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kiss your fears, dudes

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Bill doesn’t really remember meeting Ted. He remembers it vaguely, in a foggy sort of way, though Bill doesn’t think this is unusual- he was four, and Ted was also four, and people don’t tend to remember things that happened when they were four all that clearly.

 

This is fine. It doesn’t matter how they met, in any case- certainly not in history’s eyes. It just matters that they met. And meet they did, over and over and over again, every day for as long as Bill can remember. Longer than some people have been alive.

 

Although, he supposes, any time is is longer than some people have been alive. Because, you know. Babies.

 

Anyways, it doesn’t matter that Bill can’t remember meeting Ted. He’s sure Ted can’t either. That’s not the point. The point is, there are plenty of moments in his and Ted’s momentous history that Bill can remember. Their first sleepover. The first time they jammed (or, at least, tried to). The day they came up with Wyld Stallyns. The first time they travelled through time, the first time they got an A+ (on history and on anything), the first time they proposed, the first time they died, the first time they helped build good robot versions of themselves to fight evil robot versions of themselves sent from the future...

 

Bill remembers a lot of things they did. More importantly, he remembers that they did them together.

 

Which is maybe why he feels most heinously unprepared to deal with things alone.

 

There's something he's been going through lately.

 

Something he most definitely can't tell Ted.

 

Which is difficult, given that Ted is his most bestest friend and esteemed bandmate, and they tell each other everything. Up until Bill started keeping totally bogus secrets, that is.

 

It might be possible that Bill has a slight crush on his best friend. If, of course, by slight crush, you mean has been completely fucking in love with for as far back as he can remember.

 

This, like their first meeting, is yet another one of the things Bill can’t remember happening. All he knows is one day he just looked over and saw Ted, smiling, hair falling in his eyes as he strummed pointlessly on his guitar, and thought I would give anything in the world to kiss you right now. Followed promptly by hey, what the fuck?

 

It wasn’t a new feeling, but it was maybe the first time he had addressed the thought directly, and the first time it had sprung to the forefront of his mind so overwhelmingly. It most definitely wasn’t the last, though. Ever since that day, years ago, Bill has been painfully aware of the totally non-triumphant feelings he has for his best friend.

 

Being in unrequited gay love with your best friend in the world is most bogus.

 

 


 

 

Bill loves Ted. Ted is Bill’s best friend, and best friends always love each other, even if it sounds gay to say it out loud. Bill does love Ted in the best friend way, because they are the most bestest friends who have ever or will ever live, but he also loves Ted in the not best friend way. In, like, the gay way.

 

He’s not sure what this means.

 

Bill’s no idiot (despite his reputation among his teachers and peers); he knows about the gay thing. He knows it’s more than just an insult you throw around when something is girly or someone is getting too sappy. It’s, like, a whole thing. He sees the protests on the news sometimes before his dad flicks the channel, sees the scary looking commercials warning of the horrors of what can happen to the homosexuals.

 

Bill gets the gay thing, he does. The thing is, he isn't sure whether he is- you know. Gay. He’s not sure he feels gay, not that he knows exactly what it is supposed to feel like. He like likes Ted, in a way that feels very gay. He’s thought other dudes were hot before.

 

But, crucially, as far as he’s aware, gay dudes aren’t into babes.

 

Bill is very into babes. He might not technically have ever got past third base, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t interested. He definitely likes babes. Just because he didn’t end up getting back with Joanna after the battle of the bands doesn’t mean he wasn’t into her in the first place. He liked her, she just... isn’t Ted.

 

This is most frustrating. Bill heard that being gay was difficult, what with the oppression and all, but he figured knowing if you were gay would be the easy part.

 

Bill cringes as he hits yet another bum note on his guitar, causing his other bandmates to falter and turn round to stare at him. Bogus.

 

Ted flicks his head, his messy hair sticking to his forehead. “Dude, Bill, my most esteemed colleague, what is going on in your head today?”

 

“That’s the third time he’s messed up now. We should sack him from the band.” Joanna mutters with a smirk from her seat at the drums. Bill rolls his eyes at her. She likes to bust his balls about screwing up at practice, but it’s all for fun. Since they broke up, their relationship has been better than ever. It is most unusual, and yet- it feels right.

 

Ted still whips around to glare at her, and Elizabeth throws an M&M at her from where she’s snacking at her keyboard. She dodges it easily, and Bill smiles at the easy camaraderie they still have together despite not being couples anymore.

 

“I’m fine,” Bill says, even though no one really asked, “I've just been doing a lot of thinking.”

 

The princesses giggle, which is total bogus, Bill is totally magnificent at thinking, but Ted still looks genuinely concerned, so Bill lets it slide. He takes off his guitar strap and places the instrument back on its stand, opening the garage door.

 

“I think I need a break, dudes. Gotta clear my head.”

 

They all nod, but Ted follows him outside as he ducks under the garage door, either not noticing or not caring about Bill’s attempt to be alone.

 

“Seriously, duder,” Ted asks, voice loud in the quiet afternoon air of Ted’s dad’s suburban neighborhood, “are you, like, doin’ okay?”

 

Bill sighs, slumping down to sit on the hot concrete of Ted’s dads driveway. Is he okay? He’s not sure, so he settles for shrugging and picking at the steadily growing hole in his jeans. “I’m feeling most contemplative, Ted.”

 

Ted slumps down next to him, eyes crinkling in confusion in a way that kind of makes Bill’s traitorous heat go badumbadumbadumbadum. “Bill, you are one of the most astute and studious fellows I have ever known. I am most sure you will figure out whatever is causing you such overwrought.”

 

Bill nods solemnly for a moment, too many thoughts swirling around in his head.

 

“You know, Ted, my most esteemed colleague,” He announces after a beat of silence, “I think it’s for the best that we don’t have dating within the band.”

 

Ted’s drops slightly, as if that wasn't what he expected Bill to be thinking about. “It is?”

 

“Yeah,” Bill says, nodding hard in an attempt to convince himself as much as Ted, “I mean, the babes are great, and make bodacious band mates. It would be most vacuous to imperil both our professional relationships and our destiny as Wyld Stallyns.”

