|Erin Ptah (ptahrrific) wrote,|
@ 2012-05-25 12:24 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||genre: fluff, pairing: "stephen"/other, pairing: "stephen"/steve, pairing: "stephen"/tad, pairing: jon/"stephen", series: fake news|
Characters/pairings: "Stephen"/various (Jonathan, Steve, Ellen, OC, Jon, Tad)
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.
Every time same-sex marriage reaches another milestone, "Stephen" almost marries some dude. (And Ellen DeGeneres that one time.)
Refers to the recent incident with Tad and the epic plan to ruin same-sex marriage. The Universal Life Church is an actual thing, for which you can become a legally ordained minister for free over email if you are so inclined.
Comes with matching art!
He's on a beach.
He's barefoot, and there's too-white sand between his toes and a gradient of picture-book blue off to his left. His fingers tense around a pen with the hotel logo, inking a faint scratch across the line below where his name is printed. Jonathan, ever attuned to his moods, squeezes his other hand.
"I can't," blurts Stephen, dropping the pen. It lands like a postcard still-life next to a pink-tinged shell.
The man holding the papers (who swore he was a rabbi, but is now wearing shorts and a tank top) (at least they're all black, that's classy) frowns. "You got a hand cramp?"
He doesn't remember getting here. Normally he would blame that sort of thing on a party that ran too long, but his head isn't sloshing with the warm liquid buzz of a few drinks or cracking with the strain of a hangover malleting at his skull. No, wait, there's something coming back to him...in a video-montage blur of noise and color, absent any conscious decision-making on his part. One minute he was shampooing a corgi with the radio chattering away in the background, and the next....
Hawai'i State Reciprocal Beneficiary Registration Form, the top of the paper blares. The rest is a blur of too-small print, speckled with personal details in Jonathan's neat handwriting.
(He's fairly sure they just got the forms faxed to California, rather than actually traveling to Hawai'i. But he couldn't swear to it.)
"Honey...?" says Jonathan softly. Even Arwen seems to notice there's something wrong: she quits prancing around in the dunes and sits back on her haunches beside them, head cocked, brushy brown tail sweeping a fan in the sand.
"I can't!" repeats Stephen, batting away Jonathan's grip. "I'm sorry! Now leave me alone!"
(2) May 17, 2004
He snaps out of it in the courthouse entryway.
There's only one couple between them and the judge, an interracial pair of lesbians with crew cuts wearing pearl-trimmed white flannel. They, along with the trail of couples behind them, watch in bafflement as Stephen yanks his arm away from the other man and tears the white rose out of his buttonhole. "Let go of me!"
"Touchy, touchy!" says Steve, rolling his eyes. "What is it now? Are you going to start up the fight over the cake again? We already ordered it, and I told you, it's RED VEL—"
"Shut up!" wails Stephen, throwing the rose at him. It's one of the more useless missiles he's ever hurled; it puffs against a matching one blooming from Steve's tuxedo and falls to the ground, shedding a petal or two in the landing. "We're not getting married! With or without angel food cake!"
"Hey," says the darker of the crew-cut lesbians, "aren't you those guys from the—"
"We're doing a piece," snaps Stephen. It's almost true. Sure, Steve was in Massachusetts visiting family, but Stephen showed up here to film...something. He forgets what. And he lost his field producer somewhere along the way, so he can't even yell at her for letting it slip his mind. "And it's fashion disasters like you who are ruining it for us! Seriously, you might as well have shown up in denim softball uniforms and plaid motorcycle jackets!"
(Two women in line near the door look at each other, then at their outfits, then quietly sneak out.)
"You're mocking their fashion sense?" demands Steve. "I seem to remember having to shout you down from matching pink sequin-covered tuxedos with chaps!"
The lighter crew-cut lesbian clings to her partner's arm and tries to hold in a squeal of delight. "It is them! And they're just like on TV!"
"Well...well...you're a big ugly stupidhead!" yells Stephen, for lack of any detailed memory of the argument on which to build a better insult. Without waiting for a rebuttal, he stalks for the exit.
He's halfway down the courthouse steps when Steve's voice echoes down after him: "I never loved you anyway!"
(3) July 24, 2011
Stephen's little Problem, as he likes to think of it, has only gotten worse.
In the past three years the Gays keep getting more and more rights, and with every announcement the world and his body respond before he realizes what's happening. Roses with velvety petals blossom on whatever path he's walking. Anything he picks up turns out to have been edged in sheerest lace. Rings drop into his palm, different ones each time, always the exact size of the third finger of the man holding his hand when he catches himself.
Granted, one time (California, 2008) it was a woman. But the woman was Ellen DeGeneres, she had been wearing a tuxedo while a billowing white dress fell over Stephen's hips, and she had spent ten minutes after he snapped back to himself trying to "reassure" him that having world-renowned balls did not invalidate his gender identity. For a supposedly mixed-sex duo, he's pretty sure that reaches an unacceptable height of gayness.
