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The Gay Favour

Chapter Text

“I need a favour.” Will said intensely to the group of people assembled before him.

 

He was stood in the living room and before him were the people he considered he knew the best on the team, Bitty, Chowder, Nursey, Ransom, Holster, Lardo, and accidentally but not unwanted, Shitty. Shitty was down visiting Lardo and had just shown up at this sort of Haus meeting. The group had accepted his summons without question, too curious to see what could have William Poindexter so riled up, both in anger and nervous energy.

           

“Interesting.” Lardo said, nodding sagely. “Go on.”

           

Will let out a shaky breath and ran his hand through his hair. “Okay, so some back story? You guys know I’m from Hicksville, from a family of Irish catholic republicans who live in a town of mostly republicans?”

           

“Yes, we are well aware.” Nursey said dryly.

           

“Let the man speak.” Shitty said, holding up a hand to silence Nursey.

           

“Okay, okay.” Will said, hyping himself up. “Okay so like, my mum is one of 9 children, and I have five other siblings, half of whom are older than me. My aunts and uncles all also have children, many of whom are older than me with spouses and partners and the like.”

           

“Okay so you have a massive fuck off family.” Holster summarised as he tried to follow along.

           

“Yes. Every so often the Poindexter’s hold a big reunion at the First Home, sorry, the first house that our family had when coming over from Ireland, we still own it, but it’s split between the whole family. My grandparents live there. Not the point, sorry.” Will said distractedly, he never felt this jittery or nervous.

           

“Dude, you okay?” Ransom asked, sharing a concerned look with Holster. Both of their captain modes were activating.

           

“Yeah man.” Will cracked his knuckles. “Okay so in this reunion it’s a custom, well, more a rule that you must bring your significant other.”  

           

“You need a date?” Lardo guessed, face deadpan.

           

“Yes, but let me finish.” Will replied. “Okay so last year my brothers were ragging me about going to a liberal arts college and just generally being dicks. Sibling stuff, and like, that was fine. But then Christopher was like ‘found yourself a boyfriend yet?’ like as a joke and I’d had it up to here with their shit and replied, ‘so what if I have?’ So now my family think I’m gay and expect me to bring a boyfriend to this big ole reunion. If I don’t bring one they’re just going to get worse.”

           

His friends all blinked at him, surprise evident in each of their faces.

           

“If none of you want to that’s totally fine, ‘cause it’s a big ask. My mother has been fiercely proud of me and won’t accept anything too blatantly homophobic, but she isn’t all that well versed, so a lot of things will slip through the cracks. Especially since she’s not always around, double especially since there’ll be lots of family around.” Will rushed on.

           

“Brah, I’d be totally down to gay it up in Hicksville.” Shitty said immediately, his eyes shining at the prospect.

           

“Dude, you have that internship.” Lardo replied, making Shitty deflate. “I can’t for obvious reasons. Though I imagine an Asian girlfriend might raise some eyebrows.”

           

“Possibly, but they’ve been better since my oldest brother married a mixed-race girl.” Will shrugged. “The reunion is a week-long as well, so you could come for just the week or stay the whole goddamn summer if you can bear it.”  

           

“Man, I would have loved to’ve been your fake boyfriend!” Chowder whined sadly. “But I’m meeting Cait’s family for the first time, and then she’s coming back to San Fran with me.”

           

Three no’s, Will’s heart was sinking rapidly. His fingers started twisting together, not wanting to look at his friends and see their expressions.

           

“Goodness that’s a lot to take in.” Bitty said, hand over his heart. “Honey, I’m working this summer. You know how that is.”

           

Will nodded understandingly, four down. Things weren’t looking good.

           

“Which week?” Ransom asked flicking through his schedule. Will told him and both Ransom and Holster sagged in disappointment. “Sorry bro, that’s our family bonding week, both our families are getting together for a big ole bash.”

 

“Fucking stellar of you to stand up to your family like that bro, never would have expected that from frosh you.” Holster said sincerely.  

           

Will looked up to the ceiling, accepting that he’d have to tell his family he was single, which either meant pretending to have gone through a break-up, or even worse, telling them the truth – that he was single and straight.

           

“I’ll do it.” Nursey said slowly. “It’s not like I’d be doing anything this summer.”

           

Will’s heart sped up as his head snapped in Nursey’s direction. “Wait, holy shit, is that a yes?”

           

“Yeah man, it’ll be chill.” He smiled. “I like taking on bigots, in a passive aggressive kinda way. Fight them with being exceptionally gay, it’s perfect.”  

           

The group of friends in the room shared slightly alarmed looks. These two could barely manage being in the same room together without bickering. This was going to be interesting, either way, they couldn’t wait to receive the gossip via group chat when this finally went down.

 


 

Will was waiting nervously for Nursey to arrive at First Home. He’d been able to give Nursey as much information as he could, such as the names and relations of those in attendance, not that he expected Nursey to remember them all. Especially as he lost track half the time too. When Nursey had asked how far they were going to take this a fiery passion had overcome Will, a passion that only comes from being competitive and having siblings.

 

“As far as it takes.” Will had replied, not fully knowing what that could entail.

 

Will’s mother had been fluttering around First Home in anticipation of the number of guests they were to receive. She was the one who lived closest to her parents out the nine children, and thus had been given bedroom space in the house, whereas most of the other relatives were going to be camping in the surrounding fields of the old farm house. Especially those with young kids, the Poindexters were avid campers.

 

His mother had given Will a room with a double bed. His oldest brother, Benjamin, and his wife, Vanya, were in the room next to them. The room across the hall to him was a bathroom and beyond that his other siblings would be sharing a room. His two sisters were both single and would be sharing a room, and Chris and Donnie would also be sharing.  

 

“Nervous for him to meet the family?” His mother asked sweetly, coming to stand next to him on the porch. “What did you say his name was again? Dermot?”

 

“Derek.” Will replied. “Derek Nurse.”

 

“Nurse?” She frowned at him. “This wouldn’t be Nursey, your defence partner? The one you’ve spent the better part of two years aggressively complaining about?”

 

Will felt himself blush. Luckily, Nursey had thought of this when he’d asked Will what they’d say was their get-together story and Will had drawn a blank.

 

“Yeah, you know what I’m like ma, can’t always tell the difference between love and hate.” He mumbled. It had been Nursey’s idea that their arguing could be foreplay. Something the straights did a lot, he had said, pretend to hate their spouses.

 

His mother breathed in a sharp gasp. “Oh Wills, love?”

 

Will closed his eyes. “Ma, can we not?”

 

She mimed zipping her lips closed but was absolutely beaming. Will’s dad came out of the house then and slung his arm over his wife’s shoulders and gave Will a tight nod. Without saying anything he pointed to a gap in the hedges that sectioned off the farm where Will’s older brother were all marching through. At least, that’s where he thought his dad had been pointing when a flash of silver appeared down the road next to the hedgeline Will realised he was actually pointing to Nursey’s car, one that very obviously did not belong to a Poindexter, was on its way up the curving road that wrapped halfway around the perimeter of the house.

 

Nursey’s car finally arrived by the house at the same time his brothers reached the house. They stood leaning against the porch railing watching as Nursey rolled up. Will really wished they weren’t here the exact second Nursey showed up. It would have been so much simpler if they’d been alone.

 

“Hey babe!” Nursey called opening his door and leaning out. “Where should I park?”

 

“Oh, there is fine!” His mother called. “Most family won’t be arriving until later, we’ll have time to move her.”

 

Nursey flashed her a dazzling smile. “If you’re sure, Mrs Poindexter.”

 

“Of course, I am. Will go help your boyfriend with his bags.” She instructed.

 

“Yes Will, come help.” Nursey grinned at Will, who stuck his tongue out.

 

Nursey met Will at the boot of his car and they each grabbed a bag. Behind the hood of the car Nursey raised an eyebrow at Will. Will took a moment to take in a deep breath then nodded to Nursey, it was game on.

 

“Ma, da, this is Derek Nurse, my d-man, Derek, this is my ma, da, and these ingrates are my brothers.” Will introduced as they reached the porch.

 

“Absolute pleasure to meet ya.” Donovan said holding his hand out to Nursey. “Name’s Donnie.”

 

“Likewise.” Nursey smiled. “That must make you Christopher, and you Benjamin?”

 

Benjamin grinned and Nursey and also shook his hand, whereas Christopher just raised his eyebrow and muttered “Must it?”

 

Will shot him a dark look before calling to Nursey “Come on, uh, Derek, I’ll show you our room.”

 

“Coming babe.” Nursey replied, eyes on Christopher.

 

“D-man.” Donnie snickered as they started walking away. Will tensed, so it began.

 

Will lead him to their room and dumped Nursey’s bag on the floor next to his own. Now that there were two pretty large guys with two pretty large bags in the room, it felt a lot smaller.

 

“We’re going to be sharing a bed, no getting out of that. Usually we have air mattresses but with so much family in town there really isn’t any spare. Not to mention it would be awfully suspicious if I asked for one.” Will rattled off.

 

“No worries man.” Nursey responded. “We’ve kipped together before.”

 

“Yeah, on roadies in separate beds.” Will rolled his eyes.

 

“I was thinking more of when we pass out drunk in Haus.” Nursey smothered a smile, aiming for deadpan and chill. “Benjamin seems chill, Chris was outright hostile honestly.”

 

“Yeah, Chris is a prick. Donnie will be too, he’s happy for any excuse to rib me.” Will sighed. “Benjamin is the only one who actually stopped when I ‘came out’ –” He said with air quotes “– and came to have a chat with me to tell me I was still his brother.”

 

“Wow, that’s great.” Nursey said, smiling at the thought of the eldest Poindexter brother addressing his behaviour. “Even if it’s fake.”

 

“Yeah, he is pretty great. Takes on the big brother role really well.”

 

“What’s going to happen when you bring a girl home one day?” Nursey wondered aloud.

 

Will shrugged. “Not sure, tell them I was bi? Tell them the truth? I’m okay with being a token gay. It’s like you guys say, there’s always a gay cousin. And I have a lot of cousins. Even if I’m not gay, if I manage to kill some of my family’s stigma and, I don’t know, pave a way for them to come out? Then it’s all good.”

 

Nursey blinked at Will with an expression he didn’t understand. Will felt his face heat up, he’d mostly been thinking aloud. He hoped what he’d said wasn’t offensive. He hadn’t known whether faking homosexuality to stop your family being homophobic was okay or a big no-no. But then Nursey placed his hand on Will’s shoulder and looked him dead in the eye.

 

“Dude, that’s really great.” He said seriously. Will smiled crookedly at him.

 

“Yo, homo’s!” Donnie’s voice called up the hallway. “Stop cuddling and come help set up.”

 

Nursey’s eyes hardened at Donnie’s words. Will gave him a nod. Oh, it was so on.

 

“Come on, sweetie.” Nursey smiled acidly, taking Will by the hand. “Let’s go help.”

Chapter Text

Derek had been somewhat apprehensive about being Dex’s fake boyfriend for a week since he’d agreed to it. He had tried to squash those fears but on the drive to Dex’s house, First Home as they all seemed to call it, they’d come out in abundance. It wasn’t until he saw the set of Dex’s jaw and the look in his eye when Donnie began making the gay jokes that he knew Will was really in this.

 

He’d been proud that Dex had stuck for the The Gays in the first place, Holster was right when he said he never would have expected first year Dex to do that. He seemed to have little to no qualms when Derek had taken him by the hand or called him babe. In fact the little speech he’d made about paving the way for any LGBT+ relatives he may have had really touched Derek. He felt kinda proud of Dex.

 

Their friendship was still rocky, that was for sure. At the beginning of their second year Derek had extended an olive branch, as it were, one that seemed to rile Dex up worse. It had taken him the better part of the year to get Dex to chill around him and accept his kindness. It was almost as though Dex was comfortable with their arguing and didn’t understand their laughing. That had made Derek even more determined to become his friend. He was stubborn that way. Not that they stopped arguing completely of course.

 

They were set to work putting tents up in the adjacent field with Dex’s brothers. They had been doing that all morning it seemed. It was surprisingly hard work, putting together a dozen tents of varying sizes. All the families with young kids had the biggest tents and were all in the same corner. Adults 30+ were also put together, and those ranging 16-20 were also together. It seemed to Derek like a festival, the fact that it was for only one family was blowing his mind slightly.

 

“I thought you said you were one of six?” Derek asked Dex as they stopped for water.

 

“I am.” Dex replied, pulling his top off over his head. “Cathy and Roisin are making the signs to put next to each tent, to show who goes where.”

 

“God if you two are gonna get naked can you at least do it where we don’t have to see?” Chris called over. Will flipped him off but Derek decided to smile at him and slowly pull off his own shirt.

 

“Mighty hot out here.” He called back.

 

“You sound like Bitty.” Dex laughed. Derek rolled his eyes and have Will a good-natured shove which of could Dex had to reciprocate.  

 

“Really Will!? C’mon man.” Donnie called. “Get a room.”

 

“I’ve seen you do a lot more with the girls you’ve dated.” Dex yelled back but then sighed. “We do have a lot of tents to put up though.”

 

Then Dex did something that surprised Derek, he gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then he turned, picked up a tent, and went to go put it up. Derek blinked for a moment in surprise. Benjamin caught his eye and gave him a warm smile. Derek smiled back feeling his face get warm, then followed after Dex.

 

Later that evening the girls came out to put up the signs for the tents and the boys all came in to shower up before dinner. Dex’s siblings and parents were the first Poindexters there, he found out, out of the entire family. And his grandparents but that made sense seeing as they lived in First Home.

 

“Ye must be Derek!” Dex’s grandmother clasped Derek’s hand with a surprisingly strong grip and a thick Irish accent. “Absolute pleasure, I’m William’s grandmother, Aoife.”

 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” Derek replied with a hesitant smile. Did she know he was ‘dating’ her grandson? You can never tell what people tell the family elders.

 

She ushered him into the dining room to a long table with eleven spaces squeezed around it. Derek was a pretty big guy, as was Dex. He hadn’t actually met the sisters yet, but the brothers were also pretty muscular. Most likely from working on the lobster boats or on the farm. There was going to be a lot of knocking elbows.

 

There were place-cards around the table which told each person where to sit. Derek was thankfully next to Dex, with Roisin on one side and opposite someone called Vanya. He pulled his chair out and waited for Dex to come down from his shower.

 

Hearing footsteps he looked up hoping to see Dex, something he never expected to hope for. Instead a dark-skinned woman stopped short at the sight of him and then smiled. She was beautiful, her hair in two buns and dark burgundy lipstick on. She wore a dark grey vest over black jeans with burgundy boots. The whole look was simple but put together. 

 

“Hi, I’m Vanya.” She grinned. “Dex didn’t mention his boyfriend wasn’t white. Hope you don’t mind me saying, but I feel a lot better not being the only non-white person here.”

 

Derek let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding, his shoulders relaxing. “Oh dude, no worries. Me too actually.”

 

Vanya came around the table and took her seat opposite him. “The table will be empty and then suddenly they’ll all come streaming in.”

 

“Dex is like that at Samwell, you think he’s going to be late and then suddenly there he is.” Derek replied truthfully. “This place feels a little ‘Get Out’ doesn’t it?

 

Vanya laughed. “Oh, my goodness yes. I’m so glad not to be the only one anymore though. If they start killing us, you got my back right?”

 

“Ride or die.” He nodded, holding his hand out to shake hers.  

 

“You guys making some kind of blood pact?” Dex asked as he strolled into the room.

 

“Dex!” Vanya smiled in surprise. “You’re early.”

 

Dex’s face went bright red as he mumbled, “I didn’t really wanna leave Nursey alone with the family.”

 

“Aw that’s so sweet.” Vanya said, placing her hand over her heart. “Ben just throws me to the wolves.”

 

Dex took his seat next to Derek and leaned back in it casually. The height of comfort. He seemed very relaxed with Vanya, Derek noticed. Unlike with Donnie and Chris.

 

“Yeah well.” Dex shrugged. “Donnie and Chris are more comfortable making jokes at our expense than they are at yours.”

 

Vanya’s eyes darkened. “Surely not?”

 

Derek smiled weakly. “Nothing too out there, not outwardly or aggressively homophobic, but literally from the second I arrived.”

 

Vanya threw her hands up in disgust and swore in a language that sounded an awful lot like Russian. Noticing his expression, she smiled and said, “My dad is Russian, my mother’s family are originally Nigerian. My full name is Vanya Ngozi Uzu-Plotskivich.”

 

“That’s quite a name.” Derek grinned at her. “Not Poindexter?”

 

She laughed and shook her head. “Not ginger enough.”

 

Hearing the sounds of footsteps, Derek braced himself for the onslaught of many Poindexters. Donnie, Chris, and Ben all appeared in quick succession, Ben bending down to kiss Vanya on the cheek before taking his seat. Then came in two girls Derek hadn’t seen before, who he assumed were Cathy and Roisin.

 

They were both fairly tall, Cathy seemed to be in her late twenties or early thirties whereas Roisin was about 16. Roisin’s hair fell in a tangle of curls whereas Cathy’s was carefully straightened and held in an elegant bun. They seemed complete opposites but both walked in the same graceful manner.

 

“Derek?” Roisin asked her eyes wide as she took her seat next to him. “Pleasure.”

 

“Right back at you.” Derek replied, taking the hand she’d offered.

 

“So, you’re the one who turned Wills away from skirt.” Cathy said with a sincere smile. Derek wasn’t sure how to take that, whether it had been a compliment, an observation, or a joke.

 

“I guess so.” Derek said uncomfortably. He risked a glance at Will who had his eyes on the ceiling. Derek wondered how long he’d been putting up with this. Needlessly too, he thought, since he’s not even gay.

 

“We were all wondering when Willy was going to get over his last girlfriend, if ever. Nasty breakup that was. We’d assumed he’d been living a celibate life at that school of yours then the next thing we know he’s got himself a boyfriend. Typical.” Cathy rolled her eyes with a laugh.

 

Derek felt immensely uncomfortable, both for him and for Dex. Dex didn’t deserve to have his past relationships aired, or his sex life for that matter. Dex had finally looked down from the ceiling and was glaring at Cathy. 

 

“Oh,” Derek said with a laugh. “Will was hardly celibate before me.”

 

The uncomfortable atmosphere moved from Derek and Dex to the rest of the assembled group, no one wanted to hear about their sibling’s sexcapades. Derek felt a sense of satisfaction at this as Dex’s parents came into the room carrying food, behind them were Dex’s grandparents who were carrying jugs of water. Derek offered to help but was waved off by all four of them.

 

“Parents will cook and present the food; the kids will clean it up.” Aoife grinned at him. “Donovan, Roisin, it’s your turn today.”

 

Dinner went mostly fine, everyone laughed and joked. Whenever something Exceptionally White would happen Derek and Vanya would share a look, it wasn’t even conscious, their eyes would just find each other. Roisin seemed really shy of Derek, like she wasn’t quite sure how to talk to him or what to say but with the rest of her family she seemed very outgoing. There were a lot of comments dropped, mostly by Donnie and Cathy. Chris surprisingly didn’t say anything, what he did instead was just not really talk to either Dex or Derek.

 

“Family will start arriving tomorrow.” Dex’s mom said with a sigh. “We should all get an early night, we’ve got a long week ahead of us.”

 

And boy was she right. The next day Derek and Dex barely even had time to say one word to one another. Now that Derek knew the layout of the campsite he and Dex had been delegated to separate areas to direct the people streaming in. Derek had a list with him with a list of names with a number next to it, as the field had been divided overall into 8 sections, so that all he had to do was ask the name whomever came up to him, check his list, and point out the direction of the plot.

 

This mostly went fine. The people rolling in were generally the families who’d set off early as with their kids. They all smiled at him tiredly and occasionally leaned back to tell of their kids. Everyone asked who he was, which was understandable, he looked nothing like them.

 

“I’m Derek.” He’d say with a smile. Some would look at him with wide eyes as they realised who he was. Other’s would smile awkwardly. A handful looked delighted to see him, and Derek couldn’t tell if it was out of genuine acceptance, trying to be over accepting, or if maybe they felt relieved that there was an ‘Out’ person around.

 

There were some who didn’t understand who he was or what he was doing with the family, but made their own assumptions. Derek never offered the information freely. Let them be confused, he thought. There was one older woman though, in her late 40s he guessed, with that Let-Me-Speak-To-The-Manager dyed blonde bob.

 

She rolled up in her car and said, “Oh! Did we finally hire some help this year?”

 

She said it so genuinely, as though she were relieved. As though that wasn’t insulting. As though he’d laugh or something. It made Derek seethe.

 

“No, actually.” He said politely, his Customer-Service-Smile cold. “I’m Will’s boyfriend. Dave and Aisling’s Will.”

 

She had gone bright red and said a tight “Oh.”

 

“And who might you be?” He cocked his head. When she gained an outraged look, he tapped his list innocently. “So I can tell you where to go.”

 

“Shannon.” She replied stiffly, hands gripping her steering wheel.

 

“Plot 5.” He smiled and waved as she drove away. He’d have to ask Dex about her later cause hot damn, she was not a happy camper, as it were.

 

They were switched out around lunch time. Dex’s sisters had eaten before them and were going to take their places directing relatives. Dex looked exceptionally drained when Derek saw him strolling toward him.

 

“You good man?” Derek asked.

 

“Family man.” Dex shook his head. “Fucking family.”

 

“I don’t quite relate.” Derek replied as they strolled toward the house. “Fucking family, but mine in a very different way. There are like 5 of us and I rarely see them. When we do it’s pretty chill. If you ever wanna escape a family function feel free to say you’re spending it with my family and we can just hang out.”

 

“Bro, really?” Dex asked, surprise evident on his face.

 

“Yeah man. Like, I’d heard big families could be a lot, but I was always kind of jealous? But being around so many people, and it’s only been two days.” Realising how that sounded Derek quickly clarified, “not that I don’t like them! Ben and Vanya are great, as were some of the people who came through today. Not all though, I met your aunt Shannon…”

 

Dex stopped in his tracks. “Oh God you got Shannon? Dude I’m so sorry, what did she say.”

 

Nerves started to get the better of Derek, this wasn’t his family. He wasn’t even dating Dex. He didn’t want to cause issues on his behalf when he shouldn’t even be here. “Naw man don’t worry about it.”

 

Dex grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him so they were face to face. “That’s your ‘I’m going to play this off as chill but something really un-chill just went down’ face.”

 

Derek was stunned that Dex could see through him so well. It was kind of touching, that their friendship had grown into this.

 

“Boys!” Dex’s mum called through the open window. “Come, eat, now.”

 

They slowly made their way into the house as Derek said in a low voice. “She asked if I was the hired help.”

 

“What!” Dex hissed. Derek could tell it was shock that had taken the volume out of Dex’s voice, because his face looked livid.

 

“And I told her that, no, I was your boyfriend. She didn’t like that.” Nursey summarised. "Feels weird to call myself your boyfriend, but the look on her face. Oof." 

 

“Wills what’s wrong?” Dex’s mother asked as the two appeared in the doorway. Vanya and Ben were also sat at the table picking at the cold spread of food on the table.

 

“Aunt Shannon asked Derek if he was the hired help.” Dex spat, anger evident all over his face and in his voice.

 

“She did what?” Dex’s mother roared, surprising Derek.

 

Ben let out an angry huff while Vanya didn’t look surprised. Dex’s mother started busying herself around the room angrily tidying and arranging the food, muttering the whole time. Dex watched his mother go, crossing his arms and just generally looking pretty pissed off. 

 

“I’m not surprised.” Ben said. “She avoids Vanya like the plague.”

 

“And she can stay avoiding me, I don’t want anything to do with that woman.” Vanya retorted.

 

“Derek told her he was my boyfriend. She apparently didn’t like it that much.” Dex continued. Hearing Dex called him Derek sent weird shocks through Derek. Not in a good or bad way, just unexpected. And kind of nice. 

 

Dex's mother stopped flitting around the room and paused by the head table. “Oh honey, we hadn’t told her. We didn’t tell everyone, that would be a lot of people to tell. Besides, Granny was worried she wouldn’t come if she knew. We didn’t want to cause a stink unnecessarily; this event is about family. Old and new.”

 

“Unnecessarily?” Dex said loudly, a decibel below a yell. “She called my boyfriend the help! If she had decided not to come because she’s a homophobic bigot then that’s on her!”

 

Dex turned on his heal and headed out of the room. Derek felt both very uncomfortable with the whole situation, and flattered that Dex was so angry about this. He did wonder though, if he wasn't posing as a boyfriend but just a visiting friend whether the reaction would be the same. 

 

“William! Your food.” His mother called halfheartedly.

 

“I’m not hungry.” He yelled over his shoulder, making his way to the stairs. Moments later there was a loud bang as the door to their room slammed shut.

 

“You mind if I take him some food?” Derek asked after a moment of silence.

 

“Oh darling, would you?” Aisling said tiredly, her hand on her forehead. “Derek, you don’t think I was wrong not to tell her?”

 

Derek froze. He really hated being put on the spot, especially when it really wasn’t his place to say anything. “I really don’t think I’m the right person to ask.”

 

“Was she horrible to you?” she asked, deflating a little, which made Derek feel guilty. For what, he didn’t know.

 

“I’ve had worse.” He replied simply, trying to avoid answering.

 

Vanya snorted. “That’s code for ‘she was an absolute cow, but I don’t want to talk smack to her family.’”

 

Derek shot her a surprised look. She seemed pretty comfortable here with Ben and Vanya. When his eyes slid to Ben he noticed a hardened look his eyes. They flicked up to meet Derek’s. Derek could tell Ben was seething as much as Dex was, he just had a better handle on his emotions.

 

Aisling handed Derek two plates piled with various bits and bobs. With one last awkward smile, Derek left to go upstairs and face Dex. Usually he was the cause of Dex being so angry, in which case he often avoided Dex in the after math. He may have to message Chowder to get some help.

Chapter Text

Will lay face down on the bed he shared with Nursey, a riot of emotions going through him. He knew he often got a bit too angry and he honestly had no idea whether he’d overreacted or not. Was he right in being so mad at Aunt Shannon? She’d been racist and homophobic, though she hadn’t even known Will had a supposed boyfriend so in all fairness it might have been a shock. And his mother didn’t seem to think the homophobic side was that bad. Then again, his mother hadn’t seen anything wrong with what Cathy had been saying the night before.

 

He also felt guilt for dragging Nursey into this. He really didn’t deserve to be thrown into such a cess pit of bigotry. He knew a lot of his relatives supported him and many more didn’t give a shit. But there were so many who didn’t understand why what they were saying wasn’t chill, and he didn’t have the eloquence Shitty had at dealing with it.

 

There was a soft knock on the door. As Will sat up it opened, and Nursey came in with two plates balance on one arm. Will got up and took both off him immediately, impressed he’d made it all the way upstairs without dropping them. Nursey smiled at him gratefully.

 

Will sat down on the floor, his back against the bed as Nursey copied him, but had his back against the dresser so that they were facing one another.

 

“You good?” Nursey asked softly as he picked at his plate.

