Somehow ended up watching a couple clips from "Friends" that inspired this.


Really, the signs had been there for a while, Soren realized.

For starters, Callum had begun spending quite a few nights coming back to the apartment late at night or in the wee hours of the morning (as Rayla put it). His scarf, which Soren had rarely seen him without since he'd received the damn thing as a present, went missing sometimes for a few days at a time before reappearing around his roommate's neck… which now often had small red or purple marks on it in positions that Soren knew meant Callum had been seeing someone. And he'd figured that had been the case; he just hadn't had any idea as to who that someone could possibly be.

That is, until now.

Now he'd walked into their shared apartment to find a shirtless (but thankfully not braless) Rayla making out with an equally-shirtless Callum in a chair. She was straddling the brown-haired man in a way that Soren could tell meant this was far from the first time that they'd done this. And that was to say nothing of the fact that Callum—awkward, sweet, goofy, gentlemanly Callum—had his hands firmly on Rayla's ass and was squeezing it through her jeans.


Rayla fell off Callum with a yelp, the chair falling over from the force of Callum jerking backwards and causing him to spill onto the floor. His green eyes met Soren's blue, a look of guilt and slight panic to them as Rayla retrieved a shirt (Callum's, Soren noted) from the floor and ran into the bathroom. Soren heard the door slam shut behind her and the lock click. She definitely wasn't coming out of there for a while.

"H-hey, Soren," Callum greeted him nervously. "You, uh, you're home! Early!"

"You—what the hell did I just walk in on?!"

"Look, just… just calm down and we'll explain… as soon as I convince Rayla to come out of the bathroom."

"Nuts to that! I've got to tell Claudia!"

Before Soren could even get halfway back to the door, Rayla was out of the bathroom and she'd tackled him to the floor like she had the first time he'd scoffed at her trying to join a football game he and some of his buddies were setting up for fun.

"Ow! Ow! Watch the face!"

"Let us explain," Rayla insisted. Callum had disappeared.

"Okay, okay, just let me up!"

She did just that and forcefully led him to the couch, blocking his exit. Callum reemerged from his bedroom wearing a simple T-shirt and his scarf.

"So… how long has this been going on?" he asked.

"Remember our trip to the Oasis?" Callum replied sheepishly. "Um… since then."

"That was three months ago—what the hell, you two?!"

"We wanted ta keep it between us fer a while," Rayla spoke up.

"Let me get this straight—for the past three months, you two have been sneaking around behind everyone's backs to hook up? What kind of friends-with-benefits—"

"It's not like that. We're together together." Callum crossed his arms.

"Oh my God…" Soren looked shell-shocked. "You've been dating…"

"Three months. Don't need ta repeat it."

"And nobody else knows?! Like, not even Ezran?!"

"Nope," Callum confirmed. "We just wanted to enjoy it without all the fuss that would come from it."

"Oh… okay. But you can't do it forever."

"We're planning to start telling people soon. It's just… kind of fun to sneak around."

"Wow. I can't believe you hid this from Claudia, too."

Callum shrugged and kissed Rayla on the cheek.

"You should probably head home. We're clearly not getting the alone time we thought we were."

Rayla rolled her eyes and nonchalantly stole his scarf from around his neck.

"I'll be holdin' onta this until next time, then."

"I'll get it back from you. Love you."

The door closed behind the elf and Soren still looked shocked.

"Please tell me that you're not going to tell Claudia," Callum sighed.

"She's got to know eventually! Rayla lives with her!"

"I know, okay? But it's especially sticky territory because Rayla's an elf and I'm a human and blah blah blah. People aren't just going to accept it like you do."

"Uh, I haven't accepted it because I just almost saw a completely topless Rayla making out with my roommate in the chair I use for playing video games, which I now have to disinfect by the way."

"That's fair. Just don't tell Claudia or Ezran or anybody else."

"No problem as long as you two keep it in your room and don't do anything out here."


The two shook hands and Callum sighed. Soren then noticed fresh bruises up and down his neck.

"Damn. How did all of us miss this?!"

"Dunno, but I'm glad Rayla and I got to just be quietly together for a while."

