#4 - Dirk: Visit Jake.
And with that, Dirk signed right off. Not all of that conversation was ironic— and it showed. Though at this point, he wasn’t really sure if irony even mattered. Despite attempts to keep certain things hush-hush, Jake had a way of pushing the right buttons. Buttons were likely to keep being pushed… So when the actual approaching of Jake’s home came about, Dirk kept his best pokerface up. “English? You up there?”
When he saw Dirk’s handle turn dull grey, Jake found himself straightening in his chair stiffly. This was really happening. In ten minutes? He left the pc open at his desk, suddenly standing up in the middle of his room, unsure of what to do with himself. Nobody had ever came visit, was he supposed to run down and bake a fresh pumpkin pie like he saw it done in some series? Well he had some form the day before, he could heat it up…
That train of thought was broken when his eyes landed on his unmade bed. He quickly dived to right it, tossing a couple of unloaded guns into the crate beside the bed, sweeping some bullets into the bedside table drawer while there. He fluffed both pillows, even the one he didn’t use usually. And then suddenly there he was again, in the middle of his room, looking around frenetically.
He remembered the shirt then. Strider wanted his shirt. The thought alone made his stomach tighten with nervous anticipation. The shirt he wore was crisp, he had rolled out of bed not too long ago, and had had a shower before logging in but… two seconds later he was puling it over his head frenetically anyway, dishing out a new, identical one and pulling it over his head, his hair a mess.
He barely pulled the shirt down when a voice outside called out to him, preventing him to fuss further. Mindlessly, he dove for the window, grinning down when he, indeed, saw the tall blond standing at the foot of his pumpkin patch. It took him a moment to sink in. Dirk had really come!
“Up here, Strider!” he yelled, “I’ll be right down!” and with that he already dashed for the stairs.
He could have just invited him up. But whatever worked. Jake’s quirky way of life fit his home quite well. It was certainly a far cry from the stale pizza and motor oil smell that laced his apartment in the city. This was more… Lush, and the constant bit of moisture hanging on the air inwardly proved a point to him about his own robot’s construction. The thing hadn’t tweaked out from being exposed to such a thing and that certainly meant well for his skill at reenforcing the thing.
His lips turned up into a smirk as he congratulated himself on the inside, making a few mental notes about brobot’s internal design. His arms rose, crossing in front of his chest as he waited for his friend to meet and usher him in.
Jake was slightly winded as he turned the last corner, quickly closing the last door behind himself. He turned forth, and surely, in the shadowed lightning of the meadow, stood Drik, arms crossed and looking off to the side. It suddenly dawned on Jake that he hadn’t decided how to greet him. Should he stroll the rest of the shaft separating them calmly and nonchalantly, offering him a manly shake of the hand? Or was it all right if he ran over like the excited and giddy kid that he felt he was inside, possibly even pull him into a hug?
He ended up doing neither. His feet were quick, but reverent, as though he was half expecting Dirk to disappear into thin air. He didn’t even remember walking, actually. He was suddenly there and Strider was two inches taller - could it be the hair? - and he was just beaming up at him, because he really bloody was just as damn cool as he had appeared to be online. Even more so, in fact. He had half intended to bow, make some sort of grand speech of welcome to his humble island - but all that came out of him was a “Hey… jolly good to see you finally…!” as his arms lifted, not quite offering for a handshake and not quite daring to reach for a hug.
He wanted to say something along the lines of ‘likewise’ or something similar, but Jake’s dorky introduction stunted that for a perk of an eyebrow. Not that he expected very much outside of that, really. He wasn’t really bold enough for the hug quite yet and the heaviness in his chest kind of put him off for a minute. His arms stayed firmly crossed, his face tilting down the slightest bit to let his eyes catch a glimpse of the other boy without the dark film from his shades. Was he nervous? Maybe. This whole thing had been on such a whim, after all… “Hey,” he finally spoke up. One hand found itself absentmindedly pushing his shades back up his nose to hide his eyes again, “Are you going to invite me in or do you just want me to stand in your garden?” Blunt and to the point worked, right?
