Kevin had all but insisted on staying in their room, but Neil and Andrew had still managed to drag him through to Matt's room. Well, Neil had left and Andrew had went with him and Kevin had followed since he still couldn't be by himself.
The entire team were there, all playing boardgames - within half an hour, Allison had brought out Twister and gotten out of her heels. While Neil and Andrew didn't take part in that one on principle, Neil still thought it looked like fun. Allison, Renee, Aaron, Dan, Nicky and two freshmen were tangled together on the mat like some complicated human pretzel, with Matt spinning the arrow and calling out placements. Of course, Allison won. Nicky shouted out the next round should be stripper Twister and surprisingly everyone save Aaron agreed.
"Wait, wait, wait," one of the freshmen said and looked between the twins. "Andrew, I don't mean this in a dig way." Neil already felt his skin prickling. "But if Aaron was going to take part in this then we'd see him naked - would that mean we'd technically see you naked too? Since you're identical twins, I mean? And I mean if Neil's seen you naked does that mean he's technically seen Aaron naked?"
Neil had to admit the freshman was brave to even ask that, never mind to be holding eye contact with both twins and actually waiting for a reply.
Judging by the expressions on the other Foxes faces, they were either shocked by the freshman's backbone or by the question itself. Neil had never thought of it before but he realised it made sense.
Both twins looked at each other, Aaron's gaze confused and Andrew's even.
"We're not completely identical-" Aaron began and Andrew just looked at him.
"Save for a few scars and scrapes, we are."
Aaron stared back for another few seconds before he blinked.
"Well fuck," he said as he flopped back on the sofa. He looked at Neil, opened his mouth then shook his head, said "Actually I don't want to know," and faced forward.
Across the room, Allison grinned.
"Well since we know that new bit of information, I have another question. Neil," she said, "you still never gave me that story you owe me."
"What story?" Neil asked, even though he had a sneaking suspicion he knew what she meant.
"Of how, when and why you two got together."
Nicky gasped, the game of Twister instantly forgotten.
"Oh my God neither you did!"
Neil grimaced but couldn't argue- he had all but agreed to tell them.
He turned to Andrew, who looked at him blankly before saying in a seemingly even tone with plenty of mischief underneath, "You should probably tell them."
Neil chewed his lip but turned back to the rest of the team who were now all watching the pair of them.
"Alright," he conceded. Allison squealed.
Neil thought it over for a few seconds before saying, "Well I guess we got together in February-"
"That late-?" Dan and Matt exclaimed, before Matt sighed and handed fifty dollars to Renee, who only smiled serenely as she accepted it. Neil smirked. "I think Renee is going to win a lot of money with this story," he said and Renee only shrugged innocently.
"Anyway, it was back in February," Neil continued, glancing at Andrew every few seconds to make sure he was still leaving out the details Andrew would probably want left out. "I mean it could've been earlier than that - really soon after Christmas break, actually - but I think February was when we were both on the same page so that makes more sense."
"Wait, what happened before that?" Allison cut in.
"That's a different story, Allison." Allison pouted but gestured for Neil to continue.
"We were in Andrew's dorm and watching a movie with Nicky - Kevin was watching Exy in his room, I think. Nicky came through here to get different dvds, and Andrew locked him out-"
"Oh my God! No way!" Nicky all but screamed. "That's when you two got together? That's why yous locked me out of my own room?"
"I don't remember the exact conversation-" Andrew looked as if he were resisting rolling his eyes because he obviously knew Neil remembered their conversation, "- but the general gist of it was him asking for an answer he actually believed - I mean he had kissed me before that night but niether of us were in a good head space - and I said yes obviously. So he kissed me, and then Nicky walked into the door." Neil was surmising but he didn't think the team needed to know the exact details. "So Andrew let him in and I went to get the ice cream."
Nicky made another screaming noise. "That's why you were blushing so much!"
Neil looked at him. "I wasn't blushing-"
"Yes you were," Nicky and Andrew replied in unison. Neil licked his lower lip.
"Fine. Anyway, that was that. I think I spent most of the movie having a meltdown though - a good one," he quickly amended before Andrew could glare at him. "At the time I thought I'd be dead in a few months so I didn't want to get into anything emotional - on either side. But Andrew had made it clear he didn't actually like me - hated me, in fact -" Neil said, ignoring the side eye Andrew was giving him, "- so I figured it would be all right. I'd be dead in a few months and he would be able to just shrug it off since it wasn't like he actually gave a shit."
Neil turned to Andrew and could feel himself smiling. "Or so I thought, anyway."
"So Andrew does give a shit?" one of the freshmen asked. Matt laughed.
