Author's Note: Okay, so I know it's been forever. I have no excuse. Bad author. I swear I have sent the next chapter of IABD to my beta, too, so that should show up soon as well. And I've started lots of stuff...the finishing is where I keep hitting snags. :P
Warnings: some language, some homosexuality, throwing up.
Disclaimer: Drew will punch you in the face if you try to steal. That is all.
Oh, one more note. Unusualmusic and I tried and tried to come up with a good title for this story, but we're not really satisfied with the one we settled on. If you think you have a better idea, please share it! And review while you're at it, maybe?
Drew let the door of the bathroom slam shut behind him, sighing as the familiar graffiti greeted him
Drew let the door of the bathroom slam shut, sighing as the familiar graffiti greeted him. He vaguely wondered if the girl's bathrooms were better, or if they at least didn't contain "PENIS" scrawled on every surface, but he doubted it—girls probably took out their anger against high school much the same way guys did, i.e., by defacing the restrooms.
He stepped up to a urinal and unzipped his pants, and only then did he hear a groan echo from one of the stalls, bouncing off the mirrors and tiled floors so that the sound was magnified past its original volume. Curious, Drew stopped what he was doing and glanced towards the direction of the sound, in time to catch another moan and a strangled word:
A name? A girl's name.
"Oh, Jesus. You couldn't wait 'til you got home? Jerking off in a school bathroom; classy, man, classy."
Drew rolled his eyes and went back to peeing, no longer interested in some loser with low self-control.
There was silence from the stall for a moment, and then a weak but pissed-off voice called back "I don't know who you are, but you're an idiot."
"…please, enlighten me. How so?"
Drew rolled his eyes, and flushed the toilet.
"I'm not 'jerking off' as you so elegantly put it. I do happen…" the voice broke off to hack and cough and returned rather weakly, "to be throwing up pretty violently, so if you could leave me to get on with it, that would be great."
Well, that was different. Just to make sure, Drew glanced at the floor of the stall, and sure enough a blue-jean-clad knee and pale hand were clearly visible, the hand shaking slightly.
"My bad; I retract my previous statement. You're not jerking off in a school bathroom; you're just puking your guts up in one instead. Happy?"
The miserable moan and re-invigorated heaving at his choice of phrasing said 'no' much more eloquently than words could. As Drew washed his hands he listened absently to the continued sounds emanating from the stall; it sounded like the poor guy's stomach really was intent on rejecting everything inside of it.
"Damn, man. That sucks."
"No, you think?" the heavy sarcasm in the hidden boy's voice made Drew grin, but it vanished when the voice whimpered "Oh god not again…" and then heaved violently once more. The coughing and gagging subsided but it was several minutes before the voice came again, this time sounding vaguely annoyed.
"…how long does it take you to piss, anyways?"
Drew raised an eyebrow, though he knew the other couldn't see it. "Less time than it takes me to wait around to make sure you're okay."
There was a pause from the other stall, followed by a soft "Oh." Which was then followed by even more groaning and gagging sounds, making Drew wonder if it was ever going to stop. It did eventually, of course, and the voice gasped out a slightly contrite "Thanks, then," before a thump and the shifting position of his feet indicated that he had flopped against the stall wall. The silence in the bathroom stretched on after that, broken only by a few pants from the stall that were presumably the guy catching his breath. Drew passed the time by making faces at himself in the mirror; scrunching up his nose, pouting out his lips and crossing his dark eyes. It was while he was being a caterpillar, using two of his dreadlocks as antennae, that a thought occurred to him.
"Wait. If you're throwing up, who the hell is 'Violet' and what does she have to do with it?"
"It's her fault I'm puking…oh god, no, don't you dare start again…" The last comment seemed to be addressed to his stomach and Drew waited for the heaving to resume, but when a couple minutes passed with no return of the gagging and hacking, he chanced another question.
"How exactly did she do this?"
"Hang on; I think I'm done."
