Puzzle Pieces

Disclaimer: I don't own Drake, nor Josh, nor Drake & Josh.

Note: Contains slash. I know something like this was done in Josh Is Done, but I wanted to change it up a little.

It starts with Josh getting pissed at Drake.

It happens when Drake's on his bed, strumming random chords on his guitar. He can feel a new song at the tips of his fingers, he just needs a little inspiration and maybe those random chords he's playing will help trigger that.

Josh walks in, his face red, and he's yelling something at Drake, but Drake's tuned him out the way he always does. Josh's shaking, and his angry, and his upset about something that Drake's done (or hasn't), and this is how it normally works. Josh gets angry, he cools down, they're back to being Drake and Josh again.

Drake doesn't say anything to Josh as he rants. He knows that Josh will get it out of his system, and once it's done, everything will go back to normal. So while his step-brother screams at him, he's playing away at his guitar. The notes he's stringing along to forming a pretty catchy melody, some great new material that he just needs to refine.

He freezes after a couple of seconds when he realises that Josh has been silent for a full minute and looks up. The other boy's just staring at him. He doesn't even look all that mad anymore, just tired, and it's weird because Josh doesn't just stop during his long-winded rants. He follows them through. So when instead, he turns around and walks out the door, Drake doesn't know what's just happened.

So he does nothing.

Just sits in bed, guitar still in hand, playing something that he's not even really listening to anymore.

Josh'll get over it, he thinks, looking right at the door his step-brother's just exited. He always does.

Josh's not sure whether he can take it anymore. He's so sick of being pushed around by Drake. He's sick of Drake's ability to get away with everything and anything he wants with the snap of his fingers. He's sick of the fact that Drake's always ditching him to sleep with his latest conquest. They were supposed to be working on their Science project together, and as usual, Drake forgets to tell him that he'd rather be on a date with Stacy or Tracy or whatever the latest girl's name is.

Usually Josh can forget this kind of thing. Normally that's what he does, because he doesn't hold grudges. He's never really been able to. That's just not how he's mind works.

But for the first time, it's like something inside of him has snapped, something's cracked, and this time he doesn't want to be the one to fix it.

When Drake goes down to breakfast the next day, he assumes that everything's back to normal again. Josh has had his time to calm down, and now he's going to be back to silly, goofy Josh, until Drake does something stupid again. It's their regular, never-ending cycle.

So when Drake asks Josh to pass the milk, the other boy does. When he tells him to get him an extra can of soda, he does. When he asks Josh to change the channel from whatever boring discovery channel show he's watching, he does. All without a single whine. He changes the channel and then just sits there staring at the screen. And yes, everything's back to normal. Josh isn't doing anything to upset Drake. He hasn't commented on whatever Drake did wrong the night before. Nothing at all. But none of this is normal. Nothing is the same.

He's so tempted to ask Josh what the hell's wrong with him. He wants to say something to his step-brother, but he doesn't. He just gives Josh a weird look, not that the other boy's even looking at him, and continues watching his show. Both their favourite programs clash, and this is the first time in something like three months or so that the two of them haven't fought over which program to watch, so he should be happy. He should be sitting there enjoying the damn show, enjoying the fact that they've finally come to some agreement. But, as hard as he tries, he's much too aware of the boy beside him. The one still staring blankly at the screen.

He doesn't even realise the show's finished until Josh changes the channel a half an hour later.

Josh manages to finish the Science project by himself. He has to stay up all night, but in the end he's happy with his finished product. No doubt he'll be beaten by Mindy yet again, but for once, second place isn't what's occupying his mind. He's just angry, and it doesn't stop because it's not like he ever expected Drake to help him on this thing. But he could have pretended, at least tried to help him just once. Actually show that he cared.

Drake sees the Science project when Josh's getting ready for bed and asks Josh why he didn't say anything about it to him. Why didn't he let Drake help him? Josh doesn't even bother to answer the other boy.

The anger never seems to die down, and he thinks that he's beginning to hate Drake. He's beginning to hate his step-brother because Drake is Drake, and he's always been ok with that, but now it's messing with his head. It's like their relationship has hit a dead end and there's nothing he can do about it. It's always him that ends up putting in the effort, and it's him that's let down time and time again.

