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Just Drive

Chapter Text

 

"I wanna go somewhere.", Michael looked over to where Jeremy was sitting. The scrawny boy was looking back at him expectantly, hands fidgeting with unresolved energy.

"What?" Michael muttered back in question. He had been lounging on his bed, lazily scrolling through whatever social media sites he had on his phone when Jeremy had suddenly disrupted the comfortable blanket of silence.

Jeremy smiled excitedly, "Lets go do something! We could go to the mall and get some chili fries, or we could just, like, go find some abandoned building and see if it's haunted. I just want to go out." He bounced in his seat, unable to sit still.

Michael mulled it over silently, he probably had enough gas money to go wherever they wanted and not end up stranded, and it's not like he really had any other plans for the two of them. He had figured that they would just play video games or watch dumb reality shows or something, since that's what they usually ended up doing when they were together. Perhaps a change of pace will be fun.

"Yeah, sure, maybe we can pick up a new game to play tonight." He nodded, thinking through all of the nearby places that could have been of potential interest.
Jeremy cheered, hopping up to go get dressed. Michael quickly began the search for his wallet and keys as he pondered where they should go. He grumbles to himself as he thinks about the how they had recently closed down the FYE in their local mall. That had been the only store he tended to visit willingly, and it was also where he usually got most
of his movies. He did a quick search on google maps on his phone to see if they had another location nearby, and found that the nearest one seemed to be in some mall that was three hours away.

Jeremy scampered back into the room as Michael was shoving his wallet into his hoodie pocket. After ten minutes of rummaging around his cluttered belongings, he had finally found it on top of his dresser, behind some empty water bottles that he couldn't be bothered to throw away.

"So, where are we going?" Jeremy asked, rocking idly on the balls of his feet in anticipation. Michael felt a small smile tug at his lips at the other boys constant fidgeting. Michael knew that occasionally there would be random days where Jeremy seemed to be bursting with energy. Those were the days where Jeremy would be overwhelmed by the urge to adventure. He would always want to go somewhere new, which he generally did through Michael. Despite being half way through their senior year, Jeremy still had yet to learn to drive, let alone acquire a license, which meant that if he wanted to go anywhere he would generally beg Michael until he drove him wherever he wanted to go. Truthfully, Michael didn't mind in the slightest. He enjoyed any time he spent with his boyfriend, even if it's spent with him driving to the next town over in the dead of night just because Jeremy couldn't sleep and wanted to go get frozen yogurt.

"Well," Michael started, huffing as he shuffled through the clutter on his bookshelf in search of his keys, "apparently there's some mall a couple hours away with an FYE, you up for that?"

"Definitely, dude. I have your keys, they were on the bathroom counter, you should really keep up with these, man. You literally always loose them." He smirked, tossing the keys to the other boy.

"Shut up, nerd, at least I can actually drive. Let's go." Michael grumbled, despite feeling his face heat slightly at the thought of how domestic this all felt.

Jeremy smiled back smugly, sauntering out of the room. "Don't forget your phone, Honey Bunches o' Oats." He called over his shoulder, his voice bubbling with laughter.

"Wow Jeremy, that's pretty gay, bro." Michael called back, swiftly stuffing his phone in his pocket with his wallet. He made sure to grab his headphones as he left the room, pulling them on around his neck.

Jeremy snorted, "Only for you, bro. No homo tho."
--

Michael swiftly pulled the drivers side door of his PT cruiser open, tossing his backpack and headphones into the back before sliding into the seat, yanking the door closed behind him. After a bit of bickering in the kitchen, Jeremy had managed to convince Michael to bring drinks and snacks for later, just in case. Michael shoved his keys into the ignition, turning it so that the air con and radio started up, but not quite starting the car yet. He pulled out his phone, typing the malls address into google maps and setting their route. He tossed the device to Jeremy, starting up the car.

It had become a sort of ritual between the two, Michael would drive Jeremy wherever he wanted to go, and Jeremy would lounge in the passenger seat while muttering out directions from one of their phones. Michael began pulling out of the driveway and Jeremy fiddled with the radio, cranking up the volume as he selected a song from one of the various CD's currently in the player.

Michaels car was pretty old, which meant he didn't have an aux cord, but he did have a CD player that held six CDs at a time, so it kind of made up for it. The only thing was, it tended to limit the variety of songs they could listen too, and they had to buy actual albums if they wanted more music. They usually listened to a couple of old Bob Marley CDs that Michael has had for years, occasionally mixing it up with a variety of random albums that Jeremy had given him over time. Sometimes he would show up with albums that he bought mostly as a joke, like the Hawaiian wedding music and the 'Spooky Noises' album. They never listened to them, of course, but Michael kept them regardless. He had a special stash of Jeremy's albums stored in the cars console.

Michael was pulled from his thoughts as Jeremy starts spouting out the directions as the appeared on the phone. They chattered to each other idly as they wove through weird back roads, eventually ending up on a weird mini highway that felt like it was taking them to the middle of nowhere.

"Now just go straight for a while." Jeremy said, clicking the phone off temporarily. Michael assumes that 'a while' probably meant more than 30 minutes, because Jeremy just turned up the volume of the radio so that they could sing along with the music to pass time.

Michael had discovered fairly early on that Jeremy's method of directing him generally meant that he would tell him what he needed to do, when he needed to do it. He didn't really like to give much unnecessary warning like the app did, he usually would just call out 'you need to turn at the next left' or 'you should probably get into the other lane because you need to go right at the turn after this one'. Actually, Michael is kind of surprised at how well it usually works, it was amazingly easy to follow the directions that Jeremy gave him, and he secretly loved how well they worked together when it came to driving. Growing up, Michael's parents had always ended up fighting when they took road trips or vacations, so when Michael thinks about how him and the other teen cooperate so well it makes his heart swell with affection.

Michael continued singing idly to the music, his thoughts drifting as he zoned out. Michaels mind would often begin to wander when they were on freeways or highways and he didn't have to worry about turning or stopping at lights and stop signs.

Michael lets his mind drift to the boy sitting beside him, and the relationship between them. Michael and Jeremy had begun officially dating not long after the SQUIPcident. Jeremy had realised that what he had felt towards Christine was admiration, rather than romantic attraction, so they ended up agreeing to just remain friends. The lanky boy had ended up agreeing to date his best friend a couple weeks after that.

Michael thinks about how they had ended up getting together. There hadn't been any dramatic confessions of their undying love for each other like you see in movies and books. It had, honestly, been much like one of their usual exchanges. He remembers that events that had taken place before then, events that ultimately ended up leading to them getting together.––

After his only friend had begun ignoring him for no apparent reason, Michael had started to become emotionally overwhelmed, he no longer had his other half to vent to when he was upset, which inevitably lead to him struggling to keep it together on his own.
In an attempt to help himself when he was feeling especially upset, Michael began writing letters to Jeremy. He never intended to give the letters to the other boy, he wasn't even really writing them to the real Jeremy, it was more like a cheap attempt at a substitute for how he used to always be able to turn to his friend for the support he needed when he was having trouble.

Michael had reached a point where he would write letters every day. He would write about what he had been up too in the time since he had last seen Jeremy, usually when class was boring and he didn't feel like paying attention, he would write out how angry and sad and lonely he was whenever a day was particularly bad. On the days when he felt especially alone, he would write about how much he missed his other half. He would write out how much he cares about the other boy and how he felt about him, he would lament on how he regretted not telling him how much he really meant to him while he had the chance.

One day in particular, Michael had been feeling especially rough. He had been tripped while walking in the hallway, causing his binder to spill everywhere as the onlookers laughed at him for falling. Then when he opened his locker he had been presented with a pile of harsh notes that had been shoved through the slots on the door. The notes had been mostly threats and slurs, and the teachers did nothing the help when Michael had been cornered and beaten up in the hallway after lunch.

He remembers how he had passed out from one of the blows that had managed to knock his head against the linoleum floor especially hard, and how he woke up half way through the class period, limply dragging himself to his economics class, only to receive a detention for being late. No one said anything about the drying blood from his nose and the bruises blossoming on his skin.

He felt more alone that day than he had in years. It was then that he wrote a particularly emotional letter, in which he poured out his heart and confessed how he was probably in love with Jeremy, and how he missed him more than anything. Michael had written the letter in Tagalog, as he often did with the more sensitive ones (just in case someone managed to get their hands on them) and then he folded it up and shoved it into an old shoebox that had contained some of Jeremy's things that had been left behind at Michaels house over the years.

Michael had forgotten about the note by the time the Halloween party rolled around. After the night, he stopped writing the letters.

Michael began to give up hope that Jeremy and him would ever regain their old relationship. Michael had started trying to get rid of any reminders he had of the other boy, which is why he drove to Jeremy's house at 4 a.m. in order to leave the shoebox of stuff outside of Jeremy's front door. Not like he was gonna be needing and of Jeremy's stuff at his place anytime soon.

Fast forward too not long after everything when down at the play, and they had finally been able to go back to normal. One night had Jeremy suddenly sent him a text about the letter that had been forgotten in the shoebox.

J: 'hey dude I've been meaning to ask,,, what's up with this note that you gave me? I mean,, I can't really read it but I guess I could like google translate it or somethin'

Michael felt his heart seize as he reread the lines of text. He never meant for Jeremy to see any of the notes, let alone the one that had the biggest probability of screwing up their relationship again.

M: 'ah, that wasn't meant 4 u, it was just smthn I wrote ages ago, don't even bother translating it, haha'

The boy desperately hoped that Jeremy would just drop the subject and succumb to his laziness.

J: "mm"

Michael felt uneasy.

Chapter Text

Michael shifted around, becoming even more entangled in his bed sheets. He felt mortified that he had forgotten to take out that stupid letter. He had only just gotten Jeremy back, he couldn't stomach the thought of something as trivial as his dumb crush putting another divide between them.

His mind raced and he started to panic, he felt his throat tighten as the familiar empty tingling feelings of dread took over his chest, spreading all the way down his arms to the tips of his fingers. Should he text Jeremy about it more? Or would that be suspicious? What if Jeremy does translate it, there's nothing he could say to excuse the things he wrote on that paper. No amount of 'No Homos' could save him from this one.

God, he hates emotions.

Michael feels himself start to blink harder than necessary, he feels his breathing become ragged and choppy, and he began involuntarily scrunching up his nose every time time one of the too hard blinks happened. They were tics that he knew he tended to display when he was feeling overwhelmed or too anxious. He takes a deep breath as he pulls off his glasses and tosses them aside carelessly as he squeezes his eyes shut and runs his hands over his face. He rubs at his eyes and nose, trying to rid them of the persistent itchy tickle that came from the facial tics. He hates when this happens, it's like when you become aware of your blinking or breathing, like he was suddenly hyper aware every movement his face made.

Michael squeezes his eyes shut, scrunches up his nose as hard as he could, and takes in a deep breath before holding it. He held it for a couple seconds before relaxing his face, breathing out heavily. He's being ridiculous, getting so worked up over this. It was just Jeremy. His Jeremy. He wasn't being controlled by that god awful computer anymore, he was back to being the same clumsy dork that Michael was best friends with. The same boy that happily told him that he was his favourite person, the boy who would never ever leave him. The boy that Michael had fallen irrevocably in love with.

He sighs deeply again, feeling some of the tension drain from his body. He would be fine, he was just going to not worry about it unless it becomes an issue. Let things run their course, go with the flow, y'know? Michael forced the thought out of his mind, compartmentalization was a wonderful thing, and he felt his anxieties wash away smoothly, leaving nothing but the familiar feeling of obliviousness wash over him. He was fine.

----

It wasn't until many hours later that something actually happened. Michael had been woken up by the feeling of his phone vibrating with notifications under him. He must've accidentally fallen asleep at some point, he thinks, considering he had no idea where his glasses were and his phone had been stuck between his body and the bed, rather than shoved under his pillow and plugged into the charger.

His hand scrambles around, blindly digging in the covers tangled around him in search of the offending cellular device. He clicked it on, squinting at the sudden brightness, eyes immediately landing on the time. Ugh, he had been asleep for five hours, and it was now well into the night. His eyes drifted down to the notifications which he woken him. It was two texts, both from Jeremy.

Michael unlocks his phone, rolling over onto his stomach so that he could prop himself up on his elbows. As he read the messages, Michael felt an icy spike shoot through him, making the tips of his fingers tingle and his palms itch.

J: 'so,, I just finished translating that letter.'

J: 'the fine print says ur gay'

shit.

M: 'aaaaaaagghhh'

M: ' I was trying to get you to not read thattg'

M: 'aaaahhh'

Michael groaned and flopped down to press his face into his pillow.
Great, now what was gonna happen between them? Just his luck, already about to make things between them awkward, immediately after he finally got him back. His phone buzzed in his hand again and he reluctantly lifted his face from his pillow.

J: 'it's ok tho, bc, like,, it turns out the fine print says I'm pretty gay 2'

Michael froze, blinking rapidly as if he had simply imagined the words he was reading.

J: 'I mean,, if u iguana, we could try to date'

What the fuck. What the Fuck?

M: 'uh,, yeah, that sounds great, sure, lets do that then'

There's no way this is actually happening. Like, there's just actually physically no way that it could be this simple? One text and now suddenly Michael is dating his best friend, who he just so happens to have had a crush on for the better part of five years.

Michael knows he should be ecstatic, he somehow had just managed to become the boyfriend of Jeremy Heere, something he's wanted for so long. He should be shouting or screaming or crying out of happiness or something. But he doesn't. In that moment, as it was starting to sink in, all Michael felt was an overwhelming feeling of contentment. He felt his face slip into a big, dopey grin, as his cheeks heated and his chest felt warm.

It was a really lame way to get together, through stupid bumbling texts and dumb puns, but somehow Michael felt that it was fitting. It was them. Because no matter what, they were still best friends before anything else. Michael knew that even if this whole dating thing didn't work out In the end, they would still be there for each other. Michael decides to be happy about it some other time, because for now, he was just going to be content.
He felt calm and cool and chill as he continues exchanging dumb texts with Jeremy just like the usually did.

-------

Michael is brought back to the present by the feeling of something bouncing off of his cheek. He whips his head to look at Jeremy, eyes narrowing in accusation. He made eye contact with his boyfriend for a second, before he had to rip his gaze back to the road ahead of them.

Jeremy was failing to suppress the smile that was pulling at his lips as he looked at Michael. He had been staring at Michael for the past two minutes, watching how his face would twitch in response to whatever he had been thinking so hard about.

It was times like this, when Michael was a million miles away, that Jeremy liked to let his eyes roam across the other boys face, to really admire and appreciate the person in front of him.

Jeremy ripped off another piece of the napkin he had found in the floorboard and rolled it up, smirking impishly as he flicked it at Michael, hitting him in the temple lightly.

Michael huffed as he felt the second projectile bounce off of his temple.

"Stop it, you egg. What do you want? I'm kinda busy here." Michael says, casting another sideways glance at Jeremy before gluing his eyes to the road once more. Jeremy snorted as he unbuckled his seatbelt.

"Just making sure you're alive, dude. Pretty sure you haven't blinked in, like, five minutes.” Jeremy states as he twists around in his seat, half crawling into the back so that he could grab Michaels backpack.

Michael hummed in response, shifting in his seat uncomfortably. Jeremy settles back into his original position as he pulls Michaels backpack into his lap. He unzips it swiftly,shuffling through the contents in search of something.

