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When the Beat Drops

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It's the summer before Jeremy's final year when Jean realizes he's completely fucked. It's been almost a year since Renee pulled him out of the hellscape that was Evermore and Kevin made sure he was safely transferred to USC. A year since Riko.

A year of learning how to be an actual person.
He watches as his roommate rolls over, muscled back warmed by the soft light seeping through the blinds. Jean's heart lurches a little.

The year also brought a team that gives a fuck about it's members, friends who support each other, encouraged interest in something besides Exy, and his hopeless crush on his captain.

The possibility of being vulnerable with another captain scared the shit out of him at first. Logically, Jean knew Jeremy wasn't and would never be Riko but fear doesn't always deal in logic.

However, in the year Jean has known Jeremy he has learned a lot of the other man’s little (endearing) quirks. Jean knows despite the other man's happy attitude he's an absolute zombie in the morning. Shuffling around the apartment in an oversized “Day” jersey completely blind because he's forgotten where he put his glasses the night before.

It became routine that Jean would have overly sweet coffee and glasses found wherever ready when zombie Jeremy emerged from the bedroom. He would hand over the glasses and coffee with a nod, suppressing the urge to jealousy burn the offending jersey.

Jean has a list of all things that make up Jeremy Knox but his favorites are: Jeremy will paint his nails a warm yellow when he's stressed out. He will read an entire book in one sitting because “he doesn't know when he will have another moment of free time”. And the man is completely incapable of wearing matching socks.

The most endearing thing though is his absolutely eclectic taste in music.

 

The team loves and hates when the captain makes the playlist. Songs bounce around from genre to genre with no reason. The only defining trait is it's got to be loud, carefree, and danceable. The playlist is so Jeremy that Jean has taken to adding some of the better songs to his own somber playlist.

But if there is anything Jean has learned in the past year of healing, growing, and falling stupidly in love with this man; it is Jeremy's love for music is only eclipsed by his love of dancing.

 

The first few weeks living with Jeremy was exhausting. Jean remembers having no idea what to do with a roommate who constantly hummed under his breath and seemed to be one step away from performing the dance from “We're All in this Together”.

The Trojans forced him to movie nights and filled his head with terrible (really not that bad) Disney flicks.

Despite the initial exhaustion, Jean realized that Jeremy's constant, consistent motion and noise was more soothing than annoying. It didn't mean Jean always approved of his music taste though.

Recently Jeremy has been quiet and a little sad looking. He keeps checking the calendar and his face would fall. Jean is all kinds of confused until the answer comes in the form of Sara and Alvarez coming back to the dorms the second weekend of July.

Sara, the saint she is, decided to take pity on him and tell him what had Captain Sunshine looking like a rain cloud.

 

Apparently when Jeremy moved to USC from his tiny farm town in Idaho, he was determined to got to every concert or festival he could.

Then Jean moved to USC and Jeremy knew that his time at concerts was going to be limited. He knew there was no way he could ask him to go to giant festivals. Jeremy had been afraid he wouldn't tell him “no”.

Looking back, Jean doesn't think he would have. Too terrified of disappointing his new captain and too afraid to be alone.

Luckily for the both of them, Jean was working towards being ok and he was a hell of lot better than he was when he got to USC.

Jean makes a decision to finally make a move but he knows he needs help. So he enlists the girls, bribeing them with breakfast while Jeremy is with Coach.

“Let me get this straight” Laila says, pointing her fork at him,

“You're not.” Alvarez cuts in.

Jean watches a little helplessly as the fall into each other and giggle. He rolls his eyes.

“Pansexual actually.”

“Really?” Laila askes eyes wide. Jean nods, confused.

“Yes!! We caught them all!!” Alvarez screeches, holding up her phone and taking a picture of Jeans confused face. He looks at Laila when an answer isn't forthcoming from a cackling Alvarez.

“We were playing gay Pokemon.” She sighs.

Jean blinks at her.

“ Glad I could be the Pikachu to your Squirtle then.”

Both this jaws drop. “For what it's worth I finished the game with a pair of lesbians.” He takes a sip of his coffee to hide his smirk.

“The Foxes despite this issues were a gold mine of different sexualities.”

“Fucking Foxes.” Alvarez groans, stabbing at her chocolate chip pancakes.

“There there babe.” Laila pats her girlfriend’s foreman. “Let the man tell us his problem.” She gestures for him to continue with his original though.

Jean clears his throat, suddenly nervous. “I want to take Jeremy to Dusk til Dawn.” He wraps his hands around the lukewarm coffee cup so they would have something to do besides shake.

