Free read: "Hide and Seek"

This story can also be found in the database of Rainbow Romance Writers' free stories.

blurb:
Jake's first time at Dragon*con without his best friend is kind of  bumming him out.  But it's for the best, really; Jake has been lusting over Chaz since last year's Con, but now he's determined to find someone who can help him forget how hot Chaz is so that they can be just friends again.  The sexy Drow (dark elf) in the skimpy loincloth might be just the one to knock Chaz off the pedestal Jake has put him on.

Rating:  M for mature
Content warnings:  Many uses of the four-letter F-word.  Unbeta'd.
Word count: just over 5200
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Hide and Seek
by B. Snow


Jake stared out across the mass of costumed, drunk, and loud humanity that crowded the hotel lobby, searching for Chaz even though he didn’t really think he’d find him.  He’d been coming to Dragon*con for years, so the crowds and craziness didn’t bother him, but this was the first year Chaz wasn’t with him.  They’d waded through seas of much taller con attendees when they were fourteen, tried to get into the hentai anime screenings with fake IDs when they were sixteen (and been laughed away from the door), and a year after that, had gone on their first underage drinking binge and passed out together on the floor of their hotel room bathroom.  And even though they’d gone on to different universities after high school, Dragon*con was still their thing, the one time of the year they knew they’d hang out together.
And then, boom, Chaz suddenly decided that he wanted to be off on his own this year.  Suddenly.  Yeah, right.  Jake knew why.  Everything had fallen apart as soon as Chaz had seen the costume designs that Jake had come up with for this year:  Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.  They’d cosplayed them when they were twelve, drawing a scar on Chaz’s head with his mother’s lipliner pencil, and wearing down Jake’s mom until she’d finally bought him a bottle of Clairol to lighten his hair.  But the costumes Jake had in mind now were definitely not for children.
Chaz had looked at the sketch for a long time, before turning it around and holding it up.  “What.  Is this?”
Jake felt the blood rush up into his face, but he refused to panic.  “Just something I thought would look good.”
“It looks kinda gay, ‘s what it looks like.”
Jake bit the inside of his lip to hold onto his temper.  He knew Chaz wasn’t any kind of homophobe, knew he might not like the idea right away, but he hadn’t expected that much disapproval.  “It was just an idea.”
“A gay idea.”
Jake’s patience snapped.  “Yeah, so?  Girls think gay is hot.  They’ll like it.  You’ll get laid, I promise,” Jake said, snatching up the drawing and stuffing it into his backpack.
“And you won’t?”
Jake rolled his eyes.  “Whatever.  It doesn’t matter.”
“Dude, what is going on?  You’ve been weird ever since you got back from school.”
“Thanks a lot, asshole,” Jake muttered.
You’re an asshole,” Chaz countered.
You are.” 
“Do not get bitchy with me or I will punch you in the nards.”
“Try it, and I’ll punch you in the nards.”
Chaz grinned, and Jake felt himself relax.  “Fuck you.”  He laughed, blew out a breath.  “Okay.  I think that I might...be bi.”
The grin faded from Chaz’ face.  “You think you might be bi.”
“That’s what I said.”
“Why...would you think that?”  Jake didn’t answer right away, couldn’t, with Chaz’s eyes pinning him, trapping him.  Finally, Chaz raised his eyebrows.  “Ohh.  So you’re, like, dating some guy?”
Jake shook his head, breaking eye contact, escaping Chaz’s inquisitive, accusatory stare.  “No, it was just fooling around.  Nothing serious.”
“But you must have liked him.”
Jake hesitated.  “It was a few different guys, actually.”
Chaz’s mouth dropped open.  “So you’re bi and a slut—”
“Fuck you!”
“—and you just forgot to mention this, any of the, uh, hundreds of times that we’ve texted over the last year?”
“It’s not something you just put in a text!  I wanted to tell you in person.”
“Well, now you have.” 
“Jesus, what crawled up your ass and died?”
