Title: Shadows of Solitude

Author: i_nv_u50

Claimer: mine! It's all mine!

Rating: PG13, maybe R much later

Warning: Slash. Shounen ai.

Author's Notes: Mwaha!! Actually, this isn't all that different from the ex-chapter 7 of  Casual Vignettes. Since there was an overwhelming number of threats to make me continue this – I did. More author's notes next chapter, as most people have already read this… maybe? O.o;

Read, enjoy, and please review!! ^^

The crowd was loud and excited, despite the cold weather, and the eager anticipation was doing a lot to add to the already excited atmosphere. New Year's Eve had arrived with glittering snowflakes that had been too beautiful to do anything to stop the animated crowds turning up for the outside celebrations.

Blake was finding it hard to keep up with his cousin, who had dragged him out here, quite resistant to his fruitless protests. New Year's wasn't a thing to be overly celebrated, in Blake's opinion. Just another day in an endless lifetime of days mostly monotonous… but for Ellen's insistence.

"Blake! Stop grousing! Smile! Relax! Have fun!"

Blake rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, mostly now just to spite her. He had had a perfectly good evening arranged for himself, sitting and reading, or watching movies, or writing or drawing, as the mood struck him. His parents would have let him, as they wouldn't have been home, having had their own celebrations to go to, and him being quite used to that had settled in to a peaceful evening at home alone… And that is what it had been, until Ellen had turned up on his doorstep, ringing the doorbell and vibrating in excitement.

"You see," she had told him, "tickets for his shows are quite hard to get, and I just happened to find a friend of mine who was too sick to go himself, so you get to have his ticket."

Blake had forbore to comment, but it was no doubt one of his cousin's numerous boyfriends who had been bullied into giving up his evening for him. It was only right that he pitied the boyfriend's sacrifice and obeyed his cousin… no matter how much he wished she would just leave him alone to read.

Especially since the singer that was bringing in such a big crowd was one he had never heard of.

Ellen had treated this bit of news with shocked disbelief, and had brought him up to speed on the short car ride over. "Calix is absolutely, stunningly, devastatingly, gorgeous!" she had informed him, not taking any disagreements on the matter. His hair is darker than mine, and his skin is just perfectly bronzed, like a Greek god would be, I imagine. He's Greek, you know? And his eyes… Oh Blake, his eyes…"

Blake rolled his eyes again, remembering the conversation, and adjusted his gloves. He had worn as many layers as he could, but it didn't appear to be helping.

Ellen watched him disapprovingly. "You need to put on more weight. You're more slender than I am, without all those layers, it's no wonder you're freezing."

Blake narrowed his eyes. "And you need to shut up already."

Ellen huffed. "Fine. See if I drag you out next time."

"I'd be more happy if you didn't," Blake retorted icily, and turned around to stalk through the crowd, although it wasn't easy. 'Calix', Greek star, was supposedly supposed to come onto stage half an hour before midnight, and by the rumors Blake idly listened to from the crowd, the singer had something special planned.

Blake could care less, as he told himself, although he was beginning to get more excited by the atmosphere. It would take someone more aloof than he was to remain unaffected by people high on good will and humor, and greetings by strangers and such seemed to becoming the ritual of the evening.

Helplessly smiling when a small child took his hand and asked to be picked up, he complied, almost dropping her in surprise when she kissed his cheek happily. "Happy New Year!" she babbled, lisping on the words a little, and he returned the sentiment before returning her to a parent who grinned and nodded friendly acknowledgement to him.

By the time he had wandered closer to the stage, he had picked up some hot chocolate from a table of volunteers who were handing out full paper cups for free, and he was beginning to look around again for Ellen, although again, it was without any real expectation of finding her. He'd never succeed in this crowd. But that was all right. He could probably walk home at the end of the evening, if he had to. He had his keys and everything, and it wasn't that far.

Working out a plan, he moved his way towards the center of the stage to get away from the deafening loudness of the speakers, situated on the floor on either side. The singer at the moment was a very loud girl, and she sounded better when the cranked up volume wasn't crackling with the pitch.

Then, he realized, as she bowed, grinning widely, that perhaps he had made a miscalculation. The crowd was surging forward, deafening him with screams and cheers, more high pitched than not, as the majority of the throng pushing him forward seemed to be girls. Suddenly hot with apprehension, he wrestled with his top jacket sleeve to check his watch, and gave up, asking the screaming girl next to him what was going on.

