I wrote this at 1am last night (while I was sleep deprived and couldn’t sleep) and then saved this in my drafts, so let that be both an explanation and an apology for this Mess™
It’s the sound of voices that draws Andrew into wakefulness. They creep into his mind like vines and coax him away from the bliss of sleep. The temptation to shake them is a hard fought but losing battle. His head still feels hazy and fogged over, but it’s easy enough to place the owners of the hushed tones.
“You wake them up.”
“No way. You wake them up.”
There’s a pause.
“Rock, paper, scissors?”
Andrew opens his eyes just in time to see Matt hit his rock over Nicky’s scissors. Matt shoves his fist in the air in a silent victory cheer while Nicky lets out a quiet curse. He turns back towards the seat with dejected shoulders, his face a mix of fear and dread, but when he makes eye contact with Andrew, it quickly morphs into relief.
“Oh, thank god. I really didn’t want to losing a limb.”
“We’re at a rest stop,” Matt says when he also notices Andrew is awake. “Coach says we’re still a few hours out from PSU though.”
“It’ll be morning by the time we make it back,” Nicky chimes in.
Andrew doesn’t say anything, but neither Nicky or Matt look interested in garnering a response. Their apparent job done, both backliners turn on their heels and head back up towards the front of the bus.
“Was’goingon?” Neil mumbles from Andrew’s right.
Neil has his legs pulled up onto the seat, his body curled up but slumped against Andrew. His head is tucked up against Andrew’s shoulder, and his fingers are still loosely intertwined with Andrew’s own. Andrew turns his head to look down at the striker.
Neil shifts, his body folding up even more towards Andrew and his cheek scraping along Andrew’s shoulder. He lets out a breath and closes his eyes again. The air around them is quiet with all the Foxes off the bus, and Andrew watches the way the streetlamps bleeding in through the windows fall across the crisscross scars of Neil’s cheek, the way the light weaves with the smattering of freckles there.
Neil’s eyes peel back open after a minute, and they narrow curiously as he watches Andrew. Andrew quirks an eyebrow in a silent question of his own.
“I just figured you’d have shoved me to the floor by now,” Neil says.
“I take pride in being unpredictable.”
Neil hums in response and another moment passes in silence.
“Wait. Are we stopped?”
“Rest stop,” Andrew explains.
“Oh,” Neil says, sitting up fully and rubbing at his eyes. “I should probably get some coffee then. Did you want one?” He doesn’t even give Andrew a chance to answer, already nodding. “I’ll get you one.”
Neil uses the seat in front of them to pull himself up, taking a moment to stretch out his cramped limbs. He scrubs a hand down his face and drags his feet up the aisle. Andrew follows him off the bus, digging his pack of cigarettes out of his pocket as they head down the stairs. Neil veers off to the rest stop building for coffee, and Andrew lights his cigarette, eyes sweeping across the few Foxes stretching their legs in the parking lot. He spots Nicky speaking to some freshman he can’t be bothered to learn the name of and heads over to the two.
Once Andrew is standing in front of them, he holds his hand out towards his cousin. Nicky glances down at Andrew’s empty palm before dancing back to his face.
“What?” Nicky asks, feigning an innocence no one believes.
Andrew doesn’t say anything, just keeps his arm outstretched and quirks an eyebrow.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s a cute picture, okay!”
Andrew is considering prying away the phone clutched to Nicky’s chest when Neil returns. The striker presses a cup of coffee into Andrew’s outstretched hand, but Andrew merely takes a sip before switching it to his other and re-extending his hand. This time, Nicky’s eyes dart between the hand and Andrew’s unimpressed expression before he turns on Neil with a pleading look.
“Neil. My favorite person. Please tell your boyfriend not to murder me.”
“Well,” Neil says, taking a sip of his own coffee. “Do you deserve it?”