Actions

Work Header

Not Your Boyfriend

Work Text:

Maggiano’s is always busy, but it’s sort of a surprise to find it so crowded on a Tuesday night. Still, it’s fun to be out eating something that isn’t from the dining hall, and even better to be doing it with friends.

Derek Nurse carefully coils his paper straw wrapper into a tight disk, then says, “Look alive, Chow,” before flicking it across the table.

Chowder slams his hand down over it without thinking, and they all whoop. He grins and shakes his head. “Wish Coach could’ve seen that.”

“He really lit into you at practice this morning.” Dex pokes at the ice in his glass with his straw.

“I couldn’t stop anything. It was awful, and I didn’t want to tell him it was because I barely slept last night. I had a bio exam right after practice.”

“How’d that go, anyway?” Farmer reaches out to pluck a piece of lint from Chowder’s shirt.

“Great! Well, I think great. Oh, pizza’s here!”

The server sets an enormous dish on a tower at the center of the table. Next to Derek, Dex makes a sound that is almost pornographic. Across the table, Chowder and Farmer grin, but Derek can’t resist a jab. “It’s just pizza, Dex. Chill.”

“That is not just pizza, asshole. That is deep dish nirvana.”

The server smiles at Dex and shovels the first slice onto his plate. Dex doesn’t even wait for everyone else to get a slice; he dives right in. Derek rolls his eyes, but he’s not gonna be that guy that points out how rude Dex is being. Not when there are so many other things to chirp him about. For example.

“Dude, if you have to eat it with and knife and fork, it’s not pizza.” Derek’s from Manhattan, and he has fucking opinions about pizza, okay?

The server raises an eyebrow and gives the next slice to Farmer instead. Dex doesn’t even act like he heard, though. He makes another disgustingly pleased sound and sinks down in his seat, eyes falling closed. The server gives Chowder a slice, then looks thoughtfully at Derek.

“Hit me,” he says, trying for a charming smile. The slice she gives him is pathetically small, but she winks at him as she walks away.

Chowder and Farmer dig in across the table. Chowder nods approvingly, and Farmer moans in a way that makes all three of them look up at her. Chowder stares at her and blushes, and Derek and Dex exchange a knowing look. They’re thinking the same thing: they’ll chirp the hell out of Chowder later. It’s basically the only time they’re ever in agreement about anything, so Chowder will be a good sport.

Derek cuts off a bite-size piece and pops it in his mouth, and… oh. It’s really fucking good: rich and spicy, with a perfect balance of tart sauce and creamy cheese, fuck. He makes a soft sound of pleasure before he can stop himself. He winces, but it’s too late.

Dex snickers. “Told you, bro.” The tips of Dex’s ears are pink and he smiles, a genuine, toothy sort of smile that makes his dimples appear.

Derek would like to glare in response, but he feels sort of ridiculously fond of him for a moment. “Shut up.”

Dex closes his lips around another forkful of pizza and smirks. Derek shakes his head and looks away. Across the table, Farmer is smiling sweetly at him, almost like there’s a joke everyone is in on except him. He brushes it off and eats another bite.

They demolish the pizza in fifteen minutes flat. Chowder and Dex order an ice cream sundae that turns out to be larger than a human head.

Derek ate more than his share of the pizza, so he only has a few spoonfuls of ice cream before he calls it quits. He groans and leans back in the booth, slinging his arm across the top of the seat. Farmer sets her spoon down too, but Chowder and Dex continue to shovel ice cream with enthusiasm.

“This was a great idea,” Derek tells her.

“Thanks for coming with us,” she replies. “We couldn’t have eaten that whole pizza by ourselves.”

Derek nods toward Dex. “He’s been trying to drag me to this place for ages anyway.”

Dex drops his spoon to the table in defeat and leans back in the booth. His head falls against Derek’s arm, but he doesn’t seem to care. He turns to smirk at Derek. “Admit it. It was fucking good pizza.”

Derek shrugs as nonchalantly as he can manage. “It was all right, considering.”

“Dude, you almost came in your pants when you tasted it.”

“Bruh. You know I’m not that easy.”

Chowder makes a strangled sound across the table and glances at Farmer, but honestly, she’s used to them all by now. She leans her chin in one hand and grins at them.

“When you come visit me this summer, I’ll take you out for real pizza.” Derek smirks at him in challenge, waiting for the scowl that always comes. Dex hasn’t been enthusiastic about the idea of visiting him in New York, but Derek keeps bringing it up anyway.

Dex just sighs and closes his eyes, though. “Whatever, man. I’m too full to argue with you. Just roll me home.”

Derek laughs and drops his arm around Dex’s shoulders, pulling him into a loose choke-hold. “So that’s how to shut you up. I need to remember that.”

Dex makes a half-hearted effort to escape. “I will seriously puke on you.”

“Rude.” Derek ruffles his hair and pushes him away.

“You two are so adorable,” Farmer says with a smile. Derek has no idea what she means by that, but whatever. He’s feeling pretty damn good right now, so he smiles back and shrugs.

They take care of the check and then head out, walking down to the river. It’s chilly out, but not as bitingly cold as it could be this time of year. There’s a breeze along the riverside walk, the kind that Derek loves. He takes a deep breath.

“Shit, it’s cold,” Farmer says, burrowing into Chowder’s side. He puts his arm around her and looks at her with the dopiest smile Derek has ever seen.

He glances over to see Dex is watching them too, so he bumps his shoulder. Dex snorts and looks away, out across the water. His cheeks are flushed, and Derek wonders if it’s from the cold or something else.

The path widens and Farmer and Chowder fall back to walk beside them.

“Got any plans for Valentine’s Day?” Farmer asks. “After the game, I mean.”

“Oh, God,” Dex mutters. “Here we go.”

Derek laughs. “I know you’re gonna get me something, dude.”

“The fuck I am. It’s his birthday,” he adds when Farmer frowns.

Farmer gasps. “You were born on Valentine’s Day?”

Derek nods and grins, and Dex shakes his head. “Of course he was.”

“We’ll get you something, won’t we, Chris?” Farmer beams at Derek.

“Yeah, definitely!”

“I know what you can get me,” Derek says, elbowing Dex. “An assist for my goal.” It’s a sore spot, he knows, and he can’t help poking at it.

“How about I get your sorry ass a goal all by myself?”

Derek bats his eyelashes. “Promise?”

Dex gives him a shove.

“I guess that’s romantic for hockey bros,” Farmer says with a laugh.

Derek blinks and looks over at Dex, who is looking back at him with narrowed eyes. Several things click into place all at once. They walk in silence for another minute until Derek’s curiosity gets the better of him.

“So Farmer, do you… uh.” Derek feels his cheeks warming. “Do you think Dex and I are… dating?”

Dex makes a sound like he’s sucking a breath through his teeth.

“Aren’t you?” Farmer stops walking and turns to look at them. On the other side of her, Chowder’s eyes are huge. She looks back and forth between Derek and Dex, and then blushes. “Oh, shit. I’m sorry, I just assumed. I mean, you’re always together and the way you act around each other is sort of…” She turns to look at Chowder, who is sending her a not-so-subtle please stop look. “Never mind. Sorry.” She starts walking again, leaving the three of them staring at each other.

