Notes: Some of you have concerns. ^^ Rini DID mean to lock them in there but she didnt know it was going to storm that bad to where they couldn't call out. So, she was sorry for that, not for locking them in. There will be oodles of fluff soon (couple of chapters) so be patient. *_* I started the angst off with Brad because well, not alot of people are tolerant. BUT, a few people won't be prejudiced. Heh. Okay. On with the chapter

Chapter 7

James darted glares at a couple of glowwering jocks; his 'friends.' Just because he'd made friends with Ryouji they were immediately turning on him. Ryouji was quiet beside him, his bag held in numb hands. He'd gotten used to the taunts and jabs at him being gay. To be perfectly honest, Ryouji was afraid to be with ~anybody, girl or boy, it didn't matter. Either he'd have resurfacing memories of the one who had stolen his purity or of those girls that wanted his money. Both were horrible times to remember. Ryouji glanced at James, the broader boy was next to him protectively as if shielding Ryouji from any sort of verbal or physical harm. Ryouji smiled a little at that.

They came to Ryouji's Physics class. James beamed at him brightly. "I dont think they'll try anything stupid with other kids around but still, be on your guard." Ryouji pursed his lips, about to enter when James hand on his shoulder stopped him. His heart skipped several beats. James was turning scarlet. "You know, so you have something to look forward to at the end of the day, would you like to get something to eat at like 5 o'clock and maybe go see a movie?"

Ryouji giggled cutely behind his hand; something he had NEVER done in his life before. James' turned to mush at the serene sound. It was heaven coming from Ryouji but coming from anybody else; it would have been annoying. Besides, it was nice to see Ryouji with his guards down for that split second before they were re-built. "Okay. Bye," Ryouji called as he went to his seat.

James willed his cheeks to return to their normal bronze hue. He was going on a date. Maybe he hadn't come out right and asked Ryouji for a date but he couldn't just be blunt about it. Even if he was going loony over the beautiful Japanese boy that didn't mean he had to act like some girl. James laughed to himself, earning concerned looks from his peers. Ryouji was ~so~ the girl if a relationship prospered. James opened his locker, taking his Chemistry items from the shelves.

"I heard about it from Brad," a petite blonde haired girl said, a complete forlorn visage on her face. James was about to apologize when Marissa stopped him. "I'm not mad James. What you do is your business and yours alone. Me and Paul accept this...entire...thing. Whatever it is. The rest don't and there's only so much that we can do. James, answer me one thing honestly."

"Anything."

"Do you have feelings for him?" the head cheerleader asked seriously.

"I do," James answered without hesitation.

Marissa nodded, clapping him tenderly on the arm. "I understand. Good luck...James."

James continued towards his science class where he would be forced to deal with Brad. He was relieved that Marissa, extremely popular with the girls, and Paul, captain of the baseball team, accepted it. James wished the rest would. He sank into one of the back seats, intent on not paying attention and trying to figure everything that was going on out.

He raised his eyes as he felt a heated glare on him. Of course, it was Brad. James flipped him off. Brad scowled at him before returning his attention to the board. James did have feelings for Ryouji. How couldn't he? After everything that had been said between them last night... James wanted to help Ryouji with his feelings of depression and loneliness.

A paper was thrown on his desk. He opened it, half expecting some sort of bogey to leap out. Instead, what he read, nearly made him howl in rage. Scrawled in Brad's handwriting was: YOUR BROTHER DIDN'T FARE LONG AGAINST US. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL, FAG? James hand tightened into a fist, refusing the tears. James had always known that Brad's brother's gang were into that stuff but to know it was true? It hurt worse than anything.

~ ~ ~

James, who had ignored everyone but Paul and Marissa, and was being accosted by Brad's group, had had enough. He had stormed out of fifth period early and went to vent in the weight room. He wasn't even dating Ryouji and they had to spread the rumors that they were. Why did they immediately assume that they were together by just befriending Ryouji? It was sickening.

He went to the place that Ryouji went everyday and a calm smile curled his lips. Ryouji was already there, furiously scribbling something into notebook. Ryouji looked up, grinning but it grew grim when he saw the haggard face. "Are you okay James?"

"I'm fine." James sat beside him, curiously staring at the notebook. "What are you writing?"

"Um..nothing." Ryouji quickly stowed it inside of his bag, blushing. James rolled his eyes. "Tell me what's wrong with you? Don't clam up."

"Brad's been starting shit all day. We're friends and he assumes that we're a bunch of homosexuals because of it."

"...That's not all."

James angrily scrubbed his eyes. "He wrote that, my brother didn't fare long against them. His brother's gang was the one who caused Bradie to kill himself." More tears came faster. "I'm afraid they'll do it to you and I dont want that to happen."

