"Poodle Bernards"


"Those two," Tristan said, "are going to have disgustingly cute babies." He gave his words all the careful pronunciation of a man deep in his cup. "I mean, look at 'em."

And there they were indeed, Yuugi and Tea, huddled close to one another in a corner, cheeks slightly flushed and eyes shining with a simple joy that had nothing to do with alcohol. They would giggle occasionally and lean closer to one another from time to time. Yuugi made the daring move of holding Tea's hand in open view on the table. He was rewarded with a dazzling smile.

A derisive snort yanked Tristan's attention back to his own table. "Jealous," Duke accused. He flicked at his bangs with bored amusement.

Tristan reached out and tugged gently on Duke's ponytail. Duke blinked, but allowed Tristan to draw him into a conspirator's huddle. "I'm serious," Tristan said. "Think about it. Yuugi's short and he's got those huge eyes, that's like automatic cute. He practically puts out puppy vibes."

Duke snickered, but a sharp tug on his ponytail cut him off. "Stop that," Duke demanded. Tristan made no move to relinquish his grip on Duke's hair. Duke sighed and slumped over against his companion. "Fine," he offered generously with a wave of his hand, "continue your drunken rambling."

Tristan blinked a moment, his train of thought momentarily derailed. "Um... right. Cute. Yuugi. Tea. Yeah, dangerously cute kids." He leaned against Duke for support, swaying slightly even though he was sitting down. "Tea's got that mamma bear streak. Beat up anything that messes with anybody she cares about. Kids'll be messed up for life. Like... I dunno, something."

"That's it? Messed up like 'something' ?" Duke twisted around to glare at Tristan, his ponytail slipping from the other's grip, Tristan's hand resting now on the back of Duke's neck. "That's the best you can come up with to finish?"

"I don't know!" Tristan furrowed his brow. He wanted to drum his head against the table. He did so, forehead thumping against the worn wood twice before he got tired and stopped.

"Still didn't finish."

"Shut up."

"You started it."

"Fine!" Tristan snapped, looking up from the table to Duke with a murderous look. "Messed up like a poodle crossed with a saint bernard or something."

Duke blinked. Look at Tea and Yuugi, looked back again at Tristan. "Yeah. That would be pretty messed up."

Tristan returned his face to the furniture, forehead busily inspecting the grain of the wood. "We aren't gonna have that problem, are we?" he asked the table plaintively. He heard a startled grunt and felt a spray of beer mist the back of his neck. "Must have caught you mid drink with that one," he mumbled.

"What?" Duke repeated without a mouthful of liquid.

"Kids," Tristan repeated simply. "We aren't gonna have a problem with kids." A firm hand grabbed the back of his collar and hauled him to a semi-upright position. He peered blearily up at Duke. "Well, we aren't," he said defensively to Duke's stunned face.

"Why would we be worried about having kids?"

Tristan arched an eyebrow in what he felt was a passing imitation of one of Duke's more annoying gestures. He patted Duke gently on the head. "Don't worry. I'll explain. Neither one of us come from what you'd call healthy family backgrounds." Tristan tapped Duke gently on the mouth when he started to speak. "Don't interrupt teacher; it's rude."

He settled back in his chair and regarded Duke with the sort of look usually reserved to angry pet owners yet again reminding their dogs why it was rude to mess on the carpet. "You were raised by a crazy clown. Enough said. I was raised by an army freak dad and a control freak mother. Enough said." Tristan grew mournful and slung an arm around Duke's neck. "Face it. Our nonexistent future kids are screwed even worse than Yuugi and Tea's little saint poodle bernards."

Duke glared. "That wasn't what I was talking about, but thanks for reminding me of my painful childhood."

"See!" Tristan said triumphantly. "That's just what--"

"Never mind that!" Duke snapped. "Why would the two of us ever worry about kids? There isn't even an 'us'!"

" 'Cause we're the only one's left," Tristan explained sadly. "Joey's off dating Mai, Yuugi and Tea are making googly eyes at each other, and I'm pretty sure Bakura's been writing to Serenity behind our backs." He pulled Duke into an awkward hug. "That just leaves us."