Derek looks over at Dex again, and Dex is… well, somewhere between horrified and embarrassed. He looks away the moment Derek’s eyes meet his and stuffs his hands in his pockets, frowning.

“Wonder where she got that idea?” Derek asks Chowder.

“I swear I didn’t say anything that would make her think—” Chowder begins, and Derek waves a hand at him, smiling.

“Chill, man. It’s not a big deal.”

“Okay.” Chowder sounds utterly unconvinced.

“Maybe not for you,” Dex says quietly. They both turn to look at Dex, who stares at the ground in front of him like he wishes it would swallow him whole. He exhales noisily and starts walking again, leaving Chowder and Derek staring after him.

“Dex is apparently flipping his shit, though.” Derek shrugs and turns back to Chowder. “But you know, whatever. Honest mistake.”

“Right, yeah. She really likes you guys and I guess she thought…” Chowder flushes.

“I mean, I have actually gone out with dudes before, so it’s not like, out of the realm of possibility.”

Chowder’s eyebrows shoot up. “Seriously?”

“Chyeah.” Derek gives Chowder a lopsided smile. “I usually like girls but, you know. Sometimes.” More than sometimes during his junior year of high school, but whatever.

“Hunh.” He’d expected Chowder to be surprised, but instead he looks thoughtful.

They start walking again and catch up to the others. Dex won’t even look at him, which is… well, kind of funny, actually. Derek starts to think about all the ways he could chirp Dex about this and has to bite back a laugh. He bumps Dex with his elbow, and Dex grumbles something and physically jerks away from the touch.

Derek starts to say something, but hesitates. Is Dex actually having some sort of no homo freakout right now? He’s definitely said shit in the past that could be construed as homophobic, though he’s been a lot more careful since that night in October when they were all hanging out at the Haus. Derek hadn’t heard exactly what Dex had said, but he’d seen the dark look on Jack’s face and the way Shitty had jumped up and dragged Dex out of the room. Dex had re-emerged twenty minutes later, pale and quiet, and things had been different after that.

Still, it’s hard not to take it personally that Dex finds the idea of dating Derek so horrible that he’d act like a total dick about it. All he had to do was laugh it off, like Derek was doing: Nah, it’s just a D-man thing.

What if Derek dated a guy sometime, though? He’d been too busy with hockey and classes to do much more than occasionally hook up this year, but what would Dex say if Derek showed up at a party sometime with an actual boyfriend in tow? Would he freak out like he was doing now? Worse, would it affect their game?

Derek glances over at Dex again. His hands are shoved in his pockets and his face is pinched. He looks the way he does right before they have an argument. That’s basically the only way they really ever communicate important shit to each other, though, so it’s the tool he has to work with. He knows how to push Dex’s buttons.

And Farmer gave him a perfect starting point, now that he thinks about it.

Chowder wants to walk Farmer back to her dorm (and probably stay a while, Derek suspects), so they split off by the quad. She still seems embarrassed about her presumption, but she relaxes a little when Derek steps up to give her a hug. When he turns around, Dex is already heading off without him, so he waves goodbye to the others and jogs to catch up.

“What the fuck crawled up your ass tonight?”

“Fuck off, Nurse.” Dex walks faster.

“No, seriously, bro. Why are you being such a dick all of the sudden?”

Dex’s jaw clenches, but he doesn’t reply. They walk the rest of the way to their dorm in silence. Derek gets to the door first and opens it, then gestures Dex through.

“See?” he says quietly, bumping Dex’s shoulder.

Dex turns to look at him for the first time in fifteen minutes. “See what?”

“I’d be a good boyfriend. All chivalrous and shit.”

Dex gapes at him for a moment, then turns and stomps up the stairs. Derek can’t help but grin: bingo.

Dex’s room is the second one on the left, and he fumbles with his keys for half a minute before he manages to get the door unlocked. Derek leans against the doorway and smirks at him.

“What, no goodnight kiss?”

Dex flips him off and slams the door in his face. Derek laughs and heads down the hall to his room. This is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

***

The next morning, Dex is waiting for him at the end of the hall, gear bag slung over his shoulder and yawning.

“G’morning.”

Derek steps in close and smiles at him. “It would’ve been a better morning if I’d woke up next to you.”

Dex is stunned into silence for two full seconds. “What the actual fuck, Nurse?”

Derek shifts his bag on his shoulder and grins. “Just, you know, if people already think we’re dating, maybe we should give it a shot.”

Dex’s face turns a shade of red Derek has never seen before. “People don’t think that! Why the fuck would anyone think that about us?” He turns and storms down the stairs. Derek has to jog to catch up with him.

He considers telling Dex to lighten up, that he’s just joking, but the dark look Dex gives him changes his mind. Dex needs to get over this shit, and Derek is going to keep pushing him until he does. He manages to get to the entrance of Faber first, and he blocks the open door with his arm when Dex tries to walk through.

“Just think about it, is all I’m saying.”

Dex doesn’t move, just stands there with a stunned expression, so Derek leans in close enough that he knows Dex will feel his breath on his ear.

“You have no idea what you’re missing.”

Dex jerks away and stares at him for a moment, as if trying to figure out if he’s serious. Derek tries to maintain a sort of smoldering expression, but he finally can’t help himself. He grins and ducks his head, trying hard not to laugh.

“You’re an asshole.” Dex pushes past him, jaw clenched. Derek leans back against the door and snickers as he storms away.

Dex glares at him all through practice — not that that’s unusual. They’re getting there, though. Dex is going to break and throw a punch soon enough, and they’ll have a huge fight about it, and then it will all be back to normal.

***

Thursday morning, Derek knocks on Dex’s door at 5:45, but there’s no answer. He knocks again, and again, and the door finally opens to reveal Dex’s half-asleep and very annoyed roommate.

“He already. Fucking. Left.” The door slams shut again.

“Sorry,” Derek mutters. He goes downstairs, but there’s no sign of Dex. They always walk to practice together, so it’s kind of weird to be trudging over to Faber alone, but whatever.

Dex is already out on the ice when Derek arrives, skating laps with Jack and Bittle. Derek gets changed as fast as he can, then heads out to warm up. Dex doesn’t even acknowledge him, and it rankles more than Derek wants to admit.

He finally skates over and bumps him hard enough to send him backwards a little. Dex scowls at him, and Derek grabs his practice jersey and tugs him in. For half a second, he considers being sincere, but then Dex’s eyes narrow and his jaw clenches, and Derek just can’t help himself.

“I missed you this morning, sweetheart.”

Dex winces and pushes away. “Fuck off.”

“Don’t be like that, baby,” Derek says, grinning, but Dex skates away.

Derek doesn’t let up during practice. Every time he’s close enough, he says something. It’s all innocuous shit, not all that different from the things he’d normally say at practice, but with little terms of endearment thrown in. The more Dex scowls, the sweeter Derek is to him, and it’s fucking golden.

Weirdly enough, it makes them better. They’re both really tuned in to where the other is today, and their drills are off the charts. All their passes connect, shots slide right into the blue paint, and they block like a fucking brick wall. It’s exhilarating, and everyone notices.

