In the Lost and FoundAuthor: starflowersRecipient: hector_rashbaumPrompt:
"I am not picky, I'm not sure I've ever seen a premise with this pairing I haven't liked. IDK. Suggestions: pornpornporn (secret slut!Kevin is one of my favorite things, idk), mpreg (shut up it's awesome), wingfic (what, yes, I like crack, whatever), or Kevin-getting-to-know/hanging-out-with-F
A story about lost boys who don't know when they've been found. ~13300 words.Warnings:
I'm gonna warn for language, obviously, and angst, and homophobia in unexpected places. Oh, and a little bit of sex but not nearly as much as I meant there to be. Oh wait! Also, a tiny tiny bit of William/Kevin, but not much. As well as Pete/Kevin, Patrick/Kevin. And Brendon/Spencer! That's not a warning, what am I doing?!Notes:
So, this wasn't what you meant by secret slut!Kevin, I know, but he sort of moved into my head and wouldn't leave until I wrote this, so, I'm sorry. I hope you like it, and god, you've got no idea how hardcore my love of wingfic is, so I am so, so sorry for the lack of wings, but if it makes you feel better, you've caused a Mike/Kevin Wingfic to grow in my head that is currently being written! I really hope this isn't a disappointment. MERRY CHRISTMAS.Disclaimer:
Fiction, obviously. Also, the title comes from an Elliot Smith song.
In the Lost and Found
Kevin liked to think that everyone in a club like this was a little lost, or maybe they’d lost something and were looking to find it. It made him feel a little bit better about the fact that he came here when the isolation and the crushing loneliness got so bad that he thought he might close his eyes and pray for it all to stop, if he still thought that anybody listened when he prayed.
Kevin wasn’t sure if he was one of the lost ones, looking to be found, or if he had lost something along the way. Either way, he found it in the press of bodies, the thumping bass, and the burn of liquor in the back of his throat, and if that left him too hollow still, if he still needed to forget, needed to be found, then he let whichever stranger fancied him take him home and fill him in other ways.
It was fun
. He liked
it and wanted it and if sometimes he thought about all he’d left behind, his family and his church and his life
, it was with a distant sort of nostalgia, and not with that crushing, aching, burning sense of loss that choked him and left him trembling.
If his family didn’t want him for what he was, he’d fucking find someone else who did.
God didn’t want him anyway.
Someone tugged at one of his curls, disrupting those far too sober thoughts, and purred, “You’ve got remarkable hair.”
He turned, dragged his gaze over the pretty, pointed features of the tall boy who leaned lazily against the bar next to him, and Kevin grinned. “Yours is better,” he said, because it really was.
“I know.” The boy smiled. “Dance?”
“Drink first,” Kevin said, and the boy laughed, bought him a shot, and the tequila was still warming his throat and his insides as Kevin let himself be tugged into the dancing crowd.
William was tall and graceful and gorgeous and laughed when Kevin tried to shove his hands down his pants.
“Slow down,” he said, slipping away, and Kevin looked up at him, hurt. William just rolled his eyes and laughed again, taking his hand, tugging him from the crowd, towards the door. “Come home with me.”
It was kind of a blur from there, the best kind of blur, fuelled by alcohol and warmth and William’s hands wandering over him in the backseat of the car while William’s roommate snorted disdainfully, kept his eyes averted, said sarcastic things that made William laugh into Kevin’s mouth, and drove them back to William’s place.
“Drink?” William asked when they stumbled through the doorway, and Kevin shook his head, tugging William towards the hallway.
“You owe me,” the roommate said, but Kevin barely registered him at all, tripping through the door William kicked open, and shoving it shut behind him.
William fell asleep afterwards, tangled in the sheets and sprawled out over three-quarters of the bed, and it was difficult to keep from accidentally touching him, but Kevin didn’t really like to touch afterwards. It sort of felt like he was putting himself back together after letting a stranger take him apart, and he wanted to make sure he got all the pieces, that nothing got accidentally left behind. He lay there for a while, staring at the ceiling while the alcohol began to wear off, and then he sighed, feeling the beginnings of a hangover already, and slipped from the bed, pulling his clothes on in the dark. He was pretty good at that by now.
Kevin was still doing up his shirt as he left the hallway, and he didn’t even notice the hushed sound of the tv or the flickering lights until someone drawled, “Have fun?”
