A/N- So this was meant to be a little thing about a request I saw on tumblr, but it kinda morphed into this huge...Ranestravaganza and ClarkSawyerLoveIn.
My first Dalton!fic. All belongs to Glee or CP Coulter.
Reed was waiting on the walk beside the guest parking lot. His stepbrother Clark was coming to Dalton for Parents Night. He had texted to let him know he was going to be early, asking Reed if he wanted to hang out for a while.
So now he was there, waiting for the arrival of a rental car with the tall blond in it.
"Sawyer here yet?" Reed jumped and spun around, stumbling over his feet.
"How did you know?" Derek Seigerson just raised an eyebrow at Reed and looked out towards the drive.
"I heard you telling Kurt Hummel in the hall earlier." Derek said brusquely. He didn't seemed to be much bothered by the fact that he was admitting to eavesdropping.
"Why are you here?"
"I need to talk to him."
"None of your business." Derek retorted. Reed receded slightly into himself.
A dark blue sedan pulled into the Dalton drive and swung into the parking lot.
Reed and Derek stood in tension. Reed turned to him nervously.
"Look. I'm meeting Clark for the first time in person, can't you wait to see him later."
Derek looked irritated.
" I just need him for a minute. You can wait your turn Shirley Temple."
Reed's frayed nerves spun out suddenly at the unfortunate comparison.
"No! He's my brother. You wait." The athlete frowned. He patted Reed's head, like he did sometimes to Amanda, but apparently Reed wasn't a fan.
"Kid. Just chill out. Relax!"
"Don't call me kid!" Reed retorted. One hand pushed the wide palm off of his hair and his other hand flew out in something that hit Derek's face in a strange combination of a slap and punch.
"What the hell!" Derek's hand flew to his face, staring down at the blood that trickled onto his fingers.
Reed gaped for a minute, not breathing or blinking, then broke into a scrambling, stumbling run towards Windsor.
Clark jogged over, climbing out of his car just in time to see the small boy flee. He called out after him.
"Reed! Are you okay? What's going on?" He turned to Derek.
"Who the hell are you and what just happened?" He demanded, pausing to make a better observation of the scenario. He recognized the other boy.
"Wait. You're Julian's friend. And you're bleeding."
"Yeah, well, the little bugger just hit me." Derek shot back, grimacing.
"Never thought he had it in him.' Derek murmured, wiping at his nose with his sleeve.
"What happened!" Clark demanded again. This had gotten confusing. Very quickly.
"Look, I need to talk with you. About Julian. I don't have time right now, but I needed to make sure I caught you. Whether Julian stays here, or goes back to L.A., we need to be in communication. How long are you around for?"
Clark just paused for a minute.
"Okay. I'm guessing something is wrong."
"Right. I'll be here until tomorrow around lunch probably."
"Can you spare half an hour?"
"Yeah. I'll meet you at here. 10:30."
"I'll meet you here."
"I should go see what's up with Reed. I'm sure he's sorry by the way."
Derek shook his head.
"Whatever. It's not the first time I've been hit in the face and it really won't be the last."
"Okay. Well...I'll be getting..." Clark threw a thumb over his shoulder and started off in the opposite direction.
Julian was right. This place was weird as hell.
Clark knocked on the large front doors, and stood back as they burst open to reveal the fact that he apparently had double vision. Or that these were twins.
"Hi step-Dormouse." They both grinned unsettlingly before being pushed out of the way insistently by a harassed looking boy.
"Clark right? Reed said you might be around today." Clark shook the hand offered to him. "I'm Charlie. Windsor prefect and-"
"What did you do to Reed!"
Charlie shut his eyes and sighed in frustration. "-And warden of this madhouse. Come on in."
Charlie held out his hands to Kurt who had just marched down the stairs, his eyes stormy. A crowd of Windsor trailed behind him.
"No, it's okay. I was just getting here, and Reed got in a fight with a guy, and after he hit him, he just ran."
"Reed hit someone?" Kurt said in disbelief. It he hadn't seen the shocked look on his roommate's face when he'd come in and slammed the door behind him, he definitely wouldn't have believed it. But this was Winsdor, and things had been more than a little crazy of late, so he was willing to suspend his doubt a little.
"Who?" A dark skinned boy and the asian kid next to him chorused.
"Um...one of Julian's friends."
"Logan!" A voice shot out stunned, but the dark skinned boy waved it off.
"If it was Logan he'd be dead."
"So, wait...he punched Derek?" The asian boy posited.