He received a disbelieving look of impatience, and had to block his ear as she ignored him and screamed to the stage pressed to their chests, "Calix!! I love you!!!"

Blake flinched as the sentiment grew with every throat it tore it's way out, and then, impossibly, the shrieks got louder, and a buoyant, smooth voice began talking into the microphone.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," it said, then paused, as the screaming continued. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy New Year!!"

Blake resisted the urge to cover his ears as the noise reached a decibel he hadn't thought discovered yet.

"It is my honor, and privilege, to sing you into the New Year tonight!"

More screaming.

"So without further ado… Here we go!!"

Listening to the tune and the words and the voice – it was a beautiful voice, he had to admit that – Blake conceded that maybe Calix deserved his title of super star. The songs were fast so far, although he imagined there would be one or two slow ones eventually, given the couple-ness of this particular day, but so far, it seemed like it was just a singer having fun with his audience… Even though his audience counted high up into the hundreds… Maybe even thousands.

As the end of one song came, the girls all fell silent, after their cheering, and Blake wondered why.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now exactly fifteen minutes until midnight. You might have heard I have something special planned for a special person tonight, and you would be right."

The girls towards Blake's right suddenly started screaming again, their voices already sounding hoarser than they had been earlier.

Looking, Blake saw the reason. And blinked, to stare, somewhat stunned, at Ellen's apt description.

There, standing on the edge of the stage, was the most handsome young man Blake had ever seen in his entire life. He was smiling down at the crowd, his microphone held down by his side as he talked quietly to the girls standing below him, their faces at most on level with his ankles. His hair was a glossy raven black, attractively messy in a way that suggested more time had been spent on it than one would first think. His cheekbones were high, and his face, although more handsome than pretty, had a hint of feminine quality to it, maybe in the straight nose, or those glowing green eyes that contrasted so vividly against the tanned skin.

Blake stared. Not usually attracted to anyone, except for a few crushes in junior high, it was with nearly clinical detachment that he examined the face of the singer.

Calix, obviously feeling a more intense stare than usual on him, turned his head, and their eyes met, locked and held.

Calix smiled, and with a last, parting word to the girls he had been talking to, walked quickly over to directly in front of Blake, and knelt down on his haunches. "Would you like to come up here?"

Blake, disbelieving and more than a little stunned, tried to back up a little, almost shaking his head, but the girls behind him crowded closer, and the girl who hadn't told him what was happening earlier shrieked happily. Somewhere, Blake began hating her, because for some reason, the fact that the person standing next to her had been chosen to go up on stage made her absurdly proud, and she lifted Blake's limp and unresisting hand herself.

Calix's smile grew slightly, and he grasped Blake's wrist, standing up and pulling Blake scrambling up with him.

The screams slowed and then grew loud again.

Calix grinned reassuringly. "It's all right. What's your name?"

Blake, frozen in sudden, mind-consuming terror could only stare at the singer, wide eyed. Calix waited for a second, then winked, and lifted the microphone to his mouth, turning to the crowd again. "This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my date for the evening. What do you think of her?"

Horror began to strive for dominance over fear as Blake realized that they all thought he was a girl. And somewhere, there in the audience, was Ellen, and she would no doubt be laughing her head off at the moment as she had always told him to cut his hair because he could do nothing about his features, and Blake blushed, utterly mortified.

"She's very pretty, isn't she?" Calix continued. "And now, to pass the last couple of minutes before midnight, may I invite you to find a partner, and dance with them while the band plays."

So saying, Calix carefully put down the microphone, turned to Blake, and bowed. The girls screamed half heartedly, as they were too busy looking for dance partners or being jealous of Blake to be too thrilled with the move.

"May I have this dance?" Calix asked him, his voice low and soothing.

Blake, glancing desperately towards the crowd, saw no way to get out of it without embarrassing them both, and offered a small smile, hoping to get it over with as fast as possible. He held out a hand, expecting it to remain a nice, distant-ish dance, between strangers, rather than a close dance between lovers or friends, but the band began to play a variation of an old and rather long love song, purely instrumental, and Calix, took his hand and pulled him closer, resting Blake's hands on his shoulders, and resting his own hands on Blake's hips.

