Author: squidmaster64 PM
M/M Slash: :T for occasional harsh language: Lucifer is aching for comfort, an escape from his Recombient heritage and his overprotective family... Or at least, he damn well better be, because that's what he's getting. Concrit greatly appreciated! :OLD:Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 12 - Words: 48,108 - Reviews: 40 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 07-18-09 - Published: 06-08-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2682994
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Moving. I'd been down that path before, just once. It was for the same reason, too—Dad had a new job, now at the Cate Medical Center. He was a pretty well-and-up-there asset to the national field of human biology, specifically in those areas left untouched by the straight-minded folk that pricked over anything not "politically correct." He dealt with Recombient. He could play God and mess with people's genes—of course, not directly, as he was only on the researching team, but I liked to think of it that way.
It wasn't a big deal for us to up and move. It was easy for a father and his only son to hop around wherever vocation instructed. He made good money. I tried not to let the change get to me too much—for me, that meant changing schools and the whole lot of making new friends (and enemies, I might smugly add) and adjusting and whatnot. I had a hard time adjusting to changes, I'd found, so I put forth my best efforts to remain level-headed. I could pull it off when I really needed to.
I decided not to jump into the new social world I found at Cate High just yet. At my old school, that was just what I had done, and hell, was that a mistake I'd never make again. I sold off too many brash opinions and comments too quickly, and my reputation from then on was difficult to change to what I really meant it to be. Now I had a fresh start, so what could go wrong?
And just that once, I didn't remind myself—"famous last words."
My problem was Lucifer. He never spoke to me and didn't know I existed; he should have been just as inconspicuous as every other student there, the crowd I was delighted to fit in with at least for a few days before I decided just how I would get myself infamous amongst them. But inconspicuous he wasn't, and it caught me off-guard. I had an infuriatingly powerful crush on him. If it wasn't my own feeble nerves that kept me from speaking to him, it was the second obstacle that being attracted to him presented: his brother, Claude. Half-brother, I'd heard, but he looked bigger and stronger than me in every way, and the worst part was that I'd never seen him away from Lucifer.
This, disregarding the third obstacle—the one being that I was male. While once considered repulsively unacceptable, that kind of preference was now not so criminal. But apparently, this development was extremely new; my father still had a bit of that prejudice in him. He was a good person, so he tried to accept the fresh views on society, but I could tell he couldn't quite rid himself of that bitter taste.
I felt guilty for—should I say—"stalking" Lucifer? I didn't care. I wanted to get to know him, but I couldn't see Claude reasonably happy on Christmas, with his perpetual scowl and frequent glares shot in every direction—he'd never let me near him. Lucifer, on the other hand, seemed completely unaware of his surroundings. He was always... depressed. He followed Claude around like an obedient dog, and he rarely spoke to anyone other than him.
It was no wonder the two of them had attracted so many rumors upon themselves. A few tricky weeks passed, in which I netted myself a loose social network, mostly of girls in the know of everything that went on in the student body. Most of this news I could dismiss as unimportant, some of it I kept in mind to pass on, but those few snips I got about Lucifer and Claude I pounced at like a starving puma on a dead antelope.
I had the basic gist of it. The word as to their being step-brothers was true, as far as I could place, so I decided to go on that fact as a start. Then there was the other—that they were Recombient—god above I don't believe in forbid—that I deemed worthy of personal investigation. But, grudgingly, I confirmed it was true after all.
That explained the discrimination against them, I figured. Recombient were, and had always been, the shit of society ever since all that fancy new genetic alteration technology came out when my dad was a kid. He'd always said he went in to the medical field for specifically that reason—to be on the forefront of the now-widespread Human Genome Project's newer branch, Generation Nuborica. And that was just what he did, tagging along and poring over the results of everything and the hypotheses and watching experiments and things—until it succeeded. Once the first human had been genetically modified—I can't even remember the lengthy name the scientists eventually gave them, but laymen said "Recombient" or some slangy variation of it—it became the biggest moneymaker of the second 50s.
