A/N: A new chapter AND a new drabble in the same day? What is this? Heh... This idea just popped into my head the other day and it wouldn't go away until I wrote it down and shared it, so here you are. Enjoy! :]


Chris groaned as he rolled over in his sleep, instinctually searching for the warmth he thought to be beside him. When all he found was a cold, empty right side of the bed, he slowly sat up and scrubbed at his eyes, looking around for Darren. Hearing an acoustic guitar strumming and Darren's voice singing, Chris decided to get up to see what his best friend was doing so early in the morning.

Chris shuffled out to the dainty living room and sat on the couch next to Darren, who had on his glasses, his guitar on his lap, and a notebook on the table in front of him, where he was jotting down some notes and lyrics.

Darren looked up and smiled apologetically. "Hey… sorry, did I wake you up?"

Chris shook his head, covering his mouth as he yawned. "Well I guess technically you did, but not because you were playing." He raised a triangular brow. "I've gotten far too used to having your warmth to snuggle up to while I'm sleeping."

Darren chuckled shortly. "Yeah you're really cold, especially when you're asleep; it's no wonder you had sleeping problems."

"So says the hyperactive insomniac," Chris shot back, earning a more genuine smile from the hobbit.

"What can I say?" Darren shrugged. "I have an overactive brain."

Chris snorted. "I'll say… What're you doing, writing a song at two in the morning?"

Darren scratched the back of his neck almost self-consciously. "Too much on my mind… had to get some feelings out…"

Chris cocked his head curiously. "Yeah?" he asked. "And what feelings would those be?" When Darren seemed to hesitate, Chris laid a hand on his knee and squeezed it. "You know you can talk to me about anything."

He sighed. "I know... It's just…" Darren searched for his words, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. When he looked back up, his eyes were almost pleading.

"You have to understand, it's hard for me to see the worst in people." Chris nodded. "And even though I know you would never lie to me, especially about something so serious, I just… couldn't accept it. But now… now I understand what it is you were trying to get me to see."

Chris sat silent for a moment before speaking. "It's Mia, isn't it?" he finally asked.

Darren nodded, his face scrunched in sorrow and regret and… self-loathing?

Chris removed the guitar from Darren's lap and set it aside carefully before motioning him over. Darren scooted on the couch so he was practically on Chris' lap, snuggling into his best friend deeply.

He released a shuddering sigh before speaking softly into Chris' chest. "I don't know how I never saw it before; she really is a selfish bitch. I can't believe I didn't rub off on her or anything. But most of all, I am so… so sorry I didn't believe you when you tried to explain what she was really like."

Chris rubbed his back soothingly, his chin resting on top of Darren's head. "It's all right… it's hard to see the worst in those we care about the most…" he said. "But if I may ask… what made you finally realize…?"

Darren sighed and lifted his head so he could look at Chris while he spoke. "She came over shortly after you fell asleep around midnight," he started. "She just came over for a booty call… I told her I was hanging out with you and she…" When he paused, Chris squeezed encouragingly.

"I don't even know," Darren continued, shaking his head slightly. "She was suddenly just so… angry. Mia – she said that I spend entirely too much time with you; that it's creepy, unnatural how close we are." Chris frowned deeply at this, but didn't interrupt. "And that just did it for me… How could she say something like that about my best friend? I told her if she was going to be like that she could get the fuck out and never come back."

"I'm sorry," Chris whispered after a silent moment.

"Don't be," Darren said, laying his head down and snuggling back into Chris, "I'm not; nobody can talk that way about any of my friends, let alone you."

Chris closed his eyes as he laid his chin on Darren's curls again. "What do you mean, 'especially me'?"

"You're my very best friend Chris," Darren explained, "you mean more to me than anything and I can't stand it when anyone says anything bad about you."

Chris smiled, warming at Darren's words. "Right back at'cha DC."

The two of them sat like that on the couch, Darren tucked firmly into Chris' side, their arms wrapped around each other, for the longest time, content with just being in each other's company.