For my Shawn and Bret...Happy birthday loves...and any BHBK fans...
Bret was only too eager to go outside and check the mail today. Besides the fact that today was his birthday, it was also one of the more important days of the year and not necessarily because it was his birthday. It was only because it was his birthday that getting a card from him didn't seem out of the norm or wouldn't if anyone actually knew about it.
Bret opened his mailbox and pulled out a stack of letters and cards. Bills, bills, card from Vince, card from his niece, more bills… Bret went through every bit of the mail – more than once just to be sure – but there was no card from him. Bret frowned. Did the mailman make a mistake? No. It was the middle of the week and very rarely did the mailman make a mistake. Besides, today would mark 12 years and in the last 11 the mailman had not made a mistake. He always, always received a card from him only this year, it seemed, he would not.
Bret didn't even have the heart to bring the mail in just yet. He shoved everything back in the box and hurried back towards the house taking a seat on the steps. He always wondered when and if this day would come. You know, the day he was suddenly forgotten about. Or if not forgotten about then deemed not important enough to bother with this year. He figured it was bound to happen sooner or later but he never thought it would exactly hurt him. But then, he never expected something so trivial like a birthday card to mean so much to him, especially coming from someone who had long been his enemy and arch rival but somewhere down the line, or at some point over the years, he had allowed himself to become accustomed to getting a card from him. He had, most unexpectantly, come to care more than he should about said card, but then, it was from him so it didn't shock him as much as it would have had it been someone other than him.
Bret's thoughts were all over the place and rightfully so since he was trying very hard not to let this ruin his birthday. However, he was pretty sure that he was unreasonably angry since he never exactly told him thank you for any of the cards. In fact, he wasn't friends with said card sender – not really – but then he wasn't his enemy either. They just weren't exactly openly friendly due to all kinds of circumstances that technically wasn't either of their faults, but shit happens and so here they were. Of course, they'd always had a sort of complicated friendship and after things went about the way that they did, Bret always knew it would be like this forever.
Sad. Bret was sad. He'd come to this conclusion after a tear stained his shorts. He was about to cry all over a silly little card that he didn't get this year despite the ten others that were crowding his mailbox from relatives and other friends. But the other friends were not him and therefore a card from them didn't mean as much as a card from him meant.
Too much thinking. Bret was thinking too much and decided that he needed to bring in the rest of the mail and go get ready to celebrate his birthday. It was just one silly little card and since he didn't get one from him, it would make it easier to go back to pretending to hate the man's guts even if as he thought these things, more tears clouded his eyes. Bret slowly strolled back to the mailbox, once again pulling out the stack of mail going through it several times as if he was going to see something he missed the first five times.
Tap. Tap. Tap. He was tapped on his shoulder, which made him jump, the stack of mail falling to the ground. He quickly dropped down to gather the mail, receiving a little help from that which startled him. Their hands moved to pick up the last letter, a smaller hand somewhat covering his own and he looked up. Eyes. Blue eyes. Beautiful blue eyes that had not changed in almost twelve years were staring back at him. A smile. There was a smile too, but it was almost too good to be true. Hair. Long, gorgeous blonde hair was not tied back like it normally was each week on tv. Instead it was hanging, shoulder length now and not as long as it was the last time they were face to face. He blinked, jerking his hand away as he hurriedly stood up. He smiled, standing with, his small smile growing wider. Bret shoved the mail back into the box, seemingly buying himself some time to find his voice.
"Happy Birthday Bret."
Bret slammed the box shut, turning to face him, eyes fighting to hold back any tears that wanted to spill over. "What are you doing here?" he asked after several long seconds of just staring at him blankly.
He smiled. "I ran out of cards," he said simply.
"And so you drove all the way up here to wish me happy birthday? And dressed—dressed like that?" he exclaimed. He was wearing light pink slacks, a white button down and a matching pink vest with white stripes. His silver cross necklace, silver watch and diamond stud earrings capped off the look perfectly, irritating Bret slightly for even noticing. He looked beautiful.
He shrugged, smiling weakly. "Well I wanted to look presentable in case I ran into some of your family. Pink's your color – the whole lot of you wear it so I thought I'd try to blend in. Did I do alright or am I way off base here?" he asked humbly.
Bret was taken back. He…where was the smart ass, witty, cocky son of a gun he knew way back when? Where was the brashness of his tone? Where was the arrogant smirk? Or what about the playful tease in his eyes from their time? "Are you serious?" Bret asked, still quite unable to take his eyes off the man before him, taking his breath away like he did the day they met.
He nodded. "I am, but you don't look too thrilled to see me." He shrugged again. "It's okay. I didn't exactly expect a friendly welcome or anything. I don't deserve it and to be honest Bret, I'm just glad you didn't hit me. I had hoped the cards I sent over the years would be some indication to you that I am sorry for everything, but if not, again, it's okay." He backed away, giving Bret some space. He shoved his hands in his pockets staring down at the ground. "I wanted to look you in the eye and wish you happy birthday. I did that and now I just want to say I'm sorry for…everything." He didn't wait for a response. He just turned to leave, quickly hurrying towards his black caddy with every intention of driving back to the airport to head straight back to San Antonio.
