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Title: A History of Dumb Things (in the Name of Love)
Characters: Quentin Kinley, Tyler Jordan Graham
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 3888
Notes: Tyler Jordan is the angel on Quentin's shoulder and Quentin is the devil on Tyler Jordan's. But what if it was the other way around? Guardian angel AU.


Tyler Jordan was fourteen the first time he met his guardian angel. His family had gone to the mountain for snowboarding and skiing, and Tyler Jordan was trying to show off on an intermediate hill and broke his leg doing something stupid on a plastic sled. The pain was literally blinding; his vision tunneled out for a minute, and when he came back to himself and looked around he found a skinny boy kneeling next to him looking very worried.

"Don't move," the boy said. "Someone's going to get help." He took Tyler Jordan's hand and didn't wince when Tyler Jordan squeezed tightly. "That was a dumb thing to do, you know."

"No kidding," Tyler Jordan gasped, and the boy gave him a faint, ironic smile. The boy's eyes were the only green thing there was to see in February, startlingly bright. "This sucks so hard." He couldn't help the tears streaming down his cheeks, and he was surprised when the boy leaned in to brush them from his cheeks with very soft white gloves.

"You'll be okay," he said. "It's gonna hurt like crazy, you definitely broke it. But I promise that you'll be all right." After a second, the boy shifted, moving behind Tyler Jordan and lifting his head off the snow and onto the boy's lap. "Not if you go into shock, though." Even through all their protective layers, the boy radiated warmth, and Tyler Jordan closed his eyes against the cloudy sky and let himself be comforted through the pain.

When the ski resort rescue team reached Tyler Jordan, they loaded him onto a stretcher, and when he turned to thank the boy, he was nowhere to be found. After getting morphine in the ambulance, the whole afternoon went hazy, and Tyler Jordan didn't remember anything between the moment he broke his leg and when he woke up in the hospital with the bone set and casted already.

The second time was three years later, the first time Tyler Jordan got into a car accident. No one would ever accuse Tyler Jordan of having an abundance of caution, and he'd barely had his license for three months before he crashed his car running a red light. The airbag inflating and the catch of his seatbelt stunned him, and he just sat in his car for a minute before someone pulled the door open and touched his shoulder carefully.

"You're a fucking moron," the young man said, looking concerned but unimpressed, "that was totally your fault. Are you hurt? Can you move?"

"I can move," Tyler Jordan said, proving it by releasing his seatbelt, but he took the guy's hand offered in help as he got out of the car. "Holy shit. What about the other person?"

"They're fine, you hit the back end of their car. Come on..." Tyler Jordan blinked at this unexpectedly helpful person as they walked over to the curb where someone else was comforting the driver of the other car, a shocked-looking middle aged woman. "Cops will be here soon. You know you fucked up, right? This is on you."

"What did I do?"

"You ran a red light, dumbass. Traffic lights aren't suggestions."

"Where'd you come from?"

"I'm a do-gooder," the man said, smirking like it was a joke. "Think before you do shit, will you? Next time someone will get hurt worse."

"I'll try," Tyler Jordan said, and the man nodded. "Who are you?"

"Concerned third party," he said, and at Tyler Jordan's skeptically arched eyebrow he half-smiled. "Quentin. You can call me Quentin."

"Okay... thanks, Quentin."

"Don't mention it." Quentin glanced over his shoulder at the sound of a police siren approaching and patted Tyler Jordan's shoulder. "You're on your own now. Like I said, think about things before you do them, okay? And don't mouth off to the cops."

"I never mouth off to authority figures," Tyler Jordan said, and Quentin just smirked at him and walked away.

The next time was at a house party. Tyler Jordan was only twenty and shouldn't have been drinking in the first place, but he was a few drinks into the night when he wandered outside to catch some fresh air and bodily ran into a familiar face as he went out the door.

"Oh! It's you!" Quentin's hair was a little longer, but his eyes were just as green, and his smirk was just as sarcastic. "How's it going?"