 

“Honestly man? No.” Will replied, his eyes on his plate of food he wasn’t ready to touch yet. “I’ve been dealing with shit like this all year and it’s gotten worse with you here. I thought they’d at least have some decency since you’re a guest, but I guess not. I’m really fucking sorry bro. You really don’t deserve to be dragged into this shit show.”

 

Nursey remained silent through Will’s rant, maybe he didn’t know what to say. Maybe he was mad at Will. The need to fill the silence, to explain himself overwhelmed Will as he pressed on.

 

“I guess you’ve dealt with this shit for a long time. I was probably worse when we first met, so thank you. For sticking by me and helping me through that ignorance.”

 

“Dude stop.” Nursey said haltingly. Regret and fear flooded through Will again, thinking he’d made everything worse for himself. “You weren’t bad at all really, when we first met. Just very defensive, and now it’s like all that energy you used to spend protecting yourself you’ve now used to protect your friends. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to come here, living it is worse though. But I knew what I was getting into. Having Vanya here helps too, to not feel so alone.”

 

“Vanya?” Will frowned and a moment later he got it. “Oh, outsiders and… not white.”

 

“Yeah, not white.” Nursey laughed. “And even though you’re not actually gay you are getting the shit really thrown at you.”

 

“S’alright.” Will mumbled. “It started to get my brothers to shut up, I never thought that I might lose family over it.”

 

“I’m really sorry bro.” Nursey said, genuinely. “I’m lucky in that no one close to me ever actually cared who I loved or what I did with my dick. Most of the hate I get is from people I don’t even know.”

 

“Like my family.” Will said, feeling cold spread through him.

 

“Yeah, your family.” Nursey said leaning forward toward Will to look him in the eye. “You have people you love hating you for something most people don’t have control of. You are actually a straight guy who understands what it’s like. You can say ‘yeah but I’m not actually gay’ and other people can say it too, that it’s not hard for you. But it is, Will, ‘cause you’ve just found out that the love your family has for you comes with terms and conditions.”

 

Will felt his eyes start to sting at Nursey’s words. Looking up at the ceiling he let out a hollow laugh. “Fuck dude.”

 

“Aw man, I didn’t mean to make you cry!” Nursey moaned. “I was actually trying to compliment you and make you feel better. I just really suck at it.”

 

“No, no, man. You did. Kinda. Well not really. What you did was verbalise and make sense of what I was feeling, I guess.” Will breathed slowly. “You’re like my bi-guide to growing up lgbt in a repressive place.”

 

“Thank you for acknowledging I’m bi.” Nursey laughed.

 

“Visibility innit.” Will replied, his heart slowing down and the feeling that he was going to cry ebbing. “Can I ask you something?”

 

“Uh” Nursey said wearily. “Sure.”

 

Will swallowed and wet his lips. He felt more vulnerable in this moment than he had any other time with Nursey, which was saying something as Nursey had a way of getting under his skin.

 

“Do you think I overreacted just now? Downstairs?” He asked quietly.

 

When Nursey didn’t respond straight away he looked up at him, knowing he was currently wearing his heart on his sleeve. That his fear would be evident on his face. Nursey looked thoughtful and was opening and closing his mouth, trying to figure out how to reply.

 

“I think,” Nursey started slowly, “I think you do have anger issues, and I think that’s something you know. I think that it’s something you try and work on a lot, which leads to you second guessing yourself a lot. Especially when it comes to topics you’re not well verse in, like race and lgbt+.”

 

Nursey paused, and Will let what Nursey said sink in. His initial response was to be annoyed, but he could also sense that was coming from defensiveness.

 

“When you got as angry and defensive as you did, I think personally I found it quite nice. It was like knowing you D-man has your back on and off the ice, which I already knew bro. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it felt nice to not have to sit and take shit for once, it felt nice to have a friend who got that riled up on the behalf of me. It told me that you cared about me. It told me that you’d grown and learned a lot since we first met because you understood why what Shannon said was unacceptable and not just an ignorant and honest mistake.”

 

“Thanks man.” Will said softly, unable to look at Nursey. “It helps, ya know, to have someone I trust tell me if my responses are too much. I’ve already trusted my family to let me know when I was being too much but in this case… In this case I don’t think they know what’s an overreaction or not.”

 

“That being said,” Nursey said, “if I wasn’t posing as your boyfriend… would you have gotten that angry?”

 

Will blinked up at Nursey and was surprised to see genuine worry there. “Dude, of course. You’re my D-man dude, I have your fuckin back bro.”

 

“What if she’d said that to Vanya?” Nursey wondered.

 

Will took a longer time responding than he had last time. “I definitely still be mad, that shit really ain’t cool. But I think I’d leave it to her and Ben to figure out how they wanted to handle it. I don’t think it would be my place to go off on her behalf, unless it happened in front of me, I don’t think I’d be able to not tell Shannon where she can shove it. Is that, um, okay?”

 

“This isn’t a test, Dex.” Nursey said, holding his hands up. “I’m just curious. Okay, so, if it hadn’t been people you knew though, people at a train station. What would you do?”

 

“I’m not entirely sure. I’d think it was wrong.” Will said slowly. “Maybe ask the person being abused if they were okay? I don’t think I’d confront the bigot though. From what Shitty’s said that just escalates situations, especially with my temper. Shitty could probably talk the bigots ear off and give them an eloquent lecture on the wrongs of their ways complete with citations and references.”

 

“Knock knock!” A voice called before Chris appeared around the door. “Oh, you’re actually eating. Ma said you’d stormed up here in a huff, I assumed you two were getting it on. But it seems you’re having a heart to heart, now that is gay.”

 

“Fuck off Chris.” Will groaned, really not in the mood for this.

 

“Whatever Will but hurry up. There’s shit to be done and just cause you’re going through a phase doesn’t mean you don’t have to do shit around here.” And with that Chris left.

 

“A phase?” Nursey said disbelievingly. “Did he just call this a fucking phase? What like someone would go through this willingly – oh. I guess you are but it’s not a phase.”

 

“Yeah, I think Chris’ issue is that he just doesn’t really believe it’s true. Which he’s right, but fuck am I going to let him know that.” Will mumbled. “He’s being an absolute prick and if I were gay it would hurt so much fucking more. I think.”

 

Nursey looked at Will sympathetically.

 

“We need to eat up.” Will sighed, quickly cramming the food on his plate into his mouth. If there was something he was good at, it was putting away food like nobody’s business.

 

As they came down the stairs Donnie let out a huge wolf whistle. Will had to count to 10 in his head before continuing into the living room where Donnie, Chris, Roisin and a few other cousins were lounging around.

 

“Don’t bother Donnie,” Chris said sneeringly, “They weren’t getting down, they were just talking.”

 

He said it in the way most 10-year-old boys talk about anything girls their age did. He was being condescending and Will hated it. It reminded him of being the youngest boy all over again, with three older brothers the little one almost always got the short straw. That is, until Roisin was born. He was allowed to hang out with the boys then.

 

“Weak dude.” Donnie laughed. “But I hear gays are more in touch with their emotions.”

 

The cousins they were sat with laughed along too. Roisin, however, looked a little uncomfortable.

 

“Will, man, I’d heard you’d turned gay.” Will’s cousin Faolan said leaning back and grinning like mad. “Crazy man.”  

 

“See I reckon he just wanted to do stuff girls usually say no to.” Another cousin, Eddie, remarked.

 

Disgust and anger rocketed through Will, he knew they were worse because they were together, bouncing off each other’s energy and being cheered on through their laughter.

 

“Nah, Ed, they’d have to actually stop talking about their feelings first and actually get down. I doubt they’ve got that fair, how long have you two been a thing again, Will? Like a year?” Donnie snorted.

 

“Actually, we just have a little more tact about when we ‘get down.’” Will sneered at his brother. “Cause when we do, ‘get down,’ we’re not very good at staying quiet.”

 

“Ooooo” his cousins all jeered, just happy to have this bro-y bantery atmosphere, they didn’t actually care if Will was gay or not. They just liked this sort of back and forth. And that annoyed Will more. They were happy to back him up so long as what he said was on par with this cutting remarks, which also meant they were just as happy to tear him down if the comment was funny enough.

 

“You guys are all gross.” Roisin said, standing up. “Come on Will, Derek, Uncle Bill wanted help outside.”  

 

“Sorry for saying that, Rosie.” Will sighed as they left through the back door. “They just got to me.”

 

“Oh! Don’t apologise to me Will!” She said, her voice full of worry. “I know they were being… Well… It got worse when the two of you came in.”

 

She risked a peek at Nursey, then blushed and ducked her head again. Will thought for a moment, then thought that maybe… No… Did his little sister have a crush on his fake boyfriend?

 

“And how do you feel about it, Little Rose?” Will asked, taking Nursey’s hand to indicate what he meant. The name ‘Roisin’ meant little rose, so rose or rosie was often the nickname used for Roisin.

 

“I don’t think it’s all that weird.” She said thoughtfully. “I get it, cause, um, well you’re pretty hot Derek. Hotter than anyone else he’s ever brought home.”

 

Nursey let out a big laugh at that. “Is that why you won’t look at me? Cause I’m hot?”

 

“No!” She said quickly, which meant yes.

 

“Sorry, I’m taken.” Nursey said, placing a kiss on Will’s cheek.

 

“Oh, shut up!” She huffed at the two of them, but she was smiling. “It wasn’t just that though… It was also what people have been saying, ya know?”

 

Nursey and Will shared a look. Will hadn’t actually given much thought about what kind of drivel his family might be filling Roisin’s head with. Even though she was 16, she was still quite young for her age. Cathy was endlessly trying to get her to be more interested in the way she looked and presented herself.

 

“What have people been saying, Rosie?” Will asked in a low voice.

 

Roisin chewed her lip and pushed forward towards where a group of middle-aged Poindexters were setting up an outdoor seating area. Will sighed, Roisin was probably trying to protect him, and Derek. That and she didn’t want to get in trouble with either side. It was something all of them had learned as kids, the messenger often got shot. Snitches get stitches and all that.

 

“Hey, don’t worry about it.” Nursey said, clapping his hand on Will’s shoulder.

 

But Will did in fact worry about it. Something they were both aware of as they wandered over towards the group of people. There seemed to be a few groups of people rifling through big boxes and pulling out various electrical equipment. Mostly they were arguing with each other. It was the Poindexter way.

 

“William!” His Uncle Bill’s voice called. “Come help with these crates, bring your friend.”

 

“Friend.” Nursey muttered under his breath.

 

Will smiled at Nursey and shook his head. “Nah, Bill’s alright.”

 

Will’s Uncle Bill was a bit shorter than Will, but stockier than anyone else in the family. His breadth spoke to his life hauling on boats, not to mention hauling those boats around too, when they needed to come ashore. He was balding, something he complained about often as it meant he had to put sunscreen on his bald patch, something he often forgot to do. His wife, Jill, was trying to get him into hats.

 

He stood next to the back of his truck, the back of which was full of old wooden crates. He had unhitched the back so that removing the crates would be easier. What the crates were for, Will had no idea.

 

“Afternoon, William.” Bill touched his forehead, tipping an imaginary cap. “And you must be young Derek. Absolute pleasure!”

 

“Nice to meet you too.” Nursey said with a more genuine smile than Wil had seen him wear for the past two days. The two shook hands.

 

“What a grip!” Bill bellowed and let loose a boisterous laugh. “Gotta be strong if you wanna play Defence.”

 

“You play?” Nursey asked, interested.

 

“Used to, back in the day.” Bill said wistfully. “Taught this ‘un how to play an’ all.”

 

“So I have you to thank for bringing Will into my life.” Nursey said lightly. To Will’s family, that sounded romantic, to Will it sounded like a chirp. He couldn’t help but roll his eyes.

 

Uncle Bill let loose another loud laugh. “I guess so! But don’t go around telling anyone else that, don’t need them all mad at me.”

 

“Mad at you.” Will repeated, frowning at his uncle’s joke.

 

“Now William,” Bill sighed, “I ain’t gonna lie to ya and tell you that everyone is hunky dory with this gay business. Personally, what do I care for who ya love? Jill is a protestant and I love her all the same. Granny and Granpappy may not have been pleased but once they met her and got used to her they learned to love her nearly as much as I do. I don’t see how this is any different, it’s just new. A scandal if you will, every family needs one to tide them over for a bit. Give ‘em something to gossip about.”

 

Protestant, gay, potata, potada. Will found he didn’t really mine his uncle’s words all that much. He was on Will’s side, he still loved him, and he apparently couldn’t give less of a shit. That was good enough for Will.

 

“Now boys, we’re going to be using these crates as seats ya see. We’ll place them near the fireplace and the stage and throw some of those rough blankets over ‘em.” Bill pointed to wear the firepit had been dug out and behind it a large mat had been put down as the stage. “Hold yer arms out and I’ll load ‘em up with crates. Can you boys handle that?”

 

“Yes sir.” Nursey responded with an easy smile.

 

“Sure thing, Uncle Bill.” Will nodded.

 

They both got loaded up with a few crates each and headed over to the firepit. The work was slow going, as they had to lug the crates over, set them out in neatly, throw blankets over them, then repeat the whole process with a dozen more runs.

 

“Why’s there a stage?” Nursey huffed, sitting down on one of the crates.

 

Will grinned at him. “We’re Irish.”

 

Nursey cocked his head to the side. “So like… Folk songs?”

 

“Exactly.” Will nodded, enjoying the way Nursey’s face lit up. “There’s not a single person in the whole family who can’t play something.”

 

“So what do you play?” Nursey asked, raising his eyebrow as embarrassment flooded across Will’s face. They both knew he hadn’t meant to let that slip.

 

“Uh, guitar. Piano. Ya know.” Will shrugged.

 

“Do you sing?” Nursey pressed, his smile widening into a grin. Will squeezed his eyes shut and Nursey gasped. “Oh, that’s a yes.”

 

“Roisin plays the fiddle, Donnie can play the drums – any kind. I think he just likes making noise. Chris is good with a tambourine and Ben plays guitar too. Cathy plays the piano. Uhh ma plays the violin and da plays the cello.” Will was rambling, trying to get Nursey distracted.

 

“Tambourine doesn’t count.” Nursey scoffed.

 

“It does in folk.” Will shrugged. “You’ll probably see later tonight. Folk isn’t all we do, of course. People have personal styles and their own songs.”

 

“Do you?” Nursey smirked.

 

“Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll find out.” Will snipped teasingly. “Which is unlikely, ‘cause you have the worst luck.”

 

“Works not done boys!” Uncle Bill called from the truck. “Get a move on!”

 

Grinning, they both headed back to work. This time Ben was also by the truck. Adding a third body really sped up the process and they were able to finish by the time people were starting up the fire. It was still early afternoon but getting the fire roaring and all the food prepped would take the better part of the afternoon.

 

“You guys better shower.” Roisin said, wrinkling her nose, “especially if you want to escape chopping and pealing duty. Go on, I’ll tell ma.”

 

“Thanks sis,” Will said giving her a one-armed hug and dropping a kiss on her head. “We owe you one!”

 

Will, Nursey, and Ben all headed to the house, Ben ruffling his little sister’s hair as he passed. The three of them were walking against the current of people heading toward the firepit now that they could see smoke starting to rise. They were mostly given a wide berth; which Will was hoping was due to their height and size and not how badly they all stank.

 

They let Ben shower first and Will ended up going last. When he returned to his room he saw Nursey writing in a notebook. As Nursey heard Will enter he slid the notebook back into his bag, not one to pry, Will didn’t question it.

 

“Hurry up and get dressed.” Nursey said, enjoyment dancing in his eyes, “I really wanna see this folkdance sing-along.”

 

“Don’t get your hopes up, it’ll probably be a fair bit tamer tonight, as not everyone has arrived. “There’ll still be family rolling in until tomorrow morning I reckon. Gran usually doesn’t mind if people miss the first day or two, an entire week off can be difficult to manage. But she insists everyone is there for the last few days.”

 

“Do you guys do this every year?” Nursey asked, looking tired at the mere thought.

 

Will pulled on a fresh set of clothes as he answered. “Nah, usually like every five years? Roughly. There’s no set time but we usually start planning a few years ahead of time. And it’s always over summer.”

 

“So this is you’re… fourth?” Nursey guessed, as Will was 20 now.

 

“Fifth technically, there was one when I was 2, then 5, 10, 16, then this year.” Will paused. “Though I should mention that though this is the only ‘mandatory’ family event, we still do a lot of things like this throughout the year, like Thanksgiving, New Years, the like.”

 

“That sounds like it could be really great.” Nursey sighed.

 

“It was. When I was a kid. I guess the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve clashed with a few people, not everyone. This year feels like the best and the worst is being brought out in people. I feel closer to Ben and Roisin than I have in years, Uncle Bill too. But that also has the flip side of feeling like my brothers actually hate me.”

 

“I don’t think they hate you.” Nursey said softly after a moment. “I think they just have no idea how to respond and are kind of over doing it with the bro-y banter. It’s not necessarily mean spirited, just in very poor taste.”

 

“Either way, it’s tiring. You ready?” Will said quickly, wanting to stop talking about his family for five minutes. It was exhausting, being this emotionally vulnerable. Though it had definitely brought Will and Nursey closer together. There were just some things you couldn’t go through without bonding, being fake boyfriends was apparently one of them.

 

Nursey and Will headed out and toward the firepit, which now had flames reaching up into the sky. Nursey let out a low whistle as they walked. All around them young kids scampered past, giggling and screaming. Teenagers held onto alcopops that they were allowed to have at family events. Will loved this part of his family.

 

Roisin appeared and dragged them over to the Declan cousins, as Will referred to them, as they were all Declan’s kids. Declan’s wife had twins running in her family, so they had a set of twins both aged 15 and another pair aged 17.

 

“Alright, Will!?” Called Saoirse, the 17 year old. Will grinned and waved back.

Her twin Sinead appearing next to Nursey and grinning wildly at him, “You must be Derek. We’ve heard about you.”

 

Both girls had the same warm brunette hair, Sinead had wet curls and Saoirse with a messy bun. They both had matching mischievous grins as Will and Nursey sat on the crate circle they’d made.

 

“Derek, this is Sinead,” Will said, pointing at the girl next to him, “And that’s Saoirse.”

 

“Wanna try spelling that?” Saoirse leaned foreward, leaning her elbows on her knees.

 

Derek smirked at her, “S-A-O-I-R-S-E”

 

Both the twins raised their eyebrows in unison, clearly impressed.

 

“Good choice Will.” Sinead said.

 

“He’s an English Lit student,” Will explained, “you have a thing for Celtic poetry don’t you?”

 

Nursey shrugged. “You know how it is. Got any Morrigans’ in the brood?”

 

Will, along with his sister and cousins all laughed at that.

 

“Wasn’t Caitlin thinking of naming her baby Morrigan if it’s a girl?” A male voice spoke from behind them.

 

It was one of the other Declan twins, Cormac, his brother, Jonathon was a few steps behind him. Unlike their sisters, Cormac and Jon both put effort into looking rather different. Cormac had wild unruly hair that he had tied into a top not, whereas Jon looked rather smart with clipped hair and a pressed shirt.

 

“Beats me.” Sinead replied. “So Will.”

 

Will sighed, another interrogation was about to happen. At least Sinead and Saoirse were a bit more with the times than the rest of the family.

 

“My dad wants to show off the short film Saoirse and I made for school, I think they’re setting the projector up now. A few other proud parents are asking to do similar things, any chance you could mess up the electrics?” Sinead asked seriously.

 

Will let out a laugh. “If you dad wants to show you off, that’s your business. I’m not getting myself in trouble over this, I’ve got enough people on my case at the moment.”

 

“Willl it’s going to be so embarrassing!” Saoirse complained.

 

“Yeah,” Jon laughed, “Oh yeah it really is. I can’t wait.”

 

“Hey is this thing on?” Uncle Declan joked as he tapped the perfectly working mic. “Hello Poindexters! –” a cheer went up “– the younger members of our family have been up to a lot over the past few years. I’ve decided to show off a bit and show you the short film my two beautiful daughters, Saoirse and Sinead, won an award for!”

 

“It was a high school award dad!” Saoirse called, rolling her eyes.

 

“Hardly brag worthy.” Sinead said, also rolling her eyes.

 

“I’m a proud dad, so shoot me.” Declan laughed, holding his hands up. “Without further ado!”

 

The short film was a story about female body image and how media perpetuates and promotes self-hatred. It wasn’t bad, for a high schooler made film. The family all clapped and cheered accordingly when it ended. Jon and Cormac were gently ragging their sisters about being movie stars and directors, but they shot back just as hard. Nursey told them he liked it, that his friends had made something similar when he was in high school and gotten him to star in it.

 

Next one of his aunts put up a video of her daughter singing, which to be honest was very good. She had a beautifully haunting voice that swept over those watching. Next was a video of one of his cousins doing tricks, like flipping a bottle in weird places, or kicking the lid off.

 

Then Will’s mother walked onto the rug that was the stage and stood by the mic. “Most of you know that my youngest boy, Will, is at College at Samwell and plays for the Samwell Men’s Hockey team. Now, I went looking and found a highlight reel from this year’s season when my boy and his team made it to the Frozen Four! It was on a site called The Swallow?”

 

“Wait what?” Will said, all the blood draining from his face. Saoirse and Sinead started cackling with glee.

 

Will blinked, not expecting that at all. There had been a highlight reel made by The Swallow when the team had made it to the Frozen Four. He remembered mentioning it to his mother but had never actually followed up and sent it to her.

 

 “Not The Swallow.” Nursey groaned. “I didn’t actually see the reel, but Ransom and Holster did. They said it was dece, they used a cheesy song over the top or something. Put some of the commentary from our home games over too.”

 

As Will thought about the highlight reel he was reminded that he hadn’t actually invited his family to any games this year. There always seemed to be something clashing with the dates of the home games and the away games were often too out of the way for his family to get to. When he’d been asked about his games he usually just replied ‘it was good’ or ‘we lost’ and rarely elaborated. Now he was trying desperately to think back over the past year and about what could possibly be on that reel.

 

“I believe it’s the school newssite.” Aisling continued. “I’m incredibly proud of my boy. Sweetie, Dave honey, press play!”

 

Will’s mother ducked down and walked off the stage as his father pulled up the link to the video and pressed play. The screen was black as the first bar of Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers (of all people) started. Colour faded in on the screen, showing the team looking very serious as they all filed out onto the rink. Ransom, then Holster, as they were captains, followed by Bitty and the rest of his line. As the camera followed people out it eventually came up to Will and Nursey. They both wore very serious expression as they entered the rink.

 

A cheer came from the watching family members, loudest from his siblings, Will realised. He glanced over and saw Chris, Donnie, and Ben all whooping the loudest. His heart beat strangely in his chest, seeing his brothers being so supportive of this side of him.

 

Turning back to the screen he saw it was focussed on the puck drop as the music was speeding up, with the beat, it was dropped. The next few clips were of some sick fuckin goals with the commentary a notch louder than the music calling ‘and that was an amazing score by speedy little number 15, Eric Bittle, absolutely fantastic!’ and beautiful saves, mostly made by Chowder.

 

But soon it turned to the D-men doing interesting things, like Holster blocking the opposing D-Man that was chasing after Bitty with the commentary calling ‘And that’s why he’s one of the Captains folks, Adam Birkholtz coming out of nowhere to protect his little left wing.

 

Will felt himself smile, watching the reel, seeing the pretty great year he’d had with the team. The team that now felt like a second family to him.

 

Then his face appeared on the screen. He was moving in slow motion. Will recognised this moment, it was the time he’d scored during a game. The Will on screen pulled back his stick and slapped the puck, shooting past the opposing goalie by a hairs breadth. The commentary cheered ‘GOALLLL, William Poindexter, D-Man for Samwell has just scored a goal, look his teammates celebrate!

 

On screen Nursey crashed into Will, their helmets touching as Nursey cheered. They were looking right at each other, Will in shock and Nursey with pride. Seconds later Bitty and the others also crashed into Will.

 

In real life his family were also whooping and cheering, some screaming “That’s our Will!”

 

Interspersed with a few clips of his friends were ones that made Will blush. Such as the time he’d dropped gloves on a guy who had been chatting shit to Nursey and him all game. When he’d said something about Nursey that was a bit too far, he’d gone for him. ‘Poindexter has dropped his gloves and gone for Smith! And oh, Nurse is pulling Poindexter back! Would you look at that!”

 

Will remembered that incident, Nursey had told him the team needed him to defend the goal more than they needed him to defend his honour. They couldn’t risk having him on the bench.

 

A clip later showed a couple Yale guys icing Chowder, who still caught the puck they had tried to sneak in. ‘And ohhhhh Chris Chow, everybody, has caught the puck! He truly is an incredible goalie but oh what’s this? He has his head down, I think some ice got under his face guard. Uh oh, here come Poindexter and Nurse! And straight into Kline and Larkin! These two are known for being incredibly protective of their goalie. Mess with them and they’ll brush you off like you’re nothing, come for their goalie and you better hope you’ll be able to skate off afterward.’ On screen, Will and Nursey had caused a fight that caused everyone else to get involved.

 

Will’s family were loving it, as most of them were hockey fans. Whether they wanted to be or not, they knew hockey. It was the family way.

 

The video ended after a few more good saves and impressive goals. The closing clip was the team skating around the rink after a win, hands in the air, crowd cheering. Bitty did that one figure skating jump you can do in hockey skates. Ransom and Holster were twirling around gleefully.

 

“Oh, I want something just like this.’ The last line of the song sang as the picture faded out.

 

Will felt warmth spread through him. It really had been a great year. He would be sad to see Ransom, Holster, and Lardo go. He yearned to be back at Samwell where he could relax and generally be happy. He missed his team, his friends, people who you could be anyone around.

 

“William Jacob Poindexter!” his Uncle Bill’s voice called out. Looking over he saw his uncle waving him over, a huge grin plastered on his face.

 

Nursey and Will headed over to him, with him where some of the more intense hockey fans in the family. Ben, Chris, and Donnie also joined them. It was almost as though they had forgotten about the gay thing, now that they were talking about hockey. They asked what the guy Will had almost thrown down with had said and why Nursey had stopped him. They congratulated him on his goal and the fight they’d started. They commented on how speedy Bitty was, how good he was for a small guy. They asked why they had two captains and what they were like.

 

They also told stories of their own hockey days. Playing with friends, with family, in local leagues. They also told stories of when Will was a kid and first learning to skate, a lot of those stories were embarrassing but they made Nursey laugh. 

 

Will felt comfortable for the first time this week around his brothers. He was happy they were also complimenting Nursey on some of the plays he’d made. On his brutal checks. Nursey seemed comfortable too, talking with Will’s family about something he knew very well, and could talk about.

 

“Where did you learn how to play hockey, Derek?” Aunt Shannon asked. She had been sitting and listening for a while, laughing along and complimenting Will’s manliness when he played.

 

“I learnt in high school, I played a bit before, but really got into at when I went to high school.”  Nursey replied tightly.

 

“Oh? Whereabouts are you from?” Shannon asked, surprisingly not asking where he was really from.

 

“New York.” Nursey replied, a call of ‘yankee’ rippled out from those listening in.

 

“And they have ice rinks at those inner-city schools?” Shannon asked with a surprised tone.

