Little Green Monster
A/N: I still don't own Avenue Q, otherwise RodXNicky would be cannon, I also don't own anything else referenced in this story, except maybe that magazine because I'm not totally sure that's not a real thing.
In retrospect, he should've known it was never going to work.
Ricky might have looked like Nicky's long lost (though admittedly buffer) twin, but that was where the similarities ended. Ricky was strong, Nicky was sweet, Ricky had the physique, but Nicky had the personality, which was what Rod had fallen for in the first place.
From the day they met, Rod had held a small spark of affection for the green man, which had rapidly ignited into a burning torch. Despite their not inconsiderable differences, Nicky meant the world to Rod, and he hoped the feeling was mutual, even if it wasn't romantic.
So, although Ricky's, ahem, form was a nice sight, Rod never felt any deep affection for the other. It wasn't that Ricky was a bad person per say, he just wasn't Nicky.
Then of course, there was the slight undertone of jealousy that had pervaded the apartment after he and Ricky began their (very brief) relationship. Despite the fact that Nicky was the one who brought Ricky to Rod, his words regarding the other green man held a slightly bitter flavor. Nicky's usually amiable and kind personality seemed to develop a bit of an edge when Ricky was around.
It came as a surprise to no one when, just three weeks after meeting, the two called it off. Ricky took whatever items or articles of clothing he might have had in the small apartment and walked out, though thankfully on good terms.
After that, it was like a switch had flipped inside Nicky, and he was back to his usual lackadaisical self in no time. All seemed to return to normal for a few weeks until Rod discovered something strange. While taking a cursory glance through their shared laptop, he came across several web addresses for losing weight and getting into shape. At first, he passed them off as links left behind after annoying pop ups, but one night, after returning from a visit next door to see Kate and Princeton, he discovered to his surprise that Nicky was working out in the living room. Backing out slowly and silently, Rod shut the door and took a few seconds to compose himself and allow his blush to fade away. Then he backed down the hallway, and made sure to make his steps load and echoing.
When he finally opened the door to their apartment (after purposefully fumbling with the handle for a few seconds) he found Nicky sitting in front of the TV as if nothing had happened, though when he peered closer he could just make out the fading red underneath Nicky's usual green hue. "Oh hi Rod" Nicky said, waving at his roommate and best friend, smile stretching across his face as usual "you were pretty loud coming up the stairs, something the matter?" Nicky's brow furrowed in concern.
Rod did his best to smile nonchalantly and tried placating his friend.
"No no, just tired is all, I think I'll go lay down for a bit."
"OK" Nicky said, eyes flicking back towards the TV. Rod was almost to the bedroom door when Nicky spoke again "you know you can tell me if anything is bothering you, right?"
"I- Yes Nicky I know" and this time, Rods smile was completely genuine.
Closing the door behind him, Rod allowed himself to flush once more, his heart apparently deciding that it wanted to take up tap lessons for Nicky once again. With a small, happy sigh, Rod shambled towards his bed, realizing that he was in fact tired. Changing quickly, he curled up under his blanket, thoughts already growing slower. Drifting in between wake and sleep, he dimly wondered why Nicky would be working out; after all, the other man was perfect in his eyes.
Rod might have been able to write off the exercise as Nicky being his odd self, but it was swiftly followed by other changes that he likely would have missed if he hadn't been looking for them.
Suddenly Nicky had gone from a friendly but lazy slacker to Mr. Nice Guy, at least toward Rod. Whenever Rod and Nicky went anywhere together, Nicky would open doors for him, even going so far as opening the door of whatever taxi they had ridden in. When Rod returned home from the store, Nicky all but yanked the groceries from his hands and began putting them away; it was all very confusing for the blue man. Then one day, Nicky did something even stranger than his exercising; he cooked.
At the crack of ten A.M. Rod awoke from his much deserved extra three hours of sleep, looked over at Nicky's empty bed, and shuffled out of the bedroom. Presuming that he would find his friend plopped in front of the television, or else snoring halfway on/halfway off the couch, he was shocked to see it was neither. Instead Nicky had dawned what appeared to be a stereotypical housewife's apron, and was attempting too, and as far as Rod could see, succeeding in making bacon and eggs.
