A.N. : So. I updated. I'm working a little bit on each story. Sorry this took so long. Hope you enjoy. Comments are appreciated. I love you. (Im so tired.)

Chapter 10: Border of the Truth

"Maybe… this is a good thing," Elizabeth pointed out to her obviously sad friend. "Maybe he's hinting that he really likes you too, but he's not sure if you do because you're both men and therefore… you have to make the first move."

"It would never work," Colby moaned, his head covered firmly in his arms against his kitchen table. Jessica and Elizabeth had come over when they realized their good friend was actually distraught over the night before when Markus revealed he knew Colby was the panther… amongst other things. Larry had gone grocery shopping for the day.

"But you like him," Jessica stated. "You could at least try."

"You know, I didn't realize yaoi actually happened this way," Meggy chimed in from over the stove where a pot of noodles boiled. "My brother's straight out of a manga! Well, maybe not straight…" she laughed at her own joke.

"I guess it is a little dramatic," Elizabeth giggled. Colby sighed.

"Let's go see a movie," Jessica declared. "That new action you wanted to see is out. You know, all bang-bang-shoot-em-up."

"And no romance in sight," Elizabeth whispered.

"I can hear you," Colby sighed, sitting up straight. His friend looked away innocently. "Sure, let's go."

"Should we call Markus?" Jessica said quietly to Elizabeth when Colby left to get his wallet from his room.

"I think we should just let Colby get over the worst of it first," she replied. "I'm sure he'll snap out of the stupor eventually.

"Yeah, he's probably just nervous," Jessica mused.

"Nervous?" Colby asked as he entered the kitchen.

"Uh… about the next tournament," Elizabeth provided. "I told her about… all the challengers coming and stuff."

"There's not that many…" Colby thought aloud as the girls quickly head out the door, dodging any more inquiry.

--

Guns blared as people screamed before a large explosion threw a car into the air, crashing it into the house nearby. Colby stared blandly at the action playing out before him, paying half attention to the movie. Elizabeth sat on his left, munching determinedly on popcorn as her eyes never left the screen. He heard Jessica, on the other side of Elizabeth, whisper something as the other girl nodded.

He sighed mentally, leaning his cheek on his hand. The night before kept playing over and over in his head, even while he watched people blow up buildings and shoot down helicopters. Was he just overanalyzing everything? Probably. He was probably blowing everything out of proportion. Markus had… just been tired from the game. Yeah, and he was just talking randomly. He didn't mean anything. Probably.

I have got to get over this, he thought. I have to stop liking him. This is completely pointless. As long as it goes on, it will always be one-sided. And on top of that, it's stupid! The class nerd falling for the class jock/hottie? How… pitiful. Colby frowned.

Sad, dramatic music began to play as one of the two main characters took a bullet for the other. Said person fell in slow motion to their knees as blood poured from their chest. The characters' final conversation began, the living one trying not to cry. Colby randomly found himself wondering if he could take a bullet for someone. He wanted to say he would, but realized that was everyone's first reaction. Would he really be able to act quick enough to take a bullet? Perhaps it was a silly question. Maybe if you cared about someone that much it was just instinct.

Sudden shaking against his leg snapped him out of his reverie, as he dug into his pocket for his phone. Pulling it out, the front screen flashed the name "Markus" at him in bright blue letters. Colby stared at his phone for what seemed like five minutes before Elizabeth poked him sharply in the arm.

"Answer it," she whispered.

"We're in a movie," he argued.

"So go outside."

"But…"

"GO," Jessica ordered.

"But…" Colby couldn't seem to come up with a coherent argument.

A couple of shhh's sounded behind them. Colby frowned at Elizabeth who gave him a very blatant answer-or-die glare. Jessica's accompanying stare followed, making Colby stomp out of the theatre, frustrated at his weak will. When he reached the hallway, he flipped his phone open. "Hello?"

"Uh… Colby?" Markus asked, his voice seeming worried.

He wasn't sure if it was the sound of Markus's voice, or the extremely loud noise in the background, but Colby immediately knew something wasn't right. "Markus? What's wrong?"

"Uh, well…" Markus paused. Elizabeth and Jessica appeared through the door, staring at Colby in question. "Well, see… my house was … kind of invaded."

