A/N: The idea for the story was originally to do A Christmas Carol/The Wizard of Oz remix, with a Halloween twist—including sexygoodtime scarecrow/ghost/vampire action thrown in for good measure. Which leads us to...

Disclaimer: (Just in case you were under the impression I am a famous dead novelist... can't be too careful on the internet these days ;p) I am not Charles Dickens or Frank L. Baum, and thus do not own A Christmas Carol or The Wizard of Oz. I am merely inspired by them.

fence n. 1 a structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier, or a boundary 2 One who receives or sells stolen goods


Tory reclines in his desk, staring at the frost on the window as the rest of the class files out. Tory pops in mp3 ear buds to drown out the chatter in the halls. Tory pulls his black wool jacket tight around him, wraps the scarf double around his neck, and makes for the edge of campus and doesn't stop walking until he can't see the buildings anymore. This really isn't as far as it sounds, not as far as it should be.

See Tory run. Run, Tory, run.

Fields surround the town on all sides. From the nearest city you have to drive through hours of fenced-in acres of hay, cows, and cornfields to get to the town. Off campus, Tory runs into one of these fences, but it isn't a cow field or a hay field. It's pumpkins. Tory climbs onto the fence, swinging his legs over but not climbing down. He just sits at the top and catches his breath, watching the play of sunlight off orange and green. At nine in the morning, his breath still fogs into ice when he exhales, but the sun is out and shines on his face, biting at his skin and warming him all at the same time.

It's been his bi-weekly destination since he found out one of the farmers was growing pumpkins. It was a little disappointing at first, when they were still growing and he couldn't tell what they were. For some reason, maybe the look of it, someone put up a scarecrow in the pumpkin patch and for weeks it was just Tory and the scarecrow. Now the pumpkins are big, full, and it's Tory, the scarecrow, and the pumpkins. Old friends. Tory feels an odd, squiggly feeling in his stomach when he comes here now, some happy nostalgic urge to go diving into the patch and reenact Peanuts dialogue with invisible characters.

His butt is wet from frost melting on the fence where he's sitting, he forgot to bring gloves, and his red high-tops don't keep his toes from going numb, but Tory smiles. The steaming earth, the crisp air, a sharp flutter as a flock of crows take flight, the gentle bell tones and moos from cattle in next field over, the scarecrow's philosophic grin… there is absolutely nothing, and nobody, to ruin it for him. He's found that he hasn't been smiling as much as he used to, but when he's here… how can Tory not smile?

He's sure he'll get sick of the ambiance when winter sets in, but for now, for the life-long city boy still getting used to seeing livestock on the walk to class, it's almost magical.


The next time he goes to the pumpkin patch he doesn't realize until he's almost to the fence there's someone already there in his spot. Not an old man or a very young child, but some kid his age. Just sitting there. It's a flush of shame in the face for Tory, a bad time to suddenly realize he isn't original enough to be the only one to come up with the idea of pumpkin patch visits. He stops, like some startled animal, and tries to decide if he should leave. There's something vaguely intimidating about the figure looking out over the pumpkins, something about the way the line of his arms connect with the top rung of wood, or how his shoulders hunch, or the manner in which his long fingers curl around the fence that makes Tory pale at the thought of interrupting. The boy's sitting in his spot even, right exactly in his spot.

Unmoving, silent, Tory watches as a bird hovers overhead and finally lands on a pumpkin. It pecks in a halfhearted way at the shell until the boy palms a small rock from a pile on the fence and tosses it at the bird in an equally lazy manner. The bird flies off.

Tory makes up his mind. The last thing he wants is some guy throwing rocks at him. Just as Tory takes a half-step back, his sneaker seeking purchase on the ground behind him, the boy turns around, slow and controlled, only his head moving to shoot a glare over his shoulder. Tory freezes again. The boy does not look impressed.

They stare at each other for several seconds, taking each other in. They must be about the same age, but Tory can't help but think of the boy as a boy even as he thinks of himself as almost-man. The other guy is just so delicate. Slender, probably, is the word.

"The fuck's your problem?" the boy says unceremoniously, the inescapable emphasis on your.