Strider didn’t move, just stood there like the embodiment of cool. Like he was too good to even do this. And fuck it maybe he- he glanced over his glasses and Jake paused mid thought, barely catching his jaw from dropping, because shit, his eyes were a golden sort of orange. Tangerine. Pumpkin. /Beautiful./ He was nearly grateful when the guy straightened his glasses back up and shot him a trademark line. His voice was goddamn smooth too and made something in Jake’s knees feel less supportive at the impact. But he smoothed easily enough into rolling his eyes at him, not without a grin. “I barely greeted you, thought you might want to see the lagoon even,” he ranted, turning to guide him back the way he’d come from. “Eager to get into my room, are you?” It was out of his mouth before he could reign it in. Mostly because he never needed to reign his words in, speaking wasn’t like writing. And his tone had also sounded rather suggestive. Suddenly the floor they were walking across appeared to be the most interesting thing in the world. “Uh… are you thirsty, hungry?” he tried to offer instead.
“Actually, the pumpkins were creeping me out.” Jake’s lack of a filter caught him off for a second. But he followed anyway, kind of eager to get away from those weird-looking fruits. The lagoon suddenly sounded like a spectacular idea, but they were already moving in the opposite direction. Dirk could feel his throat go dry as he tried to drum up something else to say— and hopefull Jake didn’t notice how /nervous/ he was. Dirk’s ability to keep things cool was gift in moments like this. Regardless of how much something shook him inside, he wasn’t about to let anyone catch whiff of it. “Huh?” His train of thought quickly derailed from making sure Jake couldn’t smell his subtle fear to trying to spew out something that he wanted to drink— “Wa.. ter…? Please.”
This was of course a little different from conversing online. And just the sheer though of the things he’d written to the blond over the span of the last few weeks were definitely beyond the friendship line. He kept telling himself it was all right, that Dirk had, indeed, responded in tone, but his gut kept twisting with nervousness. Dirk’s lack of response at his tone didn’t help either. Was there something he had failed to do? Was there some sort of barrier they need to get past? Jake tried to wreck his brain for anything at all. They were already inside and on the first flight of stairs, when Dirk suddenly stuttered. A step and a half ahead, Jake halted, looking up at him sharply, nearly hungrily, to see an expression on that handsome face of his. Of course the shades and the pokerface beneath didn’t give anything away, but Jake found himself trying to make out those eyes anyway, his own overbite more prominent as his teeth dug into his lower lip to stifle his grin. Strider was, indeed, human, too. And maybe a wee bit nervous, too. “Of course,” Jake nodded, leading him into a room just up the first flight of stairs. “The kitchen,” he introduced. It was a spacey, white furnished room, with various appliances. They appeared to have seen better days, but were perhaps cleaner than what one would expect. Jake didn’t need to tell Dirk he had learned the hard way how food poisoning had been a very valuable life lesson to learn in his earlier days. “I have some pie I could heat up if you like?” he offered, handling him a pristine glass of cool water. There was something odd about having Dirk in his home, something exciting, distracting and oh god there would be fisticuffs and wrestling for shirts and… he could hardly wait.
The shirt fight was seriously the last thing on his mind. Even if that had been the whole reason he bothered showing up. He had spent quite a while thinking about just how great it would be to meet him, and it all amounted to a dry mouth, growing headache and the sudden urge to vomit with each step. That would surely be a mood killer… Maybe the requested water would help. In the meantime, his eyes darted around, taking in the look of Jake’s home. Weird as it was, again, it fit him. The pause in the kitchen gave him the signal to speak again, “What kind of pie?” And who heats up pie, anyway? Must be an island kid thing. His microwave was on the fritz half the time anyway. Dirk took up the glass of water, his ever-present fingerless gloves both keeping the sweating palms hidden and making them worse at the same time. Awaiting his answer, he lifted it to his lips.
“Pumpkin pie,” Jake offered, cringing a little. “It’s hard to find anything truly edible here. My each attempt at gardening has been either overthrown by the fauna or the flora around these parts…” he turned to fetch the pie in question, using the kitchen island to put it on. As he pulled the plate he’d covered it with off, it became very clear that Jake was hardly any kind of decorative wedding cake baker in the make. The dough was uneven at parts, and the filling was only passably spread evenly. But the colour looked good, and it had still a fresh look. Jake turned, rinsing his hands half out of habit and half out of nervousnes, forgetting he’d done it moments before. “You can try some, see if you can stomach it,” he offered. He’d never been one to care about his cooking being anything more than nutritious… but damn he was suddenly a wee bit nervous about it.
