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a lesson in hitting on your local IT guy

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Marcus slinked into the repair shop like a married man might duck into a strip club. Like, listen, he probably could have done the fix himself, but he had other shit to do. And more to the point, he wanted this done sooner rather than later, and according to mumblings around the hacker channels, this hole-in-the-wall, staircase-to-the-basement store was where you took machines if you wanted miracles to happen. Miracles with no questions asked.

Also, he didn't want the rest of DedSec on his ass for coming in and asking for IT help. So here he was.

He set his laptop on the counter and explained the issue to the person there, who nodded and scribbled things down on a sticky note before attaching it to the laptop. "Would you mind sticking around for a few minutes?"

"Sure, no problem."

They disappeared into the back room, so he sat down at the card table they had shoved into the corner, old magazines that he wasn’t sure were supposed to be ironic or not littered over it, and pulled out his phone to fiddle around with.

The person came back a little bit later, but didn’t have anything to say to him, instead taking a seat at a stool behind the counter and opening a book to amuse themselves until the next person intruded on their store.

But then someone came out with his laptop balanced on his arm. He looked... cozy was a word for it, adorned with a sweater that had sleeves meant to be pulled over hands (his thumbs sticking out of the sides), and a slouchy beanie. Another few words for how he looked were ‘kind of cute.’ Marcus wasn't sure what it was, entirely, but his heart fluttered with the beginnings of a budding affection. He put on his best sunny smile when the guy met his eyes.

The reaction was not what he had hoped for. His new friend froze in his tracks, eyes widening. He shifted, slightly, as if to turn around and go back where he came from, but apparently thought better of the idea and walked over just a little too quickly to be casual, sitting next to him and putting the laptop in front of Marcus.

"Need you to add another admin account I can access," he said, also a little too quickly to be casual. "I'd do it myself but this seemed. Easier ." It sounded like he'd since changed his mind.

Marcus raised an eyebrow, but did what he asked before pushing the laptop back over. Something about this was tickling his brain, like he’d forgotten something but couldn’t figure out what it was. Well--whatever.

The guy took the laptop and tilted it away from Marcus to do more of his tech wizard things, long fingers tapping away at the keyboard.

"So," Marcus started, deciding this conversation wasn’t going to happen unless he made it happen. "People say this place works miracles. Wouldn't happen to be your handiwork, would it?"

"Yep. I'm a god," he deadpanned. Marcus laughed maybe a little too hard at that.

"Well,” he said, leaning just the slightest bit closer, “I look forward to being amazed, your mightiness."

His typing slowed. Then stopped. "" he said, frowning at the screen, "flirting with me?"

Marcus grinned. Oh, good, he was quick on the uptake. One never knew in the tech scene. "I might be, yeah."

He didn't move, at first. Instead, a blush, splotchy and red, slowly bloomed on his face until he had apparently had enough of that and slouched over, pulling the front of his sweater up over his face. "This can't be happening," he hissed. "Fuck."

That was a weird reaction, to say the least. "Alright, alright," Marcus said, putting his hands up. He knew well enough when his advances were unwanted. "Didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I'll behave."

This comforted him enough that he continued his work, at least, though he didn't entirely look like he wanted to be there. It was only a couple minutes later that he stood up suddenly, taking the laptop with him. "Yeah, this is gonna be a rabbit hole," he said, not making eye contact. He gestured vaguely at the counter. "She'll get you figured out. You can leave."

With this, he disappeared into the sanctuary of the Marcus-less back room.

Marcus watched him go, heart sinking the slightest amount. He didn’t know what that was, but it sure as hell wasn’t a show of interest. He sighed and got up, stepping over to the counter to hand over whatever contact information the shop needed. Man--he wasn't heartbroken or anything, but rejection from a random guy he'd just met shouldn't have stung that much. Then again, it was probably because...

He sighed as the thought dragged his heart even lower, getting dangerously close to moping territory. Probably because of the whole pining-for-his-best-friend thing . He'd wanted to branch out, y'know, prove to himself there were other fish in the sea, and now--

No, fuck that. He wasn't going to let himself give up because he got rejected by one guy. That was hardly branching out.

He was really cute, though...

"I think he likes you."