“The fuck are you looking for?” Michael inquires as Jeremy removed the various snacks that they had brought, throwing loose bags of chips and candy bars into the back seat with Michael's headphones.

Jeremy hums as he sifts through the assorted clutter, eyebrows furrowed in concentration.

“I bought a bangin’ new CD to listen too, and I know I slipped it in here before we left but you have so much random shit in this thing-”

“Hey, I'll have you know that one day you're gonna appreciate all of that random shit when the world ends and we have to survive in the post apocalyptic lands.” Michael proclaimed assuredly. Jeremy snorted out a laugh, before exclaiming in excitement.

“Ah! I found it, yes! Check this out, Dude.” Michael flicked his eyes over to Jeremy quickly, immediately locking on the small CD case that he was presenting to him proudly.

“Oh my fucking God.” Michael choked in surprise, “Jeremy, is that-”

“Brittney’s Greatest Hits!” Jeremy yelled, his voice cracking slightly on the 'hits’ out of excitement. “Hell yeah!”

Michael laughed loudly at how excited his boyfriend was over a goddamn Brittney Spears CD. “You absolute dork.” he muttered fondly.

“Dude, look, we may be boyfriends, but you better believe that I am, 100%, Brittney's bitch.” Jeremy replied confidently as he snapped open the plastic case.

Michael scoffed and shook his head, a wide grin plastered across his face. He didn't stop the lanky boy from inserting the disk into the player.

Michael was, by no means, a Brittney Spears fan. He only knew about two songs by her and he didn't particularly care for them, but he was willing to sit through a couple subpar songs if it meant he got to see Jeremy as happy as he was.

“I hope you're ready to be serenaded, bitch,” Jeremy stated determinedly, “because I'm about to turn the FUCK up, dog.”

Michael barked out another laugh at that, already knowing what was coming. Whenever Jeremy especially liked a song, he tended to put his whole soul into belting it out, and usually directly into Michael's face. Which was, actually, not at all as unpleasant as one would expect. Despite his tendency to stutter and how often his voice cracks, Jeremy had an amazing singing voice. Michael often thought to himself that he could listen to Jeremy sing all day and it would never get old.

The electronic best started up, and Jeremy angled his body in his seat so that he was facing more towards Michael as he seamlessly joined in with Brittney's voice.

“Mmm~ Baby, can't you see,” Jeremy rasped lowly, bobbing his head to the beat.

“I’m fallin~

A guy like you,

Should wear a warnin~”

He began putting his whole body into it, adoptive a seductive expression with hooded eyes and his head tilted up slightly, as he leaned towards Michael, reaching over to lightly run his hand down the half Filipinos jaw as he continued.

“It Dangerous-,

I’m Fallin~” Jeremy's hand ghosted down Michael's neck stopping to rest lightly on his chest.Michael swallows thickly and starts to sweat, his heart rate increasing

“ There’s no escape,

I can’t wait,

I need a hit

Baby, give me it~

You’re dangerous

I’m lovin’ it,” Jeremy pulled back, leaning back in his seat as he began moving his body to the beat.

“Too high

Can’t come down

Losing my head

Spinning ‘round and ‘round

Do you feel me now?”

Michael couldn't help but stop to wonder how Jeremy could physically manage to pull off those high ass notes.

“With a taste of your lips I’m on a ride

You're toxic, I'm slipping under,” Jeremy belted passionately, leaning towards Michael again.

 

With a taste of a poison paradise

I’m addicted to you

Don’t you know that you’re toxic-”

Jeremy lowered his volume as he moved his face closer to Michael's until he was only about 6 inches away. Michael feels the blush blooming across his cheeks and his breathing hitches.

“And I love what you do

Don’t you know that you’re toxic-”

Jeremy swooped in and kissed Michael's cheek quickly, before pulling back completely and resuming the song as if he had never even moved.

Fuck. Michael takes a deep breath, exhaling slowly in an attempt to calm his racing heart and put out the fire in his face.
Goddamnit.

This was gonna be a long drive. Michael ponders the probability of then getting into a car crash if things kept going the way they were currently.
He concludes that the odds are roughly 75/25 in favour of them dying before the day ends.

Chapter Text

By the time the boys reached the mall, they had gotten through the majority of the Brittney album. Most of it had just consisted of Jeremy singing happily, but there had been a couple of songs that Michael had recognized, and he may or may not have gotten into the mood of things. Jeremy makes a mental note of just how in to it Michael had been when they had both been belting out 'Hit Me Baby One More Time’. Needless to say, Michael may have been merely tolerating the electronic pop for Jeremy's sake when they started, but by the end he was bobbing his head and softly humming along.

Michael pulls into the parking lot of the (unexpectedly huge) mall, putting the car in park and switching the radio off. He reaches into the back seat for one of the bottles of crystal Pepsi that Jeremy had tossed back there, untwisting the cap cautiously. Michael unbuckled his seat belt as he took a sip of his drink and shut off the car.

“I guess you weren't kidding about being Brittney’s bitch. That means I have to fight her. So that I can win the Jeremy bitch privileges.” Michael teased, grabbing his backpack from the floorboard in front of Jeremy. Jeremy snorts as he unbuckles his own seatbelt.

“Nah man, sorry, but I'm a ride or die hoe. A Brittney bitch for life. Besides, “ he pauses as he stretches his sore muscles, arching his back to try to ease the stiffness from sitting in the same position for the past three hours. 

Michaelcouldn't help but trail his eyes over Jeremy torso as he stretched, admiring the boys slight yet sturdy build. Jeremy let out a soft moan as he felt some of the tension drain from his stiff body, smirking knowingly as Michael turned away with a bright blush.

“There's only room for one of us to be the bitch in this relationship, and I think we both know it's not me." Michael scoffed in surprise as Jeremy popped open his door and slides out of the car.

“Jeremiah Heere, did you just call me your bitch? “ he asked incredulously. Jeremy turned to look at him, one hand on the car door and his smirk still in place.

“Just stating the facts, dude. “ Michael gapes as Jeremy shuts the car door, turning away. His shocked expression slowly morphs into a proud grin. Since when had Jeremy become so confident? 

Michael hops out of the car, slamming the door shut before shuffling over to the back of the car where Jeremy was waiting. He pops open the back door of his cruiser, quickly upending his backpack so that its contents spilled out, before once shutting the door and locking the car.

“What was that all about? “ Jeremy asks as Michael tosses his keys into the, now empty, backpack and zips it up.

Michael raised an eyebrow at him before pulling the bag onto his back, starting towards the mall entrance.

“Hey, I dunno about you but this bitch doesn't really want to carry around a bunch of bags if we decide to buy anything.” He says with a smile. Jeremy laughed, nodding his head.

“Fair enough.”

Michael pulls open the glass door at the malls entrance, gesturing Jeremy in with an exaggerated bow. Jeremy snorts at his theatrics, clutching a hand to his chest dramatically.

“Oh my, what a kind and handsome man! Keep that up and you’ll have the ladies swooning by the dozens.” He exclaims with a teasing smile. Michael grins back at him, following close behind as they enter the building.

“What can I say? I must be some kinda chick magnet or something, I can never keep 'em off me.” He says in a haughty tone. Jeremy laughs, punching him in the arm lightly.

 

“Holy shit, Dude, why is this place so big?” Jeremy muttered as they took in the area around them. The mall was massive, stores of all kinda lining the walls and vendors set up in the middle of the walkways. There were multiple escalators that lead up to a second level, which seemed much like the ground floor. The general feeling of the place was vastly different from the mall they had back home. Going to that mall felt like you were going into a giant ants nest, it was always packed and kinda dirty. This place felt different, it was enticing. And slightly cleaner.

Michael hadn't expected this place to be so wild, he was mildly impressed. No wonder there was an FYE here, they probably have, like, everything in here. Michael internally cringes at what a dumb statement that was, even if he hadn't actually said it out loud.

“Jesus, I hope we can actually find the FYE without getting lost or something.” Jeremy mumbles as his eyes skim the huge map that all malls had at their entrances.

“Looks like it's… that way,” he points vaguely to the right, “.. probably.”

--
“Wow this is way bigger than the one we had,” Jeremy said as they entered the FYE. It had taken a little while to find, they had gone in the wrong direction, managing to get lost twice, and then realised that they needed to be at the opposite side of the mall, before they finally located the place. Michael's lip quirked up slightly as he cast a sideways glance at Jeremy.

“Wow, Jer, never knew you were such a size queen.”

Jeremy blushes brightly, punching Michael in the shoulder in embarrassment. Michael beams at him innocently, making Jeremy's blush darken even further. He grabbed Jeremy's wrist, tugging him over to the movies.

“Let's get some cheap horror movies or something, we can have a movie night tonight!” Michael exclaimed, coming to a stop in front of the movie racks labeled 'Horror’. His hand lingers on Jeremy's for a moment before he pulls away completely, flipping through the stacks of movie cases nimbly.

“Ah, I heard this one was pretty good, it's supposed to be about, like, aliens or something.” Michael says, picking up a case that read 'The Fourth Kind’ to inspect it closer. When Jeremy remained quiet, Michael glanced over at him.

He was fidgeting with his hands, inspecting his nails before biting at them nervously, shoulders tense and eyes downcast. He kept glancing up at something periodically, his eyebrows furrowing slightly.

Michael flicked his eyes in the general direction that Jeremy was attempting to (unsuccessfully) sneak looks at. Not seeming anything unusual, he turned back to Jeremy, waving his hand in front of the boys face.

“Hello? Earth to J-dog. Are ya with me, buddy?” Jeremy jumped slightly, facing growing red again. He turned to Michael, smiling sheepishly. Michael quirked an eyebrow in question.

“What was that, man? Wait- shit- it wasn’t, like, the SQUIP, was it? Is it acting up again or something?” Jeremy opened his mouth to try and to calm Michael down, but he didn't get a chance to speak before Michael continued.

“Goddamnit, is it trying to say all that awful shit again? I swear to God, I wish I could beat some sense into that things dumb ass, do you need some Red? I always keep some in the car, fuck I knew I should've brought it, I can go-”

“Michael! Chill!”

Michael froze, looking up at Jeremy with bewildered eyes. Jeremy moved slightly closer to Michael so the their arms brushed as a sign of reassurance.

“I'm fine, the SQUIP hasn't tried to do anything in weeks, I promise.” Michael let out the breath he hadn't even realized he was holding, shoulders slumping in relief.

Jeremy continued, “Besides, even if it did, I’m not about to let some dumb tic tac ruin our day out.” Michael nodded, somewhat reluctantly, before responding.

“Well, then what were you looking at with such a worried face?” He asked softly, eyes filled with concern. Jeremy scowled slightly, shaking his head.

“It was nothing, don’t worry about it. It's probably just me being anxious or something, you know how it is.” He attempted to smile in reassurance, but Michael just frowned at him.

“Dude, for real. What's wrong?” The boy asked as he pushed his glasses higher up his nose. Jeremy just sighed, giving in.

“It's just- I think- I just thought- Ugh. I’m pretty sure that that cashier dude has been staring at us ever since we walked in, but I'm sure it’s nothing. I'm probably just being paranoid.” He muttered quietly, keeping his head down as he spoke.

Michael frowned, head snapping over to the counter when the worker was stationed. He growled lowly when he, indeed, locked eyes with the man. He was watching them with suspicion, eyeing each of them carefully, like he was trying to figure something out.


Michael grinded his teeth in irritation, before huffing and turning back to Jeremy, who still had yet to look back up at him.

He shoved Jeremy's shoulder lightly, finally getting the scrawny boy to look up at him. Michael smiled reassuringly, clamping a hand on his shoulder.

“Don't worry about it dude. He probably just thinks we’re gonna try to steal stuff or something. C’mon, let's go fuck up the discount bin.” Michael grabbed Jeremy's hand, dragging him towards the back corner where the used/sale stuff was located.

“Ah, wait, hold on! What about that movie, you seemed interested in it, we should get it.” Jeremy pulls releases his hand and scurries back to where they had been previously. 

While Michael waited for him to find the movie again, he glanced back over to the cashier. The guy was currently glaring at Jeremy, a look of disgust on his face. Michael's irritation only increased as he watched the man shake his head, mouthing, what looks to be 'fucking faggots.'

Ah, so it’s because we're gay, then, is it? Michael thinks, eye twitching in irritation. Well, if that's the case then Michael intends to put on a damn good show for the guy. He's gonna be the biggest fucking fag in the universe. Proudly.

Michael holds out his hand as Jeremy approaches, linking their fingers together automatically. Jeremy blushed and smiled at him, clutching the DVD to his chest with his other hand before taking the lead, steering them to the discount bin. Michael glanced back over his shoulder, locking eyes with the cashier as he sneered at them. Michael winked at him and blew a kiss, making him recoil in disgust.

Michael turned back to where Jeremy had stopped, dragging Michael to stand next to him as he started chattering excitedly about them having a movie night. 

Michael smiled affectionately, feeling a spike of fondness surge through his chest at Jeremy's excitement. He lifted their hands, still linked together, over Jeremy's head as he moved to stand behind his boyfriend, pressing his chest against Jeremy's back, wrapping his arms around his waist.

Jeremy’s words stuttered to a halt and his eyes widened, body becoming instantly tense at the unexpected action.

“Wh-, uh-, wha-, M-Michael?” His voice cracked awkwardly, making the pale teens blush become impossibly darker.

“What, you don't want a surprise bro hug in the middle of an FYE? Don't worry about it, dude, it's totally no homo.” Michael smirked, resting his chin on Jeremy's shoulder.


Jeremy lightly elbowed Michael's stomach, “Wow, you slut, you can't even k-keep it in your pants for a day, can you?” His teasing was only slightly hindered by his stuttering, and he quietly resumed browsing through the discount bin.

Michael chuckled and kissed his boyfriends cheek.

“Hey,” he whispered as he pulled away, causing Jeremy to reflexively turn his face toward him. Michael quickly pressed his lips to Jeremy's for a chaste kiss before pulling away from him and untangling their bodies.

“Oh my god.” Jeremy groaned, burying his face in his hands to hide the blush that seemed to have taken up permanent residence on his face.

Michael was going to be the death of him.

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, Jeremy, dude, they're saying that you’re the biggest twink in our entire school. Everyone agreed! Even Christine! Look,” Michael laughed, holding his phone up for Jeremy. Jeremy scanned the messages, they were from the group chat that had been created by Rich. All of the 'SQUIP squad’ (also named by Rich) was in it, as well as Michael.

The group had become pretty close after the play incident, and one day Rich decided to make a group chat. The chat consisted mostly of memes (from rich) and discussions over topics that somehow came up. Today it seemed they had all vehemently agreed that Jeremy was, without a doubt, the biggest twink in their school.

Jeremy grumbled, “Whatever man, let's go pay for these and get some food, I'm starving.” Jeremy pouted as he handed Michael the movies they had decided on.

Michael laughed again, nodding his head. “Yeah sure.” He agreed, shifting the movie cases to his arm so that he could search his pockets for his wallet.

“Ah, shit. I think my wallet fell out of my pocket in the car. Could you go grab it real quick? I’ll stay and hold the movies.” Michael gave Jeremy his best doe eyes as he asked, grinning widely when Jeremy sighed.

