Written for the rarecommentfic ficathon: Banky doesn't let Holden just leave the convention. He watches him leave, licks his lips, and drops the Sharpie in his hand. He follows Holden outside, and they have a proper reunion. A proper healing - moving forward - never looking back moment. A moment that starts a future that feels less than surreal, less wrong.


Banky's known Holden forever, at least that's how it feels. He's seen him dripping in his own fucking snot after falling off the climbing frame at recess, and he's seen him so happy he's bouncing off the fucking ceiling. They sat their detentions together, and smoked their first joint together and, though they've never spoken of it, they shared their first kiss together, clumsy and curious under the tree in Holden's back yard.

And that, Banky thinks, is what's so fucking hysterical about it all. He's spent at least a year and half thinking about how much he wants Holden, what he'd do to him if he could get him alone – always supposing he could get him to stop pining for the bitch long enough – and there had been any number of opportunities before he had realised what he had wanted.

Nights they had been stoned, and nights they had been wasted, and nights where they had both been so desperate he could have fucked it out of his system and they wouldn't have even have had to talk about it in the morning. Instead he left it to fester, like if he ignored it long enough it would go the fuck away, and everything would go back to normal.

It crept up on him, slow and steady, until it was all encompassing and he even pictured Holden when he had a pretty girl on her knees in front of him. It all blew up in his face, inevitably, and Holden kissed him again, this time confident and knowing, and still it was Alyssa who called him up on it, as if he was perfectly fucking happy to be nothing but a living breathing sex aid.

They haven't spoken since, at least not via a medium other than writing, and though he tells himself that he's over it, moved out and moved on, the truth is that he still thinks about Holden constantly. About the easy camaraderie they had had when they were churning out page after page, and the way they had been so close they had been able, half the time, to tell exactly what the other was thinking.

He can't think at all the moment he claps eyes on Holden at the con, and it's not just his thought processes that are fried, not if the way his heart leaps in his chest is anything to go by. Holden smiles at him, tentative, and though he's imagined a hundred scenarios in which he does everything from blank the man to tell him to go fuck himself, he can't help but smile back, and swallow his pride, and point out Alyssa's table like a gentleman. His mom would be fucking proud of him.

It's like sticking the knife in and twisting, watching Holden and Alyssa talk, and he wishes he could hear what they were saying, or had learned to lip read like Judy Anderson in seventh grade who shopped them both to 'Stilton' Stinton for plotting a stink bomb attack in Math class. Holden hands her something a couple of minutes in, and merges into the crowd, and Banky can't take it, can't just stand there and let Holden disappear for another year, perhaps longer.

He drops the Sharpie in his hand like it's a hot stone, and doesn't hear the way the kid at the front of the line curses him out with feeling. Instead he pushes through the crowd, uncaring of whose toes he's treading on, and sags with relief when he catches sight of the back of Holden's head in the parking lot, though it's only replaced with yet more nervous tension.

"Banky," Holden says when he gets in front of him, and it sounds the way he's spent long hours dreaming of, all raw around the edges.

"Holden," he manages in response, and they could stand there all day, staring, wondering what the fuck they ought to say to each other. Or, and it's not a simple alternative, he could do what he does, and lean in and press their lips together, because if he could do it when he was seven, he can do it now, at least once, on his own terms.

He steps back when he's done, chaster than anything else he's ever attempted, and he swipes suddenly sweaty palms against denim and says, "I've missed you," like that little interlude had never happened.

Holden blinks, then the shock melts into a smile, the kind that had made his insides squirm long before he cottoned on to what that was trying to tell him, and says, "I missed you too." And then, "I was a dick. I'm sorry."

Banky's heart thuds in his chest, because he could cause a scene, storm off, but he doesn't want to. "You could make it up to me," is what he says, half breathless.

"We could grab some food when you're done here. If you wanted to."

And just like that they've arranged a pseudo-date, and he pinches his arm as Holden pulls out of the lot, wondering when he became such a fucking girl about everything. But he's still grinning when he gets back to his table, even manages a nod for Alyssa and her latest chit, armed as he is with a time and a cell number.

Perhaps it won't be everything he's been wanting, perhaps it can't be. But it's a start, and that's a hell of a lot more than they had had that morning.