"Oh, good morning Rod." Nicky said cheerfully as he scrambled the eggs and checked the bacon.
"G-good morning Nicky." Rod supplied in a surprised tone.
"The foods almost ready, just give me another minute or two."
"That's fine Nicky, but what exactly is this for?"
"Well it's your day off, I figured I should do something to make it special."
"But you've never done anything like this before."
"Well you know what they say 'there's a first time for everything', besides can't a guy do something nice for his friend?" The tone was casual, but Rod detected the faintest bit of hesitation in it, if he said no, Nicky's feelings would be hurt, and after the whole 'kicking him out' incident, that was the last thing he wanted to do.
"No no its fine Nicky, I was just a little surprised that's all."
"Great" Nicky said with a large smile that made Rod's heart flutter.
"You might want to check on the food." Nicky's eyes widened almost comically and he whirled, almost knocking into the skillets. Lifting said skillets, Nicky quickly split the eggs and bacon onto two plates and gingerly set the still hot cooking instruments in the sink before placing one plate in front of Rod.
Nicky, as usual, dug into the food with gusto, though his eyes kept flicking toward Rod. Said red head tentatively took a bite of the eggs, and to his surprise found them quite good, if slightly charred. The bacon proved just as good, and soon enough Rod had finished eating entirely.
"Nicky, not to sound rude but, where did you learn to cook?"
"Not rude huh?" Nicky asked wryly, quirking an eyebrow.
"Oh you know what I mean."
"Well, I kinda just looked it up, you can find anything on the internet, besides, it's just bacon and eggs." Though he tried to play it off, Rod wasn't fooled by his humbleness.
"Internet or no, I've seen you burn water Nicholas."
"Okay, fine, maybe I kinda sorta asked Kate for a few tips."
"Kate can cook?"
"Actually I think Princeton taught her."
"Apparently he took a lot of cooking classes in high school."
"Huh, who'd have guessed?" After that, conversation drifted from the cooking skills of the other occupants of the Avenue and towards what Rod was going to be doing on his day off.
"But Rod, you're always reading that thing, haven't you finished it by now?"
"Just because you've finished something doesn't mean you can't enjoy it a second time."
"Or a twenty fifth."
"Exactly my- hey!"
"I'm sorry Rod" Nicky said, though from the sound of his laughs and the look on his face, Rod doubted it "I was just thinking maybe we could spend the day together, you know, hang out."
"I- well I suppose that doesn't sound too bad, what did you have in mind?" From there Nicky proceeded to tell Rod exactly what he had planned.
"And then we can finish it off with a walk through the park like we used to after exams."
"That actually sounds wonderful Nicky." And it was, the entirety of the day was spent revisiting old haunts and finally visiting some of New York's attractions that they had always postponed with a "we'll check it out some other day" that had never come.
Eventually, the day wound down, and after several hours of walking, they finally arrived back home. After slogging up the stairs, Rod fumbled with the key, and cast open the door. The pair made it five steps in before they fell over in exhaustion. For a few minutes, the duo lay side by side, trying to recuperate, before Nicky sat up.
"Well that was fun don't you think?"
"Yes Nicky, fun and exhausting." Nicky laughed "alright, well unless you want to first, I'm gonna go take a shower."
"No, but thank you for asking Nicky."
"No problem" Nicky replied before standing and walking into the bathroom. Rod, in a reversal of a familiar theme, sat down in front of the TV. As he idly clicked through channels, the sound of water running in the background, his thoughts drifted. Today was really fun, in fact if it was any guy other than Nicky, I'd almost think it was a date. That line of thought lead to too much heart stopping and mild depression though, so he quickly focused his attention on the program he was 'watching', something to do with knocking people into water while they ran through an obstacle course.
Eventually the water switched off, and Rod headed into his room to grab some clothes of his own. Walking back into the living room, Rod nearly bumped into Nicky; that is to say, a wet, shirtless Nicky clad only in a towel. While Rod's brain took a few seconds to reboot, and his eyes tried to desperately stop filming the documentary known as The Path of The Water Droplets, Nicky eased past his roommate and into the room, shutting the door behind him.
