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Matthew likes Anton instantly. He had an idea a while ago for this skit video, a supposed retaliation to his own documentary, and he'd pretty much already decided that the next guest star Criminal Minds snagged would be his partner in crime. And then Anton Yelchin shows up on set and is completely and utterly game, saying "sure!", all enthusiasm before Matthew has even finished explaining.

To be fair, the kid is kind of bewildered, but he goes along with it and that's the best thing—he picks up on the vibe of the thing right away and he's perfect, over-the-top and sickeningly sincere in his idolisation of Matthew. He lets Matthew slap him around and draw imaginary leprechaun moustaches on his face, and then the two of them goof off in the parking lot for almost an entire break before someone comes along and shouts at them to get back on set.

They crack up, sure, but Anton manages to keep a straight face for an impressive amount of time, and Matthew finds it's him trying not to grin like a fool, especially when he hands over a signed photo of himself like it's made of gold. He gets a hug in return, Anton amusingly teary-eyed and clutching at his back, and Matthew sinks his face into the kid's shoulder to hide his smile.

It's basically the complete opposite to how things are between them in the actual episode, but it doesn't seem to matter—Chris even takes Matthew aside to say what a good job he's doing, how Reid's connection to Nathan is coming across all tortured and perfect like he imagined.

Honestly, he doesn't think anything of it. He's made a new friend, and that's always awesome, so what's the big deal?

***

Nobody else seems to see it this way.

"Hey, Matt?"

Matthew turns around to see Paget standing in the doorway, looking a little concerned. "Uh huh?"

"I just—" she starts, and then, tilting her head on one side and making a weird sort of thoughtful grimace, she tries again, "I just wanted to check—you know that Anton is seventeen, right?"

Matthew narrows his eyes at her suspiciously. "Yes..."

"Okay. Good. I just wanted to check, because, you know."

"What, you're worried I might take him out to a bar or something?" Matthew chuckles. "Are you his mother?" he teases.

She laughs. "I did play his mother once."

"Are you screwing with me?"

Paget laughs again. "No, I'm serious. A couple of years ago in a sitcom."

"You're screwing with me," Matthew decides. He knows Paget is quite a bit older than him, but the idea that one of his castmates could have played one of Anton's parents is just too much. The kid can't be that young. "This is like that time you told me you were in Friends."

Paget runs her fingers back through her hair, sighing in exasperation. "Matthew, I was in Friends."

"Sure, sure."

She gives up. "Just remember he's seventeen, all right?"

***

"Yo."

Matthew adds a bit more brown to the curls of Anton's hair, swirling the little oil pastel in tight circles.

"Yo. Pretty Ricky."

Matthew inspects his work. He puts down the brown pastel and picks up a pink crayon instead, adding a bit more color to Anton's lips. He smiles to himself as he remembers the way the kid chews on his lower lip when he's concentrating.

"Matt?"

They look a little too pink now. He frowns at his picture. Maybe he's using the wrong materials. Anton has a face that lends itself better to watercolors, maybe.

"Matthew."

The sudden loudness of his own name makes him jump, and he looks up to see Shemar standing there, looking impatient with his arms folded. Flustered, he shuts his sketchbook, not even caring if the pastels smudge.

"Whatcha making?" Shemar asks, coming over, and Matthew keeps a tight hold on the book.

"Nothing. What's up?"

"Not much, just wondered if you wanted to go grab some lunch." Shemar looks suspicious, leaning in like he's trying to catch a glimpse of the sketchbook Matthew now has clutched to his chest protectively.

"Oh. Oh, I would, but I—I made plans with Anton," Matthew replies apologetically.

"Oh, right. Anton. Of course." Matthew is fairly certain he sees an eye-roll there.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothin', it's just—you don't think you're spending a little too much time with that kid?"

Matthew narrows his eyes at Shemar. "What constitutes 'a little too much time'?" he asks.

"Oh, I dunno. Every waking moment?"

"Hey, I resent that. He's not here right now."

Just then, Anton pops his head round the corner into Matthew's trailer. "Oh, hey," he says to Shemar, before peering past him at Matthew. "I was just coming to pick you up for lunch."

Shemar gives Matthew a Look, which Matthew happily ignores, stuffing his sketchbook into his satchel and leaping up.

"This conversation's not over," Shemar warns as Matthew practically skips past him to the door.

***

"No, it's good, it's really good, it's just—you know it's just supposed to be a sketch? Something Reid scribbles down in like ten minutes on his way to work?"

Matthew looks down at his painting. It is definitely not something that looks like it was scribbled down in ten minutes. It is something that looks like it has been labored over for about a week, lovingly crafted with details in pretty much every color of every material the artist had on hand.

This is because that's what it is. Matthew frowns.

"I know," he says, trying to shrug it off, "it's all good, this is just a rough draft."

The props department stares at him.

Matthew stares back.

"I'm kidding," he assures them, and prises his sketchbook back out of the man's hands. "Messy sketch. Got it."

As he's heading back to his trailer, his path is intercepted by a loitering Anton Yelchin. "How'd it go?" he asks, trotting to catch up with Matthew as he keeps walking.

"Yeah, turns out it wasn't really the kind of thing they were looking for," Matthew says breezily. "No big deal. It's just supposed to be more of a sketch kind of thing. A ten-minute scribble."

"I thought so," says Anton, and Matthew can hear the amusement in his voice.

He stops walking abruptly and Anton nearly trips over his shoe. "What?" Matthew asks.

"Well, I mean—it seemed kind of odd that they'd need a full-on portrait of a suspect. With watercolors and stuff." Anton smiles, and his voice goes sort of gentle and quiet. "Hey. It's okay if you just wanted to paint me."

"I didn't!" is Matthew's immediate response, and he has to admit, it kind of sounds like a shriek. Anton actually jumps a little with surprise. "I totally didn't, man, it was for the show," Matthew goes on. "I mean—not that I wouldn't like to paint you—I mean, not that I didn't like painting you, you were actually really fun to paint and you have—you have a very paintable face, but it's—it was—"

"—for the show," Anton finishes for him, looking slightly taken aback. "Okay."

Matthew nods, a little frantically, and hurries off, sketchbook clutched in his arms.

Paget wanders over. "What was that all about?" she asks.

"I'm not sure," Anton replies. "Apparently I have a very paintable face."

Paget gives him a sort of pained look. "Oh boy," she says under her breath and puts her hand on his shoulder.

***

"I got the part," Kat greets Matthew when he calls her that night.

"Wow! Congratulations!" Matthew replies, on auto-pilot for a second before adding, "hang on. What part?"

He can practically hear Kat rolling her eyes. "Charlie Bartlett. You know, the movie about the kid dealing prescription drugs at school."

