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How I Met Your Father

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John was never in quite the right mindset when he was drunk. He was loud and obnoxious after even three beers, but any number before that, he’s been told he’s quiet and restricted and almost on the verge of falling asleep. It doesn’t surprise him, though, not being subjected to alcohol until he was almost 24 years old left his body surprised and fighting the substance.
He relied on alcohol for many things after his first drink. To write his novel, to forget, but the most common thing he’s heard from other people is probably talking to cute boys. And, obviously, he’s always turned down. Maybe he trips over his words or is just too straightforward, he hasn’t had a significant other in, what, nine, ten years? Last time he can remember having a date was some eleven years ago, so, yeah, ten years sounds right.
Being pulled into a nightclub by Laf was something he, admittedly, didn’t quite want to do tonight. He would rather just stay at home and play with his cat while watching TV or something, not blasted by blaring music and bright lights. Herc is already there, waiting at a table at the side.
“Oh, come on, John, it’ll be fun!” Laf reassures, taking a seat next to his boyfriend, leaving the booth across from them open for John to sit. “Who knows, you may find a boyfriend?”
“I highly doubt it.”
The three make small talk, mostly held together by Herc and Laf. John sips his drink slowly, looking over the crowd, seeing if anyone, anyone, will catch his eye. Everyone is the same. Girls in short dresses and tall heels and boys in messy button ups and jeans. No one catches his eye so he looks down at the honey-coloured liquid in his cup that Herc had already ordered, stirring it around slowly.
“John! Stop pouting!” Laf reaches over the table and playfully punches his arm. “You’ll find someone, i just know it,”
John nods sarcastically and looks back at the crowd. “I dunno. Maybe there’s someone at the bar?” He looks back at his friends.
Herc gives him a ‘go for it’ shrug and Laf grins, ushering John away through the crowd. He slowly walks, tripping through small clusters of people every now and again. The bar comes in sight, but only barely. There are groups of people sitting at it talking or getting drinks.
“Nah, there’s too many people. Can’t find the one here.” And John is just about to turn back around when he catches the eye of another man.
What sets him aside from the rest of the people is his sunken in eyes and slightly stubbly face. It’s... cute. It’s intriguing. It pairs well with his dark hair. This man is so... John doesn’t know how to describe it. Instead, he trips over his own feet to the man and stops, ready to introduce himself.
“Uh, hello,” the man says, catching John’s eye.
“Hi! I’m John!” He grins scarily, holding his hand out.
“I’m Alex.” The man raises an eyebrow in confusion yet still lets a small smile go. “You here alone?”
“Oh, no. My friends dragged me along, heh,” John laughs awkwardly, shoulders squared. “And you?”
“Alone. Was bored,” Alex takes a sip of his drink. “Tired of watching video of soldiers coming home to their families on YouTube.”
“Oh my god, those are the best! Once I actually cried at one.” John takes another sip of his drink.
“Yeah! They’re so cute! One I saw had the man coming home to his newborn daughter. He was so happy,” Alex grins. He’s inexplainably attractive when he smiles, John finds.
No! He’s known this guy for, what, five minutes? He can’t be letting these thoughts enter like it’s nobody’s business. He probably isn’t even into guys! Why does this happen all the time? Finds a cute guy that’s probably not interested in him whatsoever and eventually not getting a date.
John kicks the ground nervously as Alex goes to order another drink when he finishes his own, “do you want anything?”
John blinks at the other a couple times, surprised that he would offer to buy something for him, and, nervously, denies the offer and silently waits for Alex to get his drink, taking sips of his own every few seconds so to try not to be so awkward. After a minute or so and John’s drink almost completely gone, Alex turns back around and, considering how much he jumps, obviously doesn’t expect John to still be there.
“Oh, were you ex- sorry, I’ll just...” John goes to turn around but is stopped when a hand is on his arm.
“No. Actually, where are your friends? I’ll hang out with you guys, don’t really have anything else to do.” Alex finishes with a small shrug and smile, letting John nervously lead the way back to his table.
Herc and Laf are still sitting there, conversing and laughing quietly between themselves with occasional breaks to drink. John slowly sits down and scoots over so Alex can sit as well, catching the attention of Laf quickly. He leans forward, smirking with his chin on his open palm.
“And who may you be?”
“I’m... Alex. I’m sorry but you look extremely familiar,”
“My cousin is famous. His name is Thomas. I’m Laf,”
Alex looks over at John, who is staring down at the table with a red face. The freckled man takes a sip of his drink, avoiding any eye contact at all, jumping when Herc kicks his leg under the table.
