[Danny doesn’t mind being yanked to his feet. The closet is better anyways. Maybe darker, as the door slips shut, and a little more crowded. But better, because even though he’s sure he’ll end up with a shelf dug into his shoulder blade at some point, at least they aren’t laying in the hall.

He finds Rowan’s lips again with a fervor only known to those few seconds spent removed from contact; his fingers locating the boy’s hips just as easily and gripping.

He missed this. And it takes a moment for him to just kiss and kiss the other for that to fully sink in, but it does. And he does. Nathan or not, there’s nowhere else he’d rather be right now.

This is as necessary as breathing. Something he has to remember to tell himself Rowan still needs to do. He trails his lips down his boyfriend’s jaw, breaking the kiss before he really wants to if only to provide that moment of rest for the other.

All the same, he rakes the tips of his fingers under Rowan’s shirt, and up his torso. Danny wants to hear any little gasp or whine that may follow, and hell, he’s always been a bit of a tease.

(Though tease or not, the amount of time it takes him to decide he wants his love’s shirt absolutely gone is a record short length. Danny settles for tugging at the hems of it like a child.)]


[There’s a soft hum that moves past Rowan’s lips when Danny’s connect to his neck. He’d forgotten this. Because they hadn’t really made it this far since he’d been back. They’d argued, they’d kissed, and they’d mostly just come to an agreement that meant Danny could keep both him and the other boy. And Rowan was never going to be able to let that go. He’d never bring it up, of course, as it was his idea to keep Danny as happy as he wanted. Danny had said he couldn’t share Rowan and Rowan had said he didn’t need anyone else and he knows that when he said that, it must have hurt the other man, but it was the truth. Especially in moments like this.

There’s a breath that comes from lips now open when his fingers hit his torso and he wishes the intent was to get his pants off because he can feel himself hardening. And when he helps Danny tug his shirt off, he abandons it before it’s completely off to lead a hand to Danny’s pants, fingers curling around what he knows to be Danny’s shaft and he massages him over his pants in hopes that it’ll put Danny into enough to make it all quicker, make him impatiently turned on, rough like he had been.]


[It’s only about three seconds in — maybe a minute, maybe a year, he’s really not paying much attention — that Danny’s sense of restraint says ‘fuck it’ and skips out on him. Only another few seconds, minutes, whatever until he’s shifted to sit on Rowan’s lap, and pin his back to the wall.

This, this is an abstract kind of perfection. One that does not know limits, or boundaries, or the weight of the truth. It’s like the world has folded in on itself for just a second to produce the mindless bliss of the moment.

Danny breathes it in until he feels it rattling his lungs.]


[His voice is a breath-torn mutter, harsh, gravel-ly.]

Should we— We should— [But the ‘move?’ never exits his lips. They’re too busy re-familiarizing the other man’s to bother with words. All the same, Danny grinds ever so slightly down onto Rowan, and he thinks the message gets across.]


[Rowan feels every touch like electricity, much like the first time. And it’s always that that leaves him submissive and in the dark. It’s always this hold that Danny somehow has over him that makes him sink into the other, like Danny can silently beckon that they become one and Rowan does it without thought. He does whatever the other asks him to.

When they kiss, the voices get louder until he can drown them out, until all he can think of must be what Danny’s thinking. Does Danny want him as much as he wants Danny? There’s a soft moan that escapes his lips at the thought, fingers trailing down the side of his neck to finally meet at his chest, tugging his shirt down.

And then there’s another soft moan because of the way he feels Danny’s eager hips on his. And he tilts his head back, regretting it fully because of the way that Danny’s lips aren’t on his anymore.

He quickly stands, grabbing Danny’s hand to take him with him, then, only a few feet away, pulls them both into a supply closet. It should be locked, but here, things didn’t seem to have to many rules. He kisses him again the second he can, connecting their lips before the door is even completely closed.]


[Danny drinks in the contact like it’s all he’s got to survive on. Like the air shared between them as their lips mesh is his only source of oxygen, even though it’s mostly carbon dioxide. He wants to have Rowan whole, though here is not the place, and now is not the time.

— ‘You fucked him in the rec room. Why is a hall so different?’ his brain so helpfully supplies. —

But this is enough. Anything he can get, is enough. Because Rowan won’t always be gold, and it will be Danny’s fault when it happens.

