So, after reading the Home Depot fic I found myself conflicted. I loved it, but couldn't help myself for feeling bad that Chris was doing all of these nice things for someone that didn't appear to him to be reciprocating (maybe it hit a little too close to home, aha), so I decided to write a companion piece that was from Zach's point of view. This, is should be said, is the first piece of fic I have finished since back in the day when I used to write Snarry. Yes, its been that long. Anyway, here it is:
Chris is depressed. This is obvious to everyone but Chris, as Chris is an oblivious bastard (for further evidence of this please refer to that fact that Zach has been in love with him for months and Chris has no idea).
“Zach, I think Chris is depressed.” Chris’s sister calls to tell him.
“Yeah, I know.” He sighs, rubbing Noah’s belly as he skims a script.
“Well, what are we going to do about it?” She asks.
“By we, you mean me, don’t you?” He says, cursing the whole Pine family for existing a little.
“Obviously.” Kate huffs.
“What makes me qualified to do anything about it?”
“Because you’re there and I’m not.” And she sounds so worried that Zach lets himself feel worried too, and they end up discussing strategies for stopping Chris from sliding further down a Depression Spiral.
“You know what Chris loves, but would never admit to loving?” She finally says.
Zach is intrigued despite himself. “What?”
“Home improvement projects. Those lesbians he hung out with at Berkeley really turned him on to it. Whenever he gets depressed at home, Mom just lets him resand her cabinets. He usually comes out of it.”
Zach wants to say that having to watch Chris be sweaty and home improvement-y will make him depressed, but he doesn’t because A) telling Kate that he’s in love with her brother is a horrible idea and B) he’s a good friend and can deal with it if it’ll make Chris stop sleeping all the time.
“But my home’s fine. It doesn’t need any improvement.”
“Just have him build a gazebo. Gay guys love gazebos, right? He’ll totally buy it.”
Hanging out with Chris is usually a careful balancing act. It requires wearing many (non-visor) hats. Mainly the self-preservation, be an asshole so you don’t get too close hat, and the trying to be a good friend hat.
Watching Chris nail stuff and sweat through his shirt in his backyard is an act of balancing worthy of an Olympic medal. He doesn’t offer to help because this gazebo is not about him, and because he can see more than is good for him from his lawn chair. The sunglasses only help a little.
it didn’t work. He texts Kate with one hand as he makes Chris a sandwich with the other because he’s that awesome. the gazebo’s finished and he still looks depressed.
have him make you that pond waterfall thing then. DUH. She replies. He really hates all people with the last name of Pine.
Another one of the hats that Zach has to wear around Chris in order to preserve his sanity is the matchmaker hat. He’s carefully trained himself, Pavlov style, to try to set Chris up with someone whenever he has the urge to think of Chris as his significant whatever. The Chris Improvement project has meant that he is constantly trying to get him dates with women. Constantly. By the time the pond is almost done, he has talked to every female employee of the Home Depot. Even if they weren’t Chris’s type. Especially, he can admit to himself, if they weren’t Chris’s type, because he’s really not that good of a person. But he’s a sane not-good person, so that has to count for something.
When Chris suggests that they make the outdoor fireplace, Zach is relieved. Chris is finally coming out of his funk. This is good for Chris because building shit style of therapy is much more expensive than any therapist would be, and good for Zach because he can stop having Chris Pine manual labor porn in his backyard.
That is until Chris decides that outdoor fireplaces should be constructed shirtless. Zach has never been so glad that his sunglasses are extra reflective in his life. They are so reflective he misses Chris trying to drown himself in the cement until its too late.
He has up to this point treated sweaty, constructing half-naked Chris as a hazardous material. Pulling him out of the cement means getting close enough to smell and touch him, but not helping means that he would have to see Chris not wearing a shirt every time he looked out his back window. He likes the idea so much that he jumps up and yanks him out.
“I really need to get laid,” He says to himself as he goes upstairs to help a (obviously seriously impaired) Chris find a pair of pants to put on.