Soren shrugged and went to grab some disinfectant.

"Use Agi!"

"I don't think it's weak to fire, Ez!" Callum pressed the button on his controller and the monster onscreen fell to the ground as it was hit by gunfire. Callum's little party surrounded the beast and beat the crap out of it, the battle end-screen depicting his character and the words SHOW'S OVER.

"And it's dead!" Ezran whooped.

"What are you dorks doin'?" Rayla asked, entering with bags of groceries.

"Playing a few rounds of Persona 5," Ezran replied. "Callum sucks at it."

"I do not. I'm not used to it like you are. There's a lot to remember."

Ezran shrugged and went over to the counter.

"What'd you get?"

"Stuff fer dinner. Callum suggested the three of us hang out while Soren and Claudia are out of town."

"Um… are you cooking?" Rayla raised an eyebrow.


"I… can Callum cook instead?"

"Hm… I would be offended by that if I weren't the worst cook in our little group here. So yeah, he can cook instead and I can give this game a go."

"Cool! Callum, you okay with that?"

"Yes. Definitely." He stood up and went into the kitchen, leaving the controller on the chair and beginning to help Rayla put the groceries away. Ezran went to go save the game and set up a file for Rayla.

"I'm pretty sure the other reason ya wanna cook is because of what happened last time."

"You burned water. How do you do that?!"

"It's not my fault I'm a lousy cook!"

"Right. I know that. It just means I'll have to cook for you for the rest of your life. I don't mind, though."

Rayla giggled, then pulled on Callum's scarf, bringing him into a kiss. He wrapped his arms around her, deepening the kiss slightly.

"Uh… guys…?"

They both remembered Ezran was still in the room.

And that he had no idea they were in a relationship.


Looking up, they saw Ezran staring at them with a wide-eyed look of confusion.

"Last time I checked, you two didn't do stuff like that—what happened?"

"Oh… sorry, Ez," Callum chuckled nervously. "Um, yeah, so this is a thing now."

He gestured between himself and Rayla while she covered her face in embarrassment. Ezran glanced between them, then his mouth dropped.


"Yeah, we're together."

"That's… that's awesome!" Ezran's blue eyes lit up. "This means that Rayla's going to be my sister for real one day!"


He started laughing as Callum started sputtering about how they hadn't gotten anywhere near that far yet and that it was a long way off if it was on the horizon. Rayla laughed right along with Ezran, finally shutting her boyfriend up by kissing him.

Something was going on with Rayla. That much was obvious.

Claudia had begun rooming with Rayla right out of college when the elf had permanently moved to Katolis and needed a place to live after leaving the dorms. It had been at Ezran's insistence that Claudia let Rayla move in, despite the bad blood between the two girls. Once they'd gotten past the whole 'dark magic' debacle, they'd become best friends who always had each other's backs. That friendship had been solidified when they'd tag-teamed a couple of drunk wannabe playboys at a party one night who'd been trying to get with them. Since then, Claudia and Rayla didn't keep secrets from each other, especially when it came to their love lives and who they were dating. These past three months had been weird because of Rayla hiding something.

She sighed as she entered the apartment and hung her keys on the hook by the door. Her job had sent her on a small trip to go speak at a conference in Duren, a conference that had ended a day earlier than expected. She hadn't called when she was on her way home because she wanted to surprise everyone. Now it was time to surprise Rayla.

Approaching her roommate's door, she was surprised to hear Rayla giggling. Claudia furrowed her brow. Rayla wasn't a giggler. Even if she was watching something hilarious, she'd laugh out loud and laugh hard. Curious, Claudia pressed her ear to Rayla's door.


"You're so cute when you giggle, though."

Callum. That was Callum's voice.

What the actual fuck?!

"I don't do cute, Mr. Mage. I only do badass and sexy."

"You can be pretty cute when you wanna be, though."

Holy fuck. What is going on?!

Claudia was tempted to burst in and figure this out, but she held herself back. Her mind was screaming that she did not want to see what was going on in there.

"That being said, you can be pretty sexy, too."

That was it. Rayla and Callum were definitely in some kind of relationship. She didn't know if it was romantic or just friends-with-benefits, but they were together in some way, shape, or form.

