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Endless tales of Catalysts

Chapter Text

Jake frowned, feeling like he was the actual bad guy with the face of desperation and sadness Taylor was making. It was like he kicked a puppy. This wasn't right, I'm supposed to make him happy. I'm hisdamn lover, for crying out loud. The blond shakes his head. "Damn it, boy scout..." he sighs, "why you gotta make me feel weak at a time like this?"

"Jake, please... I almost lost you once, not again... you can't make me go through that again..."

Jake frowns, before remembering that night when they thought the Watchers were their enemies, and how he technically got killed. But Taylor managed to turn back time, so here he was. He imagined if their roles had been reversed, if Taylor had been killed instead of him. He wasn't sure if he would be able to do what he had, and if that had been true then Taylor... would be dead now... permanently. Jake can't let that happen. He couldn't imagine what Taylor must've felt then but if what he meant to Taylor was in the same level as what the brunette meant to Jake... the pain must be indescribable.

He couldn't lose Taylor. Not now, not ever. He swore it on everything that he would live a long life, with Taylor, or a shorter one if without him.

"I'm still waiting."

Jake scowls, turning towards him and moving beside Taylor who takes his hand. "You can hold your breath, bastard."

"Wrong answer, Mackenzie." Lundgren scowls, "either you come now and come quietly, or we're taking your friends down with you." He smirks, pointing his gun at Taylor. "don't worry though, I'll make sure each of them goes out fast, quick and painless. Except maybe him, for all the grief you put me through tracking you down, I'm gonna make you watch and suffer as we torture your boy toy to death and he'll have to die knowing you couldn't save him, just like you couldn't save Mike."

Jake growled, and Taylor has to grab his whole arm to force him back and prevent him from doing anything rash. "You lay one finger on him, and I will make you regret the day you ever messed with me."

"I'd like to see you try." Lundgren takes a step forward.

Craig suddenly hollers, "NOW!"

Chapter Text

Sean: So you also love Taylor, and you just told him, just now, right before I did?
Jake: Technically, you told him that he loves you, but yes.
Sean: *sighs* this isn't ideal. We should remain civil. He's simply going to have to pick one of us, and the loser will just have to accept his fate with grace and equanimity.
Jake: Maybe if YOU lose. If he doesn't pick me, I'ma start throwing stuff. Preferably at you.

inspired from this:

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Jake: Taylor's upset with me and I don't know why.

Sean: Okay, were you talking before he got upset?

Jake: Yes.

Sean: That's probably it.

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Jake: This is the worst day ever!

Sean: Is it because we just lost our ride home?

Jake: No, it's because it's a little humid.

Sean: ...?

Jake: YES IT'S BECAUSE WE LOST OUR RIDE HOME! Not to mention my FUCKING PLANE!

Sean: At least you're dating Taylor.

Taylor: Er... my bad?

Jake: ... Heh, touche. Feelin' better already, thanks cap.

Chapter Text

Jake kneels down to pick up the ring and holds it out to Taylor. "Why don't you hold on to it?"

"Oh," Taylor smirks, noting that Jake was actually down on one knee and holding up an ancient but actual wedding ring. "are you proposing?"

Jake grins, "Ha. There's an idea," he muses, "do you want me to?"

"Maybe not right this second, all things considered." Taylor quips, taking the ring. "But... who knows... maybe it would be nice, someday... if you like to be stuck with me forever, that is."

"Forever is an awfully long time," Jake gets back on his feet, "but maybe not so awful, as long as it's with you." he stands and takes a step towards the brunette with a knowing smile... only to be pushed away playfully. "Hey!"

"You're distractingly cute," Taylor protests with a grin, flushed but not exactly flustered. "and we've got work to do."

Jake smirks, taking another step. "You expect me to resist as if it's possible, Boy scout." he says in a husky voice. "have you met yourself?"

"Oh, what am I gonna do with you?" Taylor rolls his eyes.

Jake chuckles, "Oh, the things you could do." he says, and settles on staring at the brunette, just appreciating the fact that the guy was actually into him as much as he was into Taylor. I definitely lucked out, of all the college brats I could've flown here one of them became the most important thing to me... "Correction, the things only you could do to me... I don't think anyone else would cut it, pathetic for them to try." He tries to take a step closer again.

Taylor smiles appreciatively, deciding that the remark merits a reward of sorts. Jake grins, taking the brunette's hand as they continue to gaze in each other's eyes wordlessly, hoping and feeling that their eyes could express what mere words could not. The blond leans in and brings his lips to the brunette's. Taylor wraps his arms around Jake's neck, but before they can deepen the kiss, they heard something.

"Vos tohk ri!"

Jake starts, pulling back but not letting go of Taylor's hand. "I think they heard us... time to move!"

They book it around the back of the pyramid.

Chapter Text

Taylor: Did you tell anybody we're engaged?

Jake: Yes Boy Scout, I have no self control and I told everyone we're engaged.

Taylor: Okay, no need to be sarcastic. *grins* So now we can tell them together!

Jake: Er, no. Seriously, I have no self control and I told everyone we're engaged.

Taylor: ...

Diego: Dibs on Taylor's best man!

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(Jake is taking pictures at the bridge in the middle of the battle against Cetus.)

Taylor: Uh... In case you haven't noticed, we got a big problem here in the form of a giant monster guardian. What the hell are you doing? You hate selfies.

Jake: I know, I said I'd never take them.

Taylor: Then why?

Jake: I gave in to pier pressure.

Aleister: ... May Cetus take you.

Varyyn: *alarmed* May he not!

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Inspired by Tangled

Lundgren: ARACHNID! In position.

Taylor: Who's that?

Jake: Uh, he doesn't like me.

*Le wild Arachnid appears*

Taylor: What, who're they?

Jake: They don't like me either.

Taylor: NOW WHO'S THAT?

Jake: Damn it, Boy Scout. You're lucky I like you. Let's just assume that everybody here doesn't like me. Now it the best way possible... Shut up.

???: ... As salty as ever, I see.

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Author's Note: NO. I don't care how in ended, it is not the end for Jake and Taylor. That's why it's called Endless Summer, and as long as I'm alive, I'm gonna write fanfics, believe they are canon, and overwrite the fact that damn outcome.

Chapter Text

Taylor closes his eyes, thankful that only memories related to his powers were wiped away, like visions he saw from the idols and such. Therefore, he can still remember the memories he made with his friends in the island, and more importantly, he and Jake's first union, their Handfasting ceremony as if it were only yesterday, recalling how handsome the blond had been, and it was nothing but a gift that he gets to be joined together with Jake in two matrimonial ceremony in a single lifetime...

Well, okay, maybe I had several lifetimes, each of them, Jake and I always fell for each other, but that was besides the point.

Taylor couldn't ask for anything more. He could never thank Vaanu enough for taking away his burden, giving his entire being back to the shell; the body that he used to possess, minus his extraordinary features and therefore recreating his entire unique being into a common mortal's. Giving him a second shot in life, in this life, actually outside the island, to make real memories this time. To know why Diego is so into Pop culture, to watch him build a life with Varyyn like he was going to build a life with Jake, to finally meet his mother and sister and experience what it's like to belong to a family.

A life with his friends, seeing them achieve the dreams they sought to accomplish as he foresaw in their Amber of hope. Granted, he no longer remember what they were but he does know that they were happy right now. He remembers that, once, he saw possible outcomes of how his friends could die, and how they could have a hopeful future. But that, the ability to foresee the future and look into the past was striped from him, along with the rest of his strange attributes ever since he separated himself from his old destiny that already came to pass. He can no longer communicate telepathically with Varyyn either, which Diego was very happy about for personal reasons. But giving up those things is nothing, a small price to pay to live a normal life with Jake.

Well, maybe not completely normal.

"Well, Froxy," Taylor sighed, smiling slightly as he held up the plastic stick to the blue fox. "tell it to me straight, how is Jake going to take it?"

Froxy cocked his head to the side. "Mrrrm?

"How am I going to take what?"

Taylor jolts, dropping the stick and turning towards his fiancé. "Oh, Jake, you're home." he smiles, "how was work?"

"The usual, exhausting but you know... that's how it goes, gotta bring home the bacon, after all."

Taylor chuckles, "You know Varyyn did offer to..."

"Yeah, well, contrary to popular belief, I'm not a free loader and I don't take hand outs. But don't change the topic, Boy scout, what's going on?" Jake probes, his foot moving something on the floor. He looks down and notices that he nearly crushed the thing Taylor dropped earlier. He bent down and picked it up.

Taylor blinks, mouth opening. "Uh, yeah, about that..."

"Huh." Jake raises a brow, smirking at Taylor. "so whose is it? Did Aleister actually knock Grace up before marriage, hell, even before our marriage?"

Taylor furrows his brows, "Uh... what?"

"I get it, trying to prank me the night before the ceremony as if I'm not psyche enough as it is." Jake chuckles, setting the pregnancy test down the bed and taking the brunette by the waist. "I can't wait for you to be mine... Well, technically, we already got hitched and all, but I guess this time it's under U.S. terms."

Taylor placed his hands on Jake's arms, "Jake, I'm excited too, but..."

"So how did you convince Aleister to help you out for the prank?"

Taylor made a look, "Jake, do you really think he would ever humor anyone? And no, it's not Grace either's. She's not yet" Taylor finger quotes, "Knocked up as you would like to put it."

"Then who? Sean and Michelle's? I mean, I can see it happening but, like, they just patched things up a year ago, and knowing how Sean took a while to even give them a shot again..."

Taylor finally held Jake's face, to make him focus and shut up. "Jake, it's mine. Ours, if you'll still have me."

"Uh... what?" Jake blinks, "Like... back up? What are you talking about?"

Taylor sighed, pulling back and running a hand through his hair. "To establish things, yes, I do know I wasn't human until much recently, and yes, I do know how human biology works, I was given false memories of taking biology class in Hartfeld, too. No, I don't know how this is supposed to make sense because all Vaanu told me, when I still wasn't... here is that in another alternate universe, the Vaanu of that one made the me there a blond, Caucasian girl so since we're sort of the same person, maybe with him giving this new body that, yes I know, doesn't really look so new to you since I look like the same person you met two years ago, but body structure and apparently biology got altered in the process. And yes, alternate universes exist, but do not tell Diego under any circumstances. He's going to have a field day."

Jake is still staring, uncomprehending. Taylor drops his shoulders, sighing and resting his hands on his flat stomach.

"I'm pregnant."

Chapter Text

As soon as they got inside the resort, and after the initial sweeping to make certain that they weren't going to be ambushed by Lu Huerta-knows-what, each of them claimed their own areas and went to sleep. Craig didn't even need more than two minutes before he started snoring, same can be said about Raj. Diego slept beside Varyyn, their sleeping positions not at all suggestive... until they were deep into it. Somehow, Varyyn's arm made its place over Diego's upper body and the latter snuggled into the Watcher. Even Michelle didn't bother finding a luxurious bed of sorts, and Aleister made Grace's sleeping position priority instead of his own. Zahra was the only one still awake, looking at the things around the house.

"You should go to sleep."

Taylor jerks, raising himself up a bit with his elbows and turned. He finds Jake, who had been sleeping on the floor by the couch initially... or who he thought had been sleeping. "You should talk," he quips quietly, mindful that the others were resting. "why aren't you?"

"Being at the navy, fighting on the battlefield... It's wired in me, even if I'm sleeping, to be aware of my surroundings. So I can be ready to bolt, if the situation calls for it." Jake reaches out, placing his hand on Taylor's cheek. "right now, I'm bothered that you're not sleeping. You had to pull the weight and get us through the plane's wing, after all... Hell, this entire journey, we've all followed your lead for the major plays. It couldn't have been easy on you."

The brunette shakes his head, "It'd have been worth it, I'd do it again, if it meant saving you... all of you. And Jake?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you, for listening back there." Taylor takes a breath, resting his forehead on Jake's. "For a second there... I thought you were going to run off on your own..." he says, his voice shaky. "I thought... I was going to lose you again..."

"You're not going to lose me."

"But you were thinking of going off on your own so Lundgren would go after you instead of us," Taylor reminds, "and... if you had gone through with that I..."

Jake takes the brunette's head and pulls it gently to his shoulder, "if I had, I would find my way back to you eventually. Give me credit, Boy Scout," he runs his hand across Taylor's hair, "you know I care about you too much to leave alone."

Taylor pulls back, taking Jake's face in between his hands. They stare at each other for a moment, before their lips gravitate towards one another. They were both too tired to really get into it, but that didn't mean it was any meaningless compared to other kisses they've shared. When they pull back, Jake cups the side of his face.

"God, you make me crazy, Taylor."

The brunette manages a grin, "It better not be 'La Huerta island vacation experience' crazy," he quips, "I don't know how I feel about being compared to that."

"Heh, definitely not. It's a better crazy, that's for sure," Jake chuckles. "so, will you be able to sleep now? I'm not going anywhere."

Taylor smirks, "Are you sure about that?"

"Don't you trust me?"

"That," Taylor grins, "is a difficult question."

"Fair enough."

Taylor smiles, sitting up and patting his hand on the couch. "How about this, lie next to me?"

"I don't even have to think twice."

The both settled in, Jake lying down on the couch and Taylor lowers himself onto him. The brunette touches his nose to Jake's before resting his head on Jake's chest. The blond places his arm around Taylor's side, brushing brown fringe from his forehead before kissing it.

"Night, Boy Scout, sweet dreams..." Taylor hums, letting his exhaustion finally win over, relaxed now and letting Jake's heart beat lull him to sleep. "... I'm here, I'll protect you..."

Chapter Text

It's been a years now since they lost him. Since he lost him.

Jake tried, he tried his damnedest to move on, even to find someone new, because he believed, no, he knew that that's what Taylor would've wanted; him to be happy, to find peace with the decision of letting the brunette sacrifice himself for their future. And he tried, to live for him, for his future.

He half succeeded.

They all got the future each of them saw, that Taylor was able to show them. Craig made his own game, Diego wrote a best selling novel and his only worry right now is getting Varyyn to marry him again under human customs, Grace proved herself to her mom, Aleister spoils his little Reggie and became the father the bastard Rourke never was, and he...

Well, it wasn't with Mike, but he managed to get Lundgren's ass into the slammer... or at least, his reputation since Mike took care of getting rid of Lundgren years ago. Still, it wasn't enough. He wanted a family, and while he did have his old one back he wanted one of his own, like what Aleister and Grace had...

He wanted one with Taylor, but he will never get it.

Jake sighs, going through his phone and listening to the message he never got tired of hearing... never stopped crying over.

//Jake, I'll never forget your sarcastic sense of humor. No matter how hard things got, you never ran out of ways to verbally bust life in the chops. I bet you're even making a wisecrack right now.//

Boy Scout, you Damned know-it-all

//Oh, and one more thing. Jake, I promised you a year and a day, and I'm sorry I won't be able to fulfill that vow. It's because of you I'm able to face this decision. The strength and confidence you taught me... And you I take with me, wherever I'm headed next. You gave me a lifetime worth of love in a few, short weeks.//

"Jake," A familiar voice said gently, and the blond looked up to meet the eyes of Sean. "we're almost there."

Jake nods, taking the bouquet from the vacant seat next to his. It was the only item he brought with him.

This is your Captain speaking, we will be arriving in La Huerta in a short while, please fasten your seat belts, we will be experience slight turbulence. Thank you.

True to the announcement, they did experience turbulence, it was anything but slight however.

"Mffrm?"

Quinn strokes Froxy comfortingly, "It's okay, we're fine..."

"For the millionth time," Craig groans from far at the back, "everytime we're with Jake..."

Jake manages a small smile, calling back. "Shut your yap, Drax. Not like I'm the one behind the wheel this time." he says. "Blame the Pilot Aleister actually hired instead of me."

"Forces of nature are beyond anyone's control, do not pin it on the Pilot's capability." Aleister snaps back as Grace holds a whimpering infant close to her.

Technically, it might have been better if they left him alone with a nanny since he wasn't old enough yet, but not only did Aleister have zero trust to anyone outside his friends to watch over Reginald they also really wanted to introduce their child to Taylor... no matter how indirect it would be. And it seemed wrong for their child to miss out on Taylor's death anniversary on his first year old, especially since they gave him his name, Reginald Taylor R. Hall.

"So Al, my man," Raj spoke as soon as the turbulence died down, "are you really going to reestablish the Celestial?"

Aleister nods, patting Reginald's head softly. "Of course, but only because I really would like to rename it as Andromeda..."

A silence passed over the plane, and it was Diego who broke it. "How long has it been? Five years?"

"Too long," Jake answers, trying not to sound harsh, "too damn long... but never long enough."

Diego frowns, shaking his head. "Yeah..." he sighs, "I can't help but agree... I can't help... but feel guilty, too, every time I feel happy... Back then, Taylor would always be the first to know."

"You have your right to be happy for happiness sake, even Taylor would not deny you of that," Varyyn spoke to his lover soothingly, gently pulling his head on his shoulder, "But I agree, all this time, it really would have been better to have happiness experienced with him around."

Jake's shoulder shook as he tried not to break down, at least, not until he was alone. As soon as the plane landed, it was twilight. The blond unbuckled his seat belt quickly and rushed out, immediately running off, his destination; the beach.

"Whoa! Wait a minute, Jake!"

"Dude, a shuttle's gonna pick us up and take us to the hotel! Where the hell are you going?"

Jake didn't listen, didn't bother going through the set of activities the rest planned out. He had one intention, and it never changed through out the years; Solace. To feel... to pretend, even for just a moment, that Taylor was still with him.

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Jake slipped out of his shoes as he neared the line where sea meets land, letting the waves wash over him just as he let the memories take over. Every single day of the year, he push them out, because it always hurt to remember, only allowing himself to remembering in two days of the year; Taylor's birthday and death.

Jake dropped the bouquet, letting the waves take it, his eyes never leaving the skies. "All these years, Boy Scout, and I'm still asking..." he says in a broken voice. "Why... why did you have to leave...?"

"You know why," Sean's voice spoke from behind him, and Jake didn't bother turning, he knew the rest had followed him. "and I get it, even after all these years... It hurts, it hurt to lose him. We get it."

Jake clenches his fist, "No... No, you don't get it..." he turns around. "He meant everything to me, damn it! We promised a day and a year together, and even that, the damn world couldn't give us! And you guys will never know how that feels!"

"Jake, calm down," Michelle frowns, "you need to breathe..."

The blond shakes his head. "Breathe for what? To live? And for what?"

"Jake, come on, this is supposed to be a special day, for Taylor. Don't spoil it, come on, he wouldn't want that." Sean frowns, "It's not about you."

Jake growls, stepping up to Sean. "Look pretty boy, I know it ain't about me, but hell, Taylor meant more to me than he ever did to any of you."

"Now that's just going too far," Sean glares at him, grabbing the blond by the front of his shirt. "We may not have been handfasted to him, but Taylor means a lot to ALL of us."

Zahra rolls her eyes, "Every year... this literally happens every year."

"Come on guys," Quinn pouts, "Cut it out."

Estela shakes her head, bringing a hand to her forehead. "Some things never change..."

