Author's Note: Yaaaay, I'm writing again! The upcoming chapter is something of a transition (hate those!) but I tried to make it as interesting as possible. I need Max and Adrian's relationship to progress sooo here we are with a short crap chapter.

So I'm going to reply to two key reviews that really can't go without response and then we'll move straight to the stuffs.

Satan's Little Helper: Thanks so much for the c&c, as I was about to stop my internet going life for the simple fact that it wasn't improving my skills the way it was when I first started uploading. Though I feel Si's name has to be justified (you asked why?). I'm pretty sure I alluded to the fact that his parents are, to put it bluntly, total freaks of nature. Ever met one of those 'Gothic families' that does everything in extremes; skulls hanging from chandeliers, everything black and red, obsessed with vampires? Writing stuff on the walls with their blood? Yeah, that would be Si's parents. He didn't get so messed up for no reason. I, personally, love the names of all my other characters because… I just do… Some are from Mythology, some I just like the sound of; in any case, there was one character I couldn't give a name I would like and that turned out to be Si. A normal name would not suit the persona. And his parents wouldn't ever name him anything normal to save their lives. So it was very deliberate.

Thanks for the critique, again. Some stuff it sort of sounded like you wanted an explanation (not sure if you did) and there's mine.

Jiro: Noah's not a rapist because he hasn't yet had sex with Loki lol. But if it had happened, yes, Loki's parents could sue. Legal adults in Canada are 18, legal age to drink is 19 (but you can get into a bar at 18 – messed up logic no?).

Midwayconfusion: if there isn't anything more cliché than romance, then I'll be damned. As far as I'm concerned, any romance story has probably been done. My only claim to originality is the characters and the dialogue, which I try to keep at least partially realistic. I don't know what type of cliché you're talking about. If you mean cliché plot, you're bound to be disappointed, because all romances are clichés. If you mean 'don't make this into a soap opera' don't worry about it. I try to keep the relationships and everything within them close to what I've seen and experienced for myself, which hopefully is not cliché.

Ok, ONTO the chapter.

Adrian was rather pleased. He'd managed to persuade Max into playing sick for his father so he wouldn't have to work.

"You can't work on Halloween. 'Tis sin," the artist had said firmly.

"People like getting tattoos on Halloween!"

"And some people like to hang around with their boyfriends on Halloween."

In the end, Adrian's wit and sarcasm (haha) won the war. There was only one flaw to his plans, and that was that he had no idea what to do. Max suggested that he draw Adrian now, since Max had been forced to sit still for such a long period of time before. Adrian was a terrible model and kept moving his hand or his foot deliberately and Max eventually said 'screw it.'

"Frustrating, isn't it?" Adrian proclaimed, stretching inwardly.

"Yeah, I can't draw glasses and you kept moving!" Max accused, dropping a small sketchbook he kept for tattoo ideas onto the chair.

"You know…" Adrian said slowly, reaching up to tug on a dreaded lock of hair. "The glasses are removable."

Max hit him rather hard on the shoulder, faking indignant. "Well, then I'd have to deal with your cheekbones, which is even harder, so no."

"You make things difficult."

Max was silent in response, suddenly dropping from his position on hand and knee to lie sprawled across Adrian's torso like a limp animal. The artist made a muffled noise of contentment in answer, raising a hand to tangle in Max's dreaded hair. It was so comfortable to be affectionate with Max, he realized. Much easier than it had ever been with the very few others he'd been in a relationship with. Come to think of it, none of those could actually be called 'relationships' and Adrian disregarded the notion entirely. When Max leant forward to kiss him soundly on the lips, he quite adamantly decided that nothing had ever come close to this.

Adrian was just proceeding to slide his hands beneath Max's open shirt when the phone rang. Ring ring! Ring ring! Sucker, I interrupted your snogging session! How sad!

Thus it happened that Adrian was rather short with whoever was on the other end. "What?" he snapped waspishly, leaning over the edge of the bed so he didn't pull the phone straight off the bedside table.

"Adrian?" It was Noah, and the tentative hint in his voice told Adrian that it wasn't something petty he wanted to talk about. He gave Max an apologetic kiss before turning his attention to his best friend, sitting up with the tattoo artist still in his lap.

"What's up?" he asked casually, ignoring the fact that he knew something was wrong.

"Umm, is anyone else there?" Noah responded.

"No," Adrian lied, giving Max a pointed look that told him to keep silent.

