Author Note


"Man what a day," Barry said, sipping the drink in his hand. Mark smiled in agreement, likewise taking a sip of his wine. They were sitting in Barry's room. The one he had grown up in, only a house away from Mark's own mother's home. They were comfortably reclined in Barry's old window seat. Mark had his back resting on the cut out's wall, his knees bent up to fit himself within the wall and Barry's body. While Barry was sitting in the other corner at an angle. His arm closet to Mark was propped on Mark's knees. And his own legs stretched out on an ottoman beside the window seat.

Mark swallowed the dry red wine and laid his head back on the wall to look at the ceiling. "Yeah," he whispered. Roaming over the random marks the ceiling, he tried to focus on something positive. After a minute he lowered his eyes to look over at Barry, who only continued to swirl his wine, staring into the glass. His eyes giving away his deposition. Normally he was a serious guy, but today was especially somber.

"Did you see Martha Johanson?" Mark asked, trying to lighten the mood.

"Mhm," Barry replied, obviously not fully engaged in the conversation just yet. "I didn't know she had gotten married to Zach."

"Yeah that could have been you," Mark tapping Barry with his foot.

"Oh man, I know!" His face brightened a bit with a wide smile. "Two kids, already working 5 years as a mechanic, with a house in this tiny ass town, and a dog." Barry emphasized each part with increasing shock, as if the dog was the most amazing part.

Mark laughed, rolling his eyes. "I still feel like a kid, I can't imagine having two."

"I still am a kid," Barry agreed, "I don't even pick out my own clothes." Plucking at his polo, laughing. It, like everything else, had his team logo on it. The laughter was short lived, leaving Mark to glance around the room. A loud sigh caught Mark's attention and he glanced back towards his friend.

"It felt odd today," Barry whispered, not looking at Mark. But Mark didn't reply. Everything about attending a funeral of a childhood friend was odd. Being back in their small rural hometown, and away from their city apartment, was odd. Once again hiding that they were friends from Barry's conservative parents was odd.

Despite being open, one of the rare topics generally off the table was Barry's parents. Both had been pleased they had gone off to different colleges. In fact, chances were, neither parent was even aware that Mark had moved to the same city as Barry. So which part exactly was odd.

"I had forgotten how it felt when we were in high school." He kept his voice low. Even at twenty four, they were still trying to not alert the owners to the presence the unwanted house guest. "I mean who am I to complain, right? I'm not the gay guy from small hick tow." Barry admitted, rolling his eyes with a small smile.

"Yeah, actually the complete opposite." Mark murmured, pointing out the window to the mingling of Mr.Remming's elite friends. "I'm sure they would love a glimpse of the remarkable hometown hero turned football superstar." Barry groaned and managed another small smile. He had stayed humble through the last year of his success. And while he loved talking to fans, he despised it when his father toted him around, showing him off.

"It's just..." Barry started. "I hadn't realized how differently I acted in the city. Or rather out here I guess. I'm almost ashamed they let me change so much. I mean we're adults. You shouldn't be scaling the trellis like you use to, just so we can hang out." Mark gave him a small smile, staying silent, but letting Barry know he wasn't upset. "But being around my father at the funeral I knew he was watching my every move. I didn't even want to pat your back for fear of him over reacting. I mean that wasn't the time and place, and I doubted he would have stayed civil." Barry sighed. "I'm sorry." Mark had known it was going to happen, they both did. It was just how they acted around Barry's parents, around the whole town really. The town knew they were friends, but the extent of their comradery was a secret between the two of them. For the last two years of high school, they had become best friends. Then, as things go, they had drifted apart in college. Till Mark sent out a message looking for housing advice. It hadn't taken long for their close bond to reform while living together.

"It's fine, Barry." Mark whispered, only now registering how odd it was for them to be whispering at all. It had seemed so natural that they sort of slipped into old habit.

