Notes: Written as a follow up to Maybe This Time, but it can stand on its own.
Shane wakes up way before he actually has to and groans when he realises that he's hopelessly tangled up with Lem in bed. He nudges Lem over carefully and manages to get out of bed without waking Lem up. Lem sighs in his sleep and reaches out with one arm to Shane's side of the bed, a slight frown marring his brow.
Shane almost feels guilty for this as he looks back at Lem. He's fully dressed and his hand is resting on the knob of the bedroom door. He tells himself that Lem will understand why he left, that it won't matter to him. He sighs and leaves, closing the door gently behind him.
Later on, when Lem and Ronnie make their way into the clubhouse, laughing and shoving playfully at each other, Shane's breath hitches in his throat when he looks up at Lem. Lem's bottom lip is bruised and slightly swollen from Shane's biting kiss last night and it makes a spark of heat flare in his belly.
"What happened to your lip, Lem?" Vic asks, a smirk on his face as he takes in Lem's appearance.
Lem's eyes seek out Shane and he stares him down for a moment before answering. "Bitch liked to bite last night."
Shane sneers at him and looks back down at the newspaper in his hands. He absently listens to Vic and Ronnie tease Lem over the mark.
The day goes by fairly quickly. They made a few busts, rattled a few cages, got what they needed done. Lem is shrugging on his jacket and heading out the door when Shane stops him after Ronnie and Vic leave.
"What, man?" Lem looks impatient.
"Can we talk?" Shane asks, feeling nervous. He shouldn't be nervous, shouldn't want to talk about this, but he can't seem to help himself when it comes to Lem.
"I got nothing to say." Lem pulls away from Shane and makes to go out the door again.
"Will you just listen then?" Shane catches Lem by the shoulder.
Lem hisses slightly and shrugs Shane's hand off of him. Shane looks startled.
"Did I hurt you?" He asks, hands already working Lem's jacket off before he can protest.
Lem glares at him and pushes his hands away. "Don't touch me."
"Come on, Lem. Why you mad?" Shane wraps his arms around Lem's waist, backing him up against the closed door.
"The little stunt you pulled last night. I've been as patient as I can be, but I'm getting tired of the games you wanna play. Either you're in this or you're not." Lem snaps at Shane.
"In what? There's nothing to be in." Shane says, honestly confused.
"Then I guess I just got my answer." Lem pushes Shane back a few steps and turns around, opening the door.
Shane slams it before Lem gets the chance to walk out. "Did you think there was something more going on besides sex?"
Lem sucks in a shaky breath. He doesn't want to talk about this anymore. Shane won't let it go though until he finds whatever he's looking for and then he'll tear Lem to shreds over this, raking him over the coals for being stupid enough to think that they were anything more than two friends occasionally having sex.
"You did, didn't you? Why?" Shane's voice is soft, hushed.
"Because I was deluding myself into believing something that could never be true." Lem sighs, leaning back against the door and dragging his hands down over his face.
"Are you...are you in love with me?" Shane asks, voice flat.
Lem tenses and doesn't answer, not meeting Shane's eyes. It was stupid on his part to get so emotionally invested in their fling because that's all it ever was to Shane, a fling. It had just seemed so natural. They were best friends and when they started sleeping together, Lem just couldn't help himself. He always let his emotions get the better of him.
"Are you?" Shane asks again, hand gripping Lem's chin and forcing him to look at him.
"No. I don't know." Lem says, looking angry and scared and miserable.
"You're lying. You are in love with me." Shane drops his hand, but doesn't move away from Lem.
"Fuck." Lem says quietly, voice strained.
Shane turns abruptly and drops down in a chair, staring blankly at the tabletop in front of him. Lem watches him for a moment, half-hoping that Shane will say something, do something. Even scream at him, punch him, anything. The silence is killing Lem the longer it goes on.
"I'm sorry." Lem whispers and he walks out of the clubhouse, leaving Shane at the table.
