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20 June 2011 @ 01:58 pm
Bowties Are Cool  
Title: Bowties Are Cool
Rating: R/slight NC-17
Pairing: Hank/Alex
Genre: College AU, Sweet
Summary: Raven gives Hank a makeover after his glasses get broken. Both Hank and Alex are unsure of how to deal with the new attention Hank is getting.
Author Notes: Written for this prompt over at the kink meme, to this prompt: "High School or college AU where Raven decides to give Hank a makeover from geek to chic. Suddenly he's getting a lot of attention. Alex misses the nerdy Hank and actually was against the makeover in an aloof way and probably midly insulting. Hank is frustrated when Alex is still giving him a hard time. Alex finally kisses him and says he likes the nerdy Hank. The one who wears bow ties and geeky superhero t-shirts. Sexy times happen with Alex asking him to leave the glasses on. ;) raven gives herself a pat on the back for a successful matchmaking."

Now with added Doctor Who references!

"What. the hell. are these." Alex holds up something vaguely pear-shaped, but mostly strangely-shaped.

"They're what we're supposed to be using to separate out our mystery compounds. You know, into organic and aqueous layers, to determine whether our compound is acidic, basic, or neutral?" Hank resists the urge to add, "You know, like what is outlined in the lab manual and and would know if you had done the pre-lab? Which is 1/5 of the lab report?"

"Whatever." For one terrified moment, Hank is sure Alex is going to throw the separatory funnel as he would a football, but he actually attaches it in the holder apparatus. Upside down, of course. And about seven steps too early.

Hank leans over the lab manual, double checking the instructions, and now that he's seen how unprepared Alex is, making sure he can explain them to his lab partner. As far as lab partners went, Hank was sure he could do worse, and was actually glad for some consistency. They'd been partners the semester before, and had become friends through mutual orgo suffering, cemented by the few times Hank had been invited to parties by Alex, and had ended up making sure he had gotten home safely. Once you've held someone's head over the toilet, and the next morning, you've woken up to them making you bacon in apology, it's sort of hard not to become friends. Even if it was your bacon and they didn't ask first. Even though they didn't really have anything in common other than their organic chemistry class, which of course, they were taking for completely different reasons - Hank as a biophysics major, and Alex covering his bases because he hadn't chosen a major yet.

Hank actually found Alex a clever mind, and he enjoyed their conversations, at least when they were alone. Alex was prone to teasing all of his friends, but he usually stopped before Hank could really get offended, but if anyone else was present, the teasing got turned up to 11. On these occasions, Hank would often just get up and leave. When Alex would come find him later, he'd give the excuse of disliking how Alex put his reputation before his friends, using his words and his glasses as a shield to try to keep Alex from finding out how hurt he always was. But the moments when Alex would laugh and turn that brilliant smile his way, his breath would catch in his throat, and eventually he realized he was falling for Alex.

When Alex had turned up as his partner for organic chemistry lab again, which even though Hank knew was assigned by the TAs through some horribly complicated procedure that involved the equipment locker number they were randomly assigned, he counted it as some cosmic joke gone horribly wrong. He pushes his hair back from where it had flopped over his glasses and sighs.

"You know, if you cut your hair, or better yet, slicked it back, that wouldn't happen."

"Yes, Raven, but I've deduced from years of experimentation that this is the only hairstyle doesn't make me look like I have a mullet." Hank doesn't even look up as he answers the girl on the other side of the lab bench, currently peering at him through the opening under the shelves. Hank sighs again as Raven comes around from her side to lean against their side of the lab bench. At least with her, Hank had known to expect her there; they'd purposefully chosen the same lab section after Raven had forced him to work with her on the lab reports last semester. Of course, as her section was three days before his, her lab reports were due three days before his, and three days after his lab, which meant that he was thinking about organic chemistry far too frequently for his taste. He and Raven had become friends when they were in the same recitation for honors intro biology, Raven working towards a genetics degree, and they had formed a small study group, where Hank had learned the wonders of being able to study with other intelligent people, rather than just by himself. When Alex had been introduced to the group, he and Raven had butted heads at first, but had mellowed out somewhat as they found a common enemy in organic chemistry. Now, she had no hesitation in leaning on Hank's shoulder as he read the lab manual, while kicking her foot out at Alex playfully.

