AN: For the awesome dwimmer (of LJ) who requested Iggy/Gazzy on the MR Kink Meme. I rarely write anything unplanned and on the fly, so this was great fun. Unfortunately, this means that the story might look a little rough, but I guess that's all part of the charm.
And I'm starting to have faith in the fandom for knowing how to be tolerant now, so you get no harping from me. Please enjoy!
Gazzy had lost count on the number of times Iggy had told him 'I love you'.
But he remembered the first time, or actually, the first time he could remember.
It had been when he was three years old, back at the School, back when the blind boy still had eyes to see with. Iggy's eyes had been a plain hazel color, dull from experimentation, but the corners were quick to crinkle with a grin. Gazzy remembered it for being the first time because that was the day Iggy came back with no eyes. None. Just a white, sightless stare under a film of gray. Gazzy had cried then, because he didn't know that Iggy was blind and he probably thought the the eyeless boy wasn't Iggy at all.
When Max and Fang tried to explain, Gazzy cried even harder. He had been scared of Iggy before, but now he was scared of becoming like him. Max tried to comfort Gazzy, but that only started Nudge off and they still had to worry about Iggy. But Iggy, being a bit prudent (and numb from the shock), only stumbled over and gave him a hug.
"It's okay," he said and added other nonsensical things. There was one murmur that had quieted Gazzy though. "I'm not going to let this happen to you. I love you, so I'm going to take care of you…" Then he went back to saying meaningless nothings, but that somehow struck Gazzy as important, so he finally stopped crying, and went to sleep.
There were still many times after that too. Back when he was six years old, back when Jeb and just been Jeb, and not Dr. Batchelder, back when they were just one big family living all together, and back when there was nothing was after them. Those were probably the happiest moments of Gazzy's life.
He had farted a lot back then too.
"Oh, geez. Did I ever tell you how much I love you when you do that?" Iggy sputtered sarcastically, dropping his tools and covering his face with his shirt to hopelessly evade the smell. Iggy had been his best friend, even though they were ages apart. Looking back, Gazzy couldn't really see how the blind boy stuck with him for that long.
But he was six years old at the time and it struck Gazzy as the funniest thing ever, so he laughed and said, in his piping little voice, "Yup! All the time."
He was eight then—back when all he worried about was keeping up with the flock, back when he thought that he had to be responsible for his little sister, and back when he had trouble sleeping at night unless he was too exhausted from fighting or running away from the Erasers. Gazzy tried to grow up fast, but there were always things that he couldn't control.
"Thanks," Iggy gulped breathlessly, gripping onto Gazzy's arms like a lifeline. And they were. "I love you, man."
Gazzy's heart was beating painfully, holding on to Iggy with all his strength because one of his wings was folded oddly and there was blood dripping from a gash on his chest. The Eraser was dead and Iggy was not, but Gazzy still felt like crying. Instead, he only grunted and tried to keep them both in the air.
"Yeah, but I think we need more bombs," he said, and looked down in alarm when Iggy starting trembling.
But the blind boy was only spitting blood as he laughed. It struck Gazzy as the most stupid thing ever, so he told Iggy to shut up and try not to faint.
At fourteen, Gazzy was starting high school and a different kind of life that he has never had. The world was saved, but Gazzy was still pretty nervous about it, especially today. He had to clear something up.
"I'm- uh, I'm gay," he said, swallowing and looking at the rest of the flock.
Angel smiled, as if she knew all along (and she probably did), Fang blinked once (but nodded), Nudge gave him a hug (and asked if he wanted to check out guys with her), and Max looked surprised (but Gazzy never doubted her unconditional acceptance).
Iggy showed nothing (and that really hurt).
He was worried about that the most. Iggy was still his best friend, even though they were slowly drifting apart because Iggy was in college now and there never seemed to be enough time to simply hang out anymore. Of course, it would have been weird for the blind man to continue saying, 'I love you' in his half-joking, half-serious way. Gazzy would have been a little freaked out if he did. Iggy might've been his best friend, but he was his older brother too.