In a daze Rod walked into the bathroom, quickly disrobing and getting into the shower. Finally, his short circuited brain managed to fix itself, and the first thought that ran through his head was those workouts are paying off, the second thought was a reminder about his lifelong status as a card carrying Friendzoner. With that disheartening thought, Rod quickly finished his shower and hopped out, ready for bed.
Upon exiting the bathroom, he found the living room deserted, and so he locked the door, flicked off the lights, and then checked the door again just in case. Wandering into the dark bedroom, Rod collapsed into his bed, he'd need all the extra sleep he could get for work tomorrow. As he began to drift off, Rod heard the creak of the bed next to him as Nicky rolled to face his friend.
"Whaaaaaaat Nicky?" Rod asked with a yawn.
"Do you think we could hang out on your next day off too?"
"Sure Nicky, I'd liiiiiike that a lot" Rod said with a grin as he drifted off. Across from him, Nicky smiled.
Sure enough, the next week Nicky and Rod spent the day together again, in fact that's all they did on Rod's days off; sometimes they spent it doing fun and, thankfully for his wallet, free things, others they spent it getting together with the rest of the group. Kate would talk about her monster school, and Princeton would talk about his job, Gary would regale them with tales of his time as a child star, and Christmas Eve would offer free psychology sessions (they would never mention the one afternoon they spent alone with Trekkie, ever). Whatever they did, they did it together, and it went a long way to repairing their somewhat degraded friendship, in fact, it improved it.
It became so common to hang out with Nicky whenever he had the time that the oddity of it faded from Rods mind completely, along with the strangeness of Nicky getting up at progressively earlier hours to make them both breakfast. So it came as an even bigger shock when the next change appeared. Rod had just arrived back home from a rather peaceful day at the office, and had actually been able to leave a half an hour early, and was looking forward to cleaning the room, since it had long since reached his clutter threshold. When he opened the door, Rod wasn't all that surprised to not see Nicky sitting in front of the TV, what he was surprised by, was the sight of his friend folding clothes.
"Nicholas what are you doing?"
"Oh hey Rod, I'm just cleaning up a little, you don't mind, do you?"
"Well no not really, it's just so . . . out of character."
"Yeah well, I knew you'd probably want to start cleaning soon, and since you were working all day, I thought I'd surprise you, I actually wanted to be done before you got back, but it looks like you got off early today."
"Well, yes, anyway thank you Nicky, would you like some help?"
"Well, I mean, I started this by myself, and I was doing it for you, so I kinda want to finish it myself, you know?"
"Well, alright then, I'll be right back." So saying, Rod walked into their bedroom and shut the door behind him. Quickly as he could, he changed from his work clothes into a more comfortable outfit, having finally given in to Nicky's demands that he not have to walk around with someone that always looked like a business man.
When he opened the door, Rod had to step aside as Nicky hustled through with two piles of clothes. After setting Rods pile down on his bed, Nicky turned and quickly put his own away, Rod following suit.
"Nicky" Rod said turning to his friend "that was really sweet of you, but you know you didn't have to do that, right?"
"I know, but I wanted to." Still not totally convinced, Rod tried a more blunt approach.
"Really Nicky, if you did this, all of this, everything that you've been doing, because you're worried I'm going to kick you out again I-" Nicky held up a hand in a placating gesture.
"Look Rod, I get it, I really do, and sure maybe at first I was a little scared that you'd kick me out again, but that's not why I'm doing this."
"Then why are you?"
"Because I want to" Nicky said emphatically "I want you to know that even though I'm lazy, and a slacker, and I don't help pay the rent that I care about you, I don't want you to think I'm just using you."
"I-Nicky" Now it was Rods turn to hold up his hand "I have never, for even a single moment, ever thought you were using me, and I never will."
"But how can you say that, you've known me for almost a decade, and all I've done is-"
"Been an amazing, supportive friend, held me up when I'm down, and accepted me for who I am?"
"Rod, you know that I've-"
"Nicky, shut up" Rod said with a smile as he leaned over and hugged his friend. Slowly, Nicky's arms closed around Rod's back, and the blue man held his friend close. If this is as good as it gets he thought, if this is as close as he and I are ever going to be, then maybe it's enough.
