A/N, please read: This story is set in Sweden (but don't let that put you off... I've tried to stay clear of culture-specific things, and when I've been unable to I've attached little explanatory A/N's to the beginning of the chapter). Some of the geography is made up, some isn't. Villaby, for example, is a fictional town (although closely based on my birthplace). Don't take anything too literally. ;) The chapters are of very varying length and I'll be posting two per week. There are 24 in total, plus an epilogue of sorts. I'm really, really insecure about this story, so any feed-back is much appreciated. Any questions, just ask. Oh, and "John Silver" is a Swedish tobacco brand.
Chapter 1: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.
"Jesus fucking Christ," David panted and unstraddled Sebastian's narrow hips. With a heavy sigh he flopped down on his back in the narrow space between Sebastian and the wall. Sebastian stayed on his back, but scooted over to make room for his lover.
"Quite," he muttered and reached for a packet of cigarettes on David's bedside table.
"Open the window if you're going to smoke, will you," David said, still rather breathless.
Sebastian shot him an annoyed look and got up from the sweaty bed, unlit cigarette dangling from between rose lips and his dark chocolate hair falling in tousled locks around his face. He crossed the wooden floors of the small study in just a few graceful steps and opened the ancient windows wide. The room was immediately rid off the smell of sweat and sex, and replaced by the distinct scent of early summer, budding vegetation and just a few hours left of spring term.
Leaning slightly forward, he looked down at the street below; the cars, the students on their bikes, the young mothers pushing prams all looked like miniatures from five floors up. The only things that looked about the right size were the crowns of the trees lining the avenue outside. It was amazing how green the city got in the summer. Only four months ago, Sebastian had been standing by David's open window with his winter coat wrapped around his naked body, nearly freezing his fingers off as he was holding the cigarette to his lips. The compact greyness of the brick houses and naked trees that day had nearly convinced him to give up his studies in Sweden and take matters elsewhere. Somewhere warmer and less snowy, preferably. Today, the buildings were only just visible behind the youthful leaves on the trees.
Still naked, he sat down on the window-seat, putting his slender feet up on the white-lacquered surface. For a moment, he considered how wise it was to sit like that by an open window five floors up, but he soon ignored the potential danger. If he would fall out - what a way to die, huh?
Suddenly remembering to, he removed the condom and tied it up. An obstinate part of him would've liked to throw it out the window, just so that David's bourgeois neighbours would have to wonder what the hell that bizarre-looking thing hanging from one of the branches of the tree was. It would give them something to speculate about over their morning coffee, he figured. Thankfully, his good manners stopped him and he decided to just drop it on the floor instead.
"Throw me the lighter," he pleaded, and David immediately complied.
He caught the cheap bic lighter elegantly with his long-fingered right hand and lit the John Silver cigarette. He was perfectly aware that it was a complete poser brand - but his grandfather had killed himself smoking them back in the 70's, and God willing, so would he.
He threw the lighter back to David, and inhaled a lungful of the thick grey smoke. About the same time as he exhaled the remains of it, he heard the first soft click of David's camera. He looked over to the bed again, where David was standing on his knees amongst the rumpled sheets, with the gigantic camera in front of his pretty face.
This was the downside of taking a photography student and making him your fuckbuddy. Sebastian was used to it by now, but the first time he'd found himself being photographed in all his untidy post-coital glory he got a bit miffed, to say the least. He'd nearly broken David's precious camera, which had gotten him so upset that since then, Sebastian had humoured him just to make up for it.
Besides, there was definitely a little vain streak in his personality that actually enjoyed having his picture taken. So what if David had nearly 400 photos of him in various states of undress - he couldn't use them for blackmail if he tried. Sebastian had even let him display a few of them on the photography students' annual exhibition a few months back.
Finishing the cigarette, he walked back to the bed to put it out in the glass ashtray on the bedside table. All the while David was taking photographs of him. He didn't even stop as Sebastian got back into bed.
"Do you want me to pose for you, big boy," Sebastian drawled and let a hand lazily run up David's inside thigh.
"Do you ever not pose," David asked with a crooked smile.
"Touché," Sebastian replied and returned the smile. He got up on his knees in front of David and looked up at the camera. There were several photos of him in this pose, and it was one of his favourites as he figured it made him look somewhat coy.
