Title: Conversations on a Balcony
Pairing/characters: Jason/Pythagoras, Hercules
Warnings: Language, angst, mention of past abusive relationship
Spoilers: General for series 1
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 20,000 (total)
AN: Written for smallfandombang round 4. Thanks to small fandom bang for giving me the excuse to finally get this fic written. It is, of course, inspired by that scene in episode 1.6. Fic is set after the end of series 1 and before the beginning of series 2.
AN2: Certain parts of this story may seem familiar to anyone who has read my fic A Million Little Things. That’s because A Million Little Things is pretty much my established headcanon backstory for Pythagoras and Hercules’ past together, so I figured why not use it again? This time we get things from Pythagoras’ point of view.
AN3: Thanks to fififolle and clea2011 for the beta. And huge thanks to Clea and Celeste for putting up with me wittering on about it for the last three months or so.
AN4: Go and look at the beautiful artwork created for this fic by kat_lair (or on AO3). It’s scattered throughout the fic as well, but please go and give the artist some feedback for all this lovely work.
Summary: It’s late at night, they are in the house by themselves, so Jason and Pythagoras talk. In a story told wholly through a series of late night conversations, often aided by alcohol, Jason and Pythagoras discuss anything and everything, from the not so serious (such as the time Jason tries to explain the internet), to subjects that are close to both their hearts. In doing so, they learn more about each other and their friendship grows.
But no matter how close they are, Jason knows they both have secrets. Jason still dare not tell Pythagoras the truth about who he is and where he comes from. And no matter how honest Pythagoras is about his sexuality and past relationships, Jason soon comes to believe that his friend is hiding a great heartache.
When matters come to a head one night, Jason must decide how much he is prepared to risk in order to save his relationship with the best friend he has ever known.
Fic on AO3
“Jason, why have you never learned to cook?”
“Oh, Pythagoras, are you still going on about that? I said I was sorry!”
“I’m not ‘going on’ about anything. I’m just curious as to how a man can get so far through life without knowing how to cook properly.”
Jason looked out over the street below in an obvious but futile attempt to avoid Pythagoras’ gaze.
He had made the mistake of attempting to cook dinner that evening, mainly because Pythagoras was so engrossed in his triangles that he had completely forgotten about food. The word ‘disaster’ didn’t begin to cover it. The stew had been burnt to the pot around the edges and yet still barely warm in the middle, half the vegetables had turned to mush, and he had completely overdone it with the herbs. When even Hercules refused to eat it, Jason knew it really was bad.
Jason had been feeling embarrassed and guilty about the entire episode, and spent the rest of the evening trying to avoid his friends. Hercules had disappeared to the tavern in search of something edible, leaving Pythagoras to throw together some bread and cheese and olives as an emergency replacement. Jason had pretty much expected Hercules to make a big thing of it, but honestly, he had hoped Pythagoras would be more forgiving.
“Hercules can’t cook, either,” Jason muttered, somewhat petulantly.
“Actually, he can,” Pythagoras replied. “He just pretends he can’t because he knows I will do it for him.”
Jason wondered, not for the first time, how their little household would ever manage without Pythagoras.
“I suppose I mostly just let my dad do all the cooking,” Jason admitted. “Or whoever was taking care of me after Dad disappeared.”
That wasn’t even a lie; he had always preferred to let someone else do the cooking. And as an adult he had relied heavily on microwaves and takeaways. The truth was, even despite their occasional brushes with hunger, Jason’s diet had probably improved massively since he started living in Atlantis, what with all the fresh fruit and real meat and freshly baked bread. It was certainly a far cry from frozen pizza and chicken nuggets.
“Even so, I’m still not sure how you managed to get it so wrong.” There was no accusation in Pythagoras’ voice, although Jason was pretty sure he could hear a lot of amusement.
Jason shrugged. “I’m just not good with cooking on open fires. It’s impossible to control the heat.”
“What other method is there?” Pythagoras asked, his expression one of honest confusion.
Jason winced. He’d walked right into that one. This was going to be another one of those awkward conversations.
He thought quickly. “Well, an oven?”
“Your family had their own oven?” Pythagoras’ eyes were wide.
“I would love to have an oven of our own. Of course, there’s nowhere to put one in a house this size. And I’m sure they work better on a ground floor, it’s much better for insulation. Up here half of the heat would escape through the floorboards and it wouldn’t be very efficient.”
Jason found himself starting to smile.
“Pythagoras, you are the only man I have ever met who has gone into raptures about an oven.”
“I’m just saying it would be useful.”
“You are so... domestic.”
Pythagoras only looked slightly put out. “Well, one of us has got to be, otherwise we would all have starved by now.”
Pythagoras looked thoughtful for a moment, and his mouth turned down at the corners slightly.
“I suppose living here must seem quite primitive to you, after what you are used to.”
God, Pythagoras had no idea how right he was. Of course, he probably just thought that Jason came from a wealthy family with a big house, but for a second Jason entertained the possibility that he might have guessed the truth, or something like the truth.
But right then, seeing the expression on Pythagoras’ face, Jason had bigger concerns.
“It was certainly different. But Pythagoras, there is nothing wrong with this house or the way we live. To tell you the truth, living here with you guys, this is the happiest I’ve been for a long time.”
For a moment Jason felt self-conscious at such as announcement. He had said it because he didn’t want Pythagoras to feel bad, but really, that was probably the most truthful thing Jason had said in this entire conversation.
It was worth the embarrassment for the soft smile that appeared on Pythagoras’ face.
“Even though you don’t have a proper bedroom, or an oven, or any of the other things that you occasionally mutter about and then refuse to explain?”
“Those things are overrated.”
Besides, despite the lack of amenities, this house had one important thing that his old life didn’t – Pythagoras. And Hercules, of course. But mostly when Jason thought of home now, he thought of Pythagoras.
“Perhaps,” Pythagoras said. He offered Jason a slightly embarrassed smile. “But an oven would be nice.”
Jason laughed, and mentally added a kitchen and bathroom showroom to the list of places he would take Pythagoras to, if they ever found themselves in the 21st century.