"You're lying."

"Yeah, I am. Max is here but it's not like he can hear you…"

Noah seemed to process this slowly before accepting it and beginning to speak. "Loki just gave me some really bad news… He's sleeping right now so I have to be quiet."

Adrian nodded, hoping to the gods the vocalist hadn't broken up with Noah. He wasn't ready to deal with Noah tears at the moment and had very little consoling material handy. Normally he'd just stay up late and watch a bunch of movies with his friend but tonight was a bit different. "What happened?"

Adrian could just imagine the guitarist biting his lip ring the way he always did before he got his answer. "Loki's moving back to Ottawa," Noah said and his voice broke, as though the notion was leaving him short of breath.

"Why?" Adrian knew his friend, and he only took certain kinds of sympathies. That was to say, hugs and understanding silences or questions.

"His parents… He told me they don't want him in the band because they know we're all gay. It doesn't make sense though because he already came out to them. He said they disowned him… But I suppose they want him back for some reason." Noah sniffed. He'd probably cried before he called so that he wouldn't start while talking to Adrian.

"Did you talk about what you're going to do? Or is Loki really up set about it…"

"God, Adrian, he was out of it all night and then he just broke down when he started telling me about it. I don't even know what I can say to make him feel better because I feel like shit about it too. I mean, we just got together and stuff."

"Couldn't have picked a worse time, eh?" Adrian supplied, resulting in a heavy sigh from his friend. "Are you staying there the night?"

"Yeah. Now I want to spend even more time with him than normal…"

"Good idea. And maybe you should suggest that he send us tape recordings of his singing so we can put them in when we get to recording in a real studio…"

"Yeah, yeah that might work… Thanks." It was a simple word and would sound natural from the perspective of an observer, but that one word held a lot of gratitude and Adrian knew it.

"No problem. Tell me how it goes over tomorrow, ok?"


"See ya."


Click. The line went dead. Adrian placed the phone back in its cradle and sighed, giving Max another apologetic kiss on the cheek. "Sorry. He was really hung up," the artist said, placing another kiss at the edge of Max's jaw.

The tattoo artist nodded, wrapping his arms loosely around his boyfriend's shoulders. "I don't mind. It's sweet of you to be such a good friend to him," Max responded, smiling in that way that made Adrian rather giddy.

Adrian nodded, arms slinking around Max's midsection to bring them closer together. "Well, since you had to sit here and listen to me ramble on, then you get to choose what we do next," he murmured, pressing his lips to the hollow of Max's throat suggestively. "Don't let my presence alter your decision," he added with a simper.

"You're evil," Max responded and shook his head as though to clear it. "But I did formulate the plan while you were on the phone."

"The plan?" Adrian asked.

"The plan," Max clarified, nodding and taking Adrian's hand. He rummaged through the closet and found old mittens, scarves and hats that were probably from both Noah and Adrian's childhoods.

"All Noah's," Adrian said as Max held up a pink and purple polka-dotted hat with earflaps and a pompom. The tattoo artist grinned before pulling the ridiculous cap over his ears with a cheeky grin and wore the matching mittens. Adrian refused to wear anything but the brown scarf (despite the fact it had pink stitching).

"Ok, onto Step 2 of the plan," Max said, opening the door and pulling Adrian out into the hall. He took him all the way outside to the courtyard where the leaves from the trees had fallen and scattered in orange melee all over the dying grass. Fall was the best season, in Adrian's opinion. It was the best time for drawing, in any case.

As Max had assumed there would be, rakes were leaning up against a door not far off, probably for custodial staff. He picked one up and chucked another at Adrian, beginning to rake at the leaves.

"We're going to work for the janitor's?" Adrian teased and Max stuck out his tongue.

"We're making a giant pile of leaves. Don't tell me you never did this when you were a kid."

"Once…" Adrian admitted. His neighborhood hadn't exactly been heavily wooded.

"You are deprived still," Max replied resolutely and continued the raking business until they had a pile up to Adrian's waist.

"This is insane," Adrian said, shaking his head as Max prepared to make the giant leap.

"Sanity is overrated anyway," Max said, giving Adrian a smile that was impossible to resist before leaping into the leaves and sending up a spray of orange, brown and red debris. Adrian mentally shoved aside the damage to his reputation this would cause him and followed suit, sinking into the crunching pile and seizing a laughing Max around the middle.