Matthew is pretty sure she hasn't mentioned anything about any of this. They haven't been dating that long, but he's already learnt that she has a habit of telling various people various things and then losing track of the specifics along the way. He nods in response anyway, not wanting to start an argument.

Then remembers that he's on the phone. "Oh," he says. "Yeah. Of course! That's great."

"Yeah. So what's up with you? Filming going okay?"

"Yeah," Matthew says, and finds that he's smiling immediately, before he can stop himself. "Yeah, really good actually. We've got this really great guest star at the moment, and he's so much fun, his name's Anton—"

"Anton?" Kat interrupts.

"Yeah, it's Russian, he's Russian and he—"

"Anton Yelchin?" Kat interrupts again.

"Yeah! Wow! You've heard of him? He's a really good actor, isn't he, like—especially considering he's quite young and he—"

"He's gonna be in Charlie Bartlett," Kat says, and Matthew doesn't hear her right away because he's still talking, but then the words properly reach his brain and he stops mid-sentence.

"He what?" he says, pointlessly.

"Yeah," Kat replies. "He's gonna be Charlie Bartlett, actually. The drug-dealing guy."

Matthew gives himself a few seconds to let this all sink in. Of course, Anton was too modest to tell anyone he'd been given the lead role in a movie while he was guest-starring on a TV show. "That's so weird," is all he can manage.

"Small world, huh?" Kat chuckles, "anyway, Robert Downey Jr. is gonna be in it too which is pretty awesome..."

"Wait, wait. What's your part again?"

There's a pause. He can almost hear Kat's smile when she replies, "Love interest."

"Charlie Bartlett's love interest?"

"Yup. Why, you jealous?"

"Of you?!"

Kat's resulting laughter could be described as hysterical. "No, of him, you weirdo."

"Right. Of course. That would make more sense."

***

Obviously, it's really important that Anton knows about this as soon as possible, so it's the first thing Matthew says the next morning. Only it comes out as hey the girl who's going to play your girlfriend in that movie you're working on soon she's actually my girlfriend in real life I just thought you should know that okay, with the words all blurred together. Anton is kind of bleary-eyed, frowning over a cup of coffee, and Matthew has to say it twice before it sinks in.

"Oh," says Anton, with a weird sort of expression that Matthew can't figure out. "So...I'm gonna be making out with your girlfriend."

"Um," says Matthew, trying to ignore the way his heart sort of flips over at that, "yeah. Yeah, basically. That's...that's what's gonna be happening."

"Wow. Okay." Anton is chewing on his lower lip. "That's pretty weird. Are you okay with it?"

"What? Oh, yeah! Fine, totally. Totally fine. It's acting, right? So I get it." Matthew's voice seems to have risen a few octaves. He's not sure how that happened. He tries to deepen it. "Are you okay with it?" Shit, now he sounds like that guy who does the voiceovers on movie trailers.

Anton gives him a sort of wary half-smile. "Yeah. Yeah. Is she pretty?" He immediately winces. "Wow, sorry. Forget I said that."

Matthew laughs in a completely ridiculous way. "She's beautiful. Um."

"No, I mean," Anton says, talking over him, "I would make out with her even if she wasn't. I mean—"

They're called to set, so the awkward conversation is cut awkwardly short, and then it's a few hours of solid work to finish off the episode and they don't actually get a chance to follow up. Instead it's conversation wraught with suppressed emotion, and Matthew straddling Anton's hips in a motel room, and the sickly scent of fake blood.

Anton has to jet off to Canada that very afternoon, so they don't even get much of a chance to say goodbye, and for some reason it nags at Matthew all the way through the filming of the next episode, and the next. He's briefly distracted by an episode in which he's kidnapped and tortured and drugged, but—somehow after that, he still finds himself thinking of Anton, wondering how he's doing.

***

The filming of Charlie Bartlett begins around the same time, so of course Matthew is calling Kat regularly to check in with her. Only Kat never really has much to say about her projects, so the conversations end up turning to Anton instead. Kat teases him about it right from the beginning, but when Matthew happens to (totally casually) enquire about the whole love interest thing, she kicks it up a notch.

"Oh my god, you have a total mancrush on him!" she cries.

"I do not," Matthew retorts, not unlike a fourth grader.

"Gubler. Asking if he's a good kisser crosses over from 'paranoid jealous boyfriend' right into 'mancrush on your co-star'. Just so you know."

"No!" Matthew gasps. "I'm a paranoid jealous boyfriend! I just want to know if he's a better kisser than me!"

"Mancrush," Kat repeats.

"Jealous boyfriend," Matthew corrects, shaking his head vigorously.

There is a measured pause. "Okay," Kat replies, levelly. "Well then, jealous boyfriend, you might be interested to know that we shot the sex scene last night."

"You shot the—what?" Matthew splutters. "I—oh. I didn't realise there was going to be—one of those." His mind is instantly filled to the brim with images of Kat and Anton all over each other, and his voice is a croak when he asks, "how did that go?"

Another pause. "You're imagining it, aren't you?" He thinks he can hear a smile in Kat's voice.

"What?" More spluttering. "What—I—no—well," Matthew takes a deep breath. "Maybe," he admits eventually in his lowest whisper, "am I going to jail?"

Kat laughs at him. "Well, whatever you're imagining, it was a hell of a lot less sexy than that. Unless you actually are imagining me in a nylon bodysuit and him in like, Spanish Inquisition underwear, lying on a plank of wood with the whole room smelling like fried chicken." She pauses. "In which case, I'm worried about your brain."

To this, all Matthew manages is, "Fried chicken?"

Kat sighs. "The crew ordered it," she says flatly. "Any more questions?"

***

In fact, Matthew has far too many questions to ask over the phone whilst simultaneously maintaining his dignity, so he decides to visit the Charlie Bartlett set instead the next time he has a couple of days off. He takes a ridiculously long flight to Ontario at ridiculous o'clock in the morning and is greeted by a completely unimpressed girlfriend. She's obviously kind of pissed about having to wait up for him.

"Hey," says Matthew after some awkward catching-up, "hey, uh, so where's Anton?" He tries to sound casual, but he'll be the first to admit that it doesn't entirely work.

"Oh, Anton? He's drunk," Kat says with a shrug, picking at her nail polish.

"What?"

"His Mom put whiskey in his tea," Kat goes on, disinterested, going back to her knitting.

"You're telling me a mother spiked her seventeen year old son?" Matthew asks. Kat laughs. "Oh," says Matthew. "You're messing with me. That's nice."

"No, I'm serious! He had to do this scene outside and he's sick and it's like minus a billion out here. She just wanted to warm him up, but—" she lowers her voice to a stage-whisper, "he's kind of a lightweight."

Matthew narrows his eyes at her suspiciously. "Where is he?"

"In his trailer. Trying to sleep it off."

