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The Bromance Superlative and Other Things We Won't Be Getting Tonight

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There’s still a week left before Halloween why Ry tries to convince him, but Shane is going to stay steadfast this year. He’s tried to stop his best friend from dragging him trick or treating ever since they entered high school, but they’re juniors now, and Shane is very nearly seventeen; they shouldn’t be trick or treating anymore. They should leave it to the little kiddies with their missing teeth smiles and cravings for adventure. He has to park the kid conversation that starts in his head, because he knows where it will lead (having kids with his best friend, as it always does - that’s normal, right?).

“Come on, Shay! We won’t be able to get away with it much longer,” Ryan whines, pulling on Shane’s hand. For some reason, they’ve always been the over affectionate pair of best friends, enough that there were already whispers of the two of them getting the senior superlative for Most Iconic Bromance next year. It probably would have gone to Zach and Justin, or to Andrew and Steven, but the first pair had started dating six months ago (and are still going strong). The second pair started dating each other and their friend Adam back in July. Shane had been at the party where the three of them had finally gotten together, but he still doesn’t get it. He supposes it just went over his head - anyway. Subject at hand and all that.

“We’re not getting away with it now, Ryan. Mrs. Plisetsky chewed us out for it last year, let alone what she’ll do to us this year. She’ll probably chase us off with her broom, old witch,” Shane replies, and Ryan wheezes. He has crow’s feet when he smiles and something in Shane swoons, but he’s totally chill. Him? Have a crush on his own very best friend? Never.

“So we skip the Plisetsky’s. Come on, Shay. Please?” Ryan asks, pulling out all the stops by sticking out his lower lip and squeezing Shane’s hand a little. Shane scowls for a moment, not wanting to allow his own concession to pass his lips, but he knows it’s going to. Ryan is unfortunately good at what he does, and what he does happens to be dragging Shane all over hell’s half acre. They already go to “haunted” houses once a week to film videos for Ry’s steadily growing youtube channel, and now Shane has to go Trick or Treating. He’s nearly an adult.

“Fine,” he begrudges, “but we’re going to the movies the day after Halloween, fuck school.” He throws that down like a gauntlet like he doesn’t know that Ryan always wants to skip the day after, but never makes himself. Ryan gets so caught up in Halloween that he doesn’t sleep, like, at all, and Shane knows his friend will be dead on his feet if they don’t. Ryan whoops and brings their linked hands up to his face on the upswing, placing a kiss to the back of Shane’s hand. Shane knows his face is turning red just as fast as Ryan’s is, and the other boy goes scarlet like lightning.

“Uh,” Ryan says stupidly, cutely, and Shane brings their hands to his own mouth, kissing the back of Ryan’s hand while sustaining eye contact. As soon as Ry’s hand and Shane’s lips connect, Ryan’s eyes dart to the floor, his cheeks growing impossibly redder. This isn’t the first time something so strange has happened, and Shane knows they won’t talk about it. He’ll think about it for probably the next few months though, wondering if his best friend feels the same way.


“Hey, shithead, it’s spooky time!” Ryan yells, banging on Shane’s bedroom door with his fist. He’s had a key to Shane’s house since they were about twelve, just because Shane’s mom got tired of him having to knock all the time. They only live a couple of blocks apart, so Ryan’s always been able to just come and go as he pleased. Speaking of Shane’s mom, Ryan knows his parents are out to some Halloween banquet for her work, and Shane’s brother, of course, is off to university. The less people to hear Ryan yell about Shane being a shithead the better.

“I’ll be out in a second, Ry!” Shane shouts through the door, and Ryan hears something fall and then a call of “I’m okay!” before it goes quiet again. He doesn’t want to know, so he just sits on the floor, moving the tails of his jacket to make it easier. He’s wearing an old-timey suit he found in a thrift store, nice shoes and the nice kind of false canines he found at a custom costume shop. Neither him nor Shane shared what they were dressing up as with each other, another one of Shane’s conditions of going out for Halloween. Ryan was willing to agree with whatever, and now that makes him a little nervous. He likes to know what’s going on.

“Okay, I’m about ready to go,” Shane says as he exits his room, but Ryan is distracted enough by what he’s wearing that it doesn’t really register. He’s dressed in a smart suit, nothing like Ryan’s older suit, his hand wrapped around a long white cane, like something a blind person would use. Shane is wearing dark red glasses, and now Ryan knows why he’s been letting his facial hair grow out a bit; the stubble really completes the Matt Murdock look, along with some scratches that are obviously fake, but they’re still… really good. He looks good as hell and Ryan may hyperventilate if he doesn’t stop staring.

