Mac finally comes out as gay, or at the very least, not straight, sometime around mid-June. It’s surprising, but not completely unexpected to be truthful - it’s just that Dennis had always thought if and when the time finally came around for Mac to admit it to everyone, it would be during some big moment like the Superbowl, or after surviving a major disaster, or possibly even on Mac’s deathbed, rather than on one of the most boring days of the year, while they were all lounging around, not even having the energy to commit to a proper argument.
But it happens, and they move past it. Dennis is, of course, initially happy for him; happy that he doesn’t have to listen to Mac go on and on about the Evils of Homosexuality whenever they walk past a billboard featuring Neil Patrick Harris, or watch him try (and fail) to cover up his boner whenever Ryan Gosling comes on TV. But then - then Mac starts dating.
Dennis is against it obviously, right from the very start, because he knows that adding a sixth member always screws with their chemistry and fucks up the group dynamic. But then Dee gets that look in her eye and goddamn it Dennis hates that look because he knows he’s not going to like what comes after it, and Dee proves him right yet again by saying. “You know what it sounds like, Dennis? it sounds like you have a problem with Mac dating.”
Which was about the most fucking stupid thing he’d ever heard in his life, but all the same, Dennis stops mentioning Mac’s dating life; he doesn’t want the gang to get it into their heads that he’s jealous or something. Instead, whenever Mac talks about meeting up with some guy or asks him for – Jesus fucking Christ - advice, Dennis just fakes a smile, and tells him whatever the fuck he wants to hear, and waits patiently for shit to hit the fan.
The first time Mac blows him off, it’s something that he can maybe, in time, forgive. They’re supposed to meet up for lunch, nothing nearly as fancy as their annual dinner or anything, but it still pisses him off no end - especially because he’d been standing outside Arby’s for twenty goddamn minutes before Mac called with some flimsy half-assed excuse about having to skip for a date with some guy Dee found him on Match.com.
It takes three beers back at Paddy’s for him to calm down enough to deflect Dee’s nosy fucking questions, and another four beers down down at the strip club with a very willing Charlie before he gets over it entirely. He’s still pissy with Mac for another two days afterwards - not because he’s actually still mad about it - no, he just wants to eliminate the possibility of Mac pulling the same shit twice.
Except it happens again, almost two weeks later after the initial incident, and this time Dennis does have a fucking problem with it, because they’d had these plans to go and see the new Thunder Gun movie for weeks. He’s in his car, about to swing by Paddy’s, when Mac calls him to cancel and in a moment of pure rage, almost rear-ends the guy in front of him.
“Dennis, I don’t see what the problem is,” says Mac, once Dennis had stopped cursing. “Dee, Frank and Charlie will still be there, it’s not like I’m leaving you on your own.”
“The problem is, asshole, that we booked the tickets in May, and you’re just gonna fucking abandon me –us - because your boyfriend’s back in town. That’s completely goddamn unacceptable.”
“Well I’m so fucking sorry Dennis, but it’s going to have to be acceptable because I’m not going to be there,” says Mac, and promptly hangs up on him.
Dennis almost thinks about not going after that, mostly because he’s so worked up that he doesn’t even think he’ll be be able to enjoy the movie, but if knows Dee, Charlie and Frank, and he fucking does, they’ll start asking questions, awkard, personal questions that Dennis is really in no mood to answer. So rather than stir up that shit storm, he goes and he sits and he bares it – not paying any attention of course, like he knew he wouldn’t, because how the fuck could he, knowing that Mac betrayed him - and the gang - to make out with his boyfriend? He instead white-knuckles his way through the whole thing, beyond livid, especially because the seat - the seat Mac is supposed to be sat in is completely fucking vacant beside him, and he can almost hear the comments Mac would’ve made about how good Tom Cruise’s physique is given his age, and how many pounds he thinks Jeremy Renner can bench press, and for the first time he thinks he almost misses them.
The next time Mac blows him off, it almost ruins their friendship for good because it’s Movie Night and the unspoken rule about Movie Night is that it’s not allowed to be skipped - not under any circumstances whatsoever. But the thing that pissed him off the most about it, more than Mac apparently undermining and pissing all over one of their main traditions, was how Mac had just breezed in without a goddamn care in the world to do it.
Dennis stops, rests his beer down on the kitchen aisle and turns to stare at him. “I hope to God you’re not being serious right now, Mac, it’s Movie Night.”
“Yeah, I know, you keep saying that,” Mac scrubs his face, as if somehow this conversation is an inconvenience to him. “Look, I’m sorry dude, we can make it up tomorrow, I promise. It’s just that I can’t skip out on another date -”
Dennis glowers. “Oh sure, but you can skip out on a date with me.”
There’s a beat of silence, and then Mac says, “What?”
Dennis backtracks quickly. “Not like a date, a date as in, like - you know what, never mind, just get out the hell out of here,” he says, ushering Mac out of the front door. “And I tell you what buddy, while you’re out there, see if you can find somewhere else to stay because these locks are going to be changed by the time you get back.”
