Chris Pine, Zach Quinto, Zachary Levi, Milo Ventimiglia. A wayward boy.
[16 March, 2009.]
"I'm not sure if I'll make that salad dressing again," Chris says as he puts the last plate in the dishwasher. "It... lacked something."
"Any idea what the something is?" Zach asks, leaning against the counter with a towel slung over his shoulder.
"Flavour?" Zachary suggests after downing the rest of his water.
Chris turns and looks at him, hurt.
"I mean... more flavour," Zachary says.
"Zachary, what have we discussed?" Zach says.
"Many, many things," Zachary replies.
"Remember the part about choosing your words carefully?"
"I may recall something about that, yes."
"Good. Think about that some more, will you?" Zach says. "Chris? I thought it was excellent. Maybe needed a bit of bite... pepper? Pepper related something?"
"Hm." Chris's spirits seem a little dampened. "Maybe."
"Maybe. But myself, I'd have it again, just like it was. I'm only suggesting it because you said that you were trying to figure it out," Zach assures him.
"Sure," Chris says, smiling over at Zach.
Zachary hurries to him, hugs him tight, and says, "I'm sorry. My foot doesn't taste good when I put it in my mouth."
Chris laughs, pats Zachary's shoulder, and says, "It's okay. Really."
"You are very good at apologizing at least," Zach admits.
Zachary grins sheepishly, but is saved from having to answer when the doorbell rings.
"I've got it," Zach says, stopping Chris from going. "Zachary? Behave," he adds, heading to open the door.
And there's Milo, overnight bag on his shoulder, looking more than a little haggard. "Hi," he says.
"Milo!" Zach just stares for a few moments, before he pulls the door open wider to let him in. "Come in--Chris!" he calls. "Milo's here!"
Milo drops his bag on the floor as Chris and Zachary wander into the foyer.
"Hey, Milo!" Zachary says.
But Chris falls short of making it all the way over to them, and he frowns. Something's not right.
Milo looks at the floor.
Zach closes the door behind him, then takes a look at Milo. "Come on," he says, taking Milo gently by the wrist and leading him into the kitchen, setting him down in a chair, then pulling a chair around so he can sit right in front of Milo.
Milo clasps his hands in front of him on the table. He's vaguely aware of Chris and Zachary sitting down, too, but he doesn't look at anyone.
"Milo?" Zach leans in nice and close, his voice sounding sort of like how it does when he's talking to Pansy on a bad day. "What is it?"
"Sendhil broke up with me," Milo whispers.
Zach leans back against his chair with a thump. "Sendhil... no."
Milo nods, not looking at him. "Yeah."
"When?" Zach asks, since he doesn't have any other intelligent questions to ask just then.
"Yesterday. I spent last night at Jack and Beth's. I couldn't... couldn't stay at Adrian's. With Sendhil there."
"What happened? Did..." Zach trails off and sighs, giving his head a shake. "Milo? I'm sorry. Let me guess. No warning, out of nowhere?" he asks, very quietly.
"Yeah. Out of nowhere."
Zach nods. "I've been there. I really am sorry, Milo."
"That's why... that's why I had to come. Here."
"You can stay here for awhile, if you want," Zach says. "As long as you need."
"Thanks, Zach," Milo murmurs. "I appreciate that."
"It's all right," Zach says, squeezing his arm. "Did you eat?"
"A little bit."
"Chris? Baby, do you think we have anything Milo would like?"
"Of course we do," Chris says, rising to his feet. "Milo, how about some cheese and crackers and carrot sticks?"
"Sure," Milo says with a non-committal little shrug.
"Bottle of vodka and some grape soda?" Zach suggests instead, watching to see how Milo reacts.
Milo lifts his head and looks up at him. He never really drank all that much to begin with, but he swore off booze after that time where he got completely shitfaced on his own wine and then took Hayden's virginity only not really because she wasn't a virgin but he thought she was and she was hot and pushy and really, really hot. Also pushy.
And then Milo nods.
"Chris? Cancel the carrot sticks and cheese, get the vodka from where we hid it from Zachary. Don't let Zachary see. Zachary? You get the grape soda."
"Why can't I see where the vodka lives?" Zachary demands.
"You name household objects," Chris says, before wandering from the room to go fetch the vodka from its secret hiding place.
"You give one toilet a name," Zachary mutters. He takes the grape soda from the fridge and looks sulky.
"Don't pout," Zach says. "Glasses too."
Pouting, Zachary gets glasses down from the cupboard.
Zach gives Zachary a Look. The last thing he needs right now when Milo's dealing with this is Zachary being a pill. "What else do we need... we need snack food."
"We have a big container of that home-made salsa," Zachary says. "And we have nachos. Maybe you can sweet-talk Chris into making some cheese sauce."
"Perfect," Zach says. "We've even got some sourdough bread left, and that pre-made spinach dip. Even though it's not as good as Chris's homemade dip."
"I could make some," Chris says, as he wanders back into the room with the vodka.
"Cheese dip first," Zach says. "We'll see how we're doing after that." He takes the vodka from Chris and starts mixing drinks, making Zachary's distinctly weaker than the others, then pushing one over in front of Milo.
