It was a weird week for Henry Hart.
Of course, ever since going to work for Captain Man, Henry's life has always been a little more than unusual.
But, things had been especially crazy this week. You would think helping Captain Man deliver the cub of a rare tiger or saving his best friend from the lion enclosure at the zoo would be the weirdest part, but that wasn't the case. It was finding out that his best friend since kindergarten has been dreaming about kissing him all week.
And now he was dreaming about kissing her too.
To say the dreams freaked him out would be an understatement. He loved Charlotte and he loved her a lot. But, he wasn't in love with her. He looked at her as more like a sister than a girlfriend. He wasn't sure how to get rid of the dreams or to let her down gently so he felt the best course of action was to avoid her as much as possible.
Little did he know, Charlotte had the exact same feelings and idea.
Little did they both know, Jasper had been doing the same. He had overheard Charlotte telling Piper that she was dreaming about kissing him and so he was evading her at every turn hoping that this would all blow over and she would forget about her dreams.
They had managed to avoid each other throughout school that day, but now it was time for work, and it was inevitable that they would run into each other. They were just hoping they could make those encounters as short as possible.
Charlotte was the first to arrive. She cautiously stepped out of the elevator and into the Man Cave and frantically searched around, looking for any sign of Henry, but the place was completely empty. She let out a huge sigh of relief as she threw her backpack down on the floor by the elevator and started towards the Auto-Snacker. She placed her hand on the screen displaying various food options as she allowed herself to relax a little.
"French fries, please," she announced to the machine. The machine repeated her order as the door slid open and a basket of hot, fresh fries appeared. Charlotte grabbed the basket as she started towards the rotating couch in the middle of the room. Just then, the door shaped like a gear slid open and Ray stepped into the room a moment later.
"Hey, Char," he said cheerfully as he walked down the stairs. Charlotte let out a shriek as she jumped and her fries went flying in all directions. Ray stopped dead in his tracks as he frowned.
"Are you alright?" he asked. Charlotte nervously chuckled as she wrung her hands together.
"Uhhh...yeah, sorry. I just thought you were someone-" but before she could finish her sentence, the elevator made a ding noise and the doors slid open. Jasper started into the room but stopped a few inches in front of the elevator doors when he caught sight of Charlotte, his eyes growing wide.
"Charlotte!" he proclaimed a little uneasily.
"Jasper," Charlotte responded in a monotone voice, clearly confused as to why Jasper looked so shocked to see her. Jasper started to back up to the elevator, but the doors slid open again, and Jasper ended up bumping right into Henry. He turned to see what he had run into.
"Henry!" he said, still clearly dismayed. Henry furrowed his eyebrows as he looked at him.
"Jasper," he replied with the same confused tone as Charlotte did.
"Henry!" Charlotte blurted out, her eyes growing as wide as Jasper's. Henry felt his blood run cold as he was now noticing that Charlotte was in the room.
"Charlotte!" he declared as he frantically began to search for an excuse to leave.
"Ray!" Ray uttered, feeling a little left out of the game. All of a sudden each of the kid's started mumbling out gibberish as they all tried to excuse themselves from the room. Ray watched in confusion and amusement as the whole ordeal went down.
"I need to go...uhhh...sweep the alley!" Jasper announced as he backed up to the elevator and started frantically hitting the button. Henry ran a hand through his hair as he started backing up to the tubes, almost tripping on the bottom step.
"Yeah, and I gotta go man the cash register!" he exclaimed as he stepped onto the launchpad and hit a button on his belt buckle. Charlotte let out a nervous chuckle as she started towards the hidden door near the Auto-Snacker.
"Is that...is that Schwoz calling me?" she asked as she put a hand up to her ear, pretending to strain to hear a nonexistent sound. "Coming Schwoz!"
With that, each of the kids had made a beeline out of the room. Ray stood there frozen and a little disoriented for a moment.
"What the hell just happened?" he asked out loud to no one before he decided to just shrug it off.
The rest of the week had been like that. The three of them finding excuses not to see each other, with the only exception being Henry and Jasper. They ended up down in the Man Cave again together and they started the whole spiel again.
"Alright, that's enough!" Ray declared from his spot on the rotating chair in front of the wall of monitors. Schwoz had been standing right next to him and jumped a little at his outburst. The trio froze as they all turned to look at Ray.
"You guys have been avoiding each other all week. What in the world is going on?!" he questioned. The three of them exchanged nervous glances as they all started talking incoherently over one another, trying to come up with ridiculous excuses as to why they didn't want to be in the same room together. Ray pinched the bridge of his nose as he let out an exasperated sigh.
"Alright, stop. You guys are gonna talk this out. One at a time," he announced. The three of them tried to back out of the room again, but Ray wasn't having it.
