They meet in college, in a mid-afternoon class that Wallace is only in for the people-watching and where Scott turns up a few minutes before the lecturer does, sliding into the spare seat and almost immediately glazing over. It’s Classics, or Anthropology, or... something. Wallace isn’t sure. Looking down at his notes doesn’t help, because it is all horribly dull, and there is a guy three rows down that has caught his eye and made the universally-accepted gesture for ‘meet me at the bar afterwards so we can get drunk and make out’.
Next to him, Scott shifts in his seat, his hands on his open notepad and his thumb resting on his unused pen. The lecturer is reading out the bullet points on the screen, wobbling a little red dot across the words that Scott follows with wide eyes. Wallace glances at him, and then turns and looks properly because hey, cute guy within flirting distance.
“What do you think of this class?” he says, leaning closer to keep his voice low.
“It’s... it’s okay. ...who are you?” Scott replies, his eyes still fixed on the screen. The red dot circles a grainy photograph.
“Wallace. Hi,” he says. “Do you live on campus?”
“Uh, no?” he says, and finally looks away from the presentation to glance at him. Wallace suddenly grins, and Scott frowns a little before looking away.
“You are cute and mysterious. I like it.”
“I’m just... busy,” Scott says, gesturing vaguely towards the front of the hall. “Learning, and stuff.”
“Right,” Wallace says, and taps his pen against the blank page in front of him. “This isn’t the time for learning. It is the time for making new friends and drinking.”
“I don’t drink.”
“Uh huh. I can fix that.”
Scott shoots him a look, then, after a pause where Wallace doesn’t get out of his personal space, shrugs. “Whatever, I guess. I’m Scott,” he says, and Wallace beams.
After the lecture, Wallace meets up with the guy from three rows down and gets fabulously drunk and ends up doing delightfully filthy things up against his dormitory wall, and he doesn’t think about Scott Pilgrim until he sees him sitting alone in the next class, and decides that they are going to be friends.
“Hey,” Wallace says, catching up with Scott after the lecture. The leaves crunch underfoot as they walk.
“Uh. Hi?” Scott remembers him. Sort of. He isn’t sure why he keeps talking to him.
“A few of us are going to the bar. You should come.”
“I... can’t. Stuff to do. And stuff.”
“Sure you do.” Wallace shrugs, smiling. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he calls, and veers off back onto campus.
Something strange has just happened, Scott is sure of it, but staring at the guy’s back as he leaves is revealing nothing.
Wallace turns up at Scott’s house after a few classes of quiet, one-sided conversations and speculative flirting, Scott having kind of accidentally invited him over to share notes (that neither of them have made, incidentally) and almost instantly forgetting about it.
"What are you doing in my house?! Who are you?" Scott demands when that guy he vaguely recognises from class is suddenly standing there, distracting him.
"Your brother let me in," Wallace says, and, "Are you playing video games? Do you have any lemonade?"
“Yes. No... maybe. What?”
They play video games for a couple of hours after Scott begrudgingly digs out another controller, and after that Scott pretty much forgets that he knows nothing about this guy and accepts him into his life. Wallace lets him win in thanks.
They start hanging out more often, mostly at Scott’s because Scott never thinks to ask where Wallace lives. Wallace fits in quite happily.
“Wallace, would you like to stay for dinner?”
“That would be wonderful, Mrs. Pilgrim.”
“Oh, he’s lovely. You can keep him, Scott.”
“I’m staying forever.”
“You’re cool, Wallace Wells. I like you,” Scott yells, listing close to him in the crush of the club. He is kind of drunk and delightfully clingy and he keeps pushing closer to talk to him, a hand on Wallace’s back and then an arm across his shoulders and he doesn’t react when Wallace curls a hand around his hip and tugs him forwards.
“You are my favourite, drunk Scott,” Wallace says, his mouth grazing Scott’s cheek as he aims for his ear.
“Yay,” Scott says, and leans his head on Wallace’s shoulder.
“Wallace!” a voice calls from nearby, just audible over the music, and Wallace grins. A guy with stubble and sideburns is working his way towards them. He has eyeliner on. Scott stares.
“This is Scott,” Wallace says, when he is close enough to be heard. He vaguely waves a hand at both of them.
“But. I’m Scott,” the drunk boy in his arms says, eyes wide. There is a pause, as drunk Scott blinks and new Scott raises an eyebrow and Wallace makes a decision.
“Other Scott,” Wallace declares, turning to the other one. “Drink?”