She was hyperventilating now, backing away from the door and dashing into the kitchen. Claudia did her best to make it look like she hadn't just been listening at Rayla's door and took a deep breath.

"I'm home!" she announced.

Listening carefully, she heard a thump in Rayla's room and a yelp that was clearly Callum's. She wanted to burst out laughing; it was such a Callum move to fall when startled. But she kept her composure as Rayla came out of her room and shut the door behind her.

"Hey! You're back… early!"

"Yep. I wanted to surprise everyone!" Claudia smiled broadly. "So, any idea where we should all go to dinner?"

"Um… why don't ya ask yer brother? I bet he'll have some ideas!"

Ooh, you want to get Callum out of here before I see him… clever…

"I guess I can. See you, Rayla!"

Claudia left the apartment and crept into Soren and Callum's, noticing her brother wasn't there as she used the spare key he'd given her. Inside, she sat down and tried to process before Callum entered.

"Hey, Claudia!" he greeted her.

"Hey, Callum. You have any idea where Soren is?"

"None at all. I've got some work to do, so I'll talk to you later."

Claudia bit the tip of her thumb as Callum disappeared into his room.


She would hold onto it… for now, at least…

By the time she came back to the apartment, there was no sign Callum had been there at all. Rayla was sitting on the couch watching a movie, or sitting with a movie on; her eyes were glued to her phone, where Claudia could see she was texting somebody.

"So, Soren suggested that place you went with your dads last time they came to visit—the place with the best moonberry surprise in Katolis?"

"Oh, right," Rayla said, setting down her phone. "I could eat there."

"Who are you texting?"


"Are you sure?"

"Who would I text? I have maybe four friends—you, Soren, Callum, and Ez."

"Hm… I'm pretty sure I can guess."

"Be my guest, then."

"All right!" Claudia tapped her chin. "Here's my guess: it's Callum and you two are flirty-texting."

Rayla's limbs moved of their own accord as her arms flew up and her eyes widened.

"How the hell—"

"I came home earlier and heard you two in your room." Rayla's face turned bright red as she covered it with her hands. "Aw, it's cute! Callum's had a crush on you since that time you flipped him when he snuck up on you in the hall."

"No he hasn't!"

"I think he's just into girls who can kick his ass, in which case you definitely fit the bill. He's not the best you could do—"

"Shut yer mouth! Callum is amazin' and I love him!"

Rayla gasped and covered her mouth.

"Hook, line, and sinker—I knew it! You and Callum are dating!"

Defeated, Rayla hung her head in shame.

"Yeah. Yeah, we are."

"How could you keep this a secret?"

"Well, there's a lot of logistics ta go through since he's human and I'm an elf. And we just kinda wanted ta enjoy it ourselves fer a bit."

"Aw, cute!" Claudia grinned. "So… do your families know?"

"Nope. I'm puttin' off tellin' Mum, Dad, Runaan, and Ethari as long as possible. Ya know how they are. I had ta twist their arms just ta let me move in with ya. How are they gonna take me—their only daughter—bein' with a human?"

"Fair. And Callum's family?"

"He's been chompin' at the bit ta tell his folks about us." Rayla's face turned pink again. "Ez, uh, found out by accident. We kissed without realizin' he was there."

Claudia burst out laughing, falling over the couch and landing so her hair was dangling on the floor. Rayla started laughing, too, then tipped over Claudia's legs and making the girl land on the wood below.

"Hey! What was that for?"

"That was fer eavesdroppin' on me and Callum!"

"Fair enough, I guess." Claudia accepted the hand Rayla extended to help her back to her feet. "So, dinner?"

"You aren't gonna tell anyone, are ya?"

"Me? No. Does anybody besides Ezran know?"

"Soren does. He walked in on us… makin' out. Neither of us had a shirt on but I had my bra."

"Oh, poor Sor-Bear."

"I threw on a shirt and tackled him before he could run over her ta tell ya."

"Noted. Let's get going for dinner so I can rub it in his face."

Rayla rolled her eyes as she and Claudia headed out.

Three down. Just the parents to go…


So long and thanks for all the fish!