Note: This story contains implied slash -- meaning that this fic is about a step away from containing male-on-male action. You've been warned. Also contains language some other than myself might consider crude, but what can you expect from Randal Graves? My first fic dealing with the View Askewniverse, and I was a bit wary of posting it. Takes place sometime after Clerks 2.
Disclaimer: Kevin Smith is the genius, I'm just the fangirl.

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Playing It Well
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The two were silent as they sat across from each other at the small table in the McDonalds, Elias staring down at the table in thought, and Randal lounging back in his chair. The older man was chewing on the straw of his milkshake, watching Elias intently. He'd convinced the kid that it was okay to close the video store for a half-hour or so to go out for a milkshake -- though he knew Dante would be the King of Whiners when they returned. Surprisingly, it hadn't taken as much talk to get Elias to comply -- God he could get that kid to do anything.

Elias looked up finally, brows furrowed, and Randal raised his own in question.

"I don't know, Randal." He said slowly.

Randal sighed, sitting up and all but slamming his cup on the table. "Why not?" He asked with an exaggerated shrug.

"Well..." Elias tucked a strand of his hair behind an ear and averted his eyes. "Besides the fact that it goes against what I believe in...it's kind of..."

Randal raised his eyebrows again.

"Weird."

"Well of course it is." The older man said. "That's why I want to do it."

"But..." Elias looked around as if hoping he'd find an answer floating in the air. "You don't even know if he'll fall for it."

"Oh he'll fall for it, alright." Randal said. "'Cause you'll put on a Grammy-winning performance."

Elias made a face, smoothing his hair back again, and he gave a slight laugh. "Don't you mean 'Oscar-winning?'" He asked.

Randal's light blue eyes rolled. "What-the-fuck-ever." He said. "Point is, you'll make it believable, and he'll have no choice but to fall for it.'

Elias' nose crinkled some, brow stitching in confusion again. "But...who said I was gonna do it?"

"Me." Randal answered simply, scooping his keys up from the table. "Now come on."

As he made his way to Dante's car that he'd 'borrowed' with Elias trudging slowly behind him, he grinned to himself. It was perfect, his plan. Dante was always joking around and saying that Randal made all those comments about gays because it was his defense to his own sexuality. So Randal wanted to mess with the guy some -- make Dante believe he really was gay. And what better guinea pig than the nerdy Elias? It was utterly perfect.

"I can't do this Randal." Elias said as they were on the way back to the store. "Homosexuality is a sin. I'm pretty sure pretend-homosexuality is too."

"Oh come on," Randal said. "Watching a donkey show must be too. And you remember that, don't you?"

He grinned triumphantly as Elias' body stiffened and he blushed faintly.

"Sadly." The younger man answered. "But how could we make this work? It's a stupid idea." He suddenly made a face. "We don't have to...do anything do we?"

"Relax." Randal said. "It's not like I'm gonna fuck you or anything." Another sinister grin came to his face, and he raised his eyebrows. "Though I must say, that virgin ass is tempting."

Elias flushed once more, though this time it was out of anger. But he couldn't exactly argue -- and this made the situation funnier to Randal.

"Speaking of virgin," he said. "How's Myra doing?"

Elias sighed dramatically. "Her parents found out about me being in jail." He said. "They made her break up with me." He looked at Randal in an almost challenging way, smoothing his hair back from his face. "Not that I'll have any trouble finding another girlfriend."

"Yeah." Randal said. "Right. So do they know why you were in jail?"

Elias' childish glare was enough of an answer, and Randal did nothing to try and contain his laughter. He shook his head.

"I'm sure Pillow Pants misses you." He said.

"Ugh." Elias made a noise of distaste in the back of his throat. "I'm not doing it, Randal."

"The Hell you aren't." Randal said. "I'll pay you if I have to, cheaply might I add."

Elias gave him another confused look. "Why do you want him to think you're gay?"

"He already suspects it," Randal answered. "But I just want to see the look on his face when he thinks it's real."

"You're crazy." Elias looked away again.

"So you're in," Randal said, "Right?"

