- Text Size +
The silence went on. Neither man spoke. Blue eyes focused in on green as both men tried to see how the other would react. Nick could feel his heart beat in his chest and wondered if Kevin could hear it from where he sat. The blood was coursing through his veins at an alarming rate and he could tell his blood pressure was elevated again. Kevin continued to gaze at him, unmoving.

"How?" the older man managed to squeak out.

Nick was confused. "How what?" he asked, tilting his head to the side.

"How can you love me? God Nick, I've put you through hell, time and time again. How can you ever forgive me."

The tears were back and Nick sat and watched them fall, unsure of what he could say to make the other man feel better. It was true, Kevin hurt him unlike anyone else in the world had ever had it would since, but Nick also knew that if they could ever put this thing to rest and finally stop running from each other, than the passion and fight they put in to being angry would only be that much more explosive if they were together. Nick was intrigued, terrified and excited for that kind of passion. No amount of anger or heartache had changed the way he felt about Kevin. Even on the worst nights, they were only that bad because Nick knew he was in love with the other man. Now that he knew this fight had started because Kevin felt the same. That was amazing to Nick.

"I told you earlier I forgive you, and I do. Hell we were both kids. I could at any point have come to you and tried to force you to talk to me. But I was also trying to deal with the way I felt about you and I didn't ever want you to know you had such an impact on me. I didn't want you to know how much you affected me. So it was easier on me to push back every time you pushed me away. "

Nick tried to smile at the other man, but he knew Kevin wasn't looking. The man was focused on a spot on the floor as he continued to twirl the wedding band on his hand. Nick wondered what Kevin did for his fidgeting before he got the ring. Right now it seemed like the only thing the other man could focus on. After what felt like an eternity Kevin looked over at him.

"I don't deserve any of it." he said sadly.

"Any of what?" now it was Nick’s turn to be confused.

"You bring nice, your forgiveness, your… your love." Kevin stammered.

Nick reached over and took both of Kevin's hands in his, smiling softly when the other man allowed it to happen and didn't flinch or try to pull away from him. "You don't get to make that call. Fuck Kevin, I've loved you for so many years it just seems like it's always been there. I think the reason the fighting got so bad sometimes was because I loved you so damn much and I was so mad you didn't see it, didn't see me. "

"I always saw you baby," Kevin said huskily, his accent thicker as he struggled with the tears. "I saw you grow up into this gorgeous, caring man. I saw the way you faced down anyone and anything that tried to get in your way, including me. I saw you go after the things you wanted in life with so much passion it was intimidating. But most of all, I watched you grow up, and become your own person, a wonderful person without the influence of anyone. I'm so damn proud of you. I wish I had been a part of it. I wish I had been stronger and able to put my feelings aside so I could have been in your life the way I always wanted and for that and so much more I will be apologizing forever. I don't deserve your love or forgiveness, but I can tell you that I want it. I want it all. I want you. "

This is all it took to release the tears Nick hadn't even been aware he'd been holding back. They rushed down his cheeks, clouding his vision. He didn't see Kevin move closer, he didn't even know what was happening when he felt himself pressed into the other man. He inhaled the distinct smell of Kevin and pushed closer, needing more. He wrapped his arms around the other man's slim waist and buried his face against Kevin's neck. Kevin held him tight, running his hands up and down Nick's back, trying desperately to provide any sort of comfort to the younger man.

Kevin leaned down and kissed the top of the blonde head curling around him. "I'm so sorry." he kept mumbling over and over as he nuzzled the top of the head of the man he loved so much. He hated knowing he was the reason for the tears, the reason this wonderful man had been in pain for so many years. Nick squeezed him tighter before pulling back to peer up into green eyes.

"I don't want to fight anymore." Nick said quietly.

"Oh baby, I don't want to fight either." Kevin said softly before leaning down and placing a kiss against Nick's forehand. Nick's eyes fluttered closed and a soft smile spread across his lips.

"Let's get off this floor. It's not comfortable for either of us." Nick said as he worked to untangle himself from the other man. Nick stood and held out a hand to help Kevin up. "Want to lay down and finish this conversation?"

Kevin nodded and followed Nick to the bedroom part of the hotel room. They kicked off their shoes and climbed on top of the bedspread. Turning to face each other, Kevin reached out and cupped Nick's cheek in his hand. "What now?" he asked quietly.

Nick pushed his cheek into the hand, grateful for the touch, any touch from the other man. "I have absolutely no idea." he answered honestly.

Kevin continued to caress Nick's face before letting his hand drop and intertwine with one of Nick's. Lacing their fingers together Kevin lifted their hands to his lips and placed a soft kiss on each of Nick's knuckles before lowering their hands back to the bed. Keeping them held together he began to rub his thumb on the backside of Nick’s hand in what he hoped was a calming gesture. Nick smiled and gazed up at him under dark lashes. The two men continued to gaze at each other, both finally having the time and freedom to really study the other.

