I have only been working on this one since Subconscious-Flirt's parents went to Australia in like, May. So here it finally is. Jeez, I'm just pumpin' 'em out like the Octamom this weekend… except instead of underweight babies, I give thee slashy oneshots! Yay!
So here it is :)
Chris sat on the sofa in the pale living room—white couches, white walls, white carpets. White lilies in a white vase on a white end table. All he could hear—besides the ringing in his ears—was a near-deafening silence. And the ticking of a (white) clock hanging on a wall at the far side of the room. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Four o'clock. He'd said four o'clock. It was four-ten. "Come on!" Chris mumbled agitatedly.
Chris drummed his fingers on his knees. Four-eleven. Tick. Chris leaned over to glance out the front window. Nothing. Tock.
At four-fifteen, the doorbell rang. Chris sprang up and hurdled toward the door. He stood there a moment, ran a hand through his hair, and then opened it.
"Hi," Justin said brightly.
You're late, Chris didn't say. "Hey," he said, nodding casually at the boy in the doorway.
"Sorry I'm late," Justin said.
"Are you?" Chris glanced at the clock. "Oh, yeah. No problem, I was just hanging."
Justin gave a little grin and bounced on the balls of his feet. "So can I come in?"
"Sure," Chris said. "Hey, I wouldn't go in the white living room, though. It gets kinda mental in there. You start to go crazy."
Justin nodded, peering into the room as he passed it. "Sure."
"You wanna watch TV?" Chris asked, sitting on the couch in the family room—with the fireplace and bookshelves, that was less like a mental facility and more like a home.
Justin nodded his blond head, giving a little grin. "Yeah." He sat beside Chris on the couch, their legs touching. Chris grabbed the remote from the side table, and they began to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls that Chris's mother recorded on the DVR.
By the time the show was halfway through, Justin was very much cuddled up to Chris, his face pressed against the other boy's chest, their hands intertwined on their laps. Justin's legs were pulled up onto the sofa, but Chris's remained on the floor. Chris had his arm around Justin's waist and was running his thumb lightly across the skin exposed between Justin's shirt and waistband of his jeans. "Hey, Chris?" Justin asked.
"What are we?"
"Well, Justin, we are humans, scientifically known as homo sapiens sapiens, and we—"
"Chris," Justin gave him a reprimanding look that reminded Chris so much of his own mother than he nearly jumped away from the boy in shock. "I'm serious. You and I. What are we?"
"We're…" Chris struggled for a moment to find a term that technically meant 'secret boyfriends' without actually saying the words 'secret boyfriends.' "We're Chris Taylor and Justin Jameson. And I think…" he kissed Justin's cheek quickly, "that we are fabulous."
Justin sighed. "But I want to… to know. Are we just like, friends-with-benefits? Or are you actually going to have the balls to call yourself my boyfriend?"
Chris frowned. "I don't like labels, Jay. You know that. I don't like calling things… things. I like to let things be how they are, not require naming. It's unnecessary."
Justin shifted away from Chris slightly and continued watching the TV. "Fine. Whatever."
Chris pretended he didn't care. When Justin's phone buzzed in his pocket at six-thirty, he stood and kissed Chris mechanically on the lips. Chris frowned and pulled Justin toward him, kissing him properly. Justin returned it, half-heartedly at first, but then completely as Chris's hands moved to cup the other boy's face. Justin eventually broke away, a small grin on his face. "I'll come over tomorrow, again, if you want."
Yes, yes, come! Chris didn't say. "Sure," he said casually. "If you can. Four o'clock."
Justin grinned. "Okay. See you."
Chris sat back against the sofa, jumping when the DVR pinged, signaling the end of the episode. Boyfriends? There was something so gay about that word. But… wasn't he supposed to be gay? Whatever, Chris thought. He didn't care. He didn't care.
Chris turned on the stereo. He turned it off. He turned on the TV. He turned it off. He opened the refrigerator. He closed it. He stopped. He glanced at the clock. It was four-oh-five. He kicked the counter, yelped in pain, and bounced away on one foot, holding the injured one between both hands. He slumped on the (white) sofa in the (white) living room and bit his lip, feeling whimpers of pain bubbling in his throat.