Duke said nothing. He merely reached over and pulled Tristan's drink well out of his reach. "I'm cutting you off. You're drunk."

"I'm not as thunk as you drink I am." Tristan snickered. "That's funny now."

"That's the only way it could be funny."

"I could have been a great dad for our kids."

"There aren't going to be any kids, Tristan."

Tristan tugged Duke a bit closer again. Duke's leather pants squeaked slightly as they and they rest of him slid across the booth. "That's what I'm trying to tell you," Tristan said. He planted a wet kiss on Duke's cheek. "Don't worry, I think you would have made a great--"

"If you finish that with 'mother,' I'll kill you."

"--father." Tristan blinked and tried to marshal his scrambled thoughts back into coherent order. "You look like you wanna run for help." He groaned and buried his face into the crook of Duke's neck. "I think I should be getting sick right now."

Duke promptly shoved Tristan out of the booth.

"What the hell was that for!" Tristan yelped from a sprawled heap on the floor.

"There are better places to get sick than the back of my neck!" Duke snapped. He spared a quick glance around the bar. Other patrons were starting to stare, some of them on edge and waiting for the fight; even Yuugi and Tea had looked up from their starstruck gazing. Duke swore vehemently under his breath and pulled Tristan back to his feet. "Of all the people, I'd never guess you to be the lightweight."

"Lightweight?" Tristan snickered. "Then why all the trouble helping me up?"

Duke merely sighed and poured Tristan back into his seat. "Why couldn't you have been a melancholy drunk?" he asked and sat down next to Tristan. "Then I could just leave you in a corner and be done with it. But no, you have to be a bubbly drunk and I have to watch and make sure you don't make an ass of yourself."

Tristan furrowed his brow. "That was mean. I'm not making an ass out of myself!" he said indignantly. "Fine. I take it back. You'd be a terrible mother!" He was smacked on the back of the head. "Father, whatever!"

"Here," Duke said and shoved a glass towards Tristan, water slopping over the sides. "It won't help your asinine behavior, but it'll do something for that hangover you deserve to get tomorrow morning."

Tristan made a 'humph'ing noise but took the glass anyway, downing it in a single gulp. He settled down to stare at the table again as though trying to read something written in the hieroglyphic scratches marring its surface. He traced initials carved near a corner and looked up to check on Duke. Not drinking anything. Good.

Duke caught the look and arched a brow. "What?"

"They think we're gay."

"What?" Duke repeated.

"They think we're--"

"Yes, I caught that part, but what?"

Tristan sighed, once again looking like an aggrieved pet owner. He reached out and caught Duke's face with both hands, palms cupping the other's cheeks, fingers curving around his jawline. Tristan brought his face close until his nose brushed Duke's. "They think we're gay," Tristan said solemnly.

"Keep doing stuff like this and it's no wonder," Duke said. He look puzzled to hear himself whispering. "Let go."

"Don't wanna."

"Tristan, let go of my head."

"Don't wanna," Tristan replied and grinned.


"Aw, come on. Yuugi has lots of good ideas."

Duke started to pull away and earned himself an arm slung around his neck and his forehead still pressed firmly to Tristan's. "What's Yuugi got to do with this?"

"He asked me when we started dating. I said we weren't and he said 'oh.' " Tristan wrapped his free arm around Duke's waist. "But I still think its a good suggestion," he added hopefully. "What do you think?"

"I think you're drunk."

"I promise I'll still respect you in the morning."


Tristan snorted. "Not that again. It'll be fun, promise."

Duke's voice was low and dangerous. "Tristan... are you asking me to..?"

"Sing karaoke with me!" Tristan said with triumph.

Duke narrowed his eyes. "It sounded an awful lot like you were asking me to--"

"--sleep with me?" Tristan finished. "Nah." He nudged Duke out of the booth and clamored out to stand next to him. He flashed Duke a wide grin. "But maybe on our second date." Tristan pulled the other boy after him. "I think they've got some Joel on the jukebox."

Duke sighed and allowed himself to be drug behind. He allowed himself a slight smile. As far as Yuugi's suggestions went, he'd heard worse. As long as there weren't any poodles involved.