“Oh my god.”
Maybe Chad just knew his best friend too well but he was fairly certain he could predict the next words from Jared’s mouth even if he was roaming around back stage and couldn’t even see the boy from there.
“These tights are too… tight! God, Chr- Mr. Kane. You can see me junk, this is ridiculous. I can’t be on stage in front of my family like this.”
Snorting a laugh, Chad shook his head and worked his way through the back sets, perhaps fruitlessly, searching for the Prince’s forest specific backdrop. All the sets used to be organized but after their last run through everything was backwards or something. And of course Christian had to give him the grunt work because apparently assistant director meant personal slave as well. Figured.
Jared’s voice – and Jensen’s who had clearly joined the tights protest – drowned out as Chad moved further and further backstage. The play was little less than a month away and between that, battling his senioritis, and stealing every moment with Christian at home that he could, Chad was a fairly busy guy.
That was probably why he didn’t notice any other sort of developments in the social lives of those students around him. Case in point; Tom Welling and Matt Cohen, who were making out against the wall as Chad finally got to the back curtain. Actually, they were making out against the Prince’s forest backdrop.
Clearing his throat, Chad had to swallow his laugh at the startled looks on both boys’ faces as they leaped apart. “Good to see this is still in progress for you Tom.” Chad nodded at him, trying to place how long it had been since he’d had his little Matt conversation with Tom in the hallway.
God… that was the day his Dad had died. Weird to be reminded of that now of all times.
“We were just…” Matt tried though it was rather pointless; there was no lie to cover the way his hand had been buried in Tom’s hair and slipping down the back of his jeans.
“Oh, I know what you were just.” Chad snorted and shook his head, walking to the side of the backdrop piece and tugging on it. “Why don’t you guys actually do some work like you’re supposed to and help me carry this out front?”
Matt and Tom exchanged a look before stepping forward to help him, carrying the set piece easily until Chad could hear the swell of Jared’s voice once more.
“-and think of the children! I could be scarring thousands of people.”
Clearly Chad had returned at the end of a very long tirade and, judging by the amused look his boyfriend was trying to hide, it had been pretty impressive. “Jared, the tunic piece goes down low enough no one will even notice. But if it really makes you that uncomfortable you could always wear a cup.”
Jensen scoffed and Chad didn’t have to look to see his eye roll. “Yeah, ‘cause that will be totally a lot better.”
At this point Chad decided he should take a role in the negotiations that his Christian couldn't. He helped Matt and Tom lean the set piece against the others then turned to his still complaining best friends. "Hey gay and gayer, get the hell over it. And just be pleased this isn't a musical like it could have been."
Jared and Jensen shared a look before bursting into laughter and just like that the conflict was solved. He grinned over at Christian before heading backstage once more to do a prop check. Jared and Jensen resumed their run through and Chad was just checking the basket of apples when Matt and Tom came to him.
"Hey, so..." Matt looked over at Tom then back at him. "You won't tell anyone right?"
“About how nerdy it is of you to build sets because your boyfriend is?” Chad asked casually, dropping the basket on the prop table before stooping down to grab some fake swords.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Tom flinch and his eyebrows rose curiously. Matt was the one who answered though, clearing his throat again. “The making out thing. And uh, I guess the boyfriend thing.”
Finally looking at both boys, Chad frowned slightly. It was a weird position to be in. After all, he knew all too well what it was like to not have a supportive family, and he sure knew a hell of a lot about hiding your relationship. It just sucked that Tom had to be that way because he’d probably escalate to the most popular boy in school if people knew he was dating Matt. And well, they were both seventeen, they shouldn’t have to hide it. “I know how to keep secrets.” He looked at Tom then because the boy definitely knew that.
Tom smiled softly at him and looked down, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Thanks Chad,” he murmured quietly and bumped into Matt’s side. “You don’t have to be so nice.”
“Trust me, I know.” Chad huffed, dropping the fake swords on the table and dipping down to look for the scabbards they belonged in. “I’m like a queer treasure cove though.”
There was no logic to that statement and clearly both Matt and Tom realized that but Chad was grateful when they didn’t question him on it. Instead, Matt spoke up again. “What secret are you keeping?”
