Yes, every story needs one of these it seems. All the main characters are mine, don't steal them. That means don't use them without my permission. In a way the settings are kinda made up by me, since I don't live in Toronto. So any resemblance to an actual St. Anthony's high school is entirely coincidental.
This story contains HOMOSEXUALITY, which for those of you who don't know means relationships/romance/sex (but not explicitly in this story thank you very much) between to people of the same sex. So if that really turns you off, don't yell at me. You have a "Back" button, make use of it!
None of the characters in here are human, they're all furry or anthropomorphic animals. Yes, there will be romance between them. So if that really turns you off, hit ye old "Back" button.
This story is rated PG-13 primarily for sexual references, foul language and later on some mild violence. And believe me, most teens see a lot more sex, swear a heck of a lot more and are much more violent then what's in this story. Still if even that much turns you off, abandon all hope and turn back.
Again, no explicit sex or yiffyness. So if that leaves you feeling so disappointed you can't possibly read on, then FINE! BE THAT WAY!
So, on we go.Chapter 1
Tom sat in the driver's side of the third row of his family's Toyota Sienna, bored. They hadn't even started their trip and already he was bored. He knew it was going to be a long trip, all day in fact to reach Toronto from his small town a few hours out from Windsor. Well, at least he had his laptop to occupy the time.
Tom, or actually Thomas although only his parents and some of his teachers ever called him by his real name, was a teen leopard, covered entirely with a pale yellow that was dirtied with shades of a light brown. He was slightly tall, standing at 5'10" and his body, except for his paws, chest and face was completely covered with black spots. His paws were a dirty white, as was his chest but that was covered by an ash gray T-Shirt screaming, "GO GO GO!" in great big black letters, and bellow in slightly smaller lettering the question, "Counterstrike, anyone?" could be read. Over his shirt was a yellow nylon vest, which he always wore unless it was swelteringly hot. He also wore a pair of baggy sand colored khakis, the kind that have more pockets than anyone would ever use and leg pieces that can be removed via zipper to make shorts. It was a cool morning, but Tom figured he'd have to unzip them before his family reached Toronto.
Tom's family, the Taddran's, were moving to Toronto on account of their father, Harry, getting a job as a history teacher in a High School there. Tom thought it was the dumbest thing his father had ever done. When he was told about the move in early February, he fought about it with his parents all the way till April, which was when he realized that it was no good. And now here it was August, and here he was sitting in his family minivan, the house completely empty, the moving van already on its way to the big city. The city where more than 14% of Canada's population resided. The largest city in the country.
But it wasn't the size that Tom was upset about. It was the fact that he'd have to start over again. Tom wasn't exactly what you'd call "sociable." He was extremely introverted, and it had taken him all of elementary school and most of Junior High to make the three friends that he did have. Now he'd half to start Senior High all over again without any friends, and probably by the time he managed to get to know someone, he'd have graduated and would be off to university or something.
Slamming his head against the headrest, his eyes closed half in boredom, half in anger, he grumbled to himself, "I need a miracle."
Instantly, he regretted the words as his youngest brother, sitting in the seat directly in front of him, squirmed around and laughed, "A miracle? You need more than that, you pathetic nobody!"
Andrew was the youngest of Tom's two brothers, and the most irritating. He was always insulting either Tom or the middle brother, Timothy. Usually Tom responded by saying something witty back, or just ignoring him altogether. Timothy responded by punching Andrew, and calling him a faggot, or a queer, or something along those lines.
Andrew looked pretty much like Tom, except while Tom's dirty blond head fur was more or less pushed forward, sticking out over his forehead like a visor, Andrew just let his grow in a small mop over his head. And also, Andrew was much shorter than Tom, being only 10 years of age. Andrew also had a few small spots around his cheeks, while Tom's face was completely spotless.
"Look who's talking?" Tom snapped.
"At least I don't spend all my time sitting in front of a computer, loser!"
"At least I can do long division, moron!"
Andrew didn't respond, but just stuck his tongue out at Tom. "Nyah, nyah!"
Tom rolled his eyes, and decided to look out the passenger side window.
