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Maybe Ravi should be glad he has the bed all to himself—there was a time when he told his father flat out that he wouldn’t share. He could go back to sprawling out from end to end and hogging all the blankets, savouring all the pillows. He doesn’t have to worry about rolling into someone else’s sweat-slicked scorching body or waking up to someone else’s morning breath across his lips.

But he also doesn’t have someone else to hold in his arms, and there are no other arms around him. After a year of sharing the small apartment, sharing the one room, it feels strange to be alone again. It feels wrong. His father’s away three-quarters of the time and the place has two bedrooms; they don’t need to cuddle up every night, but they do, and Ravi keeps staring through the darkness at the empty side of the bed.

He misses Dino, even though he’s mad at Dino—he’s the one that insisted Dino sleep on the couch. He expected more of a fight. Dino was supposed to remind him that he knew exactly who he was falling for, that Dino bragged on day one about being a wild, drunken, impossible creature, so Ravi has no right to be surprised when his boyfriend disappears all day to a college party and leaves him all alone. Instead, obviously exhausted, Dino muttered an apology and collapsed on the couch rather than all over Ravi in their bed.

It’s his own fault. He rushed things. He let a man move in despite being almost his polar opposite, just because he liked the way that man wrapped around him in the middle of the night. He stares at the far wall and reprimands himself without any vitriol. It’s hard to be mad when he’s so tired. Lonely. It feels pathetic to be lonely. He tries desperately to forget it all and sleep, but it’s just not happening.

And in another hour, Ravi accepts it. He lets out a long breath and pushes up onto his elbows, legs kicking the blanket away. He steps over the side of the bed and climbs up, yawning on his way, silently padding out of the bedroom.

He turns the handle as quiet as he can, even though the only other person home is someone he’s supposed to be fighting with. He tries to keep his footsteps light, even though he’s a heavy person, all raw muscle mass, while his partner’s smoother and softer beside him. He creeps around the couch and finds Dino sound asleep there, still in the jeans and shirt he left in, head on the armrest and legs bent to fit.

There’s nowhere near enough room on the cramped couch for two full grown men, especially not when one’s the size of Ravi. He climbs over the end anyway and tries to squeeze between Dino and the backrest. He braces one arm around Dino’s warm body, carefully clutching Dino’s hip, not about to let him topple over the edge.

Dino makes a grunting noise and shifts, stirring. He glances over with fluttering lashes and sleep in his eyes. Then his lips stretch into a languid grin, and he has the nerve to mutter, “’Knew you couldn’t resist me.”

Ravi just sighs. He hates that Dino’s right. They were reckless, jumping in so fast, but this is where it all started and what did him in: sleeping together—not the nights of fierce fucking or gentle love making but just purely sleeping all tangled up in each other’s limbs. And it still gives Ravi the same shiver of joy that it did back then. Dino squirms around, rolling over, so he can hook his chin over Ravi’s shoulder, beard tickling his bare skin. Dino presses flush against him—the only way to stay on the couch.

Ravi kisses his temple and doesn’t say a word. There’s nothing to say. He hugs Dino tight until he finally drifts off, all the happier for the company.