 

Nursey’s eyes tightened. “I went to Andover, a private school.”

 

Will and Nursey had spoken before they left Samwell at the beginning of summer, about subjects that were better left avoided. Will had said that his family – thinking of his siblings and parents – wouldn’t really care that he had money. But Nursey had said he’d rather just not talk about it. In this instance, Will knew that he was telling Shannon to fuck off with her assumptions about black people.

 

“Oh well done!” Shannon said brightly. “You must be really clever to have gotten a scholarship there.”

 

“No, just rich.” Nursey said, face blank.

 

“Oh.” Shannon replied, clearly embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to assume.”

 

“But you did.” Nursey replied simply.

 

“So, Will!” Ben interrupted, “you and Derek taking down those guys who iced your goalie, you two were beasts.”

 

“Synergy.” Nursey and Will replied at the same time.

 

Those around them laughed.

 

“That’s the thing with D-men, you gotta have that bond with them.”

 

“From what I hear they don’t do a lot of bonding.” The comment was quiet, it had come from just next to them. Donnie had said it in a low voice to Faolan and Eddie, both boys had snorted with laughter.

 

Calls from those working by the fire and making dinner sounded and like a stamped, Poindexters started streaming in that direction. Will and Nursey stayed sitting where they were, suddenly feeling very drained.

Chapter Text

The next day was better, in Derek’s opinion. They spent the morning with Ben and Vanya, dossing about in the sun. They lay in the grass and snacked on fruit they’d stolen from breakfast. The sky was clear the sun was out and Derek felt more relaxed than he had for a while. 

 

“I don’t think I know the story.” Vanya said from where she lay on Ben.

 

Derek was sat next to Dex near them, not touching one another but lounging and enjoying a somewhat stress-free morning.

 

“What story?” Ben asked, his face angled toward the sky and sun.

 

Vanya smacked Ben lightly, “how they got together, dipshit.”

 

Ben frowned, tipping his head toward Derek and Dex and cocking it to the side. “Huh, nor do I.”

 

“Yeah well it’s not like anyone really wants me to talk about it.” Dex said, deflecting the obvious question there.

 

They’d discussed it, their getting together story. It wasn’t a great one or even a good one. It was just that one day they’d been hanging out (and totally not arguing pfft no) as usual when something changed. That Dex had already known Derek was into guys, that it started out with a kiss (how tf did it end up like this) and had spiralled from there. They’d talked about it, decided to give it a go, and here they were one year later happy as can be.

 

“You guys are still in the honeymoon phase.” Vanya said, once Derek and Dex had told the story rather dully. “That’s really sweet.”

 

“You saying we’re not?” Ben teased her.

 

“We came back from our honeymoon a few years ago babe. I’ve seen you take a shit. We’re out of the honeymoon phase.” Vanya replied drly, at which Ben burst out laughing.

 

Derek looked over to Dex and saw him pulling a face at the two of them, but he didn’t say anything. 

 

“How long ago did you two get married?” Derek asked.

 

“Idk like three years ago?” Vanya replied, making Ben roll his eyes and hold up four fingers. “We started renting our own place, it’s all nicely decorated and everything.”

 

“With a spare room for guests.” Dex said with a smirk, “or a child.”

 

Both Vanya and Ben went quiet and shared a Look. The smile slid from Will’s face as he watched his brother and sister-in-law, trying to figure out if the silence was a good thing or a bad thing.

 

“Um, actually…” Vanya coughed. “You’re going to be an uncle?”

 

Derek definitely felt like he was intruding on a private, family moment as Dex let out a loud whoop. Dex's entire face lit up. His eyes brightened, his grin split his face. It was nice to see Dex look so comfortable. 

 

“No way really?” Dex grinned, his hands clutching either side of his. “Congrats bro, holy fuck.”

 

“We’ve only been sure for about 14 weeks.” Vanya said, sitting up, looking absolutely ecstatic.

 

“So, like… three months? Three whole months!” Dex’s eyes widened, “Ma’s gonna freak. Her first grandbaby!”

 

“She’s gonna freak that we didn’t tell her sooner.” Ben said, looking a little dazed. “It’s going to be a lot telling the family. They love whenever someone has a new baby.”

 

“First black Poindexter though.” Vanya grinned. "I'm fairly certain anyhow." 

 

“So, it’s going to be a Poindexter?” Derek asked, the words forming on his lips before he could stop them. He hadn’t wanted to take part in this family moment, not when it was so clearly nothing to do with him. But then Dex turned to look at him, his eyes gleaming and looking just so happy. Their shared look felt like Dex was including him in this moment, pulling him in and sharing his joy. Vanya too, turned at gave him a grin that felt like an inside ‘we have each other’s backs because we’re the outsiders’ look.

 

“Yeah, as attached as I am to my last name I don’t particularly want to pass it on. I want my kid to be one of the Poindexters, not that they wouldn’t be part of the family if they weren’t.” She scrunched up her face as she tried to think of the words.

 

“Will you name it something Irish, Nigerian, or Russian?” Dex wondered. “I can’t imagine a Poindexter without an Irish or biblical name.”  

 

Ben and Vanya shared another look, this one clearly stating that they’d discussed it. “We’re not sure. We’re not finding out the sex, so I think we’ll have a list of names and when they’re born we’ll know. Is the hope anyway.”

 

“Wow, holy shit, an uncle.” Dex breathed. “who else have you told?”

 

“We haven’t, yet.” Vanya said sheepishly. “Once you tell someone, everyone will know. And we just know someone will get offended if we don’t tell them ourselves, so it’s a matter of making sure we get to the right people as quickly as possible.”

 

“Wait, so we’re the first to know?” Dex said, looking honoured. What Derek’s brain homed in on, however, was the fact that he’d said ‘we.’

 

“We know that you two can keep a secret.” Ben said bashfully and pointedly.

 

Dex sent Derek a panicked look, a look that said to Derek that he felt bad about lying. Derek gave him a small shrug. If he wanted to tell his brother the truth that was his choice, it didn’t, and shouldn’t, affect Derek at all.

 

“What’s wrong, you two?” Vanya asked in a voice that sounded a lot like Derek’s mom when she was trying to approach a subject carefully, or maybe Derek was projecting.

 

“Um, well.” Dex swallowed. “Nursey and I – ugh, Derek and I, we aren’t actually dating.”

 

Ben blinked at the two of them as Vanya frowned. Derek’s heart sank, he felt like he was disappointing them. It was so stupid, this wasn’t even his family.

 

“Chris was really, and I mean really, pissing me off with his ragging. So, when he asked if I found myself a boyfriend… I just said yes?” Dex carried on, the rant building up in him and turning his face red. “It was mostly to get him to shut the fuck up and it sort of spiralled. I didn’t actually think about how that would affect my standing with the family but when it did… Well it just made me more mad. Nursey and I were actually talking about this the other day. When the love my family had for me became dependant on what I decided to do with my dick I just saw red. It’s not fair, and in a family as large as ours I’m certain there are LGBT+ people who were scared that what’s happening to me would happen to me. Since I’d already set myself on this path I figured why not fight it, so that it might become easier for someone else. So that maybe I could change some attitudes in this family, we let too much shit slide in the name of ‘keeping the peace’ and I’m kinda sick of it.”

 

“Holy shit Will.” Ben said, his eyebrows raised, eyes flicking between Derek and Dex as though he were looking for proof.

 

“I know, I know.” Dex waved his brother off. “I asked a few guys on the team if they’d be my fake boyfriend for this week and Nursey was the only one who was free.”

 

“That’s…” Vanya said. “I don’t even know, Will.”

 

Dex dropped his head, guilt all over his face. Derek could relate, he too felt as though he’d let them down somehow. He felt even more like an outsider now, he couldn’t even pretend that he was in the same boat as Vanya. He wasn’t a significant other, he wasn’t committed to this family like she was.

 

“It’s just so sweet.” Vanya said, causing Dex’s head to snap up. “That you’d put yourself out there for any potential family members who might need this. You too, Derek, for opening yourself up to something like this.”

 

“I almost don’t believe it.” Ben laughed. “You guys are so, er, well, cute together. Like cheek kisses, and sticking up for each other, and hand holding, and like in your highlight reel, right? You were so proud of Will for scoring, and you calmed him down and stopped him fighting some jagwad? Not just anyone can do that.”

 

“You been watching them?” Vanya remarked with a laugh. Ben flipped her off, his neck had gone red, Derek noticed, unlike Dex, Ben’s blush was in his neck not his face.

 

“Honestly, Dex and I have been getting along better this week than we have for the last two years.” Derek gave a weak laugh, which Dex echoed.

 

“Oh yeah bro, it’s actually mad how we literally haven’t had an argument yet.” Dex laughed, the sound of it warming Derek slightly, making him feel less awful.

 

“Probably because you’ve been spending all your energy on fighting everyone else.” Derek grinned.

 

“Too real.” Dex shook his head. “Too fuckin real.”

 

“A morning of revelations.” Ben said, falling back in the grass.

 

Vanya, Dex, and Derek all nodded along in agreement. The atmosphere had changed rapidly from chilled, to joyous, to serene.

 

“I really appreciated you coming to talk to me though.” Dex smiled at his brother. “Letting me know you were there for me and loved me. It’s nice knowing someone has your back.”

 

“You’re my brother.” Ben shrugged. “Chris and Donnie still love you, they’re just… Well they’re just real dumb.”

 

Dex let out a snort of laughter. Derek caught Vanya’s eye, her eyes seemed to be conveying, ‘yeah you can say that again.’ Tension eased out of Derek, it was nice that he still had this with Vanya. Oh wow, he most likely wouldn't see her again after this week. Who sees their college friends' extended families? Especially once they graduated. 

 

“Just don’t come to me when you need to bury a body.” Ben joked. “I’ve got a family to think about now.”

 

Vanya looked at Ben with a gooey look Derek had expected from her. He almost couldn’t tear his eyes away from them, watching their obvious love for one another. Then he glanced at Dex, who seemed to be having the same thoughts. 

 

“Who would have been your first pick?” Derek wondered, his mind going back to when Dex had said ‘Nursey was the only one who was free.’ Something in him had almost taken offence, which was ridiculous.

 

“I dunno man, Shitty maybe? He’d know what to say, all I’d have to do is set him loose and he’d have at it. But I don’t think it would have been believable, we just don’t have that relationship. Bitty is, and like, I know how this sounds, but the most believably gay to a conservative family who take stock in their gender roles. Honestly though, I think he gets so much of this shit at home he’d either take it as an opportunity to release some of that anger or it would really hurt him.”

 

“Wow you’re really thinking about this.” Derek laughed. “First name that comes to mind when I ask, okay? Dex, Dexy, who do you want for you fake boyfriend?”

 

“You.” Dex replied immediately.

 

Warmth blossomed in Derek’s chest, a smile playing on his lips. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Ben and Vanya share a look. Which he chose to ignore.

 

“Why me?”

 

“I feel like it makes the most sense.” Dex replied, not even realising how that might sound. “We’ve got a lot of history, probably the most out of all the guys I know on the team. You and Chowder. And then ‘cause we clashed so hard in the beginning, it’s kinda like what I said to my ma, hate and love are easy to confuse.”

 

“You know we’re not actually together, right?” Derek chirped, but his chest responded differently. His heart had stuttered and whether consciously or not, refused to think about what that meant.

 

Dex went bright red as he reached out and hit Derek on the arm. “Yeah, you dick.”

 

The four of them stayed chatting until Roisin came to get them, they were needed for peeling duty. She complained about being the family errand girl this week, but at least she didn't have to prep the food. Big family gatherings were a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of scheduling, and a metric fuck ton of food. But everyone pitched in, bought in bulk, donated what they could.

 

Derek ended up sitting next to Granny Aoife, who was also peeling potatoes. Dex was a little way away sitting with Cormac, Faolan, and Sinead. As they had been late they didn’t get to choose what job they did and thus were separated for the first time this trip. Derek would have to socialise with Dex’s family, which had been giving him anxiety. Being seated next to Granny Aoife had cooled him a little bit.

 

“So what do ye know ‘bout First Home?” Aoife asked, her hands moving quickly over the potatoes for someone her age. Whatever that age was.

 

“Ugh, Dex, um, Will said it was the first house that the Poindexter’s bought when you guys came over from Ireland.” Derek said, wracking his brain to see if there had been anything else.

 

“That it is.” Aoife smiled. “It’s a lot bigger now than it first was. Me da had made the first house, and me brudders worked on it after he died, made into something resembling what it is now.”

 

“Must be really old then.” Derek mumbled, not really knowing what to say but enjoying listening to Granny Aoife talk. He could tell she enjoyed telling her story.

 

“About as old as I am.” Aoife smiled and winked. “I was only a babe when it was first built, and now I get to see all my children, and my children’s children, and sometimes even their children, get to enjoy it.”

 

“You’re the Poindexter, aren’t you?” Derek asked, drawing on something he’d realised about quite a few women in the family.

 

Granny Aoife smiled at him, almost proudly. “Yes, me husband took my name, it wasn’t done back then but we did it anyway. Poindexter’s don’t take well to being what to do. Willaim’s mother did it too, she’s mine o’ course. When Dave proposed to her she told him, ‘I’ll only do it if I get ta keep me name, I care nought what you do with yours.’ And Dave, good lad he was, took the Poindexter name too.”

 

Granny Aoife continued to talk to Derek about the family history, how she’d had her first kid quite young and by the time she’d had her last her eldest was about to have his first. It meant that a lot of the generations were a bit skewed with siblings being decades apart and cousins being the same age. Grandchilden and great grandchildren. Aoife admitted that at this point she wasn’t sure who was whose most of the time, just that they were all hers.

 

“Hey,” Dex’s hand fell on Derek’s shoulder, “we’ve been set free.”

 

“Aoife, it’s been an absolute pleasure.” Derek smiled and took Granny Aoife’s hand, giving it a swift kiss.

 

“Call me Granny, young man.” Granny Aoife chided. "And remember, just because people don't want you to do something, or think it's a little odd, remember that Poindexter's have never been all that interested in doing what everyone else did when it comes to tradition. That goes fer the both of ya's." 

 

Dex blushed a rather dashing red at his grandmother's words. Derek felt a warm, homely feeling bloom in his chest. It was as though for every Poindexter that didn't approve of Dex's supposed homosexuality, there was one who let him know he was still loved. As they walked away Derek noticed Dex smiling to himself almost smugly.

 

“What you smilin’ at?” Derek asked suspiciously as they walked toward the house. 

 

“You’re starting to sound like us.” Dex said, eyeing Derek up. Derek frowned at him and his smile grew. “You said ‘absolute pleasure,’ it’s a very Poindexter thing. You might have noticed.”

 

“Good fucking lord I’ve been here too long.” But Derek found himself grinning as they entered the house. They were in the search for hydration.

 

“Hey have you checked the group chat?” Dex asked leaning against the counter as Derek opened the fridge. God he was way too comfortable here, to be just diving into their fridge.

 

“Nah bro, it’s been pretty dead. Why?”

 

“It’s been resurrected.” Dex replied dryly. “They’ve just realised you’ve been here for like three days now and are asking for deets.”

 

Nursey handed Dex a bottle of water and together they moved to the living room where they both flopped down onto the sofa. Sliding his phone out, Derek opened the SMH Group Chat.

 

Got that Summertime (summertime) Sadness

RansomTheHansom

                        Yoooo wait

                        @SendInTheNurse you’re at @DexingtonBear ‘s reunion the week

 

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        Bruh

                        B R U H

 

DexingtonBear

                        Yeah he’s here. You guys would be proud, we’re 100% channelling you two.

 

 

“We’re channelling Ransom and Holster?” Derek asked, raising his head to peer at Dex.

 

“Nah but they’ll feel flattered.” Dex replied.

 

 

RansomTheHansom

                        MY BOYS

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        WE’RE SO PROUD

SweetChowderOfMine

                        Oh that’s great guys! How’s it going so far? Having fun!?!!

 

SendInTheNurse

How do you define ‘fun’

YesMyNameIsIttleBittle

                        Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good

 

 

“How much do you wanna tell them?” Nursey asked, raising his head again. This wasn’t his family and he didn’t wanna talk shit about Dex’s family, especially while sitting next to him.

 

Dex didn’t reply straight away, he was tapping on his phone and only looked up when he’d hit send.

 

 

DexingtonBear

                        Oh boy you have no idea

 

 

“I have no idea how to put into words the clusterfuck these last three days have been.” Dex said, face blank. “But I’ll be you do.”

 

And with that Derek set to work, tapping out on his tiny keypad the mess of things that had happened.

 

 

 

SendInTheNurse

Buckle. The Fuck. Up. Boys

Sheeeeeet

                        Oh boy I’m ready

RansomTheHansom

                        Oh Lawd He Comin

SweetChowderOfMine

                        This doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a very happy story

SendInTheNurse

In the beginning, there was Shannon

Now, Shannon wasn’t the first ‘Not So Chill’ person I met on my trip here, but so far has been the mother fucking worst

But I’ll get to that

First I met #BigBroChristo-fucking-pher and middle bro Donnie the Dumbass

DexingtonBear

                        For the record, he is verbally confirming with me that I’m okay with this.

                        I am.

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

                        Don’t worry, we know you are two Wholesome Boys

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        Nah Bits, Rans and I are Holsom ;)

SendInTheNurse

Boyos, payo, attentiono

Sheeeeet

                        *Zipping Mouth Gif*

SendInTheNurse

So I met The Two Brothers.

They’re p dece yeah, not like ew get that ***** away from me lets burn these boys for being #Gay.

What they do is make every fucking gay joke in the motherfucking book. Almost all of them about sex.

It’s like they’re hyper focussed on our ‘sex lives’ ya know?

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

                        Anyone else finding it weird that we’re all like, ‘ah yes, Dex and Nursey’s sex life. How dare they’

SweetChowderOfMine

                        Oh for sure Bits! Also weird that they’d focus on their brother’s sex life *Side eye emoji*

Sheeeeet

                        Oh actually it’s totally fuckin’ mad bruh

                        The amount of straight guys who are hyper focussed on gay sex and all that. ‘Cause like, that’s the bit they’re stuck on ya know?

                        “How can you have sex with a man” kinda deal.

DexingtonBear

                        Except my brothers are convinced we don’t have a sex life and it’s a phase

                        And Yes I’m aware that they’re technically right but they don’t know that.

SendInTheNurse

In all fairness, all your brother’s jokes were completely overshadowed by what your cousins said, and they only spoke like, once? Twice?

DexingtonBear

                        Faolan and Eddie?

SendInTheNurse

Yeah bro them. Fuck what they said was so fuckin

Like

Nah Bro

Nah

RansomTheHansom

                        The fucking suspense dude

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

                        Do I want to hear this

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        Those are some fucking Irish names there

DexingtonBear

                        Holts, my dude, you don't even know the half of it

Sheeeet

                       Nurse where these deets attttt

SendInTheNurse

So These Mother Fuckers

And I kid you not

“I reckon Will just wanted to do the stuff girls usually say no to”

THE FUCK YA KNOW

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        WHOA DUDE THE FUCK

RansomTheHansom

                        No fuckin way did someone actually say that

Sheeeet

                        The levels

                        THE LEVELS

JickJackPaddyWhack(GiveTheBitsABone)

                        That’s really shit dude, hope you’re okay man

Sheeeet

                        There’s SO much to unpack

SweetChowderOfMine

                        What Jack said ^^^

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        That young man doesn’t deserve anyone touching his dick

RansomTheHansom

                        And like?? If someone doesn’t wanna do shit that’s fucking fine like get tf out of here with that ‘I deserve my dick getting xyz merely cause I want to’

Darlo

                        Ngl girls will often do the shit ‘girls usually don’t wanna do’ when they’re with someone they fucking like and trust

                        Also sup

                        Sounds like you guys are having an awful time

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

                        Not the mention the undertones of homosexuality as something subversive and kinky ya know?

Sheeeeet

                        Too fucking right Bits

DexingtonBear

                        That’s not even the worst guys

RansomTheHansom

                        Nahhhhhh bro

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        Shitttt dude

SweetChowderOfMine

                        Oh no guys! >:( That’s awful!!

YesMyNameIsIttleBittle

                        We’re here for you guys!

SendInTheNurse

Let me tell you fuckers

About Shannon

Shannon is a 40-something year old woman who arrived early the second day.

I was helping direct people to their allotted plots

Darling Shannon pulled up

Rolled down her window

And said brightly

“Oh did we finally hire some help this year”

Sheeeet

                        MOTHER FUCKER

RansomTheHansom

                        bitch did not

                        TELL ME SHE DID NOT

SendInTheNurse

Oh but she did

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

                        Oh Nursey honey!

SweetChowderOfMine

                        That’s

                        That's?????

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        I genuinely cannot comprehend

Darlo

                        I can

                        People are fucking racist man

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        What did you do?

SendInTheNurse

Gave her my best Customer Servive Smile and told her I was Dexy’s bf and sent her on her fucking way

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

                        Bet she didn’t like that

SendInTheNurse

She did not

DexintonBear

                        Yeah my family are fucking shit

SendInTheNurse

Not all of them

DexingtonBear

                        Too fucking many that’s for sure

Sheeeet

                        My body yearns for retribution

SendInTheNurse

Oh Dex got super mad on my behalf bro

RansomTheHansom

                        That’s my fucking boy man

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

                        Our boy, Rans, our boy

DexingtonBear

                        Least I could fucking do

                        Since it’s my fault he has to put up with this for another few days

SendInTheNurse

Dude istfg we’ve been over this

I chose to fucking come

To flaunt my bi ass in the face of their bigotry

Darlo

                        Cute

DexingtonBear

                        Fuck yeah we are Lards, we’re fucking cute and you wanna know why?

                        To fuck with my family

Darlo

                        Nice

 

“Are you guys texting each other while in the same room?” It was Donnie. Chris right behind him.

 

Neither Derek nor Dex had noticed Dex’s brothers coming into the room, and Derek could hear other’s in the house too. Probably the kitchen.

 

“Chyea” Derek replied. “Our friends wanted an update on how meeting the fam is going.”

 

Donnie grinned. “You telling them how great his brothers are, just like, super funny, super handsome.”

 

“No.” Derek replied, deadpan. Chris burst out laughing but Dex slid him a wry look.

 

Derek couldn’t be asked to get up, he was comfortable. Dex looked very much the same. Chris and Donnie, however, didn’t seem to be leaving any time soon. They weren’t so bad, Derek decided, when they weren’t making jokes at the expense of his gay ass. Not in comparison to Eddie or Shannon.

 

Wow, was this really what it had come down to.

Chapter Text

“That is fucking it.” Nursey said, slamming the door behind him as he followed Will into their room. “I’m giving you some fucking hickeys, that cool?”

After chilling with Chris and Donnie for about an hour they had been joined by Eddie and Faolan. In all honesty, up until then it had been alright, they’d managed to have normal conversations, even turned on the Wii and played some Mario Kart. They’d felt like kids again, getting so ridiculously into a Nintendo game. Especially as when Will was a kid Donnie would absolutely decimate Will, with Chris not too far behind. But Samwell had taught him many things, and one of them was Mario Kart.

The Eddie and Faolan had shown up. They weren’t bad guys, they were just fucking gross. It started cause Faolan had a somewhat of a ‘Thing’ with some girl he was messaging. And fair enough, Will and Nursey would probably also be ragging their friends at Samwell if they were doing the same thing. But Samwell ragging and Eddie ragging were two very separate things.

For one, Samwell ragging wasn’t fucking sexist. The shit he said about women wasn’t ‘oh I hate women’ but it all had a bitter edge to it. Like he wanted women to just fall at his feet and he didn’t understand why they gave him a wide bearth.

Ben had come in, on the way to grab something out of his bag. Paused, turned to Faolan and said “Dude, if you want relationship advice don’t take it from those fuckers. They’re single as fuck and there’s a reason for that. I’m actually married to a real human woman, and Will and Derek have been together like a year, that takes work.”

Then he’d moved on to wherever he had been heading in the first place. He had meant to help. To be a bit scathing. To tell him not to listen to fucking Eddie, Chris, and Donnie about relationships. Instead, his brothers and cousins started making jokes at Will and Nursey’s expense.

“Thing is I actually wanna get laid.” Was all Faolan needed to say, and then the floodgates were open.

“Dude fucking go for it.” Will replied, too keyed up. He yearned for retribution, to shut them the fuck up. He leant back against the dresser and turned his head to one side.

Nursey stalked toward him making Will’s heart leap. He drew in a sharp breath and closed his eyes as Nursey reached him. One of Nursey’s hands held onto the base of Will’s head, keeping him in place, the other braced his weight on the dresser too.

Nursey immediately started sucking on the tender part of Will’s neck. Will drew in a slow breath, trying to control his responses. He knew he was almost too into hickeys, the sucking, being marked up, when teeth got involved. But as Nursey sucked and pulled he felt his breathing get heavy. Nursey dipped his head a bit lower and Will couldn’t help but let out a moan.

“Sorry bro.” He panted.

Nursey grunted in response which Will took to mean it was all good. But now that he’d slipped it seemed like he was unable to control his responses anymore.

“Ffffuuuckkk” He breathed as Nursey’s teeth scrapped at his neck.

Nursey lifted his head and moved to the other side of Will’s neck, manhandling him so that he’d turn his head the other way. Will felt a shiver travel all the way through his body.

“Derek,” Will said, his breath coming in soft pants. “either you continue what you started, or we stop here, cause I’m not going to lie, this is fucking hot.”

Nursey pulled back from Will. Will’s heart sunk a little, understanding that this was the end to this little experiment. Nursey’s eyes were intense on his though. Intense heat and something that looked like longing. Then Nursey dipped his had softly but stopped before he kissed Will, giving him the chance to opt out. Will lifted his hands from where they’d been gripping the dresser and wrapped them around Nursey. This closed the distance between them.

“Oh my god.” Will whispered against his lips. Derek huffed a laugh and kissed him again. Will moaned louder this time “Oh my god.”

Kissing Nursey was mind blowing, Will thought. He was soft and hard. His taut muscles felt nice wrapped around him like this. All of these revelations were sending thrills through Will. He expected any moment to have a freak out at what was happening, but it felt so good, so nice, and so right, that instead he felt himself melt into Nursey in a way he’d never done before. Explosions were happening inside him and Will was fucking shook.

Nursey was being more vocal now too, letting loose soft moans and really fucking hot grunts. The occasional hiss of pleasure when Will scrapped his teeth along his lips, or lightly scratched him. Will responded in kind, gasping and panting in the brief moments their lips weren’t connected.

Will pushed Nursey back but kept his arms around him to let him know he wasn’t asking him to stop. He kept walking Nursey backwards until they hit the bed, which wasn’t far in such a small room. The bed took out Nursey’s knees and he fell back, letting go of Will. Will grinned down at Nursey and straddled his thighs.

Nursey’s eyes rolled back, and his back arched a bit, “Fuck Will, you’re trying to kill me.”

Will pulled Nursey up so that he was sitting upright, their chests pressed together. Nursey’s arms immediately wrapped around Will, his hands landing on his ass and giving it a light squeeze. Will let out a surprised moan of pleasure at the feeling. He definitely hadn’t been expecting that.