"Now then" Rod said as they broke apart, "I don't want to hear anything else about you feeling like this, okay?"
"Yeah, sure Rod" Nicky said with his signature smile.
"Although, I wouldn't exactly complain if you kept doing it, just so long as it's not to prove anything."
"You got it Rod."
After that, things seemed to return to normalcy. Nick continued to make breakfast and clean up a bit around the apartment, and Rods days off were still spent in one another's company. Of course, nothing can ever stay normal on Avenue Q, and so Rod was treated to the biggest surprise of all one night after Nicky suggested they order take out with a bizarre, suspicious grin slapped on his face. Generally ordering in was a rare occasion as Rod's frugality always insisted on rearing its ugly head; however the red head had been craving Chinese lately and so he agreed.
After Rod made the call, Nicky seemed to almost vibrate with energy, causing his friend to regard him narrowed eyes. As the sound of a harried delivery boy knocking on the door rang out in the apartment, Rod reached over to his wallet, only to find a familiar green hand stopping him.
"I got this one Rod" he said with an even bigger grin that usual, and true to his word, Nicky opened the door, took bag from the boy, and paid using very green, very real money. Shutting the door behind him with his foot, Nicky carried the bag over the table where Rod's mouth was currently a best contender for "farthest dropped jaw" in the Guinness Book of World Records. After he managed to reattach the separate parts his mouth had become, Rod spoke.
"Nicholas, you- I- how did you? - you paid for this, with money."
"Yes" Nicky said slowly, though the grin on his face had widened to almost impossible size "that's what people typically do here."
"How!?" Nicky waited a few seconds, relishing what he was about to divulge.
"I got a job" he said simply. Four simple syllables, ones that were hardly unique, and yet they seemed to break the laws of physics, because suddenly the room was spinning, and everything was upside down, and then it all went black.
Blinking blearily, Rod found his head being cradled by the arm of the couch, and a grinning Nicky leaning over him.
"Nicky, wha-what happened?"
"Oh nothing, I just told you that I got a job and-" Nicky stopped speaking, as Rod's eyes had already rolled back in their sockets. After a few more minutes, Rod came to once more, and this time did not fall unconscious when he was told the news. Instead he subjected Nicky to a barrage of questions.
"Where did you get a job?"
"Well I did go to college Rod, and I did get a degree."
"Which you haven't used in seven years."
"Well, I finally started using it."
"Okay fine, but where did you get a job?"
"Well, technically it's not a full time job, but I sent out a few typed up stories to a few magazines and one of them actually got accepted.
"A magazine, when was this?"
"A few months ago, it takes a really long time to get anything accepted, but apparently they liked my piece."
"What did you send out, who accepted it?"
"Geektastic is the one who accepted the story, it was called "Invasion of the Planet Munchers."
Rod was silent for a few seconds, regarding Nicky with wide eyes and a raised eyebrow.
"What?" Nicky asked "I did get a bachelor's degree in creative writing."
"Which you then let gather dust for more than half a decade."
Nicky blushed "Well yeah, and I feel kind of bad about that, it was a bad case of writers block, anyway the point is that they accepted my story for publication, and they asked me if I had any other work that I wanted to send in, if they like it, I might get offered a permanent job."
Rod twitched slightly at that, Nicky with a job just seemed, so. . . unnatural, and he half wondered if the ceiling was going to be ripped open by the tentacles of an elder god in search of whatever could cause this great imbalance with the universe.
But the ceiling remained as it was, and after stealthily pinching himself several times, Rod was sure that it wasn't all a dream, so he did the only thing he could do when presented with the fact that Nicky had a job.
This time Nicky caught Rod as fainted.
It would be impossible to say that after that life returned to normal in the apartment, because now normal was a foreign word, a strange person on the street; now normal was weird. Still, Rod adapted as he always did to the changes, after only another baker's dozen of fainting spells, he finally got over Nicky paying for things. He did almost fall into a coma when Nicky handed him his half of the rent though.
