I.O.D.G.T: okay...hopefully the paragraph problem is fixed now! I hope you enjoy it!
Jane had to resist the urge to burst out laughing as John stormed in, his normally cheerful face darkened with a scowl as he scraped the paint out of his eyes. Honestly, when would her roommate ever learn? You always, always check a door before opening it! That was the second time this month that she’d set up the bucket prank, so John should’ve expected it. Had hanging out with Dave taught him nothing? Satisfaction welled up in her chest as her prankster gambit sky-rocketed, stealing points from Johns and putting her in the lead. She was going to win this show-down and show John just who was the pranking master in this household! To quote Highlander, ‘there could be only one!’ lord, Jane loved that movie. Her roommate wouldn’t even give it a glance though, he was too obsessed with this chap John Cage…
“Ah, there you are! Did you have a good day?” Jane asked politely, swallowing a giggle at John’s expression. Said giggle faded though as clueless Jane finally picked up on the sadness and hurt in his face. “John… what’s wrong?” John sighed and flopped down on their sofa, not noticing as blue paint flew everywhere.
“Well, first of all I forgot my assignment for school so the teacher chewed me out in front of the whole class including Dave and Vriska, and of course Vriska told everyone so Terezi and Eridian were teasing me about it. Then one of Bro robots went haywire, but Bro too good for that so I think it was deliberate and Sis showed up, come to think of it, what is Sis’s real name? But anyway you know how Dave gets around Sis because she’s always busy and never around so I had to deal with him idolising his oldest sibling for all of lunch, he would say it was ironic but he followed her around like a puppy! Then Bro tried to jump Jake, I hope he made it home okay…” Jane thought it probably wasn’t the best idea to mention that Jake hadn’t made it home yet. Didn’t want the boy to worry now!
“…but then Rose and Jade came out of their classes, I think they were held back? But they came out and joined us and it turns out that for Rose’s psychology class she has to analyse different relationships. So of course she got Bro to be one reference about his thing for Jake, and then she asked me, of all people to be the other! And I asked why me, and she said because it would be interesting to analyse an uke’s thought patterns. I am not an uke! So I told her that, but she just laughed and…” Jane tore her eyes away from John to see a very smug Jake stroll in the door, battered and bruised but looking all the more handsome for the fact. Trying not to think about how he got those bruises, she turned back to Johns terrible plight and trying to keep a straight face. The day had obviously distressed him, but she had to agree with Rose… she couldn’t see a single way that John could possibly be anything but an uke. Unless maybe he got together with that cute fellow Tavros… no. that was just wrong on so many levels, and she was sure Vriska would agree readily.
Finally the loud rambling drew Jade out from her upstairs room, glancing curiously at John, then Jane. The elder Egbert just shook her head helplessly in response to the unspoken question, showing that she had no clue what to do about this and help with a hormonal John would be much appreciated. Even Jake’s interest was perked now and he leaned forward over the couch, listening patiently.
“Ugh, it just bugs me! everyone’s written me off as an uke, but I don't wanna be one but I like Strider so it seems predictable but he's actually really sweet and, what was the word Bro taught me? tsundere? Something like that, and I think it is extremely possible...” wait, what? One frantic look at Jade showed that she had no idea that John liked Dave either. Or, he did say Strider… so it could be Sis or Dirk… even though he insisted the younger ones still called him Bro, Jane found it impossible to think of him as anything other than Dirk. But Sis was in her 20’s and Dirk had made it quite clear he wanted to fill all the quadrants with Jake, and oh lordy this wasn’t looking good… Jake’s grin just seemed to widen though, at least someone wasn’t surprised at the sudden confession. Jane envied him, she felt like she was about to faint… it wasn’t that she had a problem with her grandson-father thing hoeing the other row, per say, it was just…unexpected. John didn’t seem to notice the two girl’s shock as he just kept going, turning to Jake now for assistance.