"Uh, yeah." Clark stuck his hands in his pockets and just nodded. A heavy groan rose from the assembled crowd.
"I'm so jealous." The dark skin boy glowered.
"I'm more jealous." The asian countered.
"I'm kind of impressed."Another one added.
"No kidding. Reed. Hunh. Never thought he'd be the one."
Charlie looked at Clark sympathetically and patted him on the back.
"I know. I'd say you get used to it, but...Anyways. You'll be wanting to talk to Reed I imagine. Kurt, can you take him up to your room?"
The Kurt boy stepped forward and rolled his eyes at the other boys around him apparently marvelling at Reed's accomplishment.
"Come on. He's up in our room." He led Clark up the stairs, shaking his head slightly. "I though something might happen. He's been so out of sorts lately, but I never thought...Derek? Really?"
Clark gave a murmur of confirmation, focusing more on taking in his surroundings than really listening.
"Well, this is us. I'll give you guys some time to talk." He left Clark knocking on the door, slipping back into the room across the hall.
"Reed? It's Clark." He called to his stepbrother through the door.
"It's open." A weak voice called back. Clark let himself in, searching the room and finding Reed sitting on the bed, looking rather shaken.
"So...hi?" Clark said carefully, giving the small boy a friendly smile. "Did I come at a bad time?"
"No. Yes. I don't know." Reed admitted. "I made a terrible impression, didn't I?"
"Are your knees okay?" Clark asked.
Reed shrugged. His pants were rolled up past the joint, revealing raw red patches. He must have fallen during his flight to Windsor.
"It's happens a lot. I'll be fine." He carefully taped gauze onto his scraped skin. "Was Derek angry?"
Clark smiled and sat down on the bed.
"No. Surprised I think, but he didn't seem particularly angry."
"Okay. Well...I guess I'll have to apologize. Or...never run into him again ever or something."
That brought a laugh out of the actor and a tiny smile from Reed.
"Hey, you okay?"
The smaller boy shrugged a little.
"I've just been really busy lately." Reed mumbled.
Clark didn't believe him, but he let it slide for now.
"So, I thought your room was going to be full of art! I was looking forward to seeing more of your stuff."
He laughed at the skeptical look Reed sent him.
"Hey! I've totally seen your work. Your dad has some of your pieces at his house."
"He does?" Reed frowned.
"Yeah, of course. And I've actually got one in my place in L.A." Clark smiled, bringing his legs up onto the bed and hugging them loosely.
"Yeah. It's an abstract. All shades of blue, with this bright yellow and white. I kinda think of it like Starry Night under a microscope."
Reed turned red and his face fell into an awkward sort of pleased expression.
"I know which one you're talking about." He explained. "And it is. Well, not exactly, but you were close."
"About?" Clark tried to clarify.
"It was Starry Night. But under a magnifying glass. My mother actually was able to book off the MOMA for a night a few years ago when I got the idea. I was working from prints at home, but she insisted I use the real thing when she found out."
"Cool. Seriously." Clark marvelled. "I would never even think of doing something like that. What are you working on now?"
"Oh, well...I've got a few pieces up in the art hall."
"Can I see them?" Clark stood up eagerly and Reed flustered for a minute before acquiescing.
"Yeah, I mean...I can show them to you now if you want. The hall isn't open yet, but I've got a key."
The lock to the smaller hall clicked, but he didn't open it. Reed chewed on his lip for a moment.
"Are you sure you really want to see them? They aren't exactly spectacular or anything. I'm not actually very happy with this set and-"
Reed's eyes were huge and uncertain. Clark just squeezed his shoulder.
"I already like your work. And I already like you. So stop worrying about impressing me or whatever and show me how awesome your work is." Clark pushed the unlocked door open wide and strode in, leaving Reed to slip in behind him.
Reed trailed a few steps behind Clark, chewing a fingernail, as he looked around the exhibit. He paused to straighten one of the frames for a series he had drawn in india ink. In that moment, Clark turned and slipped into an alcove created by the temporary dividing screens. Reed darted in after him, his breath catching when he saw what Clark seemed to be intrigued by.
"What's this one?" Clark frowned, stepping back slightly to take in the whole image.
"Nothing special." Reed said quickly. Clark wrinkled his nose.
"No...there's something here. I mean, it looks great, but..." Reed looked up at the other boy cautiously. He was studying the painting, his eyes following the careful lines and edges.
"This isn't the biggest one, but its clearly the one you've spent the most time on. I mean, the delicate brushwork, the tiny detail, the elements of pointillism. But you've got it hidden away over here in this alcove, like you don't want anyone to see it."
