Pairing: Hugh/Nate

Warnings: Really mild cursing and slash.

Disclaimer: Pokemon is not mine.

Air Freshener

Hugh was sprawled out on the floor. He'd tripped over one of his sister's stuffed toys, and in a fit of boredom-induced apathy had decided to simply remain where he'd fallen.

There was absolutely nothing going on today. Hugh supposed that he could have made something of his afternoon, but the combination of crushing boredom and intense humidity was too much, even for someone normally so full of energy.

He heard footsteps across the room, took a few seconds to evaluate the best way to look at the source of said footsteps while expending the least amount of energy, and subsequently executed the maneuver.

He was faced with his little sister, who had stopped in the middle of the doorway.

"Why are you on the floor?" she asked, in a confused sort of way that Hugh couldn't really blame her for.


"Do you want to play dress-up?"

Hugh thought it said something about his current mental state that he was seriously considering the invitation. It wasn't that he hated playing with his sister, but there were certain games that he was generally not open to.

Just as Hugh was about to agree to play with his sister, the door chose that exact moment to burst open, and Hugh considered himself to be the luckiest person alive.

Hugh didn't even have to look at the intruder to know who it was, because there was only one person he knew who was brazen enough to throw open the door to another person's house entirely uninvited.

"Hey, Nate," Hugh greeted him, still refusing to budge from a position on the floor that was oddly comfortable.

"Hi, Hugh! Wait, but where - oh."

Nate had been glancing wildly around the room in attempt to locate Hugh, and now that he'd finally found him Nate looked as if he was deciding between two possible choices.

In a move that Hugh hadn't anticipated but in retrospect shouldn't have been surprised by, Nate waved to Hugh's sister before quickly and almost gracefully collapsing next to Hugh on the floor. Seeing that she wasn't going to be getting a playmate any time soon, Hugh's sister turned around and went back to her room.

"You know, I'm only on the floor because today sucks. You didn't have to join me."

"I wanted to! You looked really comfortable."

"... Nate, it's a floor. I'm pretty sure you'd be happier on the couch."

"You're not on the couch."

Hugh blushed before he could help himself, but immediately afterwards he realized that what Nate meant was not that Nate'd chosen the floor because Hugh was there, but rather that if the couch was comfier Hugh would've been there.

That assumption did, of course, hinge on Hugh applying logic to his choice of where to sprawl, and clearly logic was not really playing a factor in today's decisions.

About to resign himself to a day of illogic, Hugh stopped. And sniffed.

"Why the hell do you smell like you took a bath in air freshener?"

The smell wasn't overpowering, but from up close it was definitely getting there. Nate looked at Hugh and grinned sheepishly, opening a hand that had been firmly closed to reveal six tiny, pale blue spheres glistening with some sort of liquid.

Hugh was almost afraid to ask, but decided that Nate was probably going to tell him anyway. "What are those?"

"They're air freshener beads! My mom bought this new air freshener, and it uses these inside of it, and I was really curious about them so I snuck a few out."

Hugh quickly came to the conclusion that Nate was quite possibly the only person he knew who would be intrigued by beads in an air freshener unit. He wasn't sure what this said about his choice in best friend.

"You do realize that your hand is going to smell like air freshener for days."

"Huh. I didn't think of that." Nate sounded genuinely awestruck, and he regarded his hand as if it had suddenly acquired magical properties. "Do you want some of these beads? Then your hands will smell good, too!"

"... My hands smell perfectly fine."

Hugh was in the middle of wondering why he always ended up saying things that sounded really dumb whenever Nate was around when, without warning, Nate grabbed one of Hugh's hands and brought it up to his nose, taking a single, delicate sniff.

"Nate, what the hell."

Hugh was trying very hard to tell his body that blushing was not an appropriate response to have when your best friend was smelling your hand, but it just wasn't working.

"Your hand smells nice," Nate remarked casually. Though Nate was one of the most socially oblivious people Hugh had ever met, the tone of Nate's voice told him that - for once - Nate knew exactly what he was doing.

There was also the fact that Nate was still holding his hand, even when he had absolutely no reason to.

"What are you doing?" Hugh asked cautiously, not sure of what to expect.

