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Traveling Song

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It’s only supposed to be a day trip.

They plan to leave early in the morning, rendezvous with Blake to watch his semi-final race, and drive home that evening. They agree to take Hunter’s truck; it’s better for sitting in while they wait at the track, which they invariably will. They stop for coffee, Hunter drives and Cam dozes, making up just a little for the sleep he isn’t getting while teaching.

Hunter turns the radio down, so as not to bother Cam, which might be the nicest thing anyone’s done for Cam lately, but he still gets a catchy pop song stuck in his head.

By the time they get Blake’s call--“The weather is so bad they’re canceling the race, it’s moved to tomorrow”--they are more than halfway there, and Hunter grumbles about turning around while they eat lunch at a fast food place.

“It’s hard to believe it’s storming that hard there,” Hunter says, annoyed, “It’s perfectly sunny here.”

“What do you want to do?” Cam asks around his food, because he can see how upset Hunter is at the possibility of not getting to see Blake.

Hunter shrugs. “Head home, I guess. Not much else we can do.”

Cam contemplates this. He lets Hunter eat, and then he says, “Why don’t we just go ahead and stay the night? We can drive back tomorrow after the race, no problem. And then you get to see Blake for a while tonight. We can go to dinner, or something.”

Hunter lifts his head from his food, stares at Cam for a moment. “You have classes tomorrow.”

“I can call and collect some favors,” Cam shrugs, sipping his soda.

Hunter does this little half smile thing with his mouth, like he’s both amused and reluctantly fond. “I don’t want you to have to use your favors up on me.”

“Yeah, well,” Cam says, and he gives Hunter a smile, “Now you’ll owe me a favor. Come on, Beetle boy.” And he tosses his crunched up sandwich wrapper at Hunter, who bats it away easily enough and laughs at him.

***

They meet Blake at the soggy, rain soaked track in their windbreakers, and he gives them a tour of his trailer, the Factory Blue trailer (Cam comments about how a little Zord tech would go a long way there), and introduces them to some of the other pro-motto stars who are hanging around the track in their downtime.

They go for dinner at a bar and grill, the three of them drinking and talking until it’s late. Hunter tells Blake about everything going on at the Academies, and Blake relays his latest racing win to them. Cam listens and chips in, but mostly he watches the brother’s talk and laugh, enjoying the company and the inclusion, and also not feeling like he has to be overly sociable here. Blake and Hunter know him, and they let him be his regular, snarky self. They don’t force him to participate anymore than he’s willing.

Sometimes he forgets how much he misses that.

It’s almost 2 by the time they wrap up, and Cam and Hunter start talking about pooling money to rent a hotel room.

Blake gives them a look, and then says, “Oh, yeah, um. I doubt you’re going to find anything within a few miles. There aren’t a lot of hotels here, and they’re all booked up cause of the semi-finals.”

“Good you told us that earlier,” Cam says dryly, and Hunter gives him a light jostle with his elbow.

Blake grins sheepishly. “You can come back and use the spare bunk in my trailer? It’s not big, and you’ll have to share, but it’s better than the truck.”

Which is how they find themselves crammed into a too-small bed in Blake’s travel trailer, and Cam isn’t all together sure the truck bed wouldn’t have been better. If it weren’t raining, he might try it.

“Explain to me again,” Cam says sleepily, shifting slightly, his back rubbing against Hunter’s, “Why you can’t share with your brother?”

“He kicks, and snores,” Hunter says, a smile evident in his voice, “And honestly I’d rather share with you, anyway.”

Cam doesn’t answer, is glad for the darkness in the trailer, and for the fact that he and Hunter have their backs to one another.

***

Cam wakes up nearly on top of Hunter, his head pressed up against Hunter’s cheek, his arm slung across Hunter’s chest.

It can’t be helped, he tells himself as he carefully untangles himself from a still sleeping Hunter. It was a small bed, after all.

Still, he lays there for a few minutes, staring at Hunter’s profile from a reasonably safe distance, wondering when this sort of stuff is going to stop happening between them.

They were good friends. They were the same age, and they understood each other on a level the rest of their friends sometimes didn’t. Neither of them had much family, and so for holidays and days off they often found themselves together, sometimes with Cam’s dad, and sometimes not. The fact that they were both serving as head teachers of the Academies maybe threw them together a little more than they might have otherwise. But Cam didn’t mind; he enjoyed Hunter’s company, and Hunter enjoyed his.

Hunter was kind to him, was considerate and paid attention, and knew Cam well enough to know when to tease and when to sympathize. It was… they were comfortable, good friends.

And then there were situations like this that they somehow ended up finding themselves in time and time again.