It seemed that Geektastic Magazine had in fact liked Nicky's stories, because soon enough he was typing away on a new laptop whenever Rod came home, rattling off various stories, hating some, loving others, and finding flaws in them all as writers are wont to do. The mania with which Rod saw him write reminded him of one of the very first things that had attracted him to Nicky.
He had liked the green man well enough that first day they had met in college. He had seemed kind, and he always wore a smile, like nothing could ever bring him down. It was only when he had asked him about his major that he saw the passion in his eyes. Nicky loved writing, loved it more than anything in the world, and he was working on his first big novel, a sci fi book with horror themes, the next big thing he was sure.
Every day when Rod came back from classes and Nicky was there, the green man would be tapping away at an old laptop, adding more and more to his story. Nicky had never let anyone read his story though, every time they had asked they had been met with a stubborn "it's not finished yet" and turned away.
Rod had only managed a few peeks here and there, but from what he saw, even though Nicky's vocal grammar could've used some work, when he was writing it was perfectly correct, more than that, it was good. It was at the end of their final year of college, exams were over with, and Nicky was about to send away his finished manuscript. Then tragedy struck.
During those last few days, someone had broken into theirs and a number of other rooms, and stolen various objects. The only thing they took from theirs was Nicky's laptop, flash drive still plugged into the side. The green man was heartbroken, and for those last few days, he had stayed slumped in bed, he didn't even go to the graduation ceremony.
It was as everyone was leaving that Rod had come to him and offered him a place to stay. The rest, they say, is history.
That creative spark, that drive had drawn Rod to Nicky like a moth to a flame or as Nicky would've put it "a brain muncher to a brain."
Breaking out of his reminiscing, Rod took note of the sound of Nicky's fingers flying over his keyboard and smiled. Shortly thereafter Nicky finished typing, saved his document, re-saved it to two separate flash drives, and put everything away. "I'm going out to go grab some milk, we're almost out, do you want anything?" Sentences like that still made Rod's heart jump even if he didn't faint. It was still so odd, Nicky had a job, which meant he had money, which meant he could go to the store to get things without Rod.
"No I'm fine Nicky, just hurry back, it's getting dark."
"Okay" Nicky said with a grin, and he reached over and hugged Rod before heading out the door. Rod managed to stop blushing five minutes later, and returned his attention to his book. That was another change the two had gone through, after their big hug it seemed that an integral part of the touch boundary had been broken.
Now when Nicky went anywhere, or when Rod was about to leave for work, hugs were exchanged and in some cases hair was mussed with. When they went out, they stayed close together, and when the throngs of people became too loud or too forceful, Nicky's hand would reach out and grab a hold of Rods, and vice versa.
With a small, somewhat sad smile, Rod directed his thoughts to reading the section about Bye Bye Birdie in his new book, Broadway Musicals of the 1960's, the inexorable follow-up to Broadway musicals of the 1950's and its predecessor Broadway Musicals of the 1940's. This latest book had actually been a gift from Nicky, who had demanded that he move on from the forties.
With a sigh, his gaze was drawn from the book and toward a framed picture sitting on the table. The picture was new, the two having had it taken in the park by a kind old lady. Nicky had, in a display of strength he was sure his friend would've been incapable of six months ago, lifted him onto his shoulders, Rod had cried out at the sudden move, and Nicky had laughed as his friend's cry had turned into a laugh as well. That however was not what was depicted in the picture.
Before the picture could be taken, Nicky had miss stepped and the two had fallen into a heap. Nicky and he had rolled with the fall, which resulted with his friend being pinned by him. They had just begun to look up, when the woman snapped the picture. So instead of a picture of the two of them trying to form a ladder to the sky, they got a picture of the two of them, Rod on top, with Nicky quote unquote "pinned" looking up at the camera almost bashfully. The picture couldn't have seemed more romantic if they had tried. Rod looked at the picture once more, before once again attempting to focus on the book, though occasionally his eyes flicked back to the picture and he sighed.
