So, I got this idea a while ago and finally typed it up, YAAY! I mean, what else do I have to d since I can't work on the main story? *goes and cries in corner*

ANYWAY, I am actually super pleased with the way this turned out and am super proud of myself for typing three complete pages without any dialogue. That is a record for me. Awyeah.

Soyeah. Some info would be good, yes?

1) Obviously in this, Riker is the openly gay one while Jeff is "straight"

2) Riker realized he was gay around the same time Jeff did in the main story, which was a bit before Riker's dad died.

3) Ryan's death and what happened with Riker is exactly the same in this, except that a lot more people know about Riker's issues with depression and cutting

I think that should cover it. Any other questions let me know!

Riker Samuel Castellan was always confident in himself. He had been since he was a toddler and learned what it meant to have to stand up to yourself to your older siblings. His confidence increased as he got older, learning what his strengths were and utilizing them. He knew he could sing, dance, and act, and used those to his advantage. He built up walls which very few people got passed and rarely was not confident in what he was doing. Riker strengthened his walls and held his head even higher when he was twelve and came to the epiphany that he was gay and came out to his family and friends. Everyone had been supportive, but he didn't dare become any less vulnerable because of that. The only time his confidence actually was at a loss for him was when his dad died a few months after he came out. Riker allowed himself to lower his walls and let his siblings, mom, and best friend in so he wouldn't break down all the way and fall into a deeper depression than he already had. Even though his depression persisted to this day, five years later, he didn't let it destroy his confidence.

There was only one thing Riker was not completely confident with, and that was the fact that he had a crush on his best friend, which after a while destroyed his confidence.

Jeff had been around as long as Riker could remember. They had met when they were three, and had been inseparable since. Riker had realized over the summer that he was practically in love with his best friend, which was a problem. Jeff was straight and had his pick of girls trailing after him.

Riker kept his crush locked tightly away. So far the only person who had figured anything out was his older brother when he had visited Riker one weekend and watched while Riker took care of Jeff while Jeff was extremely drunk.

Curt had figured it out then and then held Riker tightly as Riker cried into his shoulder because, yes, being in love with your straight best friend is painful. Curt has tried to console Riker, running his fingers through his younger brother's hair while he whispered to Riker that Riker shouldn't give up hope yet and that sometimes Jeff would just watch Riker with a certain look on his face. Riker had protested through sobs and eventually cried himself to sleep while his older brother held him and comforted him.

Other than that, no one seemed to notice Riker pining after his best friend. He and Jeff still acted the same towards each other, hugging and holding hands in the hallway and cuddling close during movie nights. Those actions were normal for the two of them, but Riker treasured them even more now than he ever had before. Though, he would never admit the swoop in his stomach whenever Jeff would pull him closer and squeeze his shoulders, or bury his nose in Riker's hair and take a deep breath, or when Jeff would squeeze his hand tighter when Jeff got really excited.

Even if Jeff noticed that Riker liked him, he never let it show. He still crawled into Riker's bed next to him every once in a while when he didn't feel like sleeping alone in his bed and would still pull Riker into his lap to hug Riker tightly as Riker curled up there, head tucked beneath Jeff's chin.

No one else seemed to notice either, or if they did, they didn't say anything. Riker tried his hardest not to let his crush show, but sometimes he couldn't help watching Jeff carefully as Jeff danced around the room during Midnight Swallows practice, or watching Jeff's mouth in class when Jeff would bite at his bottom lip in concentration.

The fact that Riker was always around Jeff didn't help. They were even together outside of school. They lived next door to each other, so they saw each other every day when they were at home. They both worked on the same TV show together, so they saw each other at work. Even at school they were always together. They had all the same classes and were both in Midnight Swallows, which took up a lot of the extra time at school. Even when they were in class or on set or at Swallows practice, they saw each other because they were roommates. The only break Riker ever got was when he went to soccer practice.

Soccer was Riker' release. Jeff refused to join sports teams because he didn't think it was worth the physical strain after dancing half the day...and sometimes he was just plain lazy. Riker didn't mind though. He took out all of his frustrations during soccer practice where it was acceptable to get a little forceful. Riker's frustrations were never noticed during soccer practice because everyone was just running around and kicking the ball as hard as they could to try and get it where they wanted it to go as their coach yelled directions at them from the side of the field.

