graffiti wall and trees

•neil used to write his name places back when he and his mom were on the run
•he would graffiti it on a wall or scratch it into a tree or rock
•always small and barely noticeable
•it was just the first couple of cities
•after that his mom noticed and she beat him for it so he never did it again
•but one day he wakes up gasping from a nightmare
•and andrew is there of course
•he makes hot chocolate and they sit on the couch in silence sipping the hot drinks
•andrew knows that drawing calms neil down ((there are so many beautiful headcanons about this i love))
•so he offers neil his arm and a pen
•and neil is like are you sure????
•andrew just glares at him
•but he doesn’t lower the pen so neil grabs it and starts doodling
•and hes spacing out but he jolts back to life when andrew yanks his arm back
•neil is unsure what happened but then he sees it
•he had written his name at the base of andrew’s wrist right above a sketch of a key
•and andrew’s just glaring at neil
•so neil is like shit im sorry i can wash it off
•andrew glares but he doesnt get up to wash it off
•he just leans back into the couch and tells neil his handwriting is shit
•so neil slowly relaxes
•and then they’re sitting in silence again
•until neil starts talking quietly
•he tells andrew about leaving his name in the cities he and his mom stayed in
•and andrew waits for him to elaborate
•so neil tells him why
•tells him that he wanted so bad to be real
•to be “a real boy” ((that one headcanon about andrew calling neil pinocchio because he wanted to be a real boy, i don’t remember who posted it but it was beautiful and i cried))
•to have a real life and a real name
•he left his mark places in an attempt to not just disappear
•to not just be forgotten as if he was never there
•he tells all this to andrew
•and andrew sits and listens but doesn’t speak
•his weight next to neil is enough
•the next day andrew disappears for a couple hours
•and because neil is an oblivious shit
•he thinks andrew is mad at him for writing his name on him???? or something?????
•so he goes up to the roof and waits
•andrew comes out eventually and sits down next to him, lighting two cigarettes
•and when he hands one to neil
•neil catches a glimpse of something dark on andrews sleeve
•andrew sees neil looking and sighs
•he rolls his armband up and holds his arm out for neil
•neil stares
•there on andrews wrist is a small N above the outline of a key
•it is clearly neil’s handwriting
•and too dark to be pen
•neil stares some more and then looks up at andrew
•"yes or no"
•"yes"
•later when their cigarettes are almost burned to the filter
•neils fingers hover over andrews wrist
•andrew glares but he just says “yes”
•neil looks up at him before slowly moving his fingers to trace the outline of the key
•his fingers slowly inch up to the N
•cue andrew: “it could stand for North you know”
•neil: “why the fuck would you tattoo North on your wrist”
•andrew just rolls his eyes and tilts his head back to look up at the sky
•they sit like that for a while
•neil slowly tracing the outlines of the tattoos
•and andrew looking up at the sky, taking drags from his cigarette
•neil doesn’t tell andrew how much this means
•how grateful he is that he has a real life
•a real name
•a family who love and care for him
•who would do anything for him
•he doesn’t tell andrew how grateful he is that he now has proof
•that here he is
•he’s alive
•he’s here
•he survived
•andrew knows 
•they sit on that roof, high above the campus, their shoulders touching and they watch the sun slowly dip below the horizon, the smoke from their cigarettes floating up into the night air
•its relaxed and calm
•its home 

Bonus:
•neil gets a matching key tattooed on his wrist the next day
•he traces the shape whenever he feels himself getting into his head
•he traces the outline of a key
•and remember what it means
•remembered what he’s been given
•a life
•a family
•a home

basically neil and andrew are little fucking shits who are so goddamn in love and they have matching tattoos and im going to fling myself into the sun