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We'll Always Be Together In The End

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Timeline: Blood Gulch-Approx. 1 week Before the Tank Incident


Richard “Dick” Simmons was not crazy. He was almost sure of it. It wasn’t like he heard voices.

It was just… one voice. And it was more like his own, then anything else, he often tried to reassure himself.

So, maybe, this “voice”, or, whatever the hell it was, had different ideas, or opinions, then he did about stuff, sometimes. But, it wasn’t like it had ever... erm... periodically, taken him over when he was under too much pressure, or anything...

Right?

Right?!

["This flip-flopping bullshit is getting worse every damn day,” Richard mused, “It’s kinda gettin' fuckin’ hilarious.”]

Simmons pretended he didn’t hear him. Instead, he chuckled nervously to himself, as he thought, and obsessed, and worried. He did find himself speaking his thoughts aloud an awful lot, but the voice he, sometimes, heard talking back (He was back to refusing to name him…er…it, again.) was in his head, normally. Oh shit! He was stuck on that one. Wasn’t the saying that you were only crazy if you talk to the voice in your head, and it answers you back?!

["Ri-ch-ard. It should not be so hard to remember, Simmons, seriously. I mean, ya know, considering..."
“Shut up!," Simmons growled, "You’re so fucking sarcastic today!... Uh… I, mean… Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”]

He thought that it had just been (Even in his mind, and thoughts, he lowered his tone to a whisper.) a comfort, at first, but as the years had passed, it had gotten gradually more separate, and more angry. And Simmons wasn’t even always sure why.

Then... there were the headaches…

["And Simmons, don’t forget! Those are an actual documented fact. People, like us, inevitably suffer from, at times, debilitating"-
“I’m not listening, Richard! You’re. NOT. REAL!”]

…It honestly felt like they were located right in the place Richard…

["Better!," the Alter praised.]

… Um… the voice lived, or came out of.

["Oh, I frickin’ give up!," Richard was so done with this damn brat, "Talk to me when you get your shit together!"]

Simmons went back to worrying... Christ! Maybe he had a undiagnosed brain tumor! Probably originating from the cerebellum, which was also known to be the part of the brain that controlled sensory perception, coordination, and motor control…

["Sensory…?," Richard just sounded confused, "That doesn’t seem to be a very logical way of looking at it, overall... Dammit! I forgot. I’m not talking to you.... Asshole."]

…It would explain so much! But, that would be the worst! He wouldn’t be able to perform his duties, and there was LITERALLY no one legitimately qualified to cover for Simmons while he got treatment, or surgery, or whatever. And what would Sarge say? He’d be so disappointed in him! Oh, fuuuck, he was going to be sick. He was going to, actually, be sick, as in puke, in his helmet.

He groaned aloud.

And, Grif finally spoke up from his place in the shade where he had been pretending to be sound asleep, but had actually only been half-dozing while he kept an eye on his fruitcake teammate, who'd been pacing rapidly back and forth while murmuring to himself.

When Simmons got like this, and it didn’t happen that often (It seemed to get especially bad when he’d had too much time to himself.), but when it did, he even seemed to welcome Grif’s laziness and lethargy. As if he thought he could completely hide his mental breakdown, or whatever the fuck, as long as Grif was snoozing.

Shit.

It'd be entertaining if it wasn’t so damn... strange.

“Yo, dude,” Grif called to him in a bored tone. He was only a few yards away, but there were two very important things Grif knew about dealing with this massive neurotic nerd.

Especially, when he got all “weird”.

1.Try not to yell, or talk too loud. As it would, likely, startle or freak Simmons the fuck out, and then the dude was more than likely to spaz out, jump a foot in the air, and try to shoot you on reflex (Thank Christ for power armor.) And…

2. …What was 2, again? Grif hummed under his breath sleepily and thoughtfully.

He stifled a yawn.

Hmmm…ah, fuck it.

Shrugging to himself, he attempted to wake up a bit more, and try again.

“Hey, Kissass? Come over here.” He put just the tiniest hint of command into his voice. It didn’t take much for Simmons, at all. Particularly, when he was like this.

And, sure enough, Private Asskisser Extraordinaire started toward him.

Grif looked up at him from his semi-comfortable lounging position as Simmons stopped directly in front of him.

Still looking fidgety, and shaken. Clutching his gun a little too tightly.

The orange soldier's eyes slipped half-shut as he silently thought, and he acknowledged to himself that the fact that this act alone hadn’t caused Simmons to blow up at him, when he hated being called away from duties for no discernible reason, was proof that the kissass really wasn’t doing so hot. I mean, yeah, yeah, Grif had already, pretty much known that due to the whole…whatever the hell thing he kept witnessing now and again.

And, how in the fuck did the others not notice, anyway? Maybe they just didn’t give a shit. Not saying that he did, but…

Grif didn’t know why he even bothered, or “cared”, particularly when he took into account the fucked-up way Simmons acted toward him some of the time. So fucking quick to turn on him… He could be a real two-faced son of a bitch. But, still, here Grif was. He guessed that, if he bothered to try to puzzle it out -And what the hell, else was Grif supposed to do during his rare lucid hours, but contemplate pretty boy repressed neurotics? Fuck if he knew- it was like one of those stupid ass things where you thought you recognized something of yourself in someone who was so opposite to you, or some such dumb shit.

Whatever.

He didn’t give a shit about why he gave a shit…

Shit!

He did know that it cut into his naptime, sometimes, and that made him cranky as hell. But someone had to keep an eye on the nerd. I mean, goddammit! Things had gotten so outta hand that Grif had had to talk to Sarge .

Sarge, for fuck’s sake!

It had gone about as well as could be expected…

❋ Grif Reluctantly Approaches Sarge With An... An Issue ❋

"Hey, Sarge?,” Grif had wandered up to the man while he and Lopez were putting the finishing touches on…something…outside the Base that the CO insisted was a “state of the art murder ray that could wipe out those pesky Blues…and reheat a nice cuppa Sarsaparilla”! It just looked like a pile of scrap metal to Grif, but he’d thought that before to his deep regret.

“Ah, Pvt. Grif,” Sarge boomed out, “I’m glad ta’ see ya, boy! ”

“You…you are?,” Grif couldn’t quite keep the incredulity out of his voice.

“‘A course,” he intoned assuredly, “Your fat, worthless carcass will be the perfect test dummy for my new cosmic death ray…Get it? Cause you’re a worthless dummy!”

The orange armored soldier sighed, “Why do I even bother?”

Lopez cut in, in his broken, robotic Spanish that no one understood. {"Si. Why do you bother? We are busy doing that which you do not understand…Work. Go flirt with the maroon one, instead of bothering us."}

“Suuure, Lopez. That is my favorite thing. I’ll get riiight on that.”

{"Dios Mio! Did you actually understand me?... No. It must be like the monkeys with typewriters experiment. With enough time, something of intelligence will come out, though not through actual intelligent means."}

“Yeah, yeah, you’re a frickin’ riot…,” Grif shifted uncomfortably, and finally asked the question that had brought him, against his better judgment, out here in the first place, with his insane CO, and his pet robot, “…um…Sarge?”

“Spit it out, dirtbag! I know how you ladies like chewin’ the fat, but you’re talkin’ ta' two men here!”

“Uhhh…,” Grif looked from the short, stocky Red leader to his tall, robotic son/creation, and back again, biting back a sarcastic retort.

“Sarge, I was wondering…if you’d noticed anything…uh, weird…with Simmons?”

’Weird’, you say…Weird, how?,” Sarge questioned thoughtfully, and, then, he almost howled out, excitedly, “Holy Jehoshaphat! Was he secretly kidnapped, an’ brainwashed by those no good dastardly Blues! I knew this would happen ta’ one of my boys sooner or later. Oh, I’m fit ta’ be tied!” He hummed eagerly.

“Look, Sarge,” Grif tried again, “I could be napping, right now, and I know it’s hard to believe, but I am really trying to be serious here. You should be able to tell that by the fact that I’m, ya know, actually awake at this time of the morning.”

{"Humans should not bother to attempt things beyond their skill level. And, it is noon."}

“Can it, Lopez. And as for you, Pvt. Grif!,” Sarge barked out at him, “I always knew you were an idiot, but I never woulda ‘spected you ta’ be stupid, ta’ boot!”

“...Huh?”

“Blue Brainwashing is serious, dirtbag!,” His voice lowered to emphasize his point, “Deadly. Serious.”

“Well, yeah, but that’s not what I’m talking about here…”

“Didn’t they teach you, gals, nothin’ in Basic, other than how ta’ braid each other’s pigtails?!”

“You know what? Fuck it.” Grif gave up in disgust, and turned around to walk away,…fuck ‘em, he’d figure this bullshit out himself like he did everything else…but the familiar *Chung-Chung* of Sarge cocking his shotgun froze him in place.

{"Padre, do not waste your bullets. I will retrieve the worthless son for you."}

“How’s about you just keep an’ eye on ‘em, Pvt. Grif?”

The private turned slowly back around. “Is that an order, Sir?” He tacked on the last word, sardonically as hell.

The older man chuckled, as he lined up his most useless soldier in his sights, “Nah. I reckon if it was, ya wouldn’t do it.”

“Hmph,” Grif snorted, “You really know me too well.”

“Do need someone ta’ be able ta’ tell me where my second in command, after Lopez a’ course, is at all times, though. In case those Blue scoundrels try ta’ compromise ‘em.”

“Sure, that makes sense,” Grif tried to hide his deep sense of relief, even from himself, behind a careless shrug.

Maybe if he could keep the nerd distracted with bullshit, he could be kept from spacing out, and doing something dumb as fuck. Like wandering into Blue base, doing all their laundry, and color-coding their underwear drawers, before they shot him in the ass. Hell, Grif could just do nothing, and if Simmons was near enough that it caught his attention, he’d be too busy bitchin’ and moanin' about what a lazy asshole Grif was to get…all up in his head. Sounded like a great way to chill, and…look out for…ya know... damn kissass, an’ stuff… What could Grif say? He guessed that all the years of taking care of Kai had made him sensitive to flighty behavior. Who knew? Whatever.

“Now, skedaddle!,” Sarge commanded, “Those traitorous Blues could already have him in their filthy Blue clutches!”

“I’m going, geez, I’m going, already.”

*Chung-Chung* “What was that, soldier?”

“I said, I’m going already, Sir.” Grif’s voice practically dripped sarcasm.

“That’s what I thought you said.”

Sarge lowered his shotgun, as Grif ambled off in search of Simmons.

And, Lopez caught the smile in his Padre-Creator’s voice, as he sent Grif off with a parting, “Dirtbag”.

{"I thought you hated the worthless orange one, and just used the broken maroon one for his superior intellect, and ideas. Why does this not always seem to be true? This does not follow with my programming."}

Lopez sounded as surprised, and confused, as a robot with a developing AI could sound. So, in Sarge’s words…half to middlin’.

“Yeah, Lopez. Don’t I know it. One’s a nut, an’ the other one’s a bonehead pain in the keister,” Sarge let out a dramatic sigh, and shook his head, “Kids these days. Whatcha gonna do? Oh, well…” He rubbed his hands together delightedly, “Let’s finish this baby up! No more dilly dallyin’. If we git it done quick enough, maybe we can still use Grif as target practice. He’s a slow-ass soma bitch.”

{"Okay. But, if you accidently blow him up this time, I am not picking up his pieces. I do not know if his body has had all its shots."}

“Good man! Let’s get crackin’!”

❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋


So, yeah, that had been fuckin’ fan-tastic. Grif was just grateful that he had somehow managed to get far enough away before his goddamn psychopathic CO had started test-firing his “cosmic ray”. The idea that he had actually called him back, cajolingly, trying to get him to “just come on back, now, an’ stand just ‘round about…there!” And, then, Sarge’d actually been pissed when Grif had yelled back, “No, thanks! I got "orders" or somethin' to follow, man- I mean, Sir.”

That’d been fun, alright. If almost having a laser burn your ass off could be considered “fun”. Shit.

Grif sighed, and realized that Simmons was still in his weird-ass headspace, even though he was standing less than a foot from Grif’s lounging, stretched out form. He, normally, would’ve, at the very least, bitched Grif out for being a lazyass son of a bitch, by now.

Grif opened his mouth to say… something. He wasn’t really sure what it was going to be, yet, but that had never stopped him before. And that is when Simmons, out of the damn clear blue red sky (Sarge’s madness is spreading. Fuck!), very seriously, and a little desperately, asked, “Grif?...Do you think… I’m crazy?”

… Oh. My. God.

Chapter Text

Timeline: Blood Gulch-Still Approx. 1 week Before the Tank Incident

Grif opened his mouth to say…something. He wasn’t really sure what it was going to be, yet, but that had never stopped him before. And, that was when Simmons, out of the damn clear blue red sky (Sarge’s madness is spreading. Fuck!), very seriously, and a little desperately, asked, “Grif?...Do you think… I’m crazy?”

…Oh. My. God.

Oh. My. God. Grif didn’t even know where to start. It was like Christmas come early. He’d given him a frickin’ free pass!

Grif leaned forward eagerly, thinking of all the over-the-top kissassery, of how Simmons always sided with Sarge…How one minute they’d be chill like back in Basic, and, then, the next…yeah…He thought about how paybacks a bitch, nerd.

But, then…he saw how Simmons had tensed. Just waiting for it. And…he couldn't do it.

*Sigh*

Son of a bitch.

Lame.

He told himself it was because he couldn’t stand being that predicable, although he knew that, at times, he really could be. But, deep down he knew that it was more that while the poor son of a bitch needed some honesty, maybe, shit…maybe, he needed a little…ugh, “kindness”, too.

Grif did raise a messed-up, kooky kid for years on his own, after all. He got it.

Grif sighed through his nose, and began in a calm tone, “Look man, I think you’ve probably been through a lot of fucked up shit. Now, I’m not gonna lie,” The orange armored soldier actually began listing one-by-one on the fingers of his right hand, “You can be an asshole, a know-it-all, a kissass, and a huge fuckin’ nerd. But crazy?...”

He was on his fifth digit, his thumb, when he got to “crazy", and he lazily waved it away, “Nah. Not anymore than the rest of us, anyway. I don’t know how much of a ringing endorsement that is, though…”

Simmons released the breath that he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding, and his whole posture, just, slightly, relaxed. Which for Simmons, at this point in his life, was the equivalent of Grif curling up like a big ol’ tomcat on a sun drenched windowsill. Which, yes, Grif actually had done that on more than one occasion. But, that was back when he was much, much smaller.

“...Thanks, Grif.”

Grif could actually hear the almost shy smile in Simmons' voice, and he was so damn stupid proud of himself. He really was a super top secret caregiver at heart, which pissed him off to no end cause that bullshit is a lot of work.

Riding on a kindness high, after such a long, dry spell filled with apathetic snarkery, Grif did the unthinkable. The unfathomable.

“Sooo…wanna go raid my snack drawer with me?”

He tried to sound bored, and nonchalant. As if this wasn’t something that He. Just. Doesn’t. Do. There was a limited supply of good shit that got sent his way, in particular, due to the whole one-man draft, and the opposition feeling sorry for him, and themselves, for being on the losing side of the argument. And, Grif had never been one to squander his precious goods.

But, it had just come out of his mouth, and he couldn’t seem to bring himself to retract it, or, strangely enough, to even want to.

“Er…Uhh…,” Simmons knew Grif well enough to be absurdly touched by the gesture, and, yet, being him…, “U-umm,” his voice cracked, “I’m supposed to be p-patrolling…erm…we’re supposed to be patrolling…”

“Ah, Simmons, come on! Donut and Lopez are doing whatever it is they do in Donut’s room when they’re not patrolling, –Hey, 'Don’t ask, Don’t tell', man-," Grif stifled his laughter as Simmons groaned, and the orange armored soldier continued, “...or Lopez isn’t helping to build fuckin’ doomsday devices for one of the teams. Sarge is locked up in his workroom/mad scientist lab, and, remember that radio transmission we intercepted? I’m sure the Blues are still waiting for their Monopoly pieces to pass through Caboose’s system, dude! He swallowed all of them, if you remember, except the top hat, for some reason… “

[“You intercepted the transmission, Simmons. Oh, and that rookie probably wanted to wear the top hat on top of his goddamn helmet,” Richard sounded contemplative. He was never quite sure what to think of that Blue rookie...]

“Yeah, you’re right,” Simmons, without thought, agreed with Richard aloud…in front of Grif, and chuckled, “He probably did want to try to wear it on his helmet.”

Grif eyed him warily. “Sure…Annnyways, trust me, they’re too busy to be messin’ with us.”

Simmons hummed thoughtfully.

Before the kissass could think up another thing to worry about, Grif continued, “Come on, buddy…”, he threw out the bait, “I even got your favorite... Reese’s Big Cups.”

“R-Really!,” the maroon soldier’s voice squeaked a little in his excitement, ”Oh, I haven’t been able to have those in years.”

[“Ewww, gross!,” Richard made gagging noises in Simmons head, “Don’t you fucking dare. I’m basically allergic to peanuts, you prick!”
Simmons sighed internally, “Oh my God, Richard. Shut. Up. You’re being kind of an idiot. I can’t even tell you all the ways that doesn’t make sense.”]

But, still, Simmons smiled. As much as Richard was always the “older” one of the two of them, every now and then, he acted like the spoiled kid he, sometimes, accused Simmons of being…Wait. Simmons was distracted by a random thought.

“Wait a second,” Simmons turned suspiciously to Grif, “How did you know that Reese’s was my favorite?”

“Because, I can read yourmind, Simmons,” Grif mocked him, his voice telegraphing the smirk hidden behind his helmet, “In fact, I’m reading it, riiight nooow.”

[Richard scoffed at the very idea. “Dude, fuck him! He’s bluffing,” the Alter assured Simmons.]

“Oh God, Grif, don’t!”, Simmons, though, sounded absolutely horrified, as he slapped his hand on top of his helmet, as if to shield his innermost thoughts, “Don’t DO that!…Uh, I mean,...don’t say that.”

Grif chuckled, a little, to himself. He wasn’t sure why he liked this nutball kissass, sometimes, but, dammit, he just couldn’t seem to help himself.

“Calm down, nerd. You told me a long time ago. Wow, you really don’t know what you talk to me about once you start rambling on, do you? That’s just sad, Simmons.” Grif shook his head, and clucked his tongue, teasingly at him, “ Just fuckin’ sad. “

Simmons cocked his pretty helmet-covered head regally back at him. “Shut up, dumbass. Now, where are the sweets?”

[Oh, fuck, Richard thought to himself, this felt…not right…not allowed. Kinda like they were…fucking…flirting, in a weird way... It reminded him-It reminded him... He couldn’t think about it. Simmons couldn’t ever know. And, Richard just bailed, as he was prone to do. Apt to show up, again, whenever he damn well felt like it (Or, when Simmons really needed him.).]

Simmons was used to this, Richard’s long absences, and then pop ins, or long stays, so he thought nothing of it. Instead, he focused in on the man before him, and asked, “Well?”

Grif leaned back, lazily, squinting at the other soldier. Simmons was starting to look a lot more like Simmons. His posture was reverting to stick in the ass snob, rather than fidgety, and just tense dude on the verge of a complete freak out. That was better. But, Grif had his image to keep up, didn’t he? So, he sighed in a put-upon fashion, as if this whole hanging out in his space deal hadn’t been his idea, at all.

Slowly getting up and stretching until his back cracked, Grif gestured grandly toward the base, “Follow me. Forbidden delights await.”

“Oooh, fuck you! That sounded like Donut,” Simmons complained, but he followed, and trailed behind Grif into the base, and toward the Hawaiian man's room.

“I know that, Simmons. I was fucking with you,” Grif replied succinctly.

“Well, stop it.” Simmons voice was firm, but then, he completely ruined it by yelping out in surprise, “What, Asshole! What!,” when Grif, with no warning whatsoever, threw his arm out across the doorway, effectively barring the passage into his room.

Simmons stumbled right into him, and had to grasp onto Grif’s forearm to steady himself.

“Oh yeah,” Grif actually frickin’ yawned, “No armor in the Chill Zone.”

Simmons released Grif in annoyance, and shoved ineffectually at him. He didn’t budge an inch. Considering how lazy Grif normally was, he was surprisingly strong when he wanted to be.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!,” Simmons bitched, “Even helmets?”

“Even…helmets,” Grif repeated, bewildered, “Even helmets…What?...How…How are we supposed to eat, genius?" Simmons could tell Grif was looking at him like he’d lost his mind. Like for reals, and for good, this time.

Simmons, suddenly sounding timid, for Christ’s sake, suggested, “We could just…raise our visors... maybe? I mean, technically, we’re still on duty for another…12 and a half…minutes…approximately…”

Oh, now, Grif. Was. PISSED.

“Oh my fucking God, dude! Stop trying to bend the rules, instead of break them! It’s goddamn annoying and pathetic! Sarge isn’t here, right now, Simmons, so stop trying to kiss his ass! No armor means, no armor! Now, Get. In. Here., Close. The. Damn. Door., and Relax. Already…Yeesh!”

Grif’s arm had dropped as he was bitching a silent Simmons out, and he stomped off into the room, muttering under his breath.

His thoughts ran something like this, The guy’s gotta be ordered to relax. I can’t fucking believe that shit. I need some sugar, right f’ n now. Definitely, before I talk to him, again. He made me flip out in my Chill Zone! Asshole!

Grif yanked off his helmet, and because his back was turned, he didn't see Simmons mirror his action, only with more measured movements. As Grif sat heavily down on his bunk, slammed open his “snack drawer”, which was really his scarred bedside, or bunkside, drawer, he grabbed the first thing he saw. HoHos. Eh. Good. Not his favorite, Oreos, but no time to rummage. Desperate times, and all that. He opened the packet, ate one, and, after a moment, felt the blessed sugar hit his system. Ohhh, fuuuck,…that was better.

Feeling immeasurably more relaxed (More himself.), Grif looked up to see Simmons… still in the threshold of the room…with his helmet off, now,…and watching him so closely. And, with that fucking face…Shit, he was pretty…Grif always started to forget (Made himself forget.) what a pretty dude he really was…

That damn creamy-ass skin with tiny, barely there freckles just over the bridge of his nose (He was such a little, annoying bitch about staying out of the sun when outta the protective armor…), eyes that were a deep dark, but, somehow, bright green... A pretty normal, but nice, Grif guessed, color (He didn't know who the fuck he thought he was kidding. He'd never seen eyes like his before...). But, it was the long, thick lashes, the way Simmons' eyes were a little bit too big, always looking fucking startled, or innocent, or some crazy ass thing…That was what really caught (And, kept.) your attention... Doll’s eyes. Only, ya know, not like fuckin’ horrifying, like that could be. (Grif kinda wanted to see him with a little…nothing extreme!… just, maybe... a little mascara and... eyeliner... maybe? Just to see... Jesus Christ, Simmons would kill him if he knew he’d thought that…)

Simmons, even, had those lips that Kira, Grif’s old girlfriend, used to show him holo-pics overlaid on top of her own lips of, (Sooo, annoying) saying she wished she had them. Ummm, what were they called?… Cupid’s bow! Lame name.

But the real kicker? For Grif, anyway? Was that the son of bitch wore his deep red, not a hint of orange to be found, hair long. Well, a little past his shoulders, anyway. (Grif couldn't believe how frickin' fast his hair had grow back since Basic.) Normally, it, always, was pulled back in a low tail, but there had been a couple times… uggghh, that son of a bitch. It was like he knew Grif’s weaknesses. Pretty hair, pretty boys. Shit. Kai' d be laughing her ass off at him. But, it, honestly, didn’t make any sense. The hair thing. Simmons was sensitive about his girly looks. That much was obvious (Oh, boohoo. What a tragedy to be freaking hot. Even, if it was chick hot.). So, why would he do something to look more like a chick? It just didn’t…

Simmons shifted, and Grif realized with an unfamiliar pang of self-consciousness that he had done it, again. Like the first time, back in Basic, when he had first seen Simmons without his armor on. He had spaced out, staring at him, like a fucking weirdo stalker. But, Simmons was just standing there, staring right back at him. And, he’d started it, the staring, first! So Grif asked, sharper than he intended to, but he was feeling defensive, “What?

[Richard had popped back, for the time being (Simmons' anxiety about Grif getting so pissed at him had drawn him back out.), while Grif had been scarfing the snack cake, and he was thoughtful. “Simmons, listen to me, man. If we could just get a blood sample. I swear, this son of a bitch has hypoglycemia… And, quit with the mooning, idiot. He’s alright, but he's not that attractive. Jesus, Kid, the way you see him... it just doesn't make any goddamn sense! And, his nose was totally broken before, and not set quite right. Maybe, he could be better-looking, if you’d just let me…”
“Richard, shut your face!,” Simmons yelled internally, “What are we gonna do with a blood sample? Give it to that freaking Doc guy? And, for the last time, I am NOT letting you ‘break his nose, just real quick’. What is the matter with you?!”
“What’s the matter with you, Kid?,” Richard grumped, “I said I’d re-set it!”]

“What are you still looking at?,” Grif demanded, “Do I have some shit on my face?”

“No!,” Simmons quickly answered them both, aloud, and then continued nervously to Grif, “It’s just…you only took off your helmet.”

“So did you," Grif pointed out, “And what are you still doing out there? Get in here, & Shut. The. Damn. Door.” There. That’d get him moving.

Simmons didn’t know why he kept letting Grif order him around. He felt tingly, and too warm… He must just be hungry.

As the redhead walked slowly into Grif’s room, reaching behind him to press the "Close Door" function on the door panel, he heard an all too familiar voice in his head.

[“Have some pride in yourself!,” Richard snapped, “ Straighten your spine!”]

Simmons obeyed without thought, and marched confidently right up to Grif, who was still sitting on his bunk. The redhead stood toe-to-toe with the Hawaiian man, and looked haughtily down his pert little nose, about to demand his promised treat.

But, that was when Grif looked up at him, straight into his eyes. Grif’s dark, surprisingly (secretly half-breed) ocean blue flashing up to meet Simmons deep, bright green. There were no fireworks, or birds chirping love songs. What there was, was a very natural, healthy, and almost visceral pull that each felt toward the other. A hunger that, surprisingly for Grif, for once, had nothing to do with food. But, neither of them was sure who should take the first step to close that yawning, suddenly cursed, gap. Grif would normally do it, but Simmons’ repressed, closeted status kinda freaked him out. And, Simmons was sort of lost about how…to even…start? As for Richard, he’d, unsurprisingly, just nope’d out of the whole affair, again. See ya later, dude.

As both soldiers waited for the other to do something, the moment slipped away.

Simmons blinked rapidly, and cleared his throat nervously, while Grif just huffed, and looked back down into his snack drawer.

As he started delving and rummaging around, the orange armored soldier said, in as careless of a tone as he could manage, “Sit down, dude," he patted a spot on the bed beside him, “I got your stuff right…Aha!”

Grif pulled out the bright orange wrapped Reese’s Big Cups. From what he understood, a lot of the most popular candies, sodas, and cookies had been around for hundreds of years. He wasn’t sure he believed that, but he pushed the thought aside, and triumphantly presented the chocolate to the kissass.

Simmons looked at it with the most ridiculous look of, almost, awe, as he shoved the moment from before deep inside to be examined & picked apart later when he was alone. Or, as alone as he ever was. Hopefully, when Richard was -elsewhere- not around, however that worked.

Simmons went to reach for the chocolate, but Grif, at the last moment, held it back from him. And the redhead growled in frustration.

Grif froze. Hearing that noise come out of him…F ‘n hot, as hell… Wait, what?... Oh my God. Grif realized that he’d just frickin' “Wait, what’ed” himself. Whoa. He really needed to get more sleep.

But, like Simmons, he pushed such thoughts aside for later review. Like, maybe, when he was nap-spying on the nerd, instead of patrolling.

“Nu-uh, that wasn’t the deal, Simmons,” Grif reminded him, patting the bed, again, “You’re supposed to chill, man.”

Simmons didn’t exactly remember them talking about that, but then he didn’t remember a lot of things, so slowly, and hesitantly he sat down beside Grif, and cleared his throat, again.

As Grif turned a bit toward him, and, finally, handed him his Reese’s, their armored legs touched, and their gloved fingers brushed. Simmons started like a timid deer at a waterhole sensing danger. And, then, tried to cover it up with a cough. Smooth.

“Uhhh…did you k-know…,” Simmons squeaked, turning the Reese’s over and over in his hands. Grif’s leg was still resting against his. When Grif had gone to move it a second ago… Simmons had, embarrassingly, leaned his own closer to him. Leaning his longer leg against Grif's like a ol’ faithful hound dog. Grif had looked down, a little surprised, and, then, glanced up at Simmons from underneath his eyelashes, smirking at him, like a dick! (“Oh God, don’t think about dicks, right now,” Simmons thought to himself a little desperately, so grateful that Richard was -elsewhere- not here, right now.)

Shit. Fuck. Simmons cleared his throat for the umpteenth time, he was going to get a sore throat if he couldn’t quit with that crap, and tried again, “Did you k-know that Reese’s has been around since 1928? And, uh, the population of the United States was 120, 509,000 when Reese’s was first introduced?...Oh yeah, and May 18th is official I love Reese’s Day. Um, November is official Peanut Butter Lovers Month…”

Simmons stopped when he realized that Grif was staring openly at him, again. He instantly felt very self-conscious, and uncomfortable.

“What?,” he asked, in a very different tone then Grif had used earlier. It was more anxious, and unsettled.

[“…Kid?...What’s the matter?,” Richard sounded a little out of it. Sleepy, or something, “Man, can’t I chill for five fucking minutes…Is this asshole bothering you?”
“No, Richard. It’s fine. I just-…“ ]

“You know Snack Facts?,” Grif questioned, leaning back to appraise him, and perhaps seeing him in a whole new, and better, light.

“Um, yeah…I guess?," Simmons began a little nervously, but then a slight twitch, and a nod, and unbeknownst to Grif, Richard continued, his voice slightly different, somehow, and taking on that cocky edge it, sometimes, got, “I know lots of stuff, Grif. Relevant & otherwise.”

“Oh, Snack Facts are always relevant, man.“ Grif assured, as he leaned a little more into his space, “What do you know about Oreos?”

Simmons was silent, looking off into middle distance, looking like he was thinking about it. Really, he was berating, and talking to, Richard.

[“Richard! Grif, can’t know. He can never know!”
“Ah, chill out, Simmons. He doesn’t suspect anything. He isn’t really that observant…”
“You’d be surprised.” Simmons changed the subject, “Now, what did we find out about Oreos, again?”
“Shut up. I don’t care,” Richard grouched.
“Richard, come on,” Simmons complained back at him, “You know, I can’t always remember stuff. Don’t be a dick.”
“I am Dick.”
“Eugh, I can’t believe you…Don’t play games with me, right now, Richard…”
“…Fine. But, then, I’m. Out. This just... I don’t really like this…this."
“Deal.”]

Simmons had been quiet for what felt like awhile, and Grif was right about to tell him to just forget about it, although secretly he was kinda, really, disappointed, when the taller man’s eyes refocused in on him, and his shoulders straightened.

In a recitation that would make the Worldwide Tour Guide Association proud, Simmons began, “The Oreo’s Birthday is March 6, 1912. Which is the same year the Titanic sank, and the South Pole was discovered. Although, it must be noted that some historians argue on this point, and claim the South Pole was discovered in 1911. But, back to the cookies... Oreo’s were originally packaged in bulk tins, and sold by weight, with grocers paying .30 cents per pound for them. The cookie design, itself, has undergone five changes since 1912, but the current design seen since all the way back in 1953 still exists until this day, and consists of 12 flowers, 12 dots, and 12 dashes per side. Each cookie, also, contains 90 ridges-”

Simmons was cut off by Grif cracking the fuck up. He grabbed his belly, and practically hooted out, “I…I can’t…I can’t… Holy crap, if I wasn’t looking straight at you, I’d fuckin' swear you pulled all that up on your HUD!... Sounded…Hohoho-shit, you sounded like one of those hot little tour guide chicks with the short skirts from back on the island!” He snorted out another laugh, “You-you know all that stuff, and that’s not even your favorite! You really ARE the ultimate king nerd! That’s stupid funny!”

Simmons remained silent, but his left eye twitched, and his left hand holding the Reese's packet, that he still hadn't even opened, tightened slightly. *Crackle*

“Oh dammit,” Grif thought, the laughter dying on his lips, “I forgot he’s having one of his PMS days. Son of a bitch.”

Now, Grif’s mind could move lightning fast when he wanted it to... which is to say, like, never. So, more, like, when he needed it to. He accessed the most current situation in mere moments, and came to the conclusion that: he had fucked up bad, it was the wrong time to mess with Simmons about…whatever he’d just said that set him off… Was it the nerd thing? But he always called him that. He’d just upped his ranking. You’d think Simmons would be grateful! He had to change tracks without Simmons realizing that was what he was doing. And, he could totally do it. He could be a lot smarter, and quicker, than he let on when he wanted to be. He just only did shit when he wanted, or needed, to.

With only a handful of seconds having gone by, Grif smoothly picked up where he’d left off, distracting Simmons from his inner turmoil, he believed, quite nicely, “At least you’re spoutin’ off stuff that’s actually important for once, huh? Oreos an’ Reese’s… And what’s your problem, anyway, man? You still haven’t eaten your chocolate. Too damn skinny to be on a diet, Simmons. Now, talk, and eat.”

“That’s fucking disgusting, Grif,” Simmons sneered, distracted by the very idea of himself actually talking, and eating, at the same time. He had some manners! Unlike, some people, who shall not be named...Grif. But, he opened his Reese’s, anyway.

“Yeah, yeah...Mmffm...,” Grif mumbled, through a mouthful of the Oreos (Score!) he’d found stashed in the bottom of his snack drawer, as he silently congratulated himself on another Simmons melt-down averted. He swallowed, and demanded, “Come on, more Snack Facts! You actually have something worthwhile to say, for once. Share the wealth, dude!”

Simmons rolled his eyes at what an asshole Grif was. Even when he was kinda, maybe... trying to be nice? Simmons was the same, though, and he lived with someone in his head that could be incredibly chill, and, then, he could go… yeeaah, it was just best to avoid that whole deal. Despite all his thoughts (Singular. Currently. Calm. And. Singular.), he, nonetheless, brightened when Grif looked expectantly at him, and just barely nudged his knee with his own.

And, when Grif gave up with the rummaging, just pulled the whole drawer out, and upended it out onto the bed in-between them, bright, cheery wrappers, and cellophane crinkling and crackling merrily amidst the two men, Simmons, actually laughed aloud, and could, for the first time in longer than he cared to admit, actually feel himself start to genuinely relax.

That is, until Grif stood up, directly in front of him…and started taking off his body armor…

Chapter Text

And, when Grif gave up with the rummaging, just pulled the whole drawer out, and upended it out onto the bed in-between them, bright, cheery wrappers, and cellophane crinkling and crackling merrily amid the two men, Simmons, actually laughed aloud, and could, for the first time in longer than he cared to admit, actually feel himself start to genuinely relax.

That is, until Grif stood up, directly in front of him… and started taking off his body armor…

“G-Grif?…What are you d-doing?” Simmons questioned, in a higher pitch then he liked to admit he was capable of.

“What does it look like? Remember the rules, Simmons?,“ Grif sounded nonchalant as hell, as he removed his armor piece by piece, and chucked it across the room like a fucking uncouth slob, “No armor in the Chill Zone. Now, quit wasting precious Snack Time, and get that shit off. There’s a lot of good crap there,“ he gestured to the mound of candies, cookies, and snack cakes, “that I don’t know useless, awesome facts about.”

When Simmons didn’t move or speak for the longest time, just kept watching Grif’s hands as they removed another, and then, another piece of armor, Grif tried another tactic. He really knew this nerd too damn well at this point.

“May-be you just don’t know any more stuff, huh?,” Grif taunted, “That’s alright, buddy. I mean, it’s not like you’re some kind of uncertified genius that knows even the most pointless of facts, like…who was that guy again?...” Why am I doing this?, Grif asked himself.

“…Some game-show dude from the 21st century…,” Grif leaned down, practically into Simmons lap, as he unlatched the last piece of leg armor, and tossed it behind him, in the general direction of the rest. *Clank*

Was he trying to make the kissass lose his shit, after he had, literally, just kept that from happening?, Grif wondered. Huh… Fuck if he knew what he was doing.

The Hawaiian man straightened, and then smirked right down into Simmons fuming, upturned face, “I don’t know why I’m asking you…”

He couldn’t help himself. God, that fucker could get so red. Sarge would be proud.

“…You obviously don’t know .” Oh, fuck! Direct hit in the overinflated, yet, insecure ego. 200 pts.!

Simmons stood. He hardly took a step, and the two were right in each other’s “personal bubble”.

“Ken Jennings. 2004. U.S. syndicated game-show known as: Jeopardy. Winner of 74 games in a row, “ Simmons gritted out through clenched teeth, as he angrily removed a piece of armor for every fact, and, shockingly, tossed it onto the ground. He normally always babied his armor, but he was pissed. He wasn’t even really sure why. But, then, no one could rile him up like Grif. “Religious Affiliation: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Lost to Nancy Zerg on his attempted 75th game. Was married to-“

With how close they were standing, Grif had been having to sway back, periodically, so he didn’t get a bony elbow to the face (On “accident”, he was sure.), or head-butted in the gut.

Finally, Grif just freaking gave up, and cut him off in disbelief, “Alright. Alright, already. Son of a bitch. Why do you remember all that shit? And, stop throwing your armor around. You’re gonna, suddenly, realize you’re doing it, and, then, blame it on me. Like it’s my damn fault, or something!”

Grif shook his head at him, but moved to stand beside, rather than in front of him. This just happened to, also, be closer to the mound of treats on the bed. Not that that had anything to do with it! I mean, it wasn’t like Simmons’ hissy fit was causing protective feelings to rear up in Grif toward his treat stash, or anything…

“It is your fault,” Simmons grumbled, but he removed the last pieces of his armor in a much calmer state of mind. And, he figured that he must not really have been that upset, anyway. More annoyed. Richard didn’t bother with worrying about him when he was just annoyed. After all, with how much he was around Grif every day, he spent too much of his life that way.

He’d gotten upset, and Richard had let him be. Had, maybe, trusted him to take care of himself? Simmons was already forgetting how he must have been more frustrated, than anxious, -which could, possibly, come across as “in danger”-, and it was quite normal for Richard to let him deal with annoyances on his own.

It just felt very freeing to not have someone who acted like a damn big brother looking over his shoulder, right then. It could be a little… uncomfortable, sometimes. And, Simmons felt himself… relax… into momentary singularity.

He stood up straight when he, like Grif, was down to his bodysuit. Somehow, you could really tell the difference in their height without the armor. Did Grif have lifts in his boots, or some such ridiculous shit?

The almost half a foot, around five inches, that Simmons had on Grif made him feel momentarily more confident, and he turned more fully toward the other man.

When Grif glanced up at him, Simmons tilted his head cockily down, repeated his last words, and then said in a matching arrogant tone (His tone, if not his words, sounding on awful lot like Richard.), “It is your fault…You should polish my armor for being such an asshole.”

Grif eyed him disbelievingly for a long moment, and then snickered, “Do you even know me, Simmons? I’d polish your asshole every fucking day, before I polished your armor…”

Even as the words left his lips, Grif thought to himself in disbelief, “Did I just say that Out Loud?” And, he watched as Simmons paled, and then, oh shit, there came that blush, that Red Team Blush, again. Crap.

Simmons sunk back down onto the bunk, looking quite scandalized. (And, perhaps, protecting his virginal behind from this fiend.)

Grif actually felt a little embarrassed, for God’s sake. Man, he seriously sucked at this… whatever it was he was trying to do here. He wasn’t even really sure (Or, maybe he wasn’t admitting it to himself, quite yet…). He started out, a little sheepishly, “Erm… Simmons… Look, man… I, uh…”

“Heeeyyy, LoLo?,” Donut’s voice, chipper as ever, drifted into the room… He sounded like he was standing right outside Grif’s door, “Do you know where Grif’s hiding at?”

Grif and Simmons stared at each other. Grif was, once again, standing directly in front of the redhead, looking down into his eyes, as Simmons looked up at him. Only, now, rather than one smirking, and the other fuming, they wore matching, “Ugghh, fucking Donut… Wait… Oh, shit! We’re caught!” expressions. As one, their heads turned to see: “Closed”, flashing at them, from the door panel, rather than: “Lock: Engaged”.

{Lopez sighed in Spanish. “Seriously. I do not care.”}

Simmons,” Grif hissed under his breath, “You didn’t lock the fucking door, you dumbass!”

Simmons’ brow furrowed in confusion, and he mouthed more than spoke, “Why the hell would I have done that?”

But, Grif had been joined at the hip with this kissass for so long, that he could read his fucking body language well enough to pick up what words he had missed. He sneered, and gestured at the door, as he whispered in disgust, “I dunno, nerd. Maybe cause of something like this!”

“You’re right, LoLo!,” Donut’s cheery voice was heard again, “He probably is squeezed into some tight hole somewhere getting a load off… Oh yeeaah, and where is Simmons, anyway?”

The redhead looked down quickly, but Grif could still see how the blood had rushed to his face.

{“I did not say that. The worthless brother is in all probability here in his ‘Chill Zona’ attempting some form of pointless human seduction on the broken brother.”}

“Pa-sha! I don’t think thaaat’s what’s going on, at all… I don’t even think Simmons knows how to play Pinochle!”

{“Que es esto Pinochle? Estupido, Donut. It is a good thing you are muy lindo, rosado idiota.”}

“LoLo, I, obviously, already know that,” Donut chided gently, but sternly, “I think so, too…”

{“You are so vain, but still… wait, que? Did you understand…?”}

“Of course! I mean, you know that Grif is secretly sooo in love with Simmons,… well, he could probably teach him anything!” The smile heard in Donut’s voice could have lit up the world.

Within the room, Grif looked startled as fuck, and a muttered, “Son of a-, Shit. What the hell, Donut?”, escaped his lips before he realized he’d even spoken aloud.

Simmons was somehow turning even brighter Red Team Red, and he opened his mouth, obviously about to loudly squawk out something. Grif had no clue what it was going to be, but the kissass just had that squawky Simmons face going on.

Grif, honestly, didn’t even think about what he did next. One second, he was standing there looking shell-shocked as all hell, and the next, he had stepped forward, surprisingly smoothly, and dropped one hand heavily down onto Simmons’ shoulder, while his other lifted to press a finger against the redhead’s lips, effectively startling, silencing, offending, and, arousing the furiously blushing other man, all at once.

{“You do know they are in this room?”} Grif and Simmons heard a metallic fist *Knock* once on the door that separated the four of them. {“Right in here, Si?"}

Grif squeezed his eyes shut for a second. He could feel the kissass watching him. He didn’t know how he could have the dude basically, almost, on lock here (Wait, what?), and, yet, he was, now, the one who felt… caught…

“Weeelll, Duuuh!,” the pink-armored soldier sighed dramatically, “Oh, it’s tooo bad, too. I guess I’ll have to throw this food I made for him and Simmons away… So Saaad… You know how much Grif loooves to put things in his mouth… and swallow them down!"

Grif looked pained. Like he wanted to groan, or bang his head against a wall… but the siren call of food was too strong.

“Just leave it outside the door, dude,” he instructed, trying to sound normal. Whatever that was around here, anyway.

“Ohhh, Grif! Buddy ol’ pal, you are in there! Oh, I’d be happy to! You know how much I love to play roleplay!,” Donut giggled, excitedly.

“Yeah, yeah…” Grif agreed, until he saw Simmons, questioningly and silently, as he was still successfully 'shushing' the redhead for the moment, arch an eyebrow at him, “… I mean, NO! No, I Do. Not. Know.

But, Donut paid him no heed, as he was busily clearing his throat, noisily & obnoxiously, before he continued talking to the… door?... Grif?...

“Good evening, Sir!,” Donut used his best ‘I’m a respectable gentleman’ voice, “My name is Franklin Delano Donut, and I will be your waiter this evening. And, how many will be joining your party on this lovely night?...”

“…”

“…Pssst! Grif!,” Donut broke character, “That means Simmons! He’s with you, right?”

Grif looked at the pretty boy nerd with Grif’s own finger pressed against his lips. He was looking up at the Hawaiian man like… well, he looked like he wasn’t sure what was going on, but that whatever it was, he wasn’t exactly adverse to it. At all. But, what the hell did he want Grif to say to the Rookie, though?

Grif found himself lightly squeezing the shoulder he had ahold of, and he answered unsurely, “Uhhh… n-…no?”

Under his finger, he felt Simmons mouth turn down into a frown. Ah, shit. Simmons could be so difficult. So different at different times. Sometimes, it was hard to know how he’d react. But for now... Wrong answer, apparently. Before Grif could think how to remedy it, cause seriously, he wanted to get to the eating, and whatever came next…

*Chomp*

“Y-ow!,” Grif yelped out, more in surprise than pain, as he jerked back.

“I’ll take that as a ‘Ye-es!’,” Donut sang out.

“Duuude, did you just bite me?” If Grif’s eyebrows had gone any higher, they would’ve hit the ceiling.

Simmons had the grace to look stunned, and a little ashamed of himself, “Uhmm… Oops?”

“Kinky! Your party guest must be veeery hungry!,” Donut sounded like he was fit ta’ split. The bastard.

“DONUT!,” Grif, exasperated beyond all means, yelled… at the door, “Fuck off!... Uh… But, seriously, though… leave the food, man.”

“Okey Dokey Artichokey! Come on, LoLo… LoLo, where are you going?”

{“Back to Blue Base. That Blue A.I. that thinks he is a ghost should be done ‘haunting’ the loud, dirty mouthed one for the night. I need a break from you estupido idiotas. And, I do not want to see the Creator, right now. He is my Padre no longer.”}

“Aww, I had a nice time, too!,” Donut sounded like he was making kissy faces, for crying out loud, and Lopez really couldn’t have sighed any harder in Spanish, if he tried. “See you tomorrow night, hon! Oh, and don’t let Sarge see you!...Oh, oh, oh! And, tell the guy at the store…uhm… tell him… the General said ‘Hi’… He’ll get it!”

{"Oh, Si. Si. I will tell him that… en espanol. Buena noche, idiota dulce."}

Footsteps. Heavy robotic clunking, and light skipping in the opposite direction. And, everything got… quiet. Well, for Grif, anyway. For Simmons, things had been… a little less so.

[“SIMMONS!,” Richard was back like a tidal wave crashing onto the shore, and He. Was. Pissed. “Did you just freaking bite him?! What the FUCK?! I can’t leave you alone for one second!,” Richard had started shrieking at almost exactly the same time Grif had yelled at Donut.
“Ooowww, my head… don’t… scream at me… it huuurts…,” Simmons moaned. For a second… just a second… it had felt like his fucking head was going to explode.
“That’s it, that’s IT! I’ve been super nice about this shit. You know I don’t think I even like this son of a bitch, and here you are… And, was he touching you?! Simmons, that’s bad… I TOLD you… And, then, you bite him?! You just sit there, and think about what you did, Kid. What are you? Fucking FIVE years old?!”]

Grif was staring at him. And, he, honestly, wasn’t looking mad, at all. Or, even surprised, anymore. Just curious. Intrigued. Like, maybe, he was thinking he’d kinda liked it, for Christ’s sake. And, oh, crap, Simmons thought, don’t let Richard see that fucking glint in Grif’s eye, or he was probably gonna sock him in the face. And after Simmons had just bit him like a fucking ferret, or an “ ‘ol faithful hound dog” gone feral, too!

Simmons did the only thing he could think of to distract Richard, and, hopefully, get out of trouble. (He couldn’t even believe he was still getting into trouble for shit at his age! It was embarrassing! He’d die of humiliation if anybody ever found out.)

He put the Reese’s opened, but uneaten, packet up into his (Their, at the moment) line at sight. Richard really, genuinely, hated peanut butter for some reason, despite how Simmons could live off all things peanut butter related.

[“The Reese’s,” Richard sneered, “Why do you still have that disgusting trash? And, ya know what?” Richard got all snooty. “I decided that I don’t like it that he remembered that was your favorite. And, how long ago did you tell him that, anyway? What’s this asshole keeping notes, or some shit! And, another thing,…”]

In Richard’s rising suspicion, he didn’t even notice that Simmons had pulled both Reese’s out, and unwrapped one. That is, he didn’t notice until Simmons shoved one into his mouth. Whole.

Grif had no idea what was going on. All he knew was that Simmons had bit him, well, more of a sharp little, more surprising than painful, nip, really. The kissass had looked stunned as all hell, said the whole “Oops” thing, -He hadn’t known Simmons had it in him. Hmmm… Interesting…- (Grif wondered if he should have bit the nerd back. ‘Oops’. Riiight. And, hey, all’s fair in love and war, right?... Oh, fuck, he was so glad no one knew he’d thought that!), then, Simmons had done that ‘all lost up in his head’ thing, and Grif had gone to get the picnic basket, for Christ’s sake, that Donut (Long gone, now. Thank God for small favors… and huge ones.) had left outside the door. Where in the hell had he even found the damn thing? He’ d peeped in. Looked like… sandwiches. How the fuck… And, oh hell, yeah! More Oreos! Goddamn, you couldn’t say the Rookie didn’t know him.

Grif had come back, and sat down next to the nutter… Oh shit! That totally worked, too, as the nerd seemed to have a secret peanut butter addiction. It was good to know the kissass had a food obsession to exploit… er, uh… or, not exploit, um… fuck. And, as Grif was thinking all these things, he turned…

And saw Simmons was pulling his chocolates out of their package, and holding them up like he was frickin’ showing them to himself, and then, he, suddenly, fucking chowed down on one of them, whole, with the most goddamn belligerent, “fuck-you” expression on his face…

Grif had started cracking up. Holy Hell, he couldn’t help himself. He didn’t think anyone else really got to see this side to Simmons. He seemed to only let it come out when he thought he was alone, or when he was with him, as far as Grif could tell, anyway. Sometimes, it could be a little worrying, not that he’d admit that out loud or anything, but this time… Grif was just amused by the redhead’s antics.

As for Richard, though…

[“… I really thi- INK!- Bleck! Ohhh, you little bitch,” Richard breathed. For some reason, he hadn’t really thought the Kid would do it.
“Mmmm… it’s so, sooo goddamn good… Now, fuck off.”
“I’m gonna strangle us in your sleep, Simmons,” Richard threatened, sounding like he was strangling on his words, “I swear to god…”
“You wouldn’t dare. You love me too much,” Simmons replied confidently. A little smugly.
“Oh, yeah? You just wait, and see, Kid,” Richard promised, “You. Just. Wait. And. See.”
“Hmmm… It’s worth it… Ohhh, look, I have another one.” Simmons held the other Big Cup threateningly up to eye level.]

Distantly, they could hear Grif break out in another rash of chortles, “Simmons, Jesus Christ, what the fuck?! What- I can’t even- You fucking nut!”

[“…Okay! Okay,” Richard gave in, “I’m gonna ‘fuck off’, so we don’t have an allergic reaction… “
“I keep telling you! That doesn’t make sense!,” Simmons protested.
“Shut up. You’ll pay for this later, you damn brat. Now, just try to fucking behave yourself…”
“Whatever…. I do what I want!”
“…Suuure, you do, Kid. Of course, you do. Whatever helps you sleep at night.”]

“…I do, though,” Simmons said aloud, grouchily, as things… quieted.

“You do what?,” Grif asked, wiping at his eyes.

Simmons looked at him, startled, and then swiftly looked down at his lap. He had kind of forgotten Grif was there, or that it was a big deal if he was. Oh, no. Oh, God, no. What had he done? What had he said? Oh, no, no, no. His thoughts cried out, insisted that “Grif can’t know. He can never know!”

[“Mother fu-, What now? You just told me to fuck off, Simmons! Do I have to hold your damn hand through- Oh, no.”
“If he knows- If they know-,” Simmons rambled, “They’ll lock us up, they’ll hate us, he’ll hate us… L-Like he did… He was my… f-…f-…”
He was already too far gone. And, when he got this bad, he started to remember things. Son of a bitch! The Kid was all over the place today! This thing with Grif… Dammit! He ‘d even almost remembered about… ]

And, to think this all happened within seconds. Simmons’ mind raced. Externally, he looked much the same. But, his internal fear of discovery was about to catch up to his external responses, and cause him to reveal (them) himself. Richard tried to reason with him. To remind him.

[“Simmons, remember where you are… Come on, you’re gonna blow it! Kid, just… chill out for a second…I don’t wanna have to…You’re not really giving me any choice here… Just… Sleep for a little bit, okay? Shhhh…”]

And, Richard did what he’d had to do so, so many times before. He pushed the Kid back, back, back into -elsewhere- this… space. Made it quiet… but, Jesus, not too dark! Richard wouldn’t be able to think with all of Simmons’ screams if he did that. He reviewed the last few minutes in their mind that he had not been present for, and, therefore, not privy to. Sometimes, he thought of it like rewinding.

Simmons could never know just how much he was able to retrieve. The Kid couldn’t hide things from Richard, as well as Richard was able to… well, he didn’t like to think of it as hiding, so much as Protecting... So, Richard did what he needed to do, and reviewed the last moments before Simmons had started unraveling, and had, unconsciously, or not, reached for him.

“…I do, though,” Simmons said aloud, grouchily, as things… quieted.

“You do what?,” Grif asked, wiping at his eyes.

Alright. He could play this off. Richard looked at Grif, trying to school himself into sounding more like Simmons, and less like himself.

Simmons could be squeaky, and whiny, and unsure. Richard was the more confident between the two of them… But, still, he had to kind of psyche himself up to talk to Grif, at all. It wasn’t like he’d never talked to the guy, well, bitched at him, before, but the circumstances felt different, and it made Richard so goddamn uncomfortable…

And, that edginess combined with the fucking taste of peanut butter on his tongue was liable to drive him insane, or make him puke.

Of course, the fucktards at the camp had incorporated Simmons' beloved food into the first days of aversion therapy. Before they had really gotten nasty.

They thought they were very fucking clever. Take something the Kid liked, and make him physically ill at the taste, or scent, of it. Like a fucking initial object lesson. What they didn’t know was that Simmons wasn’t exactly there for that, or a lot of the worst, the nightmare-inducing shit, that came later. That was Richard. Richard wouldn’t allow it for the Kid. Let Simmons eat his gag-worthy peanut butter garbage to his heart’s content. As long as Richard wasn’t around at the moment when he did. It had taken Richard years to be able to stand the sight of peanut butter without having to swiftly take over, and just hurl his/their guts out. Sometimes, not even making it to a toilet, sink, or trash can.

He wouldn’t let them do that to the Kid. Hell, he wouldn’t even let him remember the parts he had actually been mentally present for. No fucking way.

And, he didn’t really blame Simmons for being a brat about the whole peanut butter thing. He didn’t know. Richard wouldn’t, couldn’t, let him know. If he remembered that, he might start remembering what came next… Richard wished to god that had been the worst of it. Some frickin’ food aversion crap… Instead of…

“Dude? What’s going on in your head?,” Grif was starting to sound a little anxious.

Richard forced himself to snap out of it. His eyes focused, and he saw in his hand… sitting on top of its orange package… oh, son of a bitch. What was this? Some running joke at his expense? He wanted to throw it across the room. But, instead, he looked up at Grif, not even knowing that he had that cocky tilt to his head, that slightly calculating gleam in his eyes, and he forced himself to say, in his best ‘Simmons’ voice, “I do love… peanut butter so fucking much.”

Fuck his life.

Grif snorted, amused all over again, “Man, I can tell… " But, then, his voice got a little more serious, “I dunno, though, I think,… you, uh… dude, just don’t pull any of that kooky shit out when it’s not just us. Not everybody’s as chill as me, man… So… wanna see what the Rookie brought?“

Richard nodded, not, currently, trusting himself to speak too much.

Simmons was -elsewhere-, and the fatass was digging through some… picnic basket? Strange. Richard hadn’t gone back far enough to really know what that was all about, but he didn’t really care, at the moment…Of course, typical fatass, Grif was totally interested in it. Sandwiches. Where the hell had they gotten bread? Oooh, and had Grif found another individual pack of Oreos? Apparently so. He was, delightedly, sitting it down beside a first one that he must’ve pulled out, earlier, when Richard and Simmons had been distracted with each other. Richard could probably drop a bomb right next to the dumbass, and as long as he still had some Oreos to scarf, the bastard wouldn’t even notice. What did Simmons see in him, anyway?

I mean, alright, maybe he wasn’t a complete fatass by civilian, Earth standards, but this was the fucking military! Everyone was pretty fit, overall, or, if anything, a little too slim like Simmons (And, he supposed, himself, but he didn’t really think of this as his body all the time.).

Someone that was even ten pounds over the max military weight standards, which was already hitting fatass territory in Richard’s opinion (And, chubby chaser Simmons could just shove it.), was pretty much considered a fat fuck by their fellow soldiers. And, Grif had to be over that, by now. Richard could just tell! The fatass was only barely 5’ 7” or 67 inches tall, after all, not 6’ even like (him) Simmons, and the max allowable weight for someone Grif’s height was supposed to be 176 lbs. for fucks sake! Son of a bitch!

Richard had no patience for people that didn’t even attempt to live up to their potential. Be it mentally or physically.

And, that brought him to the nose. He had been totally serious about re-setting it! Sure, he’d have to break it first, as it wasn’t a new injury, but he was pretty sure he could… I mean, no one would ever guess that Simmons' nose had been fractured once, now would they? Because, Richard knew what he was doing, goddammit!

Well, screw Grif, anyway. Richard, and Simmons, had each other. They didn’t need anyone else. Look at what happened with Jimmy. Even Richard, himself, had thought… had felt… but, no. No... No... Had to forget... Had to... to... That traitorous little-

[“…Jimmy?,” Simmons murmured, sounding like he was awakening from a dream, “…What happened with Jimmy? How can you ever blame him… ]

Holy Shit… How had Simmons come back out… on his own,… again! And, Eavesdropping, too. He was starting to be able to do this too damn often. It was becoming more and more frequent. Fuck! Richard had to really concentrate, anymore, to keep everything in line…

[“Are you…? Did you…? Richard… are you hiding things from me, again? Jimmy… He-He was my friend… He was my best friend… He was my… He… I swear, it wasn’t like… I never… I didn’t mean to! It was an accident!”]
“Jesus Christ, Kid. Fuckin’ stop it. Nothing. Happened. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe with me, dammit!... You’re ok. You’re alright… Simmons? Say the words.
“I…”
You’re okay”, Richard coaxed, “You’re alright.”
“I… I’m okay. I’m… alright,” Simmons whispered the words that actually triggered calm, rather than harm, “I’m okay… I’m alright...”]

[“…Kid… Simmons... I… I-I’m sorry. Everything’s okay, alright? You’re just hanging out with your-… ,” Richard’s voice went from soothing to sounding like he was gritting his teeth in an instant, “…your friend. And, that’s, that’s alright. That’s okay.” Richard continued his practice of peppering in the calming words (‘Okay’, ‘Alright’), as he’d done for so many years,… since that first night…, “I want you to relax, okay, Kid? Just… ya know, eat some food, some snack stuff, or whatever. Hang out with your friend, alright? That’s okay… I didn’t mean…to be an asshole about it…uh, you know where I am if you need me, right?” He tried to joke to lighten the mood.

“Sorry…,” Simmons, who never apologized unless he meant it, mumbled.
“Hey. Don’t do that. You didn’t do anything wrong… I’m… It’s this thing with this…ya know… And, just what in the hell is that Grif guy up to, anyway, that he is so oblivious, right now?!”]

They turned to see Grif scavenging through his snack pile, munching on Oreos, (Apparently, he was a dessert first kinda guy. No surprise there.), and… setting aside peanut related snacks, presumably for Simmons…

They both felt the lump in their throat, though, for very different reasons.

[“He, uh, he can be sorta… nice… when he wants to be,” Simmons murmured, a little emotionally.
“Uhhhh… I’m gonna frickin’ hurl,” Richard moaned, and, then, he quickly cleared his throat, “Uh,…Love ya, Kid, but I’m, erm… tired.”
“Okay. I’m alright.”
“I know you are.”]

Simmons looked at Grif, at the treat stash between them, and at the… picnic basket? Strange… that sat on the bed with them.

“G-Grif?,” Simmons hated that his voice cracked. He wished he sounded more confident like Richard.

The man in question looked up at him, and Simmons thought, again (Bad Thoughts, Not Normal, ‘Just two guys hanging out’ thoughts), how lucky Grif was to have those thick, long black eyelashes. (Why was he thinking this, right now? Or, at all?) Sure, Simmons might have long, thick lashes, too, but they weren’t dark enough. (At least, they weren’t blonde, though. He’d had a cousin like that.)

Grif’s eyebrows even seemed to have a natural expressive arch. So freaking unfair. If anyone ever knew that Simmons plucked his to look the almost naturally arched way they did… well, he might have to fuckin’ shoot them.

And, it had to be said, even if only to himself, that Simmons had his secret suspicions about Grif’s dark blue eyes that didn’t quite fit his heritage… and the fact that, despite his constant beach bum surfer tan, his skin tone, and face, and even his name, still seemed a little too… caucasian? And, his hair while thick, and quick to grow long like a Native Hawaiian’s (Okay, so, maybe, Simmons had looked it up on his HUD! Oh, God, it was so goddamn humiliating!), was really straight, without that kinkiness (hair kinkiness, dammit!) that you expected to see…

But, Simmons kept these thoughts to himself, figuring it wasn’t really his business, he’d probably been too nosy, as it was (He couldn’t help it! He was naturally curious!), and Grif, who seemed proud but defensive of his heritage, would tell him when he was good and ready, if he wanted to...

“ ‘Sup, Dude?,” Grif’s voice broke through Simmons thoughts, and the redhead’s eyes focused in on the other man, who was grinning, a little wickedly at him, “You’re staring, again.”

“No, I’m not,” Simmons answered quickly, looking away.

“Hey… whatever helps you sleep at night,” Grif replied, sounding an awful lot like a certain someone Simmons knew, as he flashed that evil, lazy Grif grin, again.

“Oh, shut the fuck up. I’m just… hungry,” Simmons shot back.

But, he made the mistake of… accidently?... looking back up into Grif’s eyes as he said, “hungry”, and, oh boy, you’d think he said, “horny”, with the way Grif’s pupils dilated, and his nostrils flared with a quick, deep intake of breath.

Simmons' own eyes widened, and he squeaked out, not breaking eye contact, reaching blindly toward where he thought the peanut candies were, “Are t-these for m-me?”

“No.”

Before Simmons could get all offended, and upgrade, or downgrade, depending on your opinion, from squeaky to squawky, Grif laid his hand over top his… and moved it a bit to the right, away from the Oreos Simmons had been veering toward, before releasing it, “Those are yours. The peanut, and peanut butter, stuff. Do you, uh, even like peanut stuff, or is it just, like, more peanut butter kinda stuff? I… don’t think I really know that… ”

Simmons was looking at his hand. He could… almost still feel Grif’s touch. “Uh-huh… wait, what? I wasn’t listening…”

“Dude, What. Do. You. Like? Just peanut butter, or peanut stuff, too?,” Grif sounded a little exasperated, again. He hated repeating himself. It was a waste of his very limited energy.

“I’m into it all. It’s all good to me,” Simmons answered, innocently.

Grif smirked, annoyance instantly forgotten, “Oh, yeah? Me, too.”

Something in Grif’s tone… Simmons looked at him a little suspiciously, “What-?“

But, Grif just pushed the basket at him, “Check out what the Rookie brought us. You never really looked.”

Simmons opened the basket to see… Sandwiches? Where the hell had they gotten bread? Simmons looked questioningly at Grif.

“Yeah, man,” Grif nodded solemnly, at the unspoken question, “I think that son of a bitch has been baking at Blue Base, again.”

Simmons gasped, “Dammit! If Sarge finds out… How many times do we have to tell him?”

“Well, Simmons, I mean, his fuckin’ boyfriend is over there, now…”

“Lo-Lopez is not his 'b-boyfriend'!," Simmons sputtered. "How could someone be with… like a robot-type person, anyway? That doesn’t make any sense, Grif!”

“I dunno,” Grif shrugged, and, then, leaned back against the wall, shoving the pile of goodies over with his leg, and reclining back on his pillows. -He may have swiped a few extras from the empty bunks in this small, but still seriously undermanned, base. He was a pillow hog.- Oh, fuck. That was so much better. “You don’t gotta get all pissed about it, though, Simmons. What the fuck’s it got to do with you?”

“I… I just… I don’t want there to be any trouble on the team…And the baking… Protocol states… ,“ Simmons mumbled.

“Holy fuck, Simmons, don’t you dare start with that shit! Look…,” Grif was full on bossy-britches, again. He pulled out a sandwich, and shoved it at the other man, “I ate a few when you were zoning off, or whatever...”

Oh… didn’t even notice that, Simmons thought, uncomfortably, I must’ve been pretty out of it… or, he must’ve inhaled them.

“They’re fine. Just eat a peanut butter ‘n jelly sandwich, and shut the fu-“

“WHAT! Gimme that!,“ the redhead shrieked, snatching the sandwich out of Grif’s hand.

“Well, fuck you very much, Mr. Grabby Hands. I thought you knew-“

“No talking. Eating.” Simmons tossed the wrapping at Grif, and it landed in his lap.

“Nice. Just throw trash at me. That’s fuckin’ cool, dude. Real nice... Asshole.”

“Oh my fucking Goood,” Simmons, actually, moaned in-between bites, like a completely oblivious, shameless hussy, “It’s sooo good. You don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had the real thing…”

“… Oh Christ…,” Grif almost groaned aloud himself, in pure frustration, thinking, ‘Me, too, man. Me, too.’ He suddenly felt the need to put a pillow over his lap for, uh, some reason. Simmons sounded like he couldn’t decide if he was gonna cry or cream himself. Which was very Simmons. He was such an emotional basketcase, sometimes. Especially, when he thought he was alone, or it was only them... Grif could bet anything he’d be a screamer… Oh, fuck!, he thought, It’s a good thing no one can read my freakin’ mind.

As Grif watched Simmons, who had moved on to picking through his little pile of snacks, he dealt with his oral fixation by eating some more Oreos, and, oh wait, what was that? Hostess cupcakes. Freaking Yum. Better than the HoHos. *Gulp*

When Grif pulled out a water bottle, Simmons, still shifting through his rapidly diminishing stash, and munching like a little hamster, reached out his hand for it.

“Thirsty,” the redhead demanded.

Grif snorted. Seriously, what a little asshole. It wasn’t like Grif wasn’t going to give him one, anyway, but, geez, Simmons sure could turn on spoilt bitch mode, pretty easily.

You’re welcome, kissass,” Grif replied snarkily, just to remind him who was boss in this Zone, as he opened, then, handed the bottle to him, before getting himself another.

His tone seemed to snap Simmons out of his tranquil, go-with-the-flow state of mind. The redhead swallowed, and asked, the confusion, and freaking shyness very evident in his voice, “Wait… why are you being so nice to me?”

Uh-oh. Busted.

Grif’s mind did that racy, 'Oh, shit, gotta get outta trouble' thing, and he lied, very smoothly, he thought, “Ah, ya know, I don’t really like peanut butter, or stuff with peanuts, that much.”

Simmons wrinkled his nose at him. “I don’t believe that for a second. As a matter a fact, I know that’s not true. This is you we’re talking about here. Even if that were factually accurate… Don’t groan at me!... Hmph! As I was saying, even if that was true, most of these are chocolate, and I think you’d put anything in your mouth, if it was all covered in chocolate…”

Uhhh. This mother fucking tease. And, he doesn’t even know what he’s doing, or saying, half, hell, all the time… Fuck it.

Grif sat up, leaned toward him, and said in his most blasé tone, “Two things. One: Donut, is that you? Cause I know Simmons didn’t just say that to me. And, Two:… That a dare, man?... Cause if it is…”

“…Um… Uh…No!... I didn’t mean…,” Simmons blushed, flustered beyond belief, “See this is why I shouldn’t have too much sugar! I don’t even know what I’m saying, anymore!”

Grif cocked his head at him, “Just sugar gets you like this?”

Simmons seemed a little self-conscious. “I… didn’t have a lot as a kid. It was… ya know… gluttonous… sinful…”

Grif scoffed, “Yeah, sinfully delicious. Man, if you’re loopy, and talking like the Rookie, on a couple a’ candies and snack cakes, I’d kill to see you… Wait…”

“What?... Wait, what?... Grif, why the look?... Grif? What’s with the look?!... What the hell are you up to?” Simmons sounded ready to bolt.

But, Grif had clambered off of the bunk, after giving Simmons the most appraising, thoughtful look, and was, now, searching underneath it. He had, actually, shoved at Simmons' long legs to move them out of his way, and, even, gave the kissass a light pinch when he didn’t move fast enough.

“Hey!,” the redhead complained, loudly, “No pinching!”

“Shut up,” Grif told the whiny other man. Jesus, he’d barely touched him. And, this coming from Mr. Bitington over there. Anything to bitch, though. Right, Simmons?

“Grif!,” Simmons squawked, offended, “I don’t wanna see your smut mags, again!”

Grif had to snigger at that.

“Ha! You wish. No, dude…Ah-ha!,” Grin grinned, as he got ahold of something under the bed.

Simmons groaned,” I don’t think I wanna know what’s going on, right now.”

“ ‘K. Close your eyes, and hold out your hand.”

Simmons looked at him like he’d lost his fucking mind, “N-no. Absolutely not. Uh-uh.”

Grif sighed at him. “Buddy, I think you got your wires crossed. You freak out when someone says, “Close your eyes & open your mouth, not…”

“Fuuuck, sooo crude!,” Simmons bitched.

“Yeah, yeah, and you’re a prude. Whatcha gonna do?” Grif waved it languidly away, “Gonna close your eyes, or what? Cause I don’t really care, I just know how you care about girlie shit like ‘presentation’.”

That set Simmons off onto the most bitchy, ranty, boring speech about “presentation”, and how it could really be “what matters most”… And, Grif watched the nerd with one eyebrow raised, until he couldn’t take it anymore.

“You done?,” he cut in, although it was pretty obvious he hadn’t been, “Because, all I heard was, “Blah, blah, nerd stuff, I don’t trust you, blah.”

[Richard suddenly, and shockingly, screamed in Simmons' head, “We don’t trust that tubby fuck!”]

Simmons winced. What the hell?! And, Richard accused Simmons of being an eavesdropper? But, then, he’d probably let himself get too anxious, again…

Without thinking, Simmons answered Richard aloud, “No, you don’t tru-…”

Grif cut him off, again, “Whatever. Let’s just skip this wacky shit, and get to the fun stuff.”

“Wha-?”

And, with a flourish, Grif pulled a carton carrier with six glass bottles settled within its slots out from underneath his bunk, and he stood to proudly present it to the kissass.

Richard was silent. Watchful.

Simmons looked from the bottles, to Grif, to the bottles, and back to him, again... Finally, he muttered, “Oh, just say it, you asshole.”

“… Ta-Da!,” Grif called out, triumphantly.

Simmons sighed. “You. Are. Such. An. Idiot.”

Grif just shook his head long-sufferingly at him. “Hey, it wasn’t easy to get this, man. There isn’t exactly a liquor store on the corner, ya know?”

“Sooo…it’s… what? Alcohol? Like Beer or something?,” Simmons asked.

[“Ah, Kid. Come on!," Richard lamented, "That’s just fuckin' embarrassing!”]

“Nah,” Grif told him seriously, “It’s Root Beer, dude.”

Simmons nodded agreeably. “Oh, Oka-“

[Richard saw Red. “I will KILL this fatass mother fu--“]

Of course, it’s Beer! Simmons, keep up! Jeez,” Grif informed him very, uh, 'politely', as he rolled his eyes in disbelief.

[“Oh, thank god,” Richard heaved a huge internal sigh of relief, “I thought he was gonna lie…”]

Simmons ignored him, and answered Grif, “Oh, uh… Sorry…”

[“…?!” Sorry. Just giving out “Sorry’s” to any-fuckin’-body, now, huh? That’s some bullshit, Richard thought, irritably, to himself.]

“So,” the redhead continued, “Where’d you get it, anyway?”

“It’s more like what’d I have ta’ do for it,” Grif said, quite dramatically for him.

And, Simmons turned a bit green.

“Dude, I’m joking,” Grif assured the kissass, “… Well, kinda. I stole it from Blue Base… Remember that time Sarge sent me to go get the flag while you guys were attacking the rear?… I didn’t mean that like… Oh, whatever. Anyway, I figured this…,” he wiggled the carton, “was more important. And, dude! You wouldn’t believe the weird crap they got over there. But, I had to hoof it back, cause their giant Rookie spotted me, and kept yelling that he wanted to hang out, and play ‘You’re It’, or something, and it was ‘my turn’ this time.” Grif shuddered, "Shit was scary, man.”

“Hmmm…,” Simmons just hummed in response.

“What’s wrong? You aren’t some uptight teetotaler, are you?,” Grif sounded surprised, like, even with everything else, that hadn’t even occurred to him, for some reason, “I thought you were supposed to be “Irish”, or some crap?... But, what am I saying? This is you. Of course, you’re an uptight... I guess I just gotta train you,” he teased.

“No, it’s not… I… I hate the smell… alcohol… b-bourbon…,” the redhead’s voice cracked, and he closed his eyes.

[“Ah, Simmons... Kid... dammit... ” Richard felt terrible about that. And, he couldn’t do anything about it. It was, overall, just too damn deeply ingrained in long-term memory. Starting, even, before his time together with Simmons.]

“Hey, hey, that’s cool. No big deal…,” Grif found himself murmuring, tone instantly placid.

Grif could feel it overtaking him. This horrible desire to: Fix It, Take Care, Protect. Shiittt. It was like the worst superpower ever.

”Witness my amazing hidden ability to give a fuck about broken people! Watch as I throw away endless, precious minutes and minutes of naptimes to check-in on hopeless neurotics! And, Marvel at my ginormous strength, & puma-like stealth as I secretly carry this whole f ‘n team!”…*Sigh* Whatever.

He blamed his bitch mother. She left. (So any times. But, for good, eventually.) He had to secretly raise a kid sister -with problems- on his own. And, then, the Draft… That was bound to fuck up anyone.

Grif realized he was hovering over him, about to put his hand on top of Simmons' bowed head. Just touch that shiny red hair. Tell him to chill out, everything was cool. He just needed to relax for more than two minutes at a time, for fuck’s sake… Grif snatched his hand back. What the hell was wrong with him? He had it bad for this frickin’ nerd, for some reason, and the guy was a wreck.

“Listen, man,” Grif heard himself say, because apparently his big mouth had to say something, even when his brain was telling it to shut the fuck up. At least, he sounded relaxed, though. “This is beer, it’s not hard liquor. I dunno. That makes a difference to some people. And, hey, it’s not like you gotta drink any, anyway. More for me, right?”

Grif knelt down to stash the beer back under the bunk next to, yes, his beloved smut mags. He didn’t care how “old school” (Like really, really old school.) it was, some things just never went outta style, and some things, you just needed hard copies of… But, how had Simmons known?… Had he been snooping through his shit?...Hmmm… Nah. Probably, knowing the kissass, he’d been dataloguing all their stuff at the base, again. *Snort* Nerd-

Simmons’ leg nudged his shoulder, causing Grif to glance up at him.

“Just… can I smell it first…?,” Simmons asked, white teeth biting at his bottom lip.

“Smell…” Grif had to, almost physically, it felt like, hold himself back. His natural snarky side was desperate to fuck with him (Never knew you were such a kinky bastard, Simmons!... Goddammit, he was so fucking immature.), while his other side, his stupid, dumbass Mama Bird side, that he’d like to shoot with a BB gun, and bury in the backyard so nobody ever knew about it, would ne-ver.

Especially, as it was damn obvious there was some fucked up shit behind all this.

“… To see if it’s… actually… different?,” Simmons was going on, “I wanna know… I should know, right?”

“Dude… Simmons… I have no idea… It’s not a big deal, man,” Grif sounded about as unsure as he felt. He wasn’t a head doctor. How the fuck would he know what was the "right" thing? The most helpful, or... whatever, thing?

[“Simmons, what are you doing?,” Richard tried to sound calm, “You should just go to our room, and sleep, alright?”
No,” Simmons refused, stubbornly, “You sleep.”]

“Are you gonna flip out?,” Grif asked, suspiciously, as he pulled the carton back out from under the bed, and stood.

The redhead's already too big eyes widened, anxiously. “…I-I’m not sure,” he answered honestly.

Grif sat back down, right beside Simmons. Shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh. His warmth seeping into the slender man at his side.

Turning slightly to face him, Grif shrugged the shoulder that wasn’t pressed up against him, “… Alright... fair enough… ”

Chapter Text

Timeline: Blood Gulch -Approx. 1 week Before the Tank Incident- Night

“Are you gonna flip out?,” Grif asked, suspiciously, as he pulled the carton back out from under the bed, and stood.

The redhead's already too big eyes widened, anxiously. “…I-I’m not sure,” he answered honestly.

Grif sat back down, right beside Simmons. Shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh. His warmth seeping into the slender other man.

Turning slightly to face him, Grif shrugged the shoulder that wasn’t pressed up against him, “… Alright... fair enough… ”


Grif just sat next to him for a long minute, as the other man leaned into him. As some of the tension slowly eased out of Simmons’ body, Grif couldn’t help but wonder just what in the fuck could make someone this wacked out. Nothing was easy with him. The dude had to chill. It was too bad he didn’t have any pokalolo, the Hawaiian thought a little nostalgically. Maybe if they ever got some leave... Not that Grif’d ever been a big smoker of the stuff what with having to keep an eye on a freaking wild child like Kai. He’d had to keep his wits about him to some degree.

Man, what he was really thinking about at that moment, though? Was how he wanted to take that damn skintight crap off. Get into some comfortable civvies. But, he wasn’t sure how to do it without Simmons getting all weird… And, seriously, how could the nerd actually relax, either, if he was still wearing the under armor protective suit. It was alright. More comfortable then you’d think, but not really meant for…

Anyway, maybe later. Simmons was still a little too uptight. And, if Grif suggested they change right now, he could totally see Simmons going to his room, and then pussin’ out, and not coming back. And, Grif had put too much energy, no joke, his seriously limited energy into this for that shit.

One good thing about Simmons freak out that day was that Grif had got to catnap all day in-between keeping an eye on him without getting’ bitched out for once. That was pretty much how it always worked when Simmons had a bad day, though. Grif wasn’t sure what had been different this time… what had led to him calling him over, instead of just snoozin’ a little more, and then checking in on him again in a little while…

Well, whatever the hell the reason, there they were, and with how much Simmons had rested his weight against, and into, him when Grif had sat right beside him, pressed against him… well, shit, Grif was pretty sure the kissass would have already climbed into his lap, by that point, if he didn’t always have to over-fucking-think every damn thing…

Speaking of laps… Simmons distracted Grif from his thoughts by reaching into his lap where Grif had set the carton of booze, and tentatively wrapping long, slender fingers around the neck of a bottle…

“Oh, no, no, no,” Grif stopped him, as he unwrapped his fingers, one by one.

Simmons hand twitched under his, and Grif swallowed, and thought, Fuck, this dude has got to stop being so antsy about every damn thing. It was giving him ideas.

Now, Grif was the one clearing his throat. Freaking ridiculous. “Let me open it, dude. You’ll probably break a nail.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?!,” Simmons rapid fired the question out, instantly tense again.

“It means…,” Grif joked lazily, being a typical insensitive prick, as per usual, “You need a man’s hand to open a man’s beer.”

Simmons screeched, “Fuck you! I am a man!”

Grif clucked his tongue a little playfully, “I dunno, Simmons… When you gotta yell it like that…”

Add oblivious to the mood of the room to that.

[“What did I tell you about him!,” Richard snarled angrily in Simmons mind, “He’s like all the rest! You can’t let your guard down. Give it a little time, and he’ll be calling you a fruity faggot boy! Now, let’s fucking GO!”]

Simmons shifted. Fury radiating off of him, and Grif, though slow on the uptake due to not always being the most sensitive of people, realized that he had pushed him too far… again. He, honestly, couldn’t seem to help himself with this guy. It was like a compulsion.

Before Simmons could get up, Grif touched the back of his hand,

[Richard immediately attempted to separate himself. It wasn’t always as easy as people thought…]

…pressed down lightly…

[Another man (boy) touching their bare skin… even if just on the hand…]

…a slight squeeze…

[Terrified of what this could bring up. Bring back. Because this was- Wrong, Wrong. Not allowed. NOT ALLOWED. Richard expected the *ssssnnnaap* Excruciating pain, every nerve ending on fire… instead… he saw Jimmy… A memory of Jimmy’s first betrayal… that, in a sense, led to it all… and maybe,... for Richard, anyway?... that hurt even more…]

“Alright, alright, chill out, dammit. I’ll show you, okay?,” Grif soothed/complained, “Christ, Simmons, just calm the fuck down. I was just messin’ with you, man.”

Simmons was still trembling with the aftershocks of his surge of outrage (And, unbeknownst to him, the slight bleeding through of Richard’s memories), but, at least, Richard had quieted down. Simmons didn’t know why. As soon as Grif had touched him, Richard had went strangely silent and still. Like he’d locked himself away, although Simmons had still felt him there. Not anymore, though. He’d hid away, again.

The redhead’s thoughts turned, then, to Grif… teasing him like he was a fuckin’ girl… and he licked his dry lips, unwittingly drawing Grif’s attention.

Simmons asked in a hushed tone, “It’s the hair, right?”

Grif didn’t answer. Just watched his lips move…

“It’s too long, right?… Like s-sissy, f-faggot hair?,” Simmons voice cracked, and Grif finally looked up into his eyes. Startled. Simmons’ big, green eyes looked suspiciously damp.

Grif went to make a gesture toward his own longish dark hair, and he realized… that his hand was still lying comfortably on top of Simmons’. Grif had… forgotten. Lost track, somehow. And, by the surprised look on Simmons face when he followed his gaze, he had as well. It had just felt so natural, so normal for them. Like they’d done it a hundred times before… but, now, the feeling was passing, and Grif removed his hand. He forced himself to be chill, be cool about it… when what he really wanted to do was run his fingers up pale, creamy skin, grab that “sissy” ponytail (Gimmee a break with that shit. I mean, what the fuck?), and pull him down…

Oh Christ, he must have been losin’ it. He was so glad that the carton was in his lap, even if it had suddenly gotten strangely uncomfortable. Shit! The pillow. A beer carton. He wondered if he was going to spend the rest of the night hiding an inappropriately timed boner. He was… He just needed to… Uhhh!!! Fuck this confusing asshole!... Umm… Nope. That was pretty much exactly what he’d meant.

Out of the corner of his eye, Grif saw Simmons… running a hand furtively over his shiny red hair, and down the tail. Like he was trying to take advantage of Grif spacing out to measure it. As if he was unsure of its length. Was he worried it had gotten too long?

Grif wanted to ask him, to drawl out sarcastically, “How long until it reaches official ‘sissy, faggot’ length, Simmons?” But, he didn’t. Somehow, his mouth didn’t run away from him that time. And, anyway, he knew those hadn’t really been Simmons words. He’d looked too sick when he said them.

“Dude? Simmons? Look, here,” Grif drew his attention back to him, and away from his own thoughts, by placing a bottle back into his hand, “Normally, people -pussy people-,” He tried to lighten the mood by being an insensitive prick, again, because sometimes he was kind of an idiot, “use a bottle opener for this kind of bottle, but you don’t gotta if you… here let me show…”

Simmons nodded, but when Grif caught hold of the other man’s left arm, firmly settled his hand back overtop Simmons, and, then, went to lean over him… The redhead practically swooned. Trembling slightly, and listing toward him… It freaked Grif OUT. Despite the virgin cracks, -uh, jokes! Jokes!-, it really was like Simmons had never been touched. Even just like this. And, considering Grif’s history with hooking up with people, this… this was, uh… very different.

He went to back off. Seriously, wasn’t Simmons all traumatized or something, by something in his past, and he wanted to “smell” the beer before he decided if he wanted to drink it, and, holy shit, what the fuck was happening…

Before Grif could more than think these thoughts, Simmons was catching his hand, and murmuring in a voice too low, too submissive to seem like it wasn’t outta a damn kinky dream, “Show me?”

Ohhh fuuuuck. It was Basic all over, again. This pretty boy son of a bitch was on his bed (Well, he guessed he’d been on Simmons’ bunk that time.), being all frickin’ oblivious n’ shit! One minute he could be a total asshole, and the next… Oh man, Grif needed to put something sweet in his mouth right at that very moment, or he was going to jump the kissass. And, let’s just say Donut hadn’t exactly been wrong… about him… and his mouth… (And, no, the Rookie did not know from personal experience, goddammit. He was just so damn nosy, he inevitably found out shit that was none of his business... )... It was practically a medical condition!

“Erm… I’m starving,” Grif muttered.

Simmons had been looking down at their joined hands, but Grif’s words caused him to look up, and scowl, all submissive attitude noticeably gone with the wind, “Are you fucking kidding me? After the food Donut brought us, and all those sweets? Wait… You know what? Why am I even surprised?”

“I don’t know, Simmons. Why are you?,” Grif asked in mock-seriousness, “You’d think you didn’t know me, or something…”

Fuck. Grif didn’t know why he kept saying shit like that. Why the hell was it suddenly so important that this kissass know him? Even his supposed bad traits? Hey, he couldn’t help it if he had an oral fixation and was an emotional eater, and he hadn’t gotten laid since before he got Drafted, for fuck’s sake!

He gave the hell up, and pulled Simmons arm, and the beer, over to the edge of the “bunk”side drawer, and hooked the lip of the bottle cap on its edge, “Now, you can do this easy cause it’s metal. But, dude, seriously, don’t do it on anything wood. You’ll fuck it up, and get yelled at.”

When Simmons just looked questioningly at him, Grif leaned more across him, and sighed, “Come on, man. Do I gotta teach you everything. You gotta smack it with the flat of your hand…”

Simmons sniffed derisively (Where was Richard? This was weird. Maybe, he really didn’t like Grif…), “Shut up, dumbass. You couldn’t teach me anything if you tried.” But, Simmons followed Grif’s directions, anyway, and low and behold…

“I did it!,” Simmons flashed such a self-gratified grin that Grif chuckled. God, he was such a fucking (cute ass) nerd. He really must have been on a sugar high. If that was a real thing. Grif had his doubts.

But, the Hawaiian found himself squeezing the redhead’s arm a little, and he said teasingly, “Good job, kissass. I’m so proud of you.”

“Y-You are?” Those big green eyes pinned him in place.

Uh-oh. How could Grif have forgotten about this. He patted the pretty boy, a little awkwardly, “Sure, buddy. Why not?... So… Are you gonna just keep… staring at me, or?”

“Oh! Uh, I WAS NOT! I… wh-what are we doing again?”

“You wanted to “smell” the beer, or something?… Hey, don’t give me that face! I’m fuckin’ not making fun of you… this time. But, next time goes double,” Grif promised, “Ya know, to make up for me havin’ to be all sensitive an’ shit.”

Simmons snorted in exasperation, “You are such an asshole.”

“Ya, ya, get ta’ sniffin’. I’m telling you, man, it does not smell the same. But, don’t take my word for it.”

“I won’t.” Simmons huffed. And, he raised the bottle up to his face, closed his eyes, breathed in through his pert little nose …

Silence.

Oh, Grif hated too much silence. It made him nervous. Grif realized he was still holding, clutching now, the kissass’ arm, and decided, ‘Fuck it’, he’d just keep ahold of him.

Right when Grif was about to open his mouth, and spew out God knows what nonsense, Simmons' eyes opened, and he cocked his pretty little redhead slightly, “It is different. No sensory memory connected to it. Hmm… Although, it IS an alcoholic beverage… Hmph. That’s an interesting anomaly…

“Ahh fuuu-, Simmons, dude, don’t, don’t do that. The nerd stuff. It’s melting my fucking braaain…,” Grif finally let go of him, but he knocked his shoulder playfully against the redhead’s so he didn’t decide to get all pissy, “…So… how have you not smelled beer before? That’s sorta fuckin’… strange, man.”

“My family was more… a hard liq- no, no, lemme open yours,” Simmons, grateful to focus on something else, snatched Grif’s beer before he could open it on his own, *Smaack* “… Ha! I did it, again, sucker!... Still… proud of me?”

“Yes, Simmons,” Grif said, completely deadpan, as he took his beer back from the much too pleased with himself other man, “I’m very, very proud of you.”

Red Team blush made another appearance, and Simmons decided, like a very intelligent human being, to take his first too big gulp of beer while he was all flustered an’ shit. So, of course, he coughed, and choked, snarfed foam up his nose, and, generally, made a fool of himself.

“Simmons, Simmons,” Grif shook his head sadly at him, “You goddamn noob. What am I gonna do with you? You’re not supposed to drink it through your nose."

“Sh- *Snar-aAaAaAaacchoo!*…ut up, asshole!,” Simmons sneezed/bitched.

o0o0o0o0o

Simmons was wandering around the room. He was halfway through his second, and last, beer, because, frankly, the kissass had started getting… mellow after only one, and Grif had cut him off at the two. Grif had just started the last one of the batch, which was his fourth.

The redhead had gotten up, and started his drifting about the room. Mumbling about how he was surprised it was actually fairly clean…

Grif raised his dark eyebrows at him, “Really, Simmons? It’s clean, because you clean it for me. You said you couldn’t stand the idea of someone, even a ‘lazy asshole’ like me, living in a toxic waste dump.”

“I know that!,” Simmons glared at him, “I meant that you haven’t… I mean, since I cleaned it last… you haven’t trashed it that bad. That’s all.”

“You mean since you cleaned it this morning?,” Grif asked, innocently enough, he thought.

“Yes, you dumbass!,” Simmons yelled, throwing his arms up, and almost sloshing his beer all over the floor.

Simmons really didn’t want to be an asshole, right then. It wasn’t actually warranted, for once. But he was, somehow, buzzed on one and a half beers (Maybe, due to having been a booze neophyte.), and… he was worrying about Richard.

He knew Richard didn’t seem to like certain kinds of things, anymore. Especially of the… relationships with other people variety. And, overall, he didn’t want to be around for anything to do with them. So, it wasn’t weird or strange for him to not be there, right now. At all. So Simmons didn’t understand why he felt… disquieted, concerned…fucking WORRIED about him.

Grif watched Simmons as he paced. The kissass was obviously worried about stuff. It’d been a shit day for him, and, now, he wasn’t relaxing, at all, like he was supposed to. The Hawaiian found himself calling softly out to him. For some reason he couldn’t fathom, he didn’t speak to him in English.

E kipa mai,” Grif called in a low tone. Simmons turned, as he’d been facing away from him, and Grif repeated it. “E kipa mai.” He beckoned the redhead over to him with a barely noticeable motion of his hand. Simmons didn’t know what he’d said, but… he went to him. There was a part of him that argued that he shouldn’t be so fucking… quick to follow Grif’s ‘orders’ -Because, sometimes? That’s what they felt like- when they were alone. But, it had been a hard day, and Simmons wasn’t in the mood for games.

