When Adam walks into the living room, he’s expecting, arguably, anything but this. This being Ronan Lynch passed out on their couch with his shoes still on, sunlight casting a warm glow on his face and arm where it’s flung over his eyes, the angles of his face pronounced and his dark skin shining almost golden in the light.
Adam turns around in the kitchen and makes himself a coffee, waiting the full three minutes until the pot’s brewed and he actually has a cup before turning around again, just to make sure this isn’t some weird sort of sleep deprivation-induced hallucination.
“What the fuck,” he says quietly and without emotion.
“He showed up last night at like midnight,” Noah says from the doorway to the kitchen, and makes grabby hands towards the coffee. Adam passes him the entire pot and no mug. “Apparently he’s moving into town and is going to be Gansey’s new roommate, since that dick he was splitting rent with bailed on him, but Gansey’s out of town till this evening, which apparently Gansey never told Ronan, because apparently they have communication issues, so apparently Ronan decided to get semi-sloshed on his first night in a new city and then crash at the only other house he knew. Apparently.”
“That’s a lot of apparently’s,” Adam remarks mildly, ignoring how Noah is now drinking coffee directly from the pot instead of bothering to walk the five steps needed to get a mug. “Do you have any definitely’s?”
Noah shrugs. “What I told you is all I got from him when I let him in.”
“What the fuck,” a louder voice comes from behind Noah, and then Blue is pushing her way into the kitchen. “What’s Ronan fucking Lynch doing on our couch. With his shoes still on. Does that asshat have no respect for the cleanliness of our furnishings.”
“You spilt soup on it last week and then said ‘ oh, it’s fine, worse has happened on this couch ,’ Blue,” Noah reminds her, sipping at his coffee.
“Yeah, but it’s only ok if I disrespect our furnishings, not if someone else does.” She turns away from the cabinet holding a chipped mug with Darth Vader printed on its side, glares at the coffee machine -- which is missing the actual coffee and coffee pot -- for a solid fifteen seconds, then turns to glare at Noah until he hands the coffee pot over.
“Anyways,” Adam continues, “ apparently he’s moving into town and is staying with Gansey, but Gansey forgot to mention he was out of town for the past two nights, so he showed up here, drunk, and fell asleep on our couch.”
“What the fuck,” echoes from the other doorway to the living room, across the room and behind the couch, and Adam is getting kind of tired of this refrain. Henry’s peering curiously over the couch at Ronan like he’s an extraterrestrial that somehow landed in their living room.
Blue takes charge on this one. “Gansey and Lynch are idiots.”
“Yeah, could I have some new information to explain the current situation, rather than a reiteration of facts,” Henry snarks back.
“Ronan’s moving in with Gansey, Gansey forgot to tell Ronan he was out of town right now, Ronan decided to move yesterday, then got drunk and passed out here.”
“Apparently,” Noah adds, chipper.
Adam sighs, and gets out his cereal, but he can’t forget the man currently asleep on his sofa.
He tries not to be too obvious in his curiosity.
Five minutes later, Henry is bored by the lack of anything actually happening, and so chucks a pillow at Ronan’s head.
Ronan sits bolt upright in about two seconds, muttering a string of curses as he blinks blearily at the room, eyes moving from where Henry’s standing, throwing arm still extended basketball-style, to Noah perched on a bar stool, to Blue sitting on the kitchen counter, short legs dangling a solid two or so feet off the floor, and finally, eyes making their way to where Adam is standing behind the counter, empty bowl of cereal in hand.
“Morning, sunshine,” Henry says, voice mischievous, and he plops down onto the couch beside Ronan. “Thanks for last night.”
“What the fuck,” Ronan replies, and Adam thinks maybe they all need to learn some new phrases.
The moment stretches, and Adam can actually, without looking, feel Blue trying her hardest to contain her laughter.
Henry makes a suggestive face at Ronan.
The look on Ronan’s face isn’t quite describable, but it sits somewhere between confusion, befuddlement, and horror. “Are you shitting me? Even drunk, I wouldn’t stoop so low.”
“Last night proves different,” Henry challenges.
Adam takes pity.
