The afternoon of Sookie Stackhouse's funeral was stark and lacking any warmth; despite the recent heat of summer, only cold clung to the dispersing congregation's bodies and hearts. The air in the cemetery was stale, lifeless. A single glance in the direction of the Stackhouse residence brought fresh waves of tears to the eyes of the mourners, who were just beginning to head back to their homes. The list of guests for this funeral however, was somewhat shorter than expected. Probably because the vampires were busy. Doing what you may ask?
The answer was simple: 'sleeping'. Jason, in defiance against the vampires he blamed for her death, had decided to have the service in the bright pure light of day - a thing he thought reflected his dear deceased sister better than the dank shadows of night. He was barely managing to contain his rage at the vampires; to subdue his urge to go and stake every fucking one of them.
"Jason?" Someone nudged his shoulder gently and he resisted flinching away from the contact. He was like a ticking time bomb ready to explode; he didn't know whether he would start stabbing everyone in a 2 mile radius or start crying hysterically while clutching his knees and rocking back and forth.
"Sookie?" he whimpered, looking up at the pretty blonde woman leaning over him. He scrubbed the tears from his eyes and saw it was only his cousin. "Oh...Hadley."
"Are you okay, Jason?" Hadley asked, softly. Hunter was peeking shyly around her long skirt. "You seem... overwhelmed."
Jason sighed, raking a hand through his hair. "Look, sorry about that. I just..."
"Listen. I understand it's all a bit much, but...I'm here for you. Family first. Now, I just have to know-"
"Stackhouse," an acid voice whipped, "has she already been laid to rest?"
Jason turned toward the voice. It was Felton, one of the drug-dealing, incestuous panthers from Hotshot, if he recalled correctly.
"Not yet...Felton. Not trying to be Dick of the Year, but who the hell invited you?" Jason asked with a hint of anger leaking into his voice.
"I'm not here 'cause I wanna be," Felton spat, screwing up his face as if attending the funeral of a lovely, telepathic waitress-come-fang-banger was the worst thing he could imagine. Jason wanted to hit him just for that. If he didn't want to be here, then why was he? Before he could question Felton's intentions, the panther strode away into the throng of people and disappeared within seconds.
"What was that?" Hadley asked, her own unasked question forgotten by both of them. "He smelled like a mangy dog."
"Cat," Jason said, recalling his first few weeks as a werepanther, having to rely on scum like Felton for help. "But you're right about the mangy part."
"Hadley, would you mind if I stayed with you for awhile? I don't think I can stay in that house...."
"Um...I guess that shouldn't be a problem. I don't think Hunter would mind."
Jason smiled up at Hadley, feeling all remaining energy leaving him. It occurred to him he had two options: break down crying and be useless to anyone for days or harden himself, lock away the grief, and focus on moving on. Safe to say, he decided against the painful mourning.
"Hey Jason, do you smell something? Like...burning?" Jason turned toward the voice. It was Hoyt Fortenberry, Jason's best friend and secret crush since, well, forever.
"Hoyt," Jason said, fighting to keep that ever-present affection out of his tone, "where you been? I didn't see you at the funeral...?"
"I had some...unfinished business to take care of," he cleared his throat loudly, "are you alright yourself?"
"Me? Well...I need a new person to hug now" Jason laughed lamely and slapped himself mentally.
Hoyt laughed weakly and they both looked away awkwardly. Hadley appeared to be wishing she was nowhere in the vicinity. Hunter appeared from behind his mother and wrapped his arms around Jason's legs. "I'll give you hugs Uncle Jase," he said. Jason ruffled his hair affectionately.
"Well, speaking of you, Hunter, we better be off," Hadley said, taking his hand, "we'll see you again soon."
"Bye, Hadley. I'll call you soon." Jason said lamely to her back as she walked away.
"So, Stackhouse. How're you, buddy?" asked Hoyt, his Louisiana-esque accent not lessened by the slight volume of his voice.
"I'm surviving Hoyt, I'm surviving. Just barely scraping through" Jason managed a weak smile.
Hoyt felt a sudden uprush of emotion for his life-long best friend. He stepped forward, embracing Jason tightly. "I'm always here for you Jason. Always."