"Uh…" For some stupid reason, Tory blushes. It could possibly have something to do with the fact he's being completely owned by some country punk, but it could also possibly have to do with the fact Tory finds him strangely attractive. All the more embarrassing.

The boy on the fence doesn't look like he belongs. If the country tried going to the city, that might look like him, but Tory doesn't think he's from around here at all. His hair's too metallic auburn and wild, his jacket's worn to patches but still just a hair too stylish, there's too many buckles on his pants, his nails are painted, his face hasn't seen enough sun. It's also very possible he's wearing eye makeup, a definite no-no for the area's conservative demographic, although Tory doesn't mind. Tory doesn't mind in the least, and he's not sure why.

Tory has to force himself to stop staring and rejoin the conversation.

"Uh," Tory says, his cold, dry throat betraying him with an octave leap. "Sorry. I was... just leaving. Sorry."

The look the boy gives him is almost pitying, but in a scathing way. "I don't bite."


"You say 'uh' a lot." The boy rolls his eyes, painting a pained, exasperated expression on his features before turning back to the pumpkins. As though on a second thought, he faces Tory again. "What's your name?"

Tory tenses again, standing up straighter as he answers. "Tory."

"That sounds like a girl's name."

"It's short for Torsten," Tory tries, but he already feels the inevitable failure of trying to explain before the sounds are even formed in his head.

Tory watches the boy's lips move as he silently sounds it out to himself. Despite the aggravating words coming out of it, the boy has a pretty mouth. "Nope. Still sounds like a girl's name. Like Kirsten, maybe."

Tory glares. "Well, what's your name?"

"Why should I tell you?" the kid drawls, and Tory blushes.

"Because it's polite?" Tory mutters under his breath. His eyes slide off the stranger and into the field, searching. He blinks, forgetting himself and walking up to the fence. "Hey, where's the scarecrow?"

Slowly, gritting his teeth against the pain it probably causes him to be so patient with Tory, the boy grips the fence and leans forward. He looks around Tory to the left, then to the right, as though checking for invisible traffic.

"What scarecrow?" he says at last. Tory's been waiting for a smart-alecky remark for several seconds, and this one isn't as bad as he was expecting. But it still makes him flinch.

"Uh—" He almost stretches out the 'uh', but stops. "There's been a scarecrow in the pumpkin patch."

The boy crosses his arms. "That's ridiculous. Pumpkins don't need a scarecrow," he says, polite but with a challenge in its undercurrent.

"Well, it's been here for almost a month," says Tory. "I mean, I think it's been a month. Besides, if pumpkins don't need scarecrows, what about them?" he says, pointing to the birds bobbing around, almost neurotically waiting for the boy to turn away and an opportunity to land.

The boy looks over. "Them? Nah, they're just being insufferable little bitches. They won't actually do anything." The boy stares at him out of the corner of his eye. "How often do you hang around?"

"Once or… twice a week," Tory admits.

"Then how do you know it's always here?"

"I guess I don't. It just seems strange they would only bring it out on certain days—"

The boy faces forward again. "Your brain's busted." And he says it with finality, like he could know nothing about Tory other than that and still know he doesn't want anything to do with him.

There's an energy radiating from the boy on the fence, something dark, spring-loaded and barely contained, like a dog sitting on a doorstep waiting to be set loose. Or for someone to get careless and step within the diameter of his chain. But now that Tory's found himself leaning against the fence it's too much of a hassle to make a smooth getaway. Or maybe Tory just doesn't want to leave. It's a desperate kind of attraction, the magnetic pull nerds probably feel towards bikers, some suicidal longing for approval, to be liked by an entity higher up the coolness pyramid.

At least Tory's smart enough to know it isn't a good thing he finds himself absolutely fascinated by it.

But being on the outside of the fence (and with the boy more on the inside), Tory feels safe enough to rest his elbows on one of the rungs and try to snatch glances at the boy without him noticing. It doesn't work very well with him staring back at Tory unabashedly, not letting one of Tory's sad attempts get by him. The watchdog is attentive.