“Calm down, you didn’t sleep with anyone in this house.”
“Stop being such a killjoy, Adam,” Henry sighs.
Ronan’s self-satisfied look at being correct turns into something more thoughtful as his gaze turns towards Adam, but snaps back into neutral territory as Blue bursts into howls of laughter. “Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I missed you, just a tiny bit. If only for the added entertainment.”
“Unfortunate, then, that I can’t say the same for you, maggot,” Ronan grouches back, and suddenly it’s as if they never left. Like they’re all back in high school, those two years they all knew each other, all of them young and naive and full of shit, thinking they could take on the world together.
But distance does kill. A few too many years, a few too many miles. Different life goals, different ways of getting there. And luck -- luck must really have had nothing better to do, for them to have all ended up in Boston one way or another, for fate to have pulled all their lives back together. Like a rubber band being stretched and stretched until it can’t go any further, but instead of snapping and all of them ricocheting even further, an inescapable, unseen pressure that pulled them back together.
Adam watches Ronan pull a hand over his eyes and face, and tries not to think about luck or fate or any of that shit that Blue believes in but he couldn’t give less of a fuck about. “Coffee?” he offers.
“Don’t drink it,” is Ronan’s short reply. Blue is staring at him like he just committed murder.
“Don’t...drink it… Never mind, I didn’t miss you a single goddamn ounce, actually; you can go back whence you came, demon,” she says, and walks out to get ready to open shop.
Ronan is staring after her with a bemused expression, and Adam thinks he might have been lying earlier.
“Is there a fridge-free bathroom in this place I could use?”
Adam rolls his eyes, but it’s a valid point. Gansey had had a pretty odd place back in Henrietta. He stands, gestures at Ronan to follow him, and starts down the hall, mug of coffee in hand. Within a few seconds, Ronan is just behind him.
It’s weird, Ronan being back so suddenly, without warning. There’s simultaneously the feeling of nothing ever having changed at all, but also that off-kilter feeling of being face to face with someone you thought you knew but are realizing you don’t quite know anything about. A click, like the world has been slightly out of focus this entire time and all it needed was for Ronan to be back, to complete the picture that surrounds Adam. But also the disorienting feeling of the ground being tilted half a degree and the unsettling need to find his footing, to find his balance again. It’s like learning to live without the hearing of his left ear, except now he has to readjust to having something instead of losing it. Him. Losing him.
He’d already lost Ronan once, lost all of them, in fact -- Blue and Noah and Gansey and Henry -- and somehow they were all here again.
Shaking off his buzzing thoughts, Adam pushes open the door to his room.
“No luggage?” he asks, and points towards the bathroom that connects his and Noah’s rooms, before turning to get ready himself. He and Henry have to leave in ten minutes to make it to the hospital on time, and Adam’s never been late, nor is he planning to start now.
“Didn’t have much. Left it in my car once I learned Gansey wasn’t actually in town.”
“How’d that even happen?” Adam is laughing slightly, as the bathroom door closes and he starts pulling off his pyjamas while Ronan’s not in the room.
“The fuckass forgot to write the date I was arriving into his agenda or whatever,” Ronan scoffs, “and so forgot I was moving in today.”
“Why are you actually here, anyways. In Boston,” Adam asks over the sound of running water, trading pyjama pants for normal ones.
“What is this, twenty questions?” Ronan’s derisive reply is nearly drowned out by the tap.
The water cuts off, but Ronan doesn’t reveal anything else for a long moment. Adam hears the door open behind him as he’s pulling his shirt, and what sounds like Ronan choking a little. He turns, one eyebrow arched upward in a questioning gaze, but Ronan just presses his lips together in a thin line.
“Needed a change of pace,” is the only answer he offers up.
“Showing up drunk at your high school friends’ flat at 1 am in order to pass out on their couch is a ‘change of pace’ then?”
“Be glad I’m here to turn your boring life into something a little more interesting,” he replies flippantly. “Look at you four, all domestic and shit.”
There’s something in Ronan’s voice that Adam can’t quite place, but he brushes it off.
“Least we have a flat.”
“Oh, fuck you, my night of homelessness is entirely Dick’s fault.”
