“Um, my stuff,” Bad said, looking up from the box on the doorstep. His lips quirked up into an awkward smile, the same smile Skeppy learned he only wore when he was thoroughly uncomfortable. “I came to get my stuff. I, uh, sent you a text about it earlier today.”
That was true. Skeppy had received the text early that morning, but he still wasn’t prepared to see the man himself standing at what used to be their doorstep.
At their doorstep. With a box for his stuff. After their breakup last month.
How had it come to this?
“You mind letting me in to get my stuff?”
Skeppy snapped out of his trance, then snatched the box up from the floor. “I can get it for you. You just… stay out here.” He almost winced as soon as those words left his mouth. His voice was dead, faded from disuse.
Bad raised an eyebrow but didn't get the chance to say anything before Skeppy slammed the door shut in his face.
Skeppy took a deep breath and sighed.
Okay. He could do this. The closest room was the kitchen. There couldn’t be that much left in it after… everything that had happened in there.
Shards of smashed plates littering the kitchen floor had been cleaned up, dinner cooking on the stove had been tossed into the trash can, and tears that were spilt had dried. Now, takeout and frozen meal boxes piled up inside the trash can. Vegetables rotted inside the crisper. He couldn’t remember the last time he had mustered up the energy to cook something.
Well, Bad was the chef between the two of them. Skeppy should start looking now if he wanted to gather everything quickly.
Nothing in the fridge was worth giving back at this point. But even from a cursory glance at the counter… wow. Bad must’ve left quickly for him to leave some of his most used kitchenware here.
Skeppy set the box on the counter separated his kitchenware from Bad’s, tossing Bad’s into the box and pointedly ignoring the whisk Bad had always used for mixing muffin batter.
But nothing could go ignored for forever. Skeppy winced as he picked up the whisk, gripping the handle the same way Bad had so patiently taught him to. There were nicks in certain parts of the wooden handle, though he couldn’t quite remember where they had come from.
It was a rainy day when Bad had dragged Skeppy out of his room, chuckling in that fond way he did while Skeppy pouted about his editing being interrupted. But when Skeppy walked into the kitchen to find ingredients mise en place on the kitchen island with the oven already preheated, looked over at a whisk and bowl ready on the counter, then turned to see Bad’s bright smile…
He felt so loved. He had felt so loved.
But it didn’t stop there. Bad had stood next to him, watching patiently as Skeppy struggled to not send flour flying everywhere. Skeppy groaned when part of the flour went flying anyway.
“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Bad had said to him that day. Patience had always been his strong point, hadn't it? He set his hand on top of Skeppy’s and guided the whisk with the same gentleness Skeppy had grown to adore so much. “Just go slower, okay? No rush here.”
Skeppy’s heart had leapt to his throat. He had never felt warmer in his life.
And he never did feel warmer than that ever again, did he?
The handle of the whisk felt so, so cold.
Skeppy swallowed his feelings and threw the whisk in the box, wringing his hand as if it could wring away how frozen it felt. The coldness of the whisk remained embedded into his skin.
Enough of the kitchen, onto the dining room.
And there, Skeppy was reminded he had always been keen on impulsively buying whatever stupid trinket he saw at the market and gifting it to Bad, who had always accepted the gift but chided him for wasting his money. Out of what had to be a good number of gifts, a particularly familiar trinket glittered under the lights above the dining table.
It was that dumb cardboard Minecraft diamond he had bought from some booth at a Minecraft convention they had attended together. Why did he still remember that?
“Skeppy, don’t waste your money on that,” Bad had sighed, hiding his face with a hand.
Skeppy had laughed and pried the hand off. God, Bad was so cute when he was embarrassed. “Aw, come on. It’s a diamond, it’s me!”
“Wow, you’re gifting me yourself?”
“Yeah,” Skeppy had said. He had slung an arm around Bad’s waist and snuggled closer. “Then you’ll never forget me.”
Bad, even through his embarrassment, had smiled at that. “Don’t be ridiculous. I could never forget you.”
Funny how that turned out. Maybe this one was better left where it was.
Well… the gift was still technically Bad's, wasn't it? Skeppy hadn't touched the trinket since he first bought it; Bad was the one whose eyes shined as he gazed adoringly at it, who turned it over repeatedly in his hand, who it had meant so much to. Would it be a disservice of him to keep it? It did functionally serve as a reminder of his existence, after all.
Ah, fuck it. That would have to be Bad's call to make. Skeppy dropped the trinket into the box and moved on to the living room.
Obviously, Bad’s gaming controllers were the first objects Skeppy's mind immediately jumped to, but there was only one of each controller left in the drawers. Bad sure did have his priorities straight when he left. The knife-throwing set was gone, too. Most of the copious amounts of planners Bad had failed to keep up with were gone without a trace, but Skeppy supposed even he didn't have enough room to take them with him, because one was left behind.
