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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Chapter Text

Lukas knew that he’d never forget where he was when the news came on.

 

Two years ago, he’d been sitting at his desk, listening to the radio and puzzling over how to continue a chapter in his novel (The Autobiography of An American Nobody) when the music abruptly stopped. 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt your scheduled programs with an emergency broadcast. NASA satellites in the area of Jupiter have picked up a massive celestial body approximately the size of Mercury hurtling directly towards Earth. Due to the size of the body and its current trajectory, it would impact the Earth in roughly two years, destroying all life. Please remain calm. Top scientists and physicists from around the globe are gathering to find a solution and save our planet and the human race.”

 

Then music, like nothing had happened. 

 

Lukas’s hands had dropped, randomly mashing the keys on his laptop. 

 

He remembered not believing it at first, convinced it was a prank. It had sounded like something out of a science fiction movie. A dramatic one with a huge explosion at the end. 

 

But as the two years passed, the failed missions stacked up. 

 

Operation Minerva. A busted fuel tank. 

 

Operation Lightning. Sabotage. 

 

Operation Samantha. A freak explosion. 

 

And now, as he sat in front of the TV in his apartment, heart pounding as the broadcast started, he found himself biting his lips so hard they were bleeding. 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the news anchor, a young woman with bleach-blonde hair said, clutching her notes. “As you all know, Operation Iron Man, a mission to detonate a massive nuclear warhead inside Matilda, the celestial body roughly the size of Mercury that is currently approaching our planet at massive speeds, launched this afternoon in hopes of destroying it. However, due to a malfunction in the missile itself and a premature detonation of the warhead just past our moon, we regretfully must inform you that the last mission to save humanity has officially failed. The meteor is due to impact the Earth’s surface at 11:56 a. m. Eastern Standard Time exactly three weeks from now. Please, remain calm and console your loved ones. We bid you goodnight.”

 

Lukas just stared numbly at the screen. 

 

That was it. 

 

He was going to die. 

 

———

 

At first, Petra hadn’t heard about the news until the day after.

 

She’d gone out the night before, and had been so drunk that she hadn’t picked up on the whole killer asteroid thing. 

 

Now, two years later, she was holding her girlfriend’s hand in the back of her truck, listening to the old transistor radio sitting on the blanket between them. 

 

She gulped, giving Holly’s hand a squeeze and meeting her eyes. 

 

Holly nodded. 

 

Petra switched the radio on. 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, Operation Iron Man, a mission to detonate a massive nuclear warhead inside Matilda, the celestial body roughly the size of Mercury that is currently approaching our planet at massive speeds, launched this afternoon in hopes of destroying it. However, due to a malfunction in the missile itself and a premature detonation of the warhead just past our moon, we regretfully must inform you that the last mission to save humanity has officially failed. The meteor is due to impact the Earth’s surface at 11:56 a. m. Eastern Standard Time exactly three weeks from now. Please, remain calm and console your loved ones. We bid you goodnight.”

 

It was deathly silent in the hot Florida night, except for the cicadas which were blissfully unaware. 

 

Then Holly broke down sobbing. 

 

Petra slowly wrapped her arms around her girlfriend, feeling the lump sticking in her throat. 

 

Holly had always been the strong one in their relationship. A stickler for the rules, a kickass law student, an emotionally intelligent and beautiful woman, and certainly a fighter to the last. 

 

Petra had been the high-strung and unstable one before, but it seemed that at least for now their roles had been reversed.

 

“Oh my god,” Holly sobbed. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.”

 

Petra opened her mouth to speak. 

 

But nothing came out. 

 

———

 

Jesse had always felt stifled by his life. 

 

A lot of people would’ve dreamed of being the son of a billionaire. 

 

He didn’t like it. Even with all the money in the world, even with anything he could’ve ever wanted at his fingertips, he felt lonely. 

 

Sad. 

 

Lost. 

 

The news had made him feel slightly better, at least. He’d gotten an excuse to get out of the house. 

 

But now he was sitting on his bed in his spacious bedroom, absent-mindedly stroking a silk blanket and half-watching Steven Universe

 

He’d been irritated by the interruption when the broadcast had come on. 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, Operation Iron Man, a mission to detonate a massive nuclear warhead inside Matilda, the celestial body roughly the size of Mercury that is currently approaching our planet at massive speeds, launched this afternoon in hopes of destroying it. However, due to a malfunction in the missile itself and a premature detonation of the warhead just past our moon, we regretfully must inform you that the last mission to save humanity has officially failed. The meteor is due to impact the Earth’s surface at 11:56 a. m. Eastern Standard Time exactly three weeks from now. Please, remain calm and console your loved ones. We bid you goodnight.”

 

He just stared at the TV, clutching the blanket. 

 

He remembered every movie his father had been in, every appearance he’d been forced to make on TV and at parties as his father’s only child and protégé.

 

None of that mattered anymore, he realized, realizing at the same time that he was twenty-three years old and perfectly capable of living on his own. 

 

He shoved the silk blanket into a backpack, along with some toiletries, a change of clothes, a water bottle, some money, and his phone charger. Then he grabbed his favorite necklace with two charms on it that had belonged to his childhood friends and put it on. 

 

He pulled on his jacket, hoisted the backpack onto his shoulders and slipped out the window and away into the night.

Chapter Text

“I have to go back to them.”

 

Those words kept replaying themselves over and over in Petra’s mind as she stood numbly on her doorstep. 

 

Holly had left today. 

 

She’d made a choice. 

 

She’d made a choice to spend the last of her time with her family. Petra remembered meeting them for the first and the last time, and it hadn’t gone very well. 

 

Her older brother, a professional football player. 

 

Her younger brother, a blind but incredibly skilled doctor. 

 

Her half brother, also an athlete but instead an Olympic sprinter. 

 

Her mother, a gifted surgeon. 

 

Her aunt, a businesswoman. 

 

Her uncle, a police captain. 

 

Her grandfather and grandmother, both notable politicians. 

 

Even her estranged father, and his wife.

 

All of them were so much higher on the scale of society than Petra was, and not many of them had exactly approved of Holly dating a twenty-four-year-old screw-up with ADHD whose only talents were fixing cars, playing guitar and getting in fistfights. 

 

She took several deep breaths, trying to calm herself, but no luck. 

 

Her fist went through the drywall in her garage before she realized what was happening, and then she was hissing in pain and sucking on her bruised knuckles. 

 

“Goddamn it!” Petra spat, choking back more tears.

 

———

 

An hour later, she was sitting in a bar back in town, knocking back her third shot of the night. 

 

Apparently the news of the world ending in three weeks had caused enough of an upheaval to send a large portion of the single population flooding into bars and pubs, hoping to get a date before they lost their chance. 

 

That was good enough for Petra. 

 

Currently, she was debating on whether to buy the pretty girl who kept glancing at her from down the bar or the tall, hot guy in the corner a drink. Either one was fine, although she was liking the guy’s hair. 

 

Also, she felt bitter that Holly had left, even though she knew it was selfish, and she was determined to forget that. 

 

Then, as she was about to get up, a man about her age sat down, and damn.

 

He was almost a foot shorter than her, his neatly trimmed dark hair in total disarray. His skin, a warm, dark brown and almost flawless (aside from the acne scars on his forehead), reminded Petra of the deer pelt one of her old friends had owned. He wore a loose-fitting black t-shirt, ripped jeans, and a dismal look. 

 

He looked vaguely familiar. 

 

“I need a whiskey,” the guy mumbled to the bartender, swinging the backpack off his shoulder and dropping it at his feet. 

 

Then Petra recognized him. 

 

“You’re Jesse McClain,” she blurted. “I saw you. On—“

 

“TV,” he said miserably. “I know.”

 

“Last time your dad’s name popped up in the tabloids it said you were in South Carolina,” Petra remarked. “What’re you doing in Florida?”

 

Jesse heaved a sigh. 

 

“I don’t like being famous at all,” he muttered, tugging at his necklace. “It’s stifling and annoying and I’m lonely. I had to get out, so I ran off yesterday.”

 

Petra chuckled grimly. “It’s that bad?” 

 

“You’d be surprised.”

 

 Neither of them spoke for a while. 

 

Then the bartender handed Jesse the whiskey he’d ordered. 

 

“Thank fuck,” Jesse sighed. “I just wanna block everything out and die like that so I don’t have to deal with this crushing loneliness anymore.”

 

Petra scoffed. “Hah, loneliness.” 

 

Jesse’s eyebrows quirked. 

 

“My girlfriend left me today,” Petra sighed. “Wanted to spend her last few weeks with her family. I would, too, if I had any left.”

 

To her pleasant surprise, Jesse didn’t visibly react to the girlfriend part at all. 

 

“Was she nice?”

 

“Yeah,” Petra replied. “She was the stable one. I’m what people call ‘irrational’ and ‘impulsive.’”

 

Jesse just chuckled and took another sip of his drink. 

 

“Wish I had a friend.”

 

An awkward beat of silence. 

 

Finally, Jesse nudged her arm. 

 

“You into guys, too?”

 

Petra laughed, and knocked back the rest of her drink.

 

“Funny,” she said. “But yeah, I like both girls and guys. By the way, are you implying something, McClain?”

 

Jesse gave her a smug look. 

 

“Maybe,” He asked, eyeing her empty glass. “You want another drink? I’ll pay.”

 

Petra grinned. 

 

“Hell yeah.”

 

As soon as they got their new drinks, Petra raised her glass. “To the impending apocalypse?” 

 

That made Jesse laugh. 

 

“To the impending apocalypse,” he replied, and they clinked their glasses together.

Chapter Text

Lukas stumbled blindly down the street. 

 

He felt cold. 

 

What was he supposed to do in this situation? Stay home? Scream? Try to go back to the family who’d thrown him out because of who he was?

 

He sucked in a breath, trying to force down his impending panic attack. 

 

It was no use. 

 

He ended up stumbling into an alley next to a bar and breaking down. 

 

He couldn’t help it. 

 

Everything he knew, everything he’d been through trying to carve out a new life for himself after being thrown out of the house at eighteen, all of his struggles with bipolar depression, severe anxiety and dysphoria, was officially for nothing. 

 

He found himself crying. 

 

What do I do, what do I do?

 

Then Lukas found the answer in the faint scars on his wrists that had faded since he’d made them as a distressed and lonely teenager. 

 

He was twenty-four. 

 

Five years clean of cutting himself. 

 

But it couldn’t hurt as badly as getting killed when the planet would be destroyed, would it?

 

Besides, the waiting was the worst part. 

 

If he just killed himself now and ended his suffering tonight instead of going through the agonizing wait for the end… 

 

A loud slam of a door and drunken laughter nearby made him jump. 

 

He whirled around, a hand on his keys. 

 

Then he relaxed when he saw it was just a pair of random people staggering out of the bar with their arms slung around each other, laughing hysterically. 

 

Then the redhead, the taller of the two, spotted him. 

 

“Hey!” She yelled. “Hottie!”

 

Lukas froze, his anxiousness flaring. 

 

The guy, who looked like he was barely staying conscious (and vaguely familiar for that matter), a backpack haphazardly slung across his shoulder, giggled loudly. 

 

“Heeeeeey,” The woman slurred. “Hot blond guy! This guy’s famous!”

 

Oh, that was why the guy looked familiar, because that was Jesse McClain, the son of one of the most famous actors ever. 

 

Then the woman narrowed her eyes. 

 

“Were you crying, Blondie?”

 

Lukas nodded hesitantly. 

 

The guy who Lukas now recognized as Jesse McClain gasped and stumbled over to him and hugged him tightly before he could react.

 

Lukas just awkwardly stood there as Jesse let out a half-sob. 

 

“Please don’t cry,” he sniffled. “You’re too hot to cry. You don’t have to cry because the world’s ending. Are you crying because you have no friends?”

 

Lukas flinched. 

 

“Y—yeah?”

 

The redhead giggled and threw her arms around the two of them. Lukas suddenly realized she was a solid six inches taller than him and felt slightly better about his height. 

 

“Ha!” She was giggling. “Aw, all three of us have no friends! Don’t worry, we’ll be your friends. My name’s Petra.”

 

Lukas blushed. 

 

“Uhm,” he said. “Okay?”

 

“Yay!” Jesse cheered, tripping over his own feet and falling down on the pavement. 

 

He and Petra burst out laughing. 

 

“So,” Petra said, grinning and slinging an arm around Lukas. “What’s your sob story?”

 

Lukas hesitated. 

 

Well, how much harm could telling them do? They were all gonna die in a couple weeks anyway. 

 

“Well, I don’t have anyone to go to,” he sighed. “My parents kicked me out when I came out to them six years ago. And I have mental illnesses I’ve been struggling with. I don’t think I should wait for the end. I’m just gonna kill myself tomorrow and get it over with.”

 

“Nooo,” Petra whined. “Don’t do that.”

 

“Yeah,” Jesse added, leaning heavily on him. “Don’t kill yourself. You’re sooooo pretty. I like your hair. Are you gay?”

 

“No, but I—I’m, um,” Lukas continued, his nervousness only growing as he mentally prepared himself for a worst case scenario. “I’m trans.”

 

“Okay,” Petra said cheerfully. “I’ve never met anyone else who is. You’re cool. Can I still call you Blondie?”

 

Jesse was too busy giggling and hugging him to respond. 

 

“You’re fine with it?” Lukas blurted, startled. 

 

“I don’t care,” Jesse laughed. “You’re really pretty. Wow, you smell good. Can we go home with you?” 

 

Lukas sighed. 

 

He couldn’t just let these two drunk idiots to stagger into trouble out here. 

 

“Fine,” he said. “You can come back to my apartment, but you’re sleeping on the couch, not in my bed.”

 

“Hell yeah!” Petra cheered, hugging them both. 

 

Lukas managed to stifle a laugh when he saw Jesse’s goofy smirk. 

 

Maybe this wasn’t so bad. 

 

———

 

Jesse yawned and stretched, rubbing his eyes, wincing at his headache. 

 

Geez, he had a hangover. 

 

And he wasn’t in his motel room. 

 

Curled up next to him on the battered pullout couch was the tall redheaded woman from last night. What was her name again… 

 

Oh yeah, Petra. 

 

She looked startlingly serene while she was sleeping, even with her violently red hair and a resting face that looked like she was plotting a murder and well-muscled, heavily tattooed arms. 

 

Speaking of which, Petra’s tattoos were impressive. She had a ring of holly leaves wrapping around her right shoulder, and some sort of snake curling around her bicep and down to her wrist, where the name Horatio was tattooed in multicolored ink. On her left arm, there was a Rebel Alliance symbol from Star Wars on her shoulder and a dense sleeve of stylized flame designs on the rest of her arm. Finally, there were more flame designs tattooed on her collarbone. 

 

Petra grunted in her sleep and rolled over. 

 

Then some alcohol-hazy memories from last night floated to the surface, and Jesse gasped in surprise and fear. 

 

The guy from last night who’d let them stay at his apartment. He’d been talking about killing himself, since he didn’t have any reason not to anymore. 

 

Suddenly worried about the man’s wellbeing, Jesse got up and headed into the small kitchen. 

 

Then he saw him. The guy was nervously tapping his feet as he stood next to the counter, eating a slice of toast and obviously waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. 

 

Jesse froze. 

 

It hadn’t just been the alcohol messing with his head last night. The guy really was gorgeous. 

 

He was only a little taller than him, his stature wiry but strong, wavy blond hair pushed back from his forehead, a light spattering of freckles across his high, graceful cheekbones and his nose. 

 

And he had the most beautiful blue eyes Jesse had ever seen. 