Marcus looked up in the middle of writing his phone number down, eyes wide. The woman shrugged, casually. "If you want my opinion."

"Oh, I think I like your opinion," he said, raising his eyebrows. "Dunno that I agree with it, though. The guy seemed pretty freaked out to me."

She laughed, easily. "You're not wrong ? But I've never seen him act like that before. He's not afraid of telling people to back off. So, I dunno..." She let the sentence trail off, laying the possibility on the table.

Marcus looked back down at the paper, and took a moment to finish writing his number down. Thoughtfully. "I guess...there's no harm in very politely asking you to pass my number along."

"Mmhm. I guess there isn't."

She took the sheet of paper, folding it in half. "We'll let you know about any updates with your machine. And, God willing, you'll be hearing from one of us before then."

She winked, and Marcus put his hands over his heart. "You are a savior," he said, bowing slightly, "to both my tech and my love life. Thank you so much."

And with that, he made his leave.


At 2 in the morning his phone lit up as he received a text. Then two. They went unnoticed until, twenty minutes later, he took his headset off and checked it. They were from an unknown number--which was worrying, at first, until he read them.

marcus. Marcus, marcus, MARCUS said the first one. Then, you cant just go around handing out your NUMBER to every guy who puts his hands on your hardware

His heart jumped in a weird, caffeine-induced mix of excitement, amusement, and suspicion. The way the guy used his name was weirdly familiar, wasn't like he'd had to go dig it up or anything. It was on the same sheet of paper his number was.

Besides, the take home message here was that that wasn't the first contact of someone who was uninterested. And fuck was he a sucker for cheesy tech-related pickup lines.

Good thing i only give it to the handsome, miracle-working ones

Okay, not his best line, but it was three in the morning and he'd been playing video games for longer than was strictly recommended. The response came--not surprisingly--pretty soon after.

oh sorry you must be mistaken this is the asshole with a BIGASS RED MARK on his face

Marcus huffed, a little...well, he wasn't sure. Bringing that up first thing seemed like an odd move and indicative of a certain amount of baggage. Still, he couldn't blame the guy for being self-conscious. Not that Marcus thought anything in particular about the mark, but it was pretty noticeable.

You're gonna have to find st way freakier to stop me man, that's barely a blip on the radar. Tell me you've got like 3 rows of shark teeth or some shit and i'll think about it

Not that he was checking (he was checking) but that didn't get a reply for the next few minutes. Or the few after that. So, after convincing himself that sounding overeager was the least of his worries, he sent something else.

Can i get a name btw?

It seemed only fair, considering how liberally he had already used Marcus'.

Still no response. Alright, maybe their conversation was over for the night. Eventually, he just went back to his game, and even more eventually, actually went to bed.

When he woke up to the sun glaring in his face, he barely put any thought to fumbling around for his phone, holding it a few inches away to squint at it for notifications.

He did have them. He attempted to find his glasses next so he could actually read.

A lot he didn't care about--and a few he did. He dismissed most of them, responded to Sitara's question about her designs, and then pulled up the conversation between him and an unknown number, the newest messages marked at around 5am. Dude needs to catch some Z's...

first of all im offended youre implying that shark teeth woudnt be the COOLEST THING EVER

second of all. you can have my name. but under one condition.

Shit. This was way too heavy for so early in the...afternoon.

He lifted his glasses up to rub at his eyes, and attempted to compose a response.

Whats the condition?

He didn't get very far into his morning routine before his phone buzzed, letting him know he'd gotten a response. Damn, what was this guy's sleep schedule like?

you cant tell anyone. ANYONE. not a soul. i MEAN it.

Marcus raised an eyebrow. Sketchy, but it's not like he didn't know where this guy worked.

Alright i can do that.

but i mean it though. dont just HUMOR me you have to promise you wont tell anyone

I promise! You have my word handsome stranger

He didn't know what possessed him to, but he just stood there for the next minute waiting for the response to arrive.

its isaac.



Well, that didn't seem like a name worth keeping a secret over. But obviously he didn't have the whole story, so whatever. He figured this guy--Isaac--knew way better what was good for himself than Marcus did.

I like it. Thanks for trusting me.

