This is part I of II. It's centered around the idea of what Keegan's departure to New York was like. I have no knowledge of how things went down, who drove him to the airport, if Minin is with him, what the PLL staff did (such as if they filmed scenes in advanced or not... I don't believe they did but my Spoby shipping/Keegan loving hopes they did), or anything of the sort. So PLEASE do not take any of this as fact. It is all made up. Except for the bit about 'to infinity and beyond' ... that was a reference to tweets they exchanged when Keegan was supporting Troian about her involvement in the WIGS series Lauren :)
This does NOT represent any true feelings to my knowledge. No disrespect meant to Troian, Keegan, Patrick or Chuck. Clearly a work of fiction. Just my feels taking on a life of their own.
Since it is my FOUR YEAR (AHH) anniversary with fanfiction today, I was determined to post something, so I hope you guys enjoy! Let me know your thoughts :)
Keegan couldn't stop himself from looking around, trying to memorize every inch of his second home. It was crazy that he wouldn't see it again for almost six months. He spent more time at the WB studios than he did in his own apartment.
Today was his last day before his departure to New York. He would be living there for four months, performing in an off-Broadway play titled Small Engine Repair. He had received word of his acceptance into the main role weeks and weeks ago and ever since he had been a mix between ecstatic for the new opportunity and dreading the farewell.
He was blessed that he had such a supportive cast and crew family at Pretty Little Liars. They had worked around his departure, filming some scenes in advance for the sake of making sure he was in them. He appreciated it and he knew the fans would too. The Spoby fans especially had been very upset at the idea of him not being in any of the final episodes, but the head honchos worked their magic to allow him the opportunity to do so.
His going away party had been earlier in the week to ensure that everyone could make it, and, over the course of the past week, he had spent the majority of it hugging people goodbye and spending time with his closest friends as a last hurrah before the big move.
His nerves were getting to an all-time high now. He was flying out that night. His mom had been helping him pack the stuff he would need the past few days and now it was just a matter of the final drive to the airport.
Keegan had just wrapped his last scene with Troian about an hour ago. He was waiting for her night to come to an end before he said his final goodbyes.
When Keegan had revealed to her in the middle of the summer his role in the play, she had taken it really well. She was enthusiastic and supportive and everything he had hoped for.
But when she pulled back from their congratulatory hug, she made him promise something.
"Promise me something."
"Anything." he replied without hesitation.
She had smiled. "Promise me that you'll let me be the one to drive you to the airport."
His smile took up his entire face at her proposition. "Promise."
And he pulled her into another hug, completely oblivious to the tears forming in her eyes.
Troian's work day finally came to an end and she sought out Keegan immediately. After his goodbyes to the ones who were left on set, the pair set off for the parking lot.
"Excited?" she asked with her eyebrows raised.
Keegan slung an arm around her waist, sighing a little. "I am." he said confidently.
But she knew that wasn't the full story. She could feel it in his hold. He was nervous and he was already missing everybody in LA. California was his home and New York was all new, but she knew he'd do great things. He had been wanting to get back into live theatre for so long and he was so invested in and enthusiastic about the play. And she knew now was the best time for him to make the change.
"So we'll just grab Minin from your mom's and then head off?"
Keegan nodded. "Thank you for doing this, Troian. You really didn't have to. My mom would have or I could have just taken a cab."
She ruffled his hair playfully. "Don't be ridiculous. I offered. It's my pleasure."
Climbing into the car, Troian started on the familiar route. She had been to his mom's many times. Keegan and his mom were very close so naturally she spent time with the pair of them. Troian and Joanie got along wonderfully, although either were hard to find difficult.
Troian noticed Keegan looking intently out of the window, as if trying to memorize every tree and street lamp as they passed. She knew it was starting to catch up with him that he really was leaving. It was only for a few months, but it was still a big change.
Reaching over, she slipped her hand into his hand that was resting near the gear shift and squeezed reassuringly.
Instead of turning to look at her, he simply squeezed back.
Watching Keegan's goodbye to his mother was heartbreaking. The two of them were so close—Keegan considered his mom to be his best friend in the world-and Troian found her heartstrings being pulled watching them in their final interaction before the big change.
Joanie was currently going through the checklist of the packing list they had made together earlier in the week while Minin circled around Keegan's legs, trying to gain his owner's attention.
"Yes, Mom." Keegan said for the umpteenth time in agreement of some something or other packed away in his stuff, his voice a tad impatient but amused and affectionate at the same time. His mom was very thorough, and it was sweet that she was so concerned, but they had already gone through the checklist when he dropped Minin off before work.
Troian smiled. He was such a momma's boy, in the best way.