“Oh Matt.” Chad stood clutching both scabbards and grinned at him. “That’s between me and your mother. Now get back to work before I have Jared and Jensen throw you a coming out party.”
Still laughing, Chad shook his head and snatched up the fake swords, carrying everything out onto stage once more. “Found your swords boys, if I give them to you will you play nice?”
Jared grinned and bounced over to him, looking rather ridiculous in dark blue tights and a pink striped button down shirt. “Swords! Hey Jensen, I bet my sword is bigger than yours.”
“I’m too old for this,” Christian grumbled and rubbed a hand down his face.
“Wow, if I’d known what you guys were wearing I would have thought twice about bringing my daughter for a visit.” Misha’s voice broke the laughter and cheers of Jared and Jensen as they fumbled with strapping their swords on.
Jared instantly dropped his sword and hurried to the edge of the stage, jumping down. “Baby!”
They hadn’t gotten to meet Calliope yet, though Chad wasn’t quite certain why. Busy schedules he supposed and Mike was always insisting that even if they had slight sniffles the little girl could catch it and get really sick. Apparently Misha liked that his boyfriend was adorably over protective.
Now though, Chad was getting his first real look at the little girl who had dark curly hair and Misha’s bright blue eyes. He could see Misha in all her features and he followed Jensen leaping off the stage and heading over to the now small gathering. “Mike I’m surprised you let her out, there’s still snow on the ground.” Chad grinned at his friend, trying not to lean into Christian as the man stepped up to his side.
“Well…” Mike laughed and shrugged and there was definitely something suspicious about that gleam in his eyes. Then he was holding up a set of keys and laughing. “I got a car! My parents surprised me with it, early graduation present. And Misha was brave enough to let me drive Calli. Plus I felt kind of bad that you guys hadn’t met her yet, our little girl is the sweetest.”
Jared – who was currently making a variety of silly faces at the baby – looked up slowly then over at Jensen and Chad. When he looked back, Mike was scooping Calli from Misha’s arms and the little girl’s head dropped onto his shoulder. “Our little girl?” He asked the question they were all thinking.
Not that they didn’t know just how close Misha and Mike were, but to hear Mike say our in reference to a child that wasn’t his was kind of surreal. Then again, Chad didn't even want kids so that might have had something to do with it. Though he could appreciate the adorableness of this one.
“Sure, what little girl doesn’t want two daddies?” Misha laughed softly, reaching up to adjust Calliope’s coat. “I think she might even think of Mike as a dad anyway.”
“Can I hold her?”
Chad was pretty sure all the boys wanted to hold the baby. Except him of course, who was a little afraid he’d drop her. It was Christian who asked first though which had Chad looking over at his boyfriend with slightly wide eyes. They hadn’t really discussed children; it didn’t seem like they had to. Chad sort of thought since Christian was almost twenty nine and without kids thus far that maybe he didn’t want them. But his eyes were so soft and his smile was fond, like the way he looked at Ickis when the dog was doing something particularly adorable.
“Sure,” Misha nodded, laughing when Mike shot him a look. “Mike, I don’t think Mr. Kane is going to poison her or anything, it’s okay.”
“Okay,” Mike murmured and gently offered the baby out.
Chad was a little surprised to see how careful Christian was with the little girl. He curled fingers under her arm and brought her in close, sliding an arm under her butt to support her and smiling a little wider at her. “Hey there little girl, you’ve got the cutest blue eyes in the world.”
Chad, who was rather fond of his blue eyes, scoffed before he could resist and looked away. Beside him Jensen snorted and elbowed his side. “Nice Murray, jealous of the baby.”
“Oh come on, you know I meant…” Christian glanced his way and shook his head because he couldn’t continue that line of thought here without risking someone overhearing them.
They were all looking at him now and Chad blinked a few times, groaning as his arms slid over his chest. “God, I so am not jealous. Shut up.”
“Hey, watch the poor baby ears,” Mike reached out to cover Calliope’s ears and grinned over at Chad.
“Let’s take her on to the stage! I want to see her crawl around.” Jared called happily and bounced over to the stage, clearly far too excited about this baby business.
Christian handed the baby back to Mike and turned, heading for the stage and calling out that rehearsal was over for the day for anyone who happened to be around. Chad hung back, watching his friends step onto the stage and create a circle that Calliope could crawl in the middle of.
