Rate: for now G, if it changes I'll let you know ;)
Disclaimer: Written with love not for money
Summary: Guy meets guy and, well, you know how it goes....
Just remember: This is an AU, so the usual applies; Things can/will be different. Don't like it? Don't read it.
Scotty practically tumbles into the room. Kevin is right behind him. The evening had been most pleasant. The dinner had been amazing and after dinner and coffee, the family actually got together to play a board-game, something Scotty didn't believe still existed. He feels so satisfied with his life right now.
"I swear, if your mother cooks like this every day, I'll gain a lot of weight this holiday."
"Trust me, she'll cook like this every day, especially now that she knows that you like her cooking..."
"She promised to give me her recipe for that delicious mango-peach salsa."
"I know! It's frightening! Usually it's almost impossible to squeeze one ingredient out of her, but you...? You just breezed in and she gives you an entire recipe...? I'm impressed." Scotty looks a little shy, because he's not sure if Kevin is actually giving him a compliment or if he's teasing him.
As if he can guess what's on Scotty's mind Kevin adds:
"I'm serious. I'm impressed with how wonderful my family is with you and you with them... I don't mean to make comparisons, but the relationship between Gregory and my family wasn't even remotely cordial, let alone warm and caring, but with you.... I'm amazed!"
"I like your family. They're... kind." Under normal circumstances Kevin would find the word 'kind' to be insufficient, but there's something in the emphasis that Scotty puts on the word that makes Kevin say softly:
"You're not really used to people being 'kind' to you, are you? You're almost flabbergasted to be treated with some level of respect." He can see a little blush come to Scotty's face. It looks rather sweet on him.
"No. I'm not. I'm used to being useless to people. The spare-tire of the car. Since my own family dumped me, I keep trying to 'fit in' with other families, but ... I've never really found myself accepted... I'm usually 'the boyfriend of..', the 'tag-along', the 'plus 1' or 'the other half'.
Sometimes, I would get invited for a Christmas-party and people wouldn't even talk to me. They didn't know me, I wasn't part of the clan, so they didn't even try to get to know me...."
"I'm sorry. That must have been hard."
Kevin is so kind that Scotty shrugs to not show how moved he is by it.
"You get used to it. You get used to expecting the worst... When we talked about coming here, that was my thought, you know: what's the worst that can happen? That I spend another Christmas keeping myself busy and pretending that I don't notice that everyone ignores me..?
I had certainly never expected to receive such a warm welcome. It felt like a warm bath after a cold day... I know that sounds silly..."
“You’re lucky to have such nice parents..” Scotty sighs.
“You’ll find out that my entire family is amazing. I’m the only jerk in this family.” Kevin jokes..
“I think, I’m going to find out that you’re not as big as jerk as you like to pretend you are.” Scotty laughs too
"I'm flattered that you like my family so much... I really am." Again they share a shy and nervous smile and Kevin wonders why is it so easy to talk to Scotty? He's usually rather uptight about letting his feelings show. Gregory considered too much enthusiasm a sign of weakness, so over the years Kevin had learned to subdue all his emotions.
It's only these last few months, since Gregory left him, that Kevin's been getting back in touch with himself and his emotions. From pain to anger to devastation to resignation, he had been there and done that. Once again he realizes the huge impact Gregory has had on him and that he really needs to break free from all the limitations that he had put on himself.
"So, how do we do this with the bed? Which side do you want to sleep on?" Scotty asks.
"Don't really care." Kevin looks at the bed remembering that Gregory always demanded the right side of the bed.... "Right side." He decides, but then he doesn't want to hurt Scotty's feelings either..." If you don't mind?"
"Fine with me." Scotty laughs. He has no idea what is going on with Kevin or why he keeps flipping from determination to doubt, but he plans to find out. "I'll take the left side then."
As per usual William turns the central heating down at night, so slowly the cold takes over in the room. Scotty nestles deeper under the blankets. This bed is just as wonderful as the one Kevin has at his place and Scotty would love to drown in the feeling of drifting on a cloud, yet he can't catch his sleep.
And he's not the only one apparently.
"Are you asleep?" Kevin whispers.
"No. I can't."
"No, I'm fine." Scotty says. "You?"
"No. Not cold. Just... This will sound so stupid..."
"I'm on the wrong side of the bed. I know it sounds stupid, but .. I always sleep on the left side."
