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Dylan opens the bathroom door and shuffles onwards into the morning, then lifts his head into Hoechlin's chest and leaps backwards with a muffled shriek.

"Dude, what the hell," he says, hand on his own bare chest like he's looking for a string of pearls to clutch. He can feel his heart pounding, though really, that might have more to do with the way Hoechlin is shouldering past him, warm, smooth skin dragging against Dylan's like an invitation, leaving goosebumps in its wake.

Posey is choking with laughter in the doorway, phone held out in front of him, capturing Dylan's humiliation.

Dylan grins wide, takes a flourishing bow, and Posey says, "And thaaaaat's a wrap!"

His glee lingers in the air as he jogs back into his room, chortling as he goes.

Hoechlin grins at Dylan in the mirror over the sink. He's brushing his teeth.

"That's my toothpaste," Dylan says.

He doesn't know why he says it. It isn't like he wants it back.

"I know," Hoechlin says.

"Okay." Dylan doesn't have anything else to say, but he stands there behind Hoechlin, watching him brush and rinse and smile at Dylan, eyes crinkling in the glass.

"Does it bother you?" he asks. "You're probably going to have to get used to it."

"Oh, yeah," Dylan says. "No, it doesn't bother me. I'm going to have to get used to, uh—"

"It might be weird for you, out on your own for a while," Hoechlin says. "But you will get used to it."

"Nah, man. The only weird thing is how much hair gel you brought."

Hoechlin grins brightly, the sight still a little shocking, and strips off his wifebeater, flinging it in the general direction of the laundry basket.

Dylan stays where he is and watches, because there's something seriously wrong with him, and he can't make his feet save him like they should. Hoechlin drops his boxers and bends over to pick them up, screws them up into a ball and flings them at the closed basket, where they hit the lid and rebound into the corner, and then he meets Dylan's eyes in the mirror again.

"Hopping in the shower?" Dylan asks faintly.

"Yeah," Hoechlin says. "You almost ready to leave? Car's here in twenty."

"I'm not the one who has to blowdry my hair."

Hoechlin doesn't take offence. So far he seems constitutionally incapable of reacting badly to any of the weird stuff Dylan lobs at him, which is a blessing for Dylan.

"Posey has to do his too, and I'm totally planning on exfoliating here, so maybe you should track him down and dunk him in the kitchen sink like the puppy he is, huh?"

"Yeah," Dylan agrees, hiding his sigh of relief as he obeys the instruction and finally manages to make himself walk away.


Dylan obviously realises he has a thing for Hoechlin, but he's never going to do anything about it, so he doesn't feel too bad about his inability to suppress it, not even when Hoechlin persists in walking around the apartment half-naked and smiling like a gorgeous loon, like he doesn't know what he is, like he doesn't know what he does to Dylan even when he isn't shirtless and reaching out to touch, and he must not, since he wouldn't do it if he did.

He certainly wouldn't be as relaxed and happy around Dylan as he always seems to be, and Dylan is still surprised by how often Hoechlin smiles, but he's getting used to it.

"What is Tyler's beef with a decent shirt?" Dylan asks Holland one day while they're sitting around waiting for set-up. Dylan spends a lot of time watching Hoechlin on set, too, while they're hanging out together killing time, and they all have other things to focus on, and they bring gadgets and books and toys and a lot of random esoterica along to distract themselves, but Hoechlin is always the brightest, best thing Dylan can see.

"Their abs make those decisions for them," she says breezily. "Like the twins. There's only so far you can disregard such a blinding asset before your wilful disrespect for your God-given gifts just makes the baby Jesus cry." She's tapping at her phone, probably relaying the conversation to Colton as they have it. "Or wait, did you mean a decent shirt? Because given the choice I might veto your clothes, but I think t-twice dress themselves rather well."

"No—" Dylan says. "There's nothing wrong with my clothes, my mom bought me them!"

Holland actually looks up at that, eyes bright and smile encouraging. "You can't let your mom dress you when people are going to be judging you on it," she tells him. "Moms are great, but they're always out of date. Colton and I will help you out, cool?"

"I have clothes, though."

"It'll be an investment. And let's not fight, because I don't want to have to beat your ass this early in our friendship."

"Colton isn't going to—"

Her phone beeps. "Colton says no skinny tie," she informs him.

"Great," Dylan says, sinking back in his chair, and then he feels like a graceless asshole. "That's cool. Thanks."