"Mind if I go see him?" He's half serious and half calling her bluff, not entirely convinced.

But Kat just says, "Why would I mind?" and, giving him a funny look, "god, Matthew, you're so weird sometimes."

So Matthew heads to Anton's trailer, and does in fact find him basically passed out drunk inside. Face down on his bed, in nothing but a pair of tighty-whities.

"Um," says Matthew.

Anton lifts his head, very slowly as if it weighs a ton, and peers at him. "Oh hey!" he says, face lighting up when he recognises Matthew. "Hey. Hey. What are you doing here?"

"Hey, your hair is straight!" Matthew exclaims, and then mentally kicks himself. Anton sort of mumbles an uh huh, and Matthew tries not to think about how much different it makes him look, older maybe. "I uh, I came to visit Kat," he adds.

"Oh! Of course you did. Of course you did," Anton replies, repeating himself for no apparent reason and then dropping his face back down onto his pillow again.

"Er—she said you were drunk," Matthew goes on, awkwardly, hovering in the doorway.

Anton prises his head off his pillow again, with what looks like Herculean effort. "I am not drunk," he says, drunkenly. (At least, Matthew thinks so. Anton's voice can be kind of slurred even when he's sober, so it's hard to tell.)

"Your Mom gave you whiskey?" Matthew prompts.

"Yeah," Anton smiles like he's remembering this occasion fondly. "My Mom is cool." He chuckles. "She's not like a regular Mom, she's a cool Mom."

Matthew squints. "Was that—was that a Mean Girls reference?"

Anton goes slightly paler than he was previously, which is quite a feat considering he was already basically as white as his extremely white underpants. "Oh god. It was, wasn't it? Don't tell anyone."

Matthew grins, shaking his head. "I promise."

There's a brief, slightly awkward silence, during which Matthew decides to move out of the doorway and actually enter the trailer properly, maybe take a seat. He's halfway in though, when he realises that there are no seats. Apart from the bed, which Anton is currently sprawled across. It's too late to back out now, so he perches awkwardly on the edge.

And then Anton says, "I have had alcohol before, you know. I'm not like—this isn't like my first drink and I'm hammered or anything. I'm not even drunk, I'm just—I'm sick, and so I went to have a nap—"

"In your underwear," Matthew interrupts, and then immediately wishes he hadn't brought that up.

"I'm in costume," Anton groans, and buries his face in his pillow again. Just before it's obscured, Matthew thinks he sees it go slightly pink.

"Okay. This seems like a weird movie."

"I was also wearing sneakers," Anton adds defensively, voice muffled against his pillow, "but I took them off."

Matthew isn't sure he has anything to say to that, so he laughs stupidly instead. "Um. So how's—how's it going? The film?"

"It's okay." Anton pauses for a moment and the words linger, and Matthew gets the sense that he's not finished, that there's more to come. And there is. "I, uh—" Anton goes on, and then says something completely incomprehensible, drowned in pillow.

"You what?" Matthew asks, leaning a little closer as if proximity is the issue here.

Anton cringes, lifting his head up to look at Matthew now. "I kind of saw Kat's boob."

Matthew blinks at him. "You what?" is still all he can manage.

"I just thought you should know," Anton groans. "There was some kind of bodysuit mishap. It was all a mistake, okay, it was horrible." He swallows, and then shakes his head. "I mean—not the boob. The boob was good. It was a nice boob. Big. You're very lucky. I—oh, god. I think maybe I am drunk. Can you tell me to shut up?"

Matthew isn't actually capable of forming words at this moment in time, so no, he cannot. He doesn't really know how he feels about this, and the worst part is that he doesn't even know how he's supposed to feel. "That's," he croaks, "that's okay. These things happen, right? Costume malfunctions. It's no big deal."

"Yeah, but—" Anton starts, and then the trailer door opens.

"What are you guys doing in here? You're not like, taking advantage of him, are you Matt?" Kat jokes, sashaying in and slumping down next to him on the bed. "He's a drunk minor, just remember that. You could get in a whole lot of trouble. Chris Hansen'll be like, knocking on the door any second now."

"I'm not drunk," Anton insists, rolling over and very nearly falling off the bed. He's on his back now, and oh god, they really are tighty-whities, and also where did he get those muscles, and this is really not good at all—

"Anton made a Mean Girls reference," Matthew blurts out, simply for something—anything—to say, and Anton's eyes go wide.

"Dude! You promised!"

"Mean Girls is a legitimately good movie," Kat says. "I'm not judging you. In fact, I would judge you if you hadn't made a Mean Girls reference. That's how good that movie is."

"I only watched it for Amanda Seyfried," Anton says hurriedly, "because I was gonna be in a movie with her and I thought I should see what else she'd done—"

"Oh yeah. You made out with her in a pool," Kat interrupts. "That threesome thing. Oh my god, weren't you like, practically a child when you filmed that? Like fourteen or something? That was so messed up."

"Wait, wait, what?" Matthew asks. His heart feels like it would be hyperventilating right now if that were biologically possible. "What's this?"

"Alpha Dog, man, you haven't seen it?" Kat elbows him in the side. "It's so good." Suddenly, something seems to dawn on her. "Oh my god, and wasn't the other girl—" she snaps her fingers, thinking, trying to remember, "Amber, you know—Matt—that girl?"

Matthew, completely bewildered, just says "Amber Heard?"

"Yeah! Man, I never realised that before. Is that like, the only thing she does as an actress? Make out with guys in pools? What a slutbag. Nice gig if you can get it."

"Hang on," Matthew says, ignoring the insult as he begins to make some sort of sense of this conversation. He looks at Anton, who is definitely regaining the color in his cheeks. "You made out with Amber? In a pool?" Anton nods, slightly shyly. "But—but I made out with Amber in a pool," Matthew says in a small voice.

"Ah, male bonding," laughs Kat, rolling her eyes. "You've also both made out with me, I don't see you freaking out about that."

They both look at her, like they're somehow startled by this information, wide-eyed and taken aback.

"What? I'm just saying."

And oh god, now they've mentioned threesomes, and making out, and the fact that he and Anton have made out with two of the same girls, and there's no way to backtrack from this, there just isn't. They have both seen Kat's boobs. Kat seems completely at ease with all of this, laughing at them like they're just these total dorks she has to put up with, and Matthew wants to crawl into a hole.

"You actually look like you're about to puke," says Kat affectionately, patting Matthew on the head. Matthew leans into the touch, needing comfort, feeling like he's out of his depth, and Kat smiles at him, bemused but sweet. The kiss is instinctive, and they forget that Anton is there. For about a half-second.

"Don't mind me," says Anton, and his voice sounds sort of choked and hoarse, and right now Matthew can't remember if it sounded like that before or not; if it's because he's ill and under the influence or if it's something more.