He had intended to add a contact with the name once he got it, but apparently that wasn't happening. He dubbed the contact info 'Mystery Man' for the time being. Maybe he'd come up with a better one later.

sure Isaac responded.

Then, a few minutes later, do you really think im handsome

Aw, man. Alright.


The guy's sleep schedule remained a mystery. For one, it's not like they were texting often enough for Marcus to really tell when there was a dip in activity, but any of his attempts to glean a pattern proved mostly useless. The only thing he could figure out is that Isaac didn't respond often during the times Marcus usually took to hang around the hackerspace and get some heads-down work done. Maybe his sleep schedule was more...freestyle.

It was fun talking to him, though, when he got the chance. Contrary to their first interaction, he was a pretty charming guy. They had a similar taste in media, and ideas about hacking, and even when they did disagree, it didn't have to be a big deal. He was just...easy to talk to. It was nice.

Nice enough that people were starting to notice.

Sitara dropped down on the couch next to him, tablet in hand, and scooched closer, mischief obviously in mind. "So," she said, smirking. " You've been smiling at your phone a lot."

"Have I?" he said, in mock innocence. "Hm. Weird."

She huffed is disbelief, and bumped against him. "C'mon. Nothing?"

He knew if he asked her to, she would leave it alone.


He did kind of want to talk about him.

"Alright, alright," he said, grinning. "There's a guy. Kind of. I mean, it's nothing serious, but he likes me. I think." It was hard to tell, with the difference in how he'd acted face-to-face and over the phone, but if he didn't like him in some capacity, he wouldn't still be texting back. Right?

"You think," Sitara said, flat and doubtful. "I don't know anything about this guy, but he's into you. You're the most charming person I know."

"Aw, c'mon," Marcus said, grinning bashfully and waving her away. She hadn't even been trying to make him embarrassed this time, which made it worse somehow. "I mean, I don't know, we haven't even been on a date yet."

Sitara raised an eyebrow.

"No, not like--I mean, I gave him my number, and we've been texting. That's it."

"Alright," went Sitara, as if she didn't quite believe him. "Ask him, then."

He winced, and tapped his fingers against his keyboard. His first instinct was to dismiss the idea, but...hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

"Yeah. Yeah, alright. I mean, it can't hurt to ask, right?" He reached for his phone...and then stopped, his nerves getting the best of him. "Uh...later."

"Mhm." Sitara looked down, and scribbled a few changes to her design. "What's he like?"

He smiled before he even realized he was doing it. "He's...I mean, he's weird, but not...not in a bad way. I kind of like that about him. It makes me feel like I can be myself, y'know? I don't have to put up any fronts pretending to be something else. And he's got this really bizarre sense of humor that always makes me laugh way more than I'm expecting to--" he was beaming at this point, and knew he was gushing, but didn’t really care enough to stop himself. "And of course he's a genius with hardware--you know I've been wanting to learn more about that--I mean, I met him at this store that--"

" FUCK. "

The two of them leapt nearly out of their skin at the curse and the accompanied pop , a sound that definitely should not have come from any manner of working hardware. They whirled around to look at Wrench, who was hissing and shifting from foot to foot, flapping one of his hands as a pencil-thin whisp of smoke drifted off the thing in front of him.

"Fuck, fuck fuck fuck," he went, though these sounded more like normal Wrench curses than pained ones. His mask went blank as he moved his hand closer to examine the damage. "Shit. Hey, does anyone want to put my finger in their mouuu--- nope , uh, okay, I'll just go--" he hop-skipped towards the stairs, "Up, see if they, have--" and scurried up them faster than Marcus thought he was capable of moving.

A stunned silence fell over the hackerspace. Sitara was the first one to move, setting her tablet down and standing up. "Yeah, I'm gonna go see if he's okay."


He hadn't gotten far. Sitara found him sitting on the floor of the little storage area right outside the door to the stairs, applying colorful band-aids to his hand.

"Hey," she said, walking over to him. "Are you okay? Looked like that spark freaked you out."

The mask couldn't seem to decide what expression to show. It switched to two small dots, glanced from side to side, exclamation marks, dismayed slashes, @ signs--then it went blank. And finally settled on two weeping semicolons.

Sitara sighed and sat down next to him.

