Disclaimer: Not even a little bit mine.

Author's Note: So, this was really just supposed to be unapologetic 4th of July smut. I swear, that's what I set out to write, but the boys themselves had other plans and now this is part of something much, much bigger in my head. This wants to be part of it's own verse, full of fics about the boys already together, living together and struggling but happy. Most days. This fic wants prequels and sequels and it won't leave me alone. So there will be more. I think they'll all stand alone. One of them might even have actual smut- this doesn't really. The boys always refuse to stick to my outlines.

There are lights on when Drake pulls up in front of his apartment. His first thought is that he left them on when he was on his way out that morning, which feels like it was about three weeks ago. He'd been running late, mostly because Josh is out of town, which always throws off his schedule. Without Josh, Drake has to do things like set an alarm clock and try and make himself breakfast, and he hates that. Plus, he sleeps worse when Josh isn't next to him, so he always ends up hitting snooze several times, and then he's so tried he burns his breakfast. Josh makes cooking look so easy, but Drake is fairly sure that's just because Josh has some sort of magical cooking powers, because nothing Drake makes ever turns out edible. So when Josh isn't around, Drake is tried, hungry and generally really grouchy. And late. Always late for everything.

Not that it had really mattered much this morning. The guy with the clipboard had barely looked up when Drake ran in, breathless, half an hour after he should have. No one said anything at all really, except for the woman who'd warned him about slant on the stage, and how they weren't responsible if he fell off and died. He'd just waited around for hours, cursing Rick at the label for booking this. The gig was in some little park across town Drake had never been to before, and it had started pouring rain in the middle of his third song. There had been about fifty people in the audience and only a couple of those people actually seemed happy to be there. It was depressing, and Josh wasn't there, which just made it worse.

His guitar weighs about a million pounds when he pulls it out of the backseat, and it looks like there are about a million steps between him and his bed and for a second Drake seriously considers sleeping on the sidewalk. It's still raining though, so he decides he should at least try and make it inside. He drags himself through the front door and up the stairs, he's on about step nine thousand when the scent of cooking food reaches him. He wonders if he's going crazy, but then he takes a few more steps and decides that someone is definitely making hamburgers and that they're definitely doing it from his apartment, which means-

"Drake, are you ok?" Josh says, poking his head out the door of their apartment, "you got out of the car like ten minutes ago." He finishes, looking down at Drake with big, worried eyes. He's wearing an apron, the one Drake bought him for his last birthday that reads, "Drake's" across the front and Drake stares at him for a minute and then drops his guitar and runs up the ten or so stairs separating him from Josh. He almost knocks Josh over when he gets there, but then Josh is laughing and kissing the top of Drake's head and it is so worth it. Drake throws his arms around Josh's neck, and Josh's arms come around his waist, and suddenly Drake isn't so tired.

"You're home!" Drake exclaims.

"I am," Josh says easily. Drake considers asking him questions like 'how' and 'when', but then he looks at Josh again and decides against it, attaching his lips to Josh's instead. They kiss for a long minute, not nearly long enough to make up for the five days Drake has gone without kissing Josh, but long enough for the world to seem a lot brighter, and then Josh pulls back and laughs a little,

"I missed you too," he says, "but we should probably go inside."

"You're home," Drake repeats, softer this time, smiling at Josh.

"And I made food."

"I'm starving," Drake admits, "I didn't really eat breakfast. Or lunch," He says, and Josh rolls his eyes affectionately.

"Come in and eat then. It's pretty much ready," He says.

"I should probably go pick my guitar up first," Drake says.

"You should," Josh agrees. Drake heads back down the stairs to get his guitar, and when he picks it up he swears it weighs almost nothing. He carries it up the stairs and into the apartment, putting it down and then shutting the door.

"When did you get home?" He asks Josh.

"Like, three hours ago?" Josh says from the kitchen, where he's pulling drinks out of the refrigerator.

"How? I thought you weren't coming home till tomorrow night?" Drake asks, walking into the kitchen and pulling forks out of the drawer.

"I left early."

"Why?" Drake asks, frowning slightly. Josh had been at an Alumni event at Columbia, he was supposed to see some lectures and go to events with important academic types and meet up with some old friends and he'd been really, really excited. Drake had wanted to go, but he hadn't been able to get out of his gigs or his shifts at the record store, "You sounded like you were having fun when you called yesterday," He says.

"Some of the lectures were really cool," Josh says, setting food on the table.

"So what happened?"

"I came home," Josh says.

"I know that. I meant why?" Drake asks, sitting down.

"I don't know. I guess it wasn't as cool as I thought it would be," Josh says, sitting down across from Drake.

"How come?"

"I don't know," Josh shrugs, "I guess- people just kept asking me why I wasn't in grad school, or using my degree at all really and I kept trying to explain it to them, and, I don't know. I'd tell them what I was doing and that I was happy, and then they'd remind me of all these things I did in college and the awards I won- like they really thought it all mattered you know?" Josh stops and shrugs, "I just wanted to come home," He says.

"Oh," Drake says, feeling a little guilty.

"Yeah and there was just a lunch and a party left today, so I skipped it."

"I'm sorry."

"For what?" Josh asks.

"I-" Drake pauses and looks down, "did they make you wish you had gone to grad school? Or to something else important?" He asks, biting his lip. He wouldn't trade what he and Josh have for anything in the world, but sometimes he worries that Josh isn't happy. He's managing Drake's career as much as the label will let him and working at a publishing office and he never complains, but sometimes Drake looks through the yearbooks and photo albums from Columbia Josh keeps on a high shelf and he thinks that one day Josh is going to realize how much he's given up and leave Drake forever. He doesn't know what he'd do if that happened.

