Series: The Jade Dragon; Anomaly Arc
Summary: Being in love is supposed to be best experience of one's life. Only, it's always been a nightmare for always-the-best-friend Vane. When even his most prickly close friend hooks up quicker than he'd ever gotten with someone himself, it's quite the final straw. Love can go shove the hearts and kisses up where the sun don't shine.
Warnings: Homosexual cont-- Oh for the love of God, get over it.

When the red haze lifted from his vision, Vane realised five things in rapid succession:

The first was that his hand hurt. The second and third that Imrad and Leonora had him in an easy brace to stop him from going anywhere, and that he was a few feet forward from where he'd been a moment before. The fourth was that Imrad, Marcus, Kate, Jordan and Leonora… God, Leonora… were staring at him in open shock. And the last that Cain, who had been standing in front of him, was now at his feet.

The five did not add up to a pretty picture but he found he couldn't regret what he'd just done.

He startled his friends further by glaring harshly down at Cain. "Bastard," he hissed venomously then pulled out of Imrad and Leonora's holds and turned away.

"Come on, buddy," Jordan called out to him as he stalked away. "Don't go, we can sort this out."

Vane ignored him.

By the time he got to his bike and unlocked it, helmet propped on the gas tank before him, he'd calmed down enough to be a bit embarrassed by his behaviour. With a groan, he slumped over his helmet, arms flopping over the handlebars, and sighed.

"Well at least you know you screwed up," Imrad said from beside him.

He angled his head over to look at his best friend. "I'm not sorry I hit him."

"I know," Imrad shrugged. "Not like you to go back on your word or actions, regardless of consequences, when you believe in them." He smiled reassuringly, "You've got a good moral compass." With a smirk he added, "And I liked seeing Cain go down."

"You just couldn't get one on him yourself without getting in trouble," Vane snorted. "And I don't like him." He gave his best friend a flat stare. "I don't care if you're rather alright with this or if you give him hell for what he did or not. I don't like him."

"You just don't like that he managed to get Leonora to go out with him," Imrad said quietly.

The expression in his eyes was one Vane didn't want to see; it meant that even an outsider, someone who might be impartial and could offer advice, didn't see any hope for them. Vane nodded, shooing Imrad away as he sat up and pulled his helmet on. He started the engine and revved up, nosed out of the parking space and went on his way.

And that expression was still on Imrad's face as he watched Vane go.

The ride back to the student apartment building passed in a blank daze. He indicated, changed lanes, watched for hazards and checked his blind spots. But there weighed a heaviness in his chest the whole time, an unpleasant knot that countered the usual calm which riding brought.

He parked, lingering a moment in the quiet of the early evening knowing that once he got inside and people started to bother him or wander over for a chat that he would no longer be able to hide his mood. But in the end the sanctuary of his own room beckoned and he ambled away deciding it would be easiest to get in quickly and lock the door before anyone saw him. He bound up the stairs, successfully getting past two noisy hallways quick enough before someone could turn and—

"Hey Vane! My, aren't you in a rush."

No such luck. He paused, pasted on a small smile, shoved his hands into his pockets and turned to regard the approaching addition of all things against his luck. "Hello Miguel."

Getting close, Miguel's warm smiled began to slip off his face. In the space of a breath when he finally stopped at the borders of personal space, the grin was gone and replaced by concern.

Just his luck, Vane supposed. He acknowledged Migs had a unique way of reading him on occasion. He could fool the guy sometimes… but not always. "Yes, I know. I look pissed off."

"No," Miguel murmured, "You look sad." He frowned, "Is this another of your hideaway moments? I don't think it's a good idea to--"

"Sorry Migs," Vane muttered turning away, patience worn quite thin. "I really don't want to talk about it, I don't want to be near people, and I don't care if you think it's not a good idea."

He started to climb the last set of steps but was not surprised when a hand closed on his wrist and yanked him backward. He relaxed, letting himself thump into Miguel's arms, his back against the taller broader chest, sun-darkened arms encircling him and keeping him in place. Miguel's chin nuzzled at his temple, soft lips moving in his hair, "You should not be alone, dragon. Not when you are this hurt, this pained." He sighed, "Why do you turn away from those who love you in the moment you most need them?"

It was an old question, Miguel often making such moves on him, often saying such things and wanting to get closer. Vane supposed one could say he had gotten complacent, but Miguel had grown on him. He trusted Miguel enough to know the guy wouldn't push. Miguel knew he wasn't interested that way. And it probably wasn't fair… but it did allow him to enjoy the closeness, not being demanded from yet freely given such encouragements and attention.

"Quiet now, are you?" Miguel murmured. The arms tightened around him and Vane realised he could feel Miguel solidly against his back, the touch warm and comforting if a little too close.

"Let go," he whispered, still staring straight ahead.

"No, my dragon," Miguel denied in an even quieter voice. One hand slipped from its grip across Vane's chest and skimmed downward, fingers moving deliberately over his navel then hip, touch sightlessly tracing the intricately drawn dragon tattooed into his skin.

Miguel had yet to touch it without clothes barring the way.

"I'm not your dragon." Vane pulled away, Miguel's hands lingering, clinging, not wanting to let go… but releasing him because it was what he wanted. "You really should learn to go pester someone else," he grumbled, shoving his hands deeper into his pockets when Miguel ignored his words and continued to trail after him toward his room. "I said I wanted to be alone."

"And I disagree." He shrugged, "You should know by now I will do what I think is right."

He did know. He stopped as he arrived at his door, pulling his keys from a pocket. Slotting the key, he froze, angled his head over one shoulder and hissed quietly, "Must you bother me?"

"There is no one I want to be with more," Miguel replied cheerfully, amusement glinting in his eyes.

Vane sighed, head thumping on to his door. Miguel reached around him then, pressing much too close as was becoming normal, fingers closing over Vane's own and turning the key for him. Resigned, Vane stepped slowly into the room, leaving his irritating guest to shut the door.

When he was sure Miguel's attention had shifted, he bolted.

By compensation, he supposed, whatever deities who delighted at tormenting him allowed him to make it into his bathroom and lock the door behind him before Miguel realised what he was doing. He sighed with relief, or whatever it was because it wasn't like the relief he usually knew, sat down on the floor, leaning his back against it and listened to Miguel quietly do the same on the other side.

They were going to be here for some time.

Just his luck.