He, literally, thought that what he really wanted to do, at that moment, was… go sit in Grif’s lap. (And, maybe, he was getting a bit drunk to be admitting this stuff. Even, to himself.) Not in a… you know, kind of way. Not right now, anyway. (Oh no, was he blushing?) But, for comfort. He wasn’t sure why he knew that if he really needed it, Grif would offer him that. He just did…

And, sure enough, when he got close enough, Grif muttered, in English this time, “Come here", as he snagged the redhead’s arm, pulled him over to sit back down next to him (So much up and down, up and down…), and with his strong, thick arm wrapped securely around Simmons’ slim waist, Grif asked, “So, what’s up? What are you all messed up about? Just tell me, man.”

Simmons thought of Richard. That voice that had started out as his friend. That had helped him so many times… Had become like a brother to him. The only family he really had left. And, then, had started to make unbelievable, terrifying, life-threatening life choices for him…

Shockingly, Simmons was just intoxicated enough to whisper to Grif, “I…I have a secret…”

“Oh, yeah? You gonna tell me what it is?,” Grif asked, trying to sound chill. He was sure this son of bitch was talking about being in the closet.

“There’s this… side of me… that I have to… hi-hide… ,” Simmons spoke so, so quietly, like he was trying to not be overheard…, “It’s really s-scary… sometimes…” His voice cracked.

“Hey, man, it’s cool, I get it.” Grif almost sounded calm. Laid-back. Almost. “You don’t… uh…” Fuck. He was trying. “You don’t gotta hide it… from me. I mean, I don’t care. I don’t judge. I mean, I DO, but not for that

“…O-Okay…I’ll… I’ll try to remember that…,” Simmons murmured, and he’d actually rested his head down on Grif’s shoulder. Closed his eyes. After a long moment of this, Grif couldn’t help himself, and he’d ran his hand up from around Simmons’ waist to trailing up his back, his spine, into that bright red hair, -Simmons had shivered deliciously-… and Grif had started to loosen and pull the hair tie out…

The redhead had popped up from off Grif’s shoulder, and turned toward him, startled. Simmons was so goddamn insecure about his sexy hair being like “sissy” hair. With how he seemed to feel about it, God knew why he had it long, at all.

Grif froze. His hand partway in that hair that drove him fucking insane. He wanted to burn all of Simmons' stupid hair ties.

Grif felt like a goddamn creep, and he thought quickly. Fuck, he was really having to do that a lot with Simmons on that particular night. Good thing he'd got to sleep practically all day. “Uhh…You gotta… let your hair down at a…uh, a sleepover? R-Right?,” Grif stuttered a little, sounding almost like Simmons, for Christ’s sake.

“Is that what… are we having a sleepover?,” Simmons asked, a little… hopefully? The word (‘sleepover’) reverberating in a strange way though his head. He almost thought he felt Richard… very fleetingly. Was he… sad? He was… He was gone, again.

“Erm…um… sure?... If you… want to?,” Grif agreed, questioningly. His room did have an extra bunk, if that’s what was actually going on… All theirs did, but since they were such a small squad they had their own rooms.

“Oh… okay,” Simmons said, much to agreeably for him, and Grif thought, ‘What the what?’, and then Simmons was helping him pull his hair tie out, and kinda… shaking his deep red hair out… Ah, Jesus F’n Christ. It had that little crease across it from being tied down too tight all day, but Grif couldn’t give two shits about that. If he ever got to sleep with this pretty boy, kissass, nerd, sexy son of a bitch he hoped he was cool with him wrapping that shiny red hair around his fist while he… Oh fuck… waaaiit a second…

And, Grif came so, so close to asking Simmons, ‘Wai-wai-wai-wait. Let’s back up. Is this like some, ‘Getting To Know You’ sleepover? Or is it a, ‘We Stay Up, & I Fuck You All Night’ sleepover? Because, uh, if it’s the second one I gotta go see a guy (Donut) about a thing (Lube. Lots of lube for your sweet little virgin ass.).’ Like, he literally thought out the whole thing, and then sorta chickened out. Because, come on, Simmons was a little out of it, a little buzzed, and that would just be fucked up.

And, well… son of a bitch, he was SO not gonna sleep with the kissass, a repressed, closeted neurotic like Simmons, when the guy was sorta goddamn, almost drunk, for God’s sake! -Oh Christ, but he wanted to… so fucking bad- … and, anyway, Grif was, kinda, not used to drinking anymore himself… And, being honest?... He sorta, uh, sucked in bed when he’d had a little bit too much booze (Fuck, even he was a lightweight, now)… But, he’d just pretend that that had nothing to do with it, at all, and he was just being all, like, a “gentleman”, or some shit.

Seriously, though, first times were awkward enough. He was not going to let Simmons first time suck. He might be an asshole, but he wasn’t THAT big of an asshole. Grif didn’t know why he just took it as a given that they would be together like that at some point. But, he was buzzed enough himself, to admit that it just kinda felt like something that had been coming for a long time. And, whatever, the frickin’ deal? Simmons was mother fucking his.

… And, he didn’t really know where the hell that’d come from.

Simmons sat the hair tie on the bunkside drawer, and stretched out his long, lean back. There was a tiny pop, and he frowned a little.

Aha! Grif grinned to himself. The time had come.

“This shit’s not comfortable, huh?,” he asked Simmons, all ‘compassionate’-like, “Wanna change into some civvies?”

He was a bad bad man. But he kinda didn’t give a fuck. When was the last time him and the kissass had hung out late into the night in civvies? Just them two? Was it all the way back in Basic when that shit went down? Fuckin’ nuts.

And, anyway, maybe he was feelin’ a little mellow, or some shit, but he wanted to finally see him in that fuckin’ shirt…

Simmons narrowed his eyes, and looked around the room, like his clothes were going to magically appear.

He turned back to Grif, and said guilelessly, “Nope. Don’t got none.”

Pfft. The son of a bitch was a little schnockered.

Grif, once again, thinking fast, suddenly remembered something so goddamn sickeningly “cute”, and ridiculous, that maybe if he tricked Simmons into thinking he’d talked him into wearing it, made some kinda deal, he could finally get Simmons to wear that one shirt… It was such a frickin’ stupid, needlessly complicated plan, it just might work. Mostly, cause Simmons wasn’t on his A game, but Grif would take what he could get.

“Weelll,” Grif purposely sounded a little unsure, “I do have these two shirts that my sister, Kai, sent me when I got stationed here…” She had actually sent them while he was in Basic, buuut Simmons still didn’t quite know all the ins and outs of how all that had worked for him. And the Draft. And how he ended up getting Drafted in the first place… Yeah, maybe he’d tell him about all that, like, if they ever got married, and had a kid one day, or something. *Snort* Yeah, right. “…but I never wore either of them, cause, uhh…” Oh, it was working. Simmons was so fuckin’ easy to figure out.

Simmons was getting excitable. Like the nerd, sometimes, did. Euuughh… Something that made someone else, Grif, in particular, all uncomfortable and embarrassed? Fucking kissass nerd ambrosia. He gripped Grif’s arm in a too tight grasp, “What? What?”

“Uh, one’s just not my style, and the other… oh, fuck, man. It’s just embarrassing. Precious, even. Totally something a chick would pick out… But, whatever. You probably don’t even give a shit. Don’t know why the fuck I’m telling you…,” Grif trailed off, and counted in his mind. One. Two. Thr-

“Grif, show me right. now.,” Simmons demanded, “Go. Go, get them, dumbass! Where are they?”

“Ahhh, I dunno… Booze makes you even bossier, man…”

After, a minute or two, not so long that the somehow booze-addled on practically nothing Simmons could lose interest, though, Grif pretended to be talked, or bossed into it. Let the kissass think he was top dog…

Grif went to his foot locker, and pulled out two t-shirts. Still wrapped up from when they had been sent. He only showed Simmons the one, at first.

“What the hell,” Simmons exclaimed, without thinking, “That’s fuckin’ cute as shit.”

Ha! Simmons said ‘cute’. Nerd.

But, it kinda was. It was a roomy, 2XL black t-shirt with a frickin’ adorable red panda embossed on the front. It looked like it was clinging to the wearer of the t-shirt’s belly, and looking over its shoulder. Its striped tail curved around to the back of the t-shirt, and its eyes were a molten golden orange.

After a beat of simply staring at it, Simmons nodded his head decisively, “You have to wear it. Like Right. Fuckin’. Now.”

“Nah,” Grif squinted his eyes at it in apparent disgust, “It’s too lame, dude.”

“Griiiifff,” Whiny Simmons had come out to play, “Come ooonnn. You can NOT show me something like that, and… At least, let me see it on.”

Grif eyed him thoughtfully, “Ahh… I guess I could wear it… but, then you gotta wear the other one. Deal?”

He said the last bit quickly, so Simmons would simply agree without a lot of thought, but even lightly toasted (Mmmm…Toast…), Simmons was too wily for him. The redhead’s green eyes narrowed suspiciously, “Lemme see it first.”

“Alright,” Grif agreed readily enough, as he unwrapped the shirt that Kai had actually gotten for Simmons. Not that the nerd knew that. Apparently, Grif had mentioned the kissass in passing like an idiot when talking to Kai (He kinda had gotten a couple of ‘privileges’ that others had to earn, due to his unique situation, and… whatever.), while still back in Basic, for fuck’s sake. He hadn’t thought anything of it, until he’d received a care package from Sister with the silly ass red panda t-shirt, some other shit, and… the shirt that was apparently for Simmons.

It was reddish (Almost maroon.), had a gold crown on it, was also 2XL, and had writing in Hawaiian. When translated to English it said…oh, fuckin’ Kai…it said, “You’re My Royal Bitch, Baby”. It had a note on it saying, “For your pretty boy toy & future husband!”. Oh, fuckin’ shit, Thank God Simmons hadn’t seen that.

When Grif had next talked to Sister, he had said, not bothering to bitch at her about sending it in the first place (She was Kai. What would be the point?)…

Isn’t that a little confusing, Sis? I mean, who is whose bitch here? The person wearing the shirt, or the person reading it?“

"He’s your bitch, duh! Shouldn't you know that?,” She’d answered him like she normally did. Like he was an idiot, “But, seriously, Grif, I don’t really need to know how you farm your hoes these days.”

“Yeah, right… Wait… what!? What the hell does that even mean, Kai? And, I’m NOT giving it to him. He’s just… some guy… I don’t even remember mentioning him to you…” Grif might've sounded a tad grouchy.

“Oh yeah? You said, ‘You had to go, the kissass was being a little bitch about you guys running late,’ ” Sister tried to “jog” his memory.

“Ah, fuck that,” Grif replied firmly, without thinking, “We weren’t even late. He just wants to be early to every damn thing…”

“And, then,” Kai continued happily, "I asked, ‘What did you find yourself a pretty boy? Kira said that’s what you really needed!'”

“Oh man, fuck that, too!”

"Yeah, cool, right? That’s pretty much what you said back then, too! But, you didn’t say ’nu-uuu-ooo’, “ she’d sing-songed in his ear.

“Sister, quit your crap,” He’d had to get all stern n’ shit on her bratty butt, “… Alright, fine. Whatever. Why the hell is it so big, though? It’d be a little loose on me, Sis. So, it would probably fall right off the dude.”

“Right?! It’s the perfect plan!”

“Sure, Sure… Wait-What!?”

Well, fuck it. Of course, when Grif pulled the t-shirt out for Simmons for their little “sleepover” -What were they? Frickin’ twelve?- (He, conveniently, forgot it was his suggestion to begin with.), the redhead was made even more suspicious by it saying stuff in Hawaiian. But Grif had played it off so damn well, he was both proud and sorta ashamed of himself. Calmly claiming it said, “I’m the King, Baby” (He didn’t really like to be such an outright fuckin’ lair, and he swore to himself, he would tell Simmons what it really said when the redhead had actually chilled out for once.).

The crown on it must’ve convinced him, because Simmons scoffed as he took it, and stood, “The ‘King’, Grif? Really? And, you say I’m arrogant… This is gonna be huge on me.”

Grif smirked a little to himself, and then Simmons’ cheeks flamed Red Team Red all over the place, and he squeaked at Grif, “W-Wait a damn minute! I don’t have any sh-shorts!”

Grif could see that Simmons was about to back out. Mere seconds from full-blown pussification, and retreat.

So, Grif quirked a dark eyebrow at the other man who was nervously shifting from foot to foot, and snickered at him, “You got boxers on, don’t you? Those are basically shorts, dude. So, what’s the problem? You goin’ commando, or somethin’?”

Simmons yelped, “No! Shut your fat mouth, asshole!”

Hmmm,” Grif grinned languidly at him, “I dunno, Simmons. Now, I just don’t think I believe you. Otherwise, what’s the big deal? Huh? Come on, Simmons, you wanna tell me some-”

“Fine! Fine. Dumbass.,” Simmons growled, “Just, just Turn. Around!”

Simmons, and that sexy little growl. Ah, music to Grif’s ears. Was it any wonder he loved to piss him off?

“Whatever,” Grif waved a hand lethargically at him, but turned around, and started to change himself, telling Simmons, “You can watch me change if you want, though, dude…”

“I-I wasn’t!”

The Hawaiian couldn't help but laugh, a little evilly, at Simmons little squeak of protest.

When the kissass told him he could turn back around, Grif’s stupid fuckin’mouth got the better of him, again, and as he turned, he was complaining jokingly, but kinda meaning it, too, “I don’t know what the big deal is, anyway. It’s not like I haven’t seen you, basically, well, ya know, naked in the showers, and…”

He stopped talking as he had turned enough to catch sight of the other man, and holy hell, the shirt was huge on him… and he had on maroon boxers! (Never mind that Grif’s were orange and red striped.) That was kinda fuckin’ hilarious… But… he looked good. Grif sorta wanted… just a little bit, dammit!... to tumble him down onto his bunk, pin him, and just keep him there. You’re mine, bitch.

But, then, Grif realized that Simmons was looking really embarrassed. Almost, like he was gonna f’n faint. And, Grif’s smirky little smile disappeared in a flash, as he had a moment to freak out about whether or not he’d said that shit out loud. Ya know, since the whole day, and into that night, his fucking mouth couldn’t seem to get itself under control. He couldn’t even, at that particular moment, remember what he’d said mere moments before. About showers, and Simmons, and naked.

And, then, Simmons was on the move. He grabbed what was left of his second beer, and downed it, and then grabbed Grif’s last one that was, also, sitting on the bunkside drawer, and took a huge swallow.

“Hey! That’s mine,” Grif grouched.

Simmons choked, and coughed, and took a small sip before he spoke, a little desperately, “Uh-uh. No, no, no fucking way. After you said that s-shit? It’s mine, now.”

Grif, honestly, still couldn’t quite recall what he’d even said, at that point. So, he grumbled, but gave up. A little too lazy, and mellow, anyway, to bother fighting him for it. (And,… he didn’t want him to leave… )

Simmons took a step. And, suddenly, got a little bit woozy. He was starting to feel sorta relaxed, but kinda dizzy for some reason… Wait… wasn’t he supposed to be pissed about something? He needed to lay down.

So he did. He crawled into Grif’s bunk, while the other man stood there watching him, a bit astounded by his quick change of mood. There may as well not even have been another bunk in the room, and Grif sure as fuck was not going to remind him that there was.

Simmons stretched out, contentedly, on the bed with a million pillows. Wow, Grif really had a lot of pillows... Well, maybe not technically a million. Lessee here… hmmm… One… Two…

“Simmons?”

…Three… Four…

“Simmons, what the fuck? Move over. That’s my spot,” Grif informed the kissass bitchily. Okay, maybe the whole bed was his spot, but it was the principle of the thing. He was the freaking boss around here, dammit! Maybe, he should wear Simmons’ ‘I’m the King, Baby’ shirt! He kinda forgot that wasn’t really what it actually said.

…Five… Six… This was fucking just silly

“Don’t make me pick you up, and toss you half a foot across the goddamn bed,” Grif threatened.

That got Simmons attention. He narrowed his eyes, “You wouldn’t dare.”

Grif narrowed his eyes right back at the kissass, and then… there was that devilish Grif grin, again, “Oh, wouldn’t I?”

He stepped up to the side of the bed, and placed a large hand on the redhead’s bare knee, making him shiver. His fingers slowly started to slide under…

“O-Okay! Okay!,” Simmons yelped out, “You would! You would! Just… climb over me, you lazy asshole!”

Grif looked a little taken aback, and his hand settled back onto the top of the redhead’s knee, “Uhh… I… I’m…”

Then, he was smirking, “I’m a little unsteady from the booze, man. I might ‘fall’ on you.”

“Don’t you d-dare!,” Simmons scowled at him, “You could suffocate me, dumbass!”

Grif leaned close to him, giving his captured knee a light squeeze, and murmured, voice a little rough, “What if I just fall on you… a little bit?”

Simmons looked like he was actually thinking about it… But, then, he just looked, and sounded, baffled. “… Huh? I don’t get it. How does that… How do you… What?”

Grif started to laugh, as he released him, and straightened up, “ You are actually goddamn soused on like two and half beers! I can see it in your fuckin’ eyes! Ooh, Baby… That’s… You poor son of a bitch. I can’t believe that shit… I don’t know… Whelp, whatever… Come on, move those skinny ass legs so I can get into the bed.”

Grif lifted Simmons legs, practically draping them over his left shoulder as he climbed in to lay on the side of the bed that was against the wall.

Simmons eeped, and pulled down the too big t-shirt that had ridden up when Grif had, literally, lifted the lower half of his body off the bed like he weighed nothing, at all. Simmons knew he was on the skinny side, but…

The redhead drank more of his commandeered liquid ‘please help me quit being a pussy’, and then he drained it (This lightweight son of a bitch. Who’d been feeling it after one. Oh, boy.).

Grif was distracted screwing around with his pillows. Mountaining them up even more, so he could lay down, while reclining up. Like it was a fucking hospital bed or…

Hmmm…the redhead suddenly forgot what he thinking… What was that one… huh? *Hiccup*

The booze was really going to his head, now.

Grif laid back, and sighed comfortably. This was… Relaxing. Nice (Not that he’d admit that out loud, or anything. He was too busy trying to figure out if he’d accidently called the kissass ‘Baby’ a little bit ago.).

Grif felt the pretty boy nerd’s eyes on him.

He turned his head… and the kissass was right there. Grif opened his mouth. And, it just came out! Again! More. Stuff. He. Shouldn’t. Be. Saying!

Ka nani,” Grif murmured, his eyes flicking lazily over each finely made feature.

Griiif”, Simmons whined in reply, “I don’t wanna.”

“Don’t wan-… what?,” the Hawaiian man sobered a bit. Literally, and figuratively.

“Don’t wanna be pretty. It’s fucking embarrassing as fuck!…”

“Holy Shit,” Grif was freaked out. Was this that ‘Hive Mind’ thing Simmons told him about before?, “Who said you’re pretty? Did you just read my mind, you nosy little bitch?”, Grif questioned him suspiciously. Considering he had literally just called him ‘the pretty one’, and Simmons’d came to him, earlier, when he’d asked him to, ‘Come to me’, in a language Simmons was supposed to not understand, Grif really couldn’t be blamed for being a little unsettled. Maybe, the two of them really were that much on the same wavelength?

Simmons, either, ignored him, or didn’t seem to hear him, and continued with his whiney-assedness, “Dammit! Don’t wanna be pretty, I said!”, he leaned forward… close, so close… Oh, my God, was he going to kiss him…? Fucking finally. This whole, letting Simmons make the moves, because the kissass was a goddamn lightweight, and Grif had to, for some unknown reason, be a halfway decent human being was some serious bullshit. Not being a total creep was hard work… But, who gave a shit, cause the kissass was fucking finally gonna make his move, and, then, Grif would take over, and show him what’s fucking what…

And, that’s when Simmons, so fucking close he could have licked the tip of the Hawaiian’s… nose… patted Grif’s surprised face with one slender long-fingered hand, instead. *Pat* *Pat* “Wanna be handsome, like you.”

“H-handsome?” Oh, mother fucking Christ. Did his voice just crack like Simmons?... Then, Grif snorted, and he barked out a laugh. “Dude, you really are drunk! I shouldn’t have let you steal my last one. Pffft, ‘handsome’. Oh, man… here, gimme my beer back, you lightweight son of a bitch.”

Grif reached over to snatch the bottle from the blitzed out kissass reclining beside him on his bed, but Simmons took advantage of his longer reach to hold the bottle out over the far side of the bed, -God knows why he bothered, it being EMPTY, and all. He was just obstinate- and the redhead complained, “Nuuuu, It’s mine. Stole it fair and square. Red Army Handbook section on Search and Seizure says…”

Collapsing back down beside the redhead in defeat, Grif warned, “Oh man, you start with that shit, and you might just get popped.”

“…Whaa?,” Simmons blinked owlishly at him.

Grif growled, “In the face, nerd!”

“Oh….Fucking ruuude.” *Hic* And, good ol’ Simmons just tittered to himself.

Grif watched him carefully, and, finally, he snorted out another laugh. He was not nearly as blitzed as the whiner. Like, not even close. More a little buzzed, and just chill. “Christ, you are smashed, man. How is that even possible. How many…come on, with the one you stole from me -thanks for that, by the way, you asshole-, you’ve had what? Almost three? (He didn’t realize Simmons had finished the third.) Two and a half? Dude, that’s taking lightweight to a whole new level… Just… behave yourself. I don’t need Donut all up my ass… uh, fuck… I mean, I don’t need him bitchin’ me out about getting you drunk...”

“ ’Behave’ myself, hmph…,” Simmons muttered, thinking of Richard’s earlier similar words, “everybody’s bossing me around.” Simmons was no longer amused.

“Yeah, but, dude?,” Grif gave him a crooked smile, “Be real. You like that.”

“Hmmm… know what? I was thinking…. I was going to, uh, maybe… I wanna… um, never mind, I forgot.” But, despite Simmons claim, he suddenly sat up, and leaned over top Grif, surprising the hell out of him. The redhead murmured, “I want…”

Simmons fell silent. Hovering over him. Large green eyes flicking from Grif’s dark blue ones, to his lips… lingering… down to his chest…

Oh Fuck, Grif thought. All he’d have to do was wrap an arm around his waist… pull him down… just don’t let the kissass look any lower, because this back and forth thing was driving Grif crazy.

Simmons was still hovering over him, and he pretty obviously wasn’t in the most sober state of mind.

And, it was at that moment, when Grif was starting to seriously question his resolve, that the redhead’s eyes caught sight of something on him. Glinting in the room’s dim light.

And the pretty boy reached out… and touched it…

Chapter Text

[“What did I tell you about him!,” Richard snarled angrily in Simmons' mind, “He’s like all the rest! You can’t let your guard down. Give it a little time, and he’ll be calling you a fruity faggot boy! Now, let’s fucking GO!”]

Simmons shifted. Fury radiating off of him, and Grif, though slow on the uptake due to not always being the most sensitive of people, realized that he had pushed him too far… again. He, honestly, couldn’t seem to help himself with this guy. It was like a compulsion.

Before Simmons could get up, Grif touched the back of his hand,

[Richard immediately attempted to separate himself. It wasn’t always as easy as people thought…]

…pressed down lightly…

[Another man (boy) touching their bare skin… even if just on the hand…]

…a slight squeeze…

[Terrified of what this could bring up. Bring back. Because this was- Wrong, Wrong. Not allowed. NOT ALLOWED. Richard expected the *ssssnnnaap* Excruciating pain, every nerve ending on fire… instead… he saw Jimmy… A memory of Jimmy’s first betrayal… that, in a sense, led to it all… and maybe,... for Richard, anyway?... that hurt even more…

He hardly had time to move back. Away. Separate. “The kid can’t know. He can’t remember. If this, then everything. If THIS, then EVERYTHING. I am Richard. I am Richard. I am me…”

The memory hit…

Encompassing him in its warmth,

Drowning him in its waves,

And within it…

…He was lost.]

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧✧✧

The redhead was tall for his age. Only fourteen. A strange combination of too innocent, and much too knowing. The tall boy laid his hand atop of his friend’s own smaller, delicate one.

“Richie, don’t. Don’t touch me.” Jimmy, nearly a year older, though smaller, and in the same grade, had been his best friend since first grade. But, now, he pulled away as if he’d been burned by hellfire, “You know they said it’s wrong. Why are you even here, Richie? Do your parents know you’re here?”

Of course not! And STOP calling me that. I’m not “Richie” or… or “Richard”. You haven’t called me that since we were little kids. When we first met! Can’t you just call me ‘Simmons’, like you used to? Like everyone at school does? I mean, just cause you were always the only ‘Jimmy’ at school, doesn’t mean I was the only ‘Ri-Richard’… even before… you know…”

When the other boy didn’t answer, the redhead went on, urgently, “Come on, Jimmy, don’t be like this. I had to come. I could get in… a lot of trouble, you know. My mother could always tell… But, I haven’t seen you in forever! And, you’re- you’re still my best friend… no matter about your other stuff with… Anyway, I was worried about you. I mean, they pulled you out of the school! You were going there even before I was, and then all the sudden my arm was all messed up, and you were gone! And, I heard the other kids whispering about some… retreat? Or something? They won’t tell me what they’re talking about. They said, ‘You’ll find out pretty soon, f-fruity fagg- Jimmy, they’re calling me names again! Right in front of the teachers, too!... But, at least… my-my father…since my arm?... is gone… He probably didn’t want to pay expensive hospital bills just cause I’m… clumsy…”

“What are you talking about? That’s not what happ- And, I just saw him at the Church… “ Jimmy shook his head, “It’s... It's your Demon, Richie. He’s lying to you, again.”

“Ah, man. Jimmy, don’t… How can you even say that? Maybe I should’ve never told you,” the redhead murmured, and then he kicked at one of the newel posts on the bed they sat on, as he cried out angrily, “and he’s NOT a demon!”

“Yes, he IS. He has to be. Y-You know he is. Who… what else could he be? Can you- Do you know?” Jimmy glanced at him, then, bowed his dark head. They’d cut his hair. His “too pretty girl hair”. The redhead wanted to ask him about it. Ask him where he was going to school now, if not their private school geared toward raising future God-fearing gentle-natured women, and strong, intelligent men’s men. But, then, the smaller boy continued, his voice turned snooty and all-knowing, “He’s probably a Demon of Temptation and Homosexu-“

“No! Stop! Why would you say something like that! I thought you were the one who first... Rich-… He said you... Then, why don’t you have one, dammit!?”

Richie,” Jimmy sounded appalled, “you swore. You never swear.”

“Yeah? Well, who cares? I don’t know about you, but I get in trouble no matter how good I try to be. So... s-so, who gives a, a SHIT!” He stuttered, but still showed an admirable amount of bravado.

“Maybe, he’s the Demon of Foul Language, too!,” Jimmy cried out, not appearing at all impressed, “And… and, at least, I’m trying to get better! I... I asked to go to the Camp. But, you, I heard you’re always fighting going, and getting help. Or, is that your Demon doing that?… Look…,” Jimmy seemed to try to calm himself, “I-I know your father shouldn’t have done that… to your arm… but it’s almost better, now, so you can go…”

“My f-father?,” the boy’s face went splotchy in shock, and turned as red as his hair, “… He… d-did that?…Br-broke-”

The tall boy’s eyes closed, it seemed, in disbelief.

But, when they opened again, no more than a handful of seconds later, his large green eyes were now cold.

“You dumb son of a bitch!,” Richard growled, his voice more than slightly different. More confident. More aggressive. “What is wrong with you?”

Richard…,” Jimmy breathed, listing unconsciously toward him.

“I thought I was a ‘Demon’, Jimmy?,” Richard scowled as he stood, and began to pace, “I can’t believe you! We trusted you!”

“I don't really- But you- The Church says, … and the… the Book …”

“You actually think I’m a frickin’ demon? You couldn’t have told me that sooner? And, of all that ridiculous crap! For real?”

“I… I wouldn’t care... even if you were… Will you come back… and sit by me… please? I haven’t seen you in so long… My parents will be home in a while…”

“You’re seriously messed up, Jimmy. You can’t just play both sides… And, what the hell?...,” Jimmy flinched at the word, “… Why’d you say all that stuff to the Ki-, to Simmons? What were you thinking? I thought you guys were best friends!”

“We were... We are!… But… Richard… they’re not letting us be friends, at all, anymore! They even pulled me out of the school! You know all that! He-he doesn’t get it. It’s like he doesn’t understand how much time has gone by, and I don’t think he even really understands what we’re in trouble for… And, Richard, I had to tell them I wanted to go to the camp. They’re going to send me, anyway. They were going to last year, but with what happened with Simmons’ arm, and it not healing right… and, uh, they wanted to wait until everything cooled off…”

“Oh, nooow, you call him Simmons… Were you acting like that just to get him all freaked out n’ worked up, so I would come out?...Were you? Answer me!” Richard’s voice was hard. Demanding.

Jimmy was silent. He looked at the ground, blinking a little too hard. Refusing to meet Richard’s piercing green eyes.

“…”

“…”

Richard sighed, giving in, as he knelt in front of the other boy.

“…Jimmy… don’t ever do that to him…,” Richard muttered, taking the smaller boy’s slight hands into his... But, then, he was raising a hand to gently touch the dark-haired boy’s shorn locks, “Shit…Those assholes cut your hair…”

Jimmy had always had his hair fairly long “for a boy”. As had Simmons. It had kind of become a part of their identity. Something their mothers loved, as they had always been praised for having such “lovely, pretty” children when the boys were young. They were both delicate featured. With large eyes, and shiny, long hair. Jimmy’s, raven black, and Simmons’ deep, luscious red. Their fathers had hated it, but had put up with it for a long time. And, as long as it was not more than one inch past the shoulders -yes, they would actually measure it- their school would begrudgingly accept it. (Although, it was later suspected by Richard that this was secretly a way to pinpoint the boys with more “feminine” tendencies that may need a bit of “re-education” regarding their orientation.)

Richard sighed, again, and his hand… (His hand. This was his body, right now. Simmons was -elsewhere- asleep.) his hand settled back down onto Jimmy’s. He gave the other boy’s fingers a slight squeeze. And, Jimmy relaxed into his touch. “Listen. I know what’s been going on. I’m trying to figure it out, alright? There must be something… They can’t control everything… Or, every-damn-body... It’s just hard because I can’t let the K- I can’t let him know how bad things really are…”

Jimmy leaned down. Rested his forehead against Richard’s, “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, “I didn't mean to…”

“…And, I know things have been hard for you, too, but, I can’t have you talking to the K-, to Simmons, about our… father, though. You KNOW, I can’t have him knowing about what really-…”

Richard had continued speaking for a moment before Jimmy’s words hit him, “Wait…” He jerked away, releasing Jimmy’s hands, and sitting heavily back on his haunches, “Wh-... You talked? You talked to them? You know we never talk to them!” He spat out the word.

“…What did you tell them? What did you tell them to protect yourself, Jimmy?... Oh, oh my god… d-did you tell them about… about me and Simmons?”

“I, uh… nothing that wasn’t true!... Kinda… And, no! Not about you two…” The smaller boy looked defiantly at the floor, and mumbled, “They were already going to send both of us, anyway .”

“But, you guys are still practically kids.” Richard shook his head in disbelief. “What do they think could’ve happened? Nothing really did happen!”

Jimmy glanced up, but then quickly looked down again to hide the flash of hurt in his so dark eyes. “Well, that’s not how they seem to see it…,” he mumbled, “And, I’m not a little kid Richard. I’m older than you, er, well, than, Simmons, anyway.”

Richard started to frantically rant, “Well, they wouldn’t see it anyway, at all, if you’d kept your mouth shut! All they had on you, or Simmons, were some damn suspicions because they think you’re both too pretty, and ‘girly’, I guess. And, you just hand it all over. All the proof they need. A verbal confession! Like a dumbass! What’d you say? ‘Yes, Sir, me and my best friend brush each other’s long chick hair, and cuddle, and, most recently, we’ve been playing kissy face, too! At our sleepovers. We’re just a coupla flamin’ fags! Who knows what’ll happen next! Better get out the freaking torches n’ pitchforks. It might be catching!’”

“Richard…,” Jimmy murmured, as he reached out. Touched the other boy’s furiously flushed face.

No!,” Richard irritably slapped his hand away, “Jimmy, we’re all boys here, you idiot! You can’t actually think they were going to react the same as if you’d told them you’d been doing that stuff with a girl. They wouldn’t even have liked that, right now. And, wait… if you didn’t tell them about me, which you shouldn’t, then, you told them… it was you and Simmons? Jimmy! That’s not fair to him! He didn’t really do anything! You two have been having sleepovers for frickin’ years. Since way before I was in the picture. And, don’t tell me your guys’ little brushing each other’s hair, and cuddling like a coulpa sisters is the same as our deal. You just decided to squeal, and mixed all our shit together, didn’t you? Just like I said. Now, they’re thinking a bunch a stuff that never even happened! This is so convoluted, it’s insane! What have you done?!”

“…Richard, please… Are you done, yet? Can we just not think about all that stuff for a while?” Jimmy bit his lip, blew out a long breath, even pouted a little. Very obviously not wanting to face the reality of what was going on, “I don’t know when we’re going to get to see each other, again, after... all this… I… I missed you…“

“You’re un-freaking-believable!… you think I’m some demon of…I don’t even know… gayness, or something…, which, screw you, by the way, who’s the one who started all that stuff with us in the first place, Jimmy? Hmm?...” The dark-haired boy shifted uncomfortably, and Richard continued, “…You asshole… then, you turn around, and betray the Kid…”

“I hate when you call him that,” Jimmy flinched, “It’s super weir-“

“…And me. You betray me, too. I’m TRAPPED in this body, Jimmy! You decide to turn on your best friend, then, you decide to turn on your boyfriend, or whatever the hell I am to you, too… You goddamn traitor!

“RICHARD!,” the smaller boy yelped out, horror-struck, “The Lord’s name!”

Richard scoffed, “Seriously, Jimmy? If I’m a ‘perv’ demon, or something, why would that matter to me?... And hey, why the hell do I gotta be a ‘demon’, anyway? Maybe I’m an angel, a guardian godda-”

“With that nasty Devil mouth?,” Jimmy hissed, cutting him off, “AND, you can’t be an Angel. You-,” Jimmy’s voice dropped to a whisper, “…you like other boys.”

“…Guess we’re all three demons here, then, huh?,” Richard stood to leave, “See ya around, Jimmy.”

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧✧✧

[“…Please, please… I want to sleep. Let me sleep…,” Richard murmured. Entreated. To who? He didn’t know. This place was not -elsewhere- the same. This place flickered, and screamed. Whispered, and taunted. Caressed, and bled. It Reminded.

And, as always, with a memory he had blocked, repressed, hidden away to protect the Kid, (To protect himself.) when reminded, he was made to relive it on a loop until Simmons drew him back to him in desperation. Anxiety, fear, loneliness. Hell, sometimes, even a bad dream could cause the kid to draw Richard back. There were times Richard could actually pull himself out, but not until he’d suffered.

It was his punishment. For what, he did not know.

“…I-I don’t want to remember… I trusted him... A part of me... still trusted him... Even, though… I know-I know what happened next… … I want out…”]

The loop began again.

… The redhead was tall for his age. Only fourteen. A strange combination of too innocent, and much too knowing. The tall boy laid his hand atop of his friend’s own smaller, delicate one.

“Richie, don’t. Don’t touch me.”…

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Oh Fuck, Grif thought. All he’d have to do was wrap an arm around his waist… pull him down… just don’t let him look any lower, because this back and forth thing was driving Grif crazy.

Simmons was still hovering over him, and he pretty obviously wasn’t in the most sober state of mind.

And, it was at that moment, when Grif was starting to seriously question his resolve, that the redhead’s eyes caught sight of something on him. Glinting in the room’s dim light.

And the pretty boy reached out… and touched it…


Grif was… honestly? Kind of in a state of shock.

Simmons had tentatively poked at the ridiculously old-fashioned, but sentimental, plain gold hoop in his ear like he’d never seen such a thing. Which he had. On Grif. But, fuck. Who could truly know the mysteries of a pretty boy mind?

And, then… this was the kicker. Without looking, Simmons carefully reached out, and set the beer bottle, that he’d still been clutching, down onto the bunkside drawer. And, he sunk down, laying partway across Grif, crossing his arms on his thick chest, cocking his pretty head, and resting it on the crook of his own arm… then, Simmons reached out a hand, again, and…

Holy fuck. Then, he batted at Grif’s earring like he was some lanky, lethargic cat.

Grif was almost like, ‘Dude, seriously’? But, he didn’t wanna break the spell. This guy. Grif shook his head a little, but that only made Simmons giggle in response, and snatch at Grif’s earring like the Hawaiian man was playing along, and Simmons had “caught” it. It was, uh… sorta strange (Weren’t A LOT of things with Simmons, though?), but that didn’t mean Grif wanted it to stop. It was kind of hilarious, and adorable, too, after all.

I, mean, this was Simmons. Who could be a complete prick, sometimes. Total AssholeSimmons, all the way. But, occasionally, Grif got to see this other side to him. Which was pretty wacky, now and then, -Not always!-, but kinda… dunno… sweet and cute as fuck

*Sigh* Grif wished Kai could meet him… Only like this. Not like he could be when he was busy kissing Sarge’s ass, and following protocol. But, all chill, and flashing that real smile that Grif felt like he hardly ever saw…

Oh shit! But, knowing Kai, she’d try to sleep with him. Then, he’d have to kill them both. Yeah, Scratch. That. She could never meet him, until his ass was his.

Sister or no, she could get her own dudes!

Ugh. Or, how’s about no dudes. Or, chicks. Or, anybody. That’d be better.

Simmons broke into his thoughts, one slightly bony knee moving to rest onto Grif’s leg… Whew… It was a good thing Grif had, uh, chilled out a little bit… (Fuck. Could your dick, like, have some kinda heart attack, like a dick attack, from all this crazy shit? He hoped not. Ah, dammit- ) Still messing with his earring, the redhead mumbled, “Can’t believe, Sarge… lets you keep this…”

Grif couldn’t help but sneer, ”Ah, fuck ‘em. He tells me ta’ take it out, I say, ‘Sure, Sir. Yes, Sir. Right away, Sir’, and all that shit. And, then, I just put it back in again when he turns his damn back. I mean, really, fuck him…”

“Grif,” Simmons cut in, “Uh, you shouldn’t-shouldn’t say th-“

The Hawaiian talked over him, “I’m NOT gonna fuckin’ lose it! And, that’s all there is to it.”

“Oh…um, is it…,” Simmons sounded a little nervous, “…important, or… something?”

Grif grunted, and didn’t answer him at first.

Simmons remained silent. Watching him, with those frickin’ big, thoughtful eyes.

And, with a weary sigh, Grif finally gave in, “It’s just… Sister, my sister… I mean, seriously, dude, I was gonna go with something a little more with the fuckin’ times or whatever, and I WILL when I get back home, but… I dunno, shit was, uh… busy, I guess, and, then, the Draft… Anyway, I got her these hoops, right? And, she pierced it with this, and she… you know, whatever, she wears the other one. She wears it like a cartilage hoop, though.”

When Simmons just looked at him blankly, the Hawaiian muttered, “You don’t know what the fuck- like an earring that’s right…,” Grif touched the tip of the redhead’s ear, not even thinking that he could have simply shown on his own, and ran his finger lightly down a bit to show him where…, “…here.” He tapped.

Simmons sighed, almost blissfully, at the other man’s touch, and closed his eyes.

Perhaps, Grif had had too much to drink on practically nothing, as well, because his finger kept running down the outer shell of Simmons ear until he tapped a second time. His earlobe.

“Maybe you oughta get one,” he suggested lowly, “Bet it’d look good on you.”

Simmons eyes flew open, and he looked more than a little unsettled by the idea.

Sometimes, Grif really did know what was going on in that big ol’ overthinking nerd brain of his. He groaned, “Yes, Simmons. Guys CAN have them, too. See, look.” He gestured toward his earring that Simmons still absently fiddled with, “Dude, you really got a problem with this whole dudes being dudes, and chicks being chicks thing… I mean, I guess, I get it with the way you look… Can’t have been easy growing up looking like-“

Simmons moved up, hand falling away from Grif’s earring to press firmly against the other man’s chest. A quiet plea.

Grif fell silent.

The redhead swallowed hard, and tried to smile, “Um… what’s your sister, uh, like?”

Grif smiled a little himself, his attempt being quite a bit more genuine, “Ah, man, she’s a fuckin’ handful…” Without warning, his eyes suddenly narrowed, “Wait, why?

Uh-oh. Give him a couple beers, and his jealousy starts spiking all over the place. Mix that in with his over-protectiveness toward Sister? Fuuuck. But, even knowing that, he couldn’t seem to help himself.

“Huh?,” Simmons hand curled into a loose, nervous fist against Grif’s chest, “I… was j-just curious?… You seem, you know, close like famil-… like it… s-should b-be?” His voice cracked several times, through-out, but it trembled on the last two words.

And, Grif sensed it again. That there was something beyond fucked in this guy’s past. Like, somehow, even worse than his deal with that woman that had given birth to him, and Kai. I mean, at least him and Sister had had each other. Who had Simmons had?

Grif put his hand over top the redhead’s, unfolded his shaky fingers from that loose fist, and pressed his hand down again more firmly against him.

Simmons looked so goddamn sad. Shit. The booze was making him all f’n melancholy. (Or, fuck. Maybe, Grif had accidentally done that…)

“Hey, Simmons?,” Grif asked, feeling a little guilty, “Wanna, uh, see some pictures? But, you better not laugh if I’m in some of them…”

Those sad green eyes actually seemed to light up, “Yes, I want to! Gimme ‘em.”

“Nahh, you go get ‘em,” Grif yawned, “They’re in the footlocker. Where the shirts were.”

“Wait, huh?,” Simmons looked a bit lost, “They’re, they’re hard, um, copies? Huh. Who does that? So weird.”

But, he shrugged, and hopped off the bed. Only to sway dizzily, and inform the other man, in a high-pitched tone filled with wonderment, “Holy crap, Grif. I think-I think we had an earthquake.”

Grif sniggered, and decided to raid his snack drawer, that they’d dumped everything back into at some point, while Simmons pulled himself together enough to remember what he was up to, and actually get back with the pictures.

Hmmm. Better get another water for the kissass before he started whining… Mmmm… Water for him, too, so Simmons didn’t bitch him out about him “dehydrating his skin”, or some shit, like he liked to do… Some Oreos. A snack cake. Or two. Or three… What the… a Peanut Butter Snickers? Where the fuck had that come from? Bet the kissass didn’t even know that was a THING. Mother of God, Simmons would probably suck his cock for… uh… um… He had not even thought that shit… he meant, they’d have to, erm, share that one later when Simmons was a little more hungry n’… stuff…

“What was I do- Pictures! Fuck. I got up too fast,” Simmons, that quickly, forgot about the “earthquake”, and excused his behavior on pretty reasonable, and perfectly explainable, temporary light-headedness NOT attributed to alcohol consumption. At. All.

He took so damn long wandering around, and finding the pictures, that Grif was actually done bingeing for the moment, and impatient.

Then, smiling slightly to himself, the redhead, finally, sat back down.

But, far away on the edge of the bed this time like a total douchebag.

“Heh. Uh, is this your, um, sister? She’s cute,” He announced to the room at large. Before Grif could get pissed, he blurted out, “Must be, er, related to you… Yeah, um, uh, c-cute- Like, um… She-she looks like you!,” And, he Red Team Blushed his ass off, “I mean-I mean, but a girl, uh…”

Grif blinked sleepily at him. Was he calling him “cute”, now, for fuck’s sake? Ah, jeez, get some drinks in this guy, and who knows what he’d say…

Without thinking, Grif gestured to him, and mumbled, “Come back here.”

Simmons glanced back at him. A little unsure. But, his face only got a bit pink this time.

“I wanna see, too, Simmons. Don’t be selfish. And, who’s gonna explain the pics to you, huh?,” Grif asked, very reasonably.

Simmons tried his best to sound very calm, and very, entirely sober, “Well, I suppose that is logical.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Grif dropped the act, and snickered at him, “now get your ass back over here, you big baby.”

Simmons let out a little offended squawk, but he stiffly got up, and moved back to sit beside Grif. High up on the pillows. Too straight. Too tense. He drank some of his water that Grif had opened for him (Because Grif could be a goddamn “gentleman” or some shit, motherfuck it!), and set it back down too hard. Spilling some.

He looked like such a snooty, challenging little kissass son of a bitch. Grif just couldn’t help himself.

He reached around him, wrapped an arm around his slim waist, and pulled him back to rest against the pillows beside him… he didn’t remove his arm, and he kept pulling him closer. Closer. Turning him into him. He was, honestly, about to pull this skinny little kissass right on top of him… Comere, you sexy little fuck… but, then, he remembered who he was dealing with. Craaap. He stopped.

Simmons was so close to him. His hand that had had the pictures in it, was splayed, and pressed against Grif’s chest, again. He’d dropped the pics from nerveless fingers when Grif had kept pulling him closer, and they had landed on the Hawaiian’s stomach.

“Hey…,” Grif murmured, “You cool?”

Simmons stared at him, and, then, chuckled a little, okay a lot, nervously, “I-I’d like to, uh, think so? But, uh… you… you’re always calling me a ‘nerd’, so…”

Grif snorted at him, and rolled his eyes, “You are a nerd… and you know what I mean.”

Simmons looked down at his hand. Pressed to Grif’s chest.

“Hey, it’s fine if you’re not…No rush, man…” But, Grif couldn’t help but give him a little squeeze. Reassuring? Comforting? Fuck. He had no clue.

“I’m okay. I’m alright,” Simmons whispered, not quite looking at him.

It had been years since he’d last said the words out loud. But it steadied his mind.

He looked up. Finally, meeting Grif’s eyes, again, and the other man hummed a little under his breath, muttering some phrase, “Maka nani”, that Simmons assumed was in Hawaiian, again. But, this time, he asked.

“What’s… what’s that mean?,” the redhead asked, still in a whisper.

Grif looked startled. Like he hadn’t meant to say it aloud. After a moment, he answered, “...It means... You’re a kissass, and you should mind your own business...”

“Oh, yeah?,” Simmons arched a pretty red eyebrow at him.

“Yeah,” the Hawaiian challengingly raised a dark brow right back at the kissass.

Simmons eyes narrowed, “ I dunno, Grif. Seems like a, kinda a long translation for what you said...”

“What can I say, Simmons,” Grif looked at him innocently, “It’s a mysterious language...”

Simmons shook his head, as he backed up a bit, flashing a tricky little smile at the other man, “Well, I’m just gonna pull it up on my HUD. You know us 'nerds', we just gotta know stuff...”

Grif pulled him back against him, “Nuu-Nuu-No. You get back here. I told you, already, dude. What? You really don’t trust me?”

“Not when it comes to, ya know... that. You could, um, you could be saying anything...,” Simmons blushed.

Grif almost mockingly, just fuckin’ around, said, “Aw, fuck you, dude. No trust, at all. And, here I thought we were kinda friends, too.” Shit. His jaw snapped shut, and, luckily, that one didn’t get out. That wasn’t really a “him” kinda thing to say, and he... well, hell, he didn’t wanna accidently, ya know, like the kids say, “friendzone” himself, or some frickin’ crap.

Ahhh, mother fuck! Even, the word “friends” brought back that freaking song that Donut had insisted on playing for him when they’d gotten a little smashed... Alright, so maybe he’d gotten pretty fuckin’ smashed. That was how Donut even knew about his stupid chick feelings for Simmons.

Goddammit! Fine. So maybe, it wasn’t just beer (And, it was actually two six packs, too.) that he’d swiped from Blue Base. Those mother fuckers had a liquor cabinet in their old Captain’s quarter. So, yeah, fuck it, he’d grabbed some bottle of some hard shit (Oh thank fuckin’ God things hadn’t gone differently, and he’d pulled that out from under the bed with Simmons deal with hard liquor, or whatever... That coulda been bad…), and the beers. He’d been in a hurry, obviously, so he didn’t get to really pick, and choose. And, when he finally, got to check out what he’d even got... it was fruity crap! (He had a feeling, though, that even if he had got to pick, and choose... it woulda ALL been fruity crap.)

And, not just ANY fruity crap. Blue fruity crap. Smashed Blueberry Beer. Blueberry Flavored Vodka. (Holy fuck, Sarge woulda killed his ass.) He hadn’t mentioned the beers being fruity to Simmons cause… he didn’t know… he didn’t wanna seem like he was, like, trying to minimize shit, or talk him into it… he hadn’t wanted to do that. I, mean, it did smell like beer, it just tasted a little… different. Kinda sweet… No wonder Simmons, with his hidden sweet tooth, that he apparently had along with the peanut butter addiction, had been guzzling it.

Anyway, seemed like it might have had a different alcohol content, too. That shit seemed stronger than just regular beer.

Oh, well. It’d been such a goddamn pain in the ass to get it. At least, it wasn’t weak-ass shit.

Hmmm… the booze and Simmons. The Song. They reminded him of when he got the stuff in the first place. Of course, he’d stashed it. All in his room at first.

And, literally, the very next frickin’ day, before he even had his armor on, Sarge, Simmons, and Lopez went on some wacky field test run with some landmines they’d been working on. And, Simmons, who’d been an unbearable prick to him for two days straight, had talked Sarge into leaving Grif’s ass behind (Donut was already staying behind to clean up, and make dinner for that night like the good Base wife he was.) to help Donut clean.

Oh, Grif was so mother f’n pissed…

✥ ♫ Come On & Let's Be Friends! ✥

Grif was so mother f’n pissed.

But, after they left, Donut had cooed, “Aww! It’s sooo sweet! You know Sarge was going to mount you out there, and use you mercilessly again, and again… for a test dummy!... Hmmm… Goodness! That’d probably blow you sky high… So romantic! Sims was trying to protect you from him!… and protect you from LoLo, too, I guess… Heehee! Sometimes, I think LoLo is programmed not to like you! Ol’ sweetpie Lopez… Isn’t that just the silliest thing?”

And, man, Grif had been so done with this shit.

“Hey, know what? Fuck. This. I ain’t cleanin’ shit,” he declared, “Wanna get drunk, instead?”

Donut, who had chucked his armor the second the others had left, had twirled his strawberry blonde hair coquettishly. “Who, me?,” he asked.

“Ah, shut the fuck up, Donut. I’m not hitting on you, dumbass,” Grif scowled, “I just hate drinking alone. It’s… depressing, man.”

Annnd, you’re already depressed?,” Donut guessed.

Got it in one. Right on the goddamn nose.

“No! Fuck no!,” Grif had insisted.

Awww, honey, I know,” Donut had sighed sadly, and dramatically.

“Shut up, Donut.”

And, so they’d drank. Well, he’d drank, while the Rookie had sipped like a fuckin’ priss. And, Donut had come up with a undercover spy/code “nickname”, for Christ’s sake, for their “secret friendship” that Grif could never seem to remember, could never WANT to remember, at that point. And, Donut somehow got him talking…

They’d been hangin’ out, drinking in Donut’s room, which God knows why, cause fuck it was fuckin’ frilly, Donut sitting cross-legged on the bunk manicuring his nails in-between sips, and Grif lounging back in some chair that Donut had an embroidered (He’d been big on that, for a while.) pink, and red flowered cushion on.

Grif’d went to kick his feet up on the bed beside him, n’ Donut had scolded, “Heeey, no boots on the bed… Heels, okay, but not-”

And, Grif, already getting loose-lipped on the vodka, had complained, “Simmons woulda just taken my boots off… he did in Basic…”

“Oh, yeeeaaah?,” Donut’s eyes seemed to sparkle with the excitement of upcoming information.

Grif huffed, took another drink of the too sweet for his palate liquor, and winced, “Yeah, dude. Man, you shoulda seen it…”

“Ohhh, I wish I did,” Donut smiled, playfully.

Grif ignored him, and continued, “… I mean, here’s this pretty dude, I, literally, just met that day, with his goddamn hands all over me. Well, it felt that way… he’s all climbing in his bunk with me, cause I swiped it from him for a nap cause he owed me, and he’s getting all rough and shit…”

Ohhh…,” Donut shivered. He liked story-time with Grif. He decided he liked it very much.

“… unlacing and aggressively as fuck loosening the laces of one boot, all leaning over me, and I swear, I thought the fucker would throw it across the room… but, no, he yanks it off, but, then, all nicely gets up, sets it “neatly” by his footlocker, then, there the kissass is, climbing back onto the bunk with me to take off the other one, and you know what, dude? He was bitchin’ at me the entire time… *Sigh* I dunno, man. Maybe, I’ve developed an asshole fetish, or something…”

Donut’s eyes had gleamed, as he’d leaned forward to pat Grif’s shoulder, “Well, I understand how you feel, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of Grif!…”

“Whaa…,” Grif looked at him, confused, and then…, “Oh, fuck! That’s NOT what I meant, Donut, you little shit!”

And, then, Grif had just had to guzzle down more booze. Fuckin’ Donut.

That musta backfired, though, cause, apparently, Donut got him talking even more (Seriously, it wasn’t Grif’s fault. Don’t tell anyone, but the dude was pretty easy to talk to when it was just you two.), and Grif, honestly, wasn’t sure of all Donut had gotten him to say… But, he knew he’d talked about Simmons, and Kira, and fuck, he thought, un-fucking-believable, but he thought, even, the fuckup that had got his name into the system, and got him Drafted in the first place…

He didn’t fuckin’ know… All he DID know was that he was so goddamn fed up with every damn thing…

And, the next thing he knew the Rookie was shaking him awake. He must’ve dozed off in the chair, the combination of too much booze an’ venting had exhausted him, but Donut, kept shaking him, and was practically hopping up and down with excitement, “Grif, Grif, Grif! I found it! Oh, my goll, it’s perfect, it’s so perfect!”

“Whaatha wha, now?,” Grif asked, still a bit bleary.

And, the over-excitable son of a bitch had put on this… this song.

Grif had groaned, “Shut. It. ooooffff…”

“No, no, no! Listen! Listen to the wooords, Grif! It could have somehow been written for you guys. Just… just listen…Pleeeaaassse!,” He took a deep breath, “… Pleee-”

“Alright, goddammit! Alright! Fuck… Start it the fuck over, then… what-who?... what is this supposed to be about, ag-…” But, then he heard the opening words.

Find a way through the grey, grey area
Are we just friends tonight?
We can't stay in the grey, grey area,
It's time for black or white…”

“… Ah, Jesus Fuck,” Grif swore.

“I KNOW, right! It’s s-so, s-so perfeeect,” Donut almost cried in his utter joy.

Grif just groaned his ass off, bitched about how gay the song was, told Donut to STOP singing along, but… but he listened… And, only got more bummed out, cause, well, fuck his goddamn lame ass life. And, this stupid lame ass song. And, oblivious lame ass Simmons… he could go on and on and on…

✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥

Ah, man… To remember that embarrassing ass song with Simmons right beside him. Pressed to his chest like… like something precious… sure as hell not like just a “friend”…

The thoughts only made him pull the kissass closer…

“Grif… I…,” Simmons voice fucking shook. Simmons wanted to just kiss him. Or, something. To get things fucking moving, already! He’d never been a patient person. But, God, he felt so scared. He felt like he might be killed, actually fucking die for doing any of this, at all, with another guy. It didn’t matter how illogical it was, or how much he wanted to. When it had been, literally, smashed into your brain over and over that This. Was. Wrong. YOU were wrong. You looked like a fucking girl, and that was disgusting enough…

Simmons leaned back a little, picked the pictures up off Grif’s belly, and set them shakily on the bunkside table. His hands trembled, so he pressed them to Grif’s heart to steady himself. So fucking cheesy, and lame-sounding, but he needed it.

Grif seemed to get it. That he needed to slow it down some. He was determined to, if Simmons wanted to, at least, get somewhere in this. At least, establish some damn thing. But, there was plenty of night left.

So Grif pulled the trembling redhead back down, rested a hand on his slender hip. While his other arm lay across Simmons’ pillow, being used by Simmons as a pillow.

And, Simmons found he could breathe, again. Had he not been breathing right? He hadn’t even realized. But, Grif had. Grif had.

Simmons long, slim fingers reached up to curve around Grif’s jaw, while his other hand still rested on his chest. Laying face to face, eyes closed, they both settled into almost a half-doze.

Grif really did know that he had to slow down. Chill a little bit. He got it. It was just… this was kinda how he understood things. Like if they were “together”, then, they’d be together… right? I, mean, he’d only had an actual “relationship” with Kira, and although that hadn’t ended great, that was how it had worked with them. And, they’d been together, awhile. Almost a year… He didn’t know what the hell that had to do with anything, and so much of it she’d been planning to leave… but…

And, the other stuff, the other people, that, uh, hadn’t really been about anything, but… fuck, he didn’t know… he guessed he didn’t take it well when people fucking abandoned his dumb ass… Even, though, he guessed in hindsight, she’d tried to be sorta decent about it… and she’d taught him a lot… Not just, ya know, sex shit, but… stuff about… fuck, he didn’t know… people n’ whatever. The more things got “different” with Simmons, the more he wished he’d paid closer attention to her little “teaching seminars” (He swore to God that’s what it had felt like, sometimes.) that involved more than just sex stuff. *Sigh* Oh well.

He didn’t fuckin’ know. He just knew he didn’t wanna mess it up with this dude. And, it was obvious this son of a bitch had been repressed for a long-ass time, and Grif didn’t want things to go bad.

Huh. Man, he guessed some-fuckin’-how he really had had too much to drink, too. I mean, was he actually almost being honest with himself? About his chick feelings for the kissass?... Wow… what a crazy fuckin’ day…

It was such a trip. Laying here like this together. What were they “communing” with each other, or something? Grif’s lust had turned to something more tranquil. He really didn’t want to rush him, and fuck it up. And, hell, as far as Grif was concerned? There was always time for a little nap… Especially with someone you l-… *Zzzzzz*

✧ Richard Trapped In The Memory Loop ✧

[If he had to see Jimmy’s pretty traitor’s face one more time… he HAD to stay angry at him… he had to… to survive… It all could’ve happened yesterday for him. For Richard (Simmons can’t know, Simmons can’t know, The kid can’t-) If… he remembered… if Richard remembered… what had happened… to Jimmy… to his-his… his sweet Jimmy Bean… if he had… to remember… the blood… That Simmons had seen. But, thanks to him, to Richard, (Repressing. Blocking.) Protecting him, the kid, Simmons, he normally didn’t remember… (Didn’t Remember So Much… So Much…)

But, Richard had waited too late, and now the kid had remnants, fragments of memory. Enough to blame himself whenever he did start to remember, which he never should... remember OR blame himself. It was all Richard’s fault. He knew that. And, he hated, he HATED himself…

Richard just hadn’t been able to be alone those first days. He had needed Simmons, then. He had been afraid… he might give up… And, if he had died while in this body, Simmons would have died, too… He couldn’t allow… No matter what happened. What he had to do. To go through. To give up… To survive…

His face. His sweet elfin face… His long raven hair… His frightened traitor’s lips… I’m so sorry, Jimmy Bean. So sorry.

No. NO! It was sweeping over him. Attempting to interconnect loops. Loop him into a new, the next, then the next, the next memory… the one to break all his resolve… Richard’s ability to stay Angry, instead of Destroyed… Because, because the blood… Stop… Stop… Don’t-Don’t-Don’t!…

NO! ENOUGH!,” Richard demanded in a almighty righteous fury, as he wrenched himself up and out of relentless reminiscence. This –in here? Inside- was his world. He didn’t know why it always took him so long to remember that. Why sometimes, most times, he couldn’t remember it, at all, and had to rely on Simmons to pull him out of a loop. Not this time. Not, again.

Never, again.

Safe. Back Home. With the kid. All… he had left in this world, and the last, and, as far as Richard knew, the next…

*Sigh* “That’s… that’s better… I’m… I’m okay, now… I’m… alright,” the Alter muttered to himself as he drifted. Beyond exhausted.]

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧✧✧


Simmons’ eyes suddenly opened, and widened. Grif would’ve found it almost comical if he’d seen it. But, his own dark blue orbs had drifted shut earlier, and they remained closed. He was still pretty awake. For him, anyway. But drifting…

The redhead’s mind pounced. Oh thank God. There. There he was.

Richard wasn’t talkative. And, he seemed drowsy. But, he was there. Unaware of where they were, anymore, or what was going on. A little grumbly underneath Simmons' electric, desperate, and re-affirmative mental touches. But, there.

This didn’t happen often. Richard seeming to disappear completely like that. But, whenever it did -while it was happening?-, for the longest time the redhead would always try to believe that Richard was just -elsewhere- wherever he always went, and ignoring him. But, eventually, Simmons was bound to freak out. It was only Grif’s presence, and his unprecedented show of concern, that had stopped the full-blown panic attack that had been brewing.

And, afterwards, when Simmons knew Richard was safely (back?) with him again, Simmons always felt protective toward him. Even, then, in his, uh, not exactly entirely sober state, he still felt that way.

Mostly, though… he felt relieved. It could hardly be explained. The fear and anxiety that started to overtake him every time he couldn’t call Richard back to him, couldn’t feel him there… because even when Richard was -elsewhere- not there, Simmons could still distantly feel his presence… It was like… When you felt someone moving in another part of the house. Or, you saw someone through a closed, thick sliding glass door. You knew they were there, Safe. Even, if they weren’t right beside you. Even, if you couldn’t speak to, or touch them (Was that where he, Simmons, went when he woke up to missing time, missing… ?). He’d found that was preferable, to when…

To when Richard seemed to disappear completely, as he had a bit ago, and, then, Simmons would feel that sick dread in the pit of his stomach. And… and, he would start to wonder if this, this, would be the time Richard just didn’t come back… No matter what Simmons said, or thought at times, (And, he could be awful to Richard when furious, or confused.) it fucking terrified him. It was a strange thing, considering the moments he felt desperate to be normal. Desperate to… (get rid of him…) he couldn’t even bring himself to think of it. What would happen to Richard if Simmons got “better”? Got “well”? Would he just… disappear?

“Are you okay?...,” Simmons, without thinking, murmured aloud to Richard, who felt very precious to him when he’d seemed so close to lost. Simmons was so concentrated on that warm weight in his head, and in his chest, that for that moment he lost track of where he was, although the palm of his hand still rested on the upper curve of Grif’s jaw, and his fingers played lazily over the earring, and the curve of the other man’s ear.

[“Shhh, sure, kid… Just… let me sleep for… a little bit…,” Richard murmured back in his mind. And, he seemed to drift off, again.]

“Okay…,” Simmons whispered back. Still aloud.

Grif’s eyes just barely… slit open…



Chapter Text

“Are you okay?...,” Simmons, without thinking, murmured aloud to Richard, who felt very precious to him when he’d seemed so close to lost. Simmons was so concentrated on that warm weight in his head, and in his chest, that for that moment he lost track of where he was, although the palm of his hand still rested on the upper curve of Grif’s jaw, and his fingers played lazily over the earring, and the curve of the other man’s ear.

[“Shhh, sure, kid... Just... let me sleep for... a little bit...,” Richard murmured back in his mind. And, he seemed to drift off, again.]

“Okay...,” Simmons whispered back. Still aloud.

Grif’s eyes just barely... slit open...


Grif’s eyes just barely... slit open... and he moved his hand from the redhead’s hip, and laid it overtop Simmons' own narrow, long-fingered one that gently rested on his face. Simmons seemed to relax even more under his touch.

Grif was feeling kinda glad he’d showered, and shaved that morning. He might have been a little bit prickly, but at least he wasn’t scruffy. He wasn’t sure Simmons would be touching him like this if he was... but, then, who knew? Maybe he’d be into that... Grif wouldn’t mind seeing it. Not to be an asshole, or anything... but just for the visual memory of... little scruff marks all over that damn creamy skin... Ah, dammit! He was getting himself all worked up again...

Anyway, Grif had done it to shut the kissass up... Well, that was one way of putting it. Maybe, he really just couldn’t take another second of that manic depressive energy spilling out of Simmons every fucking pore. And, if listening to the asshole for once would make him happy... It was kinda fuckin’ nuts that they were even together like this, at all, considering what a goddamn mess Simmons had been that morning...


Earlier that morning


“Grif! We have to patrol in forty... two and... a half minutes. Finish eating, and go take a goddamn shower,” the redhead commanded.

Grif waved him off like a pesky fruit fly, and muttered around his spoon, “Ahhh, ta’ morrow…”

“No! Now! Or... after you eat... Whatever!,” Simmons ordered.

Grif swallowed, and shrugged nonchalantly, “Hey, Simmons? The fact that I’m even up, and outta bed right now is pretty frickin’ impressive. Take what you can get, man.”

Simmons actually stamped down his foot in frustration. “You’re only up because I bribed you with breakfast!”

“Oh, yeah?,” Grif leaned forward, a little closer to the annoying ass son of bitch, “Well, I still say you’re the real bad guy here! You never said it was gonna be healthy...,” Grif spat out the word like it was unbelievably filthy, as he scowled at the redhead.

“Hmph!,” Simmons couldn’t possibly have sounded like more of a snob if he tried, “Oatmeal is a very nutritious-“

“Shut your dirty mouth, Simmons. I don’t wanna hear it. That is not what I’m eating right now...”

Simmons furiously threw a red rooster, or cockerel, embroidered dishtowel at Grif’s head (Yes. They had embroidered red cock dishtowels. One word on how that had happened: Donut.), which somehow Grif actually caught, and lazily wiped his face on.

“You’re right! It’s not! As soon as you crumbled fucking Oreos into it, it stopped being whatever I made you. And, I actually thought it’d already be sweet enough for you with the fucking mountain of brown sugar you put in there-"

“Aw-aw-aw, Simmons,” Grif ticked a finger back and forth at him, “RED sugar. Remember, Sarge wouldn’t let you get any last drop unless you called it that- And, hey! I don’t know what the fuck you’re bitchin’ about, anyway. I’m eatin’ it, aren’t I? Is this one of those ‘I slaved all day over a hot stove to make this healthy porridge crap, an’ nobody appreciates me’ deals? Does Mama Bear need a cuddle?” Grif smirked.

“Uaa! F-Fuck you! Fuck you!,” the redhead sputtered.

Grif ate some more of the actually not that bad food, -musta been the Oreos-, and mumbled in-between bites, “Uh-huh, sure... *Gulp* Just keep on repeating yourself, Simmons. Cause repetition always makes everything more effective. Just ask Sarge!”

Simmons glared, but sidled closer to him.

“Just,... at least, let me put some of these dried cranberries into your bowl,” the redhead wheedled, “… Come ooon, don’t look at me like that! It’s not like they’re poisonous, or anything!”

Probably, not the smartest thing to say when you’re trying to get someone to try something...

Grif covered his bowl with his hand, and looked at the other man with a mixture of suspicion, and warning, “Don’t push your luck, asshole. I don’t give a fuck how lazy you all think I am, I will knock a bitch out.”

Fine! Goddammit!,” Simmons glowered, and angrily threw the packet of dried cranberries onto the table (Where the fuck did him, and Donut, get ahold of all this weird shit?), before restlessly pointing a trembling long, slender finger into Grif’s face, “Just h-hurry up, and finish eating so you can go shower before patrol!”

“Aaand, we’re back to that again. And, ‘hurry’? Seriously, dude? When have you ever seen me hurry when there wasn’t a gun pointed at my ass?... –Holy FUCK! That wasn’t an invitation, Simmons! You get your gun, and I really will kick your ass! You come back here, NOW... Do I sound like I’m fucking around? Don’t make me get up. You better... Yeah, that’s right, you get the fuck back here... Don’t pout… Good-... Damn, Simmons, you’re really on edge today. Is this gonna be another one of those days?”

“Shut your fucking mouth! And. Listen. To. Me.” the redhead wrung his (luckily weaponless) hands together in obvious, and over-blown, distress, “You can’t just rely on your fucking armor’s filters so much! It’s been four and a half days-"

“You keepin’ track a’ when I’m showering, dude? Down ta’ half days,” Grif, already forgiving him, he couldn’t seem to help himself (In the long run, he never could.), wiggled his eyebrows at him, “Kinky.”

Simmons blushed a little bit, but, then, resolutely went on, his voice getting more anxious with each word, “The last time I cleaned them they were a mess! And, you know, I do routine maintenance checks on our armor on Saturdays! If-If you keep being so goddamn lazy, and relying on your filter system so much, I’m going to have to start doing that sooner in the freaking week, and that’ll throw off my Whole Schedule, and, and-"

“Fuck, Simmons! First of all, I’m not sure any of the shit you’re saying makes any frickin’ sense,” Grif was getting a little frustrated himself. Couldn’t he just eat a damn meal without a neurotic nerd on his ass?, “And, second... You don’t have to do shit for me, man! I never asked you...”

“Bullshit, Grif! If I don’t, who will? It sure as fuck won’t be you. That’s for goddamn sure!,” Simmons bitched back at him, and he even kicked at Grif’s chair at the word ‘you’.

Grif’s eyes narrowed, but he still took another couple bites, keeping eye contact with the furiously scowling Simmons the whole time.

When he answered, he repeated, and punctuated each word with his Oreo-oatmeal covered spoon, finishing with a wide, circular flourish, causing the redhead to yelp, and jump back to avoid getting splattered with sweetened sludge- I mean, food, “You. Don’t. Have. To. Do. Shit. For. Me... I’ll get the Rookie to do it.”

Before, Simmons could stop himself, he gasped, and cried out, “No! Fuck you, you pig! How-How dare you?!”

He started pacing. The kitchen wasn’t that big, overall, so it looked a little ridiculous, and a lot frantic.

Oh, yeah. Shit. He was having one of his bad days alright. Where he started to really get nutty.

The next time he paced by him, Grif poked him in the arm with his, luckily licked clean this time, spoon, and the redhead squealed angrily, and slapped at him.

But, he stopped pacing.

“Alright. Chill. Forget about what I said. Rookie wouldn’t know how to do anything right, anyway,” Grif couldn’t help but smirk at him, again, “Not like a top-notch kissass, anyway, huh?... And, I’ll take the fuckin’ shower when we’re done eating... So, dude, you should sit down. Your food’s probably gettin’ cold or whatever, and you’re gonna make me run outta time...”

Grif sounded like he didn’t really care if he sat down one way, or the other, but Simmons knew by now that if he refused to eat he’d have a fight on his hands. The redhead always lost weight when he didn’t eat right, and, he couldn’t afford to lose too much. Oh, and, Grif gave him so much shit, was just such an insufferable pushy, snide asshole if he started to lose weight, that it just wasn’t worth it.

Simmons sat in the chair Grif helpfully kicked out for him. Bowed his head. Closed his eyes. You’d almost think he was praying. But Grif knew he was actually lost in thought. Getting wrapped up into his own head, again. Lost...

“Dude... Hey... Simmons...,” Grif tried to get the redhead’s attention, and finally just straight-out told the difficult ass son of a bitch what to do, “Look. At. Me. I’m fucking talking to you, asshole.

When Simmons raised his head, no fight left in him at the moment, as Grif had suspected, the Hawaiian man mumbled, “It’ll be fine. Alright?,” He wanted to say, ‘What’d I tell you back in Basic, Simmons? First day we met? Huh? What. Did. I. Tell. You?’, but... he bit it back, and, instead, he just repeated himself, a little more assuredly, “It’ll be fine...”

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧ ✧ ✧ ✧✧✧✧


...“Okay...,” Simmons whispered back. Still aloud.

Grif’s eyes just barely slit open, and he moved his hand from the redhead’s hip, and laid it overtop Simmons own narrow, long-fingered one that gently rested on his face. Simmons seemed to relax even more under his touch...

“Hey, kissass. Were you talking to me?,” Grif asked, quietly, and he watched as Simmons’ eyes focused back onto him, and his fingers, which had still continued to thoughtlessly caress Grif’s face even underneath the added weight of the other man’s palm, stilled. And, then, started to tense. He had had such a relaxed, soft look on his face, but Grif could see the worry start to cloud his eyes...

“You just looked like you were thinking about saying something,” Grif quickly, but calmly, corrected himself. Not that you did. Not that you did, dude. Come on, don’t freak out on me...

And, maybe, Simmons had had just enough to drink to not realize that the two sentences really didn’t fit each other, - ‘Were you talking to me?’ and ‘You just looked like you were thinking about saying something’-, that they really meant two different things... or, maybe, he simply wanted that badly to believe that he could have this one thing without being such a fuck-up that he kept revealing himself (his secrets...) to the one person he... he had started to think he most wanted to not scare away... whichever it was, he wanted to be fucking happy for once... so, he chose to believe him. And, fuck the rest of it.

Grif saw it. Felt it. Simmons relax back against him, again. Decide to just let it go. Say, “Fuck It”. Whatever the redhead’s deal was, he was never going to feel any damn better about it, in the other man’s opinion, until he could learn to do that more often. Just learn to chill with whatever the hell was going on.

And, honestly? Simmons actually choosing to chill out, instead of freak out?... Hmm. Just to himself? In his own thoughts n’ stuff... Grif actually felt kinda... proud of him.

The Hawaiian man pressed his own hand lightly down onto Simmons’, before reaching out…

“Look at you, baby,” Grif sniggered, as he used his thumb to lightly wipe at the corner of the redhead’s mouth, which may or may not have actually had anything there in the first place, “Got chocolate on your face,” His eyes might have been playing tricks on him, and he’d pretty much given up on censoring himself. He didn’t even realize he was calling him it, anymore. Calling him what? Exactly.

Simmons turned slightly into his touch, and Grif wasn’t sure how it happened, but, he had cupped his chin in his palm, as his thumb ghosted over the skin above the redhead’s upper lip.

And, he was looking at Simmons lips, again. They looked so different, -those perfect “cupid” lips, or whatever-, in real life, and not projected with a hologram…

Grif wanted to kiss this damn kissass, already. This taking it slow thing... fuck... It made you get all up in your head. But, shit, it did ramp up the anticipation about it all... It made him think. He thought of what it would be like. If he kissed those pretty nerd lips. What he would taste like... Mmmm... Like Blueberry Beer, but with what a little glutton he’d been with the “sweets”, as he called them... (Fuuuck, it had been nice to see him so greedy & hungry...)... he’d definitely taste like peanut butter & chocolate...

Grif almost groaned...

And, Simmons leaned a bit closer to him. Grif’s eyes flicked up to his. Oh, fuck. Was this actually gonna happen? Could they just quit with the bullshit, and seal the deal? Actually... be fuckin’ together already?

Oh, God, oh God. Simmons was so goddamn anxious. But, somehow... in a good way. They’d just been playing this game for a long, long time...
BUT... he had to calm down. Richard was (back) around, even if he was sleeping, and when Simmons got too anxious... well, Richard could get confus-

[“What?,” Richard mumbled. Simmons could feel the accompanying mental stretch, “What’s the matter, Kid?”

Oh, no.

“Nothing, Richard. You should sleep,” Simmons tried to sound calm, but Richard sounded strange, still confused. And, that was never a good sign.

Grif pulled him, well, them, now, closer, and Simmons couldn’t help, but just look at him, completely speechless. Feeling a little lost. What was he supposed to say?! Wait! I want to. So, so fucking bad, dammit! But, I’m not exactly, uh, just myself? Right now? Can you hold on real quick while I, at least, try to put the half of me that might punch you in the face back to bed? He can be a real cranky son of a bitch, sometimes... Fuck. His life was so goddamn ridiculous…

Oh shit, he didn’t have much time...

“Richard, please-“

But, Richard wasn’t listening to him. He looked through what was currently their eyes at Grif, and asked, so quietly, although still internally, “Jimmy?”

Simmons gasped, luckily, on the inside, “Oooh, fuuuck. No, Rich-“

And, pushed, practically mentally body-slammed by a confused, bleary Richard, Simmons went to -elsewhere- sleep.]

Grif saw it, instantly. Despite being almost pathetically lost in this, unbeknownst to him, stolen moment, he saw Simmons’ (Who he thought was still Simmons.) large eyes blink, his head cock just slightly, and his gaze turn... calculating. Thoughtful. Uh-oh. AssholeSimmons Alert.

But, still, he couldn’t help but run his thumb softly over the redhead’s lips as he muttered, “Sometimes, you get this look on your face... Heh. Looks like you’re thinkin’ about killin’ some asshole…”

Richard’s expression changed in an instant. He looked upset, disturbed by the thought, and the fact that the dark-haired boy (man) sounded so, so different... But, still, his other hand came up, and as he cupped the face that he, somehow, saw as Jimmy’s, he swore, he promised, “Not you. You KNOW that. Never you. Okay?”

Simmons' voice was... different. But, Grif refused to acknowledge it. Instead, he chuckled, turning, and rubbing his nose into the redhead’s palm, “Well, THAT’S a relief.”

The other man frowned, and to Grif’s dismay, pulled away, and sat up.

But, Grif hooked an arm low around his hips to keep him from getting any further away.

“You wouldn’t let me actually kill him, anyway... Not even to Protect you. Or me, or him!,” the redhead, who was not Simmons, scowled, “No matter how much, especially, he deserves it… ”

Uhhh... What? Grif assumed Simmons was talking about Sarge, and protecting him from, well, Sarge, and Simmons, himself, and Donut from Sarge’s insane plans. Which was extremely weird for Simmons, King Kissass, to say... Grif didn’t have a fuckin’ clue... Or could it be... was he talking about Jackson from back in Basic?... But, that didn’t make sense... nothing had actually happened. He hadn’t had a chance to... Right?

Grif just quietly watched the other man’s face as he looked down at him. And, still somehow seeing someone lost to him, Richard’s eyes softened, and he sighed.

“I’ve always loved your hair... Raven... I... hated when it was... to see it short...,” Richard mumbled, leaning down a bit to gently touch Grif’s hair, much as he used to touch Jimmy’s...

Raven?... O-kaaay. He would definitely have to come up with a better, in other words, more embarrassing-ass, nickname for Simmons. “Baby” was sooo not going to cut it.

Grif, thinking he, thinking Simmons, was talking about back in Basic, responded, “Yeah, back when those assholes cut it. That was so damn lame.”

Although, again, Richard heard the different voice, the swear words little Jimmy Bean would usually never dare to say, had always been so afraid to say... he couldn’t connect it. He couldn’t see anything, but Jimmy. Older, somehow, but still, Jimmy. And, Richard got angry, and insisted vehemently, “They shouldn’t have done that to you! Any of it! To any of us! It wasn’t fair! None of it was fair!”

“Hey, hey. Come on. Yeah, it fuckin’ sucked, but it grew back,” Grif almost sounded soothing.

As quickly as it had come, Richard’s ire cooled. He looked so sad. Broken, even. His hand slid through Grif’s hair. “I see... I guess... it did grow back, didn’t it? I guess they can’t take everything from us, can they?”

Grif just listened to him. Let him say whatever it was he needed to say. The redhead, who Grif thought was Simmons, didn’t seem to expect an answer, anyway.

Sometimes, Grif remembered back in Basic when Simmons had let the cat out of the bag that he somehow hadn’t actually chosen to enlist himself. Grif didn’t even understand how in the fuck that worked, but he wondered if it was part of why he... kinda... felt...connected, or some lame shit?... to Simmons. Like, they were both forced into shit they hadn’t chosen...

✩ Basic: The Bunkhouse that Simmons and Grif Share ✩

(Although This Was Not Originally The Case...)



Pvt. Paulie just talked, and talked. Would that self-important fucker ever shut the fuck up?

Finally, he sauntered out of the bunkhouse, leaving the two men alone.

Grif finished up the ration bar he’d been munching on while he tried to ignore Paulie Parakeet (*Squawk, Squawk *, Bitch.), and, finally, turned to the unhappy redhead, that sat beside him on his bunk.

Scowling. What else was new?

“Alright, kissass. Let’s hear it,” Grif sighed.

Simmons grumbled, “Shut up. I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about...”

“Yes, you fuckin’ do. Come on, man, what’d he say that you were just dyin’ to set him straight on, huh? You looked like you were gonna bite your goddamn tongue in half, dude... Tell me, bitch!,” Grif bullied, when Simmons remained obstinately silent, “I don’t wanna hafta deal with your annoying ass pouting all fuckin’ day!” *Pinch *

Simmons jumped, and smacked Grif’s arm. “No pinching, asshole!... It’s just... It’s called the ‘Delayed Entrance Program’, not the ‘Belated Entrance Program’..., and Paulie didn’t even know what the fuck... It’s actually... it’s so you have some time after enlisting, and can actually fucking bail if... if-if you WAKE UP one day-“ The redhead’s voice had risen, and his face was flushed, “-And realize that that motherfucker signed you up for all this like-like that was the only way! The only possible way! The answer to everything! And, you can’t do shit, because they say you, YOU, didn’t sign up under the ‘Delayed Entrance Program’, and, and...”

Grif cut him off. He wouldn’t have thought something like that could happen... someone else signing a person up... but, then, look what had happened to him, “Dude,” he asked, carefully, “Is that what happened to you? Who did-”

Simmons blinked, startled, “Uhh... erm... NO! Did I say that? I was just... making conversation, dumbass!” He seemed nervous, and very defensive, “I-I, uh, believe in the principles-”

“Don’t,” Grif stopped him, “You don’t gotta play that whole ‘Worship the Flag’, ‘War is Always the Right Solution’ bullshit with me. I don’t give a flying fuck about that shit.”

The redhead was quiet for a long, long moment, then, he shifted about a little shyly, “Soo... wanna... another ration bar?”

Grif gave him ‘gimmee hands’, and answered him like it was ridiculous that he'd even asked, “Yes, I wanna another ration bar...”

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰


Grif focused back on the here and now. The redhead was continuing on, as if picking up in the middle of a conversation Grif hadn’t initially been present for. Grif didn’t know how right he was.

“...I didn’t know what to do... I’m so sorry. I’m ssso... sor-sorry,” Jesus, were his teeth chattering?, “I wanted you to be safe... I missed you so much... and I... I... I didn’t know how bad it would be... I wish we would’ve gone together...”

No,” Grif demanded, clutching him tighter, fingers digging into his hipbone, “Don’t say shit like that.” Grif had no idea that he wasn’t talking about when they’d been separated for training after Basic. When Grif had had to go to his doomed training base... Fuck. He couldn’t think about that... And, if Simmons had been there with him?... He... well, Simmons wouldn’t have survived just because he was fucking useless, and lazy like Grif did (And, maybe a little depressed. A little goddamn lonely for someone he’d only known a handful of months...)... Oh God, he didn’t want to remember... but the other man was continuing…

“And, listen... I never meant to... be so hard on you, earlier... I was so angry... I didn’t think about- I didn’t even ask... uh… how... It was so damn dumb of me... I know better... It's like I wasn't thinking at all... Just, promise me, don’t...,” He, suddenly, commanded, “Let me see your hands. How...? Are you okay? Lemme see. Now.”

“Uh, o-kay,” Grif complied with his wishes readily enough, although he really wasn’t sure how they’d gotten to this point. But, hell, first time drinker. Maybe the booze was just affecting him weird. It happened.

As soon as he gave his hands to him, the redhead turned them over and over, and, leaning closer, examined them, running shaky fingers up Grif’s inner arms. Pressing his palms down onto his wrists...

Finally, Grif asked, “Baby, what are you doing?,” He tried to joke, but it wasn’t easy with how fucking devastated that pretty face looked. His voice may have come out a bit tense, “I don’t have any tattoos there... yet. Heh. Is, uh, that what you’re looking for?”

A look of complete confusion crossed the redhead’s face. Fuck it. Grif would take that over destroyed any goddamn day.

Richard (Or, AssholeSimmons as Grif thought of him. He really still didn’t quite get it at this point.) looked astounded, “Baby?... Tattoos ...What? I... I don’t understand... I feel so frickin’... Everything's so damn blurry... It's almost like I... am I... am I drunk?”

“Maybe,” Grif visibly relaxed, chuckling a little, as he pulled his wrists out of the redheads too tight grip, and wrapped his arms around him, pulling him down to rest his head onto his chest, “Maybe a tiny bit drunk, dude.”

Grif held him to him with a large palm cupping his head, as he absently rubbed the redhead’s back with his other hand.

Richard was so tired. Everything about this was very backwards. Simmons might seem like he’d have a submissive streak when it came to this stuff, but Richard certainly didn’t.

But, none of that meant anything to him at the moment.

“I’m... so glad you’re okay. That you didn’t... I thought you were... I can’t, I can’t...” Richard whispered into a chest that wasn’t even remotely Jimmy’s. But, his mind was currently too splintered to understand that. He couldn’t even remember how old they were... But, then, the question of the actual age Richard identified with had always been a conundrum, hadn’t it?, “... Maybe... maybe, I can sleep, now?... I’m just so, so tired... Just for a little bit... I promise...”

“Again, huh? Well, you know me, man. I’m always up for another little nap,” Grif said agreeably, glad to not talk about nightmare-inducing shit, or... or whatever had him so worked up, anymore.

Even if it was nice to know he’d... cared...

But, honestly? Grif’d already known that. If the couple of horrific “PTSD episodes” Grif’d had soon after coming to Blood Gulch after the- the massacre. That Simmons had somehow gotten him alone for, and helped him through. Never talked shit about, or told anyone else about... If- If all that was anything to go by...

How had Simmons even known how to calm him down, and chill him out, anyway?

Simmons had been so, from what Grif could even remember, as his head had been pretty fucked up, so… quick to respond... You’d almost think he had personal experience with “post-traumatic stress” crap, and he’d researched it so he knew just what to do if, when, something inevitably set Grif off in those early days or some... something.

Could that... Had that been a thing?

Maybe, that was part of why Grif tried so hard (And, he did NOT do that shit for just anyone. At, freaking, all.) to deal with, or work *shudder* (Fuckin’ HATE that word. Work.) with the redhead's, uh... peculiarities.

It was just a thing. When it really came down to it. They, um, they had each other’s backs.

*Yawn *

But, anyway... Disregarding all that shit...

It was still pretty early to go to bed for the night, but a little nap never hurt anybody, as far as Grif was concerned. In fact, it had saved his mother fucking life before so... (No-No. Don’t fucking ever think about…)

And, maybe afterwards, Simmons would be more sober, more himself, and they could... hang out some more.

“Yeah, nap sounds good,” Grif told him, already starting to sound half-asleep.

“Hmmm... Always... *yaaawn* been a Lazy Bean, huh?... Some things *yaaawn* never change,” Richard tangled his fingers gently, securely into dark strands as he half-yawned the words, with a small smile on his face. As he listened to the heart that beat beneath his ear. The blood that pumped safe in his veins.

“Ho-kay,” Grif huffed out a small laugh, “I don’t know what that means...”

Richard simply hummed sleepily, and drifted off. With Grif following soon after.

❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉❉


Simmons woke up a good hour later to find himself being held securely in Grif’s arms... With his head resting on Grif’s chest... What? What the hell? And, Grif was asleep? Hadn’t they been about to... He blushed... kiss, or... something? That was the last thing he could remember... That familiar strange blankness pinged across his mind... Richard?... No... No. Richard was safely -elsewhere- asleep. He was completely out of it, too. Simmons couldn’t blame him...

So, had Simmons, seriously, just up, and... passed out on top of Grif? How fucking embarrassing! And, of course, Grif’s response would be to just go to sleep.

Oh man... he should really go. He still felt kinda off, but... Grif probably didn’t mean it... about the sleepover thing. How stupid of him! Why would somebody like Grif, who always picked the easiest road, want anything to do with a fuck-up like him. He couldn’t even get drunk, and kiss someone (Not just someone... Grif... Grif.) without fucking it up, for Christ’s sake! Stupid...

(“...Fuckin’ FAG! Ya thought I wouldn’t know? Didja? I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN! So Stupid! You always bin’ so goddamn fuckin’ STUPID !,” the memory of a deep voice from long ago... his, his... father’s voice… venomously reminded him.)

A shudder ran through him. He bit his lip. Hard. Grif mumbled in his sleep, and pulled him closer, held him tighter...But, he wanted to stay... (“You... That faggot!... Always bin’ too pretty, ya little fucker!...”)... Oh God, oh God, yeah, he was-he was gonna go... He was going!... He would go... but... but, maybe... maybe he should tell Grif first?...

Grif always had a weird thing about expecting to know where he was all the damn time... probably, just because they were paired together on patrol almost constantly, and, then, back in Basic they’d been… anyway... Yes. That was the right thing to do.

And... maybe... somewhere deep inside... he hoped that despite how completely fucking hopeless he was… Grif would tell him to stay.

 

Chapter Text

(“...Fuckin’ FAG! Ya thought I wouldn’t know? Didja? I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN! So Stupid! You always bin’ so goddamn fuckin’ STUPID !,” the memory of a deep voice from long ago... his, his... father’s voice… venomously reminded him.)

A shudder ran through him. He bit his lip. Hard. Grif mumbled in his sleep, and pulled him closer, held him tighter...But, he wanted to stay... (“You... That faggot!... Always bin’ too pretty, ya little fucker!...”)... Oh God, oh God, yeah, he was-he was gonna go... He was going!... He would go... but... but, maybe... maybe he should tell Grif first?...

Grif always had a weird thing about expecting to know where he was all the damn time... Yes. That was the right thing to do.

And... maybe... somewhere deep inside... he hoped that despite how completely fucking hopeless he was… Grif would tell him to stay…


Simmons closed his eyes, again. Burrowed closer, deeper into Grif’s warmth. Just… just one more minute…

He felt… so sad… Why was it wrong?... Was it wrong? He couldn’t- He couldn’t think straight enough (But, then, hadn’t that always been his problem?), at the moment, with the alcohol still in his system to figure it out. He just had to… to do what was expected of him. What he had always been told…

But, uh, oh yes, gotta, um, tell Grif first. Be “polite” an’ shit, right? Of course, of course. Not that that was his go-to setting or anything, but, um… first time for everything, right? Heh. Sure. And, if Grif said it was- was okay, them being to-together like… that it wasn’t bad… I, mean, what the hell did he know, but… maybe, maybe he did know…

“Grif?,” Simmons shook him lightly.

No response. He may as well have thought of doing it rather than waste the physical energy required to even attempt…

Oh great! Now, he was suddenly thinking like Grif.

But… it was… so nice to be like… Grif was holding him so tight… You’d think he actually… c-cared, or something… Like how it’d seemed in Basic before… Regardless, Simmons had to try. Even not, um, entirely sober, he knew. He had to try to Do. What. Was. Expected. At least, a token attempt at being, you know, not… not “different”…

Simmons tried to move back, to sit up, so he could try, again. But, Grif’s arms just banded even tighter around him. And… he murmured something.

Huh? Simmons was still for a second, trying to decipher what he’d said. What it had looked like he said, because he’d said it so softly… Baby… Olive Juice… What the fuck? What the hell was that? Some food… drink… condiment… thing?