Riker was always the most at ease after soccer practice and he even let his walls down a bit afterwards. Riker noticed Jeff always seemed to be happiest in those moments when Riker got back from practice, talking more excitedly and jumping on his bed slightly as he giggled and prodded Riker for information on if he had the hots for any of the freshmen on the soccer team. Riker's other friends noticed the difference too and would always goof around more during that time, taking advantage of Riker's relaxed state because they knew his walls would be back in place within a few hours and he would be walking around fully confident and untouchable once again.

Riker knew he needed to relax some, and after a little while his walls weren't securely in place all the time anymore. He was just as confident as he always was, but he also allowed himself to be more loose with his actions, letting his crush on his best friend fade into the back.

Until one day when they walked onto set and got the scripts for the episode they were going to start filming soon. Riker knew this day had been coming, they day when the writers finally decided to shove Nick and Eli together ever since Nick had come out at the end of the previous season. But Riker wasn't ready for what was going to happen. He was going to have to kiss his best friend, who he just so happened to be in love with. Jeff didn't take the news badly or well, he just seemed kind of indifferent, looking over at Riker with one eyebrow raised before shrugging and walking over to talk to Lauren. Riker deflated a little then. He had been hoping for some kind of reaction from Jeff, whether positive or not. Riker looked over at Jeff then to see that Jeff was standing with his arms crossed defensively over his chest and shoulders tensed. After knowing Jeff for almost fifteen years, Riker knew that this stance meant that Jeff was slightly stressed and thinking about something. He figured that Jeff was probably stressing over having to kiss him, so he talked to Jeff about it in their dorm that night and they set up rules for when they had to film the scene so that neither of them would be uncomfortable.

Though, when it came time to film the scene, all the rules Riker and Jeff set up seemed to fly out the window.

A few seconds after the kiss began, Riker was surprised to hear Jeff release a small whimper before forcing Riker's mouth open with his own. Riker relaxed into the kiss then, even though his conscious told him he shouldn't be comfortable with this since Jeff was straight. Once they broke away, Riker looked Jeff in the eye to see Jeff staring back at him with slightly dilated pupils. They were both panting slightly and their cheeks were flushed and their lips were a shade darker from kissing.

Then, Riker snapped out of it and clapped a hand over his mouth before quickly walking away from his best friend. He felt tears prickling at his eyes and he quickly walked outside and climbed into the back of his car, thankful he had left his phone in the car earlier. He quickly grabbed it and dialed Curt's number as he continued to cry and curled up on the seat. Curt talked to Riker in a soothing voice, trying to get him to calm down enough to explain exactly what happened. Riker couldn't get it out though, because the tears just kept coming. Soon enough, Riker heard a small tap on the window of his car and he turned to see Dylan standing there, a concerned expression on her face. Riker unlocked the door for her and she crawled into the back seat next to him before locking the door and then turning to Riker with open arms. Riker had collapsed against her and cried into her neck and allowed Curt to talk to her so that Curt could understand some of the situation, which is how Dylan found out about Riker liking Jeff. She immediately started crooning and running her free hand over Riker's hair and kissing his forehead as she assured him everything would be alright.

After that, Riker put his walls back up and reinforced them. He kept a confident face on all the time, but on the inside he didn't feel so confident anymore. Soccer was still how he released his frustrations, but the walls would go back up immediately after practice was over. He made sure that if he texted Curt or Dylan about his problems that he deleted the texts immediately, not wanting anyone else to see the conversations.

Everyone noticed how closed off Riker had become, but Riker was too preoccupied to notice how people worried. Jeff kept an eye on Riker constantly, worrying that Riker was going to fall back into a deep depression and start cutting again. Riker's other friends were doing the same with the same thought on their mind, but none of them took into account the fact that everyone was asleep in the middle of the night. Riker knew that his friends were watching him enough that when he cut again, he did it in the middle of the night and no one thought anything of him wearing long sleeves now because it was the middle of October.

Though, eventually, Curt came to visit again and one night noticed Riker sneaking into the bathroom to cut. Curt had immediately grabbed the razor from Riker's hand and stomped out into the hallway to throw it away. Curt dug through the rest of the room in the morning to find the rest, much to Jeff's confusion. Curt paid no attention to Jeff as he dug through the room, despite the fact that Jeff kept trying to start a conversation with Curt. Riker sat out in the hall leaning against the wall with his knees pulled tightly to his chest while all of this went on, noticing the slightly desperate tone in Jeff's voice. Riker felt a slight satisfaction that his older brother seemed to be ignoring Jeff, but at the same time it made Riker want to slap Curt. Jeff obviously had something important to talk to Curt about.

