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06 September 2006 @ 07:14 pm
Original Fic, part two  

Previous

"I can't think what's keeping him," laughed Mrs Henderson. "Usually he's down like a dog out of a trap at the scent of food."

Mrs Steele tittered. Tim managed a weak smile.

"Tim, you couldn't go see what's keeping him, could you? Lunch will be another quarter of an hour or so, and it's best hot from the oven."

"Sure," mumbled Tim. He trudged up the stairs to Noel's garage flat, weighted down by invisible blocks of lead strapped to his feet.

After the day of the kiss -- it had been messy and rushed but lovely, which only made it worse -- the events of the past had replayed in Tim's mind with painful clarity. When he was ten, it had been Noel who suggested they 'get married' and effectively ruined Tim's life. Now that he was had just about recovered from that and moved on with his life, looking forward to university and the LGBT societies, it was clear that Noel needed to kick sand in his eyes once again. What better way than to aggravate Bosworth and Co.'s renowned homophobia than to have Tim be seen kissing a boy? That Noel was the boy in question mattered not one whit. He'd escaped the first time scot-free, and he would again.

Tim tentatively pushed open the door to Noel's flat. It was in semi-darkness, the curtains rucked up against the towering piles of possessions but effectively closed. Noel was a barely discernable lump in the centre of his bed.

Ah, thought Tim sourly, he's sulking. It had been so long since he'd last witnessed it that he'd almost forgotten what it looked like. The years had not improved it.

Knocking his fist against the wall, Tim snapped on the light. There was an enraged gasp from under the duvet, which Tim comprehensively ignored. He strode across to the curtains and yanked them open. The sudden light caressed thousands of floating dust mites and Noel's tousled hair, under which he was scowling fiercely.

"What'd you do that for?" he said, anger careening off every word.

"I need some light to see the television," replied Tim, his voice short. "I don't want to go blind on top of everything else, thanks all the same."

"Oh, right." Noel's mouth twisted up into a hideous parody of a smile. Tim noticed distantly that Noel's eyes were red, as if he'd been drinking -- or crying. "You've come here to play with my Playstation."

"I've come here because I can't get out of it," retorted Tim hotly. "Frankly if I had to play with anything it'd be you, but I take what I can get."

Noel made a noise of disbelief. "That's not what you said on Wednesday."

"No, it's not." Tim channelled his anger into enunciating every word very clearly. "I didn't say that on Wednesday because on Wednesday we were in school."

"If you don't want to do the touching thing any more just say so," sniffed Noel. "Don't be such a pussy about it."

With a thin scream, Tim pushed Noel's shoulder. Hard. Noel fell back, Tim looming over him and his knee digging painfully into the wooden frame of the bed.

"Don't you dare call me a pussy," he snarled. "You're not the one who got beaten up every week of primary school. You're not the one who got spit on and whose clothes were ripped and whose books were stolen and whose exam papers were scribbled on, okay? If anyone's the pussy here, it's you."

Tim stopped to catch his breath. In contrast to his previous squinty gaze, Noel's eyes were very wide. "I don't mind the touching. I really, really like the touching. It's the touching at school that is so very not okay. Do you get the difference there?"

"Yeah. A bit." Noel sat upright and Tim fell back. His gaze dropped to where the sheets were pooling around Noel's hips. Noel very clearly wasn't wearing much of anything at all. Tim's stomach swooped.

"Well, good." Tim smoothed out the fabric of his jeans, trying to swallow the nervous trembling in his voice. "I think things are bad enough as it is, don't you?"

"That depends on your definition of 'bad.'" Very deliberately, Noel scooted back on the mattress -- leaving the sheets behind. "I didn't think I was such a bad kisser. Obviously those dozens of girls were liars. I knew I was right about them all along."

Tim's eyes narrowed. "Don't be a turd," he said, and was astonished at Noel's laugh. "I mean," he continued, a little confused and a lot distracted by the way Noel was stretching his long legs -- his long naked legs -- on either side of Tim's waist, "you know that's not what I was talking about."

"What were you talking about?" Noel inquired. One of his fingers wriggled into the space between Tim's shirt buttons, the merest brush of skin electrifying. He leaned forward to burrow his soft lips into Tim's hairline. "I've forgotten."

"Oh God, me too," groaned Tim, pulling Noel's lips away from his ear and on to his mouth.

Noel didn't seem a bit embarrassed about kissing Tim when he was naked and Tim fully clothed. He showed as little compunction as ever about wrapping himself around Tim, and moaned his approval when Tim slid one hand between his thighs and Noel's bare arse cheeks. Tim's fingers squeezed, Noel's hips thrust, and the door opened.

"Noel, Tim, I've been calling you for the last five min …" began Mrs Henderson. She spotted her naked and flushed son in the arms of his former neighbour, and her hand went to her throat. ".. utes."

"Oh fuck," muttered Tim, trying to stand up and shield Noel.

Noel wasn't having any of it. His arms wrapped tighter around Tim's neck and he canted deeper against Tim's stomach. Tim bit his lip, trying not to come in a spectacular fashion in front of his mother's best friend. All the time, Noel's eyes were on his mother's ashen face.

At last she turned and fled. Noel's gaze dropped back to Tim's distorted features.

"Mmm," he said, as if nothing untoward had happened. "Hang on." He ripped down Tim's zipper and pushed the denim out of the way. Tim nearly screamed as Noel bore down, so very hot and slick and he was coming and so was Noel --

Before Tim had even caught his breath, Noel was leaping nimbly off him.

"Time for dinner, I think," he said brightly.

++

Tim cleaned himself up with the edge of Noel's bed sheet, feeling acutely embarrassed. Noel was wandering around his room, pulling on a t-shirt and shorts in between yawns and ruffles of his hair.

"Shouldn't we go down?" ventured Tim.

"Who's stopping you?" asked Noel, with a smile as glittering and hard as a diamond.

Heart heavy, Tim entered the dining room. Mrs Henderson, her features drawn and her mouth tight, presided over the top of the table. Mrs Steele, ignorant of her friend's distress, nattered on about the O'Neill's new BMW.

When Mrs Henderson spied Tim hovering in the doorway, she dropped the gravy boat with an almighty clatter. Viscous brown liquid splattered the pristine tabletop and puddled in Mrs Henderson's Laura Ashley'd lap.

"Helen, dear, are you all right?" Mrs Steele started up from her chair and grabbed a napkin like US Marine would a Kalashnikov. She deployed it against the hopeless ruin of Mrs Henderson's frock while every last remaining drop of colour drained from Mrs Henderson's face.

Tim coughed and took a step into the room. His mother spun around.

"Tim, there you are! Were you sucked into a black hole? What were you doing?"

"Er," said Tim. Mrs Henderson's eyes were fixed on him, her hand fluttering to her throat as if there was a magnet lodged inside. Tim doubted either of the women would appreciate a truthful answer, so he settled for, "Is lunch ready?"

"Yes, sit down." Mrs Steele gathered up the broken shards of the gravy boat. "Helen, you look as if you've seen a ghost. Do you want to go lie down?"

"No." Mrs Henderson's hand trembled like a leaf in the wind. "I'm fine, really. Tim --" her voice broke on the word "-- won't you have some shepherd's pie?"

"Thanks," muttered Tim. He sat down as far as possible from Mrs Henderson while still remaining in the same room, and carelessly dolloped mashed potato and peas on to his plate.

"Tim?" Now Mrs Steele was eyeing him worriedly. "What are you doing? You hate peas."

At that moment Noel chose to make his entrance. Tim groaned inwardly as he realised just how very debauched Noel looked at that moment. His usually satin-smooth hair was sticking up like a cockatoo's ruff, his shirt was inside out and his mouth an angry red. The beginnings of a bruise was coming up on his neck. Did I do that? thought Tim.

