Soundtrack: 9 Crimes – Damien Rice

TW for death, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.

Everything changed when Edd's mom died.

It happened suddenly, on a rainy day in May. She didn't know the tires were bald, and hydroplaned going over seventy-five miles per hour, sending her sailing into another car, and into the guard rail. It was a freak thing that happened: Edd told Kevin that the odds were so low that it was incredible. She wore her seatbelt, but that was the problem: the force of the crash sent the plastic insert into her body, and she bled out in the front seat before the paramedics could even make it to her in the torrential downpour.

Before that, everything was fine. Better than fine, it was incredible. Kevin started seeing Edd in their junior year of high school. Their relationship began with a cliché: Kevin needed to boost his grade in math so he could stay on the baseball team, and Edd was the counselor-appointed tutor to help him do the job.

It began as expected. Kevin made fun of Edd and didn't understand half of what came out of the guy's mouth. But it changed on one particular Wednesday afternoon, when Kevin walked in on Edd with eyes fixed on his laptop screen, watching two well-muscled men knotted in a naked embrace.

Edd slammed the laptop closed when Kevin cleared his throat, turned brilliant red, and looked like he might cry all at once as he said, "Kevin, you're early!"

He was early, that was true. And he'd never done that before, to be fair.

"Didn't peg you as the porno type," Kevin said, and folded his arms across his chest. He was still damp from his after-practice shower, a custom he'd grown used to after Double D freaked out on him when he arrived sweaty, grass-stained and late to one of their tutoring sessions.

"I – enjoy an erotic film from time to time," Edd had told him, and pressed his hands down in his lap in an attempt to disguise the obvious boner underneath his jeans.

"I'm kinda relieved, dork, I'll be real with you here," Kevin said, "You need to loosen up, some."

"Merely because I take my education seriously does not mean that I do not know how to 'loosen up,'" Edd testily replied. He bristled like a porcupine, but it was better than the basic indifference that he treated Kevin with on a day to day basis. Kevin was used to being treated like a friend. Kevin was, and is, good at that. Making friends. But Double D was reluctant from the start to be thrown into the friendly mix.

"Nah, man," Kevin tried to explain, "It's not that. It's this. We could be chilling but instead you're tense as fuck and pretending I don't know you have a stiffy in your jeans."

What Edd did next surprised both of them. He stood up and tumbled forward. He grabbed the sleeves of Kevin's shirt and without warning, covered Kevin's mouth with his. He tasted mint gum, and his braces felt strange when Kevin slid his tongue inside Edd's mouth and ran it over the metal brackets.

"Dude," Kevin stated.

"My apologies," Edd sighed, "That was…impulsive."

"Great, dork," Kevin said, and slapped his shoulder, "That's what I'm talking about. You don't have to plan everything, just do what you fuckin' want sometimes."

"You – aren't bothered?" asked Edd, confusion clear in his voice.

"No," Kevin shrugged, "Look, I've been around the block, and I can tell you that's one of the better kisses I've had."

"Really." It was a statement, dry and disbelieving.

"Okay, what fucking reason do I have to lie to you?" asked Kevin, "You know what? Here." He yanked Edd forward by the wrists and kissed him back. It was even better the second time. Kevin hadn't expected to get such a thrill out of kissing Double D, bespectacled, reserved, sharp-tongued Double D, but he was, and he fucking loved it.

And then Kevin had felt Edd's erection skate up against him through both of their jeans. The sensation made Edd leap back like a frightened rabbit, but Kevin had pulled him back forward. And, as he'd instructed Edd to do, he did something impulsive.

Kevin sunk onto his knees, unbuttoned Edd's jeans, and gave that guy the best damn blow job of his life.

Edd never was quite as rude to him after that day.

Especially when the blow jobs were a fairly routine thing – Kevin's days went in a particular order: School, baseball practice, shower, math tutoring with Edd, blow jobs. After a few weeks, Edd managed to work up the chutzpah to give one back.

It was starting then that they became addicted to each other. It happened fast, and wildly, and before Kevin knew it his heart wasn't his own anymore. He glanced over at Double D one afternoon, both of them nude in bed, and realized with a pang to his chest that his heart, God fucking forbid, belonged to Edd. It was all his.

But he didn't worry for long, really.

Because it happened that on another such day, naked and tangled in Kevin's Star Wars bedsheets, that Edd confessed, "Kevin, I'm afraid that I may be falling in love with you."