Jeff seemed to eventually get through to Curt though, because the next day when Riker walked into his room after soccer practice Curt pulled Riker to his chest tightly and whispered how everything was going to turn out fine. When Riker had questioned Curt, Curt had simply told Riker to trust him and then promised that he knew things were going to get better. Riker had relaxed into his older brother's embrace then and buried his face in Curt's chest, allowing his older brother to comfort him for the next few hours until Curt had to leave again.

After that, Riker let his walls down a bit again. Everyone seemed happy that he opened up a bit again and Riker allowed himself to be happy. Though, he never seemed to notice Jeff staring at him when he would be cuddled up with one of their friends and giggling freely as they joked with or tickled him. Riker didn't allow himself to watch Jeff anymore, which was the main reason he never saw Jeff watching him. Some of their friends noticed though, seeing the way Jeff's eyes would follow Riker as Riker danced or ran. They began to tease Jeff about it, though quietly so that Riker didn't hear. Riker caught them sometimes, walking in on a conversation to hear their friends laughing while Jeff's cheeks turned bright red. Riker ignored it though, instead concentrating on letting himself be happy and carefree and truly confident again.

He still talked to Dylan and Curt about liking Jeff sometimes, but it wasn't as painful as it had been before. Though, Riker didn't realize how Dylan was also keeping Curt updated on what was happening as well since she got to observe both Riker and Jeff when they were around each other. While Riker had settled back into what he used to be, Dylan definitely noticed how Jeff's gaze would linger on Riker or how Jeff would hold Riker to his chest almost protectively.

Things continued on that way for weeks. Riker continued to be oblivious to Jeff watching him and their friends steadily became more and more frustrated with the pair. Some of their friends had started to approach Jeff, telling him to do something because they all knew Riker wouldn't. No matter how confident a person Riker seemed to be, he wouldn't make a move on his best friend who he thought to be straight. Jeff had started to think about it, his inner battle continuing. Riker had his own inner battle to deal with, but it had been going on for so long by that point that he knew how to deal with it. Jeff, on the other hand, was not as accustomed to dealing with his inner battle and finally went with his gut one day.

Riker was sitting outside in the cold December air, his textbooks and notebooks spread out around him on the ground as he studied. He had bundled up before coming out here, wearing a pair of gym shorts beneath his soccer sweatpants, along with wearing a long sleeve t-shirt beneath his hoodie and a navy blue beanie covering his head beneath the hood. He was sitting with his shoulders hunched over as he looked at his textbook, hands buried in the pocket of his hoodie. Jeff was standing in the doorway of the dorm building, leaning against the door jam and watching Riker from afar. He smiled slightly as Riker pulled a hand out from his pocket to turn the page of his book. Jeff thought Riker looked adorable like this, his light brown hair sticking out from beneath his beanie as he slouched his shoulders against the slight wind that was blowing.

Then, Jeff shoved away from the door jam and walked outside, shoving his hands into his pockets as he walked. As he got closer, he saw Riker's eyebrows were knit together with concentration and his lower lip was trapped between his teeth. Jeff smiled to himself and then sank down to the ground next to Riker and leaned lightly against Riker's side. Riker hummed in a greeting, eyes still trained on his books.

"What you studying for?" Jeff asked, his breath puffing out in a visible cloud in front of his face.

"History," Riker replied before turning the page of his textbook again and then looking over at his notes. His brow furrowed even more and Jeff smiled again, wanting to reach out and smooth the lines between Riker's eyebrows.

"How's it going for ya?" Jeff asked. Riker shrugged in response, flipping through pages in his notebook until he obviously found the page he needed, letting out a satisfied breath. Jeff continued to watch Riker study and Riker concentrated on the words in front of him. Then, Riker turned a few pages in his text book and began looking through his notes, eyebrows creasing together again.

Riker didn't want to deal with this right now. He'd been more on edge ever since Jeff had sat down next to him and pressed their sides together. Riker had already been slightly frustrated before because not all of his notes added up to what was being said in the text book. Now that, mixed with a smell that was purely Jeff invading his senses, Riker was about ready to crack. He'd been handling keeping his feelings in check lately, but sometimes when he was stressed, like right now, it was harder, and it didn't help that Jeff's warm body was pressed up next to his own.