“Was that really necessary?” John asks, glaring daggers at Herc, who nods and grins like absolutely nothing happened.
“Talk! You were the one that brought him here!” Herc grins.
John looks up at Alex, getting a good look of his dark, almost black, eyes. That’s so attractive, oh my god, John thinks, staring at Alex so long the other probably thinks it’s weird. Realising he’s staring, he blinks out of this weird sort of trance he found himself in.
“Four drinks. Surprise us,” is what John ‘wakes up’ to. The waiter walks away, shaking their head in, what John assumes is, confusion. Alex smiles at him and turns to the other two.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Laf. You know me,” John warns.
Laf laughs and brushes it off. “It’ll be fun! You’re not that bad,”
“What are you two talking about?” Alex asks, looking between the two, obviously confused.
“Jacky boy here gets a little cuckoo when he’s drunk,” Herc answers, crossing his eyes.
“I’m not that bad, like Laf just said,”
“Oh, please.” Laf rolls his eyes then turns to Alex. “Fun fact: once he got so drunk he started flirting with a stoplight then went on to steal a welcome mat from in front of a shoppe and run down the street with it. Oh! And he got a girls number! A girl’s!”
“Okay, that’s enough.” John covers Laf’s mouth almost as soon as the drinks arrive. They’re four green bottles. Simple. Smirking, Herc hands out one to each of the four. Alex eyes it, his gaze flicking between his own and the new one.
“One of us will take it,” Laf says, opening the bottle with difficulty.
John stares down at the table, his eyes dropping shut and refusing to focus on anything. He bounces his leg, forcing himself to stay awake. “Jacky boy you idiot, stay alive!”
Herc flicks his forehead and gestures to the other two. Shaking his head and turning to see Laf and Alex in a deep conversation about some theory about a book, he takes a sip of his drink and feels his spirits rise slightly. Laf is sitting on his knees and leaning over the table whilst Alex is sitting back with his arms crossed and face red from the debate, it’s quite a funny scene, John has to admit.
“Look, I understand your viewpoint, but where the hell are you getting it from!” Alex leans forward, gesturing around him. He puts on a (terrible) French accent, “ah, oui oui, mon ami, but he said this is chapter four page 42 line 15 of book 3, therefore it must be correct!”
“I do not sound like that! Hercules, tell him I don’t sound like that,”
Herc laughs. “Laf doesn’t sound like that.” He takes a swig of his drink.
As Alex and Laf’s debate grows, John’s sleepiness shrinks. He listens intently to their conversation, unfocusing every few seconds, whether from the sleepiness that’s slowly taking over leaving or the excitement and energy thats rapidly coming over him. Alex’s face reddens with every passing minute, but John isn’t sure whether it’s from the alcohol or debate, he just knows it’s an attractive look.
John finishes the beer, probably grinning like a madman on cocaine. Laf catches this out the side of his eye and smiles, leaning back in his seat and waving the heated conversation off with a ‘we’ll finish this later,’ and going to talk with Herc. Alex turns to John, obviously not sure what to say.
“And how do you know them?”
“We met in college. Pretty sure I repressed the exact moment we all met but they were already together so that’s all I know,”
Alex laughs. John feels his face heat up. “Why’d you repress it? They seem cool,”
“I dunno.” John shrugs. “Just... did, I guess...” he feels himself flush more than before under Alex’s gaze. God, this man is so attractive it’s unfair.
“Jesus you blush a lot.” Alex laughs quietly, moving his head to force eye contact. The action accompanied by the statement causes John to go somehow even redder.
“My whole family does! Part of our genes, you know? We just... haha blush at everything,” John rambles, laughing awkwardly, “it’s strange. Everyone finds it weird, I understand that, you know. You probably think it’s weird!”
Alex visibly holds in a laugh, then going on to spit out a laugh loudly. John chews at a dry piece of skin on his lip as he laughs along with Alex, admiring the other’s smile. It’s cute. Endearing.
A waitress walks past and takes John’s empty bottle, promising to bring back another one and walking away before he can protest. John lays his head down on the table and groans, Alex patting his back solemnly.
“I gonna get wasted tonight, I just know it,” John complains, thankful that Alex can’t see his face.
“It’s fine,”
~~~
“And- you know what? He already had a girlfriend!” John finished his sixth drink and Alex insisted on bringing him home. Laf and Herc have already left and Alex is pulling John to his car. “He said he was into dudes!”
“He could’ve been bi,” Alex shrugs.
No, he said he was gay!” John slurs, sitting down in Alex’s car. Alex puts on the seatbelt and closes the door, leaving John to complain about his failed flirting attempt alone.