Meanwhile, Shane is having a startlingly similar freak out, looking at the canines in Ryan’s open mouth. Shane doesn’t have a biting kink, but if he did - which he doesn’t - he would maybe be into the idea of Ryan with those canines in like all the time, but he doesn’t have a thing about biting, so he’s not thinking about that. Him? Thinking about his best friend leaving marks on him? Never.

“Y-yeah. Let’s go, Murdock,” Ryan says, playing it off with a smile that looks real enough to pass over. Shane follows after him even though it’s his house, totally not staring at the hard lines of Ryan’s shoulders, his muscular arms through the suit. Ryan had started working out back in middle school, and he hasn’t really stuck to it, but he hasn’t given it up either - it’s the not giving it up that shows. Shane accepts the fact that his best friend is unrealistically pretty, he’s just also very glad that the only girl that has ever shown (reciprocated) interest in Ryan now has a girlfriend.

When they’re actually onto the street outside Shane’s house, they don’t start walking. Instead, they climb into Shane’s truck; there is a neighborhood about ten minutes from their own with much more candy and much less vandalism that Shane and Ryan would be blamed for but didn’t do. Middle schoolers in their own neighborhood liked to get up to shit and then say that they heard high schoolers talking about it on the bus. Shane and Ryan, despite now having ridden the bus since Shane got his truck for his sixteenth birthday, somehow get blamed for things like that. Neither of them say anything when Shane grabs Ryan’s hand over the gearshift. They never do.

“Game plan?” Shane asks, if only because Ryan always has one, without fail. Ryan is a plan kind of guy, has been since they were seven years old and splitting up so they could find where the squirrels were hiding on the playground. Shane has a lot of experience in following his best friend around - big surprise. It’s not like he would follow Ryan to the ends of the earth or anything.

“We hit Rich Street One, with Mrs. Kaninsky with the full sized bars, bag that whole street, then get Rich Street Two - after that we find somewhere to buy candy and just hang out somewhere?” Ryan says, and the last part sounds like a question, which worries Shane a little. Instead of saying that, the brunette simply raises an eyebrow before just following Ryan’s directions, taking the easy way out as he always would. If Ryan only wants to Trick or Treat for a little while this year, who is Shane to question that?

“Any idea where you wanna grab candy? What around here is twenty-four hour?” Shane asks, though he could admit that it was mostly to fill the space. He knows the details of their small town just as well as Ryan does, if not better now that he’s a regular driver and Ryan isn’t. Ryan has a license and Shane willingly lets him drive the truck, but he hasn’t been able to get his own car yet. It’s just as well, being as he has Shane to drive him anywhere he could think to go. It’s not like Shane would ever tell him no.

“Convenience store on third or the Dollar Tree on Wickerman,” Ryan replies dutifully, even though he also knows that Shane knows. Ryan squeezes his hand, but Shane keeps his eyes steadily on the road.


“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Ryan says, sleepy and laid out on a blanket beneath a bed of stars. Halloween always makes him so tired and Shane just wants to hold him close, so he does, pulling Ryan to his chest and tucking the other’s head against his neck. Ryan is a little sloppy about what he says after maybe eighteen hours of being awake, but as much as Shane tries to push away the sentiment of what his friend said, he can’t make himself do it. He presses a kiss to the side of Ryan’s head before he can talk himself out of it, and settles back down against the blanket.

“I think I’m in love with you,” Shane whispers after Ryan falls asleep. Imagine, then, his surprise as Ryan sits immediately up. Shane gulps audibly into the night. Crickets respond from all over the graveyard on fifth street, and maybe if Shane thinks hard enough about where they are, this won’t be happening. What if he fucked it all up?

“You think what?” Ry asks, looking an odd mix of accusatory and hopeful, maybe. Maybe Shane is projecting. He’s already screwed the pooch, so he just comes out with it.

“I think I’m in love with you, Ryan Bergara. I think I have been for a very long time,” he says, looking quite vulnerable beneath Ryan. His heart breaks a little as Ryan rolls off of him, but Shane watches as Ryan takes the false canines out of his mouth. He’s delighted when Ryan’s lips crash against his like the rolling of the tides, loud and there and wonderful. Ryan has to be the one to pull away, because Shane could very well do this for the rest of his life, maybe.

“I’m in love with you too, Shane Madej. You bet your ass I’m in love with you too,” Ryan says, setting his forehead down against Shane’s with a grin so pure that Shane’s heart clenches. He pecks Ryan on the mouth again just because he can, which immediately turns into something a bit deeper than a peck. Shane can pull himself back this time, because Ryan’s tongue in his mouth is a little much for the second time they’ve kissed in his whole life. He’d like to think he has a long time to make out with Ryan, so he doesn’t have to do it right now.

“Does this mean we can’t win the Bromance superlative?”