"God, you're such a perv," laughs Kat, punching him in the shoulder playfully.

He smiles, shrugs. "What can I say?" he half-chuckles, and as casual as he sounds, Matthew thinks he can see a hint of nerves, in the way his shoulders are sort of hunched and tense and his hands are fidgeting in his lap. Oh, god. Matthew really needs to not look at Anton's lap right now.

"We should probably go to bed," Kat says, with a yawn.

"Oh really?" Anton waggles his eyebrows at them. "Man. Sorry. I'm all kinds of inappropriate today."

"Yeah," says Kat, cuffing him on the ear, "it's called being drunk, doofus. Are you gonna sleep here? You're not coming up to the hotel?"

"I can't move," Anton grumbles, rolling over again.

"I'm gonna find your Mom and send her in with some water," Kat says, patting him on the back. Matthew stares at the pale, lightly freckled skin there, and swallows.

Kat stands up and offers him her hand. He takes it and feels the warmth of Anton's body on her palm. Something very bad is probably happening here.

He decides not to think about it.

***

Matthew spends the following day hanging around on set and getting in everyone's way. He catches some of Kat and Anton's scenes and is really impressed—it's especially interesting to see Anton playing such a different part to his Criminal Minds character, and doing it so effortlessly. Off-set, it's interesting to see how friendly he and Kat have become, all inside jokes and play-fighting. It's kind of jarring, actually, because not so long ago Matthew was in her place, and it seems like Kat is paying more attention to Anton than to him, and Matthew can't work out where to direct his jealousy.

The two of them have developed a joint habit of singing along to whatever song is on the radio, and often breaking into a duet even when there's no music at all. It's clearly something they do a lot, because they know all the words to pretty much everything in the top 40. That lunchtime, they're rapping at each other, halfway through what Matthew belatedly figures out is Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado when they decide to swap parts. They end up in hysterics—Matthew included—at Kat's Timbaland impression and Anton's ridiculous high-pitched girly lisp. All day, Matthew can't quite get the image out of his head, Anton singing you expect me to just let you hit it, but will you still respect me if you get it? in a ridiculous falsetto. He keeps cracking up whenever he remembers.

That night, they go to a concert out on Toronto Island with a few other members of the cast. It's like some kind of Canadian indie collective and it's also about a billion degrees, and Anton, despite being dressed only in a t-shirt, sandals, and some rather bizarre shorts, somehow manages to get heatstroke. He looks to be about ten seconds away from keeling over, is flushed and sweaty, and his breathing is completely out of whack. Everyone else seems to be dealing with this pretty calmly, fetching him bottles of water and leading him out of the crowd to sit down, but Matthew reacts like the world is about to end. He flits around nervously, talking at a million miles per hour.

"Should we call 911? Is that—are you going to die? Can you die from heatstroke? Oh, my god. Are you okay? You're not, are you, that was a stupid question. You look really ill, Anton."

"Thanks," Anton says drily, taking a long swig from his water bottle. He manages a sort of half-chuckle, glassy-eyed and red in the face.

"I mean—oh, that wasn't meant to sound like an insult, you're—you're—you're a," Matthew flounders, "you're still a very handsome man."

Kat and Anton's castmates give him the side-eye.

"Boy?" Matthew amends, questioningly. "You're—you're attractive, but you also sort of look like you're dying, is what I'm saying."

Anton squints at him. "I think I'm gonna puke."

"Uh," says Matthew. "Oh."

Kat returns at that moment with a cold compress that she has managed to procure from somewhere, and luckily Anton does not puke, and someone murmurs something to Kat, and Matthew is pretty sure he hears the word 'mancrush' in her response. He decides that maybe he shouldn't speak for the rest of the night.

It transpires that there are plans for them to go to a party after the concert though, because "the night is young" and someone has a friend of a friend who lives nearby and has an amazing house or something. Anton insists that he's feeling better even though his face is still entirely the wrong shade and he can't seem to walk in a straight line, and so they decide to go—as long as Kat and Matthew keep an eye on him. Alcohol may or may not have a significant say in this decision.

It's probably only about the second party Matthew has ever been to in his adult life, and so he feels incredibly awkward as the three of them worm their way through the crowd, apologizing haphazardly to strangers on the way and trying to make sure Anton doesn't pass out. They end up snaking right through the house and out the other side, where there is a pool with a few people standing around it and chatting.

"Oh, god," Anton practically groans, sinking into a strange sort of crouch at the edge of the pool. He dips his hands in. "That feels really good."

"You wanna get in?" Kat asks uncertainly. "Are you still too hot?"

"Uh huh," Anton mumbles, and then tears off his shirt as if it's actually on fire, throwing it down beside him.

The people standing around are starting to eye them a little suspiciously. The fact that Kat wolf-whistles does not help matters.

"Sorry, I just keep forgetting how ripped you are, dude."

Anton is still a little too dazed to manage anything more than an appreciative chuckle, and Matthew hangs back, not really sure how to deal with any of this. He's not practised enough in the ways of parties to know if it's all right for random, heatstroke-suffering guests to just jump into pools without permission, but the way Anton looks, all sickly and dazed, is making him worry.

"It would probably be okay," he says awkwardly, stepping forward, and Anton turns around to look at him. "If you got in, I mean. Here, um, I'll get in too." This last Matthew says without much in the way of forethought at all. He crouches down too soon and then has to sort of shuffle his way along the tiled floor like a badger in a hurry. Their onlookers are bemused.

Kat laughs, and Matthew realises he's going to have to like, remove some clothing now, and he really should have thought this through for maybe a nanosecond more. Only it's too late, because Anton is now shuffling out of his weird shorts and kicking off his sandals and sinking into the water, sighing like it's the best thing he's ever felt. The onlookers now seem to feel like they're intruding on Anton's personal moment with the pool, as they avert their eyes and carry on their conversations.

Matthew tries to strip off as casually as he can, like it's no big deal getting down to his underwear in front of this random selection of people. He pulls his shirt over his head and then has to stand back up again to drop his pants and Kat is looking at him the whole time like he's kind of insane. He gives her a big, goofy grin as if to say, what, this is no big deal, but he's pretty sure it just confirms the insanity thing instead.

He takes off his shoes and lowers himself into the water. It's much colder than he was expecting, and his breath sort of catches in his throat, and Kat is laughing again. Anton is treading water a couple of feet away, and already he looks less ill than he did a moment ago. Matthew sort of doggypaddles over, and Anton gives him a smile with quivering lips, and Matthew does his insane grin again as if that's going to help anything.

"I hope this doesn't count as like, trespassing," he says nervously, mostly to fill the silence, "like, oh hey, nice party—mind if we just use your pool without asking—I don't know, is heatstroke like a viable illness that we could use as a defense in court? Not that this would go to court. Unless it is trespassing, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't count as trespassing if there's a party going on, like—I don't know, I don't have any prior experience, but—"

Kat is cracking up at the side of the pool, settling down there now with her dress hitched up a little and her legs dangling off the side into the water. "Shut up, Matt," she calls affectionately. "Hey Anton, you okay?"