"Then why did you pick the right side?" Scotty asks.
"I didn't want to be predictable...." Kevin answers.
"That's what Gregory said to me when we broke up... That I am boring, predictable, that I was already dead, but I didn't know it yet... It hurt... He was the one who practically pushed me to be more reserved, to not do anything outrageous, always telling me that emotions are my weakness...
And then he has the audacity to tell me I'm no longer the care-free guy he used to know... It's why he prefers to get involved with someone half my age... And it's all my fault... somehow..."
Scotty blinks in the dark. What nonsense! He can hear from Kevin's whispered explanation that Kevin's is hurt and confused. And Scotty assumes it explains why Kevin likes to make choices and then doubts if they are the right ones.
"Do you want to trade places?"
"Would you mind terribly?"
"No, of course not." Scotty whispers back. Kevin turns on the light. They trade pillows and while Scotty moves to the right side of the bed, Kevin gets out and walks over to the left side. He immediately feels more comfortable.
"Are you sure you're okay with it?" Kevin asks again.
"It's okay. I don't care which side I sleep on." Scotty shrugs, but this side of the bed just feels much better straightaway. Kevin pulls up the blankets and Scotty turns off the light.
"Better?" Scotty asks in the dark.
"Much better. You?" Kevin asks in return.
"Perfect." Scotty answers and he closes his eyes. Two minutes later he's asleep.
Kevin blinks against the early sunlight that comes in through the windows. He feels warm and comfortable this way, just having Gregory so close to him and... Gregory?... Kevin blinks again. It's not Gregory, but .. Scotty. Of course, the body he feels against his own is Scotty's.
Scotty's arm is heavy on his side, but it feels good. Kevin carefully tries to turn to his back, but it wakes up Scotty unfortunately. He quickly closes his eyes, hoping that Scotty will go back to sleep, but Scotty quietly gets out of bed to go to the bathroom. A few minutes later, Kevin can hear the water running. Well, at least he's washing his hands afterwards, he thinks with a grin.
Scotty quickly gets back under the blankets, shivering from the cold. It's still dark in the room and he hopes that he can still catch some sleep. The clock tells him it's only 5.47am and that's rather early.
"It's cold outside this bed, isn't it?" Kevin asks. It's a voice in the dark that startles Scotty for a second, but then he shakes his head at his own shock.
"Yes. It is." Scotty admits.
"I'm sorry, I should've told you, but my dad always turns down the central heating system, so we sleep in cold rooms under warm blankets. He swears up and down that it's good for your health. We still beg to differ." But the hint of a smile in Kevin's voice betrays that it obviously no longer leads to heated debates.
"But don't worry. It's nearly 6. And this means that, come rain or shine, my brother Tommy goes out for a run or for some skiing. He says it wakes up his brains, so he can handle the rest of the day. He always turns the heating back on before he leaves, so he can defrost when gets home. This room will be warm within 15 minutes." Kevin explains.
"It's nice to have a brother that works better than a clock."
"Yes, it means I never have to get out and face the cold myself to turn on the system downstairs. I can always stay until 7.30. Nice and comfortable."
Scotty can't help but smile and he ducks a bit deeper under the covers. He shivers.
"Are you very cold? If you are, I can put on an extra blanket."
"No, thanks, I'll be fine, just give me a minute to warm up again."
By the time Tommy is back from his work-out, the others are up as well. It's comfortably warm at the lodge. There's the smell of warm bread and fresh coffee. The table is set and Scotty is seated next to Kevin.
"Did you sleep well, Scotty?" William asks and Scotty can only nod, because he just took a bite.
"Not too cold?" Nora now asks.
"No, ma'am, it wasn't."
"Please, call me Nora." Nora repeats what she told him last night and Scotty can't help but give Kevin a quick look, almost as if to seek the same permission from him.
"You'd better, or she'd be soooo offended." Kevin gently jokes.
"We all know that you'll be playing a couple to spite Greg, but how did the two of you actually meet?" Julia eventually asks.
"I'm working as a cleaner in the building where Kevin's office is. I always clean from 9 at night to about 1 in the morning. And it happens very often that, when I start to work, he's still there..." The words are hesitant, wondering how much he should tell about the shower-incident and Kevin feels obliged to step in.
