NurseyDex Week - (belated) Day 4: Gender/Sexuality Headcanons
“I’m not gay, you know,” Will says from where he’s sprawled out across the mattress. He makes a pretty picture, all long limbs and freckles upon freckles upon freckles, and he’s beautiful. He’s kind of ridiculously beautiful, but it’s hard to appreciate fully when Will’s pulling this belated gay panic bullshit.
Part of Derek wants to say that he should have seen it coming, but it wouldn’t be the truth, because after all this time he had thought that they had reached an understanding. An authenticity that hadn’t really been there before. Of course, Derek’s always been good at finding the romance in everything - it’s what has always drawn him to poetry.
So, yeah. Part of Derek wants to say that he should have seen it coming, but that would be lying. So he does the next natural thing and snorts, an ugly little smirk of a noise. Because, like, it’s the least that Dex deserves for pulling this shit. Like, it’s one thing for Dex to ‘come out’ as straight, and it’s another thing entirely for him to do so after enthusiastically sucking Derek’s brains out through his dick.
“What’s so funny, Nurse?” Dex says, all throaty and rasping in a way that would do things for Derek if he wasn’t already mentally sorting through every interaction that has lead them to this moment.
“I mean. Thanks for trusting me with this moment?”
“You could sound like less of a sarcastic asshole, okay? I just… it’s not clear-cut for me like it is for you.”
He sounds tired, like the conversation is taking something out of him, but the more Derek hears the more it rankles at him, because what the fuck?
“Dex, nothing is ‘clear-cut’ for me. Jesus, I think I’ve called myself everything in the book- and, like, I’ve believed it, too. And it took me a long time to get to this point - where labels don’t matter as much as what I want does.
“Like, do you know what it’s like to have to come out to your family multiple times? ‘Mom and Dad, I’m gay’ only to be followed up by ‘pretty sure I’m bisexual, let’s get a cake’ and ‘welp, are you guys familiar with the term pansexual?’ until I finally just settled on queer. Because it fit in a way that nothing else did. Didn’t come out for that one, though. Felt like I had said enough.
“And, like, I spent so much time trying to fit into these narrow constructs, and at the end of the day, it’s like… why?
“So, no. It hasn’t been clear-cut for me. It’s been a clusterfuck of guilt and feeling like I wasn’t right because I would put myself in all these boxes that I didn’t fit into. So excuse me if I’m a little snippy when you’re coming out to me as straight after sucking me off, only to tell me that your experience is somehow messier and more difficult to understand than mine.”
Derek’s breathing hard by the time he’s done. It’s more than he had planned on saying, and he’s angrier than he should be considering the exceptional sex they just had, but that’s kind of what Dex does to him. He just… he amplifies everything, and not for the first time, Derek wishes that he could separate himself from the way that Dex makes him feel.
Because it doesn’t matter how much progress they make.
They always find a way to break down.
“Hey,” Dex says, hushed as if he cares what Derek thinks or feels or wants, “I’m sorry. That’s- that’s not what I meant, and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any of it like that. I just… look, I’m not straight, okay?”
As much as Derek doesn’t want to look at Dex - doesn’t want to invest anything in him at this point - he still finds himself turning towards him. And, like, as much as Dex was beautiful earlier, he kind of looks a mess right now - he’s all thin lips and wide eyes and too-pale skin.
“I think I’m demi. Like, I’ve done a lot of reading, and Chowder’s helped me kind of deal with it, because I was struggling for a bit when everything started to change. I know that it probably sounds stupid, but for a long time I didn’t think I could feel like this. At least, not for you.”
“Feel like what?”
“Honestly? I- I’ve only ever been attracted to one other person, and she was my best friend growing up, and nothing ever happened, and I got over it, but I never felt that way again. Like, I didn’t realize it was weird until Bitty started to pester me about crushes and hookups and- I realized that I had nothing to share. Because aside from Lindsey, I’ve never wanted anyone.
“I kind of got to the point where it feel like Lindsey was just a fluke. That maybe that was just how I am, and I accepted it. I focused on other things. But then we kind of became friends? And then suddenly you were my best friend? It was only after we got close that I realized I wanted more. From you.”
By the time he’s done talking Dex is completely flushed, the red having crept down from his cheeks to his neck to his chest. He looks mortified, and it kind of makes Derek feel like the biggest dick.
Mostly, it makes him want.
“So… you’re not straight.”
Dex laughs at that, a soft little huff of a thing, before nodding. “Yeah, no. I know that I’m bad at this - talking about it, and being open - but apparently I’m kind of the worst. I really didn’t mean to say that your experience has been easier than mine. I don’t think that at all.”
“I mean… I kind of assumed the worst, right?”
The shrug that Dex throws his way is tired. It’s small, and again Derek wishes that Dex didn’t make everything feel like so much more, because the anger of earlier has been replaced with an ache that grows exponentially when Dex hauls himself out of the bed, careful to track down his clothes while taking up the least amount of room possible (shrinking in on himself like he’s something small).
He’s methodical as he pulls on his socks, quick even as he balances on one foot, graceful and awkward all at once, and all Derek can do is watch. Because, like, when they had fallen into bed together, he had felt so good. So good. Like everything that he had been hoping on and waiting on was finally coming true.
And it all went to shit.
Because, as good as they are on the ice, and as good as they ended up being in bed, they’ve never been great at talking. Not really. Not about anything that matters.
Dex pulls on his jeans, fumbling for a second with the belt, and all of a sudden Derek’s had enough. Because this matters, and Derek’s not about to lose out before he gets to appreciate what he’s got.
Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed (and narrowly avoiding cracking his head on the top bunk, which, you know, victory), Derek reaches out to tangle his fingers with Dex’s, pulling him close until he’s standing in the vee of Derek’s legs. He doesn’t come easily, but he doesn’t pull away either, so really, Derek’s just winning all over today.
“Look at me for a sec?” It takes a moment before Dex complies, but he does. Because even when they’ve been at their worst, they’ve always come back around to each other. “Here’s the thing. You’re not good at talking about this, and I don’t think I’m any good at listening… but I want us to get better. I think we can get better, and I want to work at it. With you. I kind of want to do everything with you, and I’m more than kind of afraid that we’re going to miss out on something amazing if we don’t deal with the fact that we’re both assholes that can’t communicate.
“So. This is me telling you that I want to be with you and that I want to try. You’re one of my best friends, but I want more with you, so if you’re down… I want to try. I want to do better.”
Derek’s afraid that Dex will ask for some time (not that he’d begrudge him that), or that he’ll say no straight out (and yeah, he wouldn’t begrudge him that either), but then Dex is smiling at him, and it’s like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. It’s bright, and it’s warm, and Derek could easily spend the rest of his life basking in the glow of Dex’s smile.
“Yeah, Nursey. That sounds good.”
Sitting on the edge of his bed, with Dex’s fingers twined tightly with his, Derek finds that all he can do is agree.