Nursey let out a low chuckle at Will’s expense, which Will could hardly blame him for. Will didn’t have all the answers, or any for that matter, but he could tell he wanted this. A few years ago, hell, a few months ago, making out with a guy and getting really fucking turned on by it would have freaked him out. Not to mention the fact the very, very, hot guy beneath him making him fall apart at the seams with his touch was Nursey. Holy fuck it was Nursey, that thought alone sent shivers up his spine.

Will grabbed the hem of his own shirt and tugged it over his head in one quick motion. Nursey’s eyes flicked down to the plains of his chest. His hands moved from Will’s ass up to feel his hips, his waist, the dip between his shoulders. Will smiled at the touch, his own hands slipping down to find the hem of Nursey’s shirt. Nursey raised his arms to help Will get it off.

Now, Will had seen Nursey topless possibly more than he’d seen him with a top on. He’d spent a fair amount of time with him naked too. But this was so very, very different. He had never put much thought into how beautiful his toned chest was before. Will had often appreciated the strength of his teammates, seeing how some people would come back over summer a lot dencher than before and give them a fist bump. But seeing Nursey’s taught muscles below him, seeing the coils of his muscle-bound arms wrap around him once more, was nearly the sexiest goddamn thing he’d ever seen.

“You good?” Nursey said in a low tone that sent waves of pleasure through Will.

“Yeah man, it’s just.” Will swallowed and wet his lips. “Fuck Nursey, you’re hot.”

Nursey let out a surprised laugh, once Nursey laughed it set Will off too. He buried his face in his hands only to drop them a moment later when Nursey essentially tackled him into the bed. Nursey was now hovering over Will, a mischievous glint in his eye.

“You think I’m hot, Will?” He asked softly, dipping his head to kiss Will’s collarbone.

Will’s hips bucked up without his permission as he let out a soft “Unnggg yessss”

“Tell me, how long have you thought I was hot?” Nursey mused, his lips marking a path across Will’s neck.

“Honestly? Like, I’ve always known you’re an attractive guy but how long have I been insanely turn on by you? Like a couple minutes.” Will replied honestly.

Nursey’s face appeared above him, his eyes regarding Will carefully. Taking the opportunity, Will flipped them over so he was above Nursey.

“But now that I’ve got you here…” Will said kissing slowly down Nursey’s chest, leaving small marks as he went.

“For the record, Will,” Nursey gasped above him, “you’re really fucking hot too right now.”

“You mean I haven’t always been?” Will said in a teasing tone, his breath tickling Nursey’s abdomen.

Nursey’s head snapped up as he felt how low down his body Will hand gotten. Seeing Will hover over his groin was doing weird things to Nursey. Never had he ever expected anything like this to happen.

“Like you said, I knew you were attractive, I just never really thought about it until now. And dude, just thinking about it is going to kill me. Please, just do something, literally anything.”

“I feel we’re going to have be a little more naked.” Will said, sitting up and unbuttoning his jeans.

Nursey went to work on his too and soon the two of them were in just their underwear. Will flicked his eyes to Nursey to see him raise his hips to slip the last remaining piece of clothing off his body, his underwear. Without thinking Will leaned forward and gently wrapped his hand around Nursey’s cock. Nursey let out a soft hiss as Will swiped his thumb over the slit.

“This isn’t so hard.” Will smiled as he caught the look on Nursey’s face.

“Trust me bro, it’s very, very hard.” Nursey bit out. “I realise it’s probs a bit late, but don’t feel like you have to do anything bro. I know this is your first time with more than one dick in the game.”

Will’s hand was starting to move gently up and down Nursey’s shaft. Looking up at Nursey’s face he saw that he had his eyes squeezed shut, his hands clutching the sheets on either side of his, his teeth biting into his lip.

Well that wouldn’t do, Will thought to himself. Slowly he bent down and pressed a kiss to the head of Nursey’s cock. It was an odd feeling but not entirely bad, Will thought running his tongue over his lips, salty. It had the desired reaction when Nursey gasped loudly above him, his eyes opening and his head snapping up to look at Will.

“Jesus Fuckkkk, Willlll” He hissed out, “You’re actually going to be the death of me. I’m actually going to die.”

Smiling up at Nursey, Will bent over again and this time slowly opened his mouth wide and start taking Nursey into his mouth. Nursey started making incomprehensible noises at this point, much to Will’s pleasure.

If he was being honest, he had no idea what he was doing, but he’d watched enough girls on his own dick to have an idea. He knew what he liked, he just hoped Nursey liked similar things to him.

When he licked up the vein of Nursey’s dick he received a soft hum of satisfaction, but when he wrapped his lips around the tip and used his tongue to swirl around the head he got ‘holy fucking fuck.’ Good to know. Using one hand to pump the shaft while his mouth was on the tip, this he found, yielded the best results for his novice blow job. Occasionally he would try and take more in, see how far he could go. Not very, as it turned out, but when his throat had spasmed around Nursey’s cock, good fucking lord the sounds Nursey had made.

Will realised he liked the smell of Nursey’s skin. He like the weight of his cock on his tongue. He lived for the noises he was eliciting. He felt so powerful and yet so beholden.

His mouth was getting tired, he realised in dismay. His hand was still going strong, years of jerking off being put to good use. Luckily Nursey ran a hand through his hair, getting his attention. Pulling off his looked up at Nursey questioningly.

“Get up here, I need my lips on you.” He mumbled. “I need to touch you.”

Grinning Will crawled up Nursey’s body. “That’s more hard work than I thought it was.”

“It’s not much, but it’s honest work.” Nursey replied automatically, making Will burst out with laughter. “Sorry, I have very little control of myself right now cause fuck Will.”

“You’re a dork.” Will laughed. “And that’s hot.”

Will dropped his lips down to catch Nursey’s. A moment later Will remembered he’d just had Nursey’s dick in said mouth, but Nursey didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he was making those noises again that reached every part of Will. Nursey flipped them over, again. This time he took both their cocks into his hand. The feeling was mind-blowing. Will’s head fell back, short quick gasps coming in soft pants.

“Oh my ffffuck, Derek.” Will reached up and let his hands rest on Nursey’s chest. “Can I put my hands in your hair?”

Nursey moaned, his head dropping to Will’s shoulder. “Yeah.”

With a hand resting on Nursey’s hip, the other held onto the back of his head and gave his hair a short tug. Will loved this feeling, he loved everything about this. The feel of Nursey’s hand on their dicks, the feel of Nursey’s breath as he panted into Will’s neck, the feel of his hair in his hands. Holy shit, I have a naked guy above me and he’s touching me better than anyone else ever has, Will thought suddenly.

Without warning the heat that had been growing in Will exploded in him, shooting through every part of him. He didn’t have time to hold back the noises he made. He wasn’t even sure of half the things he said, definitely Derek’s name though. Nursey followed not long after, only able to make unintelligible sounds into Will’s neck.

“Holy fuck.” Will said. Nursey grunted in response. “I just had sex with Derek Nurse.”

Nursey raised his head to look Will in the eye. “That okay?”

“All I can think about it how long it’s going to take to do it again, so yeah, it’s kinda okay.” Will wet his lips and saw Nursey’s eyes track the movement.

“If it makes you feel better, I just had sex with William Poindexter.” Nursey said, amusement glinting in his eyes.

“Oof, yeah, you definitely had it worse off.” Will said with mock seriousness.

Nursey growled at him and bit him on the shoulder. “How. Dare. You. Out of the two of us I’m the one who actually has experience with other guys and you just swept in and made a complete mess of me. What the actual fuck Will, who gave you the right.”

“You’re always a mess.” Will teased but there was a slight hitch in his voice.

Derek experimentally bit down a little harder. Will pushed him over and kissed him to within an inch of his life. “Dude, I just came.”

“Just testing out a theory.” Derek grinned. “That’s going to come in handy later.”

“This is going to ruin me. You’re going to be the end of me, Nurse.” Will said, spikes of pleasure already shooting through him.

They lay together for a while longer before both recognising they needed a shower. There was no possible way for them both to get in together, seeing as they were both pretty large guys. Nor did either of them think they were quite there yet. Will took first shower as Nursey was still splayed out on the bed with zero intention of moving.

Grabbing a towel he padded to the bathroom, which was thankfully next to his bedroom. He showered quickly and stopped to look in the mirror. His face, already warm from the shower, flooded with heat as he looked at the hickeys marking up a lot of his chest.

“I’m in trouble.” Will muttered to himself. He’d wanted to get back at his brothers but now he wouldn’t be able to take his shirt off until these cleared away. He was fine with a few being visible above the neckline, but if any of his family saw the full extent…

Wrapping the towel around his waist he stepped out of the bathroom and into the hall. As soon as he pulled the door closed behind him Christopher appeared down the hallway. Will looked up when he heard him and saw Chris moving stiffly down the hallway toward him. Will smirked at him and walked to his own door.

“Afternoon, Chris.” He grinned.

In the past his brother would have been congratulating him and making lewd but joking and loving remarks. If it had been a girl. This time he opened his mouth but nothing came out, then pressed his lips in a firm line and marched down the hall.

“Dude, you’re up.” Will said opening the door to his room.

Nursey got up and slapped Will’s ass on the way past to the door, causing an unexpected laugh to bubble up in him. There was a warmth in Will’s chest, feeling of contentment and happiness. One, that once Will identified it, made his blood run cold. Oh fuck, he was in trouble.

Will was mostly dressed when Nursey returned, towel wrapped low on his waist. Will’s eyes couldn’t help but follow the V that led below the towel line. He thought about how not long ago, he’d had that dick in his mouth. And he didn’t feel gross. In fact, seeing Nursey glistening wet, he wanted to do it again. He wanted to get on his knees in front of Nursey and go to town. He wanted to learn what Nursey liked. He wanted to make Nursey scream his name.

“You good bro?” Nurse asked pulling Will out of his thoughts. He was now mostly dressed too, was sitting on the bed pulling on his socks, his shirt on the bed next to him.

Before Will could answer the door swung open and Donnie appeared in the doorway. “Where the hell have you two been? Ma wants your help – oh jeez it stinks like – oh. Oh.”

Donnie’s eyes were on the messed-up bed and the scratch marks on Nursey’s torso that Will had a vague memory of making, he thinks it was when he came. His eyes then slid to Will and widened as he saw the bruises that peaked out above his collar.

“Yes?” Will answered innocently.

“Er, just hurry up dude. Derek.” Donnie nodded to Nursey as he backed out of the room, mouthing to Will, “Get it bro.”

Will tried to hold it in until he knew Donnie was out of earshot. Then he and Derek were gasping with laughter.

“Did I tell you I bumped into Chris coming out of the shower? I was in my towel and bro. Bro. He looked so scandalised.”

“Glad to be of service.” Nursey smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes.

Will hesitated, unsure if he was projecting his own fears onto Nursey or if he was reading this correctly. “Hey, Derek.”

Nursey’s eyes widened at the use of his name, his expression turning from soft to attentive.

“I didn’t – I mean, I didn’t kiss you to get back at them. Or sleep with you. That was ‘cause I really wanted to, and still want to.” Will rubbed his arm as he spoke, stifling the urge to shuffle his feet.

Nursey stood up and came to stand in front Will and placed his hands on Will’s hip. “Thanks man, I actually needed to hear that.”

Will’s hands found their way to the front of Nursey’s shirt without even thinking about it. “I figure these things are better said than unsaid.”

“I agree.” Nursey agreed closing some of the distance.

Will tugged on Derek’s shirt, closing the last bit of distance and kissing him softly. That’s all it was, a soft kiss, slow and gentle. When Derek pulled back he gave Will a dazzling smile.

“We should go.” Will mumbled. “Go and help.”

“We should.” Nursey agreed, leaning in a kissing Will again.

Will hummed against his lips. “This feels…”

“Yeah?” Nursey asked. Will opened his eyes to see Nursey’s watching him and he swears they were glittering.

“I’m not freaking out.” Will marvelled. “Like, this feels really nice. And warm I guess. I feel more sure of myself somehow, confident. I feel like I could take on the fucking world, Derek.”

“I make you feel like that?” Nursey whispered.

Will chuckled. “Being with you does yeah.”

“You do too, ya know.” Nursey mumbled, resting his forehead against Will’s. “You almost always have.”

“But… I’m an asshole.” Was the first thing Will’s mind came up with.

“Yeah you really are.” Nursey agreed. “I think that’s why I like you, why I kept hanging around you.”

Will frowned, “because I’m an asshole.”

Nursey huffed a laugh. “Cause you talk to me like a normal person. Of course, when we first met it was like, ‘what the fuck dude,’ but then I realised I could trust you to see through my shit. I think the first time it happened I was playing off something off as chill and you snorted and just shut me down. It was like you saw me and you didn’t give a shit about what you saw. You weren’t afraid to tell me I was being a pretentious lit student. It was infuriating but I also knew I could tell you anything and you’d give it to me straight.”

“How about I give to you gay.” Will needed to have a serious conversation with his brain.

Nursey placed a quick, chaste kiss on Will’s mouth. “Maybe later, we said we were leaving like ages ago.”

Will pulled away and took a deep breath. He grabbed Nursey’s hand as the headed back downstairs. Sure, getting angry and having some really good chats with Nurse had helped before with cooling off, but blowing him made Will feel so much better.

Chapter Text

Derek could feel himself beaming and it was starting to annoy him. He’d managed, so far, to be pretty chilled for the entirety of the time that he’d known Dex. Only ever really losing his cool during games and parties, but those were acceptable times. But right now? He couldn’t stop beaming.

 

Every time he looked over at Dex the look in his eyes just reached straight into him, he looked happy, which make Derek happy, and it was fucking gross. He hadn’t seen Dex like this though, except for when they’d just won a game. It was that look of almost disbelief, of pure ecstatic holy-fucking-shit wow. Kind of look. Yeah Derek had a way with words.

 

On the plus side, they couldn’t stop touching each other. Slinging an arm around the other’s waist, resting a head on a shoulder, holding a hand. It made Derek realised he might have been a bit touch starved. He couldn’t actually remember the last time he’d gotten laid, let alone dated someone. He’d almost forgotten how nice it was.

 

Of course, there was slight fear. When you have budding feelings for someone the sheer level of fear that runs through you. The vulnerability that comes with asking someone to like you. Derek had accidentally opened himself up to Dex and he was pretty sure there was no going back. He didn’t want to but maybe Dex would, after this week was over.

 

They were sharing a room next year, something that at the time had seemed really fucking annoying. Now, however, Derek felt a mix of excitement at all the possibilities, and dread, at all the possibilities. It would be going from 0 to 100 real quick. From near enemies, to friends, over two year, and oh my god to lovers, and then 0.2 seconds later to living together?

 

Derek felt a knee bump his. Looking up, he saw Dex giving him a questioning look. They were sat on some crates by the firepit, that was currently just a pile of ashes. Their now empty plates of food were at their feet. Derek was fairly certain Faolan and Eddie were on washing up duty, which gave him a fair amount of satisfaction. The Poindexters had the rota shit down, it was a level of organised Derek could only dream about.

 

“Sorry bro, just thinking.” Derek said, rubbing his eyes. If he could just scrub the over thinking from his brain, that would be nice.

 

“Don’t you guys think it’s weird you call each other bro?” Roisin asked, dropping down onto a crate opposite them.

 

The carefully arranged crates Dex and Derek had set out so carefully had almost immediately been rearranged. People had made little circles so they could see each other and chat, others had pulled some further away in groups of two or three. One or two had ended up way across the other side of the house somehow, that Uncle Bill had sent Derek and Dex to fetch.

 

“No.” Dex said, taking a swig from his tin mug. The Poindexters did do plastic, which Derek enjoyed, they did camping gear. Tin plates, tin mugs, metal cutlery.

 

“We basically belong to a frat,” Derek said, “This week has been the first time I’ve called Dex by his name. But here I suppose all of you a Dex’s.”

 

“Because PoinDEXter.” Roisin replied, nodding. “I get it. So you don’t call him Will?”

 

Dex wrinkled his nose. “Dude if you start calling me Will…”

 

Derek laughed. “Hey, we’re like, cute and shit. I’ll call you Will in our special moments, but you’ll always be Dexy to me.”

 

Dex groaned. “Dexy is worse than Will. I swear everytime Shits calls me Sexy Dexy I die a little inside.”

 

“How’s babe?” Derek asked, genuinely wondering this time.

 

Dex blushed a little. “Babe is fine.”

 

“You know someone called Shits?” Roisin asked, her expression disdainful.

 

“Shitty for long.” Derek nodded. “Have no fucking clue what his actual name is though.”

 

“For long.” Roisin snorted. “You know what I like about you Derek?”

 

Derek flicked his eyes to Dex, who quirked is eyebrow at him and smirked, then back Roisin. “Pray tell.”

 

“You swear around me and treat me like I’m not one of the babies.” She sighed. “They keep getting me to watch the kids, and like, that’s fine sometimes cause they’re sweet and fun. But they never ask the boys to watch the kids.”

 

“By next reunion you’ll be out of the kid’s table.” Dex said to her. “You’ll probs be like 20 then, the fuck.”

 

“Well here comes Cathy, and I just know what she’s going to ask.” Roisin said, looking over Derek’s shoulder. “I don’t care about next time, I care about this time. I wanna hang out with Sinead and Saoirse.”

 

“Rosie!” Cathy said, appearing by their little group. “Orla, Grace, and Keagan need supervising.”

 

Roisin groaned. “They have parents don’t they.”

 

“Lachlan and Kristie went to get more propane.” Cathy replied. “Besides it won’t be that bad, you can sit and read or do whatever you do on your phone, you just need to look up now and again.”

 

“And not get to talk to anyone or see anyone or have and fun.” Roisin grumbled, getting up.

 

Derek shot Dex a look. Now, Derek wasn’t the biggest fan of kids, mostly because they were a lot of energy. They were loud and asked a lot of questions, not that he minded the questions. When they were other people’s kids you never knew what you were allowed to say. But he was willing to help out. He had the patience for kids that other people often didn’t.

 

Derek smiled and gave him a small shrug.

 

“Go find the twins, sis, Derek and I will watch the rugrats.” Dex said, standing up at stretching. Derek tried not to watch as his shirt rode up, but he did.

 

“Omg Will, you’re the best!” Roisin beamed, flinging herself at her brother. Then she turned and wrapped her arms around Derek, kissing him on the cheek. “Thanks Derek.”

 

“Just remember that the next time someone asks who your favourite brother is.” Dex rolled his eyes.

 

“Look, I don’t care who comes to watch the kids, just hurry.” Cathy said tiredly, her eyes not looking at Dex or Derek almost pointedly.

 

They headed over with Cathy toward a group of 30-40 year olds and a bunch of kids. Cathy didn’t talk on the way over but Dex didn’t seem to care, he kept purposefully bumping into Derek. Looking away from Derek as though he hadn’t done it. Derek smiled slowly, preparing his revenge when a loud shrieking sounded from the group that was now right in front of them.

 

“Willll!” The sound of children’s voices called out.

 

“Hey guys!” Will grinned, stumbling slightly as three little girls slammed into his legs. “Guys, this is Derek.”

 

The three little girls all looked up at Derek shyly. They all look around the same age, between 5 and 8. All had their brunette hair in cute plaits. All wore the same pinafore in three different colours. They were very cute, Derek decided.

 

“I’ve found you some childminders.” Cathy said. “I’m going to go lie down.”

 

And like that she left. The adults who were there were filling massive tubs with water, preparing for the post-lunch clean-up. The kids were being unsurprisingly, unhelpful. Splashing the water and trying to throw it at each other.

 

“Thank you Will.” An older woman said tiredly. “You just need to watch them they’re pretty good and entertaining themselves. Keep them in this area though, don’t go out into the fields or down to the river.”

 

“You got it, Aunt Maire.” Dex smiled easily at her. She returned the smile, then flicked her eyes to Derek. “Oh, have you met Derek yet? He’s, um, my boyfriend.”

 

“No I haven’t.” Maire smiled warmly at Derek. “Hope you’re good with kids.”

 

“I guess we’ll find out.” Derek replied, his mind caught on Dex calling him his boyfriend. Was that what they were, though, he supposed, they were kind of boyfriends before they even hooked up.

 

“Don’t worry, Will’s great with kids.” Maire said soothingly before being called by the other adults, who were now trying to haul the large tubs of water away.

 

“Is that so?” Derek asked, quirking his eyebrow at Dex.

 

Dex was attempting to wrangle his kids but blushed at Derek’s question. He had one kid hanging off each arm, his muscles being put to good use as he lifted them off the floor, and one sitting on his foot.

 

“I don’t know if I’m good with kids, I just know that I don’t mind them.” Dex replied as he started walking, with a kid still on his leg, over toward the firepit once more.

 

“Hey guys,” Derek said to the kids in an attempt to help Dex. “You haven’t told me your names.”

 

It worked, the girls released Dex from their clutches and started giggling. The tallest one, the one Derek assumed was the eldext, was dressed in a blue pinafore and came to hold his hand.

 

“I’m Orla.” She said in a very serious voice. “She’s Grace –” pointing to the girl in green who had decide to do rolypolys instead of walk “– and she’s Keagan.” Keagan was stomping her feet as she walked and making claws with her hand, watching her now monster-like shadow.

 

“Thank you, Orla.” Derek smiled at her, a smile she mimicked, showing off two missing teeth.

 

Watching the kids wasn’t hard, Derek realise, Maire had been right. They stood nearby as they ran around in the grass, picking it and throwing it at one another. Trying to do cartwheels and handstands. Just being kids.

 

Derek was stood with his arm around Dex’s waist. Dex was slightly turned toward him. They were arguing, of course, but it felt warm. There was no actual anger behind it.

 

“You’re just wrong, Dex.” Derek said, his hand curling into back of Dex’s shirt.

 

“Nursey, babe,” A thrill went through Derek’s body, “you may be a lit student, you may know more about the English Language than I ever will, but Babe, Bee Movie is not a master piece. It’s trash.”

 

“It’s a commentary Dex.” Derek said, flicking his eyes over to the kids quickly, then back. “It’s about how we need bees to pollinate the world but also how we use them like slave labour.”

 

“It’s about a woman wanting to fuck a bee, babe.” Dex said, his voice dead serious which made Derek laugh.

 

He threw his head back a laughed, holding onto Dex’s waist as he did. Dex punched his chest lightly. As Derek looked back to Dex he saw him open his mouth to argue more and Derek couldn’t help but lean in and kiss him. Dex laughed against his lips.

 

A loud wolf whistle made their head’s snap up. Ben was carrying a large amount of wood toward the firepit for later, watching the way Derek and Dex were wrapped up in one another. A few other adults who were preparing the firepit, cleaning away some of the ash, washing the grill, the like, also looked over at Dex and Derek.

 

Dex glanced over to the kids, to check they were fine – they were – as Ben raised his eyebrows at them.

 

“The day I tell my brother I’m not gay is the day I start dating a guy. Typical.” Dex sighed. Derek laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

 

“Oh no.” A voice called. “No, no.”

 

It was Aunt Shannon, she was clicking her fingers at Will and Derek to get their attention. “Away, away. What do you think you’re doing watching children?

 

“Excuse me?” Will said, his brows raising. “Are you snapping your fingers at me?”

 

“I had to get your attention.” Shannon snipped. “Now, off you go now, off.”

 

“No, fuck you.” Dex said, clearly speaking without pausing to consider.

 

“Excuse me!” Shannon gaped at him, shocked anyone would talk to her like that.

 

“What’s you’re issue with me watching the kids?” Dex asked, clearly confused. Derek felt his heart sink as he had a feeling he knew.

 

The girls had stopped playing and had huddled together. Most likely not understanding what was happening but knew that adults were angry. They watched with big eyes. Derek, in that moment, felt the least chill he had all week.

 

“They are children.” Aunt Shannon hissed at him. “They don’t need to be exposed to –” she waved her hand vaguely toward Will and Derek.

 

“Are you seriously telling me to stay away from children because I have a boyfriend?” Will asked, still not quite believing what was happening.

 

“It’s wrong to expose children to something like that.” She put her hand over her heart like she was the victim. “Now your parents and siblings seem not to care William, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let you expose yourself to children!”

 

“You racist fucking bigot.” Dex looked furious.

 

“William Jacob Poindexter!” Dex’s mother had just appeared with a tray in hand which she hastily handed off as she walked towards them. “What did you just say?”

 

“I said Shannon is a Racist. Fucking. Bigot. and I’ll continue to until she stops treating me and my boyfriend like lecherous perverts.” Dex shook where he stood, anger rocketing through him. Turning back to Shannon his voice lowered, “You’ve already called and treated Derek the hired help and won’t even look or speak to him. You’ve decided to completely ignore me for being with him, in the biblical sense.” Will said scathingly. “And you know what, fine, I don’t care. I don’t have time or space for bigots in my life. If you can’t handle that I have a black boyfriend then good riddance to you, but don’t you dare try and take my family away from me. If you have the problem, you leave. I don’t have a disease, I’m not contagious, I’m not a pervert. I just love a man. Just because you can’t find love because you’re a vindictive, selfish cow –”

 

“William!” His mother yelled at him, her eyes wide.  

 

Nursey held on to Will’s arm and placed a hand on his chest, over his heart.

 

“Focus on the feel of my hand.” Derek murmured in a quiet voice that only Will could here. “Let it ground you okay? You’re angry, and I understand why. You are right to be angry, but you are letting that anger control you. If you let it control you, you lose any chance of anyone hearing what you have to say. You weaken your argument.”

 

Derek’s voice was soothing, not quite calming Dex down but enough that he was no longer going to hurl abuse at Aunt Shannon. He watched as Dex drew in a deep breath.

 

“Aunt Shannon, I apologise for saying that. It wasn’t fair to bring up your personal life, nor call you names. I hope you understand why I am so upset with you, and what you said. If you can’t forgive me or get passed my sexuality that’s fine. But don’t you dare ever try and turn my family against me.”

 

Will’s mother had reached him, but she looked stunned instead of angry. Her eyes flicked from Will’s face to Derek’s. Her eyes softened as she looked at the two of them, Derek’s hand over Will’s heart.

 

“Shannon.” Aisling said, turning to her sister. “You ever try and pull that shit with my son again you’ll have one hell of a storm coming.”

 

Dex blinked a couple times at his mother, his eyes glistening slightly. Shannon crossed her arms and said something under her breath that Derek didn’t hear. Aisling did apparently, and she went up to her sister and the two started having very quiet, very intense words.

 

Ben appeared by Dex’s shoulder and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Hey kid, I got you.”

 

Dex drew a deep, ragged breath. “I’m tired, Ben. I’m just really fucking tired.”

 

He grabbed Derek’s hand and walked away from the firepit. They didn’t head toward the house, nor toward the camping field. They seemed to be heading toward the road out of the farm. Derek didn’t remember seeing much on his way in, but he let Dex lead the way. Derek slipped his hand into his pocket and withdrew his phone and sent a quick message to the SMH group chat. Not because he wanted to bitch about Shannon (well he did but not right now) but so Dex could feel some love. 

 

SendInTheNurse

Hey guys, something real shit just happened, can you send Dex some love?

