"Come on. Please." Louis felt like a kid brother.
Showboat crossed her arms. "No."
"No." Showboat's eyes twinkled, and Louis got a very nasty suspicion.
"You're going to make me beg, aren't you?" he said, resigned. The things a guy would do to get laid. Well, maybe laid. Hopefully laid. If all went well, anyway.
"I'd love to make you beg, Hoshi," Showboat admitted. "Especially on your knees. But the fact is, we start doing this for one person, everyone's going to want us to clear out for a night."
Louis sighed with exasperation. "I have never asked before."
"I know. And I sympathize. I do." Showboat patted him on the shoulder. "Besides, you're not going to get it, Lieutenant."
"What, the racks?"
"No, Gaeta. Everyone knows he was in love with Baltar." Louis cringed. "You're a lot of things, Hoshi, but you're nothing like Baltar."
"Most people would agree that that's a good thing."
"Yes, but apparently Gaeta's got lousy taste in men. Nice work if you can get it, but I'm betting against you."
Showboat smirked. "Any time."
The problem, of course, was that Showboat was right. Gaeta had been in love with Baltar, and everyone knew it. Frankly, it was something of a joke among most of the crew, albeit one that was usually made behind Gaeta's back. But four months had passed since the Exodus, and it wasn't like Gaeta had come back singing Baltar's praises, either.
Louis was pretty sure he was timing this right. Gaeta had become "Felix" not long after New Caprica, when Louis had sat down with him one day in the mess hall. In truth, he'd sat there because there was no place else to sit, and although people knew about Gaeta's role as inside man, a lot of people were still bleeding from the wounds of the planet. Gaeta might be safe, but he wasn't liked much. Louis had sat there because, well, it was a table. He'd stayed an hour after he meant to because of one stray comment that Gaeta had made about comic books. Their friendship had proceeded naturally since. It had definitely moved into the "something more" stage for Louis, and he thought that it probably had for Felix, too. Although maybe that was wishful thinking. Showboat sure seemed to think so.
She wasn't the only one. "You're so good," Dee told him one night when he agreed to switch shifts with her so she could see her husband. "You're so nice. It's a wonder you don't have anyone."
"Yes. Well." Louis had heard that one before.
"Are you looking? I mean, is a relationship something you're even interested in right now?"
Louis's shrug was a very bad attempt at casual. "If I found someone."
"Well, what are you looking for?" Dee perked up at the possibility of gossip and matchmaking.
"I don't know," Louis lied. "Someone smart."
"Smart." Dee waited, but Louis didn’t say any more. "Well, that's a start. Blonde? Brunette? Tall? Short?"
"I don't really care. It's more about the person and the connection." Dee nodded. "But smart. Sarcastic, maybe. Probably in the service, just to make things easier. Preferably a sci-fi buff."
"Hmm. I don't think I know any girls like that."
Louis blinked. "Dee, girls really aren't my thing."
'Oh. Oh! Well then." Dee considered. "It's too bad you're not Felix's type," she said mournfully, and Louis tried not to sit up too straight for that.
"Felix? Gaeta, you mean?" he asked, as if it had never occurred to him,
"Yes, Gaeta." Dee was still thinking. "Actually, the more I think about it… you two would be great together. But you're about as far out of Felix's type as possible."
"Oh." Louis tried to hide his disappointment. "What's Felix's type?"
Dee's sigh seemed to come from her very toes. "Extremely good-looking, extremely smooth, and generally bad news."
"I know about Baltar-"
"It's not just Baltar," Dee said. "Baltar was better than some of them."
"Exactly." Dee shook her head. "Damn! Now that it's in my head, I can't think of anyone who would be a better match. It really does work. But I'll keep an eye out for you." She patted him on the arm.
"Er, that's okay. Thanks." Louis moved away. "I really don't want to put you out."
"It wouldn't be putting me out. It's just looking." Dee grinned evilly. "I like looking."
