I'd like to clarify that I do not own these astoundingly loveable characters. That honor is held by the all powerful Dalton author, Mama CP. (:
Reed opened his eyes to find a pair of green-gray ones staring back at him. even in his half-conscious state, he recognized those eyes almost instantly. He had spent a whole week in New York avoiding those eyes, but always feeling them on him. Those were the eyes of the supposedly dead Shane Anderson.
"Am I dreaming?" he asked, earning a laugh from the other boy.
"No, but now I'm wondering if I appear in your dreams often." he teased, planting a kiss of Reed's forehead before standing up.
Hoping nobody would notice the slight color in his cheeks, Reed looked up at the rest of the group assembled by his bed. It seemed all of Windsor was gathering in this room to watch him sleep. But why would they do that?
"SHANE!" Reed exclaimed, finally realizing the reality of the situation. "What are you doing here?" He climbed out of bed and threw his arms around the unsuspecting boy. Shane, happily surprised, wrapped his arms around Reed for a moment before the smaller boy jumped away, blushing like mad.
"Yes, I'm alive. It's a miracle." He rolled his eyes playfully, clearly having heard the same thing countless times already. Reed smiled apologetically, but couldn't really feel sorry. It wasn't until that moment that he realized he had been thinking of Shane as dead.
"Maybe we should go…" Reed heard David saying in a loud whisper, but he didn't care. He didn't even pay attention as all the Windsor boys filed out of his room, leaving the two boys alone. All that mattered was that Shane was alive and mostly whole (Reed didn't miss the bandages all over his body) and standing in his room.
And how does Reed react?
He cries, of course, all the tension of the past couple days leaving his body through his all-consuming tears. And then Shane was holding him, shushing him, running a hand gently through his mess of curls. And it felt so comfortable, so right.
After what felt like hours, but could only have been minutes, Reed finally calmed down.
"I thought you were dead." he said simply, sniffling.
"I'm sorry." Shane replied. Reed's breakdown had clearly sobered him from his usual playful attitude. Reed just shook his head, not wanting an apology. Even after everything he went through the past couple of days, he wasn't ready to admit his feelings to this boy. He could tell Kurt, but saying the words to Shane's face would change everything. What if he didn't actually like Shane and had simply been mixed up because he thought he was dead? The last thing Reed wanted to do was hurt him just because he wasn't completely sure.
"No. Not just for that." Shane seemed to sense at least part of what Reed was thinking. His eyes were on the ground, refusing to look at the boy he was addressing. "I'm sorry for being so forward. I meant everything I said, but I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I know it wasn't the best way to start off our relationship, but I hope we can still be friends."
Of course he just wanted to patch things up between them. Reed took a deep breath. They were probably better as friends anyway. Everything would be simpler.
"Of course we can be friends." Reed said, trying to look stronger than he felt, and he couldn't help but explain himself. "The truth is you just confused me and I didn't really have time to figure things out until after you left. Then I couldn't actually figure anything out until you went missing."
"And what exactly did you figure out?" Shane took a not-so-subtle step forward, causing Reed's heart to speed up drastically. This was the moment. The time to cannonball into the water and tell the truth. It was going to take every ounce of confidence he had, but Reed knew he had to do it.
"That I'm sorry for the way I reacted to you in New York. And I knew before you left that something was different, but I didn't realize what until after you left. And I couldn't stop thinking about you. And when I found out you were missing, I just wanted to die. And I couldn't finish a painting of you." It's amazing how long you can keep talking when your adrenaline is pumping like crazy. And Shane had definitely come closer; their chests were practically touching. "And I think that means I'm in love with you."
Reed barely had enough time to catch his breath after that lengthy confession before Shane took it away again by flashing his usual radiant smile. There was a split second of anticipation where Reed smiled back at him and then their lips met.
Anyone watching from the outside probably wouldn't have found the kiss that extraordinary, but for Reed, it was pure bliss. A combination of everything he wanted, but didn't think he could have and the end of his confusion over this boy. After all, love isn't about black and white; boy or girl; or Christian or Atheist. Love is about two people sharing with each other all that they are; giving them the chance to break us apart, but trusting them to keep you safe. Most of all, love is about acceptance: accepting somebody else's flaws and loving them for it. And with his over-imposing mother and accident-prone existence, Reed was definitely ready for somebody to accept him like that.