Swallowing down that bit of water, Dirk eyed the pie. Entirely skeptical about how that probably even tasted. Turning it down would be rude, right? He couldn’t have that… “Sure. I’ll try it.” For someone who generally ran his mouth off when in the right kind of mood, Dirk was certainly being sparing with his words, “Unless you expect me to barf everywhere. Because that really isn’t in good host form.” Another sip of water and an afterthought, “Just saying…”
Jake found himself chuckling as he fetched a knife. He rather expertly cut a small piece of it, then balanced it on the flat of the tip for Dirk to take. “It’s not sweet, just as a warning. It tastes vegetably. But feel free to spew, short of making your stomach upset!” he instructed.
Oh lordy, that might be a bad idea… He could manage this. Show the stomach who is boss here. Setting the glass aside on a neary counter, he took the pie up carefully making sure that it wouldn’t break apart in his hand. “Huh…” He tilted his head a bit at it and without staring at it like a weirdo for too much longer, dared to take a bite. Vegetably, indeed. It had a weird smell to it, too and really it had the fore and aftertaste akin to licking a bathtub plug. Even the spice didn’t really help it. “Here…” Because offering something you just bit into back was a great idea, “You can have it.”
Jake seemed to be horribly amused by this whole ordeal, the grin could hardly even leave his his face at the moment. “That does not sound quite like an invitation to an indirect k-” okay, now the grin was gone. He mentally patted himself on the back for catching that one in time. He readily busied himself to store the pie away, avoiding to look at his guest at all costs. “I’ll take the berries out then,” he said out loud again, probably more to himself than Dirk. He had bowl out in no time, washing them quickly. He could feel tension build in shoulders; he had not considered Dirk maybe judging him once here, and it hit him hard in the present situation. Maybe Dirk could change his mind… Nothing was set in stone after all.
This was clearly already turning into an awkward game of ‘who could say a more awkward thing’ and Jake was winning. Sluffing off that last bit was a little easier said than done. Afer everything Jake had said to him earlier, he couldn’t tell if he had been faking it for the sake of the conversation’s tone or what anymore. It was probably better to not ask. While Jake turned away, Dirk grabbed his glass again, chugging down a copious amount of the water and soon realizing that he was almost out. Oh no. Nonchalantly stepping up behind him purely for the sake of getting more, Dirk spoke up again, “Is everything alright?”
Berries washed, Jake’s initial reaction was to turn the way the voice came from, which brought him a little closer to Dirk than what he had been before. It was far from intimately close of course, but suddenly that familiar scent seemed quite a bit more prominent. It was pleasant, stronger, alive. He couldn’t place it, but his mind tagged it as ‘Dirk’ and as such it imprinted itself in his memory. It made him hesitate a moment, bowl of raspberries suspended in mid-air. It was odd, how his instinct to never let his back be exposed didn’t trigger like this, he mused. “Quite, chum,” he tried to force himself to relax, “just a wee bit nervous,” he offered, figuring he didn’t need to explain further, as he let Dirk have a second fill, lingering to lead him upstairs.
Breathing out a sigh, Dirk stepped past him, fetching himself more water before stiffly turning on a heel to follow him again. His movements remained checked and kind of robotic, not wanting to overstep (or step ON) anything that Jake might have in place, “I hope you’re not offended because I wasn’t a fan of your pie…” Oh now that just sounded weird.
“That’s rather all right, I don’t particularly like it either,” Jake found himself saying as he led him upstairs again. “I’ve just gotten used to the taste, I suppose,” he offered. He realized the raspberries he had washed were a much more pleasant taste and could help wash off the pie. He had one plucked up in his fingers and was turning to offer it to him, before he realized it might be a little weird for him to try and pop it in his friend’s mouth. He awkwardly lowered his hand again, before offering the bowl instead. “Here, to wash the taste away…” He wanted to mentally kick himself, why couldn’t he find his footing? This was ridiculous. He felt like he needed to get Dirk up in his room because it was where they mostly conversed, where all of his interests lay, all of which he had, at one point in time, shared with Dirk. A common ground and something to go by, he reasoned.
Why couldn’t either of them find it? It was so easy to talk with him over the computer… Maybe because he didn’t have to SEE him to talk like that. Or feel the weird aura that made him sweat the way he was right now. “Thanks,” short of words again, Dirk plucked a few berries from the bowl, all but cramming them into his mouth to a) get rid of the pumpkin vomit taste and b) shut himself up. While chewing, he nodded his way back up the stairs in a silent ‘after you’ gesture.