"No." Josh says, "they made me wish you were there with me."


"To show you off. I mean, if you had been there they would have understood. You could have talked and played your guitar and grinned at people and they would have known how awesome you are and how famous you're going to be, and then they would have understood." Josh says, and God, Drake loves him.

"I missed you," Drake says, because he doesn't really know what else to say. Josh smiles at him across the table.

"I missed you too," He says, "How was today's gig?"

"Terrible." Drake says, "I swear, that's the last time I play anywhere without you approving it first."

"What happened?" Josh asks.

"It was at this crap little park, and it started raining halfway through my set, and there were like, two people there."

"Why did they send you to a park?"

"I don't know. I think it was the neighborhood Fourth of July celebration? So I was on after like, the church choir," Drake says.

"Why would they send you there?" Josh asks, looking angry.

"I don't know," Drake says, shrugging, "I think it might have been sponsored by like, one the partner corporations or something? So they had to send someone? It probably wouldn't have been so bad if the weather wasn't shit," Drake says, shrugging. It's funny, because he was furious about the gig less than an hour ago, but it just doesn't seem as important now.

"I'll yell at them tomorrow."

"Thanks." Drake agrees, grinning and then changing the subject, "this is really good." He says, taking a last bite of his burger.

"You like? New recipe," Josh asks, beaming.

"Very much," Drake says, then he frowns again, "Dude, it's been raining for like two hours. How did you grill these?"

"I moved the grill to under the awning."

"It fits under there?" Drake asks, thinking of their tiny little deck, with it's even tinier awning.

"Sort of," Josh says.

"So you stood in the rain?" Drake asks, raising an eyebrow.

"Just a little. It's the Fourth of July. We had to have them." Josh says, grinning.

"Isn't it like, dangerous to grill in the rain?"

"I don't think so. It's just kinda hard to keep the charcoal lit," Josh says. Drake shakes his head.

"You were planning these from the second you stepped off the plane huh?" He asks.

"Since I decided to leave early," Josh admits, "but when I was driving home from the airport I did decide we needed cupcakes too."

"There are cupcakes?" Drake asks, his eyes lighting up.

"Did you know we don't have a muffin pan?" Josh replies, looking a little sheepish.

"Does that mean there aren't cupcakes?"

"There are brownies. With white icing and red and blue sprinkles," Josh offers, grinning.

"Brownies are good," Drake says, then grins, "If I buy you muffin pan tomorrow will you make me cupcakes?"

"Maybe," Josh says.

"You should make chocolate ones, with chocolate icing. And you can put D's on them," Drake says.

"Would you like music notes and guitars too?"

"Could you?" Drake asks, smirking at the playful sarcasm in Josh's voice.

"I don't know. It sounds like a lot of work."


"Maybe," Josh says, and Drake can see him biting back a smile.

"We could make it fair," Drake offers.


"If you make me cupcakes I'll-" Drake stops and pretends to think.

"You'll what?" Josh asks, grinning for real now. Drake gets up from his chair and sits on Josh's lap, straddling him.

"I'll show you exactly how much I missed you," Drake says, reaching around Josh's neck to untie the apron strings. The apron falls and Drake pushes it away and into Josh's lap before getting to work on the buttons on Josh's shirt.

"What about brownies?" Josh asks teasingly, his hands on Drake's hips pulling him in closer.

"They'll wait," Drake says, leaning up to kiss Josh.

"I kind of wanted to see fireworks," Josh says when Drake pulls back from the kiss. Drake rolls his eyes and tugs on the bottom of Josh's polo shirt.

"I am so much better than fireworks," He says, pulling the shirt over Josh's head. He throws it across the room and moves in even closer to Josh so that his hands can touch every inch of the flesh he's just uncovered. Josh puts a hand behind Drake's neck and pulls him down for a kiss and then they're finally kissing for real and Drake shivers because God, he's missed Josh, and this. Josh puts his free hand under Drake's shirt, tracing patterns with his fingers before taking his hand back out and tugging on the bottom of the shirt. Drake gets the hint and breaks the kiss, sitting up just a little so Josh can pull the shirt over Drake's head. The shirt joins Josh's on the floor and then Drake scoots forward again, and leans back down to kiss Josh- and the chair they're sitting in falls over. They land in a lump on the floor, Josh's head hitting the tile and Drake kind of sprawling on top of him.

"Ow." Josh says, but he's smiling as he moves a hand to rub the back of his head. Drake pushes himself up a little and tries to look sympathetic, only now he's straddling Josh and they're horizontal, which is probably a better plan than the whole, wooden kitchen chair thing anyway. Except for the fact that chair is still under Josh's knees, and Josh doesn't look all that comfortable.

"Are you ok?" Drake asks.

"I'm fine," Josh laughs. "You?"

"I'm good," Drake says, "So... bed?"

"Yes. Bed." Josh agrees. Drake stands up, then offers an arm to Josh and pulls him up. Josh pulls Drake into him as soon he's standing, kissing him again, and then taking steps backwards and towards their room. They break apart when they get there, pulling off belts and shimmying out of jeans and boxers. After that it's all skin and heat and sweat and Drake is putting his lips on every single spot on Josh's body he can find and then Josh is pulling Drake in closer and then they're sliding and moaning and panting and repeating each other's names in long chains and then the world is titling and then righting itself again and then they're collapsing back down onto their bed.

"So," Drake says when his breathing returns to normal, or almost normal, "do I get cupcakes?"