Author's note: Ok. So I started this story, like, a hundred years ago. And I have finally finished it. There are a few things that need to be said first though. This story deals with MATURE THEMES. This includes slash and cross dressing. If this is a problem for you, that is perfectly understandable. I wrote it with the knowledge that some people may feel uncomfortable by it. If you feel this way, simply don't read the story. If you do, you will feel uncomfortable and your review will most likely make me uncomfortable. Neither of us wants to be in that position so don't put us in it. Also, I own everything in this story or at least I made everything up myself. I guess that's all I have to say about the story. I hope you all enjoy! Oh and I apologize for any typos. I hate proofreading and I am horrible at typing.

Ok, so I uploaded this once and the formatting was so different than in word. If you are really confused, I am working on it and hopefully I will be able to change it so it works better eventually.

The Point of Perfection: By Trey

It all started out so innocently. The sun rose, as usual. The alarm beeped the same beep it usually beeped. Brian pushed back the covers, got up, took a shower, got dressed and ready, and left for school. Nothing seemed out of place or different.

***

Brian Everly is, for lack of a better word, perfect. He is the all- American perfect child. He's tall, muscular, and has blonde hair and blue eyes. He lives in a decently sized home with his mom, dad, and little sister. He even has a golden retriever named Max for crying out loud. He drives a brand new sports car to the high school down the street where he has tons of friends. He has known them all since preschool when they played in the sand box together. He has a best friend, Tom, and a girlfriend, Annie. Tom is the starting receiver on the football team (of which Brian is captain and star quarterback) and Annie is the head cheerleader. Yep, Brian is your stereotypical football-throwing- cheerleader-dating rich jock. Feel free to hate him for it; you're not alone.

However, before you start judging Brian and his seemingly perfect life, you should probably hear his story.

***

"Brian! Over here!"

Brian stepped out of his car and into the bright sun. Looking in the direction of the voices screaming his name, he smiled and began to walk over to his friends.

It seemed that almost everyone was there. Annie, his girlfriend was sitting on the bottom step next to Mia, her best friend. She flashed him her best smile as she stood to greet him with a kiss. Mia stood up as well, rolling her eyes at the couple before announcing that she had to go speak to a teacher about "something important". Standing up a step was a group of boys wearing Lettermen jackets. Each one had their named stitched on the front: Jimmy, Cole, Mark, Rick, and Stephen. Completing the group was the small bunch of cheerleaders standing in front of the boys. Megan, Brianna, and Leigh. Annie and Brian soon joined the group of their friends.

"Hey, guys. What's up?" Brian asked, holding up his fist for all the guys to "punch".

"Not too much, man. We're just hangin' out and waiting for you and Tom to show up."

Cole laughed at that. "Dude, we'll be lucky if Tom shows his face before 4th period."

"What are you talking about, man? Is he ok?" Brian was worried, as were the rest of the people around him. Tom had been acting.odd and he hadn't really told anyone what was going on. The tight-knit group of friends always looked out for each other, but seeing as they knew nothing about Tom's problem, they had a really hard time helping him out.

"Alright, dude, you know how Tom needs, like, 40 billion hours of sleep a night?" Everyone nodded at this and Cole continued. "Well, last night I was out real late because I had to get some shit from the store and guess who's walking down the street in his pajamas? Yup, Tom. He's just walking along, probably going home so I pull over and I'm all, 'Dude, need a ride home?' and he stares at me like he doesn't know who I am so I figure I should get him home in case he's, like, high or drunk or something. I reach to bring him into the car and he runs away. It was so fucked up! I mean he's wandering the streets alone in the middle of the night, he's got dark circles or something under his eyes, and he's totally ignoring me. So finally, I grab him and get him into the back seat where he's like struggling to get out. Eventually he falls asleep though and I take him home to his mom who is basically freaking out because he was gone. Anyway, moral of the story is: Tom didn't get to sleep until 2 in the morning and that means he'll never be able to get up for school today."

"Holy shit, man. That's messed up!"

"Wow."

"Is he going to be ok?"

Cole shook his head with laughter as he began walking into the building, trying to answer the questions and comments being thrown at him by his anxious friends.

Meanwhile, Brian remained on the stairs, slowly sitting down with his head in his hands. He was really scared for his friend. This was so unlike Tom. Tom was supposed to be the good kid. He had a 4.0 in all honors classes, a good position on the football team, a great family, awesome friends, and, in general, an amazing life. In fact, he was almost as perfect as Brian.

On the outside.

***

The day went on for Brian, but he still hadn't seen Tom. As of lunch time, no one had. The minute school let out, Brian was out the door, leaving Annie alone and confused in the middle of the hallway. Brian ran through the school until he got to the front doors. He burst out and ran to his car, each step he took increasing in size and speed. His fellow students looked on, wondering why their football hero was in such a state.

He was scared. Really scared. His best friend had never missed a day of school since the third grade when he had a nasty case of pneumonia that landed him in the hospital. It just wasn't right of Tom to worry him like this.

Brian got into his car and pulled out, not even bothering with a seat belt. His heart was pounding inside his chest. What if something was seriously wrong with Tom? What if Tom blamed him for whatever it was because he didn't help? Had he betrayed his best friend? He needed to find out.

Now, to some people, it may seem like Brian was over reacting, but he's really not. First of all, he is truly worried about his friend. Second of all, the friendship between the two boys is not like your ordinary friendship. They could practically read each other's mind, they were so close. And finally, Brian didn't know it yet, but he cared for his friend a lot more than he let on.

***

Brian quickly turned his car onto the driveway that led to Tom's house. He put the brake on and the car in park, jumping out soon after. He dashed up the pathway that led to the front door and rang the doorbell, at the same as knocking as hard as he could. The door opened and revealed a worn- looking Mrs. Hannen.