He froze, head jerking up, and blinked into the living room, a deer in the headlights. It was the roommate, sprawled on the couch, legs spread, bowl of cereal cradled on his lap, while Family Guy played on the tv.
“Uh,” Kevin said. “Yes? Thank you.” His mother raised him to be polite, after all.
The guy smirked, and then nudged a box of Lucky Charms towards Kevin with his foot. “You want?”
Kevin did not
want to sit in the dark and watch Family Guy with William’s roommate and share a box of Lucky Charms, he absolutely did not.
But maybe it had more appeal than a long, cold walk home in the middle of the night. That’s the only reason he accepted after a slight hesitation, curling up in the armchair beside the couch with a fleecy throw tangled around his feet, eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.
A while passed before the guy said, “So, judging by the way you’re sneaking out before Bill’s even awake, I don’t have to worry about you sticking around and fucking with his head, and it’s not my place to cockblock a friend, but I just want you to know that Bill doesn’t need anyone with the shit you’ve got going on. Understand?”
Kevin blinked slowly. No. No, he couldn’t say he understood at all.
Laundry day was Kevin’s favourite, because it meant at least two hours spent lazing around in the tiny laundry room in his most comfortable ‘laundry day’ clothes, with nothing else to do but relax, read a book, listen to music, or stare at walls. The people in his dorm paid very little attention to personal hygiene, it seemed, or maybe they just chose to do their laundry in the dead of night, he wasn’t sure, but Kevin was generally alone on laundry day, which was just how he liked it.
Besides, any reason to escape close-quarters with his roommate and his roommate’s awful friends counted as a win in Kevin’s books.
The only problem was that this time, Kevin wasn’t alone at all. There was another guy down there, who’d been fumbling through the most awkward and disorganized laundry routine Kevin had ever seen. It was sad, actually, and almost tragic, but the guy didn’t seem to know his brights from his whites at all, let alone his darks. Kevin did his best to mind his own business, but he couldn’t help commenting when the guy pulled a load of newly pinked socks and underpants from the dryer, looking perplexed.
“Uhm,” he said, to get the guy’s attention. His cheeks flushed when the guy (who was quite pretty) glanced over. “You washed them with something bright red and the dye ran.”
The guy blinked and then scowled. “Seriously? That happens? How—is it permanent? God, if I have to call my mom with another stupid question, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“It’s, uh, permanent. Sorry. But I can show you how to avoid it, if you want? To avoid the awkward call home?” Kevin tried not to sound too hopeful, but the guy seemed relatively normal, somewhat sane, and, though a little angry, not prone to fits of temper like Zac, Kevin’s roommate.
“Uhm. Sure. If you don’t mind.” The guy looked sheepish. “I never had to do this at home. I have sisters.”
Kevin smiled faintly and said, “It was my chore, so. You should see how bad I am at dishes, seriously. Oh, uhm. I’m Kevin?”
“Spencer,” Spencer said brightly, grinning. “Oh, hey, after, wanna go get a cupcake or something? I mean, I figure I owe you one, right?” He looked far too hopeful. Kevin narrowed his eyes.
“It’s not a date, is it?” He had grown a bit hesitant of dates and hook-ups since William’s roommate had threatened him.
“No! I just. I like cupcakes?” Spencer’s face was far too red for that to be the whole story, though.
Later, after their laundry was done and Kevin had grabbed his coat, scarf, and mittens from his room, they walked to the bakery that Spencer swore
made the best puff pastry this side of Las Vegas, and Kevin figured out why Spencer was so infatuated with the place. It wasn’t the name (The Magic Brownie Bakery), and it wasn’t the decor (someone, a long time ago, had painted over the brick walls with a sickening powder pink and then stencilled massive yellow daisies over top, but a creative and twisted individual had since come along and turned the peeling, cracked paint into cutesy zombies, werewolves, and unrecognizable creatures.) As interesting (alarming) as all that was, it wasn’t until the guy stumbled from the back of the bakery in a cloud of flour, giggles, and curses, that Kevin finally got why this most definitely was not a date, and why Spencer seemed keen on taking any and all opportunities to pop in to The Magic Brownie Bakery.
He was apparently helplessly and dizzily infatuated with the guy who worked the counter, who was currently covered in flour and beaming at Spencer from behind the cash register, still laughing. The laughter and smile faltered when he saw Kevin, and he shot Spencer a confused look, before turning and calling, “Dude, customers, cut that shit out! You totally lost!”