Clark cocked his head in consideration, not demanding an answer or pressuring Reed. He just seemed...curious.
Reed looked at the work. By way of subject matter, it wasn't much. Half an eye, a few dark strands and the line of an eyebrow, the very corner quirk of a mouth. It was an interesting perspective though, as if looking down the laid out body of the subject from the crown of the head, and the dark warm colours were almost like the candlelit tones of a Rembrandt.
"Who is it?" Clark said softly.
"Just a boy." Reed whispered.
Clark moved over to the bench across from the painting and sat down, watching Reed stare at his work.
"Someone special?" He said kindly.
Reed shrugged, glancing back at Clark.
"Come sit." Clark encouraged gently, patting the open space beside him. Reed slipped over, folding himself elegantly into the seat despite catching a foot on the base. For a moment they both just looked at the image.
"I don't mean to pry." Clark said. Reed looked at him timidly and just gave a jerky sort of nod.
"I...I don't mind really. It's just...hard to talk about it. And even more so around here, because everyone one knows everyone."
"Well, I'm not completely removed, but I'm fairly impartial. Can I ask who he is?"
"He's one of my friend's brothers. Blaine Anderson's."
Clark frowned in thought, flipping through all the people Julian had mentioned to him.
"Any chance he would resemble the description "hobbitty little songstress"? Not my words, so you know."
Reed looked a little torn between offended and amused.
"Who said that?"
"Um, Julian." Clark offered. Reed nodded understandingly.
"Yes. I suppose that is Blaine. But the painting is...his name is Shane. He's Blaine's younger brother."
"Was he your boyfriend?"
Reed's head shook fiercely.
"No. He was...I shouldn't be boring you." Reed stopped for a minute, and Clark waved off his resistance.
"You aren't. I want to get to know you Reed. Anything you want to tell me, I want to hear."
Reed looked hesitant, and then seemed to just burst out.
"He liked me! I met him at the winter performance, and then New Years, and he almost died in a rock slide, and he came to the Valentine's Fair, and..." Reed ended his spiel with a deep sigh. His glance tossed around helplessly before looking up at Clark with a beseeching look.
"And?" Clark prompted.
"There's this other boy." Reed continued. "His name is Micah."
"Who is he?"
"Kurt, my roommate, he said that he was friends with them, Blaine and Shane, at their old school, before they transferred. And...um...apparently, he used to be Shane's boyfriend."
"Okay. It's a ex. That's awkward, but it doesn't mean you should give up. If...you like him...do you like him?"
Reed's eyes went to where his hands were twisting in his lap.
"I...I..." Clark put a hand on Reed's shoulder.
"You do. I can tell."
"I...I don't know if I'm...gay...or..." Reed stumbled, looking up at him carefully. Clark's arm slid across and wrapped up Reed, hugging him gently against his side.
"That doesn't matter. You can pick a person without having to pick an identity."
"That's kinda what Kurt said."
"I think I might like this Kurt kid." Clark smiled.
"He's really great, but...Shane is..." Reed looked at the picture with a soft spark in his eyes. "He kind of...adores me. Or he did."
"I can see why he would. You're kind of awesome."
"Clark." Reed blushed. "It was so embarrassing for a long time, he would follow me around, and I was kind of...scared. No one had ever been like that before. Not for me."
Reed glanced up for a moment.
"But he...I started getting...attached, and then I guess I...got very fond of him, and I think I would like him to be...my...my boyfriend?"
"You should tell him! From the sound of it he'd be over the moon."
Reed shook his head.
"No...because..." Reed started to sound a bit desperate to be understood. "Micah!"
Clark looked a bit stunned at the slight wail from the other boy.
"What about him?"
"Apparently he disappeared around the time Shane and Blaine left their old school, and then he just...showed up! At the Valentine's Fair. With their other friends. And I haven't heard from him yet."
"From Micah?" Clark questioned, looking confused.
"No, from Shane. His boyfriend came back, and now he doesn't care anymore."
"Reed." Clark said sympathetically, hugging the other boy. "You haven't spoken to him?"
Reed shook his head.
"Maybe you should then. Maybe he's just wrapped up in seeing his friends again."
"Maybe he just forgot about me." Reed murmured, letting his head fall on Clark's shoulder.
"Nah." Clark said "You're not the forgettable type."
He smiled at the slightly hopeful look in the smaller boy's face.
"You really think so?"