Coach Hall pulls them aside after practice to tell them this is what he wants to see, slaps them both on the back with a big grin. Holster fist bumps them and says he and Rans never clicked like that their frog year. Even Jack makes a point of telling them they did well, and to keep doing whatever it is they’re doing.

Derek knocks his helmet against Dex’s when everyone else moves away. “Nice job out there, babe.”

Dex gives him a shove and skates away.

***

Dex avoids him for the rest of the day. He doesn’t show up to dinner with the team that night, and he doesn’t walk to practice with Derek the next morning. Back on the ice, he seems more tense than before, which just encourages Derek to chirp him every chance he gets. Dex barely reacts, though. He glares at Derek and then moves away, expression stony. They don’t click as well as they did the day before, but it’s still better than usual, so it feels weirdly like progress.

Still, Derek is surprised Dex hasn’t cracked yet. He’d expected to get yelled at or shoved into a wall by now, but for some reason Dex isn’t doing it. Which means, of course, that Derek is just going to have to try harder.

Dex is already on the bus when Derek boards a few hours later. He looks up when Derek stops to shove his bag in the overhead bin, and rolls his eyes when Derek drops into the seat next to him. They always sit together on the bus — that’s not even a question — but it’s clear that Dex isn’t very happy about it today. Derek, on the other hand, is nearly giddy. He has a whole four hours to torment Dex, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

He leans in and puts his head on Dex’s shoulder. “Whatcha reading, hon’?”

Dex sighs heavily and tilts the cover of the book so he can see it: A People and a Nation: A History of the United States. He tries to shove Derek off his shoulder, but it’s a half-hearted attempt.

Derek slides a hand under his arm and snuggles in closer. “Read to me? I love the sound of your voice.”

“Dude, just…” Dex drops the book on his lap and sighs. The rest of the guys start boarding the bus, and Dex extracts his arm and shifts away from Derek as best he can in the confined space.

“Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time to snuggle later,” Derek says in a low voice. Dex makes a sound of frustration, but doesn’t say anything more. Derek fishes a book from his bag and settles in to read.

An hour in, Dex’s book nearly slides off his lap when he dozes off. Derek catches it and tucks it into the space between Dex and the window. Dex’s face is relaxed in sleep, and it occurs to Derek that he doesn’t see him like this often. He’s constantly tense and wound up about something. He’s like the opposite of chill most of the time, and Derek’s never quite been able to figure out why.

But this is kind of nice too: this sort of contented serenity, like he’s not stressing out about random shit or eternally bitter that his family is poor or whatever. It’s not exactly happy, but then, Dex doesn’t do happy often. The night at Maggiano’s was an exception. He’d been freaking radiant for a while there — at least until Farmer had admitted she thought they were together, which…

Derek sighs. He’s not sure why that bothered Dex so much, or why it bothering Dex bothered him so much. So Dex is probably more homophobic than Derek realized, okay. That sucks on a lot of levels. They’re friends, though, and it does matter that Dex would probably not be very accepting if Derek told him he was bi. He doesn’t know why he hasn’t told him, really. It hasn’t come up yet, and it’s not like Derek’s the kind of guy who puts it all out there. Sexuality is one of many things about him, and it’s all pretty chill. Like, sometimes he’s into boobs and sometimes he’s into dicks. Whatever.

He watches Dex sleep for a long moment. Dex has faint freckles on his neck, soft little dots that disappear into the collar of his shirt. Derek’s seen them before — he sees the dude naked almost on a daily basis — but he somehow hadn’t noticed the light smattering of freckles under Dex’s jaw until now. His hair is getting a little long, and a there’s an errant red curl sticking up at an odd angle. Derek reaches out and tucks it behind his ear. Dex sighs and shifts in his seat, leaning his forehead against the window.

Derek blinks, realizing what he just did. He sits back, frowning. What the hell? It’s not like Dex is his type or anything. He’s not the kind of guy Derek usually goes for at all, but he can’t deny that he feels a little twinge of something when he looks at him, all lanky and freckly and really fucking built and…

Shit. That’s kind of inconvenient.

***

He sticks close to Dex during dinner and the strategy meeting, which is all totally normal. What isn’t normal, though, is the way Dex completely avoids interacting with him. Dex makes a point of talking to everyone but Derek, in fact, and it stings more than Derek wants to admit. Dex also completely avoids being alone with him. He’s glued to Chowder’s side instead, and that’s just…

Well, okay: Derek isn’t, like, jealous or anything. Chowder’s their friend too, and he’s pretty much eating up the attention, so it’s totally chill. Or it is until Derek sits across the table from them and watches Dex’s face light up at a lame joke Chowder tells, and something uncomfortable twists inside his chest.

Okay, so maybe he’s a little jealous.

They don’t click on the ice tonight: Dex avoids him there too, and Derek can’t seem to get him to pay attention when he needs it. They’re down 1-0 at the end of the first, and Coach pulls them aside to tell them to get their shit together before they go back out.

They don’t, and it doesn’t get better. The team squeaks out a 3-2 win anyway, but Derek and Dex are both -2 for the night, which really sucks.

When they get to the hotel, Dex sets his bag down and leaves the room without a word. Derek sits alone for a few minutes, then texts Chowder.

You want to hang?

Sure! Rm 312 is the response, and Derek heads over. Dex is already there, of course, and he doesn’t look happy when Derek opens the door. Wicks and Ollie are in the connecting room, though, and when they come back from a beer run to the corner, everyone relaxes a little. They end up watching NHL highlights on someone’s laptop, all crowded on one bed together. Three beers in, Dex doesn’t flinch away when Derek leans across his shoulder to watch. Derek’s stomach definitely does not do any flips when Dex settles back against him, loose-limbed after the fourth beer. Derek slings an arm around his shoulder and laughs into his hair, and feels the awful tension of the night drain away.

They aren’t exactly drunk when they sneak back to their room an hour after curfew, but they aren’t exactly sober, either. Derek doesn’t want to break the fragile peace between them, so he doesn’t tease, doesn’t call Dex sweetheart or baby, doesn’t ask him which side of the bed he prefers. But there’s something really disturbing about the fondness in his chest when Dex laughs at the way he trips over his own shoes when he gets undressed. He doesn’t know what to do with the warmth that floods him when Dex chirps him about the hipster cookie monster shirt he always sleeps in on the road.

It’s too much, somehow, and he feels like he’s itching under his skin. He pretends to fall asleep before Dex even finishes brushing his teeth, and he lies in the dark awake for a long time after.

The next morning, Dex is back to ignoring him again. He puts earbuds in on the bus and keeps his eyes closed for the entire ride to Colgate. By the time they get off the bus, Derek’s frustration has wound itself tightly inside his chest. He tries to let it go, to be chill, to not let it bother him, but he can’t.

They have afternoon ice time at Starr, and Derek can’t help himself. Every time he looks at Dex, he feels the urge to push, to provoke, to do anything to get those hazel eyes focused on him again.

“Want to move that fine ass of yours a little faster, Dex?”

“I hate to say it, babe, but that footwork is not gonna fly.”

“Sweetheart, that pass sucked, and not in the good way.”