“Your friends can pick you up in the morning, okay?” Alex mutters through John’s slurs as he gets in the car and starts it up, driving away.
“You know you’re really cute, right? Like wow!” John bursts, cutting himself off, almost jumping out of his seat.
“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Alex smirks, laughing silently.
“Good! You’re the best looking person I’ve ever met!”
John continues rambling about his failed flirting attempts as Alex drives the pair back to his apartment, unlocks the door, and tucks John into his bed carefully. John complains and tries to get out of the bed, so it takes a small deal of time before Alex can make his way to the kitchen for water in the morning and bathroom for aspirin. He enters the bedroom again and finds John sound asleep already, curled up and snoring lightly.
Alex leaves the water and aspirin next to John’s head on the side table, surprised at how cute someone can be while they’re asleep. He gets a blanket from the end of the bed and leaves, stopping at the door to look back at the other.
“You know you’re really cute, right?” Alex repeats.
~~~
“What the...” John wakes up buried under light green sheets with his face in fluffy white pillows. He sits up, nausea coming up his throat at once, throwing himself back down. The motion doesn’t help.
“You’re awake! Made some oatmeal.”
John looks at the door, where Alex is standing against the frame with a steaming bowl in his hand. “Is this your bed?”
“Yeah. You weren’t in good shape to be going to your place, plus I don’t know where that is and your friends has already left,” Alex explains, sitting next to the other’s knees. “There’s some painkillers there, if you’d like,”
John thanks him and takes the aspirin, struggling to swallow it, a challenge he’s never encountered before. Maybe it’s just being in front of a new person.
“You are pretty crazy when you’re drunk, you know?” Alex says, stirring the oatmeal around.
“Oh god what did I do oh no I didn’t flirt with you did I oh god I’m sorry if I did,”
“Kind of. If you count saying I’m attractive as flirting then yeah you flirted with me. Other than that, no,”
“Laf will count it. Sorry about that. You’re probably not even into guys. Not into me! You’ve known me for, what, twelve hours? And I’ve been asleep for eight of them.” John closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath, holding back a load of vomit.
“No, it’s fine. D’you wanna call one of your friends to pick you up?”
John nods and takes Alex’s phone, the brightness blinding him, definitely not helping with the headache. He dials Herc’s number, the only number he can remember off the top of his head.
“They’ll be over in the next hour or so. You can tell them your address.” John hangs up. “Sorry, again.”
“For what, may I ask?” Alex quickly texts his address to the new number, then shuts off the phone.
“At this point, I don’t know.”
Alex is quick to offer them to watch a movie together, the offer taken up quickly. John finds himself sitting as close as he can without being weird to Alex, eyes drooping slowly only ten minutes into the movie with ringing in his ears and nausea threatening again. He groans and lets his head fall on Alex’s shoulder before quickly falling asleep.
Alex doesn’t protest. Doesn’t move. Barely even breathes. He doesn’t want John to wake up. The weight on his shoulder is, sure, extremely inconvenient, but comforting at the same time. This never happens. The last time he had someone to... cuddle, was almost a year ago, and now she’s off with her girlfriend and those two are constantly cuddling. He feels like John feels the same way, considering how his friends were acting last night.
He turns his head slightly to look at the sleeping face of freckles, his cheeks squished up and eyes closed delicately. He slowly lets his head fall down to rest on top of the other’s.
The action is short, short but sweet, because of the three knocks that come at the door.
“Hey, wake up,” Alex whispers, shaking John lightly.
John squeezes his eyes shut and moves closer to Alex. “No... warm...”
“Your friends are here,”
“Okay. Tell them to go...” John mutters, hair falling into his face as he grabs hold of Alex’s arm.
“No, they’re here to pick you up,”
“Fuck ‘em,” John whispers, opening his eyes to glare at the door.
Alex rolls his eyes and peels John off his arm, leaving the other complaining on the couch. His friends are standing in their pyjamas, waiting for John. Alex gives a quick explanation of what’s happened, Hercules nodding solemnly and following his boyfriend to pick up John. The sight is laughable.
“No! I wanna stay!” John protests, grabbing hold of Alex’s arm. The friends laugh.
Hercules pries him off Alex, the action thrown in the trash immediately as John clings onto Alex’s other arm. John protests and holds his face to Alex’s chest.
“Let me stay! I don’t wanna go!” John cries.
“We’re not getting him out of here any time soon. Just... let’s stay here until he’s a bit more awake and less crybaby-ish.” Laf takes a step back, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms.
John nods against Alex’s chest, arms now locked around his torso.
“Good idea.” Alex leads John to the couch again, sitting down with the other still hanging on for dear life.