“I’m sorry; forgive me if I’m a little upset that my best friend didn’t want to tell me he rows on both sides of the boat!”
“...‘Rows on both sides of the boat’?  What?”  Jake cocked his head.
“Yeah, well....”  Chaz shrugged.  “It’s the best I could do in the heat of the moment.”  A corner of his mouth quirked up, and Jake’s annoyance slipped away.  No matter what else changed in his life, Chaz would always be Chaz. “So isn’t this the part where you’re supposed to tell me not to worry, because I’m not your type?”
Jake’s smile became fixed as he looked at the boy who’d been his best friend since they were twelve.  But Chaz was no longer that scrawny middle-schooler.  Last year at Dragon*con he’d been a big hit in a dog collar, black leather pants, and motorcycle boots, led around on a leash by their friend Paris.
That was when Jake had begun to think that he might be bi.  Or gay.  Or something, because Paris – tanned, muscled, and wearing nothing but a few strips of silver spandex that barely covered his junk. – had done nothing for him, but his first look at Chaz had sent him hurrying into a bathroom stall to take care of a boner the size of Michigan. 
It wasn’t that he hadn’t known about the costume; hell, he’d helped him pull all the pieces together.  But somehow the image in his head had fallen far, far short of reality.  He’d seen Chaz shirtless before, even naked before, in the locker room after P.E. when they were in high school, but seeing Chaz with his pants riding low on his narrow hips, smudgy, dark liner around his eyes, his dark hair spiked and sprinkled with glitter had broken down doors to a part of him he hadn’t even known about, opened his eyes to seeing his friend in an entirely different way, and now he couldn’t shut those doors or unsee that pale skin contrasting with the black leather of the trousers and dog collar.  He’d barely been able to look at him for the rest of the con, even when Chaz had been covered up, and it had been a relief to get back to school. 
Away from Chaz and his hipbones of doom, Jake hoped he’d get over it.  He started to think that maybe he’d imagined how good Chaz had looked.  But seeing Chaz in front of him now, dark eyes matching dark hair that brushed high cheekbones, a half-smile on his lips as he waited for Jake’s reply, Jake knew that he was losing the battle to control his hunger.  So as much as he hated lying to Chaz, he forced out a laugh and said, “So not my type.”
Chaz grasped his chest in mock-pain.  “Ah!  You wound me, sir!  Is there nothing I can do to win your favor?”
Jake pulled the sketch out of his backpack and dangled it in front of Chaz.  “You could cosplay Harry with me.”
“Oh, hell, no.”  Chaz pushed the sketch away.  “You might want a bunch of guys drooling over you, bi-boy, but I don’t.” 

So Jake was on his own on Friday, and maybe for the entire weekend.  He’d thrown on the Draco Malfoy costume that morning while Chaz was still in bed.  “You’re still gonna wear it?” Chaz had asked, pushing himself up on his elbows and rubbing his eyes.  “Even without a Harry?”
“I don’t need a Harry,” Jake snapped.  “The costume can stand on its own.”  Dammit, he’d fucked up the knot in the tie and had to start over.  “What, having second thoughts?”
“No.  And anyway, I said I’d help Jen,” Chaz muttered.
“What a gentleman,” Jake had said, trying (and failing) not to sound bitter. 
Chaz watched him stuff the end of the tie through the knot, then said, “It’s gonna take us awhile to get ready, so if you wanna go out and get something to eat, we can meet up later.”
“No, you’re obviously going to be too busy.  Have fun.  Maybe I’ll see you on Monday when it’s time to check out.” 
The tie was not cooperating.  He gave up and pulled it loose, then grabbed his wallet and con badge and left, unable to stay in the room a second longer.  He hadn’t seen Chaz or any of his roommates the rest of the day. 
Honestly, he was probably better off alone.  He’d been getting a steady stream of approving looks from most of the women and some of the men he’d passed since he’d left the hotel room, the ceiling lights shining off his now-platinum blond hair, Slytherin tie loosely knotted around his neck, kilt swinging with every step of his Doc Martens.  Better that Chaz wasn’t around to cock-block any…opportunities that might come up.