Skeppy reached onto the drawer and took the planner out. It wouldn't be a crime to flip through it… right? Now that their relationship was over? It was just a planner, after all, not a diary or journal.
Morals be damned, Skeppy flipped through the pages.
Every page was filled to the brim with reminders for meetings with staff, filming videos with various people (most of which had been Skeppy), general life appointments, and so many more notes just looking at it all made his head spin.
Skeppy bit back a smile at the anniversary date written in all caps and circled with blue pen. This planner must’ve been from sometime last year, then. Flipping through the pages, more dates were scheduled on weekends after Bad’s usual streams, a date in the middle of the week when they were particularly busy, then no date for the next week… then one date on Friday the week after that…
Skeppy’s smile faded. By the time he reached the end of the planner, they had gone a full month without a date scheduled.
The nature of their jobs meant the two were constantly in their rooms, going hours without taking a single step out. Skeppy had tried to remedy that issue by snuggling up to Bad while Bad edited a video, but it had apparently been “too distracting” (Bad’s words, not his). Meanwhile, Bad had been perfectly content going for days without speaking.
That had always been the problem with them, hadn’t it? Bad had always been aloof, not unloving by any means but content with his own company. But Skeppy—he craved any form of intimacy, attention, affection. The loneliness set in too much otherwise. Still, the tighter he clung, the farther Bad stepped away. Maybe if he had noticed that sooner…
The planner wasn’t up to current date. Skeppy could guess his name wasn’t anywhere on the new pages of the newest planner.
He dropped the planner into the box.
The living room had been wiped clean of Bad’s belongings. Most of the living room had been dominated by Skeppy anyway, so that wasn’t a surprise.
Skeppy picked up the box and walked into his room. He didn’t think he had the heart to go into Bad’s room just yet.
Of course, most of the stuff in his bedroom was his—bed, desk… closet.
He should look in the closet, shouldn’t he?
Skeppy took a deep breath before pulling the closet doors open.
It was impressive just how much of Bad’s clothes he had stolen over their time dating. Just from a cursory glance, he could spot two of Bad’s shirts that had somehow made their way into Skeppy’s closet.
Skeppy packed them in the box, shutting his eyes before he could see the design on the shirts. Looking made it feel so much more real. And that was how he packed several more shirts, a pair of shorts, a couple pairs of socks (which Skeppy definitely didn’t remember wearing, but he supposed that was bound to happen with two people with similar heights in the same household).
But he couldn’t avoid the red and black hoodie lying on the floor of the closet.
It had been a present to celebrate their first anniversary. Skeppy had commissioned a tailor to create a hoodie with the same design as Bad’s Minecraft skin. It had been a bitch to get all the specific measurements without seeming suspicious but…
Nothing could rival how bright and warm and genuine Bad’s smile was as soon as he recognized what the hoodie was. And when Bad smiled at him, his heart shook, trembled in the quiet fear that came with falling so hard for someone. Love threatened to burst his heart at the seams. And that’s what it was, wasn’t it? Pure, unfiltered love.
That love hadn't ever gone away. It just became more and more muted over time until Skeppy was left wondering if there was even a point to any of it. All they had done in their last month of the relationship was argue.
"You know what?" Skeppy had hissed after an hour long argument about something he couldn't even remember anymore. "Fuck you, Bad. Just fuck you."
Of course, predictably, Bad had gasped at that. "Wh—Language! I can't believe you!"
"No, I can't believe you!" One snarky comment from Bad had tipped over months of anger, frustration, fury, every negative emotion under the sun. He wanted to burn everything down. "I wish you never accepted that staff application."
And burn down he did. All of Bad's anger had burned down with it, leaving only the slashed remains of a soul hurt by the one he least expected. He had blinked, he had gaped, he had reached for any words he could but grasped none. His mouth had clamped shut.
Because they both knew what that meant. It was an "I wish I never met you" and an "I would be so much better off without you" wrapped into one verbal punch in the gut. It was a middle finger to everything they had built together, both on YouTube and in real life.
"Is that what you want?" Bad had said, his words so careful, so frail they could shatter at any moment.
He wanted to take it back, he took it all back—
Bad had sniffed. He had sounded close to crying. "Is that really what you want, Skeppy?"
No amount of water could extinguish the wildfire blazing through every end of their relationship. Skeppy stomped on the fires, but ten more replaced every one he put out.
"Fine," Bad had said. He had turned to face the door of the bedroom and walked out, shutting the door behind him.
Then the fires were gone. Everything else was gone with it.
