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such a constellation

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Spencer didn’t know what the hell he was doing.

Things with his mother had improved.  She was normal, most of the time, now that Marianne was staying longer and ensuring that she was taking her medication.  When Spencer walked into the house during the day, he was more than likely to find that Marianne and Diana were lounging in armchairs and reading together in comfortable silence.  

It feels like I’m back in college again, living with a roommate, Diana had said on one of her more lucid days.  And it’s a good thing that ole Marianne likes the quiet as much as I do, otherwise I might go crazy.  Ha!

(Spencer hadn’t thought it was very funny, but he’d appreciated her attempt at cracking a joke all the same.)

And Lyana was okay.  Lyana was okay. She’d gotten to leave the hospital a couple of days after she’d woken up, and after a month of Evie and Kate handling her with kid gloves, she was back to her old self, too.  All reckless and brave. If not a little more...flinchy.

But even with all of that blessed normalcy, he would wake up in the middle of the night sweating and shaking.  His dreams were plagued with the image of Lyana unconscious in his bedroom, covered in her vomit and blood. The doctors telling him that she wasn’t ever going to wake up.  And his mother being sent away to some fortress of a mental hospital where he wasn’t allowed to see her.  

If for nothing else, the nightmares had provided him with--ironically--a much-needed wake-up call.  

Before Lyana, Spencer hadn’t thought much about what life with his mother would be like after he graduated high school.  He had been so focused on leaving Eldorado and all of his bullies and bad memories behind, he hadn’t taken any time to factor in where Diana fit into any of it.  It made him want to curse himself. All this genius, all these gifts, and his supercomputer of a brain hadn’t bothered to warn him that he was forgetting something?  That he should sit down and figure out how the fuck he was supposed to care for his own mother as the years passed and his priorities changed?

Now that he was thinking about it, he kept finding himself drowning in the futility of it all.  In the fact that he couldn’t come up with any plan that held any sort of promise- let alone one that was logical, or doable.  

Committing her was out of the question; he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he sent his mother to be cared for by a group of strangers, away from her home and everything that made her, her.  But the way things were, they couldn’t last forever. Just because Spencer’s dad felt guilty, now, and was paying for everything, now, that didn’t mean that he’d still be doing all of that a year from now, or five, or ten.  Let alone however long it would take for Spencer to be making his own money and be able to provide for her.

And after all of that- where did Lyana stand in all of this?  How long would she put up with it all?  

Even if she did manage to stick out everything with him and his mother, everything that he would have to do and sacrifice in order to keep Diana cared for in the way that she deserved...would Lyana be able to stay with him if things changed with him, too?  If he became the one that needed the sacrifices made on his behalf, or to be cared for so completely?

The genetic component of paranoid schizophrenia had sat in the back of Spencer’s mind for as long as he could remember.  And it had stayed right there, quiet and vaguely blurry, just enough so that he didn’t have to spend his time or energy thinking about it.  

He hadn’t realized why it had remained a non-issue until recently, when he was settling in bed with Lyana after a particularly beautiful day; he’d discovered that, especially when he was around her, his thoughts had become predominantly future-tense.  

He wanted to live.  

Spencer hadn’t known that part of himself- that he hadn’t been thinking about anything, long term, because he hadn’t expected to make it past being twelve-years-old.  And when he finally had noticed it was there, he hadn’t been entirely surprised. After all, how the hell was he supposed to have believed that he’d survive to twenty or thirty when he was having the shit kicked out of him every other day?  When he was so viciously alone and unprotected?

Or perhaps...perhaps he just hadn’t wanted to.  Even with all of those teachers and counselors telling him every single day that he was bursting to the seams with promise, all of it had softened into white noise after a while.  He’d needed something bigger to hang onto, to look forward to.  

He’d needed someone whose arms felt like home, who made him remember that he was strong.

And then the universe had decided that he did in fact deserve to meet that person.  That they’d rescue him and change his life so utterly and completely that he didn’t have any choice in the matter anymore; he needed to live.  He needed to see what else this new life of his had in store for him. And now, every conversation he had with Lyana about their future together was making that quiet little thought about his family’s illness a little bit louder and clearer each day.  

Spencer didn’t want to think about it.  Paranoid schizophrenia spelled so much doom for him; the likelihood that he would get it was a lot higher than he was comfortable with, and he wouldn’t even know if he was afflicted until he was in his early to mid-thirties.  He could start setting the stage for his adult life, could be at the job of his dreams, be married to Lyana, have a child with her, children with her- and then he could lose his mind. He could tear his family apart.

