"I give!" Dirk Strider said as loud as he physically could trapped in a headlock. Jake English relinquished his grip and let Dirk fall. Gasping for air, Dirk looked up at Jake with orange eyes. His obnoxiously pointy and completely ironic anime shades that he usually wore had flown off his face in this latest bout of fisticuffs. Jake, still in an upright position, leaned back, stretching out his sore muscles and popping his back.

"So, ready to admit I'm better at this than- AUGH!" Jake cried as Dirk seized the opportunity and tackled Jake while his guard was down. Jake was slammed into a piece of furniture before he could gather himself enough to fight back. Dirk was on his knees leaning over English, who was in an incredibly uncomfortable position against the back of a couch, their hands interlocked and pushing against the other boy's. Dirk was older, and a bit stronger, but Jake was tactical. When Dirk pushed just a little less, Jake pushed a little more, and the boys rolled over and over each other until Dirk was laying flat on his back on the floor, Jake on top of him, one knee on his chest, holding Dirk down. Jake's hand were placed on the floor on either side of Dirk's head, once again proving him the victor. Dirk was breathing heavily, spiked blond hair damp with perspiration. Jake's brown-black hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat as well.

"Alright." Dirk wheezed. "You win."

"Oh, that's it? That's all the fight you have in you?" Jake joked, but he stood, shaking slightly from exertion. Dirk propped himself up on his elbows and looked around for his shades. They were across the room. Jake seemed to know what Dirk was going after. "Leave them." he said. "I don't mind."

"I do, though." Dirk retrieved his glasses and put them back on his face. Disappointment swept across Jake's features, but only for a second before he smiled, adjusting his own glasses. He grabbed the green shirt that he wore as a jacket off the back of the couch and used it to wipe the sweat from his face, neck, and arms. Needless to say, he didn't put it back on. He tossed it into the corner and made a mental note to wash it later. Dirk fell over on the couch, exhausted, but no longer panting. Both boys were silent for a few minutes, Jake leaning over the back of the couch, standing over Dirk. He couldn't help but notice everything about Dirk; from the wiry muscles in his arms to the freckles that peppered his face. Dirk was quite an attractive guy, Jake had to admit. "What are you looking at, English?"

"Huh? Oh, nothing. I mean-" Dirk smirked.

"Forget it." he said. Jake's cheeks flushed. Why did he think that would be a good response? Why was he staring at Dirk in the first place?

"So... That was fun." Jake said, still leaning over Dirk behind the sofa.

"Mm." was the blond's only response. Jake sighed.

"Do you want to do something now?"

"Sleep."

"..."

"What?" Dirk opened his eyes, even though you couldn't really tell through the shades, and glanced at Jake, who shrugged. Silence. A thought occurred to Dirk; one he'd been trying to forget so to not make it awkward while he was at Jake's house. And he might have succeeded, too, had he not been reminded of aforementioned thought by way of his auto-responder. A screen in his glasses blinked into life with a pesterlog. It startled Dirk, but he made an effort not the let it show.

-timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering timaeusTestified [TT] at 16:43-

TT: Have you told him yet?

TT: Shit. No. I was trying to forget.

TT: Why? Didn't you make the expensive trip from Texas JUST SO you could tell him?

TT: Yes. So?

TT: So tell him!

TT: Jesus, Strider.

TT: I'd do it, but I really can't.

TT: I'm glasses.

TT: So it would seem.

TT: I could back you up, tell you what to say.

TT: Come on, Dirk. It's not that hard.

TT: Will you shut up if I do?

TT: Probably.

Dirk sighed.

"Shit. Hey, English!" Jake had left to get a new shirt of something while Dirk was talking to himself, "himself" being his 13-year-old persona programmed into a pair of glasses. "Jake!" Dirk called again, pushing himself into a sitting position. A moment later, the sound of Jake coming down the stairs reached Dirk's ears.

"What do you want, Strider?" Dirk turned to face Jake, a deep blush searing his cheeks at the sight of his best friend shirtless, with a clean garment clutched in his fist.

"I... uh... shit." Dirk muttered. Jake moved towards Dirk, slipping the shirt over his head as he walked. Dirk swallowed, trying desperately to retain his regular complexion. Jake came around the furniture, avoiding tripping on thick vines that riddled his house, and seated himself next to Dirk.