Once they ascended the few final stairs, Jake could find himself relaxing, finally, somewhat. At least here he was in complete control. He deposited the bowl on the desk as he opened his arms in a welcoming gesture. “Well… here we are!” Posters and guns and bullets and green. “Feel free to feel at home,” he added, somewhat marvelling how many times he had imagined Dirk would apperify in his room out of the blue, what would he tell him… nothing like this. It wasn’t like any of his movies… it was just them. Plain and simple and awkward. He averted his eyes, to not cross Dirk’s and maybe give away the rising worry he felt, and noticed the laptop he’d left open with their last, somewhat embarrassing conversation well on display, reminding himself how this whole thing happened. Not only did he felt a nervous knot forming about the rising affection he had felt towards his friend… now he found himself worrying about the friendship as well. He refused to believe it hadn’t been real, it had played too big a role in his life.
Tart and not quite the pallet cleanser he was after, Dirk counted the raspberries as a minor loss. He preoccupied himself with crunching the seeds between his teeth until they stopped again at—… Jake’s weirdly-clean room. Dirk had always imagined Jungle Boy to be a bit of a slob, but he had some OCD tendencies he hadn’t counted on. His posters were stupid as Hell. He could probably go for years about how dumb some of those movies were… But that would get him a one way ticket to having his ass appearified back on home. “It’s… green.” A beat, “And stuff.” Smooth.
Worried or not, Jake still felt more himself here. He took a breath and crossed his arms, leaning back against the table, nearly challengingly. “Well of course. I rather enjoy the colour,” he commented back, his eyes now steady on Dirk. “You though, seem an awful lot less verbal and fierce than what I imagined. You’re not scared, perchance, are you?” his tone was quiet, his accent a little heavier now.
“Scared?” He sounded almost offended to hear that it was that obvious. Time to cover his ass, “No. I just…”
Jake’s eyebrows lifted at that, expectantly. “Just?”
This was stupid. He caught a breath in his throat and shrugged his shoulders, “You said you were nervous before.” Trying to thread logic through his words, he continued, glancing off to one of those dumb posters while he spoke, “I might be, too.”
At first, Jake thought he’d heard wrong. It sounded quiet, ashamed, even in the monotone it had been said. It had something within Jake roar with frustration at the miscommunication going on between them, it needed to go. It took him a second, hesitant, try to gather his resolve and push off the table, slowly walking over until he stood beyond Dirk, green eyes watching him as steadily as he dared. “Uh, well,” he started, mostly to gather his attention. He lifted his hands, slowly, fingers glazing bare forearms and - whoah. Contact. Warm… Jake’s nerves seemed to buzz lightly, a pleasant shiver running through him. He chanced another glance at where he thought those unique orange eye could be behind his shades, as his own held no barriers to hide his own nervousness. And so he leaned closer, inched really. Placing his forehead on the blond’s shoulder, fingers siding over his waist to hold him close, twining at his back. “It is quite all right, I promise,” Jake was saying, “There’s nothing to really be nervous about, is there? It’s just you and I bro. Like always.”
A slightly confused sound caught deep in his chest. This hug sent an odd shiver up his spine, warranting a warmth that prickled through lightly freckled cheeks. The glass of water in his hand quaked as he lifted his arms slowly— reluctantly —to awkwardly drape them around his friend. Kind of a big step in his opinion. A big, weird step. But he had a point. He looked down to the other boy, a lazy half-smile rising to his lips while his shades edged their way back down the bridge of his nose to show his eyes again, “You’re right. I don’t know why I’m flipping out.”
Jake found his shoulders relaxing, hands moving in small circles on Dirk’s back. He could see his eyes again was why maybe. The proximity felt pleasant, soothing even. “Maybe we ought to do something slow, watch a movie,” he suggested, forehead gravitating to Dirk’s shoulder again and man… it felt so good being held by somebody alive, it left his skin tingling all over. Dirk’s voice, his scent, his arms, everything felt a little bit insane, a little bit too good to be true, and little bit too contained. But pleasant. He didn’t really wish to leave, unconsciously shifting closer. “How long can you stay?”
It finally started to set in when Jake shifted against him. Dirk was (sort of) holding the person he had been crushing on forever in a mutual kind-of-more-than-bros way. And there was no one around to mock him for it. That pretty much felt great. Great enough for him to pull Jake in a little closer and lower his voice, “You said something about letting me nap. Or seeing if I would.” A beat, “That’s quiet and not only rated two stars.”