Jason felt himself melt into the warm strength of Hoyt. Hoyt had always been there for him. Always. "Jason?" "Yes?" "I think that tree's on fire"
"Goddammit!" The tree was on fire. Well, metaphorically. Eric Northman was standing underneath so that upped the hotness of the tree by about a thousand points.
"Problem, Stackhouse?" Eric drawled.
Jason whirled around to face the blonde vampire. Damn, he's hot. Wait, what was he thinking?! He loved Hoyt! He grabbed Hoyt around the waist. "No. No problem, aside you being here."
"Why are you here, vamp?" demanded Hoyt, returning Jason's embrace, though hesitantly. He had to resist the temptation not to turn to his friend and demand 'What the fuck? Why do I feel as though you're trying to stake a claim on me?'. Not that he had an issue with being touched by Jason - or a claim being staked upon him, for that matter - not in the slightest, he just wasn't sure he wanted it to be because an angry vampire had suddenly arrived on the scene.
"I smell the scent of sex in the air."
Jason laughed awkwardly. "Oh, whatever, vamp." Sex...with Hoyt. What an absurd...ly appealing idea." "Were you the one who set the tree on fire?" Hoyt asked. "What? The tree isn't on fire," Eric frowned and turned around to look at the tree directly behind him. "I meant the tree over there, dipshit," Hoyt said, pointing to his left. Well, what do you know. A tree actually was on fire.
"That is not of consequence-" Eric began.
"It's my fucking tree!" Jason yelled.
Eric, ignoring the interruption, continued, "-there are things of higher importance. Has Sookie's body already been laid to rest?" Jason wasn't listening. He had his phone out and was calling 911. "911, what's your emergency?" "Hello? Yes, there's a fire, in the Bon Temps cemetery." Jason said quickly. "Jason...answer me" Eric snarled, moving to stand right in front of him intimidatingly. When he continued to ignore him, Eric snatched the phone from Jason's grasp and crumpled it like a candy wrapper.
"People could die if that fire spreads, you selfish ass-" Jason's voice choked off as Eric lifted him by his throat.
"Now, listen to me," Eric began.
"Put him the fuck down or you get a bullet in the brain," Hoyt said, his voice was cold and very angry, he pressed the muzzle of the gun against the back of the vampire's head. "Wooden bullets, motherfucker. Do it NOW." It was a tense stand off as the three men refused to move from their positions. After a few moments, Eric growled with frustration and dropped Jason with as much grace as a monster truck. Jason crumpled to the ground his face red, his watering. Hoyt dropped to knees beside and pulled him into his arms.
"You okay, buddy?" he asked softly. Jason nodded weakly.
Eric looked down at them with familiar disdain. "Has. She. Been. Buried?"
"Yes!" Jason spat. "Now, fuck off, fanger!" Hoyt said nothing, but he gave Jason a brief squeeze around the middle in silent reprimand.
Eric disappeared in the space of a millisecond, and the two men sagged against each other a little. Their peace didn't last long however. "Jason..." "Jesus Bill! I'm so sick of you Goddamn fangers appearing out of nowhere! Now piss off!" Jason shouted, practically leaping to his feet. He whirled around to face Bill, rage burning in his eyes. "Yes, she's been buried. No, you can't say goodbye. Now, just leave, dammit!"
"I did not come here to argue," Bill said after a moment, he didn't seem upset or surprised by Jason's outburst. And for the first time Jason noticed the pink streaks drying on the vampire's cheeks. "I came to offer my most sincere condolences. If there is anything I can do for you, know that I shall. It's what Sookie would have wanted." Jason struggled to keep up his glare, but he had to relent.
"Then leave. I need to talk to Hoyt without all you damn vamps interrupting," Jason said, even to Bill his voice sounded weary.
"I will stand guard. No one shall interrupt you until dawn," Bill said, he disappeared with vampire-speed but they knew he wouldn't have gone far. "How can you stand being around those...things?" Hoyt asked Jason as they both made their way back to the house. "It's...tolerable." "You're staying in the house by yourself...right?" "Actually, I was going to go to stay with Hadley...." Jason muttered, tightening his grip on Hoyt as he stumbled over an unseen rock. "Well, it's too late to get to Shreveport now. Did you want me to stay with you the night?" Hoyt asked, using concern to cover the eagerness in his voice. "I've a change of clothes in your truck, remember?"