Kevin responded, "That is the biggest fucking relief, man, 'cause I'm right there with you."

They kissed a different kiss than before, something heavy and heartfelt. Only a handful of days later, they made it Facebook official: Eddward is in a relationship with Kevin.

Few people seemed surprised by this, even the guys on Kevin's team. It was common knowledge that Kevin's sexual preference didn't actually seem to 'prefer' anything, really. He'd been with dudes before, he'd been with chicks before. Hell, he'd once dated a kid named Jean that preferred to be called 'they' over he or she and didn't give half a flying fuck about identifying in any direction.

But Edd, Edd was different. He wasn't only sex, or just even just fun. He meant something, and that scared the shit out of Kevin more than he would ever admit. Edd was the first partner he ever invited to dine at his house, with his parents, and witness the dysfunction of his bickering parents. But even his dumb mom and dad liked Edd, and they liked that Kevin liked Edd.

Loved Edd.

He still loves Edd.

And he wishes it could have lasted longer before everything went down the proverbial drain.

Because God, they were wonderful. Sometimes Kevin has to drink just to forget the good times, so he won't miss them as much as he knows that he does. They used to bike together and just hang out at the creek. Some nights they just spent watching movies. Others, they fucked and fell asleep wrapped up in each other's arms. Whatever they did, it was incredible. And yeah, they argued, but in the end they could always fix their shit and still be stupidly, ridiculously in love.

But halfway through their senior year, Edd's mom had her crash.

Kevin attended the funeral with Edd. He helped carry her coffin into their church, and he held Edd's hand throughout the memorial service. Edd didn't cry, and unnerved Kevin. He spoke about his mother eloquently and gently without shedding a single tear.

For a couple of weeks, Edd seemed…fine. Distant, but he acted like he usually did. He finished his homework before he let Kevin come over, he still liked the same things, he still wanted sex and he still prepared for going to college in the fall later that year.

And then February rolled around, and two days before Valentine's Day, Edd texted Kevin that they needed to talk, and to please meet him behind the gym. Kevin obeyed, his heart beating a million miles a minute, because if there's one fucking phrase nobody likes to ever hear, it's we need to talk.

Edd's blank face greeted him that day behind the gym, skin pale and drawn. His eyes were red-rimmed, like he'd finally cried about what happened to his mom.

"What's going on?" Kevin asked.

"A matter of some delicacy," Edd slowly responded, "I cannot…be with you anymore. I am simply not in a position to be in a relationship. I need to – focus on myself." He choked on each syllable, and similarly Kevin's heart sputtered with every word.

Kevin wanted to plead, he wanted to beg and get on his knees and say no, no, please, no, but he didn't. He told himself that Double D's mother had just died and he needed to remember that. He loved Edd, and he wanted to do whatever Edd needed him to do. So he said, "I…understand. Um, but, I love you, and if you need me…I'll still be here for you. Okay?"

Facebook read Kevin is no longer in a relationship.

Kevin went home and cried.

He wasn't supposed to fucking cry over the end of a relationship, but this wasn't some random fucking asshole from OK Cupid or some shit, this was Edd. This was his Edd, the one he could talk to about anything under the sun, the one that kissed him like it was the only thing keeping him alive, the one that helped boost Kevin's grades to As all the way down his report cards, the one that rubbed his back and got mad when he forgot to shower.

Nazz helped Kevin through the first rough month of being a bachelor again. She brought him crappy liquor and they got trashed and watched horror movies together. It sort of helped, but not enough: Despite Kevin's reassurance that Edd could come to him with anything that he needed, Edd no longer spoke to him. Double D avoided him in the hallways at school, ignored his texts and calls, and pretended he couldn't hear Kevin if he managed to track Edd down and corner him.

Edd did it until Kevin stopped trying.

Until love twisted into frustration and anger, and Kevin went on a bender of microbrews and Gotye on repeat.

Until Kevin gave up feeling anything toward Edd at all.


Outside, it's hot. Kevin had to bike in the earliest hours of the morning to avoid the summer sun. Fucking June. He wishes there could at least be a breeze, or something, anything to stave off the balmy, humid temperature that plagues Peach Creek. After his ride, he returns home slicked in sweat and reeking of body odor and earth.

He slips into the shower and soaps up, washing before either of his parents wake. Father's Day is just around the corner, and he plans on heading downtown to find a gift of some kind, maybe some new fishing gear or something – his dad's a pain in the ass to shop for, and he knows he'll be in the city all day trying to figure out what to buy.