The artist grinned, the picture of Max with twigs and leaves stuck in his hair from under his hat, cheeks flushed pink from the cold and laughter; it was a moment he wished he could have drawn. Instead he pulled the different articles from Max's hair and kissed him, more insistent than before. He'd never had these insane urges of lust for one single person before. In fact, he wondered whether their first episode at his party had been moving too fast.

It didn't look it, as Max opened his mouth and mewled in a deliberately infuriating manner. Adrian smiled a little, nipping at Max's lower lip. This had been a very good plan indeed…

When Adrian woke up the next morning, the first thing his memory turned to was the night before. It had been really hard to say goodbye to Max so he could go home. Honestly, he wouldn't have minded if the other boy slept over. In any case, he was still on Cloud Nine.

The second thought that came to mind was to check the time, and doing so resulted in a spurt of energy that launched him out of bed and into the kitchen for breakfast.

Late for painting class again. It was a wonder Adrian got any marks at all…

Twenty minutes later found Adrian in class sitting before an easel. They were painting nude models now, a subject he wasn't fond of. He didn't care that the models were naked or anything; he hardly cared. The real issue was that he preferred natural poses and everyday life drawings. Pictures of kids at the park or leaves falling from the trees in the autumn or an infatuated couple whispering sweet nothings on a bench near a bus stop. Those kind of sentimental things that told stories… These things only taught anatomy, lighting and colour; the kind of things Adrian had been practiced in since he was a little kid with a crayon box.

And as he looked to his right, he noted that he wasn't the only one that was bored. He was dating Max, which should have encouraged him to look away, but Dorian was plainly captivating. And at this moment, he looked positively thrilled by the subject matter.

The blonde seemed to feel Adrian's eyes on him, for he turned a questioning gaze on him. Adrian grinned. "Not your favourite subject?" he asked quietly. He still remembered his mission to unveil Dorian's true sexuality. It was not a lost cause and definitely not uprooted because he was dating Max. They could still be friends without being anything more, the artist reminded himself.

Dorian shook his head and replied. "I like illustration better."

Adrian nodded, remembering what he'd seen of Dorian's work. "Can I see some of your stuff?" he asked, indulging his nosy side and accepting the portfolio book that was handed over to him.

"Some of it, er, don't look at the stuff at the back. It's crap," Dorian said, cheeks a little pink.

Adrian highly doubted any of it was crap, and as he opened the book and found himself looking into vibrantly coloured pictures with thick ink lines and full-action poses, he realized just why Dorian preferred this style. You could do practically anything with it; it was limitless. No one could tell you what was right or wrong, and you had the freedom to make up your own characters. Some of the characters were reoccurring, others not. As he continued to flip, the book accidentally slid a little from his grasp and a few leafs of paper flew out from the back, scattering between their desks. Dorian bent to pick them up, but Adrian, flustered, did so himself and found himself looking at the model sketches they were supposed to have done for their first assignment.

He knew the person in the picture, and it was a little disheartening. Kali stared back at him, there was no mistaking the eyes and sensuous pose.

"Those are terrible," Dorian said with a frown, but his face had flushed red. It seemed Adrian had found the object of Dorian's affections, and he was sad to say that he was more disappointed than a man with a boyfriend like Max should have been.

"They're not, you really captured him," Adrian said, and there was a pang of jealousy in his stomach that he tried to keep out of his voice. "Especially in this one," Adrian said and pointed to the close-up of Kali's face, one finger hooked in his teeth almost teasingly, looking up through thick lashes. It was Kali all right, in all his provocative, promiscuous glory.

And somehow, by the sparkle in Dorian's eye, he didn't think the small blonde knew about Kali's tendencies….


Home in time for the six-hour soap

Bonding time with the pixilated screen

Forgetting that your daughter's smoking crack

And your son's lost all hope.

And the light's not on upstairs,

Your father was a convict,

And your mother taught sex-ed

And you've forgotten how to care…

Yeah you don't give a care.

But we all breathe and we all bleed

There's more to life than the television screen

So life's not fair, well that's a shame,

But you've only got yourself to blame

So move your ass, there's time left yet,

The cards your dealt are the cards you get

Your daughter still loves you, your son has dreams,

And only you can soothe their screams

Yeah, we all breathe and we all bleed

There's more to life than selfish greed

So life's not fair, well that's a shame,

You win or lose in this lawless game.