"Very good," David mumbled from behind the camera, as if to himself. If Sebastian was always posing, then David was always working.
Sebastian lay down on his back, lifting his right leg as he was drawing circles on David's body with his toes.
"That's it, baby..." David was clearly extremely turned-on by now, but still he refused to put down the camera.
Sebastian quickly turned around, getting on his hands and knees, throwing the other man a licentious look over his shoulder. David moaned, but the camera stayed promptly in front of his face, and the soft clicking of every new photo continued relentlessly.
Sebastian was just about to change position again when he accidentally caught a glimpse of the digital alarm clock. It showed 11.30.
"Fucking tossing cock," he hissed and got out of the bed as quickly as he could, nearly falling over as his left foot got tangled in the sheets.
"What's wrong," David asked and finally lowered the camera.
"I've got a seminar in half an hour! Last one of the fucking term, I need to be there," he explained impatiently and started gathering his clothes.
He ran over to the bathroom and helped himself to David's deodorant and body spray. Getting back to the room, he found his host sitting cross-legged on the bed, camera abandoned next to him. Still within reach though.
Close to panic, he put on his clothes, trying to will away the tumescence before buttoning up his black jeans. He was so stressed he didn't even notice that David had started taking photographs again.
"You need to give me a lift to uni," he demanded and started looking around the room for his bag. Amazing how things could disappear in such a small space.
"In what? You know I don't drive," David replied in the absent-minded voice characteristic for when he was really only interested in his photographing.
"On your bike then."
"Why don't you just borrow my bike? It'll probably go twice as fast."
"Because I won't have time to return it until August. I'm going for coffee with a friend straight after the seminar, and then I'm off home for the summer," Sebastian muttered and gave a little sigh of relief as he spotted his mobile phone on David's bookshelf.
"Fine," David said and threw on a pair of designer jeans and a white t-shirt. It took him two seconds. "Let's go." He picked up a pair of sunglasses on his way out and he was ready to go. He was an angel sometimes.
They got into the old-fashioned lift together. It was one of those ancient constructions where the lift was like an iron basket. Like many times before, Sebastian didn't give a damn that they were perfectly visible to pretty much anyone who'd care to open their front door at that time, but started planting soft kisses along David's stubbled jaw.
"So I won't see you until August now," David mumbled against soft, rose lips.
"Is that a promise?" There was a wicked smile pressed against those lips now.
"Oh, shut up. I'm your muse! Your photography will suffer when I'm not here!"
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure there will be plenty of guys to photograph."
David pulled the iron bar doors open and they stepped out of the lift. Opening the door to the backyard was like opening the door to a world full of green leaves and birdsong. It was one of those typical turn of the century backyards; fairly common, but fairly unknown thanks to their non-public status. It was like a secret garden, weirdly Victorian in style, with loads of little ornamental trees and flowerbeds and a white painted gazebo in the middle of it all. An old lady holding a tiny poodle in her arms looked up curiously at them when they walked out. Most people living here were quite old, and had lived here for the past 40 years, at least. David was a picturesque exception.
David unlocked his bike and mounted it gracefully.
"Ok, muse, get on," he said with a laugh.
The first stage of the ride was easy. All smooth paths alongside the scarce traffic in the old part of the city. David didn't seem fazed at the extra weight at all. But then he had got strong thighs, Sebastian thought with a reticent smile as he observed the early summer beauty through the tinted glass of his shades.
Crossing the square, David nearly ran over a girl who used to be in Sebastian's class before she dropped out after three terms to give birth to a baby girl. Sebastian said something about how pretty her daughter was, before they were too far away to be heard.
Unfortunately, the city centre was all cobbled streets, and sitting on the carrier wasn't so comfortable any longer. After a couple of minutes, Sebastian was beginning to wonder if it wouldn't have been worth it getting a taxi instead, but he sucked it up, as it was still David doing all the work and thus becoming even more sweaty and smelly.
After what felt like forever, David stopped outside the university building. Sebastian scrambled off the carrier and noticed, to his great dismay, the after-effects of the bumpy ride.
"Fabulous. I walk like a cowboy. Everyone's going to presume I'm a bottom now," he muttered and took a few demonstrative steps.
"Don't knock it 'til you've tried it," David chuckled.
Sebastian glanced over towards the classroom windows, but the only one looking out was his friend Erika, which was fair enough, really.