"What do you want getting mixed up with scarecrows, anyway?" the boy asks. "Haven't you ever heard scarecrows are murderers paying for their crimes?"

"No, I hadn't heard that." It sounds like bullshit is what it sounds like, but Tory isn't about to be the one to call him out on it—just in case it's true.

The silence they sit through makes Tory feel like he's going crazy.

"I'm Rien," the boy says suddenly.

Tory stands up off the fence and tries to meet the boy's gaze. It isn't as openly hostile as it was. As Tory was imagining it to be. "Oh," Tory says. For a few moments, the only sound around them is the morning songbirds. Tory blushes. "How come you didn't just say that before?"

"I don't know. You were being flighty. I don't like flighty people."

When Tory thinks of flighty, he thinks of bimbo cheerleaders. "You think I'm flighty?" Instead of answering, Rien spins on the top of the fence so he's sitting cross-legged and facing Tory, like a guru on a mountaintop. "But you said were," Tory adds, to make it less obvious his mouth is hanging open. How does Rien stay balanced? And how does he do it and make it look so easy? "So I'm not now. Right?"

"You're still here." Amazingly, Rien smiles. "And you're not saying uh anymore."

Tory hates the way that makes him want to puff his chest out with pride. "So?" he says. He watches, mouth dry, as Rien hand-walks until he's stretched out on his stomach, legs bent at the knees and swinging lazily in the air. All of this on a strip of fencing not half an inch wide. How does he stay balanced? Tory wills his eyes away from Rien's unbelievably posed body and into his face. They're almost eye-to-eye now.

"So," Rien says slowly, making sure he hasn't lost Tory in the dialogue. He reaches out with cold fingers and ruffles Tory's hair, but then the hand slides down and cups his cheek and suddenly Tory can't move. "What's the point in having a cultivated brain if you let it rot from disuse? A monkey could do what you do."

The flash of anger allows him to duck out of Rien's reach. "Oh, thanks. Thank you very much. And here I was wondering why you were sitting out here all by yourself."

"Apparently you do quite a lot alone time yourself, Tory. If you don't want to talk, why don't you just walk away?"

"Because I'm… I'm not…" Tory blinks. How, he thinks, can he make this look less epically lame than it's going to end up being? "Well, fine. I have things I could be doing."

"Like what?"

He blushes. Again. Goddammnit. Rien is looking right at him, and Tory lowers his eyes to the ground. "You know, you're not as scary or badass as you think you are."

"Well, it's nine in the morning, isn't it," says Rien, his smile all teeth. "Come back at midnight, we'll see how that one plays out, yeah?"

"…Yeah," Tory says stiffly, and thinking otherwise. No way is he ever coming back here after dark. Not now. No. Fucking. Way. "Whatever. Have… fun with your pumpkins. Bye!"

Rien's eyebrows rise. "Bye."

Tory blinks furiously through the blush as he walks away, too mortified to risk the backward glance. Have fun with your pumpkins? Bye? What the fuck was he thinking? Was he thinking?

And it didn't help that Rien was smiling at him the entire time.


Tory leaves the pumpkin patch with a bad taste in his mouth, and the scenes of the day replay themselves over and over in his mind. The pumpkin patch is the only place he could go to clear his mind, chase away the funk that builds up from the rest of the day, and now even that messes with his head. He picks the episode apart like the director of a movie, which parts were bad, which parts lacked, what he could have said there to turn it all around. The more he messes with it, the more all of it takes on the feel of an epically surreal hallucination. The static feel of a stranger's fingers through his hair, stroking with familiar ease down his face—like flashes of a half-forgotten daydream.

If he really were a director, he probably would have thrown it all away and tried it again tomorrow.

On the way to his study group, he gets coffee ("The usual, Tory?"), and spends a few minutes helping out the old men playing chess on the street cafe ("Good move, Tory! Say, how'd your test go?"). He's exactly on time as he steps into the long meeting room in the library, which means he's the first to arrive after the tired-looking grad student who leads the study. He sits down and gets out his worksheets, tries to remember what he was thinking when he thought up that mnemonic device.