But no opportunities had come up that day.  There was still the rest of the weekend, but Friday had come and gone.  Jake eyes stung from fatigue and were probably red-rimmed.  He’d gotten almost no sleep Thursday night, not because of the noisy hotel atrium, but because of the sleeping arrangements in the hotel room.  He and Chaz were sharing a bed, Jen and Camille had the other bed, and Rob, Fortie, and Adit were in sleeping bags on the floor.  It was the same arrangement they’d all had two years ago, but two years ago, Chaz had just been Chaz, and therefore Jake had been blissfully able to sleep.  This year, Jake had been in agony, lying inches away from Chaz, trying to sleep with a rock-hard dick, and finally falling asleep only to wake with a start when Chaz rolled over, his breath warm in Jake’s face. 
Jake decided to head back to the room and go to bed early, maybe catch a few hours of sleep before Chaz came back and the torture started all over again.

He tried to move towards the elevators, but there was a huge knot of people in the way.  Jake peered around helmets, hats, and horns to see what the attraction was, and despite his exhaustion, he had to grin. 
It was a group of elves from different fandoms.  A Legolas, an Elrond, and an Arwen stood next to several glowering Drows, their black skin, white hair and leather armor contrasting wildly the bright green costume of a Will Ferrell look-alike dressed as the title character from “Elf”.
As he looked at the group, he locked eyes with one of the Drows.  Jake couldn’t read past the silver contacts and black face paint, but he saw those eyes flick down his body.  That look, along with the slight curve of lips showing pointed, prosthetic teeth, told Jake everything he needed to know.
No time to play coy.  Jake took his time blatantly checking out the Drow’s body, and there was a lot of it on display.  The guy was slightly taller than Jake, and built -- not bulky at all, but with a lot of flat, toned muscle under his skin, which was covered in black body paint that would probably be a bitch to wash off later.  Jake had to admit that the paint really did enhance the nicely defined biceps, the flat abs with just a suggestion of a six-pack, the long, sinewy legs and the glimpse of curving ass under the loincloth that was open on both sides. 
A twinge of guilt jittered through Jake when he realized that if he compared last year’s Chaz in leather to this guy, Chaz came in second.  But that was good.  It was good.  Chaz was off-limits.  Jake had already put a strain on their friendship by lusting after Chaz, even if Chaz hadn’t known it.  The guys Jake had fooled around with at college had been cute and temporarily distracting, but none of them had been able to bump Chaz from the position of Hottest Guy Evar in Jake’s head. 
  This Drow, though....Jake adjusted his sporran to hide the erection he was getting as he stared at the nearly naked ass.  Maybe this guy could become the new standard for Lust Object so that Chaz could go back to being Best Friend Object.  It was worth a shot, anyway.
And why was Jake even thinking about Chaz anyway?  If Chaz didn’t want to cosplay with him, if he wanted to hang out with Jen instead and let her dress him up, then fuck him.  Jake was going seize the day, or more specifically, seize the Drow, if he was reading the situation correctly.
He smiled back at the guy, then unscrewed the cap from his water bottle and took a long drink, tipping his head back to show off his throat.  When he looked again, the guy’s grin was wider, showing more of those pointy teeth.  Jake jerked his head slightly towards the side of the room.  His new acquaintance didn’t hesitate.  He leaned over to whisper something to his friends, who nodded, then he moved towards Jake.
Jake turned and headed for the stairwell.  No one took these stairs; Jake had discovered that the year before when he and Chaz had decided to walk them instead of waiting for an elevator.  They’d raced each other to the top of each flight of stairs, and when they’d gotten to their room, they’d collapsed in a sweaty mess on their bed, laughing and panting.  The next night Chaz had paraded around on that leash, and Jake had barely been able to look him in the eye since then.