"Okay. Well. I guess that's everything." Mrs. Allen said with a sigh, not seeming to be all too happy about it despite her effort to make sure of it.
But they all knew it was just because she was going to miss her son dearly.
He smiled at her. "You're going to come visit really soon. It's not for long."
"I know." she replied, but her eyes were wet as she smiled back at him. "I'm so proud of you. And your father would be too."
Troian enticed Minin over so that the mother and son could have a more private goodbye. They were in the small entranceway, so there was really nowhere she could go to avoid eavesdropping, but the least she could do was not stare.
"Mom, don't cry." Keegan said soothingly as he hugged her close, rubbing her back as he laughed affectionately. But his voice was on the verge of cracking.
"Be safe. Call me when you get there." Joanie told him seriously as they finally separated.
"I promise. Take care of yourself."
He held out his hand for the cat and Minin bounded over, grateful to finally get some attention.
"You're not going to like me as much when I tranquilize you for the flight." Keegan told his furry friend, stroking him generously. "Come here, buddy."
He took him into the kitchen to give him the pill with food and grab the bag of the cat's stuff.
Joanie turned to Troian, tears still in her eyes. "I'm so grateful to you for taking him to the airport. I don't know if I could let him leave if I did."
Troian laughed as the older woman pulled her into a hug. "As I told Keegs, its my pleasure. And to be honest, I don't know how I'm going to be able to either."
"I think you're the best person for the job. He's always said that you're the person in his life that gives him that extra push he needs to take chances. That's how he tried out for the play in the first place." Keegan's mom told her honestly as they pulled back.
Troian was rather surprised, but touched by the thought. It gave her a warm glow on the inside to know she made Keegan feel that way. She could relate.
Keegan finally came back out, Minin now in his cage, and smiled at the two most important women in his life.
"You all set?" Troian asked, trying not to feel emotional but it was just one of those nights.
"I'm ready. Goodbye, Mom." he said, giving her one last hug.
"Goodbye, baby." she said with a sigh, smiling proudly at the man before her. "And Troian, just because Keegan is gone doesn't mean you get out of visiting me on occasion."
Troian laughed. "Of course. I'll call you soon."
Joanie was happy with that answer and waved them a final goodbye from the doorway.
Once Minin was settled comfortably, Keegan hopped into the passenger seat.
"Here goes nothing." he said, more to himself, as they began the drive to his new life.
This was it. People were bustling around, chatting about their vacation or talking on their phones to give their boss an update, but it didn't seem busy. It didn't seem chaotic. It didn't seem like several feet away there was a kid screaming at her brother, or hundreds of people strolling past them as if they were simply a potted plant. It felt like everything was standing still, like time had stopped, like you could watch a water droplet fall and burst onto the ground in slow motion.
They were here. At the airport. Keegan was really leaving.
Troian turned to him in surprise, curious why his voice sounded so heartbroken, when she realized that the tears were building in her eyes and he had noticed.
"I'm sorry." she half-laughed, half-cried. "I just… you're really leaving… I've said goodbye to Patrick countless times in situations just like this but I've never had to do this with you. I hoped I wouldn't have to."
Keegan pulled her into a hug, his hand rising to stroke her hair as he held her intimately. He pressed his lips to her hair, closing his eyes in pain as he heard her begin crying.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." she whispered. "I'm just going to miss you so much."
She couldn't believe they were going to be so far apart. She hadn't been more than fifteen minutes drive distance from him, except for the rare vacations they were granted, their entire friendship. She had come to rely on him so much over the past few years. He was that person she went to when she was upset, lonely, bored, hyper, anything. He was her best friend.
His heart felt like it was being crushed inside his chest. "I already miss you." he murmured, nuzzling his face in her hair and inhaling deeply.
This was it. He really was going to have to say goodbye to her. It had finally sunk in that he didn't know when he would see her next. He didn't know when he would smell her hair, or hear her laugh, or feel the soft skin of her lower back. He already missed the way she snuggled closer when she would fall asleep when they were watching movies, or the way she would kick up her feet onto his lap when they were talking for hours, or the way they'd belt out duets together randomly on the radio, or the times they'd play music together. He would miss everything about her. He'd miss spending time with her. Who knew how long until they got a day together, or even a couple hours? That was a scary concept.
It was strange, how suddenly people start paying attention to just how much they treasure the miniscule moments when they're suddenly about to be robbed of them. People were constantly taking things for granted—it was human nature—but it filled Keegan with regret for not trying to spend more time with her before his departure. He still had a plentiful collection of memories to look back on, but he wished he had times where he was really appreciating every second of their time spent together.