The first thing he saw was his other younger brother Timothy, standing in his gray zipper up hoody and denim jeans, saying goodbye to his girlfriend, Stacey. Stacey was a short raccoon with a mix of brown fur and a black mask around her eyes, Her chubby tail was ringed in black, and she was wearing a blue T-shirt and purple dyed jeans. Timothy stood a about 5 inches above her, his paws on her shoulders, talking in a low voice that Tom couldn't hear. Tom figured that he would be telling her not to miss him, that he'd always be thinking about her, and that maybe he'd come and visit her next summer.
Tom knew that whatever it was, it was bullshit. Timothy went through a new girlfriend every month, and sometimes every two weeks, even though he was only 14. Timothy was loud, arrogant, self-righteous, mean, cruel, rude and a real pain in the tail most of the time, so of course he was immensely popular and attracted all the girls. Whilst Tom, who was kind, caring, sensitive and generally a real nice guy was unwanted and ignored by almost everyone except his three friends. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with that? He asked himself.
Tom knew that once school started in Toronto, Timothy would have a new girlfriend before the first week, at the very least. And from there, the cycle would start again. He would completely forget Stacey then, and she'd still think he was the coolest fur she had ever met. Tom shook his head in confusion. It didn't make any sense. He was the only person he knew whose younger brother had a girlfriend, several in fact, before he did. It wasn't the lack of girls though that irritated Tom, though. Frankly, he didn't care much for girls or relationships. He was quite happy by himself or being with the few friends that he did have. It was the comments he got from everybody for having a younger brother that was cooler than he was. It drove him completely mad.
Finally, Tom's parents came up to the minivan. Tom could hear his father call for Timothy as his mother, Nicole, got in the passenger seat and began to fasten her seat belt.
Timothy yelled that he'd be there in a second, and turned to kiss Stacey. Tom immediately began the stopwatch on his Timex MP3 watch that he wore on his left wrist. He kept his finger on the button, watching Timothy and pressed it as soon as he broke the connection between their muzzles. 45.38 seconds. Timothy was really in a hurry.
Tom watched as Timothy jumped into the van, one-eightied to close the sliding door and sat down in the seat across the row from Tom. "You lied to that girl," Tom told him.
Timothy shrugged. "Yeah? So what? I'll be a whole day's drive away, its not like she's gonna know or anything."
"You never know," Tom said jokingly, dragging the "oh" sound at the end for dramatic emphasis.
Timothy rolled his eyes. "Puh-lease, you've been letting those Steven King novels get to your head, you creep."
Upon hearing the name "Stephen King," Harry Taddran immediately snapped his head around to stare at his sons. "WHAT?" he almost screamed.
Tom rolled his eyes, and Timothy sneered. Tom knew he was going to get a lecture if he didn't do something fast. Both his parents were deeply religious people, and they had a great big long list of things that they thought was "Spiritually Unhealthy" and that should be avoided. Stephen King was on that list, along with all the other horror books authors.
"Thomas," his dad started. "I thought I told you not to read his books ever again. You know writing like that is unhealthy, and clouds your mind with rubbish."
"I know dad," Tom groaned. "And I haven't been reading them since, honestly." It was the truth. Tom primarily read Fantasy and Science Fiction now. Not that his dad thought Forgotten Realms or Harry Potter was much better.
Harry continued to frown at his son, but sighed and turned towards the wheel, starting the minivan and pulling out of their old driveway. Tom sighed and pulled his laptop from his school bag that he used for carrying stuff during long trips like this. He passed the cigarette lighter adapter to Andrew, who passed it Nicole, who plugged it in. "Thanks," Tom mumbled just loudly enough for her to hear him, and he booted his computer up.
By the end of the day, the Taddran's were just reaching the outskirts of Toronto, Nicole and Andrew had managed to fall asleep, Timothy was listening to his CD player with a blank expression and Tom was losing.
"DAMN COMMUNIST SOVIETS!" he exclaimed, waking up his brother. His father raised his eyebrows at him in the rear-view mirror.
"Thomas, the Soviet Union came to an end several years ago." He said in his teacher voice.
"Yeah, he'd know all about them," Timothy mumbled, not quite loud enough for Harry to hear him. Harry Taddran was a bit of a historian, and spent most of his free time researching something or other from the 20th Century or before. This research was usually in the form of Discovery Channel or History Channel Documentaries, but it still worked. And being a history teacher helped quite a bit.
Tom sighed. "Sorry, its this game. The soviets just took out my chronoshpere."
"Its this device that lets me put my units anywhere on the map, very useful and very expensive, and it took me forever to build."