Anton looks like he only just started listening, like maybe he already knows Matthew well enough to recognize when it's okay to tune out the anxious rambling. "Oh," he says, "yeah, yeah, this is helping."

"Hey, get in," Matthew says to Kat, beckoning, still sort of wildly kicking his legs around in an attempt to warm himself up.

She laughs. "I'm good, you spaz."

"No really—come on," he pleads, and he's not entirely sure why, like maybe if all three of them are in there they'll start some sort of trend and then no one will remember who first got into the pool in the first place and they won't get in trouble. Or maybe it feels like the kind of thing that happens at parties, like—getting half-naked in someone else's pool in Canada after a concert, that's something people do, right?

Or maybe it's just that it feels really freaking weird floating around next to Anton with the two of them in their underwear.

Kat says, "Gubler, quit nagging me. You know I'm scared of water," which is definitely not a thing that Matthew knew.

"What? We've taken baths together a bunch of times," he says without thinking, and then darts a look at Anton, who is either blushing or still suffering the effects of the sun, "ah—sorry, that's, er, probably not a mental image you want—"

"Jesus, Matt," Kat laughs, "way to over-share. And your tiny little bathtub is a hell of a lot different to a giant deep pool, okay."

Out of the corner of his eye, Matthew senses movement. Their audience are leaving, clearly having heard enough.

"We'll make sure you don't drown," he assures Kat. "I promise."

Kat heaves a sigh. "You're kind of being a douche," she informs him, "so I'm doing this for you, Anton," she adds, and then pulls herself up onto her knees and peels her dress over her head, revealing a white satin slip with lace around the hem. Anton, somewhat adorably, averts his eyes.

Kat slides her legs back into the water, and then gradually eases herself in, shivering. "Holy fuck, that's cold," she shouts out, hissing. "Thanks for the warning, guys." She clings to the side as she sinks in a little deeper, the fabric of her slip getting wet and clinging to her legs. "They do know pools can be heated, right? I'm gonna have to get Trish to ask about that because it is cold as balls in this thing."

Matthew and Anton both laugh, and Matthew clumsily swims his way back over to the edge to help her out. She clings to him instead of the rim of the pool, still shivering, and the two of them float back over to Anton. She seems a little nervous, but holding onto him must help.

"I bet this is bringing back some memories, huh, Anton?" she teases. "Although probably us two goofballs don't compare to a couple of leggy blondes."

"Oh, I don't know," says Anton quietly, looking a little embarrassed.

"Or what about you, Matt?" Kat goes on, nudging him with her elbow, which is a little difficult to do while she's still clinging to him. "Remembering one of those leggy blondes right now? Man, you guys have gotten some action in pools."

"Not real action," says Matthew, and honestly he probably wouldn't even be thinking of that scene with Amber if Kat hadn't brought it up, but now he is—remembering the way her body felt when she pressed close to him under the water, the chlorine-smell of their damp hair, the soft cool wetness of lips—

Kat is just grinning at him in that affectionate way she has where it's pretty clear she thinks he's an idiot but she's okay with it. She's still holding onto him, and when he looks down he realises that the water has soaked right through her slip thing and turned it pretty much transparent. He can see the entire outline of her bra beneath it, and, because the water is so stupidly cold, her nipples have gone hard. This is even more arousing than Amber in a bikini and probably inappropriate on about twelve different levels.

He wonders if Anton is remembering Amber right now, too, and god, how can it be that they've both had that experience? It feels so significant somehow, that it was the same girl—as if they may as well have been in the same pool at the very same time.

And Kat said Anton was fourteen when he filmed that, and Amber's, what—he does some quick calculation in his head if only to stop himself from staring at Kat's breasts—six years older than Anton, and Matthew himself is nine years older than Anton which really isn't that much of a difference when you think about it, not when you think about Amber making out with a fourteen year old, and anyway Kat is twenty so he's already dating someone six years younger than him, and oh Jesus, what is he even trying to justify?

Inside, they can see that the party is in full swing, and they are definitely alone out here now which makes it feel even more wrong, but as weird as the whole thing is Matthew kind of doesn't want to leave, because it feels like they're on the edge of something and they need this to kick them off. Kat snuggles closer to him, shivering, and he turns his head to smile at her. It comes out kind of tight and forced, but she returns it.

"Water's not so bad, is it?" he asks.

She wrinkles her nose at him. "Shut up," she says, and kisses him.

It's just supposed to be a peck on the lips, he thinks, but he kind of holds her there, deepens it, until it's not the kind of kissing you should be doing in front of somebody. His heart is pounding but he's not stopping, and neither is Kat, and they find their way to the edge of the pool where they can touch the bottom a little easier. Matthew has his fingers in her wet hair and her tongue in his mouth and he's pretty sure he can feel Anton staring at him. The water splashes gently, and he can feel Anton moving closer, so close that their arms brush.

It happens just as he turns his head—just to glance at Anton, really, just to sort of acknowledge that he only has about an inch of personal space left. Anton kisses him. Suddenly, with a motion not unlike pouncing, one slippery hand poised tentatively on Matthew's shoulder as he presses their lips together. It's quick, too quick for Matthew to really process anything, and then there's a sort of stunned silence and Anton looking at him with wide, uncertain eyes.

"Wow, Anton," Kat says, and oh god Matthew nearly forgot she was there, even though she's still hanging onto his arm and bobbing a little in the water beside them. She sort of half-chuckles in that slightly deranged way she has, and he can tell it's more out of discomfort than genuine amusement.

At least, he thinks so.

But he doesn't have a chance to dwell on that, either, because then Anton is kissing her, cutting off whatever she might have been about to say. And as Matthew stares at them in disbelief, he thinks that somewhere underneath all the shock he should feel jealous or possessive or something because another guy is kissing his girlfriend right now but—but it's actually kind of okay. Kat's hold on him is loosening a little bit, and then she's holding onto Anton instead, and he strokes a hand through her damp hair and she seems to relax into it, her lips parting just a little bit. And Matthew has to remind himself that this isn't the first time they've done this, and then all of a sudden he does feel a little bit jealous and possessive, but not in the way he's probably supposed to.

"Um," he hears himself say, in some sort of ridiculous nasal voice that sounds much louder than it should. And then they both stop and look at him and he realises he's probably supposed to follow up with something further.