And although he wants to mostly wants to block it out, he can feel that hate for Drake beginning to build up within him. It still hurts like nothing else, because Drake's his best friend. Drake's more than that, and cutting ties with your best friend, your soulmate, is never going to be an easy thing. He knows he's going to hurt for awhile (for longer than that), but in the end it's going to be better, because then Drake won't be there, in his mind, in his heart, in his soul, all the fucking time. And he needs that.

He fucking needs that.

"I'm sorry, Josh, ok? I'm sorry."

It's been a week. Josh's been acting the same the whole week and it's starting to scare Drake, because Josh is never mad at him for this long. Whenever he's around him, it's like he's around a zombie, something that would ordinarily have been the last thing Drake would ever compare Josh to, now the only way to describe the other boy.

By the third day, the cracks had started to show. He'd seen Josh's finished Science project, and it had kind of stung that Josh hadn't complained about having to complete it himself. Josh hadn't even said a word. He hadn't even called to tell him that he'd finished the assignment. Drake only knew when he saw it lying on the desk while Josh was lying in bed. It made him feel so guilty. It was all his fault anyway. He deserved to feel like this, and when Josh didn't answer his questions, and Josh always answered questions, he knew. Drake knew that this all ran much deeper than he'd originally thought.

He doesn't know how he was able to last a further four more days, but by Tuesday, he can't take it anymore. Yes, he's proud, he's self-absorbed and a slacker, but Josh's always been there for him. Since the first day they met. And he sort of misses being able to hear Josh laughing, or his stupid geeky rants, and fighting with Josh for the remote. He misses all of that, and he's ready for them to go back to their established routine, even if it means putting his pride on the line this time.

So he manages to track Josh down at school when they're handing in their Science project. And it's awkward because of everything they've been through, and he's really just tired of Josh's extremely effective method of anger...revenge...(whatever it is he doesn't even know), so Drake forces the apology out of him. The words come out a lot easier than he expects, they just roll off the tip of his tongue, and he knows that this is his own body and mind's way of telling him that he just wants old Josh back, and not this new, different Josh.

Josh's lips tighten for the slightest moment, then he's giving Drake a polite smile, a simple nod of the head.

"Apology accepted."

Then he moves forward to hand the teacher the project before going back to his seat. He doesn't spare Drake another look, and it starts to dawn on Drake that maybe an apology doesn't cut it this time (sincere as it may be). Maybe it's not all just about the stupid Science project.

Maybe this one runs a lot deeper than any one incident.

It's not like Josh ever really stopped talking to Drake before the apology. It had always been civil, polite, they didn't scream at one another like they did in the past, everything was just...ordinary.

After the apology, everything is much the same. A single apology isn't enough to bridge the gap between the two of them anymore. It doesn't mean anything coming from Drake Parker's lips. They're just a way to appease Josh until the next time Drake screws up. Then there'll be another meaningless apology made up of just words and nothing else.

So Josh accepts the apology. And he really does. He forgives Drake for the Science project fiasco, he even gives the boy a smile, something that he hasn't done since this whole thing began. But, after all, there's way too many things that Drake's done for him to fully be forgiven. And it's like Josh can feel the heat in him again, the anger than never goes away. He doesn't know how Drake's reacting to all of this, but it can't be much worse than himself. It's killing him not being able to act the way he wants to act around Drake. It's this pathetic longing for things to go back to normal mingled with the ferocity, the hatred surrounding everything that Drake's ever done to let him down. And even though it seems like it would be easier to stamp that fire out, to return back to their daily cycle, he takes the option that works better in the long-run, because he needs to believe in something.

He can tell that Drake's expecting everything to be ok now, and it doesn't take the other boy long to figure out that it's not. Not really. Because nothing changes, and he can see from the look on Drake's face that he doesn't know what to do. He looks like a helpless little boy who's lost and can't find his way back home.

Drake needs to know that this is normal now. This is how things happen in the real world and he has to get used to that.

In reality, things never happen the way you want them to.

The Blues Brothers is playing on TV, and though they've only watched it a million times before, Drake's calling Josh's name because this is tradition. They watch it whenever it's on. Always.