 

He’s nodding so much that Ted has started nodding along too, although the confused expression on his face casts doubt on his agreement.

 

“Trust me, dude.” Bill knocks their shoulders together. “It’ll keeps things... simpler. In the long run.”

 

Ted looks weirdly disappointed, and Bill realises with a jolt that maybe he’s still holding out hope for him and Elizabeth, but before he can backtrack and say it’s okay, I only meant me and Joanna, Ted seems to snap out of it and return Bill’s shoulder bump. “Whatever you say, my most excellent companion.”

 

They air guitar happily.

 

 


 

 

They’ve been practising a lot and are becoming totally stellar. Between Death leaving the band to do his solo gig and the four of them deciding they need to focus more seriously on the music after what happened at the Battle of the Bands (alternate versions of them from the future stepping in to save their professional reputation can only happen so many times), things have been getting more intense. But they are starting to see real progress with their music, which is totally bodacious.

 

They can all actually play their instruments now, which rocks, and Joanna’s been working on some most outstanding drum solos to really add an edge to their work. The record deal they won from Battle of the Bands gives them a small, local studio to record in, and minimal outside supervision telling them what their sound should be. It’s a good gig, and they have the time of their lives stuck in tiny recording booths, writing as they go and mixing as they record.

 

Their first record is done in no time, and they drop the album around to various radio stations and bars and clubs hoping maybe someone will listen to it. They play long nights in dark bars and the drunk regulars love them.

 

Ted has to work a filing job he hates on top of recording, and Bill has to get a loan from his dad, because all of their Battle of the Bands money gets put back into the band. Instruments, merch, endless copies of their album that they basically give away for free. They ship the album to every major radio station in the world, and drive around promoting it personally to the local ones. The van gives out somewhere along the way and they have to buy a new one, this time with Wyld Stallyns professionally printed on the side.

 

Overall it’s the happiest they’ve ever been. They’re Wyld Stallyns, and they’re together, and it feels like everything is sliding into place.

 

 


 

 

 

Dinner with Joanna has become somewhat of a tradition as of late. Ted works late on a Thursday, and Elizabeth’s shift at the library runs long enough that she typically goes for a drink with her coworkers afterwards. It’s a tradition born out of necessity more than anything else; they both get lonely on a Thursday, and now that they’re no longer romantically entangled it’s easier for them to spend time together without worrying about expectations.

 

Sometimes they go out, hit the diner and maybe a bar afterwards, but sometimes if Ted’s dad is still working or out with his buddies they’ll go over and have dinner with Missy.

 

Bill would be lying if he said he didn’t miss Missy, and her and Jo have been friends since the princesses first arrived in San Dimas, so Bill picks Jo up in the van and they head over to dinner with her while Ted’s dad’s at his bowling tournament or whatever the hell it is he does when he’s not home.

 

Missy throws open the door as soon as they knock, a bright smile on her face. “Hey guys!”

 

Bill can’t help but smile as Missy throws an arm around his neck and pulls him into a hug, her other arm pulling Joanna in as well. “Hey Missy.”

 

He’s not a teenager anymore, and Missy has stopped correcting him when he calls her by her name, even if she has been more like a parent to him than his dad ever has.

 

She ushers them in and shuts the door behind them, immediately pushing them both towards the kitchen. “I’m trying out this new recipe, I got this cookbook by Oprah- not by Oprah, but she is on the cover- and I’ve been working on it a lot, I’m starting to get good, I think.”

 

“That’s great, Missy.” Joanna tells her with a smile as she herds the two on them into seats at the dining table.

 

Missy heads back over to the stove and moves a pot off of the burner, dishing out hot strands into the pasta bowls Captain Logan says should only be used for “special occasions”.

 

He’s not sure if Missy classes this as a special occasion, or if she’s just looking to piss off Captain Logan. It’s probably a little bit of both.

 

“Okay, so we have lemon angel hair pasta, but I made the pasta a little too thick, so I think it’s probably just spaghetti.” Missy puts a dish each down in front of Bill and Joanna, moving to sit across from them with her own bowl.

 

“It looks delicious.” Joanna smiles, picking up her fork and twirling it in the pasta. She’s not even lying, this time- Missy has genuinely come a long way since days filled with charred chicken and blackened grilled cheese sandwiches. Bill shovels a forkful into his mouth at the same time Jo takes a (significantly more refined) bite of hers, and Missy watches them eagerly, waiting to see what they think.

 

Bill chews for a few seconds, pondering.

 

“Missy,” Bill starts, gesturing grandly with the hand holding his fork, “this is the most non-heinous, most bodacious, outstanding spaghetti I have ever eaten.”

 

Joanna nods along with him, and Missy beams.

 

“Thanks, Bill.” She takes a small mouthful of her own bowl, blush climbing her cheeks. “You know, I’ve been thinking of maybe getting a job.”

 

“A job?” Jo asks, putting down her fork to stare incredulously at Missy. “Like, work?”

 

“Yeah, Antonio’s is hiring, downtown, you know, the Italian place? They’re looking for a new chef, and Antonio and I go way back.”

 

Bill raises his eyebrows, and Missy slaps his arm.

 

“Not like that!” She squeals with a giggle. “We were friends in high school. I just feel like I’ve spent my life going from one man to another, and having them pay for everything for me, I think maybe it’s time I grow up a little.”

 

“Woah.” Bill and Jo say at the same time, staring at Missy with wide eyes.

 

He nods, feeling weirdly proud of her. “That’s very twentieth century of you, Missy.”

 

Joanna smiles and nods along too. “Yes, how feminist!”

 

Missy smiles around her pasta fork, and Bill can’t help but grin at her. “We’re proud of you.”

 

“Thanks, you guys.”

 

“So,” Joanna starts, conspiratorially, “between your job and Captain Logan’s police income, you’re going to be very wealthy.”

 

She nods for a moment, looking serious, before she slams down her fork. “I’m planning to leave John.”

 

Bill’s jaw drops and Jo gasps. “Why?”

 

“I don’t love him,” she says quickly, “I never did. I want to start over.”

 

“Oh, Missy. Are you sure?” Jo asks, but Bill can already see in her eyes that she’s made her decision.