“If you’d stop cheating and ambushing me while I’m rolling fondant, you piece of shit, then I wouldn’t—oh.”
Kevin stared, blinked, looked away quickly, and pretended that he didn’t recognize that the guy who’d just come from the back room, also covered in flour, as William’s roommate.
The guy cleared his throat and continued like he hadn’t noticed anything at all, coming up behind Brendon and finishing, “Besides, I never lose, fucker.” He dumped a handful of flour over the first guy’s head, which rained in a shower over both him and Spencer and made a terrible mess.
Kevin shoved his mittened hands in his pockets and felt awkward, pretended he didn’t feel William’s roommate glaring at him, and then, after he was done coughing, shrieking, and apologizing, the counter boy said, “Hey, I’m Brendon. You must be Spencer’s... boyfriend...?”
Spencer stammered something, eyes going wide and startled, and Kevin just stared before shaking his head. “Uhm, no. We’re just laundry buddies. Like, we did laundry together? He didn’t know about sorting your colours and whites, so everything was pink, and I, uhm, I just— Ow.”
“Oh,” Brendon said, biting his lip to keep from grinning. “Oh, I see. Wow.”
“Kevin,” he blurted, but Brendon wasn’t really listening, he was chewing his bottom lip, shifting in a pile of flour, and sending Spencer nauseatingly flirtatious looks, while tangling his fingers in his apron string. Spencer, for his part, couldn’t stop smiling.
It was kind of disgusting, Kevin thought, fighting a grin. Then he caught William’s roommate staring at him and he winced, feeling awkward again. “Mike,” said the roommate, with a sarcastic, tiny grin.
Kevin ducked his head. Spencer stammered out an order for puff pastry. Kevin drew circles in the flour with the toe of his running shoe.
Finally, finally, just when it seemed that the awkwardness was at an end, Brendon said brightly, “Oh, hey, Kevin! We’ve got English lit. together, don’t we?”
“Uhm, maybe? I don’t...” he trailed off.
“We totally do, I remember you, you’re the one who thought Frankenstein was all an allegory for British Imperialist Philosophy.” He smiled smugly and said, “So, anyway, I’ve got this gig tonight, my band, I mean. I’ve got a band?” He shot a quick look at Spencer before turning back to Kevin. “Anyway, my band has a gig tonight at the campus pub, you should totally come, and bring friends! Like Spencer. If Spencer wants to come, I mean.”
Brendon looked pleadingly at Spencer, who turned red. Kevin didn’t really know what to say, but Mike was looking at him with some combination of patience and some sort of a threat, so he nodded and said, “Yeah, sure, totally, I’d—that’ll be awesome, I’ll totally come, and Spencer, too. Right, Spencer?”
“Uhm.” Spencer smiled, his first full smile since Kevin had met him, and Kevin blinked, a little dazed. So, so pretty. “Yeah,” he said, biting his lip. “Totally.”
Brendon bounced, Mike rolled his eyes but ducked his head to hide a smile, and Spencer grabbed Kevin’s arm and tugged him towards the door.
“See you later tonight,” Kevin said, not looking at Mike at all.
“Yeah!” Brendon called. “Bye!”
“Bye,” Spencer echoed, sounding dazed.
They walked in silence back towards the dorms for a little while, and then Kevin finally said, “That was... so special.”
“Shut up.” Spencer’s cheeks flushed.
“And you forgot your puff pastry.” He started to laugh.
“I don’t even care
,” Spencer said, and he sounded so defiantly day dreamy that Kevin just laughed harder.
Kevin was pretty familiar with the campus pub, but he’d never seen it as full as it was that night. Apparently Brendon’s band, called The Half Fulls, had something of a cult following, and even before they went on, the crowd was chanting for them. It was a bit surreal to match the geeky, glasses-wearing guy from the bakery to the crowd of dancing, chanting fans, and even Spencer seemed a little overwhelmed.
Apparently, though, the chanting wasn’t all for Brendon, and Kevin felt a little jolt of panic when The Half Fulls finally took the stage, because evidently, William was their front man. Oh jesus. Brendon was there too, bouncing while he played guitar, sang harmonies and lead every now and again, but William was in front, hips gyrating, hair so so pretty, voice smooth and Kevin couldn’t help remembering William mumbling in his ear as they—oh god, oh god.
