Dwight Houston and Ethan Brightman are in love. Nothing could ever come between them, not until the car accident. Ethan loses all memory of being with Dwight but can love truly conquer all? Can Dwight find a way to trigger Ethan’s memories?
Meanwhile, Ethan is struggling with strange feelings he never thought he’d have. He’s drawn to Dwight and knows thaat there is something important there, something he’d forgetting, something just out of reach. If he could just figure out what it was.
Characters from CP Coulter’s ‘Dalton’
0 words to go.
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Ethan felt weird. He was standing in his dorm room with Evan, looking down at the clothes drawer. There was a red plaid pyjama shirt there, one he remembered distinctly belonging to Dwight. He supposed that if he was with Dwight, and if his clothes were in his room, chances are, some of Dwight’s may have come his way too.
He brushed his hand over the fabric, smiling softly. Impulsively, he picked it out and slipped it on. It felt right to be wearing that. He took a deep breath, sighing happily. It had a familiar smell but he didn’t know how it was familiar. He supposed that would be what Dwight smelt like. It was nice and the shirt was so warm.
Ethan rushed into the bed, trying to keep it that way and sighed happily. It felt wrong though. This still wasn’t right. He wasn’t sure what it was, but this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. The bed felt wrong for some reason. It was cold. It didn’t give him the warmth he had been expecting.
Evan crawled into the bed with him as they always had for as long as Ethan could remember and it was still wrong. He sat there, frowning and staring down at the quilt, trying to figure out what it was. It didn’t feel so safe here. Sure, his big brother was there but something made it feel a lot less safe.
“What’s wrong?” Evan murmured softly, looking at his brother worriedly. He had a feeling this would happen though. It was a good thing, really. It meant that he was going to be able to learn things, or at least get a sense of things.
“Something isn’t right.” Ethan murmured, looking around the room, trying to figure it out. He nearly said that there was no salt along the doorway or the windowsill but quickly stopped himself. Why would there be? That wasn’t right. He kept trying to figure it out, and then he realised, “I don’t usually sleep here.”
Evan nodded slowly, “No. You don’t.”
Ethan took a shaky breath, looking over at Evan and smiled sadly, “I normally sleep with Dwight, don’t I?”
Evan nodded, slowly, smiling reassuringly, “Yeah. You have for a while now.”
“But what about you?”
Evan took a deep breath, thinking it through for a moment. Sure it hurt at first but it was what Ethan wanted. Ethan helped him gradually get used to him not being around and he just wanted his brother to be happy. Besides, Ethan would visit all the time. He spent every moment away from Dwight, with him. If Evan ever called, Ethan always came running. He knew his brother loved him, despite the distance the relationship had given them. That was bound to happen. He couldn’t spend every moment with his brother and his boyfriend. That just wouldn’t work.
“I’m fine. You helped me get used to it. You’re happy with him, so I’m happy that you’re with him.”
“But I don’t want to just leave you behind.” Ethan bit his lip, looking away sadly.
Evan immediately pulled Ethan closer, wrapping an arm around him, “Hey, I’m fine. You don’t leave me behind, okay? You look after me. You’ve done absolutely everything you can to help me get used to the way things are now. I’m okay with it. You spend every spare moment with me.”
“Really?” Ethan looked up at Evan hopefully. He was so scared that if this was all true, he was taking his brother for granted. It was like some kind of bad dream. He could picture it in his head when they told him about it but it was as though it was someone else living it, not him. It wasn’t right. Like they weren’t his memories and it was really unnerving. He couldn’t quite get his head around what was real and what wasn’t. He was trapped in his own personal Wonderland and he didn’t know how to get out.
“I feel like I’m going crazy.” Ethan whispered, raking a hand through his hair.
Evan hugged Ethan as tightly as he could, kissing the top of his head, “He loves you. I know it sounds crazy and messed up but the White Knight fell for Tweedledee, and you know what? Tweedledee fell just as hard. You keep each other safe, and happy, and I am so proud of you for choosing someone like him. He’s done nothing but give you hope. He makes you happier than I’ve ever seen you before.”
Ethan rested his head on Evan’s chest, a smile tugging at his lips, “You say all these wonderful things about us, like we were the most perfect thing in the world. It sounds amazing. I’d love for it to be true but it’s just too good to be. How could he do all that for me? How can any of that be real?”
“Because it is.” Evan groaned in frutration, “I know it sounds absolutely insane. I get that but you have to believe me. I’m your brother and I’m telling you that he loves you and you love him. You don’t remember it now but you will. It’ll get better, I promise.”
Ethan looked up at Evan and sighed, “Well then, what am I supposed to do?”
