Rating: PG-13 (may change)
Genre/Warning: Modern AU, mentions of MMA-related violence and language
Summary: Nasir interviews Agron and Duro Krueger, two of the UFC's newest recruits. But things don't end between Nasir and Agron when the interview does.
Disclaimer: I don't own this show or its characters. They belong to Starz and the all-mighty Steven DeKnight. I'm just playing with them.
Author's Notes: I totally fail at keeping everything organized!
“You know, for a fighter, you eat like shit.”
Agron grinned at Sophie as he tossed a third bag of tortilla chips into his cart. He shrugged and said, “Crixus is the one who has that “my body is a temple” mindset. I figured that as long as I don't over indulge and throw in some fresh stuff, I should be able to eat whatever I want.”
Sophie nodded her head. “Sounds good to me.”
After gathering the last of the ingredients for nachos, Agron pushed his cart to the back to grab some ground beef for burgers. As he tried to remember who all was coming, Sophie's phone started ringing and she answered it. A couple minutes later, she hung up and reported, “Duro is at your place with the booze. Also he says not to forget his Reese's Cups.”
Agron picked up two of the biggest packages of ground beef, saying, “I didn't forget! I swear, he's like a little kid.”
Sophie cleared her throat as she picked up a package of sour gummy worms that were laying next to Duro's candy.. She arched an eyebrow and teased, “You were saying?”
“That I need stuff for burgers,” he replied, heading to the fruits and vegetables section. They quickly gathered all the needed fixings then headed towards the checkout area. Getting in line, Sophie flipped through a People magazine while Agron checked out the actor on the cover of Men's Health. He had gotten heckled by his friends and family when he said that he was still having the party for UFC 159. He took it all in stride and simply explained that he and Nasir had talked, agreeing that fight nights were best when with a group. Plus, Nasir had admitted in a text message, I really want to meet some of the other guys from your gym. Agron had laughed and teased Nasir about just wanting to hang out with him because of his connections.
“So when is everyone showing up?” Sophie asked as she placed the magazine back on the rack.
“Around six,” Agron replied, starting to put his items on the belt. “It's four now, so I'll have a couple hours to get everything ready.”
“And who is Nasir bringing?”
“His two best friends,” Agron answered, giving the cashier a smile. “One of them is the owner of that bar and grill you like so much. Lugo's, isn't it?”
Sophie perked up at that. “Really? Talk about six degrees of separation. It's like you two were destined to meet.”
Agron snorted and rolled his eyes. His cashier turned out to be a fight fan and bashfully asked for his autograph. Agron obliged and took a picture with her as well. He could tell the people behind him were getting annoyed, but he didn't care. The smile on that girl's face as he and Sophie left was more than worth it. The drive back to his house was relatively quick. Duro's Jeep was parked by the curb, and as they grabbed the groceries and approached the front door, they heard the all-too-familiar barks of Duro's dachshund, Napoleon. As they entered the house, Napoleon was right under their feet, barking up a storm.
“Duro!” Agron hollered over the small animal. “If that fucking thing pisses in my house-”
“He won't!” Duro insisted, emerging from the kitchen. He scooped up his pet and explained, “I've put his puppy pads down in the kitchen and have been taking him outside to play.”
The siblings went into the kitchen, setting the bags on the counter. One of Agron's cats, a very large grey-brown and black striped male named Vito, glared at Duro and his dog from his spot near the coffee maker before turning his head to Agron, as if to ask, “Did you authorize this?”
Agron pet Vito, getting in his good graces by scratching the sweet spot under the feline's chin, and asked, “Where's Janis?”
“Last time I saw her,” Duro replied, letting Napoleon out into the backyard, “she was in your room, hiding.”
Agron glared at his little brother. “Your dog better not have been tormenting her. And speaking of, why is that yappy little thing here in the first place?”
“Calm down, crazy cat lady!” Duro said, exasperated. “I didn't want to leave him all alone in my apartment so he could shred my stuff and pee everywhere, so I brought him here. If he gets too loud or hyper during the fights, I'll stick him outside.”
As they started organizing the food, Vito hopped off the counter and went into the living room. The first to arrive were Mira and Donar. Each of them pet Vito, who had curled up on Agron's recliner. Donar stroked the cat's fur and said, “I swear this cat gets fatter every time I see him.”
