"Apparently, he feels the same way, because he is looking at me like I'm from the next galaxy over. Well, fair enough. I did just break into his house and sexually assault him."

Written in response to Freak-of-Spades's October challenge. Check out her profile for more information!

Warnings: MxM slash, some cussing, general fluff

Requests: Reviews make me happy…like pudding with nutmeg…and I'll reciprocate your reviews, so you should do that. -nods-


It wasn't a completely unusual day until Gerald dropped out of the ceiling in the middle of my cleaning up after a freshman Chem class. Don't ask me what it is about freshmen, but it is my personal opinion that they are at the bottom of the evolutionary chain. Some of the kids in the class I had just finished teaching obviously had the mental capacity of one of the frogs that they were dissecting in Biology 1. The dead ones. And speaking of Bio, I believe that I have the right to know what in the world the latest addition to the science department was doing dropping out of my ceiling.

He's standing on a desk now, making me wince as he gets black streaks across the September-new desktop, replacing the ceiling tile he had removed to allow him access to my classroom. Having replaced me as the newest member of West Northern High staff, he seems about to replace me as the most bizarre too. As the resident school liberal (this part of Alabama does tend to be a bit spare on those), among other things, I tend to be the freak show exhibit. Just wait until Don in Physics hears about this, I think to myself, enthused by the potential of a lunch topic other than which presidential candidate I was supporting or another subtle, verbal brick insisting I "find Jesus".

"What are you—" I begin in bemused annoyance, but Gerald puts a slim finger to his lips and slips across the room to the door, locking it with one easy motion. The shades have been drawn for quite awhile. I'm not in the mood for sun today. Or happiness. Or the sort of skippy, happy, frolicking sort of things that usually happen in the autumn. Or crazy new colleagues acting like some flavour of serial killer. Not after last night, anyway, and certainly not for another month or so. I am a firm believer that I deserve a considerable amount of time nursing my emotional wounds after last night.

"The thing about Georgette is that she's…she's a widespread kind of woman, you know?" Ian shrugged his shoulders helplessly at me, pleading with the gorgeous hazel eyes he shared with his sister for me not to lose my temper, not to lose my control over myself, not to lose…something. Not to incriminate him in what was obviously his sister's doing. "She has a lot of responsibilities…and stuff…" he finishes lamely.

And the thing about you, I thought somewhat bitterly, neatly piling clothes into the box, is that you have the resolve of a Labrador Retriever. And it's true. Ian swore that he'd never talk to me again after I broke up with him, only to start dating his sister. A year later, and here he was, trying to preserve our friendship after his sister dumped me for her eternal love affair with international affairs and a job in the Peace Corps. Not to bash the Peace Corps or anything, I had spent my first year out of high school in AmeriCorps, but getting dumped over something like that? Not great for my self esteem.

"I noticed," I replied bitterly and Ian gave me a hurt, sulky glare. I felt a little guilty, actually, but I shrugged it off and decided to dwell in my own misery instead. 'Just friends' status makes me jumpy. "Right, I have to go, the kids have a lab tomorrow and I'll need all the sanity I can get," I gave a mock-salute to Ian (still sulking), and left. If I weren't teaching with hazardous chemicals at a conservative school the next morning, I would have seriously considered getting very drunk. But since I was, I contented myself with a miserable cup of tea and an early bedtime.

Now that both doors to my room were locked, the windows were covered, and Gerald is really starting to freak me out, he decides to start explaining things. Sort of.

"Hey! I'm Ger," he says with the grin of someone recently released from the nuthouse. I give him a blank stare in return, the look of someone who's recently been dumped and has no inclination to talk to anybody being particularly peppy. He has the deepest blue eyes I've ever seen, and they're locked in an almost sadistically happy expression as they meet mine. A sharply sloped nose and facial features right out of Lord of the Rings topped with feathery black hair completes the package, and I know he's one of the most gorgeous guys I've ever met. God, I hate Mondays.

"Aaron," I finally consent, crossing my arms over my chest. He's taller than me by about an inch, making him around 6'2". "Any particular reason you're acting like some sort of serial killer? Or is paranoia in this season?" Okay, I'm still in a bad mood.

"Both," he responds seriously, although there's still a glint in his eyes. To break the staring contest, I turn back to my work, capping an Erlenmeyer flask full of hydrochloric acid. I am all too aware of his presence behind my back. "No, I just wouldn't want anybody walking in on us. After all, the two liberals in West Northern conversing? They might break out the torches and pitchforks."

He has a New York accent of the Brooklyn variety and it clashes over my soft Georgian one, frost over waves in the ocean of Alabama. If I weren't so completely set on feeling sorry for myself, I would have grinned at that one. Instead….

"That's paranoia," I respond acerbically. He's wearing a purple button-up shirt and black pants, and that bright spot of colour is very visible in my peripheral vision. I rinse out some test tubes. I brush my dark bangs out of my own gray eyes and ignore him, the silence filling the room. After a few awkward minutes, I turn around, about to apologise for my bad mood or explain…and he's not there. Nothing left but a few black marks on a desktop; vanished, but without the magician's puff of smoke.

I finish cleaning up the lab and walk to my car. I don't clean off the desk.

A bright green notecard catches my eye, lodged in the driver's-side door handle. Great meeting you. Hope you feel better—catch you tomorrow!, it says, and that's when I know how completely capable I am for falling for this guy.

Shit.

--

Tomorrow comes and I've got to admit, despite my strong desire to mope around, I'm kind of excited. I mean, it's a new year…new students…certain gorgeous new staff members…. Not that I'm that interested. I mean, I told myself I'd never date a guy again, after Ian. Way too much drama, and gay + Alabama problems. Plus, it wasn't like I had any reason to think he was gay. Or bi.

