This is a little Teenage!Ianthony oneshot I wanted to write for quite a long time. I hope you all enjoy :)
Ian regretted it almost at once. The way Anthony froze. The sound Anthony made when he exhaled. And that breath only released when himself had stepped back from him. It was a shaky, whimper of pain. Barely audible. His friend's head was cast down now and Ian knew he should go. That the slightly older boy wanted to be left alone.
Embarrassment flooded the blue eyed. He was sleeping over at Anthony's house, but he could make some excuse. Say he suddenly got a headache, or that he was not feeling very good and needed to go home. Or not. Anthony knew him well enough to know when he was lying and Ian didn't want to create more awkwardness between them.
"I'm sorry." Ian whispered, bringing a hand to his cheek in an attempt to cool the flush there. He longed for some way to laugh it off. To make it a joke between him and his best friend. But all that seemed lost to him now. Ian had ruined it. He'd kissed Anthony, finally, and had been so sincere about it. He cringed inwardly and pondered throwing himself out the window just to escape this awkward hole he'd dug for himself.
"Why?" Anthony asked then, just as Ian had turned to leave.
Ian closed his eyes in shame. He didn't want to spill it out. Particularly after the brown eyed had already rejected him. What was the point?
"Does it matter?" The boy with the bowlish hair asked, trying to sound lighter than he felt. "Don't worry, I won't do it again." He turned back to look at Anthony and offered a smile and a shrug.
He stared back at Ian, his deep brown eyes questioning, confused. "I thought you were joking. You know, that night when we both drank a little bit too much in your room. I thought it was the alcohol saying you had a crush on me. I never thought you..."
Ian had never felt so foolish. His thoughts involuntarily went back to that last day of winter, when they were thirteen. It was raining heavily and he didn't have anything to shield himself from the icy drops. Then, out of nowhere, Anthony appeared and pushed him under his umbrella. They exchanged a brief glance and without warning, Anthony intertwined his arm with Ian's.
"Stay close if you don't wanna get yourself more wet. The umbrella isn't too big but it's all I got." the brown eyed said and smiled almost shyly. He'd been sweet to Ian and it had been nearly impossible to keep the small grin from spreading into the slightly younger boy's features.
It was only a few years later that he found out he loved Anthony. He was never sure if his now best friend felt anything for him beyond friendship. He wondered if there was any chance Anthony could be gay. Which is why he got his nerve up to make the first move. He imagined that if he broke the ice, Anthony'd, well, he imagined a lot of things. Alone at night, in the dark. Specially at nights like this, spent together with his best friend. He imagined mostly that he'd hold him. He wanted to be held by someone who loved him. Who wanted him. Guess that someone wasn't Anthony after all...
"Sorry." Ian repeated uselessly. "I guess the loneliness got to me." The brown eyed looked at him with continued puzzlement. "Loneliness?" He questioned.
"Yes, loneliness, Anthony." Ian said, starting to become irritated. He'd apologized and promised never to touch the other boy again. Why was he dragging things out? Was this humiliation meant to be a punishment of some sort?
"I'm not like you. I'm not popular, not the guy people wanna be with in a relationship. I'm shy, I usually keep things to myself and you're one of the only people I can be truly open to. And then there's the other problem…" Ian cut himself off. "I have feelings for you. I don't know how the hell they got into me, but they're there. And I never thought I was gay, never thought I'd be but… but I don't really know anything anymore." He huffed, angry at himself for nearly spilling all his guts out. He wouldn't beg to be loved. "Maybe loneliness wasn't the correct word. I should have said confusion. Would you understand that?"
Anthony took a step back and crossed his arms. His eyes darkened. He looked angry now too. "Why didn't you tell me all this stuff before? We're best friends for God's sake!" He spat.
"And how would that work? Since my kiss nearly sent you running?" Ian asked. He leaned back against the window and waited for Anthony's answer, curious.
"I'm not running. You're the one trying to get away from me." He accused.
"I'm mortified." The shorter declared. "I thought maybe I'd save us both further embarrassment by getting out of your way."
"I know I'm not any good at this kind of stuff." Anthony said, ducking his head. "But I don't want you to be sorry."
Ian frowned, confused. "I said I was sorry because it was clear to me that you didn't want to be kissed. I shouldn't have pushed myself on you like that."
Anthony shook his head and fiddled with a pen that was suddenly in his hand. "You didn't even give me a chance to react. I was astonished, I never thought you'd kiss me. We're, well... I thought you saw me as your best friend only. And now you're telling me you have feelings for me. How do you expect me to react?" Ian could see the color creeping into Anthony's cheeks at this admission. His brown eyes hadn't left the pen that his fingers were nearly tearing apart.
"That's okay." Ian said softly. "Let's just forget it. No harm done." Maybe they'd even be able to laugh about it after a day or two. Or a year, if their friendship managed to live that long.
He pushed himself off the window he'd been awkwardly leaning in and moved to walk past Anthony towards the door, when his best friend's hand shot out and grasped his wrist. Ian paused, looking back at the brown orbs. Waiting.
"I don't want to forget it." Anthony rasped. They stood frozen like that for a moment, unsure of what to do. Finally Ian pulled his fingers through Anthony's so that he was now holding his hand. He squeezed and felt him tighten his hold in response.
"Maybe I could give it another try?" Ian suggested, finding his courage again. He was rewarded by a cheesy half smile and then the sudden warmth of Anthony standing in his space.
This time when he reached up, Anthony bent down and met him half way.