He wasn't sure if that conversation gave him hope or not. On the one hand, Felix's best friend thought they'd be perfect together. On the other… well. Dee knew him, and if she said it was out of the realm of possibility, maybe Louis should just give up the ghost right now. The last thing he needed was to make a fool of himself and have the entire ship laughing at him for chasing a man who wasn’t interested. He prepared to put it firmly out of his mind.
"So you really think there's an Eye of Jupiter?" Louis asked, leaning on the lab table and studying the star map.
"I'm not dismissing it," Felix said. "I've learned not to laugh at it after there really was a Lion's Head nebula. I mean, it could be a coincidence, but then, religious legends do often have some basis in fact." He glanced at Louis sheepishly. "Sorry. I forgot. You're religious."
Louis shrugged. "Just because I am doesn't mean I expect you to be. Besides, I'm as surprised as you are about the nebula. I never figured the Scrolls would be so literal." He pushed some notes away from him. What he wasn't going to say was that seeing Gaius Baltar's handwriting disturbed him far, far more than Felix's casual dismissal of Louis's beliefs. "So where do you think it is?" he asked. "The Eye of Jupiter, I mean."
"Got me," Felix said, tossing his hands up. "That was one of the reasons I asked you. You know the Scriptures."
"I studied them in middle school for confirmation," Louis said. "Which means I spent most of the class with a comic book inside the Scrolls."
"Yeah. I'm not the expert you seem to think I am." But on the other hand, he didn't really want to leave the lab, either. It wasn't often he got to be alone with Felix. "But I can take a look."
"Great." Felix pushed the notes back at him, and Louis took them with no small measure of distaste. Felix noticed. "What is it?"
"Right." Felix looked at him from the side of his eyes. "You are upset about the religion thing. You could tell me, you know. I thought we were good enough friends for that."
Felix's voice was very vulnerable as he said that, and Louis was reminded how Felix had been treated after he'd returned from New Caprica- how even he'd treated Felix when he'd returned from New Caprica. He sighed heavily and capitulated. "I just… it's Baltar."
"Look, I know you probably don't want to talk about it-" Louis cut off, expecting to be interrupted with a curt I don't, but Felix didn't say anything. He just kept watching Louis with a direct, expectant expression. "I just… I worry about you. I know, I mean, I assume you were in a romantic relationship with him."
"Romantic? No." Felix laughed bitterly. "Sexual, yes." Louis blinked, and Felix sat down on the stool next to him. "I know it sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but there's definitely a distinction."
"No, I agree. I just thought, well…" Louis rubbed the back of his neck and looked away. "I thought you were in love with him."
"Oh, I was in love with him. He just wasn't in love with me." The hurt in Felix's voice was almost palpable. Louis instinctively reached out and put a hand on his shoulder, and Felix smiled at him. "I know. I sound like a thirteen-year-old, but I haven't told anyone about this at all."
That surprised Louis. "Not even Dee?"
"Oh, Dee knows. Half the ship knows." Felix shrugged angrily, and Louis moved his hand away hastily. "But Dee's got her own problems, and she would say 'I told you so.'"
Louis winced sympathetically. "Ouch."
"Yeah." Felix leaned his elbows on the lab table, staring at the space in front of him. He shook his head suddenly. "But enough of my whining. What about you?"
"What about me what?"
"Was there anyone for you?" Louis looked down, and Felix leaned in, nudging his shoulder with his own. "That means there was. Tell me about… him, right?"
"Him," Louis confirmed. He'd made sure Felix knew that aspect of him weeks ago.
"So? Tell me about him. He was probably smart, wasn't he?"
"Yes." Louis was at peace with Dan much these days, although it had taken most of the year on New Caprica for him to reach that. "He was a professor."
"That doesn't surprise me." Felix's smile was gentle and completely devoid of jealousy. "Tell me more about him?"
