock.

The reaction is instantaneous and Dylan groans and shifts his hips up and he’s seriously going to have to get himself under control or he’s liable to choke Hoechlin.  Just the thought of that nearly makes his eyes cross.  Tyler blinks at him, looking impressed that he’s already wrung such an intense reaction out of him and Dylan can practically see his confidence grow.

He wraps his fingers around Dylan’s cock a second time and pumps him twice, too loose, like he thinks Dylan’s dick is made of tissue paper or something.  Hoechlin licks his lips as he watches his hand move over Dylan and his mouth is still red and puffy from the kissing and Dylan can’t imagine what it will look like after they’ve been stretched from sucking his cock.  Or, rather, he can and it makes Dylan throb in Hoechlin’s hand.

Tyler rubs a thumb over the head of his cock, smearing his precome around and he huffs out a small laugh.

Dylan perks a brow and glares down at him.  “Dude, the worst time in the world to laugh: when you’ve got your hand on a guy’s dick.”

Hoechlin shakes his head, snorts, says, “Sorry, it’s just – really kind of wishing you were smaller right now.”

Dylan smirks a little at that and digs a hand into Hoechlin’s hair as he lowers his head and licks a stripe up the underside of his cock.  Dylan shudders and drops back down, content to let Hoechlin have at it while he tries to keep his hips still.  Hoechlin’s utterly inexperienced and there’s a lot of drool and some teeth and Hoechlin chokes more than once and Dylan is just completely and totally in love with him, terrible cocksucker and all.

Hoechlin can’t keep a rhythm and Dylan keeps feeling his balls threaten to draw up before not getting the right stimulation in the right place at the right time and the feeling dissipates.  It makes Dylan look like he has much better stamina than he actually does though so he’s not totally complaining.

Hoechlin remembers his hand is there at the base eventually and he chases his mouth up with the grip of it and the pressure’s better, firmer, this time.  He pulls off, twists his fingers around the head of Dylan’s cock, and follows his hand back down with his mouth.  It’s clearly hard for him to keep the movements even and sometimes he’s faster and slower with it but it’s effective.

Dylan feels himself getting close and he rubs a thumb against Hoechlin’s cheekbone and stutters out, “C-close.”  It’s more about the mental than physical sensation of Hoechlin sucking him off and the harder Hoechlin tries to get him off, the more turned on Dylan gets.

Hoechlin looks more relieved than anything else and he gives up with his mouth completely and lets Dylan fuck his fist unreservedly.  Tyler’s eyes stay trained on his face, soaking up his every reaction like he wants to memorize them and Dylan knows it’s because this likely won’t happen again.  The thought darkens the pleasure he feels at Hoechlin sucking a mark into his neck and sliding his fist over his cock.  It’s not enough to stop him spilling all over himself and Hoechlin’s hand when Hoechlin whispers his name in a low, throaty, wanting voice though.

Hoechlin plants his palm in Dylan’s come, rubs it into Dylan’s skin and looks up at him with his eyes heavy-lidded.  

Dylan’s got Hoechlin’s tongue in his mouth before he’s even realized Tyler’s moved and he can taste himself there and feel the hot line of Hoechlin’s cock digging into his hip.  He tries to push him off enough to get a hand around him but Hoechlin pins his hands above his head and humps himself against the stretch of skin between his hip and his cock.

It doesn’t take long before he’s hunching over himself and coming against Dylan’s hip with a groan.  The pinching grip around his wrists finally loosens and Dylan lets his fingers trip down Hoechlin’s warm back while Hoechlin collapses on top of him, his chest heaving even worse than Dylan’s.

Hoechlin doesn’t move off of him and it’s such a twist from the last time this happened.  There was no afterglow then, just passing out and waking up to Hoechlin’s scowling face.

Dylan can’t help himself, can’t bask in it for even a second, and he clears his throat and says weakly, “Are we talking about this?”

Hoechlin rubs a hand down his face, the hand that isn’t still tacky with Dylan’s come, and rolls off of him.  Hoechlin stares up at the inky dark sky and sighs.  He doesn’t talk for a long time, long enough for Dylan’s come to feel like ice against his skin.  “I can’t see you with other people,” he says tightly, the words pinched and angry.  His voice is scratchy and Dylan feels a thrill rush through him at the sound of it, at knowing what's caused it.  “I don’t.  I can’t—handle it.”

Dylan swallows.  “Okay.”

Hoechlin squints, still not looking at him.  “I’m not—great about it,” he gestures between them absentmindedly, “but I’m not willing to let that get in the way of—of this.”  Dylan briefly wonders what the fuck ‘this’ means because he has the feeling it’s way more than one tiny, filler word here.  Hoechlin turns onto his side and stares at Dylan unblinkingly.  “I want you.”  He says the words simply but Dylan knows they’ve been anything but for him to come to.

Dylan works his jaw for half a second.  Maybe a year ago that would have been enough but it isn’t now.  Dylan hates that it isn’t but he can’t do this again, not without some indication that it won’t be the same clusterfuck of a situation.  He doesn’t want to do being rejected and hung up on someone who’s the very definition of unattainable ever again.  “I don’t want to be something you’re ashamed of.”

Tyler’s eyes widen and he pops up on his elbows and stares down at Dylan, horrified.  He looks genuinely sick at the idea.  “God.  Fuck—no, I—I am so not.  Dylan, I am not ashamed of you.”

Dylan shrugs and he doesn’t believe it but he thinks Hoechlin might and that’s something.  Either way, he decides not to argue it.  “Okay.”

Hoechlin takes a steadying breath, lets it out slow and isn’t quite meeting Dylan’s eyes when he says, “I—I actually think I’m kind of in love with you.”

Dylan blinks.  “Oh.”

“Yeah,” Hoechlin answers.  He lets out a harsh exhalation.  He looks away, expression pinched and Dylan curls his fingers around Hoechlin’s sticky ones and Tyler breathes a little easier.  He bites his lip and says,“So don’t leave because running around shirtless with sideburns would be totally lackluster without you.”

Dylan laughs at that and he kisses the corner of Hoechlin’s mouth and agrees, “Okay.”  And it feels like all he’s said for ages but that’s what he is.  He’s ‘okay,’ for the first time in a really long time now.  Hoechlin’s grip around his hand gets an inch away from painful and Dylan reassures softly, “Guess you’re kind of stuck with me then.”

Hoechlin’s grip breaks, loosens, softens into more of a caress and he grins.  “I can live with that.”