"Could be worse," Quentin said, and he pushed Tyler Jordan back into the house with a hand on his chest. "You don't want to go out there."

"Why not?"

"There's some guys fighting in the street. This place has a backyard, though." Tyler Jordan let Quentin lead him through the house and out into the yard, out of the stiflingly hot house into a still pretty stiflingly hot night, snagging another can of beer on their way through the kitchen. There was an in-ground pool in the backyard, and Tyler Jordan sat on the edge and dipped his feet into the water.

"This is nice," he said thoughtfully. "The water is cool. You should try it."

"Not worth taking my socks off," Quentin said, but he sat down cross-legged next to Tyler Jordan and dipped his hand in the water instead. "How's things?"

"My girlfriend is coming home from her mission trip next week," Tyler Jordan said. "I haven't seen her in like eighteen months. She's been in Botswana. Pretty psyched to see her again."

"That's cool," Quentin said. "You must be pretty devoted to her to wait that long."

"She's the one." Tyler Jordan looked down at the beer in his hands and shrugged. "I have to get the partying out of my system before she gets back. She doesn't approve."

"Hopefully you can--" Quentin paused when a couple of loud pops sounded from the street, looking in that direction without any surprise. Tyler Jordan dropped his beer and it spilled all over the concrete next to the pool.

"Holy shit, was that a gun?"

"I don't think it was a firecracker," Quentin said. He got to his feet and walked over to the chain-link fence to peer around the house into the street. "Yeah, someone's lying in the street... well, shit."

"I almost went out there," Tyler Jordan said, wide-eyed. "You stopped me."

"It looked like it was getting ugly."

"You might have saved my life." Quentin shrugged nonchalantly. "Thank you."

"No problem. I had a feeling it was going to be bad."

"Well, you're my hero tonight."

"Don't mention it," Quentin said, but he looked amused. "We might want to clear out before the cops show up, though."

"Yeah, good call."

"Need a ride?"

"You're not just my hero, you're a superhero."

"Calm down, kid," Quentin laughed, and lead Tyler Jordan through the rapidly emptying house and down the block to a little red hatchback car. Pop punk started playing when he turned the car on and Tyler Jordan gleefully sang along as they drove. He dropped Tyler Jordan off at home and waved as he drove off.

The next time they saw each other was four years after that, on the night that Tyler Jordan broke up with Maria and got kicked out of his band. He'd been barhopping for hours, getting more and more messily drunk as the night went on, until right around midnight he went to order another drink and a skinny hand wrapped around the wrist of the hand he was trying to signal the bartender with and pulled it down. He turned, starting to get angry, and then got glad instead. "Quentin!"

"You're literally going to die if you keep drinking," Quentin said, letting go of Tyler Jordan's hand. "You should probably call it a night."

"I'm not gonna die," Tyler Jordan said, rolling his eyes. "This isn't the drunkest I've ever been."

"It isn't?"

"Okay, it might be," Tyler Jordan conceded. "But I have nothing better to do than keep drinking."

"Yeah you do," Quentin said. "You're coming on a walk with me."

"Where are we going?"

"You'll find out when we get there."

"Where did you come from?"

"Over there," Quentin said, pointing to a table toward the back of the bar. "I've been watching you pounding them back for like forty-five minutes now. And you were clearly already drunk when you came in. I don't know what happened to you today, but you're on the verge of drinking yourself into a coma and I can't let that happen."

"Why do you care?"

"I have a vested interest in keeping you alive," Quentin said with a smirk. "I've got something more interesting for you to do than getting your stomach pumped. Trust me and come on." Tyler Jordan considered resisting for a second, but then Quentin smiled at him hopefully and he couldn't help smiling back.

"Okay. Lead on." Tyler Jordan was staggering pretty badly as they walked out of the bar, until Quentin insinuated himself under Tyler Jordan's arm and wrapped an arm around his waist to lead him in the right direction and keep him upright. "Where are you taking me? Am I being kidnapped?"

"You're coming with me willingly," Quentin pointed out. "That's not a kidnapping."

