That night, Kellin doesn’t sleep. His thoughts are overrun with images of the people in the room with him getting shot, gruesome, bloody images plaguing his mind. Kellin feels like the longer he keeps his eyes closed, the more likely it is that when he opens them, the things his mind has been producing will be right in front of him (bodies lying in pools of blood on asphalt, chests riddled with gaping bullet holes, blank, unseeing eyes, infinite amounts of words left unsaid).
He silently resigns himself to a night which will no doubt be long and quietly climbs out of the bed, doing his best not to disturb Frank (who’s in a sleep so deep he doesn’t so much as stir as Kellin gets out of bed) as he does so. Subconsciously holding his breath, he tiptoes across the room and to his door, which he opens as silently as humanly possible, and makes his way downstairs.
As he enters the kitchen, the little green numbers on the oven glare at him, declaring that it is three in the fucking morning, and he can practically feel them judging the fuck out of him.
Running a hand through his already messy hair, he clicks on the little light above the oven and gives his eyes a moment to adjust to the borderline nonexistent amount of light, and looks out the small kitchen window, which faces the backyard.
The small sliver of the moon that hangs in the sky doesn’t fail to drench the area in the kind of white-silver that only belongs to moonlight, causing the leaves on the trees to cast peculiar shadows with an inconsistent depth, and a tiny thought at the back of his mind supplies the phrase ‘leaf monsters’.
He shakes his head. It’s three in the fucking morning, the oven is alive and possesses the capability to judge him, leaf monsters are a thing, and if he felt like he could sleep, it hits him then that he really fucking needs to.
Kellin begins opening cabinets and looking for the tea he knows they have, thinking that maybe a warm drink and something to eat will help cure a little bit of his instability.
After a solid three minutes of searching, he arises victorious with some peach tea and these weird breakfast bar things that his mother bought a thousand years ago, but they haven’t expired yet, so Kellin can’t think of any reason why he shouldn’t eat them. And he doesn’t think that tea ever expires, and if it does, he doesn’t care enough.
He’s leaning against the counter, eating one of the breakfast bars, a cup of water heating up in the microwave, when he hears someone come downstairs. The only light in the room is the muted one coming from the oven, so when they enter the kitchen, he’s two types of surprised.
“You alright? Oli asks, the odd gold glow of the room giving his face a new sort of depth, one that isn’t there in the daylight. There’s more emotion on his face, his eyes holding more concern than Kellin thinks he’s ever seen Oli possess. Creases from the pillowcase are all across his right cheek, and his eyes seem blurred, the sleep not having left them completely yet.
“I think so. Just couldn’t sleep,” he responds after a moment. “Why are you up?”
Oli shrugs. “Woke up for a moment, noticed you weren’t in the room, got up to make sure you were okay. And also to piss, but that was a secondary on my list of things to do. Even though I did it first. Whatever.”
Kellin furrows his brow. “You noticed I was gone? I’m impressed you even noticed I was in the room in the first place.”
“Well it’s sort of a reflex to count how many people are in the room, but yeah. I noticed you were in the room, and I noticed that you were gone,” he says casually, like they hadn’t been at each other’s throats since they met.
Maybe it’s sleep deprivation, or maybe it’s something else altogether, but any kind of disdain Kellin may have previously held for Oli completely dissipates in that moment.
There one second, and then gone the next.
The microwave beeps, putting the spell that seems to have fallen over them on temporary hold. It’s the kind of spell that can only fall over people in the earliest hours of the morning, the kind that makes you admit things, talk about things, that you certainly wouldn’t talk about in the daylight.
Kellin pulls the hot water from the microwave carefully, doing his best to make sure that the steaming liquid doesn’t spill over the side of the cup and burn is hands. He sets it on the counter and drops the teabag in the water quickly, turning away for a moment to let it soak and also to find a packet of Splenda.
“Want any?” he asks as he rifles through a container of little packets, but Oli shakes his head.
“You Americans make your tea all wrong. In the microwave? What the fuck is that shit? You’re drinking a cup of lies, Quinn.”
Kellin rips open the packet of Splenda that he managed to find and pours it into the cup, dunking the teabag a couple more times, and then braving the temperature of the water to squeeze the last few droplets out of the bag, throwing it away underneath the sink.
Despite knowing that he’ll burn the fuck out of his mouth, he takes a huge gulp of tea. “Lies or not, this is pretty good.”
Oli laughs, albeit quietly, but the sound reverberates in the room, leaving echoes of his laugh ringing pleasantly in Kellin’s ears, Kellin himself smiling.
