Cliches

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)


Author's Notes: This fic written for leaper182, who asked for Peter and Egon dating in college.


Occasionally, Peter considers writing his parapsychology term paper on his friendship with Egon Spengler.

It really ought to qualify as a paranormal occurrence. A jock and the biggest physics geek in the known universe? Egon wears suspenders, for God's sake! Suspenders! Peter can't remember when he last saw a pair of suspenders outside of a movie. He's pretty sure he hasn't...except on Egon.

It's like the man went down the geek checklist and made sure he hit all the important items. Glasses? Check. Weird hair? Check. Suspenders? Check. Egon has perfect teeth, so no braces, but Peter figures that the suspenders more than make up for that.

Peter fits just as comfortably into the jock version of the checklist, which is what makes the two of them so unlikely. University might not be quite as cliquish as high school was, but jocks and geeks still don't travel in the same circles. They should never have met. They should never have said two words to each other.

Oh, a jock and a geek might leave university and get older and have careers and meet up later in life and become friends...but not while they were still in school. Not while they were still hedged around with expectations and cliques and schedules that channeled their lives away from each other...or should have.

They should never have been rushing across campus in the dark, in the rain, at the same time. They should never have collided. Papers should never have gone flying everywhere--hell, Peter shouldn't even have been carrying a stack of paper. But he'd just finished photocopying his research (couldn't be seen haunting the library or, worse, checking out books) and he hadn't thought to bring a bag, so he'd just tucked them under his jacket, put his head down, and barreled across campus.

And straight into Egon Spengler. It was like something out of a cartoon, papers flying everywhere, falling into puddles, the two of them dropping to their knees and desperately snatching pages up out of the growing mud puddles. Neither of them had bothered to check which of the sheets of paper were their own--they just snatched them up, dashed into the nearest building to get out of the rain, and exchanged numbers so that the could get the mess sorted out later.

Between Egon's carefully typed and formatted paper, Peter's photocopies, and both of their scrawled notes on other projects, it took nearly two hours to sort out the stack of blurred, muddied paper. Two hours. Peter had never in his life been able to go two hours without starting a conversation of some description, and with Egon peering intently at his research notes, sorting them out from his own, it wasn't like the usual dumb jock play was going to fly.

It was the first chance he'd ever had to talk about his work. Four years of hanging onto his football scholarship and playing dumb and carefully keeping his grades to himself. A guy on a sports scholarship can't afford to be unpopular, especially with his teammates, and showing off grades as much better than theirs as Peter's were is a surefire piss off.

His grades aren't better than Egon's. Hell, Egon already has papers published, despite not even having his undergraduate degree yet. And yet...Egon was interested in what he was not-quite-accidentally reading. Really interested.

What are the chances of all of that happening? It's like something out of a movie. It's enough to make Peter believe in fate and destiny and soulmates. Yeah, soulmates, because it's not like he left after he and Egon had sorted out their papers. He stayed and they talked all night about things that made other people laugh at them and when he finally dragged himself back to the frat house after having breakfast with Egon because they'd forgotten about dinner right up until dawn broke, the only thing he could think to tell his buddies was that he'd been on a good date. A really good date.

It didn't even feel like a lie.

All their meetings became "dates." There've been so many "dates" that Peter's buddies have actually started asking if he's getting serious about this one. He flirts just as much as he ever did before, but he almost never actually takes the girls out anymore.

Maybe they've got a point, Peter thinks. He's sprawled on his back across Egon's bed, looking up at his friend as Egon goes on about something. Peter got lost at some point in the middle of the technical details and verbal mathematic equations, but he knows that Egon will wander back into realms Peter can contribute to soon enough. For the moment he just enjoys the enthusiasm sparkling in Egon's eyes, watches the ridiculous blond coif bob with the movements of Egon's head, and contemplates dating.

"Hey, Spengs?" he interjects lazily.

Egon blinks, but displays no irritation at being interrupted. "Yes, Peter?"

"Why don't you date?"

The shrug Peter gets in response is eloquent. "I never met someone I wanted to spend that much time with."

"You spend that much time with me," Peter points out. He's got butterflies in his stomach, but once he gets going he's always been full steam ahead, and if anyone is going to understand what the heck's going on in his brain right now, it's Egon.

Egon smiles and quirks an eyebrow. "Does that mean we're dating?" he asks.

Peter sits up slowly and leans a little toward his friend. "Dating also usually involves a mutual attraction," he said, and is amazed at strength of his own voice. "So you tell me...are we dating?"

One of the things Peter loves about Egon is that, if you're watching him as he comes to some revelation, you can see his mind play connect the dots with bits of previously unrelated information. The dots connect now, and Peter has to remind himself not to hold his breath as he waits.

"Peter," Egon says at last. "Don't people who date also usually kiss?"

"Yeah." Peter has to fight down a surge of embarrassment at the breathless sound of his own voice. Egon doesn't laugh at him, thank God, just raises an eyebrow and waits. So Peter leans in and lifts a hand to the nape of Egon's neck and brushes their lips together. It's a little awkward at first, because somehow Peter has never kissed someone who wears glasses before. Egon, being a brilliant physicist, is the one who thinks to take them off, and after that things go much more smoothly.

Peter is pretty sure he'll figure his way around the glasses soon enough. He's going to get a lot of practice.

--End--