When All Hope Was LostStarted by Brendon Dean at May 30, 2020 8:10 pm
Brendon chuckled. "I'll have to take your word for it for now." He needed to get over a few fears anyway, so why not start with his fear of dogs? He needed to be more afraid of the Avarus. At least dogs were easier to handle.
He pulled a face at Ryan's comment, remembering the smell more than anything. Who knew cheetos and coke could stink a place out? "Oh, I remember. I remember better than I wish I did." He laughed, shaking his head. He was positive, that on clear, cloudless nights, he could still smell it. It actually made him feel a little sick thinking about it. He smiled at Ryan. "Don't mention it. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for sure." Aside from all the death and murder and horrible, horrible things neither of them should have seen at that age. Ryan certainly helped shape him for a while.
"For sure." Brendon paused for a moment, thinking about it. He didn't like dwelling on it for too long, even though it had only happened a short while ago. Still, there was plenty to distract him. "It's still full of crap!" He replied, smirking. "But, y'know, to be fair..." He found what he was looking for and crawled back out of the tent. "It is pretty cosy." He set the plates down. "Bet it gets nice and toasty in there at night."
Ryan couldn't help but laugh at the face he made, though it was a sympathetic one. He remembered that night all too well for a myriad of reasons, really. "It was chunky, Bren! Chunky! I thought I was going to die!" Of course he hadn't, but might as well get dramatic about it now, right? It was just... easier to laugh about things. That way, you didn't have to really think about them and get... Well... Best not to go there... "Honestly? Same," he agreed softly. There was... so many ways Brendon had helped him when they were younger, and he could never fully articulate them all, keeping him grounded and stopping him from giving up entirely. He could safely say he was only around because of the guy...
His mood perked right back up when Brendon emerged from the tent, grinning big. "Oh hell yeah it does!" he laughed softly. "Makes for the best sleep I've had in years! Course, you're welcome to share, y'know. Won't make you sleep in the Barracks 'cause that's a crappy time..." He took the plates, cautiously dishing up some food as Shiloh crawled over on her belly, hoping for some scraps to drop. "Shi..." he warned her softly, handing Brendon a plate. "Wait." She whined softly at him, but he paid it no mind, instead turning his attention to the now-boiling pot of water. He got them each a cup of instant coffee made, tossed the meat he'd set aside for Shiloh to her, and then finally moved to sit in the grass. "Eat as much as you want. Bronwyn's got a couple deer already, and I think I saw Vince and Bryce bringing another one back, so there's plenty to go around," he assured his friend with a little smile. No doubt the poor guy was probably starving for some proper food, and he couldn't fault him for that in the slightest. Canned meat sucked...
"I know it was chunky, man! So was mine!" Brendon would likely never forget the look on his mother's face when he'd returned home almost covered in chunky orange vomit. She'd stripped him off and practically threw him in the bathroom. He was sure his father was about to hose him down with the shower head. It'd been one of the best times, though, even if they had both been covered in chunky orange vomit. "I'd give anything to be able to go back to then. I'd say so many things to you." His little boyhood crush would have been brought up, that was for sure.
He smiled more. "Sounds like a nest. There's no way I'm sleeping anywhere else but in there." He gestured to the tent. Just the thought of it made him want to sleep already. He chuckled, looking round at Shiloh as he took his plate. "Thanks." He added, smiling at Ryan again before getting himself settled. He was hungry, Ryan was right in that regard, but Brendon couldn't let himself just cram everything into his mouth at once. "This smells amazing." He was so focused on the food he barely even heard what Ryan said. Was he drooling? He felt like he was and hastily wiped his mouth.
As Brendon's hand jumped to his mouth, Ryan was almost positive he'd spotted a little trickle of drool, and laughed softly. The sound soon faded out, however, realizing just how hungry he was, and he fell silent to simply shovel food into his mouth instead. While there was cutlery around, and even some in the tent, he preferred to use his hands for meals like this, always had really, and he wasn't the slightest bit ashamed of it. "Crap... I forgot the green onion," he said finally, having spotted them still sitting on the makeshift food prep board. "You like 'em?" He glanced to Brendon as he got up with a little groan, plate in hand, and grabbed the vegetables to bring back to where they were sitting, offering him one before crunching away at one himself. The green bits were the best for snacking, and he'd usually save the section closer to the root for cooking actual meals.