“Hey, you’re the dominant one in your relationship with Bro, right? How do you do it?” he asked innocently, unaware of the second bombshell he’d dropped on his unsuspecting female roommates. It made sense for them all to share a house, considering they were all sorta related… but that wasn’t important right now as somehow Jake of all people was the one wearing the pants in his relationship with a Strider. Not to mention the fact they were actually in a relationship, oh no, apparently Dirk’s flushed feelings weren’t as one-sided as everyone thought. How John had managed to find this out while everyone else was in the dark was a mystery that required further investigation once Jane got over the fact that holy crap Jake and Dirk are a thing now and Jake is topping! Jake, for his part, just laughed at the fact that Jane was looking like she was about to pass out and Jade was making odd little choking noises in the back of her throat, slapping a clueless John happily on the back and splattering blue paint everywhere.
“John, my boy, I know you have a penchant for finding out secrets before everyone else, but the girls here didn’t know that I was in a partnership with Dirk, let alone that I ‘wear the pants’ as they say. I think you might have broken them.” he chortled heartily, grinning as John gasped and covered his mouth.
“OhmyGog, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know it was a secret, I just assumed cause you were taking so long to get home when you went out with Bro for the night and you came back so happy, you were almost glowing and I thought it was obvious…” Jake had to smile as John went off on one of his famous rambles, blind to the effect his words were having on Jade. The poor girl was spluttering madly, eventually blurting out something about needing to do homework before racing up to her room, a deep blush colouring her cheeks. Jane had recovered some composure at least, and seemed content to just sit there and listen. To be honest, she already had an inkling of where this conversation was going to lead, and if she was right the revelations tonight would become small in comparison. So why get flustered about them? Sure enough John’s monologue was cut off by Jakes hand on his shoulder, making the younger Egbert pause and look up at him.
To be honest Jake was still unsure about this, undecided if the adorable kid could pull it off. Even though Dirk had spilled Dave’s innermost secrets to him before, and indeed Dave was a ‘tsundere’ or whatever the word Dirk used, John did seem like a bit of a lost case… Jake’s eyes searched the face in front of him, still dripping in blue paint for something, anything, a spark of potential that he could exploit into a raging fire. With John’s hair still swishing from the movement of looking up and his lips partly open, Jake saw the potential he was looking for, and made his final decision.
“John, I think it’s time I taught you the art of the gentlemen’s swag.”
John had no idea what he was achieving by standing in the middle of the room holding his hammer, but he was too excited to care. The art of the gentlemen’s swag! He could only guess that it would help him in his quest to snag Dave. It was…awkward for him to admit he liked Dave, after the whole ‘I am not a homosexual’ and ‘Romance is stupid’ rant he gave in the game a while back. His excuse was that Dave actually had a girlish figure that he hid under those baggy T-shirts, curves that he’d seen many a time during the various sleepovers the boys had. It was so cute! He was just like one of those cats that are so aloof and are like ‘no, don’t hug me’ but it just makes you want to hug them more. Heh, Dave-cat…
Karkat often complained about John’s recently demonstrated ability to just bounce from one topic to another, following complex thought patterns that even Rose had trouble keeping up with and yet could be so damn clueless about some incredibly obvious things. Like the fact that no-one else knew Dirk and Jake were a thing. How he didn’t pick up that it was a secret we’ll never know, as John’s bored self-musings were cut off by Jakes entry. Well, gunfire does tend to catch your attention.
The Game had instilled some deep-set reactions into the Heir of Breath, sending John immediately into a battle mindset as his hammer flew out of his Strife Specibus and what little mastery over winds he’d sustained once the game had ended started to swirl around him in its familiar cold embrace. Warm eyes suddenly lost most of their sparkle as all traces of a goofy smile wiped off his face as he surveyed the new threat quietly, not even realising who it was in the spark of the moment. At least, not until Jake dropped his guns and started clapping.