His friend Clara always told him he needed to stop kicking things. Yes, he did this often. It could get very agitating, waiting for Justin all the time. Because really, Justin was always late. Chris wasn't sure why some people were like that; when he said he was going to be somewhere at a certain time, he was. Always. Justin, though? Never. And it wasn't like Chris could predict when he was going to come, either. Some people are consistently a certain amount of time late. Like Chris's mother, who always said she'd be home exactly ten minutes before she actually was. But not Justin. He said he'd be somewhere at four, and then he could be there any time from four-oh-three to four-twenty-seven.
It really, really annoyed Chris. What if something bad happened to Justin on his way here? Chris wouldn't know until it was too late! You watch stuff like that on the news, "Oh, she was supposed to be home by three, so by three-thirty, I knew something was wrong, and I called the police!" But Chris wouldn't know if Justin was in trouble until the police called him.
Finally, at four-twenty-one, the doorbell rang. Chris sprang up from the sofa, forgetting about his injured foot, wincing as it hit the ground, and then running for the door. He smoothed his hair. Then he opened it. "Hey," he said casually.
"Hi," Justin said with his chirpy little voice and perky little smile. Chris flung an arm around Justin's shoulders and led him in, closing the door behind them. Justin flinched.
"What?" Chris asked.
"Nothing," Justin said lightly, pain almost very obviously constricting his voice.
"Justin, what—" Chris pulled at the collar of Justin's shirt to reveal his shoulder, showing a red mark there that was starting to bruise purple. "Holy fuck, Jay, what the fuck happened?"
"It's nothing," Justin said. "I just got fouled during soccer today. Some guy bumped me with his shoulder."
"Are you sure that's all?" Chris asked. Then he got a look at the boy's neck. "Shit! Justin!"
"What?" he murmured uncomfortably, pulling away from Chris's grip.
"You've got a fucking bruise in the shape of someone's fucking hand on your neck, that's fucking what!" He pressed his cool hand against Justin's neck very gently. "Jay, what happened?"
Justin sighed. "Eh, just this guy. He pushed me to a locker by my throat—" he indicated the handprint—"and kept me there by my shoulder." He pointed at the other bruise. "Then he punched me in the stomach. Twice. It was lots of fun."
"Justin," Chris said.
"What?" Justin snapped.
"Are you okay?"
Justin's green-brown eyes flickered over to meet Chris's dark brown ones. "Yeah. I'm fine."
"Was he older than you?"
"Nah, he's a sophomore. He's been in at least one of my classes every damn year since sixth grade. I hate his fuckin' guts."
Chris smiled a little. Of course, every sixteen-year-old Chris knew cursed heavily. Somehow, though, when Justin did it, it was cute, like he was too young to do it but did it anyway. "Well, come inside." Justin nodded and followed Chris into the family room. Chris glanced at the younger boy as he sat beside him on the couch. "Are you sure you don't want to just go home?"
Justin grinned. "Can't get rid of me that easy. Besides… if I go home, I'll have to touch my own self." And with that, he pounced on Chris, who returned Justin's kisses with evident ferventness. Chris discarded Justin's shirt quickly, his cool hands gripping Justin's hips as they ground against his own. Justin broke away for a moment, breathing heavily. "I wanna fuck on your mom's white couches."
Chris raised his eyebrows and let an incredulous smile spread across his lips. "Are you serious?"
Justin bit at Chris's lips, and tangled his fingers in Chris's hair, pulling the older boy's head closer. "Serious as fuck," he breathed as he pulled his face away again.
"You're still a minor, Jay—"
Justin kissed him, cutting off his protest. "Don't worry; I won't press charges. Besides…" He pulled off Chris's shirt and tugged him up from the sofa. "It's not rape if I want it." He pulled Chris into the white living room. "And it's not like we haven't done it before."
"Not since I turned eighteen," Chris reminded him, shoving the younger boy's pants down.
"Mm…" Justin kissed him chastely, his lips closed against Chris's. "I take it you don't care?"
"Justin," Chris said, grinning, "since when have I cared about anything?"
