eise: (Dorks)
eise ([personal profile] eise) wrote2010-02-11 09:17 pm

Laundry Martyr

Title: Laundry Martyr
Fandom: Flight of the Conchords
Characters/Pairings: Bret/Jemaine
Rating: PG-13 (slightly racy, nothing major
Summary: Bret accompanies Jemaine to the laundromat. Jemaine takes a nap which makes them both realize something.
Author Notes: This is for [livejournal.com profile] posingathreat. She gave me the prompts "blackbird", "lint", and "kaleidoscope". Some were utilized better than others. I like it, despite the crack XD

Jemaine didn't like doing the laundry. He didn't like chores in general, of course, but laundry was his least favorite. Bret thought it probably had something to do with Sally, but she was an awkward topic between them. He'd never asked.

He had, instead, started going along for Jemaine's weekly laundry trips. Before they'd done their laundry separately-- in fact, it was one of the few things they did apart that didn't involve girls or work. But, in Bret's mind, if it was such an awful chore maybe doing it with company would make it less awful. Or something along those lines.

Bret also tended to forget his quarters at home. Two birds with one stone.

Unlike Jemaine, Bret didn't have any real opinion on the doing of the laundry. But he liked clothes. His especially, but Jemaine had some nice stuff too, he supposed. He liked how clothes smelled when they came out of the dryer. He liked how they were always warm and comfy right away. He even liked putting them in the dryer and watching them spin around and around, all colorful and bright like a giant kaleidoscope.

Bret suspected Jemaine did not agree. "This is so boring."

"It's not that bad," Bret replied, taking a break from constructing his beard made entirely from lint he'd found in a bin in the corner, "If you're really that bored you should have brought a book or something.”

Jemaine grumbled. He lay down on the bench he was sitting on, sighing heavily. Bret rolled his eyes. “You’re such a martyr.”

“A what?”

Bret opened the nearest empty dryer, digging in its filter for extra lint. “A laundry martyr.”

“I don’t think you’re using that correctly.” Jemaine grunted, trying to find a comfortable position to lay in. There apparently wasn’t one. Probably because it was a bench.

Bret frowned at him. “Whatever, man. You know what I mean.” Jemaine was just so critical.

“I think,” Jemaine mused from his obviously uncomfortable position on the bench, “that martyrs are usually the good guys.”

“You’re a good guy,” Bret affirmed, “You’re just whiny.”

“Shut up, Bret. This is a universally boring chore.”

I’m not bored,” Bret pointed out, applying the first half of his lint-beard to his face.

You’re not doing the chore,” Jemaine shot back, “You’re playing with lint.”

Bret shrugged, shuffling along on his knees to kneel alongside Jemaine. “You could too.”

“What?”

“You could play too.”

Jemaine made a face. “I don’t want a lint-beard, Bret.”

“Then don’t make a beard. You can make lots of stuff.” For a musician, Jemaine could be awfully uncreative sometimes. And rigid. And generally unpleasant.

For a moment, Jemaine simply peered at Bret over the top of his glasses. And then, raising his hands vaguely in exasperation, he relented. “Fine.” He sat up and grabbed some lint out of the pile Bret had accumulated. Bret did his best to hide his pleased smile. But he did feel pretty triumphant. It was pretty awesome to even slightly lower Jemaine’s bad mood. He just wasn’t capable of it very often.

Using the bench as a slightly cramped work area, they created their sculptures in silence. Bret glanced at Jemaine’s work periodically, unsuccessfully attempting to identify the amorphous blob that was forming. Truth be told, lint on its own was not the best material to work with. But Jemaine was usually better with tactile skills over thoughtful creativity. He was good with his hands.

For some reason, the thought made him grin nervously. He cleared his throat, suddenly awkward. In an effort to break the suddenly stifling and persistent silence, Bret asked, “Is it done?”

“Not yet.”

“Oh,” Bret nodded, still feeling pretty awkward and anxious, “Tell me when it is.”

“Mm.” Bret watched as Jemaine attempted to stand his sculpture up, only to curse under his breath when it collapsed in on itself. Over the next several minutes Jemaine tried again and again, before finally laying his creation on what Bret could only assume was its side. “ S‘done.”

“Done?”

Yes,” Jemaine replied, clearly still on the annoyed side.

Bret looked. He stared. He inspected. “…what is it?”

“It’s a bird.” Jemaine frowned at him. “Obviously.”

“Oh. Yeah. Obviously.” Bret swallowed, embarrassed. “I see it now. The grayish tinge is confusing. Or is it a pigeon?”

“It’s a blackbird.”

“Of course.”