(…all the mechanisms and pathways involved in the cephalic phase of— )

He can't concentrate. (—respiratory gases carried by hemoglobin in the…) The words (glycolytic capacity, myosin ATPase activity) string over his head and he can't translate them (myoglobin content, capillary density). So of course someone calls him to answer. (…the osmolarity of the interstitial fluid immediately surrounding the proximal convoluted tubule?)

Tory starts, looking up and seeing everyone staring back at him. For the first time since his pumpkin patch visit, he feels the weight of the real world fall on him. The blush starts in the pit of his stomach, the promise of it making his eyes water. Damn having a fair complexion. Damn blushing on a dime. "Could you repeat the question? I'm sorry, I didn't hear it…"

Someone repeats the question, but he already knows it doesn't matter. He doesn't know. He's heard these words before, he's probably even heard them in that configuration before, but he doesn't know the answer. He hunches his shoulders and flips through note cards, hoping someone will pick up the hint that he doesn't know and answer for him.

A boy raises his voice. "Carbonic anhydrase?"

"But wouldn't the question be pertaining more to histidine residues and imidazole rings?" asks a girl, right on his heels.

Tory stares as they start a discussion. Shouldn't he have known that? Yeah. He knew that. He was almost certain he knew that.

He slides down in his chair and plays the disappearing trick, in the hopes the rest of them will catch the message and let him alone.


Completely on autopilot, Tory fingers his keys out of his pocket and barely notices what he's doing as he picks up his mail. A postcard from his parents gently brings him back. They're still doing this, still writing every now and then to tell him how proud they are. He hasn't been home since high school.

Maybe he's in a foul anti-Tory mood because of the incident with Rien, or the bomb of a study session, or because life in general kind of sucks at the moment, but something about the postcard makes him irritated. He's not irritated at his parents (maybe just a little—they haven't seen him in almost two years, how do they even know they're still proud of him?), but something about it doesn't help his disposition.

He walks fast with his mail, the postcard hanging loosely in his hand. A few steps out of the building, he's already so submerged into his internal editing process he doesn't see the other person as he turns the corner.

They both try to avoid it at the last second and end up catching each other on the shoulder. Tory's ankle raises a feeble protest and it's enough for him to go straight down to the sidewalk, too fast to even utter an ow. His mail joins him a few seconds later, fluttering on the breeze. He goes limp with his eyes closed and the back of his head on the sidewalk. Maybe the disappearing trick will save him again.

"I'm so sorry." The sound of the voice gets closer as the person drops down to kneel by him. "Tory?" At his name, he looks up into a pair of brilliant almond eyes and a halo of curly dark brown hair.

He doesn't recognize the face and he's sure if he had ever actually seen this person before he would have remembered it. There's something about him that catches the eye. "Do I know you?"

"I'm the person who just ran you over," he says. "Let me guess. You were making other plans, right? I'm Jarek." Jarek eases his arm around Tory's shoulders to help him up. His other hand pats Tory's arms, looking the rest of him over for damage. "Are you hurt?"

Tory just stares at him for a moment, completely apathetic. "What?"

Jarek pauses, then smiles. "Does that mean 'I have a concussion' or 'I'm still a little dazed'?" he says, leaning in conspiratorially.

"What… are you talking about?" Tory blinks. He must have a concussion. He doesn't even care about the people walking past them, casting them worried or outraged and annoyed glances at blocking the sidewalk with their little moment and couldn't they take that inside for decency's sake? It wouldn't be half as awkward if Jarek were ugly, but he's not, and it forces Tory's mind onto other things, gets him thinking in scandals.

It is a little annoying how they only look at Tory, though. Their eyes pass right over Jarek, like he isn't even there. Tory frowns. "Who are you again? What are you doing?"

Jarek starts picking up Tory's mail for him. "I'm making sure you're okay. And we have some of the same classes. I recognize you from the red hair and the fact you're like a genius. Hey, what's this?" Jarek picks Tory's postcard out of a puddle. He wipes it on his jeans and holds it to the light, his eyes only pausing from skimming it long enough to dodge Tory's attempt to get it away from him.

