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Winter Games Is Coming... Again!

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You can get used to anything; Shayne’s grandfather would say that all the time.
One of Shayne’s clearest memories of him, was when he told Shayne the fable of the boiling frog:
If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out; but if you put a frog in cold water and slowly bring the temperature to boiling, it will stay in the water and perish.

Even now, as a grown man, he remembered his grandfather’s voice, recalled the exact words; they had become applicable in a way he couldn’t have predicted.

Shayne was the frog, and the pot of slowly heating water was his friendship with Damien. Having known each other for almost a decade, their friendship had undergone several transformations; slowly morphing from casual co-workers to best friends who spent most of their free time together.
… To co-working best friends who spent all their time together.

Somewhere along that path, Shayne had gone the way of the fabled frog. He had started seeing Damien as more than a friend; not realizing it - or rather, not admitting it to himself - until one fateful evening where he found himself on Damien’s couch with a boner.

He and Damien had been playing video games, while devouring enough Thai food to feed a small army, when the predictable happened. Damien had failed to juggle both his drink and his controller, tipping a full glass onto the front of his shirt.

“My controller!”, he’d gasped, holding it up high, as if water was rising around him. Shayne had picked the controller out of his hand and paused the game, so that Damien could go to his bedroom and get a dry shirt.

He returned to the living room, shirtless, clean t-shirt in hand. He ran a hand over his exposed stomach, grimacing.

“Dude, my belly is so sticky; give me a minute to wash off. No cheating!”

Somewhere between the visual of Damien’s shirtless body and the audio of him saying ‘sticky’ and ‘belly’ in the same sentence, Shayne’s caveman brain got very interested.
He had nodded weakly in response, and by the time Damien was out of the room, Shayne’s body had already betrayed him. He was hard in the middle of his best friend’s apartment and there was no denying that said friend was the cause.

Shayne wasn’t blind; he’d always recognized that Damien was attractive. It was just that the ‘I wanna put my mouth on your mouth and other places’-level of attraction had now been reached.
He’d loved Damien for years – as a best friend, sure, but he’d always felt weird if he was asked to clarify that.

 

Days after the incident at Damien’s place, he wondered if all best friends felt like this to some extent; that they’d be a couple if they were attracted to each other at all. Well, he was attracted to Damien.
He loved Damien, as he always had, and now thinking about him too long gave him hard-ons. Cool.

 

That day, at Damien’s place, he had fixed the situation temporarily by pulling a throw blanket across his lap and pretending to be chilly; but that was an extremely short-lived solution.

In the long term, he needed to figure out how to lose his crush as painlessly as possible, without alerting Damien to it.

 

--

 

The hardest part was not being able to flat-out tell Damien the truth. They usually shared everything, and keeping secrets (even for Damien’s own good) was awkward at best and painful at worst.

Still, Shayne couldn't imagine telling Damien; there was too much at stake. They were best friends, there was no way he'd risk ruining that over a crush that could be dealt away with. He figured that if he went on a few dates, getting intentionally romantic with other people, he could convince these pesky feelings to find a more suitable target.

 

--

 

A mere two weeks after The Incident, Shayne wasn’t going on dates anymore, plan scrapped.

His first and last attempt had been with a girl from his one remaining dating app. They’d had scattered conversations over 2 days time, and then she’d taken the initiative to meet up. He’d been grateful for that; he wasn’t very good at making the move from talking to getting together.

And she was great, sitting across the table from him at the bistro she’d picked; she told interesting stories and asked thoughtful questions, made clever references to things he liked. She was beautiful, too, in all the ways that usually knocked him out. Had they gone out even a few months prior, Shayne would probably have been a smitten bundle of nerves, trying too hard to be someone worth her time.
Instead he’d spent the date trying to keep down his food while his stomach twisted with guilt; trying to be present; trying to hide that he was just not at all interested in this lovely person in front of him.

She’d been rightfully confused when he turned down dessert and called it an early night. He’d insisted on picking up the check, so she was probably expecting him to make a move.
And then, outside on the street, he’d pecked her on the cheek and stalked off, shouting “Bye!” in a shrill voice. He’d deleted the dating app that night and, even though she had his phone number, he didn’t hear from her again.
He didn’t blame her.

Deleting the app was the last step in admitting his feelings for Damien; he knew he wouldn’t be going on any more dates in the foreseeable future, because it wouldn’t be honest. Shayne had been convinced that dating other people would be key in getting over his crush, but now he knew he couldn’t stomach it. Lying to people wasn’t in his nature; and anything short of “I’m not invested in this date because I’m in love with someone else” would be a lie.