"There was no such device when the Soviet Union was in power, and there is no such device today."
Timothy sniggered as his father failed to realize that it was just a fictional game. That's so typical of him, Tom thought. I wonder if he even knows what imagination is?
"Well," Timothy continued, "In this game there is. The whole plot of the game is about the great Albert Einstein using one to go back in time and stop Hitler, unfortunately allowing the Soviet Union to become more powerful than they were supposed to be. In the previous game…"
They drove on through the city as Tom continued to explain Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 to his father, whose only comment on the whole thing was, "Why don't you play that Age of Empires game? At least that game's historically accurate."
"Grrr! That's not the point! Oh, great! They just tactically nuked the rest of my base. There, I just lost."
"Good thing you're not leading the Allied forces for real," Timothy commented without turning his head or losing his blank expression.
"Shut up," Tom snapped as he packed up his laptop.
The next day, Tom sat in front of his desktop computer in his small room in his new home. It was a nice house, all things considered. Three floors: basement, ground and second, with a small garage. Dining room, living room, kitchen all reasonably sized. Three bedrooms upstairs, meaning his other brothers wouldn't have to share one, which would (hopefully) stop some of the arguments. And in the basement, a laundry room, storage room that was currently full of boxes and the family weight bench, and his room. Probably the smallest room in the house, but Tom didn't care. He liked the small size, it felt cozy. Besides, he didn't have a lot of stuff to put in his room, which was probably why his room was already completely unpacked.
He had set up his Ikea loft bed himself, and placed it to the right of the door, under the room's small window that lay just beneath the ceiling. The bed fit perfectly between the wall and his closet, placing it in a little alcove. Tom liked the effect. Beneath his metal bed frame laid his office, which consisted of a desk that was more of a large wooden board placed on a black metal table with metal drawers. Atop his desk were his desktop computer and his folded up laptop. The space was encircled with shelves that he had screwed onto the three walls.
On the other side of the door, behind him, was his large 6-drawer bureau and wall mounted mirror. Next to the bureau, in the far left corner, was his small television stand on wheels, with a 14-inch television with built in VCR sitting on the top, his black Gamecube on the middle shelf, and his Bell Express-Vu satellite receiver on the bottom. The carpeted floor between his television and his walk in closet was covered with his collection of beanbags and large cushions. It made for a very comfortable place to sit and watch movies or play video games, and they didn't interfere with closet door, since it opened into the closet. The closet itself housed his bookshelf, which was stacked with Fantasy and Science Fiction stories, ranging from Lord of the Rings to Forgotten Realms to Star Trek novels, plus a few books by other authors he enjoyed. The closet was also home to his large collection of Transformers toys, holding everything that wasn't already covering his computer, bureau and television. His collection included practically everything that changed form in some way or another. He had many of the original transformers, almost every Beast Wars and Beast Machines figurine, many of the new Transformers and all of the Power Rangers Zords, since all of them changed shape to snap together to form the Mega Zord.
And now he sat in front of his computer, his left paw on the keyboard and his right clutching tightly at the mouse. On the screen, his character ran around a very dark and gloomy warehouse, holding large yellow gun with a silvery-metal barrel. As his character made it's way to the top of a rusty balcony, overlooking the center of the level, Tom mumbled to himself, "Just one more… one more…"
He moved his mouse around, giving the arena below a quick sweep. Bingo, he found his mark; a tall bald mutant decked out in a large set of armor. Quickly, Tom gave his right mouse button a tap, switching to a sniper view. He held the button, zooming in on the head of his target, then gave the left button a quick click. The screen lit up as bolt of blue lightning struck out, hitting the creature right in the head. Said head was blown right off then neck, before the image switched to an exterior view of Tom's character while a deep voice announced, "Congratulations, you have won the match!"
Sighing, Tom exited out of his game, and sat in front of his windows desktop slouched in his chair. His parents hadn't gotten the Internet up yet, they said they'd do it tomorrow probably – hopefully- while Tom was at school. And while Unreal Tournament 2003's AI was the best in the first person shooter genre, it still wasn't as exciting as playing online. So, here he was. In big Toronto, middle of the day, bored out of his mind and pretending to still be unpacking so that he didn't have to help his parents. He picked up the remote for his television and remembered that they hadn't got their dish set up either.
Just then there was knocking on the door. He was about to ask who it was, when the door opened. Which meant that it was Andrew, the one person in his family that didn't respect his privacy.