Eileen Hannen was actually very beautiful. She was younger than most mothers, having given birth to Tom when she was only 19. But when she opened that door, Brian only saw what was left of her body. Her eyes seemed empty and she looked exhausted. Upon seeing who was at the door, she sighed in relief and opened it even further.

"Hello, Brian. How are you today?"

"Um, well, I'm a little.I'm not doing so well. How's Tommy? He wasn't in school today and.you know."

"I know, Sweetie. I was waiting for you to come by. Tommy is upstairs, sleeping. He woke up a little while ago and asked to see you. I don't know.If you want to go up and wait for him to wake up again, you may."

"Thank you so much, Mrs. Hannen. I really appreciate it. You know what? You look like you need some sleep. Why don't you go rest while I go up and stay with Tom? I insist."

"If you're sure, Sweetie."

"Positive. If he needs anything I can't get, I'll be sure to wake you."

"Thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming by."

As Mrs. Hannen began to walk toward the first floor master bedroom, Brian headed towards the stairs, taking them two at a time. At the second floor landing he turned right and walked to the end of the hall. The door to Tom's room was shut and Brian opened it slowly, so as not to wake the sleeping boy.

When he finally set his foot into the room and looked around, he gasped in horror and shock. All the posters had been removed from the now stark white walls. The computer was blank and sat silently on the desk. The shades were drawn, but the lights were on, making the room look sickly and somewhat "hospital-like". On the bed lay the poster child for the word "sick".

When Brian had last seen Tom, he was tan and strong, much like himself. His brown had been styled and spiked up and his blue eyes glowed with happiness. He had been bouncing around and excited. Now, he was anything but.

The boy on the bed was pale and thin. His hair lay across his face and his breathing seemed somewhat shallow as he lay perfectly still in the middle of the huge mattress. Brian quickly turned away before he turned back and slowly began to study his friend. This wasn't the Tom he knew and loved. Not at all. This Tom, although sleeping, looked troubled and frightened about something. Or maybe confused.

Brian went over to the desk and pulled out the chair, dragging it over to the side of the bed. He grasped Tom's left hand in both of his and held it up to his forehead, which has bent over the bed.

One silent tear slid down the boy's face. He couldn't stand to see his friend like this. It hurt him deep down to know that his friend needed help that he couldn't supply. All the guilt and worry and helplessness covered his face in a salty, wet track down his left cheek. He made no motion to wipe it away.

***

Brian sat there, silently, for the next two hours. Suddenly, he felt the hand he was holding squeeze ever-so-gently. He looked up quickly to see the fluttering eyelids of his best friend. Slowly, they opened and crystal clear blue eyes stared back at him.

More and more tears began to pour down Brian's face. Tears of happiness this time. Although Tom was still clearly sick and nothing had been fixed, he was awake and alive and Brian could see and feel his soul again. The hand he was now squeezing made a motion to slide out. He allowed it to, only for it to reach up and brush away his tears that were leaking from his eyes.

"I missed you, Tommy."

"I missed you, too, Bri."

"God, I'm so worried about you. What's wrong? Is there anything I can do? I feel so helpless."

"Shh. You can start by not crying. It won't do us any good if we're both upset." At this, Tom gave a tiny smile; it was the first one Brian had seen from him in what seemed like years, but it was actually only a few days.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize, Bri. None of this is your fault, alright? Promise me you won't blame anyone, including yourself, for anything?"

"I promise. Promise me you will talk to me about what's going on?" At Tom's regretful look, Brian rushed on. "It doesn't have to be today or tomorrow, but one day? Will you talk to me?"

"That's the thing. What's going on with.it involves you in a way like never before. It is you."

"Wh-what do you mean, it is me? Do you not want to be friends anymore?" Brian's face turned into mask of fear and sadness while Tom's displayed a look of horror.

"Of course I still want to be friend with you! I never want to stop.unless."

Brian held his breath. "Unless what?"

"Never mind. It's not important right this minute. What is important is what I have to say to you, when I get it all worked out in my head."

"Take your time, Tom. Take all the time you need. I'll be right here."

***

Over the next few weeks, Tom remained at home. Each day Brian would come by, usually after football practice was over, and talk to his friend. It was hard for him. Seeing his best friend lying in bed, weak with worry and fear and confusion. He wanted to do something to make it all go away, but Tom had yet to tell him what was wrong. The only thing he could do was keep visiting, bringing him his class work and the latest gossip from school, and letting Tom know that nothing would ever cause him to stop being there for him.

It cost Brian a lot to keep coming and visiting Tom, though. His grades dropped because he couldn't concentrate. His friends and teammates were worried about him as they saw him very rarely outside school and practice. When they did see him, he always seemed distracted-like there was something else on his mind that none of them knew about. They figured it had something to do with Tom since they knew the boys were close and they, too, had been by his house to visit him.

In fact, one day about a month or so after the whole thing started, Brian pulled up to Tom's house only to find three other cars there. He recognized them as belonging to his friends from school and was curious as to why they were there. He knew that they didn't come often and when they did, it was alone and never when Brian was there.

As he slowly made his way up the stairs, he knew something was off. He could hear music coming from Tom's room at the end of the hall. Tom usually sat in silence and this was strange to Brian. He hadn't heard music coming from the boy's stereo for over a month. He hadn't seen any sign of happiness since then either.

Brian slowly pushed open the door, only to widen his eyes in shock at what he saw.

Tom was sitting up in bed, something he very rarely did. He had a small smile on his face, but his eyes were glowing brighter than they had been. Mark, Cole, Jimmy, Stephen, Megan, and Leigh were all sitting on the floor next to the bed. It appeared that the seven teens were actually having a good time. This just threw Brian off even more. In a good way, that is. He hadn't seen his best friend enjoying himself in a long time. He miss Tom's smile and laugh more than anything in the world.