No.  Jake shook his head to shake the memory away.  He looked back over his shoulder.  The guy was still following him, still showing those pointy teeth when his eyes met Jake’s.  Jake couldn’t keep from smirking.  At least someone appreciated his costume. 
When he got to the door to the stairwell, he resisted looking around – that would just raise suspicions if anyone happened to be watching them.  He pushed open the door and headed up the stairs, his blood beginning to thrum as he heard booted feet following him.  Three floors up would probably be safe.  
On the landing between the third and fourth floors, Jake stopped and leaned against the wall, waiting.  The Drow joined him a few seconds later.  They stood, staring at each other for a few seconds, then Jake stepped forward, pushing lightly on the Drow’s chest, backing him up against the opposite wall.  Jake thought he looked a little confused – it was hard to tell with the paint, prosthetics, and contacts – but he didn’t try to move away from Jake, not even when Jake pushed right into his personal space so that they were kilt-to-loincloth, Jake’s fingers resting lightly on the Drow’s thighs.  He wondered if this guy was going commando, too.  He could ask him, or....
The Drow opened his mouth, but no words came out, only a gasp, because Jake had slid his hand under that loincloth, his thumb resting in the crease between thigh and balls.  He had on some kind of underwear...ah, it was a thong, Jake discovered when he reached around behind the Drow to cup an ass-cheek with his other hand.  The move brought them even closer together. 
If this had been a hook-up in a bar, Jake might have kissed the guy, or licked his neck or his chest, but every visible inch of skin was covered with black paint.  He pressed his lips to the Drow’s neck where some of the paint had rubbed away and held them there for a moment.  If the paint was toxic, you wouldn’t be able to have it all over your skin, would you?  He pulled his head back and looked into the Drow’s silver eyes.
“Is there any part of you that doesn’t have paint on it?”
The Drow laughed through those pointed teeth and shifted his hips so that his package brushed against Jake’s hand.  Jake cupped it.
“Yeah, good, but I meant anywhere else.”
The Drow seemed to think about it for a second then hesitantly lifted his arms and put his hands on his head, glancing down at his armpits and then back up to Jake.  Jake stared for a moment at the picture in front of him – whether on purpose of not, the guy had struck a classic pin-up pose:  biceps and deltoids and pecs, oh, my.  Even the incongruity of pale skin surrounded by black paint wasn’t enough to cool the lust that flared up instantly in Jake.
He dove nose-first into the Drow’s right armpit, sniffing deeply.  The combination of Old Spice and clean male sweat turned him on even more, and he rubbed his hand up and down the front of the thong.  The Drow jerked, his breath hitching as Jake began sucking the skin of his armpit, and Jake smiled when he felt a hand creep around his hip to grab his ass.  He lifted the Drow’s arm higher with his left hand, pinning it to the wall, and continued to lick and suck at the warm, slightly salty skin, squeezing the rapidly hardening dick and pressing his own erection into the Drow’s hip. 
He worked his hand inside the thong and was rewarded with a gasp.  The Drow was fully erect now and began pushing into Jake’s hand, a sexy growl coming out of him with each thrust of his hips.  Jake gave the armpit hair one last tug with his teeth, then shifted his weight, turning slightly to create more space between them.  The Drow took the hint, and moved his free hand from Jake’s ass to his dick, gripping it nice and tight and matching his movements to what Jake was doing.
The Drow had his head tipped back against the wall, and Jake leaned in, moving his lips against the Drow’s throat, getting another gasp and moan.  He bit his jaw gently, then slid his lips up to the Drow’s mouth but pulled back when his tongue felt pointy teeth.  “Do those come out?” he asked.
“Yearh.”  The Drow pulled his hand free from where Jake held it against the wall and pulled out the prosthetics.  As soon as they were out, Jake moved in to kiss him, and that was all it took.  The teeth hit the floor as the guy grabbed onto Jake’s shoulder, moaning into his mouth and coming, soaking the loincloth and Jake’s kilt.  The moan and the hot wetness pushed Jake over the edge as well, and he fell against the guy, letting him continue to stroke and squeeze the last bit of orgasm out of him, until his dick was finally too sensitive and he made him stop.