"Yeah, but I'm not in my right mind," Tyler Jordan said. Quentin rolled his eyes.

"Don't worry, I'm not planning on doing anything that would be sketchy because of dubious consent," he said. "C'mon, we're stopping in here for a sec." He lead Tyler Jordan into a 7-11 and bought a big bottle of water, a slice of pizza, and a bag of dried fruit trail mix to press into Tyler Jordan's hands. "But I am trying to sober you up a little."

"You're weird," Tyler Jordan said, but he didn't protest, and the pizza lasted about thirty seconds after they left the convenience store. "I'm gonna keep asking this until you tell me.... where are we going?"

"We're going to the park," Quentin said. "We're going to hang out until you decide you want to go home."

"I can't go home," Tyler Jordan said. "I had a fight with my roommate. He punched me in the face."

"Yeah, I was going to ask about that." Quentin looked up at Tyler Jordan with his brows arched. "He got you pretty good."

"Yeah. I saw stars. No fucking joke."

"You know that you still do eventually have to go home, right?"

"His shift in the ER starts at 4am. I can go home in three hours."

"Okay, so I'll keep an eye on you for three hours."

"Dude, seriously, why do you care? It seems like you only show up when I'm in trouble." Quentin rolled his eyes.

"You're not as dumb as you act. That's good."

"Hey!"

"I run into you when you do stupid shit."

"I'm not stupid."

"Are you sure?"

"Fuck you!" Tyler Jordan shoved Quentin's shoulder, but Quentin just smirked and didn't let go of him. "Who the hell are you?"

"I'm your guardian angel. And man, do you work me overtime. The number of bad decisions you make is staggering."

"You're an asshole."

"Calm down, I'm joking," Quentin said. "Come on, we're almost there. If you really want me to fuck off, I will, but let's at least make it to the park first." It wasn't far; they turned a corner and walked another block and they were there, a park a couple of blocks long with trees and a playground. Quentin lead Tyler Jordan over to a swingset and sat down on one himself. Tyler Jordan took a swing and leaned against one of the chains, staring hard at Quentin. "What? Are you really mad at me?"

"No, but I don't get you," Tyler Jordan said. "You do show up when I do stupid shit. I saw you when I crashed my car, and that night at the party someone got shot."

"You saw me before that," Quentin said mildly. "But I'm not surprised you don't remember that. They probably gave you morphine."

"You were there when I broke my leg," Tyler Jordan said, eyes widening. "I thought you were a dream. All I could remember was green and warm."

"That's cute."

"Are you really my guardian angel? Cause that can't be a coincidence."

"Someone has to keep your dumb ass alive."

"I'm not dumb!"

"You do dumb things."

"I can't really argue with that." Tyler Jordan sipped at the water bottle and looked up at the sky, the scant few stars they could see through the light pollution. "Sorry, I guess. For being troublesome."

"Oh, don't apologize. You're interesting. Lots of my... let's call them co-workers... get stuck with boring people. Your family is pretty interesting, though."

"Do you cover my whole family?"

"Ha! No. Your brother definitely needs a full-time guardian angel of his own. And your sister Kendall does too. No, I don't double up. You're the only person I'm looking out for. You keep me pretty busy."

"How come I've only seen you a few times, then?"

"Cause I only intervene when it's critical."

"And tonight is critical?"

"I wasn't joking about you drinking yourself to death. You're on the verge of alcohol poisoning. I'm kind of amazed that you haven't thrown up or something already." Tyler Jordan shrugged.

"I don't need to puke but I do need to piss... am I gonna get arrested if I pee on a tree?" Quentin snorted and looked around.

"Pretty sure you'll be fine if you do it quickly. Cops don't come by here often." Tyler Jordan hopped off the swing, handed the water bottle and trail mix to Quentin, and wandered over to a stand of trees to answer the call of nature. When he came back to the swingset it was to find Quentin spinning slowly, twisting the chains up above him until he lifted his feet and spun back around the other way, laughing a little as his hair whipped around his face.

