Author's Note: Uhm, yes. I hope this one doesn't suck, either! And if you steal my boys, I'll rip your head off. They're too cute to share.

Big huge giant thanks to: Amy, who beta'd this. I feel so sorry for you, you poor, poor girl. Being subjected to my three a.m. spelling jobs…And Cookie, who was the one that made me write this is the first place. Whee!

Reminder: (---) indicates a scene change. ( -->) indicates the beginning or ending of a flashback, because I couldn't figure out anything else to do and I'm a lazy bum. Shut up. I was trying to be creative.

Life on Drury Lane:

It was at 6:17 a.m. that the sun began to rise. The morning light shone brightly through the softly parted curtains, and with it came small slants of gold across the stark white, wrinkled bed sheets. It was at 6:28 a.m. that a pair of soft blue eyes cracked open under a furrowed brow as their eyelids were seared by the first rays of sunlight. Orin turned slowly onto his back, wincing as the action brought the dawning light directly into his line of vision. He blinked rapidly in an attempt to expel the sleep from his eyes, and sat up against the mound of pillows. He shook his head, his thoughts all in a disarray as sleep clouded the edges of his mind, desperately clawing for more space in order to force him back into glorious slumber.

Or something like that.

It was at that moment that Orin's first coherent thought of the day wormed its way across his brain.

'I'm hungry.'

This was immediately followed by, 'I want a muffin. Do we have muffins? I told him to get more muffins. Muffinmuffinmuffinmu-'

"Mmmph," mumbled the other occupant of the bed, face smothered into his own set of pillows. "You've really got to stop thinking out loud, you know."

It took Orin a moment or two to understand the muffled and accented words of his companion, but as soon as they registered, he felt himself blushing. 'Already? This is ridiculous…'

"What's ridiculous? That you're still doing it, or you're blushing this early in the day?"

Orin gave a subdued glare. "Both. Why are you awake, anyway? It's early."

Ramsey's shrug was barely detectable on account of being face down on the bed, one arm slung around Orin's waist as he nuzzled his nose into his ribs, earning him an amusing squeak and a smack in the head. "Aw, such a mornin' person you are, love."

Orin snorted at the endearment, but said nothing of it. "I'm hungry."

"So I heard," said the other with a sleepy smile.

"I want a muffin," Orin continued, ignoring the light jibe.

"I could've figured as much," Ramsey chuckled. "But, I'm afraid to inform you that we're all out."

"But you were supposed to get some yesterday!" Orin cried. "Why didn't you get them?"

Ramsey lifted his head to rest it on Orin's stomach and gave a small, but lecherous grin. "If I recall correctly, I got a little…sidetracked. Surely you remember."

Orin flushed again, a becoming shade of pink across his cheeks. "Yeah, I remember."

Ramsey snickered. "I should hope you do. Nothing deflates an ego faster than an evening forgotten."

"That was more than an evening," Orin mumbled, and as Ramsey's grin widened he hastily added, "So, no muffins, then?"

"Nope. Not unless you want to go to the bakery and get them."

"I don't." said Orin, plainly.

"And you call me lazy…" came the once again muffled reply, though whether Orin didn't hear it or chose to ignore it, Ramsey couldn't tell which.

"But you do."

Ramsey blinked. "I do?"

"Yes, you do," Orin replied, his hand coming up to stroke the dark brown hair at the base of the other's neck, allowing a small triumphant smile as he felt an answering shudder.

"Fine, fine, I do," said Ramsey, leaning into the touch. He looked up to glare half-heartedly at the blonde he was half-laying on. "You drive a hard bargain, Montabelle."

Orin stuck his nose in the air in a lofty expression. "Well, I did learn from my father." He laughed softly as he felt another shudder go through Ramsey's body, though this time is wasn't on account of him.

"Don't remind me, I beg of you."

"Oh, come on, he wasn't that bad!"

Ramsey stared.

"Well, okay, he was pretty bad."

"That's putting it mildly," muttered Ramsey, receiving another swift whap for his actions, but it was quickly soothed by the hand stroking his neck.

"You have to admit, it was a bit of a shock to him. To both of them, actually," Orin pointed out.

"Believe me, I remember…"


"Oh. My. GOD."

