i know, i know, i know...shouldn't be starting new stories when I'm up to my neck in other ones, but...I don't know. this kinda just...came to me, and...I really like where I think I'll go with it. -shrugs- I dunno. Maybe I'll end up hating it. i don't make any promises, however.

Becoming Exposed
Ch. 1

Christian camp! Of course, that's his solution! Racing to write down the number and website, Cody didn't catch the remaining bit of his beloved, savior-sent commercial.

"Cody, dear, can you send up some milk with Michael when he returns? Nana's been a bit off lately, needs to build up her calcium intake again, you know..."

Nodding furiously as he stared back and forth at his handwriting and the TV, trying to make sure he managed to get both contact listings right, he waved his hand at his brother, who sulked down the stairs.

"What's got you so excited?" he asked, looking at Cody with interest, losing it just as quickly when he saw the camp commercial on TV. Like his brother, he didn't even bother to listen to the rest.

"None of your business, and you're supposed to bring Nana something," Michael groaned, slipping into one of the barstools in the kitchen.

"Why can't Mom get her ass down here and get it? It's not like Nana's going to die while she leaves her side for thirty seconds," he complained for a few more moments, watching Cody as he copied the information a few times, onto seperate pieces of paper, one of which he stuck on the bulletin board next to the computer. "What's on the menu this time?"

"Cheese, or something...I don't know."

"Mmm," Michael said, not even pretending to let on that he was listening. He stood up, and pulled cigarettes out of one of his hiding places and waved at Cody. "I'll see you later,"

"Where're you going?" his brother asked, knowing their mother would want to know just where he went.

"I'm going to Josh's, tell mom I'll be back after dinner," Cody made a noise to acknowledge Michael's answer, wondering if he should copy the information onto the computer and another piece of paper, bury it in the backyard, just to make sure that, in case the house burns down, he'll still be able to get in contact with the camp.

Knowing that his mother would disown him for the real reason he wanted to go, Cody sat down and began thinking of an excuse.

"Cody, honey, Nana really needs her calcium, where is Michael?" brought back to earth by the tone of his mother's voice, Cody furrowed his eyebrows.

"Michael?" he whispered, realizing with a smack to his head. "He left for a friends, Mom. Do you need anything?' he asked, half wishing his father wouldn't have decided to leave them after bringing Nana to live with them.

"Oh, I'll just get it myself," he hardly heard her mumble about adopting a child, a girl for once, in order for things to get heard and done around the house. "Tell Mary she can go - oh, nevermind, I'll just do that on the way down,"

-----

Having been a mother, and a very successful one at that, she might add, for seventeen strong years, Judy Hannigan knows when something is going on with one of her sons, both of her sons, or when something is troubling them. She may not always know what, but Cody, the youngest of the two, is always much easier to read.

On occasion, Judy finds that his absentmindedness is obvious to others besides herself. If Cody had been a girl, she may have asked him more, but she remembers her brothers reservations about telling their mother things, mainly because he was a boy, and their mother was most certainly not.

Knowing that Cody's issues were visible to others, Judy is able to talk things over with others, mainly Nana, because she knows so much and proves this whenever Cody experiences more and more problems. "Oh, Judy, just let the boy figure things out on his own. After all, he's sixteen. He's bound to have some problems, and not only because he's a teenager," when Nana would go into a knowing laugh, which soon turned into a coughing fit, Judy would sit and stare, quizically. When asked, Nana said that she wasn't sure Cody was even aware she knew, and wished to respect her grandson's privacy.

"Some things are better off kept from the mother, Judy," she left it at that. Most of the time.

-----

"Cody, where is your brother?" his mother, beside herself with worry, peered out the curtains again. "He did tell you he'd be home before midnight, didn't he?"

"After dinner, Mom, but it's Mica," Cody said, preoccupied as he thought about the wonders the Christian camp could do for him. "But, um, I'd actually really like to talk to you about something..."

"Oh, Cody dear, can it wait?" she sighed, picking up the ringing phone, leaving Cody with the piece of paper in his hands. He had seen the commercial again since that first time, and had listened intently. It was exactly what he wanted; a nice, peaceful, helpful environment he could learn about God in. Learn to put his sinful thoughts to rest, learn to rejoice in what God had wanted him to do, to be.

"Cody's been at home all week, Mr. Hake," he heard his mother say, and turned around. "Is there a problem?" heartbeat getting faster and louder, Cody peeks over the back of the couch. "Michael's only been back the last...oh, you have?" amused, he decided, was his mother's reaction. "Well, Mr. Hake, I assure you my children haven't done anything illegal, or morally wrong, since they've been back. Good night,"

Swallowing, Cody turned back to face the television. Why had Mr. Hake called? Had he finally realized who had torn up his lawn? Levi hadn't left anything while he was running, had he? Taking a deep, ragged breath, Cody asked his mother what the call had been about.