 

She nods. “Yeah. I’m gonna do it soon. I wanna get myself together first.”

 

“Good.” Bill offers her a smile, eating another bite of his pasta. “That’s great, Missy. Captain Logan is the worst.”

 

She smiles at him, and Joanna grabs her hand from across the table, affirming.

 

“If you ever need anywhere to stay, my sister and I have a spare bed at our flat.”

 

“Me and Ted, too!” Bill adds. “I mean, we don’t have a bed, but you can always crash on our couch. We would be most honoured to accommodate you.”

 

Missy laughs, and takes Bill’s hand across the table as well. “Thank you, you guys. It means a lot that you’re there for me, but I’m okay. I’m planning to stay with Antonio, he’s helping me.”

 

Bill can’t help the way his face scrunches at that, and from the sound of it Joanna has a similar response.

 

“Is that... a good idea?” Jo asks.

 

Missy laughs. “Honestly, you two. It’s not like that, really. He’s-“ She shoots a look over her shoulder, as if to check that Ted’s dad hasn’t materialised out of nowhere, and Bill can’t help but lean in. “He plays for the other team, if you catch my drift.”

 

Bill does not catch her drift.

 

He shoots a look at Joanna, who looks equally confused, and Missy rolls her eyes.

 

“I mean he isn’t into women.”

 

Oh.

 

Oh.

 

Joanna nods like she gets it now, and Bill tries to not look too shaken by it. It’s weird having gayness brought up casually as if it’s just a thing, easy dinner table conversation, but Missy just smiles and keeps eating her pasta and Joanna is nodding as if it’s fine and Bill feels like maybe it could be fine.

 

“Hey, I have something to announce.”

 

Missy and Joanna both look up at him, and he can feel himself start sweating. He heaps another forkful of pasta into his mouth as a temporary distraction, but Missy and Jo just keep staring at him.

 

He gulps.

 

“I, uh- I think I also, uh- play for the other team. Or, both teams? Or I played for one team for my entire life, but then I fell for someone from the other team. But I still like both of them. Equally.”

 

He finally forces himself to make eye contact with the girls, and when he does they’re both smiling at him.

 

Missy squeezes his hand. “Bill, I’m proud of you. Thank you for telling us.”

 

She smiles at him, warm and loving, Bill feels like he’s a teenager again, looking up to the only adult in his life who ever looked out for him.

 

Next to him, Jo claps him on the shoulder. “So...” she says, voice just louder than a whisper, “this mysterious man of yours- is it Ted?”

 

Bill can’t help the shade of red his face turns, and it makes Missy giggle.

 

“I always knew you boys were sweet on each other.”

 

He chokes, Joanna laughing beside him. “We’re not- we’re not, like, together.”

 

Missy raises her eyebrows, surprised. “Really?”

 

Bill nods. “Yeah. He’s- I don’t think he’s into me.”

 

“I wouldn’t be so sure.” Missy says, shooting Joanna a smirk. “You should talk to him about it.”

 

He shakes his head before he can even think about it, and Missy giggles again. “Ted’s sweet, he always has been. You know whatever happens, things will work out.”

 

Jo nods, squeezing his shoulder. “I’m pretty sure you guys are soulmates. It will work out for you.”

 

“I miss Ted,” Missy says all of a sudden, “you should bring him over for dinner sometime. He always said nice things about my cooking.”

 

Bill laughs, nervousness leaving his body and being replaced with the easy feeling of being around family. “I’ll ask if he can come round next time.”

 

Missy stands up, picking up the empty pasta bowls with a smile. “Come on, I made a sweet potato pie for desert.”

 

 


 

 

It’s a quiet summer Sunday afternoon, sun too hot and air too thick to do anything other than lounge around your apartment listening to the radio and aiming popcorn pieces into the mouth of the boy you love. Bill is concentrating, kernel between his fingers like a dart, as he squints one eye closed and throws his delicious missile into Ted’s waiting mouth.

 

It misses horribly, but Ted laughs, grinning wide, grabbing a handful of popcorn from the bag anyway.

 

Bill takes a gulp of his slushie just as the tinny voice of the radio presenter announces something about the weather. He’s not really listening; he’s too busy watching Ted, scribbling something in his notebook, mind still churning with lyrics even when the weather is most odious.

 

He’s so zoned out, staring at Ted’s hands, that he startles when Ted stops writing and jumps up, pad falling away from his hands as he bounces slightly on their thrifted couch.

 

“Dude.” Ted says, eyes wide as he stares down at Bill.

 

Bill just stares at him a second, unsure of what’s so important, when he hears it.

 

It’s their song.

 

Coming from the radio.

 

The radio is playing their song. That they recorded. People are gonna hear it.

 

“Excellent!” They say in unison, doing a quick air guitar as the tune echos around them.

 

Ted is smiling so wide it splits his face and makes his eyes crinkle. Bill’s breath catches in his throat, but he barely has time to think about because the excitement is bubbling in his stomach and pouring out of him as a giggle so powerful he can’t even contain it.

 

“Woah!” Bill squeals, jumping up with Ted, still unable to wipe the grin from his face or stop the laugher spilling from his lips.

 

Ted starts laughing too, both of them elated and exhausted and feeling fucking exhilarated, like they had just ran a marathon and come first place except the marathon involved a time machine and some future dudes and Death himself and-

 

And Ted’s picking him up and spinning him around in a hug, and Bill is so fucking psyched about everything that’s going on that it doesn’t even occur to him to pull back and call Ted gay.

 

It’s momentous, it’s their voices, the tune they wrote playing on the radio for everyone in the whole world (or, at least, San Dimas- not that there was much of a difference as far as Bill was concerned) to hear. Ted drops him down and he stumbles a little, still laughing and thriving off of the energy of Ted’s contagious smile and their own voices floating through their busted up speakers. The universe seems to be spinning faster than ever but also seems to have stopped completely. He’s staring into Ted’s eyes and he looks so happy, so fucking elated, and everything is perfect and Bill loves him so fucking much-

 

Before Bill can even think about it, his lips are on Ted’s, crashing together with the force of a typhoon, all the emotions Bill had been repressing and burying and hiding flooding out all at once and into his kiss. He threads his fingers through Ted’s hair, pulling him in closer by the soft strands, and Ted’s hands find his hips, his fingers vice-tight, holding him steady. Ted is filling all of his senses, and Bill can barely think because everything is happening all at once; it’s simultaneously too much and not enough. He feels Ted move one hand into his back pocket, the other slipping under the hem of his crop top to run across the expanse of his shoulder blades and crush him impossibly closer, and he can’t help the sound he makes at the feeling of Ted’s wide hand against his bare shoulders.

