Shane suppressed a yawn that threatened to tear from his throat after a long night. He allowed himself a moment to let his eyes slide shut as he leaned his head against the slab of wood that made up the front door to apartment number ten. The Brit’s whole body felt weighed down, his limbs tired and achy and his voice hoarse as he adjusted the strap of the bag slung over his shoulder. It contained whatever little worldly possessions Shane had had the opportunity to throw in there before Ian had crudely told him to get out and come back for the rest of his shit later. A few shirts, a pair of jeans, his textbooks and his phone charger. He’d felt both guilty and surprised to know how many of his things already resided at Banslie. His laptop, for example, was sitting on the coffee table in their makeshift living room, his charger with it.
It had been a rough night, and Shane secretly wondered if Ian had wanted the excuse to yell and scream, rather than actually feeling betrayed. He said he didn’t care what Shane did when he wasn’t home, and he should fuck Mickey if he liked. His stomach had felt empty and hollow at the thought of doing such a thing, and he explained bitterly that he didn’t want to fuck Mickey, he wanted to be with him. That was when the yelling had started. It had been embarrassing for Shane to know he’d kept his roommates awake, even more embarrassing that campus security had gotten involved. Apparently, multiple people had complained about the disturbance, and by the time Shane had answered the door he was exhausted and burst into over-tired tears, something exceptionally out of character for him. One of the men sat with him while Shane calmed down, breathing raggedly through his sobs as he mumbled apologies, a hand braced on the med student’s back as the security guy glared at Ian. Ian stood there cooly, and with the way Shane was carrying on it wasn’t a far cry to assume Ian had gone for him.
Daylight had broken by the time Shane was descending the stairs from his campus apartment - the lift had never worked - and making his way back to Banslie. He softened a little knowing when he got there he could get to Mickey, and seeing his face would reaffirm everything he’d done tonight had been worth it. He felt certain of that. Mickey had asked him if perhaps he’d made a mistake, that he didn’t want him as Shane thought he did. But there was no mistaking the definite and explanatory tug his heart gave when he saw the man. He wanted to reach out and touch him, wrap him up, but had been bound in the knowledge he had someone at home. Someone he still felt a sentimentality for, he admitted, but all of the loss he felt for losing Ian was also synonymous in losing his home, and their shared friends. He hadn’t quite realised how hard it would all be.
The urge to see Mickey grew stronger, propelling him forward to rap gently on the door with his knuckles. It was early, too early to be waking the girls up. But with any luck, one of them would be awake, giggling over YouTube videos or one another, and able to answer the door to him. The man heard the stumbling of feet behind the door and nothing else but girls shushing one another, silly giggles slipping from their lips and softly, he found his voice to gently murmur across the threshold. The country twang was unmistakably Riley’s.
“Riles? It’s Shane. Can you, er, can you let me in, please?”
Soft exclamations were exchanged as he heard someone fumble drunkenly with the lock. Thank God for Riley Sledge. He managed to shoot her a tired smile of gratitude as he pressed a kiss to her cheek, her staring at him inquisitively.
“Mickey?” was all he could say, glancing over her shoulder slightly, despite her height, as though the man might magically appear. Her dainty little mouth fell into a soft ‘o’ of exclamation and surprise as she giddily pointed toward his bedroom, him thanking her gently and nodding at Gracie, who hovered in the doorway also, before heading off in that direction. For once, Shane was thankful Mickey was the only resident of number ten that didn’t share his bedroom, and so Shane didn’t have to worry about waking someone else up.
He deposited his bag at the door with a soft thud, glancing over at the body that lay atop the bedsheets, curled up in a tiny heap. Shane could hear the soft inhalation and exhalations of breath and his heart constricted harshly. He was fully dressed, clad in all his clothes like he’d been waiting for Shane to come home before exhaustion had won him over and he’d succumbed to sleep. Toeing off his shoes, Shane wandered over and precariously sat on the edge of the bed, allowing his hand to carefully push through Mickey’s dark hair, his heart hammering in his chest. He wasn’t sure what he feared the most, that he might wake Mickey up or the newness of it all. That he could touch Mickey like this without the guise of friendship or as though he only wanted sex from him. It was all different now, and Shane was petrified and pleased all at once.
“Honey?” Shane breathed, the endearment slipping from his lips naturally as his hand travelled from his hair to his shoulder, giving it a soft shake. For the first time, Shane was concerned he looked a mess. His face was blotchy with last night’s tears and his hair wild, fastened lazily with a band that kept letting stray curls escape.
“Wake up, baby.” he giggled, laughing to himself as he ran a hand over the man’s back.