Fuckin’ Grif. Such a one track mind. There Simmons was on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of them even being like… like that, at all, and Simmons had apparently passed out on him for Christ’s sake, and, uggghhh, his head… He was still feeling weird and woozy, and there’s Grif… just dreaming about f’n food. As per usual. Must be goddamn real nice to just live the stereotype...

Simmons shook him a bit roughly this time, even kinda smacked his chest. Although, honestly, not very hard. But, it was the smack that did it. Brought him up out of his slumber.

Grif’s eyes flashed open. And, for a split second, so quick that Simmons wasn’t sure if he’d even really seen it, or just imagined it, the Hawaiian’s expression was very dark. But, then, obviously feeling the weight on his chest, Grif looked down into Simmons upturned face, focused in, and seemed to actually see him… and that look, that strange almost frightening look, that you would never even think to see on Grif’s face in the first place, was gone. As though it had never been there, at all.

And, Grif smiled, just the tiniest bit, at the redhead, and, softly, said, “Hey.”

Simmons scowled at him, and Grif smiled a little more, because it was such a Simmons’ look. Such a (His) Simmons’ scowl.

“You fell asleep, dumbass,” Simmons informed him, as if he, or, uh, his “other half”, hadn’t apparently done the same. But, Simmons was unaware of this. Unaware that Richard had been involved in any of this. It was wiped clean. Pushed back. Blank.

Grif opened his mouth. But, then, shut it, again, without saying anything. Practically a gold star moment for him! He had been going to say, “Wasn’t that the plan?” Buuut… fuck it.

Simmons could be such a little amnesiac, sometimes, after an AssholeSimmons episode. Although, shit, at the moment, Grif kinda felt… well, fuck, bad about thinking of him, er, uh…. Simmons, that is, when he was his AssholeSimmons self as… as, an Asshole. Not after he’d been so, so different. It was probably the first time since Basic when Grif had realized that this pretty boy son of a bitch had this potentially violent, aggressive as fuck side that could just pop outta seemingly nowhere, that Grif had seen that side of him not be… Asshole-ish.

Fuck… he didn’t know…

He let go of Simmons, just for a second, to stretch. To try to wake up a little bit more.

And, he immediately regretted it when Simmons put both hands onto his chest- ok, well… that part was alright-, and levered himself up, so he could sit up… Come On! Couldn’t he quit being so goddamn wishy-washy, or whatever the hell?

Grif had hardly had the thought before Simmons actually gave him a real reason to have had it in the first place.

“So, uh… ya know… sorry, I guess… for waking you up,” Simmons muttered, not looking at him. Looking down at his hands.

Grif rolled his shoulder until he heard a little crack, and stifling a yawn, replied calmly, “Nah, it’s cool. I’m glad you did.”

Simmons blinked, and, then, squeezed his eyes shut for a second. Grif… Grif, so didn’t say that, he thought. Why would he ever… What would he ever want to do more than sleep? Simmons figured he had to have hallucinated, or misheard him. It was, uh, really the only thing that made sense.

“So, anyway,” the redhead continued, as if Grif hadn’t spoken, although he was now looking at his lips, refusing to meet his eyes, “… I was gonna go…”

Please, don’t let me go, the redhead thought. I don’t want to go. What’s making me do this? They. Aren’t. Here. They c-can’t make me do, or not do, anything, anymore. But… b-but… Oh, mother fuck, I’m so messed up.

Grif frowned at him, but didn’t say anything. Oh, he thought a lot of things… The topmost being: What were you one of those pussy kids that had ta’ call mommy to come pick you up in the middle of the fuckin’ night, cause you couldn’t sleep anywhere, but your own damn bed?... He thought… What’s your goddamn game, Simmons?... And, he thought… he couldn’t fucking help it, and he, he couldn’t freaking believe it, but he thought … Don’t leave. Stay with me… Fuck it. Come back home with me when we get out of this shithole…

And, the thing that really sucked? With how Simmons was acting, right then, anyway? Was that those last two?… Those were the ones that it felt like, with his goddamn chick feelings n’ all, that he actually really meant.

But, somehow, it was like when he really needed it to… his mouth just wouldn’t work.

Simmons looked back down.

Okay, alright…,” he said so, so softly that Grif barely heard him, “Well, umm, I know you were probably just… bored n’ stuff… but, uhm, thanksfor beingn-niceto me today…”

Grif’s eye twitched in a very Simmons-like fashion, and a small grunt escaped him. Which the redhead, hearing him, but not looking at him, apparently, took as an affirmation that that really was all this was. All this had been.

And, Simmons closed his eyes, and nodded to himself. Like he’d known. He… He’d known…

Grif, for once, really was feeling a little speechless. Or, maybe there were just too many goddamn thoughts ping-ponging through his head at the same time. What the fuck did a guy have to do to get through to this son of a bitch?

Grif, honestly, felt like really bitching him out. 'Just bored'? 'Being nice'? Bitch, I’m trying to hook up with you here, you idiot! (Simmons’ insecurity regarding what Grif’s intentions were, had caused Grif to completely forget that he’d been kinda semi-hiding them even from himself half the night.) Like really hook up, get it, dumbass? If I was just “bored”, and wanted to entertain myself to pass the goddamn time… Oh, you son of a bitch…

Simmons was shifting about. Obviously, getting ready to get up…

This is what I get…

Simmons turned a bit, got his little hair tie off the bunkside drawer.

This is what I get for trying to be a goddamn decent mother fu-

“Don’t,” Grif ground out, as Simmons started to pull his hair back, to retain that normalcy, that constriction. Grif reached out, and took the hair tie right out of his hand, and set it back down on the bunkside drawer.

Simmons looked at him, obviously still so very unsure. Not knowing what to do. Needing, truly needing, at this of all moments to be told what to do, because… he thought he was supposed to go, he’s going to go, he HAS to go. He knew what was “right”, after all. He knew how “evil”, and “cursed” he was to be a temptation for other boys with his too “disgustingly pretty” looks that he hates so much, sometimes… He knows, but he doesn’t know…

He was so confused…

Again, Grif, not very eloquent, but to the point said, “Don’t.”

He said it a little more assuredly that time. It wasn’t like he was actually going to physically keep Simmons from going if he really wanted to go, but… Grif knew Simmons (This Simmons. The one he secretly, very secretly, thought of as his Simmons.), and once Grif’s goddamn out of control fear of abandonment bullshit had chilled the fuck out, and let him think a bit more clearly, Grif knew that Simmons didn’t really want to go (This was Simmons. If he really wanted to go, he would’ve already been long gone.), but he needed to be told he could stay. That Grif wanted him to stay. It, probably, seemed a little chickish, and overdramatic, but this shit, dealing with being with a guy, dealing with wanting to be with a guy, clearly, wasn’t easy for him.

Despite Grif knowing this, despite the words Simmons likely really needed to hear being right on the tip of his tongue, all he could say was, “Don’t”.

And, thank Christ, it seemed to be enough.

Simmons quietly laid back down beside him, so that they were side by side on that much too small bed.

And, for a while, they both just stared at the ceiling as if its plastic sticker stars held the answers to newfound questions.

Finally, as if for something to say, Simmons mumbled, “…You, uh, said this weird thing… ‘Olive Juice’… when I was trying to wake you up… I guess, when I really think about it… it was kinda funny. Heh. Ya know. You, and your goddamn one track mind…”

Grif’s nose scrunched up in thought. What? Why did that sound so familiar? He mouthed the words to himself, literally, one time, and it hit him…

❃ A Few Years Earlier: Dexter & Kaikaina Grif Residence ❃

“Dex, Dexxxxx!”

“What is it now, Kai?,” her brother sighed, not looking up from the pile of mail he was sorting through, “I thought Kira was watch-, uh… I thought you were gonna go across the hall, and do girl shit with Kira.”

“I can’t! She’s at her stupid college *Mature Blowing Raspberries Noises*, and she wouldn’t let me go. But, I don’t wanna go, anyways, cause she said this teacher, or ‘professor’, or whatever, is super old, and, sometimes, he drops his teeth in his coffee, and tries to tongue it out, and ewww, weird, right? I, mean, tongueing stuff is cool to get a taste, but… So, can I go to the mall?”

“Sis, I told you, earlier, I can’t- Wait… what?... tongue-… Kai! You quit that! You’re a freaking kid. Act like one! And, I can’t take you to the mall, right now. Later, right?... And, let’s go chill at the beach, instead. Get some night surfing in. *Sigh* I need to chill the hell out before my head explodes… But, dammit, I gotta figure out these stupid bills first. Shit, it’s really giving me a frickin’ headache…”

“Yeah, yeah. BORING… Not the surfing! The biIls!... And, hey, hey, Bro!,” she called, trying to regain his attention, again.

But, he was already frowning thoughtfully back at the small pile of bills (He was always grouchy when he had to do this kind of thing.), musing almost inaudibly to himself, “Shit, it is better with mo- that woman gone. Not just cause… Just less expensive without havin’ to carry her junkie ass…”

He was trying to put the bills in order of importance –pay now, or it’ll go delinquent, pay next week, only a small late fee, pay next month, they’re cool- when his Sister insisted, “I wanna show you something… Brooo, look at meeee.”

He glanced up at her, his brows furrowed in frustration, “Kai, dammit! You know I hate doing this shit, and you’re not supposed to screw with me when I’m doing it! What if I mess some crap up? We can’t draw any freaking extra attention to ourselves-“

And, the dark-haired excitable girl mouthed something to him. Twice. Because it didn’t seem like he’d caught it the first time.

His expression cleared. “Love you, too, Sis. Now, listen-”

“Ha-Ha!,” she laughed, and danced around like an idiot, shaking her tush, “I got you, you dork! I actually said, ‘Olive Juice’. Isn’t that the funniest trick you ever heard? I heard those second graders in the apartment down the hall talking about it.”

He sighed, again, although, more forlornly this time, “Of course. Of. Course. You heard it from the second graders… Kai, honestly, that’s kinda stupid- when you’re fourteen…”

She, like the mature fourteen-year old she totally was (Dex just didn’t get it, cause he was a seventeen year old ol’ GEEZER. Gross.), stuck her tongue out at him, completely unaffected, “Ah, you’re just sad, cause I got you good! Nailed your ass real good and hard!”

“What the fu- son of a-,” the poor guy sputtered, “SISTER! What in the fuck did I tell you about saying that kind of- Do you even hear the shit you say? I can’t- oh God, I give up. And, you know what? I’m pretty damn sure that ‘Olive Juice’… yeah, I don’t think that’s even really a thing.”

“Hey, Bro, that’s not the joke, duuuhhh, buuut… you’d be surprised at the juices you can get outta things if you rub ‘em just right… I’m gonna go get ready for the beach!,” the teenager informed him, and, then, she flounced off to her bedroom.

“*Sigh* Yeah, right… Wait, what?! Kai! Kai, you get your butt back here! I wanna talk to you!... Are you ignoring me, you damn brat?... Son of a bitch… ‘Juices’. Uggghhh… Jesus Christ…”

❃❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃

Ho-ly Fuck. That old goddamn stupid 'Saying Olive Juice looks like saying I love you' gag Sister told him about, in her round about bratty-ass way.

He couldn’t even fucking believe it… Had he actually told the kissass he loved him when he was half-asleep? Cause, honestly, just, uh, being fucking real with himself, and just himself, for a second? That made a lot more sense than him saying the other thing. And, knowing him, that’d probably be the way he’d do it, too, considering he spent so much of his life in a half-doze… Fuuuck. It was the kind of thing that could only happen to him.

Ah, shit. And, then, Simmons hears ‘Olive Juice’, like the trick, the ‘joke’ worked backwards, and even though that makes little to no sense at all, he just goes with it, cause (Grif, literally, heard this next thought in Simmons voice, because, well, it’s not like the kissass hadn’t actually said it before…), “Hey, you know Grif, he’s a fucking pig.”

Goddammit.

Simmons laughed a little, drawing the Hawaiian’s gaze back to him, and he said, nearly mirroring what Grif had said to Kai those few years back, “Grif, I don’t think that’s even really a thing.”

And, Grif being pretty damn sure of what he must’ve really said, cause he sure as fuck didn’t say that dumbass juice thing, couldn’t help but answer back, trailing off at the end, “Oh, uh, yeah, I’m starting to think it’s probably… been a thing…”

Simmons wrinkled his nose at the ceiling in thought, “… Huh?”

Oh shit. It’s now, or never… Now or nev-… or how ‘bout later? Yes, fuck yes, later’s good. Damn good. They hadn’t even fucking kissed, yet, for fuck’s sake! I, mean, sure, they’d been together (Not, together together, exactly. Although, sometimes -a lot of the times-, it, their deal, or whatever, kinda veered into territory that made no sense for “just” teammates, or even friends…), practically joined at the hip day in and day out, and had been for what seemed like forever, sometimes, (And, the time they were separated after Basic fuckin’ sucked. Even before the bad thing… even before… When it was just boring, and lonely instead of… No. Not. Now. Not ever.) but…

Fuck. Simmons was looking super thoughtful. Man, if he hadn’t had some drinks he’d already be squeaking, 'Grif! Y-You lo-love me?! But, we’re both GUYS!'

Okay. Activate Damage Control.

“Uh… musta been dreaming about Italian food…”

Simmons scoffed, grinning slightly, “Fatass. So predictable.”

Grif chuckled, maybe a tad nervously, “Heh-heh, yeah, right.”

Grif really couldn’t believe it. At that moment, all he could think of was how, now, his mouth was trying to fuck him over, even, in his SLEEP. His sleep, bitches! That fucker really had a mind of its own, sometimes, and Grif had to yell at it. Dipshit! You don’t blurt out "I love you’s" to people you haven’t even pecked on the goddamn cheek! Shame on you! How stupid are you! Mother fuck, this is some bull-

And, then, Simmons blew his frickin’ mind.

The whole 'Grif’s just his typical fatass self', and not a pathetic love-sick dog, having been re-established… Alright, Grif didn’t really know if that’s how Simmons saw it, but he was feeling a little whacked out at the idea that he had revealed the extent of his stupid chick feelings, maybe not to Simmons, but to himself.

And, there the kissass was sort of humming to himself, while Grif was busy trying to pinpoint when this shit had gone terminal, and Simmons was murmuring, while still humming, counting the faintly luminescent stars, that Sister had sent him in Basic, that were supposed to glow, but, whatever the fuck, stuck up on Grif’s ceiling. Obviously, just chilling out with whatever buzz he had left.

And, then… Simmons fell silent. And, he slowly turned onto his side to face the man beside him. His lips just barely touching, and tickling Grif’s ear, causing the Hawaiian to completely lose track of whatever he’d been thinking…

Maybe…,” the redhead barely whispered it. Barely breathed it.

Grif had to swallow before answering. Fuck, this son of a bitch got him worked up. You’d think he was the virgin here.

“…Yeah?”

Simmons summoned all his courage. In all honesty? He was kind of surprised he had found any in the first place when it came to this stuff.

“…Maybe… ,” the redhead continued in the same tone, “if you find me another beerI’ll actually be drunk enough to really kiss you…”

Holy fuck. Was he smooth, or what? And, he didn’t even stutter. Okay, maybe he paused a lot, but… if this was what booze could do for him, he needed more of it.

Grif was silent for a moment. Not too long. But, just sort of absorbing that…

And, then, he snorted, “Nice, Simmons. What a fuckin’ charmer… You asshole… I’m only good enough for you if you have beer goggles on, huh? I didn’t even know you knew about that shit, man…”

Simmons jerked back. What? Holy fuck! He was NOT smooth. Even when he didn’t stutter! Booze was bad!

“Hey! That’s not what I… It’s just… y-you’re a-a…,” Simmons started sputtering his ass off, “…a, ya know…”

ANOTHER DUDE, DUMBASS.

“What? A totally fuckin’ awesome dude? I already know that, Simmons. And, anyway, who says I wanna kiss you?,” Grif tried some bravado on for size, and it, honestly, didn’t fit very well at the moment.

“Oh… I-I… you don’t?,” Simmons sounded very unsure. Had he read everything wrong?

Or, was Grif just being Grif? An asshole. That was… that was always a possibility…

It was a good thing that Simmons was still, somehow, a little blitzed on practically nothing… not as bad, but… otherwise? He would’ve been pissed as fuck, rather than confused.

Grif saw Simmons trying to decide how offended to be, and he grinned up at the ceiling. I, mean, he HAD to fuck with him a little bit. It was practically mandatory after that ‘If I’m more drunk, maybe, then, I’ll make out with you’ crap… This guy… Grif knew what he really meant, but still… it was a hell of a thing to hear after you’d just realized- Whelp, he just had to give him some shit for that. It was only fair.

And, Grif couldn’t quite keep the smile out of his voice when he asked the redhead, “Well, what do I get outta it?”

“Uhhh… you get to… k-kissme,” Simmons voice raised a few octaves on the last two words, and Grif thought absently that he bet the guy really was a good singer. Donut had gone by the showers in the middle of the night once… Great falsetto, apparently.

Hmmm… Kiss you, huh?...,” Grif continued in the same amused, thoughtful tone, “What else you got?”

“GRIF!,” SquawkySimmons squawked his pretty little face off.

“What? I’m greedy Simmons. You know that. So?,” Grif rolled onto his side so he was facing the redhead, whose body was still turned toward him, “Wanna make a deal?”

Simmons looked stunned, all over again, at their sudden extreme nearness. The bunk was just a twin size, after all, as barracks beds tended to be, and between the two of them, when they laid like that… they were just… very close. Not one of them hovering over, or draped half-over the other… but facing each other. Side by side.

“What-What do you want?,” Simmons managed to ask, beginning to blush.

Oooh, that’s a dangerous question, little virgin, Grif thought, but he behaved himself… mostly.

“You know, Simmons, I might just have another couple beers stashed somewhere…”

“Real-Really?,” Simmons eyes shone just a little too bright, and Grif had a moment to hope that he was just wanting a little more liquid courage, before he actually had the weirdest flash. It felt like a goddamn premonition of their future together, and he didn’t even think he believed in that crap. Regardless, he thought, Oh, you’re gonna be trouble, aren’t you?

But, he pushed the thought away. Focused on that moment, and very flippantly, he replied, “Yeah, really. You didn’t think I’d be so stupid-”

Simmons flinched just the tiniest bit, and a funny little noise like a tiny, tiny whine escaped his throat.

It shut Grif up instantly. And, he remembered… Simmons didn’t like, couldn’t handle, being called “stupid” or “crazy”… Oh, fuck! That was why he’d got weird after the “Oreo Snack Facts”… Grif had said it was “stupid” funny that he knew all that when it wasn’t even his own favorite… Fuck. But, he hadn’t been calling him stupid… But… Grif understood how some shit set you the fuck off, even when you told yourself it shouldn’t… Shit. Yeah, he got it. But, he was too much of a prick to pay attention, and, then, he just up, and did it, again. Great. Fuckin’ great.

“Dude, me, I said. Not you, baby, not you…”

Oh, he was fucking this up. And, now, he was calling Simmons “Dude”, and “Baby” in the same sentence. Grif really didn’t know how someone with such a big mouth could always seem to say the wrong things. Or, hell, maybe that was just how it worked.

So, he did what he knew. He looped his left arm around Simmons’ waist. His right one slipping under his neck, again.

Comfortably. Calmly. No pressure. He pulled him just a little closer. Simmons forearms, and hands, resting on Grif’s chest.

Entangling their legs. The redhead’s freaking freezing feet wrapped in-between, and under, Grif’s calves.

Simmons looked a bit surprised, but, then, he sighed, and peaceably enough acquiesced to Grif maneuvering his body.

Simmons was, uh, getting a little dreamy-eyed… Er, uh, sleepy! Sleepy-eyed. He couldn’t help but think… It’s like official Real Cuddling 101, Simmons. The other stuff was just practice. Did you bring your notebook?

Always the kissass. With the unstoppable nerd tendencies…

Grif was just… *Sigh*… He didn’t know. Being like that with him? It relaxed him. God knows why. It was just so fricking calming for some reason. Like puzzle pieces clicking into place…

Ah crap, and he did not think some cheesy-ass shit like that. It was the booze. (Even, though, especially for him, he hadn’t had that much, at all…) Yeah, totally the booze. It made him mellow, and laid-back…

And, Grif noticed the trippiest thing about Simmons. That, somehow, maybe with all the teasing, and bickering n’ shit, he hadn’t noticed before.

While he was touching him in that particular way. Relaxed. Calm. Just chill. Simmons, actually, picked up on it, and fell, was almost lulled, into the same chill, tranquil state of mind.

It was kind of freaky to think how easily Simmons could be led if someone, the wrong person, knew… But, who would know, but him? (And, he was gonna keep it that way.)

With Simmons calm, and curled up with him, Grif tried, again. Speaking evenly, lowly, “I wouldn’t keep all my “contraband” stashed in one place, man. That’d be s-”

Son of a bitch! He’d almost said it, again. He really was a dumbass.

“-such a bad idea,” he corrected himself.

Well hell, he did have to hand it to himself, though. His mouth might get him into trouble, sometimes, but it could get him out of it pretty well, too, when it really counted.

Simmons was just watching him. Looking kinda mellow, and like he’d lost track of what was going on. (Again.) Grif wasn’t sure he was even listening to him, anymore.

“Simmons?... Dude? Are you gonna pass out?,” Grif asked, sounding a bit concerned, as he absently rubbed the redhead’s neck.

“… Hmmm?,” Simmons mumbled, questioningly.

“Ah, man… shit…,” Grif sighed, “I thought you were sobering up…”

“… Hm- W-What, now? I am sober,” Simmons insisted.

Grif hummed back at him, “Hmmm… Yeah, you’re real convincing… What were we talking about, then, huh?”

Simmons squinted at him, and was silent, distracting Grif by leisurely rubbing one of his slowly warming feet up and down in-between Grif’s calves…

A long moment of silence.

“…MAKING A DEAL!,” Simmons, obviously very goddamn proud of himself, called out, very suddenly, and very loudly, startling the shit outta Grif who was so focused on the redhead’s foot rubbing against him that he had basically become hyper-aware, and sensitive to each place their bare skin touched…

Having been shocked out of his pleasure-stupor, Grif gasped out, “Simmons! Jesus! Shut- Just Shhh! Tell the whole damn canyon why don’t you! Fffuck.”

“Yeah. Deals n’ stuff,” Simmons smirked, obviously still very pleased with himself, “See? I remember things just fine.”

Simmons nodded to himself decisively.

“You seemed fine a second ago! What in the fuck, Simmons?,” Grif scowled at him.

Simmons opened his big, pretty green eyes wide trying to look more sober. And, only succeeded in looking like a goddamn adorable chibi. “I am fine, dammit. I am very, super fine,” he asserted.

Grif just laughed, “Oh, fuckin’ great. Now, you’re being goddamn arrogant!”

Simmons looked lost.

“Arr-… What?”

“Ah shit… You’re on the downswing, but you’re still fucked up,” Grif muttered, “ *Sigh* Pfft… I give up for now.”

“No. No, don’t,” Simmons replied quickly, “I know. The deal, right?”

Grif blew out a breath, “Huh. Seriously, baby? At this point? I’m fuckin’ surprised you even remember us talkin’ about that.”

Ah, fuck. What was wrong with him? He couldn’t stop calling him it. Couldn’t fuckin’ help it. It was like there they were, laying together, touching each other, and they hadn’t slept together (Well, technically they had, but like in the biblical lay down, and sleep together way? Nope.), they hadn’t even kissed, for God’s sake, and, yet… it felt like… oh, fuck… a bunch of sappy stuff. Like they’d been together forever, or some… something.

Simmons must’ve heard, or actually registered, what Grif had called him this time because he blushed. Red Team Blushed all over this bitch.

Well, he actually had noticed earlier when he was having his AssholeSim-, or fuck, Grif didn’t want to think of him, or, er, Simmons that way when he’d been… the way he’d been… So… OtherSimmons, then… Yeah, but, anyway, Simmons wasn’t really Simmons (His Simmons) when he was OtherSimmons, so, uhm… Grif had thoroughly confused himself.

Simmons conveniently, and accidently, distracted him from his thoughts by licking his lips. And, Grif’s eyes were once again drawn to that so appealing mouth.

And, maybe, just maybe, the alcohol actually had emboldened Simmons to some degree, and not completely derailed him because, although, he stared into the red panda on Grif’s shirts eyes rather than the other man’s, he murmured nervously, a little stuttery, “Uh… you… uhm… r-remember… back on, um, earth?”

Grif arched a dark brow at him, and answered slowly, like he had no clue where the redhead was going with this –because he didn’t-, “Yeeeesss?”

Simmons nodded at the panda, “Um, okay. So, ya know, I heard that if, uh… sometimes a… a store would, er, give stuff… to… try?...”

Grif was so fucking lost. What was he talking about stores for? He’d have to be stone cold sober… What was that beer, anyway? Some kinda import? But, then, everything was in the Gulch. He needed to check the alcohol content. He didn’t think he should be feeling hardly anything, at all. And, Simmons? He was… well…

Simmons glanced up at him from his deep heart to heart with the panda, and their eyes, his and Grif’s, focused in on each other, again.

And, Simmons thought… He would name the panda… Randy Pandy… C-cause he was red? And, a panda. Like red panda=Randy. Not Randy, like, ya know, raaandy. Heheh… Uhhh…

What the fuck was that nerd thinking? They were just staring at each other, and Simmons was blushing like a fire truck. Okay, screw this.

“Just say it,” Grif demanded.

And amazingly, Simmons obeyed (But, then, sometimes? When they were alone… he could be very good at that… Not like THAT… Not, yet.).

Simmons thinking it sounded kinda dumb, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it, like really say it, so he asked, shyly, “Um… you… like samples… of stuff?”

“What does that-,” Grif answered back, immediately, only to break off as it hit him…

… Ohhh… Oh, yes, baby. Now, they were getting somewhere. He wanted all Simmons' samples.

That was what he thought, but, like a complete irrepressible prick, he said, “I dunno… Maybe… Depends what the sample’s of…”

Mother Fuck. He was such an asshole. It had to be genetic. It was moments like these that Grif wondered who his real father really was, other than some Haole guy with “beautiful blue eyes” that had visited his mo- that woman one time…

Simmons looked like all the wind had been blown out of his sails. Like he just simply couldn’t possibly

He was, somehow, drunk enough to embarrass himself, and Grif was going to be an asshole about it. Why? And, why had he expected anything different? He didn’t know if he should cry (Like a fucking girl.), or slap the mother fucker (Like a fucking girl.). He felt his left eye twitch, and, oh God, Richard must have been so goddamn out of it to be checked out of all this…

“Simmons?,” Grif asked carefully.

What?,” Simmons’ reply was venomous.

“Wanna shake on it?... I, mean, if you make a deal, isn’t that like proper protocol, or some crap?” Look. He may be lazy. But, his mind could be f’n quick. Really can’t stress that enough. That’s how he came up with all that snide shit on the fly. And, how he got his ass outta the trouble his mouth got him into.

As Grif had hoped, that protocol bullshit caught Simmons' attention real quick. Hmph. Kissass forgot he was even pissed. (Thank fuckin’ God. Grif should shed a goddamn manly as fuck tear he was so relieved. He shouldn’t have to pay the consequences for his outta control, rampant prick of a mouth. That just wasn’t fair.)

Simmons just stared at him. As if Grif had caught his attention, but, now, Simmons had lost track of the conversation, again...

Ah, Christ... Simmons’ eyes were fucking captivating (Grif didn’t think he’d ever even thought that kind of weird shit before. Shit, that really was “gay”.). It pissed him off. So big, and green, with those ridiculously long lashes. Those, maybe a little too perfectly arched for a guy, red eyebrows (You’d almost think he plucked, or “shaped”, them, or something... Naaah.) that matched his hair to frickin’ perfection.

It seemed like cheating. Why should he get some unfair upper-hand advantage, goddammit?!

The son of a bitch could never know how hot Grif thought he was. Who knows what manipulative pretty boy shit he might pull...

Those large green eyes… were staring at him... Oh, fuck.

“Hey,” Grif muttered, his mouth running away from him, again. Not surprising considering that seemed to be the theme of the night, “Quit tryin’ to mesmerize me with those goddamn doll’s eyes, you asshole...”

Simmons impossibly large, pretty eyes blinked slowly at him.

“Why would I... doll’s eyes?,” the redhead sounded impossibly confused.

Ah, dammit. Might as well just... fuck. So Grif said it.

“So you gonna kiss me?...” Grif asked. And he thought, Or just keep acting like an escaped mental patient?... Did I actually just think that? Oh, man, I fuckin’ suck. That was bad. “Or what?,” he decided to end the question off with something a little less extremely fucked, instead.

Simmons looked away from his eyes. Down. Making eye contact with Grif’s red panda -Oh shit.(Flustered Simmons up in here.) On his shirt. That is sooo not a nickname for a, uh, ar-aroused, e-engorged part of a man’s... body... Although, it could be... Fuck!-

“...Um, I... I s-still d-don’t,” the redhead was blushing, and stammering like mad, “even know... If you w-want... do you?... to...” And, how to? Exactly? I mean, it’s not rocket science, but... Mother fuck, he was too old to be this naïve. Whoa, his head was kinda swimmy... Didn’t most people first start doing this back in their teens? Or, sometimes younger. Like how... Wait. Was it like muscle memory? Would he know what to do because Richard, and Jimmy had... had a thing, before Jimmy got pulled out of the school and, then,... and... then... “

Before Simmons could start getting too anxious, or start remembering things he shouldn’t, thus, bringing a very exhausted, and sure to be pissed off, Richard back up to the forefront, and up out of -elsewhere- his slumber, Grif drew his attention back. He slid his hand up the very slight curve of the redhead’s hip, up his side… until, without ever losing physical contact, his hand sunk into that red hair that, somehow, much like the redhead’s eyes, was both bright, and deep.

“Do I gotta do everything around here? You son’s a bitches are all so goddamn lazy,” Grif snickered as he slowly pulled him closer. His mouth smirked, but his overall expression may have turned a bit tender.

Simmons sounded way too nervous to be offended, “That’s... coming from you, that’s- And, I think it’s p-perfectly ac-acceptable to want t-to know-“

They were so close now. Mere inches apart. And, then... no inches. Bodies nearly flush against each other. Legs still entwined.

Shhh...,” Grif whispered against his lips, “Just shut the hell up, Simmons… and I’ll tell you...”

If Simmons had been completely sober, the quiet, hungry whine that escaped him would have humiliated him.

It just urged Grif on.

And, the words practically rumbled out of his throat. Sounding somewhere in the range between a grumbly growl (He didn’t even know he could sound that way. Kissass must be driving him frickin’ crazy.), and a placating purr, “Yes. Yes, I wanna taste you.”

And, well, fuck. Okay, fine. He saw everything in terms of f’n food. So sue him! But Simmons had basically offered himself on a silver platter (Ooooh, fuck… Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…) as a “sample”... Mmmm... Can’t say the kissass didn’t know how to speak his language... Well, the one that really counts...

And, him wanting a taste of this little kissass nerd? When had it not been true?

Just… just a taste…

But, Grif had always had a problem with restraint when something (Or someone, in this case.) made him hungry...

Grif’s lips had hardly brushed against Simmons’, once, twice, three times, when the light flick of his tongue against the redhead’s lower lip caused Simmons’ mouth to open, his lips to part in a quiet gasp, and his eyes to blink as if in surprise, before drifting shut, again.

Ah, just as planned.

And, Grif’s tongue slipped in.

Simmons was so shocked (Although, hadn’t he sort of asked for this?), that at first he didn’t really participate, at all. He simply lay there in a daze, as Grif explored him. Claimed him. It was really the only way to describe... It was like he was memorizing him. Committing sunshine to mind for a rainy day...

He did this for longer than you’d think. Probably, almost a damn minute. Which when you stop to think about it, with Simmons so still, yet, clutching onto his shoulders, just soaking sensation in with little more than a nearly inaudible hum that Grif could taste on his tongue... that could nearly have been an eternity.

Simmons' lips were so soft, his body so pliant, so yielding in the circle of his arms, and, oh mother of fucking God, how long... how long had he wanted this? And, holy hell, he could taste a hint of peanut butter, and chocolate… Mmmm...

Grif did this, tasted this little pretty boy nerd, until he got tired of playing (of memorizing) by himself, and his fingers tightened in Simmons’ hair. He licked harder at the roof of Simmons’ mouth where he had last seemed to get some small response from the dazed redhead, and, oh my God, it seemed like it tickled him. Simmons squirmed a little, and made a funny noise into Grif’s mouth (It almost sounded like a giggle, for Christ’s sake.). And, Grif felt Simmons' lips turn up a bit at the corners, triggering him to do the same, because Jesus Christ, the son of a bitch was smiling with Grif’s tongue in his mouth. I mean, come on! Who could resist that shit?

And, finally, Simmons' tongue tentatively touched his... He pretty much mirrored any movement Grif made. And, he was so freaking unsure, and he didn’t seem to know what to do... And fuck, in some unknowable way, it only made it better.

Thank God, they’d had some drinks, even if it hadn’t been much for the Hawaiian man, but it had to have mellowed Grif out a little bit, because, otherwise, shit, he was pretty sure, hell, damn sure, that he would have had this pretty son of a bitch naked, and under him at that point. He may have been “lazy” (He liked to tell himself he was just “saving up energy for the good shit”.), but he was, also, a very hungry person. And, while, he wanted that… Simmons… naked… underneath him… Oh fuck. If his hardening from just kissing, and thinking about it, dick, that he was continuously having to try to keep from touching the kissass, -which was a feat, lemme tell you- had anything to say about it… he wanted it so goddamn bad… but, this dude was… different. Grif had to take it a little slow. Had he thought that a hundred times? Well, fuck. He had to keep reminding himself… It wasn’t JUST how inexperienced the dude was. It was that despite all Simmons belief in the “sciences”, Grif still had to get him used to the idea that a bolt of lightning from the freaking heavens wasn’t gonna fry both their asses for doing any of this, at all…

Finally, Grif pulled slightly away, trailing his lips teasingly down Simmons’ jaw, down his neck... Fuck, he just wanted to eat him all up. But, they did, suddenly, have a little problem…

“Hey, Kissass…,” Grif’s voice was soft, and his lips were curved against the redhead’s pale throat. Had those words coming out of Grif’s mouth ever sounded so fucking loving before? Maybe so, and Simmons just hadn’t been listening…, “You gotta breathe.”

Simmons sharply inhaled, and, then, breathed out, “Oh,” he exhaled with the word. A bit startled that at some point he had kind of… forgotten… that? Grif, Grif, had caused him to forget to breathe. Whoa… The thought flinted through his mind that Grif… Grif was MUCH better than him at something…

And, that thought? Oh, it caused the perfectionist kissass in him to twitch, and grumble.

Without further thought into the matter, the redhead found himself demanding, “Let me try, again. I don’t think I did it right.”

Grif was so not going to remind him that this was only supposed to be a little ‘sample’… Deal? What deal? They hadn’t shaken on it. Fuck the beers.

“Yeah, we should practice some so you got it down, huh?,” Grif agreed, lips twitching, as he tried desperately not to laugh at how determined Simmons looked. This son of a bitch. He just HAD to excel at every damn thing right out the gate.

And, then, Simmons was swooping in, and kissing him. Doing a pretty damn fine job of it. Lightly nipping on his bottom lip. Growling into his mouth that he tasted like chocolate...

Grif felt himself sinking into it, again... cupping the back of Simmons head in his large palm... fingers deep in that shiny red hair that drove him fuckin' nuts... massaging his scalp...

He might have murmured, "Simmons", and... of course, "Baby"...

Ah, man... he had it bad.

And, suddenly... Simmons stopped. Right in the middle of kissing him! He did it a couple times, too.

It was so mother fucking hard not to laugh, at that point, right into his goddamn mouth. Grif could feel Simmons’ nerd brain ticking away. Was it…? This? Or… No this. And, Simmons would readjust his angle, his depth. But, Grif had to admit, he just got better at it.

And, the way he cupped Grif’s jaw in his palm, and how his kind of amazing fingers (But, don’t tell him that. The asshole didn’t need to get TOO big an ego, dammit…) kept rolling Grif’s earring, and rubbing at his earlobe almost like he was giving him a frickin’ pseudo pressure point massage while they were makin’ out… Un-fucking-believable…

Why did this pain in the ass, son of a bitch have to be so goddamn likeable, sometimes? (Or… maybe more than... “likeable”. But, hell, Grif so didn’t have to admit that to him, right now… Did he?)

When Simmons stopped, and, of course, he went longer than Grif like he was proving a fuckin’ point, or some shit, he rubbed his ridiculously adorable little nose against Grif’s like he just HAD to eskimo kiss him, for fuck’s sake, to seal the deal.

“Uhhh…,” Grif felt a little confused. I mean, this was the same guy that pretty much just laid there, earlier, and took it, while Grif basically tongue-fucked him in the mouth, right?... Right? (Well, may-be it was more like he’d made love to his mouth, but leave a poor, somehow, already whipped son of a bitch some pride, huh?)

The asshole smirked against his lips –Hey! That was Grif’s trick!-, and like he read his mind, or, more likely, he was being a conceited little…, Simmons said, “I’ve always been a quick study. But, then, you know that about me… Or, maybe, you do, now. ”

The son of a bitch snickered, and chuckled to himself. Much to amused, and pleased with his own damn self.

Cocky little drunk… Arrogant. Hadn’t Grif said he could be arrogant, sometimes? And, maybe arrogant little boys need to be taught a lesson

“Fuck you, man. I’m still better than you at it,” Grif told the smug little shit, nipping his chin in punishment.

Nnnn… Not for long,” And, Simmons wasn’t distracted for long, either (Although, for a second, when Grif’s teeth had touched his skin, his mind had completely fuzzed out…), before he was leaning back to assure him of this, the fire of competition lighting his green eyes. I mean, not literally. Figuratively. Geesh. It wasn’t, like, all the sudden, Firestarter up in this bitch… But… if you could just see this dude’s eyes… fuck, you’d get it.

And, anyway, Grif did have to concede his point. I mean this was Simmons, and he would just keep working at it, and working at it, until he had it down to a science.

But, Grif wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

Hell. No...

Chapter Text

…“Fuck you, man. I’m still better than you at it,” Grif told the smug little shit, nipping his chin in punishment…

…“Nnnn… Not for long,” And, Simmons wasn’t distracted for long, either (Although, for a second, when Grif’s teeth had touched his skin, his mind had completely fuzzed out…),… before he was leaning back to assure him of this, the fire of competition lighting his green eyes…

…And, anyway, Grif did have to concede his point. I mean this was Simmons, and he would just keep working at it, and working at it until he had it down to a science.

But, Grif wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

Hell. No…

“Hey, I know some stuff I’m sure I’m still better at than you, Simmons,” the Hawaiian snickered, as he lightly tugged on the handful of red hair that he still held.

Simmons smiled, narrow-eyed, at him, “Oh, yeah? And, what else could you possibly still be better at… oh…”

And, the smile disappeared off the redhead’s face.

He looked at Grif. Like, really seemed to look at him.

Ah, shit. Here we go.

Come on! Now? Now? Why, now? Why at fuck-ing ALL.

Grif was waiting for it. For it all to go to hell. Up in fucking flames. For Simmons to inform him that, Oh, yeah, wait a minute here! Grif, you’re a GUY -as if Grif really hadn’t already known that-, and therefore, this is capital letters WRONG.

Grif knew he was going to say it. It had just been a matter of when. He’d been expecting (and dreading) it all night. Since that first moment, when he’d pulled Simmons to him and down beside him to ask him what was wrong, and wrapped his arm around his waist… And, then, sunk his fingers into that bright red hair… That wasn’t something just a “friend” would do…

It was the real reason he had waited so long to do any of this, at all. To make any real move after they’d been brought back together after Basic.

It wasn’t just him being lazy. Or, not interested enough. Or, even, him being too traumatized from… his last Base… Although… yeah… that… that hadn’t helped… It was just… The deal with Kira had been bad enough… and… He couldn’t go through that shit, again. Not with Simmons.

Not him. Somehow, whatever the fuck the deal was with Simmons, with them… it had surpassed- fuck he didn’t even know.

The fucking nerd could drive him goddamn crazy. Could annoy the hell out of him. The kissass bullshit he pulled sometimes… if Grif wasn’t such a laid-back slacker, he probably would’ve strangled the son of a bitch… but, still, Grif couldn’t imagine a day without... Goddammit.

It had been easier (safer) to maintain the status quo. He hadn’t wanted to take a chance… He couldn’t lose… Oh shit. If there was one thing he knew, it was that everybody fucking left…

But, at least, at that moment, despite Grif knowing it was all over, before really even having a chance to begin… Simmons… His Simmons, still had his hands on him, and he wasn’t telling Grif not to touch him… Not, yet, anyway…

He wished he’d kissed him one more time.

Instead of the expected, Simmons suddenly blurted out, looking distinctly uncomfortable, and like it was the last thing he wanted to say, but it HAD to be said before anything else…, “I’m… I’m sorry. About this morning. About today. It, uh… Was I… was it… real bad?”

…S-Sorry? About… Wait… He wasn’t- This wasn’t-

It washed over him. Relief so intense it was nearly orgasmic in its nature. Grif was truly so relieved, so fucking relieved that this wasn’t what he’d expected (what he’d feared)… he couldn’t speak. He could hardly think.

He’d been so sure, so, so goddamn agonizingly sure… his chest so tight… because everybody left… everybody fucking left…

He found himself yanking Simmons back against him. His fingers tightened into a fist in that shiny hair that he’d been absently playing with, and running his fingers through, before his hand had frozen in dreadful anticipation.

But, now, he was using that handful of silky red hair to turn Simmons’ head, and bring his mouth back to his. And, then, kissing him hard. Crashing their lips together. Nibbling over to his cheek, then, by no means gently, nipping along his jaw, back over to his lips in a demand for entrance. Roughly licking into his mouth. Like he was trying to devour him. None of the slow, careful finesse he’d shown earlier in sight.

But, there was a desperation in all of the unsaid words that were poured into these kisses that left them unmatched.

The redhead, although, understandably caught off guard, kissed him back, -trembling slender fingers delving into dark, thick hair-, trying to match Grif’s stunning intensity. His seemingly unappeasable appetite. Attempting to keep up with something wild, and raw that had been unleashed, it seemed, out of completely nowhere.

Any competitive thoughts had been completely swept out of Simmons’ mind. Which, perhaps, meant Grif would’ve “won” by default… but honestly? All that seemed silly, and meant less than nothing to either of them at the moment. What was happening between them in that particular moment was much bigger than the bantering, the bickering, the bitching. It was hunger, and desperation in its rawest, purest form. Its best form. Its shared form.

It really did seem so sudden, and out of the blue red (Sorry. Never knew when Sarge was lurking.). And, although Grif knew, the redhead didn’t know, what had preempted it. Although, he did know that it was not at all unwelcome…

And, Holy. Shit. Simmons had heard that old adage about people, ‘Still waters run deep’, but… to see it… to feel it in action, and… directed toward, toward HIM. Well, ahh, let’s just say it was a memorable experience…

When they, finally, pulled back from each other, panting, Grif realized Simmons’ chin was wet from his assault- er, overzealous kisses. Yeah, let’s, let’s call it that… Simmons didn’t seem to have it together enough, yet, to even notice, though. He looked a bit dazzled.

Their kisses before had been hungry, and exploratory, sweetly passionate. While, these had been starving, and desperate, beyond possessive. If it had seemed Grif was laying some kind of archaic “claim” on Simmons before…

Grif gently wiped Simmons’ chin with his thumb, wiped his own face… and dried his hand on what was now Simmons’ shirt (God, to see the Kissass in his clothes… even if Grif himself had never actually worn it, and it had been supposedly meant for Simmons, anyway…). Simmons almost glared at him. He started to…

…But Grif couldn’t resist kissing him, again. (Kiss that patented Simmons scowl right off his face.) Gently this time. Soft, close-mouthed kisses. Everything’s, alright kisses, We’re together, screw the rest of it kisses, As long as we’re together, it’ll all be okay kisses…

I love you… I love you kisses…

Why was it so much easier to say the sappy important shit in your head rather than out loud? Where it really mattered?...

As Grif mused on these things, he remembered what Simmons had said to him… what he had said that had caused Grif to be so overwhelmed with relief that he’d practically mauled him…

Instead of the expected, Simmons suddenly blurted out, looking distinctly uncomfortable, and like it was the last thing he wanted to say, but it HAD to be said before anything else…, “I’m… I’m sorry. About this morning. About today. It, uh… Was I… was it… real bad?”

Grif couldn’t help but realize that his, um, “response” had probably been a very fuckin’ odd way to answer that question. Simmons had basically straight-out apologized for his nutty ass behavior that day. (Which, wow, he must’ve really still been a little drunk. He hated saying sorry, as it was like admitting he’d done something wrong.)

Grif didn’t care about any of it like that, in that kinda way. He didn’t feel like he was owed a fuckin’ apology, for Christ’s sake… except… Yeah, that shit that morning… with Simmons, and his gun… and Grif hadn’t had on his armor… Yeah, he could say sorry for that shit… But, hadn’t he already, though?... Before their little nap? He’d been in AssholeSim-, shit… OtherSimmons mode, but...

Whatever the case, Grif’s response had apparently been to try to suck Simmons’ tongue down his throat. Like, hey, Baby, don’t worry. I still love… (Oh, Shit. This was really becoming a thing, wasn’t it?)

*Siiiggghhh* Anyway, he really oughta try to do a little better than that.

Mother fuck. The goddamn effort he put in for this son of a bitch. Exhausting

But, Grif tried. When he could catch his breath, he tried. Although, he still didn’t exactly know how to answer him, Grif acted, or attempted to act, chill about it, and kinda answered around the question, “Don’t worry about it, dude. It’s, uh, no big deal. Anyway, you already said you were ‘sorry for earlier’ before we decided to take a nap. Remember?”

Simmons went very, very still. His expression went frighteningly blank.

Oh. Fuck.

“…Simmons?,” Grif asked, the ‘What the hell?’ very clear in his tone.

The redhead looked at him. And, asked, very slowly, “What did…” Holy fuck. He had almost said, “he”… He had almost accidently asked, What did he say…

Oh, Frickin’ Christ. He was feeling too comfortable with Grif. He was fucking up!

And, it seemed like… so was Richard… fucking up, that is. Because, because he was pretty damn sure he, himself, hadn’t already said… and the blank spot, and the assumed “passing out” that Grif remembered completely differently… remembered, at all

Simmons tried again, his arms wrapping possessively around Grif’s neck, his body so tense that slight, hardly noticeable tremors just barely shook him, “What did… what did I say?”

Grif swallowed. Oh, shit. Not full-blown AmnesiacSimmons. “You… don’t remember?”

Simmons, for maybe the first time since he’d told his childhood best friend, Jimmy, the truth about him, and Richard… felt desperate to tell the truth, again. He didn’t want lies between him, and Grif. Not them. Not anymore. He wanted to blurt it out. To cry. To rage. To plead.

The thoughts whispered, and screamed, in his head, but refused to come out of his mouth…

No Grif. No. Listen to me. I don’t remember! And, now, I’m SCARED. Tell me. Tell me, everything. I thought something was happening between us, earlier, but, but then I woke up to blankness, and a missing, a missing… something… That-that feeling- THAT FUCKING FEELING… that how-how much time? How much time has gone by feeling… I thought, I TOLD myself, that I just passed out, but, you know what? You know fucking what? I thought it was him. That he did something…

“Simmons? I can’t hear you. You’re not talking out loud, man…,” Grif held him close, pressed his lips to his forehead, “You look like you’re thinking a million fucking things…”

The thoughts went on, as if Simmons had forgotten that Grif, unlike Richard, didn’t have a window into them, didn’t live amongst them…

…It’s NOT the first time, Grif! At all. One time… one time I woke up, and he had fucking ENLISTED us, and he said he didn’t want to tell me, but I had to know that, that we could never go back home… not that we’d WANT to… it didn’t matter how far we ran, they kept finding us… but-but we couldn’t ever, now, because he’d done something, and those bastards had deserved to be- to be s-smashed, smashed- and- and he laughed like a cr-crazy person and said, Salut, Cockbites! There’s a bottle those fuckers won’t be drinking… and, no, he hadn’t actually killed either of those old cocksuckers, even after what they did to him, what they did to the two of us, because he’d promised him I wouldn’t, hadn’t he?... I-I don’t even know what he was talking about! Or, what happened, or WHO all he was talking about- Fuck-fuck-fuck!, … Do you KNOW, can you even imagine, how fucking terrifying that is?...

“Baby, I can’t help you, if you don’t tell me what the hell’s going on… Come on, talk to me…”

Simmons just held him tighter. Wishing for once that Grif could hear his thoughts so he would never have to voice, to give life to, these fears.

But, I thought- I thought that this time he just got me to go -elsewhere- to sleep, or something. I didn’t- I didn’t think that he TOOK something from me. From us. Grif, Grif, I’m so fucking scared! I don’t want to lose him, but, sometimes, he scares me! He can get so- He can get… Please, don’t hate me, oh fuck, please don’t! I can’t help it. It’s just who I am- Who WE are. I’m so scared… I can’t remember… I can’t remember so many things… I can’t-I can’t...

He was breathing a little too quick, a little too shallow. All those thoughts. Those frantic, pleading thoughts he was so goddamn desperate to unburden. To share. So, so overwhelming.

But, he couldn’t. He couldn’t say a single goddamn word.

And, Richard, so far gone, so exhausted, yet, seeming strangely peaceful, unable to help. Completely unaware…

“Simmons, hey,” The redhead had been silent for so long, his breathing gradually getting more erratic.

As Grif pulled back to look at him, he shook him slightly, and commanded, “If you don’t wanna talk, fine. But, don’t start that shit. Fuckin’ breathe normal, or you’re gonna pass out.”

Yes. Yes. A task. An order. He could- he could do that…

Simmons tried to focus on calming his breathing. Matching Grif’s breaths… Grif’s hand was on his chest, rubbing gently, but firmly. Calming little circles. It was reminiscent of what they never really spoke directly about…

When something reminded Grif of… all the blood… the empty eye sockets, the brains, Simmons, the fucking brains… and they had to hide away as the Hawaiian man gagged and shook… Simmons’ hand on his chest, those tight little circles, a focal point… much as Grif now did for him… until, the “as needed” UNSC Doc’s prescribed pill worked its magic, and the Hawaiian drifted off burrowed against the redhead… the only real time Simmons would fight Sarge, fight anyone, to “Let him sleep, dammit!”… the only real time he never even had to…

But, Simmons, he had no strong ‘take, as needed’ when you flip your shit, anti-anxiety mediations (Although, he probably could’ve used them. Richard certainly could’ve.), and, so, despite Simmons’ distraction, still he repeated his earlier question, finally, speaking aloud again, -his voice kinda trembled, but he had to know-, “What d-did I say?”

Grif demanded, he didn’t mean to, but it just came out that way, “You… don’t remember? At all.”

And, although, it made Simmons so very nauseas… he… he lied, “A little… but it’s… fuzzy. And, then, I guess… we fell asleep…Took a- a nap?”

He added in the ‘nap’ part that Grif had mentioned to make it more believable, feeling depressed about how easily he fell back into the lies.

Grif was, once again, relieved. He made himself be relieved. Because… this had to be something he could fix, right? To help with? He didn’t know when Simmons had become the only other person at that point, other than Kai, that he genuinely felt like that about. Like he had to watch out for him. Like he was ‘one of his’ (The truth was, he almost thought, with all that had went down, it really had happened back in Basic.).

So, with all that figured out, he told himself that with how uptight Simmons was so much of the time, he was probably just tripping out about some kind of loss of control bullshit. He snickered jokingly, “What, you think you were dreaming? Like talking in your sleep, or something? Come on, that’s not that bad.”

Simmons hoped his smile didn’t look as sick as it felt, “Yeah, I guess, something like that… So, what, er… embarrassing ass stuff did I say?”

Grif looked a little embarrassed himself, and he mumbled, “Ah, not much…”

“Grif…”

Simmons, literally, only said his name, and the other man gave in. But, he pulled Simmons back against him, and pressed his head to his chest, like he didn’t want the redhead looking at him while he repeated back some of what he believed he had said to him.

“…Yeeaah, so… uh, you already said you were sorry about earlier, right?”

“Earl’er?,” Simmons was pressed so tightly against Grif that his voice sounded a bit muffled.

“This morning? I guess? When you were, uh, pretty on edge. Almost got your gun to shoot me outta armor… Good thing you listen to me, sometimes.” Grif sounded nonchalant, as if that couldn’t have killed him.

Simmons clutched him more tightly. Fuck. Sometimes… he really was insane… Without the armor… He stuttered out, “I am s-sorry… That was so fucked…I w-wouldn’t have really- Fuck…”

Grif was silent, and, then, -screw it-, to lighten the mood, he was always one to do that, after all (Even when it, sometimes, backfired, and pissed people off.), he laughed, and teased, “I guess, you kinda did say some stuff that was, ya know…”

Simmons tried to sound calm. He tried to BE calm. (Sleep Richard, sleep.) Not desperate. Not terrified. He wasn’t sure how well he did, but it must have been good enough. “Oh, yeah? Heh. Like what?”

Grif paused, and, then, muttered, “Uh, nothing bad, or too weird, or anything, just…”

Oh, thank fucking God… but, then, Grif’s versions of "bad” or “weird”, and his, might not be the same…

Grif chuckled, kinda uncomfortably (Why in the fuck was he even repeating this shit?), “Er… I think, you called me a ‘lazy bean’, or some… something? Maybe, it was being, like, lazy human being? And, I misheard? I don’t fuckin’ know… And, you said… uh…” Oh, shit. This one. Maybe he didn’t have to say… I mean, come on, this one was straight out a cheesy-ass, affectionate nickname, for Christ’s sake! No, mishearing, or mistaking this one. Yeah, fuck that. He wasn’t gonna say it. Hell, no.

So, of course, what did his bitch of a mouth do? Yep. Mother fuckin’ said it. Goddammit…

“And,” Grif continued, because motor-mouth activate, apparently. How did Simmons do this to him?, “… You, uh… touched my hair,… and you all said… ‘Raven’. *Snort* Dude, I dunno, maybe I’m gonna have to come up with something embarrassing for you… ”

No.

Fuck, no.

Simmons felt like his heart had actually skipped a beat. Like his breath had caught in his lungs. Like everything, like everything in him had gone cold. He couldn’t even hear Grif anymore.

How exhausted Richard must’ve been to not even notice…

Lazy Bean? Raven? Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck. Richard… Oh, Shit…


Jimmy’s Residence: Boys Aged Respectively: Simmons: 13, Jimmy:14, Richard: ?

”Come on, you Lazy Bean, get up!,” Richard commanded, poking the smaller boy in the belly, “Let’s go swimming before your parents get home. It’s frickin’ hot.”

Jimmy stretched, and watched as the redhead paced across his room. The dark-haired boy mumbled, “Nooo… Still sleepy. Why are you even up?”

“Because, it’s too hot, dammit!,” Richard turned back around, and advanced on him, yanking on the other boy’s long black hair, “What’s your deal, Raven? Am I actually gonna have ta’ carry your lazy ass outta here?”

Jimmy grinned mischievously, and reaching up to him, batted his thick black lashes like a total flirt, “Yes! Piggy-back ride! I demand-“

Richard started to lean down to him, smiling a bit sardonically, “Since when do you getta tell me what ta' do, huh? Bossy little-”

[“Uhhh, Richard?,” Simmons spoke up internally, sounding more than a little awkward.]

Startled, Richard straightened up immediately.

[“I mean, it’s-it’s cool, and all,” Simmons continued, “but… could you guys, ya know, not… not do this stuff when I’m around?... It’s super weird…”

Simmons? Holy crap. I thought you were still… Oh shit… Why didn’t I notice?… Why didn’t you tell me you woke up when I did?…”

“I dunno. I was still sleepy…but, then, all the sudden you guys, and your, you know, flirty stuff or whatever… I didn’t mean to- I wasn’t trying to peep or something…,” Simmons sounded a little flustered, “so embarrassing…”

“…uh, yeeeaah… sorry… I’ll, uh… pay closer attention, alright?”

“…OkaySorry…”

“Simmons, don’t do that. Chill out. You didn’t do anything wr-”]

Jimmy cocked his head, questioningly up at Richard, and dropped his arms, ”Richard, you zoned out… and are you… blushing?... You don’t do tha- Wait… SIMMONS! Ahh, super weird!!!”

[“Ah man! Simmons! You, and that damn blush…,” Richard grumbled before focusing back on Jimmy.]

“I didn’t know!,” Richard insisted, aloud to Jimmy, “You know him, he’s tricky…”

Jimmy’s mouth dropped open in absolute humiliated horror, and he scrambled to sit up. I, mean, it might be his best friend’s body, which, yes, duuuh, he knew was, um, strange, but Richard wasn’t Simmons. And, the idea of Simmons being around when he was being all… flirty… n’ stuff… uuuhhh, sooo embarrassing!

“Come on, Jimmy Bean, not like THAT! You know him better than that. Quit looking so damn scandalized. So, frickin’ overdramatic… He doesn’t… He’s just a kid…”

“Hey! Ruuude! You suck!,” Simmons piped out loud, obviously offended at the idea that he didn’t know stuff about… stuff… or whatever. He knew lots of stuff!... What were they talking about?

“Ew, watch out, Simmons. That coulda almost been a ’swear’,” Richard snickered, and, then rolled their eyes at the still blushing in embarrassment, Jimmy, “Oh, quit it, already. And, for real, Get. Up. Now. We’ll just all go swimming, you insufferable pains in my ass.”

“Well… I-I still wanna piggy-back ride!,” Jimmy, always the princess of the whiners, pouted, “Simmons always gave me one when we were kids cause I’m smaller. Tell him, Simmons…”

“And, so, so LAZY,” Simmons complained in reply, and Jimmy stuck his tongue out at him.

“Pshht… I’m surrounded by children. Simmons! You hush. We don’t need to keep re-stating the obvious. Jimmy’s a lazy-ass. Everybody knows that… And, Jimmy, don’t be sticking your tongue at people at your age, unless…”

“Unless what?,” Simmons asked, innocently.

“Rich-ARD, Not in front of- Don’t. You. Dare. Embarrass. Me!,” Jimmy demanded, getting flustered, again.

Richard sighed, long-sufferingly, “Alright, alright… just.. let’s just go already, you buncha babies,” He sat on the bed, and let the smaller boy climb onto their back like a little spider monkey, “But, don’t go forgetting who’s here with us, and get all… ya know… kissy n’ shit.”

Richard! That’s so weird!,” both Simmons and Jimmy cried out in unison, in matching tones of mortification.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼


Simmons, had pulled back a bit in his shock, although Grif kept his arms around him, and didn’t let him get far.

The redhead was struck completely speechless once, again. This time by the realization that Richard had somehow been so out of it that he had mistaken Grif for Jimmy, for fuck’s sake, and he had said some… some strange things to him… and Grif had thought Simmons was saying them to him… Fucking hell… Don’t get him wrong! He was grateful Grif hadn’t realized it wasn’t him. That he still seemed to think Simmons was more of a… a… normal, oddball person. That he didn’t realize that it went much, much beyond that. But, still.

And, what was with the “sorry for earlier” shit Richard said? Grif thought he had been talking about that morning. But, if Richard had thought he was talking to Jimmy… Simmons couldn’t remember them ever really fighting, or even breaking up… Hadn’t Jimmy just… m-… moved?... uh, moved away awhile after being taken out of the school?... Was that a year later? A couple years…? Somehow, he could never remember…

Dammit. He couldn’t think about that, now. Richard always flipped out… He’d almost been hysterical when Simmons had tried to talk about, or think about Jimmy, the other day. Just, idly wondering what he was up to. He’d grown up with him, after all, and he had been his best friend way before he was Richard’s “boyfriend”, or whatever. Richard hadn’t taken Simmons mentioning him well.

When Simmons had told him he was surprised he felt that way, I mean, hadn’t Jimmy just, um, moved? Right?... The sound Richard made… Had he been crying? Laughing? “He ‘moved’! Yes, he fucking moved far, far away, Simmons! Now, shut up! I don’t want to rememb- to talk about it…”

It was all so confusing, and it didn’t seem fair…

Simmons had been silent too long. Staring sightlessly down at the red panda on Grif’s shirt. Grif’s lips turned down. Simmons hadn’t meant any of it. Not even the… the things that had meant something to Grif… Just drunk babblings…

“You don’t remember any of this… do you? O-okay… You said you… ah, fuck… ‘missed me’…,” Grif said haltingly, not knowing why he even fucking bothered… But… that one thing… that after Basic… surviving that fucking hell… that, at least… Simmons had… missed him, too…, “Thought you meant… after Basic… but, I guess… who knows…”

Grif fucking hated himself for being such a big-mouth sappy piece of sh-

Simmons was drawn out of his reverie in an instant.

I did,” he whispered, fervently, “I d-did miss you… and I thought you… w-when that happened at your training base, …it was so bad… we all heard about it… At first, I-I thought you were … Grif, I really thought-

He buried his face back into Grif’s chest. He was shaking. Grif’s arms wrapped tight around him. Alright. Alright. Well, at least, there was that… He had given a shit. Even, back then. Grif’d thought he had, but hearing it… some, some shit you just needed to hear.

Fuck. But, now, Simmons was… He knew Simmons well enough to know he was going to start to really cry, probably sob, any minute. Hell, any second. And, once Simmons got past a certain point, and whatever it was that kept him from losing it completely was out to lunch, shit, it was so damn hard to get him back to steady ground again. If they were home… (If Grif had him back home with him…) Simmons, hell, they both could afford to have some mental breakdown time. But, for now, in a war, whether a fucking joke of one or not, it wasn’t the time.

So, Grif did what he knew would work. To pull Simmons out of it. Ultimately, make him feel “better”, in a way. Maybe, it was a little fucked! But, this was part of why he, and Simmons, secretly got along. In some ways, they just really understood each other.

“Dude, don’t do that,” Grif censured, although he couldn’t help but squeeze him tighter, “That isn’t fair to me, man. I went to ALL this trouble to chill your ass out, and this is what I get back? I mean, come on, Simmons, you and I both know that if you get all weepy, your sinuses are gonna act up, and then there’s gonna be snot everywhere… Fuckin’ gross. Not a cool scene, man. Seriously. Seriously, not cool…”

Simmons cocked his head up at him, eyes damp, and furious, ready to spit fire… and then, he saw the knowing crooked smile the asshole was giving him… and he started sputtering and laughing.

“You-You piece of shit!... Get me a freaking tissue… Th-Thanks. Dumbass.” Simmons shoved at Grif until he let him sit up, and the redhead wiped, and blew his nose.

And, Grif, like the sensitive guy he totally was, cackled at the honk noise Simmons made while blowing his nose, and asked, “When’d we get a goose, dude?”

So ridiculous. All the drama. The stress. The worry. And, suddenly, they were bullshitting, again.

But, that was them. They had never really had that with anyone else. They could go through hell, and somehow, with each other, find steady ground, again.

Simmons chuckled in complete exasperation, “You fucking suck so goddamn much, Grif. ‘Goose’. You’re probably the worse person on the planet.”

“What? This planet?,” the Hawaiian asked.

Allll planets, dumbass,” Simmons assured him, “Now, now, didn’t we have a deal? Not that I really remember what it was, but… Go. Go, get me my shit!”

Grif thought, The new deal is we barricade ourselves in here, and I never let you leave my bed. Well, except for food, and bathroom breaks. We’re only human, after all.

But, instead of voicing his completely normal, not, at all, over-possessive thoughts, Grif complained, “Ah, but Siiimmooons, you’re seeming more sober…”

“Yeah, no shit! Quit being such a party pooper!”

Mmmm… How about one more sample? I’m not sure I’m convinced. And, I mean, I know I, literally, just said you’re seeming more sober, but “party pooper”? Dude, who says that crap, anymore? Now, you just got me worried. I mean, shit! What if you pass out like some fucking asshole while I’m gone?,” Grif whined. Hey, whatever worked, “How’s about payment upfront?”

Simmons' eyes narrowed, and he tossed his head, haughtily, “I think that was a little more than a “sample”, Grif. You’re just greedy… And, yes. I already knew that about you.”

“Yeah? Well, if you know it, then don’t act so goddamn surprised. Comere,” Grif growled, as he yanked him down, roughly, and rolled him underneath him, making the redhead yelp. He didn’t put much weight onto him. Didn’t press him down into the bed. Although, fuck…. He wanted to...

And, he gave Simmons a very chaste little peck, before pulling up, an arm on either side of his head, to smirk at his reddened face, “Now, that’s probably more of a “little sample”… Are you even listening, Simmons? I’m trying to teach you something here… What you were doing before… I dunno, man…”

Grif lost his train of thought. Fuck. The way he looked. Just barely smiling up at him… with that creamy skin all flushed… those bright green eyes never leaving his… his shiny hair spread across the pillow…

So hard not to slip his hands underneath that “You’re My Royal Bitch, Baby” t-shirt, (Or, oops, he meant “I’m the King, Baby” t-shirt… ya, that’s, uh, totally what it said…), and explore every single inch of his warm flesh with his fingers, and tong-

And, then, Simmons’ hips arched up against him, the breath catching in the redhead’s throat, his hands grasping onto Grif’s hips… obviously feeling the other man hardening, again (Again, because… really? Did he really not realize, at all, any of the over times?), only against him this time, which was making Simmons… despite the alcohol, from earlier, that had hit him a little too hard… Oh, oh fuck…

But, still, he was Simmons. Simply Simmons, or Simply Sims, as Donut would eventually come to, at times, call him. In other words, currently, singularly, only him. And, he just had to do it. He always wanted the last word…

M-Me?!,” the redhead, seriously more than a bit breathless at the moment, squeaked out, but the small smile that didn’t leave his face took any possible bite out of his tone, “You, you, kissed me first! And… and… you know… not obeying the one per customer rule regarding ‘samples’ would definitely be against p-protocol…”

THAT (Ah, Simmons, you idiot…) caused Grif’s arousal to stutter to a stop (This fucker was gonna give him a, a… dick attack, or whatever the fuck! Grif was both too old, and too young for this shit.), and although it wouldn’t take much, at all, to get him back on track, especially with Simmons hardening beneath him… well, son of bitch! Now, he was a little pissed!

Fuck. He really did have a problem.

Grif grimaced, (You’d think Simmons had elbowed him in the gut, or something.), and his brows started to furrow, “Fuck THAT shit. What ‘customers’?” (Had Simmons even said that?) “I’m your only ‘customer’, bitch! Pfft… And, you wonder why I want all my samples, now. You don’t give away any freebies to people that aren’t ME, dumbass. Those’re the rules, Simmons. Get it straight, goddammit!”

Simmons cocked his head, looking up at the actually truly annoyed-looking Grif thoughtfully… lowering his hips… and, then, he snickered, “You’re actually jealous. Of people that… don’t exist.”

Grif couldn’t… what the fuck, now? So, he asked, “… What?”

“You heard me, you idiot! Who’re these mystery people I’m sneaking around with, huh? Giving all ‘Grif’s designated freebies’ away to?,” Simmons smirked, “Seriously, I never would’ve thought you’d be so jealous…”

“I’m NOT!” He so was. He scowled, “You’re getting too sober. Now, you’re just pissing me off.”

And, making me lose my hard-on due to pointless paranoia, and jacked-up jealously.

Thanks a lot!

Goddammit.

Hey, don’t ever let it be said that Grif didn’t get how fucked in the head he was about this shit. He GOT it, man. He just couldn’t HELP it.

“Then, Go. Get. The. Beers. You. Promised. Me.,” Simmons demanded, poking Grif’s chest with a long, slender finger to emphasize each word.

“Oh… fuck… alright, fine… But… But, what if you really DO pass the fuck out like a complete prick while I’m gone? I got a bad feeling…,” Grif asked, as he got up off him, and sat back to eye him suspiciously.

It would, literally, be just his luck. The story of his freaking life.

“How long are you gonna be- Where the hell are they?,” Simmons asked, incredulously, as he settled into Grif’s spot on the bed (Whoa. Did it seem like they had their own spots all the sudden?).

Mmmm… so warm.

“Donut’s room… Hey, Man, don’t give me that ‘What the fuck?’ look! It’s a fucking great hiding spot for shit! I knew Sarge wouldn’t go looking in there. But, now, well, fuck, ya know how it is… I dunno if I can get outta there without having to listen to a show tune or two… Dammit, Simmons! I don’t trust you, you Kissass! I don’t wanna come back here, and find your dumb ass asleep! What am I supposed to do, then?”

Simmons sat back up, unconsciously shaking his red hair back out of his face. Not knowing where he kept getting the courage, he leaned forward, and fisted his hands into Grif’s shirt.

And, pulling the other man to him, he whispered against his lips, “Then… you wake me the hell up.”

Chapter Text

Dammit, Simmons! I don’t trust you, you Kissass! I don’t wanna come back here, and find your dumb ass asleep! What am I supposed to do, then?”

Simmons sat back up, unconsciously shaking his red hair back out of his face. Not knowing where he kept getting the courage, he leaned forward, and fisted his hands into Grif’s shirt.

And, drawing the other man to him, he whispered against his lips, “Then… you wake me the hell up.”…

 

Mmhm?!”

The questioning, surprised murmur popped out of the redhead before he could even think to stop himself.

But, honestly, Simmons couldn’t help it! He just couldn’t believe this son of a bitch. Here Simmons had been really trying to, ya know… be provocative or alluring or some other embarrassing as all hell girly-ass shit - uhhh, someone just kill him now… but fuck, at least, he tried! He didn’t know how this crap all worked! But, Grif, apparently, HAD to take every opportunity to outmatch him. And, he couldn’t even truly be pissed, because everything Grif did just… just made Simmons want him more…, and shit!

If this was what love, erm (!), uh, uh, w-whatever, was like, it seemed Cupid went around stabbing people in the face with his arrows, rather than tapping them gently in the ass with them! (Ummm… He didn’t mean that… like that…) And, anyway, that sounded like a good way to lose an eye.

Ah man, and it really seemed like Grif was gonna try to push this whole I’m actually the super-secret boss of you, Simmons shit to his advantage (Had Simmons actually just acknowledged that? Like, for real?). When they were alone, anyway.

Grif oughta know how cranky that was libel to make him, make both of them, when they weren’t entirely alone, and had to act differently.

But, the Hawaiian was nothing if not rebellious, insistent and steady-minded about something when he decided he wanted it.

Of course, up until that day, Simmons had seriously only seen that applied to food, and nap-times. He hadn’t known that determined state of mind , that I want it, it’s mine attitude, could- could apply to h-him? (Did he just squeak in his thoughts? Fuck! And, not even while arguing with Richard… Pathetic.)

I, mean, the words had barely left the redhead’s mouth, “Then… you wake me the hell up.”… when Grif’s arms had wrapped around him, and he was pressing Simmons against him.

Simmons’ arms were still up, hands still fisted in Grif’s shirt, only trapped in-between their bodies, now.

It, suddenly, almost seemed like more of a defensive posture.

Simmons’ lips barely brushing the other man’s had turned to Grif pressing their mouths more solidly together...

And, they were kissing, again.

What was wrong with them? Simmons thought fleetingly. They couldn’t keep focused on any task. It was like the more they had of each other , the more they wanted of each other. And, oh, he fucking wanted it.

And, yes, yes, Simmons had heard all about that thing where repressed, um, -not that he was repressed, or anything!... Whatever- people could turn into total gimme more s-sex addicts, but… (Holy crap, was that true?)

Well, whatever the case, it was different this time. More like a duel for supremacy.

They, literally, sat up on their knees on the bed, leaning onto one another, tongues dancing around each other like they had nothing else to do for say like freaking ever. It was… wow…

Whenever, the redhead seemed to get the upper hand, Grif would pull back just enough to nip at his jaw or neck in retribution, like he was putting him back in line (What an asshole.), and Simmons couldn’t help himself, and shit, he hated to admit this, but whenever Grif did that, Simmons would giggle, or squeak, or uggghhh craaap, do something equally girly as shit.

Goddamn Grif bringing out that side of him that he tried so hard to hide! Although, it did seem that the embarrassing, not at all masculine, noises that Simmons’ mouth kept betraying him with really got to the other man, and Grif would fucking growl like ‘me Tarzan, you Jane’…

Okay, Grif so did NOT say that, but it was kinda mother fuckin’ implied, and kinda had been at different points through-out the night. And…

Why wasn’t Simmons really pissed about that? He- he should be… right? If he just had to be with someone who was a, a guy, because, apparently, he had no- n-no goddamn self-control (And, maybe… maybe… because he WANTED TO.), then, shouldn’t he, at least, try to be the ‘guy’ of this whole thing? Even, if him being this very way, very much the opposite of the ‘guy’, or the dominant one in their encounters… if in some odd way, this way that Grif brought out in him, fucking embarrassing and chickish as it was… felt so inevitable, and so… right?

Oh, and, by the way, technically, the character of Tarzan wasn’t exactly known to ‘growl’ per say… Oh fuck, forget it. Simmons was flipping out a little bit here, getting kinda edgy, and desperate, and he wanted this so bad, but he was thinking too much (Not over-thinking, because that wasn’t a fucking thing, goddammit!), but his thoughts were disjointed as fuck...

But, then, Grif’s tongue and teeth would touch him, again… never too hard, but just… just enough that Simmons would forget about all that paranoid bullshit that felt tattooed onto his goddamn soul, and instead, he’d be focusing on how the embarrassing noises that unconsciously poured out of him caused Grif to have to be inside his mouth, again, and, then, he’d be kissing Simmons, and… they’d start all over again.

BUT… Wouldn’t you know it? Who would’ve guessed?... Before Simmons would’ve stopped, would’ve pulled back, Grif was sinking back onto his haunches.

The redhead was about to promptly, smirkingly, and, maybe, a bit smugly declare himself the ‘winner’… Ha! He knew he could outlast Grif on anything that didn’t entail sitting, or laying down!- But, even as Simmons thought this, he realized he was still wrapped in the lazy bastard’s arms, and he… -Ohhh. Well, that was fucking cheaty! The son of a bitch apparently had lazy man seduction codes all figured out, or some bullshit-

Grif just pulled Simmons right up, and settled him down onto his lap, and as he did -it was completely automatic, more of that it’s like we’ve done this a million times deal-, Simmons’ found his legs instantly wrapping around Grif’s waist.

And, they were back to playing their ‘little game’, again… kissing and competing, and nipping and dominating, and giggling and growling, and playing for fuck’s sake… who would’ve thought… playing…

Only this time with Grif in a more comfortable position. And frankly, Simmons, too… Except…

Except, for something excitingly, terrifyingly, -fuck- let’s just say, uh, not small, poking the redhead in the ass cheek… but… that was, probably, to be expected… Uh, uh, the poking, the poking! That’s, erm, absolutely what he meant (How was that better?)… Not the s-size!... How would Simmons know that? It wasn’t like the redhead had ever gotten too curious in the showers, and, um, ya know, snuckapeek, or anything… Geez, what kind of fucking perv did you think he was?!…

…He couldn’t help it! He. Was. Nat-ur-al-y. Curious… Goddammit!

Regardless, or, perhaps, partially because of Simmons, and his secret, yet to be truly unleashed, horn-dog ways, this went on for a while. Maybe, it wasn’t that long. Maybe it was. They, honestly, lost track of time.

Until…

On one of Grif’s little nippy Just shut-up, and let me dominate your dumb ass, you pretty lil’ fuck (Oops! Not, exactly literally… Fuck. Fine. Totally literally.) reprimands, he hit a spot -Oh, you know the one. Most people got that spot somewhere on their body that drives them wild that isn’t even near any more ‘personal areas’.

Well, for Simmons it was low on the right side of his neck, a bit above where his neck met his collarbone… and, oh, the noise he made. Not a giggle, or even a squeak (Or, please God, don’t let Grif tell anyone… or not even one of the little squeals that Grif was getting out of him.), not that time. But, a moan.

Grif grew still, lips still pressed to that spot, but unmoving.

And, Simmons very obviously started to get so uncomfortable… Like he was just waiting for Grif to fuck with him about it.

Which was understandable.

After all, it was one thing to be giggly, and growly, and playful with each other, but quite another when someone went off script, and let loose a needy, porn-star moan. You’d almost think Simmons’d gotten ahold of another PB & J sandwich, or some shit. (It was the only slightly similar sound out of Simmons Grif had to compare it to.) Not to be weird, but, uh, sounded a teensy bit similar…

Only louder

How was innocent little virgin Simmons to know that Grif was more than into it? And, while he did intend on teasing the furiously blushing redhead for it, it might not be in quite the way Simmons expected…

Simmons started getting squirmy, and seemed like he was going to try to say something…

That is until Grif murmured to him, “Right here, Baby?”, and he more nibbled, then nipped on the spot on Simmons’ neck this time, muttering something that sounded like ‘oh-no’, but with the inflection, and how it was said like one word, and in that tone, the redhead knew Grif was speaking Hawaiian to him once more, not that the Hawaiian man seemed to realize he was doing it, again. And, all while really focusing on that spot. Pushing his damn advantage, like the cheaty fuck he was…

And Simmons, poor, poor Simmons, thought he was going to die. Because, he couldn’t shut his traitorous goddamn mouth, and he moaned out, “Griiif, Mmmfuuuccck…” And, he almost wondered if maybe he was making too much of a fuss out of something that shouldn’t be that big a deal, but he couldn’t quite get his head clear enough to figure it out.

Hell, he didn’t have a fucking clue. Was this a thing? Was this a normal thing? Again, he didn’t know how all this worked exactly! In theory, yes, but in practice… Why did his body have to, apparently, be s-so sensitive! It was- was some bullshit! How could he be expected to maintain his self-contro-

Ooohhh Goooddd…”

Oh Christ. His reaction, the sounds he made, how he clung to Grif, fingers digging through the other man’s t-shirt, and into his skin (How he was hardening, pressed up against Grif’s belly, although, still afraid to be doing any of this, he was trying so goddamn hard to tell himself he wasn’t.)…

He didn’t know what it was that really got to Grif, in particular, or if it was all of it, but, suddenly, he was bowing Simmons’ back. Leaning forward overtop him. And, Simmons’ hands were automatically loosening, sliding up Grif’s chest, wrapping around the back of his neck…

Oh my fuck. Simmons felt like there were tingles sparking through-out his entire body. For a second, he thought Grif was going to take him all the way back down onto the bed, and take him, right then, and he was so excited, and so freaked the fuck out.

-He wanted to rub his body all over Grif.-

This was against everything he had ever been taught.

-Like an affectionate long, lean cat (Like a… Puma?) rubbing their scent all over their beloved master.- (Where the hell was THAT shit coming from?!)

There were so many feelings, and desires, and fears…

-And, he wanted to hold him, and rock against him, and-and, fuck the trying to not be ‘girly’ bullshit, and just be his, fucking be his-…

But, still, this was freaky shit. It couldn’t be denied, or ignored. But he wanted it… but he was SO goddamn afraid of wanting it… His heart was beating so, so fast, he- he-

Simmons was so wrapped up in his head that he didn’t even realize that Grif had caught on to his eager, yet confused, aroused, yet increasingly panicked state of mind.

The Kissass was starting to freak. Fuck. They were probably moving too fast, again, -The only time Dexter Grif could ever be relied on to move fast. When he wanted to get to the eating, or the fucking. You could always take your time to savor once you had what you wanted in your grasp, after all.- But, fuck, probably, definitely going too fast again… especially with someone in Simmons’ position.

A repressed virgin? Yeah, might not be a good idea (Fuck that! It was a GREAT idea…) to sleep with him the same night you first kissed, or really even admitted to yourself how you felt about the dude…

Nevertheless, he hadn’t been able to help but think…

Maybe… just a little bit longer? Would that be so bad?... Kiss him some more, just for a little bit? Just lay back down between his long, slender legs, and… just… just for a little bit. Peel off every piece of clothing that separated them, and feel him wrapped around him bare… just- just for…

And, really tease him, and play with him, and be inside him, feel him arch up, and tighten around him, and… Find that place inside him that would turn that adorable as fuck giggle into a scream. Cause Grif knew as sure as his heart beat that Simmons would scream…

Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck. And, that’s when Grif knew he really should get them the hell off the bed for a second.

It was like that game the kids played ‘the floor is lava’, only, in this case, it was ‘the bed is lava’, and Grif had to either let it burn them alive or get to safer ground.

He knew what HE wanted. Really what they both wanted. He could feel Simmons’ cock pressing persistently against his belly, after all.

Maybe, later, they’d find it funny how, at that particular moment, with all this so new, they were both completely mum regarding the proverbial elephant, make that two elephants, in the room. But, right then, with Simmons hard against him, while Grif was just fucking rigid against the redhead’s small, but nicely round, firm little ass… Mother Fucker. It was driving him freaking crazy

Goddammit, but Grif was trying to keep within acceptable limits (Whatever the fuck THAT meant.) of fooling around, without actually fooling around. Fuck, this shit was confusing. Was this how the teenagers did it? He didn’t know. He hadn’t got to mess around at that age with how careful he’d had to be with keeping him, and Kai’s home life under wraps.

But, he WAS trying. This Kissass seemed to be the only one who could get Grif, who really did prefer the easiest road, to bother to do that.

Despite how easy it would be, and how tempting it was, to simply slip a hand under that too big t-shirt that kept giving him tantalizing views of a creamy collarbone, or a smooth shoulder…

Despite it being tempting as all hell to just pull that shirt right up and off the Kissass. Get his hands on all that creamy, delicious skin underneath…

But, somehow, he was able to hold back.

Cause… man, to explain it in Grif-speak, Grif knew once you twisted open an Oreo, you had to lick that cream that’d been hidden underneath… and he didn’t expect it to be any different with this enticing as all fuck little Kissass.

And, Fuck! Simmons wasn’t just anybody. Not some cheap hook-up at one of the underground clubs or bars back home… Goddammit… Grif shouldn’t even let himself think about that out-of-character fuckery the damn shit with Kira had driven him to... That had caused him so much mother fucking trouble...

No. Simmons was fucking light years from all that meaningless crap.

And, after all the buildup, all the time together, to just rush everything when they first really dared to, sort of, show each other how they really felt… just fuckin’ chick feelings all over the damn place… even if they couldn’t seem to say the words…

But, part of the problem was that it wasn’t just that. There was more to it than the buildup, the anticipation, or, even, the chick feelings…

It was that- that fuckin’ odd deal with them, again. Where everything felt too weirdly right, and it sounded so frickin’ strange, but this stuff all felt natural between them. Like being together, really together, like that? Well, hell, man, that would be just the thing to do. The absolutely fucking normal, perfect, at that very moment, next step.

Except…

And, that’s when Grif, finally, got up off the bed, taking a wrapped around him Simmons up with him. Maybe, that wasn’t the fuckin’ smartest move for someone trying to chill their dick the hell out. -He was way too goddamn attracted to this son of a bitch-… But… Simmons was wrapped pretty tightly around him, and, goddammit, Grif wasn’t quite ready to let go of him, yet.

And, typical Simmons, he got all squeaky.

Wha-! GRIF!,” Simmons yelped, “What- No! Put-Put me down! I… I…”

The redhead, obviously, lost his train of thought.

Grif getting up off the bed with him still in his arms, then, just standing there, breathing a little ragged, with his face buried in Simmons’ shoulder, obviously trying to regain self-control, and all while holding Simmons up in his arms like he was freaking weightless… it was, um, definitely distracting.

It made the redhead think about how Grif was much stronger than he liked to let on, or than he seemed at first glance. And, how it was something the Hawaiian man very obviously didn’t want other people to know…

But, when Simmons’ hands were on his arms, his chest, his shoulders, he could feel the solid muscle (Was it genetics? T-Testosterone levels?) underneath the layer of lazy man’s pudge… Mmmm… Uh, uh, anyway! Probably, he figured people knowing would just equal more work for him. Pfft… Lazy ass…

(An embarrassingly dreamy, and audible *Siiiggghhh* escaped one pretty little redhead.)

Strangely enough, Simmons didn’t really care about that, about Grif’s lazy as fuck tendencies, at the moment. Although, he was one that could turn irate at the drop of a hat...

All he could truly think about, right then, was how there was something… Mmmm… something about being with someone so much stronger than you… He knew he was slender, and it wasn’t like he weighted a ton, or anything, but still, Grif picked him up like it was nothing.

The arm that wasn’t under his… behind (He suddenly felt… unexplainably shy to say ‘ass’ in this context… weird…), and holding him up, was wrapped around him mid-back… holding him so fucking close… Grif’s hands… alternating between slowly kneading, and palms and fingers gently brushing over his unfortunately clothed-over flesh…

It was so…

(So perfect.)

So…

(So right.)

So…

(WRONG.)

(So DANGEROUS.)

The invasive thoughts snapped into the redhead’s head so quickly, he wasn’t even sure which direction they had come from. Not from Richard. Who was still so quiet. So peaceful. So out like a fucking light.

But, despite that, and how this moment between Simmons and Grif felt, although frickin’ scary, so goddamn good… intrusive, learned fears indoctrinated into those so very young, -Simmons and Richard, and Jimmy, as well, being amongst them-, strove to destroy it all.

Simmons thought, blurrily, confusedly, It’s like we’re losing ourselves to each other. Maybe, maybe they were right, maybe, being together like this is dangerous

(“…A Man of God does not dilute his worth, his virtue, to lie down with another man. Temptation costs your Spirit, your Soul, your Purity of Self. Always remember Your Duty to your Church, your God-fearing forthcoming wife, and your Eternal Soul pays the price for this Abomination of Sin”)

Simmons snapped back. Those words. The memory of those, in some form or fashion, oft- repeated words…

He had frozen against Grif. Just for a moment, but the Hawaiian was so in-tuned to this little Kissass that he felt every minuscule change in his posture, in his movement. But, before he could question him on it… about what the hell was going on in his head…

Simmons was nuzzling Grif’s neck. Everything in the redhead pushed, deliberately and stubbornly, pushed such thoughts away… No! No! They’re wrong. They’re wrong!… And, he almost seemed to be melting into the other man rather than, as he had for that short moment, holding himself stiffly away.

Simmons nestled closer into Grif’s chest. Arms wrapped around his neck, legs still low around his waist. Not speaking. Just soaking it in. Actually, allowing himself to be mellow, and affectionate, without, for that moment, letting any of the words, those terrible, hateful words, get in the way.

Grif groaned. It seemed like it would always catch him off guard. These moments where Simmons could be so goddamn sweet, and chill, and affectionate… From a dude like Simmons, that could really be a hell of a prick, sometimes (Let’s be real here. Kinda a lot of the time.), and that wasn’t even including his AssholeSimmons moments… it was…

“Ah man,” Grif muttered, “if you keep doing that, I’m not gonna go at all…”

Go? Simmons had completely forgotten he was going somewhere. He pulled back to look at him, and Grif had that expression on his face. Like he wished he’d kept his mouth shut, and not reminded him.

Simmons sighed, and burrowed back into Grif’s chest. Into his warmth.

Goddammit. As Grif’s fingers tightened reflexively into the Kissass’ clothes, and skin, he wondered what the deal was. With him. And, his fucking MOUTH. It was like his mouth was its own person. Determined to fuck him over at every turn.

But…

The truth was that they probably should stick with the original plan. It wasn’t about the beer. Hell knows if they’d even really drink any of it. It was more about kinda untangling themselves from each other for just a little bit. Long enough to sort of pull it together some...

Because if they didn’t?

They were gonna have sex.

For sure.

Tonight.

It was just a given.

Maybe, cause they’d waited too long to do any of this… or maybe, when it came to all this, they were turning out to be just too damn compatible… or may-be Simmons was one of those repressed virgins that was turning out to be a super, hot as hell, sex addict that was throwing irresistible pheromones all over the place, and Grif was like a fucking hound on the scent…

Who frickin’ knows. But, Grif couldn’t help but think that this dude deserved a little more than to just get rolled on his first time doing anything, didn’t he? Especially, when he was obviously freaked out about every goddamn step forward they took?

Grif blew out a slow breath, and trying to distract himself from his dick, that was getting, let’s just say, very insistent at this point, he mumbled something under his breath a few times in succession…

Simmons’ eyebrows raised, although, Grif couldn’t see it, as the redhead was curled so tightly against him, and he asked, tone a little confused, “Did… d-did you just repeat… ‘burnt brownies’?”

Grif was quiet for a second, and, then, he snorted loudly, “Fuck, I said that out loud?... Dammit… Well… shit… we, uh… hm… We all have our little tricks to distract ourselves when we get too, ya know, ‘worked up’... Don’t worry, dude, you’ll have your own before you know it.”

Hmmm… I don’t under-….,” Simmons sounded a bit lost… but, then, he got it. Oh, man. This guy. How did he know all this stuff? He was the one, the-the ‘gimmee more s-sex addict’! It was HIM!

And, that… didn’t make sense.

Simmons leaned back. It never occurring to him how safe and secure he felt in knowing he didn’t have to worry about Grif dropping him.

Grif being able to pick him up as easily as if he weighed less than a freaking toddler was already feeling commonplace.

The redhead tried to look down his nose at Grif. But, it was kind of hard to seem regal when some asshole just up, and picked you up, and you had to wrap your legs around their waist so you didn’t fall!

Although, maybe he had already been wrapped around him… but that was neither here nor there…

“I-I thought you were lazy!,” Simmons accused. He didn’t intend it to come out that way, but, well, there it was.

Grif, instantly, scowled.

“Hey! Fuck you! I AM lazy,” Grif replied in a tone of deep offense. Like Simmons had offended his honor for Christ’s sake.

Simmons was about to roll his eyes at him, but, then, Grif’s evil little grin made an appearance, and he was continuing, “… But, Baby, some stuff is just worth getting up for.”

Oh, boy. Simmons got that Red Team Blush nice n’ bright, and he buried his face back into Grif’s shoulder, his voice coming out a little muffled, “Fuuu- I’m so glad Donut didn’t hear you say that.”

Grif thought for a second, as he lowered his head, and pressed his lips to the bit of bare collarbone that the redhead’s too large t-shirt exposed.

He mumbled, with lips still brushing Simmons’ warm skin, “Hmmm… Oh, yeah. Heh. I said, ‘worth getting up’, not ‘worth getting it up’… but, hey…,” Grif bit down lightly on the bare flesh beneath his lips, “…that, too.”

“S-St-stop teasing me, asshole!,” Simmons managed to sputter out, biting back another more embarrassing (More moany.) noise.

That made Grif chuckle a little darkly, “Hey, man, I never met anybody as fun ta’ ‘tease’ as you. You didn’t really think that’d stop once we got to all this, did you?”

Simmons grumbled to himself. This son of a bitch was too damn smug about ‘all this’. Just cause he obviously had more experience than him…

Not that that was so difficult to do with Simmons embarrassing track record of zero, but still…

What a slutty jerk!

Simmons, once again, -Grif had a way of doing this to him-, didn’t think, but just acted.

He was close enough to just lean forward to Grif’s shoulder…

He bit. Not giving a fuck about the freaking fabric in his way. He just bit that, too. (He really was a huge brat. It was encoded in his DNA.)

