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The Problem With Coming Out

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Things got a little bit awkward after Billy accidentally came out to his parents. He'd never actually thought he would come out as gay. He figured if they didn't know, they didn't need to know. But they'd just shoved it on him, thinking the only confession he could possibly have would be about his relationship with Teddy, and not…about being a superhero. On one hand, it was nice that they were so accepting. On the other hand…maybe they were too accepting. And maybe his family knew too much about him as it was, without revealing that he had some kind of not-really-mutant powers.

The night Billy's mom asked him if he knew how to use a condom, it was all he could do to not wish himself out of there. The day his middle brother asked him if he was the one who had to wear a dress when he married Teddy, he almost wished he could melt into the floor. His dad mostly stayed out of it, because he was the least comfortable with the idea, but he did make a comment about safe sex. Billy had about lost it.

"Look, just because I'm a gay teenager doesn't mean I'm having sex and it doesn't mean that I don't know how to do it safely!" he'd said, and stormed out.

When he told Teddy about it, Teddy actually laughed. "You know, I don't even know if I can get STDs." Billy had smacked him on the arm, but he realized he'd never thought about it, either. If he got some kind of disease, couldn't he erase it? He still didn't know how far his powers even went. And Teddy…well, who knew? Neither of them knew much about mutants getting diseases. And later, when they realized Teddy wasn't even a mutant, it seemed even less likely. Not that they were at risk, but apparently it was all parents bothered thinking about.

It didn't get better when Billy discovered that he actually had another brother.

Tommy didn't really care that Billy and Teddy were gay. He was just a jerk in general. He liked to tease, and he liked to be in the way as much as possible. He developed sort of a sixth sense. Any time Billy and Teddy were with the YA gang and were thinking of kissing or even hugging, Tommy would find a way to get in the way, usually with a snide remark about it. He acted like it wasn't on purpose, but they both knew better.

When Billy and Tommy went on a trip to look for the Scarlet Witch, Billy remembered how bad he'd wanted to melt into the floor with his other brother.

"So you and the jolly green giant do it yet?" Tommy asked, conversationally, while they were standing at ground zero in Genosha. If Billy had been drinking something, he would have spit it out all over the place. As it was, he just choked on his own spit and stared at Tommy.

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" he demanded, sounding as outraged as he could manage. "Don't talk about Teddy that way!"

Tommy shrugged. "Wow, got your panties in a bunch, huh? But it's not that I asked if you were a virgin that pissed you off. So that means you're not one, right?"

Billy took a step back and shook his head. "What? How is that the conclusion you draw? And how is this your business?"

"Come on, Billy, we're brothers, or so you keep telling me. So you can tell me! Spill."


"No you're not a virgin, no you didn't sleep with Teddy? Come on, specify here. I'm a speedster, not a psychic," Tommy said, unfazed by Billy's indignation.

"Fuck you, Tommy, let's just go look for-"

"Already did, I told you."

"Ugh. Fine! Let's go to Wunda…" But Tommy was already gone. If he had any actual stock in their conversation besides pushing Billy's buttons, Billy sure couldn't tell. He sighed and got himself to Wundagore all the same, though.

After Tommy told him that it was basically a waste of time to be in Wundagore, as well, he asked, "So are you like into shapeshifting in bed? You have a thing for Iron Man, right? Or is it Captain America. Anyway. Do you ever like ask Teddy to be your hero? I bet he would, you're both such freaks."

Billy's face turned as red as his cape. "Tommy, shut up, what is with you!"

Tommy held up his hands in mock-defense. "Okay, okay! But look, I'm just trying to get to know my little bro better! Bonding, you know? Isn't that what families do?"

Billy thought that he might have actually punched Tommy in the face if he could have. Tommy would have dodged, though, and he probably would have found it insanely funny. So he settled for clenching his fists at his sides and changing the subject.

As they sat on the bus back to Billy's part of town, after the run-in with Pandemonium, Tommy fidgeted all over. He couldn't sit still, he couldn't stay in one seat, he couldn't keep from annoying basically everyone on the bus. Luckily, there weren't that many other passengers. Billy realized why he hadn't wanted to do it in the first place, but it wasn't like they could just zap off a public bus without drawing attention to themselves.

"So you're going to go home and make out with Teddy to make yourself feel better about wasting my time, right?" he started. Billy rolled his eyes and didn't answer.

"Hey, are you sure it's safe? I mean not only is the mixed race thing a problem, but like, I've seen how big he can get. Doesn't that hurt? Or are you into that? Like that size kink thing? I saw stuff like that on the internet, it's pretty wild. Or you just like pain. I mean, you don't look like the type or anything, but it's always mild mannered ones who grow up to be sadists and serial killers and shit, right? Or in your case you just really like taking it-"

"Jesus Christ, Tommy, would you shut the hell up!" Billy hissed. He sunk lower in his seat, aware of a couple people looking their direction. Tommy wasn't the quietest person in the world. Luckily, he spoke too fast for most people to catch what he was saying from halfway across the bus, but Billy still wanted to melt. He made a mental note to never take public transit with his twin ever again. Tommy's boredom was too much to handle.

Finally, they were back at Billy's house.

"I'd ask you in, but that would be really awkward, since my parents think Teddy is me, and just seeing you would probably give my mom a fit."

"Psht, like I want to come in there anyway. Family's not my style, you know?"

"Then why help me look for Wanda?"

Tommy grinned. "So you'll shut up about her. Man, if you weren't gay, I'd think it was some Oedipal thing going on. By the way, you should have seen your face on the bus. Hell, you should see it now! You can try to hit me if you want to, but you'll just miss and look like a reject."

"Would you please go home, Tommy," Billy said, through gritted teeth. It wasn't a question.

"This was fun, bro. We should definitely do it again sometime. You can invite Teddy next time, too. Big brother's gotta make sure that your boyfriend's gonna treat you right, you know?"

Before Billy could find a way to tell Tommy not to pester Teddy with his bullshit questions, Tommy was gone, leaving only dust in his wake. Billy sighed and wished himself up to his room again. It was late. He could hear the tv on in his parents' room, so they had obviously gone to bed. Teddy was laying on Billy's bed, reading comic books. It was kind of surreal, seeing Teddy look like that. Billy was reminded of Tommy's stupid comment about shapeshifting in bed, and he could feel his ears get hot.

Teddy looked up and noticed him. He immediately shifted back to normal, standing up and reaching for Billy.

"You okay? You look upset. You didn't find her, huh?"

Billy shook his head. "No. But it's all good, I think."

Teddy took Billy's hand and pulled him back over to the bed. "How was Tommy?"

Billy frowned. He wasn't sure how to answer that question right off the bat. On the one hand, Tommy was totally insufferable. He was nosy, and a pain in the ass, and asked things that were none of his business. But…he wasn't so bad to have as a twin brother, if you could get past all of that.

"Fine. He was…we do like him. Sorta. I guess."

Teddy forgot about Tommy. "I like you. A lot."

Billy smiled, and started to forget about Tommy, too. "I like you, too. A lot."

Teddy grinned, and pulled Billy back further onto the bed. Nothing real was going to happen, of course. Not in Billy's house, with his parents still awake, and his brothers home. But he could lay here, with Teddy, fully clothed, and that was more than fine with him. And thankfully, Tommy had gotten bored, so he wouldn't suddenly come back and spoil it. At least, Billy hoped he wouldn't.

"You're the best, Teddy," Billy said, settling into the bigger boy's arms.

"Nah. We're the best," Teddy said.

Billy had to agree with that.