Nick cleared his throat and spoke. "I.. I'd like to see what this is. I'd like to see if we can make something work for real, not just for pretend. That is if you are interested."

Kevin's eyes widened and he squeezed their laced hands. "I would love nothing more." he smiled softly at the blonde, trying not to let the goofy grin he felt coming across his features.

Nick smiled and leaned in just enough to brush his lips gently against the other man's, before pulling back and blushing. Kevin smiled too and licked his lip which had been against Nick's only moments ago.

"I want to keep this just between us, at least for a little bit. There's a lot we have to figure out between the two of us. I have no idea if we can make this work, but I at least want a fighting chance with none of them interfering." Nick pleaded.

Kevin nodded. "Agreed. Let's see if there's something to tell first."

Nick looked at Kevin shyly. "Is it too forward to ask if we can lay here tonight? I really don't want to sleep on the floor again."

Kevin nodded. "I'd already made up my mind that you weren't sleeping down there another night. Well sleep here together."

Nick nodded and smiled. Standing he shed his sweatshirts and pants. Once he was down to his boxers and undershirt he climbed underneath the blankets. Kevin watched his movements before standing and doing the same. Once they were both settled under the blankets Kevin turned to face Nick.

"Would it be alright if I held you? I'd really like to know how it feels to fall asleep with you in my arms." Kevin asked the younger man softly.

Nick blushed and nodded. "I really want that too."

Kevin held up the blanket and Nick shifted closer until his back came in contact with Kevin's chest. Kevin brought his arm down around the other man and pulled him in close. They threaded their legs together and settled back into the pillows. Kevin sighed contentedly and nuzzled the back of Nick's neck. Within seconds the fight had left him and he was sound asleep. Nick laid there for several minutes after, relishing the feeling of the warmth of the other man invading him. He could seriously get used to this. As he drifted off he wondered how wonderful other things with Kevin would feel if snuggling felt like this.


They woke up the next morning wrapped in each other’s arms. Kevin moved first, kissing Nick’s exposed shoulder blade and rolling over to grab his phone off of the nightstand. He gawked at the time.

“Holy shit Nick it’s after 11.” Kevin said laughing as he rolled onto this back. “I don’t think I have slept this late since I was a teenager.”

Nick rolled onto his side and snuggled up to Kevin’s side. “Mmm I bet you were a cute teenager though.” he said as he placed a kiss in the middle of Kevin’s chest.

Kevin smiled and wrapped one arm around the blonde, pulling him even closer. “I guess I didn’t realize how tired I was and how it would feel to sleep here with you all night.’

Nick nodded his head, brushing his cheek against the fine hairs decorating the older man’s chest. “It really was the best. I don’t think I woke up once.”

They snuggled together, holding hands and an occasional kiss from Nick to Kevin’s chest or one to the top of Nick’s blonde locks from Kevin. It was quiet, a beautiful quiet full of content and love between the two men. Kevin took Nick’s hand with the hand not pinning him close and threaded and unthreaded their fingers together in a beautiful slow rhythm.

“I could get used to this.” Kevin whispered into the stillness of the room.

“I already am. I never want to move.”

Kevin smiled to himself and squeezed the other man into him. There was so much more he wanted to say, so much more he wanted to do with and to Nick, but everything was fresh and new and Kevin would be damned if he let his emotions, or worse yet, his hormones ruin whatever it was they had going for them. He would wait an eternity to be able to keep Nick, just to be with the other man. He knew they would have to get up, shower and head to the venue soon. It was a rehearsal day which meant they had to be there earlier than normal. They rehearsed twice a week, just to make sure everything kept running smoothly. Normally Kevin enjoyed rehearsal day, but today he hated the fact that it would pull him out of this comforting warm embrace he’d shared all night with the blonde.

“Are you as upset about getting up as I am?” Nick asked softly as he propped himself up on one elbow. He gazed up at Kevin, his thick lashes hiding his eyes.

“You have no idea baby.” Kevin responded, his southern drawl especially thick. “I was thinking how nice it would be to shower together though. Feel like you’re up to it?”

Nick’s eyes light up. “Really Kev?”

Kevin chuckled as he smiled down at the blonde. “I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t want to. I don’t want to push you too far. We can just shower.”

“Maybe some kisses too?” Nick asked innocently?

Kevin laughed out loud. “Kisses sound very nice.”

An hour later they were finally clean, with chapped lips and big smiles. Nick felt like a teenagaer, giddy with his first crush, which incidentally happened to have been on his raven haired husband. He smiled at the thought. So much history, so many painful memories that he was determined to turn around if the other man would give him the chance. He was just beginning to have the other man for himself, he wasn’t about to let him slip away from him this time. Nick looked at his watch as he fastened it on. “Fuck, we’ve already missed the first bus. The guys are going to freak out if we’re both late for rehearsal.”

