"Do you believe in aliens?"
"What, you don't?"
"Well of course I do," Bro scoffed, taking another spoonful of icecream, "But you just don't seem like the type of person who would." Turning the spoon over in his mouth, he allowed the handle to hang in the air as his hands adjusted his hat slightly.
"Alright, my turn," James said, taking a small drink of water, "Favorite type of candy?"
"Reese's pieces," Bro spoke around his spoon.
"Hardly surprised. Your turn."
"Favorite drink?" Bro questioned, taking the spoon out to eat another bite.
"English Breakfast Tea."
"I was talking about alcohol, babe."
"Never had it," The older of the two admitted, glancing down at the table and purposely avoiding eye contact. They'd been sitting in the same cafe for two hours, simply asking questions back and forth and telling bits about their lives. It was their own odd way of learning about each other rather quickly, and it had been working splendidly. But this was just a new type of embarrassing, and James didn't even want to look up, knowing that his mate would hold it over his head, no matter loving it may seem.
"No fucking way," Bro shook his head, leaning forward, "You've got to be kidding. You've never been drunk?" James couldn't help but notice as he glanced upthat there were two creases on the outside of Brodrick's mouth when he smiled, framing the sight beautifully.
"Never saw the appeal. Plus it smells terrible and makes you act rather silly without your own consent," James shrugged, stirring his water with the bendy straw that the kind waitress had provided as his cheeks were brushed with a light pink, "There's really no point."
"Oh my god you're like the poster child of the suburbs," Bro cooed out, wearing a prize grin as James just rolled his eyes, "You're so innocent."
"Favorite type of cake?" James avoided easily, changing the subject.
"Devil's food," He responded, still smirking. It really was fun, getting James flustered. It wasn't hard, but god was it entertaining.
"I'll remember that," The man responded, his eyes narrowing as he smirked, looking up at Bro and locking gazes even through the shades.
This caused Bro to raise a concerned eyebrow, lifting his gloved hands in a surrendering position, "What the hell is that look supposed to mean, should I be worried?"
"Let's just say, live on your toes," He shrugged, sipping his water as he began to set up a prank in his mind.
Bro opened his mouth to respond when he saw something outside, his gaze turning towards the window of their cafe.
"Son of a bitch," Bro muttered, shaking his head.
"Language, darling," James corrected, and he scooted in his own seat, trying to catch a glimpse of what Bro was swearing at. Watching as a blur of red, white and blonde made its way down the sidewalk, Bro slid out of the booth with so much ease that James was actually impressed. He made his way over to the door in a literal instant, and James watched in fascination as the man seemed to be moving so quickly he formed a blur, heading down the sidewalk after the running being. "What in the name of-" James muttered, watching as his mate chased after this person before completely tackling them, both the forms rolling before landing to sit on the sidewalk.
"Brodrick!" James exclaimed aloud, looking at the waitress and holding up a finger in a 'one moment' sort of gesture with an apologetic smile before running out of the cafe. Making his way to Bro, he watched as the younger of the two adjusted a pair of aviators on his nose as his own mate stood, brushing off his (now ripped) black pants. "Why are you tackling this young gentleman?" He questioned, looking politely confused as he glanced between Bro and the boy on the ground before reaching up and readjusting the shades on Bro's face, moving them back up the bridge of his nose and covering his eyes fully once more.
"Thanks," Bro admonished, flashing a quick grin before looking down, his expression turning annoyed, "And to answer your question, this 'young gentleman' is a little shit who I'm going to assume is running away from a certain diner." The emphasis on the word 'diner' made Dave practically get a visible question mark above his head, looking up at his brother. "Dave, what the fuck are you doing here?"
"Bro, how in the fuck do-" Dave started before looking up at James, raising an eyebrow, "Who're you?"
"This is James," Bro introduced, and Dave looked at his Bro for another half a second before his gaze fell on James again, who offered up a small wave and a smile, "Now why are you running from the diner?"
"How the fuck do you know about the diner? I didn't even tell you about it before you left."
"I have my sources. Now spill, where the hell do you think you're going?"
"Away. He's there, Bro, he's fucking-"
"So did you talk to him?" This time it was James who spoke, and Dave slowly turned his head to look at him.