He knew he wouldn’t be able to spend less time with Damien; both because of work and because Damien would find it suspicious; so his new plan was to simply avoid intimate situations.

And then Smosh announced the return of Winter Games.

--

 

“If you ask me, we missed an opportunity by not making the tagline ‘Winter Games Is Coming… Again!’,” Damien stated, throwing his bag in the back of the minibus. Matt Raub shook his head, checking items off a list.

 

“What’s done is done. Winter Games isn’t coming: it’s here!”

 

This made Damien smile even wider, and there was a skip in his step as he went back inside to help carry equipment to one of the crew vans. Shayne watched this all happen, smiling fondly at his friend’s giddiness. It would be Damien’s first Winter Games, and Shayne was so excited for them to experience his favorite Games together.

 

Sure, Summer Games were always a good time, but Shayne loved going to Big Bear; being surrounded by breathtaking nature, playing in the snow between shoots, sitting by the fireplace at night. It was a good time, and he finally got to share it with his best friend. He wasn’t going to let a crush ruin that.

 

“Shayne, are you just gonna stand there, or are you gonna put those big muscles to good use?”

It was Sarah, interrupting his train of thought; she and Editor Kevin were lugging a heavy box of cables, and Shayne jogged over to help them.

As soon as he got a good hold, Sarah let go and took out her phone.

 

“Thanks, Shayne!”

 

She walked off and started filming an Instagram story. Shayne and Kevin got the box safely packed into the van, soon joined by Damien who was carrying a box with a ‘FRAGILE’ sticker on it. He loaded it in and turned to Shayne, grinning like a madman.

 

“You ready to shred some powder, bro?”

 

“Ready for gnarly jumps, bro!”

 

Courtney walked by with Olivia on her piggyback. They overheard the conversation, and Courtney rolling her eyes at them.

 

“Neither of you can snowboard.”

 

“We’ll be getting our jib on before you know it.” Damien said, pretending to flip back long hair. “The accent is like, half of it, bro.”

 

By the time all equipment and luggage was loaded, and every cast and crew member had shown up, it was late afternoon. They all piled into the minibuses and headed for Big Bear.

 

-

 

Shayne didn’t even realize he’d been sleeping until the setting sun hit his eyes through a row of trees on the side of the road. He blinked a few times, looking around the bus interior where everything was bathed in orange light. In the passenger seat, Ian was talking quietly to Matt who was at the wheel. Mari was on Shayne’s left, playing a game on her Switch. She smiled softly at him before returning her focus to the screen.

 

Damien was on his right, head resting on his rolled up hoodie which he had placed on Shayne’s shoulder. The weight of his body against Shayne’s side felt comfortabl; he was warm and he smelled nice, familiar. Shayne’s heart thumped a little harder.

 

The bus soon came to a halt. Out the window, Shayne marveled at the array of colors in the sky as the sun disappeared behind the hills, low light shimmering over the snow covered ground. He was about to turn to Damien to gently wake him, but just then, Matt Raub appeared outside the bus. He started slapping his hands against the window on Damien’s side of the vehicle, jolting Damien awake. Matt yanked the door opened, hollering “Big Beeeeaaar!”

 

“Yes, I see that.” Damien quipped groggily. “But where are we?”

 

Matt waved his hand dismissively and moved on to find more unsuspecting sleepers. Damien stretched, pushing slightly against Shayne as he made a grumbling noise. His hair was flat where he’d been sleeping on it.

 

“You look beautiful,” Shayne teased, but he meant it.

 

-

 

Craft services had arrived at the cabin ahead of them and had dinner ready; Sarah forced them to sit down and eat before announcing rooms, probably hoping to avoid any potential hangry outbursts.

Once they had all eaten their fill, they gathered in the main room, throwing themselves onto couches, chairs, and floor pillows. Sarah took center stage, reading from a list on her phone.

 

“Based on the roommate requests you all submitted, and the beds we have available, here are the room assignments.”

 

The first time they came to Big Bear, room assignments had seemed sophomoric; but once people started discussing top floor versus ground floor, proximity to the bathrooms, rooms with 3 beds and rooms with 6 –well, everyone eventually agreed to let Sarah handle the practicalities.

 

“Upstairs to the left, 3 beds: Joven, Sohinki, and Ian. Upstairs in the middle, 2 beds: Damien and Shayne.”