He knew that medicine was improving every day, and that his mother was a particularly harsh case.  They had met other people with mental illnesses at the plethora of hospitals and groups he had attended with her, and the vast majority of them were managing their illnesses well.  Taking their medication on time and relying on their support network.

And Spencer knew it was selfish of him to be so repulsed by the idea of it all.  That so many people had it so much worse. He’d been gifted with such a brilliant mind so young, and wouldn’t it be fair, then?  To be brilliant for thirty years and then repay that gift by having to focus on giving his mind a lot more care?

He just couldn’t shake the idea of- of what it would feel like to not be able to trust his brain.  His brain was his whole life. He lived, breathed, and died by his genius. What kind of person would he be if he couldn’t rely on himself to learn, to solve problems?  

Every time he tried to think about it, he’d feel sick with anxiety.  And he hated himself for it, for his inability to imagine a world where he was something...something lesser.  As awful and conceited as that sounded. He was convinced that coming up with a back-up plan would make him feel better, at least, and yet he couldn’t even appear to manage a task so simple.  

Was it his arrogance that was preventing him from admitting defeat?  Or was it fear?

And even without all of that, even if he managed it well, there would be days where things wouldn’t go to plan.  Where he’d slip up. Where he’d lose himself. What if he scared Lyana, or hurt her? His mother had already hurt the both of them so many times, and it didn’t matter that he knew she didn’t mean to; the hurt had happened all the same.  How the hell would he be able to live with himself, knowing that he’d hurt the person he loved most in this world?

Spencer sighed, exasperated, and shoved the orange blanket over his face.  Slowly crawling out of the suffocating little spiral he had found himself in- the same spiral he kept tripping into whenever he was left alone with his pernicious and prickly thoughts.  He curled his fists into the well-worn fabric.  

I’d give anything, anything, if someone just told me what the answer was, he thought.  If someone just told me what to do, or-

“Hey, spaceman.”

Spencer quickly flung the blanket off his face, embarrassed to have been caught in such a goofy position.  When he surfaced, he found Lyana looking at him, playfully concerned. (He had been half-dozing on her bed while she took a shower; he hadn’t heard her come back into her bedroom.)

He blinked and his gaze fell down from her face, then rapidly to the floor.  She was still in her towel. Before he could think of the right thing to do, his mind spun, full of wet hair and bare shoulders, of water droplets sliding lazily down freckled skin, of the bright and mischievous look in those perfect hazel eyes of hers- and she was laughing at him.  

Spencer returned the blanket to his face, feeling the heat from his cheeks immediately turn the temporary shelter into a magnificently uncomfortable and sweaty situation.  “You’re being really rude,” he called out, half-pathetic and wholly flustered, knowing that his voice was probably muffled. “I thought you brought your clothes into the bathroom with you.”

“I did, too.  Turns out I forgot them.”

“So you decided to take the opportunity to torment me?”

“You really know how to make a girl feel treasured, sweetheart.”

“I can treasure you and still be tormented by you standing there in just a towel!”  He chuckled in spite of himself. “Aren’t you the one that’s always calling me a normal teenage boy?  Making fun of me for having the brain of ‘a seven-hundred-year-old genius wizard’ and somehow still being subject to hormones and puberty, just like the rest of us?”

Lyana was giggling, too.  “You’re right, you’re right.  I’m sorry for being a big rude tormenter.  I’ve got my clothes on, now.”

Spencer pulled the blanket back off his face- very, very slowly.  She hadn’t lied; she was dressed. But then he realized that he was disappointed about it and found himself blushing furiously anyway.  

She flopped onto the bed next to him and let out a contented little sigh as she settled onto the pillows.  “So what have we got on deck for today?”

“I thought it was your turn to pick.”

“Nuh-uh, I picked yesterday.  We went to see Judge Dredd, remember?”

Spencer exhaled loudly, smiling even in his defeat.  “I know, I just haven’t come up with anything. I figured maybe I’d take a chance and hope that you’d forgotten, that I’d get another day to think of something.”

Lyana ran her fingers through his hair.  “You alright, Spence?” He shook his head.  “Still stuck on the same thing?”

“I can’t stop thinking about it.”

“About something that might happen to you in twenty years?”

“I wish it was that easy.”  Spencer sighed, thunking his forehead against hers.  “I just can’t shut any of it off. I think- I think I need an answer.  A plan. If I don’t have something like that to cling to, I think I’m just going to keep coming back to it over and over again.”