Justin rolled his eyes, an annoyed expression coming over his features. But he let it go, and returned to being kissed by Chris. And then being fucked by him. On his mother's white sofa.
When they were done, they sat naked on the white carpet, leaning against the seat of the white sofa. Chris had his arms around Justin's waist, and Justin played idly with Chris's hands, resting on Justin's abdomen. "I don't know," Justin said quietly, a small grin painting his face, "what made that better than all the other times we've fucked."
Chris grinned, kissing Justin's hair lightly. "I hear statutory rape is always the most fun."
Justin chuckled. "I'm serious. Why was this so great?"
"Because my mom would die if she found out we did it on her sofa?"
"That's why we use condoms. As for the, uh, distinctly ruffled 'just used' sort of feel it has—Febreze it. She won't notice," Justin assured him. "Remember the time we did it in my sister's bed?"
"Oh, shit! Yeah."
"I just sprayed Febreze on her sheets and left them."
"OH MY GOD, JUSTIN!" Chris laughed loudly. "You made your sister sleep on the same sheets we—"
"She'd been intentionally pissing me off for a very long time."
Chris chuckled, shaking his head. "You're evil."
"I know." He snuggled closer to Chris. "Hey, Chris?"
"I think I love you."
Chris laughed. He kissed Justin's forehead softly. "No, you don't."
"Don't," Chris said gently.
But then Justin was pulling away from him. He turned a look of contempt on Chris, his eyes blazing. "You're such a jackass."
I know, Chris didn't say. He didn't need to say it. Justin was already collecting his clothes and pulling them back on. "I'm sorry you feel that way," Chris offered, his voice quieter than normal.
Justin snorted. "I feel what way? Like you're a jackass?"
"No. Like you love me."
"Why is that so hard for you?" Justin shouted. "Every time I think we're getting somewhere, you just pull us back three spaces! It's like… you're using me or something, like I'm just here so you can have fun! And when I just want to be able to kiss you in public, or hold your hand, or if we start to talk about feelings and commitment, you flip out! Why can't anyone else know how we—how I—?"
"I don't work like that," Chris said harshly. "You knew that. You knew me."
"I thought maybe you'd change."
"Well, you thought wrong."
"Obviously." Justin pulled his shoes on. "Goodbye, Chris."
"Will you come over tomorrow, like we planned?" Chris asked lazily, as though his life did not depend on the answer to this question.
Justin bit his lip. Then he set his jaw and said, "No, Chris. I meant goodbye forever."
"Are you breaking up with me?" Chris asked with a patronizing smile, a smile that said, "I think it's cute that you're so serious about dumping me." But it wasn't cute. There was nothing cute about it.
"Yes. Find someone else to jerk around, asshole. 'Cause it sure as fuck isn't going to be me anymore."
And with that, he was gone. The second the door slammed, Chris stood and let out a frustrated scream of "FUCK!" and kicked his mother's white sofa. He pulled his clothes back on and went back to the family room, where he curled up on the brown leather couch. He looked around the barren room with an expression of vague disinterest on his face. And then, almost as though something inside of him simply snapped, Chris burst into tears. He made no noise except for his loud, shaking breaths and the sniffling that came with inhaling through his nose. He pressed his face into one of the pillows on the couch and felt as his whole body shook uncontrollably. He sat up, eventually, and pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, trying to falter the tears. It didn't work. Instead, rivulets of the salty water ran down his wrists and into the sleeves of his sweatshirt, soaking the material in strange, almost artistic patters.
When he ran out of tears, he shook silently for a few more moments, using his shoulders to wipe his face, as the forearms of his jacket were completely drenched. At six-forty, his mother came in through the door leading from the garage. "Chris, I'm home! What do you think we should have for dinner? I bought—Chris? Chris, honey, what's the matter? Are you hurt?"
"'M fine," Chris mumbled.
"Is it Justin?" his mother asked gently, sitting beside him on the couch and putting her arm around him softly.
"No," Chris lied. His lip quivered. "Yeah."
Chris's mother rubbed his shoulder tenderly. "What happened, sweetheart?"
"I'm such a fucking asshole," Chris muttered.