Bad's hoodie had still been folded on his bed, Skeppy had learned that when he lied down against the mattress after that argument. He had picked it up and brought the fabric close to his chest.
It had still been warm. It still smelled like him. It still felt like home.
That night, Skeppy had hugged the warm hoodie close to his chest and cried.
Today, Skeppy found himself hugging the cold hoodie with no tears left to shed.
It was a gift to Bad. Skeppy had no right to hold onto it, no matter how much his heart yearned for a reminder, any reminder of what used to be. He had washed the tear stains out of it, right?
Right. He had. So he hadn’t been a useless mess the entire month after their breakup.
Skeppy took a deep breath, gave the hoodie one last hug, and folded it before placing it in the box. The box was almost full now. He would have to return the rest of Bad’s clothes later, because there was no way all the clothes Skeppy had stolen from Bad over the years would fit into it anymore.
A cursory glance around the room told Skeppy everything else in the room was his. He was certain Bad had made his rounds gathering his belongings from everywhere else (well, what was important anyway. It’s not like a couple trinkets here or there made any difference).
Except Bad’s room. Fuck, he had to go through Bad’s room. He hadn’t even looked at the door to it since Bad had packed up and left.
Skeppy shut his eyes and took a deep breath.
Bad was waiting outside for the box. The sooner he finished, the sooner Bad would leave. That’s what he wanted, right?
(It wasn’t. It wasn’t what either of them wanted, and both of them knew it.)
Skeppy opened his eyes and released the breath he had taken.
Yeah, it was better to just get this over with. Maybe the reason he still felt like shit after one month was because of all the reminders of Bad he kept around. He’d feel better after everything was gone, just like a new beginning.
He picked up the box, walked out of his room, and approached the closed door of Bad’s room.
He could do this. Skeppy was strong—that’s what Bad had always told him. He said he worked hard, he put passion into everything he did, he did everything he could to make things right—
Skeppy blinked away the heat behind his eyes. Stay the fuck back, tears. He didn’t have time for them today.
He pushed the door open before he could stop himself.
It was a ghost room. The posters on the wall that had previously given the wall so much personality were taken down, leaving only plain beige paint. The doors to an empty closet were left open, and Skeppy couldn’t help but think the plastic hangers looked a bit lonely. But the drawers were left half open, half closed. It was the only thing in the room that didn’t look like a freshly cleaned hotel room.
Skeppy stepped forward and opened the drawers.
The first two contained nothing. They had been cleaned out thoroughly, leaving no trace that a human had ever touched it. The third had a couple trinkets left over: a pin from a Minecraft convention they had attended together, a tiny teacup Bad loved to make fun of, a couple keychains.
Skeppy frowned. Did he even have to open the fourth drawer? He couldn’t ever recall Bad storing anything in it.
He opened it anyway.
A single silver ring sat in the drawer. A note card labeled "Bad's Only—Don't Touch!!!" was underneath the ring.
Skeppy's breath hitched.
Holy shit. This was a mistake. He never should've opened this drawer.
He picked up the ring with a hand he didn't want to admit was trembling. It felt cool in his hand, so devoid of the love they had once promised to each other.
It was a promise ring. Skeppy had bought a pair for them a couple months into the relationship. Looking back at it, that was one of the hastiest, most impulsive decisions he had ever made, but to a couple who lived several states apart, it was everything.
" Oh my gosh," Bad had said, looking up to shoot the camera a smile. "There, facecam's on. Can I open it up now?"
Skeppy had laughed at the excitement in his voice. "Yeah, sure."
Bad had moved to tear open a wrapped box before hesitating. "This isn't gonna be a bunch of glitter or something, is it?”
“Why do you think everything I do is a prank?”
“Because it is most of the time.” Bad had grinned at him in spite of the sour look on Skeppy’s face (or because of. Not like Skeppy ever knew when he was serious or not. Then again, Bad probably felt the same way about Skeppy).
Skeppy’s heart had pounded so hard on that day as he watched Bad unravel the box, now realizing maybe he had been too quick about it all and would come off too strongly. Did Bad even like jewelry? Maybe he had a silver allergy he never told Skeppy about, and now Skeppy had sentenced him to an evening of hives. Or maybe despite all the shenanigans Skeppy had pulled to get Bad’s ring size, it wouldn’t fit at all. Maybe, maybe, maybe—
Bad’s eyes had widened in surprise, then his expression melted into one of pure adoration. “Aww, Skeppy. Is this what I think it is?”
Skeppy’s heart had jumped at that, and he remembered having to fight the blush rising to his cheeks. He had put on facecam, too, after all. “Maybe.”