"Sit down!" he exclaimed firmly, and each of the kids swiftly sat down on the rotating couch, trying to keep as much distance between each other as possible. Even Schwoz was intimidated by Ray's adamant tone, and he sat down at the seat closest to him. Which just happened to be Ray's lap.
"I didn't mean you, Schwoz," Ray said through gritted teeth. A playful smirk spread across Schwoz's lips.
"Oops. Sorry," he said in a tone that told the room he most certainly was not sorry. The kids forgot about their awkward encounters and dreams for a moment as they exchanged amused glances and a few giggles. After a moment, they remembered why they had been avoiding one another and the smiles swiftly faded. Ray continued with Schwoz still sitting in his lap, neither of them really making any effort for him to move.
"Now. What's going on? Jasper, you go first."
Jasper's eyes went wide.
"Me?" he squeaked, his throat now suddenly bone dry.
"Yes, you. Spill," Ray said, his voice unyielding. Jasper knew he wouldn't be able to argue with Ray, so he gulped as he tried to work out what to say.
"Well...see….the thing is," he started as he shifted awkwardly in his seat, "when I went to Henry's house to prank Piper I kind of overheard Charlotte talking to Piper and well…"
Charlotte let out a gasp as she brought a hand to her mouth. Jasper flinched a little as he dared to glimpse at her.
"So, wait. You heard me tell Piper that I dreamt about kissing you?" she asked. Henry's eyebrows furrowed as he whipped his head around to look at her.
"Wait...you were dreaming about kissing Jasper?!" he interrogated, clearly confused.
"No, I was dreaming of you. I just didn't want Piper to find out-"
"Wait, you were really dreaming about Henry?" Jasper intervened. Charlotte winced a little. The last thing she wanted to do was upset either of her two best friends in the world, but it seemed like that was exactly what was going to happen today.
"I'm so sorry-" she started sincerely, but Jasper cut her off again.
"Oh, thank god," he said with a huge sigh of relief.
"Excuse me?" Charlotte blurted out, a little offended. Sure, she was happy he wasn't upset but he didn't have to be that happy about it.
"I'm sorry, it's just...I only see you as a friend," Jasper explained. Charlotte smiled at him.
"Me too!" she exclaimed, and they shared a relieved look. Charlotte's smile immediately faded as she realized she now had to potentially break her other best friend's heart.
"And I guess, while we're on the subject," she turned to look at Henry as she took a deep breath, steeling herself, "Henry, I feel the same way about us. I don't know why I'm having these dreams because I really look at you as more like a brother."
Henry's lips curled into an excited smile.
"Wait, really?! That's how I feel too!" he exclaimed.
"Really?!" Charlotte practically shouted back. Henry nodded and the two exchanged the same relieved looks Charlotte and Jasper had shared just moments ago.
"So, none of us has a crush on the other? Thank goodness," Henry said as he slumped back in his chair, allowing himself to fully relax for the first time in two weeks.
"Glad that's finally over," Ray mumbled.
"Wellllll," Jasper proclaimed in a high pitched voice. Schwoz and Ray exchanged knowing glances, while Henry sat up slowly in his chair to look at Jasper.
"Well, what? You just said you didn't have a crush on Charlotte," he said, confused. Charlotte rolled her eyes at Henry's obliviousness.
"I don't," Jasper replied softly. Henry's forehead furrowed as he tried to work out exactly what Jasper was saying.
"Well, if you don't have a crush on Charlotte I mean, that only leaves…" Henry trailed off, as realization dawning on his face a moment later. "Oh."
Jasper cringed as he looked down at the ground. Henry felt his head start reeling for about the billionth time that week.
"So does that mean that you uhh...that you've…" he started, trying to figure out how to form a coherent sentence, "You've...you've dreamt about kissing me?"
"More like daydreamt, but yes," Jasper answered softly, not sure what was causing him to be so brave in that moment. Henry's eyebrows shot up as he started nodding.
"Cool cool cool cool cool cool," he blurted out. He started fidgeting in his seat, clearly uncomfortable. Jasper felt his heart break. "It's just...I've never thought about you in that sort of way before. This is just...wow," Henry breathed. Charlotte gave Jasper a sympathetic look.
"Listen, Hen," Jasper began, but the alarm indicating an emergency cut him off.
"Oh thank god," Henry mumbled under his breath. That simple sentence caused Jasper's heart to shatter. Henry practically threw himself over the back of the couch and sprinted to the tubes before Ray even had a chance to figure out where the emergency was occurring. He stared at Henry with his eyebrows furrowed as Henry pulled out his tube of gumballs and popped one in his mouth.
"Henry, you don't even know where we're going!" Ray declared as Henry transformed into Kid Danger.
"Doesn't matter! Just tell me on the way! Up the tube!"
