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Erik squeezed his eyes shut and fought back the stinging behind his lids. Why had he thought this would be a good idea? He almost hung up when he heard a shuffling sound as the phone was handed off to someone else.
"Hello? Erik?" It was Dean.
"Hey." Erik cleared his throat. "Hi, Dean."
Dean sighed heavily into the phone. "Look, I'm sorry, but... it's probably not a good idea to talk to Mom or Dad right now."
Erik took a shaky breath. Just hold it together for the rest of the call, just a couple more minutes. "Mmhmm." He didn't quite trust himself to speak.
"You're doing okay?"
At least the question sounded genuine.
"Yeah." Erik took another gulp of air and cleared his throat again. "I'm good. I'm doing well. Yeah. Thanks for asking. And you guys? How's everyone doing at home?" He hated how high his voice went when he tried to sound cheerful.
"Yeah, we're good. Um, the kids have been asking about you."
Erik bit back a sob. "Can you tell them I love them?" He managed to squeak out.
"Yeah, I will."
There was still so much more that Erik wanted to say, so much that he wished they knew about him. But what use was it now? What could he say now to get them to listen, to get them to understand that he was the same person they'd always known? What could he say to convince them to let him back in?
"I... I should go." Dean sounded resigned, and Erik thought he heard a tinge of regret.
"Yeah." Another deep breath. "Yeah, okay. Happy Thanksgiving."
"Happy Thanksgiving to you, too."
As the line went dead, Erik gripped the phone tightly in his hand, and despite telling himself not to, he threw the damn thing across the room. It hit the opposite wall with crack and tumbled to the floor.
He couldn't hold it in any longer. The sobs ripped out from him like some alien species clawing to get out. Why? Why were they such homophobic, ignorant, fucking assholes? Why was his family a bunch of hateful, narrow-minded fuckers who couldn't see past their bigotry and just love their son because he was their fucking son?
Erik fell over sideways as if his body didn't have enough strength to even sit upright. With his face pressed against the floor, he cried, his tears forming little puddles on the cool wood. God, he wanted to punch something. He wanted to punch something so badly that his fingers itched. He banged the floor with his fist and felt the reverberations through his knuckles and wrist. The pain felt good; it felt better than the fucking mess of his heart.
So, he did it again. And again and again until he felt someone else's hand close over his own.
Ryan didn't say anything. He just sat on the floor and pulled Erik into his lap, holding Erik's hand so he couldn't keep punching the floor.
Erik wrapped his arms around Ryan's waist and buried his face into the warm solid muscles of Ryan's stomach. He clung to Ryan because there was nothing else to cling to, no one else he could call family, no one he belonged to. He only had Ryan now, and he wasn't about to let go.
They sat like that on the floor until Erik ran out of tears. Slowly, his brain registered the feeling of fingers running through his hair, massaging his scalp, a warm hand rubbing circles across his back, and soft kisses pressed against the back of his neck. Ryan holding him. Ryan being there for him. Ryan accepting him when his own family couldn't.
Slowly, Erik pushed himself to sitting, pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around his shins. Ryan still sat close, close enough that their shoulders touched, but he didn't say anything.
"Sorry about that." The sobbing had made Erik's voice hoarse.
"I'm sorry about the phone call."
Erik shrugged, but stared resolutely at his broken phone still lying across the room.
"Listen, we don't have to go to your friend's for Thanksgiving tonight. Why don't we just stay here?" Ryan spoke softly, and Erik knew he was trying to give Erik an out.
But goddammit if he was going to let his family ruin Thanksgiving for him.