"Ok, well, I guess this is it, huh? Text me and let me know your address, and I'll send you those photos I took earlier," David said.
"Will do," Sebastian replied with a smile. "I'll need something to cheer me up in my rural seclusion."
Then he leaned in and gave David a quick kiss. He nearly let himself get drawn into it; for a few seconds he was thinking that he didn't have to go to this seminar, and he could just make David give him a lift back to his place and they could spend the remaining hours before he was due to leave in bed. But then he thought better of it and said a hurried goodbye before running into the university building.
Looking - and feeling - exhausted and dishevelled, he got into the classroom mere seconds before the teacher. Spotting Erika on the second row by the window, he slumped down on the chair she'd kindly kept for him.
"Got it good, cowboy," she asked with a giggle as he tried to find a comfortable mode of sitting.
"Fuck off. I'd like to see you walk with any grace after a 20 minute ride on the carrier from hell," he sighed.
"'Carrier from hell', eh? Is that what you call him in bed?" She tried hard not to laugh too loudly.
Sebastian was just about to say something clever back to her when the teacher started talking. Oh well, he'd just have to save it for after the seminar when he and Erika were going for coffee.
The café was full of people, as usual by this time of day. Students, mostly, going for the last cup of coffee together before parting for the summer, or discussing their dissertations with old and grey professors. Sebastian made his way through the art deco rooms, trying to avoid hitting someone over the head with his shoulder bag. He finally found what he deemed an appropriate table; as far in as he could get, in the part of the café fondly referred to as "the salon"; probably a remnant from the days when the establishment was a private residence and not the temporary home for stray students with too much time on their hands.
"Why do you always have to get the most inaccessible table in the whole place," Erika sighed and removed her white summer jacket and hung it over the back of an antique chair.
"Because I don't like it when it's too easy," Sebastian answered and sat down in the old-fashioned red crushed velvet sofa, putting his bag next to him. "Get me a coffee, will you? I will return the favour in August."
"Fine," Erika muttered and stalked towards the counter.
"And a baguette!" Sebastian called after her. He'd not yet had breakfast, and it was already half past two. He needed something to eat.
Waiting for Erika to get back, he quietly observed the other guests. Some of them seemed to always be there. An old lady with insane glasses, a middle-aged man who would always be scribbling away in a notebook as he nurtured the same cup of coffee for hours. More than a few times, Sebastian had caught the man with the notebook looking over towards him, and then quickly turning back to his scribbling, as if he drew inspiration from the younger man. During a very confused period last year, Sebastian had had a notion that this man was in fact an older version of himself; that's what he was going to become. He abandoned the idea when the man turned up one day with his beard shaved off, but the moustache intact. "I'd never have a moustache," Sebastian exclaimed and since then he just figured the older man either had some sort of weird crush on him, or - more likely - only looked up because Sebastian would look at him.
By one of the big round tables there was a group of girls in their late teens or early twenties. One of them turned towards Sebastian and waved shyly. He thought he recognised her from somewhere, although he had no idea from where, and gave a curt nod back.
Getting bored from waiting for Erika, he opened his bag and got his mobile phone out. He'd not checked his messages since he went to David's place last night, and he figured someone ought to have had something to say to him in all that time. His pride got a little dent when he noticed that he had only received one new message. He flipped his phone open, thinking that it would be something sexy from David, but it turned out it was just a short message from his sister.
"Hallo there little brother. Let me know what time you'll arrive in Villaby and I'll pick you up from the station. Hugs and kisses from your sister."
He sighed heavily and then erased the message. On principle. He hated it how she would always sign her text messages with "your sister". He wasn't sure why, and for a moment he considered asking Erika to help him analyse this irrational hatred. He probably wouldn't do it today though, considering he was on the verge of a two month stay in mentioned sister's house.
"Christ..." He sighed, and put the phone back in his bag.
"Here you are, darling. Baguette and coffee. You now owe me a meal of equal or higher standard when we next meet," Erika chirped and put a tray in front of him.
"Thank you," he replied with his most polite voice.
"That's quite all right. And now when we're out of the classroom... Are you going to mention your knight on a shiny bike at all?"
"He's not a knight, darling. That was David. You remember David?"
"The hunky photographer who talked you in to letting him display your naked arse at the exhibition," Erika laughed.