"Eh, I still think you'd look cute with your hair slicked back." She runs her hand through Hank's hair, ruffling it playfully. "Don't you think, Alex? Wouldn't Hank look cute with a different hairstyle?"

"Huh? Oh, uh, yeah. Though for a nerd, his hairstyle's just fine." Raven just catches the light flush that spreads over Hank's cheeks before the TA comes over to force them back to work, and grins.

Throughout the lab, she then finds ways to come over and ask Alex questions about how they could change Hank's appearance, driving both Hank and her own lab partner insane. She's clearly not excluding Hank, talking in a voice that is probably loud enough for the entire section to hear, but the questions are directed at Alex, and if he were honest with himself, Hank would admit that he wanted to know what Alex would like better about him. Surprisingly, the changes Alex suggests are either very mild, or he doesn't offer any.

About a quarter left in the lab, Alex finally snaps. "Why are you asking me these questions anyways? Do you like Hank or something?" Raven steps back a bit, surprised, before bursting out into laughter, loud and genuine.

"You don't have to be so loud about your total rejection of me as a possible partner, you know," Hank mutters as Raven steadies herself on the bench.

"I think that answers your question." She winks at Alex, pats Hank on the head again, and heads back to her own side of the bench, back to her fuming lab partner. Hank knows how he feels; it's a long lab, even without distracted lab partners.

He's just about done with the experiment, a nice, clear separation between the aqueous and organic layers in the separation funnel forming, and once they're done titrating the acidic layer off, they'll be done for the week. He extends a hand behind him and waves it around a bit, asking Alex to pass him a vial so that he can collect the different layers. Getting neither a response nor a vial, he puts the separation funnel back into its holder and spins around. A little bit too fast, and into their professor, who has just come by on one of his sneak observation visits. They both go sprawling across the aisle, and Hank's glasses fly off of his face. He can hear someone hurrying over, and then, the heart-breaking sound of glass cracking.

A sharp intake of breath, and an, "Oh my god, Hank, I am so sorry, I didn't mean to at all, I didn't realize your glasses weren't on your face, I am so sorry," and he knows. Alex has just broken his glasses.

Alex and Raven help him and their professor up off of the floor, and Alex hands Hank his glasses and helps him set them on his face, already knowing what to expect. The lens in the right side is cracked completely through, pieces of glass missing, though the left side just has a spiderweb of cracks in it. His heart sinks as he hears Alex say, "I am so sorry man, I'll finish up the lab, you just go home early." There is no hope for his glasses, and with his prescription and the nearest optometrist able to fill it being an hour away from their middle-of-nowhere college, he is doomed.

Raven helps him back to his dorm and helps him find the pair of contacts he'd never thought he'd need to wear. He hated contacts, but his optometrist had insisted he take a pair in case he changed his mind, and now, he supposes he is thankful he did. He struggles to get them in, but eventually does, willing himself not to throw anything in the burst of sudden anger that overcomes him. Instead, he runs his hand through his hair again.

"I mean it, if we change your hairstyle, we could totally pass you off as a badass." Raven is leaning against the doorjamb, arms crossed and grinning with what Hank wants to call mischief to be correct, but refuses to for fear of what it means for him.

"Don't, Raven, as if you could."

"No, I really do mean it!" She comes up beside him in the bathroom mirror. "See, if you just slick your hair back a bit, without your glasses, and, of course, a change of clothes, we could totally do it." She grins widely. "You know what this means, right? Makeover time. First things first, lose the bowtie."

"But. But bowties are cool. Professor Smith wears a bowtie."

"Yes, and Professor Smith also wears fezzes on occasion. Are you going to start wearing a fez now?"


"Didn't think so. Now be quiet and hold still."

"I'm really not sure about this."

"Oh, come on, Hank. If you're not going to do this, then what did I come over here so early for? You wouldn't want to make me be up this early for nothing, right? You're not that mean, right, Hank?" Raven makes a pouty puppy-dog face at him, and Hank gives a long-suffering sigh.

"But I feel silly."