"No, it's not. But thank you for trying to make me feel better. I mean we were at a funeral. The one time a guy could really use a good friend" Barry said, rising his voice a tad. Rolling his drink again, he slightly laughed. "I found myself analyzing everything that we normally do. I mean like a friendly pat, or joking punch. I think I must mess up your hair at least once a day." Mark huffed in feign exasperation. He really did like to mess up Mark's part. And always after he had just finished getting ready. "I guess I didn't realize how much I touched you in a day." His eyes finally raised to Mark, who had still been watching him. Trying to brighten Barry's mood, Mark quietly laughed.

"Well of course I did. A gorgeous man touching me all the time." Mark joked, and gave Barry a quick wink and flirtatious smile.

"Pft," Barry blew out a puff of air. "Whatever, I'm not even your type." He joked in return. At least he was smiling now.

"Ha," Mark replied, making a show of letting his gaze skim over Barry. "Who said? The charming, handsome, football star? You are everyone's type my friend." Mark assured, still chuckling.

"You said." Barry countered, completely serious, though still amused.

"What? When?" Mark's own laughter die down as he tried to recall anything of the sort. They had never had any conversation like that. They had always been just friends, and Mark was pretty sure they had never approached the subject. But as he waited, searching Barry's face for any sign, he felt his body began to sweat. And he wondered if somehow during some drunken night he had let something out.

"Senior prom." Barry responded with such certainly that Mark that didn't dare dispute it.

"Oh," was all Mark could come up with. There had been prom. Barry just shrugged, he didn't give away any feeling of remorse, just merely stating a fact. But Mark still couldn't remember. It had been known from the start that they were just going to prom as friends. After he had missed Junior Prom, he had grown increasingly depressed senior year as the season had approached again. As any normal teenager he wanted to feel included and that he fit in. Or fit in as much as he could with zero date options. Barry had coincidentally, broken up with his long time girlfriend and was going stag as well. Then in the biggest display of friendship thus far, asked Mark to prom in a very public manner. They had gone, as friends, to dinner and the dance. But Barry's football teammates struggled to hide their distaste in Barry's other friend. And after hours of Barry being on the receiving end of hidden jeers, he had grown to recognize all to well, Mark suggested they leave. Barry had kept his spirits high the whole night, ignoring his teammates with partial ignorance. But he had suffered enough, whether he knew it or not. So they had left to drink a few stolen beers by the lake a few blocks behind their house.

"I probably said it to not freak you out." Mark offered. He remembered laying on the grass next to the lake, under the moonlight. They had spent hours laughing and drinking the beers, neither one liking the taste. More so basking in the glory of getting away with it. A slow song came on and Barry suggested they make up for the lost prom with a dance. It would have made for a perfect date night. But the more Mark thought about it the more he realized it must have been during the dance. It had all seemed completely right, though it wasn't even close to being the real thing. So in a moment of panic, Mark had make a joke of it and pushed Barry away after only a few seconds of touching. Even if it didn't turn out like the movies, he loved that night, embarrassment and all. It was probably the best part of having wound up in this god fearing town after his parents' divorce.

"Yeah," Mark said, nodding, "that's exactly what it was. I didn't want you getting uncomfortable." Barry laughed, cutting Mark's explanation off.

"Mhm, you were worried about me? All I did was ask you to dance and you looked absolutely horrified. I was just trying to be a gracious date."

"Well," Mark teased back. "I wasn't sure how sensitive your fragile male sexuality was." Barry's eyes slipped back to his drink. But Mark didn't notice the gesture till after he had finished. "Besides, it's not like you really cared what my type was." But then Barry's smile also fell. He gave one last smirk before taking another long swig from his drink. Mark continued to play the night over and over in his head as Barry's focus once again shifted to not exactly looking at the wine.

"Was..." Mark started, grabbing Barry's attention. "Was prom a real date?" He whispered, barely audible. Even after saying it, the thought didn't seem possible. But as he watched over Barry's expressions, he easily recognized the look. He had felt rejection many times before.