“Well, well! There’s some hope for you yet!” he sang cheerfully, grinning slightly at John’s confusion. Poor kid, he hated to tap into what The Game had left behind… it was worth it though, he’d seen it! He managed to wrangle his smile under control though as John’s fear for Jake and what he might have done to him turned his shock into anger.
“What. The. Hell.” He hissed, the wind picking up slightly as it reacted to its masters anger. Jake involuntarily took half a step back, before recovering and taking a full step forward. He’d known how John would react when he did it, and now he was going to face the consequences like a true gentleman. Unless he could change John’s mind…
“Ah… sorry. I had to test you on something, but I guess it doesn’t matter now…” Jake couldn’t help himself, glancing idly over one shoulder as he flicked his hand, a semi-flirtatious smile dancing on his lips. Right on cue John’s interest perked up, his anger fading. Heh, he was too good at this. They always get interested after the hand flick…
“Oh… no, it’s okay! Please tell me!” Jake was all too happy to oblige, even if he was swimming in high self-esteem for handling that situation without getting a hammer to the nuts. Gentleman’s swag never failed him, and most likely never would.
“Well, what we’re going for here is moments of pure swag to try and confuse the heck out of your target. For example, being all adorable and polite, which you have down pat… no offense, of course.” John just smiled and waved his older companion on, his previous anger a thing of the past.
“Right, well, you do that, and then you just have one moment of awesomeness where the desired effect is to make your target’s mind reeling, shall we say… in the words of a Strider, you want them to think wait, what the fuck is this ,holy shit. Then you revert back to cute-polite before absconding the hell out of there.” Jake paused to smile, it always made him feel important to watch the dawning comprehension and awe when he explained this to protégées. “So, a good way to have a swag moment is when you’re fighting or practicing, so…” and… there! Light dawned in John’s eyes and a slow smile spread on his face.
“If I can look ‘swag’ when I’m fighting, then…”
“Then there is hope for you yet, yes.” Jake cut him off, dubiously ignoring the put-out face he was getting for his trouble. Well, did he seriously expect to just be a master in 5 minutes? These things took time, especially with someone like Egbert.
“Right then.” He finished, leaning down to re-claim his precious guns once again. “Shall we continue the lesson?”
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“Right! A big part of gentleman’s swag is learning how to deal with any others that come on to you. It is a perfect opportunity to further snag your target through jealousy.” Big blue eyes gazed up at Jake, absorbing every morsel that he said while puffing madly from the big practice fight they’d just had. It was surprisingly hard to look all rugged and cool deliberately while fighting… apparently he was getting it though, so it was all worth it!
“So, what you want to do is to act oblivious to the fact, but subtly play along. Make sure to keep your distance though! Don’t want your target getting the wrong idea…” Jake mused, half to himself as well. He’d made that mistake once, and let’s just say it took a while to get all the blood out of the carpet.
“So… you’re playing along to the flirting, but acting like you have no idea about what’s actually going on?” John asked, startling Jake out of his brooding. Come to think of it, that was a much better way of putting it then what he had done… he’d have to remember that!
“Exactly! But only do it if your target is around, and don’t agree to any meetings when it’s just you and the flirter. You don’t want to accidentally go out with the wrong person!” he chortled, glancing down at the troubled face of his student. “John… what’s wrong?”
“You’re telling me to lead someone on so I can go out with someone else… that seems wrong.” He pointed out sorrowfully, making Jake recoil a bit. Ah… when he put it that way… he sighed, fingers cramped from being around a gun too long flexing in nervousness.
“Look… if it bothers you, I have connections… I can probably get someone to flirt with you, but know that you’re not going to say yes. Like, a paid date. Is that better?” John nodded at that, making Jake sigh in relief as he swung his arms in a loop. Ahh, that was better… he was so stiff! “Perfect! Now, let’s try this out. I’ll flirt with you, and you try what we talked about. But do try to remember I’m taken.” He shot him a wink, smiling as John grimaced. It was too much fun to rile him up! Now, how to start this… Jake paced back a bit, finally deciding on his plan of attack before slowly striding up to his companion, a swagger in his step.
