For SerialXLain 's secret Santa fic exchange. Written for The Wandering Shamen, who requested Use of the word succulent, cross-dressing, and a sad story with a happy ending

All I can say is that I tried, I don't think I succeeded. Unedited.

summery: A car crash, a secret, and cross-dressing gay boy. PG13.

Christmas Twists

Cal kept his head down as he made his way through the halls of East Jackson High, ignoring the stares and dirty looks that followed him. The catcalls and the whispers were a much harder thing to ignore, but he had enough practice that he could, at least, pretend that it didn't bother him. It wasn't like it was new to him really, just worse.

He'd never cared before, about what people had thought of his clothing, of him. It hadn't really mattered before. He knew what he looked like; multi-colored long hair, kilt over a pair of tight leggings, long sleeved fishnet under a tight pink tank top, boots with rainbow colored laces, and artfully applied makeup. His appearance certainly didn't endear him to the majority of the school's population, but it had never drawn the attention it did now.

It definitely hadn't helped, though, when he'd been outed a few short months ago by Jack Callahan. It had been a stupid mistake, and now he was paying for it.

Outed in more ways then one, really. Being gay hadn't been enough for Murphy, no, he just had to be a drag queen too. Not that he thought of himself that way, he just liked to wear girl's clothing and makeup; it made him feel pretty.

He liked feeling pretty. And there was no way that a bunch of ill mannered idiots were going to make him pretend to be something that he wasn't. No matter how many there were.

He'd been caught dressed out at a teen club, the same club Jack and his friends had decided to visit that particular night. Getting caught in the boy's bathroom making out with a guy while wearing a dress had been bad, getting caught also wearing a dress had been worse. Having one of the most popular guy in school out him had just been the icing on the cake.

Not that he'd been popular before but the incident. Not many had liked the small quiet boy with too much hair and solemn eyes, and the few friends he'd had distanced themselves in short order once it got around that he was gay and a cross-dresser.

"Hey Pretty Pretty!" Cal cringed as the all too familiar voice sounded from behind him. Of course that would make this day just perfect: Jack 'Pain in the Ass' Callahan. Jack sidled up beside Cal and through a arm over his shoulder. The move set Cal's teeth on edge, it also gave his cheeks and the tips of his ears a nice rosy hue.

Where Cal was ridiculed and tormented for being gay, no one made a mention of Jack's sexuality in anything but a positive light. Jack was popular and smart and played sports, and most importantly didn't wear his older sisters old clothing. No, Jack was Mr. Perfect in the eyes of the student body. Cal was small, grubby, and weird.

"Hey Pretty, what's your hurry?"

"Jack, get your arm OFF me!" Cal glared, his eyes fixed ahead of him, and jerked to one side. Speeding up, he clenched his jaw as raucous laughter followed him down the hall. He suppressed a growl as he stomped into the library and just barely stopped himself from slamming the door on the morons.

He stayed late in the library, long after final bell. He was piled under a stack of books when the librarian called fifteen minuets till close. Gathering his books he headed to the checkout then out the main door hoping that by now most of his tormentors would have been long gone. He headed home at a slow but comfortable pace, no reason to rush back to an empty house.

"Hey Gay boy! Hey! Hey, homo, I'm talking to you!" Cal was nearly jerked off his feet as a hand reached out and grabbed his backpack. The boy holding his backpack gave it a hard shake that nearly ripped it. Cal recognized him as one of the boy's that found beating him up entertaining, Marcus.

"Leave me alone." Cal growled as he tried to pull himself out of the other boy's grasp.

"Not a chance fag" Marcus was smiling and that always spelled trouble for Cal. His fight of flight instinct kicked in. Shrugged out of the backpack, he took off. He might be small but he was fast enough that he might be able to get away, if he could get enough of a head start

He didn't manage to go far enough before one of the boys with Marcus landed a flying tackle on him, sending him to the ground with enough force to knock the wind out of him, leaving him struggling for air as the others circled him. He was unprepared when the first kick landed and it hit his stomach nearly causing him to throw up, after that he curled up tightly to minimize the damage as best he could.

The boys got bored quickly and with a last few kicks left to pursue something more entertaining than beating up a fag. He pulled himself to his feet with a whimper and retraced his steps hoping that they'd at least left his backpack intact.

It was starting to get dark by the time he got home. The house was empty when he got there, more often then not it was. He sighed softly before heading up to his room to drop off his back pack. He had managed to find his backpack and it had, surprisingly, been undamaged. Apparently, when he'd taken off it had just been tossed to the side in favor of pursuit.

