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.
When Tommy comes downstairs, he's surprised to find a little light on in the kitchen. Then he notices that the heat has been turned on and that the backdoor is unlocked. For a moment he's puzzled, but nothing seems like a burglary, so he starts his early run as per usual.
A new coat of snow has fallen that night and the woods seem even more silent than usual. It's still dark, but Tommy knows his way around and the led-light on his headband gives enough light to not trip over something. He can see that someone else has made tracks in the snow.
It surprises him, because he has never had anyone else be up earlier than him. In fact, as he thinks about it, and he continues to climb the hill that the house is situated on, he tries to deduct who it could be and he can only come up with one answer. And indeed, as he reaches the peak, he finds Scotty standing there, looking down on the valley below him.
"Hey! Doesn't happen very often that someone is up before I am."
"I just needed to clear my head... Thought I'd climb up here. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed one of your lights...?"
"Nah, 'course not.... Something on your mind? Wanna talk?"
"I'm not sure that you'd want to know.."
"Gay stuff?" Tommy asks apprehensively, suddenly not sure if he wants to know what Scotty's problem is.
"More or less." Scotty nods. "I'm trying to figure out how I feel about several things."
"Does being here help?"
"Not really. At this moment I can't feel my toes anymore." Scotty laughs. "Which has now become a bigger concern than how I feel about Kevin or if I want to kill Mark, yes or no."
"Yes, you have to keep moving..." Tommy agrees. He stretches and flexes. "I like it to be up here and watch the people in the valley wake up. See, that's the bakery, always up early...." He points at a speck of light in the distance.
"You can tell that from here?" Scotty doesn't quite believe him.
"Been coming here since I was four years old. I've seen all the changes here. I know a lot of people in town. We all do.... Did you know that we own almost three quarters of the valley?" He can see that his question surprises Scotty.
"No." Scotty sounds intrigued.
"My great-grandfather was quite rich and he bought the land, during the depression, helping his neighbours when they could no longer afford to live here. He would then let them stay on the land for a ridiculously low rent, but they would have to share their crops with him.
He wasn't being greedy. He just wanted this little community to stick together and survive the storm. He'd redistribute the food amongst the people, so everyone would have food on the table. It was a tough time, but he wanted to help his friends and neighbours.
Once things got better, the land remained in his hands, and after he died, my grandfather got it all. When the war broke out, he did the same thing as his father had done. He shared the wealth, bought more land from people to help them and continued his father's plans for redistribution of food, so everyone could eat and survive.
My grandfather had three sons and one daughter. Two of my uncles died in Europe, fighting the Germans and my grandfather realized that he couldn't leave anything to Saul who was 'different' - as in: he was gay, so he wasn't considered good enough for the job. So, with pain in his heart he left everything to my mother."
"That must have hurt your uncle." Scotty feels sorry for the man already. Tommy shrugs.
"I don't know. He was no longer living here anyway. He and Uncle Jonathan were already building their own little life. First in San Francisco, then in LA."
"How does William fit in all this? We're miles away from everything." Scotty asks.
"My grandfather and grandmother got divorced when my mother was 16. It was quite a scandal at the time. My grandmother wasn't well-accepted. She was pretty, smart and strong, but she was also a snob and she just couldn't stand her life here.
She moved back to LA, but when she got involved in a car-accident, my mom went to take care of her mother and that's how she met my dad."
"Love at first sight, I presume?"Scotty asks. Tommy laughs out loud and he shakes his head.
"Not exactly. My mom was raised to not take any crap from anybody. With a father and three brothers, she was just tough as nails. But my father didn't know that. He saw her at a dance my grandmother wanted to go to and he walked up to my mom and said something along the lines of 'Hey, babe, I bet I'm exactly who you're looking for.'
And then he put his hands on her waist, wanting to drag her to the dance-floor. He never got there though. My mom did not appreciate getting touched without her permission, so she turned around, took a swing at him, punched him in the face, knocking out one tooth in the process..."
Scotty's laughter roars through the silent morning.
"You're kidding me? And that was the start?"
"My dad says that that was the exact moment he fell for her. Literally. They've been happy ever since. She's still not taking crap from anybody though."
They both laugh now and Scotty feels even more included for having been told this story.
"Why don't we walk back, rather than run? I know a short-cut, which isn't safe to run, but okay to walk. We can talk on the way back... If you want?" Tommy's kindness is rough, but it feels good to Scotty.
He tries to get up, but nearly loses his balance when his feet don't cooperate. Tommy manages to catch him before he hurts himself.