“Hello there, that’s a really nice jacket! Where did you get it?” he inquired, leaning in a bit too close to be normal talking distance. John was holding up well though, just smiling brilliantly back at him before replying.
“Aw, thanks! I made it myself.” My Gog, this kid was good. A tiny smile flashed on his lips as he leaned in as well, still chatting happily. It looked like he had no idea what he was doing… perfect.
“Really?! You’re really good at sowing then! I love that kinda thing myself. Might I say, green is really your colour.” A wink topped the compliment off as John just smiled lazily, one hand absently drumming at the table top. Huh, before the training he would’ve probably giggled and blushed at that… he was really getting better!
“I could make one for you, if you like… you’d have to give me your measurements though. Shouldn’t be too hard, you do have a great body.” John stated mildly, a subtle grin dancing on his face as Jake choked. Oh. My. Gog. Was John… flirting back? Holy crap, maybe there was more Seme in this kid than expected! Hmm, well if John wanted to play it that way…
“Oh? Well, I don’t have a tape at home… maybe we could get together sometime, so you can measure me up?” Jake almost purred at him, grinning as John’s famous blush finally peeked out. He was still handling himself well though, giggling slightly as he responded.
“I dunno, I do have a busy social life, but… I’ll make an exception, just for you. You’d have to share my time with another though, I hope that’s not a problem!” Oh, clever! Jake could already guess who this ‘another’ was…
Glass sprayed everywhere as a dark shape rolled through the window, landing expertly to his feet with his katakana drawn as a long, drawled out hiss spelled doom for Jake and sent chills down John’s spine.
“Jaaaaaaake…” Oh. Crap. He was in for it now. Dirk strider moved forward in a manner suitable of his name, the puppet that Jake usually found kinda cute draped over his shoulder and looking a hell of a lot more menacing than usual. Jake cursed himself mentally as he moved forward to meet him, a smile masking his innermost panic as he tried to think of a way out of this one. How could he forget Dirk’s ‘flirt-sense’? His boyfriend instinctively knew when Jake was flirting with someone, and he always showed up and spilled blood, both whoever Jake was flirting with and the flirter himself. While he found scars just as sexy as the next man Jake had no desire to add to his already extensive collection! He had to fight, to get away, but then Dirk smiled that smile, the tender expression that made Jake weak at the knees and fuck, he was caught and that bastard knew it… John seemed rather unperturbed by this though, quickly recovering from his shock.
“Oh, hey Bro! What’s up?” he asked cheerily, making the coolkid’s head whip around and Jake facepalm. Oh Gog, like he wasn’t deep enough in shit already…
“Oh, hey Egderp. Nothing much.” Dirk called back in his Texan accent that somehow managed to be smooth, sliding off his tongue like honey as he nodded a greeting to said derp, and was Jake seriously admiring the guy that was about to kill him? As if to confirm this another low hiss greeted his ears, quiet enough for only the gunman to hear.
“Seriously? Not only are you flirting with someone other than me, but on my lil’ Bro’s Matespirit-crush-love-thing?” The disapproval and-was that hurt?- dripped from every syllable as his Katakana shined once more, as if to remind the two of them of its presence. Jake couldn’t help himself; he just had to laugh at the placement of ownership. Once he was done, John would be the one owning Dave! It only took him half a second to realize his mistake. Dirks burning eyes narrowed further, sealing his boyfriends fate as slowly, irresistibly the blade rose.
“What are you doing here? I mean, you are Jakes boyfriend and all, but he was just trying to teach me the art of the gentleman’s swag and you never show up unless something worth your while is there and I hardly think…” John trailed off, caught in his own little world of explaining as both Jake and his attacker just blinked.