Eventually everyone noticed that Brian had entered the room and turned to look at him. They all had big smiles and happy, laughing faces.

"Look, who's finally alive again, dude!" Stephen shouted across the room.

Brian gave a small smile and nod before turned towards the bed and walking over to the boy on it.

"Hey, you. It's good to see you happy again. I missed your smile."

"I know, Bri. I'm sorry I put you through that. You didn't deserve to be dragged into my problems."

"Naw, man. Don't worry about it. I'd do anything for you."

Mark laughed, "Aww, if it isn't everyone's favorite gay couple! Brian hearts Tom forever!"

"Shut up, bitch," Brian said back. "At least I don't have a crush on the biggest loser in school. Mary Ann."

"Fuck you, too, man. Fuck you, too."

At Mark's oh-so-thoughtful comeback, the teenagers all began to laugh.

"Alright, guys, as much fun as this is, I really have to go do that damn project for English or Mr. Stranson will have my head on a platter," announced Leigh. She was known for not turning in her work and had been threatened with not graduating if she didn't turn in this project.

"Yeah guys, I think we should all get going. Give the lovebirds some time together," Jimmy joked. Tom and Brian simply lifted their middle fingers at him, smirking.

Slowly the rest of the group got their things and left. It was just Brian and Tom, now. Brian pulled over the desk chair and sat down next to the bed.

"God, it's so good to see you at least somewhat happy again. How'd they do it?" Brian asked.

"They didn't do anything. I just.I think I finally figured out what was wrong. Came to terms with it a little bit."

"Really? That's great!"

"Yeah, kind of. I'm still not ready to talk to people about it. I don't know when I will be. It's.really hard for me to accept this about myself, you know? So I'm a little worried about how others will react when I tell them."

"No, it's cool. I understand. Whenever you're ready, I'll be ready to listen and understand."

"You say that now," Tom mumbled under his breath.

"What'd you say?"

"Nothing. Don't worry about it."

***

So, for the next few months Tom still didn't come to school. He didn't leave his house or even his room, really. At least Brian had convinced him to put up some posters and pictures and to walk around and play video games occasionally. Although he was still worried that his friend was not leaving his house, he was glad to finally see him relax and have a little fun.

Eventually football season ended and Brian spent even more time with his friend. Winter was just around the corner, and Brian was becoming impatient and was beginning to worry again. Should it take this long for Tom to accept something about himself? Whatever it was couldn't be that bad, could it? He wished his friend would trust him or someone else even enough to share what was going through his head.

It was frustrating-coming by and not being able to understand his friend. Soon the smiles and the laughter weren't enough. Brian wanted to know what was going on inside his friends mind. He slowly stopped coming daily. At first he just skipped a day every now and then. Later he began to skip more days in a row. It got to the point where he would only stop by once or twice a week and even then would leave after just a half hour or so.

Tom was upset by the recent developments. He began to blame himself for chasing away his best friend. Brian reassured him that he was just really busy with school and now that Tom knew what was wrong, he figured he should start getting back into his work. However, deep in his mind, Brian knew that it almost was Tom's fault. Why was it taking so long for him to "find himself"? He felt incredibly guilty for thinking that while his friend was going through something that was apparently really difficult, but can you really blame him? He had no clue what was going on with the boy.

That is, he had no clue until the day everyone, including Tom, went back to school after winter vacation.

***

Brian was not expecting to see Tom in class that day so it was no surprise when he didn't recognize the boy who entered the room and shyly took a seat in the back corner, away from his friends. In fact, it was Annie who first made his presence known in the classroom.

"Holy shit, you guys. There's, like, a new guy and he's wearing, like, more makeup than, like, me. He's even wear girl's clothes."

Everyone in the small group looked to where she was pointing. Sure enough there was a slim boy in the back of the room. He was wearing a small, pink t-shirt that read "Abercrombie & Fitch" on the front. It ended just below his belly button, about an inch above where his short white skirt began. Following down his body, they all noticed his long, shaved legs that were crossed delicately at the ankle and the strappy white sandals. His toenails were painted a light shade of pink, as well as his fingernails. His hair was laying flat and the longest part hit just above his ears. He was wearing a little bit of eye shadow and his eyes were lined in just the right amount of eye liner that brought out their bright blue color. He also had on a little bit of shimmery lip gloss. Despite the fact that he was clearly a male (his muscular chest hardly looked like breasts), he took Brian's breath away. He was beautiful.

Wait a minute. Beautiful?! Brian was not gay. He was perfect and perfect people aren't gay.

Quickly, he turned away, not wanting to be caught staring. He heard his friends around him, laughing and talking shit about the new boy.

"Haha, what a fag."

"Dude doesn't even know that he is a dude and that dudes don't wear chick clothes."

"God, he's wearing more make up than me!"

"Ew, that's so sick. I didn't even think that people really did that."

Before anyone else could make another nasty remark, the teacher walked into the room.

"Alright, class. Settle down. I'm going to call roll now and then I have a few announcements to make before we begin class." He began talking again as everyone in the class took their seats and got quiet. "Adams?"

"Here."

"Baker?"

"Here."

"Bright?"

"Here."

"Everly?"

"Everly?"

Annie leaned over and nudged Brian.

"Huh?" He asked, looking up quickly. The teacher was staring at him with an amused and somewhat annoyed face. "Sorry, sir. I'm here." He glanced over at the new boy, hoping he hadn't seen him trip up like that. The boy was looking at him with a confused look. He even seemed to be.worried? Brian shrugged it off and turned around, facing the front and returning to his thoughts.

Finally, the teacher finished the roll and turned to pick up a stack of papers on his desk. Before he began talking, though, the new boy raised his hand.

"Excuse me, sir. You forgot to call my name." His voice was smooth and rich. It practically turned Brian into a puddle of mush.