"Is that what angels do for fun around here?" Tyler Jordan asked, sitting back down on the next swing, and Quentin shrugged and handed him the water bottle back.

"I don't suggest you try it right now unless you actually want to throw up."

"Nah, I'm good on that." He kicked his feet a little, swinging slightly. "Man, I can't remember the last time I was on a swing."

"You were seventeen and you brought Olivia to the park," Quentin said promptly. "You jumped off from the highest point and twisted your left ankle."

"Oh... that was the week before the orchestra concert, I remember now," Tyler Jordan said. "Were you there when I did that too?"

"I'm always around," Quentin said with a smirk. "I'm just not always needed to intervene. You were fine that day. You didn't even break it, just sprained it. You really have a tendency to go hard on your left side, though. Maybe take it easy with all the broken bones and sprains for a while."

"I haven't broken a bone since high school. Although I did get that concussion last year."

"Yeah, your third in ten years. Maybe slow down on those too. Last thing I need is for you to end up brain damaged. You'd be much less interesting if you were incapacitated."

"You act like I do it on purpose."

"You're kinda self-destructive," Quentin said. "You might not be deliberately hurting yourself, but you could avoid a lot of problems if you'd think about shit before you did it."

"I'm reckless," Tyler Jordan said, and Quentin snorted.

"Understatement of the year award goes to Tyler Jordan Graham! Congratulations, you've won a smack upside the head." Quentin leaned over to deliver and Tyler Jordan dodged, laughing.

"Come on, that doesn't help with the lifetime concussion count."

"I wouldn't concuss you. Just a little love tap."

"Don't even. I'm fragile right now."

"You're not fragile, you're wasted. There's a difference."

"Yes. I am that."

"You're kind of an idiot."

"Maybe a little."

"But you're an interesting idiot."

"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. How many interesting idiots have you followed around for undoubtedly abbreviated lifespans?"

"You're the first," Quentin said, and Tyler Jordan tilted his head slightly.

"First interesting idiot or first person at all?"

"First person. I'm technically not an angel yet..."

"Haven't earned your wings?"

"Won't take long with the way things are going with you." Quentin shrugged. "I'm... kind of on probation, I guess? I'm fucking it up, too."

"How are you fucking it up? I'm still alive."

"Yeah, but you shouldn't know about me. I'm supposed to keep you safe without you knowing I'm doing it."

"What happens because I know?"

"I guess I'll find out. I mean, they can't exactly fire me. You need someone too much to leave you without anyone. And I've never heard of anyone getting replaced. You're stuck with me until it's over."

"That doesn't sound terrible to me."

"Now I have to keep you alive because the sooner you die the sooner I'm going to catch hell for it."

"Why'd you tell me? You didn't have to."

"You're not the only reckless one of the two of us," Quentin said. "I mean, that's probably why I got assigned to you. It takes crazy to protect crazy."

"I didn't realize angels could be reckless."

"Not an angel yet," Quentin reminded him.

"So what are you? Like a ghost?"

"Eh, sort of. More than a ghost, less than an angel." Quentin stared up into the cloudy sky and shrugged. "Someone thought I should get one chance to redeem myself and you're it."

"What do you need to be redeemed from?"

"A brief lifetime of being a moderate asshole, mostly. I never really did anything worth sending me to hell for, but I never did anything particularly virtuous either. This was more interesting than Purgatory. Way more interesting," he amended, shooting a glance at Tyler Jordan. "So thanks for that. Even if they kick me down below for messing this up, following you around is way more interesting than the life I actually had when I was living."

"So, wait a second... you're actually risking being sent to hell for telling me this?" Tyler Jordan blinked. "Hell is real? Heaven is real? Is God real?"

"Don't get your atheist panties in a twist," Quentin said. "It's a little belief-dependent. Reincarnation is a thing for people who believe in that. If you really don't believe there's anything after this, your soul kind of... pops, when you die. Like a bubble bursting. Very pretty until it goes poof and there's nothing where it used to be."