"You called." he said.

"Uh, yeah, I did. My auto-responder reminded me just now of something I was meaning to tell you. I must have forgotten it during our fight."

"What is it?"

"Jake... I'm not entirely sure how to tell you this. I've kind of been keeping it to myself for three years."

"What the devil fucking dickins are you talking about, Strider?" Dirk took a deep breath. His auto responder kicked in again.

TT: Do it, Dirk.

TT: He's right there.

TT: Look at him.

TT: You know you want to tell him, Dirk.

Dirk took off his glasses, just so he wouldn't have to see the messages anymore. Jake cocked his head to one side, waiting.

"Jake, I-" Dirk's breath caught. He took Jake's hand in his and looked him in the eyes, seeing the curiosity mix with surprise almost instantly. "I know you don't feel the same way. After all, you're not a homosexual. But... I... I love you, Jake. I don't know why this is so hard for me to say. I practiced it a hundred times before I came here, and a thousand times before that. I've wanted to tell you for so long. But I do. I love you. God, I feel like such a dumbass..."

"Dirk... I- Mmph" Dirk made a sudden movement towards Jake, who flinched, thinking he was about to be hit, but he was mistaken. The Strider boy pressed his lips to Jake's, unsure of why he was doing it; like some invisible force had pushed him. He was glad he had taken off his anime shades, though. Jake was shocked, barely realized what was going on, yet kissed back not knowing what else he could do. Dirk leaned forward and Jake leaned back, and they had resumed their position from their earlier fight, fingers interlocked, Dirk above the other boy. Difference being, they were on a couch with much more restricted area. Dirk had wanted this and only this for so long. Jake was half below of him, half next to him, but either way, the position wasn't particularly comfortable, but neither boy moved. A moment later, Jake broke the kiss and pushed himself up, forcing Dirk away, surprise in his emerald eyes as well as Strider's.

"English, I..." Dirk said, moving away. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Jake made a motion to leave. Dirk reached out to grab his friends hand, but he had left too quickly. "Shit." he sighed. He buried his face in his hands, and his eyes burned with tears. He felt upset and disappointed and more in love with Jake than when he had arrived at the English household. But he couldn't cry. Coolkids didn't cry. Instead, he pushed his glasses back on his face, hoping to be distracted by the auto-responder.

TT: So, how'd it go?

TT: Not well.

TT: Not well? How not well is the not well we're talking?

Seven different ironic statements came to mind. But this was not the time for irony.

TT: He left.

TT: Jake?

TT: Yeah.

TT: Where did he go, do you suppose?

TT: His room, probably. Maybe the top floor, but I don't know what's up there.

TT: What are you going to do then?

TT: I was thinking "leave".

TT: And go where?

TT: Away. Jake probably hates me. I kind of hate me right now.

TT: Alright, well, do whatever.

And so he did. He rummaged around for his jacket before descending a flight or two of stairs so he could leave.

"Strider! Wait!" He heard Jake's, but didn't stop, or even turn his head to look back. "Dirk!" He was at the door, forming a plan about where he'd go after he left. "Don't leave..." The words shocked him into stopping, but only momentarily. But a moment was long enough. Jake grabbed Dirks wrist and spun him around, his back pressed against the door. "I said," Jake pulled the glasses off Dirk's fame and tossed them aside. "Don't leave." He stared at Dirk for what seemed like an eternity. He took Dirk's hand in his.

"Why not?" Dirk said. Jake was at a loss. "Exactly." Dirk tried to turn and leave again, but Jake put a firm hand on his shoulder.

"Because I love you." he muttered. Dirk stopped dead.

"No, you don't. You don't have to lie to me, English. I know you don't." Strider turned around as he said this, only to be met with a slap in the face. His hand shot up to where his cheek burned.

"Shut up, Strider." He stepped ever so slightly closer to his friend. "I do love you, Dirk. It's taken me until now to come to terms with that fact, but come to terms with it I did." As if to prove his point, Jake brushed his lips against Dirk's, lightly at first, then more fervently when Dirk kissed back. "Don't leave..." Jake whispered through the kiss. He wrapped his arms around Dirk's neck. In response, Strider held Jake around his middle.

"I won't."

"... I love you."

"I love you, too."