Kevin dresses in cargo shorts and a cotton Bad Religion t-shirt. He treks downstairs, where his mom is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a romance novel entitled Seducing the Duke in her grip.

"Your book any good?" he asks.

"Mm," is all she says, and Kevin figures that must be an affirmative.

Kevin pours himself coffee. He's been trying to lay off the caffeine, but he figures after getting up at the ass crack of dawn to exercise that he deserves a little cup of joy.

As Kevin takes the first scalding sip, the doorbell rings.

"Could you get that, honey?" his mom asks, her eyes not lifting from her book.

Kevin takes his Looney Tunes mug of coffee with him and opens the door.

Ed and Eddy are on his doorstep.

"What the fuck are you two doing here?" he asks.

"Language, Kevin!" his mom exclaims behind him.

"Sorry, ma," he says, but rolls his eyes and steps out onto the porch, closing the front door behind him. He swallows another gulp of black coffee and asks, "But seriously, what the hell are you dickheads doing on my porch? I do not have time for your bullshit today, fyi."

"Double D is sad!" exclaims Ed.

Only then does Kevin realize that both Ed and Eddy look like death, and not like they're about to leave a flaming bag of dog shit on his doorstep or whatever they usually do. Both of them have bags under their eyes, and Ed looks like he might cry if Kevin says the wrong thing.

Fortunately, Kevin doesn't manage to say anything before Eddy interjects, "Look, asshole, I don't like you, and you don't like me, but we both like Double D and he's seriously jacked up right now."

"Jacked up?" Kevin echoes, in spite of himself. No matter how many times he tells himself that he won't ever worry about Edd again, he still does. And if Ed and Eddy are coming to him for help, things must be pretty damn bleak.

"He locked himself in his room and still won't come out," Eddy says, "Like, three days ago, man, that's how long it's been. He's suicidal, dude! He won't eat, he won't come out, he just keeps telling us to go away and I think – Jesus, I hate that I have to fess up to this, but I think he wants you, you fucking flaming turd."

"Fuck you," Kevin says, "Why wouldn't he want me? He dumped me, remember?"

"Please, Kevin," Ed says, and quivers a little in his place.

"What the hell do you think I can do about it?" Kevin asks.

"He listens to you, I don't know," Eddy says, "We've tried everything, man. Please just throw me a freaking bone, here. It's for Double D."

Kevin's chest feels heavy. For a second he considers walking back inside his house and slamming the door in Ed and Eddy's stupid fucking faces, but something tells him they're being sincere. Maybe it's because they came to him, or maybe it's because Ed looks like he'll weep on Kevin's porch if he refuses them, but either way, he says, "All right, fine. Let me put some shoes on."

Kevin reenters his house briefly to wash out his mug and slip his feet into leather flip flops before returning outside. He walks with the Eds to Double D's house, where Eddy lets himself in and says to Edd's dad, who is slumped over on the front room couch, "We got him, man."

"Morning, Kevin," Edd's dad says, "Thank you for – please try to get him out of there."

Kevin swallows the knot in his throat and climbs up the stairs. He removes his flip-flops and lines them up beside Edd's door before he raps on it.

"I told you to leave, Eddy," emerges from the other side.

"I'm not Eddy," Kevin says.

Edd goes silent. When the pause stretches to a minute, Kevin turns to the Eds behind him to give them an I told you so and get the hell out, but from Edd's bedroom he hears, "Kevin?"

"Yeah, it's me," he replies.

There's a sound of something shifting and finally the click of the door unlocking. It creaks open, and Edd's voice whispers, "You may come in."

Holy shit.

Edd looks like shit. That's an understatement – he looks undead, like he hasn't eaten in weeks. His hair is unwashed and uncombed, and his glasses are cloudy with fingerprints and tear-splashes. The bedroom around them isn't much better. It's dark, the shades closed and curtains drawn over them. A neat line of tiny liquor bottles sits beside Edd's bed, and his desk is in disarray.

Shit, this is bad.

This is really, really bad.

"One moment, please," Edd rasps, and he stumbles across the room to his trash can, where he throws up.

"Fuck, dude," Kevin exclaims, before he can reign himself in, "Have you been drinking?"

"Perhaps…a little," Edd replies. He stands and trips, falling against Kevin's chest.

