Fandom: Jonas Brothers RPS
Pairing: Nick Jonas/Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas/others (mentioned)
Warnings: ...Jonas Brothers RPS.
Word Count: 2500.
Summary: By the time his third divorce rolls around, Nick feels like he's an expert.
Notes: I kept taunting mediaville with my trainwreck-like love of the JONAS TV show, and she kept telling me to write fic, so I figured, hey, what's the worst that can happen?
Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue.
Nick wonders if divorce is actually something that's supposed to get easier, or if he just has a natural talent for it. By now, it's all old hat--he has intimacy issues, he drinks too much, he's trying to relive his glory days. He has more deficiencies than he can count on both hands, and Dakota had thrown every one in his face on her way out, like he didn't know.
Like she'd thought anything else when she married him.
He never calls Kevin for these things anymore. Kevin might be his oldest brother, but he's also ended up somehow magically functional, still in his first marriage, with kids and out of the business entirely. Like the whole Jonas era was another life that he shed.
Joe, of course, is different.
"I'm getting a divorce," he says.
"Was your marriage actually shorter than your engagement this time?" asks Joe. Nick can picture him--he's probably rooting through the fridge, looking for something edible, which he doesn't have, because his assistant goes to the store on Sundays, and Joe never manages to tell her to buy enough food to get him through the whole week.
Nick wonders how long it would take him to get wherever Joe is.
"Probably," says Nick. "When did I get married?"
"You know when you got married," says Joe.
It's true, he does. He and Dakota were married on June 3, in Hawaii. She wore ivory, because no one believed she was a virgin, and she looked beautiful. Joe and Kevin were his best men, like they have been for all three of his marriages.
Everyone but Joe would have believed he forgot.
"Six-month engagement," says Nick. "Four-month marriage."
"What are you doing, Nicky?" asks Joe.
"What are you doing?" asks Nick. It's immature, but he's tired.
"Not drinking myself into a stupor."
Nick glances at his half-full gin and tonic and wishes he and Joe weren't this close. Or were a little closer. "Let me guess, you're out of food, so you just made yourself a sandwich with--" he closes his eyes. "Mayonnaise, wilted lettuce, and baloney?"
"I'll go shopping tomorrow," says Joe petulantly.
"No, Anna will go shopping on Sunday and you'll eat takeout tomorrow."
"Fine," says Joe. He sighs. "So what happened?"
"I'm a selfish, conceited asshole," says Nick. "Same old, same old."
"Remember when you were the cute, innocent one?"
"No," says Nick. "But I'm still the smart one."
Joe snorts. "Starting and finishing a marriage in ten months?"
"I'm efficient," Nick mutters.
"You should come over," says Joe. "You can crash on my couch."
"What happened to your guest room?"
"I don't want you getting too comfortable," says Joe. "You'd never leave."
Joe's the only one who still lives in Los Angeles--after the band broke up, he decided to focus on acting, and Nick went for singing in New York. Kevin went for having a family and being a person, and Nick's never quite forgiven him for it.
Going back to Los Angeles always feels like taking a step backwards to Nick, like he's becoming less the person he wanted to be. Not that he is the person he wanted to be now, but L.A. is stifling.
He never gets Joe to pick him up, always calls a taxi so that every flight in isn't a Jonas Brothers reunion special. The press jumps on it every time they're together, like the band went through some sort of epic, angsty breakup, where no one ever spoke again after.
Like they aren't brothers.
When he gets to Joe's, he keys in the security code and slings his duffel bag over his shoulder. Joe doesn't come out to meet him and Nick doesn't expect him to, just hikes up the driveway and rings the doorbell.
"You should get some real luggage," says Joe, instead of a greeting.
"Then what would you make fun of me about?" asks Nick. He gives Joe a hug on auto-pilot, reminds himself not to think about how it feels, about what he really wants.
"I'm sure I'd think of something," says Joe. The implication is clear, but he never says the divorce or the drinking or being a fuckup. "Come on in," says Joe, and Nick does.
Nick has kissed exactly one guy, exactly one time. He was drunk, and there was a camera he didn't know about, and the media has mentioned it when covering both of his two last divorces. He has no reason to think the trend won't continue.
Kevin said, "I thought you were the smart one," and Joe said, "Aww, little Nicky all grown up and making bad decisions." Which, in retrospect, is pretty funny.
