Chapter 28: Epilogue
Daniel slowly woke up that morning and let out a small sigh when he felt something heavy at the foot of his bed. It had been three months since Austin's stay in the hospital. The younger boy had made a complete recovery health wise but emotionally…ever since then Daniel would wake to find the younger boy sleeping somewhere in his room. Next to his bed, curled up in his chair, he had found Austin under his bed on a few occasions but his favorite spot seemed to be at the foot of his bed.
This confused Daniel. It was obvious that Austin was still traumatized by his stay in the hospital and while the younger boy stayed there he openly let it known that he wanted Daniel to be close but as soon as they got home it was as if Austin was afraid to ask for help. Daniel sat up and looked at the boy who was curled up on his bed. Austin's hair had grown out some and he brushed back the blonde locks so he could see the other boy's sleeping face. He smiled when Austin leaned into his touch.
Daniel slowly got off to the bed as not to wake his sleeping boyfriend and covered him with a blanket before heading out into the living room to make them both some breakfast. His uncle was coming over today because he had something important to discuss with them both.
The older boy decided that French toast sounded good and got the things that he needed. He had just finished frying his first few pieces of bread when he heard soft footsteps come up behind him.
"Good morning," Daniel said trying to sound cheerful as he turned around and gave Austin a kiss on his forehead. He never commented on where he found Austin sleeping anymore because he was afraid if he did that Austin would stop.
"Mornin'," Austin mumbled sleepy as he rubbed his eyes.
"If you're still tired you can go back to bed," Daniel told him. Austin shook his head. "Well I hope you're hungry then because I'm making French toast."
"I'm not. Sorry," Austin told him quietly which made Daniel frown. Ever since the surgery Austin's apatite had gone down. The younger boy hardly ate anything.
"I really think you should eat something," Daniel said. He heard Austin sigh and then began to set the table. Daniel was glad Austin had given-in. Anytime the younger boy gave him puppy eyes he could not say no to him. He finished cooking and joined Austin at the table where he gave them each several pieces.
"Eat up," Daniel said as he smothered his French toast in syrup. Austin put some butter on his bread before sprinkling powdered sugar on it.
"Not bad," Austin said as he took a small bite.
"I told you," Daniel said with a smile. By the time Daniel had eaten his fourth piece Austin was only on his second. His boyfriend seemed more troubled than usually this morning.
"Why do you think that your uncle is coming?" Austin asked so quietly that Daniel almost didn't hear him.
"Hard to say," Daniel said as he looked at the younger boy. "But I'm sure it's nothing that we have to worry about. He probably just wants to check up on us."
"I don't even know how to act around him anymore," Austin mumbled.
"Is that what's been bothering you?" Daniel asked. Austin shrugged. "Austin you know that you can tell me anything and I won't get upset with you."
"I know," Austin told him as he looked down at his plate. "That's part of the problem."
"I don't understand," Daniel said with a frown not liking how upset his boyfriend looked. Austin looked at him quickly before looking back down to his plate.
"For as long as I can remember I always looked after myself. No one else did it for me. I even skipped the country and no one noticed. Then I meet you and everything changed. I went from being alone to having a boyfriend, a brother, and a guardian," Austin explained.
"I suppose that it does take some getting use to," Daniel told the boy with a smile. Austin nodded slowly.
"When I was in the hospital everyone was upset because I was hurt," Austin said looking confused.
"That's because no one likes to see someone they care about in pain," Daniel explained.
"It's exhausting though," Austin said shaking his head. "Being cared about and caring about others."
"It can be," Daniel agreed, "but think about all of the benefits. Now you always have a place to go. You won't be alone ever again and we get the pleasure of knowing you."
"You say some really odd things sometimes," Austin said with a smile and Daniel smiled back. For some reason, which made him extremely happy, Austin smiled more.
"I'm allowed to say things like that I am your boyfriend," Daniel said as he leaned across the table and gave him another kiss which made Austin blush.
"Whatever," Austin mumbled after he recovered and then began to eat his breakfast. Daniel sat back feeling pleased. It looked like he got Austin out of his funk at least for the moment. He had also come to realize something while Austin was in the hospital. He was in love with the other boy. When he thought that they were going to take Austin away from him and he might never see him again it made him crazy. After living with the younger boy for those several months he knew that he couldn't live without him. He wasn't about to tell this to Austin though, at least not yet. He was already having a hard enough time dealing with things at the moment.