"What?" Barry tried to brush it off. "No, dude that was years ago. Forget about it." Barry tried to make a show of indifference and turned to peak out the window at the sound of people. He had transferred his empty glass to casually hang from the hand still laying on Mark's knee. Using the other hand, he pulled the curtain back an inch. The back porch light lit up his face as the curtains split open.

"I'm sorry," Mark whispered. Barry didn't move, but his lips momentarily thinned in a look of disapproval.

"Don't worry about it. Like I said, it was awhile ago." Barry murmured.

"Damn." Mark swore, a little louder, startling Barry. He let the curtain fall short and looked back at Mark. "I had every high school girls fantasy and I didn't even know it." Mark explained. But Barry only raised an eyebrow, still confused. "I not only got asked out by the captain of the football team in the middle of the cafeteria, but also left early to go to a secluded lake. And I didn't even know I had a shot!" He whispered in exasperation. "Figures!" he smiled dramatically throwing his hands up. It was enough to break the tension and Barry rolled his eyes and laughed. Teasing Barry for being the perfect all American man usually seemed to get at least a small smile from him. Several people could be heard laughing outside and Barry took another peak.

"Looks like you'll be stuck here for at least a little bit longer." Barry murmured as he watched Mark's escape fill up again with his parents' guests.

"I'll survive." Mark replied. He had been stuck up here before. Luckily Barry was not only the prized son of southern aristocrats, but the only son. And everything they would need, bathroom and all, was within Barry's room. Barry appeared casual and comfortable again. Leaning into the corner, watching the guests with his glass hanging from his hand still on Mark's knee. Mark took this as a sign to try to continue to conversation. After all, Barry was stuck with him. He was more curious than upset. It had been years since he had held a little flame for his closest friend, and he had time to get over it. So he continued.

"Didn't you date women in college, like you did last week?" Mark asked.

"Yeah," Barry answered, still looking out the window.

"Have you ever dated a man? I mean I guess other than me?"

"No." Sighing, he dropped the curtain. "I don't know. I was just curious I guess. In college I thought about it. But after freshman year, I started dating Becky. I figured it was just because you had opened my eyes that people really could be gay. I mean people here joked around about it. But they don't treat it as a real thing that should happen. But then I met you. And you showed me it was real, it was a possibility. And it make me question things."

"Did you think about trying it again after Becky?" Mark asked.

He shrugged. "No," his eyes flicked momentarily to meet Mark's eyes. "Not really."

"Why didn't you say anything?" Mark asked. Barry seemed to finally realize he was out of wine and stood up from the chair. Tipping the bottle to the side, he offered some to Mark.

"Yeah," Mark replied, leaning forward with his glass. Barry's eyes stayed on the two glasses as he filled them. And once the bottle was back on the table, he kept his eyes on it for a few long seconds, drumming his fingers on the neck.

"There didn't seem to be much of a point." Barry finally replied after took a few steps closer.

"Well for what it's worth," Mark whispered, "I am sorry. Ha..." Mark started, but stopped himself. There wasn't a point. He would only get his hopes up. They were roommates now and had to see each other every day. There would be no point in relighting that old flame only to have it snuffed out again. Barry was still straight, and things were great the way they were. Besides he had told himself dating his best friend would only bring trouble. Who would he bitch about his stupid boyfriends to?

Barry eased himself back down into his spot and simply shrugged off the comment. They sat in quiet for several minutes, till Barry broke the silence with a small laugh.

"Do you remember the first time you climbed this trellis?" Barry asked pointing to the window behind him.

"Ha," Mark quietly snorted. A little relieved Barry had changed the conversation. "I was so worried you would think me a dweeb for not doing it. I thought any physical pain I could have gotten from falling would have been easier than losing the only friend I had made."

Barry chuckled. "And looking back it was for something so trivial. I couldn't wait one more day to play my game when my mom was gone? I had to beg you to risk your life for a video game?"

"Ok, I think you're being a little over dramatic. A broken leg perhaps. Though, I am somewhat flattered it still held me."