He's never talked to anyone about it, and he's never tried it again.
It's not really about wanting guys.
"So how long are you staying?" Joe asks. Anna went shopping, and the fridge is full.
"I have a gig on Friday night," says Nick.
"I can write you a note if you want," says Joe. "Dear club manager," he says, tossing Nick a grin. "Please excuse Nick from performing tonight. He is going through a divorce and not feeling very well. Sincerely, Joe Jonas."
"I like singing," says Nick.
"Really," Joe deadpans. "I had no idea."
"It takes my mind off stuff." He glances at Joe. "Besides, seeing you is great, but being in L.A. isn't exactly getting away from all the industry bullshit."
"You could go see Kevin," Joe suggests, but his tone makes it clear that he knows that's not an option. "Or Frankie."
"Yeah," says Nick. "Sure I could."
Kevin's not even far--he's in Michigan, which is closer than California. But New York and L.A. are on the same plane--Michigan is the real world.
"So whirlwind visit?"
"I need to get my head on straight."
"In under a week?"
Nick laughs, mirthlessly. "Yeah, tall order."
Joe claps him on the shoulder. "She wasn't right for you, man."
"There are other fish in the sea."
"Tis better to have loved and lost--"
"This stopped being helpful a while ago," says Nick, but there's a smile tugging at his mouth, and he feels better than he has in months.
Four months, to be exact. Since his wedding, when he last saw Joe.
Joe never really made it big as an actor. When Nick manages to look at him objectively, which isn't often, he has to admit that Joe isn't great. He's still good-looking, but he's not the teen dream he used to be. He does a decently popular TV show, a sitcom with Jennette McCurdy, who everyone thinks he's dating. Nick's one of the privileged few who knows she'd rather be dating Dakota, but only because Joe knows.
"At least you're off the Disney Channel," says Nick, glancing through the latest script as he eats Joe's insanely sugary cereal.
"At least there's that," Joe agrees. "It's not bad."
"Your comedic timing was always the worst," says Nick. "It's sad that you're making a living off it."
"We can't all be Kevin," says Joe, and it's actually a little sharp.
Joe's the only one of them who's never married. He's linked to a new starlet every week, but there's only been any truth to a few of the rumors.
"Who wants to be Kevin?" asks Nick, too flippantly. "Our hair's a lot better."
Joe laughs, and it's a little forced, but Nick will take it. "So, what are we doing?"
"I can help you run lines." He grins. "Don't want you slacking just to take care of your baby brother."
Joe slings an arm around him. "I wouldn't mind."
Nick lets himself lean in. "Yeah, well, Jennette would kill me."
"Scared of Jennette, huh?"
Joe doesn't drink or smoke. Nick found it disgustingly wholesome for a while, when he was rebelling against promise rings and boybands and the entire Disney corporation, but he's come back around to appreciating that it's just Joe. It's not about being straight-edge or a goody goody; Joe's just not really a drinker.
He makes Nick go out on the porch to smoke, which Nick does once every hour or so, when his hands start itching to pull Joe in close and do stupid things to him.
Joe usually stays inside, but around ten, he follows him out into the darkness. It's October, and even in L.A., October is chilly. Joe crosses his arms and shivers slightly, which makes Nick smirk.
"Not everyone lives in the frigid north," says Joe. He glares as Nick lights up. "Those things are going to kill you."
"Really? I'm still banking on crazy a Jonas stalker taking me out first."
"That's not funny," says Joe, sharply enough to make Nick perk up. "You're my little brother, Nick. I'm tired of watching you fuck up."
There's a lump in Nick's throat. He's expected a come-to-Jesus talk from Joe for years--hell, he's gotten them from Kevin--but it's different to hear it. He stubs his cigarette out without smoking any of it. "Then don't ask me to come over," he says, shoving past him.
He goes upstairs and slams the guestroom door. He tries to go to sleep, but he's too wired, so he jerks off instead. He resolutely thinks of nothing, as always, but when he gets close, his brain slips to Joe, like it always does.
Afterward, he feels dirty and twitchy and too big for his own skin, but he throws his cigarettes in the trash and refuses to look back.
In the mirror in the morning, he looks gray and tired and old. He has too much stubble, and his hair is a disaster.
He likes it, actually. It reminds him he's not on TV anymore, and the people who come to see him now aren't just in it for his pretty face.
