It's in Will and Layla's junior year at Whatsamatta U, one evening, when Layla pulls out her phone at Friendship, the local spiritual successor to the Paper Lantern. That's usually a faux pas, so Will and Warren look at her, then at each other, then back at her.
"I was talking to Penny the other day," Layla begins. "She's really turned her life around since she got away from Royal Pain."
"Uh-huh," says Warren, going back to his noodles.
"That's nice," Will says. "How does she like U of Mars?" The more Warren answers in grunts, the more Will feels like he has to pick up the conversational slack, even if he doesn't really know what to say.
"She's fine, U of Mars is fine." Okay, so that wasn't what Layla was aiming for. "She's been working on differentiating her bodies, gaining more control of her powers that way."
"Uh-huh." Warren at least swallows his chow mein before grunting this time.
"Oh?" Will's kind of lost. "How do you... feel about that?" he tries.
"I'm getting to the point, Will," Layla says, mildly exasperated. Warren kicks him under the table and smirks, holding up two fingers -- twice Warren's been "the good one" tonight. "She's dating five different people."
That gets Warren's attention. "People," he says. "Not just guys?" Layla nods.
"Isn't that hard to keep track of?" Will asks.
"She actually likes them all," Layla tells him. "It's not that hard to remember stuff about people you like. I remember that you won't eat sandwiches with crusts and that you won't eat broccoli that's touched mashed potatoes."
"It gets all potatoey," Warren defends himself.
"I know, buddy." Layla shakes her head. "What I thought was interesting is that two of her girlfriends are also dating each other."
Warren just raises his eyebrows. "That sounds complicated, too," Will says, then pauses, looking up at the ceiling. "Kind of nice, though."
"That's what I thought," Layla says. "I thought it sounded nice. Penny told me there's a word for it, even: polyamory."
"Huh," Warren says. His eyebrows are still up, but he looks sort of -- Will's not sure what he looks like, because he averts his eyes, like usual when he feels like he's been looking at Warren too much.
Layla looks down at her phone. "I thought it might... I thought it might be nice."
"Who do you want to date, Layla?" Warren asks. His voice sounds a little bit hoarse.
"First, I tried dating Will," Layla says, "and even though I still love him -- love you -- a lot, it didn't feel right."
Will clears his throat. "Love you, too, babe."
"And then I tried dating you, Warren, and it was the same thing." Layla doesn't actually say the L-word to Warren, Will notices, but she takes his hand, and he doesn't light it on fire. That's basically the same.
"And you two..." She laughs. "I mean, you two have been the two of you for years now."
"Ha ha!" Will laughs a little too loudly, and Layla and Warren look at him like they're disappointed.
"I'm bisexual," Warren grits out through his teeth.
"Really?" Will drops his chopsticks. "Me too!"
"Uh-huh," Warren says skeptically. "Then why did you laugh like that?"
"Protective coloration?" Will suggests. "I don't know."
"You don't need protective coloration with us," Layla says.
That touches Will somewhere vulnerable. "Thanks," he says, voice cracking. "I'll try to remember that."
Warren presses their knees together, comfortingly, under the table. "You didn't answer my question," he says to Layla.
"You," Layla says. "Both of you. And I thought you two, maybe, but that's really not my business, I mean --"
"I want to try it," Warren says, shutting her up. "All three of us. It's the only way it'll work, and you both know it."
Will feels like all of the air has been sucked out of the room. He's had dreams like this, but he's never admitted it to anybody, least of all the two of them. "Yeah," he manages to say. "I'm in."
"Really?" Layla looks like they've just given her the best birthday presents ever. 'You mean, we can try it?"
Will looks at her, then at Warren, then back at her. "Let's give it a go," he says.
"Yeah," Warren says.
"So, what do we do next?" Will asks.
"I think we pay the bill," Warren says, and this time, the warm press of his knee is anything but comforting. Actually, it's not just warm, either.
"Warren!" Layla throws her glass of water at him, dousing the flames.
"Sorry," Warren says, but he doesn't really look sorry at all.
Warren has an apartment of his own, one of the perks of joining up with the Retinue of Rectitude right out of high school, unlike Will and Layla, who are still living in the Whatsamatta U dorms. Usually, the apartment makes Will think of bad movies and better beer, but tonight is different. He stops in the doorway, hit in the gut with a wave of wanting.
Layla walks right into his back. "Get it together, Stronghold," she says.
Warren just raises one eyebrow at them. "Coming?"
"I was hoping," Layla says, and Warren trips over his own feet, flying headlong into the couch.
"Crap!" He scrambles to get up. Will thinks very hard about all the things Warren could do to him if he laughed, and keeps his mouth tightly shut.
"No," Layla says, and both of them look at her. "I think I like you there." Almost casually, she flicks the fingers of her left hand at the red camellia she bought Warren for a housewarming gift, and vines spring out of it, winding themselves quickly around Warren's wrists and ankles.
"I wasn't going to go anywhere," Warren says testily, flexing his hands.
"I know." Layla smiles sweetly. "But doesn't he looks good like this, Will?"
Will gulps. It's not like he's not taking in the sight, but admitting it is a whole 'nother step. "I, uh," he says eloquently.