“You want to take Captain Sunshine to a rave?” Alvarez drawls sounding highly amused.

Jean nods.

The girls’ smiles threaten to spilt their faces.

“Pay up bitch.” Laila nudges the woman next to her.

Jean splutters. “You bet on me? What is this the Foxes?”

The girls send him amused glances as Alvarez places three crisp twenties in Laila’s palm.

“We bet on when you would finally grow a pair and make a move.” Laila tells him, depositing the money in her purse.

“I said it wouldn't be until spring semester. Thanks so much Moreau.” Alvarez gripes.

“Its so cute.” Lalia coos, knocking into her grouchy girl's side. Alvarez rolls her eyes.

“ Anyway, what do you need from us? Didn't the tickets sell out weeks ago?” Alvarez askes, narrowing her eyes at her girlfriend as she steals a sip of her coffee. She gets a kiss on the cheek for her troubles.

Jean watches them with overwhelming fondness. Sappy idiots. He reaches for his phone, taps around, and shoves it back towards them.

They pick up the phone and gasp.

“How?”

Jean shrugs and taps his tattooed cheek. “Apparently I'm famous.”

Alvarez chokes on water while Laila giggles.

“You're full of surprises Moreau. Now tell us the plan, again.”

 

It was simple. Jean would spirit Jeremy away to Dusk til Dawn, a rave happening on the beach about an hour away from campus. The only thing the girls need to do was keep him distracted while Jean packed up the car and then meet them in time for Martin Garrix’s set at the end of the night.

The only other issue was attire. When he had goggled “what to wear at a rave” everything came up tight, bright, or see through. While Jean was working on his mental stability he didn't think he was quite ready to show off all of his scars.

He panics for two days before he realizes he's being an idiot and calls Renee.

 

“Hello Jean.” She answered on the first ring, sounding amused despite it being after midnight on the east coast.

“Renee. I need help?” He cringes, knowing how that would sound.

“I'm taking Jeremy to this rave and don't know what to wear.” He says in a rush.

He hears her sigh, relieved. “I thought I was going to have to come kick some Trojan butt.”

He winces, again. “Sorry.”

“Hang on a minute.” She hums.

The line clicks. “So you're taking Jeremy to a rave?” The husky voice belonging to Allison Reynolds eases through the phone. Jean grins knowingly to himself, Renee isn't subtle at all.

He sighs. “Yes.”

“Ok. I'm assuming keeping covered is paramount?”

He nods, realizing she can't see him. “Yes.”

She hums and he hears some clicking.

“Size?”

Jean chokes a little “Excuse me?”

He can hear Renee giggling in the background.

“Your shirt and shorts size you bastard.”

Oh. He flushes infinitely grateful this is a phone call and not video one.

“Large for both.”

He hears Reynolds hum and some more clicking. His phone buzzes against his ear. He places it on speaker and looks at the text from an unknown number.

It's a outfit and it's perfect.

“That's perfect.”

“I know.” She's so smug. “Now what do we get in repayment?”

He can hear Renee smack her on the shoulder and hiss under her breath. Jean smiles because he had been expecting this.

“Don't worry about it Renee.” He tells her. “Do the Foxes still bet on ludicrous shit?”

“Would we be Foxes if we didn't?” Allison asked haughtily.

She makes a good point.

“I'll have something for you this weekend. I want video of Kevin's reaction.”

Allison hums and then agrees. She leaves shortly after.

 

“Thank you Renee.”

“You're welcome Jean. Have fun.”

Looking at the pictures still on the screen, he shakes his head. Foxes might be worth having around after all.

Two days later, a large box shows up. With Jeremy out on a run, Jean is able to open it and see the “perfect” outfit Reynolds had created along with a note.

“Jean.” It read

“Not fair that you're getting new threads and lover boy wasn't. Don't worry you guys won't match.”

Jean looks through the box pulling out the different items, laying each one on his or Jeremy's bed.

He leaves Jeremy's bed to look over his own outfit. There's a thin, silver, netted jersey that she promised would obscure his chest without being too hot. Allison had paired it with that he wear a pair of blue shorts that matched Jeremy's shorts.

Jean tries not to laugh. Not matching indeed.

The only other accessories in the box was his own, very large pile of beaded bracelets that he was told was called “Kandy” and a delicate flower crown in vivid blue, orange, pink, and purple. He turns of over in his hands there's a little switch on the underside. He flips it and the flowers are illuminated. He smiles. This had to have been Renee. Jean flicks of the lights and packs it all away carefully. He doesn't want Jeremy to see it until it's time.