Elias didn't answer, giving a small sigh. The Quick Stop came into view, and as Randal had expected, Dante stood outside the video store, obviously waiting for them.

"Well?" Randal asked quickly, "Come on Elias."

"Okay, okay." The younger man exclaimed. "But I'm not a very good actor."

"Look." Randal said. "Just play your part, and I'll take you to see Transformers when it comes out."

Elias grinned. "Can't bribe me with that, Randal." He said. "My dad's already taking me."

"Oh my God." Randal said. "Wouldn't you rather go with me?"

"Maybe if I trusted you not to throw popcorn at me or something."

"I won't." Randal quickly said, as he pulled into the small lot, and Dante started nearing the car, angry no doubt. "So are you in?"

"Okay." Elias said slowly. "I'll do it."

"Good, now pretend you had a good time." He said.

"What?"

"Just smile." Randal demanded, before throwing open the door.

"Randal," Dante said before the taller man had even climbed out of the car. "Where the Hell were you?"

"Don't twist your panties," Randal said. "Elias and I went to get a milkshake." He shook his cup for emphasis.

Dante glanced at Elias, who was climbing out of the passenger seat, as if he'd forgotten the younger man had been missing too. His brow furrowed as he tried to imagine why Randal had invited Elias in the first place, and he glanced back at his best friend.

"For forty-five minutes?" He asked.

"Oh give me a break." Randal said, holding out Dante's keys.

"Where'd you get these anyway?" Dante asked pocketing them immediately.

Randal gave a nonchalant shrug. "I took 'em." He said. "I was going to ask, but you were in the back with Becks or something."

Elias fell into place beside him, looking like his best friend had just died -- that or Optimus Prime himself had kicked him between the legs, and Randal would've slapped him upside the head had Dante not been standing there. He most certainly did not look like he'd been having fun.

Dante stared at Randal for another second or two, before rounding on Elias. The younger man instantly pasted a half-smile on his face, and much to both Dante and Randal's surprise, it was very realistic.

"Why'd you go with him?" Dante asked, brow stitched once more.

Elias shrugged awkwardly, gaze flickering to Randal who shook his head curtly. "I don't know, 'cause he asked me to."

Dante sighed before gesturing to RST Video. "You can't just leave the store like that." He said. "I expect it from Randal, but definitely not from you."

"Hey." Randal said. "Leave him alone -- I told him it was okay."

The other two men gave him looks of shock, and Randal made the slightest of faces at Elias, who quickly regained himself, and smiled again.

"What is this?" Dante asked.

"What?" Randal and Elias asked in unison.

Dante stared at Randal, head cocked and eyes wide for a moment. "In case you just blacked out for a short while, Randal," he said, "You just stuck up for Elias."

And it killed me, Randal thought to himself, but bit his tongue. "So what?" He asked. "Look, we're back, right? That's all that fuckin' matters." He lightly grabbed Elias' arm. "Come on."

Dante stared at them as they passed him, and as the two neared the video store, Randal grinned to himself. He could feel Dante's eyes on his back, and it was killing him not to turn around and look at his expression. Dante gave a loud curse, and the sound of the Quick Stop door opening signaled him going back inside.

"And that's gonna make him think I'm your boyfriend?" Elias asked with a shudder.

"No." Randal said, rolling his eyes. "That's just the initiation process -- it'd give him a heart attack if I were to suddenly pile it all on there."

"Well how many processes are there?" Elias asked, pulling out his set of keys.

"A few more," Randal said impatiently. "Now just shut up and open the store."

Elias made a face, though he unlocked the door. "I think I like the pretend-Randal more."

"Like I really give a shit." Randal muttered, throwing a glance over his shoulder. This was too fun.

Close to an hour later, Randal was sitting in a chair behind the counter at RST Video, reading the paper, while Elias stood next to him, practically waiting like an eager puppy for customers. Randal wouldn't lie, he was bored off his rocker -- and he was more than tempted to tie Elias up in the back with some duct tape over his mouth, but he managed to contain himself.

"Randal." Elias said suddenly.

"What?" He didn't look up from his article.