Dex ignores him, though, every time. He doesn’t even chirp him back; it’s as if Derek is talking to himself.

They get their asses handed to them that night. It’s not Derek and Dex’s fault; it’s just that Colgate is that good. But still, Derek knows they could’ve played better, and it’s beyond frustrating that Dex won’t even talk to him about it.

When they get to the hotel that night, Lardo makes a beeline for him.

“You’re rooming with Wagner tonight.”

“Wait, what?” Derek blinks at her, surprised. “I always room with Dex.”

She gives him a long look. “He requested to be moved.”

“Why?”

She shrugs and walks away, and Derek can only stand there and stare after her. He tries to ignore the flare of hurt in his chest, forces a smile and accepts Wagner’s fist bump with a “Heeeey roomie!” Once in the room, he watches TV with Wagner and shoots the shit for a while, but all he can think about is the fact that Dex doesn’t even want to be in the same room with him tonight.

Fuck.

When he gets on the bus in the morning, Dex is sitting with Chowder. Chowder looks up at him sheepishly and Dex doesn’t look at him at all. Derek stares at the two of them for a moment, then goes to sit next to Wagner.

Fine, whatever. It’s not like he and Dex were best friends anyway. They’re partners on the ice, but it’s not like it has to be anything more than that. And it’s not like he takes this shit to the ice or anything. (The last two games were totally on Dex.) Besides, they’re completely different people, with opposite perspectives on almost everything. Seriously, Dex is even, like, a Republican, and that’s just wrong.

The bus ride back to Samwell takes forever, so long that Derek finishes all the reading he’d planned to do this weekend. He ends up fucking around on Twitter and Instagram for a while, but it keeps eating at him. He finally gives in and texts Chowder.

Wtf is Dex’s problem today?

Chowder doesn’t reply for a full minute. He’s kinda pissed at u rn

Derek sighs. Why?

He says ur being a dick

A second later: That’s what he said, not saying I think ur a dick or anything!

Derek presses his lips together and thinks for a moment before tapping out a reply. He’s being a dick too

Half a minute pases. I hate it when u 2 fight, it really sucks

Sorry man

I’m not taking his side or anything, but Dex is really sad about it

Derek stares at his phone in disbelief. Dex is sad? That wasn’t the impression he had at all.

Thx for letting me know

He looks out the window for a few minutes, watching the landscape roll by. All right, he can admit it: he has kind of been a dick the last few days. But he didn’t expect Dex to just take all his shit and not fire back. He totally expected Dex to get mad, hit him, or do something that would give them a chance to yell at each other and get it out in the open. It’s not Derek’s fault that Dex is being all weird and… sad. Like, what the fuck is up with that?

He replays it all in his head, the little things he’d said and how he kept getting up in Dex’s space. Even… shit, even after Dex made it clear he wasn’t comfortable with it. It wasn’t like Derek had actually propositioned him or anything, but… damn.

It hits him so hard he sucks a breath in through his teeth.

Okay, yeah. So he was obnoxious to Dex at best and not far off from sexually harassing him at worst. Dex hadn’t reacted at all like he’d expected, and Derek hadn’t stopped to think that was maybe because he didn’t know how to respond to that kind of thing. Because no one had ever treated him like that before.

Shit.

Derek winces and closes his eyes. Not only has he been a massive dick, but he’s probably also fucked up whatever friendship they had.

***

Derek leaves Dex alone after that. He keeps his distance, and he only talks to him on the ice when he absolutely has to. It sucks and he’s miserable, but he doesn’t know what else to do.

By Wednesday, Dex seems to have relaxed a bit, and Derek skates up next to him after morning practice. He doesn’t touch him, just comes close enough to say, “Sorry, man.”

Dex turns to look at him with narrowed eyes. “What?”

“I’m sorry, all right? I was just fucking with you after the thing with Farmer, and I took it too far. I was a dick, okay?”

Dex stares back at him for a moment and then looks away. He licks his lips nervously and says, “All right.”

“Are we cool, bro?”

Dex nods and seems to force himself to look at Derek again. “Yeah, man. We’re cool.” His tone is completely unconvincing.

“You sure? Because seriously, it’s okay if—”

“No, it’s cool.” Dex gives him a weak smile, and a dozen butterflies take off in Derek’s stomach.

“Okay. I’ll…” He skates backwards, needing to put some space between them. “I’ve got class, so. I’ll see you.”

He changes out of his practice gear and showers and leaves Faber as fast as he can. Just fuck everything. Fuck it all.

***

He barely pays attention in his calc class, which is unfortunate because he really doesn’t get line integrals and now he’s going to have to go to office hours and look stupid in front of his professor. He just can’t stop thinking about Dex, though, and how weirdly vulnerable he’d seemed after practice. He desperately wants to be chill about this, but somehow he can’t. He can’t let it go, can’t stop the whirlwind of thoughts from sinking deeper into a dark pool of anxiety.

“You all right?”

He turns to see a guy standing next to him, backpack slung over one shoulder. Class has been dismissed, he realizes, and he’s just sitting there staring off into space while everyone else is packing up and leaving.

“Yeah, sorry. Just got a lot on my mind, I guess.”

“It’s Derek, right?” The guy looks familiar, with longish dark hair and big brown eyes, and an amazing smile.

“Yeah. You live in Jamison too, right? I’ve seen you around.”

“Third floor. I think you’re on the second, yeah?” At Derek’s raised eyebrows, he grins. “Hi, I’m Bradley, and I’m your stalker, apparently.”

Derek laughs and Bradley blushes and ducks his head a little, and okay, yeah, Derek can maybe work with that.

He turns on his most charming smile. “I don’t suppose you understood today’s lecture? I think I checked out ten minutes in.”

“I think so. Maybe we could get together later and work on the problems or… something.” Bradley’s smile goes full-on smirk.

“I’d be down with that.” Derek pulls out his phone and they exchange numbers.

“I’ll see you later, yeah?”

“Yeah.” Derek lets his gaze slide down the front of Bradley’s henley and lower, to the baggy jeans that he imagines are hiding muscular thighs. He looks like a snowboarder, or at least like Derek’s fantasy of one.

Bradley grins at him and shifts his bag on his shoulder. Derek doesn’t feel even remotely guilty about checking out his ass as he walks away. Dex would totally have flipped his shit if he’d seen Derek flirting with this guy, but whatever. Derek is chill like that. Boys, girls — it’s all good. Why does Dex have to make such a big fucking deal out of it, anyway?

***

Things ease up between Derek and Dex at practice, but it’s not like it was before. They both keep their distance and don’t so much as chirp each other. They compliment good work and acknowledge fuck-ups, and that’s kind of… it.

Chowder tries to talk to Derek about it after breakfast one morning, but Derek just says, “Chill, bro, it’s all fine,” and Chowder drops the subject. It’s not fine and everyone seems to know that, but as long as he and Dex aren’t fighting, the rest of the team seems content to leave them alone.

The really pathetic thing, though, is that Derek can’t stop watching Dex. He does it when Dex isn’t looking, of course — he’s not an idiot — and he can’t help but notice that Dex seems preternaturally calm about everything lately. He doesn’t get angry or happy or annoyed. He’s actually sort of… chill.