It is the only time Wallace chooses Scott over getting laid. He wouldn’t call it a regret.
“Nurghh,” Scott says, as he slumps against the wall and pulls Wallace with him. Wallace nuzzles into the warm crook of his neck, his hand nudging up under Scott’s shirt and Scott kind of sighs, leans into it for a moment before falling slowly sideways and ending up sprawled over his bed.
“Crashing here, by th’ way...” Wallace mumbles, tucked up against Scott’s back and with an arm thrown awkwardly over him.
“Tha’s cool,” Scott says, and promptly passes out.
Wallace wakes up first, curling closer to the warm body he is wrapped around before he is conscious. A few seconds later and he’s wondering why he is still fully dressed, but then Scott is stirring, huddling up and stretching out as he wakes up, and Wallace nudges the back of his head with his nose and a quiet, “‘morning.”
“Gah,” Scott says, and accidentally rolls off the side of the mattress.
They stumble out of Scott’s room and straight into the kitchen sometime around noon.
“Hi?” says a girl sitting at the table.
“Hi! I’m Wallace,” he says, far too brightly. Scott groans and rubs a hand across his face.
“Stacey. His sister,” she says. Scott ignores them both, opening the fridge and looking inside with a soft, low, unhappy noise.
“Did you sleep in my brother’s room?”
“Yes. There was cuddling.”
“Urgh,” Scott says, with feeling, and takes his cereal down to the basement with slow, dragging steps. They watch him go and then, after a pause, Stacey says,
“He’s totally straight, you know.”
There’s a brief time when Scott’s mom misreads the situation entirely and tries to set Wallace up with Stacey. It ends with Wallace stealing Stacey’s boyfriend, and Stacey not talking to any of them for a while, and then she catches them curled up together on the couch, Scott asleep with his head on Wallace’s shoulder and Wallace is dozing until he glances up and spots her smirking at them from the stairs.
“So... you and my brother?” she says quietly, after he’s carefully untangled himself from Scott’s grip and joined her on the steps.
Wallace shrugs. “It’s a slow, subtle seduction. I’m wooing him.”
“There’s nothing subtle about you, Wallace. Or Scott, actually. Good luck with that.”
Scott stirs with a hushed, incoherent mumble and they both pause, watching him as he flops forward and spreads out over the couch, one arm dangling off the edge. He instantly falls back asleep.
A few moments pass in silence and then Stacey says, “So how is that going, anyway?”
“It’s a work in progress.”
Envy happens. Well, there is Natalie, who Scott sometimes talks about with a ridiculous smile on his face, and then there is Envy, who sucks at video games and acts like a huge bitch and instantly hates Wallace. Scott is mostly oblivious to it, except when the air of possessiveness in the basement becomes so thick, with the three of them sitting together in uneasy silence, that one of them has to leave.
For a while Scott spends most of his time with Envy, and Wallace goes out and makes fabulous new friends and hangs out with Other Scott and kind of, just a little bit, misses him - and then Scott starts calling him up again and Envy isn’t around so much. A few days later he’s back in the familiar basement.
“I’m writing her a song,” Scott says, sprawled out on the couch with his guitar in his lap. He knocks a finger against a string, the hum hovering for a moment.
“Terrible idea. Stop it at once.”
“It’s going to be incredible.”
“I’m going to break up with you if you don’t stop talking about her.”
“She’s going to love it.”
“Death. Slow, painful death.”
“Do you want to hear the chorus? It’s got her name in it.”
Wallace falls face-first into the cushions.
(They break up, in some way that Scott is both vague and hungover about - “It was about the cheating, Scott. And possibly the band. You were really drunk.”
“Whimper haircut mumble you weren’t there.”
“It wasn’t the haircut.” - and completely devastated over. Wallace buys him sushi, that Scott cries into, and listens as Scott tries to sing in a broken, off-key voice, and eventually puts him to bed, and spends the next few months putting Scott back together and telling him what a heinous bitch she had been until he can function again.
Wallace coaxes Scott out to one party during his mourning period, and all Scott can think about is how he tends to short-circuit when a girl kisses him. With Wallace it’s more like he’s just been electrocuted, intense and messy and unfocused, and he’s drunk and unhappy and Wallace pulls away first.
“Whoa, hey, slow down,” Wallace says, and holds Scott’s face still.
“But. You... and flirting, and... you started it,” Scott trails off, his whole body slumping forward and Wallace has to catch him.
“Not like this,” Wallace says, and pets his hair before leading him out of the party and home.)