Not a nip, or a nibble. Not real painful. Still more on the sexy side of things than anything else, but…

Yep. That was a bite, alright.

Grif grunted in surprise… and, then, he got a bit growly grumbly. He took a couple steps back. Turned his head, and glanced at the door.

And, yes, they really HAD spent what seemed like fucking forever with each other, because Simmons caught on to Grif’s next ploy, and was bitching about it, before the other man even opened his mouth.

“Grif! What the fuck are you doing?,” Simmons slapped at the Hawaiian man’s thick chest, “I’m NOT going to Donut’s room with you! Especially, not with you carrying me like a goddamn little kid! Seriously, Put. Me. Down!”

“Nope. You’re just gonna have ta’ come with me, now. That’s your punishment. ALL the show tunes, Baby, ALLLL of ‘em… Tryin’ to tease me… what a little slut…”

M-ME?! No, you- And, how was that teas- You know what? Fuck it. I don’t care. But, Grif, I swear to God, I. Am. NOT. going to Donut’s Broadway Boulevard Bonanza! Not, again! You can’t make me!” Simmons squawked, and pouted in turn, “And, hey! You fucking started it!... Or wait… Well, whatever, it’s still your fault, dumbass!”

Grif looked like he was seriously thinking that over, and, then, he sighed quietly, and said in his ‘sincere’ voice, “Yeah, man, I guess you’re right. I shouldn’t blame you cause I’m fuckin’ awesome, and irresistible…”

Simmons snorted very ‘attractively’ right in Grif’s face.

To which Grif licked the tip of his nose in retaliation.

“Eww! Fucking gross! You pig!,” Simmons squealed, as he wiped his nose off on Grif’s shirt.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Now, gimme a kiss before I go. Just a little one, though,” Grif warned, “Don’t you get me all worked up, again, you son of a bitch.”

“After you just did that? No way. Fuck. You. Fuck you, and everything you stand for!”

“Hey, bitch! You leave the Oreos out of this!”

“…”

Simmons didn’t bother to say anything. He figured the Really, fatass, really? For fuck’s sake… look on his face summed it up well enough, and totally said all that needed to be said.

But, he gave the idiot a little kiss, anyway. Mostly, just to shut him up at that point.

Well… mostly.

Grif squeezed him as he kissed him back, and, then, he hoped he hid how reluctantly, he leaned down, and deposited the redhead back onto his bunk.

He looked down at him, as Simmons, sitting on the edge of his (His. Grif’s.) bunk looked up…

And Grif had a flash of intense déjà vu. Remembering how the two of them had been just like that earlier that night (Was that the same night? Just hours earlier? It seemed unbelievable.), with Donut and Lopez outside the door...

Before he and Simmons had really figured out what they were even doing. If this was it. Whether they were finally going to just say fuck it, and go for it, or whether they were going to pussy out, and put admitting to whatever the hell this thing was between them on hold for another day… another week… another month…

Grif was glad they hadn’t done that. He was so sick of the exhausting, time-consuming bullshit.

Just because where when they were like this before he couldn’t, and now he could (Christ… no shit. That was fuckin’ nice.), he pressed his palms to Simmons’ cheeks, and cupped and lifted his pretty boy nerd’s face up for another last kiss before he went. He really couldn’t seem to stop touching, or kissing him. The Kissass was fuckin’ intoxicating…

It seemed like everything should be perfectly fine. Pretty right with the world at the moment… but, as Grif stepped back, about to go, Simmons felt deep unease, that rapidly grew into deep fear, overtake him.

What the fuck was he doing? Why was he letting him go? With what had happened earlier… What if… What if…

His heart actually felt like it cried out to the other man, pled with him to not go at all. Not to take the chance… He was afraid… Simmons wasn’t like other people. Why had he forgotten that?... He was so scared… Because… what if…

He… he had to tell him something… Fuck! He HAD to…

When Simmons opened his mouth to speak, he was internally shocked, at how deceptively calm he sounded. Although, with all the years of concealing what was really going on inside when it really mattered, he, probably, shouldn’t have been.

“Grif…,” he began, slowly.

He was going to do it! Going to tell him… something, at least.

Maybe not, about Richard… That was a lot to take in off the bat…

Maybe, all the blank years? Just that that was a thing?

The fucking ‘memory issues’?…

Something… something…

Grif was looking at him like he wasn’t sure if he should be worried. Like he was seconds from just giving the fuck up, and taking him back into his arms.

“What is it, Baby?,” he asked. His voice low. Almost soothing.

No teasing. No judgment.

Still… Simmons couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t. There were too many factors. Too many probabilities. It was just too weird of a thing to expect someone to accept…

He didn’t want to tell him, and lose him. But, not telling him anything felt very dangerous, too.

Whenever he had tried to tell him something, anything, even the smallest part… everything in him insisted that it was imperative that, Grif can’t know. He can never know.

And, everything in him still felt that to be true.

So Simmons, feeling he had no choice, redirected to safer ground.

“Grif…,” Even a slight patented Simmons’ scowl graced his features, giving more credence to the idea that the redhead was just his naggy, bossy self, rather than a secretly pleading needy frightened mess, “I know it’s Donut, and once he gets going… but just… don’t be gone all goddamn night.”

After a silent moment, in which Simmons realized that Grif knew that wasn’t what he’d really been going to say, but he’d let him off the hook… Grif smirked at him, “Dude, you just don’t go forgetting you’re gonna be owning me more of those ‘samples’…”

That, actually, distracted the redhead from his fears quite well, -Grif was good at that-, and Simmons was suddenly blushing, again.

Had he really called it that? Fuck. He WAS a nerd.

“Think I mighta developed a ‘taste’ for ‘em…,” Grif said, still as smirky as ever, even though he knew the words coming out of his mouth sounded goddamn cheesy as fuck. But, you know, right then, when it was Just Them, and it could get Simmons all fuckin’ cute n’ Red Team Red, he kinda couldn’t give a shit, “So, don’t you go anywhere, or go to sleep, Kissass. I fuckin’ mean it.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever…” Simmons grumbled, but, then, unable to hide the slight smile, he murmured, in a voice so shy, so very low, Grif barely heard him, “…Alright… ”

And, Grif couldn’t help but give him one last devilish, evil Grif grin before he walked out the door.

❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇


As soon as he was sure Grif was on his way down the hall, Simmons was blowing out a breath, and attempting to pull himself together.

It was okay. It was alright. He just needed to chill out. Distract himself for a bit… Maybe he should pick up the room some? Or refold Grif’s laundry? The dumbass always fucked up the creases…

Or…

And, abruptly, the redhead knew exactly what would distract him from his worries, his fears.

He hopped out of bed, and picked up his helmet.

Chuckling a little sneakily to himself without even realizing he was doing it.

He was sooo gonna find out what Grif had been secretly saying to him in his language.

Simmons might have a problem with his memory sometimes, but the things he DID remember? He remembered with Perfect. Fucking. Recall. Word for fucking word, asshole!...

Ummm, anyway…

As Simmons placed his helmet over his head –he could’ve tried to find Grif’s datapad, but he didn’t want to bother with that… or with covering his tracks, although that would be easy enough.

It wasn’t that hard to find a translation app, which immediately, without thought, Simmons saved in a hidden folder. No that wasn’t what took the time.

It was after looking up the words… just processing that Grif, Grif, had said those things to him, and… remembering the look on his face when he’d said them…

Simmons felt a little, erm… overheated, again… and he hoped Grif would be back soon… he was so damn flustered…

Oh fuck, Grif had called him ‘delicious’ *secretly delighted shiver*, and had said he had beautiful eyes, and-and had called him… pretty

Simmons had always hated that, as he’d grown up being called a ‘pretty boy’, but in a-a bad way, a teasing, derogatory, disgusted, or just furious way. Never… in the way Grif had said it.

And, for once… Simmons thought maybe he frickin’ liked it. Even, though, he’d drunkenly complained at the time. It was- it was nuts considering how the redhead had always felt -been taught to feel- about his looks, but he… son of a bitch… Did he want Grif to see him that way? Not really other people, but Grif? Cause, uh, it… kinda felt like he did…

And, then, there was the question of how Simmons had known that that was what Grif had said in the first place. That he’d called him… pretty… he’d, somehow, known even before he’d looked it up. That was f’n weird… Was it the way Grif had looked at him when he’d said it that had given it away?

Or… maybe, the two of them really were that much on the same wavelength?

Heh. That was a little fucking unsettling considering Simmons’ situation.

And, thinking about all that, how he’d been pretty drunk, although he was sobering up, now, and… ah, fuck that was fricking a little, uugghh, from the parts he could recall, he’d made a hell of a fool of himself, but Grif… Grif had just been so calm, and laid-back, about everything.

Well, except for maybe when Simmons had said sorry, and Grif had gotten a little… oh, sooo good, and, then, all that a little bit ago before Grif left to go to Donut’s room…

Oh fuck, he shouldn’t be thinking about these things…

Simmons really was getting so goddamn worked up, again, at that point it was all he could do not to touch himself. But, oh, he was SO not, abso-fucking-lutely NOT, going to do that in Grif’s room. Even if he found a way to somehow successfully hide the evidence, Grif would totally know… Simmons just knew he would, and…

Fuck! He was putting way too much thought into something he wasn’t even going to do! He wasn’t! His face was so hot underneath his helmet, he felt like it could fry a mother fuckin’ egg… He had to get his frickin’ helmet off…

But, he was just so damn flustered that when he went to get out of the search that he’d still had open, he, somehow, managed to turn on the Blues radio frequency that he had intercepted earlier that day.

As he was about to turn it back off, -it was getting pretty late, after all-, he heard voices.

And, if Simmons had said it once, he’d said it a million times… he was a naturally curious kinda guy…


Intercepted by Pvt. Richard Simmons of Red Team:
Pvt. Lavernius Tucker of Blue Team’s Radio Transmission:

“-cker… Tuuuccckkkeeerrr.”

“Jesus Christ, Church! Shut. The. Fuck. Up. And, STOP poking me.”

“Hey man, I can’t help it if you’re fun to poke.”

“…”

“I didn’t mean it like that… ”

“Yeeeaaah, right…”

“What? No, Bow Chicka- whatever the fuck? Jesus, you’re goddamn grumpy tonight.”

“Well, fuck, Church. How’s about you haunt some other son of a bitch when we’re not screw-“

“Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey… Hey. What’d I tell you? It’s not technically screwing if you’re doing it with yourself. That’s just creative masturbation.”

“Bow Chicka Bow- wait, what? Even in the mind thingy? Because, I can like totally see you there. And, dude, not to be an asshole, or anything?”

“Ah, fuck. Here we go.”

“And I, mean, it’s not like I’m complaining, but I don’t really remember your dick being that big when you were alive…”

“Hey! Fuck you, Tucker! That’s totally the size it’s supposed to be. You think I don’t remember my own dick? And, we never even fucked back then, so shut the fuck up.”

“I dunno, Dude… It’s almost like you’re remembering a totally different dick than the one I saw in the showers- totally on accident!- before Caboose team-killed you…”

“Can we not TALK about that shit? You insensitive prick. Man, I died, and, now, I gotta be stuck with your lame ass-“

“Dude, fuck you! I’m awesome. All the ladies wanna fuck me. Hell, even, ghosts wanna fuck me… Right, Church? Right?”

“… NO… Shut the fuck up!”

“…”

“… Hey, Tucker?... I was wondering… can I- can I ask you something?...”

“… *Siiiggghhh*. What, now, Church?...”

“Well… shit, man, I was just kinda wondering… Why the hell you keep pokin’ yourself, huh, Tucker? Whyya doin’ it? Why you keep *poke*-*poke*-*POKING*-”

“Yow! STOP making me poke myself –Bow Chicka Bow Wow- in the fucking arm, you sadistic fuck!...”

✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥ ✥

Simmons snickered a little as he pulled off his helmet. Those damn Blues. No wonder Lopez liked to sneak back over to Red Base whenever he could.

Well, whatever. At least they’d distracted Simmons from… things.

Simmons carefully put back his helmet exactly as it had been.

Although, fuck knows why he bothered. He doubted Grif would notice. But… then, Grif could surprise you, sometimes, and Simmons really didn’t wanna tell Grif he’d looked up the stuff he’d said to him in Hawaiian.

Yeah, Fuck. That.

One, cause, well, shit, the redhead was blushing just thinking about it. About what Grif had said to him…

And, TWO…

Dammit, he didn’t want Grif fucking it up! Because he totally would. He’d turn it into a joke, or blow it off, or, or… who the hell knows. And, Simmons wanted to, just for a while at least, hold onto those words for what they’d been…

God, he really was such a fucking girl about shit.

Oh, well.

Hmmm. Knowing Donut, and his gossipy tendencies (Grif had better not say anything to the lightish-red soldier to embarrass Simmons. He fucking better not!), Grif really was unlikely to get back in under ten-fifteen minutes…

I, mean, but whatever. It wasn’t like Simmons missed him already, or anything… *Sigh*

Simmons carefully untucked Grif’s blanket, and sheet. Unmaking the bed as neatly as he had made it that morning.

He would just lay down, nice and warm under the covers, and wait for him. It wasn’t like he’d actually fall asleep. That was freaking ridiculous…

❇ ❇ ❇ ❇❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇


Fuck… The first thought that popped into Grif’s head once he had the door to his room closed, and one pretty Kissass sequestered within its walls, was… Well, shit. Just being honest here?... Was that it was more than a little tempting to take a little detour to the bathroom/showers, and fuckin’ just rub one out… Just so he’d be more able to relax a little bit, for Christ’s sake…

Hmmm… Probably, a really bad idea, though. If he got thinking about that slender little pretty boy, -And, let’s be real here. What the fuck else would he be thinking about right then?-, and how good he’d felt wrapped around him, how the little Kissass had fucking not been able to help getting hard no matter how nervous he was about all of this…

Mmmm… and about all the goddamn sexy, fuck-me noises he made, especially once Grif had found one of his sweet spots…

That redheaded son of a bitch could really get him worked up, apparently, -bastard-, so… oh shit, yeah, if Grif took a ‘little detour’ with all the sexual tension, and build-up, so fresh in his brain, he’d probably end up cumming so goddamn hard he’d forget what he was supposed to be doing, and barely stumble back to his bed and Simmons to pass the fuck OUT. Hell, maybe, right on top of the Kissass. Smothering him to top it all off.

What a way to end the night.

Mother fuck… yep, it was, for sure, a no-go. And, he figured he had better stop thinking about it before his dick changed his mind for him.

And, honestly, with Simmons right there, just behind the door, it would, without a doubt, be directing him back to the Kissass. To that pretty little son of a bitch.

Definitely, not to some lonely bachelor whack-off in the bathrooms…

He had to think about something else. Like mother fuckin’ NOW.

And, who said cigarettes never helped a dude out?

Simmons.

Because, suddenly, the distracting thought occurred to him, the first coherent, non-Simmons related thought, that Grif had had since closing the door between them…, -oh, wouldn’t that have pissed Simmons off that it was about this-, and he realized that he hadn’t had a cigarette in…

When HAD he last had a cigarette? Was it… that morning? Holy fuck, it was. He’d snuck one in the shower, or, okay three, but, fuck, he’d known he wouldn’t get to during patrol. Not with Simmons having one of his days.

No matter how distracted the nerd was, on those particular days, it was like he had the senses of two pain in the ass naggy assholes.

But, Grif had his ways around that shit. He wasn’t an addict, as much as a binger…

And, he would NEVER admit that he actually chewed the Nicotine gum Simmons kept buying him, and sneaking in with his laundry -even though he told the nerd not to-…

He liked the Fruit Punch one best. Cinnamon was pretty good too, though.

So, even though he thought about sneaking a quick smoke, he knew Simmons would be pissed, and he sure as hell wouldn’t be up to putting his tongue back in Grif’s mouth…

Hmmm… he could always brush his teeth, after his smoke/s, but… the smell would still be on his clothes, and, even if that, somehow, wasn’t the case, knowing Simmons, he’d know regardless, and would be like, ‘Why do you taste like toothpaste… did you smoke? You smoked. I fucking TOLD you, you can’t chew the gum, and smoke! You’re gonna have a stroke, you dumbass!’

Okay. So, maybe, Simmons knew he chewed the gum. Dude was like a frickin’ ninja when it came to finding out Grif’s business.

Or… like a fucking wife…

...Annyywaaay… Simmons would so say ALL that shit. So…

Grif would hold off til tomorrow, chew the goddamn stupid gum (That was actually… pretty cool of Simmons… Grif couldn’t always get to his smokes -sometimes, thanks TO Simmons, though, so… so fuck that!), and he’d just chain-smoke like, hm, four in the morning to make up for today.

That important life choice decided, and his cock successfully chilled the fuck out, Grif started to amble along down the corridor headed toward the lightish-red soldier’s room.

But, as Grif neared Donut’s room, he heard him… talking to someone?

Wait. Wasn’t Lopez back at Blue Base for the night?

Heeeeyyyy! Now, I know you’re grouchy, but there’s no need for that!”

Grif had paused outside Donut’s room, seriously, beyond confused about what the fuck was going on.

In all sincerity, what the fuck?

“Gimmee that back! It goes perfectly with this room’s motif, and if you break it, well, no three coat polish and wax off for you!...”

*Crash* “Uuuuaa! You fellatio-us fiend!,” Donut squealed, sounding more excited than angry…

Again. I repeat. What. The. Fuck?...

Chapter Text

Grif had paused outside Donut’s room, seriously, beyond confused about what the fuck was going on. In all sincerity, what the fuck?

“Gimmee that back! It goes perfectly with this room’s motif, and if you break it, well, no three coat polish and wax off for you!...”

*Crash*

“Uuuuaa! You fellatio-us fiend!,” Donut squealed, sounding more excited than angry.

Again. I repeat. What. The. Fuck?

Grif wasn’t sure what to do. He had a little deal with the Kissass, and he sure as fuck planned on collecting his payment... well, more of his payment.

But, if Sarge was in there... Could that even... be a thing?

With how pissed off Lopez was at him, and Grif, too, half the time, for some unknown goddamn reason (You’d think he really was programed to hate him, or some shit!)...

Grif fuckin’ hoped not. On all accounts.

“Well, why are you just standing there?,” Donut... pouted?

{“Silencio. No more games. Someone is here. Give me my rifle, estupido. Rojos Padre bleeds esta noche.}

“Slice a what now? Awww, Sweetie, you’re sooo grumpy tonight! Whassamatter?,” the lightish-Red soldier’s voice turned to a purr, “You hungry? Need another round of Donut’s Delightful D-“

Okay. It was them. Well, fuck this. Grif rapped on the wall beside the door panel, and called out,“Hey, Dude? Donut? Uh, can I ask you somethin’ real quick?”

“Oh!... I’m Coooming... LoLo!,” Donut scolded, as his voice got closer, “Why didn’t you tell me Grif was at the door? You know you have better hearing than me!...”

The door slid open, and there in all his pink and white starburst-patterned tank top, and pale pink booty shorts pajamied glory stood Donut...

Mmmm... Might just have ta’ get some shorts like that in maroon for the Kissass, sometime... With Simmons’ round little ass, and his loooong legs...

Oh fuck, what? What was he doing, again? Grif had, uh, gotten a little distracted...

Grif glanced around the room, and, yep, there was Lopez, standing near the bunk. A… pink and red... vase?... maybe it had been a vase, shattered on the ground at his feet.

If a robotic man could look pissed, Lopez was doing a damn fine job of it.

{“Dulce Rosado Idiota , I told you. Get me my maldito rifle. Orange blood is as good as Red for Lopez la Pesada esta noche.”}

“What the hell’s his problem?,” Grif asked, warily, although he told himself he didn’t really give a fuck. As long as Donut had put up Lopez’s gun (Grif’d learned to do that, himself, when Simmons was behaving more like his AssholeSimmons self, forever ago.)

And, as long as the lightish-Red soldier remembered how to power Lopez down if he got too much chili peppers in his frijoles…

“Why’s he so cranky?,” Grif asked, still sounding cautious. An angry Lopez could be a dangerous Lopez. And, anybody who said a robotic dude couldn’t get pissed could just go suck a dick. They, obviously, had never been used as target practice by one before!, “And why’s he’s even back here tonight? Did Sarge find out about him com-”

Donut made frantic Hush, he’ll hear you motions toward Lopez, literally, right in front of the robotic man’s face.

Then, he smiled sweetly at the metallic Spaniard, and whispered out of the side of his mouth to Grif, “Ahh, I really dunno?! And, of course, Sergeant You Know Who doesn’t know!... But, LoLo’s been a real sourpuss, anyway! Not like him, at all. I mean, he actually got to come back to spend most of the night with me like we used to so...”

{“You know I can hear you, Si? Cabrón. And Sergeant ‘You Know Who’? Seriously, Donut? Can you be reprogrammed? Idiota. *Sigh* Okay, Cállate, and listen carefully. You would be pissed, too, if you saw what I saw. If I ever get stuck with another AI possessing and fucking the same body, and I cannot just walk away? I will go quietly insane, and create a robot army to destroy you all... except... maybe estupido Donut. The rosado idiota can continue to be my human slave.”}

Both Grif and Donut just stared at him.

Finally, Donut tilted his head flirtily, and chirped, “Awww, LoLo! That’s sooo sweet!”

And, poor Lopez rolled robotic eyes at them both in disgust.

Smiling, Donut turned back to Grif. “So, whatcha need- Oh my gooodness! How did I not notice sooner! That shirt is adorbs!...”

“Oh, fuck,” Grif sighed, “I forgot I was even wearing it...”

“Honestly? Very minimalistic, but sooo precious. I didn’t know you had ANY taste, At. All. Not to be rude, or anything!,” Donut assured, sounding like he completely believed that to be true, as every accidental rude-ass person always does.

The strawberry blonde leaned closer to look at Grif’s shirt, and the red panda on it.

“Looks like it got a little wrinkled in the chest area, somehow..." (Whoops, uh, that woulda been from Simmons, and his grabby, hungry hands...) "Hmmm… Wooow...,” Donut murmured, seeming ridiculously amazed, “It feels like the little guy’s staring straight into my soul...”

Did Lopez just grunt in annoyance? Almost, like a fucking person? What the shit...

*Delicate Sniff* *Sniiiifff*

Uh-Oh.

“Grif! Have you been drinking? And, without mu-wa?... Oh, don’t worry, Sweetie, ” Donut assured Lopez, who seriously?... Didn’t look very worried, “It’s not like that. I wouldn’t do any fun stuff without you, too! You KNOW that. Anyway, Grif just doesn’t like to drink alone... Ahhh, honey!,” Donut turned back to Grif, and was off to the races, “Did your little date with Simmons end badly, and, now, you’ve been pounding down one after another after another hard? Awww! How could he resist you in that cutie-pie ensemble? I know I couldn’t!”

Donut tried to wrap his arms around Grif in a gesture of comfort, but... Lopez, -the robot who “couldn’t give two fucks”?- his bionic eyes flicked to Donut’s state of dress, or semi-undress, then, they locked onto Grif, and he took what could be interpreted by some as a menacing step forward. It certainly was construed as nothing less by Grif.

I mean, but Lopez could never care enough to kill anybody, right? Heh-heh... Right?!

“Oh, fuck!,” Grif yelped a little, which was fucking embarrassing as shit, but, hell, he was remembering about Sarge’s plan to equip Lopez with ‘Laser eyes designed to target those ol’ dastardly Blues, and any worthless Orange soma bitches lazin’ about!’

Had he ever gotten around to that? Was that even a thing?! Shit!

Grif disentangled the overly-affectionate scantily clad lightish-Red from himself, and complained, “Dude, seriously, get off me. Your boyfriend’s gonna laser my ass.”

Donut giggled, “Who, LoLo? Don’t be silly! He’s a big ol’ teddy bear!”

But, the lightish-Red soldier released him, nonetheless.

{“I know where you sleep at night, puta. You play with the broken brother. Leave this one alone.”}

Donut tittered, “Told ya! A TOTAL sweetie teddy bear!”

“Suuure...,” Grif agreed, guardedly, as he moved a bit more behind Donut. As if to get out of the robotic man’s line of sight.

“Grif! What’re you doing? You can’t hide behind me!,” Donut laughed merrily, “You’d really need to lose some darn weight before gettin’ behind ol’ Donut!… Heeeehee!”

Uuugghhh, yeah, fuck you, too, dude. But, listen, I don’t got time for all your guys’ crap, right now. You remember those beers I stashed here? Well, uh... I need ‘em.”

“Now, Grif,” Donut scolded, gently, “I’m not sure about that! I don’t really like the idea of you moping all night with yourself, playing at how jacked off you can get, and how much can you swallow down! That’s reeeaaallly more of a two or more person game... Annnyways, I know you must be sad about things going bad with Simmons...”

“Hey, fuck you, Donut!,” Grif’s expressive eyebrows did a decent job of conveying the ‘Go die in a hole’ look. Very current. Very vogue. “Why you so sure things went bad, huh?”

“Oh, weeeellll...,“ Donut stalled, “Ummm, LoLo? Sweetie? You wanna help me out here?”

{“I hate when you do this estupido trash, Donut. Your translation is mierda.”}

“Ah, Geez Louise! Lopez! Watch your mouth!...,” Donut switched from sounding appalled to apologetic in the space of a heartbeat, “Forgive him! It’s his fiery Latin temper...”

{“Dios give me paciencia. Or my maldito rifle. Either one.”}

Donut grinned at Lopez like he’d said something quite cute, but when he turned back to Grif he simply blurted out, “Grif, it’s just that you suck at this stuff! Suck sooo haaard at it!”

“Suck at... what?,” Grif huffed, offended, but still pretty fuckin’ leery. This was Donut, after all. Fuck knows where he could be going with this...

“At the whole ‘getting Simmons’ thing, or whatever…”

Oh yeah?,” Grif glared at the oblivious, ‘just trying to help’, lightish-Red soldier.

To be honest, Grif actually was kinda genuinely insulted. It wasn’t like he’d been trying that hard to snag any Kissass nerds before now, goddammit! Or, really, trying at all, exactly. He’d just, sorta, been... keepin’ an eye on the Kissass, sometimes, or whatever...

But, only because some soma bitch had to do it! Mother fuck! Son of a- He had ta’ do every fucking thing...

Grif informed the two assholes, one flesh, one robotic, as he squinted his eyes a little challengingly at them, “Bitch is in my bed, Right. Fuckin’. Now.”

Ah man... Simmons would kick his ass if he knew he’d called him a ‘bitch’ in that context. And, uh... also... if he knew he just up, and told them that the redhead was in his bed... Oops. Well, fuck, Grif wasn't ashamed of it, or of being with the Kissass, either, so-

{“...If I cared, I would be muy impressed. But, I do not, so leave us alone.”}

“...Uh ...really?...” Donut sounded doubtful.

“Really,” Grif confirmed, stoically, but with a tacked on, “Asshole”, for good measure, that kind of ruined the effect.

Donut was silent for a long moment.

Searching Grif’s face.

When the Hawaiian gave him one curt, affirmatory nod, the lightish-Red soldier screeched indignantly, and accused, “So you weren’t drinking alone, you big fat fibber!”

{“And, so it begins...”}

“HEY! Fuck you, man!,” Grif tried to defend himself, “I never said...”

SHUT UP!,” Donut bitched at him, as he threw his arms melodramatically into the air.

“But-“

{“Don’t bother, brother. When he gets this way... It will be over faster, if you let him do his estupido Donut thing.”}

“Dexter Grif! You can’t!,” Donut squealed, angrily, “Not when he’s drinking! Is he actually drunk?!”

“NO!... Okay, sorta. But, he’s totally sobering up. He’s not even really drunk, anymore, man!... Hmmm... Fuckin’ weird... Don’t know how the fuck he does that... He was pretty smashed... Must be that ‘Latin’ blood...”

{“Cabron.”}

“Yeah, yeah. Lopez, come on, man. Don’t you start giving me crap, too, dude! Anyway, Donut, Chill. The. Fuck. Out. It’s cool. We’re just... ya know, hangin’ out n’ stuff... Dammit... Fuck, man, I’m not gonna-“

“That’s what they aaaallll say! You sinner!,” Donut cried out, theatrically, “Messing around is ONE thing, but penetrative sex! And, with an innocent like Sims?!...”

Grif completely lost track of what Donut was saying... Did that son of a bitch just say... ‘penetrative sex ’? Jesus. Way ta’ paint a picture, man. What the fuck-

But, Donut was going on. Catching Grif’s attention, again.

“ -on your guys’ first date? Probably, if I know anything about Sims, and his past... his first date, ever! He could hate you in the morning, you know! You, you-”

Grif was almost completely thrown off guard by that ‘Sims, and his past ’ deal.

The idea that... did Donut know stuff about Simmons that he didn’t?

But, ultimately, he couldn’t focus on that, at the moment. Not with Donut so up his ass- oh, fuck. That’s not what he meant. But, hadn’t he TOLD the nerd this could happen? That Donut would get all protective of Simmons, and mad at him?

Feeling like he HAD to say something, if only to get Donut off his ass so he could get back to the Kissass, Grif insisted, “I’m NOT poppin’ any cherries tonight, bitch! And, who the fuck said this was a ‘date’, anyway?”

Donut looked at him like he was hopeless, “‘Poppin'... cherries?’… Isn’t that a thing with a... Don’t you know how this works with a guy, Grif? I thought your first girlfriend... Do I need to explain some things to you? I’m a veeerrry good teacher. I even have visual aids! Ask LoLo. He knows! Lopez knows all.”

{“Do not look at me like that. Puta. It is not weird. Si, Donut is like ‘adopted’, Okay? Remember, it was later... la rosado idiota came into la familia later... Cállate.”} “

Grif tried again, using more technical terms, and less gangsta talk. In his estimation, anyway. He said slowly, and clearly, “I’m. Not. Gonna. Fuck. Him, Donut.”

But, just hearing himself say that, he got pissed all over again! That he, a grown ass man, was being given the third degree about acceptable sex, and “dating”, practices from Donut.

He burst out, “Jesus Christ, you nosy fuck! Simmons would lose his shit if he knew we were talking about this- And hey, this is some bullshit, anyway. Did I come in here sayin’ ‘give me the fuckin’ lube I just know you must have?' No. I. Didn’t. Maybe I thought of it...”

Oh, mouth. Really? Did you really have to sell me out like that? Fuck you, man. Seriously. Fuck. You....

And, hey, it’s not like there weren’t natural lube alternatives right there in the kitchen “pantry”, or whatever they called it... And, Grif was going to make a quick stop there on his way back, anyway...

No, no! Don’t think about that...

“...But I have some goddamn self-control,” Grif went on, totally pretending he hadn’t nearly had a lapse in his so-called control over himself, as well as his one-track mind dick. Fuuuck, he wanted the Kissass so bad… “At least, when it comes to the shit that really matters, Donut. So, get off my back, dude. I’m being careful, alright. And, I’m not gonna, you know, like, fuck fuck him. Dammit!”

Right now, Grif added silently to himself.

Donut cocked his head at the other man. He had calmed down completely during Grif’s tirade and/or explanation of the facts. He, suddenly, wasn’t sure what he’d been so worried about. Under all his rude, crude exterior, Grif was really a gentle soul. In Donut’s estimation, anyway.

So Donut smiled forgivingly at him, and sing-songed. “I know what you’re thiiink-iiing.”

“No you don’t. Shut your face,” Grif grumbled.

“Oh, yes, I do! You’re basically thinking, ‘But I will later’. Right? Riiight?”

“What the fu-,” Grif’s mouth fell mouth in shock, but he recovered pretty quickly, and bitched, “Donut, shut the fuck up!... Fuckin’ Hive Mind bullshit…”

Awww, what do you expect from a Secret Pal That Understands The Other? Huh?,” Donut pulled out that undercover spy/code “nickname” -that Grif had tried to forget- for their “secret friendship”, as he fluttered his –were those tinted eyelash extensions?- Damn. Looked pretty frickin’ good, actually. Not that Grif’d say that in front of Sir. Jealous-o-Bot over there. Or, at all. “SPTUTOs for life, right Grif?”

“Oh, mother fuc-”, Grif muttered, but, then, he scowled (A very Simmons-worthy scowl, at that. The Kissass’d be proud.), “And, hey! Wait a minute. You know what? Back the fuck up a sec. Just who the hell do you think you are, huh? The goddamn hook-up police? Officer Hot Pants, my ass-”

“Hush you!... Now, lemme get your booze so you can go back, and give it to your little Honey.” Donut gave him the biggest, sunniest white smile.

{“Detener ese, Donut. You look like you are going to bite. I thought it was confirmed that the broken brother is the biter.”}

Grif didn’t even seem to hear the robotic man, but, instead, complained to the lightish-Red soldier, “Well, shit, Donut! Now, you made me feel weird. I’m not sure I wanna go back, anymore… Congradu- fucking- lations. You’ve made me feel like a goddamn pervy creep…”

“Oh, don’t give me that!,” Donut scoffed, and did an adorable little hair flip. Christ, even his hair had gotten kinda long. Two inches past his ears, and that was when it was all naturally wavy, like it normally was. If he straightened it, which he did once in a while, it would, likely, be down to his shoulders.

Red Team. They were all secretly a buncha freaking long-haired hippies. Ha!

Oh, Sarge’d try to make them allll shave their heads if he ever heard anyone actually say that…

And, Grif should NOT even, jokingly, think about that.

Grif would lose his shit before he let anyone forcibly cut his goddamn hair, again (And, he would never let anyone cut Simmons' frickin' too pretty chick hair, again, either… Ever... Fuck it. OR, the Rookie's.).

It would get nasty as hell, before he'd lay down like a fucking dog, and just take it like a little bitch. They were their own freaking people! They weren’t frickin’ automatons… Fuck, he hated all of this uniformity crap... He'd be slovenly as shit just to spit in the whole concept's mother fuckin' eye!...

But, alright... Grif needed... He needed ta' chill. It was... seriously, it- it was alright. Nobody was making them get shorn, anymore, to "discourage individuality, and encourage conformity". Sure, it was weird that Sarge was actually being sorta... cool?... *Shudder* That word, and Sarge... Like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence (Don't let the Kissass ever hear him say that.).

But, yeah, it was odd alright, that the CO was okay with it, but... Well, he was ‘okay with it’ as long as they always kept their hair tied back, even under their helmets, while on duty. Otherwise, there’d be hell to pay.

Even, SARGE’S hair wasn’t regulation length, anymore.

Although, his idea of ‘long hair’ on a ‘superior officer’ was laughable. An inch past reg. on a CO was “Pushin’ it, dirtbags,” he’d grunted at Grif and Simmons.

Then, there’d been King Kissass Simmons, once he and Grif’d been alone on patrol, again, boo-hooing about, whether or not, his wannabe Pappy Sarge had called him a “dirtbag”.

Until, Grif had, finally, gotten so annoyed with all the whining, and interrupting of his precious nap-time, that he’d assured the Kissass that, “Of course not, nerd. Don’t be an idiot. He was calling ME Dirtbag twice for fuckin’ good measure, dude. Got it?”

“Y-You think? I mean, that DOES kinda make more sense…,” the Kissass had murmured, hopefully, as Grif was already drifting off to sleep.

And, all had been right in the land of Nerdtopia, within the waters of Kissassopolis for a time…

But, really, Grif shouldn’t, and really didn’t, fuck with the Kissass about this whole deal, in particular, cause the real truth was that Grif was pretty damn sure that it was Simmons that had talked Sarge into some kind of Blues= Short Hair Pussies, Reds= Long Hair Warriors shit.

You learned a lot about what went on in Sarge’s head, whether you wanted to or not, due to his habit of mumbling to himself like a flippin’ nutball (Although, uh, Simmons did that, too. A LOT.), and, also, due to how much the Red leader used to loudly talk to Lopez about whatever popped into his manic mind. And, apparently, according to Sarge’s ramblings, most of the Blues he’d ever run across had short hair, -although, obviously, not that Blue Tucker with the dreads-... so maybe that had had a little something to do with him going along with Simmons' little scheme…

The redhead could be surprisingly sneaky, and rebellious when he really had his heart set on something. Rarely. But, it was always a fucking treat for Grif to see.

And, hey, whatever worked. Sarge could be superstitious, while insisting he wasn’t superstitious, and was just not taking a chance that NOT being super-

Oh, screw it.

Jesus. Despite Grif getting so distracted thinking about Red Team hair care, of all freaking things, Donut was still going on. Chattering away like a fuckin’ little magpie, “–and the very idea! It’s ridiculous! Like, anything, could ever keep you away from your beloved Sims… You, and Simmons? You’ll, totally, always be together in the end… Anything else? Pfft… is just beyond silly! I know you guys better than that. I know you better than that. I mean, if anyone knows you, it’s your SPTU-”

“Dude, STOP! Don’t say it! I gotta get OUTTA here. Holy shit, just get me the beer, and I’ll GO already! I’ve been gone forever. Ah fuck, Simmons is gonna be pissed... Oh, and, uh, Donut? I’m being really serious, dude. Don’t say that in front of other people. That SPIT-U2, stuff? For real, man. It sounds kinda fuckin’… weird…”

“Of cooourse not,” the lightish-Red soldier promised, in a voice overflowing with sincerity, “That’s why ‘Secret’ is in the name, Grif! Don’t you worry, Ol’ Donut knows how to keep his men under covers!”

Donut turned on his heel to get the beers, which he, also, had hidden under his bunk, -Real original there, Donut-, but Lopez stopped him.

A robotic hand pressed, quite carefully, against his chest.

{“Donut. Stop. The glass.”}

With slow, measured movements that could almost be called… gentle?... What the hell?... the metallic man picked the strawberry blonde right up off his feet. Just swept him up to protect him from the glass, and placed him cautiously down onto the bed.

Then, seemingly ignoring the kiss the lightish-Red soldier blew to him, as well as Donut’s loving purr of, “Sweetie, don’t scratch your paint”, Lopez started to clean up the glass so that he could get to the beers himself.

Grif thought it all seemed oddly frickin’… tender, and unthinkingably… almost… caring coming from the robotic man.

And, Grif couldn’t help but wonder just what in the hell went on behind closed doors around this freaking base…

So fuckin’ strange.

But, then… he thought about the pretty Kissass,… waiting for him behind his own closed door… probably all curled up in his bed… He thought of all that had happened between them, and all that would happen between them, at some point or another, behind that closed door, and…

And, uhm, anyway, yeeeaaahhh, Lopez… Let’s, uh, let’s think about that robot guy…

Grif HAD to focus on something other than that sexy little nerd waiting for him, or he’d just take off back to him, beers or no, and, then Simmons’d probably be pissed, or at least, naggy as fuck (Couldn’t Grif ever complete any task, Blah, Blah, Blah…)…

*Internal Sigh of ‘What have I gotten myself into with this bossy, pretty nerd that I’m never gonna be able to untangle, or even WANT to untangle, my damn obsessed-ass self from, now?’*

A long sigh, indeed…

…Yeah, but, uh, anyway, that Lopez dude, yeah, him…

He was a hell of a puzzle. He’d never been one to fall into any of their expectations about how a robot, or “non-organic man” should act.

One time, Grif had actually asked Lopez about it. About what his deal was. Why he was different than the other robots you saw, or heard about.

More… human.

It had seemed like Lopez’d just been waiting for someone to ask.

And, he’d gone on some long-ass furious tirade… in Spanish, of freaking course… fuck knows why Grif had let himself expect anything else…

When he, finally, fell silent, Grif had replied, thoughtfully, “Sooo, I guess it’s… just one of those… things, huh? A real mystery…”

Lopez had started shooting at Grif’s feet.

Luckily for him, Simmons and Donut had come running over to break it up. Simmons panicking, and yelling at Grif as if it was his damn fault he was being shot at (“Griiif! You know better than to antagonize him!”), and Donut somehow scolding and crooning to the metal Spaniard at the same time (“LoLo, Honey, Sweetie-pie, we’ve talked about this! Out in the open? Where any innocent passerby could get splattered?! Tch. If you need to shoot a load off, you gotta wait until you’re with your partner in the approved of designated areas…”)

Grif sighed, as he forced himself to focus on the present. It was strange… he felt sorta… nostalgic, or some shit, tonight. So many memories. His mind was jumping all over the damn place. Maybe, it was cause… him and Simmons were finally getting somewhere… maybe he was trying… to understand how in the hell they’d gotten there in the first place, so it didn’t all fuckin’… slip away…

So goddamn lame.

But, it had happened to him before, and just- just within himself? His own thoughts? He really wasn’t sure he could take that, again. And, not with Simmons…er, uh, the Kissass.

No… NOT. With. Him.

He’d almost fucking lost it when he thought it was happening earlier. When he thought Simmons was going to back off, change his mind about them…

Leave him.

Ah, man. Maybe he’d really spent too much of his life being shot at (Like seriously. It was getting a little ridiculous at this point.), and it was turning him into a frickin’ hardcore emotional ass sap.

All he knew for certain?

Was he needed to get the hell back to the pretty boy nerd all curled up in his bed. His bed. Like right fuckin’ NOW.

Grif shifted in agitation. Come on, already! Why’d Lopez have to be such a goddamn perfectionist! Screw the damn glass. He could finish cleaning it up after Grif was back in bed with his Kissass all wrapped around him, again…

Grif wasn’t sure how he’d ever handle Simmons not being in the same bed with him every night now that they’d, er, whatever this thing was with them... He really was greedy, and he wanted that annoying Kissass with him, and all to himself.

Grif could, at least, admit that to his own damn self.

HmmmMay-be, the Kissass’ room would have a little “accident”, and be made uninhabitable… Hey, Grif could fight dirty if he had to… Shit. He really was terrible. But, eh, he didn’t bother to really give a fuck.

I, mean, dude! Simmons was actually secretly all cuddly as fuck in bed, even without and before the sex, and Grif had never got to have that before. As a super-secret, he’d kill anyone who opened their liar mouth about it, cuddly fuck himself, he knew to appreciate that. It sucked like a mother fucker to be with someone who said, “…I can’t sleep when you’re touching me, Honey…”

Even, if it was freaking understandable, or whatever. Hell, some people were light sleepers, and it wasn’t like it was personal, he guessed… It was still frickin’ lame, though.

But, it was totally different with Simmons. The couple times the redhead had wrapped around him, or laid, half-dozing, with his head on his chest, Grif had felt, more than thought, 'Yes, yes, this is how it’s supposed to be. This feels fuckin’ right.'

And, son of a bitch, he really wanted to get back to that…

Couldn’t that asshole get to the beers, yet?

“Lopez, come on, man,” Grif sounded a little edgy, and like he wanted to GO. Shit, and he really did still have to stop by the kitchen, and grab some stuff for them to munch on. He was starving, and Simmons needed to eat more frickin’ food, too, whether he liked it, or not. That son of a bitch lost weight WAY too goddamn easily…, “I really gotta get back, dude. I don’t want him to escape…”

“Grif!,” Donut cried out in absolute shock, his eyes flying up to meet Grif’s, a beautifully pale pink french tip manicured hand pressing to his chest in a gesture that wordlessly screamed, Oh, my goodness GRACIOUS, you FIEND!.

Oh, shit. Did he say that out where any-damn-one could hear, rather than think it in his head? Grif hadn’t meant to do that.

Donut, for the handful of minutes it took Lopez to clean up the glass, had been idly working on his latest project; some pink and brown (Evidently, in solidarity with Lopez.) crocheted applique flowers.

While, Grif had sat in the same chair he had before, with the crocheted pillow that showed off Donut’s pink and red applique flowers…

It had, seemingly, been a big… vase, (Grif still didn’t know what the hell the pink and red swirled piece of glass had been exactly, or where the hell Donut had gotten it.), and Lopez was a huge stickler for everything being done juuust riiight, so it seemed to be taking forever to take care of…

And, to be blunt, if the strawberry blonde’s endless moans that you could hear coming out of his room when these two got going were anything to go by, Lopez’s attention to detail, apparently, extended to the bedroom, as well.

Even, Sarge didn’t go anywhere NEAR Donut’s room, or even that side of the Base when those two were going at it.

The kitchen was near Donut’s room, though, so Grif just grinned, well, grimaced, and bore it. At least, he could raid the food stores in relative peace when they were doing whatever it was they did, so that was a win.

And, oh, yeah, Sarge knew, alright. About Donut and Lopez. Of course, he was, during this particular time, under the impression that Lopez was stuck at Blue Base, and the CO wasn’t aware of Lopez and Donut’s trysts, or... whatever they were.

But, anyway, that was all really beside the point, other than the fact that Donut, who wasn’t exactly as, uhm, let’s say, as naïve and inexperienced as Simmons, for example, had sat up on his bunk, sounding and looking as appalled, horrified, and fascinated as a virgin in a Taiwanese brothel..., “Did you lock him in your room?!”

“No!,” Grif scoffed, and quickly denied, but then... “Uhhh... maybe?”

“GRIF!”

{Lopez looked up. “Smooth, Hombre. Smooth.” Then, back to his task.}

“Hey, fuck you, Lopez! For… whatever… you said. And, chill the hell out, Donut! He knows the goddamn code! Don’t get your panties in a twist…”

{“Dulce Rosado Donut… he does not always wear these ‘panties’. But, mostly, the bonita idiota does not keep them on long enough to get ‘twisted’. They do seem to get… what is this word? Si, Si. Torn…”}

Grif had no idea what Lopez had said (Although, he coulda sworn the last word had been ‘torn ’, but that couldn’t be right...), and he hadn’t bothered to spare him much more than a glance this time, but, holy shit, was that a hint of a smirk in the metallic man's normally quite measured, robotic tone? Fuckin’ weird. Dude was in a mood tonight.

Grif shook his head, and continued, “It was just to protect him, -er, uhm, what-ever-, from you assholes, or Sarge barging in while I’m gone. Huh! It’d be just like that son of a bitch to decide tonight’s the night we just GOTTA do some moonlight attack…”

It didn't matter if the sun never seemed to fuckin' set. Since when had any of Sarge's plans made any damn sense?

Now, Grif actually did a fairly decent Sarge impression. Not many people knew this, but Grif wasn’t too bad at getting all sarcastic, and doing different voices, and accents. He didn’t do it for just anyone, though. Normally, just for Kai, and, now, Simmons, sometimes.

Ya know, people that appreciated it.

One time, months ago, after Sarge had shot down another one of Simmons' plans of attack against the Blues, the redhead had been really down about it, and Grif, sick of seeing him so depressed, had given in to himself, and done a mocking, biting impression of the CO that was so on the nose that the Kissass had laughed out loud before he remembered he was supposed to be teacher's pet.

So, to make up for his lapse, he'd socked Grif in the arm... buuut, then, like he couldn't fucking help it, he'd squeezed Grif's bicep, affectionately, then... curiously. Like he was fascinated with the solid muscle under the chub.

Situations like that one were the reason Grif bitched to himself about how Simmons was a tease without meaning to be a tease, and how he didn't really understand how his actions affected other people...

Grif had almost yanked the pretty boy nerd against him. He was SO close to just going for it... But Simmons must have sensed it, and, of course, freaked out, because he suddenly had to go, 'uh-uh, do something...'

Hmmm... Grif was so relieved by the simple fact, which really wasn't simple, at all, but fucking HUGE, that Simmons hadn't bailed on him this time, and had, fucking finally, let this thing between them get on track already, that, well hell, apparently, he was, actually, in the mood to inform Donut and Lopez of the newest idiot 'plan' of their CO's in his 'Sarge voice', “Listen here, dirtbags! It's the perfect plan! Those dastardly ol’ Blues’ll be sooo busy howlin’ at that disgustin' blue moon a’ theirs, that they’d ne’ er ‘spect the proud, the strong, the Reds, strengthened by the light of the Red people’s Almighty Sun, ta’ attack!’...”

Grif chuckled a little scornfully, and continued in his own voice, “I honestly can’t believe that crazy son of a bitch hasn’t come around looking for Simmons, and fucked it all up, somehow... Oh, shit! I just jinxed it, didn’t I?”

{"Probably, Si. But, Muy Bueno Rojos Padre voice, hermano. You sounded enough like him, I wish to shoot you in your puta face."}

“No, no...,” the lightish-Red soldier pursed his lips, and tapped his chin a bit nervously, “Looook... earlier? Right before LoLo came (Groans from the Peanut Gallery. Especially, because, as Simmons was fond of saying, ‘That doesn’t make sense!’), um, Sarge came, too? He wanted Simmons, though... He was calling his name... louder and louder. Uhhh, I’m surprised you didn’t hear... you two must’ve been reeeaaallly wrapped up inside with each other...”

{“Madre de Dios. Such un cerdo. So linda, though.”}

For a second, Grif looked like his brain had almost completely ceased to function.

Just little brain blips here and there.

So much... fucked up... in all that... dunno where... to start...

His mind settled on the most important thing of all. Someone, no not just someone, Sarge, trying to steal Simmons from him!

Obviously, so he could have the redhead kiss his ass about some wackadoo plan the insane CO had come up with, and, then, get Simmons to shore up that plan with a better one that Sarge would, then, take full credit for.

Oh, son of a mother fucking cock-sucking bitching asshole!

Suddenly, it really Pissed. Grif. Off.

“That fuck!,” Grif spat, instantly fuming pissed (Too pissed to think of the shotgun with his name practically engraved on it), “Simmons isn’t even supposed to be on duty! We’re done for the night! Man, and the dude had a shit day, again! No. Fuck this. Do you fucking hear me? I said NO. Where is he? Where’s the old man? I’m gonna talk to him.”

“…And, I, uh,” Donut continued, as if there had been no interruption. Only, now, he sounded, and looked, a tad ashamed. A rare sight, “… distracted him with plan about the Blues… but I told him if he wants it to work he has to sleep until 0800 hours with the ashes of blue jay’s feather, -not the bird, just the feather!- under his pillow, and an unopened bottle of grenadine in his-”

“Oh shit,” Just as quickly as he’d been infuriated, Grif crowed in delight, “So fuckin’ retarded! He still thinks you’re a fuckin’ voodoo priestess, or some shit! Ha!”

“Well, w-well, who told him that Grif!,” Donut pouted, and then he mumbled, “I just wanna be a Secret Agent, or Officer Hot-Pan-!”

Grif quickly cut him off, “Hey, man. I don’t give a fuck what wacky shit he believes. That got us outta duties for a whole day while Sarge tried to get Command to send him, and tell him what gris gris was. Heh. So stupid.” Ah. He could say that when Simmons wasn’t around… Oh, fuck! Simmons!, “Dudes, I gotta g-”

“I know, I know, you gotta go…,” Donut sat up on his knees on the edge of the bed, grinning, as Lopez finally handed him the beer, and he passed it over to Grif, “…but, at least, tell me you played him that song? I, even, had LoLo listen to it. You know, Grif. The SONG. Grey Area? You did, right?”

As Grif took the carton, he looked kinda confused. Like he’d purposely blocked that out, even though he had just been thinking about it, earlier.

When clarity hit, he growled, not as sexy as Simmons *Shrug*, but a growl, nonetheless, “What? What the- Hell, NO! Donut, I told you, it’s-“

{“That song was muy gay.”}

“Did he just say ‘GAY’?,” Grif was a tad aghast, “I swear to GOD he just said ‘gay’! See! Even the gay robot thinks it’s gay!”

{“No soy gay. Soy ‘not into labels’. You know this one?”}

Grif caught the words ‘no’, ‘gay’ and ‘labels’, and he just had to take a goddamn second to glare at Donut.

Like really, Dude? Really

❃ Donut and Grif’s Drunken Get Together: Extended Edition ❃

“… Ah, Jesus Fuck,” Grif swore.

“I KNOW, right! It’s s-so, s-so perfeeect,” Donut almost cried in his utter joy.

Grif just groaned his ass off, bitched about how gay the song was, told Donut to STOP singing along, but… but he listened… And, only got more bummed out, cause, well, fuck his goddamn lame ass life. And, this stupid lame ass song. And, oblivious lame ass Simmons… he could go on and on and on…

And, so he did.

“Look, bitch… this song?”, Grif stopped for a second to gather his drunken thoughts, and wished he hadn’t when more words to the song washed over him.

♫ Are we off, are we on? Is it right, is it wrong?

♫ Is that it, is there more? Are we here? Are you sure?

♫ Not enough, or too far? Do we know what we are?

Grif shook his head, and continued, trying to make Donut Get. It. in the most politically correct way possible, “Alright, here’s the deal, man… this song is fuckin’ GAY as balls, dude!”

There. Totally not offensive. In Grif-drunk-speak, anyway.

♫ These blurry boundaries got me all confused

♫ Who sets the limits? Do you choose? Do I choose

♫ Just need to know which way we're heading here,

♫ Is something happening yet? Let's be clear…

Donut stopped singing, literally cutting himself off at the end of the last line to another verse like he’d planned it that way… Tricky little fuck.

“…Uhhh, the song is… buuut Grif aren’t you ga-”

“No! I’m not fuckin’ ‘gay’, bitch!”

Donut looked at him for a moment, head cocked like a curious little bird, and then, he leaned forward, and patted Grif’s shoulder, kindly, “Suuure, buddy. I believe you!”

Grif huffed in genuine annoyance, “Fuck- You don’t- Don’t pity believe me, you son of a bitch! Fuck that ‘gay’, ‘not gay’ shit. Fuck LABELS, man. I HATE that shit! Nobody tells me what the fuck to do, goddammit! If I wanna fuck a chick, I can fuckin’ fuck a chick. If I wanna fuck a DUDE, same goes. If I wanna… a guy that’s like a chick… a chick that’s… like a guy…”

He trailed off.

Oh, Grif was DRUNK. He was just spilling out aaalll the deets.

Donut loooved it.

“Ohhh, you’re one a those,” Donut nodded understandingly, and smiled brightly at him, “Well, that actually makes sense, then!”

Grif just grumbled lazily at him, gazing deeply, and forlornly into his empty glass like it would magically refill itself if he looked at it long enough.

“Ahhh, honey! Come, and cheer up! You know you’ll feel better once you, and Simmons are really together. You’re one of those kind of guys that need to be taken care of. I’d do it as a friend, but…,” Donut lowered his voice conspiratorially, “LoLo is really veeerrry jealous! It’s that fiery Latin temper, you know!”

Grif snickered, instantly cheered up by the ridiculously funny idea of LOPEZ being ‘jealous’. It was so frickin’ ludicrous that Grif was completely distracted from his previous thoughts.

Grif rolled his eyes, as Donut poured them each another glass (Ha! It worked!), “Yeah, man, suuure, that Lopez, he, uh, really seems like the possessive, really gives two shits, ‘jealous’ type, dude.”

Donut bobbed his strawberry blonde head in serious agreement, “Oh, yes. He really is.”

❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃ ❃


Well, one thing was for certain. It seemed like Donut had been telling the truth about the robotic Spaniard. Lopez really was all possessive over the lightish-Red soldier. Somehow. Like that even made sense. But, like he’d thought before, Lopez, himself, didn’t make a lot of sense…

But, still, that was beside the point! That son of a bitch, Donut, and his big mouth was the problem here. It was really a pain in the ass being friends with- I, mean, fuck! Not friends. Just, um, like passing acquaintances, or some shit.

And, speaking of, or thinking about -what-the-fuck-EVER- that obviously over-sarcastic, even though you had no clue what the fuck he was saying, Lopez

“Donut, you son of a bitch. You told him about that, man?”

Donut tittered, “Now, Grif! I’m always willing to be opened up when it comes to LoLo! You oughta know that, by now.”

Jesus Christ. Too much information.

…Fuck it. He gave the hell up.

“*Siiiggghhh*… Yeah, yeah. Man, I give up. I’ll see you clowns, later,” Grif lazily sketched a ‘See Ya’ in Donut and Lopez’s direction, and turned to go.

As he started to make his way back to his room (And Simmons), he may have gone at a slightly quicker pace than his usual meander, or stroll.

But, sure enough, he could still hear the unlikely pair, as they, immediately, started up with their bickering or flirting, or fuck knows with those two.

“Now, as for you my naughty, naughty robot! Come here to me. I have juuust the thing to put the pep back into your step!” Donut half-promised, half-warned, as if the metallic man had actually been “pep”py beforehand.

{“Estupido, Donut. Put. The. Sticker. Book. Away. It took a week to remove the last perros y gatos playing with this, how do you say… ‘Beach balls’. Disturbing.”}

“Ooooh, you want one with baaalls. Well, then! Why didn’t you just saaay so, Sweetie? Let me just put away my Lisa Franks, and get out my Adults Only one. We better be careful about where we stick it, though…” Donut giggled a little maniacally, his voice fading as Grif got further away.

{“I said NO… Idiota… Mi pequeña esclava, now, you pay tribute.”}

The last thing Grif heard before a combination of him getting too far away, and the pair, seemingly, becoming ‘distracted’ with each other, was Donut yelping, but still giggling, “Yiiipes! LoLo! Watch the hair, watch the hair!”

Even though, he didn’t know what Lopez’s end of all that had been, the Hawaiian snorted, anyway. What a coupla fuckin’ nuts…

Shit! He had to grab the food, and get back to his own nut. And, hell if Grif knew why he kept worrying about this, in particular, when it hadn't really been THAT long, but…

Fuck, he hoped that pretty lil' son of a bitch was still awake…

Chapter Text

Hmmm. Knowing Donut, and his gossipy tendencies (Grif had better not say anything to the lightish-Red soldier to embarrass Simmons. He fucking better not!), Grif really was unlikely to get back in under ten-fifteen minutes…

I, mean, but whatever. It wasn’t like Simmons missed him already, or anything…

Sigh

Simmons carefully untucked Grif’s blanket, and sheet. Unmaking the bed as neatly as he had made it that morning.

He would just lie down, nice and warm under the covers, and wait for him. It wasn’t like he’d actually fall asleep. That was freaking ridiculous…

 

Simmons stared up at the slightly luminescent plastic stars on the ceiling.

The room was quite dim (Darker than before?), but luckily, wasn’t dark enough to set off his fear…

Which was pretty fucking fortunate, in Simmons’ opinion, as that really wasn’t something he wanted to be known for.

A grown adult… although, he supposed he hadn’t been one for that long…

But, regardless, of that. At his age? Being afraid of the dark…

Shit. It was beyond pathetic.

Although,… it wasn’t like he didn’t have pretty understandable reasons behind his fear of the deep dark…

Reasons that he only, sometimes, remembered.

You just, you couldn’t- you couldn’t see… you couldn’t see who was coming… you could only- only hear the sound… the *Clomp Clomp Clomp* of his snakeskin boots against the cold wooden floorboards…

And, then, there was that pitch-black, tiny room from, sometime, later on…

Richard never let him remember long enough to really put any pieces together, so he- he couldn’t really figure out what…

He just didn’t know. Didn’t know so fucking much.

If he thought about it, tried to recall a little more… after all, Richard was so deeply -elsewhere- asleep that it was sorta one of the few times Simmons even could attempt to dig deeper…

It made him cr-

FUCK, he hated that word! He wasn’t-!

Dammit… But, it was true… It DID make him c…cr-crazy… to not know so much. To feel like there was knowledge of his own life, his own past locked within his head…

And, then, to have moments where things would start to come clear. Where he would start to, to remember bits and pieces of things that made no sense. That didn’t fit into any understandable configuration. Like he was missing giant, ragged pieces of the puzzle.

Sometimes, he… he could remember… He could see

It had been more a cube than a room. He wasn’t sure how something- something so small could ever be called a room… but, but for lack of a better term (Because the best description that came to mind, that truly fit was… was “chamber”. And that- that… terrified him beyond all words…)

It was a small, locked deep dark place where you could hear nothing at all, or perhaps you’d call it “hearing” enforced sound cancelation… all the sound seemingly sucked out of the room, and, then, eventually, a voice, the Voice that differentiated right from wrong, being pumped into the space…

To a mind desperate for stimulation of any kind. Willing to soak up, and believe anything, anything at all…

Honestly, as Simmons lay there in Grif’s bunk, he KNEW this was a hell of a time to try to dredge any of this shit up, but, goddammit, he wanted so badly to figure it out, and not be so fucked up, anymore! He didn’t like how all these invasive, messed up thoughts had popped up when he and Grif had- had been…

Maybe, he thought if he could understand where all of this was coming from, the worst of it, -Could it- could it really be that bad?-, then he could… could…

He didn’t even know.

And, he really didn’t even know why he bothered to try to remember anything, anyway.

Whenever things started to come back to him… when Richard was made aware of it? He would wipe it clean, once again. And, he would tell him… Oh, my fucking God, Simmons actually remembered this, again… He remembered how Richard would tell him, all over again, sounding so goddamn sorry, and unhappy…

[“Fuck, Kid. Again? You aren’t supposed to remember any of that. I- Dammit! I’m sorry. I tried to deal on my own like with the other- Anyway… we HAD to be together for… for that. To, kinda, talk each other through it. I guess? Cause those sick fucks were totally trying to brainwash us, and that- the sensory dep shit? Man, I don’t wanna admit this crap, but before I pulled you back… I think it might actually have started to work…”]

Goddammit. Yes. That was how it went, wasn’t it? Whenever Simmons did start to recall things… before Richard swept the memories away, again…

And, those words, Richard’s word’s, they- they scared the fuck outta him. Because, it was so obvious that the fucked up shit Simmons almost started to remember was only the very tip of the iceberg. And, to be honest, most of the time, Simmons wasn’t sure he wanted to know everything…

Consequently, perhaps due to his fear of knowing, at times, out-weighing his desire to know, he didn’t normally ever even bother to attempt to hide anything from Richard. When he was starting to remember things, that is.

Even though a part of remembering was realizing that it WAS Richard who had locked away those moments. Those days, and weeks, and- and, sometimes… even longer.

And, then, Simmons would have to deal with a freaked out Richard, trying to figure out why Simmons was being able to “get to those memories”, at all.

So, every now and then… the redhead DID start to “unblock” or whatever… but then he’d forget (Richard, Richard MADE him forget.), again. Only to realize, when, once more, he recalled something, even the smallest, tiniest little thing, that he HAD started to remember stuff before.

This wasn’t the first time.

It was never the first time.

He couldn’t remember the first time…

It was an endless loop…

And…

He…

He was starting to-

Starting to remember, again.

Here and there.

LittleThingsBigThingsBiggerThingsBadBadBadThings…

Richard would be so, so upset. So afraid. So worried.

What- What should Simmons do? He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to tell him, to convince him to- to not...

Ohhh, he wished Grif would come back, already.

......

Strange. That thought. No matter how anxious a thought it had been… thinking about Grif, that he would be coming back to him… slipping under the sheets with him… it calmed him, even while it excited him. He knew it was probably really freaking bad to rely on someone else for anything, but hell, he’d been doing it over half his life hadn’t he? Because he was-

(-WEAK! What kinda son a mine would do such a thing?! An’, at nine years old? Richard NEVER woulda- I never should’ve even given him our name! It’s all your fault, woman! He’s nothin’ like him!...)

No. Fuck, no. That did- That DID NOT make any sense. His father, and his- his insane ranting… Yelling at his mother about things that didn’t make sense… He could- He could just fuck off! It wasn’t TRUE. It didn’t make sense. And, he KNEW Richard didn’t really understand any of it, either….

No, No, NO. He was not going to think about any of that stuff. Not that night. He fricking refused.

Why was he even doing this to himself? This was why he couldn’t stand being alone. Couldn’t stand to not have his mind occupied with something constructive.

He had to have something to do.

Something to fill the empty spaces.

Because, in the silence… that fearful, empty silence… so much anxiety and toxicity grew and multiplied.

Until, inevitably… to be frank as fuck… he started having a nervous fucking breakdown!

And, seriously, Simmons did NOT want a repeat of earlier with him getting over-excited (Although, at least, it had been in a GOOD way before.), and Richard coming out, and being all… not in the right head space.

Saying who knows what to Grif.

Goddamn. Simmons’ head was all over the place. He couldn’t focus worth a shit.

But, Jesus. Cut him some frickin’ slack! He couldn’t even believe that had happened! In all sincerity, Simmons was still in shock, and he didn’t have a clue what to think about the whole fucked up situation.

And… let’s be serious here… Richard obviously had to have said more to Grif than just calling him Jimmy’s pet names, and saying “sorry”… Grif just hadn’t wanted to tell him everything…

“Sorry”…

Simmons didn’t know why that bothered him so much. “Sorry” for fucking what?!

Well, at least- at least, Richard hadn’t… kissed Grif… or something…

Both of them thinking they were kissing someone else…

The idea that he and Grif’s first kiss could have been in a sense “stolen”... Maybe, not on purpose, but…

That was such a fucking freaky as shit, stressful, upsetting thought…

Simmons was already, sort of, okay, more than ‘sort of’, he was really dreading having to talk to Richard about how things had changed between him and Grif.

Considering how over-protective and paranoid Richard was, and how uncomfortable, and just strange he’d gotten about other guys…

Yeah, that was… that was gonna be a fun conversation…

*Sigh *

Simmons kept kind of “checking in” on Richard. To find him still asleep. Still perfectly fine.

Peaceful in a way Simmons couldn’t remember him being in so very long.

It was kind of strange. Kind of VERY strange.

But, regardless of that, and how “far away”, yet near, Richard felt, -it was sorta a hard concept to explain-… now that Simmons was thinking more about that night, more about- about Grif (Oh, fuck. He was blushing, again.)… it was making him think about how… Oh fucking God… how good, beyond good, it had all been…

And, Simmons could tell Grif was trying to take it slow, and he appreciated it, but, holy shit, if just what they’d done so far had been that- that… and saying “just” seemed ridiculous considering how beyond the word it all had felt…

Son of a bitch. It had all only made him want more.

Considering that, it, uh, maybe shouldn’t be a surprise that after Grif’d left the room Simmons’d almost, uh… heh. Yeah, he was kind of beyond embarrassed when he thought of how he’d almost… just to let off some steam before he fucking exploded!

Oh my fricking God… he was the worst.

In Grif’s room? In his room? Seriously, Simmons couldn’t believe his own audacity. He had no class, at all. Not that the act, itself, was very “classy”.

Hmmm… He bet Grif would disagree, and- and maybe he’d just have to show Simmons…

Oh, Jesus.

He couldn’t help it… It was so hard not to get all worked up thinking about… fuck-fuck… about Grif’s mouth, his-his hands, a-and tongue, and teeth on him…

(Where the fuck was he? He was taking forever!)

And then, when he remembered finding out exactly what Grif had said to him…

Actual sweet things… Huh. It was so like Grif to have to say them in a language Simmons didn’t understand…

But, still, despite Grif practically provoking him into it (Yes, it was ALL Grif’s fault!... Pfft. He’d probably love to hear that.), the realization that he’d even had the very real thought, however fleeting, cross his mind (Again. Mother Fuck. He’d thought of it AGAIN, too!) to, um, do- do THAT…

And, in Grif’s room.

Seriously, maybe, if he reminded himself of it enough, it would deter any naughty wandering hands.

After all, lest he forget, it wasn’t just Grif he had to worry about being caught by!

Although, seriously, if he guessed right, Grif’d only be pissed he hadn’t been doing it with himAh fuck, that thought really got Simmons all excited, again

But, uh, any-anyway, Simmons was SO freaking glad he hadn’t done “that”. And, he was-n’t going to! On top of everything else going on…

No matter how separate, and sound asleep Richard was at the moment, with how freaking weird he had been pretty much all night… well, really since Simmons had mentioned Jimmy a couple days back…

The truth was that another thing Simmons DID NOT want a repeat of with Richard, was what’d happened the very first time Simmons’d gotten curious, and had… had touched himself like… that. (Why, whhhyyy did he have to get so goddamn shy, & easily embarrassed by even thinking the words whenever they had to do with- with that.

He was, somehow, sure he was worse than any virgin girl. He’d bet any fucking thing he was the biggest pussy when it came to this stuff…)

Uggghhh… Annnyway, he’d been thirteen. And, as unbelievable as it sounded, Simmons hadn’t even really consciously thought actual “naughty thoughts” until he WAS thirteen. Which was pretty damn old, considering how young kids were introduced to that stuff, nowadays.

I, mean, yeah, he had thought a couple different girls or boys were sorta cute in the past year or two, since he was like eleven, or so, but just in an innocent sorta way…

Simmons sighed. And, pulled Grif’s blanket tighter around him. Honestly? Just to himself? He wasn’t sure he’d ever really even liked anyone before… I, mean, sure, he guessed he’d thought a couple people were kind of attractive before, but that didn’t mean he’d thought about- about… When it came down to it, Grif was the first person, the only person he’d ever trusted enough to be with in that way. The first person he’d ever really wanted to be with enough to…

And, he totally couldn’t tell him that. He’d either tease him, or get all cocky about it.

Probably, both.

Heh. Yeah, that sounded like him.

Simmons was smiling a little up at those plastic stars (Were they a little brighter? As if… the room had gotten a little darker?). Just, thinking of…

And, he sighed, again. A bit wistfully this time.

God, it was fucking pathetic, but… screw it. Freaking pitiful, or not, he missed him. He just…

He missed him so much in that moment...


♥ Grif in the Kitchen ♥
Yum, Yum, Yum!
Gettin’ ALL the food
For the Tum, Tum, Tum!

Grif hummed absently to himself as he meandered into one of his favorite places on Base.

The kitchen.

Ahhh… And, with Sarge out doing a late “night” patrol, Simmons waiting for him back in his room, and Donut, and Lopez “occupied” (Man, speaking of that, Grif had better hurry the fuck up before shit started gettin’ noisy)… well, at least, he didn’t have to worry about anyone bitching him out about raiding the food stores, and-

Wait, what?

He had hardly taken more than a few steps when he saw a-

What the fuck?

No seriously. Where in the hell did that son of a bitch GET this shit? There was another picnic basket on the table, with a big ass precisely-tied red bow this time, though, and a note that was obviously written by Donut as it was in perfect calligraphy.

Well… Grif guessed it was perfect? He wasn’t a hundred percent positive what the fuck was considered “perfect” with this dumb fancy-pants shit.

When it came to that kind of crap, only two dudes on Base played into Sarge’s idiot game of all paperwork having to be submitted in calligraphy. (Although, it WAS Donut that had really started the whole thing.) The CO had seriously thought it would deter all of them from ever submitting any complaints or requests.

Grif steered clear of the whole mess. Just sounded like work to him.

Regardless of that, though, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, the joke was still on Sarge. Cause the Kissass and Princess Pinkie Pie were up to the challenge.

Buuuttt, Grif knew that Simmons was, like a good little Kissass, still working on perfecting his “swirls”, in his free time, or some shit, -as if it was an unassigned homework or extra credit assignment-… Well, anyway, knowing Simmons like he did, Grif knew he wouldn’t be caught dead writing any notes that could be “critiqued” unless he was absolutely forced to due to protocol (He was still practicing! That’s not fair! Whine, whine, whine…).

Oh, yeah, the note was from Donut alright.

Grif edged up to it. Gingerly, picking up the… was it on card stock? Huh. (I, mean, not that he knew what that was, or anything!)

He was expecting… fuck, he didn’t know what

But, it just said:

 

Hiya, Pal! I know if your little date is going well, you’ll have worked up a biiiggg appetite! And, if not, weeelll… misery eating is a very common practice in all Western cultures! (I actually made that up. Sounds true though, huh? ☺) Annnywaaays, good luck or, uh, better luck next time!
Kissies to you, Grif! Secret Kissies for Sims! (I mean, ya know, if he’s still there.)

Love Forever and Always,
Your SPTUTO ♡


P.S. There’s more sandwiches over in the cooler. Didn’t wanna over-feed you, earlier, and have you pass out on poor Simmy Sims!

 

“Such an asshole,” Grif snorted, perhaps a tad affectionately, as he snagged the basket.

(Son of a bitch wrote the way he talked, too! Pfft.)

Donut hadn’t even mentioned that he had left more food in the kitchen for them. And, how did he just know Grif would end up in the kitchen, again, that night, anyway?

Alright, so maybe Grif wasn’t that hard to figure out in some ways. But, was he really THAT predictable?

Or, did Donut just naturally assume he was that much of a hungry-ass pig?

Bastard.

Not that Grif was complaining. Although, seriously, the note was a little fuckin’ much, Donut.

And, he had to admit that he wasn’t too happy about having to look like fricking Little Red Riding Hood traipsing around with a big ol’ basket a goodies… on the other hand, though… fuck, the already ready FOOD part that Simmons wouldn’t even dream of bitching about (More peanut butter? Yeah. He wouldn’t be bitching.) more than made up for it.

It made Grif feel all secretly warm inside. To have something to bribe the nerd with.

Sure, Grif’d known about the Reese’s thing, but he hadn’t realized it went beyond that. Like this mother fucker loved peanut butter, in general. And, he hadn’t had it in like forever, apparently.

It almost seemed like him with his Oreos, if he hadn’t had- Oh, fuck! Goddamn sacrilege! He couldn’t even THINK of it!

If he wasn’t such an asshole, Grif would probably be lovingly feeding it to him, or some other kinda lame-ass overly-romantic shit… Rather than trying to come up with ways to use this to his own advantage.

Eh. Oh, well. He guessed they’d see how it went.

Hm-Hm-Hm… What else would Simmons even eat? The peanut and jelly sandwiches, obviously. Even Grif really had to admit that they HAD been pretty damn good. Different sandwiches had different jellies. Who knew where the hell Donut had even gotten blackberry, and blueberry jelly? (Oh wait. Had to be Blue Base. But, the strawberry and raspberry jelly had to have been from Red Base, right?)

Did the sandwiches have honey in them, too? He’d ate them too fast to tell last time. And, Simmons had been too busy having a food orgasm over his first taste of real peanut butter in however long…

Shit, that’d been hot…

Mmmm

Uh… really, nonetheless, he didn’t know how the hell Donut did it. Especially, with the limited ingredients Grif ever saw around… Where those fuckheads HIDING shit from him?!... Hmmm. The lightish-Red soldier did bake it at Blue Base, though… Maybe, he swiped some stuff from them?

Somehow, or another, the son of a bitch made some damn good bread.

But, hey, let’s be real here. Anything that wasn’t an MRE was automatically okay in Grif’s book.

…Weeelll, maybe that wasn’t exactly fuckin’ true…

Like, AT ALL.

I, mean, ya know… Simmons, and his rabbit food… That wasn’t too bad, sometimes (Look. He just freaking loved food, in general.), but Grif had to be careful what he admitted, in case, Simmons let any nutty vegan ideas go to his nutty head…

Ah, fuck. He just HAD to think of that didn’t he? He knew exactly what would make the Kissass happy.

Pfftt. The shit he did for that pretty little bastard.

Dammit…

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Simmons was feeling kind of… He couldn’t explain it. He was like, for no reason at all (Even HE wasn’t this needy), he was feeling more, and more on edge.

He gulped a little nervously. Fuck, it seemed darker in here… But it couldn’t be. That didn’t make sense.

Honestly, if Simmons didn’t know any better he’d almost think someone was messing with him…

But, that was impossible. Who could have control of the room’s lights outside the room?

Who would even KNOW that that was a way to fuck with him, anyway?

Heh… Yeah. He was just… just being paranoid.

Simmons blew out a calming breath.

And… he happened to glance over at Grif’s bunkside table.

His red hair tie lay there. He’d gotten ones that were as close to his hair color as possible so they would blend in, and not look gaudy.

Hm. Just looking at it made him smile a little to himself, thinking of how Grif had taken it from him to keep him from leaving. He hadn’t really wanted to leave at all…

He looked a bit to the right, and saw one of Grif’s bright, garish orange hair ties beside his. It was more like a little scrunchie, for fuck’s sake…

Simmons had to chuckle. That was so Grif. He gave absolutely no fucks if it was flashy, or whatever.

Secretly, Simmons kind of envied him that… when it wasn’t driving him up the wall, anyway.

He reached over to pick up his own red tie.

Just so he had something to do with his hands. Something to fiddle with.

And, he settled back down. Nestling in. Trying not to ruminate on any upsetting, OR uncomfortable things…

And, honestly, Simmons didn’t know why he’d even let himself get so worried about… stuff… To even think that there would ever be a repeat of the humiliating experience of being “caught”.

(Holy fuck, he was THINKING about it, again. Not, of “doing it”, but still… What was wrong with him?!)

It’d been years ago, and, apparently there were parts of the brain that “lit up”, in a sense, when you were um, ya know, “turned on”, or whatever, and Richard, kind of understood that now, where he hadn’t really before, and could recognize it, and make himself scarce…

Huh. Yeah, it, um, must be weird living so much in someone’s head… Was it- was it like being inside a computer, or something?

Uh, cause Simmons wasn’t really sure exactly how it worked-

OH, FUCK IT! It had been SO mother fucking embarrassing! He couldn’t help himself. Once he started thinking about it, it was like he HAD to relive it, in order to attempt to excise it all over again! There were no words to ever describe such a goddamn travesty of a humiliating experience!

It really was the kind of thing you could never just forget.

Even, Simmons with all his “memory problems”, didn’t get a free pass on this one...


☆ Simmons’ Household: Night ☆
Richard aka Richie “Simmons” the III Status: Awake: Curious
“Richard” Simmons Status: Elsewhere: Asleep

Richard was sleeping, of course, or Simmons wouldn’t have had the guts to do it. Not to mention, if Richard had been awake, actually with with him… then, oh, geez, then, it would’ve been like touching him, too… um, uh … kinda like i-in-c-cest, or something…

Simmons knew that if someone heard he sorta thought that, they probably wouldn’t understand… But, Richard had been like family, the ONLY good family Simmons had ever had…

Anyway, he was just curious. Most boys, and girls got, at least, slightly curious about this stuff younger than him. But, well, he’d had a hard time of it.

The only bright lights in his life were Richard, and (when his father had something going on at the house that he wasn’t supposed to know about) his sleepovers with Jimmy over the weekends.

Even, after Richard and Jimmy got together, and there were times that he had to ‘go to sleep’ a little early so they could spend some time just with each other, he didn’t mind. He felt safe there, at Jimmy’s house, and the three of them spent lots of time together during the day.

He didn’t know how he’d gotten so lucky to have a friend that would accept Richard. Maybe, he hadn’t realized they’d get all embarrassing n’ lovey dovey with each other, or whatever… but…

He wasn’t sure if that was where the idea had come from…

Simmons’d accidently popped back when a cabinet downstairs had slammed. Signaling that someone, apparently unbeknownst to the other two boys, was back home.

Richard had cursed, and Jimmy had yipped like a frightened puppy, before they remembered the bedroom door was locked.

Because, yes. Jimmy had a LOCK function on his bedroom door. While, Simmons felt lucky that he (and Richard) were even allowed to have a door.

But, Simmons couldn’t really think about that, right then, as when he’d been startled back awake, or whatever, Jimmy was sitting on Richard’s (their, now) lap, and maybe, probably definitely, they’d been kissing, or something. But, thank God they’d stopped before Simmons had, -completely accidently, he promised!- dropped in on them, and… well, Richard was kinda… in a state. He was feeling, um, things…

Okay, Simmons wasn’t exactly an idiot. He knew the word “aroused”! He’d heard someone say it at school like a dirty word one time.- (Oh geeez, and Jimmy was, too… )

Oh, so flipping embarrassing

But, now, Simmons felt it, too… Cause he was in the same body, and he didn’t know how to block stuff like Richard seemed to!

He felt the physical feeling of it, anyway. Whatever Richard’s feeling feelings were toward Jimmy were just too foreign to Simmons, who’d known the kid since he was FIVE, and Jimmy’d been six… that was all too odd for him to comprehend. Weird, even.

But, the physical feeling was- not to be all scientific, and like a giant nerd, but on one hand it was fascinating, but on the other, it was…

Jimmy had pressed up against Richard- no, them, them. And, Simmons knew he HAD to say something. This had never happened before- But, whoa, wow, that was-

And, then Richard, obviously realized he was there, and he mumbled, “Dammit, Simmons-”, and Simmons was out to beddy-bye, again…

They hadn’t talked about it. As if they were all going to pretend it hadn’t happened.

But, there Simmons was, and it was the first time he’d been alone, like really alone, where he’d felt safe enough. And, he’d remembered it

Richard must’ve been too distracted to blank it out.

Oh, yes, Simmons knew that Richard did that, sometimes. He hadn’t had problems with his memory until he woke up in the hospital at nine years old with… with a feeling of not being alone…

Although, Richard hadn’t talked to him, right then, but Jimmy said he’d come out, sometimes, though back then, neither he, nor Simmons, had known that was what was going on…

But, later on, they did figure out that that helped explain some of the missing time that Simmons had started to complain about.

Ah geez, but thinking of Jimmy, even in that innocent (Well, in comparison.) way, had reminded Simmons of the whole thing from earlier. Okay, he COULD NOT think of Jimmy, himself, like that, though. That was just too weird, but…

Oh, he was sooo curious, and it had been an unbelievably awkward situation to, basically, walk in on, but… but it had felt really good.

But… also, frustrating? Like, Richard hadn’t quite been doing precisely what he wanted to do… Like he’d been kinda… holding back, or something? Strange…

It was, also, strange how, somehow, Simmons knew what to do, although, it would shock someone how little he actually knew. Not that touching yourself is, uh, ya know, that hard to figure out, but… he’d kind of lived in a bubble for a long, long time, and even when it was obvious Jimmy had started to know things he didn’t, the dark-haired boy was, in a way, strangely protective of Simmons’ innocence.

Which made little to no sense, considering his relationship with Richard, who shared Simmons’ body… but then, their whole situation was just beyond odd.

Simmons must’ve gotten too… worked up or something… while trying to figure it all out. He was nothing if not a perfectionist!

Whatever the deal, his reactions were unfamiliar, his heart rate was through the roof… he, uhm, may have even made a noise or two...

And, while in the future, this would always please a certain someone, at that time, back when he was still practically a “kid”, in Richard’s eyes, anyway, it only served to cause him some serious humiliation.

He must have awakened, startled, and just plain frightened the holy hell outta Richard, because all of the sudden Richard had been THERE, and extremely panicked.

[“Simmons! Kid! Jesus, oh my god, what’s wrong?! Are you okay, Are you hurt, Who’s hurting you?!- I’ll fucking KILL them!!! What- Oh… OH. Uhhh-”

Richaaarrrddd !,” Simmons had, somehow, in the most ultimate humiliation, squawked AND squeaked, while covering him-, well, suddenly, themselves with his (THEIR!) hands. And, oh, he was gonna die, this was how he died, tell his parents he hated them- It was all over- he was sure of it! This was the worst, the wooorrrst!, “Please, just goooo.”]

But, Richard had, suddenly, awkwardly, seemed to have come to the conclusion that it was his DUTY to give Simmons: “The Talk”.

You know the one. About the birds and the bees, and the flowers, and the trees...

It may seem like it was a VERY inopportune time, but, to be completely honest, it wasn’t like Simmons was “up” for continuing what had started all this in the first place… which was pretty evident to both of them.

Any of Simmons’ thoughts about doing that had fled, and deflated as quickly as the rest of him had at the sound of Richard, up and outta nowhere, anxiously yelling at him…

Oh man. Well, it wasn’t like Simmons hadn’t accidently been a moment-killer, although, he really hadn’t understood it at the time, for Richard and Jimmy on more than one occasion, so, maybe, this was… like karma? Although, he wasn’t really allowed to believe in that, though. (But, secretly, he believed, and thought about, A LOT of things he wasn’t allowed to…)

Simmons didn’t have a clue. He just, blushing like mad, put himself to rights, as Richard tried to separate himself while he did.

And, head bowed, hands folded, politely, in his lap like he was in class, and not allowed to take notes, Simmons quietly listened to Richard, who wanted desperately to pace, as they both were prone to do when nervous or uncomfortable, or even just too edgy. But, he restrained himself for Simmons’ sake (Which he appreciated SO much as he felt like the whole situation had turned his legs to jelly.).

And, Richard explained, a little haltingly, how everything worked. Because, according to him…

[“Fuck it. I give up. If those sons a bitches STILL haven’t told you all this, until now, at your age, they’re NEVER going to. And, they sure as hell won’t tell you the things I will… Judgmental, bigoted bastards-…”]

Simmons, simply, listened. Though, there was, honestly, really nothing “simple” about listening, and learning this stuff. Not for someone like Simmons, anyway. And, especially, not when having to learn it from someone, literally, so close to him. And, someone who, also, for all intents and purposes, regardless of it not making a lot of sense, had been, and was like, an older brother to him…

But, despite all of that, he wanted to know. He always wanted to know everything.

He was beyond tired of everyone growing up around him, while he was always the “Kid”.

Still, despite his curiosity, he only asked questions within their mind, as he was WAY too embarrassed to speak the words aloud.

And, even the things that he was so curious about, but tried to bury down, due to them seeming excessively embarrassing, Richard rooted them out, and answered those, too.

Apparently, this wasn’t a time for personal space or thoughts.

Richard told Simmons he wanted to make sure that he, at least, understood how it all worked, so he couldn’t be lied to, or taken advantage of. And, so nothing would surprise him, or freak him out.

Well, any more than would be expected.

At one point, Simmons had the nervous thought about how Richard knew all this stuff… Had he… with Jimmy… in their body?!

And, although, that was definitely one thought that Simmons tried to bury down, and hide from Richard (He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer. He hadn’t really thought that far into it.)…

[Richard heard him, anyway, and he scoffed… before becoming thoughtful, “Come on, Kid. This body’s still too young for all that… well, I guess not technically, but… And, anyway, Jimmy’s still too damn young, too. No matter what he thinks… Don’t worry, okay? There’s time… Huh. Kinda thought you were… Dammit, Simmons! I didn’t mean to think about that!- No! I’m not mad at you. Don’t you get upset, dammit! I’m mad at myself, cause I’m an idiot!... Alright, it’s just… to be honest, me and Jimmy kinda thought… maybe you were Ace?… Well, he didn’t know what that was, exactly, but- Oh, it’s short for Asexual. It means, uh…”

And, Richard had tried to explain it in terms Simmons would understand, as he was still so, apparently, innocent and naïve even at thirteen.

“…Anyway, but, maybe, you’re just a late bloomer, or something? Not really surprising considering… everything… We really shouldn’t have tried to, ya know… like, ‘label’ you, or something. Uh… sorry, Kid. That was… kinda messed up. This is all new to you, now, but you’ll figure it out. And, you don’t gotta have it all figured out overnight, either… And, listen, seriously, I don’t want you to worry. We gotta share this body, so we’ll… I don’t know… we’ll work it out, alright? You know, I- I love ya, Kid. I won’t let anything bad happen.”]

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Looking back on it… it was all so damn weird. And, not for the reasons people would probably expect.

Simmons felt confused, again. Because, yes, God, yes, it had been beyond humiliating to be caught like that. It was probably up there with people’s top most embarrassing experiences. To be caught in the midst of… Masturb- you know! And, by someone very close to you. Basically, just someone you wouldn’t ever want to be caught by. And, Simmons got to share a body with that person. Fucking greaaate.

But…

But.

There was another aspect to the situation, to the memory, that was very- very upsetting.

It was a reminder of how much Richard had changed. Because, even if the circumstances had been unbelievably awkward, especially at first, it was a great example of how different Richard had been back then. So open, and when Simmons really wanted to know something, so willing to explain anything, and everything he knew to him. S-Sex stuff, relationship stuff, hidden hand stuff (What actually went on behind closed doors in the Church, for example.)…

Just whatever he knew that he thought Simmons was “ready to hear”…

But, then, at some point, there had been a- a break. Simmons didn’t know how else to explain it. A distinct change.

And, suddenly, instead of some here and there blank spots (Probably, from when Simmons’ father had been around, or when Richard and Jimmy wanted alone “boyfriend” time, or whatever. Sometimes, it seemed, just cuddling, and watching a movie.), Simmons had SO many of them, and just times in his life where when he looked back… there was just… nothing.

He did remember one time when they’d run away. They’d always said they’d run away together, the- the three of them, but… Simmons wasn’t sure where Jimmy was, anymore. Richard tried to tell him he’d moved away, but that didn’t make sense… they lived on the same street, and Simmons still saw his family around the neighborhood… and, sometimes, Richard would cry. It was weird. And, it- it hurt to see him, to FEEL him so… so broken…

It didn’t make sense! Richard was tough, and sarcastic, and-and he didn’t cry!

Suddenly, though, sometimes… he would, and he’d be so upset, so torn apart, that he wouldn’t even realize Simmons was there, and he’d choke out, “It’s my fault, it’s my fucking fault.”

But, Simmons… Simmons knew that wasn’t true. Whatever had happened… it was HIS fault. He’d been the one. The one that couldn’t bear the burden of the secret, anymore. That had begged Richard to let him tell Jimmy about them. Tell him that the Simmons he’d known wasn’t always just a him, anymore. But, a them.

In hindsight, it seemed like it had been a terrible mistake… like it had caused a snowball effect culminating in Simmons waking up one day, with he and Richard on a city transit… but, Jimmy… Jimmy wasn’t with them…

And, Richard was… he was… never the same.

But… Simmons didn’t… he didn’t want to remember any of that…

He didn’t even want to try.

Simmons rolled onto his side, pulling the covers up until they covered his eyes.

Sometimes, when people left, or… disappeared… they didn’t come back…

Or, like Richard… they didn’t come back the same.

Simmons wished Grif would come back.

He hated to be alone.

And…

Goddammit… he really did miss him.

Not that he would TELL him that.

No fucking way.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯


When Grif punched in the code to re-enter his room, he had to admit that he was glad to have the “picnic basket” to carry all the crap in, and to set the beers on top of, for a second.

Despite how much Simmons was gonna fuck with him about it, he figured it was totally worth it to not have to exert any extra effort juggling stuff, or, even worse, to have to make another trip.

Shit! He should’ve at least taken off the bow. Dammit it all. He hadn’t even thought of it.

Nevertheless, in complete spite of the Little Red Riding Hood basket, he couldn’t help but smirk to himself.

Everything was cool. After all, he could think of a couple ways he could shut the Kissass up, now, if he got too fuckin’ mouthy.

Grif was all set with a clever comeback, and a cocky grin, when his door slid open, and he took a step in…

But, the words died in his throat, and he couldn’t have told you later, for the life of him, what the fuck he’d been planning to say.

He, definitely, wasn’t grinning or smirking, anymore, either.

But, frowning. In suspicion and confusion.

The room was much, much darker than it had been when he’d left it.

In fact, it hadn’t really been “dark”, at all, when he’d left. The lights had been slightly dim, but…

Now, someone would probably say he was being an idiot. Worrying about nothing. Obviously, Simmons had to have turned down the lights to create like some kinda “romantic ambience”, or whatever.

Yeah, right. Whoever thought that, didn’t really know Simmons. Not like Grif did. Because, even though Simmons thought nobody knew, Grif, at least, had noticed that he always had the lights on nice n’ bright if he could help it, and he’d, also, witnessed a few freak outs that the others had attributed to other things, but that had abated the moment the lights were back on.

