Andrew looks at his phone through his lashes. Neil had cajoled and bullied him into buying an Iphone-we can video call each other, he had insisted. As if I want to see anymore of your stupid face, Josten, Andrew had replied, but had driven out to buy one the other day. He’d pretended he couldn’t see the quiet smile on Neil’s face.
It has been exactly two weeks since they’d last talked in person. It feels like an eternity. It's been less than twelve hours since they last talked, but Andrew already misses Neil. It’s a bone deep ache, that’s slowly driving him insane, he tells himself that it isn’t about Neil, it’s the days spent in unfamiliar hotel rooms and in unfamiliar beds and it’s that, too, but that’s far from the entire truth.
He looks through his phone, his finger hovering over Neil’s name before he lets it flop down on the bed next to him. It’s late and Neil-the idiot that he is-never gets enough sleep as it is.
He resigns himself to another sleepless night.There was a time when Neil’s warmth next to him made him square his shoulders and brace himself for danger, now the lack of warmth feels somehow excruciating. He twists and turns, uncomfortable in his own skin and that feeling had faded once, and he-he stops himself, he won’t allow himself to be dragged into that downward spiral again.
He allows himself to close his eyes and envision that junkie, the twist of his lips when he smiles and the exact shade of auburn of his hair and the glint in his blue eyes, just for a moment.
The next day, the doorbell rings even before he’s awake. He gropes around for his knives and stands, his hackles are raised and there’s a sour taste in his mouth, that has nothing to do with sleep.
He opens the door to the hotel room, in the long sleeved shirt and sweatpants that he slept in. He sees messy auburn hair and tanned skin. Neil hovers in the doorway, not uncertain, merely waiting for his consent.
Andrew hates him for that. He steps aside to let him in and closes the door behind him. Neil makes a beeline straight for the bed and flops down on it. He doesn’t seem to have brought a bag or any clothes with him.
“Did you come here to sleep?” Andrew asks. Neil hums and turns to look at him from where he has buried his head in a pillow. “The plane ride was absolute hell,” he says half slurring his words.
Andrew has no time to pity him. Neil wouldn’t have come over if it was too much trouble. But Andrew wanders over to him anyway, it’s only because Andrew’s bored and Neil is the most interesting thing in the room, or so Andrew tells himself.
Neil turns to smile at him. “Hey,” he says. Andrew just looks at him with a heavy lidded gaze. Neil starts to tell him about the team and Robin without prompting because he knows Andrew won’t ask.
Andrew lets him make mundane small talk for a while, content to listen to his voice, before reaching out a hand and letting it hover over Neil’s shoulder. Neil’s voice doesn’t falter as he tells him how fucking lonely his bed feels without Andrew, but his lips curl slightly at the corners. Andrew’s quiet, “Yes or no?” is met with a heated “yes" and Neil rises up on one hand to kiss him.
Heat coils in the pit of his stomach and he curls his hands in Neil’s hair. They have never said ‘I love you’ to each other, but if actions speak louder than words, Andrew reckons, they might as well be shouting it.
When they finally break apart, Neil looks at him and says with quiet happiness, "You missed me.” Andrew leans back, the spell broken and says, “No, I didn’t.” Neil grins and with his scrunched nose and messy hair, Andrew leans back in and lets Neil meet him halfway. “Yes, you did,” Neil murmurs against his lips and Andrew concedes defeat, just to shut him up.