"Yeah right, I'd like to see you prove that."

"Don't think I won't?"

Suddenly, a familiar voice breaks in, and it's like time and the world has stopped.

"Will you BOTH quit puffing your chests? Even now this macho standoff is going to get you nowhere. Don't you guys learn?"

Sean and Jake stilled, eyes widened as they continued looking at each other. Someone made a small squeak, it sounded like Grace. Quinn whimpers and chokes on a sob. Slowly, Jake turns his head, and swore he must be hallucinating again.

"T-Taylor?"

Chapter Text

It was all the brunette could do to steady himself as they all pounced on him, starting with Jake, of course. Swiftly followed by Diego and everyone else. Grace gave Reginald for Varyyn to carry, and even Zahra and Estela didn't think twice in joining in. At one point, Taylor had to avoid stepping on Froxy as the fox cuddled against his shin, so he couldn't hold it together any longer and they all ended up falling into the water and making a big splash, after several attempts of trying to get them to calm down to explain things failing, especially with Jake distracting his lips from making any coherent words, the brunette gave in and decided to wait it out.

It took a while for everyone to calm down and pull themselves together long enough for Taylor to explain. Or, more to the point, pull themselves away from Taylor. But the brunette expected it. When everyone settled down, Taylor explained how he was there again. That, no, nothing was wrong. The world wasn't ending and needed saving again. This was especially true for Jake, because his world was being returned to him.

Taylor smiled at them all, "I'm so proud of all of you, of what you achieved, and how you..." he looked at Jake, who had his head nested on his shoulders, arms wrapped around him from behind. He gave him a chaste kiss. "... you carried on, despite the pain. And because you did, made the future Vaanu had us foresaw together years ago a reality," he looks back to all of them. "well, he was very gracious to grant me a new body."

"Mrrfm?"

"New body?" Craig looks at the brunette up and down, "uh, bruh, you look the same to me, if only, like, slightly older... Definitely not like a geezer like red astronaut was."

Taylor shrugged, "Technically, it's the same body following the passage of time if I've been here all this time instead of... erm.... some void somewhere," he winced as Jake whined unconsciously, squeezing him tighter against him. The brunette massaged his arm comfortingly before he continued. "Just... uh... I'm still me, without the Vaanu part I guess? You could say I'm more.... mortal? I mean, I tried to communicate with Varyyn when I landed here, but I came up with nothing. Did you feel anything?"

The Vaanti king shook his head. "I apologize. And... it seems I cannot make a connection now, either."

"That's fine," Taylor grins, "I think Diego would be jealous if we shared a connection, after all."

Diego fakes laugh, "Very funny."

"Also, the Andromeda armor no longer works the way it used to, I can't tell how you guys are going to react by what I say now anyway. It's mostly protection only, now from when I, erm, crashed down earlier." Taylor looks chagrined. "You might've felt it when flying in..."

"Wait what..." Jake widened his eyes, "you crashed down? Like, comet style? Are you okay?!"

Zahra narrowed her eyes, "Well, considering he's been dead or whatever the passed years, he's looking pretty good." she quips. The blond scowls at her but she easily flips him off. "fuck you too, Jake."

"So the storm earlier?" Grace speaks up, "that was because of you?"

Taylor smiles sheepishly, "Apparently, it takes a lot of energy and weather manipulation to transport me back here." he says.

"But why would Vaanu do this? I mean, after all the trouble and having you sacrifice yourself..." Diego begins to question, with Jake giving him a stink eye. "Uh, no, not like I'm complaining, because I'm really not complaining, and I... Jake... no, we couldn't be happier, but..." he frowns, "I guess... I just want to know if you're here to stay for, you know, a long time... hopefully."

Jake frowns, taking Taylor's face between his hands. Not knowing how he would feel, because he was so happy right now, so grateful to have the brunette back in his arms, to feel his warmth once more, but he wonders if it would be worth the pain if they only had this one day with him. He didn't think he could bare losing him this way the second time. But when Taylor smiles at him brightly, taking his hands and planting kisses on them both, all those worries and fears vanished.

"No, I'm here to stay... for good, and it's thanks to all of you." Taylor felt something brush against his shin, and when he looked down, he saw the bouquet Jake carried earlier. He smiled as he recognized the flowers, the type he wore during their handfasting ceremony, the one that symbolized Devotion. He picked it up, grinning as he took one and tucked it behind the blond's ear before hugging the bouquet to his chest. "And I think I owe someone a day and a year that's long overdue."

Jake grins back, wrapping his arms around Taylor. "Damn straight you do," he hisses. "and for having me wait, I think someone needs to be punished, preferably with ropes..."

"I like the way you think, Hotness..." Taylor smiles, wrapping his arms around Jake's neck. "how soon can this punishment start?"

Jake pressed his forehead against the brunette's. "Why rush? From where I'm standing, we have all the time in the world..."

"That we do!" Raj interrupts, grinning as he barrels in and hugs both Jake and Taylor. They yelped as their feet are now dangling off the ground. "Taylor, you may have that whole day and year vow thing to make up for with Jake, but don't think we're gonna make it easy on you! It's time for the famous Raj rave!"

Sean nods, grinning and crossing his arms. "Raj's right, you think Jake's the only one who wants your attention?"

"We all need a dose of some Taylor-love here." Quinn agrees chirpily. "don't leave us out now!"

"Mmrrm!"

Jake groans as he struggles to be put down. "Aw come on! Can't you guys wait?" He complained.

"Nope!" Michelle smirks, going over to pull Taylor away. Raj drops him as he still held on to the blond, who continued to squirm. Taylor laughed as he let Michelle pull him away from Jake teasingly, as the blond continued to squirm. "this calls for champagne! A lot of champagne!"

Craig laughs, "A lot and then some!"

"Hear, hear!"

Jake sighs as Raj finally lets him down, "Fine," he runs to catch up with Taylor though. "but when that's done, I'm definitely having you all to myself." he whispers huskily to the brunette's ear.

"Looking forward to it, Hotness." Taylor winks.

Chapter Text

"Are these the cables you need for the sound system, Zahra?"

"Yeap, football junkie. Now get outta here and let me work my magic."

"That's Z speak for thank you."

Preparations for the impromptu party were underway, Jake honestly wanted nothing more than to spend every second with Taylor but the others, just for the sake of messing with him, kept him busy with tasks only he can do. But the blond swears, only half of them were actually something he's solely capable of doing. As it was, Diego was the one assigned to help Taylor prep up for the party, and helping him out of his armor. If it were anyone else, Jake would be more frustrated than he already was. But he remembers, after all these years, and if there's anyone who deserve some lone time with his lover asides from him, it's Diego.

Especially since he actually came to being because of the Hispanic's need for a friend.

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Taylor sighed, as the jets of water sprayed washed over him. He forgot how good it felt to have a good bath and the soothing affect it has on sore muscles. Spiraling down on earth comet-style from space and time continuum was definitely hard on his human body. The last bit of his being as part of Vaanu was stripped off as he crashed down to prevent fatal damages, because that would just defeat the whole point of his return if he just ended up dying.

It took a while, but the ocean water pretty much washed away the dirt he was covered in and all he had to do was scrub down the salt and little remains of dirt. He toweled his hair as he stepped out of the bathroom.

"So Diego," he starts, seeing his best friend looking through some clothes for him to wear for tonight. "what outfit would be best to wear for my homecoming party?"

Diego held a familiar looking shirt in his hands, smiling. "Well, it might not be fancy enough for tonight... But I can't help but feel this is the best thing for you to wear." he held it up for Taylor to get a better look.

The brunette widened his eyes. The shirt Diego held was the very shirt he wore on the plane ride set for La Huerta... the shirt he wore when he came to be.

"It was in your bag... we were able to recover it back then in the hotel." Diego starts quietly. "It just magically appeared with our own luggage after... um, you disappeared." His shoulders visibly shook.

"Oh Diego..." Taylor says quietly, wrapping the towel around his waist before making his way to Diego. "you kept that shirt? After all this time..."

The Hispanic clutched the shirt to his chest, "Actually, Jake kept them all. But I couldn't give him this one," Diego admits, "this was the first thing I remember you wearing when we were on the plane, when you first... came to be my friend. It's the shirt that's been a part of you, that wasn't just found in a luggage that you supposedly packed for the trip, the shirt you really owned. I felt that as long as this existed, then you still existed. Somewhere... wherever you went after. Sometimes, when I sleep, I get these nightmares... that you never existed, that when I mentioned you to the others, even Jake, they said I was just making up an imaginary friend. Because no one wanted to be my friend... in those dreams, they weren't my friends... and I don't think they'd even be my friends now if not for you."

Taylor sighs, shaking his head but not saying anything at first. He just reached over, and embraced Diego, the shirt pressed between them. "I'm here now, Diego. And I exist. If I was an imaginary friend, then I'm an imaginary friend that existed because of you. I'm sorry I had to disappear on you and everyone else, but you have to know that you are an amazing person and I'm sure, some way or another, you'd find the confidence to have befriended everyone out there on your own."

"But I don't want there to be another way," Diego leaned his forehead on Taylor's shoulder, "even if it meant going through that crazy, island adventure, I'm glad that it was the way I started making real friends... I'm glad you came to be and showed that I can make friends.... I'm glad you became my best friend."

“I love being your best friend… I never want to lose you.”

“You’re not going to lose me, Diego. That’s a promise.”

Tears fill my eyes as, in the space of a single moment, I watched myself befriend Diego a thousand times.

Flashes of memories from his past lives passed through from Taylor's head, remembering that falling in love with Jake wasn't the only constant thing about all those lives he lived. Another one was Diego. In each and every one of those alternative universes, he came to existence because of the boy, now a man, right in front of him. And Taylor is suddenly overwhelmed with emotion as this registers to him, that's he's able to exist and experience what it feels like to be loved by Jake, to laugh and cry with everyone else, to feel frustrated when things go wrong or someone's hurting and everything else humanly possible, because Diego needed a friend.

And he was glad to be the first friend.

Taylor held Diego closer to him, tears starting to fall from his eyes. The Hispanic blinked, surprised. "Woah, whoa, I'm not supposed to be making you cry," he says, unaware of his own tears that he's been shedding. "this is supposed to be a happy day!"

"And these are tears of joy, so it's fine." Taylor sniffs, smiling as he pulls away. "Diego, sorry it took a while for me to say this but... I love being your best friend, too. And it may be selfish of me to say this, but I hope I never have to go through losing you."

Diego blinks, remembering those words as ones he said to Taylor in what seems like a long time ago. Then, he breaks into a grin. "Don't worry, unlike you, I'm harder to get rid of."

"Good to know," Taylor laughs, before taking the red shirt. "come on, we've got a party to prep for."

Chapter Text

If you're an Endless Summer (alternately known as the meme 'came here to have a good time and now I feel so attacked') fan, then you can probably relate with the hardship of choosing who to romance. I actually used two accounts in Facebook to romance them both at the same time. (Taylor is Jake's avatar, and I named Sean's avatar Trey.) In my opinion, all four love interests were great, but the struggle of choosing between these two will always remain (even if I did use McKenzie for my user name here).

Why I love Jake

⚫He's hot and must be protected from his angst.
⚫He needs more reasons to be happy so as to not go to a dark end.
⚫His dry humor and sass is so sexy.
⚫Do you see that hair?!
⚫The fact that he calls me Boy Scout but he's even more versatile than me (especially if I don't have diamonds for particular choices. I mean, he can fly a plane AND a helicopter, fly a glider he just started using, make a bonfire, swim while dragging an unwilling passenger with him [Hi, Aleister] and et cetera)
⚫I'm actually a sucker for blonds and blue eyes wearing green jackets. (On a side note, I had a crush on Jeremy Johnson from PnF and definitely romanced Michael Harrison which I am headcanon-ing as Jake's nephew through his sister)
⚫He gave me a nickname on the get-go. Sure, he said it's for people he finds anyone, but it became an endearment later. A MEANINGFUL one too.

What I dislike about romancing him

⚫When he fights with Sean. (making me choose between them.)
⚫When he feels sorry for himself (I don't like it when he's sad, but I love comforting him so...)
⚫When he told me (the group really, but you get it) to leave while he leads the Arachnids away.
⚫That I don't agree with some of my choice responses to get a Like+ from him, but since I'm romancing him to get a soul mate, I have no choice.
⚫Most Jake Like+ choices always involves dislike- from others (can't be sure if it's equally balanced that others are the same way, but still)
⚫How he usually did what was counter-productive in the Book 1 (Like, I wanted to get all those files damn it)

Why I love Sean

⚫He is a total sweetheart but needs someone to keep him in line with his temper.
⚫He always means well and thinks of others first (but that can be annoying too.)
⚫It feels good to be treated with so much value.
⚫Those biceps! Those THIGHS!
⚫How he always takes me up in my leadership skills and how reliable I am. (I need my ego boost too, you know)
⚫He's a family man. He prioritizes his family above everything else. WHO ISN'T INTO THAT?
⚫He said he reconsidered having kids because of me! Waaah! I changed his mind!
⚫He was more broken up about me falling off the helicopter than Jake was. Blondie def got minus points for that.

What I dislike about romancing him

⚫When he fights with Jake. (making me choose between them.)
⚫When he blames himself when something bad happens or when he can't do anything.
⚫When he was being close-minded about the whole Michelle thing (like, I can't believe he jumped the gun and didn't hear her out)
⚫How he treated Kele a bit rudely when we first met him. (Although I guess when you meet a stranger in a weird island, can't blame him too.)
⚫How he wasn't one of the initial friends found in Book 3. Like, it's the last book, I wanted as much romance time with him as I did with Jake.

As hilarious and adorbs the above photo is, I'm kinda glad there was no love rivalry between these two. If you ask me, they are the top LIs in the game. Honestly, if CHOICES had a jealousy feature in reading these books, I do NOT wanna know how LIs would go on about it. Especially these two! Their ego rivalry were frustrating (in a good way) enough as it is. They've been at each others' necks from the beginning and I do not know how further it could escalate when there's a plot that they fight over the MC. Just imagining it... *shudders* ugh. Don't even get me started.

When it comes to who needs or deserves MC the most I think that would be Jake more than Sean. It's hard for Jake to let us in, took me longer to get a like from him than it did Sean anyway. (And yes, I get that Estella is the hardest in Book 1 to get to a like, but she's not included in this blog right now) Aside from his family, the only other important person to him was Mike. I don't think he'll build any tight chemistry with anyone else after MC and Mike (still wondering if he loves me more than Mike, but eh, can't compare nor measure fraternal love and romantic love on the same scale.)

I mean, let's say the end didn't turn out the way it did. They go home, Jake's name gets cleared (let's toss in a 'Mike didn't die' plot for good measure.) Can you really picture Jake ending up with someone else? Sean (sorry for those Michelle x Quinn shippers there, no hate) could fix things up with Michelle. When I was romancing Jake, I didn't mind hooking those two up and helping them make up. So if you think about it, Sean still had other romantic options outside MC. I couldn't see Jake having that with anyone else.

"You don't live through what we lived through without forming friendships that would last just about everything." -anonymous

Believe this quote sums just about the whole bond of you and your LIs as well as the Endless Summer squad.

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Aaaaand my Vaanu! The proposal scenes! I still can't choose which was better!

Jake's

Sean's

Seriously! When I first played through romancing Jake, I was all 'Okay, whoop. Don't think anything else can match this proposal and heartfelt confession' and then I played through Sean's after, while waiting for the keys to load in my Jake playthrough account and then BOOM! Sean's wholesome proposal hit me like a speeding snowball. While I have the sass and playful flirty banter of Jake and Taylor, Sean's sincere and sweetheart soul has me reeling. It's refreshing how the different romantic escalation of each LIs balances out the other. And I wonder if the creators' of Endless Summer was aiming for that.

Chapter Text

"Hartfeld is just... it's so... so...." Diego looks towards his best friend with wide eyes, "what do you call that word that's not small?"

Taylor raises a brow, giving a slight smile as he hauled his luggage out of the bus's side compartment. "You mean big?"

"Yeah, big." Diego swallowed thickly. "I forget my words when I'm nervous..."

Taylor grins, "That's not the only thing you forget," he quips. "Heads up, you're wearing different pair of socks."

"Whaaaat?!" Diego panics, looking down and checking that his socks are, in fact, not different pairs. He scowls, punching Taylor on the shoulder. "Not cool, man!"

Taylor laughs and throws his arm around the Hispanic, nervous wreck. "Diego, you need to relax, it's the first day and all we're gonna do is settle in. I think you can make it through the day alive."

"Except when I won't..."

Taylor rolls his eyes, before pulling him along. "Come on, I think they're gathering for the orientation tour."

"Welcome to Hartfeld! I'm Quinn Kelly, and this is my fellow student assistant, Ellizar Varyyn Vaanti."

Diego widened his eyes as they feasted on the fine specimen of a man, thinking it should be illegal to be that hot. The man had a neat dark ponytail braided all fancy-like, his tall, muscular, yet lean form definitely towering over the girl and he prayed to any gods that existed that they weren't dating. He blushed when he caught his eyes—which were a startling golden color—and quickly looked away.

"Uh, Diego?" Taylor raised a brow, walking back towards him. The group had already started moving but his friend hadn't. "you seem out of it, what's up?"

Diego blinks, looking towards his friend. He placed a hand on the brunette's shoulder. "I'm so gay..."

"Uh-huh..." Taylor smirked, crossing his arms. "tell me something I don't know."

Diego was still pretty much love struck. "That guy was hot."

"Aw, guess this means you called dibs. So not fair~" Taylor whined teasingly. Diego nudged him roughly. "Hey, just kidding. You know I go for the more our-own-soil, non-foreigner types. Which, not speaking of, he's coming this way."

Diego gaped, "What?!" he looks and sees that the guy was, indeed, walking towards them.

"Is there something wrong? You two aren't missing any belongings, are you?" Ellizar asked, frowning as he made his way back towards them. "there's been reports in pass orientation tours of that happening."

Diego starts panicking as the guy was closing in, "Snap, snap, snap, Taylor, what do I say?!" he muttered under his breath.

"Well," Taylor chuckled once, too amused to empathize with Diego right now. "you can start and have him with hello."

Diego scowled, but seeing as the guy was now just a two meters away, he went for clearing his throat, "Hello! I'm—"

"Heads up!"

It happened too fast, and the next thing Diego knew, he was face flat on the ground.

"Oh my god, Diego!" Taylor gasped before his face scrunches up in a scowl when he sees the football. "all right, who the hell threw that?!" If these are bullies, it's too far the hell early to be dealing with...

While his best friend went off to find the offenders, Diego finds himself wishing that the ball made a sinkhole upon impact to swallow him whole, because now he was alone and being fretted over by the handsome SA.

"Are you all right? It wasn't hard enough for a concussion, was it?"

Diego stammered, lost for words and sputtering whatever out to find them. "I... I... like you—uuuur braid!" He wouldn't be surprise if his entire body was blushing like what happens in Animes. "Er, I mean, that is.... uh... I'm Diego!"

