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get these hearts beating (faster, faster)

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The thing that most people don’t understand about Rans is that he’s surprisingly delicate. Not, like, physically speaking – Rans is a huge motherfucker, obviously – but in mentality and shit. It takes a lot to keep Rans balanced; when he’s out of whack he tends to start spouting defensive plays and carbon models at unsuspecting passersby. Finals especially get to him, because then the combination of hockey and bro and bio major sort of eat at his brain and he tends to collapse in random places freaking out with test anxiety.

(Holster doesn’t regret throwing that mini-pie at the rando that tried to fuck with Rans in the library, no matter how many angry glares he gets from Jack or sad faces from Bittle. It was necessary action – Rans is a delicate coral reef that deserves protection.)

Thus, the minute that Rans returns from his last final – organic chemistry, which he tried to explain to Holster for like five minutes before Holster checked out, because who gives a fuck about carbons anyways – it is officially time to party.

“Bro!” Shitty yells, and Holster looks up from where he’s slaughtering one of the frogs at COD to see Ransom stumble in, looking like he just fought off that ginormous d-man from Harvard, the one who’s 6’ 7” and looks like he eats entire cows.

“I did it,” Rans says, sounding utterly exhausted, dropping his backpack off in the doorway before walking over to flop down on the couch next to Holster. He’s really close, actually. As in, Holster can feel his body heat because Ransom’s entire fucking body is pressed up against his own.

As a defense mechanism, he pulls the X-box controller away from the frog and hands it to Rans. “You look like you need this.”

“Thanks bro,” Rans says, glancing over at him and looking genuinely touched.

It makes something in Holster’s stomach do a weird twisty thing, and he turns back to the screen, starting up a new round even as he hears Shitty say over the phone, “No, yeah bro, we need like, at least a keg. And 40s. A lot of 40s.”

-

Six hours later, the Haus is unrecognizable. Despite the fact that there are still unfortunates who have tests tomorrow – mostly freshman in the standard Samwell Gen Ed class, but still – there’s a truly legendary number of people all around the Haus. Even Jack’s shown up, standing with his hands in his pockets and looking worried in his constipated way as Shitty encourages Bittle to do a couple – or, okay, six – shots. However, they’ve all learned through careful experimentation with like, charts and shit that Bittle is surprisingly a heavyweight, so really Jack shouldn’t be looking at Shitty like he wants to kill him.

Unless maybe it’s because Shitty’s kind of half draped on Bittle, in which case, maybe that’s the reason for the murder eyes. Holster resolves to ask Rans about it, if he can ever find Rans.

“Bro!”

Holster turns, and there’s Rans, in his snapback and tank top. “I found you!” Holster blurts out, unable to stop himself,

“Yeah man,” Rans says cheerfully, which means he must be really fucking drunk. Normally Holster would get a chirp for that kind of dumbass sentence.

“Dude, do you think Jack’s going to kill Shitty?” he asks, slinging an arm around Ransom’s shoulders and pulling him in before he can stop himself. Apparently drunk Holster lacks any sort of self-preservation instinct.

Surprisingly, Rans just goes with it, settling in so they’re both leaning against the wall and passing Holster a beer because he’s Holster’s best bro ever. “Why’d you ask that?” he asks, before taking a swallow.

Holster doesn’t look at the way Rans’ throat works as he swallows. He doesn’t, because that would be stupid, and Holster’s been trying really hard to not be stupid about Rans. Instead, he swallows, throat suddenly dry, and gets out, “Because Shitty’s like, laying on Bittle. And. Jack is really weird about Bitty.”

“That is true,” Rans agrees, tipping his head back against Holster’s arm. “Jack is super weird about Bitty. It’s weird.”

Holster nods, and takes a swig of beer. “Ayup.”

“Well,” Rans drawls, gesturing with his beer bottle, “I doubt Jack will kill Shitty. Maybe murder eyes at him. He’ll probably pull the whole captain card on Bitty, you know, make him stop or something.”

“Heart to hearts?” Holster asks, because for some reason Jack spends a lot more time than normal trying to like, encourage Bittle and shit. Which, well, Bitty did manage to stop freaking out about getting checked into the boards, but seriously, Jack does not do heart to hearts for just anyone.

“Mmm,” Rans hums, leaning back further, until he’s basically all up against Holster. Rans is really goddamn warm. It’s kind of terrible for Holster’s head.

“You think Jack knows why he’s so weird about Bittle?” Holster asks.

Rans makes a noise, swigging his beer again before replying. “Don’t think so, bro.”

“That’s too bad. He should figure that shit out, I mean – he can’t just ignore it forever.” Holster says, tipping his head back so it hits the wall.

“Bros,” he hears, and opens his eyes enough to see Johnson passing them, holding a 40 of something and grinning. “That was like, a deep statement. In a narrative sense. You know?”

“Uh,” Holster says after a minute, sliding a glance over to Rans, who looks like he’s possibly about to fall asleep on Holster’s shoulder. “No.”

“Seriously man,” Johnson says with a grin, gesturing with his bottle, “I mean, it’s not just Jack and Bittle, but it’s you guys, you know? It just really fits in both your storylines. I dig it.”

“Oh-kay,” Holster says finally. Then he pokes at Rans. “Do you think we can get Shitty to play Nicki Minaj?”

“It’s my party,” Ransom mumbles, “so yes. I automatically win.”

“Awesome,” Holster replies, and pushes Rans so he’s standing up mostly on his own. “Let’s go.”

“Hope you resolve that arc soon,” Johnson says, saluting them with his 40. Holster nods at him and drags Rans off. They really need to stop giving Johnson so much of the Haus weed.

-

So Holster’s kind of really fucking wasted when he finally stumbles upstairs to the attic. It takes a lot of mental effort to strip down to his boxers and climb into bed, and he’s just about ready to pass out when Rans stumbles in through the door.

“Ugh, Rans, close the fucking door,” Holster mumbles into his pillow, and Ransom manages to make it back to the door and close it, steps over-exaggerated as he clearly tries to be quiet. Then there are all the creaky noises of Rans climbing up to his bunk for another five minutes until Ransom finally settles, and Holster can start dropping off again.

He wakes up again to Ransom’s face two inches from him. “Fuck, Rans, what the hell?” he says. Definitely not screams.

“The ghosts are back,” Rans says, wide eyed, before poking Holster in the shoulder. “Seriously, bro, one definitely pinched my ass.”

“Ugh, you are so fucking drunk,” Holster groans, but he scoots over all the same, because seriously, the self-preservation gene must have just skipped the entire Birkholtz family. Ransom scoots in happily, and clearly he’s in the state of drunkenness where cuddliness is just a given, because he hooks his chin over Holster’s and tangles their feet together like it’s no big deal.

It’s so a big deal. It’s a huge deal, because Holster –

Despite the way they told each other that it wasn’t going to be a thing, the time that they made out on the floor of the attic is still totally a thing for Holster. Which fucking sucks, because it isn’t for Rans. Even if Holster wants it to be. Fuck.

“Kay, bro,” he settles for saying, “time for us to go the fuck to sleep.”

“Sounds good,” Rans says, and then he rolls over even closer, which Holster thought wasn’t possible, sticking his nose in the curve Holster’s neck and shoving a thigh between Holster’s legs, arms wrapping around Holster’s waist before finally dropping off.

Of course, it takes at least ten minutes for Holster to will down his boner, because seriously, Ransom using him as his own human blanket is just really fucking cruel – and then he’s stuck staring up at the bottom of the top bunk.

He doesn’t fall asleep for another half an hour just because of the feeling of Rans breathing softly into his neck, making him go warm all over. Fuck his fucking life.