So sorry for the wait! I thought I'd be done this much sooner but it just didn't want to cooperate. I hope you enjoy! I reference several of the Troigan moments over the last couple months, and this one is set a little in the future just to give me a little freedom :) I haven't been blessed with seeing Keegan's play unfortunately so I had to just summarize over what he's said about it in interviews !
No disrespect meant to Keegan, Troian, Chuck or Patrick. Does not represent anyone's true feelings, clearly a work of fiction. Please treat it as such.
In French, you don't really say "I miss you."
You say "tu me manques," which is closer to "you are missing from me."
You are a part of me, you are essential to my being.
You are like a limb, or an organ, or blood.
I cannot function without you.
Keegan halted his scrolling on his personal tumblr and read the words slowly, letting them sink in.
He had reblogged the text weeks ago but it only was truer now. He had been away from LA for a couple months now, and it was getting harder before it was getting easier.
The play was keeping him plenty busy, as well as exploring NYC to the fullest, but he still felt as though he left his heart back in California.
When he had first seen the post, it had grabbed something inside him. He reblogged it without even thinking. His mind flashed to one person and one alone; the brunette with the soulful eyes whose kiss was still burning on his lips.
If there was one thing that hadn't left his mind since his departure from home, it was Troian and that airport kiss.
He had spent his entire plane ride to New York trying to understand where it had come from. Had she just been caught up in the emotions of the moment, it feeling too similar to her goodbyes to her boyfriend or something that would happen with their onscreen couple, and kissed him out of habit? Or had she been feeling something more from him for some time and realized it was her last moment to show him? And the most important question… now that it had happened, did she want things to change or did she regret what she had done?
Keegan knew that it was a delicate subject for any friendship to have, that question of whether they could risk what they currently had to make room for something that could be more or could end in disaster. It didn't take his connection to the quote on his tumblr for him to know that he couldn't live without her. Troian had become the sole importance to him shortly after she entered his life. It had only come into clearer focus the last couple years.
So Keegan took some time to figure out his feelings on the matter and let himself get caught up in his busy schedule for the first week he was gone. It wasn't until he was sifting through twitter and saw Troian answering fan questions that he realized that he hadn't even spoken a word to her yet.
A fan had asked her 'is Keegan missing you?' and her reply was 'No idea. Haven't spoken to him, but I bet he is pretty busy with rehearsals and hopefully loving living in NYC.'
Hopefully no one else had caught it, but he could feel the hurt in her reply. She was trying to make excuses for why they hadn't talked so that the fans wouldn't have a field day, and maybe to ease her own concerns, but he knew that she was aching on the inside to know. He had assumed because she hadn't messaged him she was giving him space to settle in or cursing herself for kissing him at the airport, but now he wondered if she had really been giving him space to make a decision about what to do about their kiss—and his silence was her answer.
He didn't want her to think that he hadn't enjoyed it. He had. It had been playing on a reel in his head since then, the image of her running towards him emblazoned on his eyelids before he fell asleep at night.
The way she had kissed him had been so recklessly passionate, so deep and raw and desperate, the way an army wife would kiss a soldier before their departure, as if they may never see each other again; to show in a single moment how proud of them they were and how in love; to promise that they never would stop.
And if that was all true, if Troian really felt all of that, Keegan wasn't sure what it meant. He knew he wanted to take that next step, he wanted to badly and had for many years, but he also knew Troian. She was very brave and very confident about certain things, but she also wasn't one to jump into anything without thinking through every possible outcome. Would she be as willing to make the sacrifices she had to in order to be with him?
He had heard through the grapevine of her and Patrick's separation a few weeks before, but that was weeks after their kiss. He felt conceited to think it had anything to do with him, but a part of him wondered.