 

“Hey,” the guy said quietly. 

 

“Thanks for letting me stay over,” Jesse said quickly. “What was your name?”

 

The guy chuckled. “Lukas.”

 

“Th—thanks,” Jesse stammered again, unable to keep his eyes from wandering over Lukas’s slender shoulders and strong arms, to the spot where his collar met his neck, his jawline… 

 

Holy shit. 

 

Jesse awkwardly glanced away. Sure, being the son of a high-profile celebrity meant that he met hot models all the time, and he’d had quite a few hookups before, but he’d been pressured constantly to only date girls and oh, this guy was perfect.

 

“I decided I’m gonna wait,” Lukas said, clearing his throat. “I’m gonna give it a few days. See if… anything comes up.”

 

It suddenly occurred to Jesse that Lukas was talking about last night. 

 

“Good,” Jesse blurted. “I mean, that’s great! I wouldn’t want—no, shit, where am I going with this—it would be bad if you killed yourself. That’s it.”

 

Lukas’s cheeks flushed. 

 

“I… appreciate the sentiment,” he said, setting his toast down. “You’re a lot less clingy when you’re sober.”

 

It was Jesse’s turn to blush. 

 

He did tend to get clingy when he was drunk. When his dad has dragged him to the Met Gala two years ago, he’d drank too much champagne and ended up getting cuddly with a security guard. 

 

That hadn’t gone over well. 

 

Now he felt awkward, because this was a random stranger he’d run into on the street and drunkenly persuaded not to commit suicide. 

 

Who happened to treat him like a normal person instead of some unattainable idol. 

 

“You can stay for breakfast,” Lukas offered, laying a hand over his. 

 

“Sounds great,” Jesse blurted. 

 

Just then, Petra loped into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. 

 

“Do you have food?” She asked. 

 

———

 

They got to talking. 

 

“My parents both were lawyers,” Petra said. “But mum died from cancer when I was really little. Dad, on the other hand, died in a car accident when I was sixteen. Drunk driver.”

 

Jesse winced. “Sorry to hear that,” he said, sipping his coffee.

 

Petra laughed, kicking her feet up on the table. “Hey, at least I finished high school, which is a real bitch when you have ADHD. I almost got kicked out of the calculus final because I just couldn’t focus and stay still for the life of me.”

 

Lukas, who was cooking some eggs, laughed. “I almost didn’t finish high school either, mostly because my parents kicked me out and I was homeless for… yeah, about three months. Also, get your feet off my table.”

 

Petra rolled her eyes, but complied. 

 

“Well, you all know about my parents’ divorce,” Jesse remarked. “All over the internet.”

 

Somehow, even those these two people were almost total strangers, talking to them was easier than anybody else he’d ever met, and Lukas was being remarkably cool about getting accosted by two drunken idiots in the street. 

 

“Anyone want eggs?” Lukas asked, hefting a plate. 

 

“Yes please,” Petra said. 

 

“Same here,” Jesse added. 

 

He took a bite of the eggs and almost groaned. They tasted incredible. 

 

“Damn, these are delicious,” he said, taking another bite. “How did you make just a plate of eggs this good?”

 

Lukas shrugged. “I was sort of the designated cook in the house, besides my mom,” he said, setting the pan in the sink. “I’ve been cooking since I was a kid, but it’s not really my passion. I like to write, that’s what.”

 

Petra hummed thoughtfully. “My three skills are fixing cars, playing guitar, and getting in fights.”

 

Lukas snorted. 

 

Jesse caught Petra’s eye, and they both laughed. Now that he thought about it, he realized that they had a lot more in common that he’d previously thought. 

 

“Oh, look at this,” Lukas suddenly said, holding up his phone. “Jesse, you’re on the news. Famed Actor’s Son, Missing: Where Is Jesse McClain?”

 

Jesse winced. So his dad had noticed he was gone. Just when he thought he’d escaped his watchful eye. 

 

“Oh, great,” he grumbled. 

 

Lukas cleared his throat again. “You gonna go back? What’s your plan?”

 

“Hell no,” Jesse huffed. “I’m not gonna spend my last few weeks trapped in a giant house with no one else.”

 

“How about we do something fun?” Petra asked. “Like, a trip. The world’s gonna end in what, about three weeks, so it’s not gonna matter if we blow all our money. Whaddya say?”

 

Lukas shrugged. “I honestly have no plans. I’ll just go with whatever y’all wanna do.”

 

Jesse grinned. 

 

This was turning out even better than he had expected. 

 

“How about Seattle?” He asked. “Dad would never let me go there. I’ve always wanted to, though.”

 

“That’s a long way,” Lukas said. 

 

“We’ve got three weeks,” Jesse countered. 

 

He hoped Lukas wouldn’t say no. Even though they’d barely known each other for a day, he liked Lukas.

 

In several ways. 

 

Petra too, for that matter, if you took into account that the reason they’d left the bar in the first place was because they’d started drunkenly making out in a corner and had been intent on… well, doing something else.

 

He wouldn’t mind repeating that. 

 

Maybe with Lukas, too. 

 

“Well, if we try to drive almost every day, we could make it to Seattle in about a week, give or take a few days,” Petra said. 

 

Lukas paused, and then nodded. 

 

“I’m on board.”

 

“Ha!” Jesse exclaimed. “Yes! I like you!”

 

“Let’s drop by my place real quick,” Petra said. “I’ve got a truck. And I need to pick up a few things.”

 

And so it began. 

Chapter Text

Petra liked Jesse. 

 

She knew that already, mostly because of his cheerful disposition and how he somehow managed to make jokes, even facing the end of the world. 

 

Petra grinned as she shoved a few shirts into her backpack, along with her favorite pairs of jeans. 

 

Jesse’s true personality was quite different from the man she’d seen on TV.

 

Judging from how Jesse kept glancing her way and shooting her that grin, he probably remembered when she’d grabbed him by the front of his jacket last night under the effects of too many shots of tequila. 

 

She had to admit, he was a good kisser.

 

Petra paused when she got to her closet. She had started her own car repair business with Holly’s help a while ago, and all her savings were in a big peanut butter jar, hidden in the corner. 

 

How was she going to carry the cash?

 

She decided not to think about it and just shoved the jar in her backpack. 

 

Then she grabbed her guitar.

 

She was ready to go. 

 

Jesse and Lukas were waiting in her truck when she came outside. 

 

Personally, she thought Lukas was a nice guy. It wasn’t every day that a random person you ran into while drunk off your ass would let you sleep on his couch and give you a free breakfast. 

 

Besides, he was really attractive, and had the prettiest eyes she’d ever seen. 

 

It had thrown her for a moment when he’d mentioned offhand during breakfast that he was trans, so he must’ve told them last night. But Petra couldn’t care less about that, though. The only thing that really mattered was that he’d given her a free bed and meal, and he was cute. 

 

Anyhow, she wouldn’t mind kissing him. 

 

“Ready?” Petra asked, sliding into the driver’s seat of her truck and starting the engine. 

 

“I was born ready,” Jesse remarked, and winked. 

 

“Oh stop it,” Lukas chuckled. “Heh, it’s weird how I’ve barely known the two of you and I feel like we’ve been friends for years.”

 

“Maybe it’s because the world is ending,” Jesse replied. 

 

They all laughed. 

 

———

 

That evening, they stopped at a small motel for the night. 

 

As soon as they got to their room, Lukas grabbed his toiletries and disappeared into the bathroom. 

 

That left Petra sitting on one of the beds. 

 

She decided to put on some music. 

 

She pulled out her phone and plugged in the small speaker she’d bought a few weeks ago, then queued up some Panic! At The Disco (which Jesse seemed to be fond of).

 

Speaking of Jesse, he was perched on the end table, leaning against the wall and eating chips. 

 

Their eyes met briefly, just long enough for them to somehow make the same mental connection, because Jesse smirked and nodded. 

 

Petra sat up, reached over to her phone, and turned the volume of the music up considerably. 

 

Then she got up, went over to Jesse, and leaned down and kissed him, hard. 

 

He inhaled sharply and went rigid, hands coming up to tangle in her hair as she shoved him up against the wall. 

 

Petra grinned. 

 

“You like that?” She growled softly as Jesse arched his back and moaned. 

 

“H—hell yeah.”

 

She huffed in amusement and leaned back in, letting her mouth fall open to deepen their kisses. 

 

Jesse let out a whine and greedily ran his tongue over her mouth. 

 

Petra smirked and pulled his head back so she could get to his neck, and was in the process of sucking a hickey on his collarbone when Lukas’s muffled voice came from the bathroom. 

 

“Can you guys please turn that music down? It’s super loud.”

 

They both froze, breathing hard.

 

“Okay,” Jesse finally called, his voice slightly hoarse and wobbling a bit.

 

Petra let him up, stifling a laugh. 

 

Jesse scowled, turning the music down, his face still flushed. 

 

“What?”

 

Petra snorted, flopping down on one of the beds and kicking her combat boots off. 

 

“Nothing,” she replied, leaning over and pulled a bottle of whiskey she’d grabbed out of her bag. “Want some?”

 

Their friendship, so far barely twenty-four hours old, was already proving to be a little more than friendship, and Petra liked it. She liked Jesse, in particular, and damn he sounded good pinned against the wall like that. 

 

Jesse scoffed and grabbed the whiskey bottle before she could pour any into the plastic cups she’d brought. 

 

Instead, he swigged it directly from the bottle. 

 

“I thought you were classy,” Petra teased, taking the bottle back, laughing at Jesse’s grimacing. 

 

“It’s cheap whiskey,” he remarked. “And no, I’m not classy. I just pretended to be whenever I was on TV.”

 

Just then, Lukas came out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but sweatpants and a T-shirt, his blond hair damp and smelling like soap. He wasn’t wearing a binder now, Petra noticed, as he sat on the bed next to Jesse.

 

“I’m very proud to announce that I feel like I can kill god, thanks to my anti-titty juice,” Lukas proclaimed. “Gimme that.”

 

He grabbed the whiskey bottle and took a sip, giving them a thumbs-up. 

 

Petra hesitated. 

 

She didn’t know what anti-titty juice was, and she was too confused to ask. 

 

“Anti-titty juice!” Jesse cackled.

 

“Testosterone,” Lukas explained proudly, taking another sip. “I saved up the money a while ago. I’ve been on it for… let’s see, almost two years now.”

 

“Aha,” Petra said, chuckling and the sheer ridiculousness of it. “Now I get it. Your anti-titty juice.”

 

They ended up casually talking for a while after that. 

 

Petra kept noticing how Lukas kept glancing at Jesse, looking him up and down, and how Jesse would glance at Lukas, thinking no one was watching. 

 

She managed not to laugh. 

 

She herself thought Lukas was incredibly good-looking. 

 

Then she caught Jesse’s eye. 

 

Another one of those little mental agreements happened. 

 

Or basically, they both agreed that Lukas was hot, Lukas was funny, and that they had only three weeks to seduce him. 

 

Petra couldn’t help shooting him a smirk. 

 

What was wrong with, in the metaphorical sense, going out with a bang?

Chapter Text

A few days later, somewhere in Illinois, their only rest stop option turned out to be a motel that had obviously been abandoned by the owners when the news had hit. 

 

Honestly, as long as the place had a shower, Lukas didn’t care. 

 

The place was completely empty when they pulled up. A piece of paper was taped to the unlocked door.

 

It read, Stay the night, no charge. God bless.

 

Lukas, personally, didn’t believe in God, probably because he was a man of science and wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of some higher power dictating his life before he was born. 

 

He recalled the drunken words of an old friend from high school:

 

Destiny’s bullshit, Lukas. In this world, we’re on our own. We aren’t meant for greatness. We have to achieve that ourselves. 

 

Then again, Aiden had never really been a very reliable source of information. 

 

“Hey, check it out!” Jesse suddenly said, waving a bottle of wine. “Somebody left this in the mini-fridge!”

 

“Oh, hell yes,” Lukas said, laughing. 

 

He’d only known these people for a few days, but he already knew that they were going to be friends for the rest of their lives, literally. 

 

The evening passed a lot like the others had: Shower, lay down, get tipsy, play some games, talk, and go to sleep. But a while after they finished a game of Cards Against Humanity, something new and surprising happened. 

 

Petra reached over and grabbed the guitar she’d brought with her. After experimentally plucking a few strings, she started to play. 

 

“Tell me what you hate about me,

Whatever it is I’m sorry,

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I know I can be dramatic,

But everybody said we had it,

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

I’m coming to terms with a broken heart, I guess that sometimes good things fall apart.”

 

Lukas kept listening, entranced by her voice as she sang. 

 

“You’re really good,” he blurted. 

 

“I’ve been told,” Petra said, a sad, distant look in her eyes.

 

Lukas decided not to pry. 

 

He instead glanced over at Jesse, who was sprawled out on the bed with his head resting on Petra’s thigh, snoring softly.

 

“Heh,” Petra chuckled. 

 

Lukas stifled a laugh. “He looks so cute while he’s asleep,” he murmured. 

 

“Yeah,” Petra said fondly, ruffling his hair affectionately and shifting his head out of her lap. “Not like the little gremlin bastard he in fact is.”

 

An awkward silence followed. 

 

“Hey, you wanna go on the roof?” Petra finally asked. “We can keep talking and we won’t wake up Jesse.”

 

Lukas swallowed nervously.

 

He was nervous about spending time alone with Petra. For one thing, she was really hot, and her singing voice was beautiful. And talking to her was fun, which was an added bonus. 

 

Oh, shit, he realized what was happening to him. 

 

“Sure,” he said. 

 

And so they headed out and climbed up to the roof, making sure to take their bottle of wine with them. 

 

The moon was so bright that Lukas could see his shadow, and it was a perfect night. No clouds, just him and a cute girl, the stars, Fall Out Boy playing quietly on Petra’s phone, and some alcohol. 

 

God, she was beautiful. 

 

Sure, Petra was blunt and confrontational and a bit insensitive at times, but she was definitely a good person and had a lovely personality and could always make him laugh, and she obviously liked Jesse.

 

Maybe a little too much, but Lukas decided not to dwell on it. 

 

He was suddenly jerked out of his thoughts as Petra looped an arm around his shoulders and leaned back against the roof shingles, passing him the bottle. 

 

“The moon looks great,” she said lazily. 

 

After a short, frantic internal battle, Lukas decided to leave her arm be and not to push her away, and accepted the wine bottle. He took a sip, sighing as the alcohol dulled his awareness further. 

 

“Yeah,” he replied, nudging her. “Too bad it’s gonna be gone in a few weeks.”

 

Petra chuckled.

 

“It’s a real shame,” she murmured thoughtfully. “Y’know, I wanna make it count. I wanna die knowing that somebody loves me and that they’ll be with me ‘till the end.”

 

“Me too,” Lukas sighed. 

 

“I kissed Jesse a few times,” Petra added. “I like him a lot. I have a feeling he’d be down to fuck if I asked. You think he would?”

 

Lukas froze. 

 

Wait, what?

 

“I—I don’t know,” he stammered. 

 

This was… god, he didn’t know how to respond. He was pretty sure he had a crush on both of them, and now… 

 

“Ah, don’t get jealous,” Petra added, grinning smugly. “I’d bang you too.”

 

Lukas felt heat crawling into his face. 

 

“Uhm, what?”

 

Petra laughed. “I said I’d fuck you too, man. Maybe even right here, up on the roof. S’not like anybody’ll stop us, and Jesse won’t mind.”

 

Lukas gulped. 

 

Shit. Shit shit shit, now he was horny. 