Chapter Text

Will stopped when he reached the river, he used to come here all the time as a kid. When he got angry and no one could deal with him. When his older brothers were teasing him and he didn’t want them to see him cry. He would punch the solid trunk of the tree that sat by the bank until his knuckles would bleed. He would sit at the base of the tree with its sprawling roots and stare at the river’s moving waters until he felt better. Nursey let him sit by himself and sat down himself a meter or so away.

 

“I’m not even angry.” Will said softly. “I’m too tired and… and hurt to be angry.”

 

“Will.” Nursey reached out but then let him hand fall, as though he weren’t sure if Will wanted to be touched right now. Will wasn’t sure either.

 

“Aunt Shannon has known me since I was born. She’s always been… Well even as a kid I knew she had opinions about people, and what they should do and who they should be. But she’s my family? She knows me and yet she seems to think I’m some kind of… I just don’t understand.” Will shook his head, staring at the river as was meandered along. “It’s been both really great here at times, and really fucking shit. I want to go home now. I want to be with my friends again. It’s crazy, because I hadn’t realised before, how much more comfortable I was at Samwell than at home.”

 

“If you want to stop, this, that’s okay.” Nursey spoke softly. “We’ve only got a day under our belt, so if you wanted to…”

 

Nursey must have stopped because he saw the look of Will’s face. “Derek, the only times I’ve been genuinely happy these past few days is because you’re here with me. It’s not just been today, Nurse, you’ve been my friend for over a year now. We may figuring out this new angle to our relationship but I really don’t want, please don’t….” Will drew in a breath.

 

Nursey came forward now and sat down next to Will, putting his arm around his shoulders. “I’m sorry man, I’m sorry. I’m just thinking of quick solutions ‘cause I really hate seeing this. But there aren’t any quick solutions, even if you went back, you’d still know.”

 

Will leaned his head against Nursey’s arm, taking comfort in the simple touch. Will didn’t even know what to say anymore, he was tired. So he just leant into Nursey, and Nursey let him. His hand giving his shoulder a slight squeeze.

 

“Hey, you got your phone on you?” Nursey asked. Opening his eyes, Will saw Nurse’s other hand was holding his own phone.

 

Will slipped his out of his pocket. The screen was lit up with SMH group chat notifications. Warmth seeped into Will’s chest at just the thought of his friends.

 

The William Poindexter Personal Protection Squad

 

SendInTheNurse

Hey, something real shit just happened, can you send Dex some love?

Sheeeet

Hey my man, we’re not gonna ask what happened

Just know that I love you like my own son, you funky little man

 

YesMyNameIsIttleBittle

Oh Honey!!!

*Two dozen gifs of various hearts, dancing, and pride flags (inc the Brendon Urie one) *

 

SweetChowderOfMine

Dex!!!!

You’re my best friend!!

And you too Nursey

Seriously, you’re my best friends and you’re both so perfect and nice and wonderful and funny!! You guys are so funny!!

It makes me super sad to think your family are being mean to you Dex. Meeting Cait’s family, and her meeting mine has been so wonderful so it’s just so sad that the same doesn’t often go for LGBT+ people.

Even if that’s not the case for you guys, knowing your family is being hard on you makes me so sad!

We’re your family too Dex!

YesMyNameIsIttyBitty

Chosen family is just as valid okay?

Not saying you should abandon your family or that we’re better

Just that it’s okay to take comfort in your chosen family for a while. These things can be stressful and take time <3 <3 <3 <3

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

DEXY MY BOY

YOU ARE THE ABSOLUTE SHIT

You are talented, funny, and an absolute wizard when it comes to fixing shit.

RansomTheHansom

Seconded.

We consider ourselves very privileged to have you in our lives.

JickJackPaddyWhack(GiveTheBitsABone)

Families are hard, Dex, they can be the best and worst all rolled into one.

Like Bits said, there’s nothing wrong with taking comfort in your chosen family for a while.

And we are your chosen family, remember that if you ever needed any one of us we’d be there in a heartbeat, because that’s what family does.

I hope you’re okay and I know you’re in the best hands.

Darlo

*Pictures of Dex and various SMH members throughout the year (Inc some Will had never seen before)*

(Pics of them at parties, at training, on roadies, at Annie’s, at Jerry’s, at Haus)

HoldMeCloserTinyHolster

Damn Lardo when did you even take those

Darlo

I’m a ninja

SweetChowderOfMine

Omg look at that one of me, Dex, and Ransom! What is my face doing???

Sheeeet

The lords work, C, the lords fuckin work

 

“Okay so they got side-tracked.” Nursey snorted.

 

“That’s okay.” Wil smiled. “I like that too. Thank you for asking them.”

 

The tradtion of SMH pouring unregulated amounts of love and support into the group chat had started some point over the last year by none other than Shitty B Knight. A message had popped up from him that read: Someone tell me you love me

 

The reponse had gone from ‘I love ya shits!’ to ‘I don’t’ to weirdass pictures of him. In the end it had ended up with a dozen people arguing over how much they loved Shitty. And Shitty at the end of it said: I was actually having a spectacularly shit day, thanks guys.

 

And since then if someone put in the group chat that they needed a little love, SMH would respond. Gifs, pics, words of affirmation, all the love they could think of and pack in.

 

DexingtonBear

Hey thanks guys, it’s been a day.

Honestly can’t wait to be back at Samwell

Though in good news

I’m going to be an uncle

 

After that the group chat was filled with congratulations and gentle ribbing. But Will felt lighter already. Seeing those photos had reminded him of what a great two years he’d had already at Samwell, with another two on the way. And maybe this coming one would be even better, with Nursey. And living with Nursey and Chowder.

 

“Well I knew you probably wouldn’t. You’ve never asked for a pick me up.” Nursey nudged him slightly.

 

Will shrugged. “I’m pretty easy going.”

 

Nursey pinned him with a look. “I think maybe you don’t like asking for help.”

 

Will gasped out a laugh. “Don’t at me like this.”

 

“I’ll stop.” Nursey said, placing a kiss on top of his head.

 

It was surreal, having Nursey in his childhood hideaway. Having Nursey comfort him. Having Nursey kiss him. Will turned his head to look up at Nursey. Reaching up with his hand he placed it on Nursey’s cheek, guiding him down to meet his lips. It was a soft kiss. One meant to comfort.

 

Nursey laughed. A small huff of laughter that turned into a giggle. “It’s just so weird.”

 

Will laughed now too, he got what Nursey meant. It was weird. Weird in the best possible way. “Weird but really fucking good.”

 

Nursey leaned down now, pressing his lips to Will’s, his arm dropping from around his shoulders to his waist. Will melted into it, small huffs of laughter breaking them apart occasionally but immediately pressing their lips together once more.

 

They spent the majority of the afternoon by the riverbank. Will in a better mood now but would get that sinking feeling whenever he thought about returning to the firepit. But he also didn’t want to spend the entire week in the house either, or avoiding his family. Each time he started thinking about it Nursey would distract him with a kiss or a ridiculous story about his childhood. Derek Nurse, as it turned out, was a mischievous little shit as a child.

 

“You did not.” Will gasped a breath between his laughs. “Nursey!”

 

“How was I meant to know putting blue food colouring into shower gel would turn someone blue.” He said with faux innocence. “Look, I’d just seen avatar okay, don’t judge me.”

 

“How long was your nanny blue?” Will asked, shaking his head at Nurse.

 

“Only a week or so…” Nursey suppressed a smile. “She wore a lot of long-sleeved things, and a ton of foundation. My parents paid her double that week too, for the inconvenience.”

 

“What happened to prankster Nursey?” Will wondered.

 

“Oh, Andover was a boarding school Dex, no fuckin joke. It’s true what they say, boarding school pranks can go really fucking far.” Nursey replied seriously. “I decided for the sake of future friendships, I should prank less. However, if a prank war were to be initiated at Samwell…”

 

“I’d pick you for my team.” Will answered understandingly, placing a kiss on Nursey’s lips.

 

“Since you bat for my team it’s only right.” Nursey said with a wolfish grin. Will rolled his eyes at him.

 

The sky was growing pink, that soft yellowish pink that comes before a sunset. The breeze was gentle. The birds above were swooping down occasionally to catch the small bugs that were coming out in the dying light. The river continued its unending journey, babbling softly as it went.

 

“We should head back.” Will sighed. “Food will be happening soon, and I can’t deny how hungry I am.”

 

“You ready?” Nursey asked softly.

 

“Nope but I doubt I will be anytime soon.” And with that he got up and held out a hand for Nursey.

 

The walk back felt quicker than the walk there, all too soon the house was in view, the people running around from the camping field to the firepit. Will slowed his pace, Nursey slowed with him. They weren’t holding hands this time, just walking side by side.

 

“Will!” It was Roisin, she was running from the house toward them. “Oh Will!”

 

She flung herself at Will, giving him a tight hug before pulling away and looking up at him with wide eyes. “Did Auntie Shannon really say those horrible things? ‘Cause ma went ballistic when she heard the full story. She was still chewing out Shannon when Lachlan and Kristie showed up, but they were having none of Shannon’s shen. They told her it wasn’t her business who looked after their kids. Kristie said that she has a lesbian sister who looks after them all the time! Did you know that? Because I didn’t. Anyway, the whole family has been talking about it. Everyone is on your side though.”

 

Will blinked down at his sister, trying to take in everything she’d said. “No, I didn’t know Kristie’s sister was gay.”

 

Roisin nodded at him. “Uh huh, she even asked me where you were cause she wanted to see if you were okay, but I know you like being alone when you’re by the river.” She flicked her eyes to Nursey. “Well, mostly.”

 

They started heading toward the firepit, which was already emitting smoke, which meant the fire had been started. Roisin kept up her babble as they walked, letting him know that Saoirse and Sinead had thought Shannon was gross and that Will and Nursey were cute. Chris had apparently gotten really angry on his behalf, which surprised Will, and had to be talked out of going to yell at Shannon himself. Ben and Vanya had been worried about him too but left him to sulk by the river.

 

“It’s weird to think that if I hadn’t have complained so much about watching the kids this wouldn’t have happened.” Roisin sighed.

 

“Come on, lil Rose,” Will said, nudging his little sister, “I eventually would have ended up in the general vicinity of a child and Shannon would have lost her fucking mind.”

 

“I’m still sorry though.” She said. “You’ve had such a horrible time here so far, and I really don’t want you to stop coming to family events.”

 

“I’ll always come to see my little sister.” Will slung an arm around her sister. She beamed up at him as they reached the firepit.

 

No one really noticed them as they sidled up, which Will was grateful for. Mostly people were fussing with the dinner preparations and the fire and the stage. Donnie and Chris were breaking up old wooden chairs that had already been slightly broken, and chucking them on the fire.

 

Roisin led them over to where Saoirse and Sinead were sitting with Jon and Cormac. Soairse gave Will a Look as he sat down with Nursey, as Sinead shook her head with wide eyes. It was clear that they were commenting on the absurdity of Shannon without talking about it, which Will appreciated.

 

They sat with the Declan Twins’ for a while, just chatting about normal things. Apparently, the local kids were having a party the following night. There would be a lot of people Dex knew growing up there, people he hadn’t seen for about a year or possibly more as he spent every summer working on Bill’s boat. Even Roisin was going, as she was now 16 and allowed to go out more than she had in previous years.

 

“I’m down.” Nursey had shrugged when Will had raised an eyebrow at him. “I’m assuming it won’t get Samwell crazy.”

 

Will had let out a loud laugh. “Oh fuck no, and we probably won’t have to kick out half the football team.”

 

“Story.” Sinead demanded.

 

“There was the time Jack kicked out the entire football team but that was before we were there.” Will said.

 

“But then at this kegster near the end of the year, I think the football team had just had a recent win, so they decided to crash our party, which like, is chill cause a lot of people crash out kegsters.” Nursey dove straight into his story telling. “Anyhow, these three guys, what were their names? Chip, Cliff, and Chad?”

 

Will nodded, “Chip, Cliff, and Brad.”

 

“Right, so these fuckers are trying to corner April and March, which like, good fucking luck first of all ‘cause they will kill a bitch. But also we don’t condone that shit at our parties, so Dex and I went over to just like, ask them wassup, all friendly like.”

 

“Friendly my fuckin’ ass.” Will snorted. “You did that whole ‘I’m talking to you like a friend but have that undercurrent in my voice that means that if you answer wrong you may or may not end up in the lake.’”

 

“That’s very specific.” Nursey commented.

 

“I know you.” Will responded. There was a pause while they smiled at one another like fucking dorks, which Cormac interrupted.

 

“Okay but what did you do?”

 

“Oh, we grabbed them and threw them the fuck out.” Nursey said simply, shrugging.

 

“Well, we had to drag them through the party and then literally threw them onto the grass in front of the house.” Will amended. “Ransom and Holster saw us dragging them away and came to stand on the porch with us, lest they get any ideas of gate crashing.”

 

“Wow dude, that’s sick.” Cormac grinned. “Just fuckin yeet them.”

 

As soon as he said ‘yeet’ his sisters groaned and began an argument with him over his use of current slang. His twin, Jon, of course joined in and soon Will had no idea who was on whose side and who was winning. It was a conversation Will and Nursey had no intention of being a part of.

 

“You looked hot at that party.” Nursey murmured in Will’s ear, making him blush. “Well you did, even in fuckin plaid, Mr. Lumberjack fantasy of my childhood.”

 

“You have a thing for Lumberjacks?” Will smirked.

 

“No, well, sure. But who doesn’t. That’s not the point.” Nursey pinched the bridge of his nose, Will chuckled and kissed his cheek. Will very much enjoyed watching Nursey lose some of his chill.

 

“And what,” Will kissed him again, “is the point?”

 

“Nothing.” Nursey sighed.

 

Will leaned back and whined softly, “Tell meeee.”

 

“The point was literally just that you’re hot.” Nursey mumbled, making Will laugh again.

 

“What are you two giggling about?” It was Ben, he’d come over with two plates in his hands that he handed over to Nursey and Will. Vanya came and sat next to him, holding their own two plates.

 

“Where’s our food?” Roisin frowned.

 

“Over there.” Ben pointed to the queue that was forming by the collapsible tables. Roisin stuck her tongue out at him and left with Jon and Sinead.

 

“How’s it going?” Ben said smugly at Nursey and Will as he received his plate from Vanya.

 

“That’s a loaded question.” Will responded easily. “Quite a lot has happened today.”

 

Ben’s eyes dipped to Will’s neck. “Yeah I can see that.”

 

“Leave them alone, babe.” Vanya said, already digging into her plate of food. “If they wanna keep their secrets, let them.”

 

“What secrets?” Cormac asked, Saoirse looking equally interested in the answer.

 

“Unless you mean the hickey’s Will sporting, in which case I think we all know what went on there.” Saoirse said dryly.

 

“What we get up to in our alone time is none of your business.” Will said, essentially confirming what had happened. His eyes flicked to Ben, who had a large smile on his face.

 

Will glanced over to Nursey, who was sharing a look with Vanya that he didn’t understand. He’d noticed the two of them having silent conversations over the past few days. He liked that Nursey had someone around other that him. He liked that he was getting to know his family.

 

“Hey Will.” Will turned and saw Lachlan and his wife Kristie, the were each holding a few plates of food with their three girls running around their legs. “I just wanted to say I have absolutely no issue with you or Nursey, if you wanna watch the girls again I’m fine with that. I feel like I should have said something to you earlier, when we first arrived. I guess I’m so used to Kristie’s sister around I didn’t think that our family wouldn’t be the same.”

 

“Hey, no worries Lachlan. It wasn’t you, it was Shannon.” Will smiled at his cousin.

 

“Gosh I was so angry at her.” Kristie said. “I phoned my sister afterward, asked her for advice. She said the best thing for family to do is be there for you, and not give in to the anger and hatred. Focus on love.”

 

Will laughed. “You sound like Derek.”

 

Both their eyes slid to Nursey and gave him a smile. “Then you’ve found a goodun.”

 

They left after that, wrangling their hungry sprogs away towards where the other parents of young kids had gathered. Will felt lighter, He drew in several deep breaths and revelled in the fact that Shannon hadn’t and couldn’t take away his family.

 


 

As per usual, no proof reading, no beta's. Any mistakes are on purpose and you can't prove otherwise.

Also, my team's gc does that. If someone messages 'hey can I have some love' you will get assaulted by the love. It's great.

 

Come bully me on Tumbldor

Chapter Text

Dinner had ended a few hours ago but everyone was still up, enjoying the night sky, and beautiful bonfire, and wonderful company. The kids, not used to being allowed to stay up so late, ran around hazardously. Adults laughed and made merry, many drinking wine or beer. Mugs of tea and hot chocolate were passed around to people of all ages. Some of the younger adults and teens were messing around on the stage.

 

They sang many songs that the family had been singing for generations. Every so often they’d pick a song that would stop all chatter as the whole family took up the tune. Occasionally a child would run onto the stage and they’d lower the mic, songs like Tinsy Winsy Spider and Ring a Ring of Roses would be sung. The creepiest was when Orla sang The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, but Derek had a sneaking suspicion she knew what she was doing.

 

“Hey, you sing, don’t you?” He asked Dex with a nudge.

 

“What do you mean, ‘don’t you?’” Vanya interrupted. “Will don’t tell me you don’t tell people you sing.”

 

Will went red, visible even in the firelight. Derek took it upon himself to answer Vanya’s question. “No he doesn’t, I only found out the other day.”

 

Ben stood up with a shit eating grin. “Well, off we go Will.”

 

“No,” Dex whined, closing his eyes. “It’s family night. Let them sing their folk songs.”

 

“Pfft, like you don’t know any folk songs.” Ben scoffed. “You’re not getting out of this.”

 

Dex seemed to consider this for a moment before saying, “I get to choose the song?”

 

Ben shrugged and Dex smiled easily. They both wove through the assembled family to the stage. Vanya moved to sit next to Derek. She seemed to be having the same thoughts as Derek as she said, “Will’s going to be a little shit. What’s the betting he sings Three Blind Mice or something?”

 

“Not odds I’d take.” He replied, making her snort.

 

Dex was given the mic fairly easily, it seemed as though he had some standing amongst his family as they seemed eager to hear him sing. There were some whoops and shushing when he was noticed taking the stage. Quirking his eyebrow he sang;

 

Ho ro the Rattlin bog, bog down in the valley o’

Ho ro the Rattlin bog, bog down in the valley o’

And in that bog there was a tree, a rare tree, a Rattlin tree

With the tree in the bog and the bog down in the valley o’

 

There was a laugh at this song, and the family immediately joined in. The kids all screamed and ran to the front of the stage where they sang a long loudly, ‘singing’ being an objective word as it was more like screaming.

 

Derek, however, was stuck dumb as he heard Dex’s voice. It was beautiful. When he’d sang the first few lines alone, despite the clearly jovial song, it had almost been hauntingly beautiful. His voice was discernible above his families, partly because he was on the microphone, but also because of its tone and essence.

 

If possible, Derek had just fallen a little more for him.

 

“I knew it. Typical Will.” Vanya laughed, turning to Derek. “Derek? You okay?”

 

He turned to her, whatever she saw on his face sent her laughing even more.

 

“You’ve really never heard him sing before?” She asked, surprise evident in her voice.

 

“Never.” Derek replied. “Well, sometimes the whole team will be singing along to something dumb but I’ve never heard his voice alone.”

 

“Boy can really sing.” She agreed, noting the reverence in Derek’s voice. “Not that he’d ever want to go that route. Ben asked him about it once, goodness it was as though he’d ask him if he wanted to open his own independent coffee shop with live music, top knots, and avocado toast.”

 

“Doesn’t sound too bad to me.” Derek replied, but understood what she was getting at. “But he hates being called a hipster, despite the plaid and refined coffee tastes.”

 

“You got it.” Vanya nodded. “It’s even worse when you add singer/musician into the mix.”

 

“What kind of thing does he usually sing?” Derek wondered.

 

“Usually his own songs.” Vanya replied, then cursed in Russian under her breath. “He’ll kill me for telling you that.”

 

Derek knew she was right, because the surprise and yearning building in him currently would easily decimate any pretence of pretending to not ask Dex about his music. He had to hear it. He had to hear his Dex sing his own songs, and by the way the family had responded he knew they must be something.

 

“Too late now.” Derek said, getting up. Vanya’s laugh followed him as he made his way toward the stage.

 

The cheery Irish song was still going strong, and for who knew how long. The family were starting to mess up though, but Dex was managing to keep them on track.

 

And in that nest there was an egg, a rare egg, a Rattlin egg,

With the egg in the nest

And the nest on the leaf

And the leaf on the twig

And the twig on the branch

And the branch on the bough

And the bough on the tree

And the tree in the bog

And the bog down in the valley o’!

Ho ro the Rattlin bog, bog down in the valley o’

Hi ro the Rattlin bog, bog down in the valley o’

 

Dex noticed him as Derek stopped to stand a couple meters in front of him, kids between them playing and singing haphazardly. Dex’s eyes straight up twinkled when he caught sight of Derek, taking Derek’s breath away. Not that he showed that, he kept a teasing smirk on his face as he watched Dex sing.

 

A hand landed on Derek’s shoulder, looking up he saw Ben. Ben winked at him. “Good, innie?” meaning, ‘good isn’t he.’

 

“Beyond what I ever thought possible.” Derek replied truthfully.

 

“Glad to hear you say it.” Ben grinned. “He really never told you?”

 

“I just had this conversation with you wife.” Derek informed him.

 

“I’ll get the Sparknotes from her then.” Ben rolled his eyes. The mention of Sparknotes however, distracted Derek.

 

“Did you know they have an Instagram? And twitter? Where they post literature memes. Dex never gets my literature memes, I have no one to send them to.” Derek blinked as he realised what he was saying. “Sorry, nevermind.”

 

Ben laughed. “No dude I get you, English was my favourite subject at school. I didn’t know Sparknotes had some sick social media game though, I’ll have to check it out.”

 

“Yeah, dude do it. They totally do, almost too good. It’s freaky.” Derek nodded seriously.

 

A loud cheer went up around them, the song had come to a close. Ben started whooping and cheering loudly, letting out those ear piercingly loud whistles. Derek had gotten caught up in Dex’s eyes again, like a fucking lovesick fool. Man, he was going to get fined so hard if he kept this up.

 

Dex waited until the family had quietened down, which took a moment since a lot of them were pretty merry at this point. He drew in a deep breath. “Ben? Donnie? Could you guys join me up here.”

 

An even louder cheer went up. Ben let out a smug laugh, as though he knew that even though Dex was gonna be a little shit, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from doing this. Donnie came weaving through the crowd too, doing a small spin and a bow in front of the stage, making everyone laugh.

 

Ben and Donnie stopped next to Dex as he murmured something to them. They both raised their eyebrows before going to their respective instruments.

 

“Aha, so.” Dex spoke into the mic somewhat awkwardly. “Some of you may know that I’m, er, dating someone. His name is Derek Nurse and right now he’d looking at me like I’m an alien. I may or may not have ever mentioned I sing.”

 

A laugh went up around Derek. He could feel a few eyes on him, but he kept his on Dex. He couldn’t look away even if he wanted to.

 

“We weren’t friends when we first met, we basically hated each other.” Dex continued. “It took a year for us to consider one another friends, and a bit longer to actually feel like we were. When we did become friends I, er, didn’t take it well. Some of you may know that sometimes I’m a little defensive.”

 

Another laugh went up. A few people cheer. Derek was fairly certain he heard someone yell “a little!?”

 

“But Nursey, that’s what I call him, hockey nickname sorry. But when Derek started being nice to me, I think mostly through our friends Chowder and Bitty’s insistence, I found myself getting even more annoyed with him than I did when we weren’t friends.” Dex paused, flicking his eyes to Derek and then away again. “I didn’t want to be friends with someone who was only being my friend because he was told to and for ease of life. Anyway, I wrote this song, the first song I wrote about Derek, around that time. It’s called ‘It Will Come Back.’”

 

Derek felt shock ripple through him. Dex had written a song about him. He didn’t even care if it was about how annoying he was, or how much Dex hated him. He was too awed.

 

Dex’s long fingers started strumming on the guitar he’d picked up and a jolt ran down Derek’s spine and straight into the pit of his stomach. A moment later, he hummed into the microphone as his brothers chimed in on their instruments. The lyrics washed over Derek as Dex sang, he closed his eyes as he listened and only opened them again when the chorus started.

 

Don’t let it in with no intention to keep

Jesus Christ don’t be kind to it

Honey don’t feed it

It will come back

 

Dex had his eyes closed as he sang. If that wasn’t the most beautiful sight Derek had ever seen in his life. And probably the most unexpected. A week ago, a couple days ago, Derek would never have thought that his boyfriend(?) – man he really needed to clarify that – William Poindexter was singing a song about him in front of his entire family. God, if first year Derek knew this was going to happen…

 

The way Dex’s body moved as he sang was doing things to Derek. As he neared the end of the song his voice took on a new roughness. A tone that pushed and pulled at Derek. A siren that told him of such an enticing reality.

 

You’ll hear me howling outside your door

Don’t you hear me howling babe?

Don’t you hear me howling babe?

Don’t you hear me howlin’,

Don’t you hear me howlin’,

Don’t you hear me howling babe?

 

Dex looked up at Derek when he’d finished, intense heat in his eyes. And intensity that Derek matched equally. Their connection was cut when Ben slapped Dex on the back.

 

“I had no idea that song was about Derek when Dex taught it to us and we messed around with the arrangement.” Ben said jovially into the mic. “But I’m very glad to have met him and welcomed him into our family.”

 

Dex blushed next to his brother but looked at him with grateful eyes. Having someone be so openly and fiercely proud of him was exactly what he needed.

 

“Now we have to break the boys up.” Donnie said, joining them by the mic. “I believe Gwen had next dibs?”

 

There was an assenting yell from the crowd but Dex held up his hand. “Actually, I have one more song, if that’s okay? It’s a new one that I wrote over the past year. I wasn’t sure if it was one I’d ever let anyone hear, it was mostly just for me. Over the last few days I made some amendments to it and I think it’s something I’d like people to hear.”

 

There was a general agreeing cheer from the crowd. Donnie and Ben shared a look but shrugged and joined Derek where he stood.

 

“Are you not going to…?” Derek waved his hand in the general vicinity of the instruments.

 

“We don’t know this one.” Donnie replied simply.

 

On stage Dex had dragged the keyboard forward and meddled with it some, experimentally checking the sound. He drew a breath and said, “This one is called Take Me To Church.”

Chapter Text

Will didn’t look up when he finished singing. He let the silence hold him. The next thing he was aware of was his mother wrapping him in a hug. She was talking to him in a hushed voice, telling him she loved him and was proud of him. But now that he’d open his eyes he’d caught sight of Nursey.

 

Christ, he looked beautiful, he always did. But right now, Will was fairly certain he’d never seen someone so gorgeous. His eyes were soft, an almost dreamy look about them. His lips parted in awe. He was lit by the firelight, it flickered and danced across his deep complexion.

 

Will didn’t understand how he’d never realised it before. He’d always known Nursey was a beautiful man, but he’d just put that off as understanding and recognising that men could be beautiful. He’d grown close to Nursey despite how hard he’d tried not to. In fact, maybe that was why he always had something against Nursey. Somewhere, deep down, he’d subconsciously recognised his feelings and buried them under a guise of dislike.