"Please," Barry took another sip, "like you're not still perfectly skinny as always." Peaking open the curtains once again, Barry looked outside. Mark followed suit and took another sip of his wine. As if doing so could excuse the blush he felt as coming from the wine. "Wish I would have paid attention enough to have realized they were having a party tonight. At least before you scaled the wall." His face grimaced as he stared down at them. Even over a story up, they could hear his father's loud laugh. "No doubt that's my dad talking about his famous football player of a son. I almost wish I could do something so scandalous he wouldn't talk about me like that."

"He's proud of you," Mark responded sincerely "It's nice to have a father who cares." Barry knew where Mark was coming from but didn't reply. So Mark tried to easily turn the conversation to a joke. "But if you want a scandal. We can always strip down and I can pretend to be nailing you from behind in front of the window. Though you'll have to work on your moans, I've heard them before, and I'm not impressed." Mark laughed to himself. But then the heat of his joke hit him. It was one of the few things they both knew would out weight his father's pride. Though, after tonight he wasn't sure if it had been an appropriate joke. Hiding his face behind the wine glass he didn't drink, he flashed his eyes over to Barry as he began to snicker.

"That's only because you've never heard me moan your name." Barry laughed. The pressure left Marks chest and he lowered the glass. A little assured that maybe things we're still completely normal. "Besides I wouldn't be taking it."

"Oh really? Have you thought of this before?" Mark teased. Barry wasn't as sensitive as most guys but every now and then Mark could get him to stammer. And it was a secret joy to get him to blush. Contemplating Barry's amused smile, Mark wondered if it had to do with his curiosity in high school. Maybe he had really opened his friend's eyes to understanding a different life style than his own.

"Oh of course." Barry shrugged. "I think I would be more like a Mic." Barry suggested, bringing up one of Mark's friends.

"Hah, no I can totally see you as Olly." Mark countered with Mic's lifting and life partner. Letting out a dramatic huff Barry tipped his head to try and see a particular guest.

"I would get so much shit for wearing his short shorts to the practice field." Barry mussed. He still seemed to be joking but it made Mark pause. There was some truth in what he said. Last year a football player had come out as gay and the entire country was talking about the story in mixed review. Mark and his friends had wanted to celebrate the story with Barry, more as an excuse to go out, but Barry declined. Later that night, Mark had found Barry looking over the more conservative reviews on the matter. At the time he had felt touched his friend was so deeply upset by others shunning Mark's lifestyle. But now he was wondering if it was something else. The light of the outside highlighted all Barry's best features. His eyes shown as that gorgeous smile broke out across his face. It wasn't hard for Mark to recall why he had liked Barry so much.

"They're bringing out the desserts!" Barry excitedly whispered. Even not at the party, the mere thought of someone eating the delicious treats the family normally ordered in made Barry smile. Mark let his gaze wander over Barry, once again lost in thought about prom. He hadn't thought anything more about prom than two friends hanging out together. As they had before, and as they would for years after. And even if Barry had wanted to come out, Mark and his friends would be the easiest to do it around. But Mark hadn't fully thought of how much Barry was in the lime light these days. Before college he was a normal high school football player from a small Alabama town. Then college seemed to change all that. At first it was limited to those that were dedicated college fans. But then when the old starting quarterback graduated, everyone in his college town seemed to recognize Barry. When Mark visited, they couldn't go anywhere without Barry's fans finding them. And now that he was actually playing in the pro games, he was quickly becoming a household name.

Barry's eyes moved over to Marks. And despite Mark's old habits of quickly looking away when he was caught, he held Barry's gaze. He was rewarded with a kind smile, and this time Barry was the one to look away, glancing down at his wine. With the slightest movement, Barry bit his lip before looked back outside.

"I remember busting my knee on that step." Barry said, pointing out.

"Yeah, you were trying to make it back home before your parents found out you had been at my place. What did you tell them happened to your knee?" Mark asked, smiling at the memory. For a teenager, having his crush sneak out of his house had seemed thrilling and naughty. Even if they had been eating chips and watching tv.

"I told them I injured myself at football practice."

"How all American male of you." Mark joked, partly to himself.

