Coming back to Video Game University for sophomore year is...strange, for a number of reasons. First, after a summer at home, VGU was starting to feel more like a dream than a real memory of real things that happened to him during the school year. It was all so surreal. But then it's the end of August and he's getting on a bus again, and several hours later he's getting off a bus, and then he's dragging his suitcases up the path to his dorm and then up the stairs (one bag at a time) to Frag Floor.
It's real. He's here — he's back.
He has a single this year, a perk of not being a freshman anymore. It's a little smaller than his room last year, but it means he won't have to put up with Ted's snoring — or, worse, Law.
It also means, he reflects, not without bitterness, that he won't have to feel bad about sexiling anyone.
But Jenny's gone.
That's the biggest change, honestly.
He spends a lot of time thinking about it.
Of course, it's not like he doesn't have other friends — he still gets to hang out with Ted and Ki, all the time. And there's the JV squad, and for all that they aren't real gamers, some of the social gamers are surprisingly good company. There's also the Laws. Somehow, some way, their arrogance and vanity seem to cancel each other out when they're together (which, since they're dating now, — surprise! — they usually are), making them almost tolerable to be around.
In the middle of October, he comes to the realization that, while he still misses Jenny, obviously, the heartache isn't there anymore, not the way it was. He's not sure how he should feel about this.
He starts to wonder about himself.
There's not, like, a single guy who makes him question his sexuality (although he does once wake up in a cold sweat from an uncomfortable dream about New Law; he's not sure how he should feel about that, either). He wouldn’t want to intrude in Ted and Ki’s relationship, even if he were interested in Ted, which he isn’t, he doesn’t think, although sometimes he's not so sure. He just...sometimes he catches himself staring at guys, when his mind drifts in the cafeteria, or, more often than he might like to admit, coming out of the showers in the morning.
So he wonders.
Time passes. A year. He doesn't date. Ted asks him about it at one point, and he says what he told Jenny: "I'm used to being alone. Besides," he adds, "I've still got you and Ki." And he does.
He dreams of New Law again, then wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to take a cold shower. Maybe the water will give him some clarity. When he goes back to sleep, he dreams about Jenny instead, and he wakes up even more confused.
When Ki and O'Doyle get elected student council president and vice president at the beginning of February, at the victory celebration, there's a moment when he thinks Wendell, overexcited and uncharacteristically drunk, might kiss him. (He avoids this by making a feeble excuse and running back to his room; when he returns ten minutes later, Wendell's gone, to his relief.)
He still likes girls, he's sure of that. But maybe there's something to be said for guys, too.
A month later he's still not totally sure, but he's sure enough to, after an agonizing debate with himself, tell Ted he thinks he might be bi.
Ted (bless his heart) takes this in stride — more than takes it in stride, actually. His casual acceptance provides some of the clarity cold showers and silent wondering haven't been able to give. Ted dredges up stuff about LGBTQ resources on campus from his long-ago RA training; Brian isn't totally sure what he's going to do with it all, but he's grateful anyway.
"You're a good friend, Ted," he said.
"Anything for Bred," Ted says, flashing his most infectious smile. "Hey, maybe you should try Grindr."
Brian laughs, and so does Ted — it wasn't a serious suggestion, and they both know it. Brian thanks Ted again for his help and they go their separate ways for the evening.
Still, the thought grows in the back of his mind over the next week. Somehow, downloading Grindr feels like it would be real in a way that even telling Ted wasn't. That reality scares him a little, but there's something exciting about it, too.
He stays on campus for spring break — the weekly hour limit for his student job is lifted, so it's an opportunity to make money, too good to pass up. It also means he spends a lot of time alone in his room, since Ted and Ki and basically everyone else has gone home.
One night, alone in his room and kind of tipsy (he knows he shouldn't be drinking alone, probably, but it's his reward — or consolation, maybe — after a long day at work), he thinks, What the hell, why not? He can just look around, after all; he doesn't need to fill in his profile.
So he downloads the app, and, lo and behold, the first profile that shows up is...
His mouth drops open. Jax is — well, not straight?
It takes him another three days to work up the courage to actually send Jax a message, but he finally does.
B: Hey, Jax
Jax: Sup man
B: It's Brian
Jax: Brian who
Jax: So your bi now?
B: Honestly? I'm not sure
B: But maybe
Jax: Thats cool man
Jax: Hmu if you ever want to talk about it
Jax: My ears are always open
B: Thanks man
There's a lull in the conversation then, but finally (encouraged by a long swig of beer), Brian sends another message:
B: Want to meet up?