"Scotty's face is sometimes the only friendly face I see all day. I deal with unsatisfied millionaires, disgruntled clients and whining bags of shit nearly every day. But Scotty always has a smile on his face...
Until a few days ago, when I found out that, within the space of a few days, he had lost his boyfriend, his house, one of his part-time jobs and, on top of that, his car broke down... And there I was. Just divorced, still dealing with the aftermath, in the middle of moving from 1 apartment to the other and .... I just wanted to help him, that was all..."
He speaks very casual and Scotty understands that he doesn't want to tell the real story. Not just yet anyway. And Scotty is happy with that, because he doesn't want to look like an idiot in front of the Walkers.
"I can move in, with a friend of mine, but only from the 3rd of January on, so Kevin graciously offered a room for three weeks. We were both in a bad place and 'misery likes company'... We just wanted to sulk over the holidays, I suppose." Scotty now says.
"Yeah, that would have to be Kevin." Tommy nods.
"Last night, before going to bed, you said that you believed that Kevin could actually get real feelings for Scotty. Do you still believe that?" William asks, giving Nora a tray with bread. They're in the kitchen together, just the two of them.
"Yes. And not just because I think that Scotty is cute and exactly what Kevin needs in his life after that moron of a Gregory. Plus, I'd bet my last dollar on the fact that Scotty could more than 'like' Kevin....
I just think that neither of them realises it yet.... but that is nothing that can't be fixed. They just need a little push in the right direction...."
"And you'll do the pushing?" William asks.
"With a battering-ram if I have to." Nora replies smugly.
"So, what do you think? About Kevin and Scotty?" Tommy asks his brother. Justin shrugs.
"I have this feeling that his whole plan to pretend that they're a couple is going to bite them in the ass." He says with a grin.
"I actually like Scotty." Tommy seems almost surprised by his own words.
"Me too. So much better than Gregory." Justin agrees.
"A wild rabid dog would be an improvement on Gregory." Tommy grumbles. "I also think that Kevin really likes Scotty. He wouldn't have gone out of his way to bring him here, if he hadn't.
I know we always joke that Kevin has no friends, but of course he does, yet he has never taken one of them here, except for Gregory."
"And that was disaster. Jeez, what a selfish dick that was. Kevin is better off without him. And I think that Scotty would be a good choice for him."
"It's none of our business, Justin." Tommy reminds him.
"That has never stopped us before." Justin points out.
"True." Tommy acknowledges.
"What did you think of Scotty?" Tyler asks Julia. Tommy's wife looks up from her book. She doesn't reply immediately.
"I think...." She pauses. "... I think that both Kevin and Scotty are in a bad place. They are both hurting, and they both could use some cheerfulness and kindness. And they could need a friend too.
I also think that Nora is going to stick her nose where it doesn't belong and that she will try to get those boys together, come hell or high water. But... I also think that everyone should leave Kevin and Scotty alone and let them work out for themselves what they do or do not feel for each other."
"Wow. You really thought this through, didn't you?" Tyler smiles. Julia puts her book aside. She likes Justin's girlfriend a lot and she sincerely hopes that this lovely lady will soon become her sister-in-law.
"However, I like to see them together. I like way they treat each other. Friendly, polite, caring, respectful. So different from how Greg treated Kevin."
"They'd make a lovely couple." Tyler, forever-the-romantic, sighs.
"They do." Julia agrees. "And I think that maybe, by the end of this holiday, things may be different between them."
"Can't we give them a helping hand?" Tyler thinks out loud.
"I don't think so. We should not get involved. Let them do this on their own."
"Well, I don't want to lock them up in the freezer to force them to confess their eternal love to each other with their last breath,.. that would be Nora's department. But... maybe a push in the right direction? Put them next to each other at every occasion?
Find out what Scotty likes so we can get Kevin to get it for him? Or... or... Or we could turn off the heat completely tonight, so Kevin and Scotty would be forced to snuggle even closer to each other...?" Tyler really likes that last idea.
"You're just as bad as the Walkers!" Julia laughs.
"Oh, come on, Julia, humor me. Help me figure out a way to make Plan "Get Kevin/Scotty together" succeed." Tyler begs and for a second Julia is inclined to turn it down, but then she has to admit to herself that it sounds like fun. So she takes her writing-pad and her pen.