"Noel. How kind of you to join us at last," said Mrs Henderson. The bite of acerbity in her voice did nothing to disguise the fact that her eyes were shining with tears. Mrs Steele hopped her gaze between the three of them, clutching the gravy-stained napkin to her chest.

"No worries." Noel slumped over his plate, not bothering to cover his yawn. "What's the grub?"

"Shepherd's pie," replied Mrs Henderson tightly.

"I hate shepherd's pie," remarked Noel, apparently to the ceiling. He shoved up his shirt to scratch his belly.

"Noel," said Tim. He hardly knew what he wanted to say, and God knew Noel deserved what was coming to him, but he couldn't help himself.

Noel flashed him a come-hither look, and said, "Calm down, Timmy. I'll leave some for you."

Mrs Steele's eyes narrowed. "Will someone please explain to me what is going on here?"

"Timmy's afraid that I'll nab all the pie before he has a chance to get some," explained Noel, the picture of innocence. "I'm just reassuring him that he will. Get some, I mean. Timmy will definitely get some. I'll make sure of that."

"Noel Henderson!" cried Mrs Henderson. "You go to your room right this instant!"

"What for?" said Noel. "I'm hungry. Aren't you hungry, Timmy? You should be. We both lost a lot of protein just now."

"What do you mean by that?" snapped Mrs Steele. "Tim, what's he talking about?"

"I, er --"

"What we were doing upstairs before dinner was ready," said Noel, again in that same disingenuous tone. "Jacking each other off, you know? There's protein in sperm and of course all that repetitive wrist action uses up a lot of energy --"

No one saw Mrs Henderson move, least of all Noel. But within a mere instant she stood in front of him and slapped him hard around the face. Noel stared at her for a moment, blood trickling from where her engagement ring had cut his lip. Then he laughed.

"If that's the sort of reaction I get for wanking him, wait till you hear about how good his cock feels in my mouth. It'll bring down the house."

"Wait, we haven't --" said Tim, wanting to clear up the issue. Before he got the chance, Mrs Henderson slapped Noel again. Already his cheek was flushing a dull crimson.

A wild light came into Noel's eyes. Tim had seen that light once before, when Mr Henderson had taken away Noel's new bike as punishment for some minor indiscretion. Neither Tim nor Noel had escaped that light unscathed. History was looking set to repeat itself.

"Go on, Ma," said Noel, licking at the blood that was bubbling down his chin. "I've got so much more to share. I bet Mrs Steele would love to hear about that little hitching noise Timmy makes before he comes all over my hand. It's so sexy that if he hasn't already got me off I come just from hearing it. You should be proud, Mrs Steele. Your pretty little son's turned me into a walking hard-on."

Mrs Henderson made a noise that was half-way between a sob and a scream, and raised her hand again. This time her fingers were clenched into a fist. Tim jumped up, shouting "No!" at the top of his lungs. But Mrs Steele was too quick for either of them.

She grabbed Mrs Henderson's wrist and forced her hand down. Just like that, all the fight went out of her. She collapsed against Mrs Steele, wracked with sobs.

"There, now, Helen. It's going to be all right." Mrs Henderson patted her friend on the back, and turned her flinty gaze on Noel. "You should be ashamed of yourself, Noel Henderson. You have every right to be angry, but you needn't take it out on the rest of us. Tim, you go get some ice for that cheek of his." She bodily lifted Mrs Henderson and started to walk her out of the room. "There now, Helen, we'll get you a sup of brandy and you'll be right as rain in no time. You've had a shock, is all."

Tim didn't wait around to hear more. He slipped into the kitchen and bundled a handful of ice cubes into a tea towel. When he returned Noel was still sagging against his chair, for which Tim thanked whatever deity was currently in charge of disasters and family crises. He'd been afraid that Noel would run off or get some bad ideas from the carving knife, which was still stuck in the uneaten roast.

Crouching down before Noel, who stared vacantly ahead, Tim pressed the ice gently to his cheek. Noel drew in a hiss at the cold.

Tim realised after a while that Noel was not going to make the first move, and his knees were starting to cramp. Shifting his weight on to the next chair, he started rubbing the melting ice into Noel's skin.

"That was impressive," he said. "I haven't seen fireworks like that since your mother broke your light sabre in half."

"She didn't mean to," said Noel quietly. "She's only human. She gets angry too."

"Ah," said Tim. "I take it you're not talking about the light sabre?"

Noel managed a weak smile. "I didn't mean to bring you into it."

"What, you were going to taunt her with our active sex life and not mention me?" said Tim dryly. "That would be worth hearing."

"I don't always think about what I'm saying, you know?"

"I know. You've thrown more tantrums than I can recall." Tim paused, chewing his lip uncertainly. "But … you called me … pretty?"

"Yes, and?" Noel suddenly looked very tired. Tim saw that all the ice was gone, and struck in his hand between his knees instead.

"Well -- why?"

"'Cause you are," said Noel, not even blushing. Unlike Tim, who could have stood in for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer without anyone noticing the difference. "Well, I mean, you're cute too -- you know you always wrinkle up your nose before you kiss me?"

"I do?" said Tim, dumbfounded.

"Yeah," breathed Noel. "You're doing it right now."

Tim's mouth quirked into a smile. "You're just saying that because you want me to kiss you."

"And what if I am? Last time I checked, you didn't seem too unhappy with the whole idea." Noel sat back, scowling as only Noel knew how to scowl.

Tim slugged him in the shoulder. Noel gaped, looking affronted. "Don't be such a baby," Tim admonished. "Of course I want to kiss you, you daft bollocks. C'mere. Is my nose wrinkling yet?"

Noel was already smirking. "Bloody hell, yeah." His hand roughly pulled Tim towards him. "You come here. After all those insults, I'm not moving anywhere."

Tim braced his hands on the back of Noel's chair and kissed him lightly on the lips. Noel shuddered a little as Tim brushed the cut, and when Tim sat back he could taste blood.

"Hey, you call that a kiss?" complained Noel. "Where was the tongue?"

Tim rolled his eyes. "Did you ever consider that you're orally fixated?"

"Did you ever consider that I'll punch you if you don’t snog me properly?"

Tim grinned and cupped Noel's jaw. For an instant, their gazes met, and Tim fully appreciated how very strange and wonderful it was to be able to do that.

Noel tilted his head and the moment broke. A hair's breadth from Noel's mouth, a sharp bang made them both jump apart.

"I've put your mother to bed," Mrs Steele announced without preamble. "I gave her a sleeping pill from the medicine cabinet, so she'll be out for a while. Tim, we need to get going."

For a moment, something like fear flashed across Noel's face. Then it shimmered away, leaving Noel with a flat and darkly bruised expression.

"I'll see you tomorrow," whispered Tim, squeezing Noel's shoulder as he rose. Noel didn't acknowledge either the gesture or the farewell. He drew coldness around him like a blanket and turned his head away.

And in spite of all the wrong he'd done Tim and how much trouble his kisses had brought down upon his head, Tim sensed that there was something very wrong. He feared for Noel, but his mother was beckoning to him and he had to go.

++

The air in the car was redolent of suppressed rage.

After five minutes, Tim dared to ask, "How'd you know Mrs Henderson had sleeping pills?"

The look his mother threw him was scornful. "She got a prescription when they moved house. The anxiety was giving her sleeping problems."

"Ah." Tim was prepared to lapse back into silence, but his mother was not.

"Tim," she said, her fingers clenching and unclenching on the wheel with fainting sucking noises, "was what Noel said true? Are you -- experimenting with him?"

Tim stared at her for a full minute, trying to assimilate her question. Experimenting? What was he, a chemical compound?

"Uh," he said at last. "We're not. Uh. Experimenting. As such."

"So he was lying?" The relief in Mrs Steele's voice was palpable.