He clutched his stomach and thought he might be sick when he noticed Mike
playing guitar in the shadowy right hand side of the stage. He didn’t know the drummer or the bass player, but they looked reasonably familiar, like maybe he had seen them around, or—or gone down on them in the backseat of their car or something. God.
“Hey,” he said suddenly to Spencer, grabbing his wrist. “Hey, so, I’ve gotta go.” He forced a fake smile, but a song had just ended and William was talking and Spencer wasn’t paying attention to him at all.
“So, my little friend Brendon here—” The screams intensified—“Has some special news to share.”
Brendon was laughing, blushing, and he shouted “Shut the fuck up, ohmygod,” but William just grinned. Mike’s head was ducked down but Kevin could see his smirk and—god he shouldn’t be paying more attention to Mike than anything else, seriously!
“Apparently he invited a certain special someone to the show tonight, a someone who he hasn’t shut up about for the last three months. We’d like to dedicate this show to Mr. Spencer Smith, in celebration of the glorious fact that Brendon has finally grown some balls, and in hopes that tonight, he finally becomes a man.”
Somewhere in there, Brendon had snarled something at William, had tried to run away only to be stopped by the cord on his guitar, and by the end of it, he was just standing very still, his eyes somehow having found Spencer’s in the crowd.
Spencer grinned, slow and promising and Brendon grinned back before ducking his head shyly and Kevin looked away. He was totally having a breakdown while his new friend was eye-fucking the guy on stage—the only one Kevin hadn’t hooked up with—no, wait. That wasn’t true. He hadn’t hooked up with Mike, either.
He shot a quick glance at Mike, startled to find him staring back as they launched into their next song, and he could only look away after Mike scowled and deliberately turned his back.
The show was awesome, and afterwards, Kevin was depressingly sober and still looking for a way to sneak out without drawing attention to himself or ditching Spencer. Kevin wasn’t very good at making friends, to be entirely honest (he’d always just sort of leeched on to Joe’s friends, Joe was the social one), and now that his laundry prowess had somehow captured him a friend, he wasn’t going to lose him over some silly reason like the fact that he’d slept with all the members of Spencer’s new hook-up’s band.
The band was sweaty after the show, and keyed up on adrenaline and determined to drag Spencer (and Kevin, by default) out to iHop for French toast. Kevin, obviously, didn’t want to go, but Spencer shot him a pleading look, like he still needed Kevin’s dubious connection to Brendon through English class to be invited along, so Kevin went, feeling small and stupid and pulling his scarf up high around his face in hopes that he wouldn’t be recognized.
They crammed into a booth. Patrick, the drummer, and Pete, the bassist, were involved in some loud, heated argument about art history, while Brendon and Spencer were crushed together, sharing a milkshake with one straw and talking softly, low and quiet, with matching flushes high on their cheeks, and William was on Kevin’s right side, studying him quietly over the rim of his coffee cup. That left Mike, pressed up against Kevin’s left side, still and quiet, and Kevin kind of wanted to die. At least Pete and Patrick hadn’t recognized him yet.
“So,” William said finally, and Kevin glanced at him, wide-eyed and apprehensive. “You left pretty early the other day.”
Mike snorted softly into his coffee, and Kevin managed not to look at him. “Oh,” Kevin said, shifting awkwardly. This was why he made a point not to see anyone he’d hooked up with again. “Yeah, uhm, I had to get home.”
This time, Mike actually laughed, though it was low and snide, and Kevin couldn’t help turning to look at him, hurt and not sure why. “Be nice, Michael,” William chided quietly, still watching Kevin.
Mike just grinned, ran the tip of one finger down the back of Kevin’s hand, and tapped the silver ring on his ring finger. “Nice ring,” he drawled, and Kevin snatched his hand away, curled it into a protective fist, and paled. He didn’t like to think of that ring these days, and he swallowed hard.
“Thanks?” he said uncertainly.
Mike just rolled his eyes and turned away, and when Kevin finally turned back, William was still studying him silently.
Brendon, apparently, liked to talk, and also had no problem making friends. Maybe it was just that he had lower requirements, Kevin wasn’t sure. All he knew was that, when he walked into English the next day, Brendon flopped down in the chair beside him, flashed a sleepy grin, handed him a cup of coffee, and said, “Frankenstein blows, did I mention that?”