The teacher raised an eyebrow at the boy and said, "Uh, yes. What's your name, again? I probably lost the record for a new student."

"Oh, I'm not new, Mr. Quince. I should still be on the list. Tom Hannen?"

At this, Brian nearly fell out of his chair in shock. Then he ran.

***

"Shit!" Tom muttered. "Mr. Quince? May I go get him?"

"Um, sure.Mr. Han.I mean, sure, Tom. Just stay on school property."

"Thanks, Mr. Quince." And Tom was off. He went as quickly as he could in the tall sandals. He ran down the hallway only to watch Brian disappear through the door leading to the boys' bathroom.

"Fuck it," he said and pushed his way through the heavy door. "Brian? I know you're in here. Please come out so we can talk."

"Haha. Come out. Very funny. Why don't you just go to hell, Tom?"

"Brian, please! Come out and talk to me. Please!"

"Oh, now you want to talk," he said as he swung open the stall door and turned to face his friend. "Why now, huh? You didn't want to talk when I came to your house every fucking day just to make sure you were ok. You didn't want to talk when you knew what was wrong. You didn't want to talk at all. Now you think you can just march in here in your stupid little.outfit and expect me to listen? Well, think again, fag!"

Tom's face went pale and his mouth and eyes widened in shock and hurt. He slowly slid down the wall closest to him, not even caring that Brian could probably see right up his skirt. "I'm sorry."

"Yeah, well, you should be." He sighed, "Look. Just.just give me some time, alright? I need to sort through some things."

"Ok. I understand. And I really am sorry for not telling you before hand."

"I know."

And Brian left the bathroom and headed towards the nurse's office. He suddenly had a migraine.

***

Lunch that day was a disaster for poor Tom, though. He knew it would be tough, but it was another thing having to actually go through with it.

The whole day up to that point had been bad. Everyone in his classes, especially the teachers, had acted odd or uncomfortable. The students would point and whisper and all of his friends were stunned into silence. In the hallways he was pushed, shoved, and generally beaten around. It seemed that no one liked having a cross dresser in school.

When he finally made his way into the cafeteria, he looked around before lowering his eyes and walking towards the lunch line. All eyes were on him. His friends were especially focused on what he was doing. Would he sit with them? If he did, what would they say? "No, sorry, man. We liked you until you became a fairy." It just wouldn't be right to say that, even if it was how they felt.

Tom made his way slowly through the cafeteria and the lunch line. He had no clue what to do. Up to this point he had basically kept to himself, but what about now? He always sat with his friends at lunch. Classes didn't matter because he never talked to them in class anyway as he was focused on keeping up his GPA. Lunchtime was a whole 'nother story. He eventually decided to go for it; be brave. He was going to sit with his friends.

"Hey, guys. Can I.um.sit here?"

The group already sitting shared glances with each other. Finally, Annie spoke up.

"Oh, I'm sorry Tom, but the table is already full and it gets pretty crowded if we pull up chairs. But there is a space over there," she said, pointing at the empty tables across the room.

"Oh. Yeah. Uh.th-thanks anyway." Tom lowered his head and walked dejectedly over to the trash cans where he dumped his food. He then made his way out the door, not looking back. Had he looked back, though, he would have seen the people he used to refer to as friends snickering at his retreating back.

Since there was still 20 minutes left in the lunch period, Tom had no where to go. He decided to walk around aimlessly until it was time for class.

As he was turning a corner he ran straight into Brian. He stumbled to the ground and looked up at the other boy. "I-I'm sorry, Bri."

"Naw, man.I mean.Tom. It's my bad." He reached a hand down to help his friend up.

"You, ah, know you can still call me 'man' or 'dude' or whatever. Just because I found out that I like to dress like a woman, doesn't mean I am one. And you don't have to stay away from me like I have the plague. I mean, just because I like boys, doesn't mean I'm gonna jump you or contaminate you."

"So you are.gay, then?"

"Yeah.You don't have a problem with gays, do you? I thought you were cool with that."

"I am!" Brian replied quickly. "I guess I'm just uncomfortable because it's you now, you know? Maybe I think that if you can be gay, anyone can. I can, even."

"But you're not. Are you?"

"NO! Of course not. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay. Just not me." He paused. "Did that even make any sense?"

Tom giggled lightly. "Yeah, it did."

"Did-did you just giggle?"

"Um, maybe? I don't know, why?"

"Noth-Never mind. Look, I gotta go. I'm going home early so I can think. I'll see you soon." With that he turned away, not even giving Tom a chance to reply.

Tom drove home from school alone later that day wondering what was going on with Brian. Would he eventually accept the fact that his best friend (or is it ex-best friend now) liked boys and dressing like girls? Did Brian even understand how tough this change was for him? He had been there. He had seen the worst days. The days when Tom doubted himself and his existence. Doubted whether or not he even deserved to live. He had to understand that Tom didn't choose to be gay. Had he been given the choice, he would never in a million years have picked this lifestyle. Brian didn't honestly believe that Tom would want to give up his friends and his fun and his happiness just so he could be made fun of for wearing a skirt.

Tom sighed as he got out of his car. He felt like he had reached the end of his rope. He needed to reach out and grab onto somebody for support. Normally it would have been Brian, but the other boy was gone. Off somewhere trying to figure out what to make of his "new" best friend.

"Mom? I'm home!" Tom called upon entering his house. He started heading upstairs without waiting for a reply. Once he got to his bedroom, he quickly pulled off his t-shirt, replacing it with a white tank top. He then unbuttoned his skirt and pulled it off before putting on a pair of blue shorts. He walked over to his computer, brought up the internet window, typed in his mail password and found that he had two new messages. One was from his grandmother who had recently gotten a new cell phone and needed his help programming it. Tom rolled his eyes at this.

The other email was from Brian.