And that’s just about the most fucked up thing Derek can imagine, because Dex is not chill. Dex is the complete opposite of chill, which means he’s not okay, not at all.

It’s all Derek’s fault and there doesn’t seem to be a damn thing he can do about it.

***

They win the Valentine’s Day game, which is fantastic, and Derek even gets an assist. It’s a totally sweet way to celebrate his birthday. Bitty remembers, because of course he does, and he makes everyone sing “Happy Birthday” in the locker room after the game. He even gives Derek a chocolate pie, which is all kinds of awesome. Dex hangs back and watches it all, and doesn’t say anything when everyone else is slapping Derek on the back and pulling him into sweaty hugs. And Derek knows he deserves that, so whatever. It’s fine.

Most of the single guys are hanging out at the Haus that night, but the third floor of Jamison is having an Anti-Valentine’s Party, and that sounds like a hell of a lot more fun. Derek loves the team, but he’s not sure he can be in the same space as Dex right now. Not on his fucking birthday, anyway. It’s been a shitty couple of weeks and he owes it to himself to have some goddamn fun tonight.

He sends Dex a text anyway, because it seems like the chill thing to do.

Just wanted to say I’m sorry again. Happy Valentine’s Day.

He hits send, plugs his phone into the charger, and walks away, because he doesn’t need to see if Dex, like, read it, or wait for him to reply or anything.

The party is spread across all the rooms on the third floor of the dorm. There are black streamers hanging from the ceiling all down the hallway and giant black tissue paper flowers adorning the doors. Music pours out of every room and there’s a lot of alcohol, though it takes a little looking around before Derek finds the source. (There seems to be a quiet agreement to keep it out of plain sight in case the RAs decide the amount they were bribed to look the other way wasn’t worth the trouble.)

The posters plastered all over the dorm this week had instructed attendees to wear either all black or pajamas, and most people seem to have decided to combine the two. A few groups of very drunk girls run around in skimpy black lingerie, which in turn inspires some of the guys to strip down to their skivvies too. It’s starting to look like a bit of a hookup scene, which Derek thinks maybe defeats the purpose of having an Anti-Valentine’s party, but whatever. People are having fun. It’s all good.

Derek isn’t really that much of an exhibitionist, but after he sees Bradley disappear into a room down the hall, he decides maybe it’s time to join in the fun after all. He goes back to his room and changes into a pair of black boxer-briefs, then heads back up to the party.

He gets a lot of attention pretty much immediately, which is nice considering the last week and a half of his life. Even better is the moment Bradley spots him, leaning in the doorway of someone’s room, cup of some random mixer in hand. Bradley’s eyes are wide and dark, and when Derek smiles at him, Bradley looks awed.

Derek walks over to him and pretends he doesn’t notice the way Bradley’s eyes rake over his chest, linger on the ink on his bicep.

“Having fun?”

“I am now.” Bradley drains whatever is in his cup and tosses it into a trash can a few feet away. He steps closer and looks up at Derek through his eyelashes. “Damn, but you look good without a shirt on.”

Derek smirks and raises his cup to his lips. “I look even better without the boxers.”

Bradley’s eyes glaze over. He moves even closer and slides a hand up Derek’s chest. “I’d like to see that.”

Derek leans in to kiss him, and Bradley’s mouth crashes into his. It’s wet and sloppy, but it’s exactly what Derek wants right now. God, he wants it, even if Bradley isn’t quite tall enough and his hair is a little too long and his shoulders aren’t as broad as the ones Derek has been thinking about when he jerks off. The important thing is, Bradley is here and he’s interested, and that’s more than he’ll ever get from William Poindexter.

“Get a room!” someone says, and Derek pulls back, laughing.

“Good idea,” Bradley says against his lips.

“Mine might be quieter.”

“Let’s go.”

They stumble down the stairs and into Derek’s room. He’s never been more grateful to have a single than he is when he closes the door behind them and knows they won’t be disturbed. He kisses Bradley into the door for several long minutes before pulling him towards the bed. Bradley goes eagerly, tugs his shirt up and off, steps out of his pajama pants, and settles back on the bed. He smiles lewdly up at Derek, and yeah — this is going to be good.

Derek climbs over him and kisses him, pushing him down into the mattress. He’s a lot smaller than Derek — he really is a snowboarder, it turns out — and Derek doesn’t let himself compare the body beneath him to… well. He’s not going there, is the point. Bradley is here, and he’s fucking hot, and the way he whimpers when Derek wraps fingers around his wrists and presses them up above his head makes his dick so hard it aches.

“You like that?” Derek whispers.

Bradley lunges up for his mouth again, and Derek rolls his hips so that their erections slide together in a slow drag.

“Oh, shit,” Bradley gasps, and spreads his thighs apart, hooking his ankles together behind Derek’s thighs. They grind against each other and kiss messily, and it’s hot and dirty and so close to what Derek wants.

“Your face is rough,” Bradley says when Derek moves to suck kisses on his neck.

“Sorry.”

“No, god, it’s hot. I hope I have stubbleburn on my ass tomorrow.”

Derek groans at that, because goddamn. Bradley pulls his hands free from Derek’s grip and slides them down his back and over his hips.

“Oh my god, your ass is amazing,” Bradley says, squeezing, and Derek grins against his throat. He can’t pretend he isn’t thrilled that Bradley is so into his body. It’s something he spends a lot of time working on, after all, but compared to some of the other guys on the team, he doesn’t usually think he’s all that built.

“I think I said something about taking these off.” Derek pushes off the bed and hooks his fingers under the waistband of his underwear. His dick is crazy hard, stretching the fabric taut and leaking a wet spot just under the waistband. Before he can do anything else, though, Bradley sits up on the bed and reaches for him.

“Jesus,” Bradley says, and drops to his knees. He leans forward and pressed his open mouth to Derek’s cloth-covered dick.

Derek groans and his hand goes to the back of Bradley’s head, encouraging him. If this is going where he thinks it is, it probably isn’t going to take very long.

Bradley looks up at him with an absolutely wicked smile and reaches for the waistband of Derek’s underwear. And — of course — that is the exact moment someone knocks on the door.

“Shhhh,” Bradley says, grinning. He tugs Derek’s underwear down enough to reveal just the head of his cock. He looks back up at Derek and fucking licks his lips.

“Oh my god,” Derek says.

There is another knock, and then, “Nursey, it’s me. I know you’re in there. Open the fuck up.”

Derek makes a sound of frustration and presses a hands to his forehead. “I’m kinda busy, bro.”

“You can jerk off later. This is fucking important.”

Bradley leans forward and Derek feels warm breath ghost over the head of his dick. It’s so fucking good, but he can’t just stand here getting a blow job while Dex is yelling at him on the other side of the door. He groans and takes a step back, tugging his underwear back up. “Let me tell him to fuck off, all right?”

Bradley looks mildly annoyed, but Dex is more important than a blow job. As much as it pains Derek to admit it.

He crosses to the door and opens it just enough to stick his head through. “What the fuck, man?”

Dex looks startled, and Derek immediately wonders whether it’s obvious what he was just doing.

“I got your text and… Can we talk?”