At being pulled closer, two things happened simultaneously. A smile spread over Jake’s lips and the best kind of goosebumps broke down from where Dirk’s breath grazed his neck. He squeezed harder back, now to also hide the embarrassed kind of glad expression that he had worn while, indeed, explaining the endeavour in the first place, online. The breath he took against Dirk’s shirt then was deliberate, he didn’t hide it. Dirk’s scent was indeed amazing. And maybe he was merely being sensitive because everything else that had ever surrounded him had been there since longer than he could remember. This was new, exciting, warming from the inside. He awkwardly, without letting go, tugged Dirk in the direction of the bed, chuckling when their coordination failed and made their knees bump. “Let’s see how many stars you give me,” he mumbled, disentangling himself from Dirk to sit down and get his boots off. It would have been maybe quite a mood killer, he mused, if they didn’t really intend to simply nap. But he pushed such thoughts right out of his mind again as soon as they came. To be honest, he only had half an idea, spurred from movies, how to even lay in bed with someone else. Self-consciously, he laid back against the pillow and offered his… friend? An inviting small smile, awkwardly patting the spot beside himself in invitation and pretending he didn’t care how red his cheeks or ears had became in the process.
Okay, so the original plan had been to maybe mess around in ways that Dirk had only really thought of in passing while he was working, in the shower, or just sitting up letting himself overthink. The reality of actually being near him shut that cool kid alpha male shit right on down as average teenage awkwardness took the wheel. He’d be kicking himself forever over it, but… Jake moved away and headed right over to the bed, making himself right comfortable. Dirk kicked his own shoes off and set the glass aside before crawling up next to him. Jake’s blush and smile made it all the more and less awkward as he settled against him on his back— not making any attempt to snuggle or anything too… intimate. Before shutting his eyes, he pulled his shades off and set them aside as well. “Like I said,” he began, glancing over, “I can’t promise anything.” He was being SUCH A GIRL about this.
Jake looked confused at his choice of words for a second, his arms somewhat struggling to find the comfiest way around him. It was all kinds of awkward and new as he tried to somewhat make the position work. Dirk’s shoulders were wider and he was heavier than Jake’s pillow had been when he’d first mock tried it gods know how long ago. He was rather preoccupied with rearranging, so when Dirk glanced over to speak to him, he had already forgotten the direct reference. Promise anything? There was nothing truly lewd promised between them, but they were on his bed, pressed close and comfortable and Jake’s somewhat repressed dreams threatened to surface, and suddenly he was blushing even worse like a complete idiot. “Of course!” he said a little to quickly, before frowning at himself, realization dawning on him that his mind had wandered into dangerous waters. He covered his face with the hand not trapped under Dirk. “-holly dickens…”. He wanted to sink into the earth for a moment, burn alive or just run the hell away, but his gut instinct had other pans. He curled closer, not meeting Dirk’s eye, redder than ever, and pressed his lips to his temple. “It’ll be okay,” he heard himself say, perhaps to reassure both of them. “Just relax. I’ve got your back.”
The lips meeting his forehead pulled a deep grumble from his chest. Nothing distressed… just low and relaxed. His eyes slipped shut and he absentmindedly snuggled against his friend, “Thanks, Jake.” Not ‘English’. First name.
Jake found his lips curling into a smile against the blonde’s temple. He felt the tension drain from himself as well. Awkward as it may have been, at least the affection felt was now a wee bit more tangible. He lay awake next to Dirk, unmoving, just getting used to seeing him breathe and feel his steady heartbeat under his palm. He wasn’t sure if Dirk slept or meditated or merely relaxed, but he took his time memorizing his lineaments, the line of his nose, the sunkissed subtly freckled cheeks, the lovely curve of his lips, the splay of his longer, lighter, lashes. He seemed scarily handsome, but there was a faded scar here, a nick there, small imperfections carving him to life and Jake took his time to memorize them all. He was barely aware of the passage of time, as he tried to let it sink in that it was all happening for real, over and over again. Sometimes he had to gently, carefully, card his fingers through the smooth, soft texture of Dirk’s straight, blond locks. But most times, he just found himself leaning in, pressing his cheek… or lips to his temple. The pulse he could feel there, made his heart beat that much harder in return.
Dirk didn’t really “sleep” in any sense of the word. In fact, he only really took short naps when he REALLY felt that he needed it. His frame lay nestled to Jake, the hand on his chest rising and falling with his breaths that seem to grow deeper as minutes tick by. Eyes closed and breathing slowly steadying, Dirk was in the most peaceful state he had been in… probably the longest he can remember. Even the subtle tingle in the back of his neck from feeling the boy’s fingers, lips on his temple or merely his eyes on him didn’t cause him to stir. For someone as rough and tumble as Jake, he had a very gentle presence.
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