The toilet flushed and the door to the stall creaked open. Drew had to admit that he was pretty curious by now to see what the mysterious puker looked like…so he blinked in surprise when the pale, slightly shaking guy who opened the stall door was nothing like he'd expected. Blond hair streaked liberally with strawberry highlights was in comical disarray, falling into the guy's eyes and brushing freckled cheeks. He was middling-pale even without the effects of the recent puking, and with his slim and short build looked almost like some fey creature, albeit a very sick one. Cute, Drew noted, was definitely the word for him…cute and sick right now, of course.
"Dude…you're tiny." A glare from almost supernaturally blue eyes was the only response to Drew's amused statement. The guy couldn't quite manage a dignified stalk over to the sink—his legs were a bit too wobbly, and he leaned on the porcelain as though he wasn't sure they were going to support him. With a few moments to steady himself, however, the boy managed to get the water going and rinse out his mouth thoroughly, making a face at the aftertaste of regurgitated food. He also gulped down some water, too fast after that level of sickness in Drew's opinion, but it didn't seem to hurt him.
"Here." Drew handed the other boy a paper towel and got a slightly-surprised "Thanks" in return…then grinned as the guy finally turned to look up (way up) at him properly and his eyes widened.
Drew admitted he could look a little intimidating at times. Not only was he gifted with height (6'2" and he wasn't sure he was quite done growing yet) and a strong, muscular build, but the mass of black dreadlocks that tumbled down around his face and shoulders tended to alarm people. And was it his fault that wearing black and red, the colours that went best with his dark-cinnamon skin, tended to make people think he was trying to look tough?
And it was while he was being stared at that Drew finally realized he'd seen the other boy before.
"Dude…I know you! You're Cale, right?" This time the blue eyes stared at him in amazement, and then Cale blinked a few time and shook his head slowly.
"No. I mean, yes, I'm Cale, but I don't think I know you. What are you, a stalker?"
"I'm in your English Lit class, genius. Drew Freeman; ring a bell?"
"Oh. Oh!" The second exclamation was one of recollection and Cale's eyes cleared. "I do remember you! You liked The Great Gatsby and hated Catcher in the Rye."
"That's me." Drew confirmed with a grin. "And you haven't said a word this entire semester, so I have no clue what you liked."
"…guilty as charged." The other admitted, drying his hands and throwing away the paper towel. "I don't really enjoy talking in class."
"Fair 'nuff." They stared at each other for a moment, blue eyes meeting brown, before Drew returned to his earlier question. "So, Violet?"
"Oh, right." Cale sighed and scrubbed a hand across his face, which seemed to be recovering its colour slowly. "She fed me hamburger."
There was a moment of stunned silence that seemed to echo in the bathroom.
"…dude." Drew stared a little longer, resisting the urge to grin at the way Cale squirmed slightly uncomfortably. "You just threw up for, like, twenty minutes 'cause you ate a hamburger? Are you allergic, or is the cafeteria food just really, really bad?"
"Neither." Cale sighed rather wearily. "I've been a vegetarian since I was four, though. At this point I might as well be allergic. And Violet knows that, so I'm going to go look pathetic at her, and if that doesn't make her guilty enough I'm going to talk at her until she is." His hand was on the bathroom door by that point and he glanced over his shoulder slightly awkwardly to see Drew standing right behind him.
"…uh, you're following me."
"That's kind of creepy."
"Nah, not really; I just wanna meet Violet the Poisoner." Drew explained with a grin, and Cale laughed as he pushed open the door.
Violet the Poisoner turned out to be a slightly chubby girl with dark chestnut hair and a contrite expression. Cale led the way through the crowded cafeteria to her lunch table (Drew noted the incriminating half-eaten hamburger with amusement) but didn't even have to carry out his threat of looking pathetic before she was apologizing.
"I'm sooo sorry! I totally didn't mean to."
"You totally did." Cale contradicted, and after a short struggle she lost the battle against a sheepish smile.
"Well, yeah" she admitted. "But I didn't actually mean to make you throw up. I didn't know it would get that violent a reaction."
"What part of 'if I eat meat I will throw up' was difficult to understand on the multiple occasions I've said it?"
