Friends Make...

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Winston knew that most people, when they thought of the Ghostbusters, pictured them leaping out of their beds in the middle of the night and rushing off to some intangible emergency. But while that did happen, and more often than he'd prefer, quiet nights were actually more common.

On the other hand, quiet nights when all four of them were home and in the mood just to hang out in front of the TV were less common. Between Pete's social calendar, Egon's experiments, and Ray's circle of comic/television/occult (Winston could never quite figure which was which, and there seemed to be some crossover) obsessed friends, they'd been seeing each other mostly during business hours lately.

Of course, Winston mused with some satisfaction, his own lady friend might have had something to do with that. Six weeks and Kate had yet to go running for the hills. He hadn't been hospitalized since they'd started seeing each other, but Winston was beginning to have hope that she'd stick it out. He hoped so. He liked her, a lot, and after six weeks they were finally settling into the best part--the comfortable part.

As it always did when he was thinking about the merits and demerits of dating, Winston's gaze drifted to Peter. He was sprawled over one end of the couch, one arm draped over the armrest, the other curled protectively around a bowl of popcorn. Every now and then he'd hold the bowl out for Egon to take a handful, though his eyes never left the television screen.

Now there was someone Winston just couldn't figure out. Okay, so he'd only had a couple of years to work on the Venkman puzzle, but Egon and Ray had been giving him a crash course and he still didn't get it. The man obviously despised being alone, but rarely saw any woman (or man, Winston reminded himself) more than once. Those that did capture his attention for a few successive dates inevitably crashed and burned after the first real argument.

Winston had asked, once, what was up with the parade of girlfriends. He'd had to persist through a few extraordinarily bad jokes and a little bit of teasing, but Peter had finally half shrugged and delivered what seemed like and honest answer. "There just wasn't that spark," he'd said, a little wistfully. Winston had had to swallow laughter. Imagine, Peter Venkman--a romantic.

It made sense, though. Pete was a dreamer. Oh, Winston knew everyone figured for Egon, or maybe Ray, for the one with their head in the clouds, but he knew better. For those two it was never a matter of faith, only of science. They measured and classified and made fairytales into concrete, measurable entities.

Ray might think it was all great, but it was Peter who looked at the things they ran into on a daily basis and remembered how weird they all were. He half didn't believe in the things they chased after, but he did it anyway. It was like how they said courage wasn't lack of fear, but being afraid and doing the right thing anyway. A dreamer wasn't someone who acted on what they knew existed; it was someone who wasn't certain at all--and acted anyway. That was Pete, through and through.

So it just figured that he'd go for the idea of True Love. Not that he'd ever admit it to anyone, Winston thought. And he'd tease anyone who mentioned it mercilessly. But Winston couldn't help but think that Pete was the kind of guy who looked everywhere for that perfect person and then fell head over heels for someone he'd known for years.

Grinning at the thought, Winston cast a speculative eye over the other two occupants of the couch. Ray was thoroughly straight, but he knew Egon was a switch hitter. Favored the guys, too, which was probably why his social life flew so far under the radar.

As he watched, Peter held out the popcorn bowl just as Egon reached for another handful. It was a kind of telepathy, Winston thought, amused. The only people who picked up on each other's body language like that were old friends. Or old marrieds. Winston's grin took on a mischievous quality.

"Hey, Pete."

Peter leaned forward a little to catch Winston's eye where he sat in an easy chair at the end of the couch. "Yeah?"

Winston waved a finger between him and Egon. "How come you and Egon never gave it a shot?"

Egon tuned in to the conversation. "It?" he asked, arching an eyebrow.

"Yeah, it. Dating."

Peter and Egon blinked, glanced at each other, then back at Winston. "You pulling my chain, Zed?" Peter asked suspiciously.

"Nah, I'm serious," Winston said, shaking his head for emphasis. "You're both pretty much bi, you like each other, you get along great, you know it's worth sticking around for after any fights you get into. So why didn't you ever give it a go?"

Peter suddenly found himself the center of everyone's gaze. He squirmed uncomfortably. They all waited. Peter opened his mouth, glanced at Egon, and visibly swallowed whatever smart remark he'd been about to make. "Dunno," he shrugged and looked back to the movie playing on the TV.

"Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on that," Egon said dryly.

Peter shot Winston a dirty look and squirmed a little more. "I guess I just always figured us for friends," he said at last. "Right from the start. My brain didn't go that direction."

"They say friends make the best lovers," Ray chimed in.

"Lovers??" Peter squeaked.

"Sure," Winston said, enjoying the hell out of himself. He swore, Peter would be blushing in another minute. "You two would make a great couple."

"Spengs," Peter stage-whispered. "Help."

Egon crossed his arms over his chest and glared, though his eyes were sparkling. "Help you convince them I would be an unsuitable companion? Really, Peter, you can't expect me to denigrate myself that way."

"What, you really want to be saddled with me?"

"Who says I'd be the one, ah, saddled?" Egon returned smoothly.

Winston choked down laughter. Peter gaped at Egon. " was an innuendo!" he gasped at last.

"Careful, Peter," Egon advised, dead pan. "The size of your...intellect is showing." Followed up with a head to toe glance, there was no mistaking the meaning of that one, either.

Peter pointed a finger at his friend. "One more like that," he warned, "and you're asking for it."

"It?" Egon raised an eloquent eyebrow.

"It," Peter confirmed, and seized Egon by the suspenders and yanked so hard and so fast that the man went sprawling across Peter's lap and fetched up with his shoulders against the armrest and his head in just the right position for Peter to lean down and kiss him on the lips.

Winston couldn't help laughing as he waited for Peter to let go and make some smug comment about his technique. After a few seconds he realized that Peter wasn't letting go. Actually, he was molding his mouth closer to Egon's. Winston blinked. Were those Egon's hands cupping Peter's face? Sliding around to hold the back of his head? Yes, yes they were. And they were still kissing.

Eventually they parted with a soft, clinging sound, but no smart remark was forthcoming. Instead Peter just stared down into Egon's eyes, apparently struck speechless. Now that was one for the record books.

"Peter?" Egon said after a moment.

Peter swallowed visibly. "Yeah?"

"Still want help?"

A slow grin stretched Peter's lips. "Nope," he said, leaning down so that their lips brushed. "I think I've got it covered." And then they were kissing again.

Ray tapped Winston on the shoulder. "Good call," he congratulated.

Winston just shook his head, a little disbelieving. "I was teasing," he admitted quietly, pretty sure Peter and Egon were too thoroughly occupied to heard.

"Oh," Ray's smile dimmed for a moment. Then he glanced over at the other end of the couch and shrugged, grinning again. "It worked out though, didn't it?"

Ray's delight was infectious, Winston decided, grinning himself. "Yeah, I guess it did."