He rang the bell, keeping his finger pressed against it just in case Vaughn was thinking of ignoring visitors. After about fifteen seconds the door swung open and his friend stood there glaring at him in befuddlement. Weiss held up his bagged bottle of tequila by way of explanation.
"And just in case," he said, holding up the other bottle. "I wasn't sure two would be enough but I figured you'd have beer."
After a moment of expressionless squinting, Vaughn stood back to let him in.
"I figure if we get drunk enough, we might be able to kill off enough brain cells to dull the nightmares."
"Good thinking." Vaughn found shot glasses and brought them to the living room pinched between two fingers, beers knocking together in his other hand. Then he sat, uncorked a liter of tequila, and drank straight from the bottle.
"Just so you know," he said when he finished a long swallow, "I really don't want to talk about it."
"Gotcha. Also, ditto."
Half an hour later, they were both slumped on opposite couches, eating from bags of chips. "Then he gave me the 'We're both professionals' talk," Vaughn said.
"Jack gave you the 'professionals' talk?"
"Well, it's friendlier than the 'Breathe a word of this and I put a bullet through your head' talk."
"Oh yeah. Much friendlier." Vaughn gave him a not-smile. "My ears had frostbite when he was done, but the feeling's starting to come back now."
After another half hour, he was saying: "The sex was great."
Weiss stared bleary-eyed at him. "I didn't need to know that. You know why I didn't need to know that? Because I *heard* that. And now I'm scarred."
"God. Poor Syd. Talk about scarred." He stared off to one side, deep unhappiness settling into the lines of his face. "I can't even look her in the eye."
"Yeah, same here."
"Why? It's not like you did anything."
Weiss blinked and for a microsecond thought about confessing. Shyeahh no. "Trust me. It was enough that I was there."
"Bearing witness," Vaughn said deadpan.
For some reason this struck them as incredibly funny and they began to laugh and then kept laughing until they were gasping with tears in their eyes. Weiss fell onto his side on the couch and thumped the cushion several times with one hand. Vaughn folded forward to wind up on the floor by the coffee table. When he recovered, he sat there, leaning back against the couch, legs out, tequila bottle between them. His hair and shirt had reached new levels of rumpled over the course of the evening.
"You know what's really fucked up?" he asked, staring at the coffee table where a mosaic of tortilla chips lay across the glass. "I want to have sex with him again."
"Whoa," Weiss said, peering at him with one eye and then dragging himself back upright. "No shit?"
"No shit. It's the drug." Vaughn flicked a glance up briefly in examination before looking down again. "It's not out of our systems yet."
"What? How do you know?"
"They're testing us every few days. They don't--" He swallowed and abruptly looked scared. "They don't know if they can get it out."
Weiss let his head fall back against the couch. His mind was blown. Spindled. Mutilated by knowledge. "That is so fucked up." He focused on Vaughn again. "You've known this a week and you didn't say anything?"
"I shouldn't even be telling you now. He'd kill me. Like, literally." For some reason, this seemed to amuse him. "He'd probably throttle me with his tie."
"Cut out your heart with a dull spoon."
"Ice pick," Vaughn mused.
Vaughn shook his head, brows drawn tight in amazed disappointment, as if Weiss had just revealed his ignorance of a two-player forecheck. "He's a hands-on kind of guy."
That silenced them for a minute as the words took on greater significance. Recovering first, Weiss decided it was time for friendly advice. "You just need to move on. Whatever you do, do *not* look back. You know what happened to Orpheus."
Vaughn stared at him quizzically. "He lost his wife."
"Huh. I thought he turned to salt. Okay, bad analogy. But my point remains."
"Don't look back," Vaughn repeated, then zoned, lost in his own brooding thoughts for several moments before looking up. "Did I mention I want to have sex with him again?"
"Yeah, hey, thanks. I was trying to forget that."
"Do you think Jack's hot?" he said with a head-tilting frown.