"That's the one. And it wasn't my arse, thank you very much. It was all very tasteful. No one could see it was me on those photos." Sebastian took a huge bite out of his baguette and nearly threw up. It was a horrid mix of butter, hard cheese and Brie, and it tasted like it had been lying in one of those glass cases above the counter for way too long.
"So are you two boyfriends or something now?"
"No!" Sebastian nearly choked on his coffee at her preposterous suggestion. "He's just someone I have sex with every now and then."
"A fuckbuddy who will cycle you to class? Sounds like what the rest of us would call a boyfriend," Erika said and gave him an absolutely diabolical smile.
"Yeah, well, he's not. I don't know him. He doesn't know me. Like it should be. We're both perfectly happy." Sebastian parted the bread of his baguette and started scooping out everything that wasn't vegetables and gathered it in a repulsive pile on a napkin.
"You're horrid. When are you leaving, by the way?"
He looked at his wristwatch before he replied. "In an hour. I need to get back to my room to pick up my bags before I leave though. Are you coming with me?"
"To your room?"
"Where else? Back home? To good old sis?"
She stuck her tongue out at him. Her milky coffee had stained it a disgusting shade of yellowish brown. Sebastian noticed it, and thought to himself that it was a good job he always had his coffee black.
"Yeah, I'd rather not. I'm glad I don't have to spend my summer in the fucking Bible belt. What are you going to be doing anyway? Going to church and pray away the gay?"
"I might have to try, or I'll die from deprivation."
"Yeah, I'm a poor boy, and I'm a rover, count your coins and throw them over my shoulder... Sorry, that was too cheesy, even for me."
"The very same."
"Oh poor boy, so worried for his life... Oh poor boy, so keen to take a wife," Erika sang in her soft alto voice.
"Thank you, yes, that's the one."
"He's a mess but he'll say yes, if you just dress in white."
"Now be quiet."
"Fine. But seriously. Are you just going to lounge about your sister's place all summer?"
"It's not just my sister. It's my sister, her husband and their nine-year-old son. I'll be keeping an eye on my nephew when my sister and her husband are working. I'll basically be like a nanny or something," Sebastian sighed and looked up at Erika's compassionate face. She really did understand what a tragedy this was for him. "Oh, god, I'm going to die..." He moaned and let his head fall against the table.
Erika reached out and started twirling a lock of his hair around her finger, making little soothing noises. She'd make a good mother one day. Sebastian had considered more than once that her mothering qualities might be one of the main reasons why he enjoyed spending time with her. She was his surrogate mother.
"Erika, can I crawl into your womb and die?"
She grabbed a handful hair and gave it a violent tug.
"Ouch, you fucking bitch," Sebastian hissed and straightened himself, putting a hand to the back of his head to make sure that she hadn't pulled the hair out. The middle-aged man with the notebook looked up at him, but didn't look disapproving. Rather, he seemed amused, and a moment later he was scribbling away again. Sebastian rolled his eyes.
"Do you kiss your mother with that mouth," Erika asked him with a superior look plastered on her face.
"I don't kiss my mother at all," was his whiny reply.
"Well, if you stop saying disgusting things about my womb I might let you kiss me."
"Serves you right that you're going to be stuck with your sister and her family in a house in the middle of nowhere for two months straight," said Erika with a stern voice. The voice of a mother lecturing a disobedient child.
"It's not in the middle of nowhere, you vile woman."
"Pretty much. No knight on a shining bike, no nightlife, just a nine-year-old boy who will run around and call you uncle Sebby."
"Well, whatever. Uncle Seb, then, if that's any better. It's the uncle part that is important. You're old enough to be some kid's uncle."
"Ok, this conversation is officially over. I'll see you in August... Mum," Sebastian said and leaned down to give Erika a kiss on her glossed lips.
Then he grabbed his bag, and with a second nod towards the girl he couldn't remember, he was out of there. He could still taste the fruity flavour of Erika's lip-gloss as he strolled down the street towards his room.
When he moved to this city to study nearly four years ago, he'd been debating whether or not to rent a proper flat or to do the classic student thing and get a room in a student hall. He'd opted for the student hall as a - it was significantly cheaper, and b - he figured it would be a good way to get to know people outside of class.