"Mmm-hmm," Holland says agreeably. Her eyes are fixed on her phone again, nailpolish flashing as she taps at the screen. She has an otoscope in her trailer. Dylan doesn't know what she thinks she's ever going to do with it. "So which Tyler were you talking about?" she asks conversationally.


"I couldn't tell, because they both take their shirts off all the time. Hoechlin or Posey?"


"I can guess! Do you want me to guess?"

Dylan really doesn't, and by the time they're ready to roll she knows all about it.

And just before they call action, Posey leaps out from behind Jeff and dives on Dylan's back like a koala, and Holland twinkles as she records Dylan's windmilling arms and shocked face as they both crash to the floor.


He starts spending more time with Holland and Colton after that, and it's something of an escape from Hoechlin's constant taunting presence, but it's enjoyable on its own merits, too, being surrounded with their confident effervescence, a quality that seems to grow exponentially when they're together.

"You should just tell him," Holland is saying, even as Colton overrides her with, "No, no way, what if Hoechlin shoots him down? Because they live together, and that—"

"He wouldn't," Holland says dismissively.

"You don't know that," Dylan says, "He would," and, "Can we not talk about this?"

"But I want to," Holland says.

They're in her apartment, stocking up on bottled water and trail mix before they get into her car so she can drive Colton to pick up a Craigslist-sourced Adele concert tee so he can fake like he actually got into one of her gigs. Dylan isn't sure who he's trying to impress, but he appreciates the commitment.

"I'd rather talk about Colton," Dylan says, kind of desperately. "What's going on with you, bud?"

"Nothing new since that guy last week, and he was an insurance adjuster, so," Colton offers, and Dylan is thankful for it and about to ask what about being an insurance adjuster makes that the end of the conversation, but then Colton says, "I'm way more interested in why you and Hoechlin sharing an afternoon off has chased you out of your own home."

They both look at him, curious enquiry in their eyes.

"It hasn't?" he tries.

"If you come with us we're going to have to talk about it," Holland says, and her voice is sympathetic, but Dylan knows her well enough now to recognise she's not giving any ground.

"Fine," he says. "Drop me at home."

"Good boy!" Holland says with her fractured laugh, and when he's getting out of her car she gives him the biggest bag of trail mix, just in case things work out and he needs the energy.


Dylan hasn't told Holland that his idea of things working out differs from hers just slightly. It definitely differs from Colton's, with his stories of ex-boyfriends and his easy relating of last weekend's hook-up and his high hopes for this weekend.

Dylan's idea of things working out pretty much terminates at Hoechlin not laughing in his face when he finally recognises Dylan's pathetic crush for what it is. Hoechlin would be kind, Dylan knows, but whenever he thinks of Hoechlin realising how Dylan feels about him he imagines that initial burst of merry laughter that Hoechlin wouldn't be able to contain, the same way Dylan hasn't been able to contain anything about this. The laughter wouldn't even be mocking.

Hoechlin is asleep on the couch when Dylan lets himself in. Posey had to work the rest of the day, a scene with Crystal, and Hoechlin hadn't mentioned any plans. A game controller is in his hand where it dangles over the edge of the couch, and when Dylan takes it away, Hoechlin wakes suddenly.

"Sorry," Dylan says, but Hoechlin has seen him and is smiling, and Dylan can't help but do the same.

"Hey, man," Hoechlin says, levering himself up. "Thought you were out for the day."

"Not any more."

Dylan takes the seat beside Hoechlin. He's lounging there all sleepy-eyed and happy, and Dylan immediately tries to get up again, because why the hell is he willingly subjecting himself to Hoechlin's presence? That isn't going to make anything better. Hoechlin grabs his arm and holds him there; Dylan isn't trying very hard to get away, but he slumps back into the couch anyway, because he can feel the strength in Hoechlin's grip, and his mind is going places Dylan doesn't allow himself.

Not while Hoechlin is in the room, anyway.

"Mass Effect?" asks. The game is paused on the television screen. Hoechlin must not have been asleep for more than a few minutes; Dylan has disturbed him. "Did you want me to let you rest? You should do that in your bedroom, so all the fun I'm having doesn't bother you."

Dylan resumes play briefly, before Hoechlin snatches the controller away and rubs his nose absently. He looks tired.

"Why'd you come home?" he asks. His voice is lower than usual, more like the way it sounds when he's being Derek. Dylan doesn't like that, and it doesn't even match the contentment in Hoechlin's face anyway.