"Your house is invaded?" Colby asked confused.

"Well… Ken found out my parents were out of town this weekend in a conference up north. He appeared here at my house a few hours ago and then… all these people showed up! There's got to be close to two hundred maybe…"

"Two hundred?!" Colby exclaimed, causing looks of confusion on Jessica and Elizabeth's faces. "Do you need help?"

Markus sighed. "Sorry… I'm not sure why I called you. I don't want to bother…"

"No, no!" Colby interjected. He ignored that he was happy Markus had called him. "I… We can come if you need help."

There was silence before Markus admitted, "… I would appreciate that."

"We'll be there in a little bit," Colby hung up, heading for the exit.

The girls trotted to catch up. "What's goin on?" Jessica asked.

"I'll explain in the car," Colby opened the exit for them as they walked quickly to the car.

--

"Do this many people even go to our school?!" Elizabeth exclaimed as they pulled onto Markus's street. Cars lined both sides of the street all the way up and down, some even double parked. "We're only a 1A school!"

"He did say he thought about two hundred were here," Colby mused. "I bet Ken invited them."

"One of these days I am gonna punch him as hard as I can in the face," Elizabeth grumbled, parking in an empty property lot at the end of the road. "Or maybe just kick him in the balls over and over."

Colby rolled his eyes and Jessica agreed, coming up with more bright ideas of pain for the boy they boy hated. They almost jogged to Markus's door, hopping over people littered on the lawn. Loud music and screaming could be heard even from down the street. The volume only increased as they opened the door and crept inside amongst the many people.

The three of them began making their way slowly towards what Colby thought was the direction of the kitchen. He saw Ken the moment the blonde saw the three of them, red anger covering his face as he stomped over and yelled "Who invited you three?!"

"I did," said Markus as he appeared next to Colby.

"Why?" Ken practically spat at the taller football captain.

"Because I can," Markus loomed over the blonde.

"Tch," Ken turned away. "You'll pay for that," Colby thought he heard him say as he walked back to his gaggle of hardly clothed girls.

"Follow me," Markus beckoned them as they head towards the glass window wall that looked into the backyard. The pool and surrounding areas were covered by people. They followed Markus behind some fine wood doors, entering into what appeared to be an office.

"Thanks for coming…" Markus said defeated, locking the door to his father's study. Colby noticed many things that had been in the living room and kitchen before that were all breakable. Markus was taking precautions.

"It's not a problem," Colby smiled. "But… what exactly is going on?"

"Well," Markus leaned against the double doors. "I told you Ken found out about my parents being gone. I didn't know what he thought he was doing when he showed up earlier, until more and more people started showing up after him. I've never even seen half of them." He moved a piece of the door that revealed a secret window looking back into the house.

"So he staged a party at your house?" Colby crossed his arms. "Is he trying to start a full-fledged fight?"

"I'm pretty sure he already considers it a war," Markus smiled sadly.

"Can you call the police?" Elizabeth asked, peering out the hidden window. "This is trespassing. And I'm sure it's causing a disturbance to the neighborhood."

"Tried," Markus pulled out his cell phone to show. "The first time they said they would 'check it out'. The last six times no one has answered."

"And I'm sure the fact that Ken's uncle is the police commissioner has nothing to do with it," Carl said nonchalantly, having been sitting in the large chair behind the desk the entire time. Elizabeth glared at him before returning to her window scouting. "Everyone knows Ken never gets in trouble because he has his uncle wrapped around his finger."

"Maybe if we crash the party people will start to leave," Jessica mused. "Ken wasn't too happy to see us. I'm sure with a bunch of nerds here most people will realize the party's a bust."

"Yeah! If we can get a chunk of people to leave, the rest will dissipate and then Ken's evil plan will be foiled!" Elizabeth stated.

Markus actually laughed. "Thanks girls, but its ok. I'm sure they'll leave eventually."

"Ken looks like he's up to something," Elizabeth reported from her station at the window. "He's going outside. I'm gonna go see what he's doing." She and Jessica were out the door before any of the three boys could say anything.

"And I'm going to make sure they don't kill themselves," Carl sighed, waltzing across the room and out the door.

