It was the first birthday he was going to spend without him - without his other half.
Weaver had been in New York for a couple of months now, and he hadn’t stopped to cry about missing home for even a single day. He was fine, he did the right choice. Except – he was turning nineteen in a few minutes, and for the first time in his life, he wasn’t spending it with someone that he shared the date with. It had never been his birthday, his day, his celebration. It was always ours.
Right now, Weaver was surrounded by strangers. People from his university, friends of friends, people that knew nothing about him. Kai knew him. He knew that Weaver absolutely hated having his photo taken, would know not to stop him every five minutes to pose for one. He knew that he absolutely hated balloons, like the ones hanging all around his dorm at the moment.
Kai would know how to ease him with just one look from across the room. He always had.
They were turning four, and they’d just learned that it could hurt if Kai grabbed Weaver’s arm the wrong way. It burned, but he could do weird things afterwards. He made Weaver laugh with tricks. They also learned not to do it in front of other people.
They were turning eight, and the bruises were becoming more common. So were the hiding spots. They learned not to be around the rest of the family for long period of times, especially not one without the other. The next summer, they decided to build a tree house.
They were turning eleven, and the stories about “The Merge” started being brought up more often during family dinners. It would be expected of them. That evening, Weaver stole all their favorite snacks from the kitchen cabinet and they spent the night laughing and watching old vhs movies they weren’t allowed to. Kai had just learned how to cast a semi decent silencing spell around them.
They were turning thirteen, and they spent that one crying. Their father didn’t tolerate any questioning.
They were turning sixteen, and that one was different, and yet it felt so natural. They spent the night drinking, and smiling, and kissing. Kissing and defying every expectation people could have of them. It felt world-changing. Kai tasted every bit of bittersweet Weaver could think of.
He was turning nineteen, and there was no them anymore. He didn’t know how Kai was doing. If he was happy, well fed, warm. If he was bleeding. He had no idea if Kai was even missing him.
Someone laughed loudly by his side. Someone passed him a cup full of a clear, cheap liquid. He drank, he smiled. He took another picture with someone he had no idea who it was. He accepted the cheers from everyone when the clocks turned midnight.
He didn’t think of him anymore for the whole night.
(except that he did. kai was everywhere - the ugly cushions he’d for sure hate, the loud music he’d complain about, the empty walls that had a similar pattern to that one kai had made fun of once, the damn porkrinds. the dizziness that weaver felt when he layed down hours later, the blood that he got on his finger while trying to slice a lime earlier, the pounding on his head the next morning, the scattered papers all around the floor. his face when he looked in the mirror. kai was everywhere, except here, by his side.)