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Not Like Us

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It had been a while since they decided to move out from the apartment they previously shared. Working together and living together at the same time ended up being more stressful than fun. Ryan moved in with a friend of a friend, and Matt found a listing he was able to afford with the Tucker brothers. Still, the two found themselves seeing each other more often than most friends due because of their job and overlapping social circles. Because of the time they spent with each other, they grew to know each other pretty well and nearly cause their brains to link up when they were joking around or cause tunnel vision when a disagreement broke out. This made hanging out a lot of fun, but could sometimes annoy the people they were with.

Tonight, Matt, Ryan, one of Ryan's roommates, Jackson and a few other people they are all friends with were hanging out in a bar-arcade combo in the downtown area. Matt and Jackson were playing on a fighting cabinet game when Ryan walked over beer in hand, already a little drunk, and began whooping at their game. The three began making funny comments about the characters clothing choices and laughing too hard to play properly.

"Oh yeah see I wear this old thing to show off my big old tits!" Matt put on one of his character voices making the woman sound like a 90s cartoon character.

"This padding really protects my huge dick and nothing else." Ryan began in a heavy Russian accent.


Jackson attempted to get a joke in before Matt cut him off. "Dude that was fucking horrible."


"I'd like to see you do it better!"

 


"It isn't that hard you," Jackson trying to get back into the conversation "you just have to make the-


"Oh fuck you, you make the same voice for everything! That dumb girl voice!"


"Uh-huuuuh" Ryan pitched his voice up at Matt making the two of them laugh and Jackson shrug and walk away to find their friends. Matt and Ryan continued their argument about voices and accents as the title screen for the fighting game looped next to them and their glasses slowly emptied.

When they reached the end of their drinks Matt nodded toward the bar and pointed his elbow at it and the two ordered new drinks. A beer for one and something called a One-Up for the other. When they looked back at the game they noticed that their friend was gone and gave each other a puzzled look and slowly walked around the bar looking for a sign of any of their friends. They quickly finished their drinks and headed outside to see if any of them went outside for air, to vape or a smoke. It was a lot darker out now than when they arrived, and there was a slight cool breeze in the air. Ryan wondered what time it was and took his phone out to check it, and when he unlocked it he noticed a new text from one of the girls they were with. She told him the group decided to move on over to a karaoke bar a couple streets up, they tried to tell them but couldn't get past their argument and horrible impersonations, and that once they were done with that they should meet them. Ryan turned his phone to Matt's face and let him read the message.

"Guess that's where were walkin'!" Matt shouted, a little loud from the drinks he had in the bar began walking in the direction of the bar. Or so he thought, five blocks in and Ryan began to voice his suspicious that they were headed the wrong way. "No way! I've been to this place like a hundred times and it's definitely this way!"

"Dude, I have too and it wasn't this far from the bar!"

"It just feels further because we're drunk!"


"I don't think I'm drunk enough to lose my ability to count, man. It's only one or two streets away, not like five." Ryan stopped walking altogether and gestured in the opposite direction.

"Fine!" Matt huffed, "but when we get lost and alone and drunk in this city I'm going to kill you."


"Promise?"


"Oh fuck you." At this Ryan began to laugh, and eventually let it turn into a giggle as the pair made their way back down the road. Matt began to laugh as Ryan's got higher pitch, but let it die in his throat as he saw the karaoke place in the distance.

"Damn and I was looking forward to you killing me." Ryan said cockily to his silent friend. Before Matt could respond he followed it up with "Another time." Matt wasn't sure what that meant but they were both sufficiently buzzed, even if they weren't as drunk as before.

 


 

They headed inside to the room their friend texted them and were surprised to find a few more people than they were with at the bar. A few quick introductions and whispered explanations later, they were now familiar with the situation. Apparently Ryan's roommate had been talking to a girl recently and she invited their group to meet up with her's in the karaoke booth. The two late comers has to squeeze their way into a seat on the long couch against the wall. Ryan leaned his head against the wall and rested his arm along the back of the couch so that Matt had enough room to sit flush against him and fit between him and the towering height and intimidating width of one of the stranger's boyfriend. The man didn't even budge and when Matt looked up at his face it looked like he was in and out of consciousness. The girlfriend must have noticed the concerned look on his face because she told him that the large man was their designated driver and was probably just bored out of his mind and napping. Matt locked eyes with Ryan and they both shrugged.

"When do you think we'll get a chance to order drinks?" Ryan asked him, not concerned about their new large friend in the slightest.


"The call button is next to you, just hit it."


"The call button is next to you meh meh meh." Ryan repeated him in a mocking tone and smacked the button he previously did not notice just to the side of the couch and table. The waitress came and they two ordered a few small imported Japanese canned mix drinks.

The night went on for a while, the two only getting up to sing when it was their turn and slowly sinking into the end of the couch together. Matt slowly sank into Ryan's side throughout the night. The girl Ryan's roommate was talking to noticed and whispered something in the roommate's ear. Matt couldn't hear what she said but he heard the scruffy guy respond "Nah, just best friends and coworkers." He nodded a little and made a show of threading his fingers into Ryan's at the comment. Ryan looked at him with a raised eyebrow and Matt winked at him. This had been a joke long before the videos and it carried over into their friendships as a running theme. Deciding to play along as usual, Ryan lifted their hands and kissed their folded fingers before turning his attention back to the lyrics and neon designs on the screen. The girl laughed and the roommate shrugged.

A while later everyone decided it was eventually time to go. They lingered outside, planning their routes home, some smoking and some wobbling on the dark street corner from the amount of alcohol in their bodies. Ryan's roommate made eye contact and not so subtly gestured at the girl he was talking to. Ryan sighed and turned back to the group he was talking to. "Hey, uh, Matt, Jackson, you think it's cool if I crash at your place?" The two issued 'of courses' and 'why nots' and they called a cab to bring them home. On the ride home, Ryan leaned heavily against Matt and nearly drew his entire body across him to talk to the Tucker brother. Matt's face began to heat up as the ride continued, completely due to the number of drinks he had - he told himself. He reached past Ryan to open the window and allow the cool air into the cab.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Jackson nodded off somewhere in the half-hour cab trip, leaving Matt and Ryan to fill the silent void. Ryan hummed along with the radio and began taking his hair out of its tie, rubbing his scalp and sighing. Matt took a moment to take in the sight of his long, dark locks falling over his shoulders, just now noticing the slightly lighter, golden waves running through it. Then he decided to break the quiet atmosphere. 

 

"You know if you keep trying your hair up like that you're going -" he took a moment to swallow, his head still pleasantly swimming and fuzzy "you're going to go bald."

 

Ryan turned to look at him with a wild look on his face. "No, what?!" He shouted, his attention pulled completely away from the music playing softly from the radio. Matt reached over and slapped his shoulder with wide eyes and shushed him, surprised at how loud he was due to his drunken state. Ryan lowered his voice slightly and shifted his body to turn to Matt. "Where the hell did you hear that?" He tittered at his friend, giving him an incredulous look. 

 

"For real! It's called, like, traction alopecia or something!" Matt whispered at him, hoping it would cause Ryan to also lower his voice. 

 

"I don't think putting my hair up is enough to make me go bald, Matt." He continued to rub the front of his hairline, and shook his head. Even after his rebuttal he kept his hair down for the remainder of the ride. 

 

When they reached the apartment building Matt shook Jackson awake and helped him out of the cab and into the building. Unable to do it himself, Matt asked Ryan for help getting their friend out of his shoes and into his bed as he was too tired and sloppy to get there on his own. When they were confident he was firmly on his side, facing away from the bulk of his bed (just in case he threw up in his sleep, Matt was always worried about things like that) the two went to the kitchen to pour themselves glasses of water. A comfortable silence fell between them as they rehydrated and decompressed from their night out. Ryan eventually put his glass into the sink and headed into the living room. He stretched out and took off his hoodie, balling it up and placing it on the floor next to the couch. He lowered himself onto the floor, allowing his face to be pillowed by the soft jacket. 

 

Matt chuckled, walked over and gave him a soft kick in the side. "Going to sleep?"

 

"I thought I was but I don't think I'm tired anymore. Plus your carpet is so itchy, like really bad." 

 

"It came with the place. At least it isn't that damned oriental rug whats-her-name was trying to sell us."

 

Ryan turned onto his back and looked up at Matt for a minute. The man standing had nothing left to say so he just gazed down at the other. He took in his long hair again,  splayed out on the floor, before throwing himself on the couch and grabbing the nearby switch controller. He booted up the new Katamari game and let his feet hang off the couch onto his friends side. After a few minutes of play, Ryan got up and joined Matt on the couch. He watched Matt play, the man next to him was intensely focused on the screen, the blue, flickering light was the only thing in the room illuminating his face. It bounced off his glasses and smoothed his features as he studied him. His friend eventually noticed his staring and made a soft comment apologizing for boring him. 

 

“Nah, I’m just waiting for my turn.” Matt smiled at this, surprised he wanted to join in and passed him the controller. They switched back and forth for a while until Ryan found a level he could not pass, and was fixated. Matt made a few lazy attempts to take the controller, asking if he could show him the best way to beat it, unheard he instead leaned back to rest his head on the couch. Slowly the screen became more and more blurry, and soon enough he was asleep. 

 


 

Bright light hit Matt in the eyes like a bullet. He grumbled to himself and rubbed his eyes, trying to numb the sensation. He head throbbed softly, and his ears rang, but this wasn't the worst hangover he's had. In the distance he could hear a happy-go-lucky song played and when he was able to finally open his eyes he saw it was coming from the long abandoned game on the TV screen. His cheek was oddly warm and smushed in on itself. Collecting his thoughts and analyzing his whereabouts he realized in his sleep he had leaned onto Ryan.  They never exactly cuddled, except for jokes and the shock value of it, but they were not opposed or strangers to being physically close to each other. When going to a restaurant, movie, or other activities with friends, the two Let’s Players would automatically sit next to each other. It felt natural to them, after all they’ve been through. Reflecting on this thought, Matt allowed himself to stay in this position, cheek pressed against Ryan’s shoulder staring up at him. In the past day or two he had just begun to notice Ryan’s looks. His face was calm and unmoving as he slept, and again, for the first time, Matt noticed how soft his features were, especially compared to his own.  Even with his facial hair Ryan had a welcoming softness to his face, one that was highlighted when he was either very calm or letting out one of his famous laughs. 

 

“That’s pretty gay.” Ryan softly breathed out as he opened one eye and peered down at Matt’s face.

 

Unsure of what to do in that moment, Matt studdered, but then cracked a smile and made kissing sounds up at his friend and got up from the couch. He heard Ryan’s laugh in the background, slowly getting higher in pitch and then fading. He walked over to the kitchen sink to retrieve their glasses from last night as well as some aspirin. He rejoined Ryan on the couch and handed him the water and medicine before apologizing “Sorry I must have fallen over in my sleep.”

 

“It’s whatever I don’t really mind.” Ryan said before downing his drink and stretching his arms up. “Fuck I’m sweaty and my back is all messed up from sleeping sitting up. Can I borrow your shower?” 

 

The slenderer of the two got up and shrugged, “Yeah of course, hold on.” and walked off towards his bedroom. He walked past Jackson’s room and pushed the door open slightly. He saw him still sleeping, snoring loudly with his face hanging off the side of the bed with one of his arms. He continued to his room and rummaged through his drawers. He had some pajamas that were oversized that he thought Ryan could squeeze into somewhere. He found what he was looking for in the bottom of his drawer; loose fitting Spongebob lounge pants and an oversized Alabama Trucking Association t-shirt that he had long since forgotten the origin story to.  He dragged his feet back to the living room and handed the clothes to his long-haired friend. “I don’t have any underwear that will fit you so you can just free ball it I guess.”

 

“Hey thanks, I was just going to re-wear this outfit so this is actually great. Give me a minute, I’ll be quick.”

 

Matt stood in the living room and waited to hear the water to turn on before walking over to the kitchen sink and wetting his face. He forgot how much he missed having Ryan around the house, so it was nice to have this impromptu sleepover.

 

In the shower, Ryan had a similar thought. He scrubbed soap over his shoulder where Matt’s face had been earlier and smiled at the memory and feeling. It was always weird to other people that the two were so close all the time, and it sparked a lot of questions, but that was their problem, not Matt and Ryan’s. He shrugged as the hot water enveloped him in steam. Harrison and Jackson never questioned it, neither did most people in the office (although they sometimes made jokes or references.) Daniel definitely never questioned it. “Shared trauma” he laughed to himself.  He leaned his head back and let his face and hair be rinsed through. 

Chapter Text

Matt sat on the couch and listened to the water running from down the hall. He smiled softly as he reflected on his thoughts. He had been feeling lonely lately, and this was just what he needed; a great night out with friends and a make-shift sleepover. It had also been a long time since he had dated or hooked up with anyone so the physical intimacy was welcomed as well, even as playful and joking as it often was. He got up off the couch and walked back to his room to change. He picked out an outfit, looked at it and put it back in the closet. If Ryan was going to have to wear ridiculous pajamas then he was too. Instead, he pulled out a soft, oversized anime t-shirt a fan had sent and a plain pair of black jersey shorts. He went to the small half-bathroom near the living room and rinsed his face. He wet a towel and gently wiped his body, he didn't really sweat or get hot in his sleep so a shower could wait. He put on his new clothes for the day and instantly relaxed more into the soft fabrics. He threw himself back onto the couch, half sitting up half laying down, and turned on Netflix, scrolling through the categories and movies.
He heard the water shut off and the shower curtain be thrown open. He continued to browse the movies until they all began to fade into the next. One stood out, a weird, low budget horror movie set in the midwest about a haunted scarecrow or something that terrorized a group of friends vacationing on a farm nearby. As he read the description, Ryan came back out of the bathroom , a warm dampness followed him into the living room as he squeezed himself between Matt's head and the arm of the couch. His hair was wrapped in a towel and the pajamas fit him well, much closer to his size than Matt's.