She thumbed his cheek, sending electric little ripples coursing through his body.  “Okay. Well, it’s your head, and it’s your life. What would you want to happen? What would make you feel the safest?”

“You there with me.”

“Asshole, that’s a given.  What else?”

Spencer frowned and mumbled, “That’s not a given.  You- You’ve already been through so much with my mom, and it’s-  It’ll be different, if it’s me. Right? It’ll hurt differently, and we’re going to be adults, and we might not have the help that we have now, and, and-”  He shut his eyes tight. “I need you to be realistic about this. I love how you slip into the fantastical stuff, you make me see how magical the world is, but for this, I need you to-”

“To confirm your worst fears, that this will be the thing that makes me leave you.  If I don’t leave you before that because of all the stuff with your mom, or because I’ve found someone more beautiful, somehow, or more normal, if that’s an actual thing that anyone wants, or because I am just fated to leave you like everyone else in your life has left you.  Right?” Spencer opened his eyes and saw that hers were fixed on him, and shining. Genuine. “Look, I wish I could give you the concrete certainty that you need. Fuck knows I have doubts, too; I see the way you hold back when we’re kissing and it just reminds me that you might want to leave me someday because of all my stuff, or because you find someone more beautiful or normal, or anything like that.  But then you grab my hands, my stupid ugly hands, and you remind me that you’re here with me, now, and I know.  I know that you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. And I don’t have any logic, any reason to put behind any of that.  It’s just a feeling. All I have is me being sure, Spencer, and I’m so fucking sure about you, and I’m sure about me with you.  Always.”

He didn’t know when it had happened, but he felt a tear slip down his cheek.  And before he could reach up with his shirtsleeve, she quickly kissed it away, like she always did when he cried.  The sensation of her lips catching his tear--a gesture he had, somehow, become used to over the past year--rocketed through his body, and he felt calm, again.  That same calm he’d experienced after coming out to her on Valentine’s Day- like he didn’t have a single damn thing to worry about.

And even though it didn’t make any sense to him, not even a little bit, he understood what she meant.  About not having any reason or logic to back up how sure he felt about her.  It was- It was like walking home in the dark.  Even though his eyes were closed, he knew the way.  He’d always know the way.

Spencer’s heart cracked open, and all that dangerous hope poured right in.  And he asked, softly, “How do you always know the right thing to say?”

“Not all of us can be geniuses.”  A bright (and relieved) smile played upon her face.  “Now, come on. We always get sidetracked in our sappiness.  Besides me being there, what else do you need?”

“We should have savings.  In case I get to the point my mom’s at, where I can’t work.  And a safehouse, I guess. A friend you can stay with if you need to take a breather, or if I’m in the hospital, so you aren’t alone.  Like you guys have been for me. And we should wait to have kids for as long as we can.” Spencer paused, flustered. “I mean- Fuck. I dunno if I even want that.  I just- If we want them-”

Lyana kissed him.  “If we want them, we’ll wait.  You’re okay. I’m not weirded out, you huge dork.”  She brushed some hair out of his eyes. “So: me, savings, safehouse, waiting on our TBD kids- anything else?”

There wasn’t.  Maybe there would be more to add to the list as they got older and as they had more things to worry about- but for now, that was all he could think of.  It was everything he needed and God, he wanted to just scream from the relief of it all. From knowing that it had really been as simple as asking for help to get the answer that he needed.

Instead, he circled his arms around Lyana and squeezed tight, and she squeezed him back, nestling into the crook of his neck.  He shivered; he was so sensitive there. Especially with her mouth just barely ghosting against the tendon, and especially because she was still so warm from her shower-

Spencer exhaled softly and shifted.  Tried to move back as infinitesimally as he could without alerting her as to what he was doing.  But, of course, no part of that worked. Not even a little.

“Am I squishing you?”

“No, no.  Um-”

“Oh.”  

Lyana pulled back a little to look at him, her eyes flitting over his face, his neck.  Both flushed a righteous shade of pink. He couldn’t quite figure out what she was thinking; he’d never seen that expression on her before.  Some mysterious cocktail of analytical, and curious, and guarded, mixed with that look she always got before she did something reckless and brave, and...and hunger?  Was that it? Why would that make any sense?

He watched her swallow and had to grit his teeth at the sight.  Jesus Christ.  When had he become so fucking susceptible to the things he had used to be able to ignore?