"Why does it matter to you?" He asked flatly, and Bro nudged him with his foot, causing Dave to turn his attention back to his older brother.
"Because that's his son, he's allowed to know."
"His son?" Looking between the two of them, Dave held up both of his hands, his forefingers hanging a bit higher than the rest of his fingers as he ran through his thoughts. "So, let me get this straight, this is your mate?" One forefinger pointed to Bro.
"Yeah. I thought you would have kind of guessed that," Bro said, looking down at his younger sibling.
"And John, my John, is his son," His other forefingers pointed to James.
"Yes," Bro said, nodding curtly once.
"Okay, so, he's your mate," The finger pointed to Bro bounced once as if to reiterate it's presence, "and he has a kid," The pointed a thumb back in the direction of the diner, "and his kid is my mate?" A finger turned to point at his own chest.
"No, he adopted a kid, and his kid is your mate, and he's mine."
"That's literally exactly what I just said," Dave huffed, obviously getting annoyed as he continued to sit on the sidewalk, his hands dropping loudly to his lap.
"Shut up. So you talked to John then?"
"Fuck no! I ran, I can't meet him, not yet, I-"
"Like I said, shut up. Now go back to that fucking diner."
"Language," James reminded softly, and Bro just looked at him with a, 'really, with this right now?' expression.
"What? No! I-" Dave sighed, covering his face as he curled up slightly, "We need to talk, Bro, I-"
"I already know about Ecto."
"What?" This caught Dave's attention fully as his head snapped up, looking at his Bro. "How do you-" His Bro had always had a kinda creepy knack for knowing a lot of shit that he shouldn't, but this took the fucking cake on any of those cake decorating shows. How in fucks name did he know about Ecto?
"The entire group from Washington is down here, Ecto too. At that diner. They were gonna flank your sorry group but now you've ditched and left that poor bastard hanging because you were afraid of running into John. Just forget about John, and go. Now."
"True love now, questions later, diner, now."
"Bro answer the fucking q-"
A hand reached down and grabbed the front of Dave's shirt, hauling him to stand with surprising ease before dropping him a few inches above the ground. Dave caught himself, taking a moment to make sure he was steady on his feet. When he readjusted his shades and looked back up at his Bro, the dude was just pointing back down the street with a stern expression. "Go."
"You're an asshole."
"Don't talk to your elders like that," Bro practically chimed, his eyes still narrowed.
Dave continued to glare, and even though he couldn't see through Bro's shades he knew that his brother was doing the exact same thing. It was then that he gave the smallest of smirks before turning on heel, running back the way he came.
"Love you too!" Bro called to his back, crossing his arms across his chest as his brother disappeared around a corner.
Watching Dave run off again, James tipped his head slightly to the side, glancing to his side at Bro. "You just tricked him into thinking that John and Ecto were different people, you realize this correct?"
"And you did this on purpose?"
"Yeah. He's gonna figure it out soon enough, he's a smart kid, but it's funnier this way."
"Oh you're just awful."
"But you like it."
Rolling his eyes as they began to walk at a far more leisurely pace back towards the cafe, James bumped against Bro once, the blonde's hands falling to his side before lacing their fingers together, "Shush you. Your turn, next question."
"John! Don't leave yet!" Jade watched as John slipped his blue hoodie on despite the Houston heat with a sad expression. For nearly twenty minutes he'd been sitting alone, apparently in thought while everyone else talked to their chatting partners. Fef had sent Turntech countless texts, asking him where he was and why he was late, but there was never a reply. That alone was enough the make John's excited smile slowly fall and disappear. But Jade hadn't expected him to leave; There was still a chance that Turntech would show up, she could feel it. Call it a hunch.
"I-" Sighing, he scratched at the back of his head, giving a smile so forced that Jade nearly winced, "I'm just gonna head back to the hotel."
"But what about Turntech?"
That, apparently, was the exact wrong thing to say. John swallowed and looked down, and Jade felt pity begin to roll in her stomach. John was doing the same thing he'd always done when he'd tried to avoid crying; He'd look down, then sniffle twice before forcing a smile and leaving. Every time, ever since he was little. And, just on cue, John gave another forced smile with a small shrug, "He's not coming." He didn't sound like he was questioning it, more stating it like the fact it was.
