Rating: PG 13
Word Count: 2217
Summary: It's been a while since Jon and Stephen have seen each other
Notes: What YEAR IS IT? It's been a long time, so so long, like over 6 years long, but when Jon made his announcement I was devastated and considered writing something, when Stephen started popping up with a full white beard I was horrified and considered something even more, but when I saw a post on tumblr about Jon and Stephen texting each other at 1am, I knew I had to, and this all came out of me in about an hour and a half. Time goes so fast, and I miss this fandom so much. There's angst here, be warned, but there's also a bit of fun
Disclaimer: Any similarity between the fictional version of the person portrayed here and the actual person is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. This is not an attempt to defame the character of said person on the basis of libel, as the work is FICTIONAL (and NOT an intently false statement created with the express purpose of misleading others about the actual character of said person).
Any mention of 'The Daily Show', 'Viacom', any associated entites, or any copywrited material pertaining therein is reasonably protected by the Fair Use Rule of the United States Copyright Act of 1976, and is not intended to infringe upon any copywrited material.
It was well past midnight when Jon decided to stop lying to himself and admit that he’d long given up on doing any work for the night. He’d been focussed for a while, a notepad next to him with a page half scribbled and a few extra tabs open to flick back and forth between, but eventually he’d hit youtube with the promise that he’d quickly move on and get back to what was right, but youtube was where he stayed. He settled back with a mug in his hand and landed on an old Springsteen concert that was almost long enough to bring him to the sunrise. Maybe he’d give up halfway through, maybe he’d make it all the way; either way tomorrow was going to be a fucking day and a half.
He made it as far as Atlantic City before his phone started vibrating on the desk next to him. He paused the video and picked up his phone.
Jon smiled and wrote back:
you know I am
He waited a few minutes for a response, and when one didn’t come, he made a call.
Stephen answered on the first ring. “Yes, Jon?”
“Was there something you needed?”
“Hmm, no. Goodnight, Jon.”
The call ended before Jon could get another word in edgewise. He shook his head with a smile and put the phone back on the desk, hit play and lasted a whole two more minutes before he shut the whole thing down and shuffled off to bed like the old man that he was.
It was a little after two the next day when his phone again started to vibrate and Jon blearily lifted his head from his desk to glare at it before picking it up and opening the text. He blinked at the picture that had been sent through and then started to laugh. The phone immediately started to buzz in his hand and he let it ring a few times before answering.
“You have a beard? This is what you’ve been doing since we last saw each other?” he said, by way of greeting.
“Yes it is, and it feels amazing.”
“It’s fucking white, Stephen, white. What are you doing?”
“Whatever I want, Jon.”
“Yeah? What’s that like?” There was a pause, and Jon wasn’t exactly sure why. “You look like Colonel Sanders.”
“That’s bullshit, Jon, Colonel Sanders had that goatee thing, not a full beard.”
“I mean, like, later in life when he stopped caring about maintaining and manscaping and let that shit grow. Presumably. Don’t all men?”
There was another pause, and then Stephen took a deep breath. “I have a secret.”
“Is everything alright? Over there, I mean? I haven’t talked to you in-”
“It’s been a while.” Stephen exhaled a short laugh. “Everything’s fine, Jon, they’re great. Really. And it’s not a bad secret, it’s just a secret, you know?”
“Okay. Alright, hit me, what’s this secret?”
“Well, I can’t tell you that, it’s a secret.”
Jon groaned. “You know, I was in the middle of something very fucking important before you rang.”
“That’s also bullshit. You feed me nothing but lies, Jon. ”
“What can I say, it’s an illness.” He glanced across the room towards the mirror and considered getting up to check, but it was all just too fucking hard. “I probably have newspaper ink printed on my cheek.”
“You’re reading newspapers for news? Jesus, Jon.”
“I was doing the crossword,” Jon admitted ruefully. “And I couldn’t even finish it. What happened to me?”
“Maybe your brain has finally given up after years of being overworked?” Stephen suggested. “And overpaid. You’re definitely overpaid.”