“Can I- Can I kiss you there?”

“Here?”  He tentatively brought his hand up to his neck- and felt all of the blood in his body rush into his face when she nodded.  “Are you sure you want to? I- I don’t want you to feel like you have to because I’m being...being squirmy? Is that the right word?”

“I’m sure.”  Her brow was furrowed, and she was smiling, and it was altogether a mind-boggling thing to behold.  “It’s like what Dusky said, right? To follow the good feelings when they come, and to be safe about it?”  Dusky was what Lyana had nicknamed her therapist, whose actual name was Dr. Mari Donskoi.  And apparently the woman was so overwhelmingly good-natured, she had welcomed the nickname without a touch of irony or distaste.  “I- I don’t know what it is about...about this, specifically, but I really want to do it. If it’s okay.”

Spencer blinked a few more times than he probably should have before he finally managed to eke out, “It’s okay.”

Lyana nodded, determined.  “Here, come sit up with me.”

He followed her lead and got up, pressing his back against the wall her bed crested.  She joined him, shoulder-to-shoulder, and then turned to face him. His heart thudded uneven.  Stuttering.

She cupped his face in her hands and pulled him close- and then they were kissing, long and soft and slow.  And then she was trailing kisses from the side of his mouth, across his cheek, and then down towards his neck, separating each one with a slightly greater pause.  

Lyana stopped at his jawline.  “Still okay?”

“Yeah.”  His voice was hoarse; when the hell had that happened?  “Are you?”

“Mhm.  You can- You can touch me, you know.”

“What?”

She blushed.  “You always keep your hands at your sides when we’re kissing, or real light on my waist, and I super appreciate the chasteness and all that but- but you don’t have to do that.  I’ll tell you if I don’t like something you’re doing, or anything like that, I promise. But we’ll never know how far I can go if we don’t start, um, trying things. So- So touch me wherever you want to.”

Fuck, fuck, fuck.  His mouth was so dry, and his pants were feeling so goddamn restricting, and the pillows were so far away, so how in God’s name was he supposed to hide everything that was happening?  What if she saw?  

But then she was kissing his neck, and that was a whole other problem.  

The sensation of it all was so overwhelming.  He’d known that the touch, the contact, that those would send his nerves dancing, but the sound- the sound of her mouth as it moved from place to place on his neck was somehow even moreso an issue.  

Spencer was mortified--but unsurprised--when a soft moan fell out of his throat.  She tightened her grip on his hair in response, and grazed him with her teeth. Gently, at first, but then with a lot more confidence and purpose.  He hadn’t realized that something that had always sounded so weird and vampiric would feel so...so lovely. And vaguely dangerous.

“Okay?”

“Uh-huh.”  He grabbed her waist, and then very gingerly slipped his fingers beneath the hem of her shirt.  “Okay?”

Lyana grinned.  “Yeah. Yeah? Yeah.”  She giggled, her eyes dancing with joy and relief.  “Sorry, I’m not trying to ruin the moment, I’m just- I’m so happy that it’s okay.  C’mere.”

They fell back into each other, soft and dazed, and Spencer couldn’t completely wrap his head around the fact that any of this was happening.  His hands were ghosting along her ribcage and she was so gloriously warm, and she was happy, smiling so fully against his mouth and his neck, like she wasn’t afraid of anything in the world, like nothing bad had ever happened to her.

She pulled away from him, just for a moment, and he took the opportunity to brush her hair away from her shoulders and start kissing her neck, too.  Lyana sighed, contentedly.  

“Y’know, I always thought this whole thing was a little bit too Dracula, but turns out it is actually- actually-  Spencer Walter Reid, are you going to keep biting me every time I try to finish a freakin’ sentence?”

“You finished one right there; I must not be doing a good enough job.”  He chuckled. “And I thought the same thing! The vampire thing. I can’t believe we both had that in our heads.”

Lyana rolled her eyes.  “We’re so gross.”

“Disgusting.”

She bonked his forehead and kissed him, and then she blurted out, “Can I take off your shirt?” 

“What?  Fuck. Okay.  Yes.” He helped her wrestle him out of the worn old thing before he could think about it too much, and he exhaled shakily when it was off.  Shivering. Spencer’s head spun, desperately wanting her to say something because God, he felt so vulnerable and insecure. He didn’t feel like a peak physical specimen, by any means, and what if seeing him like this made her think twice about ever being intimate with him again?