"Uh. No. He wasn't. We -- fooled around. A bit. He -- that is, we just --"

"Oh, Tim," said Mrs Steele thickly. Tim saw to his shock that she was crying, tears pouring down her cheeks as she efficiently changed gears and indicated for their driveway.

Tim didn't think it would be right to leave his mother crying in the car, especially when he'd made her do it. So he sat, shifting in his seat every so often and almost wishing she'd thrown a punch like Mrs Henderson.

At last Mrs Steele took her head off the wheel. She gave two loud sniffs and fumbled in her sleeve for her handkerchief. "I'm all right now," she said, smiling at Tim.

It was all Tim could do not to recoil. Her mascara had run and was smeared everywhere except her eyelashes, and her generous nose was bright pink. She looked anything but 'all right.'

"If only you'd told me earlier," she sighed. "It was a nasty shock, hearing it like that. At least if I'd been prepared …"

Tim fought not to frown. "What do you mean?"

"Well, I didn't think you were … gay, now did I?" Mrs Steele sniffed again. "Mrs Gray's son from Kirke Street turned out to be a gay. It's perfectly normal, apparently, and he helped her pick out some lovely new curtains when she redid the living room."

"Mum, what are you talking about?" snapped Tim. "I don't know anything about curtains!"

"But you know, they're very good with things like that. Designing and clothes and so on."

Tim looked at her in disgust. "They? Who, you mean the fags? I wouldn't know, Mum. For me being gay means getting stuff thrown at me in class. Or having people urinate on my clothes while I'm at PE. Or, you know, having my arm broken."

"Darling, what do you mean?" Mrs Steele protested weakly. "I thought you were only experimenting with Noel."

Tim felt something hot gush out inside his head. "Stop using that word, Mum!" he shouted. "I kiss him and we get each other off, but it's not like we don't know what's going to happen when we do, okay?"

"Right, dear, right." Mrs Steele began maniacally folding her handkerchief. "I'm sorry, I'm just a bit overwhelmed by all this."

A dart of pity shot through Tim's rage, but he refused to let it pierce him. "That's your own fault," he said. "Noel was the first boy I've ever done anything with, that's true. But I've always been gay. Always. You just didn't want to see it."

New tears dribbled from Mrs Steele's eyes. Tim was fighting back wet prickles himself. "It doesn't matter, anyway," he sighed. "You'll have the rest of my life to get used to it, unless you want to send me to one of those places in America where they try to cure it."

At that Mrs Steele gasped. "Tim! I can't believe you'd think I'd do such a terrible thing. You're my son. If you want to --" she visibly struggled with the words "-- sleep with other men, then you're gay. But sleeping with men doesn't stop you being my son."

"The son you're disappointed in, though -- right?"

"You have done nothing but make me proud of you your whole life," said Mrs Steele.

Tim wanted to wallow in that, but his ancient pain refused to let him. "Then why, Mum? Why did you let Bosworth get away with breaking my arm when I was ten? Why did you let Mrs Jackson bully me in school?"

"I -- Tim, who is your best friend?"

Tim snorted. "I don’t have a best friend. Bosworth doesn't think little pansy boys are allowed them."

"Then you might not understand this, but -- Helen Henderson is my very best friend. We both got pregnant young, and we both moved with our husbands far away from our families and old friends. We've have got along anyway, but we truly needed each other as well, circumstances being what they were. And then we both couldn't have any more children. I never told you this, but a year after you were born I had an etopic pregnancy and nearly died. The doctors said I needed to have a hysterectomy to avoid future danger."

"Yikes," said Tim, the shock of his mother turning into a human being before his eyes making him revert to a word he hadn't used since he was seven.

"Yikes exactly. Helen, on the other hand, had multiple miscarriages. Eventually they gave up on a second child, just like we had to. It was another bond that drew us together, and made both our sons very precious in our eyes." Mrs Steele sighed. "I sometimes worried that Noel was too precious to Helen -- and he was such a beautiful little boy, nearly perfect. She was constantly terrified that something bad would happen to him."

"Let me guess -- like turning gay?"

"Probably," admitted Mrs Steele, "although it's not something our generation thought very much about. But whereas I have four brothers and know that boys will get into the most awful scrapes, Helen herself was an only child. She'd never really known how to get along with other children when she was one, and she couldn't understand it when Noel tried."

Mrs Steele turned to look out at the profusion of wildflowers in the garden, as if Tim's face hurt to look at it. Tim almost hoped it did.

"You were the only one how could really handle him, you know. Noel would have been fine if it weren't for Helen interfering at every turn, but I couldn't admit that. I didn't want to admit that. I even let her blame you for things I knew Noel had done, because I knew it was water off a duck's back to you. Noel, though … Noel took criticism very badly indeed."

"I'd noticed."

"Then there was that incident in school when you said you wanted to marry Noel when you grew up." Mrs Steele sighed deeply. "Do you remember that?"

"Mum. I have never, despite much trying, been able to forget that."

Mrs Steele made a noise of distress. "In retrospect it was just a silly, childish thing to say. If you'd said it about a girl Mrs Jackson -- everyone -- would have said it was sweet or precocious. Even at the time I was inclined to laugh at first. I knew you and Noel were very close, and that you'd thought that marriage was something friends did."

"It is something friends do."

"Quite. And I remember that when I was eight or nine I'd wanted to marry my brother, because I didn't want to change my last name." Mrs Steele chuckled, but it sounded forced. "Helen didn't see it like that. She thought you -- and by extension, Noel -- had signed yourself up for relentless teasing and bullying by other children."

"She was right."

Mrs Steele continued as if she hadn't heard. "By myself I could have talked her around, but Mrs Jackson was on the warpath. I thought her motives were clear: she wanted to protect you. In fact, she was a right old narrow-minded, bigoted bitch. But who wants to say that about the person they allowed to teach their children?"

"Wow, Mum." Tim was amazed. "You said 'bitch'!"

Mrs Steele grabbed his hands, her heart in her eyes. "I know, Tim, I know that I should have stood my ground. I know what Mrs Jackson did to you in class, what that little shit Shane Bosworth did to you, but if I'd spoken out Helen would never have forgiven me. Besides, I thought you'd grow out of it. And you and Noel seemed to --"

"We didn't," Tim corrected her sharply. "We stopped being friends the day he let Bosworth beat me up."

"Well, there, I suppose it was easier to let myself be deceived. You won't ever comprehend just how terrifying it is to be a parent until you are one yourself."

"Unlikely, in the circumstances," countered Tim.

"The thought of hurting you killed me. And when it was my fault … look, Tim, I can never apologise enough for putting you through that, but it was hard enough to live with myself as it was. And you seemed to be okay. You were never in trouble, you get good marks in school …"

"Hey." Tim hugged her awkwardly. "It's … it's not okay. But I forgive you anyway. You're my mum. I want you to love me. Pretend I just didn't say that."

"Pretending," said Mrs Steele. "And, Tim, I promise not to ask why you've taken up with Noel when you just said you stopped being friends seven years ago --"

"Except that you just did," Tim pointed out.

"Just, don't judge him until you've at least got his side of the story." Mrs Steele sighed. "I love Helen like a sister, but being her son would be tough. Very tough."

"Speaking of tough," said Tim, "Dad's home. Do you fancy telling him before or after tea?"

++

Tim stood quietly outside the door of the Chemistry lab, waiting for the teacher to arrive. He was remarkably proficient at letting himself occupy the smallest possible space during those times when it was all to easy for someone to bump him, knock his books from his arms or spill something on him. A time like now.

Tim wasn't stupid. He knew not every gay person on the planet had to deal with such relentless sexuality-based persecution every single day. He also knew that he'd lucked out when it came to his educational circumstances. He'd known nearly everyone in his class since primary school. It followed that nearly everyone knew that Bosworth wasn't overly fond of Tim, and why. Young teenagers were never going to be hugely accepting of a queer in their midst, but Bosworth had turned up the heat to Spanish Inquisition Fahrenheit.