Nicky's success as a writer seemed to only grow, as only a few months after he had started sending work in, he had been granted a permanent job as a sci-fi and horror writer for the magazines monthly stories section, as well as being asked to write short stories for their website. In fact, other magazines had actually started asking if he wanted to work for them freelance. After that, Nicky had actually been invited to the office building where the magazine was based. He had only been a few times, but from what he told Rod, his coworkers seemed nice and his office (that had sent Rod into a minor dizzy spell) was decently sized and customizable. Since he primarily worked online and he actually had a phone now, Nicky only went into the office once or twice every week for a few hours. Even though he knew that it was going to happen eventually, Rod was still taken off guard when he had arrived home from work one day and found the apartment and indeed, the entire avenue devoid of his green friend. When Nicky had gotten home, a mere half an hour later, Rod had practically glued himself to his friend's side.
"Gee Rod" Nicky said with a laugh "You're acting like I've been gone for week." Rod coughed nervously "I'm sorry Nicky, it's just I was a little . . . taken off guard by you not being here, it reminded me of . . .well, you know." Nicky slung an arm over his friends shoulder "You don't have to worry about that any more buddy, I'm not going anywhere." Rod sighed slightly in happiness at his friends contact and words but managed to turn it into another cough. "Well" Nicky added "Except for this party that the office is holding this Friday." Nicky looked at his friend expectantly "I don't suppose you want to come, do you?" Rod blushed again at the request, and even more so when he noticed that Nicky still had his arm slung over his shoulder and was staring at him very expectantly with his big brown eyes and that little indent above his lip was- no bad Rod, bad, he thought to himself. "I-" Rods mouth became very dry, because although he had gotten used to spending time with Nicky again, this was a party and Nicky was asking him to go, and if it had been any other guy Rod would have thought of it as a date, which was decidedly not a possibility, no matter how many stars he wished upon. "I-" Nicky was still giving him that patented puppy dog pout and Rod's resolve crumbled "I'd love to go Nicholas."
Nicky's smile was bright enough to put all the lights on Broadway to shame. "Great, its casual, so please, no suits, oh and it starts at seven, so could you maybe remind me, I'm sure that I'll forget." Before Rod could confirm or deny this, Nicky's head snapped down to look at his watch, and his eyes boggled comically "Whoa, I've got to go, I'll see you when I get back" and without further ado he rushed out of the apartment, door slamming behind him. Rod starred at the closed door for a few more seconds before answering "sure."
The party was a relatively small affair, which made sense since, as Rod soon found out, it was being hosted for the writing columnists only, and not everyone could attend. Rod had attempted to dress casually for the event, which in the end resulted with him in his usual black suit, sans tie. Nicky had taken one look at him, and called Kate in for advice, as he himself had zero experience with fashion. Kate had taken one look at him and told Nicky to fix it himself. She had then gone on a five minute rant about how not all women are fashion gurus, which Nicky had dutifully nodded through and apologized for afterward. A significantly less angry Kate had left the apartment, and Nicky turned to Rod with his eyebrow raised. "She and Princeton have been fighting" Rod said simply, and Nicky had made an ah face, before once again tackling the challenge that was fashion. Eventually Rod had had to settle for a pair of blue jeans and a red shirt. Simple, understated, completely against his own sense of style, and, according to Nicky, "totally cool."
They had taken the subway to the party, and, as even the greatest of friends undoubtedly are, the two had been separated almost immediately, even though the throng of people was less of a throng and more of a trickle. Rod had mostly shuffled around, staring at the ground, trying to find his friend, when he eventually bumped, quite literally, into tall blonde woman. "Oh" she said kindly, a smile spreading across her face "I'm sorry, I didn't see you there." Rod blushed slightly.
"Oh no, it was my fault, I should've been looking where I was going instead of, well, at the floor." The woman laughed, and for the first time Rod noticed that her skin was not actually peach colored, but rather a very light pink, so light in fact, that if he hadn't known any better, he'd have thought she was human.
"I haven't seen you around, are you one of the online columnists or . . ." She trailed off.
Rod chuckled "Oh no, I'm just here with my friend."
The woman nodded, "Oh, okay, what's his name, maybe I know him? Oh by the way, my names Rachel, what's yours?"
Rod smiled, this isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be he thought "My name's Rod and my friend is-"
"Nicky?" Rachel asked.
Rod gave her a perplexed look "Well yes, but how did you know that?"