Point is, today is going to be different. Today, the first day same-sex marriages are available in New York, he's staying safely bunkered in his house and not speak to or interact with anyone, male or otherwise.
Well, after he goes to church. All the sanctity in the air surely must be stifling enough to choke off his knee-jerk reaction of non-Pope-approved fabulousness, right?
The Sunday school kids throw a whole play reception, clapping at the kiss and fake-toasting the couple with apple juice and graham crackers. Stephen explains sternly that a non-pretend wedding could only happen between a man and a lady, ignores the hurt on the children's choir director's face, and quietly thanks the Lord that no one else over the age of eight was watching.
(4) February 17, 2012
"Stephen, don't you have work to do?"
"The question is, Jon, don't you not have work to do? It's Friday! Our emergency backup clones do the Friday shows."
"...You know those are reruns, right?"
Stephen frowns. "Are you saying you do them yourself?" Thock. "Doesn't that get repetitive? You should really invest in an emergency backup clone. Saves a lot of trouble, gets me out of boring dinners."
Jon runs his hands through his hair and tries very hard not to yell. "What I'm saying is that some of us prepare for our upcoming shows. To the point of working on them the Friday before, even. And it's very hard to do that when someone is—ow!"
The ping-pong ball clatters to the floor. Jon rubs the back of his head.
"Seriously, Stephen, this is getting ridiculous. Put down the paddle and go find something to do with yourself that doesn't involving playing table tennis against my desk. Preferably something down the hall, if not—"
It's garden-variety Stephen-type belligerence, sure, but there's an edge to his tone that gives Jon pause.
"I want to stay here," says Stephen. And then, miraculously: "I'll be...quiet. If you need me to."
Okay, now this is getting serious. Jon pushes back his laptop. "Stephen? Is something going on?"
"What? No! Nothing's—of course no—what would be going on?" Stephen laughs, high and macaw-like, and tries for a casual wave of his hands that sends the ping-pong paddle flying. "Can't a man spend a day glued to the side of another man without it being some kind of panicky attempt to bulwark himself against an event that may or may not even happen?"
The pieces begin to come together. He's waiting on some kind of news, the kind where, if it's bad, it'll wreck him. Granted, for Stephen this could mean learning that a tough stain wouldn't come out of his favorite suit, but for all Jon knows it's something serious. A family member in surgery, maybe. Something for which he'll need to be with a friend.
Show prep or no show prep, Jon is happy to be that friend.
"At least sit down for a while," he urges, less irritable now. "Would you mind looking something up for me? I need some background information on, uh...." He rifles his brain for topics with which Stephen would enjoy distracting himself. "...cute baby animals, and—"
Stephen doesn't seem to be paying attention; he's distracted by one of the TVs on the far wall. "That's nice and all, but I really should be going!" he exclaims. "You'll just have to do your own research. My professional advice? Focus on ducklings. Their fuzzy wuzzy little heads don't get nearly enough appreciation. Bye now!"
It's almost a full minute before Jon manages to stop staring openmouthed at the slammed door.
He does his best to put Stephen out of his mind, at least for the rest of the afternoon, and get as much work done as possible. There's plenty to chew over. The TV Stephen was just staring at, for instance, is covering Chris Christie's veto of the same-sex marriage bill in New Jersey. For all that Jon hates the idea of having political influence, he considers it both a duty and a pleasure to tear stuff like that apart.
(5) May 9, 2012
It turns out Tad's mother hadn't even read the email yet. Stephen, who designed the invitations, is doubly miffed by this. He spent almost ten minutes picking out the most stylish glittery heart GIFs, and for what?
He talks to the woman for a little while, then puts Tad on. (How they're getting cell reception in the Colbunker, he doesn't know, but he's afraid it'll stop working if he thinks about it too hard.) Mara Jade keeps trying to push the two men together; honestly, whose idea was it to get a herding dog? Stephen decides to blame Tad for that one.
It turns out someone stocked the bunker with a champagne fountain and a butter cream layer cake iced with pink ribbons and calla lilies. Stephen scoops up one of the sugary lilies, a pearly bowl of a flower the size and shape of one of Mara Jade's ears, and runs his tongue along the edges before it hits him that this is more than a little lesbionic.
"No, Ma, it's really okay," Tad's saying into the receiver. "Heartbroken? Maybe a little, but I'm used to it by now."
Maybe Stephen should try to explain. He hasn't spelled the Problem out to anyone, not even his priest, but Tad's good at fixing things, right? Well, mostly pipes and stuff. But hearts basically have pipes, don't they?
"Love you too. I'll call more, I promise. G'night."
Stephen appropriates one of the flutes from the champagne fountain, downs it in two gulps, and gestures at the border collie with the empty glass. "Go get Tad, girl. Bring Tad here."
