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And The Colbert's Red Glare

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Jon showed up at the bar steeling his nerves for another night of friendly connection (from, this time around, Sam, Larry, Stephen, Kristen, Wyatt, and Olivia) mixed with sexual frustration (from whatever potential hookups Stephen was going to drive away tonight, and, okay, maybe a little from Stephen himself). The landscape shifted a bit when he discovered that it was a karaoke bar.

Getting Stephen on stage to half-sing, half-shout "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue" was child's play, and kept him out of the way while Jon found a guy at the bar with an arrestingly charming smile. He got the guy's name (Brian) and occupation (roller-skating waiter, but with volunteer firefighting on the side), and nothing at all about his opinion re: President Bush's relative greatestness. Jon's senses were a little rusty here, but he thought there might actually be chemistry.

Kristen and Larry loudly demanded an encore, leading Stephen to belt out "American Child" without noticing that Brian had made it back to their table, and was not only holding his own against Jon's habitual snark but returning in kind. Sam enticed Stephen into a duet of the national anthem, accompanied by Olivia's beatboxing; Jon tried on Brian's glasses and teased him about his socks. So far, so good. Then Wyatt challenged Stephen to a rap-off, and made the mistake of queuing up the Black Eyed Peas. Stephen ran sobbing from the stage, though at least he fled straight for the bathrooms without stopping to interrupt the feeling-up Jon was getting.

Loath as he was to disconnect from Brian's lips, once the would-be rap champion was back at their table, Jon dialed the making out down to cuddling long enough to say, "Really, Wyatt? I could've told you that would happen if you confronted Stephen with lyrics about having junk in your trunk."

"Nah, I'm pretty sure that wasn't it," said Wyatt, reclaiming his cherry margarita. "He snapped pretty much the second after Brian said whatever it was that made you grin the way you normally only do at, like, kittens stuck in tissue boxes."

Jon cringed, guilt probably mapped all over his face. Brian squeezed his shoulder. "Maybe you should go check on your friend."

"Yeah," said Jon, without much enthusiasm. "You, uh, you'll stick around while I do damage control?"

"No, I don't think so," said Brian calmly. Before Jon's hopes could crash, he continued: "I haven't gotten a chance to sing all night. Any requests?"

"Ooh, this one's a keeper!" exclaimed Kristen, slapping Jon on the back. To Brian she added, "If you're doing Springsteen when he gets back, he'll probably be doing you on the cab ride home. And by that second 'doing', I mean--"

"Brian, my friends are all wonderful people and you should never ever listen to them," said Jon, standing up. "I'll be right back."