A/N: I got three-quarters of the way through this and then my spirit died with it, but because I'd wrote the majority of it I forced myself to write the end. Especially as I'm experiencing major writers block with 'Don't judge a book by its cover'. Please, please review because I need both the inspiration for that and the feedback for this!

Rated for language. Swearing and naughty words present :)

Also, this is an MM slash story. Naff off if you're homophobic.

Two Years.

The geography classroom that Chase's A-level group were taught in had three columns of desks running down the centre of the room, but their A-level class was so small only four of them were occupied. The front two desks in the middle column sat two pairs of friends and the first desk ether side of the room right at the front each sat one boy – as neither wished to sit with the other.

One was sat straight, doodling absent-mindedly on a scrap sheet of paper before he would have to use his pen for taking notes instead. His head was bent and he sat with his back slightly to everyone else, so he had a better view of the wall rather than his peers. His soft black hair fell messily into place and he noted with disdain it was ready for another cut. Chase was quiet and well behaved, withdrawn but not a complete loner.

The other who sat alone, was a picture opposite to the previously described. He looked confident, sitting with his back against the wall so as to absorb the entire rooms actions and rather than books and writing equipment, he had out his phone which he was quickly texting on. His hair was blonde and quite short, though he left enough to work with and it was styled with spikes, his T-shirt was a bright red - a mark of how Owen didn't mind catching people's attention.

Finally their teacher Mrs Harlow arrived. "Owen put your phone away and get your stuff out." She snapped at him, but proceeded to hand everyone a cookie, each member of the class, her included took turns in bringing snacks for the class – one of the perks of being in sixth form. "We will be doing group work. You have until this time next week to finish it, you'll be working in pairs, Owen and Chase will you please work together."

One single thought entered each of those boy's minds simultaneously - Shit.

"Now that we are close to exams and we have covered all the material, I want to cover seven particular topics in detail with you again, the others we will obviously do, but not like this. I am going to come round and give out the topics that I want you to cover in your groups. I want a complete set of detailed notes, not copied from your textbooks as that is only grade C material as you damn well all know! I want a questionnaire with answer sheets, perfect answers to past exam questions and a checklist of everything in your topic making. Plus anything else you feel will be helpful. You have to present everything to the class! There will be a prize for the best. In your groups please!"

Chase pretended to be hunting in his bag for something so he wouldn't have to move. He knew she was speaking to him and Owen, as they were the only ones not sat in their pairs already. Sure enough, Mrs Harlow sent Owen to move next to Chase. She gave Chase a sympathetic smile knowing that he much preferred to work alone, before giving them their topics - plate tectonics including hazards and tropical cyclones.

Owen groaned, "Come on! That's a load to do in a week."

"Good, maybe with Chase as your partner you will actually do some." She smirked at him, and received one in return. "Chase, you can explain to him why these topics were picked. You can go to the library now and work there with the computers if you want."

She walked away and Owen spoke first, since he knew that Chase wouldn't. "When do you want to get started?"

"Tonight?"

"Sure. Yours or mine?"

"Mine. I presume you remember where it is."

With that Chase left the classroom without his partner and sat in the library by himself. He was furious, he had spent the last two years avoiding Owen and now he had to talk to him. It was going to suck. More than just being crap, it was going to be insanely awkward. There was a reason that Chase was so short with Owen, there was a reason that they never spoke and there was a reason they sat apart in class.

Two years ago, the two would be high-fiving each other and being ecstatic that they could use school work as an excuse to piss around with each other, two years ago they did everything together and spoke non stop about whatever entered their minds.

The reason that everything about this project was on a one-way road to awkward-ville was simple. Two years ago Chase and Owen had been best friends. And two years ago Owen told Chase he wanted nothing more to do with him, he left the other boy in utter shock, dismay and confusion, completely unable to explain to anyone what he had done to deserve it. In fact he still didn't know. All he did know was that he didn't need anymore reminders of what a great friendship he had once had, whether it gave him positive memories or not. Because he knew that with those, he would always be lead to the last memory, the last moment of friendship before Owen pulled it apart. And he did not need any more reminders of that…

--Begin Flashback--

He was so nervous walking up there by himself. For years Chase and Owen had been coming to this same spot with each other, it was just a graffiti stained bench on a hillside overlooking their village, not even a ten minute walk from their houses. But to them, it was special. They would meet at the halfway point between their houses and meander up together, not even needing conversation, they were so content with each others presence. Lately though, things were different. Something had changed. Invisible, steel strong and tree trunk thick was the wall that had flourished between them. Chase didn't know why it was there, for months since it had started building up he had tried in vain to tear it down and figure out what he had done. Owen was being off with him, so he must have done something.

