Word Count: 3419
Summary: Chris gets some very strange late night texts that need explaining.
Warnings: Blink-and-you-miss-it angst, fluff, swearing.
A/N: Inspired by a post on tumblr about what NPH could be thinking as Mia Swier went in for a hug at the MDNA concert. This is my first venture into the Glee/CrissColfer fandom (and the first fic I've written since 2009) and I am a little terrified, so please, be gentle. This has only been looked over by my critical eye, so any and all errors are my own. Please feel free to point them out. Last, but not least, this was written before I found out that Chris was also in attendance at MDNA last night. So I guess it's AU. Oops?
Sleep is good. Sleep is perfect. Especially when sleep is so hard to come by lately, what with recording, shooting, writing, living. Yes, sleep is wonderful. Which is why Chris is two seconds away from throwing his phone into the wall.
He is almost asleep when the first text comes in. A simple, soft, subtle chime that startles him for a moment, curiosity almost causing him to lean over to check who it is from since everyone he knows that would text him at this hour is either supposedly busy or sleeping themselves, but his blankets are too warm, his pillow too soft and so his muscles relax and he sinks back down into the mattress, eyes shutting once more.
The phone chimes again. And again. And a third time. The sound is no longer subtle or soft and the buzzing from the vibrations is steady as the texts continue to pour in. It's somewhere around the sixth message that Chris finally flings his comforter away from himself, a noise of frustration vibrating in his throat as he snatches the phone off the bedside table and angrily unlocks it to read the messages.
Darren is here with Mia.
Seriously, Chris. He's here. With Mia!
WHY IS HE HERE WITH MIA???
DID YOU KNOW THEY WERE COMING TOGETHER???
Oh god, you didn't know did you...
She wanted me to hug her but I didn't because it's Darren and it's you and that's just mean and mostly I just don't like the look of her anyway because come on, there's something weird about her eyes, but oh god, you really didn't know did you?
I'm going to call you.
Should I call you?
Chris why aren't you answering are you breaking up with him?????????????? DON'T BREAK UP WITH HIM HE HAS CURLY HAIR
The last message comes just as Chris finishes scanning the messages, jaw dropped open in surprise. Surprise at the messages or the content or who they're from, he can't really be sure, but all he knows is that Neil Patrick Harris is texting him. He's texting him, like they're friends instead of sort-of-not-really former co-workers that occasionally run into each other at events and who just happened to exchange numbers because Neil is too nice for his own good and oh god, Neil Patrick Harris is texting him about Darren and somehow he knows something that Chris obviously doesn't and for some reason he feels like telling Chris about Mia and suddenly Chris is glad he's sitting down because he feels like his world just got flipped upside down.
Seriously Chris, please answer me and let me know you're okay. I'm really worried now, god, sorry. I should have kept my mouth shut.
It takes all of Chris' mental energy to send back a very eloquent reply of Um?? He even uses a double question mark. Chris never uses double question marks.
Another text comes in, but he pulls up his contacts lists before he has a chance to see what it says. His finger hovers over Darren's number for a brief second before he presses it, holding the phone against his ear as his stomach explodes in a series of nervous acrobatic moves while he waits for Darren's cheerful answer.
"Hey! What are you doing up this late? I thought you were going to sle-"
"So Neil Patrick Harris sent me a text or rather a lot of texts and he might have mentioned seeing you and Mia and how she wanted to hug him but he likes me better and he doesn't want me to break up with you because you have curly hair and what the hell is going on?" The words come out in a breathless rush and suddenly Chris wishes he had ignored his phone or shut it off completely before he had gone to bed, early morning wake up call be damned. He can feel his cheeks flushed and not for the first time he curses his too pale skin and is simply thankful that at least he's alone and can pretend he's not actually burning up in embarrassment.
Clearly Darren is as eloquent as he is in situations like these. Chris exhales slowly and tries again. "Sorry, hi. I just...I was almost asleep and he just sent me all these messages and I have no idea what to make of this. I thought maybe you would know something."