It was the piercing shriek coming from the direction of the living room that had startled Ramsey so much that the knife he'd held slipped in mid-chop, slicing the index finger on his left hand with sharp precision. Cursing, he turned and took off toward the other room to investigate the cause of the noise. There was Orin, standing beside the end table, staring in horror at the portable phone clutched in his hand.

"What? What happened? What's going on? Who died?" Ramsey asked the barrage of questions as he quickly made his way to the end of the couch.

"My…Mother and father…" said Orin, his voice sounding forlorn with just a touch of numbness on account of shock.

"Your mother and father died?!" shouted Ramsey, and Orin looked up at him through a fringe of blonde hair.

"Worse. They're coming."

Ramsey froze, the thought not quite processing. "Here?"

"Yes. Here."



"WHAT?!" Ramsey screeched, his eyes widening as he stumbled backward.

"Yes. Now. They're on their way. Right now."

"Oh. My. GOD." Said Ramsey.

Orin nodded vigorously. "My sentiments exactly. Ramsey, what in hell are we going to do?!"

Ramsey took a deep breath, and then lifted his head solemnly.

"We're going to clean."

Orin shot him an annoyed glare. "Will you be serious for FIVE SECONDS?"

"I AM being serious," Ramsey exclaimed. "I'm not exactly Felix Unger, and if your parents are as anal about cleanliness as you are, then we are in deep trouble."

"I'm not that bad!" Orin shouted. Ramsey gave him a look. "What? I'm not!"

"Oh, really?" said Ramsey, and Orin nodded. Ramsey looked at the wall beside them and slowly pushed the picture there, until it was hanging lopsided.

He waited.

Six seconds passed.

"You just…You just suck!" Orin yelled, quickly pushing the picture frame back the way it was. Ramsey's quiet snickers turned into outright guffaws.

"I would reply to that, but you'd probably hit me," he said between breaths. Orin sighed and sat down on the couch. "Honestly, Ramsey. What are we going to do?"

Ramsey's laughs subsided and he plopped down onto the couch and blew his bangs out of his eyes. "I don't know. Let's look at what we've got here." He slid down the couch until he could rest his head in Orin's lap. "First of all…" he trailed off and peered up at the other boy. "Your parents know you have a roommate, right?"

Orin nodded.

"Good," continued Ramsey, and then stopped again. "They're not aware that I'm not exactly a, er, roommate, are they." It wasn't so much a question as it was a statement.

Again, Orin nodded.

"Alright then," said Ramsey. He tugged on one of Orin's hands and idly examined it, though it was more to keep him from escaping than anything else. "So when are you planning on telling them?"

Orin groaned and let his head fall back on the top of the couch.

"I'll take that as a giant, flaming 'never'."

Orin lifted his head and looked down at the brunette. "Interesting choice of words."

Ramsey shrugged as much as one could while lying down. "It's a gift."

"Well, if you could refrain from exercising that particular talent while my parents are here, I would very much appreciate it," said Orin, a small smile tilting the corners of his mouth. Ramsey chuckled.

"Fine, fine. But only for you."

"Thank you. I feel so honored, really I do."

Ramsey gave a mock gasp and clutched at his heart with both hands, including the one of Orin's that he was still holding. "Did you just make a joke, Montabelle? And a funny one at that! I am in awe!"

Orin smacked him. "Be quiet, you."

"Yes, dear. Whatever you say."

"I say," said Orin, trying hard to frown but failing miserably, "That you should get off of my lap and get to work already."

Ramsey's eyes glazed over for a moment, and he turned to Orin. "All I heard was 'get off' and 'lap'. What were you saying, again?"

"UGH!" Was all that Orin could manage to say at that moment as he abruptly lifted his knees and threw Ramsey off of him into the floor with a great heave.

Ramsey laughed the whole way down, and then yelped as he rolled into the coffee table. "What the hell was that for, huh?"

Orin rolled his eyes. "That was for being a pain. Now come on! This place has to be spotless by the time they get here. And we need to think of a plan."

"Yes, sergeant, sir!" Ramsey said with a smart salute, and then quickly broke into a run as Orin made to hit him again and chased him down the hall. "Christ Almighty, Orin, didn't know you were such a sadist!" He paused, thoughtfully, and then gave Orin a grin that had him backing out of the hallway and into the safety of the open living room. "I kind of like it."

"GET YOUR ASS TO WORK!" Orin screamed, and Ramsey's cackling traveled down the hall in response. Orin shook his head, resignedly.