So Louis told. He told Felix how he and Dan had first met in a V-chat room, which sounded terrible, but then met in real life, where the sparks were even greater than either of them had anticipated. They'd been married for three years and were about to adopt a child when the attack on the Colonies hit. In fact, they were supposed to report to the agency three days after Louis got home for his two month leave from the Pegasus. The memory of that particular excitement still hurt, but it felt good to talk about Dan, to not let him be forgotten.
"I envy you," Felix said, when Louis had talked himself out.
"Yeah. All that stuff about a partner and a friend and a family… I've never had that. Not just with Gaius, but with anyone."
"Is it something you want?" Louis dared to ask.
Felix frowned. "I didn't think so," he said. "Not because I hate commitment, but because I was so determined to be a battlestar officer. That was all I thought about for so long. But now… I don't know. Or, I do know, I guess. I just keep looking in the wrong places."
You could try looking right in front of you. Louis debated saying it, but his heart wasn't in it right this minute. Not with the specter of Dan still hanging between them. It seemed intensely disrespectful, and manipulative to boot. Louis decided to snap out of it. "Hey. Thanks for listening."
"Any time. You listen to me." Felix laughed. "And now we really sound like a pair of teenagers on the last night of camp. Come on. Let's get back to these star charts before someone comes in here and chews us out."
Felix smiled at him as he pulled the charts back and they still sat shoulder to shoulder. The conversation hadn't gone quite the way Louis had wanted it to, but the way it had gone was more than welcome, and if all Felix ever would be was a good friend, well, Louis was content with that.
There were empty glasses all over the table, discarded by friends who had gotten up to dance. Louis and Felix were the only two still sitting. "So what do you think?" Felix asked. Despite the fact they were sitting next to each other, he still had to shout. Louis leaned in automatically.
"It's not bad," he admitted. "Too loud though." The new bar was simply called Joe's, and back on the Colonies, it wouldn't have been Louis's first choice. But here in the Fleet, anything besides work was hard to come by, and that made Joe's have an appeal of its own. Add in the promise of liquor, socializing, and tonight, a live band, and it had not been hard at all for Dee to drag Louis along with the rest of the group. "I usually like something a little quieter."
"The band's not bad though," Felix said. Louis nodded agreement, but before he could say anything, Felix laughed. "I shouldn't talk," he said, "but look."
Louis followed to where Felix was pointing, and was treated to the admittedly funny sight of Hot Dog dancing with Cally. "Why shouldn't you be laughing?"
"Because my own dancing is worse. Why do you think I'm sitting here?" Louis flushed, and Felix must have realized how rude that sounded, because he backpedaled fast. "Aside from the great company, I mean. But there's a reason I'm staying here with you instead of dragging you out onto the dance floor."
Was Felix blushing? With the low light and Felix's skin tone, it was hard to know. Two things occurred to Louis: one, that he hadn't said anything in a little too long, and two, that Felix had just given him the perfect opening.
"We could dance," he blurted. "If you want to, I mean. When they play something a little more your speed."
Felix shrugged. "If you want." He looked back over the crowd. "It's good to see people looking happy again. Hey, did you see that Easy and Twofer are dancing? How long before she slaps him, do you think?"
"Ten minutes," Louis guessed.
"I'll say under."
They sat there laughing and taking bets on various couples and groups, and Louis was sure that Felix's if you want had just been a brush-off. He was sure, anyway, until the band started playing a slow number and Felix stood up. "Where are you going?"
"You said you wanted to dance? This is my speed."
"Oh." Louis stood and followed Felix out onto the makeshift dance floor in the middle of the bar. Felix turned to face him with one eyebrow raised, and there was a quick, silent are-you-leading-or-am-I hand thing that wasn't helped by the fact they were about the same height. It ended with Felix's hand on his hip and his hand on Felix's shoulder, and it really didn't matter who led because they were pretty much just rocking back and forth anyway. Louis wasn't quite sure where to look, because they were just friends and so staring into Felix's face felt awkward, and besides, it was crowded enough that they had to dance more closely than that. He found himself looking down at Felix's shoulder, because that was safe.