He stayed there for a moment, leaning against the Drow as they both caught their breath, then he peeled his hand off the guy’s dick and wiped it on the underside of his kilt.  The Drow wiped his own hand and thighs with his loincloth, then looked up at Jake.  Jake smiled at him and kissed him again to show his appreciation.  This kiss didn’t curl Jake’s toes like the first one had, but it was warm and affectionate.  When he pulled back, the Drow leaned in for another kiss, coaxing Jake’s mouth open, pressing his tongue inside.  Jake sucked on it, surprised at how good it felt.  Even though he’d just come, he could tell that he would be hard again in a few minutes, just from the way this guy tasted.
He rested his hands on the Drow’s hips, just above the belt holding the loincloth up, and an image flashed into his mind of Chaz’s hipbones, visible above the low-riding leather pants he wore last year.  He broke the kiss, muttering “No,” against the Drow’s lips, but to himself, trying to make the image go away so he could enjoy this moment.  At least this time the image had held off until after he’d come, but he was pissed off that a memory of the guy he couldn’t have kept intruding on encounters with guys he could have.  It had to stop.  He wasn’t going to let one event in the past color every single sexual encounter in the future.  “Fuck off, Chaz.”
Oops.  He hadn’t meant to say that out loud.  The Drow pulled back and stared at him.  Jake shook his head, knowing he must have sounded crazy, but before could explain, the Drow bent down, scooped up the fake teeth from the floor, and said, “Fuck off yourself, Jake.”
Oh, no.  No, no, no.
Jake felt numb, stunned.  He’d just given his best friend a handjob.  His straight best friend.  Oh, god, and he’d kissed him, too!  “Oh, god, Chaz, I’m so sorry.”
“Why?”
“Why what?”
“Why are you sorry?” Chaz snapped, shoving the teeth into a bag hanging from his belt.  “For telling me to fuck off, or for messing up my costume – by the way, thanks a lot, Jen’s going to kill me – or for being a lying little fuck and telling me you’re so not attracted to me.  Because I think the way you were all over me just now tells a different story.”
“I didn’t know it was you.”
Chaz cocked his head and narrowed his eyes.  “Oh, that makes it better?  You would rather jerk off some stranger in a stairwell than touch me, your best friend, who has been waiting patiently for over a year now for you to get your head out of your ass and realize….”
“Realize?”
Chaz hesitated, then rolled his eyes.  “Realize that I’m right here.”
“Are you telling me,” Jake began carefully, “that you row on both sides of the boat?”
Chaz snorted.  “Not as much as you, apparently.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Jake shouted.  “When did this happen?  What was all that ‘Ew, these costumes are too gay’ bullshit you pulled last month?”
“No, you first.  How often do you have sex with strangers in stairwells?  Have you been careful?”
“Okay.  Um.  Sex with strangers in stairwells:  not that often.  I’ve...there were only four guys, just handjobs and a couple of blowjobs.  No big deal.  And none of them in stairwells.”
“No big deal?  Blowjobs aren’t a big deal?”
“Look I’ll give you all the lurid details later if you want, but—”
“Yeah, okay.  So nothing to worry about?”
“No.  I’ve been tested, and I’m okay.”
Some of the tension went out of Chaz’s shoulders.  “Okay.  Good.”  He stepped forward and smacked Jake in the chest with both his hands, knocking him back a step.  “How could you possibly not know it was me?”
“How could I know it was you?  What the hell did you do?  You’re all....”  Jake waved his hand at Chaz’s torso.  “You did not look like that last year.  I mean, you were fucking hot then, too, but where did all the muscle come from?”
“Wait, you thought I was hot last year?”
“Uh, yeah.  I had to go, um, ‘relieve’ myself when Paris was pulling you around on that leash.”
“Wait....I thought you thought he was hot.”
“Paris?”