He had no idea what she was thinking these days. He had spoken to her briefly, mostly texts and short phone calls, but they seemed as comfortable as they always did. They never brought up the day he left. He had even posted a picture of her a week after the 'Tu me manques' post with the caption 'Hours away'. He had been contemplating just hopping on a plane, knowing that he could be in her presence in just a matter of a few hours, but that his schedule denied him that luxury. He wanted to see her, to hug her, to be able to sit down and talk with her. He didn't like feeling this confused about where they stood. His relationship with Troian had always been so steady and reliable. He'd hate for that to ever change.
She had replied to his picture with the comment 'We miss you terribly over here' and his heart only ached to see her more. Did she feel the way he was these days, questioning every conversation and wondering when her feelings changed, if they had changed? It was beginning to consume him.
And then there was the event of her birthday, which he of course had to miss. He posted a silly picture of her with an abbreviation for happy birthday to avoid the crap they had been getting lately from the fans for wanting the pair together. Even just a picture of her looking at the camera lens had them all losing their minds and assuming they were making tiny hybrids of themselves. He was ashamed to admit he had lost his temper a few times now with the 'shippers'; they had no idea how he and Troian felt in their personal lives. He knew it came with the territory of having great chemistry as an onscreen couple and clearly being very close friends off-set, but it wasn't fair that they commented on every picture he posted of his best friend with 'you should date!' or 'get married already!' or other much nastier things. Often times they even added offensive comments towards their significant others.
Keegan, at least, had broken up with Chuck shortly after he settled into his new apartment so she wouldn't have to deal with it for much longer. Once the news hit, they'd hopefully all get a life and leave the poor girl alone. She had received some vicious words and Keegan had nearly lost it. She had no association with the PLL fandom, so it was literally his fault that she was on the receiving end of that kind of cruelty. She seemed to understand, but it didn't stop him from blaming himself and apologizing profusely to her any chance he got.
He had really enjoyed his time with her, but since he couldn't get Troian or her kiss out of his mind, it was far from fair to lead the blonde on. It had hurt, but they also were in a really good friends place and he realized that they were always better at that then the relationship stuff. It was made easier by the fact that they could still hangout and it didn't feel weird at all. He would've hated to lose her all together. She was pretty easy to get along with; even Troian had befriended her shortly after Keegan started dating her. He would never forget the 'I like her' text she had sent after hanging out with her one afternoon. She was always good at conveying a lot of meaning with very few words. It was always about the small but big gestures with Troian, like being the one to drive him to the airport in the first place.
After his happy birthday post, Troian had texted him a 'thank you x3' and he had asked her how her birthday was going. She had never got back to him, but he knew she was filming and had spent the weekend with her boyfriend so he wasn't offended. He figured she just got busy.
But it didn't stop him from checking his phone a lot that night.
Even tonight, as he lay in bed, he couldn't help his heart from yearning for her. He wished she was there. He wished he could hold her, talk to her, catch up on all the things he had missed. He'd gladly hear about what the rest of their mutual friends were doing, but first he'd want to hear about everything in her world. Even the little things like what she had ate for breakfast and what she had been doing in her downtime. He'd run his fingers through her hair, lace their fingers together, pull her legs over his lap. He just wanted to be near her, hear her voice and her views and listen to her thoughts and opinions. And as much of an amazing time as he was having, it didn't feel real until she knew. It was just like when he was told Toby was A and he'd be taking on a whole new layer to his character. He had been excited for the opportunity, but hadn't been able to get properly excited until Troian knew. The same was with his initial acceptance into the play. So despite the fact that he had spent two months in The Big Apple, it still felt surreal and he knew that wouldn't change until he had spilled his guts to her about everything that had been going on.
He wanted to drag her to his new favourite places, take a walk with her through Central Park, hail a cab for her now that he had perfected the technique, just share everything with her. He wanted to watch the snowflakes melt on her eyelashes and kiss her rosy nose when she got cold. She was born and bred in LA too, so snow wasn't very familiar for either of them except in their travels. He knew she liked the change though; he'd love to experience it firsthand with her for the first time.
Keegan rolled over and tried to get more comfortable under the blankets. His mind just wouldn't shut off tonight. He wondered if he'd ever get to sleep. It was already almost two in the morning.