It was kind of nice. Kevin had gotten so used to just drifting through every day that he’d forgotten what it was like to have people like Brendon, who didn’t mind sitting near him, who spoke to him and sometimes even paused for breath and let him answer. Apparently all Brendon needed to consider you a friend is for you to somehow know Spencer Smith. Or maybe smile at him at the bakery. Kevin wasn’t sure, but either way, he sort of welcomed it, even when the professor glared at them four times before finally asking them to take their conversation into the hall.
He didn’t expect it when Brendon flashed a pleased, pleasant smile, without any sarcasm at all, and gathered up his books to leave, like he believed it to be an excellent
plan. Kevin, still feeling a bit shell-shocked, followed with an apologetic glance at the teacher.
They found a couch in the students’ lounge, sinking into the worn leather, books forgotten on the floor, and Brendon finally ran out of chatter.
Which meant that it was Kevin’s turn to say something, so he said awkwardly, “So, did you and Spencer, uhm...” At Brendon’s blank look, he finished lamely, “Hook up or whatever?”
“Dude, no!” Brendon said, laughing. “It took til yesterday before I even saw him outside of the bakery, I wasn’t sure he was, you know, interested, or whatever.” Kevin scoffed and Brendon wrinkled his nose. “Yeah. I know, Mike says I was being stupid, that Spencer was the least subtle guy in the history of guys...” he trailed off day dreamily, and Kevin hurried to find something to say, because he was worried that Brendon was about to launch into showtunes or Disney songs or something lovely and relationshippy and romantic and none of that made much sense to Kevin.
“So, Mike hates me, huh?” he said instead. There was no hurt in his tone, at all. Hopefully.
Brendon blinked at him and then looked solemn, biting his lip before saying carefully, “He doesn’t hate you. I mean, I don’t want to judge or anything and everyone gets to decide what’s right for them and stuff, whatever, right, it’s just, Mike’s kind of sensitive about some things, and—”
“Homophobic?” Kevin asked, stunned.
Brendon looked blank and then cracked up. “Dude, no! Like, Mike doesn’t like people fucking around, when they’re, you know. Married.”
“Right. Married.” He echoed it blankly and then shook his head. “I mean, what?”
Brendon frowned. “You mean—well, you are
married, right? I mean, the ring.” He glanced pointedly at Kevin’s ring. “See, Mike’s parents were together, but then his mom found out that his dad was—”
“Oh! Oh, no, I’m—no!” Kevin shook his head wildly, flushing. “No, no, I’m—it’s not a wedding ring! It’s a family thing, it’s. My dad—I mean, my father, he just. He gave them to my brothers and I. It’s it just...” He trailed off, staring at his ring and then closing his hand slowly and glancing up at Brendon, biting his lip. “My dad gave it to me,” he said, this time without stammering.
Brendon offered a crooked, sweet smile and said, “Yeah, family things can be complicated, huh?”
Feeling relieved and unsure how to express it, Kevin just nodded slowly, relaxing a bit. “Yeah,” he agreed. “They really can.”
Apparently Brendon and Spencer decided to date or whatever, Kevin didn’t even know. He knew that sometimes, Brendon would have stupid hickeys on his neck, and other times, Spencer would be unable to hang out and watch zombie movies or whatever. He didn’t care and he didn’t ask and he certainly, certainly didn’t understand. But Spencer still didn’t seem to mind hanging out with Kevin when he wasn’t out with Brendon, and sometimes the three of them even hung out together, and Kevin didn’t feel left out or anything, so he was okay with them dating. Sometimes he really wanted to ask
about it, but he didn’t, because he’d been raised to respect privacy.
He’d also been raised to think that homosexuality meant hell and damnation and sin and random fucking and stuff, and that didn’t seem to be what Brendon and Spencer were doing at all.
Even a little.
It got colder, and Kevin wasn’t lonely, or homesick, not even as it approached the holidays. He didn’t sleep much anymore, because there was he was always cold and aching and he wasn’t sure why. It was time for finals and he was so busy studying and writing term papers that he was either doing that or sleeping, and Kevin hadn’t really realized how much he had come to rely on going out and hooking up for even a few short hours of company.
Finally, after his last exam, Kevin dropped his backpack on the floor in his dorm and collapsed, face-down, ready to sleep for days. Maybe til after Christmas.
Zac and his friends came in a few minutes later, laughing and loud, shouting something about a porn DVD one of them had, and at first, they didn’t notice Kevin at all.
It wasn’t til the movie had started loading on the laptop, Zac and all four of his friends crammed on Zac’s bed, when one of them said, “Dude, shouldn’t, like. This shit’s got chicks in it, shouldn’t your roommate like, leave?”