"Oh the moment you said your name was Rod I knew, I work with Nicky, we help edit each other's columns."
"Oh" Rod said, and he tried not to feel disheartened by the fact that this woman he had never heard of knew about him.
"You're all he talks about, honestly, every time he comes in it's always Rod this Rod that. I'll tell you-" Rachel stopped and her smile brightened as she waved to someone through the crowd. A few seconds later, the person she was waving at was revealed to be Nicky.
The green man sidled up to his friend and grinned "Hey Rod, sorry I lost you, but I ran into someone from editing and they really wanted to talk about one of my new pieces, anyway, I see you've met Rachel."
"Hi Nicky" Rachel said, still smiling "I was just talking to Rod about you."
Nicky chuckled slightly, and he rubbed the back of his neck nervously "Nothing bad I hope."
Rachel laughed "Oh no, we actually just met, I was just telling him how I wish I was lucky enough to have a boyfriend like you." The world stopped. Maybe not literally, but to Rod, everything froze. Nicky's expression changed from one of joviality to something that wasn't quite horror, but was definitely something akin to pure unadulterated panic.
Rachel's grin slid off her face, as she seemed to realize she had done something wrong, and as most people are wont to do when it comes to relationships that don't involve them, she quickly muttered something about seeing someone over by the water cooler and almost ran away. Nicky's blush had long since exceeded his skins ability to cover it up, and his jaw was slack. Eventually however, probably in between Rods thoughts of "I wish" and "Has my heart stopped? I don't think it has, if it has, that's probably bad" but before "I'm being oddly calm about this, am I going into shock?" Nicky stopped gaping and started trying to explain.
"Oh God Rod, I'm so sorry, this isn't how I meant you to find out at all, but I-I" he trailed off, and Rods mind went into overdrive Not how he wanted me to find out? Does that mean that he did want me to find out? Wait, does this mean that Nicky- that he. . . Nicky had begun talking again, but Rods dazed mind only caught half of it "After Ricky. . . Insanely jealous. . . Really really like . . . Tried to get your attention . . . idn't know what to say . . . Guess I wasn't very good . . . When I came to work at the office . . . uldn't stop talking about you. . . Everyone just assumed . . . inda just slipped out . . . so so sorry . . . can you ever forgive me?" And just like that, everything slipped into place, and Rod felt light and happy enough that he was sure that with a pinch of pixie dust he might just fly off to Never Never Land. Rod didn't answer at first, and Nicky began to launch into another tirade when Rod smiled. Still smiling that bizarre smile, Rod spoke "Nicholas?" he said, and Nicky stopped in his tracks, looking at his friend with fear in his eyes. "Yeah?" Rod rose on his tiptoes so he could be eye to eye with his friend "Shut up." Then Rod pushed a little farther, rose to his highest height and kissed his friend.
Coming back onto his heels, Rod, in a surreal sense of calm observed his friend. Nicky seemed shocked at first, and he looked at Rod again, and then he smiled. It was a shy smile, different from the ones that Rod usually recieved from his friend, but it was amazing in its own way. Then that smile broadened into Nicky's usual incorrigable grin, and a laugh erupted from his friends chest, and soon enough Rod was smiling and giggling, and suddenly his legs wouldn't support him anymore, and he fell against Nicky. Unfortunately it seemed Nicky's legs had all the consistancy of jello, and the two of them fell to the floor laughing, Rod on top, lying on top of his friends chest. They stopped giggling after a few more moments, and Rod planted his hands on Nicky's chest in an effort to push himself up. Nickys hands wrapped around Rods, and tugged him close. Rod allowed himself to fall, now lying with his forehead pressed against Nickys, staring deeply and freely into those brown orbs.
"You know" he said softly, "for an brilliant writer, you tried to get my attention in a really stupid way." Nicky's eyes crinkled at the edges, and rod could tell he was smiling without having to look down. "And you" Nicky replied "can be pretty thick for an ingenious investment banker, I mean seriously, I cooked, cooked, how did you not see that as a sign?" "I thought you were just being nice." "Nice is one thing Rod, but what about everything else?" Rod blushed a bit "Yes well, sometimes we all miss obvious things." Nicky's hand came up and stroked through Rods hair, and the red head leaned into his touch. "You're totally oblivious" Nicky said happily. "And you're a complete dunderhead" Rod replied. Nicky smiled again, and this time it was him who leaned in for a kiss. After a solid thirty seconds, which may or may not have involved some tentative tongue action, they parted.