Of course, then, there was the time Grif’d heard Simmons talk Sarge out of installing complete mock day/night sensors through-out the Base that would make it all dark at a particular time inside the Base, making it easier to sleep at “night”. But, Simmons had said that if they were truly “locked in the deep dark, than we won’t be able to see who’s coming up on us-”

That was what Simmons had called it. Being “locked in the deep dark”. Instead of just saying “dark” like anyone else, normally, would.

Grif had to admit, it was… creepy.

So, when Simmons had been talking like that, Grif had, for once, actually been glad to hear Sarge butt in. Their CO had boomed out some gobbledygook about Blues, and their conniving and scheming ways, and Grif could almost swear the old kook had said some made up word, “scheniving”.

But, Grif had seen the way Simmons’ shoulders had relaxed when he realized the lights would stay on. He’d seen how the redhead’s hands had uncurled from the fists he didn’t even seem to realize he’d had them in.

Yep. Simmons was fuckin’ freaked out of the dark. Or, maybe, it wasn’t the “dark”, exactly. He was alright, perfectly fine, overall, if he had his helmet, and had his night vision on.

So… it was more that he was afraid of not being able to see.

And, as Grif stepped into the room, he knew Simmons, armorless, wouldn’t have turned down the lights this low for anything. Hell, he could hardly even see Simmons lying on the bed. The covers kicked to the floor. Nothing but a dark mound.

“Simmons?,” he asked, trying to sound chill, joking, even (Which wasn’t easy when weird shit like this reminded him of the similar things that had been happening the week before the… the massacre at his last Base… But… fuck. He was- He was just being paranoid…), “You better not be asleep, dude. We talked about this.”

No answer.

Grif turned back toward the panel on the wall, and turned the lights back up.

And, Simmons’ face relaxed. The tension in his body eased. As though, even subconsciously, he felt safer.

Grif didn’t see that, though.

But… someone saw. Someone did.

Well, not sure if you’d call them a “someone”, precisely...

Grif turned back, still, unknowingly, frowning slightly… but at the sight that met his eyes in the brightened, not overtly glaringly bright, but, now, comfortably lit room, he just had to laugh.

“You son of a bitch! I knew it, but I just didn’t wanna believe it! You’re actually asleep!,” he chuckled, and shook his head at the seemingly peacefully slumbering redhead.

Come. On. He hadn’t been gone THAT long, had he?

Fuckin’ little shit.

Well, Simmons HAD told him to wake him up if he fell asleep, hadn’t he?

Grif stepped closer.

Simmons was curled up on his side. Lying with his head resting on his folded together hands. Lashes thick and long against his cheeks.

Holy fuck. Not that Grif would say it out loud or anything? But, Simmons looked adorable. Kinda innocent, in a way, and peaceful, even…

God. He really had kicked the blanket and the sheet all the way off the bed, though, huh? Strange. That didn’t seem very peaceful.

Grif set the basket, and the beers he’d snagged from Donut onto the bunkside table, shoving over his hair tie as he…

Wait. Where the hell was Simmons’ hair thingy? Did that son of a bitch put his hair back, and, then, go to sleep?

Hell, NO. That shit wasn’t gonna fly. Like, how uncomfortable can you attempt to make yourself, dude? It was freakin’ retard-

Oh. Never mind. Grif had leaned slightly toward the Kissass to scowl at him like an old grump noticing those darn kids on his lawn, again. -Would those whippersnappers ever learn?- Only to realize that he was not witnessing a repeat of what drove him silently, but perpetually, nuts.

Simmons' hair was just brushed out of his face, and behind his ear. Not tied back all low, and prim n’ proper.

But -there it was-, he DID have his stupid hair thingy. Peeping out in-between his folded together hands, like he’d been thinking about pulling his hair back before he’d fallen asleep.

Alright. That was it. Grif decided he was gonna have to make a new rule. Label it some sorta Protocol, so Simmons had to obey it. His Nerd self would give him no other option.

This son of a bitch HAD to actually be ordered to chill the fuck out, and relax. Geesh.

Given this serious, annoying-as-fuck issue, a new Rule would just have to be enacted.

Rule #3: No Hair Ties in the Chill Zone would follow closely behind the penultimate Rule #2: No Armor in the Chill Zone, and the most important #1 Rule: Eat, Drink, and Eat Some More.

Snickering a little to himself, Grif sat on the edge of the bed, right beside Simmons. The bunk shifted some from the added weight, and Simmons shifted, in turn, into the slight dip created.

He, unknowingly, curved around Grif, who slowly, and carefully, slipped the hair tie out of the redhead's hands, set it back down where it belonged... then, just sat there, watching him sleep… like a fucking creep, he realized.

Whoops.

Oh, well.

And, fuck it. He needed another beer before anything else tonight, anyhow. Maybe, he was trying to cool off a bit before waking the Kissass up, or something. He didn’t know. He knew he was thinking about waking him up by biting lightly into that sweet spot on Simmons’ neck over and over again.

Sooo, that was a thing…

Which, probably, wasn’t the greatest plan considering this whole “take it slow” lame-ass idea some dumbass had come up with… But, but just the first night, right? That was cool, right? Uhhh, this was so not how he’d ever done anything like this. Maybe, he’d never… cared enough to… put any real thought into it?

Annnywaaays, it would actually, likely, be a bad idea… Waking him up like that… As, although, Simmons could wake up squirming and moaning his name… he could, also, wake up in a… OtherSimmons state of mind… and sock him in the face.

Grif wasn’t a complete idiot.

And, there was, also, the fact that…

Goddamn. The redhead looked so relaxed. For freaking once. Grif should, maybe, let him sleep…

But, let’s be real here. He was too damn selfish a person for that…

He could let him sleep a little bit longer, though.

Grif reached out, and snagged one of the beers, whispering, and, for some reason, teasing a sleeping Simmons (Christ. He just liked having the Kissass there with him.), “Snooze ya lose, nerd.”

Simmons stirred.

And, Grif, automatically, put the bottle back down to see if he was waking up.

*Click * *Click *

The glass bottle clicked, and rang merrily, and noisily against the one beside it.

“Shhh… Shush. Shut the fuck up,” Grif scolded the bottle (himself?), though he wasn’t sure why, as he wanted Simmons to wake up.

He stifled a laugh.

Didn’t he just tell himself he wasn’t an idiot?

Whatever.

He gazed at the pretty redhead in his bed, telling himself to just wake him the fuck up, already, and quit being such a goddamn weirdo (But, honestly, how often did he ever get to see Simmons completely relaxed? It was… dammit. It was just nice, alright?)… And, he had a strange, stray thought…

He’s like Aurora with red hair.

Grif snorted, and chuckled to himself, mumbling, “Like Little Rora Red.”

Before he could figure out whether or not he had accidently crossed, and totally mixed up Sleeping Beauty with Little Red Riding Hood, he was bemoaning the fact that he even knew all the old timey fairy tales (Even, backward versions of them.), at all. Yeah, he’d kinda had to for Kai, but still… it felt too… nerdy.

Like a certain red-haired Sleeping Beau-

Simmons sighed quietly, and murmured something in his sleep.

What was that? What did he say?

It had kinda sounded like… like “Grif”, but… it had been too low to know for sure…

Grif couldn’t help but lean closer. His hand reaching out of its own accord…

And, he brushed back a few wisps of hair that were in Simmons’ face.

Simmons hated hair in his fa-

It happened instantly. The moment his fingers lightly touched the redhead’s skin, he was turning into Grif’s touch. Rolling onto his back.

And, his big, bright green eyes opened.

Not peeped open. Or, snapped open all dramatically. But, just opened.

There was a fleeting moment of confusion. Of that ‘Where am I, what’s going on?’ bleary blurriness in his eyes…

But, then, Simmons’ gaze zeroed in on him, and he, almost, whined, “Grif”, before muttering, still sleepily, but urgently, as though he, currently, had no control over his tongue, “I missed you. I missed you so much…”

Then, he was reaching up, twining his arms around Grif’s neck, and pulling him down on top of him…

Chapter Text

Whatever had happened… it was HIS fault. He’d been the one. The one that couldn’t bear the burden of the secret, anymore. That had begged Richard to let him tell Jimmy about them. Tell him that the Simmons he’d known wasn’t always just a him, anymore. But, a them.

In hindsight, it seemed like it had been a terrible mistake… like it had caused a snowball effect culminating in Simmons waking up one day, with he and Richard on a city transit… but, Jimmy… Jimmy wasn’t with them…

And, Richard was… he was… never the same.

But… Simmons didn’t… he didn’t want to remember any of that…

 

Sometimes, you just KNOW you’re dreaming.

And, -for some-, there’s that moment when you realize that you aren’t just dreaming, but, somehow, remembering.

Then, you know… that this? This really happened. This had actually really happened…

 

 

Simmons woke up on an unfamiliar city transit.

He didn’t even remember falling asleep.

He wasn’t immediately afraid, though.

Just… very, very confused.

Hadn’t he been in Grif’s bunk? Waiting for him to come back from Donut’s room…

He had a flash of seeing around, of seeing above… of seeing himself.

Like what happens in dreams, sometimes, he thought, absently. Where you’re you, but, then, you see yourself. Like switching between perspectives, or something… As if… you’re watching a movie of someone else’s life…

He saw himself, and-

Whoa. What was he wearing? He hadn’t dressed like that in a while. Grif would so tease him if he saw him all “dressy casual”, or whatever.

His head was bowed, his hair pulled up in a ponytail, rather than tied back low… It seemed longer, too…

And, when he glanced up…

It was longer. And, he… was a couple years younger…

Oh. He had to be dreaming. Like actually dreaming.

How else would he have these moments of seeing himself without a mirror?

That was… that was weird.

So, he dreamed that he had woken up?

But, on the transit.

Not… not on Grif’s bed…

So creepy. He didn’t even remember falling asleep in the first place...

His thoughts were as slow as honey dripping off a spoon…

Although… he guessed that wasn’t really the saying. It was supposed to be “as slow as molasses”. But, eh. Simmons liked honey...

What odd, Grif-like thoughts… All food related n’ stuff… Or, maybe not, “Grif-like” thoughts, exactly...

Needed more Oreos, and nudity...

Even in his dream (Or sleeping memory recovery-state?... What?), he blushed an embarrassingly hot shade of red.

He had to still be in Grif’s room, then, right? Sleeping in his bunk? Like he’d fallen asleep waiting for him…

Huh.

Simmons found himself sorta settling into the dream. He couldn’t seem to make himself wake up, and to be truthful… he was kinda curious.

This felt SO familiar. So, so…

This had happened.

He was seventeen in this dream/memory. And, they had run away.

This had happened.

In that odd way that dreams had, Simmons went from sorta knowing that, to, in an instant, KNOWING it as an absolute.

At that very moment, in this dream/memory (He had no clue what to call it.), he felt… more than anything he felt… tempted. To try to dig deeper. Or, even to just actually observe, instead of attempt to flee. To see what he could remember. To figure out what was trying to come out while Richard was so deep under. Maybe too deep under to stop him…

Simmons knew there were things Richard didn’t want him to know. And, he knew they had to be bad. Probably… very, very bad… And, maybe, just maybe… he’d been kind of a pussy about it. Willing to let Richard shield him. Willing to let him BE his shield.

Because he KNEW he had blank spaces. Empty days, and weeks, and more. But, how often, if ever, had he really been willing to fight him on it? To share the burden… Why had his best friend, Richard’s boyfriend, disappeared? “Moved”, his ass. A kid, doesn’t “move” without their family…

 

 

As he pondered this, something else became clear.

Richard was with him. Not elsewhere. Not asleep.

But, there.

He was silent, though. Distant, although, near. Just very, very quiet. Even his thoughts were completely blocked off from Simmons.

When did he learn to do that? To be there, but that blocked off? When did he-

Wait… What?... Simmons hadn’t thought that in that moment. In the dream, or whatever it was. He had heard the younger dream/memory version of himself think it. Like he had realized Richard was there at the same time that Simmons had…

Alright. This was fucking ridiculous. Simmons… Dream Simmons?... Who was who here? Hell, he was getting a headache. A dream headache.

Nice. Real nice.

Okay. (He was using his calming reinforcement words on himself without even realizing it.)

He would simply observe. Simple enough, right?

This must be important if his brain was forcing him to remember it… Or… maybe, his brain was just a dick?

That was always a distinct possibility…

(Hanging out with Grif for so long, especially.)

Something to take note of…

Dammit! Speaking of that, he wished he could take notes…

Younger Simmons looked around them, and Simmons clued in that it was time to pay attention.

He could kinda just listen in. Neither Richard, or younger him seemed to notice him, anyway…

But, then…

They wouldn’t, would they? If this was some kind of memory, Simmons from the future wouldn’t have been there, at all. So, why would they notice him…

He focused.

He bitched to himself that he wasn’t sure this was how dreams worked, exactly, and, had an internal argument about whether or not recalling in the form of a half-asleep “hallucination” state made more sense.

He realized he was going to start missing things due to being a giant nerd, -No, fuck you very much, Grif-, for being an individual invested in the higher pursuit of understanding the intricacies inherent…

It was like being a weirdo peeper on his own goddamn life! Or past!

Whatever.

Simmons refocused.

He listened, and he watched…

 

♒ Remembering Through Dreams ♒

Simmons woke up on the city transit, and almost, immediately, took stock.

He got confused about… a lot of things. Even what time of year it was, or when it was, and where… Well, he just found it easiest to take stock right away.

The first thing he noticed was that they weren’t in their school uniform, but, were actually wearing regular, casual clothes.

Uh… for them, anyway. What they’d been allowed to wear.

So, they had on a long-sleeved maroon (Simmons had always loved the color, and even Richard liked it okay.) button-up shirt with polished buttons that matched their tan slacks. And, they were wearing one of the pairs of leather cowboy boots their father, and then, mother after he’d left, had made Simmons wear, that both Simmons and Richard hated…

*Sigh * Yeah, real casual.

But, Richard had always assured Simmons and Jimmy that once they got out, they could wear whatever they wanted.

This had, especially, meant a lot to Jimmy for some reason that Simmons didn’t quite understand.

Speaking of Jimmy… They, also, had a scarf on.

Jimmy’s scarf.

It was extremely soft. Cream colored, with very, very light intertwining red, blue, and purple swirls, and tiny sparkles that caught, and shimmered in the light. It kinda clashed with what they were wearing, and, in general, was simply NOT something Richard would normally ever wear.

Although… Simmons had always secretly thought it was… kinda nice, and even Richard had had to admit it was “alright” when Jimmy had started pouting after he’d tried to put it on him. (Or, them, as Simmons had been there at that moment.)

Richard had wrapped it back around Jimmy’s neck, and told him it looked better on him. It was, “more his thing”. And, Simmons had heard Richard think that he wouldn’t be caught dead in that “girly-ass looking thing”… But, he’d, also, heard, and felt that Richard was sincere in that he actually did like it on Jimmy...

Why was Richard wearing it, now?

Simmons didn’t quite understand what was going on…

He knew Jimmy’d swiped the scarf from his quite a bit older sister when she’d come home to visit one weekend, and she’d let him keep it, but told him, “But, whatever you do, don’t let Mom or Dad ever see you wear it, or anything like… you know, anything like- like that. Alright?”

Simmons and Richard had been staying over that weekend, as they had so many weekends back before… something… something had happened…

Jimmy had… moved?

But, without his family, though? That didn’t make any sense…

And, Simmons knew how much the scarf meant to Jimmy. He loved his sister. Even Richard had liked her fine.

But, she terrified Simmons, and he never knew how to talk to her. It made him feel like an idiot.

That was alright, though, as she was very rarely around due to not living at home, and the age difference, anyway...

Simmons realized that as he was getting lost in thought, Richard was running the soft fabric of the scarf through slightly shaky fingers. Again and again. Periodically, pulling the ends up, and burying his, well, their (Although Richard didn’t seem to be aware of that, yet.), face into it.

Inhaling. Like he was trying to catch Jimmy’s scent...

Weird…

But, it DID smell like him. Like cinnamon, and wood shavings. Jimmy’d always been obsessed with a particular cinnamon candy since they were little kids. He kind of just loved cinnamon, in general. And, Richard had got him a cinnamon-based… body spray? Cologne? Simmons couldn’t remember.

He did remember how Jimmy’s room, and his, too, had been filled with his whittled wooden creations. Animals, and Angels, and dragons, and underwater sea monsters…

So many cool, amazingly precise little treasures... many that Simmons’ father had destroyed the night Simmons thought his arm must’ve been broken by- but he couldn’t really remember that part, and Richard told him it had been an accident…

Richard bit down on their tongue, jaw quivering. Eyes squeezed shut.

His shoulder’s trembled. Shook. Their shoulder’s shook. Physically shook. Externally. Where anyone could see and exploit the weakness…

But, he didn’t cry.

Although… he seemed like he wanted to…

♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ ♒


Simmons simply watched, and wondered what the hell this was all about. He just wanted to get back to Grif, and-and, maybe, he didn’t WANT to remember anything, after all. Maybe, Richard knew best.

He wanted to wake up. Why couldn’t he wake up-

But, he couldn’t. And, when the younger him quietly asked Richard what felt like the oddest question, considering he was 17 at this time, in this memory, and the last clear memory (Richard let him have, Richard LET him have…) Simmons had of his friend was of when he’d been 13, and Jimmy had been 14…

Simmons shuddered… Oh, he didn’t- he didn’t want to be here.

But, he was sucked in, anyway. All at once, instead of just watching, he was reliving the whole damn thing.

[“Richard… Where’s Jimmy?,” he heard himself ask, internally, “Why isn’t he here with us, right n-”]

Richard seemed overwhelmed by the question. And, caught off guard, and in such a fragile state (Richard! Fragile ? Unbelievable. What had happened?!) at that moment, he thought of the dark-haired young boy. He pictured him.

And, Simmons, both of them, the one in the memory, and the one reliving it, had a hell of a freaking shock.

Because, that was not the 14 year old Jimmy that Simmons seemed to remember last seeing a handful of years ago.

No.

This Jimmy was, definitely, a few years older.

He looked, in Richard’s mind’s eye, which younger Simmons was tapping into, so to speak, like he was around Simmons’ current age, at the time. Or, almost a year older, Simmons supposed, as Jimmy had always been around a year (9 months) older, after all.

So… between seventeen, and eighteen? Already eighteen? (How the hell old were they right now?)

And, as if just seeing something so unexplainable wasn’t enough… (How could he know exactly what Jimmy looked like at that age if they hadn’t seen him in years?)... Simmons saw… saw so much more… Richard and Jimmy at that age, and they were together, and, they obviously had been together, but… they weren’t simply together, or older than Simmons, or his younger self, had remembered them being while still together…

Ohhh, no...

Something had happened to them. To all of them. And, although, Richard didn’t think of it specifically, Simmons knew the moment Richard’s memory washed over him that something- something very, very bad had gone down.

And, Richard had hid it. Had hid it, and hid Jimmy from him…

The memory was so clear, so… oh, God… so recent, that it was easy to sink into it…

 


Another Broken Child,
Broken Like a Toy.
Damaged and Reviled,
Cause He Loved Another Boy.
__________________________________________


Jimmy tried to hold his hands steady in his lap. With his fingers interlaced, and his knuckles going nearly white. But, still, they trembled in a continuous and unnatural fashion.

For a moment, Richard just stood there. Even though he knew it made Jimmy uncomfortable, he couldn’t look away from those slender quivering fingers. Wondering… Wondering if they were worse today.

Wondering if HE was worse today…

Finally, the redhead let out a quiet sigh, and sat back down on the bed facing the other teen. He reached out, and gently touched his too pale cheek.

Then, noticing that it had gotten all askew from earlier when he’d tried to almost kiss the breath out of the other boy…

-It’d been the first time they’d seen each other in almost 2 weeks, for fuck’s sake!-

And, after what Jimmy had done…

How close Richard had come, again, to almost… almost losing him…

Richard shook away the thoughts as he carefully straightened the cream scarf around the dark-haired teenager’s neck.

When the redhead found himself, distractedly, tracing one of the different-colored swirls on the so soft fabric, he forced himself to focus.

He wanted to just take him, and get the fuck out. Have the three of them really be together, again…

But, that hadn’t worked out so well the last time they’d tried… Dammit! Fuck!… No. No. Can’t… Can’t think about that. It was okay… It was alright… Yeah, it- it was… Goddammit. He was trying to use Simmons’ words on himself

Whatever. They’d- They’d figure it out. They just had to be smart, and better prepared next time.

Richard took Jimmy’s hands, and clasped them in both of his. Brought them to his lips. He whispered, “You have to trust me. Just a little bit longer.”

The dark-haired teenager murmured something that would have been indecipherable to anyone else.

But, Richard understood, and was appalled that Jimmy would even think to call his love, or loyalty, into question after all these years. He pressed the other boy’s hands, that, periodically, still slightly twitched, to his chest, “…Of course I do. You know that, Jimmy. How the fuck can you even think such bullsh- Wait. Are your parents messing with your head, again? It’s your mom, isn’t it? That bitch. Your father knows better, by now- I’ll deal with it, alright?…”

The other boy just bowed his head. Nodded slightly.

“And, Raven, I know it makes you nuts being all cooped up, and stuck here like this, but you can’t just give the hell up whenever we aren’t together. Do you remember what you promised me? Remember? You promised me, Jimmy. You gotta remember that when we’re not together. You know Senior, -Simmons’ father, what-ever-, won’t let us… not in the open… I still have to play along for now. We gotta be careful. You know he’s fucking insane. He really thinks he ‘knows’ me, or something. Or- or… knew me… But, that doesn’t make any fucking sense! And, fuck him! I’m not who he- who he says I- Oh, he’s frickin’ nuts! And, Jimmy, Senior hates Simmons so much it… it can get scary, man. I don’t get it… He IS totally his son… It’s just- I- I don’t know… So, believe me, whatever the deal, between that, and needing to get you the hell out of here, I promise you, we won’t stay one second longer than we have to. And, we’re almost there… If we do this right, we can get out without anyone else getting hurt. You said that’s what you wanted, Raven. If it was just my choice here… Hell, I don’t care if they all end up like that bitch from the camp…”

Jimmy shuddered, and grimaced as his fingers rubbed nervously against the polished buttons on Richard’s maroon long-sleeved shirt.

Shit…,” Richard winced, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring that up. Just forget about it, ok- Dammit! I wish I could help you forget about it all like I can with Simmons. I hate that I- Listen. Just don’t go feeling bad for someone who hurt all of us so much. Nobody forced her to do that shit to kids, Jimmy. And, trust me, she was evil as fuck. She just loved fucking with me about what they were doing to you… Maybe if she would’ve kept her fat mouth shut, she wouldn’t have got what was fucking coming to her! Son of a bitch, I wish I could get my hands on her, again-”

The dark-haired boy squeezed his eyes tightly shut for a second as if to will unwanted images away.

Then, as they were still tightly held in Richard’s own, he tapped their joined hands to the center of the redhead’s upper chest, and shook his head.

Richard fell silent.

After a quiet moment, he let out a long breath, and chuckled weakly, “Still… Still tryin’ ta’ ‘save my soul’, huh, little Bean? No matter how much you’ve chilled out, some shit never changes with you…”

The other boy pressed closer to him. Breathed out a low sigh. And, Richard softly insisted, “I AM trying. I promise. It’s just hard… I can’t just LET people get away with hurting the two of you… And, even that woman, she just did what the Almighty Richard Simmons Senior the First fucking told her to do… Do you know how hard it is for me to have to deal with that son of a bitch after how much he hurt Simmons?... And, me- But, fuck it! I don’t care about me! I can take care of myself. I can Protect Simmons from him as much as possible. But, then, that old fuck drags you into all of this?! Just to get to me? And, your parents are so fucking money hungry, they don’t give a shit. They’re insane. They’re all fucking insane… I can’t- I don’t… Fuck.”

The dark-haired older, but smaller teenager tilted his head up to look into Richard’s bright green eyes, and he kissed him gently. An obvious attempt to comfort. He seemed as if he wanted to say something, but his gaze was cloudy, and tired.

And, he was silent.

Richard let go of the other boy’s hands, smoothed down his soft scarf, and cradled his face in his palms. His green eyes narrowed, as he looked thoughtfully, and then suspiciously, into the smaller boy’s large and so dark eyes, “What the hell do they have you on, right now? Is it new?”

When Jimmy frowned a little, looked unsure, then, shrugged, Richard continued, agitatedly, as he ran his thumbs over Jimmy’s cheekbones, “Cause they’re not supposed to pull that shit without talking to me first! They know the fucking deal! Not after what happened last time!... Look. I might hate the asshole, and he might be fucking batshit, but we all have an agreement here, and I WILL get Senior involved if I have to-”

Jimmy’s dark eyes widened in dread, and he, vehemently, shook his head. Fearfully, mouthed the word, “No, no”, over and over, again.

Richard sighed, again, and pulled him to him. Mumbling a curse at his thoughtlessness, he was, instantly, pushing his anger aside, and almost crooning, “Alright, alright. Sorry. I’m sorry. Relax, okay? Come on, Jimmy Bean, you know you can’t get worked up… I don’t want you having another seizure...You’re alright. Nobody’ll ever hurt you, or Simmons, or me, none of us, like that ever again. That’s why I’m doing this, Jimmy. I know you don’t like it, but it was the only way…” He pressed him gently against him, rather than crushing him to his chest as he would have liked. But, the other boy was frighteningly, and inexplicably, thin, now.

His bones felt hollow as a bird’s…

Were those fuckers even bothering to make sure he ate right?, he wondered, as he rubbed his back, and the other boy clung to him, the tension in his small frame slowly seeming to ease.

But, Jimmy’s hands… his hands… The tremors were slight, and not as constant, but they were there. So much better than before, but still there.

And, it fucking infuriated Richard so much that he had to focus to keep Jimmy from seeing it.

It had been so, so fucking long, and still… And, now, he was getting so goddamn thin…

They weren’t fulfilling their end! They were supposed to look out for him! At least, keep him as well as possible until Richard could get the three of them the fuck out. Not that they knew that was the plan, but… If anything happened- anything else happened- to his Jimmy, he’d smash their fucking heads in! He’d bathe in their motherfucking blood! He’d-

He felt Jimmy curl closer into him, obviously, sensing the rage bubbling to the surface, and trying to soothe him before it completely took hold. It made Richard feel bad. It was HIS job to take care of the boys. To take care of Simmons. To take care of Jimmy. But, no matter how hard he tried to hide things from the dark-haired boy, it never worked. At least, he could keep all this from the kid… Though, fuck, that was getting harder, too…

Like Jimmy read his mind, he tried to ask, -still hiding his face in Richard’s chest, but he genuinely tried-…,”S-Ss-Sim-”

“Simmons is fine.” Richard told him, soothingly, “He misses you, too… *Sigh * I know you’re mad at me for keeping you two apart, right now, but Jimmy, I can’t let him see you when you're like this. Not before we really get out. You know what happened last time.” He started to sound more and more edgy, “He’ll start remembering everything, and that’s, definitely, not safe while we’re still here… I’ve tried easing him into it, but he still just loses it. It’s like, either, he doesn’t know anything, or he remembers practically the whole damn thing. And, then, he’s babbling about her blood on our hands, and slasher porn, and being strapped down, and ‘zapped’-”

Jimmy pulled back, visibly upset. He curled a hand around Richard’s jaw. Made sure he was looking directly at him, then mouthed, “But. How?...”

Richard grabbed the slender hand (That was still wracked by the slightest of tremors.) that rested on his face, squeezing it in agitation.

“Mother fuck! I don’t know! I don’t have a clue how he- I didn’t let him be there for that shit! Maybe, I messed up, was too fucked in the head about what was going on, and thought of stuff I shouldn’t have when he was with me,” Richard admitted, but, then, insisted, “but not- not that. And, if that’s not bad enough, he starts talking about when we found you, and about him. Ah, fuck, Jimmy, it’s too damn much. I can’t just give it to him piecemeal like we want to. Like we need to. He goes from not remembering shit, to remembering it ALL, flipping out, and, then, shutting down. You know he was there when it really went down, when that bitch pushed me over the edge… and he’s the one who helped me find you in that hellhole after I… He really was right. I couldn’t have found you on my own in that place. Heh. It’s- It’s nuts… Damn place wasn’t even that big, but… I… I was too fuckin' angry. I just wanted to keep smashing that fucking bitch to pieces… If he hadn't stopped me..."

He closed his eyes. He couldn't ever let himself think about it... What they'd done to them... Using some arrogant, hateful cunt to do their dirty work… How far that bitch had pushed him... How hard it had been to come back to some semblance of normalcy after tasting the rage, the vengeance… the sweet flavor of retribution...

Jimmy wrapped his arms securely around Richard's neck, nuzzled into his throat, and let out a calming sigh. Can a sound such as a sigh sound “calming”? Apparently so. In Richard’s opinion, anyway. And, Jimmy’d had years to perfect non-verbal communication, after all…

Distracted from his rising fury (Which had, obviously, been Jimmy's plan. He could be a sly little Bean.), Richard kissed his shoulder, then, rested his head, tiredly, down on it. Jesus. They’d fucked them up so bad. It’d taken the longest time until they’d been able to really touch each other, again. Even, just like this…

"...I can’t wait ‘til we can all be together, again, and not have any damn secrets…,” Richard murmured, “It’s so hard to keep all this from the Kid… Heh. You know how he is. He likes to call it curious. But, I just call it freakin' nosy…”

They both laughed a little fondly, and it made Richard smile, and hold him a bit tighter.

But, it didn’t take long before Richard’s smile faltered, and he pulled back to look at him. Speaking quietly as his long, slender fingers ran through Jimmy's raven black hair. God, it was taking forever to grow back to as long as it had been before…

“Jimmy? I want you to listen, okay? It’s important. Are you listening?,” Richard asked, only continuing when Jimmy hummed an assent, “You have to try. Don’t ever- I don’t care about any of the other shit. You know that. We talked about this. Screw it. It’s in the past. You can’t keep punishing yourself. You think I don’t know that’s what you’re doing with this dumbass shit? I DON’T blame you… But, you promised me when I got you out of there that you weren’t going to do anything like this… Jimmy, you have to stop this! You promised me. And, then you… Just don’t ever do anything… like that, again… It hurts me… I know you just wanna get wasted, and escape reality for a while. I fucking get it. But, with the meds you’re on… You can’t mix that crap- Goddammit, you really could’ve fucking died this time, Jimmy!...”

As his voice became louder, more strained, Richard, abruptly, released the other boy, as though afraid to touch him when he was getting so increasingly agitated and furious, “You HAVE to be more careful! No more drinking! No more tranqs! Mother Fuck, I’m so pissed that you’re pulling this shit, again, Raven. I can’t even believe you’d do this after what happened to Simmons- And, I don’t give a fuck how many years ago that was! I have to be able to trust you! I can’t be with you all the time, yet! I’m trying to get us the fuck out of here, you idiot! Jimmy, I’m gonna go fucking insane if something happens to you! I don’t know what I might do to them! It’s their fault you’re even sick like this, at all! And, then- And, then, what will happen to Simmons if I completely lose it?... We kinda got lucky, in a way, last time I lost my shit. Nobody really cared about that bitch, but-

The smaller teen cut him off by climbing right into his lap. His sudden tears wetting Richard’s shirt, and sidetracking him from all his deep-seated fears and anxiety. Helplessness and anger.

Jimmy was too upset to even endeavor a token attempt at speech. He simply traced the letters: S, O, R, R, Y into Richard’s chest until he wrapped his arms back around him.

Richard simply held the silently weeping, beloved other boy so close. Whispering sweet words meant only for him into his ear until he calmed… Even at his age, Jimmy was still such a boy. Much like Simmons in some respects. Such an innocent in Richard’s eyes, despite his screw-ups.

Richard quietly held him long after he’d stopped crying… That was one of the ways the other boy was very different from Simmons. His nose didn’t run like a faucet when he got upset. Richard had teased Jimmy playfully, in the past, telling him he was the “pretty crier”, while Simmons had rolled their eyes, and snorted at the two of them.

But, with those wet thick, black lashes… bright, nearly liquid black eyes, and flushed skin… Yeah. When the waterworks got going, Richard could never focus on anything but him.

Although, the relationship was, obviously, very different, it was the same with the Kid. Fuck, he hated when either of them cried.

The redhead only spoke again when his dark-haired loved one was half-dozing in his arms.

“…Just a little more time, okay? And, we’ll all get outta here… Then, we can all be together, again, just the three of us, alright?,” Richard murmured the words, kissing Jimmy’s forehead, “…You gotta try to be strong, in the meantime, though. Just try. Please, Raven? I know you can. You can’t give up. We’re so close, Jimmy Bean. We’re so damn close…”

________________________


Simmons sat on the transit with his mouth hanging open. He had an absent thought that Richard had been wearing the same shirt that he had on, now, but crisp, pressed black jeans, rather than the tan slacks… But, before he could try to actually attempt to consciously delve deeper, find out what… what mattered. What it all meant… Richard realized he had gotten lost in their head, and had been sharing his thoughts, his memories, and he cut them off, as he snapped their jaw shut with an audible, almost painful click.

The Simmons that was, somehow, reliving all this through a dream, -that was recalling this memory within a dream-, was beyond lost. Way past simply “confused”. What was going on! Hadn’t Richard said… Hadn’t Jimmy moved? Like years ago? There was so damn MUCH that Simmons couldn’t remember over this time period.

Richard and Jimmy had first gotten together when Simmons was around eleven, and Simmons had thought they’d been together a couple years, but… something in him realized… he didn’t really know anything. Didn’t know what all the secrets were that Richard had apparently been keeping from him over those past four years.

…Six years? Had they- Had Richard and Jimmy been together, in some form or fashion for- for not two, but- but six years?

How… How was that even possible? How could Richard have messed with his memories in SUCH an extreme fashion. And… and worse of all, how horrifyingly bad must it have been for him to do so in the first place… What… what had been going on? What had happened to Jimmy?... To them?

And, what did his father have to do with all of this? How did he “know” Richard? That was bullshit!

Yeah, sure. Maybe, it was weird. That his father had always been Richard Senior, which seemed like the First, and Simmons had been the Third, but there WAS such a thing as coincidences, or- or…

Right?

Oh, God. Hadn’t Richard said his father WAS the First, though? To Jimmy? Why did Simmons not seem to know this?! It seemed like such an odd thing to not know! Data that would be public record, and could be so easily looked up on a datapad…

He was so confused. So overwhelmed by the sudden flood of information to pick through…

Information he’d, apparently, found out about back at the time of this memory, and, then, lost track of, again!

Why did he not know years worth of things... Of events taking place, and people involved, in his day-to-day life?

Confusing crap! Bewildering bullshit!

He wanted to know everything. He HAD to know-


Apparently, the younger him had felt the same. And, while he may have been afraid, he was, also, pissed.

[“Richard, what’s going on?! Why are you remembering things differently than me?! Why are we here? How long ago did we leave the house?,” Simmons demanded in rapid succession, overflowing with fear, and, yes, even, fury, although he was able to keep his words, and all of it internal, “Why do we have his scarf? It isn’t like you to wear something like this, and he always loved it, and-and- What’s my father have to do with any of this- And, who-who- What ‘bitch’? And, Jimmy, he was THERE. You-you LIED to me! Why couldn’t he talk right?! And, did you say seizure?! And, his hands kept shaking, and where-WHERE IS HE-”]

“Hey. Is… anybody sitting next to you?,” a much too smooth (In Richard’s opinion.), cliché as all get out voice interrupted them.

They all looked up… and there was this- this guy.

He was tall. Taller than them. He was, definitely, older than them, too. Somewhere in his late-twenties to mid-thirties, maybe? One of those people that, probably, were older than they looked, though (He had that “I moisturize and exfoliate religiously” look.), so who knows.

Simmons wasn’t sure why this guy- this- this man was even talking to, uh, younger him, he guessed.

He just looked up at the stranger, green eyes impossibly wide, and startled. Not trying to look more tempting. More vulnerable. But, well, crap…

The part of him that was reliving this, had a moment to be, honestly, amazed at how naïve he’d been before- Before he felt himself sinking into it all, again. Becoming less distinguishable between his younger self in this memory, and his older self that was reliving it.

He couldn’t have told you who looked up at the stranger, anymore. He was too deep in. Completely baffled by the turn of events, and distracted from all earlier thoughts…

The guy was clean-cut, and very blonde. With gray eyes (Simmons had never, actually, seen that before in real life. Huh. Interesting.), and tanning booth dark skin. He was dressed very similarly to Simmons and Richard, only with a dark blue shirt, and leather lace-up dress shoes, rather than embarrassing leather cowboy boots.

Simmons kinda thought, maybe, he was nice-looking? In like a your friend’s way older brother kinda way. Not that he’d known anybody like that, but he assumed that was how people would, ya know, see the guy.

Not Richard, though. He HATED him on first sight.

[“Who’s this fucking pervert?,” he hissed to Simmons in their head. He was obviously completely distracted from all earlier thoughts by his inherent need to Protect.
“Oh my God, don’t freaking make a scene, Richard! If you get us kicked off-”
“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled.]

The guy had sat down beside them before they could answer, and tell him whether or not that was cool, anyway…

Simmons didn’t know what to think about that.

Ohhh, but Richard did.

It, of course, just pissed him off even more.

“So, I haven’t seen you around. Normally, it’s the same faces day after day. But you? I’d remember you. You stand out,” the guy told them, smiling in a way Simmons assumed was meant to be charming, but Richard assured him was creepy as all hell.

Simmons was kind of embarrassed, and he didn’t know what to say. He must’ve looked like no one had ever talked to him before.

Well, maybe, because no one ever really had. Not like this.

“So, you go to school around here? What’s your name?,” the guy asked, quietly.

He was eyeing them way too closely. Up and down. Like he was a hungry dog, and they were a T-bone steak. Rare.

Although, obviously, he thought he was only dealing with one person at the moment.

He’d moved a little closer. His thigh was brushing theirs.

“Um… I- I don’t…,” Simmons stammered, and moved his leg a little away so they weren’t touching. He didn’t know him. He didn’t know him!

[“Oh my fucking God. He thinks- Kid, I don’t think you understand how young you look with your hair up in that pony tail deal. I, mean, it looks good… Fuck! I wasn’t thinking about fucking pervs! It’s my fault. I just wanted it outta my face, and I hate how you always put it back in that goody-goody low tail, just so it looks ‘less girly’. I, mean, shit, man, I don’t wanna look fuckin’ girly, either, but ya know, some crap just does look better… Goddammit!”
“What?! Oh God, Richard, what?!”
“This fucker realizes, he KNOWS, you’re a ‘runaway’, and he thinks you’re like in fuckin’ Junior High, or some shit! I just know it! He’s a fuckin’ cho-mo, dude!”
“I don’t know what that means! And, no! That’s not true! You can’t just ‘know’ that! I’m not a little kid, anymore! I’m seventeen! That’s almost a, ya know, grown-up or… Whatever, Richard! You don’t trust, anyone! I’m sure whoever this guy is, he doesn’t think I’m some school kid! We’re not even IN school, anymore, dammit!... Right? No, yeah, right! We graduated early. I remember THAT! And- And, shut up already! If I look young, than so do YOU, Richard!]

“You’re awful quiet, kid. Don’t be scared. You need someplace to crash for the night?,” the guy whispered. His breath was hot in their ear, because he was, abruptly, THAT close. His thigh wasn’t simply brushing theirs like before, but, instead, his arm was stretched out across the back of their seat (If they leaned back, his arm would be around them.), and he’d pressed close enough that they could be joined at the hip.

Simmons shivered. Goosebumps rising on his pale, slender arms. He was, suddenly, very, very tense. There weren’t a lot of people around them, hardly anyone, but those that were there seemed to be very busy minding their own business.

[“That’s. Fucking. It.” Richard was seething.]

And, very swiftly, although not exactly unexpectedly considering the circumstances, he took completely over.

But, to Simmons’ surprise, he let him stick around.

[“I want you to remember this, Simmons.” He growled in their head. Deciding, apparently, to explain himself, “What if something happens to me… I might not always be here to protect you from this shit-”
“Richard, NO!,” Simmons gasped, internally, and he, immediately, forgot all about the creep, and wanted to cry, “What’s that mean?! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
“Simmons, stop it. You know, I’ll never leave you if I can help it… EVER… but… things happen that you don’t always expect… Now, chill the fuck out, so I can focus… So, you think you can trust this dude, huh?”
“NO, Richard! Dammit, I never said that! He seems sorta creepy-... Richard. Is that a- how did you get that on here?”
“Shh-shh-shh… I love ya, Kid, but I’m busy.” And, Richard’s slightly manic chuckles filled their mind.]

He turned toward the man, pressing firmly into his side, tilting his head up… big, striking green eyes peering up at him from underneath thick, long lashes.

Simmons was beyond shocked. When had Richard- What was he doing? One second he was thinking about what he had in their back pocket that Simmons could not believe he hadn’t noticed earlier. And, the next…

Richard had never been a- a flirt! That was Jimmy. Between the three of them, Jimmy’d always been the “flirt”. Well, only with Richard, but…

“Someplace to ‘crash’? Aren’t you worried about getting in trouble if someone sees you with me?,” Richard played the man like a fiddle. Made himself sound uncertain, and worried all while he was radiating a frightening degree of hostility inside their own head, “Do you know, uh, how old I am? I just don’t want you to get into trouble for trying to… help me…”

The blonde man was looking down into Richard’s eyes. He didn’t even seem to register how strange it was that the teen he had his sights on had went from nearly speechless as a cornered lil’ bunny to tentative, but completely calm in a matter of moments. He seemed a little mesmerized, “You don’t worry about me. You can’t be that young… What? 14? 15?...”

[Simmons squawked in offense, “I DO NOT- We do NOT look that young! Asshole!”]

The guy hummed kinda distractedly, but, also, appreciably, “You can’t be older than 16, right?... Mmmm… Damn, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you’re pretty enough to be a girl, you know that?… Come on, tell me your name. Gotta have something to call you if you’re coming home with me, right?”

That smile, again. That charming and/or creepy smile.

[“This son of a bitch actually thinks he’s smooth,” Richard snickered to Simmons in their head.
“Richard, I don’t-,” Simmons’ voice was so very small, “I-I don’t wanna go with him-”
“Pfft. Kid, gimme a goddamn break,” Richard sounded completely blasé. As though he was talking about the weather, “I’ll slit his fucking throat before we go anywhere with him-”]

Although, Richard had complete control of their body, Simmons internally gasped so loudly that Richard actually physically winced.

And, the guy saw it, and seemed to like it for some reason. His smile grew, and he chuckled under his breath. As though a returning sign of weakness in the redhead really pleased him.

[“This fuck thinks he’s dealing with some little pretty boy he can play sick, twisted games with,” Richard snarled to Simmons even as, externally, he looked away, supposedly, shyly, while the guy kept talking softly to him. “But, we know better, don’t we, Kid? You hurt one of mine, you fucking PAY. That bitch knows. Fucking Senior knows, now! J-Jim-Jimmy’s fa-, oh god, Jimmy, my Jimmy…,” Richard moaned loudly in their head in agony and rage, and then, coldly, forced out, “…Jimmy’s father knows. He knows. That fucker really knows, now, too… And… now, this fucker will, too. *Sigh* Yeah, that’ll… that’ll be good… ”]

Simmons could hear the buzzing in their head. He could feel Richard’s desperate desire to give into it. To do “What he was meant to do.” To “Protect.”

He felt Richard reach back, and touch the blade in his back pocket. He was so cunning. You’d think he was simply stretching out his long, lean back. But, Simmons knew better. Suddenly, he knew better. He knew- He knew- After all, hadn’t their father and Jimmy’s father thought Richard was just refilling their glasses with b-bourbon right up until the crystal decanter had s-sm-smashed into the side of J-Jimmy’s fa-father’s head. And, even after- even after, with blood and bourbon splashed across father’s mahogany desk… their drunken father didn’t- he didn’t- he still didn’t believe he’d do- he’d do it... Not- Not to him…

[“Oh God, please, please, not again…” Simmons begged. Pleaded, “Please, Richard. Don’t. Don’t do it! What will happen to us if you do?! This guy’s just- just a creep. We can move. Sit somewhere else! He hasn’t actually hurt us like they did. It’s not the same, Richard! Please, I’m scared! Please, don’t! If you do this- If they find us-”]

All at once, all Simmons could see were the man’s gray eyes, suddenly, widening in fear and disbelief, and-

Then, he was gone.

Poof.

Just gone.

And, Richard…

He was nowhere to be found.

Simmons opened his mouth to scream, but he couldn’t- he couldn’t- He was hyperventilating, and he could hardly breathe, let alone scream.

Everything went dark.

And, he was alone.

____________________________


Perhaps, this was an odd question, but…

Can your eyes pop out of your head in a dream? Probably so. As dreams can be pretty wild…

Simmons just wondered, cause it felt like a real possibility… when the creepy dude disappeared, and Richard disappeared, and everything around him darkened… and, then, the lights on the transit came back on… only dimly… so dimly…

Very suddenly, of all things in the world, he heard a voice he would know anywhere, at any time…

“Sup?”

Huh. Yep. He’d know that voice anywhere, alright. Even, apparently, in a frightening, much to real, dream.

And, he was pretty sure his eyes, at least, opened comically wide enough to warrant the whole “eyes pop out of your head” descriptor, even if-

Well, fuck. Just taking it at face value? It was shocking as all hell.

But, regardless, Simmons was secretly so relieved to see him, in dream-form, or no, that he could’ve burst into grateful tears.

Of course, with how on edge, on the razor’s edge between terror and insanity, he was, his bitchy side got the best of him.

“GRIF! What the fuck are you doing here- I didn’t even KNOW you, yet, dumbass!,” Simmons turned toward the wonderful son of a bitch that was suddenly lounging in the seat beside him, right where the creepy dude had been sitting.

Oh, my fuck, he was wearing what he’d been wearing that night. That adorable as all hell red panda T-shirt, and-

“Grif, you idiot, you’re in your boxers,” Simmons hissed.

But, then, he looked down, and…

What the shit? He was, too! They were both wearing what they’d been wearing that night…

Not that anyone else in this dream seemed to notice that. Or, even notice them, at all.

Grif just looked at him with his favorite smirky, “I’m so much cooler than you, and everybody knows it” expression.

Simmons huffed irritatedly, “I’m not talking to you. You’re just a construct in my mind made up of-”

Grif spoke. Calmly. Curiously. He asked, “So, you’re gonna tell me, right?”

Simmons flinched back. He had to remind himself that this was only a dream. Maybe, it’d been like a memory, at first, but, obviously, he was fully dreaming, now. This hadn’t happened-

“Simmons,” All at once, he looked a little more serious than chill, “You know what all this shit means, right? Why you’re remembering this, now? Come on, dude. I thought you were supposed to be the smart one-“

“Shut up, asshole!,” Simmons slapped at his chest. Oh, God… He felt so solid. Just like the real Grif… But, no!, “You’re not really you! You’re just a freaking dream, and-”

“Do you think your friend’s dea-,” Grif ignored him, and started to ask thoughtfully.

Simmons actually covered his ears, as if that could block out the words, “No, no! Don’t, don’t- I don’t wanna- Just shut your fucking mouth!”

Where had everyone gone? Through-out the memory, and even as it had shifted fully into a dream, there had been people around. Even, just a moment ago, Simmons had gotten freaked out about Grif (And, himself.), even in a dream, being in boxers in public. In front of other people. But, abruptly, there were no “other people”. He, and Grif were, very suddenly, the only ones there.

Grif, or Dream Grif, whoever he was, either didn’t notice, or didn’t care. Probably both. He continued, completely calmly, as if his words weren’t frightening as fuck. “And, this ‘Richard’ dude just convinced himself it happened differently so he could keep it together enough to be there for you? Or what?”

“N-No. People- People move away, Grif. It happens…,” Simmons heard himself insisting as his stomach churned. Was he going to dream-puke? Could that happen in a dream? Grif needed to shut the fuck up. “Wait, why am I talking to you? You’re not even Grif! Fuck off!”

“Dude, does that really matter, right now? You’re living with some fucking spooky-ass ghost with your name,-”

“You fucking prick! He’s NOT ! That’s BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!,” Simmons shrieked, furiously.

Dream Grif paid no attention to him. He reached behind Simmons’ head, pulled his ponytail out, and tossed his- what the hell? Was that Grif’s orange scrunchie thingy? Simmons, sure as fuck, hadn’t worn that, or anything like it… ever. Odd. Well, it wasn’t that big a deal.

Except, he wasn’t gonna lie. It was hard to not either cry or slug the son of a bitch when Dream Grif, -hell, Simmons was simply gonna think of him as “Grif”, even though, he SO knew that he was an imposter… Knowing things Grif had never, could never know-, or “Grif ” (Imposter Grif!) threw it on the ground, and continued to speak all nonchalantly, “-Or, fine, some ‘spirit’, or a split of your ‘psyche’. Whatever the fuck he is, seems like your dad found out about him, and more than prefers him over you, hell, he even thinks he ‘knew’ or ‘knows’ him. Whatever that means… You startin’ to remember, at all? Remember one of the times you were there, but they didn’t realize, yet, and your dad told him to just ‘get rid’ of you, already? And, he freaked the fuck out, and tried to attack the old man, actually climbed right over that big-ass desk to get at him, -although, man, he totally should’ve known better, by that point-,… He was all shouting at him, ‘Fuck you! I told you, no one hurts the Kid! No one hurts Jimmy! No one hurts either of them, or I’m out! We have a deal, you old fuck!’… Remember? Remember that, Simmons? And, then the old man, -Damn he’s tall, by the way. What is he? 6’5”, or somethin’? Shit.-, Well, whatever. Then, he all laughs like a prick, but like he’s proud, too, huh? Cause he just loves the violent son, right? So, he laughs, but he still socks him in the face, and it all goes dark… Hmph. Pretty wild.”

Simmons groaned miserably, and covered his too pale face with his hands, “Please… go away… You’re not Grif. You’re not Grif. You’re just some asshole version of me, right? And, since Grif’s perfected blunt assholery- turned it into a frickin’ art form… you’re just manifesting as him so you can word-vomit terrible realizations and recollections at me, and I’ll just take it like a little bitch…”

No reply from Imposter Grif.

Simmons scoffed into his hands, but didn’t look up. As, though, afraid to look at him, “Ha! Fuck you, me ! I out-thought you, you pretentious prick! Grif couldn’t know these things. I don’t even understand what they mean… It’s insane! My father’s insane. Richard’s gone insane more than once- It’s all fucking insane! Nothing makes sense, and the harder I try to remember, the more my head hurts… And- And, yeah, I’ll say Richard’s name if I want to, because you aren’t Grif, you’re ME! And, guess what ME. I DON’T BELIEVE in that cr-crazy shit my father believes in. About… About Richard… I don’t… I won’t- No. No… I wanna wake up. I wanna be back in bed. I don’t care! I don’t want to think about ANY of this! I want to be with my Grif, not with you-”

At those words, Dream aka Imposter Grif grasped his chilly hands that hid his face, in his unexpectedly incredibly warm ones, and pulled them down.

Could hands feel cold or warm in a dream?...

Although, Simmons, desperately, tried to distract himself with mundane musings, the moment those so warm hands reached back up, and pressed onto his suddenly icy cheeks, it felt like the heat was seeping all the way down deep, deep into his frozen bones. He wanted to sink into the comfort of it. To give in.

But, it felt too similar to what he’d just seen. Of Richard touching Jimmy. Trying to get him to listen.

And, it brought up thoughts and fears that Simmons desperately didn’t want to deal with. To remember.

But, when he tried to shy away, to pull back… this iteration of Grif, or whatever the hell it was, didn’t let him.

“So you’re gonna tell me, right?” Head slightly cocked, ebony hair long and loose against his tanned skin (So different from that scary older guy. Grif’s skin always looked naturally tanned, rather than artificially baked.), Grif asked it, again.

But, then, he continued, “Cause, I hear you, man, and I get it. But, shit, dude, focus. This really IS pretty wild. If somebody can make you forget years of crap… What else could they… And, look, Simmons. If everything was as bad as you’re starting to think, and, then, it really went to hell… You say he’s ‘gone insane more than once’, like that was in the past or something, but you can’t even remember exactly what went down, or you forget it, again, if you start to remember, or like this memory deal, it cuts off before you even find out what the fuck happened… I’m just wondering… Okay, try to follow me here, cause this is confusing as shit… So, if everything went to hell back when you were a kid, -Not a ‘kid’ like he calls you, but, ya know, like 13, or whatever-, and your friend, his boyfriend, got all fucked up in some traumatic, horrible thing you all went through, but he won’t let you remember… Following me so far?”

Simmons minutely nodded. Grif’s (Imposter, or no.) hands on his skin steadied him.

“Alright. So, he was having to juggle that, and your insane dad that fucking found out, somehow, and whatever that old dude had him doing, whatever this ‘Deal’ was, and he was having to watch out for you AND hide it all from you for years… And, all so the three of you could get out together, and, probably, ya know, ‘heal’ ‘n just get better an’ shit… But, then, it all falls apart, somehow, and goes to hell right before everything he worked so hard for was right in your guys’ reach… Huh. I dunno. I guess it just makes me wonder… How sane do you think he even is, anymore? Ya know? How close to the edge is he? And, how the fuck can you deal with it on your own, man? Seems like a dumb idea to me. Risky. And, you call me the dumbass…”

Simmons wanted to yell at… well, he guessed himself. Obviously, this dream version of Grif was just telling him what he, himself, had come to realize… but…

“…I’m sorry…,” Simmons murmured, lowly, refusing to meet his eyes. Even if it wasn’t really Grif, it still hurt too much, “I’m not… I’m not ready…. I don’t… I don’t want him to think I’m fucking c-crazy… I just don’t… I don’t wanna lose him…”

“Lose who? Me? Ah, dude, it’s cool. I know you love me, but what kinda lame-ass excuse is that? Love just makes you a bigger pussy, huh?” That secretly beloved smug grin… Simmons could hear it, even when he wasn’t looking up to see it.

“Shut up, dumbass,” he mumbled, but softly. So softly.

Neither of them spoke again until Simmons looked up at the other man in this dream that he so wanted to escape... Although… God, his eyes were so strikingly blue. Like, a really in your face kinda blue. Maybe, that was, also, part of why Sarge couldn’t stand him? Simmons caught himself wondering if they were really that blue in real life. He thought they were, but-

His hands were still on Simmons' face. And, he looked at him, and said, again, in a voice way too serious for Grif, “You know what could happen, right? If you don’t say anything? If you keep a secret this fuckin’ big from someone this close to you? You get it, right? The chance you’re taking?”

Simmons actually felt his teeth just barely chitter against each other. Not quite chattering…

“You’re too afraid,” he sighed, disappointedly, and pulled Simmons roughly to him. Crushed him against him.

Simmons didn’t even care at that point that it was a dream. That he KNEW it was a dream.

He burrowed into warmth.

He was so warm. So solid. So, so real. In a life filled with empty spaces, and shattered memories, he was everything Simmons wanted. Flaws ‘n all.

But, Simmons couldn’t help but think that it was kinda sad how easily and freely he could admit that… but only while in an unconscious state.

“Sorry, ‘m sorry,” Simmons muttered into the other man’s throat, feeling annoyed with himself and overly emotional, “I’ll… I’ll try… But, I don’t know how the real you… really feels, yet… I just have ta’ be careful… until I know… What if- what if he’s just wanting, like, a friends w-with ben-benefits-?!”

Jesus. Quit squeaking, for fuck’s sake. You know that’s not true,” Dream Grif rubbed his back a little more roughly than soothingly. As though, he was dream-annoyed by even the suggestion that real Grif would play such games.

Ha! Ridiculous. But, still…

“Well, until I hear differently, I, absolutely, am NOT spilling my guts for him- I mean, to him. Whatever… I really wanna wake the fuck up, already. I… fuck it. I miss that idiot. *Quiet Sigh *… Grif… ”

Simmons shivered.

One moment, he was remembering, and, then, dreaming with the Grif that, apparently, hung around in his head, and in his dreams (That was a little trippy when he thought about it.), and the next moment, his whole body tingled. From head to toe.

And, his big, bright green eyes opened.

Not peeped open. Or, snapped open all dramatically. But, just opened.

There was a fleeting moment of confusion. Of that ‘Where am I, what’s going on?’ bleary, blurriness in his eyes…

After all, the last time he had “woken up”, he’d awakened on the transit. Into a memory, that it seemed had gotten to be too much, and had “overloaded his system”, so to speak. Then he’d, actually, fallen into more of a dream, while, with a dream version of Grif’s help he tried to subconsciously figure out what the hell was going on. Hey, he needed all the help he could get! And, apparently, even subconsciously, he and Grif were practically inseparable…

It was all incredibly fuckin’ weird. Nobody had to tell him that. He knew.

In fact, considering the weirdness factor, he really shouldn’t be blamed for being incredibly lost when he first opened his eyes. He thought, for a split second, that he was waking up into another dream (Please, please not another memory.)…

But, then, when Simmons’ gaze fell on Grif, zeroed in on him… he couldn’t tell you how, in that not entirely lucid state, he KNEW it was him, really him, and that it wasn’t another dream…

But, he simply knew. Absolutely knew.

Was it his eyes? They really were that blue. Incredibly blue.

Or, was it the look in his eyes? Or, on his face… He was just barely, barely smiling. You could tell he had no idea that he even was. Like, simply seeing Simmons, right, then, when it was still just them… seeing him wake up in his bed, and look up… bright, yet, deep green meeting dark, brilliant blue… it was enough. Enough to bring that little upward twitch to his lips, and that completely spontaneous look of warmth into his eyes…

Simmons had no clue.

All he knew was that to see him in that moment, and only him… it was all he wanted. After all the traumatic bullshit that had been locked away so deep, and was, now, slowly unraveling… it was all he needed.

He thought, I love you. I can’t help it. I just do.

And, if his mouth would’ve been working at that moment, he would’ve said it. He would’ve had no choice. But, instead, his mouth opened, a second past the internal declaration, and he, almost, whined, “Grif ”, before muttering, still sleepily, but urgently, as though he, currently, had no control over his tongue (Because, he really didn’t.), “I missed you. I missed you so much…”

And, what else could he say, when the feeling was that strong. A tightness in his throat, and chest, and belly that had to be experienced to truly be understood.

Beyond butterflies. Or tingles. Or hunger. Or outright lust. A feeling so intense that in that first moment it can be described as painfully good. Truly a “it hurts so good” moment if there ever was one.

But, Simmons wasn’t one to always ruminate on every little thing. Well… alright, alright. Maybe, he was.

Regardless, of that, though, he didn’t spend longer than a handful of seconds to be overwhelmed by these foreign, yet, easily recognizable feelings…

Then, he was reaching up, twining his arms around Grif’s neck, and pulling him down on top of him…

Chapter Text

He thought, I love you. I can’t help it. I just do.

And, if his mouth would’ve been working at that moment, he would’ve said it. He would’ve had no choice. But, instead, his mouth opened, a second past the internal declaration, and he, almost, whined, “Grif”, before muttering, still sleepily, but urgently, as though he, currently, had no control over his tongue (Because, he really didn’t.), “I missed you. I missed you so much…”

And, what else could he say, when the feeling was that strong? A tightness in his throat, and chest, and belly that had to be experienced to truly be understood…

…Then, he was reaching up, twining his arms around Grif’s neck, and pulling him down on top of him…

Grif hardly had a chance to climb fully onto the bed. To reach an arm out beside Simmons’ slim form, in order to brace himself on the mattress so he didn’t actually fall right on top of the smaller, yet, taller, man below him.

Before any coherent thoughts could fully form, he was grabbing ahold of the redhead’s trim waist in his free hand. Maybe, a little more forcefully than he had intended to… and with that growly grumble, that he swore he’d never made before that night, bubbling out of his throat. That sound that could’ve come across as annoyed, but, instead, this time, only sounded impatient and, even, needy…

Simmons was craning up to him as Grif was, suddenly, almost partially hovering over top him. Bracketing his body. Ensnaring him… Holding him down to the bed…


Simmons felt… caught. Deliciously, almost frighteningly, trapped. It added a nervous sizzle to the warming lust in his blood…

Captured, but found.

By one you trust. By the one you… the one… you love.

A desperate, almost hurt, moan slipped unbidden from his parted lips.

And, he was untangling his trembling slender fingers from where they clutched Grif’s neck so hard it should’ve hurt.

But, Grif wasn’t complaining. And, when Simmons looked up, saw Grif watching his face through half-hooded eyes… Looking hungry and possessive, and- and-

And, under the weight of that gaze that spoke a million things that all boiled down to, You’re mine. I want you. And, you’re MINE., Simmons actually felt emboldened rather than embarrassed.

Grif wanted him. He really wanted him. Messed up, fucked up Simmons, of all people… Grif, who couldn’t be bothered to give a damn unless something (Or someone, apparently.) fell under the heading of, “One of Mine”…

The redhead’s hands ran down… down Grif’s broad, solid shoulders, and down… to cling to his softer sides…

Fuck, Simmons was actually shaking.

Just slightly, but… He was just so goddamn overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the realization of-of… the full extent of these feelings that he had hidden. Hidden even from himself… And, the adrenaline dump from the dream… and memory… whatever the fuck it’d been…

Oh, no. NO. Please, not now, not now. Let me have this- Just let me have-

But, son of a bitch, he couldn’t help himself…

And, just like that. In the snap of a finger-

An instant.

A flash.

Dark, dark memories fighting to come to the forefront-

The Smell of Bourbon and Blood. BourbonAndBlood.

Getting lost… Getting so lost…


Richard started to stir.

To awake from his peaceful slumber.

Wrapped in the arms of divine, desperate denial…

Denial for the sake of survival…


But, then, like he knew how badly Simmons needed it, Grif’s lips touched his, again… Finally. After what felt like for-fucking-ever… And, his deep, lazy kisses, the tickle of his dark hair that brushed and curtained against Simmons’ face… almost seeming to hide them away from the world… his quiet murmur of Simmons’ name… It all forcibly thrust the redhead back into the moment. And…


Richard subsided… Back to his beautiful, broken dreams.

Asleep.

Believing he was curled protectively around the one that he loved.

He was completely blissfully unaware of all else.


Grif sighed, sounding more content than anything else. Nose rubbing affectionately, and, perhaps, a bit teasingly against Simmons’. Possibly, remembering Simmons’ little “eskimo kiss” from earlier…

But, Simmons couldn’t help the urgent little growl that escaped him…

And-


Goddammit… Grif growled right back at him, and nipped his lower lip.

Simmons and that fuckin’ sexy little growl…

That sound that went straight to Grif’s dick. If he hadn’t been keeping his lower half a bit to the side of the sexy little Kissass, his poor, neglected prick (How many times was he gonna start getting hard in ONE motherfucking night before he got some pretty nerd ass?…) would, currently, be feelin’ a LOT happier. Rubbin’ all up on the Kissass, as nature intended…

If the little nerd wasn’t so frickin’ oblivious to how he effected other people, HIM, in particular, Grif would really think the son of a bitch did it on purpose…


Simmons was having a hell of a time, -An impossible time-, holding back all the sounds that kept coming out of him. Pants, and whimpers, and moans. He didn’t know what the hell was going on. And, oh, fuck, fuck, FUCK. The unbelievably suggestive way Grif had started to kiss him… Like as soon as that noise had come rumbling up from Simmons’ throat… -That growly sound that seemed to come outta nowhere, that only Grif had ever caused him to make-… Grif was turning his head just so… At just the right angle so his tongue could dip into, and lap rhythmically over and over into Simmons’ mouth. It was so- (Freaking mesmerizing, enthralling, evocative of other… other kinds of activities… But, shhh! Shut up about that, or Simmons might chicken out!)

It was so fucking good- It was giving Simmons all kinds of ideas… It was like Grif was done with the tasting, and was unhurriedly, so leisurely, working at eating him all up. Devouring him little by little…

And, FUCK. Simmons was getting so hard. If Grif looked down in-between them, he would totally see the outline of Simmons’ cock straining against his clothes…

Oh shit. Was Simmons actually getting a little braver? Able to think the words without brain stuttering? The words he could now say aloud with ease… When bitching, anyway… As long as they didn’t involve… ya know… himself & s-se-ex- Dammit! So close to depussifying, as Grif would probably call it.

Oh well. If Grif would simply move completely on top of him… Get his lazy ass in gear, already… (Although, Simmons was loving every single second of this.) He could feel… He could FEEL exactly how all this was affecting Simmons… feel for- for himself… Then, Simmons wouldn’t have to say anything, at all.


But, Grif was sorta wrapped up, unhurriedly, playing at the moment.

Memorizing, absorbing, every sound, every shaky breath… The redhead was unbelievably responsive to every single kiss, and, even, the simplest of touches…

And, the trippiest thing was that, somehow, Grif was so into that in a way that was totally beyond his normal, Cool, less work for me, thought process.

The noises Simmons made… He was so… vocal.

Little pleased hums.

Quiet gasps.

Small, nearly inaudible, hungry whimpers.

And, those were just the sounds he made whenever they kissed. The sounds he made right into Grif’s mouth… It was fuckin’ hot as hell. And, he didn’t even seem to be aware of it.

Seriously, it was freaking intoxicating to be wanted so much.

To know that the person you wanted so goddamn bad, fucking desperately wanted you back…

Fuck…

Grif’s free hand played over the squirmy, lithe body below him. Running over his chest and belly. “Accidently”, pulling his shirt up just a bit. Just enough… So, he could teasingly slide his palm down Simmons’ side…

And, hook his thumb into and under the waistband of his maroon boxers while grabbing and pressing his hip down into the mattress. Even harder than before.

Simmons squeaked out, loudly, but, also, very breathlessly, “Grif !”

And, the Hawaiian’s lips curved slightly against Simmons’ ridiculously soft ones (The son of a bitch did love his honey chapstick...), as he clasped the slight curve of the redhead’s hip in the palm of one large hand… Thumb rubbing gentle circles into his hipbone… So in contrast to his tight, overtly possessive grasp…

Finally, actually, touching that soft, yet, taunt creamy skin beneath the Kissass’ clothes…

Even if just.. if just there in that little hollow…

The second that Grif was more holding onto him rather than holding him down, Simmons’ entire lower body rolled up into his touch.

And, Grif couldn't resist.

One second he wasn’t doing it, and the next he was.

He slid his right hand into, and down, the Kissass’ boxers to cup and grasp ahold of a firm, yet, supple ass cheek, and give it a nice squ-ee-ze. He was, still, trying to resist simply moving his hand up to the front and gettin’ ahold of his nerd’s dick… but Jesus CHRIST, his ass was so fucking perf-

Ohhh, fuck,” Grif groaned, and Simmons moaned in near creepily perfect unison right into each other’s mouths.

They both froze, and moved slightly back, lips parting, to stare into each other’s eyes.

And, although, Simmons obviously hated it, his gaze dropped first.

The redhead laughed a little nervously, blushing nice n’ Red Team Red, as he turned his head away, and started to get incredibly fidgety.

But, Grif, being Grif, just snorted, and muttered, “Chill out, Kissass.”

And, after a little kneading that had Simmons groaning lowly, and holding tighter onto the Hawaiian’s waist, while trying to turn his head further into the pillow… -likely to attempt to hide his reactions-, Grif released his handful of so fuckin’ sweet nerd ass, pulled his hand out of his boxers-


And, was very abruptly touching Simmons’ cheek. So, so very gently, it brought a lump to the redhead’s throat. And, he didn’t even bother to think about how Grif’d basically just been giving him a deep tissue ass massage with that same hand…


Grif’s thumb was brushing over Simmons’ lips (Which, yes, he had done earlier that night, and luckily he’d done no more than that, cause, as he realized sometime later… That had not been- that was truly not His Simmons…), down to his jaw, and he was turning Simmons’ face back to him. Kissing him, again.

And, to be honest, in that moment, it was perfect. Grif had needed to be distracted for a second, anyway. To sidetrack himself from that fuckin’ perfect round, little ass, or… well, fuck… Just layin’ it all out there?... He was afraid if he didn’t chill with that for a sec, his dick was gonna be dripping pre right through his boxers, for Christ’s sake, and he just wasn’t gonna make it. And, fuck, man. He didn’t even know how the hell they’d gotten to here when the whole real reason he’d left the room in the first place was so they could kinda ‘compose’ themselves, ya know, pull their shit together, or whatever. So, they didn’t fuck on the first night they’d done anything. The first night that they’d even kissed- shit, that Simmons had ever kissed anyone.

So, yeah, Grif didn’t know what the fuck was going on, but, holy HELL, he didn’t want it to stop…

He wanted him too motherfucking much. And, he’d wanted him for too motherfucking LONG.


Simmons, on the other hand, was busily thinking about how currently inefficient it was for the two of them to both be wearing boxers with the “courtesy button”, of sorts, that, yes, DID help keep surprise boners from just popping out like a jack-in-a-box in polite company-

Buuut… as neither he, nor Grif, could ever be accused of being very “polite”, and they were, presently, only in each other’s company, it would’ve been nice to, um, maybe, be wearing the kind of easy access open fly boxers that some people wore so they could more easily slip out their, uh, dick to go to the bathroom, or… or better yet, to do other, more, uh, interesting, time-consuming things…

Like rub all up against each other while Simmons calculated how far they could even go before one of them, -likely him-, wussed out…


*Internal What the FUCK is wrong with us Sigh *

Ya know, there are just some truisms in life. And, mother of frickin’ God, if there was one thing, in that exact moment, that Grif, at least, absolutely believed to be true? That he knew for damn sure? It was that they were both thinking way too damn much. The freakin’ Kissass was wearing off on him!

So, he did what needed to be done.

And, a moment later, his hand was on Simmons’ chest. But, unfortunately, not underneath his shirt. He was hoping that the next time he messed with the redhead’s clothes, he’d be taking them off him…

His fingers rolled over the hard little nub of Simmons’ left nipple. Somehow, he’d known they’d be hard even before he’d felt them rubbing up against him. Cause, yeah, he’d felt that a couple times that night when they’d been pressed up against each other.

This fucker was so goddamn sensitive…

The sharp gasp, and, then, almost rumbly purr that came out of Simmons’ throat was encouraging, so Grif lightly pinched… Earning a shaky sigh… Hmmm… Not good enough of a reaction from someone as sensitive as Simmons…

Grif moved to his right one, which made him end up with his forearm across Simmons’ chest, and he was, incidentally, pretty much holding him down, again…

This whole, basically, low-key dominating, and desire to be dominated, thing between them? It, perhaps strangely, came very naturally to them.

So, maybe, it shouldn’t be that surprising that before Grif had really applied any real pressure… When he was still just hardly giving him more of a light tweak rather than a squeeze, or a slight pinch… Simmons immediately let out a wordless exclamation, followed instantly by a demand of, “Harder”, causing Grif to grin against the Kissass’ lips… Maybe, just a little evilly.

And, he thought, Oh, alright. So, THAT was the one.


Simmons’ reaction was almost instantaneous. If Grif was gonna up the ante, well, son of a bitch, so was he!

It wasn’t that he thought this consciously… exactly (If he HAD, he, likely, woulda been a lot more bold for the sake of “winning”.). He was simply naturally competitive when it came to things he took a liking to.

His hands had mostly clung to Grif’s sides thus far, but all at once that wasn’t nearly enough.

And, he was entwining his arms around the larger, but shorter man. Hands trailing down his back, to his ass, to the hem of his shirt… Sneaking them underneath the fabric that separated them, and, then, smoothing his long fingers, feather-light, back up warm flesh rather than cotton. Actually, moaning hungrily, and uncontrollably into Grif’s mouth, at the feel of his bare skin beneath his fingertips…

Grif pulled away from Simmons’ mouth with a hissed “Shit”. But, then, he really couldn’t help, but huff out a half-laugh when, with a little grumble, Simmons’ chin cocked up to try to follow Grif’s mouth to wherever the hell it was going.

But, when Grif’s forehead dropped down to rest on his right shoulder, the redhead had to give up. And, although, Grif still roughly rolled and slightly pinched Simmons’ obviously most sensitive nipple (Cause, yep. Men could have those, too. Simmons was proof of that. Just had to be a little rougher.) between his fingertips, the increasingly rambunctious redhead still let out a single, more annoyed than amused, huff of his own at the loss of Grif’s lips against his.

Honestly, though, Grif just needed to catch his breath for a second. Pull it together. Remember that he was supposed to be taking it slow, because… this… this was Simmons. This wasn’t just anyone. This wasn’t just about getting off. This was Simmons

But, goddammit, it was hard to think straight with Simmons’ slightly chilly hands roaming over Grif’s, suddenly, too hot flesh.

Felt so fucking good, it made him freaking shiver. He didn’t think anyone had ever made him shiver before. At least, definitely not from just running their hands over him.

He couldn’t help but fleetingly wonder…

HAD anyone ever touched him like this before?...

No. No. Simmons was different. He touched Grif like he was a fucking drug, and even the lightest touch got him frickin’ high as fuck.


Simmons was distracted from… from whatever had annoyed him…

Oh yeah! Grif wasting time breathing when he could still be kissing him. Rude!...

Regardless, he was nearly truly purring. Grif was- He WAS that warm. Mouthwateringly, incredibly hot beneath his own cool touch.

And, Simmons wanted him so fucking bad. Everywhere their skin touched tingled, and tickled, and prickled, and ached… In the best of ways…

It was so goddamn overwhelming, with his hands inside Grif’s shirt, and pressed against his actual bare skin… that he couldn’t stop running his fingers and palms all over him. Wherever he could reach. Pressing down on that soft layer of pudge to feel the hard, solid muscle underneath…

Lucky bastard. Genetics, amiright? But, seriously, Simmons felt like the lucky one as he alternated between rough grabbing and grasping and light, barely there sliding up and down and... And, everything in-between. Listening to the cadence of Grif’s breath, and his urgent vs. quiet muttered curses.

Grif wasn’t as “vocal” as he would later tease Simmons about being (Although, God forbid Simmons tried to be quiet. To keep it down…), so Simmons had to really investigate how precisely Grif liked to be touched. Other than the obvious.

He was playing down by Grif’s waistband… His hips, and lower back…

Still captivated by the sheer amount of warmth that Grif gave off.

The heat in the Hawaiian’s skin that didn’t just elicit more hunger. More lust and desire. But, also, felt…

Familiar.

Like intense déjà vu.

It brought back flashes of the dream…

Of how incredibly hot Grif’s skin had been… Of how he’d touched his face…

And- (Oh no, not this, not this.) And, the memory… Flashes. Flashes. Of what had come before.

Before Grif was, suddenly, THERE… There to be with him through the unbearable, yet, still not truly understood, incomplete truths revealed… Half-remembered recollections. Revelations… that whispered and cried out for recognition and acknowledgement. For acceptance.


All at once, Grif felt Simmons trembling, trembling, trembling.

And, his fingers playful pinching eased, the weight of his arm, somehow, grew more protective and comforting, rather than dominating… Grif’s head turned to the side… his own surprisingly hardly chapped -Due to Simmons nagging Grif into putting on his chapstick, too, whenever he did. (That was how Grif knew it was honey chapstick, or whatever. Still didn’t know where the fuck he got it from, though.)- lips softly brushing the redhead’s pale throat.

Trying to bring him back.


And, even that lightest of touches successfully, though momentarily, distracted Simmons from his currently undesired thoughts. Cause… he knew… he knew that Grif would-


Sure enough, to Simmons’ answering swift intake of breath, and choked out, “OhGod ”, Grif latched onto that sweet spot on Simmons’ neck. Biting, and licking, and sucking into his creamy skin.

And, listening to his little Kissass moan as he marked him, Grif muttered under his breath, “So, you ’missed’ me, huh?... Hmmm… Maybe… I kinda missed you a little, too…”

An’ dude, Grif was sorta impressed with himself for admitting that out loud. Without a joke, or a punch-line, to back it up. Even, if it was only in a half-ass kinda way…

He had to confess, as he ran his hand soothingly back down Simmons’ side, and nuzzled into the little blossoming spot he’d put on his neck, an’… just sorta chilled for a sec to see where the redhead was at in all this… he knew damn well that he, pretty obviously, wasn’t the best at saying the sappy shit. Grif was fully aware of that… But, then, again, Simmons wasn’t so great at it, either.

After all, he’d had to still be half asleep to be able to say what he’d been thinking… feeling… To tell Grif that he’d missed him… Of course, as mentioned, Grif wasn’t one to talk. Hadn’t he just told the Kissass a handful of hours ago that he- Hadn’t he mumbled, “I love you” to Simmons for the first time while still half-asleep, and Simmons had thought he said, “Olive Juice”.

For fuck’s sake.


Simmons, for his part, was, honestly, too busy thinking about how MUCH he wanted to be with this man forever and fucking always to truly register his words as “impressive”.

His mind was such a maze, and, again, as soon as they weren’t actively, even if slowly, moving forward, he was getting deeper and deeper in… Lost, while all he wanted to be was with him.

To be Safe. To be Found.

But, the whisper of fear that sung through his veins… It was so prevalent. Consuming. Just overpowering in all ways.

So, so many thoughts ran rampant through the redhead’s mind… through his heart

Oh God, please. Yes. Fuck, yes. I just want to be here with HIM. With Grif. Just Us. Just Us. Can’t I- can’t I have that? I just wanna forget all the- all the- the rest, right now. Just for a little- a little while… Is that so bad? I just, I… don’t want to remember the blood… I don’t wanna remember Richard’s shock, hispainhisAGONYhissobshisfuryhisRAGE. ThebloodThebloodTheblood.

Simmons’ fingernails skated across Grif’s back. Switching from nearly tickling to digging hard into his flesh. Though, neatly trimmed, they were still long enough to scratch red lines across the tan.

His twisting, twisting everything so he didn’t kill himself, kill me, kill US. Cause he promised me, promised him, promised himself, to keep me safe. Safe-Safe-Safe. No matter what… And, for fuck’s sake, Richard, Jimmy… Jimmy- Who I knew since I was five. Giggling over matching braids, and falling asleep curled in the hammock in his yard. Jimmy- Who accidently blew up his shed with me when we were seven cause of one of our secret science experiments gone wrong. (I STILL say it wasn’t my fault. Totally his.) Jimmy- Who crawled into the hospital bed with me when I was nine, and told me, “Don’t ever do that, again, Richie. Don’t leave me alone. You’re my best friend. Best friends are supposed to stick together, right?”… Jimmy- Who I told about you, and he already frickin’ knew. (Like he’d already known YOU, somehow.) And, who didn’t just accept you, but goddamn loved you. -And, you could say age this, and age that… but, when the fuck were any of the three of us ever really kids?- And, I- and, I never, ever loved him in the same way that you did, that you DO, but he was as close of a brother to me as you are… He’s family, for fuck’s sake, and he always was. Always will be. He can’t be… He’s NOT… Please, fucking please… Not, again… I just want- I just want us to all, somehow, be okay... to be alright...

He was, subconsciously, using the words... (Okay. Alright.) Trying so damn hard to ground himself within this moment. To find stability. To find peace. To escape the pain. The fear. (The truth?) The LIES! To be with- with his… with HIS loved one… To be with the one that HE loved… that he loved… that he…

And, he was a horrible person. A terrible person. A SELFISH person. To want this in the wake of… In the shadow of… of Richard’s misery, and very probable past and impending insanity…

But, oh, oh, fuck, he DID want him. Simmons wanted him so goddamn much. Grif. He wanted Grif. No one else. Only him. And, not just as an escape… But, maybe, as solace… as comfort… To be filled with love and desperate hunger for the one HE loved, rather than filled with fear…

He… He wanted- He wanted- wanted so many things… To feel… To feel him… feel his- his hard, thick… Oh Gooood … feel it against him, again… May- m-maybe against his own c-cock this time… And… and, he wanted, he wanted him… wanted Grif…i-inside him, i-in- Oh, Jesus FUCK… He wanted… to take him, and have him f-fill him up… Make him feel fucking whole

“Please, please, please…”

Without even realizing it, Simmons had voiced his pleas, breathily whispering the last of his lingering thoughts, right out loud.


Grif could’ve cum, right then and there.

And, with a groan, and a shudder, Grif was, finally, moving fully overtop him. His knee nudged Simmons’ thighs further apart…

And, mouth attaching back onto that spot on Simmons’ neck, he repositioned himself so he was completely in-between those long, slender legs (That was really where most of Simmons’ height came from. His torso itself wasn’t necessarily that much longer than the Hawaiian man’s. Which was good for Grif in a situation like this.), while still holding himself up, and slightly off the already panting man below him.

As soon as Grif had moved fully to hovering completely overtop him, Simmons was trying to hook his legs up around Grif’s hips, to buck up into him. To pull him all the way down on top of him.

Jesus. He was like a fuckin’ little wildcat.

Grif was, literally, seconds from lowering himself down onto him. Seconds from feeling his cock against his…

When he realized that the tremor that was running through Simmons’ body, that could’ve been mistaken for simple excitement or nerves by someone who knew Simmons’ neurotic ways, but was less in-tuned to him as a person, was becoming more and more pronounced against him.

Fuck. The Kissass had actually started to really vibrate. And, not in a good way.

Like, bad. Really bad.

And, it seemed like his mind was going a million miles a minute…

And, then, Donut’s words from earlier picked the worst possible time to pop up into Grif’s head.

“ -on your guys’ first date? Probably, if I know anything about Sims, and his past... his first date, ever! He could hate you in the morning, you know!...”

Fuck. Fuck !

Of all fucking times to hear the Rookie’s voice. He was even nagging him in his goddamn head, now!


And, Grif found himself pulling just slightly more up. Holding away some… Basically, trying to keep his dick from touching this mother fucking delicious son of a bitch until he could make sure everything was cool. Cause… fuck, man. Once his cock brushed up against the Kissass’? With Simmons so obviously wanting it? All bets were off…

Grif was so frustrated with himself. Why did he have to give so many fucks, allll the fucks, about this? About him? Why couldn’t he just fuck him, and figure it out in the morning? Like a normal dickhead.

But, ya know. Goddamn “feelings” n’ shit.

He couldn’t just think with his dick. Not that it was anybody’s goddamn business, or anything, but… He, uh, mighta had some very long-term plans (Which was a trip, he knew. But, fuck. It was Simmons.) involving this sexy little nerd that he couldn’t let anyone fuck up. And, yes, “anyone” apparently included his currently getting very cranky cock.

And, oh-ho-ho, if anyone else even thought about putting their hands on his Kissass, he might just have to stab them in the motherfucking eye. He was so fuckin’ serious. He wouldn’t even feel bad about it.

Simmons was HIS. And, only his.

…Uh… He really didn’t know exactly why he’d thought of that at the moment, but, whelp, there it fuckin’ was.

Shit. He was gonna cum like fuckin’ Ol’ Faithful once he actually got his dick inside him.

For now, though, he had to make sure he was alright.

But, man, Simmons was NOT making it easy on him.

Grif,” Simmons whined, literally, using his tight hold on him to pull himself mostly up off the bed. -He had more upper body strength than you’d think. Still had more of a slim runners or swimmers build at best, but, uh, yeah, Grif was totally into it…- He was halfway hanging off Grif, now. Like he was trying to imitate the red panda wrapped around Grif’s belly on his t-shirt. It was either hilarious or cute as fuck.

Or, maybe not. Maybe, it was, erm, definitely, more sexy than cute… With how Simmons’ hands were grasping onto Grif’s bare shoulders underneath his shirt. His ankles crossed and hooked around Grif’s lower waist… Trying to pull Grif down while pulling himself up… And, whining, whining like an adorable little bitch cause Grif was so much stronger than him that he apparently couldn’t manhandle him as much as he seemed to want to…

“C- C’mon…,” Simmons stammered pretty badly, even for him, “I-I want… I w-want…”

Taking a deep, but slightly shaky breath, Grif pulled up some more to look down at the flushed, but trembling man below him, taking a wrapped around him Simmons up with him. (He kinda really liked that. He could carry this Kissass around, an’ have him draped over him all fuckin’ night, every night.) Wrapping the arm that wasn’t bracing himself tight around Simmons' slim waist…

And, oh goddammit... Shit! He hadn’t really meant to…

But, oh my fucking God. Suddenly, he could really, totally feel him, right against his belly… Feel how fucking hard he was. The boxers were so tight against his strained cock, Grif couldn’t believe the son of a bitch hadn’t popped a button. It only made Grif harder. He wanted him so mother fucking bad. And, fuck! He was pressed against that sweet little ass, again… Instinctually, even with their clothes on, pressing hard right into and in-between those firm little cheeks… Probably, about to leave a nice wet spot on both their boxers, and fuuuccckkk…

If his dick were its own person, it would shoot him right in the head for even daring to think of anything, but burying himself over and over into his tight heat…

Or, maybe… Maybe…

Just grinding down into him… Grinding against and with him…

He didn’t know how the fuck he could keep to only that, but…

Once again, it wasn’t like he was very prepared, regardless.

And, maybe, maybe, he could help, ya know, chill him out, and, uh… comfort him with his cock?

That was a-a thing… Right?

Grif tried to kiss him, again, but his lips could only hardly brush across Simmons’, as the redhead’s teeth were, almost, chattering, for Christ’s sake. Grif wasn’t sure what you called that. Where they weren’t chattering exactly, but almost…

What in the fuck had Simmons been dreaming about when he’d come back into the room? He’d looked so goddamn relaxed before Grif’d woke him up.

Literally, just with the lightest of touches…

(But, the blanket, and the sheet, kicked off the bed… The room so dark…)

Oh, fuck. He had to get him to chill out. This really wasn’t just nerves or excitement. No matter how much Simmons wanted this- And, it was obvious, he fuckin’ WANTED it- Something was fucking with him really bad… Grif couldn’t just ignore that… This was Simmons. He…

He meant something to him, alright.

He forced out, although, son of a bitch, he didn’t want to, and he sounded more than a little unhappy with the words coming out of his mouth…

He made himself say… something, “Simmons, wait. I don’t… Man, I don’t know… I mean-… Fuck…”

What he’d thought was: Simmons, wait. I don’t… Man, I don’t know what’s up with you, right now. Are you cool? I mean… you- you know what I mean... Fuck, I want you so much… Why’s my life have to be so goddamn unfair? Lame.

The truth was that he wasn’t sure how to simply say exactly what he was trying to say, AND not end up sounding like a whiny little selfish bitch. And, it was kinda hard to concentrate on forming coherent audible sentences at the moment, anyway, ya know, with all the blood filling his head that didn’t contain a brain.

Before he could attempt to salvage whatever that… mess had been that had come out of his mouth, Grif saw Simmons’ pretty red brows arch, then, furrow in confusion.

Then, the grimace of pain. As if he’d been struck. His eyes sliding away, and flinching, momentarily, shut. Adam’s apple bobbing with a hard, audible swallow…

That look that spoke volumes on the agony of rejection.

But, the redhead didn’t say a word.


Simmons’ mind had screeched to a halt. He’d fucked it up. He’d fucked it up! He gotten too lost in his head, and ruined everything.

Or, maybe… Maybe, when it really came down to it… Grif didn’t really want him, at all… Sure, his dick was h-hard against his ass, but- but that didn’t mean he actually wanted Richie -oops-, “Dick” Simmons, now did it?

He actually felt even his dick soften in despair. Sounded dumb, but it didn’t matter. It was what it was.

He had to get out of here.


Grif felt how Simmons had frozen, and, then, how he just totally lost his hard-on. Which was so not the intent. Grif was just trying to check-in with the dude, not have him lose his frickin’ boner!

Then, with no warning, the redhead completely released him.

As Grif had been running his hand comfortingly up and down Simmons’ side at the moment, -rather than just holding him tightly to him-, when Simmons let go, he fell back the few inches… back onto the mattress.

He, still, didn’t make a single sound. Not even a little “oof” like you’d expect.

His arms were still under Grif’s shirt, and Grif still had his arm around him…

But, even with his arm still wrapped securely around, and, now, underneath him, Simmons tried to pull away. To untangle his limbs completely from around, or anywhere near Grif. He yanked his arms out from Grif’s shirt… Tried to turn… Evidently, wanting to roll right off the bed, and onto the hard ground below if he had to…

Anything to escape…

Grif didn’t let him, though. He just tightened his hold. Kept a good grip on him.

“No, Baby, don’t-,” he murmured to him.

When Simmons, still so strangely silent, realized he wasn’t going to get to simply bail out of the situation, his face just went blank. Even, his eyes, almost, seemed to dim.

And, they were getting that distant look that Grif hated to see.

Simmons’ arms curled protectively around his own chest…

He wasn’t even bothering to try to pull away, anymore. Simply sinking back into the mattress…

“S-Simmons, c’mon…” Grif’s voice picked a great time to crack a little. But, man, he felt bad. Seeing that look on Simmons’ face…

……

Finally, finally, the redhead spoke.

He didn’t spit out angry words, or shove furiously at him.

Grif would’ve totally preferred that. That Simmons he knew how to deal with.

Instead…

You don’t want me… Not me…” It was said dully, quietly. With none of the usual Simmons brand of fanfare.

As, though, although painful, it was simply something to be expected.

And, look… Grif didn’t mean to be an insensitive prick… He really didn’t! But, he couldn’t help but scoff aloud at the very idea… Shit. Simmons had to have been able to feel Grif’s dick against him more than once during all this. And, not just at that particular moment, -Hey! Cut him some fuckin’ slack! It, apparently, took a little longer for the messages between his dick and his brain, or reverse that, to get to each other-, but what about when Simmons’d been in his lap earlier… Well, there’d been no hiding it, then, either…

And the real truth was… The real reason that Simmons thinking he didn’t “want” him was so freaking retarded was that he’d never actually, genuinely wanted anyone as bad, or as much, or in the WAY he wanted this pretty little nerd-

HIS little nerd…

He pulled his arm out from underneath him. Ran his hand up Simmons’ slender, still slightly trembling body.

And, his fingers tangled back into that fucking gorgeous long red hair…

He gave a sharp, painful little yank.

Simmons’ lips parted, and Grif leaned down, caught his quiet gasp on his tongue.

When Simmons’ eyes cleared, and on a shaky exhale, slipped shut, Grif dipped inside his mouth to taste him, again… And, slowly, almost seemingly lazily, he traced his perfect cupid’s bow lips with tip of his tongue…

No. The problem wasn’t that Grif didn’t want him. It was that he wanted him TOO damn much. And, let’s be real. Anyone with a window into Grif’s mind would know, by now, that he wanted him for fucking always.

When Simmons sighed lowly, still trembly, and not really kissing him back, not like he had before… So much quieter… Hands pressing against his chest... Touching him, again... But, only lightly, now. Uncertainly... Grif knew he HAD to say something. It wasn’t easy, but he did the best he could. Which, even that, should be pretty impressive. “…Not want you? That’s such bullshit. Come on, Simmons, I thought you were supposed to be smart. Where the hell you been all night?... It’s Just Us… No one else is here. Don’t gotta… play fucking games… But… shit, man, sometimes, you started, like, shaking. Real bad… I don’t wanna rush you, and, ya know…”

Have you end up hating me. Have you not want anything to do with me. Have you freak out, afterward, and not wanna be WITH with me…

“And, man, if we really get going, I don’t know if I can just…”

Grif looked down into those big, fucking still so sorrowful-looking deep green eyes. It made him feel like absolute shit.