“Fine, but you owe me some fries.” He mumbled, shifting around Michael in order to get the keys out of his backpack.

“Anything for you, hot stuff. Just don't get lost or kidnapped or something. I would hate to have to put up posters about my missing twink.” Michael sniggered, earning a playful glare from Jeremy.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. I'll be right back.” As Jeremy made to leave, Michael grabbed his arm quickly, pulling him back to face him. He gave his a quick kiss, pulling away with a teasing grin.

“Thanks, babe.”

Jeremy blushed and turned back around, swiftly exiting the shop. Michael smiled softly at his retreating back, then turned to go sit on the ground in a corner somewhere. His feet were starting to hurt.

However, as he turned, he collided with a body. He stepped back quickly, a reflexive “sorry” slipping past his lips. He looked at the person who he had bumped, it was a boy about his age with sandy blonde hair, he was wearing a striped blue polo and khakis. Standing slightly behind his was another boy who was inspecting his nails with disinterest. He had a thin frame, much like the first guy, only a little pudgy with a slight muffin top. He was sporting shorts and a Zelda tee shirt, as well as a large pair of glasses perched on his nose.

“Ah- no- um- I- yeah no its-it's fine.” The boy in the polo stammered quickly, hands fidgeting with the hem of his shirt while his eyes looked everywhere but Michael's face.

Michael smiled slightly at the obviously anxious boy, moving to step around him and his friend.

“Ah- wait! Actually, uh.. I, um, I wanted to- uh-” Michael stopped as the boy struggled to speak, patiently waiting for him to get out whatever he was attempting to say.

The other boy (the one with glasses) spoke up, sounding unimpressed “Come on, you eggroll, Get on with it. We don't have all day.”

“Shut up, Jared. I know, I got it.” The boy countered, looking mildly irritated. When he spoke again he seemed much more determined. “Um, we actually came over here to talk to you? We just- we, uh, we saw you and your.. friend, earlier, y’know, and uh- I mean, I just wanted to ask- uh- you, uh- you must not from around here, huh?”

Michael's eyebrows furrow and his eyes narrow in suspicion, “No, me and my Boyfriend drove from three hours away. Why?” He asks cautiously.

“Oh! Uh- it's just- I mean, the thing is, around here the people can be kinda, like, well, uh- not so nice, I guess, Is what I'm trying to say? I mean, I'm just trying to say-” The other boy (Jared, apparently) sighs, cutting him off.

“Look, what my boy Evan is trying to say is that we noticed you making kissy face with your boyfriend and we thought we should warn you that there's a lot of people here who aren't exactly 'open minded’. So you should maybe tone it down a little. Not that you and your twink don't make an adorable couple and everything, it's just that you really oughta be a bit more careful.” He speaks flatly, like he doesn't even know why he's there.

Evan gives Michael a shy smile. “Uh, yeah..” he agrees, subconsciously shifting closer to Jared.

Michael blinks in surprise, “Oh, uhh, thanks. It's just that, I tend to do dumb shit out of spite, and I uh, noticed that asshole cashier watching us. So, y’know, that's why I was acting so gross earlier. Sorry about the PDA.” Michael smiled shyly, receiving a slightly larger smile from Evan.

“Ah, no, it's fine. I thought you two were cute. Besides, you should see Jared when he gets jealous, he-” Evan is cut off when Jared lightly smacked the back of his head.

“Don't just go around telling every person about our life, idiot, you just met this guy. Talk about trees or something if you're gonna try to make small talk.” Jared says flatly, however, the blush rising on his cheeks.

Michael smiles, they seem cute. There's a short pause where no one speaks before Michael decided he may as well introduce himself.

“I'm Michael.” He says, extending his free hand to Evan. The fidgeting teen looked surprised as he paused to quickly wipe his clammy hand on the front of his shirt and accepted the handshake.

“Evan. And that's Jared. He’s my, uh- family friend?” Evans statement turned into more of a question as he glanced at Jared in confusion. Jared meets his eyes and scoffs, shaking his head with a small smile.

“Yeah, Evan, because obviously family friends like to suck each other's dick.” Evans face lights up and he looks mortified. Jared turns to Michael and smirks, “We’re definitely Not, like, gay lovers or anything, wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong impression obviously. We’re just two Bros who happen to enjoy making out and going on dates. In no way homo.”

Michael laughs loudly and Evan screeched in embarrassment.

“Jared! W-W-Why would you say something like that!”

Jared snorted out an obnoxious laugh, looking more than pleased with himself.

“Uhh, Michael?” Michael turned at the sound of his name, lighting up with excitement as he saw Jeremy had finally returned.

“Yo, Jeremy! That was fast as fuck, you were only gone for, like, fifteen minutes.” He says, mildly impressed. Jeremy just shrugs before raising an eyebrow and gesturing to the two teens he had been talking to previously.

“Ah- this is Evan and Jared.,” He points to each boy respectively. Jeremy smiles at the sheepishly, giving them a small wave and muttering out a quick “Jeremy”.

“hello.” Evan mumbles awkwardly.
Jared just lifts his chin in recognition before casually propping his elbow up on Evans shoulder to lean on him casually.

“We were just giving your boy here some friendly advice. But uh, on another note, can I ask why two friendly gays, such as yourselves, are doing in a mall you had to apparently drive three hours to get too?” Jared asks, straightening his glasses and fluttering his eyelashes for dramatic effect.

“Oh, well, the FYE that we had in our mall back home closed down, and we didn't really have anything to do today, so, y’know, here we are.” Jeremy stuttered out, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.

Jared nods and grins widely, “Well, then I hope our humble FYE has met your standards. How long are the two of you planning to stay here? If ya want, me and Evan could show you guys around a bit. Besides, Evan could really stand to make some more friends and what better people to try to befriend than two random dudes who live three hours away?”

Jeremy shoots Michael a questioning look, at which Michael smiles and says, “Yeah, sure that sounds fun. Just let me go pay for these real quick and we can go.” Jared grins and gives him a thumbs up while Evan just smiles shyly.

Michael turned to Jeremy, “as long as it's ok with you, of course.”

Jeremy hands Michael his wallet and nods,“Yeah, why not? This way we might not keep getting lost.”

Michael gives him a wide grin and turns to head to the check out, only to freeze as he locks eyes with the cashier (who was, in turn, sneered at him).

“Uh, Jeremy, why don't you stay and get to know these two a bit better while I go check out. I'll be back in a sec.” Michael suggests with a tense smile. Jeremy, although confused, agrees.

As Michael begins to walk away, Jared suddenly speaks up, “Ah, yeah, Evan, why don't you chat with Jeremy and I gotta go tell Michael something, and this a good chance for you to practice talking to strangers, right?”

Evan reluctantly nods and Jared hurries to catch up with Michael.

Jared puts a hand on the darker boy's shoulder, smiling at him knowingly before taking the movies from him.

“Don't worry, dude, I got this. I know how to handle this guy.” Jared gestures towards the cashier with a jerk of his head. Michael looks slightly conflicted, but agrees nonetheless.

The two of them approach the counter and Michael watches as Jared roughly drops the DVDs in front of the angry cashier, smiling condescendingly.

“Hey, Ethan, What’s up? Nice to see you're still rocking the whole 'angry asshole’ look.” Jared's tone held a sharp edge, “You know, you really shouldn't glare at customers like that. Not very good for business.”

Ethan glared at Jared even more intensely, “Nice to see you're still rocking the nerdy faggot look, Jared. It seems you and your little tree fag made some friends. Good for you.” Ethan scans the movies robotically, sneering at Jared as he did.

“Mmhmmm, Thanks, buddy.” The short boy growls slightly, expression fierce. “You're always so great at customer hospitality.” Jared throws the money that Michael had handed him onto the counter, grabbing the movies swiftly.

“Always a pleasure, asshat.” Jared salutes him and turns away.

“Yeah, whatever, now take your fucking pansy ass friends and get out.”

“No need to get so aggressive, Ethan, we wouldn't want anyone finding out about the whole boiler room incident, right?’ Jared threatens as he looks back at him over his shoulder.

Ethan growls out a “Fuck you” but otherwise doesn't say anything else as Michael and Jared walk back over to their significant others. Michael shoves the movies into his backpack as Evan and Jeremy greet them.

“Did you actually manage to get out any words while I was gone, you big acorn?” Jared inquires. Michael looks up to see Evan looking like he's trying to hold back a smile and Jeremy looking smug.

“Mhmm” he hums in affirmation, and Jared raises an eyebrow in question.

“Well, then what did you two talk about?” He asks, crossing his arms like an irritated mother.

“Yeah, Jer, why the fuck do you look so smug?” Michael added as Jeremy's smirk grew.

“Don't worry about it, babe, we were just swapping boyfriend stories.” the lanky boy responds as Evan chokes back a laugh at something.

The sandy haired boy finally speaks up, “Hey,uh, why don't we all go grab- a bite to eat somewhere, I'm starving.” he speaks quickly but doesn't stutter as much as he had been previously.

Before either glasses clad teen can say anything Evan grabbed Jeremy's wrist and begins dragging him out of the store as he begins rambling on about some amazing pizza place he knew.

Michael and Jared gave each other a shocked look and Michael mutters out a soft “what the fuck?” Before the two scrambled to catch up with their boyfriends.

Chapter Text

“So, um, it's called 'Pizza plaza’ and it was really really great pizza. I mean- obviously, it has pizza, it's literally in the name, but, ah- yeah.” Evan spoke very quickly, as he usually did when he was getting worked up over something.

Jeremy just smiled at him, nodding, “Sounds great! I’m sure it'll be way better than the Italian place in our mall, their pizza tastes like cardboard.” He made a bitter face.

Michael snorted from beside him, “Their Chili fries are ok, though. They're nice to eat when you want to drown yourself in grease and sadness.”

“Sounds pretty chill.” Jared says as he yanks Evan to a halt by grabbing onto the back of his shirt. “Hey, dumbass, you can't just stare at the ground while you walk, you almost walked right past the place.”

Evan looked up in surprise to find that the group of boys were, indeed, standing right outside of the pizza place. He just shrugged as he followed Jared and their two acquaintances into the restaurant.

------

The four boys settled in a booth in the back corner as they waited for their order to be brought to them.

“So what was all the about 'the boiler room incident’ earlier, if you don't mind me asking?” Michael stirred his ice around with his straw, creating a soda whirlpool.

Jared laughed obnoxiously and grinned deviously. “Maybe some other time, It's a long story.”

Michael nodded, cracking a small grin, “ This feels like when straight married couples go out with their straight married friends so that they can claim to still have a social life.”

“Goddamn straight people.”

Jeremy leans against Michael lazily, suddenly feeling tired. “So, Evan, are you sure we haven't met somewhere before? You look familiar and I can't figure out why.”

Evan paled slightly, looking down at his hands as he messed with his straw wrapper, crumpling it up and tearing it into tiny pieces.

“Oh, um. I-Its probably- you- uh. Have you ever heard of something called the, uh, the Connor Project?” He stammers out questioningly.

Michael shifts slightly so that Jeremy can lean against him more comfortably.

“The Connor Project? Wasn't that the thing all over the internet a year ago about that kid who killed himself?” asked the half filipino.

Evan nodded, “ Uh, yeah, well, you see, I was kinda, like, the one who sorta maybe started all of that. You, uh, probably saw a video of me talking about it. It, um, kinda sorta went viral.”

Jeremy's eyebrows shot up in surprise, “For real? Dude that’s crazy! Is it still going on, or what?”

Evan looked like he might be sick. “Ah, Sorry- um, I'd rather not talk about it.” Jared looked at him sadly, putting a hand on his leg to comfort him.

Michael and Jeremy could feel the sudden tension in the air, deciding not to push the subject.

“Of course, that's fine. Probably not the best discussions to have with two random guys you just met, anyway. That's my bad, dude.” Jeremy assured the nervous boy, looking sheepish for asking.

“Ah, no, it's not your fault- I mean, you didn't know, of course- I mean, how could you have?-”

“Hey, you tree whore, calm down. No need to start hyperventilating, or whatever.” Jared ruffled Evans hair roughly.

“I’m not hyperventilating, Jared, I’m fine, wh-” Evan cuts himself off as the waitress finally arrived, placing the pizza in the center of the table for the boys and then heading back to the kitchen. Jared instantly dives in, grabbing a slice and eating it enthusiastically.

Evan tentatively takes his own piece from the pizza, eating it calmly in small bites. as Jeremy and Michael take their slices of pizza, a long string of melted cheese connected them.

“The fuck is up with this Lady and the Tramp ass bullshit? Michael jokes as the string finally breaks. They resume their idle chatter as they eat.

—--

“Holy mother of Jesus, is that seriously what I think it is?” After they had finished eating, the group had decided to walk around a bit more, looking for any stores that could have been of interest. Somehow they found themselves idly wandering around in a Spencer's.
Jeremy was browsing the rack of discount shirts with Evan, whilst both of their partners were in the back, giggling to each other over the various penis themed produces.

Michael's incredulous exclamation immediately drew the attention of the boy standing next to him.
As Jared locked eyes with the small box in Michael's hand, he let out a loud laugh, managing to stutter out a soft “Holy shit” between fits of giggling.

“Hey, guys, come here real quick, you have to check this out.” Jared beckoned to Evan and Jeremy. As they reached the wall of lewd sex themed products, Evans face was burning a bright red as he looked everywhere but the merchandise beside them.

“This has to be the the straightest thing I've ever seen.” Michael presented the box proudly, choking back his immature giggles.

Evan and Jeremy gawked as they were presented with a box depicting a football themed fleshlight. Jeremy adopted a solemn expression as he closed his eyes and dragged his hands down his face.

“Whom’st’ve the FUCK,” Jeremy groaned, voice slightly muffled by his hands, “Saw a goddamn football and thought ‘ok, but what if I could stick my dick in it?’ “

Michael barked out a laugh, “But Jeremy! Look! It even has two sides in case you and your buddy want to jack it together on football day without it being gay! Maybe footballs are their fetish!” Jared cackles loudly as Michael places the box back onto the shelf where he found it.

“”Too bad there isn't a tree themed one, right Evan? I'm sure having a tree suc-”

Jared is cut off by Evan’s shriek as he yells over the shorter boy.

“Jared! Oh my gOD, please stop talking! “ he screeches, cheeks burning. Jared grins cheekily, moving to rub Evans back soothingly.

“Don’t worry, babe, I would willingly stick my dick in a tree with you any day.”

“JARED-”

The teens eventually resumed their idle browsing, Michael and Jared occasionally stopping to take pictures of each other donning some form of penis shaped paraphernalia. Jeremy was happily browsing the accessories section while Evan went to examine the shelves lined with incense and 'healing stones’.

Jeremy wandered over to Michael, holding up four plastic packets. “Dude, can we get these?” He asked hopefully, batting his eyelashes for effect.

Michael quirked an eyebrow as he examined the packets in the skinny boys hand.

“Face masks? Why the fuck do you want to get face masks?” He inquired, taking the packets and examining them more thoroughly.
Jeremy blushed slightly, shifting on his feet.

“Well, I was talking to christine once and she told me that they can help with, like, acne and stuff, y’know? I just kinda wanted to try it out.” Jeremy refused to meet Michael's gaze, opting to look down at his shoes instead.
Michael considered it for a moment before eventually giving in.

