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So Real in the Dark

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Brian's in his tiny office at Stanford, grading exams and listening to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me with his headphones turned up, so he doesn't hear the knock on his door. He rarely gets any students wanting him outside of class time, so it's safe enough to indulge himself a little. Besides, it's after 5:00. Finally, the words "You plant the dope, and I'll tape his buns together" breaks through the synthesizers, and he jumps up to open it.

They both called to say they might be coming out there, Andrew for spring break, and John some time later, so he can't say he's completely surprised to see them. He just hadn't expected to see them together. Seriously together, from the way they're leaning up against each other, in an invasion of space he knows John would never stand from someone he wasn't fucking.

Brian remembers what that was like, being so close to the heat of him. It had only happened the once, after Brian had helped John with a make up math test, and John had had the bright idea to repay him. "You're a virgin, right? Want to not be a virgin anymore?" He'd never told anyone. Not even Andrew.

Andrew's acid washed jeans are tight, and the Shermer High School Wrestling sweatshirt is a little small for him, its cut off sleeves showing off even more arm definition than he'd had the last time Brian saw him, back at graduation, five years ago. Brian has a shirt just like it. Andrew had left it the last time they were together. Brian had been offended at the time, as if he'd needed a souvenir to remember him, or a bribe to keep him quiet.

At the time, he hadn't thought much would come from any of it. John was just finding another way to rebel, and Andrew would stay as closeted about this as he had about everything else. Having a brain, a conscience, actually liking someone outside his prescribed circle.

He looks good, and more than that, he looks at ease. Brian's not sure he's ever seen that before.

Bender looks happy too, which is even more weird. Not that "Isn't life a fucking joke" kind of grin, but an "It's okay, I'm laughing too" honest to god smile. He's got that eye-crinkly thing going, like even he's surprised to be feeling that good without chemicals. At least Brian assumes he's drug free. He'd had a hard time of things after high school, and the job he has now does regular drug screenings. His hair is still pretty long, but so are a lot of guys now, and he's got a soul patch to go with it.He looks like he should be reciting angry poetry at a coffeehouse somewhere, which kind of fits him, Brian thinks.

"So I hear you're teaching kids to make lamps," Andrew says by way of a hello.

"Electrical Engineering, actually."

"Right. Lamps." John says. "Or is it choo choo trains?"

Brian knows bullshit when he hears it, and he laughs, punching them both on the arm. "Assholes. Give me a minute and we'll go get something to drink." They look at him like he's grown a second head. Maybe he has changed a bit since high school, but clearly so have they.

"Don't you mean we'll go get something to vote?." Andrew teases.

They don't actually end up at a bar, as it turns out. Brian's really not much of a drinker, and neither are Andrew or John anymore. So they pick up a couple of pizzas and a six pack of Jolt, Brian's drug of choice, and head to his apartment.

He'd thought it would be awkward, not exactly reminiscing, but certainly comparing notes about some of the stuff that got them together, if not about all of it. But enough time has passed that he can be friends with both of them, and that they can apparently be more with each other. They've always had a lot in common. John's dad had a vicious punch, and an even more vicious heart condition. He's been dead two months now, and John's relief at this, and his regret at being relieved is palpable. Andrew's father talked about sportsmanship, and fair play, but he'd never lived by those rules. Brian doubted he did now, with his new wife, and the kid he'd fathered before the divorce.

"We got together at the funeral," Andrew tells him. "I saw it in the paper, and just thought that someone ought to be there for him." He corrects himself. "For John, I mean. His dad can rot, for all I care."

"The obits were right near Tank McNamara," John explained.

"Oh, fuck you. They were near the job ads," Andrew corrects.

"Wow, so, you guys are really.."

"Yeah, dweeb. We really are."

"That's Doctor Dweeb, to you, Bender."

"How long's the ink been dry on that thing, anyway?" Andrew asks.

"About a month." Brian's pretty proud of that. He's a full three years ahead of where he thought he'd be. His mother is still kvelling about her son the doctor, even if she doesn't tell people it's not a medical degree.

"You didn't say anything. We would have come for the ceremony." John hugs him, which is weird, because John doesn't hug.

"It's really cool, Brian. Dork jokes aside, neither of us have gotten that far in our education."

"I think I'm doing pretty well keeping you educated, Sport." John. "I'm good at that, aren't I, Brian?"

Brian blushes, for a minute feeling like he's sixteen again.

"Oh, look. The kid is blushing." Andrew pokes him, and for a moment, it's Andrew who's sixteen.

"I kinda missed that," John adds.

"The 'kid' is 6'2", and could kick your ass now," Brian tells him. Not completely true, but he's not the scrawny geek he was in high school.

"Seriously, though. No girls, for either of you?" Brian asks as they're finishing their crusts.

"Not since we got together," John confirms.

"Not so many before that," admits Andrew. "Enough so no one would notice -- I'm a jock, after all. But honestly, the only one I liked enough was Alison, and that never worked out."

"She and Clare aren't..."

"No. God, no. Well, Alison might be, but we think it's just a college thing.

They laugh at that, and suddenly the awkwardness is gone completely, replaced with anticipation of a headier sort.

He doesn't know why he bought the queen sized bed, but now he's glad he did. To have both of them, together like this is a lot more entertaining to come home to than this week's Twin Peaks. John still kisses the same slow way, and his hands in Brian's hair are soothing. When he moves down to suck on a nipple, that's something new.

Andrew slides onto him like he's wrestling, a leg slipping between his, and his arm pulling John into a kiss. It's an expert maneuver, and with the part of his brain that isn't thinking about the hotness of it all, Brian has to admire the logistics.

Somehow, they make it all work, the three of them, intertwined and intense. Two familiar hands to grip him. Andrew kisses him as he comes, and follows soon after. John palms himself while he watches, until Andrew recovers enough to slide down and swallow him down. It looks practiced, but Brian can't afford to be jealous. This was, after all, an unexpected reunion.

Brian doesn't know what the future will bring, but he knows enough not to question the randomness of the universe -- at least not in this case. It's all okay. His past with each of them, and their past with each other.