He finally got frustrated enough when the two changed to a three on his alarm clock and he rose to head into his living room. He leaned against the window, watching the city below. Everything had been lathered with another layer of snow earlier that night, so it all looked fresh and out of a movie. Lights were twinkling, wreaths framed street lamps, and people were bustling from store to store for their Christmas needs. Keegan watched the cars glide through the thin layer of snowflakes and sighed. He felt stupid for even thinking it, but he wished Troian was there to see it all. He wanted to walk with her down the snowy streets, hand in hers, watching her eyes light up brighter than the city. She always was a fan of natural beauty; probably because she housed so much on her own.
Keegan finally dragged himself back to bed when his eyelids started drooping and collapsed. Exhaustion took over and finally sleep dragged him away.
A surprising knock awoke the sleeping man a few hours later.
He hadn't been expecting anyone, and it was rather early. Looking outside, the sky was still dark. Who would be visiting him at this hour unannounced?
Keegan pulled himself out of bed, Minin meowing in protest from his spot next to him. The tired man found the energy to cross his apartment and answer the door after rubbing as much sleepiness from his eyes as he could manage.
The sight before him made his breathing hitch in surprise.
"Hey stranger." the raspy, feminine voice said amusedly.
"T-Troian." he breathed.
And there she stood, all five feet seven inches of beauty. He had seen pictures of her and watched interviews and had only seen her a couple months ago but it was like he forgot how beautiful she really was. Just the sight of her took his breath away.
Maybe because the last time they had been in the same room as each other they kissed their lives depended on it and even his memories couldn't do that justice.
Without another word, he launched himself forward to hug her tightly, as if he hadn't seen her in months and had been worried every moment she was gone. He pulled her close to his body, nestling his face in her hair and neck, breathing her in. It really was her. She smelled like she always did but somehow better.
Troian returned the gesture enthusiastically, her fingers toying with his hair and finally finding her lungs were cooperating for the first time in what felt like months. It was like, now that she was with him, she could finally breathe with ease.
"Oh god, I missed you so much. I'm so happy to see you." Keegan murmured, not loosening his grip on her.
Troian nuzzled her face against his. "I've missed you too. So much that I threw myself on a plane and flew out here without even giving you any notice. I just couldn't wait any longer to come see you."
"No, this is so much better. Best surprise ever." he promised.
Troian was happy not to let go of him. "You're so warm… I'm sorry it's so early. Did I wake you up?"
"Doesn't matter. I can sleep another day."
She leaned back to look at him hopefully. "Or you can sleep right now? I couldn't sleep on the plane… I was too excited to see you. But now…"
Keegan finally seemed to notice how much of her body weight was leaning against him.
Troian happily followed after shedding her coat and boots, grateful that she had been smart enough to wear comfy clothes on the plane. She was dressed in leggings and a loose-fitting dress. Climbing into bed with him, she snuggled right into his chest as soon as he pulled the covers over them.
Keegan smiled at how easily her head found the crook in his shoulder. He felt her sigh against his neck, her breath warm, and an unexplainable comfort ran through his body. He wrapped his arms around her, securing her to his side.
Her eyes had already fluttered shut and she was asleep in seconds.
Keegan listened to her breathe, holding her, letting the fact that she was currently in his arms lull him into his own dreamland.
Troian woke up with a smile on her face. She couldn't help it.
Keegan seemed oblivious to her awake state since he continued to trace soft designs on her bare back with his fingertips. It was a very soothing feeling. Her shirt must have ridden up, unless he pushed it himself, and he was making her very much want to fall back to sleep. Either that, or roll over and kiss him gratefully.
His face was nestled in her hair and he inhaled deeply at one point, sighing almost as if in relief.
Troian could feel herself blushing, but tried to remain as still as possible. She wasn't quite ready to give up this embrace.
As the cobwebs cleared, she started to pay more attention to the fact that they were intertwined much like a couple, and that this wasn't exactly foreign for them. The fact that they could so easily fall back into this pattern reassured all of her concerns.