"…the part where I thought you were exaggerating."
Drew hastily changed his laugh at that comment into a snort/cough hybrid, but the pair's attention shifted to him despite his not-so-stealthy attempt. Cale looked torn between keeping his 'reproachful' face trained on Violet and laughing as well, while the girl herself blinked at Drew once or twice and then inquired, "Who is this, and where did he come from? Did you find him in the bathroom?"
"Yes, actually. Or, vice-versa, since he sort of found me. This is Drew."
"Nice to meet ya." Drew held out a hand, grinning. "I've heard so much about you."
"No, he hasn't!" Cale shot a glare at the taller boy, who was trying not to snigger and failing miserably. "There was a small…misunderstanding. That's all." The prim way he said it was all Drew needed to completely lose it, and pretty soon he was leaning on the table with the force of his laughter. His sister always said Drew had an infectious laugh, the kind that made other people laugh too whether they wanted to or not, and there was probably some truth in that. Cale looked on the verge of cracking up himself and even Violet was smiling, if rather confusedly.
Drew explained, watching delightedly as Cale's face turned a deeper and deeper shade of pink, and as the smaller boy looked more and more torn between cracking up and violence. When Violet started laughing so hard that she was crying, Drew was fairly sure Cale was leaning towards the violence option.
"Shut up Vi."
"Oh, screw you."
"Actually, the point was kind of that you're not." Drew couldn't resist pointing out, and grinned at the look he received. He had to admit that he could sympathize with Violet; Cale was really, really fun to piss off. He was so small, but his glares made every inch count…Drew sniggered a bit harder when he realized that he'd accidentally phrased that rather badly. In fact, he was so busy trying to get his mind back from the places it went in response to that inconvenient phrasing on his part that he almost missed what Violet said next.
"I'm sorry, Cale, but just the thought of you and me…god, it's just too funny…I mean, even if I was the right gender it just wouldn't be—"
Drew glanced from Violet, two hands clapped over her mouth in horror, to the furious and blushing Cale, and restrained himself from doing a victory dance with difficulty. He forced his voice to be casual as he commented "You're gay? I've never seen you at the Queer-Straight Alliance meetings."
"You go to the QSA?" Blue eyes went huge again and Drew fought down the impulse to squeal about how cute he was. Aww.
"Well, yeah. They usually like it if the Vice President shows up, no clue why," he said blandly and had the pleasure of watching freckled cheeks flush again. That was interesting; he hadn't said anything embarrassing, which meant Cale had thought something embarrassing, which considering they were talking about Drew's sexuality at the moment meant…good things, hopefully.
"You should come to the next meeting. It's cool, and no one will hassle you if that's what you're worried about."
"I dunno." Cale mumbled, still red-faced with embarrassment, and he opened his mouth to say something else when Violet cut in.
"He said he didn't want to go because if he went single he'd look like he was only coming to get a boyfriend." The glare Cale sent her for that little revelation should have scorched her to ashes, but she ignored it blithely.
"Ah, I can see the concern." Drew knew his grin was decidedly evil right now, but couldn't help it. "Easily solved: come with me. This Thursday after school, 'kay? I'll meet you outside the West entrance…unless you'd prefer the bathroom."
He grinned even wider at the stunned look on Cale's face. As the silence stretched Violet surreptitiously elbowed her friend not-very-gently in the side, and he jumped. "U-uh…Thursday. Yeah. Yeah, okay…okay, sure. Uhm. Not the bathroom." He was a stumbling, blushing mess and Drew wanted to kiss him. That probably wasn't a good plan yet, though. He could wait a couple of days.
"Great! See you then." He smiled at Cale, who met his eyes only for a moment before ducking his head, and winked at Violet, who was grinning delightedly. As Drew sauntered away, pleased with himself and already looking forwards to Thursday, he heard Violet's incredulous voice behind him. "…did he just ask you out after meeting you in a bathroom while you were puking? Jesus, Cale, hang on to him." And an almost-inaudible mutter from Cale: "…I plan to."