And now, Owen had requested them to meet at the bench, not even wishing Chase's company for the short walk up there, Chase knew what was going to happen. He wanted to scream and to cry and tear things apart because it was tearing him apart losing his best friend. It took all his self-control not to run away.

Owen was already there, sat on the end of the bench farthest away from the path – his favourite spot, the one they automatically assigned as his when sitting down – a mark of how often they went there. He did not look up when Chase approached, he already knew who it was.

It was summer, each boy was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, each would get kissed by the sun slightly burnt by the sun and each was already sweating slightly. Despite this, Chase's blood was running cold.

Awkwardly, Chase sat down. Half an hour passed, and nothing. Finally he voiced the question he knew he didn't want the answer to. "Can I ask you something?"

"No. Don't." Owen's voice seemed pained, but it wasn't as broken as Chase's.

"Why not?"

"Because I know what you're going to ask." Owen buried his head in his arms clutching his hair, desperately avoiding looking at the other.

"So then…what have I done?"

"I don't know."

"But -" Chase broke off, he was confused, he was hurt and he was scared. "I must have done something." He was so sure of that fact, that the statement was posed as such, and not as a question.

"You're just annoying me. Every single thing you do just lately bugs the fucking hell out of me."

"Oh." He didn't know what else to say. And what could you say to something like that anyway? "Well, what can I do to change?"

"Nothing, I don't want you to change yourself for me. You shouldn't have too."

"So if you don't want me to change, but you don't like how I am now…don't you want to be friends anymore?" He didn't care how needy he was sounding,

"No."

"Please don't do this," Chase begged, his voice was beginning to break. He reached his arm out and put his hand on Owen's shoulder, who jumped at the contact.

"I'm sorry." He shrugged off the hand that was almost making him back out of doing this awful thing and winced at the angry reaction he knew deep down he deserved.

"To fucking hell you are!" Chase snarled, "Why did you have to drag it on for so long eh? I'm of no loss to you. I'm sorry too Owen, sorry I wasn't good enough for you."

Chase walked away down the trodden path furiously wiping tears from his eyes as he turned his back on the only person he had every really known and trusted, refusing to break down until he got home

Little did he know that Owen couldn't even wait until he got home to break down, he was doing it already. His entire body shook as tears decorated the thin soil under the bench. Guilt ripped at his heart and every fibre of his being was screaming at his brain telling him he had just made the worst mistake of his life.

--End Flashback--

--

"Chase!" His mother exclaimed, "what on earth are you slamming about at?"

"We have to work in partners for a geography presentation" he spat, "guess who I got stuck with?"

"Oh," her eyes filled with sympathy and understanding. With Chase being an only child and his mother raising him by herself he was very close to her, she knew all about what happened with him and Owen those years ago.

"He's going to be here soon." A knock at the door came all too soon and Chase growled before making his way to the door. As uncomfortable as this was bound to be, it had to feel at least just as bad for Owen since he was out of his depth – the last time he had been at Chase's house they had been friends and he had been on very good terms with both him and his mother.

"Hi." They greeted each other in unison.

Owen slipped his shoes off by the front door and stood waiting to be told where they would be working. He followed Chase's gesture to go upstairs to his room, but met his mothers gaze accidentally, it was a cold, hard stare. He was under no doubt Chase had shared everything with her. He did not say anything as he passed her, afraid of what he would receive in reply.

--

"Stupid cow", Owen snarled as he let his textbook carelessly fall to the floor. "How come she's given us three times the work of everyone else?"

"Because -"

"- she's a bitch?"

"No." Chase snapped. He was annoyed and he didn't care about letting it show. "Because I've already done the majority of the work and only giving us one topic like everyone else wouldn't have been fair." He handed his folder over to Owen that contained all of his typed up notes. "I type up all of my school work, that automatically means that the notes, the question sheet, the checklist and the perfect answers are ten times easier if we do them on the computer because the bulk of the work is already done. Its just copy and pasting and filling in the gaps."

