K but......Andrew calling Neil Nathaniel in the middle of a fight BC he got angry
okay SO i took a few days to sit on this because i was torn between “andrew would never do something so shitty” and “but andrew is The Master of Childish Spite”
so here is lots of Unnecessary Not-Relationship Drama™
took some inspiration from my favorite angsty hc
When Neil sits next to Andrew on the roof, he’s nervous. He knows he has to be careful with his words because Andrew has been especially stubborn about the topic of his life post-graduation in a couple months.
Even Betsy is concerned. She wouldn’t tell Neil specifics, of course, because that would violate doctor-patient confidentiality (that Neil still doesn’t fully trust). But she did ask Neil to see if he could get Andrew to open up with him about what’s been bothering him lately. Apparently, Neil guessed, Andrew has been quiet around even her.
He knows what’s bothering Andrew: Next year, Andrew won’t have any of the things he’s spent the last five years of his life devoting himself to. Kevin will sign with a pro team, Aaron will go to medical school and move in with Katelyn, Nicky will go back to Erik and Germany, and Neil will stay at Palmetto.
Andrew has been offered a few contracts from different pro teams for the next season, but he hasn’t responded to any. Neil doubts he’s even thought about it. But the deadlines are approaching, and Neil doesn’t want Andrew to miss out on account of his own apathy.
There’s also a part of Neil that’s afraid that this very apathy will ruin their not-a-relationship, too. Andrew still steadfastly denies that Neil means anything to him, and though Neil knows better than to believe him, he’s worried. He’s afraid that once they stop seeing each other every day, Andrew will actually stop caring and let go of what they have.
The thought cripples Neil more than he thought it would, and he’s spent even more time than usual by Andrew’s side in the last month. It’s what’s driven him to start planning as far ahead as his and Andrew’s life post-Foxes. It’s a daunting task for someone who used to wonder if he’d live to see 20, but he wants that life – he just hopes Andrew does, too.
“Andrew, you need to make a decision about next year. You have options for the first time in your life. You’ve been offered three different contracts.”
Andrew scowls and lights a cigarette. “Exy is your lifeline, not mine.”
Neil scoffs. “So, what then? You have to do something, Andrew. At least if you play, after I graduate we can–”
Andrew cuts him off with a sneer. “We can what, exactly? Play together? Live happily ever after as the next great Exy duo after Kevin and Riko? This is nothing. Stop deluding yourself.”
Neil isn’t fooled, though. Andrew has been telling Neil things like that for years, and they’re almost always followed by an action that completely contradicts the words.
“Stop deluding yourself, Andrew,” Neil snaps, feeling rare, real anger with Andrew. I’m not the one denying what’s right in front of me. Why are you so afraid of being happy? I spent half my life being told that I would never get to stay in one place for longer than a few months. I wasn’t allowed to get close to anyone. I wasn’t allowed to have a real name, Andrew.” Neil’s blood is pumping, and his hand twitches for a cigarette. But he ignores it because this is more important. He needs to be honest even if Andrew won’t.
“But when I came here, I stopped running because you asked me to. I let people in and I made myself a home. You have all of it too. You’re just too damn stubborn to accept that you want it or care.”
Andrew lets his anger show. Because whenever Andrew allows himself to “want” something, it never stays, or it never ends well. He wanted a family growing up, and instead he was bounced from shitty foster home to shittier foster home. Until there was a good one, one that wanted him to stay, and that he would have stayed for if it weren’t for Aaron getting involved and Drake trying to ruin him.
Thinking about all of it just heightens Andrew’s rage, until he’s not seeing Neil anymore – he’s seeing the version of Neil he first met, the mouthy kid who didn’t know how to mind his own business.
Before he can stop himself or reign in his anger, Andrew spits out, “You never know when to shut the fuck up. Has it been so long since Seth died already? Or do you just not care, Nathaniel?”