Jade opened her mouth to speak, but John walked out before another word could be spoken, his hands buried deeply in his pockets as he turned left, heading for the hotel.
So. Turntech just didn't come to that meeting. It wasn't a big deal. It really wasn't. It wasn't like he'd been not going because of John, he didn't even know John was there! He just happened not to come, it was fine.
It just hurt to see everyone else with the people that they wanted to be with.
Over the trip, all four of them had been getting excited over the idea of meeting their pen pals, and John had been the most. Of course he had been, he was meeting the boy that he loved. Or at least he thought he would be.
He hadn't told a single person about what was going on with Turntech, so he knew that it's not like he could tell Jade or Terezi or Eridan about why he was pouting like a child. Because at this point that's what it was. He was pouting, full out. In a weird way, it felt like being stood up, and even if he knew that wasn't what Turntech had in mind, it didn't take the sting out of his absence.
John wasn't mad in the least, just. . . hurt.
Pulling out his phone, John pulled up Pesterchum.
-- ectoBiologist [EB] began pestering turntechGodhead [TG] at 15:32 --
EB: of all days to play hookie, man, why today?
The response didn't come for nearly two minutes, and John grabbed his phone eagerly at the sound of an annoying ping.
TG: sorry i was out on a run
TG: gotta get exercise and all that shit
TG: but wait how did you know i ditched
There was a pause for just a second.
TG: holy shit youre actually in texas
TG: no fucking way i thought bro was fucking with me
TG: oh my god please dont tell me you were actually in that fucking diner
EB: would it make you feel better if i said that i just left?
TG: ecto im so sorry
EB: its alright, turntech, don't worry about it!
EB: i'm going back to the hotel to get some sleep anyways.
TG: babe please dont think that i ditched you
TG: please believe me i ran because
John fell back on his butt as the other person tripped over John's stretched legs, their knees apparently hitting the sidewalk.
In the middle of the biggest city in Texas, two boys managed to run into each other head on. Two bodies hit the ground, two phones met the concrete, and two voices rang out in exclamations.
Wincing in pain, John sat up, looking down at his hands. Some of the skin looked white as powder, having been dragged as he caught himself, and small pebbled were dug into the skin. His fingertips began brushing at them gingerly, trying to work them out instead of further in as he looked up as the other boy. "I'm so sorry," John apologized, his eyes watering from the sting of his hands and the throbbing on his tailbone. Catching sight of a crop of blonde hair and shattered aviators on the ground next to the stranger, John paused the brushing of his palms.
Why did this ring a bell?
Reaching out, the stranger picked up one of the two iPhones blindly, apparently desperate to keep talking to whomever was on the other end. He didn't look away from the sidewalk, and John could only catch a quick glimpse of him, his eyes squinted heavily against the sunlight, presumably. "I should be the sorry one man, I was typing like a fucking idiot and running, I wasn't paying attention at a-" Dragging his thumb across the lock screen, the stranger stopped mid-sentence.
Pesterchum was pulled up, which he'd had been expecting completely.
Under ectoBiologist's account.
"I think you may have grabbed my phone," John apologized, blushing slightly as he picked up the other iPhone, offering it up to the boy, "Sorry about that."
And for Dave, it finally all clicked.
"You're the same person," He breathed out quietly, and fuck the sun and all it's shining glory because Dave forced himself to look up, making eye contact with the most perfect blue eyes he'd ever seen, small lines carved from constant laughter at the corners of each, all under two slick black eyebrows.
Somewhere in the back of Dave's mind, he heard Squidward Tentacle's voice saying, "Oh no he's hooooot," in that annoying nasally tone because damn it was true. An adorable cupids bow, freckles only on his cheek bones, the slightest bit of a cleft chin, messy black hair and these stupid glasses that were square and framed those perfect, almond shaped eyes with eyelashes that were long enough to touch the glass itself.
And he was all Dave's.
"I don't know which to call you," He admitted aloud, his own phone still held up in John's hand.
"Excuse me?" John questioned, his brow knitting and for some reason Dave felt his heart move from his chest to his stomach, his throat, and his ears all at the same time just because holy shit he looked so cute when he was confused. He thought that maybe the guy had just misspoke, and he was requesting John's name. "My name's John, and again, I'm so sorry for running into you."