"Fucking hell there's no wonder you're like the best in our year at everything." Owen flicked through the folder in awe.

"I'm not."

"Pfft." Owen ignored him.

"Learning those notes will get you an A. I got all the extra information from the internet and miss has already checked over them."

"Oh. Urm, what do you want me to do then? Since you've done most of it already, I feel kind of bad…"

"You can do all the diagrams, I hate drawing."

"You and me both."

"Well you gave me the choice," Chase smirked and handed Owen paper and his pencil case.

After only fifteen minutes of silence it became quite clear that Owen was just as distracted as he always had been, leaving chase even more annoyed since he wanted this to be over with as soon as possible. "For gods sake just hurry up and do the work and then you can go home. We can't scan the pictures in until they're done obviously."

"Well I'll do them at home then. Come on lets play a video game or something."

"Play one yourself. I don't like them. I'll mess around on my computer. If we have a break will you do some fucking work afterwards?" He didn't care he was being a dick, he wanted to spend as little time around Owen as possible. He watched the other shrug in agreement. "Games are under my bed."

"Oh my god I've not played this in years! Come on play with me, you always loved games before…" Owen shoved a disc into the games console and loaded it up. Curious, Chase glanced at the screen to see what it was and the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach told he too had not played it in years, nor any of the others in that specific stack of games.

"Things change."

Another tense silence passed before Owen tried to break it again, "Man I'm never going to be able to get up to where I was when I last played."

"I'm sure you will," muttered chase as he rose from his chair and went towards his door.

"Why?"

"Your old game file will be on there from when we used to play. I never deleted anything." He left the room before he could receive an awkward reply.

Downstairs he poured two glasses of pop for them both, he was angry with himself for being able to remember that what he was pouring was Owen's favourite, he was sure that the other would never remember anything that small and insignificant about him. The laid back nature Owen had that chase didn't was really annoying him, it was simply further proof that Owen had never cared about their friendship – otherwise he would be feeling awkward too, wouldn't he? But he wasn't the stupid jerk looked totally at ease.

His mum was sat at the kitchen table doing a crossword puzzle and she looked at him sympathetically whilst asking, "how's it going honey?"

"Awkwardly." When he got upstairs he saw that Owen had turned the game off and was now sat on his bed intently colouring his well drawn diagram in.

"Here." He put the drink down next to Owen on his bedside table and swore lowly when some spilled down the sides. "Thought you were playing games?"

"I don't want to anymore. Thanks for the drink."

For the next two hours nothing was said, each worked by themselves until finally Owen breathed a sigh of relief, "done." He passed numbers of different, brightly coloured and neatly labelled diagrams to Chase who looked through them impressed.

"These are really good." He received a smile in thanks, "Do you want me to take you home now?"

"Sure, I think that's enough for tonight. I'll walk though don't worry."

"Don't be stupid - it's pitch black outside, I'll drive you."

"No its fi-"

"For fucks sake. I'm driving." He left the room and left Owen to follow him. "Taking Owen home mum! See you later!"

They were climbing into the car when Owen asked, "do you need my address?"

"Did you need mine?"

It only took ten minutes for Chase to get there. It was more than enough for the both of them, each were feeling highly uncomfortable.

"Thanks, I appreciate it, I'll give you petrol money tomorrow."

"Forget it. Tomorrow again?" Owen nodded, "do you want a lift straight from school?"

"I'm okay thanks…"

"Okay well, bye then."

"Bye."

--

The next day at school Chase was sat at the normal table he and his friends gathered around in the cafeteria for dinner. As usual, he chose to listen to the conversations around him and only really contributed himself when asked directly or if a topic about something he was very passionate about arose.

It wasn't that he disliked everyone, because he wouldn't sit with them if that was the case, he just found it really hard to get close to people anymore. He didn't trust people not to abuse it and throw his friendship away like Owen did to him. He tried, he really did, and he loved his friends he just found himself withdrawing when he got scared. He thought himself pathetic for it, but he couldn't help how he had turned out. It's not like you could order confidence off the fucking internet for hells sake!