Evan bit his lip, looking at the bed as he thought. He couldn’t just tell Ethan to go along with everything. If Ethan didn’t want it, he wasn’t going to force him into it, but if he said no that would be it. It would crush Dwight is Ethan suddenly turned around and told him that he wasn’t going to be with him again. Ethan couldn’t remember it and as long as he couldn’t remember it, he wouldn’t know what he was giving up. He couldn’t just let Ethan give up without trying.
“You…just live your life. Get through each day, and figure out how you’re feeling.” Evan finally answered.
“If this isn’t true and I say yes, then I am in for a life of misery. If this is true and I say no, then I will be missing out on the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Ethan frowned, rubbing his head tiredly, “I’m so confused.”
“I can’t tell you what to do. Just give Dwight a chance, okay?”
“Of course. He’s still my friend. I still want to see him. We’ve always been friends.”
“Dude, he used to hate us.” Evan murmured, chuckling softly, “But watch out for him, okay. He might be alright now but I honestly don’t know how much longer this is going to last.”
“What do you mean?” Ethan frowned, tilting his head in confusion, “Dwight’s my friend. We’re going to be fine.”
“He wants more than that though, doesn’t he? He’s trying to keep a distance to make iteasier for you but sooner or later that’s going to be too much for him to take anymore. He’s going to want to get close, and close for him now, is what you had. Don’t let him force it on you, but don’t turn him down too harshly either, okay?”
“I’m going to be as understanding as I can for him. I know it’s hard for him too, but that doesn’t mean I have to go along with everything he says and I’m not going to let him get away with everything either. I’ll do my best. That’s all I can do.” Ethan smiled as reassuringly as he could.
“And I’m going to be here to help you through as much as I can.”
Ethan grinned, resting his head in the crook of Evan’s neck, “And that is another reason why you’re the best brother ever.”
“Just want to look out for you.”
“And you always do.”
“Get some sleep, okay?”
There was a short pause before Evan spoke once more, “It’s good to have you back Ethan.”
“It’s good to be back.”
Dwight didn’t like it. He hated it. It felt so wrong. He was sitting in the middle of his bed, all alone with the small reminders of Ethan scattered around his room. There was a nerf gun lying on Dwight’s desk, and his clothes were still in various places around the room. Even his smell still lingered. Dwight wasn’t sure how he was supposed to sleep without Ethan there, keeping him warm and safe.
At that moment, a knock sounded at the door and Dwight wanted it to be Ethan. He wanted it so badly. He would’ve done anything to see that door open and have Ethan standing there, smiling softly. To have him walking into the room and curling up in his arms.
Dwight was a little saddened when he heard Reed’s voice sound through the door, “Dwight? Can I come in?”
He smiled softly, grabbing a pillow and hugging it to his chest. Reed was good at helping Dwight forget about the bad stuff, but he wasn’t so sure he would be able to do that this time. Still, it would be good to be able to spend some time with him.
“It’s open, Reed!” Dwight called, resting his chin on the top of the pillow. He kept his eyes on the door just in case Reed tripped on something on the way in…or tripped on nothing at all. That had happened more than a few times.
Reed smiled brightly as he opened the door, carefully stepping over the salt line Dwight had there at all times. His hands were full of different things and Dwight bit his lip, watching him nervously. He was sure he was going to drop at least one of them, if not all of them. He didn’t though. It was amazing. Reed couldn’t even see where he was walking with all the things in his arms, yet he managed to get all the way to Dwight’s bed and place them down beside him before sitting next to him. Dwight stared at him in awe.
“What?” Reed frowned, “I have my graceful moments.”
Dwight chuckled softly, rubbing the back of his neck, “Yeah…yeah, I guess you do. What are you doing here Reed?”
“I told you I was going to come and see you, and here I am. Unless you want me to leave.” Reed murmured a little sadly.
“No! No, I didn’t mean it like that at all.” Dwight grabbed Reed’s wrist before he could get back up, “Stay. Please. I miss talking to you.”
Reed smiled softly, opening the big box he had brought, “I got cake like I said I would, and there’s juice.” He held up the bottle, “I figured I’d make sure you weren’t lonely. You and Ethan are always in here together. It seemed wrong for you to be all alone.”
“What about Shane?”
Reed blushed, smiling fondly, “He can go one night without me.”
Shane was the Ethan to Reed’s Dwight. He loved him to death, everyone could see it, even if Reed wasn’t about to announce that to the world any time soon. He didn’t think it was something everyone needed to know about. It was just Shane and Reed, nothing more. Dwight was one of the few people that Reed would openly talk about the other boy to.