Tory grimaces. Jarek's faster than he looks. "Could I have that back, please?"

Jarek squints at the writing, the running ink. "Is this from your parents?"

"So what if it is? That's private, stop reading it—"

"They think pretty highly of you, don't they? I think it's cool—" Tory finally manages to wrestle the postcard away from him "—that they write you." Tory can almost hear the sneering words in pedestrians' faces, and it's like a wall separates Tory and Jarek from the rest of the world but it still motivates him to back out of Jarek's arms. Some people need to figure out other people have smaller comfort bubbles.

Tory stumbles to his feet, brushing himself off and shoving the postcard deep into his coat pocket. "They're just parents. They don't know what they're talking about." What he needs, he thinks, is about an hour locked up far away from all other humans; get this out of his system before he does some stupid and irreversible damage.

"Oh." Jarek frowns a little from his still-kneeling position. "Right. So, um, what are you doing later tonight?"

Tory almost runs, blocking out the last of whatever Jarek tries to say.


If he hadn't grown up in a metropolis, the town (population around 25,000) would probably seem quite large and bustling. But he did grow up in a metropolis, and it doesn't seem large or bustling at all. The fact that there isn't another city for at least seventy miles in any direction doesn't help, and at times makes him feel almost claustrophobic.

But in this nowhere college town, where the cows outnumber the people two-to-one (although to be fair there are a lot of cows) and the practicing vet school and hospital is the only thing bringing in the bucks to run the university, Halloween has a tendency to turn into an extended week-long drinking and partying event leading up to The Day. Because, seriously, what the fuck else are they supposed to do? Make cheese? Study?

Tory doesn't like partying very much. It's awkward, and he doesn't cope well with so many people he isn't familiar with. It technically is a city here but it's still smaller than what he's used to—and who knew some town-city in the middle of nowhere would drink more than they did in the city-city?

He goes to the parties anyway, in the old houses on the edge of town full of music and smoke and water stains on the ceilings, where the college students live. He plays the drinking games. He finds ways to slip out before three in the morning. There's nothing else to do so he does what everyone else does and so far that's worked out okay.

His best tactic is to move from room to room with a red plastic cup of a lighter beverage so he won't feel bad saying no when someone offers shots. This keeps people from getting to know his face too well, and means he doesn't have to stand off by himself. Or worse, not stand by himself and make conversation with someone he'd rather not be having a conversation with. So far this has also worked out okay.

It's going fine until Tory rounds the corner moving from a room, edging into the hallway but looking over his shoulder as he does it. He has a split second to appreciate what a fitting end to his day it is when he feels the force of a body connecting with him and the wet as their beer spills and soaks into his shirt.

"Oh my goodness, I'm so—" The voice cuts off, then laughs. "Oh, wow. I really am sorry. Hi, Tory."

He closes his eyes when he recognizes the voice. He should have expected that.

Tory looks up into those increasingly familiar laughing almond eyes. If he wasn't so tired he'd be mad, but instead he lets Jarek press him close and take his arm to lead them into the kitchen.

A few girls sit on the counter eating bread, but Tory is thankful for the kitchen's relative emptiness. Or he would be, if it hadn't been just him and Jarek. The gossip starts up in his head again, what he imagines everyone thinks when they see him following Jarek, what business does he have attatching himself to this rather more attractive person? Even if he'd rather be anywhere but there, there's no way he can communicate that to the people around him. Tory's getting one of those surreal moments again, and it' just waiting around the corner to pounce on him. Instead of watching Jarek, Tory looks around the room, as if he can hunt the feeling down with his eyes.

"I'm very sorry about this," Jarek says again, his voice muffled as he digs under the sink for paper towels. "I swear I didn't mean to spill that on you. I should have been watching where I was going."

"It happens," Tory says, because that's what you're supposed to say in this sort of situation. The girls notice him and giggle at the dark splotch down his front. "Is this what you had in mind when you were asking what I was doing later?"

"Ha, no." The boy straightens up, an entire roll in hand, which he hands to Tory. "It's just bad coincidence for us, I guess." Tory rips off a handful and dabs his shirt. It must have been punch in Jarek's cup: the paper towels soak red. Tory sighs again. There goes his favorite shirt.