 

Ted slips his tongue in Bill’s mouth and he thinks that maybe being in gay love with your best friend in the world is pretty non-bogus.

 

Bill moves his hands up Ted’s chest to push at his jacket, which falls from Ted’s shoulders and catches at his elbows, and Ted moves his hand around from stroking up the stretch of Bill’s back to his chest, one hand still on his ass and the other moving to rest over his heart, and-

 

And then the song ends, abruptly, the staticky radio switching back to playing the tinny voice of the upbeat presenter.

 

Bill stops, and he feels Ted also stop, and suddenly they’re just very close and they’re still breathing each other’s air. Bill can’t bring himself to open his eyes, unable to see whatever emotion Ted has plastered across his face, and for a few seconds, neither of them move. Bill just keeps his eyes shut, his face barely an inch from resting against Ted’s, wanting to savour this moment for what it was, hoping against hope that he doesn’t blow this, their chance to be something.

 

He can’t bring himself to say the words.

 

“So.” Ted starts breathlessly, seemingly eager to fill the silence between them but not quite sure what to say.

 

Bill waits for him to continue, but the words don’t come. “So?”

 

“Uh, so.” Ted starts once more, words dragging from his throat, “I think we should not do that again.”

 

The words wash over Bill like a bucket of ice water, and his eyes snap open to search Ted’s for answers. He’s still so close, and he has a look in his eyes that Bill’s never seen before and isn’t sure how to interpret, but the words keep echoing in his head even as Ted opens his mouth to elaborate.

 

“Don’t,” Bill says, lifting a hand between them to push gently as his chest, feeling his heart crack at the gap that opens up between them, “it’s fine. I’m, like, totally not interested in kissing you again, dude.”

 

Ted raises his eyebrows, stumbling back, hands falling away from Bill as if they’d been burned. “Oh, right, yeah. Okay. I’m totally not interested either, dude.”

 

Bill furrows his brow, because Ted already said that he wasn’t interested, but he barely has time to process the thought before Ted’s stumbling away and towards the door of their apartment.

 

“Where are you going?” Bill shouts after him. He has a hundred questions on his mind right now, and that isn’t the most pressing of them, but he’s having trouble forming coherent thoughts, let alone the right words.

 

Ted stumbles back towards the door, grabbing his keys in one hand and the handle in the other. “I’m just, uh, gonna- gonna go to the Circle K. For- you know. Snacks. And whatnot.”

 

Bill shakes his head in an attempt to process what Ted is saying to him, though it doesn’t exactly compute in his kiss-frazzled brain. “For snacks?” He asks, which, once again, is not the most pressing question on Bill’s mind, but it seems to be the only one his mouth is capable of producing.

 

Ted nods, a little frantic, throwing open the door so hard they both cringe as it collides with the wall. “Yeah, there- there might be a line, so don’t, uh- don’t wait up.”

 

Bill opens his mouth to say something, anything to stop Ted from leaving, but the door slams before he can even process the thought, and then he’s alone in the apartment.

 

He takes it back. Being in unrequited gay love with your best friend in the world is definitely non-non-bogus.

 

 


 

 

Their sink is busted.

 

They rent the apartment for dirt cheap, which is excellent, generally, but the apartment is dirt cheap because it is a shithole and the landlord is most incompetent.

 

They usually just leave shit when it breaks, but if it’s something they need, like their sink, someone’s gotta step up and try to fix it.

 

Technically speaking, they can afford to pay someone else to fix it. Ever since they won that twenty five thousand dollar grand price at the battle of the bands, they’ve had a bit more freedom in terms of things they can spend money on, but they’re saving that money for the band, and Bill likes fixing things. It makes him feel useful.

 

Bill’s usually the guy who fixes things around here, and this is no exception. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it gives him something to focus on other than The Incident, as Bill’s taken to calling it, capitalisation and all. It’s been barely a week since The Incident, and Bill has seen Ted outside of band practice a grand total of three times, which is most non-non-heinous.

 

He is having some most unusual feelings ever since The Incident. He’s mad at Ted, and he’s feeling most bitter about the way that things went down, but he also misses Ted. Like, so much. He just wants to see him again, to talk like they did before when they hadn’t made it so awkward between them. He wants to hang out with his best friend again.

 

This is truly a most bogus situation.

 

He’s pretty sure he’s (almost) got a solid handle on the situation (that is, the situation with the sink- the situation with The Incident is still very much in shambles), head buried under the sink with a torch in his mouth and a wrench in one hand, when he hears the door open and close in what could only be Ted entering their place. He listens to the footsteps, expecting to hear him head straight for their room like he has every other day when he’s gotten in late, but instead his quiet footsteps get closer and closer, until they stop right next when Bill is attempting to either screw or unscrew a problem pipe.

 

Bill tries his utmost not to be angry, but it’s been almost a week with no Ted and not much else to do but replay their catastrophic kiss over and over again in his head. “What’d you want?”

 

“I wanna talk.” He pushes away the floppy hair that’s fallen in his eyes, staring intently at Bill.

 

“So talk.”

 

“About what happened.” Ted says, kicking Bill’s socked foot lightly with his own, “Like, between us-”

 

“Shut up, Ted.” Bill mutters, concentrating aggressively on the pipe above his head in an attempt to avoid Ted’s eyes.

 

This fails most spectacularly. He would have noticed the way Ted’s face fell even if he was across town and like, blind. “Bill, come on. I am trying to tell you my hearts most deepest secrets, and you are acting in a most egregious manner.”

 

“I am not the one acting most egregious, my friend.”