"Let me know when you want me to get out of here. My roommates probably done with that girl by now."

"Nah," Matt replied "You're good don't worry. I was about to see how horrible this movie is, if you want to watch with me."

"Sure, but I'm going to Postmates something over, I'm starving. You want anything?"

Matt hadn't noticed how hungry he was until Ryan mentioned it. "Fuck yeah definitely, there's that breakfast burrito place nearby, they deliver."

The younger of the two stretched out, arm pressing into his friend's stomach as he did, and then got off the couch. He fished out a menu from a nearby drawer and handed it over. They perused the menu for a moment before placing their order. They moved back to the couch again, Ryan sat first, hugging his body near the armrest and Matt sat after, returning to his lying position, propping his head up using his elbow and hand.

Ryan reached over and pressed play, and looked down at Matt. His friends head was nearly in his lap, and he could feel the gentle heat that radiated from him, so he was sure he could feel his as well. He turned his attention back to the TV and the ridiculous movie Matt had chosen. Right now, a woman in a very revealing bathing suit and a fit, handsome man were swimming in a lake. The camera cut to a horribly crafted, yet still creepy scarecrow watching them from behind a nearby shed. The two in the lake began to kiss, even after the man explained that he was dating one of the other girls staying in the farm house. Kissing became making out, and making out became undulating in the water as the creature in the movie watched on, sharpening a knife.

"Is this a porno, Matt? Did you trick me into watching a porno?" Ryan asked, laughing between sentences.

"No! God no! I thought it was a normal scary movie!" Matt replied, flustered already.

Ryan's laughing became more full bodied as the movie continued. The pair in the water became more passionate and undressed each other. He began to gesture at the screen and shouted "This is just straight up porn dude!"

"Oh my god! This is horrible!" He continued to gesture at the screen "Her tits are out and everything! What is this?" When he put his hand back down from pointing at the screen, he let it fall onto Matt's side. They both continued to laugh at the absurd scene, and the scarecrow in the film began to creep out from the shadows. Ryan looked down at his hand on his friend's hip and slowly began to move his thumb, feeling his shape and the softness of the t-shirt. Matt was fully engrossed in the horrible scene in front of them now, distracted by the gore and absurdity. Ryan kept his eyes trained on his hand, and then a ringing sound brought him out of the trance.

"The food, I'll grab it!" Matt shot up off the couch, paused the movie and ran to the door.

Once he had the food, Matt returned to the couch and handed Ryan his burrito. They resumed the movie and ate as they watched, the only sounds they let out were quiet laughs and the occasional comment. That was, until the wildest scene of the movie happened. The scarecrow had cornered one of the young men in the farm house after killing most of his friends. Then, instead of killing him as well, the scarecrow just stared at him and the young man began to laugh. "Good job babe, we're almost done here."

"What?" Ryan shouted at the TV.

"Once we get the rest of them the harvest god will be pleased." The actor draped his arms around the scarecrow's neck and drew him close. He began to kiss the burlap face and rub himself against the raggedy monster. In just a few moments he was naked and the scarecrow was pantsless. The knockoff monster-movie creature's legs were generally human, minus a couple scraps of fabric and hay an intern haphazardly glued to them.

"Holy shit dude this really is just a porno!" Ryan elbowed Matt as he continued to laugh at the display.

"What the fuck are you guys watching."

Matt and Ryan looked up to see Jackson standing near the entrance to the living room. "Are you fucking watching gay porn? Like kinky gay monster porn?" Their friend joined them on the couch and took Matt's side of chips that came with the burrito. "Also, you guys are so loud you could raise the dead." He muttered through a mouth full of chips.

"No!" Matt shouted again, embarrassed at his movie choice. "It's a horrible scary movie that the director was horny while making or something." He tried to defend his choice, but the movie was really horrible. The sex on the scene was real, not acted, and an R rating didn't do the content justice. He covered his face with his hands and scrubbed his eyes and began to laugh. His friends joined in and they laughed until Jackson grunted in pain.

"My head is fuckin’ killing me." He whispered mostly to himself and walked off to the kitchen.

Then, there was a rattling at the door and the sound of keys outside. All three boys turned to look at the door and saw Harrison pushing his way in with a suitcase in tow. "Hey!" he called into the room, "ya boys back!"

"Hey man welcome home." Matt grinned at him.

"Where've you been?" Ryan questioned.

"I went on a little road trip with some friends." Harrison kicked off his shoes, and let the suitcase fall to the floor as he took off his jacket. "Oh shit is that 'Hay There"?!"

Matt began to laugh loudly and threw his arms up in the air. "Yes! Yeah, that's what it is! They think I put on weird gay porn! I know I've like, shown you guys some fucked up stuff but I really thought this was just a normal movie."

"Yeah it got some wild reviews and backlash for how X rated it is. Like that guy is actually getting banged from behind. I think it was some adult film director trying to have his big break out film or whatever." Harrison added. "I've seen it before at a cult movie marathon at that bar near the bookshop."

"I've been tricked by Netflix." Matt sunk down into the couch and sighed, defeated.

Harrison and Jackson walked down the hall into their shared room, Harrison to put away his stuff and Jackson to presumably fall back asleep. The other two men were left on the couch as the end credits started to play, they completely missed the twist-ending scene where the scarecrow betrayed the other man and instead saved the rest of the group. A comfortable silence fell between them until Matt broke it. "It's been nice having you here."

Ryan smiled softly and looked at Matt. "Yeah this has been fun." He lowered his eyes and leaned back into the plushness of the seat. "I do have to leave soon though, and get ready for work tomorrow."

Matt sighed heavily and completely fell over on the couch. "I forgot it's Sunday now! And we have so much work to do!"

"If you have stuff you need to catch up on, I can help you. I'm actually pretty caught up."

"Yes, Ryan, yes, please, thank you."

Even though the boys were leaving the Grumps soon to branch off on their own, they still had to finish their editing assignments and were set to appear in a few more live action videos. With everything happening so fast and a lot of new opportunities and questions arising, Matt was even more distracted than usual. He always struggled with his attention problems when he was younger but they were beginning to act up again now during this hectic time. He could probably force himself to buckle down and work, but having someone help him or even just redirect him would be a huge help.

“I’ll do anything if you help me. I feel like I’ll never finish.”

Ryan chuckled to himself and decided not to make an inappropriate joke about Matt’s comment. They were having a nice moment and he didn’t want to ruin it. “Shit’s stressful man,” he took his hair out of the towel and shook it out “I get it.” He went to pull a hair tie off his wrist to pull up his hair but did not find one. “You see my hair band?”

Matt looked quickly up and down the couch and then at the floor. “Uh, no, you think you left it in the cab?”

“Guess so.” The long haired man got up and grabbed his folded clothes from the night before. He fished around in his pockets, searching for the little black band but could not find anything.He grabbed his phone from his pants pocket and confirmed a ride-share so he could head home. He shrugged and turned to his friend who was now also looked around the room to see where they hair tie was. “I think I should head out now anyway.” He held up his phone to show the app.

“Hmm.” Matt hummed at him and nodded. “I’ll see you tomorrow in the office?”

“Yup, kinda have to.” They both laughed quietly and stood in silence for a moment. Then, suddenly Matt reached out and grabbed Ryan into a hug. Ryan took a moment and then returned it, and they stayed in that moment. Ryan began to wonder if he should pull away when his phone beeped. His ride was outside. He grabbed his clothes and waved his goodbye and headed out.

Matt padded off towards the bathroom to relieve himself, and upon entering saw Ryan’s hair tie on the counter. He pocketed the object and went about the rest of his day.

Chapter Text

 

 

The next day Ryan arrived to work early to try and finish up the small amount of work he had left so that he could finally relax and maybe help Matt. Editing was a lot of fun when you first sat down to do it, but became monotonous after a while, having to rewatch the same clips over and over again. After two hours of working Ryan stretched a little, cracked his neck and looked at the time. It was about when the rest of the crew began filing in, and he felt pretty comfortable with what he had gotten done. He walked over to the pantry and grabbed a granola bar and a La Croix before he heard shuffling from down the hall. Leighton slowly entered the pantry looking more dazed than awake. 

 

“You good?” Ryan questioned, offering her a water bottle from a nearby shelf. She shushed him and waved her hand at him, before quickly taking the bottle and a snack sized bag of chips. He watched her walk into the main pit of the office and throw herself onto a beanbag chair. 

 

Then, as he finished his can of seltzer Arin, Suzy, Vernon and Brent walked in. None of them appeared to be as tired or disheveled as Leighton so he assumed it had nothing to do with work. He went back to his desk and turned a playlist on at a quiet volume and got back into the groove of working. He scratched his scalp and began looking through the drawers of his desk for a hair tie. When he didn’t find one he used a pair of headphones as a headband and plugged them in to continue listening to music. His eyes began to feel a little heavy and when he finally snapped them back open he realized nearly 10 songs had played and he had made no progress on his work. He pulled the headphones back off and could now hear the sounds of a 10-Minute Power House being recorded down the hall. He hadn’t even noticed Dan come in.  Maybe he needed a real break. 

He walked down the hall to peak in at the recording and walked past to the bathroom. He went to open the door and found it locked, so he waited outside. About a minute later Matt walked out and when he saw Ryan he began to laugh. 

 

“Dude you ok?” Ryan looked puzzled by the question. “You were like, snoring at your desk.” 

 

“No I wasn’t I was just…” He couldn’t think of an excuse. “I don’t know I can’t get into work right now. I showed up early and did some stuff but now I can’t focus.”

 

Matt shrugged. “Let’s get lunch?”

 

“It’s still morning.”

 

“Ryan it’s,” he paused for a moment to check his phone “12:30.” 

 

Ryan made a grab for his phone to check the time. It was 12:34. How long had he been zoned out at his desk? Maybe he did fall asleep. “Um, yeah just let me take a leak first.” He went into the bathroom, did his business and washed his face. 

 

“Where do you wanna go?” Matt asked him when he was ready. 

 

“Hmm, I’ve been thinking about that Korean barbecue place nearby. We could walk there and not get stuck in traffic.” 

 


 

 

The walk to the restaurant took about 15 minutes and the heat was beginning to get to Ryan. Why had he chosen to wear a short-sleeved hoodie instead of a regular shirt today?  He pulled his hair up with one hand and fanned himself with the other. 

 

Matt looked at him and muttered a soft “Oh.” Before fishing around in his pocket. Ryan watched his face light up as he quickly withdrew his hand from his pocket and stretched it out towards him. Ryan opened a hand and let Matt place a small black elastic in the center. “You left this in my bathroom!”

 

“Thanks.” Ryan smiled and tied up his hair as they walked into the BBQ joint. He fussed with his bun as Matt held up two fingers to the hostess and followed them to a table. The hostess smiled at the two men and turned on the small hot plate at the center of the table. She handed them pieces of paper with checklists of meat, vegetables and sauces and walked off to get them water. 

 

“She’s kinda cute, huh?” 

 

“You can’t think every girl we meet is cute, Matt.”

 

“No not for me, for you man, she looks like someone you could be interested in.”

 

Ryan frowned. “Thanks I’m… not interested.” It wasn’t that Ryan didn’t want to date someone, it was just that he was over trying to go out of his way to ask people out. He would much rather something happen organically and with someone he actually knew. He had tried flirting with people at bars or events but it never ended well, and he was ready to meet someone for more than a fling. 

 

Matt shrugged at him and began checking off food from the list. They handed the paper to the waitress when she came back and took the waters from her.  “So what has you so distracted at the office today?” Matt inquired. 

 

“I don’t know man, I just couldn’t focus after a while. Like I know we’re getting close to the end of our time there so I’m lacking a little motivation I guess.” 

 

They began to grill their food as it came out. Ryan quickly threw on a heavy helping of protein while Matt carefully laid out a sampling of everything they ordered. 

 

“So,” Matt began as he flipped a piece of onion “Let’s not go back.”

 

“What?!” Ryan laughed as he pour sauce onto a sizzling piece of beef “Like just quit early?”

 

“No!” Matt laughed and began to fill up his plate “Like just play hooky today.” 

 

Ryan stared at him for a moment, they weren’t in high school or college, they couldn’t just play hooky. They had jobs, even if they were ending soon. The idea was promising, and they only had about four hours left in the day. The scruffy man poked at his meat and weighed the options. “I did need to help you with your backlog of work though.” He started eating his plate of food. 

 

“We’ll just do it later. Like tomorrow or tonight or whenever. C’mon Ryan we hardly took off while we were there.” 

 

“We can cut out early. At least it isn’t a full day.”

 

“Fuck yeah, man! Now really dig into this fucking food it’s really good.”

 

They finished their meal, all the while discussing the quality of the restaurant and what they might do with their time. The waitress came back and asked if they wanted dessert.  Ryan decided against it, already full and not wanting to stuff himself. Matt ordered a type of sweet rice cake and made a show of moaning his enjoyment to embarrass his friend. When they were done they paid, Ryan made sure to tip extra to make up for the sounds, and they began their walk back. Along the way, they popped into some of the shops and took their time. In all it took them forty-five minutes before they got back to where Ryan parked that day. The two boys got into the car and were about to leave when Ryan sighed. 