Agron smacked the back of his best friend's head, snapping, “Hey, show some respect to the Godfather.”
Duro and Mira curled up on the love seat while Agron, Donar, and Sophie sat down on the sectional. Deciding it was too early to start cooking, Agron and Donar played a few rounds of the latest UFC Undisputed, Donar complaining about some unexpected changes made to a house plan. He owned a construction company that Agron and Duro worked at when they weren't fighting. The pay was pretty good, and Donar was cool about juggling their schedules, especially when they had to train for a fight. During a match up between Agron's Junior dos Santos and Donar's Brock Lesner, Mira commented, “I hope the next game features the new women's division. Doing that would broaden the UFC's market to include female fight fans who are also gamers.”
“Yeah,” Duro snickered, “guys would be hoping for a secret combo that will cause the girl's top to rip off.”
Agron and Donar winced when Duro got smacked by Mira and Sophie, Mira ranting, “You are such a pig! When there's two guys fighting, you're all about technique and strategy, but two girls get in the ring and suddenly it's all camel toes and tits popping out.”
“Okay, Christ!” Duro whined, trying to shield himself from both angry women. “I'm sorry!”
Agron beat Donar and tossed his controller at his little brother, saying, “Fight Donar so that your mouth doesn't get you into anymore trouble.”
Agron went into the kitchen and started prepping the food. This was the main reason he loved fight nights: everyone getting together and hanging out. He was a little nervous about how Nasir and his friends would mesh with the rest of the group. He knew it was a silly thing to worry about, but his friends and especially his family showed little restraint around the guys he had showed interest in and dated in the past. They explained it as a weeding out process, a way to see if the guy could handle all that came with dating Agron. He just hoped and prayed that they weren't too hard on Nasir.
Gannicus and Saxa were the next ones to arrive, bringing even more alcohol. Gannicus came from the earlier days of The Pit and, by the time Agron had arrived, had retired from fighting and helped Oenomaus with training the gym. He was a bit of a party guy but knew the fight game like the back of his hand. He and Saxa had an insane on and off relationship that no one pretended to understand but that everyone accepted. The pair entered the kitchen as Agron was forming the last of the hamburger patties. Gannicus's eyes widened and he asked, “Are those the burgers you made for my birthday?”
Agron grinned. “The very same.”
“You will give me that recipe one day,” Gannicus insisted, pointing at him, “even if I have to blow you for it!”
“Is that a real option?” Agron teased with an arched eyebrow.
Gannicus opened his mouth to respond only to have Saxa slap her hand over it. She turned towards Agron and chided, “I know you're hard up for a lay, but do not think you will get relief from my boyfriend.”
“So he's your boyfriend this week?” Agron asked, smirking. “I thought you two weren't into labeling things.”
Saxa gave him the finger and dragged Gannicus out of the kitchen, the man removing her hand and calling out, “We're not finished, Krueger!”
Agron shook his head as he finished forming the last patty. He washed his hands and stepped out onto the back porch to ready the grill. The only people left to arrive were Nasir and his friends. Spartacus and Sura were watching the fights with Varro and Aurelia, the latter unable to get a babysitter for Janus. Naevia had gotten some stomach bug that had kept her up all night puking, so she and Crixus were staying home. Agron heard the hum of an engine from the front yard, and his heart skipped a beat. Leaving the coals to get ready, he went back inside just as Sophie was letting in Nasir and his friends. From their emails and texts, Agron knew that the pretty blond was Chadara and the stocky guy with the huge grin was Lugo. Introductions were made, Agron exiting the kitchen to greet his guests. Gannicus announced his overwhelming desire to start drinking, which prompted a small stampede into the kitchen. Duro came up alongside Nasir and, clapping him on the back, said, “Great job on the article, man. You made us look really good.”
“Thank you,” Nasir replied, smiling, “but it wasn't that much of a challenge. You two provided such a wealth of knowledge. All I did was translate that into writing.”
“Well, your translation was amazing,” Agron said as he and Nasir stood back and watched everyone get drinks. “Our mom posted the link on her Facebook and emailed it to everyone in her address book. I think she even printed off a copy for our dad to show off at work.”