Hugh might not have been able to control his blushing, but he could nonetheless string together a coherent question. Given the circumstances, he considered this impressive.

"Holding your hand," Nate replied, grinning in a manner that implied he was completely aware that his answer would annoy the hell out of Hugh.

"Stop being stupid, you know what I - mmph."

Hugh's objection to the extremely unhelpful answer he'd just received was interrupted by Nate, who had, in one fluid motion, closed the distance between himself and Hugh and pressed his lips to Hugh's.

Hugh's eyes widened as his brain registered the fact that his best friend was kissing him, and for a moment he had no idea how he should - or wanted to - respond. It didn't take long, however, for his brain to decide that kissing Nate was actually rather nice, and so Hugh found himself kissing back.

Until it occurred to him that they were currently situated on the floor of his living room engaging in what could only be described as incredibly scandalous behaviour. And since the front door was for some reason unlocked and his little sister was less than a minute away from them playing in her room, Hugh decided that he and Nate should probably stop.

Slowly and somewhat reluctantly, Hugh gently pushed Nate off of him - being flat against the floor, it wasn't as if Hugh could make any sort of retreat.

Nate pulled himself into a sitting position, and though he wasn't sure what it was, there was something in Nate's expression that made Hugh think that he was nervous. Really, though, Hugh knew he'd be even more nervous if he'd been in Nate's position.

"I like you. A lot." Nate rubbed the back of his neck and shot Hugh an embarrassed grin. Hugh sat up and faced Nate.

"I could have guessed that on my own, thanks." The sarcasm was there, but there wasn't really any bite to it. "And I..." Hugh glanced away as it was evidently his turn to be embarrassed, "I feel the same way."

Nate made a noise that sounded pretty close to a squeal of delight and promptly tackled Hugh to the floor in an energetic hug, pressing a kiss to Hugh's cheek in the process.

Naturally, it would be this exact moment that Hugh's sister chose to enter the room. There was a polite cough from her direction, and upon registering the presence of his little sister Hugh hastily rolled out from under Nate and proceeded to smack into the nearby couch. He valiantly muffled his cursing, mainly because he figured he'd already exposed his sister to enough corruption for the day.

"Nothing was happening," Hugh said very seriously, ignoring the fact that Nate seemed to be trying hard not to burst into laughter.

"It's okay!" his sister exclaimed, and Hugh could tell from the flustered expression on her face that she knew that something had, in fact, definitely been happening. "I think it's adorable."

"You - what?" Nate seemed to find Hugh's utterly befuddled tone of voice absolutely hilarious, and Hugh thought that his laughter was really not helping the situation.

"You both like each other, right?"

Nate gave an enthusiastic nod, after which Hugh followed suit, though in a manner that was admittedly less enthusiastic and more mortified.

"Then I approve!"

Hugh was pretty sure he didn't need his little sister's approval, but he had to admit that a part of him was glad he had it.

"You can't tell mom and dad, alright? Not yet."

"Can I tell Nate's mom?"

Hugh rolled his eyes. "I think Nate can tell his own mom that he's... that he's seeing someone."

Nate, having since put a stop to his fit of laughter, crawled next to Hugh and sat with his back against the bottom of the couch. "It's fine. I was going to tell her anyway, so I don't mind if your sister does it."

"Yay!" Hugh's sister yelped excitedly, joyfully throwing her arms up into the air.

There was a moment of silence, during which Hugh realized that his curiosity was going to drive him to ask one of those stupid questions that only get voiced around Nate.

"You didn't coat your hands in air freshener just so you'd have an excuse for all of this, did you?"

"Maybe," Nate grinned ambiguously, looking as innocent as he could manage.

In the end, Hugh chose not to take the topic any further - whether Nate had scarily awesome planning skills or not, Hugh had decided that he was perfectly happy with the result of Nate barging into his house.

A/N: One day in Architecture someone brought in a handful of air freshener beads, and the entire class was so enthralled by them that within fifteen minutes everybody had been passed one. As I was rolling a bead around in my palm, I got hit with the idea for this story.

... If you're curious, my school now has notes on the bead-filled air fresheners that kindly ask people not to mess with them.