Felix didn't talk, either. For all that the words had come so easily before, it was harder while dancing. Louis's mouth was dry, and he had no idea how to play it.
Louis looked up. "Mmm?"
Felix was watching him. He pulled Louis a little bit closer, and his other hand tightened on Louis's. Louis swallowed hard, because that seemed like… yes. Felix was tilting his head a little and bending in. Louis let his eyelids flutter closed. He could feel Felix's breath on his lips, and then-
"Action stations, action stations. Set Condition One throughout the ship. Action stations, action stations."
Louis and Felix sprung apart, immediately both joining the exodus from the bar. In the short time it took for them to walk to the CIC, they stopped being Louis and Felix and became Lieutenant Hoshi and Lieutenant Gaeta. Louis couldn't even find the time to curse the Cylons- there were other things that demanded his full attention right now. By the time he sat down at his station, the dance had to be the furthest thing away from his mind, and it was.
He thought of it hours later, when the battle was over and he was lying in his bunk, trying to sleep. He kept replaying it, the feeling of Felix's hand on his hip, the way it slid around a little to his lower back, and Felix leaning in. Louis was not anywhere naïve enough to equate one attempted kiss with interest in a relationship, but he also didn't think Felix would frak around with his feelings. Of course, Felix didn't know his feelings, so there was always the chance it was a one-time-only thing.
He'd wait, Louis decided. He'd wait and let Felix take the lead, let him tell Louis what he wanted. He'd been patient this long, he could be patient just a little longer. With a little smile, Louis finally managed to drift off to sleep.
And nothing happened.
It was like the dance, the almost-kiss, everything never happened. Felix didn't even mention the attack that had broken it all off. Which meant that Felix had probably been drunk or lonely or hurting, and on reflection had decided it was a good thing they'd been interrupted. Or it was never a kiss anyway, and Louis had imagined that. Felix didn't even start avoiding him- it was just like that moment had never existed. Louis began convincing himself he'd imagined it.
Besides, he had other things to worry about. There were schedules to maintain, a crew that was barely keeping from ripping itself apart, an XO confined to his quarters, genocidal robots that wouldn't stop chasing them across the galaxy, and a bunch of ship captains constantly calling and asking "are we there yet?" with regards to Earth. Needless to say, his love life plummeted to the bottom of the priorities list.
The most peculiar thing was that Helo stopped talking to him. At first, Louis thought it was just his imagination. After all, Helo had plenty on his plate as well, especially as Colonel Tigh still hadn't returned to his post. So when Helo didn't seem to hear a casual greeting in the hall or didn't notice Louis sitting down nearby in the mess hall, Louis didn't take it personally. But when Helo barely answered when Louis asked him a direct question, he knew he'd done something wrong. He just had no idea of what it was.
It didn't last long anyway, and three days later Helo had gotten over his snit. Louis had no intention of asking until Athena caught him in the corridor.
"Listen," she said, and she was smiling. "Helo's birthday is tomorrow, and a bunch of us are having a little party. You'll come, right?"
"Is he over whatever had him so mad at me?" Athena's brows knitted together, and Louis wondered if he really was imagining it. "A week or so ago he wasn't even speaking to me."
Her forehead cleared. "Oh. That."
"That sounds ominous."
"Not really." Athena chuckled. "Apparently he saw you and Gaeta dancing at Joe's."
"So?" Louis was genuinely baffled. Helo had never seemed like the kind of person who would be bothered by that.
Athena shrugged. "He decided there must be something he didn't know about you, and you're nowhere near as nice a guy as you seem."
"What made him think that?"
"Have you seen the guys Gaeta dates?"
Louis groaned. "Not this again."
Athena misunderstood and patted him on the arm. "Don't worry, Dee set him straight."
"Er, yeah. Thanks." Louis frowned. "Did Felix say anything? About me, I mean?"
"Of course. That's what made Helo think it. Well, that and the dancing."
"And Felix has terrible taste in men. So rather than deciding he changed, Helo decided that I must be one of the legions?"