 

“You would?” He asked nervously, trying to keep his composure. 

 

Petra smirked, recorking the wine bottle and leaning in so close that Lukas could smell the alcohol on her breath. 

 

“If you asked, Blondie.”

 

He quickly muttered yes please before he could lose his nerve.

 

And just like that, he was on his back on the shingles and they were kissing, and Petra’s rough, callused hands were surprisingly gentle as she cradled his face.

 

Holy shit, Lukas thought. Holy fucking shit. I am so fucking bi for her. 

 

He moaned as she reached up under his shirt and cupped her hand over one of his breasts, leisurely running her thumb in slow circles over his nipple. 

 

He was suddenly very glad he’d decided not to put his binder back on after taking his shower earlier. 

 

“Oh, shit,” Lukas groaned.

 

Petra hummed in amusement and kissed the corner of his mouth. 

 

“You’re so fuckin’ hot,” she muttered, pushing his shirt up far enough to expose his whole torso, and he shivered at the cool breeze flooding over his bare skin and raising goosebumps. 

 

Lukas laughed weakly.

 

“Can we take this inside?” He asked, gasping as Petra nipped his earlobe. 

 

“Absolutely,” she murmured. 

 

He barely registered climbing down off the roof and stumbling into one of the other rooms, collapsing on one of the beds and watching in awe as Petra wriggled out of her loose t-shirt and tossed her bandanna to the side with it, a smug grin on her face. 

 

“Fuck,” Lukas gasped.

 

Then he sat up out of his sense of chivalry and unclasped the back of Petra’s bra for her. 

 

“Thanks,” Petra huffed.

 

Then she pulled his jacket off and dragged him in for another kiss. 

 

God, this felt so fucking good, Lukas thought to himself, clumsily yanking his shirt off, pulling himself into her lap and rutting against her thigh as she sucked fiercly on his lower lip. 

 

“Touch me,” he pleaded. 

 

Petra obliged, swiftly unzipping his pants, then pulling them and his undershorts off his hips to his knees. 

 

Lukas slumped onto her shoulder, gasping for breath. 

 

He was so hot and wet already, even before Petra reached down and began to rub slow circles around his clit. 

 

“Fuuuuck,” he groaned. 

 

“You like that?” Petra murmured huskily, sliding two fingers into him and continuing to rub him with her thumb. 

 

“Yes, yes please,” Lukas panted. 

 

He grimaced, forcing down the annoying little voice of his anxiety that kept poking in the back of his skull.

 

What if Jesse finds out?

 

What if he finds out and gets pissed?

 

Thankfully, the sensations from Petra’s fingers were helping drown it out. 

 

“C’mon,” she muttered, dragging his shirt off and tossing it away. “C’mon, baby, I can’t do all the work.”

 

Lukas managed to recover enough sanity to hear her. 

 

He laughed breathlessly. 

 

Petra being an unholy tall person definitely came in handy, he thought, leaning down just slightly to suck at her neck, licking and biting as he reached up and groped her breasts, earning him a whine that made him melt. 

 

“Holy shit,” Petra grunted. “Hot damn, your mouth is fuckin’ talented.”

 

“Thanks,” Lukas murmured, lightly nipping her throat. “Maybe one of these days you can see how good it is between your legs, beautiful.”

 

Petra swore under her breath, shoving her fingers roughly up inside him. 

 

Lukas moaned brokenly.

 

Holy fucking shit that was good. 

 

He could feel how close he was as Petra caught him in another deep, hungry kiss and added another finger, splaying them out and stroking his walls and—

 

“Fuck!” He shouted as he came, grinding down on her hand and finally going limp against her chest.

 

“Holy hell,” Petra gasped, sliding her fingers out and kissing his forehead.

 

Lukas hummed sleepily, grinning when he realized that her chest was still heaving as he clung to her. 

 

“That was… that was good,” he sighed. 

 

He had no idea when, but at some point, exhausted from his climax, he fell asleep in Petra’s arms. 

 

———

 

Jesse knew something was going on, but he couldn’t pinpoint what. 

 

Currently, he was standing in an abandoned gas station that must’ve been hit by a smash and grab (busted windows, ransacked shelves, etc.) trying to pick snacks while Lukas got gas, and Petra was acting strangely. 

 

“What’re you grinning about?” He finally demanded, cornering her next to the cash register. 

 

“Oh, nothing,” Petra taunted. 

 

Jesse narrowed his eyes. 

 

“Fine,” Petra sighed, giving him a dramatic eye-roll. “I’m in a good mood today because Lukas and I fucked a few nights ago.”

 

“Oh, you crazy bitch!” Jesse cackled. 

 

He and Petra had sort of made a subconscious agreement on the first day of their unscheduled road trip. They both thought Lukas was hot and that he was funny and sweet, so they’d both started flirting with him in a race to see who could bed him first.

 

Apparently, Petra had won. 

 

“Yep,” Petra said cheerfully, popping the p-sound loudly. “ I mean, I wasn’t planning on it. It just kinda happened because I think we were both in the mood. But it was great.

 

Jesse scoffed, throwing a bag of Doritos at her. 

 

“You’re an idiot,” he teased, leaning against the counter. “Just so you know, you’ve gotta let me have a chance too.”

 

Petra snorted. 

 

“Fine, but you and I still have to bang sometime too, gremlin.”

 

“I wasn’t saying I didn’t want to.”

 

That got a laugh out of Petra. Still chuckling, she hopped out the broken storefront window, carrying her bag of Doritos.

 

“Next stop for the night!” Jesse yelled after her with his hands cupped around his mouth, trying to fight back his own laughter. “You and me! Somewhere private! Maybe an hour! You’ll be limping by the time we’re done!”

 

Petra cackled. 

 

“BET!”

Chapter Text

Of course, they got some weird looks from Lukas, but that was normal. 

 

“So,” Petra said. “We’ve got to get to know each other, you guys.”

 

Jesse twisted around to face her, where she was sitting in the passenger seats, sprawled out without her seatbelt on. 

 

“What do you mean?” He asked. 

 

“Well,” she said, holding up a finger. “I have no clue about y’all’s personal details, like what your favorite color is or what TV shows you like and it’s driving me nuts!”

 

“I liked the Voltron reboot,” Lukas said, eyes fixed on the road. “Except for seasons seven and eight. I refuse to accept them as canon.”

 

“Same,” Jesse remarked, remembering that show albeit how hard he’d tried to scrub the last two seasons from his memory. “The plot went screwy and they didn’t give Lance any character development, and plus they freakin’ queerbaited us!”

 

“Ha, just like Star Wars,” Petra chuckled, crunching her chips. “Finn and Poe are gay for each other and there’s no way you’re changing my mind.”

 

Jesse burst out laughing. 

 

Yeah, Petra had a solid point. 

 

“You know who was definitely gay?” Lukas interjected. “Luke fucking Skywalker, that’s who. I mean, what straight man shows up to every battle fifteen minutes late in a brand-new, immaculate outfit? What straight man has enough raw power to somehow make a fucking ugly-ass poncho look hot? What straight man would—shit, I’m ranting. Sorry, I have a lot of feelings.”

 

“No, no,” Jesse reassured him. “You have a solid point, man. Luke Skywalker is a gay icon.”

 

He managed not to laugh when Lukas beamed happily. 

 

“Yeah, Luke Skywalker wore the Chanel boots to Jabba’s sail barge in episode six,” Petra remarked, her mouth full of chips. “That man cannot be a het.”

 

All three of them cracked up. 

 

“Luke Skywalker is definitely gay!” Jesse shouted enthusiastically, managing not to start laughing again. “Say it with me, you guys! Luke Skywalker is definitely gay! Luke Skywalker is definitely gay!”

 

More hysterical laughter. 

 

Then all of them seemed to have the same telepathic connection, because all three of them started chanting as loud as they could. 

 

“Luke Skywalker is fuckin’ gay! Luke Skywalker is fuckin’ gay! Luke Skywalker is fuckin’ gay!”

 

After they all calmed down, Jesse decided to ask his own question. 

 

“What’s your favorite color, guys?”

 

“I like purple,” Lukas said. “It reminds me of when I was a little kid.”

 

“Green,” Petra supplied. “It’s nice. How about you, Jesse?”

 

“I like blue,” he said, peering out the window. He wanted to say it was because that was the color of both Lukas and Petra’s eyes, but he felt awkward. So he opted for saying:

 

“There’s something soothing about it.”

 

There was a brief awkward pause. 

 

Finally Lukas broke it. “I know it’s lame, but what’s your favorite animal?”

 

“First off, not lame,” Jesse remarked, leaning over in his seat to change the radio station. “I like pigs. They’re cute.”

 

“Cool,” Lukas replied. “Did you know cannibalism is actually very common in pigs and that farmers remove their tusks so that they don’t injure and subsequently eat each other? Also, I like cats. They’re fluffy and cute.”

 

Jesse froze, feeling a bizarre sense of fascinated horror. 

 

Pigs committed cannibalism?

 

“What the actual fuck?” Petra blurted, looking alarmed. “Pigs are cannibals? Also I know this is completely off-topic but I like llamas.”

 

“Yeah,” Lukas said, sounding rather unconcerned. “Pigs are omnivorous, so they’ll eat pretty much anything, even occasionally each other.”

 

“Christ, where the hell do you get your facts from?” Jesse blurted. 

 

He wasn’t sure if pigs were still his favorite animal after that particularly disturbing tidbit. 

 

“The internet,” Lukas said. “You wanna hear more disturbing facts? You know, a blue whale’s vagina is so big that a grown man could crawl inside. Also, Yellowstone National Park could literally erupt at any second and kill off all life.”

 

Jesse snorted. “Funny,” he remarked. “I’d be nervous if the world wasn’t already gonna end.”

 

That got a good laugh.

 

“More disturbing facts, c’mon,” Petra said excitedly. 

 

“Hmm,” Lukas said, his brow furrowing as he thought. “Well, dogs like squeaky toys because it sounds like a small animal dying. And koala piss contains chlamydia.”

 

“But they’re so cute!” Jesse complained, elbowing him. “How can koalas carry chlamydia? They’re too adorable!”

 

“Well, there’s also a type of hornet whose venom can dissolve human skin.”

 

Jesse shuddered. 

 

Now that was a frightening thought. 

 

Then Petra gasped dramatically, making both of them jump. 

 

“Chlamydia?” She said dramatically, eyes widening comically. “In my cute, cuddly koalas? Remember, kids, even animals carry STDs so wrap it before you tap it!”

 

All three of them cracked up at that. 

 

———

 

Later that night, Jesse found himself sitting awake in bed in the silence of their hotel room. 

 

Since Lukas was currently out at the pool, things had… happened. Petra was curled up next to him, her fiery red hair matted with sweat, snoring softly with her arm around him. And yet he was wide awake, naked, and staring at the ceiling, feeling bizarrely unsatisfied. 

 

He sighed, glancing wistfully over at the other bed, picturing Lukas peacefully dozing there. His wavy blond hair, his toned arms, the serene look on his face. 

 

Jesse sighed. 

 

Why did he feel… incomplete, for lack of a better word?

 

Jesse knew he liked Petra, that was for sure, he thought, tracing the lines of Petra’s tattoos. 

 

He wondered what they meant to her. 

 

He’d enjoyed tonight immensely. God, the feeling, Petra’s hands on him, then when she’d rolled him on his back, eyes dark with lust as she’d climbed on top of him and kissed him… 

 

Petra was as fierce in bed as she was when she spoke. 

 

But something was off. Maybe it was how Petra seemed to be drawing closer to Lukas, how the two of them definitely seemed like they were more than just friends, and Jesse felt weirdly jealous knowing that he’d met her first. 

 

And he really liked Petra. 

 

He loved her blue eyes, her freckles, her muscular body, her fiery personality, all of her. 

 

He suddenly realized he loved her. 

 

Jesse quickly hid the thoughts away, opting instead to bury his face in her neck and breathe in her scent: sweat, leather, cinnamon and eucalyptus. 

 

It was oddly soothing. 

 

He decided to wait until the end to tell her. How bad could it be, confessing his feelings at the end of the world?

 

Then the door opened, which made him jolt in surprise. 

 

Luckily, Petra didn’t stir. 

 

Upon seeing them, Lukas froze in the doorway, soaking wet and dressed in swim trunks and a T-shirt with a towel around his shoulders, flushing red with embarrassment. 

 

“O—oh,” he stammered, inching towards the bathroom door. “Shit, are you two—I’m sorry, uh, bathroom? I was gonna go take a shower and you two seem like you’re… uh, okay, I’m just gonna go—”

 

“No,” Jesse said quickly, wincing at how awkward he sounded. “We’re uh, done.”

 

Petra snored loudly and muttered in her sleep, and then rolled over, dragging all the covers with her and being a blanket hog at the worst possible moment.

 

Then Jesse remembered he was naked. 

 

An awkward count of three passed, and Jesse thought he saw Lukas glance at his crotch before he quickly backed up, covering his eyes. 

 

“Sorry!” He blurted, stumbling over one of Petra’s boots. “I didn’t mean to—“

 

Jesse couldn’t help it. 

 

He burst out laughing. 

 

Lukas’s face just got redder.

 

“Are… are you mad? I can’t tell because you’re laughing so hard.”

 

Still giggling, Jesse managed to get enough of a grip that he could get up, grab Lukas’s hand, pull him into the bathroom, and lock the door.

 

He had an opportunity here, and he definitely wasn’t going to waste it. 

 

“What’re you—“

 

Jesse leaned forward and kissed him. 

 

He felt Lukas go rigid against him, cautiously opening up and letting his arms slip around him. 

 

But then he was pulling away, breathing hard and looking very startled. 

 

“But… you and Petra…” he mumbled. 

 

“She doesn’t give a fuck,” Jesse murmured, pulling him back in and laying hot kisses down his neck. “I asked.”

 

He felt an immense sense of satisfaction as Lukas relaxed and sighed. 

 

“I need to take a shower,” Lukas complained, but didn’t pull away. “I have chlorine all over me.”

 

Jesse chuckled, leisurely tugging at his swim trunks. This was going even better than he thought it would, he realized as Lukas leaned into his touch. 

 

“Then let’s take one,” he replied. “Get your clothes off. I’ll turn the water on.”

 

Jesse leaned over and turned the faucet on, making sure that it wasn’t too hot or too cold, and then stepped under the warm spray. 

 

He sighed, relaxing his shoulders. 

 

Then Lukas was climbing into the tub with him, pulling the curtain shut and nudging him out from underneath the shower head. 

 

“Be patient and let me wash off.”

 

The few minutes it took Lukas to wash himself clean were agonizing. 

 

But it was definitely worth watching, which Lukas was letting him do. The soap sliding on his skin, the scent of shampoo, the bathroom lights reflecting off his slick chest… 

 

Jesse couldn’t help staring. It was like something out of a dream. 

 

Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and reached over, his hand sliding down Lukas’s slim thigh. 

 

And then they were under the shower together, covered in soap and kissing fervently, trying to touch as much of each other as they could. Soon enough, Jesse found himself lying on his back (and the tub was almost too small for him to do so), and Lukas was straddling his face (the tub was also just barely wide enough for that).

 

Jesse began to lick at the insides of Lukas’s thighs, making him tense up in anticipation and inhale sharply. 

 

Jesse hummed thoughtfully. 

 

He lightly nipped the spot he’d licked, and Lukas groaned, bracing his hand against the edge of the tub. 

 

God, the noises Lukas was making were really doing something to him. Jesse squeezed his legs together, trying to assuage his desire to be touched. 

 

He had to take care of Lukas first.