"Shawn, wait!" Bret blurted it out. He was thinking it, but didn't necessarily mean to say it out loud. But then he didn't exactly want him to leave without the two of them having had a conversation so maybe the word vomit was a good thing. The blonde stopped near his caddy, turning to face him with a smile on his face.
Bret rolled his eyes. "You didn't have to leave right away you know. You came all this way—at least come inside for a drink." He looked a bit hesitant at first, probably nerves about going inside a house he hadn't been inside of in years, but Bret insisted.
"Sure. I can't stay long though. My plane leaves in an hour."
One hour. Bret smiled. Only an hour which meant Shawn could barely stay thirty minutes or else he would just miss his plane. It was perfect, for both of them. Once again Bret left the mail in the box and led Shawn to the house, both men ignoring any tension that may or may not have been present. Bret led Shawn to the kitchen and as he sat quietly, Bret fixed them both glasses of wine. Bret sat the tiny glass in front of Shawn, looking down at him with a small smile. "I hear you don't drink anymore, but I figured you'd be kind enough to have a little with me for old time's sake."
Shawn smiled, nodding his head. "Of course old friend." Bret took a seat at the end of the table, opting to sit across from him rather than near him for reasons that may or may not have had anything to do with the tension that was almost nonexistent to them both. They both sat quietly for several seconds, Bret wondering what to say to Shawn while Shawn admired the kitchen. After a while though, the nonexistent tension became a little too much for either of them and both found themselves blurting out questions.
"Wow," Shawn laughed.
"Yeah, I know," Bret said. "Guess we're being kinda silly."
"That or it's been so long that we hardly know where to begin."
Bret nodded. "Let's try this again. Since you broke the silence outside, how about I return the favor by asking you about your family? Tell me about home. How's your wife and kids?"
Shawn swirled his wine around, a light smile forming as he thought of his answer. "They're fine. My wife's pretty excited about my impending retirement next year while my kids are growing up way too fast for my liking."
Bret grinned. "Yeah, they do grow up pretty fast. I saw your little girl on Raw. She's very pretty."
"Yeah," he smiled, face glowing a little. "I thought it would be fun to include her rather than someone else's girl. I think she's gonna give everyone hell someday. I hope I'm wrong, but it's just a feeling," he joked.
"Oh yeah," he answered. "With that quick temper she's gonna drive everyone insane." Shawn merely chuckled, looking down at his drink as though embarrassed. "But even under that quick temper," Bret added quietly, "I noticed striking eyes that may get her out trouble from time to time." Shawn looked up and Bret smiled. "It's just a hunch, but I haven't been wrong yet."
"No, you haven't."
"She's beautiful you know…just like her parents." Shawn blushed opting to go back to his wine drinking, every now and then swirling the glass around as if he were at a wine tasting. Bret did the same. He sipped his drink quietly every now and then looking up at his old friend, their eyes locking from time to time seemingly melting away any hostilities that may have been present.
The uncomfortable silence was broken once again when Shawn suddenly stood to his feet. Bret's heart sank just a little when he feared Shawn was leaving but he wasn't. Instead, with glass in hand, he walked over to the old fireplace and picked up a photograph, examining it closely. It was a picture of Bret, Owen and Davey sitting on the grass outside their home grinning. "I often find myself thinking of Owen," he spoke quietly. "I guess it's because I wasn't there, a part of the company anymore when it happened and so sometimes I recall how much of a goof he could be."
Bret quietly rose to his feet, his own drink in hand as he quietly crossed the room. He stopped a few inches from Shawn, towering behind him looking at the photograph. He rarely looked at the pictures of Owen these days. Not because he was over Owen but because it always made him sad yet standing here now, looking at one with Shawn, made it a little easier. Bret's nose was tickled suddenly by the sweet smell of jasmine. He smiled, leaning in just a bit, his nose just barely brushing Shawn's tresses. "You know, even after you left, he still looked after me."
Bret jumped back a little when Shawn suddenly spun around, a smile plastered on his face. "I miss him too. He was my friend…" He looked down at his drink then spoke quietly. "Kinda like you were."
Bret waited a moment before reaching to thumb Shawn's face, lifting his chin in the process. With a smile, he simply replied, "Am." Shawn frowned, looking somewhat confused, his face coloring from the gesture. Bret only laughed a little before clinking their glasses together. "Am. I am your friend and have been since the day we met and the day I received my first birthday card post Montreal." He raised his glass. "To old friends."
Shawn smiled, raising his glass. "I'll drink to that." Both men downed the last of their drinks and that's when Shawn glanced at his watch. Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes had passed which meant he needed to be leaving in at least ten to make it to the airport in time to catch his flight. Both men moved to set their glasses on the table then once again a rare tension formed as the two men avoided each other's gazes somewhat at a loss of what to say. Shawn kept glancing at his watch, the seconds slowly ticking by while Bret watched him, wishing he didn't have to go.