"Something like that. But he and Dee told Helo you weren't interested. I wouldn't worry about it." Athena shook her head. "So will you come?"
"I'd love to."
"Good." She smiled at him, and the openness and sincerity of her smile showed how nervous she'd been asking him. "I'm glad you're going to be there."
Nothing was going to stop him now, and Louis couldn't help smiling back at her. "I am, too."
So. Felix was interested, or at least there was a solid chance of it. Helo's party would be the perfect chance to act. There was just one problem. He'd tried getting rid of rackmates before, and he knew it was a lost cause.
Well, Louis hadn't been a Colonial Scout for nothing.
A trip down to the bowels of the ship and the civilian refugees produced exactly what he needed, courtesy of a 12-year-old boy who was really a lot more interested in comic books than the toys he'd brought with him at the start of this journey. Louis left his copy of Crypt Raiders with the kid in exchange for his prize. He hoped it was realistic enough. He wasn't a particularly good actor, but hey, desperate times called for desperate measures.
When his alarm went off that morning, he put the rubber bugs in his own sheets, took a deep breath, and then yelped and scrambled out of bed as fast as he could.
Showboat opened her eyes slowly. "What the frak, Hoshi? Just because you have to get up to call reveille doesn't mean the rest of us-"
"Bugs," Louis said. He held one up by a rubber leg. Showboat's eyes flared open and she sat bolt upright. "There were bugs in my rack. Look." He risked bringing it closer to her face.
"Get it away from me, Lieutenant!" Showboat snapped as she recoiled away. "And get the problem taken care of immediately. Understand?"
"What's going on?" Narcho asked, waking up and rubbing his eyes.
"Hoshi found bugs in his bed."
Narcho was just as bad as Showboat. He bolted out of his bunk and investigated the covers with a look of deep suspicion. "How long will it take to get them out?"
Louis shrugged. "I'll call the deck crew as soon as I get to the CIC. But with the fumes, we probably won't be able to use the racks for a full day."
"Frak!" Narcho began packing stuff into a bag, checking each garment to make sure no insects lurked. The others followed his lead. Louis belatedly remembered that if he was going to keep up the charade, he should do the same. He waited until every last person in the racks had packed, and then with a smugness he could barely hide, closed the door behind them after they all walked out. He could barely hide his strut as he made his way to CIC.
Mei Firelli fell into step beside him. "Really? We have bugs months after New Caprica? Because I know you take your laundry in."
Louis shrugged. "Maybe they came up from the civilian decks."
"Or maybe you're faking it."
"I showed Showboat the bug."
"Oh, really? Show me."
It occurred to Louis that maybe he should have flushed the bug down the toilet or something, but then he wouldn't get his comic book back. Besides, he probably would have ended up clogging up the plumbing. He reluctantly handed over the rubber bug.
"This is awesome!" Mei said, taking it. "I've never seen one so realistic! How'd you find it?" Before Louis could answer, a smirk passed over Mei's face. "And who's the guy?"
"We're giving up the racks. If you don't want me to snitch to Showboat, you owe me that much."
He was probably right. Louis sighed. "Gaeta."
"Oh." Mei blinked, obviously confused. "But you're not his type."
"How the frak would you know?"
"Just repeating rumors, LT."
"Great. Well, don't repeat them, unless you want me to stick you on doubles for the next week."
"Got it." Mei didn't seem overly fazed by Louis's threat. Instead, he just punched him in the arm. "Good luck and go get him."
Louis glared at him and headed on to his station. He really hoped that his instincts were on about this, because he was pretty sure he had one chance to get it right.
The party was in the rec room, not Joe's. It was mainly pilots, but there was a decent turnout from the CIC as well. Louis was in no way surprised to see Felix, but was pleasantly surprised by the way Felix's face lit up as he made a bee-line for Louis. "Didn't know you'd be here," Felix said, handing Louis a drink. "I thought you might be on duty."
