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Added to the Roswell Slash Archive October 25, 2003


      Sean looked up when the door swung open, scowling as he watched Nick toss his keys on the table and set down a six-pack of beer. "Hey. You forget something?"

      "What?" Nick asked, his confused expression letting Sean know that he'd completely forgotten. Again.

      "Unbelievable," Sean muttered under his breath. He turned his back on the other man, pulling the fridge door open a little harder than necessary. They'd had this same fight so many times now that he wasn't sure why he bothered anymore, especially when Nick didn't seem to care.

      "What?" Nick repeated, closer this time. Sean didn't look up, but he felt himself tense as Nick took a few more steps toward him.

      "Forget it."

      "Fuck you, Sean. If you've got something to say, say it."

      Sean took a deep breath and pulled the milk out of the fridge, then swung the door shut and turned to look at Nick again. "Fine. This ring any bells?" he asked, holding up the nearly empty carton and waving it in the air. "I asked you to do one thing for me. It's right on your way home, Nick. Do I have to pin a fucking note on your shirt to get you to remember?"

      He knew he sounded angry, but more than anything he was tired. It was exhausting, hounding Nick all the time just to do simple things like pick up his clothes or stop at the store on the way home. And it wasn't that Sean couldn't just do it himself, but he didn't want to have to. He wanted to know that Nick was part of this...whatever they were doing, and it was pretty sad that after two years he didn't even know. In a lot of ways it was like they were just roommates who slept together, and Sean wanted more than that. He wanted...more than fighting over a carton of milk, that was for sure.

      "Jesus, you're pissed because I forgot to pick up the fucking milk? You gotta relax, Sean, you're gonna give yourself a coronary."

      He would have been okay if Nick hadn't laughed. He might have been able to let it go like he did every other time, ignored Nick until the anger subsided and they were back on level ground again. But they'd had this argument way too often since they finally cured Nick and went back to a more or less normal life, and if Nick didn't care anymore Sean wasn't sure why he still did.

      "You know what? Fuck you. You never do anything around here. It's like you don't even care. You think I want to spend the rest of my life busting my ass trying to keep this thing together when you don't even give a damn?"

      "Calm down, would you?" Nick said, although Sean could tell by his expression that he hadn't been expecting the outburst. "I didn't know it was that important to you. It's just milk."

      "You don't get it, do you? It's not just about the groceries, Nick. It's about us. What the fuck are we doing here?"

      "What are you talking about?" Nick took a few steps toward him, but he stopped when Sean backed out of the other man's reach. "Sean, come on..."

      "No. I don't even know why you're still here. Everything's a fucking joke to you, man."

      He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting Nick to do, but walking out wasn't it. It was surprising enough that he didn't react as Nick shook his head and turned away, picked up his keys off the table and headed for the door again. It wasn't until the other man's hand was on the door that Sean realized what was happening, and by then it was all he could do to get in a parting shot before Nick disappeared.

      "Fine," he shouted at Nick's retreating back, "walk out. That's typical. Fucking typical," he added as he watched the door slam shut, leaving him alone in the suddenly silent apartment.

      It wasn't the first fight they'd ever had; they'd been fighting since the day they met, and that was something Sean was pretty sure would never change. He knew most of his friends didn't understand what he was doing with Nick, but until now he'd never really felt the need to explain it to anybody. Only he couldn't even explain it to himself anymore, and he wasn't sure they'd ever really made any sense.

      Sure, the sex was still great, but that wasn't enough to base a whole relationship on, was it? Two years ago when they'd found Nick's Forsaken and wasted him it had just made sense to stick together, but now he was starting to think that Nick had followed him back to L.A. more because he didn't have anywhere else to be than because he gave a damn about Sean. He still didn't want to believe that even now, but the doubt had been there in the back of his mind since they moved in together.

      And it wasn't like he really knew anything about relationships; he'd dated before Nick, but his career had always come first and dating was sort of an afterthought. Things with Nick had started out intense and never let up, and Sean had told himself a hundred times that they had to burn out sometime. Only now it was actually happening and it still didn't feel real.

      He was still trying to make sense of what had happened when the apartment door swung open again, and he looked up just in time to watch Nick kick the door shut behind him and carry two bags into the apartment. He opened his mouth to ask what Nick thought he was doing, but the words died on his lips as he watched the other man pull bread and milk out of one bag and put it in the fridge. When Nick was done he shut the fridge and emptied the other bag, setting cartons of takeout from the Chinese place down the street on the counter.

      Sean didn't remember moving, but a few seconds later he found himself standing in the kitchen a few feet away from Nick. "I thought you were leaving."

      Nick laughed softly and shook his head, setting the last of the food on the counter before he turned to face Sean. "I care, okay?"

      "What?"

      Nick rolled his eyes and took a step forward, taking hold of Sean's arms and pushing him gently back against the counter. He braced his arms on either side of Sean's waist, leaning in until their mouths were just a few inches apart. "I said I care. Look, Sean, I'm not any good at this stuff. I know I fuck up and piss you off all the time, but it's not because I don't care."

      "So you went out for milk and that proves you care?"

      Nick laughed and leaned in even closer, bypassing Sean's mouth to press a kiss to the side of his neck. "I brought you dinner in bed too," he whispered against Sean's skin, his voice sending little thrills of anticipation down Sean's spine. And he knew this didn't really solve anything, because chances were Nick would do it again and Sean would start wondering what they were still doing together. But they stayed together no matter how many fights they had, and that had to count for something.

      "We're not in bed," Sean pointed out, smiling in spite of himself when Nick pulled back to look at him.