"We're doomed."


Two hours later found Ramsey peeling off the elbow length, yellow rubber gloves that he'd been using while scrubbing the bathroom floor. Orin was putting the last pillow in place after organizing every object in the apartment, dusting every surface, and vacuuming every inch of floor available and every upholstered piece of furniture. Ramsey made his way to the kitchen and tossed the gloves into the garbage can before entering the living room. Both boys collapsed in unison, sprawled out and breathing heavily. All was quiet as they rested, until Ramsey broke the silence.

"My knees hurt." He heard Orin snort, and then he blinked. "Never thought I'd be the one to say that."

"Shut up, Ramsey."

"You know, I don't think I've been this exhausted since the last time we--"

"Shut. Up."

Ramsey grinned at the ceiling, but before he could reply, the doorbell rang.

Neither moved.

It rang again.

"Shouldn't one of us get that?" asked Ramsey, idly. Orin whimpered.

"I don't want to get up," Orin mumbled. Ramsey snickered, but stayed completely still as the blonde sighed again. Orin lifted himself onto his elbows and turned to Ramsey. "Go clean up a little. You smell like wet-dog and Windex."

Ramsey laughed, ruffled his hair, and trudged down the hallway. Orin wiped his forehead on his sleeve, hoping to absorb some of the sweat on his face, and opened the door.

"Orin, what on EARTH have you been up to? You look like you've run a mile," his mother commented. Orin mentally snorted. 'What, no hello? Oh, right. That's not your style…'

"Mother," he nodded toward her. No hugs were required. He turned to his father. "Come in, both of you."

He watched them with a strange air of detachment as they observed the apartment he and Ramsey shared, a mixture of expressions crossing their faces. His mother turned toward him with an attempt at a smile.


"It's a dollhouse," said his father.

Orin shrugged. "It serves its purpose. I rather like it. It's home." The last part came out without thought, startling all three of them. Uncomfortable silence followed.

His father cleared his throat. "So, where's this roommate of yours?" he asked, and then Orin heard the bedroom door close.

"Speak of the devil," he said. He then turned to Ramsey, who had just entered, and tried not to swallow his tongue.

'Well, he certainly cleans up nicely,' he thought. 'Dear God, did he actually comb his hair?!' Indeed he had. It lay neater than usual, though the boy's dark brown tresses were impossible to tame completely. He'd traded in his traditional plain t-shirt for a white dress shirt tucked into a nice pair of jeans, which Orin hadn't been completely sure he'd owned. The overall effect was definitely appealing.

He didn't realize he'd been staring until Ramsey coughed lightly, his eyes dancing.

"Oh! Um, yes, right. This is my roommate that I was telling you about."

"Ramsey McCaffrey," said Ramsey, holding out his hand to Orin's father. The other man shook it, looking Ramsey over, appraising him. His expression held nothing, which made Orin a bit uneasy.

Orin's mother was a completely different story.

Ramsey turned to her, and as she held out her hand, he took it, palm down, and kissed the back of it with a dramatic flourish.

It was all Orin could do not to laugh. Ramsey apparently realized his internal struggle, and as he pulled away, he threw Orin a surreptitious wink.

Devious little bastard.

Clara Montabelle blushed prettily and fluttered her eyelashes in an unconsciously girlish gesture. Orin couldn't help but snicker a bit, but disguised it as a small cough.

"It's a pleasure to meet you both," said Ramsey, his voice smoothing over the tension. Clara looked nearly ready to giggle, but managed to compose herself.

"Orin, darling, your roommate is perfectly charming!" She exclaimed.

"Tell me about it," Orin murmured, and Ramsey flashed him a brilliant grin and gave him a look that was supposed to mean something, he knew, but he couldn't decipher what it was. He turned and sidled over to Orin, standing far too close than was necessary between roommates.

It took Orin a moment to register the gesture.

'Oh. OH! Oh, crap,' thought Orin.

"So, are you going to spill the beans now or later?" Ramsey asked out of the corner of his mouth in an amused whisper. "I'd do it, but I somehow think that would make things worse."

"I'll do it," said Orin, with a small nod.

"You'll do what?" asked his Father.

Orin gulped, and then took a deep, steadying breath.

"Mother, Father," he started, his voice calmer than he'd anticipated. He looked to Ramsey, who gave him a reassuring nod, and then continued. "Ramsey and I aren't exactly…Roommates."