Another thing that he wasn't going to tell Austin about was that he too was worried about his uncle's visit. He knew that his uncle said that he would come and explain things to them after Austin was well and it looked as if now the time had come. He just hoped things went well for all their sakes.
"Hey Daniel," Austin said snapping his fingers under his nose trying to get his attention.
"Wha?" Daniel asked the younger boy and Austin shook his head.
"You were day dreaming again," Austin explained simply.
"Sorry," Daniel said as he began to clean off the table; Austin had finished eating while he had been thinking.
"Are you feeling alright?" Austin asked him hesitantly.
"I'm fine," Daniel told him hoping to put the younger boy at ease as Austin didn't need anymore worries at the moment. "Just thinking some things through."
"Alright then," Austin said as he began to wash the dishes. "We better clean up if your…Mr. San…I don't know how I am suppose to act around him and I don't know what to call him."
"Call him what you usually call him," Daniel said as he went over to help.
"I guess," Austin said seeming unsure.
"It will be fine, trust me," Daniel said as he ruffled the younger boy's hair.
"I do," Austin said with an affirmative nod which made Daniel's heart swell. It made him happy that Austin trusted him so much.
"You don't know how happy that makes me," Daniel said as he started to make his way to the couch. One of his shows would be starting in a few minutes.
"Aren't you going to help me with the dishes?" Austin asked.
"No," Daniel said not turning around because he knew that if Austin gave him those puppy eyes he would end up helping and then miss the beginning of his show. "Besides I did the cooking and there really is not many of them to beginning with."
"Are you sure about that?" Austin asked his voice sounding odd.
"Of course I'm sure," Daniel said stopping in his tracks but he still hadn't turned around.
"Then you leave me with no choice," Austin said with a sigh. Wondering what was going on with his boyfriend Daniel turned around and got a face full of water for his efforts. Daniel sputtered for a moment and wiped the water from his face only to see Austin standing there with the sprayer in his hand looking smug.
"Did you just…" Daniel said in disbelief.
"Do this?" Austin asked as he once again sprayed Daniel with water.
"You know this means war," Daniel said as he looked down at his now soaked shirt.
"That's going to be hard since I have the only weapon," Austin said as he held up the sprayer. Daniel quickly scanned the kitchen trying to find something that he could defend himself with. He spotted something on the table and quickly grabbed it.
"You wouldn't dare," Austin said his eyes wide.
"Try me," Daniel said as he held out the bottle of syrup and the squeezed it shooting syrup down the front of Austin's shirt. He didn't have long to enjoy his victory though as Austin once again sprayed him with water.
They spent the next ten minutes having a water and syrup war. Sometime during the fight they had a short wresting match and switched 'weapons', by the end they were both drenched and covered in syrup. At the moment Daniel had Austin corned against the counter. His sprayer was all set to go but Austin's syrup was nearly gone.
"So do you surrender?" Daniel asked him with a smirk.
"I never surrender," Austin said returning the smirk. Then before Daniel realized what was happening Austin reached behind him, grabbed the bag with the powdered sugar, and dumped it on his head.
"You really are going to pay for that one," Daniel said shaking his head sending powdered sugar everywhere. Austin quickly dashed away from him and Daniel had to chase the younger boy around the kitchen. When Daniel finally caught up to him he wrested Austin to the ground and began to tickle him unmercifully.
"Do you surrender yet?" Daniel asked as the straddled the younger boy.
"Nope," Austin said shaking his head from side to side.
"Then I guess it's more tickling," Daniel laughed and was about to start his attack again when he heard some clear his throat. They both looked over to see his uncle standing in the doorway an amused look on his face.
"Am I interrupting?" Robert Sanders asked.
"Just a small war," Daniel said not moving from his spot. Austin wasn't struggling to get up plus he could tell that his uncle found the situation funny and was trying his hardest not to laugh.
"I can see that," the man said looking around the kitchen. Daniel did the same thing and noticed that it was trashed. The floor was flooded and everything was covered in syrup and powder sugar. "Why don't you boys finish your war and I'll go to Mazy's. You can meet me there after you're done." The man then quickly left and Daniel could have sworn that he heard laughter.
"So now where were we?" Daniel asked after his uncle had gone.
"I bet that I can make you surrender," Austin said with a knowing look in his eye.
"And how are you going to do that?" Daniel asked with a raised eyebrow.
Austin leaned up and gave him a small kiss, "If you surrender I'll give another one," Austin whispered in his ear.