He hears Josh's footsteps getting closer and he puts the volume up because they always have the volume full blast whenever it comes to this movie. He doesn't even need to say a word, or point at the screen. Josh will know what it is. He'll know and he'll sit down, and things will return to some state of normalcy because the Blues Brothers always has this magical effect that can bring the both of them together no matter what. When Josh's bogged down with homework, The Blues Brothers is always there to cheer him up, and when Drake stuffs up a gig, the movie is there to make everything better again.

So he's not even really thinking about their spat, or whatever's happened between the two of them. The movie will fix everything, he thinks, because it's never failed before.

Only this time, it doesn't. This time Josh breaks from tradition. When he doesn't feel anyone on the seat next to him, he turns around and sees Josh just standing there, staring at the TV with something in his eyes that Drake's never seen before. And he's about to say something to Josh. To tell him to stop moping, to come sit down next to him, to watch because it's their ritual, but Josh turns on his heels and walks right back out the door, not even giving Drake a second glance.

And Drake's left there unsure about what to do because he really doesn't know this time. Because, this time, it's spiralling, it's spinning out of control and he doesn't know how to put it right.

He ends up watching the rest of the movie (someone has to go on with the tradition), but it's not the same. He doesn't have his heart in it, and there's this huge, missing piece of him that's gone, and he's certain now that it's never going to come back.

Later on he hears his mum saying that everyone's going out tonight, and Josh'll be the only one home.

He doesn't even have to think about it. He's on the phone a minute later talking to the girl that he's supposed to be going out with tonight. He cancels.

Josh all but runs out of the room as soon as he sees The Blues Brothers on the television screen. He can't deal with this. He can't...he thought that this was supposed to get easier over time, and so far, it's pretty much chipping tiny pieces from his heart little by little. This ones a bigger chunk than ever before as this is what Drake and Josh do. They have for as long as they've been Drake and Josh, and this time is a lot harder than the others. He can almost feel himself walking back in there, sitting with Drake, and laughing like everything's back to the way it used to be again. Because even though it hasn't been that long, it feels like it's been an eternity. And he just feels so damn lonely all the time.

Then he remembers that he wants to be Josh, not Drake and Josh. He's his own person and he hasn't had that for the longest time. He's never been just Josh, and that's all he wants. He wants to be himself. He wants to forget about Drake. He wants to forget about the pain and the constant betrayals and their gradually diminishing relationship. That's all he wants.

At least he thinks so.

It starts out simple.

Drake starts doing things to set Josh off. To garner some kind of emotional reaction from the other boy, instead of the dead zombie look he's constantly been on the receival end of. He just needs to get Josh angry. To elicit something else from him, because at least when he's angry, it's like they're back to the days before all the coldness. And that's all he wants for now. Until he can make it up to Josh by fixing things, since he's feels he's the one responsible for making sure something turns out right.

He spills soda on Josh's favourite pants. He's ready for some type of blowout, but nothing happens. Josh just excuses himself from the dinner table, changes his pants, and comes back to dinner like it's something that happens everyday. He doesn't even look at Drake.

He changes the channel mid-way through Josh's program. He waits for the other boy to try to snatch the remote away from him. Anything. But he doesn't. Just folds his arms across his chest, as though nothing's happened and what he's been watching is still on. Drake changes the channel back and sets the remote nearer to Josh. He doesn't even try to reach for it, and it's here that Drake's starting to get desperate.

When Helen calls to tell Josh that his shift has changed to an earlier time, Drake 'conveniently' forgets to tell him until Helen's voice rings out over the speaker phone asking where Josh is and why he's still at home when he's already ten minutes late. Josh doesn't even so much as glare at Drake the way Drake wants him too. He just takes the blame. He tells Helen that it's all his fault, and that he forgot. And, now, Drake's almost out of ideas...because there's only so many times you can try and get someone angry at you. And Josh's just not falling for any of it. He has to know exactly what Drake's doing.

The only logical option is to change tactics.

Drake starts doing things to get Josh's attention, and it's another cry, another appeal to be the centre of the universe. It's nothing new. And it's nothing that Josh wants to be a part of because Drake's being Drake. Always the same. He never actually tries. He thinks that everything will turn out magically ok just by riling Josh up, and he has to know that this time...that's just not going to happen. All he's doing is fueling Josh's anger. Proving that he's never going to change. Ever.

