A/N: Alright so first of all: turn your little but around if you do not like boys love, slash, yaoi, MxM - whatever the kid's are calling it these days - because this story is going to have lots of it. It will also have lemon and incest. Still haven't felt any bile in your mouth? Good, then keep reading.
This was supposed to be a one-shot, but it definitely won't be anything long!
"I hate him."
"Oh please, Jack. Save the melodramatics, alright?"
"He's a jerk. Remember the time he locked us in the basement for an entire day? Has that slipped your mind somehow?"
"We were kids!"
"No. I meant, it was a long time ago. Let it go."
Impossible. Simply impossible. Jack had never "let it go"; instead he simply stuffed everything his older brother had done to torture him in a box at the back of his mind. This had happened the minute Evan had walked out the door with their father. But with his brother coming back, so did all the sharp and painful memories. Jack had used to think it was bad enough seeing his brother at Christmas, but now he was faced with the looming reality of seeing him every day.
Every day. The words echoed in his mind and a shudder rippled through his body.
"I guess you wouldn't understand having a sadistic and possibly crazy older brother," Jack allowed, crooking his neck slightly against the phone so he could use both of his hands to fix himself his sandwich.
Liz sighed softly through the phone causing Jack to smile a little. "I guess not," she agreed. "But Evan's almost eighteen, you really think he's still going to get his kicks out of torturing you? You're making a big deal about nothing."
"How do you know?" Jack challenged, slapping the two pieces of bread together and carrying the sandwich to a plate. As he set the sandwich down he took the phone back into his right hand and held it up to his ear properly.
There was a silence that Jack couldn't quite place as one that he was going to like. Finally, Liz responded. "He just lost his dad -"
"We lost our dad," Jack corrected. A sinking feeling pulled behind his chest and his smile was wiped away at the harsh knock of reality. During the past couple of days it had been easy to forget about the tragedy with the new arrangements. Feeling like a jerk, he allowed Liz to continue.
"Exactly. I'm pretty sure he's not going to race in there, foot out, ready to kick some ass. Give Evan a break; I bet he doesn't like the arrangements as much as you do."
Jack swallowed this information along with a piece of his sandwich. Sometimes Liz had a point. "I won't give him a break, but I just hope you're right."
"I always am," Liz replied with a satisfied tone. "Anyway. What are you doing today?"
"Nothing," Jack replied without hesitation.
"God, you're a loner. Want to come to a movie with some friends?" Liz asked hopefully. Jack was not up for seeing whatever romantic heartthrob of a comedy Liz and her pack of needlessly girly friends were going to be seeing, but he always felt bad breaking that to her. It was tough having your lifelong best friend a girl.
"Count me out," Jack said with another bite of his sandwich.
"Jack, you can't stay inside all the time. Tomorrow we're going to the mall after school. No excuses. Talk to you later!"
"Bye," Jack muttered through a mouthful of food. His finger traced the familiar buttons of the cordless phone and he ended the conversation. Staring at the phone he began to brood in how much of a loner he really was. At fifteen, Jack was your perfectly average high school student. Except that he had a moderate social anxiety disorder. People weren't his thing and despite the numerous efforts of some of his classmates, he remained the helpless loner who stuttered nervously when approached.
If it weren't for Liz, Jack's mother would have been on his case a whole lot more. It was tough, Jack had insisted. Nobody really understood the way Jack wanted them to. The paranoia, the panic that rose in his chest and sometimes made him gag; people scared him. Not snakes, not heights. But people. Was that saying something?
Three years ago his parents had divorced for seemingly unknown reasons. The divorce itself hadn't been ugly, even when the battle for custody had gotten a little intense. Evan had chosen to live with their father, and Jack had not been willing to follow. His mother would have been lonely, anyway, but that was only an afterthought if Jack were being honest.
So he'd had a long time to brew in his supposedly immature hatred of his older brother. But why shouldn't he hate Evan? The boy had gotten everything he had ever wanted, simply by being their father's favourite. By simply seeking and craving every second of attention and leaving none to Jack.
It wasn't a sob story, Jack convinced himself. He didn't want any pity. He just wanted to live the rest of his life in peace.
Evan arrived later that evening, bags packed and looking just a little bit older since the last time Jack had seen him. Jack watched with emotionless eyes as his brother set the duffle bags on the ground and embraced their mother. The younger boy was leaning against the hallway wall, taking in the black hair and piercings of the older brother with distaste. How come he wasn't allowed piercings? Their mother beckoned him over and when Jack shook his head purposefully, she sighed and then led Evan through to the kitchen.
"Are you hungry at all, Ev?" she asked fondly, opening the fridge as Evan sat down at the small kitchen table and looked around.