And then he thought of the fact that she had seen him without a shirt on once before.  That- That two dozen of his classmates had seen him, and they had let him know exactly what they thought of his body.  

Skinny freak, little pencil dick, pathetic, no one’s ever gonna want this kid, ugly ugly ugly ugly-

“You’re so beautiful.  Jesus.”

What?

Spencer blinked hard.  “I- I thought that you already knew what I- You saw me before, right?”

“From a distance.  I, like, knew you were naked, but I kept my eyes skyward as soon as I got close enough for you to be a little sharper than a blob.  And even if I had seen something, that was nearly two years ago, and my memory is pretty garbage.” Lyana’s face was bright red. “I, um- I would’ve remembered this, though.  Like for real, are you kidding me? I thought that maybe, maybe you got all of the pretty in your face and your hands, that that had to be how the universe let you be that gorgeous.  I am pissed that you’re just that pretty everywhere.  Jesus.”

There were tears burning his eyes that he hadn’t felt creep up.  Spencer had spent his entire life avoiding his reflection, especially when he had his clothes off; every time he caught a glimpse of his body, he’d find himself recoiling with disappointment and- and hatred, really.  He hated the way he looked. Too skinny, and concave, and so fucking pale.

As much as he had wanted to move forward with Lyana, when she had told him about how all of her trauma had made anything sexual a potential no-go, he had felt relieved.  If they never went any further, then she would never have to see him like this; he would never have to worry about her thinking any less of him because of how he looked without his clothes on.  He’d never have to worry about her realizing exactly how much she was missing.

But the way she was looking at him, right then, her eyes glistening with a kind of reverence he was lucky enough to recognize...for the first time in his life, he felt like he could maybe believe that he was just a little bit beautiful.  

If only for a little while.  

“You mean it?” he mumbled.

“Probably the truest thing I’ve ever said.”  Lyana bumped his forehead and lingered there, tenderly rubbing her nose against his.  “Are you okay? What’re you thinking about?”

Spencer managed a small smile.  “I’m okay. I just- I’m glad you don’t think I’m- I’m glad you like the way I look.  And I’m still feeling weirdly vulnerable? Probably because the last time I had my shirt off in front of another person, it was a lot of people, and I didn’t want it to happen, and-”  He inhaled, exhaled. “I guess my brain hasn’t really gotten the message that nothing like that is happening right now. That I’m safe here.”

“What can I do?”

“I dunno.”  He felt so ashamed.  He’d wanted this, wanted progress like this, for so long, and now he was completely fucking it up by being scared to have his shirt off.  “I’m sorry, I’m completely ruining this.”

“Shh, you aren’t.  You aren’t ruining this at all.”  Lyana cupped his face in her hands.  “Would it help if I- if I took mine off, too?”  

He hadn’t noticed whether his heart was pounding before, but it certainly was, now.  “I don’t want you to feel like you have to just because I’m being all weird about this, Ly, especially if you aren’t ready-”

“I’m ready.  But only if you’re okay with it.”

Spencer took a deep breath and nodded- first to himself, and then to her.  

Lyana kissed his forehead and then wiggled away, just enough so that she could get her shirt off without elbowing him in the face.  When it was gone, Spencer could see that she was very consciously combating the urge to cover up her stomach with her arms- and he could also see that she was fighting back a big and triumphant smile, too.  She was still flushed, blushing, and Spencer could see it in the color of her chest: blooming below the base of her neck, like the most beautiful sunburst he’d ever seen. (If sunbursts had freckles.)  

She proffered a pitiful, “Ta-da.”

He found himself grinning.  “Are you okay?”

“Aside from the weirdly vulnerable part, which I would assume is a normal thing--it has to be, right?--I feel great, actually?  I think it’s because I did it myself, so there was agency to it, right? Fuck, I dunno. I’m okay.”

“You’re beautiful.”  She was. The freckles thinned out as they traveled down her chest, completely vanishing at the top of her breasts.  Spencer swallowed. Her bra was white, somehow nearly as pale as her skin, and he was trying so hard not to stare.  And to distract himself from the sudden and glaring urge to kiss every single inch of her stomach.  “Really, unfairly beautiful.”

“Asshole.”  Lyana smiled in spite of it.  There was a bright little spark in her eyes, half-mischievous, half-loving, and in that moment he would’ve given up every single iota of his genius to know what he needed to do to keep that spark alive for the rest of time.  “Did this help at all? You feel safer?”