"Oh...um, right. Sure then...no problems with that. Although I might have to go call Hadley. You can go in and make yourself at home, I grab the clothes from the truck."
Hoyt walked up to the house, climbing the steps of the familiar porch with two quick strides. The door was open, as he knew it would be, and he made his way into the living room to await Jason. He didn't dare hope to guess about the sleeping arrangements. Waiting patiently on the couch, he noticed some cute baby pictures scattered around the room. Is it weird that he could immediately tell which ones were Jason? Probably.
Jason was back. He was holding Hoyt's backpack. He held it out, almost like a peace offering. "Here. You might want to get out of those clothes," he said, gesturing to the suit and tie Hoyt was wearing.
"Yeah..." Hoyt took the backpack and fled to the bathroom. In his haste he forgot to shut the door.
Jason milled around the lounge for a minute, but he had never been particularly patient. He wandered towards the bathroom, intending to call out and ask Hoyt what was taking so long, but he was halfway to the door before he realized it had been left ajar. There had always been a part of him that admired Hoyt in a not-so-heterosexual way, but more recently he'd noticed himself staring at Hoyt in the most odd situations: watched the way his muscles flexed as he worked, going out with women and watching Hoyt more than them. And now he had an opportunity to watch Hoyt with the majority of his clothes off...what else was a guy to do?
Feeling like the biggest creeper, he quickly edged himself across the wall opposite the door. He realized how stupid he must seem so he thinks of a new plan. Jason decided to just walk past casually like he isn't checking Hoyt out while he's changing. Taking a deep breath, he tried to smoothly go past the door and only take a peek in. As he moved right in front of the door, his "peek" turned into a full-out stare. Hoyt was standing, as far as Jason could see, naked with his back to door. Jason's jaw dropped at the sight. Hoyt was tan and toned from working outdoors in the Southern summers.
His gaze lingered on Hoyt's big strong shoulders and the muscular curve of his butt. "Wow," he murmured appreciatively, unable to restrain his awe. Jason's eyes went wide as Hoyt looked over his shoulder and they both froze in utter surprise. "Uh..." Jason was speechless and he felt his cheek reddening. Hoyt looked just as speechless as him. He slowly turned around and Jason (regretfully) had to shift his gaze. For a long and awkward moment there was nothing - no speech nor movement.
They both stopped, waiting for the other to continue.
"You go first," Hoyt said.
"I think I'm attracted to you," Jason said, just as Hoyt said: "I'm dating a vampire."
"WHAT?! Hoyt, you're a bloody fang-banger?!"
"You think THAT'S the major issue?! C'mon man, you just said you're attracted to me...in what way exactly? Are you a fag now?"
The term Hoyt used slapped Jason in the face like a flying flounder. He was stumped for a moment, he hadn't imagined Hoyt would be a homophobe - that had never occurred to him. And, besides, he didn't think he was actually gay; it wasn't like he stared at men and though 'damn, I'd tap that', he only ever thought like that about attractive women...and Hoyt.
"I'm not gay, Hoyt," Jason spat, suddenly angry, "It's just you. I only feel like that about YOU. What of it? Does it bother you?"
"Does is bother me?" Hoyt said, his lips pursed, "No. Actually. I don't think it does...maybe it...pleases me? It makes me happy to know you feel that way, Jase. And I don't know why. I'm not a fag. Okay? I am NOT gay."
Jason looked at his best friend, confusion clouding his eyes. "So, you don't care?" he asked quietly.
Hoyt took a step closer, now standing so close Jason could feel the perpetual heat radiating off him. "No, Jase. I don't care." Placing his hands on Jason's hips to steady himself, he leaned in. They met halfway, Hoyt hands tensing on Jason's hips before relaxing after a fleeting moment. Their lips pressed softly together, the experience curious and new, but...not unpleasant. In fact, it was pretty damn pleasant...and addictive. Jason found himself moving closer, his hand going around Hoyt's back and pulling close so they pressed against each other.