>>that was an unusual stream
>>>Charles, if you want something just say it
>>nothing nothing just noticed that it wasn’t on the schedule
>>>I am pretty sure you watched the whole thing
>>>I saw you in chat
>>>What do you want?
>>will logan be over the entire week?
>>>...you’re so obvious sometimes
>>>Until next wednesday. Cheaper flights
>>so you’re not gonna stream?
>>i’ll steal all your viewers make sure to host me :P
>>>I said lighter schedule, not no streams
>>>Logan’s still gonna do the usual group things and sat morning, just from my pc
>>so he’s not gonna say anything?
>>>Nah, not ready to have anyone put two and two together
>>>Gotta go now
The first time their phones buzzed almost simultaneously, Erik and Logan opted to ignore it. There were more important things than checking why they would be messaged. Like making out. Logan had only arrived the day before, making this the only third time they’d spend some time together at either their places. Everything was still fresh enough for them to want to savour every moment, but not so fresh that it felt extremely urgent.
The latter part was why Erik, eventually, after their phones wouldn’t stop buzzing, groaned. “Group chat. Tell Charles we’re busy.”
Logan, careful not to make Erik move off him, reached for his phone on the bedside table. “Raven wants to play Quiplash later,” he informed Erik. “And says to tell you no audio is fine, as long as you can play.” For a moment, he hesitated, then put an arm around Erik’s shoulders and took a picture of himself scowling over the back of Erik’s head which he sent Charles.
”Raven still thinks I’m… what? At Charles’ place? I told her I was home, just busy.” Erik sighed deeply. “I don’t want to tell her again.”
Logan snorted at the chat he was still reading. “Charles’ way ahead of you. She’s just not listening.” He rubbed circles into Erik’s shoulder. “I could tell her you’re on board? She wants to have a go this afternoon. The usual, EU friendly, group stream.”
”Yeah, sure, why not? Quiplash I can play from the couch no problem.” Erik shrugged. “It’s not like I had any other plans. I mean, you were in on the group stream anyway.”
”Exactly,” Logan nodded. “You can’t play console games all night just because I hog your pc.”
”I can, and I will, frequently,” Erik huffed, amused. “Too bad cross save with steam won’t work, though, I hate having to redo all my unlocks.”
”You could just play console exclusives instead of games you own twice,” Logan reminded him. “Last time I was over, you just went from streaming the current Darkest Dungeon build to playing it on your own time, but a version four patches behind.”
”So what, I like the game.” Erik looked up at Logan, smirking all of a sudden. “Or is this your way of telling me I should just spend the time you’re busy doing your job staring at Nathan Drake’s rear?”
That made Logan laugh. “And here I believed you when you said console shooter are an abomination of the genre and should never be played.”
”Just because the gunplay is the worst doesn’t mean it’s not nice to look at,” Erik laughed. “But, criticism heard, I will find something else to play. Maybe something without godawful controls.” He picked up his phone and muted it, but not before checking that between Charles and Logan, the message that he was ready to play along had reached Raven. “Sometimes,” he sighed. “I think it’s not worth enduring stuff like this just to keep this between us from Raven.”
Logan rubbed a hand across his face. “I know,” he groaned. “But… are you ready to be out about it? I can guarantee she won’t keep it to herself, even if she’d want to try.”
”That’s the thing, isn’t it?” Erik rolled off Logan and onto his back so he could stare at the ceiling. As to be expected, the ceiling did not suddenly offer any sort of resolution. “I mean, I don’t care. Like, honestly, the joke that I and Charles are dating has been going on for such a long time, I don’t think it’d shock anyone anymore if I said yep, I’m gay, please leave me alone about it.” He turned his head so he could look at Logan. “The question is do you want to deal with it?”
”Considering that I could just shut everyone up who tries to take that joke to my chat? And Raven?” Logan shrugged. “Hard decision. The pay off’s good, despite the risk.”
”Yeah.” Erik sighed. “It’s just… I really wish I could pretend I had some form of private life, you know?”
Logan put his phone away and rolled onto his side, facing Erik. “I know. I really, really know.” He put his hand on Erik’s cheek. “I don’t care all that much either way. So… ‘s up to you, understand? I won’t push you.”
Erik took a deep breath. For a moment, he allowed himself to close his eyes and lean into Logan’s hand. “I think I do. Thanks.”
They somehow made it through lunch and the first half of the afternoon without talking about the topic again. By the time they needed to get ready for the stream, Erik had almost forgotten about it again. As promised, Erik ceded his PC to Logan, after making sure together that all the setups were in order and everything was running smoothly. Almost as an afterthought, they remembered to make sure Logan was logged into everything used at the moment, especially Steam, Twitch and Discord. As soon as that was done, however, Erik retreated to the couch with his phone, listening along to the stream with headphones, silently praying that his internet connection could take two downstreams of audio and video while Logan was streaming.
