©
I’m Not the Same As I Was (AU)

Summary: After Chris turns him down and breaks his heart, Darren marries Mia. Ten years down the line, Darren is divorced with two kids, and he meets Chris, by chance, in Washington, DC. Chris has been depressed since he let Darren slip from his life, so, now that he’s ready for the relationship Darren had promised him, he wants to give them a chance.
Pairing: CrissColfer
A/N: I’ve had this idea in my notes for ages, so I decided to write it down and further institutionalize myself.

———

Darren Criss, world renowned civil rights activist, who is right up there with Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. - or, at least, that’s what he likes to think - climbed the steps of the US Capitol at a rushed pace.

He had places to be and people to see, and, of course, he’d been running late. His children, the two lights of his life, had caused a ruckus this morning, and the coffee stain on his new tie was proof of it. Unable to wipe the smile off of his face as he walked into the large building, he quickly made his way toward the elevator, going up to his chosen floor.

Breezing in, he waved to various people he new - a security guard, a few politicians, and some fellow activists he’d had the privilege of working with. Taking one last glance at his well-beyond-repair tie, Darren shrugged and slipped into the massive room, where Congress was about to start their session for the day.

He took a seat in the back, watching intently as the huge meeting began.

———

"I barely even got to speak," Darren stated, holding his phone to his ear as he wove through hundreds of people, trying to leave the building. "I mean, the economy is so important, but really? It’s doing really well right now. The next order on the agenda is the rights of our fucking people, -"

Darren cursed, as his body collided with another, his phone falling to the ground with a cracking sound. He glanced to the now-broken phone with disdain, and then he looked to the person he’d almost mowed over.

His breath got stuck in his throat.

A pair of wide, piercing, blue eyes stared back at him in surprise. The man’s pale pink lips fell open into a circular shape, and he gasped.

"Darren?"

———

It shouldn’t have felt as bad as it did seeing him, Darren tried to chide himself, as he led the man out of the building. Sure, they’d left things on horrible, horrible terms, but they were passed that. Darren had moved on, or…well…at least, he thought so.

"How are you, Chris?" he finally pushed himself to ask, voice thicker than he would have liked it to be.

The man beside him smiled, stopping on a step, and plopped down, letting out a relieved sigh.

"My dogs are barking," he announced, glancing down at his sneaker-clad feet in annoyance.

Darren looked around warily, hoping no one came to arrest them.

"You know, you’re not allowed to sit there, right?" he warned.

Chris just shrugged, leaning back a bit, and looked up at Darren curiously.

"Why’re you here?" he questioned. "I mean, I’m here for the tour of the Capitol. You’d think I would’ve been inside before, but, since I have a break from the tour, I can finally see it."

Darren smiled politely, replying, “I was in a meeting.”

Chris’ brow furrowed, as he glanced back at the building behind them.

"Uh…with who?"

Darren rolled his eyes.

"Congress. Duh."

Chris blanched for a moment, looking a bit confused.

"But you…I…wow. That’s great for you, Darren. I didn’t even know…"

"Haven’t looked me up in the past ten years?" Darren guessed, feeling a bitter seed start to sow in the pit of his stomach.

Chris looked away guiltily, refraining from saying what he really wanted to say - that it hurt too much to even see his name, so he’d done away with the news and social media, except for when he had to do PR for his newest novels or movies.

"How’s Mia?" he queried apprehensively.

On the one hand, he really wanted to know what Darren had been up to for the past decade, but, on the other, he didn’t want to hear how great life had been without him.

"We’re divorced," Darren answered, shrugging, "so I wouldn’t really know. I only see her when she comes to visit the kids, and that’s not often, since I got full custody and she’s off doing music or something."

Chris blinked a few times, swallowing thickly.

"You have kids?"

He’d always known that Darren would have children one day; in fact, he’d dreamed that those children would be theirs. It feels like a gulp of nails ripping down his throat, as he tried to swallow around an a sob that he didn’t know had been coming.

"Yeah," Darren smiled genuinely. "Two. One’s nine, and the other’s seven. Two crazy girls.”

Chris smiled, feeling an ache in his heart.

"Are you…um…with anyone?"

Darren’s brow quirked, and his eyes met Chris’.

"Why do you ask? It’s not like you care, anyway."

He knew he sounded bitter, but, god, Chris had hurt him so bad. Some wounds just didn’t heal.

"I’ve always wondered what would’ve happened had I not…" Chris trailed off, feeling his eyes start to prickle with tears.

Darren’s features hardened, finishing for him.

"Broken my heart?"

Chris nodded.

———

"How did you get this number?" Darren asked, when Chris greeting him on the other line.

Chris chuckled nervously, saying, “I…uh…looked you up. Is that okay? I mean, I…there was more I wanted to talk about, but I…I broke your phone.”

Darren sighed, trying not to smile, but it was nearly impossible. His eldest daughter, who sat on the couch, flipping through a National Geographic magazine, looked up at her father and smirked.

Blushing, Darren turned away, whispering into the phone, “What do you want to talk about?”

There was a pause on the other and crackling that suggested a deep intake of breath.

"I want you to give me a chance," Chris announced.