He was aware that the few girls who shared this class with him were exceptionally giddy today. All he could see of them were their shoes -- precariously high -- and expanses of pale, stubbly legs beneath their rolled-up skirts. Bosworth knew as well as Tim how little girls interested him sexually, but that didn't mean that Bosworth sanctioned him associating with them. That would be a little too humane.

Thus Tim nearly took out his eye with his pencil case when one of the girls stalked into his personal space and said, in a voice hoarsened by cigarette smoke, "You're Tim Steele, aren't you?"

"Yes," said Tim. She'd only heard his name in roll-call every day for the past four years, but Tim didn't like to mention it. People got awfully touchy when you pointed out their mental deficiencies. Touchy to the point of pain, even.

"Is it true then?"

A gale of giggles greeted her words, along with advice that the girl 'Shh' and 'Don't say it, Sandra!'

"I'm sorry, is what true?" Tim dared to move his eyes up to the girl's face. It was a clone of every heavy pan-stick aficionado everywhere, but Tim thought he read something close to kindness in her gaze.

"About you and Noel Henderson!" hissed the girl. Tim hastily revised his opinion of her tender heart. His own plummeted as he spotted none other than Noel and Sam Davies, Bosworth's right-hand man, strolling up to the door.

"What about us?" whispered Tim. It was unlikely that acting dumb would forestall the inevitable question, but hope sprung eternal.

"My mate Cass, she said she saw you two last week behind the sheds," said Sandra. To Tim's petrified ears, she was booming like an elephant in heat. "Course, she saw nothing up close, but it looked like you two were kissing. So she said."

"Well, she saw wrong," snapped Tim. "Why would I kiss Noel Henderson?"

Both Noel and Sam Davies looked over at this rejoinder. It seemed that only Tim felt that it was the original rhetorical question. Noel's face went carefully blank, Sam's post-box red and Sandra's alight with curiosity.

"Well, he's pretty fit," she said, apparently uncaring that the boy in question was well within her earshot. It would have made Tim die of mortification, but his sensibilities belonged to a different age entirely. "And you're gay and all, so why not?"

"Oh, I don't know." Fear tinged Tim's words with hot molten sarcasm. "Maybe because I hate his guts and I wouldn’t touch him if you paid me? I may be gay, but I'm not desperate."

Sandra looked shell-shocked for a moment. Then her lip-gloss cracked and her well-disguised rosebud mouth split into a huge grin. "Right. Good call, mate."

And smoothing down her skirt -- an action which took no time at all -- she wandered back to her friends.

Tim let out a breath of unalloyed relief. He thought, with a bolt of satisfaction, that he'd handled that quite well.

Then he looked up and saw Noel's face.

++

Tim and Noel were in the same class group, but by dint of the fact that Tim was consistently early for classes and Noel consistently late, he rarely saw much of him. It would have meant turning fully around in his seat at the front to catch a glimpse of Noel in his seat at the back. Such untoward movement would have earned him a volley of spitballs at the very least.

But PE was far from such a safe and structured environment. Ever before his and Noel's unexpected rapprochement, Tim had dreaded PE like Odysseus dreaded leaving Ithaca. Where he and Odysseus differed was the repetition of dread. Odysseus suffered being torn from the bosom of his beloved island only once. Tim was forced -- through the cruelty of not having some kind of bone or congestive respiratory disease -- to endure PE every week.

It was little wonder that Tim hated every sport in existence. There were far too many chances for balls or bats to come flying in his direction, and all were permissible under the rules of the game. Thanks to Bosworth's new and inventive aiming methods, Tim used Deep Heat on a more regular basis than the entire Munster rugby team.

Today he was somewhat in luck. The PE teacher wanted them to run an obstacle course in the gym and called names in alphabetical order. This meant that Tim was far back in the line from Bosworth, Davies or -- most importantly -- Noel. In addition, there was only time for everyone to run the course once.

Tim knew he'd trip or fall or fail to launch himself over the horse during his two minutes, giving fuel to Bosworth's mocking fire. But that paled in comparison to forty straight minutes of what the Department of Education and Science charmingly called physical recreation, and what Tim more accurately termed hell on earth.

Tim hung back at the end to offer the teacher help moving the mats. This was a trick that sometimes worked, so that Tim could totally avoid meeting Bosworth in the small enclosed changing rooms. However, his luck had run out with his straight -- if slow -- run on the obstacle course. The teacher thanked him and shooed him off to change.

Tim slipped into the changing rooms and wedged himself into a corner between lockers, the better to avoid being seen. The room was full of raucous boys and the smell of old sweat. Technically it should have been a heaven of half-naked males, and Bosworth certainly believed that Tim thought so. In reality that was far from the truth. If Tim had his way he'd people the changing rooms with well-muscled models from Ayor Studios instead of scrawny, pimpled teenagers.

Tim was buttoning on his school shirt and beginning to hope he'd make his getaway intact when Noel materialised in front of him. Tim's heart sank to his socks at the look on Noel's face. Clearly he meant business. Tim could already feel the phantom aches starting up.

"Noel," he said cautiously.

"Timmy," returned Noel, eyes blazing. "Do you feel like explaining yourself?"

"Huh?" Tim's fingers tugged so hard at a button that it came away from its moorings. He dropped it unthinkingly. "In what way? Do you mean like a description of how I look --"

"No!" Noel's warm breath blasted Tim's cheek, and he shivered. As his gaze was firmly fixed on the exit, he didn't notice the way Noel's angry expression wobbled momentarily before righting itself. "Earlier. Before Chemistry. What you said to Sandra. What was that about?"

"Oh, you mean the part where I saved your reputation? It's okay, you can thank me later."

Noel gave Tim a sharp shove. Tim felt his shoulder blades connect with the breezeblock wall. "Who said I wanted to be saved?"

"Come off it, Noel," retorted Tim. "You have no idea what you'd be letting yourself in for. Do you really want tawdry gossip about you circulating this school? Don't think they won't turn on you because you're gorgeous and popular and all that. That's an even better reason to bring you down."

"And what," Noel ground out, "gave you the impression that I give a fuck about what they think?"

"Uh, let me think. Your entire life to date, maybe?"

Incongruously, Noel smiled. "You once knew me better than that."

"Yeah, and once I had a dick the size of a peanut," said Tim. "What's your point?"

"D'you know why I kissed you last week?" asked Noel softly. Tim noted in alarm that he was practically on top of him. While this could be a very pleasant state of affairs in other conditions, it now meant two things: danger and a blocked exit.

"You were horny?"

"Well, there was that." Noel was very close now. Tim could feel the whisper of Noel's shirt against his bared lower belly. "But mainly I just wanted to. I didn't want to wait for the weekend, or worry about your mum springing us."

"Might I remind you that it was your mother doing the springing, and that a whole school was there to spring us behind the sheds?" Tim was having the greatest difficulty making his words live up to their cold logic when Noel's feather-light knuckles were brushing his bellybutton.

"I'd take the school over my mother any day." Noel grinned in a very disconcerting manner.

With a liquid shock, Tim realised that Noel was going to kiss him. In school, again. In the changing rooms. Not five metres from where Bosworth was regaling the room with his weekend's exploits.

Tim opened his mouth to say 'Don't you dare!' or something else that was suitably quelling. He didn't get past the preliminary stage, for Noel's mouth was already hovering and his tongue slid between Tim's lips as soon as they parted. The hands that Tim raised to push him away twined in his hair instead. Tim's mind screamed betrayal, but his heart just said 'Please, sir, can I have some more?'

Noel's nimble hands slipped around to rub his lower back, making Tim arch like a contented cat. Noel began to do that thing where he drew Tim's lower lip between both of his own, which usually made Tim so hard he thought he'd die before he came. This time, reality came crashing in with a rather more imminent death threat.

