ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2011-12-28 01:09 am

Fake News: In Summer's Parching Heat

Title: In Summer's Parching Heat
Rating: G
Pairings/Characters: Olivia/Kristen (pre-femslash), Jon(/"Stephen"), John Oliver, Wyatt
Disclaimer: #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Characters belong to the Report. Names of real people are used in a fictitious context, and all dialogue, actions, and content are products of the author's imagination only.

Teen-through-young-adult AU: Jon[athan] and "Stephen" are gay dog groomers in California, while Olivia and company are eighth graders nearby. Oh, and a cute new British kid just transferred into their class. And Kristen maybe likes him?? Drama!

Wildly out-of-season, I know, but I needed a last-minute fill for the [community profile] hc_bingo round 2 card, prompt "heat stroke."

The new student had messy black hair, glasses, and the approximate muscle mass of a baby gnat. In spite of that, he had showed up wearing a T-shirt with the football team's mascot (a fuchsia eagle that was evidently designed during the '60s). Olivia liked him already.

"My name's John Oliver and I'm very pleased to meet you all," he told the rows of judgmental California desks. "I've just moved here from England, so you're welcome to ask me any questions you have in preparation for our inevitable re-conquest of your charming little nation. Cheerio."

"Thank you, John," said Mr. Hodgman. "We'll be doing a unit on the United Kingdom's secret airship army as soon as we finish studying hobo migrations, so I'm sure you'll be in much demand. In the meantime, please have a seat. It looks like there's a free one right over there."

The empty desk turned out to be right next to Kristen. Not only that, Kristen turned out to be sitting up even straighter than usual, face lit with the kind of perky smile she rarely evinced once the morning bell had rung.

Okay, Olivia liked the new kid slightly less now.


It wasn't like Kristen hadn't had crushes before. Mr. Wilmore, for instance, who taught creative writing: every time one of her pieces came back with a red-inked compliment, she would encircle it with a flock of tiny hearts. And then there was Sam Bee, who worked at Groomin' Grooms and on whose every word Kristen hung when she was in the room. Olivia hadn't minded that one so much, because it proved she at least had a shot.

But Sam was married, and Mr. Wilmore was a teacher, meaning it was safe to assume they wouldn't respond even when Kristen turned on the extra-cute giggle. Besides, both of them were pretty cool — it was only natural for people to take notice. Olivia might have crushed on them herself if Kristen hadn't called dibs. No big deal. Not like this.

If Kristen was noticing awkward wild-haired classmates all of a sudden, what was her excuse for overlooking Olivia?


"Who invited him?" demanded Olivia, dovetailing with the little party clad in flip-flops and swimsuits as they made for the beach.

"Um, Wyatt did," stammered Jon. He didn't regret accepting — Wyatt seemed nice, as did Kristen — but truth be told, he was a little scared of Olivia. "Is that all right? I don't wish to disrupt anything."

"Listen to that!" put in Wyatt. "Can we keep him? Please? He's British!"

Olivia's bright green Crocs fell in step next to Kristen. "I guess. But you can't treat him like a weird exotic foreigner, okay? It's our job, as his new friends, to help him fit in."

"There's no need to go to any trouble," said John nervously. "I have friends back in England. Well. Friend. But he's a jolly good one." No matter how generous his new mates were, he missed Andy already.

"Do you have T-shirts?" said Olivia.

"...Come again?"

They reached the top of the slope, where the sidewalk cut off and the bright blue ocean spread out ahead of them. Kristen squinted against the bright-white sand. "Part of being friends is having matching T-shirts," she explained.

"Ours all say 'Team Awesome,'" explained Wyatt. "Demetri designed them for us. And he still has his, even after he moved."

"Is this an American thing?" asked John, picking his way down the ridge. The others all seemed to know how to navigate the sand and scrub without slipping. That had to be an American thing too.

"No, it's definitely an everywhere thing," said Olivia knowingly. "Don't worry, though. We can help you make a T-shirt to send to your friend."

John seemed to be permanently stuck in stammer mode today. "Thanks."

"Don't sweat it! Speaking of sweat," she added, slowing to match his pace (Wyatt and Kristen had both gotten halfway to the waves), "you know what's definitely an American thing? Not drinking a lot of water at the beach."

"What, in this heat?"

"Especially in this heat. Californians see it as a sign of weakness."

"Oh," said John. "Thank you for the heads-up, I suppose."

"Don't mention it. And if you have questions about any other California things, just ask."


They had splashed around in the water for a while, then transitioned to tossing a Frisbee around on a clear stretch of dry sand, when John missed an easy catch. Wyatt, who was on his team, yelled and shook his fist. Instead of yelling back, or doing the sensible thing and going after the Frisbee, John swayed in place for a moment, then toppled to the sand.

Kristen yelped and stumbled through the sand to his side, with Wyatt and Olivia not far behind. "John! John, can you hear me?" she cried, shaking him. He groaned but didn't answer. "What do we do?"

"Call the lifeguard!" suggested Wyatt.

"Wyatt! He isn't drowning!"

While Wyatt grabbed the Frisbee and started fanning John's face, Olivia frantically performed a Spot check. If the idiot had actually listened to her, it meant he needed (fresh) water, and fast. Someone around here would have to be willing....

Luck was with her: a familiar umbrella stood out from the crowd. "Stay with him!" she ordered, and took off.