And that's when everything really, really, really looks bad. Kevin lifts his arms to wrap them around Edd, but pauses when he sees Edd's arms. All over his skin are precise, red cuts, each spaced exactly the same amount of space apart, and measured the same length.

"Oh, baby," Kevin says brokenly, and pulls Edd into a full embrace. He cradles Edd against him and feels his throat clog. He rocks Edd from side to side and says, "Why're you hurting yourself, sweetheart?" Neither he nor Edd were ever inclined toward pet names, but for now they seem right, like he can use them to blanket Edd in warmth, or comfort, or soothing. Anything to fix this.

"I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up," Edd whispers against Kevin's chest.

Kevin hears Ed start to cry just beyond Double D's bedroom door, and Eddy hushing him. He feels like crying too, honestly. But he swallows the feeling back and says, "You can't do that. I know you're hurting, but there are people here that love you. Your dad, Ed and Eddy…me. If you left we wouldn't be the same. We – We'd be broken, baby. We need you. Please tell me what I can do to help." He can hear the pain in his voice against his best efforts to mask it.

Edd bursts into tears, pressing his face into Kevin's neck.

Kevin runs his palm up and down Edd's back. He says nothing, and simply holds Edd against him while he cries.

For several minutes, this is how they stand.

Until finally, Edd pulls back to look at Kevin, his glasses fogged with tears, and says, "Stay here with me?"

"Of course," Kevin says, "Will you come outside? I think your friends want to know that you're okay."

Edd nods. When he surfaces in the hallway, he blinks against the natural light, but barely has time to process what's going on before Ed grabs him and envelops him in a massive, tight hug.

"Double D, we were scared," he says, "Please eat food and don't hurt anymore."

"Dude, you smell," Eddy says, when Ed puts Double D back onto the ground. When Kevin glares at him, he adds, "Good to see you, Sockhead. We were kinda messed up without you."

Edd sniffs and says on in a thin voice, "I need a shower. I'm grotesque."

Kevin blurts, "Do you want me to come with you?"

All three Eds stare at him, and Kevin feels his face flush. Whatever, fuck those guys. He's just trying to help. Only, when he looks back at Double D, he nods and says, "Yes, please."

Ed and Eddy are quick to excuse themselves after that – each of them hugs Double D and makes him promise to call them later that night, or they'll be coming over again. Edd swears up and down that he will, he'll call, and that they don't have to worry about him anymore. Eddy mutters, "I always worry about you," but leaves it at that.

Kevin slips into the upstairs bathroom as soon as the other Eds leave. He doesn't speak to Kevin as he undresses. By the time that Edd is naked Kevin is heartbroken all over again. Those awful cuts aren't just on his arms, they're on his thighs, just as clean and surgical as the others.

Edd turns to switch on the water, and glances behind himself to ask, "Are you coming in?"

"Do you want me to?" Kevin asks.

"Yes, please," is all that Edd replies.

Kevin strips down and folds his clothes neatly as he knows that Edd prefers. He steps over the edge of the tub and positions himself behind Edd, where he's standing with his head hanging under the hot water. Edd doesn't move from that spot – and Kevin doesn't like it. He reaches up on the shower rack and retrieves Edd's shampoo. He still uses the same organic shit he always has, some expensive stuff from Whole Foods.

Kevin pours a dollop in his palm and lathers it between his hands. Gingerly, he places his hands in Edd's hair and scrubs the shampoo into the greasy, neglected locks. Edd exhales and leans back at last. Kevin massages his scalp and herds him under the flow of water when he's done.

And then he brings Edd to face him, and picks up a bar of soap. He smooths it over Edd's sliced –up skin, careful and a little tender. He doesn't speak, but every time that he rinses the soap from Edd's cuts, he kisses there.

When Edd is clean again, he leans his head into Kevin's neck and stays there, letting the warm water beat down on them. It's Kevin that finally shuts off the water, though he still stands with Double D in the tub for several silent minutes.

"I missed you," Edd says, at last.

Kevin feels like he's been sliced right through the chest. He runs a hand over Edd's arm and says, "I missed you, too."

"I should dry off," Edd says, "and comb my hair. And sleep. I haven't slept in two days, I think. I'm not entirely sure, though."

Kevin says, "You have to eat before you sleep, okay?"

"Okay," Edd agrees.

Kevin and Edd dry off together on the bathroom mat. Kevin redresses in his clothes from this morning, but helps guide Edd back into his room, where he opens the shades while Edd selects a pair of soft pajamas to wear. He looks better already with his hair clean, though Kevin knows that he needs to get food in him as soon as he can.