 

“Obviously,” said Noah, smirking. Sarah smiled, rolling her eyes. “Obviously.”

 

Shayne felt a small bubbling of both anxiety and joy in his chest. Obviously.

Damien punched him softly in the shoulder, grinning; he didn’t seem to think anything of it. And why would he? They always shared a room. Shane tried to focus as Sarah continued reading out her list.

 

-

 

The first evening consisted mostly of moving into their rooms, and then lounging in the common areas, talking until some people started nodding off. Knowing they had a full day of Games the next day, everyone soon retired to their respective rooms and went to sleep.

 

The room assigned to Shayne and Damien had two decently sized beds separated by a nightstand. Damien took the bed on the right, only bothering to take off his shoes and pants before getting under the covers.

 

Shayne decidedly did not look at Damien’s exposed thighs, and brief-clad butt, before they disappeared under the covers. Damien mumbled a gravelly goodnight and fell asleep before Shayne could reply.

Shayne went to the bathroom and brushed his teeth until his gums hurt.

--

 

The next morning started with a hearty breakfast, and then it was time for the teams to be revealed. Shayne couldn’t honestly decide what would be worse for his sanity:
Being on the same team as Damien, working together and supporting each other; or opposite teams, with pretend rivalry that would undoubtedly bring with it some sexy tension.

 

Luckily, it wasn’t Shayne’s decision; the refs had ‘randomly’ decided ahead of time, and their team picks were not to be questioned.
Team S’No Mercy consisted of Courtney, Olivia, Ian, Joven, Keith, and Lasercorn.
Team Slope Moguls consisted of Mari, Noah, Sohinki, Kimmy, Shayne, and Damien.

 

The teams donned their respective shirts. It was time for the first game.

 

-


The first discipline was Group Skiing, a competition surely invented in the fiery depths of hell (and chosen by the sadistic minds of Matt and Sarah). Each team wore an extra long set of skis which they were all strapped into simultaneously. Through the magic of teamwork (and no small amount of balance) the teams raced each other to cross the finish line first.

 

As one would expect, both teams took several tumbles in the powdery soft snow. In the end S’No Mercy were victorious, but both teams were in high spirits; it was clear that everyone were glad to be doing Winter Games again, and nothing could put a damper on their moods.

 

With a few hours to kill before shooting the next game, most people stayed outside to play in the snow.
Established teams were quickly forgotten in an all-out snowball war, and Shayne eventually found himself behind a tipped-over patio table next to Mari. She lobbed a big hunk of snow in Joven’s direction and, judging by the sound he made, it was a clean hit.

 

Shayne offered her a gloved high-five, which she graciously accepted, and he started making a pile of snowballs for her to fire off. She threw three in rapid succession, and then ducked down next to him.

 

“How are you doing, Shayne?”

 

“You’re a beast; I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have by my side in a snowball war.”

 

“What about Damien?” She said, waggling her eyebrows. “You two looked pretty cozy on the bus.”

 

He sighed, scrunching up his face. “Can I be honest?”

 

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

“I know everyone jokes about me and Damien, but- I’m really scared of messing up. Maybe there’s something there, but I could end up destroying one of the most important things in my life.” He dug his fingers into the snow beside him. “I just don’t think doing nothing is an option either.”

 

Mari quickly fired off her remaining snowball, and then turned back to Shayne, more serious than he’d seen her in a long time.

 

“Shayne, you make it sound like this is all you. You’ve got a soft heart, but you’ve also got a big brain; you wouldn’t have gotten so emotionally invested if this was one-sided.” 

 

“What do you mean?”

 

Unfortunately there was no time to find out what Mari meant; because just then, Kimmy and Sohinki poured a big plastic tub of snow onto their heads in a masterful sneak attack. They ran off laughing as Mari let out a warrior cry and pelted snowballs at them with all her might. Shayne joined in, mentally saving their conversation for later.

 

-

In the afternoon, they shot a board game video for Smosh Games, where a group of them played Dead of Winter. Shayne managed to keep his focus on the game, and once they wrapped up the video, it was dinner time.

 

In spite of the amount of people gathered to eat, the dinner table was mostly quiet. Perhaps it was because people were exhausted from spending most of the day outside in the fresh air, or from physical exertion. In any case, most of the cast and crew made it another early night, Damien included.

 

Shayne hung back for a little while, eating snacks and talking to the last of the day’s survivors. When he made it back to his and Damien’s room, Damien was asleep.