Jemaine sighed. “The wings got crushed when it fell over.”

“Yeah.” Bret pulled a lump of red lint out of the pile and started pulling at it. “I like red birds better. Like cardinals.” Jemaine made a scoffing noise. Bret blinked and looked at him. “They’re nice,” he insisted.

“It’s not that.” Jemaine rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. Bret stared, completely lost. He groaned, rolling his eyes more forcefully this time. “You just have to outdo me, don’t you? Everything’s a competition with you.”

Bret blinked again. “What?”

“You’re making a bird now too. Just to make a better bird than mine. It’s just Sally all over again. And Brah-Brah.” Jemaine glared at Bret even harder. “You’re so self-centered.”

“I’m not!” Bret insisted, crushing the half-made sculpture as if that proved it, “I was just trying to make you stop being grumpy!”

“Have to be the best at that too, I bet,” Jemaine grumbled, not looking at him.

“That doesn’t even make sense, Jemaine,” Bret sighed. He climbed up off the floor and onto the bench, straddling it opposite his friend. “Now you’re being a lint-sculpture martyr.”

That’s not what that word means,” Jemaine hissed, flailing his arms around for a moment. “Stop trying to be smarter than me!”

“Jemaine. I am not trying to be smarter or better than you.” He would’ve added that there was no reason to because there were no girls around to impress (unless you counted the old Korean lady sitting in the corner with a pot-bellied pig on a leash) but he figured Jemaine would only get more annoyed because that would sound like he was trying to outdo Jemaine any other time. Which he wasn’t. At least not consciously. Well, maybe a little consciously. But not maliciously.

“You are. You’re always so competitive. And you’re good at everything so you always win.” He glared at his own bird, then continued, almost as if he didn’t realize he was speaking out loud, “At least blackbirds can fly away from competitive cardinals.”

Bret’s mouth open and closed of its own accord for a few moments. He didn’t know what to say to that. Jemaine was acting strange. He was always grumpy but this was just excessive. “Do you need a nap, man?”

What?” Jemaine sent him an annoyed glare. Bret managed not to wince.

“You’re so whingey. Like you didn’t get enough sleep or something.”

At that, Jemaine’s eyes widened strangely. Shock. Bret was pretty sure that was shock. Why was Jemaine shocked?

“I’ve been sleeping just fine,” Jemaine shot out quickly. Too quickly. Something was wrong.
Bret frowned. “Why don’t you lie down on the bench and take a nap anyway?” Anything to make him less grumpy.

Jemaine crossed his arms, looking away from him. “’snot comfortable.”

Briefly, Bret considered handing him their basket of already dry clothes to gather into a makeshift pillow. But then he realized Jemaine would just sweat on them and that’d be two dollars of laundry money down the drain. So, really, there was only one other alternative. “You could lay on my lap.”

What?” Unlike the earlier exclamation, this “what” was of an almost disturbed sort. Bret immediately felt stupid.

Bret fidgeted with his lint pile, embarrassed. “Never mind, man. It was a stupid idea.”

Jemaine, for whatever reason, looked a little frantic. “No! Uh-- no. It’s not such a bad idea,” he mumbled, his eyes dropping to the bench, “I mean, if you don’t mind…”

“I don’t,” Bret affirmed, climbing up onto the bench. He looked expectantly at Jemaine, who looked anxiously back. "I don't bite."

"I know you don't bite."

"And neither does my lap."

"Nrgh," Jemaine groaned, rolling his eyes dramatically. After another (vaguely forced) hesitation, he slid down the bench and turned over, laying his head on Bret's lap. Well, more like hovering. "This is gay."

"Not really. You're barely even touching me," Bret replied lightly, shrugging, "You'll strain your neck that way." Jemaine made yet another annoyed sound, settling his head more firmly on Bret's legs. And other places. But Bret wouldn't be thinking about that. He cleared his throat awkwardly anyway. "That's better, yeah?"

Despite being so close to Jemaine's face, he couldn't seem to make eye contact with him. "'sfine." The look on his face said otherwise, but Bret wasn't about to argue. He chose, instead, to stare at Jemaine until he finally relented and looked up. "What?"

"Go to sleep."

“This is weird, Bret.”

“If you’re asleep you won’t notice how weird it is.”

Jemaine (who looked pretty close to nodding off as it was) finally closed his eyes, grunting his displeasure before relaxing more fully. He was snoring within seconds. How cute.

In a totally non-gay, “aww, he’s a little boy,” sort of way. Although, when Bret thought of it like that, it sounded kind of gay, actually. Well, girly. But he didn’t want to be girly. And he didn’t want to be gay.

Not that there was anything wrong with that. It just wasn’t him.