He double clicked on the address, holding his breath in anticipation of what was said in that email.

To: [email protected] From: [email protected] Subject: (none)

Tom-

We need to talk. Meet me at the playground near the elementary school at 5:30 tonight.

-Brian

Tom glanced over at his clock. It was almost five o'clock and it took 10 minutes to get to the playground. Not wanting to be late, he grabbed his wallet and his keys from his dresser and went down the stairs. Once there, he quickly pulled out two of Brian's favorite snack bars from the pantry. He put one along with his wallet in the small pink and white drawstring bag he had used earlier that day in school. He then went out to his car and started the engine. 5:04.

The ride over to the playground was unfortunately full of red lights, giving Tom more time to think about his upcoming meeting with his friend. However, with just under 15 minutes to spare, he arrived at the school and parked his car. He made his way quickly over to the playground where a lone figure was sitting on top of the jungle gym, looking off into the distance.

Upon hearing Tom's footsteps on the stones that covered the ground, Brian spoke up. "You're early."

"I know."

Brian slowly rotated his body so that he could face the other boy. "So." he began. "What.why?"

"Why what?"

"Why is the sky blue? What the hell do you think I want to know? Jeez.'why what?'" he mocked.

"Sorry."

He sighed. "Don't worry about it."

"Ok. Um, I guess I do owe you an explanation anyway." He breathed in deeply before continuing again. "When I first started missing school in the beginning of the year, it was just after I had been to visit my dad in New York. One day as we were walking through the city I saw these two guys. One of them seemed pretty normal, but the other was.I guess you could say a drag queen, although it was not as dramatic as most usually are. He was wearing a dress and makeup and a blonde wig. Aside from not having very natural looking breasts, he looked like a woman. That got me thinking.

"Here was a man, obviously gay as he and his partner were holding hands and kissing occasionally, who was dressed completely like a woman. I wondered why anyone would do that. What problems would it solve? That's when I realized that it would solve a lot of the problems I had been hiding from even myself. I remembered times where I felt strangely uncomfortable wearing boxers and even briefs. I thought back to when you and I put on makeup for that talent show we did. I remembered how when I went out with that girl, Nicole, how she would be in the dressing rooms at the mall while I was supposed to sit on the benches and hold her bags. I never did. I would walk around the store looking at all the clothes and the colors and the variety wishing the roles were reversed. At the time I just pushed these confusing thoughts aside. Until last summer when I saw those two men.

"It really hit me that one day when apparently Cole found me in the middle of the night. I don't really remember that night too much. Anyway, after that I spent all my time in bed, evaluating my life and what I am and what I want. I finally figured it out the day that you came and everyone was at my house. I realized that yes, I am gay and I want to dress in women's clothes. I feel more comfortable in a skirt than in jeans and no matter what people think, I am me and I like myself the way I am.

"Despite this I was still feeling a little insecure though. At this point I was worried what people might think and although I really wanted to tell you I couldn't. And then we started to grow apart. Finally I talked to my parents and some people on a gay youth hotline and I was convinced to go back to school. I knew it would be tough and today was probably the hardest day of my life. But I guess it's worth it to do this. Now I can know who really accepts me for me and not for my image."

As Tom finished his story, the only sound that could be heard for what seemed like hours was the crickets chirping. Finally, he spoke up again.

"Brian?"

"Yeah?"

"What are you-what are you thinking?"

"I'm not sure what to think. I mean this is really big. The only thing I'm sure of is that I'm not leaving you this time. I couldn't do that to my best friend."

Tom gasped sharply as tears of joy filled his eyes. As fast as possible, he threw down his bag and climbed up the jungle gym, carefully throwing his arms around Brian, who was also crying. The two boys just sat there, with their arms around each other, crying, until the sun had set and the air had cooled. Tom shivered slightly, causing Brian's arms to tighten around him.

"You ready to go home, Tommy?" Brian asked. Tom nodded in response and they slowly made their way down the ladder to where Tom's car was parked.

"Where's your car, Bri?"

"I walked. Would you mind giving me a lift?"

"Not at all." And with that, the two climbed in and made their way home knowing fully well that the future would bring tough times and problems, but no matter what they would still have each other.

***

The next few weeks were difficult for Tom, but especially hard for Brian. When he and Tom were alone, things were pretty much back to normal. They had their awkward moments, sure, but overall their friendship was becoming stronger due to a new level of understanding between the boys.

School, on the other hand, was a little more complicated. It was somewhat of a challenge for Tom to get through each day as he had little to no support from anyone except Brian. His friends continued to tease him and exclude him. In fact, Tom didn't even consider them to be his friends anymore and he found it hard to think of a time when they had been friends.

Brian had even more problems at school. He was constantly being torn between his popular group of friends and his not-so-popular best friend. He never knew who to stand with before the bell or who to sit with in class or at lunch. No matter who he chose, the other would get mad.

Annie was taking it especially hard. She no longer felt that her boyfriend truly cared for her. She had even turned to other boys to get her share of kisses and.whatever else she desired. Cole was the perfect replacement boyfriend.

Soon, winter turned to spring and even more problems arose; it was prom time.

***

::Ring Ring::

"Dude, your pants are ringing," Stephen said, laughing.

"Shut up, man!" Brian replied, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket. He pressed a button and put the phone up to his ear. "Hello?"

"Brian? It's me, Tom."

"Hey, what's up?"

"Not too much, really. I just wanted to say that I HAVE A DATE FOR PROM!!"

"Wow, Tom. That's.it's great."

"Oh my God, Bri, I am so excited. I wasn't even going to go until he asked me and now it's like.Ah, I can't even explain!"

"I'm happy for you, man."

"Really?"

"Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I be? It's all you've been talking about for days."

"I don't know, Bri. You don't sound too happy."

