Status: One-shot.

Firecracker Wishes

do you miss me?

When Vic first meets Kellin, they’re camping on an island in the river, and it’s the Fourth of July.

Vic’s family owns a cabin out here (along with a boat) that they like to hang around in every year during the summer. There are plenty of other families, too, but Vic usually doesn’t pay much attention to them.


Tonight, though—tonight one of the families is setting off a bunch of fireworks over the water, and a majority of the island has come down to the very edge of it to watch. Some people are standing, some are sitting down in the grass, and some have brought their folding chairs. Vic has opted for a spot in the grass near the side, close to his family but still sort of separate from them. He’s mostly just people-watching, picking up bits and pieces of random conversations—that is, until someone decides to engage him in a conversation.

“Ugh, I can’t believe you,” an unfamiliar voice says in a disgusted tone, followed by the person promptly sitting down next to him and frowning at him.

Vic narrows his eyes at the person in confusion. He’s pretty sure they’ve never even spoken to each other before. “Um, what?”

“You’re just awful,” the person continues with an eye roll. “God, have you heard what Marcie’s been saying about you? She’s devastated.”

“I—I think you have the wrong person,” Vic stutters out.

The person stares at him for a few more seconds before changing expression and laughing. “No, dude, I’m just fucking with you. It’s cool. Don’t worry about it. I don’t even know anyone named Marcie.”

“Oh,” Vic says, and then he laughs, too. “Well, that’s one way to start a conversation.”

“It’s so fun,” the person agrees (Vic isn’t really sure if they’re a boy or a girl). “I usually don’t do it to strangers, though, but your brother said you’d find it funny. So.”

“Mike?” Vic says. “You’re friends with him?”

The person nods. “Yeah, we’ve been hanging recently, since you and him are some of the only people my age here. But I’ve never talked to you before because Mike says you’re annoying and would probably just ruin the party because you don’t like people.”

Vic snorts. “He said that? I’m gonna kick his ass.”

“I’ll watch.” They both laugh at that (Vic has decided that this person has a very nice laugh). “Anyway,” the person continues. “Hi. I’m Kellin. And obviously you’re Vic.”

The name “Kellin” sticks in Vic’s mind, bringing up a memory from a couple weeks ago, of Mike asking Vic if he knew what the term “nonbinary” meant and then something about his new friend Kellin. Vic didn’t know what it meant, so he did a little research, and—oh.

Now he kind of wants to laugh at himself for wondering the “boy or girl” question, considering that Kellin isn’t exactly either of them.

“Yeah,” Vic says in response to Kellin. “Now I know who you are, kind of. Mike’s mentioned you.”

Kellin smiles a little. “He’s mentioned you, too,” they say, their eyes quickly flicking up and down Vic’s body. “But he didn’t mention…”

Vic raises an eyebrow. “Didn’t mention what?”

“Nothing.” They wave their hand at him, but they still don’t look away. “I really like your hair.”

“Oh, uh, thanks,” Vic says, and then he laughs a little. “Most people tell me it makes me look like a girl.”

Now it’s Kellin’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “Are you a girl?”


They shrug. “Then you don’t look like a girl. You look like you. And I look like me.”

That’s the phrase that sticks in Vic’s mind, the phrase that makes him think about this person who just started talking to him out of nowhere. Mike was sort of right when he told Kellin that Vic doesn’t like people—he doesn’t really dislike people, necessarily; he’s just not good at talking to them. He wants to talk to Kellin, though.

After that, they just sort of hit it off, discussing everything and nothing as the sky darkens around them. As it turns out, Kellin’s family’s cabin is only two away from Vic’s, and they come here every summer almost as often as Vic’s family does. That excites him in a weird way, the thought of having a friend out here.

At a lull in the conversation, Vic can’t take it anymore, and he really wants to make sure he’s not wrong. “Um, what’s your—like—what’re your—how do you want me to—uh, your pronouns?” he blurts out after stumbling over his words in an extremely embarrassing fashion. He’s not even sure if that’s the right way to ask, but he has to know that he’s not completely off the mark. “That was super awkward, I’m so sorry.”

Kellin just stares at him for a few moments, almost as if they can’t believe Vic actually just asked that. “Um, no, it’s fine,” they say, that cute little smile returning to their lips. “I use singular ‘they.’”

“Okay,” Vic says, nodding slowly. “Thank you.”

“Thank you,” Kellin replies, the smile widening. “Most people don’t ask. They just assume.” They shrug. “How did you know to ask, though? Or do you just ask everyone that?”