“Oh, is that all? You should’ve told me, dude.” Dirk just laughed softly, sheathing his sword with a casual flick of the wrist. Flashstepping over to silence John with a hair ruffle he smiled slightly down at ‘Egderp’, wondering how much longer he could get away with calling him that… Forever, he reasoned, screw it if Jakes ‘training’ worked. While he was musing over this, Jake was just happy to be alive.
“Er… well! Sorry about that Strider. I’ll let you know next time.” Jake stumbled awkwardly over his words, a weak laugh topping it off. Dirk studiously ignored it though, being the cool boyfriend that he was. Hey, gotta let his man keep some dignity. So he ambled over, smirking at Jake before twirling around to face John.
“So, you’re after the lil’ man, right? Go for it. Pro tip: Dave’s a sucker for contact. Hugs, casual hand touches, all that crap.” Something pinged in the older Strider’s chest as he said that, a low stirring of guilt. He couldn’t help thinking that the ‘Older him’ was responsible for that… but that was because of his own shitty childhood with ‘Older Dave’. Who probably was going off his experience with Bro. They’d created a time paradox… cool.
John was listening to all this with a slight smile twitching at the corners of his mouth, and you could almost see the devious ideas he was coming up with. Let’s see, he could do that, or this… Dirk turned away to hide his smile. It was like watching Jake through the window before they were together all over again. By the look on said males face, he agreed.
“Talk about déjà vu.” Jake mumbled, smiling fondly at his ‘student’. He hoped John could do it… it would be so nice to have another reason to tease them! Dirk just smirked back at him, taking a minute to admire the sun sifting through Jakes hair before reflecting off his glasses and highlighting his bright eyes. Before he could stop himself he found his hand rifting through his hair, grimacing at the wry grin this earnt him.
“Beautiful.” He mumbled stubbornly, watching fondly as Jakes smile widened.
“Well, I never thought you’d be sentimental! Getting soft in your old age?” he teased, prodding once again at the fact that they were older than the Beta kids. Dirk just snorted in response to that, spinning around and letting his shades slip down a bit to reveal his alluring eyes.
“Oh? Well, I’m sure you’ll go find someone younger and prettier then…” he purred back, before pulling away. Jake’s hand quickly stopped him though, as the older Strider knew he would.
“Now where did I say that? I’m rather fond of you, and it wouldn’t be gentlemanly to be rude to a lady.” He growled back, flashing that famous grin that had captured Dirk all those many moons ago. Said Strider fought down a smirk at that. Hell, why not? It had been a while, and it was a rather pleasurable way to make up.
“Well, if I’m a lady…” Dirk leaned in close, eyes hooded as he smiled at Jakes wolfish grin. “…perhaps you could make me scream like one.” Jake purred at this, forcing his boyfriends head up as they’re noses brushed.
“ah-HEM!” John’s loud cough drove them out of their reverie, reminding them that there was a younger child present and just maybe they should tone it down to avoid scarring him for life. Whoops… John just looked mildly amused as they sprung apart, a far cry from his original ‘blush and stutter’ routine. “While I get the whole ‘we’re in love’ thing, could you maybe save it for when I’m not around?” He asked politely, grinning as Jake nodded hurriedly. “well, now that that’s sorted… I’m gonna go get ready for school tomorrow.” He spoke relatively calmly, but his true reason for excitement was clear. Tomorrow he was gonna see Dave. Jake nodded sagely, waltzing over to ruffle John’s hair one last time.
“Well, you’re definitely ready to wow him, and I’ll make sure that our ‘paid dater’ is all set up…”
“You mean, you’ll use me to call in a favour from one of the guys at school do to what you want.” Dirk interrupted smugly, studiously staring at his Katakana when Jake shot him a glare.
“Quiet in the peanut gallery! Anyway, just don’t forget what I told you, okay?” Egbert nodded in response, smiling contentedly as he strode for the door. He paused at the doorframe for a few precious seconds before he was gone, his last words making Jake splutter.
“Thanks for helping me out Jake. Oh, and you totally owe me for stopping Bro kicking your ass.”