"I beg your pardon?" said his mother, her fine blonde brows knit in confusion. His father looked nearly impassive, but Orin could see the slight uncertainty in his eyes as well.

"We're…living together." Ramsey snorted softly and Orin glared at him, uncertain on how exactly to broach the subject with subtlety.

"Well, yes, that would generally entail being roommates," said his father, his sarcasm biting. Orin sighed, exasperated.

"No, I mean, we're…living together," he emphasized, and could feel Ramsey shaking with suppressed laughter beside him. He watched his parents, their bewilderment apparent. Finally, he gave a low growl of frustration, and snaked his hand down Ramsey's arm until he could take the other's hand in his own. Lacing their fingers together, he bent their arms at the elbow and waved the entwined hands in the air.

The look of dawning comprehension on the Montabelle's faces was absolutely priceless.

"Well then," said Orin, looking them in the eye just long enough to see twin glints of something that he really didn't want to know about, "We'll just…let that soak in for a few minutes. We'll…Be in the kitchen." And with that, he scurried away, tugging Ramsey with him by the hand.

They weren't through the kitchen doorway five seconds before Ramsey tugged him toward him and began laughing loudly, burying his face in Orin's hair to stifle the noise. Orin produced a giggle of his own, though it was more hysterical than anything.

Ramsey's laughter finally ceased, but he didn't let go. "Hmm," he mused aloud. "I wonder how they're handling that bit of information." He snickered again, but managed to calm himself into mock solemnity, all the while trailing a hand down Orin's back. "I'm not entirely certain that they understood, though. Maybe I should get in a good grope or two…"

"I hate you," mumbled Orin, before slapping the hand away with more force than completely necessary. Ramsey yelped, and Orin scoffed. "Oh, calm down, you big baby. I don't hit that hard…" he trailed off as he spotted the line of blood that trailed down Ramsey's finger. "What happened?"

Ramsey coughed. "When you, ah, screamed this morning, I cut myself." He shrugged. "Must have broken open when you hit it. Not a big deal. It just stings a bit, is all." Actually, it stung a lot. It wasn't a long cut, but the force of the blade had managed to make it a somewhat deep one.

Orin frowned. "It looks deep," he said, voicing Ramsey's thoughts. As Ramsey continued to downplay the injury, Orin brought the hand up to his face, examining the thin strip of blood that seeped through the cut, still bleeding. He considered it for a moment, and then cocked his head, intrigued, and gave it an experimental lick.

The effect was astonishing.

Ramsey froze in mid-sentence, every muscle in his body seeming to tense at that fleeting touch. His eyes widened momentarily as he stood stock-still and almost seemed to tremble.

So, ever curious, Orin did it again.

In utter fascination, he followed the small blood trail and ran the tip of his tongue from knuckle to fingertip, waiting for the reaction. The brunette's trembling grew more evident and he sucked in a ragged breath, shakily exhaling. His head tilted down a fraction, and his eyes seemed to positively smolder. Orin mentally filed that look away to save for his later amusement.

A split-second later, he was abruptly jarred from his thoughts as Ramsey grabbed his arms just above the elbow and shoved Orin against the opposite counter and kissed him.

'Well then,' he thought mildly, 'that was certainly interesting.'

There wasn't much room for thinking after that.

His eyes shut of their own accord and he felt Ramsey's hands leave his biceps, opting instead for digging into his hips and pinning him further to the counter. His own hands, now free, clutched at Ramsey's shoulders as his mouth opened, the heady mixture of blood and saliva mingling and leaving him dizzy. His blunt fingernails raked across the other's back in an animalistic gesture, and he both felt and heard Ramsey groan deeply.


Both sets of eyes flew open simultaneously, and they turned just in time to watch Clara Montabelle fall to the ground in a dead faint.


"Stop laughing, Ramsey."

The snickering continued.

"It's not funny."

A choked gasp. "Yes it…Most definitely is…"

Orin coughed. "Well, okay, maybe it is. But only a little bit. You know, we really should feel guilty, I think and dammit, would you stop laughing?!"

Ramsey held his knuckles to his mouth, his eyes brimming with mirth. "I'm sorry, I really am. And I do feel bad, I really do."

"No you don't."

Ramsey considered this. "Well, okay, no I don't. It's not my fault your mum can't knock."