“Not a kid person hm?” Christian said softly, leaning against the stage beside Chad.
He was watching the boys laughing as Calliope clapped happily but Chad knew he was watching him too, sliding glances to the side maybe a little curious. It was strange how quickly he learned to read the subtle signs of Christian’s behavior. “Never thought much about it I guess.” Chad shrugged, turning his back to the boys and leaning on the edge on the stage.
“I think you have.” Christian shifted a little closer until Chad was sliding up on the stage and his knee rested against Christian’s hip. The man looked up at him, his eyes softening. “I think you’ve already made your decision about kids.”
Chad glanced over his shoulder at his friends and sighed, turning back to Christian with a wry smile. “Can’t take that risk.”
Something amazing about Christian was his ability to just know. He got Chad in a way that was eerie sometimes. So Chad wasn’t that surprised to see the dawning in his eyes, the ideas he was clearly putting together. “This is because of your parents? You think you couldn’t be a good dad?”
"I don't see any reason to risk the possibility I might not be." Chad shrugged and pulled his knee back, letting it bump against Christian again a moment later. "That a deal breaker? Got your heart set on kids?"
Christian smiled over at him, touching his thigh for just a moment. To anyone else it would look like a simple brush - like Christian was clearing something off Chad's jeans - but Chad knew it was his comforting touch. "I'm not set on it or anything. How about we agree to revisit the subject a few years from now? I'm too young to talk children just yet."
It was official; Christian was the best boyfriend in the world. He managed to calm Chad down and make his heart flip all in one go. If they weren’t right there in the middle of the school, Chad would have kissed him.
"You know I'm kind of ridiculously in love with you," Chad whispered, bumping his knee against Christian's side once more because it was the closest he could get to touching.
Christian's smile was bright and warm. "Yeah, I know."
A moment later he laughed when Chad punched his arm for not saying it back.
It was strange how you could reach a level of comfortable with a person that made spending time in silence in the same room not awkward. Jensen thought maybe he’d always had that with Jared, they didn’t need to talk. Which wasn’t to say he didn’t enjoy talking to Jared, otherwise he wouldn’t spend so much of his time at the other boy’s house.
“Will Smith or Denzel Washington?” Jared asked, not looking up from the text book he was supposedly studying from.
Jensen frowned and considered his options, pressing his finger on the middle of the sentence he was trying to memorize. “Like, Fresh Prince Will Smith or Men in Black Will Smith?”
“I Am Legend Will Smith, and Deju Vu Denzel Washington, not like, Philadelphia.” Like before Jared didn’t look up from his text book, didn’t even stop reading from what Jensen could tell and it made him smile.
“Well I have to choose I Am Legend Will Smith because then I know I’d be safe from potential vampire zombie creatures and he’d sacrifice himself for me in the end if need be.” Jensen reasoned and Jared’s head dipped in an agreeing nod. “Though I’d pretend it if he could wear the Men in Black suit.”
“Of course you would.” Jared snorted, shaking his head. “Denzel is cuter.”
“Hardly,” Jensen scoffed and rolled his eyes, staring down at the line he’d be reviewing once more. “You nervous?”
And Jared didn’t even miss a beat, just carried on with the change in subject like he was used to Jensen bouncing around from one thing to the next. Usually that was Jared’s M.O. “Nah, not really. I think I will be. You know, later, the night of, or the day of. Meg keeps trying to freak me out about it but I’m not sure I even really believe it’s happening you know?”
Yeah, that was something Jensen definitely got. “I know. Can’t believe we’re both in the school play. It’s kind of lame.” He laughed softly and shook his head. “What’s the geekiest thing you’ve ever done?”
“Geekiest?” Jared hummed thoughtfully and finally looked up from his textbook, turning to look at Jensen. “After we stopped talking, I begged and pleaded until my mom caved and bought me a Kid Sister doll.”
Jensen stared at his boyfriend, jaw dropping, shifting on the boy’s bed. He wasn’t sure why it seemed too impossible but he just couldn’t wrap his mind around such a simple little idea. “What did you do with it?” He finally asked because Jared was starting to look away and shift uncomfortably in the desk chair, likely worried that Jensen was going to freak and lose it.