"What did you do, Chris?" his mother looked stern, and for a moment, Chris seriously considered not telling her. His mother loved Justin. If she found out Chris had hurt him like that…
"He told me he loved me. I told him he was wrong. We had a huge fight. He dumped me."
"Oh, Chris," his mother said sadly. "I'm so sorry, honey. You know what I bought? I bought cookie dough. Do you want to eat cookie dough, sweetie?"
"No," Chris growled. "I'm not a fuckin' girl, mom."
But he followed his mother into the kitchen anyway, and gave her a grateful smile as she took a package of cookie dough out of her brown paper grocery bag. He opened it and snatched one of the pre-cut sections of dough , popping it into his mouth. "Better?" she asked with a little smile.
Chris gave a tiny nod. "A little."
His mother began to unload her grocery bags, putting things away in cabinets and the refrigerator. "Oh, hey, Chris?" she asked. "Can you put these in the hall closet?"
And she handed him two cans of Febreze. Chris immediately burst into tears again.
He watched through blurred eyes as his mother sighed and put the cans on the countertop. "Never mind. I'll do it. You go to bed."
"It's not even seven, mom."
"You're going to need rest." She put a hand in his hair and ruffled it lightly. "Tomorrow's going to be a very, very long day."
Justin looked up. Chris's head shot down, and he bit his lip, hoping Justin hadn't seen him staring. Clara snickered. "Inconspicuous," she said loudly.
"Shh!" Chris commanded, lifting his head a tiny bit to see if Justin was still looking. He wasn't. Another stab to Chris's heart.
"Why'd you even act like such an ass if you like that kid so much?" Clara asked. Of course Chris had told her the whole story on the phone the night before.
Chris rubbed his eyes tiredly. Despite his mother's demands, he hadn't gotten much sleep. "It's ridiculous."
"Breakups are always ridiculous," Clara intoned. "So why, Chris? I mean, I remember you last year. You slept with every guy you met, you were a complete fuckhead to everyone… then you met that kid, and I swear to God, Chris, you changed. I don't know why, but I sometimes get the feeling that you loved him. So why would you be such a dick to him?"
"It's stupid," Chris warned. "But, well… at first, anyway… I was… I was embarrassed of him."
Clara scowled. "You are so fucked up."
"I know!" Chris cut across her. "I know. I told you it was stupid. But that's what it was. He was a sophomore, I was a senior… I mean, come on, Clare, I've done half the basketball team and I've taken it up the ass from the other half. I've been with the hottest guys in the world. And then to be with some kid?" he shook his head. "What would people think?"
Clara looked disgusted. "That's horrible, Chris. Justin's the most adorable boy I've ever laid my eyes on. He's nothing to be ashamed—"
"Don't you think I know that?" Chris interrupted. "I figured that out after the first three months. I kept asking myself why I was still with him. There were too many reasons to sort through. The better question would have been 'Why shouldn't I be with him?' Because I couldn't think of a single answer for that one."
"So then… what was the problem?"
"You said it yourself. I was a whore, Clara. I was terrible. A person as good as Justin shouldn't care about a shit like me."
"Chris!" Clara admonished. "You're not that bad! I know I always act like it, but… Chris, you know I don't mean it! You're my best friend! I'm not going to let you talk about yourself like that!"
Chris raised his eyebrows, giving a little smile. "Thanks, Clare." He shook his head sadly. "Anyway… after that, I started thinking, you know, he's got two more years in this shithole, and I'll be gone, off in The Real World."
"And you thought he'd, like… hold you back from your true potential, or something?"
"Not quite. I didn't want anything giving me a reason to come back here. I could have left and never came back. But if I was as attached to Justin as I knew I was becoming, I would come back. I hate it here, Clara. All this place holds for me are the memories of all the times I walked into class and somebody coughed "fag" at me. All the times I'd seen girls crying because their boyfriends cheated on them—with me. Every punch that was ever thrown at me, every sport team I was always picked last for, every teacher who hated my half-assed homework, every kiss and every dance, every fuck and every break-up… they all belong to this place, this school, this town. After I went to college… I wasn't going to come back here. Ever. But if Justin was still here, if I cared about him…"
"You'd come back to him," Clara said softly.