“Dude!” Zac cried, laughing. “Fuck, Kev, seriously, we’re gonna be watching hetero shit here, I mean, you can stay, whatever, maybe it’ll cure you or whatever!” They all laughed. “But, like, not for fags, right?”
Kevin blinked, exhausted, and said, “Yeah. Whatever, it’s fine.”
He dragged himself out of bed and out of the room, down the hall, pounded on Spencer’s door, and mumbled something before collapsing on his bed.
“Uhm. I’m kind of studying,” Spencer said.
“Muh,” Kevin mumbled, not bothering to move.
“Well. Okay.” Kevin listened to him shuffle papers for a while, heard the thump of a textbook or two, and then blessed quiet for a long, long time. He slept deeper than he had in ages, dead to the world, and finally woke when Spencer shook him.
“Dude,” Spencer said quietly. “Are you sick or something?”
“Hetero porn,” Kevin mumbled.
“Zac’s watching hetero porn, no fags allowed, needed sleep.” He blinked blearily at him. “You still studying?”
“What the fuck, he can’t say that shit to you!”
Kevin giggled like it was funny and closed his eyes. “Tired,” he whimpered.
Spencer smoothed Kevin’s hair back from his forehead, just like Kevin’s mom used to do—no, no, no, Kevin didn’t think about that. His breathing faltered and that cold, aching feeling he always felt these days nearly identified itself as homesickness or loneliness or something definable that would mean confessing that he’d lost everything
and Kevin was going to panic and he couldn’t breathe and—
“Hey, hey,” Spencer said, low and soothing. “You okay?”
Kevin screwed his eyes shut and nodded wildly.
Spencer kept stroking his hair, not at all self-conscious about it, like it was normal, and he seemed to weigh his words carefully before saying, “There’s a party tonight, at Brendon’s? You wanna come? We weren’t sure if you’d want to, since you’ve been so busy, but maybe some time off would help, or...”
“Done exams,” Kevin said dully. “But Mike hates me.”
“Really don’t think he does,” Spencer said, still careful. “You should come. It’s a Christmas party or something, I don’t know. Brendon’s really into Christmas, I guess.”
Kevin turned his head to look at Spencer, sleepy and vulnerable and so, so lonely. “You and Brendon, you’re like—are you guys, you know...”
Spencer smiled a little, unsure, and let his hand fall from Kevin’s hair. “Are we what? You’re gonna have to be a little more specific.”
“Dating. Or something.”
Spencer blushed and shrugged, but said, “I guess. Yeah?”
“See. See, I don’t get that,” Kevin said, and it burst out of him violently. “I don’t get how you can be dating, people-- I mean, people like us-- we don’t date, we don’t—we just. We fuck around or we get off with each other or we just. Whatever, but we don’t love
, that’s. We aren’t built for that, we’re wrong and we’re fags and we’re—”
Spencer blinked at him, looking stunned, and then sat back on his heels. “Wow,” he said blankly, and Kevin sucked in a trembling breath. “Wow, okay. Uhm, so. You’re kind of fucked up.”
Kevin closed his eyes and said, “I know, I’m sorry, I know, I’m really really sorry, I just. I don’t understand.”
“Uhm. You’re a nice guy, and obviously fucked in the head,” Spencer said, watching him closely. “So I’m not going to punch you in the head or anything. But maybe you should talk to Brendon about this. I mean, he could probably help you with it better than I can. Which is why you should come to the party. Also, he misses you.” He smiled a bit, shrugging. “And maybe a bit of normal social interaction away from that douchebag roommate’ll do you some good.”
The only thing that Kevin could think of that he wanted to do less
that night was go back to his dorm and watch porn with Zac and his friends, so he reluctantly agreed.
Hell, maybe it was just what he needed, anyway.
The party was like dozens of others that Kevin had gone to since he’d come to college. More people than he could count were crammed into the apartment he vaguely remembered from that hazy night he’d let William take him home. He recognized a few more than he wished he did, from random hook-ups or whatever, but other than a faintly quizzical grin as they passed and tried to recall how they knew him or a random nod of acknowledgement, no one seemed to really care.
Any intention of finding someone to sneak off with was forgotten by midnight, when Kevin found himself in the middle of a tense game of Texas Hold’Em with some girls he’d never met before, who’d taken one look at him, nicknamed him Bambi, and dragged him to their table, intent on taking him for all he was worth. So far, it was working, and Kevin was having more fun than he’d had in ages.