But of course, that was over fifty years ago. Things had changed since then. With all that new technology, so fresh and untested, things started going wrong, and Recombient got their own little stereotype just like the other minorities did, as idiots, mainly. Because the safest genetic modifications were the ones that couldn't be seen—disease immunity and things like that. The ones the public wanted were riskier: make my daughter have purple hair, my son have gold eyes. That's where the real problems came from. Lucifer and Claude had red hair. Not unnatural, perhaps, but not common. It was then I realized I never looked closely enough to determine their eye color. Rumors for that—red, apparently. Red hair and red eyes—how eerie. But fascinating.
Later, I found out—they didn't have red eyes.
It was a typical day, and I was just watching, trying to draw but not really, acting like I was working on the tree they were sitting next to and not Lucifer himself. I guess my wonderful inability to look discrete was well at work that day, because Claude actually made eye contact with me a few times. I wasn't really worried until he approached me. I didn't even hear him at first, in one of my pauses to work on the picture instead of stare at his brother.
Then when I noticed that I hadn't noticed, I was terrified.
"What are you doing?" His voice was far less powerful than I expected, and I almost laughed aloud in relief. He wasn't so tough, but who would know, if no one ever confronted him? No one. How clever.
I grinned. "Just drawing a picture."
He didn't seem to buy it, but I couldn't help myself from smiling. I felt as if I'd triumphed, somehow, at being so close to Claude but feeling so safe. He was harmless, all show, like one of those butterflies with the big owl's eyes on their wings. Nothing.
"That same one? That you've been working on for the past three weeks?"
I shook my head, not risking that I speak and blurt something stupid.
His voice dropped a bit, and I flinched. "Then what?"
"What? What does it matter?" I recoiled a little, folding the sketchbook against my chest protectively.
"You're that homo. Vince Stafford."
I frowned a little. "And?"
"And—" He looked over his shoulder, probably to Lucifer, but I myself couldn't see him past Claude. His attention snapped back to me so sharply that I jumped, then continued to fidget for a while in hopes I could hide it. I couldn't tell if he noticed, or if he even cared. "You're disgusting. I know what you're thinking—"
It took me a moment to realize what he meant, but once I did I couldn't sputter out a reply fast enough. "T-That's ridiculous!"
It came out so unconvincing, worse yet, so loud, that I wished he'd drag me to the back of the campus for a sound beating and get it over with.
He grabbed me by the collar, the book falling from my arms when I tried to get away, and he just stared at me. By then, I was pretty sure people were watching—giggling—but I didn't care. I closed my eyes, tight, for a second, then something in the image of Claude's scowl that still lingered in mind's-eye made me take another look at him.
His eyes were not red.
They were pink.
I felt myself begin to smirk, and then froze, because I knew I'd just paved my own path to Hell.
"Don't ever let me catch you staring at him again," was all he said. It was laughable—imagine, Claude, the most talked-about bully of the school, with a thousand reasons to absolutely pulverize this little gay freak, turning tail and leaving him with only a warning and a very pleasing mental image:
His eyes were pink.
I was glad the action of retrieving my sketchbook hid how much I was still grinning. Pink. How cool! Were Lucifer's eyes pink, too? Was his voice just as adorable when he tried to sound intimidating? My heart raced, and a hot feeling came over me, but I was too thrilled to really care. Pink. Not red. Did they look red? I risked another glance at them, closely—and from afar, they did indeed look red. I wondered how many others knew that his eyes were pink, not red, probably no one, because I'd never seen Claude approach anyone like he did me.
So, I decided, when Claude became more than just suspicious of my attention to Lucifer—I would use that against him. 'Hurt me, and I'll tell everyone your eyes are pink!' That was sure to piss him off.
But at that thought, some part of me recoiled inside. Anything I said against Claude I said against Lucifer. My gaze lingered on him against my will, and I thought I saw Lucifer look back sadly.
Probably just a delusion. But my still-enthused mood wouldn't stand for delusions like that, ones that could easily send me higher than a three-year-old's balloon in mindless anticipation, mindless joy. I caught myself hoping that whatever Lucifer thought of me at that moment stayed with him, even if he thought I was just an attention-seeking idiot. Because I decided that we needed to know each other as soon as Claude cooled off a bit.