"Starving," Evan replied with a small smile. Jack had sauntered into the kitchen; arms crossed and his lips set in a thin line. Was he the only one who knew that years had passed since Evan had even been in the same house? He was beginning to think he was going crazy, until his mother spoke again.
"It's been a long time since you've been here. I've kept your room the same, though," she informed as she pulled out some leftovers from the day before and placed it in the microwave.
Yea, Jack thought bitterly. The room at the end of the hall had been kept neat and tidy, despite the fact that Jack had complained many times about wanting to take it. Their mother hadn't budged in that argument. His eyes narrowed at the unjustness of it all and he could feel how tight his arms were crossed by the shooting pains all the way to his fingers.
Evan glanced over, noticing Jack's harsh stare and for a second, Jack thought he saw a flicker of a smile. "Thanks," Evan said, turning his head back to their mother and completely ignoring his younger brother's presence.
"Jack wanted that room you know," their mother went on, earning herself a glare from Jack himself. He couldn't understand why she'd want to bring that sort of thing up; to give Evan the satisfaction of knowing that even when he was gone, he had managed to bring some sort of grief to the younger boy. "But I just told him, 'No Jackie. I want Evan to always know he has a place here should he choose it.'"
Jack's fingers twisted sharply into his own skin at the nickname.
"Don't call me that," Jack managed to mutter darkly. He had never really had a problem with it before, but somehow in the presence of Evan, that nickname was uncalled for.
His mother giggled softly at the harsh words, probably wiping off Jack's anger as something teenagers always went through with fond nicknames. "Hey, why don't you show Evan everything later, Jack?" she asked, taking the plate out of the microwave and walking to the cupboard storing the cutlery.
"He knows where everything is," Jack replied, shooting another glance in Evan's direction.
"Jack," his mother warned, pulling out a knife and a fork. Jack hated that tone.
"No," Jack said stubbornly. The anger was rising up in him, bubbling and threatening to boil over at any second. "I wasn't the one who wanted him back. So you show him around." With that he turned on his foot and ran straight up the stairs towards his room. His name was shouted, but he could barely register it over his own emotions.
With the slam of the door, he flung himself onto his bed and muffled his own screams into his pillow. A little overdramatic, maybe, but even that thought fuelled his questionable rage. Jack hadn't been good at dealing with people in the first place, and Evan was no real exception.
He spent the remainder of the evening in his room; skipping any sort of dinner he would have otherwise made for himself at night. Jack was already skinny enough, being shorter and scrawnier than a lot of the other boys his age, so he didn't make habit of skipping meals. With Evan's presence, though, he was sure to be missing a few more.
When he woke up, he found that his bathroom in the hall was being occupied by Evan. He traipsed all the way to the cold basement, in his boxers, so that he could shower. Finding the tub that hadn't been used in well over a few months, Jack spent ten minutes cleaning it before turning the water on. When he was done he wrapped a towel around himself and stepped out into the freezing cold of the basement, again.
He all but ran back into his room as soon as he could, throwing on whatever jeans and shirt he found on his floor first, and grabbing a pair of socks from his drawer to throw on downstairs. Jack was running late, and if he didn't hurry he would miss his bus.
Flinging open his door he took a sharp right and slammed into - Evan.
Jack stared up, brown eyes meeting blue as Evan held out a hand to help him up. "Watch where you're going," Evan said in a low voice, his hand outstretched and waiting, while another held a bitten apple to his mouth.
Jack's brown eyes trailed the hand and then flicked sharply back to Evan before pushing himself off the ground and brushing past him. Without a word. He'd made it his goal last night that he wasn't going to be talking to Evan unless absolutely necessary.
He fumbled down the stairs in his panic to get away, but made it to the bottom alive. There was no time to grab anything for breakfast; he'd have to mooch off of Liz on the bus. So Jack pulled on his socks, and then his shoes, then grabbed his backpack and left the house in a hurry.
On the driveway was parked what must've been Evan's new car. Jack scowled at it, resisting the urge to run his house keys along the side. Evan had gotten the car for his sixteenth birthday from their father, and Jack had only heard about it from his grandparents one evening. It figured that Evan got anything he wanted.
But Jack was brought out of his memories by the screeching of a city bus' brakes across the road. He had almost missed it, but when he climbed on the bus - flashing his pass - he was relieved that he hadn't. Liz sat at the back, her stop being the one before his. She grinned at him and beckoned him over.
"How'd it go with Evan?" she asked, obviously unable to contain her own excitement at Jack's predicament. Her blonde hair was pulled into a loose, but pretty, bun and she was wearing green framed glasses. Not that Liz needed glasses at all. They were her "accessories" as she had called them. Jack always thought she looked great in them anyway.
