Epilogue: The more the merrier.

The rest of Sunday was pretty much spent in the same fashion.

Wake up. Talk. Be dazzled by bed mate's tousled look. Notice they'd never really left the bed. Shrug, turn over, stay in it and do more things together.

Then Monday hit.

"I don't want to get up," Marcus moaned, flopping onto his back.

"You won't want to stay in bed when it fully hits I'm no longer in there with you," Imrad predicted as he buttoned his sleeve cuffs, already fully dressed, clothes sharp and shoes polished.

He adjusted his cufflinks, distracted by them even as he bent and poked Marcus in the shoulder. As such, he didn't see the mischievous glint in those sleepy butterscotch depths until he'd been hauled off his feet (with a startled squawk) and tumbled into the sheets (beneath the culprit responsible for his now not-pristine clothes and crooked sleeves).

"We're going to be late." He frowned, wanting to stay in bed too but knew it would be much nicer at the end of the day to get back in it together, dinner consumed and the time at it not enough to finish sharing all the things of how the day had gone.

"Hm," Marcus smiled. "That does seem nice. So dinner and bed after are in the plans?"

"Stop reading my mind," Imrad ordered, despite knowing it wasn't something that could be switched on and off.

"Stop thinking," Marcus replied easily, smiling. He let Imrad go, who stood then huffed and snorted his way through rearranging his clothes.

When the mage looked back up, Marcus was dressed in jeans and another band t-shirt, pushing fingers into his hair in some half-attempt at taming the wayward curls. His too-long belt trailed to his thighs, feet still bare and his necklaces twisted up together. He rubbed his eyes with the palm of one hand, the other fetching a pair of socks from a drawer, looking so sleepily adorable that Imrad had to stop and stare.

Shoes on and bags collected, they strolled down the student apartment corridor hand in hand. Marcus commented, "You need a new hair ribbon."

"This rubber band is fine," Imrad replied.

"This time blue," Marcus ignored him and continued. "Pale blue to match your eyes since rubber bands are bad for your hair. And your style demands a ribbon." He smiled, "That really is some style." He looked them both over and rhetorically asked, "How did we end up together?" Imrad just smiled; they really looked quite different, provided the other with quite a contrast. Their opposite-odds appearance turned more than a few heads as they went.

Trotting down the stairs together, they passed a trio of young men discussing a class schedule, one pausing to nudge one directly by his side and saying,

"See, I told you." The words were accompanied by a wag of knowing blond eyebrows behind slender frameless glasses. "It's a guy. I win."

"Crap," said the other, a tall jock, reaching into his pocket and slapping a five-pound note into a waiting hand. He scowled at the accompanying smug smile. "Don't rub it in."

The third, a tall and exotic-looking jock, laughed outright at them, "Lost again?"

"Betting again, Anthony?" Marcus called as he and Imrad turned on the next landing. His cheeks turning a little pink as he spoke, "When are you going to learn Jamie just knows things you can never fathom?" He nodded to Jamie then said to the amused third, "Good morning, Miguel."

"Good morning," Miguel replied easily, liquidly accented voice sliding over the syllables.

"Don't keep reminding him," Jamison called back, eyes twinkling. "He might stop taking my bets." He grinned at Imrad, "Hey there. Nice set of lungs on you."

Imrad blinked uncomprehendingly. Beside him, Marcus gave him a little nudge and explained, "They live right below me."

Oh dear. Imrad turned pink too, covering it with a fierce scowl. Jamison, Anthony and Miguel all shot the embarrassed young man laughing looks but he just glowered up at them.

Chuckling and shaking his head Marcus looked back up at the others on the landing and waved, "See you guys later!"

"Hey, Marcus," Anthony called. "Before you go, you know anything about the new History professor?"

"New professor?" Marcus murmured, puzzled, trading blank looks with Imrad.

"I guess not," Jamison shrugged. "Worth asking. No one's got any clue who the guy is, his name just popped up on the board schedules this morning."

"He has a nice name," Miguel commented slowly, peeking over Anthony's shoulder at the schedule.

Marcus shrugged, "What is it?"

Anthony checked the printout in hand, "Stanhope."

"You're kidding!" Imrad snapped. He let go of Marcus' hand and dashed up the steps to Anthony, snatching the paper away and reading it himself. "That sneaky little…"

"You know this guy?" Anthony asked pointlessly, smiling and much too amused. Miguel began to chuckle at the expression on Imrad's face.

"My father." Imrad snarled at no one in particular. "Which means if he's here," he turned to lock gazes with Marcus, "others will be too."

"The more the merrier," Marcus shrugged. His eyes slipped away to one side, "Hi Vane."

"Yo." Vane yawned, shirtless but not caring. He hunched over the stairway rail, missing the way Miguel's gaze burned looking at him. When Miguel slid his eyes back toward Imrad, the mage glared at him, making the Spaniard pause and blink.

Oblivious, Vane cradled his head in his arms and sleepily raised a questioning brow at Imrad's stormy expression. "What's got him glaring first thing in the bloody morning?"

"Something about his father," Jamie replied innocently, eyes bright with laughter.

"My father," Imrad declared loudly, waving the class schedule about in the air above Marcus' head and making Anthony grin. "Has decided that he's going to work here! He's going to teach here!" He made a disgusted sound and double checked the schedule before holding it up triumphantly. "Hah! He's not teaching my class, though."

"Huh," Vane huffed disinterestedly. He glanced over at Marcus and, obviously looking to rile Imrad, stage-whispered, "Is that all?"

"What do you mean is that all?!" Imrad snarled. He pointed at his smiling boyfriend and demanded, "Why are you smiling?"

Marcus smiled wider, "Hey Imz."

Testily he snapped, "What?"

Marcus' expression didn't waver at the harsh tone and he gently asked, "What time is it?"

The mage checked his watch and exclaimed, "Damn it!!" Imrad thrust the paper back at Anthony, shot Miguel one last glare, dashed down the steps, snagged Marcus' arm as he passed and dragged his boyfriend behind him as he ran. He did at least manage to call back over his shoulder, "See you guys later! Bye Vane!"

"See ya later buddy," Vane called.

"Bye!" Jamison waved down the stairwell drop. As he ran, Imrad just managed to hear what he said to his companions next, "They're cute together."

Beside him, Marcus grinned, having heard it too. Hands clasping together they ran for the door, jumping out into the sunlight; a new day.

A new beginning.


Many thanks to the following people for your comments and support:

Nub in denial

Til next time,