Varyyn blinks before chuckling lightly, "It seems like you're okay," he took the shorter boy's hand and helped him up, holding him by the arm just in case. "I'm Varyyn, just as Quinn mentioned, it's nice to meet you Diego, and thank you for the kind appraisal of my choice of hairstyle. I like your hair too, it's a nice—mm, what did they call it... ah—man bun, right?" He smiled warmly.

Diego made some garbled, incoherent sound before making some sort of excuse about needing to find Taylor to book it out of there.

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"It really wasn't that bad, Diego."

Diego was still groaning, the sounds muffled with his hands covering his face. Because of this, Taylor volunteered to drag both of their luggage as they made their way to the lobby to get their room assignment.

"Of course it was! Just my luck, I see a cute guy, try not to embarrass myself, just wanted to say hello, and I ended up falling flat to my face... literally!"

"To be fair, it wasn't your fault, that football came from out of nowhere." Taylor pointed out, "guys were nice enough to apologize, at least."

Diego shakes his head, scowling. "More than nice, it seems. You have it easy, that blond with the football captain was definitely checking you out and not because you looked stupid."

"Oh come on," Taylor waved a dismissive hand, "you say that about every guy that talks to me—"

The Hispanic gave his friend a raised brow, "He flirted with you; you flirted back."

"That? That was just banter, you know, they say you'll know a person better by the type of jokes they find funny—"

"You called him Hotness." Diego deadpans harder. "... and apologized because you, and I quote, 'don't think well on your feet.'"

Taylor blushed and finally conceded, "He was my type."

"Mhmm..." Diego can't help but feel smug about having won that argument. Before remembering the cute, foreign and exotic-looking SA who fussed over him after he was hit. Definitely not the attention he was going for. He sighed. "At least it can't get worse..."

OMAKE

Chagrined, Sean wanted to kill Jake even more now. He accidentally threw the football too hard, hoping it would just ever so slightly knock the wind off the blond's lungs for being so obnoxious, and he ended up messing up the angle and aim of his throw, totally missing Jake by a mile and accidentally knocking down a Freshmen from the Orientation group.

"I am so gonna kill you now, McKenzie, you damn bastard."

Jake was laughing hysterically ever since the hit landed. "Hey, I'm not the one who bowled over an unsuspecting Freshmen."

"Yo my guys, don't look now," Craig hollered to get their attention. "but that fella's buddy is coming this way, better get ready to face the music."

Before either of the two can respond, an angry bark came from aforementioned buddy. "Were you guys the one who threw that? You hit my friend, and that better not have been intentional or so help me—!"

"Woah, woah, no. Definitely not intentional." Sean said immediately, making placating gestures towards the guy. "we're practicing our demonstrations for football tryouts tomorrow, and I ended up messing up my shot. Sorry about that, really. Is your friend okay?"

The guy seemed to study him for a moment, like he was trying to figure out if Sean was being truthful, before sighing. "All right, sorry for jumping the gun there. I don't take bullies lightly."

"That's too elementary for us, don't you worry, Boy Scout."

Sean scowled, about to call Jake out again for giving nicknames to random strangers, but the new comer beats him to it. "Boy Scout, huh? How'd you come up with that?"

Jake grins, shrugging casually. "I may or may not be familiar with the type of Neckerchief hanging around you neck." He held out his hand. "could call you that from now on, or you could give me your name."

"Very smooth, Hotness. You pick up guys a lot with unique line-starters?"

"Hotness, huh?"

"Name calling isn't my thing, and I don't think too well on my feet. Sorry." The guy chuckles, chagrined. "It's Taylor, by the way."

"Jake McKenzie. And if cliché line-starters are more your thing, I can do that too." Jake clears his throat and stares directly into Taylor's eyes. "Hey handsome, you new in town?"

Taylor snorted to hold it in but still ends up bursting into laughter. Jake looks pleased with himself, Craig and Sean glances at each other. The Asian raising his brow, making a thumb gesture as if asking if they should just leave. Sean shrugged, just as confused. He never saw Jake make a move on someone this fast.

"Oh, I almost forgot, we've got homework to do."

Taylor raised a brow, smirking. "Really? Sure you're not gonna make some defenseless nerd do it for you?"

"What do you take me for?" Jake gasps, pretending to be offended. Then breaking back into a grin, "Again, really sorry about my friend hitting yours. He can be a real klutz."

Sean spluttered, gaping. "Excuse me?"

"Guess I'll be seeing you around." Jake walks over to Sean and Craig, reaching over to throw his arms around their necks and dragging them away with him. "Play nice with the wild bears, Boy Scout."

Taylor rolled his eyes, but the smile remained on his lips.

"... Really? Homework?" Sean made a look as Jake continued to drag him and Craig away, "we don't even have classes till tomorrow."

Craig raised a brow, "Yo dude, you sound like you wanna talk with him more. If you wanted us to leave, you could've just..."

Jake continues to grin, "Yeah, but he doesn't know that or the homework thing." he winks, "and the best way to bait a potential date and keep their interest is to leave abruptly and keep them wanting."

"Oh my god, Jake..." Sean face palmed and dragged his hand down his face, "we're going to graduate soon, you gotta stop this playboy scene of yours and get your priorities straight."

"The only straight I am is straight-up damn fine."

Craig made a look, "You totally messed up that line..."

"And I may be a playboy, but sometimes, I wanna play for keeps."

SIDE OMAKE

Taylor smiled, but not sure why he was still smiling. They already left and he was probably looking like an idiot standing there, alone.

"Oh, no, no, I'm definitely fine, thanks for checking on me instead of finding out who hit me with the ball and end up flirting up a storm with an unknown blondie."

Taylor sighed, strangely dazed even though he wasn't the one who was hit by the ball. "He said his name was Jake..."

"Totally missed the point." Diego face palmed. "come on, we have to get back to the tour."

Chapter Text

"About it not being any worse? I take it back." Diego groans, "How can we not be room mates?"

Taylor rubbed the back of his head, "Er, I thought you said your folks requested for it?"

"Probably did that just to quiet me down... they may still blame you and think you made me gay." Diego sighs, massaging his forehead. "Maybe we can get our room mates to switch?"

The SA spoke up, "Can't do that. Unless you get into a Fraternity house and they let you choose, your room assignment here stay as is." he said. "Gotta move out of that comfort zone, Freshmen and just make more friends."

"But I like my comfort zone..."

Taylor gives his friend a pat in the book, "We're still technically in the same building. If it doesn't work out, you can always drop by or I can. Go on, don't knock it till you try it, Diego."

──────────────────────────────────────────────────

"You're my room mate?

Varyyn smiled kindly, placing away a book he had been reading up until Diego came in. He stood up and walked towards the Freshmen. "Seems so, and it's a pleasant surprise I must say." he said. "Some SA's are usually assigned to room with Freshmen; it helps the newcomer figure out the little things about campus life. If you have any concerns, feel free to come to me."

"Oh," Diego worried his lower lip, "so, like, guess this means you're stuck with me, huh?"

Varyyn furrowed his brows, "Forgive me, English isn't my first language. And while I, if I do say so myself, may have a grip on the fundamentals of its grammar and what not, expressions and figurative speeches are still a bit lost to me. This sounds rather familiar though, but just correct me if I'm wrong... are you implying that it's an inconvenience on my part to be rooming with you?"

"Weeeell, that's not exactly how I would phrase it... But..." Diego rubbed the back of his head, unable to look at him straight for more than ten seconds without his heart beating out of his chest. "I mean, since you're a senior and all, you must have some other friends you'd rather be rooming with. I mean, I was kinda hoping to room with my best bud too... Not to say that I don't like you for a roommate. I mean, I actually like you... I mean! Well, not that type of like, but..."

Varyyn walked over to grab Diego arms, which had been going all over the place without him being aware of it, it seems. The younger male was practically flailing. The foreigner lets out a kind laugh. "I believe I comprehend. But please, while I do, indeed, have other friends I also enjoy meeting new ones. So as long as it's not unpleasant for me to be your room mate, as you say it's not, then I'm fine with it, too."

"Oh. Cool." Diego manages, trying for a smile and hoping it doesn't look crooked or awkward. "Cool. So, uh... I guess we're room mates then."

Varyyn nods, "That has been established, yes." He smirks. "would you like me to help you unpack?"

"Uh, well, if it's not much trouble..."

"Not at all."

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Later, Diego meets up with Taylor for dinner. Varyyn had other Student assistant tasks to finish within the day, so after unpacking, they went their separate ways with the SA promising to treat him breakfast in the morning before Diego goes off to the Freshmen assembly. To which Diego happily agreed with, becoming more comfortable around Varyyn after an hour or two of unpacking and conversing.

"Call the doctor, Taylor, cause I think I'm sick after being bitten by the love bug." Diego sighs as he sat down, and Taylor had to move his tray before the Hispanic could accidentally dump his head on the food he ordered. "He's perfect! And absolutely the nicest guy I've ever met!"

Taylor glared at him playfully, "Jee, thanks, just save your dinner there but whatever."

"Really hoping he's gay and single... ugh!" Diego groans, ignoring his friend's previous remark. "And while we were talking, I think he was more eager to learn about Harry Potter and Star Wars than I was concerned about finding out where to find my classes for next week."

Taylor smiles, amused. "You should probably be more concerned about that, though." Then, he lets out a sigh. An elbow to the table, and a hand to his cheek. "well, I'm glad you lucked out with Mr. Exotic for a roommate. I'm already searching for potential fraternity houses just to get out of my own room assignment."

"Why?" Diego blinks, and frowns. "what's wrong with your room mate?"

Taylor grumbles as he stabs his pasta with a fork, "Asides from the fact that he's a creeper? Uh... He's a creeper." He deadpans, "I haven't even introduced myself, and he was already suggesting—demanding, to be accurate—that I'd be his plus one for some Quad party to kickstart the year."

"That doesn't sound too bad."

Taylor looks at Diego dead in the eye, "He asked while, one, invading my personal space, and two, groping my ass."

"The jerk!" Diego immediately decides, scowling. "you should file a complain or something."

Taylor sighs, waving his hand dismissively. "I really don't want to start off my semester by making complains already. It was mild groping, at least..." He smirks. "and I did get to put into practice those self-defense moves we learned last summer as a warning, so that sorta made my day."

"Ooh," Diego snickers, "Do you think he'll be infertile now?"

Taylor snorts, "I seriously hope so, bastard deserves it." He grins. "But the quad party does sound like it will be fun, and if it doesn't need an invitation, want to check it out?"

"Why not?" Diego shrugs, "It'd be nice to have some fun before we're slaves to the system. Any idea where it is?"

Taylor nods, "Yeah, I passed it by earlier when I went through those fraternity booths." He said. "But as soon as you see a redhead with an obnoxious ego, we're out of there."

OMAKE

"Oh, you have CDs?" Varyyn pulled out the said items, "this room doesn't come with a television, so..."

Diego hung the last of his shirts in his closet, "No, it's okay. I accidentally left my laptop but my parents already made arrangements to deliver it to me, I'll get it by next week at the latest." he said.

"I see," Varyyn looks back at the CDs he held. "Star Wars?"

Diego nods, shrugging. "Yeah, the newer movies have cooler effects and all, but I'll always prefer the classics. How about you?"

"I'm afraid I couldn't say," Varyyn shook his head, "I never had a chance to see either."

Diego blinks, gasping. "Wait, you haven't seen Star Wars? Are you serious?"

"Yes, but I have heard of it." Varyyn pauses to think, "it's about a character named Darth Veeder and Three-pee-Oh, right?"

Diego didn't know whether to laugh out loud or cry in dismay, "No, no. That is very wrong." He grins, "It's decided then! As soon as we've got free time, we are totally having a marathon party." Something occurs to him, "Have you ever heard of Hogwarts?"

"A... hog... with warts?"

Diego almost squealed, "This is gonna be sooo much fun!"

"I'll take your word for it." Varyyn smiles, amused by the Freshmen's excitement. "So tell me... what's this about Hogs with warts?"

Chapter Text

Taylor and Diego made their way to the center of the Quad, wherever it was, trying to catch any hint likes lights or party music. The Caucasian brunette lit their pat using the flashlight feature from his smartphone, trying to find the booths he visited earlier if they didn't put them down yet. Their were students scattered in some places, chilling out, chatting with their friends, and the sort. But neither of the two felt that need to ask for directions just yet.

"You know what, you have your laptop right? If we don't find this party, maybe we can just watch some─" Diego was interrupted when someone shoved him, "Hey!"

The redhead offendor ignores the Hispanic's cry, making to grab Taylor by the shoulder. "There you are. Man, you're a hard fella to find. Come on, we're going to be late for the party!" He grins, "you ready to be shown a good time?"

"Oh my god, you are thick." Taylor scowled, trying to shove the guy away.

The redhead winks, "Thank you, I work out a lot."

"So not what I meant, but I'm sure you know that anyway." The brunette scowled, still trying to get his arm free. "Do I have to say it again? I am not gonna be your plus one!"

The redhead huffed. "If this is about earlier, that was just messing around. Didn't think you wouldn't be into that."

"Who the hell would be into a complete stranger touching them up?!"

"Now you're gonna come with me cause I am not showing up in this shindig without a date. And if people hear about a particular Freshmen rejecting a date from a Senior, especially me, you won't be getting any dates either."

"Yeah, and that's what college is all about, isn't it? Orgies and getting laid." Taylor rolled his eyes, finally managing to pull his arm free. "If you're such a big shot, then ask someone who can take your ego. Got standards, buddy, and you're not my type."

Diego grunts as he pushed himself off the ground, coming over to help his friend out. "If he doesn't want to go with you, then leave him alone."

"Oh yeah, pipsqueak? And what are you gonna do if I don't?"

Diego glared at him, but before he could say anything, someone else spoke up. "There you are Boy Scout, told you to wait for me to come pick you up." The three stopped arguing to face the new comer. "Ready for the party?"

"What the? You're going with him?! Why would you go with him and not me?!"

Taylor blinks, speechless. "Uh, I..."

"Oh yeah." Jake interjects quickly, "Dick, Lundgren bailed tonight, got Frat stuff to do. Fiddler's looking for a plus one, you available?"

"Fiddler? Sweeeet~" The redhead grinned, before turning towards Taylor. "sorry babe, guess it wasn't gonna work out. Maybe next time."

Taylor gaped but before he could say something, his roommate went off. "No way is it possible for a person to have that much ego."

"Yeah, well, you'd be surprised." Jake shrugged, stepping forward. "You two all right?"

DIego nods, getting a good look at the blond and saw that he was, well, good looking. It's no wonder Taylor lost himself for a moment after meeting him. "Yeah, thanks for the rescue." Then, he realized something, and suddenly snorted. "Is his name really Dick?"

"Suit him, right?" The blond snickered. "Don't worry, by the way. He's in our Arachnid Fraternity. We're given temporary room assignmnent cause our Frat house had to go through renovations, but they're already on the inspection phase. We'll be moving back there by tomorrow."

Taylor breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank god."

"So, I know I said it as to get Dick of your case," Jake started, grinning. "But I'm really also on the way to the Quad party, and I do need a plus one, too."

Taylor smirked, crossing his arms. "And how do I know you're not just like him, but smarter enough not to show your true colors on the get-go?"

"Well, you're right about the smarter part," Jake shrugs, "Guess you'll just have to give me the benefit of the doubt. Plus, it would look bad if Dick doesn't catch us together. Might start barking up at your tree again."

Taylor chuckled, "You totally used that line wrong, but you've got a point there."

Diego looked at both of them, smirking. Oh my god, are these two serious? Netflix, step up your game, real life is starting to become a better show.

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The party was already on full swing by the time they got there. A live band was playing a mainstream pop song, some students were dancing to the music, others were drinking punch or actual booze in styro cups, most were drinking while dancing. A couple of pairs were making out anywhere that was visible, and some were messing around in the water fountain.

"Oh my god, is this all really allowed?"

Jake laughed, "Welcome to college, Freshmen." He said. "wanna run wild or do you want me to ease you in?"

"Ease us in, thank you." Diego quickly answers, "I don't think I'm ready for─Sweet mother of Weasleys, is that a rodeo machine?! I always wanted to try one!" He ran off.

Taylor yelped, calling out to his friend. "Woah, Diego that is not easing in the─aaaaand he's gone." He sighed. "I swear, he better not tell me anything about dying of embarrassment after this because I still haven't found the nearest place to buy Nutella."

"Comfort food?"

"Comfort food. Or, you know, spread. Sometimes he doesn't even eat it with bread and just gets a spoonful... and then some. I keep telling him that it can't be healthy, but sometimes I just don't have the heart to."

Jake shakes his head, smirking. "Hmm, lemme guess, you're a mom friend in this dynamic?"

"Depends. Is this an opening for some kind of I can be your daddy pick up line?" Taylor raised a brow expectantly.

Jake whistled, "Damn, you're good. How often do people try picking you up?"

"More often than I'd like, to be honest." Taylor rolled his eyes, but smiled. "but feel free to keep trying, it's adorable."

Jake winced, "Adorable? I think I like it better when you called me Hotness."

Taylor chuckled, opening his mouth to comment when suddenly another guy threw his arm around Jake and the blond yelped, being lifted off the ground and spun. The brunette blinks as Jake laughs and the rough-housing ensued a bit.

"Mike! My man, where have you been?"

"Playing spin the bottle with Raj and the others, the real question is where you've been?"

Jake stood by Taylor then, "Picked up a plus one, this is Taylor. Boy Scout, meet my best bud, Mike."

"Hi." Taylor nods, offering a smile. Mike returns it with a grin and holds out a hand towards him. They shook hands.

"Welcome Freshie, can't believe Jake managed to actually find a date in such short notice. He blackmailed you or something?" Mike laugh when Jake scowled and nudged him roughly. Taylor chuckled. "Well, I guess he's not the worse person to end up with."

Taylor rolled his eyes, nodding. "Yeah, that would be Dick."

"Oh crap, your first day here and you already have to deal with that guy?" Mike winced, patting the brunette's shoulder.

Taylor sighed, shaking his head. "Yeah, and he's also my roommate. Temporary, according to Jake, but still."

"My sympathies." Mike scanned the crowd, "looks like the others break from the game, look, their watching some new kid riding a rodeo─Oh my god, is he doing advance already? Man, that takes guts."

Jake whistled, amused himself. "Wow, let's hope he doesn't break a neck."

"Huh, did you say Rodeo?" Taylor blinks, squinting his eye and trying to see amidst the darkness and bright lights. He gasps, "Crap, that's Diego!"

OMAKE:

It was finally Diego's turn and a guy named Sawyer helped strap him in. "Rules are simple, you win, and you get a prize. You lose, well, you can still get our prizes if you want but you'll have to pay for it."

"What prizes do you guys have to offer?"

Another guy answered for him, "Depends on the difficulty; Beginner gets a Hartfeld wrist band, Intermediate gets a date with Sawyer, the hottest guy of Oakley House─a friendly one, mind you! He's taken." He interjects quickly, and Sawyer laughs kissing the guy on the cheek that Diego did a little fanboy dance in his head. "Ahem. Advance gets a campus jersey. They're not really cheap, too."

