Consider this a 3 am AU written entirely on mobile tumblr in which Neil is a runaway prince and Andrew is a bandit/thief/Robin Hood-esque whatever the fuck with his family + Kevin, and like most of the plot is over and done with.
“Abram.” The name rolls off of Andrew’s tongue, unfamiliar. “Abram,” he repeats. “Is that a truth?”
“It’s the only truth I know,” Neil responds. “But if ‘Neil’ is a lie, I’d like to keep it so for as long as possible.”
“You are Neil Josten,” Andrew says. His tone holds no room for arguments. Neil has never been good at listening to such things, though.
“I am Nathaniel Wesninski,” he says, barely forcing the words out. “I am Prince Nathaniel Wesninski and my father–”
“You are Neil Abram Josten.” Even if he had not spoken, the conviction behind Andrew’s eyes would have been enough to shut him up. He wonders, not for the first time, how anyone could believe him to be heartless. How anyone could believe him to be The Monster that they’ve all labeled him as. Perhaps Andrew is more human than all of them. Maybe he just knows the truth better than all of them. Maybe, perhaps. “You are Neil Abram Josten and you are one of us.”
It’s the last words that knock the air out of his chest. “I’m one of you?” Neil breathes, eyes wide.
“Don’t be an idiot.” Andrew leans forward to flick his forehead. “You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.”
“I’m dangerous to you, and your family.”
“So is Kevin.”
“But you have a deal with Kevin.”
“I had a deal with you.”
There’s a silence. A bird chirps. The wind rustles through the trees. The moon just barely shines through the leaves above them.
Andrew lifts a hand and it hovers just beside Neil’s bandaged cheek. He’s giving him a choice. Neil leans to the side, letting him cup his cheek as he closes his eyes. He hasn’t touched Andrew since Riko took him. He is still warm, although the air is cool. He had thought Riko would bring him to is father, and he’d never feel him again. He’d been prepared for that. Now, he doesn’t know if he would ever be able to leave again.
“Your father still believes Riko to be alive and on his way to him,” Andrew murmurs lowly, stroking his thumb along the bandage. “All it would take is a worded letter to your uncle. He would be dealt with–him and his men.”
“And who will take over?” Neil asks. He opens his eyes. “I am not fit to be king.”
“You are a leader, Neil Josten. You will do fine. It is your birthright.”
“I have not been learning to be a leader in years. I am out of practice.”
“Your uncle can help you. You can build an alliance through your father’s death, and he can teach you to be king. He loves you enough to do so.”
“And what of you? And Nicky, and Aaron, and Kevin?”
Andrew is quiet while he ponders this. “What do you want? What is it that you wish for us to do?”
“I wish for you all to be able to find somewhere to rest.”
“…I suppose. He is your brother. I can retract your criminal status. You can have a place in the palace.”
“So you are planning on becoming king, then.”
“I–.” Neil blinks. He hadn’t realized. “I suppose so.”
Andrew nods. “We shall send a letter to your uncle, then?”
“I do not need him to fight my battles.”
“You will not fight your father.” It’s an ordwr, but it sounds like a plea. Neil is and likely always will be weak to Andrew. He cannot argue when he can hear that something behind his voice.
“Okay,” he murmurs, “we will send for my uncle.”
Andrew looks at him, looks into eyes that Neil hates because they are wholly his father’s. They are eyes that Andrew finds intriguing, he knows. “The era of Wesninski will soon be over,” he says. “You will be a king bearing the name Josten. You are not your father. You will be better than him.” You are better than him, he doesn’t say.
“Andrew…” His hand is still to his cheek. He isn’t inclined to remind him to remove it. “Yes or no?”
Neil has not kissed Andrew since the night before Riko had taken him all that time ago. The last time they kissed, Neil was aware of the time limit hanging above his head. He had wanted to know the feeling of being something to Andrew before he was forced to leave them.
There is still a limit, but he feels like they have all the time in the world. Nicky and Aaron and Kevin sleep, far enough away to not be heard but still be seen. In this moment, it is Andrew Doe and Neil Josten and no one else. This is the one thing Neil has ever truly wanted. Whatever ‘this’ may be.
It is Andrew who closes the gap. Andrew who presses his lips so, so softly to Neil’s in a way that is odd, but not unwelcome.
It is not a kiss in a haze of lust. It is not one of desperation. It is not one that speaks of a goodbye and the knowledge that ‘this’ will never be anything ever again.
It is a kiss that holds the promise they had made all those months ago, and the silent promise they made just then. It speaks of that 'something’ that Andrew refuses to acknowledge. It speaks of the things they will never tell each other, but know, deep down. It speaks of battles hard won and the freedom that is so, so close. It speaks of whatever Neil Abram Josten and Andrew Joseph Doe are.
It is a kiss that speaks of everything.