"Yes." Chris pushed his dark blond hair out of his eyes. "So I decided not to care about him."
Clara's forehead was lightly creased. "And let me guess—it didn't work. Because you acted like an asshole, so instead of not caring about him, it only made him not care about you."
"He cares about me," Chris said grimly. "He wouldn't have dumped me if he didn't. I'm not stupid. But I mean, he'll get over it. I'm going to let him be, and he's going to get over it. But I'm done crying about it, Clara, I have to leave him alone. Because if I don't, then my entire plan was pointless. Because whether we're together or not, he still ties me to this goddamn hellhole."
Clara nodded sadly. "I know."
They spent the rest of lunch in silence.
Chris didn't know what to do with himself in the afternoon. He couldn't remember a time when he'd done anything in the afternoon but wait for Justin. Waiting for Justin had seemed agonizing and slightly obnoxious, even, at the time (times, really, because, as stated, he was waiting always) but once Justin showed up, the wait had always been worth it. Now, though? Nothing was worth it anymore.
Then his doorbell rang. Frowning, Chris went to open it. There stood a girl about two seconds tall, looking adorable and ready to sell Girl Scout cookies when…
"Holy f—sh—argh!" Chris fell to the ground, keeled over. "Why did you… Cindy…"
Cindy Jameson quirked a little blond eyebrow. "You made Justin cry."
"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to kick… ah… boys there?"
Cindy smirked. "She said that if I was being raped, I should kick them in the groin."
"I wasn't raping you," Chris protested weakly, swallowing the wave of nausea that often occurred in situations such as this.
"You know what you did," she said snidely, "and it was worse than rape. Later, Chris."
She skipped off down the front path, leaving Chris on the floor in the doorway, shouting after her, "If you had balls, you'd never even think about kicking someone else's!"
She just laughed.
"Your bed is full of sex!" he also shouted. But she was already halfway down the street, and did not even turn around or give any sign that she heard him at all.
After lying in his doorway for ten more minutes or so, he pulled himself up, ate an avocado with a spoon because he felt like it, and then went to bed. His mother had been right; it had been a long day.
As he lay in bed, the light through his window constantly dimming until the streetlights turned on and he let his blinds clatter to the windowsill, a thought occurred to him. "You made Justin cry."
Despite the small sense of triumph he felt—he knew Justin still cared about him—he couldn't help but cringe at the feeling of disgust, almost like food poisoning, creeping into his stomach. He'd made Justin cry. He'd done a lot of bad things in his life, Chris Taylor had. But never anything that made him feel as bad as this.
Over the weekend, Chris decided to get over Justin.
It didn't work.
On Monday, Chris's history teacher asked him what the definition of "democracy" was. Chris asked him to repeat the question. The teacher asked him what the definition of "democracy" was. Chris said, "Democracy is where, you know, not only ONE person makes the decisions. They like… put it up to a VOTE. Hey, wouldn't that be great if BREAKUPS worked like that? Like, 'I vote for us to break up!' 'But I vote for us to stay together!' What happens in a democracy, Mr. Harrington, when there is no majority? What if it's half-and-half?"
"It rarely is, Christopher…"
"But what if it was?"
Mr. Harrington eyed him. "That is not part of our discussion today."
"Prick," Chris mumbled under his breath.
"Christopher, go see the principal."
"Are you fucking serious?"
"If I wasn't before, I certainly am now. I do not tolerate language in my classroom. Go."
Chris snarled at him as he grabbed his things and exited the classroom. When he reached the principal's office, there was already someone waiting in the chairs. A very cute, blond someone. Chris almost stepped away, but Justin looked up with an awkward smile. "Uh, hey. What are you in for?"
Chris sat two chairs over from him. "Cussing, I think."
Justin nodded. "Ah."
"I hit a kid."
Chris blinked. "Really?"
"He pissed me off."
"Justin Jameson, Mrs. Hathaway will see you now," the secretary, Ms. Bridges, told Justin.
Justin nodded, standing. "Uh, bye, Chris."
"Yeah," Chris said quietly, recalling the last time Justin said goodbye to him. "Bye."