Right?

He was sort of playing with Jemaine’s hair.

Petting it. Tugging on it lightly. Twirling it through his fingers. Rubbing at his scalp and running out to the ends, carding through easily.

It was sort of a very gay thing to do, if he thought about it.

Huh.

He kept playing, stroking and massaging and brushing softly. Soothingly, he liked to think. Not that he knew what to think of it. But soothing sounded good, right?

Ding. Ding? “Mnnrph. The dryer,” Jemaine explained, sitting up suddenly. Bret glanced at the clock. Oh flip. He couldn’t believe he’d played with Jemaine’s hair that long.

Jemaine, to his credit, looked just about as awkward and bewildered as Bret felt. But he was completely silent and, upon fetching his clothes, too focused on his task of folding for Bret to feel right about interrupting. So he was quiet.

Confused and quiet.

To a point. “Jemaine?”

“Yeah?”

“Would it be gay to play with another man’s hair?”

Jemaine’s hand froze on top of his head, his fingers caught mid-tangle. “Were you imagining a woman?”

“Hypothetically?” Bret responded, suddenly anxious.

“Yeah. Hypothetically,” Jemaine agreed, returning to his methodical folding.

“No, not really.”

Jemaine tensed. “Maybe a bit gay.”

“Oh,” Bret mumbled, “Huh.”

“Yeah.” And then, clearing his throat awkwardly, Jemaine added, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” He shot Bret an odd little glance and went back to folding.

“No, of course not,” Bret agreed, ill at ease with all of Jemaine’s odd behavior. And sort of really worried about possibly maybe being a tiny bit gay after all that hair touching and lap laying and he had been paying extra attention to Jemaine's hands. So yeah, maybe a little gay.

Possibly.

"Bret," Jemaine began suddenly, sounding a bit pained as he did, "...Bret. It's okay."

"What?" Bret had been so distracted by his sudden possibly-maybe revelation that he couldn't follow Jemaine's thought process.

This was much to Jemaine's agony, apparently. "Nnrg. It's okay, okay?"

"I--" Bret hated having to ask. Jemaine was so flustered that he'd stopped folding and was instead curling his fingers into the shirt in front of him, staring pointedly anywhere but at Bret. Unfortunately, Bret had to know what was okay. Because if Jemaine was saying he thought Bret was gay...Well, he'd cross that bridge when he came to it, he supposed. "What's okay?"

Jemaine flailed suddenly. "Everything! Bret! Everything is okay!" And with that he began throwing his remaining pile of clothing directly into the basket, disregarding any sort of organization in favor of speed.

Bret didn't know what to do. Jemaine seemed upset. He also hadn't clarified whether he thought Bret was gay, which was a problem. Better just be direct. "Do you think I'm--" Well, not completely direct. "Do you think it was gay of me to play with your hair while you were sleeping?"

Jemaine looked like he might explode with exasperation. "Bret, don't--"

"Just answer, Jemaine." Bret was getting a little exasperated himself. It was a simple 'yes or no' question. Well, maybe not simple. But pretty much one or the other, at least.

Jemaine didn't appear to think so. In fact, he didn't appear to be thinking about it at all. He appeared to be rushing out the door. Bret gathered his things quickly, jogging out the door just in time to see Jemaine disappearing around the corner. He chased after him, calling his name and nearly overturning his basket of clothes.

And then successfully overturning it when he slammed into Jemaine's back coming around the corner. Jemaine spun around, looking even further pained as he immediately crouched to help Bret retrieve his scattered clothes. "Sorry."

"It's okay," Bret replied, mildly aware of the irony as he said it, "Why were you just standing there?"

Jemaine picked up a t-shirt and started twisting it in his hands. The tension was practically radiating off of him. "I wasn't very asleep."

"Very?"

"Sort of was. For a bit. But then I woke up."

"Oh."

"If you're gay for doing it then I...'n' dreams 'nd..." Jemaine mumbled. Jemaine gestured. Jemaine slumped. "I don't know."

Well, that changed things, didn't it? Bret considered the new development for a moment, staring at the sidewalk silently.

Finally, conclusion made, he looked up. "Oh," Bret repeated, brighter this time, "Alright then. Together." He stood, extending a hand.

Jemaine hesitated, then took it, allowing Bret to help him stand. "Together?" And then, when Bret didn't let go of his hand, he added, "Bret?"

"Together." Bret squeezed his hand gently, smiling at him easily. "Just like the laundry."

Jemaine gave him a funny look. But he didn't run away, like before. He didn't release his hand. He just looked at him.

And just like everything else, Bret won.

"Yeah. Okay."

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