Summary: First published on part fourteen of the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme over on livejournal as a coda to "First Kiss". The final days of Dick and Diego's friendship.
It was late August.
They were chilling in Diego's back yard, sitting on a blanket spread on the lawn. They were taking turns to throw a squeaky rubber football for Torpedo, Dick's Shiba cross. Diego's silver Maine Coon, Maradona, prowled on top of the garden wall, glaring balefully at the canine intruder.
"Hey, Ricardo, your sister have the baby yet?"
"Yeah, pal." Dick pulled his cheap wallet from his pocket, and handed Diego a slightly battered picture. He smiled. "This is my nephew, little Richard."
Diego smiled back. "Cute." He handed the picture back and took a can of cola from the plastic kiddie bucket, filled with ice, between them. "What's it like to be an uncle?"
Dick shrugged. "It's okay, I guess." Diego was an only child. His father joked that they'd stopped at one because it was impossible to improve on perfection. Torpedo cantered up with the football in his mouth and Dick threw it again. "I'm real flattered that Beth named him after me."
Diego lay back on his elbows, trying to catch the rays of the early evening sun. He was wearing red soccer shorts, scuffed black sneakers, and the silver wrap-around shades he'd been sporting since coming back from vacation a week ago. Dick was wearing frayed, sun-bleached jeans and dirty white sneakers. Their shirts lay on the patio behind them.
They'd spent all day hanging out, starting in town and slowly working their way back out to the suburbs, taking in the park, a busted fire hydrant, and Dick's house for some snacks. It was about five pm now. Diego's house was empty. It was still warm, but there was an edge to the gentle breeze that wafted through the back yard. Fall was coming.
In the fall, Diego was transferring to a private school.
Diego was Dick's best friend. Diego'd told him the news back in May. Dick had cried that night. He cried again the night that school broke up. He still felt ashamed of that; he was sixteen, too old for that stuff. They'd only been friends for a year. It felt like a lifetime.
Torpedo flopped down beside them, panting, tired of the game at last. Dick reached out and patted him on the head. He glanced at Diego, stretched on the blanket, sunning himself. When school broke up, Dick had vowed to make the weeks of summer count, give their friendship some chance of survival. But there was soccer practice, wrestling camp, vacations at the beach, relatives to visit and relatives visiting them. They'd hung out maybe seven times all summer. It just wasn't meant to be.
Now here they were at the end, and they hadn't talked about it.
"School's starting soon," Dick murmured.
Diego just nodded.
"Bus ride won't be the same without you, pal," Dick said, struggling to keep his voice steady.
Diego smiled at him, but there was no strength behind it. "School won't be the same without you, amigo."
Dick turned away, tickling Torpedo under his chin, pretending he was okay. He heard Diego sit up with a dejected sigh. Plastic clicked against plastic as Diego took his sunglasses off and folded them up.
"I wish I wasn't going," he mumbled fiercely, running a hand through his sweaty dark hair.
"Hey, come on, pal," Dick replied, putting an arm around his shoulders. "It's a better school. Smaller classes, better teachers…" He grinned self-deprecatingly. "…no grunts like me who need the simple stuff explained over and over."
Diego slid his own arm around Dick's shoulders, and smiled back. "Don't put yourself down, Ricardo." His smile faded. "You're – you're one in a million, you know? I wish you were my brother."
They both gazed at the back wall of the yard and listened to the sounds of summer. The shouts of little kids playing filtered through from the street at the front of the house. A couple of houses over, someone was having a barbecue. Torpedo panted beside them.
Dick glanced at his friend. Six months ago on Valentine's Day, when Dick had received no cards, Diego'd kissed him to cheer him up. It was the first time Dick had ever been kissed. He'd been weirded out at the time, but now, here at the end, with Diego so close, his shoulders warm and slick with sweat under Dick's arm, it seemed right.
Diego looked at him. "Yeah?"
"Y'know, pal, if we were brothers…" Dick swallowed and wet his lips. "…then this'd be illegal."
He leaned into Diego, squeezing his shoulder with one hand and bringing his other hand up to stroke Diego's hair as their lips met. To his relief, Diego kissed back immediately, shifting so he could slide his arms around Dick's waist. Their bare chests brushed and Diego slid a hand down Dick's back. Dick dropped his hand from Diego's hair and trailed a thumb along Diego's scraggly beard. Heat began to pool in Dick's belly at the feel of Diego's tongue in his mouth. He held Diego tighter, wishing he could never let go.
They had to stop, out of necessity; both of them were getting breathless. Reality began to creep back in as they looked at each other, faces and chests flushed with emotion. Dick coughed awkwardly and turned away, shifting his leg to hide his erection and block out the sight of Diego's. Diego did likewise but with less success; his shorts offered less restraint than Dick's jeans.
Neither of them said a word.
Then Diego took Dick's hand.
Silently they both stood up, and Dick let Diego lead him inside.
"That…didn't make us gay, right pal?"
They lay in Diego's bed, the few clothes they were wearing scattered on the floor. The room was cooler than the yard outside. The window over the bed was open, and every so often the curtains waved gently in the breeze. Posters of soccer players adorned the walls.
"Nah," Diego replied. "It's gay if we put it in each other." He tucked one arm under his pillow and looked at Dick. "We're like…spunk brothers or something."
Dick shifted onto his side to look at Diego properly. "You know, pal…that was the first time I've ever done anything like this. With someone else, I mean."
"Me too, Ricardo," Diego murmured.
Dick grinned at him and gently shoved his shoulder. "Yeah, sure."
"No, really," Diego insisted, rolling onto his stomach. He propped himself up on his elbows. "I – I don't know if this…counts, y'know…virginity-wise…but it's special."
Dick gazed at Diego, bathed in the gold rays of the evening sun. Outside the little kids were still playing, and someone was mowing the lawn. Warm stickiness was drying on Dick's belly, and he could smell his best friend on the bedclothes.
Diego smiled at him, then stretched. "Come on, we'd better clean up before my mom gets home."
Dick never told anyone. Not even Maggey. Not because he was ashamed, but because the moment was too special to let anyone else in. Because he didn't have many memories of Diego, and every time he shared one he felt like he'd lost something. Because he could never reconcile the bitter, sarcastic, joyless man Diego became with the sunny, good-natured boy he'd known. Because the newspapers were right all along – Diego Armando had died in the courthouse cafeteria that day. Poisoned beyond recognition.
Detective Gumshoe retreated to that memory, when it was all over and Diego Armando was sentenced to death. And even though it made his eyes hot and his throat close up, he was still glad they'd gone to bed together on that warm August evening.