Jeff watched Riker carefully, noticing his best friend seemed to becoming increasingly frustrated. Riker was flipping through his notes angrily, as if he couldn't find what he needed anywhere. Jeff wanted to reach out and latch onto Riker's hand, but left his hands firmly in his lap.

On the other hand, Riker was trying to hold back tears of frustration and he tried to get his hands to stop trembling slightly. He was just extremely frustrated on so many levels and he didn't want to deal with it anymore. He finally let his hands drop and hung his head as he took deep breaths and closed his eyes.

Jeff continued to watch Riker carefully and bit his lip as he waited to see what happened after Riker stilled his hands, which Jeff noticed were shaking slightly. Then, Jeff's eyes widened as he heard Riker release a choked cry. Jeff immediately shoved Riker's books to the side and scooted over to sit in front of Riker. He saw tears rolling down Riker's cheeks as Riker looked down at his hands. Riker coughed back his sobs, trying to compose him self.

Then, Jeff reached out with both hands and cupped Riker's cheeks, using his thumbs to wipe away his best friend's tears. Riker choked out a cough, which resulted in a puff of visible air floating away from his mouth. He continued to look down at his hands as he fought back his sobs. Now Riker was frustrated with himself because he hadn't completely lost it in front of anyone since the day he and Jeff had filmed Nick and Eli's kissing scene. Jeff just released a sigh and lifted Riker's face, even though Riker refused to look Jeff in the eye.

"Riker, what's wrong?" Jeff asked quietly. Riker continued to avoid Jeff's gaze and closed his eyes tightly, allowing more tears to fall. "C'mere, Rike. It's okay."

"No," Riker choked out finally, allowing Jeff to pull him closer and wrap his arms tightly around Riker's shoulders.

"Why?" Jeff asked quietly, cheek pressed lightly to Riker's forehead and pushing Riker's hat back slightly.

"I'm frustrated with everything," Riker cried out, his pants visible in the cold air around them. "Nothing's right anymore."

"Rike, it's gonna be okay, I promise," Jeff breathed out, holding Riker closer to his chest as Riker continued to cry. Riker shook his head then, hood falling off of his head to jut reveal the beanie he was wearing over his light brown hair.

"No. I get so frustrated all the time and all of my frustrations are thrown in my face constantly. I don't wanna deal with it anymore," Riker cried, shoulders now shaking with the force of his sobs.

"Then talk to me," Jeff said as he rubbed Riker's back as Riker let out a small hiccup, hoping on the inside that Riker wouldn't start cutting again, despite the fact that Curt had thrown away all of Riker's razors the last time he had been there.

"I j-just wanna ta-talk to Cur-urt," Riker coughed out, trying to pull out of Jeff's arms. Jeff loosened his grip and allowed Riker to pull away, eyes concerned as he watched Riker try to compose himself.

"Rike, you should know by now that it's okay to not be okay all the time," Jeff said. Riker just nodded and let out another hiccup.

"I know. B-but I don't wanna deal with anything anymore. I d-don't wanna keep wa-walls up anymore. It's tiring, but I d-don't have a, a choice," Riker choked out. "I ha-have to face I'm n-not the same person anymore."

"Yes, you are, Riker. You're the same person you have been for years, you just need to find your confidence again," Jeff crooned, reaching out to wipe tears off of Riker's cheek. Riker just looked down at his hands in his lap, breath puffing out in front of him as he tried to hold his tears back.

"I l-lo-lost my confidence, Jeff. I lost it o-over the summer," Riker admitted quietly, because in his mind, it was true.

"No, you didn't. It's still there," Jeff assured Riker as he ran his thumb lightly over Riker's cheek as Riker continued to cry, though his sobs were subsiding. Then, Riker shook his head slightly.

"No. I lost it and I can't get it back," Riker whispered out as he closed his eyes and more tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Then let me help," Jeff breathed quietly.

Before Riker could even open his mouth to respond, a pair of lips covered his own. Riker froze for a second, and then relaxed into the touch. Jeff ran his thumb over Riker's cheek again and Riker let out a sigh through his nose, shoulders going slack. Jeff took complete control over the kiss, leaving his one hand on Riker's cheek while the other rested lightly on top of Riker's knee. Riker's hands unconsciously found their way to the front of Jeff's hoodie and clenched there, holding onto the fabric tightly.

