Oh! If i can get kind of specific, and.. not andriel for once.. (clutches heart i love those boys though) would you be willing to do 34 with jerejean, as like, jeremy introducing jean to the rest of the team maybe?
34: “I’d like to apologize in advance for my crazy family”
He has these serious grey eyes, dull like pebbles blazed by heat. There’s the other stuff too, the broken hitch sideways of his nose, the spidering scars all over, like they’re coming straight from the hurt in his brain.
Jeremy sees them and tucks his burning questions away for later. There are more important things to notice. Like how Jean has a very pretty mouth, an overfull upper lip that makes him look like he’s perpetually pouting. It matches the frown line that cuts his brow in two.
He’s seen Jean before, for minutes at most, passing ships at Exy banquets, one intense first meeting when Jean was hastily smuggled onto the USC lineup and Jeremy was asked to do some reconnaissance and a cursory meet and greet.
He’d gone to see Jean, carrying a USC sweater he’d stolen from the bin of spares at the court as a peace offering. Jeremy hadn’t been prepared for the single saddest looking person he had ever seen, stripped of the bravado he’d worn at Riko’s side, cut off from some sort of threat but clearly not from the fear.
Jeremy had pressed the bundle of red and gold into Jean’s hands and Jean had suppressed a jump, worried his torn lip and accepted it gently, gently, as if Jeremy was handing him a bomb for disposal.
Jeremy was nervous, but he fought to scrape the waver from his voice. He’d ignored Jean’s fresh wounds, ignored the look on his face like he was going to get hit or lied to.
They’d spoken briefly about how they’d handle the media, about the superficial scheduling concerns but also the bone-deep concern for Jean’s life that hummed underneath, sickening and obvious. Jeremy was frighteningly aware of the game running adjacent to Exy, always, something deadly eating at their community. The way they were handling Jean’s transfer like it was an illegal exchange of goods, Neil and Kevin in the news with a new bandage every few months, Jean in front of him looking like someone’s make up practice for a horror movie. It was all unmistakable.
And those eyes. He’s worried they’re never going to have anything in them.
They’re on him now, unflinching, and Jean’s less of a twitchy raw wound then he had been that first time the two of them had spoken. Jeremy’s trying to keep his smile pinned up at both sides but he feels like one end keeps sagging. The airport is a streaky spill of reunions and rolled luggage and Jean hoists his single duffle bag and waits for Jeremy to move first.
“How was your flight?” Jeremy asks nervously, trying to steer them out towards the car without getting too close or asking too much.
“How are they usually?”
Jeremy shrugs, offset. “Uhh, I mean. Good or bad is usually the measure. No turbulence and free pudding versus babies and vomit.”
“I don’t like pudding,” Jean says, dead serious, and Jeremy smiles for real.
“Well I like babies, so. It was a flawed example.”