 

“I left my laptop up in the office! Fuck man!” 

 

“I’ll go get it, one second.”

 

“Wha-” Before he could finish, Matt was gone and the car door was closed again. Ryan scrubbed his eyes and waited to see what would happen. Matt was very supportive of him these past couple of days and the feeling was very nice. He started the car to get the air conditioner running and the radio kicked on was he turned the key. Ryan began singing along as he waited on the return of his laptop. He got lost in the music, as he did earlier and felt himself relax as he sung. The song died down and Ryan heard a muffled chuckle from outside the car. Matt and Leighton were standing at the window watching him sing. His immediately began to heat up and he slammed his finger down on a button to open the window. 

 

“What the fuck Matt?!” 

 

“You looked so calm.” Leighton laughed, leaning in toward the window. 

 

Matt opened the door and jumped in, then reached back to place the laptop in the backseat. Ryan huffed and threw the car into reverse as Leighton walked away, singing the same song he was. He pulled out of the parking spot and began to head back to his house. 

 

“If it helps, you did look kinda cute and peaceful.”

 

Ryan’s face heated up more at this and he sped the car up a little. He wasn’t mad, just embarrassed and a little taken aback. Matt turned up the radio and hummed along as they made their way along the route. Occasionally Matt would look over at Ryan, his face had softened but was still bright red. He did look cute, even if that was weird to say about your friend. The skinnier of the two reached over and patted the other on the shoulder. He closed his eyes for the rest of the ride and enjoyed the music. 

 

When they pulled up to the apartment building they sat for a moment before gathering their belongings and heading inside. Ryan leads Matt to his bedroom and tells him to put his stuff on the desk. He grabs his own laptop and opens YouTube and invites Matt to sit next to him. They browse a couple videos for a while and it’s still only three in the afternoon. They had time to just goof off and hang out. They watched a couple commentator videos where people scoured the internet for the weirdest posts and forums. After an hour, Matt began fidgeting in his seat and moving his head in different directions, trying to get comfortable. Ryan reached past him and grabbed a pillow. 

 

“Lean forward.” When Matt did he tucked the pillow behind his head. Matt smiled and pressed play on the laptop again. However, after a minute he began shuffling again before throwing the pillow back toward the end of the bed. 

 

“Made it worse.” He shrugged, and continued to test out new positions. Eventually he settled with his head on Ryan’s shoulder and he settled in to watch more videos. Ryan felt his ears heat up a little at the physical contact and intimacy of the gesture. He kept his eyes trained on the video and tried not to move and disturb his friends now comfortable position. In his tense state he had become more aware of everything his body was feeling. He felt his spine against the wall, his behind against the bed, Matt’s ear on his shoulder, Matt’s hair on his neck, Matt’s pinky finger next to his. Wait. He looked down at Matt’s hands. One was placed loosely on his own thigh and the other laid next to Ryan’s hand so their pinkies were lined up and nearly overlapping. Ryan continued to stare at their hands instead of the videos that became incomprehensible as he focused in on the physical touch and the sudden urge to lace their fingers together. 

 

‘Fuck it.’ He thought, and did just that. 



Chapter Text

 

 

 

Ryan laced his fingers through Matt’s and immediately regretted it. ‘Why would I do that? Why did I WANT to do that?’ A million questions and thoughts ran through his mind and it overwhelmed him. It wasn’t a joke this time, and there was no one around to impress or entertain. He genuinely had an urge to hold hands with the person that was probably his best friend. Almost instantly his face began to heat up and he stared straight forward, eyes trained on a blank spot on the wall and he thought about removing his hand or finding a way to turn it into a bit. Before he could come to a final decision he felt Matt’s hand return the gesture and his friend closed his fingers to lock with his. Ryan swallowed thickly and peered down at Matt through the corner of his eye only to find the other man gazing at him thoughtfully. ‘What is he thinking?’

 

He opened his mouth slightly and attempted to think of something to say or ask, but Matt smiled up at him. He smiled so softly, so sweetly, and then turned his head and eyes back to the laptop. Ryan couldn’t move or think. He just stared. He stared at the sandy brown hair that was pressed into his shoulder and what he could see of the taller man’s smile. Then he moved his eyes to stare at their hands, linked together in the messy blanket. The sound of the video droned on in the distance and he could only hear Matt’s quiet huffs and chuckles in response to it. His focus was on the difference between their fingers, his own slightly darker and thicker than the other’s. He peeled his eyes away to join in on watching the video. He took three practiced, deep breathes and began to take in the content again. 

 

“I wonder how they find these posts, I never come across them online.” Matt broke the silence with ease. 

 

Ryan missed a beat, almost startled. “What?” 

 

“The content for the videos, they always have so many, like, posts to go through in each theme. It’s impressive work.”

 

“Yeah, I, uh, I don’t know.” He used his free hand to gently shift himself. “It is impressive you’re right.”

 

Why was he nervous? It wasn’t weird to be physically intimate like this, he’s had friends that were always close with each other, he’s been close with Matt and a couple other guys and he’s had girlfriends in the past. He was nervous like a young boy on a first date. He shook his head gently, trying to not disturb Matt’s resting position and noticed the other looking up at him again.

 

“So-” Matt began, staring up at Ryan’s face. Was he finally going to mention the hand holding? Brown eyes began to dart around his face, looking anywhere but directly into his blue. “- you said you’d help me catch up on some work. When did you want to do that?” 

 

Oh. “Ah, we could now, if you wanted to?” 

 

“Hmm, it’s like four-thirty, let’s wait till five.” The brown hair shifted again and Matt was looking away from his face, so Ryan settled back into the wall to join him in watching random videos that would auto-play, their hands still folded together between them.  




 

At the end of a particularly funny video Ryan was finally comfortable enough to let himself genuinely laugh at the content and commentary. As the ending music played he felt the slender fingers slip away from his and panic set in. His mind began to wander and run with his thoughts until it was interrupted.

 

“It’s already past five, think we could start on those videos?” 

 

“Yeah, let me get you a chair.”

 

The chair was placed so that they were sitting next to each other at the small desk and Matt showed him which video needed to be edited first. They each took on a one-off and an episode in a series to tackle. They sat in silence and enjoyed being able to work in a quieter, more comfortable environment and on their own schedule. They were wearing headphones but would occasionally poke or shove the other to get their attention and ask for advice or opinions on the editing style or jokes that should be put into the videos. After two hours, Matt stood and stretched, cracked his neck and closed his laptop. 

 

“Man I’m starving. I think I’m going to head out, thanks for your help man.”

 

“You could stay here to eat,” Ryan quickly regretted his words. First he held the poor man’s hand and now he was basically begging him to stay. “I mean, I only have some stale cereal and instant ramen but it’s late.” 

 

“Thanks but I have to feed Banana, too. I miss that fucker.” The words were spoken through a laugh.

 

Ryan took a moment to think of a joke in response. “C’mon! Always ditching me for pussy man!”

 

Matt laughed whole-heartedly in response and threw his hands up in a grand gesture. “Can’t help it, can’t keep them away from all this!” 

 

Ryan threw a pillow at him in response and got up to walk him out. It had been a really good day, and while he didn’t exactly want it to end he was also really looking forward to sleeping. There was a comfortable silence as they cleaned and packed up from the day. They padded off to the front door and Matt turned to Ryan before he opened it to exit. 

 

“I hope this made you feel a little better.” His smile was evident in his voice and Ryan couldn’t help but stare. “I don’t think we can play hooky too many more times so, get motivated dude."

 

“Yeah, no, it really helped.” Ryan felt a warmth in himself he hadn’t felt in a while. “It also meant a lot.” In a nod to Matt’s gesture just the day before Ryan quickly gave him a half hug and then peeled away to open the door for him. “Let me know if you need me to take anymore videos for you.” His departing friend gave him a big smile and a short wave before heading through the door. 

 

Ryan watched him leave and then closed the door behind him and trudged off to his room. He sat on his bed and held his face in his hands. ‘What was all that? What the fuck was that?’ He was acting weird, he didn’t feel like himself. Parts of his body felt warm and it came to a head in his stomach, a hot, tingly feeling he couldn’t place. He laid back into his bed and tried to think of what it could be. 

 

Thoughts, questions and memoried danced around in his head as he searched for an answer. Even though he had roommates he was lonely. He felt that way a lot. It would start as a discomfort, very mild and nearly unnoticeable in the back of his head. Then it would build until it was all he could think about. Even at work, or at parties, he would feel it. He would smile and nod as people were talking but there was no bond, and if there was one it felt forced and too far away to mean anything. It wasn’t necessarily true but sometimes he couldn’t do anything to stop himself from feeling this way. It was always different with Matt. He always felt the genuine connection, friendship and love coming from him when they talked, or were just in the same room as each other. They had been through a lot together, started their careers together, fought for recognition together, learned together, grew together, lost together. He grabbed his phone from the nightstand next to his bed. Maybe he just needed to find someone to have this type of connection with romantically. 

 

The brightness from the app store burned his eyes so he turned it down in the settings. Only the letter ‘t’ had to be typed into the search bar before he found the app he was looking for. He tapped on the bright red flame icon and allowed the download to start. He watched the small loading animation nearly become complete before he let out a soft grunt and cancelled the download. He got up from his bed and shut the door and flicked off the lights before returning to his bed. He reopened his phone and flipped up the settings, raising the brightness a hair and making sure the volume was completely turned down. He opened the web browser application, entered in his favorite porn site, grabbed a leftover napkin from a few days ago and a small bottle of lubricant from the top drawer of the nightstand. 

 

He didn’t do this often, but he thought it might remedy the situation or at least provide him some relief from his thoughts. The videos were all similar, step-sister this, hot teacher that, and it took him a good ten minutes to find one that he thought was worth his time. It had a long title about how it was a couple and they were loving, or some nonsense, but it looked soft and inviting. 

 

=x= NSFW STARTS HERE =x= NSFW STARTS HERE =x= NSFW STARTS HERE =x= NSFW STARTS HERE 

 

The video started off with kissing. The couple gently stroked each other’s arms and backs before they began to passionately make out. Then, the woman pushed the man back into the plushness of the bed. The lighting gave everything an almost angelic look to it, very ironic in their viewer’s eyes. Ryan began to grope himself through his shorts before taking them off and quickly working his hoodie off as well. Now in just his boxers he softly ran a hand over his chest and chewed on his lip as the video continued. Things began to heat up and he watched as the woman ground her behind into the man’s tented shorts, causing him to stir in his underwear as well. He gripped himself and let out a heavy sigh, squeezing himself rhythmically and groaning at the sensation. As the two on the screen began to undress he slipped a hand into his boxers and loosely wrapped his fist around his erection. 

 

There was a lot of passion in this video, the two undoubtedly knew each other and were possibly together. Either that or they deserved some type of award for their acting. Ryan’s eyelids grew heavy as he continued to watch through his lashes. He never seemed to mind the men in the videos, and this one caught his eye. He thought the word a lot throughout the day, but this man looked soft. Not pudgy soft, but soft in the way he touched his partner, or smiled at her. His smile was captivating, a little crooked on his skinny face. The slow moving, loose fist around his cock began to speed up as he watched the couple pleasure each other with their hands. Both of their faces were lit up and he could tell they were moaning happily from what he saw. ‘Fuck, I want to hear them.’ He leaned over to the nightstand and grabbed his headphones and hastily jammed the plug into his phone. He shoved his underwear off and held himself in his hand, his thumb pressing into the head. Audio from the video slowly filled his ears as the woman pushed the man into the pillows so he was half sitting and half laying. She buried her face into his neck and began to stroke him firmly. Ryan mimicked the movement, finally giving himself purposeful, strong strokes.  He closed his eyes for a moment and allowed himself to sink into the feeling before catching his eyes on the video again. Pornos where the guy was the one being focused on normally didn’t get him off but there was something about this one. He was getting close. He sped up his movements. 

 

He continued to fist his cock and listen to the grunts and moans of the man and occasional giggles and sighs from the woman. Suddenly, the woman tilted her head that she had buried in her partner’s neck and bit down where his throat met his shoulders. The other actor let out a choked up moan followed by breathy laughter and Ryan came. It took him by surprise and he sat up a little at the intensity of the orgasm. A soft moan left him and he allowed himself to shake a bit as it passed through him. “Ah, fuck.” He ran his free hand up his chest and it tingled as his fingers gently glided past his soft pec and nipple. Soft aftershocks pulsed in him, and still incredibly turned on by the recent act in the video he continued to give himself gentle squeezes until it became too much. 



=x= NSFW ENDSHERE =x= NSFW ENDS HERE =x= NSFW ENDS HERE =x= NSFW ENDS HERE 

(There are still mentions of it for the rest of the chapter.)

 

When his breathing calmed down he slowly cleaned himself up and tossed the used tissue at the garbage can in the corner of his room. He pulled his boxers back on and found a sleep shirt to wear. Making sure his roommates weren’t in the hall he looked up and down the apartment before walking off to the bathroom and cleaning his hands. Finally, he made his way back to his bed and snuck under the blanket. It hadn’t been that good in a while, but he was surprised at what sent him over the edge. The laugh and moan and pleasured face of the man were still bright in his memory, and when he focuses on them it drew heat back into his stomach. He shook his head and set an alarm for the morning as he felt his pet companion’s weight dip the end of his bed. 