 

Using his hands to steady Lukas on top of him, Jesse carefully began to lick into him, and Lukas moaned loudly up above, spreading his legs as much as he could in the confined space of the tub. 

 

Jesse let out a small, pleasant hum and swirled his tongue around his clit.

 

Oh, he liked this. 

 

Lukas was leaning against the wall now, his damp blond hair framing his flushed face and his pleasure-drunk expression.

 

Damn, Jesse felt like he was going to die if he didn’t touch himself soon. 

 

So he did. 

 

He moved one of his hands off Lukas’s hips and began to stroke himself, keeping time with the rhythm of his tongue between Lukas’s legs. 

 

Above him, Lukas gasped. 

 

“Oh,” he groaned, squeezing his eyes tightly shut. “Oh, fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, Jesse, fuck!”

 

“You like this?” Jesse purred, his voice muffled as he put more force into his kisses and touches. He let himself move his hand faster, and then attempted not to moan at the satisfaction as he came. 

 

Frankly, it didn’t work, but Lukas shuddered violently and whined loudly, arching his back, twitching away from his tongue from overstimulation.

 

Jesse stopped obediently, letting him catch his breath. 

 

It was silent for a moment. 

 

Then Lukas attempted to sit back, wobbled, slipped, and fell backwards on top of Jesse, effectively killing the mood. 

 

“Ow!” Jesse yelped, floundering backwards. “Watch your feet!”

 

“Shit! Sorry!” Lukas frantically apologized. Then he kicked Jesse in the face. 

 

After a frantic few seconds of scrambling around and sliding, they were sitting next to each other on opposite ends of the tub, awkwardly avoiding eye contact. 

 

“Are you okay?” Lukas finally asked. “I think I kicked you. In the face.”

 

“I’m okay,” Jesse replied. “I think I should apologize for elbowing you in the chest.”

 

Lukas snorted. “You better. C’mon, we should get dressed before Petra stumbles in to use the toilet, because we’re never gonna hear the end of this otherwise.”

 

Jesse laughed. 

 

Their eyes met for a moment too long. 

 

“R—right,” Jesse blurted, climbing out of the tub quickly and grabbing a towel. 

 

He still felt strange. Sure, it had definitely felt good, just as good as when he and Petra had been, ah, intimate while Lukas was out, but there was still that strange feeling that something was missing. 

 

Also, he had a feeling he was falling in love with Lukas, too.

Chapter Text

Lukas was feeling conflicted, to say the least. 

 

Yesterday, Jesse had kissed him.

 

And it had led to other things.

 

Not that Lukas was complaining, because it’d felt amazing, but he still felt weird about the whole situation. 

 

If he was reading things right, Petra and Jesse were fucking, but Petra was also fucking him, and with Jesse and the shower incident from last night thrown into the whole mess, it was safe to say that Lukas had no fucking clue how to describe his relationship with these two people. 

 

Also, he was having… feelings for Petra, and not just in a sexual way. 

 

He was so distracted and caught up in his thoughts that he accidentally knocked over a display of apples. 

 

“Shit!” He blurted, scrambling after them. 

 

They were currently at a shopping mall, trying to get some snacks and food for if they couldn’t find a restaurant that was open. Petra had struck off on her own (Lukas didn’t have any clue whatsoever of her whereabouts), and Jesse was currently trying to avoid being recognized by a group of teenagers by pulling his hoodie up over his head and wearing Petra’s aviator sunglasses. 

 

“You still look suspiciously like a celebrity,” Lukas sighed as Jesse’s hood slipped back when he tried to help pick up the fallen apples. 

 

“Damn it,” Jesse grumbled. “I forgot how much I hate going undercover.” 

 

Lukas couldn’t help but laugh. 

 

“Try masquerading as a cis person,” he said, selecting a few of the least bruised apples from the stack. “Definitely harder than trying to smuggle you into a grocery store. I get shit for looking too feminine for a guy but too masculine for a girl, and then when I talk I sound like a fifteen-year-old boy who just hit puberty.”

 

“I think you pass pretty well,” Jesse supplied hopefully. “I didn’t realize you were trans until you just mentioned it offhand at breakfast at your place.”

 

Lukas couldn’t help but feel a sneaking sense of pride at that. 

 

“Thanks,” he said, internally squealing with excitement. “I appreciate the reassurance. Thank you.”

 

“You wanna stop by the clothing section and get something?” Jesse offered. “We’ve only got a week and a half, so we might as well splurge.”

 

Lukas couldn’t help but smile. 

 

“Sure,” he said, hefting his bag of groceries. “Lead the way, McClain.”

 

They ended up spending quite a lot of time in the clothing department, trying on random shirts and sweaters, and at one point Jesse put on a massive winter coat that was so big he had to waddle. 

 

Lukas couldn’t remember ever laughing as hard as he did then. 

 

They finally headed out and paid, now carrying several new shirts, some jeans, new sweaters, a new bra for Lukas, and several pairs of socks (“Lukas, all your socks have holes in them! You can’t just walk around like that!”).

 

Of course, Jesse insisted on paying for everything, and for once, Lukas let him, mostly to pay him back for retrieving the bra for him because going into the women’s underwear section made Lukas feel slightly uncomfortable and definitely insecure. 

 

“I still don’t get how you do it,” Jesse said as they headed to the food court to meet Petra. “Like, I don’t know how when you wear a binder, your uh… well, they just disappear! Like, how? That definitely doesn’t sound comfortable.”

 

“Well, I sure as hell don’t sleep with my binder on,” Lukas replied. “And I can’t wear it for much longer than eight to ten hours at a time. Ten’s the absolute maximum. I usually try to take a break at least every seven, though. You eventually get used to it.”

 

“I don’t know,” Jesse said, glancing at his own chest. “If I had… uh… chesticles, I don’t know if I could do that for very long.”

 

Lukas burst out laughing. 

 

“Jesus Christ, Jesse,” he cackled. “Okay, that was a good one. Ha, chesticles.”

 

Jesse winced. “I didn’t wanna call them boobs because I wasn’t sure if that would make you feel weird.”

 

Lukas snorted. 

 

“Look, it’s okay,” he said. “I promise you, I’ll let you know if anything you ask me makes me feel uncomfortable.”

 

Jesse visibly relaxed. “Sorry, I’m… bad at talking to people and I was afraid I’d upset you somehow, ya’know, asking about your body.”

 

A comfortable silence sunk over them as they sat together, enjoying each other’s company.

 

Finally, Petra walked up, dropping a few shopping bags on the table, a grin on her face and a gleam in her eye that Lukas was pretty sure meant trouble. 

 

“We got groceries,” he said. 

 

“I got alcohol,” Petra replied, still grinning. “And a surprise.”

 

“What’s the surprise?” Jesse piped up. 

 

Petra smirked. “You’ll see.”

 

Lukas groaned and rolled his eyes in dismay. Knowing Petra, she’d likely either bought weed or firecrackers, and her phrasing gave him the feeling that it was the latter. 

 

———

 

“Huh,” Lukas remarked, staring into the bag. “I thought you bought firecrackers.”

 

“I debated that,” Petra said, recalling how she’d passed by that one shop that sold Fourth of July sparklers and her self-restraint had been challenged.

 

Jesse just laughed. “The last time I smoked this stuff, I was at a party and I snuck off with this really hot waiter and his buddies. Let’s just say when my dad finally found me, stoned out of my ass, he was not pleased.”

 

Petra snorted.

 

She’d happened to also pass by a shop selling various cannabis products, and on a whim, she’d bought some. 

 

She was already liking her decision. 

 

Jesse deftly snatched one of the blunts from the bag and lit it, a smirk on his face as he leaned back against the pillows on the motel bed the three of them were sitting on. 

 

“I’m claiming this bed,” he remarked. 

 

Petra laughed and lit her own. Jesse seemed very okay with it, but Lukas was just sitting there, staring at the bag and looking rather confused. 

 

That scrunch of his eyebrows was cute. 

 

“You’ve never done this before,” she concluded, taking another drag. 

 

“No,” Lukas said. “Never.”

 

Jesse chuckled smoothly, propping his head up with his arms and blowing smoke in his direction. 

 

Petra snorted in amusement as Lukas screwed up his face and sneezed. 

 

“Jesse, chill,” she said, passing her blunt to Lukas. “You gotta inhale it. It’s like smoking a cigarette.”

 

“Never done that, either,” Lukas murmured, attempting to take a drag. 

 

He grimaced and coughed. 

 

“You know what, give it back,” Petra couldn’t help but giggle. “Here. When I breathe out, just breathe in.”

 

She took a drag on her blunt and leaned over, pulling Lukas close by his chin and exhaling slowly against his mouth, sliding her fingers along the sharp curve of his jaw. 

 

Lukas sucked in a deep breath.

 

“Nah, you gotta do it slow,” Petra chuckled. “Breathe in deep, hold it for a little, and let it out slow.”

 

Damn, he looked cute like this. 

 

They repeated the process. 

 

This time, Lukas hummed thoughtfully and leaned up. “Do it again.”

 

Petra managed to stop a chuckle. 

 

She took another drag, and was leaning over when Lukas pulled her in by the collar and sealed his mouth over hers.

 

Petra exhaled in surprise, and Lukas let out a muffled giggle. 

 

Petra glanced over at Jesse out of the corner of her eye, who was sprawled out, grinning lazily. 

 

He gestured for them to continue. 

 

Petra huffed out a laugh. She hauled Lukas into her lap and lightly bit his lower lip. 

 

He sighed and fumbled for her hand. 

 

“Oh, this?” Petra teased, handing him the blunt and kissing up his jaw. 

 

“Hmm,” Lukas murmured. Then he took a long drag, a contented look on his face. “Mmmh. Wow. That’s good shit.”

 

“I know, right?” Jesse sighed. “Fuck, wish I could join you.”

 

Petra glanced over at him. Jesse was watching them closely, the fly of his jeans unzipped, and it was obvious where his unoccupied hand was. 

 

She scoffed in amusement. 

 

Part of her wanted to lean over there and do the job for him, but she had other matters to attend to.

 

She leaned down and pulled Lukas back in. 

 

As they kissed with vehemence, pushing off layers of clothing and caressing exposed skin, Petra started to hear faint, muffled moans from Jesse. With a quick glance, she took note of his flushed face and lidded eyes and how he’d pushed his shorts and boxers to his knees. 

 

She winked provocatively in his direction, and he rolled his eyes. 

 

Petra chuckled and tangled her fingers through Lukas’s soft blond curls, grinning at how his breath hitched. 

 

“You want this off?” She murmured, tapping the seam of his binder. 

 

“Nah,” he murmured through her shoulder. “Leave it on for now. Do you mind if I touch you?”

 

“‘Course not,” Petra sighed, plucking the blunt they’d been sharing (which at this point was almost gone) out of his hand and taking a long drag, sighing at the pleasant warmth dulling her senses. 

 

Then Lukas was very carefully undoing her belt and tossing it aside, and then slipping a hand between her thighs. 

 

She hissed in surprise as he rubbed her through her jeans. 

 

Oh, wow. 

 

“More?” Lukas teased quietly. 

 

Petra felt a spike of irritation, and shifted her hips so she could push against Lukas’s hand. “Yeah, no shit.”

 

He hummed smugly and unzipped her jeans, tracing hem of her underwear. 

 

“Why’re you so goddamn slow?” Petra complained as he pushed her jeans down at an agonizingly slow pace. 

 

“You sound nice,” Lukas muttered.

 

Then he kissed her, and Petra realized too late that it was a distraction as Lukas quickly off-balanced her and shoved her down on the bed, so close to Jesse that their arms were touching. 

 

Then Lukas’s hand was back between her legs, and holy shit now he was touching her in all the right places. 

 

Through the warm, calming haze of the drugs, Petra felt like she was floating.

 

She shuddered, covering her mouth to stifle a whine. 

 

God, Lukas was just so amazingly different from most of the people she’d done this with. His hands were so delicate and graceful and instead of drawing things out and teasing her, he was getting right to the point. And once he found a spot that made her moan, he stayed there. 

 

Besides, Petra had noticed pretty quickly that Lukas tended to get significantly bolder when he was intoxicated. 

 

Why in the hell hadn’t she let him do this to her sooner?

 

Then, to her surprise, Jesse had rolled over and was grinding against her hip, leaning up to kiss her. 

 

She eagerly accepted it. 

 

All this pleasure, all these sensations, felt like fire burning in her chest, and she liked it. 

 

Wow. 

 

And then she came, tipping her head back and letting out a shuddering moan, and Lukas carefully removed his fingers and wiped his hand on the sheets. Jesse had finally gone still, breathing hard and settling his head in the crook of her neck and sighing contentedly. 

 

Lukas started to get up. 

 

“No, wait,” Petra blurted, grabbing his arm. “Stay.”

 

Lukas let out a breathy chuckle. “Hold on, I can’t sleep in my binder.”

 

He carefully pulled it off. 

 

Petra sighed in relief as he settled back down next to her, sighing. 

 

She let her fingers run through his hair. 

 

This, she realized, was what she wanted. Not Jesse or Lukas, but Jesse and Lukas. 

 

Both of them.

Chapter Text

When they woke up, it was… awkward. 

 

Jesse couldn’t help but note how strangely quiet Petra was and how Lukas seemed distant as they packed up, ate a quick breakfast, and checked out of the motel.

 

Maybe it was the fact that the three of them had done something new. 

 

And while stoned, which made it weirder. 

 

But Jesse remembered, clear as day, kissing Petra under the influence of a heady dose of lust and pent-up sexual tension, while Lukas was right there touching her in a delightfully sinful way. 

 

Jesse felt… satisfied, for the most part. 

 

And he wanted more, and not of just one of them at a time. 

 

But now Petra was being awfully quiet, and Lukas looked incredibly tense, which was weird. 

 

“So…” Jesse finally said. “What’re we gonna do today? I mean, where are we, Montana? We have some time to kill so we might as well—“

 

“Can we talk?” Petra blurted. 

 

An awkward pause. 

 

“About what?” Jesse asked, rubbing the charms on his necklace. 

 

“Last night,” Petra replied. 

 

She looked incredibly nervous, her expression tense and almost uncomfortable. 

 

That wasn’t very Petra-like behavior, as far as Jesse knew. 

 

“What about it?” Lukas piped up. 

 

“Did you think it was weird?” Petra asked. “That… uh… what happened, happened? I don’t know what the hell to do, okay? All three of us were high off our asses, and—“

 

“I’d do it again,” Lukas said. 

 

Jesse glanced between the two of them, biting his lip. Lukas and Petra had grown close, and he had no idea how to approach this. 

 

Especially if you threw the feelings he had for both of them into the mess. 

 

And he doubted they were requited. 

 

“Well, Petra,” Lukas said, clearing his throat. “I think you’re amazing and talented and beautiful. And you’re really sweet when you feel like it.”

 

Petra visibly blushed. 

 

Jesse felt his nails digging into his palms when he saw her hastily hide a smile. 

 

“Hypothetically speaking,” she said, “if the world wasn’t gonna end, would either of you want to date me? Like, a long-term relationship?”

 

Lukas chuckled good-naturedly. 

 

“I would. I like you.”

 

Jesse fell silent, trying to wrestle his jealousy and anger to the ground, a lump swelling in his throat. 

 

He couldn’t afford to cry. Not now. 

 

“How about you, Jesse?” Petra suddenly asked. “Hypothetically.”

 

Jesse swallowed hard. 


For a reason he couldn’t quite discern, her question rubbed him the wrong way.