 

Ted huffs out a sigh, blowing back the hairs that had fallen into his eyes. “Dude, I just wanna talk about it-“

 

“There’s nothing to talk about, dude!” Bill snaps, finally sitting up to look Ted in the eyes.

 

Ted’s eyes go wide in surprise, but Bill holds his gaze. “Isn’t there?”

 

“Shut up, Ted.”

 

“Seriously, dude.” Ted says, and he looks so genuine Bill almost breaks. Almost . The chorus of I think we should not do that again is still rolling around in his head, still fresh and painful and stuck in his heart like a knife, and he doesn’t really want to hurt Ted but he’s bitter and hurting and doesn’t have it in him to soothe Ted’s upset conscience right now.

 

“It’s pretty simple.” Bill says, finally standing up and putting himself at (almost) eye level with Ted. He tries to smile but he’s pretty sure it just looks sad , so he drops it. “I don't have feelings for you, and you don't have feelings for me. Sometimes things just happen, and then you can forget about them afterwards.”

 

Ted looks so crestfallen that Bill can’t help but feel awful, though he’s not sure why. He’s giving Ted the out he said he wanted.

 

Ted just sighs, sporting a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. “Right as always, my most esteemed colleague.”

 

Bill nods, feeling sort of like he just chose the wrong dialogue option in a video game. He expected to feel relieved, but mostly he just feels like someone hit him in the stomach with a baseball bat. It is a most heinous feeling.

 

 


 

 

Things go back to normal-ish after that.

 

There’s still something hanging around them, when they hang out alone or while the princesses are talking amongst themselves, but it’s quiet enough that Bill can bury it down and pretend that everything is excellent between them. Ted seems to slip quickly back into his easy-going persona, talking and teasing with Bill like nothing ever happened, so Bill thinks that maybe it’s all in his own head, anyway. They’re able to go back to being Bill and Ted , which is most non-heinous, even if Bill sometimes gets sad that they’ll never be BillandTed.

 

That doesn’t matter. They’re friends again, and they hang out at home and at the Circle K like they did before, which is enough for Bill. If this is all of Ted that he can have, then he’ll happily take it.

 

 


 

 

Their tour is going most excellent.

 

Maybe technically it’s not their tour, as they are, at present, just the opening act. Perhaps tour is a bit of a stretch as well; they’re only playing five shows across Los Angeles County over the course of two weeks, but they are stoked.

 

They’ve already played two shows, one in San Dimas and one in West Covina, and they have a third show scheduled in Santa Monica where they plan to debut some most outstanding new material they’ve been working on.

 

It’s the early hours of the morning by the time the Wyld Stallyns van rolls into the parking lot of the shitty Santa Monica motel the tour company had put them up in, and they’re all exhausted yet buzzing with excitement, which follows them all the way from the van up to their floor of the motel. Ted is still bouncing on his heels as they wave goodbye to the princesses and each go into their rooms.

 

They stop dead just inside the door, Bill’s heart jumping into his throat.

 

“Woah,” Ted says, eyes locked on the double bed in the middle of the room, “I guess there are downsides to pretending to be married in the public eye.”

 

Bill eyes the bed, weighing up his options and trying not to look as outwardly panicked as he feels on the inside. One bed. He’s going to have to share. Share with Ted. Ted who he kissed. Ted who things are still kind-of-sort-of awkward with. Ted who he’s in love with but who isn’t in love with him.

 

This is a most non-triumphant situation.

 

“Looks like we gotta share, duder.” Ted mutters, flopping down onto the bed, his gangly body stretching easily for one side to the other.

 

Bill cringes, setting down his bag and making his way over to the bed. It was a double, but it certainly wasn’t a king size; the dudes who finance the tour are way too cheap for that. As such, it barely looks big enough to sleep two people, especially if those two people are just awkward platonic friends who aren’t looking to cuddle. Bill doubts he and Ted could even lay on it side by side without being pressed against each other.

 

He shakes his head to try and dispel the mental image of him and Ted, in bed, pressed close and limbs tangled together, and comes to sit at the foot of the bed.

 

“Ted, dude, I don’t think there’s room for us to share.”

 

“Bogus, dude. This bed is most spacious.”

 

Ted does a little wiggle with all of his limbs in a way that reminds Bill of doing a snow angel, and he can’t help the laugh that bubbles out of him.

 

“It’s okay, I’ll just sleep on the floor.” Bill says, nodding solemnly. “I can make a bed out of the bathroom towels.”

 

Ted wrinkles his nose. “I do not think this place has bathroom towels, Bill.”

 

“Then I will just have to use a pile of shirts as a pillow. This is fine.”

 

Ted sits up, looking Bill in the eyes skeptically. “Bill, my most esteemed friend, I am certain I saw a cockroach running around here before. I do not think sleeping on the ground is your most triumphant idea.”

 

Bill cringes at the thought of laying on the cool ground, carpet barely thick enough to cover the wood underneath, with cockroaches scurrying around him as he slept.

 

Ted may have a point.

 

The floor creaks under Bill’s weight as Ted looks down at him, and Bill is just about to relent as Ted pulls himself to his feet and starts pacing.

 

“Look, dude, I get what this is about, but I thought you said we could forget it and go back to normal.”

 

“I did!” Bill says, nodding aggressively. “I did say that! Things are normal.”

 

“No, Bill, things are still most non- non heinous.” Ted pushes his hair back out of his face, and his eyes look so sad it makes Bill’s heart hurt. “I miss you.”

 

“I haven’t gone anywhere! I’m still here, dude.”

 

Ted shakes his head, limbs bouncing as he paces faster. “I miss you being my best friend, dude. It feels like your keeping me at arms length due to events that transpired previously of a somewhat gay nature.”

 

“But it’s fine now!” Bill lies. “It’s not gay and it’s fine. We are just two non-gay dudes, hanging out together, platonically.”

 

Ted stops pacing, suddenly, stopping righting front of Bill and staring at him with a look somewhere between fear and bravery.

 

“Are we though, Bill?”

 

His breath catches and his stomach drops. Ted knows. There’s no way Ted could know. He tries to keep his face neutral, like Ted hadn’t just said that he knows Bill is- you know.

