Duncan knows Brent’s been off all during practice. He doesn’t know why, but it’s pretty obvious – even if only to him – and after practice, Brent’s taking just short of forever to take off his gear. The locker room is almost entirely empty when Brent looks over to Duncan.
“So,” Brent says, almost sounds nervous. Duncan watches as he tries to undo his laces, slips up a bunch of times. Brent gives up, looks up at him. “That, uh, commercial you helped with.”
“The, uh. Play to- uh, if you- play can-” Brent’s fumbling with the words, turning sort of pink, “play can play?”
“If you can play, you can play?”
“Uh-huh, that one.”
“What about it?”
“Um. About it.” Brent’s suddenly very focussed on his elbow pad, fiddling with the Velcro. “And what it, uh, supports? I, um.”
“Yeah?” Duncan asks carefully, because he doesn’t’ want to jump to any stupid conclusions, but what is Brent saying? There are a lot of wrong answers here, and if Brent’s saying I wouldn’t have done it, what would he do then? Duncan’s been in love with Brent for years; he doesn’t want to hear that.
“Uh. I guess it means you’re, uh. Cool? With that?” He has a look on his face of such uncertainty and fear, though, that Duncan thinks it’s something quite different.
“So if I, uh, told you I was, um.” He falls silent, looks at Duncan helplessly. “If I was gay, you’d be okay with it?”
“Seabs. Of course,” Duncan holds back his sigh of relief, because this is so much better than it could have been. Besides, how would he evernot be okay with it? Admittedly, Brent doesn’t know that this is more like Duncan’s dream come true, and maybe that’s why he looks almost terrified.
“Oh.” Brent sits there in silence for a moment, then adds, “That, uh. Wasn’t actually hypothetical.”
“Okay. Cool.” Brent pulls at the Velcro, attaching and reattaching it. He’s been doing this for a while; the locker room has long since emptied out. Duncan drove them to practice this morning; he’s been matching Brent’s unusually slow speed. “While we’re on the subject, I, uh.” Brent’s fingers slip on the Velcro, and it snaps him in the arm. “Ow.”
“You trying to tell me you’re gay?” Duncan asks mildly, and Brent’s head jerks up.
“You aren’t supposed to do it for me.”
“To make it fair, you can do it back to me, if you want.”
“I-can?” Brent arches an eyebrow, clearly so lost, it’s halfway to hilarious. Duncan laughs.
“Told you I’d be cool with it, Seabs. I am too.”
“Oh.” Brent falls silent for a moment, and for some reason, he’s frowning. “So you just said it for both of us.”
“Guess so, yeah.”
“Okay.” Brent stares at his hands again, look of anxiety still on his face. “So while we’re on the subject-”
“You can tell me whatever it is without hypotheticals this time.”
“I hate you.”
“I know,” Duncan grins. “But we all know that really, you love me.”
“Goddamn it!” Brent bursts out, seems genuinely agitated. “You did it again! How did you- how?”
“How did you know that too?” Brent looks so upset, Duncan kind of wants to skip answering and just hug him or something.
“Too? The first thing, your lead-up made it sort of obvious, and what’s the second thing I know?”
“That I love you,” Brent stresses, “how? Why didn’t you- something? Do anything?”
“You love me?” Duncan asks, the only part that he can catch onto in Brent’s sentence.
“You just said so!”
“Brent, I was kidding!”
“Oh.” Brent suddenly goes quiet. “What if it’s true?”
“You just promised there would be no hypotheticals this time.”
“Well, what if I like hypotheticals?”
“Was that on purpose?”
“What if it was?”
“Now you’re just avoiding the actual question,” Duncan says. Brent frowns. “But if you hypothetically did love me, I’ll be really happy, cos I non-hypothetically love you.”
“Oh.” Brent looks up at him and Duncan really wishes he knew what Brent was thinking, because he’d kind of like to have an answer, now. “You did it again.”
“That thing, where you do it for both of us.”
“Well, yeah.” Brent kind of smiles, and that has to be a good sign, it has to be, except then he frowns again, and Duncan could die from how much back and forth is going on here. “So you weren’t being hypothetical? Or you were?”
“Wasn’t not being hypothetical? Or wasn’t were?”
“If you loved me, you’d- what?” Seabs asks.
“Brent,” Duncan says, draws in a breath and tries to think straight because all the goddamn hypotheticals are giving him a headache because he’s worried about what he’s saying and what Brent is saying, and what’s actually being meant and what isn’t. “Not ‘if,’ okay?”
“I love you.”
“Oh,” Brent says again, pauses. “I’ve loved you since you forgot me at the rink.”
“I drove to the rink with you, and you forgot and went home without me.”
“I came back when I realised!”
“I know,” Brent smiles, so bright, like Duncan just hit on the point of what he’s saying. “You didn’t forget me there.”
Duncan would say that this is kind of random and doesn’t make a ton of sense, but he’s the one that fell in love with his d-partner for laughing so hard he fell off a hotel bed, so Duncan knows he really shouldn’t be talking. Then again, that evening had been one of the greatest in Duncan’s life, because they bonded over really bad horror movies and Duncan fell in love with Brent; it was the greatest until now, because Brent just said he loveshim.
“So you love me,” Duncan says, and Brent nods. “Well.”
“What now?” Brent asks.
“Well, now you hurry the hell up and get ready to go so we can go home together,” Duncan grins, “and, also, other things.”
“Other things.” Brent scoots across the bench and yanks Duncan over by the shirt, crushes their lips together. Duncan’s kind of surprised, but he’s also kind of not, and Brent’s a great kisser and Duncan’s sorry when they finally part.
“Other things,” he confirms.
“So if I hurry, can we-”
“No hypotheticals, please,” Duncan says, “hurry and we can do whatever you want.”
Brent smiles at him brightly, and is ready to go in three minutes flat. If Duncan wasn’t so impatient that even three minutes is too long to wait, he’d have been impressed by that.