“Sure, I don't see why not.” He shrugged nonchalantly.

Jeremy lifted his head, grinning at him happily. Both boys turn as they hear Evan and Jared approach them. Jared glances at the packets Michael was holding, nodding in approval.

“Nice choice, guys, those face masks are some good shit. Way better than those cheap ones at Walmart.” Evan turns to his boyfriend, looking befuddled.

“You use face masks?” He asks, eyebrows shooting up in disbelief.

Jared shrugs, “Well, Yeah, dummy, did you think all of this,” he gestures to his face dramatically, “just happened on it's own? I gotta keep it fresh, dude, my cripplingly attractive appearance has to be maintained.”

Evan scoffed, turning away from him. “Are you guys ready to get out of here? I have to get Jared out before he tried to buy more of the penis shaped gummies.”

Michael nodded, “Yeah, hold on, let me just pay for these real quick.” Evan nodded and dragged Jared out of the store to wait for them.
---
The next store they visited was the ever edgy Hot Topic. It was basically Spencer's Lite™, less dick shaped objects, more 'hip pop culture’. Evan mostly trailed behind Jared, looking vaguely out of place in his light blue shirt and khakis, browsing the racks of video game themed clothing.

Michael and Jeremy were hanging around the shelves near the counter, where all of the perfumes, bath bombs, foreign candy, etc. was located. Michael was busy uncapping (and sniffing) every perfume/cologne bottle he could find when Jeremy somehow found himself in front of the display for tights, nail polish, headbands, and hair dye.

Jeremy’s eyes skimmed the items on hanging on the display, inexplicably drawn to the headbands. He wondered if he could ever manage to pull off accessories like the people on Tumblr always managed to do.
He absently grabbed a random headband, slipping it into his hair. He looked into the small mirror attached to the display, checking his appearance.

He didn't think he looked bad, per se, just a bit awkward. The headband he had chosen was metal with two triangles on top to give off the impression of cat ears. It held his hair back so that Jeremy didn't have to constantly push his fringe out of his eyes, and it revealed slightly more of his face.

“Jeremy, you goddamn furry.” Jeremy jumped slightly at the sudden voice, ripping the headband off before whipping around to find Michael stood beside him, holding an arm full of bath bombs.

“S-Shut up.” He mumbled, cheeks flushing with the embarrassment of having been caught. Michael chuckled, swooping in to kiss his boyfriend’s cheek in reassurance.

“You looked cute.” He teased, causing the pale boy to blush even harder. Jeremy changes the subject, motioning towards the many bath bombs Michael was holding.

“What's up with all of those?” He inquired as he carefully placed the headband back on the display.

Michael beamed at him, eyes shining with excitement. “We’re gonna have the chillest goddamn night ever.”

Jeremy wasn't quite sure what that meant, but he elected to just roll with it.

“Whatever you say, man.”

——---

The group of teens explored the mall together for a couple more hours, occasionally popping into a random shop.

Eventually, Michael and Jeremy had to (regrettably) leave so that they could get back home before midnight. The boys each exchanged their numbers with the promise of getting together again sometime.

Jeremy yawned as they made their way through the parking lot towards Michael's PT Cruiser. Michael smiled at him softly, throwing his arm around his shoulder and pulling the boy into his side as the walked. Jeremy smiled sleepily, reaching up to the hand around his shoulder and twinning their fingers together.

“Tired?” Michael questions as Jeremy blinked owlishly. Jeremy hummed softly in response, yawning again.

By the time they reached the car, Jeremy was almost asleep on his feet. Michael had to unlock and open the passenger door, then basically lift Jeremy into his seat, putting on his seat belt for him as his head lolled back against the headrest. Michael carefully placed his backpack in the floorboard in front of Jeremy's feet before swiftly shutting the car door.

Michael made his way around to the driver's side, sliding in quickly. He started up the car as he pulled his seatbelt on quickly. He took a deep breath as he prepared for the long drive, clicking on the radio to play softly in the background.

Jeremy groaned softly, hand scrambling around sluggishly in search of something. He eventually manages to hit Michael's elbow, sliding his hand down the length of his forearm to his hand and tangling their fingers together. Michael felt butterflies invade his stomach as he gazed at his boyfriend adoringly.

God, he how could he possibly love everything about this clumsy, spindly, nerdy boy as much as he did. It probably wasn't healthy, to be completely honest, but Michael doesn't care. He would give that boy the moon if he asked for it.

Michael gave Jeremy's hand a soft squeeze before pulling out of the parking lot and beginning the long drive ahead of him.

Chapter Text

It was only thirty minutes into the drive that Michael felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. Michael (reluctantly) untangled his fingers from Jeremy’s before pulling his phone out of his hoodie pocket, glancing at the screen.

His phone was lit up with an incoming call from 'Hot Stuff ;)’. Michael was confused for a second before recalling that Jared had insisted on entering his contact name on Michael's phone himself. He snorted softly (like my dogs walking up the stairs) and rolled his eyes, hitting the accept button.

“Hello?” He whispered, being careful to not wake the sleeping boy next to him.

“Yoooo,” Jared drawled, extending the 'O’ dramatically, “Big M! So, it seems me and the Bae were on our way to my car when we stumbled upon the wallet of one,” there was a pause and light shuffling could be heard over the line, “Jeremiah Heere.”

Michael's head whipped around to the aforementioned boy, eyes narrowing accusatorily.

“Goddamnit Jeremy.” he muttered softly, “Uh, well, we’re currently in some places called 'Somerfield’ or something, do you think we could meet up somewhere?”

“Yeah, We’ll be there in fifteen minutes. Meet us at the Sonic.”

Michael nodded even though he knew Jared couldn't see him, “Cool, Thanks. Oh, and Jared?”

“Yeah?”

“Don't call me Big M. That's my porn name.”

Jared's obnoxious laughter was the last thing Michael could hear as he ended the call.
---------
Twenty minutes later, Michael found himself munching on cheese sticks whilst he absentmindedly scrolled through his explore page on instagram. He looked up when he heard someone tapping on his window, finding a grinning Jared and a nervous looking Evan. Michael put his half eaten cheese stick back into the bag as he rolled the window down. Jared leaned on the side of Michaels door, putting on an exaggerated seductive face.

“Hey there, you boys lookin’ for a good time? “ he winked (or tried to) and blew a kiss. Evan smacked the back of his head, making him snicker and straighten up. Michael smirked, waving nonchalantly.

“Nah, maybe next time, babe, when I don't have the kid with me. “ he motioned to Jeremy, still asleep next to him.

“Tease.” Jared laughed, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a worn rectangle of faux leather. “I believe this belongs to you? “ he tossed it through the window, Michael catching it casually.

“Thanks. You wouldn't believe what a mess his clumsy ass is. Can't keep up with anything. He's almost as bad as me.” Michael chuckled, carefully stowing Jeremy's wallet in his cars console. “Lucky that you guys were the ones who found it, I mean, what are the odds?”

Suddenly, Evans head pops into view, looking concerned. “Hey, uh, so, I was just, y’know, checking the weather on my phone-I wanted to see if we could stop by the orchard later tonight- but uh, apparently there's this, like, massive storm that came out of nowhere? It's weird, like, a bunch of crazy storms just sorta, appeared. But, anyway, they're saying that people shouldn't really be out driving for a while. I don't know if it's such a good idea for you guys to leave right now.” As Evan finally finished his ramblings, Michael's eyebrows furrowed.

“What? Are you serious? Where are we supposed to go?” Michaels mind raced, weighing the odds of just risking the drive regardless of the weather. “How do storms just happen out of nowhere? Aren't there like, signs and shit?”

Jared's eyes lit up in excitement, “Hey! Why don't you guys come over to my place with us! My parents are out of town and they never use the liquor cabinet. We can totally get wild.”

Evan seemed to perk up at his suggestion, “Yeah! Plus, that way, you’ll be safe and won't have to drive through to storm.”

Michael mulled it over silently, checking the time on his watch. “Well, it will be dark in about an hour, and I've never really been great at driving in the rain…” he hummed thoughtfully to himself.

“I mean, I guess it's fine. But are you really ok with letting two guys that you just met into your house like that?” Michael hesitated, not wanting to burden the generous couple.

Jared smiled, laughing slightly. “Yeah, no offense, dude, but I doubt you two are planning to murder me while I sleep.”

Michael shrugged, “Fair enough. Well then, sure, I guess. Better safe than sorry.”

Evan beamed, eyes shining with excitement. “Oh my God, I've never actually had, like, an actual friend sleepover before! This will be awesome!” He bounced on his toes happily.

Jared smirked wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. “Yeah, and I promise not to let Evan get too loud later when we-” Jared was cut off mid statement as Evan let's out an embarrassed yell, instinctively flailing his arm out. He ended up nailing Jared in the side his fist, causing the shorter boy to yelp and hold his double over slightly.

“Worth it.” Jared muttered, sounding a bit winded by the blow. “When the hell did you get strong? I know you haven't been working out, just looking at a gym makes you look like you're about to barf.” Evan’s nervous blush increased as shrugged.

The devilish glint returned to Jared's eyes, “Must be from all that jerking of-”

“JARED I SWEAR TO GOD.” Jared cackled as Evan buried his burning face in his hands. Michael clear his throat awkwardly, a small smile on his face.

“As entertaining as it is to watch you two and your adorable banter, why don't we get a move on. I guess I can just follow you to your house? Unless Evan wants to ride with us so that he can give me directions.” before the boy could even finish, Evan was already firmly planted in the back seat of Michael's beat up PT cruiser, arms folded and pout fixed on his face.

Jared held a hand to his chest with an expression of faux hurt, “How easily you dismiss our love, Babe. To think, poor poor Jared Kleinman, ruthlessly abandoned by his love.”

Jared bowed dramatically, smiling softly at his boyfriend’s expression of embarrassment. “Well, Try not to die or get lost on the way there, yeah?” He gave Michael a nod, turning to make his way back to his own car. Michael rolled his window back up as he shook his head, small smile still on his face.

He glanced at Jeremy quickly, confirming that the boy had (somehow) managed to sleep through all of the commotion, before meeting Evans eyes in the rear view mirror.

“So…” Michael began awkwardly, only now realizing that this was the first time him and Evan had been alone (more or less) together.
“Ah, Um, so, you need to turn right when you pull out of here and then take the third right.” Evan spluttered anxiously, all signs of previous irritation vanishing. Michael blinked, nodding as he began pulling out of the Sonic.
A silence that was only slightly awkward settled over them as Michael drove, neither boy sure what to say.

“So, Evan,” Michael started cautiously, “if you don't mind me asking, how, exactly, did you and Jared end up together? Not that you guys don't make a cute couple or anything, it's just…”

“You just can't figure out how someone as loud as him started dating someone as anxious as me?” Michael glanced at Evan in the rearview mirror, locking eyes. Evan had a small smile of his face, his eyes shining with softness.

“Yeah.” Michael confirmed, eyes back on the road. Evan let out a soft laugh, smiling to himself.

“It's, weird, I know. Our personalities are, like, totally opposite. He used to only talk to me because his mom was friends with mine, and she said he had too or else she wouldn't pay his car insurance.” Michael's eyebrows furrowed in concern, but he didn't interrupt as Evan continued, “But.. then some, uh… stuff, happened. I started dating this girl I had been crushing on for years. Plus, uh.. some other things that didn't exactly help. I kinda started ignoring him, I guess? Anyway, we ended up getting into this awful fight and yelling at each other.

After that we kinda just.. stopped talking. The girl ended up breaking up with me, so I had a lot of time to think about what happened.. and I guess I just kinda realized that he had only gotten upset because he cared. Even if he couldn't say it directly. -Ah, take a left here- I think that he acts the way he does because he's afraid of showing the real him, y’know? Like, there are these times, when we’re alone, where he’ll get really excited over something that happened at camp, or he’ll be sad over something someone said about him, or when we’re watching a movie together and he'll hug me super tight during the sad parts…

He may act all cocky and rude and stuff, but I think that he's just afraid… Ah!- Um-” Evan suddenly snaps back to reality, blinking quickly and the blush coming back to his face once again. “I'm sorry! I didn't mean to, like, get so carried away like that.” He laughed slightly. “I don't know what came over me-”

“Hey, dude, it's totally fine. I probably do the same thing when people ask me about Jeremy. It sounds like you two really care about each other.” Michael reassures the stuttering boy, putting a stop to his anxious scrambling.

Evan smiled, looking down at his fidgeting hands in his lap. “So, uh, how about you? And Jeremy? Get together, I mean.”

Michael gave him a bittersweet smile as he glanced at Jeremy again. “Ah, well. We were actually best friends for twelve years before we started dating. Well, really we were each other's Only friend. We were… inseparable. As long as we had each other, we could get through anything. But,” Michaels smile turns sad. “Last year, Jeremy was kinda.. going through some stuff? He... did some stuff. Stuff that wasn't so nice to the people closest to him.

But, it wasn't his fault. He never intended for any of that stuff to happen, really.. he was just… desperate, I guess. And in love. With a girl.” “Ah, turn right up here.” Michael paused, shaking his head in an attempt to gather his thoughts.

“Uh, anyway, yeah..I guess we just kinda.. lost touch for awhile, y’know?-”

“I was a complete and total ass. I abandoned him.”

Michael and Evan both jump at the sudden voice, turning to find that Jeremy had woken up at some point. He was sitting up in his seat, face serious as his eyes burned into the side of Michaels face.

Michael's eyes widened in surprise, “J- Jer-” he was cut off as Jeremy leaned closer, expression now earnest.

“I abandoned Michael when he was just trying to help me. I hurt him. And I can never make up for that. Even if Michael claims that it's fine and he’s forgiven me… I-” Jeremy sighs, leaning back in his seat. “For some reason he still cared about me. And he saved me. And I know that he always will, no matter how much of a complete dumbass I may be.” He shrugged as though it was nothing but a simple fact.

Jeremy cleared his throat awkwardly, scratching the back of his neck. “So, um… Why exactly is Evan in the car with us? Please tell me you didn't go back and kidnap- Oh my god, Evan, what's wrong?” Jeremy had turned to face Evan, only to find the anxious boy staring back at him as tears streamed down his face rapidly.

“No, I- I’m fine-” he sniffles, rubbing at his cheeks harshly. “It's just- Ugh.” Evan let's out a groan as he tries to figure out what he's trying to say. “I guess it's just because of how similar that is to what I did? I don't know. I'm sorry, I'm such a mess.” He laughs, wiping his nose with another sniffle.

Jeremy smiles at him, trying to comfort him to the best of his ability (which pretty much just meant awkwardly patting him on the shoulder) as he began to calm down.

“So.. is there, or is there not a reason behind me waking up to find a crying Evan in our backseat?” Jeremy turns back to Michael, eyebrow raised.

“Oh, well, actually, a certain Jew boy dropped his wallet in the mall parking lot, and Jared and Evan just so happened to be kind enough to return it.”

Jeremy frowns, “Ok, but that still doesn't ex-”

“Yeah, apparently there's some crazy dangerous storms that just showed up out of nowhere, so Jared offered to let us crash at his place. I figured doing that would be better than dying in a sad car crash.”

Jeremy's response was cut off as Evan cut in quickly, “Ah! It's right down here, third house on the left.” Michael and Jeremy both glanced up, eyes locking on a decently sized two story house with an old Cadillac in the driveway and a certain glasses wearing teen waving to them.