"This is really embarrassing," Jarek says. Tory pauses from wringing out his clothes, mystified, as Jarek all but blushes. "We keep doing this, but I really just want to talk with you."

Tory stares. "Why?"

"Uh… why? I don't know, you're just… a pretty cool guy, I guess. I was too shy to say anything before."

Stop flattering me. Tory snorts and focuses on his toweling. It makes me uncomfortable. "You, shy? Nope, I can't see it."

"You might be surprised. I can be pretty cowardly. But you..." Jarek smiles. "You have an amazing future ahead of you, if you want it."

This is weird. Is he trying to be funny? Tory thinks. It's almost insulting. "Right," Tory says slowly, his shoulders slumping. "Okay. You know what? That's just... great. Thanks for the bizarrely warm punch and the paper towels, but I have to go." He throws the soaking towels in the trash a little harder than he had to, and he moves through the halls without saying sorry for moving past people.

He has to stop to get his coat on and Jarek catches up before he gets off the porch. "Wait, you're leaving?"

"Yes, I… have a test in the morning." He shakes his head to himself.

"Come on, we're in almost all the same classes," Jarek says behind him. Tory can't remember seeing him in any of his classes before. "I knowyou don't have any tests in the near future. Please. Tory."

Tory closes his eyes. It's almost anger building inside of him, but there's no outlet. There's no defining factor, no sharpening edge. There's nothing to be angry at. He can't just explode on someone else because his day has been off. Because his month has been off. It's just not in him as a person to do that to someone.

Jarek steps down off the porch, his hand on Tory's arm, very gently pulling him back. "Please. I'm sorry about the drink. And the mail. And being weird in general." He's too close. Tory's thoughts lurch forward in rusty leaps, freezing up when Jarek leans in toward his neck. He smells like springtime, a foreign scent with all the dead leaves around them. "Stay."

"I… want to go home." Whatever that means. He pulls his arm back, escaping before the lips touch his skin. "I just want to go home," he says again, more forcefully. It doesn't occur to him to add the superfluous, hypocritical I don't actually know who you are. Tory hasn't known who Tory is lately, either.

When Tory pulls away, Jarek backs off and gives him room without question. "Yeah." He sighs. "Well. I guess I can't stop you now, if that's what you want... I hope it wasn't just because of me."

Tory doesn't try to placate him before he walks off by himself into the darkness.


At night, the temperature dives into the dark end of the mercury and nothing Tory does can get the warmth back into him. He walks all the way to the pumpkin patch in the dark, not tripping or stumbling because he knows the way by heart. But he's still cold.

"Back again?" Rien says, not looking at him as he gets within earshot. He's on his back, legs crossed and staring up at the night sky. "I was wondering if you were going to. Glutton for punishment? Looking for something edgy and dangerous to punctuate your otherwise worthless existence?"

"I'm back because this is my spot. I always come here." His voice is alien to his own ears, has a heavy, sodden quality to it.

Rien glances at him. "At eleven o'clock at night?"

"You leave." He couldn't break on Jarek, but Rien is fair game, if he can get up the nerve for it.

Rien sighs. "Well, I can't leave, so what do you want to talk about?"

"Uh," Tory says, cutting off mid glottal stop when Rien glares. He might as well not be wearing anything at all for the sudden white-hot chill that sweeps down his spine, a jagged edge ripping through the ordinary cold. "Nothing. How about we not talk? I don't want to talk about anything with you and stop glaring at me. I'm sorry I say uh a lot, all right? But you can stop glaring, it doesn't work."

It could almost pass as an okay little rant, if not for the fact Tory made sure to have it memorized in advance, just in case he should ever come back. Rien chuckles to himself and doesn't answer him.

Tory turns on his heels. What did he think this was going to accomplish? Now that his energy's burnt out, he's cold and he has better things to do. Like sleep. Right. "I'm leaving," he says to the air around him and thinks What am I doing here at all? He tries to blink away the sleep, but he's still awake and he's not dreaming.

