New Horizons

By request for sheltered Pax finding something online and needing Nate to educate him. This is perhaps not what you had in mind, anon, but hopefully it fits the bill. 🙂

Ao3 Link

Pax didn’t understand what was going on. He was looking at the screen and he knew all of the words that were being displayed here on this website he’d ended up on because he was highly literate, but they were in combinations he’d never seen before and configurations that didn’t make sense, and there were just so many of them.



“Look at this for me.”

Nate did, leaning over from his game to look at Pax’s screen. They were sitting beside each other on Nate’s bed—their bed—wasting time before they went to sleep. They’d done it often enough that Nate being shirtless was only a little distracting now. “Yeah, what about it?”

“Do you know what this is?”

“Yeah.” Nate nodded, looking up from the screen to Pax, who wasn’t about to say it out loud. “Do you…not?”

Pax took a moment not to answer, before nodding. “Of course I do. I was just checking to see if you did. Sometimes I’m not sure, there are a lot of things that I know that you don’t, like about those tigers that live in the office attic that you won’t let me go in, or the huge snakes in the sewers and the history of illegal alcohol production in this town during prohibition.”

“Did we have prohibition up here?”

“Yes, we just don’t glamourize it as much. Anyway, the point is I know about a lot of things and I just wanted to see if you did too, but you do, so you can go back to your game now, it looks like you’re about to die.”

Nate glanced at his screen, hit a button and made his character jump over a pit, because even virtual Nate was graceful. “Okay,” he said, smiling at Pax before turning back to his screen properly.

Pax went back to scrolling in silent confusion for a few more minutes, growing increasingly distressed as he tried to figure out what was happening. “Hypothetically,” he said after a minute, and then he saw Nate was fighting a big car-tree-thing that looked like a boss, so he fell quiet.

“I’m listening.”

“I can wait until you kill that. You’re very violent and I know how you are about being distracted while you’re channelling your violent urges into pixels. I wouldn’t want you to channel them into me instead.”

“I’d never do that, Pax,” Nate said, and for a moment Pax felt like he had Nate’s full attention even though there was still a monster on the rampage.

“I know.” Pax felt a bit bad for even bringing it up, but he kept quiet, no longer scrolling but rather watching Nate fight the boss.

When it was eventually defeated, turning into a flock of birds—surprise—before disappearing, Nate saved the game and then looked up at Pax. “Hypothetically.”

“Hypothetically,” Pax took a breath, nodded at his laptop again. “If, hypothetically, you had to, say, explain this in an introductory manner to a hypothetical person who didn’t know what it was, maybe because he was hypothetically raised by criminals and therefore hadn’t had access to the internet until recently, and maybe was kind of confused about what it was, how would you hypothetically explain it to him?”

Nate snorted a little, which turned into a chuckle. “Asking for a friend?”

“No, nobody actually asks for their friends and the people who do don’t have friends,” Pax looked away for a second. “I was just testing your teaching abilities, that’s all. In a hypothetical capacity so as to mitigate any damage that might be done to real developing minds if you screw it up. Though I have every confidence that you won’t. I wouldn’t be dating you if I didn’t think you were good at things, even if I sometimes make inappropriate jokes about how you aren’t. You shouldn’t listen to those.”

Nate put his arm around Pax, who scooted in closer on instinct. He liked being close to Nate. “You’ve never heard of fanfiction?”

“Let’s assume that’s true.”

“It’s when people write stories with characters from TV shows or video games or whatever. I’m surprised you’ve never heard of it, since you rewrite every movie we’ve ever watched together.”

Pax shifted a little, just a tad embarrassed. “Just because they could be a lot better and I feel like the people making them don’t realize that.”

“That’s all these people are doing. Writing the story the way they wanted it to be.”

“Huh.” Pax scrolled a bit more. “It seems like most of them wanted the characters to be sleeping with each other in configurations different from what happened in the story.”

“Well, yeah.” Nate shrugged. “I mean, you got mad when Captain America and the Winter Soldier didn’t kiss in the end of the movie.”

“That’s because that was narratively logical, Nate,” Pax grumbled. He was still a bit sore about that.

“You’d find a lot of people who agreed with you on this site.”

“Huh,” Pax repeated. “And so I could just…go through this and find someone who wrote a version of the story where that happened. That’s…cool.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.”

“A lot of people seem to have spent time thinking about how the characters would have sex in, um, detail.”

“Are you surprised?”

Pax wasn’t. “Just as many seem to want them to work in coffee shops and bookstores. Why would Sherlock Holmes work in a bookstore?”

“Why wouldn’t he?”

Pax tried to come up with an argument for that, found he couldn’t. “Okay, I guess. Well, all right. I guess that was a good explanation, Nate. If I ever meet anyone who doesn’t know what this website is all about, I’ll let you explain it.”

“You know,” Nate said, taking one of Pax’s hands and kissing it. “I wouldn’t make fun of you for not knowing something. I wouldn’t think less of you.”

“I know you wouldn’t.” Pax tried to keep his eyes averted, but he ended up looking at Nate anyway. “That’s why I asked. Sort of. Six months ago I wouldn’t have said anything.”

“I know.” Nate kissed him again. “I’m glad you did.”

“I love you.”

“Love you too. Do you want to go bed?”

It wasn’t that late yet. “I’m going to look at this for a bit longer. I can go downstairs if you want to turn the light off.”

“No, it’s fine. I can do another level.”

Quiet fell except for the beeps from Nate’s game, and Pax kept looking through the website, finally working up the courage to click on a few things that looked interesting and give them a read. It was oddly entertaining, more than he’d expected. It made him like the story more than he already had, in a strange way.

A moment later, though, he frowned. “This person is wrong.”

“About what?”

“These two characters would never date. They hate each other.”

“Maybe that’s the appeal.”

“I should tell them they’re wrong.” He’d noticed it was possible to leave comments on things to let people know what he thought. Pax had a lot of thoughts, so he appreciated the option.

“No, you shouldn’t,” Nate told him, not looking up.

Pax looked over at him, noticing that now he was fighting bunnies with wheels. “Why not?”

“Because who cares if their interpretation is different than yours? They put a lot of work into it, they’re not hurting anyone and you’re not an asshole.”

Pax narrowed his eyes at Nate. “Damn. I hate it when you remind me of that last thing.” It would be kind of douchey of Pax to pick a fight over something so silly.

Even if that person was wrong.

“That’s what I’m here for, love.”

“Is that shadow in the top corner supposed to be getting closer to you?”

Nate jerked a little. “Shit, fuck.”

Pax took that as a thank you and sighed, looked back at the story with mild disdain. He guessed it wasn’t that bad as a concept. He just wouldn’t read it.

Who was he kidding, he was curious and that was his main weakness in all things. He clicked the link.

It was pretty all right, as far as things that were wrong went.

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