Chapter Text

The next day Ryan woke up feeling pretty good. He wasn’t hot or sweaty when he woke up and his attitude felt pretty light. He went about washing himself and getting ready for the day, packing up his things and planning his route to work. The day’s bag was almost packed, his laptop went into its sleeve and then he reached for his headphones. Except, those weren’t his headphones. The tips of his ears and his face began to burn as he felt a wave of embarrassment and shame wash over him. Back when they lived together, he and Matt ordered headphones for editing together.  They bought the same pair in different colors because they were highly rated online and were relatively cheap. Matt must have grabbed his last night and because of that Ryan had used the other pair to watch the video. He wore someone else’s headphones while he jacked off. He took a couple shallow breaths and headed to the kitchen to wipe them with a paper towel. He supposed it wasn’t too horrible of a situation, it just shook him when he realized what had happened. It wasn’t like the headphones were actually used to get him off or like they were going to tell his friend what he did. He grabbed a cereal bar and headed off. 

 

When he got to the office, Matt was already there working on the outro to a new video. Ryan placed Matt’s headphones next to his keyboard and snatched his own off his friend’s head. 

 

“Ah! What the fuck?” Matt turned around in the chair quickly and made a grab for the headphones before getting his hand caught in the wire. He looked up and saw it was Ryan and he laughed. “What? What the hell dude, what do you want?” Ryan simply gestured to the returned headphones on the desk and reached over to the computer tower to unplug his pair. Matt stared at him for a few moments and let out a laugh. He apologized for taking Ryan’s belongings and went back to editing. 

 

The rest of the day went by quickly, as did the rest of the work week. Matt and Ryan ate together two of the remaining days, ordering in Thai for one and eating the leftovers together in the breakroom for the other.  Occasionally Ryan found himself with the same itching feeling in his hand, where he felt the urge to reach out and hold Matt’s in his own. He swallowed it down and found himself content with just being in his presence. He still wasn’t sure why he had this urge to be so physically close to his friend all of a sudden, and he wasn’t sure why Matt was fine with it. 

 

Friday finally rolled around and they were almost done for the day when Matt sat down on the edge of Ryan’s desk. Ryan worked quickly to find a good place to stop what he was doing and then removed his headphones and looked up at Matt. The skinnier man was smiling and staring down at him and it looked like he was bursting at the seams while waiting to tell him something. 

 

“Uh, what’s up dude?” Ryan questioned at the cheshire-like smile.

 

“We’re going to the movies tonight! Jackson got us tickets to that new horror movie!” 

 

“Is it that dumb porno you showed us again?”

 

“No! Fuck you, let that go. It’s the new one based on that really old bad one. With the guy that comes back from the dead and shit.” Matt jumped off the desk and threw his hands up in the air while defending himself.

 

“Ah, alright Matt. But if this is another scheme to get me to watch monster porn then -” Something clicked in Ryan’s head “- wait don’t I have a say in if I’m going? You just got me a ticket?”

 

“C’mon Ry, it’s going to be fun! And Jackson was buying them on the app, I didn’t have time to come ask you.” 

 

Ryan huffed at him and nodded. “Fine, what time are we going to this movie?” 

 

“It’s at seven-thirty so I want to get there to meet Harrison and Jackson at like seven, that ok?” He reached into a pocket and popped a piece of gum into his mouth. “We just have to kill like an hour and a half.” He mumbled through his full mouth. 

 

The decided to just laze around the office and order dinner before the movie. Ryan called up a food delivery app on his phone and they decided on a Dominican chicken joint. They sat in the large bean bag chair and waited for the food, scrolling on their phones. When the food showed up Ryan went down to get it and they sat in the breakroom to eat. Matt told Ryan a crazy story of a couple fighting in the street near his apartment, he waved his arms around as he described the way the girl took off her shoe and threw it at a passing car, making the whole scene worse but more entertaining. They sat next to each other, sharing pieces of their orders and stories when Matt’s arm came to rest next to Ryan’s on the table. He glances at their hands and was immediately brought back to his thoughts. Matt noticed how quiet he got and looked at him with a gentle smile and laced their fingers together. 

 

“It’s fine. I don’t, like, mind.” Ryan didn’t respond at first, and was trying to formulate something to say, but Matt continued on with his story and let it diverge into a tangentially related one that he was sure was all exaggerated as he stuffed chicken and rice into his mouth. They heard a faint buzzing sound and Matt twisted to grab his phone from his pocket without separating their hands. “Mmmm - Jackshon and Harrishon on deir way dere. We should ‘ead out.” Ryan laughed at his food-muffled voice and began to gather his things. 

 

--------

 

Outside the office the two men realized the walk to the movie theater would have taken them nearly forty-five minutes so they decided to find another means of getting there. Matt wanted to call an Uber and Ryan felt it was better to catch the bus. Ryan insisted they were already going to be spending enough money on overpriced tickets and snacks, so they shouldn’t add on another large purchase, while Matt wanted the simplicity and comfort of the car trip. 

 

“I’m not spending an extra thirty dollars when the ride will take the same amount of time! This bus will take us there, it's one of the few times the public transportation system works in our favor, Matt!” Ryan shouted as he gestured to the nearby bus stop. 

 

“No! It’s going to be hot and smelly and I bet you someone has or will throw up on that bus! They’re disgusting Ryan! I fucking hate the bus!” Matt replied, waving his phone at his friend. “I’m going to call a cab, it probably won’t even be twenty dollars each!”

 

“Matt, no! I’m not spending even close to that when the bus is less than five!” He made a grab for Matt’s phone and the two wrestled over it for a moment when Ryan stopped suddenly. “Look! It’s here just get on the fucking bus!”

 

Matt turned to see the bus slowly approaching them from the traffic light up the block. He huffed and shoved his phone into his pocket, clearly disgruntled. “Fine!” He stomped over to the bus stop and when he caught up to Ryan he made sure to sigh deeply and loudly so the other man knew how displeased he was. He kept a sour face on when the bus pulled up, and only allowed it to lighten into a smile when he said a simple ‘thank you’ to the driver. He followed Ryan to the back of the bus with a frown and his shoulders hunched. 

 

Ryan looked at him in disbelief “Oh sit down you big baby.”

 

“I’m not a baby for hating the bus!” 

 

The two sat down next to each other and surveyed their surroundings. The bus was relatively busy as it was nearing the end of rush hour, most of the riders were dressed in what could only be described as business attire, or uniforms. Matt and Ryan looked incredibly casual compared to them, the long haired man sporting a plain black t-shirt and matching shorts and slides and the short haired man wearing a brightly striped top, skinny jeans and sneakers. Matt busied himself on his phone, scrolling through social media apps and playing games to distract himself. Ryan leaned back into his seat and people-watched. About ten minutes into the ride, most of the people got off the bus at a connecting station and left the two with just three other passengers all sitting in the front section of the bus. It was uncomfortably quiet and they still had about twenty minutes left in the ride, so Ryan decided to break the silence. “What’s this movie again?”

 

“Hmm?” Matt looked up from his phone and pocketed the device. “Oh, it’s a remake of this old B-film where this guy is brought back from the dead by some satanic doll. It was said to be one of the worst movies of it’s time, and they decided to redo it. I don’t know if it’s going to be absolutely ridiculous again but the trailers made it look pretty scary.”

 

“So like, Chucky?”

 

“No, not like Chucky. In this one it’s like, the doll brings him back or something with satanic powers.”

 

“Like in Chucky.”

 

“That doesn’t happen in Chucky!” 

 

“Are you sure? I’m pretty sure that happens in Chucky, dude.”

 

“Ryan!” Matt shouts and Ryan immediately hits his knee and shushed him. “Stop saying that the movie is like Chucky, it’s not like Chucky! And I know you’re fucking with me!” Ryan shushes him again and begins to laugh. “Oh, it’s just like Chucky. Just like - fuck you!” Matt mumbles as he mocks Ryan. 

 

“Relax, man. It isn’t that deep.” Ryan mutters, trying to assure the other riders that are now looking at them that this isn’t a real fight. 

 

Before they knew it they had arrived at their stop, and the theater was visible from the bus window. Ryan nudged Matt to let him know to get up and the two exited the bus. They crossed the street over to the theater where they thought they would find the brothers they were meeting up with, but they were nowhere to be seen. Ryan waited for a few moments before asking “Where’s Harrison and Jackson?”

 

“Let me check.” Matt took out his phone and began to send out a message before his phone let out a sound. “Oh, they’re almost here.” 

 

“Mmm.” Ryan hummed, shoved his hands into his pockets and kicked at some litter on the floor. “I wanted to ask you something.” 

 

“Yeah, what’s that - oh hold on!” Matt turned away from him and waved his hand in the air. “They’re here.” Harrison and Jackson jogged up to them and gave them each a quick greeting. “What did you want to ask me?” 

 

“I forgot.” Ryan shrugged and lead the group into the theater. 

 

The group bought a ridiculous amount of snacks and drinks at the concession stand, Ryan made a comment about how it felt good to buy snacks knowing he didn’t spend a fortune on transportation. Matt responded by throwing a few pieces of popcorn at him and rolling his eyes. They made their way to the theater and found their seats. Ryan sat against a wall with Matt next to him, and Harrison and Jackson filed in respectively. The group sat relatively quietly throughout the previews, making some jokes and comments about the movies they might want to see in the future. Matt slumped in his seat a little and leaned over towards Ryan and put his feet up on the vacant chair in front of him. When the movie began, Ryan saw a huge grin spread across Matt’s face before the lights made it nearly impossible to see him. Ryan mentally noted how the excited expression was rather cute on his face and settled back into his chair to watch the movie. 

 

The movie wasn’t that scary, but it was very entertaining. The creators obviously allowed themselves to have fun with it and there was a lot of humor written into the very creepy plot and screenplay. Ryan heard Matt chuckling and fidgeting in his seat. He peered out the corner of his eyes and saw Matt leaning his head onto his shoulder. He smiled a little and allowed himself to watch Matt a little in the dim glow from the movie screen. His friend ended up noticing, and looked back up him. They looked at each other for a moment before Matt leaned up and pressed his mouth quickly to Ryan’s. It was hardly a kiss, more of a press than anything and as quickly as it began, it ended. Matt sat up straight in his seat and pulled one of his knees up to his chest, resting his foot on the seat with him. Ryan stared wide-eyed for a moment before moving to lean against the wall. He twisted the end of his shirt nervously until the movie ended. 

 

When the house lights came back on, Ryan went to pull Matt aside but he was already headed for the door. Ryan joined Harrison and Jackson as they walked out. They reached the lobby and found Matt, who approached them and spoke in a low voice. “Harry, Jackson, I’m not feeling great so I called us a cab home. Sorry, see you later Ry.” Ryan went to make a grab for Matt’s arm but he was already tugging his roommates out of the theater and before he could get anything out he was gone. The lone man called a rideshare on his own phone and waited outside the theater, his mind racing at a mile a minute. As the car pulled up he felt a bubbling feeling in his gut and thought he was going to be sick. Why did Matt kiss him and then run? Was it even a kiss? Did he feel pressured to get affectionate with Ryan because he had been holding his hand recently? Ryan felt horrible, and closed his eyes until he got home. 

 

When he exited the cab he thanked the driver and waved him off. He took out his keys, let himself into his apartment and threw himself on his bed. He took out his phone to tip the driver and noticed a few text notifications.

 

[11:17 PM] Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: I’m sorry

 

[11:17 PM] Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: dont hate me

 

[11:18 PM] Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: forget i did that

 

[11:18 PM] Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: sorry ry

Chapter Text

Ryan sat with the messages for a while, staring at his phone and feeling like he was on the edge of nausea. He thumbed his phone, scrolling up to their past messages. He could only imagine how Matt felt over the past week or two. ‘For fucks sake’ he threw himself backwards to lay down ‘I probably made him feel like I was coming on to him or something. I kept touching his fucking hand and looking at him and shit.’ That had to be what happened, he probably made him friend feel pressured into going along with his own selfish desires and whims. When he told him, “It’s fine, I don’t mind”, that was what he was referring to. He tossed his phone to the side, grabbed the front of his hair and muttered out a “Fuck.” 

 

Ten minutes passed and his head began to ache so he let go of his hair and opened his eyes. The screen of his phone lit up and he scrambled to grab it, hoping that it was some kind of message from Matt that would ease his tension. It was a spam email. “Fuck!” He threw the phone back down and got out of bed. How could he fix this? He really enjoyed the past couple days, the closeness, the laughing, the time together, even the touching was very comforting and made him feel a warmth he hadn’t in a while. But, he mused, obviously Matt didn’t feel the same way towards the affection and Ryan had crossed some sort of line. He fidgeted with a piece of loose hair and lamented quietly. It wasn’t anything romantic, right? So it wasn’t something that should have been so uncomfortable but maybe Matt was just more closed off or conservative with physical friendship. He always seemed to be close or touching the Tuckers, but it was possible they were just better friends. He grabbed his phone for the third time and began typing out a message to Matt. 

 

New Message to Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: I pushed things. I crossed some boundaries. You’re fine. 

 

No. That sounded a little too curt, weird, and maybe angry.

 

New Message to Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: You don’t have to do things or feel like you have to do things just because I was being weird. 

 

He held his finger of the backspace button and sighed, that message was just sad. 

 

New Message to Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: Don’t apologize, I get it. Want to move some stuff to the new office this weekend? 

He reread the message and quickly hit send. Maybe ignoring the situation altogether would do him some good. He watched the screen and waited for a response. After a few minutes he decided to just try and get some sleep, so he laid back and forced his eyes shut until it happened. 



