“I don’t know how to tie this,” Jupiter hissed, poking his head out from the bathroom to scowl at Lincoln and Yong-sun. In his fingers was his silk bowtie, black to contrast his baby blue shirt.
“Well I can’t help you,” Yong-sun replied, fiddling with his own tie, staring at his reflection in the mirror. “Jackson’s gonna see me, I need to look fire.”
“Jackson has seen you running on two hours of sleep without caffeine,” Jupiter shot back. “I don’t think he’s going to care.”
Lincoln ignored the two of them, walking towards Jupiter and tugging the bowtie from his fingers. He tied it quickly, straightening out Jupiter’s collar. He noticed the snakes on the collar and almost choked.
“Is this Gucci?”
“My dad bought it for me,” Jupiter shrugged. “I’m probably wearing it for my own grad too.” Lincoln didn’t even want to know how much it cost. He decided to ignore that too, instead reaching up to fix Jupiter’s hair. He had bleached it completely blonde, his galaxy hair too vibrant for the event.
“You look good with the blonde hair,” Lincoln commented, taming the unruly locks with his fingers before pulling away.
“My eyebrow game is too strong,” Jupiter said, wiggling his dark eyebrows and grinning.
“I can’t believe mom is graduating,” Yong-sun said, fake-sobbing into a handkerchief. “My eomma who has raised me since birth-”
“Let’s go, Oliver is here to pick us up,” Jupiter interrupted. Yong-sun squeaked, frantically putting on his freshly polished dress shoes and running out the door, not even bothering to close it behind him.
Lincoln moved to follow but Jupiter stopped him, wrapping his arm around Lincoln’s waist and holding him tightly, probably wrinkling Lincoln’s shirt.
“Hey,” Jupiter said, tilting his chin up to look Lincoln in the eyes.
“Hey,” Lincoln said back, smiling in amusement. “Isn’t Oliver waiting?”
“Oliver said he’ll be here in five, actually,” Jupiter admitted. Lincoln laughed, flicking him on the forehead for trolling Yong-sun, to which Jupiter pouted at him.
“Put that back where it belongs,” Lincoln said, poking Jupiter’s bottom lip until he beamed, grinning that stupid box-shaped grin that Lincoln loved so much.
“Hey,” Jupiter said again. “I’m clingy, annoying, bratty, and I know like every girl group dance ever. I’m loud and dysfunctional and I always burn the rice. Be my boyfriend anyway?”
Lincoln snorted. “You’re insufferable but sure.”
Jupiter pulled away with his jaw dropped. “I cannot believe you just fucking said that.”
“C’mon,” Lincoln said, tapping Jupiter’s nose with a finger. “Oliver’s probably here. We’re gonna be late.”
With that, he grabbed his shoes and bolted out the door, laughing at Jupiter’s outraged cry. Giggling, he stumbled down the steps, pausing at a landing to shove his feet into his shoes, and then sprinting down the rest of the stairs and out the door.
Oliver was already waiting, so Lincoln tripped his way to his car and dove into the back seat just as Jupiter appeared, disheveled, tiny, and angry.
“You’re an asshole,” Jupiter growled as he dropped into the seat next to Lincoln. He crossed his arms to sulk, and continued to sulk all the way to Wright Stadium where the ceremony was taking place.
“Please stop pouting,” Lincoln whispered during the ceremony, ignoring the glares of the people sitting in front of him. Jupiter sighed and ignored him. “If you stop pouting I’ll let you sit on my shoulders to hold the banner.”
“Deal,” Jupiter said immediately. He stayed quiet for the duration of the ceremony, and when they began calling the students’ names, Jupiter silently climbed onto Lincoln’s shoulders. There was a reason they sat in the back.
“That’s our mom!”
“Fuck yeah, Tsu!”
“That’s my husband right there!”
“Damn, Tsuyoshi, you look sexy in that gown!”
Lincoln could feel the heat of every glare burning with the intensity of a thousand suns. Tsuyoshi, though, just beamed, waving at the rowdy group in the back screaming his name and waving around a banner reading “CONGRATULATIONS MOM” in purple and pink glitter, which was getting into his hair.
“That’s gonna be you on stage next year,” Jupiter said softly after they had settled down and the ceremony proceeded. “You’re gonna get your degree and you’re gonna make your mom so proud of you.”
“Yeah?” Lincoln said, and pretended like he wasn’t crying.
“Yeah,” Jupiter echoed, reaching down and lacing their fingers together, squeezing like Lincoln was his lifeline.
And Lincoln held on.
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