The truth was, Troian had missed Keegan just as much as he had missed her in his absence. But she had the unfriendly companion of doubt to take his place by her side. She felt like she was making excuses all of the time why not to call him and check up on how things were going, and why he hadn't done the same for her. But she started to worry that they were losing what they had, that she had royally screwed everything up with her spontaneous kiss before his flight.
He had reciprocated fully, looking just as moved from the kiss as she had felt, and it was clear it was hard for him to leave afterwards. But had that all been in her head? Had she misread him? Was she really losing her best friend?
But now, lying here with him like this, the sight of his face and his actions when he saw it was her at the door, eased all of those worries. She was finally able to breathe and contemplate the idea that he had been battling himself the same as her. And that he really had just been busy. That he wasn't just pointedly ignoring her.
There were times that she found it easier not to get back to him rather than give in to the hope of exchanging a conversation with him like old times. Like on her birthday. His sweet text, asking her how her birthday was going, was unanswered. She couldn't find it in herself to say anything, knowing that it would just turn into her crying about how it didn't feel like her birthday without him and a number of things that would only make him feel guilty for moving away in the first place. She had been trying her best to show him all of the support in the world, him having always done the same for her, and whining about how much she missed him would only make him feel bad for making a choice that he clearly had really wanted. She would always put his needs above hers. That was how it worked when you really loved somebody.
Troian felt Keegan press closer and her breath hitched, wondering if he was going to do something like kiss her neck. God knows how much she had been missing that since the show finished filming.
"How long have you been awake, missy? Long enough to tell me to stop giving you princess treatment?" he teased, his breath warm against the shell of her ear and causing her to shiver a little.
She tilted her head a little to project her voice behind her. "Long enough to enjoy it much more than when I was enduring it unconsciously. Feel free to keep going forever." she said breathily.
Keegan smiled, letting his hands roam more freely over her back, applying more pressure.
She groaned in delight. "I will honestly pay you whatever you want if you give me a back massage right now."
He chose not to reply, instead rubbing the ivory skin over her defined back, adoring the way she melted under his touch. She was tense and his hands were pretty talented at that sort of thing. He was strong and had broad hands with dextrous fingers.
Troian found herself biting her pillow to keep her from vocally showing her appreciation for what he was doing. Her body was under his spell, twisting and rising in whatever direction he moved her.
He was half-hovering over her now, his body warm and firm and so very close. She was so tempted to just flip herself around and kiss him senseless.
She was almost grateful when her stomach growled obnoxiously, causing Keegan to break off laughing.
"Come on. I'll take you to breakfast at my favourite place."
He pulled her by the hand out of bed.
"Wait, I should change."
"Why? You look beautiful." he said, then faltered in surprise at his lack of a filter. He must have left it in the bedroom.
Though, it was totally worth it for the flood of pink that dusted her cheeks after he said so.
She smiled. "I look like I got on a super early flight and then crashed as soon as I landed."
He squeezed her hand. "Take your time, but trust me. You don't need to change a thing."
He headed to the bathroom to get ready and she watched him leave with a tug in her gut. He wasn't going to make not kissing him any easier, was he?
At this rate, it was going to be a long day of fighting that urge.
After sharing a meal at La BonBonniere, Keegan happily accompanied Troian around the city, doing all the things he had been daydreaming about the night before. It seemed so surreal that she really was here, her gloved hand in his as they walked through the shops and explored the typical tourist spots. He had never been around town with her, they both had visited NY on numerous occasions but separately, and he wanted to hear her thoughts on everything.
After pizza at Joe's Pizza, his go-to spot any time he had had a particularly exhausting play performance, he lead her through snowy Central Park—after hailing a cab for them, of course.
She had laughed at the proud look on his face when his whistle and gesture got the yellow car to pull over for them almost instantly.
"You're a true New Yorker now." she teased, ruffling his long hair playfully.