"You said you weren't going to fuck me," Elias said slowly. "And I'm not complaining." He quickly added. "But...are you going to like...want to kiss me? Cause I don't want to kiss you -- I don't want to kiss you even if it's a matter of life and --"

"Shut the fuck up." Randal said in a low tone, because he'd looked up in time just to see Dante reaching for the door handle.

The door swung open, and Randal gave the best fake-laugh he could muster, pretending Elias had just told the funniest joke, though he doubted that could happen in real life. He stood up, shaking his head and lightly patted the kid on the back.

"Never gets old." He said, mostly to himself.

Elias pasted on his fake happy face again, and Dante just stood by the door, staring at the two of them with his head cocked. After a moment or two, he dropped his arms heavily.

"What is going on here?" He asked.

"What?" Randal feigned innocence.

"Well for one," Dante said. "You just touched Elias in a friendly matter, as if you actually like the guy you're always tormenting." He shrugged. "But just the fact that you're in here is weird."

"I work here, Dante." Randal said. "Weren't you just complaining about me being somewhere else?"

"You know what I mean, Randal." His best friend said. "You can't stand working with Elias, and are usually bugging me next door."

"So now you're complaining about how I'm not bugging you?" Randal asked. At Dante's glare, he rolled his eyes. "Look, whatever I used to not like about Elias is water under the bridge." He side-glanced Elias, who was looking bored, and he snaked his arm around the kid's shoulders for fun. "He's actually pretty cool."

Elias put on his false smile again as Dante looked at him in shock, and Randal grinned at the both of them. Dante shook his head.

"Okay, who are you and what have you done with the real Randal Graves?" He asked.

Randal scoffed. "Man, how come you can't accept that I have other friends, Dante?"

It was really hard for him to keep a straight face at this moment, especially as Dante opened and closed his mouth a few times like he was gasping for air. He finally shook his head again, and reached for the doorknob.

"I'm done trying to figure out what the Hell's wrong with you." He said, sounding slightly weary. "I'm going back to the convenience store."

Randal laughed when the door closed, and he dropped his arm from Elias' shoulders. He sat back down, still chuckling and he shook his head. "Why is this so fun?" He asked no one in particular.

"I think it's weird." Elias said, slouching and leaning forward against the counter.

Normally Randal would've said something like, No one cares what you think, but he just didn't feel like it. His eyes widened at himself and he cocked his head -- maybe he was just having too much fun with the whole confusing Dante-bit, he'd just have to get Elias double next time.

But now he needed to get things moving -- he didn't want this prank to last a whole week. Dante would figure out it was a joke by then.

He smirked.

"Just do it." Randal said firmly, giving Elias a shove out the door.

As the kid trudged towards the Quick Stop, Randal returned to the counter. He'd told Elias to deliver the fake message that Jay needed to see Dante. When this lured Dante outside, he'd probably look into the video store in time to see Randal and Elias engaged in an embrace a little too close for friendship. God he was a genius.

Elias returned, and no sooner than the door was opened, Randal asked, "Well?"

The kid made a face. "He's coming." He said.

Randal grinned again, leaning against the counter. Elias stayed by the door though, and was staring at him with a questioning look.

"You aren't going to kiss me are you?" He asked. He suddenly got a very childish look, eyes widening. "I won't let you -- I'll scream."

Randal sighed irritably. "I'm not gonna kiss you, you fruit." He said. "Now get over here."

Elias dropped his arms and slowly neared the older man like he was a birthing crocodile. Randal rolled his eyes and grabbed his shoulders, pulling him in front of him. He was silent as he positioned Elias -- they had to be in the perfect spot or else Dante wouldn't see them.

"We're just gonna hug." He told the kid. He pointed at him menacingly. "But you have to look like you enjoy it."

"Ew."

"Not like that, you perv." Randal snapped.

Elias shrugged slightly, and they fell silent. Randal watched the window like a hawk, but after a few seconds, there was no sign of Dante at all.

"Are you sure he's even coming?" He demanded.

"Yes." Elias said, before he took on an almost defiant expression. "He doesn't lie to me like you do."

Randal grinned, raising his eyebrows. "If only you knew."

