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Bye Bye “Papa Bear”

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Jon wrapped his arms around his husband and held Stephen as he cried.

“I can’t believe it.” Stephen said, burying his face in Jon’s chest. “Bill O’Reilly is gone. Papa Bear is GONE.”

Jon stroked his hair, the gel keeping every strand in place felt stiff under his hand. Stephen usually didn’t bother with the hair gel anymore now that they were both off the air. But he always did it when he thought the other Stephen might need him to comment on the latest news. Something that had happened far more often than they would have expected.

“I know it’s hard,” Jon said softly. “But after what he did they couldn’t let him stay on the air.”

Stephen sniffled. “I know that. But Jon, I looked up to him. I wanted to be like him. And I was! I was like him….” He trailed off.

“I was like him,” he repeated slowly, a look of horror dawning on his face. “I wasn’t…I wasn’t that bad was I? All the things I said, was I harassing people and not realizing it? Did I hurt people? Why did anyone work for me? Why did you marry me? I’m a horrible person.” Stephen talked faster and faster, words spilling over each other, becoming hysterical.

Jon held him tightly, kissing Stephen’s face and whispering reassurances.

“Why don’t you hate me, Jon?” Stephen asked finally, tear-filled eyes searching his face.

Jon looked at Stephen steadily. “Because you’re not like that. Yes, you’ve made mistakes. You’ve made lots of mistakes. But you’ve never done anything on purpose to hurt anyone. And you’ve always tried to do the right thing. You’re a good person, Stephen Colbert. You’re a good person and I love you.”

“Really?”

“Really. I wouldn’t have married you if you were really as bad as all that.” Jon rubbed his thumb over Stephen’s wedding ring. No longer a fake ring for a fake marriage. A real one, chosen with love, and with Elvish engraved on the inside, “Tye-melin.” Jon’s ring was engraved with the response. “Nista.”

Stephen’s other hand came up to rest on top of Jon’s. “What would I do without you?”

“Be back in the hills mining turds?”

Stephen laughed at that. “And suffering from dung lung.”

Jon smiled then. “I think you could use some ice cream. Hang on a second and I’ll get you a bowl of Americone Dream.”

Stephen grinned and sat up properly to let Jon up. “Oh boy! Hurry up!”

John started to head for the kitchen, then paused and looked back at Stephen. “About inviting him to live with us…”