Title: After David (polyamorous!Dave verse)
Author: like-i-love-you
Rating: R for mention of sex but essentially no description
Pairings: Archie/Ryan Star, Neal/Andy (not really mentioned but intended), (in the past Dave/Neal & Dave/Andy & Dave/Michael Johns)
Summary: Archie knows the church thinks he’s going to hell for so many things but he’s come to terms with that. This though, on this Archie thinks the church might be right and even if he isn’t going to hell for this it’s still wrong. He just doesn’t know how to stop.
Word Count: 1116
Warning: David Cook is already dead at the start of the fic. Ryan Star ends up being the bad guy.
Author’s Note: I am hoping to write a sequel but this can stand alone.

You whisper the words like they mean something
but they’re just syllables I’ve heard before
so you leave my bed to go home to your wife
and I don’t ask about the divorce anymore

Archie knows the church thinks he’s going to hell for so many things but he’s come to terms with that. This though, on this Archie thinks the church might be right and even if he isn’t going to hell for this it’s still wrong. He just doesn’t know how to stop.

He can’t help feeling that if he’s going to do this now, this cheating, he should have said yes to David when he had the chance. He’s sharing Ryan just as he would have shared David only David never asked for secrets. For all the people in David’s life, all the partners, they were never casual and he was always honest.

Archie never asked who had been in David’s life, friends who hadn’t always been just friends. He knows who was in David’s life two years ago when he’d come to Archie, to explain, to say “I love you but...”. When Archie said no. He thinks that now he would say yes, but then he’d already been pushing all the boundaries he’d been raised with and it had seemed like a step to far. Now, at twenty-two, he sees the world differently.

He feels like a bad friend for keeping secrets, for not calling because he doesn’t know if he can keep the words in. Brooke, Jason, Ramiele they’ve always been the outer orbit of the David Cook circle and he’s not sure they’d even expect him to call. (Brooke maybe but that’s complicated these days.) Andy, Neal, and Michael though, they’ve all been calling him.

At first it felt like he and Ryan were the outsiders of the inner circle, both in David’s heart but never his bed. (Both living in New York.) Now that chance he had hangs over them. Ryan never says anything but he’s obviously comparing them and wondering what Archie had that he didn’t.

Ryan doesn’t bother to come for dinner first anymore but Archie opens the door just like always. He doesn’t know when he gave his heart away but he did. When they fall together they still fit on the basest of levels like they were made for each other. After, when Ryan pulls him in close, he tries to pretend that this isn’t just a breather before round two. He tries to pretend that Ryan might stay.

Ryan’s hand slides lower again and Archie feels the electricity they have spark. When it’s over Ryan just rolls away to gets his clothes and Archie doesn’t bother to say anything- words aren’t going to change this. He bites his lip and refuses to cry, not in front of Ryan, not over Ryan. He wishes more than ever that he could call David.

He’s not really sure how coffee and crying and missing David turned into this thing they have. When they stopped staying in and started going places and sometimes didn’t even get teary eyed. He doesn’t know when exactly they started laughing or when they stopped.

When the unexpected knock comes Archie can’t remember the last time he smiled, a genuine smile not the fake smile he’s learned to wear so well. For a small moment he hopes that it’s Ryan unexpectedly arriving early. (Something Ryan used to do.) He shakes his head to clear the fantasy and goes to see who it is.

He doesn’t bother peeking to see who it is, comfortable with security in this building. Neal, looking not entirely happy be there, comes as a complete surprise. He pulls out his fake happy smile and hopes his surprise covered any other feelings that might have been there to see.

“Why are you here?” Archie knows he can’t just shut the door in spite of how much he wants to do just that.

“You don’t call, you don’t write. Seriously...” Neal stumbles but manages to leave out the kid. Archie isn’t a kid anymore but old habits die hard. “I get that he’s dead. You think I don’t know?” Archie doesn’t know what to say to that. “Andy figured you’d come around when you were ready and Michael thought some one should come out here but they just keep arguing over it. You can shut the door in my face but I came.” Neal’s not a big talker not usually but this is important. “You know pieces of him that no one else does and you don’t get to take those away.”

Archie waves Neal inside and shuts the door but he doesn’t know what to say. He can’t tell Neal, he just can’t, and Ryan is coming over soon so he has to say the right thing so Neal will leave. Neal walks past him looking for a place to sit but Archie feels rooted to the spot. When he does not follow Neal turns back and they stand there staring at each other in silence.

The knock on the door startles both of them. That little bit of hope Archie can never quite squash flares brighter along along side his sudden nerves- that cannot be Ryan arriving early no matter how much he wants it to be. He tries to keep his face blank as he turns to get the door and avoids looking at Neal. He doesn’t want to know what Neal might have seen in his face.

He pulls the door open and stares at Ryan without speaking. Archie knows what he’s here for but he thinks Ryan might be obvious and when Ryan’s face changes he’s sure of it. Neal is somewhere behind him but Archie can’t move, still has a white knuckle grip on the door. Suddenly Neal is reaching over him, prying his fingers loose and shutting the door in Ryan’s face.

Neal knows. He knows and Archie feels stupid and worthless for getting into this situation in the first place. He finds himself hyperventilating trying not to cry and then... “Fuck kid.” There are hands on his shoulders, Neal’s hands, turning him and pulling him in. His face is buried against Neal’s shoulder and for the first time in months Archie cries.

Later, sitting beside Neal on the plane, Archie realizes that it feels like going home. Home is where your family is and Neal, Andy, and Michael are part of the David Cook family and so is he. He hadn’t realized, until that moment, his apartment in New York no longer feels like home. He falls asleep with Neal’s hand in his and when he wakes the plane is landing in LA.