"Thanks for being here. For parent's night." Reed voiced, tying his apt windsor knot carefully.
"Hey, no problem. I have some free time, and I wanted to hang out with you a bit." Clark called out from the bathroom, where he was changing.
"Are you going to see Julian?" Reed asked hesitantly.
Clark emerged from the bathroom, tugging his shirt front straight.
"Probably. I look alright?" Clark spun around, holding out his arms. Reed surveyed the purple shirt and charcoal pinstripe pants and nodded in approval.
"You look very nice."
"Come on then. Let's go." Clark smiled and opened the door for Reed, waving him through cheerfully.
"Hey! Sawyer? What the hell are you doing in my territory!" Several parents looked a little scandalized at the shout, but Julian didn't care. Clark just rolled his eyes and wandered over towards him.
"Julian." Julian held out his hand, but Clark pulled him into a hug.
"What's wrong?" He murmured it quietly, so only the other boy could hear. "You look terrible."
Julian pulled back, his eyes shifting around nervously.
Clark frowned but nodded.
"I'm gonna hold you to that." Switching to a smile he raised his voice back to a normal level.
"Your parents coming?" Julian glared at Clark's knowing smirk.
"Yeah. They'll be a little bit late. One of the unicorns was sick so they're taking the magical flying carpet." Julian's parents had yet to come to a parents night or anything at Dalton actually. Clark was well aware of this. "But forget that. What are you doing here?"
"Moral support." Clark smiled, looking back towards the front doors of Windsor, where Kurt was helping Reed fit a bandaid over his finger, which had been shut in the door as they tried to leave.
"Ah right. Step-brother. You really are a saint. Have you guys even met each other before? And you're here backing him up?"
"What can I say. I've got a soft spot. And I wanted to hang out with him, get to know him better."
"Hm. Well, here he comes. I should leave you to your do-gooding." Clark grabbed his arm and pulled Julian along with him in a beeline towards Reed.
"No way Grant-"
"Do NOT call me that." Julian groused. Clark ignored him.
"I'm going to go with Reed to his exhibit for a while. You're coming, and I know you don't have any excuse not to."
"You suck." Julian returned as Clark wrapped a long arm around his step-brother.
"Ready Raphael?" He smiled.
Julian rolled his eyes.
But they both continued to flank Clark on a path towards the Art Hall.
"So what do you think?" Clark asked Julian, wrapping an arm around Reed's neck. "It's my little brother's you know." He smiled down at the bright pink boy next to him.
Julian rolled his eyes.
"You're so dramatic Sawyer."
"Oh you're one to talk." Clark returned. "I'm just proud to be connected with the talent."
"You should see him sing then. You'll drag him down to L.A. with us next time we go down."
Reed was pretty sure he was about to explode. He was standing with two stars from a show he actually watched, who were saying he was a talented artist and singer. This was weird. Especially from Julian.
"Yeah, I haven't heard him. I should get you in with the Haven guys for a session if you're really good."
Reed blanched at the prospect and Julian laughed.
"Ease up man. You're freaking Bambi out."
Clark rolled his eyes.
"Fine. You two are lame. I just can't help being enthusiastic!"
"He really is annoyingly upbeat." Julian confided to Reed. "Just slip him a sedative in his water if he ever gets to be too much."
"You said you were innocent when I asked you about that!" Clark accused.
"It didn't do you any harm." Julian waved off.
"I slept through two interviews and my call to set. The director almost killed me!"
Shane hung onto the door frame, biting his lip earnestly. He was watching Reed, who was tucked into the side of a tall blond boy...man? He was broad shouldered, he looked like a dancer. Like him, but sturdier and more powerful rather than graceful. God, he was tall. But who the hell was he? And why was he so familiar with Reed? He must know him well. Reed didn't like being touched by strangers.
He wasn't a Dalton boy. He didn't have a uniform. So...
He watched Reed turn red in embarrassment, at least saw the back of his neck and a sliver of his cheek turn. It made his stomach rise up and drop dramatically into his gut.
He was the one who was supposed to stand with Reed at his exhibition and make him blush.
He hadn't spoken to Reed for a week, yes, but he'd been busy entertaining his friends at his own house, trying to play host and catch up and sort out the whole...Micah thing.
Micah. Micah had been his first...well... everything really. Shane had thrown himself into their relationship with all of his heart and his body. He'd given himself to the other boy, who had been surprised, but they had both been eager and desperate and that was the happiest Shane had been up to that point in his life.
But he had left.
And now he was back.
They had been in Shane's room, in his Ohio home, just an hour ago.