“Uh, Mike said something one time,” Vic says, biting his lip. “Asked me what ‘nonbinary’ meant, so I did some research.”

“Hmm,” Kellin replies thoughtfully, and Vic might just be imagining it, but he thinks he can see a sort of fondness in those eyes. “I like you. You’re cool.”

“Well, I think you’re pretty cool, too,” Vic replies, and Kellin smiles that really cute smile again, and Vic just kind of melts. They’re actually pretty attractive, which Vic noticed at first but didn’t really think about until now; their eyes are wide and bright, their dark hair falling perfectly just above their shoulders.

“Also,” they add suddenly, “thank you for not asking me what’s in my pants, because I get that a lot.”

“Well, that’s rude,” Vic comments, suddenly feeling bad. Kellin probably gets a lot of shit for being who they are. “I have no business to know what’s in your pants, so why would I ask?”

“Exactly.” Kellin makes a face. “Although I wouldn’t be opposed to showing you later.” They wink at him, a clearly flirtatious tone in their voice.

Vic can feel his face heating up at the thought of what Kellin’s suggesting, even if they’re not serious. “Oh, really? I’d be down for that.”

“Awesome. Meet me at the cabin afterwards,” they say sarcastically. “Ever read Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Vic snorts a lot louder than he should. “Ew, no!”

Now Kellin starts truly laughing their ass off, covering their face with one hand, but it doesn’t hide how fucking adorable they are or how cute their laugh is. Vic thinks he could probably listen to Kellin talk and joke and laugh for the rest of his life and not get bored.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding!” Kellin giggles.

“You’d better be,” Vic teases, nudging them lightly. Yeah, he’d say they get along pretty well.

When the time has come for the fireworks to start, Kellin and Vic stop talking, Kellin shifting their body slightly closer to Vic’s (not that Vic minds). These aren’t small fireworks, but the kind that professional organizations often set off in celebration. They’re all different kinds and colors, some louder and bigger than others, illuminating across the water, and Vic can’t help but feel sort of like a little kid as he watches in awe. Beside him, Kellin’s got a wide grin on their face, but they seem to be watching Vic even more than they’re watching the fireworks. “You’re cute,” they mumble, and Vic isn’t sure whether or not he was supposed to hear that, but nonetheless, it makes him smile even wider.

Once it’s all over and people are standing up and heading back over to their cabins, Kellin turns to Vic with an odd expression on their face, biting their lip in what looks like contemplation. They’ve got really pretty eyes, holy shit, and their lips are so nice and pink, and Vic doesn’t even realize how much he’s staring until Kellin says, “What? Did some of that firework stuff get in my hair?”

Vic snaps himself out of his trance, and though he can’t see himself, he’s willing to bet that he’s blushing. “Uh, no, you’re good. I was just kind of, um, admiring the view.”

“And what view would that be, Vic?” Kellin asks, a knowing smile dancing on their lips.

“Um…” Vic glances over at the gradually thinning crowd of people. He should really go back to his cabin, but it’s not that far, and his family is so large that they probably won’t notice if he’s a little bit late getting back.

“Hey,” Kellin says, interrupting his thought process. “Listen, I—you’re really, uh, attractive.” Now they’re the one blushing.

Vic would be lying if he said that his heart isn’t fluttering. Maybe he’s not the only one who noticed the sparks flying between them tonight (and not just the sparks from the fireworks).

“Thank you,” he says slowly, because he really doesn’t know what else to say. “I, um…you too.”

Kellin almost seems to light up at those words, and, yeah, Vic’s kind of awestruck. Kellin must notice it, too—here’s no way they don’t realize the effect that they’re having on him; in fact, they probably get this all the time, since, well, they’re kind of beautiful.

Then, out of nowhere, Kellin blurts, “Can I kiss you?”

The words seem to hang in the air between them, and Vic’s almost positive that he heard wrong. “Uh, yeah,” he says slowly, because to be completely honest, he’s been thinking about wanting to kiss them pretty much all night. “Hell yeah.”

With that, Kellin leans forward, pressing their lips to his, and Vic swears that he’s got his own fireworks show going on in his chest. They taste sweet and almost sugary, their lips moving slowly and gently against his, and Vic moves his own lips in time, kissing in its purest sense.

Vic doesn’t really expect Kellin to deepen the kiss, but he certainly doesn’t complain when they do, biting Vic’s bottom lip and even using a little bit of tongue. They pull away far too soon, both of them breathless and staring at each other in awe and disbelief. “Holy shit,” Vic says, because he doesn’t have any other words. “You’re really hot.”

