Title: Champaign Supernova
Summary: When Warren went to Rack, he found a spell to save himself from death. The catch? Complete isolation from the world. Andrew finds out some years later and goes to find him.
The desert was as hot and dry as he’d expected, but the intolerable weather wasn’t nearly as bad as the prospect of what was coming. Andrew stared at the door in front of him. It was Beachwood, he was fairly certain, but that didn’t really matter. The crappy little shack it led into didn’t look terribly promising, like it should have. Andrew had wanted so badly to find a hidden mansion out here in the Las Vegas desert, to discover a hidden oasis. His hands were trembling. Andrew might have been something of a wimp, a little girly even, but he had never trembled. Not even back then…
“Oh, god,” he said in a tight whisper. His throat was clenched so tightly that he was afraid he’d never be able to eat anything but Jell-O or water for the rest of his life. And then he raised one hand, curled long fingers into a fist, and tapped lightly on the Beachwood with bony knuckles. It wasn’t terribly loud, but the sudden movement inside seemed to imply that it was unexpected.
“Just…,” there was an uncertain pause, a cough as a throat was cleared out for speaking, apparently something no one did much of out here, “Just a moment.”
Andrew hadn’t expected to cry. He hadn’t been sure what to expect. He tipped his head back, sunlight falling in a hot wave across his face. There was a slight wind, and the dusty ground swirled in small funnels, dancing among the desert plants. Andrew felt so out of place in the garden of cactus and yucca plants and orange red sand, so out of place in the threshold of this awful little shed in the middle of nowhere. He should have expected it. He had expected it. But the little bit of evil villain Andrew left in him screamed and cried in complete agony at being so separated from the one thing that he’d felt so close to.
“What do you-oh…oh, god.”
“I heard that you were still alive and I had to come see for myself and oh god, Warren, if I’d known earlier, I would have, oh god, you’re still here. You’re real,” Andrew’s voice faltered and he took an uncertain step forward. The speech he had practiced was completely blown to hell as it finally became true. Warren wasn’t dead.
“Andrew,” Warren said, the way you say someone’s name when you want to remember it because you just know they’ll be special.
“Warren,” Andrew said, the way you say someone’s name when you haven’t said it in so long because it’s so special that you’re afraid you might forget it if you say it out loud.
“You’re crying,” Warren said softly. Andrew lifted a hand to his face, traced his fingers under his eyes and pulled away with salty liquid beaded on the tips of his fingers. Warren reached out and gently wrapped his fingers around Andrew’s wrist that was, to his delight, the same as he remembered, just not so pale. He pulled Andrew’s hand towards his lips, could feel the trembling and kissed the tears on the tips of fingers.
Andrew whimpered and felt something in him completely break down, and soon he was falling forward into Warren, all open mouthed sobs and wet eyes. He had worked so hard, so very hard, trying to make amends for what they’d done together. He’d tried so hard to forget and move on, and hadn’t he just been doing fantastic? They’d all said so.
“Look at Andrew. Who knew he was capable of that?”
He didn’t want to know what they’d say now, watching him break down in the arms of another man who had probably had every intention of leaving him, who had probably never loved him back then. But wasn’t time a funny thing? Maybe they’d both grown up. Maybe separation had been best for their relationship. Baring his soul so completely in the arms of a person who had grown to be a stranger, all Andrew wanted was the past.
“You can’t stay, we can’t…you have to go, Andrew,” Warren said, although his arms latched tightly around the body that he had missed so much.
“No, it’s okay…it’s okay,” Andrew managed to get out, biting back the urge to cry harder, “The spell…it doesn’t matter anymore, you’re safe, you can leave, you…we can be together, again.”
“No, we can’t Andrew,” Warren said, pulling Andrew closer to him, pulling him into his poor excuse for a house.
“No, we can, we can…” Andrew protested, now more sniffles than actual tears.
“Anywhere. It doesn’t matter. I just…I need to be with you again, Warren,” Andrew pleaded, his wet face pushed against Warren’s shoulder.
“No, you don’t. Andrew. We don’t work out there, in the real world, it’ll be like last time and look where the fuck that took us,” Warren said, taking a step further back into the house, Andrew still clinging around him. Andrew shook his head against Warren’s shoulder, wrapping his fingers around fistfuls of Warren’s shirt.
“You have to go,” Warren begged, desperately, holding Andrew just as tight as he was holding him.
“Funny thing about living alone for so long. You find out what really matters to you. You find out what you’re really made of, what you’re like. If you ever want to discover yourself, don’t take a trip around the world; lock yourself in a house in the middle of nowhere for a year or two. And I know that I love you, and I know that there is no way in hell we will ever work out like this. You have a chance out there, so take it before I lose my resolve and make you stay with me.”
“I want to stay with you,” Andrew breathed, pulling back away from Warren just enough to look into his face.
“And when have you ever been great at making decisions?” Warren asked, letting his arms loosen and fall to his sides.
“Don’t say that, Warren, please…I love you,” Andrew said, the words hitching in his throat.
“You have to go,” Warren said, tightening his jaw and stepping back from Andrew, “You have to get out of here.”
“Please…” Andrew begged, following after. Warren shoved him roughly back, sent him flying into the wall next to the door. Seconds after, he was pressed against him, kissing him passionately and deeply and with meaning that had never been there before. The sun scorched his skin where it fell in beams across them from the open door, and he ran fingers through Andrew’s hair, which was so different now. Longer, and it smelled different, like honey and vanilla. He could taste Andrew’s tears as they kissed.
“Oh, god,” Warren breathed, breaking away, “Just go, just please go.” Andrew looked at him with wide, wet eyes and swollen, parted lips. No matter what he did to him, he always looked so innocent.
“I love you,” Andrew said, without the slightest tremor in his voice.
“Love you, too,” Warren answered steadily, moving backwards. Andrew slid towards the open door, stepped back onto the porch, eyes still locked together. Warren rushed forward to slam the door shut and lock it and fall to the ground, back pressed to the door and hoping to god that he was right. He wanted so badly to pull Andrew back in, but no matter how crazy living like this might have made him, one thing was perfectly clear. Andrew would be better off like this. One day, he’d see it, too.
Outside, Andrew stumbled and fell to his knees, rocking forward and crying all over again, with his hands as the only companions for hot tears. He leaned back, back pressed against the door, and hoped that just this once Warren would be right.