As they arrived at Central Park and made their way through the winter wonderland, Troian linked their arms together and leaned her head on his shoulder. It was amazing to spend so much time with him after having been deprived so much over the past two months.
It had started snowing again as they strolled through.
"Maybe we should head back. I don't want your LA behind to get too cold." Keegan taunted, stopping them from taking the next fork in the road.
Her jaw dropped in offense. "Excuse you, I know my limits. I'm fine. In fact, let me prove it to you."
Keegan was apprehensive at the stubbornness in her tone.
She broke their handholding and headed over to an empty spot. The park was pretty much empty so she had no qualms about laying down on her back and swaying her arms until she created a perfect snow angel.
She sat up, raising an eyebrow at him. "So Mr. New York, think you can top that perfection?" She dusted off her shoulders in fake-arrogance. "I know us LA folk are all just sunbathing and bikinis, but I happen to make one mean snow angel."
Keegan laughed, rolling his eyes as he lay next to her, making the same imprint in the snow.
Troian's eyes roved over it once he sat up, her face twisting in judgment.
"You need to work on your halo, but I think you've got potential." she commented dryly.
Keegan wasn't having any of that. Laughing, he tackled her, releasing his tickling hands on her despite the many layers between them. Even though she had a sweater and heavy jacket on, he still managed to find her most ticklish spots and she was squealing and squirming beneath him before long, begging for mercy between giggles.
He eventually took pity on her and caught his breath, not rolling off of her even though he knew he probably should.
His eyes stayed on her face as she inhaled the air she had lost, her face flushed, her nose pink, and snowflakes melting on her eyelashes. It was better than his imagination had given justice.
Keegan felt his heart swell with love for the woman beneath him and he leaned down.
He placed a chaste kiss to her nose and both cheeks before finally pushing himself off of her and helping her up.
He wished he was brave enough to kiss her lips, but they had yet to mention the airport event and he wasn't sure if he should be the one to bring it up. He wouldn't want her to feel cornered. Maybe she wanted to forget it ever happened.
Troian, too, was wondering if she should take his innocent kisses as a subtle signal to her that he wanted to keep what they had.
Regardless of their relationship, Troian had been very excited to meet his cast mates and spend the evening seeing his play firsthand. A couple of their friends had already flown down to see it, but she was grateful she was watching alone. It allowed her the opportunity to take it all in much more objectively and keep her focus.
The play was not what she was expecting, in the best way. Keegan had been right with his warnings—it was definitely rated for a more mature audience, but also had an interesting twist and had drawn her in completely. She was really impressed with the play as a whole but especially his performance-there were many times she forgot she was watching her best friend act, a sign that he really had embraced his role and delivered.
After the play was the meet and greet, and Troian planned on just meeting him back at his place, but he dragged her out with him, knowing the PLL fans would want to see her too.
The ones out there nearly lost their heads when he came out with his costar in tow.
After a couple hours of conversing with fans and posing for pictures, the pair finally headed back to his apartment.
"I um… forgot to mention this, but I sort of have to leave tonight." She had been dreading revealing the information to him all day, but now that the time of her flight drew nearer, she knew she couldn't just ignore it.
Keegan nearly dropped his keys. He hadn't even asked how long she had been staying, but he should've known it wouldn't be for long. She was incredibly busy, and always in demand from someone. She liked keeping busy, doing what she loved, but he had hoped he'd get to enjoy her company for a few days. He couldn't have asked for a more perfect day with her, but he still was going to be heartbroken to see her leave.
"What time is your flight?"
She swallowed, looking as disappointed as his entire soul felt. "Soon."
He nodded. "Well we better head out then."
Troian followed desolately, hating her doubts for winning the argument this morning over when she should book her return flight.
Keegan hadn't been inside an airport since he had arrived in New York, and his experience in the LAX had been the only thing on his mind for months. It wasn't just the kiss—their entire goodbye was engrained in his mind. It had been so incredibly hard to say goodbye to her. And now he had to do it again? After knowing for sure just how much it ached to be away from her? With the same unknowing of whether they'd see each other soon or not? He wasn't sure he was strong enough.