Colby looked around the office when Markus didn't say anything for a while. While the taller boy looked like he might say something, he looked out the window instead as if thinking. After a few more minutes he said, "Thanks for coming."

"You're welcome," Colby replied. Say something else! he yelled at himself. If you don't say something else it'll be left on an awkward note! "Well, I mean… you know, what are friends for?"

The same look from the night before crossed Markus's face. An ironic smile, with mischievousness hidden in his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by two screams and the chant of, "Fight! Fight! Fight!"

Markus and Colby ran from the office, pushing their way through people and outside. Once they had broken through the wall of people, they found themselves next to Carl. Elizabeth stood away from the wall of people, near the pool and in front of Ken who sat on the ground, blood dripping from his nose. Jessica stood behind her.

"Bitch!" Ken snarled, getting to his feet.

"Hold it," Markus ordered. "What happened?"

Everyone around them was quiet, watching, hoping for more bloodshed. Carl actually laughed, "Ken went to grab for Jessica, but missed and got Elizabeth's arm. Then he tried to twist her around but she just reached and grabbed his nose with her fingers and kicked his feet out from under him."

"The bitch was mouthin off!" Ken yelled.

"Mr. Wimp here was calling his uncle at the police station," Elizabeth stated, her arms crossed. "We heard him say they should come down now and make sure to arrest you Markus."

"See if you don't get thrown in with him, whore!" he snarled at her. The crowd was obviously restless at the idea of police coming this way. "And why would I do that anyway? I wouldn't call the curtain on a good party."

"You just practically admitted to calling him!" Jessica accused.

"I guess we'll just see by how quickly they get here," Markus observed.

Elizabeth sighed as she and Jessica began walking back to the boys. "Idiot," she sighed.

"Idiot like your father?" Ken taunted loudly. "See if you don't follow in his footsteps getting thrown in!"

Colby grabbed Elizabeth the moment she turned to head back at the blonde troublemaker. "Let me go Colby!" she screamed.

"No!" he screamed back, holding her in a bear hug around her arms. "It was self defense before but if you touch him now he can really get you in trouble!"

"I don't care! You heard him!" she screamed, wrestling from Colby's grip.

Colby thought he would completely lose grip on her, when Markus moved in front of them. He silently walked towards the blonde, who stood there with a victorious grin on his face, before reaching back as far as he could and punching him as hard as possible. Ken stumbled backwards, falling into the pool. Everyone was silent in the few seconds it took him to resurface.

"What the fuck do you think you're-" he began to scream before he was cut off by the soft but deadly sounding Markus.

"Get out of my house now you worthless piece of filth."

Ken crawled out of the pool, sopping wet. "So are they you're new friends Markus? The nerds?"

"They're better than you," Markus observed. "Leave before I make you."

Ken looked around, realizing he had just been beaten and embarrassed in his own set-up. "W-Whatever. This party was lame anyway!" he thrust his way through the wall of people heading for the exit to the street.

"The police should be here soon since he called them," Markus announced. "Leave now." He turned and walked back to his small group of friends, smiling.

"You didn't have to do that," Elizabeth said before Colby even opened his mouth.

"Eh," Markus shrugged. "If I'm already being arrested for disturbing the peace what's a little assault charge on top of that?" His grin held something behind it, as if there was some secret weapon he still had.

"How charming," Jessica joked, slapping his shoulder. "Don't let us cross your bad side, ok?" She turned back to Elizabeth. "Come on, let's go home."

"Well if Colby will let go of me," she sighed, apparently over her flash of anger already. "I mean, really Colby. I love you, but just not in that way."

Colby let go, stepping aside. "I-I didn't… Damn it Elizabeth."

She grinned and tweaked his nose. "Thanks. Stay here and help Markus clean up why don't ya? I'm tired." She and Jessica left before the confused boy could protest.

"I'm leaving too," Carl said with a sigh before heading to the door.

Apparently, only about half of the people had decided to actually leave. Even when Markus turned off the loud music, they still hung around. He mentioned physically throwing them all out, but actually picking up still close to a hundred people and throwing them out a door would get tiring very quickly. So they decided to retreat to the office once again.

"You sure they won't break anything?" Colby asked once they were safe.