"I fucked up," he said, miserably.

She nodded in sympathy, gathering her thoughts. "This isn't about your project, is it."

He hung his head. "No."

"Is it about Marcus?"


It wasn't like his attachment to him was a secret. anyone but Marcus, maybe.

She raised an eyebrow at him. "Did you blow yourself up just to keep him from talking about a boy?" she asked, voice curling up in amusement at the idea.

"No!" he insisted, immediately. "I mean. Not on purpose. I just...I got distracted listening to him and then he almost mentioned--" he stopped. Now his face was 9's. She wasn't sure whether that marked an improvement.


Wrench rubbed the back of his neck. Well...the back of his hood. "You know that--repair shop, I work in, sometimes?" he said, voice high-pitched and strained.


She frowned. She squinted at him as an inkling of a thought occurred to her. No. No way...

"Marcus came in."

Wrench let that hang in the air for a few seconds.

"He...he flirted with me."

No fucking way.

"He gave me his...number..."

"You're the guy."

"I'm the guy," he whined, curling up and putting his face (as it were) in his hands. He rocked gently back and forth. "I fucked uh-huh-huuup."

She'd seen him upset often enough to know that this whole thing was more of a performance than anything. Not that he wasn't genuinely upset, she was sure he was, but he'd get over it. He was just venting.

She leaned over him and wrapped her arms around his pointy shoulders, laughing. "Aww, Wrench," she teased, "he thinks you're cute ."

He leaned forward as far as he could given his current circumstances. "...he thinks he's cute," he mumbled.

Oh. Maybe this was a little more serious than she thought.

She rested her head down on him, humming softly. "You and ‘him’ are the same person, believe it or not."

"Marcus doesn't think so."

"Of course he doesn't. It's a really weird thing to suspect the guy you're into is your best friend's alter ego." She lifted one of her hands up to pat the back of his head. "...did you ever watch Miraculous Ladybug?"

"Fuck, I was just thinking that," he breathed.

Sitara laughed. Wrench just shifted, getting comfortable in his new position curled up in a ball underneath her.

She waited to see if he would say something or push her off. But he didn't.

So she scratched at his head through his hoodie, running her nails along his scalp in a comforting and perhaps somewhat pet-like manner. "I know this is hard for you," she said, as gentle as she ever was. "But I'm willing to bet it’ll turn out well once you're ready for it."

Wrench sighed, and finally sat up. Sitara let go of him.

"Thanks," he said, mask back to its unreadable default. He didn't sound entirely convinced, but it would do.

She nodded, leaning over to bump their shoulders together. He was gonna be okay.


The second Marcus got home he pulled his phone out. He'd been agonizing over this for hours and the only way to get through it was to get through it, so--fuck it. He was going all in.

Hey, he sent. Creatively. But he wanted to make sure Isaac was around before he dropped something he’d be agonizing over an answer for.


Marcus blinked. Alright, way to already throw him off when this conversation was going to be awkward enough in itself. He braced himself, glad for text commination so his anxiety wasn't immediately apparent, at least.

I dunno if you noticed but i kinda like you. You wanna go out sometime?

He sent it, then stared at his phone. He pressed his thumbs against the edges of his case. It was an easy answer, right? If Isaac liked him, it was an easy answer.

So the only reason it would be taking this long is...

"Shit," he said, pressing a hand to his face. No, no, no reason to freak out yet, Marcus. He hasn't--

His phone buzzed, and he checked his messages at the speed of light.


i like you too. a lot. but i dont know if i can yet. and i know thats a SHITTY answer but its the truth even if i wish it wasnt.

Gentle or not, it was a rejection. Marcus' heart grew sore. No, come on. Just this one thing, please, he deserved this much.

Is there something I can do to help you feel more comfortable

its not that. i mean ok it is but. its not you its me? theres not really a good way to say this is there

No there's not.

He took a breath. No. He wasn't going to cry over some dude he barely knew. He refused to.

im sorry. im really sorry. this happened at the wrong time.

It happens i guess.

His fingers hovered over his phone, trying to think of something to do--someone to talk to so he wouldn't just sit here and mope about this. Sitara was the obvious choice, but...

He pulled up his messages with Wrench.