After Clara had screamed, it took only seconds for her husband to come see what the ruckus was about. He took one look at his unconscious wife on the floor and at the boys, flushed and disheveled and still too close for comfort, and deduced what had happened.

They'd left mere moments after Clara had come to, only offering a brief goodbye and unable to meet their eyes in parting.

Not a bad day, if Ramsey said so himself.

"The kitchen has no door!" Orin cried. "And it was a kitchen, for God's sake!"

"Ah, well, look at it this way," said Ramsey, tossing an arm about Orin's shoulders. "I'm sure that, by now, they are thoroughly convinced of our relationship."

Orin looked at him long and hard, and then began to laugh.

Nope, not a bad day at all.


"Good God, Ramsey, how can you remember all that?" Orin asked, perfectly amazed.

Ramsey had recounted the entire event (Orin had deemed it more of a fiasco, but that was beside the point) as they made their way to the bakery. Truthfully, Orin remembered that afternoon in just as much detail, and he was almost sad to admit that it was one of the most entertaining days he'd ever had.


But not quite.

'Ramsey must be rubbing off on me,' he mused as he listened to the rhythmic sounds of their shoes slapping against the wet sidewalk. 'I didn't used to be this twisted.'

"Sure you were," Ramsey said jovially, perfectly in tune with the cheery chime that sounded as he held the door open. Orin scowled as he walked inside under Ramsey's arm, and Ramsey chuckled. "You REALLY have to stop-"

"-Talking to myself. Yes, yes, I know. Now shut up and go get me a muffin."

"Yes, master," intoned Ramsey. Orin raised an eyebrow and Ramsey laughed, giving him a wink and a wicked grin. Orin felt himself flush brilliantly as he caught the eye of one of the waitresses, who giggled merrily at his expense.

"You're all out to get me," he muttered, and the waitress gave a hearty laugh which caused the majority of the patrons of the quiet café to look over at him.

He saw Ramsey saunter up through his peripheral vision and could feel the smirk on the other boy's face. "You're as red as a tomato, dear," he said, chuckling and tossing an arm around his shoulders. Orin scowled again as he continued. "So, if you've met your humiliation quota for the day, why don't you go find us a table?"

"Let's get one outside," Orin said, warily watching a table of girls that was eyeing them—His money was that it was more ogling Ramsey than himself—with interest. Ramsey gave them a charming grin and Orin watched in morbid fascination as they beamed with pleasure.

"How on earth do you do that?" He asked as they went to exit the building. Ramsey's grin widened, producing a rather distracting dimple.

"Do what, exactly?" Ramsey asked, and put on a matter-of-fact expression. "If you're talking about that thing I do with my tongue, I'm afraid I can't reveal that. It's a trade secret. Surely you understa-"

He was abruptly cut off as Orin elbowed him in the stomach on his way out the door.

"Oh, now, that's just not nice! You'd better treat me better, Montabelle, or I'll hold out on you."

Orin stopped dead in his tracks. "You wouldn't."

Ramsey grinned wolfishly. "Oh yes, I would."

"No. No, you wouldn't. You're not that evil, and-"

Ramsey leaned down, his lips brushing Orin's ear as he spoke. "No muffins… for a month."

Orin actually whimpered and then plopped down in the chair, bottom lip pushed out in a sullen pout. Ramsey found the scene entirely too adorable. He mentally thanked whatever deity reigning that the expression wasn't coupled with that Catholic school boy's uniform he'd seen in the back of Orin's closet a few weeks ago.

He still wasn't entirely sure Orin had ever actually gone to a Catholic school. He shifted uncomfortably at the thought.

"Stop fidgeting," said Orin, folding his napkin in his lap and clearing his throat expectantly. "And I'm waiting…"

"You're not helping…" Ramsey mumbled, and Orin raised an eyebrow.

"Is there even a remote chance that I want to know what you're thinking about right now?" He asked, dubiously.

"Not a chance in hell," Ramsey replied immediately. Orin coughed delicately.

"Moving on," he said, "Can I please have my muffin? I am in dire need of sustenance. Preferably of the fluffy variety."

Ramsey snorted and tossed a warm blueberry muffin toward the blonde, who blinked as it bounced off of his forehead and fell onto his plate. He looked up, as if trying to see said forehead, and then shrugged, picked the muffin up, and promptly stuffed the entire thing in his mouth.

