Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
Donnie looked down at his phone, humming a soft tune. His gray eyes flashed back at him, with the help of his car’s lights. He should be headed home soon since Lannon would get worried, but he felt drawn to the sliver of a moon still hanging in the sky. This had become a safe haven for him over the last few months, parking off to the side of a field and then spending time simply peering up at the world.
But, it was peaceful here, and he could breathe out to a place that welcomed anyone as long as they didn't disturb the quiet that had settled in. Or that was at least how he viewed the yellowing grass and the dirt by his shoes. It was why he had never brought anyone with him, not Lannon or Ray or even Fern. To him, he simply wanted to never lose such a treasured piece of his adulthood.
Here, he chatted with figurative friends or read aloud to invisible plants growing beside him. Donnie could let go of his worries save for a moment, relying on the moon’s rays to give him support.
He checked the time again. Midnight had already come and gone. Hopefully, Lannon was fast asleep so he could just sneak under the covers. Not to mention their fight from earlier. Donnie sighed, tugging at his dark hair. Why couldn't he play being a teenager and not caring what happened to anyone besides himself?
Half-tempted to answer his own rhetorical question, he got back onto the road, leaving his thoughts for later as he focused on driving and the rare headlights appearing beside him.
He woke up to a solemn Lannon, deep frown across their face. Donnie sighed, stretching out his limbs and glancing away to check the time. Six-thirty was far too early for a serious talk.
"Out with it then," he grumbled, knowingly slurring his words. "You're practic'ly chewin' on your tongue."
"What if I wanted you to stay?" Lannon whispered, reaching out to brush along Donnie's face. "What if I said, 'Screw the consequences, stay with me.' Would you still be here tomorrow?"
He grimaced, tempted to pull away from both his lover's touch and the conversation. "No." He couldn't bring himself to say more besides that single word. Donnie knew how this would end, with tears and strung out apologies that didn't work in the end.
He had been here before, and it frustrated him that Lannon stayed stubborn enough to fight him on this. Donnie bit his lip, worrying at a loose piece of skin.
"I can't take that as an answer, you know that. Not after what we've been through."
A scoff came before heated words. "We? Really, we?" He shook his head. "It's always been me, you can't be that delusional." Donnie pointed right in Lannon's face. "You weren't there - whether you could or not, that doesn't matter. Don't toss around things you don't know."
"What's that supposed to mean, hmm?" His lover climbed out of the bed, an angry glint in their usually soft sea eyes. "I didn't know you then. What happened isn't my fault."
Donnie rolled his eyes. "Then don't bring it up. I never once said I wanted to talk about it, especially with someone who wasn't there. Is that too difficult to understand?" He could close his eyes and see the flames vivid against the dark night sky. No one could breathe, choking on the thick air, and they looked back to see - something that he never expected.
"Yes, of course," came the reply. "I'm sorry." Lannon was frowning again, this time pressing their lips closely together.
"Just, give me some time, ok? It's not something easy to get over."
Donnie clutched a pillow close to his chest, wanting nothing more than to hide away, which was something he had been feeling far too often these last few months. Whether that came from the helplessness that had surrounded everyone that night or more from the fact that Donnie never really could stand to face people he disappointed from the age of five to the old twenty-five he was now.
Did he need to move on? Of course. Could he? He had yet to discover that within himself. Somehow, he didn't have that strength, that drive to really get out of this hole he dug for years.
Lannon's gaze grew softer. "I know, honey. I just want to be here for you now."
Donnie nearly grumbled at the endearment alone. How many times had he told the other that he didn't really care for pet names? He paused before insulting them, deciding to at least throw them a bone and hope they remember the next time. Regardless of whether it was something silly or not, he had a reason to not like that kind of words. He just wanted some respect.
“Thanks, but I’d rather be left alone I think.” Donnie eventually mumbled out, wishing for them to start talking so he could bury his head back in the pillow. “I’ve still got a few hours until work, so I just want to snooze.”
The raised eyebrows by Lannon made him feel more frustrated and he curbed his usual instinct to snarl. Next came the words, which maybe he should have yelled and gotten them to stop.
“You were out late last night again, I think we should talk about stuff like that.” They finished with a slight smile.
“Why?” Donnie shook his head. “I’m not driving recklessly. I’m not going out and doing donuts right by a police station. Can’t I do what I want?”
“No, not when you’re leaving without telling me.” They didn’t need to know that though. A second later, he repeated his thought.
“Also, y’ know, I’m my own self, whether you think I’m stable or not.” He waved the other off, deciding that he was probably better off leaving to get some alone time. “I’ve been taking care of myself for a while now, let alone my goddamn bar.”
Lannon reached out to grab at his - hand, probably - but Donnie shifted away, annoyed as hell at the rude awakening.
“Don- wait, alright? I’m not saying you can’t take care of yourself.”
He looked at them, with what felt like an incredulous expression. “That’s what you’re implying.” Donnie finally threw back the sheets and grabbed a new set of clothes. “I’m gonna head out. Don’t know where I’m freakin’ going, but so long.”
A few emotions passed over Lannon’s face, settling onto curved eyebrows and sad eyes. Yes, Donnie did feel a little sorry, but curse it all he had a right to be pissed off for a minute.
Before walking out the door, he sighed and whispered over a shoulder, “I’ll let you know when I’m coming back. Bye.”
A few hours later, he was regretting his decision, as it was freezing outside in the local park. However, he had braved it out here, so he had to get something out of the chilly wind. At least it looked pretty, the sun was covered by an almost completely cloudy-sky, yet the trees were swaying with red-brown leaves clinging to the branches.
Donnie breathed out in a calm manner, to both relax his breathing and to just appreciate what laid before him. He had three new messages from Lannon which he was trying to ignore for now, and a couple of emails probably for his bar. He was closing tonight, so thankfully his shift didn’t start until later.
He could do without Ray’s whining about getting hit on by the “coolest stripper ever” for as long as he could anyway. With only a couple of years between them, Donnie still didn’t see how they could both be legal adults. Not that he was that attentive or mature-ish in his actions, but the kid? That dude was way worse than he had ever been at twenty-one.
Though he did like throwing parties. Not so much nowdays, as he was usually tired or just getting off his shift when old friends of his wanted to hang out. Apparently, sleep and waiting until the weekends were for old people, not those only a few years out from college.
Ah, college, Donnie mused. Life felt so much simpler back then. The drinking made it easier too, though, so he wondered how much he really did that hadn’t involved substances he could abuse.
That real talk was for later. Primarily because he was near to freezing his ass off and he should really talk to Lannon again, especially before they accidentally see each other at the bar.
Donnie scuffed his shoes on the sidewalk before pulling out his phone. Texting a quick “I’m sorry, call me when you’re free,” he sent the message, and simply waited on a bench, seeing a few people pass by with their kids. They were certainly dressed warmer than he was, in a loose long-sleeve and capri pants.
He really should have checked the weather report before he left with a frustrated huff. Perhaps he learned his lesson now. The temperature sure was a kind of motivator for some people, including him, of course. But, Donnie still had to wait a little while for Lannon to write back, so he might as well enjoy the outdoors as well as he could.