"My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!"
–Juliet Capulet, Romeo and Juliet (W. Shakespeare)
Patrick Watts is sure its not love. First of all, Brian always looks a bit dazed and confused, and he's annoyingly enthusiastic about the University Challenge, which is great, but he hardly knows anything about proper protocol and how the Challenge actually works. Plus he's gaga for Alice, has plebian friends with bad attitudes (Spencer and Rebecca, case in point), and he's betrayed the team not only by turning up drunk and head butting their team captain, but also by cheating. Patrick only pretends to believe Brian as far as he can throw him.
But Patrick has other reasons for hating Brian Jackson's guts.
And it's not love.
It's more… Brian Jackson is stupidly adorable and every time he does something good Patrick wants to kiss him, and every time he does something bad Patrick wants to flick him behind the ear and say, "Bad dog."
It's 1985, and Patrick Watts may have a crush on Brian Jackson. Uni is the time to experiment, but Patrick has done all the experimenting he can (and wants to do). But Brian Jackson isn't his type. Patrick's type is… well… people like himself: intelligent, Economics students from old families. Not working class Eng Lit intelligent dumbass kids like Brian. But, like a limpet, Brian has attached himself to Patrick and, well, grown on the third year (a better metaphor would have been moss, but Patrick isn't focusing on English Literature, now, is he?).
So when Brian goes off the radar, back to Southend after the Challenge fiasco, Patrick feels a sort of ache in his heart for a whole week before he panics and fishes out Lucy to help him.
"Have you seen Brian?" he asks.
"No. He moved out of his house and pulled himself out of school. Why?" she asks, this last bit rather warily. Yet she's allowed, since there was that whole tense part before the taping of the University Challenge started.
"I'm… worried, is all," Patrick replies.
"Worried?" asks Lucy. "I thought you would rather die than give Brian the time of day ever since the fiasco in Manchester…"
Patrick feels like a deer in the headlights for a brief moment before, "Yes, well… I'm over that. I just…wanted to check up on him. I'm two years older than him and I… I feel a bit of responsibility for him… is all."
Lucy nods, but Patrick has already hung up on her. He smooths his hair back and decidx to go to Brian's old boarding house to see if Josh or Marcus has heard from him.
"Nope," Josh says, Marcus yawning behind him. "He's in Southend, and it looks like he's staying there."
"But…" Marcus sees the panic on Patrick's face, "We've got some messages from a few months ago. His Mum called a lot back then, and she left her number once because I wanted to call her back if Brian wasn't actually in. I think he was asleep that day," he explains, and as he does he produces a piece of torn paper with the message and number scrawled on it.
Patrick thanks the two, and as he walks back to his apartment to use his own phone, his imagination shows him lovely images of Brian asleep. He had seen Brian asleep only the one time, when waking him up for the Challenge, but he had been angry and hurt then, thinking Brian didn't actually care about hi—about the Challenge.
Patrick's fingers shake as he dials the number, and his breathing becomes irregular as the phone rings on the other end.
"Hello?" comes a very effeminate voice. Brian's mum. "Mrs. Jackson?"
"Not for very much longer, I'm afraid," replies the woman.
"Excuse me?" Patrick asks.
"Nothing," Brian's mum replies, "Who is this?"
"Oh… this is…" Brian's mum was there for the Challenge incident, but Patrick decides to take a chance just in case Brian hadn't mentioned Patrick's exact role in the Challenge fiasco, "Patrick Watts. The… the team captain for the University Challenge. Is Brian home?"
"Yes, he… should be in bed. Do want to speak to him?" The woman is rather wary, but Patrick pushes on:
"No…" says Patrick rather sharply, "No… not on the phone. Can I have your address? I'd quite like to stop by and… and see him."
That was how Patrick comes to Southend, and why he sits in the kitchen of Brian's masionette, sipping tea with Brian's mum and her new boyfriend. He decided to be nice and chat with them before he sets his empty cup aside and climbs the steps to Brian's bedroom, which had been pointed out to him by Brian's mum.
He knocks quietly, but there is no sound, so Patrick opens the door and slips in, shutting the door again behind him.
Brian is no more than a lump under a duvet. His breathing is calm, but Patrick can tell he hadn't been sleeping, and had probably heard Patrick downstairs with his mum and Des.
Patrick sits at the edge of the bed, but Brian is sprawled, so Patrick mutters, "Budge up."
There's a sharp intake of breath from the lump under the duvet, and Brian's head appears over the top, staring at Patrick with a little confusion. "What are you doing here, Patrick?"
"I… came to check on you. I… hope you're alright?" Patrick asks politely.
Brian is still staring at Patrick, and the other man's cheeks flare up a little. His heart pounds as well, and Patrick is afraid Brian can hear it.
"I'm… uh… fine," Brian replies. "I… I thought you'd hate me after… everything."
Patrick's eyes close. "Part of me did but… it… it's dissipated some. I… I'm more worried than anything else now… That's… why I came up here to personally see if you were… okay."
Brian picks up on Patrick's way of speaking, and his breathing, which the redhead is trying to get under control. "It seems you're the one who isn't alright, Patrick…"
"I…" Patrick can't do it. But it would make him feel better if he could… "The other reason I wanted to come here was because… I have to tell you why."
"Why… what?" Brian asks, putting on that adorable confused puppy look. Patrick has that unbelievable feeling of wanting to lunge at him and kiss him.
"Why… it's seemed like I've hated your guts…"
"Because I'm annoying and I was in love with Alice and because I cost you your last year at the University Challenge?" Brian asked, like Patrick was thick of slow or both.
"Well," he said he was in love with Alice! "Yes, those too. But… you grew on me in the end… I just… I… I can't stop thinking about you, and that scared me because you're not my type, and I know I fancy men more than women but even then you're not my type but there's this thing I mentioned about not being able to stop thinking about you and that scared me so I tried to push you away when really all I wanted to do was pull you in and kiss you and mentor you so that you would stop looking like an abused puppy and…" Patrick chanced a glance at Brian and saw his mouth hanging open. "I'll leave," Patrick says, trying to become calm after that long-winded and definitely not calm monologue.
He stands up to go but Brian grabs his hand, "I like girls."
"I know," Patrick replies. "I just thought I'd… explain my actions toward you…"
"You don't mind that I'm a working class Socialist?" Brian asks. Patrick's hand is on fire.
"No. Well… yes and no. I've gotten over it," Patrick explains. "I'm a rather… open-minded Tory…"
Brian seems thoughtful about this. "I like girls," he says again.
That sounds more like a rejection than the first one, and Patrick turns away. Brian tugs his hand, though, and Patrick turns back to him. "But… Uni's the time to experiment, and I'm rather attracted to intelligence and experience, and since you seem to have both… we might as well give… this… a go," he continues, still thoughtful as he speaks.
Patrick slowly sits back down, tentative that this is all a dream and he'd wake up back in his bed and he'd still be a pining git who is just like a primary schoolboy, pulled the pigtails of his crush for so long that he finally lost all chance of actually being happy. Brian crooks his head, suddenly shy, and Patrick can't help himself: he leans in and seals their new deal with a soft, chaste kiss.
And Brian practically throws himself at Patrick, wrapping his arms around the older boy and causing him to fall backwards onto the mattress. But Patrick is deliriously happy about this situation, and kisses back.