 

He steels himself to go on the defensive, but when he looks up into Ted’s eyes, it looks like he’s the one who’s scared.

 

“I’ve been talking to Elizabeth about a lot of stuff.”

 

“Okay?” Bill asks, wishing Ted would get to the point, hating the way his chest feels at the thought of Ted having deep conversations with Elizabeth instead of him.

 

“Yeah.” He answers, shifting from foot to foot, looking nervous. Like he thinks Bill might be mad at him or something. It’s most unsettling, so Bill pulls himself to his feet and puts his hands on Ted’s shoulders.

 

“Dude, breathe.” He says, every cell in his body telling him to cradle Ted’s face in his hands until he calms down.

 

Ted nods slowly, taking a deep, steadying breath, and leans back out of Bills grip. “Bill, I have an announcement of discovery of a most peculiar nature.”

 

This momentarily halts Bill’s train of thought, curiosity growing inside him. “Do continue, my most esteemed colleague.”

 

Ted takes another deep breath. “Okay, so, there's no easy way to say this, so I’m just gonna say it, dude.”

 

“Excellent, dude.”

 

“I’m- I, uh, that is, to say-” Ted cuts himself off, eyes flickering around Bill’s sneakers. “I’m, uh. I like dudes. In, like, a babe way. I guess.”

 

“Oh.” Bill says, and for a minute that’s all he says, trying to get the thought to compute in his mind, to fit in with all the other quirks Bill had stored away about his best friend. “You’re gay?”

 

Ted nods quickly, not making eye contact, before stopping abruptly and shaking his head. “Not exactly. I’m, uh, bisexual.”

 

The way Bill’s face screwed up of its own volition seemed to make Ted even more anxious about what he was trying to say, so Bill forced himself not to think about it too much. “What?”

 

“It means that I can find hotness in both babes and dudes,” he says, standing his ground but looking at Bill with wide, terrified eyes, “Elizabeth helped me figure it out. She knows the library most thoroughly and found all these, like, books and magazines about- that sorta stuff.“

 

“Magazines?” Bill asks, still trying to process what Ted was saying. “Like, porno mags?”

 

Ted shakes his head, floppy hair swooshing with the movement. “No, dude, they're about, like, self discovery. They teach you all this stuff about, like, how gayness is a spectrum. They are most informative, and have helped me on my journey to better understand my own self.”

 

“Oh.” Bill says quietly, Ted’s words rolling around in his head as he tries to process them. “I didn’t know there was a word for liking babes and dudes.”

 

“Me either, dude.”

 

Ted still looks nervous, and Bill can’t stand the idea of Ted thinking he’s gonna be mad at him again more than he’s scared of whatever is happening right now, so he forces a smile.

 

“Dude, okay.”

 

“Okay?” Ted asks, looking surprised but optimistic.

 

Bill nods. “Yeah, dude, it’s okay. Gay rights, I guess.”

 

Ted finally looks Bill in the eyes, and he’s smiling in a way that makes Bill’s stomach feels like it’s been turned inside out.

 

“Thanks, Bill.”

 

“Ted, dude, you’re my best friend. Of course it’s okay.”

 

They air guitar in celebration, and things feel good.

 

 


 

 

It isn't until later that night when he's lying in bed (they end up sharing, of course they do), staring at Ted’s back through the darkness, that Bill realises the real implications of what Ted had said.

 

Ted likes men. He just doesn’t like Bill.

 

Bill wants to puke.

 

 


 

 

Bill doesn’t sleep at all. He’s too distracted by the whirlwind of last night, and what Ted said, and then by the feeling of Ted’s body against him, snoring softly and occasionally shifting even more into Bill’s personal space. Ted, as expected, fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, still in his daytime clothes, ridiculous but familiar. Bill pulled his shoes off the same way he always does when Ted crashes first, and then he slept through the whole night, seemingly unperturbed by any of the days events.

 

Ted starts to stir beside him and Bill shoots a look over to the stupidly bright clock on the bedside table, which proudly proclaims it as six thirty two am.

 

He shuffles around to look over at Bill (or maybe he’s looking at the clock, too- the sun is starting to rise, and with the light streaming through the crappy motel curtains it’s not easy to tell if it’s morning or afternoon, and they have a sound check at one o’clock), and Bill has a split second to decide whether to pretend to be asleep or to face Ted now, and-

 

And he took too long to decide, so now Ted’s looking him in the eyes with a sleepy smile that makes Bill’s stomach do somersaults.

 

“Hey.” Ted says, sounding hoarse with sleep. “How was your sleep?”

 

“Most outstanding,” Bill lies, “and you?”

 

Ted nods, a yawn tumbling from his lips, and fuck, now Bill is looking at his lips, shit-

 

He shakes his head to banish that thought and pulls himself out of bed, steadfastly ignoring the cold emptiness on his skin where Ted had been pressed against him.

 

It’s far too early to get up, but Bill needs to move, to do something, so he shuts himself in the tiny bathroom for a while to think. Thinking without Ted around to distract him is refreshing, so he turns on the faucet and starts brushing his teeth to give him something to do with his hands.

 

You have to do something, his brain whispers, over and over, you have to say something or else you’ll explode.

 

He wants to tell Ted. He feels like for the first time, he might understand what he is, and his first instinct in any situation is always talk to Ted.

 

Although, Ted just told him. He doesn’t want Ted to feel like he’s trying to steal his thing, or piggyback off of it, especially since it sounds like he actually, like, read books and stuff to figure it out. It doesn’t seem fair for Bill to just sweep in and say me too and invalidate Ted’s whole self discovery process.

 

Then again, Ted is- Ted. He’s never gotten angry with Bill before. He’s the nicest dude Bill has ever met, and he always wants what’s best for everyone, especially for Bill. It’s one of the reasons Bill loves him so much.

 

Things will work out, he tells himself, repeating Missy’s words in his head. It’s Ted, dude. Best friends forever.

 

He gives himself one last nod in the grimy bathroom mirror, and slams his toothbrush down on the cracked porcelain of the sink.

 

I can do this.

 

He throws open the bathroom door.

 

Ted’s still there, as expected, lounging on the bed and eating a sleeve of pringles they got from the Thrifty Mart on their way over.