His parents were well off, but almost never home. Both of them were married to their jobs more than to each other. His mother was a lawyer and his father a doctor. Neither cared much for their son, though their daughter, Mara, Cal's older sister was the apple of their eye. She was in her last semester of collage and on her way to a prestigious medical career. His parents were virtual strangers he almost never saw, his sister had been the only one that had seemed to care for him and she had left years ago.

He cleaned himself up, he was more muddy then bruised, thankfully. Grabbing some snacks, he headed up to his room.

He was taking a nap when his mother barged into his room with a fury.

"What the hell are you doing? Your sister gets here any moment now and we are going out for dinner." she said. Going to his closet she threw open the doors and made a sound of disgust as she began searching for something "decent" to where.

Cal watched as she collected his best set of slacks and a blue button down shirt. "Put these on, I want you to look normal for once in your life, no makeup and no jewelry, you will not embarrass your sister do you hear me?" She glared at him a final time before heading out and shutting the door with a sharp click.

Sighing, he pulled himself out of bed and threw on the slacks and shirt before hunting down socks and shoes that would go with them.

"Normal" was something that he would never be, if he went by his mother's definition.

Grabbing his jacket and a book he headed downstairs.

He had his nose in the book when IT happened. Then, all he'd known was that something hit his parents' car and then pain and darkness. When he woke up the police told him that a man who'd had a heart-attack behind the will of his car had rammed into the passenger side of his parents' Lexis.

His parents were injured. His mother, who had been driving, had a broken leg and a concussion and a face with a liberal amount of damage and was making a huge fuss about the last the most. His father had some internal injuries and was the worst off, still unconscious. His sister, who had been sitting behind their mother, had escaped with only a broken arm. Cal's leg was broken in two places, his wrist was sprained and they were worried about some internal bruising.

Since his parents wouldn't be able to take care of him for a while, his mother was already planning a trip to California for extensive plastic surgery, he was going to live with his sister.

Surprisingly, she didn't seem to mind. She seemed to think that she could do a better job of looking out for him.

"You'll love it, there's a Pool and gardens,and the complex is close to a lot of things. There's a really good library really close too." She smiled, or attempted to and her voice wavered slightly. She was worried about their father but Cal had a hard time remembering what the man even looked like.

Standing, she laid a last kiss in his cheek before exiting the room. Visiting hours were nearly over and she had things to do before he could be released into her custody.

As she left, Another person walked in. A person Cal hadn't expected to see. In fact it was the last person Cal had ever ever expected to come visit him in the hospital. It was the last person he would have wanted to come visit him;

"Hey Pretty Pretty, how are you feeling?" Jack said as he put down a bouquet of daffodils on the side table before sitting down in the chair that Cal's sister had just vacated. Daffodils were Cal's favorite flower.

"What are you doing here, Jack?" Cal turned away from the worried looking boy. Flowers or not this was still the same guy who had caused his life to be a nightmare.

"I heard about what happened to you, I just wanted to make sure that you were doing ok. I mean obviously you aren't ok, but you know what I mean." The other boy fidgeted as he spoke. "Wanted to say I feel bad, bout your parents, I hear that they won't be going home for a while. Least not your dad. It must be awful."

"What do you care?" Cal snapped.

"Hey now, don't be like that! When they told us your family had been in a car crash, and that you were injured, I was worried. You know, they had a whole assembly and everything. The principal even made a speech. Though the way they put it you were on death's door. Totally blew it out of proportion apparently."

Cal turned a confused face towards the other boy, studying his expression with intensity.

"They did?"

"Yeah. I was so scared when they said that one of the student's family had been in a fatal car crash. You have no idea how happy I was when they said you were alive."

"It was the guy who hit us who died, he had a heart-attack, that;s how it happened." Cal struggled to sit up a bit more, shocked at the fact that they had even noticed he'd been out, let alone how Jack had felt. "Anyway, you actually mean that don't you? That you were scared I mean."

"Yeah, I was really worried when you didn't show up at school that day and then they called the assembly..." Jack shrugged and reached for Cal's hand, the uninjured one. "I heard you're gonna be living with your sister for a while, will you be going to a new school or are you gonna stay here?"

Cal bit his lip and looked sidelong at the other boy.

"I only have one more year, and they aren't sure how long my parents are gonna be in the hospital, so I suppose I'm staying here."