Justin winced as he entered the office, as though he, too, was remembering this. Chris slouched in his seat with a sharp sigh that came out through his nose. Being without Justin had been the worst four days of his life. He did not expect it to get any better.
"You love him," Clara accused on Wednesday evening. "You seriously do. Admit it."
"Kuh-ris," she said agitatedly, smacking his arm before reaching for her bowl of ice cream on his kitchen counter. "Seriously. You so do."
"I do not."
"You do, too. I can see it in your eyes." Clara smirked. Chris resisted the urge to sing that David Archuleta song. Clara beat him to it, anyway, speaking the lyrics aloud as though they would act as advice. "There is no way the truth can be disguised. You're still in love with him. You were never really out of love with him. Your eyes don't lie. And they never will, Chris."
Chris rolled said eyes and sighed. "Clare, you need a life."
"You are my life, Christopher! I live vicariously through you! I don't date; I watch you date. And then I watch you crash and burn. See? Very vicarious."
"I don't think you actually know the meaning of the word 'vicarious.' I think you just say it because you hear other people say it in that context."
Clara frowned. "You're obnoxious when you're not dating Justin. I'd forgotten about that. You just get all snappish and rude. You're not happy without him, Chris. Why don't you go over there and beg for forgiveness?"
"Because I don't want forgiveness, okay?" Chris shouted. "He deserves better than me and you know it. It doesn't matter. We'll both get over it."
Clara watched him carefully, as though scared of him lashing out at her. "Look. I'm just saying, you were so, so happy just a week ago. And now? You're a mess, Chris. You've been to see the principal twice this week, you've turned in about half of your homework, you've got awful bags under your eyes like you haven't slept in millennia—it's not right, Chris. You need him. He made you happy."
I know, Chris didn't say. "Look, Clare, I should go to sleep. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
She smiled sadly. "Okay. G'night." She kissed his cheek softly, grabbed her coat, and left. He trudged upstairs to his bedroom, where he lay for a very excruciating amount of time before actually falling asleep.
Chris shuffled down the upstairs hallway at school, wanting more than anything to go to sleep and knowing that he wouldn't be able to. He stopped off at his locker, standing for about five minutes, blinking mindlessly and willing himself to remember which textbooks he actually needed to take with him. He heard a thump somewhere to his left, but disregarded it until he heard a shout, then some laughter. He tilted his head in the direction of the noise, listening intently to see if he'd hear it again. He did. Someone cried out in pain, the sound Chris associated with being kneed in the you-know-where's. But Chris knew that voice. "Fuck," he breathed, slamming his locker shut and dropping his bookbag, running for the stairwell that seemed to be emitting these voices.
There were two boys pushing another, much smaller boy to the wall. One of the taller boys punched him in the gut, and the boy backed up against the wall made a choked noise. "Stop," Justin whispered. "Please, just—"
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Chris shouted, socking one of the boys in the face. He backed away slightly, astonished. "Get the fuck off of him!"
The other boy punched Chris back. Chris ignored the blood now pouring from his nose and hit him, too. Chris felt momentarily bad as he kicked the boy in the groin, hearing his father's voice echo through his memory—something about not fighting fair. But he didn't care. This wasn't about fair; this was about Justin.
Speaking of Justin—Chris whirled around to find the boy slumped on the ground, leaning against the back wall of the stairwell. The other boys were darting away, but Chris ran to Justin, pulling the boy from the ground and into his arms. Justin kept blinking, his brow furrowed and tears streaming down his cheeks. Blood from where the back of his head had hit the wall stained his blue t-shirt, as well as the ground and walls around him. Chris fumbled one-handedly with his cell phone, calling 911 as his other arm kept Justin close to his chest. "H-Hi," he told the woman on the other end. "M-my… my, uh, friend, he… they were hitting him and—shh, baby, it's okay—he's bleeding, and I d-don't know what to do! Please, we're at Almella High, in the staircase farthest from the office—shh, it's okay, it's okay, they're coming. Please! Please just get someone here, he needs to go to the hospital!"
The woman on the phone assured him that an ambulance was on its way. Chris thanked her and hung up before letting his phone clatter to the floor, throwing his other arm around Justin, who was still crying and looking very dazed. "Chris?" he mumbled.