"Well... shit," Tyler Jordan said, leaning heavily against the chain holding his swing up. "So why do I have a guardian angel if I'm just going to pop?"

"You want the truth?"

"Of course I do."

"Everyone expected you to convert for Maria's sake."

"So did I."

"But you didn't."

"No." Tyler Jordan scrubbed his hands across his face and through his hair. "No. I didn't. I couldn't. She didn't love me. She loved who she thought she could make me into."

"For what it's worth... I'm glad you dumped her," Quentin said, and Tyler Jordan turned a disbelieving look on him. "She was all wrong for you. I know you were crazy about her but you would have made the worst, most miserable Mormon ever."

"Yeah. I realized that."

"You've been on a metaphorical leash since you were a teenager. I'm very interested to see what you'll do now that you're off it."

"Shit, man, I don't know what to do."

"Whatever you want to, really." Quentin's hands wrapped around the chains of the swing and he leaned back, studying Tyler Jordan intently. "All the things you couldn't do yesterday."

"Are you encouraging me to misbehave? Isn't that counterproductive?"

"I'm not your father. I'm not going to tell you what you can and can't do. Make your own choices. I'm coming along for the ride regardless of what you do." Tyler Jordan hopped off his swing, and Quentin arched a brow at him as he came closer. "Why, what are you--" He gasped when Tyler Jordan cut off the question with a kiss, letting go of the chains and almost falling off the swing before Tyler Jordan caught him by the shoulders. "Oh, no," he breathed.

"Did I-- I'm sorry," Tyler Jordan said, but he didn't let go. "I'm sorry if I just fucked you over by doing that. I really wanted to do it though."

"I'm not sure," Quentin said. "I have no idea what will happen to me. I've never heard of this happening before. I'm almost definitely not getting wings now."

"You probably hate me now." Quentin rolled his eyes and nudged Tyler Jordan back, sliding off the swing as soon as he had the space to do it, and wrapped his hand in the front of Tyler Jordan’s t-shirt.

“I’m already screwed,” Quentin said. “Might as well do it properly.” He gave Tyler Jordan a sharp tug and kissed him back with the kind of intent that spoke of this not being the first time he’d thought about doing it. Tyler Jordan clutched at Quentin’s arms and made a quiet whimpery sound, and Quentin snorted a laugh as he dropped his head to Tyler Jordan’s shoulder. “At least I’m going to have an epic story to tell when this is all said and done. Provided I don’t get smited from above tonight.”

“Smited? Smote? Smitten?”

“Smitten is relevant, but not in the direction you’re thinking.”

“Aw, Q, do you not hate me?”

“I have spent literally your entire life watching you do one fucking stupid thing after another, usually for the sake of love,” Quentin said. “I couldn’t hate you if you became a genocidal maniac. I’d disapprove, but I couldn’t hate you.”

“Not really my style.”

“I know.”

“Like you said, I do stupid things for the sake of love.”

“Yeah.”

“This is a stupid thing,” Tyler Jordan said, and Quentin snorted again.

“For once, I’m not going to save you from yourself.”

“Are you going to save you from me?”

“What’s the point? I’ve broken every rule already. I mean, you’re so drunk that you--” Quentin paused, then slowly pushed himself away from Tyler Jordan. “You’re so drunk that you might not even remember this in the morning,” he finished quietly.

“I thought you said you’d been following me my entire life,” Tyler Jordan said.

“I have.”

“I don’t forget the stupid shit I do when I’m drunk. I might regret it, but I don’t forget it.”

“You’ll regret this,” Quentin said.

“Nah,” Tyler Jordan said, shaking his head. “I’ll regret screwing you over as far as eternity goes. But I won’t regret screwing around with you as far as tonight goes. You could probably cut your losses and leave me to my own devices…”

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

“You care too much to leave me here.”

“Obviously.”

“So you might as well walk me home.”

“Again, obviously.”

“And when we get there I’m going to invite you in.”

“And then what?”

“Then I’m probably going to do something really fucking stupid in the name of love,” Tyler Jordan said, and he kissed Quentin again.

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