Elias looked down, expression contorted into one of thoughtfulness, but Randal suddenly caught sight of his best friend outside. He quickly grabbed Elias again, and yanked him into his arms. A noise like a grunt left Elias, before he all but shuddered in Randal's grasp, but he hesitantly hugged him back.

"Jesus, will you relax?" Randal asked, staring at Dante, who was talking to Jay -- who was obviously thinking he was a nutter. "You feel like a God damned robot."

Elias went to say something but paused. Then he asked, "Really?" The excitement was practically tangible in his voice.

Randal laughed before he could catch himself, but abruptly stopped. What was wrong with him? That'd been another perfect moment to make fun of him -- he'd have to get him triple next time.

Dante suddenly looked in the window, and as much as Randal wanted to see the look on his face, he turned his head to hide. This only put him about a half inch away from Elias' hair, and he wanted to cringe. But then a strong scent hit his nose -- apple. Was that Elias' hair?

"Randal." The kid whined after a moment. "Is he gone yet?"

Randal figured Dante had run off the moment he saw this exchange -- he was probably pacing in circles behind the register at the Quick Stop, wondering if he was dreaming or not. But he couldn't be sure. And he liked apples.

"I don't know." He said. "If I check and he's still looking, the plan's fucked."

Elias groaned and shifted his weight slightly, giving Randal another strong whiff of his shampoo. They stayed like this for another minute or two, before Randal finally pulled away.

"Dude, you smell like a chick." He said, climbing over the counter.

Elias made another face. "You were smelling me?" He asked. "Gross.'

"Fuck you, Granny Smith." Randal said quickly; of course he'd smelled him -- it was hard not to.

"I can't believe I agreed to this." Elias mumbled.

"What are we going to do this time?"

Randal was standing at the window, watching for Dante -- who would probably be over in another few minutes to check on them -- he hadn't returned in a few hours. He'd made Elias stand in the same spot he'd been in when they were fake-hugging, and when he glanced at the kid again, he couldn't help but laugh. He looked like his best friend had just been killed.

"You'll see." He said, turning back to the window.

"I'm not touching your cock." Elias said, half-jokingly -- as if Randal would ever think of something like that.

"Aw, why not?" Randal asked, playfully.

The look on Elias face was priceless, and Randal grinned again.

"Ah come on, a hand's a hand." He said. "Don't matter whose it is."

"You're sick." Elias said quietly.

Randal didn't reply, because Dante was heading their way. He spun and all but lunged for Elias, grabbing the younger man in a vice-like grip. He bent him back slightly, using one of his hands to cover Elias' mouth, while still looking like they were locked in an embrace. Trying not to laugh at the look on Elias' face, he then pressed his lips to the back of his hand.

To anyone else it would've looked like they were kissing -- if only Elias wasn't as stiff as a bored, and wide-eyed.

Before Randal could tell him to relax again, the door opened and Dante stopped, mid-step. Randal quickly pulled away from the kid, pretending to be surprised. He didn't know whose eyes were wider, Dante's or Elias'. He could've pissed himself.

"Did I just see what I think I just saw?" Dante finally asked.

"That depends." Randal said. "Do you think you just saw your best friend kissing another dude?"

Dante gave a slow nod. "I mean, Becks and I always assumed you were at least part-gay." He said. "But still..."

"Still what?" Randal asked. "What are you thinking now?"

"That this world is insane." Dante said. "And I'm kind of wondering why you didn't tell me before? I am your best friend."

Randal laughed -- oh glory. What a good day at work. "I ain't gay man." He said. "I was just fucking with you today."

Dante stared at him for a moment. "You went through all that...?" He asked, brow furrowed. "Look if you're gay, you can tell me, man."

"No, I ain't gay, ask Elias." Randal gestured to the still shell-shocked kid. "I made him go along with it. Must've done a good job."

Dante looked at Elias, his expression asking, 'Is this true?'

The kid was silent for a moment before he asked, "Go along with what, Randal?"

Randal turned to him, brow stitching, and he almost didn't notice the fake-innocent look on Elias' face. Something was up.