"And you look awesome, so. You should trust me, the campus won't know what hit it."

Hank adjusts the collar of his jacket, an unfamiliar soft leather one that Raven told him one of her old boyfriends left. The smell is somewhat comforting, adding to the illusion that he's not just another nerd in the crowd. He reaches up to adjust his glasses out of habit, only remembering he doesn't have them to hide behind anymore once his fingers hit his cheek. It makes him stop, and he almost backs out, but Raven is already pushing him out the door.

"I'm telling you, I don't think it'll work."

"Let's put it this way - if you don't have at least three numbers given to you by the end of the day, I'll do your lab reports for the rest of the semester."

"….yeah, and still make me help you with them…"

"What was that?"

"Nothing, let's just get this over with."

Class is uneventful, and for a while, Hank thinks that he will actually win their impromptu bet. And then lunch hits.

Hank's schedule means he grabs a later lunch, so by the time he gets to the main cafeteria, Raven has already grabbed a table, recruited Alex and some of their other friends, and is waving him over.

"Wow, Hank, you look…good. Really good." Angel, Raven's roommate, whistles lowly. "No, no, wait. Before you sit down, slowly, turn slowly around." Confused, Hank does so, and is greeted with another whistle. "Damn, who knew you were hiding all that junk in your trunk." Hank flushes a bright red and sits down as quickly as he can.

"I told Raven the skinny jeans were overkill, but she insisted. To be honest, I feel really silly."

"You do - those pants cling to your calves, and they look weird. You look more normal in khakis," Alex cuts in.

Just as he says so, a girl, one of the gaggle of sorority girls who had just gotten up to leave, comes over to their table.

"Um, so, our sorority is having a party tonight, and you probably already have plans, but, well, it would be pretty cool if you could be there." She looks back at her support crew, who are giggling behind her. "So, this is my name and number. Just…don't give it out to anyone else." She winks at him before fleeing to her group and then out of the hall.

Hank just stares as she goes, unknowingly crumpling the piece of paper she'd handed him. Raven is trying not to laugh, and in doing so, sees Alex almost crush his cup of soda. Interesting…

As lunch goes on, they're joined by more people, and Hank grows more and more uneasy, as he gets more and more attention. One girl, babbling how she 'never does this' blurts her number at him and runs, leaving him stunned, and he even gets a wink and a pat on the shoulder from one of the guys he recognizes from his bio workshop. Alex audibly grinds his teeth at that one, and now everyone except Hank, who is still too stunned to process anything, knows.

The next incident is in the library; Hank is talking to Charles Xavier, the postgrad in the lab he's working in, and coincidentally, Raven's foster brother, about how their most recent experiment is going, when his left contact starts bothering him. He blinks rapidly and rubs at it a few times, but it still feels irritated. He wants to take it out, wants to go back to his glasses, but he also wants to be able to see. So he endures it, his eye twitching as it tries to expel the contact.

Suddenly, the girl who was pushing the reshelving cart pauses next to them. "Hey babe. I couldn't help but see you winking at me across the room, and normally I just tell off skeeves, but you seem…different." She presses up against his side, and both Hank and Charles are just gawking at her nerve. "Besides, I heard you two talking about science, and mmm, nerds get me hot." She's running her hand down the side of his face now - Hank is too stunned to reply, and Charles is now stifling laughter, clapping him on the shoulder in a "go for it" gesture.

"Hey, back off. You should be able to tell he's not interested, now leave him alone." Alex is there in the next blink of Hank's contact-cursed eye, pulling the girl off of him and pushing her away from them. She shrugs, but pulls out a scrap of paper and scribbles something on it, her number, Hank supposes. She slides the paper into Hank's front pocket, wiggling her hand to get into the skinny jeans' tight fit, and Alex all but yanks her off of Hank yet again. "Get. Lost." He growls out, and she leaves this time, waving at Hank as she does.

"Thank you." He pulls uncomfortably at the collar of his turtleneck, refusing to meet Alex's eye. What must he think of him, right after he just pulled a girl off of him who was probably planning on fucking him then and there? Alex must think he was doing this for the attention, and he feels the desperate urge to explain. "This whole thing…" he starts.