Darren was paralyzed for a moment, trying to distinguish this between reality and fantasy. He’d had dreams about Chris saying those words - or ones like them - and, now that he had said them, Darren didn’t actually know how to respond.

Luckily, Chris continued.

"I know that I broke your heart, but…but…we were both just beginning out lives. Okay? I wanted my career to get somewhere before I settled down. You…you were just so crazy and free, and I didn’t think that I could…do that…then. Now, though…god, I’m so willing to try. I’ve been in love with you for so long, and…and…I’ve always regretted denying you. Please. Please. One shot, and, then, if you don’t want me…I’ll go back to California."

Darren was quiet for a moment.

"Won’t you have to go back anyway? You’re still a movie star. You still write screenplays. It’s not like I’m moving out of DC, Chris. I’m happy here - my kids are happy here. My job is here, and-"

"If I can have you," Chris cut him off, "I’m willing to relocate. I’ve got a very eclectic set of skills. Okay? I’ll visit New York for the Tribeca Festival, and I’ll write books, like I’ve been doing. If I’m lucky, I’ll only have to go to California for premieres, and I’m tired of acting and the paparazzi. I’m thirty-two, but I look like I’m three hundred and two!”

They both chuckled at that, and then their chuckles subsided.

Darren was quiet and thoughtfully so.

Then, he commented, “You’ve really thought this thing through.”

———

The doorbell rang, just as Darren was stepping out of the shower. He cursed under his breath and hurriedly pulled a towel on, securing it around his hips before he padded into the front of the house, where Chris stood, holding a bouquet of vibrant flowers. His daughters were both sizing Chris up, in his designer suit, with a nervous expression on his blushing face.

They all looked toward Darren, then, when he stepped on a creaky floorboard. Chris’ blush darkened, and the girls groaned.

"Dad! Where are your clothes?"

"Yeah, dad! It’s only the first date! Save it for the third!"

Darren grimaced at his children, before looking to Chris.

"I didn’t…uh…I didn’t think you two could hear over the music you were blasting.”

The girls both giggled, uncovering their eyes before they ran into the other room, leaving their father and Chris to stare at each other.

"I…um…brought you flowers," Chris blurted out after a minute, holding the bouquet with outstretched arms.

Darren smiled sweetly, taking the flowers from his hands. He sniffed them slowly and smiled.

"Beautiful," he murmured, looking back to Chris. "Thank you."

They stood in silence for another moment.

"I’ll go put these in water," Darren decided. "Then, I’ll get dressed, and we can go. You can take a seat on the couch in the next room. I’ll be down in a few minutes."

———

"I wish I would’ve said yes to you all those years ago," Chris admitted, as he clasped Darren’s hands over the table.

Darren cracked a smile, his eyes going sad for a moment, before a genuine happiness took over his features.

"I wish you had too," he agreed.

They were both quiet.

"I know I’ve messed up a lot,” Chris began softly, squeezing Darren’s hands tightly, as his eyes bore into the other man’s. “I know…that we’ve both changed, and we’re both…a bit damaged. It may be hard to…to forgive me, but I’m begging you. Give me a chance. Okay? Date me, and…and we can see where it goes from there. We’ve both grown up a lot - me, especially - and I think that we could become something - everything, even. I wasn’t ready ten years ago, but…I am now. I…I love you, Darren.”

He took a deep breath, smiling in relief.

"It feels so good to have finally said that," he murmured.

Darren gulped, blinking back tears, as he nodded.

"I feel really stupid," he said. "Like, I moved on, had a wife who loved me and two beautiful children, but I didn’t love my wife back and had kids with the wrong person. Don’t get me wrong. My kids are the best things about my life - the greatest accomplishment I’ll ever make. It’s just…I’ve loved you since I told you, and I loved you before that. I feel like…I’ll always love. Nothing’ll change that, even if I deny you like you did me or if I remain bitter."

He took a deep breath and squeezed Chris’ hands.

"I always wondered what I’d say to you, if you ever came back into my life. I always thought it would be this witty, bitch-slap thing, but, what I want to say…it’s the same thing I would have said, had you said yes the first time," he admitted. "I love you, Chris. More than the air I breathe. More than the life I lead. If you’re willing to take me and my politically driven life, full of children whom I would give anything for, I want to be with you. Though I’ve been granted some of the best riches a man could ever have over my time on this planet, there’s always been something missing. That…that missing this was you, Chris. I just want you."

They both stared at each other for a moment, and then Chris sniffled. He stood from his seat and walked around the table, pulling Darren into a standing position. Their eyes met for a moment, and then they closed, lips touching finally. Finally.

Both men clung to each other, as they tongues danced and lips brushed, completely isolated from the people around them, watching as two lovers united finally.

  1. arosemonae reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  2. kirabokurt reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  3. sweetenough2eat reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  4. imagineiwashere reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  5. gleekcourageklainer reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  6. snapcr-ackles-pop reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  7. cherrylandia reblogged this from hero-in-disguise
  8. crisscobrien reblogged this from hero-in-disguise and added:
    this should totally be a verse. It is so good.
  9. hero-in-disguise posted this