There's only so much he can do before he gives up. Before he stops trying to achieve what is clearly impossible.

And Josh's ok with that because once he finishes high school, he's out of here. He's gone. And he'll never have to see his step-brother's face again. He'll never have to feel that complete disappointment at always falling for Drake Parker's traps. He doesn't have to put up with any of it anymore.

But it's been three weeks and counting and he's wondering at what point it all starts to feel better.

He stops everything. He stops trying to get Josh angry, he stops going out on dates with girls, he stops caring about everything and anyone else. Every time he sees Josh his heart skips a beat, and he doesn't know what's wrong with him because before, the sight of Josh made him feel normal. It made sense. And now, it doesn't.

He calls up Helen as soon as Josh's out the door and tells her that he's the one that forgot to tell Josh. She's not even angry. She never really is when it comes to him, and instead of ending the conversation, she's talking to him about something he's not paying any attention to. He just laughs every now and then. He doesn't have the heart to say anything, to keep it flowing the way he usually does. Then something she says catches his attention.

"What did you do to Josh?" Her voice takes on this protective quality, and he doesn't know what to say. He's forgotten that he's not the only one that this...whatever it is, has affected. He's been so caught up in it being just about him and Josh, he's forgotten that there are other people involved in this too.

Everything's silent over the line for a long while as he tries to formulate some sort of answer in his mind, but he has no idea what's gone wrong either. He has no idea what to say, let alone what to do next. And all he wants to do is just tell someone about him and Josh and everything that's happened between them. He wants to tell someone that he's confused. That Josh's not Josh anymore, and it's ruining his life. That there's something wrong with him, and there's only so much more of this that he can take. He's never felt this horrible, this fucked up, in his life. He wants to tell Josh. So he says the only thing he can.

"I don't know but I'm going to fix it."

He's just not so sure that he can anymore.

Drake stops trying to provoke Josh, and through it all, Josh has to keep pretending like it doesn't hurt. Everything's all pretend for him now. The easiest way to go about this is to stay numb, to fake everything, because when he doesn't, everything is real, and graphic, and painful. He hates everything about it, and pretending is hard. It's so damn hard. It's tiring, and it hurts. But he knows that it's easier than facing up to reality. And it doesn't hurt as much. Most of the time.

The worst part is that Drake ignoring him shows how easy all of this is for the other boy. He's making this easy for the both of them, and even though that's what Josh wants (and he tells himself this over and over and over again), somehow it's not any easier. It's just as painful, perhaps moreso, because deep down he thought that Drake had cared. But it's obvious now that he doesn't.

He's cold and he's invincible.

And all Josh wants to do is curl up and never wake up. Because at least when he's asleep, when he's done with the pretending and he's mind is blank, he doesn't think of Drake. He doesn't dream of the other boy. His exhaustion from having to pretend all the damn time leaves him with a blank slate when he's asleep. And at least he has that.

Josh colours Drake's dreams, day in and day out. Sometimes innocent. Sometimes not so. Most of the time he wakes up sweaty. Josh's name is the first thing he utters when he wakes up those times in the middle of the night. And he's so glad that the other boy is a deep sleeper. He's so glad that he can't hear, because the dreams start to get more and more graphic. And every night, when he wakes up, Josh's name is moaned louder and louder, until the moment his eyes open up, and he realises that Josh isn't running his hands through his hair, Josh isn't pushing his tongue down his mouth, or whispering dirty things in his ear.

It's just him, alone, in bed. He can hear Josh's soft snoring there in the background. It's the only sound he ever hears from the other boy anymore.

He lies awake for the remainder of the night. Afraid that he'll dream of Josh again. Afraid that Josh will hear his pornographic moaning. Afraid to wake up to another day of Josh hating him.

But, most of all, he's afraid of the fact that he's not scared of these feelings, these dreams. He's afraid that they'll never become a reality.

Josh's the first one to class in the morning. If this were four weeks ago, Drake would have been here too. Or at least, he would have been in the same building. He'd end up late anyway, but at least Josh would have had the comfort of knowing where Drake was, having travelled to school with the boy in the morning.