And, as the spell of three in the morning dictates, Kellin suddenly finds himself compelled to ask a question that he wouldn’t even consider asking at any other time of day.
“You’re not who you pretend to be, are you?” he asks, and confusion flickers across Oli’s face.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re not as....” Kellin gestures uselessly with his hand, words failing him for a moment, “Childlike as you act, are you?” he clarifies.
Oli nods. “I’m not. I just act like I am so that people’ll get off my back about responsibilities and shit, or expect less of me, or whatever. But you know how that feels, don’t you?” he says, looking Kellin in the eye.
“Yup,” Kellin replies, not breaking the eye contact. “Know it about as well as I know the back of my hand.”
Oli’s about to respond, his mouth open, but there’s a click of a key in the door, and the unmistakable sound of aforementioned door opening following it, that forces the pair into silence.
On instinct, Oli tenses and moves to find a weapon, but Kellin puts his hand on his elbow.
“It’s fine. I promise.”
Oli shoots him a disbelieving look, but some of the tension that had previously held his body rigid seeps from his shoulders and he relaxes just in the slightest.
They stand silent as they watch the lights in the living room come on, and the two can hear the person that entered sigh heavily and set something down by the couch, and then sit down.
“Hi mom!” Kellin calls.
“Kellin? What’re you doing awake at this hour?” his mother responds, getting up from the couch and coming into the kitchen.
“Couldn’t sleep,” he replies, setting his drink down and allowing his mother to hug him.
She purses her lips and then pats his shoulder. “Well at least you’ve got your friend for company. What’s your name again sweetheart?”
“Oli, ma’am,” Oli says, and she nods.
“Right, right. I remember that. I assume Frank and the other boy are upstairs?”
“Yeah, Frank and Vic are asleep,” Kellin says. “Is Frank’s dad ever coming home?” he asks out of nowhere, figuring that now is just as good of a time as any to ask.
His mother heaves a sigh and runs her hands down her face. “I uh... Don’t know. We haven’t really been communicating lately, but we’re trying to make it work. I think.”
She sighs again, and then waves her hand in the air dismissively. “It’s not important right now. I need you and Frank to go return bottles sometime soon please, we could use the extra money.”
Kellin raises an eyebrow. “You’re prepared to force your child and not-quite-stepson to throw cans into a machine for two hours to receive thirty bucks for five hundred cans?”
“Yes, Kellin, please just do what I ask.”
“Yeah Kellin, do what she asks,” Oli says, earning an approving smile from Kellin’s mother.
“See, Oli has the right idea. Now, return the bottles please, it’s not asking for much. I need to sleep, because right now I’m dead on my feet, one of the new employees screwed up while we were closing at it took forever to resolve. Night sweetheart, goodnight Oli,” his mother says, waving a hand at the pair and leaving the two to the seclusion of the kitchen.
“Goodnight,” the two call after her. Kellin waits until he hears his mother get all the way upstairs and the door to her bedroom close to start speaking again.
“You should probably sleep too,” Kellin says. Oli shakes his head no.
“I don’t feel like I should leave you alone right now,” he says quietly.
“Why? I don’t need a babysitter, Sykes, I’m not twelve and prone to drawing dicks on every available surface. I only draw dicks on the inside of bathroom stalls. Maturity,” he responds definitively.
“You could draw the most detailed dick in the universe on the side of the house for the whole world to see, for all I care. Actually, I’d probably help you color it. But that’s not the point, I know that when I don’t sleep, I get kinda... Fucked up. I want to do things that I really, really shouldn’t, and I don’t want you to be alone to deal with that shit.”
Kellin shifts his weight back and forth between his feet. It is true that Kellin does experience those kind of things as a side effect of sleep depravity, but he can handle them on his own.
“I’ll be okay, I promise. No dick drawing, no stupid actions, no nothing but watching every episode of Powerpuff Girls available on Netflix,” he says.
“Yeah, no. I’m not gonna leave you alone. I’ll wake Vic up, he’ll keep an eye on you,” Oli replies.
“No, don’t do that,” Kellin protests. “He needs to sleep. Don’t wake him up for babysitting me.”
“You kidding me?” Oli laughs. “He gets up in the middle of the night to deal with Mike’s unstable self all the time. He’ll be fine, nothing he isn’t used to,” he assures.
“Okay,” Kellin agrees, albeit reluctantly and quietly.
“Alright, I’ll be back in a moment. You just sit yourself down on the couch and watch whatever in the meantime, kay?”
Kellin nods, not really capable of saying anything. He feels pretty shitty about making people lose sleep just to make sure he’s okay. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary and it hits him then that this is exactly what Oli was talking about.