"I swapped shifts with Sian," Louis said, taking a sip of his drink and making a face. "Wow. This is worse than usual."
"I know. I don't know what they opened tonight, but I'm guessing they found it in the discount bin."
"It is. You know-"
"Hey! Bridge bunnies!" Felix and Louis both turned to see Hot Dog waving at them, clearly already drunk. He held up a bunch of darts and waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Come on."
"He's going to fall and kill himself on those," Louis said.
Felix shrugged. "Easy target then, right? Shall we take him on?"
"Why not?" Louis liked darts, he liked Felix, and Hot Dog was going to be an easy game. Louis shucked off his duty blues jacket and headed over.
Hot Dog was drunk, but his partner was Kat, and she was stone cold sober, and one hell of a shot. He couldn't keep up with her alone, that was for sure. And either Hot Dog was faking how drunk he was, or he had better coordination than drunk than most people did sober, because he and Louis were a pretty fair match. But the real surprise was Felix. Felix couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a dart.
"How much have you been drinking?" Kat asked with an incredulous laugh.
"Not enough, apparently," Felix said, glaring at the dart board. He lined up, took careful aim, and threw. Ten feet away, Lee Adama yelped and ducked as the dart came flying his direction.
"How does anyone let you near a weapon?" Hot Dog asked.
"Computer guidance," Felix answered. He aimed his next dart, and this time at least hit the wall, but missed the board by a few inches.
"You're not following through," Louis said.
Felix cocked an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"Your form. You're not following through. Here, look." Louis took Felix's and moved it through the throwing motion, stretching the wrist out at the end. "There, see? Try it like that?"
Felix looked a little disconcerted, but he did as Louis said. This time he nearly hit Racetrack.
"In the movies, you would have made that," Hot Dog said with a sigh as an angry Racetrack threw the dart back at them.
"Yes, well, this isn't the movies. I've learned that one the hard way."
Kat and Hot Dog ignored Felix's last remark, but Louis glanced at him questioningly. Felix just shrugged a little, in that not-right-now sort of way. Louis nodded and took his turn with the darts. He fared significantly better than Felix, but all that meant was he hit the board. It wasn't anything like Kat and Hot Dog could do.
He tried to help Felix a few more times, but the effort was lost. Of course, maybe he would have been a better teacher if he hadn't been so busy concentrating on his pupil, but oh well. Felix didn't seem to mind either, and a couple of times it felt like he was leaning right into Louis.
The party was crowded, and it only got more so when the shift ended and other people came in. Louis turned to Felix, who looked like he was starting to squirm. "I've got a bottle of the good stuff I won off Racetrack back in my quarters," he said. "Want to head there?"
Felix glanced over at Helo, who was occupied with the pilots and probably wouldn't notice their disappearance anyway. "Yeah. That sounds good." The way he smiled made Louis's heart lurch in his ribcage.
They walked back to the quarters together. Felix noticed the emptiness of the bunkroom, but he didn't comment. Fortunately, Louis hadn't been lying about the bottle, and he opened it up and poured him a glass. It was much better than whatever they'd been serving at Helo's party, and he sighed with relief as he sipped it.
"This is nicer," Felix agreed, sitting down at the table. "Parties and bars are fun every now and then, but this is really more my scene."
"Same here." Despite Louis's nerves, it was comfortable between them, too. It was easy to talk, especially as they each finished their drinks and Louis poured another round. They sat close enough that their knees touched, and Felix wasn't moving away. They had all night- no one was going to be ducking into the supposed toxic fumes to disturb them. Louis planned to take this slow and make his move when the time was right.
It was all blown to hell after the third drink, when Felix suddenly said, "Wait a minute. You're trying to seduce me, aren’t you?" Caught, there wasn't much Louis could say. His cheeks flared red and he suddenly lost the power of speech. And to make matters worse- or better, he couldn't tell- Felix smiled. "Admit it. You are trying to seduce me. That's why you were so intent on giving me pointers on darts tonight."