"Forget it, it's not up to me what you do in the stacks - just be able to handle yourself next time." He walks off, Hank's eyes following him out sadly.

Charles breaks the silence. "You do realize you'll need to tell him soon."

Hank whirls around, wild-eyed in surprise. "T-tell him what?"

A sigh. "Oh Hank, you are so young." He places a hand on Hank's arm warmly, comforting. "Eventually, I suppose one of you will have to say something, and when you do, I wish you all the best. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to the lab; I've lingered here far too long already."

As it turned out, Raven was right, and Hank returns to his dorm with not three, but five numbers, and utterly confused. As the days pass while he waits for his new glasses to come, the number does decrease per day (Hank attributes his first success to the Friday Night Phenomenon), but he is still uncomfortable with the amount of attention he receives. Long stares, winks, and more brushes up against him in crowded places than he is used to. He also grows uncomfortable from seeing Alex get angrier as time goes on. He thinks that he must be encroaching on Alex's territory as the popular one in their group, but every time he tries to explain, Alex suddenly stalks off. His barbs to Hank have gotten sharper, even when they're studying by themselves, and Hank doesn't really know why. The only thing he has grown more comfortable with is the routine - he does appreciate how he doesn't have to keep pushing his hair out of his eyes in the lab or while studying anymore, and while he misses his bowties, the smell of the leather jacket has become a welcome constant in their place. As for the contacts, he can't wait to get them out of his eyes still. Raven has helped him pick out frames that she had deemed appropriate, but it would still be a couple days before he gets them. He is just in his bathroom, adding eye drops to his poor eyes when he hears a knock on his door. It's a Tuesday night, who in the world could that be? He thinks, but still yells, "Just a second" and as soon as he's done with the eye drops, goes to open the door.

Alex is standing there, holding a pizza and a six-pack.

"It's Tuesday."

"Yeah, so?"

Hank gestures wildly. "You, you can't just come in here with a six-pack on a Tuesday night! We have class tomorrow! How did you even get that, anyways, you're underage! …I'm underage!" He turns away from the door, running his hands through his hair. "Ohhh, we are going to get into so much trouble."

"Dude, you don't have to have one if you really don't want to; I just thought it would lighten you up, you tight-ass."

"Just. Just get inside before anyone sees you with that."

Alex comes in, placing both the pizza and the six-pack on the small table of the dorm's common room.

"You know, I mean it, khakis do suit you better than those skinny jeans. Or even pajamas, like you're wearing now." Hank, for the first time, realizes his state of undress: his pajama pants, loosely tied over his hips, and the collared shirt he hasn't changed out of, unbuttoned and hanging open. He flushes deeply and spins away, quickly buttoning up his shirt.

"So, why did you even come by?"

"Just to talk, y'know. We haven't talked in a while."

"We talked a few hours ago. I helped you study mechanisms, and you called me a bozo."

"Yeah," Alex waves his hand airily, "but that doesn't count. I mean, we haven't talked in a while."

Hank sighs and sits down, taking a slice of pizza. "Fine. What do you want to talk about then?"

"About anything, really. About you. You and this new look of yours. I don't quite get it - just, why would you?" Alex is already halfway through one of the beers, and from the way his hand never stops moving, Hank suspects that he had started even before that.

"Alex, I really think you shouldn't drink tonight."

"Nah, you just haven't had any yet." He pops open a bottle and slides it across the table to Hank.

"You know I don't drink beer. And that I have class tomorrow morning, as do you."

"But this is good beer, not that cheap shit everyone else throws up every Friday night. You don't know what I had to do to get this, man, drink with me, c'mon."

Hank sighs and takes the beer, taking a small sip, holding the bottle up with his lips tightly closed to give the illusion of taking a long drag from it without actually getting any of it.

"There you go. Now, we can talk." Alex reaches for a slice of pizza and bites into it vigorously. "So, this new look of yours. What is up with this?"

Hank fidgets nervously. "It was mostly Raven; she talked me into it and supplied the clothes and the hair gel. It's actually your fault, if you really want to know."

Alex chokes on his swallow of pizza, spluttering, "My-my fault? How is this my fault? You show up one day looking completely different, with girls hanging all over you, and you want to blame this on me?"