He nestles himself into the corner of the couch, setting his drink (which has cooled down by a significant amount at this point) on the coffee table and turns on the television. Kellin hadn’t been kidding when he said he was going to watch every available Powerpuff Girls episode, so he finds the first one and hits play, preparing to lose himself in the bright colors and cheerful voices.
Upstairs, Oli has nudged Vic awake and whispered a summarized version of the situation to him, including Kellin’s hesitancy about having Vic lose sleep over keeping him company (and how he’s going to have to watch the Powerpuff Girls).
“Didn’t you tell him that it’s not a problem?” Vic whispers.
“I did, but he didn’t really believe me. He still feels bad,” Oli replies.
Vic frowns. “That’s stupid.”
“You tell him that,” Oli says, burrowing himself under his blanket pile, which is weighing down his half of the air mattress.
“I’m fucking gonna,” Vic whispers, standing up and making his way to the upstairs bathroom.
The light blinds him temporarily, causing him to hold onto the doorframe for momentary stability. He can faintly hear Blossom’s voice reaching him from downstairs, but he drowns it out with the faucet when he rubs cold water on his face, doing his best to look more awake than he actually is, knowing that it’d cause Kellin to feel more distressed than he already does to see Vic looking haggard and exhausted.
He pauses at the top of the staircase, sort of staring into oblivion. It’s not much of a secret (well, it wouldn’t be if anyone asked him about it) that he has a small crush on Kellin, and he’s not sure what the mixture of liking someone and lack of sleep will do to him, or his actions.
Ultimately, the conclusion he comes to is ‘no sex’ and he finishes his walk down the staircase.
“Good morning,” Vic says cheerfully, far more cheerful than he feels.
“Morning,” Kellin replies. “Sorry to make you get up.”
“It’s fine. There was no way I was gonna turn down watching the Powerpuff Girls at three in the morning, anyway.”
Kellin laughs. “If it was any other show, would you have said no?” he asks.
Vic looks at him incredulously. “Uh, yes? Powepuff Girls or die.”
“But what if I wanted to watch Adventure Time or something?”
“Then we’d have a problem. I’d have to hold you hostage and make you watch Powerpuff Girls, because I’m not watching anything else,” he says definitively, crossing his arms.
“What happens when we run out of episodes?” Kellin presses.
“We rewatch every episode, now shut up, I’m trying to pay attention.”
“But what if I don’t want to shut up?”
“Jesus Christ, you ask more questions than a two year old on speed!” Vic says, and Kellin almost falls over laughing.
“Don’t two year olds on speed ask way more questions though?” Kellin says, a shit-eating grin plastered on his face. Vic can tell that from this point onward he’s going to do his best to phrase everything that comes out of his mouth as a question.
“Silence. No more speaking.”
“Why can’t I talk? You’re not the boss of me!”
“I’ll fucking make myself the boss of you if you don’t shut up,” Vic says through gritted teeth, in a completely joking frustrated tone.
“Well then you better do that, because from now on I don’t know the definition of silence,” Kellin declares, giving Vic a handful of seconds to figure out what he’s going to do before Kellin starts being obnoxiously noisy, like singing as if it’s karaoke night and he’s drunk, or reading the dictionary and an unnecessarily loud volume, or something else that involves an incessant amount of noise.
The decision Vic makes is split-second with the repercussions not thought out in the slightest; he launches himself to Kellin’s end of the couch and manages to pin Kellin’s wrists in one hand without getting punched in the face or getting kicked (too hard) in the ribs.
He places his entire hand over Kellin’s face. “I am the boss,” he says. Kellin retaliates by licking his palm.
“You are not,” he says in response. Vic jabs Kellin’s cheek with his free hand.
“I am too.”
Kellin wriggles beneath Vic, either trying to turn him on or relieve some of the tension in his shoulders, or maybe both.
“My arms are hurting,” Kellin says.
“If I let you go, will you shut up?” Vic proposes.
Kellin wriggles again. “Maybe.”
“What the hell does that mean?” he asks.
“Well, let me go, and we’ll find out.”
Slowly, very slowly, Vic relaxes his grip on Kellin’s wrists and lets him go and moves to sit up. Kellin, however, seems to have other plans. He throws his arms around Vic’s shoulders and hooks his lower leg around the back of Vic’s left knee, effectively keeping him in place, Vic’s hands having found nowhere else to fall but Kellin’s hips, and their faces are now very, very close together.
“Hi,” Kellin whispers, his voice soft and light.
“Hey there,” he whispers back, subconsciously rubbing circles against Kellin’s hipbones.