Derek grimaces. “Can it wait like, half an hour?”

There is a flash of something almost like hurt on Dex’s face before his expression shifts into a mix of annoyance and disappointment. “Well, if you’re too busy, I guess—”

“Take a fucking hint, dude!” Bradley calls from behind the door.

Dex’s eyes widen almost comically. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Ummm.” Derek’s mind races, looking for a way to make this look like anything other than what it is.

Bradley comes up behind him then, and before Derek can do anything to stop him, he pulls the door open and glares at Dex. “Me. Do you have a problem with that or something?”

Dex stares at Bradley in complete shock.

“Oh god,” Derek groans. He leans back against the door frame and waits for Dex to connect all the dots.

“You…” Dex says, turning bright red now, “and him were…”

“Shit.” Bradley looks back and forth between them, horror dawning on his face. “Did I just, like, out you?” He grimaces and turns to pick his clothes up off the floor. “Fuck, man, I am really sorry. I’m kinda drunk and… I’ll just… go. Now.” He opens the door wider and steps carefully around Dex. He mouths sorry at Derek before disappearing from view down the hall, pajamas tucked under his arm.

Derek takes a steadying breath. “Well, I seem to be available now, if you want to—”

“Shut. Up.” Dex presses his hands over his face and makes a sound like a strangled laugh.

“Dex—”

“No, do not talk to me right now, just…” He drops his hands and looks at a spot on the door, his expression stony. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me you were gay?”

“Because I’m not?”

Dex looks at him then. “You were just making out with a dude!”

“I’m bi, idiot.”

“Even better,” Dex says, and Derek doesn’t miss the sarcasm in his voice.

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing, all right? Just… shit. How could you not… This changes everything.”

And oh, that hurts, so much more than Derek would have expected. He doesn’t even know what to say, because everything feels like it’s crashing down around him.

“Fuck you, man, just… take your fucking homophobic bullshit and get the fuck away from me!” He steps back and slams the door shut, and the last thing he sees is the shocked expression on Dex’s face.

He sinks to the floor with his back against the door and presses the heels of his hands against his eyes. God, it fucking hurts. It’s fucked up and wrong, and he can’t believe this shit is happening to him at fucking Samwell, of all places. Logically, he knows this is all new for Dex and that he’s trying, that he grew up in some stupid podunk town surrounded by closed-minded idiots, but fuck, how could he just—

There is a knock behind his head.

“Nursey, please open the door.”

He huffs out a laugh. “Fuck off, Dex. I really don’t need this shit right now.”

“It’s not what you think.” His voice sounds strained. “Fuck, come on, man.”

“Just… go away.” He’s not going to fucking cry; he’s not.

“Don’t make me do this through the door. Nursey, please.”

There is a note of desperation in the last word, and it’s enough to give Derek pause. Fine, whatever. He’s been spoiling for a fight for weeks, and it looks like he’s about to get one. Best to get it the fuck over with.

He takes a deep breath before pushing to his feet and opening the door. He tries to glare, but Dex’s expression is… wrecked. He looks more upset than Derek has ever seen him, and it takes the edge off his anger.

He steps back, opens the door enough to let Dex in, and watches as he walks over to Derek’s bed. Dex hesitates there, staring at the rumpled duvet for a long moment before he turns and sits on it, fingers clenched in his lap.

Derek goes to stand in front of him. “Well?”

“Fuck, I… Now I have no idea what to say.” Dex takes a shaky breath, then looks up at him. He looks terrified.

Derek sighs. “I’ve got all night, apparently. Want a beer?”

“Yeah.”

Derek snags two cans from the mini-fridge in his room and hands one to Dex. He sits sideways on the bed, facing Dex. They both drink in silence for a minute.

“About last week,” Dex begins at last.

“God, how many times do I have to apologize?” Derek can’t keep the touch of exasperation out of his voice. “I’m fucking sorry, all right?”

“No, that’s… shut up and let me…” Dex sighs, clearly flustered. “Look, I know you think I hated it, but I didn’t. It wasn’t like that.”

Derek stares at him, not sure he understands. “You… what?”

“I liked it,” Dex says, staring resolutely at the beer can in his hand. “You being so… nice like that. And I thought you knew, and that you were just fucking with me to be mean.”

“Wait, you thought I knew what?”

“That I… That I like you.”

Derek’s heart pounds in his chest. “You like me?”

“Yeah.” Dex looks completely miserable. “And I know you don’t like me that way, and that’s fine, cause god, you’re all” —He gestures at Derek, who remembers he’s nearly naked in the middle of this fucked up conversation.— “and I’m… well. Not. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, cause you clearly aren’t into me at all and I’m gonna regret all of this tomorrow morning, fuck.” He sets the beer can on the floor and presses his hands over his face.

Derek stares at him for a moment. There are multiple things to parse here and his head is spinning. He then sets his beer can on the desk adjacent to the bed and settles on a place to start. “So… okay, first of all — I thought you were straight.”

Dex drops his hands and stares at the floor. He opens his mouth, but he doesn’t say anything.

“So like, are you or are you not?”

“I don’t… I…” Dex blinks.

Derek watches him a moment more, then sucks in a breath. “Shit. You’ve never told anyone, have you?”

Dex shakes his head and presses his lips together. His face sort of crumples.

“Oh my god, seriously?” Derek can’t really wrap his head around this. It can’t be right, because he fucking knows Dex, and he would’ve known this. It would have pinged his gaydar or something. Wouldn’t it? He half-laughs, somewhere between shocked and frustrated. “Oh my god, Dex. What the fuck?”

Dex’s fingers clench the duvet, and he looks like he’s trying very hard not to lose it. “Sorry,” he says, and moves like he’s going to get up.

Something sparks in Derek’s brain and recent events suddenly make a hell of a lot more sense.

And he’s doing this all wrong.

“Hey, no, come here.” Derek reaches out and wraps his fingers around Dex’s wrist. Dex freezes like the cliché of a deer in headlights, and Derek takes a deep breath. He scoots closer and pulls Dex against him. “It’s okay, just… don’t go. Talk to me.”

Dex takes a shuddering breath and collapses against him. He’s shaking, and it makes Derek’s chest hurt.

“Shit, man, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” He rubs his hand on Dex’s back as soothingly as he can.

They stay like that for a couple of minutes until Dex’s breathing finally evens out. He presses his forehead against Derek’s shoulder, and Derek lies back, pulling Dex down onto the bed with him. He presses his nose into Dex’s hair and holds him, and waits.

“I thought I could just ignore it,” Dex says at last. “I thought I could go out with girls and pretend to like them and it would be fine, but it’s not… that wasn’t…”

“You’re gay,” Derek says, and waits a moment, lets the word sink in. “That was never going to work.”

Dex curls into him and slides an arm around his waist. “I know, but… I played hockey and baseball my whole life. I was always into the same stuff all the other guys were, not like, musicals or whatever. It didn’t make sense. I mean, why me, you know?”

Derek nods, even though Dex probably can’t see it.

“And you know how guys are in the locker room and all the shit they say. I never wanted any of that directed at me. And god, my dad, my brother, my cousins… Just.”