"Well, Stronghold?" Warren leans back into the couch, and his eyes flash. "You like what you see or not? 's not a hard question."
You're a Stronghold, Will reminds himself. You can do this. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah, I like what I see. A lot."
Layla goes up on her toes and kisses him quickly on the mouth, just open enough to show some intent. "So do something about it," she says.
"Maybe I will." He squares his shoulders and looks right at Warren, who's smirking. As Will stares him down, though, the smirk melts off his face, like Will's suddenly developed heat vision. Sexy heat vision. With that thought, he steps forward, straddling Warren's knees and leaning down, and presses their mouths together.
He doesn't want to freak Warren out, so he tries to pull back after just a quick kiss. Warren has other ideas, though -- he surges forward, against Will, against Layla's vines, and moans. The sound goes straight to Will's dick, and he gives in immediately, licking into Warren's mouth and grabbing a fistful of Warren's thick hair.
The sound must do something similar to Layla, because she echoes Warren's moan. Will feels, in some distant part of himself, like that should be weird or distracting. It's not, though; it just feels right.
Will finally breaks away from Warren's kiss to breathe, but he doesn't really want to move away, so he just leans their foreheads together, breathing Warren's air.
"Up to your standards?" Warren asks. He probably means it to be snarky, but his voice is all husky and broken up.
"Definite potential," Will says, trying to sound cool.
"If that felt half as good as it looked, I'm surprised you didn't both come in your pants," Layla says, blunt as ever.
"Well," Will says, and shifts his weight. "It was pretty good."
"Pretty good," Warren mimics him. "Blow me."
Will sucks in a breath, and hears Layla do the same. That sounds pretty good, actually.
"We both will," Layla decides. "Get out of Warren's lap and help me get his pants down, Stronghold."
"I'm not in his lap," Will argues, climbing off Warren. Warren snorts.
"Well, now you're not," Layla says, and goes for Warren's fly. He groans and arches up against her hands, and Will feels so lucky just to be watching this that he could just -- fall over, or something. "Get down here, Will," she says, and drops gracefully to her knees.
"O-okay," Will says, his voice cracking again. He kneels down next to Layla as she pulls Warren's dick out, flushed and hard, and, wow, he wants it in his mouth.
Layla drops a kiss on the crown of Warren's dick, making him groan again, and says to Will, "Go ahead."
"Oh, God," Warren says. His eyes are closed. Will licks it, tentatively at first, then with a little more conviction. His bisexuality up until now has mostly been, Yep, guys and girls both definitely do it for me; it's nice to put it into practice. Really nice.
While Will is busy licking his way down towards Warren's balls -- Warren's balls! -- Layla wraps her mouth around the tip, then slides wetly down the shaft so she and Will are pretty much kissing around Warren's dick. It's probably -- no, definitely -- the hottest thing Will's ever done.
"If you two don't stop messing around," Warren says huskily, and Will decides to shut him up by sucking down as much of his dick as he can. It works, plus now Will's mouth is full of dick, which turns out to feel awesome.
"You'll what?" Layla asks him, getting up from the floor. "I think you'll be good for us."
Warren groans, and his dick twitches on Will's tongue. That's interesting.
"Do you want to be good, Warren?" Layla continues, her voice sounding satiny-smooth.
"Yeah," Warren says fervently.
"You want to show me how good you can be?"
"Will, don't stop," Layla directs him. She climbs up onto the couch, over his head. He's not sure what's going on at first, but then he hears Warren's muffled groan and Layla's not-so-muffled one, and he figures it out. "Oh, yes," Layla says. "That's good, Warren, you're so good --"
Will can feel Warren's balls tightening as she talks, and he's just about to wonder what to do next when a vine plucks Warren's dick away and catches his come in a soft leaf. God, Layla is good at everything.
"Come up here and kiss me," Layla says, which sounds -- as usual -- like a great idea. Her knees are braced against the back of the couch, on either side of Warren's head, and she's balancing herself with vines that hang from the light fixture. When Will gets close enough, she lets go with one hand and wraps it around the back of his neck to kiss him, hard.
He kisses her back, pressing his hips against the back of the couch and stroking Layla's silky hair. She moans into his mouth, and Warren makes another muffled, happy sound, and that's it, Will is coming in his pants like he's a teenager again.
When Layla comes, she arches in a gorgeous wave against Will's chest and Warren's face, then lowers herself to settle in Warren's lap. "Oh, God," she says, letting all the vines retract back into the flower pot. "That was amazing."
"You're amazing," Will says earnestly. "Both of you." He leans forward to kiss the side of Warren's neck.
"You're not so bad yourself, Stronghold," Warren says, and turns to kiss Will full on the mouth.
"Uh," Will says, when they break apart. "Do boyfriend privileges include borrowing some sweats? I kind of..."
Warren snickers. "Yeah, sure."
"Mmm, I have an idea," Layla says, winding her arms around Warren's neck. "Your shower is pretty big."
"And I never run out of hot water," Warren says, snapping a little flame out of his fingers.
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world," Will says dreamily. He feels like he's floating -- no, he actually is floating. Awesome.