"Okay, you got me. I'll try for that Jersey." Diego grins. "always one for school spirit. How do I win?"

Sawyer finishes up the, and moves back, patting his hands. "Hold on the cantle with one hand; if your other hand touches any part of the ride, then ir's over. You lose. Stay on for eight seconds, the ride will slow down and come to a stop afterwards." He said.

"Got it, anything else?"

A black american guy shrugs, gesturing Sawyer and his (possibly) boyfriend to move back. "Try not to fall and break a neck."

Diego gawks, "Wait, what?!"

The ride started.

"Waaaah!" Diego screamed, hanging on for dear life. "I regret everything!" The Hispanic's screams were drowned out but those that egg him on, cheering and laughing at his predicament. In the midst of it, Diego can barely make out the voice of his best friend. "Gyaaaaah! I-I-I th-ink I'm sl-sliiipping! Someone stop th-this thing!"

Sawyer called out to him, "Can't! The ride stops by itself after the time's up, you're almost there! Just toughen it out!" he encouraged.

Diego wondered how it wasn't eight seconds yet, because he felt like this has been dragging on for an eternity. His palms were sweaty for nerves and perspiration, he didn't think he could hold on for another moment. In his peripheral, there was a flash or movement that seemed to catch his attention, which made him wonder why since in this crowd, who wasn't moving? All of the sudden, something went wrong. Instead of the ride slowing down and coming to gentle stop, it came to an abrupt stop when Diego was leaning back from the thing, before it made a final jerk forward, launching the lightweight boy a few feet into the air.

"DIEGO!"

"AAAAAAH!"

Diego didn't know what he was expecting, an broken neck or leg maybe, if sudden death was a high brow for this situation but really he couldn't think why it wouldn't be. Before he can hit the hard pavement, however, someone stood in his way and actually caught him!

"Diego, thank heavens," Varyyn gasps, holding the Freshmen securely in his arms. "are you all right? That was dangerous!"

And just like that, the Hispanic forgot he was in mortal danger a mere few seconds ago. "Uh, heh, nice catch V-man." Diego laughed nervously, turning red. Wait, what? Did I just call him V-man? Oh my god, kill me...

"V-man?" Varyyn repeats as he gently sets Diego back to the ground, and smiles. "I like it."

Nevermind, living sounds nice.

"So after narrowly escaping injuries, how about some refreshments to help you calm down?"

Diego sighs, nodding eagerly. "That sounds calm and relaxing right about now." He walked beside Varyyn, unaware that the senior still had his hand in his as they walked away from the rodeo.

SIDE OMAKE:

"Does he know he won the jersey?" Sawyer asked, holding the said prize. "should we go after them, Morgan?"

His boyfriend shook his head, smirking. "And ruin that moment? No way."

"You can give it to me," Taylor steps up, "he's my friend, I can hand it over to him later. And make sure that thing's safe, if my best friend got hurt after that I would sue." He scowls, but then offers a grin. "still, can't say I'm mad about the results."

Morgan snickers, handing Taylor the jacket. "You and me both."

Chapter Text

Wake up, make literal bacon, make metaphorical bacon, meet some of the old gang if able, go home, sleep or try to, then repeat. This has been the routine Jake McKenzie lived by ever since making it back to the States. Sure, there was that whole legal matter with Lundgren and clearing his name. But the others stuck by him, from legal assistance offered by Sean and Michelle to simple moral support of Raj and Diego, and then some from the others, he was finally able to clear his name and move back to a normal life with his mother and sister, Rebeccah.

Of course, he was grateful. He managed a few years with them until his mom passed on, and his sister married some guy Jake still wasn't sure deserved her. But having Michael for a nephew made that a little better. His sister said he looked more like Jake, so he mostly got the appearance from the McKenzie side of the family tree. He went to live in Massachusetts afterwards, getting a gig there with the plane given to him as a gift from everyone else.

"Consider this as a thanks. Without your military expertise getting us out of tight spots, we'd probably be dead by now, too."

Jake took it, because he knew he was gonna need it even though he didn't like receiving hand outs, especially when he knew exactly why everyone would go out of their way to make sure he was okay. It hurt every single one of them when they lost him five years ago, but they weren't the ones who love him the way Jake still does, they didn't share intimate moments with Taylor. While they made the agreement to meet up together every year of Taylor's "birth" and the day he sacrificed himself, Jake only allowed himself to break down when he was alone, or when it was especially bad, in front of Diego. Out of everyone, Jake felt that the Hispanic best-selling author was the only one who would come close to understanding how it feels to lose Taylor. Of course, it sucks that Diego is able to stay by the side of the one he got Handfasted to while he couldn't, but it was difficult to hold it against him.

It was a particularly slow day, no new customers who wanted to rent his plane and book his services. But he just drove back a couple of business men from a seminar in China, so Jake had a bit of cash right now. Sean and Craig called him up, asking if he'd like to do some catching up so they made a date of it and agree to meet up in Endless Summer Café. The blond got there first and decided to make an order already. It probably won't be too long for the other two to arrive.

"One hot Americano, hold the sugar." Jake says absently, eyes on the menu, cash already in hand and on the counter.

The cashier slash busboy punched in his order, "Thank you sir, will that be all for your order sir? May I have your name?"

Jake froze, his blood running cold upon hearing the voice, such a familiar voice. He looks up slowly and sees the guy taking his order. He gasps lowly, "T-Taylor?"

"No, sir." Taylor chuckles, tapping his name tag. "that's me. Your name please?"

Jake blinks, eyes unbelieving. Was he seeing things? Hearing things? Taylor died, or he disappeared. Whatever it was, they lost him, he joined together with the bastard Vaanu to save them and the entire world, to fix the space-time continuum. This can't be the same Taylor, it couldn't be his Taylor. And yet, the likeness was too similar. He had the same shade of brown hair, the similar way he styled it even. And the almost literal red cherry on top was the familiar shirt he wore underneath the shop's uniform apron. It was the same red shirt he wore when Jake first met him, and the last thing he wore underneath the Endless's suit, at the time he gave himself up.

"Er, I'd say you're holding up the line if there was one but..." Taylor frowns, looking concerned. "are you all right, sir?"

The shock was too much, even with military training. Jake McKenzie passed out at the next moment.

⚫──────────⚫

"Jake? Jake, yo man, are you okay?"

Slowly, Jake was coming to. He blinks the haze away and finds that he's in a booth with Sean and Craig. "What... where...?"

"Thank god you're awake now," Sean sighed, shaking his head. "We walked in a few minutes ago. Thankfully, the cafe manager let you stay in and occupy a booth since the shop was pretty much empty anyway. But do you need us to call an ambulance or was it just a dizzy spell?"

Jake furrowed his brows, looking between Sean and Craig before gasping. "Taylor! I saw— the busboy! Where is—?" He looks up to the counter where another busboy was walking towards the group.

"Hey there, you doing all right, sir?"

Jake frowns, "I... I think so... But... you're not Taylor." By this point, Sean and Craig were exchanging glances, a mixture of concern and pity.

"Right, that guy who took your order before you passed out. He's shift was about up, and had some personal errands to run. Here though, he said to give you his number and asked if you could call him, tell him if you're all right." The busboy shrugs, "But it's not like you need to, if you don't want. I can just tell him when he comes in tomorrow."

Jake immediately took the slip of paper, "No, no. That's all right, I'll call him. Thanks." he said. The busboy nods, saying something about bringing in the drink Jake ordered earlier in a moment before going back to the counter just as new patrons walked in. The blond turned to the other two, who were eyeing him in concern. "I'm not crazy..."

"We're not saying you are..." Sean starts.

Jake continues, "It was Taylor, I swear!"

"... Just a little, uh, emotional? I mean, I guess I kinda get it, Valentines day just passed so..." Craig interjects. "Yeah, well, we all still miss him, man."

Jake scowled, shaking his head. "I'm telling you guys, it's Taylor. I don't know how he was there either, or if the world needs saving again or shit. But I can never go wrong, not about him. You guys know me, assuming and hoping for the best isn't how I roll. It's Taylor." He says, resolute. "I don't know how that's possible yet but I'm gonna get to the bottom of it."

"Jake," Sean says comfortingly, placing a hand on the blond's shoulder. "maybe you're just tired. You need to go home."

The blond scowled, shaking his head. "Forget this shit." he stood up from the booth and walked away.

"Yo man! Your drink, the guy said he'll—" Craig trails off as Jake shut the glass door behind him. "—and he's gone. Sean, bro," He turns to him, "should he be left alone right now, you think?"

Sean sighed, shaking his head. "Guess he's still not quite over it," he said. "are you?"

"Me? Naw, naw man." Craig exhaled, taking a swig from the hot latte he ordered. "I mean, our entire future and all wouldn't be possible if he hadn't done what he did. Zahra and I wouldn't made up and stuff if he hadn't..." He trails off, groaning. "it's not fair, ya know. I mean, sure, I'd always choose you to be my Best man and all. But Taylor would def be a groomsman or whatever."

Sean chuckles, a little strained. "Yeah, I know what you mean." He lifts up his own order, "to Taylor, and in hopes Jake finds some peace."

"Drinking to that man."

⚫──────────⚫

Jake dials up the number as he walks back to his apartment. Someone answers.

//Hello? Who is this?//

"Uh, hey, yeah... it's me, Jake? Remember?"

//Jake? I'm sorry, I don't know any...//

Damn it, why? How can he not know me? Jake bites back a curse, before speaking again. "You know, I'm, er, that guy who passed out earlier?"

//Oh my god! I knew your voice sounded familiar,//

But not for the reasons I wished... Jake thought bitterly.

//are you okay, sir? Did you need an ambulance? I wasn't sure if there was anything wrong or if it was just vertigo or...//

"Calm down, Boy Scout, I'm fine." Jake chuckles lightly, thinking even the way he panics sound the same from when they were in the island together. The blond blinks, shaking his head. Wait, no. I'm still not certain this is that Taylor. He sighs.

//Sir? Are you sure you're okay?//

"Fine, fine. And it's okay, you can call me Jake." The blond continues, gripping his phone tight. You may not be my Taylor, but you definitely sound like him... He cleared his throat. "So listen... I'm sorry about earlier, must've given you quite the scare."

He couldn't see it, but somehow, Jake could tell Taylor was shaking his head. //Mm, no, you don't need to apologize for that. I'm just glad you're...//

"So let me make it up to you," Jake immediately interjects, "You. Me. Dinner. Uh, that is, if you're done with your errands?" There was a long pause, perhaps from surprise. The blond wanted to smack himself. Fuck, fuck, fuck you, idiot. He doesn't know you! Or doesn't remember you! Or whatever! You're supposed to be figuring what the hell's going on first, not go looking for some babe time with...

There's a chuckle from the other end. //You move fast. Don't tell me fainting in front of someone and then calling them out for a date is actually a new kind of way of hitting on people.//

"That depends, is it working?" Jake can't help but grin and go along with it.

//So far. And maybe I'll take you up on the offer, but in one condition. You're paying, Hotness.//

Jake's heart stop, and so did his legs it seemed. He swallowed thickly. "H-Hotness, huh? That's the best you can come up with?"

// I don't think too well on my feet. //

Jake ended the phone call, barely managed to ask where they'd meet, and started crying as he remembered how they first met.

"In that case, I'm calling you Hotness."

"Of all the demeaning names you could've given me, you went with Hotness."

"I don't think well on my feet."

⚫──────────⚫

"Hey, over here." Taylor waves the blond over to a booth, "gotta admit, didn't expect to be meeting up with you again so soon."

Jake laughs a bit, taking a seat across of the brunette, getting a close look at his face to make sure that he definitely wasn't seeing this. And he can't be anymore right, the guy really did look like Taylor. "Yeah, eventful day, huh? So, McDonalds? You know, I may not look like much, but I'm not that penniless. Thanks for being considerate on my wallet, though."

"Har-har, and how are you sure I'm not just a big fan of McDonalds?" Taylor grins, before shaking his head. "Kidding aside, I'm not picky. Plus, it's a little rude to take advantage of someone I just met and their wallet."

Jake smirks, folding his hands together. "Even if I offered?"

"Even then."

"Classic Boy Scout, too good for this world." Jake chuckled, standing up. "So, what would you like to have?"

Taylor looked like he wanted to say something before the blond got up, but he dismissed it for now. "The McBacon burger and fries combo."

"Got it." A moment later, Jake came back with their orders; Taylor's combo meal, and a similar one for himself but the McSpicy one as opposed to the brunette's McBacon. "I didn't know what drinks you'd like, so I got us both the generic coke."

Taylor nods in thanks, "Yeah, I don't mind, thanks." He says and waits for Jake to take his seat again before talking. "so, are you sure you're okay? I'll be honest, I didn't know what to do when you suddenly fell. Your eyes just rolled back and the next thing I knew, you hit the floor."

"Er, heh, yeah, sorry again about that." Jake rubbed the back of his head, "Must've overworked myself or something." He said and cough, clearing his throat. "So, uh, listen Taylor, I know this might sound a little crazy, and feel free to slap me if you think I'm coming out too strong, but um... You remind me of someone I used to know. Someone... important to me."

Taylor blinks, just about to start on his burger. "Wow, you're right, that is crazy. And a little strong forward, if I'm being honest." He starts, and bites his lip that Jake has to grip on the table so he wouldn't just pounce on the brunette then and there. God, did he missed him so much, even if it might not even be him. "But... I guess, I'll let it slide if you don't call me crazy for saying that, yeah, you know... I feel like I should know you. Like, it's a bit of Déjà Vu thing?"

Jake's heart raced. "Really?" He tried not to smiled excitedly, tried not to get his hopes up. "why'd you say that?"

"I really can't say, but... Just a feeling? Like I've known you all my life, which is impossible if you consider that I've been in a coma for five years and just woke up recently and the only people I've known before and after then are my parents, and relatives. Didn't really go to college, so..."

The blond gaped, and once again, he felt his blood running cold. "C-coma?"

"Oops, sorry... This is kinda heavy, and I didn't mean to dump it on you on our first meeting. You're just..." Taylor tries for a small smile, "you're easy to talk to, Jake. Like, I want you to know and feel that you should. And maybe that's why I don't mind your little advances or giving you my number freely and making some sort of way to see you again soon... Oh God, now I'm being forward."

Jake ignores that, reaches out and holds Taylor's hand. "Why were you in a coma? But... wait, you're okay now, right?" He frowns. He didn't know if this was his Taylor or not, but he knew for certain that it would pain him to lose him again.

"Uh..." Taylor stammers, caught off guard when the blond suddenly took his hand. "N-no, I mean, yes. I'm fine, just... it was really weird cause even my parents said I wasn't sick or anything, it just suddenly... happened. And, it sounds stupid, but I know I was having this dream, and even when I was unconscious, I could feel that something was going on, that I was feeling several different things, but the moment I woke up I just... forgot. The dream, what happened... " He paused, chuckled and shook his head. "Yeah, I know, it doesn't make sense."

Jake, however, was starting to make sense of what may be happening here. But still, he had to play it careful. After all, if this was Taylor, even if he couldn't completely explain how it was, or why this Taylor had to be in a coma for five years; he didn't want to scare him off. And if this was Taylor, then that means he had a shot to get him back. He'll figure out how to get back his memories, this "dream" of his that might also be his experience with them in La Huerta. But first, he needed to offer some comfort.

"No, I get it. I mean, I feel like I'm still dreaming and when I wake up, I'll see y—him lying beside me." Jake pauses, hesitating. He sees the expression on Taylor's face, and the look of concern is enough to keep him going. "I... I lost someone years ago, and I... I sometimes feel like it wasn't real, that I could still get him back. And, uh, maybe that's why I felt faint a while back. Like... for a moment, I felt that maybe he was..."

Taylor frowns, patting the blond's hand. "I'm sorry to hear that. He must mean a lot to you."

"My entire world," Jake nods, looking at Taylor's eyes and hoping he could reach him, "and he still is."

Suddenly, Taylor felt a little flush. He pulled his hand away, and cleared his throat. "Ahem, uh, we should eat before the burger gets cold, don't you think?"

"Heh," Then, at that moment, the mood shifted, and Jake was smirking at him. "is that a blush I see, Boy Scout?"

Taylor snorts, throwing a crumpled tissue on the blond's face. "Shut up, Hotness." He looks away, slurping his drink and trying to hide a smile that starts forming when he hears Jake laughing light-heartedly. It was a nice sound. "By the way, Jake... Um, why do you keep doing that?"

"Doing what?"

"Calling me Boy Scout," Taylor answers, "I mean, uh, yeah, I kinda did that for a year or two, but I don't think I ever gave you an impression earlier that I was one."

Jake blushed, rubbing the back of his head, "Damn, I'm not going to stop sounding forward anytime soon but... Uh, that guy I told you about? Uhm, I called him that a lot and you... you remind me of him, er, like to a T. Literally... his name was Taylor, too."

"Wha—" Taylor blinked, before wincing, feeling a sudden pain in his head. "Ugh..."

Jake blinks, reaching out to take his hand. "Taylor, are you okay?"

"Y-yeah... Er, headache. I still get them, and the doctors said it's normal considering I've been asleep for the last five years. Maybe I should take this out and head home..."

Jake nods, immediately gathering their food and getting it back to the counter to have them packed. He returned to Taylor. "I'll walk you home."

"No, that's fine. My apartment is just a few blocks over, I can..."

Jake shakes his head, "I want to," He said. I'm not letting you go again...

"Oh... well, if you say so." Taylor smiles a bit. "thanks Jake."

⚫──────────⚫

The brunette was right, only thirty minutes later, Jake got Taylor back in front of his apartment building. Which was only five minutes away from his own apartment. Jake walked him up to his room, and Taylor didn't protest and mind at all.

"So," Taylor starts, a light blush on his face. "all things considered, this was fun. We..."

Jake finishes, expecting what he was about to say. "... should do it again sometime? Definitely." He grinned. "Preferably, without me having to pass out prior to that."

"Yeah, that'd be nice." Taylor chuckles, "my treat next time. Oh," he shoves off Jake's jacket, which the blond gave him to wear since he forgot his own windbreaker. "Here, thanks."

Jake shakes his head, grinning. "Nah, it's good. Hold on to it for a while. My place ain't far from here, besides," He winks, "gives me a reason to come back soon."

"Oh, in that case," Taylor smirks, putting it back on. "maybe I could sleep with it on, and turn the heater off for the night."

Jake laughs, "That, you could." Then, his smile softens. "Night, Taylor. I'll see you soon."

"See you soon," Taylor smiles as well. "Jake."

TBC

Chapter Text

Taylor laughed as he and Diego chase each other around the jungle, throwing seed pods at each other. The brunette ducked into a tree, picking up a previously thrown seed pod. He comes out to throw it but gets nailed in the chest instead.

"Ugh! You're gonna pay for that!" Taylor grins, throwing the pod he held at Diego.

The Hispanic human laughed, dodging away. He prepared to throw another ammo, but this time Taylor dodged it by ducking, and this time, it landed on someone else. "VARYYN!"