Doesn't stop my heart from beating a little more audibly as the end of the day comes closer.

Today, the darling freshmen were supposed to be conducting a simple experiment with DampRid. Today, the darling freshmen decided that they were going to somehow manage to blow up three test tubes, a beaker, and a flask with household improvement products. Ingenious, frightening, and cleaning up the glass put me in a bad mood somewhat comparable to Sunday night. Trying to ignore the small, persistent little thought that kept poking me in the hippocampus.

Come 3:05, it's time for me to head back to my dark-and-cold apartment and grade papers, and he still hasn't shown up. Shrugging it off, I mope back to my second-hand Camry, bag of papers over my left shoulder, my right hand digging through it for the keys I know are in there. With a sigh, I reach the car and lean the bag against that, still searching. Until I notice that my car is on. And running. And with one moderately smug, genuinely crazy, completely gorgeous Biology teacher in the driver's seat.

With my keys in the ignition.

"Theft," I pronounce, sticking my head in the open passenger's seat window.

"Borrowing," he replies with a quick grin. "Want to go grab dinner?"

"It's just past 3:00 in the afternoon,"

"And?"

"…that means…it's not…dinnertime…?"

"Okay, lunch then," he persists.

"Whatever," I roll my eyes and get into my car. It's only when we're already out of the parking lot that I realize he is the one driving my car.

Goddamn males.

--

Day three of Ger's entrance into my life, and I've completely given up on moping around. My students think that I'm crazy (they're right), and not just in the liberal sort of way. I spend my time puttering around the lab, giving helpful suggestions to the students and applauding their work. They walk out of the classroom thoroughly convinced I'm on drugs. I'm not, of course. Not in this school. Lunchtime rolls around and I get together my food (I always paper-bag-it, the school cafeteria doesn't sell tofu, although they can't be said to sell meat either) and make my way down to the Science lounge.

Everyone's there. Don from Physics, Ger, Tina from the Earth Science lab, and Jeff from AgriSci, and the AP teachers, whose names I forget. As usual, I keep my eyes firmly focused on my food. Not quite as usual, my peripheral vision (and attention) is focused on Ger. He's wearing a white, button-down shirt, European style. He looks unbelievably—

"—Georgette?" Don asks, puffing his salt-and-pepper mustache out as he asks me a question that I probably don't want to answer.

"Pardon?" I respond, anxiety suddenly invading my digestive region as I'm startled out of my reverie. I'd talked to them a few times about my love life. Not much, because in my twenty-six years of life I'd only actually dated two people of the female persuasion. Looking up, I examine the rest of the table, all very intent on my face. Yikes.

"How are things going with Georgette?" Don repeats, looking miffed that I hadn't been listening the first time.

"Ah. We…broke up." Cue: awkward silence. I hate awkward silences focused on me. Blegh. "Ger, do you need any more of that sulfuric acid for your kids?"

He gives me an oddly blank look. I feel queasy for a moment. What's up with him? He responds with a cut 'no thanks' and the conversation gets back on track.

That day, there's no visit after school.

The next day, there's no visit after school.

The third day, he's out sick.

The fourth day, drastic measures are taken.

--

This isn't stalking, I tell myself. This isn't stalking, and this certainly isn't me rebounding, I continue, pulling myself onto the shed roof and examining the distance between this and the wall. This isn't stalking, this certainly isn't rebounding, and I'm just going to visit a friend, I reassure myself as I jump from the shed roof to the wall, then walk quickly along the top of it until I reach the window that I need.

Ah. He leaves his window open.

For someone who has never broken-and-entered before, it is surprisingly easy to crawl in through an open window. For someone who has never broken-and-entered before, I am surprisingly blasé about it. Even though I've only known this guy for seven days and he's been avoiding me like the plague for four of them.

When I enter his kitchenette, I find him draped all over the counter, one hand clutching a spoon in a soggy bowl of Frosted Flakes, the other propping his head up. He doesn't hear me and his back is towards me. Payback time, I think, slipping into the seat next to him. He jumps and whirls, suddenly very close to me. I lean across the minimal gap between his shocked face and my somewhat smug, mostly calm one and kiss his lips.

Ah. That one came out of nowhere.

And apparently, he feels the same way, because he is looking at me like I'm from the next galaxy over. Well, fair enough. I did just break into his house and sexually assault him. This really is a week of firsts, I think bemusedly as the absurdity of the entire situation really hits me.

"Girlfriend," Ger manages after a moment of awkward, kitchen-knife-commercial background noise. On the plus side, should I ever want an "always sharp, always ready…KUNG-FU READY" kitchen knife, I know what number to call.

"Bi," I answer with a sardonic eyebrow-quirk.

"Ah," he responds. The poor guy looks very lost. So I get up, give him a quick hug, and walk out of the room, exiting the way I came. As I walk past the nightstand, I spot a package of green notecards and a blue pen. I can't help myself. Great seeing you. Catch you tomorrow. I scrawl, then cap the pen and leave the card there as I crawl out the window, onto the wall, over the roof, and back to my car.

--

Another day, another hydrochloric acid lab, another class of freshmen who don't understand the concept that a base neutralizes an acid. Somehow, I'm not surprised when the thud of someone landing on a desktop already streaked with black rubber marks interrupts my cleaning. I'm even less surprised when he puts a finger to his lips and slides across to the door, locking it with a click. The shades have been down for quite awhile. I don't like the sun much.

"Paranoia or serial killer?" I ask dryly. Ger approaches, removes the flask of hydrochloric acid from my left hand and places it gently in the middle of the lab table.

"Paranoia," he says with a great assurance, and I grin widely as he puts his hand around my waist and kisses me back.