His gaze is locked on Kellin’s face, tracing the lines of his jawline, marveling at the delicate shadows his eyelashes cast against the tops of his cheekbones, finding himself hypnotized by those unfairly pretty eyes. The color of Kellin’s lips is distorted from the constantly changing glow of the TV – one moment they look red, and the next a peculiar purple color when the color on the screen changes from pink to a sky-like blue. Overall, he’s enthralled, completely submerged in some kind of impure combination of lust and astonishment.
“Can I – can I kiss you?” Vic asks, his heartrate picking up slightly. He can feel Kellin’s breath seize in his chest, they’re pressed together so close.
He nods eagerly, and his breath returns, although it’s at a rapid and what would otherwise be a concerning pace, if the situation were different.
Vic leans in, gradually and cautiously, moving his hand from Kellin’s hip to curl around his jaw, his thumb rubbing his cheekbone affectionately, and he finds himself hypnotized by his eyes again, those wide eyes that are the color of gemstones, the kind that people would pay hundreds for.
“Well?” Kellin asks breathlessly, “What’re you waiting for? Kiss me already.”
Vic pauses, and feigns consideration. “I might wait for the zombie apocalypse. Or an alien invasion. Or the inevitable robot takeover. Or-”
“Oh my god,” Kellin interrupts, rolling his eyes and smiling warmly. “Just kiss me, you nerd.”
And Vic can’t really say no to that.
The first press of their lips together is soft and gentle, the smiles still on their faces. The feel of Kellin’s lips against his sends this weightless bursting feeling throughout his chest, and he starts to feel lightheaded and his heart begins to beat quicker. The kiss is wonderful and sweet, full of compassion and affection. Everything that a first kiss should be.
Vic pulls away for just a second, studying Kellin’s face again. His eyes are closed and his lips are just slightly parted, his fingertips curling and uncurling gradually against Vic’s shoulder.
He leans in and kisses Kellin again, a little rougher than their first kiss had been, sliding his tongue into the other boy’s mouth and nipping at Kellin’s bottom lip playfully. Kellin curls his hand tight against Vic’s shoulder, bunching up his shirt in his palm, his other hand gripping his bicep, and he bites back, until they’re not so much as kissing as they are having a biting contest.
“I just thought of something,” Kellin says, pulling away from Vic just long enough to speak.
“What?” he replies.
“Your tongue is in my mouth and a show for five year olds is on the TV.”
“And your point is?” Vic replies.
“We’re probably ruining the innocence of our childhoods, because I don’t know about you, but I won’t be able to watch the Powerpuff Girls without thinking about kissing you from here on out.”
“A small sacrifice,” Vic says, leaning back in and resuming their biting-contest-with-a-side-of-making-out.
They continue to kiss and bite for what felt like hours (but was probably somewhere close to a minute, if even that), until Kellin pulls away, again. Vic whines and follows his lips, and Kellin kisses him one more time before pulling away just far enough to speak.
“My mouth hurts,” Kellin murmurs almost incoherently against Vic’s lips.
“What do you want me to do about it?” Vic mutters back, pulling away from Kellin so that they can look at each other.
“Kiss it better?” he asks, eyes wide and imploring.
“You’re ridiculous,” Vic says, but complies anyway, leaning down and giving Kellin’s slightly bloodied and swollen lips a gentle kiss.
“Better now?” he asks sarcastically.
“Well what else do you want?” Vic asks, slightly irritated.
“More kisses. And cuddles. Then, and only then, will it be better,” he declares.
Vic rolls his eyes. “Sit up, then, because cuddles are not going to work in this position.”
“I think they will,” Kellin says, readjusting his hold on Vic’s shoulders, pressing their torsos and hips together more intensely than they had previously been.
“No they won’t. You just proved my point,” Vic replies, fighting free from Kellin’s vice grip and pulling him to his knees.
“Alright, so how are we gonna do this? I also require a blanket to be involved,” Kellin says. Vic grabs a blanket from his end of the couch and hands it to Kellin.
“Turn yourself into a blanket burrito,” he says. Kellin happily complies, burrowing into the blanket and pulling it tight around his shoulders. Vic then leans back, laying on his side.
“Okay, c’mere,” he says.
Kellin pouts. “Why do you get to be the big spoon? I’m taller,” he protests.
“I’m the boss, remember? Do what I say.”
He pretends to pout, and then gladly takes up his designated position of little spoon. Vic curls himself around Kellin, resting his chin on top of his head and wrapping his arms around Kellin’s waist, and Kellin grabs Vic’s hand and holds it there.