"So…cinema, Friday night…who's up for it?" Joey, the natural leader of their little group was organising their almost weekly trip out, and almost everyone said in unison they would go. Everyone stopped bugging Chase about not going months ago, and although he was still getting bugged by Joey in particular everyone seemed to sadly accept he was never up it. The 'break-up' between him and Owen had been brutal; when a friendship like theirs ended it became completely public news. Although his friends disliked that he was so withdrawn, and they tried their hardest to include him, they all understood why he was like he was.

That's why all he got was a silent, curious glance in question from Joey and a disappointed look in return when he had gently shook his head.

A part of him really wanted to go, but the more dominant half of him argued there was no point when people were only going to figure out he wasn't worth all the trouble of hanging around with in the end anyway.

--

Owen and Chase were sat in Chase's room like they were the day before working on their presentation when Chase's phone rang.

"Hey Joey…what's up?"

"Sorry for ringing I just needed a quick answer, didn't know if you would see a text or not," Chase nodded even though he knew Joey couldn't see. "What was our maths homework?" Chase reeled off the exercises he had already completed and smiled when he heard Joey groan in protest. "That's insane."

"Don't shoot the messenger."

"What you doing then, I presume it's not this shit load of maths homework that's been left until the night before…"

"I'm with Owen working on that geography presentation."

"Ah."

"Yeah." Joey knew how awkward it must be for him, since him and Owen had been such great friends their split form one another had been very widely noticed.

He glared at Owen because he knew full well that he was listening intently to every word. He wasn't subtle.

"Listen are you sure you don't want to go on Friday?" Note how he said 'don't want to go' instead of 'can't make it'.

Chase hesitated, "I, I have a lot of work to do…I'll think about it though and let you know." As Joey said his goodbyes and hung up, he understood that to mean a definite no.

Owen raised his eyebrows in interest at Chase who was dejectedly putting his phone away, "why don't you want to go to the cinema?"

"Could you hear him?!"

"Not really, I heard him talking to Rachel earlier about you though."

"What did he say?"

"He said that you seem almost scared to let go and have fun with any of them, he said you never want to go out and you never, ever let yourself get too close to them. What is it about you that makes you think you cant be a friend to anyone? Why are you so afraid?" Chase looked dumbstruck and then he snapped.

"Are you kidding? You're actually asking me why I'm like this? One minute, everything was perfect between us - we were the best of friends and then the next you left me for no reason! It's not like you even had the fucking decency to tell me what I did wrong – I still can't figure that out. You got arsey with me ages beforehand and I tried my hardest to be a better person for you but that didn't work." His voice was getting angry now, "so if at my best, with someone I'd known for years upon years, I'm not good enough, how can I get close to anyone? I'm clearly not good enough to deserve a friendship like the one we had, and even if I had one – I would just be too fucking worried about it ending in the same way because I can't trust people anymore."

Owen looked horror-stricken and Chase felt so after he realised just how much he had let slip in that one moment of weakness. He bowed his head, unable to look the other boy in the eyes anymore and ran his hands through his hair in distress.

"But, everyone wants to be your friend – you're just to stubborn to let them…I should be the loner, not you." The last part was more said to himself but Chase commented regardless.

"Well life's a bitch like that aint it."

"Chase –"

"No. Leave it." Chase's voice became hard and cool the next time he spoke, "I don't want to talk about this again, in fact, I don't want to talk to you at all about anything that isn't geography related until you can explain why you did what you did. No. Nevermind actually, I've had enough for tonight, get up. I'm taking you home." Owen followed wordlessly. Chase was relived he didn't argue.

Chase was cold and distant whereas Owen acted lost and confused – he was weird in that he seemed so shocked he couldn't snap out of his weird state of mind. Chase drove Owen home again.

He stared hard at the road in front of him asking Owen, "you okay for tomorrow night? We should be able to finish it then."

Another nod. Owen undid his seatbelt, lifted his bag from between his legs and swung himself round to open the door, he looked back once and said softly "I'm so sorry for what I did to you Chase." In that moment under the poor street lighting and the absence of any moonlight, their eyes connected. Owen's were so full of regret, pain and shame that Chase found himself almost believing him. Spending time with him after spending nearly two years avoiding his existence was reviving new feelings he really didn't want and as he drove home with the radio blasting some random crap for a distraction, he was glad Owen had not stuck around for an answer.