Like the time Cam had fallen asleep at the computer for the hundredth time, and instead of waking him up, Hunter had tossed a blanket around his shoulder and fallen asleep on the couch behind him.

Like the midnight movie premier they went to together, where they stood in line outside in December for four hours, where Hunter had unzipped his jacket and held Cam against his chest, the two of them laughing and freezing together.

Like the birthday of Hunter’s where Blake couldn’t make it home, and Hunter chose to stay in his academy apartment, moping, until Cam surprised him with Chinese food and action movies, and they’d fallen asleep on the couch together.

But neither of them has ever made a move on the other. They’ve kept their relationship strictly platonic, and it’s times like these when Cam isn’t sure why.

Hunter raises a hand to his eyes, starling Cam a little, and he rubs at them sleepily. “Time is it?”

“Don’t know,” Cam says, yawning, “Just woke up a minute ago.”

Hunter nods, turns his head and frowns. “Oh, sorry,” Hunter says, and he inches over a little and turns, to give Cam some room, “Bed hogging.”

Cam shakes his head, a faint smile on his lips. “Don’t worry about it,” he says, “Pretty sure I found a way around it.”

Hunter raises an eyebrow at him, his eyes still mostly closed. It’s a funny expression on him. “Should I ask?”

Cam contemplates that. Should he say what he’s been thinking? Should he tell Hunter how they’d been when he woke up, compare it to the other times he’s been thinking about? “Probably not,” he says, answering both Hunter’s question and his own.

Hunter stretches, is getting ready to roll out of bed when Blake comes into the trailer from wherever he’s been.

“Up and at ‘em, ladies!” Blake says, banging his helmet on the top of their bunk, “It’s race time!”

***

After a harrowing moment on the third corner of the last lap, Blake comes in first place by a hair. It’s literally a photo finish, the giant on screen monitors replaying it in slow motion to get the shot.

Hunter is ecstatic, and he shouts and woops and tells everyone around them “That’s my brother!”

Cam follows him over to the winners circle, but he stays back out of the crowd, watching Hunter and Blake hug and hold the trophy up from a distance.

He sits on a hay bale, and waits for things to calm down. By the time the crowd has dissipated, and Blake has finished being interviewed about his win, Cam winds his way over to them by the Factory Blue trailer.

“I’m so glad you guys could make it,” Blake tells them both, hugging Cam too, “But now you’ve got to come to the finals!”

Later, when Cam and Hunter have said their goodbyes and are walking towards Hunter’s truck to head home, Cam bumps Hunter’s shoulder. “You’ll have to let me know when the final’s are. Maybe we can make a proper road trip out of it.”

Hunter grins. “Yeah, maybe with real hotel rooms and separate bed this time.”

Cam hesitates, and then he shrugs, says, “Whatever works.”

Hunter stops walking, making Cam regret his choice as he too stops and turns halfway, waiting for Hunter. Hunter is staring at him, his face questioning. Cam waits.

After a long moment, Hunter looks away, shakes his head, grins, and says, “You know, sometimes you’re really hard to read.”

Cam turns to him fully and shakes his head. “Not for you,” he corrects, knowing it’s the truth, “You can read me like a book, and you’re almost always right.”

He doesn’t mean it to be a challenge, but Hunter clearly takes it as one. He lifts his head like he’s bracing himself, and then he takes the few steps forward to close the distance between them, places a hand against Cam’s cheek, and kisses him.

Cam’s hand comes up and grabs Hunter’s shirt to steady himself, and he opens his lips just enough to mesh them against Hunter’s. Hunter kisses him twice, and then pulls away, his hand dropping from Cam’s face to his shoulder, and then away completely.

Cam let’s go of Hunter’s shirt, let’s Hunter step back, and lifts his eyes to him.

Hunter grins at him, lets out a puff of laughter, and then pushes Cam in the shoulder and turns him around, continuing on their walk back to the truck.

Cam follows him, keeping close, not entirely certain what that meant or if it was a good thing or not. When they get in the truck, Hunter puts his keys in the ignition before turning to Cam and asking, “Why didn’t you ever say?”

Cam looks up from where he’s doing his seatbelt, pausing in the motion. “Why didn’t you?”

Hunter purses his lips, shrugs. “I don’t know.”

Cam nods his agreement, and they sit there for a moment in the silence. Finally, Cam leans forward and turns on the radio, making Hunter start the car and get going.

The same damn pop song from their drive yesterday comes on over the radio and Cam grins, and hums along. Hunter watches him out of the corner of his eye for a moment before joining in amusedly, and when the song ends Hunter reaches over and grabs onto Cam’s hand, lacing their fingers together.

(They have to stop four times on the way home to try that kissing thing again, though.)