"You...you just left."
"I LOVED you. I loved you so much, and you left."
"Past tense?" Micah said softly, nodding to himself. "I...I knew it wouldn't take you long to find someone. You're so passionate."
Shane's breath picked up and he shook his head fervently.
"No. No. I didn't go out with any other boys." Shane insisted. "I've dated girls...for my parents...but there was no one after you for so long."
Shane sighed, looking up at the other boy and admiring the still familiar shape of his eyes behind the thin barrier of his glasses.
"I couldn't stay."
"You couldn't tell me where you were? That you were okay? Anything?"
"No. You would have searched for me at the slightest hint. You forget how I knew you, Shay."
"Please don't." Shane said softly, wincing at the pet name.
"I...I didn't know what to tell you. And I just knew that if either of us got back in contact...I know I wouldn't have been able to stay away."
"What have you been doing?"
"I work at a cafe. And I'm getting my GED by correspondence."
"That's good." Shane said flatly. He looked over at his Walcott blazer hanging over his desk chair. "I don't go here, you know. To Dalton. With Blaine."
"I know." Micah said easily. "I um, saw about the accident. On TV. When I saw your face I...It hurt just as much as when your dad...Not knowing what was going to happen to you. It felt like I had swallowed acid. I almost threw up in the bathroom at work." He said quietly.
"I cried for a week when you left." Shane murmured. "In my room. This room. Where my dad couldn't see and my brother couldn't hear. The room where we had sex. Where I told you I loved you. Where...you promised you'd always love me." Shane's voice broke and Micah stepped forward, unable to stop himself from wrapping his arms around the other boy.
"I've never broken that promise." Micah replied. Shane pulled away from him, gripping his arms tightly. "Shane, I always cared about you. Even when I wasn't there. There hasn't been anyone serious since you."
Micah leaned in, and in a swell of panic, Shane scrambled back.
"I...You don't..." Micah frowned. "You don't love me still."
"No. I do." Shane said, looking up from a curtain of dark curls with sadness. "But you have a life. In California or wherever."
"And I've got-"
"Someone else." Micah said with a soft finality. Shane looked so heartbroken. He knew Shane wished he could tell him he had waited. That he had known he was coming back and had been waiting for him. But that wasn't real. Anymore than the wish that Bart Anderson would have accepted his sons with open arms.
And if Micah knew anything, he knew what was real. Sixteen, one friend dead, one gone, two forbidden to him, kicked out of his own home. He had rebuilt his life, and if he was honest with himself, while his love for Shane fit, a life with him didn't.
Their love was real, but their romance was over. And they both knew it.
Shane was the one who voiced it. He was always the one to put out the final word.
"We could have worked this out. If we had been together afterwards. I will always love you. But...I think...I think the time for us to be in love ran out."
Micah buried his nose into the crook of Shane's neck. He still smelled the same. That hadn't changed. But he nodded.
"This doesn't mean you can leave my life again." Shane continued. Micah made a small, almost silent choked laugh.
"I...I want to keep in contact. Can we write? Call?"
"Anything. Everything. I missed being your friend almost as much as I missed being able to show you how much I loved you. Now, I think I'd miss it much more."
Micah smiled at him, pulling away completely and slipping his hands into his pockets.
"It's...uh...it's parents night at Blaine's school tonight isn't it?"
"You should go. See him. And...him. The one who's caught your heart. I imagine he's been missing you."
"How did you-" Micah grinned a little.
"I could always read you like a book. And you were also holding his hand. It is him, right? The strawberry blonde?"
"Yeah. It's...he's Reed."
Micah stepped behind Shane, putting hands on his shoulders and marching him towards the door.
"Go. I'm going to have a night in with Becca and Erin."
"Are you sure?"
"Go. I...need some time."
Shane surged forward and hugged Micah tight to his chest.
"I promise I will always be there when you need me. From now on. No more separation."
"Go!" Micah laughed softly. "Please, go now."
Suddenly Reed's face had turned white in amazement, staring up at the towering blond with absolute wonder, maybe admiration.
Shane frowned. He had lost Micah, but he sure as hell wasn't going to lose Reed. Not to some big, blonde, mysterious...jerkface.
His heart was thrumming now. He could feel it in his fingers as he released them from the door. He strode into the room, slipping past parents and faculty and patrons until he found his way pushing himself in between Reed and that tall doofus.
"Sh-Shane?" Reed turned and stuttered and was at a loss.