"He strangled Kevin when Neil went missing - when Nathanial's father's people took him, I mean," Matt said. "It took three of us to pull him off. Kevin had marks on his neck for almost two weeks after."
Matt smirked. "That's when it kind of became clear they didn't completely hate each other."
"When did you realise you give a shit about him too?" Dan asked.
"Actually before we got together."
Nicky squealed. "What? When?"
Neil could feel himself growing redder. "Partly when you two came to try and drag me out to get ice cream when I was watching Exy with Kevin - remember? After you said Exy isn't everything?"
Nicky's eyes widened and he nodded. "When I came with yous, it clicked in my mind maybe I gave a shit about Andrew more than I did about Exy."
Kevin made a disapproving noise at that which everyone ignored.
"And partly after something else you said - when you were talking about Erik, how he makes you feel like you can lean on him all day and he'd still hold you up. After you said that I saw Andrew at practice and it kind of started falling into place then."
Nicky honestly looked like he was going to cry.
"There was another point," Andrew said flatly, surprising everyone. "At Edens."
Neil blinked before realising the conversation Andrew meant and he grinned.
"Yeah," he said. "One time when we were at Edens I got it basically spelled out to me that Andrew didn't totally hate me."
"What?" Neil was surprised Nicky still had a voice left.
"Poor Roland," Neil murmured mostly to himself. "It was actually him - Roland's the barman that we usually get and the Cousins all know him, by the way- that slipped up and told me. Because when I got back from Christmas break I had scars on my wrists from stuff Riko had done," Neil explained quickly. "There were still marks from the cuffs, and my sleeves didn't cover them. So when I went up to get our drinks, Roland said they make padded cuffs and that on one hand he was happy for us, he was sorry it had cost me my wrists. I was so confused," Neil laughed.
Nicky was making inhuman noises by this point.
"I was sure Andrew completely hated me. But Roland thought Andrew had cuffed me, so obviously he knew something I didn't. I was so confused and he realised he had slipped up and got me the drinks then disappeared to another customer. I took the drinks back to the table - by then Nicky and Aaron had gone off- and asked Andrew why Roland had thought that."
"Andrew gave me a bit of a riddled answer and told me to work it out myself. I remembered something Coach had said, and asked him about that - Coach always said he wasn't paid enough to get involved in personal problems. I asked Andrew if he really did hate me and he said he did but - but maybe not as much as I thought. I asked if he liked me and he went back to saying he hated me."
Allison squealed. "What were you about to say Neil? What did he actually say?"
But Neil shook his head. "I'm not telling you that much, Allison," Neil said.
"Was it he hates you but still wants to fuck you?" Nicky asked and Neil faltered. Allison grinned.
"Basically," she said.
"Anyway," Neil grit out, "that was kind of the first clue I got."
"You took that as just a clue?" Matt exclaimed.
"Did it actually start out as hate sex?" Nicky asked.
"Yes," Andrew answered before Neil could think of a reply.
"When did it stop being hate sex?"
Andrew considered this for a few seconds before saying, "Baltimore."
Matt handed his wallet to Renee, at the same time Allison handed her what looked like almost a hundred dollars.
"Of course you two had to realise how many shits you give about each other when Neil almost gets killed," Kevin murmured.
"It was actually only at Baltimore that everything fell into place properly. I mean we were already together but I hadn't thought it was emotional until then."
He was looking at Andrew now, who flicked him a bored look.
Allison grinned, all but dancing in her seat, despite the money she had lost.
"What about before Christmas break?" Aaron asked. "Were yous together when he was still medicated?"
"No," Neil said. "I mean honestly I probably gave a shit about him back then and I guess he might have gave a shit back then too, but-"
"What!" Nicky and Matt yelled at the same time.
Neil glanced at Andrew.
"He agreed to do things if I asked him to, even then."
Matt stared. "Wait. You mean he had a crush on you and that's why you were the only one he would listen to?"
Neil could feel himself grinning and Matt made another screaming noise. Dan handed her purse to Renee.
"How much money has Renee won tonight?" one of the freshmen asked.
Renee smiled sweetly. "Almost a thousand dollars."
Neil choked. Andrew hummed. "What answer will take it up to a thousand?" he asked in a bored tone.
Renee thought for a second.
"When was the first time you and Neil kissed?"
Andrew looked at Neil before answering after Neil nodded.
"Just after Christmas break, up on the roof."
Allison stood up and went to her room, returning a few seconds later with her purse which she handed to Renee, who's sweet smile seemed slightly smug.
After a while, and Allison promising to get Neil drunk enough to tell her the exact conversation he and Andrew had had at Edens that night, the rest of the team returned to stripper Twister. Neil spent the rest of the night looking at Andrew, who spent the rest of the night ignoring him.