Barry smirked, and shook his head. "Of course, you know me." But then he grinned. "I have to keep up the illusion of being the charming, handsome, football star." Barry joked, then with quick flick of his eyes, he winked at Mark.

Mark hoped Barry couldn't hear his absurdly loud gulp. Barry had his attention back outside and Mark was left to over analyze the simple gesture. Barry winked all the time, it was one of his casual moves. But usually it seemed sarcastic, like a joke. Now that his view on prom and Barry's fame had changed, he was starting to wonder if all Barry's gestures were quite as sarcastic as he had taken them. Scanning Barry, Mark tried to pick up on his body language. In his casual humor, Barry was once again reclined in his corner. His arm was draped over Mark's knees, the wine glass dangling from it. To look out the window, Barry had to twist slightly towards Mark. But even then he had his head resting on the wall, totally at ease.

Mark sighed, he was trying to pick apart every bit of Barry's actions. Like a school boy analyzing a crush. Years ago he could brush everything off as he didn't think there was even a chance. Barry dropped his hand from the window's curtain and let the light disappear. The only source now was the dim light on the ceiling fan in the middle of the room. Two of the three lights had burned out while Barry was gone, and he only realized once the sun had set. But Mark was already there and he didn't want to leave him alone. Besides they had reasoned the dim light might remind them to be quieter than normal. Barry's gaze once again caught Mark's, and this time they silently held it for several long seconds. Again, Mark hoped Barry couldn't hear his gulp. It, and his loud breathing, were all Mark could hear. Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw Barry's chest start to rise faster. Though he didn't want to look away from his face and check. Barry went to say something, pointing to something in the room. But Mark was already moving himself. Leaning forward Mark also went to speak, but at just that time, Barry was raising his own arm. And of course, Barry's glass sloshed enough to spill deep red stains on his polo.

"Heh," Barry bounced his glass. "This is how you know you've had enough." Mark stood to follow Barry to the bathroom, feeling somewhat responsible for the mess. With a simple lift of Barry's arm, Mark was flashed back to high school. Barry's undershirt came up as he removed the stained shirt, clinging to the polo's fabric and exposing his skin. The sight of his bare lower back made Mark's mouth grow dry. It had been so long since he had been in this room with Barry, thinking these thoughts about his friend. But those old desires easily came back.

"Is there any worth in trying to save this?" Barry asked turning around towards Mark. They had to drop their voices lower as they were nearing the front of his room.

"I think, at least rinse it under water, yeah?" Mark whispered back, stepping into the dark bathroom with Barry. He stopped beside the sink next to his friend, who was already starting to run water over the stain. Without even thinking, Mark pointed to the spot on Barry's abdomen.

"Looks like you got a little soaked through the first shirt." Mark said. This of course caused Barry to drop the wet shirt in the sink, and peel off his undershirt to treat it similarly. Mark felt Barry's eyes back on him, but couldn't help the small gasp that escaped his lips. He had seen Barry shirtless many times before and thought nothing of it. Currently though, his mind was fighting with the strong emotions he once again was feeling for Barry. Trying to pass it off as a joke, Mark quickly spoke to cover up the gasp.

"Too bad you're not my type. We keep checking off all the cliche rom com situations." Barry didn't respond, except for the corner on the left side of his mouth. That crooked smile was too much and Mark bashfully looked away. Their close dark quarters became all of a sudden too real to him. Mark had followed Barry into the bathroom, stepping further in to get beside him on the sink. And when Barry had turned to remove his shirt, he blocked Mark in the room. There was little space between the wall, sink, and shower behind them. But something told him there was a reason Barry hadn't moved. Gradually he let his eyes raise up to meet Barry's again. They were watching Mark. To Mark's surprise he could hear Barry's breath, running through his lips quicker and deeper than normal. And then Barry took a small step forward. The room was lit enough to show Barry nervously lick his lips. This time, Mark knew there was purpose behind him over analyzing every inch of Barry's face. He looked at Mark in a way he had always wanted, with desire and hunger. Maybe he had always been looking at him like that, and Mark had just missed it.