Dex’s life has clearly been a lot more complicated than Derek has ever thought. He’s been so quick to judge and pigeonhole him all this time, and he should fucking know better. He sighs and touches his lips to Dex’s forehead in a silent apology. Dex tilts his face up to look at him and Derek smooths the pad of his thumb over the freckles on Dex’s cheekbone. Dex’s eyes fall closed.

“Is that why you came to Samwell?”

Dex nods and inhales, as if trying to settle himself. He opens his eyes again and looks at Derek with so much naked affection that Derek feels like he might burst.

“Jesus, Dex.” Derek smiles, curves his palm against Dex’s jaw. His thumb slides across Dex’s chin and over his bottom lip, and Dex stares back at him, so open and vulnerable and lost. Derek takes a shaky breath. “I really want to kiss you right now. Is that—”

Dex surges up and kisses him, and Derek makes a soft sound low in his throat. It’s a slow, almost chaste kiss, a pressing of lips, mouths closed. Derek feels something flip pleasantly in his stomach. He pulls away and smiles at the awestruck expression on Dex’s face. Dex moves to kiss him again, but Derek dodges and kisses the tip of his nose instead.

“More talking first. I need to understand all of this. So Samwell?”

Dex inhales sharply, as if he’d forgotten to breathe for a moment. “Yeah. I thought coming here would be different, and it is, but… it’s still hard.”

Derek nods. “It is, it’s really fucking hard. I mean, I’m not really out either, not to everyone.” Half the dorm saw him making out with a dude tonight, so that train’s probably left the station, but still.

Dex frowns. “About that—”

“You didn’t make it easy, bro. You’ve said some shit that made me think you’d kinda be a dick about it.”

Dex winces and closes his eyes. “I know. I don’t know why I did that. Old habits, I guess. Self-preservation.”

“And you really haven’t told anyone?”

“I think Chowder suspects, after all my whining about you last week. And Shitty asked me outright last fall.”

“Damn.”

“Yeah. He said I was either really fucking closeted or just being a dick, and I needed to decide which one it was and do something about it.”

Derek chuckles at that. “I fucking love Shitty. So which one did you choose?”

Dex pokes him hard in the ribs. “Shut up.” He’s smiling, though, and Derek feels like a weight is lifting from his chest.

He catches Dex’s hand and intertwines their fingers, marveling at how easy it is. “I talked to Bitty about it pretty early on. I asked him how cool the guys on the team were about it all. He said they were, but that he didn’t even come out until the end of his first semester.”

Dex snorts. “Bitty’s pretty damn obvious.”

Derek smacks the back of his head. “Just because he fits a few stereotypes doesn’t mean you get to put him in a box, bro. It’s up to him what to tell and when to tell it.”

“Shit, sorry. I know.” Dex buries his face against Derek’s chest.

“And I know for a fact that we are not the only three non-straight dudes on the team, so.”

Dex looks up at him again. “Seriously? Who?”

Derek smiles. “Not my secret to tell, Dex.”

“Speaking of secrets—”

“Safe with me, you have to know that.”

“Okay.”

He swallows and Derek’s eyes follow the line of his throat as it moves. He looks back up to see Dex watching his face carefully.

Derek pulls their intertwined fingers against his chest. “I’ve spent the last week and a half thinking about what it would be like to kiss you.”

Dex looks away. “You said last week that you were just fucking with me.”

“I wasn’t. Well, maybe at first, but just because I thought you were being all no homo about what Farmer said, so I wanted to stick it to you a little.” Dex frowns slightly at this, and Derek squeezes his hand. “But then I started thinking about it, and I realized I liked the idea of you and me. Like, a lot.” He releases Dex’s hand and brushes his fingers through the short red hair on his forehead. “But you didn’t seem like you wanted that at all, and I kept doing it anyway, like a complete dick.”

“Nah, it was more like I was almost getting what I wanted, but not really. I was fucking miserable.”

Derek shifts down the bed until their faces are level, inches apart. “And what is it you wanted?”

“You gotta ask, really?” Dex moves forward and kisses Derek again, and this time, Derek doesn’t hold back. He opens his mouth and sweeps his tongue across Dex’s lower lip. Dex opens up for him immediately, and it’s slow and sweet and ridiculously hot. When Derek makes a ragged sound in the back of his throat, Dex presses tightly against him, and Derek feels a rush of arousal so strong it makes his hips jerk.

He pulls out of the kiss and presses their foreheads together. “So, uh… what exactly are we doing here?”

“What do you want to do?”

Derek breathes, chuckles a littles. “I want to fuck you into the mattress, but I think we need to make sure we’re on the same page first.”

Dex’s eyes are wide and dark. “I think we’re on the same page, yeah.”

“No, I mean… Are we hooking up just tonight, or is it going to be a lot of hooking up, or are we talking like, dating each other, or what?”

Dex blinks at him. “Yes.”

Derek laughs. “Which one?”

“Sorry, I think I missed the question.” Dex lunges forward and kisses him again. His dick is hard against Derek’s thigh, and Derek suddenly wants nothing more than to get it in his mouth.

He rolls them over and straddles Dex’s hips, then grinds slowly against him. Dex arches up, mouth slack against his. Derek pushes up on one elbow and does it again, watching Dex’s face. God, he could come like this.

Shit, wait, they still haven’t… He stops, takes a deep breath.

“If it’s all the same to you, I like the dating option.”

“Yeah,” Dex says, and it’s almost a gasp. “Yeah, that’s… good.”

“Good.” Derek smiles and kisses him again, slow and dirty, and oh god. “So is this okay, or are you one of those guys who doesn’t put out on the first date?”

“If you don’t fucking touch my dick soon, man—”

Derek grins and reaches between them to press his palm over the front of Dex’s jeans, and Dex groans. They work together to get Dex’s jeans and underwear off, and when Dex tugs his shirt up and over his head, Derek has to stop and stare for a moment. He’s all pale skin and freckles, but also broad shoulders and solid muscle. The lines of his body are more compact than Derek’s own, but there’s a quiet, subtle strength to his body that has Derek wanting to lick every square inch.

“Damn,” Derek says, shaking his head.

Dex stares up at him. “What?”

“You.” He swallows. “I never really got to look before. Kinda having a moment here.”

Dex looks somewhere between disbelieving and pleased. He reaches up to slide one finger just inside the waistband of Derek’s underwear, the smile on his lips almost shy, and fuck, that is hot as hell. If they don’t move this along soon, Derek just might explode. He looks down between them to where Dex’s cock is ramrod stiff against his belly, already leaking fluid. He shifts down on the bed and looks up at Dex.

“I really wanna blow you.”

Dex pushes up on his elbows, eyes wide. Derek grins and runs his hands up the pale freckled skin of his thighs, feeling hard muscles shift underneath. Dex’s dick practically jumps into his hand, and when Derek licks experimentally at the head, Dex collapses back onto the mattress with a moan. Derek wants to go slow and take his time and see how many noises he can extract from Dex, but he’s also hard as fuck and pretty damn impatient right now. Slow, romantic first times are kinda overrated anyway.

He takes Dex’s dick into his mouth, sliding down as far as he can, and works it with his tongue on the way back up.

“Oh fuck, Nursey, that’s… oh my god.”