“Kept her. I slept with her for years. I guess at some point she got lost, or my mom took her when I was at school, I don’t know, I’ve never asked. But at first I was going to give her to you. Then, you know, things just kept going on and you wouldn’t even look at me so…” Jared shrugged and slid a hand up through his hair. “I don’t know, little kid logic or something.”
“Come here,” Jensen murmured, shifting to extend a hand to Jared. He smiled when his boyfriend stood and walked over to him, rolling onto his back and pushing his script away. Jared smiled down at him and slowly climbed up on the bed, straddling Jensen’s hips and digging his elbows into the mattress. “What did you name her?” He asked in a soft whisper, sliding his hand up through Jared’s hair.
The deep flush that grew on Jared’s cheeks told him far more than it would to normal people. But he stayed quiet, letting Jared build up to the answer. Finally he ran his lips over Jensen’s neck and sighed along his skin, shaking his head slowly. “Jenny,” he mumbled, almost too thickly for Jensen to hear.
“What was that?” Jensen asked because he had too, there was no way he could believe what he’d thought he’d heard.
Jared sighed once more and pulled up, looking down at Jensen. “I named her Jenny and I used to talk to her all the time about everything. Jensen, losing you, I mean… I was so little and I know it seems trivial but, it really did hurt me. I just wanted us to be friends again.”
“We can’t live in the past anymore Jared,” Jensen whispered and gently stroked his cheek, smiling softly up at his boyfriend. “We can regret it for years but it won’t matter. We should really put it behind us.
Jared looked like he agreed but he didn’t know exactly how to say it. Jensen understood it was time, growing, and one day they’d get there. Still, he was going to hold the fact that Jared had a Kid Sister doll named Jenny over his head for a long time.
Panting softly, Mike slowly dropped to the bed beside Misha, arm draping over his damp middle. "Have I ever told you it's really hot to watch you try and be quiet when you come?"
Misha snorted softly and rolled on his side to face Mike. "Your eyes always scrunch up, it's adorable."
Groaning, Mike tucked his head under Misha’s chin. "I'm not supposed to look adorable during sex."
"I find you adorable always," Misha murmured and stroked a hand down Mike's back.
"Think we can get in an hour nap before Calli wakes?" Mike had rapidly learned that with a baby in the house you took naps when you could.
"Oh probably more if-"
Misha was cut off by the doorbell ringing. Both boys held their breath but it was useless, less than thirty seconds later Calliope was crying, the soft wails and whimpers coming from the baby monitor. Misha groaned and rolled off the bed and Mike quickly following. “I’ll get the door, you get Calli. And with any luck I won’t kill whoever had the nerve to ring the doorbell.”
“We need to disconnect that.” Misha pointed out but nodded at Mike, catching him for a moment to kiss him softly before heading out of the room and down the hall.
Mike could hear Misha cooing softly to Calliope and he smiled softly, tugging down the edge of his shirt as he reached out and pulled the door open. What was weird in that moment he supposed, was how he knew who the girl was before she even said her name. Maybe it was the shape of her face, the almond shape of her eyes, her dark hair – Mike had seen these features before, on a tiny little baby that had only ever looked like Misha until now.
“Hey um, does Misha live here? Do I have the right house?” The girl looked down at the paper in her hand then up, peering into the house.
Mike didn’t want this girl to be at the door, he didn’t want to know what her nervous smile looked like or how she brushed her hair out of her eyes uncertainly. And more than anything, he didn’t want to know how this would affect Misha. “Uh, yeah, he does. May I ask who’s asking?” Because he had to hear her say it.
“Yeah, I’m Hallie.”
And just like that, Mike was fairly certain everything was about to change.
“Who are you?” Hallie asked because after a few minutes Mike was still staring at her.
“Mike? Who is it? I couldn’t get Calli to go back to-“ Misha’s voice cut off abruptly as he came around the corner. “Hallie?”
“Misha!” Hallie grinned at him and pushed past Mike, stepping into the house, her eyes fixed on Calliope. “Wow, look at her. She’s grown so much.”
“That’s what babies do,” Misha pointed out in a clearly shocked whisper. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, well, see, my friend Becky had a baby a few weeks ago only she kept hers and I hung out with her the other day and that baby is just so cute it got me seriously wondering how my baby looks you know?”