"I got all the important stuff in here," Markus murmured, sitting on the edge of the desk. He inspected his knuckle. "And I'm sure the cops will be here in a little while, so it'll be over soon."

"Let me help with that," Colby pointed at Markus's bleeding knuckle and grabbed a tissue before heading into the attached bathroom. He found a strategically placed First-Aid kit under the sink, and brought it along with the now wet tissue. Neither said anything when Colby began to clean and disinfect the two cuts on Markus's first two knuckles.

"Sorry," Markus suddenly whispered.

"Why?" Colby asked, still working on his hand.

"Dunno," Markus said softly again.

Silence between them returned again. Colby tried his hardest not to focus on how close he was to Markus, standing in front of him while he sat on the desk. It was hard not to when he could feel Markus staring at him. Maybe he was just paying attention to what he was doing to his hand. Finally, Colby put a small band-aid on each of the cuts.

"There we go," he declared, closing the First Aid kit. "You'll have little scabs for a few weeks but nothing serious."

Markus smiled crookedly, "Thanks doctor."

For some reason, Colby felt himself blush. "Uh… no problem," he muttered, grabbing the kit and heading back to the bathroom to return it under the sink. Once replaced, he turned to go back to the office only to find his path blocked by Markus leaning against the doorframe.

"So, Colby," he smiled, crossing his arms across his chest, knowing he was in the way of the exit. "How's that hamster of yours doing?"

"Uuuuuh," Colby froze, his mind scrambling. What was this?! "Ham… The hamster? He's uh… he's fine. Yeah, the hamster's fine."

"Oh really?" Markus smiled again. Colby was too afraid to meet his eyes, advertently finding the wallpaper on the bathroom walls suddenly very interesting. "So when do I get to meet my little protégé?"

Colby's plan of no eye contact failed instantly at this statement, staring at the taller strawberry blonde boy. "W-What?"

Markus stood straight, taking a step forward. Colby, in return, took a step back, hitting the sink. Damn you sink! he thought silently. He thought about sidestepping Markus when said boy's hand came to rest on the counter, blocking Colby and allowing him to lean in closer. "So…" Markus smiled again.

"M-Markus," Colby stuttered, his mind not working. "Um, W-What are you doing?"

Markus's confident smile suddenly faltered slightly. Then he sighed, his head dropping forward. "What am I doing?" he muttered, as if asking himself the same question. "Sorry," he murmured again, straightening and turning away from Colby, heading back into the office.

"Wait!" Colby heard himself say as he watched his hand grab Markus's arm. What was he doing? His body always chose the worst times to betray! "I uh… I mean…" he made himself let go of Markus's arm. Great, now he was acting weird.

Markus suddenly groaned and hit his head against the door. Colby blinked at him. "This is so complicated," he griped. When Colby didn't reply, he glanced at him. "You know, Colby," he straightened again, but continued to stare at the door. "When I'm around you… it's kind of like… you make me feel like its ok to really be me. And not like I have to work to be all these other things. It's… nice."

"O-Oh…" Colby whispered, staring at the floor. Stupid! he yelled at himself. Say something else! This is your chance! You were so desperate to tell him last night! Go, body, this is your time to be treacherous and get away with it!! … But nothing happened. Colby opened his mouth to try to find something else to say…

Markus sighed. "I guess I'm still just the annoying football captain huh?"

"N-No!" Colby almost yelled. When Markus glanced at him surprised, he stuttered, "I-I mean…" His thoughts scrambled. He wanted to just spit it out already, but there was still that speck of doubt and fear that plagued him. He could practically hear the girls yelling at him in the back of his mind. Say anything…

Markus looked at Colby straightforwardly, turning to face him once again. "What I'm trying to say… I guess… Well, I really…" he sighed, obviously vexed at himself. "I li-"

"Police!" someone screamed from back in the house. Sounds of screaming and running people filled the air as did approaching police sirens.

Markus breathed out slowly as he closed his eyes. "Never mind," he muttered, turning and walking back into the office.

Colby's mind was overrun in a matter of seconds. 'I li-'. That could be a number of things. "I like you." "I lied about something." "I light candles at night." "I line up dominoes for fun."

Really? Elizabeth screamed in the back of his mind. Really, Colby?