But then Anton goes, "Oh, Jesus. Jesus Christ. I'm sorry," and brings his hand to his forehead all dramatically. "That was one of those things where—you know when you've wanted to do something for a long time, and then you just reach your limit, because the thing is right there in a pool with you and the sun has fried your brain and made logical thinking impossible—"

"Wow, Anton, chill," interrupts Kat, but even she looks a little thrown by this turn of events. "Have we unknowingly ended up in an Alpha Dog sequel, or are you delirious or something? Are you gonna start making out with that lilo over there?"

Anton laughs. "I'm serious! I mean, not for that long because I haven't actually known either of you that long but—but it feels like an actual lifetime, and uh, do you think maybe we could do that again?"

Matthew is about to say something along the lines of yes please, but does not get a chance, because at that moment a group of people come storming out of the house yelling about how the pool is off-limits tonight and didn't anyone tell them that and get the fuck out or they're calling the police and—

So they clamber out looking like very sheepish drowned rats, fling their clothes back on, grab the others and drip all the way back to the car. On the way to the concert, Kat and Anton had entertained them all with a rendition of Chamillionaire's Ridin' Dirty at the top of their lungs, but now the three of them just sit there awkwardly in the back seat, squeezed in like sardines in their damp clothes. Anton is in the middle. It feels somewhat symbolic.

***

"What is this?" Kat demands. "What—I mean, what? Do you want to have sex with him?"

"What?" Matthew hisses. "What??"

They are back at the hotel, having this frantic whispered discussion in Kat's room while Anton waits outside. The second they'd reached their floor, Kat had apologized to Anton and told him they just needed a minute, and he'd nodded and looked vaguely bewildered as Kat dragged Matthew through the door.

Now, Kat is slapping him lightly on the arm. "You heard me, Gubler."

"Ow," says Matthew pathetically. "I—I—I don't know," he stammers. "Do you?"

"What?" Kat is taken aback. "Jesus. I don't know. I haven't thought about it."

"Well, neither have I!"

She fixes him with a pointed look.

"Okay, I have a little, but—that's okay, right? That doesn't count as cheating on you or breaking the law, right?" He feels suddenly faint. "Is heatstroke contagious?" he asks in the same urgent whisper.

"What?!"

"What?"

"Oh good lord." Kat throws herself dramatically against the door. "We are figuring this thing out right now. Is it just some gay thing that you need to get out of your system, or are we gonna have to break up, because I am not having you leave me for a teenager who is at least half kitten. Pull yourself together."

"Okay. Okay." Matthew tries to think about it, but his brain feels like someone is trying to scramble it with a whisk. One of those little fancy whisks with all the tiny spirals of metal. "I don't know," he whines pitifully, "do you think he wants to?"

"Dude. He kissed you. It was like less than an hour ago. Did you forget that already?"

"But he also kissed you," Matthew points out. "Maybe—maybe it was the heatstroke. Or maybe it just didn't mean anything."

"Trust me, Matthew," Kat says, somewhat wearily, "that is not the kind of thing that guys just do. I know you're kind of socially deficient but making out in pools is not a bro thing. Like, at all."

"Okay, but—" he really sounds quite helpless, "I don't want to break up with you for him."

"I don't want that either." She leans in against him, and he wraps his arms around her.

"I mean," he says, mostly into her hair, "you're pretty awesome."

"You're not so bad yourself," she smiles, and when she lifts her head, their lips meet. Matthew almost breathes a sigh of relief—compared to everything else that's happened tonight, this is easy. A comfort. But as she presses him against the door, hands spread out on his chest, he can't help thinking of Anton, still, out in the corridor, waiting. He wonders what it would be like, to kiss Anton like this. He thinks of Anton's muscles and imagines being pushed up against a wall by him—

"You're thinking about him, aren't you?" Kat breathes, her lips still brushing his.

"Kinda," Matthew croaks out. "Sorry."

"It's okay." Kat nuzzles her nose against his. "I mean, it's really frickin' weird, but. Okay." She kisses him again. "Is it just like a vague kind of hypothetical thing? Or is there specific stuff you want to—you know—do to him?"

"I don't knowww," Matthew groans.

"I mean, like," Kat goes on, giving his bottom lip a little nip with her teeth, "do you wanna suck him off?"

She grins mischievously and Matthew makes a sound like a dying animal. "Don't say things like that."

"You do," she says, and she almost looks pleased about it, because apparently she's legitimately insane and somehow it's taken Matthew all this time to actually notice.

"Stop it. Stop it." Matthew imagines it—pulling down Anton's tighty-whities, feeling the weight of his cock in his hand before tasting it with his tongue. "Stop it. Oh god, I'm going to jail. Or hell. Probably both. Oh, god—" He interrupts himself with a sort of strangled cry, because Kat has reached down between their bodies and now has her hand between his legs, and oh god, he's getting hard. He can't stop thinking about sucking Anton off, now. He's not exactly a stranger to that kind of thing but it's never been such a big deal to him, never really an urge like this, and right now it feels like what he wants most in the whole world.

"You're imagining it right now," Kat says, and her voice has kind of a husky quality now that seems to have come out of nowhere, and isn't helping matters with Matthew's erection at all. "Oh my god. You want his cock in your mouth."

Matthew half-whimpers at that, and she's stroking him through his pants now and he's sort of bucking into her hand like he's lost control of his hips, and he's honestly tried not to think about any of this but now that he seems to have somebody's blessing, it's like he can't stop.

Except—

There's a noise from outside, then, that sounds suspiciously like someone clearing their throat. The really alarming thing is how loud it sounds, like that someone is right there in the room with them. They freeze.

"Um, guys?" comes Anton's nervous voice from the corridor. "I—uh—I figure now might be a good time to mention that I can hear you. I mean, probably ten minutes ago would've been preferable, but, uh," he laughs uncomfortably, "better late than never?"

A long pause. Matthew feels like his heart just leapt about a foot. He feels queasy. He also sort of feels like he wants to strangle himself.

"You perv!" Kat cries, rolling her eyes like this is a mere inconvenience.

"Like I had a choice!" Anton shoots back.

Kat pulls back, and to Matthew's alarm, reaches for the doorhandle. He makes a few frantic gestures, but Kat just shrugs as if to say what else can we do?, and opens the door.

Anton enters, looking somewhat sheepish, chewing on his thumbnail. "Hi," he says.

Matthew offers an awkward wave. His other arm hangs limply down in front of him, attempting to cover his crotch in a not-at-all subtle way, because for some reason his cock is the only part of his body that is unaffected by this. He's surprised to notice, then, that Anton is in a very similar position, his thumb hooked into a belt-loop and his hand spread out in a way that really doesn't look casual. Matthew tries not to stare, and fails.

It has now been silent for at least a century. The word 'awkward' does not even begin to cover it.

"Oh, my god," Kat exclaims after a further decade, "would you two just make out and get it over with? You want it so bad that even I'm frustrated."