He did.  Spencer still felt a little more exposed than he wanted to be, but seeing her like this made his brain calm down.  They were equals in their defenselessness; that had to be it. Knowing that he wasn’t alone.

Or maybe his stupid monkey brain was just short-circuiting over the fact that there was a beautiful, shirtless girl in front of him.  He knew he’d be an idiot to not at least consider that possibility.

Spencer bit his lip, holding back a guilty smile, and said, “I am, actually, yeah.”

“Are you, uh-  Do you wanna keep going?”

“Yeah, yeah.  You?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”  She blew out a short puff of air.  “Okay. I’ll let you know if things take a bad turn for me, and you’ll let me know if the same happens for you.  Promise?”

“Promise.”

With trembling hands struggling to keep steady, she reached out and touched his collarbone, his chest.  His stomach. And even though the touch was soft, just her fingers tracing gently across his skin, it didn’t hurt.  Not even a prickle. Instead, he felt...precious. Beloved. Like she didn’t want to risk grabbing him too hard, here, lest he break.  

It was so goddamn beautiful, to be handled delicately.

She let out a gentle sigh when he leant in to kiss her, and another when he splayed his hands across her ribcage, directionless, helpless.  And then, even though he was petrified of doing something wrong or something that would hurt her, he began to slowly move to other places.  

No bad turns.  No bad reactions.  Just her smiling against his mouth.  She was alive, swirling warmth beneath his fingertips, leaning into his touch like he was doing something right.  Like this was easy.

Lyana pulled him closer, winding her arms around his back and dragging her hands down the ridges of his spine, up between his shoulderblades.  It felt like she was trying to map him out with her eyes closed. She left one arm wrapped around his waist and brought the other to rest on his chest, right over where his heart was gleefully hammering away.

They finally broke apart; it felt like Lyana was about to ask him something.  But before she could-

“Hey, kiddos!  I’m home! If you’re doing anything inappropriate, you’ve got as long as it takes me to put these groceries away to get decent!”

(That was Evie’s standard call into the house when she knew that Spencer and Lyana had been there, alone, while she was out.  Lyana usually came out immediately to greet her and prove that they hadn’t been doing anything of the sort- but today, for the first time in over a year, that wasn’t going to happen.)

They scrambled to put their shirts back on, frantically giggling.  “Shit, shit, shit,” Lyana mumbled under her breath. She skittered to the mirror on the opposite side of her room and started patting her hair back down in an attempt to not appear so positively frazzled.  

Before Spencer could say something to try and calm her down, Evie walked into the room; the door had been left open, which the two of them now knew was a mortal error.  She quietly surveyed the two teenagers in front of her, and Spencer was certain that they were conspicuously radiating with guilt.

“Were you two actually doing something inappropriate?”  Evie looked like she was trying desperately not to laugh- and given that she was a big purveyor of mirth in the Zayas-Jacobs household, this was an immense feat.  Even the way she dressed made people smile. That day, Evie had gone out to run errands in a bonafide and well-tailored three-piece suit, but her frizzy blonde hair was in a large and untidy pouf on top of her head, and she had finished the ensemble with a vibrantly purple shade of lipstick.  It was, Spencer thought with a great deal of admiration, incredibly on-brand for her. Polished, devil-may-care goofiness that somehow exuded an incomprehensible amount of power all the same.

“We were- I- It’s none of your business, ma’am!” Lyana spluttered.

“Dude, nice!”

“No, not nice!  Shut up! Out of my room!”

“Ooh, Kate bet that you wouldn’t become a bratty teenager until you turned 15, so thank you for the payday, yon fiery lass!”  Lyana groaned loudly and covered up her face with her hands, just in time for Evie to strut out of the room and down the hall with her arms held high above her head, triumphant.  She called out to no one in particular, “My niece is getting action and I’m getting paid! Thank you, universe!”

Spencer finally clambered off the bed and wrapped Lyana up in a firm hug.  “Hey, that could’ve gone much worse,” he offered.

“Why can’t my aunts be weird about stuff like this, like normal parents?  I think I’d prefer it to Dude, nice!  Like we’re in the same frat or some shit.”

“Statistically, the ability for parental figures to have frank, open, and positive communication about sex with their kids leads to their kids being at an astronomically lower risk of contracting STDs, having unwanted pregnancies-”

“Stop being so smart and right!  I am mortified and I want to wallow in it!”

Spencer buried his grin in her hair.  “I love you.”

“Ugh.  I love you, too."