The Vaanti prince laughs, patting down his chest. "Mind if I join?" He smiles as Diego ran towards him and hugged him.

"I missed you, Varyyn!" Diego laughs, then remembers himself. He blushes, letting go and moving back, all the while, Taylor is snickering at the side. "Er, I, uh... I mean, you know, I'm glad you're back safe. Er, and not a battle casualty and—ack!" He yelped as the blue-skinned tribe Prince gathers him again in his arms.

Varyyn chuckles, "I understand. I'm relieved to be able to come back to you."

"You guys, if you want me to leave you alone, then you could just say so."

Diego's blush intensifies, as he pulled away from Varyyn, but doesn't really get out of his embrace. "Taylor!"

Taylor continues to laugh, not mindful of the way Varyyn's expression changes.

"Perhaps that's a good idea. I need to speak with Diego, alone." Varyyn said, suddenly serious. "And Andromeda, the Great one seeks to speak with you as well."

Taylor blinks, a little caught off guard. Varyyn doesn't normally call him by his Hadean title unless there was some official political business. "Er, okay? I'll leave you guys to it, then."

────

"Wait, what?"

The Endless hums, nodding. "Ximaedra and I believe, after winning this three tribe war, the Catalyst and Vaanti people should solidify our bonds." He said. "to do so, a union for the two youths next in line must take place. Also, I have this premonition that, in some predicament to come, an intimate bond is needed to win against it."

Taylor frowns, shaking his head and holding his hands. "No, forgive my refusal, but I don't feel a great deal enough to be Handfasted to Varyyn. I agree, he's my friend, and a good one, but..." he sighs, "He doesn't hold my heart."

"Not yet, he doesn't." The Endless concedes, "and that's why we think you two should spend more time together. After all, we're not saying that the Handfast would take place soon."

Taylor made a look, "You mean force it? But Great one, I..."

"Taylor," The Endless sighs, speaking sternly. "please. At least give it time before you come to any conclusion. Now, I'll let you go so you can clear your head. You're dismissed."

The brunette wanted to say more, but thought better of it. He gave a curt bow and left the Endless's hall.

⚫──────────⚫

"So, are we really doing this?" Mike asked Jake as they flew out of formation, getting away from the plane convoy and alignment of Lundgren and the others. "there's no turning back, you know."

Jake nods, keeping a firm grip on the wheel. "We have to do this, Mike. It's the right thing to do." He says. "Anyway, we're at the back of the formation. Hopefully, it'll take a while before they discover that we're gone, let alone what we're trying to do."

As if he jinxed it, Mike let out a sharp gasp as he spotted an incoming missile in their radar. "Jake, lean right!"

"Damn it! Spoke too soon! Hang on!" Jake sharply swerved the jet, going for the controls and checking if they could get it to go any faster.

Boom! Boom!

"Fucking shit, they got us! Engine one is done, and we're losing altitude fast!"

"Shit, get ready to eject, Mike!" Jake tap in some commands, setting up their jet's own missile to target who the ever was attacking theirs. "as soon as I launch this baby, we're out!"

Mike nods, "Got it."

────

They both made it out of time, Mike a little later and too close for comfort before the jet exploded. They're both alive, but since Mike did eject later than the blond had, and the winds were a bit wild and the two friends were blown off in different courses.

"MIIIIKE! THE ISLAND, HEAD FOR THAT ISLAND!" Jake hollered, while they were still near enough for his friend to hear him. "LET'S GET OUR BEARINGS THERE!"

Jake's not really sure, but he can see Mike giving him an affirmative, a thumbs up. "Got it! Don't die before we meet up, grandpa!"

"Right back at ya, kid!" The blond responds, and Mike says something but it's drown out by the wind, and an especially strong gust of it hits Jake's chute and he has to give his focus to redirecting it.

⚫──────────⚫

"He's so handsome," Diego sighed, watching the Elyshaar's son, playfully sparring with Taari and the other kids. "you're so lucky that the Endless and Elyshaar Ximaedra are arranging you to be Handfast to him."

Taylor sighs, not liking the fact that his friend was hiding what he really felt about it. "Yeah, sure. I especially like his smiles..." he gave Diego a pointed look. "that are directed and mostly because of you."

"I.... uh.... about that..." Diego turns pale, glancing at him. "Look, I can't help liking him, but I expected this; you guys are basically royal blood and meant to be together, and I'm just some kind of lowly hobbit, and not the Frodo-who-inherits-a-magic-ring-that-makes-him-special kind either."

Taylor raised a brow, before figuring his friend was referencing some kind of human lore or the sort again. "Diego, I—"

"Anyway," Diego clears his throat, trying not to cry or become a bitter fool holding it against a person who he only ever can consider as the best friend he's ever had. Nobody thought much of him before he came to this island, even if by accident. That's why it wasn't much of a struggle to decide on staying and forget figuring a way back to civilization. "no hard feelings. Uhm, it's just gonna be a bit awkward if I'll be your best man... Not that I'm assuming already! Maybe you'd like Sean to be it, or maybe even Craig... Is Best man even a thing for a Handfast ceremony?"

The brunette shook his head, but it wasn't the answer to his question. "No, Diego. Please listen, even if the Endless asks me to think about it, I don't have to. Varryn likes you, not me." He placed his hands over the human's shoulder. "and you obviously like him, as well. I'm not getting between that. And while Varyyn is probably considering going through with it, it'd only be because of his mother's insistence. But I doubt he actually wants to, either."

"... He said I can just be some kind of concubine, you wouldn't mind, after all..."

Taylor narrowed his eyes, grimacing. An expression Diego taught him and called a so done with this expression. "Yeah, no. You deserve more than that, and I deserve to be with someone I'm actually smitten with, just as you two are for each other." The brunette smiles softly, giving Diego's shoulder a gentle squeeze. "don't worry, we'll figure this out."

".... Thank you, Taylor. For always thinking of me," Diego grinned, embracing his friend. "you're the best."

Taylor laughs, returning the embrace. "Of course, Diego. Anytime."

⚫──────────⚫

Taylor frowned when the handsome, golden-haired stranger suddenly disappeared from the watering holes shore. He just turned away for a second, surely a person couldn't walk off that fast. He crept out of his hiding place, making his towards the spot he last saw the man crouch before. Froxy close by and right at his heels, both making their way down to the hole. The brunette studies the soil, looking for the tracks. It shows him where the stranger came from, but not where he went. It's like he was simply spirited away.

"Put your hands where I can see them!"

Taylor froze, standing slowly and turning around to see the armed man, his weapon directed at him. He swallowed thickly, apprehensive and wondered what the man was going to do next.

────

From underwater, Jake watches carefully and is able to make out the silhouette of the person who he felt had been stalking him ever since he landed on this island. He lets go of the underwater shrubs keeping him below the water and slowly floated where and what he hoped was the stalker's backside. Once he got his head out the water, he made to charge his weapon before jumping out and raising it.

"Put your hands where I can see them!"

Jake sees the man visibly stiffen, just noticing that the savage was barely clothed. Some kind of grassy skirt was around his waist, and not the Hawaiian type of either. Similar anklets adorned his, well, ankles, and the savage was barefoot. Because, of course, why wouldn't he be. But when the man started to turn towards him, Jake's whole world seemed to stop.

There, in front of him, was the single, most beautiful being he ever laid eyes on. His well-toned muscular chest sculpted like that of a god, tattoos running across his shoulders stretched ever so slightly as his hands clenches in fists nervously, his arms remained dangling at his side, apparently not following the blond's demands. But Jake didn't care about that at the moment. Enraptured by the sight, Jake started to lower his weapon and step towards him.

And that's when the savage took off running.

"WAIT!"

────

Taylor rushed off, running through the jungle, making his way back to where he left his hand glider. He finally breaks through the greenery, seeing the glider where he left it. As soon as he picked it up, and started prepping to fly off he feels the presence behind him.

"Wait!" The strange man placed his weapon down when Taylor chanced a glance back, and he was holding up his arms in a certain manner. "Calm down, Peter Pan. Don't fly off just yet!"

Taylor frowns, confused. He couldn't understand. But it did sound vaguely like the language Diego used when they first found him, and now he's regretting having to teach Diego their language instead of learning his as well.

"It's cool, see?" The man shook his hands, and head cocking towards the weapon on the ground as if to make a point. "I'm clean. I'm not gonna shoot you. You can see my gun's right there, so it's safe. Promise, no tricks."

Taylor raised a brow, putting down the glider once more before responding. "Mena zar yetazasimi?"

"Er, right, heh." The man winces, rubbing the back of his head. "language barriers. Damn.... Er, peace? I come in peace?" The man holds up two fingers, which only confuses Taylor more.

Two? What two does he want?

But at the very least, Taylor can make out that the stranger didn't sound as threatening as he had earlier. Then, Taylor realizes and notices the hand outstretch towards him. He sees the stranger smile at him, a weird and unsure smile. The brunette looked at Froxy, who didn't seem to think he was a threat either. Taylor takes a breath and decides to chance it.

"...Sik doh tingiziz?."

The golden-haired stranger sees that Taylor was trying to communicate something. "Er, gesundheit?"

Taylor sighs, shaking his head in confusion and frustration. He wondered if he could... No, this guy's an outsider. It wouldn't work. We couldn't even do it on Diego... But maybe it's worth a shot again... The brunette gestures the stranger to move closer. He complied, warily yet willingly. Taylor reaches up and touches the stranger's forehead.

The golden-haired man gasped and winces, but instead of recoiling, braces himself by holding on to Taylor's arms. Soon, the brunette felt the grip going slack and lax, indicating that whatever pain felt was subsiding. Taylor cleared his throat and tried again. "You're a friend?"

"Whoa, what? That was English!" The man blinked. "You do know English! Were you trolling me this whole time?"

Taylor grins. My great Vaanu, it worked! Then he realized what the stranger uttered, and is familiar of that expression thanks to Diego. "No, not that. And I'm not speaking English... more like, well, it's complicated but... I did something so you can understand me, and I, you. It's like a filter."

"Wow... You can do that?" The man whistled, impressed. He suddenly smirks. "Guess I can do this now... Name's Jake, but you can call me whatever you like."

Taylor smiles back, although still slightly confused due to the sudden husky way of speaking the man shifted to. But he's glad that they can now understand each other, "I'm Taylor, nice to meet you, Jake."

────



What it seems like to an outsider

"Sik doh tingiziz??"

"Whoa, what? That was English!" Jake blinked, it sounded similar and in the same accent as that Sik doh tingiziz? one earlier. But now, it's in his language. "You do know English! Were you trolling me this whole time?"

The savage grinned, but then something akin to realization dawned on his features."Yoh, bunqa mas. Men inliz tilda gaplshmay apman ... uda murakka, am ... Me sizi tushushim uchun mena bir nia qilgan dim, meham, silar ham. Filtra o'xshay."

Chapter Text





Jake turned towards the brunette as they enjoyed the sight of the island before them, "Listen, Taylor. Thanks for hanging out with me." He starts, and the college boy turned towards him. "I know Captain America was trying to enlist everybody, but..." he paused, taking a breath. "I kinda needed to get outta there a bit, you know, clear my head." He admitted, the frustration of losing his plane hitting him again.

"Yeah, me too," The brunette replied, and Jake can't even hold it against him or make a cynical remark about the generic response. He's not sure why but he might be having a soft spot for the guy. "it just feels like the world's gone crazy all of a sudden. Or maybe it's always been crazy, but now the mask is off." Taylor shakes his head, as if to clear it. "it's stunning how fast everything can change on you."

Jake snorts, rolling his eyes. Not at Taylor, but at the whole situation in general. "It's especially hard when you're surrounded by strangers."

"So," Taylor smiles, but it seems a bit strained, a bit sad. "I'm still a stranger, huh?"

Jake offers a small grin, "...For now." he said. "But to be honest, it's been a long time since I've been surrounded by anyone but strangers." Jake stares wistfully at the infinite blue sea, thinking of those he haven't seen in a long time, thinking also that he'd be on the other side of it if things didn't end up as weird as it had. "If everything went about normally, I'd be off by now while you all go wild on your vacation and just come back to pick you up in a week or two."

"In that case," Taylor smiles, "I'm glad things went wrong then."

Jake blinks, not really expecting that response from the brunette. He wonders if Taylor meant what he thought he meant. "Yeah? Why'd you say that?"

"Let's just say," Taylor drawled out, as if pretending he was still thinking about how to explain it. "outside of Diego, you're the most interesting person to hang out with."

Jake smirked, and couldn't help the elation he felt at the implication of that. But still, he wanted to be careful; not to get to into this. So he tries shifting the mood a bit, playing it off. "So I'm at the same level as Pop Culture Petey huh?"

"More like coming second to him; it's a high honor." Taylor sniffs, head held high as he smirks toward Jake. Then it starts turning a little more genuine. "I hope I'll have a pretty high regard for you soon, too. Jake," he said honestly, "I don't know what you've been through, and hopefully I can say it's a yet. But no pressure. Just... for now, I'll be satisfied if you knew that I've got your back."

Jake flushes, turning away, suddenly embarrassed. Crap, crap, crap... Dangerous, getting dangerous... Getting far too deep into this, He swallowed thickly, before casting Taylor a secret, sidelong glance. But... maybe it's not a bad thing... if it's Taylor.

Chapter Text

SEAN AND CRAIG

Jake's been going on this casual dates with the bus boy he kept claiming was actually Taylor. Sean didn't really know how to feel about that, and he keeps saying as much to Craig. The Asian didn't like it either; it's all he's been hearing whenever he would go visit Sean, even when he came to talk about either a football game or his game or both.

"I just don't think it's fair, you know. That─"

"─Jake's dating a guy just because he reminds him of Taylor." Craig mutters monotonously, as if he's been hearing the same thing for weeks... which is most probably the case.

Sean continues, not even listening to his best bud. "─because he reminds him of Taylor and he might not even like the guy for the guy himself, and I don't think─"

"─don't think it's fair for either them; you're supposed to be with someone you actually care about, not because you're tied to the past." Craig sighs, finishing him off. He took a swig from his beer, still thinking I'm way too sober for this...

Sean sighs, taking a breath. "─because you're tied to the past. I mean, sure, me and Michelle are working through what we had in the past, trying to get that back. But it's different, he only likes this guy─"

"─only likes this guy because he thinks it's Taylor, just without his memories that he's trying to help him get back to get his Taylor back."

"─to help him get back to get his Taylor back. Yeah, exactly." he smiles appreciatively. "I'm glad you share my sentiments, Craig."

Only cause it's all I've been hearing nothing but that for every single waking moment I'm here... Craig didn't bother saying. "I hear ya man, actually, I've been hearing ya a lot. Now hear me out; it's still Jake's life. If this works out in the long run, we'll be there to be happy for him─"

"But─"

Craig continues, without missing a beat. "─But then, boom. Rain clouds. If it doesn't work out, then we'll also be there to pick him up." he says, giving his friend a light pat on the shoulder. "that's what we'll do, as his friends."

"I─" Sean blinks, before really thinking about Craig's words. "Christ, man, I should listen to you more often."

Craig snorts, smirking. "Yeah, you should." he says. "now, seein' as you wanna make it up to me, how 'bout we hit the mall? You can grab me some lunch after we check out Game Stop. There's this new game out, and I wanna play and review it as references for this next game I've got in mind."

"I actually don't remember saying I'd make it up to you." Sean says with a smirk, following his friend all the same.

"To the mall!"

────

Sean will never fail to think of a child on Christmas day whenever Craig gets his hands on a new game. He was saying something about how Zahra was going to be psyched as well, and the Football player started wondering if he really needed it for work, or just wanted to surprise his fiancé. And with the two of them using endearments such as Player One and Player Two, he didn't think he'd be surprised if they decided on some video game themed wedding.

Then, they were on their way to the food court, via elevator, when it happened.

"Hold the door, please!" Sean blinks as the elevator doors started closing, and in sync, both he and Craig pulled their hand forward to let the extra passenger in. And that's when their heart stopped, "Thanks a lot, dudes. I'm already late for my date, and I don't want to keep him waiting any longer than he needs to... whoops, sorry. Probably didn't want to hear about my love life." Taylor laughs awkwardly.

Taylor.

Sean and Craig were both speechless, not knowing what to say. And if this date was Jake, then maybe they understood a little better why the blond really believed this was Taylor. They were almost convinced, too.

"Oh, no way! Is that the latest Dragon Chronicles?" The brunette widened his eyes, staring at the package Craig held. "I've been trying to get my hands on one since it came out, but can't seem to pull up the cash. Oh, do you prefer to play as the default Knight or another class?"

Craig continued staring before he realized that the guy was talking to him, "Er, uh, definitely the knight." he grins, even if inside, he was feeling a bit weird about the whole thing. But video games were always his comfort zone. "Magic mages, sly rogues... I mean, they're cool and all, but you can never go wrong with slashing and bashing baddies as a Knight."

"I hear you," Taylor laughs, nodding in agreement. "sounds like you and I have our brains on the same wavelength. High-five bro!"

Craig gaped, his hand going up to clasp in instinctively, all the while thinking that their exchange sounded eerily familiar. Then, it clicked. It was on their first day, when they first arrived in the Celestial and the whole crazy shit started going on.

"I'm with Craig on this one. Only thing better than a week in paradise is a private week in paradise."

"Ha ha, aw yeah! Taylor and me got our brains on the same wavelength."

And I gave him a high-five... a hard one.

"Ouch, wow, are you Superman or something?" Taylor winced, but still attempting to keep the smile on as he shook off the pain. "easy on the power, big guy."

Sean shakes his head, "So, uh," he cleared his throat. "by any chance, your name doesn't happen to be Ta—" He trailed off when the elevator suddenly started shaking, and the lights started blinking off and on. The Condors football star yelped, bracing himself as much as he could. Craig does the same, holding the game he just bought tightly against his chest, and Taylor fell hands down on the floor. "what the hell?!"

"Aw snap man! I think it's an earthquake! Fuck!" Craig spots Taylor on his phone, dialing a number. "Dude! I don't think there's anything 911 can do to help for the moment!"

Taylor frowns, holding up a hand. "Jake? It's m—me, yeah, I'm m-making my way down.... Oh, uh, I'm short on breath? I'm... running, down some stairs to get down." he says over the phone, and Sean realizes what he's trying to do. "Go on ahead... what, no! Don't, I'm at a fire exit heading down, I won't be passing your way. Let's meet up outside, okay? Wha...." His cheeks glow red. "I... A bit early, don't you think? But... yeah, I love you, too... Yeah, see you..." He immediately dropped the call as the shaking stopped but the lights were now completely out. "Oh god... oh god... it's over, but there might be an aftershock. How are we gonna get out?! The elevator doors are still shut... Oh god, Jake's gonna kill me if I die here..."

Sean frowns, rushing over to the brunette. Well, if anything this confirms, he was definitely the guy Jake was talking about. But it still doesn't mean he's that Taylor. But that doesn't change the fact that he wants to help him out. "All right, all right, we'll climb up that trap door" he pointed up, "and hopefully, there's a door that we can pry open. Okay? Now let's hurry. Before it starts up again."