"I'm glad you told us," Iggy said at last, sounding genuinely honest.
Gazzy took a deep breath and smiled, "Yeah. I'm glad I did too."
Iggy laughed, and took him to school that same day. They talked about the old things, like bombs and new computers. When they got to the high school, Gazzy hopped out of the car.
"Thanks, Ella," he added before she could drive off.
"No problem," she replied with a grin. Ella was Iggy's girlfriend. Gazzy thought that they were going to get married someday and he was happy for them.
"Enjoy your first day," Iggy called from the passenger's seat.
"I will," Gazzy promised and turned around, too excited to hear the screech of tires as the couple left. A boy was running up to him, looking as excited as he was.
"Hey," he said, taking Gazzy's hand.
Gazzy smiled and leaned over to kiss him on the nose, "I told my folks this morning."
"No, just me. But I'll get to you later."
His boyfriend laughed, accepting the kiss without caring who saw, "You better."
Today Gazzy was graduating. He was eighteen, young, and eager for the world. But he was still nervous.
"You look good," Iggy commented, tugging smartly on his graduation gown.
"Haha, quit lying. You can't even see me," Gazzy retorted, feeling giddy all over and unsure if he could have blamed it all on the graduation ceremony, "But thanks for trying."
The thing was… he wasn't used to having Iggy around anymore. Out of the four years in high school, he had only seen his friend for a handful of times each year. The Facebook comments appeared every once in a while, but phone calls were even rarer. Gazzy was a little sad to admit that he hadn't missed Iggy very much. The way they drifted apart had been slow and unsuspecting.
"I do what I can," Iggy said solemnly, reaching over to straighten his hat and tassel before grinning, "You know that I love you, right?"
Even as random was that was, Gazzy refused to blush. He wasn't really Iggy's best friend anymore and they were past all the jokes. In fact, he was feeling a bit angry because he didn't exactly have a retort for that. Then he realized that Iggy was only trying to rekindle their friendship. So Gazzy blushed and tried to say something, but found that he couldn't.
"I'm proud of you," Iggy continued, sounding a little puzzled at the silence. He fussed some more at Gazzy's gown and tactfully changed the subject, "Where's Eric?"
Gazzy twitched out of the way, swatting Iggy's hand playfully and tried to concentrate on other things. He was thankful when Angel came into the room.
"Ig, they broke up a few months ago," she said, answering for him.
Iggy paused, one hand still over Gazzy's head and Gazzy took that moment to step away. It was old news, but it was still a touchy subject, much like Iggy's breakup with Ella.
"I'm sorry," he said and lifted his arms slightly as if he wanted to give Gazzy a hug, but they hadn't done that since they were kids. In the end, Iggy only patted him on the shoulder.
"Well, the ceremony's about to start, you better get going Iggy," Angel pointed out, having that special knack for diffusing awkward moments.
"Ah, yes," he said, sounding relieved, "I'll see you later."
Angel watched him leave the room before walking over to Gazzy. She shook her head.
"Honestly, if you could have only heard his thoughts," she murmured and giggled, "Messing up your gown and hat like that, he wasn't really trying to fix you up, you know."
Gazzy blinked, unable to comprehend what his sister had said, "Huh?"
But Angel only laughed and steered him out of the room, "There will be plenty of time to think of that later, but right now, you've got a graduation to get through."
The problem about having a sister like Angel was that he could never tell if she was using her mind powers on him or not. Still, she did make sense.
He'll just have to worry about Iggy later.
Gazzy was in college now. He was studying to get his teaching credentials because somewhere and somehow, he found that he wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.
"You amaze me," Iggy said, taking a sip from a can of beer and sprawling lazily over Gazzy's couch, "Good looks, smarts, a genius with all things metal and shiny, and you go into babysitting."
Gazzy rolled his eyes, "I agree with everything but the first. I'm pretty sure you're in no position to judge my looks."
They were best friends again. Ever since Gazzy had graduated high school, Iggy had flowed back into his life with ease. Thinking back, he wasn't quite sure how he had ever survived high school without him.