 

Their eyes meet, and a grin splits Ted’s face, hair falling in his eyes, and suddenly Bill feels like he could do anything. “You were in there for quite a while, dude. is everything okay?”

 

Bill takes a deep breath, blinking quickly. Things seem... Shifted. Like they’ve started to fall into the right place.

 

It’s a most triumphant feeling, and Bill tries to ride the adrenaline of it as he forces out the words. “I am having a most poignant moment of insight, my most distinguished colleague.”

 

Ted raises his eyebrows, eyes open and curious just like they always are when Bill has something to say.

 

It makes Bill want to grab him and kiss him, but he has bigger things to get off his chest right now.

 

Bill gulps. “You know- that thing? That you said you were?”

 

Sleepiness makes his movements heavy and slow, but Ted still nods. “Bisexual?”

 

“Uh, yeah.” Anxiety pumps through Bill’s veins as he nods, a little too enthusiastically. “Would you be mad if I was- also that?”

 

“Of course not! Bill, that’s excellent!”

 

“It is?”

 

“Yeah!” Ted bounces up off the bed, arms sweeping wide. “I am most proud of you for deciding to live as your truest self.”

 

“Thank you, dude.”

 

Bill can’t help but return Ted’s enthusiastic air guitar, the taller boy’s smile contagious.

 

The grin on Bill’s face refused to falter as they sat back down on the bed, side by side. Telling Ted made it better, just like Bill knew it would. Just like Ted makes everything better.

 

His heart couldn’t help but flip at the look on Ted’s face. He looks so... proud. Bill can barely remember what he was scared of.

 

“You don’t feel like I’m hijacking your self discovery?”

 

“Dude, no way!” Ted punches him in the arm, smile still bright and beaming. “Self discovery is more bodacious when you have someone to share it with.”

 

Bill nods, happy but serious. “I didn’t really know until you told me about you. I didn’t know there was a word for liking dudes and babes. When you said it I just kinda- realised.

 

Ted mirrors Bill’s nod, his hair falling into his eyes with the movement. He looks down, eyes not really landing anywhere specific. “I thought you might be, maybe.” He starts, and Bill tilts his head in question. “You let me kiss you that time.”

 

“I let you kiss me ?”

 

“Yeah, dude,” Ted smiles, like he’s remembering it fondly, “Even if you did totally reject me afterwards.”

 

Ted laughs softly in a way that sounds hollow, but Bill can barely hear him over the sound of his mind trying to catch up with Ted’s words.

 

What?

 

“Ted, what are you talking about?”

 

Ted stops laughing abruptly, furrowing his eyebrows. “Uh, I’m talking about you shooting me down most heinously, dude. Like, I get it, but it was pretty non-non-non-triumphant.”

 

He was trying to keep his face looking cool and collected, but he couldn’t help the confusion furrowing his brow at Ted’s words.

 

“Only because you shot me down first?”

 

Ted looks confused, and Bill isn’t sure what there is to be confused about given that he was there, but he looks as if he’s thinking very hard about something so Bill just lets him.

 

“That-“ Ted starts, and Bill can tell he’s not sure, “that didn't happen?”

 

Bill eyebrows shoot up in surprise, confused by Ted’s statement. “What do you mean it didn’t happen? I was there, dude.”

 

“So was I,” Ted mutters, scooting a little closer to Bill with more urgency than he thinks he situation warrants, “I never shot you down.”

 

“Yeah dude, after we-“ Bill paused, not wanting to say the words, and makes a vague sort of gesture between them, “you immediately dashed out to the Circle K. It was most heinous.”

 

“I only ran to the Circle K because I was embarrassed that you thought our kiss was unsatisfactory.” Ted mumbles, picking at a loose thread on his jeans.

 

Bill can’t stop watching Ted’s long, nimble fingers tug at the string. “I never said that.”

 

“You said you didn’t want to kiss me again.” He says, and he sounds so soft and hurt.

 

It makes Bill want to punch a wall. “I only said I didn’t want to do it again because you said so first!”

 

“I didn’t say I didn’t want to!” Ted finally leaves the stray thread on his jeans in favour of gesturing wildly with his hands. “I said it was a bad idea to do it again because of your bogus rule.”

 

Bill was about to answer back with something, but Ted’s words cut him short. “My rule?”

 

“Yeah, duder,” Ted starts, looking right into Bill’s eyes for the first time in what feels like forever, intense in a way Bill has never seen, “your totally non-bodacious no dating within the band rule.”

 

He opens his mouth to argue, until he realises oh, fuck, I actually did say that, followed quickly by oh my god, Ted thought that rule also applied to him.

 

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Bill says, looking for the words that strike the delicate balance between sounding desperate to feel Ted against him again and sounding like he doesn’t care what Ted does, “I just meant, like. With the princesses. I only said that because I was feeling most unsettled with how things ended with the babes.”

 

“Oh.” Ted breathes quietly after a long moment of silence. “So- do you?”

 

Bill’s eyes met Ted’s again. “Do I what?”

 

“Want to kiss me?”

 

Bill huffs a laugh, eyes flicking down to Ted’s lips before he could stop himself. They’re really close. Bill can smell Ted’s shampoo.

 

He really wants to kiss him.

 

“Do you?” Bill asks eventually, unable to meet Ted’s gaze.

 

“Want to kiss myself?” Ted asks, and Bill laughs like they’re not sat three inches away from each other and leaning closer every second. “That would be most foolish, dude.”

 

Bill’s still laughing as he turns to look at Ted, though his breath catches in his throat the second they lock eyes. Ted’s eyes look down at Bill’s lips, which is so hot Bill thinks he might die, and they’re close enough that he can feel Ted’s breath on his mouth. He licks his lips instinctively and Ted’s gaze moves down again, and-

 

He’s not sure which one of them closes the gap, but then there’s warm lips on his, and hands at his waist, and he can’t help the noise that escapes his mouth at the feeling of Ted’s tongue brushing against his lips. It’s excellent; Bill’s hands curl in Ted’s shirt and pull him even closer, until Bill is straddling his lap, and Ted moans, deep and guttural like it’s been ripped straight from his throat, and it’s easily the best sound Bill has ever heard (and that’s quite the achievement, given that Bill has seen Iron Maiden and Van Halen live, twice).

