Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I've got to be the only smut writer in the world that posts a non-M-rated fic on the romantic holiday itself xD

Well, that's partly in honor of Julia, who doesn't read smut on Sundays, and partly because it's all I had ready because I was studying for three tests this past week. Anyway, hope you all enjoy it!

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It's 1:14 am, and I'm curled up in my computer chair in nothing but a pair of flannel sleep pants. The blinds are down but open, slanted up, so that the bars of light from the street lamp on the corner of the block illuminate my top bunk and ceiling. I hear a siren in the distance, but it barely gets louder before fading away again, nowhere near my street block. It's dead quiet for several minutes before a car drives by. Then quiet again.

Everything in my room that isn't reflective is a stark shade of black in the dull bluish light of the street lamp. Anything that does reflect the light glows ethereally, including the strip of skin on the back of Colin's neck.

Mandy, Colin, and I had a study session at my house, and Mandy had to leave early. Colin ate dinner with Mom, Paul, and me, and sometime during the meal it started pouring outside. Mom doesn't know that Colin lives not two hundred feet away from us, and so insisted that Colin stay the night. I wasn't about to inform her of the un-necessity, and was glad that Colin didn't seem to think it was important enough to mention either. I punched Paul in the arm and shoved a forkful of his cake into his mouth when he opened it to speak, and luckily Mom's back was turned for that.

And so Colin is asleep in my top bunk, which is probably why I can't sleep in the first place. He's curled up in a ball with his back facing me, and just the top half of his face, up to his nose, is peeping out of the blankets. Just like in the library, I relish having time to stare openly at him and wonder why in hell he matters so much. He just does. That's the only answer I've been able to come up with.

We're friends now, officially. It took a while for us to straighten out all of my stalker issues, and his issues with my stalker issues, and I promised to stop writing weird in-depth shit about him if he promised to actually talk out loud about himself. We both suck at actually being friends, so at least we're equally overcoming our issues with that.

Which is why I'm not currently writing all of this down, just thinking. I'm trying, really trying. It's difficult; writing in my notebooks is quite possibly just as addicting to me as rolling up something illegal in my notebook pages and smoking the shit would be. What should be illegal is Colin. I'm at the point where I can admit I'm probably addicted to him in some way. And again, I just don't fucking know why he matters so much, he just does. God, but he does. I'm too thrilled at the idea of him sleeping in my room, of having time to stare at him.

Quietly, I get up and fiddle with my blinds, making the light on Colin's neck streak instead across his cheek and hair. His hair shines in the light, and I stop where I am instead of sitting back down, staring at it more closely. There's really no hair that is truly black, and that holds for Colin's as well. There's so many colors in there. A rainbow of them in the strip of sheen from the dim light outside, betraying the rest of the black. Just like there's no person with truly no emotion, in which case Colin's quicksilver smiles are the Judas of his personality. They're rare, but they're there, and nothing makes my heart race faster than when I get one from him unexpectedly.

Colin lets out a soft moan, and I freeze. I wasn't making any noise, was I? Is it my heartbeat? I can hear it pounding away now, filling the silence with panic. Can he hear it too?

He gives another quiet moan, and as soft as it is I can tell it's not a good sound. He shuffles a little under the covers, and then rolls over, out of the light shaft, facing me. I step back and adjust the blinds again so I can see his delicate features. His bangs are falling across his cheek, and without thinking I reach up and slip them behind his ear. He shakes his head a little at that, and a wisp falls back onto his cheek.

I can't help but grin at his involuntary reaction. It reminds me of a dream I had last night in which Colin had furry black ears and a tail; a cat, like the seven he owns. It confuses me to admit it was cute, but I can't lie to myself. I chuckle under my breath as I tuck his hair behind his ear again, recalling once when Paul got pissed at me and cussed me out for spawn-killing him in a game of Call of Duty 3. He called me, among plenty of other things, a furfag, and I don't think I'll tell him that I might actually be one. He doesn't need any ammunition for gloating with; he does it fine all on his own, the ass.

"Nnn…"

I look back at Colin. Well, I never looked away, I was just staring blankly at him, but now I'm concentrating on him again. He's so pale in the blue light, like all the color has been sucked out of him. Instead of looking sickly, though, he just looks faded. Tired. Vulnerable. It makes me want to hold him protectively, and the oddness of that urge strikes me, making me think. I'm not sure what I think of Colin. We're barely friends, but there are times when I stop trying to think so much about things, and when I do I'm never surprised by the fact that I think he's rather beautiful.

I'm not even bothered much by the idea. I mean, I've never cared about girls or anything, so maybe it's natural that I crush on my first real friend. Or maybe it's just because it's him. He's special to me, either way. I doubt I'll ever do anything about it, because he's too important to lose, which is why these moments when I can just absorb him with my eyes are all the more important to me.

I'm distracted from my thoughts by another soft moan, a distressful note hanging poignantly in the stillness. He makes a quiet inhaled gasp, and then his eyes peek open, squeezing immediately shut again as the light, however dim, assaults them. He sits up rather suddenly and inadvertently bumps his head on the ceiling.

"Ow!" He says, loud in the quiet that surrounds us, and rubs his forehead in bewilderment, most likely having forgotten that he was in a top bunk, much less that he wasn't even at home. I'm right: he looks around, squinting at the layout of my room in a puzzled manner. 'Cute,' I can't help but think, as he stops looking around and stares through the darkness at me. There is no light illuminating my body, and he leans forward to make me out more clearly, nearly falling but catching himself on the guardrail of the bed. "Tory?" He asks, groggy but lucid. "What time is it?"