Kellin grins knowingly at that, biting their lip once again (that goddamn lip bite is going to kill Vic, he just knows it). “The rest of my family usually stays out a lot later and hangs out with other people,” they say. “Wanna come back to my cabin? There’s a lot more where that came from.” The confident, flirty attitude is such a weakness for Vic, and he’ll admit—it’s been far too long since something like this has happened.

“Absolutely,” Vic says, so Kellin takes his hand in theirs and leads him over.

The cabin is devoid of any other people—like Kellin said, the rest of their family must be outside somewhere—so the two head over to the small room where Kellin sleeps, closing and locking the door. “Fuck,” Kellin says softly the second that they’re alone with Vic, their eyes sweeping up and down his body in amazement and even admiration. “Let me…” They reach forward, resting their hands lightly on his hips, and Vic leans in.

Everything after that moment feels simply inevitable.

Kellin presses Vic up against the wall, their breath hot and their kisses hotter. Vic reaches his arms up and wraps them around Kellin’s neck, pulling them closer, but it’s still not close enough. In the very back of his mind, it briefly occurs to him that tonight he is probably going to solve the “what’s in Kellin’s pants” mystery, but he finds himself not really caring. He’s already learned that Kellin is Kellin, no matter what they were born with, and right now, Kellin is kissing the shit out of him (and is one of the best kissers Vic has ever encountered).

Somewhere along the way, they migrate from standing against the wall to lying down on Kellin’s bed, their hands sliding underneath each other’s shirts, their fingers running up and down each other’s backs. It’s then that Kellin pulls away, looking deep into Vic’s eyes. “You won’t mind, right?” they ask. “Nothing that I have down there is gonna freak you out?” They glance down at their own body, displaying insecurity for what is probably the very first time that night.

“Well, I mean, I’d probably freak out if you had, like, a baby alligator in your pants or something,” Vic replies in an attempt to reassure them and lighten the mood. “Other than that, though? No, not really. You’re good.”

Kellin just laughs and kisses him again. Vic can almost taste their relief in his mouth.

That night, Kellin is surprisingly quiet, soft, gentle, but somehow wild and passionate at the same time. It’s skin against skin in a way that Vic has never really felt before, and it captures him, mesmerizes him, hypnotizes him.

And when it’s over, Vic just wants more, and maybe he’s just imagining it, but he thinks Kellin might feel the same way.

The rest of the summer goes by in a blur of sex and sweat and heat. Whenever Vic’s family goes to the river and Kellin’s family is there, the two run off at some point to have some alone time. It’s a fling no matter how anyone looks at it, and Vic’s totally okay with that, of course, but as July turns into August and the days wind down, he slowly realizes that maybe he doesn’t really want it to be just a fling. And that kind of scares him, because he did not sign up for something more than a fling.

There’s no way he’s bringing this up to Kellin, either. They’re his friend. A friend that he often has sex with, but a friend nonetheless. The possibility of other feelings developing, feelings of romance (God forbid), could ruin everything that they have. He’s not even sure what it is that he’s feeling, so it’s better for him to at least figure himself out before he even thinks about making a move.

By the time September rolls around, the air getting cooler as the summer comes to an end, both Kellin and Vic seem to know that they don’t have much longer. They both make the most of every moment that they have with each other, until finally, one weekend, Kellin says, “My family is putting the dock up the next time that we come here.”

Vic tries to pretend that his heart doesn’t drop into his stomach. “So…this is your last visit for the year,” he says slowly.

Kellin nods solemnly, their gaze flitting up to the trees surrounding the two of them as they sit at the picnic table in front of Vic’s cabin. “We had a good run,” they say, cracking a tiny smile.

Vic knows just as well as Kellin that this is a goodbye.

“Will I see you next year?” Vic asks, trying to sound casual instead of desperate, unwilling to reveal just how much he cares.

Kellin nods. “Unless something happens, yeah, I think I can expect to see you next year. We usually start coming up around May, maybe late April if it’s warm enough.”

Vic nods, too, a mixture of sadness and relief filling up his chest. “Okay. Us too. So I’ll see you then.”

Kellin’s smile widens a little, their eyes sparkling the same way that they did on July Fourth. “Of course.” They lean forward and give Vic a quick peck on the cheek.

Vic wants to keep in contact with Kellin, but they both know that that’s not what their relationship is. Their relationship is for hot summer days, for swimming in the river, swatting away bugs, and trying not to get horribly sunburnt. It’s for games of volleyball and horseshoe, for boat rides and sitting out on the dock, for water skiing, roasting marshmallows over a campfire—a pure summer fling. That’s what it is. That’s all it is.