"Of course I am. Look I got to go, but I'll talk to you later. I'll stop by your house at 8 o'clock. Is that ok?"

"Sure. I'll talk to you then."

"Bye," Brian said quietly, but Tom had already hung up.

Stephen turned to Brian, punching him on the shoulder. "Dude, you still talk to that faggot? Why bother? I mean he's going to contaminate you with his gayness!"

"His 'gayness'? What the fuck, dude?"

"You know.he probably tries to molest you a lot, right?"

"No, he.You know what? Just drop it all right? I'm going home now. I got to eat dinner and do some homework before I go see Tom."

"Whatever, man, but if you wake up one morning and your ass hurts, don't come crying to me!"

"Fuck you!"

"No thanks, but maybe Tom will take you up on that offer!"

At that, Brian shook his head and walked away.

***

::Knock, knock, knock, knock::

"Can I come in?"

"Yeah, the door is open," came a voice from inside Tom's bedroom.

"Hey," Brian said as he walked through the door to Tom's room.

"Hey." Tom was sitting at his computer, typing up a paper.

"Is that the English essay?"

"Yeah, it's kicking my ass. Especially because I am so excited about prom now. I need to go shopping for a dress and shoes and so much other stuff. It feels like there are a hundred things to do and only a little bit of time to do it in, you know?"

"Yeah. I guess. I mean, I was just going to wear my dad's tux and buy Annie a rose. I guess it's a little different for you."

"Uh huh, especially since I have a date now."

"Oh, yeah."

"Don't you want to know who?"

"Sure, I guess."

"Joey Marks."

"Oh, yeah. Apparently he's the guy who broke the girls' hearts when he came out of the closet. A real hottie, huh?"

Tom chuckled, "Definitely."

"Well, that's cool, I guess."

"Yeah.right. So, care to explain the attitude with me?"

"What attitude?"

"The one you get every time I bring up me going to prom with Joey."

"I don't get an attitude."

"Yes you do."

"No, I don't, ok? Just drop it!"

"Whatever. I need to work on this paper."

"Fine. Whatever. Bye." And Brian left without another word from either boy.

In fact, the two didn't exchange words for the next few weeks until one day, just three days before prom, when, out of the blue, Tom called Brian.

"Brian?"

"Tom? Hey man. Haven't talked to you in a while."

"Yeah, I know. Hey, look, would you do me a huge favor?"

"Um, sure, I guess. What is it?"

"Will you help me shop for a dress? I'm scared to go alone."

"Um, of course, I guess."

"Really? Thanks! I'll pick you up at 2."

Sure enough, at 2 o'clock, Tom was ringing Brian's doorbell and soon the two boys were on their way to the mall.

"Ok, so I have three dresses on hold. One at is Nordstrom's and two are at Lord and Taylor. Price is not an issue, but I am so torn. I need your opinion like no body's business. I know I can trust you to pick out the one that looks least awkward."

"Haha, slow down, man. It's going to be fine."

"I know, just.it's so soon and I haven't accomplished ANYTHING!"

"Don't worry; we'll get it all done today."

A few moments later the boys walked into the formal section of Nordstrom's.

"Hi. I have a dress being held under the name 'Tom Hannen'."

"One moment, sir," the young lady behind the desk said, but not before giving him an awkward look upon seeing his denim skirt and spaghetti strap tank top. "Here you go. Is, um, your girlfriend coming to try it on or, um, is it for, um.you?"

"It's for him. Is that a problem with you?" Brian said in defense of his friend.

"N-no. Just wondering, that's all."

"Good. I'm glad I won't have to report you for being rude and prejudiced to a customer. Your manager wouldn't be happy if I were to tell them that you did not treat your customers with equal respect!"

"Come on, Brian. It's not a big deal. Let's just go before you make a bigger ass of yourself."

As Tom dragged his friend away, Brian was still sputtering with anger. "You're going to take that from her? The hell you will! Stand up for yourself."

"Brian! She didn't do anything wrong! She simply asked a question. After being treated worse than that I learn to pick my battles. That wasn't the time, alright?"

"Whatever, man. I still think it was fucking rude of her. Clearly the dress was under your name and I mean, you are wearing a skirt for crying out loud."

"Ugh, just come on, Bri. We don't have time to argue over this," Tom stated with exasperation as he went into a dressing room.

A few moments later he emerged wearing the dress. It was light pink and reached to about his calf muscles. The fabric was shimmery and had beads embroidered on the chest, which was puffed out a little bit where a woman's breasts would normal be. The straps were thin and accented his abnormally sharp (for a male, anyways) collar bone.

"So, what do you think?"

"I guess it's ok. I don't know. The color is a little to pale for your skin. You get kind of lost in it."

Tom turned towards the mirror. "Yeah I guess I kind of do." He sighed and closed the door behind him. "Alright well I still have two more on hold. Let's go try them on."

On the way out of the store, Tom was once again dragging Brian behind him, as the other boy was too busy growling at the young lady behind the counter to walk on his own.

Once the boys got to Nordstrom and Tom had gotten his dresses from the old lady behind the desk (this sales person was probably so old and blind she didn't even realize Tom wasn't a girl, which pleased Brian), he immediately went to the dressing rooms. While he was changing, Brian went around the store to look at the other dresses.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tom emerge from the dressing room.

"I think I found the perfect dress. It looks awesome and the color is great. I figured you'd approve so I'm just going to buy it," Tom announced when Brian turned to look at him.

"Um, sure. Was there anything else you needed to go along with the dress?" Brian inquired.

"Yeah, I need a purse and a pair of shoes. I have jewelry at home."

"All right. That shouldn't take too long."

"We'll see."

What seemed to Brian like a hundred hours later, the boys had finished their shopping and were finally returning home.

And then, the most surprising thing happened to Brian. Something he wasn't expecting at all. Just before he was about to open the car door, Tom leaned over and grabbed his arm.