B: Talk in person
B: You know
Jax is quiet for a long while, and Brian thinks maybe he's said something wrong (ruined it, his mind whispers, although what it is he isn't sure), but then:
Jax: Sure man
Jax: Come on over
He waits a few minutes so as not to seem totally desperate, then says,
B: Be there in 10
Then he has a minor freakout (is he really going over to a guy's room — is he really going over to Jax's room), but in the end he takes a deep breath, grabs two more cans of beer (one for him, one for Jax), locks his door behind him, and heads over to Jax's room.
"Hey, man," Jax says when he opens his door. "Come on in."
"Thanks," Brian says. He manages a smile. "I brought you a beer, if you want it."
"Aw, sweet, thanks!" Jax smiles and takes the offered can.
Brian hears the door click shut behind him with ominous finality.
"Sorry about the mess," Jax says as he half-sits half-falls back down on his bed and pops open the can of beer. "You can move whatever."
Brian suppresses a smile — classic Jax, giving someone else permission to clean his room. Still, he moves a few books (who knew Jax was into young adult fantasy novels?) off the chair by the desk and takes a seat.
"Cheers, man," Jax says, raising his can vaguely in Brian's direction.
"Cheers," Brian says, opening his own can. They're both quiet for a moment as they drink. Jax, to Brian's surprise, doesn't chug the whole can in one go the way he usually does at parties. But then, he reflects, this isn't exactly a party, is it. His stomach feels like someone released a flock of geese inside it.
"Oh, do you want some chips or something?" Jax says belatedly.
"I'm good, thanks," Brian says. Honestly, he's barely sure he'll be able to keep this beer down, let alone solid food.
He sets down his can on Jax's desk; he realizes as he does it that his hand is shaking. He hopes Jax hasn't noticed.
"So, BrianD," Jax says. "What's up?"
"I don't even know," he says, smiling wryly. "It's late and I'm tipsy and no-one's on campus. I guess I just wanted to have a real conversation with someone."
"Lonely, huh?" Jax nods. "I get it."
Brian takes another sip of his beer. He's not sure how to deal with this surprisingly perceptive Jax.
"You're shaking," Jax observes.
"Sorry," Brian says, somewhat nonsensically. "I'm a little nervous. I've never gone over to a guy's room like this before."
"It's cool, man; I get it," Jax says with one of his shit-eating grins. Brian smiles faintly in reply. They drink again. "So, how long have you known you weren't straight?"
Brian shrugs. "I don't know. A few months ago, maybe? You're only the second person I've told, after Ted."
"So, you and Ted never...?" Brian looks over at him, ready to protest, but he realizes Jax is teasing. He rolls his eyes and groans instead.
"Sorry, man," Jax says. "I couldn't resist. You're easy to tease."
"Believe me, I know," Brian says, and that's a little too real, maybe. Silence falls between them again; Brian finishes his beer. Jax takes another sip of his own.
"Sorry," Jax says again, when he puts down his beer, and he sounds honestly contrite.
"You can come sit on the bed if you want," Jax says, patting the space next to him.
Brian hesitates. Sitting next to Jax feels like downloading Grindr did — if he goes over to the bed, it'll be something. It'll be real.
This strange, perceptive Jax notices his hesitation. "Relax, man. We don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Or anything at all, if you don't want. We can just watch a movie or something."
"Let's start with a movie," Brian says, and he stands up from the chair and takes the spot on the bed next to Jax.
"So," Jax says. "Movie? What do you like?"
"What have you got?"
"Whatever's on Netflix, and then some," Jax says, reaching over to his bedside table and grabbing his computer. "Are you sure you don't want some chips?"
"No, thanks," Brian says.
"Suit yourself, man," Jax says, standing up to grab the bag of corn chips on his desk.
They settle on Pacific Rim. That feels safe. Giant battlesuits fighting giant alien monsters. It works pretty well — they've both seen it before, so they manage to chat a little during it. Brian tells Jax a little bit about his life in high school ("Basically, it sucked."), before he became the "Lawkiller" and got his invitation to VGU. Jax tells Brian about the first time he had a crush on a guy, at the summer gaming camp he went to in high school ("I was way confused, man — part of me just wanted to be best friends, and part of me wanted to make out with him, like, 24/7."). Brian tells Jax about the first time he kissed Jenny (Jax is, he realizes as he does it, the only other person he's told). Jax tells Brian about the first time he kissed a guy (drunk, at a party; he threw up about five minutes afterwards, although not because of the kiss).
It's comfortable. As the movie goes on, they drift closer together on Jax's bed. The first time their legs bump, Brian tenses, and Jax pulls away, but the second time, they both relax into the contact. They're both wearing jeans, but something about it still feels strangely intimate.
Finally, the movie comes to an end. As the credits start to roll, Brian feels his heartbeat begin to speed up.
"So..." Jax says.
Brian's heart is pounding.