Silence, followed shortly by a softer, more hesitant "Um...".
Chris blinks. Darren definitely knows something, is hiding something and it makes the heavy feeling in his chest twist painfully. "Nevermind," he rushes to reassure him. "I'm sorry, it's not my place to ask. Just forget I said anything. It must have been some concert for him to drink that much, right?" He laughs a little, the sound forced even to his own ears, and not for the first time tonight, he regrets needing a cellphone at all. He would really need to rethink having it as his main form of communication.
There's a lull in the conversation, painfully awkward, and Chris fidgets on his bed, tugging absentmindedly at a loose thread on the hem of his pajama pants. He's just about to make up some excuse about why he needs to go (it's one in the morning, shouldn't that be excuse enough?) when he hears it. A muffled, high pitched, relaxed voice saying Darren's name, just loud enough for Chris to hear the questioning lilt behind it. That stupid feeling in his chest drops somewhere around his stomach and lurches unpleasantly. He barely registers Darren's muffled reply of "Yeah, hang on a minute," before Chris starts speaking again, the words bubbling up and out of his mouth before he has a chance to stop them.
"I'm so sorry, you're still out and busy and you obviously have company and I'm bothering you so I'm just going to go. Sleep. Yeah. What I was trying to do before I interrupted you. I'm really sorry." Chris thinks he's going for a record for how many times he can apologize in one night.
"Seriously, Darren, go have fun. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
"I..." Darren trails off, something Chris knows for a fact he rarely ever does and it takes all his willpower not to hang up the phone because this isn't Darren. This isn't the guy who Chris has come to love silently as his best friend. This is a Darren who is awkward and uncomfortable and is hiding things and Chris hates it. "Yeah, okay. Later, Chris."
There's emotion in those words, something soft and subtle that Chris can't quite pick up on, but he forgets about it as soon as he finds himself muttering a soft "Goodbye" before hanging up the phone and tossing it aside like it bit him. With a graceless flop, he lands with his back on the mattress, staring blankly up at the ceiling as he tries to process what it was exactly that had just happened. His phone starts buzzing again and with a frustrated sigh, Chris grabs it once more, powering it down without bothering to glance at the screen. He goes back to staring.
There's only one thing Chris knows for certain and that's the knowledge that he won't be getting any sleep tonight.
A knock at the door snaps him out of his thoughts and a quick glance at the clock on his bedside table tells him three hours have passed. Chris' brow furrows together, shoving himself off of the bed before he stumbles tiredly towards the front door. Someone showing up at his house can only mean something bad and he tries not to let his overactive imagination run away from him as he sneaks a quick look through the peephole.
Chris feels like all the breath has left him as he spies silently. Darren's face is distorted, but even so, Chris can see the exhaustion around his eyes and the shadow of a beard already beginning to form along his jaw. There is nothing, however, to indicate why the hell he's standing on Chris' doorstep at four in the morning.
With a click of a lock, the door is pulled open, Chris leaning casually against the frame as if his heart wasn't beating a thousand miles a minute. Even when he's oh-so-obviously tired and rumpled, Darren still manages to look beautiful. "I was sleeping," Chris says by way of a greeting and he hopes that by blinking rapidly and hiding a fake yawn behind his hand that he can actually pass it off as truth.
Darren's soft smile and response of "No, you weren't," means Chris finds himself obviously failing and he isn't sure if it's a testament to how well Darren knows him or if he's just an incredibly bad actor this early in the morning. Either way, he drops the act with a resigned sigh. "Fine, you caught me. I wasn't. I take it you're coming in?" He pushes himself away from the door, wandering to the kitchen and leaving Darren to lock up behind himself, rightfully guessing that the older man would follow after him. "Something to drink?" he asks, not because he really wants anything, though his mouth is impossibly dry and has the distinct taste of morning breath in it, despite not having slept it all. He really just wants something to do with his hands.