      "Yet." Nick pressed a firm kiss to Sean's lips, lingering for a moment before he backed away long enough to gather dinner and a couple of the beers he'd brought home earlier. When he reached the entrance to the kitchen he looked back, raising his eyebrows at Sean. "You coming or do I have to carry you too?"

      Sean laughed and reached into the drawer behind him, holding up two forks. "You planning to eat that stuff with your fingers? Sometimes I wonder what you'd do without me, you know."

      Nick waited until Sean was standing directly in front of him, his smile fading to a serious expression Sean hadn't seen much since they killed his Forsaken. "I don't plan on finding out," he said. Before Sean had a chance to respond he turned and headed toward the bedroom.

      It took Sean a few seconds to register what Nick was saying, but when the meaning behind his words finally sank in Sean's heart picked up speed and he had to stop himself from pinching something just to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Most of the time he told himself he was pretty sure how Nick felt about him, but this was the closest they'd ever come to saying it out loud. He hated himself for wanting those six words to mean something, but he knew he was going to follow Nick and pretend that everything was okay.

      "You coming?" Nick called from the bedroom, and Sean realized for the first time that he was still standing in the kitchen staring at the spot where Nick had been standing.

      "Yeah," Sean called back, clearing his throat before he started down the hall. He wished he had the courage or maybe just the energy to tell Nick no, just to see what would happen. If he didn't he knew in a few days they'd be having the same fight all over again, and he didn't want to get to the point where one day Nick would walk out and just not come back. The thought of that left a knot of dread deep in his stomach, and when he reached the bedroom he leaned against the doorframe for a few seconds and watched Nick laying out takeout cartons on the wreck of their sheets. "We should talk."

      He expected Nick to argue with him, maybe to try to distract him with sex the way he usually did when they got to this point. Instead the other man looked up, eyes flashing in the dim light as he patted the mattress next to him. He waited until Sean crossed the room, body tense as he settled on the edge of the bed, before he spoke again. "So talk."

      "What are we doing here?" Sean asked, holding up his hand when Nick opened his mouth to interrupt. "I know how we ended up here. A year on the road together made it kind of a habit to have you around. But it's not like we have anything in common."

      Nick shrugged and looked down at the dinner he'd been so carefully arranging a few minutes ago. Sean knew he was pushing his luck, giving Nick exactly the ammunition he needed to walk out and never look back. He'd suspected that was what Nick wanted every time he complained about L.A. or the heat or the vapid friends Sean didn't bring around anymore. Sean had stopped bringing them around just so Nick couldn't use them as an excuse to leave, and now he was practically pushing Nick out the door.

      His heart was in his throat when Nick looked up again, but Nick didn't look angry or resigned or any of the other things Sean expected. He leaned forward and reached out with one hand, pushing his fingers through Sean's hair before he let them settle on the other man's neck. "We love each other, right? That's something. And I know what you like to eat, and which of my CDs not to play when you're around. Just because I'm not into movies doesn't mean we should break up."

      Sean heard the rest of the speech, but he barely registered any of Nick's words past we love each other . "Wait...you love me?"

      Nick rolled his eyes and pulled Sean forward, brushing their lips together before he answered. "Why the hell do you think I tried to stop you from following me in the first place?" Nick sighed and pulled his hand away from Sean's neck, shifting on the mattress until they were shoulder to shoulder. "Look, Sean, I know this whole living together thing isn't that easy. I haven't had a lot of practice with thinking about anybody besides myself. So if you wanna bail I'll understand, but I'm not gonna make that easy for you either. Just a little fair warning."

      "I don't," Sean said, but blood was pounding hard against his ears and he wasn't sure Nick could even hear him. "I love you too."

      "Yeah, I know." Nick's amused grin would have pissed him off under any other circumstances, but at the moment Sean was too shell-shocked to notice. He was still trying to come to terms with the fact that the guy he'd thought was only sticking around out of some weird sense of obligation actually wanted to be right where he was. Then Nick laughed again, close to his ear this time and sending a shock of warmth through Sean's extremities. "So what do you say we keep making each other crazy for the next fifty years or so?"

      Sean turned to look at Nick, to laugh off the joke and pretend it didn't hurt that Nick was doing that thing where he made fun of the concept of a future at all, let alone a 'happily ever after'. That was one thing the Forsaken had left him with, and it was the main reason Sean kept waiting for the day when Nick would give up and walk away before he got too settled or God forbid too happy. Only Nick wasn't laughing this time, and his smile was almost...hopeful. Sean caught his breath at the sight, then blushed hard when Nick's hopeful smile shifted into a full-fledged grin.

      "I'm gonna take that as a yes," Nick said. He reached over and closed his hand around the front of Sean's shirt, pulling him close for a kiss that was more tongue and teeth and urgency than anything resembling technique. His free hand slid under Sean's shirt to splay across the small of his back, pressing them closer, but there was no way they could get close enough for Sean considering their position. It was intoxicating and frustrating all at once, and he wanted to crawl inside Nick so they could stay together and never have this stupid fight again. When he finally let go Sean's head was spinning, and all he could think about was what he could do to get Nick to kiss him like that more often. "Only one problem."

      As soon as it surfaced Sean's euphoria plummeted, and he told himself he should have known better. "What?" he asked, mentally kicking himself for being so gullible.

      "We gotta move, Sean. I can't take living in the middle of the city anymore," Nick answered, and when he grinned Sean's heart started beating again. He let Nick push him back onto the mattress, carefully avoiding their still untouched dinner as he pulled Nick down on top of him. "There are some decent places out in the desert, we could rent a house or something. It would mean a commute, but..."

      "Whatever you want," Sean interrupted, gripping the front of Nick's shirt and hauling him forward for another kiss.

      fin

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