Ramsey watched. He would never get used to Orin's, er…mouth…Ability. That is to say…

He decided to cut that train of thought off rather quickly, as he'd already gotten in trouble more than once that morning.

"What?" Orin asked, his cheeks bulging in an uncanny resemblance to a chipmunk. Ramsey took one look at him, cherubic face frowning in consternation at being stared at, and burst into a gale of helpless laughter. His amusement grew when he realized that he'd caused what other patrons there were outside to focus their attentions on them, and in doing so he had the opportunity to watch Orin stare down every last one of them, equipped with a steely glare and a mouth full of muffin.

"Shut up!" Orin shouted, but it came out sounding more like, "shuh-ah!", and Ramsey believed that he was going to have a heart attack.

After about ten minutes, Ramsey had calmed down, more or less. "So, have you filled your muffin quota for the day?"

Orin heaved a great sigh of satisfaction and stretched—Today was REALLY not Ramsey's day—and gave an affirmative nod. "Oh yes, quite."

"Good, because we've officially run out."

"Only because you ate FIVE," Orin said with an accusing glare.

Ramsey shrugged helplessly. "What can I say? I'm a growing boy."

"Just wish that growth was more mental, instead of physical," Orin said. Ramsey gave him a slow and lazy smile, as if to say, 'No, you don't', and Orin felt his face heat up.

"You calling me soft in the head?" Ramsey teased, his eyes glinting. Orin was suddenly faced with the decision of taking that comment two very, very different ways.

Ramsey WAS rubbing off on him.

Said boy was snickering at him and his pained expression, and Orin threw a fork at him.

"Hey now," Ramsey said, doing a modified version of 'duck and cover', "Hands off the pointy objects!" He grinned suddenly, and Orin wondered if it was possible for this boy to go five seconds without finding something funny.

"Doubtful," said Ramsey, and Orin stabbed the table with another fork, prongs flying in all directions with the force of the impact. "Stop doing that!"

"That's what you said when we met our new neighbors."

"That's because you were copping a feel on the sidewalk!"

Ramsey gave another shrug. "Urges are powerful things." Orin snorted.

"Well, kindly control your urges next time so you don't scar anyone else for life."

Ramsey smirked. "Hey, the girls didn't seem to mind. In fact, one of them was quite taken with us, if I recall correctly."

It was Orin's turn to shudder in horror of the memory. "Don't remind me…"


"Home sweet home," Ramsey yelled, grinning at the slight echo that sounded throughout the apartment. He turned back to the van just in time to see Orin carrying a load of boxes, only to stumble, drop everything, and fall on his face in rapid succession. Ramsey watched fondly for a moment, before making to assist his fallen companion.

Orin took the proffered hand and let Ramsey pull him up as he dusted off the back of his pants, and swatted at Ramsey's hands as they moved to assist him.

"I'm only trying to be helpful," Ramsey said, giving a look that was entirely too innocent.

"It's eight in the morning," said Orin. "It's far too early for groping."

"I'll take a rain check then?" Ramsey asked, looking hopeful. Orin rolled his eyes and stalked toward the apartment with far more dignity than most people who had just fallen flat on the sidewalk.

"Hmm…" Ramsey mused, his eyes sparkling. "Should I be the one to carry you over the threshold, or—OW," he yelped, as Orin smacked him across the back of the head, ruffling his hair even further.

"Geez," Ramsey groused, "You hit bloody hard for such a little guy!" He ducked again on instinct, waiting for another strike.

Orin glared balefully at him. "That's not what you were saying yesterday," he said, and then stopped, eyes widening.

Ramsey froze, his arms slowly coming down from the defensive position. He took in the brilliant scarlet across Orin's cheeks as his mind processed the words, before dropping to his knees and laughing so hard that he was nearly in tears.

"Oh…My GOD," he gasped, wiping the salty trails from his cheeks. "That…Was absolutely PRICELESS!"

"Well…You…You're corrupting me!" Orin accused, pointing at Ramsey, who had practically collapsed against the dewy grass.

"But you're so corruptible, darling," Ramsey said lazily, looking up at him through a dark fringe of eyelashes. Orin's breath caught for a second, and distantly he heard the sound of heels clacking against the sidewalk.