The intro went down just as always. Raven did the round of introductions, explained Quiplash for the one person watching who’d be seeing it for the first time and then added that while Erik wasn’t willing to join the call, he’d at least act as an eight player. As usual, she’d invited Alex, Armando and Sean and roped Hank in as well, in addition to their usual four player core group.
”What’s Erik doing?” Sean asked about halfway through the first round. “Did I miss something?”
”He’s just busy with some private stuff, he said,” Alex, who tended to talk with Erik on a regular basis, replied.
”Hah, yeah,” Raven snorted.
”Raven…” Charles and Logan said almost simultaneously, a warning in each of their voices.
”What, am I really the only one here who thinks he could just say it when he wants to take a week or two off to spend with his lover or whatever?” Then, probably because she was still looking at the game, she cursed. “How’s knives a better answer to A terrible name for a clown than tinkles? ...well, at least chat gets it.”
”Just quit it, Raven,” Charles sighed. “It’s really none of your business.”
”Ok, Charles, then why don’t you own up?” Raven wasn’t yet willing to let the topic die. “I kinda get it why Erik wouldn’t but, like, you… you’d usually make use of bragging rights.”
”Raven,” Logan’s voice was almost a growl. “If this were my chat and not a stream, I’d have you banned by now. Just let it go. Please.” He turned around to look at Erik and roll his eyes.
Erik got up so he could hug Logan for a moment. While he was at it, he muted the mic for a moment. “I’m so done with this bs,” he grumbled. In his ear, Charles and Raven were bickering about the concept of privacy. “I know this is a stupid impulse decision, but…” He softly bumped his head against Logan’s. “I think I’m really just done by now.”
”I’m here either way,” Logan said, putting his hand over Erik’s on the keyboard. For a moment, neither of them moved. “Go ahead. I just wished she’d stream with facecam.”
”I could ask Hank to film her,” Erik joked. “It’d serve her right.”
Logan laughed softly, only to press his lips together so he wouldn’t be heard when Erik unmuted the mic. “Hey, Raven? I’d really like it if you’d stop that. But if you must know, you could just look at Discord for a sec. It’s not like I’m logged in or anything. And by the way, I’m home. So you’re wrong there.”
In the silence that followed, Logan carefully maneuvered the chair so he could pull Erik down on his lap and into a hug. He could feel Erik’s heart racing, making him almost consider to just quit the call and stream altogether and go do something else.
”What?” was all Raven could eventually come up with. “What the hell, Erik?!”
”Hey, good on you, kiddos,” Armando laughed. Erik relaxed a little, thankful the burden of response had been taken from him.
”Thanks, ‘Mando,” Erik mumbled. He did his best to ignore the confusion in chat.
”Man, I should’ve asked if anything was up at the con when I saw you.” That was Alex, pretending that he hadn’t and hadn’t been told to mind his own damn business no matter how right he was for his trouble. Which, thinking of it, probably meant that Armando had known too and was just too polite to say anything.
”Chat, chill, we’ll catch you up in a sec,” Erik watched Logan type in his stream’s chat. “Gotta make sure Raven isn’t broken by the news first.”
”Raven?” Erik asked. “You still there?”
”Yeah, I’m still here but you didn’t answer my question. What the hell, Erik?”
”Is that about the who or the why I didn’t tell you?” Erik reached for Logan’s hand again, feeling nervous to the point of nausea.
”Both!” Raven snapped. “But more the who! I really thought you and Charles...”
”We told you we weren’t dating,” that was Charles, laughing. “You just wouldn’t listen.”
”If you’d listened just once and didn’t take stuff like showed up together for breakfast as ironclad evidence Charles and I were involved, I’d probably had told you,” Erik said, adding, “Maybe.”
”Charles knew?” Raven asked, her voice soft enough that she sounded stunned and a bit defeated.
”Charles knew. In detail,” Charles chirped. Logan and Erik exchanged a look. Charles did sound like he was enjoying himself a little too much.
Logan leaned forward, holding Erik a little tighter in the process, so he could reach the mic. “Hey, chat, just so you know, Erik and I’ve been dating for half a year now. That’s what’s going on. If you have questions I’m willing to answer, we can do a round on Saturday instead of the usual agony uncle stream. But… mind the chat rules. Mods are instructed to be just as ruthless as always with the bans.”
For a moment, chat didn’t move at all. Erik hadn’t meant to look, unsure if he wanted to know the reaction, even of a chat as tolerable as Logan’s usually was. With strict rules and even stricter mods, Logan had weeded the real assholes years ago, but knowing that didn’t help much. Especially when chat suddenly started to pick up speed, most of the messages gone by too fast to read. But Erik still saw at least some of the emotes. He relaxed. It looked like chat was taking it well overall.