 

-

 

Shayne woke up in the middle of the night – past 2 a.m., his phone told him – to the sound of Damien’s voice uttering nonsensical words. Fearing that he might be having a nightmare, Shayne got out of bed and went to stand by Damien’s side. In the bluish moonlight coming through the window, he took in Damien’s face; his long eyelashes cast shadows on his cheeks; and now that he’d fallen silent, there was a slight pout to his relaxed mouth that made Shayne feel tingly. He was unsure of what to do next.
Well, just standing here, staring at him while he’s sleeping? Probably not the right move.

 

Just as Shayne decided to go back to bed, Damien turned towards him, blinking. Not fully awake, he was bleary-eyed and nearly incoherent. He mumbled, mouth barely moving to form words properly.

"I had the craziest dream.."


"You had a crazy dream?" Shayne repeated, making sure he'd heard him right. "What was the dream?"


"I had a dream that… we were in the office, we were writing a sketch."

 

He reached over the edge of the bed, towards Shayne who wasn't sure what Damien was reaching for. Maybe Damien wasn't sure himself, because his hand ended up flopping uselessly a few times, before grabbing a handful of the fabric of Shayne's sweatpants, the knee part. Shayne swallowed hard. Damien's fingers brushed across his knee through the soft material.


"You weren't there, but then you were, and you told us," Damien chuckled sleepily. "You told us you'd been dating Lasercorn behind all of our backs."


Shayne choked back a giggle. "Oh no, my secret’s out."


Damien smiled slightly, eyes drifting shut. "You’d be… Toppcorn. It rhymes with popcorn."


Shayne covered his mouth as his chuckles threatened to become a laugh. He knew his face was turning slightly red, and he told himself it was from trying to keep quiet. He was about to make a joke about being a great stepfather to Tyler, but Damien had fallen back asleep. His grip on Shayne's pants was slack and Shayne could easily pull away.

 

Of course, he could have easily pulled away the whole time. He stood there for another minute or so before carefully tugging the fabric out of Damien's loose grip, and returned to his bed.

As he lay down, he drew up his knee and ran his fingers over it, trying to recreate the feeling of Damien's sleepy touch. He sighed, head swimming. He was too tired to focus on any one thought; the past few days rolled through his head like a wave, and he drifted off to sleep with a dull but insistent ache in his chest.

 

-

 

The next day was a whirlwind. It turned out that Matt and Sarah had been going easy on them for day one, because day two was packed with video shoots. They were bringing back Extreme Snow Bowling, and then – once the worst affected had changed into dry clothes – they played Winter Sports on Wii.

 

This was followed up by a game of Carcassonne: Winter Edition for another board game video, and then it was time for dinner. Everyone agreed that the days were going by too fast, and Shayne felt the same way; he was about to say as much, when Joven added,

 

“Yeah, but being aware of how little time you have left of something might inspire you to do something with that time. Make the most of what you’ve got and do something crazy!”

 

He looked at Shayne who in turn looked pointedly at Mari. She had the grace to look guilty before looking right into her food for the rest of dinner. Shayne nodded at Joven to acknowledge what he’d said. He really should have known that Mari would tell Joven; they told each other everything.

 

Shayne wanted to pull Mari aside to let her know he wasn’t upset with her, but there was no time; after they finished eating, Sarah asked the Slope Moguls to get ready for Truth or Dare in the hot tub. S’No Mercy would go after.

 

Shayne got in the hot tub last, secretly relieved that the only available seat was across from Damien instead of next to him. It was hard enough trying not to thirst over him in swim trunks without having their bare skin touch.

 

As usual, Truth or Dare consisted of prompts from the viewers.
Sohinki confessed his most embarrassing celebrity crush (Helen Mirren. They all agreed that it wasn’t embarrassing at all, who wasn’t in love with Helen Mirren?)
Damien told an embarrassing story from his childhood.
Predictably, Mari was dared to kiss Kimmy (and that’s how you make a thumbnail).
On Shayne’s turn he asked to do a Truth, and Sarah read the prompt.

 

“Okay, @hiBitchcusflower says…” Cue laughter from the group. “’What is the best and worst part of being in a relationship?’ – Oh, we’re asking the perfect person!”

 

“The best and worst part of being in a relationship…” Shayne took a beat to think. “I don’t know what the worst part is; I like being in a relationship. Maybe I’m glorifying it because I’ve been single a while.”

 

“So then what’s the best part?” Damien asked. Shayne looked up and their eyes locked. Damien’s expression was unreadable. Shayne let out a small breath, heart thumping harder.

