Pairing: Finny/Gene. As though there were any others (I could make a case for Brinker having the hots for Finny, but, blargh).
Disclaimer: Are they graphically making out in ASP canon yet? No? Still not mine, then.
A/N: Because I was sick of gutless! and in-denial!Gene. In another mood, he might not have pushed Finny away. I know that it gets pretty out of character by the end, and I apologize. It's not my best work.
I did not know why he did it originally. Perhaps it was a self-inflicted dare, one of many that he suffered in the years I knew him, or perhaps it was a whim that passed too quickly to be completely analyzed. There were a number of those as well in that summer.
It was after the first jump from the tree that features so prominently in my memories from that time. Before the invention of blitzball, and certainly before his fall from the tree.
Perhaps we were pretending to study, another activity in which we partook often during that one summer. Gambling, perhaps, behind the cover of textbooks, or maybe it was only cards. If it was gambling, it was as likely as not some variation of poker, and he was losing badly; Phineas never was able to play that game well. It came with his honesty, his naïve faith in the world, that he lied only in that he could persuade others to think nothing of that which would otherwise have been important.
If we were gambling, we sought control of the icebox. The thought that we were gambling rings true, I think perhaps he took a girls' dare-game and melded it with our own card-playing, as he took all sports and created his own.
It was after I won the icebox from him then, and he must have been trying to gain it back. The dares would have made it only the more enjoyable for him, and the more horrifying for me, though I doubt I realized my fear then.
I do not doubt that the dare itself was foolish, and certainly not one I would have accepted from anyone but Finny.
"Loser of this round has to declare undying love to whomever he sees in the hall," it had been. An embarrassing challenge on which to stake one's honor, but it was Finny who had issued it.
He lost, of course. As adept as he was at sports, he was hopeless at cards.
He strolled to the door, peering out into the hall for the victim of the dare. "No one's there." Meandering again over to the table, he sat. "I suppose I'll have to use you instead."
So he stood, half-leaning over the table, the heel of one hand digging into the edge, and kissed me.
There was a sort of magnetism to it, as though he exerted some sort of unnatural control over me. It was difficult to remember, with this gentle, uninvasive touch, that it was a dare.
"I've been your roommate for three years, and I've been wanting to do that for every one of them." He smiled brightly at the joke and sat. "There. Challenge met."
"No. That wasn't a confession of undying love, that was confessing you fancied someone!" I felt that if I didn't persuade him to continue this game, something in me would shatter. The cracks in my voice could already be heard, though I do not think he noticed.
"Right, then." He stood, moving around the table to crouch down to my right. "Gene, you're the most charming, dedicated person I know, and for all the time I've known you, I've thought to myself, 'He's wonderful and handsome but he doesn't know, so why don't you tell him how you feel,' but it's never been the right time. Now it is, and if I don't say it, I don't think I ever will. I love you, Gene Forrester."
I sat there, struck by his words, and waited a few moments for him to stand again and sit, but he stayed there, anxiously biting his lip and watching me.
"Finny…" I found somehow that I had slid off the chair and was kneeling on the floor at his eye level. My hand raised, almost of its own accord, to place itself along his jaw, and pulled him closer.
This time, I started the kiss, pressing close to his body and my hands sliding into his hair. His hands left finger-shaped bruises on my shoulders from how tightly he was holding me, even though I didn't notice until the next day.
"That was the right time." It must have been. I hadn't thought before about confessing, but it was like him to do the very thing I had been agonizing over.
What a strange picture we two must have made, Finny and I kneeling on the floor when chairs were readily available, unexpectedly and unsurprisingly close.
"It appears," and why had I never before noticed that Brinker was a pompous ass? – "that I am interrupting something." He did not smile.
"Oh, Gene here just beat me at a game of Poking Dare," Finny lied effortlessly. "I was only teasing."
"Well, keep the queer displays to yourselves." Brinker made a moue of distaste.
"Absolutely." Finny languidly waved goodbye to him as he turned and left the room, closing the door behind him in a fit of possible intuition.
I stood with my hands resting on the table and eyes roaming over the cards spread across its surface.
"Were you only teasing?" It spilled past my lips without my consent.
"Not you." Finny grinned and pulled me away from the table and to him.