Joe's already gone when he makes it downstairs, but there's a note on the counter.
Joe feels like shit about last night, but unfortunately, you weren't awake to write him a note and get him out of filming. So he'll be back at six or so, and he's sorry for being a jerk.
PS: You're a jerk too.
Nick smiles and grabs the cereal.
Dakota calls at ten, which is one in New York, so she's probably on a lunch break.
"Where the hell are you?" she asks, without preamble.
"We're getting divorced," says Nick. "That means you don't care anymore."
"I sent papers to your apartment and there was no one there."
Nick sighs. She always was on top of things. "I'm at Joe's."
"Joe's. Of course."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asks, mostly because he wants to know if she's actually figured it out.
"I mean that maybe, if you told me when you had news instead of your brother, we wouldn't be breaking up."
"You can send the stuff over here," says Nick finally.
"Yeah," says Dakota. "Bye."
He really did like her. He always likes them.
That's just not enough.
Nick cooks. He feels dry and tired, he wants a drink and a smoke and maybe a fuck, but he's at Joe's and none of those things are options. So he makes a nice dinner because it keeps his hands busy, and when Joe comes in, he's just taking the steaks out of the broiler.
"Nice apron," says Joe, smirking. Nick needs a cigarette, because he's never wanted to kiss another person so much in his entire life.
"It's your apron," he points out.
"So it's not surprising I like it," says Joe evenly.
"I don't want to die," says Nick. "In case you were wondering."
"What do you want?" asks Joe.
"To eat dinner."
"I'm serious, Nick."
"Do we have to do this now?"
He expects Joe to relent, but he doesn't. "Yeah," says Joe. "I think we're pretty overdue. In case you forgot, I'm still your big brother--"
Nick snorts. "Trust me, I've never forgotten that." He doesn't mean to say it, and of course, Joe latches on.
"What does that mean?"
Nick sighs. He's thirty-three, and he feels older. He's tired, he needs a drink, he needs a smoke, and he needs to feel capable of falling in love with someone he's not related to.
"What do you think it means?" he asks defiantly.
"If I knew, I wouldn't ask."
Nick pushes off the counter to glare at Joe. He wishes, desperately, that he wasn't shorter than Joe. He wishes for once, he could be the big brother, somehow.
"It means you're the reason I keep getting divorced, Joe. It means I'm fucked up, and wrong, and there's nothing I can do about it. No matter how much I drink, you're still my big brother, and you still don't want me."
The timer for the potatoes is going off, and they're probably burning, but given that Nick just confessed his love to his older brother, he's having trouble worrying that much about dinner.
The sound is annoying, though, so he goes to turn it off, and Joe catches him, crowds him up against the sink, and kisses him.
Joe kisses slow and romantic, like the teen dream he always was. He kisses like he's trying to seduce Nick, like Nick hasn't been married three times, hasn't fucked more girls than he can count.
Like Nick isn't the surest fucking thing in the world.
Nick is glad he hasn't smoked today, because Joe would taste it. He's glad he hasn't shaved, because Joe will have stubble burn from kissing him--that's how much Nick is planning to kiss Joe.
He doesn't remember the last time he planned to kiss anyone that much.
They're still making out when the fire alarm goes off.
"Potatoes," says Nick. "I was going to get them."
"Uh huh," says Joe.
Nick wets his lips. "Always?" he asks, and hopes Joe gets it.
"If I knew it would get you to quit smoking, I would have said something sooner," says Joe. He pulls away to take the battery out of the smoke alarm.
"I haven't quit smoking," says Nick petulantly.
Joe kisses him again.
"Have too," he says, against Nick's lips.
"Have too," Nick agrees.
Joe smirks. "Should always listen to your big brother, Nick."
"I'm the smart one," Nick protests.
"You're an idiot," says Joe. His hand is under Nick's shirt, rubbing his side, beneath his ribs.
"Okay," says Nick. "I'm an idiot."
Nick's flight home is on Thursday.
"I'll call you," says Joe.
"You always call me."
"So you don't have to worry I'm lying to make you feel better."
"I've got a gig in L.A.," says Nick, biting his lip.
"Yesterday. In a couple weeks. Is your guest room free?"
"No," he says. "But I've got some space in the master bedroom."
"I'd never leave," says Nick. He makes it a joke.
Joe doesn't. "That's fine."