Title: What If Word Count: 445 Author’s Note: This is a year old and from a writing prompt in a discord server. It was something along the lines of describe a characters through the eyes of another. It’s Graham being sad.
He’s the best thing that’s ever happened in Graham’s life.
Which is, objectively, bad. Some kid he met when was 10 years old with a busted lip is all he has to show for his life, for the joke that it’s been and how lonely it is right now. The wind howls behind him, Graham’s shoulders rise, and the breath he releases is shaky. “I miss you,” he murmurs, voice lost and found in his throat.
There’s likely someone worried about his complete lack of adjustment, the way his bruised knuckles are gripping onto a life that’s slipping away from him. Even when it sucked, when it was long silences filled with neither of them knowing the right words to say, when it was the two of them being stubborn assholes not wanting to break first, when there was Freya pulling them apart—it was better than this.
Better than knowing that he’s not going to be able to send Byron a text in the middle of the night and have the phone ring seconds later. Maybe it wasn’t love, not in the way that he wanted it to be, but it was like having a brother, a best friend, someone who believed in him. It was some scrawny kid with blonde hair boasting about being Graham’s best friend, trying to fight once when they were seventeen and getting his ass kicked, trying to stomach his way through those few times he’d ever ventured to Graham’s house for his sake.
He’ll miss him for the rest of his life. It feels like a part of him is missing, has been since he received the phone call, since he got kicked out of the fantasy that he’d been comforting himself with. He wonders what it would have been like, if he could have said the words in a different context, if Graham could have found the courage to let him know. Byron, for all of the ways he thought himself jaded, too cynical for optimism, too betrayed to trust again. Graham can imagine it now, the way the words would have stumbled their way out from his chapped lips, the furrow between Byron’s eyebrows as he waited for him to get the words out, the feeling in his chest alleviating at the admission.
I’m in love with you.
It’s wishful thinking, all for nothing. Graham’s sick of what-ifs, of wondering about what their lives would have looked like if they’d made all the choices they hadn’t. Maybe they’d still be right here, Graham in the cold, Byron six feet under. He only had the best thing for ten years, and now he’s got countless more without it.