It doesn’t stop Vic from hugging Kellin before he leaves, though. Maybe the thought of his arms around them will keep them warm through the winter.

Vic thinks that his possible feelings for Kellin will fade with time and distance. And he’s wrong, of course.

He dates other people throughout the year, and he has sex with quite a few others, too, but none of them seem to compare to Kellin in either department. He’s trying to start fresh, he really is, but his mind always comes back to the way that he felt when he was with them. He felt like a firework, and compared to that, well, these other people might as well only make him feel like a candle.

As winter passes and the first hints of spring arrive, Vic begins to seriously regret not telling Kellin, because now the feelings are so there, and if he weren’t so scared and awkward, maybe he’d attempt to contact them. He does have their number, actually, but up until now he’s never thought of using it. It would feel wrong, texting or calling them out of nowhere just to catch up with them after ignoring them for six months.

Eventually, though, impulse gets the best of him, and he figured that if he’s going to see Kellin soon anyway, he might as well try to get back into contact with them. It’s only a simple “Hey,” but it’s something.

But when the message doesn’t seem to deliver correctly, Vic realizes that not even this will work—he can clearly remember Kellin constantly complaining about their shitty phone and having to get a new one soon, so that must’ve been what happened, and they must’ve gotten a new number with it, too. Sure enough, when he tries to call, he receives a message that says that the number has been disconnected.

Oh, well, he thinks. It’s only another month or two.

And, again, he’s wrong.

When he and his family finally visit the river again in early May, Kellin’s family isn’t there. At first, Vic thinks that maybe they’re just waiting until it gets a little warmer, or maybe they’re just busy. That is, until he overhears his parents gossiping with some of the neighbors, and one of them mentions Kellin’s family.

“Wait, they got divorced?” Vic’s mother says, and Vic feels his heart stop momentarily.

“Oh, yeah,” the one neighbor lady replies. “Had to sell the cabin and the boat and everything because neither of them could afford it. It was real sad. And the poor kids, too…”

Mike speaks up from where he and Vic are sitting over at the picnic table: “So does this mean none of them are gonna be coming up anymore?”

Their mother glances over at him. “No, I don’t think so.”

Mike turns to Vic, their gazes locking. Mike is one of the few other people who knew of the nature of Vic’s relationship with Kellin, and he’s one of the only people Vic has ever confided in when it comes to his feelings.

“It’s okay,” Vic says, more to convince himself than to convince Mike. “They were just…a friend. I have a lot of friends. I can find more. People come and go, and I guess now it’s Kellin’s time to go. So I’ll let them go.”

Mike doesn’t seem to believe him, but he doesn’t say anything about it.

Vic does try his hardest to let them go. He and his family still visit the river all the time, just like they do every year, but it doesn’t hold the same sort of spark. The Fourth of July fireworks are the worst part, the hardest part, because at this time last year, he and Kellin were sitting side by side, flirting, joking, smiling—it was the beginning of something, that night. Vic doesn’t usually wish for things, but watching those firecrackers light up the sky as they explode over the water…well, how could he not want Kellin by his side again?

It happens at a party at the beginning of June.

Almost another full year has passed somehow, and at this point, Vic has pretty much accepted that he and Kellin are over. It shouldn’t have even taken this long in the first place, but he’s been holding out hope, and now he’s starting to think that it’s time to let go.

The party is being held by Alex Gaskarth, one of his neighbors in the apartment building that he lives in. Vic isn’t necessarily super close friends with the guy, but he’s close enough to have been invited, along with a bunch of other people (Alex is apparently extremely popular and friends with everybody). There really isn’t a particular reason for this party, other than the fact that it’s summer and Alex likes having parties (even though his apartment is small), but Vic goes anyway, mostly just because he feels like he needs a little fun.

“Hey, Vic!” Alex calls when he shows up. “The party’s just getting started!”

“Really?” Vic says, glancing around at the apartment, which is already pretty full. “Only just getting started? How many people did you invite?”

“However many would fit,” Alex replies. “Glad you could make it, bro.” He nods toward the kitchen. “Help yourself.”

Vic hangs around Alex and a few other people that he knows for most of the time, realizing only after a few minutes that parties don’t really mix well with him. It’s just that there’s a lot of people and he doesn’t know most of them, so he tries to stay as much in his comfort zone as he possibly can. It’s been working pretty well, he thinks, until he catches a flash of something oddly familiar in the corner of his eye as he’s standing against the wall. He glances to the side, not really expecting to see anything spectacular, and especially not expecting to see what—or who—he sees.