Michael pulls into the driveway, exhaling heavily.

“Well, that was certainly an unnecessarily emotional drive.” he states, exiting the vehicle. Jared bounds up to them, grinning.

“Hey! Looks like you made it in one piece, huh? And I see that dear old Jer has woken up. I assume you explained the current situatión?”

Michael nods, moving around to the passenger side to grab his backpack. Jared cheers, throwing an arm around Evan as he approached him.

“Nice! I hope you lads are ready to get wild, because I've got a cabinet full of cheap liquor and three different copies of the Bee Movie.”

“Jared nO-” Jared laughed as Evan spoke, leading them towards the front door.

Michael and Jeremy shared a small smile of amusement before following the other two into the house.

Chapter Text

The boys had ended up settling in Jared's living room. There was a large flat screen TV mounted on the wall opposite to a large (very comfy looking) couch, which all four teens had immediately collapsed onto. After discussing what their plans for the night was consist of, the four boys had agreed to following through with Michael and Jeremy’s initial plan of a movie night.

After an (almost) unanimous vote against watching the Bee movie, Michael pulled out the movies he had purchased from FYE. Evan scampered into the kitchen to make popcorn and grab the alcohol (via Jared's request) whilst said boy set to work putting the first movie on. When everything was set and ready to go, Jared quickly bounded off up the stairs with a call of 'One Second!’

He returned with three sets of sleepwear, instantly tossing a tee shirt and some flannel pants on Evans head. “Those are yours, and you guys,” he turns to Michael and Jeremy, “Should be able to fit in these.. more or less. They’re my dad's.” He tossed them the remaining two shirts and pairs of sweatpants, giving them a thumbs up.

Once everyone got changed and all of the popcorn was finished, they settled onto the couch. Jeremy and Evan sat at either end of the couch, with Michael and Jared in the middle. Jared pulled out a pile of old blankets, throwing a couple over Michael and Jeremy's knees before piling the rest on top of Evan and himself. Jared was in the middle of making himself comfortable in their nest of blankets when Evan lightly knocked his hand against the shorter boys head.

“Hey, you forgot the lights.” Evan pointed his thumb in the direction of the light switch on the wall behind them. Jared paused, an annoyed frown on his face. He reached down and grabbed one of the small decorative throw pillows that had been discarded to make room for the boys, throwing it at the switch. A small 'thump’ was heard as the pillow hit the wall, accompanied by a loud cheer from Jared as the lights went off.

Evan shook his head and rolled his eyes, muttering, “one day, you're gonna break something doing that.” Jared just beamed at him proudly, grabbing the remote to the DVD player. Jeremy leaned into Michael's side as Jared hit 'play’, resting his head on the boys chest.

The movie started with some woman explaining that the movie was based off of true events, and how they included actual recordings and footage along with some of the recreated scenes. As it introduced the town (some place in Alaska, Gnome maybe?) And began setting up the plot, Michael shifted so that his arm was wrapped around Jeremy's shoulders and his body angled in such a way that he could rest more comfortably against him.

Jared, seeing this, whines loudly. “Hey! Now I feel lonely!” He grabs Michael's other arm, placing it around his own shoulders as he flops his body into Michael's unoccupied side.

“Jared, What the hell?” Evan asks, making Jared laugh.

“I'm just kidding, babe.” he shifts back up off of Michael, flopping over in the opposite direction so that he fell backwards into Evan, “You know that you're the only big spoon for me.” He grins up at him cheekily, grabbing the boys hand and kissing it softly.

“Yeah, whatever, you big dork.” He muttered, rolling his eyes despite the small smile tugging at his lips as he wrapped his arms around the boy in his lap, pulling him more securely against his chest.

On the other side of the couch, Michael made an exaggerated gagging sound, making Jeremy snicker childishly. Jared smirked at them and stuck his tongue out before the group switched their focus back to the movie.
------
It turns out, the movie was actually scarier than any of the boys had expected. By the time the movie ended, Evan and Jared were desperately clinging to each other in fear, faces turned away from the screen. Michael was frozen stiff, face pale as his wide eyes stayed glued to the television, the only sound coming from him being soft cries of, “what the fuck. what the fuck? what the fuuuuuck.” While Jeremy screamed at the smallest things, hiding his face in Michael's chest anytime something happened, but quickly being drawn back to watching every time he looked away.

As the movie ended and the credits began to roll, the boys looked at each other, still on edge. Out of nowhere, a loud 'crack’ of thunder could be heard outside, making all of them jump. Jared quickly ripped the blankets off of his body, jumped off the couch, and ran over to the light switch, flipping it on.

There was a collective sigh of relief as the room was flooded with light, providing at least a small comfort. Jared made his way back over to the couch, sighing heavily.

“Well. Now that I've had the absolute shit scared out of me, I think it's time to start getting wasted.” Jared uncapped an old, half empty bottle of cheap whiskey. “Anyone up for a game?”

Noticing everyone's reluctance, he continued, “Don't worry, it's nothing kinky. Unless you want it to be,” he winked at Evan, “All you have to do is bounce this quarter into a plastic cup. Simple, right? But I like to make it interesting. How about, if you make the shot, you not only drink, but you also get to dare one person (of your choice) to do whatever you want. “

The boys still weren't completely on board, but they all wanted to get their mind off of that movie, so they agreed.

Jared grinned, “Nice! I’ll go first.” Jared bounded over to the coffee table, setting aside the discarded bowls of popcorn kernels, and placing a single red plastic cup right in the center. He put the bottle of whiskey on the carpet next to him, careful to keep it upright, as he pulled a quarter out of his pocket.

His face hardened in concentration as he tried to determine the best angle. He stuck his tongue out as he bounced the coin off of the wooden table, causing it to bounce back up and land easily inside the cup. Jared cheered triumphantly, grabbing the whiskey and taking a swig, before pointing at Evan and yelling, “You!”

Evan sat up as Jared called to him, suddenly becoming afraid for a completely different reason. Jared beckoned Evan towards him with a single finger, smirking evilly.

When Evan finally made his way over to his boyfriend, he found himself being suddenly pulled down by his shirt collar as Jared whispered in his ear. Michael and Jeremy became considerably more interested as they watched Evans face reach a shade of red that neither thought possible, even by him.

He screeched in embarrassment, looking mortified. “Jared! What the HELL?” he yelled, eyes wide. Jared looked absolutely delighted.

“You heard me. Now go.” He pointed behind the stuttering boy in the general direction of the stairs.

“But-”

“Oh, you're not gonna be able to talk your way out of this one, babe.” Jared smirked again as Evan sighed in defeat. Evan grumbled bitterly as he made his way up the stairs obediently.

Michael and Jeremy were watching this encounter take place, both feeling very confused and mildly worried for Evan.

“What did you tell him to do?” Asks Michael, moving over to the coffee table. Jareds eyes glinted deviously as he leaned over the table, whispering quietly to Michael. Michael's head shot up, head whipping around to look at Jeremy. Jeremy watched, even more confused, as Michael gulped, turning to Jared with wide eyes.

“My turn, next.”
------------

Evan stood in the middle of Jared's bedroom, gazing down at the article of clothing laid out on the bed sadly. He sighed once again, about to just give in and get it over with when he was suddenly startled by a hesitant knock at the door.

The door opened a crack and Jeremy slipped into the room, looking out of place and kind of sad. Evan gave him an understanding nod, “You too?” He asked, motioning towards Jared closet.

Jeremy nodded, cheeks burning.
-----
“Holy Fuck.”

“I would like to thank my Lord and savior, Jared Kleinman, without whom I would not be witnesses this blessing to all of mankind-”

“Shut the fuck up, Michael.” Jeremy and Evan had finally emerged from upstairs, looking almost the same with the exception of their pants.

Both boys had exchanged their pajama pants for skirts. Evan had chosen a modest light pink skirt with a floral pattern that stopped about ¾ of the way down his thigh. Jeremy, however, was slightly more adventurous, having chosen a blue pac-man patterned skirt that only went about mid thigh.
Both boys had on fishnets, leaving their feet bare.

Evan glared at Jared, “Why do you even have this stuff?” He asked, pouting.

Jared, finally coming out of the shell-shocked state he had been thrown into as soon as he laid eyes on Evan, just grinned and winked.

“Hey, you never know when you might wanna get kinky with your cute boyfriend, right?”

Michael laughed loudly, nodding. “You’re telling me, dude! You just opened up a whole new world to me. Jeremy looks hot as FUCK.”

Jeremy refused to give his boyfriend the satisfaction of eye contact, but he couldn't help the fluttery feeling he felt at Michaels compliment. Maybe it wasn't so bad. It's not like a dumb piece of clothing is gonna cause the Apocalypse, or anything.

Evan huffed beside him, making his way towards Jared. Evans eyes narrowed, eyeing the shorter boy intensely.

“You better watch it, Jared. One day I might get tired of all that teasing.” Evan dropped down to sit in Jared's lap, arms wrapping around his neck.

“And wouldn't that be a mess.” Evan maintained eye contact with Jared, even as the boys face lit up, looking astounded.

“Uh- wh- Huh?” Evan laughed at Jared's sudden nervous stuttering, patting his cheek lightly.

“Attaboy.” Evan extracted himself from his boyfriend, smirking. Michael looked over at Jeremy with worried eyes, holding his hands up in surrender.

Jeremy grinned, cocking his hip. “Oh, don't worry. I've got other plans for you, Mikey.”

Michael flushed in fear as he took another swig of the whiskey. This was certainly going to be an interesting night, to say the least.

Chapter Text

“Uh, you know what? Now that I think about it, maybe this isn't such a good idea.” Jared laughed nervously, face pale. Beside him, Michael nodded fervently.

“Yeah, um, actually, You know what? Turns out my moms are calling and it's actually my curfew, so, haha,” Michael edges away from the coffee table cautiously. Jeremy scoffs, giving him an unimpressed look.

“Oh, don't worry. We don't have to keep playing. I intend to have some fun regardless. “ Jeremy smirked, eyeing Michael carefully. Said boy instantly flushed, slowly getting to his feet, preparing to bolt. Jared, still kneeling by the coffee table, was held in place by Evan leaning his weight on the boys shoulders.

Michael and Jeremy locked eyes, challenging each other silently as both teens held their ground. Suddenly, Michael sprung. He bolted, attempting to dash around Jeremy so that he could reach the doorway. Jeremy lunged at him, easily catching the darker boy as he knocked him to the ground in a tackle. The couple rolled as they both attempted to overpower each other.

Jeremy quickly gained control, swiftly maneuvering himself to straddle the half filipino, he say back on the boys stomach as he pinned his hands to the ground above his head. Ignoring Jareds exclamation of ‘Hot!’ as well as the accompanying cat call, Michael bucked his hips in an attempt to dislodge his boyfriend. Jeremy held firm, patiently waiting until Michael gave up.

Jared whistled lowly at them again, laughing. “Wow, that's pretty kinky, guys, I guess you two have been in this position before, huh?” Michael, still grumbling over having been overpowered, angled his hand towards the snickering boy as best as he could, extending his middle finger. Jeremy grinned down at him wickedly, eyes shining.

“Nope, sorry, Micah, but you're not getting out of this that easily.” Michael just sighed, going limp in defeat.

He should've known payback would be a bitch.

Once he was sure that Michael wasn't going to make a run for the next state over as soon as he was released, Jeremy got off of the sulking boy, giving him a quick peck on the lips out of pity. He turned to Evan, giving him a thumbs up.

Evan nodded, tapping Jared on the head with a firm call of, 'Come on. Up.’ The shorter boy stood as instructed, face contorting with worry. Evan grabbed his wrist, leading him up the stairs.

Jared frowned, feeling mildly concerned.

“Um, ok.. Now, I know I've been saying all this stuff about us getting freaky and everything but, like, you might want to give a guy a heads up if that's what's, y’know, going down.” Jared laughs, only half joking.

“For reals though, this isn't gonna be anything, like.. too weird, right, Ev?” Worry crept into Jared's voice as Evan didn't respond to his teasing. He didn't see the smug grin plastered on Evans face.
--------

As Evan dragged a concerned Jared up the stairs, Jeremy turned to Michael (who was still laying limply on the floor). Jeremy put his hand on his hip, raising an eyebrow.

“Come on, Michael. Get up.” Michael just grumbled in response, not moving. Jeremy huffed, rolling his eyes.

“Don't be a baby. Come on and take your punishment like a man.” Jeremy gave him a light kick to try and rouse him.

Michael looked up at him, eyebrows raised.

“Okay, first, I am not going to have some weird four way with some random guys. Besides, if we were gonna get that weird, it would at least have to be with Jake and Rich. Secondly, I can see up your skirt right now.”

Jeremy jumped back, face ablaze.

“What the fuck, Michael, No, that's not at all what's happening. And don't you know better than to look up a ladies skirt? Honestly, the nerve of some people.” Jeremy puts on an offended front, pressing the back of his hand against his forehead dramatically.

Michael snorted at his theatrics, finally pulling himself up to his feet. “Fine, fine, Whatever. I'll come with you, but if I see a single dick, regardless of whom it belongs to, I'm leaving you here and driving home.”

Jeremy laughs, holding up three fingers. “No Dick Guarantee. Scouts honor.”

“You weren’t a boy scout.”

“Shut up and come on.”

Jeremy grabbed Michael by the shoulders, coaxing him towards the stairs.

-----

“Evan, no.” Jared was currently in his parents bedroom, sat at the foot of the bed whilst his boyfriend hovered over him.

“Come on, man, trust me. It’ll be fine. I've done it before.”

Jareds eyebrows shot up. “You’ve put makeup on before?” He asked, eyeing the makeup brush in Evan’s hand distrustfully.

Evan blushed, but didn't back down, “Yeah, I asked my mom and she taught me how. You’ll look hot, I promise.” Jared backed away as Evan once again attempted to swipe at his face with the foundation.

“And how do I know you're not actually just gonna draw a bunch of dicks on my face?”

Evan rolled his eyes, smacking Jared's leg lightly. “Not everyone revolves around dicks, Jared.”

Jared opened his mouth to retort when suddenly there was a knock and the door creaked open. Jeremy peaked his head in, making sure he wasn't walking in on anything (you can never be too sure), before slipping into the room.

“Yo, Michael's locked in the bathroom. He's all yours.” Evan nodded, handing him the makeup brush he had been wielding. He made his way over to the door, looking back at Jared one last time with a firm command of 'Be Good.’ before slipping out into the hallway.

----------

“This is dumb.” Michael was pouting at Evan, arms folded in defiance. Evan snorted in response as he held a palette up, silently contemplating which colors would work best on Michael's skin tone.

“Ugh. Why is it always the bathroom?” Michael muttered bitterly as he examined the shell patterned wallpaper covering the walls. He was currently perched uncomfortably on the edge of the bathtub, watching as Evan sat on the pumpkin floor, an array of makeup and makeup related tools scattered on the ground around him.

Evan seemed to finally settle on whatever it was he had been looking at, because he suddenly set to work, picking out certain items and setting them aside before sweeping the extra palettes and brushes back into the bag that he had taken them from.

