It begins innocuously enough one day before read-throughs. Beck arrives in the big meeting room and peels off his coat and scarf, feeling an initial loss of warmth, despite the fact that the heating's on and he's wearing a black long-sleeve shirt. There's a sound behind him, a sort of thoughtful "hm" that he must've imagined, because when Beck actually turns around, it's just Kyle standing there, engulfed in an ironically ugly sweater. He flashes a familiar grin and pushes his glasses up his nose. There's a bit of white powder in his whiskers and a powdered donut in one hand.
"Beck," he says, "Whoever's in charge of catering today is a heaven-sent." He leans in like he's about to tell a secret and Beck is assaulted by the smell of coffee and the sugar-sweet smell of donuts. "They even ordered those strawberry jelly ones," he whispers, clutching Beck's bicep with his donut-free hand. There's a moment where he sort of pauses and stares at Beck with a weird twitch of his eyebrows before he snaps back to Kyle As Usual and uses his grip to maneuver Beck toward the table and witness the glory that is the SNL read-through pastry selection.
For a while, that's it. Beck hardly registers that specific moment in time until much later, when he's trying to think back and figure out when it all started.
What starts is that Beck begins to notice Kyle all of the sudden. He's not sure why –they've been friends since university –but all he does know is that somewhere along the line (perhaps it was when they relocated across country together), Beck's gotten overly used to having Kyle around –to the point where severe listlessness strikes if he doesn't see Kyle for even half a week.
Beck tries not to analyze it that deeply, except one day he and Kyle are in their shared office, and it's one o'clock in the morning, so they've hit a bit of a lull in their sketch writing and are at that part of the night where they're just sprawled on their sofa in a semi-stupor. Except that's not exactly right, Beck thinks, because that night they're not slouched halfway off the cushions or sitting cross-legged across beside each other. No, that day Beck has a sudden moment of unexpected clarity and he sees them as an outsider would, practically curled around each other. Kyle is lying on his back, his head resting against Beck's side, and Beck is lounging half on his other side, such that his feet rest under Kyle's legs and one of his arms is resting on Kyle's shoulders, his hand positioned so that his fingers absently brush through a section of Kyle's hair as they brainstorm.
Beck has this moment of 'oh, shit' where his mind helpfully supplies him with a reminder of his recently developed dependency issues and puts two and two together. He ends up sort of just staring down at Kyle, dumbstruck by the realization that somehow this kind of intimacy has become second nature, something they've settled into without a single sense that it's not a common thing for two friends such as themselves. Then again, Beck thinks… their friendship is not as casual as it once was. Kyle is one of his best friends, one of his creative partners. He doesn't think he'd know what to do without Kyle.
His fingers have frozen in Kyle's hair, and that pause is presumably what makes Kyle turn his head a little and stare up at him.
"You don't have to lie on me, you know," Beck says, which sort of makes it sound like he instigated this by somehow pulling Kyle on top of him, but it's the only way -off the top of his head -to point out their physical proximity (entanglement, really) aside from straight out bringing it up.
If Kyle notices anything amiss, though, he doesn't appear to care. He half shrugs and settles back, returning his attention to the notebook resting against his legs, drawn up close up. "I like it," he says frankly, "You're a good pillow."
Beck hesitates for a moment and slowly begins twirling Kyle's hair around his fingers. "Thanks," he says, "I'll keep that in mind in case this comedy thing doesn't pan out."
Kyle snorts, and seems generally unbothered by the same questions that are suddenly plaguing Beck's thoughts.
The thing is, Kyle is hardly ever bothered. By anything. He's the sort of guy who rolls with the punches life sends him -although it probably helps that life doesn't throw a whole lot of punches at him in the first place.
After the two minutes Beck uses to freak out over the nature of their relationship –and his particular attachment to Kyle –he decides that if Kyle can remain unperturbed by their dynamic, he should just follow suit, as well. He manages to stick to this decision stubbornly enough, and can sometimes even ignore the fact that his whole stupid world can light up just when he sees Kyle grinning.
When Beck began reincorporating exercise into his routine, he thought that being at the gym half the time when he wasn't working was going to limit his time with friends. About a month in, Kyle complained vaguely that he barely saw Beck outside of work anymore, and the very next day, he silently accompanied Beck to his gym, even though Beck was sure Kyle went to a different one a couple blocks away.
So now Kyle shows up at Beck's gym from time to time, when he knows Beck will be there. He alternates jogging with running around the track with Beck, and then sits (not really one to lift weights) on the floor, doing weird, overdramatic stretches while Beck lifts.
Afterwards, they often go out to lunch, or dinner, or whatever the meal of the current time may be, and Kyle has started to do this thing where he just smiles at Beck while he's talking, looking like he knows something Beck doesn't know.
