Title: Close
Fandom: Street Sharks
- Characters: Lena (T-Bone, Manta)
Rating: G
Notes: Crack pairing! And blatant references to slash.

There are times when they got...too close.

In light of the big picture, all of them were going to get within that type of close proximity to each other; there was no helping it. Their line of work practially demanded that personal space be invaded, being helped or doing the helping. It was an unspoken understanding that was in the morality of life-and-death situations: your space did not exist until the threat was long over.

There were exceptions to be noted, of course. The brothers lived on physical contact between each other, regardless if any of them had personal space issues (though this seemed never, ever to be the case). Random rough-housing was pretty much the central focus of that particular relational aspect, but there was more to it than just that. The little things that always went ignored, that when you didn't ignore them, you came to realize there were more than you ever thought there would be. Strong family relationship, the sort who were better together than apart; they were always close. She stopped looking a long time ago, and only started again after--

Bullzeye was also a very physical creature. His curiosity made it impossible for him not to be. Hovering, poking, rambunctiously cheerful, like the nosey kid you're not quite sure what to do with. He liked making contact; his excitement over things made that unavoidable. How could she not notice? His personality was overbearing (if not immaturishly adorable) and he'd even peaked over her own shoulder on occasion.

In essense, being close should have meant nothing. It was a side-effect, an after-thought, something you just had to except as being apart of a team. It was natural, it was accepted, it wasn't a problem.

And this was...nothing like that at all.

There was close, there was 'close', and then there was Close. That subtle way of sharing silently what you didn't want the rest of the world to see. Little things, smaller than usual, suspicious all their own, that were nothing of the sort unless you Looked. And she wouldn't have ever had the incentive to Look had she not caught of something unusual one day.

It was a general talk that day, nothing too serious. It was pretty much vague discussion over the prescribed safety of several locations within the city; as far as she knew, Stegz brought it up, T-Bone suggested something or other to Ripster, and the next thing everyone realized, it could have been called a "Boys' Night". A Boys' Night where half the boys were parked around a table with a map of the Underground on it and the other half in front of the TV, with one of the various Grand Theft Auto games in progress. She almost felt like she was intruding, though no one noticed her right off the bat and just kept herself in the opening, watching them. ...How it was possible for ten positively-identified-as-male creatures to manage not killing each other over something or another when their current running history suggested this was the most likely outcome, Lena would never know.

In retrospect, it could have been much worse had Moby and Rox been there. Rox and Spike never did see eye-to-eye. Neither did Spike and Jab, but... Lord only knew why they weren't fighting; she wasn't going to jinx it.

So there she was, in the entrance, wondering if she should interrupt the boys at the table with some questions when a slight movement caught her attention. It wasn't abnormal to be attracted to movement, being human; it happened, like a jerk reaction. And this jerk reaction jerked her out of some comfortable bubble she never knew she'd been in.

Lena thought it was a trick angle at first; maybe she was seeing it wrong. But no, no. It was there, and she had no idea how to feel.

The table was three meters away, square, and occupied by five people. From where she was and at their angle, Stegz had the best vantage point of seeing her, then Ripster, then Bends, and T-Bone and Manta had no chance unless they craned their necks. Frankly speaking, the latter two have their backs to her. She kindly wished they weren't.

Because from here, she could see without any doubt or uncertainty of it being an illusion...T-Bone's tail twined firmly around Manta's ankle.

She started paying more attention then. Nothing in the manner classified as seriously offending, merely casual glances, over the course of the following weeks. The several times the saurians were around, it became Obvious: the two didn't stray far from each other. To the unenlightened eye, this would be missed. Their whole symphony was conducted on the pretense they weren't playing together to begin with, but it sounded nice regardlessly. But she saw it now. They were totally gravitating around each other.

They always stood or sat much too close, even if they weren't doing anything remotely interactive with each other. When they talked, it was quietly and nearly removed from the room. And she couldn't talk for T-Bone-- he wasn't easy to read-- but Manta was smiling more. The man who went to the extreme of self-imposed exiling himself for society for months and even then, barely being convinced back into better supervised terrain, with a sardonic and pessimistic character that got worse once the Raptors arrived... Smiling? It was like hell had frozen over and bent over backwards simultaneously to make that one work. He didn't smile unless it was half-hearted, bone-dry empty, or cynical.

And then there was the lingering. She couldn't put her foot on how that worked, but they lingered. When they caught the other's eye, that lingered. Casual touches lingered. And the more she caught them, the more she felt like everyone was crazy for not Seeing these things. Because they were Obvious now, and she still hadn't figured out what it meant other than: they were Close.

And oh, the questions that riddled her mind: what kind of relationship was it, honestly? How did it start? Why did it start? What chemisty did it run on? What was the attraction? What was the purpose? How long had everyone missed it? ...Or was she the last to know about it?

She had been tempted by the desire to talk about it to someone; a second opinion, if you will. Except addressing it was 1) an invasion of semi-open privacy and 2) gossipping. And she did not gossip. The boys were entitled to their whims and fancies and doings and hobbies and everything else under the sun. It wasn't her business...

But it was driving her nuts.