“Sit here.” said Evan, patting the toilet lid invitingly. Michael begrudgingly obeyed, huffing dramatically. Evan grabbed a pack of wet wipes, shuffling closer to Michael on his knees. He pushed Michael's knees apart so that he could shift in between them and reach the boys face, earning a disgruntled ‘Uhh?’ in response.

Evan pulled Michael's glasses off of his face, gingerly setting them on the edge of the sink next to them. “Calm down, I'm not, like, trying to make a move on you or anything. “ He laughed awkwardly, blushing slightly. “I just have to be able reach your, uh, face, y’know?”

Michael nodded, squinting slightly due to his -now- impaired vision. He jumped in surprise as he suddenly felt a cold, damp cloth being swiped down his nose.
He reflexively yelped, sputtering when the cloth hit his bottom lip.
Evan snickered, “You have to keep your mouth closed. “ he muttered, swiftly wiping down the rest of Michael’s face.

Michael blushed, huffing, “You surprised me, I didn't expect it to be cold. “ He explained, eyes straining to make out the blurry shapes in front of him. Evan just hummed, reaching for something in the pile of makeup. Michael heard him snap open a tube of something, moving back to face him. His nose scrunched up in discomfort as Evan smeared something on his forehead and cheeks, pausing to snap the cap of -whatever- closed, before his hand were back on him, rubbing the substance into Michael's skin.

“wa’s tha?” He mumbled, keeping his mouth closed as much as possible.

“Primer.” Evan responds, wiping his fingers clean with another wet wipe. Michael, realising that he's not going to understand regardless of asking questions, goes silent as he continues. He squints as he watches Evan squirt something onto a weird Green egg shaped thing, jolting in surprise when he dabs the cold sponge against his cheek.

The process continues uneventfully, the only conversation between them being Evan mumbling out soft commands to 'look up’ or 'close your eyes’ or something of the like, and the occasional grunt of discomfort from Michael whenever something got too close to his eye for comfort, or tickled his skin uncomfortably. After what felt like ages (but was probably only about an hour) Evan finally sits back on his knees, admiring his work.

“Hell yes. You look hot.” Evan nods proudly, wiping his hands clean of any excess makeup residue before handing Michael his glasses. Michael blinked, eyes adjusting as he finally slid his glasses back onto his face.

“It feels heavy.” He muttered, automatically reaching up to scratch at his nose. Evan smacked his hand away, giving him a pointed look.

“No scratching, if your face itches, you either suffer or dab at it.” Michael pouted, retracting his hand. Evan stood up and stretched, rubbing at his shins from where the fishnets had been uncomfortably digging into his skin.
He grabbed a hand mirror that had been hanging on the wall, handing it to Michael.

“What do you think?”

Michael stared at his reflection, eyes widening.

“Oh, shit!”

Evan had gone for a natural look, which meant that Michael still looked like Michael, but his features had been emphasized. Michael generally had a fairly clear complexion, usually only occasionally getting small blemishes, But now his skin appeared absolutely flawless. His cheekbones and jawline looked stronger, soft eyeshadow making his eyes look more vibrant, the normally murky brown of his irises suddenly appearing captivating.

“No wonder Chloe is so into this stuff, this is wild.” he muttered to himself, handing the mirror back to Evan. Evan grinned, nodding towards the bathroom door.

“Let's go check up on the other two and see if they're almost done. I'm sure Jeremy is gonna, like, faint when he sees you. “ Evan teases, earning a confident smirk from Michael. The pair make their way down the carpeted hall, stopping in front of Jared's Parents room.

Evan knocked on the door hesitantly, calling out “Hey, you guys almost done? We just finished.” They hear an awkward yelp, followed by a hollow 'Thump’, and then a small anxious cough. They both snicker as they hear Jeremy's exasperated sigh of 'Jared, you goddamn klutz.’ before he calls back to them.

“Yeah, we’ll be done in a minute, why don't you guys go downstairs and put in another movie or something? We’ll be down in just a sec.”

Evan nods even though Jeremy couldn't see him, turning to make his way down the stairs. Michael followed him, but not before shouting through the door quickly, “Don't make him too hot, Jer-bear, Wouldn't want to have to worry about any competition!” He smiled as he heard Jeremy's chuckle through the door.

Chapter Text

Jared sighed as Jeremy dusted more powder into his face. Ever since Evan had left to go tend to Michael, Jeremy had noticed that something about the other boys usual cocky demeanor had seemed to shift.

“How much longer is this gonna take? I mean, there's only so much you can do to fix this mess.” Jared had a joking tone, but his eyes seemed almost sad for some reason.

Jeremy frowned in concern. “What's that supposed to mean?” He asks, pausing as he met Jared's eyes. He smirked pretentiously, but it didn't quite reach his eyes.

“Ah, nothing. Just keep it going, Daddio, we got better things to be doing.” Jeremy frowned again, resuming his work.

“Doesn't sound like nothing. Just saying, Dude, I know we don't really know each other very well but if you wanna talk to someone about that deep shit, I’m your man.” Jared sighed again, smirk dropping.

“Ah, It's just.. can I ask you something?”

Jeremy nodded.

“Have you ever… felt like you didn't deserve to be with Michael? Or, like, thought that he could do so much better than you?” Jeremy scoffed loudly, pausing the meet Jared's eyes.

“Are you serious, dude? Absolutely.” Jared's shoulders seemed to relax, but only slightly.
“Is that what you're so worried about? You think Evan would be better off with someone else?” Jared remains silent, but his guilty shifting was all the answer Jeremy needed.

“I mean… I’m always so… loud. And rude. And I can never communicate my feelings. I just- I don't know.” Jared shrugs, not looking at the boy in front of him.

Jeremy sighed heavily, putting down his makeup brush and sitting up. “Look, dude. It's fine. I mean, I'm definitely no expert, but in my experience that's how everyone feels. Relationships are weird.”

Jared frowns, “But, I always yell and argue even if I actually just want to apologise.. and I-” Jeremy interrupts him with an aggressive shake of his head.

“Hey, look. I’m a terrible person. Last year I totally abandoned Michael. When he needed me the most, I hurt him. I'll never forgive myself for that. And Everytime I think about it- All I can think is 'why? Why didn't he give up and leave me? Why would he love someone who could- who has done something like that to him?’ and honestly, the only answer I have is that, for some reason, I make him happy. Somehow this amazing person loves me, and somehow you have an amazing person who loves you, too.

I don't know you guys’ history, but dude, you gotta remember that Evan knows you. And he knows you well enough to see past all that stuff. And he loves you. Anyone could see that, I mean, it's pretty obvious with how you two act around each other. So cheer up, man.”

Jared nodded slowly, thinking over everything Jeremy had said. He laughs breathlessly, leaning back on his hands casually.

“Well this got deep as fuck. And, as much as I would love to continue, I think that's about as much 'Feelings’ as I can handle for today.” Jared grinned, the tense atmosphere fading. Jeremy opened his mouth to respond when there was a knock at the door, startling both boys.

Jared, in his surprise, had reflexively yelped and jumped, causing his hand to slip. He toppled over, landing on his back on the carpeted floor. Jeremy peeked down at him over the edge of the bed.

“Jared, you goddamn klutz.”

--------

When Jeremy finished, Jared looked at himself in the mirror hanging on the wall. His face seemed sharper, almost. His cheeks were dusted with a soft blush, and the mascara made his eyes pop. He looked… soft. Almost feminine, but not quite. He looked beautiful.

He took a deep breath, fixing a smirk on his face before turning around.

“Well, thank God that's done with.” Jeremy yells as he bolts from the room, dashing down the stairs before Jeremy had the chance to do anything else to him.

“Hey! What the hell?” Jeremy grumbles, putting the makeup bag away and following after him.

----

Back in the living room, Michael grabbed a movie from the pile at random, throwing it into the DVD player. It was some weird old horror flick called 'Inside’ that they had found in the discount bin for a dollar.

Evan grabbed a bunch of random junk food from the kitchen, along with some soda (since the alcohol wasn't exactly the most appealing refreshment) before returning to him and Jared's abandoned nest of blankets on the couch.

Michael and Evan made idle small talk while the previews played, not really paying much attention. It only took about ten minutes before both boys attention was drawn to the faint thudding of footsteps racing down the carpeted stairs, accompanied by a confused shout of '-the hell?’.

Evan barely had time to process what he was seeing as Jared suddenly slid into the living room, immediately flinging himself directly onto the couch (and on top of Evan).

“Ow! Jared!” Evan flinched as Jared's weight crashed into him, almost knocking the breath from him. He untangled his boyfriend from his body, pushing him back by his shoulders.

“You can't just jump on people like that, you kno-” Evan’s words cut off abruptly as he finally took in the grinning boy in front of him. Jared grinned as he watched Evans face light up, mouth agape.

“I know right? Jeremy made me look cute as fuck! At this rate, I may have to take over the title of the cute one in this relationship.” Jared winked at him awkwardly and laughed, patting the stunned boys cheek.

Evan, finally coming back so his senses, looked away timidly. “Yeah, you just might.” He agrees, bringing a hand up to cover his blushing face. Michael snorts from where he had been watching this encounter take place, shaking his head.

His attention was drawn back to the doorway as Jeremy wandered in, looking bemused.

“Jared, what the fuck, was it really necessary to run like that?” Jared, not looking away from his blushing boyfriend, extended his middle finger.

“Thanks.” Jeremy rolled his eyes, finally scanning the room until he located Michael. Michael gulped in anticipation, carefully taking in Jeremy's reaction.

Jeremy, upon finally laying his wack-ass robot eyes on Michael, felt his breath hitch.

“Michael,” He breathed, “You look hot as fUCK, what the hell?” Michael smirked as Jeremy's voice broke awkwardly on the 'fuck’.

“Thanks, you're not so bad yourself.”

Before anyone had a chance to say anything else, there was a sudden knock on the door. All four boys went silent, eyes widening simultaneously.

Michael turned to the window, frowning at the pouring rain outside.

“Who could possibly be out in this weather?” He asks, turning back to the others. Jared hopped off the couch, starting towards the front door.

“I guess we’re about to find out.” The other three trailed behind him nervously.

Jared, once he reached the door, flipped on the porch light before cautiously looking through the peephole. Suddenly, he drew back, throwing the door open.

“Um, Hello?” Standing outside was three teenagers, all completely soaked in rain water.

“Oh, um, Hello, uh I know this is kinda weird but can you tell us which way the train station is?” The one that spoke was a lanky dark haired boy, he smiled awkwardly.

“Um? Do you want to come in for a second?” Jared offered, stepping back slightly.

“Oh, um, sure.” The three hesitantly stepped into the house, allowing the boys to get a proper look at them. Behind the dark haired boy was a girl with long sandy blonde hair, as well as a distressed looking boy with darker skin and a vibrant tie-dye shirt. The darker boy was on crutches, which confused the boys even more.

“Uh, my name is Percy, that's Annabeth and Grover. We’re, uh.. a bit lost.” He chuckled nervously, scratching the back of his head. Jareds raised him eyebrows in surprise, quickly motioning to Evan to go get some towels. Evan nodded, scurrying off towards the bathroom.

“So, you three were wandering around in a residential zone, trying to find the train station?” Percy nodded, smiling shyly.
The tree dripping teens all muttered soft 'thank you’s to Evan as he returned, handing each of them a towel to dry off with as best they could.

“Can I ask why?” Jared inquired, leading them down the hall in the direction of the living room. Percy and Annabeth share a worried look with each other.

“Um, Well, We’re trying to get to L.A.-”

“What the fuck?”

Percy's explanation was cut short by a disgruntled shriek from Jeremy, who was currently examining Grover's face with interest.

“You look just like Michael! Just without glasses and with a goatee! What the Hell is going on here?” The tie-dye clad boy frowned, eyebrows furrowing.

“Michael? Who's Michael?” He asked, shifting his crutches to a more comfortable position. The boy in question stepped out from behind Jeremy, looking Grover up and down.

“You're a pretty good looking dude, my man.” Michael proclaims, crossing his arms and nodding in approval. Grover blinked, looking mildly distressed.

“Um. Thanks? I, uh.. guys,” he turned to his damp companions, “I think we should go. No offense, but this is pretty weird.”

The girl, Annabeth, smacked his arm lightly.

“Grover! Don't be rude!” She scolded, turning to Jared. “Sorry, he’s a bit.. wild? - um, anyway, we don't want to be a bother, could you just give us directions and we’ll get out of your hair. You guys seem to have been in the middle of…” she glanced over at Jeremy and Evan who were still clad in their skirts and fishnets, “something.” she laughed slightly, shifting uncomfortably.

All four boys felt their faces burn as they remembered their current states.

“Oh! No! We, weren’t- uh- it wasn't, it was just a dumb dare that got a little out of hand, we weren't, like, doing anything, uh-” Evan automatically began attempting to ramble out a sensible explanation, only to be stopped by Jared.

“Uh, if you follow the road down to the main highway, just head East for about 30 minutes and you should reach town. Are you sure you guys want to go out in this weather though?”

The three newcomers all shared a look. “We’ll be fine.” They chorused, smiling reassuringly. Jared nodded reluctantly, shuffling over to a closet and grabbing two umbrellas.

“Here, at least take these. Sorry We couldn't help you guys more.” Percy and Annabeth accepted them gratefully as the three made their way back outside in to pouring rain.

“Thanks Again!” Percy yelled, waving goodbye as he closed to front door.

The group of boys were silent, sharing confused looks.

“Um… so, do you guys wanna go watch that movie now?” Michael suggested, pointing his thumb vaguely towards the living room. The other three muttered in agreement, starting in that direction.

“That was the weirdest thing that's happened to us since the School Play.” Michael muttered to Jeremy, earning a light giggle. This has been a crazy day. Michael thinks they should probably go to bed soon, before something even crazier happens.

Chapter Text

“Ok, what the actual fresh fuck is going on?” Michael was the one to actually voice the thought that had been collectively floating around all four boys’ heads as they watched the movie.

The movie had started off strangely, providing basically zero context as it followed the life of some high school boy who liked to break into people's houses while they were still home and watch them go about their lives. It got even stranger when the boy has been caught by a married couple who, instead of calling the police upon finding a stranger that had broken into their home, told the boy that he reminded them of their late son.

When the boy left to go home, he had been hit by a car, waking up back in the couples home with two broken legs that had been crudely bandanged. Now the couple seemed to be keeping the boy from leaving, apparently under the delusion that he was their son who had come back to them? It was honestly the strangest movie any of the boys had ever seen. It felt like they had been watching it for three hours, yet it didn't appear to be anywhere near the conclusion.

In fact, Michael had fallen asleep about an hour in, sleeping for what felt like at least two hours, before waking up and watching another hour and a half or the strange movie.
By the time the credits rolled, all four boys were feeling highly disgruntled. None of them knew what to say, all of them still attempting to parse what they had just witnessed.

Jared tightened his hold on Evans waist, shifting closer. “I've never seen a movie that made me feel so upsettingly uncomfortable.”

Michael nodded, exhaling heavily. “Honestly, what the fuck?”
He ran his hand through his hair, shifting in his seat. Jeremy rolled out of Michaels arms and onto the floor, landing on his back with a soft 'thump’. He stared up at the ceiling aimlessly.

“How long was that? I feel like I just spent the like ten hours having a goddamn bad trip.” Jeremy tossed an arm over his eyes, sighing deeply.