Weiss straightened like a shot, almost sobering up, eyes wide. From Vaughn's expression it wasn't even a joke. "Okay, I'm cutting you off."
"I mean, objectively."
"I'm serious, Mike, hand over the tequila." He held out his hand and made an impatient grabby gesture. Vaughn sighed and ignored him. When he said no more about whatever it was he'd just said--Weiss had blocked it out--he warily resettled and let Vaughn keep his bottle.
Their drinking slowed down until they were both stretched out on their couches, nearly asleep. Both of them had their eyes shut. Weiss had a dim feeling that he was covered in tortilla chips, but was too numb to brush himself off.
"I'm your friend, you know that, right?" he said sleepily.
"Yeah. Okay." There was a long pause before Vaughn murmured, "Is there more?" Weiss could hear him fading.
"No," he said comfortably, drifting off along with him. "That's all."
It wasn't really all of course. Things remained weird. Their team had entered a new era of dysfunction, with Dixon roped in, since they'd had to include all the sticky details in their reports. Everyone had trouble looking at everyone else during briefings. Except for Jack, who was a stone-cold mother and could still stare down a Sherman tank. Weiss honestly didn't know how Vaughn could stand it, seeing the guy every day, hearing him say things like, "I'll expect your analysis on my desk in an hour." Weiss worried that sooner or later he'd just snap, maybe even do something extreme, like quit the agency. He was the guy's best friend; it was his job to stay vigilant, and he did.
And then one day he walked into the men's room and found the two of them pressed up against a wall, kissing and grinding frantically, making little noises of desperate need. They broke away in shock at his entrance, both of them staring at him like rabbits caught in headlights. Weiss didn't think they'd even realized where they were.
"I'm just going to--" He turned around and left. He was the guy's best friend. What the hell else was he going to do?
Even Jack Bristow's legendary composure didn't survive that one intact. He actually sought Weiss out and apologized. Well, he said "I'm sorry you had to see that" in a tight voice, which for all Weiss knew was a prelude to the man pulling out a gun and silencer. But no gun appeared and he looked shaken. From what Weiss heard later, he took the rest of the day off.
Whatever was going to happen next seemed like a coin toss. That night Weiss imagined coming in the following morning to hear that Bristow had eaten his gun, or being told to pull together a mission to find an antidote to their chemical imbalance--or, worse, he'd just wind up watching the two of them grow haggard and insane with mutual loathing as time passed, until someone got transferred out or resigned. And then what?
He tried to reach Vaughn, but he wasn't answering his door or his phone. Sydney was in Germany. Jack...he wasn't even going there. So he sat around and watched TV and drank alone, wondering why he didn't have a girlfriend.
The next morning he went into the office with trepidation. Vaughn was working at his desk. Weiss closed his eyes briefly with relief. Glancing around and not seeing Jack, he went over. "Hey."
Vaughn looked up and smiled as if everything were normal. "Hey." Then he made an apologetic face as if remembering events. "Sorry about yesterday."
"Yeah, no sweat," he said with vast casualness. "You go to the men's room, you take your chances. So." He lowered his voice. "Can we talk?"
After a moment Vaughn got up and they headed to one of the tech rooms, where the hum of computers behind closed doors made conversation secure.
"You going to tell me, or do I have to get out the bamboo shoots?"
"Tell you what?"
"What the hell happened yesterday."
Face impassive, Vaughn studied him closely, then said, "We had sex."
Weiss released a pent-up breath that he'd been holding for the last twenty-four hours. Sympathy flooded in from unexpected depths. "I'm so sorry, man." It had to unbelievably suck.
"Actually we've kind of worked things out."
That sounded weird and suddenly he wasn't sure he wanted to hear more. "Oh?"
"Kind of a gentleman's agreement." He gave a wry half-smile.
"I don't want to know the details, do I."
"No," Vaughn said with a brief headshake of certainty, hands in pockets.
"Just tell me--should I worry?"
Vaughn hesitated, clearly thinking it over, then looked up and smiled again, more easily. "I don't think so."