By the time I got home that afternoon, the encounter had worn itself out of my mind, bogged down into history with every possible what-if scenario leading off I could conjure. It took a bit of thought, but I'd finally boiled it down to a possibility of three paths, give or take some details. First, Lucifer could hate me. He could think I'm disgusting and ugly and stupid and a threat to himself and Claude, and he could reject me immediately. Second, he could like me and accept company outside that of his brother's—I know I'd get tired of someone like Claude after a while, so I found this to be the most likely path—and allow my interest to give him the confidence to stand up to Claude and earn his freedom. Or third, possibly the most horrific of possibilities, he wouldn't care either way, and Claude really would just take charge and beat the living shit out of me.
What I did for the name of love, I thought wistfully.
"What are you grinning about?"
I leaned back against the door I'd just closed upon arriving back at the house. My father was home early. He held weird hours, so I was thankful I'd have company that afternoon.
I let my bag slump to the floor at my feet and shrugged. "Romance."
He laughed lightly. "Good luck with that."
I just nodded to myself and picked the bag up again. I wanted to tell him what had happened, how good my chances looked, finally, and all of those little plans I'd painstakingly crafted during the particularly droll lesson on slope-intercept formulas earlier, but I couldn't make myself do it. Dad knew I liked guys. He didn't appreciate it much. I kind of hoped it was just a phase, though—that's what he told me it was, and that was what I told myself, in hopes that eventually, I'd grow out of it and be a normal person with a normal spouse and a normal family.
Yet I never could specify a word like "wife" or even "girlfriend" with intent to apply it to myself.
Then suddenly, my good mood dissolved. Dad had lost interest in my presence, turning his attention back to the television again. He didn't like that part of me, but he had that little idea of it being just a phase, like all my other stupid phases, that would pass. Maybe it would. But there was a different attraction I felt for Lucifer—I had friends. I had friends of both genders back at East Dock, mostly girls, even, yet none of them were like Lucifer in that way. They were innocent companions, ones I found myself missing with a deeper and deeper intensity the more I thought about them. I wanted Lucifer's company, but I wanted clean company, too. They would tell me it was all right. Lucifer was a faceless person to me, a faraway object meant only for breeding desire. It wasn't fair.
Meredith Grane was my closest friend. But just that: a friend. We were close enough to share dirty secrets, but not close enough to be "dating." She was part of it all, too, the rivalry that existed between males and females. The odd thing was that she was one of those boundary-crossers like I was. Because most of the silent warring was pitted between males and males and females and females, not between males and females. Males and females were friends. Males had their own code of honors I was only dimly familiar with—most of it based around grossly masculine things, unnecessary, serious jokes about whose cock was the best in what way or another or who had the most girlfriends or how many sports teams one played for. I myself had little interest in trying to rank myself (though I did, just for myself to know) in their petty standards. To them, I was something else altogether. I was in the grey area.
But that was all the better, anyway, because I was more interested in the females' cold war. They were similar—here, of course, the cock-boasting replaced by their breasts. But that was more obvious than the males', so there was little dispute over that at all, and that was where it became truly exciting: females were more interested in the art of mind-reading. Meredith could relay the exact thoughts of any girl within eyesight to me if I asked her to—shame, I thought dully, what a wonderful tool would that have been had it worked the same for males. And on top of that, it was all packed into a neat feminine code-talk that translated differently for each subject. And the most frustrating thing was that outwardly, to all outsiders, they all acted the same. There was no bitter rivalry over one's number of male interests. Just charming little sneaky glances and casual, slow movements even when standing still that revealed volumes when read by one of their own. Kind of like those deep-sea fish, I remembered from seeing a documentary on TV, the ones that lived under the aquatic equivalent of bedrock and quivered little electrical signals down their scales to fend off predators or attract prey or mates or whatever. Only females were much, much more complex.
I still had a long way to go if I wanted to fit in with them, then.
I was just too terrified to even risk a fingertip on that subject, though. I would stay in my social pen with all the other undecided individuals.