"Hi, we're your new neighbors!" said a cheerful feminine voice to his left, and suddenly he was jerked to attention as Ramsey stood, brushing himself off and giving the newcomers a friendly smile. Orin turned around and blinked as his vision was suddenly obscured by a fluff of peroxide that vaguely resembled hair.

"My name is Tammy!" she said, fairly shouting. Orin had a feeling that the pitch was a constant one. Ramsey either didn't notice or was very good at pretending. Orin was betting on the latter, and then his attention was once again captured by the pseudo-lion's mane that surrounded her face and neck. Her attire was even more interesting.

'Dear Lord, how many leopards did she have to kill for that stuff?' he thought, and Ramsey discreetly jabbed him in the side.

"Hullo! Ramsey McCaffrey," said Ramsey, introducing himself. He slung an arm around Orin's shoulders—a habit of his—and shook him slightly. "This is Orin Montabelle."

"Hi," Orin said shortly, giving a weak wave. Ramsey chuckled.

"Well aren't you just adorable!" Tammy exclaimed. Her blood red fingernail lightly poked him on the nose, and Ramsey began to shake, repressing the urge to laugh. Orin idly wondered if that was how he stayed fit, by laughing all the time.

"Isn't he though?" Ramsey asked, merriment evident in his tone. His free hand came down to grasp Orin's cheeks with his fingers and thumb, pushing the cheeks together and forcing his mouth to pucker. "Awwe, lookie dere at dat face!" The traces of an accent still present in Ramsey's speech made the baby-talk even more ridiculous. Orin wrenched his face away, attempting to frown and failing miserably. Dammit.

Tammy gave a rather frightening giggle and then pulled on one cotton-clad arm and one bare arm that seemed to have appeared behind her from out of nowhere. The arms were followed, inevitably, by bodies, and the boys finally noticed the other two people in their presence.

"This is my daughter Krystal," she said, pointing to the younger of the two. She looked to be roughly fifteen or sixteen, and was the spitting image of her mother, hair and all. It was a disturbing sight, to say the least. "And this is my other daughter, Angela," she continued. This one looked a year or two older and had straight, dark hair that fell past her shoulders. 'Must've taken after her father, lucky girl…'

"Nice to meet you both," said Ramsey, giving them a dazzling smile, which Orin faintly echoed though he was close enough to recognize the amusement in the his eyes. Ramsey caught his gaze and smirked a bit, and Orin just shook his head.

"Hi," replied Krystal, her voice breathy as she gave them each a thorough once-over. Orin's expression changed from slightly alarmed to that of a deer caught in headlights. Ramsey coughed and looked at Orin again, his eyes wide.

Ramsey recovered first, which was not surprising. He gave a weak smile. "Hi, Krystal."

"Call me Krissy," she said, in that same tone. Beside her, Angela gave a definite snort and Krissy glared at her, though Angela seemed supremely unaffected.

"So, have you two boys gotten settled in yet?" She asked, pleasantly, her eyes darting back and forth between Krissy and Ramsey.

'Over my dead body, lady,' he mentally snarled, and then prayed that he hadn't voiced that particular thought aloud.

Violence was so unbecoming in the presence of strangers.

"All their shit is still sitting on the sidewalk, Mom," Angela's voice cut in, a mix between amusement and disdain. Her mother frowned.

"Angela, watch your mouth!"

"I would, but that'd look pretty ridiculous, wouldn't you agree?" the teenager replied in a deadpan tone that matched her facial expression perfectly.

Ramsey grinned as his gaze went back and forth among the three of them as he watched the verbal tennis match between mother and daughter and siblings. Orin couldn't decide whether to be annoyed or jealous. He'd never had any siblings to argue with, and felt as though he were missing out on some sort of universal inside joke. Ramsey noticed his despondence and gently stroked the light blonde hair at his temple in a comforting gesture.

Angela watched the two of them with an indiscernible expression, head cocked to the side, her eyes shrewd and calculating. Her gaze took in the hand stroking Orin's hair, and the way Orin's face softened as he leaned into the touch like a kitten. She noticed the small smile on the brunette's face, one that reached those green eyes of his and threatened to spill over. A sudden understanding crept into that blank expression, and she smirked knowingly.

Angela, Orin decided, was a very smart girl.

She must have noticed his suddenly cautious expression, because her head came up to its original position. She looked him in the eye, and after a moment, her smirk blossomed into a wide smile, and Orin was taken aback. He felt a hand squeeze his shoulder, and he looked up to see Ramsey sporting a matching grin.