"Well I…should probably be going now."
Bret reached out to him pulling a strand of his hair. "Yeah, I suppose you should. Don't want you to miss your flight." Shawn stayed rooted in his spot though, allowing Bret to play with the strand, Bret's other hand moving to slide down his body feeling the silky material of the vest. Bret suddenly met Shawn's eyes again, his face softening at the sight of him. Lord knows Shawn was beautiful and even though it had been close to twelve years, time had been very kind to his old friend. "I'm holding you up. I know. You—you should walk away now before you miss your flight."
Shawn nodded his head. "I…yeah. I should go." He turned to leave but just as quickly stopped short of the door. "It's a shame about the way things turned out, but I guess in the end, all worked out for the best right?" He laughed a little, masking the sadness in his voice. "Good luck with the wedding. Your fiancé's a lucky woman."
Shawn didn't realize that Bret followed him to the door until he opened it and watched as it suddenly slammed shut. Shawn spun around and found himself trapped between Bret, who was towering over him, and the door. Bret looked down at Shawn, once again reaching down to thumb his cheek. Bret slid his other hand down Shawn's arm, taking his hand into his and then lifted it up. He glanced down at the watch smiling. "Two minutes. I think you still have two more minutes."
Shawn simply nodded as he closed the tiny gap between them, pressing his body to Bret's, his smaller arms encircling the man's waist. Bret sighed, his eyes tearing up from the heat that coursed through him from the contact. He brushed his lips across Shawn's forehead, not really kissing him since that would be wrong but wishing he could do more. Instead, he rubbed his cheek against his friend's lightly, their wet skin meshing together like it had once upon a time. "God…Shawn…"
Shawn held him tighter, not really responding since he too was fighting with his own knotted throat and hot tears. Once minute. They had one more minute before Shawn had to go. He knew this and like Bret he wanted to make the most of it. He pulled back a little looking up into eyes that matched his own forcing a smile on his face. With trembling hands he cupped Bret's face, wiping his tears away. Bret mirrored his action, reaching up to cup his face as well. They both laughed, choking back sobs as the seconds ticked on by. Ten seconds. They had roughly ten seconds. Shawn's hands moved to touch Bret's hair. "It's still soft," he managed.
"Like your lips probably are?" Bret asked weakly, suddenly feeling guilty for what he let slip. He bent his head pressing their foreheads together, their lips barely touching. Five seconds. "I'm sorry," he breathed.
Shawn licked his lips, his tongue just brushing Bret's lips making him groan. "I'm sorry too." Time was up. Bret wrapped his arms around Shawn hugging him one last time before he managed to release him. Shawn merely nodded his head, too sad to say anything more, before turning to once again pull open the door. At the last second, Bret quickly grabbed his friend from behind, holding him in place. He hugged him tightly then pressing his lips against Shawn's ear he whispered, "Thank you." And he meant it from the bottom of his heart.
He released Shawn but didn't have the heart to watch him leave so he shut the door behind him, leaning against the door crying quietly, never knowing that his friend was doing the same thing in his car. Several minutes passed before Bret had the strength to go outside again, the air in his home too thick for some reason now. Once again he found himself standing in front of his mailbox pulling out cards and letters that hardly meant anything to him now. As he walked back towards the house, he sifted through the letters telling himself that this time he would at least open them.
Bills…bills…a blank envelope? He stopped dead in his tracks staring at the blank letter that he was sure wasn't present before. Dropping all others, he quickly tore open the letter sobbing instantly when he pulled out a card, the card he'd been looking forward to reading earlier. He opened it up and in the familiar handwriting, it simply read,
Happy Birthday Bret. I hope the rest of your day is filled with love and lots of sweets since I know you wouldn't have them any other time. Thanks for the drink and to answer your question about the suit, my daughter thought you'd like it. I hope she was right. Yes, I lied about the card, but just so you know, saints aren't perfect especially when they're missing someone special and would do anything to see them again. Until next time old friend, take care and at least pretend that you care about the other cards.
Bret folded the card and stuffed it back in the envelope chuckling softly. He would eventually open the rest of his mail, but for now, he planned to go back inside and plan his own birthday surprise for an old friend.
AN: Abrupt ending is abrupt, but I couldn't think of one. Yes, both my boys are of the Cancer zodiac. Go figure. No, neither of them are exactly gay, but if you're reading "Heart to Hart" then you know I've made them out to have a complicated friendship that just walks that fine line. Questions? Concerns? Just ask away. This is also posted on LJ but for those of you who dont have my LJ, I'm posting it here. Plus, you know I'm not good with oneshots so don't be surprised when I add to this one. I have a part II coming up from Shawn's POV but I'm not posting it until his b-day. After that...well...we'll see. Hope you enjoy it and once again, happy belated birthday Bret!