"What? Oh, Mr. Hake seems to think he saw you and Michael under his hedges last night, and this morning he claims to have seen Michael kissing that boy he hangs out with...Josh, I think his name is," his face turning bright red, Cody willed the couch to swallow him. "Oh, Cody, there's no need to be ashamed for your brother! Even if what Mr. Hake saw was right, your brother will be fine,"

There was no way of telling what Judy thought of homosexuality by the tone in her voice. Cody, even more uncomfortable, stood to bring the paper to his mother's seat at the kitchen table. She raised an eyebrow, read it, and then looked up at her youngest son for clarification.

Sweat suddenly draining from every pore on his face, Cody stuttered across a few words. "I, uh, s-saw this commercial on TV..." he could hope his mother would just assume that he wanted to learn about God, just so he wouldn't have to lie right in her face, word by word.

"And you wanted to go, to learn about God, right?" Cody nodded excitedly. "Cody, please, I'm not that dense. If you wanted to spend the summer away from home, you don't have to lie to me about wanting to go to a Christian camp. Just ask,"

What? Cody shook his head, pointing down at the phone number again. "No! N-no, Mom, I really want to go to this, I'm serious!"

"Judy! I'm ready for dinner!" he heard Nana yell, and for once, he wished that she would just keel over and die, but even as he thought so, his hand flew up to cover his mouth, and he desperately thought I don't mean it! I take it back!

Judy sighed, running a hand through her hair. "I've got to tend to Nana,"

"Mom, I--," he protested, only to get a frustrated glare.

"We'll talk about this later, Cody, after your brother gets home and Nana goes back to sleep. Maybe tomorrow, when Mary starts again, and I can have a little break,"

"Mom, I have to call in by three thirty tomorrow afternoon if I want to go, and I do, and--,"

"Tomorrow, Cody," she said, with a hint of finality. "I've got work to do," she set the glass of water down on the countertop, sighing as she lifted herself from her chair. Giving another look to her son, Judy let out another sigh. "Stop looking so melancholy, I haven't said no,"

"Judy!" Nana called again, and the shrill tone in her voice made Cody's ears seem as though they were bleeding.

"I've just said that I can't talk right now. And if you're so sure it's what you want, then I'm sure that you'll have no problem sleeping on it,"

------

Cody, having been extremely upset with his mother for not hearing him out, didn't wake up until ten thirty the next morning despite the frustrated yells from his mother.

"Finally! Lord, Cody, will you please wake up when I ask you to?" noticing she was smoking again, he raised an eyebrow as he walked towards the fridge. "Mary's not able to work today, her brother's in the hospital. Michael never came home last night, and Nana's sick again,"

Feeling suddenly guilty, Cody swallowed and turned back to face his mother. "Anything I can do?" Judy must not have been expecting an act of such helpfulness from her son; the cigarette slipped from her fingers and she swore before turning back to Cody.

"Yes, honey, you can," she picked it back up, taking a drag from it. "Mm...I promise I'll stop when we find your brother. Which is exactly what you're helping with, since you've volunteered," she put it out in the ashtray, handing Cody his cell phone. "I found it under the couch, now please, please, find your brother,"

He left without a word, stomach tightening at the thought of never being able to find Michael. What if something had happened to him? Mr. Hake seemed to hate the Hannigan's, for reasons unknown to Cody, maybe he had done something? Taken Michael hostage, maybe going to tell them that unless they moved, they'd never see Michael alive again?

Shaking away the morbid thoughts of Michael lying in a pool of his blood, Cody continued on his way, looking out for any sign of his brother, or his friends, particularly Josh.

-----

He stopped around noon for lunch, shaking even harder. His mother hadn't yet called to ask him if he'd seen Michael, but that was only one of the many reasons. Three hours until he had to call in if he wanted to get into this camp, and Michael had just been screwing it up. Of course, if he was in any sort of danger, or had been, then Cody's all for looking for his brother. But if he's just screwing with everyone's heads, hiding for a good laugh, then he would have to at least attempt to kick his older brother's ass.

Seeing a mess of hair that looking strangely like his brothers, Cody yelled out, getting the persons attention. His stomach unclenched when he saw it was Josh, but clenched again when he saw the older male was alone.

"Josh! Josh, have you seen Mica? Mom's scared to death, he never came home last night," Josh furrowed his eyebrows, and Cody swore he saw something flash in his eyes, but didn't dwell on it.

"He left my house right after dinner, I have no idea where he's at. You need some help looking for him?" the blonde asks, already looking around and pulling out his cell phone.