--

The next evening was so tense it was as though you could physically handle it. Nothing was said unless it was strictly school related and the answers received were always short and snappy. That night Chase was sat on his bed when he felt something crunch, he thought he must have sat on a piece of work that Owen had left behind until he saw that it was a letter. What the fuck? It had his name scrawled upon the envelope and his heart dropped when he recognised the messy handwriting it was written in. Owen must have left it here before Chase had took him home.

Shit. His hands shook slightly and he opened it pulling out a sheet of lined paper covered in writing.

--Start of Letter--

You wanted an answer and I owe you one, so here it is. Please read this, don't tear it up or anything considering it took me about an hour to write and it was really hard to do so.

Do you remember how much of an arse my dad was? (Still is). – (This is relevant believe me). Well he's a homophobic fucker, and he brought me up my entire life thinking that if I ever had feelings for another boy then I didn't even deserve to live. He told me if I ever did have those feelings then it them who was evil and I had to get rid of them straight away. He told me if he ever found out I was a fag he would knock that nonsense straight back out of me again. He said he would kill me. He told me everything I was worried about being true. He made me think I was scum.

I ditched you because I was scared and because I thought I was disgusting.

And I know that our friendship was worth so much more, but I was a lot younger then, not the rebel I am now, I was a spineless, gullible kid. An idiot.

Now I didn't think you were evil, I've never had a single bad thought about you. So I thought that maybe you would ditch me if I treated you like shit for long enough. But in the end I had to do it anyway because it turns out you were a much better mate than I ever was.

Chase I ditched you because I liked you. In that 'I-fancied-you-so-much-it-hurt' sense.

Quite the opposite from you thinking you weren't good enough for me eh?

I'm sorry.

It was the biggest mistake of my entire life and if I could redo it I would, I would let my fourteen year old self get the shit beaten out of me if it meant I could keep you. But I was so confused I couldn't bring myself to even speak to you about it.

I don't know what you were expecting, if you were expecting anything at all, and I know this wont soften the blow over the years but you were right, I completely owed you an explanation and here it is.

I will always care for you.

You know where I am if you want to talk.

xxxx

--End Letter--

He reread it three times before grabbing his jacket and charging out to his car keeping the letter clutched tightly in his hand all the way.

He ended up in front of Owens house, he all but ran up the front path and banged on the door so furiously he had to thank fuck it was Owen that answered it.

He looked shock at the sight of Chase fuming and shaking in his doorway, he waved his letter in his face and hissed "is this some kind of joke?!" He let himself up to Owens room and paced.

"No! Of course not!" Owen looked horrified that Chase would think that after he had poured so much into finally letting the truth out.

"So you're honestly telling me that you treated me like shit…because you fancied me?"

"Yeah."

"Bullshit. That doesn't even make sense you wanker!"

"It didn't seem like shit it at the time." His manner was almost careless, almost relaxed, but Chase knew that wasn't the case because the tone that Owen was speaking in matched his own every time this topic arose. "I thought I was doing something wrong by liking you, I was told if those feelings ever occurred to just dump the person that caused them because they were evil, it was disgusting and it wasn't my fault they were making me feel this way. Only, I couldn't bring myself to hate you…so I tried to get you to ditch me instead."

"How nice of you to try and spare both our friendship and yourself that emotional despair." Chase spat.

"Hey don't say it like that, at the time I thought it would be easier for you too…if you ended it then its your choice. I just never thought about –"

"- All the shit you would have to put me through to get me to that point."

"Yeah."

"Fuck this."

"No! Wait!" Owen grabbed Chase's arm and pulled him back. "Please try and understand -"

"I do." His voice softened. "But it doesn't change things. You can't turn back time."

And he left.

--

Chase couldn't think about anything but that stupid letter from then on. He was confused. He still resented Owen like hell for ditching him, and now for not entrusting him with the secret that he was gay because that was the kind of thing best friends should tell each other…but he understood, because if he was in the same situation he honestly couldn't place how else a scared fourteen year old would deal with something like that. And then he kept thinking about how things could be so different right now if it weren't for all those what ifs. Like what if Owen had confessed sooner? That just got Chase angry again because he blamed Owen for all of his trust issues. But something he had said stayed firm in his brain.

"But, everyone wants to be your friend – you're just to stubborn to let them…I should be the loner, not you."

And he was a loner. As much as he blamed Owen for screwing him over, it was his own fault alone that he hadn't made any effort to prove his theory that everyone will screw you over wrong. It was his own fault he was a loner because he pushed away anyone who was nice to him.