Adam just smirks at him. “So the drinking, the texting Noah at midnight, the passing out on our couch -- all filed under Gansey’s name?”
“I’ve decided to blame him for everything from now on.”
“Harsh,” Adam laughs, pulls on a light coat, and starts buttoning it. He doesn’t miss the way Ronan’s gaze drops to his hands, before flickering up to his mouth, then eyes again. Interesting. “I’ve got to leave for work with Henry, but Noah doesn’t take over for Blue till noon so if you still need any help figuring out the city or whatever, I’m sure he can help.”
Ronan makes a dismissive sound. “I’m not a child; I’ll find my way.”
There’s something reckless running through Adam’s veins, suddenly, somehow, and he drops his eyes, just between the limits of curiosity and intentionality, to run up and down Ronan’s body. “I’d show you around myself, but…” He shrugs, testing some limit he doesn’t know if he can define. “Work calls, and all.”
“Appreciate the concern,” Ronan replies drily, and follows him out the door.
Adam is walking down one of the third floor corridors, flipping through the pile of charts he’s holding, peacefully and alone , when suddenly an arm is thrown over his shoulder and Henry’s face is in his personal space, grinning brightly.
“Sooooo…” he draws out while Adam resignedly flips one of the folders shut. “What’d you think of Lynch turning up at our doorstep.”
“I thought absolutely nothing,” Adam replies, expressionless.
“Liar,” is Henry’s gleeful answer. “I swear you didn’t look at me, Blue, or Noah for more than three minutes total the entire time he was here. Besides, we had eyes back in high school.”
“And you still have eyes now, too,” is Adam’s dry answer, and he unsuccessfully tries to lose Henry by quickening his pace.
“You know what the fuck I mean.”
“I don’t know ‘what the fuck you mean,’” Adam echoes back.
“Why do you insist on being dense.”
Adam thinks back to the magna cum laude on his diploma, but doesn’t say anything.
“I know you’re thinking about your diploma, but book smarts doesn’t mean relationship smarts,” Henry says, his voice gaining that know-it-all tone that Adam is realizing is much less funny when it’s directed at him instead of Blue.
“No one said a single thing about relationships.”
“ I said a thing about relationships.”
“As a complete non sequitur.”
“Stop sounding smart but acting dense.”
“Please, explain, since you seem to have all the answers.”
Henry rolls his eyes. “You two were dancing around each other for like 75% of the time we all knew each other in high school. Now he’s back in your life, and apparently distance does make the heart grow fonder or whatever, because I have eyes and I saw the look he gave you after you said he didn’t sleep with anyone in our flat. Besides I’m willing to bet twenty that you two were lowkey flirting back in your room before we left.”
“First off, I didn’t even know I was bi till college, and second, who the fuck says ‘lowkey’ anymore.”
“One, irrelevant; two, I do, bitch.”
It’s Adam’s turn to roll his eyes at Henry’s offended tone. They’re at the office Adam was headed to, now, so he drops the files onto the desk with a quick thanks to the lab tech, then pulls Henry out of the way a little.
“Listen, Henry, whatever you think it is I think about Lynch, you’re probably wrong. If there’s one thing I don’t need right now, it’s any sort of relationship. We just started our residency, for fuck’s sake, I can’t afford to get distracted when I’m so close to what I’ve been working towards for years now. I don’t have time for all the,” he waves a hand vaguely, “time and effort and emotional baggage of being involved with someone romantically. I’m glad he’s back; it’s weird, but in a good way, that we’re all back in the same city again. But you can drop this line of questioning; it’s not going to get you anywhere.”
“At least admit he’s gotten hotter since high school.”
Adam shrugs. “I never said anything to the contrary, and I won’t deny it now.”
“That was easier than expected,” Henry laughs, clapping him on the shoulder, before continuing down the hall. “Have some labs to finish, I’ll see you later.”
Adam watches him go, silent and still for a moment as nurses and doctors and patients rush around him, flow and circle and carry on with their lives.
Henry had been right on that last account, at least. Lynch had definitely gotten hotter, and Adam had definitely noticed.