This was a shitty idea, but apparently Marcus was on a masochistic streak.

Wanna hang? Play some games or something?

Because the best way to get over your unrequited crush was to hang out with the other guy you had an unrequited crush on. Seemed like a solid strat.

; _ ; raincheck. IOU

Shit. Shit, that shouldn't have stung so bad.

Big time.

He knew he shouldn't be taking it personally, but...alright, he wasn't taking it personally, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt. He sniffled, and huffed, rubbing at his eyes. God, this...sucked. This just sucked.

But there was no way he was just going to wallow in his apartment alone about it. Fine, if no one was going to hang out with him, he'd just hang out with himself.

He grabbed his hat and slipped on his favorite pair of shoes. Unavailable men were no excuse for not having a drink.


He didn't stay mopey for long. Fine--Isaac had something weird going on, that wasn't Marcus' fault. He'd find someone else, he was a charming dude.

Unfortunately, nothing really seemed the same between them after that. Romantic interest or not, Marcus was still interested in him as a person, but he couldn't get the same conversations going. Maybe he'd done something to really freak the guy out, who knew, but it seemed like things were really truly done between them.

Sigh . Alright. Other fish, and all that shit.


The velocity at which Marcus sped down the highway to get that mask back was truly a sight to be seen. Definitely not safe, but he was beyond reason at that point, anger seething behind his eyes. No one treated his family like that and got away with it. No one .

He took the stairs two at a time to get up to the top of the parking garage, looking around for Wrench. He almost missed him, which was one of the weirder things that had happened in his life. Usually the guy took up so much space , but now...

He found him sitting and staring at the ground, arms crossed. Marcus held the mask out to him.

Wrench glanced at it, and took it, giving it a brief look-over before strapping it back on.

Marcus sat down next to him and made sure everything was okay--there were reassurances to be had, but Wrench seemed pretty stable, despite it all. Just a little shaken, which was more than understandable.

They fell quiet. It seemed like the conversation was over, but Wrench started fidgeting. Maybe he was just expending energy, but it looked a lot like he had something to say.

He looked at Marcus, the circles on his mask switching to a squint as he stilled suddenly.

Marcus stared back at him. "What."

The mask flicked back to circles, and then he let his head fall, putting his face in his hands.

"You didn't look at my face."


"The surveillance cameras. You didn't look at my face."

"Of course I didn't." But why was Wrench so sure about that? Was there something Marcus would have said if he had seen it? "That would have been..."

"Goddammit, Marcus," he huffed. "Could you stop doing the right thing for like five minutes, you're ruining my life."

Marcus--laughed, a little uncertainly. It was a joke, obviously, but he wasn't sure about the surrounding circumstances.

Wrench lifted himself up the few inches it took to scoot forward and sit on the ground instead, leaving Marcus to stare at the top of his hood. He reached back and took his mask off, cradling it in his hands and setting them in his lap.

Curiosity tickled Marcus' brain. Was he allowed to look?

"So," said Wrench, voice clear and unmodulated and vigorously ringing some bell that Marcus still couldn't place. "This is gonna be. A little hard to explain." Or wouldn't place. Because if he was right, then...

Marcus leaned forward, slowly, looking down and wondering if Wrench would turn away.

He didn't. He looked at Marcus, looked at him with sad blue puppy eyes, and everything came crashing into its horrible, horrible place.

"Oh," went Marcus. Nothing else was coming out. He couldn’t decide whether he was--sad, or angry, or...well, he was embarrassed. He was at least that. How did he not realize ?

"Yeah," went Wrench, putting his mask back on. "I...I...fuck, Marcus, I never would have done this to you on purpose, it's just...I wasn't expecting you to show up there and see me and--think I was cute , and I just..." he hung his head, crossing his arms tightly. "I shouldn't have texted you. That was a dick move."

Marcus nodded, a little vacantly. He scooted forward and joined Wrench on the ground. "I feel pretty stupid," he admitted, laughing gently. "It seems really obvious now."

"You're not stupid," Wrench muttered. "You trusted me. And I lied to you."

"I mean..." he shrugged, trying to figure out whether he should refute that or not. "Yeah. You probably should have just forgot my number, but..." He blinked, suddenly putting two and two together. "Why... didn’t you?”