His fingers splay along Rowan’s jaw, and he pulls away long enough to mumble his confessions.] I love you. I love you, I love you.

[Then his lips are back on the other’s, devouring all chance of a reply.]


[It’s the kisses like this that force Rowan to believe that Danny loves him, the ones where he kisses him as if he’s water and the asylum is a desert. He loves him, he says. He loves him. And it’s not exactly that Rowan doesn’t believe it, but that he loves someone else, too, that the lips he’s kissing taste just a little different, a little too much like something that he can’t identify, but knows it’s not his. And as long as the other man is in the picture, mentally unstable and needing Danny maybe as much as Rowan needs him, it pains him with every touch.

But still, Danny’s touch is his own water, sweet in a way that makes it impossible to pull away and every moment Danny’s pulled away, his lips ache and he nearly begs for more contact. Rowan loves him, too. He’d spent so long without him and now that he’s back, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. They shouldn’t be doing this in the hall, they could get caught. But it’s all Rowan wants as he pines for him, his fingers gripping his shirt to tug him closer, closer, god, just closer like he used to be.

And he attempts to murmur the words back as other fingers tangle into the locks of curly brown hair that he knows to be Danny’s, a little longer now than before. It felt like the beginning, when the man needed him.]


[Danny reaches out to him, fingers cupping his jaw and directing. Pulling and shifting until they’re noses touch, and Danny can feel Rowan’s soft breaths fan out. But he doesn’t move to kiss him. Just keeps the boy close, smiling slightly at him.

It’s not really the time for a grin, but Danny’s is lopsided and trying all the same. Something to try to drag the mood lighter, against all the pre-existing odds.]

You’re gold, Rowan. [He whispers into Rowan’s lips, as if somehow the other might swallow them whole. Take them to meaning. Like saying his name enough will keep him there.] Stay gold. Stay better. [The ‘than me’ goes unspoken, and hopefully unnoticed.]


[Rowan doesn’t know what he means by it. How was he gold? What did it even mean? Valuable or not? Did he shine? Because he found himself quite dull, purposely quiet with intent to not be seen, not be found. That was the point. He didn’t want anyone to see him because the more attention he had, the more they talked.

But Danny had decided to look at the kid curled in the corner of the room anyway, to slip his fingers through his hair and to hold his jaw tight. And Rowan can’t help but smile. If he was someone else, maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he wouldn’t just let it go, but it had been too long since he’d kissed the man, too long since they smiled.

So he kisses him, grin fading only just to connect their lips, his tongue darting out as if to make up for lost time. He loved him, he loved him, he loved him, he loved him. That had to be all that mattered.]


Yes, you are.

[He’s not trying to force an emotion that isn’t there onto Rowan, but he’s not blind enough to think that the other truly is ‘fine.’

And it’s a mess, but it’s a mess he created. One he brought onto himself and onto all of them, the way that he always does. Danny bites into his lower lips, tasting blood as it blooms from half-healed gaps where his teeth now rest.

It’s a good taste, sort of. One that lets him know he’s still there.

Involuntarily, he curls into Rowan looking for comfort. It’s a move he thinks better of, but not one he counteracts. Glancing up at the other from where his head lays tucked against the boy’s shoulder, he speaks. Though his words are barely above a whisper, he knows they don’t go unheard.]

It doesn’t mean I love you any less, you know. I do love you, Rowan.


I’m okay, Danny. [He says it but they both know it’s not true. He feels betrayed and he feels stupid and he feels as if he’s not enough, like that Danny has the love to give but he’s choosing not to give it all to Rowan, like he once did. And Rowan doesn’t feel like he should go to Danny anymore. He doesn’t deserve the man in the first place. He’ll die. He’ll go just like Emma did and it’ll be all Rowan’s fault. And he’s reminded of it daily.

She shakes his head and curls into himself, despite that he wants to kiss Danny and he wants to lean into him and curl into him and be a part of him like he was. It’s not Danny’s fault and he doesn’t feel as if it is.

The words come out quieter, softer while he looks down at his fingers that are fiddling with each other.] I love you, too. 


[It stings to watch Rowan pass, and know that it’s his fault. He hadn’t been blind. He knew that the Nathan situation hadn’t gone over exactly well.

But this, this is a different kind of sting. One that isn’t removed or aided by thinking that one day they’ll get along. And he can’t fix it without wounding someone. Can’t fix it at all, really.