"O-okay," Taylor blinks, nodding.

Sean hoists him up to open the trap door. Craig shoves in the paper bag before following suit, helping Sean up in the process. Together, the pried open the doors to the mall. Luckily, the elevator was only slightly below it. All they had to do was use the elevator as foot hold, boost each other up, and they're out. But that was only if the elevator would hold long enough.

Creeeaaak...

"Oh snap, that doesn't sound good." Craig winces. "grab the cables!"

As soon as they did, the elevator started getting looser, falling a bit before getting stuck again. Had they not grab the cables in time, they would've had to climb up all the way from there. And they might not have the time for that.

"♫♬You were the beeest that I had eeever foouund...♫♬" Taylor started belting out suddenly, "Sorry dudes, I sing when I'm nervous..." Another sudden jolt, "♫♬But now you've chaaaaaanged and want to draaaaag meeee doooown!♫♬"

Sean widened his eyes. He should probably be telling the guy to shut up, but a cold shiver ran down his spine, the memory flashing on his mind so vividly.

"♫♬You were the beeest that I had eeever foouund...♫♬"

Everyone looked at Taylor like he was crazy... until I joined in...

"♫♬But now you've chaaaaaanged and want to draaaaag meeee doooown!♫♬"

Unconsciously, tears started brimming on his eyelids. "♫♬G-go ahead and doubt me through it all, but I ain't never... ever... ever... gonna fall...♫♬" Sean sobs out, It... it really is him...

"Less singing, more jumping!" Craig throws the paper bag out the opened elevator door before leaping himself. "come on!"

Taylor sucks in a breath and jumps, the Asian grabbing hold of his arm and the brunette immediately grasps on the guy's arm. "Hey, you! Hurry!"

Sean snapped out of his trance, finding the other two already outside the doors. And move instinctively, leaping after them just as the elevator cables gave way, dropping the elevator below. Craig cursed, and started dragging Taylor and Sean towards the fire exit. The black-American broke free from Craig, and he made a move towards Taylor, Never... never gonna fail you again, Taylor...

"Whoa," Taylor blinks, his singing cut off as he braced himself and the guy who suddenly dumped himself on him, wrapping him in an embrace. He pats his back comfortingly. "we're, uh, not completely out of the woods yet, dude. How about a celebratory hug after?"

Sean sniffs as he pulled away, he grabbed Taylor by the arm, nods towards Craig and make their way to down the flight of stairs and out of the mall.

"Taylor! You little lying shit!" Jake rushed forward as soon as they ran out of the doors. If he noticed Sean and Craig, he didn't react to it in favor of wrapping his arms tightly around the brunette. "Already running out the Fire Exit, my ass! If you died in there, I'd—"

The brunette returns the embrace, running his hand down and up the blond's back soothingly. "But I didn't, I'm here, it's okay..." he says quietly. "you're not losing me any time soon, you're not losing this Taylor."

Jake sobbed, pressing his forehead against Taylor's neck.

Meanwhile, Sean and Craig shared a look. "It's really..."

"Taylor," Sean nods, suddenly overcome by many emotions. "yeah, it is."

Craig frowns, "But... he doesn't... I don't think he remembers us... or that he's Taylor.... you know?"

"I do know, yeah." Sean clenches his fists, "we're gonna have to fix that."

TBC

Chapter Text

Jake catches something in his peripheral, and when he tries making it out without being conspicuous by turning his head completely, he sees that Taylor was moving towards Rourke. He made a low growl subconsciously, not trusting this rich and mysterious business and wanted his Boy Scout to be anywhere near him. But he also knew that they needed answers, and if there was anyone who was smart enough as the bastard was crafty, it's Taylor. Still, it didn't hurt to step a bit closer and intervene when needed.

"Alright, Rourke." Taylor starts firmly, "You promise me some answers."

Rourke simply smiles, ever infuriating with his calmness. When nothing about this situation should make any of them calm. "Do you know what business I'm in?"

"I don't know." Taylor shrugs, wonder if Rourke thinks he was dumb enough to be swayed with mere small talk. But he knew the man was anything but dumb, so he decided to humor him, "Resorts."

Rourke chuckles, tugging on the opening of the front of his suit. "I dabble. But mainly I'm in the business of information." he gives a little smirk, moving a bit closer to the brunette as they walked. "And that means I don't give it away for free. I expect a trade. I'll answer one question of yours. Only one. But first you will answer one of mine. Fair?"

"Fair."

Rourke leans a bit closer, speaking in a hushed voice. "My question is very simple. What is your name?"

"It's... it's Taylor." The brunette shuddered, moving away from the man slightly. What the hell... why does he think that's important to know?

The man takes a breath, moving back, not at all faze by the young one's recoil. "Taylor... Taylor... What a delicious name."

"Wh-what the hell? Okay, that was just... that sounded so wrong." Taylor cringed, moving farther from the man. "I did not need to hear what you think about my name. It's a common name, too! What's with you rich people?"

Rourke chuckles, looking more amused than anything else. "Now, now, it's a compliment, take it as it is."

Okay, what the hell did he ask? Jake growled, and moving closer towards the two. Suddenly, Rourke stepped ahead and placed himself in front of Taylor's path. Alarms were raising in his head, but as much as the blond wanted to jump in and intervene, Taylor still hasn't gotten his turn to question him. And he didn't think the brunette would appreciate that, either.

"I had my people search all over the world for you." The man sighs, shaking his head. "And we could never find you. And to realize all this time you were a student at Hartfeld, like Aleister... Let's just say, if we survive this, I'll be firing my intelligence squad." Rourke moved further into Taylor's personal space.

The brunette swallowed thickly as he moved back, "W-what the, why were you even doing that?"

"Wouldn't you like to know? And I'm sure that's not the question you were intending on asking, however," Rourke grins, wiggling his brows, "I may be persuaded to answer that..."

Taylor scowled, shoving Rourke further from him, and Jake couldn't be any prouder, That's my Boy Scout, stand your ground and keep the creeper back.

"Alright," the brunette snapped, fixing the man with a glare. "you've gotten more than enough out of us today. And you need to learn about some personal boundaries, and that normal people don't like theirs being breached so casually by just about anyone."

Rourke cackles, amused by the display of repulsion. "My, my. Aren't you a feisty one. And allow me to correct you, Taylor," he makes a little coy smile, "you aren't any less normal than you think I am."

"Ugh, I'm not here to listen to your riddles, old man. And it's my turn to ask questions." Taylor scowls, scrunching up his nose. "I want to ask, what happened to the boats in the marina?"

For some reasons, this seems to please Rourke greatly. "You've visited my Private Marina! You are resourceful." he chuckles, and Taylor wondered if he'd still be this thrilled if he finds out about the sea monster that lives near his marina, "Why couldn't I have had a child with your cunning and persistence?" Rourke ruffles the brunette's hair, even letting it linger when he stopped. "well, perhaps it'd be a bit more complicated if you were my child."

Fuck this guy, is he seriously trying to make a pass on me? Hell no. Taylor glowered, slapping the man's hand, and none so gently. "Back off!"

"I'm not so bad once you get to know me." Rourke smirks, closing the distance once more. "perhaps you just need a moment to see that..."

Okay, that tears it... Jake grumbled as he moved closer, grabbing Taylor's arm. If the brunette was surprise by his sudden appearance, it didn't show. "Keep... Your hands. Off him." he sneered, "you don't have the right."

Rourke blinks, frowning ever so slightly. "Oh? I didn't think you shared any particular relationship with anyone," he sighs, "dear Taylor, is this why you were rejecting my display of interest? If I may, maybe you need your tastes refined."

"Uh, yeah, my tastes are fine. And even if I didn't, as you say, share a particular relationship with someone, trust me," Taylor glared at him, "your interest wouldn't be aligned with mine."

Rourke sighs, shaking his head as if he's only mildly disappointed, "Shame. Well, to answer your question, well... we're not alone now. Come find me later if you wish to get your answer." he walks off.

Taylor huffed, Nope, I'm not gonna have a repeat of that. I can handle that question not being answered, just gotta wait for this time loop to restart it...

"Sorry about that, Boy Scout," Jake speaks up beside him, "I know you were trying to bait him into answering your question, but I just got so..."

Taylor smirks, standing in front of Jake and tapping his nose. "You better not say jealous because I so do not go for guys twice, maybe even thrice, my age." he says, "plus, got a good thing going on right now. Wouldn't want anything else."

"Try protective, maybe even possessive," Jake grins, taking Taylor's hand and holding it against his heart. "this thing between us, however recently established... I want it to last, and no way in hell am I letting Mr. Warbucks getting his hands on you. He can have all the goods the world has to offer, but not you. You're mine."

Taylor blushes, shaking his head as he embraces the blond. "Remind me to make you possessive more often, Hotness, cause that was sexy as hell." He gave the blond a chaste kiss before taking his hand. "Come on, let's catch up with the others."

Chapter Text

"What?!" Taylor widened his eyes, getting off the sofa as he stared at the blond and almost kicking the mugs of hot cocoa off the coffee table. "we missed your birthday?! Why didn't you say it was recent? I could've gotten you a late present!"

Jake smiled, amused with the brunette's reaction. For some reasons, I think I should've expected him to react like that... He chuckled. "It's not that recent. We're towards the end of the month, and it was on the first week. It's not a big deal, Boy Scout." he reached for the brunette's waist, pulling him back. "meeting you is a gift enough."

"Flatterer," Taylor said, flushed. He held the blond's arms around him, "But no, we're doing this properly." He pulled out his phone as he sat back on the sofa. "Hello? Hey Mr. Rick, yeah, you're open tonight, right? Your offer still good? Yeah... yeah, make it a reservation for two."

Jake narrowed his eyes, putting his empty mug down on the table. He wrapped his arms around the brunette, pulling him closer. "What are you doing?"

"Calling in a favor, literally," Taylor grinned as he hung up, he got up from the couch and got their jackets and scarves from the coat rack. "come on, I'm treating you out tonight. First off, the movies!"

Jake groaned, meeting Taylor half way, taking him in his arms and man-handling him back into the sofa. "Nooooo..." he whined as Taylor giggled, trying to get the blond off him again. "... It's below thirty degrees out there, what about the original plan? Hot cocoa, then we make S'Mores in front a fireplace screensaver, and cuddle?"

"Cause we can do that when we come back, since you are staying the night," Taylor chuckles, hitting the blond with a throw pillow. Jake grunts, giving the brunette the chance to break free. He stands and starts wearing his jacket. "Besides, you can never go wrong with the appeal of watching a movie, at the very back row..." he smiles seductively, winking. "... and trying not to get caught in a middle of a make-out session..."

Jake smirks back, humming. "Fiiiiine... You had me at make-out."

───────

They didn't, in fact, have a make out session. Taylor had good taste in action movies, which was also Jake's favorite kind, and while they pretty much share one seat with the brunette on the blond's lap—they were at the back, so they wouldn't block anyone's view from behind—Jake was too into the plot. However, that didn't stop him from getting handsy in especially slow scenes. Not that Taylor minded.

"All right, Boy Scout," Jake stretched as Taylor got off him while the credits rolled, "where to next?"

Taylor grins, taking the blond's hand. "You'll see."

A short drive through a snowy evening, they arrived at The Goal Post bar. "Huh, well, didn't expect our last stop to be a bar. It's too early, don't you think?" Jake mused as he got off his motor and pulled off the helmet on Taylor, "besides, aren't you hungry? We haven't had dinner yet."

Taylor simply smiled.

"Do you trust me?"

Once again, Jake is caught off guard with the feeling of Déjà Vu. He didn't think he needed any more confirmation that this was his Taylor. He chuckled softly, "You could say that." he smiled coyly.

"Then..." The brunette smirked, going behing Jake and covering his eyes with his gloved hands. "... no peeking."

Jake snorted, "Really? Well, I believe you got that covered... literally." he muses.

"Smartass. Come on."

They pressed on, being careful not to trip on snow. Jake can hear Taylor talking to some man, as well as some woman who sounded a bit hyper, yet maternal. His leg caught once on a table, to which Taylor apologized for but didn't take his hands off. He felt something silky against his face when they went through, what he expected to be, a door frame. Then he was lowered until he sat down on a cushion. Finally, Taylor moved away and gave him back his vision. He blinks at the sudden lights before realizing where they were. It was a fairly small room, the lighting of the room was yellowish, giving a nice, calming, warm effect. Pillow cushions were sprawled all over the floor. In the center of it, a small table covered in a light blue, cotton sheet. There was, as cliché as it sounds, wine glasses, an iced bucket of champagne, as well as candlelight. A large bodied black-American came in, grinning and winking at Taylor as he sets down their dinner; Chicken Alfredo pasta with chicken Parmesan for the side.

Jake gaped, staring at the assemble before looking at Taylor's excited face. "What the... I thought we walked into a bar, not a fancy, hipster-themed restaurant."

"We did; only close friends or family know about this." Taylor chuckles as he hugged a pillow to his chest, "I managed to finish High School before I went into a coma. The man who served our food, he used to be a football coach. He helped my parents out when they were low on funds to pay the hospital. Anyway, he resigned being the coach a few years after I graduated and opened this place with his girlfriend... well, fiancé now, really. I convinced my parents to give him the money that was reserved for as college funds since I don't really have plans; didn't feel like it anymore. So anyway... He manage to get the ring and proposed last year. Technically, it was just pretty much paying him back for his help when I was asleep. He told me that if ever I needed anything, just ask." Then suddenly, he got a little shy and smiles. "So... you like it, right? I mean... the set up isn't too much? Not too cheesy?"

Jake smiles adoringly, moving through the cushions and hugging Taylor to his chest. "It's perfect," he placed a kiss on top of the brunette's head. "thank you. You're the best."

"Anything for my boyfriend." Taylor beamed, before widening his eyes and covering his mouth. "Oops... I mean..."

Jake moved back as well, staring at the brunette. "Did you just..."

"I'm sorry! I jumped the gun, didn't I?" Taylor stammered as he covered his face, completely flustered, "I-I mean, yeah, I know, we just met two weeks ago, it's too soon, we still don't really know each other really well for..." He was interrupted by something soft and warm against his lips.

You're wrong... Jake pulls Taylor closer to him as he deepens the kiss, You knew me longer... you may have forgotten, but your heart remembers... he wished he could say it, could explain everything; but he barely could explain it to himself yet. This wasn't the right time to tell Taylor the truth... But to stake the claim? It couldn't be any sooner. "Taylor," Jake exhales as they finally separated, "I feel the same way. Yes, I'd love to be your boyfriend."

Taylor blinked, surprise, fingers tracing the shape of his mouth, before he breaks into a grin. "You mean that? It... you don't think we're moving too fast?"

We're technically married... Jake wanted to say, but stopped himself. He simply chuckled. "Hey, as long as you're ready to be saddled with this much burden," he gestures to himself, "now's a good time as any."

Taylor punches him on the shoulder, "You just had to ruin the moment."

"Oh, there was a moment?"

The brunette laughs as he moved in again to close the gap. And that's when a woman stuck her head in, "AH!"

"Sorry to scare you, dear," The woman smiled sweetly, "but Ricky told me to make sure you kiddies would eat the food before it gets cold. It's better when it's hot, after all." She winks at them, "you can save the fun for later."

Taylor blushes, embarrassed while Jake just looked amused. "Er... right... t-thanks, Ms. Angela..." he managed out. The woman smiles once more before leaving. He sighs, and catches Jake grinning at him.

"Wow," The blond snickers, "you sound like a teenage girl getting caught by her parents doing the do."

Taylor rolled his eyes, smacking Jake with a small pillow. "Shut up, or I'm not going to spoon feed you your meal at least once."

OMAKE

[Two days after...]

"Come on, it wasn't that bad!"

Jake stared at Taylor, incredulous, "Not bad? If that wasn't bad, I'd hate to see what is!" he groaned, "Your dad pointed a shotgun at me!"

"A fake shotgun, he likes scaring off boyfriend prospects that way." Taylor snickers, hugging the blond's arm. "the fact that you only looked mildly surprised and even stared at the gun makes you good on his book. 'If you're really gonna be dating guys, at least date one that has guts to defend you from a low-life holding a gun.', that's what he told me when I first came out."

Oh god... Thank the surprises I had to deal with in the military plus La Huerta... Jake shakes his head. "So... there aren't any more terrifying relatives I should know about, right?"

Chapter Text

BANG, BANG

Taylor gasps, moving away instinctively, barely missing the shots of... whatever it was. It definitely seemed like stones from slingshots; the speed was too fast, and there was something different about the sound it made. It didn't even hit anything, and there were still sounds as if it made an impact on something.

"Jake, man, chill." Mike said, patting his friend's back as Aleister was calming Grace down, throwing a scowl towards the blond's way. "you're gonna scare off whatever it is these guys are researching."

Jake grimaces, putting his weapon down. "Yeah, well, they can't research shit if whoever this stalker is goes for the kill." he said, to which Mike rolls his eyes at.

"How about we get going then?" The copper-skinned man suggested, gesturing for Grace and Aleister to move forward. "I think there's a clearing up ahead, maybe that's a good place to set up camp."

Jake placed his gun in it's holster, at his back, "Yeah, while you guys get on with that, I'll do a little scouting." He said, "if there really is someone on our tracks, I'll find him."

"All right, Indiana Jones." Mike smirked, "don't get too side tracked, though. Gonna need a bit setting up traps to keep the wild ones away."

Jake waved him off, "Yeah, yeah. Got it."

⚫──────────⚫

"Gyaaah!" Jake yelped as he felt something pass by, "who's there?!" he growled, looking down, his jaw dropping. He didn't know what the hell he was expecting, a monkey maybe, but definitely not this, "a fox... in a jungle... and you're blue..." the blond blinks, "a blue fox. Now I've seen everything."

"Mmrrm?"

Jake crouches down to a low squat, "Were you the one creeping after us earlier?" he reached his hand down, "gotta be careful, little guy, could've shot you."

The fox continued to study Jake more, before its ears suddenly shot up in alarm. "Mrmph!" It tackled Jake to the ground. Jake cried out in surprise as he went down, and his eyes widened when something pounced overhead him, and would've landed on him if the little guy hadn't tackled him first.

"What the hell...?!" Jake cried out, getting his bearings and reaching for his gun... which wasn't there. The fox may have tackled him to safety, but it also meant tackling him away from where he placed his weapon. "Damn it!" He looked up to see what he was against, before his jaw dropped. The blond may not have always been the best student, but he knows a Saber-tooth tiger when he sees one. "You gotta be kidding!" The feline growled, staring back at Jake menacingly. "Rrrrr..." It scrutinized the blond, trying to determine whether it would be wise or not to simply go in for the kill. "Oh, snap..."

With that, the creature went for a low crouch before pouncing towards the blond, but before he could even reach Jake, the feline was kicked away. Jake widened his eyes at the arrival of the newcomer.

"T'Kal! Zehn! Zehn!" The man growled, communicating with the creature like it could understand him.

Jake's jaw dropped. "Okay... this island is officially crazy."