Chewing on the green shoots, he got to thinking... There were a lot of things running through his mind, but something Brendon had said stuck out almost painfully. A curious yet almost confused expression overtook his face as he turned to the man, trying to work out the words in his mind before speaking them. "You... said that you would've said stuff if we went back to being teenagers?" It shouldn't have been a question, but he was curious about it and that's exactly how it came out. "Cause... I've... got some stuff I would've said too... but you go first!" An intense shyness overtook him, something he hadn't felt with this ferocity since him and Brendon had been teens, and... Well, there'd been quite a few times where he let his imagination run wild when Brendon would get a little too close or do one of the seemingly million things that send his heart right into his throat before he tried to hide his awkwardness, yet had only ever made it worse. Now, the feeling was starting to come back with a vengeance, no matter how hard he tried to swallow it down, and he could feel his ears beginning to burn, praying it didn't travel across the rest of his face...
"...say nothing..." Brendon muttered, catching Ryan's laugh. He had a smirk on his own face, but nothing could hide the slight blush that came to his cheeks. He lifted one of the dumplings and bit it in half, much more delicately than he would have done if he was alone. He was hungry, sure, but he wasn't an animal. Even though he could happily have shoved them all in his mouth at once. Would Ryan judge him? Would Ryan really care? He looked up when the other mentioned the green onions, and in the time he wasn't looking at him, Brendon forced two more dumplings in his mouth and chewed quickly. He let out a groan; it was the best thing he could remember eating for a long time. "I really do..." He managed to get out after swallowing hard. He took one of the green onions and groaned again when he bit into that. A fresh vegetable! Holy crap!
He stopped eating when Ryan spoke again, actually looking a little scared. In a good way, though, if that was such a thing. His blush darkened slightly. "Um..." He let out a laugh. "Wow, talk about putting me in a spot." He lowered his plate and thought about it for a moment or two. "Well...um...for starters...you remember when I asked out that girl down the street?" He gave Ryan a minute in case he didn't remember her right away. "I only asked her out to make you jealous." And partially so his dad didn't know he was into guys. His dad hadn't been the most tolerant of people when it came to attraction.
"Wasn't gonna..." Ryan mumbled as another giggle bubbled to the surface. In all honesty, he didn't care how Brendon ate, so long as he couldn't hear him chewing or breathing when he did it. Stuffing his face though? Nah, he didn't care in the slightest. The giggle came right back when Brendon groaned at the green onion, clearly amused. "Maybe we can go by the greenhouses and see if Bronwyn's got some more onion to trade... and grab some more potatoes." If they could easily get their hands on it, he'd happily get Brendon whatever foods he wanted. He could remember his first few days in Bosler, and being the exact same way about things.
"Sorry," he mumbled sheepishly. The nerves had kicked in hard, and he suddenly couldn't look at Brendon, lapsing into an awkward silence and just nodding at the question. Then the bomb dropped. "Well, it worked..." he practically whispered, falling silent again as he searched for the right words. "It really worked... S'why I got grandma to tell you I was grounded..." In truth, he'd spent that entire two weeks curled up in bed, utterly miserable. "S'why that thing with Mark happened too... To get back at you." It'd been a shitty idea from the start, and he was already drunk by the time he'd gone over to get Brendon. The fact that he made his poor best friend sit there and watch him be all over someone else like that? It killed him... "I... I'm sorry... I just... I really like you, like a lot, and I was fucking stupid and confused, and I didn't even know what it was back then. I just know its not as friends, and I don't know what to do about it... I fucked up... Big time..." The words came out pitiful and weak, and he hadn't even noticed when he slipped up on tense, giving himself away completely. He still felt exactly the same way as he had all those years ago. "That's why I was acting so weird when you came over for my birthday too... I wanted to... y'know..." He couldn't finish the thought, face burning an intense shade of red as that all-too-familiar shyness practically kicked him in the teeth.
"Cool." Brendon grinned at Ryan, then nodded when he spoke about trading. "Do they need any help in the greenhouses? I'd be more than happy to help." He wasn't entirely sure how else he would be able to contribute to the group at the end of the day. He didn't have many skills, and he doubted he'd be trusted enough to go out on raids or anything like that. There had to be a way for him to start at the bottom and work his way up, right? He couldn't stay an outsider for every, after all.