Half the fountain and the top tier of the cake are gone by the time he gets it all out. Tad listens, already down to shirtsleeves, his jacket and tie thrown over some chair.
"And this time I didn't even have any warning," sniffles Stephen, wiping butter cream crumbs from his face with a napkin monogrammed STC & T??. "When it's a planned judicial verdict at the close of a court case I can brace for it, but Joe Biden? Nobody can prepare for Joe Biden! He just says whatever off the top of his head, and all of a sudden, bam, we've got the first sitting US president endorsing same-sex marriage and my set is covered in rainbows and sporting a trellis!"
"I thought it seemed a little weird," admits Tad, eyeing his own napkin. "I mean, if we had consciously planned on getting married, you'd think I would have told you my full name at some point."
"And I would have been paying attention when you did, because you wouldn't seem so much less important than me," Stephen points out.
Tad nods. "That too."
Stephen fluffs his hands through Mara Jade's thick ruff, flattens down her ears so she won't have to hear this, and says, "You can have the dog and the timeshare on the Cape if you can figure out some way for me to fix this."
"Well...you know how guys who repress all thoughts of gay sex usually wind up snapping at the least little trigger and throwing themselves into some kind of wild depraved drug-fueled orgy of senseless man-on-man lust? And the way to avoid that is to express those desires in a healthy and open way?"
"I might have heard of something like that," says Stephen cagily. "But that isn't a problem for me."
"Because you never think about gay sex?" Tad raises his eyebrows.
"No, because I've been scheduling regular controlled hookups for myself since 1996."
"Oh." Tad blinks a couple of times, then shakes it off and adjusts his glasses. "Anyway, the reason I mention it is because you seem to be snapping and throwing yourself into wild champagne-drenched cake-smeared orgies of senseless man-on-man commitment. So I feel like maybe the solution would be along the same lines."
A warm day, 201X
The whole staff spends the day giddy with joy, and Jon keeps reminding himself that it's stupid to be self-conscious. If he's got a little extra bounce in his step, people will chalk it up to the general good news.
Besides, they must assume he and Stephen have been having sex for months now.
Not so. Back on their third date Stephen confessed, tearfully and somewhat incoherently, that he had a deep-seated craving for everything that is the opposite of sweaty anonymous hookups with chiseled strangers in club bathrooms (which, yeah, Jon could provide that, especially the 'opposite of chiseled' part), and that denying himself this need in the past had led to...some kind of compulsive behavior that, frankly, stretched Jon's credulity. Regardless, he was willing to take things as slow as Stephen needed. Then a certain bill made it out of Congress last night, and Stephen dragged him upstairs and rode him into the mattress.
All his hard-earned composure collapses when Stephen himself appears backstage, hair in the slightly fluffier style that means the Daily makeup artists were the ones who put him together, and wishes Jon good luck. Is it obvious? Are the giggles and the bright faces turned just a notch higher because the afterglow shows through in his and Stephen's every move?
Or could they be reacting to some Stephen-related plan he's not in on?
With an effort Jon puts aside his suspicions (and his hopes, if he's honest with himself), gives Stephen a gentle peck on the lips, and heads out for the set. The audience, most of them probably pre-jazzed themselves, is warmed up and waiting.
The stands explode when Stephen strides out into frame.
"Stephen, honey, this really isn't a good time," stammers Jon automatically, once the crowd has calmed down enough to be heard. "We're about to cover this big news, and...."
"So cover it!" snaps Stephen. "What are you waiting for? Chuck! Roll 212!"
A talking head (it doesn't matter which one) fills the overhead screens: "Today the President signed into law the controversial bill that provides for marriage between any two people, regardless of sex or gender, to be enacted in all fifty states."
From one eyeblink to the next Jon finds himself standing across from Stephen, both of their ordinary dark suits transfigured into pale cream tuxedos. Stephen's has pinstripes; Jon's has a wide-throated lily in the buttonhole. The screens all around have filled with creamy rose patterns, there are ribbons and strands of pearls hanging from the monitors and mics, and a silk curtain that looks suspiciously chuppah-esque has dropped from somewhere to hang above the desk.
"Oh," says Jon. "When you said 'spontaneous accidental gay weddings,' you meant really spontaneous."
Stephen gives his hands a white-knuckled squeeze. "It's okay if you don't want to," he says in an undertone. "I just thought...it would save a lot of time and money on wedding planning if we took advantage of my Problem." He jerks his head toward the back of the set; Jon's eyes flick in that direction and land on a familiar face in a black robe. "It even turns out Tad's an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, so...."
Tad grins and waves: a short flaily motion, from the wrist. The border collie at his side wags her tail. The crowd holds its collective breath.
"Of course I want to," says Jon, and drags his new fiancé into a lily-crushing, blush-igniting, audience-exploding, entirely premeditated kiss.