Wrench leaned forward, on his way to folding in on himself, eyes on the ground. "Y'know," he said, voice strained, "normally I worry that people are going to fall for the crazy, funny, smart, confident," he sat up, voice growing more staged and boisterous as he continued his sentence, "clever, myst~erious man in the mask," he said, gesturing at his face as it winked, "and then. Well." He glanced to the side. "Be disappointed when they find out what's under it. But..." He tilted his head, mask now displaying nervous, outward slashes. "I...I meant what I said. I like you. A lot. But maybe...all this," gesturing, vaguely, at himself, "is too much for you? I dunno...uh. I guess I could ask." Two pin-point dots appeared, and stared at him.

Wrench liked him.

Wrench liked him, and was worried that he didn't like him back .

"Oh, man," he said, grinning and shaking his head. "I'm...really about to sound like an idiot. Uh..." How should he even start this? He shrugged, resigned. He might as well lay it all out, Wrench at least owed him keeping a straight face about it. "Listen, when I met...when I saw you in that shop, there was immediately something about you that I liked, which...yeah, makes a whole lot of sense, now. And I wasn't sure--y'know, what to do about it, but I thought, hey, why not, it might--" he smiled, halfway to a wince. " 'It might help me get over Wrench.' "

Wrench sat up, mask displaying exclamation points.

Marcus shrugged, again, trying to look way more casual than he was feeling. "Yeah, I...yeah. That's me."

Wrench stared at him. And then looked away, slouch returning. "You...haven't changed your mind, have you?"

"No." He leaned over, bumping their shoulders together. "I mean, I'm still kinda...surprised, and embarrassed by all this. But once that wears off...yeah, man. I still like you."

Wrench...wiggled, shifting around. "Soo...once it wears off...we could go somewhere?"

"Hmm, I don't know," he said, smirking. "It might not be the right time for that."

The mask flicked to a frustrated emote. "Yeah, okay, I deserved that." He sighed. "I just. I wasn't ready...for you to know what I looked like. And being him...was easier. I...I don't know how to--"


He flinched, and Marcus smiled, reaching out to hesitantly pat his back. "You don't have to explain yourself to me. Honestly, I...I don't think I'm gonna get it anyways. weren't ready for what happened. I get that much. So I accept your apology. Okay?"

Wrench sniffled. And then nodded, the mask's eyes closing. " this a bad time to ask for a hug?"

"Psh. C'mere." He reached over and put his arm around Wrench's shoulders, pulling him close. Wrench dropped his head onto him. Marcus kissed the top of his hood, and Wrench scooted what few inches closer he could.

"But, really," he mumbled. "Can the dating thing?"

"Yes, Wrench." Marcus said, laughing gently. "Hell yeah."

"Cool. Cool..."

"Very cool."

He looked over, Wrench staring off to the side.

"Hey," he said, leaning on him. "Can I ask you a question?"

The mask’s eyes went wide. Then squinty. "Yeah, guess I owe you at this point. What?"

"Nah, no owing me anything. I don't want you to answer this unless you actually want to."

"Well jeez, Marcus. Now I’m worried."

He laughed, shaking his head. "No, no, it's just. Isaac?"

Wrench froze. And then wiggled, pressing up against him. " Ooh , Marcus, hearing you say that makes me all tingly ."

He huffed. And grinned. "But really. That's...your name, right? Why'd you pick it?"

Wrench dropped his head on Marcus' shoulder. And then extracted himself, sitting up. Marcus worried he'd crossed a line, or something, but Wrench didn't seem bothered. Just...quiet.

Which was weird.

"Uh..." went Wrench, tilting his head. "Don't..." He perked up suddenly, mask surprised, then smiling as he laughed at some joke he'd made in his head. "Ah. Uh--yeah, fuck it. You're cool. Um." He looked over at Marcus. "How much do you know about the--the Old Testament?" He paused, and then held up his hands to do air-quotes, mask supplementing the action.

Marcus raised his eyebrows. Of all things to come out of Wrench's mouth, he had to say Bible studies was the furthest of his expectations. "Uh...I watched VeggieTales when I was a kid?"

