Hank Trevors looked at his little brother like he'd never met him before. Apparently that wasn't far from the truth either. He and his other brother, Bobby, exchanged shocked gazes before they both turned back to Ryan, who'd just arrived earlier that afternoon with a friend from school. Or friend would be more accurate. Hank glanced again at the lean boy who cowered awkwardly near Ryan and watched them all with a sense of dread.
"You're a fag?" Bobby finally asked, breaking the silence.
Ryan rolled his eyes and looked up to the ceiling for patience. He knew his brothers would be a problem at first. That was why he'd scheduled his and Lee's flight to land while they were still at work. So that he would have a couple of hours alone with his parents to explain himself before the other two exploded and ruined everything.
Actually, his mother and father had been strangely calm about it. In fact, they welcomed Lee and all of them had enjoyed a very light and pleasant conversation. Until Hank and Bobby traipsed through the door, that is. Now they glared at Lee as if he were the anti-Christ, and visibly fumed at their younger brother.
"Don't EVER let me hear you talk like that again," Mary Trevors, Ryan's mother, seethed at her middle child. "I didn't raise you like that!"
"But, Mom!" Hank protested. "You didn't raise us to be f…GAY, either!"
"You aren't raised gay," Kelly Trevors, Ryan's dad, sighed. "You're born that way. And if you give your brother or Lee any trouble, you'll be dealing with me." He gave his two older sons pointed looks.
Lee watched in wonder as Ryan's parents defended them against their other two sons. It was almost surreal, actually. He'd told Ryan they didn't have to 'come out' to his family. Not yet. Well, they never did, if Ryan didn't want to. But his boyfriend insisted they do this. Ryan seemed bound and determined to prove that he was serious about his relationship with Lee. And the smaller boy was beginning to see that Ryan was anything but all-talk on the matter. He had no intention of letting anyone dictate his behavior.
Lee looked over at Ryan's mother in gratitude. She smiled back at him easily. It was easy to see where Ryan's pirate-like grin came from. Though much smaller than her husband and sons, Mary Trevors was a force to be reckoned with. Ryan inherited his dark brown hair and golden skin from her. But her eyes sparkled like crystals. Ryan's deep brown gaze came directly from his father, as did his solid build. Kelly Trevors also sported a thick head of auburn hair, salted lightly with a bit of gray.
Hank and Bobby had lighter hair than Ryan's, more like their dad, but in a twist, they inherited their mom's crystal blue eyes. Though with their solid build, it was easy to see they were Ryan's big brothers, but they were staring holes through him now.
"I won't apologize for what I am," Ryan calmly informed the two. "I came back here to tell the family."
"And if we don't accept it?" Hank sneered.
"WE accept it," Mary replied for Ryan. "YOU don't get a vote."
"The hell!" Bobby cried. "You knew we wouldn't!" He pointed at Ryan. "You KNEW how we felt about it before you came home!"
"It doesn't matter to me how you feel," Ryan said. "I came to tell my family."
"Because I'm not ashamed of Lee," Ryan replied, giving his boyfriend a small smile before returning his gaze to his brothers'. "And it's a serious relationship."
"It can't be serious!" Hank huffed throwing his hands up in the air. "You're both guys! It's not even legal."
"Yet," Kelly shrugged. All three of his sons looked at him then. "I'm just saying the tide's turning. One day gay marriage will probably be legal in every state. You think California won't be one of the first? C'mon! It's always led the pack in sweeping change before."
"How come we never knew what gay rights activists you and mom were?" Bobby demanded.
"You never asked," Mary shrugged. "Besides, your Aunt Della is gay."
"Aunt DELLA?" the three exclaimed.
"Uh huh," Mary laughed. "Are you telling me you never knew?"
"Now that you mention it," Ryan grinned. "She did change roommates kind of often."
"Hey!" Kelly admonished him, though with a teasing twinkle in his eye. "My sister's not a player!"
"Aunt Della?" Bobby repeated. "I used to sleep in her bed when I was small."
'We ALL did!" Hank hissed. Then he looked at Ryan. "Maybe …"
"It's not a disease and you can't catch it!" Ryan growled in frustration. "Look, Lee and I are together, and for the long haul. If you don't like it, I can't help you."