Shane doesn't even react to Lem's words, barely hears them. How could he have missed Lem being in love with him? They have been sleeping together for a few months now. How could something that big slipped by without him noticing? How had Lem been able to hide it from him?
His thoughts chase themselves in circles around his brain before he decides he wants answers and he wants them now. He gets up and leaves the Barn, heading for Lem's house. He pulls up by the curb and turns off the truck. He scrubs his face with his hands and maybe this isn't such a good idea after all. Maybe he should just let things end like this with Lem. It's not the best ending, but it's an ending that maybe needs to happen.
He can't do that to Lem though, so he gets out and walks up to the door. He lets himself in because he knows where Lem keeps his spare key. The shower is running, so Shane heads for the bathroom. When he opens the door, steam billows out in a giant wave.
Lem is leaning against the wall of his shower, eyes closed, letting the hot water run over him. It's so hot that it's turning his skin a dark pink and Shane can barely stand it when he reaches in and turns the faucet off.
Lem jerks around to look at him and Shane has to grab his arm to prevent him from slipping down.
"What are you doing here?" Lem asks, pulling his arm away.
"We need to talk." Shane says, handing him a towel.
"There's nothing left to talk about." Lem wraps the towel around his waist and steps out of the bathtub.
"Yes, there is." Shane insists, following Lem into the bedroom.
"What, Shane? What do you want to know?" Lem snaps, tired of this already.
"Why do you love me?" That's not the question he had meant to ask, but it's the one that pops out of his mouth first.
Lem blinks at him, startled. "What?"
"Why do you love me?" Shane presses, needing the answer.
"Because I just do. I don't know. I've never thought about why." Lem turns away, pulling out a pair of boxers and an old t-shirt from his dresser.
Shane grabs the edge of the towel that's still around Lem's waist and pulls him against his chest. He slides his hands over warm, damp skin and licks a water droplet away from the side of Lem's neck. Lem whimpers softly and tries to pull away, but Shane holds on tighter.
That's when he notices the bruises along both of Lem's shoulders. He touches them lightly and, for the first time in a long time, he feels regret. Lem steps away from him, catching his hand before he lets it drop.
"It's okay. Don't worry about it. We're over anyway, I know. I'll be fine. Everything will be okay." Lem says, giving Shane's hand a quick squeeze before letting go of him.
Even though he's the one Shane hurt, he's still trying to comfort Shane. Lem has every right to be angry and to scream and yell and pick a fight with Shane, but he's the one comforting him. Shane makes a decision then, one he knows he won't regret.
"We're not over." Shane says firmly.
"I can't keep doing what we've been doing, Shane. It's not fair on me or you, now that you know." Lem shakes his head.
"We're not over." Shane repeats, taking a step closer to Lem.
"Shane, come on. Look, it'll be okay. We'll move on." Lem smiles weakly at him.
Shane shakes his head. "I don't want to."
"Shane, you don't love me. That's fine, but I can't continue this fling or whatever, now that you know, okay?" Lem says firmly.
"I can learn to love you." Shane says in a last ditch effort to keep Lem.
Lem sighs. It's really tempting to just let Shane win this. He's really wearing him down and it would be so easy to go back to what they had, but Lem can't do that knowing that Shane knows and doesn't feel the same.
When Lem doesn't answer right away, Shane moves closer and catches Lem's mouth in a kiss. Lem makes a startled sound and raises his hands to push Shane away, but Shane grabs them and laces their fingers together.
This is where Lem breaks. He can't deny Shane anymore. Never really could because he knew where this would end up – wherever Shane wanted it to. Shane will always get his way when it comes to Lem because Lem doesn't know how to tell him no and make it stick.
Shane leads him over to the bed and Lem sits down on the edge of it when the back of his legs hit it. Shane stands over him, hands now resting on his shoulders. "Please."
Lem closes his eyes and nods. The kiss he gets tells him he's at least made Shane happy.
He just wishes it didn't hurt him so much in the end.