Danny is tempted to let the other man pass. To dig holes in his resolve and his flesh alike until everything is dark, and he can’t feel it anymore. But that would be too easy.

And it doesn’t provide the same satisfying stab in the chest that reaching out and catching Rowan’s ankle does. Doesn’t hurt like trying to meet the other’s eyes does.

Danny feels overwhelmingly guilty. But he’s got both of his men, and something about that feels equally as right.]

You’re upset. [It’s a statement, not a question.]


[Rowan stumbles, a hand grasping at his ankle and he knows it’s Danny’s, but it takes him a minute to realise that, because for a second, he thinks it might be the dark’s, pulling him in and under his bed, taking him captive like in a dream two nights ago. It might be the light, claiming good, but anchoring him there. It could be anyone but Danny, because Danny had the other boy whose name he didn’t want to know. Danny had been close to saying it and he’d shaken his head, telling him that he didn’t want to know. He didn’t want the sympathy, he didn’t want the dark finding him. He didn’t want to face him; he preferred the other man remain as a shadow that Danny clung to like Peter Pan.

He looks down at the man and he sits with him, curling into himself beside him. Some days he pictured that he had lost himself and he found himself again through a pair of pants someone had left in the lost and found, though he was sure those pants were a dead man’s.

But Rowan’s fine. He’s fine. He’s fine. He’s fine.] I’m fine. I’m-I’m not upset. [He brought up the proposal, how could be be upset over it? He wasn’t allowed. He didn’t want to talk about it, anyway.]


[Danny watches as patients filter down the hall. It’s somewhere around the time lunch is served, he thinks, and it makes sense because the eyes of those that pass aren’t completely lifeless. They will be, soon, again. He’s sure of it.

Somewhere distantly in the back of his mind, he has the grace to feel bad about it. But it is distant, chased away by the stale taste of Nathan’s alcohol on his lips.]

Don’t we all deserve to die? Even you, Mrs. Lovett, even I. [He hums beneath his breath, eyes trailing to the floor.]



[Rowan had been dealing with things on his own. It wasn’t that he wanted to, but the dark and the light were convincing him that Danny didn’t need him, didn’t want him. He’d kissed another boy, he loves another boy. And Rowan doesn’t know how to deal with that. He’d swore that that day in the rec room, that was it. That was them and they were together. And Rowan had never felt a want so strong. But as the forces in his head had pointed out: what did he expect? He was gone. And Danny loved so easily.

So now it was simply Rowan doing his best not to bring it up, not to show him the sadness that came with not being enough for him. Danny was enough. Rowan would never be. Maybe it was better that way. If he did what the voices asked, Danny would have someone.

Maybe that’s why he’s slow to walk past Danny, making it seem as if he doesn’t recognise he’s there.]


Better me than the counter, Rowan. You can break things like that. [He sighs, letting his hands fall to his side.] And if you can’t do that, will you at least come to me when you’re angry? Let me make it better. [Ha. Ha.]


[Rowan shakes his head, then looks down.] I can’t, Danny. I can’t hurt you. [And he thinks of Emma, the way her death was his fault, how he watched her bleed out beside her in the car. Maybe if he hadn’t distracted her, if he hadn’t convinced her into taking him there to get cough medicine. The irony of it all was that he thought, by not driving, they would be safer. He thought he was saving them. And everything he loved, everything he touched, would die. They would wither like Emma’s parents did, mad under the pressure of living without their daughter and having to take care of the one that killed her. He takes another step back until his back is against the rack filled with trays and he can tell that they’re empty by the way they rattle.]


[Danny raises Rowan’s hands to his lips, kissing each knuckle individually like it will soothe away the pain. There’s a sort of gentleness to the action he thinks is almost hypocritical coming from him. His past considered, he shouldn’t be allowed to try to help anymore.

And perhaps that’s why he fucks everything over with the next reply. Because it won’t sit right with him if this works. If things go well.]

Hit me. [His voice is low, but firm.] Don’t— Hit me instead, Rowan. I’ll give, the counter won’t.


What? [Rowan can feel himself sinking, the missing warmth from his knuckles that touched Danny’s lips. His brow crinkles and there’s still adrenaline rushing through his veins, through his blood.] No. [He takes a step back.] No. I’m not hitting you.