"Everything is sweetened by risk."

Alexander Smith

Author's Note: This fic actually came out of the same conversation that brought on "Completion." It made me think about how the boys think about each other, how they need each other, but how its different for both of them. This is Josh's PoV. Small references to "Josh is Done." Set after "Really Big shrimp" although how long after I'm not sure. It doesn't really matter.

Some swearing, some naughtiness, and slash.

.Josh likes to think of himself as a good person. He's nice to old people and small children. He likes animals, he studies, he tries to be polite to everyone. He's a loyal friend and he can't tell a lie to save his life. He does community service without complaining, and he never forgets to send thank you notes. It doesn't really matter though. Josh knows that all the letters to Great Uncle Harold in the world won't save him, because he's pretty sure that, 'in love with your step brother' puts one pretty firmly on the 'eternal damnation' list.

Its strange, because Josh doesn't even remember when he started loving Drake. It seems like its been forever, because not loving Drake feels like the most impossible thing in the world. He didn't set out to love him, it was never in the plan, but he supposes love never is. Drake is just this force, this amazing embodiment of all the things Josh wishes he could be. Drake is risk, he's danger, he's passion, he's excitement, he's rebellion, he's adventure and sometimes, when Josh looks at him, he can actually feel himself falling, tumbling and spinning forward. It's exhilarating, the way Drake makes his whole body come alive. It's dizzying, the way Drake brings to mind all these images, these mental pictures that Josh- he doesn't even know where they came from, because his mind certainly never worked that way before Drake entered his life. But Drake, he just, he struts when he walks, swinging his hips, hips that are always encased in those absurdly tight jeans, and he's got that hair, that just hangs over his eyes- eyes that always seem to be suggesting something- and Josh can't help himself. The man looks like sex. Its an unfair advantage, but most days, Josh doesn't mind.

He'd do anything for Drake- he'd walk to hell and back if it meant he'd be rewarded with that smile, the one that makes his eyes crinkle, and a hug, one that lasts for a little too long. Those hugs make Josh's pulse double because, sometimes it feels like Drake doesn't want to let go either. Sometimes, it seems like Drake is on the verge of saying something important, like he might just change everything, and Josh changes the subject. He distracts Drake with ping-pong or food, and he hates himself for it. He stays up at night, wondering what Drake would have said and vowing that next time, if there is a next time, he'll let Drake talk. The fear always wins though. The soul gripping, heart wrenching terror that taking that next step might just destroy him. Drake could break his heart, and Josh would let him. He'd come back over and over again, he knows he would. Really, its already happened. Drake has already broken his heart, and Josh has tried to stay away, to not get hurt again, but then Drake stitches the pieces back together with a smile and a whispered,

"Josh- Josh I'm sorry. Josh I need you-" And Josh comes running back for more.

So he knows that its dangerous to give even more of himself to Drake, to give all of himself to Drake. Stupidly dangerous, suicidal even-and it scares him how often he just doesn't care. How often he just wants to let go and cross the line, even if it means destroying himself in the process. The fear always pulls him back at the last second, but he wonders how long it will last. He wonders how long it will be before desire, before need, wins out over terror and just what it will take for him to let go.

As it turns out, in the end, its not up to Josh, because Drake lets go first. They're laying on their beds, talking in the dark, talking about nothing at all really, when all of the sudden Drake changes the subject.

"Josh what are we going to do?" he asks.

"What do you mean?" Josh replies sitting up in bed, thrown by the question.

"You know, when you're in Boston being all smart, and I'm in LA becoming famous." Drake says sadly.

"Dude those are good things." Josh says, "all you've ever wanted to do is become a big rock star. You can't be sad now that its happening."

"Yeah, I know but we won't be together." Drake says, and Josh can hear him shifting in his bed, "and I know you'll say we'll talk on the phone, and e-mail, but its not the same man, and you know it."

"Drake-" Josh starts, but Drake cuts him off.

"And I hate being alone." he says.

"You won't be alone, you'll have throngs of fans and managers and friends and-" Josh says, but Drake interrupts him again.

"Without you. Alone. Same thing." he says, and then sits up, climbs out of bed, and plops himself down on the foot of Josh's bed, and Josh starts to panic. "Seriously, you're always right here when I need you and if you're not then I don't think-"

"I'm always going to be there for you Drake," Josh interrupts him softly, the words leaving his mouth before he can stop them.

"Yeah until you meet all those smart new people at college and forget all about me." Drake says.

"That will never happen." Josh assures him, swallowing down the fear that is rising in him, and trying to think of a way to get this conversation back to a place he can handle.

"Are you sure?" Drake asks, looking small and vulnerable.

"Of course- and hey, what about you meeting all those exciting people in LA? What if you don't have time for me anymore?" Josh asks in spite of himself.

"That's different." Drake scoffs.

"How is that different?" Josh asks.

"Because I love you." Drake says simply.

"I know man, I love you too." Josh says, trying to sound light despite the fact that his heart rate has just tripled.

"No, I mean-" Drake stops and shakes his head, then he leans forward and brushes his lips briefly against Josh's. "I mean I love you." he says. For a moment, Josh can't breath, can't speak, can't think. For a moment Josh is equal parts terrified and jubilant and is literally shaking. "Say something Josh." Drake prompts, almost begging. Josh lets his eyes meet Drake's, and suddenly, he realizes that Drake is just as scared as he is. Drake looks like he might cry, like he honestly doesn't know Josh loves him back, like he really thinks Josh might break his heart, and knowing that, knowing that they're both scared, jubilation wins out.

"I love you too." He says finally, brining his hands up to cup Drake's cheeks. Drake grins, and leans forward again and this time, when their lips touch, he doesn't pull back. This time he scoots closer to Josh on the bed, and puts one hand in Josh's hair and the other on his leg. This time, the kiss goes on long enough for a warmth to spread all through out Josh's body. This time the kiss has an intensity that makes Josh need more.

"This is stupid isn't it?" Drake asks, gasping when they break apart.

"So stupid," Josh agrees running his fingers through Drake's hair over and over again, because it really is stupid, getting closer when life is about to tear them apart. Its strange though, because holding, touching, kissing Drake, it actually seems-safe. They're falling over that ledge, the one Josh has always been so scared of, and its not scary at all.

"Its good though," Drake says, echoing Josh's thoughts and leaning in for another quick kiss.

"Very good." Josh says, "The best."

And Drake grins, a mischievous grin, and tackles Josh, pinning him down and kissing him over and over again, tugging at his shirt, running his hands everywhere, and Josh shudders and sighs and moans and he thinks that if that is what destroying yourself feels like, then maybe its not so stupid or dangerous or scary at all. Maybe its just inevitable.