“A promise ring? Skeppy, you…” Bad had gasped and raised the ring to the camera with the brightest grin Skeppy had ever seen. “This is beautiful. But what’re you promising to me?”
Skeppy had rolled his eyes. “Bad, you know what I’m promising.”
“Maybe, but I wanna hear you say it out loud.”
Skeppy had pulled that exact same thing when Bad first tried to hint that he loved him. This was karma, wasn’t it?
“I promise to love you,” Skeppy had said, pretending his face wasn’t reddening. “That’s all you’re getting from me?”
“You get me an entire promise ring but can’t say you love me?”
“Shut up, I just did!”
Bad had laughed in that mischievous way he always did when teasing Skeppy, then slipped his finger through the ring. His expression had softened. Then he had looked up at the camera with a raised hand and said, “Show me yours?”
The pout on Skeppy’s face had melted into an adoring grin. He had raised his hand just enough to show the ring on his own finger, and when Bad cheered, he hid his face with his other hand.
That was probably the happiest he had been in his life. Skeppy couldn’t remember feeling more cared for, more loved.
Skeppy looked down at the ring in his fingers and the ring still around his own ring finger.
Bad must’ve slipped his ring off every night and stored it in the fourth drawer. He wouldn’t forget to pack something like a promise ring, would he?
He wouldn’t. And that was what hurt most of all.
It was a message. Knowing Bad, it could be a variety of things he wished he had told Skeppy, but Skeppy was too focused on the pain of his heart breaking all over again to consider what exactly it could.
The promise ring. He had left behind the promise ring and what had been their entire life together.
Skeppy turned the ring over in his hand, remembering all the “I love you” s and “I’ll be yours forever” s they had exchanged. Shadows of broken promises surrounded him until all that was left were memories of what they could’ve had. What Skeppy wished they still had.
Did Bad ever think about the same thing? Did he lie awake at night thinking about what he could’ve changed to make the relationship work? Did he almost call out for someone who was no longer there? Did he leave his room or was the heartbreak too much for him to move?
Skeppy wanted long walks in the park again. He wanted a date at the aquarium, a cuddle session while watching a movie, a wedding with their loved ones all around them, a life together. He missed it all so much every bit of his soul ached and burned to have Bad in his arms again.
Bad’s smile, Bad’s laughter, Bad’s cuddles, Bad’s hugs, Bad’s voice, Bad’s teases, Bad’s eyes, Bad’s warmth—holy shit, he missed Bad. He missed all of him. When Skeppy shut his eyes, he could feel the ghost of Bad’s lips on his, of Bad’s arms around him, of adoring smiles shot at him when Bad thought he wasn’t looking.
Skeppy opened his eyes.
Reality was empty.
He jumped when the doorbell rang, shadows of the past receding until Bad’s room was visible again. When he blinked, his fingers were still clenched tightly around the abandoned promise ring.
Bad was waiting. He shouldn’t keep him waiting for long.
But what to do with the ring?
Bad had made his choice. Skeppy should respect it.
Skeppy set the ring down in the drawer and shut it. He stood up with the box in his arms, walking almost robotically out of Bad’s room and shutting the door behind him. He didn’t know when he would have the strength to enter it again.
He wasn’t shaking. Not at all.
Skeppy opened the front door and pushed the box into Bad’s arms.
Bad, to his credit, had done a good job of steadying the unexpected box. He blinked. “Wha—Skeppy? Did you forget I was here?”
“You have what you came here for,” Skeppy said, struggling to keep the door shut on his emotions. He was so much better off without Bad, remember? He couldn’t give in and relive the cycle of heartbreak. Not again.
A variety of emotions flickered across Bad’s face, but the sheer amount of hurt in each one made Skeppy’s heart ache. Eventually, Bad settled on a straight face.
Now that they were face-to-face, actually, Bad’s hair was just the slightest bit darker than it had been last month. Had he washed it for some time? His face was awfully gaunt, too. And even without the lighting of the day, he would’ve looked paler than paper.
All of it made Skeppy’s heart drop. Why did he still care so much?
“Okay,” Bad said, his words almost a whisper. “Thank you. I’ll—I’ll go now, okay? Look after yourself.”
And despite it all, Bad still cared, too.
Skeppy nodded and gave him one last wave before Bad walked away.
Bad paused, turned his head to look back, froze halfway through the action, then continued walking.
Fuck. Damn it.
Skeppy slammed the door shut and collapsed behind it, the waterfall of tears he had been holding behind a dam for weeks finally breaking through. His heart quivered, it trembled, it felt it could shatter all over again at any moment. The world spun around him, spun around, spun around, spun around until all he could see were the shadows of Bad’s presence in the apartment.
He still loved him. God damn it, Skeppy still loved him.