”Wait, what?” that was Sean. “I didn’t look, was that why Raven’s so upset?”
”Pretty much, yes,” Logan laughed. He carefully patted Erik on the back, moving a little. Catching the cue, Erik slipped off his lap. Instead of returning to the couch, however, he kept standing next to Logan, a hand on his shoulder for support, the other on his phone so he could still play. None of them had really stopped, save for one or two votes on answers each, juggling conversation and game as usual.
”Oh, man!” Sean was laughing. “I’d never guessed. How?”
”Well, Sean, you know the birds and bees story from school, right?” Erik asked, earning himself a scowl from Logan.
”I just asked,” Logan clarified. “Don’t let Erik be an asshole to you just because you’re the youngest here, Sean.”
Erik rolled his eyes at Logan. Somehow, it felt good finally being able to talk open. Scary still, but good. “He asked, knowing fully well I had to leave in ten minutes and then expected me to come up with an answer in a rush.”
”You took almost a month to answer!” Logan protested. “That’s hardly a rush.”
”You never brought it up again!” Erik shook his head, pausing for a moment, before kissing Logan on the cheek. “Still, I’m glad he confessed over Skype instead of in person. That made answering so much easier.”
”I can honest to god not tell if that’s sarcasm or earnest coming from you,” Logan laughed.
”I vote both,” Charles interjected. “Definitely both!”
”Do we have to listen to you two sound like a couple now?” Alex asked, the smirk audible in his voice.
”If you don’t like it, nobody’s forcing you to interact with us,” Erik replied. And, since the question caught his eye in chat, he added, “Chat, we haven’t talked about couch co-op yet, but if you’ve any ideas, please, feel free. Just no promises yet.”
As Erik finished writing his answers for the round, Raven messaged him in private. He checked once he was done, only to find her actually apologizing. “It’s alright,” he wrote back. “I think. I’m not mad, at least.”
”Would you be mad if I asked you why him?” Raven wrote. “I mean. It’s Logan. He’s, like… the dad friend.”
”If that is some kind of allusion to a daddy kink I’ll be real mad, Raven,” Erik wrote, still somewhat good natured.
”Nah, I mean, imagining Logan in a relationship is like imagining your parents dating instead of, you know, just being your parents.” This admission by Raven made Erik laugh loud enough for Logan to hear and raise an eyebrow.
”Later,” Erik mouthed at Logan, before writing back to Raven: “You’ve seen Logan in tight white t-shirts, right?” Just to make sure, Erik added one of the shirtless pictures he had of Logan.
”Fuck,” was all Raven had to say to that.
”Oh, I intend to,” Erik typed, grinning from ear to ear.
”You’re the worst, Erik. How’d you ever keep it a secret from anyone?”
”I could vent to Charles, that helped. Don’t expect me to start telling you things now, though.” Erik took a deep breath. “It means something that you’d apologized. If I ever need tips on what to do as a couple, I’ll ask you. ...and if you really must know, I like Logan precisely because, in the end, he’s chill about just about everything.”
Later that night, when they’d wrapped up the stream and Erik and Logan were sitting on the couch, watching a movie neither of them paid much attention to, Logan asked, “Are you ok?”
”About today? In total? Yeah.” Erik sighed. “Mostly, I think. At least it was all on my terms.” He put an arm around Logan’s waist. “And I still have you. That counts, too.”
”Glad I count, too,” Logan laughed.
”A little,” Erik allowed. “Is it ok I told chat we could do coop streams?”
”Yeah, sure, depends on what you wanna play.” Logan shrugged. “We can find some, I’m sure. ...knowing you, you can come up with five weird indies on the spot.”
”Define weird. Most I’d force on you are actual good. Stressful cooking. Guns and puns. Pushing you into the maws of a wolpertinger by accident,” Erik counted. “Pick one. I draw a line at spaceship piloting, though.”
”I could always just teach you the love and wonders of visual novels,” Logan smirked. “It sounds like fun in my head. Showing you the real weird ones.”
Erik groaned. “Sure, we could do that, too.” He paused for a moment. “That one would even make more sense while you’re here because you could just laugh at me trying to understand the genre.”
”You would try?” Logan kissed Erik’s cheek.
”Probably.” Erik frowned. “Depends on the game. If you force, like, that weird badly photoshopped wrestler meme thing one me, I’d probably try to resist.”
”No dating John Cena, gotcha,” Logan nodded solemnly.
”Good.” Erik sighed, relaxing a bit more against Logan. “Logan? ...I love you.”
”I love you, too,” Logan said, hugging him tight.