Troian couldn't move her feet. It felt like her shoes were glued to the tile floor. She didn't want to go check in. She didn't want to pass them her luggage and her ticket and have them tell her exactly how many minutes until she was out of Keegan's arms again. She couldn't bear it. She had said goodbye to him before and it had ended in devastating heartbreak. She wasn't ready to go through it all again.
They had had so much fun that day. She hadn't laughed like that in months. She hadn't even talked so much in months. It felt amazing to be able to spend countless hours with him, talking about everything under the sun, making snow angels in the park and swapping stories over pizza or pancakes. She didn't want to give him up again.
"I should go check in." Troian found herself saying robotically, knowing that she couldn't stand there like an idiot forever. Although, truth be told, Keegan seemed just as stiff and stuck as she did.
"Oh. Right. I'll wait for you here." he said, knowing he couldn't just accompany her through security and that Troian had done this countless times so she didn't even need the support.
She smiled at him before heading in direction of the front desk. He watched her suitcase trail behind her, her figure beginning to get smaller as she got further away.
With her, went her smell, her smile, her face, her voice, her hair, her mind. With every step forwards, she was one step closer to leaving him again. It was one second less he'd have to appreciate the sound of her laugh or her perspective on something he had never asked her or the look on her face when she was trying desperately not to laugh because she knew it'd give him too much satisfaction.
He couldn't stand it. She couldn't leave. He wasn't going to let her leave.
But how could he make her stay?
She whipped around in surprise at the sudden call of her name, only to find herself being pulled into Keegan's arms, his lips descending passionately down onto hers, nearly knocking her over with his eagerness.
He didn't care if he should've waited for them to talk about it. It was clear neither one of them were ready to bring up what happened before. And it didn't matter what happened then. Right now, he needed her to know exactly why he didn't want her to leave. He wasn't giving her a single reason to doubt the reason behind his gesture.
Troian exhaled against his mouth, unconsciously convincing Keegan to do the same, and she used that opportunity to open their mouths to one another, throwing herself deeper into their kiss. There was no end in sight; they were completely lost in each other. The leftover winter cold was completely forgotten as her body felt like it had fallen into a warm cup of cocoa, enveloping her in heat and comfort as she lost herself in Keegan's embrace. His hands couldn't stay still on her waist, rising up to cup her face and pull her closer, his lips stumbling over hers desperately, unable to convey all of his feelings for her in just a kiss, but he tried his damnedest. Troian's fingers were strewn through his hair, her free hand gripping his jacket collar tightly so that he knew that she didn't want him going anywhere.
When he finally pulled back, he was breathless, panting as he stared her deeply in the eyes.
"Please don't leave quite yet. Stay. Stay with me. I don't want to be reminded what it feels like to be without you. I want to be with you."
Troian's eyes sparkled with tears as she smiled at his proposition. She let her fingers play with his hair and giggled giddily. "You know, I traveled almost three thousand miles to hear you say that… and it was worth every single one."
He knew she wasn't just talking about the plane ride, but also how much they had been through, together and apart, to get to where they were now.
Despite all of the pain and ups and downs, he knew in his heart it was worth it too.
And from then on, Keegan didn't hesitate to tell her 'Tu me manques' anytime they spent too much time apart. She understood exactly what he meant by it. She had felt the same pull when she had read it too.
And Troian always made sure to reply with a more popular three word phrase, one that had been begging to be said for too long.
UPDATE: To the guest reviewer who asked and anyone else who is curious, Troian's twitter response to a fan claiming she hadn't spoken to Keegan yet, Keegan's 'Hours away' photo post, Keegan's tumblr reblog of that quote, Troian's response to his 'Hours away' picture with 'we miss you terribly over here', and Keegan's 'HBD Troian' photo post are all real moments I incorporated in. I obviously have no idea what they text each other, so that was made up :)