Milo downs the drink in a few large gulps, then puts his glass down. "Nachos," he says.
"I'll get right on that," Chris says, raising his eyebrows at the way Milo polished off his drink.
Zach puts his drink back just as fast. Something tells him that this time, it's gonna be Chris and Zachary's turn to take care of him, plus one.
"I just don't get it," Milo says, "I just don't--you give and you give and he takes and he takes and then you're on your ass and you don't know what the fuck happened!" He shoves a very large helping of nachos into his mouth.
"It's not you," Zach says firmly. "It's not. Right? It's like... it's not. You know? I know," he mutters.
"But, like, I mean, he was everything. And I've lost Hayden and Adrian now, 'cause he was everything."
Zach frowns at him. "How come? I mean..." he gestures with his drink, "they didn't break up with you. Right?"
"But they've got each other. I'm just the boy they slap around sometimes."
Something about that doesn't sound right to Zach, but he's not sure how to explain it. So he refills Milo's drink. "Did you talk to them?"
"No, I ran away. Now they really won't want me. And Hayden gave me this necklace, right? And I love it, right? And I love her. But I'm just the boy."
"Okay, but, like... Hayden doesn't even sleep with Sendhil, right? I mean... right? So... why... wait." Zach tries to clear his thoughts. "So why does Sendhil breaking up with you change that? You? Them? You and them?"
"Because, like, they've got a bed of their own and shit."
"Oh." Zach frowns. "You can stay here. With us. Or Zachary. Right Chris?" He doesn't ask Zachary.
"Of course you can stay with us," Chris says, finally bringing over the spinach dip and sourdough bread.
"See? You can stay with us," Zach says. "Eat."
Milo tucks into the bread and dip with gusto. "And, like, I kept buying him shit. And this is the thanks I get."
Zach leans his cheek on his hand (he misses the first time) and looks thoughtful. "I know something."
"What do you know?" Milo looks up at him, food halfway to his mouth. "Tell me."
He sighs. "You'd do it again. Wouldn't you?"
"In a fucking heartbeat. You?"
"If I could go back and do it all over, like in the past, not in now?" Zach says, reaching for Chris's hand. "Yeah. But I wouldn't drop everything to do it now-now. But... yeah. I'm not sorry I had that."
"It's, like, having something so perfect and amazing and shit and it's all yours and you've got him, like, all of him, and then poof. Gone. No more. Gone."
Zach sighs, squeezing Chris's hand harder. "I could say the part about it not being our fault again."
"Doesn't seem to make it better."
"It will later. Does that make it better?"
"No. It still fucking hurts."
Zach looks at Milo for a second, then tugs him in for a hug, holding on tightly. He's strong, for being actually pretty skinny.
"Oh, God." Milo holds on tight.
Zach decides to get rid of the it's okay and it'll get better shit, and just hold on. He can't help wishing there'd been someone to do that for him when he was where Milo is now.
Chris sighs softly. Zachary's off playing video games because nobody'll let him get drunk, and Zach and Milo are drunk, and Chris is now back to hating Sendhil Ramamurthy just a little bit. Because this is apparently what he does to pretty boys. And that's not fair. Or right.
It's a few more minutes before Zach speaks up again, and he's very, very quiet when he does. "Bedtime, Milo. You need some rest." And he needs to sleep it off.
"But, like, I just ate a whole ton of food," Milo says, not wanting to let go of Zach.
"I know. That's for soaking up the alcohol so you don't barf purple. I'm coming with you," Zach promises.
"I don't want to be alone," Milo says.
"You aren't going to be alone," Zach says. "We're gonna be there with you. I'll be there, Chris'll be there."
"Do you promise?"
"I promise," Zach says. "You won't be alone. If you want, we'll even bring Zachary." He must be drunk if he's offering that.
Chris looks a little horrified.
"That's a lot of people in your bed," Milo says.
"Yes. Yes it would be."
Milo finally pulls back and looks at Chris, then at Zach again. "I think Chris wants to limit bodies in his bed."
"I think you might be right," Zach agrees. "Still. You don't have to be alone."
"No. No, I guess not."
"Okay. So. Come on," Zach says, trying to stand up. He hasn't done that since he started drinking. Which is a mistake.
"Okay," Chris says, "steady on, baby." He helps Zach to his feet, then Milo. "Let's get you two to bed."
"I'm sure I can walk," Zach says, looking down at his feet, which aren't cooperating. "Right?"
"I'm sure you can," Chris says. "Both of you. Let's go."
Zach stumbles forward, gets his feet under him properly, and keeps going, still half-supporting Milo.
Somehow, Chris manages to get them up to the master bedroom, with a few pauses and a lot of encouragement. Milo collapses down on the bed, feet still on the floor, and lifts an arm to cover his eyes. Chris looks at him, then strokes Zach's cheek. "You're a good friend," he whispers.
He leans in and gives Chris a kiss. "I know how it feels," he whispers back. "I love you so much."
"I love you, too. Now let me take care of the two of you and get you all tucked in bed."
"Okay," Zach says, looking down at Milo. "He's gonna be rough tomorrow."
"I know. So you should both get lots of sleep."
"Right. Chris? If I start referring to the toilet by name? Please don't tell me."
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