That made Louis regain his vocal abilities. "Well, you have lousy form," he said, which was a nice way of saying you nearly killed Apollo and Racetrack. "It's humiliating, getting our asses kicked that soundly by Kat and Hot Dog."
“‘I’ve got a bottle of the good stuff that I won off Racetrack back in my quarters.’”
“I wasn’t lying,” Louis said, gesturing at their glasses. “You even agreed that the rec room gets too crowded right after first shift.”
Felix bent his head down so Louis couldn’t avoid his eyes. “You told me I could borrow your copy of Volume Three of Captain Tyro.”
Louis rubbed his face to hide his embarrassment, completely caught. Nobody loaned books without ulterior motives anymore, and that went double for editions of comics that were rare even before the attacks.
“How did you manage to make sure your bunkroom would be cleared out when we came back?” Felix asked.
Louis squirmed in his chair and sighed. “I may have told everyone that there was a New Caprican insect infestation and then put a fake fumigation on today’s maintenance schedule.”
Felix laughed so hard he nearly fell out of his chair, much to Louis's chagrin. “Come on, Louis. You have to admit, it’s funny.”
“Sure, it’s funny,” Louis muttered. “It’s just that a laughing fit wasn’t exactly the response I was hoping for.”
Felix put a hand on Louis’s shoulder. “It’s all very sweet. Nobody’s done anything like this for me in a long time.” Louis looked up. Felix didn't sound mad at all. In fact, he moved his hand to the nape of Louis’s neck. “No, laughter’s a good response. I can give you a better one, though.” Felix leaned in and kissed him.
It was the result he'd been hoping for, but Felix's blunt approach had thrown him, and it took a minute to register that this was Felix kissing him. Felix broke away, studying his face, and Louis tried to regain his composure. But his arms got the message before his brain did, and he reached out and wrapped them around Felix's waist, pulling him down to his lap.
“I’m not sure that I got all that. Maybe you need to repeat yourself.”
Felix smiled. “I think I can handle that.” He leaned in and kissed Louis again.
They lay in Louis's bug-free rack together, naked and recovering their breath, facing each other and close together. Louis was pretty sure that Felix was glowing. At least, he smiled as Louis cupped his cheek. "This is nice," Felix said.
"Nice is a bit of an understatement."
"Well, yes. But I meant this. Now." Felix sighed. "The sex was great, but I've never gotten to enjoy the afterglow quite like this."
"So I hear," Louis said, twining his fingers with Felix's. "You have no idea of how many people told me I'm not your type."
"You're not," Felix agreed. "At least, not historically. But that's a good thing. Maybe this time I stand a chance of things going right."
"I'll do my best, if that's what you want."
Louis didn't ask if Felix wanted this for him or just wanted to try a relationship with someone reliable and decent for a change. Either way, Felix looked happy, and Louis wasn't going to question it too much. He leaned closer, touching his nose to Felix's, relishing the way Felix's body aligned with his. This was enough, and Louis was going to be happy while he had it.
They both agreed that they had no desire to tell the world about their relationship at this point, because it was too new and too private. But people who knew them and cared about them figured it out fast. Louis wasn't surprised when Dee hugged him, or Narcho insisted on throwing a "Hoshi Finally Got Laid" party in their racks as an excuse for everyone to drink. He didn't mind. At least, not those.
He was walking down the hall with Felix, talking about work, when they passed Helo. Helo glared at him. Louis turned around as Helo walked by, and Helo pointed to his own eyes, and then pointed to Louis. I'm watching you. On anyone else the gesture might look threatening, but on Helo, it really looked kind of stupid.
"Oh my gods," Felix groaned. Louis hadn't realized he'd noticed. "I told him it was fine. I'm sorry. I'll talk to him again."
Louis shrugged. "It's fine." He couldn't help grinning. It was like confirmation that they were a couple, that Felix was in this as well. He smiled at Felix. "I don't mind. Really." If a bad reputation was the price he'd have to pay to be with Felix, Louis would pay it gladly.