 

Will stepped out of his mother’s arms. Together they left the stage area, Ben clapped on him on the back as he walked past. Behind him he could hear his cousin say something in the mic that made the assembled family laugh, but Will wasn’t listening.

 

“You’re incredible.” Nursey said when Will reached him. Will didn’t answer, he just kissed his boyfriend.

 

There was a murmur nearby, possibly from Donnie or Ben, but Will wasn’t listening. He was revelling in his new ability to kiss Nursey. Nursey didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, he only made a sound when Will pulled away.

 

“If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you.” Will said lightly, pecking Nursey again.

 

“How the fuck can you write and sing such beautiful songs then come to me and say something so vulgar.” Nursey chirped.

 

Will laughed. “That’s art.”

 

“Yeah well, I know your secret now.” Nursey smirked.

 

Will elbowed Nursey but Nursey just wrapped his arm around Will and murmured in his ear, “You’re a hipster.”

 

Will gasped, half a laugh of amusement, half offended. “You take that back.”

 

“It’s too late, you’ve shown me your true colours.” Nursey grinned. “And I’m into it.”

 

“You would be.” Will rolled his eyes.

 

“Holy shit Will!” Vanya bounded up to Will and Nursey, stopping just short of them. “That was beautiful.”

 

Will was grateful for the dark firelight as his cheeks burned. He tried to pull away from Nursey but he just held on tighter, keeping at least one arm around him when Will turned toward his sister-in-law. Vanya’s eyes sparkled at them.

 

“It was hauntingly so.” She enthused. Ben came up next to her and slung an arm over her shoulders.

 

“Seriously bro, we need to figure out an arrangement for that cause damn.” Ben’s eyes widened as he spoke.

 

“It’s not one I think I’ll revisit often.” Will said, still smiling but feeling his stomach tighten.

 

“Oh babe, apparently there’s sticky spiced apple cake.” Vanya said, turning to Ben gleefully. “I want the whole goddamn thing let’s find it.”

 

The rest of the evening was spent in good company. They found the cake and demolished it fairly quickly. Saoirse and Sinead joined them, both just as complimentary towards Will’s singing ability. Not to mention his song writing.

 

“I remember that one you wrote and sang at that last one of these shindigs. God that was ages ago now, I what like 12? 13?” Sinead said, looking at her sister for confirmation, who just shrugged in response.

 

Jon came past a shot finger guns at Will, Cormac not far behind who offered Will a high-five. Faolan and Eddie were with them, but they too made gestures of approval to Will. That’s one thing that will bring Poindexters together, good music.

 

As the evening wound down Will finally got the nerve to take Nursey’s hand and pull him gently toward the house. Previous nights had been spent carefully not touching one another in the bed, which hadn’t been easy considering their size. Now Will was aware they were going to bed in the same unmade bed they’d been in earlier. To think, only a few hours ago…

 

Will was exhausted. He didn’t think he was in the mood for more fooling around. He did, however, crave some time alone. Some time alone, and maybe, just maybe, some cuddles. Not that he ever liked admitting that. His ex-girlfriends had either been cuddly themselves so he never had to ask just pretend to be annoyed but take secret delight, or the few he’d dated who hadn’t… Well he’d often be too unsure of himself to ask.

 

Nursey allowed him to pull him away from the firepit. One of the cousins was singing a Birdy song, it was soft and let people wind down. Nursey’s smile was suggestive, but Will didn’t say anything. Behind them, Saoirse and Sinead bid them goodnight.

 

“Where are you taking me, Poindexter?” Nursey said as they meandered along.

 

“I thought I would walk you home.” Will replied lightly, making Nurse laugh softly.

 

“Why thank you.” Nursey rolled his eyes.

 

They continued to walk in companionable silence. Entering the house quietly so as to not disturb anyone who might have already gone to bed. When they reached the door to their bedroom they stopped.

 

“Well this is me.” Nursey said, continuing the game.

 

“So, it is.” Will smiled.

 

“Might I invite you in?” Nursey asked, hand on the doorknob.

 

“Please.” Will rolled his eyes. He’d started this so it was kind of his fault.

 

The door next to their room opened and Ben stepped out. He was wearing pyjama pants and that was it. To Will’s embarrassment he had some fading marks along his collarbone and hips. Not something Will wanted to think about. Though in all fairness, he had also flaunted his own marks somewhat.

 

“Go to bed nerds.” Ben said, smirking at the pair of them. “Ya know, as friends do.”

 

Will felt his cheeks get hot. “Maybe, um, maybe we uh…”

 

“Will was too hot for me.” Nursey spoke up. “Couldn’t keep his hands off me.”

 

“Nursey’s hotness was enough to awaken the homo within.” Will nodded seriously. Nursey snorted, and Ben rolled his eyes.

 

“Will, I’m just glad you’re happy, okay? What I said the first time around still stands. You’re my brother, I love you, I don’t give a shit who you’re with as long as they’re a decent person.” Ben paused. “Derek is actually batting way below his station with you bro.”

 

Will snorted. “Fuck off Ben.”

 

Ben smiled and slipped back into his room, closing the door gently. Will turn his head, nuzzling against Nursey. Nursey’s arms flexed around him before pulling away.

 

“Bed?” He asked.

 

“Bed.” Will agreed.

 

Together they entered their room. They slipped into their pyjamas and crawled into bed. Will tensed, wondering how this would pan out. He tried to breath quietly, in the silence that had fallen in the room it felt like any sound would shatter the moment.

 

But then Nursey’s arm wrapped around him, pulled him close. He hummed into Will’s shoulder.

 

“You don’t mind, do you?” He said sleepily.

 

Will’s eyes closed, savouring the moment, the feel of Nursey against him, the warmth his body emitted. “This is perfect.”

 

 

The next morning, they were woken up by a soft knock at the door. They barely had time to jolt awake before the door cracked open. Chris stuck his head in, his eyes taking in the sight of Will and Nursey wrapped up in one another, still groggy with sleep.

 

“Hey, Will. Derek. Can I, um…?” He gestured vaguely.

 

Will sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. “Uh, yeah, sure Chris.”

 

Chris came into the room and stood awkwardly for a moment before leaning against the dresser. He took a deep breath. Will shared a look with Derek.

 

“I was thinking.” Chris said slowly, considering what he was going to say. “About you.”

 

“Okay.” Will said slowly, sleep addling his brain slightly.

 

“I want to apologise.” Chris said harshly. “For being a dick.”

 

“Um… okay?” Will said, even more confused.

 

“I’m not being very clear.” Chris brought his hand up to his head, raking his fingers through his hair. “So, when Shannon said those things, right? I guess I, er, had a moment of clarity? Like, I guess I’ve been giving you a lot of shit. And it’s kind of gone beyond ragging I think. But when Shannon was… It was just such a bitch thing to say. It was gross. And I realised that maybe you were getting a lot of shit, from a lot of different sides. Ben says our jokes aren’t funny and honestly? At first, I thought he was being over sensitive and overly protective. Maybe I thought I could make you admit it was all a hoax to get me to shut up or something, I don’t know. But I see how relaxed you are with Derek now. I see that you’re happy with him. In a way that you’re just not with the rest of us, as in me and Donnie, a few others. It’s like I’ve noticed that you’ve been putting up with us. I don’t want you to put up with me, Will, you’re my brother.”

 

Will blinked. It was a lot to take in, especially from the person who had kind of kicked off this entire mess. Though, Will supposed he ought to be thankful, seeing as he had just woken up in the arms of possibly the most beautiful man alive.

 

“You don’t have to say anything.” Chris said quietly. “I just wanted to say sorry.”

 

“Thank you, Chris.” Will said automatically, then shuffling in the bed so that his legs swung over the edge to face his brother properly. “No, really. That means a lot, that you came to talk to me. All I want, really, is for this –” he gestured between him and Nursey “– to be normal. For it not to be a big deal. You’re my brother, Chris, I’ll always put up with you, but I’d much prefer to get along with you.”

 

Chris smiled at him, relief evident on his face. “We did as kids, I’m sure we can now.”

 

Chris nodded to the two of them, before leaving the room. Will sat in stunned silence for a moment. He never would have thought… Nursey’s hand on his arm pulled his attention. Nursey was watching him with cautious eyes, like he was trying not to freak Will out. Was Will freaking out? He didn’t think so. He was just processing. Processing the clusterfuck that had been the last few days.

 

“That was… unexpected.” Will said finally. Nursey breathed a laugh. “It was nice, but unexpected.”

 

Nursey pulled at Will, drawing him into his arms and against his chest. He placed a kiss on top of Will’s head. Will let out a long sigh and relaxed into Nursey’s embrace. Nursey continued to place kisses all over Will’s face and neck. Soft kisses, kisses that nudged him, whispered messages of comfort. It seemed as though, to Will, that every day they had here would be an eventful one, one way or another.

Chapter Text

Day four was probably the best day they had so far. It started with an unexpected apology from Will’s elder brother, Chris. Then a fair amount of fooling around. Just some making out and couple of wandering hands. Derek could tell Will wasn’t entirely sure what to do with his hands, or even where he wanted to put them. It was endearing to see Dex blush anytime he unexpectedly liked something Derek did. He also noticed Dex really liked having Derek wrap his arms around him and trail his fingers over Derek’s biceps.

 

When Nursey had felt Dex’s hardon press into his hip he’d had to stop and take a couple deep breaths. Dex writhed beneath him, his breath coming in soft pants that tickled Derek’s neck. Christ, the noises he wanted to make Dex make were endless, intoxicatingly tempting.

 

“You good, Nurse?” Dex asked softly.

 

Derek placed a soft kiss to Dex’s neck then push himself up to lean on his elbows. “I’m more than good dude, I just don’t want to, ah, push you.”

 

Dex snorted. Somehow him being so unconcerned about being attractive made him more attractive to Derek. “Dude, I’ve been thinking about your dick since the last time I touched it.”

 

Not the most eloquent of prepositions but it worked for Derek as lowered his mouth the Dex’s neck, scrapping the skin there with his teeth and getting a quiet “oh fuck yes” as he did so. Smiling, he pressed his lips softly to Dex’s before biting down harder.

 

“Ah!” Dex gasped before letting out a long, drawn out moan. “Uhh, Derek. Fuckkkk”  

 

Derek nipped at his collarbone and didn’t receive much of a reponse. Dipping further he took a nipple into his mouth, which weirdly made Dex laugh. But scrapping his teeth on the smooth skin made Dex cut off that laugh with a slight hitch of his breath. Dex shifted underneath him, making Derek painfully aware of his own erection.

 

Derek rested his forehead on Dex’s chest, trying to control the arousal coursing through him. Just touching Dex like this was blowing his mind. Dex’s hand came up and wound its way into Derek’s hair. He was going to die. Lifting his head he looked Dex in the eye, there was a brief pause.

 

Dex lifted his hips for Derek as he tugged down on his pyjama pants, he then used his legs to kick them down further, but Derek wasn’t focussed on that. They were moving in more of a frenzy now, desperate to touch one another.

 

Derek knew he was good at blowjobs. He’d been told a few times, and by a few, he meant almost every time. Licking his lips, he looked up at Dex, who was watching him with drowsy eyes. Drowsy, sex fuelled eyes.

 

Slow he lowered his head to place his lips around the head of Dex’s cock and was rewarded with a hiss from above him. He hummed in response, knowing what it would do to Dex. Slowly he lowered his head further, bobbing his head as he went, getting used to the feeling himself as it had been a while. It was almost as though muscle memory was kicking in as his eyes fluttered closed.

 

Dex made a cut off groan, making Derek open his eyes and look up at him. He had his arm in his mouth to stop himself making noise. That was incredibly hot. When Dex noticed Derek watching him, mouth stretch around his cock his eyes rolled back and hips bucked slightly. Derek moaned again, God he enjoyed watching how much Dex was turned on by him.

 

The last time, when Dex had messily but very attractively sucked Derek’s dick, it had been the most surreal moment of his life. He’d never in his life ever had expected to have seen William Poindexter moaning around his cock and yet that had actually happened. Nearly killed Derek in the process too.

 

Now he could give as good as he got. Lowering his head further he took Dex all the way in, feeling him at the back of his throat. Derek had had many chats with various friends about deep throating, never had he mentioned how much he really loved it. Hearing the expletives coming from Dex above him made him love it more.

 

Derek knew he wasn’t going to last long, he couldn’t get through this without touching himself. This was too new, too fresh. Reaching down he pulled himself free of his pyjama pants. The first touch of relief sent a low groan through him, a sound that was mirror by Dex, who had once again put him arm in his mouth. The arm did little to stifle him.

 

Derek pulled off to take a quick breath, but before Will could relax he dipped back down. Dex’s hips bucked up accidentally but Derek found he didn’t mind.

 

“Sorry, sorry.” Dex breathed.

 

Derek lifted his head again, long enough for Dex to look down at him. Reaching up he took Dex’s hand and guided it to his hair. Derek held his mouth open and allowed Dex a moment to understand. When he did he let out a few choice expletives, his hand curling into Derek’s hair. Slowly he pushed Derek’s head down, closing his eyes in bliss as Dex took to whispering his expletives.

 

Dex didn’t last long, with his hips jerking up occasionally and his hand guiding Derek. He gave Derek a warning, tugging on his hair as he did so, but Derek swatted his hand away. Taking control back into his own hands, pulled up on Dex’s cock, slowly, before taking him in the whole way. Dex didn’t make a sound as he came. Derek wasn’t even sure he breathed.

 

Derek came a few moments later. With the last of his energy he shuffled back up the bed to collapse next to Dex. Dex was staring at his ceiling, his chest rising and falling.

 

“Holy shit dude.” He said after a while. Derek grunted in response. “Like… fuck.”

 

“Wanna know the best part?” Derek mumbled almost illegibly. “We get to do that as much as we like.”

 

“Damn you right.” Dex replied. “And we’re like, dating right?”

 

Derek couldn’t help the smile that spread across face. “For as long as you want me.”

 

“That’s so cheesy.” Dex sighed, turning onto his side to face Derek. “But somehow, I do.”

 

“You know what this means?” Derek asked somewhat smugly.

 

Dex smiled at him, watching him with soft eyes. “What?” He whispered. In their little blanket and pillow haven with the morning light filtering into their room, Derek felt like it was just him and Dex in the world. That everything outside didn’t matter anymore.

 

“I’m going to have to take you on a date.” Derek replied, loving the way Dex’s eyes lit up.

 

“Is that so?” He said, attempting to stay suave but betrayed himself by beaming. “And why are you taking me on the date?”

 

“Because,” Derek winked, “I asked first. Besides, I gotta treat you right. Make sure you stay on the gay and narrow.”

 

“Is that a joke on ‘straight and narrow.’” Will sighed. “I swear to god Nurse.”

 

“You were screaming Derek a second ago.” Derek said smugly, giving Dex a nip on his shoulder.

 

Dex’s face went bright red at Derek’s words, but he smiled at Derek anyway. “Shut up.”

 

“You love it.” Derek said.

 

“Yeah.” Dex replied.

 

So yeah, Derek had a pretty good morning. Breakfast was a look of shared looks and trying to keep their hands off each other. Vanya and Ben kept throwing them smug looks which soon turned to exasperated ones. Chris would occasionally send them a thumbs up or a smile, which Derek thought was a bitch much but as Dex said, it was better than the alternative. Donnie was absent however, choosing to sit with Faolan and Eddie for breakfast. It was no great loss.

 

They were on clean up duty, which Derek supposed was only fair. It took like an hour to clean everything. Hell, it took like an hour to round up all the stray pieces of cutlery and mugs everywhere. Whenever they thought they had cleaned an entire pile someone else showed up with some more forks they’d found lying in the grass. Dex said it was just how life was when camping with small children and teenagers. They were the prolific fiends.

 

They finished up the clean up just as those prepping the lunch showed up. Their hands all wrinkly from being submerged in gross water for so long. Dex kept laughing at how grossed out Derek was. Which was the moment Dex found out Derek had never actually been camping before.

 

“What really?” Dex asked, then rolled his eyes. “Let me guess, glamping?”

 

“Not even.” Derek shook his head. “We would stay in log cabins or ski resorts, occasionally penthouses in hotels. But mostly we’d rent a house or villa when we went away.”

 

“Oh my god. I’m taking you camping one day.” Dex shook his head at him. “For real, we can go with like, Chowder or something. He’d love it.”

 

“You say that like he’s our child.” Derek laughed.

 

Dex shrugged. “He kind of is, except instead of having loving parents go through a divorce it’s kind of happened backwards. We’re divorced parents who got back together.”

 

“That’s a weird way to put it.” Derek noted, only to receive an elbow to the rib.

 

“Shut up.” Dex mumbled. Derek raised his eyebrows at him. “Nerd.”

 

That made Derek laugh. Before the things they said to one another would have bite to them. These days it just felt like weird flirting. Really weird flirting. Not the kind of flirting Derek had ever taken part in before, which was kind of nice in its own way. It was his and Dex’s own special brand of flirting.

 

Oh shit, he was going to have to come up with a date idea. Dex wouldn’t want anything too extravagant, though, Derek didn’t know that for sure. For all Derek know Dex wanted to be wooed. Wooed? Derek thought to himself, Jesus Christ I’m gone on this boy. Not that he even needed wooing, per se, as they’d already agreed on dating and had definitely agreed that sex was a thing they did. Together.

 

Derek liked to think he was a pretty smooth guy. He liked to feel like he knew what he was doing. But Dex made him feel like he was 14 again and going through his first proper crush. He was nervous and excited all in one but then came these moments between him and Dex where it was like time was standing still and it was just them and it was warm and cosy like a fireplace in a tavern.

 

“Knock, knock,” Dex said, knocking his knuckles gently against Derek’s head. “What’s got you thinking so hard?”

 

Derek put on an easy smile, “You.”

 

Dex rolled his eyes at him and smacked him on the arm. “Gross.”

 

“You’re into it.” Derek said, getting up and stretching out.

 

“Yup.” Dex replied simply, walking backwards away from Derek. Derek watched him for a moment before following. Yeah, day four was a lot better.

Chapter Text

Will noticed Nursey looking apprehensive as they headed toward the riverbank. The group was made up of Will, Nursey, Sinead, Saoirse, Jon, Cormac, and Roisin. Will wasn’t used to being the eldest of the group, in previous years Donnie had come with them. Will was fairly certain the first year he’d been allowed to go Chris had been there too. But now Will was chaperoning those of the Poindexter clan who were going to the party.

 

“We’re going to a party, yes?” Nursey asked as they reached the river.

 

“Mhmm.” Will replied.

 

“And we’re by a river… why?”

 

“We have to get there somehow.” Will grinned. “We’re going to walk along the path upstream.”

 

Nursey’s eyes lit up. Of course, they did, Will should have known he’d be thrilled with a riverside party. “Chill.”

 

“I think Phaedra organised this one.” Soairse said, calling over her shoulder. “She asked us what dates the family would be in so I’m thinking someone wanted to make sure you’d be there, Will.”

 

“I haven’t been around much in the last few years.” Will said sheepishly.

 

“That’s an understatement.” Roisin grumbled. Will nudged her with his elbow and told her to shut up.

 

The conversation turned to who they were expecting to be there, who to avoid, who they had to find. Will and Nursey paid little attention. Nursey was asking his own questions, what would happen if someone fell in the river? How drunk would people be getting? Were they really going to be the eldest there?

 

To that last question, no. There were almost always older people. Older siblings who were there to keep a watchful eye. Graduates who stayed in the area and liked hitting on high schoolers. The usual.

 

The sound of voices and music reached them before they saw the party. There was laughter and general murmuring of many simultaneous conversations. As they turned one last riverbend, the party came into view. Fairy lights had been strung into the trees, a generator hidden behind a large tree was powering the music system. A table was laden with alco-pops and beer.

 

Sinead and Saoirse disappeared almost immediately, heading toward a group of teens their age. Cormac and Jon went straight to the drinks table. Will was about to turn to Roisin when someone called her name and she too, disappeared.

 

“So, this is what the cool kids of Maine do.” Nursey said, looking around appreciatively at the set up. “It’s an aesthetic that’s for sure.”

 

“That it is.” Will agreed. “Not that I’d know anything about that.”

 

“You ever sang live music here?” Nursey smirked. “In your plaid flannel, guitar in hand singing your own songs.”

 

“I get it, I’m a reluctant hipster.” Will closed his eyes and he whined. “Let me live Nurse.”

 

“William Poindexter is that you!?” A voice called. “My God you’re a brick wall.”

 

Looking away from Nursey Will saw one of his best friends since he was a kid walking toward him. She had a huge grin on her face, the one that hadn’t changed at all. She, however, had. Her long brown hair had been cut short and dyed blue, the days of being a bare-faced spotted teen were gone as she now wore dramatic purple eyeshadow with gold eyeliner.

 

“Damn Katie, what happened to you!?” Will grinned, opening his arms wide for a hug.

 

“I’m no longer too poor to wear what I want to wear.” She shrugged. “And what about you?”

 

“Hockey.” Will said dryly, making her roll her eyes.

 

Those same eyes flicked to Nursey. Her expression grew expecting as she looked back at Will.

 

“Nursey, Katie, Katie, Nursey.” Will introduced.

 

“My name is actually Derek, but feel free to call me whatever.” Nursey held his hand out to Katie, who shook it with a grin.

 

“Ah, hockey.”

 

“Yeah, hockey.” Nursey nodded. “I’m actually his D-partner.”

 

“You must need a drink.” Katie said seriously. “If you’ve been putting up with Will for the last two years.”

 

Nursey laughed as Will gave Katie a playful shove. They made their way to the drinks table, each grabbing a beer. Whilst there they bumped into a few more people Will had known from high-school. Not friends, per se, but people who smiled and asked politely how he was, questions he asked back at them too.

 

“Will!” Turning Will saw his other childhood best friend, Brandon.

 

Unlike Katie, Brandon hadn’t changed a bit. He was still that short, stocky, but funny guy Will had known since elementary school. His short crew cut that hadn’t changed in well over a decade. Even still wore tee’s with slogans on it, today’s choice was In my defence, I was left unsupervised, which was a pretty accurate description of Brandon if ever Will saw one.

 

“Brandon! Dude, it’s been forever.” Will said, receiving a hug from his friend.

 

“Yeah, who’s fault it that?” Brandon laughed. “Oh yo, dude, I’m Brandon.”

 

Nursey took Brandon’s offered hand. “I’m Derek, or Nursey, your choice.”

 

“Hockey.” Brandon said.

 

“Hockey.” Nursey agreed.

 

“Derek is Will’s D-partner.” Katie said, handing Brandon a beer.

 

“Yeah that tracks.” Brandon nodded, looking at Nursey with an appraising eye. “Damn, you two are fucking jacked.”

 

“You should see our captains this past year.” Nursey said. “Holster could probably walk through a solid brick wall and not even notice.”

 

They left the drinks table and wandered toward an area where some chairs and crates were set out for seating. People would occasionally come up and say hi to them, sit with them for a bit before being pulled away. Some were people Will had been friends with, others had barely been acquaintances. Many seemed interested in Nursey, Will had noticed, a lot of girls were very interested in being introduced to him.

 

“Now that we’ve got you back for a bit Will, are we going to be seeing more of you?” Katie asked. “I’ve missed having tall friends.”

 

Brandon punched her lightly on the arm. “I’m totally down for some more Will time, as long as you two don’t start dating again. God that was a nightmare.”

 

Nursey turned to Will, eyebrows raised. Honestly, Will kind of forgot that he and Katie had dated. They were such good friends and made better friends than partners that he often forgot.

 

“Oh, yeah.” Katie snorted, seeing Nursey’s expression. “Will and I dated at like, 14? 15? Even took each other’s v card. Bless’d days of youthful ignorance. I’m way too gay for that now.”

 

Will’s head snapped away from Nursey’s to Katie’s. That he had not expected. Katie caught his look and blushed slightly and shrugged.

 

“Yeah, was a surprise to me too.” She said. “I dated Justine Turner for like, 6 months. It was great. My lesbian awakening. Dated a few girls since.”

 

“Yeah, now I get to hear about how she gets way more girls than me.” Brandon rolled his eyes and looked at Will. “It’s Hell Will. And let me guess, you are too now that you’re even taller and broader and handsomer.”

 

Now it was Will’s turn to blush as he looked at Nursey, who was smiling smugly at him. Will rubbed the back of his neck as he said, “Ah, actually…”

 

Will swallowed and licked his lips. He’d obviously never come out to his friends, as it had initially been a lie to get back at his brother. He had forgotten that he wasn’t out to everyone, when he’d arrived at the party. Of course, no one would assume Nursey was his boyfriend.

 

Brandon and Katie were watching him, both looking at him expectantly. Nursey was being no help, just watching him with a semi-amused look on his face.

 

“Nursey is, uh, actually also my, ah, my boyfriend.” Will said, carefully watching his friends.

 

Katie blinked at him, then turned to regard Nursey. Brandon was slack jawed. Neither seemed like they were going to say anything, and Will could feel the nervous babble building inside him.

 

“Wait.” Brandon said finally. “I’m the only straight one?”

 

There was a pause, and then all of them were laughing, bar Brandon. He continued to look faux-annoyed until he couldn’t hold back the laughter anymore. Will caught Nursey’s eye, relief was evident on both of their faces. Will wasn’t sure he could go through someone else hating him.

 

“How the Hell did that happen?” Katie asked, eyes glinting happily.

 

Will found himself unsure how to answer. There was the full, weird, story. Then there was the story they’d told his family. Then there was what actually happened, a kiss turned into more.

 

“It’s…” Will said, trailing off.

 

“It’s a long, really weird story.” Nursey said. “And honestly, I still don’t even know how or why he’s willing to date me.” Will shot Nursey a dark look, who shrugged. “It’s true.”

 

“Wait a second.” Brandon said. “You’re staying with Will right? So like, you’ve met the family?”

 

Will and Nursey shared a look, one that clued Katie and Brandon in on there being a story there. It didn’t take much coaxing for Will and Nursey to tell them some of the stories about the past few days. About Donnie and Eddie being gross, about Ben being great, about Chris being decent.

 

“Will!” For what felt like the millionth time that evening, Will’s name was called out. This time, however, it sent a chill down him.

 

He caught Brandon and Katie’s twin expressions of distaste before he turned around to face her. It was his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie. She wasn’t a terrible person, but it was that thing were your friends decided they didn’t like your ex, for understandable reasons, and thus she became a devil.

 

She was striding toward him looking like a forest nymph. Her brown hair fell down her back in soft curls, floral accessories adorned her head. She wore a loose off-white dress that flowed down to her feet. She looked utterly ethereal, which Will assumed was the point.

 

“Oh, my goodness Will look at you!” She said as she reached him.

 

Will stood up and returned the hug she offered. “Hey Steph, how are you?”

 

“Oh, I’m grand.” She smiled. “All the better for seeing you though.”

 

Will wasn’t entirely sure how to respond to that. Luckily Katie and Brandon also stood up and said quick greetings to her. She grinned at them and returned them in kind, but there was something off about her smile. It wasn’t genuine.