Angela gave a sideways glance toward Krissy, who was still chatting up a storm with the inattentive Ramsey and her mother. Her eyes fell on Ramsey, and then Orin once more.

She winked.

Orin smiled. Ramsey chuckled aloud, and Krissy never once took a breath. She and Tammy remained completely oblivious to the silent exchange.

Tammy and the girls took their leave after a few more minutes. Tammy had invited them over to dinner ('Possum chow?' Orin had muttered out of the corner of his mouth, and Ramsey had snorted and pinched him.), to which they, regretfully, felt the need to decline. She'd waved and left with an offer of their help any time. Krissy had walked nearly the whole way backwards, occasionally tossing her hair over her shoulder and waving every few seconds. Angela had rolled her eyes at the antics, before uncrossing her arms for the first time in half an hour and giving them a beauty queen wave, her eyes going large and doe-like as she mocked her younger sister without remorse. The boys had laughed, and she gave them a genuine grin and walked back toward her family's apartment, her arms crossing once more before walking through the door.

It took Orin a few minutes to realize that she hadn't spoken a word during the entire meeting and yet had said so much, whereas Krissy and never ceased speaking and said so little. He voiced his thoughts to Ramsey as they both began to transport their belongings into their new apartment. Ramsey chuckled.

"Girls. They're all weird. Who needs 'em, anyway?"

Orin had let out a bark of laughter and promptly dropped his box for the second time that morning, but neither seemed to mind.


Both boys were snickering madly over their coffee cups as they each remembered that particular incident. Ramsey ran a hand through his hair and sighed. Orin tilted his head to the side for a moment, as if considering something.

"I'm still hungry," he said, giving Ramsey an expectant glance.

Ramsey groaned. "How can you still be hungry? You had three muffins!"

"And you had five," Orin pointed out.

"But you're short! And small!" said Ramsey, before waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Well, not everywhe-"

Orin leaned over the table and clapped a hand over his mouth, nearly nose to nose with the other boy. "Do not finish that sentence unless you want me to hurt you."

"Goodness, darling, I had no idea you were into that sort of thing," Ramsey said, eyes glittering with mischief. Orin glared.

"Is it possible for you not to be a pain in the ass for two sec—Oh, Good Lord, will you stop licking my hand?!"

Ramsey sniggered as Orin pulled his hand away, wiping it on his pants repeatedly. "Awwe, are you afraid I have cooties?"

Orin's eyes narrowed and he wiped harder. "Yes."

Ramsey smirked again. "But I thought you didn't mind my cooties?"

"Your definition of 'cooties' is seriously warped."

"Don't tell me what warped is, love. You're the one that's arguing over the meaning of cooties, so I'd back peddle a bit if I were you."

"And thankfully, you're not me, otherwise my parents would have committed suicide long ago."

"Now THERE'S a thought," Ramsey said in mock wonderment.

Orin threw another fork at him.

"Alright, I surrender! Stop throwing the damn forks, Orin!"

After buying another muffin for Orin ("My appetite toward muffinry is completely insatiable. I can't help it!" he'd cried, to which Ramsey giggled over the word 'muffinry' for at least ten minutes.), they'd walked sluggishly home, stopping only once when Orin spotted something shiny and went to investigate.

They ran into Tammy's family on the way home, and ended up being forced into a forty-five minute conversation, which the boys mostly tuned out and spoke silently with Angela. By the time they'd closed the door to their own apartment, they were exhausted. Ramsey collapsed on the sofa immediately. Orin made a move to be somewhere, Ramsey couldn't tell where, nor did he care. He tugged on the slim wrist that dangled above his head, sending the boy sprawling on top of him.

"I'm tired," Ramsey mumbled, snuggling against the warm body that he'd forced onto the couch with him. "Just talking with that woman is enough to put me to sleep."



"Be quiet and go to sleep," was the drowsy reply, mumbled into Ramsey's neck. He felt long blonde lashes sweep across his cheeks as Orin's eyes closed. Ramsey sighed, contented.

"And by the way," Orin added. "You still owe me another muffin. Cheapskate."

A muffled giggle followed, and Ramsey grinned, closed his eyes, and slept.


AN: And yes, I'm still wigged at the kiss-y scene. Shut up.