 

When the man gets back, he stops dead in his tracks.

“What's this?”

Jean shrugs with his hands behind his back.

“I thought we could go to Dusk till Dawn.”

 

Jeremy's eyes widen and his smile is blinding.Jean's heart nearly jumps out of his chest.

“Oh man!! That would be awesome but the tickets are sold out.” Jeremy said, sounding dejected.

Jean smiles at him, taps quickly on his phone and tosses it to Jeremy. He catches it and flicks his eyes down to the screen.

There's a beat of silence and then….

“No you didn't!!” Jeremy howls, dancing in place. Jeans heart flutters watching the smile grow even more raidant.

“Oh my God. Oh my god. How??”

Jean snorts. All Trojans are the same. He taps his cheek again.

Jeremy’s jaw drops. “Who are you?”

I'm Jean Moreau. Hopelessly in love with you, Jeremy Knox. He thinks.

 

Jeremy makes his way to the bed and whips his head around so fast that Jean can feel his neck protesting the whiplash.

“Where did you get this shirt?”

The shirt in question is ridiculous. It's black and in bright neon blue says: “Exy. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.”

“Magic.”

Jeremy snorts. “Ok Houdini.”

Jean huffs. “I'm less Houdini and more Bautier De Kolta.”

Jeremy looks at him funny and quickly looks away. Jean would be worried if it weren't for the bright red ears.

 

Jean insists on driving to the festival, it's freeing to be behind the wheel at night and let Jeremy control the music. They decided to get to the festival at around midnight for two reasons. First, they would miss the initial mad stampede that was almost certain s anxiety attack for Jean; and second Jeremy wanted to be wide awake for Martin Garrix who was closing the show. The third reason, unbeknownst to Jeremy it gives the girls time to get to there without being seen.

Before Jean knows it, they have danced their way down the coast and were about 15 minutes from the festival. The sun is starting to set, streaking the sky with vivid pinks, orange and purples.

“Jean.” Jeremy says, fiddling with his backpack, pulling Jean's attention from the horizon.

Jean flicks his eyes at him. “Mhm.”

“You cool if I smoke?”

Jean suppresses a laugh. Laila had clued him into Jeremy's “pre-Jean” summer habits. Jean was relieved because he wasn't sure how he was going to break it to Jeremy that he started smoking at Palmetto to deal with the pain and anxiety or that his therapist prescribed it to him. Leave it to Captain Sunshine to jump the gun.

 

“Roll up.”

Jeremy looks surprised, again. Jean's heart melts a little bit.

“Seriously?”

Jean nods. “When we get there I'll roll too. We can compare. There's not a chance I'm walking in there sober.”

Jeremy just stares. “Who are you, Jean Moreau.” He whispers. Jean suppresses another snort. His Trojans are ridiculously easy to confuse.

They pull into the grassy lot and bump along until they are directed to park. The lot over looks the beach below, giving them and a perfect view of the setting sun. Once settled Jean pops open the trunk and goes to sit there. He pulls his backpack closer and pulls out gorgeous weed, lighter, grinder, pineapple leaf papers, and a tray.

“What?”

Jean grins at him and then gets to work to setting up. “Are you cool with Pineapple Express? You Californians have an overabundance.”

Jeremy blinks at him, mouth dry. “Y-yeah.” he swallows.

Jean smirks at him and starts the process of rolling. He feels himself relax as he breaks up the sticky nuggets and placing them in the grinder. He exhales slowly, turning the blades eight times to the east and then inhales as he reverses to the west.

He pulls the tray closer to him and make sure it's flat in his lap, giving it three quick taps with his knuckles. Satisfied it's lodge in his lap tightly he smoothes out the paper and pineapple leaf, pressing them flat.

He can feel Jeremy's eyes on him. He flicks his eyes up and glances at the man from under his bangs. Jeremy looks floored. Jean smiles and ducks his head back down.

He taps the grinder twice and the dumps it's contents into the paper. He smoothes out the leaves evenly before beginning the meticulous process of tucking and rolling. Less than ninety seconds later, they are comparing each other's work.

Jeremy's is a thick, solid joint perfectly purled and because he's JEREMY he used watermelon flavored papers.

You're such a dork. God. I love you. Jean thinks

“Beautiful.” Jean tells him, keeping his eyes on Jeremy's. He wills him to understand he's not just talking about the weed.