Evan untangled himself from his boyfriend and the blankets cocooning them, shuffling over to grab the discarded movie case. Jared stretched his arm over to flick on the lamp on the side table next to the couch.

He kicked at the blankets, pushing them onto the floor as he sat up. Evan scampered back over, plopping himself down cozily in-between Jared and the arm of the couch so that he could properly see the writing on the back of the case. Jared tossed an arm around his shoulders casually as he scanned to small print on the case.

“It doesn't even say how long it is, what the hell?” Evan squinted at the tiny print, reexamining it in case he had simply missed it.

“That was like some kind of fucked up lucid nightmare. It wasn't even scary, just… really fucked up.” Michael frowned, stepping over Jeremy's sprawled form to eject the disk. Jeremy hummed from the ground as he held his phone above his face, squinting at the brightness of the backlight.

“I can't even find it when I Google the name? Does this movie even actually exist? Who directed it?” Jeremy questioned as his phone slipped out of his fingers and smacked him square on the face, causing him to let out a soft 'Fuck!’ before picking it back up and rolling onto his stomach.

Evan let out a triumphant exclamation, “Ah, here it is! Runtime; …. One hour and thirty nine minutes?! What?”

Jared gaped, leaning over his shoulder to look closer the the plastic case in Evan's hands. “There's no way that was only an hour and a half. That was legitimately the longest movie I have ever watched in my life.”
Michael tossed the disk into his opened backpack, not bothering to retrieve the case from Evan. He lifted his arms above his head, stretching tiredly. “Jesus, I feel like I've aged twenty years.”

The other boys muttered in agreement. Michael wandered over to the window, peeking through the blinds. “Looks like that storm hasn't let up at all, I hope those people from earlier are ok.”

Jared hummed, rolling his head to pop his neck. “It's getting pretty late,” he commented, glimpsing at the numbers displayed on his phones lockscreen. “Do you guys maybe want to go to bed soon? Before anything else really weird happens?” He glanced around at his guests.

Michael shrugged as Jeremy yawned, putting his phone down and resting his head on his arms. “Yeah, That's probably a good idea.”

Jared nodded, standing up. “Alright, you guys can take my parents room. I trust you not to do anything too nasty on my parents sheets. Me and Ev will stay in my room, that cool with you guys?” They all nod, exhaustion finally catching up with them.

Jared tugs Evan by the wrist towards the stairs, shouting lazily over his shoulder. “There's a bathroom connected to their room if either of you wanna shower, or fuck, or whatever.” Michael snorted as the couple disappeared up the steps, turning to Jeremy.

“Come on, get up. It's bed time, you big baby.” Jeremy groaned, rolling over onto his back once more. He extended his arms up towards Michael, pouting.

“Carry me, bitch.” Michael chuckled and rolled his eyes, stooping down to gather his spindly boyfriend in his arms. He lifted him easily, starting towards the stairs.

“Whatever you say, you skinny hoe.” He teased, grinning as Jeremy wound his arms around his neck.

“Fuck off.” He muttered, burying his face in Michael's neck. The taller boy snickered softly, bounding up the stairs with ease. Once he reached the door to Jared’s parents room, he shouldered it open and strided in. He waltzed over to the large bed situated in the middle of the room, tossing Jeremy onto it roughly. Jeremy bounced up a bit as he landed on the mattress, letting out a huff.

“Oh, my kind and gentle knight. Always so caring.” Jeremy proclaimed dramatically, throwing his head to the side. Michael snorted and bowed deeply, mumbling out a stern, ‘My liege.’ before straightening up and heading towards the door that he presumed led to the connected bathroom. Jeremy sat up, shifting to the side of the bed. He stood up, finally slipping off the skirt and fishnets, leaving him in the oversized tee shirt and his boxers. He pulled back the duvet, sliding into the bed tiredly. He leaned back against the headboard, letting his eyes drift shut as he listened to the sound of running water from the sink in the bathroom.

Jeremy had almost drifted off to sleep like that until he was roused by a frustrated groan from Michael. As he blinked his eyes open, he was met with a miserable looking michael, face rubbed raw and dark smudges of makeup surrounding his eyes.

“Jeremy,” he whined, sulking towards him. “How the hell do people live like this? This shit in impossible to get off! I look like Sly-fucking-Cooper.” Michael plops down face first on the bed, grumbling pitifully. Jeremy smiles, laughing softly.

“You don’t use water to get it off, dumbass, You have to use makeup remover.” Jeremy slipped out of the bed, padding his way to the bathroom quickly. Once he located Jared’s mothers makeup wipes he hurried back to the bed, flicking the bathroom light off as he went. He sat on edge of the bed, tugging at Michaels hair softly. “Come on, I’ll help you, you gremlin.”

Michael pushed himself up into a sitting position, pouting at Jeremy. “How fucking rude.” he mumbled in faux offense. Jeremy chuckled softly, pulling out one of the wipes. He leaned forward, eyebrows furrowing in concentration as he carefully wiped at the makeup staining his boyfriends face. Michael took advantage of Jeremys concentration, letting his eyes take in the other boys features unabashedly. Michael loved to just look at Jeremy. He loved to trace the lines of his eyes, down his nose to his lips.

Jeremy would never realise just how beautiful he was. He had always been intensely self-conscious, always getting hung up over the slightest thing. But Michael couldn’t think of a single moment in all the years they’d known each other that he’d thought of him as anything but astoundingly beautiful. Michael had always hated the word ‘Handsome’. The word felt unnecessary, like it was the result of a bunch of jocks getting together and deciding the words like ‘pretty’ and ‘cute’ werent manly enough. He felt like it lacked a real meaning, like it was just a word to use when you have to compliment a man regardless of how good he actually looked. Words like pretty, cute, hot, those were words that had meanings. They each carried distinct feelings with them, each word had its own mood. Michael knew very few people that he would consider ‘beautiful’.

He wished Jeremy knew how beautiful he really was.

“Micah, hey, you in here?’ Jeremy snapped his fingers in front of his face, bringing him back to reality. He blinked, smiling softly.

“Yeah, sorry, just tired.” he crawled to the head of the bed, yanking off his shirt before slipping under the covers. Jeremy shrugged, discarding the dirty makeup wipes in the trash can beside the bed before flipping the lights off and crawling back into his place under the covers. He closed his eyes, exhaustion finally taking over his body as Michael scooted closer, wrapping his arms around him tightly. He felt a light pressure on his cheek and Michael kissed him softly. The last thing Jeremy heard before sleep claimed him was a soft “love you, Miah.”

Chapter Text

Evan flopped face first onto Jared's bed, sighing in relief. “Finally, I can rest.” He moaned, stretching across the length of the bed.  Jared snorted, tossing his glasses on to his bedside table and running a hand through his hair messily.

“Who said anything about resting?” Jared said, winking suggestively. Evan didn't bother opening his eyes as he grabbed a pillow, chucking it at Jared's face.

He spluttered as the pillow hit him, slid down his face and fell into his hands. He laughed as he tossed the pillow back, hitting Evan’s stomach.

“Move over, hot stuff.” He pushed at Evan’s side weakly, coaxing the boy to shift over to the side of the bed. Jared tugged the duvet out from under the limp boy, tossing it over the top of him instead.

He clicked on the small lamp that resided on the table beside his bed, shuffling over to the wall to switch off the overhead light. “Is that too bright or are you good?” He asked, glancing to his boyfriend’s sprawled form.

“That's fine.” Jared knew how Evan didn't like to sleep in the dark, and that he always had to have some kind of night light on so that he could sleep peacefully, but he couldn't sleep if there was noise around him. Jared tended to sleep with the lights off, and with some sort of youtube video or movie playing in the background. The boys found an easy compromise for when they stayed over at each other's houses: Jared would leave a lamp on and use headphones to listen to videos to help him sleep. It worked well.

Jared grabbed his phone and headphones, dropping them on the bedside table before slipping under the covers with Evan. Evan turned his head to blink sleepily at his boyfriend. “Aren't you gonna take your makeup off?” He mumbled, already half asleep.

Jared shrugged, plugging his headphones in and pulling up a random YouTube video by one of the people he liked to watch in his free time. “Nah, I'm fine with looking like a two dollar man-whore in the morning. I've always figured that I would rock that look, anyway.” Evan scoffed, rolling onto his side to face him.

“Whatever.” He whispered, throwing an arm around Jared's stomach. Jared remembers when they first started dating, it hadn't taken him long to find out that Evan particularly enjoyed cuddling. He remembered how he had been so self conscious at first, how every time Evan’s arm was anywhere near his stomach, he would tense up. He had always hated his muffin top and stomach rolls.

Evan, however, never seemed to mind his extra pudge. Jared never brought the topic up directly, (he had always been bad with confrontation), and sometimes he would still be plagued by the self loathing thoughts.

Thoughts like 'How could someone so thin and pretty ever want to go out with someone like me?’, 'there’s no way someone like him could ever be attracted to someone like me’, or 'who could ever love someone with such a bad body?’ Jared wasn't stupid, he knew he wasn't that fat, and he didn't have room to complain about it when he still had a pretty decent figure. But sometimes his extra fat was all he could see.

His love handles as they spilled out of his jeans, the extra pudge on his upper arms, the double chin that seemed to show up in every candid photo, the glaring muffin top. They were all parts of himself that he hated.

He had gotten better, lately, beginning to accept himself and his body for what it was. But, like anyone, he had bad days and good days. He shoved the intrusive thoughts from his mind, turning so that his back pressed against Evan’s chest.

He focused his thoughts on the droning voices playing through his headphones, allowing his mind to drift as he pulled Evan’s arms around his midsection more securely.




-------




Michael blinked tiredly, stifling the yawn crawling up his throat. He took in his surroundings blearily, momentarily confused. As the events of the previous day suddenly came flooding back he grumbled softly, pulling the duvet over his head to block out the sunlight.

“Hey,  fuckass, you better not be going back to sleep. I've been waiting for you to wake up for, like, these hours.” Michael groaned as Jeremy smacks him in the stomach lightly. “Wakey wakey, binch.” He pulled the covers back off of his boyfriend’s face, revealing Michael's bemused expression.

“Jeremy, I keep telling you, one and half years of high school Spanish classes do not mean you can speak Spanish,“ he said, voice rough from sleep. Jeremy, who was sitting up against the headboard, didn't look up from where he was scrolling on his phone.

“And I keep telling you ;  I can rap the entire Spanish part in ’Caress Me Down’ by Sublime, therefore,  I am fluent.  So shut the fuck up, estupido.”

Michael chuckled, rolling his eyes. “What time is it?” He asked, extending his arms over Jeremy's legs in the vague direction of the bedside table where his glasses rested, flailing his hand up and down pitifully to Jeremy. The paler boy hummed, reaching over the retrieve Michael's glasses for him add his eye flick up to the top corner of his phone screen. “10:32.”

Michael pulled himself up into a sitting position, slipping his glasses onto his nose. He stretched, joints popping loudly. Jeremy catted him a sideways glance, scrunching his nose up in disgust.  “Gross, dude, sound like you're just, like, breaking every bone in your body. “

“I am.” He joked, reaching down to grab his hoodie from where he had discarded it on the floor the night before. He tugged it on, not bothering with a shirt.  Suddenly, there was an obnoxious knock on the door, accompanied by Jared’s too-chipper voice.

“Hey, you guys’ gay asses better be decent in there! Do you want some food? We have… uh,”  he sounded uncertain, “hot pockets, probably?” Michael and Jeremy both snickered as they heard Evan soft cry of “Jared, what the fuck?” following the boy’s uncertain offer.  

Michael smirked as he shouted back. “Sorry, Jeremy only eats cheese-based foods and slush puppies. Unless you want Mac and Cheese for breakfast, we’ll have to pass.” Jeremy smacked his shoulder bitterly.

“Was the call-out post really necessary?” he asked, pouting. Michael grinned, not missing a beat. “Yeah, it was, because it’s weird as hell.”

“I can’t help it!” Jeremy whined, crawling out of the bed clumsily. Michael smiled at him, eyes softening as he watched him struggle into the pajama bottoms that Evan or Jared must have brought for him at some point.

“You fucking dork,” he mumbled, shaking his head with a smile when Jeremy almost fell over. Once he was dressed, both boys made their way downstairs. Jared and Evan were already waiting in the living room, Evan nestled on the couch while Jared was up next to the TV, shifting around the tangles of wires.

“Yo!” Michael called out as they entered, earning a soft “hello” from Evan and an excited “Morning!” from Jared. The latter boy turned away from the mess of wires. “Have you guys ever played Saints Row four?”

 

-----------

 

“Oh my god, are you actually able to beat up old people in this game?” Jeremy asked, sounding astounded. Michael grinned wickedly, leaning forward in his seat slightly to see the TV better.

“Yeah, dude. It’s wild, watch this.” The other three boys watched as Michael’s character ran towards an old woman, suddenly launching into a brutal cutscene in which the woman was murdered crudely. Evan and Jeremy glanced at each other, sharing a mildly disgruntled look. Jared, on the other hand, cackled loudly. “Nice!” he exclaimed, patting Michael’s shoulder.

“You show those sad, decrepit elderly women who’s boss!” he snorted, grinning widely as he watched Michael’s character speed across the screen. As he passed over one of the many territory boundaries segmenting the map, the words “Containment Zone” flashed across the bottom of the screen briefly.

“Containment Zone?” Jared questioned, eyebrows furrowing as he paused momentarily. “Well, then, where the fuck are all the old ladies at?” he asked, making Michael burst into laughter.

“Is it meant to be like an old woman containment zone? Why the hell would they be here? That would be funny as shit!” He cackled out, setting off Jared’s own fit of laughter. Both Evan and Jeremy couldn’t stop the soft smiles that tugged at their lips as they watched their boyfriends laugh obnoxiously over something so dumb.

Jeremy rolled his eyes, muttering mostly to himself. “And you called me the dork.” Michael glanced at him quickly, sticking his tongue out childishly.

“Damn, the cops,” Michael mumbled as a black and white car stopped in front of his character, the word “Policia” emblazoned on the door.

“That means police.” Jeremy states matter of factly, poking at Michael’s side. “In spanish. You wouldn’t know, because you don’t speak spanish.” Michael choked out a laugh, snorting at his boyfriend’s proud tone.

“Yeah, I obviously wouldn’t know that Policia means Police,” he teased back, shoving him lightly with his shoulder. “Thank you so much for enlightening me.”

Michael let out a bitter yelp as his character was killed, a bright purple 'game over’ screen being pulled up. He sighed, tossing the controller aside.

“We should really be heading out soon. Not that this whole weird sleepover thing hasn't been a blast,” he assured, “but we have school tomorrow and I really need to get Jeremy home before his dad starts calling.” Jared smiled, giving him a thumbs up.

“Of course, dude! Last night was-”

Jared was cut off abruptly by a sudden shriek of pain.

Jeremy sat curled in on himself tightly, his hands tugging at his hair harshly. His eyes were squeezed shut, and expression of pain etched on his face. Michael physically felt himself blanch as Jared and Evan watched on with wide eyes.

Michael’s eyes locked on a plastic cup that had fallen to the floor next to Jeremy's feet, a bubbly liquid spilling out of it and seeping into the carpet. Michael’s eyes narrowed, his head whipping to face Jared.

“What was in that cup?” he demanded, jumping to his feet.

Jared looked at him with wide, worried eyes, stuttering out a confused “Just normal Mountain Dew, I think?”

