“That’s not what it looks like,” Simmons says, jaw instantly clicking shut, because it is quite hard to deny just how much this looks like Simmons staring into Jax’ helmet cam with Dylan asking questions in the background and Simmons answers them all.
Maybe he can try explaining that this is in fact Gene, really, and the reason why Dylan is interviewing him is because… Ah, it won’t work. No way that Gene was cool enough to know Esperanto. Besides, his voice had been a tone too annoying to be mistaken for Simmons’.
Which leaves Simmons with the job of explaining just why there is a video of him denying his friendship with Grif.
He knows Grif has the footage, he just forgot those clips even existed. Only a day after settling down back on Chorus Grif had asked for all the tapes Jax had been willing to share. And the cameraman had been more than happy to show behind-the-scenes recordings.
When Simmons had asked Grif had explained that he wanted an unedited version of just what had happened while he had been gone.
Apparently Sarge has a habit of turning the spotlight towards Red Team (or more correctly; the reddest of the reds = Sarge) and leaving out the minor and blue details which in this case also includes the whole Sarge-betraying-his-team confusion. Tucker on the other hand likes to put focus on, well, Tucker. Caboose’s stories somehow always manage to involve bunnies. Donut spends too much time on the details no one wants to hear about (and no one really wants to hear about the interior decorating inside Temple’s underwater lair). The Freelancers were still too beat to answer questions and Dylan had been too busy and Simmons…
Well, Grif is yet to ask Simmons for his version of their adventure.
But Past-Simmons has no problem sharing his opinions, right there on the holographic screen, opening his big fucking mouth when Dylan asks him a simple question:
“-thought you were close with Grif. Weren't you two friends?”
“N-no, friends have things in common. Shared interests, common sense of humor. Grif and I were practically different species. Seriously, I did a DNA test on him once-“
Simmons swallows but there is no spit in his mouth. His tongue just ends up being uncomfortably stuck to his palate, preventing him from speaking.
Grif is in his bed which is literally a nest filled with too many worn blankets and empty snack packages and… what looks like an impressive amount of movie discs. Simmons can at least see three Star Wars films from here. Has Grif been planning a movie marathon without inviting Simmons?
There are also some movie titles he does not recognize, as well as Donut’s favorite – Legally Blond – which Grif loathes with his entire being, and Simmons can also see Reservoir Dogs – The Remake (as in the Blood Gulch remake, not Reservoir Bitches) and does Tucker know of this? Is the movie night for Donut and Tucker? Is Simmons invited?
“-Do you want to know how much pygmy sloth he has in him? Because it's a lot.”
Why is it Grif decided to watch Simmons’ shitty interview instead of a shitty but at least somewhat entertaining movie?!
Finally tearing his tongue lose, Simmons leaps for the remote.
“Okay, maybe it’s kinda what it looks like. But, I, uh, I was-“
Grif’s face looks oddly neutral. And there are several things to be freaked out about, like Simmons denying any trace of a friendship with him, Simmons comparing him to a sloth, Simmons admitting to having done a DNA test on him… Oh god, what if he asks just how Simmons got a hold of the sample?
Simmons’ mouth is busy swallowing his own tongue and his mind is still trying to come up with excuses (he had been angry/ no- sad/ no- confused / no- hurt / no- tired / no- …) but his hands reach for the remote. He presses random buttons, trying to pause or jump forwards, anything to get himself to stop talking-
Something works and the screen flickers for a second before jumping to a completely different scene.
Simmons breathes in deeply in relief. When he turns his head to look at Grif he sees that his teammate is still sprawled against his pillows, a blanket wrapped around himself and his hand is moving chips from the bag to his mouth while his eyes remain glued to the screen. Just like every other movie night, really.
But life hates Simmons, naturally, and he should have known that by now. He freezes, spine going uncomfortable stiff, when he realizes he has only manages to change to another interview and it is not exactly better…
It is Tucker.
“They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Grif wants to quit? Good riddance! I'm sick of carrying his fat ass anyway-”
Simmons turns around to face the screen where Tucker’s visor is confidently staring into Jax’ camera.
“-Honestly, we could probably lose a few others while we're at it. Donut for starts. Simmons, Sarge, Lopez. Red Team. We're just being honest, right? I'm team leader, I'm the one who matters!”
Simmons is only wearing his undersuit because armor is no longer needed. They are on Chorus, safe, and the remains of the Blues and Reds are rotting in their cell – armor is unneeded but Simmons cannot help but feel exposed. He misses his helmet that could have hidden his shocked and hurt and confused expression that takes shape while Tucker speaks.