"You done unpacking?" Andrew asked.
Tom swiveled in his chair. "Yeah."
"Liar. Tom, stop lying young man, it's a very bad habit."
Tom groaned as his younger brother lectured him in his mocking voice that he knew irritated the hell out of Tom. "You got something important to say, or are you just here to be a pest."
"Well say the important thing, and skip the pest thing cus I'm really not in the mood."
"You're never in the mood."
"You're never not a pest."
"Dad says we can take a break from unpacking to go to the local plaza, and get ice cream or something. You wanna come?"
Tom got up from his chair, and stretched. "Sure, why not. Tell dad I'll be right there."
Grinning, Andrew turned and ran across the basement towards the stairs, yelling, "He doesn't want to come, dad!"
Reaching for his fake leather wallet from the bureau, Tom called back up, "Yeah, whatever you moron! I'll be right up, dad!"
Tom walked through the plaza halls. It wasn't overly large, but larger than anything in his old town. It had a big grocery store at one end, and then a really long hallway with shops on either side that just spread outwards from there like a tail. Harry had entered the building and as if by instinct, went immediately to a Christian book and music store. Andrew went with Nicole to get some Ice Cream or whatever, and Tom and Timothy went off by themselves. Timothy left Tom at a store that sold hockey stuff. Timothy was all about hockey, and all about the Maple Leafs. Few things were more important to him than that. Typical Canadian.
As Tom walked along, he found himself outside of a small gaming store, and decided to take a look around. The first thing he noticed was that they had stuff for every system, not only PC's and new ones, but also Nintendo 64 right down the Sega Genesis systems. The second was that they actually had an original copy of SiN and Quake II. Man, thought Tom. Oldskool.
Tom browsed the aisles. He didn't see anything that really snagged his attention. He already had most of the older games they were selling, having downloaded them through peer-to-peer networking. That was probably the highlight of his entire life. Illegally downloading full version software. Pretty exciting.
He passed by the infamous Grand Theft Auto III for PC. That was one of the few games he hadn't been able to trick his parents into buying for him. Most of the his M rated games he got by throwing them upon his parents near the end of their shopping, quickly saying something like, "Hey, you already have all that other stuff, could you tack this on with it?" And most of the time they agreed without even thinking about it. No such luck with GTA 3, as they had both watched no less than 5 news reports on how detrimental and terrible the game was to childhood development.
Only if you're dumber than a sack of flour, thought Tom.
Not that it mattered. He had already downloaded the game, and it was only missing the radio stations for reasons of file size. And even then he was able to download an MP3 version of Chatterbox, the only station in the game worth listening to. "Freddy needs a nanny! He needs a nanny Lazlow, because Freddy's been a very naughty boy."
After a few minutes, Tom left the small store with a copy of Yuri's Revenge expansion set Red Alert 2. He was surprised to find it, most gaming stores only offered it as set bundled up with every other C&C game, and while he had managed to find a copy online, all the movie sequences had been removed. And what was Command and Conquer without the legendary movie sequences? He missed them in Command and Conquer: Generals, with everything done using the in game engine. As far as he was concerned, the well acted and nicely animated between mission scenes added character to the whole series.
As Tom walked through the hallway, he was so busy thinking about what parts of the different C&C series he liked the most that he totally and completely failed to notice the brown wolf right in front of him and consequently, plowed right into the canine, knocking both the wolf and himself over.
"Sorry, didn't see you there," the wolf said as he picked himself up, and offered a paw to Tom. Tom took it, and found himself staring up into the older wolf's eyes. He was slightly taller than Tom, covered with a grayish brown fur and few black patches along his back tail and back of his head. He had brown hair that was a slightly darker shade than the rest of his body, and it seemed ruffled about his face in no particular style or order; the messed up look. Beneath the hair was a pair of brown eyes with the slightest hint of green in them. They held fast to Tom's face, looking him over.
He was wearing a dark green T-shirt that was pinned beneath a brown hoody that the wolf had tied around his waist, the main part of the sweater lying against his back, the arms in a not over his belt that supported a pair of extremely dark blue jeans, border lining navy blue but not quite.
After a few seconds of just sitting there staring up at the wolf, the wolf pulled Tom up to his feet, then bent over to pick up Tom's bag, giving the contents a quick look.