"With the joke, you retard." He said. "You know, the joke that you've been bitching about all day?"

Elias gave him a blank look and a shake of his head. "I don't know what you're talking about." He said. He suddenly made a face, and slid one of his arms around Randal's waist. "Why can't you just admit to him that you're gay?"

Randal was too stunned to say anything, instead looking up to see Dante's stunned look. Where had Elias suddenly gotten the balls for this kind of thing? Randal had to admit he was just a little impressed at it.

"Very funny, Elias." He said. "Now get the Hell off of me."

Elias looked at Dante and shook his head. "He's only like this cause you're here, Mr. Dante." He said. "When we're alone, he's very sweet." He squeezed Randal mock-affectionately.

Dante grabbed quickly for the door. "I uh...I have to call my mom." He blurted out quickly, and disappeared outside.

"What the fuck?" Randal exclaimed, pushing Elias away quickly. He paused at the cat-like smirk on the kid's face, and he cocked his head some, before pointing at him. "You aren't as stupid as you look."

Elias seemed almost proud of this, and his smirk grew.

Randal was stunned again, but he gave a sudden nod. "And I'm gonna kick your ass for it."

Movies were knocked off their shelves, fists were flying -- Randal had always assumed fighting Elias would be like fighting an old lady with paper for skin and twigs for bones. He was more than surprised when the kid clocked him good in the jaw.

Minutes passed, and somehow Randal ended up pulling Elias to the floor -- and then he ended up on top of him, ready to slap him around some.

"What?" The kid exclaimed. "You wanted him to think you were gay, what's the big deal?"

"The deal is, I don't like surprises." Randal said. "Especially when they're given to me by people I can't fuckin' stand."

Elias opened his mouth to say something, but for a second nothing came out. A silence filled the air around them, because Randal was still waiting for the lame-brained insult that Elias would've normally issued. But suddenly, the kid started laughing. Randal was so surprised that he could only stare.

"You're crazy." He said after a moment. "Batshit insane."

This only made Elias laugh more -- he dropped his head back to the floor, eyes closing, and his whole body shook. And suddenly, Randal couldn't contain himself -- he started to laugh as well. His mind was screaming at him to stop, to get up and kick Elias in the ribs or something, to go back to being his old self again. But he just couldn't stop laughing along with Elias, he couldn't stop enjoying the moment.

"I really got you good." Elias said between breaths, as the two started to calm down.

Randal nodded. "Yeah, actually." He said. "Definitely wasn't expecting it."

Elias gave a little giggle that any other time would've earned a few crude words from Randal. "I'm sorry though." He said. "Mr. Dante will probably never believe you now, even when I tell him I was joking."

Randal couldn't believe that Elias still referred to his best friend as Mr. Dante. He sighed. "It's okay." He said. "It was worth it. Did you see the look on his face?"

Elias laughed again. "Deer in the headlights."

"Shit his pants, didn't he?" Randal said.

The two fell silent once more, and Randal heaved another sigh. But it was now that he realized the kind of position he and Elias were in -- he was still all but laying on top of him. The apple scent of Elias' shampoo seemed to magically appear again, as if it'd decided on its own what to do, and Randal was positively drowning in it. He'd always liked apples.

"I, uh..." Elias said, and now it was he who looked like a deer in the headlights.

"Yeah." Randal said, nodding, but he found he couldn't get up.

"No." Elias said again, and Randal noticed the faint tinge coming to the boy's cheeks now. "I -- it's uh..."

Randal's own eyes widened as he felt it. He refused to name what 'it' was, because it was gross. It was icky. And it was pressing against his thigh.

He quickly scrambled to his feet, straightening his hat, and Elias crawled backwards like a crab, before standing up as well. Randal stared at the shelf of movies to his left, and Elias shielded both hands over his crotch, now as red as the apples he smelled like.

"I'll uh, go tell Dante the truth." Randal said, tone surprisingly low.

"Right." Elias mumbled.

Randal quickly went to the door and stepped outside. Jay called out to him, one of the normal rituals of making fun of him, but for once Randal ignored him, lost in his own thoughts.