During one such Sunday lunch date, Kyle is staring at Beck in a manner that could almost be considered 'gawking'.
Beck makes a face. "What?"
And Kyle blinks, coming back to the present, and simply smirks. "Nothing," he says, returning his attention to the second half of his BLT, which he begins deconstructing. He picks out the bacon, and takes a bite out of it like he's really not planning on saying anything else.
Beck takes a drink of his water.
"You look good today," he's pretty sure he hears, and he chokes a little and sets down his glass, coughing.
Kyle looks up, putting on a bewildered expression that suggests total innocence, and the thing is, Beck really can't be sure that it was him who said that because he didn't actually see Kyle's mouth move, and behind him, there's a commotion as two friends hug and exclaim, "It's so good to see you again, how are you?"
Beck narrows his eyes at Kyle for a moment, but says nothing.
Weeks pass. Season 40 at SNL comes and goes and then it's summer hiatus and Beck and Kyle each have their own projects lined up and they go from seeing each other every day to seeing each other maybe twice a week, and then to once a week… and then not at all. Halfway through the hiatus, Kyle flies back to California until August end, at which point Beck is scheduled to go home to Illinois to spend some time with his own family.
That's not to say Beck's summer is miserable. He's an adult, and not living in some sort of Shakespearean tragedy, either.
But there are things that he misses about hanging out with Kyle which a continuous text correspondence doesn't exactly make up for. For one thing, Kyle's method of text-messaging isn't consistent, and when he isn't sending Beck emailed links to things he's found on the internet, he sends texts filled with nonsensical emoticons. In short, while Kyle's messages are marked by his personality and interests, they lack a personal touch. Beck often wonders what Kyle thinks about the video and article links he's sent, and although Beck thinks he knows Kyle well enough to imagine what he might say about them, it's not the same.
When it's time to head back to New York to start preparing for the new season, Beck keeps his mind occupied by thoughts of sketch pitches and everything he has to do once he gets home to his apartment –from picking up his mail to doing laundry to grocery shopping. He manages to preoccupy himself in this way to the point that when he gets out of the gate, he's genuinely taken aback when someone crashes into him and he feels arms wrap around his neck.
"Good to see you again, dude," Kyle says, lips to his ear and then he's letting go before Beck even has a chance to figure out what's going on.
Kyle is still gripping his shoulders and there's a lopsided grin on his face and elation shining in his eyes and Beck barely has time to catch his breath before Dave appears and grabs him in a hug as well, clapping him on the back and saying a "welcome back!"
Beck stares at Kyle all the while, probably looking a little like he's lost his mind, but he forgets all appearances for the moment and just drinks Kyle in with his eyes.
He and Kyle walk into their office on the first day back and Beck can only grin because isn't this just the fucking life? Working here alongside Kyle, and when he turns, Kyle is putting his bag down in his chair with a fond look around the office, too, no jokes to be made. They're back, ready to take on another season, and everything is just… good.
It takes exactly two weeks back at work for Beck to remember that Kyle has a way of driving him a little bit insane –mostly because every once in a while Kyle will do something that reminds Beck that, despite his pretenses, he's deep in fucking –what, love? –emotions with Kyle. Yeah. He's in Emotions with Kyle, who doesn't have the decency to let Beck drown in said emotions in peace.
Granted, Kyle doesn't normally crawl all over Beck's lap –not like this, anyway –not rutting up against him, hands hot on Beck's waist and sliding up his chest and gripping the back of his neck. And granted, Kyle is sort of drunk himself at this point. Everyone in the room is a little bit intoxicated at this point. It's two A.M, Sunday.
Beck isn't sure what Kyle's original purpose was for suddenly straddling his lap on the couch he's seated on; all he really knows is that Kyle was trying to convey some sort of action to someone –Dave? Taran? –for a story and it had required him to use someone as his guinea pig. In any case, Beck feels feverish around his neck, and his head is swimming. In the clouds. Somehow.
And now it's five minutes in and he's forced his blood pressure into something reasonable and Kyle's no longer talking to someone over his shoulder, but Beck is still pretty much high as fuck -cozily so -and so all he knows is that after basically giving him a lap dance, Kyle is still on his lap, perched sideways now so that he can rest his head against Beck's shoulder.
Beck never says much when he's high. He just sort of sits there and feels and thinks and exists. He listens to the sound of Kyle breathing, which grows steadier and deeper as he seems to drift off into sleep.
Beck stays awake for a little longer, staring at the discolorations of the ceiling for a while. He senses when people begin to drift away until there's just the number of them left that are probably not going to leave Dave's apartment until they've slept and woken up again. He feels the comfortable weight of Kyle's body curled up against him and when he finally falls asleep, he doesn't know anything but the warmth of Kyle's body against his.