"You fight dirty," Daniel grumbled. That kiss was so quick it could barely be counted as a kiss.
"I know," Austin said with a smile, "so do you surrender?"
"Of course I surrender," Daniel said as he got up and the helped the younger boy to his feet.
"I knew you would," Austin said looking pleased with himself.
"Alright but now I need my prize," the older boy said. Austin nodded and stood on his tip toes and Daniel pulled him closer. It was literally the sweetest kiss that Daniel ever had. Austin tasted like syrup, sugar, and something that was distinctly him. "That was wroth a surrender," Daniel said when they pulled apart.
"I knew that you would see things my way," Austin said with a smirk.
"What choice did I have," Daniel grumbled and sighed when he once again looked around the kitchen. "I suppose we should try and clean things up."
"I'm surprised your uncle didn't pitch a fit," Austin said as he tried to run his fingers through his hair but couldn't because it was matted with syrup which made Daniel laugh.
It took them a good two hours to get themselves and everything else cleaned up and then they hurried over to Mazy's. The restaurant had a few people in it but not many. Daniel's uncle had made himself comfortable at a table in the back.
"I had almost given up on you two," Robert said as he put his paper to the side. "So who won the war?"
"I did," Austin said looking surprised.
"Only because he cheated," Daniel said with a pout.
"And how did he cheat?" the man asked looking curiously from one boy to the other.
"I used his weakness against him," Austin said.
"Then that's being smart and not cheating," Robert said. Daniel noticed Austin seemed happy at the praise the man had given him. "Would you boys like anything?" They both shook their heads. "Then I guess we should get to why I came here."
"Alright," Daniel said as he felt Austin stiffen next to him. He grabbed the boy's hand under the table in support.
"First Austin do you know what it means by me becoming your guardian?" Robert asked. Austin shook his head. "It means that from now on I'm in charge of your welfare which includes me providing your living quarters, food, clothing, and all of your basic necessities."
"Excuse me sir," Austin said his voice wavering slightly, "but that really doesn't mean much to me."
"I suppose it wouldn't," Robert said with a sigh. "The thing of it is though I went through a lot of trouble to gain custody of you especially since I didn't know what your last name was, do you know what your last name is?" Austin shook his head. "Then would you mind having my last name, it really would make things easier."
"I don't mind," Austin said quietly. "Can ask why you're doing this?"
"That's a fair question," Robert said as he rubbed his chin. "The thing of it is Austin that I never got married and never had any children. Now I am really not the parental type but I started to regret the fact that I had no one to carry on my name and no one to leave my estate to."
"And that's where I come in?" Austin asked his voice calm but Daniel could tell the way that the younger boy was gripping his hand he was still nervous.
"You need me and I need you. Overall it's a good arrangement, don't you think?" the man asked. Austin nodded. "Now for the second reason I came. We need to go over what you two have planned for the future. Daniel's parents already called me on a few occasions wondering when I was going to send him home."
"Daniel's leaving?" Austin asked a note of panic in his voice.
"I'm not going anywhere," Daniel was quick to reassure the boy. In truth he hadn't even thought about his parents or going back home. His only thoughts had been on Austin the past few months.
"I figured as much," his uncle told him. "That's what I need to talk to you about. If you want to continue to stay here you'll have to start college."
"Really?" Daniel asked unable to believe his ears.
"Yes," the man said with a curt nod. "I already have you enrolled in my old college. You'll start in the winter semester. Even if you aren't sure what you want to go for you can start with your generals." Daniel opened and closed his mouth a few time unsure of what to say.
"Thank you," Daniel finally managed to get out.
"Now that brings me back to Austin," Robert said. "I have to think about his education too. I take it that you never had any formal education," Austin shook his head. "I know that Glen has been doing his best to teach you but I would like you to be able to start your formal education next fall so I found you a new tutor that is going to try and catch you up."
"Me in…school?" Austin asked quietly.
"Of course," Robert said. "I heard from several of your friends that you have a talent for photography. If you want to use that talent you are going to have to go to school. The school I have chosen for you as a few classes in photography."
"Are you serious?" Daniel asked since Austin seemed lost for words.
"Of course I am. I already have an apartment rented out for you boys. You'll be moving next month. I wanted to get you settled before you start college and I want Austin to get started too," the man explained.
"We'll have to move away from here?" Austin asked.