Dex’s fingers clench the duvet on either side of his hips, and his chest heaves. His thighs fall even farther apart when Derek goes down again. He takes him in deeper this time, to the point where he’s almost gagging. He shifts up onto his knees so he can lean over Dex and bob his head up and down quickly, fingers of one hand wrapped around the base of his dick. His jaw starts to ache after a while, so he slows down again, using his tongue more.

The sounds Dex makes are amazing: breathy pants and whimpers, like he’s trying to keep quiet but can’t. His dick is slick with spit now, and it’s easy for Derek to use his hand to jack him in time to the movements of his mouth.

Dex tenses beneath him almost immediately. “Oh god, I.. I’m…”

Derek pulls off and finishes him with his hand, torn between watching his cock pulse and watching his face when he comes. Dex makes a flattering amount of noise, and Derek’s glad most of the dorm’s residents are either out for the night or on the third floor.

“Oh my god.” Dex presses his hands over his face for a moment, then drops his arms back over his head. He grins up at the ceiling. “That’s so much better with a guy, holy shit.”

Derek’s had blow jobs from both guys and girls and he’s not sure there’s that much of a difference, but whatever. He smiles and settles against Dex’s side. “You fucked girls?”

“I was trying to be straight, remember? But yeah, that was… wow. Fuck.”

“So you’re saying it was good?” Derek nuzzles his cheek.

“God, yeah. It was really fucking good.” He tilts his head and sighs as Derek sucks a spot under his jaw. “So, um… want me to do you?”

Fuckyesplease is what Derek thinks, but he manages to sound chill: “Whatever you want, man.” He rolls onto his back and pushes his briefs down. His dick is so hard he’s pretty sure he’s going to shoot his load the second Dex touches him.

“Oh, fuck.” Dex sits up and reaches for his erection, slides his hand all the way up the shaft. “You have foreskin and everything. What’s that like?”

His hand is big and his grip is kind of rough, and Derek’s just… damn. “Yeah, we can compare later, okay? Just like… I’m really close.”

Dex strokes up, sliding his foreskin over the head, then down again, and Derek has to bite the inside of his cheek. “God, you don’t even need lube to jerk off, do you?”

Derek laughs, but it comes out as more of a strangled gasp. “Jesus, Dex, just do it already.”

Dex smirks down at him and tightens his grip. He moves his hand faster and watches Derek’s face. “Like that?”

“Faster. Oh yeah, like… yeah, fuck.” He arches up into Dex’s hand and Dex leans down to kiss him.

“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this,” Dex whispers. “God, it’s even better than I imagined.”

Derek slides a hand around the back of of his head and pulls him down into a kiss, and then he’s coming, his cries muffled against Dex’s tongue, shooting into Dex’s hand. Dex sits back, smiling with dimples and everything, and Derek is sure he hasn’t felt this good in a long time.

They curl around each other afterward, making out lazily, hands sliding over each other’s skin.

“You’re staying, right?”

Dex’s teeth graze the stubble along Derek’s jaw. “Yeah, I mean — if that’s okay? It’d be a lot more fun than dealing with my asshole roommate.” He snickers against Derek’s skin. “He would give me so much shit about getting laid on Valentine’s Day.”

“You could go do the walk of shame if you really want. Get your PJs and your toothbrush.”

“I wasn’t planning on putting any clothes back on. But… could I borrow from you?”

“I know I just had your dick in my mouth and all, but dude — I don’t share my toothbrush with anybody.”

Dex bites hard enough that Derek hisses, and then sucks gently at the spot. “Fine, be that way.”

Derek slides a hand around the back of Dex’s head and holds him there, squirming against the slight sting. “I will.”

***

The fondue restaurant is busy for a Tuesday night, but that’s probably because it’s full of students who all bought the same Groupon they did.

Chowder aims a fondue fork with a cube of cheese-dipped bread on it right at Farmer’s face. She grins and lets him feed it to her, which would be sickening if they weren’t so adorable. A bit of cheese drips off the fork and onto her chin, and he leans forward to kiss it off. Farmer catches his lips in a quick kiss and sits back, beaming at him.

“You two are disgusting,” Derek says, shaking his head.

“Nah, man, it’s hella cute. Here.” Dex spears a piece of bread on the fondue fork and dips it, then blows on it to cool it before holding it out to Derek with a smirk.

Derek groans. “No, man. No way. Don’t even think about it.”

“C’mon, open up.” He jabs the cheesy cube at Derek’s chin. “Nursey, chill. Eat the fucking bread.”

Chowder and Farmer both laugh, and Derek rolls his eyes. He turns toward Dex and makes a bring it gesture.

Dex smirks at him and aims for his mouth, then pulls the bread away when Derek leans forward.

“Fuck you, man.” Derek makes a grab for the fork, but Dex pulls it out of his reach.

“No, no, I really will this time. No Charlie Brown shit, I swear.” He wiggles the fork enticingly in front of Derek’s mouth again.

Derek leans forward again, but right before he gets his lips around it, Dex smears the still-liquid cheese just under his lower lip. Derek bites it off the fork, mock-glaring at Dex for a second before he chews and swallows. Chowder and Farmer laugh. Dex laughs too, then does a quick look around the restaurant. He darts forward and sucks Derek’s lower lip into his mouth before Derek quite realizes it’s happening. Derek freezes against him in surprise, then tilts his head and kisses him back. It’s a simple, chaste sort of kiss, but it’s the first time they’ve done something like this in front of other people. Dex sits back with a smirk and Derek smiles at him, awed.

“What the hell?” Farmer slaps Chowder lightly on the arm. “You didn’t tell me this was a double-date!”

“I didn’t know!” Chowder turns a flustered expression to Derek and Dex. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Sorry, Chowder.” Dex blushes. “We were going to tell you tonight. I just sorta forgot we hadn’t.”

Derek reaches for Dex’s hand under the table and squeezes it. He wants to say he’s proud of him, that he’s brave and amazing and adorable, but all of that can wait until later. Right now he just beams at him like an idiot. No chill whatsoever.

“No, I get it,” Farmer says, leaning forward on her elbows. “He’s so hot you can’t resist.”

“Wait, you think Nursey’s hot?” Chowder sounds mildly offended.

“Don’t you?”

“Well yeah, but… you’re dating me.”

“Chris, the entire Samwell men’s hockey team is ridiculously hot. Everyone knows that.”

“But—”

She leans in and kisses him, and it’s the sort of kiss that’s full of promises about what might happen later tonight.

“Geez, get a room.” Dex throws a bread cube at them.

“Lay off, Dex. It’s, like, young love.” Derek dips more bread in the pot.

Farmer pushes Chowder back with one hand in the center of his chest, then picks up her fondue fork again, cool as a cucumber. Chowder, on the other hand, looks dazed.

“That’s a good look for you, Chow,” Dex says, chirping face firmly on.

Derek smirks at him. “Like you’d look any different if I kissed you like that.”

Derek expects him to snap something right back, but he doesn’t. Instead, his cheeks go a little pink and he smiles.

“Yeah, probably not.”

Farmer grins at them from across the table. Derek squeezes Dex’s hand, and grins back.

***

FIN