Michael swore loudly, sprinting out of the room, only pausing briefly in the doorway to shout back at the other two.

“Don’t touch him, just wait here. I’ll be right back.”

Jared and Evan watched worriedly as Jeremy began shrieking louder, falling to the ground and convulsing in pain.

Then, just as suddenly as it had begun, he stopped, falling silent. He bolted up into a sitting position, blinking rapidly.

“J-Jeremy? Are you okay?” Evan spoke up, eyes shining with worry. He jumped when Jeremy's head snapped toward him, face blank. Then a wicked smirk cut across his face as he eyes shined with mirth.

When he responded his voice sounded different; smoother, less emotional.


“I'm totally chill.”

Chapter Text

Michael bolted out of the front door and down the driveway, skidding to a halt as he reached his car. He threw open the driver side door, climbing in and wrenching open the console, which was where he kept the majority of his Jeremy related car supplies; including spare bottles of Mountain Dew Red. He grabbed to bottle, stumbling back into the house, not even stopping to shut the car door.

He stumbled, tripping over his own feet slightly as he rounded the corner back into the living room. Fuck, of all the times for something like this to happen. Fuck. Shit. Damn it all to hell, Jeremy had been doing so well. Michael froze in the doorway, Mountain Dew still clutched in his hand.

“Where the fuck did he go?” Michael demanded, glaring at the couple still seated on the couch. Evan looked close to tears, desperately avoiding Michael’s gaze. Jared shifted slightly so that his body was positioned in between Michael’s desperate gaze and his timid boyfriend. Jared didn’t blame him for glaring—hell, if Evan suddenly freaked out like that and then disappeared he didn’t know how he would react.

“He just… stopped. He stood up and said he was fine, and that he just needed a minute alone. I’m pretty sure he went into the bathroom.”

Michael felt a spike of fear shoot through his heart. Of course that’s where he went. Fuck bathrooms. Michael’s mind raced, concern and worry filling his entire being. Was the Squip back? Properly back? Jeremy hadn’t drank green Mountain Dew since the incident took place, out of fear of this exact situation. Fuck, where did Jeremy even get that god forsaken cup in the first place?

A stifled yell rang out from somewhere down the hall, followed by a large crashing sound.

“Shit!” Michael, Jared, and Evan all dashed out of the room, searching for the source of the commotion.

“Jeremy!” Michael grasped at the doorknob desperately, “Shit, fuck! It’s locked!” Michael slammed his palm against the door.

“Jeremy!” he repeated, trying to get some form of reassurance that the boy was okay. Inside the bathroom there was another crashing sound, accompanied by the soft ‘thump’ of a body hitting the ground.

“Move.” Jared pulled Michael back, shuffling him out of the way of the door. Jared steeled himself quickly before roughly slamming his shoulder against the door.

“Shit,” he muttered in pain as his shoulder made contact with the solid wood. He backed up, taking a deep breath, and slammed his side into the door once more, this time with more force. The wood made an unpleasant ripping sound as it was forced open. Jared stumbled back, grasping his throbbing shoulder. Michael brushed past him, stumbling into the bathroom.

Michael felt his stomach drop as he locked eyes on Jeremy's crumpled form. The pale boy’s limp body was sprawled out in the middle of the bathroom floor, shards of glass from a shattered hand mirror surrounding him.

Michael rushed forward. He dropped to his knees beside his boyfriend, not caring about the glass that dug into his skin and cut his knees through the thin pajama bottoms.

“Fuck, Jere, Hey-” His hands were all over Jeremy's body, desperately checking for any visible injury.

“Is- is he b-breathing?” Evan whispered in fear, standing in the doorway with Jared.

Michael lifted Jeremy's torso up into his lap, bringing his face closer to his boyfriend's. Soft puffs of breath hit Michael's face, making him sigh in relief.

“Yeah, I can't see any physical injuries.” Michael cradled Jeremy's head, shaking him softly to try and rouse him.

“Hey, Wake up, dude-” Michael's desperate whispers were cut off as the boy in his arms groaned.

“M-Michael?” Jeremy blinked sluggishly, his voice coming out rough from all of the screaming. “What happ-” his question trailed off as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, finally able to take in his surroundings.

Michael was bent over him, his expression one of concern and fear. Hovering in the doorway stood Evan and Jared; Evan with a pale face and wide eyes and Jared clutching at his shoulder looking mildly pained.

“Uh- D- What?” Jeremy stammered in confusion, rubbing at his eyes. Michael’s hand was suddenly on his face, gently forcing his gaze back to his own.

“Jeremy. Are you okay? Is it- What did it do?” Michael questioned, his eyes shining with worry but his face set in a hard expression.

Jeremy blinked, slightly breathless from the intense gaze. “I- what are you-” he shook his head, trying to clear his foggy mind. He tried to think back and remember the events of the past twenty minutes.

 

He remembered watching Michael play Saints Row. He remembered watching Michael. He blushed slightly as he remembered getting carried away in his head while watching Michael because of how Michael's stupidly beautiful eyes sparkled when he laughed at something, and how naturally that made Jeremy start thinking about Michael's stupidly beautiful eyes and how they sparkled during other.. activities. Jeremy remembered that he had felt his face heat up and mouth go dry as his mind wandered. He had been so distracted that he had automatically reached for the plastic cup that sat on the small end table next to him. He remembered taking a sip of the drink to soothe his dry mouth, not processing his actions.

After that, Jeremy's memories became fuzzy. He remembered a piercing pain in his head, a pain that was sickeningly familiar. He remembered the stabbing pain suddenly intensifying and spreading throughout his body, making it feel as though millions of shards of glass we're flowing through Jeremy's veins, tearing him apart from the inside. He remembered seeing so overwhelmed by the feeling that he almost passed out, and then how his mind spun and body reeled as it suddenly stopped.

Jeremy remember very little after that as he desperately grasped at his muddled memories. He could vaguely remember the nauseating feeling he got when that familiar silky smooth voice range through his head. He remembered arguing with the nagging visit with voice, desperately fighting the invasive force for control over himself. He remembered stumbling into the bathroom and locking the door. The next thing how knew, he was blinking up at Michael on the floor.

“I… don’t know. I can't remember anything. But, I mean, I feel fine now, it doesn't seem to be doing anything?” He beckoned the SQUIP internally, searching for any sign of its presence. All he felt in response was a vague nagging feeling in the back of his mind, taunting Jeremy quietly.

“It doesn’t seem to be any more active than it has been, I guess whatever I did worked well enough to beat it.” His eyebrows furrowed, frustration growing as he willed the blurred memories to return to him.

Michael finally relaxed slightly, although his expression remained tense. “Good, that’s- “ he paused as he pulled the forgotten bottle of Mountain Dew Red from his hoodie pocket. “Here, drink this- just in case.” He offered, holding the bottle out towards him.

Jeremy shook his head, “Nah, save it. I feel fine and I don’t want to waste it. 's not like we have an unlimited amount of those. We should save it for an emergency.”

Michael's eyebrows shot up in astonishment. “This wasn’t an emergency? Jeremy, you literally have, like, amnesia! We don’t know what drinking that stuff did! What if it restarted it like before? It's a computer, Computers may be able to be turned off but they can also be turned back on!”

Michael was edging on hysteria. All of the SQUIP stuff still managed to terrify him. The very thought of Jeremy being back under the control of the Fucked up Floppy disk was enough to make Michael shake.

Jeremy put a hand on Michael's shoulder, pressing down on him reassuringly. “Hey, hey! Calm down, it’s ok! I’m ok, Micah. Promise.” Jeremy held his gaze, silently pleading for Michael to believe him.

Michael, although reluctantly, complied. He pushed himself up off of the linoleum floor, holding his hand out to Jeremy as an offer of assistance. Jeremy accepted it, allowing Michael to use his weight to haul him to his feet.

“Um? Okay-” Jared's muttered, holding out the 'a’ in confusion. “So, uh, can anyone tell us what the fuck just happened?” Beside him Evan nodded, looking faintly ill from all the stress. Damn. Well, Jared did break down the door of his own bathroom, Michael supposed that an explanation was the least he could give him.

Michael chuckled anxiously, “Oh, uh it’s kind of a long- Ah!” Michael flinched in pain as he went to take a step, the cuts on his knees finally reaching his senses. Jeremy yelped as he looked down at him boyfriends bloodied legs.

“Michael!” He shrieked, eyes widening in alarm. “What the fuck! Your legs!” Michael gave him a sheepish smile, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Uh, Whoops?”

---------

Evan was exhausted. All this anxiety and stress had really worn him out. Not that he wasn't used to dealing with alarming levels of anxiety and stress; but those times rarely involved screaming and blood.

Evan had already been beyond terrified when Jeremy started screaming, and it hadn't helped his stress when he had to watch his boyfriend break down a door to get to one of his, possibly injured, friends. Evan’s stomach was churning as he helplessly watched Michael clutch at Jeremies limp body. Evan was never good with strong emotions like this, any feelings that got too intense just made him feel nauseated.

That's why Evan was feeling miserably nauseous as he help Jared sweep up the dangerous glass that that been scattered around the bathroom floor. He whined as he dumped the last of the glass into the trash can, giving Jared a pitiful look.

Jared smiled at him empathetically, rubbing the taller boy’s back soothingly. “I know, man. Just fight through it.” He encouraged. Evan’s frown deepened, knowing that there was nothing either of them could do but still having the miserable feeling. Jared put the broom and dust pan back in the cleaning cupboard, ushering Evan back into the living where Michael and Jeremy were waiting for them.

“So....” Michael started awkwardly, smiling at Jared sheepishly from where he was seated on the couch. Jared raised an eyebrow in question as Evan and he sat down on the opposite end of the couch. Jeremy laughed slightly, “This feels like our parents are sitting us down for an intervention.” Jared smirked, adopting an expression of faux sternness.

“Now, boys, your mother and I sat you down to talk about something that's been bothering us. We want you to be honest with us. Are you two gay for each other?” Evan elbowed Jared in the stomach in annoyance, making Michael laugh loudly.

Jared pouted, rubbing the sore area on his stomach. “Damn, you could’ve just said stop. Your elbows are like fuckin’ knives.” Evan rolled his eyes and smiled innocently.

“Anyway,” Jared turned his attention back to the two boys, “could one of you please explain why I’m going to have to tell my parents I broke our bathroom door?” Jeremy shifted anxiously in his seat, clearing his throat.

“Well, it’s kind of a long story..”

Jared smiled reassuringly. “We have time.” Jeremy nodded and took a deep breath, he hated thinking about the things he did when he was under the influence of his Squip, talking about what happened was even more upsetting.

“Um, have you ever heard of a SQUIP?”

-------------

“So… you have a dormant computer… in your brain… that makes you want to kill yourself and is controlled by differently colored mountain dew products?” Jared stared at Michael and Jeremy in question, eyebrows raised. Michael nodded slowly, trying to remember anything he may have missed.

“Yeah, pretty much, ”Jeremy confirmed, looking tired. Evan, who had been silent the whole time, finally spoke up.

“That’s…. fucked up,” he muttered, a disgruntled expression on his face. Jared laughed obnoxiously, patting Evan on the head.

“Yeah, it is. But we can’t really say anything when it comes to fucked up shit we’ve done.”

Michael and Jeremy shared a questioning look, but didn’t inquire any further. They had both had enough drama for today. Michael took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “Well, maybe this time we can actually go home. It’s gonna be dark by the time we get back if we don’t hurry.”

Jared nodded and gave him a wide smile. “Don’t forget about us once you guys leave, feel free to hit us up any time. We don’t really go out much. Evan doesn’t like it. So we’re pretty much always free.”

Jeremy snickered. “Sounds like Michael. His ideal date is smoking ourselves out and playing video games in his basement.” Michael looked at him, eyebrows raised.

“You say that like it’s not your ideal date, too.” Jeremy snorts, shrugging.

“Any date with you is my ideal date.” Michael felt his face heat up, caught off guard by Jeremy’s comment. Jared laughed again, his strange cackling making Evan laugh with him.

“Jeremy, since when are you the smoothest bitch in town?” Jared asked, grinning widely. Michael sighed deeply, willing his blush to go away.

“I have to keep my Bitch interested, y’know? Keep that flirting game fresh as fuck.” Michael rolled his eyes, slapping Jeremy’s arm.

“Shut up, you goddamn goblin. Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Jeremy waved goodbye to Jared and Evan as Michael pulled out of the driveway.

“Jesus, this weekend has been… a lot.” Michael thought aloud, getting comfortable in his seat. Jeremy nodded in agreement.

“Yeah,” he hummed, “but in a good way, I think. It was fun.” Michael heart fluttered at the content tone of Jeremy's voice. Making people happy was something that Michael loved to be able to do, he wasn’t sure why but making people smile and laugh was one of his favorite things to do. It made him feel… useful. Like he was actually contributing something to the world. Making Jeremy, specifically, happy was one of the things Michael enjoyed most.

He knew how hard it was for his boyfriend, the anxiety and depression that the thin boy had been dealing with since seventh grade seemed to weigh him down. Michael knew from how he carried himself these days that Jeremy had given up on the idea of getting better. For Jeremy, being depressed and anxious was the only reality he knew; any other way was nothing but a distant pipedream. He seemed to almost take comfort in the lack of feeling, like he was afraid to leave the familiarity of the constant weight pressing down on him.

Michael, of course, knew exactly how he felt. Hell, He had been dealing with the exact same issues for nearly just as long. The only difference is, Michael had had access to the help and support he needed when he was at his worst. When Jeremy was at his worst he would shut down. He would close himself off from everything, both emotionally and physically. He would lock himself away in his room for days at a time, never saying a word. Over the years, however, he had begun to come to Michael whenever he was starting to feel especially down, and they would talk about anything and everything until he felt better.

Michael was proud that there had been exponentially less times where Jeremy was at his lowest lately. Michael didn’t really feel as affected by his depression so much as he did his anxiety. He had gotten to a point where his depression was only a mild annoyance, put on the back burner in favour of his general internalized stress over everything. Although unlike Jeremy, Michael never really talked about it much when he wasn’t feeling well. Sure, he would complain and make dumb off-hand jokes all the time, but he rarely got down in the heart of the issue. He was more or less content with how he was functioning these days. He figured he could worry about getting better completely some other time.

“Yeah, it was good. I enjoyed it.” Michael agreed softly, casting a sideways glance at Jeremy. The scrawny boy was staring out of the window intently, mesmerized by the trees whipping past them as they drove. He could tell the boy was already getting lost in his own head, thinking about god knows what. Michael was glad he had agreed to go out and do something with Jeremy. They had made new friends and had fun, which is all you can really ask for when it comes to life, isn’t it?

As the two boys sat there with nothing but the soft sounds from the radio between them, they both felt content; something that they only felt once in a blue moon. Michael wasn’t quite sure that Jeremy’s squip problem from earlier was as resolved as he claimed it was, but they could deal with that later. For now, Michael just reached across the console and took one of Jeremy’s hands into his own.

“I love you, Miah.” He proclaimed, bringing Jeremy’s knuckles to his lips and plating soft kisses on them without taking his eyes off the road. Jeremy gave his hand a soft squeeze.

“Love you, too.”

When it came down to it, all Michael could really do is hold onto the boy he loved as tight as he could and just drive.