Chapter Text

Interviewer: So, how did you two get the part? Did you audition together?
Taylor: It's actually a funny story.
Jake: Don't.
Taylor: So they just select random people auditioning together, sometimes a pair or more. And they told us act like friends who are just meeting, and I immediately looked at Jake, didn't even know we were starting and I asked "Hey! You look a lot like Jared Leto?"
Jake face palmed and looked like he was in serious pain.
Taylor: And he totally went off on me, saying that it was his haircut even before Jared Leto made it his.
Jake: And that was just screening... We didn't have to go through the final cut, they just said "You guys got the part."

 

 

Interviewer: So we get that Rourke is the villain of the story. But off-cam, you guys must get along pretty well, right?
Everyone: No.
Diego: It was his birthday last night.
Zahra: We were debating whether to go or not.
Varyyn *without blue body paint*: But in the last minute, we decided to go. For the sake of the publicity.
Craig: Also, the chance to sing the Birthday Song in a funeral march was too good an opportunity to pass up.

 

 

Director: ACTION!
Jake: ...
Taylor: ...
Jake: ...
Taylor: ... *Sighs" CUT!
Director: What the fuck is going on?
Taylor: *Walks over to Jake, arms open and Jake rests in them* It's the Handfast outfit... and the entire scene. He's a bit emotional.
Jake: *Sobs* We're... getting married...
Director: *Sighs* Take five.
Producer: *Brings swear jar* Ahem.
Director: Damn it

 

 

Host: Okay, so here's how it goes; I'm gonna say something, and you all have to point the pointers to the person you think most likely fits the bill.
Everyone: Got it.
Host: Most likely to blurt out the biggest plot twist of the story?
Taylor, Jake, Varyyn, Quinn: *Points at Diego*
Diego: I'm not even gonna take offense to that. *Points arrow at himself*
Sean, Zahra, Aleister, Grace (looking apologetic), Michelle: *Points arrow at Craig*
Craig: Hey!
Host: Next question; Who's the hottest guy on set?
Most girls: *Refuses to answer*
Most boys: *Points at themselves*
Grace: *Points at Aleister* *blushing*
Aleister: *Smiling smugly*
Diego: *Points at Varyyn*
Host: Ah, here's a good one. If the movie was one of those with the plot Only one of the heroes are left alive in the end, who's that one person?
Everyone: *Points at Taylor*
Taylor: *Points at Jake* Only cause I don't want him dead.
Zahra: Jeez, Taylor, thanks for thinking of us.
Taylor: *Smirks* Hey, only get to choose one.
Director and Producers who knows the whole plot, knowing that the actors haven't read the entire script yet: *Mixture of crying internally, already making plans to prepare to write a restraining order against Jake, smiling evilly.*

 

 

Jake: *Reading a tweet* "I hope they change the pairings in the next movie, and hoping that...." *Horrified* TAYLOR x SEAN is the ENDGAME?! JAKE SUCKS?! Uh, yeah, I suck, I suck *bleep**bleep**bleep**bleep*!
Taylor: "Taylor is a slut; think he's gonna go for Sean first by messing with Michelle then whore himself to Jake." *Throws his hand up, smiling politely* Well... technically, yeah, that's what happened. Ps. Love you, Michelle.
Michelle: Love you too, Tay. Now let's see... "OMG, Michelle's face looks like the large canvas after my mom and I shoot paintballs at them." ?! Uh, excuse me... Yeah, I'm not even mad. But uh, start writing a restraining order, my stylist will be coming after you.
Craig: "Craig is so sexy, gimme some o' that."
Zahra: You're supposed to be reading mean tweets... not lies.
Diego: Shots fired.

 

 

Host: Endless Summer cast, Kiss, Kill, Marry. Absolutely cannot repeat a name. Go.
Taylor: Sean, Rourke, Jake.
Rourke: Why are we doing this? They're all just going to kill me.
Sean: Quinn, Rourke, Michelle.
Quinn: Aw, that's sweet, Sean.
Jake: Taylor, Rourke, Taylor.
Host: Jake...
Jake: I do what I want. And Boy Scout, you're in for it later.
Taylor: *Smirks* Looking forward to it, Hotness.
Michelle: Get a room you two. Anyway, Quinn, Rourke, Sean.
Rourke: SEE?
Diego: Varryn, Taylor, Rourke.
Everyone: WHAT?!
Rourke: What?
Diego: Ahh! SORRY, got it mixed up, Taylor, Rourke, Varyyn. Which, by the way, I will.
Director: DIEGO! SPOILER JAR!

Chapter Text


???: "I'm still a stranger, huh?"


???: "Jake... I'm slipping!"


???: "I love you so much, I just... I want the world for you..."

"... Wait, are you asleep?"

You open your eyes, grunting and barely remembering what you were just dreaming about. As you look back to the stranger who interrupted your nap, you feel like you've seen him somewhere before.

You shake whatever remnants of sleep you had left before giving the guy and lazy grin.

You...
... greet him casually.
**... greet him with a nickname.**
... flirt with him.



Jake: "Listen Boy Scout, don'tcha know it's rude to wake someone who's taking a nap?"
The brunette stranger smirks, looking amused.
Taylor: "'Boy Scout'?"
Jake: "What can I say? I give nicknames to people who annoy me."
Taylor: "In that case, I'm calling you... Hotness."
The brunette suddenly blinks, realizing what he said, and he blushes. You just keep up your grin, amused more than anything else.
Jake: "Of all the demeaning nicknames you could've given me, you went with 'Hotness'?."
The brunette makes a little small pout.
Taylor: "I don't think well on my feet."

Chapter Text

 

 

MICHELLE AND ESTELA

Michelle heard her phone rang as soon as she sat down on for lunch, and she hasn't even ordered anything yet. That better not be work. She sighed as she pulled it out off her pocket to check the Caller ID. "Oh, it's Sean." Her mouth curves into a gentle smile, she presses the answer icon and holds the phone near her ear. "Hi dear, is Jake still driving you crazy with the whole new-boyfriend-that-looks-like-his-old-boyfriend thing?" She lifts up the restaurant's complimentary drinks to her lips.

//It's true.//

Michelle is glad she hasn't taken any real sip yet, because she did not need to make a scene by doing what Raj would call an epic spit-take. She placed her glass back down. "I'm sorry, what?"

//It really is Taylor. Jake's right, about that and that he doesn't seem to have his memories of when he was in the island with us; we have to help him remember.//

Michelle presses her hand to her temple, "Sean, I did say that you should give Jake a break, but I didn't mean that you should humor him doing so..." she sighs, and deadpans. "... or have your own mental break."

//I'm not! I'm really not, Michelle. If you had been there when Craig and I was stuck in that elevator...//

Michelle held her hand up, as if Sean could see that. "You know what, no. Estela and her Tio Nicolas has an appointment with me later, and I have to be level-headed for that. We're not doing this right now, nor are we going to argue about this over the phone. Let's have dinner later, and talk about it then, okay?"

//I... Okay, okay... fine, I guess that's fair. And Michelle?//

"Yeah?"

//I'm not saying this because I also used to have feelings for him; I love you, and that's for the now. I hope you understand that.//

Michelle blushes, covering her face. It's the first time Sean actually said that again after getting back together. She had to calm herself and make sure she doesn't get carried away to be easily swayed by Jake's or Sean's conviction. "Yeah... I get it, I love you, too Sean. And I miss Taylor as well. He was a great friend, to all of us. But we're all gonna have to move on someday.

//He is a good friend. And maybe, we don't have to move on as soon as we thought.//

"Oh Sean," Michelle smiles, a little sad. They all thought it was just Jake who hasn't completely gotten over it. But perhaps, in their own little way, they all still wished and hoped Taylor had gone home with them. "I'll see you tonight."

//See you, Michelle. Don't overwork yourself.//

Michelle dropped the call, and started to order lunch. She called for a waiter and told him to prepare her regular since she did almost always eat there anyway. As the waiter walked away, the bell chimed indicating a new customer just walked in. And she's surprised to see Jake walking in with someone, both of them shrugging off the snow from their coats and caps before hanging them.

"Oooh, look at that, the hospital is just across the street. Well, since we're here, might as well..."

"Jake, if I felt like I was in shock or anything else after the earthquake yesterday, then I would've gone yesterday."

Michelle froze, recognizing that voice. As the blond's companion took his cap off, she had to keep herself from exclaiming loudly.

Jake sighed, waving the brunette over to a vacant table with two seats. "But you didn't even go yesterday, and don't think I trust primary medics coming in from ambulances to give the all clear. Plus, we had to cancel our date entirely when you got a headache afterwards."

"Correction, you felt that we had to." The brunette deadpans, "It was after the quake, so it's not a surprise that it happened. But the medics examined me carefully, and found nothing broken or anything. Jake, seriously, I'm fine. I don't need a check up. Though I appreciate the concern, I don't really want you paying for some medical consultant to just tell us that I'm really fine."

No way... Michelle blinks, lost for words, There is no way... this is just one of Grace's scientific fact things, uh, about a certain percent of people in the world actually looks like you... this is just his look-alike... wait, does it count even if Taylor wasn't really born human... No, Michelle, that's not the point, get it together!

"Yo Maybelline, didn't expect to see you here."

Michelle blinks, coming out her reverie, noticing that Jake and his companion was moving towards her. The closer they got, the more the guy looked like their Taylor. But that would be impossible, he sent them a message before he disappeared, and it sounded final. She sees Jake's expression, and by the looks of it, even he knew what could be going on in her mind... That she couldn't believe it.

"So, uh, intro." Jake coughed, clearing his throat, putting his hands on the brunette's shoulder. "Michelle, meet my boyfriend. This is Taylor."

The Taylor doppleganger just smiled, if he noticed that emphasis on the word is, he didn't show it. He just smiled politely, and even that looked like the same one their old friend used to give them easily.

"Hello, nice to meet you, and yeah, I look like his old boyfriend," Taylor chuckled, holding out his hand, "I've been hearing that a lot lately. You don't happen to be the same Michelle who's dating that Football guy?"

Michelle blinked, as she unconsciously reached out to shake the brunette's hand, and as soon as they touched she felt the urgent need to hug the guy. But she took a breath and restrained herself, "Er, uh, I guess... maybe... Uh, you mean Sean?"

"Yeah, that's the one." Taylor grinned as he released her hand, "wow, you're even more gorgeous than I expected. And I don't really say that about most girls... er, uh, sorry. Am I coming out strong?" He laughed nervously, "my bad... It seems like a mistake I've been making recently. Can't help feeling comfortable around Jake's friends, feels like I've known you guys for a long time." he mused, rambling on. "and not even in a cliché way, more like the Déjà vu way."

Michelle froze, as if time stopped as the world seemed to blur around her, remembering the first moment she shared with Taylor, how he was still nice and good-natured towards her even when she wasn't exactly returning the favor, just because it seemed like Sean had been interested in him...

 

 





"Look, Sean doesn't need any famehounds hanging around, got it?"

"You're super gorgeous. You two must be together."

"I... you... Well, yeah. Thanks. You're right on both counts."

Jake looked from Michelle to Taylor, a small smile creeping on his lips, knowing that Michelle must be convinced that this was Taylor. He was there as well when the two first met, and just like for Craig and Sean, that was all it took to convince them. Then, he frowned, because as much as he was getting them all convinced bit by bit that this was Taylor, he still doesn't seem to be any closer to getting the brunette to remember himself. The only development he managed was getting back the relationship they had... well, tier one of it at least. But it wasn't like it happened because he remembered what they went through. It felt more like they broke up in the past and are in a 'getting-back-together-getting-to-know-each-other-again' thing; like he was starting over a new relationship with Taylor.

"So, what brings you here?" Taylor asked, breaking the female blond out of her reverie. "lunch?"

Michelle manages a small smile, looking a bit conflicted, wanting to hug him tightly, but it was already late to pass it off as a polite greeting hug. Not that it would be chalked off as casual, considering the circumstances. "Lunch break, actually... I have to get back to the hospital in an hour for my rounds." Then, she smiles a little slyly, "so what's this I hear about you wanting to skip out on a check up?"

Jake grinned triumphantly as Taylor groaned, face-palming. "It is not considered skipping if we didn't make an appointment in the first place." he protested indignantly. "Jake's just being paranoid."

"Well, as a medical professional and his friend—but mostly a medical professional—I simply can't let that slide. Better safe than sorry, after all." Michelle chuckles, "so why don't we share a table together for lunch then walk back to my office room afterwards? I think I can squeeze you guys in." She said as the waiter came with her order, and she told him where to place it instead. "I'll even make it a free consultation, just in case it's really nothing. Just don't mind if I call in a favor suddenly, Jake."

Jake laughed, wrapping an arm around a Taylor's shoulder. "A-ha! Now you don't have any reason to refuse, Boy Scout."

"Apparently so..." The brunette sighed, rolling his eyes. "sorry about this, but... thanks, too, I guess."

Michelle smiled fondly, shaking her head, No... I want to make sure you're really okay, too... "No problem. Jake and I... well, we've been through a lot together. It's the least I could do." she said.

 

 

⚫──────────⚫

"So, why the aversion to simple check-ups, if you don't mind me asking." Michelle started, walking side by side with Taylor, hooking her arm around his.

The brunette didn't seem to mind the gesture, even if it meant that Jake had to walk behind them. "Well, I don't know if Jake mentioned it to you or something, but I've been in a coma the last five years and..." he laughs, but it's a little strained. "Well, let's just say that's enough time to get sick of being inside a hospital. Not that I have anything against medical professionals, though."

Michelle frowns, but tries not to show it. She believe she does remember Sean mentioning that to her; she looks back at Jake and he looks back at her meaningfully as if to say Yeah... we'll talk about it later. The blond doctor cleared her throat, facing back to Taylor, "Well, I─"

"Tio, no!"

The trio froze, stopping as they were passing by the hospital's parking lot, seeing a man in a mugger's mask, having a man in headlock, a gun cocked to his temple. Michelle gasped, recognizing the two near the mugger as Estela and her Uncle. The situation seemed to have just happened, but it was already starting to escalate. Nearby bystanders were rushing away and out of the area, but the others were too close and glued to the spot in, startled more than anything else. Jake cursed under his breath, clenching his fists. Taylor blinked, eyes wide in surprise.

"You! Estela Montoya, on this day, will pay for what you did to me!"

Estela growled, clenching her fist. "If it's me you want, take me and leave him out of it!"

"No, no... You see, it's an eye for an eye..." The man growled, tightening his hold on the older Montoya, knife making a small cut on his throat. "... tooth for tooth..."

Jake didn't take his eyes off the scene, making an indication to Michelle. "Whatever happens..." he started lowly, "keep Taylor back, you hear?"

"I..." Michelle blinks, before understanding dawns on her. "I got it." She says, reaching out for the brunette's arm... and ended up grabbing thin air. "Huh?"

"Damn it, Boy Scout, no!"

Before anyone can blink, Taylor already rushed forward, getting on the hostile's back. Tio Nicholas gasped for breath, tripping forward towards Estela. "What the hell!?" Estela widened her eyes as a stranger brunette grappled with the ex-convict—but most probably soon to be a convict again. "You idiot! Are you crazy?!"

The brunette didn't listen, focusing on trying to get the upper hand, which may probably be for the best. Estela surveyed the situation, figuring out a way to intervene without making things worse. But then, the guy managed to throw the brunette off and looked around for his initial target. Before Estela can think about doing anything, she got a good look on his face and her mouth popped open.

"Taylor?!"

The trained assassin widened her eyes, never thinking she'd ever again see the friend who gave himself up for the sake of a future he can never be apart of. It took her a moment to remember what Michelle had told her about, something that came from Sean or Jake; a brunette that was the spitting image of their dearest friend.

"No! In front of you!"

Estela looked forward, widening her eyes as the man now had a gun pointed towards her and her uncle. But she wasn't near enough to do anything, so instinctively, she placed herself in front of her uncle and braced herself.

Bang!

Time seemed to stop as Jake tackled the man who was blinded by rage and too focused on making the shot to notice him, but the gun has already been fired while Estela finds herself and her Tio shoved out of the way, the bullet barely missing the brunette but still managing to graze his arm. Taylor cried out in pain. Estela gasped, catching her Tio's collapsing body as the elderly starts to faint, quickly but gently placing his body flat on the ground before she rushes towards Taylor just as Michelle does. Meanwhile, Jake has the man in some military pin down, growling and despite him being shorter than the man, he manages to keep him down while officials come over to apprehend him. As soon as that's done, he rushes towards his boyfriend while Doctors and medics are waiting for the all clear to be allowed into the crime scene.

Taylor winced, trying for a smile towards Estela. "Er, well... Ngh, this is definitely the most awkward way to meet someone officially..."

"You..." Estela frowns, dismayed. If the guy didn't even know her and yet he... "you don't know me..." Estela repeats as Michelle worked on his arm, "... and yet, you took the bullet for me?"

Taylor winces as Michelle used her handkerchief to tie the brunette's grazed shoulder, like a tourniquet. "Er, yeah but... somehow, I think I do know you."

"Because of Jake?"

Taylor shakes his head, "No but I can't help but feel that... I saw you once, from a dream... in a jungle."

Estela widened her eyes when she hears those word, an familiar to echo from a past not so long ago.

 

 






"I almost killed you! Why did you follow me?

"Because I dreamt that you told me to."

"You... dreamt about me?

"Yeah, I know, it's weird."

"Ugh..." Taylor winced, clutching his head. "Damn... another headache... Maybe a check up is really called for."

Michelle made a look, "You think?"

"Yeah, yeah, don't rub it—" The brunette trails off when he as the pony-tailed girl suddenly falls on him, wrapping him in an embrace. ".... in?"

Estela, as out of character as it is, starts to sob loudly, embracing Taylor tighter and tighter. "Thank you! Thank you, Taylor! Thank you for everything! For giving us a future, thank you!" she cried out.

"Uh, well, that's a bit... I mean, you're not wrong, but..." Taylor trails off as even Michelle joins in the hug, as if she can no longer help herself. Jake has his arms around all of them, and even if he wanted to embrace his boyfriend directly, he gave way to the girls. He was just relieved that Taylor was relatively all right, if slightly miffed with another attempt on his life. "Uhm, okay, So we're hugging it out..."

It took about a moment or two for the medical officials to separate the three so they can have a look on Taylor.

"So it's Taylor," Estela says once she manages to recompose herself, "But he doesn't,,,"

Jake sighs, running a hand through his hair. "... remember what happened in La Huerta... or that he was supposedly—" he paused, because it still pained him to say it even if he did have the brunette back in his life. "So yeah, he doesn't remember a single thing."

"Does the others know?"

Michelle shakes her head, "Not all, no. It's only Sean, Craig, and now the two of us." she said, "I think we should bring this up to the others."

"Like I tried bringing it up to Sean and Craig?" Jake narrowed his eyes, "Yeah, they didn't even believe me until they saw him themselves."

Estela had to give him that. Even she didn't believe it herself when Michelle mentioned it to her in passing when she and her Tio were there for a check up. "Well, we're gonna need everyone together if we're gonna help Taylor regain his memories... If it is..." she trails off.