Someone coughed. It was like a spell was broken, and the two suddenly became aware of a gathered crowed of people. Rachel smiled at them from the circle, and Rod made a mental note to invite her over some time I think I'm really going to like her he thought. Someone handed another person fifty bucks, grumbling the entire time. A middle aged man, dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt leaned over them and offered a hand. When they were finally back on their feet, the two of them stood side by side, hands intertwined. "Hi Mr. Broderick" Nicky said brightly, and Rod realized that this man was in fact the editor-in-chief of the magazine. The man grinned at the pair "Nicky, how many times do I have to tell you, call me Matt." "Right, sorry Matt, its just that Rod" he nudged Rod with his elbow "has been trying to get me to 'treat people with the respect their position deserves'." Rod gave him a glare, but smiled. "I just believe in the importance of respect Nicky, thats all."
Matt laughed, and for the next half an hour, he regailed Rod with tales of Nicky's exploits around the office. After that, the duo mingled with a few more of Nicky's coworkers, and eventually, the two of them headed out. After catching a late subway that was still filled with people, the two of them made their way up the avenue, hand in hand. Turning his head to his friend, Nicky poised a question "Soooooo, does this mean that you're my boyfriend now or . . ." he trailed off. Rod whacked his boyfriend's, and by god how long he had waited to be able to call him that, arm playfully. "As I believe you might put it Nicky, duh." Nicky gave a faux hurt look which lasted for all of three seconds before the two of them broke down into peals of laughter that echoed up and down the empty streets.
Stumbling up the stairs, their shoulders still shaking with mirth, the two fell against one another once again. Nicky's lips didn't so much crash into Rods as they did glide into place, as if finally taking rest in a spot that had always been meant for them. Pressing the smaller man against the wall, their kiss deepend in passion, and suddenly neither of them were tired at all. Rod pulled back, and Nicky gave him a pouty look. "Nicky not in the hallway" he said, and fumbled with the lock. While he was doing so, Nicky changed his target from Rods lips to his neck "NiCKY" he gasped, finally managing to open the door and tumble inside. Nicky fell with him, and when they were over the threshold, he kicked the door shut, and locked it as quickly as physically possible.
For the first time in nearly a decade, ever since the day he had met Nicky, Rod knew peace. And if Kate called Gary shortly after to complain about noise, well, as Gary had told him once, there are times when you can be as loud as the hell you want.
A/N: Alright, there we have it, my longest Avenue Q piece so far, now that that's done, onto business.
1.) I realize that I told you guys on my second and final chapter of Stormtime Snuggles that I would have this up like, the next day. As you can tell, that didn't happen, however, I have an excuse, so please don't burn me in effigy quite yet. See, right after I posted that chapter, I had to move, which involved packing up the, you guessed it, computer. Then after we were done moving, we had to unpack which is, as I'm sure some of you know, just oddles of fun. Then, and here's where I suppose you can burn me in effigy/ torture me with voodoo dolls, I admittedly stopped working on the story. I had decided, you see, that I would firmly work on only one thing, and that was my novel, as in, like, you know, an actually hopefully one day publishable novel. I was going to write 2k a day and focus on nothing else. That worked for about a week, and I got to about 16k when I realized, hey guess what? That's an absolutely brilliant way to burn yourself out, so I finally got back to working on this, and admittedly other projects. Also, like literally every writer out there, sometime I just got a little lazy. Again I apologize, and pretty pretty please don't take your anger out on the story, its just a little baby, and it needs all the attention and reviews it can get.
Alright I think that's it for now, I will tell you guys that I do have the ideas for two other Avenue Q fics floating around upstairs. One is likely to be a short one-shot, and the other might in fact be a chapter story, so look out for that. Until next time TT22 is out (that is such an awful catch phrase, why did I start using it again?)