Catching a glance at the clock on the side of one of the buildings, Cody decides that somehow, someway, Mike's going to pay for all this trouble.

------

He expected to find Michael. In a video game store, or something like that. A bookstore even, maybe. But on a swingset in the schoolyard was the last place Cody would have thought of. Anger flooded through him until he noticed the look on Michael's face, anger disolving into confusion at once.

"Mica?" his brother doesn't even bother looking up. "Mica, Mom's been so worried, she freaked when she realized you hadn't come home,"

"How can they do shit like that?" he asked, bitterness seeping into his voice.

"What are you talking about?"

"Those assholes, the ones who live in the yellow house at the end of our block," he kicked at the sand beneath his feet. "They killed Marcus,"

Cody, thoroughly confused, shook his head. "What?"

"That three legged cat, Cody, they killed him. Threw rocks at him, it's wailing is what got me to stop," as Michael shifts how he hangs his head, Cody can see the dried blood on his face, the scars and swollen areas. "There were too many of 'em, I couldn't do anything. By the time I woke up, Marcus was st...still..."

"Alive?" Cody supplied softly, anxious to head back home, but interested in the emotion his brother was showing.

"Barely," he whispered, shaking his head. "I had to leave him there. I couldn't...couldn't kill him myself, even to put him out of his misery...It'll be a miracle if he lives, Cody," the youngest brother taps a message to his mother in his phone, telling her he found Michael.

"Mom needs you to get home, she's really freaking out," he said again, slipping the phone into his pocket and extending a hand for Michael. If there's something he must do before he dies, it's getting into this camp for the summer. Being that the first thing his mother said wasn't no, Cody's still pretty awestruck. Normally, his mother would be keeping them home for the summer because they're gone away all year for school.

Mikey grabbed his hand and pulled his sibling into a hug, which Cody returned awkwardly. "I, uh..."

"Mr. Hake thinks he saw you and Josh kissing the other day," he informed, watching for the angered reaction he expected from Michael, surprised when he didn't see it.

"Mr. Hake was right," he smiled at Cody, confusing him even more.

"You're...?"

"Bisexual, Cody. I like boys and girls,"

"I know what bisexual means, you dork, I'm just..."

"Surprised?"

"For lack of a better word, yeah," Cody turned on his heel and started walking back towards their house. "Don't most bisexual people have preferences, though?"

"I'm into the guys that were once girls. Or the girls that were once guys. Which is why..." he trailed off, hoping that his younger brother would get it.

"...You're dating Josh?" he took the hint. "Josh was a girl?"

"Her name was Josie. He's pretty convincing, isn't he?" Michael grinned. "He talks of his old self as though she was another person entirely. And, you know, she kind of was. Josie had boobs, Josh doesn't. Josh has a penis, Josie, heh, most definitely didn't,"

"Did you date Josie, too?"

"For a while. Remember when I told you that we broke up because she was moving away, and that I told Mom that her and her cousin were switiching parents for a while? Yeah, Josie just got a sex change," Cody heard Mikey sigh contently in thought.

"So...that didn't come in between you, did it?" Cody, now consumed by the story, was determined to hear the end before they came to their house. Granted, it was still a few blocks, but it was only a matter of time before they'd be home.

"Yeah, it did. Josie wasn't comfortable in her own skin, and I told her that nobody felt completely at home. She gave me the argument that I had said you should take risks and make changes for you to feel like you're your own person, and I said that I didn't mean it in that sense...We had a big falling out, but when she--he--got really sick after her operation, and I'm talking, fatally ill, we patched things up, ended up dating when he got out, but...still,"

"So...they can do it on minors?"

"With parental consent, I'm guessing. I never really asked Josh how he acquired his penis, I just loved the fact he got one,"

Cody shivered. The thought of his brother in bed with another male didn't disgust him because of the guy-on-guy porno running through his head; what disgusted him was the image of his brother and his best friend. Naked.

"Um."

"Yeah, bit much, isn't it? I do miss the skirts, though...I guess he does whip 'em out once in a while, though," he caught his brothers grin as he turned back to look at him.

"Mica, I think...I think that's all I'll ever need to know," thinking about it again, Cody was pretty sure that he'd have to take a niice cold shower when he got home. The movie playing in his head (the guy-on-guy minus his brother and his brothers boyfriend) was definitely causing a problem in his pants.

He heard his brother cackle, and shook his head. "I know you think it's sexy,"

Too bad that you're joking, you'd hit the nail on the head.

-------------------

tbc...

Note: what Cody keeps calling Michael, Mica, isn't pronounced Mee-cah. It's pronounced My-Cah, coming from the 'Michae' of 'Michael.' If you don't understand, don't worry; it's got a bit of a backstory, but nothing deadly will happen to you if you can't pronounce something right.