---------------------------

 

Matt sat in the back of the Uber on his way home from the theater, pressed against the door of the cab with Harrison and Jackson next to him. “You alright dude? You flew out of that theater like you were going to puke.” Jackson asked, looking at him with a concerned expression. 

 

“I just felt really sick all of a sudden and needed to leave.” 

 

“It’s alright if you were feeling anxious,” Harrison added and reached across his brother to pat Matt’s knee “we know it happens and we know what it’s like.” 

 

To this Matt hummed an affirmative and leaned his head against the window. It was nice to have friends and roommates that supported him but he wasn’t going to share this problem with them. It was too odd and personal, although he was surprised they didn’t see it happen. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and typed out a few messages before he could think of what he was writing. He reread them and realized how short and stupid they sounded. He was like a kid trying to apologize for taking the last cookie or something. He sent one more message. 

 

To Tommy (Ryan): sorry ry

 

He shoved the phone back in his pocket and closed his eyes, waiting for the car ride to end. He thought back to the past two weeks. When Ryan slept over, he fell asleep on him. That wasn’t anything too weird but the next day Matt practically laid all over him. Then, when he was trying to leave, he basically forced him into a hug! Then, when they skipped half a day of work and went to Ryan’s, he kept pressing his arm or side or head or some part of him against the thicker man and that’s when he held his hand. He clenched his hand at the memory. Yes, he enjoyed it, he loved being close to Ryan, but obviously it was too much. Then, when Ryan was looking at him through his lashes in the theater he couldn’t stop himself and he kissed him. He wasn’t sure why, and he didn’t want to think about it. He just wanted to fix this. The cab pulled up to their apartment and the three men headed into their living space. Matt undressed quickly and headed to sleep immediately, telling his roommates that he wanted to sleep it off. 

 

The next morning, when he woke up, there were a few moments before Matt remembered what happened. Then, when the memories sunk in, he groaned out loud, grabbed his phone and padded off to the bathroom to take a shower. He unlocked his phone and went to open his music app and saw a new message from Ryan. He swallowed thickly and pressed the envelope icon to read it. 

 

New Message to Ratt Wattson From SuperMega: Don’t apologize, I get it. Want to move some stuff to the new office this weekend? 

 

He stared at the message for a little while and the steam from the shower behind him began to make the room hazy. ‘What does that mean?” His eyebrows came close to together as the reread the message again. ‘Don’t apologize, I get it?’ He sat on the toilet and kept his eyes trained on the little speech bubble. Ryan probably thought he had some type of school girl crush on him. ‘I guess he isn’t mad though… Oh shit, we do also have to move things this weekend.’ Typed a quick message before getting into the shower. 

 

To Tommy (Ryan): yea lets try and get the recording room done or something

 

Half way through his shower he heard his phone ding and he hurried to finish up. The message was from Ryan, something about them meeting up at the new place to set up today and what time he was free. He looked at the time, 10:34 AM. He messaged back that they could meet a noon, which Ryan agreed to. He was nervous to see him, he wasn’t sure if things would be different now that he made this idiotic move on his friend. He got dressed, took his medication and waited to see if it did anything to take the edge off his nerves. He dug through the apartment’s shared pantry and found a meal bar flavor that he liked and grabbed a bottle of water and sat back down on the couch. As he ate he fiddled with a loose thread at the bottom of his shirt and waited for enough time to pass before he called a cab to bring him over to the new space. He tried to calm himself down during the cab ride but he felt like a kid on his way to the principal’s office the entire time. When he saw the office space in the distance he felt his heart rate increase and he slowly slinked out of the cab. Ryan’s car was parked nearby and so he looked at his phone to check the time. It was only 11:39 AM so he was early and Ryan was even earlier. 

 

When he got into the office he saw less trash and boxes lying around than the last time they were here and he heard the faint sound of movement and grunting in the distance. He followed the sound until he found Ryan in the podcasting room, his hair was tied up in a ponytail and he also had a headband on, probably to keep the sweat out of his eyes, and he was in a simple shirt and thin cotton shorts. The room looked great. There were two nice chairs they had chosen, and it was clean and had some simple decorations laid out. He took a moment to look around before Ryan noticed him. 

 

“Hey, man.” Ryan jolted a little at the sound of Matt’s voice. 

 

“Oh, hey.” He put down the small box he was holding to turn to Matt, and pushed a loose hair behind his ear. “I was ready by like, ten, so I just came here early to get a head start.” 

 

Matt felt a little guilty at this and looked around the room for something to do. “This room looks awesome, what can I move or do?” He kept his voice low, still nervous and trying to watch what he said. 

 

Ryan opened the box he was holding before and removed a piece of sound equipment. “I thought we were going to fix up the game room today, wanna head in there?” Matt nodded and waited for Ryan to lead the way. 

 

The recording room was filled with boxes they had to open and organize, various packing materials and trash from unwrapping and unpacking the equipment. Matt sighed, a little intimidated by the workload in front of them, and grabbed a garbage bag. The two worked silently for a while, rearranging the boxes and bagging garbage and plastic bits. Ryan left at one point, so silently that Matt didn’t notice that he was alone until he looked up from his task. He returned shortly after, with a small speaker in hand and began to play music from his phone. It was a nice playlist of some recently popular music, songs Matt knew Ryan liked from the early 2000s and songs that he liked that he had recommended to his friend. He smiled and hummed along with the music. 

 

He was preoccupied with organizing their games on one of the shelves when Ryan began to sing along in a hushed tone.

 

Something's got me reeling

Stopped me from believing

Turn me around again

Said that we can do it

You know I wanna do it again

 

He hummed quietly to himself as the song had an instrumental break and picked up to sing again, just a little louder. 

 

Every morning there's a heartache hanging

From the corner of my girlfriend's four-post bed

 

Matt decided to let himself have a little bit of fun and sing along as well, breaking his silence. 

 

I know it's not mine and I know she thinks she loves me

But I never can believe what she said

 

The work went faster this way, as they sang together while cleaning and organizing the room. Even in the lighter atmosphere, Matt tried to keep his distance from Ryan. He found work on the other side of the room to keep himself occupied and avoided any physical contact with the other person in the room. Before he knew it, the room was decently clean and nice looking. Ryan had hung the TV across from the recording couch and unboxed the furniture, Matt had set up the mic stands and organizes the games. A low, rumbling sound filled the room right as Matt was going to comment on what they should do next, and he patted his hand against his stomach. Surprised at the sound, he let out an awkward laugh and spoke up. “It’s probably around dinner time. Should we head out or order to the office?”

 

Ryan shook his head. “I’m starving, let’s get something here.” 

 

The decided to order in sushi, getting a couple of the cheaper, simpler rolls and an order of tempura to split. They took the food into the newly comfortable recording room and put the food on a small table in front of the couch. Ryan sat on the couch and began to pick at the food immediately and Matt rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. He didn’t want to sit on the couch next to Ryan and make him feel like he was going to get too close again, so he decided to sit on the floor and reach up to the table to eat. They sat like this until the food was almost finished, humming along with the playlist and chewing. As Matt stretched to reach up for a piece of a california roll Ryan rubbed his hands against his face and muttered out “Fuck, Matt, fuck man. Can you just like,” he kept his hand covering the top of his face “can you just sit on the couch?” 

 

Matt waited for a moment, twisting a small piece of the carpet between his fingers before it broke off. He stood up and sat on the far side of the couch, trying to give Ryan enough room. The older man spoke again, “We have to talk about this, we can’t keep avoiding being near each other.” 

 

Matt worried at his lip with his teeth and felt a bubbling in his stomach. “Ah, do we?” He asked, his voice just above a whisper and filled with anxiety. 

 

“Yeah, listen.” Matt braced himself for what could come next. “I’m sorry.” Oh. He wasn’t expecting that? “I’m sorry I made you feel so awkward, or whatever. I didn’t mean to like, make that happen. I was acting on impulse and not thinking through my actions and I just did whatever I wanted in the moment and it was stupid. STUPID! And I’m sorry you had to like, take that.” 

 

“What?” Matt couldn’t stop the question before it left his mouth. “Why are you apologizing for what I did?”

 

Ryan just blinked at him. “No, for what I did. I kept like, touching you and being weird and I made you think I expected some shit.” 

 

Matt stared at him for a moment and leaned his head back. “I’m confused.” 

 

“Me too.” Ryan replied softly. “What are you talking about?” 

 

“Fuck, Ry, I don’t know, like just being too close to you and leaning on you and SLEEPING ON YOU and fuck.”

 

“I didn’t mind that shit. I thought I freaked you out when I held your hand.” 

 

“Ryan I kissed you.” 

 

“You did. I thought you did it because you thought I wanted you to.” 

 

“You wanted me to?” Matt searched Ryan’s face for any hint of what was happening in his head. This wasn’t how he was expecting this conversation to go at all. 

 

“No. Yes? No. I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking about it. I didn’t mind it though. I just felt like something that happened. We’ve kissed before.”

 

“We’ve kissed for bits, I don’t think that was really a bit.”

 

“No, but it just felt like,” He furrowed his brow as he looked for the word “natural?”

 

“I don’t think it’s natural for friends to just kiss and stuff.” 

 

Ryan shrugged and rolled his eyes. “I’m not sure if us, or any of our friends really follow the normal rules.” 

 

Matt continued to fiddle with the piece of carpet he accidentally ripped off. “So, what’s this mean.”

 

“I don’t know I was expecting to apologize and hope that you don’t hate and me find a new partner for SuperMega.” 

 

Matt frowns at this and looks at Ryan a little concerned before moving to rest his hand on his knee. “Ry.” He scoots a little closer, but still keeps some space between them in case the other feels trapped or pressured again. “I don’t think I could ever hate you.” He pauses for a few moments, and then, feeling rather brave, introduces a possible solution.  “What if, what if we just keep doing what feels natural?” 

 

Ryan let’s the question hang in the air and begins to relax into the couch. He grabs a piece of fried meat from their shared plate and eats it. Matt worries as his friend chews, but Ryan turns to him with half-smile and nods as he swallows down the food. Matt’s face reddens a little at the bashful look he’s given and the possibilities the nod implies. They can keep holding hands and being close and the like. Ryan picks up a piece of sushi and quickly spits out “It’s nice to have someone to be close to anyway.” before shoving the bite into his mouth and moving closer to Matt, ridding them of the small gap between their legs. They are both still nervous about making the other uncomfortable, but they are both happy that the other isn’t upset and is actually inviting the affection. They finish eating and decide to call it a day, Matt makes a comment about ending on a high note as they throw away their trash, to which Ryan responds by holding a fake joint up to his lips. They part with a hug and a laugh.

Chapter Text

 

The next day was Sunday, and they had nothing important to do, move or record so Matt took it as a sign to do absolutely nothing. He woke up close to noon, which was surprising as he normally didn’t sleep in that much, and stretched before pushing the covers off himself. He searched around his bed for his phone before finding it under his pillow and unlocking the screen. He browsed a couple social media sites and checked the views on Supermega’s newest video before his phone vibrated in his hand. 

 

[11:59 AM] Tommy (Ryan): hey wyd today?

 

Matt smiled at the message, but quickly wiggled his mouth to calm it down. He didn’t want to get too happy too fast, it wasn’t like he had a crush and it wasn’t like they had decided to date. They were lettings the whole platonic intimacy thing work itself out instead of being weird and uncomfortable about it. 

 

To Tommy (Ryan): nothing at all my man i decided to just relax and catch those z’s  in bed

 

He should find something to eat soon though, he wasn’t exactly hungry but he slept past breakfast and it was getting close to lunch time. 

 

[12:01 PM] Tommy (Ryan): ahaha without me? 

 

Matt let himself laugh at this and tried to think of a funny reply but Ryan sent another message first about how he was also planning on spending the day in bed with Lego. He smiled at the thought of how cute that would look, Ryan with his bed head and his dog curled up next to him. He opened the camera on his phone and snapped a picture of Banana at the foot of his bed and sent it with a caption about how the cat wouldn’t cuddle with him. He closed the phone and sighed, while he had been pretty close to Ryan they never really cuddled. Not super close and intimately at least. He wondered if that was a possibility now. Matt was one to find physical intimacy very comforting and knew it was something he wanted from most of his friends. He would find himself very close to the Tuckers or Ryan on the couch, and busied himself during recording sessions by playing with Ryan’s hair on multiple occasions. 

 

He laid back down and let his phone fall onto his chest. He let out a long breath and reached over to his nightstand to grab his glasses. They had cleared things up between them but he was still nervous that he would overstep a boundary or that Ryan would become uncomfortable with the affection. His phone buzzed again with a new message. 

 

[12:06 PM] Tommy (Ryan): should we record some one offs tomorrow so that we have content before the move?

 

That’s right, the Grumps would be moving soon and they would have nowhere to record for quite a while. Either that or they’d have to take to recording in someone’s room for a bit. 

 

To Tommy (Ryan): yeah totally we should do that

 

The rest of the day went by pretty slow. Matt browsed around the internet, watched TV, played with his cat and chatted idly with his roommates. They asked him again if he was feeling better after he slept and he shrugged and told them that yes, he was feeling a lot better. Eventually Jackson headed out for the day and Harrison turned on a game to kill time. Matt watched on. 

 


 

 

The loud slam of a door and a cough startled Ryan out of his sleep. He shot up in his bed and looked to the doorway with his eyes wide. His roommate stood there with a toothbrush hanging loosely from his lips and a towel thrown over his shoulder. He mouthed around the plastic, “You want the shower first?”. Ryan shook his head and checked the time on his phone. He had overslept and was going to be late to the office. With a curse and an apology he quickly grabbed the first few articles of clothes he could and ran for the bathroom. He showered quickly, trying to avoid getting his hair wet and threw on his haphazard outfit before jogging to his car. 