"Despite what you think, I'm not weak." Ryouji wrapped his arms around James, holding him close. James sighed, returning the hug. "Besides, now that I have you, I dont think I want to leave this plane of existence."

"...You mean it?"

"I wouldn't lie to you James," Ryouji whispered, getting an urge to just ravish James senseless. James raised his head to find that his and Ryouji's faces were merely centimeters apart. Ryouji's lips were parted as his breathing quickened at the close contact.

James reached forward with one hand, carressing the side of Ryouji's face. The smaller boy nuzzled his palm, eyes sliding shut, dark lashes skimming his cheekbones. His pale cheeks were flushed the most endearing rose giving him an almost wanton appearance. How anyone could see Ryouji as anything but beautiful was insane. James tilted Ryouji's chin, leaning closer. So lovely....

"Kiera, come here!!" came a yell, forcing the two apart. Ryouji scurried from James as if were the plague, panting, cheeks flushed, and eyes insanely round. He pressed his palms to his cheeks. What was wrong with him?! He could have ruined any chances with James by acting so emotional. Honestly, blushing?! Ryouji hesitantly peeked at James.

"Well, um, we should-" All other words, all mental capability, ceased to function properly as a pair of soft lips enveloped his own in a fervent kiss. Ryouji couldn't stop himself. He was returning the kiss with just as much excitement and yearning as James was exhibiting. James's hands eagerly snuck underneath his shirt, gliding along the smoothe plans of his back, fingers warm and questing. Ryouji, much more nervous and shy about the intimacy they were sharing, encircled his arms around James's neck.

James couldn't think of anything else but dominating Ryouji's marshmallow plump lips, to slide his tongue inside the warm cavern of Ryouji's mouth, to feel every single inch of the boy's body. The urge to kiss Ryouji had been too much and he didn't care if this affected their friendship; it felt right, that was all he knew. James pressed himself against Ryouji almost completely boxing the slender youth in with his arms. He suckled on Ryouji's lower lip, biting and nipping on the already bruising flesh with astounding tenderness.

Ryouji sank against the grass, giving into James willingly. The broader boy straddled his hips all the while keeping the kiss constant despite the burning of their lungs for greater intakes of air. Ryouji astonished himself as he moaned, giving James ample leverage to invade his mouth with his tongue, seeking his own for the duel that had been fought for millenia between lovers.

James flicked his tongue against Ryouji's, coaxing the boy's from it's bashfulness. Had anyone ever made him feel like this? James's hands drifted towards Ryouji's sides, feeling the prominent ribs before flitting to Ryouji's abdominal region. The muscles fluttered from the touch, welcoming it. James, coherent though evaporating quickly, darted his fingers to the buttons of Ryouji's shirt, desperately wanting to probe and explore Ryouji's delicate body.

Ryouji's mind was hastily switching from passion-fogged to panic ridden. He wasn't ready to tell James. He wasn't positive he ever would be. He rested his hands against James's chest, breaking the kiss, panting for a stable breath. James's eyes narrowed in confusion and suspicion before adopting a shocked, terrified, and utterly adorable expression.

"Um, sorry," James mumbled, about to slither from his position on Ryouji's hips but arms around his neck prevented him. "What? You....I thought you would be mad...... I mean, I took advantage of you and it was wrong of me. I'm really sorry Ryouji."

"Do you regret doing it?" James's answer would hinder the outcome of their friendship or romance.

"No."

Ryouji's grin was charming and genuine and in a few seconds, James was smiling with him. "Then, I don't mind. After all, we might as well fit the part of the queers they're making us into." He giggled, rubbing his nose against James's in an eskimo kiss.

James sighed happily, resting his head against Ryouji's shoulder. "I'm glad that you're okay with it. I dont think I could have lived with myself if I made you hate me. I'm just so attracted to you Ryouji. More than I've ever been to any girl." He chuckled. "I never saw myself falling so helplessly for another guy."

Ryouji made a noise of contentment. "First time for everything. I....I have to know where we stand. Do we forget about this and stay friends or do you want to become something more?"

"Like, boyfriends?"

"Yes, boyfriends."

"I like that sound of that. Ryouji, will you be my boyfriend?" James couldn't prevent the blush.

"I will."

They held each other even as the bell rang to dismiss lunch. All they knew was that it was going to be the beginning of something beautiful and everlasting~an everlasting love. They forgot, in that moment, that the world was against them and the threat that was directed towards them.

@ @ @

NOT over! ^_^ Just a little setter up. Confusion: James DID NOT know that it was Brad's gang. Alright? More will come to light in two chapters. ^_^ Did I rush the romance? :-P Mmm. Well, thank you all for reviewing, so much! :)

next chapter: The date!