"But we're your brothers!" Hank protested. "You'd choose," he gestured at Lee, "HIM over US?"
"Happily," Ryan grinned. "And what's more, I bet mom and dad would, too, if you pushed the issue."
"Definitely!" Mary cried clapping her hands. "You two could spend your holidays at your aunt's place, if you don't like it! Ryan and Lee are coming for Thanksgiving!"
"Christmas, too!" Kelly added.
"Hey, Lee might want to see his own family for one of those!" Ryan laughed.
"Well, in case he decides he doesn't, he's welcome here any time!"
Lee glanced around him in awe again as the whole family stared at him, Kelly and Mary wearing friendly expressions while Hank and Bobby glowered. Ryan grinned like the pirate he was and pulled Lee to him for a hug.
"See? I told you they'd love you!"
Lee turned to the doorway hoping to see Ryan coming back from his shower only to lock eyes with Bobby, who was closing the door behind him. Lee's heart pounded as he sat up on the bed and pulled his knees to his chest. What did he want? Would he hurt his brother's boyfriend, even knowing how his parents felt? Lee rocked nervously and stared at the floor.
"I'm not going to hurt you," Bobby sighed as he pulled out the desk chair and straddled it in front of Lee. "I promise."
"But you don't like me," Lee pointed out lifting his own turquoise eyes to meet the blue ones boring into him.
"I don't know you well enough to know that yet," Bobby shrugged. "I just want to talk."
Lee nodded but remained curled up and fidgety.
Lee nodded again and tried to sit still.
"Hank and I just want to understand why he changed," Bobby offered softly. "We thought we knew him."
"Who says you didn't?" Lee asked curiously. He pushed his light brown hair back from his face with one hand so that he could see the other boy better.
"Don't know," Bobby shrugged. "But ever since she began hanging around with that blonde kid back in his senior year in high school, he hasn't been the same."
"Brian?" Lee queried with a raised brow.
"Him," the older guy nodded. "And then his brother. Both of them fa … uh, gay."
"Uh, yeah," Lee said dryly. "I know."
"Sorry," Bobby smiled ruefully. "But they turned Matt Henshaw, so I guess I can't be too surprised."
"They didn't turn anybody," Lee groused. "Matt was gay all along."
"But he dated Sherry."
"Yeah, yeah! I know! Doesn't mean he wasn't gay."
Bobby was the fidgety one now. "Ryan probably told you about what Hank and I used to do people in school."
"He mentioned it briefly."
"Well, we haven't done it in a long time."
"I would hope not. You're older and hopefully wiser now."
"Eh," Bobby shrugged with a grin. "But we never pegged Ryan for one."
Lee stared at the boy dumbfounded. He couldn't believe he was hearing something like this coming from the mouth of a 23 year old man. He figured even preteens knew you couldn't peg a person's sexuality by now.
"Um, what do you think? We wear signs on our heads or something?" he asked finally, impressing himself with his own bravado. "It's a personal thing and we only reveal it when we're comfortable."
Bobby was leaning forward and staring at him in fascination. There was nothing threatening in his body language or his tone, so Lee relaxed himself a bit and sat back against the wall, stretching his legs out again.
"You mean that he could have been gay the whole time?" Bobby asked softly.
"Could have," Lee nodded, not bothering to point out that Ryan was bisexual. He was a little worried the two brothers would take that as a hopeful sign and set out to find Ryan a real woman to bring him back to the hetero universe. "Probably didn't feel comfortable talking about talking it over with you two when you acted that way."
Bobby nodded thoughtfully and looked at Lee appraisingly. "You aren't a bad guy," he offered, a bit shyly even. "This is just a shock to us. That's all."
Bobby nodded again and rose from the chair, replacing it at the desk and moving toward the door. He paused and turned back to Lee before opening it.
"You aren't going to hurt him, are you?"
The smaller boy was speechless but managed to shake his head.
"Good," Bobby smiled at him. "I can see how much he cares about you, Lee. I hope you're as serious about him as he is about you."
Then Bobby left leaving a stunned Lee in his wake.