 

Thankfully, the ride to work was easy and he seemed to have missed the morning rush traffic. When he found a parking spot he slid into it and turned off the car, pausing to take a few deep breaths. Even though his time at this office was almost up, he was still worried about being on time and not trying to think of an excuse for coming in last. As he walked up to the door of the office he bumped into Leighton. She nodded at him and held the door. The two walked into the pit of the office together, chatting about their weekends and cracking jokes. Matt was sitting on one of the office chairs, spinning in place when he noticed the two of them. Leighton chuckled and patted Ryan on the back before shoving her hands in her pockets and walking off. 

 

“Hey!” Matt greeted Ryan with a pat on the shoulder “No offense, you look like hell man.”

 

“Yeah, I slept past my alarm or something.” 

 

Matt frowned a little. “You could have taken your time getting here, no one would care.”

 

Ryan knew this was true, but he still felt like he should be on time every once in a while. The two broke away for a while to edit the remainder of their workload and send some notes to Justin about what needed to get done for their own channel. After a while, Ryan stood up to crack his back and walked over to the wall of games to choose something to play during the recording session. One of the games stood out, a knock-off Spanish parody that looked frustrating but entertaining. He read the back of the box and then moved to place the game on Matt’s desk.

 

“Hold on,” Matt took a few minutes to finish was he was doing before saving and leaving the video to render. He took a bite of the snack he had on his desk “you wanna go record now?” 

 

“Figured we should get it out of the way.” Ryan picked the game back up and headed off to the recording room to see if it was occupied. They had to wait a few minutes for Dan and Arin to finish was they were recording, but because it was their fourth session of the day, they evacuated the room pretty quickly after beating a level of the game. As fun and rewarding as this job was, it was also taxing and exhausting to have a character on all day. The two men filed into the room after getting the go-ahead and found their placed on the couch.

At first, they sat on opposite sides of the couch, but over time they grew a little closer. Matt sat a little crooked, turned so he was almost facing Ryan and his knee was pressed up against the other man’s. They played the game for about twenty minutes, and during this time Ryan’s complaints about the controls and the objectives became more and more frequent. Matt made a comment about how it didn’t look that hard and so Ryan asked, “Well, would you like to give it a try?” 

 

Matt laughed, “Yeah, give it here to poppa.” before dying almost immediately. He tried again, repeating the same fifteen seconds of game play over and over again until he cracked and tossed the controller back to Ryan. They had a good laugh about it and decided to end their recording session. Ryan breathed in heavily through his nose and closed his eyes. Matt looked at his face, darting his eyes from his frown to his furrowed eyebrows and then reached to place his hand over his friend’s. “You alright?”

 

“Yeah, I just feel like I woke up in a bad mood or something.” Ryan replied softly. He rubbed his eyes with his free hand before turning his body to face Matt more directly. “Sorry I feel like that session was a complete bust. I just don’t feel ‘on’ today, you know? I haven’t in a bit.” 

 

“I get that, don’t worry. Anything I can do to help?”

 

“I don’t know.” Ryan paused a little. “This helps.” He made a general gesture with his hand to the air between them and Matt rubbed his thumb along the top of his hand. He stared at the anxious crease in Ryan’s forehead before moving to lean forward and pull him into a hug. 

 

“You could have said no to recording today.” He muttered into Ryan’s neck. He heard Ryan whisper something about wanting to push through. “Or we could always have Justin edit the hell out of it.” He felt Ryan laugh at that. He pulled away a little but let his hands stay securely on Ryan’s upper arms. He looked the other man in the eye; he looked a little less stressed and a lot looser and more comfortable than when he first entered the office. There was something new in his face that he couldn’t quite place. Maybe it was in the way his lips were every so slightly parted, or maybe it was in the way he was looking out the corner of his eyes through thick lashes. He moved on of his hand up from Ryan’s arm and onto his cheek and thumbed at the stubble before leaning forward and slowly pressing his mouth against the fullness of the other’s. 

 

When he moved back he fully withdrew himself to give the other man an escape route, he was still nervous this wasn’t okay. To his surprise Ryan started to laugh and he looked around the room before moving his gaze to the ceiling and then leaning forward to bring them into another kiss. It was just as chaste, but Matt could feel Ryan’s smile in it and he felt heat moving up his body and into his face. As Ryan leaned back into the couch he pulled his hair out of his bun and asked “Do you want to play that dumb fishing game again?” 

Chapter Text

They kissed four more time that day. Twice more in the recording room before Ryan pulled away and found something to busy himself with. Later, they were in the break room sharing a few pizzas with the rest of the crew. When everyone left, Matt, Ryan and Leighton stayed behind to talk about the party Leighton was planning. Matt asked who she inviting and after a few moments of trying to remember she got up to get the list she had scribbled down somewhere. When he was positive no one else was around, Matt gave Ryan a quick kiss on the corner of his mouth before shoving another slice of pizza into his mouth. 

 

Ryan looked at him a little shocked and asked “Why?” 

 

Matt shrugged, too much food in his mouth to talk properly and forced out a “Just wanted to.” from around the bread and cheese. 

 

The last one happened after Ryan drove Matt home. They were sitting in his car, letting time pass as they talked over the radio. Ryan was asking Matt if he was really going to go to Leighton’s party and Matt was trying to convince him to go, and then Matt leaned over the console and pulled his face to his. Ryan pushed back into the kiss, but when it felt too close to attraction or something more than just platonic he pulled back to look at the other man’s face. The skinnier of the two fixed him with a crooked smile and a laugh and twisted to open the car door. “Thanks for the ride man, I’ll see you tomorrow?” 

 

“Yeah! See you then.” Ryan watched him leave until he was sure he was inside and began his own ride home. His mind shuffled through a thousand thoughts during the drive. They went from nothing, to holding hands, and now they were kissing. A lot. They were extremely innocent, chaste kisses, but they kissed like six times that day. He bit his lip hard between his teeth in a nervous gesture as he pulled up to a red light. It felt different from all the times he would hook up with a girl at school, a party or just around. It felt natural, and like it was just part of the two of them hanging out, but he was still nervous about it. He felt like at any second Matt would push him away and laugh at how this was all a bit. “Fuck!” He had caught his tooth against a small piece of dry skin on his lip and a small amount of blood beaded up on it. He wiped his mouth on the back of his hand as the light turned green. He kept thinking of exactly what happened today, and then he realized that Matt had initiated most of it. This helped him to calm down a little and he was able to relax the rest of the way home, but he still had questions. 

 


 

 

When Matt got home he showered and made a simple dinner of pasta and sauce before relaxing on the couch. He flipped through the channels for a bit before giving up and letting a random episode on the food channel play in the background as he ate. Halfway through his bowl his text-message alert chimed twice and he grabbed his phone. 

 

[7:35 PM] Tommy (Ryan): hey

[7:35 PM] Tommy (Ryan): can i ask you something?

 

He typed a quick ‘sure what’s up’ and continued to eat. A few minutes went by without a new message and looked at his phone with a raised eyebrow. He drafted a message asking what he wanted to ask but Ryan sent it before he could. 

 

[7:42 PM] Tommy (Ryan): Does it feel different to you?

 

Does it feel different? Does what feel different? Matt tapped his thumb into the phone screen nervously as he wondered what Ryan was getting at. He was so worried about ruining their friendship and obviously that was what he had done now. Ryan was referring to their friendship and how it must feel so different and weird for him since Matt had kissed him. 

 

[7:42 PM] Tommy (Ryan): Kissing a guy.

 

Oh. Matt’s thumb was still tapping away but it was a better question than what he was assuming it was. That was something he hadn’t even thought about yet, did it feel different to kiss a guy than the girls he had kissed before. The two of them had kissed before, in skits and to get a rise out of people, but now it felt different. It felt nice, less forced and more freeing. Matt couldn’t identify anything specific that felt different between these new kisses and the old ones with women.  Well, maybe one thing. 

 

To Tommy (Ryan): i mean the mustache

 

As he pressed send he laughed to himself and continued to eat and watch the show on screen. When the bowl was empty he scrubbed it in the sink and moved it to a drying rack. Harrison entered the kitchen as he was cleaning up and asked if he wanted to grab dinner with him and a couple friends. He had already eaten so he declined and walked off to his room to finish out the day. The LED light on the back of his phone flashed a few times as he lazily drew big-eyed cartoon figures in a sketchbook with markers. 

 

[8:29 PM] Tommy (Ryan): Well, yeah

[8:29 PM] Tommy (Ryan): But I mean does it feel different in general?

 

At this point Matt was too tired to worry, too tired to let the anxiety of making things awkward bubble up in his gut. Kissing Ryan felt different in a good way; it felt more comfortable and it felt fulfilling in a calming sense. Kissing Ryan also felt completely the same as kissing his exes; he wasn’t grossed out or nervous and it didn’t feel forced. Why lie about that? 

 

To Tommy (Ryan): yes and no. its like i know ur a guy but it also just feels like fine

 

[8:32 PM] Tommy (Ryan): Cool

[8:32 PM] Tommy (Ryan): You want a ride to the office tomorrow?

 

Of course he did, riding to the office with someone was always better than driving himself or taking a cab and they only had so many days left to record in the old space. He smiled at the gesture, Ryan was going to have to wake up pretty early in order to pick him up. He sent back a ‘hell yeah’ and went back to drawing little pyramids in various colors. 

 


 

Ryan pulled up outside of Matt’s apartment a little early, he thought the traffic was going to be much worse than it had been that day. He texted the other that he was outside and a little early and to his surprise he saw the brightly dressed man emerge from the building only a few minutes later.

 

“We have time to get breakfast!” Ryan never saw Matt this awake and excited early in the morning. It was a nice surprise. “Ryan let’s get drive-thru breakfast.” He smiled, laughed, and pulled away from the curb to fulfill the request. They talked over the radio on the way to the drive-thru, discussing the plans for next week as the Grumps would be packing everything up very soon. Ryan suggested they record in one of their apartments, but it would be hard with roommates and how loud they could get. They pulled into the line of the fast food joint and ordered at the speaker. When they got to the pay window Matt insisted that he pay because it was his idea and Ryan happily accepted. Matt ate throughout the ride to the office space and handed Ryan pieces of his food at red lights so he could focus on the road. 

 

They didn’t see each other much throughout the day, the found themselves pretty busy helping people pack, they finished all the work they had promised to do before leaving the Grumps, and they began to collect their own belongings from the various rooms and displays. Toward the end of the day they found each other again and compared various items and memories that they had shoved hastily into cardboard boxes labelled ‘Matt’, ‘Ryan’ and ‘SM’. As they chatted Arin approached them holding a small, cracked, brightly-colored clay sculpture of their faces and logo. He coughed to get their attention, “Hey guys, I don’t know if this was broken when you brought it here, but I found this on the back of one of the shelves.”

 

“Here let me see.” Ryan took the craft project from Arin and wiped away a little bit of dust that collected on the cartoon faces. “I think this was actually chipped when we got it. It was like, one of our first items for a mailroom video.” He grabbed a piece of bubble wrap from a nearby stack and wrapped it, placing it gently in the ‘SM’ box. 

 

Matt began to laugh when he saw the contents of the box, various joke gifts like bad games, vibrators, bibles and dildos were collected together in a very strange time capsule of their time in the office. “Are we really going to bring all of that to the new space?” 

 

Ryan fixed him with a frown and Arin began to walk away to continue collecting his own things. “I only kept the good stuff, I think.”

 

“We need a vibrating butt plug?”

 

“It looked like an expensive one!” 

 

Matt began to laugh wholeheartedly at this, and after a moment Ryan joined him. It was true that they probably didn’t need to keep any of this, but Ryan could be extremely sentimental and would rather go through it again than just toss it. He kicked the box gently and made a comment on how it wasn’t junk and they could probably find a home for it on their new shelving unit. He looked at Matt’s box and asked if he wanted a ride to bring it home so he didn’t have to lug it around. When he got a nod and a thank you as a response the pair headed off to the car. 

 

During the drive Ryan got a craving for a chicken sandwich and fries and asked Matt if he wanted to get dinner together. Matt happily agreed and added, “But can we bring it back to my place? I’m too tired to eat in the place.” They called a restaurant by Matt’s apartment and set the order for pickup. Matt talked to the woman on the other side of the phone, adding random items to their order like curly fries, some type of dessert and nachos. Before he hung up Ryan tapped his knee and whispered to add drinks to the order. They pulled up to the parking lot about 15 minutes later and Ryan hopped out of the car to pick it up. When he returned to the car Matt attempted to hand him money, but he declined, repeating the other man’s statement from the morning about how it was his idea, so he was going to pay. 

 

After trying to balance the food and drinks on top of the cardboard boxes the two let’s players decided to leave the heavy packages in the car until they were done eating. They decided to go to Matt’s room because the kitchen was a mess and Jackson was passed out of the couch in the living room. They sat on the bed, very similarly to how they had when Ryan first held Matt’s hand. They put on a TV show on Matt’s computer so that they had some background noise and began to eat. 

 

They ate relatively quietly until Ryan reached over to take some of Matt’s nachos. Matt batted his hand away and shouted “No.” through a mouthful of food. Ryan continued to pick at the chips and Matt began to shove and slap at the assaulting fingers. 