Matthew does not actually have any plans to move, but then Kat sort of shoves him in Anton's general direction and he flails, grabbing onto him for support as Anton topples back against the door, shutting it with his weight. They are now incredibly close—Matthew has grabbed hold of one of Anton's arms and he can feel the heat of his skin, and his other hand is on Anton's waist and he can feel muscle there, and they're so close that Anton's face is a little out of focus. Anton looks down, to where their hips are pressed together, and then up, into Matthew's eyes, and he wets his lips with his tongue in a nervous sort of way. He's got his arms wrapped around him—when did that happen?—his hands at the small of Matthew's back.

"You're seventeen," Matthew chokes out helplessly.

"Shh," Anton replies, with a half-smile, and then kisses him.

"Oh god," Matthew moans against his mouth. He sounds like, half-pleased and half-tortured, which Anton picks up on.

"Hey," he murmurs, "I promise you you're not corrupting me, okay?" He kisses Matthew again, and this time Matthew is a little more sure of that fact because god, the things that kid can do with his tongue.

His hands are apparently pretty talented too, because Matthew suddenly realises his pants are undone and he wasn't aware of that happening. Anton's spitting into his palm and then sliding his hand down into Matthew's boxers and Matthew's not prepared for this, not at all—

He lets out a sort of sob as Anton's fingers close around his aching cock, and he wonders if this is okay with Kat, if this is going too far, but when he manages to force his eyes open and look at her, she's just smiling at him, looking a little amused. Anton takes a moment, finding a good angle and a decent rhythm, hand stroking from base to tip and making Matthew moan again. He reaches for Anton's crotch, wanting to return the favor. He finds buttons instead of a zipper, and he curses inwardly, fidgeting with them.

"Why buttons?" he murmurs when it's becoming too awkward not to acknowledge the struggle.

"I'm tellin' you to loosen up my buttons, babe," Kat sings, off-key from somewhere to their left, and Anton dissolves into slightly embarrassed laughter against Matthew.

Matthew laughs too and gives up, finding it too hard to concentrate on the task anyway with Anton's fingers squeezing him like that, sliding over him. It feels so good. He bites his lip and rolls back his head, and his hips rock back and forth gently with the movement of Anton's hand.

"Hi," breathes Kat, grinning, as she slides into place beside them, warm and smelling a little like perfume under the chlorine.

"Hi," Matthew says, and his voice comes out high and unsteady. "Fancy meeting you here."

The word 'here' is actually more-or-less lost, as Anton does something interesting involving his thumb and the head of Matthew's cock. Kat chuckles softly and kisses his shoulder. He holds onto her, and tries again to get Anton's shorts undone, but after a few awkward, distracted seconds of fumbling, he still can't figure it out.

"Damn, Anton," Kat laughs, "what is with those shorts? I thought they were just an assault to anyone with eyes, but it turns out they double as a chastity belt. Are you just trying to confuse the hell out of anyone who wants access to your dick?"

Anton lets out a shocked little laugh which is much cuter than it should be, and he actually looks a little embarrassed and doesn't have anything to say to that besides a mumbled shut up. He's too busy concentrating on Matthew's dick, anyway, it seems, and Matthew is close already, which—man, when was the last time he came from a handjob alone?

(Actually, the last time that happened was last night, which he'd like to think was solely because it'd been a while since he last saw Kat, but probably also had a lot to do with the memory of Anton sprawled across a bed in only his underwear.)

"Dresses, man," Kat goes on, taking Matthew's shaking hand, "easy access."

And she has a point, actually, because somehow Matthew's hand is in her panties within like, a split second, and oh god, she's so wet and hot. His fingers slip-sliding clumsily as he tries to pull himself together. His eyes re-focus and Anton is looking down at where his arm disappears under Kat's dress, and then their eyes meet and he has this weird sort of intense, turned-on expression. Matthew finds Kat's clit and begins to stroke in circles like she showed him that one time, and her breathing starts getting all screwed-up (which he's learned is a good sign). Anton is staring at her, now, but he's still jerking Matthew with the same sense of urgency, almost determination, like making Matthew come would be the absolute greatest achievement of his life.

Kat sees Anton staring and she leans into him, arm snaking around between his back and the door. Matthew sees her hand grip Anton's hip and then the two of them are kissing, and he slides his middle finger in where Kat is pulsing against his hand, and watches her lips quiver against Anton's, her eyelids flickering. He wishes he was the kind of person who could multi-task decently, so he could have one hand on Anton's dick and the other in Kat's panties at the same time, while being given what he's now inclined to call the best handjob of his entire existence—but he is not that kind of person.

Plus, Anton's fly is a death trap.

So he ends up just sort of clinging to Kat's hand on Anton's hip, slumped against the both of them and trying to make his fingers keep moving as he feels Anton's hand slicking up and down his length over and over. He ends up with his face buried in Anton's neck, inhaling chlorine and cologne and sweat. His erection and Anton's hand are trapped between their bodies, which means that when he comes, it's all over both of their shirts. His hand sort of spasms between Kat's legs and then goes limp, and she laughs at him and strokes her fingers through his hair, soothing him through the aftershocks of his orgasm. He shudders and whimpers, and mouthes weakly at a tendon in Anton's neck.

Anton is clearly unable to hide his elation, but tries. "Does he always sound like that?" he asks Kat, and his voice sounds kind of deliciously raw and Matthew swears he can feel the vibration of it this close.

"What, like an injured possum? Yeah. Kind of a boner-killer, right?" Kat laughs, and then prods Matthew in the waist.

He attempts to stand up straight again, and—okay, yeah, both of their shirts are pretty much ruined.

"Ew," laughs Kat, and Matthew's spine reaches its usual vertical state just as his knees buckle.

"Maybe—bed," Anton suggests.

"Yeah."

Which is easy for them to say, orgasm-less as they are, but Matthew kind of stumbles to his knees before he actually manages the few feet of space between the door and the bed. This turns out to be rather convenient actually, because he ends up between Anton's legs.

Totally by accident. Obviously.

The two of them are kind of grinning nervously down at him where he kneels on the carpet and he distantly wonders if this is a threesome. Like, what are the actual criteria for a threesome, anyway? It's not something he ever thought he'd have to wonder before, and what if he's playing 'I Never' some time in the future and the topic of threesomes comes up?

"You should probably undo those yourself," Kat says, interrupting Matthew's thoughts.