"Red Alert 2. Oldie but goodie," he said, handing Tom his bag.
Tom took it and replied, "Yeah."
"Haven't seen you around before. Are you new?"
"Yeah, my parents just moved here yesterday."
"Only your parents, or did you move here too?"
Tom laughed lightly at the joke. "No, I moved here too. Along with two brothers."
"I see. Starting school tomorrow?"
"Well, maybe I'll see you there. St. Anthony's isn't all that bad," He shrugged. "Well, for a High School anyway. By the way, I'm Jack." He offered his paw out again, and Tom took it, shaking it.
"Nice to meet you. See you around, Tom!" he said as he started to walk off.
"Yeah, see you." Tom called after him. Looking at his watch, he decided it best to make his way back to the Christian bookstore to meet up with his parents, and began walking in the opposition direction as Jack.
He didn't notice the odd stares from a few of the other teens.
Tom sat inside the principal's office of St. Anthony's High School. The Principal, Mr. Burrose, had already gone through all of Timothy's papers and forms and had him off with another student to his first class. Now it was Tom's turn. The old badger ruffled through the papers within the folder that sat next to his keyboard, occasionally typing data into his computer. The creature's head was mostly white, with two black stripes over each eye and one under his chin. His eyes, resting behind a pair of thick glasses, were a light shade of brown, which made the badger look extremely intelligent and yet completely clueless at the same time. Still, at least he had some idea of how to use a computer.
"You seem to have an excellent academic record, Mr. Thomas." He croaked, peering at the leopard from behind his monitor, his nose up in the air, his eyes looking through his glasses and down his muzzle.
"Uhm, yeah. I do well in all my subjects."
Typing some more, Burrose continued, "Yes, all except Physical Education, it would seem."
Tom began to blush and look down at his sneakers. He wasn't a very active teenager, getting most, if not all of his exercise from rollerblading. He had terrible accuracy, co-ordination, speed and strength, and while all that could be practiced and changed, he had not real desire to do so. He got by in Phys. Ed. Fine with low seventies or high sixties average, which was still a passing grade, just a bit of a contrast to his high eighties and nineties in almost every other subject.
"Still, that's not a major subject, although many students will argue otherwise."
Tom nodded. Didn't matter if you lived in the big city or out in the middle of nowhere; every school had their jocks.
Finally, Burrose finished typing, and his printer spat out a sheet of paper that he handed to Tom. "That'll be you're schedule. Luckily for you, all the elective courses you had requested still had space in them. Now I'll see if I can find you a student to get you oriented into our system…"
He got up and disappeared through the door of his office. A few minutes later he was back, with…
The wolf Tom had bumped into at the plaza!
"Honestly, Mr. Burrose! I wasn't that late, and if you check my record, I'm sure you'll find that it's a first time offense, really! I was gonna make it on time, seriously…"
Jack stopped babbling excuses for his tardiness when he saw Tom sitting in front of Burrose's mahogany desk. "Oh, its you! Uh, Tom, right?"
Mr. Burrose rested his left on his desk and leaned on it, raising his eyebrows. "You two know each other?"
Shifting the weight of his green backpack strap that ran over a dark brown T-Shirt that read, "Ontario" in large, white letters, Jack replied, "Well, not exactly we bumped into each other at the plaza…"
"Doesn't matter, Jack. What I want you to do is take Tom and show him around a bit, show him where everything is, where his classes are, give him the rundown of the rules and expectations around here, just get him oriented. Maybe introduce him to some other students."
Tom noticed that Jack raised an eyebrow questioningly at that, but didn't think too much about it.
"Well, er, I guess I could. I mean, I've got class right now, but…"
"What class do you have right now, Jack?" Burrose asked, pushing his glasses up his muzzle.
Burrose smiled. "And why are you complaining about missing history, Jack? Are you feeling ok?"
Jack grinned, and soon Tom joined in, although he was surprised to hear such a statement from a school administrator.
"Sure, why not?"
"Excellent," Mr. Burrose said, sitting back down in his chair. "Dismissed."
Tom rose from his chair and grabbed his blue and yellow backpack, swinging it onto his right shoulder and his pale blue, blank T-Shirt. "Lets go, then."
Jack smiled at Tom. "Yeah. Lets go."