They walk downstairs together. Edd's dad leaps from the couch when they emerge, and throws his arms around Edd's neck. It takes a moment, but Edd loops his arms around his dad and hugs back. Kevin slips away into the kitchen and lets them hash it out.

Kevin sifts through their fridge while he hears Edd and his dad talk in hushed voices. He removes materials for a favorite of Edd's that they used to make if they were going on a bike ride together, or the day Edd took them to the art museum downtown and didn't want to pay for lunch. A hummus and turkey sandwich with lettuce, on wheat bread. Kevin even cuts the crusts off because he knows that Edd doesn't like them, and puts their kettle on the stove to heat water for a cup of tea.

Out in the front room, Edd and his dad are sitting on the couch together. Edd's face is still tear-streaked, but something in the room seems lighter than before. Kevin announces, "I made you some food."

Edd looks at his dad, and his dad says back, "Go eat, kiddo. We'll figure out logistics later."

Kevin sits down with Edd at the kitchen table. At first Edd only nibbles at the sandwich, but as soon as he realizes his own hunger, he can hardly contain himself. He eats what remains in no time at all, and washes it down with the tea Kevin chose, some stuff that said calming, soothing and relaxing on the box underneath the name of the tea, which he has already forgotten.

"Will you lie down with me?" Edd asks when he finishes.

"Yeah," Kevin says, "Why don't you go up and I'll put your dishes away, okay?"

Edd doesn't object, a true testament to how tired he must be, as he prefers to always do household chores his own way. Kevin rinses off the plate and mug and places them in the dishwasher, but makes sure to be efficient and join Edd in his room as soon as possible. He closes the door behind him.

On the bed, Edd is already asleep. Relief fills Kevin, and he pads across the carpet to slip in beside him.


Kevin wakes with his head thick with the feeling of oversleeping. He sits up and rubs his eyes, only to see that the space beside him is empty. He swings his legs over the edge of the mattress and opens the door, just as Edd comes out of the bathroom.

"How'd you sleep?" Kevin asks.

"Well," Edd replies, "I believe because you were beside me."

Kevin smiles a little, "Yeah?"

"Yes," Edd says, "I love you, you know."

"I know," Kevin says, "I love you too, dork."

The nickname teases a little smile out of Edd, too. Not enough to show his teeth, but enough that Kevin can tell it's a smile, and that's what matters. Kevin pulls him into a hug, but Edd shifts up and turns it into something else: a kiss. A light, hesitant kiss, but a kiss nonetheless. Kevin kisses back, and lowers his hands to palm at Edd's ass through his pajama pants.

"Uh, sorry," Kevin says, when they separate.

"That's all right," Edd says, "I quite like when you do that, as you'll recall."

"Yeah?" says Kevin.

"Yes," nods Edd, "I'd like, perhaps, if we did something a little more?"

Kevin's eyebrows shoot straight up into his hair. He asks, "Whoa, you sure? I mean, I'm game, but…you're hurting, man."

"I feel a little better now," Edd replies, "My father agreed to help me look for a doctor to see. It's clear that my mother's death triggered an imbalance in the levels of serotonin in my brain and well…I need the help, frankly. But I believe I will persevere through it."

"That's awesome," Kevin says, "That's great." He kisses Edd again and runs his fingers through his clean, dark hair.

"So," Double D goes on, when they part again, "I wanted to makes amends, with you. I am so sorry for everything. I haven't been myself since Mom…well, since she died. I haven't been okay. And I cut you off, and I shouldn't have."

"That's okay," Kevin says, "I mean, it sucked, but it's okay, I promise. I'm just happy that you're doing what you need to do, man. Look, I love you. I wanted, um, I still want to do what you need."

Edd guides Kevin back into his bedroom, and kisses his jaw. He kisses all the places on Kevin's face that he used to kiss – his cheeks and forehead and the tip of his nose. The affection floods Kevin with warmth. He heaves Edd up and walks them both to Edd's bed, which is still warm from their body heat. He lays Edd carefully down and settles beside him instead of on top of him. He feels so light – Kevin doesn't like how much weight Edd has lost.

"What do you want?" he asks softly, and strokes the pad of his thumb over Edd's cheekbone.

Edd wets his lips with the tip of his tongue, and says, "Here. Lie down."