Wrench snorted, suppressing a giggle. "Fuckin' A, man. Well, okay," he put his arm around Marcus' shoulders, "let me tell you a bible story. So, Abraham. I guess you could say he's a pretty important guy. He needed to, y'know, sew his seed , right? And his wife Sarah was suuuuper old. Well, they were both pretty old. But God was like, don't worry about it, you're gonna have a kid, Sarah. And get this--she laughs at him, immediately becoming the--well, not ballsiest, but y’know. Anyways, so she laughs at God , cause there's no way she can have a kid at this point, and He's like, oh, oh , you're gonna laugh at me , huh? At which point you think He's gonna go all," he lifted one of his hands up, palm facing the ground, and wiggled his fingers, making a psshoo noise like...uh, lightning, maybe? "salt pillars and shit. But instead He's just like...well, you have to name the kid Isaac, then."

"Uh," went Marcus, halfway smiling. Wrench was...Wrench was adorable , but he was still a little confused. "Seems...pretty lenient."

"Yeah. So..." He stared off into the distance for a second, and then leaned away, sticking his fingers up and moving his hands in kind of a 'rewind' motion. "Also, Isaac is the English version of Yitzachq, which comes from the word 'laughter,' so God was basically being a shithead about it. Anyways..." he waved a hand dismissively, "there's some depressing stuff, but let's not get into that., for one, I just liked the name Isaac, but then..." He stopped. And tilted his head to the side. And then let it fall in front of him. "There's no way I can make this sound in my head that isn't really mushy."

"Hey, I can handle mushy if you can handle mushy."

" God , it's so. Mushy. Marcus." The mask displayed a frustrated emoticon, and Marcus laughed sympathetically, patting him on the back.

"It should be. Right? I mean, it's important to you. I'm...I'm glad you found some meaning in it."

"Yeah, yeah," Wrench moped. He flopped over on Marcus, limply, and Marcus wrapped an arm around him. "It's just..." he spoke flatly, and quietly, a voice Marcus wasn’t sure he’d ever heard from the mask before, "that same idea of...being something my parents didn't expect. And. Just...God or, whatever, knowing I'll be happier for it. So. Um...yeah. Isaac."

"Huh," went Marcus. Normally he would have cracked a joke, relieved the tension, but...this seemed important, so he held it back. "Thanks for telling me. I..." He was glad, and relieved to know Wrench trusted him enough to explain all that to him. And he felt like he learned something entirely new about him. But he couldn't think of a way to express that that didn't sound somehow demanding, or awkward, or like he was so shocked that Wrench went beyond some shit expectation Marcus had for him. So he just smiled, and leaned on him, hoping Wrench sort of got the picture anyways. "Yeah. Thanks. Uh--should I use it? Or do you want to stick with Wrench?"

"Wrench is...fine,” he said. “I's fine . I like Wrench. I like Isaac. I feel like...I feel like you would feel weird switching but that's not my problem. So like." He stuck his hands out in front of him in kind of a shrug. "Whatever strikes you in the moment, Marcus. There's not a wrong answer. Or...I don't think there's a wrong answer..."

Yet another thing about Wrench that Marcus would probably never wrap his head around, but was more than happy to accommodate. "I can work with that."

Wrench sighed. And then sighed again, deeper and more dramatic. " Weeelllll ," he said, sitting up and looking at Marcus, mask smiling. "I've had a long day of getting kidnapped by the FBI and baring my soul, so I think it's just about Marcus-takes-Wrench-out-to-dinner time." He winked, and Marcus tsk 'd, shoving him.

But. Y'know, besides Wrench's fake insistence that Marcus owed him something for all that, he was kind of up for it.

"Alright," he said, smiling and raising an eyebrow. "Where do you wanna go?"

Wrench froze, and stared at him, wide-eyed. "I..." he went, slowly putting a hand up to his chest. Again with the melodrama. "I don't know . I didn't think I'd get this far."

Marcus laughed, and stood up, offering a hand to Wrench as well. He took the assistance, and then almost let his hand go. There was a moment of pause before he decided to tighten his grip instead, and Marcus laced their fingers together, smiling like a doofus. Feeling kind of like one, too. In the best of ways.

Wrench's heart-eyes suggested the feeling was mutual.