If he let it go a second time, would there really be a third? It was hard to claim Markus had showed no interest. But they were also teenagers, this could just be a curious fling. It could all be a horrible misunderstanding. It could turn into a huge scandal if it weren't.

Hope warred with despair for another moment. Would he really stand here and let those people be right? Would he really never grasp anything in his life that would make him happy? He had genuine feelings for Markus, guy or not, and if he did nothing then he would be playing right into their hands. Could he really act like doing nothing and allowing his feelings to be unrequited would make him happy? It wouldn't. It never could. He suddenly wanted this more than anything he had felt before. He wanted Markus.

Without thinking much further, Colby allowed a final burst of courage carry him across the room where Markus was now reaching the door. Fear, nervousness, and excitement raged in his chest, making his breaths shallow as he grabbed Markus's arm again. The taller boy turned, surprised and stared at a very determined Colby that held onto him.

"Markus! I… I…" Spit it out! he ordered himself. "I LIKE YOU," he said a lot louder than he really needed to. Markus blinked at him like a thunderstruck deer, his mouth gaping. "I mean, well…" Colby continued, insecurity starting to take its place again. He stared at the floor as he began talking, "I mean I like you as more than a friend because when I'm with you I feel like I really have a chance at being truly happy and I know this is kind of weird and that you're a guy but if you would just think about it I would appreciate that but I've never really liked a guy before so I don't know how it really works or how to be a boyfriend to a guy but I just wanted to tell you that I really have feelings for you and I really don't have a hamster the girls made that up because they were teasing me about liking you when you walked in and they're weird I don't know but still…" he finally stopped to take a breath.

Silence followed his excessively long statement. He wasn't sure if Markus were maybe waiting for a conclusion, so he decided to tack on one last thing. "I really do like you Markus. I'm sorry." He let go.

Markus started laughing. It started out as a giggle, but turned into a full laugh. Colby didn't look up from the floor as pain coursed through his heart. He was being laughed at? It was worse than flat out rejection…

"I…" Markus breathed. "I only…" Heavy pounding on the office door interrupted him as a policeman opened the door.

"What are you two doing? Are you the owner?"

"Uh," Markus looked at Colby before looking at the policeman. "My father is the owner. I'm a resident. I didn't hear you guys come in. I called you seven times to come vacate my premises." He was all business now.

The policeman raised an eyebrow. "Uhhuh. Please come in here sir."

Empty cups, food, and other broken torn or otherwise shredded items were lying everywhere through the house and in the backyard. Somehow, the police had failed to capture any of the remaining hundred people from before. They handcuffed Markus to one chair, and then Colby to another next to it. Every time Markus tried to talk, either to Colby or an officer, he was quickly yelled at to shut up.

Colby stared at the floor, ignoring the cops walking around them making phone calls. What if Markus went back to his group of pops, laughing about the stupid gay nerd boy who had confessed his love for him? No, Markus didn't seem like the type to do that. But he apparently found the situation humorous.

The police had called Larry, who was now on his way to retrieve his adopted son and nephew. They claimed to be feeling lenient enough to let Colby go and only take Markus as their prize. To be fair, they had to call Markus's parents as well.

That conversation was interesting to hear, even one sided. Once the policeman realized who Markus's father was, they were more inclined to let the boy go with a warning. After all, no official charge had been filed by anyone. Kids went crazy sometimes these days. Just as long as he had learned his lesson.

Colby didn't say anything when Larry arrived, when they uncuffed him, or when Larry chewed out the policeman for cuffing his son for no reason. Markus started to say something, but was cut off by a policeman again before Larry hauled Colby out to the car.

Larry didn't ask any questions, assuming Colby was tired. When they neared home, Colby did offer and apology. "Sorry dad. This is the second weekend in a row you've had to come bail me out."

"Oh, I don't mind. I was wondering when you'd start getting into trouble. I was worried for a while," Larry slapped him on the shoulder before heading to his own bedroom.

Once in bed, Colby stared at his ever familiar ceiling. He was sure a day would come when he would get over being laughed at by the first person he had ever felt love-like feelings for. But that was not today. Luckily, exhaustion from a long and stressful day won out, and allowed him to fall asleep quickly and without any tears.