"Didn't want me to?" he asks lightly. "You got a hot date?"

"I wish," Hoechlin says, and Dylan smiles at him uncomfortably. "I thought you were out all day, though."

"Holland has ideas on what I should be doing with my life."

"Oh, yeah?" Hoechlin puts his hand on the ground and reaches across the floor to retrieve the second controller, body stretched low to the floor. His t-shirt rides up a little, so Dylan watches his back, watches his side shift on the return journey. "They good ones?"

It takes Dylan a second to tune back into the conversation. "Not sure yet," he says wryly, accepting the proffered controller. "Gonna have to try 'em out some first."

"Oh yeah?"

Hoechlin's eyes are intent on the screen, though nothing's happening over there.

"Yeah," Dylan says, and then, because he isn't sure what's going on here but wants to get away from the weirdness, he shakes his controller in Hoechlin's face. "You gonna show me your moves anytime soon, Hoechlin? I'm going to start thinking you haven't got any."

"Oh, I have moves," Hoechlin says, assured, "my moves are better than you've ever seen," and resumes then repauses the game. "You know you don't have to call me that when Posey isn't here, right? I'm going to forget I have a Christian name."

Dylan shrugs awkwardly. "I just think it's going to get confusing sometimes."

"I think it's going to get weird sometimes," Hoechlin mutters, and then, more loudly, "Sometimes it's going to be obvious which of us you mean. Like when I'm about to spend an afternoon schooling you on—"

"Hah," Dylan interrupts. "I've seen you play."

"It's going to be weird then," Hoechlin finishes, as if Dylan had never spoken. His eyes are still fixed on the frozen colours on the television screen.

"It's weird now," Dylan says factually, and Hoechlin slides him a sideways slanted smile.

"You look like a fox," Dylan says stupidly. "Derek would not approve."

Hoechlin laughs and unpauses the game again, before cursing when he realises they're going to have to start a new one. "I was going to dominate! Ruining all my plans."

His shoulder bumps against Dylan's companionably. Dylan tries not to react, but then he wonders if that would be the weirdest thing of all, so he throws a halting smile and rubs an uncomfortable hand over his buzzed head, both of which probably just serve to draw attention to his discomfort.

He knows Hoechlin's eyes are on his face, and when he can't force his own to stay away any more, they're dropping from Dylan's eyes to his mouth.

The breath Dylan lets out is shaky, and then he says, "You're worse than Colton deciding between turquoise and seafoam, come on, man," because this is his life now, and at least this is one game he knows how to play.

And someone does get schooled that afternoon, but it isn't Dylan.


The next time he sees Holland, Colton is rhapsodising over the guy who sold him the concert tee, but Dylan cuts in with, "Did you tell Hoechlin I have a thing for him?"

"Why would you think that?" Holland asks, perfectly puzzled, and Dylan says, "Because the other day he was so weird, and he might have been flirting but I couldn't—wait, that wasn't a denial, did you?" and then Colton puts an end to Dylan's hope of deliverance by scoffing, "She doesn't have to tell him, he already knows."

Dylan has some kind of appropriate response to that, he's sure, but what comes out is an incredulous, "Are you rolling your eyes at me?"

"Absolutely," Colton says. "Holland's doing it too, in her mind."

"I am not!" Holland says, but Dylan suspects she's trying to spare his feelings. "I didn't tell Hoechlin anything," Holland reassures him, and Dylan's shoulders are relaxing when she adds, earnestly, "He doesn't suspect a thing, baby boy," and Dylan thinks he must be getting to know these people pretty well by now, because he recognises it as the lie it is.


Dylan is watching Posey pour hard grains of rice into a pink sock later that afternoon when he opens his mouth, and he totally means to tell Posey that he's going to give somebody a concussion with that thing at minimum, and maybe also ask him where he got a bubblegum-pink sock, but what comes out instead is, "Do you think I have a crush on Hoechlin?"

Posey looks up from his work, eyes wide. "Do you not have a crush on Hoechlin? Did you not tell me you did? I could have sworn you told me you did, dude. Why do I think you do? Do we need to talk about this?"

Dylan shuts his mouth just as Hoechlin's head pops into the room.

"What do we need to talk about?" he asks. "I want to talk! I'm feeling very excluded right now."