 

“These are really good.” Ryan laughed through the chips in his mouth and grabbed one of his wrists. “Dude just share!”

 

“No! They are good I’m gunna eat them, stop!” Matt tried to wiggle his hand free but failed, and pushed the nachos away so that Ryan couldn’t reach them. The struggle for a bit, Ryan trying to push his way past Matt with a laugh, and Matt trying to keep his friend away from his food. When Matt put his hand on Ryan’s chest to push him again they locked eyes. Ryan was still holding Matt’s other wrist in an attempt to keep him from swatting at his arms when Matt leaned up to press his mouth against his. Matt pulled back and looked at Ryan’s face, waiting for some kind of reaction. Ryan’s eyes darted around his face and watched as his tongue peeked out to wet his lips. 

 

For the second time since the movie theater, Ryan initiated a kiss, he pulled Matt into him and pressed his lips harder against the other’s. He could really feel what it felt like to kiss Matt now, as they let the kiss last longer than the others before it. Matt’s lips were softer and more squishy than he assumed they would be. He could also feel Matt pressing more into the kiss before he broke it. They only waited a moment before diving back in. Ryan let go of Matt’s wrist and moved his hand to hold onto his arm, and Matt returned the gesture by sliding his hard onto Ryan’s shoulder. Ryan’s heart skipped a beat when he felt what he thought was Matt’s tongue gently pressing at the seam of his lips. 

 

They pulled away again and Matt huffed out a laugh and gripped into Ryan’s shoulder. “You alright?” Ryan’s face was a sight to see, cheeks stained red and eyes heavy. He nodded quickly and bit at his bottom lip before leaning back in to continue kissing his friend.  This time he definitely felt Matt’s tongue gently pressing into his mouth so he opened his lips just enough for the muscle to fit through. Matt gently began to search Ryan’s mouth, licking his teeth and finding his tongue. They kiss like this for a while, pausing to catch their breath every so often and returning so that Matt can press deeper into Ryan’s mouth. 

 

Ryan lost himself in the motions, he let himself be explored and enjoyed the warmth and the feeling of someone else taking an interest in being close to him. His shoulders tensed as he felt heat begin to form in the pit of his stomach and cause stirring in his pants. He gently pressed his tongue into Matt’s before completely withdrawing and taking a breath. He used the front of his shirt to wipe his mouth and quietly said “I think we should calm down a little.” Matt kissed him one last time and nodded, leaning back against the wall. Ryan joined him, and tried to catch his breath and calm himself down.

Chapter Text


Ryan left about an hour after that. Matt walked him to the door and the two stood by the door in a quiet moment before Ryan pulled him into a hug and closed the door behind him. He yawned and walked over to the couch and was surprised to find Jackson stretched out and still asleep on it. He decided to grab the switch and play it on the smaller loveseat in the living room quietly as to not disturb his roommate. About two hours later Harrison came home and put his belongings down on a chair in the kitchen. Matt waved to him and made a shushing motion and pointed to Jackson’s sleeping form. Harrison chuckled in return and Matt heard him rustling in the cabinet and then turning on the sink behind him.

“How long has he been passed out for? Matt twisted around to look at his roommate as he spoke to him.

“I don’t know. He was asleep when me and Ryan got here like three hours ago.” Matt paused for a few moments and quietly thought about the day’s events and the texts that Ryan sent a few days prior. “Hey Harry can I ask you a question?”

“Shoot dude.”

“How did you know you like dudes?” He heard Harrison choke on his water and clear his throat before coming over to sit next to him on the couch. When he was seated he turned in the seat to face Matt a little better.

“What?”

Matt ran his hands up his face and into his hair, pulling his glasses up with them. “I don’t know, I know you’ve hooked up with a couple guys before and I’m just wondering how you knew you - how you knew you liked it?”

Harrison pursed his lips together and patted his friend’s knee. “Do you think you’re gay?”

“No! No! I’m just asking!” It wasn’t that he thought there was anything wrong with being gay, or with himself being gay. He just hadn’t thought of it in such clear terms yet. He was so sure for all his life that he was straight, but making out with your male best friends because ‘it came naturally’ or ‘cause you wanted to’ was probably not the straightest thing to do. And he definitely wasn’t gay, he had way too many experiences to prove that wrong.

Harrison scrunched up his mouth again before answering. “It just kinda happened one day. I don’t think I ever wrote it off as being impossible. So when the opportunity presented itself I didn’t say no? Does that make sense.”

“Yeah.” His foot bounced on the floor for a few moments. “Yeah, it does.”

The opportunity had presented itself to Matt before, multiple times in fact. Sometimes at parties his personality could be mistaken for flirty, and he would be propositioned or hit on by the friends of his friends. He would politely decline and make a joke about it to clear the air. He scrunched his nose and decided not to think about it too much more before Harrison spoke again. “If you ever need to talk about this kinda shit, I’m here.”


 

Over the next couple of days they repeated a similar process. They would either go to the Grump space to pack up and help out or their own office to set things up. After that, they would go back to one of their apartments for dinner and watch movies, browse YouTube or play a couple games. Eventually it would devolve into them making out until one of them decided it was getting too heavy. At first it was exploratory, gentle motions and searching each other out. One of them would start with a soft kiss, and slowly probe into the other’s mouth with quiet breaths and their hands on each other’s shoulders, sides or necks.

Today was a little different. Matt had initiated a kiss that almost immediately changed into something heavier. Once their mouths were brought together Ryan opened his mouth a little to coax Matt into deepening the kiss. The skinnier man responded well to this and began to lick into his mouth and move his lips against his. A wet smacking sound causes Ryan to pull back, a little embarrassed, and look at Matt’s face.

Behind his glasses Ryan could see that his eyelids were heavy and there was a faint smile on his lips. He watched as Matt poked his tongue out to poke at his top lip before leaning in to kiss him again. Matt slid his hand from its position on Ryan’s arm to where his neck met his head. Ryan breathed softly into Matt’s mouth as the hand pulled him into the kiss harder and Matt’s tongue began to move with his. At this point they would normally call it off, and go back to watching whatever dumb video they had on in the background. Ryan felt himself harden in his shorts; kissing had always done it for him. He loved the sensation and the sort of languid feeling that could come with it. Before he could ask if Matt wanted to slow down, he felt himself being pushed backwards gently, so he put his arms behind him to brace himself upward and leaned back. His friend moved his position to get a better angle over him as they continued to kiss and break away and kiss again. Now, he was basically straddling his thigh and Ryan had to cant his hip to make sure his growing erection didn’t brush up against Matt and give itself away. He let himself be pushed back a little further until his head bumped against the wall with a soft thud.

“Ah, shit sorry.” Matt mumbled before he sat up, his knees still on either side of Ryan’s thigh. He twisted to grab a pillow and offered it to the other man with a silent question. Ryan took it from him and paused for a moment before readjusting himself so he was half-sitting and half-laying against the wall with the pillow behind him. Matt smiled at him and kissed his cheek before initiating more intense kisses again.

In this new position it was a lot harder to keep his hard-on from rubbing up against Matt’s thigh, but either Matt didn’t notice or he didn’t care. This was new, and a little scary, before this it could still be written off as platonic and friendly (even if that was a stretch). Now, this was clearly much more sexual than before. Matt was straddling him, they were making out and he was hard. He moved his hands to rest gently on Matt’s hips, careful to not get them too close to his backside or anywhere else that could seem too far. He pulled his friend down a little, and pushed his head and neck up to match the force of the kiss. He felt Matt move his hips slightly and could feel that he was hard too through his joggers. His face burned up at this and he felt a little less embarrassed now that it was a shared experience.

Matt leaned up a little and broke the kiss, he tried to catch his breath and swung the leg that was between Ryan’s out and over so that his knees were on either side of his hip. He looked down at the bearded face and smiled a crooked smile at him. He thought that like this Ryan almost looked pretty. It was an interesting thought to have while both of them were hard and kissing and exploring new territory but he thought it was appropriate in the moment. He let himself sit down fully into Ryan’s lap and he continued to lick at his tongue and teeth and lips until the straining in his pants became a little too much. Needing to blunt the edge of the feeling he pressed forward, dragging his hips up to test Ryan’s reaction. Ryan’s eyes fluttered a little behind his closed eyes and a breath forced its way out of his throat and Matt found that the sound only lit more of a fire in him. He pulled away so that he could see Ryan’s face. This time he pressed backward, purposefully dragging his backside over Ryan’s crotch. The sound he got in return made his back tense and his head spin. Harrison told him he just took the opportunity to test it, right?

Ryan gripped a little hard into Matt’s hips as he moved himself back and felt his ears burn as he was unable to keep a soft, subdued moan from being drawn out from deep in his throat. He opened his eyes a sliver to look up at Matt and wanted to ask just what it was that he was doing. “Matt” it came out a little quieter and a lot more breathy than he wanted. Before he could find the right words to ask, Matt’s head was buried between his neck and shoulder and he was kissing lightly into the skin there. His hips began to move slowly over him, and Ryan swallowed in any questions or protests that he had when the pleasure of it replaced any fear.

It continued for a while, Matt moving himself and kissing from Ryan’s face to his neck and back, and Ryan rubbing up and down Matt’s back with one hand and gripping into his hip with the other. Ryan moved his legs to plant his feet into the mattress and press up into Matt’s ass more firmly. The movement caused Matt’s crotch to press into his stomach and the man above him let out a shaky laugh that sounded too close to a moan. His thighs tensed at the sound and he felt himself throb under pressure of Matt being on top of him. Matt didn’t stop rocking and moving as he kissed him and he felt an all too familiar feeling growing in the base of his spine.

He squeezed a little hard into Matt’s hip and whispered his name to get his attention, to tell him they should probably slow down. Matt was busy kissing into his neck and he said his name again. Then, after a particularly wet kiss into his skin Matt opened his mouth and experimentally bit down into him and it was too late. His mind flashed back and forth to the video he watched a few weeks ago; when the man in the video lost it to the very same thing, and to the feeling of Matt and the way Matt looked above him just before. He grit his teeth and his legs tensed to the point they were shaking. A groan ripped through him and he was coming.

He felt Matt’s mouth go still against his neck and he slowly opened his eyes to see him sitting up straight above him. “Fuck, fuck.” He pulled himself out from under Matt to sit up fully against the wall and tried to give the other his space. “I’m sorry, fuck, I’m sorry Matt.” He felt like a stupid teenage that just ruined his first time hooking up with someone, but worse because this was his friend. To his surprise, Matt leaned forward to kiss him again and gently place a hand on his cheek.

When he pulled back he laughed a little and shrugged. “It’s fine. I mean, it was kinda -”

“Gross, I know I’m sorry.”

“-hot.”

Ryan looked at him and blinked a couple times. That was the first time either of them acknowledged anything sexual about the situations. Even though he had been, and now he was sure Matt was as well, hard during most of their makeouts they hadn’t said anything about it being more than just keeping each other company in a way. He relaxed a little into the wall and allowed himself to slump down. “Oh.”

“Yeah.”

Matt leaned forward again, close to Ryan’s face. Ryan was the one to close the gap this time, he kissed him softly and kept it chaste. Now that he was a little less stressed he could enjoy the afterglow of the situation. He gave Matt a couple more gentle kisses before remembering that he was definitely the only one to come from that. “Do you want me to like…” he wasn’t sure what he was asking to do, or what would even come of the question.

“Oh, huh. No, I feel like that’s a lot.” Matt shook his head and crawled off of the other man to find another spot on the bed to sit on. He was only half-hard since they had stopped getting hot and heavy and wanted to cool down the rest of the way. “You might wanna change before that gets all crusty though.”

Chapter Text

Matt watched as Ryan dug through his drawers for a new outfit. The way Ryan moved was awkward, his legs looked a little weak and it was obvious he was uncomfortable with the sticky patch in his shorts. Matt felt his eyelids get a little heavier at the sight and he bit his lip. Making his friend come in his pants wasn’t what he had planned to do. They were experimenting, ‘doing what felt right’, maybe helping each other blow off some steam and feel a little less lonely in the big city they lived in. He shook his head when he felt his flagging erection begin to come to life again and laid back into the wall. When he heard the door close he let out a deep breathe and began to scroll around on his phone.

A few minutes passed and Matt hardly noticed Ryan sneak back into the bedroom. He watched him as he put his old shorts in his hamper and sat on the edge of the bed. An awkward silence fell between them and they sat in it for a few minutes before Matt began to laugh. “Never thought this is what I’d be doing on a Thursday, y’know?”

Ryan turned to him and chuckled before moving to sit more fully on the bed. “What, Matt? You didn’t think you’d be hooking up with your coworker and making them cum their pants?”

That statement made Matt crinkle up his nose in fake disgust before letting out a heartfelt laugh. They laughed together for a little while before Ryan suggested they get something to eat. They moved to the living room and ate a quick meal in the comfortable quiet of each other’s company. The TV droned on in the background and Matt decided to lean into Ryan’s side after eating half of his food, enjoying the closeness after such an intimate act. When Ryan reached the end of his meal he slouched back a little into the couch and put his arm around Matt and closed his eyes.

“Are you going to Leighton’s party this weekend?” Matt asked and looked out the corner of his eye to see Ryan’s reaction.

He could see the slight frown from behind his facial hair. “Ah, I don’t know. I heard a lot of people are going.”

“Aw, c’mon Ry! I’m gonna go, you should come with me.”

“You askin’ me on a date big boy?”

Matt let out a hearty laugh at that. “If that’s what it takes!”