"Shh, don't cry," he said softly. Justin's blood soaked his fingers, and Chris felt his stomach lurch in what may have been either nausea or worry. Maybe both.
"I thought you didn't want me."
Each word broke Chris's heart over again. "Of course I do. Now be quiet, don't strain yourself. I don't want you passing out before the ambulance gets here."
"Then…" Justin struggled to keep speaking. "Why'd you let me leave?"
Chris's voice caught in his throat, and for a moment, he simply held Justin to his chest, not saying a word. He rocked back and forth, rubbing Justin's back softly. "I was being stupid. I was being… I… I'm so sorry. Please, please just be okay. Tell me you're okay!"
""M fine," Justin murmured into Chris's chest. "I'm okay."
"I know, I know," Chris kept saying. "I know. But…"
"No buts," Justin mumbled. "I'm fine."
Paramedics soon arrived, carting Justin away. "Let me come with him," Chris insisted.
One of the medics hesitated. Then she noticed the look on Chris's face. "Come on, sweetie, get inside."
Chris thanked her as he sat in the back of the ambulance. "Is he going to be okay?"
"He's going to be fine," she assured him.
"Thank god," Chris whispered, letting tears of relief fall down his face. "Thank god."
Inside Justin's hospital room sat Chris and Justin's friend Seth. They said very little as Justin slept, occasionally exchanging various looks of worry and relief. Eventually, Seth said in a slightly broken voice, "Thank you."
Chris tilted his head to one side. "For what?"
"Saving him." Seth nodded his head at Justin. "I don't know what I'd do if he…"
Chris nodded understandingly, reaching out to squeeze Seth's shoulder. "I know. Me either."
Seth gave him a shy smile. "He's my best friend. I hate that little fuck, Connor Masterson. He's such a fucking vagina."
Chris nodded before giving Seth a strange look. "Did you just call him a vagina?"
Seth grinned, his cheeks flushing a little bit. "I used to call people dicks, but Justin was always going on about how dick was a good thing, and how vaginas were scary, so I should call bad, scary people vaginas instead of dicks."
Chris chuckled. That so sounded like something Justin would do. Speaking of Justin—Chris looked over just as the sunshine-blond boy shifted under his crisp hospital covers. "Jay?" he asked quietly.
Justin's eyes fluttered open. He blinked at Chris dazedly, before looking at Seth and then around at the room. "What happened?" he asked.
Chris growled, but Seth said calmly, "Masterson. He'll be expelled, I swear, if I have anything to do with it." He sighed in relief, giving Justin a quick smile as he stood. "I'm, uh, glad you're okay, dude."
Justin grinned, rolling his head back against his pillow and shutting his eyes again. "Thanks for your concern, Seth."
"I'm fucking serious, man. Get better, or I'll kill you. Then again, if I kill you, someone else might kill me, so…" Seth trailed off, looking at Chris. "I'll just… leave you two alone, then. I'm glad you're okay, Justin," he said again, looking earnestly back at his friend before exiting the hospital room.
"Why?" Justin asked quietly.
"Why'd you let me break up with you?"
Chris smiled briefly. "Let's not talk about this now. You need to rest."
"I've rested!" Justin said angrily. "And while I was resting, I was thinking. And I think that you wouldn't be here if you didn't care about me. So. Why'd you let me break up with you if you cared about me?"
"Look, Justin, your parents are out of the country right now, and I figured you should have someone with you in the hospital."
Justin's eyes snapped open, and he turned his head to look at Chris. "Don't patronize me. You're not here because my parents are in Australia. You're here because you want to be. So shut the fuck up and tell me why you let me leave."
"I don't know why, okay?" Chris shouted desperately. "I was stupid, I was horrible, and I was wrong! Is that what you want? You want me to fall to my knees, begging you to take me back?"
Justin licked his chapped lips. "I… look, I know you're worried about me, but when I said goodbye forever, I meant it."
"What the fuck? Five seconds ago, you were like, why'd you let me leave, Chris? And now you don't even want me here? Jesus fucking Christ, Justin, what do you want from me?"