“Y- yours too.”

Jean’s smile grows. He waits for Jeremy place the blunt in his mouth and leans forward to light it for him.

“Hooolllyy shit.” Jeremy breathes, cloudy as a day in Seattle. Jean takes a minute to embrace the exhale Jeremy inadvertently pushed into his face.

 

Jean watches as Jeremy's eyes dilate with want. He quickly plucks the flavored joint from his fingers and takes a deep pull. He cards his fingers through the short hairs at the back of Jeremy's neck and pulls him closer.

His eyes flutter as Jean's lips hover over his, pushing the smoke into his mouth. Jeremy inhales sharply and holds it. He exhales slowly, letting the smoke waft between them.

“Jean.”

“Yes?” Jean's syllables roll together, accent getting thicker.

“Again.” Jeremy begs.

They smoke the rest like this, foreheads pressed together going cross-eyed as they stare at each other.

Jeremy giggles, pulling away. Jean frowns.

“You're so cute when you pout.” Jeremy tells him quietly, like he's sharing a secret. He laughs hysterically at Jean's offended expression.

“I don't pout.” Jean argues, crossing his arms. Jeremy nearly falls out of the car from laughter. His saving grace is Jean's arms wrapping around him, keeping him firmly in the car.

Jeremy quiets with a small sigh. He runs his thumb across Jean's bottom lip. Lightly freeing it from from being worried between his teeth.

“Veux-tu m'embrasser?”

Jean blinks at him.

“S'il vous plaît.”

Jean flicks his eyes to Jeremy's full, pink lips and then back to.his face. He looks beautifully hopeful and Jean can't deny him. He cards a hand through Jeremy's sunkissed curls, tilting his head up.

“Enfin.” Jean whispers, ducking down to place a firm kiss on the pink lips that have featured in his dreams.

Jeremy gasps and throws his arms around Jean's neck. Jean takes advantage of Jeremy's open mouth and maps the inside with his tongue.

He tastes like sunshine, watermelon, and the Skittles he had in the way down the highway.

They pull apart when breathing becomes a necessity. Jean doesn't let Jeremy go far, pressing his forehead to the blonde man's.

 

It's silent as they bask in the high, each other, and the fading light of the sunset.

 

“I like this. “ Jean says lacing their fingers together.

Jeremy squeaks, turning red. “I like this too.”

“Come on. Let's go dance.”

Jean pulls Jeremy out of the car and locks it. He slots their fingers together and pulls Jeremy behind him towards the beach and the shifting crowd.

The joy radiating off of Jeremy as they weave their way through the sands to make it to the final stage is palatable. People turn to him like he's the sun. Stopping him to clasp hands with him and exchange bracelets. Even Jean has been included in this weird ritual, different Kandy than the ones he came with now stacked on his scarred wrists.

Jeremy looks back at Jean, hand still tightly entwined with his own. He shoots him a grin and nods to the girl in front of him holding out her hand. Jean meets her in the middle and let's her drape a new bracelet across his wrist. He gives her a bright pink one that he's pretty sure glows in the dark as a trade.

She grins and kisses them both on the cheek. “Have fun cuties!!”

Then she's gone. Dancing and wriggling her way through the crowd. Jean and Jeremy grin at each other and start heading in their original direction.

Jeremy lets out a gasp and drops Jeans hand only to be almost bowled over by a mass of blonde hair.

Jean knows that hair and screech anywhere. They found the girls. Alvarez strolls up to them, standing with Jean as they survey the other two lose this shit.

Jean take a minute to check out the couple. While Laila went for typical “rave babe” look consisting of short shorts, a bra thing, and a shit ton of bracelets; Alvarez is more subdued.

She decided to cover more up. Wearing a black netted jersey, shorts, and bright blue bra. She has just as many bracelets a Laila.

Alvarez sticks out her hand and wiggles her hand impatiently. Jean stares at it. She sighs.

“Nice flowers.” She nods at the crown. “It suits you.”

Jean blushes slightly. Jeremy had said the same thing. Going as far as attempting to call him “my sunset” in French.

“Come. Give one up.” She says, breaking him from his daydreams and shoving a hand in his direction.

Oh.

Jean takes her hand and transfers a blue and green one over to.her already packed wrist. She slides like 10 over in response.

“It's hot and they are heavy.” She tells him at this incredulous glance. “Besides, stop stalling. Did you kiss him yet?”

Jean snorts and slides out a joint from his pack of “cigarettes”. He lights up, takes two puffs, and passes it to the woman next to him.

