Author's Notes: Um. So. I LOVE BRYCE LARKIN. And I didn't realize how much until all of a sudden he was dead.
Still. My vote is for more Bryce in the future. I was way pissed when like, no one cared that he was dead. Chuck was all, "Bryce? Bryce? Damn." And Sarah was like, "BRYCE AHH" and then suddenly it was all, "Oh, hey, let's all move to Prague!"
NO, CHUCK. NO.
Anyway. In conclusion, poor Bryce.
Oh! Also, Klingon translations:
Hab SoSlI' Quch: your mother has a smooth forehead!
tajwIj 'oHbe' chorlIj jeqbogh Dochvetlhe'e: that's not my dagger sticking out of your midsection.
that which is called madness
I have this to regret: too often have I loved, and did not say so.
(It's not like this:)
It's late. Chuck is falling asleep on Bryce's bed, his hand still buried in the popcorn bag. There's a bit of butter and salt on the edge of his mouth, yellow and sweet, and Chuck's tongue slips out to lap at it.
"'M no good at eating popcorn," he grumbles sleepily. "Ellie always says."
He's right. There are crumbs all over him, from his collar to his socks to his hair, and his hand is sticky with butter. Bryce wants to smile, but it seems too tender so he laughs instead. "You're no good at anything, Bartowski," he says.
Chuck cracks an eye to glare half-heartedly at him. "I don't think that sort of insultery is necessary, Larkin," he mumbles, and Bryce's name is swallowed by his yawn. "But since you started it, Hab SoSlI' Quch."
"tajwIj 'oHbe' chorlIj jeqbogh Dochvetlhe'e," Bryce says through his grin. "And you leave my mother's forehead out of this."
Chuck breathes a laugh, eyes falling shut again. Bryce thinks to tell him to get his ass into his own bed, and then just reaches over and turns off the lamp. He's not tired, but Chuck always has trouble falling asleep when there are lights on.
He lays very still in the dark, Chuck drifting off beside him, his breath soft and steady on Bryce's arm.
He imagines rolling over, until that same breath is on his shoulder, then his neck, then his lips. Chucks eyes, opening blearily, holding his own. What are you doing? Bryce? And then swallowing the rest of the words, hungrily, steadily, holding Chuck's cheek until he gets used to the taste and feel and curve of him, and then pulling away and looking, drinking it in as Chuck breathes, open-mouthed, eyes closed, still struggling to understand what is going on.
There are things that Bryce wants. A hundred things, a thousand, and he knows how to get them all.
He sleeps on the floor.
(and it's not like this:)
Their junior year, Chuck invites Bryce home for Thanksgiving. He's spent three years listening to Chuck moan about missing his sister's cooking, so he accepts. Ellie's beautiful, Chuck's height with Chuck's eyes and Chuck's cheekbones and Chuck's habit of talking until you listen.
They spend most of the weekend watching old Star Trek reruns and speaking Klingon at the dinner table. Usually Bryce would play it cooler, but he doesn't bother here, with Chuck and the people that look and sound like him.
Morgan is … a little scary, and entertains himself by trying to steal the turkey without Ellie noticing.
Afterwards, when everyone has gone to bed and Morgan is passed out on the couch, Chuck turns to Bryce and smiles. His eyes are bright and happy, and he's somehow managed to get a bit of lettuce in his hair.
Bryce doesn't know how this is possible, because they didn't even have noodles for dinner, but. Whatever.
" - more of a Shatner fan, myself," Chuck is saying, "although there a handful of Next Generation episodes that I don't actually hate, I mean, Picard was a bald douche but he definitely had that Fear My Hairlessness thing going for him. Of course, he's no Kirk, and Data is just a poor man's Spock, but I kind of had a thing for the empath, what's-her-name - "
In his mind, Bryce is reaching over to free the noodle from its wispy chains, his fingers weaving through Chuck's hair, and they are laughing about where it came from. Chuck turns to look at him, but Bryce's hands are still tangled in his hair and they are close. Very close. So close that if he steps forward, just an inch, they are nose to nose. Chuck's eyes are wide, confused, his eyebrows lifted (even in his mind, Bryce knows that Chuck won't understand until it's happening, until he is pinned against the wall and their mouths are tangled and Bryce is - )
" - can't beat Whoopi Goldberg as a time-altering bar tender, though, that really - "
"Chuck," Bryce interrupts. "You've got a noodle in your hair."
(and it's not like this:)
Chuck looks right at him as he's walking down the stairs. Anyone else would have looked away, anyone else would have stiffened their upper lip and snarled fuck you on their way out the door, but Chuck looks at him with hide, hurt eyes and his voice is actually trembling when he asks, "Why'd you do it, Bryce?"
Bryce drinks him in, lets himself remember every detail of Chuck's face, clings to the knowledge that this is the best thing he could ever do for Chuck, tries to feel good and tries not to vomit.
If it were a perfect world or even just a different world, Bryce would cast aside his pool stick and drag the box of crap out of Chuck's hands and throw it to the side, and he would clasp Chuck's face between his hands and say, Because I love you, you giant idiot, because I love you, please believe me, I don't even know how to love anybody but I love you. Chuck would gape and stutter and the other brothers would start murmuring, everyone confused, everyone thinking he had gone crazy (and maybe he has, God, who even knows anymore) but he'd ignore them all. He'd ignore everyone in the room except for Chuck, who he'd pull forward and kiss until it hurt, until both of them were breathless and confused and he'd say again, I love you, please believe me, I love you.
He aims at the corner and tips the eight ball in for the victory. "You did it to yourself, Chuck," he says.
(and it's not like this:)
When Chuck comes out into the courtyard, Bryce doesn't even bother saying anything at all, just grabs Chuck and crushes the stupid spy sunglasses underfoot and kisses him once, fiercely, fervently, frantically, kisses him even when Chuck is flailing and confused and when he settles into it and finally kisses back.
And somehow everyone is there, everyone - Sarah and Casey and Orion and Tommy and Jill and Ellie and Morgan and Professor Flemming and everyone that they have ever known, together. And they all see, they all understand now, the way that Bryce loves Chuck like he does everything else: to extremes.
They are alone, and he leaves the glasses.
(it's not like anything at all:)
The pain in his side is maddening, because it's so familiar. He thinks, dimly, that a guy can only sacrifice himself so many times before it gets boring.
Chuck falls out of the sky. Bryce thinks Chuck has always fallen out of the sky, but he doesn't know what that means.
He smiles. Everywhere it is white. He's not sure if he's dead yet. He checks: "Hello, Chuck."
Chuck is smiling, scrambling to his feet in that gangly, ridiculous way he has, in that way that Bryce has loved from the beginning.
He squeezes his eyes closed and clutches his side. Someone told him the pain gets easier as you die. They had obviously never died before, because this is not better, it is worse, even as Chuck falls on his knees before him and starts babbling about being okay, about making it out, about everything that Bryce knows is a lie.
He tries to make the last words matter, and he says, "Get out of here."
Chuck is looking at him now, like maybe he understands, but he doesn't, he never did. No one ever really did. Everything is fuzzy now. Bryce doesn't know where he is.
He's waited this long, and he's going to say it: his mouth opens around the word I, but the rest is silence, silence.
Chuck whispers: "Bryce?"
"Bryce? Bryce! Bryce - no! - wait - no - don't you touch him - "