"Noel?" said Bosworth, in a voice he'd obviously intended to be commanding but was far nearer to the dying throes of a parrot.

"Mhm," Noel said into Tim's mouth. With obvious reluctance and one hand still on Tim's hip, he turned around. "What d'you want?"

"You," squeaked Bosworth. The rest of the boys stared as if their eyes were due to be harvested for bowling balls. "Him. You! Him! Kissing! Him!"

"Yeah." Noel leaned his head against Tim's. His slight advantage in height caused his stubble to sweep Tim's cheek. It was not unpleasant, except in the sense that it brought a murderous light into Bosworth's eyes. "He's a good kisser."

"He's a boy," thundered Bosworth.

"What part of his anatomy gave that away?" asked Noel.

"Sweet Jesus, do you have a death wish?" said Tim in a terrified whisper.

Bosworth turned his burning gaze to Tim. "It's you, isn't it? You filthy little queer, you've corrupted him! You'll pay for this."

"Correction," drawled Noel. "If there was anyone doing the corrupting it was me. All my idea. Not that Timmy mightn't have thought about it, but I acted on it." He sent Bosworth that sharp diamond smile. "Sorry."

Bosworth's face disappeared beneath a mask of rage. "You will be. I always thought there was something a bit off about you, Noel Henderson. After all, you were friends with that faggot before your father warned you away from him. I'm not surprised he rubbed off on you."

"Or just rubbed me," said Noel. "That's quite nice, by the way -- you should try it."

"Oh no," said Tim, quietly and all but unheard. He knew that look on Bosworth's face. It meant that he was going to hurt someone, hurt them until they begged for mercy and then keep on hurting because mercy was a word with one too many syllables for Bosworth.

In between Noel's bravado and Bosworth's posturing, Tim slipped out from under Noel's arm.

Right up until the minute he stepped in front of Bosworth's fist, he was sure he was going to run for it.

++

Tim was roused from a groggy sleep by what sounded like a troupe of tap-dancing ladybirds. As his brain threw off the mental padding of several doses of painkillers, he realised that the noise was a light hail of gravel against his window.

At some point in the fight, Tim assumed that he'd fallen heavily on his ankle. He couldn't remember anything after the first burst of bright red agony, but when he woke up his face was a patchwork quilt of bruises in varying shades, his left arm was in a sling and his ankle too weak to rest any weight on.

The relentless shower of pebbles continued, effectively putting the kibosh on Tim's chances of falling back to sleep. He grabbed the crutch that had aided his epic journey up the stairs several hours earlier and hauled himself out of bed. It took a good five minutes to cross the two yards to his window. He pulled up the sash, feeling the tender skin of his non-sprained hand cry out in protest at the effort.

Tim wasn't sure who he expected to find waiting outside his window, but Noel was definitely a better contender than Santa Claus or Jesus. As soon as he spotted Tim's head sticking out of the window, his face broke into a grin.

"Wait there!" he said in a hoarse whisper. "Leave the window open."

"You're going to shinny up the drainpipe, aren't you?" Tim sagged against the wall, the tingling in his ankle threatening to escalate into full-blown throbbing.

"Close." Noel's voice floated up. Tim, who was still somewhat heavy from all the drugs that had been recently pumped into his system, fancied that he could see the colour of Noel's words hanging in the air.

He must have fallen asleep standing up, for the next thing he knew Noel was shaking him awake.

"'m sleepy," mumbled Tim. He felt Noel's hand slide around his waist and gasped in pain, for he'd inadvertently pushed against the biggest of Tim's blood bruises.

"Sorry, sorry," said Noel. "Just a few steps more."

"Bed," said Tim, letting himself flop face forwards on to the still-warm pillow.

He drifted in and out of consciousness for what could have been minutes or hours. All the time Noel lay against his back, one arm resting light as thistledown on his waist. At last, the steady flicker of breath against Tim's neck soothed him into full wakefulness.

"Hey, you," said Noel, as Tim gingerly shifted so that he was on his back. Tim saw that one of Noel's eyes was stained blue-black, his eye cobwebbed with pink veins.

"What happened to you?" he whispered.

"Do you remember anything that happened?" asked Noel. Tim shook his head. "Well, Shane attacked you like a bloody tiger, scratching and punching. Everyone was sort of stunned -- usually he doesn't get so extreme, you know? Besides, we were right in school. Everyone knows it's stupid to beat people up in school."

"Yeah, I know," said Tim bitterly. It was stupid to beat people up in school grounds, but perfectly intelligent to do so ten feet from the school gates.

"Eventually he might have remembered that it was me he was after," continued Noel, gentling Tim's elbow with the pad of his thumb, "but I decided I'd better remind him. If you think this is bad, you should see the other guy."

"I already did. There was a mirror in the doctor's surgery."

"Are you angry with me?" Noel's thumb stopped moving. "You have every right to be, I guess."

Tim snorted. "Thank you for that, Brutus. I'm quite aware that ninety percent of the blame for my troubles can be laid at your door, and the other ten percent I get for having the temerity to fancy boys. I should have been born in Ancient Greece. Then it's the rest of you who'd be the freaks, not me. The very thing that Bosworth despises so much about being gay? The Greek men called it arete. That's, like, manly virtues, and they passed it on through sex, so Bosworth wouldn't even have been considered a man by them. And Leonardo da Vinci? He was gay. He said this thing once, I always remembered it, that you have no right to love or hate anything if you haven't acquired a knowledge of its nature. So what right does Bosworth --"

"Tim." Noel pressed his fingers to Tim's mouth. "You're rambling."

Tim subsided in a huff, but before he could even envision graduating to a funk Noel's lips found the soft place beneath Tim's jaw -- one of the few that didn't ache abominably. In between tickling Tim's skin with light kisses, Noel added, "Bosworth is a dickhead. You know that. He's never going to be as intelligent or kind or good-looking as you are, and he knows it. So he hates you."

"Are you telling me he thought all that when we were ten, too?"

"Probably not. But when he was ten he saw me, the kid everyone wanted to have as their best friend, and you were standing in his way. The rest came later, with the inferiority complex."

"I don't know why you were so popular," snapped Tim. "You were an undeserving little shit."

Most annoyingly, Noel only laughed. "I know. I was well lucky the day I got you."

"And then you gave me away again. Clearly you aren't in the habit of being grateful for the hand Fortune deals you."

"You use awfully big words nowadays," mused Noel. "Do you think if we'd stayed friends I would too?"

"There are many things I could say to that, most of them involving very short words with four letters in them. But I'll stick with: we'll never know, will we?"

"Do you think you can sit up?"

"I know I can. The question is why I would bother, when it's the middle of the night, I'm on some kind of noradrenaline high and I should be asleep."

"Just do it," commanded Noel. And, because the habits of a lifetime were hard to break, Tim obeyed. Noel packed the pillows up behind him and pulled a torch from his pocket. "Ready?"

"What for?"

"To go adventuring," said Noel.

He turned the light of the torch under his chin, throwing his face into sharply delineated shadow. With one swift movement, he'd thrown the sheet over both their heads. It made a tight, fuggy little cave. They'd used to do it every time they slept over at one another's houses. As far as Tim recalled, it always gave him a terrible cramp in the neck.

It was a far more sexually charged situation now than it had been when they were kids. They both sat cross-legged; Tim's knees were stapled to Noel's and his bare toes rubbed against Noel's socks. At least he'd taken his runners off, Tim supposed.

"So, where do you want to go tonight in our teleporter?" Noel's voice was soft. The torchlight highlighted his moving mouth. Tim suddenly wanted to kiss him very badly indeed, his own battered face notwithstanding.

"Tahiti," said Tim. "Lots of white sand, blue skies and a very conspicuous lack of Bosworths."