Justin drew in a shaky breath. "I'd like to say that I want things to go back to the way they were. But I don't. You treated me like shit. You took me for granted. You didn't take me on proper dates, you didn't call me when you said you were going to. You flirted with every other guy you met, right in front of me. When I wanted to know how you felt, you shut down. I can't handle that again, Chris. If you can't do the tiniest things like kissing me in public or telling me you care about me, then I need to know so I can move on from this. So we can both move on."
"What?" Justin suddenly laughed. "Did you think that since I almost died, and you saved me, I'll automatically take you back? That's not how it fucking works, Chris. I'm thankful for you not letting those psychos kill me, and I'm happy that you didn't let our breakup get in the way of you getting me medical attention. But I can't do this anymore. I'm not going to let myself be jerked around by someone who doesn't give a shit about me."
"I do give a shit about you!" Chris defended. "I… I told you, I was being stupid, I was being… I was just…" His throat constricted and his voice sounded choked as his next words were uttered. "I love you."
Justin blinked. He turned his head to crack his neck, and then looked back at Chris. "What?" he asked, looking unsure of what he'd just heard.
"I love you," Chris repeated. "And I was stupid. I was horrible. I was wrong." He fell forward out of his chair and kneeled at Justin's bedside. "Please," he whispered. "Let me try again. I promise, I'll give you everything you need. You want to go to a movie? Sure. Let's go. You want to go ice skating? What the fuck, your ass couldn't get any sorer than it already is. You want me to take you to fucking New York City to see some dumbass show on Broadway? Fuck yes. I'd take you. Goddammit, Justin. Please. I… need you to be with me. I'll fall apart again if you're not."
"Again?" Justin asked, clearly amused.
"Yeah, I… sort of had an emotional breakdown over the Febreze."
"You cried over Febreze."
"Yes, I cried over Febreze! So are you just going to lie there and make fun of my mental instability when it comes to losing you, or are you going to give me an answer? Make it quick, though, because if you say you never want to see me again, I'll only have to walk upstairs to check myself into the psychiatric ward."
Justin chuckled weakly, looking at the IV taped to his arm. "Ew. Is there a needle in me?"
"Yes, but don't look at it. You'll make yourself sick like you did at the blood drive." Chris smiled and put his hand on top of Justin's. He knew in his heart that the begging wasn't really necessary. Justin would have come back to him without it. But for some reason, he was much more inclined to do what Justin wanted rather than what was completely required. If that was going to be the basis of whatever came next, he figured he'd have to start somewhere.
"All right, fine," Justin said, smiling down at Chris, who was brushing his lips against Justin's knuckles and making the heart monitor beep more rapidly.
"Fine?" Chris asked excitedly.
"Fine, I'll take you back. But we're going to have to have some rules."
"Anything you want," Chris said, pressing his cheek against Justin's palm and looking up at him.
"I get to call you my boyfriend to anyone who asks and everyone who doesn't," Justin said proudly.
"Done," Chris said.
"And I get to kiss you at school."
"And I get to tell you I love you without you contradicting me."
"I love you, too."
Justin smiled softly down at him and said quietly, "Good. Now. Kiss me?"
"My pleasure." Chris stood from his previous position and kissed Justin lightly on the lips. "That's it for now. As much as I'd like to continue, it's probably very impolite to make out in a hospital." Justin chuckled as Chris touched the top of his head lightly and said, "Don't scare me like that again, okay?"
Justin swallowed. "Holy shit. I'm in the hospital!"
Chris closed his eyes, giving a breathy laugh. "Yes, dear," he said condescendingly. "But it's okay. You're going to be okay."
"Oh my god! I'm in the hospital!"
Chris sat on the edge of Justin's bed and touched the other boy's cheek softly. "Calm down. You'll be out before you know it. And when that time comes, I'll take you on a 'proper date.' Anywhere you want to go."
"Promise?" Justin murmured, kissing the palm of Chris's hand.
The end, Chris didn't say. Because it wasn't. It was only the beginning.
Yay! Did you like it? Let me know, because I like it when people are like "omg hey girlfraaaind, meh heartz yo story!" except, my reviewers generally use better grammar. Generally ;)