Jake was a trooper. It was no secret. He powered through everything that life handed him without complaint. His parents left, his house burnt down, and he was wheelchair-bound for at least a few months while his legs healed.
And obviously, it sucked. He wasn’t fine. He struggled, but he always won. Rich admired that. When Rich had problems, he turned to a supercomputer to fix them while Jake fought his demons himself.
It didn’t just go back to normal after they all got rid of their SQUIPS, but it was quicker than most would expect. One of the toughest friendships to rekindle though was Rich and Jake’s as it had mostly been founded on, well, for lack of a way to sugarcoat it, lies.
But they slowly found that they had more in common when Rich was his true self. They both came from troubled homes, loved to try new things, and were bisexual. Jake even got Rich to attend the Gay-Straight Alliance meetings, which he grew to love.
They were also both incredibly affectionate and playful, leading to a bit of chaos amongst their friend group. Especially when Rich discovered he was the perfect size to sit on Jake’s lap in his wheelchair, and decided if Jake couldn’t walk, neither would he.
Nobody could understand why Rich always sat there, because every time he did, Jake would tickle him. And yet, Rich kept going back. Naturally, everyone came to the silent yet mutual verdict that he probably enjoyed it, which they weren’t going to judge. It was cute to see the normally tough Rich Goranski reduced to a giggly mess anyway.
Jake was minding his own business when, for no reason at all, decided to crawl into his lap.
Jake chuckled. “You do know it’s twice as exhausting to wheel this thing with both of us in it, right?”
Rich grinned. “But you’re not moving right now.”
Christine was helping everyone run lines, but Jake and Rich’s characters weren’t present until the next scene, so they idly flipped through their scripts and exchanged glances, until Jake’s fingers started to wiggle over Rich’s ribs, mostly exposed due to the low-cut sleeves of his tank top.
Brooke was in the middle of a monologue, so Rich bit down on his lip to try and stay silent, but he also couldn’t move much without either hurting Jake or falling off the chair. It was a struggle, and he did not manage to hold out as Jenna started her line, a squeak leaving his lips and drawing everyone’s attention over to him.
It was commonplace by then, so they all simply shook their heads and rolled their eyes fondly, Jenna raising her voice to continue over Rich’s laughter as Jake’s fingers danced up and down his sides, over each individual rib, and finally slipping beneath his arms which resulted in a gasp and shriek of laughter.
“Can you two stop being childish? Your characters are in on the next page and there’s no stage directions about a tickle fight,” Christine said, trying to sound stern but it came off more amused.
“Tickle fight? This is entirely one sided, Chris,” Jake said with a laugh before nuzzling his face into the crook of Rich’s neck, making him scrunch up his shoulders.
“Shuhut up!” Rich said, reaching around to poke Jake’s stomach just to prove a point.
But Jake stopped, and Rich slid off his lap onto the floor, face red and a giddy smile he couldn’t seem to shake off. Not that anyone was complaining since he looked adorable.
And although he knew the consequences, Rich continued to sit on Jake’s lap, and no one had the heart to point out how obvious he was being.
Jake was certainly a trooper for putting up with his ridiculous best friend.