"He'll never touch you again," said Noel, his voice congested. Tim wondered if he was getting a cold.

"How do you propose to certify that statement? This isn't the first time he's put me on painkillers, if you're thinking that's the deal breaker --"

"Maybe because he was expelled and your mother swore in front of the headmistress, the PE teacher, Shane's parents and a guard that she'd sue him from here to Timbuktu if he came within spitting distance of you ever again? The headmistress said Shane had been walking a fine line for months now and suggested he be sent to military school. And the PE teacher said he'd never seen anything so disgraceful as what Shane did to you in the changing rooms, and if I hadn't -- I mean, yeah. That’s how I know."

"Wait, wait," said Tim. "Shane's gone? And what did you do?"

"I might've held him off a bit," said Noel diffidently. "I might've had a few years' worth of not stopping him to make up for. And the headmistress wasn't best pleased that Shane was picking on us because of our 'alternative lifestyle choices.' Probably because she's a lesbian, but whatever, right?"

"She's not a lesbian," said Tim, latching on to the only thing of which he was absolutely certain. "She has two kids and a lovely husband. Did you tell her you were gay?"

"Well, I seem to have come out to nearly everyone else in the past week, so why not her? And it made sure Shane got expelled. School can't afford to let that sort of information get out -- that they're intolerant and discriminatory. Which I might've suggested to her a bit too."

Tim felt the beginnings of a grin push past his sore lips. "I wish someone had told that to Mrs Jackson. That woman made my life a sheer misery."

"Mrs Jackson? The one who -- didn't you hear?" Noel's eyebrows shot up. "She got blackballed from the teaching register. She was slapped with a lawsuit for racial discrimination from the family of a black girl in one her classes."

"You can't get blackballed from teaching," protested Tim. Noel made an impatient noise.

"Well, whatever it is they do to bad teachers. Sacking, flogging, being made to read dyslexic diaries." Noel leaned forward, bringing home once more just how little space there was inside the sheet tent. "So, did I bring a little light into your day?"

"Night," corrected Tim. "And yes. A week in the Costa del Sol's worth."

"Good." Noel smiled, his hands sliding gently up Tim's thighs. "Shall we see if I can't stretch it to a month in Bondi Beach?"

"Wait," said Tim, and Noel snatched back his hands. "What about you? I mean, now everyone thinks you're gay. This isn't going to be nice for you. I speak from experience, here."

"Really, why? Are you going to stop fooling around with me?"

Tim stared at Noel's deadly serious face. "No-o. Not unless you want me to, of course. But what's that got to do with anything?"

"What's that --" spluttered Noel. "Everything, Tim. Everything. You might recall that I proposed to you when we were ten? But what you don’t know is that I've had a crush on you since … forever, probably, but definitely since I realised my dick came with dual functions. Every time I kissed a girl I pretended it was you, and let me tell you that's hard to do with the breasts and the lip-gloss and all. I thought I had to be the stupidest person in the world for letting you go."

Tim could barely speak for blushing, but he mumbled, "So, why did you?"

Noel sucked in his lower lip. "How are your parents taking all this?"

"My dad hasn't been able to look me in the face since I told him. And he keeps jumping away from me when I get near him, as though he'll catch something." Tim shrugged. "Mum's been great, but she's developing an unfortunate tendency to ask my opinion on her new dresses and if I think green curtains would clash with the wallpaper. The other day she tried to make me watch Queer as Folk with her."

"Ouch."

"Yeah. I didn't have the heart to tell her I'd already seen it." Tim paused. "And?"

"Let me put it this way: your parents are having a Hallmark reaction compared with mine." Noel was folding the hem of Tim's pyjama leg between his fingers. Tim wondered if he even realised he was doing it. "You know that day you said you wanted to marry me? Mrs Jackson rang our parents about it. I heard my mother screaming on the phone to yours for about an hour afterwards. Then she screamed at my dad, and then he …" Noel swallowed. "He took a belt to me. He said you were a horrible deviant. He said I should stay away from you."

Tim thought of the numerous times his father had tried to teach him to fly fish, and compared it to being belted by him. It didn't even come close.

"Afterwards he came up to my room. Crying. Said that if I was careful about it, I could still be your friend … but that I'd have to stay away from you for at least a while. Until everything blew over, was how he put it. Well, I didn't have a clue what was happening, did I? I just agreed. Then he left and my mother came in. She was all done up, I remember that, like she was going somewhere. She said she'd invited Shane Bosworth over to play the next afternoon, and that she was going to make cookies for us. You know how often we begged her to make them for us? And how rarely she actually did?"

"Yeah." Tim wanted to say or do something that would convey his feelings in a suitably Shakespearean manner. But he found that his mouth was too dry for soliloquies, and also that exhaustion was starting to make his hands tremble.

"I'm pretty sure my mother was behind it. He only ever beat me once before, when you and I went joyriding on my new bike in the middle of the night. I think my mother wanted me to see my father in the role of punisher, and not her." Noel sighed. "I could have defied them. I know that now. But … I still don’t think I could have."

Tim thought about his parents. About how he'd do anything to undo what he'd done to his father, how many football matches in the sleet he'd attend or maggots he'd stick on fishing hooks to achieve that. One supremely logical part of his mind assured him that his father's reaction was barely a century shy of medieval and, as such, he wasn't worth Tim's notice, never mind his concern. The rest of his brain just wanted his Daddy back.

"Noel," he said, "I couldn't have either."

"Does this mean you forgive me?" Noel looked up, hope gilding his features.

"Not yet," said Tim carefully. "But I think it means there's a distinct possibility that I will."

"Close enough for me." Noel grinned.

"Why are you here, anyway?" asked Tim. "Not but that I'm excessively glad to see you, in one piece and so on, but generally two am is not considered an acceptable time for paying social calls."

"I'm grounded." Noel rolled his eyes. "I'm not sure if it's for punching someone in class or being gay, but grounded I am. And I wasn't about to wait till you were back to check that you were okay. Speaking of which, I have something for you."

Noel rolled forward to yank something from his back pocket. Tim valiantly tried to ignore the black hair that was grazing his nose and how much closer Noel was to sitting in his lap than before. After what felt like a whole era of sexual repression, Noel sat back and presented Tim with a pink envelope.

His mouth curling, Tim opened the ungummed flap and pulled out a card. In the process he spilled enough glitter to supply a craft shop for a month.

The card was emblazoned with the words 'Get Well Soon' and featured two soppy-eyed bears hugging each other. Tim quickly resolved that the artist had never seen a real bear in his or her entire life. There wasn't a slavering fang in sight.

The saccharine verse inside the card had been heavily underlined with purple ink, and the card was signed with a single word: Sandra.

"Looks like you've got yourself a new mate." Noel smirked. "Or a fag hag."

"Sandra? Sandra as in 'publicly outing us' Sandra? Wow." Tim turned the card over, in case there was anthrax stuck to the back.

"She also asked me to give you something else from her."

"Yeah? What?" asked Tim, his amazement at the card dulling his awareness of the husky drop in Noel's voice. An instant later, Noel crushed his mouth on to Tim's. Tim lost his balance and fell sideways, Noel right there with him. They were both half-pinned by the wreckage of the sheet tent, but Noel didn't seem to care and Tim soon ceased to.

Noel had conveniently forgotten the existence of Tim's numerous scrapes and sores, but what he saw when he pulled open Tim's pyjama shirt stilled his roving hands. He looked ready to say something either drippy or vengeful, so Tim clouted his ear.

"A bit lower down, mate," he admonished.

"Sorry." Noel stretched himself lengthways beside Tim, his hand dipping beneath Tim's waistband. "Er, I lied before."

"What?" gasped Tim, affronted that Noel chose to further bare his soul when his fingers were right there.

"That kiss was just from me." Noel tugged Tim's pyjama bottoms down a little.

