maybe this could last
Andrew becomes a teacher. “Why the fuck not?” he says when Neil asks, sprawled comfortably over the old sofa with King and Sir. It isn’t a question.
“You never seemed interested in teaching,” Neil replies anyway, looking up at Andrew lazily. He’s talkative today, brimming with curiosity. Andrew scowls and shuts his mouth with a hard kiss, and Neil drops the subject. Temporarily, of course, because god forbid Neil ever stop bugging Andrew.
“You need to stop asking questions.” Andrew isn’t in a talkative mood.
Neil laughs, undeterred, but lets Andrew be.
It isn’t as easy as all that. Andrew goes through several teaching courses before he even takes a class (Criminology, Neil says, raising his eyebrows a little, of course you would choose that.
Got a problem with it, Josten? Andrew replies easily).
The first few classes are rocky—Andrew isn’t exactly known for his patience (or sensitive, caring nature)—but he settles into his job just fine. The students learn quickly not to ask stupid questions like Aren’t you Andrew Minyard? Do you play Exy? Why are you teaching?
After a while, Andrew Minyard fades into obscurity, eclipsed by the brilliance of fresh Exy champions on the rise (such as Neil Josten), and he’s able to teach in relative peace as Professor Minyard.
Neil drops in at his office sometimes, for a quick kiss before he disappears to practice and god knows what else. Andrew’s convinced that Neil takes these visits to annoy him (Have I ever mentioned how cute you look in glasses?
Fuck off. Do you really have nothing else to do other than bother me?
I thought you said nothing bothers you.
Get out. And Neil does, after pressing a smiling kiss to Andrew’s jaw that keeps him in an unusually good mood for the rest of the day)
The domesticity of this life grounds him as much as it cages him, the routine of teaching and going home every day to Neil and King and Sir and their shared apartment, and it’s almost frightening the way that this has become normal. That there is a ‘this’, and it’s a lot more concrete than he ever would have thought.
Andrew has been content to stay out of the spotlight. The newer students don’t know who he was, who he is, and other than a few comments, no one’s ever really mentioned it. This is all ruined by Neil, of course. Andrew walks into his office to find a gaping student blocking the doorway. Neil is sitting on his chair, feet on the table. Andrew eyes him. “What are you doing? And take your feet off the table.”
Neil doesn’t budge, smile careless. “I thought I’d surprise you.”
“Leave,” he orders, and Neil huffs before swinging his legs off the chair.
Andrew glances over at Johnson, who’s still gaping at everything. Neil brushes slightly against him as he leaves the office, and Andrew can’t help it—his fingers close slightly over Neil’s arm and let go. Later, his eyes say. “I’ll see you at home.”
And Neil disappears, leaving Andrew with the dumbstruck Johnson.
Andrew sighs (in exasperation, he tells himself, not affection) and turns to his student. “Did you come to my office for a reason?”
“That’s… that’s… that was Neil Josten!”
“I’m shocked. I thought he was Kevin Day. Now, instead of stating the obvious, what are you here for?”
It was inevitable that gossip would sweep through the school. Andrew ignores it, teaching classes with his usual brusque manner. After three classes, there’s finally someone who’s stupid or clueless (or both) enough to brave his wrath, and asks, “Are you dating Neil Josten?”
Andrew spares her a glance. “One thing I know is that you have a date with me after this class, Miss Reilly. You appear to have failed to hand in your assignment.”
The girl flushes, but continues on her path of self-destruction. “… I… Can I have an autograph?”
Andrew’s voice is flat. “And why do you believe that you can ask this question in my class?” He turns, addressing the class. “Unless any of you want to fail or even fucking die in your sleep, I suggest you not bother me.” Miss Reilly receives a particularly scathing look.
He has to repeat this with the next class, and the class after that. At home, Neil looks amused when Andrew complains that Neil has completely ruined his obscurity. “It’ll be on the media next,” he says, tugging slightly at Neil’s hair.
Neil’s blue eyes are bright. He leans down to drop a kiss on Andrew’s lips. “Screw the media. I don’t care.”
You should, Andrew doesn’t say, instead pulling Neil down by the shirt. Warmth spills in him, collecting in his chest, strange and unidentifiable.
There is a ‘this’ and Andrew thinks that maybe, maybe this could last.