"So I gathered," Rien's voice says, chasing after him even as he walks away. "Are you thinking if you do it enough times I might try and stop you one of these days?"

Tory stops.

Slowly, he walks back to the fence. "Why are you here? Really?"

"Where else would I be?"

"At home sleeping?" Tory says. It's what he's desperately wishing for himself. He's a morning person; the late hours make him numb.

Rien's eyes close and he smiles. "I won't even bother bequeathing an answer to something that stupid. Why are you here?"

"I don't know what I'm doing." I wanted to yell at somebody. I wanted to get rid of this feeling like I'm walking through somebody else's head. Tory hugs his coat tighter around him. There's something looming on the corner of his mind, tearing the foundation of normal, burning microscopic holes in it from underneath. It slips out of his grip when Tory tries to put his finger on it. He tries, but it escapes him. They remain in silence for several minutes.

"You can't leave, can you?" Tory says eventually. Rien pierces him with a shrewd gaze, not helping him at all. Waiting for him to continue. "It's almost midnight," Tory adds, looking behind him at the dark fields. His voice sounds impudent to himself, like a child goading an adult to get attention, but he's keenly aware of Rien behind him. "I guess I ended up being here after all."


"I'm still not scared of you."

"Then get over here."

Tory isn't going to. No way. And yet, somehow, he does.

Rien leans down, putting them a few inches away from each other and before Tory can think twice Rien grabs a fist of his coat, throwing him off balance and flush against the fence. Maybe it's the night air or he's been outside too long, but Rien smells like rotting berries and wood smoke. It's like with Jarek, but there's no time to think it through, no time to pretend he has time to plan it out. It isn't about to happen, it is happening.

He has to shut his eyes when Rien closes that pretty mouth around his earlobe. Those long fingers brush his face, teasing his lips to part and Tory's tongue shies away from the intruding thumb. Almost twenty years of near zero interest from anyone, and in less than a few days he's had two people throw themselves at him. For an even stranger reason he doesn't think twice about it past that it simply must be inexplicable.

"I'm not scared," he lies.

Rien laughs and kisses his temple. "You should be."

That snaps him back. Tory turns away at the last second, avoiding Rien's lips by a breath. There's a moment of perfect stillness as they both stop. Tory squeezes his eyes closed again rather than look into Rien's eyes from inches away. He'd try to free himself, but Rien's grip is unbreakable and he holds it for several seconds before dropping Tory's coat.

Tory stumbles back off a few feet, eyes pointed out somewhere between Rien and the ground, not seeing. There are no streetlights near the fields. The moon is almost half-full, but that's all the light Tory has.

Rien's voice growls out from the shadows. At least Tory thinks it does, maybe he's imagining it. Maybe he's imagining everything. Could he hope for that much? If you're not living for the present, what are you living for?

Tory sees out of his peripheral a flash movement from the boy who doesn't seem so much like a boy anymore, as he curls his mouth in a mocking sneer. Rien lets go of the fence and disappears into the blackness of the pumpkin patch. "Come back when you're serious about shaking that monotony, dollface. I don't have time to babysit you."

Tory returns to his room, a long and lonely walk in the dark. He sheds his shirt, now stained beyond saving, and falls dead into the blankets. He can't ease the chill even after a hot shower in the morning. The cold fingers are still playing over his skin.

The worst of it is he isn't sure whose fingers they are.

other a/n::......Ah, well, yes… that's part one, haha. I'm already done writing it, so I'll just start putting up the other ones soon, and this time I'm really serious when I say that… because, you know, they're already done ;P I'd love to hear what you guys think as always. Good or bad, doesn't matter. I just like hearing from you ::hearts::

Edit Jan 26 2009: WOO. I have been informed that Fence has been nominated in the SKoW awards for Best Non-Romance! (strange category, I know ;p) Thank you so much, you guys! So... if you like what you read, please feel free to mosey on over there and vote, okay? Polls open around Feb. 1st (I believe), end Febuary 20th, and I'd love it if you would. Even if it's not for me, it would still be amazing if you could go represent and support our little m/m community in the Best Slash, wouldn't it?