 

“Well,” he muttered. “Uh, maybe. I mean, if the world wasn’t ending I’d still be trapped at home in a giant-ass house with no friends. I, ah… maybe.”

 

Petra’s hopeful look disintegrated. 

 

“What the hell do you mean, maybe?” she blurted. “That was a yes or no question.”

 

Jesse flinched. 

 

“So was it really hypothetical?” He snapped, sitting forwards. 

 

Petra opened her mouth to say something, but then she shut it again, a bitter look spreading across her face. 

 

“Was it?” Jesse demanded. 

 

He didn’t understand what was happening. There were so many mixed messages she was sending, and he hated not knowing what she thought. 

 

“Jesse, chill,” Lukas warned, laying a hand on his arm. 

 

Jesse flinched away, glaring. 

 

“Look, I know you two have feelings for each other,” he huffed. “I don’t want your pity, and I know that I’m probably getting in the way of you two. You can’t just…  lead me on like that.”

 

“Lead you on?” Petra hissed. 

 

“Yeah!” Jesse snapped, throwing up his hands in anger. “You and Lukas are clearly more than just friends and I can’t see us sleeping together anymore because of that bullshit!”

 

Lukas froze. “Wait, wha—no! No, it’s not like that, Jesse, it’s just a casual—“

 

“Oh, casual my ass!”

 

Jesse felt like he’d been punched in the gut. First, Petra had gotten all awkward, now the mere thought of Lukas thinking of her as nothing more than a casual hookup made Jesse cringe. 

 

“Will you shut the hell up?” Petra snarled. “Jesse, I don’t know what your fucking problem is, but—“

 

“Don’t take his side!” Jesse yelled, waving his arms, fury and guilt swelling inside his chest. “I knew you longer! I thought we were friends!”

 

“Yeah, by like three hours,” Lukas grumbled, eyes narrowed. “And besides, friends aren’t assholes.”

 

“You know what?” Jesse hissed, fighting back tears. “Drop me off at the next rest stop. I’m a problem that you guys don’t need under your feet, and you two should spend your last few days together having fun, not listening to me complain. I’m the third wheel! You guys are better off without me!”

 

The truck went abruptly silent. 

 

There was something dark and bitter in Petra’s eyes now. 

 

“Fine. Have it your way.”

 

Lukas’s demeanor had also changed, and he was tucked into his seat, looking distressed and sad. 

 

Jesse wanted to hug him. 

 

Tell him he’d be fine on his own. 

 

But the reality was, he had no idea what the hell he was going to do now. 

 

He’d broken something. 

 

And he felt terrible about it. 

 

———

 

As soon as they were out of sight of the gas station they’d dropped Jesse off at, Lukas took a deep breath and summoned all the courage he could. 

 

“Stop the car.”

 

Petra, who’d been staring straight ahead, her knuckles white on the steering wheel and a cold expression on her face, glanced over at him, looking confused and frightened. 

 

Lukas cleared his throat. “Stop. The car.”

 

Petra pulled over to the side of the road, and killed the engine. 

 

“What do you want?”

 

Lukas bit his lip hard to keep from cursing, and then he exploded. 

 

“What in the ever loving fuck were you thinking, Petra!” He snapped. “Why would you just fucking leave him?”

 

A furious look crossed her face. 

 

“He asked me to leave him there! And he was being an asshole!”

 

Lukas gritted his teeth in frustration. 

 

It was times like these when he hated how stubborn Petra could be. 

 

And he was fighting how horribly guilty he felt, how he’d snapped at Jesse and kept silent when he’d gotten out of the truck and walked briskly away. 

 

“Just listen,” he sighed. “Please. I get you were mad. But why did you freak out when he got awkward when you asked if he wanted to date you? I had literally just mentioned I was interested in you.”

 

Petra’s expression soured. 

 

“What do you think, Mister Mary Sue?”

 

Lukas bit his lip so hard he tasted blood. 

 

Ever since he’d gotten to know Jesse, he’d realized deep down that the feelings he had for him weren’t just friendship. The two of them just clicked somehow, just like with Petra. 

 

And Lukas couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing Jesse again. 

 

“I don’t know,” he said truthfully. “Petra, I don’t know what you’re feeling. You’re really hard to read, but I really care about you, and… I just…”

 

He felt a tear slide under his guard and down his cheek. 

 

Oh god, not now. 

 

“I’m in love with him,” Petra blurted, staring straight ahead. “I don’t know what to do and I don’t think he loves me back. I’m a mess. I’m sorry.”

 

Lukas suddenly felt like a massive weight had settled on his shoulders. 

 

“Thank god,” he sighed. 

 

Petra gave him a startled look. 

 

Lukas snorted in amusement and shakily wiped his eyes. “Sorry, I was afraid you were gonna get pissed. Also I’m sorry I said I thought of you as just a casual hookup because I like you too. A lot.”

 

Petra visibly relaxed. 

 

“We gotta go back,” she said, urgency in her voice. “We gotta get Jesse back.”

 

———

 

Lukas finally found Jesse at a small bar, huddled in a booth in the back, his face tear-stained and his eyes dark. 

 

He didn’t even seem to notice Lukas until he slid into the booth.

 

Then Lukas saw the impressive collection of shot glasses scattered on the table in front of him, and the empty whiskey bottle cradled in his arms. 

 

He felt a stab of sympathy. 

 

“Why’d you come back?” Jesse slurred hoarsely. 

 

He tried to take a sip from the whiskey bottle, but given it was empty he didn’t get anything more than a few drops. 

 

Lukas heaved a sigh. 

 

“Hear me out,” he sighed. “Petra was too nervous to come in. She was afraid you’d get pissed, but seeing that you look pretty—“

 

“Drunk?” Jesse muttered. 

 

Lukas winced. 

 

He’d never been much of an alcohol drinker, mostly because he tended to get very loud and chaotic on the rare occasion he got drunk. 

 

Jesse, however, looked like he’d probably drank to cope before. 

 

“She wanted to apologize for… all of that,” Lukas continued, cautiously reaching over and laying his hand over Jesse’s. “She was just tense. She was afraid that you were gonna get weird after last night, and she told me to tell you that she really cares, okay?”

 

Jesse’s brow furrowed as he glumly clutched his whiskey bottle. 

 

“I love her,” he murmured. “I love her so much. She’s so beautiful, Lukas. She’s like fire. Dangerous. But if you treat her right… beautiful and… benign, yeah. I wish we had more time.”

 

Lukas winced, trying to ignore the ache in his heart. Jesse probably didn’t love him, though. 

 

He smiled anyway. 

 

“I’m sure she’d love to hear,” he said softly, tucking a stray hair behind Jesse’s ear. “Because she told me the same thing but about you.”

 

Jesse’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

 

Lukas nodded.

 

“Let’s get you back to the truck,” he said soothingly. “We have to find a place to spend the night.”

 

———

 

As soon as they got in the truck, Jesse burst into tears on Petra’s shoulder, sobbing mostly incoherently. 

 

Lukas didn’t catch much of it. 

 

Mostly just babbling apologies and love confessions and tears. 

 

Petra cried, too. Silently, her eyes shut and tears slowly running down her face as she hugged Jesse close, but still. 

 

Lukas knew Petra didn’t cry much. 

 

He spent the ride to the nearest motel folded up in the backseat, gnawing at pieces of dead skin around his fingernails; an old habit he’d never managed to break. 

 

Well, he’d just changed their group’s dynamic significantly. 

 

Would Petra still care about him, now that she had Jesse? Did Jesse even share feelings for him at all?

 

Lukas didn’t know. 

 

He wanted to go back to the way things were before. 

 

He wanted to go back to the rooftop with Petra, to the shower with Jesse, back to that motel room bed with both of them. 

 

But now… 

 

He leaned his head back against the window, watching the stars in the night sky far above and listening to the hum of the engine.

 

Was there still a reason to keep going?

 

It wasn’t like Jesse and Petra would want to repeat last night. Lukas had a feeling he was alone in that, and probably neither of them would want to… well, be with him like before, since they were together now. And now that they were a couple, they’d inevitably push him away.

 

Should he… 

 

He let the possibility of ending his life linger in his mind. 

 

The world was ending in only ten days now. Now that he really didn’t have anyone to stay ‘till the end with… 

 

He sighed. 

 

Maybe his original plan was the right direction to go. 

Chapter Text

The next few days passed in a whirl. 

 

Petra didn’t know why this felt so strange and new; she’d been in so many relationships with both girls and guys before. 

 

But somehow, ever since the day of arguing and love confessions, it was different. 

 

Lukas was distant. 

 

Jesse was timid and awkward. 

 

“So are we supposed to be doing couples things now?” Jesse asked.

 

Petra glanced over her shoulder at Lukas, who was preoccupied with the shelf of muffins in another aisle. 

 

It felt wrong to leave him out. 

 

“I guess,” she said, shrugging. 

 

Awkward silence. 

 

“Have you noticed how weird Lukas has been being?” Jesse suddenly asked, taking her hands. “Like, last night. I asked if he wanted to snuggle with me because you were out getting pizza, which he normally would’ve been fine with. But, like, he said no! I mean, I respect his boundaries but that was, like, super out of character.”

 

Petra nodded. 

 

She’d been noticing little things like that over the past few days. They were currently a two hour drive from Seattle, and the world was ending in seven days, and Lukas seemed more vacant and uncommunicative than ever. 

 

Almost like he was trying to fade away. 

 

Petra remembered how she’d asked if he wanted to share a bed with her yesterday, but he’d declined the offer a little too quickly and become quiet and detached for the rest of the night. 

 

Or how she’d asked if he wanted to go grocery shopping with her and he’d frozen up and quickly shook his head. 

 

Something was wrong; very wrong. 

 

Petra felt awful that she’d confessed to him how she really felt about Jesse, and how her feelings for Lukas were still there and refusing to go away. 

 

Maybe that was part of it. 

 

———

 

When they reached Seattle, they got a room at a small hotel near the bay. 

 

Petra kept glancing over at Lukas, who wasn’t talking to anyone, just curled up in the window alcove, as far away from the two of them as he could. 

 

“Are you doing okay?” Jesse suddenly asked her. 

 

Petra gazed down at Jesse.

 

She really loved him, she thought, running her fingers through his brown curls. He was something she’d been missing for years. 

 

But then there was Lukas, a beautiful man with a beautiful mind. Also a missing piece she hadn’t known existed. 

 

She didn’t know what to do. 

 

“I’m fine,” she sighed. 

 

“You know,” Jesse suddenly said, “we should go out and do something. Stretch our legs after the ride.”

 

Petra perked up. 

 

She’d seen some pretty good-looking hikes on the drive in.

 

“How about we go on a walk?” She suggested. “Y’know, in the woods? See some nature before it goes boom?”

 

Jesse grinned. “I’m down. Lukas?”

 

“Go without me,” Lukas said tersely without looking up from his book. “Not feeling up for it.”

 

“You sure?” Petra asked uncertainly.

 

Lukas nodded silently. 

 

“Okay,” She replied, for some reason nervous. She didn’t like how quiet Lukas was, and she couldn’t tell why. 

 

“We can do something different if you like,” Jesse supplied hopefully. 

 

Lukas paused, as if he wanted to say something, but then shook his head, tucking himself further into the alcove. 

 

Petra swallowed nervously. 

 

“Well, if you’re absolutely sure,” she sighed. “C’mon, Jesse. Let’s go.”

 

As they grabbed their jackets and left the room, Petra felt a strange, bad feeling in her gut. She ignored it, but as the door to their room shut, she thought she heard an aborted sob from Lukas. 

 

———

 

Hanging out with Petra was fun. 

 

Jesse had to admit, he would’ve normally been hard-pressed to be able to get around his dad to do something fun like this. 

 

His dad thought that since they were rich they were above such things. 

 

But Jesse loved the forest, especially after realizing he’d forgotten his phone.

 

He loved tromping around in the woods with Petra, randomly climbing on rocks and scaring wild turkeys and squirrels. 

 

He loved listening to her laugh when he tried to scale a tree, holding his hand, waving a stick with a wild gleam in her eyes and that stupid grin. 

 

It was almost enough to make him forget about how different Lukas was acting. 

 

Then, after a while, they came to a river, and just below a waterfall there was a deep natural pool, reflecting the light of the sunset that filtered through the trees. 

 

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Petra suddenly asked, smirking with a conniving gleam in her eyes. 

 

Jesse glanced at the water. It looked cold, and they hadn’t brought towels. 

 

“You’re kidding,” he said. 

 

“Nope,” Petra said brightly, yanking off her shirt and jeans and carefully setting her bandanna aside. “C’mon, Mister Celebrity, don’t tell me you’ve never gone swimming outside.”

 

Jesse winced. 

 

“Never,” he said awkwardly.

 

Petra snorted. “Well then, city boy, you’re gonna watch and learn.”

 

And with that, she jumped off the outcropping of rock they were standing on, clad in nothing but her undershorts and a bra. 

 

Jesse yelped and jumped away from the spray of water. 

 

Then Petra resurfaced, her hair plastered to the side of her head, a huge grin on her face. 

 

“C’mon!” She yelled, swimming backstroke away from the rocks. 

 

Jesse cringed. 

 

But he pulled off his clothes anyway, standing awkwardly on the rocks in nothing but his boxer shorts, shivering in the evening breeze and trying to ignore the fact that Petra was obviously eyeing him in a truly sacrilegious way. 

 

He sighed heavily and climbed down the rocks. Then he carefully dipped a foot in the water. 

 

He hissed in surprise at the cold. 

 

“Jesus Christ, it’s freezing,” he huffed, easing his way into the water. “How the hell haven’t you died from hypothermia?”

 

“It’s not bad once you’re all the way in,” Petra taunted. “Just jump.”

 

Jesse rolled his eyes. 

 

But he slid the rest of the way into the pool, yelping at the cold and how his feet were nowhere near touching the bottom. 

 

“Fuck!” He hissed, flailing. 

 

Petra snorted. “You look like a wet cat.”

 

Then, before Jesse could retort, she hooked an arm around him and dragged him out deeper.

 

“Aaah!” Jesse yelped. “Deep! Really deep! Shit shit shit!”

 

“Hang onto me, dumbass,” Petra laughed, treading water, “Besides, now that we’re a thing, we’ve gotta be romantic or whatever now.”

 

Jesse faltered, still clinging to her. 

 

“I wish Lukas were here,” he said quietly. 

 

A sad look passed across Petra’s face. 

 

“Same here.”

 

For a while, it was silent, just the two of them floating in the water, arms around each other, until Petra finally spoke. 

 

“Jesse, did you think it was weird?”

 

Jesse frowned. “What?”

 

“That night when I got the weed,” she said quietly. “How we all kinda got high and… uh… did some shit together that my parents definitely wouldn’t’ve approved of. Did you—”

 

“I liked it,” Jesse blurted before he could lose his nerve. “All three of us.”

 

Petra’s eyebrows arched in surprise. 

 

“I thought it was just me! I mean, I still love you, but like… Lukas. He’s… I love him. Not afraid to admit it.”

 

A brief pause. 

 

“I love him too,” Jesse admitted. Wow, saying that was like lifting a twenty pound weight off his shoulders. “I don’t think he knows that. I mean…”

 

“That’s it!” Petra yelped, floundering backwards. 

 

Jesse sneezed when she accidentally got water up his nose, grabbing onto her arm again. 

 

“Whaddyou mean?” He coughed. 

 

“That’s why Lukas has been so distant recently!” Petra exclaimed. “He’s afraid to try and be close because we’re together and he doesn’t wanna look like he’s coming on to either of us! Jesse, you’re a goddamn genius!”