“Yeah.  All those bulging muscles.”
“Too much.”  Jake shook his head.
“So all that time I spent in the gym trying to bulk up, I could have just skipped it?”
“Hey, I’m not saying I don’t like this.”  Jake reached out a hand to touch Chaz’s stomach, then stopped himself, dropping his hand to his side. 
“It’s okay.  You’ve had your hand in worse places.  Or should I say ‘better’?”  He grinned.
“Fuck.”  Jake shook his head again.  “I still can’t believe it’s you.  And I can’t believe you let me do it, what the fuck?  I thought you were straight!”
Chaz laughed.  “I am.  Sort of.”  He shrugged.  “Okay, not as much as I thought.  But that’s your fault.”  His lips quirked.  Finally, a familiar look under the paint.  “You’re really...hm.  How to say this so you won’t get an extremely over-inflated ego.  You’re not repulsive.”
“Gee, thanks.”
“And I began to notice that you…weren’t repulsive the summer after high school.  And I began having...thoughts.  About my best friend.  Thoughts you aren’t supposed to have about your best friend, especially when you’re both straight dudes.  So I figured that maybe I was wrong about the ‘straight’ thing, about me.  And maybe about you, too.  So when Paris needed someone to put on the leash, I thought I could use it as a, a kind of test, to see if maybe you were on any kind of sliding Kinsey scale.”
“You were testing me?”
“Yeah.  And it worked, sort of, except it kind of backfired.  Or not, I guess.  First I thought you were mad, then I thought it was Paris who got you worked up, so I was right but bummed, and then you were obviously freaking out about it; you were really quiet the rest of the con, and I felt really bad.  Then you show up with those costumes that would fit right in on a Gay Pride float and tell me you’re bi, and that was good, I thought that you’d figured it out and that maybe you realized that I...wasn’t repulsive, either, but then you go and tell me you’ve been sleeping around and I’m not your type!”  Chaz sucked in a breath, giving Jake an opportunity to jump in.
“I haven’t been sleeping around!”
“Yes, well.  Be that as it may,” Chaz enunciated, “I think I am.  Your type.”  He pushed his bottom lip out, stubborn, and glared at Jake.  “So tell me why we can’t be together.  Like that.  You’re not seeing anyone seriously.”  He blinked.  “Oh.  Crap.  You said you weren’t seeing any guys.  Are you...do you have a girlfriend?”
“No.  Girls have been off my radar since those fucking leather pants.”
“Okay, good.  So?”
“So what?”
“So are you my boyfriend now?”
Jake thought about it.  He had a best friend, and it would be nice to have a boyfriend, and it seemed really stupid to not have them be the same person, even if it would be a somewhat long-distance relationship while they were still in school.  The sex hadn’t really been that great with any of his casual hook-ups, probably because the only person he really wanted to be that intimate with was Chaz.  “Yeah.  I guess.”
“Wow.  That was so romantic, I think I’m gonna cry.”
“Asshole.”
You’re the asshole.”
They grinned at each other.  Chaz hooked a finger into the top of Jake’s kilt and pulled him forward for a kiss, then both boys jumped as a door banged open on the floor below them.  The sound of girls talking and laughing carried up to them.
“Shit!  Um....”  Jake put a finger to his lips and waited, hoping the girls would be going downstairs, but no such luck.  As they got closer, Jake grabbed the pocket guide out of his bag and flipped it open so that he and Chaz could pretend to be looking at it.
The group of girls stopped when they got to the landing and saw the boys.
“Hey,” Jake said, smiling in what he hoped was a reassuring way.
“Hi,” responded one girl, who was dressed like a pirate.  None of the rest said anything.  After a few seconds, the girls walked past the boys and continued up the stairs in silence. 
Jake blew out a breath when he heard the door on the fifth floor open, but his relief was short-lived when he heard an explosion of laughter from above, along with squeals of “Oh my god!” 
Jake looked at Chaz, who looked back at him, biting his lip.  “You’ve got a little....”  He pointed at Jake’s mouth. 