But Josh isn't supposed to care about Drake anymore. And he's certainly not supposed to give a damn where the other boy is right now. Probably still in bed sleeping in. He wouldn't put it past him.

He takes his research notes out of his bag, studying them carefully. Or at least appearing like he is studying them carefully. Instead, he just reads the same words over and over again. This is all some stupid cycle that he can't break out of. This is his life.

His teacher comes up to him, smile on his face, with an A+ slapped on his project. He says something about how he's so proud of both him and Drake and the effort they put in on the project. All Josh can do is muster up a weak smile, a mumbled "thank you", before moving on back to his notes and letting his teacher continue setting up for class.

He sees the Drake Parker and Josh Nichols etched into the bottom of the project and he thinks that he can't remember the last time that his name and Drake's weren't in a sentence together. He thinks that maybe it's good that he's spending all this time apart from Drake. Maybe it's making him a more independent person. Maybe he's proving to himself that he doesn't want Drake anymore.

Or maybe it just means that he needs Drake in his life.

He wakes up late. Seeing his alarm clock lying broken on the floor, he realises he must have thrown the stupid thing against the wall again. Shit.

It takes him five minutes to arrive at school. He knows that usually he wouldn't care about this. Ordinarily, he'd just go with the flow, spend another ten minutes doing his hair, actually eat something for breakfast, but as of now, his dishevelled appearance doesn't mean anything. He needs to get to this class. He needs to show Josh that he's a different person because all he wants to do is put things right, and if he can't even get up early enough, go to class, do the easy things, how is Josh supposed to believe him?

He catches a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the window. He looks horrible. His hair is sticking up in all sorts of places, he's wearing the shirt he wore to bed last night, but he's here. And at the moment, that's the only thing that counts.

He bursts through the door of the classroom and sees that he's already missed half of class. His eyes trail over to the boy in the front. They always do, and for once, startled by his sudden arrival, Josh stares at him with none of his usual ignorance. Just for a couple of seconds. But it's enough. Enough for Drake to know that that's the Josh that he wants back. That that Josh is still in him, and it's like some kind of hope in his chest is bursting through.

His teacher purses his lips, beckoning Drake over with a finger. "To what do we owe the pleasure, Mr Parker?"

Drake swallows, breaking his gaze from Josh once the other boy turns his head. He goes over to his teacher's desk, his mind not on whatever class he's in (he can't remember) but focused on the boy with the dark hair who's writing furiously into his exercise book. He should be sitting there on that empty seat next to him.

"Mr Parker, if it weren't for your outstanding mark on your project," he points at the model on Josh's desk. "You would be getting a detention right now. As it is, this is your final warning."

Drake stares at the project. He didn't do anything. It was all Josh. He needs to prove to Josh that he meant it. That he is fucking trying. And that the only reason he's doing all of this is because of Josh. He has to know.

"I-I...I don't deserve that A. I didn't do the project. I didn't do any of that. It was all Josh. I'm sorry."

He doesn't even glance at the teacher, just walks up to Josh, Josh who's ignoring him. Who won't listen to him. He stands up in front of the whole class, directly in front of Josh. It's the only way that Josh will pay him any attention, but he doesn't know what he's going to say. He's shaking, and he's scared, and he's nervous, and he's everything all in one, but there's a reason for all of this. And nothing matters except for Josh right now.

It takes a few moments for Josh to fully comprehend (and understand) everything that Drake's saying to him. The words spilling from Drake's lips aren't the typical run-of-the-mill Drake Parker words. They're special, they mean something, and even though he doesn't know if he should believe (and he wants to, he really wants to), there's a part of him that's totally speechless. A part of him that's frozen throughout Drake's simple speech.

A part of him that doesn't understand when Drake says he needs Josh more than Josh needs him.

Because that could never be true. Because Drake Parker is Drake Parker. He doesn't need a Drake and Josh. He doesn't need any of this. All he cares about is himself, his guitar, his band. He doesn't care about Josh Nicholls. They're just step-brothers.

Only the way he says he needs him way more than Josh needs him seems to suggest otherwise.