"You should have called, asked for pictures, I would have sent pictures." Misha stepped forward, shifting Calliope in his arms then offering her out.
For one horrible moment Mike thought his boyfriend was offering the baby to Hallie but then bright blue eyes met his and Mike saw nothing but fear. "Come on baby girl, let's get you a bottle." Mike curled the baby protectively in his arms and glanced once over his shoulder back at Misha.
Clearly the boy had no intentions of inviting her in and a moment later he stepped outside, shutting the door behind him.
Mike wasted time fiddling with bottles and liners, setting Calliope up in her high chair slowly. He wanted to be out there, silently offering Misha whatever support he needed. But he knew looking after Calliope now was helping. He could strangle that girl for showing up now, when everything was going so well.
“Did you know, Calli, that dolphins sleep with one eye open?” Mike informed the little girl as he handed her a fresh bottle. She grinned up at him and cheered happily before sticking the bottle in her mouth.
Mike scooted backwards through the kitchen and peered at the still closed front door. He couldn’t decide if that was a good sign or not. Sighing softly, he walked back into the kitchen and pulled out a container of baby banana flavored puffs. They were actually kind of flavorless in Mike’s opinion but apparently that was good for babies.
He dropped the puffs on the tray of Calliope’s high chair and the girl pulled her bottle free, laughing cheerfully and clapping her hands. Mike smiled and gently caressed her hair. He sometimes wondered if it was strange to love a child so very much if it wasn’t your own. But he’d already planned on being around for every part of Calliope’s life, so loving her seemed only logical.
Dipping down, he pressed a soft kiss to the girl’s temple and smiled when she lifted a puff, offering it to him. “It’s all yours baby girl.” He laughed softly and shook his head. “You know what Calli? When you get old enough, I’m gonna teach you how to ride a bike. We’ll get a really awesome one, with a horn you can squeak and a basket you can put your dolls in and little tassels on the handles. You’re gonna be the coolest kid on the block.”
Of course Calliope couldn’t understand him but Mike liked to imagine she could. He’d read somewhere that children could feel the love in your tone of voice, that they knew whether a person loved them or not just by the attitude you gave them. So he tried as hard as he could to show Calliope how he loved her.
Mike had no real idea how long Misha was outside with Hallie and that was probably best. Especially since there were tears in his boyfriend’s eyes when he did come in and Mike didn't want to focus on anything more.
"She can't take Calli." Mike stepped quickly toward him, eyes wide. "You said it was official, she signed her rights away."
Misha shook his head and stepped into Mike's body, wrapping arms tight around him. "She won't. She just, wanted to see her. Wanted to make sure it was good for her here."
Frowning, Mike wrapped his arms tight around Misha. “What’s the matter then? You know life is good for her here. You give her the best life.”
“It’s…” Misha laughed weakly and sniffed, stepping back and wiping at his nose. “It’s so stupid. Don’t worry, she’s gone. Guess she’s decided to go freelance for a while. Meaning she’s basically run away from home and her and some guy are driving across the country.”
Mike kept his hands on Misha’s arms to keep him from going too far, considering him curiously. “Tell me what’s upset you. I won’t think it’s stupid, I promise.”
Misha reached out to touch his chest, smiling up at him for a moment before stepping around him and over to Calliope. Mike watched her stroke a hand through the girl’s hair and knew what smile he would have, that fond endearing one that was meant for Calliope alone. Misha was amazing in the way that he had a smile for everyone.
“She didn’t even care,” Misha finally said, turning back to Mike and frowning. “Not about Calli, not really. She didn’t care that Calli’s got a few teeth, that she’s standing and almost walking around things. She didn’t want to know what words she tried to say or how she was almost sleeping through the night. She doesn’t care at all and one day Calliope is going to ask about that and what will I say? How will I tell her that her mother didn’t want her?”
Mike understood the tears in Misha’s eyes now. Just hearing that made him a little teary too and he stepped toward his boyfriend, reaching out to grab his hands. “You know what you’ll tell her? You’ll tell her how she got to be a lucky little girl and have two daddies who love her more than anything in the entire world. And you know what? She’s going to be okay with that because she’s going to love you just as much Misha. You’ve already given her such an amazing life, and I know you always will. And I’m always going to be there to help and support you.”