 

“We gotta go back,” Jesse said quickly, suddenly filled with excitement. 

 

They scrambled out of the water and hastily pulled on their clothes. Jesse let Petra use his shirt as a towel, and they headed back to the truck as fast as they could.

 

He grinned. 

 

Holy shit, things were really looking up, for the end of the world. 

 

———

 

When they got back to the hotel room, Lukas wasn’t there. 

 

Jesse glanced around, confused. 

 

Lukas had claimed he wasn’t up for a walk, but then again, maybe he’d changed his mind and decided to go do something by himself. 

 

“Where’d he go?” Petra muttered. 

 

Jesse then saw his phone on the nightstand where he’d forgotten it. 

 

He grabbed it. 

 

There were new messages from Lukas. 

 

Lukas: Please call me

Lukas: Jesse please call me

Lukas: Jesse please answer me I really need help 

Lukas: This isn’t a joke please respond

 

Luckily the messages were only a few minutes old, and the words felt ominous. 

 

Petra shot him an anxious look. “Call him. Fast.”

 

Jesse nervously tapped Lukas’s contact. 

 

The phone rang, and rang, and rang, but finally, on the fourth ring, Lukas picked up, and Jesse was struck by how exhausted he sounded. 

 

“Thank god,” Lukas sighed. 

 

“What’s wrong?” Jesse asked. For some reason, he felt incredibly nervous and jumpy, but he didn’t know why. 

 

“I need you to talk me out of this,” Lukas said quietly. “I need you to stop me.”

 

Jesse suddenly felt a surge of alarm. 

 

“Lukas, what’re you doing?” He demanded. “Talk to me. What’s wrong?”

 

He quickly put the phone on speaker. 

 

“I can’t do this anymore,” Lukas said weakly. “I’m sorry, this shouldn’t be the reason I feel like this, but… I’ve outlived my usefulness. You guys are happy. You don’t need me anymore. Please talk me out of going through with this.”

 

Jesse suddenly felt his blood run cold. 

 

When they’d first met, Lukas had been contemplating not waiting for death and committing suicide given that he had no reason to wait for the end. 

 

Because he’d had no family, friends, or significant other to wait for it with. 

 

This was bad. This was really bad. 

 

“Where are you now?” Petra said, urgency almost concealing the fear in her voice. “Don’t move. We can come get you, just please don’t do anything.”

 

“Oh, hey Petra,” Lukas said dully. 

 

“Whatever you’re holding,” Jesse stammered, forcing back terror. “Put it down, just sit down and don’t fucking move. Please. We’re coming to get you. Keep talking to us.”

 

With that, they practically ran back outside to Petra’s truck and headed off. 

 

“Where are you?” Jesse asked, struggling to keep calm. 

 

“At a bridge,” Lukas sighed. “Not very far away. You’ll see it. I’m sorry, I just… I can’t do this. I’m in the way, it would be better for you two if I was gone.”

 

“Don’t fucking say that!” Petra snarled, aggressively shifting gears. “Don’t fucking move! We’re not losing you!”

 

“Petra, chill the hell out,” Jesse warned, squeezing her forearm. 

 

Oh god, he’d never been this terrified in his entire life. Lukas was on the brink of death, and it was his fault. 

 

He wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

 

“Lukas, think about the good times we had,” he said softly. “Hold onto it. I need you to hold on just a little longer. For Petra, okay? For me?”

 

“There’s really no point,” Lukas murmured. “Like I said, you don’t need me, and the world’s gonna end anyway.”

 

“Lukas no,” Petra pleaded. 

 

Jesse clenched his jaw, regretting every choice he’d made leading up to this, and then he spoke. 

 

“Lukas,” he said quietly. “Lukas, I know. I know you’re in love with both of us.”

 

Silence from the other end of the line. 

 

Then a quiet “W—what?”

 

“Lukas, I want to apologize,” Jesse continued, fighting back tears. “I’ve been in love with you, too. Petra, too. I think neither of us realized until an hour ago, and… please. Just wait. Wait for us. I’m so fucking sorry, I—“

 

“It’s okay,” Lukas cut him off shakily. “It’s okay. Please don’t cry.”

 

And then Jesse lost it. 

 

He started to sob from relief, cradling his phone in his hand, shaking. 

 

He didn’t even realize they’d arrived until they parked at a bakery next to the bridge Lukas had mentioned, and then they were running to him. 

 

Lukas was sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against the chain link fence, his back to the busy freeway below. 

 

His face was tear-stained and his eyes were red, but he was alive. 

 

Jesse stumbled up to him. 

 

And then he fell down next to him and started sobbing again, burying his face in Lukas’s shoulder. 

 

“Oh my god,” he choked. “Oh thank fucking god. I thought…”

 

“It’s okay,” Lukas murmured, stroking his hair softly. “I’m so sorry. Thank you, thank you so much for talking me out of it. I… I love you both.”

Chapter Text

I love you. 

 

Petra remembered the last time she’d said that phrase to someone. 

 

She wondered how Holly was doing. 

 

For a split second she felt guilty, but she knew that Holly had known what the choice to be with her family entailed, and that they’d parted on good terms, knowing their time together (however enjoyable) had come to an end. 

 

Now, Petra was lying in bed. 

 

She had Lukas in her arms, eyes closed, fast asleep. Jesse had settled behind him, also sleeping, forehead resting against the back of Lukas’s neck. 

 

Lukas had finally lost his composure when they’d gotten in the car.

 

Petra remembered how Jesse, recovering from his own breakdown, had let Lukas lean on him and cry.

 

Petra hadn’t cried, not out loud. 

 

She tried to never cry. Crying was something she didn’t have the luxury of. 

 

She had to stay strong for her guys. 

 

Lukas’s breath was warm and steady against her collarbone, a soothing reminder that he was okay. 

 

That he hadn’t… 

 

Oh god, Petra felt like she was getting punched in the gut when she thought about it. 

 

She remembered Lukas mentioning when they’d first met that he didn’t see a reason to wait for the end. Apparently he’d found one in her and Jesse, and when the two of them had drawn away… 

 

Petra forced back the tears that were threatening to make an appearance. 

 

But it was no use. 

 

Real tears, not silent ones, started to trickle down her cheeks as she carefully pushed Lukas’s arms away and stumbled to the bathroom. 

 

There wasn’t time. 

 

There wasn’t enough time to show Lukas and Jesse how she loved them. 

 

Not enough time to apologize. 

 

They only had seven days left before the world ended. No, more like six now. 

 

Then she was going to die. Jesse was going to die. Lukas was going to die. All of them were going to die in an instant, wiped away like steam on a mirror after a hot shower. 

 

There wasn’t enough time. 

 

And as soon as she shut the door, Petra started to sob, all the pent-up distress and rage and fear breaking loose. She curled up in a ball in front of the sink and cried until she tired herself out. 

 

And then suddenly—shit—the door was opening, and Lukas was there, in one of Petra’s shirts, looking worried. 

 

“Are you okay?”

 

The sight of him was enough to wrench another bout of sobs out of her. 

 

“Th—there’s not… there’s not enough time… not en—nough t—time,” Petra choked, blinded by the tears. 

 

She felt so fucking helpless. 

 

She didn’t know what to do anymore. 

 

“Come back to bed,” Lukas said softly, sitting and wrapping his arms around her. “It’s okay, we’re all coming to terms with our own mortality. Just breathe.”

 

Petra managed to take a shuddering breath, clutching Lukas’s hand. 

 

She focused on his voice. 

 

His soft, benevolent voice was a lighthouse in the roiling storm of her mind, gently coaxing her back to reality and guiding her anger and fear and sadness back to the dark corners of her mind where it belonged. 

 

She relaxed.

 

Petra realized that she felt safe here, wrapped in Lukas’s arms. 

 

“What’s going on?” Jesse’s groggy voice came from above. “Oh, are we having a late night existential crisis party on the bathroom floor? Mind if I join?”

 

Lukas snorted in amusement. “Yeah, I guess we are. Go ahead.”

 

Petra managed a watery chuckle. 

 

“C’mere,” she said hoarsely, wiping her nose on her sleeve, and then Jesse was sitting next to her, his head resting on her shoulder. 

 

Well, she had six days. 

 

She had to make them count. 

 

———

 

Lukas woke up the next morning to the sound of the shower going and someone curled up behind him. 

 

He patted the bed in front of him. 

 

Well, Petra was in the shower, he realized, chuckling to himself and carefully shifting Jesse’s arms aside. 

 

Jesse grunted in his sleep. 

 

“Dongetuuuup.”

 

“C’mon, we have to,” Lukas sighed, patting Jesse’s thigh. “Do you want breakfast, or— oh.”

 

He was midway through protesting when Jesse shifted against him and Lukas felt… something pressing against his ass, and he had a feeling that he knew exactly what it was. 

 

“M’tired,” Jesse groaned. 

 

“And horny, it seems,” Lukas sighed in defeat, going limp. 

 

Well, Petra was in the shower, so it wasn’t like she’d hear them unless they were really loud. Also, Lukas had a feeling she wouldn’t mind if she saw. 

 

“Will this wake you up?” He teased, rolling over and grinding his hips against Jesse’s erection.

 

Jesse let out a moan. 

 

“You’re a conniving little shit,” he sighed, dragging his fingers through Lukas’s hair. “Absolutely insufferable.”

 

Lukas stifled a laugh and grabbed his ass and squeezed sharply. 

 

Jesse whimpered. 

 

“Could you do something for me?” Lukas murmured, making sure to let his lips graze Jesse’s ear. “Could you do me a huge favor?”

 

“A—absolutely.”

 

Lukas hadn’t done this at all before he’d met Jesse and Petra, but he was determined to try it, and he really liked how Jesse’s voice kept faltering. 

 

So he took advantage of how Jesse was only slightly shorter than him and rolled him on his back, peeling off his sweatpants and his boxers (which were already damp) and straddled Jesse with a smirk. 

 

Jesse stared up at him, surprised. 

 

“Wow, you’re… surprisingly… enthusiastic this morning, love.”

 

Lukas snorted. “And I woke up with your dick digging into my lower back,” he teased. “You wanna try and do something about it?”

 

“That happens all the time,” Jesse grunted, shifting his underwear off. “It usually goes away on its own.”

 

“Eff that,” Lukas remarked, pulling Jesse’s hand to his crotch. 

 

Jesse arched an eyebrow, smirking. 

 

And then he was pushing his fingers up inside him, and Lukas groaned happily. 

 

He loved this. 

 

Why, oh why hadn’t he asked for this sooner, he thought, fumbling around the foot of the bed in search of his binder. 

 

“Oh, looking for this?” Jesse hummed, plucking it off the floor. 

 

“Th—thanks,” Lukas panted.

 

Then he pulled off his shirt and slipped it over his head, wincing and rolling his shoulders a bit to get comfortable.

 

“You think you’re ready?” Jesse murmured, adding a third finger. 

 

“Yeah,” Lukas gasped. 

 

Jesse started to fumble for his wallet, but Lukas stopped him, still trying to catch his breath. 

 

“I’m on birth control,” he said, kissing Jesse’s free hand, grinning when he pulled him into his lap. “Unless you have herpes or some shit we don’t need a condom, baby.”

 

Jesse laughed. “Lucky for you, my last STD test came out clean.”

 

“Same,” Lukas groaned. 

 

“Oh, don’t make me laugh, I know that when you and Petra did it it was your first time, buddy.”

 

They both burst out laughing. 

 

Then, while Jesse was distracted, Lukas lowered himself onto him. 

 

“Holy fuck,” Lukas groaned. 

 

His only experience with this sort of thing had come from Petra, who was a very handsy person and didn’t exactly have the means for this. Not to say he didn’t like doing this stuff with her, but this… 

 

Wow.

 

This was… different. 

 

The good kind of different. 

 

“You can move whenever you’re ready, sweetheart,” Jesse murmured, and Lukas laughed breathlessly and Jesse’s smug, blissed-out expression. 

 

“O—oh,” Lukas blurted, suddenly feeling awkward. “Oh, I’m doing the moving.”

 

Jesse gave him a lazy smirk. “Yeah, up and down. I mean, typically I would be doing the moving, but you’re currently on top, so you’re in charge.”

 

“Right,” Lukas grunted, shifting his knees under himself. 

 

He pushed himself up experimentally, and then let gravity pull him back down on Jesse, sucking in a sharp breath. 

 

That felt good. 

 

Jesse, meanwhile, screwed up his face and clenched his jaw. 

 

“Fuck,” he squeaked. 

 

Lukas managed not to laugh, quickly speeding up and fighting back a moan at the wonderful feeling. 

 

“You like that?” He murmured. 

 

Jesse just groaned something unintelligible in response, panting heavily, his cheeks flushed. 

 

Then he bucked his hips upwards, and Lukas yelped at the surge of pleasure. 

 

He quickly adjusted his timing. 

 

He was sure his lip was bleeding from how hard he was biting it, he thought to himself, arching his back. This new angle let him get deeper, and oh it felt so good he felt like he’d scream. 

 

“You, Lukas,” Jesse moaned, clutching his hips, “are such a power bottom.”

 

Lukas scoffed, and was about to tease him for how easily he was turned on when he slid down and he hit that one spot, and suddenly Lukas was seeing stars as he came. 

 

Then Jesse gasped and tensed underneath him, and then he was coming and Lukas suddenly felt heat pooling in his gut and then something warm and wet dripping down the inside of his thigh. 

 

He sat forward, panting, and braced his hand against Jesse’s shoulder. 

 

“Holy shit,” Jesse suddenly blurted, letting out a breathless laugh. 

 

“Holy shit what?”

 

Lukas whipped his head around, and suddenly felt a rush of embarrassment when he saw Petra leaning on the doorframe, damp from her shower and wearing a black T-shirt with a satanic skull-looking thing that looked like it belonged on the cover of a death metal album. This would’ve been a perfectly normal shirt if Celine Dion: My Heart Will Go On wasn’t printed in red gothic-style script around it. 

 

And she had an annoyingly self-satisfied look on her face.

 

Lukas felt his cheeks burning as he carefully climbed off Jesse and sat cross legged on the bed next to him. 

 

“How long have you been standing there?” Jesse finally asked. 

 

Petra smirked. “Long enough.”

 

———

 

They spent the next three days exploring the city of Seattle. 

 

Jesse couldn’t remember why they’d gone downtown, but they had, and he was having a good time. 

 

Seattle was startlingly empty. Most of the shops were closed, almost all the restaurants were, and the whole place generally looked vaguely dystopian given that a lot of major business establishments had been trashed, but, well, it was good enough for them. 

 

Speaking of them, Petra was currently perched in a tree, and Lukas was yelling at her.

 

Jesse grinned, watching. 

 

“Petra, would you get down?” Lukas grumbled. “You’re gonna get hurt.”

 

Petra replied with “No! The squirrels have accepted me as one of their own and I can’t break their trust!”

 

“I’ll call the police.”

 

“Okay then I’ll fight them!”

 

Lukas heaved a sigh and pulled a plastic bag of cookies out of his backpack. 

 

“I have cookies.”

 

Petra’s eyes lit up and she jumped down and ran up to Lukas, quickly taking a cookie and stuffing it in her mouth. 

 

“I totally would’ve fought them,” she added, mouth full. 

 

Jesse laughed, watching as she veered off to chase some pigeons, then wandered down the street a bit before wheeling around back towards them. 

 

He fell into step beside Lukas. 

 

“I like watching her wander,” Lukas suddenly murmured, his eyes fixed on Petra as she tried to feed part of a cookie to a pigeon. “She acts so guarded and tough, but I think deep down she’s just a kid, really.”