Jasper spent the next week avoiding Henry at all costs. Even if Henry didn't like him back, he never thought that his best friend in the whole world would hurt him the way he did. Was Jasper so unlovable that even the thought of being with him sent Henry running? Henry had tried several times to get Jasper to talk to him, but Jasper wasn't having it. He missed his best friend for sure, but he knew that he couldn't handle anymore heartache or rejection.
Henry, on the other hand, couldn't get Jasper out of his head. He felt guilty about the way he had handled things, but the week had already been wild enough and Jasper's confession caught him by surprise. It was true that Henry had never thought about Jasper in a romantic context, but now he was, and to his surprise...he didn't hate it. The thought didn't scare him like it had with Charlotte. In fact, he was starting to think he actually sort of...liked it.
He desperately wanted to talk things out with Jasper, but Jasper had been dodging him and Henry knew he couldn't blame him. In fact, if Jasper had done to Henry what Henry had done to him, he would probably do the same thing.
After a week he couldn't take it anymore. He needed to talk to Jasper, so he convinced Ray to text him telling him he needed help in the Man Cave right away. After a while, the elevator dinged to indicate it had arrived and the doors slid open as Jasper stepped out.
"Okay, Ray, what did you need my help…" he started, but he trailed off when he noticed Henry in the middle of the room with no Ray in sight.
"Oh no," he said firmly as he turned around, facing the elevator again.
"Jasper, hang on a second. We need to talk," Henry pleaded, but Jasper was already hitting the elevator button furiously. Henry walked over to the desk and hit a button to disable the elevator. Jasper bit his tongue as he turned around to face Henry once more, his face dark.
"Turn in back on," he uttered, his tone like acid.
"Can we please just talk about what happened?" Henry begged.
"There's nothing to say! You were pretty clear about your feelings."
Jasper turned to face the elevator again, the heartache washing over him.
"About that…" Henry started, but Jasper cut him off.
"It's just, how could you do that to me?! I mean, I understand if you don't like me back, but did you really have to act like that?!"
Henry winced. He took a few steps towards Jasper, his expression sorrowful and apologetic.
"Jasper, I am so sorry, it was just that whole week-"
"Is the thought of being with me really so terrible that it made you wanna run?! Am I really that awful? That unlovable?" Jasper said, his voice barely above a whisper as the agony of that day came rushing back to him in overwhelming waves.
It was Henry's turn to feel his heart shatter.
"Of course not," he breathed. Jasper felt a tear roll down his cheek and he quickly wiped it away, hoping Henry wouldn't notice. Henry walked over to Jasper so they were only a foot apart before he spoke again.
"Jasper, I am so sorry for the way that I treated you. It isn't an excuse, but you just caught me off guard. That whole week had me reeling. First Charlotte dreaming about kissing me and then me dreaming about kissing her and then you...it was just a lot to process at once. But, I never should've hurt you like that and for that, I'm truly sorry."
Jasper nodded a little, his expression softening. It still hurt, but he could sympathize.
"But, here's the thing...I told you that I had never thought about you in that context before, and that's true. But, this week I started too, and well…" Henry started, trailing off for a beat as Jasper's eyes flicked to the ground, bracing himself for another rejection. "I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since that day." Jasper's head snapped up to look at Henry.
"You what?" he asked in disbelief. Henry smiled a little.
"Listen, I don't really know how I feel but, I'm willing to find out if you are."
Jasper's lips slowly crept into a smile.
Henry continued to watch Jasper for a moment before he started to close the gap between them, and before Jasper knew what was happening, Henry's lips were on his. Jasper felt his knees go weak and he felt dizzy in the best way possible. After a second, Henry pulled away and Jasper took a second to remember the feeling of Henry's lips on his before he opened his eyes again. Henry's face was neutral, and Jasper watched in apprehension as he tried to work out what Henry was thinking. The next thing he knew, Jasper was kissing Henry again, as Henry was pulling him in closer.
Henry had been pleasantly surprised about how he felt kissing Jasper. Sure, he sort of enjoyed the thought, but the thought and the actual action are two totally different things. He still sort of expected it to feel awkward and uncomfortable, but it was anything but. Kissing Jasper made Henry realize why everyone always described kissing someone you love as feeling like fireworks were being set off in your head. He was sure he could feel actual sparks flying between them, and he never wanted that moment to end.
"Oh GROSS!" they heard a voice exclaim behind them, and they swiftly pulled apart. They turned towards the sound of the voice to see an annoyed Ray sulking into the room.
"I knew this would happen eventually. Stupid teenage hormones," Ray mumbled under his breath, "can you two like, get a room? Preferably far away from me."
Henry and Jasper shared an amused look as Henry reached down and intertwined his fingers with Jasper's.