Blake shifted uncomfortably, not used to anyone's hands being there, let alone a famous male singer's, but somehow, Calix turned the shifting of weight into a slow sway, and he pulled Blake closer.

"How are you enjoying your night so far?" The darker singer asked him, lips brushing the pale hair above Blake's ear, and Blake resisted the strong impulse to pull away.

"It's all right," Blake replied softly, and pulled away a little, putting more space between their bodies.

"Just all right?" Calix sounded teasing. Blake wondered inexplicably if the singer was flirting with him.

"It would be better if you could hear the singers over the loudspeakers," Blake admitted, surprised at the responding smile on his own face when Calix laughed softly.

"It does sound better if you can hear the voice over the crackling, doesn't it," the singer agreed, and tugged his body closer a little, sliding one of his hands around to rest firmly on the small of Blake's back, preventing Blake from pulling away again. "Relax," the singer whispered to him again. "Have fun."

Blake smiled and unconsciously ducked his head into the singer's shoulder, Ellen's words coming back to haunt him as his hands moved restlessly into Calix's hair.

And then, without warning, Calix began to hum softly, crooning the words quietly into Blake's ear, his other hand moving from Blake's hip to be clasped by the other one, effectively trapping Blake in his arms, still slowly rocking and turning on the spot.

Blake flushed again and buried his face in the singer's shoulder, not wanting to look up, too scared to face facts and admit that he liked Calix in a purely lover-like way. A pointless hope, no use in lingering on it.

Especially since the singer seemed convinced that he was a girl.

The thought came back and gnawed at his heart, and Blake gave in, moving his hands from Calix's silky black hair and laying his palms against the singer's shoulders. "Stop," he said mildly, not wanting to, but knowing it was probably better.

Calix looked down at him, and the breath snagged in Blake's throat as he stared up helplessly into piercing green eyes, close enough to see the flecks of gold in the depths.

Ellen was right, he thought distantly. His eyes… Oh god, his eyes…

His hands stopped pushing, and the world sank away, left behind as they seemed to soar away…

"You're beautiful," Calix said softly, and lifted a hand to brush a pale blonde strand of hair away from Blake's eyes. Blake knew his eyes would be pale blue gray, his skin would be flushed from the cold and the close proximity of the singer, and he realized his lips were slightly parted a few seconds before the crowd started screaming again. Calix wrenched his eyes away and turned to the crowd, a big show grin on his face, although he still had one hand firmly holding onto Blake's jacket on the small of his back, thwarting any escape attempts.

He bent down quickly, and picked up the microphone, bringing it up to his mouth as he looked around at the crowd. "Ladies and Gentlemen! Starting the countdown at Ten! Ten!"

He glanced back at Blake, and smiled, charmingly. Blake smiled helplessly back.


He started falling, the world was coming back into view now, and it was the last thing he wanted, the last thing in the world he wanted…


Calix pulled him closer to his side, and Blake went, still blushing, not certain as to what he was supposed to do with his hands. He stuck them in his pockets, looking at his feet to avoid the brightness of the stage lights that he was now facing head on.


…facing head on, although they hadn't seemed so bright before. What was happening?


He didn't want this to end, didn't want the new year to begin, didn't want to leave the old year behind…


Calix's hand was sliding up his back, rubbing slowly across his shoulder blades before coming to rest lightly on the nape of Blake's neck, one of the only places that Blake still had bare skin showing…


his hand was warm and soft, gently firm and it made Blake shiver, a prickle of sensation slipping down from his nape to his back, and it almost tickled, but it didn't; almost cold, but it wasn't…


Calix was smiling now, lifting his free hand in the air and motioning for the audience to continue, turning his head to wink at Blake, and then back to the audience to carry on the count down…


Then the singer spun around to face Blake, his hands quickly going down to jerk Blake's hands out of his pockets, and pull them out, holding them…


…and dropping Blake's hands on the curve of his neck, where they curled around automatically, Calix grabbed Blake's face in his hands, tilting it at an angle…

"Happy New Year!!"

The audience screamed.

The band started playing.

Calix kissed him.