John couldn't place how he knew this guy. But his hair was bright in the sunlight, and those eyes were haunting. His eyelashes were white, which was surprising, but they framed blood colored irises which John was having a bit of a hard time looking away from. This kid was pale, fair skinned, with a strong look about him and was just. . . Unbelievable. He looked like something out of a movie or book, not something that would actually be a real person.
"You know, if we'd just broken that damn rule and said our names on the first day, this shit would have been a lot easier to get through. I need to go talk to Mr. Spade," Dave sighed dramatically, and for the second time that day he could not give less of a shit that he was camped out in the middle of the sidewalk. But this time, the person across from him wasn't standing and yelling down at him to run back to his true love. Nah, the person across from him was wearing a positively stunned expression and blinking wildly.
"Turntech?" The word came out as a whisper, and Dave shook his head.
"Yeah. But I prefer Dave," He admitted, his mouth finally falling into a crooked smile as he lifted up his right hand, his long red sleeve falling down to reveal 'John' in a familiar blue script.
Glad that he was able to get his cool, movie worthy line in, Dave was about to say another one when he was tackled, his back hitting the sidewalk as he let out an indignant squawk as John just laughed. It was infectious enough that Dave chuckled in response, feeling that John had managed to get his arms around his waist before he'd fallen backwards. Sitting up, his own arms looped around John's neck, pulling him flush as he let out a sigh.
John didn't say anything at first but just continued to laugh, his face hidden against the crook of Dave's neck for nearly a minute before the words slid out, "There's no way, I- This can't be real."
"Pretty sure it is. 100% grade A beef kind of real, right here," Dave started, his words seeming to go directly to John's ear. "More real than Ja Rule. More real than anything science has ever proved. This shit's realer than real."
"Oh god you're just as much of a nerd in person as you are on the internet," John giggled.
"Hell nah, I'm smooth as hell. Plus, Nerds are the worst candy in history, they are a disappointment to Willy Wonka and I'm insulted as piss that you're even comparing me to them."
"This is really what you want our first conversation to be about? Beef and candy?"
"Our other first conversation was about my teacher being a mafia member."
Pulling back, John let out a small snort, his eyes closed momentarily before opening, looking at Dave and letting his eyes look up and down the blonde's face once, "That's a good point."
"Like what you see?" He questioned, waggling his eyebrows before winking once.
Rolling his eyes in response, John leaned forward, his nose pressing against Dave's lightly. "John Egbert," He introduced, looking at Dave with a grin so wide it was pressing against the confines of his face.
"Dave Strider," He responded, still just as aloof as usual even though he was sitting in the middle of a crowded sidewalk with his nose pressed up against another boy's, and even though he wore a small smirk.
"What a cool kid name," John mocked.
"Said the Egderp," He snipped back, and John actually burst out laughing, his nose falling away from Dave's as he ducked his head to laugh.
"By the way, I hardly even noticed, we both kind of fell. You alright?" Dave questioned, frowning as he looked down. The white was gone from John's palms, which were sitting loosely on his lap. The balls of his hands had been skinned, bright red lines drawing themselves harshly against the soft skin and causing little bubbles of red to spill forth.
"I'm pretty okay, I promise," John assured, only lifting his head when he felt Dave grab his hands. His thumbs brushed against them, and John let out a small noise, frowning, "Alright, that does kind of sting."
"Come on, we should probably ditch the concrete," Dave suggested, grabbing both of John's wrists to avoid hurting his hands anymore and pulling him to stand. Reaching down, he scooped up both of their phones and his broken shades, folding them and hanging them peacefully on the collar of his shirt. Looking between the two iPhones, he turned them on and unlocked them both, pressing both of the home buttons. One was a background of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, and the other was of Nic Cage.
"Seriously, with this?" He asked, handing what he'd now figured out to be John's phone back to him with a headshake, "I'm ashamed."
Taking the phone back, John gave an almost proud smile before something appeared to dawn on him, "Hey you know what I just realized?"
"I just fell for you."
The audible silence as Dave wore a deadpan expression and John wore a high eyebrowed and waiting grin nearly deafened the pair of them.
"I love you so fucking much," Dave said, grabbing the front of John's shirt and hauling him in for a kiss, which John could only accept with a giggle against the blondes lips.