 

Ted leans away from Bill’s mouth and for a second he’s worried that he’s going to dash again, but just as quickly he’s leaning back in and tracing the line of Bill’s jaw with his lips. Bill gasps quietly as Ted kisses at the sensitive spot where his jaw meets his neck, moving down to kiss at his adam’s apple and then his collarbone, although his shirt gets in the way.

 

Temporarily emboldened by Ted’s actions, Bill pulls his shirt over his head and tosses it aside, not caring where it lands.

 

Ted stops kissing him to look him in the eyes, skeptically. “Dude, gross. This place has roaches.

 

“I’m not gonna wear that shirt tomorrow, dude.”

 

“Yeah, but your gonna wanna wear it again on the tour, and it’s gonna have totally disgusting bug residue on it.”

 

“That doesn’t matter.” Bill shrugs, Ted’s hands still running over the planes of his stomach in a way that was very distracting.

 

Ted’s face screws up in disgust. “Dude. Bogus.

 

Maybe he has a point. “Okay, but I’ll just wash it.”

 

“Bill, my most distinguished and bodacious colleague, I have never seen you wash anything in your life.”

 

Okay, that’s fair, he thinks, pulling himself off of Ted’s lap with a grunt and shuffling over to where his shirt landed. He picks it up and lays it nicely in their joint duffel bag, praying that the roaches won’t be attracted to the open bag of pop rocks he left in there.

 

He’s just about to go back and take his place in Ted’s lap again when something hits him on the back of his head.

 

Bill turns around to yell at Ted because hey, what the heck, dude?, but he stops in his tracks when he sees Ted, laid back on the bed, shirtless and grinning at Bill like he’s just won the lottery.

 

“Excellent.” He mumbles, and they share a quick air guitar before Bill practically throws himself across the room and into Ted’s waiting arms.

 

 


 

 

“Woah.”

 

Ted giggles as Bill flops down beside him, laughing breezily. The bed is still small enough they can’t really be apart even if they wanted to, but Ted throws an arm around his stomach and pulls him tight against him anyways, pressing a kiss to the back of his neck. Bill can feel Ted’s smile against the hot skin on his back, and it should be kind of gross, pressed up against each other when they’re both hot and sweaty, but Ted’s big hands are tracing Bill’s abs and he’s pressing gentle kisses to his neck and it’s actually totally stellar.

 

Woah.” Bill repeats, at a loss for words for what feels like the first time ever. “Dude. That was-“

 

Excellent?” Ted answers before Bill can even think of the words, dancing his fingers across Bill’s ribs in what kind of feels like he’s using Bill as his air guitar.

 

Bill can’t help but smile. “So, Ted, my most magnificent dude?”

 

“Yes Bill?”

 

“Would you do me the most non-heinous, totally outstanding honour of being my boyfriend?”

 

He can’t see Ted’s smile, but the way his breath tickles his ear as he giggles is enough to make Bill’s heart flutter hard enough that he can feel it in his whole body.

 

Ted leans in even closer, lips on Bill’s ear. “Bill, it would be my most enthusiastic pleasure.”

 

Bill cranes his neck to catch Ted’s lips in a kiss. It’s awkward, Ted’s behind him and it kind of makes Bill’s neck hurt and he can’t stop smiling enough to make it good, but it’s still one of the best things Bill has ever felt. He feels unstoppable. He’s in love, and right now he feels like he could take on the world.

 

“In that case,” Bill starts, breaking away from Ted’s lips just far enough to get the words out, “Ted, my esteemed boyfriend, I wish to tell you that I am in love with you.”

 

Ted laughs, but it’s warm, and Bill can feel the smile behind it. “I love you too, dude. I can’t believe I get to tell you.”

 

“This is so excellent. I wish I’d told you I loved you years ago.”

 

“You’ve loved me for years?”

 

Bill shrugs. “Yeah. For pretty much as long as I can remember, man.”

 

Woah.” Ted gasps, arm squeezing him a little tighter.

 

“Why?” Bill asks, suddenly very curious about Ted’s side of this. “Do you remember when you fell for me?”

 

“I remember when I knew. We were in sixth grade.” Ted says with a soft smile and a nostalgic look in his eyes. “My hair was getting longer and for the first time I didn’t cut it. My dad said it made me look like a-“ Ted gulps audibly, “you know.”

 

Bill nods. He does know. He remembers. He isn't sure where they stand on the f-word anymore, but saying it seems to stress Ted out these days, so Bill thinks it’s time he stops, too.

 

“Well,” Ted continues, shaking off the sadness that overcomes him whenever he talks about his dad, “that night I snuck out and climbed in through your window and stayed the night. I was most perturbed, and we hung out and read comic books, and you didn’t make fun of me when I cried. You told me I wasn’t a sissy, and that my dad was a dickweed, and you put your arm around me and I just... knew. Then you started talking shit about my dad, and it was in that moment I became most certain you were the best dude in the world.”

 

“Woah.” Bill whispers reverently, Ted’s words settling in his heart and spreading across his chest like wildfire.

 

“Yeah. That’s the first time I knew I loved you.” Ted says with a sigh.

 

Bill can’t help but smile against his chest. “Really? That long?”

 

Ted nods, and Bill can feel his grin pressed against his temples. “Yup. That was the first time I realised I loved you. It was the summer of junior year that I realised I wanted to bang you.”

 

Bill snorts in both shock and flattery, unable to help the flush that spreads across his cheeks. “Dude.”

 

“It’s true!” Ted giggles, and it’s contagious.

 

“Why that summer?”

 

Ted’s hand slips a little further up his chest and comes to rest over his heart, sending a shiver up Bill’s spine. “That was the summer you started cutting down all your shirts, dude. Something about the crop top look just got me.”

 

He can’t help the laugh that tumbles out of his mouth, but he can feel Ted’s breath on his shoulder as he laughs along with him.

 

Bill scratches his fingers across Ted’s palm in a pseudo air guitar, and Ted joins too, pulling him closer and kissing behind his ear.


Excellent.