"You're welcome to, uh, stay here for a while, if you want," Jax says, and when Brian looks at him he almost looks embarrassed. It's...cute? This is not how he's used to thinking of Jax.
He licks his lips nervously and takes a deep breath. "I think I'd like that."
"Good," Jax says. For a moment, neither of them says anything; they just stare at each other in silence. Then Jax reaches out to touch his cheek. It's a soft touch. Tender is the word that comes to mind, really. Before he can stop himself, Brian leans over, and Jax closes the rest of the distance, and then their lips meet.
It's not like kissing Jenny. The fundamentals are the same, but the details are different. For starters, there's Jax's five o'clock shadow (or rather, now, a one a.m. shadow), which is a new feeling. There's also Jax's hand, which has somehow moved around to the back of Brian's neck and laced its fingers through his hair. Jax's hands are a lot bigger than Jenny's. There's also Jax's mouth. It's a much firmer kiss than Jenny's. Not rough, just...firm.
After about thirty seconds, Jax pulls back a bit, resting his forehead against Brian's, his eyes still closed.
"Well?" he asks after a moment, opening his eyes.
"That was..." Brian searches for the right word. "Nice."
"Nice is good," Jax says. "But could be better — if you're interested. We can stop whenever you say."
Brian's heart is still pounding, and he's a little out of breath, but he's also got a hard-on and doesn't want this to end. "All right."
Jax leans in and they're kissing again. Jax pulls Brian closer, wrapping his arms around him. Brian follows suit. This lasts perhaps a minute before Jax pulls back and says, "Maybe we should move the laptop."
They separate briefly so Jax can close the laptop and put it back on his bedside table. "That's better."
Then they're kissing again, and at the same time Jax gently shifts Brian around so that they're lying along the full length of the bed instead of sitting awkwardly with their legs hanging off. Jax presses close against him — Brian can feel Jax's hard-on pressed against his thigh. His heart starts to beat a little faster.
Jax pulls back for a second. "Is this still fine?"
Brian answers by pressing himself tighter against Jax, making sure Jax can feel his erection through the denim of their jeans. "Very fine."
Jax grins. "Good."
Jax's hands get a little more adventurous now, sliding under the hem of Brian's shirt. Brian follows his example. Jax flinches slightly at his touch.
"Dude, your hands are cold," he says. Brian feels his face getting red. "Aw, you're cute when you blush."
They go back to kissing for a moment, then Jax asks, "Do you want me to go lower?"
"What do you mean?" He's pretty sure he knows what Jax means, but he doesn't want to assume and be wrong.
"Like, below the belt."
So he does. One of Jax's hands moves down to grab Brian's ass, pulling them closer together. The other slips between them, coming to rest on the bulge at the front of Brian's jeans. Brian thrusts a little bit, pushing his erection against Jax's hand. He feels Jax smile into their kiss, then he's moving, kissing Brian's jaw, the side of his neck, nipping playfully at his earlobe.
"Mm." It feels good. Not to be outdone, Brian slides a hand between them as well; he can feel the hardness of Jax's dick through his jeans.
"Shirts?" Jax suggests. Brian nods, and Jax tugs helpfully at the hem of his t-shirt. Brian obediently raises his arms over his head so Jax can take it off. Once Brian's shirt is done, Jax expertly removes his own. There's a light fuzz of hair across his chest, extending down to his belly button and then, thicker, down into his pants.
"Nice, BrianD," Jax says, looking him over. Before Brian can respond, Jax is kissing him again, leaving a trail of kisses from his lips down to his chest, where he stops to trace a circle around Brian's left nipple with his tongue, and then, ever so lightly, brushes it with his teeth. That's a new feeling. He feels his breath catch in his throat, just for a moment.
Jax pauses. "You good?"
"Yep, everything's fine," Brian says. "More than fine."
Then Jax is just kissing him again, and really, it is good. Then he feels Jax slip a thumb under the waistband of his boxers, and he decides to take the initiative: he slides his whole hand down the back of Jax's briefs to cup his ass.
Jax smiles again and does the same. The thumb of his other hand comes to rest along Brian's hipbone, tantalizingly close. Then it's there, there's a hand around his dick (not for the first time, true, but it's never been Jax's hand before), and it's a little awkward, given that it's squished between the two of them (and that Brian's still wearing a belt), but it's good.
After a moment's hesitation, Brian makes his own move, and then his hand's on Jax's dick, too. They stay like that for about a minute, breathing heavily as they clumsily jack each other off. Then Jax says, "We should get out of these pants; otherwise it's going to get kind of messy."
"Yeah," Brian agrees, and, regretfully, takes his hand out of Jax's pants in order to undo his belt. Once the belt's off, Jax pushes his hand away.
"I like this part," he says by way of explanation, unbuttoning Brian's fly. The shape of Brian's dick in his boxers is clearly visible, as is the little patch of pre-cum wetness.