Jake rubbed at his mouth; his finger came away black.  “Shit!”  He looked down at himself.  His arms and chest had black smudges on them, as did the Slytherin tie.  Jake looked at Chaz, and he could see quite clearly where patches of paint had been rubbed away.  They corresponded exactly with the smudges on his own body.  He shut his eyes for a moment, but opened them again when he heard Chaz snickering. 
“Yes, it’s exactly what it looks like.”
Jake grinned in spite of himself.  “Yeah, fuck ‘em.”
“I’m ready to go back to the room and wash this off anyway.  Wanna help?”  He waggled his white-coated eyebrows.
“Yeah.  I really want to see you.”
Chaz went still.  “Oh.  Oh.”
“Do not get sappy on me, or I will punch you right in the—aw, crap.”
“What?”
“We can’t threaten that anymore.  Now we’ve got a vested interest in keeping each other’s nards in good working condition.”
“Heh.  Good point.  We’ll just have to figure out another threat.”
They grinned at each other, then Chaz pushed Jake against the wall and kissed him, black-painted hands moving up under the kilt.  But before they moved too far, the stairwell door banged again, and the boys sprang apart. 
“I thought no one used these stairwells,” Jake grumbled.
“We shouldn’t be doing this here anyway,” Chaz said, starting up the stairs.  “I don’t want to get us kicked out of the con, plus I like my privacy.  Come on.”
Jake walked behind Chaz.  They had gone up two flights of stairs before Chaz asked, “Are you looking up my loincloth?”
“Yes.”
“Good.”
Jake laughed.  “It’s going to be hard for me to keep my hands off you now.”
Chaz stopped on a landing and turned around.  “Why do you have to?”
“Because you like your privacy?”
“No one’s here now.”
Jake lunged, grabbing Chaz’s face and kissing him, rubbing up against him, even though he knew more paint would come off. 
“Stop, stop,” Chaz said, pushing Jake away.  “I’m gonna come again if you keep doing that.”
Jake wiped his mouth.  “God, I’m gonna come again if you keep talking like that.”
“We have to get back to the room.” 
They began climbing the stairs again, moving more quickly.  “So all this time,” Chaz asked, following behind Jake, “you were trying to not lust over me while I was trying not to lust over you?”
“Yeah.”
“That’s pretty lame.”
“Yeah.”
“You know, girls might be onto something, with the whole ‘talking about your feelings’ thing they do.”
Jake thought about it, then shook his head.  “Nah.  It all worked out anyway.”  He slowed his steps.  “But…for a while I thought....I thought you didn’t want to be friends anymore.”
Chaz took two steps in one jump to catch up with him.  “How could you think that?  We’ll always be friends.  We can’t not be friends.”
“Yeah, okay.  But…you were so set on not being around me for Dragon*con this year.”
“I never said that!  I just said I didn’t want to wear that costume you came up with.  You’re the one that went storming out of the room this morning.  And if you didn’t want to lust after me, why would you want me to wear it in the first place?”
“Because I’m a masochist?”
“Ooh, kinky.”  Chaz’s teeth flashed white against the black paint.
“Shut up.”  Jake laughed, then frowned.  “Yeah, shut up and explain to me why you flipped out over it.  The gayness is obviously not a problem, so what was wrong with it?”
“I didn’t flip out over it, I just said I didn’t want to wear it for the con.  I meant what I said, that I don’t want a bunch of strangers ogling me.”
“Uh, hate to break it to you, but your current costume—”
“—Yeah, well, Jen kind of forgot to mention that part.  But at least I can hide behind the body paint.  What I was trying to say, before you so rudely interrupted, is that I wouldn’t mind one person ogling me.  In private.”  He smiled at Jake.
“Oh.”
“Yeah, ‘oh’.”
“You know...I brought the costume with me, just in case.  It’s in my suitcase.”
“Race you to the room, Malfoy.”


~ the end ~