“The best part, in a good relationship at least, is that you have someone you can depend on, someone who gets you. It’s nice to come home to someone. You just wanna hang out with them all the time. They make you laugh, you can talk about anything”

 

He knew it was a lame answer. Kimmy giggled, “I think you just described a friend.”

 

“A best friend.” That’s Takahashi with the assist...

 

“A best friend you make out with.” … and Sohinki heads it into the net.

 

Shayne could feel Damien looking at him, but he couldn’t face him again. He hoped the tension in his body wasn’t too noticeable in the video. Noah and Kimmy had their turns, but Shayne barely registered their answers; he wanted to be anywhere else.

 

-

 

S’No Mercy took the hot tub and Slope Moguls were off for the night. Shayne excused himself, telling the others he had a headache, and went upstairs to his room. He threw himself on the bed, wanting to go to sleep and forget everything for now; but he knew it would be a while before his mind slowed down enough to let him rest.

 

He couldn’t stop thinking about the look on Damien’s face. Mari knew about his feelings for Damien, and she’d told Joven. Sohinki seemed to know something, but Mari definitely wouldn’t have told more people, so that was probably just Sohinki’s intuition.

Maybe Damien had inklings, too. His energy had been off during the past day or so, and Shayne was increasingly certain that his awkward behavior was tipping Damien off.

 

Just as Shayne thought he might have the energy to actually get properly into bed, Damien entered the room, looking apologetic.

 

“Sorry, buddy, I know you wanted some peace and quiet; I just need the shower, won’t be a moment.”

 

“It’s no problem.” Shayne mumbled into the bed. “You’re welcome any time.”
What a normal thing to say, good job, idiot.

 

Damien chuckled and went into the bathroom to shower. The sound of water running definitely didn’t make Shayne picture Damien naked, soaping himself up. He groaned, forcing the images out of his head. He felt like he was going crazy; like he wouldn’t be able to get through another day like this.

 

Damien eventually exited the bathroom dressed in sweats and a t-shirt, his hair wet and pushed back.
Your hair looks sexy pushed back.

 

He put his toiletries and towel down by his bed, then went to Shayne’s bed to sit down next to him. He smelled like green tea body wash.

“Can we talk?”

 

Shayne rolled onto his side, saw how uneasy Damien looked, and nodded, struggling momentarily to sit up. He ended up sitting way too close, but moving away would have been weird. They sat side by side for a moment without either of them saying anything. Damien scrubbed a hand over his face, sighing.

 

“You know, I don’t expect you to tell me everything. I tell you everything, but you’re allowed to have your own stuff. Just, as far as secrets go- Maybe I’m asking too much, but shouldn’t you be telling me that you’re in love with me? At least before telling Joven?”

 

Shayne tensed up with every muscle in his body. His insides felt frozen solid. His skin felt too tight.
He briefly considered the physics of throwing himself out the window. With the right amount of momentum, maybe he could literally hit the ground running.
It took him several pained seconds before he finally forced himself to face Damien, who was looking back at him with a soft smile. As if by magic, Shayne melted, and he instantly felt a strange calm.

 

“In my defense,” He said in an almost steady voice, “I only told Mari.”

 

“Ah, and then, through the natural order of things…”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Damien nodded, one corner of his mouth quirking up. He slowly leaned in, stopping just before his lips touched Shayne’s, waiting. His warm breath tickled Shayne’s skin. Shayne gathered all his courage and leaned in the rest of the way, joining their lips in a brief, tender kiss.

 

They pulled apart slightly, but apparently both decided against it, going right back in for more. This second kiss was firmer, breathier, and Damien’s hands found their way to Shayne’s back.
It was almost as if the undercurrent of desire, that Shayne had struggled to contain, was running through Damien as well; and now that they were both allowing it, everything came rushing forward.

 

Without either of them being sure who made it happen, they found themselves lying down, Shayne halfway on top of Damien. His hands were sneaking under Damien’s shirt, testing, and had not been rejected yet. He was hard in his jeans, and he could feel Damien’s similar state against his thigh. Damien was kissing his neck, and it was making him dizzy with need; he wanted to touch and taste, have everything all at once, now that it was actually within reach.

 

Feeling bold, he reached for the front of Damien’s pants; he palmed Damien’s crotch, savoring the soft moans he let out against Shayne’s neck. He’d half-expected the physical aspect of this to be awkward, but it felt natural, like a logical extension of what they already meant to each other.