“He- what?!” Simmons sputters when Tucker finally shuts up. The screen goes black before it cuts to Jax’ slow close-up of skull on the abandoned planet. “He never- He never said that! Well, not to us! I- do you think he meant that? That’s not fair, he’s- he’s being… We didn’t quit, why is he…”
And then he bites his tongue, realizing just what he has hinted at, and a bitter taste fills his mouth. His head snaps towards Grif who is still sitting relaxed in his bed. He is munching on a chip.
His bored expression has not changed, and that has to be a good sign. On the screen behind Simmons Jax is trying to take a selfie of himself by staring into his reflection in a broken window.
Simmons swallows again. He cannot remember why he went to Grif’s room in the first place. He wishes he hadn’t.
He… Right, there had been a meeting about what to do next. With their rather rushed arrival they had simply just moved into their former quarters. Kimball had quickly found a room for Kai as well but…
Home is apparently really hard to define when adventures always dragged them across the universe.
They had been talking about what to do when Wash is released from the hospital, if they were staying or… And Grif had not been there to say his opinion because Grif had refused to show up and so Simmons had to go drag him out of his room that he had managed to get messy within the first hour he was back in there.
So Simmons had bravely entered the pigsty and had found Grif watching the footage which was… weird. Unexpected. Simmons would rather have given him the story himself but… Yeah, he would have left out the interview with Dylan. But only because it had been a minor detail and Simmons had not even meant it so it was unimportant and there had been no need for Grif to know about that-
Simmons rubs the back of his neck. “So, uhm, Tucker is a dick.”
“Newsflash,” Grif replies with a snort. He turns his bag of chips around and shakes it. When he is convinced it is empty he throws it on the floor.
Simmons really tries not to comment on it but the floor is already littered and the trash can is right over there. A displeased sound leaves his lips.
Grif rolls his eyes. His left hand, the pale and freckled one, reaches under a pillow and finds a half-squeezed snack cake. Normal behavior. Grif is always snacking.
“I, uhm…” Simmons looks around. The room is darkened but he can Simmons can see the snack wrappers and the empty cans and the movie discs. “You’re having a movie night?”
Grif has not commented on the interviews. So Simmons should probably not bring it up then. That would be awkward and Grif hates awkward, and Grif has been acting normal and calm and bored and casual during the entire scene so he probably does not care and Simmons is making a big deal out of it. Why talk about it then? There are a lot of things they don’t talk about. It’s why they are still capable of talking about all the normal and pleasant and not-awkward things.
Something flashes across Grif’s apathetic expression but it’s gone before he Simmons can read it. “Nah.” He yawns and swallows the rest of the cake.
On the screen behind them Sarge is shouting out movie titles for some reason. There is a giant flag in the background. Simmons really hopes Grif does not ask into that because honestly Simmons has no idea of what is going on.
“Mind turning that off?” Grif nods towards the remote that Simmons is still holding. He pressed the off button with his metal thumb and the room falls too quiet. “I’m gonna nap,” Grif then declares, adjusting his position. Something rustles underneath his thigh, and a disc looks dangerously close to break from the pressure.
“It’s 5pm,” Simmons says flatly, his cyborg eye always keeping him aware of the time. And the current temperature in Blood Gulch because of course Sarge installed such a feature.
“Naptime. How do you not know the schedule by now?”
Simmons huffs. He is suddenly aware of the stuffed air in the room. It’s giving him a headache he does not have the time to deal with. “I’ll leave you to it then.”
Grif has closed his eyes, obviously waiting for Simmons to leave.
For his sake Simmons tries to hurry up but he slips on a smooth wrapper on the floor. He curses when his flesh knee makes contact with the metal bedframe. “For fuck’s-“
Something slides out from the space between the floor and the mattress. MREs, Simmons realizes as two of them lands on his foot. He shakes them off, accidently shoving his limb against five more.
He thinks about what to say and then goes with the most obvious. “Kimball is gonna kill you if she finds out you’re stealing rations again.” A good friend gives his friend warnings like that. It’s only fair.
Grif shifts in his bed. “Then don’t tell her.”
Simmons wants to argue because there is no logical reason to hoard food when they are giving daily meals anyway but the air is too heavy in here and Grif is probably already half-asleep and Simmons just really wants to leave already. “Fine. But you owe me.”
Grif mutters something into his pillow.
Simmons escapes. The door slides closed behind him. The air outside Grif’s room is much cleaner. It dulls his headache, just a little. At least there is no smell to make his eyes water.
For a moment Simmons just stands there. He breathes in fresh air, deep breaths. Deep breaths are always good.
Simmons is staring at the floor, trying to clear his head, when he suddenly becomes aware of the muffled noise from inside Grif’s room. Voices, but not Grif’s.
He has turned on the TV again.
Simmons stares at the door until his head starts pounding. He should not knock. Grif obviously wants some alone time. Without Simmons. That’s fair.
He turns away and strides down the hallway with firm steps.
Simmons has a Blue to strangle.