“How much would I have to pay you to retract that last statement?”
Stephen laughed, long and loud this time and Jon couldn’t help but grin. “Do you want to have dinner?”
“I, uh, still have this show that I’m doing, Stephen.”
“Did I say tonight, Jon? Saturday. Come over on Saturday, Evelyn and the kids are heading down to her parents for the weekend. I can cook, you can bring some wine, it could get pretty wild.”
“Like, tattoo your name on my ass wild?”
“Maybe not that wild. But who knows, maybe we’ll even open a second bottle.”
“Exactly. So I’ll see you Saturday?”
“Sure. Will you shave before then?”
“We’ll see.” Stephen sighed into the phone. “I should let you get back to work.”
Jon took the phone from his ear and immediately heard a tiny, “No, wait!”
The phone came back up, and he asked, “What, what is it?”
“I didn’t tell you my secret.”
“I thought you weren’t going to?”
“Changed my mind. Do you want to hear it?”
Jon sat forward in his seat. One might say he was slightly eager, but he managed to keep an air of nonchalance about him. “I guess so.”
“Do you promise not to tell anyone?”
“Okay, here goes. It’s a recipe, Jon.”
The realization came hard and fast, and Jon burst out laughing. “Fuck you, you asshole.”
“Just listen, there are eleven secret herbs and spices. Would you like to hear them?”
He hung up to the sound of Stephen breaking and it felt good for a while, until he saw the time and how much work he had left to do. It was Wednesday. Saturday was still a while away. It was still only fucking Wednesday.
Stephen greeted him with a beaming smile and a tight hug that ended too quickly for Jon, but he just grinned and scuffed him under the chin and said, “You didn’t shave.”
“I thought about it.” Stephen rubbed his cheek thoughtfully. “I kinda like it though.”
“Hmm,” was all Jon said before stepping out of the cold and shrugging off his coat. Stephen followed him in and shut the door behind them.
“I wear it better than you did.”
“That’s not really something to be proud of, Stephen.”
Stephen just smiled and headed in the direction of the kitchen. Jon followed him, taking in the photos of the kids on the walls, the shoes on the ground and the shoes were getting bigger and bigger. It was all so familiar, and yet he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been in this house. A few months? A year? Two? Had it been before Rosewater, or after? He stopped in the kitchen and frowned. “This is new.”
“The kitchen. It’s, uh-”
“We renovated. This and the main bathroom.”
“Really?” Jon rubbed the back of his head. “When?”
“I dunno, a year ago?”
“Right.” He nodded and ran a hand along the cabinet. A fucking year. “Looks great.”
“Did you bring the wine?”
Jon had selected a nice red from a nice year and sat it on the dining table at home so that he wouldn’t forget it. Unless Tracey had since moved it, he had a feeling that it was still sitting there. “Shit.”
Stephen chuckled. “It’s alright, I forgot to cook.” He took a couple of steps closer until he had Jon flush against the cabinet, and this? This, Jon remembered. The room might have been new, the time might have passed, but he remembered the last time like it was burnt into his mind, how Stephen had burst into his office and locked the door behind him. It had been March, almost a year ago now, and it’s not like they had decided to stop after that, they had just been so busy. “Hi,” Stephen said and Jon laughed so hard he thought he might cry.
He woke up to something tickling his cheek and it took him an embarrassingly long time to realize it was just Stephen. Rubbing his face against Jon. Or kissing him. Maybe kissing him. Jon squeezed his eyes shut for a second longer and then rolled over and squinted at Stephen. “Did I fall asleep?”
“It’s alright, you stayed awake for the important part.”
“I fucking hope so. What time is it?”
“Almost midnight. I called Tracey, said you’d fallen asleep on the couch and looked so comfortable that I didn’t want to wake you.”
Jon raised his eyebrows at Stephen. “You lied to my wife?”
“I know, I’m like Han Solo.”
“He also lied to my wife?”