By the time Scott is sensible again, they’ve graduated and Scott needs somewhere to stay.
“Hey Wallace, you have money and stuff. You should totally rent out that crappy basement apartment.”
“Ground floor. There are windows.”
“Exactly. It’s perfect.”
“You-- are we moving in together?”
“Oh, okay. Sure.”
Moving in together goes something like this:
“Yeah, but... Moving,” Scott says, and looks at the single box and two garbage bags on the porch. “That’s, like, at least two trips.”
Stacey quirks her mouth to the side. “I’m sure you can manage it, Scotty,” she says, and then picks up a bag anyway. “Just because it means I’m getting rid of you faster.”
The door is open when they get there. There’s a mattress taking up half the floor space.
“It’s a futon,” Wallace clarifies, without turning around from filling up the cupboards. “We can’t afford a bed.”
"We can't afford a bed," Scott echoes, looking down at the mattress. "Why can't we afford a bed?"
"Get a job, Scott," Wallace says.
The futon stays. Stacey gives them both a hug and a long, pitying look before she leaves.
An hour later and Scott sits in the middle of the floor because Wallace has the chair.
“This - this is crappier than I remember.”
“There’s pasta, and electricity, and running water. We’re privileged.”
“You didn’t say heating. Say there’s heating.”
“There’s body heat.”
“… Girl heat?”
“Oh... did you hear that? I’m pretty sure that’s mice.”
“This is not the first time we’ve slept together,” Wallace says, when the lights are out and they’re curled up under the bed covers.
“I’m still not very comfortable with this,” Scott says, staring unblinkingly at the shadow of the kitchen counter.
“I can fix that,” Wallace says, and puts an arm around Scott’s waist. It's heavy and protective and somehow very familiar, and it actually kind of helps.
“It’s actually pretty warm in here.”
“Yeah, it’s totally magic.”
They fall asleep tucked up close together, and wake up comfortably spread out, and after that the bed isn’t really an issue anymore.
(That is, until the first time Wallace brings a boy home and Scott’s already asleep, and there’s a long, awkward moment where Wallace considers just sleeping with him anyway, but then Scott wakes up groggy and disorientated and reacts kind of badly to finding an unfamiliar half-naked man in his bed. The offer for a threesome is rejected, so Wallace gives him a coat and a blanket and kicks him out.
Wallace usually tries to warn Scott before he brings someone home, after that.)
There’s something of a routine, with Wallace out for most of the day at his job, and Scott sits around and plays games and goes to band practice, and in the evenings Scott makes dinner or they go out to a party and it’s all very, very domestic. Wallace adores it.
“I’m going out. Be good, kid.” He still has other friends he likes to see, though.
“Huh?” Scott glances up from his game and stares at Wallace, who is shrugging on his coat. “You have... other friends?”
“No. You are the only person in my entire life, Scott Pilgrim. We shall be married and move to Quebec.”
“Elope with me, Scott!” Wallace calls as he steps out the door and pulls it shut behind him. Scott frowns, and turns back to the screen.
Wallace is a little bit tipsy, just home from a night out and lounging happily across the bed, when Scott comes back from band practice and falls straight on to the mattress without taking off his coat.
“We suck,” he says into the pillow.
“Uh huh,” Wallace says, and shifts a little so he can look at him. “Do you want to cuddle?”
“No,” Scott says, then pulls off his coat and shuffles closer anyway. Wallace wraps his arms around him and rests his chin on top of Scott’s head, and they don’t move for a long while, until Scott wriggles his nose and says, “Your breathing is messing with my hair. It tickles.”
“Mmm,” Wallace vaguely agrees, already half asleep.
“Hey,” Scott says, and untucks his head so he can look up at Wallace. “Wake up.”
Wallace hums, eventually blinking himself awake and peering down at Scott. “What?”
“Nothing,” Scott says, and stares, and when Wallace tips his head forward an inch and slides his mouth against Scott’s, he doesn’t pull away.
It’s kind of, mmm, warm, and slow, and familiar, and Scott pulls himself up onto his elbows so he can kiss him properly, pressed against him and tentatively tasting every corner of his mouth. Wallace reaches up and curls a hand around the back of Scott’s head, angles him better so he can push up into it, and they kiss.
Scott pulls away first, and for a moment he looks like he’s about to talk, but then he just shrugs and rolls over, pulling the covers over him.
“Totally my bitch forever,” Wallace murmurs, and goes to sleep.