"That's good." Jack seemed to hesitate for a minute or two

"Why are you mad at me?"

"What?" Cal blinked thrown for a loop by the random question. Blinking he wondered if his pain meds were making him hallucinate. Where had THAT come from?

"You've been mad at me for a while, I don't know why. Now seems to be a good as time as ever to find out."

"You prick!" Cal hissed, pulling his hand away, "You outed me to the entire class! You all but flat out told them that I was gay! And a cross-dresser! You gave them enough ammunition against me to last them till doomsday! The whole school has been making my life a living hell ever since!" He glared at the other boy for all his worth.

"What's going on here?" A nurse with a scowl popped her head into the door.

"Nothing," Cal said bowing his head, "we're fine, sorry for that."

The nurse gave a curt nod, "Visiting hours are up in a few minutes." She said then disappeared.

"Do you know what they did to me after that little outburst?" Cal glared down at where Jack still held his hand. "They crucified me," Jack gave a choked cough, "Not literally, I mean! Jeez, it;s just an expression." Cal said quickly when he saw the ashen color Jack turned. "I said that they made my life a living hell, I wasn't kidding."

"I never meant for anything like that to happen." Jack looked away as he spoke softly. "You'd just left the club so fast that I never got to ask you anything. You never did answer, you know." He seemed almost... bashful?

Cal took a shaky breath.

"You were serious!" Cal couldn't believe it. "You actually wanted to know?"

"Well, yeah, of course I wanted to know! Why else would I have asked?" Jack pulled away, shocked. "Why did you think I asked you those questions?

Cal mumbled something under his breath.

"What?" Jack looked at him quizzically.

"I said: Maybe cause you wanted to humiliate me." Cal kept his eyes firmly fixed on his blanket.

"Why the hell would I want to do that?!" Jack looked offended and just a little angry.

"Maybe cause you didn't like the little gay boy having a crush on you."

Silence.

Then:

"You had a crush on me?" Jack sounded like he couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"Well, yeah, since like the sixth grade or something." Cal shrugged doing a good job at appearing calm and collected, two emotions that he certainly didn't feel. This was not how he had expected this conversation to go, not that he had ever expected to have this conversation at all to begin with.

Jack stared at him for what seemed like forever and a day. His expression thoughtful.

"So?" he questioned in a soft voice.

"So what?" Cal gave a small frown of confusion.

"Are you going to answer me now?" Jack asked an eager note in his voice.

"What did you ask me again?" Cal said, stalling for time more than anything.

"Do you wear dresses often, do you have any more, and are you going out with that guy" Jack asked, his eagerness blatant now.

"Hmmm, well then. In order: Yes; Yes, a lot; and no I was never dating him, I don't even know what his name was." Cal said with an air of nonchalance.

"Would you go out with me?" Jack asked in a hurried rush.

Cal blinked, his mouth open in surprise.

"Wha...?"

"That was the other question, the one I never got to ask." Jack looked a bit green as he spoke. "I want to know if you'll go out with me. I know this has to be, like, the absolutely worst time to ask, but if I don't ask now I never will, and I've wanted to ask for so long, and you looked so hot in that little dress that I got tongue tied, you must know how that feels? And..." He faltered when Cal moved forward.

Cal felt faint as he moved to press his lips against Jack's. It was a soft kiss, almost innocent. Sweet like fruit.

It ended far to quickly.

"What was that for?" Jack sounded just the tiniest bit breathless.

Cal smiled.

"You were babbling."

"What, does that make you excited or something?" Jack said with a chuckle.

"No, that's big words." Cal laughed lightly.

Jack smiled and Cal leaned in for another kiss. Neither noticed the nurse come tto the door and stop, staring for a few moments before backing away.

They separated, smiling shyly.

"How was that?" Cal whispered.

Jack paused and then with a wicked glint in his eye he said:

"Succulent."

Cal felt his jaw drop, and he sputtered for a moment before finding his mental feet.

"What was that? Your idea of a big word?" He laughed happily.

"Aw come on, it was four syllables!"

"It was three actually. I think visiting hour might be over." He said as he motioned to the clock.

"Hey! You never answered me!" Jack said with indignation.

Cal gave a giggle.

"Why don't you ask me again when you take to the movies?" He nearly fell out of his bed at the poleaxed look on Jack's face. "You remember? The one you're going to take me to as soon as I get out of the hospital for making me put up with hell for weeks?"

Laughing, Jack dropped a last kiss on Cal's forehead before heading out the door.