Dylan is making a frantic cut-it-out! gesture at Posey. He stops once Hoechlin turns to look at him, but he knows Hoechlin has seen.

"That's because you are being excluded, man," Posey says easily. "And that's a hint, if you want to take it." Hoechlin actually leaves the room. "Thanks!" Posey calls after him.

"What—" Dylan starts, "—is happening? I need to know what you think is happening here, because I know what I think is happening, and I'm not sure I can handle it, and also, this isn't really happening, right?"

Posey is frowning. "I didn't get what you think is happening? You need to be clearer, because I'm not exactly sure what's happening here now either."

"You know I have a thing for Hoechlin," Dylan says quietly. "Does he know?"

He thinks he already knows the answer, but he's hoping.

"I don't know," Posey says. "Hoechlin!"

Hoechlin's head is back in the room before Dylan has time to get his protest out. His eyes do bug out, though they don't need to, because he can already see what's coming.

"What?" Hoechlin asks.


"You know Dylan has a crush on you, right?"

"Yeah," Hoechlin says, just that, hand flat on the doorframe, eyebrows raised in enquiry.

His chest is bare, of course. The universe could not have allowed Dylan to have this conversation while Hoechlin was fully dressed.

"He knows," Posey says.

"Got it," Dylan bites out. "Thanks."

"I don't think Dylan wanted me to know," Hoechlin tells Posey, coming fully into the kitchen, where Posey immediately thumps him in the shoulder with his improvised cosh.

Hoechlin looks down at the sock. "Weak," he tells Posey, unimpressed, even though Dylan is pretty sure it isn't. "And Russell will kill you if he sees that."

Posey makes a face and pours the rice back into the bag.

"We're not eating your dirty sock-rice," Hoechlin says, reaching past Dylan to grab the bag of rice so he can dump it in the trash.

"I bet you stank up that sock," Dylan says, still feeling the press of Hoechlin's forearm across his stomach, and, "You knew?"

"I don't mind," Hoechlin says, like it's obvious, and maybe it had been, really, but Dylan is still having trouble accepting it.

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"Do you guys want me to leave for this?" Posey asks. "Only I kind of wanted to make myself a pizza pocket."

"Go ahead," Hoechlin says, and, "I kind of thought you were feeling weird about it. I thought you'd get used to it eventually, though."

"I'm used to it," Dylan says, though he isn't quite, because he wants to know what Hoechlin will do.

Posey has his food in the microwave, and a bag of half-empty Doritos in his hand, munching away while he watches.

"Those are my Doritos!" Dylan realises. "I left some for before bed."

"You want them back?" Posey asks, muffled through his mouthful of crumbs.

"Gross," Dylan says, wrinkling his nose, and Hoechlin's arm is around Dylan's shoulder, and he's still half-naked, and Dylan is pretty sure the easy stretch would be kind of breathtaking even without the warmth of his bare skin pressing against Dylan like that.

"Are you?" Hoechlin asks, amusement in his voice, eyes steady and clear as they meet Dylan's, and if Dylan isn't, maybe there's no way out but through.

"Yes," he says, fearless because he has to be, and puts his palm on Hoechlin's back, pulling him closer, and Dylan's heart is stuttering, but when Hoechlin's arm tightens around him it starts racing instead, and Dylan moves his hand to Hoechlin's neck, thinking about tugging his head down so Dylan can kiss him, but he doesn't have to, because Hoechlin gets there first.

Hoechlin is a good kisser, and Dylan is barely aware of the change when the microwave beeps and Posey leaves the room, the relief a distant second to the pleasure.

When Hoechlin pulls away he's smiling, mouth still so close to Dylan's, and Dylan thinks this one should be different, but it isn't: it's wide and happy and it sparks an answer in Dylan like always.

"You good?" Hoechlin asks.

""Oh," Dylan says, stupidly, thinking about kissing Hoechlin again already, not able to stop thinking, getting used to never having to stop thinking any of it, and maybe he can get used to never having to stop doing what he's thinking either. "So, I'm going to get you see these renowned moves of yours now, huh?"

"Soon." Hoechlin's mouth is wet and affectionate on Dylan's jaw, and his thumb is rubbing gently over Dylan's shoulderblade through his t-shirt. "And you can try your own out." His smile turns cocky. "We're going to be so good."

And Dylan leans forward to take another kiss, because he wants to, because he knows he can, and because he knows Hoechlin best of all and knows he's telling the truth.