He was so fucking stupid.

It was this realisation that led him to the cinema Friday night.

He was still worried though, what if people only asked him because they were sure he'd say no? His doubts didn't matter now though as he was already entering the cinema. He came early, he didn't want a big entrance, to be judged by everyone and all at once – he was so relieved when he just saw Joey alone, looking totally at ease waiting for everyone else to arrive. Nervously he picked his way through the masses of people and snotty kids who were sure to annoy the audiences in the films they were going to see.

Joey was so out of it that he didn't notice Chase until he was right in front of him and when he did see him he did a double take before breaking out into a ridiculous grin.

"Fuck me, hi!" The surprise was clear, but his voice warm.

"You, you don't mind me being here do you?"

"Fuck no…"

"Will anyone one else?"

"No…It's great that you want to hang out with us now!"

Chase winced. "Sorry…Look you know that it was never anything personal…I have issues…but lately, something's made me realise that I'm an idiot, and I want to try again, if that's okay?"

"Of course it's okay, have some fun. I guarantee you, you'll enjoy it," Joey smirked and Chase stood nervously waiting for people to turn up.

Eventually everyone arrived, and knowing both how shy he could be and how hard it must be for him to socialise, no-one said anything about Chase being there, and everyone acted completely normal. Well their definition of normal anyway. And Chase loved every minute of it. He realised that all of them had been friends for years without any problems at all and was starting to realise that one awful experience shouldn't hold him back from having fun like this. It shouldn't stop him from having friends. Everyone was absolutely hyper, him including him. It brought back memories of going to the cinema with Owen, and he realised just how much he had missed doing things like this, and how jealous of everyone else he really was. He was glad that finally, he was starting to recover and put the past behind him.

That's why, when he saw Owen at the cinema that night buying popcorn, he was able to nod and smile at him when their eyes connected. Years of avoiding communication couldn't blur the connections they had once shared, and so those quick and silent gestures spoke volumes to one another. Chase was thankful for the push and Owen thankful for the forgiveness that chase was offering in that single nod.

--

Leaving the cinema car park after assuring everyone he had a brilliant time (despite the popcorn in his hair…) and that he would defiantly be doing it again, he saw a tall figure walking home alone. He knew who it was. He pipped his horn and made the other boy jump out of his skin, grinning evilly at himself he slowed the car down and let Owen climb in.

"Thanks."

"Its okay. I actually wanted to say something to you anyway."

"Oh?"

"Thanks. For what you said to me, it made me think, it made me give the others a chance…and I had fun."

"Good, I'm really glad…" He trailed off, and to Chase it sounded like the other wanted to say more. He had no doubt that he meant what he said about being happy for him, so he offered a quick, curious look that he hoped would prompt the other into saying more. Owen looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable as he sighed. "Do you…" he paused and it didn't seem as though he was going to continue after all.

"Do I what?"

"Think that you could ever give me another chance?" He blurted all at once. He was looking down at his lap, his gaze focused solely upon the hands clasped there, his voice picking up both pitch and speed due to his nerves. "I, I know I don't deserve one but I promise you that if you gave me another chance I would never let you down again and I'll try my absolute best to earn back your trust, respect and friendship." He looked thoroughly embarrassed at having even asked.

By this time, Chase had pulled up outside Owens's house, and he didn't seem to want to move. His heartbeat had sped up to a worrying rate and his mouth was drying out. He was scared of letting the person that had hurt him most in the world back into his life and giving him the opportunity to do it again. But he was scared of losing the person he had wanted back in his life forever.

The sound of the door opening and a rush of bitter air brought him back to his senses and made him realise he hadn't actually said anything. His heart jolted in panic as he realised Owen was leaving, and more than anything, was what made up his mind for him was the pain he could hear in Owens's voice as he spoke.

"Hey, don't worry about it." His voice was nothing but fabricated cheer, it was painful to listen to because Chase knew he was upset. "I understand. I didn't really expect you to want to be friends again anyway and I'm sorry for putting you in such a shitty position for asking. Thanks for the lift again, it was really good of you. See you on Monday. Bye."

"Wait!" Own hesitated before looking back into the car he had just climbed out of, "I'd like to be friends again. But you have to be honest with me okay?"

Owen nodded vigorously, probably too hard in fact, "promise." And he meant it.