Ryan’s face still held a little bit of a frown at the thought. Parties had never been his favorite thing to attend, especially when he knew they were going to be big events. He mulled over the idea of going, and weighed the options. He could probably find a way to enjoy going, especially if he knew Matt would be there for him to escape with if it got to be too much. “Fine, I’ll go.”

 


 

The next day and a half passed without much event and without the two YouTubers seeing each other. Ryan had nearly forgotten about the party until Matt texted him around 5 P.M. asking if they were driving there together or ubering. Ryan groaned a little and thought about ditching the event before remembering how excited Matt was when he tried to get him to go. He smiled and texted back that he would drive over to Matt’s and then they’d take a cab together.

Dressing up for a party wasn’t something he normally did, but he felt like maybe looking at least presentable today. A few outfits were tossed onto the bed haphazardly and he sorted through pieces that could possibly look nice together. Finally, he decided on a black t-shirt with one red sleeve and one yellow sleeve and a blue collar, a pair of black soft denim shorts and a thin sleeveless zip up hoodie. All in all it was a pretty nice outfit and he smiled at himself in the mirror, dressing up every once in a while could be nice but it wasn’t something he wanted to focus on everyday. He killed time on his laptop before Matt sent him another text that they should head out soon. He grabbed the things he might need; phone, keys, wallet, lighter, powerbank, and slid them into his pockets before heading out.

The ride to Matt’s apartment was pretty quick and there was surprisingly little traffic. Matt strolled out of the main entrance a few minutes later and waved at him as he got out of the car. They ordered a cab and waited to arrive to the party.

When they pulled up to Leighton’s place the sky was already getting pretty dark and they could hear the music playing faintly from outside. There was a small group of people standing outside on the lawn and they nodded their ‘hellos’ as they walked in. Inside was much louder than outside, but not so loud that they couldn’t hear the conversations that were happening in the cleared space and of the living room. As they walked deeper into the space, headed toward the kitchen they ran into Leighton and she let out a small shout of excitement.

“Hey Matt! Ryan! You’re here!” She swayed a little as she spoke to them and Ryan’s nose twitched at the smell of weed that followed her over to them.

“Yeah, Matt convinced me to show up, so-” He put his hands out and did a little spin.


The other two laughed at his gesture and Leighton clapped a hand over both boy’s shoulders. “I’m glad the two of you are here! Go get a drink and come to the backyard if you wanna smoke.” She walked back off and began chatting with other people at the party.

Matt turned to Ryan and asked “You wanna go grab a drink?”

Ryan nodded and the two went off to get drinks. In the kitchen they chatted with some people they knew through Leighton and other friends as they used the comically large ladle to spoon the bright red punch into plastic. The host always had an affinity for themes and throwing parties so it really fit to have this style of serving drinks. They chatted idly for a while and Ryan coughed a little at how strong the drink was. After some time had passed Ryan asked Matt if he wanted to go outside to smoke with the others. Matt took a moment to think about it, he normally didn’t smoke but Ryan had actually come out tonight and he wanted to enjoy the time with him so he nodded.

Being outside was a welcome change for Ryan. It felt less tight and cramped, and the little breeze that went by was a nice change from the stuffy air. They quickly found the people that were passing around a little electronic vaping pen and joined in the little circle. They chatted idly as they waited for their turn and passed the time cracking jokes with the other party goers. Matt noticed that Ryan looked as though he was starting to feel a little more comfortable and he smiled. They pen made its way around a few times and when it landed in Matt’s hand again he looked at it, his head already swimming a little and he shook his head, smiled and passed it to Ryan.

Ryan took a long pull and passed it before letting the small cloud of smoke escape him with a laugh. Matt watched as the grey whisps passed by his lips and he felt like he was in a trance. He wet his own lips with his tongue and reached out to pull on Ryan’s wrist. Ryan raised his eyebrows and handed the vape to the next person in the circle before allowing himself to be pulled away.

Matt lead him away from the group and around the corner of the house to the small alleyway that lead from the backyard to the front of the house. Ryan let Matt move him until he was up against the wall of the house and Matt was pushed up against the chest, playing with the strings of his hoodie. He turned to look down the path to make sure no one could see them and questioned the slightly taller man “Hey, what’s going on?”

Matt didn’t look at him, he just kept rolling one of the cords between his fingers. “I don’t know, I just wanted to be alone with you for a minute.”

Ryan tried to search his face for some sort of clue as to what was going on but through the haze in his own mind he couldn’t figure it out. Matt finally looked at him and sputtered out “I just thought you looked kinda hot while you were smoking.”

Ryan felt his eyebrows raise and a smile break out on his face and then they were both laughing. He wasn’t sure if it was because they were both sufficiently high or because of the way Matt just blurted it out but there was something comical about the situation. They laughed for a few more moments before catching their breath. Matt was still pressed up against his chest and so he slid his hand onto his hip. Matt finally looked at him and there was a slight pause before they were kissing. Ryan had kissed people before, and he had smoked before, but this was the first time he had ever kissed someone while high. It was nice. Making out with someone while hidden away at a party was also nice, very high school, but nice.

He let out a chuckle as Matt kissed down his face into his neck. The feeling caught him by surprise and he couldn’t help but laugh. Matt had busied himself in kissing his neck but he couldn’t really feel what was going on due to his dulled senses. Ryan felt a hushed groan slip out past his lips and he pushed Matt back a little so he could see his face. He kissed him and whispered something about heading back to the party to grab a beer. Matt nodded and smiled goofily at him and followed him back into the house.

They enjoyed the party for about two more hours, walking idly through the house and making conversation with other people. Matt convinced Ryan to spend a little time dancing in the living room, and the both laughed as he just swayed back and forth. Ryan had to admit that he was pretty happy that Matt convinced him to come out. He was having fun and it gave him the chance to catch up with some friends he didn’t talk to often enough. Eventually they both began to grow a little tired and decided to head out, so they went to find Leighton on the front lawn before they left.

When they found Leighton she was ushering people into a cab to make sure they got home safely. They waited for her to be free before calling her over to say their goodbyes. When she walked over her face changed into one of excitement and she laughed loud before clapping Ryan on the shoulder and giggling “Ryan! Who did you hook up with at my party?”

Ryan’s eyebrows grew close together in confusion at her gleeful question. “What are you talking about?”

Her finger pointed to his neck and her grin only grew larger. “You have a hickey on your neck, dude.”

Before thinking Ryan slapped a hand over they mark and shouted “Matt!”

There was a heavy silence as Ryan realized what he just did and move his hand to cover his mouth and Leighton and Matt’s eyes grew wide.

Chapter Text

They stood there in a shocked silence for what felt like hours to Ryan. Leighton cleared her throat and pushed a breath past her lips before laughing softly. “Are you two dating? And you didn’t tell me?” Her smile was soft and welcoming to the idea, but the question still make them both take a step back. 

 

Matt’s eyes twitched open wider and he shook his head. The two men shouted out “No.” at the same time, and it must have been louder than they wanted it to be because Leighton held up her hands defensively in response. 

 

“Woah, ok. Calm down.” She reached up to tug at a short piece of hair that poked out from the back of her beanie. Her head bobbed as she nodded at them, thinking. She frowned at them and turned and began to walk away before motioning for them to follow her. When they reached a patch of lawn that was quieter and far enough away from any other party-goers she tried again, pointing back and forth between the two of her friends. “So you two aren’t dating. Right?”

 

Matt shook his head again, telling her “No.” again, this time calmer and quieter. 

 

“Oh, cool.” She shrugged at them but then stared at Ryan through heavily hooded eyes. “But Matt gave you that hickey right? Or am I lost?” 

 

Ryan didn’t know how to respond. It was his fault this conversation was happening in the first place. They never discussed whether or not they were cool with anyone knowing they were hooking up. The easier answer was that Matt probably didn’t want anyone to know who he was hooking up with, and didn’t want anyone speculating about the fact that it was a guy. Their friends wouldn’t give a shit, but there were still some people out there that would make comments or ask questions or throw them the unwelcome “I knew it!”. 

 

Ryan began to shake his head to deny it when he heard Matt whisper a “Yeah.” He turned his head to look at him, mind now swarming with his own questions. They had been hooking up for a little while now, nothing serious had happened and no super intimate talks had been had. He figured that it was something that would stay between them, something to kill time, blow off steam and have fun. They were both single and apparently willing to mess around, it made a lot of sense if he just thought it through, right?

 

Matt stared down at the ground and shrugged at her. “Nothings really going on though, y’know? Just fucking around. You know we’d tell you if some real shit was happening.” 

 

Leighton seemed to think this was a fine answer, she laughed cheerfully and smiled at them before answering “Yeah, sure alright. Whatever makes you happy dudes. Get home safe okay?” and pulling them into a hug. She took a sip from the beer she had been holding and began to walk back off to go inside and continue entertaining her guests. 

 

Matt turned to Ryan, half looking at him and half searching for somewhere else to rest his eyes while telling him that he would call a cab for them to get back to his apartment. They stood on the lawn for a bit while they waited. Ryan kicked a crumpled can towards Matt’s feet and smiled when his friend kicked it back. At one particularly hard kick the can went rolling into the street and stopped just as their ride pulled up. They climbed into the backseat and greeted the driver, and rode out most of the drive in silence. With about ten minutes remaining Matt began to roll his thumbs around each other and whispered to Ryan in a hushed voice, “Sorry, man.” 

 

Ryan couldn’t stop the perplexed sound that came out of him, “What?” He cleared his throat before he continued, “What the hell are you sorry for?” 

 

“For selling us out, or whatever.” 

 

“Uh,” Ryan closed his eyes and shook his head, “I’m kinda that one that like” he held his hands out in front of him and shook them for emphasis, “gave it away.” 

 

Matt laughed at this and leaned back into the seat and they waited until they were back home. 

 


 

 

Getting into the apartment was easy enough, but taking their sneakers off at the door was a whole different story. During the car ride the shock from their conversation wore off and they were able to feel the effects from the liquor and vape once again. While untying his shoes, Matt had fallen completely on the floor, and seeing this happen, Ryan elected to sit on the couch before pulling his off. After they successfully put them in a sloppy pile by the door they hobbled off to Matt’s room. 

 

Matt clambered onto the bed and threw his face into the pillow while Ryan opened the laptop on the desk and found a movie to watch on Netflix, and huffed as he sat on the floor. It was a poorly rated comedy about some subaverage man trying to win the heart of the woman he loved with a pair of socks that made him irresistible. Ryan rolled his eyes at the description and turned around to talk to Matt. 

 

“You drunk?” 

 

“A little. You?”

 

“A little.” Ryan looked at Matt’s form lying on the bed as the sound of the movie droned on in the background. He stayed seated on the floor and then cursed under his breath. 

 

“What’s wrong?” Matt lifted his head up a little to question the quiet complaint. 

 

“Nah, I just probably have to sleep here but I didn’t bring pajamas. And I wore like, real shorts instead of comfortable ones today.” 

 

“Hmm,” Matt rolled onto his back, “just take ‘em off. Boxers are like sleep shorts anyway.” 

 

Ryan waited a beat before making a sound of apprehension. Matt sat up on the bed and began to shimmy out of his own jeans. “Fuck it, I’m getting comfy too, bro.” They both shed their pants, Ryan remained on the floor and tried to make sense of the movie and Matt tapped at a game on his phone. 

 

The man seated on the floor shifted a couple times before he deemed the floor too uncomfortable to continue sitting on and he climbed up onto the bed to join his friend. Matt shut his phone as he felt the bed move with Ryan’s weight and sat up to give him room. He leaned over to his desk drawer and grabbed a deck of cards and began shuffling them. Matt dealt them each a hand to play a simple game of War. The game didn’t do much to hold their attention and he began to chew the inside of his cheek before speaking. “I get it if you wanna stop now.” 

 

Ryan’s eyebrows knit together in confusion. “The card game?”

 

“No,” Matt put down an 8 and waited for Ryan’s card. “Making out, or whatever.” 

 

Ryan snorted “Making out or whatever. You make it sound like were in high school.” He played his card; a Queen, and put both cards into his pile. “Why would I want to stop?” 

 

The frown that quickly spread on Matt’s face was one of confusion and anticipated rejection. “I don’t know!” He clapped both of his hands over his face and fell backward into the bed. “What if more people find out? I don’t think I want to have that conversation with them.” 

 

“I mean I don’t really plan on telling people,” Ryan began to laugh and threw his hand of cards onto Matt’s chest. “But does it even matter? Dude get up.”

 

Reluctantly, Matt sat up and pouted at Ryan which made the other man giggle even more. They both laughed for a while and settled into each other, trying to watch the horrible movie unfold on the screen in front of them. When the movie got to be too much Matt grabbed the laptop and opened Google Maps so he could show Ryan some cool places he wanted to show him when they went to Japan. They spent about an hour and a half looking at different locations and then distracting themselves by pulling up memes and videos they found funny. 

 

Ryan leaned closer to Matt and felt a heat begin to flood his face. He really did enjoy his time with Matt, and he was glad they didn’t decide to call off the whole ‘making out or whatever’ thing they were doing. He pressed his shoulder into the other a little more and whispered, “Are you still drunk?” 

 

“Nah I think that passed,” Matt replied before looking next to him to see Ryan’s face. The heavily lidded eyes and slightly parted mouth he was greeted with quickly changed the tone in the room. “Are you?”

 

Ryan shook his head, “No, tipsy at most now. Why, you want me to drive home?”

 

Matt poked his tongue out to wet his lips and moved his hand to rest over Ryan’s, “No, you can stay if you want.”