"Be careful." Tommy says and he helps Scotty for the first few steps, because he now realizes that Scotty wasn't joking when he had said that his toes were too cold. "Slowly. We'll get there."
After several steps Scotty's blood is flowing again and Scotty feels more safe to walk on his own. For several minutes they walk without speaking, just watching the path.
"So, what is going on in your head?"
"I... I think I'm starting to like Kevin a little too much."
Scotty hadn't planned on really saying something, but the words just drop out of his mouth. Tommy doesn't reply immediately.
"And I have the impression that the feeling is mutual." Tommy eventually says.
"Yes. So do I."
"And that would be a problem?"
"I don't know. It's all so fast..."
"Hey, my dad knew my mom was the one within one swing. I knew Julia was the one within one smile. Kitty fell for Robert within one debate. It doesn't have to take a lifetime..."
"I know. We both still have so much to deal with..."
"Then deal with it together." Tommy shrugs. Scotty doesn't answer and Tommy realizes that he's moving too fast. He stops Scotty. "Listen, it's none on my business of course, but Kevin made a gigantic mistake with Gregory.
Gregory was never satisfied with anything. He never saw Kevin for who Kevin was, he could only see Kevin for who he wanted Kevin to be. And Kevin tried to be that person, but Kevin is Kevin, and you can't fundamentally change him. Not if there was nothing wrong with the original to begin with.
These last few days I've seen the old Kevin again, the brother I've missed for quite a while. And while I do think that it's a process that he's in, as he's getting Greg out of his system, I also believe that your presence has something to do with it. You seem to like him just the way he is and that's what he needs.
And to be honest, I think that several in the family, especially my mother, would love to see you and Kevin together, because, for Kevin, it would seem so right..." Tommy says, then realizing that he may sound too demanding, he carefully adds: "Of course, we can't judge in how far being with Kevin would be good for you..."
Scotty smiles at Tommy's last words.
"I haven't felt so right in years." He softly says.
"Then take the opportunity... And if in the end it doesn't work out, at least you will have had a good time and a new experience, which would be so much better that just sulking on your own."
Just before lunch the calm peace of the day gets interrupted by honking sounds outside. The transformation is astounding. From lazily hanging around Tommy, Justin and Kevin jump in to action.
"It's them!!" Nora claps her hands in excitement.
Justin runs into the barn to open the doors like he had when Kevin and Scotty had arrived. He lets in the two arriving cars and closes the doors again. It's very cold outside, so the people in the cars get nearly dragged into the warmth of the house. Scotty can finally meet the other members of Kevin's family.
He shakes hands with Kevin's eldest sister Sarah, who is kind and friendly with him, greeting him like a long lost sibling. Kitty, Kevin's other sister, is pre-occupied with talking to Nora, but ensures Scotty that she'll catch up later and that she's interested in getting to know him better.
Robert McCallister had been more of a concern to Scotty. The man is after all a senator and Scotty had feared that he would snobbish, but he's not. He's polite, asks some random questions, actually listens to the brief answers and assures Scotty that Scotty is most welcome.
Much to Kevin's surprise, Sarah's children actually don't act like brats. They shake hands with Scotty, but immediately forget about him again, though they are not unkind, but just more interested in going outside and building a snowman than in staying inside with the 'old folks'.
Sarah explains that after Paige's last tantrum, she had actually put both children on the plane to their father and his new pregnant girl-friend... which had not been quite a success. The girlfriend didn't want the brats, the brats hated the girlfriend and eventually Paige had been on the phone, sobbing that she wanted to come home.
Sarah had refused, saying that she was fed up with their attitude and that the kids had repeatedly told her that they'd be better off with their dad. Well, they had their wish now, so 'suck it up!'. The kids had begged and pleaded to come back and eventually Sarah had allowed them, be it under 'strict conditions', Sarah tells them with a grin.
"Well, apparently it worked." Nora answers with an appreciative nod, before turning to her brother Saul and his husband Jonathan. "I'm so glad you two got here." She says, hugging both of them so tightly that they nearly suffocate. "Come, I'd like you to meet Scotty, the latest addition to the family. Well, not really, but... you heard the story..."
Scotty can now shake the hand of the two elderly men and he knows that they are close to 70, but just watching them you wouldn't give them a day over 60. They are full of energy and curiosity. And kindness. Scotty feels like wave after wave of kindness floods over him.
He's still not used to it and it makes him partially uncomfortable, because he keeps getting the feeling that any moment he will wake up and find out it's all a beautiful dream. But at the same time, he knows that he's wide awake and that it's all really happening.