As Jack led Tom on a little tour of the school, Tom was able to learn that first of all, Jack was big on acting. Really big on acting, it seemed. Drama was his best subject, and it turned out that both he and Tom had it later on in the day, so Tom was hoping to see an example of Jack's acting skills.
Tom also learned that the drama teacher was absolutely the best, if a bit eccentric. The Phys. Ed. teacher was a bit of stiff ass at times, but was one of those; "Show me you can improve yourself" type of teachers, meaning Tom shouldn't have too bad a time. Their History teacher (since Tom shared History, and almost every other class with Jack) was a real bitch, and would probably give them hell tomorrow for not being there, regardless of what Mr. Burrose had said.
"In fact, just by going on this little tour with me, you and I are already in her bad books. Its gonna be an interesting semester. " Jack informed Tom.
Another class that Tom and Jack shared was computer sciences, which they had next, right before lunch.
"Our computer teacher doesn't know a damn thing about computers." Jack told Tom. "He says he's not there to teach us, but to supervise us. We simply go through these little booklets, he goes over the exercises they make us do and we get credits for them. Simple, and boring, as that."
"Yeah, still its one of everyone's favorite classes. Most just sit around and do nothing, or very little. It's almost like an extension to our lunch break. And speaking of lunch break, here's the cafeteria."
Jack led Tom into a large, open room full of round tables, a few of them occupied with students studying various materials and taking notes. Along two of the walls were openings into the kitchen were the food was sold. The two lanes appeared to collide at the corner where a bunch of cash registers and debit machines were lined up.
"Menus are on the wall at the beginning of each line. If you value you're life, you won't order anything with cheese in it except pizza. If you value you're stomach contents, you'll skip out on the sandwiches and subs too, no one knows how long they've been in those fridges. Fries and Onion rings are always ok and the gravy is superb, but poutine is too be avoided because of the cheese, burgers are fine if a bit flavorless, just remember no cheese. Chicken burgers are great, but only if Miracle Whip is available, trust me. Hash browns, so-so. Egg Muffins are not bad, just remember…"
"Let me guess, no cheese?"
"Got it. Pizza is always good, as long as you don't go for deluxe, because you really have no idea what's going onto those things. And vegetables? Well, if you insist. All deserts are ok, but the fudgicles are most likely you're best value for your money. In terms of drinks, Pepsi sponsors us, so you have a choice of Pepsi products, Pepsi slushes, or Milk. Whatever you do, don't get caught drinking milk. Chocolate is fine, but don't let them catch you drinking white. Trust me, I've seen it before and it ain't pretty. No Coke products, in case you're wondering."
"That's Ok, I'm a Pepsi fur myself."
Jack spun his head around to look at Tom. He smiled, saying, "Me too."
Tom giggled lightly, and Jack checked his watch, a Timex expedition green and brown; digital display.
"And our computer sciences class is about to start, so we might as well make our way there now. Come on," He turned and headed to one of the doors leading out.
Just as they reached the door, a huge brown and black Rottweiler that was sitting at one of the tables with a Coyote and a Tiger, all wearing black leather of some kind or another, called out, "Where you going faggot?"
Jack stopped at the door, and Tom saw his paws began to form fists.
The Rottweiler continued. "Who you got there, freak? A boyfriend? Last time I checked you couldn't bring strange boyfriends into the school like this."
"Yeah, but he's gay. You know them gays. They can get away with anything, Micky, you know that." The Coyote said, sneering at Jack's back. The other two burst out laughing, banging the table top with their paws.
Jack turned around. "Fuck you."
"You probably will if I don't watch out!" The Rottweiler Micky said, sending the group into a fit of laughter again. "Now I gotta go around with one paw over my tail, and one over my cock!"
Completely silent, his facial expression completely neutral, Jack flipped the group the proverbial finger.
"Is that the finger you use?" Micky asked, and the three of them burst out laughing again.
Growling low in his throat, Jack spun around and continued out the door, a confused Tom following him as the three furs at the table continued to laugh their tails off.
In the hallway, Tom reached for Jack's left arm to stop him and turn him around. "What was that about?" he asked, confused.
He watched as Jack lowered his head, raised it, looked at Tom with a look of complete sadness, then lowered it again. Before he said anything, the realization hit Tom like a falling bag of sand. With is head still lowered, Jack mumbled, "Tom, everybody knows it, and you might as well hear it from me, if you haven't already guessed." He sighed, a long, sad depressing sigh. "Tom, I'm gay."