Dennis had, of course, eventually taken him back, after a few days of Mac roughing it at Charlie and Frank’s apartment, and Dee’s incessant needling at him to “get back with Mac for the love of all that is good in this world Dennis fucking Reynolds,”and only then because it had been getting really awkward seeing him at Paddy’s day in and day out.
(And no, it had nothing to do with missing having someone to make jokes about Charlie, Frank and Dee with, and it was not because he was so used to having someone to check in with him every hour, and no it had absolutely nothing to do with missing the feeling that someone always – mostly - had his back)
The cancellations still happen though, none as severe as the Movie Night Fiasco, but Dennis hates it anyway. Dennis also hates the fact that he can’t even talk to the gang about it because none of them seem to give a rat’s ass, so instead he’s left alone to stew in rage, thinking about how Vance, Mac’s stupid goddamn piece of shit boyfriend, has managed to steal his best friend from him without even realising.
But what made it worse, if he was being completely and totally honest, was that that Mac’s immediate response once he’d finally accepted and his embraced his homoerotic longings or whatever, was to turn to somebody else – rather than, y’know, Dennis himself. And obviously, Dennis isn’t gay, and obviously Dennis wouldn’t – he doesn’t think – reciprocate, but he had been so sure Mac was in love with him, what with all the other times he’d tried shit in the past, and there had been a lot of shit. Mac’s attraction to him was something that he was aware of, like global warming, or crystal meth, or hentai porn, he had never actually sought it out, but it was buried somewhere at the back of his mind. On that alone, Dennis would have thought he would have been Mac's first choice to experiment with. The fact that he clearly wasn't - it kind of stung in a weird, confusing and altogether bewildering way.
And besides, even if Dennis hadn’t been his first thought, why did Mac have to choose such a fucking obnoxious pain in the ass to be his boyfriend? Because Vance’s shit had spread like a goddamn venereal disease: his clothes and magazines left out everywhere, draped over the backs of furniture, on lamps – Dennis even found a condom in his room once that definitely didn’t belong to him, and Jesus fucking Christ he hopes they hadn’t done it in his room – he was loathsome and irritating and an idiot, he chewed with his mouth open like some backward hick, every comment he made with vapid and thoughtless and most of unforgiveable of all, he had taken Mac away from the gang - from him.
He first mentions “getting rid of Vance” after had Mac cancels on Game Night, but Frank had pointed out Mac might be pissed if his boyfriend was suddenly to go missing, and he almost certainly would have suspected Dennis. Dennis supposed he did have a point there because he had, admittedly, used every single opportunity he could to undermine, berate and generally express his supreme hatred of Vance and his fucking polonecks and stupid goddamn aftershave (at which point Mac had either brushed his comments off or threatened to put his thumb through Dennis’ “goddamn eye” depending on his temperament at the time, but both of them know he’ll never make good on that threat, so nobody gave a shit, least of all Dennis) It wasn’t like he was going to do anything anyway, maybe just rough him up a little and dump in the desert for six to eight weeks, but he supposes, maybe, that wasn’t a fantastic idea.
All he knows is that he really can’t take this shit anymore, especially in the knowledge that things are actually going well, something Dennis had never actually thought that was possible outside of the confines of the gang. Yet every time Mac talks to him the conversation always starts with “hey, so I was on the phone to Vance today” or “so Vance came by earlier." There are no signs that him and Vance are on the rocks, they haven’t even had an argument yet, Mac is blissful, even – dare he say – happy.
And that’s how Dennis knows it has to end, and it has to end now. For the good of the gang, if not for the good of hopelessly naive Mac, way in over his head, whipped by his asshole boyfriend.
So Dennis does what he’s good at. Dennis concocts a scheme.
It happens on a Friday, hours before their reservation at Guigino’s. Dennis is sat on the couch nursing a beer and watching the game when his cell goes off, and Dennis knows, Dennis knows just like that, that it’s time to put the plan into motion.
He should feel bad about it, he thinks idly, or at the very least apprehensive. For a start, it’ll be difficult to pull off well considering the whole thing practically hinges on Dennis’ ability to read his best friend like a goddamn textbook - something he’s fortunately very good at – but knowing that Mac was about to cancel their annual dinner date, a tradition that was burried in the very fabric of their friendship, Dennis had just snapped. The lies had unravelled from there, thick and fast - pretending he was in some weird horrible danger, pretending that Mac was the only one who could help him out of this jam - he hadn't even had to think about it. And Mac had just believed him, hadn't even questioned it, there might have even been a hint of worry in his voice when he'd said in a hurried voice "I'll be there in fifteen."
And true to his word Mac rushes in fifteen minutes later, panic and confusion written all over his face. He stops when he sees Dennis standing there, cocksure and utterly unharmed in any way whatsoever. “Dennis, what’s going on?”
Dennis levels his gaze. “Everything’s fine Mac, I just needed to get you here.”
Mac stares at him, and Dennis can tell by the vacant, expectant look on his face that he hasn’t figured it out yet. He does a moment later, when Dennis crowds him against the wall beside the door, eyes widening a little as he half-whispers. “What’s happening?”
