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
“Right, what’s going on with you and Pythagoras?”
Jason jumped in shock and looked round from where he was leaning on the balcony and staring out at the city.
Hercules was stood in the doorway, blocking it entirely. Jason couldn’t help but wonder if that was deliberate.
The older man did not look happy.
“Nothing,” Jason protested immediately.
Hercules just glared at him for several disconcerting seconds. Then he sighed, walked into the room and sat down at the table, and indicated for Jason to sit down opposite. Jason walked over on legs made from lead. He knew exactly what this was about, and he really, really did not want to have this conversation. Nevertheless, Jason did as he was told and sat down.
“Right,” Hercules repeated. “Let’s try again, and this time don’t lie to me. What’s going on with you and Pythagoras?”
Jason took a moment to collect his thoughts. The truth was, he had been asking himself the same question every waking hour since last night, and he still had no idea what the answer was.
“Honestly? I don’t entirely know.”
Hercules just watched him, and the silence from his normally talkative friend was unnerving.
“I think... I don’t know, but I think maybe...” Jason paused and propped his elbows on the table and scrubbed his face with his hands. “No, let me start again. Last night, something happened. I wasn’t expecting it. I mean, I had no idea he felt- If I’d had any idea at all I wouldn’t have done it.”
Jason still had his face in his hands when he replied.
“I kissed him.”
He paused and forced himself to look up at Hercules. He had half expected Hercules to be angry, but mostly he just looked world weary.
“I was drunk. It was supposed to be a bit of fun. I didn’t know, Hercules. I never intended to hurt him, or to make him feel uncomfortable.”
“Good. Because much as I like you, Jason, if you do hurt him, we’re going to have a problem.”
Jason’s eyes widened. Oh, god. Were they really doing this? Was Hercules giving him the ‘if you hurt him’ talk? It would have been funny if the thought of actually hurting Pythagoras wasn’t so distressing right then.
Jason breathed deeply and tried to gather his thoughts.
“Have you talked to him?” Jason asked. Then the more important question. “Is he okay?”
Hercules’ expression softened a touch.
“I didn’t need to talk to him. It’s obvious he’s upset about something. And the fact that neither of you seem to be capable of being in the same room at the same time as each other was a pretty big clue that whatever was wrong, it was between the two of you.”
If Hercules was trying to make him feel terrible, he was succeeding. Pythagoras had left the house as soon as Jason got up that morning, and when they had run into each other again in the afternoon they had barely managed to string together a few sentences of awkward conversation before Pythagoras had disappeared again, muttering something about the market, despite the fact that their shelves were already full of food.
Jason suddenly wondered just how much Hercules already knew about the situation. He didn’t think Pythagoras would have talked to Hercules about his feelings, but the two of them were so close anything was possible.
“Did you know?”
“Know what, Jason?”
How the hell could he say it? To actually voice his suspicions out loud just sounded incredibly self-centred. What if he was wrong? What if he’d misread it entirely and Pythagoras was just embarrassed by what had happened?
“Jason?” Hercules prompted.
Oh well, here we go.
“I think he’s attracted to me. In a ‘more than platonic’ sort of way.”
Hercules’ eyebrows went up and he actually chuckled.
“By the gods, you two are bloody idiots, the pair of you. You’re an oblivious idiot, and he’s a lovesick idiot, and I haven’t got a clue what to do with either of you.”
“I didn’t know,” Jason said in a quiet voice. In any other circumstance, this ought to have been a good thing, but not like this. And he had to be sure. “Is there any chance that it’s not that? That it’s just a crush, or a misunderstanding?”
“I know what Pythagoras looks like when he’s in love.”
Jason’s breath caught in his throat. Love. Bloody hell. Love.
“I’ve known Pythagoras a long time,” Hercules continued. “And I know it when I see it. There was another boy a few years ago. Young, dark hair, pretty, always in trouble.”
He stared pointedly at Jason. Jason winced. Oh yeah, Pythagoras definitely had a ‘type’.
“Anyway, I saw what he was like then. He never admitted to me that they were lovers, but I knew. I saw the way he was with that boy, the way he looked at him, the way his face lit up when he talked about him. Pythagoras can be an uptight little sod a lot of the time, but for a while, at least, he was happy and relaxed. And then I saw the way he was when that boy disappeared without a trace.” Hercules paused and scrubbed a hand over his face. Then he met Jason’s eye again. “I’ve seen it again ever since you showed up in Atlantis. I know what Pythagoras looks like when he’s in love.”
And what he looks like when he’s heartbroken.
The words hung unspoken between them. Jason nodded.
“I didn’t know,” he said again.
“Yeah, well, you never saw him before, so you didn’t have anything to compare it to. But that’s not the point. The real question is what the hell are you going to do about it now you do know?”
“I need to talk to him, but he disappears every time I try.”
“Do you love him?”
Jason’s head snapped up and he stared at Hercules. Hercules just looked right back him and waited.
“He’s my friend.”
“That doesn’t answer the question.”
Jason couldn’t meet Hercules’ gaze any more and he looked down at the table.
He knew he had been having increasingly non-platonic thoughts about Pythagoras for a while now, and that he had been trying to ignore them. He knew he felt an unreasonable amount of possessive, almost jealous, feelings every time he so much as thought about Pythagoras with another man. He knew that just being with Pythagoras made him feel warm and safe and comfortable in a way that he hadn’t felt with anyone else, ever.
Jason forced himself to look up at Hercules.
“I don’t want to hurt him.”
That didn’t answer the question either, but Hercules nodded, and a soft smile appeared.
“At least we agree on that. But it’s easier said than done.”
“I don’t know what to do,” Jason admitted.
Well, no that wasn’t entirely true. He had a pretty damn good idea what he wanted to do. But there was also a pretty damn good chance that if he did it, and if he messed it up, that he was going to lose the best friend he had ever known.
Hercules stood up and squeezed his shoulder.
“You’ll get there. Just make it quick, eh? All this moping about is putting me off my food.”
Jason felt himself smile for the first time that day, but before he could come up with a suitable comeback Hercules patted Jason’s shoulder and walked out.