When they finally broke away from each other, Jeff pressed their foreheads together and watched as their breath mingled together between their mouths in the cold, winter air. Riker loosened his grip on Jeff's hoodie, but didn't release the fabric completely. Jeff continued to run his thumb along Riker's cheek, waiting for Riker's response. Then, Riker let out a sigh which came out in one, big, visible puff.

"Why?" Riker finally asked quietly. Jeff smiled slightly to himself and reached up to wipe tears off of Riker's other cheek since tears were still leaking out of Riker's eyes.

"Because I love you," Jeff breathed in response.

"So?" Riker asked, eyebrows knitting together in confusion against Jeff's forehead.

"No, Riker. I love you," Jeff replied, his voice more forceful yet full of emotion. Jeff heard Riker's breath catch again before he heard Riker let out another small sob. Jeff's eyes widened in shock and he pulled his forehead away from Riker's to get a better look at his best friend. Riker coughed out another sob and then shifted himself away from Jeff slightly.

"D-don't li-lie to m-me," Riker cried out as he pulled his knees tightly to his chest and refusing to look over at Jeff. There was no way this was happening. Things like this didn't happen to Riker. Nothing worked out nicely for him.

Jeff watched Riker with pained eyes and reached out to touch Riker's knee, but Riker jerked away from the touch. Jeff let out a sigh and shifted forward a bit to get closer to Riker.

"I'm not lying, Riker. Why would I lie about that? I love you, and there's nothing that can change that. It just took me a while to reach this point. I've been driving myself insane ever since we had to kiss for that one scene. It just felt so right. I'd never felt like that when kissing someone before," Jeff said.

"You're straight," Riker stated with a cough, face still buried in his knees.

"Who needs labels?" Jeff asked in response. "I don't need one. All I know is that I love you and want to be with you and it drives me crazy how much I want you."

Riker peeked up at Jeff then, his blue-gray eyes rimmed with red. There was more gray in his eyes at that moment, his gaze intense as he looked over at his best friend. Jeff stared back and then gave Riker a small smile. Riker's eyes roamed around Jeff's face for a few seconds, taking in everything he'd just heard. Jeff bit at his bottom lip, a bit unsure.

Then, Riker let out another sob before launching himself at Jeff, who yelped as Riker pushed him flat on his back on the ground. Riker immediately buried his face in Jeff's neck and held onto Jeff tightly as he cried. Jeff felt Riker smile against his neck and Jeff smiled also, reaching up to wrap his arms tightly around Riker's shoulders. Then, Jeff grabbed onto Riker's cheeks and pulled their mouths together once again. Jeff smiled against Riker's lips and Riker immediately smiled back before pulling away and pressing their foreheads together again. Riker let out a choked sob, but this time Jeff knew it was because of happiness. Jeff chuckled slightly and wiped Riker's tears away before kissing the tip of Riker's nose. Riker let out a small cough as he smiled and then buried his face back in Jeff's neck.

"I love you," Riker mumbled against Jeff's neck as Jeff's arms wrapped around his shoulders tightly again.

"I love you too," Jeff breathed back. Riker released another cough as he cried happily against Jeff's neck. Jeff smiled and pushed Riker's beanie aside a bit to nuzzle into Riker's hair.

Riker smiled against Jeff's neck and held onto Jeff even tighter than he had been before. Jeff squeezed Riker's shoulders in response and Riker felt more tears leak out from behind his eyes, though this time they were out of happiness. He couldn't help it though. He hadn't felt this happy in months. It seemed as if a giant weight was off of his shoulders and he felt his walls lower as Jeff's breath puffed against his ear. Jeff rubbed soothing circles into Riker's back and Riker relaxed against Jeff's chest. This was the most relaxed Riker had felt in an extremely long time, beating out how he'd been for a while after soccer practice.

They continued to lay together on the ground, Jeff rubbing circles into Riker's back as Riker nuzzled into Jeff's neck. Soon enough, Riker's breath evened out and he felt Jeff smile against his ear. Riker smiled against Jeff's neck in response and let out a content sigh. For once, something had worked out for Riker. He might have fallen in love with his best friend months and months ago, but all that mattered now was that his best friend loved him back. That and the fact that Riker felt a bit different than he had in a while. He smiled widely, knowing exactly what the change was.

He finally had his confidence back.