She takes a hit and coughs. “Jesus Frenchie. Where did you get this shit?” She takes another pull, holding it better this time around.
She passes it back. “Fresh from a farm in San Diego. She's an Exy fan so she gives me a decent discount.”

“Everytime you open your mouth more surprises jump out. Next thing you say is you know how to ride a motorcycle.”

“I do.”

“What?”

Jean shrugs, taking another deep pull. “I can ride a motorcycle. I used to do with my friends in France.”

Jeremy sidles up before she can reply. He plucks the joint from Jean's fingers, eyes fluttering as the weed hits his system.

“What are you talking about?”

“Nothing mon couer."

Jeremy hums, molding himself against Jean's chest. Jean let's his hands anchor him at his waist.

“Hi.”

“Bonsoir mon soleil.”

Jeremy blushes faintly. Jean can't help himself he leans down and bites at that sweet bottom lip. Jeremy raises up on his toes to chase his lips.

“That answers that question.” Alvarez drawls, snubbing out the dead joint and breaking them out of their bubble. Jeremy blushes while Jean simply glares at her.

Laila rolls her eyes. “Come one. We need a good spot.” She links one hand with Alvarez and the other with Jeremy, dragging them away. Jeremy tangles their fingers back together and Jean is pulled along too. He knows they must look like quite the scene. A tiny, ripped girl dragging three equally ripped people around behind her.

She stops when she gets to a clearing. “Perfect.”

Jean has to agree. It's close enough to the stage to see and hear but far enough away where they can dance. Laila must have a sixth sense because as soon as they make it to the spot the much anticipated DJ hit the stage.

Jean let the music wash over him. Keeping an eye on Jeremy as he swayed along. He knows the innocent sway will turn into wild dancing soon and Jean has no desire to catch a hand to the face. Jean smiles knowing how shook Jeremy will be when he can keep up with Jeremy's shuffle. He may or may not have gotten some pointers from the girls.

 

The set was incredible, even by Jean's standards. He hasn't danced that much ever. It was worth swallowing his pride to see Jeremy lose his shit when Jean kept up with him.

Now they are trying to beat the crush of people, hightailing it back to the car. Laila and Alvarez had taken a bus down from campus so they climb into the backseat, curling up in an exhausted heap. Laila and Jeremy pass out as soon as they leave the grass lot.

His phone goes off five times on the center console but it's another hour before he can check it. Once back at USC, they all stumble to their respective rooms planning a recap once they all woke up again.

Jean pushes Jeremy towards the shower while he plugs in his phone. He rifles through his wardrobe and finds an unworn practice jersey. He quietly sneaks in and swaps out the Day jersey for his.

When Jeremy emerges looking adorable in his jersey and slightly damp hair, Jean has to kiss him.

“Aller au lit. Je reviens tout de suite.” He tells him, stroking the warm, golden skin of the striker's neck. Jeremy looks at him dazedly. Jean bites down on a laugh.

“Get in my bed.” He translates, lightly pushing Jeremy towards the bed and hurries through his shower.

When he returns, Jeremy is curled up on his side facing the wall. The oversized jersey slipping off his shoulder and exposing all that golden skin. Jean quietly reaches for his phone and takes a quick picture super quietly.
He checks it. Sunlight is weakly filtering into the room, casting a warm glow against the bed and its single occupant. The name on jersey a bold scarlet slash in the light.

Here's hoping that girl of yours wins some money. I still want that video.

He checks his other texts while he waits for Renee's reply. He saves the one from Alvarez, making his favorite one his screen.

It's a picture of them kissing under the fireworks completely oblivious to the rest of the world. It would be cheesy if Jean actually gave a fuck about what other people thought.

He yawns and decides to knock out, Renee will get back to him eventually. He crawls into bed, pressing his chest to Jeremy's warm back. Even in sleep, Jeremy searched for him. He turns in his sleep and wraps his arms around Jean. He presses his face against Jean's chest and sighs in his sleep.

“Dors bien mon soleil.” Jean whispers into his hair. “Good night Jean.” Jeremy replies happily, snuggling in further and dropping right back off. Jean tightens his arms around the precious man and let's sleep catch up.with him too.

 

Allison and, surprisingly, Andrew win the bet. Andrew won even more because he bet Kevin would cry. He did. Jean felt bad about it until three months later he received a text from Reynolds. Kevin, Andrew, and Neil are cuddled up on the couch fast asleep.

Pay up Moreau.

Maybe having Foxes around wasn't actually worth it.