Soldier [I/II]

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Max and Dylan


Soldier

I.

He was nervous.

Two months had passed since that fateful night, and for two months, they'd been taking full advantage of Skype – talking, getting to know each other in a new light altogether, and, yes, flirting...but it had been harmless. Dylan was god-knows-how-many miles away, and even though Max knew that what they had going on was real anyway, it just felt easier and safer with a screen in between them.

But not anymore. The barriers were all going to come tumbling down.

"I feel like I should be teasing you about finally seeing your boyfriend right now, but you don't look so good." Jake's comment brought him out of his thoughts. "You okay?"

He nodded unconvincingly.

"What's wrong? Are you not happy about this?"

Jake had seen through it, or maybe it was the way he'd been fidgeting in his seat that had given him away. He sighed. "I'm just nervous." He shook his head. "I know it doesn't make sense, because we've been talking and all, but, you know. This is..."

"Actually happening?"

"Yeah."

"Don't worry about it. It's going to be alright."

*

And it was.

As soon as Dylan – his boyfriend – appeared through arrivals, the knot in Max's stomach seemed to magically dissolve. Those eyes and that smile...they were warm. Familiar. Safe.

His heart only soared when Dylan greeted him while maintaining a distance, without making it seem unusual. He'd promised to go slow, and even though a simple hug wouldn't be a step outside of Max's comfort zone, it made him almost giddy to realize that his boyfriend would stick to his promise to the letter.

It would be alright.

Although, of course, it didn't mean that Max didn't want to give him a warmer greeting. He just wasn't sure how to go about it now that the perfect excuse had passed him by. And Jake was there, too...

"Jesus. Do you guys need a minute?"

"Huh?"

"What?"

Jake rolled his eyes; his friends were hopeless. He really wasn't as dense as he was accused of being sometimes, and certainly, even a blind man could see the way the pair were stealing glances at each other, then looking back at their feet to pretend nothing was cooking.

"You know what? You guys just wait here. I'll bring the car...and in the meanwhile, you're...free to do whatever it is you so clearly want to."

He turned heel and left before Dylan could protest – Max's face had caught fire and he'd been rendered incapable of saying anything. Did Jake really have to be so blunt?

"Uh, so...hi?" Dylan tried again after an awkward moment of silence.

"Hey." Come on, just go for it! "It's really great seeing you...Dylan."

"Likewise, Max."

Suddenly, a simple hug didn't seem so simple. What was the correct protocol, now that the 'hello' part was over? Had he missed yet another opportunity?

Screw it. "Dylan...hi." He took a step closer, hoping his seemingly omniscient boyfriend would take the hint this time too.

He didn't disappoint.

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