As good as Damien’s mouth felt on his neck, Shayne needed to kiss him again; but just as he moved to rejoin their lips, there was a clicking sound, like a door handle being pressed down, and then-

 

“Oh my god!”

 

They jerked apart, scrambling to sit up, turning towards the door to see Olivia in the doorway, a stunned smile on her face. Before either of them could tell her anything resembling an explanation, she quickly shut the door. Outside, in the hallway, they could hear additional voices.

 

“What happened, why are you yelling?” Ian.

 

“I saw, uh, a big spider!” Olivia said in a slightly manic voice.

 

“Well, where is it?” Someone, maybe Kimmy, said from further away.

 

“I picked it up!” Olivia answered. “I threw it o-out the window!”

 

“Okay. Gross.” Ian said. “Are Shayne and Damien coming down?”

 

“No, they’re in bed.” Oh my god, Olivia.

 

“Already? Lame.” Ian’s voice grew fainter as everyone seemed to walk back downstairs. When they could no longer be heard, Shayne turned to Damien.

 

“Maybe we didn’t think this all the way through.”

 

“That door doesn’t lock, huh?”

 

“It does not.”

 

Damien groaned, falling backwards onto the bed. Shayne couldn’t help but smile at his obvious frustration; it was kind of flattering that he’d made Damien – who was usually the careful type – lose his mind long enough to forget that they were making out with no other shield than an unlocked door.

Still, now that the moment was over, he worried that Damien might have regrets.

 

“I guess,” Damien said, chewing on his bottom lip. “I guess we’ll have to be very strong and control ourselves until we’re back home, where doors have locks.”

 

“Sounds like a plan.” Shayne agreed, butterflies going wild in his stomach. And in his pants, if he was being really honest. He nudged Damien conspiratorially. “But, we can still kiss, right? In a controlled…”

 

“Oh yeah, I’m not gonna stop kissing you now that I know what it’s like.”

 

They exchanged goofy smiles, had one more kiss that almost had them both forgetting their resolution; and then they agreed to head downstairs to save Olivia from her weird spider lie. They both knew they couldn’t keep this a secret for long, and they didn’t feel it would be fair to.

 

Besides, when Olivia started shouting about spiders, Mari’s wheels would have started turning. She would have asked Shayne directly at first given opportunity, and he didn’t have enough of a death wish to lie to Mari Takahashi.

 

They kept it simple, walking into the common area hand in hand, waiting to see if people would notice. They were barely inside before Lasercorn jumped up, pointing at them with a wild look in his eyes.

 

“Keith, you owe me 20 dollars!”

 

Keith groaned, throwing his hands up. “Damn it! I thought you guys would get together at Christmas time! I really liked the idea of that…”

 

“Saaaame,” Courtney sighed. “First kiss under the mistletoe? Cute!”

 

Damien was incredulous. “Laser, you bet that we’d get together at Winter Games?”

 

“Well, first I bet Summer Games: Apocalypse. You guys were on different teams, I figured some sexy tension might make it happen. But then we were gross and sweaty and dusty every day, and I thought, nah; it needs to be cold, so you’ll wanna use each other for body heat.”

 

“Oh my god,” Shayne said, covering his face. People moved aside to they could sit next to each other on one of the couches. Matt confessed to have placed a bet on Halloween Just Dance being the catalyst for them getting together (“I was hoping for sexy costumes, and then Shayne wasn’t even there.”)
Noah and Sohinki had both bet on Shayne and Damien’s most recent Japan trip.

 

“Think about it,” Noah said. “You’re in a foreign country, another continent; the only familiar thing is each other.”

 

Sohinki continued. “You were sightseeing, but now you’re lost. It starts to rain – Japan gets rainy in November, Noah looked it up.”

 

“I did,” Noah confirmed, continuing. “So, you finally find your way, but now it’s late, it’s getting dark; you’re wet and cold from the rain. Better get out of those cloth-“

 

Damien cut him off. “I don’t think we need to hear any more.”

 

I wanna hear more!” Joven protested, and the others laughed.

 

It wasn’t long before they all settled down, talking about other things, and somehow everything just felt normal. It was like any other evening at Games, except Shayne was pretty sure his best friend was now also his boyfriend.

He discretely took Damien’s hand again, lacing their fingers together, stroking his thumb over Damien’s fingers.

They still had a few more shooting days left before Winter Games was over, but Shayne was ready to declare himself the winner.

-
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