Then he's rushing out, another, "I'm sorry, Josh, I'm sorry", and he's out of the room before Josh can say another word. Before Josh can open his mouth. He's out the door, and Josh's confused, disorientated, worse off than before. Because before he could move on. Before it wasn't so hard because Drake wasn't hurting, and everything was...it wasn't working, but it hadn't broken down yet. And now everything was broken. It was all out in the open.

And isn't this what he wanted in the first place? Isn't this what he'd wanted Drake to get? That Josh wasn't going to put up with any more of his crap, his excuses, his anything anymore.

So when he's asked whether he wants to go talk to Drake, and even though, yet again, his brain, his heart, his soul is screaming at him to go talk to Drake, he doesn't. This was everything that he was trying to achieve. This was his anger working in full force, smiling, laughing, shining. This was everything that Drake Parker had done to him over the years. All of it together finally causing the invincible Drake Parker to break down.

Only wasn't the hurt supposed to be going away now? Wasn't it supposed to stop?

And, more than anything in the world, why does he just want to make it better.

Drake knows that there's nothing more that he can do. He's bared his soul, and Josh isn't here. Josh hasn't come running out. It hasn't been some big scene like in the movies where everything just ends up better. Everything's just the same. Maybe even worse now that Josh knows everything.

He fails the Science project for not working on it, but isn't given a detention. Even his teacher can see just how lost Drake Parker is, and giving him a detention on top of a failed grade is like kicking a poor, defenceless puppy.

He heads home knowing that he can't face the rest of the school day. Not with the possibility of seeing Josh's face around. There's only so much he can handle in one day. Besides, this will be one of the few times when he can have the room all to himself. He knows the awkwardness that's going to arise now that everything's been said and done. He's probably going to have to beg (or bribe) Megan to let him stay in her room. He can't bear being in the same room as Josh.

Once he gets in the room, he flops facedown on Josh's bed. He inhales Josh's scent, the smell of his shampoo on his pillowcase. He takes in the slight indentation of Josh's body on the mattress. He curls up and lies, and thinks about how he's probably ruined things forever, and how everything's not the same (and it never will be), and how this time, this time, he's fucked everything up for good.

He tries not to think about his pathetic little speech (even though he means every word and more).

And, somehow, he doesn't know how, what with all his charged-up emotions, he ends up falling asleep on Josh's bed.

It's where the other boy finds him once he gets home from school.

Josh is lying in bed later that night unable to keep his mind blank. He can't sleep. He wants to sleep, but Drake's presence is all too noticeable. Drake, who's still lying in his bed dead to the world. Who's been asleep since Josh came back, five hours ago. Josh hears the deep breathing and he knows how much of a toll this has taken on Drake.

It's strange how he's never realised it until now.

Drake's exhaustion isn't something that's come out of nowhere. It's been long and built-up, just like Josh's anger at the other boy. Only Josh isn't angry anymore. He's tired. He's exhausted. He's fed up with being mad at Drake. He's fed up with wasting all of that energy when all he wants is for things to be normal again, and he thinks that this might all be his own fault, and maybe it's not that things won't change, but they can't change. Maybe this is it.

So he's just about to shut the door on it all. To give up on ever trying again, when he hears Drake moan his name. Josh. He only says it once, but the way he says it means everything. It's this personal, private piece of Drake that Josh's never heard before, and even just listening to his name come out of Drake's mouth feels like a violation. Like he's invading the other boy's privacy. He moans with such intensity that Josh knows he won't be able to go to sleep now.

It's only then that Josh realises that Drake was the one who took the first step. Drake was the one who made the leap, who tried to patch it up. But Josh was selfish in thinking that it was all on Drake alone. Drake can't do everything. Yes, he's not perfect, but he tried, and that's what counts in the end, isn't it? It's what Josh really wanted. For Drake to realise his initial hurt and to do something about it.

So now it's Josh's turn to take that step. To do something for himself, for Drake. It's his turn to make things right.

And with the sound of his name on Drake's lips still echoing in his mind, he does what he has to.

What he's been itching to do for god knows how long.

Drake awakes to the sound of his name on his lips. A soft, slow moan. Another torrid dream of Josh (always of Josh) touching him, feeling him, kissing him, only to wake up to the horrid reality of Josh hating him, and that inevitable, sinking feeling comes along to fucking break him.