 

Jesse hummed in acknowledgement. 

 

Their hands brushed, fingers entwining as they walked side by side. 

 

“The day after tomorrow,” Jesse realized aloud, glancing up at the clouds. “It’s all over in the morning then. What time…”

 

“It’s gonna be about nine’o’clock here in Seattle,” Lukas murmured. 

 

Jesse fell silent. 

 

The three of them had only about 48 hours left together.

 

“Do you ever wonder?” He asked quietly, stopping to sit on a park bench, watching the pigeons waddling around, blissfully unaware of the world coming to its end. 

 

“About what?” Lukas asked, joining him. 

 

Jesse shivered. 

 

He somehow felt cold talking about all this, like it wasn’t real, like all of this was just some fever dream. 

 

But it wasn’t, and that was scary. 

 

“About… what’s gonna happen,” he finally said, touching his necklace. “Like, what it’s gonna feel like. Dying. What’ll happen after we die.”

 

Relative silence. 

 

“I’m an atheist,” Lukas said, thoughtfully rubbing his knuckles. “I don’t believe in a higher power up there. But I do think there’s an afterlife. Somewhere where the good people get to be happy and the bad people get what they deserve.”

 

Jesse laughed softly. “I’m Christian. If they’re allowing plus ones for getting into heaven, I’m inviting you,” he joked. 

 

Lukas laughed. 

 

Jesse was a Christian because that’s what his late mom had believed, going to church every Sunday with her as a little kid before the divorce, singing gospel songs happily along with her. He hadn’t been able to keep going after the divorce, but he still believed in God and occasionally prayed if he was in a rough spot. 

 

The fact that Lukas was an atheist was news to him, but Jesse didn’t think any less of him for it. 

 

As his mom had always said before the divorce:

 

“You’re allowed to believe in whatever you want, pumpkin. Anything at all. But you have to make me one promise. Promise me that you don’t use the things you believe in to hurt others, okay?”

 

Yeah, his mom had called him pumpkin. 

 

He missed that every day. 

 

One of the charms on his necklace was from her, a parting gift when his dad had gotten custody: a small gold-plated cross that was worn from being rubbed. 

 

“Oh, cool.”

 

Jesse yelped and jolted in surprise. 

 

Petra was squatting on the bench next to him, eyebrows raised. 

 

“I’m Jewish,” she said. “When I was a kid, we didn’t have Christmas. We had Hanukkah. We weren’t, like, seriously religious people, but we prayed before every meal and other stuff, and I’ve never eaten pork in my life. And I remember I was frantically googling to see if it was taboo to get my tattoos.”

 

“Oh, that’s why you always pick the pepperoni off your pizza!” Jesse exclaimed. 

 

Wow, there were still things he was learning about Petra and Lukas.

 

Lukas chuckled. “My family, we were catholic. We didn’t go to church that often though, but let’s just say that when I finally came out my grandpa flipped his shit and started quoting bible verses, and my parents were royally pissed off that they didn’t have a daughter.”

 

Jesse winced. 

 

“That’s… that sucks,” he said, squeezing Lukas’s hands. “Do you want to talk about it, or…”

 

“I’m okay,” Lukas said with a sigh. “My parents already had two boys, and they wanted a girl so bad. And when I tried to tell them I was a boy they just kept calling me she and her and deadnaming me until I finally snapped and tried to get them to stop. And then they kicked me out. Told me to not come back until I stopped lying to myself. They were so happy when I came along, and then I turned out to be a huge fucking disappointment for everybody.”

 

“Don’t talk like that,” Petra interjected, and Jesse couldn’t help but smile at her soft, gentle tone of voice. 

 

It was so sweet when she was soft. 

 

“Lukas, your parents, if they’re not happy that you’re not what they expected, they can shove it up their asses,” she continued. “You’re a man, Lukas. You’re an awesome guy. And you sure as hell aren’t lying to yourself.”

 

“Petra’s right,” Jesse added. “Nobody gets to tell you who you are except you.”

 

He wished he was better with words. 

 

Lukas smiled faintly, the sadness lifting from his eyes. “Thanks, guys. That means a lot to me.”

 

Petra laughed and kissed him on the cheek, punching his arm affectionately. 

 

Jesse wrinkle his nose in mock-disgust, nudging her. “Hey, what about me?”

 

Petra dramatically rolled her eyes. 

 

Jesse struggled to conceal his laughter as Lukas beat Petra to it and kissed his cheek first. Petra made an indignant noise and kissed his other cheek. 

 

And in that moment, everything was perfect.

Chapter Text

“All three of us need to do something,” Jesse said, breaking the silence.

 

Lukas raised his eyebrows. 

 

Just a few hours ago, the three of them had been talking and laughing in the park, recovering from their heartfelt conversation of religion and childhood. 

 

He had to admit, it was interesting learning about the beliefs of others, even if he didn’t believe in a god himself. 

 

Petra, who was eating peanut butter straight from the jar, perked up. 

 

“What kind of thing?”

 

Jesse blushed, glancing to the side. 

 

Lukas managed to stifle a chuckle, realizing what Jesse wanted to do. 

 

“Well,” Jesse said. “This is our second to last evening together, and we have to make it count. So, uh, do you two… uhm… want to… you know, do it?”

 

Petra smirked and put the lid back on her peanut butter. 

 

“Of course, sweetheart.”

 

Lukas quickly hid a smile as Jesse blushed again, and then Petra got up, pulled Jesse out of his seat. 

 

Lukas decided to sit back and watch them for now, setting his book aside. 

 

Petra pulled Jesse over to the bed and pushed him down on the end, and then she was kissing him, leaning over him and slowly undoing the buttons of his flannel.

 

Lukas bit his lip. 

 

Never mind, he couldn’t take it.

 

He got up, headed over to the bed, and knelt on the mattress next to Jesse. 

 

He cleared his throat. 

 

“Oh, you want some, too?” Petra taunted, licking her lips. 

 

Lukas nodded, defiantly refusing to make a sound as she kissed his jaw, slowly moving up to his ear. 

 

Then she nipped his earlobe. 

 

He gasped. 

 

And then another set of lips were lightly kissing the back of his neck. 

 

Lukas quickly fumbled with his shirt and pulled it off. After a moment of consideration, his binder followed. 

 

He felt Jesse behind him, nosing his hair, hands on his hips. 

 

In front of him, Petra was kissing his neck now, ever so slowly biting and sucking at his skin. 

 

He moaned softly. 

 

“I think he likes this,” Jesse purred.

 

Lukas suddenly felt the hands on his hips moving lower, carefully tugging at his jeans.

 

Lukas shivered at the touch, and then yelped in surprise as Petra slid a hand around underneath him and squeezed his ass.

 

“How’re we gonna do this?” She growled in his ear. 

 

“Don’t care,” Lukas breathed. At this point, he didn’t care what they did, how they touched him. 

 

What he wanted was their pleasure. 

 

“Hmm,” Jesse murmured. “You think… you think I should… touch you?”

 

Lukas nodded quickly, biting his tongue, his breath coming in gasps as Jesse rubbed his inner thighs. 

 

And then Petra got up. 

 

He whined at the loss of her warmth, reaching for her, but Petra just chuckled and kissed his cheek. “I’m just getting undressed. Chill.”

 

Jesse hummed thoughtfully. 

 

Lukas felt his breath hitch, feeling Jesse’s hands on his thighs, dragging him backwards into his lap.

 

Then Jesse’s hands were sliding up his front, over his breasts, trailing up his bare torso and making him shudder as the delicate touches were accentuated by Jesse’s lips on the side of his neck. 

 

Lukas sighed happily. 

 

He couldn’t get enough of this. 

 

And then Petra caught his attention, standing at the end of the bed still fully clothed, watching both of them. 

 

“What?” 

 

Lukas grunted, shifting in Jesse’s lap. 

 

“You’re still dressed,” he muttered. 

 

Petra snorted. “Oh, you want me to strip? That's what you’re asking for?”

 

Lukas felt his face flush with embarrassment as Petra cocked an eyebrow and smirked. 

 

“Uhm,” he finally said. “Yeah.”

 

Petra laughed and unzipped her leather jacket, tossing it aside. Then she began to pull her shirt off. 

 

Lukas noticed Jesse had stopped kissing him, so he glanced over at him. 

 

Jesse was watching her intently. 

 

Petra pulled off her bandanna and set it on the dresser, her fiery hair spilling down her shoulders. Then she knelt to unlace her boots and pull off her socks. 

 

She stood, now wearing nothing but a worn black bra and jeans, smirking.

 

“Jesse, you okay?”

 

Lukas glanced at Jesse again, and snorted in amusement. 

 

Jesse was still staring at her in astonishment, his face flushed. Lukas couldn’t tell if it was embarrassment or arousal, which just made it funnier. 

 

“Dude,” he asked. “You okay?”

 

“Y—yeah,” Jesse nodded quickly, looking embarrassed. “It just suddenly occurred to me that I’ve never seen her completely naked before.”

 

Petra snorted. “Ha, that’s right! I had a shirt on all those times!”

 

Lukas chuckled.

 

God, he loved Jesse so much. 

 

“Well,” he said, “there’s a first time for all of us, Jesse. Just like how I saw you naked for the first time when I walked in from the pool that one night and Petra stole your blankets.”

 

Jesse burst out laughing. “Oh god, stop, you’re gonna kill the mood.”

 

“Yeah, hush,” Petra said, undoing her pants and kicking them off, then her underwear, leaving her in just her bra. 

 

Then she undid it, sliding it off her shoulders, still cradling it to her chest. 

 

“Jesus Christ, get on with it, the suspense is killing me,” Jesse groaned, and Lukas resisted the urge to laugh. 

 

Even though he still had pants on, Lukas could tell Jesse was very hard. 

 

In response, Petra dropped her bra on the floor, spreading her arms as if in celebration. 

 

“Boom,” she said monotonously. 

 

Of course, all three of them cracked up again at that. 

 

But Lukas couldn’t help but admire her body. He hadn’t been able to appreciate it the night they’d gotten high. 

 

She was definitely muscular, but not in a bodybuilder way. Her build was more like that of the long-distance runners on the cross country running team he’d been forced to join in high school: slender and wiry, but with a tough underlying layer of muscle that made her reek of don’t fuck with me.

 

Also she had nice boobs, but that was just an added bonus. 

 

Then she climbed up onto the bed next to them, leaned over Lukas’s shoulder, and kissed Jesse.

 

Lukas gasped as her body pressed against him, Jesse’s soft, breathy sighs barely an inch from his ear. Then her hands on Lukas’s thighs, pulling his legs around her waist. 

 

Lukas whined needily, trying to grind his hips against her.

 

The angle wasn’t great though. And he was still fully dressed from the waist down, which wasn’t helping. 

 

As if on cue, Jesse loosened his belt and threw it aside. 

 

“Take them off,” Lukas panted, stifling a moan as Petra rubbed her fingers over the crotch of his jeans. 

 

Lukas could feel the dampness between his legs as he struggled out of his pants and socks, and then he was finally free of the offending fabric as Petra pulled his underwear off. 

 

Then Jesse scrambled back, yanking off the rest of his clothes. 

 

Lukas hesitated, gazing at him. 

 

Oh, he’d seen Jesse bare before, but there was something about the dim glow of the lamp bathing his smooth brown skin in a warm golden light, how muscle showed through when his arms flexed and his thighs moved like that, his hands soft and smooth from living an easy upper-class life. 

 

“So,” Jesse spread his hands. “Going back to Petra’s question earlier, how’re we gonna do this?”

 

“I’m up for whatever,” Lukas sighed, reclining on the bed.

 

Petra seemed to think it over for a moment, and then she suddenly smirked, eyeing Jesse. 

 

“Lukas, how would you feel about watching for a while?”

 

Lukas arched his eyebrows. 

 

He couldn’t tell where Petra was going with this, and he’d be lying if he said that didn’t arouse him. 

 

“You fuck me,” Petra said, a sly tone creeping into her voice as she took Jesse’s hand. “Then we fuck Lukas so hard he can’t walk.”

 

Jesse shrugged. “Okay.” 

 

And so Lukas sat back and watched as Petra climbed into Jesse’s lap and straddled him (birth control and regular STD tests were beautiful things), and Lukas couldn’t stop the moans that were slipping out as he stared at them, squeezing his legs together to try and assuage his arousal. 

 

Finally he just gave up altogether and reached down, pushing two fingers in and out of himself in time with Jesse and Petra’s movements. 

 

And both of them looked so beautiful like this. 

 

Petra was kneeling in Jesse’s lap (no small feat given she was a head taller than him standing up), her red hair hanging in her eyes and tangled and sweaty, her breath coming in gasps and groans as she rapidly rose and fell on Jesse’s dick. 

 

And Jesse had both arms wrapped around her waist, his forehead resting in the crook of her neck, slowly biting and sucking and kissing her skin, also breathing heavily, moaning quietly. 

 

That was the thing. Petra had never been very loud. 

 

Jesse seemed to be the only one of them who could coax more than a whimper out of her. 

 

And then Petra let out a heavy gasp, dragging Jesse up into a messy, sloppy kiss, and her movement stilled. 

 

Petra suddenly laughed, sitting back in Jesse’s lap, kissing his forehead. Her face was flushed, so flushed that her freckles were almost invisible. 

 

“I love you,” she murmured. 

 

Jesse let out a small chuckle and grinned happily. 

 

Then Petra hauled herself off Jesse with a grunt, and loped away, stretching. 

 

“Where’s she going?” Lukas asked, inhaling sharply as Jesse crawled up over him, pressing kisses all the way up his neck and his chest. 

 

“One word,” Jesse murmured, dragging his tongue along the underside of Lukas’s jaw. “Strap-on.”

 

Lukas sucked in a sharp breath. 

 

He’d never even considered buying one of those before.

 

“I’m guessing she stole it from a shop and tested it out on you,” he grunted, spreading his legs wide. 

 

Jesse hummed in amusement, grinding titillatingly against his entrance. 

 

Lukas bit back a moan. 

 

“I guess you could put it that way,” Jesse purred. “Petra, you still have that lube, right? We’re gonna need it.”

 

Oh. Oh. So that was the plan. 

 

And before Lukas could blink, slick fingers were sliding around behind him and spreading him open from an entirely new and arousing angle. 

 

He was glad he’d thought to take a shower this morning. 

 

“Tell me if it’s too much,” Jesse said. 

 

Lukas let out a whine as Jesse’s fingers pressed in deeper, slowly but surely working him open. 

 

“Shit,” Petra muttered. “Gimme a minute, the damn harness is all tangled up.”

 

Jesse was using three fingers now. 

 

Lukas moaned helplessly, trying to get Jesse to speed up, but he just clicked his tongue in disappointment and slowed down to a tortuously slow pace. 

 

But finally, finally, Jesse pulled him into a sitting position and eased into him. 

 

Lukas found himself breathing heavily, whimpering desperately, practically dripping with lube and his own slickness, Jesse’s chest pressing against his back.

 

God, this felt so good and he wanted more so badly. 

 

But Jesse held him still. 

 

After what felt like months, Petra slid onto the bed underneath him, smirking. 

 

“You looked wrecked,” she teased. 

 

Lukas huffed in irritation, gazing hungrily at the stark black leather straps of the toy she was wearing against her skin, the thickness of the toy itself. 

 

He wanted that between his legs. 

 

And fast, or he’d probably die here. 

 

And then Petra was holding him open with two fingers inside him. He was so wet already that the toy slid in deep with little resistance. 