“You don’t have to-”
Reed quickly cut him off, holding out a piece of cake for Dwight, “Let me look after my best friend. Please?”
Dwight just looked at Reed for a moment, a smile tugging at his lips. Reed was really his only friend. He didn’t mind so much. At least he had someone. Reed was very good at being a friend too. He knew exactly when Dwight needed him and what he’d need to do to make Dwight feel better.
When Dwight finally spoke, his voice came out soft, “Thank you.”
Reed grinned brightly as Dwight took the piece of cake from him, “Anytime, and I mean that.”
Dwight picked at the piece of cake, taking a small bite, “So, pray tell, how does Reed Van Kamp plan to cheer me up?”
Reed shuffled over to Dwight’s side, smiling up at him and handed him the bottle of the juice, “Drink.”
Dwight nodded, chuckling softly, “Yes, sir.” He quickly took a sip of the drink, watching Reed to make sure he was happy with the amount that he had.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine. I’m, I’m great Reed.” Dwight smiled reassuringly at him, sighing softly as he realised that there was absolutely no way Reed was going to believe him. He chuckled nervously, “What do you want me to say?”
“I want you to be honest, so that I can help.”
Dwight looked down at the bed, biting his lip, “I’m…I’m a wreck. I went through so much. I went through all that and the only thing that was keeping me going was that I was going to get him back and I was going to be able to look after him, a-and now…now he doesn’t even know who I am.” There were tears stinging at Dwight’s eyes but he refused to let them fall.
Reed smiled sadly, resting his head on Dwight’s shoulder, “He makes you feel better about everything, doesn’t he?”
“Of course he does.”
“I’m going to give you something. Something that means a lot to me.” Reed picked up a little toy rabbit from the pile of things he’d brought, “This is Babbit. Technically his name is Rabbit but when I was a kid I couldn’t say that so I called him Babbit. I used to have nightmares, and I needed Babbit to keep them away because my mom wasn’t around that much, working, you know?” He shrugged, smiling down at the little rabbit in his hands, “Anyway, Babbit kept me safe at night, I’ve always kept him just in case, but I think you need him more than I do.”
Dwight watched as Reed held out the rabbit before him. It looked worn out. Like it was so, so old, but it wasn’t. Not really. It was just loved. Reed had poured his love into that little toy rabbit when he was a kid and now he was going to give it to Dwight, all just to make him feel better.
Dwight bit his lip, putting down the juice bottle and brushing a finger over the toy, “I-I can’t accept this Reed. This is your childhood. It means so much to you.”
“And so do you, and I want you to have him.”
“A-Are you sure?”
“Positive. Just look after him.” Reed smiled softly.
“I promise.” Dwight looked down at the little rabbit, leaning into Reed just a little bit, “Thank you so much.”
“It’s nothing.” Reed looked up at Dwight and murmured softly, a worried look on his face, “Just promise me you’re not going to give up.”
“What do you mean?” Dwight furrowed his brows in confusion.
“I mean, Ethan doesn’t remember who you are. Don’t let him give up on you, and do not give up on him. Please.”
“He remembers who I am.”
Reed rolled his eyes, “But not what you are to him. Just promise me you’re not going to give up on this.”
“Why id this so important to you?”
Reed paused for a moment, “Because…how can I have any hope for Shane and I if you and Ethan are destroyed because of this? I always thought…I thought if Shane and I could be like you and Ethan, we’d be okay through everything, so I need you to be okay through this. Not just for you, but for me too.”
Dwight sighed softly, “You and Shane are perfect. Trust me. Nothing can get between you two.”
“Nothing could get between you and Ethan, and then this did. Just promise me you won’t give up. Please.”
Dwight pulled Reed into a hug, resting his chin on Reed’s shoulder, “I promise. I’d never ever give up on him. We’ll be fine. You’ll see.”
Reed sighed in relief, pulling away to look up at Dwight, “I’m staying in your spare bed tonight.”
“Are you sure?” Reed looked over at the bed next to his. He had a room mate for a while but it didn’t last. Ethan was the closest thing he had to that now, until Dalton assigned someone else. A guy named Todd had his eye on it though.
“Positive. You need some company tonight and I’m not about to leave you all alone.”
Dwight brushed his fingers over the little toy rabbit, tilting his head to the side and smiling softly. He was so grateful for Reed. Reed was always the one that was there for him. Through absolutely everything, Reed was the one who saw when Dwight needed someone, and knew exactly what he needed from that someone. Reed never pushed him to talk. Reed just wanted to make sure Dwight was happy, and it was the most anyone had done for him. He and Ethan were the only people Dwight had in his life, and he would always cherish that.