"See how you can see it better from up here? See how big it is? You wouldn't say from the front, would you?" They had climbed the slope, not far from the house, to get a better view of the house. Kevin is so enthusiastic that Scotty can't help but smile.
"It's indeed a lot bigger than I thought... Are we really going to spend Christmas here? I still can't believe it." Scotty has to ask.
"Yes, eggnog and all." Kevin answers.
"I heard Julia say that she had all the gifts, for everyone.. I .. I didn't bring any gifts or anything... I hadn't thought of it..." Scotty stammers.
"We can take care of that this afternoon. We can go into town. It's a lovely place, especially for Christmas. I still have to do my Christmas-shopping as well." Kevin waves away Scotty's concern, while Scotty makes a mental note to find out how much cash he still has on him and how much there must still be on his bank-account.
"Look, Tommy and Justin, ..." Kevin points at his brothers. "I wanna bet that they are planning something, look at how they laugh with each other."
"You get along great with them..."
"Yes. Now. When I was younger, it was a whole different thing. They were the 'real guys'... And me? I was not.."
"That has to hurt."
"I'm over it now... I broke with most of my family for about 4 years after a huge fight. Tommy was the first one to get back in touch with me... It's been better every year since then... But I still haven't forgiven them for always getting me during our snowball-fights. They'd always stuff snow down my jacket and I'd be sick the next day... "
"Well, you can get back at them now."
"No. It's always two against one and they're better than me."
"I'm here and I'll bet I'm better than they are."
"My grandfather was Canadian. At Christmas my mom would always send me to grandpa to spend time there. I was nothing but a nuisance to her anyway... My grandfather sure taught me how to throw a snowball." Scotty grins. A victorious little smile come to Kevin's face.
"You're kidding me." He has to be sure.
"No. I'm not. I can hit Tommy from here."
"I dare you."
"Back me up?"
They both grab plenty of snow. And Scotty has the first throw. The snowball hits Tommy right in the neck! Kevin has no intention to be outdone and throws as well, just as Justin turns around. Purely by accident the snowball hits him plain in the face. Both men are momentarily stunned, but powered by Kevin and Scotty's laughter, they go into fight-mode as well.
Soon enough the battle-lines come closer as both duos do their best to make as many hits as possible. Scotty is indeed very good. Not just at throwing, but also at dodging them. The laughter from the four men roars in the silence outside and William and Nora are surprised to see, when they look out their window, that their three sons are having fun in a way that they hadn't had fun in quite a long time.
"I have the impression that Scotty has a very positive effect on Kevin." Nora miles, seeing Kevin and Scotty high-five when yet another of Scotty's snowballs have hit their target. Kevin's laughter makes his face brighten up, his eyes seem bluer than ever and Nora can't remember the last time she has heard him laugh so carefree.
"I'm going to warm up some milk, what those boys need is some hot chocolate when they come in. I'm sure they'll be so cold." She says. She sees Julia and Tyler watch the battle outside. They can hear the men laughing and they can't help but smile at the view as well. "Julia, Tyler, tell the boys to come in...."
Julia puts on her coat and goes outside.
"Alright, boys! Call a truce for the time being. Nora has hot chocolate." She yells.
"'Kay! No more snowballs! Time out!!" Tommy makes the sign for 'time out' with his hands and Kevin and Scotty signal they agree.
The three brothers regroup, hug and compliment each other on how well they did in their "battle". Julia can see that Tommy is exhausted, but having fun. It's been such a long time since she saw the brothers be so close to each other. She looks at Scotty, standing just a few steps away from the others and her smile fades somewhat.
The term 'on the outside looking in' comes to her mind. Scotty looks at Kevin with a smile. A proud smile. Julia and Scotty's eyes meet and Scotty looks away. As if he's afraid that he has shown too much of himself to her, but Julia isn't crazy. She has seen that little look. Scotty really likes Kevin a lot. And it's not wishful thinking on her part.
"Scotty! You too! In the house! Now!" She orders with a smile. When he's next to her, she gives him her most charming smile and she puts an arm around him. It is meant as a friendly gesture, so she acts as if it's the most natural thing for her to just put her arms around someone who's basically still a stranger to her.
She can feel him tense up under her touch, but then slowly relax. After a moment of hesitation, he carefully smiles back at her, slightly insecure and yet she knows that she has won him over. With her arm around him, they trudge through the snow, back to the house.
END OF CHAPTER FIVE