At first, they started off small. They spoke on the internet and exchanged the odd word at school. After receiving an excellent mark for their presentation in geography they began to sit together in class. Gradually, the tension between the ebbed away, and what was left was familiar to previous territory…yet neither minded. They took their newly formed friendship and reformed it, hoping beyond hope that it would work this time. Much to his utter shock, Chase thought it was. He thought that it would be all he could do to not snap at Owen and give him a hard time, just like when they had worked together on the project, but with the unspoken agreement they had to get along, it wasn't just easy to get along with him, but natural.

--

'Fancy a womble? Want 2 tell u summet! Don't worry! TB asap xx'

Chase stared at the text message until his eyes watered. It was from Owen, and he wanted to go for a walk. Chase thought he had a very good idea where too though, and he couldn't help the nerves that sunk into him when he thought about going back to that place – their place – after he hadn't seen it in two years. The text had said not to worry but he couldn't help it.

He sent back his reply and within ten minutes the two boys had met up with each other, Owen was leading the way but Chase knew where too.

When they reached the bottom of the path that lead up to their bench Chase stopped, "Owen I -"

"It's okay."

They sat down on the bench, now covered in even more childish writing and the area was littered with cigarette ends and beer cans. But the rest of it, the surrounding landscape, looked gorgeous. It had changed so much in those short two years. As had a lot of other things though…

That sat and talked about nothing for hours until finally Owen announced what it was he must have wanted to tell Chase. Unluckily though, Chase had a mouthful of sweets at the time and he nearly chocked due to being so shocked at what he thought he'd just heard come out of the others mouth.

"W-what?"

He had to wait for an answer though because Owen was on the verge of chocking himself…from tears of laughter…

"I'm thinking about telling dad I'm gay."

"You can't be serious!" It was hard for Chase to keep the panic out his voice, when the words from Owen's letter about his father were still burnt into his brain…

'He told me if he ever found out I was a fag he would knock that nonsense straight back out of me again. He said he would kill me.'

"I know that it's suicide, but I think I need to do it."

"Why on earth?"

"Well I like someone, and I think that if I told dad then it would give me a better chance with him."

"That's stupid." Owen looked slightly hurt so he hurried to amend what he had meant. "It's just that, its not like you're ashamed of who you are, you're just trying to avoid a beating…"

Owen scoffed. "I don't think he'd knock the shit out of me. I don't know. Maybe just a punch or something." He shrugged.

"Has he…"

"Ever done it before?" Owen finished softly for him, "no, never. He's never even been really angry with me. But I know what he's like…"

"That's awful…" and to break the awkward silence that had fallen over them he asked the question he really wanted to know the answer too whilst grinning madly, "so, who is it that you like?"

All that he got was a very red face staring straight back into his eyes as though he was stupid for even asking. And he did feel stupid because he didn't have a clue, so he motioned with his hands at Owen to speak, but in return Owen did exactly the same to him. Time passed, birds tweeted and stupid annoying kids on bikes shrieked in the distance but still Chase had no idea.

Chase sighed slightly and scooted closer to Owen, even though they were already pretty close anyway as the bench wasn't exactly huge, he placed his hand just above Chase's knee and stared into his eyes again.

And then the penny dropped.

"Oh! Oh…Oooooh right. Oh." After that embarrassing amount of rambling which must have felt like torture for Owen he felt his cheeks growing in colour and just when he thought nothing worse or more stupid could ttumble out of his mouth, he added on, "again?"

Owen however laughed, "not again no. I don't think I ever really stopped."

"But -" and then his train of thought trailed off the tracks and crashed when something else became more important for him to explore. "Why would I want you to tell your dad!"

"Because that's what made me mess up last time!"

"Don't tell him please. I like your face the way it is…" He nodded his agreement and smiled.

"So urm…"

"I don't know. I don't even know if I'm bi or anything, I've never fancied anyone before."

Owen laughed softly, "I could help you figure it out?" His hand lingered on Chase's knee for only a second longer before it joined his other in cupping his friends face and tilting it so that their lips met.

The kiss was slow, and soft but it was passionate and enjoyable. Chase eased into it more than he thought he would have, he grinned against the others lips before the broke apart. As they sat on their bench, staring lovingly at their surroundings, they linked their hands with each other and Chase whispered softly, "yeah, I could get used to that."