 

Her eyes fell on Nursey and the smile turned softer, realer. “And who might you be?”

 

“I’m Derek, or Nursey, either is fine.” Nursey said, sensing the tension rolling off Will and his friends.

 

“Hockey.” Steph said understandingly.

 

“Yup, hockey.” Nursey replied, looking straight at Will.

 

“What are you guys doing just sitting in the corner?” She asked. “Come on, Will, I know a ton of people who’d love to see you.”

 

Will did not wish to be paraded on Stephanie’s arm for the evening. He’d definitely had enough of that to last a lifetime and then some. It was something Stephanie had loved doing, walking around a party and saying hi to everyone. To let them know they were a power-couple, that she was on Will’s arm. His friends had hated it because it meant they’d only see him for about five minutes.

 

“I’ve already seen a ton of people.” Will said. “I’m sure I’ll bump into them as the night goes on.”

 

“Oh, sure.” Stephanie said brightly. “At least get on the dance floor though, you guys. It’s no fun just sitting in a corner by yourselves.”

 

Will glanced to his friends. Brandon seemed okay with that idea and Katie shrugged at him. They usually did do a bit of dancing at parties, and it had reached a point of the evening where more people had shown up, people had consumed a fair about of beverage, and the music had been turned up slightly.

 

“Brilliant!” Stephanie said, grabbing hold of Nursey and Katie and pulling them to the floor.

 

Brandon gave Will a clap on the back for support. They followed the girls and Nursey to the floor but on the way Will caught sight of Roisin. She was standing alone and scrubbing her face with her hands, a sure sign she was upset. He told Brandon he’d be with them in a second and made his way over to his little sister.

 

“Roisin, you okay?” He asked as he approached.

 

Roisin snapped her head up. Her eyes were dry, no signs of tears so maybe less upset than Will had thought.

 

“I’m fine Will.” She snapped.

 

“Okay.” Will said slowly. “You don’t sound fine.”

 

“Well I am so.” She gave him a defensive look, as though challenging him to say otherwise. “Bog off Will.”

 

“Rosy,” Will started.

 

“Seriously, I’m fine Will.” Roisin sighed. “Besides, it’s not me you should be worried about.”

 

Will frowned at that. Was someone else upset or hurt or something? But following Roisin’s gaze he looked out to the dance floor.

 

“Your ex is grinding on your boyfriend.” Roisin said, and she was right.

 

Stephanie was getting Nursey to dance with her, and Nursey had no idea who Stephanie was to Will. Will really should have given Nursey and brief of who they might run into here.

 

“I’ll catch up with you later, sis.” Will said, effectively distracted.

 

He walked toward the dancefloor. Nursey had his eyes closed as he enjoyed the music but almost as though he could sense Will, he opened his eyes and caught sight of Will walking toward him. A smile spread across his lips.

 

“Hey babe.” Nursey said as Will appeared in front of him.

 

Will didn’t even respond, he just pushed his lips against Nursey’s. Nursey’s arm immediately wrapped around Will’s waist in the way Will loved. Will smiled into the kiss. Revelling in its warmth.

 

Nursey’s hips started swaying with the music making Will pull his lips away. He forgot they were on a dance floor. He’d never danced with a guy before. The look on Nursey’s face drew him in though. He allowed his own hips to be moved with the movement of Nursey’s. Nursey’s mouth split into a grin that Will couldn’t help but mirror. Putting his hands on either side of Nursey’s face, he pulled him in for another kiss.

 

Next to him he heard the unmistakeable sound of his friends’ laughter. He was fairly certain Brandon wolf-whistled. Will didn’t care, he was enjoying dancing with Nursey.

 

They stayed on the dance floor for ages. He also danced with Katie and almost died with laughter as Brandon pulled Nursey in for a dance. Brandon was not a good dancer. He wasn’t sure when Stephanie had left them, but it took him a long time to notice her absence.

 

By the time they stopped and headed toward the refreshment table he could feel the sweat on his body. Looking over at Nursey he noticed his forehead glistening too. Unexpected arousal coursed through him. Images of Nursey in the gym or after a long skate were brought forth in his mind, this time under a new lens.

 

“Who exactly is Stephanie?” Nursey asked him in a low voice.

 

Will sighed. “My ex.”

 

“Ah.” Nursey said with realisation. “Is that why she was all over me?”

 

Katie snorted. “Oh definitely. You guys missed the face she made when you started making out. Man, it was embarrassed and surprised and probably a little turned on.”

 

Brandon and Katie continued to rag on Stephanie, explaining to Nursey the intricacies of Will’s relationship with her. The rise and fall of that relationship wasn’t especially interesting, but Will still groaned at the appropriate moments, Nursey laughed at others. It felt like they were fulfilling a ritual.

 

Will was smiling when he heard the shout. Looking up he noticed a few people were drawn to the commotion. At first, he didn’t understand, and then he realised what he was seeing. Roisin was angrily yelling at someone, or rather, a group of someones. People who didn’t look to be all that kind. Without a moment’s hesitation Will was on his feet and headed straight over.

 

“Poindexters, you’re all such jokes. God look at you all.” A girl with honey blonde hair said, eye’s flicking over Roisin’s shoulder to where Will was. “Oh look, here comes the fag.”

 

Before Will could reach Roisin, she lunged forward and punched the girl square in the face. Reaching out he grabbed Roisin by the waist and hauled her backward.

 

“Will let me go!” She struggled against him. “You don’t know anything about him! Or us! You’re just a sad, small minded, little girl!”

 

Will held onto his little sister tight. “Roisin, enough. Come on, leave them alone.”

 

“You didn’t hear her Will!” Roisin growled.

 

“Ro, I don’t care what some small-town child has to say about me.” Will said, sighing. “I don’t even know who this kid is.”

 

The girl with the blonde hair did not seem to like that. Her angry face went red as she seethed at him. Will had never felt so old as he looked into this girl’s face, still so stuck on the dramas of teenagedom.

 

The two sets of Declan twins’ materialised from the crowd. Both the girls had annoyed looks on their faces, the boys looked a little more passive.

 

“Oh look, even more Poindexters.” Honey blonde rolled her eyes. “You all gay too?”

 

“You have a problem with Will?” Cormac asked, surprising Will. “Cause if so, you got a problem with us.”

 

“Cormac!” A petite brunette standing next to the honey blonde said.

 

“You’re cute, Suzie, but Will’s family.” Cormac shrugged. “And so is Roisin.”

 

Saoirse and Sinead quickly went to work deescalating the situation, getting the people watching to back off. Telling the girls to move along because, yeah, the Poindexters were everywhere and knew everyone.

 

Roisin was still struggling in his arms, so Will hoisted her up onto his shoulder and began walking toward the tree line.

 

“Will put me down!” She gasped. “I’m not ten years old anymore!”

 

There were a few laughs as people watched Will carry Roisin into the woods. He wasn’t going to yell at her, God knows he hit a lot of people when he got angry. But he figured they needed a talk.

 

Will set her down and she immediately crossed her arms as stared at the floor. Will sighed, he recognised this Roisin too. This Roisin was the one who was upset but trying to stop herself from crying.

 

“Hey, Little Rose.” He said softly. “I don’t know what just went down, but we both know you can’t go around hitting people. Luckily, you’re not as big as I was at your age or we’d have more issues on our hands. I don’t want you getting into trouble over defending me, okay?”

 

“Will.” Roisin looked up at Will with big eyes, tears having already spilt over.

 

Will’s heart leaped in his chest. He moved toward his little sister with speed he didn’t know he had, moving on autopilot. Her face was red and blotchy, the kind of look that came from someone who had no control over their tears or emotions. She was pressing her lips together and shaking her head as Will took hold of her hands.

 

“Roisin, what’s wrong?” He asked, something telling him it was more than what he’d witnessed.

 

Roisin shook her head harder, tears coming on stronger and turning into sobs. He felt for his little sister. He was often like this as a child, unable to articulate what was wrong. Unwilling to admit he had a problem. He’d turned his tears to anger.

 

Will took Roisin into his arms as she cried into his chest. She wrapped her arms around his waist and she buried herself there. He murmured comforting words to her, knowing he wouldn’t be able to get an answer out of her currently. He found himself imaging the worst, that someone had hurt her, taken advantage of her, that he’d have to find and kill someone. As she cried his imaginings got worse until he couldn’t bare it.

 

“Rosy?” He said softly, pulling away from her slightly. “Hey Little Rose, you’re going to have to tell me what’s wrong cause I’m getting a little carried away.”

 

Roisin sniffled, attempting to control her breathing. “No… no one hurt me.” She said uneasily.

 

“You sure? Cause this doesn’t seem like nothing happened.” Will said tightly.

 

“No Will,” She took a deep breath, “it’s me Will, I’m wrong.”

 

“Rosy there’s nothing wrong with you, no matter what anyone has told you.” Will said fiercely. He knew what high-school girls could be like, absolutely savage in their takedowns.

 

She cried harder, making Will regret speaking at all. He was not good at this. He held her tight and kissed the top of her head, that had yielded better results.

 

“Will.” She said softly, pulling away from him, looking up at him again. Her eyes were red from crying, sadness etched into them. “I’m gay.” She whispered.

 

Once the words were out her knees gave out slightly and she breathed hard. Will wrapped his arms around her once more and he rocked her gently. Shock delayed him but soon he was talking to her again.

 

“Oh, Rosy there’s nothing, and I mean not a single thing, wrong with you.” Will’s throat felt thick as he spoke, emotion choking him. How long had she known? How long had she been burying this?

 

“I don’t care if people are gay, Will, but I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be.” Roisin refused to raise her head, opting to press her face harder into Will’s chest. “I don’t want to like women.”

 

“Come now, Little Rose, women are so much better than guys. All the guys around here are like Donnie and Faolan and Eddie. You don’t want that.” His words didn’t help. Will really, really, sucked at this.

 

“They’re all so mean Will. They’re so mean to you and they say such gross things.” Roisin had reached the point of crying where she was hiccupping.

 

“Wanna know something?” Will murmured to her, lowering his mouth to her ear. “Chris actually came and apologised to me and Derek this morning. Said that we were real cute together. He said he didn’t want me to tolerate him, he wanted us to be brothers again. Trust me, you’re the littlest, they’re not going to let anyone bully you.”

 

“Did he really?” She asked quietly. “That’s nice.”

 

“And Ben too, Ben loves Derek, probably likes him more than he likes me. Vanya definitely does. And I know Cathy and ma would appreciate more girls around.” Will had no idea what angle he was playing but he didn’t care as long as it worked.

 

“It doesn’t matter Will.” Roisin retracted herself from his arms. “I don’t want to be gay. I’m not going to be.”

 

“Rosy, we both know that’s not how that works.” Will said seriously. “When you finally said it out loud, how did it feel?”

 

Roisin looked down at her feet. For a moment Will didn’t think she was going to answer. “It felt right.”

 

“No matter what, sis, I’ve got your back.” Will said, going down to her eye level. “It might feel like the worst thing ever right now, but some day it will make you beyond happy.”

 

“Is that how Derek makes you feel?”

 

Will paused. “Yeah. Being with him makes me happier than any relationship I’ve ever been in. Maybe that’s because it feels so right, maybe that’s because all my other relationships were when I was a dumb teenager. All I know is that even though this week has kind of been Hell, having Derek with me, knowing you and Ben have my back, even Chris… it’s a whole new range of emotion sis.”

 

“It feels like there’s no taking it back.” Roisin shook her head. “Now that I’ve acknowledged it.”

 

Then she did something that surprised Will, she laughed. It was a tearful laugh, a giggle of madness set free by the release of emotion. She buried her face in her hands, laughing and crying. Will wrapped her in a hug again and rested his chin on her head. Her tears were subsiding, being replaced with even breaths.

 

The sound of soft footsteps took their attention. A girl about Roisin’s age stood there, looking nervous. Roisin make a small noise in the back of her throat.

 

“I’m sorry,” said the girl, “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

 

Roisin nodded mutely. Will couldn’t be sure, but he had a feeling, a suspicion. Ruffling Roisin’s hair he stepped away from her. Turning his back on the new comer he raised his eyebrows at Roisin and walked backwards away from her.

 

“I’m going to leave you in some more capable hands, Rosy, come find me when you’re ready to leave. Remember, I’ve always got your back.” He turned, winked at his sister’s friend, and went to go find Nursey.

 

Returning to the party felt like whiplash. Everyone was back to dancing and chatting and laughing already. He looked around for Nursey, noticing a few people stealing glances at him as he did. They were curious glances. Will raised his eyebrows at them and they would quickly look away again.

 

Finally, Will noticed Nursey. He was with Katie and Brandon, of course, as well as a few other friends from high school. People he hadn’t actually seen yet this evening. He made his way over to them, wrapping his arms around Nursey from behind when he arrived. Nursey jumped slightly at his touch, then relaxed into him.

 

“Hey Will.” A girl called Angie smiled at him. “Long time, no see.”

 

A guy called Aiden nodded his greeting and a girl called Flora waved hers.

 

“Back at you.” Will returned the smile.

 

“Rosy okay?” Nursey asked.

 

“Dude.” Will said, leaning away from Nursey so he could give him a look that said ‘there is so much to this story but it will have to wait for later.’

 

“She looked so much like you when she hit Layla.” Brandon laughed.

 

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” Katie grinned at Will, “but yeah, you two are so similar. I got flash backs to you hitting Gordon in the 8th grade.”

 

The whole group laughed at that. The conversation turned to first stories of Will’s anger fuelled exploits to other missteps his friends had made in their youthful ignorance. Will couldn’t help but watch Aiden, Flora, and Angie carefully. They seemed totally at ease with Will and Nursey all wrapped up in one another. They didn’t even bat an eyelid when Nursey was telling a story about one of their fights in their first year and had laid a handful of kisses on Will’s face.

 

It was nice. He still felt worry for his little sister. He still felt eyes on his back the entire night. Anytime he caught eyes with Stephanie she went red and looked away, which if anything was a blessing. He felt comfortable though, seeing his friends. Talking to people he hadn’t seen in years. Nursey hearing stories about him as a child. It felt, warm. It felt good.

Chapter Text

Derek woke the next morning with Dex in his arms. He was curled around Dex’s back, his arm slung around his waist, hand resting on Dex’s stomach. Derek smiled, he could get used to waking up list this. Dex was waking up too, shifting slightly in Derek’s arms. And then he stretched. His whole body tensing up and pressing against Derek’s. Derek’s arm tightened around Dex’s waist, Derek’s forehead resting on his shoulder.  

 

“Morning.” Dex said, voice sleepy and heady.

 

Derek bit Dex’s shoulder. The jolt that went through Dex made Derek smile against the smooth skin of his shoulder. He pressed a soft kiss there as he listened to Dex’s breathing change from sleepy to carefully even. Dex’s arm reached up behind him, his hand curling into Derek’s hair.

 

“Mmm.” Derek couldn’t help but gasp out quietly.

 

Derek’s hips moved mostly of their own accord as they ground against Dex’s ass. Derek’s hand had moved to Dex’s hip, helping him keep a hold on him. Dex breathed out soft sounds of enjoyment, coaxing Derek on. He started with soft kisses to his neck and shoulder, occasionally nipping at him slightly.

 

“Derek.” Dex huffed quietly, taking hold of Derek’s hand on his waist and tugging on it.

 

Derek understood immediately and pressed a kiss to Dex’s neck. He moved his hand from Dex’s hip to the waistband of his boxers and slipped inside. When his hand found Dex’s already hard cock they both let out twin grunts. Derek tried moving his hand in time his hips that were still slowly rolling against Dex.

 

Dex turned his head to better see Derek, to press their lips together. Derek lifted himself up to allow Dex to roll onto his back. Dex’s kissing ability was severly impaired by Derek’s hand working on him, but Derek didn’t mind at all. He continued to kiss him, his lips, his forehead, his cheeks, his neck, his collarbone, his shoulders. Anywhere he could get his lips.

 

Dex was trying to conceive cohesive sentences but wasn’t able to do much more than mumble. His hands were restless, tracing Derek’s bicep, pulling on his hair, gripping onto his hip, his ass. Anywhere he could get his hands.

 

Derek was starting to tell when Dex was close because of the way he’d tense up. The way he’d tip his head back to give Derek access to his neck. The way his brows would pull together, and his eyes would roll back. Dipping his lips to Dex’s neck, he coaxed his boyfriend to his climax.

 

“Fuck Nurse.” Dex mumbled, eyes still closed.

 

Derek smiled and continued pressing soft kisses all over Dex. Soon Dex opened his eyes again, squinting against the morning light. Dex’s morning-post-orgasm smile made Derek’s chest hurt, yearn to hold him in this moment forever. A swirl of emotion flooded through him, something akin to envy coursed through him. He ached for this moment, to feel this emotion he’d only really read about. There was also disbelief, utter disbelief that he was existing in this moment. That it was his and Dex’s alone, theirs to share. The final feeling was a feeling of contentment, of the calm that comes with peace time. The feeling of a summer breeze as you watch the sunset, the feeling of being alone on the ice, the feeling of seeing a flower reach for the light or watching dust moats.

 

Dex’s hand rested on Derek’s cheek, bringing him back to the man who held him both in heart and hand. Dex’s expression turned for lazy morning to wicked in a second. A look that reminded Derek of how hard he was.

 

“Will you show me what you like?” Dex asked him.

 

The air left Derek’s lungs. He pressed his mouth firmly against Dex’s, wanting to feel their bodies against one another. Their kiss was messy and dirty and everything Derek craved. Dex’s hands were holding firmly onto Derek’s hips. Too soon Derek had to pull away.

 

He knelt above Dex, his knees bracketing his hips. Dex lay back and smiled up at him with a lazy grin, a smile Derek returned as he pushed down the waistband of his own boxers. Taking himself in his hand, he did exactly what Dex had asked for. He showed him what he liked.

 

Later, after they’d both showered, they stood in their room looking at their bed. They both had to admit how gross it had gotten after 6 nights sleeping in it, and more than a couple orgasms. The real issue was how they were going to clean them without attracting attention, attention that would almost certainly end in inappropriate jokes and lewd comments.

 

“So, there’s no tumble dryer.” Derek said.

 

“No, the house’s electrics are too sketchy for too many appliances.” Dex sighed. “The one time they tried to whole circuit freaked the fuck out.”

 

“So the washing of the sheets shouldn’t be too hard, but the drying and replacing…” Derek

 

“Yeah, I mean. We can get new sheets easy. But that still leaves cleaning these ones, and there’s no way I’m making my grandma clean my spunked up sheets.”

 

Derek wrinkled his nose at the use of phrase but understood Dex’s point. Granny Aoife did not deserve such a task. Then again, she did have like a ton of kids, half of which were boys. Not that Derek was going to add to the problem.

 

“How about,” Derek said slowly. “We replace our sheets and the manky old ones can be balled up and put in a bag until before we leave, and we clean them then?”

 

Dex frowned but nodded. “Seems to be the best plan. ‘Cause there’s no way I’m sleeping in that bed again until they have new sheets.”

 

“Who knew you were a clean freak.” Derek smiled lazily, knowing the comment would rile up Dex.

 

“I’m not a clean freak, not wanting to sleep in like three-day old jizz isn’t being a clean freak. It’s being sanitary and having basic hygiene.”

 

“Babe, chill.” This time Dex turned to look at him, realisation that Derek was winding him up dawning on his face.

 

“I swear to God, if you say chill one more time this week.” Dex said seriously, but a smile was curling on his lips.

 

They changed the sheets, the only fresh ones left were heinously floral in a way that should be criminal. ‘Cause Derek like flowers, okay, he thought they were fucking sick. But somehow, people had managed to fuck up flowers.

 

“At least we don’t have to worry about getting fluids all over these sheets.” Dex said once they were on the bed. Derek’s heart sank because there was a very real chance of that.

 

At breakfast Derek noticed Roisin avoiding them, he raised an eyebrow at Dex who just sighed and shook his head at him. Ben and Vanya cornered them to tell them today was the day they were going to tell the family about their pregnancy and to prepare for a very excited Aisling. Dex smiled for them but looked tired already at the level of excitement that was about to takeover the reunion.

 

They ended up hanging around the stage and firepit once breakfast was over and done with. Dex left Derek with Ban and Vanya as he went off to find Roisin. Derek didn’t mind, he was comfortable enough with Ben and Vanya now that he didn’t feel on edge.

 

“Is Rosy okay?” Vanya asked Derek as they watched Dex leave.

 

“I’m not sure. She got into a fight yesterday.” Derek replied. Ben and Vanya shot him alarmed looks making Derek realise that none of the young adult Poindexters had seen fit to tell anyone about the party. Which made sense, adult often over reacted and would bring unnecessary things into situations, like law enforcement. “Ah right, yeah.”

 

“Explain.” Ben said, the most serious Derek had ever seen him.

 

“I’m not even sure what happened, we were hanging with Dex’s friends Katie and Brandon when we heard some yelling. Will was on his feet before I even knew what was going on. Some girl Roisin’s age, called Lila or something –”

 

“Layla.” Ben nodded.

 

“Sure.” Derek shrugged. “She was trashing Poindexters and saw Dex heading over and said ‘here comes the fag’ which is when Roisin hit her. Dex pulled her off the girl, told her to stop. That what some random small town girl had to say didn’t matter. The Declan twins showed up and essentially told this girl to fuck off and then told everyone the show was over kind of thing. Roisin was still kinda angry so Will carried her off.”

 

“Carried her off? Like… literally?” Vanya asked.

 

“Oh yeah.” Ben nodded, smiling slightly. “Roisin’s always had a temper like Will has, so he was often the best at dealing with her. Unless it was the two of them fighting. He would just carry her away.”

 

“You don’t seem all that bothered.” Vanya noted.

 

“I’m not.” Ben shrugged. “You should have heard about the scraps Will used to get into. Or Donnie, or Chris.”

 

“But not you?” Vanya teased.

 

“Oh, me too. But at that time it was only me and Cathy, and Cathy couldn’t care less what trouble I got into. So it was either figure things out for myself or become a complete degenerate.”  Ben shrugged like it was nothing. “Besides, the rest of us don’t really get angry like those two do. Most of our brawls were just guys being doofuses.”

 

The conversation moved on from there. They asked about Derek’s family and were surprised to hear he was an only child. Ben shook his head like he couldn’t even picture having a small family, but Vanya nodded understandingly, having one sibling herself and all of two cousins who lived in a different state.

 

Ben asked Derek if he played any instruments. Derek admitted he had been taught violin as a child but only knew classical. As he’d gotten older he’d seen some truly talented people who used their violins to play all manners of music, to invoke a range of emotions, but whenever he’d tried to do the same it had always sounded like a sad copy. A porcelain doll who can only be played with carefully, always watching the ragdolls be taken on adventures.

 

Derek frowned at the metaphor he’d used. He could do better than that.

 

Ben had just laughed and asked to hear it. That’s how Dex found them a few hours later, Derek playing classical violin and Ben trying to teach him how to incorporate other styles in.

 

“What you up to?” Dex asked, eyebrow raised.

 

“Just with Ben, jammin’.” Derek replied easily.

 

Dex closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I fucking hate you.”

 

Vanya laughed, “sorry I just got it. Benjamin. Pregnancy brain.”

 

“Wait, what?” Roisin was stood slightly behind Dex. She stared at Vanya with wide eyes. “Really?”

 

Vanya grinned at her. “Yup, you’re gonna be an aunt, Roisin. We’re gonna tell your ma and da later on, so keep it secret until then.”

 

Roisin smiled warmly at her sister-in-law and nodded, holding her finger to her lips. Her eyes drifted to the violin in Derek’s hands. She frowned. “Is that my Fiddle?”

 

“Uh, maybe? Ben handed it to me, sorry.”

 

“Don’t be.” She smiled. “You play?”

 

“Classical.”

 

“We’ve been trying to instil some Irish rebellion into his playing.” Ben grinned at his little sister. “You know all about that Rose.”

 

The next hour or so was spent with Roisin trying to help Derek play the violin, differently. Whenever she took the instrument from his hands it was almost as though it transformed. He had been taught straight back, make a line with your neck, hold your bow like this. When Roisin held her violin it looked as though it her an extension of her. Her whole body moved with the movement as she felt everything she played.

 

Maybe that was Derek’s issue. He’d always tried to not show too much emotion, too many emotions could be dangerous. When you’re black and angry. When you’ve got a crush and you’re gay. When you’re happy but anxious. He’d never been much of a classical player, he just had the technical aspect down which meant he passed as a decent player. With this style of playing the technical mattered less, anytime Roisin’s finger slipped or drew the bow wrong it didn’t feel like a mistake, it felt more real. More visceral. The feeling she poured into her playing was what made it good.

 

“Oh my god, is that a ukulele?” Vanya said brightly, noticing the tiny instrument next to a few other guitars. “If you can play guitar can you play the uke?”

 

Dex held his hand out for the ukulele and considered it. “In theory? Who’s is it anyway?”

 

Roisin blushed, her violin now on her lap. “It’s mine. I was teaching myself thing summer.”

 

“Yes Rosy!” Ben grinned, throwing his hands into the air. “Join the guitar gang.”

 

“Stringed instruments all the way.” She rolled her eyes.

 

“What can you play?” Dex asked, smiling proudly at his little sister.

 

“I don’t know any real songs, I’ve just been messing around with chords.” She said, taking the ukulele from Dex.

 

“Why the switch?” Vanya asked. “I mean, you’ve absolutely mastered that violin, and you play the cello, too don’t you?”

 

“I’m not so good at the cello, but decent.” Roisin nodded, averting her eyes from her brothers. “I wanted to move over because it’s easier for songs.”

 

“Rosy, you’re writing songs!” Ben said, clasping his hands together.

 

“They’re not much.” Roisin mumbled. “Besides, it’s not like I can live up to Will.”

 

Dex gave Roisin a light kick. “Don’t you dare.”

 

“It’s all valid, Rosy,” Derek nodded, shrugging as he spoke. “You’ve got your own sound, your own style. It’s not about being Will, it’s about being you.”

 

“They’re also just…” She took a deep breath, her brow furrowing as she looked for the words. “They’re too raw. To share with everyone.”

 

“How about just us?” Vanya asked.

 

“You’ve been feeling a lot recently, Rosy.” Dex murmured, moving to kneel in front of his little sister so he could look her in the eye. “And you’ve been struggling to tell me what’s going on. Sometimes I find that my songs works better than my words.”

 

Roisin bit her lip and nodded. She positioned the ukulele in her hands and closed her eyes. "It's called Darkness Keeps Chasing Me." 

 

Opening my eyes

Seems like it gets harder sometimes

Look at the skylight

Would you be mad at me if I tried running away to it in the night?

 

Derek was surprised by the tone of her voice. Her violin playing was so lively that the song was a direct contrast. Her voice was grainy in a good way, perfect in its imperfections. As he watched her face he noticed how she tried to hide how she felt as she sang, but it was coming through anyway.