Now Hank really feels he needs to explain the whole 'girls' thing. "Well, you are the one who broke my glasses, which is what inspired Raven for the whole thing, so yeah, it's your fault." He figures now is as good a time as any to just blurt it out. "And about the girls…I don't…it wasn't…I don't like any of them," he finishes lamely.

"Then why the fuck did you agree to it? If you didn't want girls, then it was a stupid idea."

Hank feels a sudden flash of anger, and is throwing back the beer bottle and swallows more of it than he means to before he realizes what he is doing.

"Why do you care so much what I do with my clothes anyways? Are you jealous I'm moving in on your territory? Worried that if I get a girlfriend, you'll lose your only hope of passing organic chemistry? What am I to you, Alex?" Another drag from the beer bottle, and Hank feels the words flow from him, unfiltered. "No, I really want to know! I thought we were friends, but all you've done recently is insult me and criticize me, and the last I checked, that wasn't what friends did. Am I just your way to passing your science classes? Have you even figured out what you're doing, or are you going to keep skating along, skimming the surface and never really doing anything?" He's really doing a number on the bottle, it's almost empty now, and he sees no end in sight. "You know, I liked you. Like, really liked you, that whole want to spend inordinate amounts of time with you, kiss you until you thought of only me, all of that mushy stuff, but then you keep going on and insulting me, and I keep feeling like the rug is being pulled out from under my feet, and I just don't know where I stand with you, and I wish I did, and I-"

Alex, who had been letting him continue ranting on, watching him with a mix of amusement and hostility, suddenly changes his expression to one of fondness and leans over to cut him off, placing his hand over Hank's mouth.

"I always knew you would be a lightweight. And now it's my turn. To me, you are the most intelligent person I know, but also the stupidest. No, stop that, it's my turn," he says when he feels Hank's mouth open under his hand. "I don't know how someone can look at a mess of drawings and instantly figure out a pattern of chemicals, but can't see what's in front of them." He presses a soft kiss to the back of his hand, over where Hank's mouth would be, and pulls both away.

Hank looks stunned, and could almost kick himself for what he says next. "What? But all you did was keep insulting me."

That earns him a laugh and a longer kiss, this time lip to lip. Alex draws back slightly and they sit there, resting foreheads against each other. "It means I was jealous, stupid. It means I like you. A lot. All of that mushy stuff, like you said."

"But you kept insulting me."

"Haven't you ever heard of pulling the pigtails of the girl you like? Besides, I thought you were becoming someone else for some girl, and I like you for you, the nerdy, sweet kid who tries twenty times to explain backside attacks to me when I clearly don't get it." He moves to nibble Hank's ear, and Hank shivers. Alex's voice drops as he whispers, "though there's another type of backside attack that I don't need to have explained to me, if you'd like to have a…study session."

Hank can't find the words, so instead grabs Alex's shirt and pulls him back for a kiss.

The kiss starts soft, simply Hank pressing his mouth to Alex's, trying to convey all he wanted to say, but Alex licks at his lips, and Hank can't hold back any longer. He opens his mouth and sucks on Alex's upper lip, taking Alex's face in his hands. Alex groans and arches forward, and suddenly, Hank is acutely aware they're still leaning into each other over the dorm's small table. He stands, calling Alex to follow him with his mouth, and as soon as they're free, Alex presses him against the wall.

"We should" Hank is finding it hard to talk with Alex trying to swallow his words, "we should move to my room."

They make it down the hall to Hank's room in spurts, with one pushing the other against the opposite wall as they don't so much battle for dominance but battle to get the closest to the other. Hank has never been more glad that his suitemates are out, either studying for the physics test that has half the campus in a panic, or probably are similarly occupied elsewhere. For once, he couldn't care. His hands are halfway down the back of Alex's pants when they hit the wall next to his door, and he almost can't be bothered to remove them to open the door, finally choosing to do so by scraping his nails lightly up Alex's ass, causing him to arch up into Hank, stumbling them both into Hank's room.