Liz was pretty, in an all too obvious way. There was no wonder that she was popular; because she was nice, honest, and good looking. But Jack had never found himself attracted to her, and at one point that had bothered him. Though here she sat, every day at his side because she knew that taking the bus was something Jack hated doing alone.
Sighing, he took the seat next to her and clutched his backpack onto his lap, glancing across the aisle to where an unfamiliar woman sat, humming along to the mp3 player in her hands. "I kind of blew up at him and my mom yesterday," he began, to which Liz inhaled deeply and dramatically. "And I brushed him off before I left my house."
"So... not good?" Liz surmised. Jack nodded grimly, hugging his backpack closer to himself and shutting his eyes. "Aww, don't worry Jack! I mean... you were thrust into this situation right? Nobody can blame you."
Jack said nothing, instead choosing to play with a loose piece of string on his backpack. He twisted it around his finger until it went purple, and then let it fall back into place. "Whatever. I'm just going to ignore him, and he'll ignore me. Then we'll get along great."
Liz cocked an eyebrow at him in that oh-so perfected manner. She didn't need to say what she did next, because Jack knew what it was already. "And that's your solution?"
"Yes," Jack said firmly, grinding his teeth into place.
Jack's condition allowed him to be in all of the same classes as Liz, and it wasn't as if he always talked to her during. It was just more relaxing to know that he felt comfortable with at least one person he knew in the room. He would sometimes turn to look at her and feel calmed by her presence. But even his condition couldn't give him an excuse to drop his all boy's phys-ed in his fourth period.
She wished him luck as third period History let out, but was swept away by a few of her friends. Jack headed to the bathroom nearest to the gym and changed into the shorts and t-shirt that were his gym clothes. He would not change in the locker rooms.
He was almost late, having spent a lot of time mentally preparing for the next 83 minutes. One last look in the mirror and then he marched into the double doors of the gymnasium and towards where there was a crowd of boys his age surrounding the Coach.
"Glad you could make it, McKinley," the Coach drawled as Jack hung around the back.
Panic. His chest closed a bit as a few heads turned to stare at him. He knew what they were thinking. They were thinking he was the weird kid; the boy who changed in the bathroom. Ugh, why was he even here? Why couldn't he breathe? But then they turned away and Jack's hand rose to his heart to stop it from beating. He hadn't even choked out a response.
"Today we'll be playing Badminton. Team up in pairs of two, then grab some racquets." The words floated and echoed through the gym as the Coach pointed to where a bin of racquets and birdies were set up. A few students were already setting up some nets, and Jack found his heart racing again.
Teams. Meant. People.
His chest seized again, causing him to grip his shirt tightly as a silent hysteria overwhelmed him. His eyes glossed over, but could make out the forms of people around him laughing and slapping their team mates. He had half turned, ready to make a break for it - for the bathroom that was his sanctuary - until something tugged on his arm.
The Coach was looking down at him with pitied eyes. "McKinley, just keep track of scores, alright?"
Gulping, Jack nodded at the words, willing himself to calm down. "I-uh... how do I- " Jack stammered through his own rough breathes.
"Just calm down," the Coach said rolling his eyes at Jack's state. Jack knew that the only reason the Coach was doing this, was because Jack had run out of the class numerous times. He was failing, and the Coach pitied him. "First to fifteen wins, serving sides can only win points. Got it?"
Jack nodded and the Coach pointed to one of the nets. "Can you keep track of two games at once?" he asked.
"So you didn't run out of there puking?" Liz asked, amazed. Jack slumped against the locker next to hers and nodded, hugging his books to his chest. Across the hall he made out the shape of Evan and he narrowed his eyes. "That's so good Jack!" she squealed, throwing her arms around him and squeezing him tightly. "I knew you could do it."
"Only because he made me watch," Jack groaned, squirming out of Liz's unnecessary embrace. He glanced again at Evan to find that he had left that spot and he exhaled with relief. It was Evan's first day at this school, and he wasn't fond of seeing him.
"Whatever," Liz said, brushing off that detail easily. "Made any friends yet?" she asked hopefully.
Jack's eyes widened as she slammed her locker door and indicated that they could leave now. "Are you kidding? They looked like they thought I was a bigger freak."
A few people bumped into Jack as he made his way through the hall. As always, Jack was consciously aware of every face; having memorized a lot of them in his constant need for familiarity. A few of the boys from his gym class were eyeing him curiously and he immediately looked in front of him. "They're probably going to kick my ass."
Liz sighed, draping an arm around him and steering him through the crowd of students eagerly waiting to go home. "They're not going to kick your ass," she said in a motherly sort of way.
A/N: Review! For the love of all things awesome. You've read this far, right? Just offer some words of encouragement. Thanks. ;)