Remix: Enough (The Sweet Dreams Remix) [Billy Cooper/Charlie Eppes, 300 words, rated G], by sour_louise
His whole life, Charlie's been trying to keep up, trying to be enough. He's always been weaker, nerdier. Smarter, too, but smarter doesn't count for much when what you're being compared to is Don Eppes.
When Billy first asks him out, he thinks it's a joke, a mistake. A bet, maybe. "Are you sure you've got the right brother?" he asks, faking a smile, feeling small and needy.
"Yeah," Billy says, "I have." And he's serious, Charlie can see, he means it. But that doesn't mean that Charlie believes him. A man like Billy could have anyone he wanted, anyone at all.
When they're together Charlie's louder, more reckless, desperate to impress, to be someone he's not. He drinks a little more than he should, takes stupid risks that rarely pay off.
Like this one, because here he is lying in the snow, his head pounding, dizziness ringing in his ears. He lies still, eyes smarting, hearing Billy's approach, waiting for the laughter, the humiliation.
But when he looks up, Billy's isn't laughing, not even close. His eyes are wide, his face pale, naked with concern and care. With fear, and suddenly Charlie feels ashamed. "I'm sorry," he says, and he's not talking about the fall. "I'm so sorry."
"It's okay," says Billy, dropping to his knees, checking Charlie over. "You're okay."
That night, Charlie wakes with his head cradled protectively in Billy's lap. He's still sore, but he turns, presses a kiss to Billy's warm skin, raising himself up enough to allow Billy to slide down beside him. Billy curls against him, his slim body pressed to Charlie's, holding on like he won't ever let go.
"I'm here," he murmurs, kissing the back of Charlie's neck.
"I know," says Charlie. He pulls Billy's arms tighter around him. "I know."