"Reed, is everything okay?" The big blond giant had laid one of his ridiculous hands on Shane's shoulder, and he turned to shrug it away and tell him off.
"Hey, I'm talking to- Oh." Shane's eyes opened wide. "Clark Sawyer?"
"Hi!" Clark held out his hand. But Shane glanced from him, to Reed, to him and turned back to Reed. His hands fisted at his sides, and his eyes looked a little desperate. Reed was just staring, his brown eyes wide and stunned.
Shane glanced around, at least realizing in the moment that he shouldn't make a scene in the middle of parents' night. He leaned in towards Reed and hissed his words urgently through his clenched teeth.
"I'm gone for a week and you're dating Clark Sawyer!"
"I...I...uh...what?" Reed stammered out.
"This is classic." Julian remarked, looking at the other three boys in almost gleeful disbelief.
"J." Clark smacked him slightly in the stomach and put a hand on Shane and Reed's shoulders. "You, troublemaker, stay here. I'll be right back and we're going to talk. And you two. You need to do the same." He steered the faintly protesting pair into the alcove with Reed's painting of Shane, sliding one of the castered dividers across as he retreated, to isolate them from the rest of the crowd.
His face peeked in the small divide for a moment.
"If you need me I'll be talking to Julian. Probably outside. You have half an hour before your mom shows up. Do something constructive with it." He winked at Reed and disappeared, leaving the two of them just...staring. Not at each other, but at the wall and the floor and everything but. Until Shane's eyes caught the painting.
He walked towards it slowly, only breaking away for a moment to look back at Reed.
"Is that me?"
Reed's forehead , which was as much of his face as Shane could see, was pink. He nodded.
"Did you paint Clark?" Shane asked awkwardly, jealousy burning down his throat and into his voice.
Shane scoffed, trying to cover the hurt bleeding into his words.
"Have you two been too busy...together."
Reed was absolutely red in the face.
"Shane. He's my step-brother! I'm not dating my brother! I'm not dating anyone. I'm never dating anyone, okay?"
Shane gaped at him.
"I'm not like you! I don't have people falling for me all the time. I don't have people who want me, even after years." Reed's hands were an unsettling mix of white and purplish red from how tightly he was wringing them. He looked down at his shoes, refusing to look Shane in the eye as he said this.
"Have you kissed Micah? Was he willing to be with you...like...like I can't yet?"
Shane gave a grunt of frustration and sat heavily on the bench where Reed had sat early that day with Clark. He looked up, hands gripping at the edge of the seat.
"Reed, I love Micah. I never stopped. But I'm not in love with him. Any chance we ever had at being together again romantically died a thorough and dramatic death the first time I saw you."
Reed shook his head with so much self doubt it made Shane's heart thump roughly. He looked at the smaller boy beseechingly.
"I...I know I'm too much. And I've handled this badly. And I'm so, so sorry that I...Reed. I think you know how I've felt about you. For months now. And I swear on everything I know that it hasn't changed." Shane pleaded.
"Be my boyfriend!" Reed blurted out and then squeaked, covering his mouth with both hands.
"What?" Shane whipped his head around like a dog, trying to process what he'd said. Reed just shook his head, his eyes saucer-wide over his pressed fingers.
"Reed, oh god, please, please say it again? If you said what I think you did, say it again? And again and again and again." Shane's hands were twitching like he was itching to reach out and circle Reed's waist.
"I..." Reed's hands slipped down, clasping close over his breastbone. Shane ducked his head a little, nodding in encouragement.
"I...I want to make sure that you...know how I feel." Shane moved just a little bit closer, terrified that any sudden movement would make Reed spook and disappear. "I don't want any more misunderstandings or complications."
Shane nodded fervently.
"What do you want? I'll give it to you. I'll find a way. I'll get you the stars and the sky and the moon..."
Reed final gave him a smile, but it was small and scared and so, so fragile.
"I just want you." Reed said quietly, and he suddenly found his arms full of boy, his cheek pressed up against the buttons of Shane's shirt front.
"You have got me. You've always had me. I'm so sorry I made you ever doubt that." Shane whispered these words into his hair, and Reed knew he was probably getting wrinkled and mussed. But really? He didn't much care right now.
"And I will." Reed pulled back and looked at Shane with confusion.
"Be your boyfriend. If you'll be mine."
Reed's eyes squeezed shut and Shane couldn't help leaning in, trying to hear his response.
"Yeah. Okay." Reed said, his voice soft and rough.
"Okay. Okay." Shane repeated, his mouth breaking into a grin. "Okay is great."