And, he thought so, so many things.

He thought:

Look, bitch. I’ve wanted you for too long to be able to just half-ass this. I wanna fuckin’ worship the hell outta your sexy ass for freaking ever… Suck you off, put your legs up on my shoulders, and just eat your sweet ass out for hours… See how many times I can get you off in one night… I wanna fuck into you ‘til you, literally, pass the hell out, screaming on my dick… -Which sounds exhausting, I know, but, fuck, I dunno-… But, it’s not even just that… I wanna, know you’re mine. All fuckin’ mine, only mine. I want that shit, too, cause I’m fuckin’ greedy n’ jealous… If I ever think someone else touched you, I might just have ta’ ‘accidentally’ make them disappear… Cause you’re fuckin’ MINE, bitch, and… And, I think maybe I wanna, like, I don’t know… do some kinda lovey crap, too, or… some… something?… Which, uh, yeah, that’s-that’s new to me so… I’m a little lost here?...

And-

Mother fuck…Simmons... I can’t… But, I can’t wake up, and have you be… gone… Fuck that.

He thought all that. The thoughts were so clear, so strong, that years later he would still be able to remember them, all on his own, word for word.

But, as had happened so often with Simmons, he found himself, in that moment, struggling to put his thoughts, his feelings that he had so much of inside, and, yet, sucked at ever actually verbalizing, into words. And, rather than saying what Simmons should hear, what he fucking needed to hear (Even, if this time Grif’s words would’ve likely turned him the reddest shade of Red Team Red, yet.), Grif said some half-ass, pussified version that didn’t truly get across the goddamn EXTREME extent of what this Kissass meant to him.

Cause Grif was a hell of a great communicator, man. No shit.

Finally, he managed to kinda awkwardly get out, “…Look, I… fuck… I don’t know how to… I just, uh… You’re gonna make me say it, aren’t you?…”

Simmons just stared up at him. He looked so sad

Ohhh, son of a bitch. Those eyes. Bright with unshed tears.

Fuck. They got to him.

“Goddammit… al-alright… I just… want… you… No, I mean, I really want… I don’t wanna fuck it up… And, Baby, you’re shaking, again.”

Simmons looked startled, at that. As though he hadn’t even noticed.

“It seemed like…,” Simmons, finally, spoke, again. So softly that Grif pressed his tan cheek down against his pale one, so the redhead was whispering right into his ear. It, probably, looked fucking adorable, but neither of them were thinking about that at the moment, “…you made me think you didn’t… you don’t wanna be … with me…”

Grif found himself frowning, all awkwardness forgotten. That was the complete opposite of what was going on.

Goddammit! He could NOT have Simmons thinking that dumbass shit.

“Don’t be an idiot,” Grif ground out harshly, reaching down, and roughly squeezing the slight curve of Simmons’ hip. Pressing his still half-hard, despite its terrible neglect, cock into him… Well, not into into him, but, uh, you know, against his unfortunately boxer-clad ass…


Simmons unconsciously tried to roll up into Grif. To rock up into him. But, Grif’s hand on his hip pinned him down to the mattress.

And, the breath caught in the redhead’s throat. The feeling of being overpowered (But, by someone that deep down you knew wouldn’t hurt you.) was overwhelming


And, Grif continued, but in a softer tone this time, as he moved to nip along under Simmons’ chin, alternating between sharp and gentle little nips that got the redhead all ‘vocal’, again, “Don’t know if you’re ready for all the things I wanna do… And, yes… *Snort *… with you… I just… don’t… want you freaking out on me-”

Grif saw, outta the corner of his eye, how Simmons, whose breath had sped up, and body had started to squirm, again, under his touch and teeth and words… suddenly, began to scowl at that last bit. And, dammit, he couldn’t help but smile at the little Kissass, and press a lil’ peck on the tip of his cute little nose before continuing on.

“…You just… we just, ya know… like, even kissed, or whatever, for the first time a couple hours ago, dude…,” Grif reminded him, gently brushing his lips against the light spray of pale, hardly noticeable freckles over the bridge of his nose. They were so fuckin’ cute. Grif liked ‘em…, “You hadn’t even done that before…”

“……”

At Simmons’ lack of a response, Grif stopped mid-kiss, and huffed in sudden and serious irritation. And, oh great! Now, that he was getting all jealous and pissed, his dick was just done. It was like ‘Fight your own battles, dude. If we’re not fuckin’, I’m out.

Mother fuck. Thanks, Kissass. Twinning over softening cocks had to be the worst kinda twinning.

Grif pulled up, and narrowed his dark blue eyes suspiciously down at Simmons before the other man even had a chance to truly register the sudden change in his mood, “Right ? Simmons? It seemed like- ‘Quick study’, my ass! I knew you were too damn good at this! Who the fuck else kissed you, goddammit?!”

“W-What?,” Simmons looked very startled, then, incredibly embarrassed. It brought his bitchy side out full-force, “No one! No one kissed me… Shut up! It’s none of your goddamn business-”

Grif was so annoyed, and filled with an overwhelming feeling of possessiveness, -way beyond any he’d ever even imagined being able to feel. It was fuckin’ weird, man-, that he didn’t exactly really catch Simmons’ emphasis on the word ‘me’. Other than to, perhaps, fleetingly think that this son of a bitch was WAY too f’n insecure for someone so good-looking. Whether, if it was good-looking in a fuckin’ ‘pretty’ as fuck “girly” way, or not…

Although, was there even a “manly” kinda pretty? I mean, you could say a man was pretty, and that he could be manly. But, would you ever call anyone “manly pretty”? Maybe?

Not Simmons, though. He was androgynous pretty at best. At first glance he looked like a flat as fuck naturally pretty-ass, -Wow. That bitch doesn’t even need makeup n’ shit-, chick.

Whatever. Grif knew he was probably a huge sexist asshole… It was the way he was raised, man! Island people (And, circus people.) where very… set in their ways… Fuck, man, he just didn’t fuckin’ know...

Regardless of trying to distract himself so he didn’t throw a Simmons-style bitch fit, Grif was still feeling so pissy that he had to inform Simmons in an absolute no-nonsense, you better watch it, dumbass tone, “None of my goddamn business? Asshole, now, that’s where you’re wrong. It’s nobody’s but MY. Goddamn. Business-”

Simmons looked kinda startled. Almost, almost, for just a split second… Intimidated?…

Whoa.

But, then, he was glaring, and peevishly complaining, “I don’t understand y- FUCK! Stop trying to embarrass me, you unbelievable prick! You tease me if I haven’t done this stuff, but, then, you get pissed if you think I have- You don’t make any fucking sense!”

Simmons scowled up at him, and… and, as dumb as this sounds? Simmons being all bitchy actually chilled Grif out. It was simply so… everyday normal, ya know?

Hmmm… What can I say Simmons?,” A quirk of his lips, and Grif kissed the almost fuming redhead. Cautiously. Softly. You’d think it was the first time… Then, he told him, very briefly, like it just summed it all up, “I’m a complex kinda dude.”

“More like a dumbass asshole kinda dude,” Simmons snootily informed him. Though, he seemed only the tiniest bit irritated, now. As if, Grif’s gentle kiss had placated him. Which, honestly, it really had.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Maybe, that, too…,” Grif murmured in a forced bored tone…

But, then, holy fucking God, he just nervously word-vomited his thoughts all OVER the place, because… because… it, it was Just Them… No AssholeS, er, OtherSimmons sightings for a while, now, and everyone else on the team was doing their own thing, and cause… cause once he got going, his control over his blabber mouth was shaky at best. “Look, I just don’t wanna screw around straight outta you waking up from what’s starting to seem like was a fucked up dream… Sleeping with someone when you feel bad, it… it doesn’t… doesn’t make you feel better, ya know. I mean, yeah, maybe, in the moment but, then… Fuck that. I don’t want that shit for us.”

“You’re not just… ‘someone’, dipshit…” Simmons mumbled a little weakly.

“That’s my point, bitch. It’s… different with… you know… whatever… I was, uh… thinking we could…”

Grif was kinda tripping out on the whole idea that he’d never done any of this in the “right” order. But, rather, fucking first, and, then, hooking up. Leaving you with that sorta sick feeling after you’d been with someone. That feeling that this could totally have been a one-time kinda deal for them, and you don’t have a fucking clue.

He was NOT gonna go through that shit with Simmons. Hell no. And, knowing Simmons, he’d probably have a nervous breakdown, and decide Grif didn’t give a fuck about him ten seconds into the afterglow…

So, fuck. Call it lame, but the reason they weren’t going at it, right then? Sure, it was cause of Simmons’ not being in a good head space for it. But, it was, also… hell, Grif would just rather have shit clear, beforehand. Do it right. Have the Kissass well-aware of who the fuck he belonged to before things got… fuckin’ heavy.

Yeah, so no big deal. Just, uhhh, had to… do this shit right this time…

Although, he guessed that meant he just hadn’t done it “right”, or “correctly”, or whatever the hell, with Kira, since he sure as fuck hadn’t been interested in any of that with the hookups he’d had after Kira left.

He opened his mouth to say… what? He had no clue how to… what to… Wow, he sucked at this. What was he supposed to say? So, dude. Since everyone thinks we’re actually married, or some shit, anyway, uh… Fuck it, right? Wanna be, like, ya know, be, um… together, I guess? Or, whatever the fuck?

He shut his mouth. He could NOT say it like that. Simmons was too damn sensitive. And, not just in the awesome sex way, either-

“Grif? Why are you just staring at me?!,” Simmons shifted uncertainly under him, starting to sound a little shrill, “You’re- You’re making me so freaking uncomfortable, you idiot!... What- What’re you thinking about? You were saying you thought we could… we could… what?”

And, on one hand, Grif couldn’t believe his damn self, but on the other… well, hell… he was who he was…

So, although, he hadn’t planned on saying it, he simply couldn’t bring himself to get all vulnerable an’ crap, and put what he really wanted to ask into words, so-

Grif blurted out, “I was thinkin’ we could eat. You hungry?”

“E-eat? What the- What the fuck-?” Simmons looked quite bewildered by the turn of events. Although, God knows why. This was GRIF, after all.

“Yeah, EAT. You never eat enough, dude-”

“Well, someone around here eats enough for BOTH of us,” Simmons retorted indignantly.

But, Grif just shook his head, sadly, “ Yeah, man, I know. It’s a REAL mother fuckin’ problem. But, we aren’t talkin’ about Donut’s bubblebutt, right now-”


A nice little offended squawk from a jealous redhead. He did NOT want Grif looking at other people’s asses!


Seeing that Simmons was about to throw one of his signature squeaky, squawky fits, Grif told him in a voice laden with temptation, “Baby, I got you more peanut butter and-”

A girly-ass squeal, for Christ’s sake, burst out of the Kissass. Son of a bitch didn’t even seem to realize he’d done it.

Grif couldn’t- he just didn’t know how to handle this. How was he supposed to not laugh his ass off? This mother fucker was nutty as balls when they were alone. It was freaking highly entertaining.

“Get off me! Get off me, and feed me, asshole!,” Simmons demanded, slapping at his chest.

Grif thought of saying, I could feed you my dick. (He didn’t know what the fuck it was about Simmons, but he just wanted ta’ talk dirty to him.) But… then, he thought of Simmons’ penchant for biting, -Hell, he’d got him doing it now, too!-, and he decided against it. Maybe not the best wording to use with a bitey lil’ fucker like his Kissass.

So, he just gave him another kiss, -just a small one-, that, even distracted, Simmons, now, immediately returned, and sat up, moving to the side of the bunk closest to the basket.

“I KNEW I smelled peanut butter,” Simmons sat up, as well, actually rubbing his hands together gleefully. It looked as fricking ridiculous as it sounded.

Grif scoffed, “Dude, and here I thought I was the one that got you all excited.”

Completely deadpan, Simmons assured him, “Nah, musta been the peanut butter.”

Grif shook his head at him, “Bitch.”

They grinned at each other.

And, really, what can be said? They’d always had strange ways of showing and verbalizing their affection.

Grif leaned over to the bunkside drawer, and grabbed ahold of the basket-

“*Snort* Love the bow, Grif.”

“Dude, don’t even start,” Grif warned.

And, Simmons simply chuckled quietly to himself as he watched Grif dig into the Little Red Riding Hood basket.

Suddenly, though (And, unfortunately.), Grif thought of something, and he paused in his pawing through the stuff he’d brought.

He thought of something that he suspected that, if Simmons had been awake for it, could’ve accounted for at least some of why Simmons had gotten all tripped out during the relatively short time Grif had been out of the room.

Sill looking down into the basket, Grif off-handedly asked, “Hey, Simmons… Did you turn down the lights while I was gone?”

Simmons’ sharp intake of breath caused Grif to look up at him in mild alarm. It was fucking frightening how quickly Simmons’ mood could turn dark.

Grif wished he’d kept his mouth shut. Why hadn’t he kept his mouth shut? Fuck! Why couldn’t he ever keep his mouth sh-

“What the fuck- NO! I wouldn’t do that! I would never do that!,” Simmons was vehemently insisting, before he seemed to be able to even attempt to silence himself. His face was getting red, but not in the way Grif liked, “… It- It WAS getting darker, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it ? But, I-I DIDN’T-”

“Yeah, that’s cool. Lights must be acting up. I don’t care either way… Look, Baby,” Grif pulled out, and held up a package, both for Simmons to see, and also, to distract him from his extremely over-blown distress, “See how good I am to you? I even got you your disgusting little poison berries.”


Simmons just looked at him. Not impressed. But… he did feel calmer. Well, at least, he felt more annoyed than freaked out.

“They are NOT- You know what?,” the redhead blew out an aggravated breath, and snatched the packet of dried cranberries out of Grif’s hand, secretly so relieved that Grif had, obviously purposefully, given him something else to focus on, and bitch about. Even, at his own expense. The dumbass was kinda so goddamn wonderful in his way…, “Fuck this. I’m sooo sick of your crap. You have to try them, now… Grif, don’t give me that look! What if your face got stuck like that?”

Lame,” Grif, somehow, twisted his face into a look of even deeper disgust, “Nobody says that shit anymore, nerd.”

“Shut up, asshole. Look, I’ll eat some… Mmmm, sOOO good. Yum, yum… Fuck, these ones really ARE good. Now, just try them, already!,” Simmons demanded, “You have to eat something healthy, sometimes.”

Grif raised an eyebrow at him, “Do I, though, Simmons? Do I really? What’s with you, and these nasty little poison berries, anyway, man? You tryin’ ta’ kill me?”

“NO! And, for the LAST fucking time, they’re NOT poison- I JUST ate some, you idiot! Uhhh, fuck…,” Simmons rapidly changed tactics, from bossy to whiny. He really WAS tricky, “Griiif… I’m just trying to show you that healthy stuff can taste good, too, sometimes! If you’ll just quit being such a fucking PUSSY, and, at least, try them, already…”


Like gateway drugs, right? Simmons and his secret master plan to corrupt Grif with his hippy, dippy rabbit food. Oh, Grif was sooo onto this little nerd. But, he just very nicely said…

“Fuck you, dude! I just ate your oatmeal this morning, dammit! So I should totally be off the hook. Already had my fill of ‘healthy’ crap for the week, Simmons. Or month. Or y-”

“No, Grif! You know that doesn’t count-”

“Fuck it doesn’t, bitch!,” Grif cried out, affronted that Simmons would DARE to imply that he would eat healthy-shit for no hook-up in return.

“-when you put THAT much brown su- Don’t you even say it! Don’t, you open your- Shut your big, fat mouth, dammit! Fine!- Red sugar -so fucking dumb-, When you put that much sugar into the damn bowl… and OREOS, for Christ’s sake! Let’s not forget about the Oreos! You just turned it into junk food, Grif. It’s like you can’t say, ‘Look how healthy I am! I ate a couple a’ bananas for breakfast.’ But, you actually deep-fried them, dusted them with goddamn powdered sugar, and drizzled chocolate and caramel all over them, and, then, piled mountains of whip cream, and chocolate chips on top-”

Oh, my fucking God,” Grif moaned. He was so close to giving up, and just body-slamming the son of a bitch down onto the bed. Such a goddamn tease. If he wasn’t honestly so innocent and oblivious, Grif would’ve taken that whole porno recipe as a cue, and he’d be back on top of him, and sucking him off, right then and there. Maybe, showing him a little trick or two. Taking him deep, all the way down his throa- Holy hell. He didn’t know how he’d ever survive this… Instead of doing all the things he wanted to do to him –And, there were SO many things he wanted to do to him. To do with him…-, he just forced himself to sound more snarky, and whiny. Very ‘Simmonsy’, in other words. “Simmons, I have no frickin’ clue what bananas have to do with any-fucking-thing, but don’t mess with me like that! That sounds amazing. If we get bananas you freaking have to make me that shit…” He paused for a moment, and couldn’t help but muse, “Huh… And, no wonder the oatmeal didn’t taste too bad if it was ‘junk food’-,”.

“… Wait… Really? It didn’t- It wasn’t too bad? You actually kinda… liked it? I mean, you DID eat it, but…,” Simmons seemed to forget all else. And, oh, he sounded SO hopeful, “You weren’t just doing it to shut me up? Cause, uh, honestly? There’s a lot of different, more unusual, like, not so everyday kinda things, I’ve been wanting to try out, but I wasn’t sure if you’d even bother to try them with me…”

Okay. Fuck it. Nobody could be this oblivious.

How did they go from almost actually fucking to all this?

Grif smiled sardonically at him, and his mouth just went ahead, and said whatever the fuck it wanted to say, “Simmons, look, dude, unless you’re talkin’ about different sex positions, I dunno… Are you? Cause I’m down for it, -bet you’re super flexible, and you’re so light, I could move you into all different kinds of-,” Grif paid no attention to Simmons' little squeak that was almost immediately followed by an offended huff, “…Anyway, so, yeah, sounds doable… long as you remember who’s… ya know…”

Who’s the boss when it comes to this stuff, Baby, Grif thought, as he smirked at him.

Simmons just sputtered wordlessly.

“Oh, Simmons, look at you,” Grif chided, teasingly. It was way too fun, and easy, to get this dude going, “Blushing, again. And, speechless, too. That’s not like you, at all-”

“G-Grif! Why would I be talking about different p-posi- Oh God. When we haven’t even, uh, and, um- I’ve ALWAYS been very flexible, thankyouverymuch, asshole… b-but… I’m not that light! Maybe, you’re just THAT goddamn strong! You ever think of that, dumbass?!” Simmons tilted his chin up defiantly. Despite his embarrassment, he seemed to think he’d made a GREAT point.

Grif, on the other hand, looked a little confused, “Uhh… Thhhanks? Was that supposed to offend me, or some shit? Cause if that’s what you were going for… man, I’m not sure you know how that works… But, whatever. Let’s go back to that whole ‘flexible’ thing. I wanna hear more about that.”

Grif wiggled his eyebrows playfully, and Simmons turned his typical patriotic shade.

“Uhm- I-I…,” the redhead started to stammer... but, then, it seemed to click, “Wait! You piece a shit! I know what you’re doing, asshole! You’re trying to distract me so I forget about the cranberries. Well, fuck that. Try them, right NOW. You have to for being such a fucking perv.”

Hmph. Well, hell, could you blame him? Teasing the nerd would always be preferable to sucking down health food. And, he thought it should be very clear by this point what he’d rather be sucking down…

Grif sighed. Dammit, the nerd knew him too well, “Fuck, you’re just gonna keep bitching, aren’t you? *Sigh* Alright, already. Don’t know why the hell you give a fuck about it-”


"Because I don’t want you to die, you dumb shit!,” Simmons burst out before he could think to censor himself, “You can’t live solely off the crap you eat!”

A moment of silence.

Then, Grif smiled a little at him, “Ah, Baby. It’s nice to know you’d give a fuck if I died.”

Simmons just grumbled at him, wouldn’t meet his eyes, and tried to hand the package of dried cranberries to him.

“No, no, no, no. I SAID I’d try them, buuut you didn’t let me finish.”

Of course, Grif just HAD to have an ulterior motive. Cause… well, cause he was Grif. If he was gonna do something, he always expected a return.

Ohhh, there’s a catch. Of. Fucking. Course. Why am I not surprised,” Simmons sneered, “Lemme guess. You want me to go get the chocolate syrup, so you can cover- No. Just drown them in it- Don’t- Why are you looking at me like that?!”


“Like what?,” Grif asked, perhaps, eyeing him a bit predatorily, “You got me all wrong, dude. I wouldn’t waste fucking delicious chocolate syrup on poison berries. I’d rather save that, for pouring all over any annoying nerds nagging my ass… That oughta shut ‘em up… Did you just swallow your tongue?...”

“N-, uh- No! That, um, it, uh… just s-sounds mess-messy,” Simmons stuttered, shifting about a bit nervously. Shyly, even.

“Oh, yeah. Sure.” Grif nodded, agreeably, sounding very chill. But, there just may have been a mischievous glint in his eyes…, “But, that’d be part of the fun. Now, do you wanna know what you have to do to get me to eat that nasty crap, or what?”

Scowly Simmons face appeared completely outta nowhere, as it was wont to do.

“It’s not nasty, you picky pig!,” Simmons squealed at him in very obviously genuine annoyance.

But, Grif ignored his habitual bitchiness, and told him very succinctly, “You just gotta sit on my lap, and feed ‘em to me… Come on, Baby. That’s so easy.”

“…Grif,” Simmons squinted his eyes at him, although he was getting a little pink, or ‘lightish-red’, and unconsciously starting to bite at his pretty lips, “If you wanna, um, make out some more, or play g-grab a-ass, or whatever, you don’t have to come up with some elaborate… okay, not really ‘elaborate’, per say, but some kinda ‘scheme’…”

Oh really? I don’t, huh?, Grif thought, thinking of this whole ‘sleepover’ deal (scheme).

That a fact, Simmons? Is. That. A. Fact?

“Just shut up, and get over here,” Grif grumbled, as he grabbed Simmons, and pulled him onto his lap.

He may have kinda manhandled him in the process (Man, it was fuckin’ awesome to be stronger than the Kissass.), and he almost got a sharp elbow to the eye for his trouble from one easily excitable little nerd.

The son of a bitch, chuckling evilly, even gave Grif a couple of sharp little nips wherever he could reach, -Grif’s arms, and throat, and even once on the back of his hand, for fuck’s sake-, just to be a brat, and prolong the whole thing.

Fucker could be feral. But, secretly? Grif loved it.

There was a very strong possibility that they were both nuts.

Finally, he had the redhead back where he wanted him. Well, perhaps, not exactly ‘back’. As he wasn’t in the same position as before.

This time Simmons was sitting across his lap, with an arm looped around his neck to help steady himself. Cause Grif was sorta afraid that if Simmons was sitting on his lap in the same way he’d been before, with those long legs wrapped around his waist, that sweet firm little ass right on top of his dick, again… Oh, fuck…

Give him a break. He wasn’t a saint! It wasn’t his fault the squeaky little Kissass was so fucking hot outta his armor!

So… Yeah… if Simmons was wrapped around him like that, right at that moment… he was sure he’d start grinding up into the redhead in no time flat.

And, since Simmons needed a little more time…

Across the lap it was.


“Okay, feed me,” Grif said, trying to sound brave, as he opened his mouth, and squeezed his eyes shut.

“Oh, open your eyes! Don’t be so overdramatic,” Simmons snickered, as Grif peeked at him with one eye, “You’re such a big baby, Grif! And you call ME b-”

“Baby? That’s cause you’re my whiny little b-”

Simmons flushed, and shoved some cranberries into Grif’s mouth to shut him up. He didn’t even wanna know what all Grif had been going to say.

“Blah! Na’ so many, bi’ch!,” Grif complained through a mouthful of unfortunately healthy crap.

“Ahh! Fuck!,” Simmons flinched back, and raised up the arm not wrapped around Grif’s neck to protect his face, “I’m sorry! Don’t spit them at me!”

But, he didn’t hear any reply, or feel any now-soggy cranberries spit at him…


And, Simmons WASN’T just being overdramatic. Grif HAD, actually, spit some “healthy crap”, or half-chewed cashews that Simmons had got him to try the other week, right onto the redhead’s lap.

It had taken Simmons completely by surprise.

When Grif had, finally, after much bribery, eaten a couple, and Simmons had seen that he seemed to think they tasted okay, he’d made the mistake of telling the other man that “You can make vegan cheese with cashews, and it’s actually not bad. You can even use them to make vegan pizza!”…

And, Grif had spit them at him in retaliation for his “blasphemy”. He’d bitched at Simmons for using the words vegan, and pizza in the same sentence, let alone…

Annnd… Simmons didn’t know what else he’d been going to say, because he had, um, kinda thrown a royal fucking fit, and uh, maybe, he’d tackled the annoying asshole down to the ground, chair ‘n all?

Donut had just laughed and laughed, while leaning on Lopez, who said something sarcastic in Spanish. No surprise there.

And, even, Sarge got involved. (Because, yes, the whole fucking team had happened to be in the kitchen at the same time, for once.)

Sarge had barked out, “Quit wraslin’, you two! Simmons, either strangle the useless soma bitch, or take it to the god dang bedroom already!”

Grif was laughing himself, by that point, -Laughing! While Simmons was pissed as fuck! The nerve of that asshole!-, and Simmons had been straddling the dumbass, trying to land a real solid punch, but dammit! Grif could be quick when it was in his own self-interest to be, and he wasn’t trying to hit Simmons back, but he kept blocking him, and catching his arm or fist with one hand… while trying to tickle him with the other! And, in front of the others! Even, back then! The son of a bitch was un-fricking-believable!

And, there was Sarge, actually, begrudgingly admitting that that was "actually a pretty decent strategy ta' use on someone like Simmons" (What the fuck was THAT supposed to mean!), but Grif was "still a useless Dirtbag, though...", and…

The whole thing had just been so fucking embarrassing. They all really had too much time on their hands…

So, you see, Simmons really DID have reason to worry that Grif would spit the cranberries at him...

But, when he peeped through his fingers , all Simmons saw was Grif chewing thoughtfully.

“You… uh, l-like them?,” Simmons asked, kinda awkwardly.

Grif swallowed, and shrugged. They WERE sweeter than he’d thought they’d be. But, he wasn’t gonna tell the Kissass that.

“Eh. I wouldn’t say I like them,” he replied, nonchalantly, “but they’re… I dunno…edible, I guess…”

“You DO like them. I KNEW you would if you just tried them.” Simmons smiled triumphantly, maybe a little patronizingly.

All discomfort swept away.

Straightening up, he put on his ‘Now, let me teach you something here’ voice (God, he loooved to be right.), “They’ve got way more sugar, and calories than one would assume, and they are ‘healthy’, but not as healthy as you’d think, so I figured that you of all people-”

And, like Grif had read his mind, and knew he’d been thinking back over their whole, “Tickle Nuts Fight”, as Donut called it… uggghhh… Grif got Simmons back, for his know-it-all, smart-assedness this time, as opposed to his manic maniac tackle n’ assault the previous time, by wrapping an arm firmly around him, -so he couldn’t escape his punishment-, and just outta the blue tickling Simmons mercilessly.

And, of course, Grif remembered the place right above the redhead’s right hipbone that he’d accidently found back then that had caused him to “win” the aforementioned “fight” as it made Simmons freaking shriek with laughter, and give up on attempting to punch the rude-ass, uncultured pig in the face in favor of jumping off him, and turning so red (While insisting Grif had started it!) he was surprised he didn’t pass out.

Simmons was trying to squirm away, but Grif had him in too tight a grip for him to escape as easily this time around. The poor redhead was laughing so hard, he was almost choking, and squeaking n’ squealing, and trying to shove Grif away with both hands. Pushing, and smacking at his chest…

Oh, man. The trials of being with someone that knew your weak spots…


Grif decided to have mercy on him. It was lucky for Simmons that he was too lazy to fight him for long. Cause Simmons did have some surprisingly wiry strength of his own, and when he got going, it could be hard to keep ahold of him.

The second Grif released him, Simmons fell straight back onto the bed, and tried to scramble away. But, Grif simply chuckled a little darkly at him, and followed him down.

Leaning partially overtop him, caging him in-between his arms, again. He rested his weight on his elbow, and forearm, his fingers sinking into Simmons’ hair.

He really did have a thing for his hair. He wanted to take him back home with him where he could hopefully get him to really grow it out. He wanted to see it halfway down his back. Blowing in the salty sea air…

Holy fuck. That was… whoa… He was losing it. Maybe this was what happened when you wanted someone so fucking bad, but had to hold back? They became like goddamn irresistible, and you started picturing them in sexy postcard settings, or some shit.

While, Grif thought about all this, he ran his fingers through Simmons’ hair. Carefully working out any tangles he’d accidently put in with all his continuous messing with the redhead’s shiny strands, and smoothing them back down.


Simmons, in the meantime, was still trying to get his breath back. He was sinking into the pleasure of being… would you call it groomed? He didn’t like that. It sounded like they were animals… Taken care of?

Simmons couldn’t figure it out, and whenever he couldn’t figure something out, he got antsy. So, to try to circumvent that, he decided to focus on how Grif had used secret prior knowledge to win their little… whatever it had been. That was... cheaty as fuck!

He half-gasped out (Cause, yes, he was still outta breath. It hadn’t been that long since Grif tickled the holy hell out of him, and… it didn’t help that his scalp was tingling in pleasure from Grif’s touch, either… Oh my God, it felt so fucking good...), “You- you son of a- that’s not fair, a-asshole. You’re such- such a ch-cheater…”

Grif’s fingers paused for a moment, and then, twitched slightly, and seemingly involuntarily, just as the left side of his face did.

“…Hey man,” Grif mumbled, slowly starting to continue pulling out the knot he’d been working on. He actually really looked kinda disturbed, “I might be a lot of things, but I’m not a fuckin' cheater.”

Simmons blinked in surprise at how serious Grif sounded.

He’d just been joking around… He hadn’t meant to make him upset, or something…

Shit…

Chapter Text

Richard half-reclined back on the bed. Holding himself up on his elbows, as he watched the smaller boy pace around the room.

The way he paced, and seemed to be having an internal argument with himself...


He reminded Richard a lot of a miniature him or Simmons at the moment...


Richard couldn’t fuckin’ believe that this had even happened. Or, was happening. Of course, he spent so damn much of his life, or half-life (Whatever the hell this was), secretly thinking exactly that so…

It wasn’t really a new feeling.


They’d just been chilling out, watching an old, -Really old-, Indiana Jones movie (The real shitty one.), and Simmons had passed out for the night.

Literally, in the middle of a sentence.

“NOT plausible, at all-,” Jimmy was insisting.

And, Simmons had cut him off (They always did that to each other.) to sleepily claim, “Yeah! You’re right… Well, this time, anyway... It is SO dumb… I… really think that… other-,” and, then, he trailed off...


And, fell silent.


Richard had been sorta absently watching/listening to the crappy movie in question, and not paying much attention to the two boys curled together under a blanket. They acted like a coupla cuddly sisters. All gossiping, and brushing and braiding each other’s hair n’ shit.

Arguing over different aspects of scientific theory...

That they were BOTH a little off on as the very word ‘theory’ when referring to science, in particular, had an entirely different connotation, and-

But, whatever. He didn’t want to get too deep into the nerd-fest.

He had to watch himself with being around these two all the damn time.


(Sometimes, very, very secretly, he wished they could get a fourth dude to hang out with that was… more chill, and less… fuckin’ goody-goody an’ all poindexter n’ crap.)


Oh, well. I, mean, sure. The kids could be kinda ridiculous, sometimes, but, eh, it was all innocent enough.

And, even, sorta cute (Or, disgustingly endearing?), in a weird way.

And, hell, it was nice to see the Kid be comfortable around someone else. He was, normally, so frickin’ uptight. Especially, for someone so damn young.

The truth was that… seeing the Kid fuckin’ relax once in a while? It really helped Richard chill out some, too.


But… still...


He had to sorta distance himself from it, though, cause, well… he didn’t know… just cause.

So girly. And, they were just kids, and… whatever…

Regardless, he liked it here at Jimmy’s house. It really was relaxing.

And, fuck, Simmons had been right. Richard had to admit it.

It was goddamn nice to get to actually not have to hide from someone.

To be able to be himself.

That shit’s priceless, man.


Although...


Sometimes, the little dark-haired pixie princess gave him the strangest looks. Like he wanted to say something, but couldn’t quite figure out how to put it into words…

Huh…

And, a few of the times here or there when he and Jimmy had been alone, rather due to Simmons falling asleep, or having an issue, and needing to be put to sleep…

The smaller boy had said some odd things. Like: “Richard, I- I’m glad you’re okay. I thought- I thought… never mind.” Or: “How do you feel? Do you, um, feel different? You- you seem more calm… Then, you were right after it happened, anyway…Richard? Do you remember? That night? Are you really okay, because I saw- I saw-”

Strange kid.

Well, whatever. Kids were weird. That was just a known fact.

A fact that Richard was distracted from musing over when Simmons fell silent.


And, Richard couldn’t help himself.

He turned toward a curious Jimmy, snickering, and grinning a little conspiratorially at the Kid’s expense, “He’s out, dude.”

And, one second Richard and Jimmy were cracking up at what a light-weight Simmons always was, -he never made it through a movie night without passing out-, and the next…

Jimmy had leaned over, and shyly, and more than a little awkwardly (He’d obviously never done this before.)...


He’d kissed him.


And, before Richard could register the implications, the possible consequences, or-or anything else, his hand was slipping into Jimmy’s long black hair… Fuck. It’d been so long since he’d touched someone… kissed someone… he was turning his dark head for a better angle… Even he could get lonely… His other hand was cupping his soft, pale cheek… Thumb ghosting over the boy’s cheekbone… Boy… He’d never done this with a boy… Guiding the smaller boy… Younger?... No… No… into a deeper, more comfortable kiss…

But, when Jimmy’s hand reached up to touch his cheek, to mirror his action, and he whispered, “Richard…” against his lips…

He came crashing back to reality. Or, whatever this fucked up version of reality was that he lived in anymore.

He jerked back. Forcing himself to ignore the little whine that escaped the pretty boy’s pretty, pink lips...


Oh, fuck. Don’t. Don’t think like that.


“Jimmy, no. It’s- We- This is- We can’t.”

Shit. He was stumbling over his words. Sounding almost like Simmons, for Christ’s sake!

Jimmy cocked his head at him, “Because of the Chur-“

“What? NO. Not because of them. Since when do I give a fuck what they think? No, man, it’s, uh… ya know…”

“Cause we’re both boy-”

“NO, dumbass! Cause, I’m too ol- You’re too- You know I’m not Simmons, right? Were you trying to kiss Sim-“

Jimmy frowned, pushing Richard further away from him so he could shove the blanket off them both, and climb right off the bed.


And, that’s when he’d started to pace.


Eventually, as if he hadn’t been completely silently pacing the room fighting some inner conflict for the past couple of minutes, he spoke.

“NO! That’d be so weird. We’ve been friends forever… I… listen, I know it’s you, Richard. I know that. Maybe, more than you do……”

That last was nearly inaudible.

Richard’s brows furrowed in confusion, but he chose to ignore it in favor of the current issue at hand.

“Look, man,” Richard sounded as uncomfortable as he felt, “I shouldn’t have… kissed you back like that. Or… at all. That was, uh- that was messed up of me. I mean, shit, dude, that was so fuckin’ wrong, it’s not even funny. You’re jus' a kid…”

“A KID! I’m almost a year older!,” Jimmy squealed indignantly, spinning back toward him, long raven hair flying out behind him.

“Then Simmons, you idiot!,” Richard retorted angrily.

And, Jimmy paused. His whole body going completely still. Then, very slowly he asked, “Wait. So, you… Do you remem-… How old do you think you are?”

Richard’s mouth opened, then, snapped shut. His eyes slid away, as he said, his voice incredibly grumbly, and not remotely sounding like Simmons… But still, the tone, the cadence sounding so very, very… familiar, “Shut up. I dunno. None of your damn business- Ah, fuck.”

And, Jimmy was coming purposefully back over to him, climbing back onto the bed. Climbing up his body. Practically, stalking him like a wild little pussycat.


And, hands on Richard’s chest, balancing himself above, and leaning over top him, with his dark raven hair curtaining his face, Jimmy spoke to him in the hushed tones of confession, “I always liked you, Richard. For so, so long. But, you never really noticed me before… I mean, but, of course, you wouldn’t have. I was too young. I was just Richie’s, er, I mean, Simmons’ -Still hard to get used to that- uh, just his best friend. But, there was that one time… A coupla’ years ago… before… And, I know it was just cause I’m best friends with Simmons, but… Do you… Do you remember, at all? That time I was coming over to see Richie… We- we all always called him Richie before… before… Anyway… and that older kid was riding his bike past your guys’ house, and he saw me in your front yard? And, he dropped his bike, and started yelling at me, and coming-coming toward me… He said he was gonna kick my- uh, beat me up for ‘trying to look like a pretty girl’. When all I was doing was being ME! I mean, my-my hair was down but… Anyway, you were actually home for once, and you came out of the house, and- and you saved me from him. You yelled at him, like, “Hey, f-…’…Uh… f-word-face, what the h-e- double hockey sticks are you doing?-”

Richard had been looking a little nervous, and kinda sick, eyes too wide and slightly glassy, as Jimmy said things he couldn’t bear to- things he simply didn’t understand. But, that… The idea of him ever saying that… He snorted loudly, and chuckled, his hands, unconsciously, coming to rest atop Jimmy’s slender ones that still pressed down onto his chest, Thumbs, reflexively, sliding underneath, and brushing so softly against the smaller boy’s palms, causing him to shiver. “Gimme a break, man. ‘F-word face’? ‘What the h-e- double-’ *Snort* Ah, man. Classic Jimmy. You’re a fuckin’ riot, dude.”

Jimmy just smiled slightly down at him, and quietly continued, “Of course, you didn’t say that. YOU actually said the bad words. You never got in trouble for that. Like ever… Anyway… so, you yelled at him, and then, you came over, and- and pulled me back by you, and you asked me if I was okay… Um, and, I, uh, I don’t wanna admit it, but- but I… I, mighta, um, mighta… I hid behind you like a total wimp!”

“Well, at least, THAT part I can believe,” Richard snickered.

Jimmy flushed, but forced himself to continue, “You were- were nice about it, though. You just told me to go into your guys’ house, and- and I went but… but I didn’t listen to you, and I waited by the porch swing instead of going inside. I don’t know why I did that, but… And, I heard you telling that guy, -almost nicely, well, nicely for YOU, like- like, maybe, you thought he just hadn’t known-, you told him that I was ‘the kid’s best friend’, so I was under your ‘families protection’, but the guy… he sounded all rude, and like he didn’t believe you… he said he’d never heard anything about that, no one had told him, and then- and then-

Jimmy paused. Looking down at him. Touching his face… It’d taken him the past almost two and a half years (Yes. Two and a half years. Although, Simmons had just told him less than six months ago…) to get comfortable with the idea that Richard didn’t physically look like Richard, anymore. Not just the size or age difference, but… the eye color, the hair…

Their facial structure, although Richard had always been considered more “boyishly” attractive, and less “girlishly pretty”, had always been strikingly similar, though.

So that helped.


As Jimmy looked down at him, seeming to see into his very soul (Which Richard SO didn’t quite believe in.), it was Richard who was now very still. He hardly blinked. Hardly breathed. He simply stared up into Jimmy’s dark eyes like a deer caught in the headlights. Because, it- it sounded so… so familiar, but he didn’t- he couldn’t actually remember...


After swallowing a little nervously, the dark-haired boy went on, “Then, you hit him real-really hard a- a couple times. One second you were talking to him all calm, and the next he was on the ground… And, you said, in that spooky kill-killer voice you used to do, sometimes, ‘Yeah? Well, then, this is me telling you, bi-’ A-And, then, you called him a bad word, and told him to… to f off, except, you know you, and your mouth. Of course, you said ALL the bad words. And, when you came back to the house, and saw me on the porch… You, like, groaned, but, then, grinned at me like a scary wolf or something, and you were- you were- so TALL, and-and so handsome, and you said, ‘Ah, man, you saw that?... Don’t tell Richie, alright? Promise? I don’t want him worrying about this stuff. He’s just a kid.’ And, I couldn’t- suddenly, I couldn’t talk to you. You totally rescued me, but I was too shy! So, I nodded like an idiot, and you… you ruffled my hair, and opened the door all wide, and said, ‘Cool, kid. It’ll be our little secret… Now, you comin’ in, or what?

“And, Richard, I kept my promise. I didn’t- I didn’t tell Richie about it. Maybe, you just figured I did, I don’t know… We- you and me, didn’t really talk, again, until… Well, until… when you called me that night… when it happened… and we were trying to- to find him… and it was so scary… even before he jumped in… or fell in… I don’t know why… It really seemed like- like he was coming down…

Jimmy looked lost in memory. His voice had gotten so low. Breathless and distressed. He didn’t even seem to realize he was speaking aloud, anymore. Or, that Richard, gone sickly, pasty pale, was shaking underneath him.

“It was so cold that night…,” the smaller boy quietly continued, “you gave me your jacket… But, you were telling me I shouldn’t have come out… you just wanted to check if he was with me, but I… I told you, then, I’d look for him myself, so you- you let me go… go with you…”

Jimmy slipped the hand that had been softly caressing Richard's cheek back down his jaw, his neck, and down to rest back onto his chest. To, once again, slip underneath one of Richard's slightly trembling hands. And, Richard pressed Jimmy's always smaller palms and fingers more, then more, firmly against him. As if he wanted to fuse them together, somehow. Or, maybe... at a time like this... with Simmons sound asleep, and having to always be safeguarded against... everything... to, finally, truly feel like he wasn't alone in all this...

And, eyes unfocused and dazed, Richard found himself inexplicably murmuring under his breath, “…have ta' go in-… If I hit the rocks, I can’t do shit-

Jimmy’s own eyes closed, and he nodded. Yes. Yes…

He sunk down.

Laid his head down onto Richard’s chest.

Feeling their joined hands beneath his cheek…


✣✣✣✣✣✣


Voices in Richard’s head.

So clear. So recognizable.

While everything else was… so, so very blurry. Indistinct. Like someone hearing the soundtrack of a movie so clearly, but being without their prescription lenses. (But, then, having these unexplainable strange moments, quick instances, of absolute visual clarity… As if the lenses were momentarily put back on… only to be stolen away, again.)

Left with only that and their own thoughts to decipher what the fuck was going on…

Or, like- like (Oh god- Oh god- NoNoNo-), instead of seeing it as a movie… seeing it all through- through a film of… Of water… Cold, cold water

All at once, Richard can hear the chiming, the ringing through of a link.

And, then, he hears…

Himself. His own thoughts. But, in his- in HIS voice…


C’mon, c’mon… Answer… Answer, dammit!


“H-Hello?”


That’s Jimmy. Jesus, that’s Jimmy’s voice. Sounding a little younger. A little squeakier, but…

All Richard can think is, ‘Oh, god, if there is a god. I know, I say there’s not, but, please, I can’t- I can’t go through this… Not again.’

Sadly, it won’t be the last time he thinks something along those lines.

But, no celestial being, that he can’t bring himself to believe in after all he’s seen and been through, answers him, or grants him any form of mercy or respite.

So, he lays there. Trapped in so many ways. In the skin he wears. In this memory that has come to haunt him.

All he can do, as his own blocks betray him, and open windows into places that should have been long condemned, is hold tighter onto Jimmy’s hands, and try to, -mentally, at least-, hide under the slight weight of the boy atop him. As though he were a security blanket.

A security blanket that knows him, yes. But, also, knows his deepest, darkest secrets.

Not very fair…

But, then, since when has either of the Simmons boy’s lives ever been fair?

A frightening, but, possibly, preferable thought. Perhaps, a safer mental path to traverse-

But, as much as he’d like to contemplate, to meander, to wade endlessly, in these much less turbulent waters…

He sinks.

Into the past. Into the one memory that, at this point, apart from what followed directly after, is the one he hides from the Kid, and from himself, more than any other…


Compound Grounds/Simmons Residence: 2 ½ Years Prior

 

C’mon, c’mon… Answer… Answer, dammit!


“H-Hello?”


Finally- Took the kid long enough to pick up-


“Hey, Jimmy? It’s Richard. Sorry ta' wake you, kid. Richie’s with you, right?”

“Huh?,” he yawns, still sounding half-asleep, “With me? No. It’s a school night. Why- Wait. Isn’t he in bed?”

Fuck. No, I, uh… I came back late tonight, an' he’s not here… Shit!...”


Fuck. Fuck! Don’t know where to look. Don’t know where the hell to look-


“Richard? Where’s Richie’s mother, and, uh… your guys’ father-”

“Old man’s still outta town, an' surprise, surprise! The bitch’s tranq-ed outta her mind… And… there’s pills all over… Look, Jimmy, you gotta level with me, kid. It’s important… -Can’t believe I’m frickin’ asking this-, Has Richie been takin' his mom’s meds?”

“…Um… N-No?,” the boy sounds unsure… then insists, “No!”


Ohhh, you little bastard.


“Don’t you fuck with me right now, dammit! I know shit gets jacked when I’m not here. And… look, I get that you wanna be loyal n’ that’s cool, but now’s not the time!”

“Well, I… uh…”

“Jimmy, listen, I know you’re a kid, too, but you’re fuckin’ older than him. And, this is ME, dammit. I’m not gonna get him into any trouble. I’m not one of them. I know it seems like- Don’t I always try to watch out for you guys whenever I can? Now, I need you to tell me the truth. Richie’s missing, Jimmy. It’s the middle of the damn night, and there’s tranqs all over his frickin’ bathroom floor! So, you fuckin’ TELL ME-”

“Okay, okay!, Quit swearing at me!...,” the boy, finally, gives in, albeit reluctantly, and mumbles, “Er, uhm… well, I thought it was just that one time… Uh, and the other time…”

“Goddammit! He's just a little kid!... That fuckin’…


That’s it. Where is she, now? Where is that heartless-

THERE. Passed out, again. On the couch, now. Can’t be bothered to look for her own kid-


“HEY, BITCH!”


*SLAP*


“ *Gasp* Oh geez. Richard, don’t,” Jimmy gasps so loudly it’s surprising that he didn’t pass out, “…Did you just smack Richie’s mom? Just… Just be careful! Don’t, uh, you know, get too… too, um… how you get…”

“Shut up, kid. I’m busy...,” Shushing the boy up, so he can focus on this piece of fucking filth… also known as Richie’s mother, “You even awake, you stupid cunt? WHERE IS HE?! Your kid’s missing, and you’re stoned off your ass?! Nice. Real goddamn NICE. You couldn’t lock up your shit?! What? You can lock up your goddamn jewelry, but not your drugs? You WANT something to happen to the Kid? Fuckin’ trashy BITCH!”

“Richard?,” Jimmy asks tentatively, “Will you listen-”

“I said to Shut. Up. Jimmy! I’m talkin’ to the cunt here!- You hear that? You even listenin' to me, bitch? You better PRAY ta' your clay gods that nothing’s happened ta' the Kid, or you’re DEAD, rich bitch- Or, should I say Rich’s Bitch? And, speakin' of him, he’s next! What’d he do? Call the Kid from the conference jus' to tell him he’s fuckin’ worthless?!-”


*Indistinct Mumbles* *Light Snore*

Are you SHITTING me, right now?


“Oh, yeah. Jus' go on back to sleep, you useless sheep. That’s what you’re best at. Mother of the FUCKIN’ year here. I'm so done with this crap-”


Walk away. Have to physically turn, and walk away before he actually strangles her.


“When I find him, I’m taking him back home with me! My mother might not be fuckin' perfect, but she would never DREAM of pullin' this shit!”


*SLAM*


“Um, Richard…. Richard.”

“WHAT?!,” Literally, yelling like a complete asshole into Jimmy’s ear.

“Don’t yell at me!!!,” the boy yelps angrily, but, then, he’s gasping nervously, again, “Oh, shoot! Gotta be quiet so I don’t wake up my parents… Okay, they’re still sleeping. Whew. Listen, I think he might be by the water? Around the dock or the pier? He likes to go there, and, ya know… think about… stuff. He’s been doing that a lot lately…

“Jesus, Jimmy! Why the hell didn’t you say so earlier?!”

“I tried!,” he squeaks.

“Eugh. Whatever. And, ‘think about stuff’? At his age? Look, I know you two have ‘high IQ’s’, too, an’ all that crap, but gimme a freakin' break. I didn’t do that shit at that age…”

“Yeah? Well, you know it was very different for you… *Sigh*… Are you going to the water?”

“Of course I am. I’m almost there. I don’t even know why I’m still talkin’ to you, right now. Dude, I gotta go-"

“Wait!,” Jimmy cries out as quietly as possible, “Don’t start yelling for him, or something! Not ‘til you’re by the water. If someone in the neighborhood hears and tells your father about this, he’ll be in big trouble…”


Fuck that.


“In trouble for what? I’m not gonna let that happen. The old man listens to me… sometimes…”


He fuckin’ ought to after all I do…


“But, Richard, you’re not always here. He’d just punish him when you’re gone, again.”


…The worst part is? They both know that’s absolutely true.


“… Fuck.

“…I know…,” Jimmy sighs sadly, but continues with clear determination, “It’s okay. I’ll help find him. I’m on my way-”

“What? Hell, no!,” Trying (And, probably, failing.) to not use his ‘I’m ‘bout ta’ slap a bitch’ voice, “Listen, Jimmy, I’m already headed over there, alright? I’ll find him. You turn your ass around, an' go back to bed… I don’t need some freaking kid slowing me- Wait… Is that… Are you fuckin' with me, right now? Is that you? In your pajamas? You don’t even have a jacket on, you little idiot! Get the hell over here before someone sees you wandering the damn streets in the middle of the night, and reports seeing fuckin' fairies, again-”


Although, shit. That was pretty goddamn funny.


“Okay, okay! And, hey! That wasn’t just me! Richie was there, too! An’ Miss Williams is very old-”

“Yeah, well, the frickin’ flower crowns didn’t help, princess,” Can’t help but snicker at such a memory. These damn kids… “You dudes should jus' be glad it was me that got the message- Whatever. That doesn’t matter, right now. Now, I TOLD you to go home an’- Well, hang up your damn link, you little nut! We’re standing right next to each other. An’ what do you think you’re even doing? You’re not going with me. Or, chasing after me. Look at you. You can’t keep up. You’re fuckin’ tiny.”

“And, you’re f- flippin’ rude!,” the offended dark-haired boy complains, glaring up at him.

“Yeah, whatever. You shouldn’t have come out. I just wanted to check if he was with you. I told you I’d look for him myself… Dammit. Great. Jus' great. And, now, you’re shaking. You’re freezing!”


The wind might’ve died down for the night, but it’s still freaking COLD, and the Kid’s best friend is dressed only in purple cotton sleep pants, and a black t-shirt. Kinda surprised that, in his rush, he even bothered to remember to slip on some shoes. That aren’t just slippers, anyway.

Bunny slippers.

After all, isn’t this the kid that got Richie those giant-eared bunny slippers as a gag gift for one of his Christmas presents last year? And, when Richie complained that they were “for girls”, the dark-haired boy giggled, -like a total girl-, and said, “Why should they get to have all the fun?”

Heh… But, there’s no time to think about silly shit and better times, right now. Gotta find Richie, and-


His friend’s trembling. Shaking like a little leaf.

Great.


“Oh my god, you freakin’ kids are gonna be the fuckin’ death a’ me… I’m too young for all this damn stress… Here. Take my jacket…”


Slipping off the soft black leather, and draping it over the dark-haired boy’s narrow shivering shoulders.

This boy… this child looks up. A undecipherable look crossing his face. Whatever it was, it doesn’t fit the features of one so young.

Then, it’s gone. And, only worry remains.

Ah, man. These weird kids.


“Now, go on home. And, don’t trip in that thing. It’s huge on you, kid-”

“Um… y-yeah…,” the smaller boy murmurs obediently, but, then, he shakes himself, and sounds incredibly frustrated, “Wait, NO! I’ll -I’ll just go look for him myself, then! He’s my best friend, you know, and, now, I’m really worried!”

“I thought you said he’s been doing this lately, though-”

“Yeah, with ME, duh. Not alone.”


…Fuck… Yeah, that’s… that’s not really the same…


“…Shit… Alright. But, I can’t wait for you. You’ll have to catch up.”

“Okay. Just go!”

......

Where the hell is he? Where the hell could the Kid be?


*Pant* *Pant* “Did you- Did you find him? Ah! Richard, NO! Don’t hit me!”


Ho-ly Shit. Almost slugged the boy right in the face. Mother Fucker.


“Fuck! Sorry, sorry. Christ, kid! Watch it, already. You can’t sneak up on me like that!,” Nerves cause his voice to come out much sharper than intended, “And, no, I didn’t FIND him. Does it LOOK like I found him? Why you gotta ask such dumb shit? Seriously-”

“Oh, be quiet. You’re SUCH a huge jer- Oh my God-”

“Lord’s name in vain, huh? Impressive.”


There may, yet, be hope for this new ass kissing generation-


“Richard,” Jimmy, cutting off his thoughts, whispers, “I-I see him-”


Azure eyes following the boy’s line of sight… Oh my god. Oh my fucking GOD-

Feeling small fingers. A shockingly vise-like grip around his wrist.


“Don’t,” Though, spoken so softly, and out of such a small boy, it was unequivocally a command, “Don’t yell. Don’t scare him. He could fall.”


And, he sure as hell could. Cause there’s Richie. There’s the Kid. Walking back and forth on top of the pier’s old partially rotting high railing. Periodically, looking down and leaning slightly over. So shiny, deep red hair loose, and glinting in the moonlight as he gazes into the water far below.

Fear. Overtaking every thought. Every shortened, shaky breath.

-This can’t be happening- This can’t be happening- This can’t be-

Walking so carefully down to the end of the pier, and up behind the Kid. (At least, the lights are working out here. Why didn’t they notice him sooner?) The dark-haired boy’s tight grip the only thing that keeps some semblance of planning and forethought in the mix, The only thing that keeps the fear from running rampant. That keeps him from his instinctual, -and, very likely, disastrous and catastrophic -, panicked rushed movements forward..

A surprising steady squeeze to the wrist, and Jimmy is whispering-


“Just… let me talk to him first. I’ve been here with him at night before. It won’t be so… surprising… to hear me here…”


Then, sounding shockingly calm, and friendly- Before, the panic just slightly seeps out... The boy keeps it together so well, considering…


“Richie? Hi- Whoa- Whoa! Be careful!”


Holy FUCK! He almost fell. He almost fell. He almost- He almost-


“Jimmy? Oh, hi. What’s up?,” the Kid regains his balance right as his so bright green eyes alight and zero in on his dark-haired friend. And. he smiles. All chill and friendly. As if this is all so totally freaking normal. Just another ‘Day in the Life’ for one of the Simmons boys! “Heh. You see that? I almost fell. SPLAT. Right on the r-au-ocks. Heehee. Funny, huh? Or, wait! No!,” A thoughtful frown, “That’d make such a mess, huh? Hmmm…”

“Richie-,” Looking much too pale and sick, the smaller boy actually even sounds nauseous. (CAN someone “sound” nauseous? Apparently so.) But, still, his neck cranes back in order to see the Kid, and attempting to match Richie’s normal everyday tone of voice, he repeats, “Richie-”.

“Oh! And, Jimmy, guess what?,” Richie cuts him off, as per usual, exclaiming excitedly, “You remember that sea dragon you made outta that pine block? I coulda swore I saw it down in the water- HA! I mean- I mean, not the wood one! Like a REAL one. *Snort* I feel kinda funny…”


…Stepping forward. Forcing himself to be So. Careful. So. Slow. This all feels surreal… Richie still doesn’t notice him. Have to get him down. Gotta sound chill. Relaxed. Like everything’s fine. Like the rocks and the freezing water aren’t awaiting the Kid down below-

No!

Calm. Be Calm…


“Kid-” Speaking lowly. Cautiously.

“Richard! Hi!,” Richie, -eyes so brilliant, but frighteningly glassy-, looks over, and he sounds so happy to see him, “Did you come to see the sea dragon, too?”…

“No. I came ta' see you. Now, don’t move, Kid. You’re so fuckin’ stoned. Do you remember how many pills you took?-” Son of a bitch! Why did he ask that NOW of all times? He’s a complete jackass! The Kid’s expression promptly changes, and he has to backtrack. Has to try to sound soothing, “Hey, hey, don’t get that look. Let’s just forget about that, right now-”

“You’re- You’re mad-You’re mad!,” his red-headed brother stammers, instantly, trembling and shuffling about on the too thin railing-


Can actually FEEL the smaller boy’s dark eyes looking fearfully, and pleadingly, at him. Silently begging him to Fix. This.

FuckFuckFuck- Okay. Gotta calm the fuck down. Chill. Just chill…


“Look at me,” he hears himself tell Richie, “I’m not mad at you. Not you. Never you. Who’s my favorite little dude, huh?”

“Me!,” the boy in question automatically declares. He knows that. Richard’s taken on their father enough times to get him out of trouble for him to know that very definitively.

“That’s right,” Attempting to sound pacifying even as so slowly edging closer…, “Now, stay still. I’m jus' gonna get you down-”


But, as life can never be that fucking easy, the little stoned-off-his-ass boy decides he DOESN’T like that plan.


“Nu-uh. Don’t. Stop. Stop! I don’t wanna get down,” Richie insists, then, sounds dreamy n’ sad- Then, furious. All in a frighteningly short span of time. He’s so goddamn high… And, this, apparently, isn’t even the first time… His mother should be in fucking jail… Oh, what sins a little green can hide…, “Look, I’m so tall up here,” Richie is continuing, “I’m taller than you, Richard. So, I’m better than you. At- At least, at something, right? At least, one thing- No! No! Get back! Get BACK!”

“Richard, stop!,” Jimmy snatches at him, “He’s gonna fall!”

“Jimmy, be quiet…,” Grimacing, but freezing in place, regardless. The Kid really did almost fall, again, after all, “Okay, look, Richie. I’m just standing here. We’re just talking, right? Why are you really up there, anyway?”

“Ummm… I dunno…,” he bites anxiously at his lower lip, “I-I don’t have to say... Do- Do I?”

“Richie, c’mon-”

“No! You’re not the boss of me! Maybe, you’re better than me, but you’re not the boss of me! And, and I- and, I,” He’s squeaking angrily, only to have a stray tear fall- And, now, he sniffles, “… I’m… I’m kinda sad? I think?… I’m so sad… Ya know? But, that’s alright. Can’t tell anyone. ‘Just a burden’, anyway… ‘Disappointment’… Blah, blah… ‘Never be as good as your brother’- Blah…”


Jesus CHRIST. What is wrong with the old man? Why can’t he just leave Richie alone? Didn’t Richard, himself, do enough fucked up shit to keep him happy? To keep him off the Kid’s back…


Son of a bitch… Richie, listen ta' me. The old man’s a fuckin’ drunk, and an idiot. You’re already better than me in every way that counts. Fuck him. You understand me? Fuck him and fuck your damn mom, too. Fuck them BOTH.”

“…I’m not... sure…”

“I mean it. In the long run, they’re not gonna matter, Kid. I love you, your best friend loves you- We won’t need them forever, so They. Don’t. Matter. Got it? Now, can you get down on your own, or are you gonna let me get you-?”

“Hmmm… I guess-,” Richie sounds so thoughtful, but, then, he seems to think he sees something in the water far below that distracts him, again, and he’s leaning-, “Hey, did you see that?! I’m serious. There’s something in the water! It’s so WEIRD. Jimmy, come up here and look.”


Can’t grab the smaller kid’s, who released him earlier, arm fast enough. Probably, too hard, but fuck it. NOT gonna have two of them up there.


“Don’t even THINK about it,” Again, from another time, another place, he hears himself (Himself. That is HIM.) as clear as can be. Growling out the words so aggressively, so threateningly that if this kid didn’t already know that he was, through his connection to Richie, one of the very few people in possibly the entire world that Richard could never really be able to physically hurt… well, fuck, he’d probably be crying like a little girl.

“I-I wasn’t!-“ Jimmy scowls up at him, a nearly Richie-worthy scowl (The Kid’s always been a scowler.), then, seeming to dismiss him and his ‘over-blown violent tendencies’ as he’ll come to call them, he turns to the Kid, and asks, “Richie? Hey, Richie? I have a better idea, ‘k? Aren’t you hungry? I’m super hungry. Richard could make us those ice cream sundaes we aren’t supposed to have. Ya know, that he makes us when we’re all at the house alone, sometimes?… And, we could watch a movie… Whichever one you want-”

Richie squints suspiciously, “But… On a school night?... Well, maybe… Richard, too? All three of us?”


Okay. Fine. We’ll play it this way. Maybe this is better.


“Sure, Kid,” Voice full of promises. Of reassurances. Anything. Whatever it takes, “Where else would I rather be?”


Then, the Kid, chill as can be, pops out with a fuckin’ doozy.


“Mmm… I dunno. Maybe, making babies with your really mean girlfriend?”


Wha- What the- Holy- SO close to sputtering like the Kid, while the dark-haired boy glances up at him outta the corner of his eye. Do they even really know what that means? How the FUCK do they-

But, then, Richie’s words, ALL of them really hit.

And, the RAGE starts to peek above the surface.


But, still, attempting to hide it, and question shortly, “Was she mean to you, Richie?”

“It doesn’t matter…,” he murmurs, bowing his head. Scuffing his slippered toe (No, not the giant-eared tripping hazardous bunny slippers, thank fuck.) against the railing…

“It DOES matter. You’re more important to me than some girl- But, I’ll deal with it later.”

Jimmy leans close, and whispers, “She, um, told both of us we ‘should watch out’, cause we looked 'like a coupla those types of boys’, an’ we 'should, at least, try ta’ act more like actual boys, instead of girly boys so people don’t get the wrong impression’ and… you know… uh, Richie was… upset… .”


What the fuck… Dammit! …Was just… with that bitch-


“Jimmy!” Richie, throwing one of his typical mini-fits, stamps his foot down onto the railing, causing tiny splinters, and just the littlest bitsy slivers of wood, to poof out into the air between the three of them, …It scares Richard and Jimmy half to death, “D-Don’t- don’t tell him about that!,” he sputters indignantly.

When they see the wood wobble only so slightly, then stabilize, Jimmy softly assures, “Richie, it’s okay. If it’s part of why you’re up there, of why you don’t wanna come down, he needs to know. And, see, I told you he wouldn’t be mad at us about anything she said. And, he’s not. Right, Richard?”

The boy’s tone reminds him to keep it cool. Richie, in his current state, could take any sign of anger as being directed toward him personally, “Hell, no. Why would I be pissed at you guys? That doesn’t make any sense. Now, c’mon, buddy. C’mon, now. You know I love you, Kid. Lemme help you, okay? Alright?”

“...Um, well, I… But, what about if, uh… I-I guess… O-okay… I’m sorry, I… I’m really sorry. A-Am I-,” The Kid’s voice keeps faltering, “Am I in really big trouble? I don’t want to be- Richard, I- I’m-I’m scared…”

“Shhh…,” Shushing him. Comforting, and promising him, “You didn’t do anything wrong, Richie. You’re alright. I’ll take care of it. No matter what, I’ll take care of you, alright? I didn’t know it was really this bad. I won’t let anything else bad happen, okay? I won’t let anyone hurt you. No matter what I have to do. Jus' take my hands. C’mon, Kid. That’s it. Let’s go home, now-”


An instant realization. Like a slap across the face. Shouldn’t have said anything about going “home”. Shouldn’t have said that. Shouldn’t have said that!


The Kid’s bright green eyes abruptly go so cold and, then, completely blank. He speaks like a little robot. Like he’s been told, programmed, to say what comes out of his mouth next, “Go out. Into the water. And, Don’t. Come. Back.”


And, he- the Kid, - this precious, too obedient, always hungry for acceptance, sweet Kid-, who had been starting to slowly reach for him… Who was so, so close to safety... Almost, safe in the arms of one who DOES love him… He steps back-

Into empty space-

Plummets.

Instantly, jumping forward. Trying to grab him. Grabbing at empty air. Empty air instead of a beloved little brother.

Shock. Such complete, and utter, SHOCK. Because, he was just THERE.

And, now. Now, he’s not.

Didn’t even- Didn’t even make much of a splash-

Wailing. Wailing from a dark-haired boy too young, despite IQ’s, and life experiences, and all that bullshit… too young to see, to be involved in any of this.


“No! NoNoNoNO!!! He was- He was gonna- He was- Did he- Did he hit the rocks?! Maybe- Maybe, he didn’t- Is he- could he be- Just- just down in the- in the wa-”


Suddenly, everything is so crystal clear. Viciously, kicking, and busting off chunks of the offending rotten wood. Strengthened by adrenaline and desperation.


NotHimNotHimNotRichieNOTRICHIE.

Have to- Have to-


“RICHARD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!,” Jimmy shrieks. He sounds like he thinks Richard’s lost his mind, “This isn’t the time for one of your fits!”

“No- I have ta' go in- I have- I gotta have space ta' jump out far. If I hit the rocks, I can’t do shit- Fuck- Fuck! Hurry- Hurry-”


And, then, small hands are helping him. Pulling away whatever rotten wood he can- There’s no time- no time- The boy is as heedless as he is of the splinters, the blood seeping out and dripping onto the sharp pieces of broken wood piercing into their skin-

Why?! Why hadn’t anyone fixed the railing, yet?! If it hadn’t been so unsturdy, he wouldn’t have been so freaked about just rushing forward and grabbing Richie without having him fall-

Shoulda chanced it. Shoulda just chanced it. Stupid! Stupid!

Jimmy’s saying something. Trying to, somehow, be the clear-thinking, rational one in this situation.

Fuckin’ nerd kids. No wonder him and Richie are best-


“-chard! Are you listening? I said you have to start hyperventilating. Calmly. So you can hold your breath longer. The water’s pretty deep there, but not that bad-”

“Right. Right. I forgot… Jimmy, you have ta' call for help. An ambulance, or something, alright? NOT anyone from the Church. Not at first. You know what they’ll do., -I’m not lettin' them just write him off-, Tell them they might have trouble gettin' into the compound, so they have to come around from the water. It’ll be okay. I’ll get him. I promise-”


Straightening up. Touching the top of Jimmy’s dark head. To give a quick singular moment, an instant, of… comfort? Or, maybe… to gain some courage?

Richie’s best friend looks up. His nearly liquid black eyes meeting Richard’s azure blue. The link casts a soft glow over Jimmy’s face. (Only now noticing how dark it seems out despite how full the moon is.) His dark eyes are wide with such fear. But, also, unmistakably filled with-

With trust.

With faith. Absolute faith in him. That, somehow, he can do what seems like the impossible.

And, that’s what’s needed. To push any doubts aside, and just Do. It.

And, go over. Go after the Kid to the sound of Jimmy, finally, finally, it seems, reaching someone on the link…

And, Jesus.

The water’s so cold.

❈ ❈ ❈ ❈ ❈ ❈ ❈ ❈


“Richard? Richard!,” Jimmy sounded worried. He had sat up, and still straddling him, was continuously shaking him.

Not too hard, though.

As though, he knew that that would NOT be a good idea.

Richard blinked up at him.

Confused. Lost.


Hearing… Hearing that steady, distant, yet, continuous beeping, again. That strange sound that he only rarely heard, but that pulled, pulled at him.


“Did you remember something? Richard? You were quiet for so long…”

“Mmm… Remember?…,” he muttered absently, “No… No…”

It’s fading into the background, again. And, Richard gladly helps it do so. Pushing it, forcing it away.

Cause it’s not real. It’s not real. He’s not- He doesn’t believe in any of that-

“Cause I still have your jacket, Richard… And- And, it’s still huge on me, but- I… Richard, I had to hide it, cause one time, last month, when you weren’t with us and we were home alone, Simmons accidently saw it when he was looking for our backgammon board, and he started screaming, and crying, ‘It’s my fault, it’s my fault’, and I know when you… you know… did that thing you do? Like came out, and made him go… to sleep? I know I told you, I didn’t know- didn’t know why he did that?… Why he freaked out… but- I’m sorry I lied! I was… I was scared! I slammed the closet closed to hide it while he was freaking out, and- and I didn’t know how you would… I mean, if he freaked out so bad, what would… what would you do?… But, do you want to see it, now… though?… Maybe, it’ll help you remember-”

Richard's hands were, instantly, squeezing Jimmy’s. Harshly. Warningly. But, he couldn’t- couldn’t find the words. Unable to speak...


It. Wasn’t. Real.


The other boy nearly panted in pain as the bones in his smaller hands rubbed against each other, “N-Never mind! I- I, um, forget I said that. Richard- Richard, please-”

Richard’s grip eased. He seemed, currently, completely unaware of what he’d even done.

And, Jimmy sighed shakily. He was silent for a long, long moment. Then, he mumbled, “I’m… I’m sorry. Maybe, I shouldn’t keep trying to… It all seems so long ago, anyway… Like it was all some little kid’s bad dream… I guess I really WAS just a kid, back then, but-”

Richard finally found his voice, again, only to retort, “Yeah? Well, goddamn newsflash! You’re STILL a fuckin' kid, Jimmy! THAT hasn’t really changed that much.”

He wasn’t even sure what he was saying. It was like the words were just coming out of him.

“I’m not a KID kid, anymore, Richard. I’m practically a ‘teenager’, now, whatever that means. And, after what we all went through… And, hey! I’m almost a year older than Simmons is, too. You know, the body you’re in. Your bro-”

Don’t. Don’t you fuckin’ say it-,” Richard ground out, furiously. Sounding… older. Not at all like a pre-teen boy.


Sounding like… like Richard.


One of Richard’s hands released the other boy’s, and moved up to shove against Jimmy’s chest.

But, not very hard. Especially, not for him. Not for Richard.

“*Sigh* Fine! Fine… I said I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… Just so tired of pretending that you were never even… I don’t know why they’re making us do that… I don’t know why you and Simmons are just going along with it… It’s… so hard… I’m NOT crazy! Simmons wasn’t always an only child! Maybe, he’s his mother’s only… but- but-”

A tear dripped down Jimmy’s face, down his nose, and fell onto Richard’s cheek. As Jimmy wiped it away, Richard instinctively, forgivingly, turned his head and kissed his fingertips, “Okay. Okay. Jus'… No more. No more, right now, okay?”

And, Jimmy’s released slender hand moved to rest soothingly onto the side of Richard’s neck, “You’re right. We don’t have to talk about it, right now. I know it freaks you out… As long as we’re all still together in the end, I guess… I guess, in a way, it- it doesn’t really matter, right? But… can I just… I just wanna, at least, say that I’m glad you’re here, and Simmons is here… -Well, not right now, but you know what I mean-, I… I thought you…”

And, he sunk down, again. Turning his head to press a kiss into Richard’s inner arm. Using a little bit of teeth. Because… he didn’t even know why. It just felt right.


That was gonna leave a mark.


Richard leaned unconsciously further back onto the bed, complaining a little weakly, but, still, glad to focus on something else, “Ah, c’mon, Jimmy! This isn’t frickin’ fair. Not only are you a lil' twink, but, now, you’re gonna be a KINKY lil' twink? Shit, man, maybe you jus' been watchin' too much Japanese anime… Yeah, that’s- that’s probably where you’re gettin' all these weird-ass ideas…”


Jimmy just hummed at him, following him down, completely straddling him, and kissing his jaw.


An' poor Richard bit his lip, and, then, blurted out, not even knowing what the fuck he was saying (Because, Jimmy had to be WRONG. Richard was not- not…), “I think I could go ta' jail for this.”

Jimmy’s eyes widened in shock, and he leaned back, “Wait a minute… So, do you really remem- Do you wanna talk about it- Can we- Can we, please, really talk about it?… Richard! Don’t look away- Don’t ignore me!... Alright, that’s just enough already, Richard! Now, are you ready to really talk about it for real this time, or are you gonna start breaking stuff, like the time before-?”

“There’s nothin’ ta' talk about,” Richard grumbled, “You’re like a frickin’ yappy little puppy. Just annoying, Jimmy. How’s about you- you shut your fuckin’ noisy little mouth-”


But, Jimmy was sick of it. Sick of the endless secrets. Secrets that Richard didn’t just keep from Simmons. But, kept even from himself.


Jimmy may have been young, but he REALLY wasn’t an idiot. In fact, he and Simmons had first bonded over the fact that they were both smarter than the rest of the kids around them. Simmons came from a family full of people with high IQ’s (While Jimmy was more the exception to the rule in his more normal family.), and he’d even started school early and skipped a grade, which was how they ended up in the same class. They could’ve both skipped (Again, for Simmons.), but they didn’t want to deal with all the testing required to place them in the “correct” grade for their intelligence levels. Simmons never tested well if anything was timed, and even though he knew the answers, he froze up, and Jimmy got distracted daydreaming, because the material was easy and boring, and he ran out of time.


Therefore, while Jimmy may have been, technically, a “kid”, he was smart enough to know when someone was obfuscating like crazy. So, he very patiently asked, again, “How old do you think you are, Richard?”

And, Richard, immediately, hissed, “Too old to be messing around with you, Jimmy!”

An offended noise bubbled up out of the other boy, as he started to thoughtlessly argue, “Awh! But, it’s not like you were eighteen or something when it all happened- You weren’t THAT much older than me. I mean, okay, you kinda where, but not anymore, right? I don’t know how it works now since-”

Jimmy fell immediately, and a little nervously, silent at Richard’s infuriated growl. Oh, he hadn’t meant to say that! Or, almost say it, or whatever. He hadn’t meant to be such an insensitive jerk. It’d been years for him. But, it was always brand new for Simmons or Richard, whenever, either of them started to… remember something.

Richard always got so freaked out whenever he started to remember, and couldn’t just easily dismiss it like he so badly seemed to need to. And, Simmons couldn’t even remember, at all, without bursting into tears, and, then, Richard getting involved, flipping out, and blocking, and repressing, again. (Jimmy’d learned all about THOSE words, -blocking, repressing-, through all this.)

And, also, it was kinda freaky cause, um… Richard… well, when he got upset, all he wanted to do was hit and hit and hit


As Jimmy knew this, he was already wincing slightly when Richard swiftly sat up. He hardly had a chance to lean back so their heads didn’t knock together.And, Richard was grabbing Jimmy’s, who was suddenly now straddling his lap, arms in a brutal grasp, his fingers digging cruelly into his soft skin…

His eyes, -Simmons’ normally so pretty, always so curious green-, gone so, so cold. So dangerous… Because, he really and truly, absolutely wasn’t Simmons, right now. And, it was moments like these in particular, sadly enough, that any question left lingering in Jimmy’s mind would truly be washed away. Because, he looked into Simmons’ eyes, and a different, yet, so familiar darker soul looked back at him.


“Why’re you saying that shit, bitch?,” Richard spat out in such fury… it was terrifying to see, “What in the fuck do you mean? Don’t LIE, you little cunt! I’m breathing, I’m breathing, I’m BREATHING!”

Jimmy gasped in pain as Richard’s grip grew tighter and tighter, but, otherwise, he forced himself to stay outwardly fairly calm, as he managed to get out the words that Richard had told him to say (Simmons really didn’t know, at this point, how bad it could get.) if he ever started to lose control of the dangerous amount of rage that had carried over from… somewhere, “Richard, it’s… i-it’s me. Jimmy. And… you’re-you’re hurting me.” Normally, the words would have been “you’re scaring me”, rather than “you’re hurting me”, but… the sentiment was the same.


And, thankfully, it seemed to work either way.


“Fuck!,” Richard cried out, instantly, releasing the dark-haired boy as soon as the words ‘you’re hurting me’ left his lips.

There were a few moments of complete and utter silence, where, arms crossed over his small chest, Jimmy quietly rubbed the reddened skin on his forearms, and Richard, though his eyes were on the movement, stared right through him, hands balled into fists as he fought to regain some semblance of control.


Finally, after a short period of time that felt so, so very much longer, the tension in Richard’s body eased, and he, tentatively, touched the smaller boy’s shoulder so very gently. And, slowly, he pulled him to him, and enveloped him in his arms, murmuring a bit sadly, “Hey, I’m… sorry, man. I didn’t mean to… I jus' can’t deal with all that… that shit… You know I’d never hurt you, right?... Not you…”


“I… I know, Richard… I know…” Jimmy sighed softly, burying his face into Richard’s chest, and breathing in his comforting scent. Him and Simmons always smelled kinda… tropical, and... citrusy. Like coconuts, and lime, and… something else Jimmy couldn’t always put his finger on. Simmons had been using the same body and hair care products and scents for as long as Jimmy could remember.

And, Richard, well… he’d taken to them, now, too.


“…Richard?,” Jimmy asked, quietly. Very tentatively.

“Hmmm?,” Richard hummed questioningly into the other boy’s silky raven hair. He unthinkingly, rubbed some of the long strands through his slender fingers. God, Jimmy smelled like cinnamon. It was comforting. Kinda Christmas-sy.


Jimmy took a moment before he continued to wonder how- How this had become their lives.

Oh, yes. Someone had told a tranq’ed outta his mind R- Simmons (He still thought of him as Richie, and had to like practically translate it from Richie to Simmons almost every time.) to jump off the pier… Or, more specifically, to “go into the water”, and “don’t come back”…


A sad sigh escaped him this time, and he felt Richard pull him even closer. Press his lips to the top of his dark head.

Both of them had their eyes closed, their bodies relaxed against each other…


But, Richard was thinking. Thinking about the other boy… He couldn’t help but think…

He was such a sweet, pretty little thing. Amazing forgiving, and understanding despite the strange ideas the Church had implanted into his head. (And, these- these other… other nutty ideas he- he needed to forget about…) Richard wanted to “deprogram” him, as much as Jimmy seemed to want to “save” him. Whatever that meant.

If only he was older…


When Jimmy, finally, spoke, again, finally, asked what he’d started to earlier… he sounded a little pitiful, “Do you think… that you could… learn to like me? I mean, like, as a… as more…”


Richard pulled back to hold him at arm’s length. And, he gazed at him so piercingly, so searchingly, that the smaller boy couldn’t help but squirm a bit.


“Oh, Jimmy. C’mon, man. ‘Learn to’ like you? Why would I even do that? Why would you even SAY that? An', anyway, it’s not like I… Look, I DO like you. That’s not the problem. I like a lot a’ stuff about you. I don’t like these frickin’ weird ideas you have, but… And, I never could’ve got Simmons ta' stop trying to…ya know… not on my own… That- That means a lot to me, dude… Means everything to me… But, it’s jus'… you’re just so small, man. And, young. Maybe… maybe, if you were older, and, ya know, not like the size of a fuckin’ pretty little pixie…”

“Hey! Don’t be sizeist!,” Jimmy pouted and blushed simultaneously, but, then, he murmured, “And, Richard… you… you’re the one that really saved Simmons… You… you… I did try to… I talked to you before… before they took you away, but-but I don’t know if you could hear… *Sniff * Any- Anyway, if I was older, then, I’d be too old for the body you’re in, Richard… If you just want me to be as old as YOU you, uh… If I was just a few years older than I am now then that’d be perfect for you, but too old for, ya know… But, I don’t know… Well… I guess it actually depends on how much older… do you feel like you’ve… gotten… older? In the past two years, or two and a half years, or whatever, since you… since you’ve been with Simmons? Cause if you do, then, that is, uh… hmm…”

Richard’s nose wrinkled in a very Simmons-like fashion... They really had been starting to pick up on some of each other's traits... And, it was so difficult to get used to, sometimes. “Okay, first of all, you aren’t makin' any sense! Nobody jus' ‘takes’ me, anywhere. And, second, c’mon, Jimmy, I can do MATH. If you think you know how old I should be, or… something… Why don’t you jus' fuckin’ say it, instead a' playin' at damn riddles n’ shit?”

Jimmy’s eyes rolled dramatically, and he rocked back a bit more in Richard’s lap so he could look him full in the face (His expressions while he was fully in control were still ALL Richard, after all. Well... almost all the time. Except for the aforementioned starting to take after each other, sometimes... deal.) while he complained at him. “Cause I don’t wanna put ideas in your head! You have to know for yourself so you can try to… AND, whenever I do try to really talk to you about this, you flip out, and get mean! You just started doing it, again! And, you can’t do that, anymore! This is your chance to be better, Richard! To turn a terrible thing into something… I dunno… You did so many horrible things before! I know they kinda, well, they DID make you, but… you liked some of it! It was obvious! Even, Simmons knew! That’s just EVIL, Richard!”

“Ah, shut up with that ‘evil’ shit,” Richard sounded annoyed, but, then, just confused, “…You don’t make any damn sense! My chance ta' be better at what? Than what? What horrible things? And, reality check, you’re all saying I’m, basically, supposed ta' figure it out pretty much on my own, righ- Ohhh, dude! Like some Indian Spirit Journey, or some cr-”

“You be quiet! Can you stop TRYING to offend the universe!”

“I don’t have ta' ‘try’, Jimmy. It jus' comes naturally to me. Guess I’m really that fuckin’ talented- Oh, yeah, an' guess what? Think you mighta messed up my Spirit Quest, man!,” Richard teased, “You, literally, jus' told me what you think about the age thing an’-”

“…What?... N-NO, I didn’t! No, no, I totally didn’t!,” Jimmy yelped out.

“Yes. You. Did. What? You think I’m an idiot? Between 15 and 17, -dependin' on whether I feel like I’ve ‘gotten older’-, but stuck in a pre-teen body. That’s some creeeeepy bullshit, Jimmy…,” Richard couldn’t help the sneer, “Huh… See that’s one way I know what you’re sayin' is crap. What ‘god’ would be cruel enough ta' make a dude go through puberty twice? I mean, he’d have ta' be a real dick, right-”

“Richard, quit that! You don’t even believe in God most of the time-”

“Yeah, whatever,” Richard’s sneer rapidly turned to a smirk, “But, still. Check me out, bitch! I can math! I’m mathin’ all over the damn place! You impressed or what?”

Jimmy flushed an embarrassingly almost Simmons level of red, and squeaked, “Don’t you- D-Don’t call me that!”

“Call you what?”

“A bi- Ah! Richard! You big jerk! You almost made me swear!... And, oooh boy, if Simmons heard you talking about math like that…”

Richard rolled his eyes and, then, smirked down into his upturned face, again.


And, they were, suddenly, smiling at each other without really thinking about it.


Until...


Richard went to flick Jimmy’s nose, and realized… Oh. The other boy was still in his lap. And, his arms were still … still around him...

He’d had his arms around the smaller boy’s waist ever since soon after he’d first wrapped them around him. It had just felt natural to slip them down. To loosely cradle the other boy in the curve of his arms...


Before he could pull away because… because that’s what he should do… Right?... Jimmy whispered… It seemed completely out of the blue… “Will you… will you kiss me, again?”


And, Richard almost just did it. Over the years, he would come to find it incredibly, and increasingly, difficult to deny him anything. He leaned toward him… but, then, he rested his forehead against the other boy’s, instead, and blew out a quiet breath. “Look. You made a pretty convincing argument with the age thing, but… I don’t… I don’t remember any a' that wacky shit you were babbling about…”

Okay, maybe, that wasn’t entirely true. But, it… it HAD to be bullshit… It just had to.


But, the Kid, and the pier, and- and the water...


IT. HAD. TO.


“And, I don’t wanna hear about it…”


And, that much? Was absolutely true.


Jimmy sniffled a little, “I know you don’t… You never do… But, what about… So, you just don’t wanna be with me, then.”

“Shut up, Jimmy. I’m still talking-... Huh... Ya now, I really don’t know why you'd wanna be with me, anyway. I’m a fuckin' violent asshole trapped in a kid’s body…”


Jimmy didn’t answer verbally. He simply leaned up, pressed a tiny little kiss to the corner of what was currently Richard’s mouth...


And, the taller boy’s bright eyes closed as his arms tightened around the smaller boy.

When his large green (blue-green-NO-blue-blue-BLUE----) eyes opened, again, he continued in a tone that left no room for argument, “If-If we’re gonna do this, there have to be some ground rules. We do what I say-“

Jimmy actually licked his lips and shivered, “Ohhh, I… I like that…”

Richard looked kinda lost, but then he laughed, and shook his head, “Holy shit. Such a lil' slut…" he chuckled a little, before suddenly turning quite serious, "No, I can tell you really probably won’t. I mean, if I say you’re still too young for somethin', that’s final, dude. It goes on the back burner til you’re, ya know, a little older. You have to listen to me about this shit… And, if Simmons isn’t cool with this… then, we jus'… it can’t happen, at all…”

“He already… knows I like you…” Jimmy mumbled shyly. Seeming a little embarrassed by the fact.

“Well, how the fuck did I not know, then- Wait…” Richard looked deep in thought, “What the fuck?… He does know… How the hell did he hide that from me?...”

“I don’t know if he really hid it… Did he? Maybe, you just weren’t paying attention to… to that stuff? With all the other things going on… But, um, yeah… He’s known forever.” Jimmy spoke so slowly… but, then, blurted out, “Simmons, he- he used to tease me that- that, maybe, you and me would get married one day when we were all grown up, and then, me and him would be brother-in-laws!”

“Whoa-Whoa. Slow down there, kid,” He could barely resist rolling his eyes at him, again. Richard, honestly, couldn’t make sense of what he was saying. Brother-in-laws? What the fuck? He was all over the place… Kinda fuckin’ adorable, though… “You’re too young ta' even think about that kinda stuff-“


But, Jimmy had, suddenly, grown very quiet, and he looked incredibly sad.

He chewed the inside of his lip, his eyes getting bright with unshed tears. And, voice trembling, he whispered, “But, everything’s different, now, isn’t it?... And… and, even if- even if we could, somehow, still be together like this, even though… And, even if Simmons is okay with it… The Church would never let us, anyway… would they? We can’t even be together, at all, huh?… I mean, I’m a- a boy, and you’ve always been a-… I think I- I think I got… I got excited, and… and I forgot.”


Despite him obviously trying to hold them back, a couple of large tears escaped, and rolled down Jimmy’s cheeks.


And, Richard looked at him. Really looked at him. An' aw, crap. He was SUCH a secret sap, way worse than Simmons would likely EVER be… but… He really looked at the other boy. So small, and sweet. Like a little Jelly Bean … Little Jimmy Bean with the long Raven hair.


Precious.


Too damn young, but, somehow… Richard’s very soul or spirit (Which, again, Richard seriously didn’t even necessarily let himself believe in that dumb shit at fucking ALL...), whatever it was that made him him… No matter how hard he tried to block and repress and deny… it recognized him. Somehow, it was like this smaller beautiful boy was meant to be his… His. Not Simmons’, or anyone else's. But his.

And, he always, always would be...


And, Richard was pulling Jimmy roughly to him.


Hearing his sharp intake of breath. Feeling his body seem to melt against him, as he kissed him, again and again.


And, again.


Tasting his salty-sweet tears on the tip of his tongue...

And, he grumbled against his lips, “Jimmy. Fuck the Church.”

Chapter Text

Meanwhile In Lightish-Red Headquarters aka Franklin Delano Donut’s Boudoir…


Smooth, chilly metallic fingers trailing down his spine, tickling his bare skin, while cool synthetic lips pressed against his warm, flesh ones...

Oh, Donut loved when he could get Lopez out of his armor. He wore it so often that some people would probably mistake him FOR an actual suit of armor. But, no. He had the same military-grade armor that they all did, and, thus, of course, he had an actual body underneath it.

Even if his was robotic, and cybernetic in nature...

But, he was gorgeous as far as Donut was concerned. They lived in such an exciting time! Where a robotic man could look so nearly human that they could almost pass for a real boy!

Some of them, like Lopez, even had real human hair, -which made the protestors against all non-human forms of intelligence furious-, weaved in with the artificial strands on top of their heads. Although, the rest of Lopez’s body was delightfully smooth. (Donut was sooo jealous! Waxing was such a pain in the buttoot!)

But, no matter how human someone like his LoLo could look, there were things, even just aesthetically, that would always give it away.

Like the metallic sheen that showed through his synthetic skin, especially in certain light levels, and his eyes... His eyes were... different. That unearthly glow...

Donut brushed his currently messy waves (Lopez was always such a hair puller.) of strawberry blonde hair down onto Lopez’s perfectly molded chest...

But, then... he sighed. Melodramatic, and long, as would be expected.

He really was TOO good of a pal... Being someone’s SPTUTO was hard work!

As much as he wanted to keep waxing poetic about his Spanish lover, he... he was distracted...

Maybe, he should just-

[“What are you thinking about doing, now?,” Lopez asked long-sufferingly, “Leave the idiotas alone.”]

Donut propped his elbows up on Lopez’s unyielding chest, and put his chin into his hands.

They were on top of his bunk, and he was lying directly on top of Lopez, naked as a jaybird, with his ankles crossed, and rocking back and forth.

Back... and... forth...

Touching his own behind, then, Lopez’s legs beneath him. Back up to his pretty “bubble butt”, back down to Lopez’s solid lower limbs below him... and so on, and so forth.

“I know, I know. I’m worried about them, too,” Donut sighed, once more, then, he frowned slightly, and asked quite earnestly, no double-entendres, or anything, “DO you think Grif and Simmons are okay? Sometimes, I think I should tell Grif something about... you know... But, I prooomised, though! And, you know, they do say blood is thicker than water...”

[“Cabron. Do not get involved. That one can be dangerous if angered. The broken brother can handle him. Maybe.”]

Donut sat up to look thoughtfully down at Lopez. As if he was seriously taking what he’d said into consideration.

But, then, he bounced happily and much too hard down onto Lopez’s luckily, -considering Donut’s exuberance-, metallic pelvis, and grinned down at him.

That bright, cheerful, sonrisa idiota that frustrated Lopez to no end. Because, once again, it meant he was not listening.

“You’re always so caring, LoLo!,” he exclaimed, “Of course, I have to get in there, and Do. It! What are friends for? I’m suuure it’s been hard for Grif to get Simmons opened up on his own! Especially, without even knowing all his weak spots! I’ll go over in the morning, and lend him a helping hand! I DO have a way with these things, after all!”

[“Dulce idiota, you always say the opposite. You do this selective hearing, Si? You understand, and still every time you play games with me-”]

“Oh yes, you’re sooo right,” the strawberry blonde was, very suddenly, purring down at him, “We should play some more while we still have time.”

Donut smiled provocatively down into those mesmerizingly radiant eyes.

And, forgetting about the others, for now, he pulled Lopez’s heavy hand up to his lips, and teasingly licked his tongue over the tips of those so smooth fingers.

He knew very well, by now, where the majority of his robotic lover’s sensory implants were.

Implanted more to optimize functionality out on the field, but... Donut had found other ways to put them to use, “After all, no one’s more fun to play with than you, my naughty, naughty robot…”

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧


Back In The Chill Zone:

One Kissass: Status - Awake

One Lazyass: Status - Awake (Surprisingly)

&

One Potentially Psychotic Partridge in a Pear Tree: Status - Asleep


“…Hey man,” Grif mumbled, slowly starting to continue pulling out the knot he’d been working on. He actually really looked kind of disturbed, “I might be a lot of things, but I’m not a fucking cheater.”