Kevin gently touches his back, pushing Scotty so sit down and join the others at the lunch-table. They talk, argue, eat, drink, talk more, debate heatedly, laugh and gossip. It's overwhelming and amidst all the heavy debating he takes a step back to just watch.
"They are quite a noisy bunch, aren't they?"
Scotty turns around and he's face to face with Robert McCallister.
"Yes, senator, they are."
"Please, just call me Robert, if there's one thing this family can do is size your ego back down to ground-level." Robert laughs.
"If you say so." Scotty's isn't too sure how to respond.
"I thought that I would come into this family and just win them over like that,..." He snaps his fingers. "Boy, was I wrong! They cut through my bullshit, wouldn't allow me to get diplomatic and within an hour I had the biggest argument with Kevin and Nora... And I loved it!"
"They are quite good in cutting through the nonsense and getting to what's important." Scotty admits, a little surprised that Robert would talk to him like that.
"You'll do great in this family, I'm sure." Robert says and Scotty understands that he obviously doesn't know that he's not really Kevin's boyfriend.
"I'm not really..." He starts to explain, but Robert doesn't let him finish.
"You will be." He says with such certainty that Scotty is little taken aback. First Tommy, now Robert, in fact the entire family is taking this get-back-scheme way too serious. Kevin laughs at one of Kitty's jokes and his eyes search for Scotty in the room.
When their eyes meet, there comes a particular smile to Kevin's face and Scotty can almost feel the butterflies in his belly take flight. There's no more denying it. He's in love with Kevin.. And he can't be, because Kevin would never fall in love with someone like him.. And, yet, there's something about his smile and the way he looks at Scotty....
"Uncle Scotty! Uncle Scotty! Can you put the nose on the snowman?" Cooper gives Scotty a huge carrot.
"Of course, Coop." Scotty puts the nose in place, smiles at Cooper's thanks and he watches Cooper run off again. Kevin joins him.
"They're quite a handful, aren't they?" Kevin smiles.
"They're kids. Let them be busy... Cooper just said that they wanted to make another snowman... As a companion to this one.... But it won't be snow 'woman', he specified that very clearly."
"Paige has decided a long time ago, that because she only saw snowmen, they obviously had to be gay. And if there's one thing difficult to argue, then it's child's logic. And she passed on her ideas to Cooper. For two kids who hate each other they sure are a lot alike." Kevin laughs. "I hope you don't mind that they call you 'uncle'?"
"No, not at all, why should I?" As soon as Scotty asks the question, he knows the answer. "Greg didn't like it? Seriously?"
"He felt that it would create an intimacy or a familiarity that wasn't there. He never looked them as his niece and nephew either. They were Sarah's kids. He created distance."
"Well, they can call me uncle as much as they want... that is, if you don't mind?"
"No. Not at all. I like it. They did that on their own. I just asked, but no one told them to call you uncle. I think it means they've accepted you as a part of me. Kids are amazing sometimes at drawing the lines.
I remember that they always talked to me about 'uncle Greg', but never-ever called him uncle in front of him. Like they understood that there was a difference, a line they shouldn't cross. They would also never ask them to make a snowman with them, or disturb him in any other way..."
Scotty can see a frown come to Kevin's face.
"I realize more and more that I've made a huge mistake..." Kevin sighs.
"It will be alright, I promise." Scotty takes Kevin hand and squeezes it just a bit to let Kevin know, he's there for Kevin.
"Kids! Kids! Gather around! Now! Picture-time!" Nora calls, holding up her camera. Though there are loud complains everyone gathers together and Nora takes a lot of pictures. The snow-covered trees form a beautiful background to the pictures of the whole family.
Tommy and Julia face-to-face, all smiles. Justin and Tyler making faces. Kitty and Robert take on a royal pose, Saul and Jonathan distinguished as ever and of Sarah with her children taking poses that makes them look like a couple of rappers.
"Kevin, Scotty, your turn!" She says.
Scotty and Kevin pose for a picture as well, but Nora seems dissatisfied with the results.
"Hang on! I've got it! Let's make a series of 'under the mistletoe' pictures...." And sure enough she produces a mistletoe from her pocket.
".... how convenient..." Kevin mumbles.
And Kevin and Scotty are her first victim.
"Come on, give each other a kiss. And do it like you mean it. Because I'm going to put them up on Facebook."
"Oh, hush, Kevin... You should know that your ex has not yet unfollowed me, so these pics will end up on his time-line..." Nora points out.
"Oh, poor Greg and Mark, they'll be heart-broken!" Scotty fakes being upset.
"Great!" Kevin answers with a big smile. "Kiss me!"
END OF CHAPTER EIGHT