"Hey, Bri?"

"Yeah?"

"Thanks. For everything you've done for me this year. It really.it means a lot that you haven't left me."

And with that, he leaned over farther and kissed Brian gently on the cheek.

Brian was shocked to say the least.

After a few minutes of silence he was finally able to stammer out a "No problem" before he swung open the door and walked up his drive way in a daze.

Tom sighed as he put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.

***

"Dude, the guy has a freaking date. Why are WE the ones who have to pick him up? We're not even friends with the sick fuck anymore."

Brian groaned for probably the hundredth time that night. "I already told you guys. He's MY friend and Joey was on the prom committee so he asked me to bring Tom in our limo. It's not that big of a deal. He won't 'turn you gay' or some dumb shit like that."

"Whatever, man. It's still fucked up that he's got to come with us," Rick commented before turning back to feeling up his date (who was most likely some 27-year-old prostitute he had picked up God-knows-where).

A few moments later, the limo pulled into the Hannen's wrap around driveway. Brian got out of the car and quickly jogged up the path to the front door.

A few seconds after he rang the doorbell, the door swung open to show Mrs. Hannen, with the biggest grin on her face that Brian had seen since before Tom's change.

"Brian! It's so good to see you! Tom is upstairs, putting the finishing touches on his outfit. Why don't you come in and wait. You look so great tonight. You don't mind if I take a few pictures, do you?"

"No problem, Mrs. Hannen. Anything for you." He bent down and kissed the back of her hand.

"Stop it, sweetie. You know that's not necessary. I love you as if you were my own son."

"Thanks. That means a lot to me. You're like my second mom too, so it's a good thing!"

She chuckled at this. "Alright, I'm going to go find Mr. Hannen. I'm sure he'd like to see you boys off."

"Alright."

When Mrs. Hannen left, Brian began to look around the house that he had come to regard as his "home away from home". Not much had changed since he and Tom had first become friends when they were much younger. The furniture had remained the same and the only changes in the decoration were the growing number of photographs of Tom and his parents.

Walking along where the mantle place was, he gently ran his finger over the most recent picture of Tom. It had been taken last year, the night of their junior prom. Tom and Brian had both been wearing matching tuxes and their dates were waiting with Brian off to the side. Mrs. Hannen, a somewhat professional photographer, had taken the picture of Tom leaning against a tree in the front yard. He was holding a small flower in his hands and looking down at it. The way the light was hitting him, he looked like the perfect angel. Brian smiled wistfully at it, thinking of everything that had happened between that picture and this year's prom.

Suddenly, a creak from behind him caused him to spin around and look to the stairs. What he saw took his breath away:

Tom was wearing a long, light blue dress that clung to his body in just the right places that made him look less masculine. Thin straps tied in bow behind his neck and the ends hung down his bare back. The silvery sandals they had purchased made his feet look smaller and very delicate. His face was made up with very little makeup, making him look fresh and natural. His hair was lying straight down, just past his shoulders. Most importantly and surprisingly to Brian was the huge smile on Tom's face and the fact that his blue eyes were shining brightly. He hadn't seen his best friend like that in a long time. It seemed that, once again, Tom was a beautiful angel that came straight from the sky towards Brian.

"Wow. You look amazing, Bri."

"Um, thanks, I guess. But, uh, I'd have to say that you look.God. I can't even describe it."

"What? You don't like the dress?" Tom asked, worriedly.

"NO! I love the dress. I meant that you look so beautiful that I can't find words to describe it. Joey is going to be so amazed at how awesome you look."

"Really?"

"Yeah, really. It's just incredible that last year you were all buff in a tuxedo and now you're like.an angel or something."

"An angel, Bri?"

"Yeah, an angel. Is there something wrong with that?"

Tom just grinned at his best friend and walked the rest of the way downstairs, opening his arms to be able to hug Brian.

::Click, Flash::

"MOM! You could have told me you were taking a picture!" Tom exclaimed, pulling away from Brian, but not leaving his arms.

"I'm sorry Tommy, but it was such a perfect shot."

"Son, let your mother do her job."

"Ugh, come on Brian. Let's pose for some pictures and get this over with."

Brian laughed as his friend grabbed his arm, pulling him over to where Mrs. Hannen had set up a "mini-studio".

After posing for pictures for a little while, Tom announced that everyone was waiting and that they had to leave or they'd be late for the dance.

As the limo pulled out of the driveway, Mr. and Mrs. Hannen stood in the window, waving as their son and his best friend drove away into a night that would prove to be very.interesting.

***

The group arrived at the prom about 45 minutes later and, being the "popular kids", walked in as if they owned the space. Eventually they began to spread out, to "mingle with the little people" or dance or eat or, in Stephen's case, spike the punch.

Tom saw Joey standing in a corner talking to his friend Amy, a lesbian who met Joey when she was building a set for the musical he was in. He set off quickly to go talk to his date.

Brian on the other hand was forced into going to the dance floor and dancing with Annie where he remained for the next hour.

So, the night went on. People danced and talked and (thanks to Stephen), got drunk off their asses. And when they announced the prom court, no one was surprised to hear that perfect Brian and his perfect girlfriend were king and queen, respectively.

After the two shared their traditional dance, Brian announced that he was taking a break for a while. Annie shrugged and went off to dance with Cole and a bunch of her girlfriends. Just as Brian began to sip at a glass of juice, Tom came over, face flushed and somewhat breathless.

"Hey, you! Congratulations on getting the crown!"

"Thanks, but you know you're jealous that you're not my queen."

"Oh, baby! I am your queen!" Tom retorted

Brian busted out laughing. "You wish!"

"Hey! I could be queen if I wanted to."

"Yeah, right. Anyways, you look like you're having fun. How's Joey?"

