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Mikleo knew Sorey had a thing for heights, but this was a little ridiculous.

“...How did you even get up there?” he asked. Sorey’s figure was silhouetted against the sun and the light was making his eyes water. He probably didn’t know that he looked a bit comical like that, standing on top of his house, feet planted, hands resting triumphantly on his hips.

Sorey caught sight of him, smiled and waved. His expression was bright enough to rival the light behind him. “Hey, Mikleo!”

Mikleo rolled his eyes. “Honestly,” he murmured, but he was already scanning the side of Sorey’s house. He could see the grooves in the rock that would make perfect handholds. “I’m coming up, don’t move.”

“‘M not going anywhere,” Sorey chirped, and leaned back against the chimney.

Sorey was the one who particularly likes climbing--he took on dizzying drops with an ease and thoughtlessness that sent Mikleo’s heart leaping into his throat every time. But Mikleo was nimble in his own right too, and he hoisted himself up and made the short climb to the roof just fine. When he stood up the ground seemed to shrink, and he suddenly felt dizzy with the height. He stumbled a step, and Sorey’s hands caught at his arm.

“Whoa,” said Sorey, “be careful.”

“I am,” said Mikleo, but sunk to his knees all the same. The breeze was cool but the sun was warm, and the rock of the house had been heated in the afternoon light. It was rough in texture but soft in shape, the way the divots and lumps of it fit under his hand. Sorey settled next to him.

“The clouds are really beautiful today.”

“They are.”

“It’s nice up here, don’t you think?”

“I’m surprised you haven’t done this before, actually,” said Mikleo with a wry smile.

Sorey grinned back. “I’m glad I did it today, though!”

They sat in silence for a few seconds. It really was a beautiful day—the clouds were a striking contrast against the sky, and from Sorey’s house on the hill they could see all the way to the forest. Mikleo was close to letting his eyes slip shut and enjoying the wind on his face, but a sudden thought struck him and he frowned.

“How are we going to get down?”

Sorey’s face fell. “Oh.” There were a few more moments of silence before he shrugged. “I’m sure we’ll figure something out.”

“Sure, genius,” said Mikleo, but let it drop. He let out a breath, relaxing again, and let his head fall onto Sorey’s shoulder. He was surprised at the flinch he got in response.

“Sorey,” he said, a little hurt, “I’m not going to- that was a one-time thing. Don’t worry.”

Something in Sorey’s face flickered. “Yeah, Mikleo. I know.”

He didn’t say it aloud, but Mikleo knew what they were both thinking. A few days ago, late afternoon, Mikleo had been dead asleep when Sorey shook him awake for dinner. His face had been low over Mikleo’s head, eyes vivid green even through the haze of sleep. Without thinking, he had kissed him.

He hadn’t been able to even look at Sorey for hours afterwards.

And his lips had been softer than expected.

Mikleo stopped his blush by force of will and moved on. “Hey, I found this when I was doing chores today—I forgot to show you. I think it could be some kind of charm.”

Sorey glanced over the tarnished metal in the palm of Mikleo’s hand and smiled. “Cool.”

“Look at the wear on it—it could be ancient.”

“Yeah, it probably is.”

Mikleo frowned. “Okay, what’s wrong?”

Sorey’s eyes widened fractionally before he glanced away. “Nothing.”

Mikleo gave him a look. “Mhm,” he said, and slipped the buttons back into his pocket. “Did you really think you could get away with that sort of act with me?”

Sorey chuckled, but he kept refusing to meet Mikleo’s eyes.

“Sorey,” said Mikleo, half bordering on whining, “Are you still upset about falling in the ditch yesterday—“

“It’s not that,” said Sorey. “It’s okay, Mikleo. Honestly. I’ll get over you.”

Mikleo froze. “...Sorry?”

Sorey blinked at him. “What?”

“You’ll- you’ll get over me ?”

Sorey’s eyes widened and through them Mikleo could see him die a thousand times over. “ It! ” he said, his voice high and strained. “I’ll get over it .”

Mikleo wanted to say something smooth, like ‘why didn’t you think of how you would get down before you got over the house’, but he opened his mouth, gaped for a second, and said “Do you like me?”

Sorey smiled and subtly began to inch away. “Yeah, of course I like you. Why do you think I’m still around?”

They were both sweating, trying not to let the pain show on their faces. Mikleo knew for a fact that he’d gone entirely red.

“Not like that ,” he said, still struggling to keep his hopes from rising. “ know. Like like.”

He had barely let himself think about the kiss--he had only grudgingly allowed himself to realize that he had enjoyed it--but confessions definitely weren’t supposed to go like this. He had imagined something private, secluded, intimate and quiet and without the neighbors staring at them, probably wondering whether they should intervene or not.

Sorey smiled harder, as if somehow it’d make his expression more convincing. “Remember when you kissed me?”

Mikleo knew his face was twisted into an unattractive expression. “What do you think ?” he ground out. “Didn’t we agree not to mention it? On penalty of death?”

Sorey laughed nervously, and his voice was tiny when he spoke. “I… do you think you could do it again?”

Mikleo stared at him for a moment, mind blank and a ball of nervous, hopeful, cautious happiness rising in his throat. “Yes?”

Sorey nodded and scrunched his eyes shut. Mikleo leaned in. Sorey didn’t seem to notice how close he’d gotten to the edge of the roof.

“Sorey,” said Mikleo suddenly, “you’re going to fall-”

Sorey’s eyes popped open, his hands slipped, and he tumbled backwards off the roof.


“Sorey.” Mikleo grabbed his shoulders but didn’t shake him, afraid that he’d do more harm than good. “Sorey. Sorey.” Weren’t you not supposed to move someone if they had a spine injury? Did Sorey have a spine injury? Was the fall enough to do that?

Sorey groaned and scrunched up his face, and Mikleo’s shoulders slumped with relief. “Good god,” he murmured, sitting back on his heels.

Sorey squinted unhappily. “‘S bright,” he slurred.

“You’re looking at the sun,” said Mikleo, trying not to let his voice shake.

“Aw,” said Sorey, groping blindly for his hand, which Mikleo provided after several seconds. “You were worried about me.”

“Of course I was!” Mikleo snapped. “You fell off the roof! You were out cold!”

“Yeah, guess I did,” said Sorey.

Mikleo tried not to roll his eyes, and failed. “I’m going to say that that’s the fall talking. Stay right there, I’ll-”

“Mikleo, wait!”

Mikleo froze. “What is it?”

“You forgot something,” said Sorey. Mikleo raised an eyebrow, and Sorey huffed, then blushed. “You know. Like what you were gonna do on the roof-”

“You’re unbelievable,” said Mikleo. He pecked Sorey on the lips, then quickly turned away so he won’t see how red he’d gotten. “Stay still, I’m going to get Gramps.”

He glanced back once to see Sorey grinning at the sky. It was only when he touched his face that he realized he was doing the same.