He was feeling pretty good by the time the game broke up, buzzed enough to be relaxed and for most of his awkwardness to ease, his stuttering and his shyness forgotten. He met people but didn’t linger long, content to wander, and it hit him with a drunken sense of irony when he realized that he wasn’t cruising for a hook-up, he was looking for Brendon or Spencer or another of his new friends, just craving the company.
He found Mike instead. The party-goers had mostly gathered in the kitchen or the bedrooms, abandoning the living room for easier access to the beer or the bathrooms, and Mike was sprawled on the couch, studying a can of beer. The floorboards shook with the bass from whatever music they were listening to in the kitchen but other than that, it was silent.
“Oh,” Kevin said, startled. “Uhm, hi. Sorry. I was looking for Spencer.”
“Don’t bother,” Mike said, glancing up at him with half a shrug. “Brendon spent the entire week thinking up ways to coax Spencer into making out with him or something tonight.”
“I don’t think it’ll take much coaxing,” Kevin confessed, feeling awkward. He came into the room, edging carefully in case Mike was going to tell him to get lost, but Mike didn’t, and Kevin sat on the other end of the couch, relaxing into the awkward silence.
“Uhm. I’m not married,” Kevin said helpfully.
“Yeah.” Mike smiled faintly. “I heard. Congrats. Sorry or whatever.”
“No big deal,” Kevin said like it hadn’t hurt his feelings, because really, he wasn’t a girl or anything.
It was quiet again, and then Mike said, “You want to play Mario Kart?”
At the same time, Kevin said, “I really like your band.”
More awkwardness, and then Kevin let out a tense breath and said, “Yeah, okay. Sure.”
Mike set the game up, grabbed two controllers, sat back down, and said, “You gonna come out and see the band again some time?”
Kevin glanced at him sideways, uncertain, and said, “Yeah? I mean, probably? You don’t mind?”
Mike snorted and said, “Why should I care?”
They started the game, Kevin picked Princess Peach out of force of habit, and tipped his chin up defiantly when Mike laughed at him.
He lost, badly, and ended up stealing sips of Mike’s beer until it was gone after their sixth or seventh race.
“You really suck, princess,” Mike said, head thrown back as he laughed, slumped back against the cushions, legs spread. Kevin was feeling more of a buzz than before, and Mike wasn’t being all hostile anymore, though he certainly wasn’t being nice
, but he’d played Mario Kart with Kevin instead of going off to hang out with someone more interesting, so maybe Mike thought he was hot enough, maybe Mike wanted him. Kevin wouldn’t have to be lonely anymore for a little while if Mike wanted him, though he was kind of sad because he kind of liked hanging out with Mike and if Kevin acted on things like he wanted to act on them, then Mike wouldn’t stick around, that was just how it went. Or something. Kevin couldn’t remember anymore, but all he knew was that people didn’t become friends
with him, they hung around until they got what they wanted and Kevin wanted it too because he was just like
them, and if Mike wanted him then Kevin wanted him too, so he kissed him.
It was stupid and awkward and clumsy, tasted like beer, and was a bit too wet and desperate for Kevin to think about without wanting the ground to swallow him whole.
It lasted a few miserable seconds before Mike managed to tear himself away, blink at Kevin slowly, and say, “Dude. Dude, I’m straight.”
Kevin flinched violently and started stammering even as he tried to scramble away. “Sorry, I—sorry, I wasn’t thinking, I made a mistake, I thought you wanted—I didn’t mean to, I—”
“Wow, okay,” Mike said, tangling his fist in Kevin’s scarf and tugging. “Stay. Seriously, what the fuck, breathe, Jonas. It’s okay, whatever, you think being friends with Bill and Brendon hasn’t led to a few drunken gropes? Just forget it. Whatever, okay? Breathe. I just... I’m not interested. We good?”
“Good?” Kevin echoed, still tense and ready to flee. In his experience, situations like this usually ended with a punch to the throat.
“Friends,” Mike clarified.
Kevin’s eyes were very, very wide and he felt stupid, childlike, and unsure. “Friends,” he echoed faintly, collapsing back to the couch beside him. “Yeah. Yes. Friends.”
Apparently, Brendon and Spencer’s unique brand of warm fuzzies were contagious. Or something.