Their hair is a little longer, a little thicker, a little lighter. They’re a little bit leaner, too (but with more muscle), and they’ve got a couple of tattoos here and there that they didn’t have before. Other than that, though, and other than the fact that it’s been over a year and a half since Vic has last seen them, they really don’t seem like they’ve changed much. They’re still unmistakably Kellin.

“Holy shit,” Vic says to himself, because he really can’t believe his eyes. After all this time, Kellin is standing right here, in Vic’s apartment building, looking as natural and beautiful as ever.

As if sensing that someone is staring at them, Kellin turns, stopping in their tracks when their eyes meet his. They don’t seem to know how to react, either, their gaze taking in all of him the same way it used to. Then Vic breaks the silence with a quiet but audible “Kellin?”

He says it as a question, but it really isn’t. He knows it’s Kellin. And Kellin knows that it’s Vic.

“Holy shit!” they exclaim, their face lighting up just like it used to, and they rush over to Vic, fighting the crowd and greeting him with a warm hug that nearly sweeps him off his feet. He hugs them back, wrapping his arms around them tightly and burying his face in their shoulder. “Oh my God,” they gasp, giggling, and Vic kind of wants to cry.

When they finally pull away, Vic blurts, before he can say anything else, “I really fucking missed you.”

“Ditto,” Kellin says, that crooked grin back on their lips, and maybe it’s just the way that they say it—so casual, and so classically Kellin—but something about that one word just makes Vic laugh. “How do you know Alex, anyway?” they continue.

“He’s my neighbor,” Vic explains. “I live in this building, a couple floors up. How do you know Alex?”

“He’s my stepbrother,” Kellin says, and then their face falls slightly. “My parents, they—”

“I heard,” Vic interrupts. One of their parents must’ve remarried, then. “That’s why you weren’t at the river.”

Kellin nods, hugging him again. “I’m so sorry,” they say. “I thought for sure we’d come back. I didn’t know that would happen; I just assumed—”

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” Vic says, automatically rubbing their back a little bit. “You didn’t know.”

“I just…” They pull away again. “I didn’t think—I didn’t know you’d miss me.”

“Are you kidding me?” Vic says incredulously. “Who the fuck wouldn’t miss you?”

They spend the remainder of the party with each other, catching up on everything, and that’s when Vic knows he hasn’t let Kellin go at all, and he really doesn’t want to. “Hey,” he says near the end of the night. “Wanna come back to my place?” He can’t help but think that he sounds like Kellin did that first night, asking Vic whether or not he’d like to come back to their cabin.

“Absolutely,” Kellin says, mimicking what Vic’s response had been. So they go.

As soon as the door is closed behind them, Kellin does exactly what they did back then, lightly pushing Vic against the wall and kissing him hard. Vic kisses back just as excitedly, and he isn’t disappointed—this is what he’s been searching for, what he’s been craving, what he once thought he could find in someone else. It’s that spark, and it’s there, and it’s lighting up his heart.

Vic brings Kellin out to the river that summer. The wind whips their hair around as they’re riding on the boat, and the sun glints in just the right way so that they look kind of like an angel. “God, I missed this,” they breathe. Vic just holds them closer.

On the Fourth of July, Vic’s family takes their boat out to watch the fireworks on the river. It’s colder because it’s nighttime, so Kellin and Vic share a blanket on the seats as they watch. Mike teases them about how their affection is totally gross and annoying, and Kellin flips him off while Vic quite blatantly kisses them on the cheek, just to annoy him even more. Neither of them are really quite sure what their relationship is, since they haven’t chosen to define it, but that’s okay. Whatever it is, it’s nice.

“They’re really pretty,” Vic comments at one point near the end, about the firecrackers.

“Yeah,” Kellin agrees, resting their head on his shoulder. “But not as pretty as you.”

Vic laughs a little, his face heating up the same way it did two years ago. He doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to Kellin’s compliments. “Happy Fourth, you loser.”

“Happy Fourth,” Kellin replies, lifting their head up and kissing him on the lips, and Vic truly does feel like a firework.
♠ ♠ ♠
hi it’s a Fourth of July one-shot yay!!!

so yeah as you read, Kellin is nonbinary in this story bc we need more trans and nb characters. I will not tell you what is in their pants. I haven’t even decided what I think is in their pants, because it doesn’t fucking matter. also, because there is mentions of implied sex, if anybody tells me that “trans ppl don’t have sex bc they all hate their bodies” I will probably shove a firecracker up your ass because all trans people experience different levels of dysphoria (and some don’t have any at all) and every trans person is different. wow. incredible.

I’m rly proud of how it turned out so yeah enjoy <3