Darren's decline doesn't stop Chris from grabbing a Diet Coke for himself before settling against the counter, popping the tab open and taking a drink as he eyes the other over the top of the rim. "So. To what do I owe the pleasure?" he finally asks, once again breaking the silence between them. He tries not to notice the way Darren's fidgeting with his hands in a way he only ever does when he's psyching himself up to do something big.
The question seems to snap his attention back into place and he glances up at Chris with impossibly wide eyes that do nothing except emphasis his long lashes and highlight his gorgeous eyes more than they usual. Chris bites his lower lip, repressing the swell of compliments that dance on the tip of his tongue and reminds himself for the millionth time that Darren is a friend, a best friend, and despite his impossibly good looks, that is no reason to objectify him, even if it is only in his head.
"I wanted to apologize for tonight."
Out of all the things Chris had been preparing for (platitudes about how amazing Madonna is or how Darren booked a new gig at that place he's been eying for weeks or how he's finally moving into a respectable apartment, one that's in a neighborhood where Chris won't feel the need to drag his bodyguard along with when he visits), that was not one of them and it catches his attention quickly. "You have nothing to apologize for." It's the truth. Any awkwardness had been brought about by Chris alone.
Darren shakes his head and Chris can just barely see the corners of his mouth tilting up in a small mirthless smile. "No, I really, really do." Another pause and then Darren's shuffling a few steps closer as Chris' hand tightens around the cold soda can. "Those texts that you got. From Neil..."
Despite himself, Chris can't help but find this new side of Darren just as charming as all the others he's seen over the course of their friendship. Even if it is weird and he's still obviously hiding things. "What about them?" he questions, pleased to find his voice is steady and even and not at all breathless despite the way his insides feel. Instinctively, he just knows that Darren isn't going to get through this without a little prompting and Chris is happy to help. He feels like he's going to burst unless he's let in on the secret.
Hazel eyes fall to the ground and Chris finds himself self-consciously wiggling his bare toes when Darren's gaze stays on them for too long. He knew he should have put socks on before answering, his feet were freaky, too veiny, toes a little too hairy, and--
"I might have talked to him about you."
That stops the self-deprecating thoughts about his feet in their tracks and Chris visibly blanches, mouth dropping open a little as Darren squirms uncomfortably at his admission before a confused and eloquent "Huh?" manages to make it's way out. Thankfully, it seems to be what Darren needs to finally allow an explanation to pour out.
"It was just... You know, we were at some party and he happened to show up with David and I was just watching them and you know how I get when I'm nervous, I just start blurting things." Darren gives Chris a significant look as if to say see, I'm doing it now but Chris is too shell shocked to appreciate the humor and do anything more than nod for him to continue. "So I just found myself telling them how awesome I thought it was that they were together and happy and had a family and it was so fucking cool that they had each other. And I might have said how I wished I could have that too and I guess Neil somehow picked up that I wasn't just talking about a relationship in general and he pulled me aside and gave me his number and said I could talk to him about anything and it's fucking Neil Patrick Harris, Chris, so I just found myself telling him everything and just." Darren's hands are raking through his hair now, chest rising rapidly as he tries to take a few steadying breaths and he looks so out of control, so out of his element that Chris suddenly doesn't care what happened a few hours before or how weird he had been feeling since. He simply sets his drink down and lays a comforting hand on Darren's arm, thumb brushing unconsciously over the soft skin as he tries to reassure Darren that whatever it is, whatever is wrong, he will always have Chris to be there for him, even if it is only through awkward arm contact and a sympathetic look.
The gesture seems to provide enough comfort for Darren to gather his thoughts because suddenly he's looking at Chris, really looking at him in that way that has always unnerved him. A wobbly smile appears as Chris squirms under the intense stare and he drops his hand away only to wrap his arms around himself protectively. Suddenly he isn't sure if he
can handle whatever bomb Darren's about to drop. "So you told him all that and then finally manned up to ask Mia out, huh?" Chris can only hope he looks as supportive as he tried to be earlier, but considering how fast his heart is beating and how difficult breathing suddenly seems, he's doubting his acting abilities for the second time tonight.