"Yes. This isn't the best place for two teenage boys to live, but don't worry I own the building you live in and I'll leave that apartment open for you two so you can come back and visit everyone. I know the town as taking a liking to you two. Does that work for you?" Both of them nodded unsure of what to say. It was both exciting and frightening at the same time.
That night as Daniel lay in his bed unable to sleep. The talk he had with his uncle was overwhelming. He never dreamed that when his uncle said he was coming up to talk to them that he would end up having their futures partially planned out for them. If he was feeling this nervous he couldn't imagine how Austin was feeling. The boy hardly said anything when they got back to their apartment.
He laid there for a few more hours still unable to sleep when he heard is bedroom door open and he saw the silhouette of Austin creep in. The younger boy sat on the end of his bed and then laid down.
"You don't have to lay down there you know," Daniel said.
"I didn't want to disturb you," Austin replied.
"You aren't disturbing me. Now why don't you come up here so we can talk," Daniel told him. He felt Austin crawl up the bed and lay down next to him. He then pulled the boy close. "It was quite a day, wasn't it?"
"I'll say," Austin snuggled closer so Daniel wrapped an arm around the younger boy. "Are you sure you don't want to go home?"
"Home?" Daniel asked wondering what Austin was talking about.
"Well your uncle said that your parents called and wanted you home," Austin said and Daniel could hear the tremor in his voice.
"My parents only want me home to they can brag to all of their friends that they have a son in college. As long as I'm in school that's all that matters to them besides I would much rather stay here. Free room and board during college will be nice."
"Free room and board, huh?" Austin said.
"I guess the fact that I have a cute boyfriend helps," he said with a chuckle. He reserved a light punch for his joke.
"Say Daniel do you really think that I'll be able to use my photography for a future like your uncle said?" Austin asked him.
"I know it. You have a real talent Austin plus I'm kind of counting on it. I have a feeling that you're going to be the money maker in this relationship," Daniel told the boy.
"I'm stuck with you then," Austin said. Daniel could hear the smile in his voice.
"Afraid so," Daniel told him, "and for a very long time too."
"If I have to put up with you," Austin said with a sigh. "I guess I can handle it."
"You can handle it, huh," Daniel said. Austin nodded. "Don't worry it will all work out," Daniel said and placed a kiss on the top of his boyfriend's head.
"I know," Austin mumbled, "after all I am stuck with you."
One Year Later…
Austin grumbled as he looked at himself in the mirror. In his opinion he looked like an idiot. He was wearing a pair of black dress pants, a white button down shirt, and a black blazer with an emblem on the front pocket. His hair was the shortest that it ever had been and he was ready to scream in frustration. He couldn't seem to tie his tie. He heard someone chuckle behind him and he turned around to glare at his boyfriend.
"Do you need a little help?" Daniel asked as he walked over to him.
"It's the tie," Austin told him. Daniel laughed and shook his head.
"Turn around," Daniel instructed him. "I can't do it when I face someone." Austin tried to keep from blushing when Daniel's arms encircled him. "You look very cute, you know," Daniel whispered in his ear before placing a kiss on top of his head.
"Yeah well I think I look stupid. Why does this stupid school make you wear uniforms," Austin asked. "And what makes it worse is that I'll be two years older than everyone else in my class."
"But look how far you've come in a year," Daniel told him his voice now soothing. "And if anyone says anything to you, you let me know and I'll take care of them."
"Daniel…" Austin started to protest when Daniel cut him off.
"I mean it Austin," Daniel said his voice serious. "I'll have my phone with me all day. You call me at any time and I'll come and get you."
"Alright," Austin said knowing that it was easier to agree plus it made Daniel feel good.
"And don't forget that Nick and Michael are taking us out to dinner tonight to celebrate your first day," Daniel said as the walked into the kitchen and grabbed a brown paper bag that was on the cupboard.
"I'll remember," Austin told him.
"Now then before we headed out I packed you your lunch," Daniel said as he handed over the bag.
"Thanks," Austin mumbled as he took it and noticed the proud look on his boyfriend's face.
"You ready to go?" Daniel asked him. Austin nodded and the two of them left their apartment hand in hand. Austin was more nervous then he let on but he knew that he could make it through the day now he had a home and someone to come home to.
AN: Thanks for the review Lizzy! Well that's it. This story is done. At the moment I have no plans to make a sequel but I do have a story I would like to write for Nick and Michael on how the met. Hopefully someday I'll write it. Even though this is the last chapter I would still like to hear what you all think. Thank you to to everyone that has read and/or favorited this story. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks again :)