Tim arched his hips to give him better access, ignoring the cuts and bruises that were filing abuse charges to his brain. "Tell me something I don't know."

"Cheeky." Noel's teeth found his ear. "Keep that up and you'll be waiting a long time for --"

"Boys," said a wearied voice. "It is nearly three in the morning. Some of us have work tomorrow."

Tim froze. "Dad?" he squeaked.

"Mr Steele?" said Noel, sounding like he'd overdosed on helium. Quick as a flash, he dragged up the cloth he'd so recently edged down.

"I know who I am, but thank you for the reminder." Mr Steele shrugged his mauve dressing gown closer to his shoulders and surveyed both of them with a jaded eye. "Well, if this doesn't bring back the past like I don't know what. Can you remember how many times I had to tell you two to shut up during the night when you were kids? Because I can't."

"I kept count for a few months," said Noel, in a strange, disconnected voice, "but I had to give up eventually, the numbers got too big."

"Quite." Mr Steele yawned. "I expect we'll be seeing more of you as time goes on, Noel Henderson, but mind you keep your visits to daylight hours. And if you must stay the night, the two of you can sleep in the guest room. The one that's down the hall."

"Dad?" repeated Tim. His brain was somewhat stuck on the word.

"Yes, Tim?" Mr Steele looked his son in the eye for the first time in a long time. "I can't say I wholly endorse your romantic choices, but I suppose it's a father's lot to disapprove of his son's boyfriends. Your father leaves for work at seven, Noel, so ring him then and let him know where you are."

"Yes, sir," said Noel.

Mr Steele coughed. If Tim didn't know better, he'd have sworn that his father was trying to cover a laugh. "Don't call me sir. It won't help you next time I catch you impugning my son's virtue, I can tell you that much."

"Or when I'm impugning his," Tim couldn't help but add.

"Yes," said Mr Steele. "I expect you will. That's the Steele way. Never had any real backbone, the Hendersons."

With the ghost of wink, he drifted out.

"Huh," said Noel. "I'm beginning to think we chose the wrong set of parents to adopt us."

"Never mind," said Tim. "Your parents will come around -- my mother will see to that. Although you may end up designing pelisses on a professional basis. And if not …"

"Hmm?" said Noel, already busy investigating how much the paternal inspection had dampened Tim's ardour and making up the deficit.

"… we can always get married."

The End

So, d'you think this is too racy to show my parents?
 
 
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Current Music: Where does the good go (Tegan and Sarah)
 
 
 
...: [Art] RxSchowburger on September 6th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
Mmm, you should do the original fic thing more often! This kind of made my day. I wish there was as much of this sort of stuff floating around the internet as there is fanfiction.

At first I was keeping tabs of the things I wanted to quote back at you and point out the genius of, but then I lost track, so this is just going to have to be considered an all-encompassing declaration of your general genius.
Oh, and it's pretty much the coolest thing ever to read a slashy story that's set here in Ireland :)

And satisfy my curiosity, will you? How on Earth do you manage to write so much? I mean, I'm lucky if I can stretch a narrative out to a thousand words, but you seem to have this endless flow of prose in you that's really quite impressive.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chatting ballerinasscoradh on September 6th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
... Mmm, I was gonna suggest that you check out the_dystopian, but her stuff is pretty hardcore. There is a comm for writing original slash that's apparently quite good (I've never got around to checking out because yeah, fanfic). I can look up the name if you're interested.

I've tried setting things in England and failing so many times ... and then I tried a really Corkonian one and that failed too. So this is just a general Irish-y town. Probably Clonmel, actually. :P

I guess the honest-but-cheeky reply to that is: How do you (or anyone) write so little? I've always been horribly verbose. I have to keep myself in check when I start writing so that I don't wander so far off track that I lose sight of what the plot was in the first place. I once wrote a paragraph about ants in an essay about school uniforms. Why? My teacher sure couldn't figure it out.

[le shrug] Also, I can see things pretty clearly in my mind when I'm in the writing zone. The words, especially the dialogue, just appear in my head and all I need to do is write them down.

Unfortunately I'm in the writing zone less than 10% of my writing time, so ... :|

/ramble

(no subject) - celerywench on January 2nd, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 2nd, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kat: moony - golden eyed by celestialsodakyasuriin on September 6th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)

ah this was amazing. I liked how you held out the backstory until later which explained why Tim wasn't incredibly surprised when Noel came onto him (or why Noel was fairly confident, or at least not terrified of rejection). I loved the characterisations & the details and turns of phrases, like always. You're an amazing writer and I hope you can get this published, it's certainly good enough. (and it made me tear up a little when Tim had his late night visitor... too sweet, the two of them). Thanks for the lovely read.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Pornscoradh on September 6th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was a bit afraid that the whole set-up was rather hackneyed, but I suppose it's still possible to find enjoyment in cliches and whatnot.

I hope you can get this published,

[amused] Unlikely, for several reasons, but I'm highly flattered.


Remus Buttplug Face: pretty gay marklazy_daze on September 6th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
kdhglakdgh;akdgh;akdhg;akdghadkg

I love this more than I can even articulate. You wonderful wonderful lovely genius person you. sdlfjghsldjghsldjhgljd THESE BOYS. THEY ARE SO. GAH.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Pointy legscoradh on September 6th, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
:D

I still can't believe I called one of them Tim, though.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Girl facescoradh on September 8th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
It's the only explanation for the sheer volume of fics you've produced recently.

A lot of time on my hands that will shortly be curtailed by college, driving me to new heights of desperation -- more like. It's not that I was ever unable to produce 5000 words a day, it's just that most HP fics need to be four times that and I usually lose interest. PoT is freeing that way.

The protein line alone had me squeaking in horrified amusement.

It's true, though! Did it in physiology. :D

I'm especially glad you approve, being a boy-person and all. I often wonder if my dialogue isn't hopelessly girly, but if you can enjoy it then it can't be all that bad. (I hope).

In conclusion: LOVE.
jehnt: sw - jedijehnt on September 6th, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
take this entire post and multiply it by like ten hundred and maybe then you'll get what i mean
HOLY FUCKING HELL.

I LOVE YOU. SERIOUSLY. A LOT. OH MY GOD.

MORE LIKE THIS, PLEASE.

I read the entire first part of this thing with my three suitemates also in the room (because I didn't even read the summary paragraph, I was so excited to start reading), hoping that they wouldn't look over and catch a sentence about cocks or wonder why I was grinning manically at the monitor. I really should have just waited until I was done in here and read it on my laptop, but I had already waited a while because I had to STUDY, and I just COULDN'T BEAR waiting any longer.

Just. I don't even know. I enjoyed this thoroughly. That's such an incredible understatement that it's ridiculous. You're officially a fandom of mine, for serious. Right in my fandom bookmarks, between "narnia" and "sga." And the bookmarks, they speak the truth. If you are ever inclined to post original fiction again, I encourage you to do so.

I liked almost everything about this story (and the things I didn't like were, like, Bosworth, that one bitch teacher, Noel's passivity with regard to Tim getting beaten up, etc, hah). The characterization was great. You mentioned that you thought the set-up was cliched, and maybe it was, but your execution of it was excellent (and that's all that really matters, anyway). As always, I found myself reading your descriptions and going OMG WHY DON'T I WRITE LIKE THAT!?? and I suppose that's a good thing.

Just, really, this might be my favorite thing you've written. ♥

So, d'you think this is too racy to show my parents?

... Maybe a little bit. XD

p.s. - pay attention to the title. I am bad at not appearing reserved with the praise and so forth, and I already feel like I'm gushing ridiculously, but in case it didn't appear that way, please know that I was.

p.p.s. - this story made me really happy.
starts with kanyotherknight on September 6th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: take this entire post and multiply it by like ten hundred and maybe then you'll get what i mean
Wholeheartedly seconded; I wish my brain were intact so that I could write a decent comment for once.
starts with k: Nobuta kissy kissyanyotherknight on September 6th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
Have I told you I love you? Because I do. Boys and wit in that unmistakable style of yours aside, I would have to say that Mrs. Steele was my absolute favourite part. She's the perfect mother, not so much in the idealistic sense as in the human-being-muddling-along-for-the-best sense.