Vic tries to think of all the other times in his life that he was this content, this happy, and he honestly can’t think of one moment that rivals this one. This is a moment that he wants to live in forever; there’s a very cute, very sweet boy that he likes a lot cuddled up against him, holding his hand and playing idly with his fingers, his lips swollen from kissing aforementioned boy.
He can feel Kellin’s breathing measuring out, his grip on Vic’s hand relaxing progressively. He glances at the clock on the DVD player (hoping that it’s right) and sees that it’s just past five in the morning, a greyish light barely beginning to illuminate the world around them.
Vic holds Kellin’s waist a little tighter and Kellin stirs in the slightest, pressing himself closer to Vic, stopping only when every square inch of their bodies that could possibly be pressed together is, his grasp on Vic’s hand flexing before he finally falls still, drifting off to sleep.
Nothing, Vic concludes, could possibly be better than this.
Oli wakes with the sun – in other words, at five in the fucking morning. That makes sense, though, once he wakes up, even if it’s at three in the morning, sleep seems to be impossible, and he’s honestly pretty impressed that he managed to fall back asleep at all.
For a while he just lays there, eyes open and staring blankly at the ceiling, letting his thoughts run rampant through his mind, and thus resulting in a kind of paranoia that he’s all too familiar with. He starts mentally listing all the weak spots in the house – the windows are unlocked, the locks on the doors are too easy to pick, and he’s not armed. His hand twitches and he wishes for the comforting weight of a gun resting in his palm, but he doesn’t have that. Fuck, he doesn’t even have a knife.
Sitting up and pressing the heels of his hands to his eyes, Oli takes his hands away and shakes his head like doing so might rid him of those thoughts, but it doesn’t work. He sits with his hands against his eyes for a few more minutes before summoning the strength to stand and stumbling not all that unlike a newborn deer into the grey daylight.
He remembers that Kellin and Vic are still downstairs, so he does his best to quiet his footsteps and turns into the living room.
The TV is still on, so he peeks around the couch and sees that Vic is awake, and that Kellin is asleep. Vic mouths a “hi” and presses a finger to his lips. Oli nods and sits himself in one of the armchairs by the couch and turns his attention to the screen – which is playing, of course, an episode of the Powerpuff Girls.
“Still watching this?” Oli whispers.
“Not out of episodes yet,” Vic replies, equally quiet.
“And what happens when you finish them all?”
“The world ends and we all die,” Vic says.
“That’s a bit overdramatic,” Oli says, and Vic flips him off.
“I haven’t really slept, okay. I’m not responsible for anything that I say or do past sunrise.”
Oli shrugs. “Fair enough.”
“Why’re you up?” Vic whispers.
“Just woke up, couldn’t fall back asleep.”
“Fair enough.”
Kellin stirs, and they still, until Kellin says in a very groggy, very clogged voice, “I hope you both die in the most gruesome manner possible.”
Vic laughs. “No you don’t.”
“Yes I fucking do. Sykes, smack him with something for me,” Kellin says.
“You got it,” Oli replies, grabbing a pillow and smacking Vic with it as hard as he can.
“That was mean,” Vic says, pretending to pout.
“Suck it up your highness,” Kellin mumbles, sitting up and removing himself from Vic’s hold in the process.
“Morning sunshine,” Oli says cheerfully, and Kellin does his best to try and kill Oli with his eyes.
“This isn’t morning. It’s hell. I am in hell, specifically the kind of hell where jackasses don’t let you sleep.”
“It’s reassuring to know that you’re this dramatic all the time,” Vic muses, earning himself one of Kellin’s I-fucking-hate-you-please-go-die-in-a-hole glares, but Vic makes a face at him and Kellin breaks his façade to smile.
They surrender themselves to a morning of hushed, lighthearted quarrelling and Powerpuff Girls episodes, because despite Kellin being awake now and not needing the supervision, leaving no other reason for them to still watch this show, Vic refuses to turn it off, or at least pick some other show.
Around seven, Oli starts whining about how he’s hungry, and a grumpy Kellin marches to the kitchen and flings one of the breakfast bars in his face, telling him to shut up at a loud enough volume that Frank yells ‘no, you’, followed by a prompt ‘it is too early, everyone be quiet,’ from Kellin’s mother.
That, of course, prompts the entire house (save for the television) into a very stern silence.
And although he’s been smiling, although he feels like he’s happy, Kellin’s still scared.
There’s this impending sense of doom looming over them all and he doesn’t know what to do with himself, other than wait for whatever the feeling of disaster is caused by to happen and pretend that he knows how to handle it well.
He’ll have to test his acting skills sooner than he thinks.
♠ ♠ ♠
im so sorry that this is as late as it is

feel free to hit me with things i totally deserve it