 

Lukas let out a whine. 

 

He felt so full, so warm and happy trapped between Petra and Jesse’s bodies.

 

And finally Jesse began to move. 

 

Lukas actually cried out, gripping the sheets as Jesse wrapped his fingers in his hair and thrust forward sharply. 

 

And then Petra caught him in a deep, hungry kiss, thrusting her hips up just as Jesse pulled back, making him moan loudly and arch his back. 

 

This felt so good. 

 

He never wanted it to end. 

 

And they kept fucking him together in that perfect rhythm, making him come time and time again until he was completely exhausted. 

 

He was so tired that when Jesse came and stopped, panting, he went limp on Petra’s chest. 

 

“Fuck,” he whined. 

 

He glanced over his shoulder at Jesse, red-faced and sweaty, trying to catch his breath. 

 

“God you’re so pretty,” Jesse murmured. 

 

Petra laughed softly, stroking Lukas’s hair. “You two go ahead and get ready for bed. I need to take this thing off.”

 

And so they did.

 

A minute later, Lukas was resting with his head on Petra’s chest, wincing at the soreness between his legs. Jesse was resting in front of him, head on his shoulder, lightly running his fingers across Lukas’s shoulder. 

 

And as Lukas slowly dozed off with two familiar sets of arms around him, he felt a sense of peaceful calm. 

 

One he hadn’t felt in a long time.

Chapter Text

It was their last full day together. 

 

They woke up around ten in the morning and left for the campsite they’d settled on around noon, stopping by the grocery store to get some food before they left. 

 

Currently, Petra was driving, and Jesse and Lukas were making out in the backseat, and it was getting heated. 

 

“You know I can hear you,” she remarked, smirking to herself. 

 

A smug hum from Lukas. “Hmm. Bet.”

 

Some awkward shuffling. 

 

“We still have an hour to drive,” Petra added, and quickly stifled a laugh when Jesse let out a whine. 

 

“Oh, Jesus Christ, fuck. Okay, yeah, you’re going— aah, shit!”

 

Sounds of something unzipping. 

 

Petra dared to glance over her shoulder. 

 

And there was Lukas, who’d pulled Jesse into his lap and, judging from Jesse’s undone belt and flushed face, Lukas was giving him a handjob. 

 

Petra snorted. “If you make a mess in my truck, you’re cleaning it up.”

 

Lukas caught her eye and smirked lazily. 

 

Then he leaned over and licked the base of Jesse’s neck. 

 

“I’m guessing— ah —this is payback for—payback for last— mmh, last night, huh?” Jesse panted. 

 

Petra bit her lip in amusement, deciding not to intervene.

 

Not this time, anyway. 

 

———

 

When they arrived at the campsite, it was about two, so they blew up the air mattress they’d brought and put it in the bed of the truck, along with the blankets and pillows.

 

Petra was glad she’d bought that camper shell a few years ago. 

 

Just below the campsite, the rocky cliff dropped off to the ocean, a small trail leading down to a rocky beach. 

 

It was there where they went next. 

 

“It really sucks,” Jesse said out of nowhere. “All this. It’s gonna be gone.”

 

Petra gazed off at the horizon. 

 

She slowly took a bite of her donut. 

 

Jesse was right. 

 

Tomorrow, at about nine in the morning, everything she knew and loved was going to be wiped out of existence. 

 

What had the newscaster said… 

 

Matilda was the size of Mercury. If Petra’s math was right, that would not only obliterate all life on the planet, but also most likely destroy it. 

 

No hope for survival whatsoever. 

 

“Well,” Lukas said hopefully, “We have… almost nineteen hours left.”

 

Half-hearted laughter. 

 

“To think,” Jesse remarked, holding up his donut like it was the Holy Grail. “It took hundreds of millions of years of evolution for Dunkin Donuts to appear on this earth, only to be wiped out in a few hours. Heartbreaking.”

 

Lukas snorted. “And shitty Taco Bell.”

 

Jesse laughed and elbowed him. 

 

That made Petra feel just a little bit better about their inevitable demise. 

 

She let herself gaze at the two men she loved, memorizing their faces and their appearances.

 

Jesse, with his adorable wavy hair and his soft brown skin and gorgeous green eyes and slightly crooked nose and cute smile and his cute laugh. 

 

Lukas, with his pale golden hair and the freckles all over his body and crooked smile and those bright blue eyes and his tall, skinny frame and sharp jawline. 

 

Well, the pessimist in her was right. 

 

Good things did  inevitably fall apart. 

 

“I have an idea,” Lukas piped up. “You wanna learn how to make paper boats?”

 

Jesse brightened. 

 

“Sure,” Petra remarked. 

 

She watched as Lukas explained how to fold the paper from the notebook he’d pulled out, how deftly his fingers creased it and shaped it. 

 

“And boom,” he concluded, holding up a small paper boat. “Like that.”

 

And they ended up spending an hour or two making dozens of little paper boats, laughing and setting them afloat on the waves, and then Jesse fucked up his boat and flung the balled up paper at the water but the wind blew it back in his face, which was the highlight of the day. 

 

And then, as it started to get dark, Petra happened to find a dead mouse, so they jokingly built a small boat out of sticks and paper and set it on fire, shoving it into the waves. 

 

“If we weren’t all gonna be blown to bits, I’d want that kinda funeral,” Jesse remarked. “I like the idea of being yeeted into the ocean.”

 

Petra laughed. 

 

She’d never given funerals much thought, and nobody on Earth was going to get one now.

 

So what the hell, why not pretend?

 

“I’d get cremated,” she decided. “Have my ashes packed into a firecracker. So I could go out as dramatic and loud as I am in real life.”

 

Lukas laughed. 

 

“I’d want to be cremated, too,” he said, fiddling with his lighter. “But I’d want my ashes scattered somewhere. Some place peaceful. I’ve always just wanted to… dissolve, you know? Just disappear into the universe.”

 

Petra gazed up at the sky. 

 

The stars were starting to come out. 

 

Well, Lukas would get his wish, she thought to herself. It was oddly poetic, in a way. Humanity had become so powerful over such a short time, and was going back to the stars it was born from.

 

Back into stardust.

 

Petra liked the sound of that. 

 

“You ever wonder?” She said softly. “If we’re the only life in the universe, and… will it still exist if there’s nobody around  to perceive it?”

 

Silence, except for the crashing waves and the cries of seabirds. 

 

“We won’t really be gone,” Lukas murmured. “We’ll just… be a different part of it. Like stars.”

 

“I wanna be a nebula,” Jesse sighed. 

 

They sat there in silence together for a while, listening to the waves and the wind, until finally Petra heard her stomach growl. 

 

“You guys hungry?” She asked. 

 

———

 

They built a campfire and cooked up some dinner, which consisted of setting a frying pan on a burning log over the coals and frying some sausages. 

 

Petra had to admit, she’d always loved camping like this. 

 

“This tastes good,” Jesse remarked, grinning. “I mean, I’ve never been camping before, but this is good shit.”

 

Petra paused. 

 

“Hold on,” she said, pointing her fork at him. “You just said you’ve never been camping?”

 

Jesse froze.

 

“I mean, I didn’t want to make a big deal about it and be that guy—“

 

Petra caught Lukas’s eye. 

 

Then they burst out laughing. 

 

“Fuck the sausages for now, we’re teaching you the fine art of making s’mores,” Petra laughed, fishing her pan out of the fire and setting it aside. 

 

Lukas, also chuckling, headed to the truck. 

 

Petra couldn’t believe Jesse had never been on a simple camping trip before. 

 

“Got the stuff,” Lukas remarked, hefting a grocery bag of marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers, as well as some roasting sticks.

 

Jesse winced. 

 

Petra couldn’t help laughing as he clumsily jabbed a marshmallow on a spit, tried to hold it over the flames, and promptly set it on fire. 

 

“Oops,” he said, sounding defeated.

 

“No worries,” Lukas said, blowing out the marshmallow. “I like mine burnt.”

 

“Oh, that’s so fucking gross,” Petra groaned, setting a graham cracker with some chocolate on it on a rock near the fire to melt. 

 

Lukas just rolled his eyes, smirking. 

 

They spent the next hour coaching Jesse through making a s’more, and when he finally succeeded in not burning the marshmallow, he almost dropped it while trying to put it on his crackers. 

 

But he succeeded. 

 

“Wow,” he remarked, his mouth full of chocolate. “Thith tasthes amathik!”

 

“Well, get used to it,” Petra chuckled, affectionately bumping his arm. Then she pulled out the bottle of whiskey she’d been saving and uncapped it. 

 

The way Lukas’s eyes lit up when he saw it made her cackle. 

 

And so they sat there, talking and laughing and eating s’mores, and Petra got out her guitar after her second shot. 

 

And she started playing. 

 

“When you say you won’t forget me,

I can tell you that’s not true,

‘Cause every day since you left me,

I’ve thought less and less of you.”

 

Then Lukas joined in. 

 

“And I’ve worn out all the reasons

To keep on knocking at your door,

Could be the changing of the seasons,

But I don’t love you anymore.”

 

Silence, except for the fire and the distant ocean. 

 

“Your voice is amazing, Petra,” Lukas said softly. “I don’t know why you don’t sing more often.”

 

Petra winced. 

 

The only other person she’d sang for was Holly, and it just made her sad. 

 

“I… miss her,” she murmured out loud.

 

“Your old girlfriend?” Jesse asked. 

 

Petra sighed. 

 

“Yeah,” she confided. “But I think… the two of us were too different, when you get right down to it. She was so focused on her future and her family, and I… I am not like that. I just hope that… wherever her family is, she’s happy with them. I hope she has a happy ending.”

 

Silence. 

 

Somehow, Petra felt like a huge weight had lifted off her shoulders. 

 

“It’s okay to miss her,” Lukas said gently, smiling softly. “There’s people I miss, too, and I bet Jesse does, too.”

 

Jesse chuckled sadly. “I really miss my mom. She died, like, two years after the divorce to cancer because she didn’t have the money for treatment. Dad wouldn’t help her. That’s partly why I hate him so much.”

 

“And I miss my oldest brother,” Lukas added. “He was the only one who accepted me. He… also got exiled from the family. I haven’t seen him since.”

 

Petra sighed. 

 

We sure are an unlucky bunch.

 

So she filled her shot glass, passing the bottle to Jesse and Lukas. 

 

Then she held her glass up. 

 

“A toast,” she said. “A toast to everyone we lost and wish we could have with us in our last few hours.”

 

Then they clinked their glasses together and drank. 

 

It was quiet. 

 

“I have a request,” Jesse said, holding up a finger. “Petra, do you know any Fall Out Boy songs?”

 

She smirked. “Do I?”

 

———

 

Petra yawned, slowly stroking Jesse’s hair. 

 

It was late. 

 

About midnight. 

 

They’d put the fire out around ten-thirty-ish (because it had started to rain) and climbed into the truck bed to sleep, and now they were slowly dozing off. 

 

First, they’d done… some stuff. 

 

Lukas had finally made good on his promise from two weeks ago, and damn he hadn’t been lying when he’d bragged about having a, quote, talented mouth.

 

Of course, they couldn’t’ve left Jesse out, so Petra had gone into the cab to get out the strap-on again, but Lukas had gotten a bit bolder under the effects of the whiskey and he’d been in the middle of giving Jesse a blowjob when she’d climbed back into the truck bed. 

 

She’d let them finish, and then she’d pushed Lukas down on his back and fucked him. 

 

All in all, a good evening. 

 

Lukas was curled up against her back, an arm wrapped around her waist, his breathing slowly evening out. 

 

But then he mumbled, “The alarm?”

 

“I set it, baby,” Petra murmured, leaning back to kiss him. “8:30.”

 

He hummed contentedly. 

 

Petra sighed, feeling him lean down a little and gently press his lips against the ridge of her spine. 

 

She pulled the blanket further over them, listening to the tap tap tap of the rain on the camper shell, wishing she could freeze time and live in this perfect, peaceful moment forever. 

 

But sadly, she couldn’t. 

 

As she drifted off to sleep, she had one thought in her mind:

 

I love them.

Chapter Text

“Psst. Lukas.”

 

Lukas blinked blearily, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, wincing at the bright morning sunlight. 

 

Petra was kneeling on the tailgate, a melancholy smile on her face. 

 

“I let you sleep a few extra minutes. You seemed tired.”

 

Lukas chuckled and pulled on his binder and his clothes, sliding out from under the blanket. 

 

It must’ve recently stopped raining.

 

The whole world, all the woods, was laden with a shimmering layer of rainwater, the ground damp under his battered sneakers as they slipped down the trail to the small beach, the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks soothing Lukas’s nerves. 

 

Jesse was already there, sitting on a big rock, with Petra’s guitar and the bottle of whiskey from last night. 

 

“It’s almost time,” Jesse said cheerfully, pouring Lukas a shot. 

 

Lukas accepted it and knocked it back. 

 

And they sat there together for a while, talking and laughing, just enjoying the peaceful morning. 

 

Finally, after about twenty minutes, Jesse closed his eyes and muttered something quietly, and then crossed himself.

 

Probably praying. 

 

Lukas reached over and squeezed his hand in reassurance. 

 

Then Petra took her guitar. 

 

“What’s the time?” She asked. 

 

“8:54,” Jesse replied. “We have two minutes before impact.”

 

Petra gave her guitar a strum. 

 

And she started playing. 

 

“Let’s go in the garden,

You’ll find something waiting,

Right there where you left it

Lying upside-down,”

 

Then Lukas joined in. 

 

“When you finally find it,

You’ll see how it’s faded,

The underside is lighter

When you turn it around,”

 

Jesse began to sing as well. 

 

“Everything stays right where you left it,

Everything stays, but it still changes,

Ever so slightly, daily and nightly,

In little ways, when everything stays.”

 

All three of them felt the shockwave under their feet. 

 

“Go down to the ocean,

The crystal tide is rising,

The water’s gotten higher 

As the shore washes out,

Keep your eyes wide open,

Even when the sun is blazing,

The moon controls the tide,

It can cause you to drown,”

 

Lukas felt Jesse’s grip on his hand tighten, and there was a blinding flash of light on the horizon. 

 

He slipped an arm around Petra. 

 

“Everything stays, right where you left it,

Everything stays, but it still changes,

Ever so slightly, daily and nightly,

In little ways,

When everything stays.”

 

The rumbling Lukas could hear in the distance swelled to a roar. 

 

The light on the horizon was brighter. 

 

“Petra?” He said, raising his voice above the rumbling of the earth. “Jesse? You still with me, guys?”

 

“Yeah,” Petra replied. 

 

“I—I’m scared,” Jesse stammered. “I’m really scared.”

 

Lukas winced. 

 

He pulled Jesse around, letting him bury his face in his shoulder. 

 

“Don’t look at it,” he soothed. “Just hold onto me, Jesse. Hug me like this, don’t look at the horizon. It’s gonna be okay.”

 

Petra wrapped her arms around the both of them, her eyes squeezed shut, and he saw her whisper quietly, even though he couldn’t hear her, I love you both. 

 

Lukas was suddenly aware of the heat. 

 

The light was so bright it was almost blinding, and he shut his eyes. 

 

“It’s gonna be okay,” he whispered. 

 

He’d found his family. 

 

They were safe with him, here, with the two people he loved, and although their time was almost up, he felt calm. 

 

Peaceful. 

 

Happy. 

 

It’s gonna be okay. 

 

And then the blinding light and heat and rumbling swelled so much it blotted out Lukas’s senses, and then—

 

 

{End.}