Blake's eyes fluttered shut, and Calix briefly coaxed him to open his mouth, having tilted his own head to the best responding angle and Blake opened his mouth without thought. Calix's tongue was hot and teasingly playful, although sincerely serious at the same time, and Blake had just enough of a taste to make him hungry for more when the singer pulled back.

Blake almost protested vocally. It had been short, much too short, and he didn't want it to stop, although he realized that as being purely irrational. Calix had many fans here. They'd have a fit if he started kissing some stranger, and if it was ever found out that he was a guy… Well, they'd want to lynch him, and in all honesty, Blake couldn't blame them.

"Happy New Year, everybody! Remember to thank your partner for the dance, and I will return in half an hour for some more celebrations! Please welcome your mayor to the stage for a short speech!"

Bowing, Calix ignored Blake for a few seconds, and Blake began dishearteningly pondering the way he could take to get back down off the stage. Unexpectedly though, Calix handed the microphone to the easily recognizable mayor of the town, and grabbing Blake's hand, dragged him off stage left.

He didn't let go even after talking to some more people, and it all passed in a blur for Blake who was too fixated on the feel of Calix holding his hand to notice where they were until Calix let go, closing a door behind him with a tired sigh.

Then he turned around and smiled at Blake, who was blushing again, much to his own disgust.

There was a short, somewhat awkward silence.

"You're a good kisser," Calix offered after a moment.

"Thanks," Blake mumbled.

Calix's smile grew to a grin. "What's your name?"

Blake froze, and then slowly shook his head, miserable. "I can't tell you." His voice, a mere whisper, sounded, he knew, like a girl too shy to speak would.

Calix's grin grew puzzled. "Come on," he coaxed. "Tell me."

Blake shook his head silently, and bit his lip without thinking, looking away.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Calix's grin falter and fade into a confused frown. "What's wrong?"

"You don't know," Blake choked on the words, and fell silent again.

"What don't I know? Who are you?" Calix came closer.

Blake shook his head again, resolutely, and Calix sighed, not pushing the matter further.

"I like you," the singer said softly. "If anyone knew I was doing this, they'd kill me, but…" he walked to a small table in the corner of the room, and opened a drawer, pulling out a pen and paper and he scrawled something before turning around and holding the slip of paper out. "Here. This is my private number. If you ever want to…" Calix cocked his head and blinked, and a small smile started to play around the corners of his mouth. "Well, give me a call if ever you want to. We'll talk."

Blake, his throat constricted too much to talk, nodded and took the paper with senseless fingers, feeling some sort of overwhelming depression begin to rise up from his stomach.

Calix continued to watch him. "Can I kiss you again? For goodbye and goodnight?"

Blake glanced away, and found himself nodding helplessly, having not planned to in the least.

Calix grinned again and came closer, taking the blonde's hands and holding them behind Blake's back, pinning them there as he carefully brushed his lips against Blake's…once, twice, three times before he asked for permission for more, flicking his tongue out to graze the slick flesh against Blake's teeth. Blake, helplessly trembling by now, agreeably opened his mouth and let himself start to kiss back, not caring when Calix's hands were suddenly buried in his hair and pulling him closer, not noticing when his own hands began caressing the singer's neck and nape…

A knock on the door interrupted them, and Calix pulled back with a muffled curse, darting a venomous look at the door. "I'm afraid you'll have to go now," he murmured softly, regretfully, pressing another soft kiss to the corner of Blake's lips. "Give me a call, okay girl? I want to see you again."

The breathless haze faded slightly at the word 'girl', but Blake forced up a smile again. "Okay," he murmured, still trying to sound as girlish as he knew how. It didn't matter if it was a lie at the moment, they'd never see each other again anyway.

Calix gave him a calculating look. "May I have your number? Just in case you call me during a concert or something, my agents don't take down numbers, and I don't think you'll call twice, will you?"

Blake blushed at that, but shook his head. He wouldn't be calling once. "784 2430," he whispered.

Calix smiled slyly. "Thank you. Happy New Year. Hope you have a good one."

"Thank you," Blake whispered, too miserable to try and sound happier. "To you too."

Calix nodded.

Blake walked out.

He didn't notice it, but there were tears on his cheeks as he waked out the back way, away from the singer.

Calix's voice soon sounded again on the loud speakers, along with all the screams, and Blake kept walking, making sure to by pass a trashcan on the way home.

He was still crying when he threw the little slip of paper away.