Not for the first time Dennis is glad about their height difference as he leans down slightly, mouth inches away from Mac’s, and lets his gaze fall on Mac’s mouth before flicking by up to his eyes. Mac swallows audibly, and Dennis lets a small smile turn up the corner of his mouth.
“Dennis,” Mac says, and he’s already slightly out of breath, and like Dennis predicted, not resisting in the slightest. “Dennis - what are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing asshole?” he says, and leans forward, his mouth crashing onto Mac’s. Mac let’s out a small surprised noise that Dennis ignores in favour of crowding Mac more firmly against the wall, hands blinding up his sides to cup the back of his neck. It isn’t as unpleasant as he’d thought it be to be honest, in fact, he’s finds himself enjoying it a little, especially when Mac finally relaxes and starts to kiss back with equal ferocity, teeth nipping Dennis’ his lower lip.
And that’s when Dennis suddenly and inexplicably loses control of the situation, because Mac pushes his tongue past Dennis’ lips, his hand trailing up Dennis’ neck and pulling slightly at his hair and where the fuck did Mac learn to kiss like that? Because he’s drawing out little half-formed groans from the back of Dennis’ throat, and when Mac finally pulls away to catch his breath, Dennis shamelessly chases his mouth.
Mac looks almost drugged in the half-light; his mouth swollen and red, his pupils blown wide and his hair dishevelled, but that somehow only serves to turn Dennis on more, and then Mac pulls him in by his belt loop, lining their bodies up and all of his thoughts are wiped from his mind, and the only thing he cares about is fucking friction.
They’re rocking against each other like a couple of fucking high schoolers, Dennis mouthing at Mac’s jaw, Mac’s fingers tangled in Dennis’ hair and Dennis can hardly believe that frotting against a wall with all of their clothes on feels this good. Mac’s knee is settled between Dennis’ legs and he’s rutting against Dennis with an almost punishing rhythm, a litany of “fuck” and “shit” and the occasional “please” in Dennis’ ear. But when Dennis manages to manoeuvre his hand between their bodies and palm at Mac’s crotch, Mac’s hips stutter, his head thuds back against the wall and he flies over the edge with a gasp that sounds suspiciously like Dennis’ name. Dennis comes a moment later with a groan, his head dropping onto Mac’s shoulder.
There’s a moment of silence as Dennis tries to collect himself, but then his knees give out and he pulls Mac to the floor with him, both landing with their backs against the wall.
“Dude,” Mac says after a minute of trying to catch his breath. “Why d’you do that?”
Dennis turns to him, noticing the flush on his cheeks, and perhaps more importantly, the pissy look on his face.“I thought you’d be happy,” he says, “banging me – although, I mean that was technically just frotting, but whatever, isn’t that what you wanted?”
Mac stares at him.“So this was – what? Some charity thing? Goddamn it Dennis." He starts to rise, Dennis stops him with a hand. “No, come on man, just sit down for a second, hear me out.”
“I can’t fucking believe this,” he says, but he acquiesces anyway. “You know, now I have to break up with Vance. Maybe I shouldn’t tell him, maybe if we keep this a secret -”
“Mac, this is why,” says Dennis, cutting him off. “I don’t like Vance, I don’t like you dating Vance. He’s an asshole, and he’s made you all weird and nice and happy all the time, and it’s disgusting.”
Mac glares. “Well, I’m sorry if my happiness makes you miserable.”
“No listen, dude. It started out as a plan to get rid of him, right? Because I hate him so much, but I never realised the reason I hate him so much until just now.”
Mac tries to look bored. “Which is?”
Dennis decides to dodge the question because even now, with his adrenaline running high, and the endorphins kicking in, he doesn’t think he’s ready to admit that he was, well, jealous. Instead, he takes a deep breath and says, “Mac I’d really like it if we could keep fucking around. I mean that was really good – like really good, even for me, like 4 stars at least, and that’s almost impossible to say it was just frottage -”
“No wait. What I meant to say is we’re already best friends- blood brothers - remember? We’re a team, we work well together. So what if just add sex into that equation, and also, y’know, keep it kind of exclusive.”
“Dennis,” says Mac, slowly. “What you’re asking me for – that sounds like a relationship. You know that right?”
“Right,” says Dennis. “Right sure, a relationship, okay.”
Mac looks dubious. “But you’re straight.”
Somehow in the midst of planning and executing the plan, he never actually considered that. But it seems to irrelevant to him, a detail as tiny as that. “So? I’ll just be a straight guy who regularly and exclusively bangs his best friend.”
“Well, if you put it like that.”
Mac grins. “Yeah, sounds good.”
Dennis almost smiles but then he remembers the final stage of the plan, the cherry on the top, the pièce de résistance. “Hey, can I borrow your cell?”
Mac hands him the phone wordlessly, a questioning look on his face as he watches Dennis hit speed dial #2 and then -
Vance picks up on the second ring.“Hey Mac, where are you?”
“He’s at the apartment, with me,” says Dennis. “Hey listen, he’s not going to be able to make it to your date or whatever this evening on account of the fact he’s just banged me, so I think you’d better consider your ass dumped, fucker.”