They beeline for the bed, Hank's collared shirt, unbuttoned once again, finds its way to the floor, along with Alex's pants. Alex is currently running his hands up under the pajama pants Hank is wearing while kissing the inside of Hank's leg through them, and Hank just wants to tear them off so he can feel Alex. As Alex noses the corner of his thigh, creating haunting friction from the movement of the pants, Hank growls low in his throat, surprising both himself and Alex, and pulls Alex up to kiss him, sucking Alex's tongue into his mouth, their moans echoing off of each other.

Hank bucks his hips up to meet Alex's, and through both his pajamas and Alex's boxers, he can feel the heat of his erection. His hands move down from Alex's hair to grab his hips, pulling Alex down to him, grinding up into him, and almost loses it there. One of his hands slides under Alex's boxer to grasp his cock, wrapping around it, pressing his thumb to just to the side of the tip, the way he likes it, and from the way Alex breaks their kiss to pant into his shoulder, he assume that Alex likes it too.

"Fuck, Hank," Alex breathes, his hands digging into Hank's back, and Hank knows that there will be a mark on his shoulder tomorrow from Alex's teeth.

He's had enough, and lifts his hips to shimmy out of his pajama pants, and Alex's hands are there in an instant, shoving them out of the way, kicking them the rest of the way off, and wrapping his own hand around Hank's own erection, hard and heavy in his hand. He removes Hank's hand from his cock and takes both of them in his one hand, and Hank's head falls back as the sensations overwhelm him.

Hank's hand fists in the sheets as he bucks up into Alex's hand, the other making his own marks on Alex's shoulder as he digs in and explodes. Alex is not far behind, hand twisting through the final jerks, and then he is propping himself up over Hank, and they are panting into each other's mouth, laughing and reveling in each other.

Alex gets up to grab some tissues to wipe them off, and slides in, curling around Hank, and Hank obliges, wrapping his arms around Alex, hardly daring to speak, lest it all be a dream and he wake up. Alex breaks the silence instead.

"So, when are your new glasses coming in?"

"The optometrist said they should be ready tomorrow afternoon, if you want to come with me to pick them up."

"I hope your car is comfortable, because you are the sexiest thing on two legs in glasses, and now that I know you like me too, I may not be able to hold back after being deprived of seeing you in glasses for so long."

Hank buries his face in Alex's neck instead of giving a reply, knowing the other boy can feel his grin as much as he tries to hide it.

"Oh, and bring back the bowties. Bowties are cool."
full moon pills got me out on the street at night: [etc] my lab book says soswing_set13 on June 20th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
♥____________________♥ Bowties are cool! Those boys are adorable. Just loved it. Jealous!Alex and Oblivious!Hank are my favorites.
veda_janeveda_jane on June 26th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
God I love this, I don't know why I have such a thing for Alex being all jealous and mean to Hank just because he likes him, but you absolutely nailed it. I totally get all mushy over the fact that Alex likes his glasses and bowties too.

Completely amazing, I bow down in awe over your amazing fic! x
pandacowhipsterpandacowhipster on July 10th, 2011 05:16 am (UTC)
It's like a marriage of awesome things with a good writing flavored cake at the reception.

Hank should get Alex to wear a stetson. Stetsons are cool.
needlespoonneedlespoon on July 10th, 2011 11:23 am (UTC)
You have rendered me speechless.

Also I think I exploded when you slipped in that DW reference.
• • •rainaria on July 30th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
ohmygod, this is so freaking adorable. ♥

great fic!
DK: X-Men Emblemhavok1278 on September 1st, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
Had this in my memories to read and I'm glad that I did. I really love this pairing and you did a great job with the story.

Have you wrote many others? If you have I would love to read them.
Katnapkins on September 1st, 2011 05:45 am (UTC)
Ahhh, thank you for the kind words!

And yes, actually! This is my fic journal, so everything is up here. ♥
Velma Dinkley: big grinblindasa_myotis on October 10th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Okay first off? Your Doctor Who references are amazing and I love you for them. Professor Smith who wears fezzes, too perfect. XD

I am a total sucker for jealous/oblvious style stories and HankAlex lends itself so well to that. And the fact that Alex likes Hank better as a nerd? Makes me go all warm and fuzzy and gah. In short your story is wonderful.