Jax helps Brian wriggle out of his pants and underwear, then slips off his own jeans. It hits Brian, then, that this is really happening: he's naked, in bed with Jax, who's also naked.
Without further preamble, Jax asks, "Do you want a blow job?"
"Um..." Brian's honestly not sure what the answer is. He settles on, "I'm still kind of processing all this; getting a blow job from Jumpin' Jax might be a little too much."
"My blow jobs are pretty out of this world," Jax says, "or so I'm told." He winks, then kisses Brian again.
There aren't many more words after that. At Jax's urging, Brian guides Jax's hand into a better optimal position for holding his dick, and Jax does the same, and then they go for it. After a few minutes, Brian can feel himself getting close, and says so.
"Good," Jax says, grinning somewhat toothily and speeding up his strokes slightly. Brian feels his own hand slowing down on Jax's dick but he's too far gone to care. A few seconds later it hits him; he feels his cock jerk in Jax's hand, and hot liquid hits his chest and stomach — once, twice, three times, then aftershocks. He exhales, slowly.
"Good?" Jax asks; it's a rhetorical question.
"What about you?" Brian asks. "Do you want me to...?"
"Nah, I'll do it," Jax says. "Scoot over."
Brian does so as best he can, then watches somewhat detachedly as Jax jacks (ha) himself off. About a minute later, Jax finishes with a short grunt. Cum pools at his belly button.
They lie quietly for a minute, both catching their breaths. Then Jax says, abruptly, "Shit."
"What?" Brian tries his best to keep the alarm out of his voice.
"I forgot to get paper towels. This always fucking happens. I've got nothing to clean up with." He barks out a laugh.
"The bathroom's just across the hall; give me a sec and I'll go grab us something," Jax says, still shaking his head at his own forgetfulness. "Sorry about this, dude."
"It's fine," Brian says. He has to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Here he is in bed with Jumpin' Jax, first of all, and both of them covered in cum and nothing to clean themselves up with.
"Thank god it's spring break and there's nobody here," Jax says as he finally, cautiously, stands up from the bed. "I'll be right back."
He pulls on a pair of sleeping pants and slips quickly out the door, leaving Brian behind on the bed, covered in stickiness. He's gone longer than Brian anticipated, but finally there's a loud knock on the door.
"I forgot my key," comes Jax's voice, muffled, from outside. "Fucking autolock doors." Groaning, Brian stands up, carefully, and opens the door. Jax hurries inside and pushes it closed behind him.
"Guess who it turns out is here?" Jax says as he hands Brian a wad of paper towels, which Brian uses as best he can to mop up the sticky mess on his chest. "Wendell fucking Brixby. He was brushing his teeth when I came in; I think I may have traumatized him."
"Oh, my god," is all Brian can say, and then, without warning, he bursts out laughing.
"What?" Jax asks.
"Everything," he says. "Just. Everything."
Jax points out the trash can, and then they're left awkwardly standing there, Brian still naked, Jax in sleeping pants.
"So, um, I should probably be getting back..." Brian says.
"You can stay here if you want," Jax says. "There's plenty of room in the bed. But if you'd rather go back to your room, I get it."
"I think...yeah," Brian says. "I think I should go back to my room, this time."
"This time," Jax says, with a wink.
"I mean," Brian says hurriedly, "if there's going to be a next time. If you'd like there to be. If I want there to be. Maybe we should just pretend this never happened."
"Nah, bro," Jax says, taking a step closer. "That was fun." Then he kisses him again; it's a little softer this time, without the urgency from before. It's still good. "Come over any time. I mean, ask first, but. Yeah. It was good, BrianD."
"Okay. Okay," Brian says, and suddenly he feels on top of the world. "Good." He smiles and ducks his head a little. "Any time, then. I'll...see you around. Maybe tomorrow?"
"There's no rush," Jax says. "Hit me up whenever you're ready."
"Okay." He gathers up his clothes so he can get dressed again. Jax watches him do it, apparently amused. Once he's fully clothed again, he says, "I'll see you around, Jax."
"You bet, man."
"And...thanks. For everything." He gestures vaguely. "The movie, the conversation, the—the sex."
"I told you," Jax says with an easy smile. "My ears are always open."
"Well, thanks, still," Brian says. It feels inadequate to express what he's feeling right now, but it's as close as he can get. He opens Jax's door. "Good night, Jax."
As the door closes behind him, he has to stop and lean against the wall for a few minutes to make sure his feet stay planted on the ground. He feels giddy — he hasn't had an endorphin high like this in a long while.
Once he finds his equilibrium again, he heads back to his room. The door closes behind him and he collapses onto his bed. Tonight has given him a lot to think about.