Kevin smiled. “Isn’t that my line?”

Nick blushed and looked away. Kevin came closer lifting Nick’s chin to peer into his eyes. “Don’t be shy. I think it’s cute you're concerned about the time.”

“I just don’t want them messing this up for us.” Nick said softly.

Kevin nodded and grabbed one of Nick’s hands. Lifting it to his mouth he placed a kiss on the back of it. “Nothing is going to mess this up. It’s too important to me. I won’t let it, okay?”

Nick nodded and offered a small smile. He grabbed his wallet and duffle bag before heading to the door. “Let’s go old man.”


Nick was hot. He could feel the sweat pouring down his back, way more than normal. He took a deep breath, finding it hard to get his lungs to fill correctly. They had only been rehearsing for an hour and felt like he’d been doing the same routine for days. He bent and grabbed his water bottle off of the floor. Trying to breath and take a drink at the same time made him sputter and cough, the water going down the wrong pipe. He coughed a few times and bent over, placing his hands on his bent knees, trying desperately to get his breathing to line out. Nothing seemed to be working. He glanced up around the room. The music was bouncing off the walls, the bass so loud Nick could feel it bouncing off of his chest, or was that just his chest tightening from lack of oxygen? Everyone else was in their own little worlds. Kevin and Brian were talking across the room both wiping off with towels. Howie and AJ were in some kind of chase tickle fight which Nick would have probably joined, if he could breath. He tried again to take a deep breath, but all he could manage was short shallow breaths. Something was wrong. He felt the white hot heat spread through his body, the fear starting in his toes and spreading like wildfire as he tried so hard to get air. He tried to yell, to call out for help, for Kevin, but he couldn’t make a sound. Suddenly his eyes crossed, spider web like lines appeared in his vision and then there was nothing.


Kevin wiped his face and tried to listen to whatever it was Brian was droning on about. All he wanted was five minutes alone with Nick, but because they didn’t want anyone to become suspicious and they weren’t required to pretend behind closed doors, Kevin had to keep his distance. He kept one eye unceremoniously trained on the other man as he nodded and smiled, trying to make it look like he was participating in the conversation with his cousin. Something caught Kevin’s attention out of the corner of his eye. He shifted his gaze to the blonde as he watched him take a drink and cough. He smiled lightly to himself, thinking how adorable Nick could be making a mess of himself just by drinking from a water bottle incorrectly. His smile started to falter as he watched a look of panic cross the blondes features. He took two steps away from Brian trying to get closer. He felt everything happen in slow motion. He started yelling Nick’s name the moment he saw his love’s eyes slam shut. He shot off across the room, making it to i'm just before his body crumpled to the floor. He laid Nick out gently, quickly checking for a pulse and finding one, he sighed in momentary relief.

“Somebody call an ambulance.” He barked as he pulled Nick’s upper half into his lap. He pushed the soaked blonde hair off of Nick’s sweaty forehead and tried desperately not to focus on the fact that this was the third time in as many days that Nick had passed out.

Kevin could hear and feel people rushing around him. Brian and AJ dropped to their knees beside him, offering assistance however necessary.

“What the fuck happened?” AJ asked, a panicked look in his brown eyes.

“No clue.” Kevin said with a shaky voice. “I saw him choke on his water but I thought he just drank wrong and then the next moment he was falling.”

“Has he done this again since the other day?” Brian asked, glancing around at the other faces.

Kevin shook his head. “Not since that morning. At least not that I know of. He seemed fine this morning.” Kevin continued to caress Nick’s face, whispering softly to the other man, even though Nick couldn’t hear him. It seemed like hours, but was really only minutes before there was a noise at the side of the stage and two EMTs with a stretcher came close. Lowering it to the floor they brought it alongside Nick. They pushed Kevin and Brian out of the way as they set to work, checking Nick’s vitals and shifting him onto the stretcher.

“Where are you taking him?” Brian asked, fear evident in his voice.

“County hospital. It’s about five miles from here. You can meet him there.”

“I’m going with him.” Kevin demanded pushing forward to walk with them. Brian tried to grab his arm and pull him back.

“I’m sorry sir. Hospital policy states only immediate family can ride in the ambulance.” the EMT said.

“I’m his fucking husband and I’m going with him.” Kevin said forcefully, shaking his cousin off of him. He walked forward and took one of Nick’s limp hands in his. Brian and AJ exchanged looks behind Kevin’s head. Kevin never talked to people that way and neither of them expected him to be so determined to ride in the ambulance.

“Very well, let’s go.”

“We’ll meet you there.’ Brian yelled as he turned to AJ. “Grab his stuff and I’ll find Howie. We can all ride together.” AJ nodded, his eyes wild as he ran to get their stuff. Brian’s heart was hammering in his chest, praying whatever was wrong wasn’t serious.