Agron bit the inside of his cheek at the slight blush that graced Nasir's cheeks. Nasir moved forward to grab himself a can of Coke while Agron collected car keys. Whenever he hosted a fight night, everyone usually crashed at his place. Agron and Nasir were left alone as everyone filtered back into the living room to play a few more rounds of UFC Undisputed to kill time until the fights started. Nasir gestured to the large collection of food on the island between them and asked, “Need some help?”
Agron opened a beer Duro had pulled out for him and took a swig, saying, “That'd be great.”
The living room erupted into cheers of joy as the referee pulled Jones off of Sonnen. Those cheers quickly turned to groans when Joe Rogan called attention to Jones's big toe, which appeared to be broken and bleeding. Nasir turned to Agron, who was sitting next to him in his recliner, and said, “It's a good thing the ref stopped the fight in Jones's favor because if the first round had ended, they would have had another medical stoppage.”
“And I would have vomited,” Agron replied, killing the last of his beer, “knowing that Sonnen was the new champ in my weight division.”
“Yeah, that would have been the rotten cherry,” Mira added, “on top of a lackluster card sundae.”
“Well, they can't all be winners,” Saxa said with a shrug. “But the Nelson KO was pretty spectacular.”
Everyone nodded. Agron, Nasir, and Sophie, being the least drunk people, gathered the mess of dishes and beer bottles as Donar changed the TV back over to play more video games. As Nasir helped rinse off plates to be loaded into the dish washer, he said, “The burgers were pretty amazing, Agron.”
“Thank you,” Agron said with a grin that made Nasir's pulse quicken. “Your friend Lugo seems quite determined to get my recipe.”
They finished loading the washer, Nasir leaning against the island and saying, “Cooking is his ultimate passion, and when he sets his mind to something, he could be pretty dogged.”
As if on cue, Lugo staggered slightly into the kitchen and asked, “Agron, what will it take to get your recipe? I will give you full credit on the menu.”
“No!” Gannicus shouted, coming up behind Lugo. “If anyone is getting that fucking recipe first, it will be me! I've known him longer.”
Sophie left the kitchen, chuckling and shaking her head. Nasir sat back and watched as Agron goaded the two drunks into a bidding war over the recipe. Sensing trouble, Nasir went to the entrance of the kitchen and motioned for Saxa. As she approached, the bids were rising quickly, Gannicus slamming his hand on the counter and shouting, “Ten grand!”
Nasir and Saxa exchanged looks and intervened. They separated the two men, Nasir saying to Lugo, “You are not paying thousands of dollars for a simple burger recipe, you mad fuck! Regardless of how good it tastes.”
“Neither are you, my love,” Saxa said to Gannicus. Turning to Agron, she growled, “And you are an ass for encouraging them!”
“I just wanted to see how far they'd go,” Agron chuckled.
“Were you not listening to me earlier?” Nasir huffed as Lugo leaned against him. Wrapping both arms around the large man's waist, he said, “I need to get this one and Chadara home, but thank you for an extremely entertaining evening.”
Agron took Lugo and headed to the front door. Nasir followed behind them and went to the corner of the sectional where Chadara had curled up, watching Mira and Donar play the UFC game. He helped her to her feet. She was nowhere near as trashed as Lugo but very sleepy. Nasir exchanged goodbyes and a couple of telephone numbers while Agron waited with Lugo. Sophie gave him a hug while Duro slapped him on the back one last time, saying, “Take it easy, man. Hope to see you again soon.”
Nasir thanked them and joined Agron in walking to his trunk. After depositing Lugo in the backseat and Chadara up front, the two men circled around to the driver's side. Nasir jiggled his keys in his hands, not wanting the night to end yet. Agron took that moment to ask, “So what are your plans for tomorrow?”
“I have to rewatch this card,” Nasir replied, leaning against the trunk, “for my recap. Not really looking forward to it.”
“Would you like some company?” Agron asked, and Nasir tried his damnedest not to compare the look on the taller man's face to that of an excited puppy.
“It might be boring,” Nasir warned. “I'll just be doing lots of scribbling, typing, and talking to myself.”
“Even better,” Agron insisted, not dissuaded. “With me there, you won't have to talk to yourself.”
Agron's charm and eagerness caused Nasir to cave in an instant. He nodded and said, “I'll text you my address when I'm up tomorrow. Since you were so generous with dinner tonight, I'll provide lunch.”