He wakes up with heavy limbs and with a haziness around his mind that is still in the process of receding. Beck shifts a little and then thinks oh, maybe the heavy limbs aren't his. He looks around and is glad he fell asleep slumped far down along the couch that he didn't crane his neck. Kyle groans, alerted by Beck's attempts to move before he remembered where he was, and he peels himself off of Beck's chest to look at him.
Kyle looks at Beck, blinking blearily. Their eyes meet and Beck sort of feels his breath hitch in his chest and he wants to say something, because now is the freakin' time –and yet –yet, his words become garbled before they have a chance to make it off his tongue. He ends up just staring, unable to form the words he wants to say. Kyle's mouth curves into a faint smile and he gives an amused snort before tucking his face into the crook of Beck's neck once more.
For a moment, Beck feels Kyle's scruff against his neck and –he thinks –warm dry lips pressed against his skin. The next second, though, Kyle moves away again and Beck realizes it couldn't have been a kiss -must've been just a brush, an accident, a coincidence.
One day, Beck hears it again –not a "hm", but a "hmm" –and he's dead sure he's not imagining it. He whips around and Kyle is standing –rather, posing in the lounge doorway, a shit-eating grin spread across his face. He pushes off the doorframe and saunters across the floor. "Nice haircut," he says, reaching for an apple from the fruit bowl.
"Bullshit," Beck responds, to which Kyle merely shrugs.
"Well, I like it," he says, although Beck is 70% sure this conversation is about something entirely not his hair. 95% sure, actually.
Kyle begins to leave. He takes a wild stab at it and calls, only partially in a joking tone, "Is that all you like?"
"You've got a nice ass, too, I guess," Kyle says, turning back and batting his eyelashes at Beck. That's the problem, honestly. They're always half-joking, just in case. But, Beck thinks frustratedly, they've been dancing around this thing that they've both clearly noticed between them for weeks now.
He watches the way Kyle's silly facade slips for a moment, smiling wavering and uncertainty flickering in his eyes and Beck finds himself crossing the floor before he knows it, closing the space between them. He half expects Kyle to step back or freeze but the opposite is true; as Beck starts forward, so does Kyle, and when they meet in the middle, Beck pauses only to wrap his arms around Kyle and look him in the eye. "We're on the same page about what's gonna happen here, right?" he says, all serious and yet not at all.
Kyle hooks his arms around Beck's neck and gets that damn, happy grin on his face that sort of blinds Beck every time he sees it. "Yep," Kyle says, and Beck sweeps him around and dips him backwards and then they're kissing. Kyle's fingers tangle in his hair and his beard scratches against Beck's skin somewhat, but his lips are warm and he licks into Beck's mouth eagerly, so Beck pretty much gives up breathing in favor of kissing Kyle back.
They've kissed before –usually as some kind of joke –but those had all been either chaste or over-the-top in their wet sloppiness. There's no punchline to the way their mouths move against each other's now, hungry –starved, practically.
It all comes apart when Kyle yanks Beck closer and he loses balance, sending them tumbling to the ground. Beck laughs and props himself up on his elbows a little, though he's still very much pressed on top of his best friend.
Kyle stares up at him, glasses somewhat askew and expression a little starry-eyed (not, Beck thinks, that he probably doesn't look the exact same). He reaches up, carding a hand through Beck's hair. "Nice haircut," he says.
Beck raises his eyebrows. "Seriously, dude?"
"Really. It looks nice. Very distinguished, I'd say. I guess that's…"
And he just rolls his eyes, then, and leans in, shutting Kyle up with a kiss.
"Can I?" Kyle whispers, "Please?"
It's Wednesday a week later and he waits until the elevator comes to a stop before he gives in. "Fine," he says, "I mean, fuck it, everyone probably already knows by now, anyway."
Kyle grins and all but bounces down the hall to the meeting room for read-throughs. As they enter, Beck is glad that Lorne doesn't show up for the read-through until just before they get started because Kyle throws open the door and swaggers in with mock bravado and a wide grin. "I got –guess who bagged a real prize last night. Huuh? Wanna guess?" he crows, affecting a character voice, "Guess who scored the biggest time ever" –he jabs a thumb to his chest and then points a finger toward Beck, who enters the room acutely aware that he's the subject of many amused gazes. "Whooa, look at hiiim, ladies –tadies, wouldja look at him? Wo-ow…"
Beck plays off of Kyle's bit, looking around at Kate, Aidy, Cecily, and Vanessa with a look that says 'Behold! It is I'. He strikes a brief pose, Angelina Jolie's Right Leg style, before sling an arm around Kyle's shoulders and pulling him toward their usual spots at the table.
"That's right," Kyle says with a triumphant laugh, "He's mine, ditches!"