Stephen rolled his eyes. “Our rebellious ways are similar, it doesn’t matter. Do you want some grilled cheese?”
“Is there coffee too?”
“I’m sure that helps your insomnia,” Stephen grumbled, but he was wearing nothing but his underwear and a smile when he left the room. Jon lay there for a few minutes before reaching for his clothes. He stopped in to visit the new bathroom and introduce himself to the toilet, and then headed towards the kitchen where he found Stephen by the frypan and two mugs on the counter. He took a few grateful gulps and stopped to watch Stephen work. “You know, you shouldn’t cook naked.”
“I’m not naked, Jon. I’m well protected.”
Jon smiled and looked out the window. It was snowing, and Stephen was in his underwear. The house was warm enough, but still. He was handed a plate and led into the next room where they both curled up on the couch and ate their sandwiches in front of the television. Infomercials. Somehow Jon always ended up back here.
He finished his sandwich and sat the empty plate and mug on the coffee table. When he settled back, Stephen was looking at him. “What?”
“I was thinking before, is all,” said Stephen. “About when we first met.”
“Yeah, do you remember?”
“Yeah.” Jon remembered a warm smile and a firm handshake and it had been a surprise in a sea of unfriendly new faces. He’d been so nervous, and the first few months had been full of assholes. “You asked me how I was and I said I might hurl. You said it would pass.”
“And I was right.”
“Eventually.” Jon laughed. “Jesus, it doesn’t feel like that long ago. It’s been-”
“It’s been a little while.” Stephen smiled warmly at him and then turned back towards the television. They were talking about a new wonder blender that was priced at just 49.99. Jon had seen that many blenders over the years. It used to be all about the mops, but who gave a shit about mops now? He’d bought one of those mops, back when he was single and jobless, and it had been a fucking terrible idea, but he thought he’d needed it. It had collected dust in the cupboard until Tracey had thrown it out, maybe ten years later.
Stephen rested his hand on Jon’s arm gently, and squeezed. When Jon looked over, Stephen still had that smile on his face, and his eyes were bright behind his glasses. “What?”
“How are you, Jon?”
It wasn’t really a question Jon had expected Stephen to ask, nor was it something he had an answer for. It wasn’t a question he really ever got, and he laughed and looked back at the goddamn blender. Stephen waited, and when Jon looked back at him and blurted, “I’m so fucking tired, Stephen,” he just nodded and pulled Jon closer.
It has recently come to my attention that your beard does not make you look like Colonel Sanders, but instead, a creepy thin Santa who spends the Christmas offseason loitering around playground, watching and waiting. It is scaring the children. Please shave.
Eagerly awaiting your response,
It was three hours after he sent the email that the knock on the door came and Stephen waltzed in without waiting for a response. He shut the door quietly behind him, turned to face Jon and shook his head. “You’ve got too much time on your hands.”
“And you still have a beard.”
“I want to join ZZ Top so badly, Jon.” Stephen sat down gracelessly on the couch and patted for Jon to join him.
“Do you think they’ll want you?” Jon asked as he sat down next to Stephen.
“I can be pretty persuasive when I want to be.”
“Oh, I know.”
They sat in silence for a moment, Jon looking at the floor, Stephen looking at Jon, until finally Jon sighed. “I’m, uh, gonna tell everyone tonight, after the show, and figure some shit out after. Maybe tell the public later in the week or maybe next week, I don’t know. I don’t know. I Tracey says I should treat it like ripping off a bandaid, you know, just fucking rip it, but it’s gonna hurt like hell.”
“I know,” Stephen said, and Jon nodded, because Stephen really did know. “What do you think you’re going to do after?”
Jon knew that was a question that was going to come up a lot in the next few days. He didn’t have much of an answer for it, besides watch his kids grow up before it was too late. Maybe he would do another show, sooner or later. Maybe he would do some stand up. Maybe he would do nothing. He didn’t really know, but he supposed he would have some time to figure it out soon.
He smiled at Stephen and shrugged. “Whatever I want.”