Mr. Steele is a very, very close second and winner of the Golden WTF Dad Award.

Please to be writing original fic more often.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Witticismsscoradh on September 8th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
Here's a thing: I'll have the Steeles adopt you. :D I got their name from a Danielle Steele on my bookshelf -- will you still respect me in the morning when you get the email notification?

Also, love. ♥ <-- Love!
(no subject) - anyotherknight on September 8th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on September 8th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anyotherknight on September 8th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on September 8th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ex_ella_bane358 on September 7th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
This is wonderful! I hope you'll tell us the pen name you plan to go under, because I don't want to miss a single book you write. I'm being serious! Lovely, perfect little tale here. Of course I loved Tim and Noel, but your portrayal of two very different mothers was great. Favorite two lines here:

"Yikes," said Tim, the shock of his mother turning into a human being before his eyes making him revert to a word he hadn't used since he was seven. I swear, my heart gave a little lurch there.

The "Please sir, can I have some more?" thought in Tim's head had me giggling. I was imagining the little blond boy from Oliver! when I read that.

Thanks for sharing this.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Apollo balletscoradh on September 8th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
[laughs] As far as I'm concerned this is published now ... but in the unlikely even that someone decides to pay me money for my ramblings, I shall of course inform everyone directly. :D

I swear, my heart gave a little lurch there.

How come? Do you remember when that happened to you, is it? I found it pretty freaky.

Thank you for liking it! ♥
(no subject) - ex_ella_bane358 on September 13th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
JR: escribas másevalangui on September 7th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
I totally agree with chowburger, why isn't there original fic like this floating around the net? just like fanfiction? I did try looking for some but when one cannot even have the characters name make sense(as in fanfic) it's hard to bypass bad writing and nobody recs original fic. Except me, because now I will have to rec this to everybody, even people who have a very elemental hold of the English language.

I loved it. I loved Noel, but Tim even more and their hate/love relationship had me totally OMG, this-is-exactly-what-i-want-to-write. I have to learn that friendship-to-lovers fics don't work, tsk.

More original fic? I seem to recall you mentioning a *couple* of them, so...where's the other?

Btw, I think it's too randy for parents. But, it depends on parents, maybe you could adapt it to PG for yours? :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chatting ballerinasscoradh on September 8th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
I did try looking for some but when one cannot even have the characters name make sense(as in fanfic) it's hard to bypass bad writing and nobody recs original fic.

bb_shousetsu. I've heard it's good. I've never made the time to check it out, but chances are that the reports are true. :D

Friendship to lovers fics do work, they're lovely! -- but I'm ever wary of writing them in case I somehow make it happen to me. I don't want to fall in love with my best friends kthanx.

The other is only half finished. But I'll see if I can't round it up and post it, just pour tu. ♥

I suppose I could cut the sex scenes out, neh?
(no subject) - anyotherknight on September 8th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - evalangui on September 11th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on September 11th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - evalangui on September 12th, 2006 09:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on September 12th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - evalangui on September 13th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on September 14th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - evalangui on September 14th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
i've got a bullfight poster with my name on itfeatherduster on September 7th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
This has, after a very awkward and just all-right day, brightened my mood immensely. The characters are absolutely wonderful -- Noel, especially, was my favourite -- and very true to being a teenage boy. Not that I can speak from experience on that, but all the same...

I can't even describe how happy it made me. Suffice it to say that I would love to be able to write half as well as you do, and I'd love to see more of this.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Dracoscoradh on September 8th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
This has, after a very awkward and just all-right day, brightened my mood immensely

Gah, I know that feeling. It's awesome to be able to do that for others. :D

Suffice it to say that I would love to be able to write half as well as you do

And I think that about other writers, oh, ninety percent of my reading time ... I'm glad I'm getting a good reception, though! If I ever write more I'll be sure to put it up. I might brighten another day for you. ♥
secretsolitairesecretsolitaire on September 7th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
Awww. This made me smile. I loved poor long-suffering Tim and his palpable sense of wonder that someone like Noel would ever really be interested in him. And I must mention again your talent for writing kisses and porn in general -- you never revert to cliches, and everything is always so detailed and realistic (and hot, of course!). Thanks for sharing.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Team pinkscoradh on September 8th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
I loved poor long-suffering Tim and his palpable sense of wonder that someone like Noel would ever really be interested in him.

Noooo, that's not lifted straight from life or anything. [whistles innocently]

talent for writing kisses and porn in general -- you never revert to cliches, and everything is always so detailed and realistic

[laughs] Phew! It's something I'm always really afraid of, too.
Luce Redissen4 on September 7th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
Enjoyed this a lot. It was extremely readable, even though I think some sentences are a bit too involved at times. But the story moved along at a good pace, and I really liked it.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Eggsscoradh on September 8th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
I think some sentences are a bit too involved at times.

[laughs] Yes, definitely a problem with me! I get totally convoluted if I don't watch myself. I've already taken out some of the worst offenders, so you can imagine what this was like before!
4rightchords_ on September 7th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC)
ohhhhh.

lovely. perfectly lovely.

nothing useful whatsoever to say. just completely lovely.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Armageddonscoradh on September 8th, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you. [blushes]
Gin: Rampant homosexuality.backinblack on September 7th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
alsknflaksnfa this was so awesome. I kept having these fits of strange, barking laughter. Mind you, it is 5am and I have SCHOOL tomorrow, so the experience was a tad surreal.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love your writing. The first time I stumbled across something you wrote, I was hooked. You have a gift for expressing perfectly the whimsy of life and personality, but without being fictional about it. I consider your characters real people in a sense. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to suspend my disbelief with other writers? Man. YOU ARE SO TALENTED *ENVY ENVY HEART*

In other news, this makes me want to write Noel/Tim fanfic. Set in college. YOU MAKE ME WANT TO WRITE FIC ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS, DUDE. And it also makes me want to work on my original gay youth novel, and revisit the other two I cowrote, and finish that one original short story, and essentially just write ANYTHING so I can feel 1/10th as delighted with myself as I am with you. :>
1ightning: love1ightning on September 7th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
Everything I want to say has already been said, and it's been put better than I could have done anyway. However, I still want to say that your characters were realistic and wonderful, and everything was just so... I dunno. Right.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Beltsscoradh on September 8th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
realistic

That's a great compliment, I hope you realise! Thanks for giving it a chance. ♥
Lullaby in my handtodaythesamesky on September 8th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
Holy-- wow. Just. Wow.

Your characters are awesome and everything felt so real and just. Yeah. Wow.

And this bit?

"What's that --" spluttered Noel. "Everything, Tim. Everything. You might recall that I proposed to you when we were ten? But what you don’t know is that I've had a crush on you since … forever, probably, but definitely since I realised my dick came with dual functions. Every time I kissed a girl I pretended it was you, and let me tell you that's hard to do with the breasts and the lip-gloss and all. I thought I had to be the stupidest person in the world for letting you go."

made my heart do the squeezy thing-- and that hardly ever happens, especially with original stuff because I'm not pre-invested in the characters, so that says so much about what you've done, that you've made me really, really care.

So yes. Wow. You are incredibly talented, so thank you so much for sharing this wih us.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Doctor?scoradh on September 8th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
[blushes] Nah, it was ... I'm glad you liked it, but I can't believe people are saying all this stuff to me. It's like I'm reading it about someone else and nodding along and then it hits me -- HOLY COW, THAT'S MY STORY THEY'RE ON ABOUT.

Heh. ♥ Thank you for giving it a go!