Simmons blinked in surprise at how serious Grif sounded.

He’d just been joking around… He hadn’t meant to make him upset, or something…

Shit…


Grif’s eyes closed. No, he… he wasn’t. He wasn’t…


Simmons didn’t like that look on Grif’s face. It made him feel… strange. Like he’d inadvertently brought up something he absolutely shouldn’t have.

And, although, his fingers still ran through the redhead’s smoothed out stands, -Feeling so, so good. Tingly, yet, peaceful-, Grif was much too quiet, and locked inside his own head.

And, if anyone knew how dangerous that could be, it was Simmons.

In direct response, the redhead’s hand reached up, as if it had a mind of its own, and pressed to Grif’s cheek. Simmons’ voice was a little unsure, but sincere enough. For him, anyway. “You know what I meant. Like you know stuff, or, uh, figure out stuff about- about me… that can, erm… get me, you know… distracted… and then you win! And, that’s not fair, asshole! Unfair advantage and… And, all that…”

The Kissass was Red Team Red, all over again.

And, Grif chuckled lowly, relaxing a little. Or… okay, maybe, a lot. Because, Simmons didn’t know. He didn’t know any of it. And, if Grif had his way, he never would.

Feeling better, he muttered, as he pressed his lips gently to Simmons’, “Oh, man… Everything’s always a competition with you, isn’t it?”


“N-No,” Simmons breathed, as a shiver ran through him. His arms getting all squished in-between them.

The fingers of his left hand pressed into Grif’s chest. Searching and finding the hard muscle beneath the soft, warm chub. Mmm… (He might be getting too into doing that. Maybe, Richard was right, and he was some kinda chubby chaser- No! That was fucking dumb. So not true.) Simmons’ other arm slid out of the small space between their bodies, and up around Grif’s neck. His fingers curling into the hair at his nape, as he whispered to him, “Not… not always…”

But, Grif was distracted, now. Not really listening. He could really be easily side-tracked… He was busy kissing Simmons softly again and again, his hand sliding out of his hair, -Which he, honestly, had done a damn fine job untangling. So gentle and thorough… Simmons would have to remember that if he ever had a… you know… kink that needed seeing to… (In his hair! In his hair!)- down his neck, his chest, over to his side. Turning his head to press his lips to Simmons’ palm, which still rested against his cheek…

 

“Baby,” Grif murmured the words, in-between moving down to press his lips to Simmons’ neck, gradually moving lower, until he hit that spot, once again, (Typical Grif. He’d found a shortcut, and you better believe he was gonna take advantage of it.), and Simmons trembled underneath him all over, again. But, in a way Grif felt much more comfortable with, “I almost… forgot to tell you… I was totally… right. Donut did fuck with me…”

Simmons squirmed, and frowned.

And, Grif moved back up. Pressing his lips affectionately to the Kissass’ cheek, as he grinned a little against his skin.

It was nice to know he wasn’t the only one that was an unreasonably jealous fuck.

Grif nipped Simmons’ earlobe, and ran his fingers feather-light down… only, right then, realizing that, even, though, they were more chill, and getting tired… he was in-between Simmons’ legs, again… And, they weren’t even pressing all hard and hungrily against each other, but… lying together. Comfortably. So close. Again, like this wasn’t brand new, and filled with insecurities, but like it was something… something that just fit. That was simply right in every way.

Gently, gently, he squeezed… his upper thigh this time.

Simmons was so slim. It made Grif want to find, and get his hands on, all the places he had any real meat on his bones.

His ass, and thighs, especially…


Simmons couldn’t believe how it felt to be touched by this man. He, literally, didn’t normally feel very comfortable being touched. Sure, it’d been different with Jimmy, but they’d grown up together, been as close as brothers (Or, “Cuddly Sisters”, as Richard would say.) for many years. Which was weird considering the deal with Richard and Jimmy, but Simmons hadn’t been involved, at all, in that part of their relationship so- so…

God, no one had ever touched him like this before. This was very, very different. It was- It was-

Mmmm…”


“Hey, hey, none a that,” Grif grumbled at him, when he caught Simmons biting his lip.

Although, he was unable to keep completely silent, the redhead was obviously trying to keep a moan from escaping his lips. “Don’t damage my goods-,” Grif found himself teasingly scolding him.

Simmons looked and sounded, honestly, baffled as he asked, “Wh-… What-What’s that supposed to mean?”

And, for some weird reason, Grif was, suddenly, saying it. It was, probably, the shittiest way to ask… well, inform, someone about your relationship status. But… dammit… It wasn’t like Simmons wouldn’t tell him to fuck off, whether squeakily or angrily, if he wasn’t up for it… Anybody who knew the Kissass could tell you that… so-

“It means…”

Fuck it-

“…Fuck it,” he, actually, also, said aloud, continuing, “I decided you’re mine, Kissass. So you can’t be all ‘withholding’ n’ shit. That’s not cool, man. I wanna hear you singing my praises…,” Grif couldn’t help but snicker a little at his own ridiculously cliché words (It was like: Yeah, you’re MINE, now, purty boy. So drop and spread ‘em, lil’ pardner. Cue: *Spit glob a’ chaw completely missing the spit bucket*). He tried to hide his smirk against the redhead’s throat.

Annnddd, speaking of “cue”, let’s all welcome one very flustered redhead to the stage...

Grif was just waiting for it…

Son of a bitch, he had a real problem. He just lived for winding this pretty little fucker up. Here he was trying to cement some- some real shit between them, and he just HAD to rile the Kissass up.

*Sigh* Whelp, you know what they say, ‘It’s the little things in life…’


Simmons had planned on drawling out, Yours, huh? Well, thanks for informing me. I appreciate ALL the input I had in that life changing decision. Hey! And, who the hell says I’m ‘yours’, huh, asshole? Maybe you’re mine. Who’s the one who needs a keeper around here, anyway? Dumbass.

Ya know, just bein’ his typical bitchy self. Even though, his heart was racing, and he was so happy. So, so fucking happy…

But, then, the asshole had said that “singing my praises” thing, and Simmons forgot all of that for the moment, and couldn’t help but wrinkle his nose, and eep out, in his most squeakiest voice of the night, “A-Asshole! I didn’t- I w-wasn’t-! JesusSinging-”


“Eh. Whatever. Singing, moaning… screaming…” Grif shrugged off the differences, but, then, gave the redhead his most devilish, evil Grif grin, yet.


And, Simmons blushed so hard, from the tips of his ears, disappearing right down into the collar of the “You’re My Royal Bitch, Baby” t-shirt (That he still thought said, “I’m The King, Baby”. Too bad he hadn’t thought to look that up… yet.)… that Grif just had to taste test him, again.

He wasn’t even thinking about eating the food he’d brought. The Kissass was THAT distracting…

But, he just really had to figure this out.

It was like a science project.

Simmons oughta be proud as fuck.

For real, how the hell did the nerd go from creamy and pale to Red Team heart attack Red in such a short span of time? It was sorta baffling.


Grif peppered kisses onto Simmons’ ridiculously red cheeks, nibbled his earlobe, then, back down to his lips, which were seriously starting to look a little swollen, and fuckin’ ravaged.

Both Simmons’ arms were wrapped around his neck, now, and he murmured Grif’s name into his mouth. Not his first name that Simmons knew he hated, and never wanted to be called, although he’d never told him exactly why it pissed him off so damn much, but ‘Grif’.

What the redhead had always called him.

God, the son of a bitch really knew how to get to him…

Grif realized that he had to keep talking to him, because, honestly, he had to do something to keep it together. His self-control was constantly being stretched to its fricking breaking point with this dude.

And, if there was one thing Grif hated, it was ‘self-control’.

Fuckin’ yuck.

Of course, Simmons wasn’t helping, at all, with how sexy he looked, and sounded, and felt…

Shit just wasn’t fair…

Dammit. Grif wondered if, maybe, HE really was the one overthinking everything for once, but, hell, this son of a bitch had been lodged in the goddamn closet for as long as he’d known him…

Always rushing off whenever it seemed like, maybe, something was gonna happen between them…

Well, until tonight…

So, anyway… what had he been saying to the Kissass, again?...

Oh yeah.

Grif pulled up some so he could tell him-

Uh… Something…

Holy fuck. The nerd was seriously so distracting. Lips all swollen, eyes so wide, so green… That Red Team Red dusted over his creamy skin… Son of a bitch. To have him focusing in on him so intensely, like… like there was no one else he’d rather be with in the whole goddamn galaxy or some shit…

“… Uhm… Anyway, the deal with Donut... He just got onto me- UHHH- You know what I mean- about ‘getting you drunk’, not literally got onto me. Just, he must’ve figured if I was coming for my stashed beer, and you’d been with me… we’d finished what I had stashed in my room, and… yeah, whatever, somehow, that son of a bitch figured out you drank a little, ya know, too much… so, he totally bitched me out about you getting drunk. An’ dude, I TOLD you he’d know… And, um… Hey, Simmons? This ‘Hive Mind’ thing? Is it, uh, really a thing? Cause, shit, just bein’ real here? It’s kinda freaking me the fuck out...”


Oh shit.

Simmons had to fight himself to not get all whiny, and, obviously, freaked out himself.

Look, he just could not live in a world of collective consciousness. Living with Richard having access to all his thoughts was fuckin’ hard enough to deal with on a day to day basis.

The very IDEA, ridiculous as it may seem, of Grif of all people, having anything to do with that-

Goddamn Richard! He just had to get bored, and decide to start spouting off about shit to Grif, didn’t he? Simmons always tried to tell himself that it was actually good. He was ‘playing nice’. Actually talking to someone (And, not just ‘someone’. But-but… Grif.) without getting violent, and dangerous. He told himself it would be better if Grif and Richard could learn to get along, as, uh… Richard wasn’t always very nice… like, at all… when it came to Grif. Although, strangely, he seemed alright with Donut. Almost acted like he… knew him, or had met him before, or something… But, that didn’t make sense… Weird. And, he thought Sarge was an idiot, but he truly connected with the man’s lust for violence. Eugh.

As for Lopez? Simmons wasn’t too sure what he thought of him, but, sometimes, it seemed like he understood some of what the metallic Spaniard said, and kept it from Simmons...

Well, whatever. The important thing was that Richard’s periodic bored bullshitting with Grif was coming back to bite Simmons in the ass.


The redhead looked a little nervous, but he repeated scornfully, “’Hive Mind’. Dumbass. That’s not- We’re not- You just- just… shut the fuck up about that!”

… Seriously? ‘Shut the fuck up’ about it? What an asshole. Grif wouldn’t even have known about it, at all, if a certain nerd hadn’t gone on a huge fucking bitchy tangent about it for a frickin’ hour on patrol one day…

Hmmm… come to think of it… speaking of “Asshole”… he had been a little… too pushy… more aggressive and calculated… With less insecure, unsure Simmons squeakiness, and more AssholeSimmons ‘Fuck you, I’m right, and I know it‘ cockiness…

Shoulda known.

Oh well. Maybe, he’d just have to keep a closer eye on him…

But, for the moment, Grif simply nipped right back into that sweet spot on Simmons’ neck, again. Some people would probably say he was overusing the same lazy man’s trick. Maybe, he was. But, oooh, he was sooo gonna take advantage of knowing about that. That’s the kinda knowledge that could get you outta trouble, or distract a suddenly inexplicably paranoid, bratty as fuck Kissass. Just latch onto that spot, and, come on, how the hell could someone remember to be a jerk, or that they were worried about their Asshole/OtherSimmons side, or whatever the fuck, when they were so busy moaning?

He’d never really thought of it before, but that really WAS a good trick to have up your sleeve. He’d recommend it to anyone hooked up with a hot, but naggy, nervous as all hell, dude or chick.

But…

Wait, just one damn minute!

The Kissass was pullin’ his shit, again. Choking off any noise Grif could get out of him… And, those noises… Secretly?... Fuck… They kinda drove Grif crazy… He fucking loved them. That Simmons was so sensitive that he could touch him, and kiss him, press up against him… not even really getting into the heavy stuff, yet… Not even getting more than a tongue inside him, yet… Mmmm- Uh, in his mouth! In his mouth!... Ah, fuck… And, the dude was just a squirmy, moany, squeaky mess.

But, there the son of a bitch was. Pulling his crap, again. Biting his lip. Trying to be quiet. Even his little gasps, and whines, and whimpers, for fuck’s sake, hardly escaping him. And, Grif couldn’t help it. The Kissass was fucking hot as hell, and he really did want to, NEED to, really hear him, again. Just burn all his goddamn sexy sounds, especially from the first night they were actually doing any of this, -even if it was just gonna be making out for tonight-, into his memory, to never, ever be forgotten.

He couldn’t figure out why, but that just… seemed so, so fucking important for some reason…

But, Simmons was, literally, actually tensing up due to concentrating so hard on being as silent as possible, -for him, anyway-, instead of just relaxing, and enjoying himself like he had earlier.

It was some fucking bullshit.

Grif pulled back to look at the redhead, and as he so often did he found himself just blurting out what he was thinking, “Simmons, what’d I tell you? I wanna hear you, you Kissass. Quit holding back on me, man. You made plenty of fuckin’ noise, a while ago, so what’s the prob-”

Simmons groaned in mortification, and, then, snapped, “Well, maybe I don’t want anyone to hear me…”

Grif instantly, and involuntarily, flinched.

Simmons, you fucking prick.

That was the predominant thought in Grif’s mind, now.

And, he was glaring down at the pretty redhead (Maybe TOO pretty, huh? Maybe, too pretty for some decent-looking, but not exactly fit or motivated nobody like him, right?), “What? You don’t want anyone to know you’re here with me, huh? Is that it? You want this all hush-hush? Well, too fuckin’ bad, asshole. Donut knows, Simmons. And, once he knows, every-frickin’-body knows. So, fuckin’ sorry this doesn’t get to just be a dirty, nasty little secret for y- OW! Fuck!”

Simmons had pinched his ear. Hard as hell, too.

“You- You shut the hell up, Grif! Don’t you twist my goddamn words. It’s-It’s just embarrassing! Nobody wants to be heard all… you know…,” Simmons hissed, self-consciously, “…by other people!… We’re not exactly alone here, dipshit!… There’s other people around us, you idiot! I know not too close, but- but still…”

Now, the redhead was getting extremely flushed, and flustered, “You must be nuts! You want me to just go ahead and, uh-uh… be- be –Goddammit. Fuck!- noisy when Sarge or Donut or, hell, even, Lopez could walk by, and- and speaking of Lopez, of Donut, you know you can hear him over half the Base when he’s- when they’re, um, so…” Simmons got very, very quiet, “…Anyway… Maybe, I wouldn’t care so much about it if… maybe if… if, um… we were somewhere… where it was just… it was just us…”

Simmons looked away. Embarrassed. Unsure.

And, Grif lifted his chin. Making him look at him. He couldn’t help but think about what a couple a’ wacky fuck-ups they both were…

Hmmm… Just us, huh… You’re blushing, again, Baby. And, I bet I could get you to be WAY louder than Donut,” Grif grinned at him, but, then, he couldn’t help but wince as he distractedly rubbed at his ear, and complained, “…Fuck, Simmons, that actually really hurt!”

“Good! You shouldn’t say such dumb shit, you- you dumbass!,” Simmons scowled up at him.


But… he couldn’t keep up the bitchy persona. He felt terrible when he thought that Grif had believed for even a second that he’d just… treat this thing with them so shittily. Like it meant absolutely nothing.

That was fucking bullshit!

Simmons couldn’t help but move up, as he pulled Grif back down to him, to press his lips softly, soothingly to the other man’s.

Just… just sinking back into each other…

So relaxing.

Simmons actually did, once again, make a sound much like a purr… He was so content, so calm. It was completely outside the realm of his experience. To feel like this.

If Richard had been around, and up to explaining it, he would have told him that this was what it felt like to be loved by someone outside your circle. Someone who had no prior ties to you that formed the bond, but had chosen to forge a bond with you…

But, Richard didn’t talk like that… not, not anymore. Not since he’d, in whatever form or fashion it had happened, lost his Jimmy.

At least, Richard, in that moment, seemed happy for the first time in longer than Simmons could remember… actually resting almost serenely.

And, that peacefulness bled over to Simmons some, despite his desire to stay separate. Especially, at such a time.

After all, it was Just Them, at the moment. Just Grif and Simmons. Simmons and Grif.

Just Them…

And, Grif thought HE had to worry about feeling jealous. Paranoid and possessive.

It made Simmons almost think to get anxious, but before he truly could, Grif, as if he sensed Simmons’ troubled thoughts, grumbled against his lips, and Simmons sighed quietly.

Grif pulled him up, as he moved back onto his side, so they were, once again, lying side by side, face to face, as they had been earlier that night. Their mouths never broke apart during, and right after changing positions. Their grip on each other only tightened.

Simmons’ arms encircled more securely, even more possessively around Grif’s neck, while his body clung closer to his. And Grif’s lips pressed harder, his tongue searched deeper.

The little rumble that the Hawaiian made tickled the inside of Simmons’ mouth, and more than told him Grif was pleased. Proud of him for chilling out, and letting them have this time together, instead of freaking out, as he’d done so many times in the past, and not allowing them to get anywhere with their… whatever this thing was with them.


When they pulled apart this time, much later… seriously, it was ridiculous (And, pretty frickin’ awesome, in a way.)… Who the hell made out this much outside of High School or Junior High? Neither of them would really know… Simmons barely stifled a yawn. His eyelids were starting to look seriously heavy.

Grif had his fingers in Simmons’ bright red hair. (Again. No shit. He, probably, really had a problem. Like some kinda kink, or some shit. But… hell, it was their business, no one else’s, so… fuck it…)

“You gettin’ tired, Baby?,” Grif murmured, kissing Simmons’ eyelids, that had fluttered shut, as Grif had been running his fingers through those bright strands of hair. Practically lovingly petting the sleepy little nerd…

Simmons hadn’t napped through-out the whole day like Grif had, after all.

Mmmm…,” Simmons just hummed in reply.

“Okay… but you gotta eat something first, alright?,” Grif went to pull him more securely to his chest. To give him a little cuddle, before he made him wake his ass up enough to eat a little something… when… he thought of...

“… Simmons?”

He couldn’t help but sound kinda anxious even though Simmons was resting so peacefully in his arms.

“Hmmm?,” the redhead murmured questioningly.

And, Grif’s hand spanned the side of Simmons’ neck. His thumb rubbed underneath the redhead’s chin, and tilted it back up, so Simmons was looking drowsily at him.

He wanted to… He wanted to tell him… Just say it. Tell him… tell him he loved him. Lock it down. It wasn’t really a thing he took lightly, or would ever just say. It was hard for him to even think of saying it. It didn’t come naturally to him, no matter how he felt, or had felt for a while, now, about Simmons…

He was fucked in the head about this stuff. He was self-aware enough to know that. But… he wanted to make sure Simmons knew what the fuck he actually meant to him.

So, maybe… maybe, he wouldn’t… maybe he’d be less likely to get any crazy ideas about Grif not giving a fuck… and… he didn’t know… he wasn’t even really sure what he was so worried about… Simmons wasn’t Kira. He wouldn’t run off, or… Of course, it had never even occurred to him that Kira would do that- Still, him and Simmons they- they were different. It was like they already WERE together, and had been, and always WOULD be, and…

But… he remembered… remembered what she’d said…

“Because, You. Don’t. Comm-u-ni-cate! You can’t expect someone to just automatically know what you’re thinking, or how you’re feeling, Dex!”

Goddammit… Yeah… he got that… he still didn’t like what she’d done, and couldn’t see it as a legitimate excuse to… whatever… but…

And, fuck… when it came to the Kissass… it probably seemed way too soon to even be thinking about all the things that were swirling through his mind, but… he knew damn well what could happen if shit wasn’t clear on both sides. And, he sure as hell couldn’t rely on some “Hive Mind” bullshit… And… was it really all that “soon”?

If you’d seen how… how it’d been with them… for so long… day after day after day…

Even back in Basic...

Fuck.

And, he didn’t know why he said “even back in Basic” when the truth was… the only time they’d been even close to as physically close as they were, on this particular night… HAD been back in Basic... with Simmons wrapped so tightly, so securely in his arms…

Although, with how fucked in the head they both were after what they’d witnessed that day, though they had both been able to keep pretty level-headed about it all through-out the higher-ups questioning… and the clean-up...

Grif had ended up trying to mentally block out that whole night… A real Simmons move on his part he knew, but, seriously… even the part with Simmons clinging to him, as he’d held the redhead so close… had been fucking upsetting as all hell to remember in the morning light, because his arms had been depressing empty of any precious Kissass nerds.

Who, honestly, seemed to have had, somehow, completely repressed the whole last 24hrs…

And… and, it’d, also, sucked cause… cause he’d known that Simmons wasn’t really ready for this deal with them to actually go anywhere, yet…

This deal with them… that was already a thing all the way back in Basic…

But, maybe… maybe they would’ve gotten there. If they’d had more time. Things definitely changed between them after all that. They really had gotten even closer.

They’d been goddamn inseparable by the time Grif got yanked from Basic, -and that had happened pretty goddamn quickly-, after the “incident”-, and obviously, punished with his station. Months after the deal with that Jackson prick, and he was still willing to bet it had had to do with him… Not that he thought they knew what the hell was actually going to happen there, but still, it was a fricking terrible, dangerous place to be stationed, and- and…

But, fuck, that night… in Basic… they’d still been together… Him and Simmons, and… it’d been so… so fucking insane. So freaking terrifying.

And, then, they’d been alone.

After such a goddamn nightmare.

Just the two of them.

Finally, completely… alone.

How… how could Simmons have made himself forget…

How could he…

 

Basic: Grif and Simmons Back In Their Barracks


They’d kept their shit together… until they were dismissed from questioning.

Relieved from training for the rest of the evening.

It was the least those fuckers could do, considering what they’d had to see. What they’d survived through, no thanks to those asshole’s incompetence.

Grif couldn’t help but think that maybe, if everything was on the up and up in this fucked up private sector run joke of a military establishment, then this shit wouldn’t be as likely to go down…

But, yeah, they’d- they’d kept it together… But, the second they were alone, in their empty barracks… everyone else running last night drills as if nothing had just happened…

Simmons had marched almost angrily to his bunk, pulling his armor off as he went.

Earlier, he’d, actually, shown some spunk and rebellion by refusing to speak to anyone until he and Grif had gotten to put their armor on.

To think… to think that… that they’d been armorless when it had happened. If that guy had turned toward them, really noticed them…

Grif was, also, taking off his armor in front of his own bunk. His hands fumbling, and fucking up as he, -as he always did-, pulled off his helmet first.

He genuinely couldn’t help or stop the tremors. He was starting to get the shakes from the adrenaline dump. And, the fact that it was over. And, the idea that they… they at least… the two of them… were both alright. (The only two he really cared about. Not that he’d wanted the other guys to… to- But, the Kissass… him and the Kissass, they were the ones that were his priority. The ones he actually gave a fuck about.)

Thinking back on that, and how fucking helpless he’d felt because Simmons had been there, and, truly, Grif’s top priority, -immediately, with no thought involved-, Grif knew his top priority was to Get Simmons Out, to get them BOTH the fuck out of this in one piece.

That was more important than anything, or anyone else.

Period.

It had really tied his hands, because all thoughts had to be of retreat. And, sure, fuck it, -personal full-disclosure, and all-, he could be a pussy, sometimes, and consumed with his own self-interest, but…

There was something, inherently, wrong with the idea of him just letting something like this go down without doing anything to try to prevent it. But- But he HAD to keep the Kissass safe… it hadn’t just been HIM… just Grif there by himself…

Simmons was…

But, would Grif have actually tried something if Simmons hadn’t been there? Despite all his apathy, and lethagy- These were people’s goddamn lives for fuck’s sake…

He’d like to think…

But, he, honestly, didn’t know…

He was thankfully distracted from his possibility misplaced guilty thoughts, when Simmons spun back around, only in his undersuit while Grif was still struggling with getting his hands to work right, and only had half his armor off.

Simmons was still on edge. He hadn’t come down from it, yet.

And, he’d rolled his eyes at Grif, as he started to stride, all edgy, jerky movements, toward him.

But, he stopped before he’d fully reached him. Instead of coming any closer, he stiltedly asked the Hawaiian man, his voice very strained, “Can’t you ever… do… any-damn-thing?”

And, Grif reflexively flinched back. As though the words had been a brutal physical blow…

Although, he knew what Simmons had meant, those words… they hit too close to his tumultuous thoughts...

He’d done… nothing… fucking nothing… A usual happy state of being for him, but… this…

This…

Simmons, immediately, looked sorry, and slowly, he shuffled the last few steps forward, and came to stand in front of him.

“Hey,” his pale hand moved up to rest lightly onto Grif’s unarmored chest, -Grif’d managed to get his chest piece off, at least- and he’d tilted his head down to look into Grif’s face…

Even back then, Grif hated how goddamn tall this bastard was in comparison to him… Although, yeah, fuckin’ fine, maybe, it was kinda sexy… Those long, slender legs… That lean, just so slightly muscled, trim body… just on the side of too slim… The thought of him wrapped around him… fuck… But, still. Him being taller, usually, it just fuckin’ sucked.

Simmons’ hand had pressed more steadily against him. Obviously, feeling Grif’s still erratic, too rapid heartbeat underneath his palm.

And, then… for the first time… Grif would never forget it… even before their separation, and the… the massacre… and the PTSD “episodes”, Simmons was rubbing these… soothing, comforting… gentle, firm little circular patterns into Grif’s chest… It was like he wasn’t even thinking about it. As if it was completely instinctual … Firm enough for Grif to feel through his undersuit, gentle enough to feel as though his fingers were tenderly massaging into the bare skin beneath it…

He’d never touched Grif like that before…

“I didn’t mean-… dammit… just let me help you, dumbass,” Simmons murmured. But, gently. So, very gently.

He’d never talked to Grif like that before…

It was a side of him that Grif had never really seen. Although, he’d only known this incredibly two-sided man for a handful of months at the time… But… still.

And, for a little bit, Simmons seemed to focus on so carefully taking off the rest of Grif’s armor, while Grif focused on the feel of Simmons’ steady hands, as he tried to still the tremors in his own.

It wasn’t until the redhead was actually on his knees, pulling off the last piece of the Hawaiian man’s armor, a lower leg section that he hadn’t gotten off himself, that Simmons’ calm, reliable fingers had started to tremble as well.

It came on quickly.

His head bowed.

His breathing, suddenly, sounded forced. Fast and loud…

And, he squeezed Grif’s right knee a little frantically a few times in quick succession.

Grif, tentatively, (Soothingly? Maybe? He didn’t know…) touched the top of his head. Smoothed his hand down-

But, Simmons seemed to force himself to let go of him. To stand.

And, he walked, more unsteadily then Grif had ever seen him, to the alcove where they temporarily stored their armor.

But, after setting down the last piece…

He just stood there.

Head down.

Facing away from Grif.

Finally, after what felt like half an hour, but was probably less than a minute, he whispered, “Why?”

Grif didn’t answer.

Hell. He didn’t know.

“…Not why-why’d he do it… I-I actually… get that… Sometimes… people… lose it… but why- why didn’t he have blanks like- like the rest of us? It was- it wasn’t supposed to be a live- a- a live exercise, so… Who gave them to him?… How did he have- How, Grif?! Fucking tell me!,” Simmons started out stilted, sounding panicked, and almost hyperventilating. But, by the end he was nearly snarling.

At the goddamn floor, for fuck’s sake, but… well… Ya know… This WAS Simmons, after all.

Grif just shook his head, and sat heavily down onto his bunk. He felt… he, who always had a snarky reply, or at least, at least SOME kinda reply, actually felt at a loss for words. But, after a moment, he heard himself, tiredly, say, “I don’t- I don’t fucking… *Sigh* Come here.”

He glanced up to see Simmons looking back at him over his shoulder. Appearing incredibly unsure.

And, Grif sighed, again, and patted a spot on his bunk beside him, “Come on, Kissass. I don’t got all night. I’m fuckin’ tired. Quit bein’ a puss’, and come the fuck over here.”

Just as Grif had planned, that made Simmons’ already patented signature scowl creep across his features, and served to momentarily distract the redhead from his distress. At least, long enough for him to, hesitantly, make his way over to stand by Grif’s bunk.

Right in front of him. So, Grif had to look up to see his face.

“Dude, don’t just stand there,” Grif grinned, a little weakly, up at him, “Sit down, man. I don’t bite. Well, ya know, unless you want me t-”

“How the fuck can you joke around, right now!,” Simmons instantly snapped, glaring furiously down into his eyes, “After what- what happened… What happened- Nobody- none of us had our armor. Why didn’t we have our- our…” His left eye twitched, and he scrubbed shaky, suddenly, damp hands against his thighs, as his voice lowered, and trembled. Getting so quiet, as if he was imparting a hell of a big secret, “…A-And, you always forget… It’s-It’s weird- so weird how you forget until… until BAM there it is- so much, just everywhere, you know? People- people have so much b-blood in- in them… So much… So… much… Did you see- Did you? Grif? Did you fucking SEE all the bl-”

Goddammit. The way he talked… You’d almost think it actually wasn’t his first (Or, second, or third…) time seeing… something like this…

“Simmons,” The forced smile faded from Grif’s face as he cut off the other man’s incessant, fear-filled babblings, “Stop it. Of course, I fucking saw. I was there, wasn’t I? Now, Come. The. Fuck. Over. Here.”

And, Grif was leaning forward, snagging Simmons’ slender wrists, and pulling him to him with more determination then he’d ever done such a thing.

He would, normally, be more languid in his initial approach, but this… this was different.

He had no ulterior motives-

Well…

None, other than just getting his hands on Simmons. Feeling his heartbeat and the comforting rise and fall of his chest against his as they took each and every breath…

Surprisingly, Simmons didn’t squeak or squeal, or even squawk, although Grif, -when faced with no resistance to having pulled him forward to stand, uncertainly, between his thighs-, pretty spontaneously, -especially for him-, took it, uh, a bit further.

Wrapping his arms around the redhead’s slim waist… and, laying back onto the bunk. Pulling Simmons right down along with him to lay fully atop him.

And, Simmons must have really still been in a strange state of mind due to the events of the day. Because throughout the change in position, a small, startled grunt was the only sound that escaped the normally easily excitable redhead, before he pulled up, an arm on either side of Grif’s head, to look, hesitantly down at him.

And, in that moment, Grif really seemed to have no self-control. He wanted to just… It wasn’t much… Couldn’t he just…

And, his hand reached up… and he was touching his pale skin. Cupping his, at that time of the evening, surprisingly smooth for a man, cheek.

Not speaking for once. What the hell was there to say at a time like this?

After what had happened…

And, Simmons was sinking down to rest his forehead onto Grif’s chest as the Hawaiian’s fingers, now, ran feather-light down his undersuit, down his back…

But, then-

Very abruptly, very muscle in Simmons’ body seemed to tense up, and Grif shivered because… did something feel… different? Odd, all the sudden… No… he was just still messed up from earlier. Still coming down from such an intense adrenaline rush, and-

“Please, don’t,” Simmons whispered, almost pleadingly, “Not now. Just… not now…”

And, Grif almost let him go. After all, he had to be talking to him, right? They were the only two people there in the room…

Right?

Of course, they were.

And, yet-

There were moments, like this one… quick, singular, particular moments, where it sure as hell didn’t feel that way.

But, regardless of all that, right as Grif was about to reluctantly release him, -because, of course, at this time, in this moment, he believed Simmons was talking to him-

Simmons’ whole body seemed to let out a quiet sigh, and he relaxed. Practically sunk into what had, suddenly, turned into a… a fricking real embrace.

Like outta one of Kai or Kira’s sappy romance novels that they’d always left around the apartment.

Freakin’ so cheesy n’ lame…

But, what the hell could he say? It’d been said before, but it almost couldn’t be stressed enough. There had always, and would always be, something different between him and Simmons. Especially, whenever they were alone. Something you couldn’t exactly put your finger on.

And, maybe… fuck… maybe… you didn’t want to. It’d, probably, just fuck it all up, somehow.

And, you know, you always hear talk about people having sex after traumatic experiences, but that was absolutely the last thing on either of their minds. They didn’t make out like in a movie, either.

Or, even kiss…

Well, maybe that wasn’t entirely true. Grif did press his lips to Simmons’ forehead a couple times. And, alright, maybe Grif’s lips had brushed over Simmons’ hair a time, or two, or three, as well… as Simmons had laid in his arms, his face buried into Grif’s chest, their legs entwined… but… they had just fucking needed, so fucking badly needed to be near each other. To be wrapped around each other…

Together.

Safe.

Grif couldn’t say how long they laid there.

Silent.

Just wrapped up in a world of them two. Of Just Them. Holding onto each other. Each soaking in the reality that the other man was truly still there. That they were safe and unharmed.

And, together.

Simmons curled up against him so perfectly…

And, after quite a long while of this quiet brand of comfort, Simmons had, finally, fallen asleep in Grif’s arms. In his bunk with him.

And, later, when they’d come in for lights out (Which Simmons had slept right through.), and knowing all the f’d up shit that had gone down… none of the other recruits had quite dared to say a word about it.

Which Grif was so grateful for. More for Simmons’ sake than his own, to be honest.

But, still, when Grif woke up the next morning, he found that sometime in the early dawn, while he’d still been asleep, Simmons had snuck out of his bunk.

Perhaps, he shouldn’t have been surprised, but…

Grif didn’t even know how the fuck he’d done it without waking him… They’d been holding each other so close, so tight…

He knew Simmons hadn’t left his bed during the night, as Grif had woke up again and again in the dimly-lit room with a sick burning in the pit of his stomach. And, the compulsion to reassure himself that the redhead was still safe in his arms. That he hadn’t- that he was- just that he was still alright.

And, every time that he’d woke to find him there, -unharmed, still with him-, something inside him that had been ripped asunder when he was much too young to understand such things, knitted slowly back together piece by piece.

Bringing him, although, he had no way of understanding this at the time, ever slightly closer to whole.

But, in the morning light, Simmons was back in his own bunk, and it seemed like he, somehow, insanely enough, didn’t even remember what had happened the day before.

And, considering how soon after that Grif had been sent to his Training Base, and how much they both sucked at talking about the shit that really mattered…

After that night, they’d actually never talked about what had happened in the locker room on that particular too warm late afternoon.

With that recruit.

And the live ammo he shouldn’t have had.

The cruel teasing and bullying that he’d put an end to in the most final of ways.

That there’d been five of them that had gone into the locker rooms, and only two, he and Simmons, that made it out…

No, Simmons didn’t seem to… let himself remember? Grif hadn’t understood what exactly the deal was with Simmons at that point. So-

So, yeah. They didn’t talk about it…

They-

Fuck- that was their problem, though, wasn’t it? From day one. The more important it was, the less they talked about it. The more they bullshitted, and bantered, and bitched.

Even when it ruined them, over and over.

And, over again.

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧


So… this… this was actually the second time Simmons had slept in his bed with him. But, with what had happened, the freaking circumstances surrounding the first time… And, the fact that Simmons didn’t even seem to remember what had happened. The fucked up tragic deal, OR the night they’d spent just wrapped in each other’s arms… all night… it didn’t feel like a situation you could gauge anything off of.

Other than that they both pretty obviously felt closer to each other than they admitted out loud, as they had automatically reached out to each other, and after what happened, they’d had that whole underlying ‘we only really want to be together, and fuck everyone else’ vibe going on.

Even if Simmons didn’t remember how or when that’d come about. And, even if he, sometimes, actively fought against it….

He, ultimately, couldn’t stay away from Grif anymore than Grif could stay away from him…

 

“Grif,” Simmons was looking into his eyes, looking quite a bit more awake. He was smiling a little, but, also, looking kinda uneasy, “You’re- you’re being like me. Zoning out, n’ stuff… What’s wrong? Is- Is s-something wrong?”

Did you change your mind about me? Did you remember how fucked in the head I am? How… How there’s something wr-wrong with me? Do you want me to… t-to go?-

Grif broke into Simmons’ frightened thoughts. He didn’t tell him what he’d wanted to say before he’d gotten lost in his memories of that night back in Basic… Didn’t declare some Japo Anime Love Confession… but…

“…Simmons, listen…,” he spoke slowly, as if trying to make sure it was clear, that Simmons understood, and believed it. Hell, maybe that he, himself, did, too…, “… it won’t always be like this. I mean, we won’t be stuck in this shithole forever… We were in Basic together so we’ve- we’ve got the same amount of time in…”

Simmons was looking a little confused, and Grif continued, “You know, you were saying how… it isn’t just us, but… our four years’ll be up at the same time, and we, uh, we can, ya know, we could get our- our own… What? What’s wrong? What the fuck, Simmons?! Getting the fuck outta here’s not supposed to make you sad! Look, dude, no matter how much you kiss Sarge’s ass, I know you didn’t choose to be here anymore than I did! I don’t understand how the fuck that happened, but… Will you… Do you wanna talk about… will you just tell me, already?”


Simmons winced. He hadn’t realized he’d been so transparent (Or, was Grif really able to read him that well? At least, when he was trying to…).

The redhead HAD gotten very sad at the realization of just how trapped he was. He had nowhere else to go, he was in fucking hiding here, apparently…

And, he didn’t know what they’d do to him and Richard if they could get their hands on them…

Son of a bitch.

Yes. It was Richard who had enlisted them… And, Grif was the only person who knew. Well, knew that Simmons hadn’t chosen to do it himself, anyway.

In a strange way, it was all coming full circle. But, this time was different, and for the first time, Grif was actually calling him out on the ‘not enlisting himself’ deal that, in a fit of anger and frustration, Simmons had let slip.

Grif’d let it slide before, and Simmons had tried to convince himself that he’d forgotten about it… but he should’ve known better. One thing the redhead had learned quite some time ago was that Grif rarely actually forgot.

Especially, if it was something to do with him.

Grif seemed to be able to retain information astoundingly well when he wanted to. He had surprised Simmons quite a few times with nonchalantly recalling things the redhead had said… remembering things he’d said he didn’t like to do, or watch, or eat, or things he DID like… Like the deal with the Reese’s, and Grif remembering that was Simmons’ favorite. It had to have been back in Basic that Grif had off-handedly asked about what the redhead’s favorite candy bar was… Although, technically, Reese’s wasn’t exactly in a bar form. I mean it could be, but he preferred the Big Cups, and Grif had even remembered THAT.

Was it weird that that kind of touched Simmons AND, uh… turned him on? Ummm… come on! It was just sorta… it felt like a big deal that Grif would have been bothering to remember the things he said. And, even, sometimes, when the Hawaiian had seemed like he was totally ignoring him, or half-napping through Simmons’ just talking to talk, like he did, once in a while to relieve tension when he was feeling nervous… sometimes…

It turned out that Grif had actually really been listening...

Or, at least, half-listening.

Retaining, anyway.

Like he gave a damn, or something… Because, Grif would never bother with that, unless, he did… It was kind of embarrassingly touching.

But, Simmons didn’t just get the good. Of course not. That wasn’t how life worked.

Grif didn’t only remember the things Simmons wanted him to remember, or didn’t mind him remembering.

No.

He, apparently, remembered what Simmons had most hoped, and convinced himself, he wouldn’t.

Simmons, still, couldn’t believe he’d been so goddamn sloppy about the whole enlisting thing. That he’d let his emotions get the best of him to that extent. And, about something so important. Something that could unveil the truth behind it all.

Hadn’t Richard told him how important it was that they not be recognized in any form?

Although, Simmons had to say that he was frankly pretty annoyed (He tried to convince himself he was ‘annoyed’, rather than fucking terrified), and he had two prevalent thoughts on the issue.

One, how would someone outside the Church, someone that wasn’t, or hadn’t been, affiliated with the Church he’d, they’d, grown up in, ever recognize them? He knew their father was a really big deal in the Church, but outside of it… not so much.

Richard was just being paranoid (He hoped. But, then, he really hadn’t been spotted, yet…)

And, Two, Why in the hell did Richard basically use their real name! If he was going to pull their hacker stuff without Simmons’ help (Even though that was more HIS specialty! Richard just NEVER let him help!), and get them in when they'd really still been 17, he could’ve at least enlisted them as something better than ‘Dick’ Simmons. Fuck! It was too damn close. It really, practically, WAS Simmons’ real name: Richard Simmons III. So, Richard had just dumped the Third, and named him a terrible, embarrassing name that Simmons had never been called in his life… Nice. He might as well have officially changed his name to ‘Richie’ if he was going to do such a shitty job hiding their real name. At least, then Simmons could’ve… could’ve been known by the only other name he’d… he’d… been called in his life, other than ‘Simmons’… Right? Was that… Was that right?...

God, but Richard had been so out of it when he’d done all that. In a fog. He’d, also, been damn sloppy. And, that wasn’t like him…

And, in turn, Simmons had been careless, as well. Getting angry, and accidently telling Grif… But, had it really been an accident? Or, had he subconsciously, been so desperate to trust someone, again, and… you could call Grif a lot of things, but when it really came down to it… when it mattered, you could… could trust him… But, then, if Simmons really thought that, he hadn’t done, and, currently, wasn’t doing, a very good job of trusting him, was he?

And, now, there they were, all this time later, and Grif was watching him silently, but steadily. Holding, cradling, really, the side of his face, now, in the palm of his large hand. The other pressed to the small of his back. So sweetly, but…

Like he wasn’t going to let Simmons wiggle outta this one. He hadn’t gotten the response he’d wanted when he talked about them getting outta the service together (And-and being together. Was that- that what he’d been saying?), and he, obviously, wanted to know why… And, he was focusing in on the enlistment debacle…

Simmons felt frustration start to fill him. Grif just didn’t get it! Him with his sister that loved him. That was waiting for him to come back home. While Simmons couldn’t even show his face, again, to the monsters he’d once called a family without getting locked up (If he was lucky.), or, maybe even, fucking disappeared! The closest friend he’d had growing up, and the one his br- the one Richard loved, HAD disappeared…

“Not- not all of us can just fucking leave when our time is up, Grif!,” Simmons choked out.

Grif, actually, grimaced at the raw agony, the absolute misery in Simmons’ voice.

“Baby-,” he started to placate.

“NO!,” Simmons snapped, “You don’t get it! You don’t get it, at all! Not all of us have somewhere to go, dammit! Or, are even safe to go back-”

“Simmons. Quit it,” Grif shut him up. Kissed him over and over to just shut him up. Roughly pulling him halfway overtop him, as he pressed Simmons’ slim body down flush against his own.

Grif should’ve listened to the rest of what he was saying. He knew that later. It was something that would always bother him. Fucking haunt him. Another thing to keep him up at night.

To think that, maybe… he could have heard it, maybe even it ALL, all the way back then, from him… At least, he could’ve heard some of it anyway… instead of having to end up hearing it secondhand from someone else in such a fucking tabloid fashion…

If only, instead of getting Simmons to shut up, he would have shut up, and listened a little longer...

After all, it was when the redhead was upset, that he let the real shit come out. Maybe, it really ALL would’ve come out…

And, also… later, after the ‘sleepover’, and after… so many other things… it really would still eat at him. Thinking about how that night he’d almost told him that he loved him. How for just a moment, he’d come so close to quitting with all the constantly emotionally stunted bullshit. With calling it “chick feelings” like a prick, because he was too pussy to deal with it. With how fucking confused and freaked out he was about feeling something so real, so strong.

Like he’d never felt before. Not like this…

Fuck… maybe… maybe, if Grif would’ve had the balls to tell him that, Simmons would’ve trusted him enough to tell him what the fuck was going on right then and there.

And, maybe, everything could’ve happened differently…

But… there were always maybe’s and what if’s.

Kira’d been right. She’d told him one day he’d “really” love someone, and he’d know the difference. Between loving someone, and being in love with someone. At that moment, he did know, but he was still too immature, and lost about it all. Still too afraid of being rejected to take a chance.

But… there was something else… he couldn’t stand Simmons saying he had nowhere to go. Like he was a fucking so lovely, but lost pet with no home. It was DISGUSTING. How could anyone… Simmons was a pain in the ass, sure. But, he was smart, and a fuckin’ funny goofball when he’d ever chill out, which, true, wasn’t often, and, yeah, he really WAS a nerd, but didn’t rich-ass parents like that shit?

Cause, yeeaaah. You better believe, Grif knew Simmons came from money. No one could be that picky, and prissy, about the food put in front of them unless they’d never had to worry about there being any, at all. Or, they’d never had to scrounge to figure out how the fuck to put food on the table...

Simmons broke their kiss this time. Resting his forehead against Grif’s. Not opening his eyes.

Before he could speak, Grif told him, very matter-a-factly… It just popped the fuck outta his damn mouth, but, son of a bitch, he mother fuckin’ meant it, “Wherever I go, you go, Got it?”


And, Simmons actually whimpered, as he buried his face down into Grif’s neck.

Fuck. He was such an emotional weak-ass wreck, but-

Nevertheless, he wanted that.

So goddamn much.

But…

He struggled to put it into words.

“You… Grif… you, really, don’t know me that well… There could be… terrible, messed up… just strange things about me… that you… don’t even know… You could… you could end up really h-hating me,” Simmons mumbled, his voice breaking on that word. The thought of Grif actually truly hating him… (Like… like his father had.) turning on him... (Like his mother had.) It was horrifically painful.

I-I don’t want you to hate me, the redhead cried out, internally, but… I… I don’t want you to hate him, either.


Grif looked at him. Rubbing a hand comfortingly up and down his long, lean back.

And, he thought.

He thought about this deal between them that neither of them could ever put into words…

He thought of how much they BOTH sucked at “communicating”…

And… And, he thought about Simmons’ OtherSimmons/AssholeSimmons side that they never really talked about… cause hell, speakin’ of “communicating”, as said before, if there was one thing they both really did fuckin’ suck at, it was actually talking about the shit that mattered

And, it seemed that wasn’t going to change any time soon, as Grif couldn’t seem to help but nuzzle into Simmons’ hair, and tease, “Ooo, a real man a mystery, huh? That’s some spooky shit, dude. You gonna kill me in my sleep, or somethin’?”

Simmons snorted softly, and Grif felt him start to relax against him, again, “Shut up, dumbass.”

“Look, man,” Grif went on, “I know plenty about you.” Maybe not everything, but, probably, more than you think, he thought, but didn’t say. Instead, he assured, “Anyway, you’re fine…,” but, then, he was smiling craftily at him, “… you’re very, super fine. Right, Simmons?”

“No! Stop- Idiot! Don’t- Don’t make fun-,” Simmons kept his face buried down under Grif’s chin, into his neck to hide his embarrassment. Had he- Had he actually said something like that? Curse Grif, and his fucking amazing memory!

Before Simmons could say anything else, he felt Grif’s hand cupping the back of his head, pressing him close. He thought that, maybe… maybe, he was just being affectionate or something, but, then, Grif was softly asking, “Hey, Simmons?”

And, when Simmons tried to pull back to look at him, he wouldn’t let him. He just pressed him even closer…

Of course, this made Simmons a little ornery, so he started to huff irritably at him-

But, then, Grif was continuing… In such a stilted manner that Simmons who, sometimes, felt like the crowned King of Social Awkwardness, had to shut up and take notice…, “Simmons,” he tried, again, “You wanna, uh… hang out, or… some shit… tomorrow?”

Simmons found himself frowning into Grif’s neck in confusion. Hang… out…? Wasn’t that what they were doing, right then? Wasn’t that, -when it really came down to it-, what they did like every single day? What precisely did Grif mean-

“Asshole,” Grif cut into his musings, “I can actually feel you overheating and melting your fucking brain. I mean… C’mon, dude! Don’t make me have to say every-fucking-thing- Fuck it. You know, and I know, that you have to have pre-planned every mother fucking thing into your goddamn day-planner to ‘count it as a successful endeavor’, so-”

Simmons squeaked very loudly, and completely wordlessly.


(Such a pretty wittle mousie.)

And, Grif released him by sheer instinct. After all, a little mousie (Why’d he keep thinking of him in those terms? Like a… fucking pet, or something? This dude was bringing out some strange kinks in him.), rather pretty or not, could have sharp teeth. Simmons had already proven that to be true…

But, he really couldn’t spend any more time thinking about that, at the moment, as Simmons had pulled back, to hover over him, all wide eyes, and flushed cheeks, to stammer, “’Su-Successful endeavor’… G-Grif! Are you- you talking about scheduling in us having- uh… you-you know…”

“Pfft. Nooo…,” Grif rolled his eyes, but… then, looked up at Simmons a little uncertainly, “…Maybe?,” He could swear he’d said that to the Kissass before, in some form or fashion… Whatever. He went on, “Look, man. This is YOU, I’m dealing with here. I’m trying to… I dunno… work with you, or some crap… I guess…”

“I can’t believe- Would I p-pencil that i-in- or-or…,” Simmons seemed to want to sound snarky, but he just sounded nervous.

“Ah, c’mon, Simmons. We’ll just hang out n’ see what happens-”

And, if the possibility of them doing something was already on the table, Simmons could be better mentally prepared, and more able to actually do it… Right? Made sense to Grif-

“Griiifff! I can’t- I’ll go cr- fucking nuts between now and then!,” Simmons cried out, smacking weakly at Grif’s chest.

That made Grif smile teasingly, and start to pull him back down to him, “Want me that bad, huh?”

“NO!,” Simmons yelped.

Well, THAT got Grif to stop pulling him down on top of him to frown at him, instead, “Well, fuck you too, asshole-”

“SHUT UP! You’re, YOU’RE the asshole!,” Simmons demanded resolutely… but he still covered his face with both hands, and lowered his head to burrow into and hide in comforting Grif man-boob like a total pussy, “It’ll drive me up the wall if I KNOW exactly when we’re going to-to, uhhh… and-and, then, how can I get anything done if I’m worrying about THAT, and-”

“Yeah, yeah. Still pretty sure you’re the asshole in this scenario, though, Simmons,” Grif muttered nonchalantly into Simmons’ hair as his fingers trailed down his spine.

Simmons shivered. Fuck. What was that saying? ‘Just between us pigeons’? What’d that even mean? Well, whatever the case, just between himself, and those flying rats? He, uh, loved the feel of Grif’s hands on him… Oh, wait… it was chickens, not pigeons-

And, then, Grif chuckled to himself like he thought Simmons didn’t totally get what he’d meant by his whole ‘you’re the asshole in this scenario’ thing, and he hadn’t just been distracting himself because he was... Well, shit! He was nervous, alright! HE hadn’t done… anything… other than what he and Grif had done so far, and-and…

But, damn that bastard! Simmons wasn’t THAT naïve, anymore, dammit! Just cause he hadn’t, personally, done… ya know… a lot of things… didn’t mean he didn’t KNOW about them!

But, despite that, despite the knowing, that didn’t really help his nerves… And, the thought, the very THOUGHT of hours upon hours of squirming uncomfortably in his armor…

Physically excited, but mentally freaked out of his mind in nearly equal degrees...

He’d blow a frickin’ fuse!

Seriously, even thinking of it got him SO insanely nervous-

And, panicked-

And… anxious…

And-

Oh, SHIT! And, he was a goddamn IDIOT!

Because what precisely happened, here or there throughout the day, but nearly always happened without fail when he tripped the fuck out way too frickin’ hard? When he let himself get overwhelmingly anxious?

Let’s all say it together, boys n’ girls!

Well, hi there, Richard!

Yep. Sure, enough. Simmons forgetting himself, and his particular situation… and, getting so incredibly worked the hell up, had caused Richard to wake right the hell up.

Although, he wasn’t really entirely awake, so to speak. And, consequently, his mind was way more open to Simmons than it normally was.

But… the good news was that, despite Simmons being a bundle of nerves, the atmosphere must have still proven to be chill enough to keep Richard in his relaxed, peaceful state of mind…

But, WAIT! Scratch that whole that being good news thing!

Cause the atmosphere, was, also, uh, a little… ya know… And, with how incredibly sensitive Richard, in particular, seemed to be to certain sounds, and, even tastes, and… scents… and considering that there were probably still, erm… S.E.X. pheromones from all of Grif and Simmons’ kissing, and nipping, and biting, and pressing all up against each other… pr-probably they were still hanging over them like a heavy, thick… cloud, and-

Holy hell. Simmons wasn’t sure he was making sense, anymore.

But, whatever the case, Richard, who was STILL so out of it, who still, obviously, thought Grif was Jimmy… Fuck. He really WAS losing his marbles. What the hell did the two of them have in common other than dark hair that wasn’t the same shade? And, both being shorter than he and Richard (But, Grif was still a few inches taller than- than Jimmy!)… And, both being naturally lazy.

Alright. THAT was a common point. But, that was it!

Regardless, Richard, who really, normally, wasn’t Grif’s biggest fan, seemed to still be lulled, into, um, well…

Oh, no. This was not good. This was not-

[Richard, don’t you fucking dare-” Simmons tried to forcefully demand within the privacy of their head, “Richard! Dumbass! I’m HERE, and we’re not with- he’s NOT-”]

But, Richard wasn’t paying attention. He seemed… stoned or drunk or- Shit. He’d taken on the physical repercussions of the booze, hadn’t he? That’s why Simmons didn’t really feel it, at all, anymore.

Fuck!

And, Richard had already been fucked in the head from the deal earlier, too!

On top of the sensitivities to certain things, Richard, also, had strange physical reactions to a lot of things. He could nearly get wasted on cough medicine. Which was odd, as Simmons was SURE he didn’t used to be like th-…

But, what was Simmons thinking? There was no “he didn’t used to be”. That didn’t make any sense.

R-Right?

Oh, his head was a fuckin’ mess. But, he couldn’t think about that, now.

He had more important things to worry about.

Like why, WHHHY, was Richard so much stronger than him?! So completely able to take over whenever he damn well pleased-

Like, right then! At that very moment! Completely taking over their physical body- But, being distracted enough to have mostly blocked out Simmons, so Richard thought he wasn’t, currently, around, BUT not actually having done whatever he usually did to send Simmons -elsewhere- away…

Goddammit! Simmons’ consciousness was like a bird locked in a cage. Flitting about in search of an opening…

And, he felt Richard shift a bit up, all while settling more heavily down onto Grif… Knees moving up, so while his (their!) head might have still been resting on Grif’s chest, they were, now, basically straddling him, or in Richard’s point of view, holding him down.

Oh, for fuck’s sake! Did Richard just have to bring him and Jimmy’s kinks into this… misunderstanding?


Grif had felt Simmons shift. Such a slight movement in the larger scheme of things, but it was like… like his entire body was, suddenly, speaking a different language.

Shit, that sounded so lame, but it was TRUE!

As someone who grew up raising Kai, who LOVED the ancient Disney octopus witch villain cause she said the line that, according to Sister, was her adopted (And, oft-repeated, -hip-rolling, booty shaking n’ all-, God have frickin’ mercy on his soul.) motto: “And, don't underestimate the importance of ‘body language’”…

Yeah, he’d heard it enough to freaking GET. IT.

Simmons wasn’t simply on top of him, anymore, he was on top of him. Hands twisting into the fabric of his shirt like he was planning on actually ripping it off of him. Pressing rough, but steady, and… could you say assertive when talking about kissing?... kisses up his clothed chest, up to his bare neck-

Too unexpectedly confident. Too naturally dominant.

Not, at all, like Simmons.

Without any of the underlying sweet submissiveness, and naiveté that came out, sometimes, when they were alone. Without an inkling of that inexperience and just raw innocence that mixed perfectly together with his hunger for knowledge and perfection in all his “endeavors”, and hidden underneath all his bullshit bitchiness and asshole cocky smart-assedness… That when added all together secretly drove Grif crazy, and made him wanna watch out for him, and just make him his.

And, then… there was the way Simmons had looked up at him when Grif had had him underneath him. Those big, bright green eyes seeing nothing but him. Like there was no one else he could ever want...

Where was any of that, now? Where was HIS Sim-

“Hmmm… Missed you,” the man atop him nearly growled into Grif’s ear.

And, Grif’s heart fucking sunk.

Cause that was not a sexy, cute Simmons growl.

And, in that very moment, for the first time, before he blocked out the thought, and refused to accept it for a while longer, Grif truly realized and had to acknowledge that that was NOT Simmons’ voice, at all.

Yeah, he realized it was Other-, better known as, AssholeSimmons alright, and, sure, sometimes (MOST of the time.), he sounded similar to the nerd, -like he was using a Simmons voice modulator, or some shit-, but, other times, like right then… he sounded like an entirely different person that just happened to be borrowing His Simmons’ body.

Not like just another side to Simmons himself, but like his own separate-

Grif was about to say something… something… to him. Fuck knows what… But, he had to say some shit, cause this felt… different.

Fucking crazy good, yes, but…

Wrong.

Like he was with someone else.

But, as he opened his mouth to speak, Grif was taking in a startled, strangled gasp of air, instead, as AssholeSimmons started biting marks into his neck. Much rougher than Simmons or he had used their teeth on each other. Not actually breaking the skin or anything, but… what the hell was going on… it was undeniably hot, although, considering the situation, Grif didn’t want to admit that. Oh, but, it was intense.

And, all while his fingers, those long, slender fingers, whispered over his skin, and into his hair. So gentle, so soothing in the wake of every possessive sharp mark nipped, and bit, and sucked into his skin… you’d almost have to call it tender.

In such stark contrast to his mouth and teeth on Grif’s neck, his shoulder, beneath his chin...

The whole thing was so aggressive, yet, strangely sweetly passionate… but, also, rife with such... familiarity.

And, a different kind of familiarity than the one that always surrounded Grif and Simmons whenever they took any step forward in this… thing… they had with each other.

Grif couldn’t seem to get a word out. He’d start to say something, then, stop. Try again. Stop.

This AssholeSimmons dude didn’t seem to find that odd at all. But, totally normal.

He was completely in control. Completely confident.

It was a total mind-fuck.

Grif’d say the fucker was trying to seduce him, but it so DID have that underlying familiarity that translated into the feeling that… that the dude was simply doing something he’d done many, many times before with someone so very preciou-

Wait! What the fuck did that mean!

Grif’s so-hated, yet, uncontrollable jealousy was about to spike thru the goddamn roof, when AssholeSimmons, -Oh, it was SO him. Grif was beyond sure of it… But… he was still… Simmons… in a way… Right? Or… but, how could he not be…?-, muttering something too low to be heard, but in a tone that was undeniably persuasive, and just so not Simmons, BIT down onto Grif’s collarbone. Harder than before, and Grif gasped all startled n’ crap, sounding like a total fucking chick

Jesus. This was just getting embarrassing.


Holy shit. Simmons had to wonder if THIS was where he’d picked up the biting. Was there some subconscious kinda ‘this is normal foreplay’ thing in the back of his head, because Richard and Jimmy had been secret kinky sons a bitches? So, Simmons had had all these subliminal messages that had told him that this was how it all works?

And, Richard had dared to yell at HIM about biting Grif earlier! That seemingly kinky (More than seemingly when you considered the images that were flashing through their head at the moment. The biting was SO the tip of the iceberg. Ah, geez…) son of a bitch had no right to talk!

Simmons was, somehow or another, blushing like a fire hydrant in their frickin’ head.

So bizarre.

But, he wasn’t just embarrassed.

Oh, no.

He. Was. So. Pissed.

He knew Richard was fucked in his (Their? Dammit, this shit really could get confusing.) head, at the moment, but he needed to get the hell off Simmons’ guy, right NOW. Because Grif was HIS, and Grif wasn’t Jimmy, and, sure, Richard had strange reactions to things, and it seemed like the booze had got to him, somehow, -Typical Richard. Instinctively taking on everything. Like Simmons was such a child that he couldn’t even handle being drunk, or the inevitable (But, not for him! Not with Richard around to shield him from everythng.) hangover-, but STILL.

What was wrong with Richard that he was THIS mixed up?

Simmons was trying to get through to him, but Richard evidently couldn’t hear his distressed thoughts, and he really, honestly, had no clue Simmons was even THERE, at all.

Although, Simmons could certainly hear his thoughts.

Thoughts Richard was right about to let spill out of THEIR lips into GRIF’S ear!

And, in that familiar, yet, seldom heard voice that Richard rarely let himself use (But, he already had- He already had! With the ‘Hmmm… Missed you’ thing…)…

Holy… whoa… Richard wasn’t shielding his thoughts even a little bit, and Simmons could really hear him…

[Raven… my good boy… Fuckin’ want you, sweet baby… Love you so much, Jimmy…]

FuckFuckFuck! If he said those things out loud to Grif…

And, in that voice…

No, no, no, no! And, Hell, No!

Richard was running the flat of their tongue wetly, teasingly, over Grif’s adam’s apple, and-

-This was NOT happening. This HAD to be a dream-

And, Grif went to raise his hand up to touch their face.

But, then, Richard was, instantly, moving. Grabbing, manacling Grif's wrists, one, then the other, and so rapidly shoving them, holding them, down beside the other man's head.

Grif grunted a little in surprise, and went to move up... Then, he was looking kinda dazed, like he couldn’t wrap his head around this… but, worst of all, underneath all that, he seemed almost… thoughtful

Because, Richard, that idiot! He’d just up, and gave away one of their secrets! One of the things that made them, obviously, different than a regular oddball. He’d leaned slightly more forward. Truly, and effortlessly pinning Grif down.

And, Grif let out a little, slightly confused groan. He appeared to be sorta blown away by the so sudden evidence of the switch.

And, look. Grif WAS strong. Could he break free? Sure. But, he’d have to actually truly exert some effort (Sure you can imagine how interested he was in doing THAT.), and the Simmons he had always known just simply DID NOT have this amount of physical strength. With his build, he didn’t even seem physically capable of having it…

Oh, great!, Simmons thought, And, now, Grif had to be wondering, -maybe only absently, at the moment, as he was a bit… distracted-, about how the hell Simmons could, at times, be physically stronger than other times-

Distracted. Yes, he was quite distracted, wasn’t he?

Simmons wished he could slap the hell outta him. How big of an idiot was he! Was he just going to go along with this? Did Grif think Richard was simply going to let him fuck him? Or, um… you know… that he’d… ride him, or something?

Simmons wanted to shriek at him, Richard isn’t ME, dumbass! If anything, he’ll try to fuck YOU!

And, then, knowing Richard, he’d, likely, start to strangle him when he finally realized Grif wasn’t his beloved little Jimmy who, let’s be real here, when Simmons could actually start to remember things? Was absolutely the only one Richard wanted to be with, -and loved with a fiery, insane fervor-, at all.

Richard’s head was so filled with Jimmy. And, it was so embarrassingly filled with memories of weeks, and months, and years of painful, beautiful, forbidden love, and wild, hot, pretty damn kinky in Simmons’ opinion, secretly lust-filled days and nights... And, all it needed was weeping violins, intertwined with a sexy porno soundtrack-

And, it was RICHARD, and Simmons’ old childhood best friend JIMMY, and the things they were doing were none of Simmons’ business (That’d been the agreement! He didn’t want to really know anything about all this!), and-and-and get him outta these memories, already, before he was scarred for life!

Oh no, and, now, Richard was about to like really kiss Grif. On the mouth. And, Simmons couldn’t tell you why that was SO much worse, but it just WAS. This all seemed to be happening in slow-motion, but it was, actually, progressing at a pretty decent pace…

And…

Simmons had no choice. He didn’t want to, but it was the only way. When Richard was this unreachable…

It wasn’t that it was HARD. But, just…

Risky.

And, he piped out, out loud, but mother fuck, Fuck It, “Hey, yeah. W-We’re hanging out, right? So, remember to be fair, and, ya know, uh…”

And, it was so frustrating to not get to just SAY it.

WHY couldn’t it be like it had been back with Jimmy? (Of course, considering Simmons refused to tell Grif the deal with Richard, that was probably his fault.) Where it was just not that big a deal.

Cause had this happened before? Richard being out of it, and pulling some crap? But, back when it’d been Simmons and Jimmy hanging out (Although, much more innocently.), rather than Simmons and Grif?

I mean, maybe… sorta…

Oh, fuck it. He couldn’t lie to himself worth a shit.

Of course, it had.

At Jimmy’s Residence: In The Years Prior…


Simmons might not have been, or wanted to be, involved in that part of their life together, but that didn’t mean there hadn’t been… incidents… Cause fine. Maybe, Simmons was just secretly, -so, sooo secretly-, a cuddly ass son of a bitch by nature. (But, literally, only with one, -well, okay, TWO, now-, people in his entire life. He, strangely enough, really didn’t want anyone else touching him, in general...) And, sometimes, him and Jimmy had just curled up together, and watched a movie, or told secrets…

Holy fuck. Richard was right. They really HAD acted like a coupla sisters...

But, anyway, every once in a while, Richard had started to wake up, and half-asleep he’d pull something like this.

Saying something that was… you know… (Mmm… Raven… Comere… ) and running their hand over to his hip… squeezing, and starting to pull him closer… Oh for fuck sake, so goddamn embarrassing. But, Simmons had, instantly, been able to react, to SPEAK, because it hadn’t been a secret with Jimmy, and- and it had never gotten this far. Not even close.

Cause Simmons would just roll his (Suddenly, their) eyes, and bitch at him, right out loud, -it seemed like it had to be out loud in a time like that for some reason-, saying things like, “Richard! Go back to sleep”, and “Quit being such a you-know-what”, and “Me and Jimmy are hanging out, right now-”

To be fair, despite the oddness of the situation, it really hadn’t taken much more than that.

And, Richard would hum tiredly… sometimes, he might brush his (Their, at the moment, but Richard was, apparently, still too outta it to realize that.) lips over Jimmy’s temple, or cheek… Sometimes, he’d take his hand, and press a sleepy kiss into his palm… and, sometimes, he’d even lowly murmur, “Love you, sweet baby”… but, then, he’d simply go -not elsewhere- back to sleep.

Still very, very close, but resting.

And, Simmons would look at Jimmy, and state, “He’s SUCH a cheesy perv.”

Jimmy would giggle, and murmur (more to himself than Simmons it seemed) something along the lines of, “You have no idea…” but, then, in answer to Simmons’ inevitable “Ewww”, the smaller boy would, blushing, declare, “But, I like it.”

And, Simmons would wrinkle his nose, announcing to the room at large, loud and clear, “Gross”.

And, then, of course, they’d have a giggly slap fight, because, Jesus Christ, they really were a couple a’ girly-ass-

❇ ❇ ❇ ❇❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇ ❇


Or… they really HAD been a couple a’…

*Sigh* Oh, great. Now, on top of everything, he was starting to get all depressed.

What an emotional rollercoaster of a night.

But… it DID work, though. Although, Richard seemed grouchy about it, he sighed in annoyance, relaxed his grip on Grif’s wrists… then, slowly, released him. He couldn’t seem to refrain from leaning back to pat Grif’s (Jimmy’s, to his mind…) upper chest affectionately, though.

Poor Grif was looking up at him (them) with the most lost, what the actual fuck? look on his face…

And, Richard sat up on Grif’s soft belly-

All Simmons could think was-

How! Hooowww! Simmons thought it in such intense frustration that Richard was, nonetheless, completely oblivious to. Simmons decided that “Dream Grif”, or whatever, had been right. Richard wasn’t very sane, anymore. He HAD to be close to the edge. (Why wouldn’t he just TALK to Simmons? Stop trying to hide everything… And, let him help! Simmons wanted to HELP!) How could Richard possibly mistake Grif and Jimmy? With how lean, and small, and like a fricking beautiful china doll, -even Simmons had to admit it, and he would’ve felt sorry for him, if he wasn’t pretty sure that, unlike Simmons, Jimmy liked being so girlishy attractive-, or a “pretty little pixie” as Richard had teasingly called him, at times… With how Jimmy had always been so small-boned, and slight… and short, even compared to Grif… How could Richard… What?! Did he think he was sitting on a goddamn pillow, rather than a lazy man’s pudgy tummy!

Richard cut into Simmons' tumultuous thoughts as he muttered grouchily to them (In his voice, in HIS own voice!), eyelids heavy and so sleepy-looking, “Well, don’t take all night.”

But, then, he grinned a little, and, he stretched. Body ridiculously languid, and relaxed.


Grif couldn’t take his eyes off him. Goddammit. He was so fricking hot, it was almost absurd. Even hotter cause… to see that too pretty face, and that so sexy body all chill… He wished…, -in that singular moment, secretly, for the first time, SO fucking getting it, that His Simmons and Other/AssholeSimmons were SO separate, like two different people, somehow sharing the same body-, he just wished he could see His Simmons like that…

He could see the second it was entirely His Simmons, again. He saw the Kissass have what, practically, amounted to a whole body flinch, before his shoulders slumped, and he rested his hands, shakily, down onto Grif’s chest. Plucking a bit at his shirt. Looking down at his fidgety hands, and refusing to meet Grif’s eyes.

Grif saw his own hand come up to span Simmons’ side, his ribcage. He hadn’t realized he was going to do that. And, he, seriously, didn’t have a clue what to say. But… well…

He realized he was blinking a little too much. All slow, and continuous like he was goddamn shell-shocked or something. Which was fucking dumb… It… hadn’t been that big a deal… I mean, it wasn’t the first time he’d dealt with-with… Other/AssholeSimmons… But, never like THAT.

Holy fuck. And, now, he felt guilty. Like he should’ve said something… Been the one to stop it…

Simmons shifted nervously on top of him, “I… I n-need to go… I should g-”

“Simmons. Stop that shit.” His voice was harsh.

But, son of a bitch. He had no patience for that bullshit. He really couldn’t give a fuck what crazy crap Simmons (And, AssholeSimmons.) threw at him at this point. He could deal. As long as they… were together

But, there was Simmons. Wanting to run the fuck away like a goddamn pussy whenever things got hard-

“Comere,” And, Grif was leaning up some to wrap his arms around his back, and slowly pulling him back down on top of him. Holding him so very tightly. Too tight for him to escape…

Feeling him tremble in his arms.

Simmons still keeping his face a few inches away from him.

His beautiful green eyes so wide, so… so afraid

And, Grif was cupping a hand to the back of his neck, pulling him even closer…

And, pressing their lips together, again. Feeling Simmons’ lips quiver against his. And, he was whispering, “Kiss me, Simmons.”

Purposely saying his name. Because it was him he wanted. Maybe, he’d gotten a little caught off guard by… by that whole deal. Maybe, even a little turned on… Which was a trip cause he’d never been the switching type. But, regardless, that son of a bitch had KNOWN what he was doing, and… Grif was going to have to think about what the fuck that meant exactly… AssholeSimmons seeming all “experienced” or… just not like His Simmons. He wasn't sure about the implications of that…

But, fuck it. It didn’t matter, right now. Well, it DID, but… not as much as getting this thing with him and Simmons figured out. He wasn’t going to just let it all go to shit, cause of something (This weird as hell deal with AssholeSimmons.) that he’d basically already pretty much known about…

His lips traveled all over Simmons’ face, and as he nibbled away at his ear, he found himself asking (Cause, man, this would be so much easier if he could understand exactly what the hell was up…), “So you’re gonna tell me, now… Right?”

He was, once again, in total denial about just how f’d the situation really was. But, he couldn’t help but feel that if it was all out in the open, they could figure everything out.


Grif’s words were SO damn close, almost identical to what “Dream Grif” had said that Simmons let out a frightened little cry, and swiftly sat back up on Grif’s lower belly.

Just to pinch the FUCK outta his own forearm.

“Ah-ow!,” he cried out. High-pitched and surprised, as if even he hadn’t expected himself to do it.

“What the- no pinching, dipshit!,” For once, Grif was the one exclaiming the words, and he wasn’t even the one doing the pinching. Weird, “Why the hell did you-”

“I’m trying to see if this is still a dr-,” Simmons started to answer quickly, but, then, blushing, he cut himself off.

“A dream? Dude, what the fuck are you talking about?,” Grif’s brow, which was furrowed in confusion, suddenly cleared, and he smirked playfully, “You been dreaming about me, hmmm? That what had you all worked up when we were messing around earlier?”

Simmons’ mouth dropped open.

“N-No!,” he sputtered.

“Don’t believe you, dude-,” Grif started to tease, but he fell silent at the look of absolute unadulterated FURY that was creeping over those pretty features.

“Simmons, chill-,” he started up, again. Much more cautiously this time.

“NO!,” the redhead yelled it this time, enraged, as he slammed his fist down onto the bed beside them, “I’m not gonna ‘chill’! Nothing’s chill! You-you aren’t ever supposed- supposed to kn- FuckFuckFUCK! I bet you LOVE this! More shit to fuck with me about-”

“Jesus. Come on, man. It’s cool. I got plenty a’ stuff to fuck with you about already… So… ya know, some stuff… we can just keep to ourselves, or… whatever.”


Simmons stared down at him. Breathing heavily, looking like he was unsure of what the hell to do, now.

(Because Grif can’t know… He can never know!... Why had Richard done this! And, now, there he was, sleeping, again. Enjoying the peaceful, soothing rest of the blameless… Asshole!)


Grif gave the fuck up, and sat the fuck up. Just grabbing ahold of Simmons, and holding onto him as he scooted them over to the edge of the bed. The Kissass was about to really lose his shit, and Grif had other, better plans. Nicer ways they could spend their time.

“St-Stop! What- Why- What’re you doing? A-Are you kicking me out?,” Simmons stammered, going from angry to upset within mere seconds.

“Just shut up, Kissass. We’re eating, already,” Grif grunted, reaching out to pull the picnic basket, of sorts, closer.

“Eat-Eating?”

You’d think he’d never heard the word.

“Yeah, ‘eating’. What?.” Grif grinned easily at him, “Thought you could get rid of me that easily, huh?”

Easily? But-But, I-”

“C’mon, Simmons, quit being such a pain in the ass,” Grif scowled. He didn’t know about Simmons, but as far as HE was concerned? It was the perfect time to forget about all the stressful shit, stuff his face, and take a goddamn nap.

“I-,” Confused by the turn of events, Simmons turned to what he knew… and pouted, “I’m not hungry.”

“Hey, bitch. Don’t make me hold you down n’ stuff your ass-”

Oh, the nerd got SO squirmy, and Red Team Red, in his arms. Grif frowned a little in confusion… then, realized what he’d said… oops…, “Uh, that’s not what I meant…,” But, he couldn’t quit with messing with him. If he was gonna have to deal with such odd-ass crap from Simmons, the Kissass would have to just learn to deal with Grif’s irrepressible mouth, “I mean, that’s for tomorrow, right?”

“T-Tomorrow,” Poor Simmons was just clinging to him, frozen in shock at this point, still in his lap with his hands fisted weakly into Grif’s shirt, now, “You- I don’t under- you still want to- with ME?”

“Why wouldn’t I?,” Grif asked, curiously, brushing Simmons’ shiny hair back out of his face.

“Why wouldn’t-,” Simmons was obviously flabbergasted.

“You just gonna keep repeating me, or you gonna eat?” Grif raised a dark brow in question.

“I-I ate. I don’t need a second dinner. I’m not you, Grif,” His words might’ve sounded snarky, but his voice was meek, “I want- I just wanna go to sleep.”

Before Grif could protest that he hadn’t ate shit. Not for a grown-ass man. He wasn’t a mother fucking kid- Simmons continued uncertainly, “D-Don’t nag me… I have so much to do in the morning! And, if we’re going to… to, uh… um, spend time together… tomorrow n-night-,” Grif had to cut him off to kiss those, once again, ridiculously red cheeks.

“Sure you don’t wanna bite or two?,” Grif murmured, running a hand up the Kissass’ slim thigh,- just below where his boxers fell-, that wasn’t covered in fabric, but, instead, creamy skin, and so pale, hardly noticeable soft hair, “Doesn’t seem like you to turn down peanut butter-”


Simmons shivered slightly, then, smacked Grif’s hand away. The dumbass just laughed.

But, Simmons wasn’t amused.

They had an itinerary! A plan! Now, that he thought about it, he totally needed prior notice before they, uh… ya know. Especially, with what a pervy pig Grif was. (And, with what a secret horn-dog Simmons was. But, that wasn’t anybody’s business!) They-They could really end up going-g-go-going “all the way” (Oh my fuck, he was gonna faint.), and Simmons had to be mentally, -and, erm, otherwise-, prepared!… Simmons knew enough to know THAT! And, THAT wasn’t the kind of thing you just jumped into doing with no… no, um… And, he had to figure out how to keep Richard at bay… Just asking for some alone time, and NOT having a complete nervous breakdown should be enough…

Still, in regards to the food (Oh, thank f’n Christ! Something else to think, -bitch-, about!)- Simmons’ famous scowl appeared without him even summoning it (But, then, he normally didn’t have to.), “You didn’t say anything about peanut butter at first, asshole! What were you trying to hoard it all to yourself?”

Grif simply chuckled lowly (He SO had mentioned the peanut butter, earlier. Simmons just loved to bitch n' moan about every-damn-thing.), and put the basket, -that he’d set aside before he’d manhandled the redhead into his lap the first time-, beside them.

He liked how Simmons could be persuaded into things he was grouchy about (And, this was Simmons, so he was bitchy about most everything at first by natural inclination.) if he actually did like them. It bode well for their future sex life… But… Grif had to really pull out all the stops tomorrow, and make sure not to scare him off. Make sure he liked it- no, loved it. After all, Grif didn’t plan on only getting to do it with him once. (Or only twice… or, only a dozen times… Nope. Not nearly enough.)

Fuck. He hoped he remembered everything. All the little tricks. It’d been a while. But, it was like riding a bike, right?

He tried not to think about the fact that he sucked at riding a bike.

Dammit.

No. Sex wasn’t the same! It wasn’t like he’d had an experienced bike-rider show him the ropes, like with-

Holy fuck. He was getting nervous, too.

This was Simmons. This felt different.

Important.

Like he couldn’t half-ass this. He couldn’t fuck this up. He had to-

Griiifff!!!,” Simmons squeaked, “If you get crumbs in my hair, I’m gonna punch you right in the face!”

Huh? What the hell was he talking about?

Grif looked down at Simmons. Looked at his own hand.

What the-

Jesus Christ… He’d pulled out a sandwich, opened it, and was eating it (Mmm… blackberry jelly, and, yes, somehow, it did have honey, too. Yum.) right overtop Simmons, who’d, at some point, rested his head down onto Grif’s chest.

All without even realizing he’d done any of it.

Stress eating at its best.

Grif, a little (surprisingly) guiltily, and not nearly as reluctantly as would be expected, offered some of the sandwich to the redhead.

And, all when he coulda simply given Simmons his own, and NOT shared.

Hmph. Yeah… it was official. Grif realized that he must really love this nerd. He could count the amount of people that he’d so willingly shared food with, right outta his own hand, on two, now, fingers. Kai, of course, -brat needed to be reminded, and practically forced, to eat when she was on a booze binge-, and… the hot, but always on the verge of too skinny, little nerd.

Simmons gave him a look. A ‘what the fuck are you shoving that in my face for’ look.

“Hey, Baby,” Grif smirked, “If I got ‘cooties’, I already gave ‘em to you.”

“Oh, Shut. Up. After this we ARE going to bed. To sleep. Some of us are productive members of the team, and have a busy schedule! Ya know, like actual work to do in the morning n’ stuff,” Simmons sniped, but he took a bite.

The prissiest, baby bite ever.

Of all time.

“Yeah, yeah. Bitch, bitch, bitch,” Grif mumbled after pulling the sandwich back to take another healthy, man-sized bite.

He needed his sustenance. And, his sleep. Kissass was right about that.

After all, if Grif had his way, Simmons wasn’t gonna be the only one that had a busy day (Or, night.) tomorrow…

Chapter Text

“…You goddamn traitor!”

“RICHARD!,” the smaller boy yelped out, horror-struck, “The Lord’s name!”

Richard scoffed, “Seriously, Jimmy? If I’m a perv demon, or something, why would that matter to me?... And hey, why the hell do I gotta be a ‘demon’, anyway? Maybe I’m an angel, a guardian godda-

“With that nasty Devil mouth?,” Jimmy hissed, cutting him off, “AND, you can’t be an Angel. You-,” Jimmy’s voice dropped to a whisper, “…you like other boys.”

“…Guess we’re all three demons here, then, huh?,” Richard stood to leave, “See ya around, Jimmy.”


Richard didn’t get more than halfway across the room when Jimmy called out to him, “Richard, wait!”

And, no matter how pissed he was, he couldn’t help but pause. He didn’t understand the hold this frickin’ kid had on him...


Yes, he did. Yes, he did...


He slowly turned back around…

And, just barely caught something that Jimmy threw at him.


“If you’re really going to leave,” Jimmy’s voice shook, but he forced the words out, “Richard Simmons Jr., then you had better take your jacket.”


Richard looked down at what he clutched in his hands.

Black leather.

The Kid, both him and Jimmy, didn’t really like leather. They thought it was sad.

Beautifully cut. So soft...


So familiar.


It would obviously still be way too big to fit on the Kid’s body. Fuck. He’d looked hilarious when he tried it on that time. And, Jimmy had- Jim-no-nononono….

He was shaking. He couldn’t- He couldn’t help it…

The words bulleted out of him. Fast and accusatory, “Where’d you get this, Jimmy? Where’dYouHIDEIT?”


Jimmy looked at him. Obviously beyond frustrated. Though, he attempted not to show it. To remain deceptively calm. It didn’t last for more than a few moments, though, “I got it from you, Richard. You really made yourself forget about it all over again, didn’t you? Not just Simmons, but yourself!...”

He’d told Richard many times that he didn’t know why anything with him surprised him, anymore.

From the first time Richard and Simmons suggested they all go swimming after Jimmy had apparently purposely made a point to never suggest, or mention anything about them going into the water after… after something that Jimmy seemed to think had happened involving it had… had gone down… (But- But, if it was just a pool... Just the shallow end of the pool… That was alright. That was okay. You could- could see the bottom…)


Richard always tried to tell himself that the Kid had overdosed on tranqs. That THAT was all that had happened. Nothing involving water, or rocks, or dr-drowning…


A little boy with long red hair and blue-blue lips…

And, Richard, himself, leaning-leaning bonelessly, with an arm thrown exhaustedly, but, still, protectively (Too many strangers…. Having to let them work on the Kid was… was bad enough-) around a small, dark-haired boy, that couldn’t really hold up his weight…

And, the blood… blood… dripping down the back of his dark shirt. Hidden under a blanket given to, and wrapped around the two of them, from some well-meaning, but, luckily, oblivious EMT…

Cause no one- no one can know… And, Richard didn’t matter… Not at a time like this. They had to focus-focus- had to save… the Kid… Bring him back...


BRING HIM BACK!


He’s still trying to assure the silently weeping, equally soaked other boy… that had gone down into the shallows, to try to help pull his too still, so limp best friend the rest of the way out of the icy water and onto the shore… He’s trying to tell him… Tell this frightened child that everything will be alright…

But, his words start to slur, and run together…

And, the dark-haired boy is fearfully, questioningly, saying his name, then, screaming it, as his strength, that strength that had been born of adrenaline and desperation, finally gives in to his hidden wound. To slow, yet, steady blood loss-

And, he crashes to the ground, taking the small boy down with him…

 

Jimmy’s exasperated huff brought Richard back to the present, and for a moment he simply blinked a little dazedly at the soft black material in his hands.

“You’re impossible, Richard Simmons!,” Jimmy, oblivious to the turn of his thoughts, was going on, “YOU gave the jacket to me to wear that night, even though it was so huge on me. You know? That night?”

“No,” Richard answered shortly, still looking down at the jacket in his hands. Hearing the water lapping against the rocks (Those goddamn rocks…), and remembering the cold, dead weight of a beloved (dead, DEAD) little brother in his arms… seeing the shore that had seemed so far away…

But, the smaller boy continued, “When the two of us were out looking for him, and it was so cold? You were mad at me cause I came out in my pajamas- Well, you were mad that I came out, at all, but I don’t know what you expected. Did you really think you could call me in the middle of the night, to find out if he was with me, -on a school night-, and I was going to just go back to sleep? Gimmee a break, Richard! I was worried about Richie, too!”

“Stop-Stop it, Jimmy.”


The warning behind the words was very evident. But, as usual, Jimmy refused to heed it.


“And, I was NOT actually hiding it. I’VE never tried to hide it, or anything, that happened. Well, not from you, anyway. You make me hide it from Richie, or ‘Simmons’. You MAKE me let him think I don’t, that HE doesn’t know know you, -who you really are-, and you won’t let me really talk about any of it to you, at all…”


Richard’s hands tightened. Crushing the expensive buttery soft material in his fists.


Jimmy kept talking. Urgently. Like he knew he didn’t have much time before… before… “And, I’ve been trying to show it to you, and to show you the couple of pictures that Simmons had in his room that I got ahold of while he was still in the hosp-... Anyway, I kept them, and YES, I hid them, but not from YOU. I kept them safe! Even after the word was brought down from the Church, and was made into Law about you, and about what happened, or didn’t happen… Do you know how much trouble I could get in for that? They even sent the girlfriend you had when it happened away!”

Richard scoffed darkly. Scornfully repeating, “Girlfriend.”

“Yes. Girlfriend. The girl you were… with… earlier that night. I got ahold of an old yearbook photo of you, and of you and her that Ri- Simmons had before they came in and dumped all… everything… all your stuff, or anything that had to do with… with you… And, if you think I wanted to do that… With the picture with her, anyway… I don’t want to be reminded of that mean girl that you… ya know… messed around with! But, anything that could help you or Simmons to remember- to ACCEPT the truth- One of these days, you HAVE to get your head straight about all this. I know you hate anything ‘supernatural’, or ‘spiritual’, I know you think I believe in ‘dumb’ stuff. And, maybe, sometimes, I do. I don’t always WANT to, and you know, I’ve been working on it, but… but this is different! I SAW what happened. I was there, Richard! I still have nightmares, sometimes. Especially…”

“Jimmy, don’t-” His voice was barely audible, and he still wouldn’t look at him.

But, the smaller teen went on, nonetheless. He sounded like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, “Especially, about when you got him out, and- and he wasn’t breathing… He wasn’t- he was- he was de- and you tried to get all the w-water out-out of his l- and-and, you breathed for him and-and- until they came, and took over… But, then, you-you, Richard! LYING! Acting like you were totally fine, just ‘wiped out’, so they’d only focus on him, on bringing him back… when you weren’t- you WEREN’T fine! You weren’t okay! He would never have wanted you to do that! You… And, the blood, s-so, so much blood… I think I got it all off the jacket… you- you bled all over me… and, then, at the hospital, afterwards-”

An infuriated, yet, underlyingly nervous hiss escaped Richard’s clenched teeth at the word “hospital”. The one word above all others, of all the terrifying things that he spoke of, that Jimmy should truly know better by that point than to ever say to Richard…

And, Jimmy fell silent. But, still he chanced taking a step toward the trembling other teenager (Young man?... A, now, mentally around nineteen year old trapped in a fourteen year old’s body? Whatever he actually was.).


When he spoke, again, his voice was, suddenly, very soft. Comforting. “I… crap… I’m sorry, okay? I know how you are about this stuff. How you don’t ever wanna talk about the truth about what happened- About what you did before- I KNOW you did Richard. I was right there with you. I don’t know how you did it, but… I heard- I SAW it-”


“Jimmy,” Richard’s voice sounded raw, “Enough. You’re… maybe, you’re just fucking delusional-”

“Ohhh, no! You aren’t going to convince me that I’m crazy like you have with Richie!,” Richard winced at that, but Jimmy was, now, like flipping a switch from comforting to peeved, too angry to notice, “You even completely renamed him! Well, you can’t block or repress anything from ME, Richard Simmons! Not just to soothe your fear and misplaced guilt! I’m so tired of you putting us all in this- this bubble, and I can’t- Just let me talk to Simmons! I want to talk to him, right now-”

Richard actually took a small seemingly nervous step back… but, then, he was right back on the offensive, “Hell, no! Fuck you, Jimmy! You had your chance, an' you fucked it up! And, what does any a' this have to do with anything that’s going on right now, anyway? Huh? You talked asshole! Why? Why would you do that to us? To all of us… Quit… Just quit fucking around. Haven’t you done enough? Just… stop. It’s- it’s enough-”

“No!,” the smaller boy cried out, angrily. But, still, he came closer, “It’s not enough! It has everything to do with it!- Ha! And, I’m delusional? You can’t accept what’s right in front of your face, and we’re all going to pay for it- And, I… I didn’t just ‘talk’. You keep saying that, Richard, but- but it doesn’t make it true! That’s not what… that’s NOT how it happened. I was- I was scared, and I… I said something, one thing, I shouldn’t have, and he started to figure it out, and- It was the lesser of two evils! I didn’t really TELL him anything, but he had his own ideas, and kept saying all this stuff, and I couldn’t really chance… If they really knew what was going on…”

The smaller boy shuddered at the very thought, but forced himself to continue, “… It-It IS my fault. I’m not denying it. I should’ve listened to you. I should’ve been more careful… I just wanted… A-Anyway, but I- I… It could’ve been so much worse! But, you wouldn’t know that, because you won’t listen! You won’t listen to anything that matters! You NEVER listen!”


Richard, finally, looked up at him, and spoke. His voice so hard, “YOU, listen, you dumb shit. Even if your bullshit about me an' the Kid was true, -Which it isn’t- It can’t be- I won’t LET it be-, how would me ‘accepting’ anything help anybody? Huh? The Kid can’t live with it! You want Simmons to start trying ta' fucking kill himself every time I fall asleep, again?!”


“…Richard…,” Finally, the other boy reached him. He would never be able to explain how those few steps between them had felt and seemed to be a mile apart… But, he pushed all that aside, and feeling the leather jacket in-between them, separating them… in more ways than one… one of his very few pieces of proof, of evidence left… he reached up to caress Richard’s cheek… -The other teen flinched, but still couldn’t help but lean into his touch-, as he asked the hard questions… because… because, they were out of time, “Is that really what you’re worried about? Or, are you afraid that you’ll freak out, again, and try to rip his skin off to get out of his body? To try to escape? Or, do whatever it was that kept making him flatline, again-”

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧


Screaming. Screaming. So much SCREAMING.

Not like this! Not like this! NOT. LIKE. THIS!

His own voice coming out of the Kid’s body.

A small fist socking the doctor, -who thought it was his own self that kept bringing the Kid back-, right in the face.

A nurse fainting, while another screamed about “demons”, and “possessed”, and “Just let him DIE, let the devil take him!”…

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧


Bright green eyes gone impossibly wide… he wanted to deny, to shout, to rage… but, Richard could only stammer. Sounding more and more like the one he spent all his time with, anymore. Knowing the reverse was true, as well. Hell, he and the Kid really were becoming too damn similar… “No-No! I didn’t- didn’t mean to- I wouldn’t- would never hurt the Kid- Just don’t- don’t talk about- I don’t want to remem-…”

Jimmy sighed softly, and still stroking the other boy’s cheek, he rubbed his own forehead tiredly with his other hand, before continuing, “Look, I know how guilty Simmons feels, and how hard it is for you… to have to feel his pain… but it wasn’t his fault.”