Iggy's head turned towards him with such a sharp expression on his face that Gazzy was momentarily rendered frozen on the spot.
"Modest too," he eventually muttered, "But I guess that's why I love you."
Now the only problem was the fact that Gazzy was quite sure he was in love with his best friend. It pained him to hear those words, that silent suffix –as a brother/friend/platonic way hanging very rigidly whenever Iggy said 'I love you'. Gazzy didn't know exactly when he started feeling this way, but he suspected that it had been there for a very long time.
He fortified himself with a generous swallow of beer from his own can. Get the infliction right, the tone of voice, make it sarcastic-- because anything else would make it awkward; say it, imitate his voice if you have to.
"Yeah? Well. I love you too," Gazzy said, surprised with how easy it was. Maybe that was why Iggy had no problem saying it.
And it struck him odd as why he hadn't tried it before.
Here was Gazzy; twenty-one years old, a college student, and hopelessly in love with his best friend. Thinking back, he probably should have paid more attention to timing.
"What?" Iggy croaked, sitting up on the couch.
So maybe he didn't get the infliction right, or the tone of voice, and forget about sarcasm—Gazzy had probably never been that honest in his life. A part of him wanted to brush it off and pretend it never happened. You couldn't throw away years of friendship with the truth. Sometimes you had to lie to keep it. Or test it out.
"I love you," Gazzy said, because it was still ridiculously easy to say, "Really, I do."
Iggy laughed nervously, "You're kidding, right?"
"No, probably not," Gazzy said flippantly, since he was practically waving their friendship good-bye, so he might as well come clean with the whole thing, "It's been like that for a while. So, um, sorry if that's awkward."
"Oh, god," Iggy said.
And he stood up and kissed Gazzy.
…Yeah. He needed better timing; he would've done this much sooner.
It struck Gazzy as extremely ironic how two best friends could go through so much denial before giving it all up with three simple words. Even now, he was wondering if maybe Iggy had drank too much beer or was pulling this incredibly cruel prank of him.
Okay, Iggy had only half a can, and pushing one's tongue into somebody else's mouth seemed a step too far for a joke.
They fell in a tangle of limbs and feathers on the couch, kissing, touching, and doing anything else that was still possible while fully clothed. It wasn't until the older man was fumbling with his shirt that Gazzy pushed him back. He instantly missed the warm weight of Iggy's body on top of his, but there were things that needed to be cleared up.
"Hold on a sec," Gazzy said, looking up and trying not to be too distracted by the sudden attractiveness of his neck, "This is… This is sudden. I didn't know-- …since when were you…?"
"Since when I was what?"
"Gay," Gazzy finished bluntly.
Iggy's frown was thoughtful, "I'm not sure. I never thought I was, but you were always the exception."
He didn't know it that was concerning or flattering, but then again, he was going to be a little more biased towards the latter with Iggy's fingers lightly tracing his jaw.
"What kept you then?"
"Oh, you know… the usual; the fact that we practically brothers and I didn't want to ruin our friendship. And probably because you were only fourteen at the time, you see."
"Oh," Gazzy said eloquently, wondering if all that drifting apart during high school was intentional, "I think I might be a little angry with you, actually."
Iggy's fingers stilled, "Please don't be."
Gazzy grunted, shoving him away and sitting up. Grinning impishly, he settled more comfortably over Iggy's lap and started to ease the buttons off his shirt. "Too late."
Considering that it took a lot to get Iggy to blush, it was something of a victory to see the older man's pale face flush red.
"I love you," he murmured, bringing his hand to Gazzy's head and tilting it down for a kiss on the forehead.
Gazzy laughed, unexpectedly touched and amused by the innocent brush of lips compared to the few uninnocent ones they had a minute ago. "Isn't that something you're supposed to say after?"
"Well," Iggy began solemnly, "Then that means we have a lot of catching up to do now, don't we?"
Gazzy had lost count on the number of times Iggy had told him 'I love you'.
But he wouldn't mind hearing it again and again for the rest of his life.