Mr. Jonathan was relaxing in the shade with a book that looked way too thick for beach reading and had an old white guy in a suit on the cover. Between the broad umbrella, his low-set baseball cap, and a shirt baggy enough for him to get lost in, he wasn't so much visiting the beach as hiding from it. Stephen was nowhere to be seen, though the empty chair probably meant he wasn't far.

Olivia's legs burned from the strain of uneven running, but she didn't let up until she was in range. "Jonathan! Mr. Jonathan! My friend's sick!"

The man dropped his book instantly. "Sick? What's wrong?"

"He's from England. He's not used to this sun. Or any sun. Do you have water?"

Mr. Jonathan flipped open a cooler and pulled out two bottles. "Show me."

There wasn't enough breath left in Olivia to run the whole way back, but she led Mr. Jonathan far enough to point him the rest of the way, and let him outstrip her as she panted to a stop.

She bent to catch her breath, hands braced on her knees, salt-stiffened twintails falling in her face. What had she been thinking? Yeah, she'd wanted John to suffer a little, but she hadn't expected him to faint over it. What if he died? What if Kristen didn't even like him, and he still died? Or, worse, what if he and Kristen were soul mates, destined to grow up and fall in love and have a big fairy-tale wedding, and she was casting herself as the evil witch who ruined it all with her jealousy over a love that could never be?

"Wyatt, go grab the lifeguard and tell them to radio for first aid," said Mr. Jonathan from up ahead. "Kristen, run down to the water and soak this, then bring it back."

Flicking the hair back from her face, Olivia looked up just in time to see him pull off his shirt in one yank and thrust the balled-up fabric into Kristen's arms.


The world had melted and tunneled into a blur of shifting fractal patterns; muffled noises faded in and out, drowned by the roar of the ocean in his ears, unless that was just his pulse.

Water splashed across his lips. His throat was so awfully dry. He hoped something made it down.

The swath of cold came out of nowhere, splashing over his chest and stomach, re-carving the edges of his body from where they had melted into the heat. Drips of it no less shocking in their intensity ran down his sides, while patches of chill descended on his neck and forehead, then moved to his ankles, the backs of his knees, the insides of his thighs (oh dear) (but below the hem of his swimming trunks, thank goodness). When the sensation cupped the nape of his neck, he recognized it as wet fabric, the outer layer of some force that tipped his head upward.

The darkness faded into a blurry sort of landscape. He squinted, trying to make some sense of it all.

"John? John, are you back with us?"

He tried to agree. All that came out was a rather sorry croak.

"Listen, you have to drink this. It's important."

The water bottle again. He managed to get some of it this time. The hand on his neck shifted, moving a cooler patch of fabric against his skin.

A dark blotch in the path of the sun resolved into Kristen, holding a towel in front of her shoulders to give him shade. The light breeze was aided by Olivia, wielding what appeared to be a Frisbee. That meant it ought to be Wyatt holding him, only the voice had been wrong. And, now that he took a proper look, the visual was far too pale.

John blinked a few times, shooing the world back into what passed for focus without his glasses.

A slender, bare-chested, dark-haired young man peered down at him with storm-blue eyes and said, "How are you feeling?"

"Much better, thanks," squeaked John, and wondered just how bad an impression it would make if he passed out again.


Twilight cast long shadows past Kristen's front stoop, where Olivia kicked the heels of her Ariel sandals in the gravel. She had slipped back into her sundress when her suit dried; her towel hung beside Kristen's over the backs of matching plastic chairs on the front lawn. Somehow, on those nights when she didn't feel like going home yet, the Schaals' house always made enough space for her to stay a little longer.

The screen door banged behind her and Kristen took the free space on the step, shorts matching her bikini top, two popsicles in hand: orange and (because she always remembered Olivia's favorite) cherry.

"Cheer up," she said. "If he hadn't survived you picking on him, he wouldn't have lasted long as our friend anyway."

"I don't pick on my friends," said Olivia sulkily.

"You kind of do," Kristen informed her. "It's okay, though! We like you that way."

Olivia unwrapped the crinkly plastic from her popsicle and gave it a couple of halfhearted licks. Kristen bit the top straight off of the orange one, making Olivia's teeth ache in sympathy.

Wyatt had already gone home for dinner, after he, Olivia, and Kristen joined John in Mr. Jonathan's van to escort him home. John had polished off the whole bottle of water and insisted he felt ready to walk on his own, but both the lifeguard and Mr. Jonathan put their feet down. Not that John could have minded too much. Heat-dazed though he was, Olivia had recognized the way he gawked at Mr. Jonathan: it said "I am no threat to you, Miss Munn." (Except in British, obviously.)

"You don't like him better, though, right?" she blurted.

"We're allowed to have more than one international friend, you know," said Kristen, like this was stupidly obvious. "Besides. You're you. Hey, wanna call your mom and ask if you can sleep over?"

Olivia grinned. "Awesome! Lemme finish my popsicle first."

Kristen laughed with delight. In fact, if Olivia hadn't known better, she could've sworn Kristen was using the extra-cute giggle.
politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2012-01-01 04:04 am (UTC)(link)

I love jealous!bb!Olivia, and Kristen's extra-cute giggle. :33 And lololol

A slender, bare-chested, dark-haired young man peered down at him with storm-blue eyes and said, "How are you feeling?"

best day of john's young life y/y

I also really loved Olivia's impressions of Mr. Jonathan hiding from the beach, especially his heavy reading and her implicit awareness that where Mr. Jonathan goes, there Stephen also shall be.