“Chris?” He says. “Have you gotten stuck in my dresser too? We really need to keep you away from-”
The sight of Chris in skin-tight yoga pants and nothing else, is one of the best and worse things he’s ever seen.
He decides to go out and get laid immediately. Because he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship, and because he likes yoga, and how is ever supposed to do yoga without getting a giant erection when he keeps seeing Chris wearing his yoga pants every time he closes his eyes?
Alexander is perfectly nice, fucking hot, and not wearing anything remotely resembling yoga pants.
He turns the car off in his driveway, and looks over at the yes, twink, he has just picked up and tries to think of something to say.
“Do you want to see my gazebo?” He finally says, and snorts at how dirty that sounds.
Alexander doesn’t seem to think its funny at all. His eyes go wide and he says, “What’s it made out of? I’ve heard pine is really the best for gazebos.”
He thought that having sex with someone else in the gazebo would help him erase all the thoughts he’s been harboring about Chris and tool belts, but Alexander isn’t helping. Instead of kissing him or taking off his pants, Alexander is walking around the gazebo, cooing about the craftsmanship, and how the plants offset it so nicely, and who did he find that did such lovely work and he feels like he’s in that M C Escher drawing of the water flowing through the castle where the water always ends up back in the same place even if it defies the laws of physics.
Finally he drags Alexander into the gazebo and sticks his hand in his pants. And then promptly trips over Chris. Still not wearing a shirt.
He’s definitely trapped in that Escher drawing.
After Chris’s hissy fit he drives Alexander back to his house, because he’s a nice guy, and may use other people to get over his pathetic crushes, but he always drives them home after.
As soon as the car door shuts he calls Kate.
“I think I broke him.” He says when she picks up sleepily.
“What? I thought he was doing better!” She yells, equal parts confused and angry.
“He was, and then he passed out in the gazebo and I tripped over him with this guy that I brought home and he freaked out. And he was drunk and I-” He’s babbling, but there is a part of him that believes Kate could totally kill him over the phone if he doesn't get the story out fast enough.
“Oh Zachary.” She cuts him off. And he feels like shit. “In the gazebo? That he just built you? That’s just, icky.”
“Why?” His question is met by absolute silence on the other side.
“I’m not saying anything!” She finally says.
“Are you implying he was jealous?" He sighs. "Ha, ha, Kate. You're so amusing."
“I’m. Not. Saying. Anything.” She says again. And then hangs up.
A few seconds later he gets a text from her that says. fix this. also, you’ve totally got chris beat when it comes to obliviousness. get your head out of your ass! xoxo :)
Just because Zach’s sister passive aggressively said that Chris might like him doesn’t mean that he’s going to assume its true without further proof.
So the next day, he shows up at Chris’s apartment (“He gave you a key to his apartment and you’re still doubting this?” The voice in his head says. It sounds disturbingly like Kate.). He makes heuvos racheros as quietly as he can so that he doesn’t wake Chris up, and when they are just about done he brings a cup of coffee into Chris’s room.
Chris looks as depressed as he did when he first dragged him to the Home Depot to start building the gazebo, and Zach allows himself to maybe think Chris’s depression was actually just a (totally understandable) desire to have some amazing gay sex with him.
He decides to wait and test this hypothesis until Chris has finished the fireplace though. If he’s going to risk imploding one of his best friendships on the advice of an evil sibling, he figures he should at least make sure he gets a fireplace out of the deal.
Finally they’re sitting in the gazebo and listening to the waterfall’s dulcetly illegal tones and the crackling of the small inaugural fire. He looks around at all of the things that Chris has done for him this summer, and finally believes that Kate could be right, Chris could be funneling his desperate love through garden projects, and he can stop being the emotional equivalent of a miniature Russian girl in a leotard.
After they’ve gotten the whole talking about it thing out of the way and gotten on to the making out, Zach thinks they're in the clear for having full blown gazebo sex when Chris suddenly stops and looks horrified over Zach’s shoulder.
“I think that nosy neighbor of yours can see us.” Chris hisses.
“I told you we should have gotten more ivy.” Zach says, and tilts his face so he can kiss him some more.
The waterfall will totally cover up the sex noises anyway.