The tears were back in Misha’s eyes but Mike thought they might be for a different reason now. Especially when his lips twitched in a faint smile. “What if you’re not always there?” He whispered, stepping a little closer.
Sighing, Mike shook his head and squeezed Misha’s hands tightly. “Marry me.”
This had Misha’s gaze snapping to him, his eyes widening. “What?”
“Marry me.” Mike slowly grinned and shook his head when Misha opened his mouth. “No, you don’t get to tell me we’re too young or I’m speaking in the heat of the moment. I’ve thought about it for a while now. I want to spend forever with you, I want to marry you, I want to adopt Calli and have her as my own too. And if you say no now, I’ll just ask again next week and the week after so you might as well say yes like I know you want too.”
This time Mike knew the tears in Misha’s eyes were a good thing. As Misha just continued to stare at him Mike thought he really was about to say no and even though he would gladly ask again after a week, he’d really rather Misha say yes.
And then, “yeah, of course I will. God Mike, why are you so perfect?”
“Because you deserve someone perfect,” Mike murmured and wrapped his arms around Misha, tilting down into the kiss and deepening it instantly. His parents were going to flip he was sure, and it wasn’t even legal to marry in their state, and they were just barely eighteen but Mike didn’t care. There was no reason to wait if he knew what he wanted and Misha with the darling Calliope?
That was the life he wanted more than anything in the world.
“Oh my god, oh my god. They’re too tight. My parents are in the audience and the only one I want seeing the shape of my dick is Jensen.” Jared muttered low under his breath and Chad couldn’t help wondering why his friend couldn’t just recite his lines like everyone else was.
Opening night he supposed. It was meant to be filled with madness. And Jared was definitely one of the ones freaking out the most. “Jared, you’re gonna do just fine.” Chad smiled softly at his friend, shaking his head.
“Chad, come to the Royal court dressing room please.” Christian’s voice filled his ear through the cool headset Chad had been so excited to get.
He pressed his fingers into the button on the headpiece. “I’ll be right there.” Smiling sympathetically at Jared, Chad patted his arm and shook his head. “Dude, you look fine. You’re gonna do great. Go give your boyfriend a kiss for good luck. Gotta talk to Kane about something.”
Jared still looked a bit panicky and Chad felt a little bad about leaving him. Until he stepped around the corner and found Jensen, who was practicing pulling his fake sword from the scabbard, seemingly comfortable with his outfit.
“Dude, go calm your boy down. He’s freaking out about his junk.” Chad jerked his thumb in Jared’s general direction, shaking his head.
“I like his junk,” Jensen muttered, grinning at Chad as he disappeared around the corner.
“So didn’t need to hear that.” Chad sighed and weaved through the chaos of backstage, barking out orders as he went. He could really get used to being in charge like this, telling his classmates what to do to make this show perfect. It felt like it had taken forever to get to opening night and Chad couldn’t wait until it was over.
Christian had been kind of wrapped up in it and Chad wanted his boyfriend back. Actually, what he really wanted was to be done with school so that he and his boyfriend could have a life without sneaking around. But since that couldn’t be helped just yet, Chad had to make do with their stolen little moments at home.
Until of course he walked around the corner into the royal courts dressing room and suddenly found himself pulled through a rack of clothing and into the back closet. Then Christian’s lips were running along his, familiar and sweet, and Chad moaned softly, knocking the microphone back to press in a little deeper.
“Just thought you deserved a kiss for good luck,” Christian murmured as he pulled back. “You’re gonna be great Chad.”
“You too Christian,” Chad whispered back and brushed their noses together. “Next year, if you want to direct the school play, we’re seriously gonna talk about the amount of time you spend on it. Deal?”
“Mmhmm,” Christian hummed softly and captured his lips in a soft kiss once more. When he pulled back this time he smacked Chad’s ass and grinned at him. “Knock ‘em dead.”
Chuckling softly, Chad shook his head and followed Christian out into the main room. “You just try not to yell in my ear for cues. I totally know what I’m doing.”
“Sure you do.” Christian shot him a smirk before heading out of the room.
A few moments later Chad followed him, wetting his lips, and grinning when Christian’s shout of let’s get this show on the road echoed around backstage.