Matthew then realises that Anton is unbuttoning his shorts—with ease, somewhat mystifyingly—and then sort of shuffling around a bit to free his cock from what looks like painfully tight underwear. Matthew just stares, in a daze, as Anton sort of self-consciously strokes himself up and down a little, blushing and giving Matthew this look—a smile that's shy and needy at the same time, his eyes crinkling in the corners, his cheeks flushed. His cock is so hard, thick in his fist and wet at the tip and—

And well, the combination of that and the look on his face—that's all it takes. Matthew ducks his head, tucking his hair behind his ear and taking Anton's cock between his lips, giving himself a second to completely freak out in his mind before he lets it slide deeper into his mouth. Anton moans and it's sort of a stupidly beautiful sound. Matthew glances up, letting himself get used to the stretch of his lips that he hasn't felt for a long time, and Anton is gripping handfuls of blanket and tipping back his head. Kat just looks kind of stunned, like she has no idea how to behave in a situation like this and she's even lost the ability to make sarcastic jokes to make up for it. She takes Anton's hand to give him something to squeeze as Matthew swallows a little deeper, and Anton's moan breaks off in his throat.

Matthew tries to concentrate, then, on making this good, as good as it can possibly be. He can feel his own come cooling on his shirt and he wants to make Anton come like that, like his brain is giving out. He doesn't even know if Anton's even been given a blowjob before, and it seems naive to think he might not have but—no, Matthew doesn't want to think about that, about who else may have been here before. He wants Anton to forget them, if they even exist.

The next time he looks up, Anton and Kat are making out, clutching at each other and kissing in a way that would probably boost their movie up to an R-rating. Anton's hand is on her chest, down the neckline of her dress, and—and her hand is between her legs. It takes Matthew a second to process this and he almost chokes, because seriously, multitasking: not his forté, but—Kat's never even admitted to masturbating, got weird about it the one time it came up in conversation and won't bring herself off even if he can't make her come some nights. It's like some weird sort of hang-up, but right now it's hard to believe any of that, because he can see the frantic motion of her hand under the skirt of her dress and the way she's clutching at Anton's thigh and it's probably one of the top seven hottest things Matthew's ever seen. (Not that he keeps a mental list, or anything.)

He tries to watch and suck Anton off at the same time, and then Kat's reaching forwards and grabbing at him, at Matthew, her fingers tangling in his hair and tensing up as she sort of whines, desperate, against Anton's lips. Anton stares at her, and then down at Matthew, and Matthew takes a hold of Anton's hips and sucks him deep as he can. He maintains eye contact. Flicks his tongue. Anton shudders and sort of scrabbles at Kat's tits and mumbles quickly and wordlessly against her cheek and—Matthew's mouth fills, hot, sudden. He tries not to splutter, hand braced on Anton's thigh as he swallows.

While Anton trembles and comes back down to earth, Matthew meets Kat's eyes, and she grins in the weird half-thrilled half-embarrassed way she does after sex. He gulps and tastes Anton, and blinks and sees Kat, and the whole room seems to sort of sway around them. It's as if all of this sneakily happened while he wasn't paying attention.

Anton is the first to speak.

"Oh, man," he says, voice all choked-up and sore-sounding as he rubs his palm up over his forehead and into his hair, which is beginning to curl again from the heat. "Oh, man, that was awesome." His eyes widen and he looks at them both. "That was awesome, right? I mean—"

"That was pretty awesome," Matthew croaks. They're grinning at each other now, like absolute idiots, and then looking at Kat somewhat expectantly.

"I have no idea what that was," she says, "but probably awesome would come into it somewhere."

There's a pause, and then Anton sort of tucks himself back into his shorts uncomfortably, and pulls at his t-shirt where it's stained. "I should probably, uh, go have a shower."

"We have a shower," Matthew says instantly. "I mean. Kat has a shower. There is a shower here. You don't have to go back to your room or anything."

Kat laughs. "Wow, subtle."

Anton grins shyly at him. "Yeah? That would be okay?" He looks to Kat, who shrugs.

"Help yourself."

"Okay. Um." Anton dithers for a moment, and then kisses Kat impulsively and she grins. Then he leans down and kisses Matthew too, and for a second Matthew panics because oh god, what if Anton can taste himself in Matthew's mouth and he thinks that's really gross—but then Anton curls one hand around the back of Matthew's neck and takes his time, so it doesn't exactly seem like he minds. When he gets to his feet he's blushing, and Kat throws a towel at him.

When the bathroom door shuts, she throws herself back on the bed and sighs. Matthew crawls up beside her, ignoring the way his shirt is kinda sticking to him, and watches her, lying on his side. "You okay?" he murmurs. They hear the burst of the shower switching on.

"Yeah, just," Kat says, and then shakes her head. "I dunno. Why you gotta get all introspective after sex, Gubler? Be a man for once."

"I only asked if you were okay," Matthew replies in a small voice.

She laughs. "Sorry. I just—this probably isn't sustainable, right? And that kinda sucks."

"Now who's being introspective?" Matthew teases, but she has a point. He doesn't want to think about it, but he has to go back to L.A. tomorrow night and Charlie Bartlett's not going to wrap for another couple of weeks, and who even knows what's going to happen in the meantime, let alone afterwards.

"Whatever." Kat yawns. "Just remind me not to encourage your mancrushes in the future."

"Oh yeah, 'cause it's all my fault?"

"You're saying I have a mancrush on him too?"

"Obviously."

She whacks him with a pillow, and he laughs and tries to retaliate, but afer a short while it transpires they're far too sleepy for that kind of thing. When Anton opens the bathroom door, towel wrapped around his hips, the two of them are just slumped in a heap, half-changed into their pajamas, pillows everywhere.

"Wow," is all he says, chuckling, as he tries to pull his boxers on under the towel—suddenly quite sweetly modest. "Hey," he adds after a moment, clearly trying to fill the silence, "uh, did I mention that you guys are probably gonna get sick now? Because I think I'm still sick."

"Boo, you whore," mumbles Kat into a pillow.

Anton laughs, but then sort of hovers around for a bit, draping the towel over a chair and eyeing his clothes like he's not sure whether he's staying or going. And Matthew wants to ask him to stay, he really does, but what if that only makes all of this more complicated and painful? What if Kat thinks that it's not even worth trying to sustain this? Threesomes are usually talked about as one-night stands, after all.

"So, uh," says Anton, picking up his shorts, "I'm gonna go to bed, then."

Kat looks up. "We have a bed. I mean, there's a bed here." She pats it as if to make sure. "I think you're familiar with it already, actually."

Matthew's face feels like it might break from grinning as Anton's lips slowly curl into a smile. "Yeah?"

"Sure. As long as you don't kick. Or snore. Or take up more than a third of the bed at any given time."

"That's a lot of rules," says Anton, but he puts down the shorts anyway and joins them, clambering between the two.

Matthew rolls over to make space, and Anton smiles to himself as he settles down on his back. Matthew and Kat curl into him on either side, in unison, and Anton laughs. Matthew grins at him, looks back at Kat across Anton's chest, and he decides that maybe it's okay just to enjoy this while he can. Live in the moment, and all that.

(Turns out the age of consent in Canada is sixteen, anyway.)