He wasn't sure how he felt when Ryan admitted that his plan to make him jealous had work. His stomach somersaulted and for a moment or two he was sure he was about to throw up. "Oh...wow..." He'd had a massive crush on Ryan, of course, but he'd honestly had no idea the feeling was mutual. His cheeks flushed more and he cleared his throat as he listened. "...really? Wow...well, that worked too." He'd gone round Mark's house one night with a bunch of old tomatoes and some leftover eggs. Needless to say, he returned home carrying considerably less than when he'd gone out. He let out a small laugh as Ryan continued. "I really like you too..." It felt extremely cathartic to say it out loud. And to learn Ryan felt the same way! It was magic! "Oh!" He blinked, then let out another small laugh. "Wanted to what? ...vanish off with some cake and...eat it alone?" It was a terrible metaphor of course, but they had been kids after all.
Ryan thought for a moment on the question. "Uhm, maybe? We can definitely ask about it, but it might take a bit before Bronwyn and the others really let you do a lot in there. They gotta get to know you, and stuff." Hell, he'd been here nearly 6 months already, and it was only recently when he'd been allowed to be in the greenhouse alone. Brendon, though? He had no doubts Bronwyn would warm up to him quickly enough.
Everything Brendon said... It seemed to just squeeze the air from his lungs just that little bit more... In the best possible way, of course... Then, all at once it seemed to lift, and he managed to suck in a shaky breath that was halfway to a chuckle at the cake thing. "I mean... Your mum does make a damn good chocolate cake so it was tempting, but no..." Clearly the metaphor had been completely lost on him, as usual. He hesitated for what felt like an eternity, slowly working up courage with his bottom lip clamped firmly between his teeth. His next move happened quick, popping up onto his knees and leaning forward to press a surprisingly innocent kiss against Brendon's lips, but he lingered there for perhaps a second too long before sitting back in the grass. It was executed with all the clumsy inexperience of the freshly fifteen year old he'd once been. "That..." he mumbled breathlessly, feeling his face sear to a violent shade of red. Despite everything else, a sense of giddiness was beginning to creep in, and it was beginning to show in that shy smile of his. Brendon liked him too! Brendon liked him too! Brendon liked him too!!! He wanted to scream and dance, and just... act a total fucking fool, but he managed to keep himself under control.
Was Brendon all that surprised when Ryan told him he wasn't likely to be allowed in the greenhouses right away? Not really. He would probably have run things the same way. After all, he could have been a real bastard and just wrecked everything in there the first chance he got. Or tried to poison them all. Or steal things and run. Or...wow. His train of thought surprised himself a lot of the time too. "Good call." He nodded, not elaborating on it. Ryan would understand. He always did.
He chuckled and nodded again. "Yeah, she did." Brendon felt a dull ache in his chest at the mention of his mother's chocolate cake. It wasn't a special cake or anything, seeing as she tended to bake most things at the drop of a hat, or whenever he or his father mentioned they were feeling a little something spongy, but the fact he might never get the chance to taste it again? Or even see his mother again. He cleared his throat, trying to avoid a potential awkward crying outburst. He didn't have long to dwell on it, thought, as before he knew what was happening, Ryan had pressed their lips together. He felt a warmth flood through him, running down to the tips of his fingers and toes. He was sure he'd be able to fry an egg on his face with how warm it was. "Oh." He looked at Ryan. "That. Okay." He was so nervous! His stomach was somersaulting and he felt a little lightheaded. "Well um...that...wow, you kissed me." He laughed and looked at Ryan for a few moments. "I thought about doing that a lot, you know."
Ryan nodded at that. "Never know, right?" he added with a playful little grin. There was no point in going into the why of things, as they clearly both knew already. "But yeah, we'll talk to her. See what's up there."
The giddiness was hitting full force, and he could do nothing but give into it, giggling softly. "Yeah," he mumbled, a shy smile creeping its way across his face. Doing that felt... Indescribable. Somehow perfectly right yet utterly forbidden. His stomach flipped and his heart lept into his throat at the very thought of what he'd done. "I did," he giggled, sounding absolutely stunned with himself, or like he didn't believe he'd even done it. "Uhm... Well... You can if you want... Any time...." It was clear that he was struggling to get the words out past his nerves, but he somehow managed and it was honestly better than he could've hoped for in the first place. Fuck, today was one of the best days of his life, if he was being honest. It even beat out that first day of freedom after escaping the work camp! "Uhm... We should probably go find Bronwyn... before it gets too late, and she gets into the wine..." he mumbled awkwardly, though he made absolutely zero attempt to get up or even really move. He was just... Well, he was plain stupefied at the moment...