Biting his lip, Mark slowly let his gaze fall back down. He had admired Barry's body before. But always at a distance with the certainty that nothing would ever happen between them. Now though, now he took this chance to really soak up the experience. Through years of practice, Barry's body had become toned and something aimed for in Greek statues. His chest was tight and tempting. But it was what he saw a little lower that caused him to reach out. There was a nasty looking bruise a little above his hip bone cutting across his body. Lifting his hand, Mark brought his fingers up to lightly run over top the bruise.

"Where did you get this?" Mark whispered, not only because of where they were, but how intimate the moment had suddenly gotten.

Barry lightly laughed, "Actually from football practice." Mark's eyes flicked up to Barry to see him smirk. But then dropped down again to resume his unabashed survey of Barry's body. His fingers trailed over the edge of the bruise. But as the bruise came in over the stomach, it dipped down. And therefore, so did Mark's fingers. Till Mark's fingers trailed an inch under Barry's bellybutton. Tickling down lower, Mark ran his fingers as slow as he could. The lines of Barry's hips were visible over the top of his jeans. And that delicious V tempted Mark to go even lower. As Mark's fingers ran over the first few stands of hair he could hear Barry suck in a sharp inhale. Before he could consider stopping or looking up to Barry for confirmation, Barry took another step forward. Lightly, Barry's head rested on the side of Mark's. Everything about the moment seemed intense and electrified. They had barely moved, barely touched each other. But Mark felt like this was far more sexual and enjoyable than most things he had done. He wanted to stretch the moment out for hours.

Mark's fingers brushed the top of Barry's jeans and Mark could sense it coming. Their head were already starting to tip towards each other. Both of them were breathing with quick excited breaths. And Mark could see Barry's hand move from his side. Watching in anticipation, Mark held his breath as Barry's hand came closer and closer to his face. The very tips of Barry fingers grazed Mark's cheek as a loud knock seemed to thunder through the room. They both jumped, but otherwise remained frozen. With a long deep sigh, Barry pulled away.

Mark pulled himself from his frozen stance but remained in his mental fog as he leaned on the bathroom sink. Vaguely aware of Barry talking to his mother. Mark had gotten over Barry. He had just gone on a third date with Wren. And he had finally started to believe that they could become serious. On the other hand, there was nothing like his relationship with Barry. Even platonic, they had grown into a great duo in the past several months. They made a secret point of always eating dinner together. It had never been discussed, but if Mark was running late at work, Barry would pick up food for the two of them. Every Saturday they explored the city together. Even if Barry had seen it before, he seemed just as excited and intrigued as Mark. And every Sunday of the off season they escaped the city and hiked, talking about the week. They even had several shows they were only allowed to watch together.

Barry's face appeared around the corner, stirring Mark. Barry held up a plate with a gorgeous smile.

"I have dessert!" Barry whispered. For a moment Mark just soaked in the face in front of him. That smile could absolutely melt him, and he wanted Barry to smile like that forever. And suddenly he decided he wanted to be the one to cause it as much as possible. If there was even the slightest chance they could be together, he had to take it. An equally large smile spanned Mark's face and he nodded, pushing himself off the sink.

The window seat was the furthest from the door. Even with the music they kept playing next to the door, they always played it safe and sat there. They each took a side. Mark leaned against his wall, one leg bent up and relaxing on the window while the other stretched out on the floor. Barry took up the space between. Folding up his legs, the plate rested on him topped with small ornate looking desserts of chocolate, mouses, cookies, and fruits. Barry was known for his sweet tooth. So it was no wonder his mother brought him several samples from the night. The caramel clung to Barry's lower lip as he pulled the small treat from his mouth. Holding Mark's gaze he slowly licked his lips before closing his mouth with a wide smile.

Mark let out a light astonished chuckle as he reached for a small brownie. Now he felt like everything they had done the past few months had actually led to this moment and he had been too blind to see it. They both had.

Barry let out a surprised moan and leaned forward. Bitting whatever he had in half, he held out the rest to Mark.