As usual, he curls into his little ball, he burrows his head in his pillow because he can't bear Josh hearing him. That would only ruin everything. But does he really have anything to lose anymore? He breathes in, and the pillow smells like Josh. It's like another physical blow, and at first he thinks it's just his imagination, that his dreams have pushed their way so deep into his mind that they've entered his reality, but as he blinks into the darkness and his eyes adjust to the black, he realises he's not in his own bed. The mattress is too soft. The room looks almost unrecognisable from this angle. He must have fallen asleep in Josh's bed.

He rubs away the sleep, suddenly hyper aware of the other boy so close to him. He's grown used to listening for Josh's reaction to his dreams. Josh never hears. He's always fast asleep with his deep breathing and soft snores, but this time it's different. He can tell from the hushed breathing, the lack of snoring. This time Josh's awake and his heart plummets down to the pit of his stomach like someone's just crushed it, and he essentially has. Josh will never talk to him again.

He knows that, for both of them, the rest of the night will be spent lying awake, and as a result, he turns on his side, facing away from Josh sleeping in his bed, if only to pretend. Because there's only so much rejection he can get in one day, and he's so accustomed to getting things his way, with girls, his parents, people in general, Josh, that now, it's only right that the one thing he wants more than anything, the one thing that he's ever truly wanted is out of his reach.

He's shaking, trying not to cry, trying not to let Josh hear him, when he hears his bed springs creak and the sound of someone climbing down the ladder, and that someone sitting down on his bed.

He can't move, the shaking intensifies, and he doesn't know what's happening, but he wants it to be what he's dreaming of so badly. He wants it all to end. He wants things to...no, they can never go back to normal, but he wants things to be better.

So when the other boy comes up close, lies next to him, the warmth and shock of it all makes his heart leap. The hope, warm and light, spills into his chest, heightening when the boy puts one arm over his side. He does it almost lazily, but the both of them know how careful it really is, and how much that simple gesture means.

When he doesn't move (he can't, nor would he ever want to), Josh moves in closer, this time with a more deliberate finesse in his movements from his sudden bout of confidence. Drake feels Josh against him and he can barely breathe. He can hardly believe that this is real because all he can keep thinking about is that at any moment he'll wake up, and everything will be back to the way it was before. He won't feel the warmth of Josh on his back, Josh's breath on his neck, Josh and his intoxication. All of it will be gone.

Then Josh pushes past the barrier and kisses his neck, soft, feather-light, and he does something incredible with his tongue, and it makes Drake moan because all of this is better than any girl or any dream he's had before. All of this is real.

He turns around to face Josh.

He can hardly make out Drake's face in the darkness, all blurred lines and shapes, but he can see it in his mind. He knows Drake's features better than anyone else's, and though he can't really see him, he can feel the way Drake is looking at him, and it captivates him. He can't look away. Not even if he tried.

His arm stays draped over Drake's body, liking the feel of the other boy's breathing, slightly heavy against his arm. It startles him slightly when Drake moves his hand, lifting it to his face, gently grazing it over his cheek. He's sure that Drake notices the small catch in his breath as his long fingers run through his hair. He can almost see the smug smile on his face.

They stay like that, staring at each other, knowing that things will never go back to normal. They never can now. But that change doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Not when the difference lifts both of their hearts in a way that normal never could.

He threads his fingers through Drake's slender ones and smiles. He doesn't need to say he's sorry, in the same way that Drake doesn't need to say it. They're so perfectly attune with one another, always have been, but now so more than ever. And Josh's thinking that maybe Drake and Josh isn't so bad. Maybe it's better than being just Josh, all alone, with no partner in crime. Maybe it works, because right now all he knows is that they belong, the way they always have, opposite as they are. And despite all the pain, anger and misinterpretations, they're the puzzle pieces that are finally fitting together.

It ends with Josh getting kissed by Drake.

A/N: This is my epic one. I never write pieces this long. Kind of inspired by a beautiful fanfiction that I read, as well as the fact that I freaking love Drake & Josh. Oh, and I suddenly got inspiration, which is always fun. I haven't posted anything in awhile :)