Kevin obeys and rolls onto his back. He watches Edd as he stands and crosses the room. He takes down an old, familiar box from his closet and blows dust from off the top of it. From it, he retrieves a half-used container of lube, and a condom. Kevin isn't entirely certain what Edd is planning, but he knows it won't require clothing, so he pulls his shirt over his head and drapes it over the end of the bed.

Edd joins him and kisses him again. Kevin missed these kisses so fucking much – he'd put them out of his head for his own sake, but now with Edd's lips back on his own he feels hungry, and kisses him back as hard as he can. Double D runs his hands over Kevin's chest and down to the edge of his cargo shorts. He palms over the front of them and Kevin sucks in a breath.

"Man, I missed that, too," Kevin remarks.

"Surely you slept with other people in the meantime," Edd says, and cocks his head.

Kevin shakes his head, "Didn't feel like it, really."

Edd studies him, like he doesn't quite believe what he's hearing, but doesn't say anything more. Instead, he undoes the fly of Kevin's shorts and reaches inside, closing cold fingers over Kevin's cock. It feels amazing, but also terrifying – Kevin has craved this so much over the course of the past few months, but he didn't think he would ever be able to experience it again. Now he's here with Edd on top of him, fingers wrapped around his erection…and Edd is light as a feather, with cuts running down his arms like little red ladders.

Before Kevin can ask if Edd is sure he wants to be doing this again, Double D lifts off of him. He pulls off his garments one by one until he is completely naked, thin and pale, but beautifully himself, the same body that Kevin spent so much time with, being inside or having inside him, biking beside on clear mornings, or asleep on the couch with in front of a documentary.

Edd slides back on top of Kevin, spreading his legs open over him. He reaches for where he left the lube and opens it, pouring it over his fingers.

However, instead of reaching down to touch Kevin like Kevin expects to happen, Edd reaches back around his own body, and slides his fingers inside himself.

"Oh, shit," Kevin says.

Edd whimpers at his own touch. He moves back along onto his fingers, and strums over his own prostate, barely holding back moans low in his throat. What happens next happens quickly: Edd draws away from his own touch and grabs for the condom. He rips open the package and slides the latex over Kevin's erection, an action that has Kevin panting and his toes curling – until, of course, Edd arches up, holds Kevin's cock at the base, and sinks down on him.

"A-Ah," Double D cries, "I forgot – I'm not as used to this, anymore."

"S'okay, I won't move," promises Kevin.

Edd hangs his head and exhales through his nostrils. He adjusts just a little and sensation rolls through Kevin's body. It takes every ounce of his self-control not to thrust up inside that heat, to scratch the itch that's been plaguing him for months since everything went south.

And then Edd lifts up, and sinks back down with a shudder. Kevin covers his mouth and groans into his hand, but encourages, "C'mon, baby, ride me."

Edd does. He presses Kevin down into the mattress his hands planted on his chest, and pumps his hips up and down. His movements are slow at first, but pick up speed as he adjusts to having Kevin inside him again. He's beautiful like this, strung out and spread open over Kevin's body. It isn't long before Kevin can't help himself, and thrusts back up to meet each movement of Edd's thin, trembling body.

Edd rocks harder, and reaches out to brace himself against the headboard for leverage. He mutters, "Feels so good," and starts in on a string of soft, pleasured noises.

Kevin reaches over and strokes the tips of his fingers over the length of Edd's erection. That's all it takes for Edd to give a loud, hoarse cry and come in ropes onto Kevin's abs. He stays on top of Kevin, body shaking with the force of his orgasm, and keeps moving, keeps thrusting himself back onto Kevin's erection until the world clouds over and Kevin bursts.

Edd slumps over beside Kevin, and Kevin scoops him into his arm. They're covered in sweat and come and neither of them care. They just hold each other and kiss, and press together as closely as they can.

"I love you," Kevin says into Edd's neck. He kisses there and skims his lips down to the cuts, kissing each and every one.

"I love you, too," Edd breathes.

Later, when they both clean up and redress, Double D slips out into the hallway to call his friends like he promised. Kevin lingers by the door and listens, hearing, "Yes, I'm okay. Kevin is still here."

"He made me a sandwich. Yes, I ate all of it, Ed. I spoke with my father and I don't think this'll happen again. I think…I think I'm going to be all right. Thank you, guys. I know."

A smile slides into place on Kevin's lips.

Maybe, just maybe…things will be all right.


Happy Birthday Daliah!