It had turned out to be quite the satisfactory solution. A lot of people had come and gone during these four years; the only one who had lived there for as long as Sebastian had was a medicine student called Robert. Robert was funny; he was your typical sporty, macho, well-to-do party animal. His father was a doctor, so it was a given that he would be as well. He did spend an enormous amount of time studying, and the time he didn't spend with his head in his books, he either spent playing football, jogging, partying or trying to woo Sebastian. Robert wasn't gay, not even bicurious - or so he said - but ever since he'd found out that Sebastian was, he'd tried to get into his trousers.
Sebastian was in equal parts amused and annoyed at the attention he received from Robert. Amused because, for all his faults, Robert was a genuinely nice guy. And very good looking, albeit not the kind of guy Sebastian would normally go for. Annoyed because he would never give up. Robert had arrived at university as a spotty, skinny 18-year-old, and even though he was now about to turn 22 and was neither spotty nor skinny, he was still chasing after Sebastian.
They'd had one single rendezvous over the years. A beginning-of-term party nearly a year ago when Sebastian had finally given in and let Robert suck him off underneath a tree in the park outside the main university building, where he'd escaped to for a private cigarette. It wasn't an amazing experience on Sebastian's part, but ever since, Robert had been - if possible - even more keen to get Sebastian's trousers down. Sebastian would cringe whenever he thought of it. He'd been pretty intoxicated himself, and with his dark grey trousers pooling around his ankles, he'd continued smoking his cigarette as Robert got down to work.
Apart from Robert, there were seven other guys; most of them younger than Sebastian, and pretty annoying in their various ways, but then there was that gorgeous exchange student from France. With his unruly dark curls and black eyes, he'd been the subject of Sebastian's wet dreams since he arrived. He'd sworn never to let anyone know, but shortly after his little get-together with Robert the exchange student in question had woken up in Sebastian's bed after a party, and whatever Sebastian remembered from it had been pretty hot. It wouldn't happen again though, they'd promised each other the following morning.
"Alright there, Seb," Robert shouted as soon as Sebastian opened the door to the hall.
"Just dandy, Robert."
"Cool. Are you going home over the summer or what?"
"Yeah, I'm just about to leave," explained Sebastian and started making his way towards his room, willing Robert to get the hint; he didn't want to talk to him right now.
"Yeah, me too. Well, everyone is. Obviously."
"Quite. So have a safe journey. And see you in August, huh?"
"Yeah. You too. I'll miss you." Robert flashed him a wicked grin.
"Of course you will. About as much as I'll miss you, id est not at all."
He unlocked the door to his room and stepped inside. His room wasn't exactly amazingly stylish, but he'd tried his best to turn it into his little private haven. There wasn't an awful lot of furniture, but what was there had been chosen with the utmost care. Most of it was late 20th century stuff that he'd picked up in second hand shops and at auctions. A beautiful bed, a desk, a chair, and a couple of bookshelves. The room was situated on the first floor, so in order to be able to walk around naked (as he was so fond of), and smoke by the window without having people seeing him, he'd got some heavy curtains covering most of the window, and the window sill was full of plants and little tidbits he'd picked up here and there.
Sebastian paced back and forth in his room, making sure he'd not left anything behind. What couldn't he live without for two months? Well, his laptop, that was one thing. Stuff to read. Clothes, obviously, although where he was going he would be able to get away with wearing just about anything. He opened the bags (two of them) that he'd packed and rummaged around as well as he could without getting his clothes creased. He'd packed a few cd's, a couple of course books, even condoms and lube, should he get lucky with some nice Christian boy, although he didn't want to bet on it. He zipped the bags shut again and took a final look around his room. He noticed the framed monochrome photos David had taken sometime early on in their little arrangement.
Suddenly he was struck by the feeling that Erika was right; that he and David were in fact more than just fuckbuddies. They'd been seeing each other since August last year, that was almost a year now, and even though both of them had been seeing other people simultaneously, they weren't prepared to give each other up.
No. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the absurd thoughts Erika had obviously managed to plant somewhere in his subconscious. If he and David were more than just fuckbuddies, surely they'd do other things as well? Go for walks, watch pretentious foreign movies, those sorts of things. They didn't. They had sex. David took Sebastian's picture. And Sebastian, obviously, put David's photos on his walls. That wasn't a relationship.
Putting all his weird reasoning down to exhaustion, Sebastian grabbed his bags and left for the coach station.