by Voleuse

The sky is streaked like warm sherbet, and the ocean sounds like a conch shell, but bigger.

Ryan winces inwardly, and makes peace with that final B- in English literature.

He was never meant to be a poet, anyway.

It's sunset, and he lives in Newport Beach, and he just graduated from high school. It's enough, for him, to revel in the facts. He'll leave the spoken profundity to Seth.

"Watching the sunset, Ryan?"

Speak of the devil.

"Isn't that a little minty?" He hands a bottle to Ryan. "Or at least hopelessly cliche."

"I like it." Ryan thumbs the cap off the bottle. It's Shiner Bock, lifted from one fridge or another. If Seth had wanted to buy beer himself, he would have called Luke, and that means shiny, silver cans. "I'll never get over the view."

"You're from Chino, not Alaska." Seth twists his own bottle open, rubs his hand against his shirt. "I trust you would have visited the beach eventually."

"Yeah, but," Ryan gestures, widely, helplessly, "nothing like this." Glances back at the house behind him, a model home that he knows like the back of his hand, even though he's never been in this particular one. Turns back to the not-quite-cliffside he stands on, inches from the horizon. "I could have lived my entire life and never seen this."

Seth smiles at that, not smug, but happy. "It's just like in the movies."

"Something like that."


It's fun to watch Seth drinking beer, Ryan thinks. It's a quick progression of tics: sip, wince, gulp, and shudder. Like drinking poison to get a buzz. A slow and ridiculous death.

When Seth wobbles, then thuds to the ground, Ryan doesn't laugh.



Ryan tosses another bottlecap onto the pile. "You sure they aren't expecting us?"

The sun is gone, now, but the twilight dim does just as well.

"Yup. They've got champagne, Caleb, and Hailey to deal with." Seth, still nursing his second beer, grins up from the tumble that his body's become, limbs twisted and folded into an oddly comfortable-looking position. "We are incidental to the celebration."

"Guess so." Ryan prefers to stand, prefers to stare out to where the ocean used to be. Likes to know that it's still there, even though he can't see it. It's always there, rushing, murmuring. Like Seth.

"You sure you don't want to hang out with--"

"I'm sure." He shakes his head, shakes away the thought. "This is cool." Sits, eye level with Seth. "Hey, did you see Julie and Caleb at the ceremony?"

"Shut up."


Even in June, even in California, the beach after dark is cold without a bonfire. Seth, never one to suffer stoically, inches closer to Ryan as they sit on the bluff.

Ryan doesn't say a word, but raises an eyebrow. Doesn't move.




"You sure you don't want to hang out with--"

"I'm sure."

"Your call, man."

A moment of quiet. Unusual, around a Cohen.

"Hey, Ryan."


"We should go sailing."

"To Tahiti?"



The stars are out now, and it makes sense to kick back, lie down, and enjoy the view. Ryan finds it calming. Just him, Seth, and the ocean. Chatting like the tides.


"Batman could totally kick Superman's ass."

"Dude," and Seth might be playing devil's advocate, Ryan's pretty sure, "Superman can turn the world backwards! How can a non-super-powered guy in a costume beat that?"

"Batman's smarter."

"And, also, not Superman."

"Batman has Robin."

"Hey, you can't just include Robin in the discussion!"

"Why not?"

"Which Robin are we talking about?"

"Does it matter?"

"Can Robin kick Superman's ass?"

"So, you agree that Batman could kick Superman's ass."



Ryan isn't sure who kissed who, but for a minute, his hand was on Seth's shoulder, and Seth's palm was splayed across the back of his neck, and their lips touched.


"I'm just saying, man," Seth giggles, "you had a way, way better time in high school than I did."

Ryan looks at him, skeptical. "How many times did you get suspended?"

"Not once," Seth shrugs, pshaw scribbled over his face. "How many times did get you dumped?"

Ryan ponders that for a moment. Counts. Smiles. "Good point."

"I gotta say, though, my girlfriends?"


"So much hotter than yours."

Ryan doesn't reply, but resorts to mild violence. A slug on the arm is as good a retort as anything Seth could think up.

"Dude!" Seth rubs his arm, slurring with pain and beer. "It's true."

"Yeah." Ryan settles back again. "It's true."


The second kiss is longer, deeper, and undeniable.

Seth is kissing Ryan. Ryan is kissing Seth. Not like kissing a girlfriend, but kissing Seth.

It doesn't seem weird at all.


"Britney or Christina?"

"Christina." Ryan snorts at Seth's skeptical look. "Beyonce or Kelis?"



"I like saying Beyonce." Says it again, and again for emphasis. "Penelope or Nicole?"

"Penelope. Liv or Alicia?"

"Alicia who?"


"Liv." Ryan bites his lip for a second. "Catwoman or Batgirl?"

"God." Seth rolls onto his stomach, props his head in his hand. "I can't do it. I can't choose." Rolls back.

"Rogue or Storm?"

"Comics or movies?"


"Rogue. No, Storm." Thinks. "Rogue."


"Mystique." A pause. "Iceman or Pyro?"

Another pause. "Pyro."


"I guess."

Quiet again, then Ryan laughs. "Elijah or Dom?"

"How am I supposed to answer that?"


The sky streaks like warm sherbet, and the ocean still sounds like a giant conch shell.

Ryan blames the bad poetry on his mild hangover, and the fact that he hasn't slept. He's still sprawled on the bluff, still next to Seth, and it's possible they kissed again, sometime before dawn, but he can't remember.

"Hey, Ryan?"


"Doesn't the sky kind of remind you of that gross non-ice cream stuff Mom stocks in the fridge?"

"Kind of."

"Just checking." Seth sits up, stretches his arms to their albatross-span.

Ryan follows suit, and their arms barely avoid a collision, and suddenly they're kissing for the fourth time, or maybe the third.

Their lips part, and unoccupied, Seth's mouth returns to its default setting of babble. "Hey, Ryan?"


"Isn't this kind of minty?" Seth draws back. "Or at least a little cliche, I mean."

Ryan kisses Seth again, and doesn't bother to keep counting, because Seth probably is.

"Kind of like the movies?" Seth's a little breathless when he starts talking again. Ryan likes it.

Ryan shrugs. "Something like that." Lies back down.



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