"He's so amazing, Bri. God, he can dance so well and he sings all the slow songs. Gah, man, his voice is a-maz-ing!"

"I'm sure it is."

"Not again," Tom practically whined. "You sound pissed, just like when he asked me in the first place."

"It's nothing, Tommy. Just.I kind of imagined prom as you and I sitting at a table laughing at all the stupid people dancing. Now we're both dancing like fools and you're having a blast and I'm left to be miserable alone."

"So.you're jealous?"

"No! I'm just.I don't know. I just kind of wanted to spend some time with you tonight."

"Well.we could dance if you want to."

"I guess."

"Alright. Come on."

And one danced soon flowed into two and then three, four, and five. Eventually, it was the last dance of the night, and it was a slow one at that.

"Well, Bri, thanks for dancing with me. I, um, I hope I didn't make you too uncomfortable."

"Nah, don't worry about it, man. You're a great dancer. Um, actually, I would love if you would dance with me for this last song."

"I would like that too." Tom smiled at Brian and moved into his arms. The two danced for a few moments longer before Annie arrived, all but demanding to dance with Brian.

"Um, I'm kind of in the middle of something here. Why don't you go dance with Cole. I know you've been fucking him for the past 4 months."

"But you hardly danced with me at all, baby and I wouldn't be sleeping with Cole if you would put out occasionally!"

"Oh, fuck you both. You're both sluts. You know what, don't wait for me in the limo. I'll get another ride. Oh, and forget going to that hotel tonight. I'm going home. Without you."

"Fine, you big jerk!"

Annie stalked off, the steam practically pouring out of her ears.

Tom pulled his head up from its resting place on Brian's shoulder. "You didn't have to do that you know. You could've danced with her."

"No. I'd rather dance with you anyway." He placed a light kiss on Tom's head. "Besides, I was going to break up with her tonight anyways."

"Alright, if you're sure."

"Positive. Now, I know this is kind of last minute, but can I get a ride home with you and Joey?"

"Yeah and I'll even do you one better. You can sleep over at my house so neither of us will be alone."

"Sounds good to me."

***

"Alright, boys. Here's your stop." Joey pulled up to the front of Tom's house unlocking the door. Brian climbed out first, saying he would meet Tom at the front door.

"I had a really good time tonight, Joey. I'm glad you asked me."

"I had fun, too, Tom. I hope that we keep in touch when we go off to college. You're a great friend and I would hate to lose that."

"I would hate to lose you, too. We'll definitely stay in touch." Tom leaned over, gave Joey a small peck on the cheek and a shy grin. "I'll see you in school."

"See you. Have fun tonight."

And fun he would have.

Once Tom and Brian got up to Tom's room, they both collapsed on the bed.

"I am so freaking exhausted," Tom declared.

"Me too. I say, we go down stairs, grab a movie and some popcorn and just chill up here."

"I say you're right. Let's go." Half an hour later found the boys stretched out on the sofa, still in their formal wear, and spooning. Brian was stroking Tom's hair and smoothing out his eyes brows. Tom had his eyes closed and was relaxing in his best friend's touch.

Tom rolled over to look at the other boy. "This is nice, Bri. I'm glad we can do stuff like this now. It's much better than when I was a 'real man'."

"Yeah. I guess it is, now that I think about it. I think it brought us closer together."

"Yeah, a lot closer," Tom whispered. And as soon as he trailed off, both boys let instinct take over.

Brian's eyes drifted shut while Tom's did the same. Both heads leaned forward and lips met lips. It started out as a few gentle brushes against each other's mouth, but soon turned more intense. Brian began licking at Tom's lips and Tom gladly opened his mouth, providing a stage for their tongues to dance on. It was the most intense experience of either boy's life. After a few seconds that, no matter how cliché it is, felt like they lasted hours. Eyes slowly opened and the best friends found themselves staring at each other, no more than 6 inches separating their faces.

"Whoa," Brian uttered in shock. "That was."

"It was something. Did you mean for it to happen?"

"I don't know. It was kind of spur-of-the-moment, you know?"

"Yeah I know." Tom dropped his eyes and began to roll away from Brian's embrace. An embrace which quickly tightened, denying him an escape.

"Just because it wasn't planned, Tommy, doesn't mean I didn't want it or like it."

"You mean."

"Yeah. I mean I think I could fall in love with you Tommy, if I haven't already."

"Really?" Tom looked hopeful.

Brian gave him a reassuring smile and a quick kiss on the lips. "Really. Now, let's go upstairs."

The two boys walked up the steps hand-in-hand, smiling at each other the entire time. Upon reaching the room, Brian turned to Tom, place one hand on each side of his head, pulled the shorter boy in, and kiss him with a passion and love he had never known existed.

Eventually, they fell over onto the bed. Brian somehow managed to untie Tom's gown and was running his hand up and down the boy's smooth leg. Tom was digging one hand into Brian's back, while the other was pressed against his face, guiding half the kiss. The events that followed were the most amazing events either had either experienced and when both were finished and spent, Brian collapsed on Tom with a simple, "I love you" before falling asleep.

"I love you, too, Bri."

Both knew that the days, weeks, months, and years to come would be difficult. They would both take much ridicule and pain because of their relationship. But that was fine with them because that was the year that perfect Brian became not-so-perfect Brian. That was the year that he fell in love with his very male best friend who just happened to wear a skirt. But to Tom, that was the year that Brian finally found out that maybe he wasn't perfect before, but he had finally reached the true point of perfection.

Final author's note: Well, that's all folks. Thanks for getting through to the end. I apologize for it skipping over some important internal thoughts, but I have honestly never experienced anything like this (I know a guy who wore eye liner to school once, but that doesn't count) through me or someone else. I was going to get a book about someone who was. But it will have to wait. Then maybe I will go back and do some filling in, maybe in a separate story. We'll see. For now, this will have to do.