"He will remember," Jake scowled, "I don't know how yet, but I refuse to accept that it's not possible."

Estela stared at the blond, despite her poker face, she was taken aback that the blond was actually being hopeful about something. But then again, this was about Taylor. It's to be expected, "Yeah." she nodded. "you're right. So, how are we getting the others?"

"I have no idea where Diego is, he and Varyyn are in the middle of his Book signing tour." Michelle said, sighing. "Raj is catering some fancy event in Milan, Grace and Aleister are probably working on whatever complex research project or whatever it is they do. Quinn is busy with a new foundation establishment, and Zahra... Well, I'm pretty sure Craig would be trying to convince her now as we speak." she listed before catching Jake staring at her. "What?"

"Dare I ask how you know all that on the top of your head?"

Michelle rolled her eyes, "It's called Social Media Jake, get in with the times. You're not stuck in Costa Rica anymore."

"Sorry to keep you waiting," They turn around to see Taylor walking towards them, a proper bandage around the wound on his shoulder. "the doctor says I'm fine, but need bed rest as soon as possible. Jake, could you—" he trails off as Jake walks to his side, leaning down to plant a kiss on his cheek.

The blond smiles at him, "You don't even need to ask." he says.

"Thanks," Taylor blushed, chuckling. He turns towards Estela and Michelle, "So, uh, this has been a rather interesting day. It's nice to meet you two again, uh, all things considered. Hope we can meet up again soon, preferably in more peaceful terms."

Estela and Michelle shared a look, smiling and certainly pleased that they had a chance once again to meet up with Taylor. They turned back to him, nodding. "Definitely."

 

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Host: So, we know you just started filming the sequel. What can you tell us about it?
Taylor: Well, we're still lost in a jungle, that's for sure.
Jake: Babe, that's the entire plot.
Taylor: It's the general plot. We can't give too much away.
Michelle: We have more questions to answer, and once we answer those, more pile up.
Quinn: Really, it's just like a scavenger hunt.
Taylor: The clues show us something, but it gets pretty confusing until you reach the ending.
Host: I see, well, not much of the trailer shows an actual story. Can you tell us what to expect with the beginning?
Diego: I'm still missing. And they have to find me.
Everyone: ....
Diego: .... What?
Host: You're still missing? So you confirm that you're not dead, and your presence in today's show isn't just to help the promotion of the film?
Diego: Uh, wait, didn't you all stay to watch the end credits scene?
Michelle: Diego... *face palming* that secret ending is only in the Blu-Ray limited edition DVD.
Diego: ... Oh. My bad, Pixelberry!
Everyone: *collectively groans*
Jake: *Speaks directly to the camera* Cut this out, if you can.
Host: We're live.
Jake: Well, damn.




How the Endless Summer Cast texts each other....
Jake and Taylor:

J: You love me, right?
T: Of course I do
J: What if I did something bad?
J: Like, really bad?
T: what did you do?
J: are you SURE you'd still love me, tho?
T: WHAT DID YOU DO
T: Jake
T: JAKE
J: I Tp-ed Sean's place
T: But he's staying in an apartment?
J: Yeah
T: Ohmygod! The entire-
J: Talk to you later, they found out.
T: They?
J: He's staying with Miche
T: Jake?
T: ...
T: when you get time to open your phone again, if they let you live, let me just say... you dumbass.
Later...
J: so... do you still love me?
T: *face palms* Are you injured?
J: Yes
T: Then yes
T: and I'm coming over.
J: score!

Sean and Craig:

C: Bro! Help me!! it's an emergency!
S: whoa dude, what's wrong?
C: I'm supposed to meet up with Zahra for the promotion interview, but I lost my phone and can't contact her where to go! Did I leave it in your place?
S: ...
S: Dude
S: are you for real?
C: This is no time for external questions! My phone is missing and I need it!
S: external... do you mean existential?
C: Sean, man, can you help me or not?
S: Craig, what are you using to text me?
C: ... Oh.
C: Don't tell Zahra.
S: Sure man.

Diego, Taylor, and Varyyn:


First thread:
D: Taylor, do you think Varyyn likes me?
D: I mean, yeah, we're sorta a couple in the film, and play that card for interviews but...
T: Depends, will you actually believe my answer this time?
D: Depends, what's your answer?
T: He doesn't like you...
D: Then yes *frowny face*
T: ... He loves you.
T: *teasing face*
D: Well played, Taylor... But I still don't believe that.
T: *Angry face*
Second thread:
T: Varyyn, remember when I told you Diego was interested in you?
V: and I said I didn't believe you, yes. I still don't.
T: *shows screenshot image*
V: ... I retract my former beliefs.
V: thank you.
Third thread:
V: *shows image*
V: I can confirm this
V: Yes, I do "like" you, and "love" isn't too far off an impossibility.
D: Oh...
D: uh... so, do we date now?
V: Yes, if you wish it.
D: Great! Uh, I mean, cool. So... yeah...
D: One moment please.
Back to first thread:
D: I'm going to kil you Taylor
D: But also... Thanks.
T: Don't thank me, I just did that to finally have the chace to say "I told you so!"
D: xD

Diego, Jake, and Taylor ft. Jared Leto:

T: Ugh, why can't I find a guy like this *sends picture of Jared Leto*
J.L.: Hey
T: No.
J.L.: I'm literally the guy in the pic
D: Nope, not even. He is *sends picture of Jake during a scene shooting*
J: Damn it, you guys added Jared Leto to the group just to make this joke, didn't you?
T: Noooo... 👼
J,L.:😏 *smirky fox face*
D: 😈 *evil demon face*
J: screw you guys
J: especially you Taylor
T: Looking forward to it, Hotness 😉 *winky face*





Common Blooper during shooting that the actors has to put a fine in the Incident jar...
Everybody: *Are very close so they end up using their real names until the screen writers finally changed the character names into their real names* ($5 initially, till the change of names.)
Taylor: *Keeps forgetting his lines. Best case scenario, he improvise and it works out. Worst case scenario, he just laughs and they have to do over the scene. They decided to save all these takes, even the ones that didn't make the cut, and send it to their marketing team who later sells it to a gaming company for dialogue options.* ($10)
Jake: *He mixes up nicknames. Sean becomes Drax, Michelle becomes Ariel, Quinn becomes Maybelline, Diego becomes Captain Bucky which would be a copyright issue if they don't redo it because they only got rights to use Steve Rogers in selected and limited scenes. He never goes wrong with Taylor's Boy Scout, though. But sometimes, he uses nicknames that are inappropriate for their rating.* ($15)
Sean: *He gets so into an action that he ends up either punching a guy too hard that the shooting has to stop and everyone needs to check on the guy injured, or best case scenario, he only breaks a prop slightly.* ($20, plus $25 for prop repairs if needed)
Craig: *Same issue with Sean, but ten times worse. Also, he keeps forgetting his lines and hitting the wrong person. [Poor Diego]* ($25, plus $30 for prop repairs and medical assistance if needed)
Michelle: *She demands to cut a scene if she thinks the lighting is wrong and makes her look fat or something similar* ($15)
Quinn: *She never makes a mistake by herself, but is usually the first to notice one and is usually the first one to laugh as well* ($10)
Aleister: *During a scene where he makes a long rant, he misses a few words, laughs and apologizes sincerely after. Contrary to his character in the film, he's actually fairly polite* ($5 because to be fair it's not easy to remember every scientific or highfalutin words)
Grace: *Sometimes, when he forgets her lines, she improvises like Taylor, but even if sometimes it's a good one, she says it in a quiet voice cause she's embarrassed that she forgot and the boom mic wasn't able to catch it clearly.* ($5 because similarly to Aleister, her lines are scientific most of the time)
Zahra: *When she's bored during shooting, she demonstrates and holds a prop that makes it obvious it's fake. Like boulder B, that's twenty times her size? She holds it over her head with one hand.*
Diego: *He ends up using a reference that they didn't get the rights for or mix up the reference for another scene into that scene. Also, with his scenes with Varyyn especially ever since they started shooting for the sequel, he spaces out because he's busy ogling his co-actor.* ($15)
Estela: *No, she's perfect. The only time she makes a mistake is when she smiles in a scene where she isn't supposed to cause her character is stoic most of the time. Real life Estela is actually friendly, like a big sister kind of friendly. Even though Jake's character is the oldest in the film, in real life, it's her. By at least two years.* ($5)
Varyyn: *He was fine until he and Diego starts dating. Now he forgets that in some scenes where he and Diego's character aren't officially together yet and touches him a little too much to be considered friendly. Still, not as bad as Jake's lack of boundaries with Taylor* ($15)
Lila: *Once they started filming the sequel, she and Estela has a hard time finishing a take without making a mistake because she would get emotional during it and cries on Estela while her co-actor has to comfort her* ($15)

Chapter Text

Text thread

Da Squad


Craig: Yo guuuuys
Craig: mah dudes, check it. They released a game based on the movie!
Diego: *sends picture*
Diego: it's true
Diego: But it's a visual novel type of game, disappointed a bit but still intrigued
Quinn: That's so cool! I think they exaggerated my hair though, it's not that long or red
Michelle: Yeah, it is
Varyyn: But why is Quinn the center focus?
Jake: Yeah, isn't my man the main man?
Taylor: I don't mind. Besides, it looks good
Zahra: @Quinn that's because you pick your MC. There are four avatars to choose from.
Zahra: *sends picture*
Taylor: Oh, well, at least I'm still in it
Zahra: OHH
Zahra: And it says here the Love interests you can romance are Jake...
Jake: duh
Zahra: ... Sean
Jake: WHAT
Sean: what?
Zahra: Estela
Zahra: and Quinn
Estela: a bit weird
Estela: Taylor's like a brother to me
Quinn: aww
Jake: What, no. No 'aww'
Jake: why in the hell? I'm the one dating Taylor! In the film and IRL!!
Taylor: Jake, calm down. It's for the game.
Zahra: ooooooooh
Taylor: Zahra, whatever it is you discovered again, share it with caution
Zahra: Taylor, someone chose your avatar and romanced Sean! You guys totally made out in first sight with the choices the player went through
Taylor: Zahra, why...
Jake: SEAN
Sean: I didn't do anything!
Zahra: Oooh and
Taylor: No, no "and" Zahra, stop it
Zahra: since the movie does have that sex scene, that means later, there'll be a video this player will post of Sean and Taylor doing the do
Taylor: ZAHRA
Jake: I'm calling this damn gaming company and I'ma sue!
Craig: uhhh maybe I shouldn'y have brought this up
Diego: Mmh whatcha say
Mmh that you only meant well?
Zahra: Holy shit! There are fanfic links below the player's video channel, at the comment section
Zahra: Daaamn

"Sean looks into his eyes, pulling Taylor closer to him, their lips inches apart, already brushing one another's. The black-American moved first, kissing the brunette with passion like he never kissed anyone before.


It's better than kissing Michelle, Sean thought....."

read more


Michelle: uh, excuse me?!
Taylor: No, no. I will NOT read more
Jake: I know it's not your doing, Steve Rogers, but I have the sudden urge to murder you
Sean: Murder Zahra, I'm not doing anything!
Diego: Ohmygod!
Taylor: what, no Diego not you too!
Diego: There's a Twilight au, I repeat, a Twilight au!! Taylor's Bella, Sean's a black Edward, and Jake's a blond werewolf.... Ohmygod, this is gold!
Diego: It's actually better than the original
Diego: *sends picture*
Taylor: Ohmygod, did you just...
Zahra: Diego, send me the link!
Raj: Me, too!
Quinn: Already on it, ohmygod, I'm gonna make Team Sean and Team Jake shirts!
Craig: what the hell is wrong with you guys?! And Raj too?!
Raj: I actually like Twilight
Raj: this Taylor version is pretty interesting too
Raj: the author of the fanfic actually put more thought into the political conflict of the story
Craig: dude did you swap brains with Grace?
Taylor: ohmygod can everyone please stop?

──────────────────────────────────────────────────

They are asked to act out scenes for a special feature of the game in the actual release to the public.

As in turned out, the Player who was said to go through the game with an intent to romance Sean was a beta tester of the game. The actual game won't be released to the public until much later. With that being said, Pixelberry studios gets a request from their partnered game company to have selected actors act out scenes for the game. It was mostly for the Love Interests feature of the game hence the fact that the game company hired three extra people to represent the other Avatars of the game. But there is one cutscene in the start of the game, the one with the plane, and everyone was there. But they were done shooting that already, pretty much used some scenes from the movie, and just had to reshoot the scenes with Taylor visibly present in them and having the other three Avatar representations act the scene out, sort of editing out Taylor in those scenes and replacing him with them. Now, the others were free and dismissed from this project and all that remained were Taylor, his hired representations, and his Love interests.

"Okay, let's start." The head producer of the game said, looking through some papers. "I'll sort of be the director for this, but since that's not my niche, help me out a little, okay guys?"

Jake huffed, crossing his arms. He, along with Estela, Sean, and Quinn were needed as well, since they are the Love interests of MC of the game. Personally, he didn't like the fact that his boyfriend had to flirt with a lot of people, nor the fact that he had to do it two with several other default Taylor's. But it was their job, and even married actors or actresses have to be intimate with people they weren't married to. It was par for the course.

"Now for this first Cutscene, it's with... Sean and Taylor." The man said, "Jake, we're just going to use the footage from the film for you and Taylor's cutscenes, at least for today. Just needs to be redesigned a bit to fit the game's graphics; you can go to the other room and re-shoot that scene with the others." he gestured to the three hired actors.

The blond groaned internally, Of fucking course... But he smiled, to be courteous to the other three. Taylor is going to nag him later if he took out his frustration on them. "Got it, boss." he stood up and followed them and another producer to the room. The girls were giggling, side-glancing Jake wistfully. The other guy, though, looks a little uncomfortable. Maybe he's straight... Oh well, that's showbiz for ya; push you out of your comfort zone.

─────────

Jake sighed as he walked back into the main room, relieved that the only scene he had to do was holding the MC's hand. Then, he stopped in his tracks, wide eyed. While he was gone, they moved the shooting to the outdoor balcony, and medium-sized completely green kiddie pool with green scenes surrounding the area was set up. Taylor and Sean were in the pool, laughing, and when he stepped out, he hears that they're playing Marco Polo.

"What the hell..." he mutters under his breath, "this didn't happen in the movie..."

Quinn looks at him, already in a bathrobe. But she was dry. "Yeah, it's a special Love Interest Sean thing for the game. I'm gonna have to get in later with the other three to re-shoot that scene Taylor and I had together in the film with them...." she said.

The blond didn't hear the rest of what she said because he sees Sean catching Taylor, and pulling him close as they both laugh. He knows it's just acting, for the scene, but he also knows that they're good friends. And while Jake knows Sean's dating Michelle, or that he wouldn't try to get between him and Taylor even if not, it still makes him steamy when he sees his boyfriend happy in somebody else's arms, friend or not. But Jake's still a professional, and he knows he shouldn't disrupt the scene. If he did, they'd just have to re-shoot the entire thing again. So he just bit his tongue and sucked it up.

"I am so gonna give this game a bad review..." Jake scowled.

──────────────────────────────────────────────────

They try playing the game

Zahra buys the game and, just to troll Jake, does a gameplay aiming for Sean as the Love interests and floods their group chat. Since she's much as a gamer and hacker in real life as she is in the movie, she's able to override the game and skip through the chapters, to the ones with Sean and Taylor having scenes together. She laughs hysterically while eating popcorn as she reads Jake's reactions and Taylor's plea for her to stop.

In the cutscene where Taylor and Sean kisses each other in that galaxy scene...


Jake: SO YOU GUYS DID KISS!
Taylor: NO WE DIDN'T!
Taylor: He did this scene with Michelle. MICHELLE!
Taylor: You were there, how can you not remember?!
Michelle: We didn't kiss either. Our characters weren't reconciled in this scene yet.
Sean: I wish we did.
Michelle: We can do that in real life. Anytime

In the cutscene where Taylor and Sean kisses under water...

Jake: Sean, stop stealing our moments!
Taylor: gdi Jake! It's for the game! Zahra, stop it!

In the cutscene where Taylor and Sean have sex...

Sean: Nothing happened!
Taylor: We were still wearing our shorts!
Taylor: He just basically just laid on top of me and moved around a bit
Jake: YOU WERE SUFFOCATING MY MAN?!
Sean: TAYLOR!
Sean: you should've stopped at shorts
Zahra: comedy gold
Taylor: ZAHRA
Sean: ZAHRA
Zahra: me

Chapter Text

Preview of future Oneshot updates:

The Woe of Jake McKenzie

I thought graduation retreats were supposed to be fun. But really, it's hard to have fun when my best friend transferred schools and the closest friend I have who's actually present is the class vice president. Meaning, he had certain extra tasks to do in the trip. But that wasn't the real problem, no. Even if Taylor and the president had extra tasks to do, they would still join in the activities planned out for the entire class, and I still get to hang out with him for lunch. Plus, we were room mates, along with two others so it was not really an issue of not being able to spend time with him.

No, the real problem was who was Class president doing the tasks with him. If it were anyone else, I wouldn't give a damn. Hell, I fucking wished it was still Varynn Vaanti, a foreign exchange student they had since last year, at least he was already dating Diego and I had nothing to worry about. But no, he had to run for student body President instead this year. Now, Taylor had to work closely together with Golden boy wonder football star Sean Gayle, that everyone can't help loving.

If it wasn't obvious yet, then I have the hots for Taylor.

(?/2 completed in drafts)

Reincarnation au: Quinn and Zahra

"Ooh, that dress would look nice, don't you think?"

Zahra groaned, taking a look at what Quinn was pointing at this time. Of course, it's another classic, white wedding dress in a budget-friendly boutique. "Kelly, told you about a dozen times; THERE'S NO WEDDING YET." she reiterated for the... actually, even she lost count.

"Yet, exactly." Quinn grins, winking. "it's never too early to plan ahead."

Zahra rolled her eyes, "Quinn, I swear, one more time you bring up wedding dresses today, I'm booking a trip to Las Vegas with Craig and having our wedding there. AND you're not invited."

"What?!" The redhead gasps, seemingly truly horrified. "You wouldn't! Oh my god, I can't decide what's worse; the idea of a rushed, and most possibly shared, wedding in Las Vegas, or not being invited!"

Zahra snickered, grinning at the redhead in secret fondness.

"For your sake, that better have been a joke, Zahra." Quinn pouted as she suddenly felt a jolt in her bag, "sorry Froxy, we're not in the apartment yet. Hold on a little bit more—"

Soulmate au

They say that when you meet your soulmate, the one you're destined to share your life with, you get an intense feeling along with a warm glow on your chest... Now, the warm glow is literal. It doesn't always happen, but those who experienced it are said to end up with that person, and while there would be the usual relationship struggles, they would live a life filled with love together, external factors not counted.

Taylor didn't think he needed to experience it, he was pretty content with how his life was now. And he was just happy being able to see someone he cared about experiencing it himself. On their very first day in Hartfeld, they went on the orientation tour just like everyone else did.

Based of this concept: Link