Now, her crying in his arms and the time for his flight leaving drawing nearer, he was counting every second, every breath, every heartbeat, every measurement of how little time they had left. He had only so many more moments with her before it was goodbye.
It didn't matter that it wasn't forever. The point was that neither of them knew what the future held—and that concept suddenly seemed so much more terrifying than before now that they were where they were.
Keegan pulled back after a moment and cupped her face in his hands as he lowered himself to eye level with her.
Troian tried to pull herself together, but it was impossibly hard when the water in his ocean eyes made them seem more sea-like than ever before.
"Troi… it's not forever." he promised, but he would have been much more convincing if his voice hadn't started to shake after he said her name.
She nodded, reaching up to grip his wrists so he wouldn't let her go. "I know. But it's almost 3000 miles… what am I supposed to do without you?"
He sighed in defeat, trying to control his damn tear ducts and hating that they wouldn't listen. Moisture still pooled too high in his eyelids and down went the waterfalls.
It was made worse by the fact that the announcement above called his flight. Troian let out a small gasp, having forgotten about the rest of the world and finding the intrusion into their bubble startling.
"I have to go." he managed to get out.
"No." Troian whined childishly, latching onto him like a toddler refusing to let her mother go to work. She knew she was acting like a four-year-old but she couldn't help herself from fisting his t-shirt into her hands and clinging to his chest. She didn't want to let him go.
"Troi… I have to." he cried, and she knew all she was doing was making it harder on him but she couldn't loosen her grip.
He gathered her in his arms and hugged her tightly, nestling his face in her neck and letting out a small sob. Seeing her this upset made him regret ever making the decision to try out for the play, let alone agree to star in it.
"I love you." she whispered to him through her tears, finally breaking them apart and wiping her face in embarrassment. She forced a smile, despite her tearstained face. "Go knock 'em dead, Keegs. You'll be amazing, I know it. I'm so, so proud of you."
Her sweet words almost made it harder for him to leave. He sucked in all of the air he could and straightened himself up so he could gaze into her eyes properly. "I love you too. Thank you for always supporting me and my dreams."
"To infinity and beyond, Keegan." she replied, almost laughing a little, but tears leaked out of her eyes as she did so.
His heart warmed that she remembered that conversation from so long ago. It had been the opposite way around, but he knew that they both felt the same way about the other.
"I better go."
She nodded, wiping her face. "Good luck. Have a safe flight."
"Drive safe. We'll talk on the phone or Skype or FaceTime soon, okay?"
She nodded again, forcing a smile. "Goodbye, Keegs."
With one final shared look, he turned and began his walk towards his flight. Every step hurt, knowing it was one step further from her. He wasn't ready to say goodbye, but he couldn't imagine a time he would be.
Still, his heart ached and he felt like something was missing from their goodbye, like he should have said more, or he should've hugged her tighter, or something.
Keegan whipped around at the sound of her voice. Troian was sprinting towards him, a fierce look on her face, and even though he had no idea what was happening, the rest of him was fully prepared. His arms reached out to catch her flying leap and her lips had crashed against his right after he sucked in a deep breath.
Troian's mouth moved against his desperately, kissing him so hard and passionate that his toes curled and he nearly collapsed under the raw force of it. He returned the gesture enthusiastically, clutching her to him, not planning on letting her go any time soon.
Her lips were demanding, but he matched her fire with ease, letting his hand get one last stroke of her soft lower back as the other anchored her to his face with his hand wrapped in her curls.
Finally, they both were seeing spots behind their eyelids and they broke apart, breathless.
Keegan watched her, suddenly aware of what had just transpired between them.
Troian caught her breath first and quickly wiped at her face again. She reached out to fix his misshapen hair and stroked his face with her thumb.
"Have a safe flight." she murmured, like they were merely continuing their conversation that had ended several feet away minutes ago.
Keegan kissed the tip of her thumb as she ran it over his lips and he saw her own lip quiver, but she didn't cry this time.
Another announcement came over the PA system and he knew he couldn't wait any longer. As much as he wanted to miss his flight to stay with her, he did not fancy Minin waiting in his cage in New York for him for hours. He already was anxious enough transporting him by plane.
"Take care of yourself, T." he said before finally releasing her and walking over to hand his ticket to the lady.
He chanced one final glance back and Troian waved, her cheeks glistening once again.
Keegan was grateful that he was sent along his way and he found his seat without too much difficulty. He sat down for what would no doubt be the longest flight of his life, despite the disagreeing duration.
Troian stayed at the airport long enough to watch the plane take off and take her best friend with it before she finally turned around and headed home to her new reality.