“No.” Richard's voice was still so low.


“And, you know that him… hurting himself…”

“Stop.”

“That, obviously, wasn’t his idea… But, that’s when all this started-”

No. No.”

“When he went in the water, and you went in after hi-”


“Shut Up, SHUT UP, SHUTUPYOUFUCK!,” Richard’s, -Not Richard using Simmons’ voice, sounding different, but still almost similar enough to fool the ear… No. Richard’s voice-, very suddenly, seemed to burst out of Simmons’ slim form.


And, now, Jimmy was flinching back. Instinctively pulling slightly away from him-


But, it was too late.


Richard threw his, HIS the jacket to the ground, and was aggressively shoving the other boy across the floor, and up against the wood paneled wall before you could say, ‘Fuck! He’s lost it, again.


“You jus' push and you push- How many times have I told you not to talk about that shit ta' me?! How many, Jimmy?!,” Richard demanded, so infuriated that he felt Simmons stirring in distress.


Jimmy’s eyes were squeezed shut, trying so hard to hide the pain of Richard’s hands digging into his upper arms. Into the still so fresh bruises hidden underneath his long-sleeved shirt. Desperately, trying to hide the pain of the taller boy’s leg unknowingly pressing into one of the welts on his upper thighs as he pinned him against the wall...


Suddenly, the smaller teen had a whole new list of things to worry about. Because, Richard couldn’t know. He couldn’t know about any of that. Couldn’t know anything about what was hidden underneath his clothes.


He was used to only having to worry about that stuff with Simmons. Never with Jimmy.

He couldn’t know cause he’d get… how he got… and he’d do… do something bad, and, ultimately, make everything worse (Jimmy had hardly kept him from his very seriously planned patricide over what’d happened with him and Simmons’ arm!).

And, Simmons couldn’t know because he’d definitely tell Richard.


To be completely real here? It was likely part of why Jimmy’d messed everything up. His body, -and, his mind-, hurt in ways they never had before. And, after all his time with Richard… Being able to comfortably be himself, being accepted as being a boy, but, still, being more… feminine? He guessed? (He hadn’t quite revealed everything to Simmons, yet. He still seemed so young.) So he was a boy, he felt like a boy, but he loved all things “girly”, almost felt like he had a girl side or something... But, Richard had never judged him, and, now, he even really seemed to be… more than okay with it…

To go from that. From getting so comfortable with himself and his “feminine” side, so to speak, -even if it was only in secret with Richard-, only to be caught, and-and suddenly, remembering that this wasn’t okay. Not in the world they lived in. Not with the God the Church had taught him to serve...


How afraid he’d been. Sure that the one the Church had tasked with punishing the gravest of sins would kill him where he stood… Looking awfully, -and now, it had seemed, AWFULLY-, pretty, he had to admit.

He- He’d felt so, suddenly, filthy. Like such a-a sinner! All the secret self-confidence, and intoxicating feelings that came from getting to be comfortable, and accepted by someone, secretly or not, in his own skin gone in a flash.

It’d been a “real shit show” as Richard would’ve called it. When caught, he’d been in full face, even with a pair of the falsies that Richard insisted with his thick, long black lashes he seriously didn’t need, and shimmering gold eye shadow, that matched the thin lines in one of the gold and pink plaid skirts his sister had left behind that Jimmy had been wearing… oh, it was just his luck that they’d come home right then, wasn’t it? So quietly he hadn’t even heard anyone enter the house hours ahead of schedule...


And, to be caught by HIM… It was even worse than having been caught by just his own father… Yes, they’d both come home as he’d been giggling to himself, taking a little spin. Thinking about how Richard would like it when they had one of their secret scheduled visits later that week…

It wasn’t like he dressed like that all the time, or even that often went he was… alone with Richard… or even that he wanted to. But, the fact that he COULD, and that his- his boyfriend was so accepting. And- and, even, into it when he actually did-


His boyfriend… It was always so frightening to think of them using that word, even though they were undeniably together, in a relationship, and had been for a couple years. But, that word that straight out said that they, well, that they weren’t exactly straight… Although, Richard, -and, Jimmy thought Simmons, as well-, was attracted to girls, too… Jimmy didn’t know what he was “into” in a way. He had really only ever liked Richard since he was in like kindergarten, for crying out loud. Not that Richard really understood that. He felt insanely guilty, and got weirded out, by their mental age difference enough as it was…

But… yeah. Jimmy’d only really ever wanted Richard. Him, as a person. If he had, somehow, ended up in a female body, Jimmy still would have wanted him. He was sure of it. Sometimes, even he acknowledged that he was really too young to feel this much, to be in such a serious relationship... That only got more intense as time went on.

After all, taking Jimmy out of the school, -and forcing him to be homeschooled through the school’s curriculum, for now, until they figured something else out-, certainly hadn’t kept the boys apart.

Maybe, they hadn’t been able to see each other daily, and the past couple weeks (Which was a lifetime, an eternity, for them to be apart, anymore.) they’d had to be especially careful with Senior back in town, and…

And, maybe, they’d had to hide their sneaking around, and sneaking out to be together at all hours, at all costs (Poor Richard, whose status, and whose position directly under his and Simmons’ father in the line had allowed him to get away with- to do, basically, whatever he wanted… Even if he wouldn’t admit it, it was, undeniably, difficult for him to have to live like the rest of them, now…).

They had to hide what was going on, and the fact that they were still together, even from Simmons, now, due to how difficult it was for him to disobey a direct order… That’s why it was a pretty big deal for Simmons to have snuck out on his own accord, -presumably while Richard was napping-, to see him.

It was incredibly dangerous. And, so, so terrifying. Especially, with the timing… If Simmons was directly TOLD or ordered to say whether or not he’d been with Jimmy on a particular day… well, one could only hope Richard would be there with him at the moment to answer the question safely, rather than truthfully-


What had Simmons been thinking coming over?! He, surely, hadn’t known what to do- how to ensure he wasn’t seen! He’d just shown up- at the backdoor, at least, but that wasn’t enough! Jimmy and Richard had an entire system to ensure they weren’t caught, and… What would their father do to them if he found out? Simmons couldn’t lie to “authority” for anything!


“Raven! Fucking answer me!,” Richard furiously ordered, bringing Jimmy back to the moment at hand.


And, despite how angry Richard sounded… Jimmy couldn’t help but feel a little hopeful (That, maybe, he’d still love him, that he’d forgive him, that he’d LISTEN.)… After all, Richard had called him one of his handful of “pet/nicknames” for the first time today…

But, in spite of that, when it really came down to it, Jimmy was too afraid of what Richard might do (Jimmy was sure that Richard would kill someone if pushed too far.) to chance telling him any of what had happened to him…


And, a secret part of Richard, no matter how much he loved him, or how much closer they got in the years to come (Inseparable. Like two parts of a whole…), would always struggle to fully forgive him, and himself (Mostly, himself. Because, it was due to his own history of volatile, dangerous reactions to even much lesser things that Jimmy didn’t dare to speak, and he knew that.), for not telling him until it was too late.

He couldn’t help but see it as a terrible betrayal. The worst betrayal. He could forgive him for, in his terrific terror and pained panic, mindlessly agreeing to whatever he (Ultimately, they.) had been accused of so that HE would STOP hurting him.

After all, Jimmy wasn’t as strong as Richard, or Simmons, either, really. And Richard didn’t expect him to be… but that Jimmy hadn’t dared to trust him, to confide in him, to tell him that Senior- that that mother fucker had dared to put his hands on Jimmy, now, too! Tell him, and damn the consequences!... That Richard had had no idea of just how bad things really were… And, therefore, walked them right into a trap…

Maybe, it wasn’t even that he hadn’t told him, exactly, but the fact that he hadn’t TRUSTED him enough to dare to. Been too afraid of what Richard might do. Afraid for his “immortal soul”. But, as far as Richard was concerned, HE didn’t give a fuck if someone, one of hated, the so-hated them, had ended up dead due to Jimmy telling him- And, well… look what had happened, anyway...


But, of course, Jimmy… Richard… neither of them could have known that in that moment. And, Jimmy was too busy worrying about what turned out to likely be the wrong things, so…


Although, the smaller boy stuttered, sounded a little like Simmons, when Richard again demanded, “How many times, Jimmy?!”, as he pushed him further into the wall, practically forcing him to tip his head up, though his eyes stayed shut… The dark-haired boy attempted to joke, “I- I dunno how many, Richard. E-Even I can’t count that high.”


And, Richard didn’t respond. Suddenly, too distracted by having to get Simmons to chill out n’ go back to what amounted to “sleep”. His attention diverted by the all-important task of trying to keep him Safe, and out of all of this. Out of anything that could prove to be dangerous, or simply even too unpleasant.

The Kid still thought that Richard and Jimmy never argued. That theirs was a very strange, but, otherwise, perfect fairy tale of a love story.

Ha! Yeah, right. That was a nice thought, but… well, he sure as hell didn’t need to know what it was they actually fought about.


“Richard, listen, I…,” Jimmy’s so dark, nearly liquid black eyes, finally, opened, and he looked earnestly up at the other boy, who seemed to tower over him.

He desperately needed to stop getting lost in his thoughts, and get back to the specific topic at hand!

Because, yes, when Richard got like this, you had to tread carefully, but, also, because they really didn’t have that much time…

But, still, regardless of all that, there was something important that had to be said... “…I shouldn’t have said those things. No matter what’s going on... Sorry... Will… Will you let me tell him sorry, too?... Please? I shouldn’t have… I didn’t know what else to do.”

Having ensured they were alone, again, Richard retorted, “How’s about you start by not sayin' fucked up shit ta' the Kid, jus' cause you know I can blank it out-”

“I don’t really have a choice,” Jimmy implored, “You’ve got him so mixed up… I have to think in circles to get through to either of you, anymore! And, Simmons is the kind of person… It’s like you have to get into an intellectual argument with him for him to take you seriously! And, the only way he’ll even listen to reason about any of this, at all, anymore, is if he gets mad, and he’s defending you.”

“So, you tell him I’m a fucking demon, Jimmy? Nice try-”

“Then, let me- You- you won’t let me… This is why I… I don’t- I don’t give a shit what I have to tell him!,” Jimmy started to stammer, but, then, his own frustration got the best of him, “I’ll tell him you’re the freaking Queen of Sheba! I’ll tell him whatever I have to! If it gets him to Shut. YOU. Up. so he can actually LISTEN- And, then, maybe, HE can talk some damn sense into you-”

A sneer twisted the pretty features that Richard wore like a mask, “Oh, some swears. Is my precious little boy finally really growing up? Is he ready to use some nasty big boy words?... Hmm, interesting. Maybe, the “demon” is pleased with you-”

“You-You, shut up!,” the smaller teen frowned up into so bright, narrowed eyes, “If- If Richie KNOWS that you aren’t that, then what does it leave?! Huh? What. Does. It. Leave, Richard? You can keep trying to convince him, and yourself, that you never existed, and that this is all some ‘DID’ deal, -Which is a very real mental illness, Richard! Not something to label yourself with just because you don’t want to face the truth, and it feels safer, or less ‘fantastical’-, And, Simmons, he’s a smart ‘kid’, and he could figure all this out, himself, if you gave him a chance. I’m so SICK of you treating Richie like a child-”

“Simmons. It’s just Simmons, now, you asshole!,” Oh, Richard was PISSED.

“What-Ever!,” Jimmy was no less angry. But… not afraid. Not of Richard. And, considering how the much taller boy had him pinned quite aggressively up against the wall… That, -him not being afraid-, at least, hopefully, said something about their very… intense… relationship. Jimmy knew Richard wouldn’t really hurt him. Of course, this may have just made him more bold…“YOU gave him that name. Calling him by your guys’ last name when he was always Richie! Do you think that helps with the mind control?!”

Richard gasped. You’d think Jimmy’d sucker punched him. “You little bitch. That’s NOT how it is, and you fucking know it!”

“Oh, really? It’s not, huh?,” the smaller boy glared up at him, “Cause it sure looks like it! And, I know that you have good intentions, and that you’re just afraid-”

“FUCK. YOU. I’m not afraid!,” Richard unthinkingly shook him slightly, “I’m not afraid of anything!”


Jimmy ignored him, and continued (Seriously, this wasn’t a new argument. Although, it had never gotten this physical before.), “-you’re afraid that he can’t handle certain things. Especially, if you can’t handle them yourself. But, I bet he could help you, if you gave him a chance. You could help each other- He’s not a little ‘kid’, anymore, dammit!”


Richard pulled back a bit to shake his head at him in disbelief.

“Hmph. Listen to you. The floodgates have really opened! You gonna start being a ’bad boy’, now? With a- what’d you call it? Oh yeah, a ‘nasty Devil mouth’.”

A sound of pure annoyance erupted from the smaller teen’s throat, “Eugh! I said I was SORRY, okay! I shouldn’t have said- I didn’t mean- I-I was just freaked out about Simmons showing up outta the blue, right now, and I’m so annoyed with y-”


Richard, eyes getting that particular gleam that you’d never see with so innocent Simmons, talked right over him, literally, hauling the other boy right up off his feet, and sliding him up the wall, to press their torsos hard against each other. Starting a slow, lazy grind right up against the smaller teen, as he lowly rumbled in his ear completely in his, in HIS, own voice, “Better watch out, Little Bean. Might just decide I like my sweet good boy being ‘nasty’, and fuck you right up against the wall-”

“R-Richard!,” Jimmy yelped out, his eyes going wide in shock as he, somehow, forced himself not to roll his own hips up against him, with him (He felt like he shoulda got an award for his amazing self-restraint. There were no words to describe how tempting Richard could be. But… this was the worst possible time for… all of that.)… but, still, he was unable to hide that underlying excitement that he could never quite hide when Richard got too worked up, and forgot their particular situation, and… got like this… “Don’t talk like- Not when we’re talking about Simmons, and… he was just here! We’ve never- not when he’s so… close… What’re you thinking?!”


“…Oh… yeah…,” Richard stopped in literal mid-roll into his boy’s lower belly, in the middle of shifting him higher, and into just the right position (He hadn’t pulled him up quite high enough. Damn, he was short. Especially, in this position…), so it wouldn’t be his stomach that he ground up against with the next roll of his hips…, “Fuck. Kinda forgot… Well, quit goddamn distracting me, then!”

“I-, ” Jimmy started to protest.

But, Richard cut him off, again. Simmons had taught him damn well. “Look, I know you think you’re his fucking surrogate mother/big sister or some shit, but you don’t know what’s best for him, Jimmy.”

“Richard… You… Okay, THAT’S IT! Now, I’m getting really mad!,” Jimmy actually growled like an angry little puppy, and, then, although, he didn’t have a lot of space, he managed to kick Richard right in the shin. But, Richard simply pressed him tighter up against the wall. Incidentally, this lined them up nicely to- “D-Do-oohhh-n’t- Richard, quit! I’m y-yelling at you, not do-oo-oo- ing it with you, right now!”


Richard grumbled, but backed up a bit. Jimmy, as soon as he was released from pleasurable pressure, and friction, immediately commenced with the bitching. Jesus. His chick side was reigning supreme, “Now, you-you listen to me! You don’t go acting like YOU know what’s best for him! Good intentions, or no, you’re the one that’s messed with his head so much! He KNOWS who you are! He really does! And, you tell him it’s not true- NO! Not just that it isn’t true, but that you NEVER even existed! That’s sick! And, it makes him think he’s insane! STOP LYING! Just because they told us to say you never existed-”

A strangled sound, very suddenly, came out of the taller boy, as he lost any interest in messing around and muttered, “…No… No… Stop it. Just stop it,” Richard was whispering by the end. Pushing the smaller boy harder, harder, too hard against the wall to Jimmy’s mostly contained, but unmistakably, pained whine.

Richard, immediately, loosened his grip on his arms. Because, no matter how far Jimmy pushed him, something in him could never actually hurt the smaller boy… Not him. Never him…


And, Jimmy, using this knowledge, and his own flexibility to his advantage (Despite the long-sleeved button-up shirt and khaki shorts he wore to hide… to hide.), immediately, raised and hooked his legs up around Richard’s waist before he could step back. Pulling him, and keeping him, close.

Bodies, now, pressed completely, and entirely, flush against one another in the midst of all this, to the sound of Richard’s warning growl…

But, Jimmy, more than used to his ways, didn’t pay attention to Richard’s threatening rumble that emanated from what had once been only Simmons’ chest as he pressed closer to the other boy. He, seriously, hoped Simmons never found out how… extreme… things could get with what he saw as his ‘other side’, “Richard, you listen to me. This has gotten outta control. And, Simmons said some kids were calling him a ‘fruity faggot’, again, at school. I didn’t even know what the heck to say! I know you. I know you wouldn’t just LET that happen… And, without me there anymore to keep you-”

“What, Jimmy?,” Richard cut in, hissing furiously, as he glowered at him, “To keep me WHAT? On a fucking leash?”

“No, Richard. To keep you from exposing yourself! I KNOW how you are! What did you do to those kids, Richard? And, how is it going to come back to haunt all of us? Or, has it already? You already have all the kids at school thinking Simmons is insane! How many more times do you think you can convince people that the other kids are lying, and a ‘nerd’ like Simmons could ne-ver lure some bully somewhere, and beat the crap outta them! You have to be more careful! You HAVE to! You know that you getting… how you get… and standing up to your guys’ father, -acting like YOU-, but not always having the physical strength anymore to back it up, -at least, not with HIM, and, especially when you’re tired-, that’s how Simmons, -well, and your, now-, arm got broken. You CAN’T-”

“DAMMIT! I fucking know that, Jimmy! You think I don’t know that? But, I couldn’t take it! I couldn’t jus' LET him put his hands on the Kid like that! Like he was his own personal goddamn punching bag! I couldn’t-,” Richard’s voice, suddenly, broke, “I couldn’t take it… He’s a- Simmons' a good kid. None a' this was his fault, an' I… I didn’t- I didn’t freaking know… it was so bad… that he’d hurt him so much… I can’t… let anyone hurt him, anymore… not Senior… Not some fucking kids…”


Richard trailed off.


“I know, Richard. I know you just want to protect him…,” Jimmy whispered, breaking into his thoughts.


And… Richard looked down into the other boy’s large and pleading dark eyes… and, he let out a defeated sigh.

He could never stay angry at him. It was impossible. He meant too much to him, and… and he… he was the only one… Jimmy knew him.

And, releasing his arms, -Jimmy instantly curled them around his neck-, Richard’s hands dropped to his thighs. Fingers so gently running underneath… so he could get ahold of him, and hitch the smaller teen even higher up against the wall, and more securely up around his waist… if the boy had upwrapped his legs from around him, he’d really be dangling right up off the ground, now.

Richard buried his face into the crook of his neck… to hear Jimmy quietly continue, “-and me… I know you just want to protect both of us, but… I have to know… what did you do to those kids?”

“*Sigh*… Don’t… Don’t worry about it, Raven,” Richard mumbled, obviously ready to be done with the conversation, and move on to other things. Like pressing his lips forgiving to his boy’s pulse point, and scraping his teeth along the sweet curve of his jaw… hands cupping that slight curve of his hip and cute little butt so tenderly… breathing out the words he couldn’t hold back…, “Fuck… Can’t get enough of you… Damn little brat… Love you too fuckin’ much…”


Mmmm… ,“ Jimmy’s breath sped up, as, successfully distracted, he tipped his head back, resting it against the wall, to give Richard better access to him.

And, despite how much his body secretly physically ached from his hidden punishments, the endless pull toward this other boy (who may have been, mentally at least, practically a man.), that had started way before Jimmy was old enough to understand it… this connection that had survived such tragedy, and oddities… it overcame any physical suffering, and he whimpered at the feel of Richard’s lips, and tongue, and teeth.

He wanted him. He LOVED him. No matter how young he was, he knew it was true.

And, no matter what happened, in that moment, he truly knew that he always, always would...


It was actually this thought that caused his mind to clear, “Wait… Richard, you’re- you’re trying to sidetrack me so we don’t talk about-”


He felt Richard smile slightly against his neck as he mumbled, “Yeah? Well, I must not be doing that good of a job at it- How ‘bout you jus' hold onto me, an' I’ll take you over to the bed…”

Jimmy moaned lowly, “Ohhh, yes. Please, yes-...” But, then, he remembered the hidden already purpling bruises and the angry red welts on his arms and legs, that Richard could NOT see, and he came to his senses, “I-I mean, no! Not-Not... right now...”

“Ah, c’mon, Raven... Thought you wanted ta' not think about anything for a while? I know you like to play hard ta' get, sometimes, but I’m not in the mood for fucking games, right now-”

“That’s- That’s not exactly what I meant! I just wanted us to spend some time together. I didn’t just mean for us to... you know...” Jimmy couldn’t help but internally roll his eyes to himself. Richard saying to him, and telling himself that ‘Nothing really did happen’ between them in- in that way. Pfft. Yeah, right. As long as he made sure they didn’t completely DO do it, apparently. Like go all “all the way”. Then, it seemed, he could convince himself it wasn’t really the same, at all, and was just kinda innocent messing around.


It was a very similar thought process that many of the kids Richard counted amongst “them” had. Even, to the point that from what Jimmy understood, although Richard refused to confirm it, some of the boys and their girlfriends secretly went even further than Richard would currently let them go (Since that’d be going all the way for them…).

It was kinda shocking, but some of them would just, uh, do another kind of “penetrative sex”, as some of the kids of the Church sorta grossly called it… one where the girl couldn’t get pregnant… Basically, the same thing that two boys would do… Jimmy didn’t know WHY Richard refused to admit that it was true. He knew Richard hadn’t been a virgin, after all. And, hadn’t been for a while. Or, at least, that’s what he, -and Simmons, as well, before Richard blocked his memories of him-, had suspected. (Of course, Simmons, better known as “Richie” at the time, had seemed to think people made out, and that somehow made a baby… Heh. Even, Jimmy had known better than THAT at that point.)


But- But, anyway, once they’d gotten together, and Richard had first (And, finally.) really touched him… It hadn’t been that long ago, had it?... Mmmm… Yeah, he, um, he’d more than known what he’d been doing. Enough to teach Jimmy… *Shiver*…

He’d… He’d never forget it...

 

At Jimmy’s Residence – Bedroom: Within The Past Year


Kiss Me In The Sunlight
Behind A Locked & Bolted Door
Hold Me In The Moonlight
Take Me To The Floor…


Richard stood in the middle of the sunlit room with beams of light breaking across his creamy, white skin like rippling waves. Nearly making him glisten.

His hair, long and loose against his face, shone with an almost angelic light…

He stood there.

Lovely to behold.

A treat for the eyes.

And, he was-

Complaining.

Tapping a bare foot irritably, as he flexed a bicep in front of the full-length mirror in Jimmy’s room, and glowered at the unimpressive, too small for his liking, muscle revealed.

“-still too damn skinny… Raven, you wouldn’t frickin’ believe it. Every time I try ta' work out, -an' I’m talkin’ some real pussy shit here. Like ol’ grandma couple pound hand weights, for fuck’s sake-, the Kid bitches and moans about sore muscles. And, here I am doing all the work for us, like I do with everything he finds ‘unpleasant’, anymore, and the brat bitches! Fuckin’ kids these days! I swear-”


Jimmy came over to him, smiling, and shaking his head a little at Richard’s nagging.

Richard liked to complain, but he, also, just loved to boast about any and all of Simmons’ accomplishments, and he could, seriously, be like a proud peacock when it came to “the Kid”.

He’d always been that way. Even before-

All this…

The two attitudes nearly balanced each other out.

But, then, again, with his brother complex...


The smaller teen wrapped his arms around Richard’s slim waist. And, resting his head on his chest, he murmured, shyly, “Well, I think you two look really good.”

“Ah, you’re biased, though,” Richard replied, waving a hand dismissively.

But, still, he tipped the other teen’s head up, one hand cupping his chin, while his arm slipped around him…

And, he was pulling the smaller boy up onto his tiptoes… leaning down to softly kiss him.

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, it was actually Jimmy who, licking teasingly across the seam of the other boy’s lips just as Richard had, inadvertently, taught him-, deepened the kiss, when Richard, sighing, went to, reluctantly, pull back.

That move got the taller boy to let out a pleased hum, and start to really kiss him.


And, Jimmy was feeling quite proud of himself- Well, at first… but once Richard’s dominant side really took hold, Jimmy couldn’t think straight enough anymore to entertain any such coherent thoughts…

Not with the taller boy pushing him forward so he could crowd him up against the mirror, and nip at his soft lips, and underneath his chin… And, slide a hand, -No, now, BOTH hands-, down, down to roughly grab his-his behind, and start to effortlessly lift him up against him...


Jimmy moaned.


And, darnit! He could’ve kicked himself. Cause him doing that seemed to cause Richard to “come back to his senses”, or some such annoying thing that Jimmy, seriously, didn’t appreciate after so long of being in a relationship with someone that got him SO worked up, only to leave him high n’ dry...

Richard, obviously, forced himself to pull back. To make the silly excuse about them needing to switch the laundry (First thing that must’ve come to his mind.), of all things.

And, he patted the top of the smaller boy’s head, and started to walk away. Apparently, expecting Jimmy to trail after him like a loyal, lovable little puppy like he normally always did.


He was nearly at the bedroom door when Jimmy whispered from where he still stood... he didn’t plan to say it aloud, at least, not then, not like THAT, but… but…, “It’s cause… I’m not a girl… right?”


And, Richard paused.

Hand on the door panel.

Facing away from him.

Slowly, he asked, “What?”


Jimmy’s voice wasn’t very steady, but the words were clear, nonetheless. As if he’d been thinking about this for a while. Which he really had. “That’s why… why you only let us… let us go so far. So you can close your eyes, and tell yourself… you’re- you’re really with a- with a girl…”

Richard’s hand pressed so hard against the wall beside the panel that it, honestly, looked painful, “Are you fuckin’ kidding me?,” he asked, his voice almost too low to be heard.

“I-I’m not blaming you. I KNEW you liked girls when we got together, but… but-”

“But, what, Raven? But, what?”

“I… I don’t know. It just- It- It’s... hard... It hurts... to be with someone who’s not really- who’s just-...” His following words were nearly inaudible, “-not attracted to you.


Richard whipped around at that. Deep red strands flying across his face (Unlike Simmons, he liked to wear their hair down. He figured if it was long, you might as well show it off.).


He looked MAD.

Jimmy found himself taking a step back in surprise. He hadn’t realized Richard would get upset!


The taller teen took a step toward him, voice nonchalant, though those green, green eyes were blazing, “So I’m jus' ‘not attracted to you’, huh? That’s the problem?”


“Richard!,” Jimmy held up his hands in an attempt to pacify him, “I’m-I’m not trying to pick a fight. Don’t go n’ get mad- I just…” He sighed, and mumbled, looking away as his pale cheeks brightened considerably, “Look… I… was thinking… thinking I could… I could, um, always… d-dress up- like a… you know… like w-wear a skirt? If-If that would h-help you…"


Richard scoffed. Just that quickly looking amused, rather than angry. He could be so bipolar. He’d always been that way.


“Wear a skirt,” he repeated, as he still slowly stalked the smaller teen across the room.

An' Jimmy couldn’t help but instinctively back up as Richard got closer.

And, closer.

He was starting to feel a little trapped.

And… And, he had to admit… that he kinda liked it.

With Richard, anyway.

Suddenly, the back of Jimmy’s thighs hit the bed, and-

Whoa, he hadn’t even realized he was backing into the bed...


Later, he thought that, maybe, that’d been, -completely subconsciously, but nevertheless-, intentional.


And, then, Richard was right there in front of him.

Hand pressed up high to the center of his chest. Surely feeling his heart BeatBeatBeating like a little cornered jackrabbit beneath his palm.

And, Richard was shoving him, quite gently for him, down onto the mattress as he smirked down into his dark eyes…

All Jimmy did was blink, and, then, just that quickly, Richard, was leaning over to run his hand down his chest, down to his belly…

Down, down to the hem of his t-shirt, and underneath it, and-and...


Those long, slender fingers whispered up the bare skin beneath his clothes.

Pointer finger swirling playfully around the smaller boy’s belly button-

And, look… it was true that Richard had touched his bare skin before…

And, that Jimmy had been wrapped, all slippery and wet, around the taller boy, while they were in nothing but their swim trunks…

And, that…

And…

That…

Mmm…


At Jimmy’s Residence – Pool/Poolside: Over The Past Year–Year & A Half


Love Me By The Water
Break This Tragic Chain
If Only You Would Remember
We Three Still Remain...


Such long weekends.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall…

No matter the season, no matter the weather...

Such warm, warm nights.

Whether curled together under a thin sheet, or a thick down comforter…

It didn’t matter.


It was the heat from each other’s bodies that kept them warm.


And, the days…

Well, the days…

Just playing in Jimmy’s pool while his family was away for the day, until… if Simmons wasn’t with them…

-Whenever he was, it felt so very different. More like… they were a… a family, and he was their beloved kid/younger brother/child. Weird? Sure. Absolutely. But, that was the honest truth-

When they were alone, though, one of them would, inevitably, end up stealing kisses… those so delicious, forbidden kisses… from the other, until-

Until, Richard got too impatient with all the splashing about in the warm, chlorinated water, and hauled the other teen out…

To lay his trembling, smaller body onto a soft, fluffy towel arranged atop the cold, hard cement, and-


And...


Their eager hands.

All over each other.

Slender, damp fingers gliding over equally pale n’ glistening wet skin…

Both covered in goose bumps from so much more than the cool breeze that tickled across their soaked hair and slender frames…

Cold droplets of water drip-drip-dripping from Richard’s long loose strands onto the shivering boy placed so carefully beneath him…

And, more often than not, and seemingly unconsciously, Richard would growl overtop Jimmy’s slim body like some kinda starving animal. Before pinning him down beneath him as he bit down into his soft skin… marking him possessively, as he would lick, and nip, and bite his way up and across the smaller teen’s belly, his slight chest… his collarbones, and shoulders...


Leaving multitudes of so obvious hickey’s and teeth marks on him...


Yet, still, grumbling about having to keep them in places where they could be hidden underneath his clothes, when Richard wanted to put them where everyone could see…

And, know…

That he was HIS.

Forever…

Always…

And, ONLY…

His.


He muttered this, and so many other things…

His voice (His, always his, voice at such times.) low and dark.

So persuasive…

As Jimmy squirmed, and wriggled, and tried to buck up into him.


Eyes closed, fingers combing shakily through his soft, wet hair… that in his mind’s eye, in a moment like this, was still as similar to his own raven black as it had been… before...


Suffering.

Suffering under such delicious-

Tantalizing-

Torture.


And, when the smaller teen was SURE he couldn’t take anymore (Well, without getting more…) Richard would find a new way to play with him. To touch him without actually touching him where Jimmy most wanted, most needed, to be touched…

Then, he’d be tonguing, and flicking… Sucking, and pinching the smaller teen’s pebble-hard, pink little nipples into his mouth, and between his fingertips.

All while Jimmy, his breath coming out in erratic, soft puffs, desperately tried to keep as silent as possible so the neighbors wouldn’t hear…

Wouldn’t discover…

Wouldn’t know...


Their Secret.


Until, he couldn’t take it anymore, and the desperate, hungry moans that started to escape him would be cut off by Richard’s lips, and tongue.

And, then, he’d be kissing, and licking his way into Jimmy’s mouth until the smaller teen was wrapping his legs tightly up around Richard’s waist, and practically begging... whimpering and whining beneath the taller boy... begging for more, and more, and more...

♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ ♒


So, uh… basically… y-yes… he had felt Richard’s hands (And, lips, and tongue, and teeth…) on him before.


But...


But, this seemed so different.

And, it didn’t feel like Richard was going to just make them stop, and do some mundane, dumb thing, rather than… than-


Jimmy, suddenly, jolted a little in surprise and excitement.


Cause as he was busy day-dreaming about their sexy make-outs by the pool, Richard had placed his hands on his sides so he could drag him further up the bed, and climb partially overtop him.

And, he’d slowly pulled up his shirt, and bending further down, replaced his finger, that had gone back to tracing those soft, teasing circles (He loved to tease.) around his belly button with… with his tongue. Swirling it wetly around, dipping it into...


“Ohhh, Richard…”

A whisper.

A plea.

Jimmy felt that wolfish grin against his skin. That dangerous, tempting smile that he’d never seen on Simmons’ actual face. But, only Richard’s, and then Simmons’ face when Richard was in control.

“A skirt, huh?,” Richard questioned playfully, bringing them back to the topic at hand, while he held the other boy down to the bed with a hand on each hip. His shiny, long hair tickled across the smaller boy’s skin as his mouth cruised over his flat belly, “And, jus' where the hell you gonna get a skirt, Jimmy Bean? Hm?- Pfft


He, literally, blew a wet, messy raspberry right between the smaller boy’s ribs, and Jimmy squirmed, and giggled helplessly under his strong hold.


“Whatever,” Richard continued, flippantly, “Like I need you to be MORE pretty. Already want you too damn much... Fuck...” And, he had to press more kisses, -harder, more demanding, somehow, kisses-, into Jimmy’s skin, down to the little hollow where his belly turned to his pelvic bone, “…Have a hard enough time not jumping you as it is- So, no, I don’t need you to wear a-”

But, Jimmy found himself breathlessly replying, “I-I don’t mind... uh, wearing one... and, um, it was my sister... she- she left some stuff... Wait. You- You said... you do? You... do want me?”

“Well, duh. Fuck, you’re a dumbass, sometimes,” the taller teen rested his forehead down onto Jimmy’s stomach to groan in exasperation, “It’s just… I TOLD you when we hooked up that we had to take this slow...”

A cry of protest from a one “pretty lil’ pixie”, “It’s been forever, though!”

“Yeah, yeah. You think I don’t know that? Don’t know what you’re bitchin' about. I’m SURE I’m suffering more than you are… But… anyway…” Richard pulled up to grin mischievously at the other boy, “What’d Jackie leave? Show me. You been gettin’ all dolled up, an' not showing me? *Tsk* That’s fuckin’ lame, Jimmy.”

The smaller teen swallowed hard, “I-I didn’t know if it’d really be… um, o-okay… Uh, alright, I guess I can… Just let me go get-” He made as if to start to get up. He even managed to make it up onto his elbows-


But, then, Richard’s palm was back on his stomach, and he was looking thoughtful, “Wait.”

“W-What?,” Jimmy stammered.


And, Richard was moving up his body, shoving him back onto the bed, and wrestling him down until he was completely flat underneath him, again, to the sound of Jimmy’s soft squeaks, then, quiet pants.

When he had the smaller boy, looking disheveled and extremely flushed, securely pinned back beneath him, -hands held down, and held up, by his head with their fingers entwined-, he murmured in his ear, “It’s not a good idea. Not at first. We’ll play around with all that another time.”

Jimmy was still panting underneath the other boy, and he couldn’t get out much more than a rather senseless sounding, “Huh?”

“Jimmy, c’mon,” Now, he was nibbling under the smaller boy’s chin. That spot that always made him shiver, “Think about it. You said you feel like I’m ‘not attracted’ to you cause you’re a boy… Mmm… Fuck, that’s retarded-” A couple sucking bites, and a smaller teen’s excitable yips and yelps later, and he continued, “I don’t wanna have you dressin' up like a girl the first time I touch you. Not when you’re thinkin' that kinda shit. What fucking precedence does that set?”


Jimmy was too busy shivering in anticipation to consider precedence or anything. Cause… Oh…oh… Had Richard said… Was he going to?... He touched him all the time, so when he said “first time”… Did that mean- did he mean…? Was he actually really going to touch him?


Was it finally going to happen?!


There were so many butterflies fluttering about in his stomach that he took a moment to contemplate what their species, genus, and coloration might be...


But, Richard had fallen silent, as well. And he seemed to, also, be contemplating something, as he was, suddenly, frowning unseeingly right overtop Jimmy’s current mess of raven locks, at the comforter beneath them.

Jimmy lifted his head up off the mattress to press a soft kiss to the tip of the other boy’s nose, and he cocked his head questioningly at him when Richard focused back in on him.


After another indecisive moment, Richard blew out a breath, and uncertainly, but not, at all, cruelly or unkindly, asked, “Unless... Do you need to?... Like dress up?... To actually... get off, or-...”

Jimmy was almost too startled by the question to be embarrassed, “Need... to?... No... I just kinda like to... ya know... sometimes,” Jimmy looked away, only then beginning to feel self-conscious. (Richard’s varying reactions, playful, then, thoughtful, but not, at all, judgmental, had confused, but calmed him.) And, he continued in a mutter, “...I just... found some stuff boxed up in the attic that I... ended up trying on...”


He didn’t mention how he’d agonized over whether or not to give in to the temptation.

How he’d paced back and forth in front of the large box of neatly folded uniform and daily wear skirts, dresses and cardigans, stockings and leggings that his older, but similarly sized, sister had cast aside, but their hoarder mother had refused to get rid of… Only glancing at the box out of the corner of his eye as he’d strode back and forth across the cold attic floor… Normally smooth brow furrowed in such deep, deep concentration… Forgetting all about what he’d come up there for in the first place...


Back and forth.


How he’d, somehow, ended up in his sister’s old room, -that’d been kept much the same-, in her bathroom… And, rummaging through the vanity to find her “back-up makeup” that she kept at the house. Then-

Blinking dumbly down at the tubes, and applicators in his hand.

How his hands had been shaking. Trembling so badly that even when he’d mustered up the courage to slick some pale, shimmery pink lip gloss onto his lips he’d applied it unevenly. And, he’d almost poked his eye out multiple times with the mascara brush.

Shuddering and shivering too much to dare to attempt the eyeliner…

How he’d, finally, clambered on top of the bathroom’s vanity countertop, in order to be as close to the mirror as possible. -Never thinking that he could’ve simply used the full-length mirror in his own room- So he could wipe it all off over and over (Thoughtlessly and accidently, using one of the nice embroidered hand towels with his sister’s, -and his-, initials on it. That he’d later had to hide away to figure out how to clean.), only to try, again and again, to get it right.

It had to be right.

How he’d smiled the biggest, whitest, happiest smile into the mirror when he finally did do a decent job, and, then, had startled himself with how- how GOOD he looked…

But, then...

How he’d taken it all off, again. Scrubbing his face until it shone, but felt raw and wounded.


So wounded.


How he’d climbed unsteadily down off the counter to sit slowly, shakily down onto the floor…


And, just wept into his hands like a tired, frightened child.


Because it seemed, with all he’d been taught about the importance of a “Man of God” always living up to the ideals of being a “man”, and nothing BUT a man… It seemed so unforgivably wrong. Like much more of an actual sin, somehow, then his and Richard’s secret life together.

And, yet, it felt so comfortable, so strangely right to be able to explore this other side to himself. This side that was so distinctively female, despite him truly feeling, and seeing himself, even in his secret heart of hearts, overall, as still being male.


It was so confusing…


It’d only been a couple days before he’d tried, again. But, with a flowing pink skirt with matching cardigan, along with long black knee-high stockings, and a black form-fitting turtleneck to go along with his pink lips, and cheeks, and black, black lashes…


“Raven,” A whisper of lips against his, now, smooth brow, “Talk to me.”

Jimmy forced himself to focus on the present, but, still distracted, ended up mumbling, “And, when I… I thought about it… I guess I thought maybe… it’d actually make it easier for you anyway since you… like girls…”

Richard sighed in frustration this time, “Jimmy, fuck that. I like YOU. I want you… *Chu*… Alright. Maybe… Maybe, next time, we’ll do all that, if you want. But, if it’s not like fucking essential for you… I don’t wanna mess with anything off the bat that’s gonna subconsciously confirm these messed up ideas you got about me.”

“What messed up-! Wha- About YOU?”

“You think I don’t want you cause you’re a boy. You think I’d want you more if we pretended you were a girl,” Richard stated blandly.

“Rich-”

“No, Jimmy!,” the other boy snapped, “That’s just fuckin’ retarded! I love you. I don’t give a fuck that you’re a boy! Maybe… Fuck, FINE! Maybe, it’s a little awkward, but that’s just cause you’ve always been so frickin’… petite… And… dammit! You’re freakin’ beautiful, Jimmy! Just a beautiful, delicate lil’ pixie princess of a boy! Why you gotta make it so hard on me? Why you gotta be so- Well, shit! It jus' makes me feel like a mother fuckin’ pervert! It doesn’t matter how old, or ‘young’, I might look, I still feel like some older creep that’s perving all up on your pretty little ass! Because, I DO want you… I want you BAD. Understand?... Jimmy?”


Jimmy looked up at him, eyes locked onto his, as he zeroed in on the one thing Richard had said that mattered most, “You… you love me?”

Richard looked surprised. Like he hadn’t even realized he’d just blurted that out.

But, he let go of one of Jimmy's hands.

Touched his cheek.

And, slowly nodded.

“Yeah,” His voice was soft. Incredibly sweet. Especially for him. Really for any Simmons, to be frank, “Don’t you know that by now?”

“You didn’t- didn’t say…”

“Haven’t you ever heard of subtext, Jimmy?,” the taller teen teased.


But, Jimmy couldn’t think to answer, because Richard was releasing his other hand to get ahold of him, and lift him up off the bed just enough to pull his shirt up and over his head.

The smaller boy automatically put an arm protectively across his slender chest, although, he had no idea why. Considering all the times by, and in, the pool, it wasn’t like Richard hadn’t seen him shirtless before.

Again, though, this didn’t feel the same.

But, then, Richard was taking his hand, -that he’d unconsciously clenched into a nervous tight fist-… And, pulling his arm up off his chest as he kissed his wrist almost kindly until Jimmy calmed, he said, in an equally gentle tone, “Don’t hide from me, sweet baby,” It was the first time he ever called him that, though, definitely, not the last, “You’re beautiful.”

“I-I’m nervous,” Jimmy blurted, unable to help thinking that he, himself, sounded kinda like Simmons. But, then, they’d been best friends, inseparable, really, since he was six, and Simmons had been five, years old, for crying out loud. So, maybe, that wasn’t so shocking, after all. (Uh! Don’t think about Simmons, at a time like this, he told himself. That’s so flippin’ awkward!) “What- What’re we gonna do?,” he asked anxiously.

“What do you wanna do?,” Richard had him pinned down by the hips, again, and having pulled his shorts down juuust enough, he was leisurely running his tongue up and over his hipbone…


Why up!, Jimmy lamented to himself as he whimpered below him. Richard always told Jimmy he loved the “taste” of him. Maybe, he did, although Jimmy wasn’t precisely sure what he meant. It seemed to him, more that he just loved to torment him.


“Um-um, I don’t, uh, huh…” Jimmy, eventually, stuttered out, as if he had no clue, and didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do. As if he hadn’t been fantasizing about it since the first moment Richard had laid his hands on him.

“It’s alright,” Richard soothed, “Maybe, you’re not ready, and that’s coo-”

“Don’t you DARE say it’s cool! You can’t keep-keep getting me all- you know… and, then, leaving me to take care of it myse- u-um.”


He blushed so hard, and so hot that he was surprised his face didn’t melt off.


“Take care of it yourself, huh?,” Richard’s smirk might have been hidden into Jimmy’s side, but ohhh, you could hear it. Loud n’ clear.

Shut up… This is all your fault, anyway,” the smaller boy mumbled as he squirmed due to embarrassment as well as arousal, now.

“Oh, yeah? My fault you jerked off, huh?”

“Rich-ARD, stop embarrassing me!,” Jimmy whined, pitifully.

Richard ignored him, nipping into his soft skin, “…Mmm… My fault,” he chuckled, sounding quite tickled by the notion, “You’d think I held your damn hand, or some-… Hm…”


Uh-Oh.


“What ‘Hm’?!” the other teen couldn’t hide the twinge of panic that crept up in him alongside the anticipation, “Why ‘Hm’?!”

“That’s not a bad idea… to start with, anyway…”

“WHAT’S not a bad idea?,” Jimmy raised his head to look down at the other boy, who’d moved up to suck a mark directly below his too hard little right nipple. Just being a casually merciless tease as per usual, “R-Richard! Use your-your words!”

“So how long you been doing it?” Unsurprisingly, when he was in one of these moods, he completely ignored the question, and asked one of his own.

“Ah! Umuh-uh… I don’t know what you’re t-talking ab-,” He tried to come across as snooty, but fell silent when Richard looked up, right into his eyes . Swiftly changing tracks, he attempted to glare, as he stubbornly insisted, “I-I’m not- not telling.”

“Hmm… Oh, yeah? That what you think?” Oh, boy. Richard sounded cocky, again. He was giving off that whole, We have waaays of making you talk vibe.

“Yeah! That’s what I kn-OHH!,” the smaller boy cried out as Richard so swiftly abandoned the darkened mark he’d been working overtime on, and swirled his tongue up around the little nipple above it. Then, just to make his point, he blew a slow stream of deceptively cool breath onto the wet skin, and nipped the small pink bud carefully between his teeth, and flick-flick-flicked with his tongue…

“Oh-Oh! O-Okay, okay! What- *eep*!”


Jimmy actually eeped.


Because, the second he gave in, -although, they both were getting so worked up, they’d forgotten what he was even giving in to, exactly-, Richard was all incredibly, almost frighteningly, swift movements. (Sometimes, he truly seemed so very preternatural.)

Manhandling the other boy onto his side. Curling around and pressing up hard against the full length of his smaller body as if he was simply going to spoon him, so they could take a nap together.


Which they’d done many times before.


But, this truly was different.

Cause, although, Jimmy may have felt Richard pressed, so hard and ready, against his backside before…

He’d never been so… insistent… And, he’d always gotten himself under control, somehow, someway.

Or, just took off somewhere before they could…


But, this time, his arm, which was usually wrapped around Jimmy’s slight chest, was instead down low, draped over his hip. With his hand running unhurriedly across his lower belly.

In such stark contrast to his quick movements from before.


-Oh, it was gonna happen!-It was gonna happen!-It was, finally, gonna-


When Jimmy, eagerly and instinctively, turned, and cocked his head back for a kiss, the other teen was looking at him with a level of intensity that he’d never seen on his face.

Before that moment, at least…

And, then, just as his tongue slipped into his mouth-

Richard’s hand was on the elastic band of his shorts, his fingers slipping under those and his boxers underneath them. Having to lift them up off his skin, rather than just pull them down, in order to free him, because Jimmy was already so unbearably hard, it was, uh… kinda… poking out


But, who cares! He was panting. So excited. So ready to, finally, be truly touched by this boy he loved…


Richard was, with Jimmy’s eager help, pushing his shorts and boxers as far down his slender legs as he, in the current position they were in, could.

But, he was too impatient, and just left them above his knees.

And, before Jimmy could try to kick them the rest of the way off….

Richard’s hand was trailing back up the smaller boy’s slim thigh.

And, then, for the very first time, -watching Jimmy’s face so, so very carefully-, those long, slender fingers wrapped, securely, around him-

Jimmy inhaled. Sharp and sudden.

And, Richard-


He laughed. Laughed!


Jimmy, instantly, elbowed him right in the gut before the jerk could even think to call for a Hail Mary save.

“Oh, fuck!,” Richard grunted in surprise, “What was that for?”

“What was that-” Jimmy squeaked out. Angry. Appalled. Aroused. “You laughed, you- you- you heathen! Now, you sc-screw off, jerk!”

Then, Richard laughed, AGAIN!

And, that was it. Jimmy was gonna beat the crap outta him! He didn’t care how much smaller he was!

Life finds a way!

If he’d learned anything from Jurassic Park (Still the best Dino movie out there.), it was that!

And, Richard STILL had his hand on his- his-

And, his body was betraying him like the hungry, horny Richard’s personal ho that it thought it was- Oh, Jimmy was PEEVED, and he was HARD.

His pride couldn’t bear it, and he swiveled around as much as he could with Richard holding him so tightly (In more ways than one.), and tried to kick, and punch back at him-

Richard had him pinned more firmly against him in what seemed like a second. The hand and arm, not preoccupied with tormenting his traitorous flesh, slipping underneath him to wrap securely around his waist. A long leg thrown over his wiggling hips to ensnare him.

And, it was only serving to make Richard’s hand on him feel better and better. You know, the, uh, the wiggling... So, he just HAD to keep doing it more and more.


He couldn’t help it!


When Jimmy turned his head to glare back at him, Richard kissed him friskily like they were just having some fun together, at the moment. Like it was a game.

And, perhaps, it kinda was, but Jimmy wasn’t ready to admit that, yet. He was too busy feeling hormonal, and offended!

So, Jimmy tried to bite him. Even managed to get a decent nip onto his lower lip.


-That night, Jimmy would feel SO guilty when Simmons, rubbing his mouth and scowling, complained that his lip was sore for some weird reason. Jimmy baked him two batches of peanut butter cookies “just cause” as a secret apology-...


But, of course, in that moment, Jimmy getting “rowdy” only served to rile up Richard’s aggressive side, and he started to kiss him fiercely. Grumbling and growling the whole while about how it was just the look on his face that he’d been laughing at. Not HIM.

Apparently, his mouth had “dropped open”, and his “…eyes looked like they were gonna pop outta your head the second I got ahold a’ your dick.”


And, Jimmy couldn’t help it. Once he knew Richard hadn’t been mocking him, or something (Well, not exactly.)… Which, really, that would’ve been outta character for him to have done that, anyway. He wasn’t ‘needlessly’ cruel…

Jimmy felt, actually felt, himself melting like warm butter under the other boy’s lips, and hands. (Well… except when it came to that one place that Richard had ahold of. No melting there… Oh, he was so weak-willed when it came to him!)

And, Richard responded in kind. Touch and lips, even teeth, against his skin turning tender. Loving and kind. His grip on him loosened. But, only in that one place. That one aching, so hard place.

And, he ran his fingers up and down the smaller boy’s hard length. Palmed his… um…. too tight sack. A little thoughtful, playful rolling… Then, up, again. So, so softly running his fingertips and neatly trimmed nails over, and all around the so sensitive head. Getting it nice n’ wet.


An’ all while the arm around Jimmy’s waist pinned him firmly to him.


Jimmy was in an actual state of ecstasy. Shivering and jolting slightly with each of Richard’s curious, yet, increasing calculated, touches. It was like he was gauging his reactions. Probably, figuring out how this all went with another guy, rather than a girl…

Oh, but Jimmy didn’t want to think about that. It’d just make him jealous...

And, he’d rather focus on how everything felt in that moment.

There were no words to explain how much better it felt to have someone else touch you there. He couldn’t even feel embarrassed about how he was practically leaking like he never had before. Not like that.

And, all over Richard’s hand, too. Not just his own. Richard’s. (Or, at least, what was currently his own ha- No! Don’t think about that!)

Richard, was, obviously, getting so turned on that he had started, it seemed completely unconsciously, rocking hard, and grinding up against Jimmy’s backside and upper thighs in a way he never had before. Again, not like THAT.


Pressing open-mouthed kisses, and teeth to the back of the smaller boy’s shoulder and neck…


Oh, it all only made Jimmy MORE worked up. He was whimpering, and panting uncontrollably. Trying so hard to rock up into Richard’s touch. His fingers. His hand.

But, Richard was too strong for him to break free, and though all he would’ve had to do was ask… he didn’t want to…

Cause Richard was not, yet, stroking, but exploring, worshiping him like a blind man, finally, reading his own spiritual manifesto. (Now, available in braille!)

So he writhed as much as possible under such deep, aching pleasure. Grabbed desperately up onto the arm draped over his hip in an attempt to steady the frantic pounding of his heart...

And, evidently, that action broke Richard’s concentration, because his hand moved away so suddenly that Jimmy actually cried out shamelessly.

But, Richard was getting ahold of the hand that Jimmy had locked onto his upper arm. Prying his fingers loose.


One. By. One.


And, playfully teasing, “Hey! I’m doin’ all the work here. I know you’re a lil’ lazy bum, but-”

For a split second the smaller boy was lost as too what- I mean, some people (Namely, himself.) had been born premature, and still needed a daily naptime, okay! It was for health reasons-

But, then, it clicked. And, he was sure that Richard meant for him to simultaneously return the favor Richard was paying him, and he was more than happy to do so.

“Oh! I’m s-sorry, I-I wasn’t thinking,” Jimmy stammered out, still shy even though Richard had just had his hand all over his… ya know… private parts.

I’m sure you can imagine how confused he was when Richard, taking Jimmy’s smaller hand in his own larger one, pulled it back down, and keeping his hand on top of the smaller boy’s, he placed it down to rest on Jimmy’s-


“Wha-”


“Well, you gotta show me how ta' do it right. You know?,” Richard managed to sound very reasonable and convincing. Despite the fact that they were both insanely, distractingly hard. But, ya know, Richard had his moments. He could be impressive like that, “How am I supposed to know how you like it, huh?”

Already so breathless, the other boy replied, “S-Sounds like a good e-excuse to l-live out some voyeur fantasies…”


Richard snickered, a little breathless himself, but he, actually, admitted, “Yeah, right?”


And, Jimmy couldn’t frickin’ believe it, considering how much more personal and private, just embarrassing, it seemed, but when Richard’s larger hand tightened overtop his, he gladly let their fingers intertwine, and close back onto him.


…But, Jimmy couldn’t bear to start. He was sure his face was on fire. And, he burst out, “But-But, I-I’m probably not even very good at it-“

Richard snorted so LOUD in his ear. Like he got such a kick outta that, “At jerking off? Oh, you’re not gonna wiggle outta this THAT easy. Oh, man… Jus' not that good at it, huh?,” He snorted, again, “Fuck, I love you, Jimmy Bean. You always crack me up.”

And, although, it hadn’t been planned, Richard’s easy declaration served to embolden the other boy, and he slid their joined hands up. One firm, quick stroke.


That had him moaning, and Richard swearing.


But, THEN, Richard was making them let go of him to Jimmy’s instant yelp of displeasure-

That turned to a yelp of shock.

Because Richard brought Jimmy’s hand up to his face (Which was super close to him. Basically, resting down on the smaller boy’s shoulder.)-

And, spit.


Just a big ol’ wet glob a spit right into Jimmy’s hand.


It was the grossest, hottest thing that Jimmy had Ever. Seen. And, he secretly watched Yaoi… (Bara was too much for his sensitive soul.) So, maybe, the hottest thing he’d ever seen in person. Which was always way better, anyway.

But, he wasn’t best friends with “Sir Bratty McScowls-A-Lot” (aka Simmons’ aka Richie’s playful nickname from Richard from waaay back.) for nothing, and he loudly complained, “You coulda spit in my face, you flippin’ jerk!”

Richard ignored him, and actually put Jimmy’s own spit hand in HIS face, now.

“Spit,” he ordered, as though it was the most normal of things to demand.

“No way!,” he cried out.

“Yes way,” Calm. Quiet. And, so persuasive, “C’mon, Raven... You know you want to, you little perv…”

Chapter Text

Richard ignored him, and actually put Jimmy’s own spit hand in HIS face, now.

“Spit,” he ordered, as though it was the most normal of things to demand.

“No way!,” he cried out.

“Yes way,” Calm. Quiet. And, so persuasive, “C’mon, Raven... You know you want to, you little perv…”



“I’M a perv?!,” Jimmy squealed in offense, “Me? You’re the one- I think you’re projecting- I- Oh, screw it.”


And, he just did it. Holy cow, he just Did. It.


He spit right into his own already salvia-slick hand, and it felt so freaking dirty.

And, he LIKED it.


He liked Richard’s pleased purr of, “Good boy”, even more, though.


His, now, nice n’ wet hand was brought back down to circle around his, not surprisingly, still hard flesh with Richard’s fingers still entangled with his…

Encouraging him with just the slightest of movements.


Ah, geez.

He really was gonna make him start-

Again.

Stubborn.

Every Simmons he’d ever met was stubborn.


But, Jimmy didn’t have any more patience to mess around.

And, he was swiftly stroking himself, -with Richard’s fingers tightening around his-, before he even realized he had started doing it, again.

His head falling back in pleasure, -raven black, silky strands mixing in with deep, bright red-, as the other boy pressed searing kisses into his flesh...


And, then, Richard was moving with him.

Helping him.

Teasing him.

Tickling his thumb and pointer finger over the increasingly sensitive head with every other upward stroke as he first nipped, then, -too caught up in the moment to think twice about it-, sucked a dark mark (That Jimmy’d have a heck of a time hiding til it faded. “It’s a spider bite, Mrs. Jensen.” Their teachers would notice before his parents would.), right into his pale, white throat.

Oh, it was so- there really were no- no words to describe how it felt.

Not just to be doing this.

But to be doing it with Richard.

With his Richard…


Jimmy’s hips twitched, and he turned his head back.

Sudden nameless fear swirling up from so deep within. Burning in his chest.

Seeking what was Richard’s mouth in this moment.


-Where was he?-


Blindly searching for him.


-He was here… Right?-


For his essence. His very spirit.


-Richard! Richard! Where are you? I can’t see you- I can’t see-


And, Richard was there.

Lips hard and demanding. Tongue soft and sweet.

It made Jimmy want to sob in relief.


He was there.


He was still there.


Somehow, in some unexplainable way…

That which was RICHARD still remained.


The amount of feeling poured into their kiss, the small-hitching gulps of breath that an emotional Jimmy couldn’t hold back… it all seemed to be overwhelming for Richard.

“Fuck,” he ground out. And, he ground up on him so hard.

Seriously, Jimmy still wasn’t sure Richard really registered that he was actually even doing it, until he pressed back into the hard length grinding and rocking insistently against him...

And, all at once, Richard grew incredibly still… For one long, breathless moment… And, when he moved against him, again, he was almost trembling. Like he never had before. Just slightly, but… like the effort of holding back, of only getting so much… was pain and pleasure all rolled into one.


And, he was practically purring, again. Whispering encouragements, and praise, mixed in with such dirty, dirty things, in-between lavishing licks and mind-numbing nips onto the sensitive outer shell of Jimmy’s ear, “…My good boy… so good… So fuckin’ gorgeous… Mmm… Wanna lick every inch of you... Such a pretty, perfect lil’ cock-”

Jimmy’s hand slowed down, nearly stuttering to a stop under Richard’s, as he gasped out, “N-No! D-Don’t call it l-little. I look-looked it up, and it’s a-a- perfectly acc- acceptable s-, uh, size for my age, n’ h-h-height, and stat- ah-ahh-”

Richard’s hand had tightened overtop his, and he’d gotten Jimmy going, again. Controlling, and quickening their strokes as he grinned, and panted into his ear, “Hmm… True… But, still… of course, of course, you researched your dick size.”

“D-Doesn’t- Doesn’t every- everybody? D-Didn’t you?”

“Eugh. Not in this bod-”


He fell silent. And, before he could get too upset, too distracted… Jimmy rocked back, and rubbed his little bottom all over Richard’s-


“Ah, fuck, Jimmy…”


Richard’s groan of his name pushed Jimmy even closer, and he started to blurt out (He couldn’t believe he was going to say the words aloud, but the list of things he’d do with Richard, and only Richard, was endless…)

“R-Rich-ch-chard, I’m gonna- I’m gonna-”

No,” Richard’s voice was suddenly and completely uncompromising, and his hand shoving Jimmy’s off, and, then vising around the base of the smaller teen’s poor aching length was absolute torture.

“WhatWhatWhat?! Howww?! What’d you just DO?!,” he wailed.


Thank God no one else was home.


“Whaddya mean? Isn’t it obvious? I stopped you from cum-”

“I REALISE that, you giant j-jerk! But, w-why would you even- even know how to- know about something- something like THAT? Th- uhhh- Thought you h-hadn’t been with- with other g-guYS!,” he panted out the words, ending in a squeal when Richard, -tightening his grip on him with his one hand-, loosened his hold around his slim waist with the other to trail down… and cup his-his way too tight s-sac with his other hand.

Just getting all Mr. Investigator, again, all up (Or, down.) in his business.


He was gonna kill him.


…Uhhh… bad choice of words…


Jimmy could feel that wolfish grin on the back of his neck, “You’re not the only one who can research things, Jimmy-”

“But, whhhyyy thaaat?!,” the poor boy almost cried, as he squirmed.

“Cause I wanna take extra good care of you…” Richard murmured as he moved back enough to drape a long leg further overtop the boy’s hip, and used his knee to gently press him down flat onto the mattress. And, although, he released him with one hand, pulled his arm out from under him, and started to move more atop him rather than beside and behind him… he, still, kept a good grip on the one place Jimmy’d rather he be releasing (And, stroking…), “Cause I decided I wanna suck you off… Then, I wanna suck your dick-”


Jimmy peeped like a little baby bird.


“-til you get hard, again, -only right in my mouth this time-, an’, then, you can cum, again. That cool with you?... Raven?”


Really such a cocky jerk. Like he was talking about what was on the menu for dinner…


“Uh-uh… Mmm… Mmhm…”


And, okay. Jimmy KNEW this was Richard, right now. Not Simmons. Trust him, he’d been there when it all happened. So no matter how unbelievable it all seemed, he knew.

He’d kinda put himself in the mind-frame of them being identical twins, now, or something, so he could separate them more fully in his mind.

But, despite that… sometimes… hearing Richard say… the things he said… to hear that stuff coming out of what had once only been Simmons’ mouth… it was sorta… beyond shocking…


But, he couldn’t think about that, anymore. Because, everything was moving so rapidly forward, again, and Richard was sliding down his body, and, Jimmy was up on his elbows, looking down at him, eyes wide, again, mouth slightly ajar.

And, oh my freaking-

Was Jimmy whispering piteous pleas?

Begging beseechingly?

It seemed he was, although, his mouth hadn’t consulted his brain on the wisdom of such a thing. With a tease like Richard…


Getting Jimmy to beg was likely his plan all along.


And, Richard was watching him.

He could feel his eyes, which almost seemed to glow with some otherworldly light, burning into him.

Feel his free hand brush against his quivering inner thighs before he was pulling Jimmy’s shorts and boxers the rest of the way off of him. Gently, meaningfully, pressing up on the smaller boy’s knees, -when he seemed frozen in place, unsure of what to do-, so he would lift them enough to help.

Then, he was pushing his legs further apart so he could settle in-between them.

All while never releasing him.

And, running that free hand over n' up his thighs, his hip, to his chest, now…


When the point of Richard’s flexible tongue tapped down on his still leaking slit, -of course, exploring (And, tasting.) him first-, Jimmy moaned in sweet agony. Sure that Richard would keep him on the brink until time immemorial.

But, instead, at that first taste of him, Richard’s eyes fluttered shut, and he hummed against him before just swallowing him down.

The smaller boy figured he had to have had the most awestruck, dumbfounded look on his face… Thank GOD Richard’s eyes were closed. If he’d tried to laugh, again, right then…


But, he didn’t.


Although, Jimmy almost could’ve himself if he hadn’t been locked in a state of ecstasy.


That bright hair was super tickly against his sensitive skin...


So, he was, likely, making weird faces due to that, too.


But, you know… maybe, it was actually pretty normal to make silly expressions the first time you felt wet heat surrounding that part of you that seemed to have been made for such pleasures...

It was all so- They had to do more of this cause it was-


And, then, Richard released his base to take him so deep… completely and fully into his mouth, and-

The second Richard’s hand released him, he was done. Humiliatingly quickly.

Arching into Richard’s mouth with a broken, shocked cry. Fingers digging into his comforter below them. And, spilling, spilling into that warmth for the very first time.


And, Richard, -rubbing his thumb soothingly into his upper thigh-, just swallowed it. Without hesitation or thought. Like that was so normal. Like all of this was. For a boy to just… and with another boy…


Was it normal? It felt, all of it, all of this between them felt… right, somehow. Meant. Absolutely, meant.

Despite everything they’d been taught, and the moments of fearful doubt, and them still being (Physically, at least.) too young-


But, when they were together… there was so much feeling, so much purity within this supposed “sin”…


Jimmy felt so sentimental… panting, trying to catch the breath that Richard had, somehow, so skillfully stolen from him… he thought he was about to cry. (He really cried too much. He was such a crybaby.)

He felt Richard’s hand running up his body to pat, then, press to his upper chest.

Their little secret sign. That, though entirely unspoken, ultimately said, I know you. Your heart. Your spirit. Who you really are.


Bonelessly, bringing his own hand up to his chest to tangle his fingers with Richard’s… He looked down his slight body at him, and-


Those eyes, those intensely bright eyes flashed up at him. And, for a split second… -we’re talking in the nanoseconds here-, they looked BLUE. That strikingly intense azure blue that Jimmy had only ever seen Richard and Simmons Senior have. It was almost frightening.

It was-


And, then, he blinked, and… they were green. That deep, yet, brilliant green.


Jimmy felt faint. For a moment… just a singular moment… he could’ve sworn that he’d seen beyond what was physically in front of him to the Richard that resided inside…


But, then, Richard was distracting him. Dropping a kiss onto the top of his thigh, his inner thigh, the side of his softening-

Oh. M-Maybe, Richard had meant what he said about, um… do-doing it, again? Maybe, he was going to-


Outta seemingly nowhere, Richard softly teased, “What do good boys say?”


Huh?


“Uh… um… Th-Thanks?,” Jimmy replied. Though it came across as more of a question than anything else.

Richard laughed. “Nooo… But, you’re welcome. Try, again.”

“Um… I don’t… Mmm,” he whimpered as Richard was truly teasing him, again. Feather-light touches, and soft kitten licks… “Gimmee a clue!,” he begged shamelessly.

“Hmm… Lemme think… What do you say when you want some-”

“Please, Sir, may I have another!,” Jimmy yelped out desperately, yet, quite triumphantly.


Richard burst out laughing this time. His head dropped onto Jimmy’s thigh, and he just cracked the frick up. “Holy shit! I can’t even-”


“Th-That wasn’t it?,” the smaller boy asked meekly.

Richard stopped laughing.

Raised his head.

But, oh, that wolfish grin…


And, so close to Jimmy’s… ya know!


“Close enough,” he informed him. Flippant as can be.

“Oh, you-you meant just pl-plea- eeezzz.”


Jimmy had no idea what strange sounds he trailed off into, because Richard had squeezed his hand, and just swallowed him all up, all over again. And, he’d only, at that point, gotten half-hard so far so… yeah… apparently… Richard really meant to go through with that whole… thing he’d said.


Cause I decided I wanna suck you off… Then, I wanna suck your dick ‘til you get hard, again, -only right in my mouth this time-, an’, then, you can cum, again. That cool with you?... Raven?


Well, it was more than “cool” with him, but, he was thinking that it, probably, wasn’t going to take long.

Again.

Not with the luxuriously lewd way Richard’s tongue was moving around him while he was sucking and slurping at him…

And, how he was holding him down to the bed this time. Hard enough to leave marks in the shape of his fingers on his skin.


It was all equal parts aggressive and sweet.

And perfect.

Just perfect.


And, it felt INSANE.


Perhaps, he was more sensitive this time since he’d so recently-? But, then, what-what did he know about this stuff, anyways?…


Jimmy realized he was keening. Like you’d think he was at a wake or something.

Between his moans and near wails, and all the wet, obscene sounds Richard didn’t seem to be at all embarrassed about making… the room was, uh, loud.

Yeah, that’s… that’s a good way to describe it…


Loud.


But- But, he was doing, um, alright. Right? He could hold out this time! He hadn’t- Not yet. Somehow…

Until, Richard trailed a hand up to lightly pinch a painfully hard little nip, while doing this crazy swirly thing with the tip of his tongue-


And, it hit Jimmy so freaking hard this time that it was like little silvery sparks of light popping and glitching out right before his eyes out of absolutely nowhere.


It was a good thing the neighbors knew he screamed when he got spooked, so they must’ve figured he was busy being his typical “girly” wimp self, rather than busy shaking and writhing as he cried out his second release in a row into his secret boyfriend’s mouth.


He swore it took him twice as long to catch his breath.


But, then, Richard hadn’t really LET him catch his breath last time, had he?

He had to smile sleepily, at that.

Mmm… he needed to wake up a bit here. Take care of Richard. Which he was excited to, finally, do.

Turnabouts fair play, after… aft…er all...


He thought he dozed off for a second. Or a minute. Or a couple minutes…

But, he woke, instantly, when he felt Richard moving about a little uncomfortably, before he sat up.

And, he absently patted and rubbed Jimmy’s leg.

Before getting up onto his knees… edging closer to the side of the large bed…

It all felt very…


Familiar…


And, it hit Jimmy like a load of bricks.

He was, suddenly, quite awake.

Because-


He was going to leave! Like he had so many times before when things had started to get much too hot n’ heavy…


But-But, why?! Weren’t they past that, now? Wasn’t Jimmy supposed to…


All of the smaller boy’s insecurities came flooding back.


“You… Are you cheating on me? Are you going to go mess around with some-some girl, now?! Is it Becka?! No, Tiffany! Who is it?! I’ll slap her right in her trashy boyfriend stealing face!” He may have sounded a bit shrill, but… but, he didn’t know what to think.

Richard looked surprised by his outburst. Then, annoyed. “Jimmy, don’t start with that shit-”

“Then, why-,” Jimmy sat up, hardly noticing he wasn’t wearing anything while Richard was still clothed.

And, he leaned up to wrap his arms around the other boy. Pressing up against him to hide his, suddenly, burning, watering eyes into his chest…


Please, please. Don’t hurt me like this…


And, he actually felt Richard flinch.

Even though… he, also, felt how incredibly hard he was. And, how his arms almost seemed to, guiltily, sneak around him, only to, then, hold him so breathtakingly close.

As if he really wanted to be with him. Wanted it so much-


It didn’t make sense!

It didn’t- It didn't-

It absolutely did NOT make any-

But… then… suddenly, it really did.


So quietly, Jimmy asked, “Is it because of Simm-”


“Don’t. Not now,” Richard snapped out, as always not wanting to ever talk about him when they were like this in any way.

Despite the fact that they shared a body, now, and some things were inevitably always going to be awkward… It still made him unbearably uncomfortable.

“But, Richard… you know he said as long as it was me…”


Jimmy fell silent. He HATED that. Whenever he was feeling insecure… that thought… that Simmons was okay with this as long as it was with Jimmy, who was someone he knew and trusted… it made him feel afraid that maybe Richard was only with him because he was the only person Simmons was comfortable with him being with…

He forced himself to continue.


“He just… doesn’t want to know about… the details… That’s what HE said, anyway… You know… you were there…”

“I- I just…”

Richard seemed at a loss for words.

“We could… you know… like do it how you…,” Jimmy blushed, and burrowed deeper into the safety of Richard’s arms before going on, “…how you did it with me at first? Like you could show me how you… you know… how you do it…”

Richard squeezed him so tight… but, then, burst out, “No. I can’t. I DON’T do it… I won’t do it. I just can’t. I…”

Jimmy pulled back to look up at him, “You never… You?… But, how do you…?”

Get off? Being such a passionate person that had obviously been s-sexually active before all this… And, that could currently spend more time than you could imagine leisurely getting Jimmy all worked up, -and, clearly, getting excited himself-…

Richard’s voice was very low, ashamed even, “It seems so wrong… It’s just wrong… I can’t touch… this body… like that…”

“Because at the end of the day, you’re still brothers,” Jimmy sighed, but nodded in understanding.

And, Richard looked so freaking uncomfortable, “Can we not- Not now, I said!”

“Okay, okay!,” Jimmy exclaimed.


But, he couldn’t help but think that it was really no wonder why Richard was so wound up, and ready to sock someone so much of the time…


Wait…

“Richard! You were gonna go pick a fight with someone! That’s what you’ve been doing whenever-”

“So many accusations,” he growled down at the smaller teen.

“Yeah, but that one’s true. I’ve seen you… And, sometimes, it’s been right after we were messing around, and, then, there YOU are riling some bully up- You’re just getting all your s-sexual tension out with-with brawling!

Richard rolled his eyes, but snickered, “Such a drama queen... But… whatever. It’s never been with anyone who doesn’t deserve it, an' no one dares to say the 'pretty-boy nerd' kicked their ass. No one would believe them-”


And, Jimmy, although his knees were still a little weak from earlier, threw a freaking fit.


“This is absurd! I can’t even believe what a dumb system that is! If you can’t t-touch yourself- and-and release all your insane amounts of tension… Well, I’ll do it! I want to. And, I. Don’t. Want. You. Fighting! If you get Simmons a black eye or something because of your ridiculousness, so help me, Richard! I will go to war with you!”

“…Whatever…” Richard muttered, looking away a tad shamefully as if even HE knew that his system was more than flawed, and unsure how to react to being caught at it.


But, Jimmy was determined that this stop already. If he was just fighting to defend Simmons or himself, that was one thing, but this?


Not acceptable. Absolutely NOT acceptable!


“So- So just lay back down, and let someone take care of YOU for once!” He may have sounded more like a bossy brat, at the moment, than a compassionate “lover” or whatever, but it was what it was.

He knew what Richard needed.


The boy in question let out a supposedly irritated little huff...

But, wouldn’t you know it?

He actually ended up doing it.


That was a little known secret about Richard. If you really meant something to him, no matter how aggressive and dominant he could get… sometimes, he’d give in.


But, Jimmy could tell he was still apprehensive. It HAD been a very long time for him… years, in fact… and, the situation, physically and otherwise, was not at all what he’d been used to…


It wasn’t like being in this body was easy for him.


For a split second, Jimmy remembered. Remembered Richard’s terrible fear.

Nearly five years ago, at that point…

Only mere days after it all had happened, and Simmons lay in a hospital bed, drugged to the gills so “he” wouldn’t keep being able to have these manic fits of rage and terror-induced self-harm.

Jimmy remembered how the doctor, who was struggling with this strange, unexplainable cover-up that he was being forced to participate in, had snuck him into a private room on a private floor so that he could crawl into the hospital bed with Richie.

He’d wrapped his arms around him, talked to him…

And, when Richie’d fallen asleep…

Soothed by Jimmy’s presence…

Jimmy’d gotten, a bit shakily, out of the bed to walk over to the little hospital tray to refill Richie’s water…

When he heard…


Jimmy.


So low. Nearly inaudible.

But, unmistakably his voice.

His voice.

He’d heard him earlier… but, he’d been screaming and freaking out…


Not sane. Not very sane at all.


But, this… this was different.

He was calling for him…

So quietly. So despondent.

Like he didn’t think he’d even be able to hear him.

Jimmy’d almost been afraid to turn around. But, of course, he had to.


He needed to.


He was reaching for him when he did.

Sitting up.

Dazed.

Mind numb from the drugs being pumped into him- into them.

Those still small, slim child’s fingers, -so different from that which had been Richard’s own already so long, slender ones-, twitching.


And, Jimmy’d gone to him.

Pulled to him by those invisible bonds that would, eventually and ultimately, come to always bind them, and bring them back to each other, again and again.


He’d climbed right back onto the bed, and wrapped his arms around him.

-Him. Around what was both Richie and Richard, now, and Richard, at that moment-


Like he was a small child in need of comfort…


And, Richard had wept, brokenly, into Jimmy’s small shoulder. Too frightened, and stoned on whatever they had them on, to put up any fronts.

Whispering over and over, “I’m afraid, I’m so afraid …”


But, when he’d started to ask in rapid succession, “Where’s my mother?, Why-Why’d they turn on me? Why-Why- Did she t-turn on me, too? Are they mad cause- I had to do it. Jimmy, I HAD to! And, where am I? Where’s my bod-”


Jimmy had to cut him off. Actually had to press his head down into the crook of his neck, and whisper, “Shhh…”

And try not to be obvious when he jerked his head toward the not at all well-hidden camera in the corner of the room.


The doctor seemed bound and determined to figure out what had happened. What was going on…

Maybe, he even could’ve helped them…


But… it was too big of a risk…


Could they really have trusted him? And, if they could, and he believed them (And, he may have. He HAD seen some strange, unexplainable things that night, after all.), would he just have an “accident” if they tried to confide in him?

It wasn’t like these things never happened.

Especially, when the powers-that-be had brought forth a decree that could withstand no tampering.

A house of cards build upon a windy beach.

A fallacy spread amongst so many that knew, even if they spoke it not, the truth hidden behind this falsehood.

It really had been simply too big of a risk…


Recalling such heartbreaking memories… remembering how far Richard had come to, at least, accepting the situation enough to not freak out, and harm both himself and his brother… but, then, how he’d suffered when Richie couldn’t bear to accept what had happened.

And, had wanted to die, to absolutely DIE, because he believed his actions had led to… to all this.

He wanted Richard with him. He was cradled in the warmth of his self-sacrificing love.

But, the pain.

The debilitating, agonizing PAIN.

And, a father who, despite the eradication of all things Richard Simmons II from the books, still hissing in vehement hatred, “Shoulda been YOU, boy. Yer worthless ta’ me! Stupid n’ worthless!”… It wore him down… to a nearly empty, hollow shell.


Until Richard, in another sacrifice built upon the very purity of true familial love, had, somehow, taken it all away. Made himself a stranger to the one he loved best, in order to attempt to rebuild his broken spirit. Had to attempt to make himself a stranger to his own self in order to make it stick.


And, in the process, he’d lost his only brother. Even though he was closer to him every day than any two brothers could ever be.

But, Richie… Simmons, now… he didn’t know that.

He didn’t know HIM, anymore.

Not as Richard. Not as his brother.

Who had protected, and teased, and spoiled him. Who had always watched out for him. His protectiveness even spilling over to Simmons’ best friend.

And, in the end… well… he protected him still.

But, Simmons didn’t know…


Or, did he?


A part of him seemed to. A part of him always seemed to… But, then, he seemed to feel like he was losing his marbles, and Richard had to “realign some things”, again… And, Simmons was alright, for a while, but Richard was dejected, brought down low because for a moment… a short moment… even if it’d all been a mess... his brother had known him, again, and he had known himself, and, oh geez,… at some point, the truth HAD to come out…


Jimmy held Richard tighter… kissed him… He just wanted him to be happy. He deserved to be happy. And, he really did want to get to take care of him for once. In any way really.

Richard thought it was his job, and was obsessed with taking care of everyone else, -Well, Simmons and Jimmy, anyway-, but it was really time for him to learn that everything didn’t have to be like that...

Especially not between the two of them.

Not when they were like this.


Jimmy kissed him, again. Leaning up to wrap his arms even more tightly around the taller boy who leaned down to meet his lips. Their tongues tangling together, even as their slender fingers tangled into one another’s long, silky hair.


It had to be the feel of their familiar kiss that, finally, soothed Richard.

And, he sighed in sweet surrender into the smaller boy’s mouth.

Laid back onto the bed, pulling Jimmy right on top of him.

His hands running down his sides to cup his bare bottom-


And-


And, Holy Cow! Jimmy realized he was still completely naked!

We’re talking completely, and totally. Not a stitch on.

He’d been arguing with Richard…


Buck. Naked.


He couldn’t even believe…

Wow. Just… just frickin’ wow.


But, once again, he, suddenly, couldn’t think clearly enough to remember why that might be any kind of issue…


Because, Richard was kissing him hungrily. His head propped up on a couple of pillows… his knees bent, hips cocked up… And, with the shorter Jimmy lying on top of him, and in-between his long legs…


Richard had started to rock up into him.


Jimmy was impressed that he’d found a way to maneuver them where they could line up so perfectly, and still meet each other’s lips…

And, Richard’s hands were all over him…

He was, at that particular moment, running his nails just on the side of too hard in that little crease between the smaller boy’s round little bottom and the top of his upper thighs.

And, ohhh, it felt so freaking gooood

Mmm- B-But, no!

That sneaky s.o.b.! This was supposed to totally be about, and focused on, Richard this time. Not Jimmy.

And, Richard was even still totally dressed!


Jimmy moved quick.


He was slipping down Richard’s body. A bit hastily cupping him through his pants to distract him so he didn’t simply haul him back up-

Richard jolted like he’d been struck by lightning. Then, simply melted back into the mattress.

He hardly seemed aware when Jimmy pulled off his pants and boxers…

And, although, Jimmy wrapped his hand around the hard length before him, prompting a quiet rumble from the other boy’s throat…

When he looked up, he saw that Richard’s eyes were closed.

And, his expression was… tight. He looked stressed the frick out, again.


So, although, he didn’t let go of him, Jimmy reached up with his other hand to gently take ahold of Richard’s restless fingers that were clenching and unclenching into the comforter beneath them-

Richard’s eyes flew open, and met his.


Richard?,” Such a soft whisper, “Relax, okay? Just look at me.”

And, he let a thick collection of salvia slowly drip down past his partially open lips, and down onto the taller boy-


He got a pretty nice reaction.


He felt Richard’s hard flesh actually throb within the tight ring of fingers that he had curled around, and could, now, more easily slick up and down, him...

But, to be honest, -even though it had helped a lot when Richard had done it, and had felt so, so much better-, it’d, seriously, still been pretty frickin’ embarrassing to freaking spit directly on the taller boy’s longer length rather than just his own hand.


He wasn’t sure why he’d gone that route, in particular.


Jimmy was totally going to find something… some kind of natural lubricant (Although, did it really get more natural than, uh… whatever.) they could use for next time.


He had to admit, though, that, -embarrassment aside-, it had been more than worth it, as Richard’s eyes nearly rolling up in his head, all tension dissipating in an instant, and him moaning loudly and shifting about, almost squirmingwhew… It’d, uh… it’d been a sight to see.


Yep, Richard had actually done that.

For a split second it was like HE was Jimmy’s little “pixie princess”, instead of the other way around…


With a distracted kiss pressed right down onto his so wet slit, Jimmy, completely, without meaning to, mused aloud to the taller boy, “You’re still bigger than me.”

Not that he would’ve known that firsthand before Richard’s new… physical situation. But, considering he’d been older than him before all that… it was kinda a no brainer.


And, no one should get any weird ideas. Jimmy knew that Richard had never thought of him that way back then.

Although, he’d always seemed to like him alright, and, obviously, appreciated someone being with Simmons (Still known as Richie, at the time.) while he wasn’t around.

But, Jimmy’d just been a kid, still, and Richard hadn’t been a pervert, or something.

No, he’d been a teenager who always had some pretty girlfriend hanging around.


Although, they never hung around for long…


Jimmy didn’t know if they broke up with him because he was too… intense… or if he broke up with them cause they were using him for his status.

Whatever the case, Jimmy liked to think that even if none of it had happened… if Richard was still just Richard, and Simmons was still just Simmons… and, even though Richard had always seemed to like girls… maybe… maybe, when Jimmy had been old enough…


Richard muttered in answer, “Was always gonna be bigger, Little Bean- Mmm, lil’ faster- That was… ah-always gonna be the case.”


Rude! That annoyed Jimmy enough that he stopped moving his hand mid-stroke.

Richard, -who had started praising him-, immediately, swore in frustration. But, then, he seemed to realize what he’d said, why Jimmy may have gotten in a snit, and he cajoled, “C’mon, Raven... C’mon, sweet baby, don’t get mad. Jus' meant… cause you’re so small-”


Jimmy let out an offended huff. Richard was not helping his case here.


“No-no. Shit. I mean your whole body, not your dick. It really is a more than decent size… ya know, for how little you are.”

Hmph! This guy. Unbelievable. He really couldn’t just quit while he was ahead.

And, right when he was starting to seem a little desperate, too.

Cause even though he was still able to rock up into Jimmy’s smaller fist, as the teen wasn’t strong enough to hold him down, and could never be mean enough to let him go…

Now, that Richard had relaxed into it… it, obviously, wasn’t enough.


He wanted in his mouth.


Jimmy might’ve still been new to all of this, but the way Richard rocked up, and slid his tip against his lips… And, moaned when the smaller boy’s tongue darted out to wet his bottom lip, and, just “happened to”, by some strange “coincidence”, brush the head-


And, how he’d let go of Jimmy’s hand to bury his fingers into his long raven hair…

His other hand tightly grasping one of the fluffy pillows beneath his head.

All he would’ve had to do was take himself in his hand, and use that handful of Jimmy’s dark hair to pull him down onto him…


Jimmy could actually almost picture him doing it…


But, he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t really do it. He really couldn’t bear to touch he and Simmons’ shared body in that particular way.

It was blatantly obvious.


Finally, Richard gave in, and softly admitted, “Don’t think my pride… coulda taken it… if you were bigger than me, now… in any way…”


And, Richard, in that singular moment, alluding to his “true identity”, so to speak… saying “if you were bigger than me, now” which admitted there had been a time before, now… It broke through any and all of the other boy’s defenses.


Richard hissed when Jimmy lightly kissed his tip.

And, the smaller boy looked up at him from under his thick, dark lashes, and met those blazing green (Green. They were green. Not blue anymore.) eyes with a little smirk.

He realized Richard wasn’t looking at this body he shared, but at him. He was focused directly and completely on him.


And, to be really honest?

It made him feel sorta… powerful.

To have such a strong spirited young man capable of such violence (He had seen him fight before, and, although, Jimmy legitimately complained about it for still innocent Simmons’ sake… it was, honestly, kinda awesome. He was so freaking fast and self-assured. No one could lay a hand on him.)…

To have one such as his Richard at his mercy-

It made the smaller boy’s mind light up like a pinball machine.

And, he started to completely silently and internally try to psyche himself up to fill a role not quite suited to him, in particular. Not due to his size, but his personality...


-But, darnit, he could try!-


That cocky ol’ Richard thinks he’s the only one who can tease, huh?! He thinks he’s sooo tough!

Ha! Bet I could tease and torment with the best of them! Have him on pins n’ needles begging, BEGGING- And, then, may-be if I’m feeling generous, I’ll have a little mercy on the poor guy.

Two can play at this little game, Richard! And, I can totally-

To…ta…lly…

*Hu-uhhh…*


Melt into mind-altering submissiveness when Richard’s other hand joined the first in tangling into his dark, raven strands-

To roughly pull his head further down-


-It was like he’d partially read Jimmy’s mind from earlier when he’d kinda fantasized about him doing just that-


And, he rubbed the smaller boy’s flushed face all down n’ all over on his junk while Jimmy just whined like an instantly subdued pup presenting his belly to his undefeated alpha.

When Richard commanded in that dark, persuasive tone, “Open your mouth for me”, the other boy, instantly, obeyed. There wasn’t even another possible choice in the matter.


Not when Richard talked like that.


Even if deep down Jimmy knew he could stop anything they were doing with one word, there was simply no way he would’ve wanted to.

He wouldn’t have thought he would ever really LIKE to be told what to do… Well... Not THIS much, anyway, but…


Maybe it was Richard’s tone?


Though he was, abruptly, giving him orders, “Watch the teeth, Raven”… “Little slower”… “Spit for me, again, sweet baby”… “Use your hand, too”… “Swirl your tongue up ar- *Quiet Sigh* That’s my good boy. Like that. Just like that”… His voice was low, calming. He didn’t bark out orders, but rather softly grumbled or purred them out.

Considering just how aggressive he could be… of what he was capable of…

And, that underlying nervous crackle of internal feedback that always wondered if, and when his control would snap…


It was intoxicating.


But, when Richard got too close… he actually forgot about his need to control the situation.

And, he got worried, instead.

(He really was a secret sweetheart. If all the super sweet, -sickly sweet in Simmons’ opinion-, nicknames didn’t tell you that, I don’t know what will.)

And, he was managing to get out, though, his voice was strained, “If you don’t, -fuck-, want me to cum in your mouth-”


Jimmy just gave him one of his annoyed little puppy growls, and sucked harder.


“Ha-Shit- O-Okay, but you don’t have ta’-ta’ swallow just cause I did. That’s-that’s- Holy fuck, that feels good-… uh, like personal preference n’-”

Jimmy let out an irritated huff through his nose. (His mouth was a tad preoccupied, at the moment.) Couldn’t Richard just shush it and enjoy this like he had been a second ago?

He thought of what Richard had done to him, and thought, maybe, he’d like the same… So, his hand stretched up to push at Richard’s shirt (Which he was still wearing for some reason. Maybe, it was the scars? The skin was so pale, now, and they were so faded that you’d hardly notice. But, sometimes, they still bothered both, or either, or, even, all three, of them.), and he shoved at it until Richard got the hint, and, at least, pulled it up for him.

And, HE pinched Richard’s nipple this time (While hardly repressing the urge to climb up his body… press kisses onto those thin, faded white lines…), while trying to copy that amazing swirly trick Richard had done with his tongue-

His rendition must’ve been more than satisfactory, because Richard’s fingers scrambled for a second, as if to find purchase… then, clenched down so hard onto the back of Jimmy’s neck and shoulder…

Holding him in place.

And, if Jimmy thought he’d felt that hard length throb before… while it’d been in his hand… it did not begin to compare to how it felt in his mouth. He was so glad Richard was holding him so still, because he could feel, almost seem to taste every twitch, every spasm, every single heavy throb.

And, his mouth was filling, and he swore it hit the back of his throat HARD, and he could hardly swallow fast enough.

Breathing shallowly through his nose due to how full his mouth was…


Amazingly, in spite of Richard’s dirty talk during, when he came, he was, mostly, silent.

Well, as in he didn’t SAY much, anyway. As in not a lot of coherent words.

More like soft-hitched gasps, Jimmy’s name, and half-curses that got lost somewhere along the way…


When he, finally, finished, -and it seemed to go on forever-, Jimmy kept him in his mouth. Still so softly sucking. Gently, now.

Thinking to get him to hardness, again, just as Richard had him.


But…


“Hh-oh, Raven, no. I- I can’t. Came too… too hard… been too long… N-Need a minute…” Richard’s hips were twitching slightly from over-stimulation, despite how very cautious and slow Jimmy’d been with trying to work him up, again...

And, his hands were running through Jimmy’s hair. Actually twirling strands in his fingers like some sleepy kid. Frankly, he sounded like he was close to passing straight the heck out.


Jimmy released him with a soft wet pop, and rested his head down on his thigh.


Mmm… He’d liked that.

A lot.

He was grateful Richard had thought to pull him up off him at least a little bit, -right by the roots of his hair, right at the last second, before his hands had clamped down on him-, so he didn’t choke… That'd been very... considerate...of him.

Huh. Wow... Richard being all thoughtful n' stuff...

Unlike Jimmy, who’d, without thought, arched and thrust even deeper, and harder into Richard’s mouth as his passion was spent…


Um… Oops?


But, of course… Jimmy wasn’t, erm, ya know, as big as him. Not that there was THAT huge of a difference at that point (*Pout* There wasn’t! Not… not really…), but, uhm… Richard resided in a body that was already becoming, and would become, uh… nicely “gifted”, shall we say, in that area, while Jimmy would feel lucky to eventually, at least, nearly break average (Rounding up.), so… yeah… Jimmy’d never outmatch him, or even match him, in that department.

But, despite the smaller boy’s petite stature, that, in particular, was never really an issue. As, even some years down the line, Richard always proved to be more conscientious (Or, maybe more of a motherhenning worrywart.) when it came to... particular things... than even Jimmy would've originally expected him to be.


All the smaller boy knew was that Richard’s thorough thoughtfulness, along with his ability to, instantly, take control, and over-power him, blended together in such a way as to make his heart race, and his knees go weak…


Jimmy giggled quietly without meaning to. He just felt giddy. Perhaps, even, a touch light-headed.


Then, Richard was reaching