"Late," I answer vaguely, because I am trying to break my obsessive habit of documenting the time of events both in my brain and on paper.

"Why are you up?"

"Couldn't sleep." I sigh, and move over to the window, to put up a pretense. "I got up to close the blinds; the light was bothering me. Sorry if I woke you up." I say, and it sounds pretty believable to me. I twirl the rod, closing the blinds. I let my eyes adjust a little before I turn around again.

"…you didn't wake me up," Colin says quietly. "It's not your fault. I just had a…dream, that's all." He doesn't say it was a bad one, but he said more than he would have if he hadn't promised to try and talk about himself. He gets down from the top bunk carefully via the ladder on the side, and walks/feels his way over to where I have two cups of water sitting on my desk, in case we want them. He picks one up, sets it down, picks up the other to gauge the difference in weight, sets it down, and picks up the first one again, the one he drank out of earlier before going to bed. He takes a long sip, and as he does so I sit down on the bottom bunk, quietly patting the spot next to me after he sets down the cup. He moves to sit next to me, and we let the quiet slide around us.

"Tell me about it?" I offer tentatively, because my mom always said that to me when I had bad dreams as a child. I realize only after the words leave my mouth that it means I'm treating him like a child. He'll probably say no, or say nothing at all. I shouldn't have said anything, I chide myself. It's because he's wearing nothing more than an extra-large t-shirt of mine, since he wasn't expecting to stay over and thus didn't have pajamas. It goes past his thighs, almost to his knees. He's very cute like this, vulnerable looking. I blush a little in the darkness.

"…" His lips part but he doesn't speak, like I thought he wouldn't. It's a little awkward for a few seconds, and then he says, "it was about my parents, but…it's complicated, and I can't really explain…?" He trails off in a question, like he's asking permission to stop talking. Obviously he was putting forth effort again, which makes me happy.

I look at him, so pale, and I hold out my hand, palm up. He takes it, and I wasn't expecting the small smile he offers in return. I can count on one hand the number of times he's smiled at me, and I have to make a fist if I count the number of times I haven't blushed when he does so. He has a very nice smile. His hand is warm from where he was hugging himself as he slept, and I irrationally think to myself that I'm jealous of that hand, because I want to hug him too. I settle for squeezing his hand, partially in reassurance and partially in vengeance at the thing. I grin at myself, and he looks confused. "I'm being stupid," I tell him, which probably just confused him more.

"Can I do something stupid too?" He asks, and I cock my head in his direction, assenting but questioning. He doesn't answer, instead fidgeting a little before scooting closer and resting his head on my shoulder. I'm very careful not to tense up, lest he thinks I'm pushing him away. I feel his warm breath tickle across my neck as he sighs. We're quiet for a moment, and then he says "my parents used to let me sleep with them when I had nightmares."

I hold still, hoping he'll say more, and after a minute he rewards me with a shy "I miss them."

I squeeze his hand tightly, rubbing the back with my thumb, and he squeezes back. After another minute, he says in a small, choked voice, "can I sleep with you?"

My heart just stopped, I swear it did. I slowly reach my other arm around and tug his far shoulder so that he sinks into my chest. "Of course you can," I say in the calmest voice I can manage, trying to sound soothing instead of excited. "Yeah. Of course you can." I lay back, maneuvering myself around so that I can shove my feet under the blankets. I settle quickly, arranging the covers so that I can pull them over him after he lies down, and then beckon to him. He clenches the sheet, I can feel it pull against my arm, and then, as if he's steeled himself, he cautiously lies down next to me and rests his cheek on my shoulder. I flip the covers over our bodies, and then wriggle an arm underneath him and pull him closer invitingly, knowing I'm taking a risk here. I'm a little shocked when he lets out his breath in a relieved huff and wraps his arms around my neck, squeezing himself close to me. I realize again that my torso is bare and blush a little at his closeness, hugging him tight.

I reach my other hand up and rub his back softly for a minute, and then bring it up further to run it through his soft hair, caressing the back of his head. He sighs into my chest, and after a minute he whispers "you're not like my parents, you know."

I don't know what to say, so I don't speak.

"…but you relax me anyway…and…" He just trails off, hugging me tighter and looking up at me.

I slide my hand around to cup his cheek, staring into his eyes that are blacker than black in the darkness, and I realize that we're leaning closer together, just an inch apart. I can feel his soft breath on my lips.

Part of me wants to pull away and pretend to be tired as an excuse to close my eyes and look away from him, and another part wants to hold still and see what he does, but a third part of me knows that if I want to hold him, if I want to protect him and cherish him, and…maybe even love him, I need to be the one that puts forth more effort. He's probably just as scared. His heartbeat's probably racing too, although I can't feel it over my own pounding pulse.

I rub his cheek gently with my thumb, right next to his mouth, and I can feel his breath hitch. His eyes half-lid, and he doesn't pull away from my hand. It's all the confirmation I'm going to get, and I know that if I step into unknown territory here it's going to either make or break whatever bond it is that Colin and I have. I'm terrified, and some self-depreciatory, cynical part of my brain is laughing its ass off at the fact that not fifteen minutes ago I was telling myself I'd probably never act on my feelings. Stupid brain. Ah well, I'd rather laugh at myself, and have Colin, than gloat at myself being unable to laugh at myself, and not have him.

I lean forward one inch.

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I was going for a poignant end. Did I do okay? And no, it won't be continued, it's supposed to be left up to your imagination. R&R, peeps!