"Here, try this. It's pistachio." Barry explained, knowing Mark loved pistachios. Mark hesitated for a second, then leaned forward himself. They had shared food since high school without any sense of reservation. Sharing drinks, eating off the same fork, or stealing bites of the other's pizza. But in an act of anxious bravery, Mark leaned in to test the situation, keeping his hands down. And sure enough, Barry lifted his hands to feed Mark the treat. It was deliciously sweet with the wonderful saltiness of the nuts. With a playful glint in his eyes, Barry pulled his fingers back to his own mouth to lick the crumbs off. He seemed just as amused at how obvious this all seemed now. Barry had started to lean back, but paused. Mark hadn't moved, he remained as close as he could get to Barry, eyes still watching over his friend as he licked his lips.

The smile faded from Barry's face slightly. His eyes widened with what Mark guessed to be nervousness or shock. Taking a ragged sort of breath in through his parted lips, Barry leaned forward again. Mark took his own deep breath and gave Barry a reassured smile. But he himself didn't move. He wanted the first real move to come from Barry. The last thing he wanted was to push Barry to make him uncomfortable. Out of the two of them, this whole night had to be shocking for Barry.

Barry made one last pause. His eyes still dancing over Mark's as he took another deep breath. Then Barry's head started to tilt to the right and his eyes fluttered closed. As soon as they did, he seemed to lose all hesitancy and brought his lips to match Mark's. His kiss was gentle, slow, and delightfully long. Their lips only broke for a second before Barry closed the distance again. This time his left hand had come up to lightly run over Mark's cheek. As Barry pulled from the kiss Mark could feel his lips form into a smile. He had only tipped his head, so that now they stayed silently sitting there with their foreheads resting together. Barry's thumb ran over Mark's cheek again as he took a deep satisfied sigh. The air slowly escaped Barry's lips and his whole body seemed to relax towards Mark.

For someone who hadn't ever hidden who he was, knowing that Barry had been, upset Mark a bit. And all he wanted to do was smother Barry in kisses till he no longer remembered why he had been hiding it in the first place. Starting his plan, Mark raised his hand to run over Barry's cheek. A quieter knock traveled through the room. Another sigh sounded from Barry, much less satisfied. Followed by a disgruntled moan.

"Have they always been this bothersome?"

Mark laughed. "Yes," he whispered quietly before getting up, "I spent a lot of time hiding in your closet." Mark said with a wink. Barry gave him a crooked smile, then started walking to the door as Mark headed towards to closet.

"Heh, me too." Barry murmured. Mark caught one last glimpse from Barry and felt his cheeks almost burn with an undying smile. His head was swimming with what had transpired in the past hour. Not only had Barry once been curious about them in high school, but he still was.

Mark could make out the sound of the door opening. He never fully shut Barry's closet. As if keeping the closet door cracked proved to anyone looking in they weren't hiding people in there. It was indeed Barry's mother, again. She was letting him know the party was ending now, and that if he wanted to come downstairs he wouldn't be hounded by several guests. Of course their closest dozen friends were sticking around, but they were basically family so it didn't count. Or that was basically what Mark overheard.

Reemerging after hearing the door shut, Mark found Barry almost all the way across the room again. He already had his finger through the slit in the curtains and was pulling them aside. Mark had followed him to resume their spot, but paused when he had not sat down.

"Looks like the party really is winding down." Barry murmured. He didn't hold the same joy he had only moments before and Mark began to wonder if he had lost his nerve from earlier. Not wanting to seem intrusive, Mark nodded and looked about the room.

"Guess that means I can leave pretty soon then?" He said, trying not to sound as deflated as he felt. If Barry needed some space, then that's what Mark was going to give him. They were standing side by side in front of window seat, and Mark took a step away with an uncertain side glance. Barry stood up right but kept his eyes downcast. Rubbing the back of his neck he stuttered a few times before finally mumbling something out.

"Um, well I mean it's already so late... you don't... well you can stay... if you want?"