 

Every now and then

The darkness tries to chase me

And my legs

Are getting tired of running

 

Oh, please don’t

Please don’t let it get to me

Oh, I don’t wanna give up that easily

But the darkness keeps chasing me,

Me

 

Derek’s heart hurt for the girl. He had felt what she was feeling. He could see the truth of her emotions playing on her face. Glancing to the side he saw Vanya covering her mouth with her hand, her eyes shining with unshed tears. Ben’s usually happy face had fallen, understand and empathy etched into his face.

 

I will be different

But I’m not sure if I can do it all alone

God, I want to be different

But im not sure if I can do it on my own

 

Dex drew in a sharp breath at his sister’s words, his eyes watching his sister with such worry. Derek supposed that was because he had an idea what this was about, beside the obvious.

 

As she finished her song Roisin kept her eyes down, waiting for a response from her family.

 

“Oh Rosy.” Dex said, leaning forward and pulling his sister into a hug. She slumped against him as he whispered something in her ear.

 

“Oh fuck, I’m crying.” Vanya said, tilting her head up and blinking at the sky. “Roisin you are incredible.”

 

Dex and Roisin separated from their hug. Ben exhaled softly before speaking to his sister.

 

“It was absolutely, gut-wrenchingly, beautiful.” He said, his eyes searching hers. “Truly, a beautiful song. I think you encapsulated the feeling very well. I’m just so sad you’re experiencing it.”

 

“I’m okay.” Roisin sniffled slightly. “I am, really. Or at least, I’m better.” Her eyes flicked to Dex, who was watching her with a sad smile.

 

“Can I get the whole thing written down?” Derek asked, his brain unable to absorb the lyrics fully.

 

Roisin smiled and nodded at him.

 

“God, do you have any others?” Vanya asked. “’Cause if you do, tell me if they’re going to make me cry too.”

 

Roisin laughed. “I do, but they’re all angsty songs about being a teenager and all that brings.”

 

“Hey look, we’ve all been there. Literally, all of us.” Vanya gave her a wide-eyed look of understanding. “High school was a nightmare for me. A mixed-race girl in Maine with a name like Vanya Ngozi Uzu-Plotskivich. I don’t know the shit you’re going through but never downplay how awful it is.”

 

“Oh babe,” Ben said, looking at his watch. “We told ma we’d meet her around now. Wish us luck guys.”

 

Ben helped Vanya to her feet and offered them the chance to join them. Dex and Roisin declined. They wandered toward First Home hand-in-hand. Dex had a look about him, one that told Derek that he wanted to talk to his sister. One that Derek didn’t think he should be sitting in on.

 

“You guys look like you need to talk.” He said, rising to his feet. “I’ll go find Saoirse and Sinead or something.”

 

“Babe, I don’t want you to –” Dex said, reaching his hand out and taking Derek’s.

 

“Will, it’s fine.” Derek smiled at him and raised his hand to kiss it. “I’ll survive. Rosy, you’re incredible. I loved your song and I can’t wait to hear more. Remember to give me a written copy.”

 

Wandering around alone was interesting. People were no longer giving him weird looks, he’d been there long enough that they’d gotten used to him. A few people waved and smiled, some called out to him and asked where Dex was, and if he’d finally escaped. It was all friendly. It was just family things. A thought that sent Derek reeling a bit.  

 

Derek went to go grab his poetry book, deciding instead to sit a be alone for a while. He hadn’t had any alone time in a week, and it had drained him. He suspected that when he got back to New York he’d take a moment to enjoy the solitude, the quiet, and then immediately crave the feeling of family once more.

 

It was hard to judge the success of a writer. He could write 10,000 words and it all be useless, or he could write merely 500, but those 500 be the best he’d ever written. He could scribble something good down in five minutes, or spend an hour perfecting a sentence. There was no accurate gauge in Derek’s mind.

 

It came to no surprise to him when Dex appeared some time later to call him to lunch. Walking hand in hand they made their way to the firepit. Derek asked how Roisin was, to which Dex had sighed and said she’d be alright.

 

As they arrived where the food was being handed out they saw a lot of people gathered around Ben and Vanya, giving them handshakes and hugs and claps on the back. Dex’s mother was fluttering around, her face red as though she’d been crying. Her smile was radiant though, Derek thought. She looked ecstatic.

 

Dex didn’t even pretend he didn’t know when his mother told him the news. He laughed as she gasped and smacked Ben on the arm, who gave Dex look of exasperation. Aisling kept repeating ‘a grandmother, I’m going to be a grandmother!’ to herself and to anyone who would listen.

 

The day was spent in a warm haze. Happy congratulations, spirits raising at the prospect of another Poindexter. The kids danced around, the teens had relaxed enough to be goofy again, adults were less worried about keeping everyone in line for a week as it drew to a close.

 

Sinead and Saoirse teased Dex about Stephanie, much to his brother’s enjoyment. Even Cathy smiled when Dex related the story of how Roisin had pointed out his ex-girlfriend dancing with an unsuspecting Derek. Roisin laughed as she told them of how he had marched over and claimed what was his.

 

Derek thought back to that party when Dex had left to deal with Roisin. Stephanie had sidled up to Derek, Katie, and Brandon.

 

“You should hear the songs he wrote about me.” Stephanie had said smugly.

 

Derek had smiled back at her evenly. “You should hear the way he screams my name.”

 

“Fuck.” Katie gasped, laughing at Derek’s unexpected words. Brandon didn’t even try to hide his laugh.

 

Stephanie’s face paled, a cold look stealing over her face. Derek couldn’t find it in himself to care as she walked away. He shrugged at Will’s friends, who both smiled at him. Brandon even offering him a fist bump.

 

Yeah, Derek very decidedly liked Dex’s friends, and they had let him know that they very much decidedly liked him too. It was crazy, how quickly Derek had been sucked into Dex’s fairy tale world. And it truly felt like a fairy tale at times. None of these things that they did so casually felt real. But maybe that was the city kid in him.

 

After dinner everyone sat by the firepit. A few solar-powered lights had been set up around them too. There was a quiet murmur of voices as everyone enjoyed one another’s company. People sat less in clusters and more together.

 

Everyone was dressed differently than usual. The men wore loose shirts and slacks, the women wore either flowing dresses or skirts. There were colourful belts tied around waists and embroidered shawls draped over shoulders.

 

A hush fell over the assembled family. Looking up Derek say Granny Aoife standing on the stage, a motherly smile gracing her face. She looked gorgeous, in the way some elderly do when utterly in their element. When they feel comfortable and at home.

 

“What a beautiful reunion this has been.” She spoke in her Irish lilt. “I couldn’t be more proud of the family I have created. It started with me son, Seamus. By the time I was on me last bearn he was on his first. The family has been growing ever since. There have been many ups and downs, we’ve lost a lot of people. With ye all gathered tonight, I’m reminded of all I have and how much I have to be grateful fer. New partners have been brought back ta the First Home, brought into the arms of our family, and there’s not one of them I wouldn’t wish here with us. You all belong, so long as you protect and love what is mine, and now yours. Our family is still growing, with Caitlin about ta have a wee’un, young Vanya too. For it is the women of this family, that have kept us strong.”

 

The atmosphere around the firepit as Granny Aoife spoke was that of family. Derek, not for the first time in his life, struggled to think of the words that described the feeling of kin.

 

Granny Aoife drew in a breath, her aged voice singing

 

When we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day

A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mil-lofts grey

Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses

For the people hear us singing “Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses”

 

The other women in the family’s voice filtered in, their voices rising as they sang. It was taking Derek’s breath away to hear them sing so peacefully, with so much love, with so much depth.

 

As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men—
For they are women's children and we mother them again. 
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes— 
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.

 

A few of the men had moved to retrieve their instruments. There was soft drumming and strumming. And something Derek thought was a bagpipe in Uncle Bill’s hands. The respect this family had for their women was evident in every man’s face as they listened to their mothers, wives, and sisters sing.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead 
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread; 
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew— 
Yes, it is Bread we fight for—but we fight for Roses, too.

Derek turned to look at Vanya, who was sat next to him. She had tears in her eyes again, ones she didn’t mind shedding, her hand on her stomach where her own child was growing.


As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days—
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes—
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.

 

There was a pause as the song ended. As everyone bathed in the atmosphere that had settled. Then, nearby, Sinead stood up and started singing a new song. At first, it was slow but as she sang faster the family started clapping the beat. Derek wasn’t sure if it was another language or scatting. Saoirse stood suddenly, causing Sinead to stop her singing. What she sang was clearly part of the same song.

 

Soon they were singing together, instruments starting up again. Derek even saw Chris and Donnie with handheld drums. When Dex had said they played the drums he had assumed it would just the usual.

 

“A bodhrán.” Dex murmured in Derek’s ear.

 

The cousin Gwen stood and joined Sinead and Saoirse causing all them to stop singing. She sang her own piece that soon Sinead and Saoirse were joining in with. The harmony flowed around the firepit. The family were smiling and clapping. Sinead sang alone,

 

Look how the lights of the town,

The lights of the town

Are shining now

Tonight, I’ll be dancing around

I’m off on the road to Galway now

 

Saoirse and Gwen shared a look and then were singing themselves

 

Look how she off on the town…

 

They all danced around one another as they sang. They turned and faced the assembled family

 

Téir abhaile riú, téir abhaile riú
Téir abhaile riú Mhearai
Téir abhail gus fan sa bhaile
Mar tá do mhargadh déanta

 

Derek gasped and turned to Dex. “They’re singing in Irish.”

 

Dex grinned at him, the soft light making him look unearthly. “Cén fáth go bhfuil siad.”

 

Derek’s heart beat unevenly in his chest, he’d fallen in love with a fairy. “Holy shit.”

 

Dex had never mentioned, but of course he wouldn’t. He turned to Vanya who winked at him. She hadn’t warned him either. But then again, experiencing this without prior warning was probably for the best. It was magical.

 

Roisin skipped out, her fiddle tucked under her chin. She played it with ease as she wove between the singers. They were just as respectful of her as they would be if she were another singer up there.

 

There's fine sailors walking the town
And waiting to meet the ladies there
Watch now he'll soon be along
He's finer than any sailor so
Come on now pick up your spoons
He's waiting to hear you play them WOO!

 

Faolan had joined them on the stage and had dancing around them. Saoirse and Gwen continued singing as Sinead slapped spoons on her leg, actually playing the spoons. Something Derek had never seen before.

 

There was a break in the singing and Faolan started Irish dancing, much to Derek’s surprise. Cormac and Jon joined him in his Irish dancing as Roisin dancing in and around them, playing her fiddle. Behind them Derek was fairly certain Lachlan was playing a flute.

 

Everyone joined in the singing, clapping along harder. One of the guitars Derek saw he was fairly certain was a lute. This was just too incredible for him to comprehend.

 

The singing, the dancing, the firelight, the stars in the sky.

 

When the song came to an end there was a loud cheer. Uncle Bill called for something he called a ‘Caoineadh’ and was met with a laugh. The next songs to be sung were by some of the older members, songs called ‘four green fields’ and ‘the town I loved so well.’ The girls had returned to sitting, occasionally joined in with the instrument playing.

 

Dex stopped up and headed toward the stage. He walked with such ease, such confidence. Who lived like this? Derek couldn’t help but wonder, who actually got to experience this? A hush descended as Dex was noticed. It felt as though they had been waiting for him, like they knew what song he was going to sing.  

 

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

From glen to glen, and down the mountain side

 

Ah, of course. No Irish evening of festivities was complete without Oh Danny Boy. Even Derek knew this song. Even so, it was beautiful. Dex was allowed to sing the first verse on his own before he was joined by instruments and other voices. Derek couldn’t help but wonder why it had been left to him to sing.

 

When he was done Dex looked out across the family in front of him, his eyes searching until he found Derek. Derek felt as though everything else had faded away. Dex got up and walked toward him. They kept their eyes on one another until they were face to face.

 

“What are you.” Derek found himself wondering in awe.

 

“I’m yours.” Dex relied, pressing a soft kiss to Derek’s lips.

 

The thing that drew the two of them out of looking into one another’s eyes like idiots was Roisin. She stepped out toward the stage, her beautiful dress billowing out. She no longer had her fiddle, but a ukulele.

 

“This is a song my littlest big brother wrote for me. I haven’t been feeling the best recently, but my big brother always has my back.” Roisin said. “I hope you don’t mind me singing it for you. It’s called, Light The Sky.”

 

There was clapping of encouragement from all around and a gasp from Aisling, ‘oh darling!’ Roisin strummed softly on her ukulele.

 

Stars, they got nothing on us
I don't think you understand

 

Dex was watching her with wide eyes. He perhaps hadn’t expected her to sing a song he’d written for her, or perhaps he hadn’t expected her to sing at all.

 

Cause the stars are dull when they're compared to you and I
And if people don't like it, then they can close their eyes
'Cause we're not the same and we don't have to try
'Cause we're brighter than fireflies
We're gonna light the sky

 

Derek sighed. It was a beautiful song. It made him happy to hear the words Dex had written for his sister, words he’d used to cheer her up, words he’d written to let her know she was okay. But he couldn’t help but read into it. Into what these words could mean.

 

Cause my head is spinning and my feet off the ground
And I can't stop dancing like no one's around
And yeah, I think we were born to shine

 

Roisin’s face as she drew to the close of her and Dex’s song, took on a new ferocity that Derek had come to associate with the Poindexters. Her voice portrayed her emotions just as well as her fiddle playing did.

 

When she was finished there was a pause before the applause started. Derek looked around and saw Aisling and Dex’s father both had tears in their eyes. Aisling rushed forward and embraced her daughter.

 

“What a beautiful song your brother wrote for you! Goodness, my children have been making me cry all day, look at ye’s!” Aisling turned to Dex and wrapped him in just as ferocious hug.

 

“Why are just you and Dex so special!?” Donnie asked with a laugh, voice full of faux annoyance.

 

Roisin turned to look at her elder brother and raised her eyebrow at him. “’Cause we’re the gay ones.”

 

There was a pause as her words were absorbed. And then Donnie laughed and held up his hands, “Fair enough, you guys keep your club.”

 

“Oh my god.” Vanya whispered, her hand over her chest. Ben next to her looked just as torn as she did. Derek knew they were both doing what he was doing, putting her earlier song into context.

 

More songs were sang that night. More dancing. Dex even joined in some of the Irish dancing, much to Derek’s delight. He moved like he did when he was on the ice, with purpose and masculine energy. Roisin coaxed Derek into playing the violin with her. Together they both attempted a jovial jig, Derek following her lead.

 

They stayed out all night, until the fire got low and the sun came up. The whole world turned golden with the fresh light. The dew clung to the world around them. The air was crisp and new. Children were carried to bed in their parent’s arms, lovers walked back hand in hand. Young people continued to dance as they made their way to bed. A soft song was sung as they packed up the things that needed to be put away before bed.

 

Dex took Derek by the hand as they walked through the damp grass toward First Home. They lay facing one another in bed, talking in hushed voices as the early birds began their own singing. Dex smiled with love and amusement as he watched Derek struggle to put into words the evening he just experienced.

Chapter Text

The last day was a slow one. Will and Nursey had a lazy morning in bed, snuggled up and occasionally kissing. Eventually they roused themselves to helping pack up. Thankfully everyone was moving slowly, having all stayed up until dawn the night before. Breakfast was leftovers, sausages and bubble and squeak. There wasn’t much juice or squash left so they were all mixed together into what Nursey kept referring to as PG tub-juice.

 

As some of the last up they had the fun job of washing up the breakfast cutlery and crockery. Luckily there wasn’t much of it as it had been a simple breakfast, and it sure beat packing up the campsite. Families were packing cars up with bedding and roll mats and kids running to and fro.

 

 

The pots and pans were all packed away into the basement of First Home, too big for everyday use but to be brought out for events. Will’s brothers were taking down the equipment of the stage but that didn’t stop some of the elder poindexter’s playing music.  As Will and Nursey reappeared out of the house they saw Uncle Bill and a few of the other older Poindexters who lived locally sitting by the stage, all sitting around and singing merrily,

 

In Dublin’s fair city

Where the girls are so pretty

I first set my eyes on

Sweet Molly Malone

As she wheeled her wheelbarrow

Through streets broad and narrow

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

 

They sang with a cheery yet melancholy sort of sound. The song had been slowed down than Will was used to hearing it, but it made him smile to hear it sang. It reminded him of his childhood of hearing old folk songs. He didn’t remember having learnt these songs, they’d always been around him that they felt like part of him. There had been a time where he’d gotten rather embarrassed by his family and their penchant for the old ways and the old songs. He didn’t feel like that anymore.

 

Alive, alive ‘O!

Alive, alive ‘O!

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

Nursey turned to grin at him as they approached the singers, he looked ecsatic. “I know this one.”

 

Will rolled his eyes. “Then join in.”

 

“Can I?” Nursey dropped his voice low.

 

Will took Nursey’s hand and pulled him down to sit next to him to sit on the crates with the other Poindexters. Will waited for them to reach the next verse before joining in.

 

She was a fishmonger

But sure ‘twas no wonder

 

Will gestured to Nursey as he sang. Nursey straightened up and sang along with them. Uncle Bill cheered when Nursey started singing too.

 

For so were her mother and father before

And they both wheeled their barrows

Through streets broad and narrow

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

“Beautiful Derek!” Maire laughed. “Come on now!”

 

Alive, alive ‘O!

Alive, alive ‘O!

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

“Final verse!” Bill called, before bellowing the last verse loudly. He was a fan of a rousing end.

 

She died of a fever!

And no one could save her!

 

From across the field came the voices of Declan and Lachlan, who’d heard their voices rise. Lachlan’s three daughters were sprinting toward the stage area, singing the last verse at the top of their lungs.

 

Now her ghost wheels her ‘barrow!

Through streets broad and narrow!

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

The girls skipped around them as they closed the last chorus. They screamed and giggled in delight and once the song was over immediately started requesting more.

 

“Let’s do The Red River Valley!”

 

“No, Land of the Silver Birch!”

 

“No, Tumbalalaika!”

 

“Girls, none of those songs are Irish.” Bill mock scolded them.

 

The girls giggled. “We’re not just Irishhh Uncle Billlll.”

 

“Red River Valley is the only American song out of your choices, girls.” Will smiled at them. “Land of the Silver Birch is Canadian, and I have no idea where you got Tumbalalaika from.”

 

“Vanya taught it to us, she said it’s Yiddish.” Orla said knowingly.

 

Uncle Bill and Maire shared an amused and surprised look. As did

 

“You’ll have to get her to teach it to us.” Maire smiled. “We could use some new folk songs in this family, we tend to stick with our greatest hits. Incorporate the cultures of our ever-growing family.”

 

Orla decided that was her cue to run and find Vanya, much to the amusement of Lachlan. He just shrugged and shook his head, he wasn’t about to try and stop her. She reappeared with a bashful looking Vanya.

 

“I hope you don’t mind me teaching her some of my family songs.” She smiled uneasily.

 

“Not at all!” Uncle Bill opened his arms wide. “We’d love to learn it, if that’s alright.”

 

“Of course, it is! You’ll have to excuse my voice, it’s not the best.” Vanya sat down opposite Will and Nursey. “I’ll teach the English, I was never very good at Yiddish. My father, who was a Russian Jew came to America with his parents when he was young to avoid the war, taught me this song. It’s a riddle song, as I think most cultures have.”

 

Hear my tale of a certain young man

Who stayed up all night ‘til he thought of a plan

He wanted a girl, who would be his delight

A girl who was pretty

Pretty and bright

 

Tumbala, Tumbala, Tumbalalaika

Tumbala, Tumbala, Tumbalalaika

Tumbalalaika Tumbalalaika Tumbalalaika

Freylach zol zayn

 

Uncle Bill picked up with accordion and played a few chords that matched Vanya’s singing. She’d sing a verse and they’d repeat it, with each repetition Uncle Bill’s chords got more sure of themselves.

 

“I’ll have to search the actual ones of course.” He grinned.

 

Tell me my pretty one

Tell if you know

What needs no rain, and yet it can grow?

Tell what blossom, bloom through the year

Tell what can cry, cry without tears

 

“And back to the chorus.” Vanya smiled, “tumbala, tumbala…”

 

By this point more family had finished packing and finished their chores. Ben had walked up behind Vanya, his expression soft and slightly awed as she sang her song. His eyes warm as he saw his family absorb this new song into their collection, as they accepted her into their family.

 

Oh, foolish boy now surely you know

A stone needs no rain and yet it can grow

True love can blossom, bloom through the year

And a heart when it yearns cries without tears

 

The family needed no prompting as they all went into the chorus together. Vanya’s face lit up as she had the full gusto of Poindexter singing. The three Lachlan girls danced around as they sang, enjoying the song immensely.

 

“You guys sing it wonderfully!” Vanya said, a warm smile firmly in place. “My father would be very happy to know it’s being sung.”

 

“It’s perfect, our child can learn both our heritage.” Ben said, dropping down next to his wife.

 

“I have a feeling it’s going to learn more Irish songs that Jewish or Nigerian though.” Vanya laughed.

 

They spent the rest of the morning singing old songs as family slowly trickled out. There was hugs and kisses as families got in their cars and waved as they drove away. Many cars had sleeping children and teenagers in the back. Each car dropped their tent off at the house before leaving.

 

Soon mostly everyone was gone, only those who lived in the surrounding area were left. The Declans’ were the last to leave, with Sinead and Saoirse getting Nursey’s social media before they left. Ben and Vanya would be leaving the following morning, Will’s mother had convinced them to stay an extra night. Will did not envy the attention his mother was giving them now that they were expecting.

 

Nursey would be leaving that night though. His parents were expecting to attend a function with them the following night which required him being there all day with them to get ready.

 

Before this week, Will hadn’t really cared when Nursey left. Now? He already missed him. He had spent every moment, waking or otherwise, with Nursey for a week straight. He’d gotten used to him being there. Will know that he’d see him again soon, in fact they’d be sharing a room once more and probably getting on each other’s nerves again soon. He should be grateful for some space before that learning curve. But he wasn’t.

 

They said their goodbyes alone, full of kisses and trying not to feel dumb because of how mushy it was. Will still felt dumb. Nursey didn’t seem to have that issue as he whined each time Will pulled away and would grab him back and pull him into his arms. Will felt dumb. But he liked it.

 

It was one of those things where when you’re watching others doing it, you feel cringey and get second-hand embarrassment from them, where you think about how if anyone ever tried that with you you’d hate it. But when you’re with someone who makes you forget about what other people may be saying or thinking, you find you don’t care anymore. You like that they want you, you like that they make you feel dumb. You like that they give you butterflies and make you feel calm and content yet alive and like an electric wire. Will had felt this before, but never quite like this.

 

“I do have to go now.” Nursey murmured, his lips pressed against Will’s forehead.

 

“No.” Will sighed, wrapping his arms around Nursey’s waist even tighter.

 

Nursey laughed, his breath warm against Will’s head. “I love that you’re secretly cuddly.”

 

“Shut up.” Will moved his head so that his face was now buried in Nursey’s shoulder.

 

“William!” His mother’s voice called up the stairs. “Derek said he needed to leave by 7, it’s now quarter passed!”

 

“Okay you need to leave.” Will pulled back to look at Nursey, who sighed and nodded. “I’ll see you in a few weeks, yeah?”

 

Nursey’s smile grew. “Yeah you will, roomie.”

 

Will rolled his eyes. What on earth was he getting himself into. This could go so many different ways. But all thoughts and worries left his mind as Nursey pressed his lips against his. It was soft, and chaste. At first. Will honestly couldn’t help himself as he deepened the kiss. Revelling in the feeling of Nursey beneath his hands, in the feeling of Nursey’s hands on him.

 

“Babe.” Nursey murmured finally pulling away.

 

“Okay. Okay.” Will pulled himself out of Nursey’s arms. He groaned then picked up Nursey’s bag.

 

“Aw babe, that’s cute.” Nursey grinned at him as Will opened the door and gestured Nursey through. “Carrying my bag, opening doors for me. Is this what it’s like to date a Poindexter? I like this. You get an A* yelp review.”

 

“Shut up before I kick you down the stairs.” Will replied gruffly, but felt his cheeks warming.

 

“Cute.” Nursey mouthed with a wink before sauntering down the stairs. Which would have been pretty suave if he hadn’t tripped and almost fallen down them, catching himself last minute on the banister.

 

Will snorted as Nursey shot him a look of annoyance and amusement. He winked and mouthed “Cute”

 

At the bottom of the stairs was Will’s mother, ready to take Nursey into a bone-crushing hug. Will hung around on the bottom step as his mother spoke to Nursey. Will’s father stood behind her, arms crossed but a smile on his face.

 

“Oh Derek, I hope you enjoyed your time with us. I know our family can be a little much, and I know there were a couple mishaps and missteps. Towards the end there though things seemed to be absolutely lovely. You and Wills seemed to relax a lot more, seemed happier than at the beginning.” Will’s mother said, taking Nursey’s hands in hers.

 

“I’ve had a wonderful time.” Nursey smiled easily. “Truly, Aisling. You and the majority of your family have been very welcoming.”

 

Will’s father gave Nursey a strong handshake and a tight nod. Which Will supposed was a good thing. Not a man of many words, Will’s father. Chris and Donnie were in the living room but yelled their goodbyes. His mother’s expression told Will they were going to get scolded as soon as Nursey was gone. Nice.

 

“Derek!” Roisin came streaking through the house and plowed into Nursey. “You have to come back soon, okay? You make these things pretty fun. And you make Will get all gooey which is gross and funny.”

 

“Thanks.” Will said deadpan.

 

Roisin grinned at him. “It’s true though. You’re gross.”

 

“She’s not wrong, do we even wanna know why it took you guys so long to come down?” Ben asked, Vanya tucked under his arm.

 

Will closed his eyes and tried to not go red, which was not how that worked. He could hear the laugh in Nursey’s voice as he said. “I’m not afraid to admit how much I love cuddles. Seriously, bro, our team is a very cuddly team. It’s great.”

 

“Sounds it.” Vanya replied.

 

There were a few more goodbyes and idle chatter until Will reminded Nursey that he was supposed to leave half an hour ago. Will walked Nursey out to his car, which had been pulled around to the front of the house earlier that day.

 

Nursey’s bag was put into the boot. He opened the driver’s door and without thinking Will reached out and grabbed his arm. As Nursey turned to him Will leaned in to kiss him. Nursey smiled into the kiss, his hand landing on Will’s hip to bring him in closer.

 

“Sorry, I just needed one more.” Will smiled.

 

“I don’t mind at all.” Nursey smiled, cocking his eyebrow. He leant in to whisper in Will’s ear, “I suggest you do as much research into gay sex in these next few weeks cause once we’re back in the same bed I’m absolutely going to ravage you.”

 

Will gasped out an unexpected laugh. That was so Nursey. Christ what was he in for? “Yes sir.”

 

Nursey laughed at that, drawing away from Will and climbing into the driver’s seat. “Oh, I like that.”

 

“Don’t get used to it.” Will rolled his eyes and held onto the driver’s door. Drawing a deep breath, he ducked in once more and gave Nursey another kiss.

 

“Christ, I’ll see you in like a few weeks, you know phones exist right?” Nursey laughed at Will but his eyes were soft. “I’ll be back in Haus as soon as. Let me know when you know.”

 

“I will.” And with that, Will closed Nursey door. Soon, he was gone completely.