It's offhand, when it happens. Tucker's trying to explain to Caboose the very important categories of Bangable and Not Bangable, and he makes a fatal mistake.
“Oh yeah? I bet Wash agrees with me! Right, Wash?”
Tucker’s not sure how he knows, but he thinks Wash is smiling a little under his helmet.
“I dated the Meta. Not sure I'm qualified to talk about normal relationships.”
Later, after drills (and more drills, and more drills, and seriously fuck drills forever), Tucker goes to find Wash. Their resident weirdo ex-Freelancer is sitting on the radio tower platform, and Tucker doesn’t give himself time to think about what he’s doing before plonking down next to him.
He’s not really sure what to say, but anything is probably better than letting it get to awkward silence levels. “So. The Meta, huh.”
Tucker isn’t expecting much. He’d like to think he and Wash are friends, but every time they’ve had to have conversations involving Feelings it’s been massively uncomfortable for everyone. (Even if maybe he feels better, after. Maybe. Shut up.)
Anyway. He isn’t expecting much, so he almost falls off the tower when Wash laughs.
“Yeah. The Meta,” he says, “except not actually. He wasn’t always…”
“A murdering ragemonster of death?” Tucker jumps in.
“Yeah. I mean, no, he was kind of always...that, but not in a BAD way.”
Tucker’s not sure what to think about that, but he’s never been in the habit of questioning the sexual proclivities of others. (Total lie. The Meta just scares the shit out of him.) He says, “Dude. That’s a little fucked up. What changed?”
Wash doesn’t say anything for a long time. In the valley below them Tucker can hear Simmons shouting, random shotgun blasts, and the occasional explosion; it’s a good combination, means everything is Someone Else's Problem.
When Wash does open his mouth, he’s about as forthcoming as ever. “It’s kind of a long story.”
Tucker shimmies a little where he sits, makes a show of settling in.
“I got time.”