Darren has the audacity to laugh at that, an actual loud, booming laugh that seems so out of place in the relative darkness of the house and the situation and for a few seconds, Chris feels angry, heated embarrassment spreading over his cheeks for the second time that night and he's about to snap back a reply when Darren grins and shakes his head. "No," he says, and it's obvious he's still amused, judging by the way his eyes are lit up and he seems more relaxed than he has in weeks. "I told him I was in love with you."
Blood rushes into his ears, making it seem as if wave after wave of ocean water is crashing over his head and surely he must be getting sick if Chris is hearing things like this, that Darren is in love with him. Darren, who is gorgeous and talented and has a smile for everyone and likes to cuddle and push personal boundaries and owns every single Disney movie on DVD and VHS and who is about as close to perfect as any singular person could be, in love with Chris who is just... Well. Chris Colfer from Clovis, California, who has tiny teeth and weird feet, and too many comic related t-shirts and an extremely obese cat who eats baked goods and who was picked on for most of his life for being gay and different and weird.
"You can't be in love with me."
"I promise you I can be. And have been. And still am." Chris shakes his head no, arms wrapping more tightly around himself because things like this don't happen to people like him. "People like you? No. There is no other person in the world like you, Chris." Chris realizes belatedly he said that last part out loud and he flushes, eyes dropping down to look at the floor the way Darren had only moments earlier.
"Hey." He senses more than hears Darren closing the gap between them and Chris allows his eyes to shut as a warm hand touches the side of his hip hesitantly. "I promise I'm not fucking with you, okay?" The words are said so gently, with so much emotion that Chris can't help but want to believe them and he takes a deep breath before slowly raising his head to meet Darren's eyes. He studies them for a moment, looking for any sign, any indicator that this is all a joke and someone is going to jump out with a camera and declare him punked, but all he sees is sincerity and admiration and... Oh. Okay. Yeah, that's definitely love.
"You're in love with me," he parrots back stupidly and Chris decides he really needs to work on his ability to speak properly when situations like this arise because he knows he is far from stupid but tonight he feels as if his IQ has taken an extreme dive.
The wide, near blinding smile Darren gives him is more than enough to make up for it, though, and Chris finds himself grinning back when Darren nods and says once again, "I am so fucking in love with you, Chris."
Chris really doesn't need to hear anymore before he leans in (launched would probably be a better term, but he tells his brain to shut up), arms snaking around Darren's shoulders as he kisses him, years of desire and build up melting away as their lips touch for the first time. This isn't Kurt and Blaine, this is Chris and Darren, and it's so much better and god, why did Chris ever delude himself into believing he didn't need this.
Darren gives back as good as Chris is giving and soon their hands are everywhere, dragging fingers up the back of shirts and running messily through hair that is blissfully product free, and it's messy and a little sloppy because they both can't stop smiling but to Chris, it's absolutely one hundred percent perfect. The kisses are beginning to taper off, with Darren lightly pressing his lips against the corner of his mouth or the side of his jaw, content to simply be on the same page for the first time in two years, before Chris starts laughing. He tries to muffle the sound against Darren's shoulder, but his own are rising and falling and all too soon, Darren is pulling back to give him a questioning look, eyebrow raised curiously.
"What's so funny?"
It takes Chris a moment to control himself enough to answer, fingers tugging playfully at the curls around the nape of Darren's neck. "You told Neil Patrick Harris you're in love with me."
He isn't sure how it's possibly, but Chris' smile grows even wider. "Neil Patrick Harris sent me those texts, Darren. Neil Patrick Harris thought we were together and that you were cheating on me."
Darren blinks slowly a few times before his own grin spreads, pressing his forehead against Chris' own as he releases his own breathy laughter at the situation. "Yeah, well. Remind me to send him a fucking thank you card." This makes Chris laugh all over again before the sound is muffled by Darren's lips against his own.
Chris thinks they'll have to send something far better than a mere card, but he keeps that thought to himself.